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Islamic World News ( 12 Oct 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Taliban FM Calls For Good Ties with World But Avoided Making Firm Commitments On Girls’ Education

New Age Islam News Bureau

12 October 2021


Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan in Kabul on September 14, 2021. (AFP)


• Algerian Muslim Scholars Refute Macron’s Claims on Ottomans

• Algerian President Recalls French Massacre of Nearly 4,000 Worshipers At Ottoman Mosque

• Shariah High Court in Selangor Has Same Powers as Civil Court, Federal Court Told

• To Eliminate Noise Pollution Egypt Authorities Include More Mosques in the Unified Adhan Project

 South Asia

• UN to aid relocated Rohingya Muslims in new deal with Bangladesh

• EU envoys to meet Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister

• Afghanistan’s interim cabinet makes key decisions



• World must prevent Afghanistan’s economic collapse: UN

• Humanitarian crisis in focus as Italy hosts G20 Afghan summit

• 'Turkey wants voice of Non-Aligned Movement to become stronger'



• Ethiopia says it has duty to counter ‘terrorism’

• Tunisia’s UGTT union welcomes govt formation, seeks dialogue with President Saied


Southeast Asia

• Taliban assures safety of Malaysian humanitarian workers in Afghanistan, says Wisma Putra’s adviser

• Anwar’s Pandora Papers debate still under consideration


Arab World

• Cleric Sadr wins Iraq vote, former PM Maliki close behind

• Saudi experts say Arab youths’ voices must be heard, GCC teens optimistic: Survey

• Islamic State leader held in cross-border operation: Iraq

• Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Pope Francis given trophies at Zayed Award for Human Fraternity

• Iraqi pro-Iranian politician Amiri rejects election results as ‘fabricated’

• Car bomb kills four in Syria’s Afrin: Medical source

• Arab youth cite the UAE as the top country to live in for the 10th year in a row

• UAE drafts new law on charity fundraising to combat money laundering

• Fighting south of Yemen’s Marib results in 156 Houthi deaths: Arab coalition



• Have Spoken To China about Uyghur Issue: Pakistan PM Imran Khan

• Imran Bats for Engaging Taliban, Warns Against Hardline Faction Gaining Upper Hand

• US has no other option but to support Taliban regime: Imran Khan

• Church Of Pakistan Looks To Promote Interfaith Harmony through Christian-Muslim Dialogue

• Minorities Concerns Over Blocking Of Pakistan's Anti-Conversion Bill

• Imran Khan: Macron’s Islamophobic Rhetoric Stoking 'Cycle of Violence' In France

• SOPs issued for events of Eid Miladun Nabi



• Pakistan-Based ‘Terrorist’, Living In India for Past 10-15 Years, Arrested By Delhi Police

• Karnataka: Muslim Students Attacked For Wearing Skull Cap In Tuition

• Bhopal: Four Muslim Men Targeted by Bajrang Dal Outside College Garba Event, Then Detained by Police

• India condemns suicide attack on mosque in Afghanistan

• Mehbooba Mufti bats for SRK’s son, accuses BJP of targeting Muslims to gain votes

• NIA conducts raids at 16 locations in J&K linked to over ground workers of terrorist group

• PM Modi at G20 expected to highlight India's willingness and commitment to help Afghans with humanitarian aid

• Three terrorists killed in J&K's Shopian district

• PM Modi, Boris Johnson talk vaccine certification, Afghan situation

• India closely following developments in Afghanistan: Jaishankar



• Spokesman: Iran, Azerbaijan Pursuing Logical Path in Bilateral Ties

• Health activists address stigma to raise breast cancer awareness in Gaza

• Commander: Iran Possessing Largest Chopper Fleet in Region

• Iran says ready to sign Russia strategic partnership, similar to one with China


North America

• Talks with Taliban candid and professional, says US

• Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny team up to write novel ‘State of Terror’

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Taliban FM Calls For Good Ties with World But Avoided Making Firm Commitments On Girls’ Education

Oct 12, 2021


Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan in Kabul on September 14, 2021. (AFP)


DOHA: Afghanistan’s foreign minister appealed to the world for good relations on Monday but avoided making firm commitments on girls’ education despite international demands to allow all Afghan children to go back to school. Almost two months after the insurgent forces swept into Kabul, the new Taliban administration has pushed to build relations with other countries to help stave off a catastrophic economic crisis. “The international community need to start cooperating with us,” acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said in Doha. “With this we will be able to stop insecurity and at the same time with this we’ll be able to engage positively with the world.”

But the Taliban have so far refused to give ground on allowing girls to return to high school, one of the key demands of the international community after a decision last month that schools above the sixth grade would only reopen for boys. Muttaqi said the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate government was moving carefully but had only been in power for a few weeks and could not be expected to complete reforms the international community had not been able to implement in 20 years. “They had a lot of financial resources and they had a international backing but you are asking us to do all the reforms in two months?” he said.

The new administration has come under sustained criticism for its approach to girls’ education, considered one of the limited number of unambiguously positive gains from the West’s two decades of involvement in Afghanistan. UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said Taliban had broken promises on guaranteeing rights for women and girls and there was no way the economy could be fixed if women were barred from work.

Muttaqi repeated calls for the US to lift a block on over $9 billion of Afghan central bank reserves held outside the country. He said Taliban forces had full control of the country and were able to control the threat from Islamic State militants who have claimed a series of deadly attacks in recent weeks, including last week’s bombing at a Shia mosque in the city of Kunduz. “The Daesh issue has been controlled by the Islamic Emirate very well so far,” he said using a derogatory term for the radical Sunni group but adding that international pressure on the government was helping Islamic State’s morale.

Source: Times of India

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Algerian Muslim Scholars Refute Macron’s Claims On Ottomans

AbdelRazzak Abdallah  



French President Emmanuel Macron


The Association of Algerian Muslim Ulema on Monday rejected French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent claims that the Ottoman presence in Algeria amounted to colonization.

"The Ottomans who came to Algeria did not come as colonial occupiers, rather (they came) at the invitation of the Algerians … to help them defeat the Spanish Crusader aggression," Abdul-Razzaq Qassoum, the association’s chairman, said in a column by the Al-Basair newspaper. The newspaper is affiliated with the association.

Tensions have escalated between France and Algeria over remarks made by Macron on the North African country’s colonial past.

In a bid to palliate its atrocious colonial past, Macron claimed that “there was a colonization before the French colonial rule” in Algeria, alluding to the Ottoman presence in the country between 1514 and 1830.

According to Qassoum, the Ottomans, unlike France, did not kill Algerians, destroy their land or plunder their wealth.

Algerians “possessed a lot of wealth (under the Ottomans),” the Algerian scholar said.

He also noted that the Ottomans neither imposed their language on Algerians nor fought their beliefs.

“They (Ottomans) did not fight our belief, not even our Madhhab (Islamic school of law)."

On the contrary, Qassoum said the French colonial forces brought “tragedy” to Algeria and “misery” to its people.

Macron’s remarks in late September that the Algerian nation did not exist before the French colonial rule and that another colonization preceded his country’s sparked a storm of condemnations in Algeria.

Algerian President Abdelmedjid Tebboune condemned Macron’s remarks as an “unacceptable insult” to the martyrs, recalled his country’s Ambassador to France Antar Daoud for consultations, and closed airspace to French military aircraft used by the latter in its anti-terror operations in the Sahel.

In a televised interview on Sunday, Tebboune narrated an official account of the French massacre of nearly 4,000 worshippers during the 1830-1962 colonial era.

The worshippers were killed as they staged a sit-in inside an Ottoman Mosque called Ketchaoua in an effort to stop it from being converted into a church.

Algeria represents the most recent and bloodiest example of France's colonial history on the African continent.

Approximately 1.5 million Algerians were killed and millions more displaced in an eight-year struggle for independence that started in 1954.

France has also committed cultural genocide against Algeria since 1830, destroying Algeria’s 300-year-old Ottoman history and its own local identity, and also transforming many cultural and religious monuments in the country.

Paris has never officially apologized to Algeria as a state for its colonial policies.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Algerian President Recalls French Massacre Of Nearly 4,000 Worshipers At Ottoman Mosque

Abdel Razzaq bin Abdullah


Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has narrated an official account of the French massacre of nearly 4,000 worshipers during the 1830-1962 colonial era.

The worshippers were killed as they staged a sit-in inside an Ottoman Mosque called Ketchaoua in an effort to stop it from being converted into a church.

"France has colonized us for 132 years during which there were heinous crimes that cannot be erased with a sweet word. There are families and tribes that have been completely erased such as Zaatcha (southeast of Algeria) and even the infants were not spared,” Tebboune said in a televised interview on Sunday.

He added: "(In Ketchaoua) they killed 4,000 worshipers who were martyred after being surrounded by cannons and exterminated."

The Ketchaoua Mosque was built by Khair al-Din Barbarossa, the Ottoman ruler of Algeria at the time, in 1520 in the neighborhood of Casbah in the capital Algiers.

Algerian historical accounts show that the French ruler of Algeria at the time, Duke de Rovigo, decided at the end of 1832 to storm the mosque to turn it into a church.

Following the objection of the move by the city's residents who camped inside it, he demolished the mosque, massacred those inside, and burned copies of the Muslim Holy Book, the Quran.

The Ketchaoua Mosque on the Mediterranean coast, an important symbol of Algerian independence, was first used as a military depot during the French occupation and later as a residence for the archbishops of Algeria.

After the mosque’s demolition in 1844, a large church was built and the building remained a cathedral until Algeria gained independence in 1962.

The mosque was closed in 2008 due to damage caused by a violent earthquake in the country in 2003.

In April 2018, the mosque was reopened following its restoration by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) in accordance to the original Ottoman architectural plan studied by historians and researchers from both Algeria and Turkey.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Shariah High Court in Selangor Has Same Powers As Civil Court, Federal Court Told

V Anbalagan

October 12, 2021

PUTRAJAYA: The Shariah High Court in Selangor has similar powers to that of the civil court to hear judicial review cases involving Muslims and Muslim religious authorities, the Federal Court heard today.

State legal adviser Salim Soib said the religious court acted as check and balance for aggrieved parties who were affected by a decision.

“Like the civil court, the Shariah High Court is also there to dispense justice,” Salim said in his submission before a nine-member bench chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.

However, he said, there was a slight difference as the shariah court only entertained judicial review on matters that touched on Islam in the state.

“The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and various committees were set up to advise the Sultan, who is head of the religion, and to protect the sanctity of the faith,” he said.

He said Mais and other committees must be classified as “artificial individuals” who professed the Islamic faith, to appear in the religious court to seek remedy by way of a judicial review.

Salim was responding to SIS Forum Malaysia, a company registered and run by Muslims, that is challenging the competency of the Selangor state assembly to pass a law that allows the state Shariah High Court to review fatwa issued by the state religious authorities.

Last year, the apex court allowed leave to SIS to have its complaint heard as a requirement under Article 4(3) of the Federal Constitution.

SIS wants a declaration that the state legislature cannot pass Section 66A of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003.

Section 66A states that the Shariah High Court in the state has the jurisdiction to hear judicial reviews against the decisions of state religious councils or committees.

SIS argued that any judicial review of a law passed by Parliament and the state assemblies can only be heard before a civil High Court.

The application was filed early last year after the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed SIS’s judicial review application against a Selangor religious authority’s fatwa labelling the group as deviant in 2019.

The High Court held that SIS had to appear before the religious court to report its grievances since the court had the authority to entertain a judicial review application.

Meanwhile, lawyer Zainur Zakaria, who represented Mais in its capacity as an intervener, submitted that the laws passed by Parliament did not give the civil court exclusive jurisdiction to hear judicial review matters.

“Judicial review is a procedural law. Mais and ‘artificial Muslims’ can go to the religious court,” he said.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who appeared with Zainur, said Mais had referred at least two cases for judicial review since Section 66A came into force in 2015.

Lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who represented SIS, submitted that the shariah court could only entertain individuals (Muslims) on complaints relating to personal matters.

“Only the civil court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear complaints of the decision-making process by public authorities,” he said.

Malik, who was assisted by A Surendra Ananth and Fahri Azzat, said the 9th Schedule of the Federal Constitution vested the civil court jurisdiction over civil, criminal and the administration of justice.

He said the civil court has inherent power to hear judicial review applications as decided by a number of Federal Court judgments.

Malik said shariah courts had no constitutional safeguards unlike the civil court as prescribed in the Constitution.

“It is an irresistible conclusion that the Selangor state assembly cannot vest judicial review power on the shariah court,” he said.

The bench has reserved judgment.

Other members on the bench were Court of Appeal president Rohana Yusuf, Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judges Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Vernon Ong, Zaleha Yusof, Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal and Rhodzariah Bujang.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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To Eliminate Noise Pollution Egypt Authorities Include More Mosques In The Unified Adhan Project

October 11, 2021

The Egyptian Ministry of Endowments announced Saturday that it has included hundreds of new mosques within the unified Adhan project in Greater Cairo.

The project for unifying the Muslim call to prayer aims to eliminate noise pollution caused by multiple mosques performing the call to prayer at differing times.

The head of the Central Department of Strategic Management at the Ministry of Endowments, Amr Shoukry, confirmed that 426 new mosques were included during the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

He said that this brings the total unified Adhan mosques to 3,538.

The Ministry of Endowments seeks to generalize the experience of the unified Adhan in the rest of the governorates across Egypt, with an emphasis on taking into account the time differences for each region.

The former Religious Endowments Minister Mahmoud Hamdi Zakzouk was the first to start implementing the project in Greater Cairo mosques.

At the end of 2009, Zakzouk launched the initiative to start a unified call to prayer in all mosques to address the problem of the call to prayer going off at different times.

The project initially targeted 4,000 mosques in the Governorates of Greater Cairo, which includes Cairo, Giza and Qaliubiya.

However the January 25, 2011 revolution plunged the Unified Adhan project faced a major crisis, however, with the theft of devices for the project from mosques.

Religious Endowments Minister Mohamad Mukhtar Gomaa revived the idea in 2014, but faced technical problems.

In 2019, Gomaa announced that the project would finally be implemented.

However due to ongoing technical issues, the experiment initially began in 115 mosques as a pilot phase, later expanding to include hundreds of mosques.

The project relies on the unified voice of one muezzin, according to the local time for each governorate separately, and that is via the joint broadcast signal in mosques through the wireless receiver.

The broadcast system in the unified Adhan is characterized by the average volume of the microphone.

In order not to disturb the people of the area and the neighboring population, it has been pre-set by the sound engineers, so that no one can manipulate the broadcast and the volume level.

Mosque workers are vital to the project, as they will open the receiver five minutes before the Adhan and then close the receiver after it is finished. After the receiver gets the signal it then broadcasts the Adhan.

The receiver consists of two electronic pieces, and a concave metal unit to receive the broadcast, which is installed at the top of the mosque.

Source: Egypt Independent

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South Asia


UN to aid relocated Rohingya Muslims in new deal with Bangladesh

OCT 11, 2021

The United Nations and Bangladesh's government have signed an agreement to work together to help Rohingya refugees on an island in the Bay of Bengal where thousands have been relocated from crammed camps near the Myanmar border.

More than 19,000 Rohingya have already been moved to the Bhasan Char island by the government, and the U.N. said one of the key reasons to sign the agreement was to start serving that population. Bangladesh plans to relocate 100,000 Rohingya to the island in phases from the crowded refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar district.

The agreement came as a paradigm shift after the U.N. and humanitarian groups criticized the relocation, saying the 30-year-old island regularly submerged by monsoon rains was not fit for habitation. But Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government has spent more than $112 million on development, adding sea walls, hospitals, schools and mosques, and insists it is no more a vulnerable area.

After Saturday's agreement, authorities said another 81,000 refugees would be relocated to the island over the next three months.

A U.N. team's visit to the island in March preceded the world body's changed view. In a statement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the agreement was a further expression of Bangladesh’s "generosity and support toward the Rohingya population until they can return safely and sustainably to Myanmar.”

The agreement allows for close cooperation between the government and the U.N. on services and activities to benefit the island's residents. The U.N. also said it had discussions with the Rohingyas living in Cox's Bazar, as well as those already living on Bhasan Char island, prior to the signing of the agreement.

"These cover key areas of protection, education, skills-training, livelihoods and health, which will help support the refugees to lead decent lives on the island and better prepare them for sustainable return to Myanmar in the future,” according to the statement.

Johannes Van Der Klaauw, a representative at the UNHCR, said the organization has seen the island and believes Bangladesh's government has added "significant infrastructure” to offset environmental hazards. The agreement also allows refugees to move back and forth between the island and the main camps in Cox’s Bazar, he said.

Refugees will also have a chance to earn a living through odd jobs that will be accessible once aid organizations are set up on the island. Klaauw also noted that movement to Bhasan Char would be on an informed and voluntary basis. But most Rohingya refugees say they don’t want to relocate.

A woman who had moved to the island with her family earlier this year said many escaped on boats back to the camp because life on the island is hard for the refugees.

"If people stay there for a couple of years, all of them might start having mental issues,” she said, adding that medical and other aid facilities were not very well set up on the island. She was unwilling to be named, fearing retribution.

Source: Daily Sabah

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EU envoys to meet Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister

12 Oct 2021

Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Motaqi said that a delegation led by him will meet with the representatives of the European Union on Tuesday, October 12.

Amir Khan Motaqi has said that are willing to have positive and friendly relations with the world.

The meeting is due to take place in Doha.

The acting minister has also said that they had meetings with representatives of Germany and British MPs.

The meeting with EU representatives will come on the same day as the Italian Prime Minister is hosting a special summit of the group of 20 that will focus on addressing the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghanistan’s interim cabinet makes key decisions

12 Oct 2021

Afghanistan’s caretaker cabinet in a ministerial meeting in Presidential Palace on Monday, October 11 made some key decisions in security and economic spheres.

A statement released from Presidential Palace (ARG) reads that the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Muhammad Hassan Akhund discussed political, economic, and security issues and made some key decisions.

The statement reads that the leadership ordered the expulsion of the Taliban members who are not needed and ill-treat people.

In the meeting, the cabinet pledged to be setting up a depot for humanitarian aids provided by the international community and added to be distributed transparently.

“The security bodies were directed to ensure the security of ministries and government administrations and for the Afghan traders and investors.” Reads the statement.

Source: Khaama Press

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World must prevent Afghanistan’s economic collapse: UN

12 Oct 2021

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday, October 11 urged the world to inject liquidity to the economy of Afghanistan and prevent its collapse.

Antonio Guterres who was talking to journalists at UN headquarter said that the international community is too slow in this issue and added that they can inject money without violating international law.

Secretary-General also said that the world can even inject money through NGOs and the United Nations.

He made the statements a day before he is joining a special summit of the Group of 20 that is hosted by Italy online.

“The United Nations is working to assist the 18 million Afghans in need of humanitarian assistance, it will not be enough to prevent a bigger crisis if the economic collapse.” Said Guterres.

Source: Khaama Press

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Humanitarian crisis in focus as Italy hosts G20 Afghan summit

October 12, 2021

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will host a special summit of the Group of 20 major economies on Tuesday to discuss Afghanistan, as worries grow about a looming humanitarian disaster following the Taliban's return to power.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on Aug 15, the country — already struggling with drought and severe poverty after decades of war — has seen its economy all but collapse, raising the spectre of an exodus of refugees.

The video conference, which is due to start at 1pm (1100 GMT), will focus on aid needs, concerns over security and ways of guaranteeing safe passage abroad for thousands of Western-allied Afghans still in the country.

“Providing humanitarian support is urgent for the most vulnerable groups, especially women and children, with winter arriving,” said an official with knowledge of the G20 agenda.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is due to join the summit, underlining the central role given to the United Nations in tackling the crisis — in part because many countries don't want to establish direct relations with the Taliban.

Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the G20, has worked hard to set up the meeting in the face of highly divergent views within the disparate group on how to deal with Afghanistan after the chaotic US withdrawal from Kabul.

“The main problem is that Western countries want to put their finger on the way the Taliban run the country, how they treat women for example, while China and Russia on the other hand have a non-interference foreign policy,” said a diplomatic source close to the matter.

China has publicly demanded that economic sanctions on Afghanistan be lifted and that billions of dollars in Afghan international assets be unfrozen and handed back to Kabul.

It was not clear if this would even be discussed on Tuesday.

While US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Europe's G20 leaders were expected to take part in the meeting, Chinese media reported that President Xi Jinping would not participate.

It was also not clear if Russian President Vladimir Putin would dial in.

Afghanistan's neighbours Pakistan and Iran have not been invited to the virtual call, but Qatar, which has played a key role as an interlocutor between the Taliban and the West, will join the discussions, a diplomatic source said.

Source: Dawn

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'Turkey wants voice of Non-Aligned Movement to become stronger'

Talha Ozturk 



Turkey supports the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and wants to see its voice become stronger, the country’s foreign minister said on Monday.

At a summit marking NAM’s 60th anniversary in Serbia's capital Belgrade, Mevlut Cavusoglu hailed the movement as the “voice of a just and inclusive world.”

He stressed that the guiding principles of the movement “remain relevant” despite the significant changes in the world over the past six decades.

“Today’s world is not that of 1961. The Cold War is over. A bipolar world has turned into a multipolar one. The challenges have become more complex,” he said.

“However, the main principles of the Belgrade Declaration remain relevant. We support the voice of the Non-Aligned States of 2021 to become stronger.”

Cavusoglu pointed out that the movement’s first declaration signed in Belgrade in 1961 “called for action on mainly three areas: economic inequalities, UN reform, and a multilateral and inclusive approach on global issues.”

“Isn’t it dramatic that we still discuss all these issues today? First, inequalities are on the rise across the world. According to UN reports, rising inequalities negatively impact more than 70% of the world population,” he said.

NAM highlighted the development and technology gap between economically advanced and less developed countries in 1961, he said, adding that the “divide is deeper now as technological changes are much faster.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Ethiopia says it has duty to counter ‘terrorism’

Addis Getachew Tadesse  



Ethiopia’s government said Monday it is duty bound to counter "acts of terrorism" by Tigray rebels.

The remarks follow a statement earlier in the day by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that the government had launched multi-pronged attacks against it.

"The government of Ethiopia has a responsibility to protect its citizens in all parts of the country from any acts of terrorism," Billene Seyoum, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, told Anadolu Agency.

"The government of Ethiopia will continue to counter the TPLF’s destruction, violence and killings in the Amhara region and elsewhere," she said.

There have been reports over the past couple of days that the Ethiopian Defense Forces have intensified attacks against TPLF targets in Amhara.

Following a June 29 unilateral cease-fire declared by the government, TPLF forces advanced to Amhara and Afar states adjoining the country's northernmost state of Tigray.

The TPLF claims it is an elected party in Tigray while the Ethiopian government has rejected its authority in the state, saying it committed a mutinous act when it attacked Ethiopian army bases stationed in Tigray on Nov. 3 last year.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Tunisia’s UGTT union welcomes govt formation, seeks dialogue with President Saied

11 October ,2021

Tunisia’s powerful UGTT labor union welcomed the formation of a new government and called on President Kais Saied to start a participatory dialogue and set a time limit on the emergency period, a UGTT official told Reuters.

Senior UGTT official Sami Tahri said the union welcomed the formation of the government, adding "public finances must be an urgent priority. As major reforms must be the subject of broad agreement and need time... it cannot be the task of a transitional government.".

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

Any IMF deal would likely require a political roadmap that included broad political and social dialogue, and a plan forreforms to tackle subsidies, the high public sector wage bill and loss-making state companies.

President Saied had on Monday unveiled a new government, but gave no hint when he would relinquish his near total control after seizing most powers in July, or start reforms needed for a financial rescue package to avert economic disaster.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Southeast Asia


Taliban assures safety of Malaysian humanitarian workers in Afghanistan, says Wisma Putra’s adviser

11 Oct 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — The Malaysian humanitarian team to Afghanistan has been given security guarantees by the Taliban interim government to carry out aid work in the country.

The Foreign Minister’s Special Adviser on Afghan affairs Datuk Ahmad Azam Ab Rahman said the Taliban government had also agreed to send escorts for safety.

“We have received security guarantees from the Afghan government. When needed, (make a) call and he will send troops to be with us especially in sensitive areas.

“However, we cannot rule out the possibility of bombs here and there. At least, guarantees have been given and we have to be careful,” he told Bernama after a visit to Wisma Bernama, today.

During the visit, he also held discussions with Bernama’s Chief Executive Officer Datuk Mokhtar Hussain, Editor-in-Chief Abdul Rahman Ahmad, and Deputy Editor-in-Chief (International News Service) Jamaluddin Muhammad.

Ahmad Azam said the security guarantee given by the Afghan government is also hoped to convince more international NGOs to participate in providing humanitarian aid to the people in Afghanistan.

Currently, six people — from the Global Peace Mission Malaysia (GPM) and Muslim Volunteer Malaysia (MVM) humanitarian mission team — have been in Kabul since September 24 to provide assistance to the affected Afghans.

Ahmad Azam, who is also GPM chairman, said the body will also hold a briefing on Wednesday at Anjung Rahmat Sungai Merab to provide information on the current situation in the country to NGOs interested in conducting humanitarian missions in Afghanistan.

The Afghan people desperately need humanitarian aid to help them survive, and the situation is expected to be more critical by winter in December, he added.

“We encourage Malaysian NGOs to join forces to help the Afghan people. We hope the assistance from Malaysia can ease the burden and establish goodwill with the Afghan people.

Source: Malay Mail

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Anwar’s Pandora Papers debate still under consideration

Minderjeet Kaur

October 12, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: A motion to debate the Pandora Papers leak is still under consideration, said Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Rashid Hasnon, who confirmed that he received the motion.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson) raised the matter in the Dewan, saying that he had submitted another motion yesterday to the Speaker and was waiting for a reply.

“I have not received any reply,” Anwar told Rashid.

Anwar said he submitted the motion after finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz had said Bank Negara was prepared to work with enforcement agencies on the leak that had revelations about millions belonging to Malaysians in offshore accounts.

“However, there has been no statement from the Inland Revenue Board, police – especially the commercial crime department – and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC),” he said.

He said prominent figures have been shown to have offshore accounts in the Virgin Islands and other tax havens, sometimes via Singapore.

He said since there is a double taxation agreement between Malaysia and Singapore, “why can’t we have a debate and urge MACC and the commercial crime department to take the initiative and be proactive”?

Anwar asked if the matter was not probed because the figures involved are political elites who he said claim to be “defenders of the Malays and Islam”.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Arab World


Cleric Sadr wins Iraq vote, former PM Maliki close behind

11 October ,2021

Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s party was the biggest winner in an Iraqi election on Monday, increasing the number of seats he holds in parliament, according to initial results, officials and a spokesperson for the Sadrist Movement.

Former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki looked set to have the next largest win among Shi’ite parties, the initial results showed.

Iraq’s Shia groups have dominated governments and government formation since the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein and catapulted the Shi’ite majority and the Kurds to power.

Sunday’s election was held several months early, in response to mass protests in 2019 that toppled a government and showed widespread anger against political leaders whom many Iraqis say have enriched themselves at the expense of the country.

But a record low turnout suggested that an election billed as an opportunity to wrest control from the ruling elite would do little to dislodge sectarian religious parties in power since 2003.

A count based on initial results from several Iraqi provinces plus the capital Baghdad, verified by local government officials, suggested Sadr had won more than 70 seats, which if confirmed could give him considerable influence in forming a government.

A spokesperson for Sadr’s office said the number was 73 seats. Local news outlets published the same figure.

An official at Iraq’s electoral commission said Sadr had come first but did not immediately confirm how many seats his party had won.

The initial results also showed that pro-reform candidates who emerged from the 2019 protests had gained several seats in the 329-member parliament.

Iran-backed parties with links to militia groups accused of killing some of the nearly 600 people who died in the protests took a blow, winning less seats than in the last election in 2018, according to the initial results and local officials.

Sadr has increased his power over the Iraqi state since coming first in the 2018 election where his coalition won 54 seats.

The unpredictable populist cleric has been a dominant figure and often kingmaker in Iraqi politics since the US invasion.

He opposes all foreign interference in Iraq, whether by the US, against which he fought an insurgency after 2003, or by neighboring Iran, which he has criticized for its close involvement in Iraqi politics.

Sadr, however, is regularly in Iran, according to officials close to him, and has called for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, where Washington maintains a force of around 2,500 in a continuing fight against Islamic State.

New law, same big parties

Elections in Iraq since 2003 have been followed by protracted negotiations that can last months and serve to distribute government posts among the dominant parties.

The result on Monday is not expected to dramatically alter the balance of power in Iraq or in the wider region.

Sunday’s vote was held under a new law billed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi as a way to loosen the grip of established political parties and pave the way for independent, pro-reform candidates. Voting districts were made smaller, and the practice of awarding seats to lists of candidates sponsored by parties was abandoned.

But many Iraqis did not believe the system could be changed and chose not to vote.

The official turnout figure of just 41 percent suggested the vote had failed to capture the imagination of the public, especially younger Iraqis who demonstrated in huge crowds two years ago.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi experts say Arab youths’ voices must be heard, GCC teens optimistic: Survey

12 October ,2021

Leading experts in Saudi Arabia have said the voices of Arab youth must be heard and decision-makers in the Middle East & North Africa must heed their call-to-action to build the next generation a better future.

The 13th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey was released on Tuesday and found, despite the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread economic turbulence, and ongoing military conflicts in parts of the region, Arab youth in MENA overall were surprisingly hopeful and optimistic about the future, with nearly two-thirds (60 percent) saying their best days lay ahead of them.

Veteran Saudi editor Khaled Almaeena highlighted the value of the data underpinning the ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey.

“In a region where accurate information is sometimes in short supply, these findings offer a refreshing insight into the mindset of young Arabs,” he said.

“These hopeful citizens, who live in a society that is part-tribal and part-patriarchal, need an environment that will allow them to articulate, and then strive towards, their own vision.”

Almaeena added, “They want their voices to be heard because they are the future of this region; they are stakeholders, not merely bystanders.”

Highlighting the positivity of the findings, Dania Khaled al-Maeena, CEO of Aloula Non-Profit Organization, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, added: “Arab youth’s hope for the future is extremely refreshing.”

“They are excited about the future, which is a sentiment we see on the ground in Saudi Arabia. Youth are now more creative; many no longer want a steady government job like their parents had. Instead, they want to do what they are passionate about,” she added.

“But we can’t take the optimism of our young people for granted. We must bridge the gap between the education sector and the needs of the workplace. This will involve creating new skill sets to ensure our youth are prepared for the new economy.”

A wide cross-section of Middle Eastern experts, including representatives from government, multilateral institutions, civil society, media, academia and the literary world, also commented on the survey.

Yousef al-Otaiba, Ambassador of the UAE to the US and UAE Minister of State, said: “The data reflected in the 13th ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey indicates a shift is pulsating within the region; one that bends toward a more hopeful outlook for our youth, yet confirms a series of profound changes currently underway.”

“A rising spirit of nationalism is gaining resonance for Arab youth. This generation is increasingly looking inward at their Arab brethren for leadership,” he added.

“A growing self-reliance on ourselves, especially model Arab nations like the UAE, is fueling this pride. As the UAE celebrates the Expo 2020 Dubai and marks the Golden Jubilee of our nation’s formation in December, we feel hope for the future, which coincidentally is the title of this year’s Arab Youth Survey.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Islamic State leader held in cross-border operation: Iraq


Iraq said on Monday it has detained a top leader of the Islamic State group and a longtime al Qaida operative in a cross-border operation.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi tweeted the news, identifying the man as Sami Jassem, who oversees the IS group’s financial operations and served as the deputy leader of IS under the late Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

He described it as “one of the most difficult” cross border intelligence operations ever conducted by Iraqi forces.

Iraqi intelligence officials said that Jassem was detained in an identified foreign country and transported to Iraq few days ago. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak of the operation on the record.

Source: Telegraph India              

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Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Pope Francis given trophies at Zayed Award for Human Fraternity

Oct 11, 2021

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb and Pope Francis have received their Zayed Award for Human Fraternity trophies.

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity is an independent global award recognising people and organisations who make profound contributions to human progress and peaceful coexistence.

The award was established in February 2019 to mark the meeting between Pope Francis and Professor Al-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi, where the two religious leaders signed the historic Document on Human Fraternity, under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and patron of human fraternity – and became the first honorary recipients of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity.

The trophies were presented by Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso, meeting chairman of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF) and Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, secretary general of HCHF.

The HCHF is an independent international committee established to promote human fraternity values in communities around the world and to fulfil the aspirations of the Document on Human Fraternity.

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity is named in honour of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the UAE. The values the award celebrates reflect Sheikh Zayed’s dedication to working closely with people from all backgrounds, his moral legacy, humanitarianism and respect for others, and helping them, regardless of their religion, gender, race or nationality

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity is decided every year by an independent judging committee, appointed by the HCHF. This week, members of the 2022 judging committee held meetings with Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, in Vatican City and Rome, respectively.

Source: The National News

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Iraqi pro-Iranian politician Amiri rejects election results as ‘fabricated’

12 October ,2021

Hadi al-Amiri, one of the most powerful pro-Iranian figures in Iraq, has rejected the results of Iraq’s elections as “fabricated”, according to the Baghdad-based pro-Iranian TV channel al-Aahd.

“We will not accept these fabricated results, whatever the cost,” the channel cited him as saying on Tuesday on its Telegram messaging account.

Iran-backed parties with links to militia groups accused of killing some of the nearly 600 people who died in mass protests in 2019 took a blow in the election, winning less seats than in the previous vote, in 2018.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Car bomb kills four in Syria’s Afrin: Medical source

11 October ,2021

At least four people were killed when a car bomb exploded in the Syrian city of Afrin on Monday, a medical source said, the latest such attack in the northwestern region that is controlled by Turkey and Syrian opposition forces it supports.

The blast wounded another six people, the source said.

Turkey has blamed previous bomb attacks in Afrin on the Syrian Kurdish YPG group, which held the Afrin area until Turkish forces seized the region in a cross-border military operation in 2019.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Arab youth cite the UAE as the top country to live in for the 10th year in a row

12 October ,2021

Arab youth have named the United Arab Emirates as the country in the world they would most like to live in and the one they would most like their own nation to emulate – for the tenth straight year.

This was one of the main findings of the 13th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey released on Tuesday.

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The UAE has topped the list of most preferred countries every year since young Arab men and women across the Middle East & Africa (MENA) were first asked the question in 2012.

This year’s study, conducted by global research and analytics company PSB Insights, polled 3,400 young Arabs, 18 to 24-year-olds, in 50 cities and territories in 17 Arab states from June 6 to 30, 2021, with the cohort being equally split between men and women.

Nearly half of young Arabs (47 percent) selected the UAE as their favorite place to live, more than double the number of votes the poll’s second-ranked country, the US, received. Almost the same proportion (46 percent) said the UAE was the country they most wanted their own to be like, followed by the US (28 percent), Canada and Germany (each chosen by 12 percent of interviewees) and France (11 percent).

The UAE’s growing economy and the wide range of opportunities it offers were cited by nearly a third (28 percent) of the Arab youth, with the country’s clean environment, safety and security, and generous salary packages also ranked highly among the characteristics they most associate with the country.

“These findings will be particularly gratifying as the UAE celebrates its half-centennial this year and looks forward to the next 50 years of its prosperity and success,” said Sunil John, President, MENA, BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW.

“With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic now receding thanks to the leadership’s proactive efforts, and Expo 2020 Dubai underway amidst huge fanfare, a spirit of positivity and optimism is clearly detectable in this year’s findings, while the trust of Emirati youth in their nation’s economic vision remains universally high.”

Despite the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread economic turbulence, and ongoing military conflicts in parts of the region, Arab youth in MENA overall were surprisingly hopeful and optimistic about the future, according to the survey with nearly two-thirds (60 percent) saying their best days lay ahead of them.

In the UAE, 90 percent percent of Emirati youth said their “best days lie ahead,”

while nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of Emirati youth said they expected to have a better life than their parents, a staggering 99 per cent said their country’s economy was heading in the right direction, up from 97 percent last year. Moreover, all the young Emirati men and women polled this year said their voice mattered to the country’s leadership, another inspiring finding to mark the nation’s Jubilee year.

“National pride is clearly a theme of our findings in the UAE, with 41 percent of Emirati respondents saying their nationality is central to their identity, more than double the regional average,” added John. “This shows just how powerfully the message of national unity conveyed by the UAE’s leadership has resonated with its young citizens.”

“They also acknowledge the UAE’s efforts to promote gender equality, with more than eight in 10 saying that men and women have the same rights and equal access to employment; again, this is far above the regional average,” explained John.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UAE drafts new law on charity fundraising to combat money laundering

12 October ,2021

The UAE is developing a new law that will further regulate fundraising and donations for charity in the country to tackle money laundering.

The legislation – or the ‘Fundraising Regulatory Law’ – will apply to non-government organizations soliciting funds in the country, according to a senior government official.

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Nasser Ismail, assistant undersecretary of Social Welfare at the Ministry of Community Development (MOCD), told state news agency WAM it is part of ongoing efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

“We must refer to a new federal law being formulated by the ministry… which will stipulate a set of conditions and regulations for licensed charitable and humanitarian authorities within the UAE,” Ismail said.

He also said the MOCD will also announce soon “another series of awareness programs” about the new law, which is intended to “ensure the safety, security and stability of the community.”

“These measures will support social development and encourage humanitarian giving, based on the values and traditions of Emirati society,” he said.

There are already strict measures in place for fundraising and donating money for charity in the UAE.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Fighting south of Yemen’s Marib results in 156 Houthi deaths: Arab coalition

11 October ,2021

Fighting south of Yemen’s Marib has resulted in 156 members of the Iran-backed Houthi militia being killed, according to an Arab coalition spokesperson.

The operation also involved eight Houthi military vehicles being destroyed.

“We are committed to supporting the Yemeni National Army and protecting Yemeni citizens from the militia's brutality,” the coalition said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The offensive was part of a wider strategy of preventing Houthi incursion into the Abdiya district in Marib governate.

More than 550 Houthis have been killed in the last 19 days, according to the Arab coalition.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Have Spoken To China About Uyghur Issue: Pakistan PM Imran Khan

October 12, 2021

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said "selective pronouncements" on human rights were "immoral", reacting to allegations against Pakistan's all-weather ally China's human rights violations on its Uyghur Muslim population in the restive province of Xinjiang.

In a wide-ranging interview with London-based online news outlet Middle East Eye (MEE), Khan denied pressure from Gulf countries to recognise Israel and said that the international community's failure to engage with the Taliban in Afghanistan could push the state back by 20 years, the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.

Khan described the 70-year-old relation between Pakistan and China as one that had "stood the test of time".

In the interview with, Mr Khan said "selective pronouncements on human rights" were immoral, reacting to the allegation on China.

He said Pakistan had spoken to China about the Uyghur issue and had been provided with an explanation. "Our relationship with China is such that we have an understanding between us. We will talk to each other, but behind closed doors because that is their nature and culture," he said.

The US and UK have criticised China for its alleged treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, with some top officials going as far as calling it a "genocide". Beijing is accused of imposing forced labour, systematic forced birth control, torture, and separating children from incarcerated parents of the minority Muslims in the resource-rich province.

Khan said there was a need for the international community to engage with the Taliban and that a failure to do so could push the group back 20 years.

Taliban militants declared total control of Afghanistan on September 6 after the last opposition post in Panjshir fell, since then the group has been seeking international recognition of their "government".

"The world must engage with Afghanistan," he said as he warned of the consequences of not doing so.

"There must be hardliners within the group [and] it can easily go back to the Taliban of 20 years ago. And that would be a disaster."

He said that if Afghanistan would once again descend into chaos, it would become a fertile ground for terrorist groups like ISIS, which is a worry for all countries in the region.

He said that isolating and imposing sanctions on Afghanistan would result in a massive humanitarian crisis.

"If they are left like this, my worry is that [Afghanistan] could revert to 1989 when the Soviets and Americans left," he said, adding that over 200,000 Afghans died in that conflict.

Khan added that the US had to "pull itself together" from the shock it had suffered after the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan.

"I don't think they have found their feet yet," he said, adding that Pakistan would also suffer as a result of chaos in Afghanistan.

When asked about Pakistan's point of view after the Taliban takeover, the prime minister said, "We have been so relieved because we expected a bloodbath [...] it was a peaceful transfer of power".

Similarly, on the issue of women rights, he said the Taliban should be incentivised to "walk the talk", pointing out that the group had said it would allow women to work and get educated.

When asked about the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) posing a threat to his administration, Khan said Pakhtuns on the Pakistani side of the border had started attacking the state when it allied itself with the US invasion of Afghanistan.

Source: ND TV

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Imran bats for engaging Taliban, warns against hardline faction gaining upper hand

Oct 11, 2021

NEW DELHI: Trepidation, consternation and some very cautious optimism- that has been the general approach as nations of the world scramble to formulate an Afghan policy in the aftermath of the Taliban takeover.

No country, whether an US ally or not, has shown an eagerness to recognise the Taliban government, or take its assurances at face value.

However there is one exception- Pakistan.

Islamabad was among the only three countries that recognised the previous Taliban government. Once again, it is scurrying to buy legitimacy for the Taliban at a plethora of international fora- from the UN to SCO.

Pakistani ministers have tried to prevail upon the world leadership to engage with the Taliban. In the latest, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that failure to engage with the Taliban could "push the group back by 20 years."

In an interview to London-based news outlet Middle East Eye that covers the region, Khan said the gains will be lost if hardliners within the Taliban ranks are allowed to gain an upper hand.

Warning that Afghanistan could again descend into chaos and become a breeding ground for terrorist groups like the Isis, Khan cautioned against isolating and imposing sanctions on the country.

"What will the US have to show after 20 years? Therefore, a stable Afghanistan government which can then take on Isis, and the Taliban are the best bet to take on Isis," Imran said.

In a jibe at US, he said that the country had to "pull itself together" from the shock it had suffered after the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan.

On women rights, Khan said the Taliban should be incentivised to "walk the talk," and reminded about their assurances on women's rights to work and education.

Afghanistan's new regime has shown little signs of having reformed and modernised from their ultra-conservative Islamic ethos form the 1996-2001 days.

Source: Times of India

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US has no other option but to support Taliban regime: Imran Khan

11 Oct 2021

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the US must engage with the Taliban to avert crisis and added that the country has no option but to support the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Imran Khan said that the failure of the state in Afghanistan will result in a humanitarian crisis in the country.

The Pakistani Premier made these statements in his interview with Middle East Eye on Monday, October 11.

Imran Khan said that unless the Americans take the lead, Pakistan will be worried that there will be chaos in Afghanistan and Pakistan will be affected the most.

“The world must engage with Afghanistan because if it pushes it away, within the Taliban movement there are hardliners, and it could easily go back to the Taliban of 2000 and that would be a disaster.” Said Khan.

Khan also commented on potential sanctions on the Taliban saying that three-quarters of the Afghan national budget depended on foreign aid which means the imposition would result in a humanitarian crisis.

He also warned of a civil war in Afghanistan in case abandoned.

Source: Khaama Press

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Church Of Pakistan Looks To Promote Interfaith Harmony through Christian-Muslim Dialogue

OCTOBER 11, 2021

The Church of Pakistan (CoP) has proposed to replicate the Christian-Muslim dialogue between the Anglican church and leading scholars of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University to foster interfaith harmony and peace in Pakistan.

According to a statement issued by the office of the Church of Pakistan (CoP) Moderator/President Dr Azad Marshall, the proposal was floated during a meeting between the Anglican church leadership and the scholars of the prestigious University of Islamic learning on the sidelines of a high-level event in Cairo where the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby launched the new Anglican province of Alexandria.

The statement said that Archbishop Emeritus of the Anglican Province of Alexandria Mounir Hanna shared the idea of setting up a research center in Egypt comprising Muslim and Christian religious scholars based on their interactions over the last two decades. Al-Azhar University’s Grand Imam Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb welcomed the idea and assured his full cooperation, the statement added.

“Since the CoP has also been actively involved in interfaith peace-building initiatives in Pakistan, we believe that under the able patronage of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop Emeritus of Alexandria we can replicate their experience of the Christian-Muslim dialogue in Pakistan to promote research and academic studies of our faiths for better understanding and practical resolution of religious conflicts,” Bishop Marshall stated.

He added that during the meetings held with the Muslim religious leaders in Cairo, the CoP delegation, headed by him and comprising Bishop Manu Ramal Shah and Bishop of Sialkot Alvin Samuel, had projected a positive image of Pakistan by sharing the initiatives taken by the government for the uplift of the religious minorities and the latter’s contributions to national progress.

Source: Daily Times

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Minorities Concerns Over Blocking Of Pakistan's Anti-Conversion Bill

October 12, 2021

The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), a human rights arm of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has expressed deep concerns over the rejection of a proposed bill to stop the forced conversion of religious minorities.

The bill was drafted by the federal Ministry of Human Rights and aimed to protect underage girls from being kidnapped and forced to marry and convert to Islam as recommended by a special parliamentary committee formed by the prime minister in 2019.

In September 2021, the draft bill was rejected by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony and Council of Islamic Ideology (ICC) because they felt it was against Islam.

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NCJP chairman Bishop Samson Shukardin said the rejection of the bill is against the right to religious freedom. It would encourage criminals to use religion as a cover for the crime of abduction, rape and conversion of minority girls to Islam with impunity.

In a statement, the NCJP urged the ministry and ICC to reconsider their stance over the issue of forced conversion of girls of religious minorities while reminding the federal government of its international obligations and constitutional provisions for the protection of the rights of minorities.

Under Pakistan’s Child Marriage Restraint Act, marrying a girl under 16 or a boy under 18 is an offense but the law is often ignored in the cases of forced conversions and marriages of girls from religious minorities.

The victims face extreme fear, separation from parents and physical, mental and emotional exploitation. It is observed that parents of victims are threatened to keep silent. In fact, the crime of forced conversion involves multiple violations of human rights including freedom of religion and fundamental human rights, the statement added.

NCJP national director Father Emmanuel Yousaf (Mani) said the trend of forced conversions and denial of their existence are merely supporting the violation of fundamental human rights, particularly freedom of religion.

Source: UCA News

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Imran Khan: Macron’s Islamophobic rhetoric stoking 'cycle of violence' in France

By Peter Oborne, David Hearst

11 October 2021

Ten years ago Imran Khan, an international cricket star but at the time only an outfielder in politics, wrote this about the United States-led “war on terror” in his book Pakistan: A Personal History.

“The first phone call after 9/11 I received was from the ITN’s Martin Bashir. ‘As a Muslim, aren’t you embarrassed by the attacks?’ was his immediate question. I was shocked, then realised what others would be thinking too.

“Implying all the world’s 1.3bn Muslims should feel in some way responsible for an act of a handful of criminals is a bit like asking a Christian to feel responsible for Hitler,” Khan wrote.

With a personal history which straddled East and West, Khan expected a backlash after 9/11 but had not anticipated its ferocity.

He wrote: “The campaign to instil fear among Western populations about the threat from what has at times been hysterically referred to as islamofascism has given way to rising Islamophobia.

“The ascent of rightwing, anti-immigration parties in Europe, the misleading and sometimes downright sensationalist reporting against Muslims in the rightwing Western media, France’s ban on the burka, Switzerland’s ban on minarets and the furore over the Muslim community centre near New York’s ground zero have helped the radical’s cause and alienated ordinary Muslims.”

Western missteps

Today Prime Minister Khan, surrounded by aides nervously eyeing the clock, feels sadly vindicated. The list of western missteps has only lengthened in the ensuing decade as has the mutual incomprehension.

When Khan was a student at the University of Oxford in the 1970s, Britain’s South Asian communities - which had put down roots in the 1950s and 1960s as immigrants from India and Pakistan, and had arrived in the UK in response to post-war labour shortages - were targeted by far-right skinheads.

Now, according to Khan, heads of state are stoking the same prejudices.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s deployment of anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies in his fight with the extreme right for re-election continues to rile Khan.

“Does he not understand that his statements and actions only power the vicious cycle of violence in France?” Khan said in an interview with Middle East Eye in Islamabad.

“I feel that President Macron does not really understand how he is going to deal with the Muslim community if he does not understand this vicious cycle.

“Someone on the fringes will insult the Prophet. There will be a reaction, a stabbing. This will outrage French society… saying freedom of expression is our religion. Police will clamp down on the mosques. Muslims will be marginalised and someone from those ranks will strike again.”

France has been the target of a series of deadly Islamist militant attacks in recent years.

In January 2015, 12 people were killed in an attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine which in 2012 had published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

In November 2015, Islamic State gunmen and bombers killed 130 people in Paris. In July 2016, 86 people were killed when an IS-inspired attacker drove a truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.

A year ago this week, Samuel Paty, a teacher in a Paris suburb, was killed and beheaded after showing Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet to his class.

In the aftermath of Paty’s murder, the cartoons were beamed onto the sides of public buildings in support of the principle of free speech.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin ordered the closure of the Grand Mosque de Pantin after it had shared a video critical of the teacher on its Facebook page in the days before the attack. He has since also closed two Islamic charities.

Macron said: “Our compatriot was killed for teaching children freedom of speech.”

Since then, Khan and his government have been conducting a public argument with Macron. When the French president said that Paty was killed “because Islamists want our future”, Khan said in a series of tweets that these remarks would only sow division.

"This is a time when Pres Macron could have put healing touch & denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarisation & marginalisation that inevitably leads to radicalisation," Khan wrote.

He continued: "It is unfortunate that he has chosen to encourage Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists who carry out violence, be it Muslims, White Supremacists or Nazi ideologists."

Khan’s human rights minister Shireen Mazari later deleted a tweet comparing Macron’s treatment of Muslims to the Nazi’s treatment of the Jews.

'Code of existence'

How is this going to end?

Khan sees two scenarios: either France finds a way of living with the biggest Muslim community in western Europe - a “code of existence” is how he describes it - or it will continue to alienate and exclude its Muslim citizens from public life.

Western society refuses to understand the hurt caused to millions of Muslims when the Prophet is insulted, Khan says.

“They cannot understand the reverence we have for the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him. People love him, more than anything, respect and love for him is paramount in our religion.”

At the heart of this dispute between two national leaders is profound disagreement about the nature of free speech. For Macron and his many supporters, free speech is a fundamental freedom which is a core republican value.

In contrast, Khan believes that the right to free speech should not override community cohesion and the need to protect communal relationships.

As an example, he defends Pakistan’s bitterly criticised blasphemy law on the grounds that it has protected religious communities.

“The blasphemy law was made by the British when they were ruling India. What was the blasphemy law? Three different human communities living in a village. Someone would insult a sacred entity of the other community. There would be a riot. People would be killed. So they then said this is not allowed. So instead of there being a riot, they would go to the police saying the law has been insulted.”

Khan defends legislation against hate speech, including laws in 16 European countries and Israel against Holocaust denial.

But Khan presses this point: just as western society recognises that Holocaust denial caused “a lot of pain to the Jewish community”, so it should also recognise the pain caused to Muslims by orchestrated insults of the Prophet Muhammad.

“No one should be allowed to cause pain to human communities. If we have to live in a global village, therefore we Muslims must make every human community define what gives them pain. This [insulting the Prophet] is what gives us pain.”

But for Khan it is not just the West that has failed. Muslim leaders kowtowing to the wave of alienation have failed too.

They too, he said, have allowed the West to conflate Islam and terrorism.

He said that just as it was wrong to blame India for a deadly variant of Covid, terrorism should not be associated with any religion.

“What has Islam got to do with terrorism? Just now, this Indian variant of the Covid-19 came across, devastating the world, but the Indians said, ‘Look, don't call it Indian variant, call it Delta variant’. Because why should any virus be associated with any nation? Similarly, why should terrorism be associated with any religion?”

But why, then, is Khan so silent about China’s well-documented mistreatment of another Muslim minority, the Uighurs?

Source: Middle East Eye

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SOPs issued for events of Eid Miladun Nabi

October 12, 2021

ISLAMABAD: To reduce chances of Covid-19 transmission during the upcoming Eid Miladun Nabi celebrations, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the occasion.

On the other hand, more than 1,000 coronavirus cases surfaced after a gap of three days.

The NCOC, which met on Monday, issued guidelines to local authorities, organisers and participants of Eid Miladun Nabi gatherings to minimise the risk of virus spreading.

The meeting suggested that the size of the congregations should be determined on the basis of local safety regulations under the guidance of health authorities.

A direct link and channels of communication between event organisers, health and local authorities, religious leaders and relevant stakeholders should be established.

It was decided that all individuals with Covid-19 symptoms, contacts of positive cases during their period of quarantine and those with high risk of mortality (older individuals, persons with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and chronic chest conditions) should be prohibited from attending Mehfil-i-Milad and processions.

Seerat conference and Mehfil-i-Milad

The NCOC directed that outdoor Seerat conferences and Mehfil-i-Milad be prioritised; however, if it is not possible, adequate ventilation in indoor venues should be ensured.

Air conditioners must not be used in closed halls, and if portable ventilation equipment, like fans, is required, steps should be taken to direct air flow in a way that it does not blow from one person to another to reduce the potential spread of airborne or aerosolised viruses.

Religious scholars (Ulema, Sana Khawan and Naat Khawan) must only be allowed to address gatherings after they undertake a Covid-19 test with a subsequent negative result.

Social distancing should be ensured while making seating arrangements during Mehfil-i-Milad, keeping a distance of six feet between each person.

Use of loudspeakers would be allowed so that people are able to listen to the religious scholars speak on the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Electronic media has been advised to carry out live transmissions so that people can watch Eid Miladun Nabi events from their homes.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan-based ‘terrorist’, living in India for past 10-15 years, arrested by Delhi Police

October 12, 2021

The Delhi Police on Tuesday claimed to have arrested a Pakistan-based “terrorist” who was planning an attack in the capital. The terror suspect was apprehended from East Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar where he was allegedly living under a fake name. Police said they recovered an AK-47 rifle, a hand grenade, pistols and ammunition from his hideouts in Delhi.

The accused, identified as Mohd Ashraf Ali, has been booked under sections of the UAPA Act, Explosives Act and Arms Act by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell.

According to police officials, Ali hails from the Punjab province of Pakistan and has been living in India for the last 10-15 years.

“We received a tip that a terrorist was hiding in Laxmi Nagar and could be planning something big in the coming days. Based on the inputs, raids were conducted and Ali was apprehended from his house around 10 pm on Monday. We found an AK-47 along with several arms and ammunition from his house. We suspect he was planning a major attack in the city,” said a senior police officer.

Police said he was living in India under the name Ali Ahmed Noori. He obtained identity cards through forged documents, they added.

Source: Indian Express

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Karnataka: Muslim Students Attacked For Wearing Skull Cap In Tuition

By Sameer

12th October 2021

Bagalkote: In yet communal incident, Muslim students have been attacked for wearing skull cap in private tuition. This incident took place in Bagalkote, Karnataka.

It is reported that Muslim students were beaten up by over 15 people. In the attack, two students suffered from serious injuries.

After the incident, the students were shifted to a hospital for treatment.

MS Education Academy

Source: Siasat Daily

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Bhopal: Four Muslim Men Targeted by Bajrang Dal Outside College Garba Event, Then Detained by Police

Oct 12, 2021

New Delhi: Four young Muslim men, including two students, in Bhopal were taken into police custody on Sunday night after members of the Hindu right-wing Bajrang Dal decided to “catch them” and hand them over to the police, the Indian Express reported. The men were outside a garba organised by Oxford College, where two of the men – Adnan Shah and Kadir Mansoori – are students. The other two – Umar Khalid and Sayyad Sakib – are their friends, according to the newspaper.

The Bajrang Dal members reportedly claimed that the garba event was being held in violation of COVID-19 norms and also promoted “love jihad“. “Love jihad” is a commonly-used bogey by the Sangh parivar in recent years, claiming without evidence that Muslim men and luring Hindu women into marriage and forcing them to convert. Despite the dubious nature of this theory, several Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states, including Madhya Pradesh, have passed laws specifically meant to tackle “love jihad”. Numerous reports have shown that these laws are being used to target interfaith couples and Muslim men.

Superintendent of Police, Indore West, Maheshchand Jain admitted to the Indian Express that the action against the four young men was “unfair” and that he had recommended that they not be detained. Malharganj SDM Parag Jain, however, said the four had been charged for creating a “public nuisance”, and were sent to jail as their families didn’t furnish bail bonds.

Bajrang Dal and VHP district in-charge Tarun Devda wrote a complaint letter to the police saying that though the college was given permission to hold a garba for 800 attendants, it sold 3,000 tickets. Devda continued that the college was assembling “young women” and promoting “love jihad”, “distorting the purity of the event”, Indian Express reported.

A case under IPC Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code was registered against a member of the college management, Akshay Tiwari, but he has not been arrested yet, News18 reported.

An eyewitness told the Indian Express that the Bajrang Dal members targeted the four because of their religious identity. “Ye unwala hai (He is one of theirs),” BCom student Habib Noor quoted the Bajrang Dal members as saying.

Adnan Shah’s uncle Sajid Shah said his nephew and his friends regularly participate in college events, irrespective of their religion. “… Be it garba or Republic Day, they participate in all college functions. What are they being punished for?”

Source: The Wire

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India condemns suicide attack on mosque in Afghanistan

Oct 11, 2021

India on Monday strongly condemned a terrorist attack on a Shia mosque at Kunduz in Afghanistan in which more than 100 people were reportedly killed and said the perpetrators of the assault should be speedily brought to justice.

The Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) has claimed the suicide bombing at the mosque on October 8. Hundreds of Shia men gathered for Friday prayers when the bomber struck. Dozens of people were injured in the deadly attack.

“India strongly condemns the terrorist attack on a Shia mosque in Kunduz, Afghanistan in which more than 100 Afghans were reported to have lost [their] lives and several others injured,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

“We extend our condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims during their difficult time,” it said.

India said the attack had once again highlighted the need to combat terrorism in Afghanistan.

The statement said, “India stands committed in the fight against the scourge of terrorism and reiterates the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan. We stand with the people of Afghanistan and hope that perpetrators of this attack would be identified and brought to justice expeditiously.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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Mehbooba Mufti bats for SRK’s son, accuses BJP of targeting Muslims to gain votes

Oct 12, 2021

SRINAGAR: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti spoke out on Monday in favour of filmstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son, Aryan Khan, who had been caught by the Narcotics Control Bureau, saying in a tweet that Aryan was being targeted by central agencies because of his surname.

"Instead of making an example out of a Union minister’s son accused of killing four farmers, central agencies are after a 23-year-old simply because his surname happens to be Khan. Travesty of justice that Muslims are targeted to satiate the sadistic wishes of BJP’s core vote bank," Mehbooba tweeted.

Aryan Khan was caught by the NCB during a drug bust on board a cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai on October 2. He has been denied bail by a local court and lodged in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail till October 13.

Source: Times of India

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NIA conducts raids at 16 locations in J&K linked to over ground workers of terrorist group

Oct 12, 2021

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday conducted raids at 16 locations in Jammu and Kashmir in a new case linked to the Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of Lashkar-e-Taiba's (LeT) offshoot The Resistance Front (TRF).

The agency also conducted raids at five locations in Delhi-NCR in the Mundra drug seizure case.

Source: Times of India

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PM Modi at G20 expected to highlight India's willingness and commitment to help Afghans with humanitarian aid

Oct 12, 2021

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the extraordinary meet on Afghanistan called by Italy, chair of G20. The world's richest economies will discuss the humanitarian crisis and terror risks emanating from Afghanistan.

India has already shared its position that it stands with Afghans and is ready to continue its assistance programme. India has indicated in the past that it wants unimpeded, unrestricted access. New Delhi also called for impartial distribution of assistance to all sections of society.

Being one of the biggest donors, India has spent 3 billion dollars to rebuild the war-torn country. There are small and big India-built community and developmental projects in all provinces of Afganistan.

In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last month, Prime Minister Modi said, "The world must fulfil its duty by providing help to the people in war-torn Afghanistan where women, children and minorities are in need."

In Tuesday's meet, other than outlining India's willingness to provide humanitarian support to Afghans, PM Modi is also expected to inform G20 nations about the risks of terrorism emanating from Afghanistan and how a neighbouring country is aiding anti-India terror groups in Afghanistan.

At a virtual meeting on Afghanistan organised by SCO last month, PM Modi emphasised and warned that if "instability and fundamentalism" persist in Afghanistan, it will encourage terrorist and extremist ideologies all over the world.

Source: Times of India

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Three terrorists killed in J&K's Shopian district

Oct 12, 2021

SRINAGAR: Three terrorists of The Resistance Front (TRF), including the one involved in the recent killing of a non-local street hawker here, were killed in an overnight encounter with security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Tuesday.

The security forces had launched a cordon and search operation in Tulran, Imamsahab area of Shopian, in South Kashmir on Monday evening, after receiving specific inputs about the presence of militants in the area, a police official said.

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

In the ensuing gunfight, three militants were killed, the official said.

The police said they belonged to TRF -- a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

"#ShopianEncounterUpdate: 03 #terrorists of LeT (TRF) killed. Identification being ascertained. #Incriminating materials including arms & ammunition recovered. Search going on. Further details shall follow," the Kashmir Zone Police wrote on its Twitter handle.

Kashmir IGP Vijay Kumar said one of the three militants was involved in the killing of non-local street hawker Virendra Paswan.

Source: Times of India

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PM Modi, Boris Johnson talk vaccine certification, Afghan situation

October 12, 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson on Monday held a telephone conversation during which they welcomed the UK’s recognition of Indian vaccine certification and agreed on the need for a coordinated international approach to engage with the Taliban, according to a statement by the UK.

The telephone conversation came four days after the UK announced that Indian travellers fully vaccinated with both doses of Covishield or any other vaccine approved by it will not need to undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine on arrival from October 11.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said the two leaders reviewed the progress in bilateral relations since their virtual summit earlier this year, and expressed satisfaction at the steps initiated under the Roadmap 2030 adopted during the virtual summit. They also reviewed the progress of the Enhanced Trade Partnership and agreed on the potential of rapidly expanding trade and investment linkages between both countries, it said.

It said the leaders held discussion on issues related to climate change, in the context of the coming UNFCCC COP-26 meeting in Glasgow in November. PM Modi conveyed India’s commitment to climate action, as seen in its target for expansion of renewable energy and the recently announced National Hydrogen Mission.

The leaders exchanged views on regional developments, especially the situation in Afghanistan. In this context, they agreed on the need to develop a common international perspective on issues regarding extremism and terrorism, as well as human rights and rights of women and minorities.

The British statement said the two prime ministers discussed the shared fight against coronavirus and the importance of opening up travel. “They agreed the UK’s recognition of Indian vaccine certification is a welcome development to that end,” it said. According to the statement shared with journalists by the British High Commission here, the two leaders discussed the strength of the UK-India relationship and climate action in the context of the coming COP-26 in Glasgow. “The leaders talked about the current situation in Afghanistan. They agreed on the need for a coordinated international approach to engagement with the Taliban, emphasising the importance of upholding human rights in the country,” it said.

Source: Indian Express

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India closely following developments in Afghanistan: Jaishankar

October 11, 2021

India said on Monday that it was closely following the developments in Afghanistan and underscored the importance of the Taliban regime meeting the expectations of the international community as elaborated in a UN Security Council resolution.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made the remarks during a joint press appearance with his Kyrgyz counterpart Ruslan Kazakbaev after a “constructive” meeting with him here.

Jaishankar said that discussion on developments in Afghanistan and its implications for the peace and security of the region occupied some time in his talks with Kazakbaev.

“We are closely following the developments in Afghanistan. It concerns all of us. Any instability in Afghanistan will have an impact in the region. There are expectations of the international community from the current regime in Afghanistan, which are adequately elaborated in the UNSCR 2593,” he said.

The UNSC resolution 2593 unequivocally demands that Afghan territory not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts; and specifically refers to terrorist individuals proscribed by the UN Security Council, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad

“India and Kyrgyz Republic have a shared approach to developments in Afghanistan,” he said in a tweet.

Source: Indian Express

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Spokesman: Iran, Azerbaijan Pursuing Logical Path in Bilateral Ties


"The two countries have always pursued a logical procedure in their relations. It is unnatural to disrupt relations between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan," Khatibzadeh told reporters on Monday.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, however, said Iran has told its concerns to the Azeri side, and they have also said they will address those concerns.

"We have never closed our airspace to Azerbaijan. The land route is also open between the two countries and the two sides should not allow third parties to affect relations," Khatibzadeh added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman is response to a question about Iran-Saudi Arabia talks in the Iraqi capital said, "Baghdad has been a good host to date, and there is no need to change the location of the talks as long as possible. The two countries are discussing more serious issues."

"Iran has always pursued its policy and believes that talks between regional actors and Iran and Saudi Arabia can be one of the pillars of peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region," he added.

Khatibzadeh pointed out that Iran and Saudi Arabia have held four rounds of talks in Baghdad and bilateral and regional issues, including the Persian Gulf and Yemen.

"The fate of Yemen will be determined by the Yemeni people and their will. What Saudi Arabia has to do is stop the war and the cruel siege and the conditions that have led to human tragedy," the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman further said.

He also expressed hope that Iran and Saudi Arabia relations will contribute to the peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Health activists address stigma to raise breast cancer awareness in Gaza

12 October ,2021

Health authorities and charities in Gaza are stepping up efforts to persuade women to be tested for breast cancer, hoping to overcome social stigma over dealing with the disease.

As part of a “There’s no shame in it” campaign launched by private charity Fares Al-Arab in conjunction with the health ministry, Muslim preachers have been promoting early detection and bakers have enclosed similar messages in bread packages.

A mobile testing van has taken to the road, providing scans for some 150 women a day over the past week at the start of the annual international breast cancer awareness month in October.

“‘There’s no shame in it’ is a message of hope and safety for every women, telling them to go ahead and check,” said Georgette Harb, the campaign’s leader.

“There is a category in the community that deals with the issue as shameful, and they deal with breast removal and the word breast as if it was obscene or shameful,” said Harb.

Breast cancer accounts for 32 percent of the cases of cancer among women in Gaza, the health ministry said.

Cancer patients there face multiple problems ranging from poverty, the lack of medication in the territory’s hospitals and some difficulty going for treatment to Israel, the West Bank and beyond due to permit restrictions.

During the campaign, Gaza’s main telecommunications company PalTel bathed its headquarters in pink lights, the color illustrating breast cancer awareness, with more institutions due to follow.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Commander: Iran Possessing Largest Chopper Fleet in Region


“We have the largest fleet of helicopters in the region. Today, our helicopters are outfitted with the best night-vision cameras and precision missiles,” General Kioumars Heidari said on Sunday.

“We have also achieved important milestones in the field of UAVs. At present, we have achieved self-sufficiency in the field of combat and reconnaissance drones, he added.

In a relevant development last month, Iran’s Defense Ministry declared self-sufficiency in manufacturing military drones.

In relevant remarks earlier this month, Commander of the Iranian Army Air Defense Force Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard announced that the Iranian-made Air Defense systems have been upgraded to confront enemies' harshest threats.

"We build equipment inside the country such as the Hormuz radar and the Shams simulator that is cutting edge science and technology and the enemies know this because they are constantly keeping an eye on us and know what indigenous capabilities have been added to the air defense force in recent years," General Sabahifard said.

"Building a long-range simulator system is more difficult than other simulators, but this capability has been achieved in Air Defense Force Research and Self Sufficiency Organization," he added.

General Sabahifard said that the purpose of designing and building a simulator is that instead of using the main system to train the troops, it is possible to train specialists, people and users by building a simulation system so that they do not have any problems working with the main system.

"What is good about indigenous systems is that because they are built inside the country, we can upgrade or redesign them based on the new threats to make them able to deal with the toughest threats," he said.

General Sabahifard said that the country's Air Defense and the powerful defense force of the army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, because of the capabilities it has obtained in the construction of the equipment, is number one in the region and has a say in the world.

In relevant remarks earlier this month, Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces and Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined that the Islamic Republic's Armed Forces comprising the Army, the IRGC, the Police Force, and the Basij Force have established a strong defense shield against possible threats of enemies.

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks at the joint graduation ceremony for cadets of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed Forces Academies at Imam Hossein (PBUH) University on Sunday morning.

Ayatollah Khamenie, the commander-in-chief of the Iranian Armed Forces, attended the ceremony through videoconference.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony was held with only a number of the exemplary units from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army, IRGC and Police in attendance.

"Our armed forces are a strong wall and a shield of the country against the hard threats. Today, Iran's Armed Forces including the Army, the IRGC, the police, the Basij are literally a defensive shield against the hard threats of external and internal enemies," Ayatollah Khamenei said during the ceremony.

"The security of a country is the basic and necessary infrastructure for all activities and progress," he added. "It is a great honor for a country to be able to provide its own security with its own capable and powerful forces, and those who, under the illusion of relying on others, think that they can provide security of their own countries, should know that they will be slapped soon," the Supreme Leader added.

Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out that the presence of foreign armies in our own region, including the US military, is destructive and provocative.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran says ready to sign Russia strategic partnership, similar to one with China

11 October ,2021

Iran is ready to sign a strategic partnership with Russia, mirroring one concluded early this year with China, the foreign ministry said Monday.

"The initial arrangements of this document, entitled the Global Agreement for Cooperation between Iran and Russia, have been concluded," said ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh.

"We are in the process of finalizing diverse clauses of the document and we will send it to Moscow," he told reporters.

"In recent years, it has become necessary to improve relations between Iran and Russia and to concentrate on strategic partnerships," he added.

"Between Iran, China and Russia, the eastern axis is emerging."

He added that Tehran hopes the document will be signed in the coming months.

Source: Al Arabiya

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North America


Talks with Taliban candid and professional, says US

Anwar Iqbal

October 12, 2021

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Monday that the weekend talks with the Taliban were candid and professional.

During the weekend, the Biden administration held their first face-to-face meeting with the Taliban in Doha since the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in late August.

On Monday, a State Department official told journalists in Washington that on Oct 9 and 10, an interagency US delegation travelled to the Qatari capital to meet senior Taliban representatives.

“The US delegation focused on security and terrorism concerns and safe passage for US citizens, other foreign nationals and our Afghan partners,” the department’s spokesperson Ned Price said.

Group will be judged on actions, not words: Price

US officials also focused on human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society, he said.

“The two sides also discussed the provision of robust US humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people,” Mr Price said.

“The discussions were candid and professional with the US delegation reiterating that the Taliban will be judged on its actions, not only its words.”

Mr Price did not specify if any agreements were made.

Although, Taliban officials spoke to various media outlets after the talks, they too offered few details.

A previous statement from the Taliban’s leadership said the meeting “went well” and acknowledged that the United States would continue to provide humanitarian support to Afghanistan, but it would not formally recognise the Taliban.

In another media engagement, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said Afghanistan’s new leaders were committed to ensuring terrorism does not take root in Afghanistan again.

Those comments came just two days after the militant Islamic State (Khorasan) group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that left more than 100 people dead during noon prayer at a mosque in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, another State Department official described the US-Taliban meeting as the continuation of Washington’s “pragmatic engagement” with the Taliban on issues of vital national interest.

The US official, however, made it clear that “this meeting (was) not about granting recognition or conferring legitimacy. We remain clear that any legitimacy must be earned through the Taliban’s own actions”.

The official said the US delegation included officials from the Department of State, USAID, and other government agencies who met senior Taliban representatives in Doha. He did not specify which agencies, but media reports from Doha claimed that the US delegation included intelligence officials.

“This meeting (was) a continuation of the pragmatic engagements with the Taliban on issues of US vital national interest,” the State Department official said. “Our key priorities are the continued safe passage out of Afghanistan of US and other foreign nationals and Afghans to whom we have a special commitment (and) who seek to leave the country.”

The other key priority, the official said, was “holding the Taliban to its commitment not to allow terrorists to use Afghan soil to threaten the security of the United States or its allies”.

Source: Dawn

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Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny team up to write novel ‘State of Terror’

October 12, 2021

As US forces left Afghanistan this summer and the Taliban seized control, Hillary Rodham Clinton responded not just as a former secretary of state but in a capacity she never imagined for herself — as a novelist seeing her first work of fiction anticipate current events.

“State of Terror,” completed months ago and coming out this week, is a thriller co-written by Clinton and her friend Louise Penny, the bestselling crime novelist. The main character, Ellen Adams, is a new secretary of state with a backstory familiar to Clinton watchers — the surprise choice for an incoming administration led by her onetime political rival, as Barack Obama had been when he brought in Clinton after the 2008 election.

Secretary Adams will soon be caught up in what Clinton calls one of her nightmare scenarios while in Washington — an international terrorist plot involving nuclear weapons. The trouble in part originates in Afghanistan, where the previous administration of Trump-like President Eric Dunn has made a deal (as Trump did) that Adams sees as effectively giving the country back to the Taliban and raising the risk of terrorist activity.

“We did do the outline a year or so before the (2020) election. We didn’t know who was going to win. We didn’t know what was going to happen,” Clinton explained during a recent joint interview with Penny at the Simon & Schuster offices in midtown Manhattan. “Whoever was going to win — Trump , or I hoped, Biden — would be facing a fait accompli.”

The nearly 500-page novel combines other details that resonate with recent news — for instance, a chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who, like Gen. Mark Milley under Trump, challenges the civilian leadership — along with explorations of friendship; a cameo for Penny’s famed fictional investigator, Armand Gamache; and, for the writers, the enjoyment of placing women of a certain age at the heart of a political thriller.

Seated together on a modestly sized couch, Clinton and Penny converse like two public people who know well how to share talking points with the media while also clearly sharing a private history of travel, meals, confidences, inside jokes and mutual esteem. When Penny remembered her apprehension about meeting Clinton — “Hillary Clinton, my God, just so impressive, smart and thoughtful” — Clinton smiled wryly and rolled her eyes.

“Do you remember the first time we actually met?” Penny said to Clinton. It was in a New York restaurant, just a couple of months after Clinton’s stunning loss to Trump in 2016.

“And you were at an event, I think the first in-person post-election event, in Boston,” Penny recalled. “So you were late, and you came into this restaurant — a public restaurant, obviously. And she showed up at the door, and the restaurant was throbbing. Silence. Silence. And then as one, they rose and applauded.”

“It was in New York,” Clinton noted with a laugh — her home state, where she had won by double digits.

Each writer contributes an afterword in “State of Terror,” reflecting on their friendship and professional partnership. They had, it turns out, long admired each other. Penny had followed Clinton’s career since the early 1990s, when Bill Clinton was first elected president, while Clinton’s best friend Betsy Johnson Ebeling told a reporter in 2016 that both she and Clinton were fans of crime novels and were reading Penny.

Penny met Ebeling shortly after the interview, and was surprised to learn that someone so close to Hillary Clinton was not an “intimidating power broker” but a slight, unassuming woman with the “warmest smile and kind eyes.” She heard from Clinton a few weeks later. Penny’s husband, Michael, had died of dementia, and among her condolence cards was one from Clinton that cited his accomplished medical career and offered thoughts on loss and grief.

“Secretary Clinton, in the last stages of a bruising brutal campaign for the most powerful job in the world, took time out to write to me,” Penny wrote, adding that they had yet to meet and that Penny, a Canadian, couldn’t vote for her.

“It was an act of selflessness I will never forget, and one that has inspired me to be kinder in my own life.”

The book is shaped by Penny’s narrative style and by Clinton’s government experiences and global outlook, but also by grief that Clinton still finds hard “to fully accept.” Ellen Adams is based in part on Clinton’s friend, former Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher, who died in April 2019. Ebeling, the inspiration for Ellen’s best friend, Betsy Jameson, in “State of Terror,” died just a few months later. Ellen Adams’ daughter, Katherine, is named for Tauscher’s daughter.

Hillary Clinton, whose closest experience to writing a novel had been a play she wrote in sixth grade about a trip to Europe, is not the first in her family to do so: Bill Clinton has completed two bestselling thrillers with James Patterson, and their success encouraged some publishing officials to wonder if Hillary should try something similar.

The idea for teaming up with Penny began with Stephen Rubin, a longtime industry executive who since March 2020 has been a consulting publisher at Simon & Schuster.

In a recent email to the AP, he noted that Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp was seeking ideas for a new book by Hillary Clinton, who has been with the publisher for more than 20 years and wrote the bestselling memoirs “Living History” and “What Happened,” among others. Penny’s publisher is St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan, where Rubin once worked.

Source: Indian Express

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