New Age Islam
Tue Jan 18 2022, 09:59 AM

Islamic World News ( 16 Dec 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Tablighi Jamaat Hub of Radical Islamic Jihadism, Ban It; Crackdown on Darul Uloom Deoband and Popular Front of India: Vishwa Hindu Parishad to Govt

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 December 2021

 


 

The religious affairs ministry of Saudi Arabia had recently dubbed the Tablighi Jamaat as a gateway of terrorism and banned it.(AFP)

-----

• New York Imam Busted In Civilian Child Sex Abuse Sting That Exposes Paedophiles On YouTube

• New Russian Translation of Quran Inevitably an Interpretation and Thus a Potential Problem

• Saudi Arabia among Countries with Highest Number of Journalists in Detention: Reporters without Borders

• Islamic State in Khorasan Province Counters Taliban with Formidable Media and Propaganda Offensive

 

India

• 600-Year-Old Srinagar Jamia Masjid’s Imam Detained At Home for Last Two Years

• Muslim League trying to provoke community’s sentiments against Kerala government: Kodiyeri Balakrishnan

• In Kashmir, closed mosque belies India’s religious freedom

• NIA conduct raids in four places in Sopore, Srinagar; one OGW arrested

• 2 LeT terrorists killed in Kulgam encounter, 2 hostage girls recused

--------

North America

• Terror Groups Targeting India Continue To Operate From Pakistan: US State Department Report on Terrorism

• US notes Islamabad’s efforts to meet FATF demands

• Islamic State's Spread beyond Syria, Iraq Remains Concern For US

• US Lauds Saudi Arabia as Strong, ‘Very Capable’ Partner In Fight Against Terror

--------

Europe

• Russia: German court’s state terrorism verdict in murder trial ‘divorced from reality’

• Hunger On The Rise In The Arab World, 69 Mln Suffered From Malnutrition In 2020: UN

• UK reveals it shot down drone over Syria’s Al-Tanf housing US troops

--------

Arab World

• Kurdish forces find mass grave of ‘ISIS victims’ in Iraq

• Israeli missile strike kills soldier in Syria: Syrian state media

• Saudi, Egyptian FMs stress importance of Iran not having a nuclear weapon

• UAE outlines COVID-19 restrictions for Christmas and New Year’s Eve events

• Syrian govt. forces, locals block US military convoys in Hasakah, force them to turn back

--------

South Asia

• OIC meeting to help bridge gap between Taliban, world: minister

• Dhaka: President Kovind inaugurates famed Kali Mandir, demolished by Pak army in 1971

• Collapse of Afghan government started after Doha agreement: Former Afghan NSA

• Naseer Ahmad Faiq replaces Ishaqzai as Afghanistan’s envoy to UN

• Taliban prepare new Afghan budget without foreign aid

--------

Pakistan

• Pakistan Seeks Global Attention on Afghanistan through OIC Meeting

• PM Presenting Muslims’ Case against Islamophobia Effectively: MoS

• Pakistan marks 7th anniversary of attack on Peshawar school

• December 16 darkest day in the history of Pakistan: Siraj

• COAS Bajwa, UK defence chief discuss Afghanistan crisis

• COAS reiterates need for swift mechanism to channelise Afghan aid

• PTA asked to suspend mobile phone service in Islamabad as part of security for OIC meeting

--------

Southeast Asia

• National Unity Ministry: Church Choir, Prayers Allowed For Christmas, Family Visits For Fully Vaccinated Individuals

• A radical step to dispel Malay hostility towards DAP

• We have lost sense of shame over corruption, laments Maszlee

• Sabah to develop halal hub in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park, says CM

--------

Mideast

• Iran Says UN Can’t See Nuclear Images until Sanctions End

• Iran top negotiator says nuclear talks to pause for a few days

• Israel’s environment ministry blocks oil pipeline deal with UAE

• Palestinian resistance groups praise West Bank retaliatory shooting attack as natural response to Israel’s crimes

• One Israeli settler killed, two more injured in West Bank shooting: Medics

• Hamas says will not release Israeli prisoners without swapping them for Palestinian inmates

--------

Africa

• Syria Must Return to Arab League In Order For Arabs to Unify Again, Algeria’s President

• US, UK, Saudi Arabia, UAE welcome political agreement in Sudan, call for elections

• Sharia Court Remands Man for Stealing Caps, Bottle of Perfume

• Tunisian parliament speaker refuses to suspend parliament for another year

• Armed groups deploy around key sites in Libya’s Tripoli

• Ethiopia urged to free reporters detained under wartime emergency laws

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

 

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/tablighi-jamaat-radical-islamic-jihadism-vhp/d/125978


--------

Tablighi Jamaat Hub of Radical Islamic Jihadism, Ban It; Crackdown on Darul Uloom Deoband and Popular Front of India: Vishwa Hindu Parishad to Govt

 


 

The religious affairs ministry of Saudi Arabia had recently dubbed the Tablighi Jamaat as a gateway of terrorism and banned it.(AFP)

-----

Dec 16, 2021

Lucknow: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Thursday alleged that Darul Uloom Deoband and Popular Front of India (PFI) are giving direct or indirect nourishment to Tablighis, Tablighi Jamaat and Ijtema.

The VHP asked the government to ban the Tablighi Jamaat and "crackdown on institutions and organisations like Darul Uloom Deoband and PFI”.

The VHP demanded that the government should seal the Delhi-based Nizamuddin Markaz building and also freeze the bank accounts associated with it. The organisation also asked the Centre to plug the "economic sources and resources" of Tablighi Jamaat.

"Not only Bharat (India) but the whole world is in serious trouble today due to the transgressions of the Tablighi Jamaat and its Nizamuddin Markaz," the saffron unit alleged in a statement.

"The VHP demands a complete ban on Tablighis, Tablighi Jamaat and Ijtema (religious congregation) in India be imposed," the VHP said in it statement.

The saffron organisation termed the Tablighi Jamaat as a manufacturing hub of "radical Islamic Jihadism" and accused it of patronising global terrorism.

"The building of Nizamuddin Markaz and the bank accounts associated with it should be sealed. Their economic sources and resources should be found out and plugged," the VHP further said.

Saudi Arabia recently banned Tablighi Jamaat and Da'wah group while describing it as a "danger to society and one of the gates of terrorism".

Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic movement founded in 1927, calls for a return to the Islamic cultural practices during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad.

“His Excellency the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dr.#Abdullatif Al_Alsheikh directed the mosques’ preachers and the mosques that held Friday prayer temporary to allocate the next Friday sermon 5/6/1443 H to warn against (the Tablighi and Da’wah group) which is called (Al Ahbab)”," Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Islamic Affairs tweeted on December 6.

Source: Times Now News

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

https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/tablighi-jamaat-hub-of-radical-islamic-jihadism-ban-it-crackdown-on-darul-uloom-deoband-and-pfi-vhp-to-govt/841117

--------

New York Imam Busted In Civilian Child Sex Abuse Sting That Exposes Paedophiles on YouTube

 



Yuceturk was previously the imam at JFK Airport’s International Islamic Center.

-----

December 16, 2021

A New York imam was charged with attempted child sex abuse raps after he was busted in a civilian sting operation that exposes paedophiles on YouTube, The Post has learned.

Ahmet Yuceturk, who was previously the imam at JFK Airport’s International Islamic Centre, was arrested Monday for sexting with an individual he believed was 14 years old and making plans to meet up with her, police and prosecutors said.

The 42-year-old Long Island resident was charged with two felony counts for attempted criminal sex act with a minor and attempted dissemination of indecent material to a minor, court records show.

Yuceturk was originally caught in the crosshairs of the YouTube page “NYCreeps Spotlight” — a modern-day version of the NBC show “To Catch a Predator” — that aims to lure in pedophiles on social media apps by posing as teenagers, the page’s creator “FM” told The Post.

The creator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and previously busted a Department of Homeless Services police officer, said he and adult women pose as teens on social media apps and wait for older men to reach out to the accounts so they can be exposed on his YouTube page.

In late November, Yuceturk allegedly messaged one of the accounts and told the “teen” he was 40, according to records of the texts, which were turned over to the NYPD.

When the apparent girl told Yuceturk she was 14 years old, he allegedly wrote back: “Call me daddy as I f–k the s–t out of you,” his criminal complaint states.

“I want you badly can we pull it off this weekend?… Will mom be away this weekend?” the religious leader allegedly told her as he described a variety of sex acts he wanted to do with her, court records show.

“I want to soap and wash you,” one of the messages said, according to Yuceturk’s criminal complaint.

FM sets up in-person meetings with the creeps he chats with and once they agree, he confronts them, records the interaction and posts the videos to his YouTube page. The vigilante often turns over his findings to the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies, but charges have only been brought a handful of times.

In Yuceturk’s case, the charges came when the NYPD happened to show up as FM was following the imam down a Bronx street and recording him, asking him why he made plans to meet up with a 14-year-old, video shows.

When Youth Coordination officers from the 52nd Precinct approached the two men, Yuceturk claimed FM was harassing him, but the YouTuber explained he runs an organization that catches online predators seeking to meet with little girls.

“Do you have evidence?” an officer asked FM in the clip.

Following Yuceturk’s arrest, cops obtained surveillance footage that showed him knocking on the apartment door the apparent teen gave him after they made plans to meet up, court records say.

FM, a father of four daughters, said he traps pedophiles because he was nearly sexually abused as a child and he wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to other kids.

“It’s great getting these guys off the street because you never know who’s who. He’s an imam, a spiritual leader, a voice in the community, he’s a pillar of the community,” FM told The Post by phone. 

“To see what they’re doing behind closed doors is ridiculous and I take pleasure in taking them down one by one.”

Yuceturk, who has been featured in Port Authority of New York and New Jersey blog posts and quoted in Time magazine and the New York Times, was released on his own recognizance following his arraignment and is due back in court in January.

He didn’t return a request for comment.

Source: New York Post

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

https://nypost.com/2021/12/16/new-york-imam-busted-in-civilian-child-sex-abuse-sting/?E3C057A1-1AB1-F845-B6F4-31C3B2AB9CA6_kav_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

--------

New Russian Translation of Quran Inevitably an Interpretation and Thus a Potential Problem

 



The Holy Quran

---

By Paul Goble

December 17, 2021

Because of the nature of the Arabic language, any translation from it is a form of interpretation, something that most Muslims view with suspicion and that entails serious problems especially in the case of the Quran and especially given the approach of the current Russian government to religion in general and Islam in particular.

That makes the appearance of any new translation of the meaning of the Quran – neither translators nor Muslims refer to “a translation of the Quran” but instead insist such texts are by nature “a translation of the meanings” of the Arabic original – is thus a major event fraught with problems for Muslims and for the governments of the states within which they live.

There have been Russian translations of the meaning of the Quran since Petrine times, including the now-classical versions offered by Krachkovsky, Shidfar, and Osmanov. Now. Elmir Rafael-ogly Kuliyev has offered a revised version of his 2003 effort which Eksmo publishers have brought out (credo.press/239475/).

In his introduction, Kuliyev acknowledges that however close to the original he has striven to be, his translation like all the others is an interpretation. And for many Muslims, interpretation is a problem because it means that the translator is putting his own ideas in and thus concealing the original intent of Allah who dictated the original.

That is a problem for all Muslims in all countries, but in Russia, there is an additional one. The Russian authorities have already declared extremist translations of religious works they don’t like, including the Biblical translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the appearance of new translations of the meaning of the Quran is likely to have the same result.

Source: Eurasia Review

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

https://www.eurasiareview.com/17122021-new-russian-translation-of-Quran-inevitably-an-interpretation-and-thus-a-potential-problem-oped/

--------

Saudi Arabia among Countries with Highest Number of Journalists in Detention: Reporters without Borders

 

 


This picture shows a general view of maximum-security al-Ha'ir Prison, located approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Reuters)

-----

16 December 2021

Reporters without Borders (RSF) has sounded the alarm on the violence and abuse suffered by journalists around the world, stating that Saudi Arabia is among the five countries with the highest numbers of media professionals detained in connection with their work.

The international nongovernmental organization (NGO) said in a report on Thursday that there are currently 488 journalist imprisoned around the world in connection with their work, and the number is the highest since RSF began publishing its annual round-up more than 25 years ago.

The organization clarified that 103 of those detained are not professional journalists; as they are actually pro-democracy activists who express their views on social media.

It added that the number of female journalists imprisoned due to their profession increased by one-third compared with 2020, hitting an overall figure of 60.

The Paris-based organization then named five countries with the highest number of journalists in prison, among them were Myanmar where 53 journalists are now behind bars followed by Vietnam (43), Belarus (32) and Saudi Arabia (31).

Reporters without Borders also logged 46 journalists killed this year, and the number was the lowest since it began issuing annual tallies. Most of the killings were assassinations, is said, adding, "65 percent were deliberately targeted and eliminated."

The most dangerous countries were once again Mexico and Afghanistan, with seven and six journalist deaths respectively, followed by Yemen and India with four apiece.

RSF also counted 65 journalists and colleagues as kidnapped, with the majority of the abductions in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Last month, Reporters Without Borders called on Saudi authorities to immediately release Yemeni journalist Ali Abu Lahoum after he received a 15-year prison sentence.

“This ruling shows that the use of Internet and social media platforms by journalists and bloggers, which are intended to be a place where they should exchange information and discuss various matters, is still strictly controlled in the kingdom,” Sabreen al-Nawi, director of the Middle East Division at RSF said.

It went on to say that the Yemeni journalist’s wife desperately tried to contact him several times, before she understood that her husband had undergone a criminal interrogation without the presence of an attorney.

The organization said the verdict was issued against the Yemeni journalist on October 26, more than two months after he was detained.

Abu Lahoum, who has been residing in Saudi Arabia since 2015, was reportedly working in a commercial media organization in the country’s southwestern region of Najran.

He had earlier worked as an executive director for the Saudi Arabic-language al-Wadi television station.

Saudi Arabia shows little tolerance towards journalists, including independent ones, and freedom of speech.

In its 2020 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders said the kingdom ranked 170 out of 180 countries, where No. 1 is the most free.

Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has ramped up arrests of activists, bloggers, intellectuals, and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedoms of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/16/672792/Saudi-Arabia-among-countries-with-high-number-of-journalists-in-arbitrary-detention--RSF

--------

Islamic State in Khorasan Province Counters Taliban with Formidable Media and Propaganda Offensive



 

IS denied that Hafiz Saeed was dead, telling the BBC at the time that he was "still alive"

----

By: Riccardo Valle

December 16, 2021

Since the Taliban captured Kabul and installed its new government of Afghanistan in August, Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) has been carrying out numerous attacks. ISKP has targeted both the Taliban and vulnerable minorities, such as Shias (Terrorism Monitor, November 19). One of the most recent and deadliest ISKP attacks was carried out at the Daud Khan hospital in Kabul on November 2 by five inghimasi (“fighting until death”) fighters, who also killed prominent Taliban commander, Qari Hamdullah Mukhlis (Twitter.com/Valle_Riccardo, November 2). Another was the bombing of two buses, which were carrying Shia civilians in the Shia district of Dasht-e-Barchi and Kabul’s third district (Twitter.com/AfghanAnalyst, November 17).

Despite the growing pressure on ISKP from Taliban operations against its members, the Taliban’s historical stronghold of Kandahar has not been spared. On October 15, for example, ISKP conducted another devastating attack, which targeted a Shia Mosque in the city (TOLOnews, October 15). ISKP has demonstrated the capacity to survive and take advantage of weaknesses of the Taliban government, namely its difficulty in providing security to Afghan society.

ISKP’s Propaganda Ecosystem

Along with its military operations, ISKP continues to boost its political and religious propaganda, which remains a fundamental method for the group to assert its presence among its militants and potential new recruits and to deride the Taliban. Several ISKP-affiliated local media organizations have flooded Telegram and Facebook over the past few years, including:

Al-Millat Media (which used to publish booklets and statements from ISKP’s central leadership, including its current emir, Dr. Shahab al-Muhajir, and spokesman, Sultan Aziz Ezzam):

Tor Bairaghona;

Khalid Media (which published several ISKP videos);

Haqeqat News; and

Akhbar Wilayah Khurasan (ExTrac, August 2021).

In addition to semi-official media organizations, there are a plethora of supporters’ channels and accounts that share ISKP propaganda from small writings to entire books, videos, and audios. Some of the propaganda is also translated into languages other than Pashto and Dari, such as English (Twitter.com/Ab.Sayed, November 10).

Two of the most important ISKP media institutions are, however, Khurasan Ghag Radio and al-Azaim Foundation. While the former recorded several discussions and interviews after it resumed its publications in January and now accounts for around 190 episodes, the latter mainly publishes books related to religious subjects, such as sharia lessons, aqeedah (creed), manhaj (methodology), and political matters (Twitter.com/SaleemMehsud, February 22). However, on November 6, al-Azaim Foundation also published its first propaganda video against the Taliban that featured some of the main criticisms typical of ISKP’s anti-Taliban rhetoric (Twitter.com/Valle_Riccardo, November 7). These criticisms were previously summarized by ISKP writer, Sheikh Abu Saad al-Khurasani, in August in its 840-page long magnum opus (Twitter.com/Valle_Riccardo, August 18).

Al-Azaim Foundation’s Three New Books

Al-Azaim Foundation released three small new books in mid-November. None of the three books is as elaborate and detailed as other publications from al-Azaim Foundation in the recent past or as important as those written by Dr. Shahab al-Muhajir or Sultan Aziz Ezzam. However, all three books address topics that are key to understand the ideology of ISKP.

The first book is a 49-page long publication in Dari titled “Recitation of the Surah al-Fatihah during the prayer.” It presents a study about if and when it is obligatory upon the imam and those praying behind him or alone to recite Surah al-Fatihah, which is the first verse of the Quran. Apart from concluding that the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence is the one closest to the teachings of the Prophet and his Companions, the majority of the pages are dedicated to refuting the positions of Deobandi Hanafis like the Taliban. The Deobandi Hanafis are largely criticized for their incorrect interpretation and application of verses of the Quran, including the recitation of Surah al-Fatihah, while deliberately ignoring other hadiths (records of the traditions or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). The book ends by calling on Deobandi Hanafis to correct their way of praying or else their prayers will be null and void.

The book specifically addresses Deobandi Hanafis as “Hanafi supremacists” who do not correctly follow the teachings of their own Imam Abu Hanifa, as Abu Saad al-Khurasani already stated in his 840-page long book. ISKP efforts in the literary field are also a harbinger of the potential for exacerbating conflicts between Salafis and Deobandi Hanafis in Afghanistan. These conflicts have also been fueled by the recent wave of extrajudicial killings by the Taliban, which targeted Salafis (Terrorism Monitor, September 24; Twitter.com/Valle_Riccardo, September 30).

The second 35-page long booklet by al-Azaim Foundation is written by Abu Saad al-Khurasani in Pashto and is titled “O Propagandist Brother! Do You Know the Value of Your Jihad?” The intended audience is anyone who disseminates ISKP’s propaganda, who are described as even “more dangerous than the mujahid’s gun.” Abu Saad al-Khurasani particularly praises the efforts of “the fighters against falsehood,” who share writings, videos, and statements to counter the negative propaganda spread by the “apostates, Jews, Christians, and secularists and atheists.” It should be noted that ISKP, including Sultan Aziz Ezzam and other members from al-Millat Media, has a history of propaganda against journalists and media, which ISKP accuses of serving the interests of the now defunct U.S.-backed Afghan government and currently the Taliban (Terrorism Monitor, September 7). Abu Saad al-Khurasani also mentions the important task of the “mujahideen of the tongue” is their work to convince others to join ISKP through da’wah (preaching) activities. An invitation letter published in October from al-Azaim Foundation, for instance, openly called on young madrassa students to join Islamic State (IS) to fight the Taliban both in armed jihad and through intellect, as the Taliban are guilty of adopting the system of democracy and secularism.

The third book by al-Azaim Foundation is titled “The Truth of the Taliban Movement” and is 46-pages long and written in Dari. It features a series of harsh accusations against the Taliban typical of ISKP, including describing the Taliban not only as a joint creation of the CIA and Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), but also as a movement whose aim is to remove Islam from Afghanistan by killing religious scholars and replacing Islam with Western ideologies. The Taliban is accused of being the real khawarij (infidels outside the fold of Islam), who have repeatedly violated Islamic rulings, including the call for monotheism by embracing polytheistic rituals. This is an accusation frequently exploited by ISKP in its propaganda that argues that Taliban members are Sufis and was elaborated in a statement published in May by Akhbar Wilayah Khurasan after ISKP bombed Mufti Numan’s Mosque in Kabul because his followers are Sufis (Tolo News, May 14). Another topic covered in this book is the Taliban’s relations with other countries, specifically with China, which has been frequently featured in ISKP’s propaganda because of China’s mistreatment of Uyghurs. Thus, the Taliban is seen as condoning Chinese oppression in Xinjiang (Eurasianet, November 4).

Some pages of the third book are also dedicated to ISKP’s criticism of the Taliban’s promoting the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence. ISKP accuses the Taliban of imposing an exclusively Hanafi state in Afghanistan instead of following the Quran as it was originally revealed and argues that it is against Islam to adhere to one school of jurisprudence because there is no religious obligation to follow any particular school. Moreover, ISKP frames its reasoning by adding that choosing a particular madhhab (school of Islamic jurisprudence) is also part of a global colonial effort aimed at fragmenting the Islamic ummah (community) into several weak emirates, which, once separated from the Caliphate, will eventually accept democracy, such as in North Africa, Baluchistan, and Bahawalpur [Punjab Province, Pakistan].

According to ISKP, the building of a Hanafi Emirate in Afghanistan is the first step to democracy. ISKP argues the Taliban has built an inclusive government to appease Western countries at the same time as the Taliban prepares a new secular, democratic, and mono-ethnic government. The book ends by praising IS for following solely the Quran and Sunnah (traditional social and legal custom and practice of the Islamic community) and rejecting a one-madhhab approach, Islamic deviations, and “Western atheistic philosophies.”

Conclusion

ISKP has developed propaganda that complements its military operations. The three books are a fragment of the body of literature the group has produced over the years to delegitimize enemies, whether they are the defunct Afghan government or the Taliban’s new one. ISKP now watches carefully every concession made by the Taliban in various fields from education to international relations to dealing with religious minorities and capitalizes on these concessions by expanding the list of criticisms against the Taliban. This will potentially boost ISKP’s propaganda in the near future, as ISKP has demonstrated an ability to quickly adapt its own rhetoric to the changing situation in Afghanistan.

Source: James Town

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

https://jamestown.org/program/islamic-state-in-khorasan-province-counters-taliban-with-formidable-media-and-propaganda-offensive/

--------

 

India

 

600-year-old Srinagar Jamia Masjid’s Imam detained at home for last two years

December 17, 2021

SRINAGAR: Jamia Masjid, the grand mosque of Srinagar, dominates its neighborhood with an imposing main gate and massive turrets. It can hold 33,000 worshippers, and on special occasions over the years hundreds of thousands of Muslims have filled nearby lanes and roads to offer prayers led from the mosque, foreign media reported on Thursday. But Indian authorities see the mosque as a trouble spot — a nerve center for protests and clashes that challenge India’s sovereignty over the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K).

For Kashmiri Muslims it is a sacred venue for Friday prayers and a place they can raise their voices for political rights. In this bitter dispute, the mosque in Kashmir’s main city has largely remained closed for the past two years. The mosque’s chief cleric has been detained in his home almost nonstop throughout that time, and the mosque’s main gate is padlocked and blocked with corrugated tin sheets on Fridays.

Source: The News Pakistan

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

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/917372-600-year-old-srinagar-jamia-masjid-s-imam-detained-at-home-for-last-two-years

--------

Muslim League trying to provoke community’s sentiments against Kerala government: Kodiyeri Balakrishnan

17th December 2021

KOCHI: The Muslim League is trying to create an impression that Islam is in danger, aiming to provoke the community’s sentiments against the state government, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged here on Thursday.

Addressing the public meeting that marked the conclusion of the CPM Ernakulam district conference at Kalamassery, he said the Muslim League was helping the Jamaat-e-Islami.

“But the bid to provoke religious sentiments and unsettle the LDF government will not bear fruit as the CPM has broadened its support base. Any attempt to launch another Vimochana Samaram similar to the one in 1957 will not succeed,” Kodiyeri said.

He said the Congress recently announced its stand that India is a Hindu country. “The Congress and the Muslim League are provoking religious sentiments which will only help the BJP,” the CPM leader said.

Kodiyeri said the state government is implementing road and rail development projects to find a solution to the ever increasing traffic congestion.

“The opposition is trying to scuttle the impact survey for the K-Rail project. The project will be implemented causing minimum impact to the environment, and the people who lose their land for the project will be compensated adequately. Delaying the project will adversely affect the state’s development and the LDF government will implement it with public support,” he said.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2021/dec/17/muslim-league-trying-to-provoke-communitys-sentiments-against-kerala-govt-kodiyeri-balakrishnan-2396386.html

--------

In Kashmir, closed mosque belies India’s religious freedom

Dec 16, 2021

Jamia Masjid, the grand mosque of Srinagar dominates its neighborhood with an imposing main gate and massive turrets. It can hold 33,000 worshippers, and on special occasions, over the years hundreds of thousands of Muslims have filled nearby lanes and roads to offer prayers led from the mosque.

But Indian authorities see the mosque as a trouble spot — a nerve center for protests and clashes that challenge India's sovereignty over the disputed Kashmir region.

For Kashmiri Muslims, it is a sacred venue for Friday prayers and a place they can raise their voices for political rights.

In this bitter dispute, the mosque in Kashmir’s main city has largely remained closed for the past two years. The mosque’s chief priest has been detained in his home almost nonstop throughout that time, and the mosque’s main gate is padlocked and blocked with corrugated tin sheets on Fridays.

The closure of the mosque, which is revered by Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population, has deepened their anger.

“There is a constant feeling that something is missing in my life,” said Bashir Ahmed, 65, a retired government employee who has offered prayers at the mosque over five decades.

Indian authorities refused to comment on the mosque restrictions despite repeated queries from The Associated Press. In the past, officials have said the government was forced to close the mosque because its management committee was unable to stop anti-India protests on the premises.

The shutting of the 600-year-old mosque came amid a clampdown that began in 2019 after the government stripped Kashmir of its long-held semiautonomous status.

In the past two years, some of the region’s other mosques and shrines — also closed for months due to the security crackdown and the subsequent pandemic — have been allowed to offer religious services.

Jamia Masjid has remained out of bounds to worshippers for prayers on Friday – the main day of congregational worship in Islam. Authorities allow the mosque to remain open the other six days, but only a few hundred worshippers assemble there on those occasions, compared to the tens of thousands that often gathered on Fridays.

“This is the central mosque where our ancestors, scholars and spiritual masters have prayed and meditated for centuries,” said Altaf Ahmad Bhat, one of the officials at the grand mosque.

He dismissed the law-and-order reasons cited by the authorities as “absurd,” adding that discussions about social, economic and political issues affecting Muslims were a core religious function of any grand mosque.

The grand mosque is mainly reserved for mandatory Friday congregational prayers and special services. Obligatory daily prayers are usually held in smaller neighborhood mosques.

For the region’s Muslims, the mosque’s closure brings painful memories of the past. In 1819, Sikh rulers closed it for 21 years. Over the past 15 years, it has been subject to periodic bans and lockdowns by successive Indian governments.

But the current restrictions are the most severe since the region was divided between India and Pakistan after the two nations gained independence from British colonialism in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety.

The Indian government initially grappled with largely peaceful public protests seeking a united Kashmir, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent entity. But a crackdown on dissent led to Kashmir’s eruption into an armed rebellion against India in 1989. India has depicted the insurgency as Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, a charge Pakistan has denied.

Indian forces largely crushed the rebellion about 10 years ago, though popular demands for “Azadi,” or freedom, remained ingrained in the Kashmiri psyche.

The region made a transition from the armed struggle to unarmed uprisings, with tens of thousands of civilians repeatedly taking to the streets to protest Indian rule, often leading to deadly clashes between stone-throwing residents and Indian troops. The grand mosque and its surrounding areas in Srinagar’s heart emerged as central to these protests.

Sermons at the Jamia Masjid would often address the long-simmering conflict, with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chief priest and one of the region’s top separatist leaders, giving fiery speeches highlighting Kashmir’s political struggle.

Authorities often clamped down, banning prayers at the mosque for extended periods. According to official data, the mosque was closed for at least 250 days in 2008, 2010 and 2016 combined.

The armed conflict again intensified after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 and won a landslide re-election in 2019. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party-led government toughened its stance both against Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists amid rising attacks by Hindu hard-liners against minorities in India, further deepening frustrations among Kashmir’s Muslims.

Soon a new wave of rebels revived Kashmir’s militancy and challenged India’s rule with guns and effective use of social media. India responded with sometimes deadly counterinsurgency operations.

Freedom of religion is enshrined in India’s constitution, allowing citizens to follow and freely practice religion. The constitution also says the state will not “discriminate, patronize or meddle in the profession of any religion.”

But even before the current security operation in Kashmir, experts say conditions for India’s Muslims under Modi have worsened.

In Kashmir, the clampdown on the most revered mosque has aggravated these fears.

“Jamia Masjid represents the soul of Kashmiri Muslims’ faith and has remained at the center of demands for social and political rights since its foundation some six centuries back,” said Zareef Ahmed Zareef, a poet and an oral historian. “Its closure is an attack on our faith.”

On special occasions like the last Friday in the fasting month of Ramadan, hundreds of thousands of faithful pray in the mosque, filling its neighborhood's winding lanes and roads.

Source: Independent UK

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

https://www.independent.co.uk/asia/india/kashmir-jamia-masjid-srinagar-modi-b1977169.html?D6B9B9A4-D06B-A24A-A51C-E383EABE1F5E_kav_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

--------

NIA conduct raids in four places in Sopore, Srinagar; one OGW arrested

M Saleem Pandit

Dec 17, 2021

JAMMU: National Investigation Agency (NIA) teams raided four locations in Srinagar and Sopore on Thursday in connection with a terrorism conspiracy case involving several Pakistan-based terror groups, an NIA spokesman said.

The spokesman said the NIA arrested one person, Irfan Tariq Antoo of Kral Tang, Sopore.

The case, according to agency spokesman, relates to a conspiracy to carry out violent terrorist attacks in J&K and other major cities, including New Delhi, by cadres of proscribed terrorist organisations Laskhar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Hizbul Mujahideen and Al Badr, and affiliates such as the Resistance Front (TRF) and People Against Fascist Forces (PAFF).

The NIA had registered the case as "RC 29/2021/NIA/DLI" on October 10 this year and has arrested 28 persons till now, the spokesman said.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nia-conduct-raids-in-four-places-in-sopore-srinagar-one-ogw-arrested/articleshow/88329845.cms

--------

2 LeT terrorists killed in Kulgam encounter, 2 hostage girls recused

M Saleem Pandit

Dec 17, 2021

SRINAGAR: Two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists were killed in an encounter at Redwani area of Qaimoh hamlet in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, police said on Thursday. A defence spokesman said the terrorists had forcefully intruded into a residential house and taken two girls hostage.

“The terrorists had forcefully taken shelter in a house in the village. It was also learnt that the terrorists in a cowardly manner had taken two innocent girls hostages. The security forces responded swiftly, surrounded the house and carried out a sustained and careful operation. They rescued the beleaguered girls and handed them over to their families. Soon after the rescue, the terrorists in the house exchanged fire with the forces and were eliminated in the process,” the defence spokesman added.

A joint team of police, Army’s 1 RR and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation on a specific information about the presence of terrorists in Redwani Bala on Wednesday evening.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2-let-terrorists-killed-in-kulgam-encounter-2-hostage-girls-recused/articleshow/88327529.cms

--------

 

North America

 

Terror Groups Targeting India Continue To Operate From Pakistan: US State Department Report on Terrorism

Dec 17, 2021

WASHINGTON: Terrorist groups targeting India continued to operate from Pakistan and Islamabad did not take action against other known terrorists, including JeM founder and UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar and the 2008 Mumbai attack “project manager” Sajid Mir, who remain free in that country, according to a latest report on terrorism by the US State Department.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in the 2020 Country Reports on Terrorism issued on Thursday, said that regionally, terrorist groups continued to operate from Pakistan.

“Groups targeting Afghanistan — including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated Haqqani network (HQN), as well as groups targeting India, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its affiliated front organisations, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) — continued to operate from Pakistani territory,” according to the report.

Pakistan did not take action against other known terrorists such as JeM founder and UN-designated terrorist Azhar and 2008 Mumbai attack “project manager” Mir, both of whom are believed to remain free in Pakistan, the report said.

In February and again in November, a Lahore antiterrorism court convicted Lashkar-e-Tayyiba founder Hafiz Saeed on multiple counts of terrorism financing and sentenced him to five years and six months in prison, the report noted.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/terror-groups-targeting-india-continue-to-operate-from-pakistan-us-report-on-terrorism/articleshow/88332397.cms

--------

US notes Islamabad’s efforts to meet FATF demands

Anwar Iqbal

December 17, 2021

WASHINGTON: The annual US report on terrorism acknowledged on Thursday that Pakistan took steps in 2020 to counter terrorism financing, restrain India-focused militant groups and to meet demands of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Pakistan continued to experience terrorist attacks last year, said the report. Pakistani military and security forces undertook counterterrorism operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan, such as the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the militant Islamic State (IS) group and Balochistan Liberation Army.

“Pakistan took steps in 2020 to counter terror financing and restrain India-focused militant groups from conducting attacks. Pakistan convicted Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and four other senior LeT leaders in multiple terrorism financing cases,” the report said.

Although the report acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to counter terrorism, it claimed that groups targeting Afghanistan and India — such as the Haqqani Network, LeT, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) — continued to operate from Pakistani territory.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken releases report in Washington

“Pakistan did not take action against other known terrorists such as JeM founder and UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar and 2008 Mumbai attack ‘project manager’ Sajid Mir, both of whom are believed to remain free in Pakistan,” the report added.

But it also acknowledged that “Pakistan did make positive contributions to the Afghanistan peace process, such as encouraging Taliban reductions in violence”.

Noting Pakistan’s efforts to meet the demands put forth by FATF, the report noted: “Pakistan made additional progress in 2020 toward completing its FATF Action Plan, but did not complete all Action Plan items and remained on the FATF ‘grey list’.”

In a separate chapter titled “Support for Pakistan”, the report said the US government recognised Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan and broader regional security, and “urges Pakistan to dismantle terrorist groups within its territory”.

It pointed out that the United States “cooperates with Pakistan on counterterrorism operations, which has helped Pakistan reclaim parts of the country previously held by militant groups”.

Yet, TTP and other designated terrorist groups “continue to conduct attacks against Pakistani military and civilian targets”, said the report, adding that “while Pakistan has taken some action against these designated terrorist organisations, some externally focused terrorist groups continue to find safe haven in Pakistan”.

That’s why “the US government continues to suspend most of its security assistance to Pakistan. That suspension remained in effect throughout 2020”, said the report.

Despite the restriction, however, the US government maintained a civilian assistance portfolio on a focused set of priorities, the report added. “Civilian assistance continued to prioritise civil society; people-to-people exchanges; stabilisation and development on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; trade and economic growth,

including partnering with US businesses; law enforcement, counterterrorism.”

The counterterrorism efforts included countering terrorist financing and related anti-money laundering, nonproliferation cooperation; and polio and other infectious diseases, including Covid-19.

The report explained that the emphasis of US civilian assistance to Pakistan remained on sustainable development and capacity-building, and on leveraging trade and private sector investment, where possible.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1664285/us-notes-islamabads-efforts-to-meet-fatf-demands

--------

Islamic State's spread beyond Syria, Iraq remains concern for US

December 16, 2021

The number of terrorist attacks increased worldwide in 2020 in part due to the spread of Islamic State (IS) branches and al-Qaeda affiliates, the US State Department said in a report released Thursday.

The Country Reports on Terrorism provided annually to Congress said the number of terrorist attacks and resulting fatalities increased by more than 10% last year compared to 2019.

“The terrorism threat we face has become more geographically diffuse,” John Godfrey, acting coordinator for counterterrorism and special envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, told reporters on a call Thursday.

Godfrey described IS, which the report said maintains a low-level insurgency in Iraq and Syria, as a “determined and dangerous enemy” despite its territorial defeat.

“We’re working to build on our gains by sustaining pressure on [IS] remnants in Iraq and Syria, and to deny its global network and branches the ability to effectively operate,” he said.

Of particular concern, Godfrey said, is the terrorist group’s focus on branches outside of Iraq and Syria, which caused more fatalities in 2020 than in any previous year.

IS-affiliated attacks in West Africa killed nearly 5,000 people in 2020 compared to 2,700 people in 2017, according to the report. In Mozambique alone, an estimated 1,500 people died in attacks conducted by the group’s local branch. Last week, the US-led coalition announced the formation of the Africa Focus Group to help address the IS threat across the continent.

The Biden administration has urged foreign governments to repatriate, rehabilitate and prosecute their nationals held in northeast Syria, where the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces hold 10,000 suspected IS fighters and their families. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has described the humanitarian situation as “untenable” and a US watchdog report has warned of the potential for prison breaks.

“The situation in northeast Syria with respect to foreign terrorist fighters is absolutely one of the key concerns for US and coalition partners,” Godfrey said, adding that the United States has called on European countries to take the “responsible approach” and repatriate their nationals.

Source: Al Monitor

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

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/12/islamic-states-spread-beyond-syria-iraq-remains-concern-us?9BC5AA11-BB13-3341-A313-3115F5BE8F27_kav_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

--------

US lauds Saudi Arabia as strong, ‘very capable’ partner in fight against terror

17 December ,2021

A top State Department official said Thursday that Saudi Arabia was a strong and “very capable” partner in the fight against terrorism.

Speaking after the release of the 2020 Country Report on Terrorism, Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism John Godfrey praised Riyadh for its work.

“Saudi Arabia remains a strong and active and very capable counterterrorism partner of the United States,” Godfrey said in response to a question from a reporter during a phone briefing.

He said the US would continue to partner with Saudi Arabia against terrorism in the region as well as in the context of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and the Global Counterterrorism Forum. “Saudi Arabia is an active member of both of those.”

Godfrey told reporters that ISIS and Al-Qaeda continued to pose a threat to the region and the world.

“As an example of that, ISIS branches and networks outside Iraq and Syria caused more fatalities during 2020 than in any previous year. Deaths due to ISIS-affiliated attacks in West Africa alone almost doubled from around 2,700 in 2017 to nearly 5,000 in 2020,” he said.

Godfrey also voiced concern over the continued Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia and the threat within the country from Al-Qaeda and ISIS-aligned terrorists. “They’ve been quite capable in beating back those threats as well,” he said of the latter.

Turning to Iraq, Godfrey commended the positive role played by Saudi Arabia, “including with respect to some of the efforts to promote economic and other stabilization efforts.”

He added: “And obviously, I think that there’s been quite a lot of cooperation throughout the region, including with Saudi Arabia, on trying to get a new government formed in Iraq that reflects the will of the Iraqi people.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/17/US-lauds-Saudi-Arabia-as-strong-very-capable-partner-in-fight-against-terror

--------

 

Europe

 

Russia: German court’s state terrorism verdict in murder trial ‘divorced from reality’

16 December 2021

Russia has blasted as “completely divorced from reality" a German court ruling that Moscow was behind the murder of a former rebel commander from Chechnya in the capital, Berlin, in 2019.

The ruling was made by a German court that claimed Russia had ordered the killing of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili and sentenced the agent who carried out the act of "state terrorism" to life imprisonment.

German judge Olaf Arnoldi claimed that Khangoshvili — a former rebel commander of Georgian origin — was killed with three shots in August 2019 in retaliation for his role in fighting alongside Chechen separatists against Moscow between 2000 and 2004.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said following the verdict that Berlin viewed the murder as "a violation of law and sovereignty" and announced the expulsion of two Russian embassy employees.

Russia's foreign ministry said on Thursday that the German court’s verdict was politically ordered and that Moscow would retaliate.

"We decisively reject as unfounded and completely divorced from reality the accusations of the involvement of Russian state structures," the ministry said, adding that Moscow would respond with "adequate measures" to Germany's decision to expel two of its diplomats in the wake of the ruling.

The Kremlin has said that the "unpleasant episode" should not affect relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Germany's new Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has backed the court verdict.

Khangoshvili, who lived for a time under the name Tornike Kavtarashvili, was shot dead in Berlin's Tiergarten park on August 23, 2019. He had been an asylum seeker in Germany since 2016.

Russia had already denied it orchestrated Khangoshvili's killing and dismissed such allegations as "absolutely groundless."

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/16/672799/Russia-Zelimkhan-Khangoshvili-German-court-Chechnya--

--------

Hunger on the rise in the Arab world, 69 mln suffered from malnutrition in 2020: UN

16 December ,2021

A third of people in the 420-million-strong Arab world do not have enough to eat, the United Nations said Thursday, highlighting that 69 million suffered from malnutrition last year.

In a report, the world body’s Food and Agriculture Organization said that between 2019 and 2020, the number of malnourished in the Arab world rose by 4.8 million people to 69 million, nearly 16 percent of the population.

“The increase in the levels of undernourishment has occurred across all income levels, in conflict-affected as well as non-conflict countries,” the FAO said.

“In addition, nearly 141 million people did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – an increase of more than 10 million people since 2019.”

It said the COVID-19 pandemic “brought another major shock,” with the number of undernourished people in the region increasing by 4.8 million compared with 2019.

Conflict-hit Somalia and Yemen remained the worst-affected countries last year, with nearly 60 percent of Somalis going hungry and more than 45 percent of Yemenis undernourished.

“Yemen had the highest prevalence of anaemia in 2020, affecting 61.5 percent of women of reproductive age,” it said.

The FAO said hunger has increased by 91.1 percent in the Arab world over the past two decades.

“Rates of stunting (20.5 percent) and overweight (10.7 percent) among children under five years of age were high in 2020,” the FAO noted.

It said adult obesity, especially in the richer Arab states, was also on the rise.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/16/Hunger-on-the-rise-in-the-Arab-world-69-mln-suffered-from-malnutrition-in-2020-UN

--------

UK reveals it shot down drone over Syria’s Al-Tanf housing US troops

16 December ,2021

The drone shot down over a military base housing US troops in Syria this week was destroyed by British troops, the UK revealed Thursday.

On Monday, it was reported that two drones had targeted the Al-Tanf base. But reports suggested that one drone had turned away after Coalition forces destroyed the first.

US troops are housed at the base, which has been targeted on multiple occasions before by ISIS militants and Iran-backed militias.

The UK’s Defense Ministry said drone activity was detected above the Al-Tanf base, and as the drone continued on its track, “it became clear it posed a threat to Coalition forces.”

“This unprecedented event was the first operational air-to-air engagement conducted by an RAF Typhoon, and also the first RAF air-to-air missile firing during Operation SHADER – the UK’s contribution to the Global Coalition against Daesh,” a statement from the ministry read.

For his part, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the strike was an “impressive demonstration” of the Royal Air Force’s ability to take out hostile targets that pose a threat.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/16/UK-reveals-it-shot-down-drone-over-Syria-s-Al-Tanf-housing-US-troops

--------

 

Arab World

 

Kurdish forces find mass grave of ‘ISIS victims’ in Iraq

16 December ,2021

Kurdish forces in northern Iraq on Thursday found a mass grave containing the bodies of at least 11 Iraqi policemen presumed killed by extremists, a peshmerga security official said.

“A mass grave was discovered on Thursday in the Duraji area” where there are many caves once used as hideouts by ISIS terrorist group, the official said.

Duraji is in Salaheddin province in an area disputed between the federal government and the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

“The bodies of at least 11 Iraqi police officers have been taken from the grave so far” since the operation began in the morning, said the official.

“We think they had been prisoners of ISIS in 2018,” the official said, adding that both peshmerga and Iraqi federal police were taking part in the search.

He said the mass grave was discovered as a result of “information obtained from ISIS hideouts in the region where the extremists imprisoned members of the Iraqi forces they captured.”

ISIS seized swathes of Iraq in a lightning offensive in 2014, before being beaten back by a counter-insurgency campaign supported by a US-led military coalition.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/16/Kurdish-forces-find-mass-grave-of-ISIS-victims-in-Iraq

--------

Israeli missile strike kills soldier in Syria: Syrian state media

16 December ,2021

An Israeli air strike killed a soldier in southern Syria on Thursday, Syrian state media reported, in an attack in a frontier area where Israel has expressed concern about deployments of Iran-backed forces.

An Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

Israel has mounted frequent attacks against what it has described as Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces including Lebanon’s Hezbollah have deployed over the last decade to support President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s war.

Citing a military source, Syrian state news agency SANA said “the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression,” firing missiles from the Golan Heights, territory Israel captured from Syria in 1967.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/16/Israeli-missile-strike-kills-soldier-in-Syria-Syrian-state-media

--------

Saudi, Egyptian FMs stress importance of Iran not having a nuclear weapon

16 December ,2021

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry stressed on Thursday the importance of Iran not having nuclear weapons. The two officials held a joint press conference in Cairo.

Prince Faisal said the Kingdom has strong and solid relations with Egypt.

For his part, Shoukry said: “We have a special and strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia.”

“We are working closely with Saudi Arabia to achieve security and stability in the region,” he added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/12/16/Saudi-Egyptian-FMs-stress-importance-of-Iran-not-having-a-nuclear-weapon

--------

UAE outlines COVID-19 restrictions for Christmas and New Year’s Eve events

16 December ,2021

The United Arab Emirates government has outlined restrictions for social gatherings over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Attendance of celebrations will be capped at 80 percent of full capacity, according to the country’s National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA).

Attendees must also present a negative PCR test taken maximum 96 hours before arriving at any event.

Temperature checks will be carried out at entry and organizers have been urged to regulate entry and avoid overcrowding.

Anyone attending events must wear face masks and keep a distance of at least one and a half meters away from each other.

Members of the same family are permitted to sit next to each other without having to adhere to physical distancing.

People attending events have also been asked to refrain from shaking hands with one another.

The restrictions have been introduced amid steadily rising case numbers in the UAE.

A total of 148 new cases were detected on Wednesday, up from 110 the previous day and 92 on Monday.

Numbers, however, remain far below earlier in the year that saw a peak of around 3,000 new cases a day in February and around 2,000 a day in June.

The country’s capital Abu Dhabi also reintroduced land border checks in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, although these are less stringent than previous checks that were lifted in September.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/coronavirus/2021/12/16/UAE-outlines-COVID-19-restrictions-for-Christmas-and-New-Year-s-Eve-events

--------

Syrian govt. forces, locals block US military convoys in Hasakah, force them to turn back

17 December 2021

Local residents of several villages in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah have in coordination with government forces prevented a number of US military convoys from passing through their communities.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that a US convoy of five armored vehicles, escorted by a vehicle belonging to US-backed Kurdish militants affiliated with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was forced on Thursday afternoon to turn around and head back in the direction it came from after locals of the villages of al-Damkhiya and Abu Dhuwail blocked the road, and prevented its movement.

The report added that the villagers threw stones at the American convoy and chanted slogans in condemnation of US occupation forces and the SDF militants. No injuries were reported.

Separately, a US military convoy was forced to retreat after Syrian government forces and angry residents of Hamou village blocked its way.

Locals in the village of al-Qusayr also blocked a US military convoy of several armored vehicles on Thursday evening, and forced it to turn around and head towards the neighboring al-Qahtaniyah town.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.

Damascus, however, says the unlawful deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.

Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in Syria for its oil.

After failing to oust the Syrian government with the help of its proxies and direct involvement in the conflict, the US government has now stepped up its economic war on the Arab country.

Syrians blast US killing of innocent civilian

Syrians have staged a demonstration to express their strong indignation over the massacre of innocent civilians by US occupation forces under false excuses of counter-terrorism and fighting Daesh terrorist group in the country.

“The US excuse for the frequent civilian deaths is for counter-terrorism purposes. But the truth is that the US is occupying our land in the disguise of fighting terrorism, which only brings more destruction and civilian deaths. The US acts in fact are downright invasion and occupation,” Hiba Mihrez, a female protester, said.

The protesters said, in addition to killing innocent civilians, the United States plunders Syria's rich resources in the northeastern province of Hasakah, seeking to seize everything from wheat to oil and gas.

“The regions occupied by the United States are rich in resources and economically developed. By occupying these areas, the US intends to control the economic lifeline of Syria, seriously affecting the Syrian national economy and plunging people here into dire straits, and in doing so, puts pressure on the Syrian government,” Suha Gusaini, another demonstrator, said.

On Monday, three members of the same family were killed by American military fire in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, with local sources saying the US forces kidnapped residents and took them to an unknown location.

SANA said the victims lost their lives during a large-scale airdrop operation conducted by the American troops in the town al-Busayrah and its surrounding areas. The airstrike was accompanied by intense and indiscriminate shooting.

Turkish forces, allied militants shell village in northeastern Syria

Turkish forces and allied Takfiri militants have reportedly shelled residential areas in the countryside of Syria’s Hasakah province.

SANA reported that the shelling took place in al-Dardara village, which lies north of Tal Tamr town, causing damage to several houses and public properties in the area.

In recent months, Turkish-backed militants, who have maintained heavy presence in vicinity of the border areas with Turkey, have launched frequent attacks on Syrian infrastructure, residential areas and agricultural land.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's territorial integrity.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from border areas.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/17/672833/Syrian-govt--forces,-locals-block-US-military-convoys-in-Hasakah,-force-them-to-turn-back

--------

 

South Asia

 

OIC meeting to help bridge gap between Taliban, world: minister

December 17, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that with members of the international community and the Taliban at the same platform, the coming meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Islamabad would prove to be a stepping stone in finding solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

The foreign minister, flanked by Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain in interaction with journalists and anchorpersons, said by hosting the event, Pakistan was playing a positive role by bridging the communication gap between the world and the Taliban.

FM Qureshi confirmed that a Taliban delegation, headed by the interim foreign minister, would participate in the moot, besides special representatives from the United States, Russia and China.

Apart from P5 countries, the representatives of Germany, Canada, Australia and Japan had also been invited, he added.

Qureshi says whole region will benefit if things go right

He said Pakistan wanted the Taliban to listen to concerns of the international community relating to human rights.

He said Pakistan was not the spokesperson for the Taliban, but only wanted to bring the stakeholders to the OIC platform to directly get across their points of view.

The foreign minister said Pakistan’s focus was improvement in the lives of Afghan people who faced conflict for decades.

“We are not limiting ourselves to any particular faction or group in Afghanistan,” he said.

He dismissed the impression that holding of the OIC conference on Afghanistan was a step towards recognising the government.

Mr Qureshi said the moot offered a rare opportunity for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The whole region would benefit if things go right. But in case the situation moved the wrong way, all gains would come to naught, he warned.

He recalled that during his meetings with his counterparts in New York and the recent meeting with the High Representative of the European Union, Josep Borrell in Brussels, he explained that Afghanistan would be facing a tough situation if the EU did not take any action.

He mentioned that several ambassadors who had served in Afghanistan, including Ryan Crocker, former commander of ISAF Forces General John F. Campbell, Commander US Central Command and Director CIA General David Petraeus, and Secretary State for Economic and Business Affairs Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne were of the view that international sanctions on Afghanistan should be reviewed immediately.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1664259/oic-meeting-to-help-bridge-gap-between-taliban-world-minister

--------

Dhaka: President Kovind inaugurates famed Kali Mandir, demolished by Pak army in 1971

Dec 17, 2021

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday inaugurated the renovated Sri Ramna Kali Mandir here, 50 years after it was destroyed by the Pakistani forces in 1971, and described the temple as the symbol of the cultural and spiritual bonding among the people of India and Bangladesh.

President Kovind is in Bangladesh on his maiden state visit at the invitation of his counterpart M Abdul Hamid to attend the golden jubilee celebrations of Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan in the 1971 Liberation War.

The President and First Lady Savita Kovind offered prayers at the renovated temple.

The temple was totally destroyed by the Pakistani Army’s operation codenamed 'Operation Searchlight' in 1971, targeting the resistance movement in the country.

The temple was set on fire by the Pakistani forces, killing many people, including devotees and those residing in it.

India supported the renovation of the temple.

Addressing the Indian community after inaugurating the temple, Kovind said that he sees it as “a blessing from Maa Kali”.

“This morning, I went to the historic Ramna Kali temple where I had the privilege of inaugurating the renovated temple. I look at it as a blessing from Maa Kali,” he said.

“I have been told that the governments and the people of Bangladesh and India helped in restoring the temple which was demolished by the Pakistani forces during the war of liberation,” Kovind said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/dhaka-president-kovind-inaugurates-famed-kali-mandir-demolished-by-pak-army-in-1971-101639724348912-amp.html

--------

Collapse of Afghan government started after Doha agreement: Former Afghan NSA

17 Dec 2021

Afghanistan’s former National Security Advisor Hamdullah Muhib finally appeared on media and disclosed the causes of the collapse of the former Afghan government and the reasons behind their escape from the country.

Hamdullah Muhib in an exclusive interview with Radio Free of Afghanistan said that the real collapse of the Afghan government started after the US and the Taliban inked the Doha agreement in February 2019.

The former NSA said that he is settled in the US and Ashraf Ghani is still living in UAE and added that the latter fled Afghanistan to avoid his execution by the Taliban.

“When the Afghan security forces got out of control, we understood that Afghanistan has collapsed and we were disappointed about negotiations with the Taliban.” Said Muhib.

He added that even on the 15 August-collapse day- a delegation to which he was also part of, wanted to go to Doha for negotiations and power-sharing process but everything was changing after each hour.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/collapse-of-afghan-government-started-after-doha-agreement-former-afghan-nsa-75789767/

--------

Naseer Ahmad Faiq replaces Ishaqzai as Afghanistan’s envoy to UN

17 Dec 2021

After the news of the resignation of Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ghulam Muhammad Ishaqzai went viral, the permanent mission of Afghanistan in the UN has announced that Naseer Ahmad Faiq has replaced Ishaqzai.

Afghanistan’s permanent mission has recently sent a letter to the UN introducing Naseer Ahmad Faiq as Charge’ Da Affair of the country’s permanent representative to the UN.

In a press statement of the mission, it has been said that the permanent mission will continue its efforts to work closely with all member states and UN authorities to address the ongoing dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and to ensure the fundamental human rights of all Afghans including women, girls, and ethnic minorities.

“The mobilization and facilitation of humanitarian assistance and effective aid delivery to groups and vulnerable situation who are suffering from starvation and food insecurity in the freezing winter season are among the most urgent priorities that require immediate attention.” Reads the statement.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/naseer-ahmad-faiq-replaces-ishaqzai-as-afghanistans-envoy-to-un-3463476/

--------

Taliban prepare new Afghan budget without foreign aid

Dec 17, 2021

KABUL: Afghanistan's finance ministry under the new Taliban government has prepared a draft national budget that, for the first time in two decades, is funded without foreign aid, a spokesman said.

It comes as the country is mired in economic crisis and faces a looming humanitarian catastrophe the United Nations has called an "avalanche of hunger".

Finance ministry spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal did not disclose the size of the draft budget -- which runs until December 2022 -- but told AFP it would go to the cabinet for approval before being published.

"We are trying to finance it from our domestic revenues -- and we believe we can," he earlier told state television in an interview shared on Twitter.

Global donors suspended financial aid when the Taliban seized power in August and Western powers also froze access to billions of dollars in assets held abroad.

The 2021 budget, put together by the previous administration under IMF guidance, projected a deficit despite 219 billion Afghanis in aid and grants and 217 billion from domestic revenue.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-prepare-new-afghan-budget-without-foreign-aid/articleshow/88336217.cms

--------

 

Pakistan

 

Pakistan seeks global attention on Afghanistan through OIC meeting

December 16, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that he wanted to draw the international community’s attention to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan through a special Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting scheduled for December 19 (Sunday).

Qureshi said the monetary reserve of Afghanistan has been frozen, while the two years of drought in the country, high cases of Covid-19, and unavailability of salaries for government employees posed a difficult future for the Afghan people.

The advent of winter could aggravate the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late Wednesday.

He urged the international community to understand that any chaos and “anarchy in the wake of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan would lead to the strengthening of terrorist organisations.”

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/16/pakistan-seeks-global-attention-on-afghanistan-through-oic-meeting/

--------

PM Presenting Muslims’ Case against Islamophobia Effectively: MoS

DECEMBER 17, 2021

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib on Thursday said Pakistan’s valiant Prime Minister Imran Khan presented case of Muslims against Islamophobia at every international forum including the United Nations. In a tweet, he said PM Imran Khan had presented case of Muslims effectively and now its positive effects were coming. The minister welcomed the passage of a bill against Islamophobia in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Farrukh Habib said the entire nation was paying homage to the martyrs of the Army Public School (APS)tragedy. He said that the tragedy of APS shook the whole world. “The entire nation including the government stood with the families of APS martyrs,” he said. “The sacrifice of innocent APS heroes will always be remembered in the history of Pakistan,” the minister said, adding that the tragedy of APS united the whole nation. Farrukh said Pakistan’s armed forces, security forces and the people made unprecedented sacrifices against terrorism and now there was no room for terrorism and extremism in the country.

Source: Daily Times Pakistan

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

https://dailytimes.com.pk/855879/pm-presenting-muslims-case-against-islamophobia-effectively-farrukh/

--------

Pakistan marks 7th anniversary of attack on Peshawar school

Omer Farooq Khan

Dec 17, 2021

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan on Thursday marked the seventh anniversary of the terror attack on the Army Public School in the northwestern city of Peshawar, parents of the slain children, activists and politicians lambasted prime minister Imran Khan and his government for offering an olive branch to the terrorist group responsible for the massacre of over 150 people, including 131 kids.

Currently, the Khan government has been seeking reconciliation with the Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of several terror factions, which had accepted responsibility for the attack on the school on December 16, 2014. The attack had prompted Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders to act against the terrorists based in the volatile tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

The military offensive against terrorists in the tribal belt was part of a 20-point National Action Plan (NAP), a security plan announced by ex-PM Nawaz Sharif to defeat what many had come to believe existential threat to Pakistan.

The military assault had forced the terrorists to cross into Afghanistan, where they regrouped and started targeting Pakistan with lethal suicide bombings.

Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August this year, Pakistan, through the Haqqani Network, an ally of the Afghan Taliban, had started consultations with TTP in the war-battered country. Last week, the group had cancelled a month-long ceasefire that it had unilaterally announced on November 9.

Since TTP has announced an end to truce, Islamabad has yet to confirm whether its dialogue with TTP was still intact or halted.

“What right does the government have to hold negotiations with TTP when it is our children who were killed in the APS attack,” asked Muhamad Amin, father of a slain kid. Ishaq Amin, Amin’s elder son, was killed in the attack while his younger son Amir Amin, who was critically injured, is yet to recover from the shock and trauma that he went through.

“Who are they to pardon the killers of our children,” asked Shahana Khan. Her 15-year-old son Asmat was one of the victims of the APS attack. “I’ve seen the bullet-riddled body of my son. They (PM Khan and his government) should feel ashamed for their offer of general amnesty to terrorists,” she said, asking the Supreme Court to stop the government from granting amnesty to killers of their kids.

In a message to mark the APS anniversary, PM Khan claimed the country has “successfully defeated terrorism” and vowed to never “let down the survivors and parents” of those martyred in the tragic incident.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-marks-7th-anniversary-of-attack-on-peshawar-school/articleshow/88327100.cms

--------

December 16 darkest day in the history of Pakistan: Siraj

December 17, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Sirajul Haq has said that December 16 is the darkest day in the history of Pakistan and the nation will never be able to forget the two heart-wrenching tragedies.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the top JI leader said 50 years had passed to the “Fall of Dhaka” and the nation was marking the seventh anniversary of the Army Public School incident but the wounds of the tragedies were still fresh in the minds of people.

“I pay tribute to the martyrs of the APS and their parents,” he said, demanding the government to implement the National Action Plan in letter and spirit to counter terrorism and conspiracies against the stability and sovereignty of the country.

The nation, he said, should stand united, rising above the prejudices on account of provincialism, language and caste, etc. He said the enemies of Islam and Pakistan were plotting to divide the nation on sectarian basis but their conspiracies would never succeed. “I believe Pakistan will live till the dawn of the day of judgment,” the JI Ameer said.

Sirajul Haq highlighted the need to learn the lesson from the incident of separation of East Pakistan from its western wing 50 years ago. He said he believed had the country been given an Islamic system soon after the independence, the breaking away of Pakistan could have been averted. He said the ruling elite and feudal lords took control of the country soon after the death of Quaid-e-Azam and they never thought about addressing the deprivations of the people of then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

He said the same ruling elite was controlling the remaining Pakistan and they were least bothered to address the miseries of common man. He said India’s interference and conspiracy were the main reasons behind the fall of Dhaka.

Source: The News Pakistan

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

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/917391-december-16-darkest-day-in-the-history-of-pakistan-siraj

--------

COAS Bajwa, UK defence chief discuss Afghanistan crisis

December 17, 2021

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday discussed the crisis in Afghanistan with the newly-appointed United Kingdom defence chief.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of UK, KCB, and ADC, Admiral Sir Anthony David Radakin, was appointed to the post in October, and COAS Bajwa congratulated him for assuming the office during a telephonic conversation, according to the military’s media wing.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), in a statement, said COAS hoped Radakin would play his role in further strengthening cooperation between the two countries.

During the call, matters of mutual interest including military cooperation, regional security, and the current security/humanitarian situation in Afghanistan were discussed, the ISPR said.

He stressed the urgency for devising an institutional mechanism for channelling humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in order to avert a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/17/coas-bajwa-uk-defence-chief-discuss-afghanistan-crisis/

--------

COAS reiterates need for swift mechanism to channelise Afghan aid

December 16, 2021

RAWALPINDI: Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has reiterated the need for swiftly devising an institutionalised mechanism for channelling humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan to avert a looming humanitarian catastrophe, the military said.

Ambassador of Japan Wada Mitsuhiro called on Gen Qamar at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Thursday.

The statement added that the chief of the army staff underscored the importance of peace and reconciliation initiatives in Afghanistan during the meeting.

The ISPR further said that matters of mutual interest, regional security, current situation in Afghanistan especially collaboration, partnership in humanitarian assistance were discussed.

The military’s media wing quoted Gen Qamar as saying that Pakistan values Japan’s role in global and regional affairs and “we look forward to enhance our bilateral relationship”.

“The COAS also emphasised that peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute is essential for stability in South Asia and that Pakistan wants cordial ties with all its neighbours in pursuit of regional peace and prosperity,” the communique added.

Concluding, the ISPR said that the visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s role in the Afghan situation, special efforts for regional stability and pledged to play his part for further improvement in diplomatic cooperation with Pakistan at all levels.

In October, Japan’s ambassador Kuninori Matsuda called on the COAS and discussed matters of mutual interest, cooperation in various fields, overall regional situation and peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/16/coas-reiterates-need-for-swift-mechanism-to-channelise-afghan-aid/

--------

PTA asked to suspend mobile phone service in Islamabad as part of security for OIC meeting

Munawer Azeem

December 17, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has been asked to suspend cellular service in certain areas of the capital from Dec 17 to 19 ahead of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference. Moreover, the capital administration on the recommendation of the Foreign Office may announce a local holiday on Monday.

The interior ministry has asked the PTA to suspend mobile phone service and it is likely that the service will be suspended around routes the delegates will be using and adjacent to areas where they will be staying.

The Red Zone will be sealed as part of security measures for the conference. Officials of the local administration and police said that the Red Zone will be sealed for foolproof security of visiting delegates from 62-member states of the OIC.

Monday likely to be declared local holiday

Well-equipped policemen along with personnel of paramilitary troops and army are being deploying at entry points of the Red Zone, they added.

Entry in the Red Zone will be restricted during the period and only officials concerned and legislators will be allowed to enter along with people residing in the area, the officials said. Except one the gates of Diplomatic Enclave will also be closed.

Over 300 delegates, including 57 foreign ministers of the OIC member countries, are arriving in the capital for the conference. The arrival of foreign delegates will start on Thursday night and continue till Sunday morning.

The conference is scheduled to be held on Sunday after which delegates will depart from Islamabad on Monday, they added.

Police and Rangers will be deployed around the route from Islamabad International Airport to the Red Zone.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1664219/pta-asked-to-suspend-mobile-phone-service-in-islamabad-as-part-of-security-for-oic-meeting

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

National Unity Ministry: Church choir, prayers allowed for Christmas, family visits for fully vaccinated individuals

16 Dec 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — Choir performances at church in conjunction with Christmas are allowed on condition that those involved practise physical distancing of at least one metre and wear face mask or face shield.

The National Unity Ministry, in a statement today, said this was part of the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the Christmas celebration on Decembe 24 and 25.

National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamad Sadique got the SOP approved at the Quartet Ministers on Covid-19 Meeting today.

The statement said prayer ceremonies are allowed according to the SOP for Opening of Non-Muslim Houses of Worship under the National Recovery Plan.

Apart from this, only those who have been fully vaccinated are allowed to make family visits during Christmas.

House-to-house carolling is prohibited while stalls for Christmas Day sale can be set up subject to the approval and control of local authorities, the statement said.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/12/16/national-unity-ministry-church-choir-prayers-allowed-for-christmas-family-v/2028992

--------

A radical step to dispel Malay hostility towards DAP

December 17, 2021

DAP is to be lauded for continuing to strive to dispel Malay suspicion of the party.

The decision of DAP MP for Segambut, Hannah Yeoh to wear a hijab while visiting a mosque in her constituency must be seen as part of attempts to tamp down Malay qualms about the party.

Of course, propitiatory gestures won’t be enough to deflect Malay unease with DAP.

Umno’s decades-old demonisation of the party as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-royalty has left a residue that is difficult to extirpate from the Malay psyche.

Hence a more imaginative campaign of winning Malay support is needed rather than relying on symbolic gestures such as Yeoh’s mosque attire.

DAP has been in control of the Penang government for 13 years now through its dominance in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that heads the state executive.

The party has taken care to make sure that in PH’s annual budgets, allocations for Muslim causes suffer no diminution in comparison with those allocated by past governments.

If anything, the allocations – for tahfiz schools, mosque refurbishment and Muslim welfare purposes – are progressively augmented.

However, in one area, DAP has not been bold or imaginative enough to try something that would be radical, if not revolutionary, in scope.

It can see that its coalition partner PKR finds it difficult to raise a credible leader from among its throng of Malay support in the state of Penang.

Though PH is led by a Malay leader from Penang, Anwar Ibrahim’s presence at the apex of the federal opposition coalition has not had the beneficent effect of spawning a credible surrogate at the state level who could occupy the deputy chief minister’s role with panache.

In fact, PKR occupants of the role, from the time of the coalition’s stunning capture of Penang in GE12 in 2008, have been insipid.

It is not exactly constructive to DAP to allow the notion to gain ground that under the banyan tree of DAP dominance of Penang, no Malay leader can grow.

Would not a discrete and resolute DAP effort at finding Malay leadership talent and moulding it to occupy a niche in the PH leadership stakes in the state be seen as a major contribution by the party towards helping the Malays?

One might counter this argument by contending that it would be easier for DAP to find and mould a Malay leader from within the party’s own ranks than search for and coach one from within the ambit of PKR’s Malay cohort.

The problem with this is that the deputy chief minister 1’s post is a PKR preserve and the occupant has to be Malay.

But the Malay cohort of PKR Penang has thus far not succeeded in throwing up a leader that would make Malay voters in the state sit up and notice.

This reality is fodder for anti-DAP propagandists who could contend that no Malay leader can come up from within the state PH ranks simply because DAP would not allow it.

True, this idea would be easy as a proposition but formidably difficult to bring off. But, really, an effort of this kind, if successful, would go a long way in dispelling the notion that DAP is anti-Malay.

Of course, if found, such a Malay leader would run the risk of being portrayed as a DAP stooge.

But a puppet cannot be regarded as a good leader and so the one that emerges would have to navigate the shoals such that he is credibly an effective leader and seen as such in his own right.

No doubt, this proposition may strike one as too idealistic to be real.

History tells us realities are always defeating ideals but ideals have a way of taking vengeance on the facts that momentarily imprison them.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2021/12/17/a-radical-step-to-dispel-malay-hostility-towards-dap/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=lCqbOcjOPC6aPAJlhYIH.J_l90o7vjBY4k65EKtH43g-1639729221-0-gaNycGzNDFE

--------

We have lost sense of shame over corruption, laments Maszlee

Jason Thomas

December 17, 2021

PETALING JAYA: The increasing loss in the sense of shame among the Malays is the main reason for the systemic corruption in the country, said former education minister Maszlee Malik.

Noting the practice of “sepukku” or “hara kiri” among the Japanese, the ritual suicide practised as an alternative to disgrace, Maszlee pointed out that it showed how the feeling of shame was important for their culture, just as the Chinese have a smilar virtue of “preserving face”.

“In the Malay community, too, we used to have this feeling of shame. Now, we have increasingly lost that,” he told a forum titled Corruption and Hypocrisy in Malay-Muslim Politics yesterday.

“These days, we see people who are not embarrassed to take money, steal or receive bribes and even if they are too lazy to work.

“They get bribes, abuse their power or give tenders to get rich in the blink of an eye. They don’t feel embarrassed. This is an attitude we have to correct.”

The other speakers at the forum included Barisan Nasional secretary-general Zambry Abd Kadir, Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and Amanah’s Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Zambry agreed with Maszlee’s view, stating that while mutual respect, dignity and spiritual values were once hallmarks of Malay society, rapid development and the push for modernisation meant people were now “chasing materialism” at the expense of these values.

“Like Maszlee said, when systemic corruption exists, it involves all aspects of life and creates an environment where people no longer feel ashamed. They seek a life of luxury and leisure,” he said.

Maszlee also stressed how the pursuit of a materialistic life played a part in corruption, stating that a government official who approved a tender and got a bribe may not necessarily feel ashamed.

“Instead, he feels proud because he can buy a big car, a big house,” he said, stating how politicians felt they had to keep up with the Joneses by buying fancy cars, expensive handbags and holidaying in exotic destinations.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/12/17/we-have-lost-sense-of-shame-over-corruption-laments-maszlee/

--------

Sabah to develop halal hub in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park, says CM

16 Dec 2021

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 16 — A halal hub will be established in the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) to encourage local entrepreneurs to venture into the halal market, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

He said the 8.09-hectare hub would provide on-site facilities, technology and digital platforms needed by entrepreneurs in the sector.

“The halal hub will provide guidance to entrepreneurs on the need to obtain halal recognition and MeSTI (Food Safety is Responsibility of the Industry) certification.

“It will also provide assistance in the processing and marketing of the product,” he said in his speech, which was read by State Community Development and People’s Welfare Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya, during the closing ceremony of the Malaysia Halal Tour 2021 (JHM) Sabah here today.

Hajiji said Sabah was one of the main contributors to the country’s halal economy, a new growth sector with huge potential.

“A strong halal economy will also be a good sign in attracting more arrivals in the Muslim-friendly tourism sector (MFT), a new segment in Sabah’s tourism sector.

“The halal tourism industry is expected to grow strongly given Sabah’s strategic location in the Brunei–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), which also opens up many direct investment and border trade opportunities with the development in neighbouring Kalimantan, Indonesia,” he said.

Hajiji therefore urged all relevant ministries and agencies as well as industry players to mobilise efforts to increase the international marketability of local halal products.

He said the state government would also continue to provide various initiatives as a catalyst for the halal industry, especially by providing more business opportunities to local small and medium industry entrepreneurs.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/12/16/sabah-to-develop-halal-hub-in-kota-kinabalu-industrial-park-says-cm/2028953

--------

 

Mideast

 

Iran says UN can’t see nuclear images until sanctions end

16 December ,2021

The UN atomic watchdog will not be able to examine camera images from a nuclear facility near Iran’s Karaj until after sanctions are lifted, an Iranian official said on Thursday.

The comment came a day after Tehran and the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said they had reached agreement on replacing the cameras at the facility which makes centrifuges.

That agreement came after Western powers warned time is running out to revive a 2015 deal under which Iran pledged to reduce its nuclear capabilities -- under IAEA supervision --- in exchange for sanctions relief.

Iran says the video surveillance cameras were damaged in a June attack that it blames on Israel.

“The cameras will be installed in a way that they take images which will be stored in the cameras’ memory,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

“When they are full, the memory cards will be removed and placed under the joint control of Iran and the Agency,” he said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

“In other words, the Agency will not have any access to the information before sanctions are lifted.”

Earlier this year Iran began restricting some IAEA inspection activity as part of steps it has taken away from the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers after the United States unilaterally pulled out in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

Negotiations resumed last week in Vienna to try to revive the 2015 deal which aimed to prevent Iran from building an atomic bomb, a goal Tehran has always denied.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/16/Iran-says-UN-can-t-see-nuclear-images-until-sanctions-end

--------

Iran top negotiator says nuclear talks to pause for a few days

17 December ,2021

Talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal will be held in Vienna on Friday before breaking for a “few days”, Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said.

The indirect US-Iran talks on bringing both sides back into full compliance with the deal are in their seventh round.

Bagheri Kani said on Twitter that he met EU political director Enrique Mora and other delegates on Thursday “to take stock of the situation and discuss the way forward”.

“We have made good progress this week. We will convene a Joint Commission today and will continue talks after a break of a few days,” he said.

He did not give a date.

Three diplomats said on Thursday the remaining parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal planned to meet on Friday at 1300 GMT to adjourn talks on salvaging the deal. One of them said the talks would resume on Dec. 27, while another said they would resume between Christmas and the New Year.

Under the agreement, Iran had limited its nuclear programme in return for relief from US, European Union and UN sanctions.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/17/Iran-top-negotiator-says-nuclear-talks-to-pause-for-a-few-days

--------

Israel’s environment ministry blocks oil pipeline deal with UAE

16 December ,2021

Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry said on Thursday that it had blocked a deal with partners from the United Arab Emirates to transport oil from the Gulf to Europe via an Israeli port city that houses a fragile coral reef.

The announcement could lead to the cancellation of the deal, one of the biggest to emerge from the normalization of ties between Israel and the UAE last year. Environmentalists had petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to block the agreement.

Signed between an Israeli state-owned company and a venture with Emirati and Israeli owners, the deal allows for oil unloaded from tankers in the Red Sea port of Eilat to be moved across Israel in an existing pipeline to the Mediterranean coast.

Responding to the Supreme Court petition, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government said it would not intervene and would instead allow the Environmental Protection Ministry to play its regulatory role limiting activities that pose ecological risks.

“We blocked the entry of dozens of oil tankers into the Gulf of Eilat,” Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg said in a statement, adding that Israel “will not become a bridge of pollution in an era of climate crisis.”

Israel’s energy minister had previously come out against the deal, also over environmental concerns.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/16/Israel-s-environment-ministry-blocks-oil-pipeline-deal-with-UAE

--------

Palestinian resistance groups praise West Bank retaliatory shooting attack as natural response to Israel’s crimes

17 December 2021

Palestinian resistance movements have hailed the shooting operation against extremist settlers outside an illegal settlement outpost in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, stating that the incident is a natural response to the crimes being committed by Israel on a daily basis.

The attack took place along the road just outside the illegal Homesh outpost, which sits west of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus and  north of Shavei Shomron settlment, on Thursday night. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

One Israeli man was fatally wounded by gunfire, and another two were slightly hurt by shards of flying glass, according to medics.

All three were apparently students at a religious school on the nearby hilltop. The fatality of the shooting was later named as 25-year-old Yehudah Dimentman.

“We congratulate the heroic operation in Nablus against the occupation forces and the murderous settlers, as it is in line with the Palestinian nation’s all-out struggle,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim said in a statement.

“The operation proves yet again that our heroic people in the West Bank will continue their legitimate struggle until they expel the occupying regime from the entire Palestinian territories and wipe out settlers,” he added.

“The spirit of resistance and sacrifice, which prevails across West Bank cities, is the main guarantor of our people’s victory. It will help them arrive at their goals of liberating the homeland and repatriating the displaced,” Qasim pointed out.

The Islamic Jihad resistance movement also lauded the "heroic operation" in the West Bank.

“We bless the heroic operation carried out by heroic resistance fighters from among our people, which came as a natural response to the crimes of the occupying soldiers and settlers,” Tariq Izz al-Din, a spokesperson for the movement, said.

He added, “The resistance front cannot sit idly by in light of the terrorism of occupation forces against imprisoned Palestinian men and women, as well as against Palestinian minors. The crimes of occupiers will be responded anywhere.”

“The operation confirms the strength and dynamism of the resistance front, despite all measures taken by the occupying regime to persecute and arrest its forces. The resistance will move forward, and will have influence on all areas,” Izz al-Din pointed out.

Moreover, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hailed the shooting.

“What happened near Nablus is a statement that our people will not submit to the occupation. The message of the cities of the West Bank is that we will address the occupation in the language of bullets,” senior PFLP official Hani al-Thawabta said.

The Thursday night incident took place amid an increase in settler violence against Palestinians.

Dozens of extremist Israeli settlers raided Qaryout village, located 28 kilometers (17 miles) southeast of Nablus, early on Friday, injuring several Palestinians and causing material damage.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/17/672839/Palestinian-resistance-groups-praise-West-Bank-retaliatory-shooting-attack-as-natural-response-to-Israel%E2%80%99s-crimes

--------

One Israeli settler killed, two more injured in West Bank shooting: Medics

16 December 2021

A gunman has reportedly shot three Israeli settlers near a West Bank settlement, killing one and injuring the other two, the regime’s rescue service says.

A medic for Israel's United Hatzalah rescue service said in a statement on Thursday that one of the injured who was in critical condition died soon after the incident while “two additional wounded people” were conscious.

Medics said the shooting occurred near Shavei Shomron settlement, in the northwestern areas of Israeli-occupied West Bank.

No one has been so far arrested in connection with the incident and Israeli troops are searching for suspects.

Many Palestinians have sustained injuries or lost their lives in incidents due to allegations that they attempted stabbing or car-ramming attacks against Israeli settlers and forces.

The new development comes a few days after Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian youth in the head during clashes in the city of Nablus in the northwestern part of the occupied West Bank.

Last week, Israeli police also arrested a 14-year-old Palestinian girl on suspicion of stabbing her neighbor who lived in an East al-Quds settlement..

Earlier this month, Israeli troops killed a young Palestinian and injured as many as 68 others, as they attacked the southern part of the West Bank city of Nablus.

Tel Aviv has been criticized for its extensive use of lethal force and extrajudicial killing of Palestinians who do not pose an immediate threat to its forces or to settlers.

Israeli troops have on numerous occasions been caught on camera, brutally killing Palestinians, with the videos going viral online and sparking international condemnation.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/16/672811/Palestine-Israel-settler-West-Bank-shooting

--------

Hamas says will not release Israeli prisoners without swapping them for Palestinian inmates

16 December 2021

A senior official of Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, reaffirms that Israeli prisoners in the besieged Gaza Strip will not see the light of day until Palestinian inmates held in Israeli jails are released.

In a speech delivered on the 34th founding anniversary of Hamas on Thursday, Saleh al-Aruri, the deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, reiterated that a prisoner swap deal was the sole way for the Israelis to get back their prisoners.

"They will not see the light of day except through an exchange deal that guarantees the freedom of Palestinian prisoners," the official said.  

He asserted that the freedom of the Palestinian prisoners would remain a top priority and a national and humanitarian goal for his movement and its supporters.

Hamas managed to free more than a thousand Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails in the Wafaa al-Aharar (“True Promise of Free Men”) prisoner swap deal with the occupying regime in 2011.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held in Israeli jails. Hundreds have been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, which allows holding Palestinian inmates without trial or charge. Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.

Israel has also launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans each time and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.

In the most recent Israeli military aggression, the Tel Aviv regime started a 12-day war against Gaza Strip on May 10 after Palestinians retaliated against violent raids on worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East al-Quds.

Gaza’s resistance groups, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in particular, responded to the aggression on the same day that it started targeting the impoverished enclave.

Apparently caught off guard by unprecedented rocket barrages from Gaza, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21, which Palestinian resistance groups accepted with Egyptian mediation.

As a result of the brutal Israeli aggression, more than 250 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 66 children, with more than 1,900 people wounded.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, which has caused a decline in living standards.

Israel occupied East al-Quds, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later had to withdraw from Gaza, but has been occupying the other territories ever since.

Hamas stresses need for reconciliation among Palestinian political parties

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Hamas official also stressed the need to heal the national rift within the political factions, and also called for restoration of national unity with the Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank, as well as importance of holding legislative, presidential, and municipal elections.

The Palestinian leadership has been divided between Fatah and Hamas since 2006, when the latter scored a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has ever since been running the coastal enclave, while Fatah has been based in the autonomous parts the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Previous reconciliation attempts by the two sides to form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank have failed.

But in September last year, the Hamas reached a deal with Fatah to hold first general elections in nearly 15 years.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/16/672790/Palestine-Hamas-Saleh-al-Aruri-Gaza-West-Bank-Israel-

--------

 

Africa

 

Syria must return to Arab League in order for Arabs to unify again, Algeria’s president

16 December 2021

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has called for restoration of Syria’s membership in the Arab League, stating that Arab nations would not be able to reunify and resolve their differences in case Damascus is excluded from the regional organization.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Tunisian counterpart, Kais Saied, in Tunis on Wednesday, Tebboune said Syria should rejoin the Arab League in order for Arabs to unify again, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

He added that no country has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of others, stating that there are no major differences among Arab states.

Tebboune said Algeria will stay away from discrimination and will not treat any country differently from others, when it hosts the Arab Summit in March 2022.

The Algerian president expressed hope that the forthcoming summit would foster harmony among Arab countries, warning against plots aimed at sowing division among Arabs.

Tebboune also stressed the need for political settlement of the Libyan conflict, saying foreign forces and their mercenaries must withdraw from the North African country.

Last month, the Algerian president hinted at the possibility of Syria’s return to the Arab League during the next Arab Summit.

"Syria is supposed to be present,” Tebboune told the state television when asked if the next Arab summit in Algeria will see Syria’s return to the Arab League.

He explained that the summit needs to be inclusive in order for the Arab world to be unified.

"When we organize an Arab summit, we want it to be inclusive and a launch pad for the reunification of the fractured Arab world,” Tebboune said, adding, “We are a country that always knits the splintered.”

In early March, Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmed Berwari renewed his country's call on the Arab League to end its suspension of the Syrian government’s membership in the 22-member body.

“Iraq has renewed its request concerning the restoration of Syria's membership in the Arab League as the country has great and fundamental importance for collective Arab measures,” he said on the sidelines of the 155th regular session of the Council of the Arab League at the foreign ministerial level.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011, citing alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria has denounced the move as "illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/16/672802/Syria-must-return-to-Arab-League-in-order-for-Arabs-to-unify-again,-Algeria%E2%80%99s-Tebboune-says

--------

US, UK, Saudi Arabia, UAE welcome political agreement in Sudan, call for elections

16 December ,2021

The US, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the United Arab Emirates issued a statement Thursday welcoming the agreement reached between Sudan’s military and the civilian government last month.

But the so-called Quad for Sudan said protecting demonstrators from violence needed to remain a priority.

Last month, the “Quad” called for the immediate restoration of Sudan’s civilian-led government after a military coup.

“We affirm our collective and individual support for the people of Sudan and their aspirations for a democratic, stable and peaceful nation. The ongoing protests demonstrate the depth of the Sudanese people’s commitment to transition. Protecting them from violence should remain a priority,” the four countries said.

Welcoming last month’s agreement that saw the release of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, arrested in the coup, was just the “first step” to returning Sudan to its transition to democracy, the “Quad” said.

“We urge signatories to live up to the commitments made in the political agreement. In this respect we note with appreciation the recent releases of political detainees, and the establishment of a committee of investigation to ensure that those responsible for violence against protestors are held accountable,” they said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/16/US-UK-Saudi-Arabia-UAE-welcome-political-agreement-in-Sudan-call-for-elections

--------

Sharia Court Remands Man For Stealing Caps, Bottle Of Perfume

17 Dec 2021

A Kano State Sharia Court sitting in Fagge on Wednesday ordered the remand in a correctional centre of a 20-year-old man, Aminu Bashir, who pleaded guilty to stealing six caps, a bottle of perfume and clothes.

Bashir, who lives in Sharada NNDC quarters in Kano was charged with criminal trespass and theft by the police.

The Judge, Dr Bello Khalid, remanded Bashir pending sentencing, and adjourned the matter until January 12.

Earlier, the Prosecution Counsel, Mr Abdul Wada, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on December 9 in Sani Mainage quarters, Kano.

Wada said at about 7.10 pm, the defendant trespassed into the house of Zulyadini Muhammad and stole clothes, six caps and a bottle of perfume worth N96, 000.

Source: Daily Trust

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

https://dailytrust.com/sharia-court-remands-man-for-stealing-caps-bottle-of-perfume?27A0B3A4-C1D9-AA43-94BF-43BEE5A6CFC1_kav_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

--------

Tunisian parliament speaker refuses to suspend parliament for another year

16 December ,2021

Tunisia’s parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi said on Thursday he refused to suspend the parliament for another year.

Ghannouchi, also head of the Ennahda party, added that the only way out of the current crisis was “by the immediate cancellation of exceptional measures” announced by president, according to a statement on his Facebook page.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/12/16/Tunisian-parliament-speaker-refuses-to-suspend-parliament-for-another-year

--------

Armed groups deploy around key sites in Libya’s Tripoli

16 December ,2021

Armed groups deployed in the streets of Libya’s capital Tripoli overnight into Thursday, in an apparent show of force following the sacking of a senior military official.

“Armed groups under the authority of different military and security forces in Tripoli deployed heavily around sensitive sites in the capital,” a military official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He said the move “came a few hours after General Abdulkader Mansour took up his post as commander of the Tripoli region, on the orders of the Presidential Council,” which officially leads the North African country’s military.

Mansour replaces Abdulbasit Marwan, who has held the post for several years and is backed by several of Tripoli’s powerful armed groups.

Images posted overnight on social media showed dozens of armed men, presented as supporters of Marwan, as well as armoured vehicles, taking positions outside the headquarters of interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah and other key buildings.

The military official who spoke to AFP played down the operation, saying it had been carried out by units charged with securing state institutions and that they had not surrounded the sites.

Libya has seen a decade of chaos since the overthrow of former ruler Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 revolt, and today its capital is under the control of an array of armed groups affiliated with the defense and interior ministries.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/12/16/Armed-groups-deploy-around-key-sites-in-Libya-s-Tripoli

--------

Ethiopia urged to free reporters detained under wartime emergency laws

16 December ,2021

Ethiopian authorities must immediately free all detained journalists and stop using wartime emergency laws to lock up reporters for doing their jobs, a press freedom watchdog said Thursday.

The call from the Committee to Protect Journalists came as police in the conflict-torn Horn of Africa nation arrested a freelance video journalist working for The Associated Press and two other local reporters.

Journalists working in Ethiopia face restrictions under a nationwide state of emergency declared last month by the government, which has been locked in a 13-month conflict with Tigrayan rebels.

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

The CPJ said at least 14 journalists had been arrested since Ethiopia issued the decree.

“Ethiopia’s state of emergency law gives security personnel extremely broad powers of arrest and suspends due process, effectively bans critical journalism, and sends an intimidating message to the press,” CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative Muthoki Mumo said in a statement.

“The Ethiopian government should release all journalists detained for their work and stop using the state of emergency as a pretext to infringe on freedom of expression.”

The CPJ named Ethiopia as a major jailer of journalists in its annual scorecard of press freedom issued last week.

The state-affiliated Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said on Wednesday it was “gravely concerned” about four detained journalists in detention, whose whereabouts are unknown even to their families.

The Associated Press, meanwhile, has called for the immediate release of Amir Aman Kiyaro, who it said was arrested in the capital Addis Ababa on November 28 after returning from a reporting trip.

Kiyaro was accused of breaching state of emergency laws, promoting terrorism and spreading propaganda, actions police said could be punishable by prison terms of seven to 15 years.

The AP described the charges as “baseless.”

At the end of November, Ethiopia announced new state of emergency rules banning the sharing of non-official information about military movements and battlefield outcomes, an order that was seen as an attempt to further restrict media reporting on the war.

The government also barred residents from “using various types of media platforms to support directly or indirectly the terrorist group,” referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, and warned of unspecified consequences for anyone who ignored the decree.

Much of the conflict-affected zone in northern Ethiopia is under a communications blackout and access for journalists is restricted.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/12/16/Ethiopia-urged-to-free-reporters-detained-under-wartime-emergency-laws

--------


URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/tablighi-jamaat-radical-islamic-jihadism-vhp/d/125978

 

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

 

Loading..

Loading..