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Islamic World News ( 14 Feb 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Terrorist Groups Rely On Fatwa to Serve Their Deviated Ideologies; Awqaf Must Spread the Moderate Islam, Say Islamic Affairs Ministers

New Age Islam News Bureau

15 February 2022

 

Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif Bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh.

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• Karnataka Schools Force Muslim Students To Remove Hijabs In Keeping With Karnataka HC Interim Order Against Wearing Any Religious Clothing

• Far-Right Violence, Attacks against Muslims 'Escalate' In France

• Taliban Warns Reconsideration of Their Policies towards US If Assets Do Not Get Unfrozen

• Pak PM Imran Khan Defends Ally China, Says ‘Xinjiang Situation Not What Western Media Portrays’

 

Arab World

• OIC Expresses Deep Concern over Continued Attacks on Muslims in India

• Arab states stress women’s rights to Taliban in aid talks

• Turkey’s Erdogan arrives in UAE on first visit since 2013

• Israeli prime minister to make first visit to Bahrain on Monday

• UAE keen to strengthen partnership with Turkiye, says crown prince

• Syria denounces Israeli brutality in occupied East al-Quds neighborhood as ‘war crime’

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India

• Muslim Businessman Spends Rs 42 Lakh to Build Krishna Temple in Jharkhand

• Hijab Plea: 'Let Us Use Dupatta to Cover Head'

• 'Allow Us to Wear Headscarf That Matches Uniform': Girls Who Petitioned In Favour Of Hijab

• Muslim women have made up mind to bless BJP: PM Narendra Modi

• 3 charged over mosque blaze during Delhi riots

• At UN, India calls Pakistan terror hub, demands action

• Mark of respect: Kerala temple cuts short festivities after Muslim neighbour dies

• Humiliating, says Owaisi as teachers, students in Karnataka forced to remove hijab

• India to Run By Constitution, Not Islamic Law: Yogi Adityanath As UP Votes

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Europe

• Germany urged to save citizen risking execution in Iran

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South Asia

• Former Security Forces Member Detained by Islamic Emirate: Family

• Family Claims Former MoD Officer Detained by Islamic Emirate

• Islamic Emirate Meets Envoys of Gulf States in Doha: FM

• US says attacks in vicinity of embassy in Kabul

• Afghanistan will initially have 110,000-member army, says Taliban

• Taliban sniper becomes Afghan mayor

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Pakistan

• Pakistan seeks Iran’s anti-terror efforts against Baloch terrorists

• Pakistan: Young Baloch rebel killed by Pakistani army in Gwadar

• Imran Khan's visit to Moscow will be a blow to Pak's reputation

• Pakistan Continues to Exhibit Gory ‘Islamophobia’ Against Ahmadis

• Over 150 ‘assailants’ booked in Christian boy’s death case in Lahore

• Pakistan diplomat recalls Soviet pullout from Afghanistan

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Southeast Asia

• Muslim Couples Can Solemnise Marriage Online Under Changes to Law in Singapore

• Malaysian Minister under Fire for Apparently Endorsing Domestic Violence

• Appeals court rejects citizenship bid for woman born in Pahang to Cambodia refugees, but says can apply to be naturalised Malaysian

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Mideast

• Israel Imposes Travel Ban on Head of Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch: Lawyer

• Iranian FM: West’s Threats, Warnings No Endpoint to Vienna Talks

• Iran: West Continues Initiative “Show” in Vienna Talks

• Iran, Pakistan Confer on Regional Security

• Palestinian detainees stage one-day hunger strike in Israel

• Attacks on Palestinian homes by Israeli police, settlers in East Jerusalem leave 31 injured

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Africa

• Muslim, Christian Leaders Work Together For Peace In Mozambique

• One protester killed as thousands rally across Sudan against coup: Medics

• Libyan crisis deepens as Tobruk-based parliament chooses new premier

• Roadside bomb kills 4 civilians in southern Somalia

• Jordan condemns Israel's aggression in East Jerusalem

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North America

• US military admits killing civilians in latest Syria raid amid rising criticism

• Iran, militias it backs have increased threats against US troops in Syria: Pentagon

• Houthis ‘primary obstacle to peace efforts’ in Yemen: US special envoy

• Seizure of Afghanistan assets example of US piracy: Analyst

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/terrorist-fatwa-awqaf-moderate-islam/d/126376

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Terrorist Groups Rely On Fatwa to Serve Their Deviated Ideologies; Awqaf Must Spread The Moderate Islam, Say Islamic Affairs Ministers

 

Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif Bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh.

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February 14, 2022

CAIRO — Ministers of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in countries of the Islamic world stressed that terrorist groups relied on utilizing fatwa to serve their deviated ideologies, noting that speaking in the religious public issues without full realization and awareness jeopardizes the security of homelands.

They also stressed that Islamic countries are now aware of distortions in the religious field and embarked on action to immunize societies from confusion in religious issues and build up capabilities to spread the moderate ideology.

These remarks were made during the 13th session of the Executive Council of Ministers of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs chaired by Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif Bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh.

The meeting in Cairo was held under the patronage of the Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly with the participation of member states.

Dr. Al Al-Sheikh stressed that the ministries of Awqaf (endowments) and Islamic Affairs, which carry out multiple tasks and responsibilities, must direct their efforts to spread the concept of moderate Islam, and confront the challenges that threaten our intellectual and ideological security, and undermine security, stability, values, and principles in our countries.

He added that collective efforts are capable of countering these intrusive ideas on our societies, ward off their dangers and damages, and restore the true image of Islam; its moderation and tolerance, which are the most important factors of its strength.

The meeting reviewed the General Authority of Endowments’ efforts in Saudi Arabia in managing endowment funds and the experiences of the ministries of Islamic affairs and endowments in adopting technical and urban specifications in building and maintaining mosques, and the exchange of expertise and regulations in appointing imams, preachers, and muezzins, and the responsibilities entrusted to them.

The meeting also discussed the seriousness of issuing fatwas without proper knowledge or specialization, and visions on (confronting the developments of extremism, and terrorism) as well as dealing with common human values including coexistence and tolerance, the various means of social media, and the role of the ministries of Islamic affairs and endowments in that regard. — SPA

Source: Saudi Gazette

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

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/617109/SAUDI-ARABIA/Terrorist-groups-rely-on-fatwa-to-serve-their-deviated-ideologies-say-Islamic-Affairs-ministers

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Karnataka Schools Force Muslim Students To Remove Hijabs In Keeping With Karnataka HC Interim Order Against Wearing Any Religious Clothing

 

The full bench of the high court that heard a batch of petitions challenging the hijab ban in educational institutions

File photo

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15.02.22

Schools in the state forced Muslim students to remove their hijabs in keeping with Karnataka High Court’s interim order against wearing any religious clothing, as classes up to tenth standard reopened on Monday after a short gap since last week’s unrest by Sangh parivar organisations.

Muslim girls wearing hijabs were asked to remove their headscarves before entering campuses across the state. While many students complied with the direction, others returned home without appearing for Class X preparatory exams that are underway.

In its interim order after hearing a petition by a student seeking her right to wear hijab, the division bench of the high court had directed the government to ensure that students did not wear any religious clothing such as hijabs or saffron scarves in classrooms pending disposal of the matter.

The full bench of the high court that heard a batch of petitions challenging the hijab ban in educational institutions will continue the hearing on Tuesday.

Video clips from various schools showed officials asking students to remove their hijabs. In one such video from the Rotary English Medium School in Mandya, around 100km from here, at least three Muslim girls were seen removing their hijabs before entering the campus.

Even adults were not spared, as two women were forced to remove their religious attire before entering the school in Mandya. While it’s not clear if the first woman is a staff or a parent, video shows the abaya-clad woman walking to the gates with a minor girl student. She then stops at the gates and removes her hijab and abaya. Moments later, another abaya-clad woman stops her scooter, removes her hijab and rides into the campus.

The state government had ordered the closure of all educational institutions following last Wednesday’s violent protests by students wearing saffron scarves as a counter to Muslim girls wearing hijabs. Students from both the sides had faced off in several colleges across the state before the government declared holiday for the rest of last week to calm tempers.

The government has enforced prohibitory orders around all schools in Udupi district in coastal Karnataka in view of Monday’s reopening. Udupi MLA Raghupathy Bhat of the BJP told reporters that peace meetings held on Sunday with parents and various organisations helped.

“Everything is peaceful here, as all the 295 schools in Udupi reopened and resumed classes without any glitches. We are ready to reopen colleges tomorrow if the government decides so,” he said.

But there were instances of students refusing to remove their hijabs in some schools in Tumkur and Shimoga.

Deputy Director of public instruction in Shimoga M.N. Ramesha said some students refused to write their preparatory exams without their hijabs. “They said they could still write the board exams even if they skipped the preparatory exams,” said the official.

“We have thousands of students writing the preparatory exams. But we cannot do anything if a few refuse to appear for the exams,” he said.

Similar scenes were witnessed outside a school in Tumkur where parents who came to drop their daughters took them back after the school authorities insisted on them removing the hijabs.

The state Assembly that started its budget session on Monday saw Gulbarga North MLA Kaneez Fathima of the Congress turning up in a hijab. “I will continue to wear my hijab even in the House,” she told reporters before entering the Assembly.

Her party had extended support to the rights of Muslim women to wear hijabs in schools and colleges.

The hijab row started at the Government Pre-University College in Udupi where a bunch of Muslim students wearing the headscarves were disallowed entry into classrooms on December 27. The college development committee headed by MLA Bhat refused to budge even though the students and their parents agreed to use the dupatta, which is part of the school uniform, to cover their heads. Eight girls have since been spending time outside the class.

The matter spread like wildfire after a few other colleges in Udupi imposed similar restrictions against Muslim students.

 Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/karnataka-schools-force-muslim-students-to-remove-hijabs/cid/1851906

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Far-Right Violence, Attacks against Muslims 'Escalate' In France

 

The watchdog noted that fundamental rights “of racialised people in France, and Muslims in particular” are under threat. (AP)

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14.02.2022

A Brussels-based human rights watchdog has warned EU institutions and member states on the attacks against Muslims and the spread of far-right ideas in France.

“The country is showing marks of a growing far-right within its institutions,” the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) said in a statement on Monday.

The watchdog denounced “the escalation of attacks against Muslims and civil society organisations who work against racism and anti-Muslim hatred in France.”

They added that Europe should be concerned by the French government's “increasingly divisive discourse and strategies” that are based on far-right ideology and target Muslims and civil society organisations.

“Under the guise of national security, civil society organisations have been dissolved, mosques have been raided, and schools and Muslim-owned businesses closed,” contrary to the principles of the rule of law, ENAR said.

'Fundamental rights under threat'

The watchdog also noted that fundamental rights “of racialised people in France, and Muslims in particular” are under threat in France.

They asserted that the freedom of expression and association is particularly in danger.

For this, they cited a recent report from the French Observatory of Associative Freedom that documented 20 abusive sanctions against NGOs without legal or factual bases over the past five years.

ENAR stressed these actions have a “chilling effect” on Muslim communities and civil society because they are “considered guilty until proven innocent.”

The statement underlined that French mainstream media has also joined the trend of attacking NGOs and “demonising Muslims.”

The organisation also warned that French politicians actively seek ties with openly far-right political organisations across Europe.

Source: Trt World

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

https://www.trtworld.com/europe/far-right-violence-attacks-against-muslims-escalate-in-france-54729

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Taliban Warns Reconsideration of Their Policies towards US If Assets Do Not Get Unfrozen

 

 

15 Feb 2022

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has once again reacted to US President Joe Biden’s decision over splitting Afghanistan’s $7 billion funds and said that they will reconsider their policies towards the US if they do not unfreeze the reserve.

The IEA in a statement on Monday, February 14, 2022, said initially freezing and now splitting Afghanistan’s reserve is opposed to all norms and principles which is an assault on the rights of all Afghans.

The reserves have no connection with the victims of 9/11, reads the statement.

“Taking the money of the Afghan people is a breach of Doha agreement and a barbaric move towards the people of Afghanistan. By taking the reserve of Afghanistan, the US wants to overshadow their crimes committed throughout the past 20 years in Afghanistan.” Reads the statement.

The IEA said that the US must not deteriorate relations with the Afghan people and should retreat from its decision.

As per the statement, the US must avoid further inflammatory actions that caused mistrust.

The US president Joe Biden’s decision over the assets of Afghanistan is not only condemned by the de facto authorities in Kabul but also by former politicians, common Afghan people, Afghan investors and industrialists, and Afghan women.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-warns-reconsideration-of-their-policies-towards-us-if-assets-do-not-get-unfrozen-8658756/

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Pak PM Imran Khan Defends Ally China, Says ‘Xinjiang Situation Not What Western Media Portrays’

 

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been supporting China on its policy regarding Xinjiang (file photo). Photograph :( Reuters)

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Feb 14, 2022

In support to all-weather ally China, Pakistan seems to have been constantly turning a blind eye to suppression of Uyghur Muslim in the country. 

For years, Pakistan seems to have been acting like the custodian of Islam all around the world. It has been voicing concerns for Muslims everywhere other than Xinjiang. 

In the latest development, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the situation in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is not what the Western media portrays. 

In an exclusive interview with Fareed Zakaria for CNN, the PM said that Pakistan's ambassador to China Moinul Haq had visited XUAR, and said that the situation over there is "not what the Western media portrays." 

Imran Khan has been supporting China on its policy regarding Xinjiang. 

This comes as the West looks to hold Beijing accountable for suppressing Uyghur Muslims in the region. 

For economic aid and diplomatic support, Pakistan has been hugely dependent on China nowadays. 

During the inaugural ceremony of the Beijing Olympics 2022, a joint statement released after the meeting of Imran Khan and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, said, "The Pakistan side expressed its "commitment to One-China Policy and support for China on Taiwan, South China Sea, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet." 

Source: WIO News

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

https://www.wionews.com/world/pak-pm-imran-khan-defends-ally-china-says-xinjiang-situation-not-what-western-media-portrays-453147

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Arab World

 

OIC Expresses Deep Concern over Continued Attacks on Muslims in India

15th February 2022

The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha on Monday has expressed deep concern over continued attacks targeting Muslims and their places of worship, the recent trend of anti-Muslim legislations in different states and rising incidents of violence against Muslims, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The OIC has raised concern over the recent banning of Muslim girl students from wearing hijab in the state of Karnataka.

It has also expressed concern over public calls for genocide of Muslims in Haridwar in the state of Uttarakhand and reported incidents of harassment of Muslim women on social media sites.

MS Education Academy

The OIC had called upon the international community, especially the UN mechanisms and special procedures of the Human Rights Council (HRC), to take necessary measures in this regard.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/oic-expresses-deep-concern-over-continued-attacks-on-muslims-in-india-2275892/

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Arab states stress women’s rights to Taliban in aid talks

February 15, 2022

DOHA: Gulf envoys stressed on Monday that women must be able to work and go to school, in talks with the Taliban foreign minister as Afgha­nistan’s hardline Islamic rulers made a new bid to unblock foreign aid.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, a key member of the Taliban leadership that took over Kabul six months ago, met in Doha with ambassadors from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on the first full day of his latest mission, where he is also to hold talks with European envoys.

The Taliban have been struggling to unfreeze billions of dollars of assets abroad and get sanctions lifted as it faces pressure over its treatment of women and supporters of the Western-backed government toppled last year.

The Taliban tweeted pictures of the smiling foreign minister entering Monday’s meeting with representatives from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. But diplomats said no promises were made by Afghan officials inside.

Arab envoys emphasised the need to help Afghanistan’s “urgent humanitarian needs” as the country confronts widespread hunger caused by drought as well as an economic crisis that has driven up chronic unemployment, said a GCC statement.

While highlighting that there should be “non-interference” in Afgh­a­nistan’s affairs, they “stre­ssed” the importance of a national reconciliation plan that “takes into consideration the interests of all components of society and respects basic freedoms and rights, including women’s right to work and education”.

The ambassadors also raised fears that “terrorist groups may be able to launch attacks from Afghanistan’s territory against other countries”.

They insisted that the country must not be exploited to fuel the illegal drugs trade.

Muttaqi, who is to hold a key meeting with European nations and other international representatives on Wednesday, made no comment after the meeting.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1675160/arab-states-stress-womens-rights-to-taliban-in-aid-talks

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Turkey’s Erdogan arrives in UAE on first visit since 2013

14 February ,2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday for his first visit to the UAE in nearly a decade, Emirati state media reported.

“President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived on Monday in the UAE” for a two-day visit, said the official WAM news agency.

“He was received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.”

Before taking off from Turkey, Erdogan said he hopes his visit advances the “big potential” of trade between the countries.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/14/Turkey-s-Erdogan-arrives-in-UAE-on-first-visit-since-2013

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Israeli prime minister to make first visit to Bahrain on Monday

14 February ,2022

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will travel to Bahrain on Monday in the highest-level visit since the countries established relations under a 2020 US-sponsored deal based in part on shared worries about Iran.

Bennett will meet with Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, his office said.

“The leaders will discuss additional ways to strengthen bilateral ties... especially the advancement of diplomatic and economic issues, with an emphasis on technology and innovation,” it said in a statement.

The two-day trip to Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s Gulf headquarters, comes amid heightened tensions after missile attacks on neighboring United Arab Emirates by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis. Israel also normalized ties with the UAE in 2020.

Israel has stepped up cooperation with the Gulf states.

Manama hosted Israel’s defense minister on February 2 and has said an Israeli military officer will be posted in Bahrain as part of an international coalition.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/14/Israeli-prime-minister-to-make-first-visit-to-Bahrain-on-Monday

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UAE keen to strengthen partnership with Turkiye, says crown prince

Ibrahim El-Khazen  

14.02.2022

ABU DHABI

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is keen to strengthen its partnership with Turkiye, the Abu Dhabi crown prince said on Monday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s remarks came during his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.

Erdogan is in the UAE for a two-day visit at the invitation of Al Nahyan.

President Erdogan’s “significant visit would create further momentum to strengthening cooperation and building a new prosperous phase of partnerships for the higher good of the two countries, their peoples and all the nations of the region," the state-run Emirates News Agency quoted Al Nahyan as saying.

The two leaders “reviewed the prospects of further consolidating bilateral relations and advancing cooperation and joint work between the two nations in various fields in addition to the latest regional and international issues and developments of interest,” the news agency said.

Appreciating Ankara’s “friendly position” and its condemnation of Houthi attacks on the UAE, the crown prince also wished “continued security, stability and prosperity” in Turkiye.

Al Nahyan hailed the agreements and memoranda of understanding signed by the two countries during Erdogan’s recent visit to the UAE.

The agreements, the crown prince said, “laid the foundation for the launch of fresh economic and trade partnerships between the two countries, stressing the UAE's keenness to strengthen this partnership and push it forward during the coming period to double the volume of trade exchanges between the two nations.”

Al Nahyan also conveyed President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's wishes for “continued good health and happiness to the Turkish president and more stability, progress and prosperity for his country,” according to the news agency.

The crown prince said his country “welcomes every step on the road to cooperation, understanding and peace in the region” in the spirit of “strengthening cooperation and coexistence to achieve development, prosperity and stability.”

He highlighted the UAE’s keenness “to cooperate with Turkiye to face the multiple common challenges witnessed in the region through dialogue, understanding, consultation and diplomatic solutions.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/uae-keen-to-strengthen-partnership-with-turkiye-says-crown-prince/2502590

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Syria denounces Israeli brutality in occupied East al-Quds neighborhood as ‘war crime’

15 February 2022

Syria has roundly condemned the brutal practices of Israeli military forces and extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the occupied East al-Quds neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah as “war crimes,” calling on international organizations to put an end to the rising acts of the regime's aggression.

“The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates follows up on ferocious Israeli assaults being committed by Israeli settlers and troops against local Palestinians in the occupied al-Quds. The attacks have claimed several lives and caused damage to property,” the ministry said in a statement released on Monday.

It denounced the displacing of Palestinian families from their ancestral homes in Sheikh Jarrah as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and a flagrant violation of international law and humanitarian principles.

“Syria calls on world states as well as international humanitarian organizations to immediately stop Israeli practices and prevent the regime from killing more Palestinians and trampling on their rights,” the ministry stated.

Clashes broke out in Sheikh Jarrah on Sunday as far-right Jewish lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir of the Religious Zionism alliance opened a parliamentary office there, in what was described as an effort to exacerbate the situation in the neighborhood.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned Ben Gvir’s step as a “provocative” move that “threatens to ignite violence.”

The ministry said the failure of the international community and the UN Security Council to take necessary measures to compel Israel to stop its occupation of al-Quds encourages the occupying regime to forge ahead with its colonial Judaization projects in the Holy City.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/15/676856/Syria-blasts-Israeli-war-crime-Sheikh-Jarrah-neighborhood

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India

 

Muslim businessman spends Rs 42 lakh to build Krishna temple in Jharkhand

15th February 2022

By Mukesh Ranjan

RANCHI:  Businessman Naushad Sheikh has built a temple spending nearly Rs 42 lakh from his pocket at Maheshbathan in Jharkhand’s Dumka. Sheikh, who is also the Up-Pramukh of Ranishwar Block, says he has respect for all religions and he is influenced by Lord Krishna.

Asked why he built the temple despite being a Muslim, Sheikh said there is only one God for all. Therefore, it hardly matters whether one worships in a temple, mosque or church.

Since most people living in the area are Hindus, he thought of building a temple. During the ‘pran-pratishtha’ of the temple on Monday, people from all communities gathered to witness the auspicious moment.

The 55-year-old revealed it all happened after he visited a temple at Mayapur in West Bengal.

“I had gone to visit the temple of Lord Krishna over there. God himself came to my dreams and told me he was present in the village, and directed me to establish him by building a temple.” After his return, he laid the foundation for the temple in 2019 and started building it.

“I completed the construction in three years and ‘pran-pratishta’ of the idol was done on Monday,” he added.

Sheikh said he had been upset because in the village, people worshipped Lord Krishna in the form of ‘Parthasarthi’ under the open skies.

The ‘pran-pratishtha’ was performed by 150 Brahmins as per Hindu customs and women drummers were called from Kolkata.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/good-news/2022/feb/15/muslim-businessman-spends-rs-42-lakh-to-build-krishna-temple-in-jharkhand-2419614.html

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Hijab plea: 'Let us use dupatta to cover head'

Vasantha Kumar

Feb 15, 2022

BENGALURU: A group of students that has challenged the hijab ban in their pre-university college in Udupi requested the Karnataka high court on Monday to let them cover their heads in class with dupattas or stoles - clothing that matches the uniform.

They sought clarification on the court's interim order restraining students from wearing any religious attire not conforming to the dress code or uniform of colleges until further orders.

While high schools have reopened, CM Bommai said colleges, shut since February 9, will reopen on February 16.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hijab-plea-let-us-use-dupatta-to-cover-head/articleshow/89580940.cms

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'Allow Us To Wear Headscarf That Matches Uniform': Girls Who Petitioned In Favour Of Hijab

Feb 15, 2022

New Delhi: Challenging the government order restricting the use of any cloth that can disturb peace, harmony and, law and order, the girls who petitioned in favour of hijab requested the Karnataka high court on Monday to allow them to wear Islamic headscarves of the colour of the school uniform. The girls made the plea to the full bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice J.M. Khazi and Justice Krishna M Dixit.

"I am not only challenging the government's order but also asking for a positive mandate for allowing me to wear a headscarf of the same colour of the uniform," advocate Devadatt Kamat, appearing on behalf of the girls of the government pre-university college in Udupi, told the bench.

He also submitted that permitting Muslim girls to wear hijab and Sikh students' to wear head gear is a national practice in adherence to Article 25 of the Constitution. He mentioned that even Kendriya Vidyalayas permit hijab of the same uniform colour.

"Kendriya Vidyalayas even today permit by a notification, that even though they have a uniform, Muslim girls are permitted to wear a headscarf of the uniform colour,” Mr Kamat argued said. The court adjourned further hearing of the case to Tuesday.

He argued that headscarves are an essential religious practice, and restricting its use was violating Article 25 of the Indian Constitution.

Amid caution and heavy security, high schools in Karnataka reopened on Monday. There were prohibitory orders in Udupi and sensitive areas of Dakshina Kannada and Bengaluru. In some places, Muslim girls reached schools in headscarves but removed them before entering the institutions. Examinations scheduled for the day also took place in the institutions.

While arguing for the petitioners, Mr Kamat submitted that the Government Order (ban on hijab) is a non-application of mind and against Article 25, hence, it is not legally sustainable. “State is an outside authority, it cannot say that wearing a headscarf is essential practice or not. It has to be seen from the viewpoint of a believer," Kamat submitted.

Article 25 reads: "Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion."

The Article also says that nothing in it should affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the state from making any law regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice and regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice.

Mr Kamat argued where was the law as mandated under Article 25 regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity. The advocate for the Muslim girls also said the College Development Committee (CDC) comprising an MLA has been authorised by the government to decide the uniform. "A CDC comprising  an MLA is an extra constitutional authority and a third party to decide what to wear. The government has assigned its responsibility to this third party," Mr Kamat argued.

Earlier, Karnataka Chief Justice urged the media to be more responsible and ensure that they make an effort to maintain peace and tranquility in the state.

requested the Karnataka high court on Monday to allow them to wear Islamic headscarves of the colour of the school uniform. The girls made the plea to the full bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice J.M. Khazi and Justice Krishna M Dixit.

"I am not only challenging the government's order but also asking for a positive mandate for allowing me to wear a headscarf of the same colour of the uniform," advocate Devadatt Kamat, appearing on behalf of the girls of the government pre-university college in Udupi, told the bench.

He also submitted that permitting Muslim girls to wear hijab and Sikh students' to wear head gear is a national practice in adherence to Article 25 of the Constitution. He mentioned that even Kendriya Vidyalayas permit hijab of the same uniform colour.

"Kendriya Vidyalayas even today permit by a notification, that even though they have a uniform, Muslim girls are permitted to wear a headscarf of the uniform colour,” Mr Kamat argued said. The court adjourned further hearing of the case to Tuesday.

He argued that headscarves are an essential religious practice, and restricting its use was violating Article 25 of the Indian Constitution.

Amid caution and heavy security, high schools in Karnataka reopened on Monday. There were prohibitory orders in Udupi and sensitive areas of Dakshina Kannada and Bengaluru. In some places, Muslim girls reached schools in headscarves but removed them before entering the institutions. Examinations scheduled for the day also took place in the institutions.

While arguing for the petitioners, Mr Kamat submitted that the Government Order (ban on hijab) is a non-application of mind and against Article 25, hence, it is not legally sustainable. “State is an outside authority, it cannot say that wearing a headscarf is essential practice or not. It has to be seen from the viewpoint of a believer," Kamat submitted.

Article 25 reads: "Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion."

The Article also says that nothing in it should affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the state from making any law regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice and regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

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https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/150222/plea-in-the-karnataka-hc-to-allow-girls-to-wear-islamic-headscarves-to.html

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Muslim women have made up mind to bless BJP: PM Narendra Modi

Feb 15, 2022

LUCKNOW: Wheeling out a significant political message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday affirmed that Muslim women of UP were coming out quietly from their houses to vote in favour of the BJP.

"Humari Muslim behenon aur mataon ne Modi ko aashirwaad dene ka mann bana liya hai...woh janti hain ki jo sukh dukh mein kaam aata hai wo hi apna hota hai...(Muslim women have made up their mind to shower their blessings on Modi. They know that the one who stays with them at all times is the real well-wisher)," he said, while addressing a public rally in Akbarpur area of Kanpur (Rural). Modi's pointed outreach at Muslim women, marked a fresh nudge at the Samajwadi Party which banks heavily on support of Muslim voters to thwart BJP's chances of coming back to power.

He said his observation stemmed from the first two phases of polls – which essentially covered west UP having a sizable population of Muslims. Modi categorically hoisted the law framed by his government against instant Triple Talaq that empowered the Muslim women against atrocities they and their family members faced.

‘Triple talaq ban helped many Muslim women save marriage’

He cited a report which said that thousands of Muslim women in UP managed to save their marriage because of the law banning Triple Talaq.

He asserted that the voting trends clearly indicated that the BJP was coming back to power with great fanfare with people voting in favour of the party without getting divided in terms of caste and religion. "The women voters themselves have raised the banner of BJP's victory in the name of security and honour and saying that only Yogi is ?Upyogi'," he said, claiming that the "parivarwadis" will be forced to bite the dust. "They were defeated in 2014, 2017 and 2019...they would once again get defeated. Holi would be celebrated 10 days in advance in UP. People will start celebrating Holi from March 10 (the day of counting of votes)," he declared.

In an apparent attack on SP-RLD combine, Modi said that the opposition comes with a new partner in every election. "Can you expect support from those who frequently change partners," he questioned, insisting that the opposition parties had the tendency to "blame their partners" after facing a defeat. The remark was seen as a reference to the SP chief Akhilesh Yadav statement that "he had faltered" by striking an alliance with Congress in 2017. The same happened after 2019 Lok Sabha elections when BSP chief Mayawati snapped ties with SP claiming that Akhilesh was not able to transfer his vote bank to her party. "After March 10, they will again start blaming each other...tu tu main main karenge," he said.

He categorically flayed the previous SP and BSP governments for looting the state and handing it the state to "mafia, rioters and criminals". Modi said that the previous government used to allocate districts and regions totheir family members who would then resort to loot.

"Had they got a chance they would have turned each locality of Kanpur in ?mafiaganj'," he said, extolling the Yogi Adityanath government of taking such strict measures against mafia dons whose 'mafiagiri" was gasping for breath. "Agar unko SP jaisa doctor mil gaya to fir se saansein daudne lag jayengi," he said, accusing the Akhilesh Yadav-led outfit of aspiring to come back to power to give a new lease of life to criminals. The PM charged the SP of creating "demons" like ?ration-mafias' who would usurp food grains meant to be distributed among the poor.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/muslim-women-have-made-up-mind-to-bless-bjp-modi/articleshow/89578794.cms

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3 charged over mosque blaze during Delhi riots

Feb 15, 2022

NEW DELHI: A court has framed charges of rioting and other offences against three men for allegedly setting a mosque on fire during the northeast Delhi riots, noting that the delay in recording the statements of two witnesses couldn't be held fatal to the prosecution case at the stage of deciding charges.

Additional sessions judge Virender Bhat framed charges of rioting, unlawful assembly and arson against Deepak, Prince and Shiv for allegedly vandalising and setting the Janati mosque on fire on February 24, 2020 in Gokalpuri.

"No doubt, the statements of these two witnesses have been recorded on September 5, 2021, but they have clearly mentioned that they did not disclose the incident to police on account of fear and it is when police reached their shop in Ganga Vihar for making inquiries regarding their complaint in (another) case that they garnered courage to make a statement in this case," the court said on February 11.

It also noted that constables Raksh and Vipin stated that when they reached Ganga Vihar along with the investigating officer on March 9, 2020, head constable Mahesh had told them that these three rioters, along with two associates, who allegedly committed vandalisation and arson in the mosque, were present in the A block park. Mahesh had identified all of them in a CCTV footage given to him by a secret informer, the cops said.

Police arrested the accused after this, and "therefore, it cannot be said the arrest of the accused on March 9, 2020 was without any evidence", the court pointed out. "The evidence was there in the shape of video footage... though the CD containing it was seized by the investigating officer on the next day," it added.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/3-charged-over-mosque-blaze-during-delhi-riots/articleshow/89578993.cms

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At UN, India calls Pakistan terror hub, demands action

Feb 15, 2022

NEW DELHI: India slammed Pakistan at the UN on Monday for its support to terrorism in the region while asking the international community to call upon the "epicentre of terror state" to take effective, credible, verifiable, and irreversible actions without further delay against terror outfits operating from its territory.

In a statement at an open briefing of the UNSC's counter-terrorism committee, the government recalled the deaths of 40 Indian security personnel in the Pulwama terror attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed, saying terrorist threat posed by state-sponsored terrorism had remained high in the South Asia region.

"The world had witnessed the horrors of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, the 2016 Pathankot terror attack, and the 2019 Pulwama terrorist attack. We all know from where the perpetrators of these attacks came from. It is regretful that the victims of these dastardly attacks are yet to get justice, and the perpetrators, facilitators and financiers of these attacks continue to walk free, still enjoying State support and hospitality," said the government.

"We have consistently witnessed terror attacks on ethnic, sectarian and religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus and Sikhs. The growth of extremist ideology in our neighbouring state is bolstered by their patronage of radical outfits. The mainstreaming of radicalism and communal ideology by the State has also provided a fertile environment for growth of terror infrastructure in the region," said the government.

"While India is fully committed to bringing the perpetrators of these terror attacks on our soil to justice, it is also a high time that the international community calls upon this epicentre of terror state to take effective, credible, verifiable, and irreversible actions without further delay against terror outfits operating on its territory and under their control," it added.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/at-un-india-calls-pakistan-terror-hub-demands-action/articleshow/89579778.cms

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Mark of respect: Kerala temple cuts short festivities after Muslim neighbour dies

February 15, 2022

A Hindu temple in Kerala’s Malappuram district cut short a festival last week as a mark of respect to a Muslim neighbour who died on the night of February 11.

The Punnassery Bhagavathi temple at Beeranchira village in Malappuram – a Muslim-dominated district– was celebrating an annual festival at the temple when Cherattil Hyder, a 72-year-old man who lived in the vicinity died last Friday.

Temple authorities then decided to cancel its procession and other cultural events, which were to go on till Saturday. Instead, they only conducted limited rituals at the temple.

“Hyder was very close to us as well as the Hindu community in the village. Once a timber merchant, he lived just opposite to the temple. On Friday night, around 9pm, we were informed that Hyder died. The temple was then in the midst of celebrations after Covid-19 norms were eased… Several processions had been on their way to the temple. We suspended the processions,” temple committee vice-president M V Vasu said on Monday.

Source: Indian Express

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https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/thiruvananthapuram/mark-of-respect-kerala-temple-cuts-short-festivities-after-muslim-neighbour-dies-7774387/

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Humiliating, says Owaisi as teachers, students in Karnataka forced to remove hijab

14th February 2022

Hyderabad: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party of humiliating the Muslim community by depriving hijabi Muslims of their “fundamental rights” by preventing them from wearing hijabs as part of their religious obligation.

Owaisi’s comment comes after videos from a school in Karnataka surfaced on social media where students and teachers wearing headscarves were prevented from entering the school by the management. They were forced to remove their hijabs at the entrance before stepping into the premises of the institution.

Owaisi questioned “where is my dignity?” and asserted that this is an attempt to make the Muslim community “Z category citizens”.

AIMIM president warned that “power is eternal, BJP must remember.” For unversed, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power at both state (Karnataka) and national levels.

Lastly, Owaisi penned an Urdu phrase, which read, “Tum Zameen pe zulm likh do, Aasmaan pe inquilab likha jayega,” which translates (you write atrocities on the ground, a revolution will be written on the sky).

What triggered Owaisi’s reaction:

Students and teachers of Rotary Educational Society School Mandya, were forced to abandon their hijab before entering the institute. This instance was followed by the Karnataka high court’s temporary order directing students to adhere to the state’s diktat of banning hijab inside educational institutions.

Amidst a raging hijab row, schools in Karnataka were reopened on February 10, following the directions of the court.

In a video that surfaced on Twitter young hijabi students can be seen reluctantly removing their headscarves, as a member of the school management prevents them from entering the school if they insisted on wearing the garment.

One gentleman, the father of two daughters, resisted for a while but eventually surrendered after a long discussion with the teacher, and his children were permitted to attend school after removing their hijabs.

Source: Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/humiliating-says-owaisi-as-teachers-students-in-karnataka-forced-to-remove-hijab-2275626/

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India To Run By Constitution, Not Islamic Law: Yogi Adityanath As UP Votes

February 14, 2022

New Delhi: The New India will function according to the Constitution, not the Shariat law, and the dream of "Ghazva-e-Hind (ultimate conquest of India)" will never come true, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said in comments that emerged today as round 2 of seven-phase voting in the state took place. Yogi Adityanath also claimed in the interview that his "80 versus 20" comment was meant to differentiate between "those who back progress and those who oppose everything".

"I can say with utter clarity that this is new India, this is the India of world's most popular leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In this new India, development is for all and there will be appeasement of none," Yogi Adityanath told news agency ANI in an interview.

"The new India will work according to the Constitution, and not the Shariat. I also want to say it clearly that the dream of Ghazva-e-Hind will not be fulfilled even till the Qayamat (end of the world)," he said.

Yogi Adityanath repeated his comments in a series of posts this morning. "Those who dream of Gazva-e-Hind, religious fanatics of Talibani thinking, understand this... India will run according to the constitution, not according to Shariat...!" he posted.

The saffron-wearing Chief Minister also spoke on the massive row in Karnataka over hijab restrictions in colleges. "I strongly believe that the system should run as per the Indian Constitution. We cannot impose our personal beliefs, our fundamental rights, our personal likes and dislikes on the country or institutions," he told ANI.

"Am I asking the people and workers in UP to wear saffron? What they want to wear is their choice. But in schools, there should be a dress code. This is the matter of schools and the discipline in schools," he said.

One's personal belief is separate, "but when one talks about institutions, then one has to accept the rules there", he said. In a national context, he added, the constitution should be followed."

The Chief Minister sought to clarify his "80 versus 20" comment that was seen to refer to a Hindu-Muslim divide in votes.

The elections, he said, are a fight between 80 versus 20, where 80 per cent are "those who back progress" while 20 per cent people "oppose everything" and have a negative attitude.

"80 per cent are those people who are happy with the state government's agenda of security, who appreciate the public welfare schemes of the state government. Those who like development. Those who got a chance to get their work (at government offices) done in an honest and transparent way," he said.

"20 per cent are those people who always oppose everything. They opposed everything before and will continue doing so now. They have negative thinking. They back money and crime and will remain so. This is how this election is that of 80 versus 20," he said.

Yogi Adityanath also reacted to AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi's comment that wearing the hijab is a fundamental right and that one day a hijab-wearing girl will become Prime Minister.

"It is for the freedom and rights of that every girl (daughter of India) that PM Modi put a stop on the malpractice of Triple Talak. It is for ensuring justice and honour and empowerment of the girl that these decisions are being taken. We can only say that the system will not work as per the Shariat, but will work as per the Constitution. When the system will work according to the constitution, every girl will be protected, honoured and become self-reliant," the Chief Minister said.

Yogi Adityanath defended his comment at the start of the UP election, "warning" voters to choose wisely and vote BJP lest the state turned into a West Bengal or Kerala.

"These people are coming from Bengal and spreading anarchy here. For this, it was necessary to alert people against it saying that 'be alert - the security, respect that you are getting, people have come to disrupt that and do not let that happen'. It was my responsibility to alert people," he said.

The comments comes days after Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited UP to campaign for Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who is seen to be the strongest challenger to the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP in UP.

The Chief Minister ripped into Akhilesh Yadav, accusing him of corruption and lawlessness. He said when Akhilesh Yadav was in power (2012-2017), he was too busy sleeping and dreaming to focus on proper utilisation of state funds.

Source: ND TV

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https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/india-to-run-by-constitution-not-shariat-yogi-adityanath-as-up-votes-2766948

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Europe

 

Germany urged to save citizen risking execution in Iran

14 February ,2022

Germany must act immediately to prevent the hanging of a national detained in Iran who risks the death penalty on charges vehemently denied by his supporters, his family and activists said on Monday.

Anti-regime activist Jamshid Sharmahd, 66, appeared in court in Tehran earlier this month charged with “spreading corruption on earth” over accusations of involvement in a bombing at a mosque in 2008.

If convicted on this charge, which campaigners say is often used against opponents of the government, he could face execution.

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“It is of the utmost importance that the German federal government act immediately to prevent the planned state assassination of Mr Sharmahd,” his daughter Gazelle and more than two dozen other activists said in an open letter to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

“We urge you to take immediate, serious and sustained action to save the life of the 66-year-old German citizen and his family from this horrific act,” said the signatories, who included former detainees in Iran and family members of those still held.

Sharmahd is affiliated with an anti-regime group known as Kingdom Assembly of Iran and had been based in the United States.

The family fears he risks a similar fate to France-based Ruhollah Zam, who was executed in December 2020 after leaving Paris in October 2020 for Iraq, where supporters say he was detained by Iran.

The letter said the family was “very concerned” for the health of Sharmahd, who was now “severely emaciated.”

It noted that his trial is presided over by Abolqasem Salavati, the same judge who had sentenced Zam to death.

“We urge that the matter be given top priority, that a crisis management team be set up, and that the German government exhaust all political and diplomatic avenues to put pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said the letter.

“A general condemnation of the death penalty and a call to respect human rights are not enough.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/14/Germany-urged-to-save-citizen-risking-execution-in-Iran

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South Asia

 

Former Security Forces Member Detained by Islamic Emirate: Family

February 14, 2022

KABUL: A former member of the security forces has been detained by the Islamic Emirate, the family members claimed.

The officer is named Javad Jafari.

Jafari’s family said their residence was night raided by some individuals claiming to be member of the Islamic Emirate. The individuals didn’t have a court order and forcibly arrested Jafari and took him to an unknown location.

“They drew guns on us, they did not ask anyone, they just said ‘we are from the Islamic Emirate.’ They beat Javad and dragged him out of the house,” said Feriba, Javad’s wife.

Javad’s family and residents of Kabul called on the security forces to abide by the amnesty decree of the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate.

“They were neither thieves nor kidnappers, no one but the Islamic Emirate,” said Ghulam Haidar, Javad’s brother.

The Islamic Emirate denied the detention of the Jafari, saying it has been trying to probe the issue.

“This person was not arrested by our police chief, we are trying to find out the truth,” said Khalid Zadran, spokesman of the Kabul Police Command.

Earlier, the Human Rights Watchdogs in a report expressed concern over the arbitrary detention and disappearance of former security forces. The report of the HRW followed with a joint statement of the world countries, calling on the Islamic Emirate to end the arbitrary detention of the former security forces.

Source: Afghanistan Times

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

http://www.afghanistantimes.af/former-security-forces-member-detained-by-islamic-emirate-family/

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Family Claims Former MoD Officer Detained by Islamic Emirate

February 15, 2022

A family in Kabul claims that their son, who was a former officer of the Ministry of Defense, has been detained by the forces of the Islamic Emirate.

According to Javad Jafari's family, two nights ago some individuals claiming to be members of the Islamic Emirate, entered their house at 8 pm without a court order and forcibly arrested him and took him to an unknown location.

“They drew guns on us, they did not ask anyone, they just said 'we are from the Islamic Emirate.' They beat Javad and dragged him out of the house,” said Feriba, Javad’s wife.

“We are very scared, we ask the Islamic Emirate to free my father safe and alive,” said Ali Sajad, Javad’s son.

Javad’s family and residents of Kabul called on the security forces to abide by the amnesty decree of the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate.

“They were neither thieves nor kidnappers, no one but the Islamic Emirate,” said Ghulam Haidar, Javad’s brother.

“Arbitrary detentions are so disturbing that now people cannot sleep--even in their own homes--for fear,” said Khudadad, Javad’s relatives.

“Where is the general amnesty? We ask the Islamic Emirate--the general amnesty they announced--why do they not follow up?” said Mohammad Reza, a resident of Kabul.

Meanwhile, the Kabul Police Command denied the arrest of the former government officer by the Islamic Emirate forces.

“This person was not arrested by our police chief, we are trying to find out the truth,” said Khalid Zadran, spokesman of the Kabul Police Command.

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-176720

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Islamic Emirate Meets Envoys of Gulf States in Doha: FM

February 15, 2022

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet that the delegation of the Islamic Emirate led by the acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, which arrived in Qatar on Sunday, has begun talks with representatives of the Gulf states in Doha on Monday.

“A high-level Afghan delegation led by Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi arrived in the capital of Qatar (Doha) and will discuss a range of issues with the envoys of the Gulf countries on Monday,” said Zia Ahmad Takal, deputy spokesman of the Foreign Ministry.

According to the ministry, the delegation of the caretaker government is scheduled to hold talks with representatives of the European Union, the Union of Religious Scholars, and diplomatic missions operating from Qatar on behalf of Kabul.

“The recent visit of the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Emirate to Doha is in fact a follow-up to the continuation of diplomatic relations with foreign countries, which will provide the grounds for international recognition,” said Nasir Ahmad Haidari, a political analyst.

“This is a very important trip for solving the political challenges in Afghanistan,” said Wali Mohammad Sarwari, a university lecturer.

Qatar is one of the countries that, according to political analysts, wants to play a mediating role between the current government of Afghanistan and the world, in an effort that is more focused on bilateral interaction.

Source: Tolo News

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https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-176717

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US says attacks in vicinity of embassy in Kabul

Feb 15, 2022

KABUL: The area around the US embassy in Kabul was targeted in the multiple attacks on the diplomatic areas of the Afghan capital on Sunday but no staff members have been injured, the embassy said.

"Attacks are ongoing in the vicinity of the US embassy in Kabul. Avoid the area. Shelter in place," the embassy said in a mobile phone text message.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/us-says-attacks-in-vicinity-of-embassy-in-kabul/articleshow/89582909.cms

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Afghanistan will initially have 110,000-member army, says Taliban

February 15, 2022

Afghanistan will initially have a 110,000-member army, the Taliban's acting Defence Minister Mullah Muhammad Yaqoob Mujahid said, adding that the number will be increased if required.

Speaking to state media, Mujahid said that some 10,000 people have been trained for the army since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, while an additional 80,000 have enrolled, Khaama Press reported on Tuesday.

He also said that 4,000 choppers have been reactivated, along with planes and vehicles.

About the officers of the former Afghan government, the Minister said that up to 90 per cent of the employees of the Defence Ministry are former officers and that those had left the country have been contacted to return to Afghanistan and resume their jobs.

Meanwhile, Mujahid denied rumours about Afghanistan's military equipment being transported to Pakistan and said that they were strictly managing the country's borders and will allow no one to take the equipment out.

He blamed neighbouring Iran and Turkmenistan over recent clashes in the shared borders and said that the Afghan guards have been directed to be cautious, reports Khaama Press.

Regarding Pakistan's barbed wire along the Durand Line, Mujahid said that a final decision regarding the matter was yet to be taken by the Taliban leadership.

Mujahid also underrated the Islamic State-Khorasan, saying that the terror group was not a threat to Afghanistan.

Source: Business Standard

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https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/afghanistan-will-initially-have-110-000-member-army-says-taliban-122021500384_1.html

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Taliban sniper becomes Afghan mayor

February 15, 2022

MAYMANA, Afghanistan: Strolling through the town of Maymana, the new mayor appears to inspire goodwill from war-weary constituents in the Afghan provincial capital.

But Damullah Mohibullah Mowaffaq has a reputation as one of the top snipers in the ranks of the Taliban, until last summer waging war to take control of the country.

Mowaffaq was made mayor of Maymana, capital of Faryab province in the far reaches of northwest Afghanistan, in November, three months after the Taliban ousted the Western-backed government and seized power.

He rose to prominence as a fighter, but now his schedule is packed with the daily tasks of local government — unblocking sewers, planning roads, and smoothing over neighborhood quarrels.

His switch reflects the broader transformation that the Taliban are undergoing, as the insurgents grapple with administering territory.

“When I was fighting my objectives were very specific: to end the foreign occupation, discrimination and injustice,” the 25-year-old told AFP.

“Now my goals are also clear: to fight corruption and make the country prosper.”

On a walk through the streets of Maymana, the new mayor talks with municipal workers clearing roadside gutters.

Residents of the city of 100,000 approach with complaints and suggestions, which are dutifully added to an ever-growing to-do list.

“The new mayor is young, well-educated and, very importantly, from the city,” says his non-Taliban deputy, Sayed Ahmad Shah Gheyasi.

“He knows how to deal with people.”

Unlike the poor, madrassa-educated rural men who make up the Taliban rank and file, Mowaffaq comes from a family of wealthy traders and grew up in Maymana, where he excelled at school and in sport.

Memorabilia from his youth decorates his office including a certificate from a martial arts competition as well as his high school diploma.

After joining the insurgency at 19, he was promoted to command a small unit deployed in Faryab province.

Others describe him as one of the Taliban’s most talented snipers, although he appears reluctant to be drawn into telling war stories.

But on walkabout with AFP he pauses in front of a house blemished with munition marks near the village of Doraye Khoija Qoshre, where his unit once held sway.

Here he used to hide himself away, scoping American troops with his rifle and honing a reputation as a crack shot.

“He killed an American with his rifle from this house, then a plane came and bombed him,” said Saifaddin, a local farmer, who like many in Afghanistan goes by one name.

Although it cannot be confirmed Mowaffaq was responsible, in mid-2019 the United States announced a member of their special forces had been killed in fighting in Faryab.

A year earlier, the Afghan Analysts Network said Maymana was “practically under siege” owing to “an astonishingly widespread Taliban presence.”

Mowaffaq witnessed several comrades killed in fighting but remains evasive about the horrors he both inflicted and suffered.

“I have had many ups and downs,” he says.

The United Nations and rights groups have accused the Taliban of gross human rights abuses since they seized power in August.

The deaths of more than 100 members of the former government or security forces have been blamed on the country’s new rulers, while women activists have been detained and journalists beaten for covering their protests.

The Taliban ideal of a thick beard and black turban may frame Mowaffaq’s face, but in many ways he is an unconventional totem of their austere ideology.

Nationwide the Islamists have effectively evicted women from the public sphere, shutting older girls out of education and largely barring the opposite sex from the workplace.

But in Mowaffaq’s office, female employees have been allowed to keep working, and a public garden in the city is reserved for them.

Under the first Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001 the all-covering burqa was mandatory for women.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2024926/world

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan seeks Iran’s anti-terror efforts against Baloch terrorists

February 14, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iran Monday decided to take further practical measures to boost anti-terrorism cooperation along Pak, Iran border and form Joint Working Groups (JWGs) to help cement bilateral trade and regulate border markets.

The development comes as Pakistan strongly raised with Iran the use of Iranian soil against Pakistan, and assistance, training and funds being provided to Baloch terrorists by Iranian elements who mount attacks on Pakistani security forces and take refuge in Iran’s bordering areas near Balochistan.

During high level meetings held here with the visiting Iranian Interior Minister Dr Ahmad Vahidi, Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasised on early completion and operationalisation of border sustenance markets for economic uplift of people living on both sides of Pakistan-Iran border.

Talking to Dr Vahidi who called on the PM, Imran Khan emphasised the importance of close bilateral collaboration to boost trade and regional connectivity.

Khan expressed satisfaction over positive momentum in brotherly relations between Pakistan and Iran and said that vast potential exists for enhanced collaboration in diverse fields.

Underscoring that the Pakistan-Iran border is a border of peace and friendship, the prime minister underlined the importance of joint cooperation to address security issues. He thanked the Iranian government and the supreme leader for steadfast support for the just resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction over convergence of views regarding a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and underscored the importance of close coordination between the two countries.

He stressed the need for urgent actions by the international community to prevent humanitarian crisis and economic meltdown in Afghanistan and measures to enhance practical engagement, strengthen stability, and counter terrorism.

The Iranian interior minister conveyed cordial greetings of Iranian leadership to the prime minister and reaffirmed Iran’s desire to strengthen bilateral relations in all aspects.

COAS urges efforts denying space or action by miscreants along Pakistan-Iran border

Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has stressed upon the need to put in collective efforts to deny any space or liberty of action to be exploited by miscreants along the Pakistan-Iran border.

The army chief said this while talking to Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi who along with a delegation visited General Headquarters (GHQ), said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement on Monday.

According to the ISPR, geo-strategic environment, particularly regional security situation and  bilateral cooperation in defence and security domains, were discussed during the meeting. Pakistan-Iran border security mechanism including border markets also came under discussion, added the military’s media wing.

The COAS said that enhanced cooperation between the two brotherly neighbours is vital for peace and stability in the region. Terming the Pakistan-Iran border as a border of peace and friendship, the COAS highlighted the need to put in collective efforts to deny any space or liberty of action to be exploited by miscreants along  the border .

The visiting dignitary, while acknowledging stability in Afghanistan as collective regional responsibility, appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for peace and stability, particularly humanitarian assistance being rendered to mitigate challenges faced by people of Afghanistan.

Pak, Iran to form JWGs to cement bilateral ties

Earlier in the day, Pakistan and Iran agreed to form Joint working groups (JWGs) to strengthen bilateral relations. The understanding was reached in a joint declaration issued after the meeting of a nine-member visiting Iranian delegation led by Interior Minister Dr. Ahmad Vahidi with Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed.

The two sides agreed to set up markets on Pakistan-Iran borders and increase the number of border terminals. The two sides also exchanged views on  completing fencing work on the Pakistan-Iran border at the earliest.

It was agreed that the territory of Pakistan and Iran should not be used for terrorist activities against each other. The meeting also discussed the regional security situation, looming humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan and other important issues.

It also discussed prisoner exchanges and facilitating pilgrims. Ways to prevent illegal human immigration and drug trafficking were also discussed during the meeting.

On the occasion, the Iranian interior minister strongly condemned recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan and said his country considers terrorist attack on Pakistan as an attack on Iran. The Iranian minister said that Pakistan and Iran have long lasting historic ties.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/02/14/173181/

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Pakistan: Young Baloch rebel killed by Pakistani army in Gwadar

ANI / Feb 15, 2022

BALOCHISTAN: A young rebel was killed in a clash between Baloch people and Pakistani army in Shadi Kaur area of Pasni tehsil of Gwadar district on Monday, according to local media.

Radio Zrumbesh Urdu reported that gunship helicopters were also dispatched from Turbat to assist the Pakistani army after the clash.

The death of Sarmachar Hidayatullah

was confirmed by his brother Kifayat Baloch who shared his picture on his Twitter account.

"Hon Plugdin Bachani Rich Ant. Gulzamin Banuri Stra Posh Ayat (When the blood of the well-dressed children falls on the ground, Gulzamin covers herself like a bride)," he tweeted.

Kifayatullah told Radio Zarmbash that he is proud of his brother. He said, "My brother was younger than me but he always encouraged me."

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-young-baloch-rebel-killed-by-pakistani-army-in-gwadar/articleshow/89579577.cms

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Imran Khan's visit to Moscow will be a blow to Pak's reputation

IANS / Feb 14, 2022

NEW DELHI: The most prominent aspect of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to Moscow is that it was not an invitation from Russia, rather an invite sought by Islamabad, according to an article.

Jan Achakzai, a geopolitical analyst wrote in an article for The News that Khan is going to visit Russia at a time which is probably not a suitable moment.

Here is another paradox Pakistan is facing today. Led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), a minority party government sitting at the helm with the support of allies gathered by powerful quarters took this decision for the nation, the article said.

"The most prominent aspect of this visit is that Russia did not invite, rather an invitation was sought. And more so in an environment where Putin has already called Prime Minister Modi to express gratitude for India's support to Russia in the UN Security Council," the analyst says in his article.

"Interestingly, Russia didn't seek our support, nor did the US stop us from going to Moscow. Is it Pakistan's irrelevance or a clear reading of the US that we will come back from Russia empty-handed and will beg for financial concessions from Washington in forums like IMF, FATF, etc, from a position of further weakness?

"And Russia losing India for the sake of Pakistan's support is not an option. Pakistan's support comes at the cost of frequent requests for aid and loans. Additionally, Moscow will not appease Pakistan at this juncture as doing so will offend India. Russia needs Delhi's support more than anything else since the Biden Administration has boxed President Putin in a difficult situation in the Ukraine crisis

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khans-visit-to-moscow-will-be-a-blow-to-paks-reputation/articleshow/89563444.cms

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Pakistan Continues to Exhibit Gory ‘Islamophobia’ Against Ahmadis

By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

February 14, 2022

On Sunday, the Punjab Police desecrated 45 graves belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect in Pakistan’s Hafizabad town. Police personnel damaged the tombstones and removed Islamic inscriptions in accordance with the law. The Pakistani Constitution officially declares the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam to be “infidels” and bars members of the community from “posing as Muslims,” which the vandalized graves were found guilty of.

In addition to desecration of graves, the police also regularly demolish Ahmadi mosques over similar allegations against them masquerading as Muslim worship places. Ahmadis are barred from giving the Islamic call to prayer, or even displaying “Muslim names” in front of their homes.

Most ominously, the Ahmadiyya sect remains the most vulnerable to Pakistan’s violent blasphemy laws, with at least 13 Ahmadis killed and 40 wounded since 2017 owing to their identity. This is in addition to the jihadist attacks on the community. In 2010, twin mosque terror raids in Lahore killed at least 94 Ahmadis.

The persecution of Ahmadis is rooted in the sect’s faith in its 19th century founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, which representatives of other Islamic sects deem sacrilegious. They allege that belief in Ahmad contradicts Muhammad’s status as the final prophet of Islam, which Ahmadis insist is misrepresentation of their faith. Even so, theological deliberations should be irrelevant to the right to profess any version of any religion, as enshrined in Pakistan’s Constitution and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights that the country is signatory to.

On the contrary, Ahmadiyya beliefs are dragged into astonishingly unrelated realms in Pakistan. In 2018, the incumbent Imran Khan government backtracked on the appointment of renowned economist Atif Mian as financial advisor owing to his Ahmadiyya faith. The Islamist rationale: those who are loyal to the Ahmadiyya beliefs cannot be loyal to Pakistan.

Not only are Ahmadis accused of being collaborators with “India and Israel,” the Ahmadiyya sect can be held responsible for pretty much any predicament, including the outbreak of COVID-19. Pakistanis have to denounce the Ahmadiyya faith if they want voting rights, a passport, or even the Islamic marriage certificate.

The widespread anti-Ahmadiyya bigotry, self-manifesting for decades via messages in popular markets such as “Ahmadis and dogs not allowed” or “Ahmadis should enter Islam before entering this shop,” has now gone digital with online deliveries being refused to members of the community.

What Pakistan unquestionably has in place is veritable religious apartheid. This apartheid is overseen by Imran Khan, who is working tirelessly to unite the world against Islamophobia. Not only is Khan seemingly oblivious to the terror that religious minorities in his own country are facing, he quite clearly doesn’t realize that he’s fighting against Islamophobia while leading a country where one can be arrested for practising Islam.

Indeed, Pakistan is indubitably more phobic of the Ahmadiyya sect, and their interpretation of Islam, than most of the states that Khan vocally deems “Islamophobic.” In Pakistan, Ahmadis have been arrested for purchasing literature, partaking in Eid celebrations, or even reciting the Quran.

The government’s Islamic advisory body has even incited genocide against Ahmadis. Ministers have called for “beheading of blasphemers,” which, incidentally, is the law in the country, used by Islamist mobs to get away with murder.

Groups dedicated to upholding apartheid against Ahmadis, like the Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, hold massive rallies, with their narrative supported by the political leadership, including prime ministers past and present. The Pakistan-based anti-Ahmadi groups have now taken their anti-Ahmadi violence to the West, including the U.K., with the Muslim Council of Britain repeatedly excommunicating British Ahmadi Muslims.

Ignoring the grotesque marginalization faced by non-Muslims in many Muslim-majority countries dents the fight against anti-Muslim bigotry in the West. Realities such as Ahmadiyya persecution in Pakistan underline that even Muslims with divergent or dissenting beliefs are largely sidelined by the campaigners against Islamophobia.

Source: The Diplomat

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

https://thediplomat.com/2022/02/pakistan-continues-to-exhibit-gory-islamophobia-against-ahmadis/

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Over 150 ‘assailants’ booked in Christian boy’s death case in Lahore

February 15, 2022

LAHORE: The Factory Area police lodged a case against 150-200 ‘attackers’ in the wake of death of a Christian boy here on Monday.

The police acted after residents of Walton Road allegedly tortured Pervez Masih following a minor dispute of standing in the street.

Police said Pervez suffered critical head injuries and died in hospital.

Police have mounted security in the area to defuse tension when members of the Christian community took to the street against the attack.

Police have registered a murder case against 150-200 ‘attackers’ after consulting a team of lawyers of the Christian community.

The complainant said some of the attackers were also holding weapons and fired warning shots.

Cantt division operation SP Esa Sukhera made it clear that it was a scuffle incident between the two sides and had nothing to do with religion.

He said on Sunday night a scuffle broke out between some members of the Christian community and locals. Consequently, Sobal Masih got injured and the Factory Area registered a case against the attackers, he said adding the suspects nurtured a grudge against them for reporting the matter to the police and again attacked some relatives of the Christians on Monday.

During the attack, the SP said Pervez Masih suffered critical head injuries and died later in a local hospital which prompted his relatives to lodge a protest.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1675125/over-150-assailants-booked-in-christian-boys-death-case-in-lahore

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Pakistan diplomat recalls Soviet pullout from Afghanistan

February 14, 2022

A veteran Pakistani diplomat who remained part of the landmark Geneva Accords that subsequently led to the pullout of now-defunct USSR troops from neighboring Afghanistan in 1989, reminisces about historic events.

On the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the Soviet pullout on Feb. 15, former Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan, who was part of Pakistan’s negotiating team as a young diplomat, offers a witness account of events that preceded the end of a decade-long foreign invasion of Afghanistan.

Inked April 14, 1988, at the UN’s Geneva headquarters between Pakistan and Afghanistan with the USSR and the US as guarantors, the accords stated provisions for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghan soil.

It, however, triggered a bloody civil war, between a demoralized Afghan army and the Mujahideen, and subsequently between several militias, following the hurried pullout without putting up a future governance structure in Kabul.

Also in Pakistan, the accords created a chain reaction and led to the removal of the Mohammad Khan Junejo government in May 1988 by military ruler Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, who was not happy with the signing of the agreement by his hand-picked prime minister.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Khan, who was the only delegate from the Pakistan side who participated in all the rounds of the Geneva negotiations from 1982 to 1988, shed light on similarities and dissimilarities between the USSR and the US pullouts from Afghanistan.

“There are more dissimilarities than similarities,” said Khan, who served as Foreign Secretary from 2005 to 2008.

“Yes, both gave in after lingering wars. On both occasions, if the goal was to defeat the insurgency or resistance then both failed. However, the Najibullah government and the PDPA (People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan) army proved to be more stubborn and survivable than the Ashraf Ghani government and the Afghan National Army,“ he said.

Enumerating the dissimilarities, he argued that the Najib government survived three years and fell apart only after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. “It (even) withstood the siege of Jalalabad, “ he said, referring to the famous but failed siege of Jalalabad, the capital of northeastern Nangarhar province, in 1989 by the Mujahideen.

Citing another difference, Khan said after the US withdrawal one party, the Taliban, have emerged victorious and the transition was more or less smooth.

Whereas, he added, after the Soviet withdrawal the conflict continued to simmer in a stalemate and following the exit of Najibullah, the two major Mujahedin factions, Ahmed Shah Masood and Gulbadin, fought for Kabul while associates of Najibullah chose either of the two sides.

Pullout without a credible power structure

According to records that were later released, Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, had informed Najibullah about Moscow’s decision to withdraw almost two years ahead of time in mid-1986, he said.

He said Pakistan was interested in a Soviet withdrawal because historically it saw a pattern in Moscow’s interventions that “if it consolidated its position in one country after some time pressure came on the next.”

‘Next to Afghanistan was Pakistan’

Khan, the author of two best-sellers on Afghanistan, Untying the Afghan Knot and Afghanistan and Pakistan: Conflict, Extremism and Resistance to Modernity, said that Islamabad had insisted on putting up a “stable and reasonably acceptable” government in Kabul before the Soviet pullout, which unfortunately could not happen.

“We did insist in the pre-Geneva exchanges that the agenda should include the formation of a broad-based government of national reconciliation. But the UN Secretary General could not agree to it because the UN could only deal with the government represented at the UN,” he said. adding that Islamabad did not have the votes in the UN to dislodge the Kabul government for keeping Afghanistan’s seat vacant.

Ironically, in December 1986, he contended, Moscow “precisely” did that and sought Pakistan’s cooperation for a broad-based government starting with a dialogue between the Kabul government and the Mujahideen leaders.

But at that time Pakistan’s politics got complicated and was unable to focus on the Soviet offer, he said.

Soviets wanted to leave under UN auspices

In the final phase of negotiations the Soviets called for the signing of the Geneva Accords, which were ready for almost three years but without a timeframe for a withdrawal, said Khan.

“The Soviets wanted to leave under the auspices of a UN negotiated accord. They waited for about one year for Pakistan to respond to their offer made in December 1986 and then announced a one-year timeframe, “ he said.

That woke up Gen. Zia and he started talking about a broad-based government and even announced a formula, which was publicly rejected by the Tanzeemat (conglomerate of different Mujahideen groups) spokesman the next day, he said.

According to Khan, there was a last-minute hiccup when Kabul refused to accept a reference to “international border” in the text as it does not recognize the 2,640-kilometers (1,640-miles) porous border called, the Durand Line between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

That obliged the Foreign Minister of the USSR Eduard Shevardnadze to travel to Kabul in April 1988.

“Failing to persuade Kabul, Shevardnadze requested Pakistan to accept a fuzzier expression which we did,” he said.

Myths and realities

Khan does not agree with the widely-rumored contention that the Junejo government was dismissed because of the Geneva Accords

“There is a good deal of myth about the removal of Junejo on account of his differences with Zia on Geneva. The fact is that the Afghan policy was always in the hands of President Zia and with the exception of the timeframe the texts of the agreement were completed when Sahibzada Yaqub Khan (then Foreign Minister) led the Pakistan delegation before Junejo entered the scene in 1985,” he said.

“At the last round of Geneva, we, from the Pakistan delegation, knew Junejo favored signing but we were all waiting for almost one month to get a signal from Zia to covey our consent for signature,” he said. “That only came towards the end of March 1988 when Zia was satisfied on the question of continued supply of arms to the Mujahideen.”

Khan cited “frictions and differences” between Junejo and Zia, which was a political tussle for power in executive and administrative matters as the key reason behind the former’s ouster.

“(Former) Prime Minister Junejo started asserting himself without consulting Zia and kept the latter out. But Afghanistan was different, it was a mega policy, not a day-to-day issue, in which the army and intelligence were involved,” he said.

Nonetheless, he argued, it can be said that the political friction caused distraction and did not allow Zia to focus on the Soviet offer in December 1986 seeking cooperation for a broad-based government.

But that offer, he said, was dismissed by powerful circles within the army and intelligence as tactical to weaken the resistance.

Another key reason behind Junejo’s ouster was the demand for an inquiry into the dreadful Ojeri Camp accident, in which nearly 100 citizens were killed and more than 1,000 injured in Islamabad in April 1988.

The camp near the capital was used as an ammunition depot for the Afghan Mujahideen, who were fighting the Soviet invasion.

In case of an inquiry, regardless of the cause, “some of the top generals could not have escaped responsibility for keeping such a huge depot of ammunition in the midst of the twin cities” of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

“If it were Geneva, Zia could have dismissed Junejo much before the signing of Geneva, not several weeks after the event,” he said.

About the botched Jalalabad siege, Khan said there was pressure from the intelligence agencies that Pakistan should recognize the Afghan interim government of the Mujahideen, which was still headquartered in Peshawar.

The foreign minister, he said, however, opposed and maintained that even Zia had not recognized the interim government in Pakistan.

The ministry had recommended that Islamabad could recognize the interim government if it was able to base itself somewhere inside Afghanistan, he said.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/02/14/pakistan-diplomat-recalls-soviet-pullout-from-afghanistan/

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Southeast Asia

 

Muslim Couples Can Solemnise Marriage Online Under Changes to Law in Singapore

Malavika Menon

FEB 14, 2022

SINGAPORE - Muslim couples will now be able to solemnise their marriages online and go virtual for a host of other marriage-related matters under changes to the law.

Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said the new administrative processes will better equip Muslim institutions such as the Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM), Sariah Court and Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, or Muis, to deliver services effectively without disruption.

The changes, which include a move to digital options, will not replace the traditional solemnisation ceremony but will allow Muslims to get married online when the circumstances call for it, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic.

During a debate on changes to the Administration of Muslim Law Act, or Amla, in Parliament on Monday (Feb 14), Mr Masagos, who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslims Affairs, said: "Digitalisation is necessary if our institutions are to provide relevant and effective support to the community. This became all the more salient with Covid-19.

"The pandemic necessitated new norms and habits we did not consider prior to 2020. We have learnt the importance of leveraging technology for contingencies, so that we can minimise disruptions to service delivery."

ROMM adopted video-link technology to allow marriage solemnisations to continue amid the pandemic. Similarly, the Sariah Court also adapted court processes to allow people to give evidence online.

Other changes to Amla will help improve the divorce process and better support children affected by divorce.

For instance, when the husband refuses to recognise the authority of the first appointed hakam, or arbitrator, a second one is appointed by the Syariah Court and the process has to restart.

With the new rules, the first hakam who was appointed can grant divorce even if the husband disputes his authority.

In divorce proceedings conducted by a hakam, Muslim couples are guided towards reconciliation or in cases where that is not possible, towards an amicable parting.

The changes also seek to remove the payment of fees as a condition for the registration of a divorce.

"This is so that no party can delay registration of a divorce already recognised by the court under Muslim law through the non-payment of fees," Mr Masagos said.

Similar to the recent amendments in the Women's Charter, the changes to Amla allow the Syariah Court to advise parents to give their child support through at the Programme for Children during the divorce process, just like the Family Justice Court.

Mr Masagos said: "The aim of these provisions, is to make sure that the best interests of the child are prioritised during the divorce process. This must be our objective for children of all marriages, whether civil or Muslim."

The amendments do not change the way Muslim law will continue to apply to Muslim marriages and divorces, he added.

Mr Masagos also addressed MPs' concerns on whether digital divorce proceedings could ensure a fair trial for vulnerable individuals and the enforcement measures to ensure children attend support programs.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) welcomed measures to support children affected by divorce and asked what would happen to parents whose children do not complete the course.

Ms Nadia Samdin (Ang Mo Kio GRC) said there was a need to put in place safeguards that would ensure the integrity and orderliness of divorce proceedings conducted online and cited the example of domestic abuse victims who could be facing intimidation.

"It is important to ensure that each party can express their case independently, fairly and completely with all relevant details," she said.

Source: Straits Times

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

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/muslim-couples-can-solemnise-marriage-online-under-changes-to-law

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Malaysian Minister under Fire for Apparently Endorsing Domestic Violence

2022-02-14

Women’s groups and people across gender lines came out on Monday to criticize a federal minister who appeared to endorse domestic violence in one of two short videos she posted to social media last week.

Husbands are allowed to use a “gentle but firm physical touch” that is “educational” on recalcitrant wives, Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, the deputy minister for women, family and community development, was seen as saying in one of the videos posted on Facebook.

The MP from the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) also advised men to use counseling and sleep separately from their spouses for three days, saying that Islam recommends such measures for when their wives do something they disapprove of.

“If she does not listen even after being advised and sleeping in different rooms, here we [husbands] can use ‘soft but firm’ physical touch that is educational, full of love and does not cause pain,” Siti Zailah said in the video that was posted on Saturday.

She also recommended that women make sure their husbands had eaten, prayed and were in a good mood before approaching a difficult subject to ensure harmony at home. The videos have been viewed more than 16,000 times on Instagram and 12,000 times on Facebook.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Siti Zailah’s ministry did not immediately respond to a BenarNews request for comment on the videos.

‘Violence is violence’

MP Hannah Yeoh, who served in the same post at the ministry until the Pakatan Harapan government fell in early 2020, asked Siti Zailah to explain what she meant.

“It’s dangerous to make such a video – ‘firm but gentle’ is subjective. Just ask teams of doctors, activists and NGO that deal with domestic violence,” said Yeoh, an MP from the opposition Democratic Action Party.

Another opposition lawmaker, Nurul Izzah Anwar of the People’s Justice Party, also questioned the videos’ content.

“The pandemic has only seen an increase in domestic violence, predominantly against women,” she said on social media. “This so-called ‘advice’ by the deputy minister is a disservice and goes against current realities and needs.”

Sisters in Islam (SIS), a Muslim NGO known for liberal views, called the videos appalling.

“It is deplorable for a deputy minister of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to make and share a video that supports women being treated as subservient, inferior beings who deserve to be disciplined and corrected in their character and behavior,” the organization said in a statement shared with BenarNews on Monday.

It also said there was no such thing as a husband hitting a wife gently.

“Violence is violence and there is no justification on how a husband should ‘educate’ or ‘reprimand’ a wife. Furthermore, the narrative that a husband is allowed to educate his wife by hitting her gently arguably opens the door to violence, especially since there has yet to be a wife who has complained that she has only been gently hit by her husband,” SIS said.

Joint Action Group for Gender Equality, a coalition of women’s groups, demanded that Siti Zailah resign.

“The deputy minister must step down for normalizing domestic violence, which is a crime in Malaysia as well as for perpetuating ideas and behaviors that are opposed to gender equality,” it said in a statement.

Hardliners offer support

However, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA), a hardline Malay-Muslim NGO, supported Siti Zailah’s videos.

“Prior to giving unwanted comments on Islamic teachings, why don’t we dissect the real cause of domestic violence? How many cases were caused by drunkards and drug addicts? How many of the cases were due to mental health issues related to poor socioeconomic status and debts,” Fatimah Zaharah Rosli, the assistant leader of ISMA women’s wing, told BenarNews.

Source: Benar News

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

https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/malaysian/video-fallout-02142022120855.html

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Appeals court rejects citizenship bid for woman born in Pahang to Cambodia refugees, but says can apply to be naturalised Malaysian

15 Feb 2022

BY IDA LIM

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — The Court of Appeal today unanimously decided not to recognise a 35-year-old woman — who was born in a Pahang refugee camp to parents who were Muslim refugees from Cambodia — as a Malaysian citizen.

The woman Azimah Hamzah is the only one in her family who is not yet a Malaysian. She had previously applied but failed at the High Court and then appealed to the Court of Appeal to be recognised as a Malaysian by arguing that she is a stateless person with no Cambodian citizenship.

While Azimah was born in Malaysia and her parents and all her siblings had became Malaysians, the Court of Appeal said that she had not fulfilled the requirements under the pathway of Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution and Section 1(e) of Part II of the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

The Court of Appeal however said that Azimah still had the alternative option of pursuing Malaysian citizenship by way of naturalisation under Article 19 of the Federal Constitution.

In reading the brief grounds of a three-judge panel’s unanimous decision, Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera said the Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court’s March 2020 decision to dismiss Azimah’s bid for Malaysian citizenship.

Vazeer Alam said the Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court judge’s findings that concluded Azimah is not a stateless person, and also agreed that both Article 14(1)(b) and the Section 1(e) — two constitutional provisions which would enable a person to be recognised as a Malaysian citizen — do not apply to Azimah and that she is not a Malaysian citizen by operation of law.

Vazeer Alam said the Court of Appeal panel took note of the fact that Azimah’s parents and all her siblings have subsequently acquired Malaysian citizenship, and went on to highlight the other citizenship route that Azimah could still try.

“We empathise with her predicament. Nevertheless, the door is not closed. It is still open to her to apply for citizenship by naturalisation if the requirements are met.

“We find no merit in the appeal and the appeal is dismissed,” the judge said in dismissing Azimah’s appeal.

The three-member Court of Appeal panel was chaired by Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said. Datuk Gunalan Muniandy was the third judge.

Based on previous court documents including Azimah’s own affidavit, her parents and her elder sister were Muslim refugees from Cambodia who had been accepted for settlement in Malaysia since 1985, with the parents and elder sister placed in a refugee camp in Cherating, Pahang until they left the camp in 1987.

It was in June 1986 that Azimah’s refugee parents gave birth to her in the refugee camp in Pahang.

In reading the brief grounds of the decision, Vazeer Alam had examined the High Court’s decision in Azimah’s case, after having noted that her refugee parents were not Malaysian citizens at the time of her birth and that she has lived in Malaysia since birth.

The High Court’s decision was on two issues, namely whether the citizenship provisions of Section 1(e) and Article 14(1)(b) applied to Azimah’s case, and whether the burden of proof lies on Azimah to establish on a balance of probabilities that Azimah was not born a citizen of any country for purposes of Section 1(e).

Article 14(1)(b) states that those who are born after Malaysia was formed and who fulfill any of the conditions in Part II of the Second Schedule are citizens by operation of law or entitled to be Malaysians, with one of the conditions being Section 1(e) which is that a person born within Malaysia “who is not born a citizen of any country”.

Azimah argues that she is automatically a citizen of Malaysia once she has met the Section 1(e) requirement.

Noting that then High Court judge Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya had held that Azimah holds the burden of proof to establish on a balance of probabilities that she was not born a citizen of any country, Vazeer Alam said the Court of Appeal agreed with this.

“We agree that the appellant (Azimah) has to prove she was stateless at the time of her birth to avail herself of her right under Section 1(e). The facts showed the parents were refugees from Cambodia, thus there was evidence of parents’ country of origin.

“Though her birth certificate did not state the nationality of her parents, that does not mean her parents were stateless,” Vazeer Alam said, referring to Azimah’s June 1986 birth certificate.

Vazeer Alam referred to an entry permit issued by Malaysia’s immigration authorities in November 1986 to Azimah’s father which had stated his nationality to be Cambodian.

“If that is so, Azimah has to show why she is not entitled to acquire citizenship of Cambodia.”

“We agree with the High Court judge that it is incumbent on Azimah to demonstrate to the court why she is not entitled to acquire Cambodian citizenship at her birth,” he added.

The judge noted there was evidence of Azimah’s parents being Cambodian citizens at the time of her birth.

Vazeer Alam said the Court of Appeal found no error in the High Court judge’s findings that Azimah had failed to discharge the burden of proof of her not having being born a citizen of any country.

“As such, Azimah could not be categorised as a stateless person at birth for purposes of citizenship by operation of law under the Second Schedule read together with Article 14(1)(b),” the judge said.

The judge then concluded that the Court of Appeal agreed that Azimah is not a Malaysian citizen by operation of law — or entitled to automatically be a Malaysian citizen — as it agreed Article 14(1)(b) and Section 1(e) do not apply to her.

“We will appeal the decision,” Azimah’s lawyer N. Surendran told Malay Mail when contacted later.

Lawyer Shahid Adli Kamarudin also represented Azimah while senior federal counsel Nik Mohd Noor Nik Kar and federal counsel Arina Azmin Ahmad Marzuki represented the government and the two other respondents.

About Azimah’s case

Azimah’s June 1986 birth certificate records her as a non-citizen and her race as Cambodian, with her parents recorded with the same details and with “maklumat tidak diperolehi” (information not obtained) stated for the parents’ identification documents.

The November 25, 1986 entry permit into Malaysia issued to both Azimah’s parents states them to be of Cambodian nationality. On the same day in November 1986, both parents obtained the status of being permanent residents of Malaysia.

Azimah’s parents both obtained Malaysian citizenship in November 2008 via Article 19(1) of the Federal Constitution, or in other words became Malaysian citizens through naturalisation.

Under Article 19(1), the Malaysian government may grant a certificate of naturalisation to anyone aged 21 and above when applied by the person, if satisfied that the person is of good character, has adequate knowledge of the Malay language and has lived in Malaysia for the required period — not less than 10 years in the 12 years before application is made — and intends to live permanently in Malaysia if the certificate is granted.

Azimah’s older sister, who was not born in Malaysia but was also a refugee who came to Malaysia with their parents, was naturalised as a citizen in November 2008.

The naturalisation process was made under Article 15A of the Federal Constitution, where the government may register persons aged below 21 as citizens in special circumstances as it thinks fit.

All of Azimah’s four younger siblings — born in Malaysia before the parents became citizens — are Malaysians because of the parents’ status as permanent residents in Malaysia.

Azimah had in 1998 applied for a Malaysian identification card when she was 12, but the National Registration Department had in November 1999 said she was not entitled to Malaysian citizenship by operation of law.

She was then subsequently given a MyKas or a green identity card — introduced since 1990 by Malaysia for non-citizens who have temporary resident status — and allowed to renew it several times before being denied subsequently. Over the years, she had also made multiple attempts to obtain Malaysian citizenship status.

Azimah had asked the Cambodian embassy in an attempt to settle the question of whether she is a Cambodian citizen or otherwise by asking the Cambodian embassy, with the embassy confirming in a September 18, 2018 certified letter that Azimah “has never been holding Cambodian passport and identity documents”.

Azimah in October 2018 applied for Malaysian citizenship via Article 14(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution, but her application was rejected in March 2019.

On June 3, 2019, she filed a judicial review application against the NRD’s director-general, the home minister and the Malaysian government, to seek various court orders including a declaration to recognise her as a Malaysian citizen and one to compel the issuance of a MyKad or citizenship certificate.

The High Court on March 11, 2020 dismissed Azimah’s lawsuit, which then led to this appeal and the decision today by the Court of Appeal.

Azimah will turn 36 this year. Like Azimah, her parents and all her siblings are also in Malaysia.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/02/15/appeals-court-rejects-citizenship-bid-for-woman-born-in-pahang-to-cambodia/2041700

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Mideast

 

Israel imposes travel ban on head of Islamic Movement’s northern branch: Lawyer

Abdel Ra'ouf D. A. R. Arnaout 

14.02.2022

JERUSALEM

Israeli authorities have imposed a one-month travel ban on Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, his lawyer said on Monday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Salah's lawyer Khaled Zabarqa said that the decision was taken by Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and that the ban can be extended up to six months.

"This is an arbitrary and illegal decision and is part of the political persecution by the Israeli authorities against Sheikh Raed Salah," Zabarqa said.

He added that Salah does not do any secret work and has the right to travel anywhere he wants.

Salah was released in December after 16 months in Israeli jails.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israel-imposes-travel-ban-on-head-of-islamic-movement-s-northern-branch-lawyer/2502483

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Iranian FM: West’s Threats, Warnings No Endpoint to Vienna Talks

2022-February-14

"If the American side and the three European countries [to the Vienna talks] are serious about returning to fulfilling their obligations under the JCPOA, a good agreement can be reached in a short term,"  Amir Abdollahian said in a joint press conference with his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney in Tehran on Monday. 

"We look forward to reaching a good agreement, and we are confident that the practical, positive and constructive proposals presented by the Islamic Republic of Iran have paved the way for such an agreement to be reached quickly," he added.

He also noted that the Western parties must show their true intention to return to their full commitments under the JCPOA instead of playing with text and time.

"We are in a hurry to reach a good agreement, but within the framework of rational negotiations and achieving the rights and interests of our people," the Iranian minister said.

“Threats and warnings of the other sides will not specify the endpoint of the negotiations and the realities of the negotiating table and the seriousness and efforts of the western sides and the US for reviving their undertakings will specify the endpoint for negotiations or attainment of an agreement,” he underlined.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir Abdollahian pointed to the Irish Foreign Minister's concern about Iran's peaceful nuclear program, saying, "Iran's nuclear program is a completely peaceful program, and what created the main problem in the implementation process of the 2015 agreement was the inaction of the European side and the withdrawal of the American side from the JCPOA."

Coveney, for his part, said that the Revival of the JCPOA can be in the interest of the Iranian people, adding that the agreement in Vienna can pave the way for further regional and international cooperation.

Ireland wants to help all parties move the negotiations forward and bring them to fruition, he added.

Stating that he knows that Iran is outraged by the previous decisions of the US government, Coveney expressed confidence in the will of the Western parties to revive the JCPOA.

Earlier today, Secretary Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that if Washington makes a political decision to remove sanctions against Iran, all speculations about the outcome of the Vienna talks will be removed.

“Vienna Talks have reached a stage where outcome can be announced without speculation and with certainty,” Shamkhani wrote on his twitter page on Monday.

"The US political decision to realize or refuse to accept the requirements of a credible and lasting deal based on the principles accepted in the JCPOA can replace speculation", he added.

In another tweet on Sunday night, Shamkhani had voiced displeasure that the western parties participating in Vienna talks still continue their initiative “show” to avoid acting upon undertakings.

Shamkhani referred to his phone talks with Iran’s leade negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani, and said, "Tonight's phone call with Bagheri Kani confirmed 2 statements in my mind about Vienna Talks: 1. Increasing difficulty of Iranian negotiators task to advance the logical and legal instructions of Tehran 2. Continuation of initiative ‘show’ by Western parties to evade commitments."

Envoys from Iran and the G4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — have been holding negotiations in the Austrian capital for 10 months in a bid to resurrect the JCPOA.

The eighth round of the talks resumed last Tuesday after a brief pause during which the negotiators returned to their capitals for consultations.

Shamkhani warned last Monday that the Vienna talks between Iran and the world powers may not end up in a deal if the US remains adamant to removing all cruel sanctions imposed on Tehran under the maximum pressure campaign.

"The agenda for the Iranian negotiators to continue the eighth round of Vienna Talks has been carefully defined. An agreement in which the sanctions that form the maximum pressure are not lifted will condition the country's economy and cannot be the basis of a good deal," Shamkhani wrote on his twitter page.

Reports said earlier this month that the Biden administration has restored a nuclear cooperation sanctions waiver to Iran, a senior State Department official said.

The waiver, which was rescinded by the Trump administration in May 2020, had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out non-proliferation work at Iranian nuclear sites.

The move came as Iran has been requesting removal of economic sanctions.

Shamkhani reacted to the news by saying that Iran has the right to a peaceful nuclear program.

“Iran’s legal right to continue research and development and to maintain its peaceful nuclear capabilities and achievements, along with its security against supported evils, cannot be restricted by any agreement,” he tweeted.

Iranian senior analyst Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm also discredited the US move, describing it as a deceitful measure aimed at prioritizing nuclear debates over economic sanctions in the Vienna talks.

In a reply tweet to a post left by Ulyanov who had welcomed the US waivers as a step forward, Khoshcheshm said the US continues its game against Iran and its recent move shouldn't be interpreted as softening tone.

Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi said on Friday that his country pursues a balanced foreign policy in relations with the world states, stressing that Iran's progress does not depend on developments in New York or Vienna.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001125000697/Iranian-FM-Wes%E2%80%99s-Threas-Warnings-N-Endpin-Vienna-Talks

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Iran: West Continues Initiative “Show” in Vienna Talks

2022-February-14

In a post on his twitter page on Sunday night, Shamkhani referred to his phone talks with Iran’s leade negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani, and said, "Tonight's phone call with Bagheri Kani confirmed 2 statements in my mind about Vienna Talks: 1. Increasing difficulty of Iranian negotiators task to advance the logical and legal instructions of Tehran 2. Continuation of initiative ‘show’ by Western parties to evade commitments."

Envoys from Iran and the G4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — have been holding negotiations in the Austrian capital for 10 months in a bid to resurrect the JCPOA.

The eighth round of the talks resumed last Tuesday after a brief pause during which the negotiators returned to their capitals for consultations.

Shamkhani warned last Monday that the Vienna talks between Iran and the world powers may not end up in a deal if the US remains adamant to removing all cruel sanctions imposed on Tehran under the maximum pressure campaign.

"The agenda for the Iranian negotiators to continue the eighth round of Vienna Talks has been carefully defined. An agreement in which the sanctions that form the maximum pressure are not lifted will condition the country's economy and cannot be the basis of a good deal," Shamkhani wrote on his twitter page.

Reports said earlier this month that the Biden administration has restored a nuclear cooperation sanctions waiver to Iran, a senior State Department official said.

The waiver, which was rescinded by the Trump administration in May 2020, had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out non-proliferation work at Iranian nuclear sites.

The move came as Iran has been requesting removal of economic sanctions.

Shamkhani reacted to the news by saying that Iran has the right to a peaceful nuclear program.

“Iran’s legal right to continue research and development and to maintain its peaceful nuclear capabilities and achievements, along with its security against supported evils, cannot be restricted by any agreement,” he tweeted.

Iranian senior analyst Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm also discredited the US move, describing it as a deceitful measure aimed at prioritizing nuclear debates over economic sanctions in the Vienna talks.

In a reply tweet to a post left by Ulyanov who had welcomed the US waivers as a step forward, Khoshcheshm said the US continues its game against Iran and its recent move shouldn't be interpreted as softening tone.

Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi said on Friday that his country pursues a balanced foreign policy in relations with the world states, stressing that Iran's progress does not depend on developments in New York or Vienna.

"In our foreign policy, we seek balanced relations with the world and attach special importance to neighboring countries" Rayeesi said.

"We pin hope on our people," he added, noting that "we never pin hope on either New York or Vienna".

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001125000210/Iran-Wes-Cnines-Iniiaive-%E2%80%9CShw%E2%80%9D-in-Vienna-Talks

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Iran, Pakistan Confer on Regional Security

2022-February-14

The meeting was held between Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi and Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday.

The two sides discussed bilateral relations between Iran and Pakistan, security developments in the region, border cooperation and the situation in Afghanistan.

Iranian Envoy to Islamabad Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Commander of the Iranian Border Guards General Ahmad Ali Goudarzi and the Iranian military attaché in Pakistan colonel Mostafa Ghanbarpour, as well as some Pakistani military and security officials, also attended the meeting.

Heading a delegation, Ahmad Vahidi arrived in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad on Monday.

Upon his arrival, the Iranian minister met with his Pakistani counterpart Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad.

In a relevant development in January, high-ranking Iranian and Pakistani military officials in a meeting conferred on ways to boost cooperation in maritime security and joint operations.

General Goudarzi and Director General of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency Rear Admiral Mirza Fawad Amin Beg held a meeting in the port city of Karachi.

Iran's military attaché in Pakistan Colonel Mostafa Ghanbarpour and members of the delegations of the two countries also attended the meeting.

During the meeting, General Goudarzi called for a mechanism based on the principles of equality and common interests, mutual respect, respect for border integrity, jurisdiction and the establishment of a continuous framework for maritime cooperation and exchange of information between two neighboring countries.

He added that in the maritime cooperation the two countries should hold search and rescue operations, actions against maritime crime and protection of the marine environment and increase the fight against security breaches.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001125000272/Iran-Pakisan-Cnfer-n-Reginal-Secriy

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Palestinian detainees stage one-day hunger strike in Israel

Awad al-Rujoub  

14.02.2022

RAMALLAH, Palestine

Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails on Monday announced a one-day hunger strike in protest of Israeli punitive measures against them.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said in a statement that the strike was launched to protest such measures, which includes the deprivation of visits by detainees' families.

Tensions have also arisen in Israeli jails for nine days after authorities reduced the duration of yard time for the detainees, the statement added.

The PPS also said Israeli authorities were imposing further restrictions on detainees after the successful prison break of six Palestinians in September, before later being recaptured.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/palestinian-detainees-stage-one-day-hunger-strike-in-israel/2502238

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Attacks on Palestinian homes by Israeli police, settlers in East Jerusalem leave 31 injured

February 14, 2022

MOHAMMED NAJIB

RAMALLAH: Dozens of people were injured in violent clashes in East Jerusalem on Sunday night as settlers continued their attempts to forcibly evict Palestinian families from their homes.

For the second day running, Israeli police took to the streets of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, closing streets and alleyways near to the home of Fatima Salem and her family, and using water, cavalry teams, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

The attacks by settlers on Jerusalemites in the neighborhood continued into the early hours, with groups throwing stones at houses, spraying pepper gas and raising Israeli flags. Others roamed the streets provoking locals, singing and dancing.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, 31 people were injured after being hit by stun grenades, rubber bullets and pepper gas. They included three paramedics, a journalist and two foreign activists. Police arrested 11 Jerusalemites.

Tensions in the neighborhood increased after Itamar Ben Gvir, an Israeli far-right member of the Knesset, set up his office there in solidarity with the settlers who are trying to seize Palestinian homes.

After the provocation turned to violence, Israeli police and border guards — who were deployed mostly to protect the settlers — joined in the attacks on Palestinian citizens, which caused the conflict to escalate further.

Abdulfattah Eskafi, one of the 28 homeowners in Sheikh Jarrah who have been under attack, said the situation was getting worse.

“There was an escalation in the settlers’ violence against us after they failed to evacuate us as a group,” he told Arab News. “They are trying to single us out and evict us house by house.”

He described the events of Sunday night as a “street war,” adding that the Israeli police had protected the settlers and attacked the Palestinians with “excessive force.”

“They want to take control of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which they have no right to, through every possible method,” Abdulfattah Eskafi said.

Palestinian factions, including Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, threatened a violent response if the attacks by settlers and the police continued.

Fatah spokesperson Osama Al-Qawasma told Arab News: “Fatah demands its members and our people to be present in Sheikh Jarrah to confront the settlers directly and the occupation forces who seek to Judaize Sheikh Jarrah and expel the families from their homes.

“We are in the first trench, defending every inch of Palestine with all our capabilities.”

Fatah Central Committee Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub said that “Israeli terrorism” was to blame for the ongoing tension in Sheikh Jarrah.

He told Arab News that he condemned Israel's “ethnic cleansing of everything related to Islam, Christianity and Arabism in occupied Jerusalem.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to Fatima Salem, whose home has been under attack, over the phone to express his support for her and her family.

“We stand with you heart and soul, and our hearts and minds are with you, and the occupation will end soon,” he said.

Abbas also praised the sacrifices of Jerusalemites and their steadfastness in the face of the arbitrary measures of the Israeli occupation forces.

The latest attacks on Palestinians have sparked fears of a repeat of the violent conflict between Hamas and Israel that lasted for 11 days in May last year, following similar provocation by settlers and supporters of Bin Gvir.

Abdulatif Al-Qanou, a Hamas spokesperson, told Arab News: “The Sheikh Jarrah people are not alone. Rather, the Palestinian resistance is ready to defend them, and it is closely following this Israeli behavior.

“We cannot allow the occupation to repeat the experience of displacement from the neighborhoods and areas of occupied Jerusalem.”

The Israeli government is trying to evacuate about 100 families from 28 properties and give them to the settlers. About 100 people from 19 Jewish families currently live in three houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2024696/middle-east

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Africa

 

Muslim, Christian leaders work together for peace in Mozambique

February 15, 2022

While joint Mozambican, Rwandan and Southern African Development Community troops battle Islamist insurgents in the northernmost Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, local religious leaders are organizing an ideological offensive with the goal of opening new paths toward peace. Since 2017, an armed group whose goals remain unclear has been attacking several districts in Cabo Delgado.

Its violent acts include killing civilians — many times involving decapitation — destroying entire villages and kidnappings.

Strategic locations, including the city of Mocimboa da Praia, had been under the group’s control for several months.

Between 2018 and 2019, the insurgents — known locally as Al-Shabab but not related to the Somali group of the same name — began pledging alle-giance to Daesh.

Their actions have caused the displacement of an estimated 850,000 people to the province’s capital Pemba and to other southern districts. Large natural gas exploitation near the town of Palma has had to be suspended.The crisis has led many international organizations to deploy people and resources to offer relief to those impacted.

At the end of 2021, Muslim and Christian leaders gathered in Pemba to discuss how religion could bring peace back to Cabo Delgado. The insurgents “don’t have anything to do with Islam. They claim to be Muslim and have Muslim names, but everything they do is contrary to Islam,” said Sheikh Aminuddin Muhammad, who leads Mozambique’s Islamic Council. He emphasized that the insurgents have attacked several imams and burned mosques since they be-gan to operate in Cabo Delgado.

Source: Pak Observer

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

https://pakobserver.net/muslim-christian-leaders-work-together-for-peace-in-mozambique/

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One protester killed as thousands rally across Sudan against coup: Medics

14 February ,2022

At least one protester was shot dead as security forces confronted crowds marching in Khartoum on Monday demanding the release of prisoners and an end to military rule, medics and a Reuters reporter said.

Elsewhere, thousands returned to streets across Sudan, in some of the biggest demonstrations in nearly a month against an October coup.

Across the River Nile from Khartoum, officers fired teargas to try and disperse thousands of people who approached the disused parliament buildings in Omdurman and got close to a key bridge.

Columns of smoke rose into the sky as demonstrators blocked one of the main streets in Omdurman with stones. Some held giant pictures of protesters killed during previous rallies.

“We won't let the martyrs' killers seize our country. We won't let the military and the (former regime) return again. We are a free and democratic generation,” Sara Ahmed, a 19-year-old student, said.

At least 80 have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to medics.

The military and police say they allow peaceful protest, that members of the security forces have had to defend themselves, and that casualties are being investigated.

In Khartoum, separate groups of protesters demonstrated about 2km from the presidential palace amid heavy security, witnesses said.

One unidentified protester was killed by scattered gunshot, said the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, a group aligned with the protest movement. There was no immediate comment from the military leadership.

Pictures of rallies in other towns and cities across Sudan were posted on social media.

In recent days security forces have arrested three high-profile civilian figures connected to a task force that was working to dismantle the regime of former President Omar al-Bashir, who was toppled in an uprising in 2019.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/14/One-protester-killed-as-thousands-rally-across-Sudan-against-coup-Medics

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Libyan crisis deepens as Tobruk-based parliament chooses new premier

Aydoğan Kalabalık  

15.02.2022

TRIPOLI, Libya

The crisis in Libya has deepened with the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) parliament in the country's east choosing former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha as prime minister last Thursday, while current Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh has vowed to continue in the post.

The failure to hold discussions on the legitimacy of Libya's Government of National Unity, originally scheduled on Dec. 24, has led to differences of opinion in the west of the country as well.

Arriving at Tripoli's Mitiga Airport late Thursday, Bashagha was greeted by a group of supporters. No legal sanctions were imposed on him and he did not encounter any obstacles.

Dbeibeh on Friday went to Misrata, his and Bashagha’s hometown located east of Tripoli, and held talks with local administrations and some military officials there.

Following that, it was announced that a military force from Misrata would head toward Tripoli on Saturday to bolster the legitimacy of the state and force the parties to hold presidential and parliamentary elections.

Later, a written statement from the 21 brigades in Misrata, reacted to the election of Bashagha as prime minister. The statement said the HoR parliament acting alone on the political and constitutional process is unacceptable.

On Saturday, around 200 heavily armed military vehicles, including two Turkish-made Kirpi, arrived in Tripoli from Misrata in the evening. A group that introduced themselves as the "Libyan army support force" in Martyrs' Square condemned the decision of the HoR parliament to elect Bashagha as the new prime minister.

The group denounced "the state of absurdity that contradicts the outcomes of the political dialogue forum and wants the country to enter new transitional stages."

Decisions taken in the House of Representatives in its last meeting in Tobruk were not "in accordance with fair and transparent procedures," it said.

It voiced "strong support for parliamentary elections, the referendum on the constitution, and presidential elections as soon as possible”.

Evaluation from Libyan streets

Khaled al-Mishri, president of the High Council of the State of Libya, said the evaluation meeting, which should be held after the election of the new prime minister, was postponed and they did not take a final position on the issue. Al-Mishri said he would accept the objections in the next session of the council.

Evaluations from the Libyan streets indicate that if al-Mishri had also announced support for Bashagha as prime minister, the Dbeibeh government would have fallen.

Following the remarks of al-Mishri, Dbeibeh, who does not look kindly on the fact that the elections will be held shortly, said he would change his stance and make a statement on Feb. 17 on the elections coinciding with the anniversary of the revolution.

The HoR parliament had announced that Khaled Bibas, who was Bashagha’s only rival in the elections, had withdrawn from the race.

However, Bibas denied having withdrawn and accused Libyan parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh of having lied by announcing his withdrawal.

Different scenarios

Different scenarios are emerging regarding the situation in the west of the country.

The first scenario is that the Dbeibeh government will continue to work but Bashagha also establishes a parallel government.

In this case, the possibility of Bashagha forming the government in Sirte, the hometown of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi, to avoid the possibility of armed conflict is being discussed because some names, especially those who supported the eastern part of the country, had expressed their opinion about moving the capital to Sirte.

The possibility of Dbeibeh withdrawing from the race is also being discussed. But it is considered a weak possibility. Dbeibeh is seen as the prime minister who has served and invested the most in the country in a year since protests that started in 2011. He has quite high popular support in the west of the country.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/libyan-crisis-deepens-as-tobruk-based-parliament-chooses-new-premier/2502743

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Roadside bomb kills 4 civilians in southern Somalia

Mohammed Dhaysane

14.02.2022

MOGADISHU, Somalia

At least four civilians were killed after an auto-rickshaw they were traveling in hit a roadside bomb in southern Somalia on Monday, a security official said.

The security official in the Middle Shabelle region told Anadolu Agency over the phone the bomb blast took place near the village of Hansholey on the outskirts of Jowhar, the provincial capital of the Middle Shabelle region, adding the road was frequented by Somali military personnel.

Al-Shabaab terrorists frequently target the Somali military on the road, he said, adding unarmed civilians also fall victims to roadside bombs planted by terrorists.

Somali national television also reported that four civilians were killed after their auto-rickshaw ran over an IED (improvised explosive device) planted by terrorists near Hansholey village in the Jowhar district of the Middle Shabelle region on Monday.

Though no group has yet claimed responsibility for the roadside explosion, al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the recent attacks in the region targeting the Somali military, local administration officials, and Burundian peacekeepers serving under African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/roadside-bomb-kills-4-civilians-in-southern-somalia/2502281

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Jordan condemns Israel's aggression in East Jerusalem

Laith Al-Jnaidi 

14.02.2022

AMMAN, Jordan

Jordan on Monday decried the Israeli aggression in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, calling it a breach of international laws.

“The eviction and deportation orders against the residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem are a violation of international and humanitarian laws,” Haitham Abu Al-Foul, spokesperson for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.

Abu Al-Foul stressed that Israel as an occupying power is obligated to protect and defend the Palestinians' rights in their homes, adding Israel's practices deepen the occupation and undermine peace.

On Sunday, at least 31 Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood sustained injuries and 12 others were detained when the Israeli forces attacked a rally by the Palestinians who were protesting Israeli eviction orders against Palestinian families.

Last year, tensions ran high in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood after an Israeli court ordered the eviction of several Palestinian families in favor of Israeli settlers.

In 1956, 28 families settled in Sheikh Jarrah under an agreement between the Jordanian government, which ruled the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, before the Israeli occupation in 1967, and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/jordan-condemns-israels-aggression-in-east-jerusalem/2502276

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North America

 

US military admits killing civilians in latest Syria raid amid rising criticism

13 February 2022

US military officials have finally admitted that amid growing criticisms for claiming without evidence that the target had detonated a bomb killing himself and his entire family.

Laying out a chronology of the raid, the officials – who spoke on condition of anonymity -- also conceded that they cannot be certain about their initial claim that the Daesh leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, detonated the bomb that killed him and his family at his residence in the Syrian village of Atmeh near the Turkish border, AP reported Friday.

They, however, continue to claim – without evidence – that the explosive was set off by him or someone else on the third floor of the building where he allegedly lived.

Speaking to a small group of reporters, two senior US military officials involved in the planning or execution of the operation provided the most details to date on the February 2 raid, still pushing back against local residents and other activist groups insisting that the American operation killed as many as 13 people, including civilians.

Sources on the ground in the Syrian northwestern border town told media outlets that at least 12 civilians were killed in the raid. UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, also confirmed that six children were killed in the immediate area.

The officials also revealed that the US, which wanted to capture al-Qurayshi alive, had made plans to turn him over to another government. One official said the US would have detained him temporarily, but there were no plans for a long-term US detention.

They declined to provide further details, saying they wanted to protect “government-to-government” discussions.

Previously the Pentagon and US President Joe Biden had insisted that al-Qurayshi blew up himself, his wife and two children. The military officials again reiterated on Thursday that they believe that is “the most likely scenario but have no evidence to back that up,” according to the report.

The latest, though still shadowy, explanations were offered after the Biden administration and the Pentagon came under sharp criticism recently for failing to provide evidence of a number of national security claims, including proof of their efforts to avoid civilian casualties in operations such as the Syria raid, their account of an alleged suicide bombing in Afghanistan in August, and the persisting claims about a looming Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A prominent CNN news anchor also blasted last week the Biden administration’s recent suggestion that journalists who don’t trust their claims are siding with terrorists or foreign powers, pointing out that the US government has a long history of “lying to the American people.”

The on-air criticism of the administration by Jake Tapper was prompted by two separate incidents earlier this month in which White House and State Department spokespersons clearly implied that journalists challenging the validity of their official statements were siding with Washington’s enemies.

In one incident, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was challenged by a reporter to offer evidence proving her claim that Daesh (ISIS) leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi had detonated himself with a suicide device during a US raid in Syria.

“As our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a final act of desperate cowardice, with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building, he chose to blow himself up,” US President Joe Biden also claimed.

The exchange between Psaki and the reporter onboard the presidential plane coincided with a similar argument over the reliability of information provided by the US government at the State Department, where Spokesman Ned Price claimed that Russia was preparing to stage a ‘false flag’ attack as a pretext to invade Ukraine.

“There’s a long history in this country that long predates the existence of everybody at this table…of the US Government lying to the American people,” Tapper underlined during his news show early this month. “Lying for the right reasons maybe, or because they had the wrong information or they’re backing their guys, but it is our job to challenge.”

During the show, CNN contributor Abby Phillip also cited US military’s drone strike in Kabul last August -- in which the administration originally claimed that Daesh terrorists were targeted but it was shortly proven that the strike had actually killed only civilians -- as an example of why journalists should question the government’s claims.

Meanwhile, persisting questions about the administration’s credibility are coming at a critical moment as it is revealing intelligence about Russia’s plans for Ukraine, while often not providing evidence to back up its assertions.

Moreover, an AP journalist as well as several village residents have also confirmed seeing body parts scattered near the site of the US commando raid in Syria.

On Thursday, according to the AP report, the military officials further acknowledged they have no video of the house explosion in Syria or of the efforts to get civilians out of the house.

US Military officials also stated for the first time that individuals in the targeted house shot at the troops before the Americans started to enter the building after the explosion, the report noted.

A Daesh member, described as a lieutenant of al-Qurayshi’s, and his wife were on the second floor, with as many as five children. Officials said US forces killed the militant and his wife in a gun battle. One was barricaded in a small room and shooting from there; another fired while coming through the door.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/13/676722/US-military-admit-inflicting-civilian-casualties-Syria-raid-

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Iran, militias it backs have increased threats against US troops in Syria: Pentagon

14 February ,2022

Iran forces and militias backed by Tehran posed an increased threat to US troops in Syria during the last quarter of 2021, a report from the Pentagon said.

Iran-aligned militias also continued to pose a threat to US personnel in Iraq during the quarter, according to the report, which describes US government activities in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) in Iraq and Syria.

The latest report, dated February 8, 2022, assessed activities and developments between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.

OIR was initially formed in 2014 to defeat ISIS “while setting the conditions for follow-on activities to increase regional stability.”

During the most recent period, Iraq’s PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi survived an assassination attempt, and attacks on US forces in Syria increased.

But Sean O’Donnell, the acting inspector general, said the US would continue to report on the status of OIR, “including the counter-ISIS mission, the effects of malign actors on the mission, and US government efforts to address the underlying factors that influence stability in Iraq and Syria.”

The report cited an October 20, 2021 attack on Coalition forces at Al-Tanf in Syria and at least two other attacks by Iran-backed militias on Coalition troops.

“The [US Defense Intelligence] DIA reported that Iran-aligned forces continued to support Syrian regime operations across Syria and continued to expand their freedom of movement, particularly in eastern Syria, under the pretext of conducting operations against ISIS,” the Pentagon’s report said.

Iran is also looking to secure its transportation links from Iraq to Lebanon “and expand its influence in the region.”

To do so, Iran and groups it backs continued to foster ties with Arab tribal communities in eastern Syria during the last quarter of 2021, the Pentagon said.

The DIA said Iran funds and trains local militias, including a “newly formed tribal group in eastern Syria called the Hashemiyoon Brigade.”

Iraq

In Iraq, Iran-backed militias continued to threaten US personnel despite “mostly” pausing attacks during the quarter. This could have been due to their desire to “manage escalation and evaluate US intentions” after the Pentagon ended its combat role in Iraq on December 31.

An adjustment of troop status was announced last summer after Kadhimi met with US President Joe Biden. The former had come under increasing pressure from pro-Iran groups over foreign troops inside Iraq. This was exacerbated by the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and the deputy chief of an Iran-backed militia in Iraq.

Nevertheless, the militias continued to call on supporters to help “evict the entire US presence from Iraq” and threatened to target US aircraft.

The Pentagon noted these militias’ access to portable air defense systems. “For example, the DIA noted that a hybrid surface-to-air missile/ UAV system, referred to as a 358, and which is capable of engaging US aircraft was recovered near Tuz Khurmatu Airfield in Salah ad Din province this quarter,” according to the report.

“The DIA said that militia-affiliated media insinuated that the system’s discovery was a warning for US forces. The 358 is an Iranian-made system.”

The Pentagon said Iraq’s government is still facing difficulties “to assert control” over Iran-backed militias in the country.

“Iran and Iran-aligned militias continue to have strong ties to some elements of Iraq’s traditional security forces,” the DIA said in the report.

Specifically, Iraq’s Federal Police and Emergency Response Division and the Iraqi Army’s 5th and 8th Divisions have the “greatest Iranian influence,” the report said. “Officers sympathetic to Iranian or militia interests are scattered throughout the security services.”

But the DIA assessed that most police units remained committed to the Iraqi government and continued to follow orders from the prime minister in his role as commander-in-chief. This gave Iran-backed militias “limited ability” to shape ISF decision-making.

“Rather, Iran-aligned militias attempt to intimidate ISF units through information campaigns used to threaten security forces to stay away from Coalition forces, offset real-world weaknesses, and create false narratives in the case of defeats,” the Pentagon said.

ISIS

ISIS remained entrenched in Iraq and Syria during the quarter, O’Donnell said.

“Although the United States’ partner forces in Iraq and Syria were able to conduct successful operations against ISIS without Coalition involvement during the quarter, they also continued to rely on Coalition support,” he noted.

The report said that ISIS claimed responsibility for fewer attacks in Iraq and Syria compared with the previous quarter.

But it continued to exploit security gaps. The terrorist group’s senior leadership was still based in Syria, but ISIS “maintained a larger presence and greater capability in Iraq.”

Biden announced this month an operation, which took out ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Quraishi in Syria.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/14/Iran-militias-it-backs-have-increased-threats-against-US-troops-in-Syria-Pentagon

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Houthis ‘primary obstacle to peace efforts’ in Yemen: US special envoy

RAY HANANIA

February 14, 2022

CHICAGO: The Houthi militia has been the “primary obstacle to peace efforts” in Yemen, US Special Envoy Timothy A. Lenderking told a conference in Washington DC attended by Arab News on Monday.

Lenderking was joined by Mohammad Al-Amrani, a member of the Yemeni government’s negotiating team, who said the Houthis are not only backed by Iran but are following its strategy of using negotiations as a means to force concessions and make gains.

Lenderking and Al-Amrani were the opening speakers at the conference hosted by the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies and the Arab Center Washington DC.

The Houthis’ recent losses “should indicate to them and to all the parties that there’s no military solution,” Lenderking said.

“We’ve also seen the Houthis threaten to strike international commercial airports and other targets in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. This concerns the US and the international community greatly,” he added.

“The Houthis have pursued a dangerous pattern of increasingly obstructive and aggressive actions against Yemenis, Yemen’s neighbors and the entire international community, harming civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Al-Amrani said the Houthis have “obstructed” every attempt at peace talks held in Kuwait, Geneva and Stockholm through “intransigence.”

The Houthis are “creating a generation … that believes that death is the message of life and that violence is the only solution to the Yemeni crisis,” he added.

“Iran … is trying to create mayhem in the region through different militias ... This is an issue. The affiliation of the Houthis to Iran is problematic.”

Al-Amrani said in many instances when it appeared that the Houthis might engage in constructive dialogue, the Iranians sent instructions to stop. The Houthis have been “trying to avoid any binding agreements,” he said.

“The peace process requires two parties that have the same determination to put an end to the conflict.” The Houthis “haven’t been a party” to peace efforts, Al-Amrani said.

Lenderking said the US is committed to “helping improve Yemeni lives, creating the space for Yemenis to collectively determine their own future and to advance a durable resolution that ends the conflict in Yemen.

“We’re not talking about a ceasefire here. We’re talking about ending the conflict and getting Yemen back on its feet. This remains a top US foreign policy priority.”

He added: “In terms of humanitarian assistance, the US has provided the people of Yemen more than $4 billion since the crisis began more than seven years ago.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2024636/middle-east

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Seizure of Afghanistan assets example of US piracy: Analyst

13 February 2022

International lawyer and political analyst Barry Grossman says the US move to block Afghan assets is an illegal act and an example of what he calls American piracy.

US President Joe Biden issued an executive order authorizing the release of half of the $7 billion in frozen Afghan funds held in the US for humanitarian aid to be made available for a possible payment to victims of the September 11 attacks.

A massive demonstration in Afghanistan on Saturday condemned Biden’s seizure of $3.5 billion in Afghan assets for families of America’s 9/11 victims.

The protesters pointed out that Afghans had nothing to do with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed about 3,000 Americans.

The demonstrators who gathered in the Afghan capital of Kabul asked the US for financial compensation for the hundreds of thousands of Afghans killed during the 20-year-long US war and occupation of their country.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/13/676755/Afghanistan-assets-block-US-piracy-

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