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Islamic World News ( 31 May 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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UAE Approves Draft Law Regulating Non-Muslim Places Of Worship

New Age Islam News Bureau

31 May 2023

 

Photo: English Madhyamam

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Arab World

• Criminally Good: ‘The Black Rose’ Show At City Walk Wows Audiences In Jeddah

• Saudi citizen’s kidnapping adds new chapter to Lebanon’s chronicle of crime and impunity

• Sudan Crisis Sparks EU Fears Of ‘Spillover’ To Other Nations

• Saudi Arabia’s KAUST hosts Global Sustainable Development Congress

• Fashion forward: Kingdom launches training programs with Paris institute

• Saudi Deputy Minister Attends Nigerian President’s Inauguration

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Pakistan

• Pakistan: 5 Army Personnel Injured in Explosion in North Waziristan

• Prime minister snubs PTI chief’s offer for negotiations, again

• PIA aircraft stopped in Malaysia for ‘unpaid dues’

• 106 accounts blocked over ‘anti-state’ activities

• Belarus offers cooperation in agricultural sector to Pakistan

• Govt introduces number of policy initiatives to bring stability in economy: Dar

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Europe

• France threatens to ban US social media network in EU over disinformation rules

• Germany arrests 7 alleged members of network that helped finance Islamic State

• Islamist terror suspect seeks asylum in Ireland after fleeing Russian authorities

• Russian colonel 'killed by Islamic State' in Syria's Homs province

• Ukraine imposes sectoral sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran

• Russia issues arrest warrant for Sen. Graham over celebrating Russian deaths

• Russian foreign minister: West supporting 'genocide' in Ukraine

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Southeast Asia

• Islam Isn't Under Threat In Malaysia So Don't Use The Race And Religion Cards For Political Gains, Says Dy. PM Zahid

• Federal Court sets Aug 21 to hear Sisters in Islam's leave application to appeal

• Funding Societies rolls out suite of Islamic financing solutions

• China deploys police, makes arrests after mosque clashes in Yunnan

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Mideast

• Under The Cover Of 'National Park', Israel Annexes Muslim, Christian Site

• Boys From Islamic State Families Undergo Rehabilitation in Syria, But Future Uncertain

• Islamic Revolution Conference Explores Opportunities, Challenges of Governance

• Israel settlers led by Yehuda Glick storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

• Enemies Exaggerating Border Skirmish Issue: Senior Iranian Commander

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North America

• CAIR Urges Biden Administration Act on China’s Destruction of Mosques, Suppression of Islam

• Trump vows to end birthday citizenship for children of illegal immigrants if he wins 2024 presidential race

• Maduro, Lula announce 'new era' in Brazil-Venezuela ties, slam US sanctions

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South Asia

• Afghan Officials Discover Ancient Artifacts in Bamiyan Province

• Qatar Prime Minister, Taliban Supreme Leader Hold Secret Talks in Afghanistan: Source

• Afghan Authorities Warn University Lecturers to Refrain Criticizing the Ruling Regime

• Rohingya Remain ‘Top Priority’ For OIC As Chief Visits Refugee Camp In Bangladesh

• Bangladesh Govt Teams Going To Saudi Arabia: To Perform Hajj Or Assist Hajis?

• India Sidelines Pakistan by Increasing Soft Power in Afghanistan: Report

• WFP Welcomes Contributions From China to Crisis-Affected Families in Afghanistan

• UN Calls For Further Cooperation with Afghan Education Sector

• OIC concerned over insufficient funding for Rohingya case at ICJ

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Africa

• Religious Officials Of Islamic Da’wah Centre Visit Malaysian Islamic Art Gallery

• MURIC Urges Imams To Initiative Weekly Prayers  For Tinubu, Shettima

• Nigeria complex, examine all angles before taking decisions – Islamic group urges Tinubu, Shettima

• Peace Corps, Sexual harassment of students prohibition, other bills Buhari failed to sign

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India

• 5 Held After Mob Attacks Hindu Man For Dropping Muslim Classmate Home In Karnataka's Shivamogga

• Bageshwar Dham's Dhirendra Shastri Says Delhi Teen's Murder a Case of 'Love Jihad'

• Illegal building of slain don Atiq Ahmed's close aide Mohammad Muslim sealed by Lucknow Development Authority

• India to Host Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Virtual Format on July 4

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/uae-hindu-worship-temple/d/129895

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 UAE Approves Draft Law Regulating Non-Muslim Places Of Worship

 

Photo: English Madhyamam

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May 30, 2023

Abu Dhabi: The Federal National Council (FNC) has approved a draft federal law regulating places of worship for non-Muslims.

The draft law aims to promote the values of tolerance and coexistence and will be applicable to all such places nationwide, including those located in free zones. This came in a session today chaired by SaqrGhobash, the FNC Speaker at the parliament’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

The draft law also proposes the formation of a committee to examine and classify non-Muslim religious activities, rites, and customs in the country. Based on the recommendations of relevant ministries, the UAE Cabinet will decide on the committee’s composition, working system, and other responsibilities.

A competent entity will retain a registration of licensed or designated roles and places of worship, and the data held in this registry must contain the information provided in the executive regulations of the draft law.

Provisions of article

The FNC introduced an article on the allocation of rooms of worship, which stipulates the following:

- The executive regulations of the draft law determine the conditions, requirements and procedures for allocating rooms for worship by the competent authority.

- The competent authority issues the final licence that grants the place of worship its personal legal status from the date of issuance.

- The proposed law requires every place of worship to open a bank account with a local bank, in line with the rules and criteria set by the law’s executive regulations.

Fines

According to the draft law, a person who contravenes any provision of the law, its regulations, or related decisions shall be subject to a fine ranging from Dh100,000 to Dh3 million. The penalties prescribed in the law shall be applied without prejudice to a more severe penalty stipulated by any other law.

Existing places of worship must comply with the proposed law’s rules within six months of the executive regulations’ implementation. This deadline can be extended by up to two years, with each extension lasting six months.

Source: gulfnews.com

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https://gulfnews.com/uae/uae-approves-draft-law-regulating-non-muslim-places-of-worship-1.96099832

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Alleges, Punjab Police Chief Denies Violence Against Women In Custody

 

SSP Investigations Lahore Anoosh Masood addressing a press conference in Lahore, on May 30, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/GeoNews

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May 31, 2023

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: A senior PTI leader on Tuesday reiterated allegations that the government was using imprisoned PTI women workers and supporters as a weapon against the party through blackmail, harassment and illegal arrests, whereas the Punjab police, including the top cop in the province, have vehemently refuted such claims.

PTI leader and former minister Hammad Azhar lashed out at the government for allegedly “breaking all records of barbarism and tyranny” and praised his party’s women for standing up to such “vile tactics”.

“Women have been used as a weapon by this regime,” he said in a tweet accompanying a short clip of two women being escorted by Punjab police officials apparently on a court premises. The women’s heads were covered with plastic shopping bags.

“The arsenal has been manifold; blackmail, harassments, threats, illegal arrests and perhaps even more. But women have also stood up against these vile tactics and shown tremendous courage,” Mr Azhar added.

The government has rounded up hundreds of people after the May 9 violent protests that erupted across the country after PTI chief Imran Khan’s arrest.

In a separate tweet, he said the Pakistan Democratic Move­ment’s (PDM) government was only capable of oppression and couldn’t run the country.

The rulers, he said, had “completely failed to settle matters with the IMF. The economy has crashed and the fear of Imran Khan is still on their nerves”. He feared economic conditions to worsen in the coming days.

Similar allegations have been levelled by the PTI chairman in recent days.

Punjab IG refutes claims

But the inspector general of police in Punjab, Dr Usman Anwar, dismissed allegations that women in custody were being mistreated, abused or tortured.

Talking to reporters at his office in Lahore on Tuesday, he claimed that several social media accounts who shared old video footage and pictures of such torture on women in custody had been identified and legal action would be initiated against them.

He lamented the “fabricated information” shared on social media recently regarding the rape and torture of PTI woman leaders and workers who are in jail or custody.

Flanked by Punjab Prisons IG Mian Farooq Nazir and Lahore Investigation SSP Anoosh Masood Chaudhry, the IGP regretted that “social media influencers” were spreading lies that the women released from jail had cuts and wounds on their bodies.

He said some of such accounts had been traced and sent to the Federal Investigation Agency for legal action.

“The posts, pictures or videos posted by the social media influencers regarding women in the last few days has nothing to do with the May 9 incident,” he said, stressing that the Punjab police were all set to initiate legal action.

Mr Anwar clarified that there were around 150 cameras to monitor jail staff and prisoners and no male staff had ever interrogated a woman.

Ms Masood, the investigation SSP, also dismissed reports that imprisoned PTI women were being mistreated.

She said that total 15 women belonging to the PTI had been arrested in Punjab in connection with the May 9 riots. Of them, 11 were in Lahore’s jails and two others were in a Rawalpindi prison.

“No male jail staff can enter the special women’s cell of the jails where these women were kept,” she said, adding that the lady doctors, including the gynaecologists, were also attending them accordingly.

The police officer said she had visited the jail and met all the detained women, including fashion designer Khadija Shah.

She said Ms Shah had been given medicine for asthma and another woman had been given medicine for skin disease.

She said PTI leader Yasmin Rashid had been allowed to meet the visitors since she was on judicial remand.

Source: dawn.com

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Building Bridges: President Ilham Aliyev Fosters Genuine, Supportive Relations Between Jewish And Muslim Communities

 

Photo: Business Lend

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31 May 2023

BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 31. Over the course of the last 30 years, Azerbaijan and Israel have forged a strong and friendly interstate relationship that has evolved into a strategic alliance. This alliance is built upon a shared understanding and cooperation on various international issues. The ties between the two countries have extended beyond defense to encompass sectors such as energy, establishing a robust and multifaceted partnership.

The highly significant visit of Israel's President Isaac Herzog to Azerbaijan marks a historic milestone. This momentous occasion is set to significantly accelerate the development of bilateral relations across various spheres, underscoring its profound importance.

In a landmark move, Baku made a historic announcement in November 2022 to establish an Azerbaijani Embassy in Tel Aviv. This decision, which signifies the depth of relations between the two nations, is a testament to the concerted efforts in building robust diplomatic ties. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has flourished, paving the way for enhanced cooperation and engagement.

Economic indicators reveal a significant surge in bilateral trade turnover, reaching as high as $1.7 billion, which is a considerable amount. In the forthcoming years, both nations will focus on enhancing the diversification of trade turnover. Through the implementation of collaborative projects, the trade balance will become more equitable, reducing its reliance solely on the energy sector. However, it is worth noting that Azerbaijan has remained a dependable supplier of crude to Israel for many years, with a 40-percent share of Israel's total oil imports.

During the talks, both parties also discussed the matter of broadening collaboration in the energy sector. There are significant prospects for investment projects, including the establishment of energy interconnectors and potential cooperative ventures in other countries.

Moreover, according to the most recent data, around 10-15 Israeli companies have already submitted applications through the Israeli Embassy in Azerbaijan to participate in projects in Karabakh. However, the actual number of companies interested in contributing to the restoration of Azerbaijan's liberated lands is even greater. In addition to green energy, Israel has a wealth of expertise to offer in various sectors including water management, agriculture, health, innovation, and smart cities.

In addition to the thriving economic cooperation, the bond between the peoples of Azerbaijan and Israel serves as a remarkable model for the entire world, characterized by fruitful, sincere, open, and amicable relations rooted in mutual respect and support. Cultural ties between Azerbaijan and Israel continue to flourish. A notable example is the focus on tourism sector development discussed during the meeting between President IlhamAliyev and President Isaac Herzog. As a result of these talks, it was agreed to promptly increase the number of flights between the two countries, not only during the summer season but throughout the year.

This is particularly important in terms of shedding light on the rich history and vibrant life of Azerbaijan's centuries-old Jewish community, President IlhamAliyev said, while making joint press statement with President Isaac Herzog.

“This is a big asset for our country. Representatives of Jewish community, citizens of Azerbaijan, people who contributed and contribute a lot to the modern development of our country. They fought shoulder-to-shoulder with us, with all the other representatives of ethnic groups in Azerbaijan for our independence, and for our territorial integrity. And today this factor is important not only for successful development of Azerbaijan, intercultural peace and friendship but also for our bilateral relations. I know that Azerbaijani representatives who live in Israel also play an important role in building bridges between our countries. We have diaspora organizations of Azerbaijanis all over the world. But only in one country, in Israel, they are predominantly consist of people of Jewish origin. And this is really a demonstration that there is no distinction, no division between us,” President IlhamAliyev said.

Another area that both the Presidents highlighted was the issue of security, and cybersecurity in particular. The cooperation in cybersecurity between Azerbaijan and Israel is a relatively recent endeavor. However, it has been exceptionally dynamic recently. Today, cybersecurity is a vital component of national security for every nation. Undoubtedly, the extensive expertise of Israeli firms in this domain will prove invaluable to Azerbaijan, encompassing the training of young professionals and education. These elements will serve as fundamental factors in accomplishing objectives and safeguarding the country against various threats.

The enduring partnership in the defense industry between Azerbaijan and Israel has already demonstrated its effectiveness. Azerbaijan has had access to advanced Israeli equipment in this field for numerous years, enabling us to enhance defense capabilities and safeguard statehood, values, national interests, and territorial integrity. This longstanding cooperation has played a crucial role in modernizing Azerbaijani defense capabilities.

As President Isaac Herzog said in its press statement yesterday, Azerbaijan is making a huge impact in the world and in the region. And, indeed, Azerbaijan has emerged as a prominent player in global issues such as transport connectivity and energy security. In these critical areas, Israel's expertise and advanced technology play a vital role. By enhancing bilateral relations, Azerbaijan and Israel can unlock fresh opportunities that will benefit not only their own nations but also the broader region, paving the way for new horizons of cooperation.

Source: en.trend.az

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Chinese Muslims Surround Mosque To Keep It From Being Torn Down in Yunnan Province In A Rare Display Of Defiance

 

The Hui ethnic group in Najiaying village defied authorities to make a stand against their local mosque's planned demolition

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By George Styllis

30 May 2023

Muslim protesters surrounded a 13th century mosque in China’s Yunnan province to keep it from being torn down by authorities in a rare display of defiance.

Hundreds of police in riot gear fought back members of the Hui ethnic group who had rallied around their local Najiaying Mosque after residents reported the arrival of cranes to demolish it.

Residents threw rocks at the police who responded by hitting them with batons.

“This is our last bit of dignity,” a local witness told CNN. “It’s like coming to our house to demolish our home. We can’t allow that to happen.”

The protest marks a rare escalation in tensions between southern Muslims and the authorities whose apparent attempt to tear down the mosque shows there is to be no let up in China’s bid to crack down on religion.

Despite being officially atheist, China has taken a tougher stance on Islam in particular. While these efforts have largely concentrated on Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in north-west China, other parts of the country with large Muslim populations have also been targeted.

In Yunnan and other nearby provinces, residents say nurseries, childcare centres and religious schools run by Hui have been closed down. Mosques have also been destroyed, with authorities removing prominent Islamic features such as domes and minarets from thousands across the country.

In 2018, thousands of Hui in Ningxia protested by sitting inside a newly-built mosque for three days to prevent its demolition. Authorities backed down from destroying it, but erected traditional Chinese-style pagodas in place of its domes and minarets. The Najiaying Mosque was one of the last remaining intact.

It again attracted the ire of authorities in 2020 after it installed a new domed roof and a number of minarets. A court ruled that year that the additions were illegal and ordered them to be removed.

On Sunday, worshippers were denied entry to the mosque for noon prayer, leading to violent confrontations, CNN reported.

“After arriving at the mosque, we realised that they had driven the cranes into the compound and were ready for the forced demolition,” a source told CNN, adding that scaffolding had already been erected around the mosque.

The protest is believed to have lasted for several hours before police allowed people into the mosque. Residents continued to surround the mosque over the weekend, fearing that authorities would return.

Police in Tonghai County, where Nagu is located, said dozens of protesters have been arrested and urged those remaining to hand themselves in by June 6. It called the incident “a serious obstruction of social management order” and called on people to “actively report” protesters.

Protests are rare in China but Beijing’s strict lockdown rules saw several break out. In Xinjiang, public anger boiled over after a fatal fire in a high-rise building, prompting crowds to take to the streets of the capital Urumqi and chant: “End the lockdown!”

Authorities began restricting the freedoms of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang in 2017 and have since reportedly arbitrarily detained more than a million Muslims in re-education camps.

In 2021, the UK said it “agrees that there is compelling evidence of widespread and systematic human rights violations occurring in Xinjiang. This includes the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in ‘political re-education camps’ since 2017.”

Source: telegraph.co.uk

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2023/05/30/chinese-muslims-mosque-torn-down-najiaying-hui/

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Al-Azhar rejects Zionist ambition to change status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque: Grand Imam to Palestinian PM

 

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh. Photo: Al-Azhar Facebook page

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30 May 2023

El-Tayyeb made the remarks while meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh during his official three-day visit to Egypt, Al-Azhar said in a statement.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is fully Islamic, El-Tayyeb said, affirming that any temporal and spatial division of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound will not be accepted.

The United Nations and several Arab countries worldwide, including Egypt, have repeatedly affirmed the need to maintain the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem. 

The decades-old status quo allows non-Muslims to visit the mosque compound, whereas none but Muslim worshippers are allowed to pray there.

However, Jewish visitors have constantly defied the status accord, with some activists demanding that Jews should be allowed to visit the sacred site and pray in it. The Israeli government has, however, denied that it had plans to change the status quo at the mosque compound.

“Speaking about this division [of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound] is absurdity, falsification and extension of the Zionist behaviour that is based on falsifying facts, usurping rights and lands, and attempting to change the historical status quo of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian features,” the grand imam stated.

Al-Azhar will continue to shed light on the suffering of the Palestinian people and expose the Israeli crimes, El-Tayyeb said.

 “Has the time not come to arouse the conscience of Arabs and for them to unite in the face of the daily crimes committed by the Zionists against the Palestinian people?” he said.

The grand imam also called for the international community to take action against Zionist terrorism against the Palestinian people, who have suffered from the longest-ever occupation in modern history.

Meanwhile, Al-Azhar will continue to support the Palestinian people by all means and rehabilitate the Palestinian cadres in medicine, health, Da’wah and education, said El-Tayyeb.

Establishing Al-Azhar Institute in Jerusalem

El-Tayyeb instructed that studies be made for establishing more Al-Azhar institutes in Palestine, including establishing an institute in Jerusalem, to serve the Palestinian people.

He stated that Al-Azhar was ready to provide the institute, which will be established in Jerusalem, with teachers, administrators and other requirements, adding that Al-Azhar would bear all the costs.  

The grand imam also welcomed the training of Palestinian imams at the Al-Azhar International Academy for Training Imams and Preachers (AIATIP), expressing Al-Azhar’s readiness to receive successive groups of Palestinian imams.

For his part, PM Shtayyeh expressed appreciation for Al-Azhar grand imam’s great efforts to defend the Palestinian cause and people. He also praised the imam’s upright stance on the rights of the Palestinian people. 

The Palestinian premier also praised the “deeply rooted” relations between Palestine and Al-Azhar and the Islamic learning seat’s efforts to support the Palestinian students enrolling in its schools and universities.

Source: english.ahram.org.eg

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Arab World

Criminally Good: ‘The Black Rose’ Show At City Walk Wows Audiences In Jeddah

May 30, 2023

JEDDAH: “The Black Rose” show at City Walk in Jeddah puts audiences up close and personal with the thrilling and action-packed world of organized crime.

From modern classics like “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo to the hit TV series “Peaky Blinders” and “The Sopranos,” Western pop culture has carved out a genre that is fascinated by the sordid and adventurous criminal lifestyle.

“The Black Rose” brings that experience to the stage through an immersive live performance that depicts street wars between gangs and gives audiences a look at the dauntless world of cinematic stunts.

In the production, a fierce conflict erupts between two gangster families in Detroit, resulting in a sequence of events involving gunfights, explosions and fires.

The spectacle takes place over a massive set that includes three buildings, classic cars and a cast wearing detailed costumes that emulate the early to mid-20th century. It has attracted huge crowds of all ages and nationalities eager to witness the enthralling experience.

The show’s Italian director Filippo Scortichini told Arab News that “The Black Rose” was exclusively designed for Saudi Arabia’s National Events Center.

“We want to take the audience to Chicago in the 1930s through the atmosphere created, so we used the original cars of 1930 from Italy and we took the same firearms, as we wanted to reflect the Mafia and what they do at night,” he said.

Three Saudis are among the 25-member cast and crew of stunt performers.

One of them, 23-year-old actor Mohammed Adel, said: “It is my first time performing in such a huge outdoor theater and with international performers. It is such an honor.

“I have learned so many things from this experience. Although we are taking part in the same show, each one of us was keen to deliver their part in their own special way and that taught me a lot.”

Adel said the performers were also introduced to Saudi theater.

“I explained many things about our acting style here in Saudi and we both are very delighted to go through such an experience.”

Adel has been acting since the age of 18 and has mostly performed in Saudi and historical productions.

Amani Al-Zahrany, who saw the production recently, described the visual effects as “thrilling and daring.”

“The Black Rose” runs until June 6 and there are two performances per day, at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Up to 1,200 people per show can be accommodated and screens transmit Arabic translations to the audience.

The City Walk recreational area is the largest under the Jeddah Events Calendar. It has 10 entertainment sub-zones and hosts events suitable for all age groups. To find out more go to saudievents.sa.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2313151/saudi-arabia

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Saudi citizen’s kidnapping adds new chapter to Lebanon’s chronicle of crime and impunity

May 31, 2023

JEDDAH: Despite the record-fast rescue by Lebanese security services on Tuesday of a kidnapped Saudi citizen, the incident comes as yet another reminder of the many heists, abductions and hijackings that have plagued the Arab country since the 1970s.

Mashari Al-Mutairi, an employee of Saudi Arabia’s Saudia airlines who lived in the Beirut suburb of Aramoun, was abducted at about 3 a.m. on Sunday. The Lebanese Army’s intelligence directorate found and freed him after a security operation on the border with Syria.

He was received at the Saudi Embassy in Beirut by Ambassador Walid Bukhari, who said in a statement: “The released Saudi citizen is in good health, and we thank the army and internal security forces. The security efforts confirm the Lebanese authorities’ keenness to secure tourism security.”

News of Al-Mutairi’s abduction will have come as little surprise to millions of Lebanese who have endured decades of similar disappearances, hostage situations and armed robberies — crimes that are again on the rise as the nation grapples with chronic economic woes.

In the first 10 months of 2021, the number of car thefts rose by 212 percent, robberies by 266 percent and murders by 101 percent compared to the same period of 2019, according to figures from International Information, an independent consultancy based in Beirut.

Ever since the 1975-90 civil war, Lebanon has been a transit, source and destination country for arms trafficking. These same networks are today used to move stolen goods, control the black market and facilitate the burgeoning drugs trade — many of them controlled by the armed Shiite group Hezbollah, which continues to dominate Lebanese public life.

“Any country that has a non-state actor within it is considered a ‘failed state,’” Salman Al-Ansari, a Saudi political researcher, told Arab News. “Lebanon has never been this dominated by a militia that works for an outside power.

“The crime, drug smuggling, economic collapse, currency decline are only symptoms of the actual root problem, which is the lack of national sovereignty. There is no point in rectifying the symptoms as long as the actual root problem exists. It’s like hoping to treat a serious illness with a painkiller.

“Lebanon should change course and realize that their future is very dark if they allow a non-state actor to dictate its trajectory.”

Events in Lebanon today have echoes of the bad old days of the 1980s, when kidnappings, torture, murder and drug trafficking reached endemic proportions against the backdrop of the civil war, which devastated the country.

Back then, Westerners were common targets. In 1982, pro-Iran extremists kidnapped Davis S. Dodge, then president of American University in Beirut, from the university campus. He was flown to a prison near Tehran and held until his release a year later.

In 1984, Dodge’s successor as president of the AUB, Dr. Malcolm Kerr, was shot dead by two gunmen outside his office. The Islamic Jihad Organization claimed responsibility for the killing, citing the US military presence in Lebanon as its motive.

The same year, William Francis Buckley, a CIA operative working at the US Embassy in Beirut, was kidnapped by Hezbollah and later murdered. One of the reasons for his abduction was thought to be the upcoming trial of 17 Iran-backed militants in Kuwait.

Several times during this period, whole planeloads of people were taken hostage. In 1984, a Kuwait Airways flight from Kuwait City to Karachi, Pakistan, was hijacked by four Lebanese and diverted to Tehran.

Due to unmet demands, the hijackers shot and killed American passengers Charles Hegna and William Stanford, both of whom were officials from the US Agency for International Development, before dumping their bodies on the tarmac.

Less than a year later, on June 14, 1985, TWA Flight 847 was hijacked soon after taking off from Athens. For three days, the plane went to and from Algiers and Beirut. US Navy diver Robert Stethem was murdered aboard the flight.

Dozens of passengers were held hostage over the next two weeks until they were finally released by their captors after some of their demands were met. The hijackers had demanded the release of 700 Shiite Muslims from Israeli custody.

Western analysts accused Hezbollah of hijacking the plane, a claim the group rejected.

In 1987, British humanitarian and hostage negotiator Terry Waite traveled to Beirut to negotiate with the IJO, which had taken several hostages. However, he was himself abducted by the group and remained in captivity for 1,763 days — the first four years of which he spent in solitary confinement.

A year later, Col. William Higgins, a US marine serving with the UN forces in South Lebanon, was kidnapped and murdered by a Hezbollah-aligned splinter group of the Al-Amal movement, “Believers Resistance.”

Although Lebanon is no longer in the grip of outright civil war, the financial crisis which began in 2019, combined with the political class’s failure to establish a new government, have created an environment of growing lawlessness and desperation.

Indeed, there are indications that the kidnapping of Al-Mutairi could have been orchestrated by a criminal organization with a hand in the production and trade of the amphetamine Captagon, which blights the entire region.

Lebanese news station MTV reported in recent days that a drug dealer known as Abu Salle, who is described as one of the region’s most prominent cartel bosses, was behind Al-Mutairi’s kidnapping.

The Lebanese Army raid of a Captagon factory in connection with the kidnapping lends weight to this theory.

Although Lebanese officials were quick to condemn the kidnapping, there are concerns the incident could hamper efforts to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, which have long been strained by the influence of Hezbollah.

However, Al-Ansari is confident the kidnapping will not obstruct progress on normalization.

“This could be considered a small obstacle in the way, but at the end of the day, Saudi Arabia is committed to having Lebanon back to the Arab fold in a way that it can have its own sovereignty away from Iranian hegemony,” he said.

In March, Saudi Arabia and Iran restored diplomatic relations under a Chinese-mediated deal. How this new arrangement will impact the activities of Iran’s proxy forces throughout the region, however, remains ill-defined.

“It is still unclear what the Chinese mediation between Saudi Arabia and Iran will result in with regard to the Lebanese file,” Al-Ansari said. “It will de-escalate the tension, but it will not solve the problem overnight.”

Although Lebanon is a long way from reaching stability, Al-Ansari believes Saudi Arabia “will work hard with the highest level of government in Lebanon to find a way to have political and economic reforms, combat corruption and drug smuggling, and have the right kind of governance.”

International observers warned of a potential power vacuum after long-time president Michel Aoun left power in October. To this day, Lebanon’s parliament has yet to elect a new president, prolonging the nation’s political paralysis.

“The Saudi ambassador to Beirut has been vocal and supportive in finding a solution to the power vacuum and pushing for reforms and appointing a government, because at the end of the day, Saudi Arabia can’t provide anything if there is no actual solidified government in Beirut,” Al-Ansari said.

“Saudi Arabia doesn’t want anything from Lebanon except for it to be politically stable and prosperous. It will take a long time to accomplish these goals, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the Lebanese to decide their future, and the Saudis will be helping them with whatever they can.”

Source: arabnews.com

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Sudan crisis sparks EU fears of ‘spillover’ to other nations

May 30, 2023

RIYADH: The EU envoy to the Horn of Africa has hailed Saudi-US efforts to end the violence in Sudan but warned that the ongoing fighting continues to threaten regional stability.

In an interview with Arab News on Monday Annette Weber, the EU Special Representative, said that the risk of a “spillover” of violence was clear.

Weber arrived in Riyadh on Saturday to discuss the Sudan crisis with officials from the Foreign Ministry and representatives of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

“The focus was on Sudan and the current engagement of Saudi Arabia and the US in Jeddah with the two generals,” Weber said in reference to preliminary talks between the rival Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

She said that a solution would not be found without the Saudi and US efforts to get them talking.

“The focus was really on the question, ‘how can we get to a comprehensive agreement?’ A peace agreement. There’s clear support from the EU member states for this engagement and for these negotiations.”

While she acknowledged that gaining a permanent ceasefire might be considered “far-fetched” at this point, she hoped at least for a cessation of hostilities in order to allow aid shipments to Khartoum and beyond.

“We all made it very clear that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US are doing this first step. The ‘pre-negotiation’ as they call it, for a ceasefire, opening a window for humanitarian (aid),” she said.

However, she warned that the violence could easily spread across the Horn of Africa without a firmer agreement in place.

“We need to contain the conflict in Sudan. I think this is very clear and I think … the faster they can agree in Jeddah to have at least a ceasefire or cessation of hostility, the less likely the spillover is going to be,” she said.

“But the risk of spillover is clear. We’ve seen people crossing ... We’ve seen the risk of the conflict crossing into Chad, into South Sudan.

“We see a lot of refugees crossing into Egypt and into neighboring countries. The region is very volatile. The risk of having an arc of instability between the Sahel and the Red Sea is serious.

“And for us as the EU, of course, it's our neighbor. It's our neighborhood. So to contain the conflict and to end the conflict is imperative.”

According to the UN, nearly 1.4 million Sudanese have fled their homes since fighting began on April 15. Of those, 330,000 have crossed over to a neighboring country. To this day, Saudi Arabia has helped more 8,200 people from more than 100 nationalities leave Sudan on evacuation flights.

Saudi Arabia and the US urged the warring sides to work toward a ceasefire and welcomed the start of pre-negotiation talks in Jeddah on May 6.

Both sides agreed to a temporary ceasefire on May 20. However, the deal fell apart almost immediately as fighting continued in Khartoum and beyond. Saudi Arabia and the US said both sides had a hand in its breakdown.

The EU representative said that the efforts to support Sudan’s neighboring countries were “ongoing.”

“We are very much engaged in Chad and South Sudan. It’s an ongoing effort. The EU has one of the biggest donors and humanitarian efforts in Sudan now and before the war,” she said. “So we will continue on this. That’s very clear.”

During her visit to the Kingdom, Weber also met the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council JasemAlbudaiwi to discuss regional cooperation and security.

“It is necessary for all of us: The EU, Saudi Arabia, UN, and everyone, to cooperate and coordinate the relief efforts and the humanitarian efforts,” she said, adding that the GCC was an “important counterpart” in the region.

“I think we are aligned in the situation in Sudan,” she added.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2313226/saudi-arabia

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Saudi Arabia’s KAUST hosts Global Sustainable Development Congress

May 30, 2023

RIYADH: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology is hosting the Times Higher Education Global Sustainable Development Congress, the Saudi Press Agency has reported.

The event, which runs until June 1, gathers more than 1,000 researchers and innovators from leading universities in the region, as well as government agencies in Saudi Arabia.

Tony Chan, KAUST’s president, said that the university’s hosting of the forum aims to establish new partnerships among participants, while urging universities to focus their educational, research, innovative, and awareness initiatives on generating tangible and influential results.

Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih is one of the speakers at the event, delivering a speech on “Investment in Transformation” in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Falih said that the conference was an excellent opportunity for reviewing efforts, innovative methods and research expertise in the field of international sustainability, as well as boosting cooperation between the Kingdom and international partners.

Several CEOs of important international companies are also expected to speak at the event.

A panel discussion, “Shaping Global Food Systems,” is also on the agenda, organized by the UN Global Compact network in Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with the Norwegian Embassy.

Source: arabnews.com

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Fashion forward: Kingdom launches training programs with Paris institute

May 30, 2023

RIYADH: More than 50 aspiring designers and would-be fashion entrepreneurs from across the Kingdom are being given the chance to make their dreams come true with two new training programs launched by the Fashion Commission in cooperation with the French Institute of Fashion in Paris.

The first of the courses is the Fashion Executive Business Certificate, which starts in June and aims to provide 30 students with a range of practical skills needed to succeed in the fashion business.

The program comprises six hours of digital courses over a period of two weeks, followed by eight days of training in Paris and six days in Riyadh in October.

The students will learn about marketing, business strategy, and retail and financial management, and get the chance to visit fashion houses and meet influential figures from the industry. They will also present their work to experts from the two organizing bodies.

The second element is the Fashion Design course, which is an advanced program presented by industry experts from some of the world’s top fashion houses. It aims to give 24 Saudi designers a cultural experience as well as helping them hone their technical skills.

The course runs for three weeks and is based entirely at the French Institute of Fashion. The participants will study production techniques, materials, 3D drawing, planning and printing, with the ultimate aim of producing an original work.

Once they have completed and produced their designs, the garments will be professionally photographed and appraised by a team of experts. At the end of the program, the trainees will be awarded a certificate from the French Institute of Fashion.

Fashion Commission CEO BurakChakmak said: “We value supporting and encouraging local creative people to help them establish distinguished fashion brands in Saudi Arabia.

“Undoubtedly, these new programs will contribute to preparing designers and honing their skills, enabling them to flourish locally and globally.”

The courses would “provide trainees with an opportunity to join a world-leading fashion institute, have an enriching experience in Paris and meet experts in the field and learn from them,” he said.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi deputy minister attends Nigerian president’s inauguration

May 30, 2023

On behalf of King Salman, Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Elkhereiji recently attended the inauguration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president of Nigeria.

The minister conveyed the greetings and congratulations of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Nigerian leader, as well as their wishes for the government and people of the African nation for further progress, growth and prosperity.

Thousands of Nigerians and several heads of government attended Tinubu’s swearing-in ceremony in the nation’s capital, Abuja. He succeeds Muhammadu Buhari as president.

Source: arabnews.com

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan: 5 Army Personnel Injured in Explosion in North Waziristan

May 31, 2023

At least five Pakistani army forces and a child were injured in a roadside bomb explosion that took place in the Khadi area of North Waziristan on Tuesday, police said.

According to local sources, the Pakistani army and security forces have surrounded the area and are searching for the attackers.

The army has not yet commented about the terror incident, however, police has said to local media that the attack targeted a military vehicle while patrolling the area. 

The victims of the incident have been moved to Mir Ali Hospital, a tribal area close to the Afghanistan border where the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has significant influence.

Pakistani security forces have been persistently targeted by insurgent groups in Mir Ali and Miran Shah regions. It is reported that lately, the militant fighters have launched attacks against the country’s security forces using sophisticated weapons.

Since the outlawed TTP ended its unilateral ceasefire with the Pakistani government in November last year, the militant group has intensified its attacks across Pakistan, resulting in the death and injury of scores of civilians and military personnel.

Though a separate group, the TTP remains a close ally to the Taliban, which took over Afghanistan in August 2021 following the withdrawal of US and NATO forces from the country after two decades of war.

Security remains a major challenge for the coalition government as Pakistan is already grappling with economic crises and political issues.

Source: khaama.com

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Prime minister snubs PTI chief’s offer for negotiations, again

May 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday rejected outright Imran Khan’s offer to hold talks in the backdrop of May 9 riots and violent protests staged by the PTI.

Rejecting the option of negotiations with Mr Khan’s party, the PM said those who were involved in destroying public and private property on May 9 should be held accountable for their anti-state actions.

“Dialogue is a key to evolving democracy but it cannot be held with ‘anarchists and arsonists’ in the garb of politicians,” the premier said in a tweet.

His statement comes just days after Mr Khan appealed to the powers that be for immediate talks with state officials.

In the past, he had called the incumbent rulers “thieves” and categorically announced that he would never sit with them for dialogue.

The prime minister, in his tweet, admitted that dialogue was deeply embedded in the political process, which helps democracy mature and evolve. He said many political and constitutional breakthroughs occurred when political leaders sat across the table to craft a consensus.

“However, there is a major difference here, the anarchists and arsonists who wear the garb of politicians and attack the symbols of the state do not qualify for a dialogue,” he added.

PM Shehbaz was of the opinion that such people should rather be held to account for their militant actions, terming it a prevalent practice even in developed democracies.

Military court trial for Imran?

Separately, in an appearance on DawnNews Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah accused Mr Khan of personally planning the attacks on military installations before his arrest on May 9, adding that there was evidence to prove this as well.

When asked if Imran would be tried in the military court, Mr Sanaullah said: “Absolutely, why shouldn’t he? The programme that he made to target the military installations and then had it executed, in my understanding absolutely is a case of a military court.”

Dawn.com reported that the interior minister accused the PTI chief of personally orchestrating the riots.

“[The evidence] is documented, it is in tweets and his messages,” he added.

When asked how Mr Khan was able to communicate with his party leaders even from jail, the interior minister replied: “All this [planning] was decided before he went [to jail] that ‘who will do what and where. And when he is arrested, what would be the strategy and duties’. All of this was decided.”

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1756993/prime-minister-snubs-pti-chiefs-offer-for-negotiations-again

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PIA aircraft stopped in Malaysia for ‘unpaid dues’

May 31, 2023

RAWALPINDI: A Boeing 777 aircraft of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was stopped at Kuala Lumpur International Airport over a legal dispute.

The aircraft’s leasing company had approached a local court on claims that the airline owed it $4.5 million.

The claim has been disputed by the PIA, which stated that it owned the aircraft and the leasing company only owned one of the mounted engines.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan added that the actual dues stood at $1.8m, which have been paid to the company.

The claim submitted by the company to seek the impounding order was ‘incorrect’ and PIA has engaged its legal team in Kuala Lumpur to contest the matter in court, the spokesperson added.

The passengers of the said flight have been accommodated on an alternative aircraft, while the disputed Boeing 777 will also operate as a normal commercial flight from Kuala Lumpur, the PIA spokesman concluded.

This is the second dispute that resulted in the seizure of a PIA aircraft in Malaysia.

In January 2021, another Boeing 777 was held back for two weeks over a case involving $14 million in unpaid dues.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1756992/pia-aircraft-stopped-in-malaysia-for-unpaid-dues

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106 accounts blocked over ‘anti-state’ activities

May 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Over 100 social media accounts have been blocked for promoting sectarianism, anti-sta­­te, terrorist, and anti-Islam activities, at the request of the capital police.

Police officers said that, so far, 106 social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been blocked through the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The step was taken in response to the findings of the Provisional of Violent Extremism Unit (PVE) of capital police’s Counter­terrorism Dep­art­ment (CTD), police officers said.

“The PVE is monitoring the individual’s social media accounts involved in different illegal activities, including sectarianism, anti-state, terrorism, and anti-Islam.”

So far, the unit had recommended to block 203 accounts — 164 Twitter, 38 Facebook, and one YouTube, of which 106 had been blocked by now, the officers said.

In this regard, separate requests were sent by the Counter­terrorism Dep­art­ment to the FIA for the closure of each account with the details, along with screenshots of illegal activities.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1756983

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Belarus offers cooperation in agricultural sector to Pakistan

May 31, 2023

Pakistan and Belarus have desired to build a comprehensive and mutually beneficial partnership that contributes to the prosperity and wellbeing of the people of the two countries.

Addressing a joint news conference along with his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Aleinik, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said we have mutually agreed to transform the profound goodwill shared between our governments and people into a tangible cooperation across various domains.

The Pakistan Foreign Minister said the long term goals for Pakistan-Belarus partnership include strengthening economic ties, expanding trade and commerce, fostering scientific collaboration, enhancing defence cooperation, promoting cultural exchanging and deepening people to people contacts.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said one key outcome of this visit is the signing of an agreement between the governments of Pakistan and Belarus on the abolition of visas for the holders of diplomatic and official passports. 

He said this landmark agreement will facilitate travel and exchanges between our two countries.

He further said that an agreement was also signed between the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad and Belarus Institute of Strategic studies.

The Foreign Minister said Pakistan is committed to maintaining high level engagements and visits with Belarus to further strengthen our bilateral relations and building trade.

He said both Pakistan and Belarus will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year.

Speaking on the occasion, Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik said enhancing trade and economic cooperation is of utmost importance for both the countries.

He said Pakistan has great potential for investment and business activities.

Sergei Aleinik said Belarus is committed to further develop and fortify the existing sustainable relations with Pakistan.

He offered his country's cooperation in the agricultural sector.

Source: radio.gov.pk

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https://www.radio.gov.pk/31-05-2023/pakistan-belarus-agree-to-enhance-bilateral-cooperation-in-agriculture

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Govt introduces number of policy initiatives to bring stability in economy: Dar

May 31, 2023

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar says the current government has introduced a number of policy initiatives to bring stability and growth in the economy and improving ease of doing business.

He said this while talking to a delegation of an international beverage company led by Eugene Willemsen, CEO Africa, Middle East and South Asia in Islamabad.

He assured the delegation of government's efforts to support the company for expanding its business and investment in the country.

Eugene Willemsen expressed his confidence in investment conducive environment of the country.

Source: radio.gov.pk

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https://www.radio.gov.pk/31-05-2023/govt-takes-initiatives-to-bring-stabilize-economy-dar

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Europe

 

France threatens to ban US social media network in EU over disinformation rules

30 May 2023

France has threatened to ban Twitter from the European Union if the American social media network fails to abide by new disinformation regulations in the bloc.

On Tuesday, France's Digital Transition and Telecommunications Minister Jean-Noel Barrot said the European bloc could not take the risk of a network such as Twitter because it is what he called a hub of disinformation supporters.

"Disinformation is one of the gravest threats weighing on our democracies,” he said on French radio network France Info, warning, "Twitter, if it repeatedly doesn’t follow our rules, will be banned from the EU."

The EU’s incoming Digital Services Act, which enforces new rules on social media, will go into effect on August 25.

Barrot’s threat comes two days after the EU Internal Market Commissioner announced that Elon Musk’s Twitter had withdrawn from the bloc’s voluntary code to curb disinformation online, which other Silicon Valley companies like Meta, parent of Facebook and Instagram, Google and Microsoft have pledged to follow.

Musk has time and again claimed in interviews that now there is less misinformation on Twitter since he bought the site for $44 billion back in October.

All sites found in violation of the Digital Services Act face fines of up to six percent of the site’s annual revenue.

Source: presstv.ir

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/05/30/704404/France-threatens-to-ban-Twitter-in-EU-over-disinformation-rules

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Germany arrests 7 alleged members of network that helped finance Islamic State

31-05-23

BERLIN (AP) — Seven people were arrested in raids across Germany on Wednesday against alleged members of a network that helped finance the Islamic State extremist group’s activities in Syria, prosecutors said.

The suspects — four women and three men, with German, Turkish, Moroccan and Kosovo citizenship — were arrested in five German states, while investigators searched 19 properties in Germany and one in the Netherlands, federal prosecutors said in a statement. The suspects are accused of supporting a foreign terrorist organization and, in some cases, of violating export laws.

Prosecutors allege that the suspects were “financial intermediaries” in a network in which two supporters of IS in Syria had sought donations for the group via Telegram since 2020. They allegedly collected and helped transfer donations.

The money was used to strengthen IS and in particular to improve supplies to members of the group held at two camps in northern Syria, prosecutors said. In some cases, they added, the money enabled inmates to flee or be smuggled out of the Al-Hol and Roj camps.

At least 65,000 euros (nearly $70,000) in total were transferred to Syria by the financing network, according to prosecutors.

Wednesday’s arrests were linked to numerous other investigations of people accused of donating to the network, in which more than 90 other properties were being searched, they added.

Source: apnews.com

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https://apnews.com/article/germany-islamic-state-extremism-arrests-syria-8cc588bebc48f716c1d3aef55ec2ac36

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Islamist terror suspect seeks asylum in Ireland after fleeing Russian authorities

30-05-23

Asuspected Islamic terrorist who fled authorities in Russia has sought asylum in Ireland. The man faces allegations of membership of a jihadist group which has been active in Syria and the North Caucasus region in Russia.

His presence in Ireland emerged in legal proceedings where he successfully challenged a tribunal decision to deny him international protection here.

The High Court ruled there had been an error in law by the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (Ipat) when dealing with his application, which has now been remitted to the tribunal for fresh consideration. The case has illustrated the caution with which some Irish judges treat documents emanating from Russian authorities.

The man has denied claims by Russia’s Federal Security Service, the FSB, that he was a member of the Imarat Kavkaz terrorist group, whose aim is to expel Russia from the North Caucasus and establish an Islamic emirate.

The group, also known as Imarat Caucasus or Caucasus Emirate, was designated a terrorist organisation by Russia in 2010, by the United Nations and the United States a year later, and by the United Kingdom in 2013.

The UN associated it with Al-Qaeda, finding it participated in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of Islamic terrorism activities and has noted its aim to spread an extremist ideology through armed combat and terror.

The High Court did not disclose when or how the man came to Ireland. Russian authorities had been pursuing criminal proceedings against him at the time.

In the man’s application for asylum, he claimed he was falsely accused by the FSB of travelling to Syria. He also claimed terror accusations were made against him because he failed to co-operate with them.

The man claimed that if he is returned to Russia, he will be sent to prison for a considerable period and that the FSB would engineer his death and report it as a suicide or a heart attack.

Details of how and when the man arrived in Ireland were not disclosed by the court.

Ipat found the man had a well-founded fear of persecution on the grounds of religion and membership of his social group and there was a reasonable chance he would be persecuted if returned to Russia.

However, it rejected his application after concluding there were “serious reasons” to consider he had committed a “serious non-political crime” prior to his arrival in Ireland.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons, who heard the appeal, found the decision was invalid and that Ipat had treated the man as an actual terrorist rather than a suspected one.

Russian documents relied on by the tribunal included a search warrant and a resolution to initiate criminal proceedings. The judge said Ipat had mistakenly treated these documents as “clear and reliable information” on the issue of criminal liability.

The judge also noted a US State Department report from 2021 found there were credible reports authorities in Russia detained and prosecuted individuals for political reasons. The report said charges usually applied in politically motivated cases included terrorism, extremism, separatism and espionage.

Mr Justice Simons said that while Ipat was satisfied the man had a well-founded fear of persecution, it appeared unwilling to contemplate that there was a risk the same authorities might fabricate charges or falsify evidence.

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and FionnánSheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

Source: msn.com

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https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/world/islamist-terror-suspect-seeks-asylum-in-ireland-after-fleeing-russian-authorities/ar-AA1bUOH2?li=BBr5MK2

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Russian colonel 'killed by Islamic State' in Syria's Homs province

30 May, 2023

A Russian colonel stationed in Syria was killed in a roadside attack by the Islamic State (IS) group in the countryside to the east of Homs, Russian media reported over the weekend.

The military officer was hit by one of IS's "most significant recent attacks" in the region, Russian military blogger Rybar said of the news on his Telegram account.

The colonel was named as Oleg Pechevisty; he had been deployed to Syria months earlier to carry out "special tasks", according to Rybar.

Pechevisty was killed on the night of May 25 to 26, said the local administration of his hometown of Poporozhsky in its announcement of his death.

Hundreds of IS fighters are camped in desolate areas of Syria where neither the US-led coalition nor the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad exert full control.

Russia intervened in the war in Syria in 2015, tipping the balance in President Bashar Al-Assad's favour. Moscow has since expanded its military facilities in the country with a permanent air base, and also has a naval base.

More than 500,000 people have been killed in Syria's 12-year-old conflict and millions more are displaced, mostly as a result of Syrian regime and Russian bombardment of civilian areas. Many cities and villages have been left in ruins, and the country is living its worst ever economic crisis.

Source: newarab.com

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https://www.newarab.com/news/russian-colonel-killed-islamic-state-syrias-homs

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Ukraine imposes sectoral sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran

MAY 30, 2023

By HANNA SHTEPA

On 29 May 2023, the Ukrainian Parliament approved the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to introduce sectoral special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions) against the Islamic Republic of Iran.[1]

The sanctions will apply for 50 years and provide for the following:

prohibition on trade operations with military and dual-use goods with residents of the Islamic Republic of Iran — if the international transfers of such goods are subject to the controls in Ukraine

prohibition on trade operations with services related to the supply, sale, transfer, production or use of military and dual-use goods with residents of the Islamic Republic of Iran — if the international transfers of such goods are subject to the controls in Ukraine

ban on the transit of resources, flights and transportation within the territory of Ukraine related to the operations specified in paragraphs (i) and (ii) above by residents of the Islamic Republic of Iran

suspension of the performance of financial and economic obligations under the operations specified in paragraphs (i) and (ii) above in favor of residents of the Islamic Republic of Iran

restriction on the exit of capital from Ukraine by residents of the Islamic Republic of Iran

prohibition on the transfer of technologies and on the rights to objects of intellectual property rights to the residents of the Islamic Republic of Iran

prohibition on investments in or in favor of the Islamic Republic of Iran

suspension of the service of electronic means of payment (including transfers, settlements and cash withdrawals) issued by the Islamic Republic of Iran

cancellation of the registration by the National Bank of Ukraine of: (i) the international payment system — if its operator is the Islamic Republic of Iran; (ii) a participant of the international payment system — if the operator of the international payment system is the Islamic Republic of Iran; and (iii) a participant (resident of the Islamic Republic of Iran) of the international payment system — if the operator of the international payment system is a resident of Ukraine

Source: sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com

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https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/ukraine-imposes-sectoral-sanctions-against-the-islamic-republic-of-iran/

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Russia issues arrest warrant for Sen.Graham over celebrating Russian deaths

30 May 2023

Russia has issued an arrest warrant for Lindsey Graham after the US senator was caught on tape celebrating the deaths of Russian soldiers in the Ukraine war.

The warrant was issued by Russia after a video released by Ukrainian President VolodymyrZelensky's office highlighted comments Graham made at a meeting with the Ukrainian president last week.

The ministry followed up by issuing a warrant for his arrest as indicated Monday by its official record of wanted criminal suspects.

The Investigative Committee, Russia's top criminal investigation agency, has also moved to open a criminal inquiry against Graham, a Republican from South Carolina.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Sunday hit back at Graham's provocative remarks, saying the Republican lawmaker is a "shame" to the United States. “It is difficult to imagine a greater shame for the country than to have such senators.”

Graham made the remarks during his third visit to Ukraine since Russia launched its "special military operation" in Ukraine in February 2022.

The video, which was recently posted by the Ukrainian president’s office, appeared to show Graham applauding Russian deaths. The video clip shows Graham meeting with Zelensky and discussing US military assistance to Ukraine. At one point in the clip, Graham can be heard saying: “The Russians are dying. It’s the best money we ever spent.”

At the meeting, Graham also called on his government to increase its military aid as US President Joe Biden announced his decision to support the delivery of much sought F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

US senator dismisses criticism 

Graham in a statement has dismissed the criticism and lashed out at what he called the “Russian propaganda machine.” The senator claimed that what he told Zelensky was that “it has been a good investment by the United States to help liberate Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Reuters claimed that the published video was edited and there were no links between the remarks about Russians dying and US financial aid.

Responding to the Reuters article, Russia’s Foreign Ministry, however, has dismissed the “cynical attempts” to justify Graham’s “cannibalistic” statements. The ministry suggested that the outlet was conducting “crisis management” on behalf of the senator and providing “ridiculous and shameful excuses” after his “Russophobic” statements.

“Attempts to justify such statements are doomed to fail. It is already impossible to whitewash such words, even if they were uttered separately,” the ministry said, noting that this isn’t the first time Graham has made such remarks. Similar comments have also been uttered by other US and Ukrainian officials.

The ministry accused Reuters of damaging its reputation with its “cowardly excuses and ridiculous attempts to shield Lindsey Graham” and suggested that the outlet was not conducting journalism, but acting as a PR agency carrying out the orders of the “collective West.”

Graham is among more than 200 US members of Congress whom Moscow banned last year from entering Russia.

Last year, Graham called for "somebody in Russia" to kill President Vladimir Putin. He said it would be "a great service" to the country and the world.

Russian politicians have condemned Graham's remarks as 'unacceptable and outrageous'. They said he was threatening Russian soldiers and their leader.

The West has given Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, such as rockets, drones, tanks, armored vehicles, and communication systems.

Russia has said that the West was using Ukraine as a proxy to fight against Russia. It warned that the conflict could become much bigger.

Source: presstv.ir

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/05/30/704391/Russia-puts-Lindsey-Graham-on-wanted-list-following-Ukraine-comments

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Russian foreign minister: West supporting 'genocide' in Ukraine

30 May 2023

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has condemned the US-led West for its support of what he called "genocide" in Ukraine.

Lavrov said on Tuesday that the West was "supporting genocide" in Ukraine by backing Kiev in its plans to "destroy everything Russian" in Ukrainian pro-Moscow regions.

Speaking at a press conference in Bujumbura, Burundi, Lavrov said the West has been turning a blind eye to Kiev's persecution of the pro-Moscow residents in the Russian-speaking Donbas region.

"The conclusion is very simple - the West directly supports genocide," he stated.

Earlier, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, published a post on social media in which she stated the objective of Moscow's special military operation in eastern Ukraine was to put an end to the "systematic extermination of the Donbas population" that had been going on by neo-Nazis since 2014.

Meanwhile, Russia's President Vladimir Putin made similar remarks, saying the Russian military campaign in eastern Ukraine, which started in February 2022, aimed to de-Nazify the region.

Putin confirms strike on Ukrainian military intel. headquarters

Meantime, Putin confirmed on Tuesday that Russian forces had staged a successful strike on the headquarters of the Ukrainian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

“We’ve been talking about the possibility of striking the ‘decision-making centers.’ Naturally, Ukraine’s military intelligence headquarters falls into such a category, and it was hit two or three days ago,” Putin confirmed.

Putin also said that a drone from Ukraine had reached the Russian capital, Moscow on Tuesday. He said the main goal of Kiev in launching drone attacks on “residential buildings” in Russia is to “intimidate” Russian citizens, adding that such moves were a  “clear sign” of Kiev's “terrorist activity."

Putin said Kiev aims to provoke the Russians into retaliating against Ukraine's attacks by targeting Russian residential areas. 

“They are provoking us into taking mirror actions. We’ll see what we can do about it. Yet, Ukrainian citizens, who of course have no say about anything now, since Ukraine has unleashed a total terror against its civilian population, must realize what the incumbent authorities are pushing for,” Putin pointed out.

Putin noted that the continuous effort to cause disruption at the Zaporozhye nuclear power Plant in Ukraine, as well as potential attempts to use a “dirty” nuclear device, were the most serious acts Kiev pursued.

The Ukrainian military has shelled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power in the country’s volatile south as part of Kiev’s continued provocations.

The Russian leader said Moscow's military launches its strikes in Ukraine only on military targets, such as ammunition dumps and fuel depots, using “high-precision” weaponry.

Source: presstv.ir

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/05/30/704387/Russia-Lavrov-Accuses-West-Supporting-Genocide-Ukraine

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Southeast Asia

 

Islam Isn't Under Threat In Malaysia So Don't Use The Race And Religion Cards For Political Gains, Says Dy. PM Zahid

By Muhammad Yusry

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

PUTRAJAYA, May 31 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today stressed that the position of Islam in Malaysia as the religion of federation will never be under threat.

Ahead of the anticipated state elections in six states, he said that politicians should stop using race and religion for their political gains as Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country.

“I'm of the view that if anyone feels that Islam is being threatened, I want to make it clear that the federal government and all of its 19 parties are bound by the Federal Constitution, even Sabah and Sarawak governments.

“On May 14, during the Unity Convention, we pledged to commit to our agreements. So any enhancement programmes are to strengthen religions in Malaysia without getting rid or abandoning other races, religions and culture,” he said after a townhall session at the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development here.

The Umno president said that he welcomes different opinions and views but when it comes to the country's development and harmony, everyone has to unite.

“A report by the Centre of Independence Journalism that has been published by local media yesterday and today said that Malaysia's politicians used narrow-minded ways by playing the race and religion card for political gains. This shouldn't be allowed and this issue should be settled.

“As a country that is full of different ethnicities, cultures and religions, we have to respect each other,” he said.

Zahid also said he hopes that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and the Communications and Digital Ministry monitor any postings or writings that can create tension between ethnic communities.

The report titled “Social Media Monitoring of Malaysia's 15th General Elections” released yesterday found that Islamist party PAS and its president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang were the most strident in inciting ethnic-based narratives on social media in the lead-up to the 15th general election (GE15).

It said Abdul Hadi and his party were complicit in incitement by neither calling out nor restricting social media users from further spreading hate in relation to ethnic groups.

Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) also said that the six state elections expected by August could see the continued weaponisation of racial and religious issues online by political parties as the problem has largely been unaddressed since the 15th general election.

Its executive director Wathshlah Naidu said a pilot study last year on the monitoring of hate speech and divisive language on social media platforms found similar patterns and issues linked to race and religion being exploited.

Source: malaymail.com

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/05/31/islam-isnt-under-threat-here-so-dont-use-the-race-and-religion-cards-for-political-gains-says-dpm-zahid/71821

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Federal Court sets Aug 21 to hear Sisters in Islam's leave application to appeal

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

PUTRAJAYA, May 31 — The Federal Court will hear on August 21 an application by the woman’s rights group SIS Forum (Malaysia) for leave to appeal in a bid to quash a fatwa (edict) issued by the Selangor religious authorities that labelled the group as deviant from the teachings of Islam.

This was confirmed by SIS Forum’s counsel, A. Surendra Ananth, and lawyer YusfarizalYussoff, who is representing the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS), when contacted by Bernama.

On March 14 this year, the Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 majority decision, dismissed the appeal brought by SIS Forum and one of its co-founders, ZainahMahfoozah Anwar, to quash the fatwa.

The Court of Appeal held that the fatwa prepared by the Selangor Fatwa Committee was not a final decision and thus cannot be challenged through a judicial review application.

SIS Forum and Zainah appealed to the Court of Appeal after failing in their bid to quash the fatwa at the High Court, which dismissed their judicial review application on August 27, 2019.

In civil cases, litigants are required to obtain leave before they can proceed with appeals to the Federal Court.

The fatwa, gazetted by the Selangor State government on July 31, 2014, had declared that SIS Forum, any individual, as well as groups that adopted the deviant ideologies of liberalism and pluralism, were deviating from the teachings of Islam.

The fatwa also directed that any publications containing liberal and plural views of Islam should be banned and confiscated and further directs the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to censor social websites which go against Islamic teachings and the hukumsyarak.

In the notice of motion requesting the leave, the SIS Forum proposed 10 questions of law for the Federal Court to decide.

One of the questions is whether a fatwa, once published in the Gazette under sections 48(6) of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003, is a form of subsidiary law and/or a delegated legislation? — Bernama

Source: malaymail.com

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/05/31/federal-court-sets-aug-21-to-hear-sisters-in-islams-leave-application-to-appeal/71837

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Funding Societies rolls out suite of Islamic financing solutions

30-05- 2023

PETALING JAYA: Funding Societies, the largest unified SME digital finance platform in Southeast Asia, has launched its Islamic financing product collection, a suite of syariah-compliant financing solutions designed to meet the needs of creditworthy, underserved Malaysian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) seeking to grow their business.

These Islamic financing solutions include Business Term Financing-i, Micro Financing-i and Invoice Financing-i.

Group COO Wong KahMeng who is also Funding Societies Malaysia Modalku and co-founder, said: “Access to finance is mission critical for inclusive growth and MSME development. Case in point, there is a RM90 billion SME financing gap in Malaysia. To that end, SME digital finance platforms like Funding Societies play an important role in closing that gap. Given Malaysia’s leadership in Islamic finance, it is timely for us to scale our syariah-compliant proposition to support creditworthy Malaysian SMEs of all sizes to thrive.”

Funding Societies Malaysia country head Chai Kien Poon said, “Following market feedback, we observed demand for Islamic finance and Muslim entrepreneurs’ need for syariah-compliant financing. Islamic finance is also appealing to non-Muslims given its emphasis on fairness and transparency in fees and charges. Besides that, the introduction of our Islamic financing aligns with Malaysia’s aspirations to be the leader in Islamic finance as well as focus on the Islamic digital economy and fintech.”

Besides launching its Islamic financing proposition, he said, it has developed syariah-compliant investment products for investors.

“This allows investors to diversify their investments while joining us to support a critical segment of the Malaysian economy. We have seen very encouraging demand from investors (retail, high net worth individuals and institutions) and look forward to working with financial institutions to offer syariah-compliant investments to their customers,” said Chai.

Source: thesundaily.my

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https://www.thesundaily.my/business/funding-societies-rolls-out-suite-of-islamic-financing-solutions-LE11043844

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China deploys police, makes arrests after mosque clashes in Yunnan

MAY 30, 2023

BEIJING – China deployed hundreds of police and made arrests in a mostly Muslim south-western town after clashes erupted over the planned partial demolition of a mosque.

The town of Nagu, Yunnan province, recently pushed ahead with plans to raze four minarets and the dome roof of the Najiaying Mosque, a resident said on Monday, requesting anonymity.

The area is home to a sizable enclave of Hui, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group who have come under pressure in the face of a broad crackdown.

On Saturday, dozens of officers wielding truncheons and riot shields repelled a crowd outside the mosque that was hurling objects at them, videos circulating on social media and the witness said.

“They want to proceed with forced demolitions, so the people here went to stop them,” a woman who also asked not to be identified told Agence France-Presse.

“The mosque is home for Muslims like us,” she said.

“If they try to knock it down, we certainly won’t let them,” she said. “Buildings are just buildings. They do no harm to people or society. Why do they have to destroy them?“

Police have made an unspecified number of arrests over the incident, and several hundred officers have remained in the town from Monday, the two witnesses said.

People in areas around the mosque have struggled intermittently with Internet outages and other connectivity issues since the clashes, they added.

A notice issued on Sunday by the Tonghai government, which administers Nagu, said it has opened an investigation into “a case that severely disrupted social management and order”.

The notice ordered those involved to “immediately stop all illegal and criminal acts”, vowing to “severely punish” anyone who refuses to turn themselves in.

Those who voluntarily surrender before June 6 will be treated with leniency, the notice added.

Contacted on Tuesday, an official in Tonghai’s publicity department denied the Internet outages, but declined to comment further.

Source: straitstimes.com

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https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/china-deploys-police-makes-arrests-after-mosque-clashes-in-yunnan

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Mideast

 

Under the cover of 'national park', Israel annexes Muslim, Christian site

May 30, 2023

The historical Palestinian site, Nebi Samuel, located in the occupied West Bank and housing a church, mosque and a synagogue has been annexed by Israel under the cover of a "national park." Israel's illegal takeover of the site and the subjugation of the indigenous Palestinian residents were revealed by Haaretz in a report which exposed one of the countless ways in which the occupation state has ethnically cleansed the indigenous Muslims and Christian Palestinian communities from historic Palestine.

Designating Palestinian towns and villages razed to the ground as parks during Israel's first phase of ethnic cleansing, is one of the most successful means of colonisation deployed by the occupation state. During the Nakba in 1948 when over 750,000 Palestinians-three quarters of indigenous Palestinian population – more than 600 villages and towns were razed to the ground. Many of the sites of ethnic cleansing and cultural erasure have been converted into parks.

A similar fate appears to be awaiting Palestinian residents of Nebi Samuel. The area is said to contain the tomb of the biblical Prophet Samuel. Thousands of years of history is buried there. The site is sacred to Jews, to Christians and to Muslim. There's the mosque holding prayers several times a day, and at its entrance is the Crusader church.

Until Israel's occupation of the site in 1967, the mosque and tomb had been surrounded by the village of Nebi Samuel. The village was home to over 1,000 residents. Most fled during the Six Day War which Palestinians describe as the second cycle of ethnic cleansing by Israel. Palestinian residents of the village were prevented from returning to their homes.

Israel's plan for the takeover of the sensitive site took concrete shape in 1971 when Prime Minister Golda Meir ordered the military to demolish the village's 46 homes. State Archives documents show that the homes were demolished in order to build a Jewish only settlement of some 1,000 villas for "Jews of means", according to Haaretz. However, the planned settlement never materialised apparently because environmental organisations opposed the construction, which they said would be a blight on the landscape. It also became clear that the area was private Palestinian property. Then-Attorney General Meir Shamgar explained at the time, in 1973, that "If the owners of the land are present, it cannot be appropriated." Those present are the residents of Nebi Samuel, who remained living near the site.

Twenty-two years later, two weeks before the signing of the Oslo II Accords, Israeli leaders decided it was time to create facts on the ground, meaning that steps are to be undertaken to ensure that it is impossible to reverse Israel's illegal annexation. Nebi Samuel was declared one large park. As an occupying power Israel has no right to declare territory under military control as a "national park".  National parks can only be declared within Israel.

"Creating the national park was an admission that the land couldn't be taken over," Israeli journalist Amira Hass told Haaretz, explaining that a ruse was devised to bypass restrictions. "When they recognized the fact that the area couldn't be taken over and built on, they pulled a political trick, making it so nobody could build there. They effectively created a Disneyland there and even took off the Nebi Samuel sign. They created another Jewish enclave in the West Bank."

Palestinian residents that live inside the "park" can do virtually nothing to improve their lives. They can't build or develop anything. They can't plant trees, lay sewage lines, or put up a fence. Since the illegal Separation Wall was built two decades ago, the residents have been completely shut off. The fences of the site separate them from the rest of the West Bank.

Describing the plight of the Palestinians in the Nabi Samuel area, Israeli academic Professor Idan Landau is reported saying: "The 250 residents of the village are living in an intolerable cage. They are cut off from the West Bank by the separation barrier, as well as the apartheid road."

Source: middleeastmonitor.com

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

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20230530-under-the-cover-of-national-park-israel-annexes-muslim-christian-site/

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Boys From Islamic State Families Undergo Rehabilitation in Syria, But Future Uncertain

May 30, 2023

QAMISHLI, SYRIA —

For at least four years, thousands of children have been growing up in a camp in northeast Syria housing families of Islamic State group militants, raised in an atmosphere where the group's radical ideology still circulates and where they have almost no chance for an education.

Fearing that a new generation of militants will emerge from al-Hol Camp, the Kurdish officials who govern eastern and northern Syria are experimenting with a rehabilitation program aimed at pulling children out of extremist thought.

It means, however, removing them from their mothers and families for an unknown period, a practice that has raised concerns among rights groups. And even if they are deemed rehabilitated, the children's future remains in limbo with their home countries reluctant to take them back.

"If these children stay in the camp, this will lead to the rise of a new generation of extremists who could be more fanatic[al] than those who were before," said Khaled Remo, co-chair of the Kurdish-led administration's office of justice and reform affairs.

Recently, an Associated Press team was allowed to visit the OrkeshCenter, a rehabilitation facility that opened late last year. It's home to dozens of young boys taken from al-Hol. Ranging in age between 11 and 18, they represent about 15 different nationalities, including French and German.

At Orkesh, boys are taught drawing and music, all with the theme of tolerance. They also learn skills for future jobs like a tailor or a barber. They wake up early and have breakfast at 7 a.m., then have classes until 3 p.m., after which they can play soccer and basketball. They live in dormitory-type rooms, where they are expected to keep order and their beds made. They are allowed contact with parents and siblings.

Authorities did not permit the AP to speak to the boys at the center, citing privacy concerns. During a separate visit to al-Hol, no residents agreed to be interviewed. The AP also approached families that were released from al-Hol, but none responded to requests for comment. The newness of the program makes it difficult to assess its effectiveness.

Still, the center underscores how U.S.-backed Kurdish authorities are wrestling with the legacy of Islamic State, years after the group was defeated in a brutal war in Syria and Iraq that ended in 2019.

Al-Hol is an open wound left by that conflict. The camp holds about 51,000 people, the vast majority women and children, including the wives, widows and other family members of IS militants. Most are Syrians and Iraqis. But there are also about 8,000 women and children of 60 other nationalities who live in a part of the camp known as the Annex. They are generally considered the most die-hard IS supporters among the camp residents.

The camp population is down from its high of 73,000 people, mostly because of Syrians and Iraqis who were allowed to go home. But other countries have largely balked at taking back their nationals who traveled to join IS after the radical group seized large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Though Kurdish-led security forces run the camp, they have struggled to keep control. IS radicalism remains rife, with fervent followers intimidating others, particularly in the Annex, home to more than 5,000 children.

Children in al-Hol have little to do and little chance for education. Fewer than half the 25,000 children in the camp attend reading and writing classes at its teaching centers.

During a recent tour by the AP inside al-Hol, some young boys threw stones at the reporters. One drew a finger across his throat in a beheading motion as he looked at the journalists.

"Those kids, once they reach the age of 12, they could become dangerous and could kill and beat up others," the camp's director, JihanHanan, told the AP.

"So we had a choice, which is to put them at rehabilitation centers and keep them away from the extreme ideology that their mothers carry," she said.

Sheikhmous Ahmad, a Kurdish official overseeing camps for displaced people, said that once the boys turn 13, IS loyalists make them get married to young girls — another reason for removing them.

So far, the number of children going through rehabilitation is small, around 300, all of them boys from the Annex. Ninety-seven are at the recently launched OrkeshCenter, near the border town of Qamishli about a two-hour drive from al-Hol. The rest are at al-Houri, another center that began taking in boys for rehabilitation in 2017, as U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led forces took back territory from IS in Syria.

Al-Houri underscores the long-term problem: Some of the boys have been at the center for years, since there is nowhere else to go. The only alternative would be to send them back to al-Hol. Only four children have been repatriated from al-Houri, administrators said.

"While the transfer of these boys to separate detention centers may be well-intentioned, this is not rehabilitation. This is indefinite detention without charge of children, who are themselves victims of ISIS," said Letta Tayler, associate director of the Crisis and Conflict Division at Human Rights Watch, using another acronym for the group.

She said removal from the family may be appropriate if the mother or another relative is victimizing the child. Otherwise, separation could cause further trauma.

"For many of these children, who have survived unimaginable horrors under ISIS and in the camps where they have been held since the fall of ISIS, the mother and other family members are their only source of stability," she said.

Kathryn Achilles, media director of the Syria Response Office at Save the Children International, said separation from the mother "should only ever be as a last resort, addressed by individual countries after families return, in line with their laws."

Hanan, the administrator of al-Hol, said they had few other options. One proposal is to set up rehabilitation centers in or near the camp, she said.

"Maybe in the future we can agree on something with international organizations regarding such centers as they are the best solution for these children," Hanan said.

But Kurdish officials and humanitarian agencies agree that the only real solution is for home countries to take back their citizens.

"Once home, children and other victims of ISIS can be offered rehabilitation and reintegration. Adults can be monitored or prosecuted as appropriate," said Tayler of Human Rights Watch.

The U.N.-backed Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria called in March for repatriation to be sped up. It added that the suffering inflicted on the camp's residents "may amount to the war crime of committing outrages on personal dignity."

Until a solution is found, the centers create "an environment that is suitable to pave the way for mental change for these children," said Remo, the Kurdish official.

Source: voanews.com

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https://www.voanews.com/a/boys-from-islamic-state-families-undergo-rehabilitation-in-syria-but-future-uncertain/7116464.html

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Islamic Revolution Conference Explores Opportunities, Challenges of Governance

May, 30, 2023

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The International Conference on "Islamic Revolution and Contemporary Society: Opportunities and Challenges" took place on Monday at the University of Tehran Student Club.

The conference aimed to shed light on the role of the Islamic Revolution in today's society and analyze the factors that contribute to its stability, dynamism, opportunities, and challenges.

Mohammad EsmaeilNabatian, the head of public relations at the University of Tehran, stated that the conference's primary objective was to clarify the Islamic Revolution's impact on contemporary society.

He mentioned that the conference received 170 abstracts, out of which 75 were selected and published in three volumes.

Nabatian further said that interviews with pioneers and renowned researchers in the field of the Islamic Revolution were conducted, which will be published as the fourth volume in the conference's collection of scientific works.

Also at the conference, selected authors presented their papers, as confirmed by the conference secretariat.

Additionally, an English panel was organized, where nine researchers from various countries shared their contributions both in person and virtually, focusing on Islamic Revolution studies.

One of the notable speakers at the conference was Sam Mehdi Torabi, the Director of Iran's Risalat Strategic Studies Institute. In his speech, Torabi emphasized the significance of governance as both a challenge and an opportunity in the second phase of the Islamic Revolution.

He stressed that the Islamic governance revolves around responsibility rather than avoidance and differs from other systems by focusing on raising individuals and governing each other responsibly.

Torabi drew examples from the governance system established by Prophet Muhammad (PBHU) and the Ahlulbait (family), illustrating that Islamic governance encompasses all of humanity.

He highlighted the need to understand Islamic governance in the context of technological advancements and set priorities accordingly. Torabi also addressed the issues arising from the influence of liberalism disguised as Islamic principles in Iran, urging for their resolution.

Torabi further underscored the importance of countering negative propaganda in the media and accurately reflecting Iran's advancements. He argued that Iran's Islamic ideology is the only idea that can work for humanity.

Emphasizing the country's military cooperation with Russia and China and its scientific achievements. Torabi called for effectively conveying the reality and positive aspects of Iran's progress to inspire hope among the younger generation and envision Iran at the forefront of the world's future.

MarziehHashemi, an American-born Iranian journalist and television presenter, also delivered a speech at the conference.

Hashemi highlighted the transformative transition of the world order and stressed the need for proactive foreign policy and seizing opportunities. She expressed optimism about the current state of the Islamic Republic, reflecting on the progress made since the revolution 44 years ago.

Hashemi discussed the formation of new alliances, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS countries, contrasting them with the declining influence of the G7.

She criticized the actions of certain Western countries, particularly their handling of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, emphasizing the need for alternative alliances. Hashemi emphasized the significance of regional unity and stability for Iran and expressed confidence in Iran's future leadership in a multipolar world.

Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili, the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance and a member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, also spoke at the conference.

He described the present era as the golden age of Islamic rule and stressed the importance of religious intellectualism in governance.

Esmaeili highlighted the challenges faced by the Islamic Revolution today and the need for religious intellectualism to provide valid answers to emerging questions.

He emphasized the determination of officials in various sectors to bring revolutionary changes to the country's cultural structures and pave the way for a modern Islamic civilization through fundamental infrastructural changes.

The international conference provided a platform for scholars and experts to explore the opportunities and challenges associated with the Islamic Revolution's governance. Participants examined the revolution's impact on contemporary society and discussed strategies to address emerging issues and shape the future of Iran.

Source: tasnimnews.com

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

https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2023/05/30/2903945/islamic-revolution-conference-explores-opportunities-challenges-of-governance

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Israel settlers led by Yehuda Glick storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

May 30, 2023

Escorted by extremist Israeli Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Glick, dozens of settlers forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem this morning, reported Wafa news agency.

The Israeli settlers entered the site through the mosque's Mughrabi Gate under armed Israeli protection and performed Talmudic rituals and prayers inside and at the gates of Al-Aqsa, in addition to carrying out provocative tours.

This comes after hundreds of Israeli settlers last week raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to mark the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

In a statement, the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem said 252 Israeli settlers broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque's courtyard after Israeli groups called on settlers to intensify their raids on Thursday and Friday.

The department added that the Israeli police also restricted the entry of Palestinians since the dawn prayer.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam and an area where non-Muslim prayers and rituals are forbidden by long-standing agreement.

However, since 2003, Israel has allowed settlers into the compound almost daily.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognised by the international community.

Source: middleeastmonitor.com

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

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20230530-israel-settlers-led-by-yehuda-glick-storm-al-aqsa-mosque-compound/

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Enemies Exaggerating Border Skirmish Issue: Senior Iranian Commander

May 31, 2023

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force (IRGC-AF), said that “enemies” are attempting to escalate the border tension with Afghanistan into a conflict and that there is no need to be concerned about it.

Hajizadeh said the enemies should be aware that there would not be a war or confrontation between the two countries, but he did not mention any specific group.

“Behind these issues are many of our enemies who want to turn this into a big issue, turn it into a conflict, turn it into a war, which will certainly not happen,” said Hajizadeh.

He also emphasized that the recent border clash between Kabul and Tehran was a minor local issue that had been settled and that the two countries’ authorities were attempting to use diplomacy to prevent such incidents in the future.

Last week, one Taliban security force and two Iranian border guards were killed after clashes between Taliban and Iranian forces at the border crossing point.

The incident resulted in several injuries amid tensions between the two countries over water rights.

“Today, in Nimroz province, Iranian border forces fired toward Afghanistan, which was met with a counter-reaction,” a spokesman for the Taliban-run interior ministry, Abdul NafiTakor, said in a statement. “During the battle, one person was killed on each side, and many were injured.”

Iranian officials blamed Taliban forces for the clash, while Taliban authorities blamed Iran, saying they had responded to the Iranian soldiers.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers dialogue and negotiation reasonable for any problem. Making excuses for war and negative actions is not in the interest of any of the parties,” Taliban defence ministry spokesperson EnayatullahKhowarazmi said.

Last week, Iranian officials warned the Interim government of Kabul to consider Iran’s water rights from the Helmand River following the 1973 accord, while the Taliban authorities reiterated that they are committed to the treaty.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/enemies-exaggerating-border-skirmish-issue-senior-iranian-commander/

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North America

 

CAIR Urges Biden Administration Act on China’s Destruction of Mosques, Suppression of Islam

May 30, 2023

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/30/2023) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the Biden administration to take action to prevent China from partially demolishing a mosque and continuing to suppress the Muslim minority and the practice of Islam in that nation.

Hui Muslim protesters clashed with police at the Najiaying Mosque in Yuxi in Yunnan province. The protesters sought to prevent an attempt by authorities to remove the mosque’s dome and minarets, which is part of the government’s ongoing campaign to suppress Islam and to “Sinicize” the faith. Government officials claim an expansion of the minarets and dome’s roof was illegal.

Throughout China, the government has demolished mosques or removed domes, minarets and other distinctive Islamic features to make them into nondescript buildings.

SEE: Thousands of ethnic minority Muslims defy Chinese authorities in defense of mosque (CNN)

https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/30/china/china-yunnan-hui-mosque-protest-intl/index.html

Crowd in China clashes with police over plans to demolish mosque (AP)

https://apnews.com/article/china-muslim-mosque-protest-93e2e1e072fa908729b2b1598a1b06f0

Clashes at ancient China mosque over planned demolition

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/5/30/clashes-at-ancient-china-mosque-over-planned-demolition

“We call on the Biden administration to take concrete action to prevent the further destruction of China’s mosques and to push back against the Chinese government’s ongoing efforts to suppress the practice of Islam and other faiths in that nation,” said CAIR Research and Advocacy Director Corey Saylor. “It cannot be business as usual with China while that nation targets religious minorities in a campaign of erasure.”

Earlier this month, CAIR welcomed the U.S. State Department’s highlighting of religious persecution in China in its latest report. The Washington, D.C., based Muslim civil rights organization also recently expressed support for a bipartisan call by some two dozen members of Congress for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to halt the initial public offering of Chinese fashion giant Shein until it proves it does not use forced labor. In April, CAIR commended the efforts of congressional lawmakers for urging greater enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA)

The Chinese government is targeting Uyghur Muslims and other Turkic ethnic minorities with a campaign of genocide. Millions of Uyghurs have been detained in concentration camps in which beatings, torture and rape are the norm. Millions more are being used as slave labor on plantations and in Chinese factories.     

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.                

La misión de CAIR esproteger las libertadesciviles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a losmusulmanesenlosEstadosUnidos.                

Become a Fan of CAIR on Facebook            

http://www.facebook.com/CAIRNational              

Subscribe to CAIR’s Email List            

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Subscribe to CAIR’s Twitter Feed            

http://twitter.com/cairnational             

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http://www.youtube.com/cairtv             

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Do you like reading CAIR press releases and taking part in our action alerts? You can help contribute to CAIR’s work of defending civil rights and empowering American Muslims across the country by making a one-time contribution or becoming a monthly donor. Supporters like you make CAIR’s advocacy work possible and defeating Islamophobia an achievable goal. Click here to donate to CAIR.   

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Source: action.cair.com

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https://action.cair.com/a/newsletters — For more information, email: info@cair.com, CC ihooper@cair.com     

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Trump vows to end birthday citizenship for children of illegal immigrants if he wins 2024 presidential race

 31 May 202

Donald Trump has pledged that if he is re-elected as the US president in 2024, he will put an end to automatic citizenship for children of illegal immigrants born in the United States, a plan that contradicts how a 19th-century amendment to the US Constitution long has been interpreted.

Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in an increasingly crowded field, said on Tuesday in a campaign video posted on Twitter that he would issue an executive order directing federal agencies to stop what he described as birthright citizenship. Such an action by Trump will definitely face a legal challenge.

The right to citizenship stems from the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1868, three years after the end of the American Civil War, which ended the slavery of blacks in the southern states, and overturned a Supreme Court ruling that had held that slaves and free Africans were not entitled to US citizenship.

The amendment granted citizenship to all persons "born or naturalized in the United States," including those formerly enslaved, and has been interpreted to mean whether or not the parents were in the country lawfully.

The proposed executive order, scheduled for the first day of Trump's second term, would require at least one parent to be a US citizen or legal permanent resident for their children to automatically become US citizens, his campaign said in a press release.

When Trump was president in 2018, he said he planned to issue an executive order to limit birthright citizenship, but never followed through. Many legal scholars at the time were skeptical that Trump could use executive power to roll back the right.

Trump on Tuesday also criticized Joe Biden, the Democratic incumbent who defeated him in 2020 and is seeking re-election in 2024, over the record number of immigrants caught crossing the border illegally in recent years, calling the citizenship right for children born on US soil a "magnet". Trump noted that many countries restrict citizenship rights for non-citizens.

Trump is seeking to appeal to Republican voters on the right wing of his party who support a crackdown on immigration. As president, Trump pursued hard-line immigration policies and took steps toward building a wall along the US-Mexico border, which he promised as a candidate in 2016.

Republicans have criticized Biden for rolling back the hardline policies of Republican former President Donald Trump.

Biden's new regulation restricting asylum access at the border resembles similar measures implemented under Trump that were blocked by US courts. The move also counters previous statements Biden made in 2020 on the campaign trail, saying he thought it was "wrong" for people not to be able to seek asylum on American soil.

Some Democrats and immigration advocates have said the regulation undercuts the ability to seek asylum at US borders as required by US law and international agreements. The American Civil Liberties Union has already signaled it will sue over the Biden policy.

On the other side of the ideological spectrum, a coalition of 22 Republican state attorney generals separately opposed the measure, saying that it is "riddled with exceptions."

Source: presstv.ir

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/05/31/704424/Donald-Trump-birthday-citizenship-Joe-Biden

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Maduro, Lula announce 'new era' in Brazil-Venezuela ties, slam US sanctions

30 May 2023

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has visited Brazil on a formal invitation to take part in a South American leaders’ summit, marking a new thaw in bilateral ties despite persisting US efforts to isolate the country.

Maduro hailed a “new era” in relations between Brasilia and Caracas as he met President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday ahead of the regional summit, saying, “Brazil and Venezuela must be united, from now on and always.”

Maduro, in his first visit to Brasilia in years, also called for the establishment of a “multipolar” world rather than a global system dominated by Washington.

For his part, Lula also lashed out at American policy towards Venezuela, insisting that “it is inexplicable for a country to have 900 sanctions placed on it, because another country doesn’t like it."

Lula further vowed on Monday to boost business with Caracas and voiced his support for Venezuela's accession to a block of emerging-market nations, known as BRICs.

He also hailed the “historic” restoration of ties between the two nations, emphasizing, “This is the start of Maduro’s return, and (Tuesday’s) meeting will be the return of South American integration."

Brazil had severed diplomatic relations with Maduro’s government under Lula's far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, who maintained close ties with Washington and backed its brutal bans against Venezuela.

The oil-rich Latin American nation began going through a downward spiral of economic troubles in 2018, when the West, led by the US, and its favored Venezuelan opposition contested Maduro's victory in the presidential election.

Following the election, Western countries began slapping Caracas with a slew of backbreaking sanctions, which have been responsible for spawning the dire economic situation in the country.

More than 7.1 million Venezuelans, as UN estimates show, have left their country and migrated to other Latin American countries or the United States amid Venezuela’s high inflation as well as food and medicine shortages following Washington’s crippling sanctions.

Tuesday's regional meeting is set to be attended by eleven of the continent’s 12 heads of state with only contested Peruvian President Dina Boluarte -- who rose to presidency last December following the forced removal of the country's elected president Pedro Castillo -- expected to miss it.

This is the first of its kind since 2014 when regional leaders met in Quito, Ecuador, at a gathering of the Union of South American Nations (abbreviated in Spanish as UNASUR) that was created in 2008 by Lula and late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

In recent years, Maduro’s international travel has been curtailed due to the US-led sanctions, but last year's victory of independent candidates during elections in neighboring countries, including Brazil and Colombia, ushered in its return to the region's fold.

In September 2022, Colombia and Venezuela reopened their border that was closed for several years as Colombian leader Gustavo Petro took a major step towards normalizing ties with Caracas.

Most recently, Chilean President Gabriel Boric appointed a new ambassador to Venezuela last week, after five years. Foreign Minister Alberto van Klaveren said on Monday that there’s a need for building strong ties with Caracas given areas of common interest.

Source: presstv.ir

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/05/30/704372/Venezuela-Maduro-visits-Brazil-blow-to-US-

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South Asia

 

Afghan Officials Discover Ancient Artifacts in Bamiyan Province

By Nizamuddin Rezahi-

May 31, 2023

Officials in Afghanistan’s central Bamiyan province have discovered at least 12 items of ancient artifacts the provincial information and culture directorate said in a statement.

While searching foreign nationals at Bamiyan Airport, artifacts and dust from the outskirts of Bamyan’s destroyed Buddha statues were seized, according to the statement.

Out of the discovered items, 8 pieces of ancient works include pottery, precious stones, and engraved iron plates, and the other 4 items are grains, the provincial officials said. 

Bamyan airport officials have prevented the smuggling of soil and black stone samples possibly collected from the remains of destroyed statues of Buddha.

The artifacts and ancient items have been seized based on the orders of the Ministry of Information and Culture, Rahmatullah Rahmani, head of culture and art of Bamyan information and culture directorate, said. 

“Ancient items are the national treasures and every citizen is responsible for protecting and preventing them from smuggling,” Rahmani said.

Smuggling artifacts and ancient items have been a lucrative business for decades in Afghanistan. Having a strong government network, smugglers were able to send precious stones and artifacts beyond the borders with ease.

Although the Taliban officials repeatedly claimed to have stopped smuggling these precious items overseas, the lucrative illegal business is still popular in Afghanistan and in the region.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/afghan-officials-discover-ancient-artifacts-in-bamyan-province/

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Qatar Prime Minister, Taliban Supreme Leader Hold Secret Talks in Afghanistan: Source

May 31, 2023

This month, the Qatari Prime Minister met in secret with the Taliban supreme leader to discuss resolving tension with the international community, according to a source briefed on the meeting.

Reuters reported that this meeting signalled a willingness by Afghanistan’s rulers to discuss ways to end their isolation.

The meeting between HaibatullahAkhunzada and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani on May 12 in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar is the first one the reclusive Taliban leader is known to have had with a foreign leader.

During the meeting, Sheikh Mohammad raised with Akhundzada included the need to end a Taliban ban on girls’ education and women’s employment and address the humanitarian crisis, the report said.

Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, they imposed several decrees that restricted women’s employment and education, hampered humanitarian aid on the one hand and are a major reason why no country has recognized their rule on the other hand.

Meanwhile, a UN report delivered in March at the Human Rights Council in Geneva suggested that the way the Taliban treated women and girls would qualify as a crime against humanity. While the Taliban say, they respect women’s rights in accordance with their view of Islamic law and Afghan traditions.

Akhundzad, the supreme leader of the Taliban, has not shown little willingness to compromise on his edicts.

The Taliban in March 2022 barred girls from high schools and extended the ban to universities in December.

They say they will reopen secondary schools to girls when “conditions” have been met, including devising an Islamic syllabus.

The source said Sheikh Mohammed and Akhunzada also discussed efforts to remedy Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis.

According to the UN, nearly 75 per cent of Afghanistan’s 40 million people need assistance, and the organization has warned that financing is running out.

According to the source, Sheikh Mohammed brought up with Akhunzada the “continued efforts on the ground” being made by the Taliban to combat terrorism, which is likely a reference to Kabul’s efforts to annihilate an ISIS offshoot.

In 2013, Qatar let the Taliban establish a political office in Doha. It helped their negotiations with the US, which resulted in the 2020 agreement for the withdrawal of the international force under US leadership that they had opposed for 20 years.

Qatar has long pushed the international community to adopt a “roadmap” outlining the steps the Taliban must take to obtain recognition, claiming that isolating Afghanistan could deteriorate regional security.

However, the US and its allies say the Taliban harbour members of al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). The Taliban authorities deny that, Reuters reported.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/qatar-prime-minister-taliban-supreme-leader-hold-secret-talks-in-afghanistan-source/

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Afghan Authorities Warn University Lecturers to Refrain Criticizing the Ruling Regime

May 31, 2023

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Higher Education in a letter has warned university lecturers to avoid criticizing the Taliban regime in their research work, sources reported.

In the letter, it is stressed that university lecturers should have a good command of both national languages (Farsi and Pashto) and utilize national terminologies rather than using terms that are alien to Afghan people and culture.

The letter contains seven decrees about research and translation, sent by Hamidullah Muzamal, the head of the research and translation department of the Ministry of Higher Education of the Taliban on May 27.

Muzamal has clearly said that university lecturers should defend the ruling regime and refrain from criticizing or speaking against Taliban officials to avoid possible problems.

It is also stated that lecturers and researchers should avoid using alien terms in their writes ups, adding the country has common expressions for these words.

Banning the use of the term “Danishgah” which has a Farsi root, which translates university in English has repeatedly sparked widespread reactions in universities and media in Afghanistan.

While describing the term “Danishgah” as foreign, the officials have banned using the term. The former government officials and the Taliban did not have sensitivity towards non-Persian words such as Urdu and English.

Previously, the Taliban authorities repeatedly removed Farsi words from official plaques of universities in different parts of the country.

Some critics of the Taliban administration describe the move as a clear anti-Farsi language campaign that will further widen the gap among the people of Afghanistan who are ethnically and linguistically very diverse.  

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/afghan-authorities-warn-univesity-lecturers-to-refrain-criticizing-the-ruling-regime/

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Rohingya remain ‘top priority’ for OIC as chief visits refugee camp in Bangladesh

May 29, 2023

DHAKA: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which has said that the Rohingya remain a top priority for the body, saw its chief official visit the refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar on Monday as part of a five-day trip to the country.

OIC Secretary-General HisseinBrahim Taha arrived in Bangladesh on Saturday and met with the country’s top officials, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The Rohingya situation was discussed in Taha’s meetings with Bangladeshi officials, as the South Asian nation is hosting more than 1 million refugees from the persecuted minority, most of whom fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine State in 2017 to escape a deadly military crackdown.

“(The) Rohingya is one of the top priority issues for (the) OIC … These Rohingya people are suffering. They deserve peace, security and a better life,” Taha told reporters after meeting Bangladesh’s Foreign Affairs Minister A.K. Abdul Momen on Sunday.

The OIC chief also called on the organization’s member states to support Gambia’s case at the International Court of Justice, which alleges that Myanmar has violated the Genocide Convention with its actions against the Rohingya in Rakhine State.

During his meeting with Hasina, Taha thanked the Bangladeshi government and people “for their relentless efforts to provide shelters, protection, hospitality, and necessary assistance to Rohingya refugees,” the OIC said in a statement.

Bangladesh is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, and has spent an estimated $1.2 billion a year to support the refugees.

“For a long time, we have had them (the OIC) beside us on the Rohingya issue. They have taken a leading role in removing the plight of the Rohingya,” Momen told reporters.

Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mizanur Rahman said Taha spoke with members of the Rohingya community in Cox’s Bazar during his visit on Monday.

“(The) OIC secretary-general exchanged views with the Rohingya and listened to their plight,” he said. “Taha promised to do the best on (the) OIC’s part to resolve the Rohingya crisis.”

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are facing compounding issues, including a further decrease of their rations from the World Food Programme, which said a lack of funding has forced it to cut food aid per person from $10 to $8 a month starting June 1.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2312536/world

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Bangladesh Govt Teams Going To Saudi Arabia: To Perform Hajj Or Assist Hajis?

Rashidul Hasan

May 31, 2023

At least 200 of the 218 officials the government is sending to Saudi Arabia to assist the Bangladeshi medical and technical team during hajj do not have any technical training or background in medicine.

Yet, the religious affairs ministry is spending taxpayers' money to send them.

The ministry is sending another "hajj technical delegation" to Saudi Arabia. But 23 of its 31 members have no technical or IT background. This delegation is supposed to assist a "hajj administrative team".

Many have said a large group of officials and employees were given the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia in the name of technical and administrative support.

Most members of the delegations are office assistants, personal assistants, administrative officials, chauffeurs, gunmen, cops, security guards, cooks, cleaners, photocopy machine operators, typists, record keepers and support staff.

Stakeholders in the sector also raised questions about the rationale of sending a 75-member "administrative team" and a 15-member high-profile team led by State Minister Faridul Haque Khan to "oversee and coordinate hajj-related activities".

Secretaries of the cabinet division, telecommunications ministry, roads and highways, the Prime Minister's Office, and health ministry, a planning commission member, a ruling party lawmaker, and religious affairs secretary of the Awami League are in the team.

Many people who performed hajj in 2019 and before, said they hardly ever found members of such delegations when they needed them in Makkah.

Members of such delegations were almost always busy performing hajj themselves instead of looking after the pilgrims, they added.

The ministry has recently issued show-cause notices upon seven employees and officials of a "hajj administrative team" for not performing their duties at Bangladesh's hajj office in Makkah.

In several similar show-cause notices, the ministry said some of its delegates had travelled to Taif without informing the authorities.

The ministry said their activities might create a negative impression among pilgrims and tarnish the country's image.

HAJJ ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT TEAM

According to a religious affairs ministry notification, the main responsibilities of the delegation members are to provide assistance at a health clinic, ensure prompt services to patients, assist the hajj technical team, and to find the pilgrims who get lost during hajj.

But a background check of the 218 individuals named on the list reveals that 12 are chauffeurs; three are bodyguards of the state minister, attorney general and a secretary; 15 are personal staff members of different top officials, including the chief whip of parliament, Noor-e-Alam Chowdhury; and 70 are office assistants and administrative officers.

Besides, there are night guards, cooks and cleaners in the team.

A deputy director of the Department of Environment, two deputy secretaries, four senior assistant secretaries, an assistant police commissioner, a deputy police commissioner, an additional police commissioner, and a personal secretary are also going.

Several officials and staffers from the PMO, the Bangabhaban and different government offices in Jamalpur, which is the constituency of the state minister for religious affairs, are in the delegation.

Several officials of the hajj office, requesting anonymity, said the mid- and senior-level officials who become members of these delegations do not bother to carry out their responsibilities during hajj.

"They either perform hajj themselves or do whatever they want while the expenses are paid with public money," a top official at the Ashkona Hajj Camp said.

HAJJ TECHNICAL TEAM

Only eight of the 31 delegates have technical background.

The team includes an assistant personal secretary and public relations officer of State Minister Faridul, several personal staff members of Faridul's office and the public relations officer of the religious affairs ministry.

There are personal staffers, a protocol officer and several administrative officials from different ministries and departments in the technical team.

When contacted, Faridul said he did not have the time to comment on the matter while the religious affairs secretary could not be reached over the phone.

Transparency International Bangladesh Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said he wondered whether the individuals in the team had any relevance to the purpose of the delegations.

"Is it merely their link to political and governmental power that have determined their qualifications to be rewarded with the opportunity to travel abroad spending taxpayers' money?" he asked.

He also criticised the questionable expenditure amid "multidimensional economic and financial pressures facing the country".

Source: thedailystar.net

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https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/news/govt-teams-going-ksa-perform-hajj-or-assist-hajis-3333621

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India Sidelines Pakistan by Increasing Soft Power in Afghanistan: Report

May 31, 2023

India is increasing its soft power in Afghanistan by providing life-saving aid through Iran, sidelining Pakistan which once played a major role in matters of Afghanistan, according to sources.

The Indian donation of 20,000 metric tons of wheat is scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan in the coming months, according to a spokesperson of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). 

The vital aid is aimed at helping Afghanistan’s hunger striven population and strengthening India’s long-lasting relations with the war-torn country.

It also fulfills New Delhi’s commitment to ship the wheat to Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar port. The goods will eventually cross the Iranian border into Afghanistan’s eastern Herat province.

Previously, commercial goods from India were delivered to Afghanistan through Pakistan instead of Iran. This shipment also translates to Iran’s new role in providing goods to Afghanistan and Pakistan’s peripheral role.

WFP claims that more than 19 million people in Afghanistan are suffering from acute food insecurity and hunger, putting the lives of millions of people and livelihoods in immediate danger, according to Nikkei Asia, a Japanese publication that provides Asian news and analysis to a global audience.

“The humanitarian needs across the country remain very high,” the representative said, adding that “India’s grant will help us reach hungry families where the need is greatest.”

The decision to deliver 20,000 metric tons of wheat not only strengthens India’s position as an important donor to Afghanistan but also underlines efforts to build positive relations with Afghanistan’s de facto administration.

Despite not recognizing the Taliban administration that took power in August 2021, India restored its diplomatic presence in Kabul deploying a “technical team” in mid-2022. According to experts, the region is too important to leave.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/india-sidelines-pakistan-by-increasing-soft-power-in-afghanistan-report/

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WFP Welcomes Contributions From China to Crisis-Affected Families in Afghanistan

May 30, 2023

The UN World Food Program (WFP) welcomed a contribution from the government of China to crisis-affected families in Afghanistan for 2023.

With the funding, WFP will be able to provide life-saving food assistance to nearly 70,000 food-insecure people in areas struck by acute food insecurity, the organization said in a statement.

Wand Yu, Ambassador of China to Afghanistan, said, “Since 2022, the Chinese government and people have donated large amounts of humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan to help the people overcome difficulties.”

Chinese Ambassador also said, this year, China continues to cooperate with the World Food Programme to provide food assistance to the people of Afghanistan through the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund.”

According to WFP, nearly 15 million people are experiencing crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity in Afghanistan.

 “This year, WFP in Afghanistan is faced with an acute funding crisis, and this timely contribution from the Chinese Government comes at a moment when continued support is most needed,” said Hsiao-Wei Lee, WFP Afghanistan Country Director and Representative. “Over 15 million people are estimated to be experiencing acute food insecurity across the country, and sustained humanitarian assistance is needed to keep already worrying hunger and malnutrition rates from further increasing.”

Already this year, WFP was forced to cut back its ration size for all families and reduce the number of beneficiaries by 8 million people due to lack of funding.

With this latest contribution, WFP plans to buy nearly 1,500 metric tons of wheat flour, 185 tons of yellow split peas, more than 130 tons of vegetable oil, and 15 tons of salt. This will allow WFP to support nearly 70,000 families for two months.

In Afghanistan in 2022, WFP supplied 1.14 million tons of food and $325.8 million in cash transfers to 23 million people. Of the 23 million people assisted, 11.6 million were women, and 12.3 million were children.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/wfp-welcomes-contributions-from-china-to-crisis-affected-families-in-afghanistan/

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UN Calls For Further Cooperation with Afghan Education Sector

May 30, 2023

The UN rapporteur visited Afghanistan and called for increased cooperation with Afghanistan’s education sector.

Katharina Merkel, a UN rapporteur and James Darcey travelled to Herat and said that the UN remained dedicated to assisting Afghanistan’s education sector.

Meanwhile, the UN representatives met with Mawlavi Abdullah Ameni, the provincial education director of Herat, and they discussed ways to improve the country’s educational system and foster cooperation with the UN.

Ameni emphasized the initiatives taken by the Herat education department to create a standardized educational system in cooperation with domestic and foreign donor agencies.

Meanwhile, he stressed the need for increased cooperation with the aid agencies to support the education system in the province further.

In his part, the UN envoy supported these initiatives and called for increased coordination between the UN and the Afghan education system.

It was said that the main reason for the UN rapporteur’s travel to Herat was to evaluate UNICEF’s operations in high-quality education.

The visit came amid an education ban for Afghan females beyond sixth grade since taken over by the Taliban in August 2021 and higher education since December last year.

The suppressive policies by the current regime have restricted Afghan females from their fundamental rights, including education and working with aid agencies, and erased them from the public scene.

Despite massive criticism, the severe restrictions policies are continued, restricting women and girls from their fundamental human rights.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/un-calls-for-further-cooperation-with-afghan-education-sector/

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OIC concerned over insufficient funding for Rohingya case at ICJ

May 31, 2023

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General HisseinBrahim Taha has expressed concern over itsinsufficient funding for the Rohingya case.

Appreciating the support of Member States for the Rohingya case, he assured that OIC will continue to encourage them to contribute funds for the Rohingya case filed by The Gambia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The OIC secretary general reiterated OIC's relentless support in resolving the Rohingya crisis, while visiting the Rohingya Camps in Cox's Bazar on Monday.

Mentioning the Rohingya issue as an important agenda of OIC, the OIC secretary general highlighted OIC's firm support to The Gambia led initiative of taking legal recourse for ensuring justice for the forcibly displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar at the ICJ.

He said the OIC is also working at the international level for ensuring sustainable repatriation of Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh, to Myanmar, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Recognising the government and people of Bangladesh's immense generosity shown to the large number of forcibly displaced Rohingya from Myanmar, the OIC secretary general underscored that burden-sharing is crucial to solve this long-standing crisis, and appealed to the international community to take more responsibility to ensure favourable conditions for the safe, dignified and sustainable return of all Rohingyas to their homeland, Myanmar.

The OIC secretary general and his entourage visited Rohingya camps in Kutupalong, Cox's Bazar.

The Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) welcomed him in the Rohingya Camp in Cox's Bazar.

During his visit to the Rohingya camps, the OIC secretary general exchanged views with the representatives from the Rohingya community.

The Rohingya representatives apprised him of their strong desire to return to their ancestral home safely.

The OIC secretary general took note of their concerns and assured them of OIC's support to continue to work closely with Bangladesh to end this humanitarian crisis.

Source: thedailystar.net

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https://www.thedailystar.net/rohingya-influx/news/oic-concerned-over-insufficient-funding-rohingya-case-icj-3333956

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Africa

 

Religious Officials Of Islamic Da’wah CentreVisit Malaysian Islamic Art Gallery

May 31, 2023

A series of meetings between the Islamic Da’wah Centre (PDI) and its Malaysian counterparts ended with meetings at Selangor International Islamic Art Complex in Shah Alam and Nasyrul Quran Complex in Putrajaya recently.

The visitors, led by PDI Director Haji Abdul Rajid bin Haji MohdSalleh, also toured Selangor International Islamic Art Complex including Mushaf Gallery, Mahabbah Al-Haramain Gallery and RehlahNabawiyyah Gallery.

The group also visited Brunei Darussalam High Commissioner to Malaysia Brigadier General (Rtd) DatoPadukaAwang Haji Mahmud bin Haji Saidin @ Haji MdSaidin during which he was presented a souvenir in the form of Mushaf Brunei Darussalam.

Source: borneobulletin.com.bn

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https://borneobulletin.com.bn/religious-officials-visit-malaysian-islamic-art-gallery/

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MURIC Urges Imams To Initiative Weekly Prayers  For Tinubu, Shettima

May 30, 2023

The  Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has charged all Imams in  Nigeria to initiate weekly prayers for both President Tinubu and Shettima.

The faith-based human rights organization also admonished Nigeria’s new President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President, Senator KassimShettima to reflect deeply and examine all angles before making decisions.

MURIC’s Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola,  in his congratulatory message, urged the duo to be conscious of the onerous task ahead of them.

MURIC  stated that similar prayers should be offered for  Nigeria, immediately after every Friday Jum’ah sermon.

“We congratulate President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President KashimShettima for the successful inauguration which took place yesterday, Monday, 29th May 2023.

“The new administration should make good governance and life more abundant, their primary goals.

“We rejoice with the new president and his vice and share with them their moments of glory”

The message reads: “We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) congratulate President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President KashimShettima on their successful inauguration yesterday, Monday, 29th May 2023 at the Eagle Square.

“Even in the euphoria of victory, we charge the duo to be conscious of the onerous task ahead of them. Nigeria is a complex society, therefore, there is the need to reflect deeply and examine all angles before taking decisions. They should make good governance and life more abundant, their primary goals.

“Finally, we appeal to Nigerians, in general, to allow the new administration to settle down and to cooperate with it in its endeavor to improve the standard of living in the country”.MURIC said

Source: independent.ng

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https://independent.ng/muric-urges-imams-to-initiative-weekly-prayers-for-tinubu-shettima/

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Nigeria complex, examine all angles before taking decisions – Islamic group urges Tinubu, Shettima

May 30, 2023

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has told President Bola Tinubu and Vice President KashimShettima that Nigeria is a complex society, urging them to examine all angles and reflect deeply before taking decisions.

MURIC said this while congratulating Tinubu and Shettima for their successful inauguration.

DAILY POST reports that Tinubu and Shettima were sworn into office by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice OlukayodeAriwoola, at Eagles Square in Abuja on Monday.

However, the Executive Director of MURIC, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, in a statement issued on Tuesday in Lagos, charged Tinubu and Shettima to be conscious of the onerous task ahead of them.

“We rejoice with the new president and his vice and share with them their moments of glory.

“Even in the euphoria of victory, we charge the duo to be conscious of the onerous tasks ahead of them.

“Nigeria is a complex society, therefore, there is the need to reflect deeply and examine all angles before taking decisions,” he said.

Akintola advised them to make good governance and improved life their primary goals.

“MURIC charges all Imams to initiate weekly prayers for President Tinubu and his vice as well as our country Nigeria, immediately after every Friday Jum’ah sermon.

“Finally, we appeal to Nigerians to allow the new administration to settle down and to cooperate with it in its endeavour to improve the standards of living in the country,” he said.

Source: dailypost.ng

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https://dailypost.ng/2023/05/30/nigeria-complex-examine-all-angles-before-taking-decisions-islamic-group-urges-tinubu-shettima/

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Peace Corps, Sexual harassment of students prohibition, other bills Buhari failed to sign

May 31, 2023

Former President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years administration ended on Monday, May 29, ushering in the era of President Bola Tinubu.

Buhari became President in 2015 amid heightened hope as a messianic figure that would rescue the country from a downslide.

Also, as a former military head of state, Buhari’s ascendance into power was under the change mantra, in which he promised Nigerians a more profitable deal than the erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration offered the country.

Before vacating office on Monday, Buhari claimed his administration had been one of the best things to happen to the country. He argued that the government had fulfilled most, if not all, the promises it made to Nigerians during its campaigns.

However, opinions are divided on whether the administration dwarfed the performance of previous governments and kept faith with the people, as the former President had claimed.

In the opinion of many Nigerians, the administration recorded a landmark achievement by signing the 2022 Electoral Act and the constitutional amendment allowing states to licence, generate, transmit, and distribute electricity.

However, not many were happy with the previous administration for leaving out other key legislative bills passed by the National Assembly.

DAILY POST examines some of the key anticipated legislative Bills Buhari refused to assent to before he left office.

Nigerian Peace Corp (Establishment) Bill

The Bill sought to give legal backing to the establishment of the Peace Corps as a government parastatal and allow all serving members of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, both regular and volunteers, to be absolved into the proposed organisation at commencement. It was hoped that the Corps would have absolved several unemployed Nigerians.

Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Bill, 2020.

The Deputy Senate President, OvieOmo-Agege, sponsored the Bill.

With 25 clauses, the Bill sought to promote and protect ethical standards in tertiary institutions. It also sought to protect students against sexual harassment by educators in tertiary institutions. It also proposed up to a 14-year jail term for offenders.

Bill for the Creation of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government

The Bill sought an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to Establish the Office of the Accountant–General of the Federal Government separate from the Office of the Accountant–General of the Federation

The Fifth Alteration Bill Number 24

It sought an Act to Alter the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to empower the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly to Summon the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Governors of States to answer questions on issues on which the National and State Houses of Assembly have the powers to make laws.

The Fifth Alteration Bill Number 29.

This sought an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to provide for a State of the Nation and State of the State Address by the President and Governor.

Speaking to DAILY POST in an interview, the President of the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), OluOmotayo, lamented about both the financial and human resources wasted in passing those bills.

Omotayo said that the National Assembly wasn’t radical as it lacked the necessary bite to keep the executive always on its toes.

“It is unfortunate that the president before leaving office did not assent to some bills passed by the National Assembly, notably among which is the Peace Corps bill.

“The implication is that both financial and human resources made towards the actualisation of the passage of those bills automatically becomes a wasted effort.

“The National Assembly also is part of the problem because if they actually considered the importance of some of these bills, they should have passed it in time so that if the President withholds assent for 60 days, they could after the expiration of 60 days re-pass the bill and it becomes law.

“It is unfortunate that the outgoing National Assembly was not radical in its approach thereby lacking the necessary biting force to keep the executive always on its toes,” he said.

Source: dailypost.ng

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https://dailypost.ng/2023/05/31/peace-corps-sexual-harassment-of-students-prohibition-other-bills-buhari-failed-to-sign/

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India

 

5 held after mob attacks Hindu man for dropping Muslim classmate home in Karnataka's Shivamogga

May 30, 2023

By Anagha: Five men have been arrested for allegedly attacking a 20-year-old Hindu man in Karnataka’s Shivamogga after he dropped his 19-year-old female Muslim classmate home.

The Hindu man, Vinay Kumar, told police that he was stopped by five people when he was on his way to Kalandar Nagar in Badravathi after dropping his Muslim female classmate home. "When I told them my name, they questioned why I was travelling with a Muslim girl. They assaulted me on my face, left eye, leg, and back,” Vinay Kumar said.

“A man, Mizan Khan, jumped to our rescue and took us to hospital for treatment,” Kumar said in his complaint letter.

Vinay Kumar's two friends, Yashavantha (19) and Abhi (20), were also thrashed by the group when they came to the rescue of Kumar.

The five men have been arrested under Sections 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (punishment for rioting), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence commit­ted in the prosecution of the common object of that assembly) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Source: indiatoday.in

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https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/men-held-karnataka-shivamogga-attacking-hindu-man-drop-muslim-woman-home-2386497-2023-05-30

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Bageshwar Dham's Dhirendra Shastri Says Delhi Teen's Murder a Case of 'Love Jihad'

MAY 31, 2023

Bageshwar Dham chief and controversial preacher Dhirendra Krishna Shastri on Tuesday termed the brutal killing a 16-year-old girl in Delhi’s Shahbad Dairy as a case of “love jihad".

“The whole world witnessed a live jihad incident involving a girl. Now, it is imperative for all of us to unite and establish a Hindu Rashtra. Despite concerns that my statement might incite riots, I will persist in advocating for Sanatan Dharma."

“Love jihad" is a term frequently employed by right-wing activists to allege a strategy in which Muslim men purportedly entice Hindu women into religious conversion through marriage.

The victim, Sakshi, was brutally stabbed with a knife more than 20 times and her skull ruptured with a cement slab by Sahil, a 20-year-old mechanic in a busy street on Saturday. The CCTV footage of the crime which went viral on social media triggered shock waves across the country.

The accused, who fled from Delhi after the incident, was arrested from Bulandsher, Uttar Pradesh on Monday, following a lead from a phone call made by Sahil’s aunt to his father. It was revealed that Sahil had turned off his mobile phone after the incident and had taken a bus to his aunt’s residence in Bulandshahr.

Earlier in the day, a Delhi court granted Delhi Police permission to interrogate Sahil in judicial custody.

Duty Metropolitan Magistrate Jyoti Nain took note of the plea made by the interrogators seeking two-day police custody of Sahil.

According to the police, the accused, Sahil, meticulously planned the murder for two days and carried out the attack on Sunday as Sakshi had rebuffed him in front of her friends and refused to continue their relationship.

Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president VirendraSachdeva had on Monday said the gruesome incident was a “love jihad" case. “The brutal murder of a Hindu girl by youth Sahil Sarfaraz in Shahbad has once again shown that Love Jihad has now rocked Delhi as well," Sachdeva said.

Sachdeva alleged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was afraid of losing the votes of minority community and alleged the AAP convenor was “portraying" it as an “ordinary" murder instead of “love jihad".

“The red Kalawa tied on the hand of arrested Sahil Sarfaraz clearly showed that he is a member of Love Jihad gang working in a well-planned manner," Sachdeva claimed.

Sachdeva said locals informed him that the accused was harassing and the minor girl for “a long time". It is “regrettable" that the Chief Minister of Delhi was “trying to portray" the “brutal killing" of a Hindu girl as a law and order issue, whereas it is a case of “Love jihad", Sachdeva said.

Source: news18.com

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https://www.news18.com/india/bageshwar-dhams-dhirendra-shastri-says-delhi-teens-murder-a-case-of-love-jihad-7960279.html

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Illegal building of slain don Atiq Ahmed's close aide Mohammad Muslim sealed by Lucknow Development Authority

May 30, 2023

LUCKNOW: An illegal building in RatanKhand of Shardanagar belonging to builder Mohammad Muslim, a close associate of slain don Atiq Ahmed was sealed by Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) on Tuesday.

As per officials, the building, spanning over 300 sq. meters of land, is believed to be constructed without the approved map, which was discovered during an inspection conducted by officials earlier in March.

Notice was sent to Mohammad Muslim to produce the approved map of the building. However, he could not produce the map as requested. As a result, a case was registered in the LDA court in April, and despite multiple hearings, the builder did not appear.

Devansh Trivedi, the Zonal Officer of the enforcement wing of LDA, said that Mohammad Muslim had constructed a basement, ground floor, first floor, second floor, and third floor on plot number 1/185 registered on the name of Madhuri Pandey, covering an area of approximately 300 square meters. Additionally, Muslim was operating a banquet hall. Trivedi mentioned that since the map was not presented before the court, the building has been sealed. If the builder fails to provide the map, a demolition order will be issued.

Furthermore, LDA's enforcement wing sealed a complex in LDA colony on Kanpur Road that was being used for commercial activities. Additionally, 16 row houses on a plot measuring around 20,000 square feet in Rakshakhand, Udyan Dwitiya, Shardanagar, and an under-construction plot in Gosainganj were also sealed.

The zone officer stated that sealing orders were issued by the court in all the mentioned cases, and in compliance with the orders, Assistant Engineer WP Singh, Junior Engineer Usman Ali, and Nagendra Mishra carried out the sealing.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/illegal-building-of-slain-don-atiq-ahmeds-close-aide-mohammad-muslim-sealed-by-lucknow-development-authority/articleshow/100629930.cms

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India to Host Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Virtual Format on July 4

May 31, 2023

India will host the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) annual meeting in a virtual format on July 4, the Ministry of External Affairs of India said on Tuesday.

The Ministry also said that heads of state of all members, including Russia, China and Pakistan, were invited.

The SCO summit was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, last year, and all of the organization’s senior officials, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, attended.

“Under India’s first-ever chairmanship, the 22nd summit of the SCO Council of Heads of State will be held in the virtual format on July 4, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the MEA said.

The defence and foreign ministers of the eight-member alliance personally met in India earlier this month.

China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan have all been invited to the summit, according to the MEA.

For the first time in April this year, the Chinese defence minister came to India for SCO’s defence minister summit after a military clash between India and Chinese forces on the Himalayan border in May 2020.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s foreign minister visited India earlier this month.

The SCO has become one of the largest transregional international organizations and is an influential economic and security bloc.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/india-to-host-sco-summit-in-virtual-format-on-july-4/

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