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Islamic World News ( 30 Oct 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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UNAC: Insulting Religions And Sacred Religious Symbols Provokes Hatred And Violent Extremism


New Age Islam News Bureau

31 October 2020

 

Muslims shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest against French President Emmanuel Macron and against the publishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Mumbai [Rafiq Maqbool/AP]

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• Free Speech Has Limits, Says Canada PM When Asked About Prophet Mohammed Cartoons

• First US Passport Given To Jerusalem-Born Citizen Listing ‘Israel’ As Place Of Birth

• Facebook Pulls Down Three ‘Love Jihad’ Pages, Containing Hate Speeches and Adult Nudity, For Violating Policies

• Tunisia To Probe Mahdi Organization For Links To Nice Attack, Says State Media

• From Lebanon to Palestine, Muslims Stage Anti-France Protests as Anger Against Prophet Cartoons Rises

• Bangladesh Protesters Call Macron ‘The World’s Biggest Terrorist’

 

Europe

• UNAC: Insulting Religions And Sacred Religious Symbols Provokes Hatred And Violent Extremism

• France On Edge; Thousands Of Muslims Stage Protest Against Prophet Cartoons

• New Terror Attacks Leave France Embattled at Home and Abroad

• Over 1,000 Muslim leaders around the world adopt anti-Semitism definition via council

• ‘Isis member’ in UK charged with trying to help free Jihadis from Syrian prisons

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North America

• Free Speech Has Limits, Says Canada PM When Asked About Prophet Mohammed Cartoons

• FBI arrests white supremacy leader in extremism crackdown in Michigan

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Mideast

• First US Passport Given To Jerusalem-Born Citizen Listing ‘Israel’ As Place Of Birth

• Thousands Rally In Jerusalem Against France’s Macron Over The Prophet Cartoons

• Instagram removes Khamenei’s French account after Nice attack

• Israel tortures, abuses Palestinian children in prison: NGO

• 26 dead, buildings collapse as major quake hits Turkey, Greece

• Rouhani: US Fails to Make Iranians Bow to Sanctions Pressures

• Zarif Deplores Terrorist Attack in France

• Ex-DM: Macron Main Culprit of French Events

• Iranian Speaker: Palestine Top Priority of Muslim World

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India

• Facebook Pulls Down Three ‘Love Jihad’ Pages, Containing Hate Speeches and Adult Nudity, For Violating Policies

• Confessions Of A Terrorist State: Bajwa, Imran And Jaish Hand In Glove Set-up of radicalism in place, can’t pretend these are lone-wolf hits: Shringla

• India for strong condemnation of violence against women perpetrated by terrorists

• Religious conversion just for sake of marriage is unacceptable: HC

• ‘Silently endured all allegations, truth is out now’: PM Modi on Pulwama terror attack

• Terror attacks in France not result of ‘lone wolf initiatives’: Harsh Shringla

• Jammu and Kashmir admin prevents Farooq Abdullah from attending prayers: National Conference

• De-radicalised twice, Pune woman went back to IS:NIA

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Africa

• Tunisia To Probe Mahdi Organization For Links To Nice Attack, Says State Media

• Algeria Accuses ‘Foreign Parties’ of Negotiating with Terrorists

• Sudan Signs Agreement With US Restoring Its Sovereign Immunity

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Arab World

• From Lebanon to Palestine, Muslims Stage Anti-France Protests as Anger Against Prophet Cartoons Rises

• Clashes at Lebanon’s capital Beirut as people protest French cartoons of the Prophet

• French freedom of speech based on double standards: Nasrallah

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South Asia

• Bangladesh Protesters Call Macron ‘The World’s Biggest Terrorist’

• Man lynched in Bangladesh for alleged Quran desecration: Police

• Taliban ‘Military Commission Deputy’ Killed In AAF Airstrikes

• Officials Prevent Dehraud District of Uruzgan from Falling into Taliban Hand

• Afghan officials: 8 inmates dead after prison riot in Herat

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Pakistan

• Pakistan’s Police Fire Teargas At Demonstrators Protesting French Cartoons Of Prophet

• Islamabad police fire tear gas as protesters breach blockades outside Red Zone

• Opposition promoting enemies’ narrative, minister tells Senate

• Gujranwala jalsa to be decisive blow to selected govt: Marriyum

• As anger rises, Muslims protest blasphemous caricatures

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Southeast Asia

• Mahathir Says Remarks On French Attacks Taken Out Of Context

• Indonesia Condemns Macron's Statements on Islam

• Airports And Skyscrapers Are Fine, But Not Quran Village? FT Minister Hits Back At Critics After Backlash Over RM150m Mega Project

• Wisma Putra calls up French embassy rep, condemns actions defaming Islam

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

 

URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/unac-insulting-religions-sacred-religious/d/123334

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 UNAC: Insulting Religions And Sacred Religious Symbols Provokes Hatred And Violent Extremism

29 Oct 2020

 

Muslims shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest against French President Emmanuel Macron and against the publishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Mumbai [Rafiq Maqbool/AP]

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The head of a United Nations anti-extremism body has expressed “deep concern” over growing tensions over satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, urging “mutual respect” between people of different faiths and political views.

The statement on Wednesday by Miguel Angel Moratinos – who heads the UN Alliance of Civilizations – follows growing anger in the Muslim world over France’s response to the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils the images as part of a class on free speech.

President Emmanuel Macron has vigorously defended the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet on free speech grounds, sparking angry protests across swathes of the Muslim world and campaigns to boycott French products.

“The inflammatory caricatures have also provoked acts of violence against innocent civilians who were attacked for their sheer religion, belief or ethnicity,” Moratinos said in the statement, without explicitly referring to Macron’s defence of the images.

“Insulting religions and sacred religious symbols provokes hatred and violent extremism leading to polarisation and fragmentation of the society,” he warned.

The statement said freedom of religion and freedom of expression are “interdependent, interrelated and mutually re-enforcing rights” rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Upholding and protecting these fundamental rights is the primary responsibility of member states,” the statement read.

Many activists have criticised France for attacking sacred symbols of minorities in the name of freedom of speech.

Muslim world outraged

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticised Macron, saying the French leader needed “mental checks” over his attitude towards Islam.

Top officials in the Muslim world have condemned France and Macron, including Pakistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Iran; while tens of thousands have attended protests in Bangladesh calling for a boycott of French goods.

Tensions heated further on Wednesday after the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published a new caricature depicting Erdogan.

In response, the Turkish president has threatened to sue the magazine.

Amid the escalating row, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a letter on Wednesday to the leaders of Muslim-majority countries, asking them “to act collectively to counter growing Islamophobia in non-Muslim states”.

Khan said leaders of these countries did not understand the “love and devotion Muslims all over the world have for their Prophet and their divine book the Holy Quran”.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called the French president’s defence of cartoons depicting the Prophet a “stupid act” and an “insult” to those who voted for him.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/29/un-official-expresses-deep-concern-over-prophet-cartoon-row

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Free Speech Has Limits, Says Canada PM When Asked About Prophet Mohammed Cartoons

31 October 2020

 

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a meeting with Conservative Party leader and Leader of the Official Opposition Andrew Scheer on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario Canada November 12, 2019. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended free speech on Friday, but added that it was “not without limits” and should not “arbitrarily and needlessly hurt” certain communities.

“We will always defend freedom of expression,” Trudeau said in response to a question about the right to show a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed, as France’s Charlie Hebdo magazine did.

“But freedom of expression is not without limits,” he added. “We owe it to ourselves to act with respect for others and to seek not to arbitrarily or unnecessarily injure those with whom we are sharing a society and a planet.”

“We do not have the right for example to shout fire in a movie theater crowded with people, there are always limits,” he argued.

Distancing himself from the position of French President Emmanuel Macron, Trudeau pleaded for a careful use of free speech.

“In a pluralist, diverse and respectful society like ours, we owe it to ourselves to be aware of the impact of our words, of our actions on others, particularly these communities and populations who still experience a great deal of discrimination,” he said.

At the same time, he said society is ready for a public debate on these issues, “to have these complex conversations in a responsible way.”

As he had done the day before with the leaders of the European Union, Trudeau insisted on condemning the recent “awful and appalling” extremist attacks in France.

“It is unjustifiable and Canada wholeheartedly condemns these acts while standing with our French friends who are going through extremely difficult times,” he said.

Canada’s parliament observed a moment of silence on Thursday for the three people stabbed to death earlier in a church in Nice, in southern France, by a Tunisian man who was apprehended.

Anger erupted in the Middle East in response to Macron defending the right to publish the cartoons in France.

Macron made the comments during a tribute last week to Samuel Paty, a teacher beheaded in the street for showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in class in a course on freedom of expression.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/10/31/Free-speech-has-limits-says-Canada-PM-when-asked-about-Prophet-Mohammed-cartoons

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First US Passport Given To Jerusalem-Born Citizen Listing ‘Israel’ As Place Of Birth

30 October 2020

 

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman presents Menachem Zivotofsky, a US citizen who was born in Jerusalem, a passport that lists Israel as his birthplace [Debbie Hill/Pool via Reuters]

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A Jerusalem-born American citizen on Friday became the first to receive a US passport listing “Israel” as his place of birth.

The move came just days before the US election, in which President Donald Trump has promoted his steadfast support of the Jewish state, a key cause for his evangelical Christian base.

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

“I’m humbled and honored to receive this passport,” said 18-year-old Menachem Zivitofsky during a ceremony at the US embassy.

Until now, Americans born in the city had simply “Jerusalem” listed in their passports, without specifying the country.

Israel seized control of East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it, in moves never recognized by the international community.

The Jewish state considers the city its undivided capital, but Palestinians see the mostly Arab eastern part of Jerusalem, including the Old City with its holy sites, as the illegally occupied capital of their future state.

In his first year in office, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and later moved the US embassy there -- putting the United States at odds with virtually every other country.

Zivitofsky has “waited a long time for this moment to come”, said US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman while presenting the passport. “Today... you have a nation of birth –- the state of Israel.”

The US had announced on Thursday that Jerusalem-born American citizens could now elect to list Israel as their place of birth on their passports but said the default would remain “Jerusalem”.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi slammed the move as an “attempt to erase Palestinians”.

“The US State Department’s new decision to allow the labelling of Jerusalem as part of Israel in official US documents is a falsification of the city’s history and identity,” Ashrawi said in a statement on Friday.

Until now, international consensus had been to list Jerusalem as “undefined” on official documents.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/10/30/First-US-passport-given-to-Jerusalem-born-citizen-listing-Israel-as-place-of-birth

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Facebook Pulls Down Three ‘Love Jihad’ Pages, Containing Hate Speeches and Adult Nudity, For Violating Policies

Oct 31, 2020

NEW DELHI: Several community pages on “Love Jihad” carrying inappropriate content such as hate speech and adult nudity were active on Facebook for years. The groups also resorted to bullying, moral policing and violated privacy of interfaith couples by revealing their identities.

On Thursday, Facebook took down three of these groups for violating their Community standards.

TOI studied the content of at least four such open groups, which referred to Love Jihad as a conspiracy between men from a minority community and clerics to hoodwink women into changing their religion. The content on these were pulled down only after TOI sent a questionnaire to the social media giant with specific details of the pages. Several such private groups still exist on the platform.

The week-long research revealed that these groups regularly posted content targeting the minority community, asked for their economic boycott and warned people to be careful of them. One of the groups, created on August 27, 2014, had over 18,000 members and used to regularly issue “guidelines” advising parents to note down the timings of their daughters’ universities, and to strengthen vigil, if their friends and neighbours belong to the minority community. It also asked parents to keep a close watch on their daughters’ mobiles phones and see whose calls they receive.

Another group, now defunct, used to put out sexual images of men with beards, and asked women from the majority community to be cautious of such “jihadi” men.

Responding to TOI’s detailed questionnaire, a Facebook spokesperson said, “We have clear policies against hate speech, and remove hateful content that targets anyone based on their religion, nationality, ethnicity or caste. We’ve made significant investments to keep hate off of our platform.”

Facebook termed these groups as violating multiple policies on “hate speech, bullying and harassment, adult nudity and sexual activity and privacy violations”. The company, however, did not respond to TOI’s question of why and how the groups remained active on the platform for over half a decade, despite these violations.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/fb-pulls-down-3-love-jihad-pages-for-violating-policies/articleshow/78962025.cms

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Tunisia to probe Mahdi Organization for links to Nice attack, says state media

30 October 2020

Tunisian authorities have authorized an investigation into whether a group called the Mahdi Organization exists and carried out the Nice attack, based on social media claims of responsibility, state news agency TAP reported on Friday.

The public prosecutor’s office of the judiciary’s anti-terrorism court has delegated a specialized security unit to carry out the investigation, TAP reported.

It will seek to learn whether the Mahdi organization exists and the veracity of claims made on social media that it was behind Thursday’s attack in the French city, it reported.

The suspect in the attack, in which an assailant shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church, is Brahim Aouissaoui, a 21-year old Tunisian who had recently emigrated to Europe.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2020/10/30/Tunisia-to-probe-Mahdi-Organization-for-links-to-Nice-attack-says-state-media

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From Lebanon to Palestine, Muslims Stage Anti-France Protests as Anger Against Prophet Cartoons Rises

October 31, 2020

Dubai: Tens of thousands of Muslims, from Pakistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian territories, staged anti-France protests on Friday, as the French president’s vow to protect the right to caricature the Prophet continues to agitate the Muslim world. Also Read - Pakistan Minister Admitting Involvement in Pulwama Attack Reveals Truth, Says Rajnath Singh

Demonstrations in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad turned violent as some 2,000 people tried to march towards the French Embassy and were pushed back by police firing tear gas and beating protesters with batons. Also Read - French President Macron's Posters Found Pasted on Mumbai Roads, Later Removed

The Islamist activists hanged an effigy of French President Emmanuel Macron from a highway overpass after pounding it furiously with their shoes. Also Read - As Turkey Urges Muslims to Boycott French Goods, Its Own Products Face Boycott in Saudi Arabia

Several demonstrators were wounded in clashes with police and authorities deployed more security forces to protect the embassy.

In Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, thousands of worshippers celebrating the Mawlid, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, took to the streets, chanting anti-France slogans, raising banners and clogging major roads en route to a Sufi shrine.

In Multan, a city in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, thousands more burned an effigy of Macron and demanded that Pakistan sever ties with France and boycott French goods.

https://www.india.com/news/world/pakistan-lebanon-palestinian-muslims-protest-france-prophet-cartoons4192076-4192076/

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Bangladesh protesters call Macron ‘the world’s biggest terrorist’

30 October 2020

Tens of thousands of Muslims protested in Bangladesh on Friday after killings by a Tunisian migrant in a French church prompted a vow by President Emmanuel Macron to hold his ground against attacks on his country’s values and freedom of belief.

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

France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim community, was engaged in a war against Islamist ideology and more militant attacks were likely, interior minister Gerald Damarnin warned.

Protesters marching through the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Muslim-majority Bangladesh, chanted “Boycott French products” and carried banners calling Macron “the world’s biggest terrorist”.

“Macron is leading Islamophobia,” said demonstrator Akramul Haq. “He doesn’t know the power of Islam. The Muslim world will not let this go in vain. We’ll rise and stand in solidarity against him.”

France raised its security alert to the highest level on Thursday after a knife-wielding man shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman in a church and killed two more people before being shot and taken away by police.

“We will not give any ground,” Macron said outside the church in the city of Nice, vowing to deploy thousands more soldiers to guard sites such as places of worship and schools.

France had been attacked “over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief”, he added.

A judicial source in France said a 47-year-old man had been taken into custody on Thursday evening on suspicion of having been in contact with the perpetrator of the attack.

The violence has come at a time of growing Muslim anger over France’s defense of the right to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad, and protesters have denounced France in street rallies in several Muslim-majority countries.

Several leaders in Asia expressed support for France after the attacks on Thursday, the birthday of the prophet.

“It is just the most callous and cowardly and vicious act of barbarism by terrorists and should be condemned in the strongest possible way,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Morrison had expressed his support to Macron, he told media on Friday.

“We share values. We stand for the same things,” he said.

Morrison also condemned as absurd comments by former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad that Muslims had a right to be angry and kill “millions of French people for the massacres of the past”.

“Freedom of expression is a right, calling for violence is not,” the US ambassador to Malaysia, Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, said on Twitter in response to Mahathir’s comments.

Mahathir said his comments were taken out of context, while a senior Malaysian government figure, Abdul Hadi Awang, said Macron’s comments could not be justified.

“The French president’s statement exposes his hostility against Islam and its followers,” said Abdul Hadi, a leader of the Malaysian Islamist party PAS.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also voiced support for Macron’s position and condemned the violence.

“I strongly condemn the recent terrorist attacks in France,” Modi said on Twitter on Thursday. “India stands with France in the fight against terrorism.”

Thursday’s attack came less than two weeks after a middle-school teacher in a Paris suburb was beheaded by an 18-year-old assailant who was apparently incensed that the teacher had shown a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad in class.

France has suffered a string of Islamist militant attacks, from bombings and shootings in 2015 in Paris that killed 130 people to a 2016 attack in Nice that killed 86 when a militant drove a truck through a seafront crowd celebrating Bastille Day.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/10/30/Bangladesh-protesters-call-Macron-the-world-s-biggest-terrorist-

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Europe

 

France On Edge; Thousands Of Muslims Stage Protest Against Prophet Cartoons

Oct 30, 2020

NEW DELHI: Tens of thousands of protesters, from Pakistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian territories, vented out their fury at France on Friday as the French president's vow to protect the right to caricature the Prophet Muhammad continues to roil the Muslim world.

A crowd in Bangladesh burned an effigy of President Emmanuel Macron while a rally in Pakistan's Islamabad grew rowdy, with stones thrown at police and tear gas fired to control the crowds.

Macron defended freedom of expression and condemned Islamist violence earlier this month after the beheading of a teacher in Paris who showed pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, prompting a backlash across the Muslim world.

French interior minister Gerald Damarnin said France - home to Europe's largest Muslim community and hit by a string of terror attacks in recent years - was engaged in a war against Islamist ideology and more attacks were likely.

France also remains on the edge after a knife-wielding man killed three people at a church in the southern city of Nice on Thursday.

'How dare they disrespect our prophet?'

Huge crowds took to the streets of Dhaka to condemn the French leader after Friday prayers - the Bangladeshi capital's second anti-France protest in five days.

"We are all soldiers of Prophet Mohammed," chanted the crowd at the city's main protest site, where demonstrators called for a boycott of French goods and some burned an effigy of the leader.

Police said 12,000 people took part in the Dhaka rally, though independent observers and organisers claimed more than 40,000 marched in the city. Smaller crowds gathered outside hundreds of mosques elsewhere in the capital and around the country.

"France is insulting the world's two billion Muslims. President Macron must apologise for his crimes," said Gazi Ataur Rahman, a senior leader of Islami Andolan Bangladesh, one of the political parties which called the protests.

In Pakistan's capital city Islamabad, around 2,000 protesters marched towards the French embassy, pushing aside shipping containers that had been placed to block their path.

The crowed shouted "expel the French dog" and "behead the blasphemous" but were prevented from reaching the embassy by further guarded barricades.

"How dare they disrespect our prophet? As a Muslim I am ready to sacrifice my head for the prophet's honour. A Muslim can sacrifice his head and can also cut the head of the blasphemous," said Rasheed Akbar, a 34 year-old trader who joined the crowd.

Another 10,000 people marched through Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city, after Friday prayers in what was organised as a procession to mark the Prophet's birthday but which was charged with anti-France anger.

In the eastern city of Lahore, thousands of worshippers celebrating the Mawlid, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, took to the streets, chanting anti-France slogans, raising banners and clogging major roads en route to a Sufi shrine. In Multan, thousands more torched an effigy of Macron and called on Pakistan to sever ties with France and boycott French goods.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused Macron of attacking the Muslim faith and called on Islamic countries to work together to counter what he called growing Islamophobia in European countries.

A few hundred demonstrators in Lebanon's capital Beirut flocked toward the Palais des Pins, the official residence of the French ambassador to Lebanon, but found their way blocked by lines of police officers in riot gear. Waving black and white flags with Islamist insignia, the Sunni Islamist activists cried, "At your service, oh prophet of God." Some flung stones at police who responded with smoke and tear gas.

In Jerusalem, hundreds of Palestinians protested against Macron outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, chanting, "With our souls and with our blood we sacrifice for our prophet, Muhammad." Some youths scuffled with Israeli police as they exited the esplanade into the Old City. Israeli police said they dispersed the gathering and detained three people.

Scores more turned out in the Gaza Strip, where the militant Hamas group organized anti-France rallies at mosques across the territory that it controls.

Fathi Hammad, a Hamas official, addressed a demonstration at the Jabaliya refugee camp, vowing "to stand together to confront this criminal offensive that harms the faith of about 2 billion Muslims," referring to depictions of the Muslim prophet. He reiterated Hamas authorities' appeal for Palestinians to boycott all French products.

Cries of "Death to France" also rang out in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul and several other provinces as thousands filled the streets. Demonstrators trampled on portraits of Macron and called on Afghan leaders to shut down the French embassy, halt French imports and ban French citizens from visiting the country. In the country's western Herat province, protesters hoisted an effigy of Macron on a crane and set it alight.

Macron's tough stance on Islamic extremism has prompted denunciations from several Muslim countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office vowed to take "legal and diplomatic action" over the cartoon, while the country's NTV broadcaster said Ankara had summoned a senior diplomat from the French embassy.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Macron's defence of the publications a "stupid act" and an "insult" to those who voted for him.

Even in India, Muslim leaders called for a boycott of French goods. In Mumbai, some 100 posters showing Macron with a boot on his face and calling him a "demon" were pasted on pavements and roads. The posters were later removed by the police.

France raises security alert

France has raised its security alert to the highest level on Thursday after a knife-wielding man shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) beheaded an elderly woman in a church and killed two more people before being shot and taken away by police.

"We will not give any ground," Macron said outside the church in the French Riviera city of Nice, promising to deploy thousands more soldiers to guard sites such as places of worship and schools.

France had been attacked "over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief", he added.

French investigators said the man suspected of carrying out the Nice attack was a Tunisian born in 1999 who had arrived in Europe on September 20 on Lampedusa, an Italian island off Tunisia that is a main landing point for migrants from Africa.

Australian, Indian leaders back France

Meanwhile, several leaders in Asia expressed support for France after the Church attack on Thursday, the birthday of the prophet.

"It is just the most callous and cowardly and vicious act of barbarism by terrorists and should be condemned in the strongest possible way," said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Morrison had expressed his support to Macron, he told media on Friday. "We share values. We stand for the same things."

He also condemned as absurd comments by former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad that Muslims had a right to be angry and kill "millions of French people for the massacres of the past".

"Freedom of expression is a right, calling for violence is not," the US ambassador to Malaysia, Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, said on Twitter in response to Mahathir's comments.

Mahathir said his comments were taken out of context, while a senior Malaysian government figure, Abdul Hadi Awang, said Macron's comments could not be justified.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also voiced support for Macron's position and condemned the violence.

"I strongly condemn the recent terrorist attacks in France," Modi tweeted on Thursday. "India stands with France in the fight against terrorism."

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/as-anger-rises-thousands-of-muslims-protest-french-cartoons/articleshow/78952001.cms

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New Terror Attacks Leave France Embattled at Home and Abroad

By Norimitsu Onishi and Constant Méheut

Oct. 29, 2020

NICE, France — A terror attack that killed three people in Nice on Thursday left France increasingly embattled at home and abroad, as the government called for toughening measures against Islamist extremism, amid rising tensions with Muslim nations.

A knife-wielding assailant left two people dead in Nice’s towering neo-Gothic basilica, including a 60-year-old woman who was nearly decapitated, and a third victim died after taking refuge in a nearby bar.

The attack in Nice came less than two weeks after the beheading of a teacher shook the nation and led to President Emmanuel Macron suggesting that Islam was in need of an Enlightenment.

Jean-François Ricard, France’s top antiterrorism prosecutor, said the suspected killer was a Tunisian man, born in 1999, who had entered France after arriving in Italy on Sept. 20. He said the man, who was unknown to the French authorities, was arrested after lunging at police officers while yelling “Allahu akbar,” and was hospitalized with serious wounds.

“Very clearly it is France that is attacked,” Mr. Macron said after traveling quickly to Nice. French authorities placed a jittery country on its highest terrorism threat level.

The killings came at a time when the government’s recent words and deeds have put it at odds with Muslims in France and abroad, including heads of state like President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. What many French people see as their country’s uncompromising defense of its safety and free expression, many Muslims consider to be scapegoating and blasphemous insults to their religion.

Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Macron called for an “Islam of enlightenment” and “an Islam that can be at peace with the republic,” in what he described as a renewed fight against radicalism and challenges to the nation’s secular ideals. Since the killing of the teacher in a suburb of Paris, his government has unfurled a wide dragnet against what it has characterized as Islamist extremism, vexing many French Muslims and stirring strong rebuke from Muslim nations.

President Emmanuel Macron of France called a knife attack that killed three people at Notre-Dame basilica in Nice Thursday an “Islamist terrorist attack.”CreditCredit...Eric Gaillard/Reuters

The steps have included expelling imprisoned foreigners suspected of terrorist links, carrying out raids and rolling up a Muslim group it accuses of “advocating radical Islam” and hate speech. But few of those affected by the measures had any direct connection to the beheading of the teacher, who was killed by an 18-year-old Chechen refugee.

The scope of the government’s response and the sharp language of some of its leaders have left Mr. Macron open to criticism that he is politicizing the attack and playing to voters who might otherwise defect to his challengers on the far right. His education minister has described politicians on the left as apologists for Islamists. His interior minister has linked “political Islam” to terrorism and has even disparaged Muslim-oriented food aisles in supermarkets.

Palestinians have called for a ‘‘day of rage’’ against France. Protests and boycotts of French products have gained traction from Bangladesh to Qatar. And Muslim leaders have condemned Mr. Macron for what they describe as a kind of collective punishment of France’s Muslims.

On Thursday French officials were particularly outraged by comments on Twitter by Mahathir Mohamad, a former Malaysian prime minister, who said that Muslims had a right to “kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.” The French government quickly asked Twitter to suspend Mr. Mahathir’s account for inciting hatred and violence. The post was later removed.

None of that has shaken the resolve of the French government, or indeed much of its public, that the crackdown is justified in a country that has been the target of dozens of attacks, large and small, by Islamist extremists since 2015 that have left more than 200 dead. The most recent killings in particular — first outside a public school and then at a church — have struck at two central pillars of French identity.

“If we are attacked once more it is because of the values that are ours,” Mr. Macron said, including freedom of worship and freedom of expression. “We will not yield anything.”

Yet both inside France and outside, the assaults have inflamed a significant and fraught moment in the life of a country that has long struggled to integrate Europe’s largest Muslim population.

The killings in the Nice basilica followed nearly two months of escalating tensions that began when the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad early last month to mark the trial of alleged accomplices in the deadly 2015 attack against the publication.

Mr. Macron and other French officials fiercely defended the drawings as freedom of expression. The teacher who was beheaded had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on secularism and free expression, angering some Muslims, including the 18-year-old man, a complete stranger, who sought him out and killed him.

Thursday’s attack held disturbing echoes of that murder, and it immediately fortified calls among some French authorities for even tougher measures that could further polarize the country.

“Enough is enough,” Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, told BFM TV. “It is now time for France to exempt itself of peacetime laws to permanently annihilate Islamo-fascism from our territory.”

In Nice, as dozens of people stood outside the Notre Dame de l’Assomption basilica late Thursday afternoon, tensions were tangible — and perhaps worsened by the fact that France is about to enter a monthlong lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

As a local imam spoke to reporters and called on people not to conflate Muslims with terrorists, a resident of a local building yelled “Go away!” from her balcony.

Imen Gharbi, a 24-year-old Tunisian who has been studying art history in Nice for two years, said she was concerned about the atmosphere of the last few days. “This attack shocks me, it’s disgusting and like everyone else I condemn it, but we must not lump together Muslims and terrorists,” she said.

Ms. Gharbi, who is Muslim, said that she felt targeted by people’s comments on Islamic terrorism. “People are angry and I don’t feel safe anymore.”

Christian Aucler, a retired tax adviser, said that the beheading of the teacher and Thursday’s killing were evidence that pillars of French society were under attack.

“It is clear that there is a religion that is trying to take over our principles,” Mr. Aucler said, adding, “The French are very attached to their history, to their culture. Seeing parts of their civilization attacked and questioned is something they experience very badly.”

Mr. Ricard, said the suspect in Nice had been recorded by surveillance cameras on Thursday morning at the city’s main train station, where he could be seen turning his jacket inside out and changing shoes before making his way to the basilica. Inside the church, he said, the man cut the 60-year-old victim’s throat so deeply that she was almost decapitated.

The string of attacks over the past five years has moved France to the right politically. The caricatures in Charlie Hebdo — which many French people would once have considered juvenile, provocative and even bigoted — have become a test of France’s commitment to its secular ideals, while to many Muslims they are inherently offensive.

In 2006, when Charlie Hebdo first published the cartoons, the conservative president at the time, Jacques Chirac, denounced the publication, saying that the foundation of the Republic also rested on “the values of tolerance and the respect of all faiths.” Mr. Macron defended their republication as the “right to blasphemy.”

With an eye on the presidential election of 2022, Mr. Macron, whose popularity has been hurt by the government’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic, has been moving rightward on issues like crime and the place of Islam in France.

“I think that there are some topics on which we can water down our words,” said Morgan Manzi, a 42-year-old building worker, who had come to the basilica late Thursday afternoon. “I think that peace is sometimes better than freedom of expression.”

Mr. Manzi, who described himself as an atheist, said he was worried about tension rising in recent days following comments by government officials and their uncompromising defense of the caricatures’ republication. He added, “There will be reprisals.”

The long avenue facing the Notre-Dame basilica was a swirl of rumors and comments on Thursday night, with bystanders debating immigration, the government’s antiterrorism response and the violence plaguing the country.

About 200 members of a local far-right group protested noisily outside the basilica, singing the national anthem, La Marseillaise.

Standing in the crowd was Abdelkader Sadouni, the imam who had been yelled at by the woman in her balcony.

“Our religion is light-years away from this — there’s no way any Muslim would approve of this,” he said. But he worried aloud that terrorist attacks had instilled a fear of Islam in the national psyche.

Mr. Sadouni said that terrorists were “breaking this national union to which we aspire.”

“It worries me, that’s what they’re looking for, and they’re succeeding,” he said.

Norimitsu Onishi and Constant Méheut reported from Nice. Reporting was contributed by Aurelien Breeden in Paris and Elian Peltier and Megan Specia in London.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/world/europe/nice-attack-france.html?utm_source=iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1670847_

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Over 1,000 Muslim leaders around the world adopt anti-Semitism definition via council

Emily Judd

31 October 2020

Over 1,000 Muslim leaders around the world adopted a comprehensive definition of anti-Semitism on Friday, in a move meant to strengthen “bridges of peace between Islam and all religions.”

The international Global Imams Council, comprised of over 1,000 imams across different denominations, adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s definition of anti-Semitism, according to a statement.

“Today, we add our council’s name alongside 34 countries that have adopted this working definition. We live in a time of rising Antisemitism and terrorist attacks, which makes our responsibility as faith leaders greater, and even greater as Imams,” said the organization’s president Iraqi Imam Mohammad Baqir al-Budairi.

The council’s vote on the definition passed with an overwhelming majority, according to al-Budairi.

The organization of Islamic religious leaders has also made prominent Jewish Rabbi Elie Abadie a permanent member of its interfaith board.

The request for the council to adopt the IHRA anti-Semitism definition first came from the US government, specifically the Department of State’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism (SEAS), according to the statement.

SEAS thanked the council for working together to “banish bigotry,” in a statement on Twitter.

Last week, SEAS signed an agreement with Bahrain’s King Hamad Global Center to collaborate on fighting anti-Semitism and promoting Middle East peace.

“Arabs and Jews are both Semitic peoples that are threatened by hatred or intolerance towards Semitic people,” the memorandum of understanding (MoU) stated.

The two entities will collaborate on developing and implement programs to “promote mutual respect, appreciation, and peaceful coexistence between Arab and Jewish peoples and their respective nation-states, and between all faiths in the Middle East,” according to the agreement.

All forms of anti-Semitism will be confronted in the partnership, according to the statement, which said that included “anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel.”

“His Majesty King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa has made it a top priority for Bahrain to lead the Middle East towards a future of tolerance, mutual respect, and cooperation between Muslim and Jews,” the statement said.

The agreement, which included IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, came less than one week after Bahrain signed an agreement to fully normalize ties with Israel, becoming the fourth Arab country to do so after fellow Gulf state, the United Arab Emirates.

The foreign ministers of Israel and the UAE visited the Holocaust Memorial in central Berlin during their historic first meeting in Germany earlier this month.

In a message written in the visitors' book at the memorial, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said that the site was “a witness to the fall of a group of human beings who were victims of advocates of extremism and hatred,” and stressed “the importance of strengthening the values of tolerance, coexistence and acceptance around the world without discrimination.”

“Whatever led to the murder of millions of innocent victims will not happen again,” Sheikh Abdullah added.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/10/31/Muslim-leaders-around-the-world-adopt-anti-Semitism-definition-to-combat-extremism-

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‘Isis member’ in UK charged with trying to help free jihadis from Syrian prisons

Lizzie Dearden

Oct 31, 2020

A man has been charged with being a member of Isis in one of the first cases of its kind in the UK.

Hisham Chaudhary, from Leicester, is accused of sending money abroad to help imprisoned jihadists escape from prisons in northern Syria.

The 27-year-old was allegedly a member of Isis since January 2016 and carried out fundraising and propaganda work for its benefit.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with membership of a proscribed organisation, two counts of entering a terrorist funding arrangement and four counts of disseminating terrorist publications.

Mr Chaudhary, who appeared via video link, was not asked to enter a plea to the charges and was remanded in custody ahead of a hearing at the Old Bailey next Friday.

Prosecutors say he was an accepted member of Isis, which was banned under UK law in 2014, who acted as part of a wide network to support the organisation.

As part of his alleged role, he is said to have gathered funds and transferred money abroad using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to allow captured Isis militants to escape Kurdish-controlled prison camps in northern Syria.

Mr Chaudhary is also accused of compiling and disseminating a terrorist publication through Twitter and the encrypted messaging appTelegram.

He was arrested after an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing North East, Counter Terrorism Policing East Midlands and Leicestershire Police.

A 29-year-old woman, from Leicester, who was also arrested in connection with the probe, has since been released without charge.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/isis-members-uk-prosecutions-fighters-prison-syria-hisham-chaudhary-b1428026.html?utm_source=iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1670847_

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North America

 

FBI arrests white supremacy leader in extremism crackdown in Michigan

Oct 30, 2020

Federal agents on Thursday arrested two men, including the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, a white supremacist group, as part of a continuing crackdown on extremism in Michigan three weeks after the FBI said it thwarted a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A team of FBI agents arrested Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe, the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, and Alfred Gorman, 35, of Taylor, during a pair of raids Thursday, including at a rural farmhouse in Bad Axe, 100 miles north of Detroit.

According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, the 3 1/2-acre farm was being converted into a “hate camp” for members of the group to prepare to overthrow the government, according to the criminal case, which also accused Base leaders of encouraging others to harass a Washtenaw County family online.

Watkins and Gorman are linked to a December incident in Dexter in which a local family was terrorized by the men, who tried to intimidate a husband and wife and shared their address with members of the Base, Nessel said in a statement.

The developments continue a string of arrests, raids and operations targeting far-right, anti-government extremists and white supremacists this month. That includes accused members of the Whitmer kidnapping plot and a shootout in suburban Detroit between FBI agents and a Madison Heights man who died 28 years after his family became embroiled in the infamous Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho.

“I think this shows the range of bad actors that are operating in the United States, which should be a cause of concern,” said Jon Lewis, a research fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

Nessel's office charged the men with several felonies, including gang membership, a 20-year felony, using a computer to commit a crime and unlawful posting of a message. The charges were filed in Washtenaw County District Court, the location of the alleged Dexter incident.

Both suspects were lodged in the Washtenaw County Jail pending arraignment.

“Using tactics of intimidation to incite fear and violence constitutes criminal behavior,” Nessel said. “We cannot allow dangerous activities to reach their goal of inflicting violence and harm on the public. I am proud to work alongside law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels to safeguard the public’s safety from these serious threats.”

'Doesn't even have a car'

Interviews and court records describe Watkins as a white supremacist who was trying to build a hub on a shoestring budget in an isolated farmhouse decorated with Nazi flags and a photo of Adolf Hitler.

"He's a tool," said farmhouse owner Eric Webb, 47, an optometrist who lives in Metro Detroit and owns the Bad Axe farmhouse. "He doesn't even have a car."

The Bad Axe raid and arrests follow a series of operations this year against members of the Base, a small Neo-Nazi network that started to emerge in mid-2018, Lewis said.

Three men linked to the Base were charged with conspiring to kill members of a militant anti-fascist group, police in Georgia announced in mid-January, a day after three other members were arrested on federal charges in Maryland and Delaware.

“While law enforcement has really disrupted their ability to commit acts of domestic terror, these arrests still show a significant threat to the homeland,” Lewis said.

The Base, operating as a paramilitary organization, has proclaimed war against minority communities within the United States and abroad, the FBI has said. Unlike other extremist groups, it’s not focused on promulgating propaganda — instead, the group aims to bring together highly skilled members to train them for acts of violence, Nessel said.

“Members are alleged to have engaged in firearms training at camps similar to what we saw in the Whitmer kidnapping case,” Lewis said.

“These guys want societal collapse. They don’t just want to target government folks,” Lewis said. “They want the race war.”

The arrests come three weeks after prosecutors said the FBI thwarted a plot to violently overthrow the government as well as kidnap and harm Whitmer. In all, 14 people have been charged with crimes in state and federal courts, including members and associates of an obscure militia, the Wolverine Watchmen.

The conspiracy was led by anti-government extremists angered by state restrictions on travel and business imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the government. Members of the alleged conspiracy conducted surveillance visits to Whitmer's cottage in northern Michigan, trained with firearms and explosive devices and discussed attacking other politicians, including President Donald Trump and the governors of Virginia and South Carolina.

The arrests Thursday are not part of the Whitmer kidnapping plot.

Couple threatened

The arrests came 13 months after unexpected visitors arrived at a home in Dexter owned by Dawn and husband Rich Shea, who had moved into the home in August.

At the time, the couple was unaware their new home address was being shared on a white supremacy message board. That's because white supremacists wrongly believed the address belonged to Daniel Harper, host of an Antifa podcast "I Don’t Speak German,” according to an article in the Informant newsletter.

Threats followed, including in a letter mailed to the home. In December, the couple found two figures dressed in black outside and taking photographs. The photos were uploaded to a social media platform with the message, "The Base sends greetings to Daniel Harper of the Antifa podcast 'I Don't Speak German.'"

Rich Shea was notified of the arrests Thursday.

“Right now, I’m not looking to say too much,” Shea, 45, told The Detroit News. “I want to see how things play out. All of this has been pretty sudden after things had died down for a while.”

Gorman's mother and grandmother were not aware of the charges when contacted by The News on Thursday. They declined to comment.

The Base, according to Nessel's office, is a white supremacy organization that encourages acts of violence against the U.S. and claims to be training for a race war "to establish White ethnonationalist rule in areas of the U.S., including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula."

"The group also traffics in Nazi ideology and extreme anti-Semitism, at one point requiring its members to read neo-Nazi books that urge the collapse of Western civilization," Nessel's office said in a statement.

The group encourages members to train for "insurgency against the U.S. government" and ran a "hate camp" for members where tactical and firearms training was conducted, Nessel's statement said.

Webb, who owns the Bad Axe property, says the isolated farmhouse was built by his great-great grandfather, and his 17-year-old son, Tristan Webb, moved into the property this spring with plans to create a homestead with like-minded people.

"It was going to be a homestead-type thing," Eric Webb said. "It wasn't militant."

At some point, Tristan Webb met Watkins online, and the plans changed, Eric Webb said.

"He was online, falling for this white nationalism garbage on the internet," he said. "That's how he got hooked up with Justen."

Eric Webb described Watkins as a negative person who spent time recruiting people online.

In June, organizers held a protest against social injustice despite threats and the presence of three armed counter-protesters, including Tristan Webb and Watkins. The armed display drew the attention of FBI agents and local law enforcement.

Eric Webb visited the home in recent months and saw Nazi flags and the Hitler photo.

"They were a bunch of white kids running around with guns," Webb said. "I’m trying to tell my son 'look, I understand you're a man and you want to protect your country, but this is nonsense. You can't go to war with him.'"

Tristan Webb came to a realization three weeks ago, his father said, after the FBI disrupted what it called a plot to kidnap the Michigan governor.

"I think that woke him up. (Tristan) saw what happened and moved out," Eric Webb said.

The Webb family has cooperated with investigators, he said, and were in touch with the FBI on Thursday after the raid.

"This is a happy ending," Eric Webb said. "My son realized he is going to live his life, not die for some stupid cause."

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/10/29/fbi-arrests-accused-neo-nazis-michigan-crackdown-extremism/6067038002/?utm_source=iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1670847_

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Mideast

 

Thousands rally in Jerusalem against France’s Macron over the Prophet cartoons

30 October 2020

Thousands of Palestinians rallied in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday against French President Emmanuel Macron's defense of the right to publish cartoons seen as offensive to Islam.

Demonstrators chanted "There is no god but God, Macron is the enemy of God" and "Mohammed, your nation will not give in," following Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site.

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

During his sermon, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri said the French president should be held accountable "for the acts of violence and chaos in France because of his provocative statements against Islam."

France has been rocked by multiple deadly attacks in recent weeks that are suspected to be linked to Islamist extremism, including the latest at a church in Nice on Thursday when a knifeman killed three people.

Clashes erupted in the streets of the Old City shortly after the rally between protesters and Israeli security forces, who arrested three demonstrators, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Hundreds of Palestinians also demonstrated on Friday across the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where portraits of the French president were burned and trampled, AFP journalists reported.

Macron's comment came after a man labelled as an “Islamist extremist” on October 16 beheaded a schoolteacher in a Paris suburb for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a class on free speech.

The cartoons were those published multiple times by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the offices of which were attacked in 2015 by several individuals labelled “Islamist extremists.”

Macron's promise to "not give up cartoons" sparked a wave of protests against the president and calls to boycott French goods in several Muslim-majority nations.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/10/30/Thousands-rally-in-Jerusalem-against-France-s-Macron-over-the-Prophet-cartoons

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Instagram removes Khamenei’s French account after Nice attack

Yaghoub Fazeli

30 October 2020

Instagram temporarily removed and later restored the French account of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the social media platform on Friday, a day after a knife-wielding man killed three people at a church in the French city of Nice.

A Tunisian man armed with a knife shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two others in a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice on Thursday before being arrested.

A day before the attack, Khamenei had published a message addressed to “young” French people on his numerous social media accounts, including his French Twitter and Instagram accounts, urging them to ask President Emmanuel Macron “why he supports insulting God’s Messenger (Prophet Muhammad) in the name of freedom of expression.”

Macron had defended the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad last week, saying France “will not give up cartoons.”

His remarks came after a French history teacher who had shown cartoons of Prophet Muhammad during a discussion about free speech was beheaded near Paris earlier this month.

“Does freedom of expression mean insulting, especially a sacred personage? Isn’t this stupid act an insult to the reason of the ppl who elected him?” Khamenei’s message read.

Khamenei, who has publicly referred to the Holocaust as a “myth” in the past, continued: “The next question to ask is: why is it a crime to raise doubts about the Holocaust? Why should anyone who writes about such doubts be imprisoned while insulting the Prophet (pbuh) is allowed?”

Instagram removed Khamenei’s French account for a few hours on Friday and later restored it after the post was deleted.

The supreme leader’s other Instagram accounts – including his English, Arabic and Persian accounts where the post has not yet been deleted – have remained unblocked.

Instagram is the only major social media platform that is not banned in Iran.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/10/30/Instagram-removes-Khamenei-s-French-account-after-Nice-attack

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Israel tortures, abuses Palestinian children in prison: NGO

30 October 2020

A leading independent organization for children says Palestinian children detained by Israeli military forces are exposed to systematic torture and various forms of abuse, and the practices have apparently been legitimized by the Tel Aviv regime’s judiciary.

Save the Children said in a new report that there are currently at least 200 Palestinian children behind bars at Ofer, Damon and Megiddo detention centers, and the detainees include children with disabilities and mental health problems.

The report added that Damon and Megiddo prisons are heavily congested, and child prisoners are kept there in close proximity to each other in squalid and unsanitary conditions.

Save the Children noted that children in custody are mistreated in an “appalling” matter and they “are being harmed.”

The reality is that if animals were treated like this, it would be a domestic and even international scandal, the NGO pointed out.

The organization’s findings demonstrate that female prisoners are also subjected to horrifying treatment. Interviews with former detainees reveal that girls reported being detained more frequently at checkpoints, whereas a majority of boys were arrested at their homes. Young Palestinians are regularly targeted near Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

While most of the punishments were carried out within the Israeli prisons, the report also pointed to the fact that abuse usually starts before any investigations, during which those arrested are humiliated and tortured even more.

According to testimonies collected by Save the Children, children said they were blindfolded and handcuffed, and were subjected to physical and verbal abuse during their arrest and transportation. Furthermore, many were arrested at night and deprived of sleep before being interrogated.

The NGO also highlighted that those left without lasting physical damage are often scarred psychologically.

Almost half of the children interviewed agreed that they are failing to return fully to normal life. Eighty-five percent said they have changed due to their experiences and the impact of their detention is felt most when they try to get back to normal life with their families.

Former child detainees report an inability to trust anyone and build meaningful relationships in “post-detention life”. In fact, they display poor social skills and tend to isolate themselves from the outside world because of their insecurities and fear of “the others.”

Save the Children then called on the Palestinian Authority to facilitate the reintegration of former detainees in their communities and in the education system.

The NGO also urged the Ramallah-based administration to support an awareness-raising program and integrate it within the school curriculum to help children understand their rights at every stage of the detention process, including their right to silence, legal assistance and education.

The most common charge against imprisoned Palestinian children is stone-throwing, which the Israeli military considers to be a “security offence”. Those found guilty can get up to 20 years in prison, depending on the child’s age.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/10/30/637552/Israel-is-subjecting-Palestinian-children-to-physical-psychological-abuse-NGO

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26 dead, buildings collapse as major quake hits Turkey, Greece

31 Oct 2020

Rescuers dug through heavy blocks of concrete with their bare hands on Saturday in a desperate search for survivors from a powerful earthquake that levelled buildings across Greece and Turkey, killing at least 26 people.

The quake struck late on Friday afternoon, causing a mini-tsunami on the Aegean island of Samos and a sea surge that turned streets into rushing rivers in a town on Turkey's west coast.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.0 magnitude tremor hit 14 kilometres off the Greek town of Karlovasi on Samos.

Felt in both Istanbul and Athens, it also created a diplomatic opening for the two historic rivals, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis placing a rare call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to offer his condolences and support.

Hospital patients on street

Much of the damage occurred in and around Turkey's Aegean resort city of Izmir, which has three million residents and is filled with high-rise apartment blocks.

Parts of entire apartments, including toys, pillows and shattered appliances, spilled out on the streets, where survivors huddled in tears, many too shocked to speak.

Aerial footage showed entire city blocks turned to rubble.

“I thought: Is it going to end? It felt like 10 minutes, like it was never going to end,” said Gokhan Kan, a 32-year-old courier. “I was terrified not for myself in that moment but for my family, my wife and four-year-old son.”

Izmir's mayor Tunc Soyer told CNN Turk that 20 buildings had collapsed, with officials focusing their rescue efforts on 17 of them.

Turkey's disaster relief agency reported 24 deaths and 800 injuries, while in Greece two teenagers died on their way home from school on Samos when a wall collapsed.

The scenes of devastation suggested the toll could rise.

One Izmir hospital rolled some of its patients — still strapped into their beds and hooked up to drips — out on the street as a precaution.

Turkey's religious affairs directorate opened its mosques to help shelter some of those left homeless by the disaster.

Remain calm

Images on social media showed water rushing through the streets of one of the towns near Izmir from an apparent sea surge.

Thick white plumes of smoke towered over various parts of the city where big buildings had collapsed.

Rescuers, helped by residents and sniffer dogs, used chainsaws to try to force their way through the rubble of one destroyed seven-floor building.

At another site, Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli managed to establish mobile phone contact with a girl buried under the debris.

“We ask you to remain calm,” he told her in televised footage. “We will try to lift the concrete block and reach you.” NTV television said up to six people were trapped at the site, including the girl's cousin.

The region's governor said 70 people had been pulled out alive by Friday evening, although how many more were missing remained unknown by sunset.

Rescuers set up tents in a small park away from the cracked and damaged buildings for families to spend the night in safety and relative warmth.

“Because we live in Izmir, we have pretty warm weather, we can make it through today, we can make it through tomorrow,” said Cemalettin Enginyurt, a retired soldier. “But we can't think of anything on the long term, we are helpless.”

'Earthquake diplomacy'

On the Greek island of Samos, near the quake's epicentre, people rushed out into the streets in panic.

“It was chaos,” said deputy mayor Giorgos Dionysiou. “We have never experienced anything like this.”

The Greek civil protection agency told Samos residents in a text message to “stay out in the open and away from buildings”.

Greece and Turkey are situated in one of the world's most active earthquake zones. The two neighbours also suffer from historically poor relations despite both being members of the Nato military alliance.

But the quake saw a spurt of what pundits immediately termed “earthquake diplomacy”, with calls exchanged by their foreign ministers and then, hours later, the Greek prime minister and Erdogan.

“Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together,” Mitsotakis said on Twitter.

“Thank you, prime minister,” Erdogan tweeted in reply. “That two neighbours show solidarity in difficult times is more valuable than many things in life.”

The US State Department said Washington was “heartened” by the newfound cooperation. France, whose President Emmanuel Macron has sparred repeatedly with Erdogan in the past year, said it stood in “full solidarity” with the two countries.

In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey's northwest, killing more than 17,000 people, including 1,000 in Istanbul. In Greece, the last deadly quake killed two people on the island of Kos, near Samos, in July 2017.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1587829/26-dead-buildings-collapse-as-major-quake-hits-turkey-greece

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Rouhani: US Fails to Make Iranians Bow to Sanctions Pressures

Oct 30, 2020

“The sanctions have failed to break us,” the Iranian president said.

He pointed out that nevertheless, the coercive economic measures have failed to force Iran to abandon its developmental projects, and said, "We kept up the projects, and I am certain that our dear people will leave behind these problems."

Rouhani, meanwhile, advised strongly towards national solidarity and against efforts aimed at demoralizing the people.

The US returned its sanctions in 2018 after leaving a historic and internationally-lauded nuclear agreement between Iran and the six world powers.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry denounced the United States for its unjust sanctions against the country, describing it as an accomplice of deadly coronavirus.

The ministry wrote on its official Twitter page that Washington has exacerbated the deadly effects of the COVID-19 epidemic with its cruel sanctions imposed on the Iranian nation.

The tweet also assured that the Iranians will overcome the epidemic but they will never forget the US’ behavior.

"Corona's proven deadly, vicious & brutal everywhere, but it's worse in Iran as it has a cruel collaborator: US regime" it added.

The Iranian foreign ministry also said that the US has elevated maximum pressure on Health Terrorism & targeted Iranian ppl w/ inhuman sanx while they're fighting the pandemic.

"We'll overcome but NEVER forget," the Iranian foreign ministry said.

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990809000492

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Zarif Deplores Terrorist Attack in France

Oct 30, 2020

“We strongly condemns terrorist attack in Nice,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter page on Thursday, adding that provocative actions should be replaced by rationality and logic.

He noted that radicalism will only lead to further radicalism.

Three people, including a woman, were killed following a knife attack which occurred at the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice, France, at 9 a.m. local time on Thursday morning.

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990809000081

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Ex-DM: Macron Main Culprit of French Events

Oct 30, 2020

“French President Macron is the main culprit of recent events in France,” Dehqan wrote in a French post on his Twitter page, emphasizing that no Muslim resorts to violence to express his opinion. 

Former Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan

“All of us are the children of Prophet Abraham (PBUH) and we worship the same God. A terrorist act is not only killing citizens but also insulting the Prophet of Islam,” he continued.

The military aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader reiterated that Macron must apologize to all Muslims immediately.

“There is no double standard in freedom,” he stated.

In recent weeks and after a French teacher was beheaded by an ISIL member after he displayed cartoons of the prophet of Islam, French President Emmanuel Macron attacked Islam and the Muslim community, accusing Muslims of "separatism", and he said previously that "Islam is a religion in crisis all over the world".

The incident in Paris coincided with a provocative move by Charlie Hebdo, a left-wing French magazine infamous for publishing anti-Islamic content, which has drawn widespread anger and outrage across the Muslim world.

The caricatures were first published in 2006 by a Danish newspaper Jylllands Posten, sparking a wave of protests.

In relevant remarks, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in a message to the French youth strongly blasted the destructive role played by French President Emmanuel Macron and his government in supporting hatred against Muslims and spreading Islamophobia, following the recent sacrilege of Islam's Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in the European country.

The Iranian Leader blasted the role played by the French government in spreading Islamophobia, and raised important questions in his message.

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990809000406

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Iranian Speaker: Palestine Top Priority of Muslim World

Oct 29, 2020

Certain Arab countries' normalization of relations with the Zionist regime will not last long and that its disgrace will stay with them in the history, Qalibaf said, addressing the 34th International Islamic Unity Conference on Thursday via video conference.

"The issue of Palestine is still the first priority of Islam; however, the rulers of a few Muslim countries have turned their backs toward Islam and have started to normalize relations with the fake and terrorist Zionist regime," he said.

Qalibaf said that the Islamic Unity Week is a symbol of solidarity and fraternity, adding that commitment to the Sunnah and the Holy Quran has always been the biggest reason of Islamic unity throughout history.

Any form of impertinence to Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] and the Holy Quran is actually insult to all the prophets, and anyone who does that lacks the minimum understanding of religion, ethics, spirituality, and humanity, he said.

Qalibaf said the commonalities of the Islamic Umma are so many that there can be no excuses for dispute and disunity.

As Takfiris lied and created clash in the region, there are some certain people in both Shiites and Sunnis that are focusing on disagreements to create a rift among Muslims, both of which should be condemned, he said, adding that if hands of disputes are off from the Islamic World, the more than 1.5 billion Muslims will have no problem with each other and will support one another as well.

Qalibaf said that Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei considers unity as an eternal strategy and not a short-term tactic.

He also urged the Muslim nations to support each other in the time of coronavirus epidemic.

Sudan became the fifth Arab country to sign a normalization agreement with Israel, following the announcement of a similar agreement between Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi and Manama last month, signed in Washington under the auspices of US President Donald Trump. Jordan signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1994 and Egypt in 1979.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump said Israel and Sudan had opened economic ties as a pathway toward normalized relations.

He announced the deal in the Oval Office while on a conference call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and its Sovereign Council Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

As part of the agreement, Trump took steps to remove Sudan from a US government list of countries ‘promoting terrorism.’

The streets of Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, have hosted crowds of angry people protesting the deal and urging General Burhan to reverse track.

Some Sudanese political parties have also lined up to declare their outright rejection of the agreement.

The Islamic Hamas movement in Gaza condemned the Sudanese government’s decision to normalize relations with Israel, like the UAE and Bahrain.

“Our heroic Palestinian people, together with all the people of the Arab and Islamic nations and the free world, have received the news of the Government of Sudan’s agreement to normalize relations with the Zionist enemy with great shock, condemnation and reprehensible،” the group said in a statement.

The statement added, “We express our condemnation, anger and disgust at this shameful and degrading normalization that is not befitting Sudan’s people, history, status and role as a deep state in support of Palestine and its cause and resistance.”

The statement called on the people of Sudan to reject the “agreement of shame”, which “will not bring stability or détente to the country, but will take it towards further fragmentation, narrowing and loss”.

It added, “We have confidence on the people of our nation that they will not be dragged into this quagmire as some regimes and governments have done, and the people of our nation will remain vibrant with the love of Palestine, al-Quds and the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and loyalty to the Palestinian cause until Palestine is cleansed of the tyranny of the usurped Zionist invaders.”

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990808000441

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India

 

Confessions Of A Terrorist State: Bajwa, Imran And Jaish Hand In Glove Set-up of radicalism in place, can’t pretend these are lone-wolf hits: Shringla

Oct 31, 2020

NEW DELHI: With France gripped by fear of terror attacks, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla during his visit to Paris this week underscored India’s position that terrorism, and the radicalism that gives rise to it, are together the most chilling form of censorship.

In his meetings with opinion-makers cutting across academia, media and think-tanks, Shringla emphasised that terrorism, with the backing of states and organised institutions, threatened cherished democratic freedoms and shared republican ideals.

Describing the terror attacks in Nice and Paris as horrific, he said India stood by France and called for countries to no longer postpone a coordinated and definitive response to terrorism.

The foreign secretary said it’s not possible to pretend such actions come from simply lone-wolf initiatives and misguided individuals. “There is an infrastructure of radicalism, including its online manifestations, that comes into play. It has the backing of states and organised institutions. You know who they are. We cannot and should not ignore them,” he is learnt to have said in his meetings. He is learnt to have underlined the importance of France as a steadfast friend across many domains.

“From terrorism to global warming, from maritime security to sustainable development, from norms-based international institutions to technology and innovation, we are inevitably on the same side of the court,” said a source.

“This has been a challenging year due to Covid and stresses on the international system. While multilateralism needs to be reformed and upgraded, its hard-won gains must be nourished. As instinctive multilateralists, India and France have to shoulder responsibilities together, especially at the UNSC where we will work together, added the source.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/set-up-of-radicalism-in-place-cant-pretend-these-are-lone-wolf-hits-shringla/articleshow/78961738.cms

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India for strong condemnation of violence against women perpetrated by terrorists

Oct 31, 2020

NEW DELHI: Calling for strong condemnation of violence against women and girls perpetrated by terrorists, India has urged the UN Security Council to effectively integrate women, peace and security considerations into the sanctions regimes, including by listing terrorist entities involved in violence against women in armed conflicts.

"Such women-targeted violence distorts the very basis on which civilised societies rest," the government said in a statement to the Security Council open debate on women, peace and security.

India said advancing democratic structures and rule of law in post-conflict situations was instrumental to address the inequalities faced by women and to ensure their full and meaningful participation for peaceful and inclusive development.

"It is also important that the council strives to effectively integrate WPS (women, peace and security) considerations into sanctions regimes, including by listing terrorist entities involved in violence against women in armed conflicts," India said.

The government noted that conflict and humanitarian crises already held women and girls back from progress.

“The further burdening of the healthcare and economic fallout of Covid-19 threatens to put women and girls in war-torn, fragile and humanitarian contexts at even higher risk," the country said.

India said through the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, member states are committed to implement the women, peace and security agenda by increasing the number of civilian and uniformed women in peacekeeping.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-for-strong-condemnation-of-violence-against-women-perpetrated-by-terrorists/articleshow/78961586.cms

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Religious conversion just for sake of marriage is unacceptable: HC

Oct 31, 2020

PRAYAGRAJ: While reiterating that religious conversion only for the purpose of marriage is unacceptable, the Allahabad high court has dismissed a petition filed by an interfaith couple seeking directions to police and the girl’s father not to interfere in their married life.

Dismissing the writ petition of Priyanshi, alias Samreen, and her partner, the HC said, “The court has… found the first petitioner (the woman) has converted her religion on June 29, 2020 and… solemnised marriage on July 31, which clearly reveals the conversion has taken place only for the purpose of marriage.”

In the petition, the couple had stated that they had married in July this year, but the girl’s family members were interfering in their married life.

Rejecting their plea saying the HC was not inclined to interfere in the matter under Article 226 (writ jurisdiction) of the Constitution of India, Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi relied upon a previous judgment given by the same court in the Noor Jahan Begum case in 2014 in which it was observed that conversion just for the purpose of marriage was unacceptable. The court gave the decision on September 23.

In the Noor Jahan Begum case, this court had dismissed a bunch of writ petitions praying for protection for a married couple as they had tied the knot after the girl converted from Hinduism to Islam and then performed the nikaah.

The issue considered in the 2014 case was “whether conversion of religion of a Hindu girl at the instance of a Muslim boy, without any knowledge of Islam or faith and belief in Islam and merely for the purpose of marriage (nikah) is valid”. The court at that time answered the question in the negative while relying on the teachings of the religious texts.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/religious-conversion-just-for-sake-of-marriage-is-unacceptable-hc/articleshow/78961515.cms

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‘Silently endured all allegations, truth is out now’: PM Modi on Pulwama terror attack

Edited by Prashasti Singh

Oct 31, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the truth behind the Pulwama terror attack has been revealed after claims made in Pakistan’s parliament, referring to the comments made by a minister of the neighbouring country about the incident in which 40 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed last year.

“The country can never forget that some people were not saddened at the sacrifice of the security personnel during the Pulwama attack. I steered clear of all controversies and silently endured all allegations as I knew that these people were looking for political gain even in the attack,” he said during his address on the second day of his two-day visit to Gujarat.

“However, after the neighbouring country accepted responsibility for the attack in its parliament, the true nature of the people who resorted to ugly politics during our difficult time has been uncovered. I request them not to do such politics in the interest of the nation,” PM said.

He also pointed out that these parties were aiding anti-India powers in achieving their goals and encouraging them. “These parties are pawns of anti-India elements,” he said. “These people won’t do any good for the country or their party,” he added.

“We have to remember that only when we do good to others, does good return to us. We all should work towards making India strong, independent and self-reliant, just like Sardar Patel envisioned ,” PMModi said.

Before this, Prime Minister Modi paid tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on the occasion of Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, Patel’s birth anniversary, at the Statue of Unity in Gujarat’s Kevadia.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pulwama-terror-attack-truth-revealed-after-claims-in-pakistan-parliament-pm-modi/story-PFQ7s3HwwUqzTs0X95CvnN.html

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Terror attacks in France not result of ‘lone wolf initiatives’: Harsh Shringla

Oct 31, 2020

The recent terror attacks in France are not the result of “lone wolf initiatives” and have the backing of an “infrastructure of radicalism”, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said during an interaction with French academia and media on Friday.

France is the first stop of Shringla’s three-nation tour that will also take him to Germany and the UK and his interactions in all three countries are aimed at boosting relations in a wide range of areas. India has already condemned the terror attacks in Paris and Nice and backed President Emmanuel Macron for his stance against radical Islam.

During his interaction with a cross-section of leading members of the academia, media and think-tanks, Shringla said India stands by France following the attacks of the past week in Paris and Nice.

The two countries cannot pretend such actions “come from lone wolf initiatives and misguided individuals”, as there is “an infrastructure of radicalism, including its online manifestations, that comes into play”, he said. These forces also have the backing of states and organised institutions and the two countries cannot and should not postpone a coordinated and definitive response, he added.

As Shringla began his two-day visit to France, a knife-wielding man killed three people during a terror attack at a church in the city of Nice. Samuel Paty, a professor who used controversial caricatures of Prophet Mohammed from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in a class on freedom of expression, was beheaded in an attack in Paris on October 16.

During Friday’s interaction, Shringla described France as India’s oldest strategic partner and a steadfast friend in several domains, ranging from terrorism to global warming, maritime security to sustainable development, and norms-based international institutions to technology and innovation.

Following the stressed on the international system due to the Covid-19 pandemic, multilateralism needs to be reformed, he said. As instinctive multilateralists, India and France have to take on responsibilities together, especially at the UN Security Council, he added.

India and France also recognise the dangers of climate change with clarity and consistency, and their work on the International Solar Alliance and the Paris agreement are testimony to this, Shringla said.

The same globalist philosophy should be taken to new areas such as cyberspace or the Indo-Pacific, since India and France are forces of stability working for the greater common good, he added.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/terror-attacks-in-france-not-result-of-lone-wolf-initiatives-harsh-shringla/story-mhQBFI1HDmjabrnBv9TIoL.html

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Jammu and Kashmir admin prevents Farooq Abdullah from attending prayers: National Conference

Oct 31, 2020

Former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah was allegedly prevented from leaving his house on Friday to offer prayers at a holy shrine in Srinagar to mark the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, the National Conference (NC) said, terming the incident a violation of his fundamental rights.

The party alleged that the Jammu & Kashmir administration has deployed scores of police personnel, blocking the exit to Abdullah’s residence to prevent him from leaving for Hazratbal.

“J-K administration has blocked the residence of party president Dr Farooq Abdullah and stopped him from offering prayers at Dargah Hazratbal. JKNC condemns this infringement of the fundamental right to pray, especially on the auspicious occasion of Milad Un Nabi SAW,” the NC said in a tweet on its official Twitter handle.

Farooq Abdullah, who represents Srinagar in the Lok Sabha, was supposed to visit the Hazratbal shrine, on the banks of the Dal Lake, to pray there on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, which marks the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad and it is observed in the month of Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar.

An office-bearer of the NC familiar with the mattersaid the administration informed the 83-year-old parliamentarian that he would not be allowed to go due to security reasons.

No official from the administration responded to the requests for comments on the matter.

Political leaders in Jammu & Kashmir condemned the action.

Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said the move exposed the administration’s “deep paranoia”.

“Preventing Farooq sahab from offering prayers on Milad Un Nabi SAW at Hazratbal exposes GOI’s deep paranoia and their iron fist approach towards JK. It’s a gross violation of our rights and is highly condemnable,” she tweeted.

Farooq Abdullah is also the head of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration’s (PAGD) -- a new multi-party political grouping in the Valley that seeks the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, which until last August gave special status and privileges to the region, and for the restoration of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, which has been divided into the Union territories of J&K and Ladakh -- and Mufti is the vice-president.

In a statement, PAGD spokesperson Sajad Lone criticized the UT administration, saying its actions infringed upon Abdullah’s religious rights.

“We strongly condemn the actions of the state administration, which is tantamount to interference in the religious rights of Dr. Farooq Abdullah. This marks a new low in the curtailment of the fundamental rights of the people of J&K. We demand that the blockade be removed so that Dr. Farooq Sahib is able to perform his religious duties.”

There was a controversy surrounding remarks by Abdullah earlier this month, when he suggested that “China’s might” may help with the restoration of J&K’s laws and status to what they were before August 5, 2019..

He was recently questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the alleged misappropriation of funds of the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association. Abdullah, who was the president of the association when the alleged irregularities took place, has denied any wrongdoings, and his party ahs described this as “political vendetta”.

State spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party, Altaf Thakur, said that Farooq Abdullah has been giving statements which are threat to security. “At Hazratbal there are large number of people assembled for prayers and due to security issues he (Farooq Abdullah) must have been prevented from going there which is a good step.”

Javeed Ahmad, a political analyst, said: “There are large number of gatherings at Hazratbal on Friday and Farooq Abdullahs speech could have been problem for government.”

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/jammu-and-kashmir-admin-prevents-farooq-abdullah-from-attending-prayers-national-conference/story-wofa8FdzWsVM1AoFqKWajP.html

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De-radicalised twice, Pune woman went back to IS:NIA

Neeraj Chauhan

Oct 31, 2020

A 20-year-old woman from Pune, who wanted to be a suicide bomber, was de-radicalised twice in three years by Indian intelligence agencies, but she kept going back to embracing jihadi ideology, according to a charge sheet by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Sadiya Anwar Shaikh, a resident of Yerwada in Pune, was de-redicalised once in 2015 and then again in 2018, when she was a minor, the agency said in its charge sheet, filed in the first week of September. She was arrested in July in a conspiracy case linked to the Islamic State (IS)after the second de-radicalisation effort failed.

According to the charge sheet, she has been in touch with terrorists of various groups such as the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), Islamic State in Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK), al Qaeda, Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, among other countries, on social media since 2015.

She was also in touch with a key IS “online motivator” from the Philippines, Karen Aisha Hamidon, who radicalised several Indian youngsters. NIA officials even travelled to Manila in April 2018 and questioned Hamidon.

Sadiya came under the radar of intelligence agencies in 2015, when she was just 15, for radical content on her Facebook account. One of her inspirations was wanted Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik, who is hiding in Malaysia,according to the charge sheet.

It said the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Pune tried to de-radicalise her and let her go. However, she again created multiple fake accounts on Facebook and other social media platforms. Later, in January 2018, she went to Kashmir and was examined by Jammu and Kashmir police. “After de-radicalisation, she was handed over to her mother,” the charge sheet said.

It said she once asked Jahanzaib Sami (named in the charge sheet along with her) if she can procure a suicide vest in Pune. She also learnt how to prepare an IED (improvised explosive device) using picric acid. “She was not only inclined towards ISIS (Islamic State) but was even ready to offer her support in the form of becoming a suicide bomber,” the charge sheet said.

On one occasion, the NIA charge sheet said, she even asked one of her IS contacts if they can explore the possibility of using the coronavirus to wreak havoc on India. “She desired that corona pandemic should be used to destroy the country, which shows her anti-national mentality,” the NIA said.

A senior counter-terrorism official, who did not wish to be named, said: “There was intent from her side to know if they can spread the virus by sending infected persons in crowded places or through other means. There was no implementation of the plan.”

Professor David Stadelmann from University of Bayreuth (Germany), who is an expert on terrorism, told HT that terrorist groups have discussed biological attacks in the past. “While deliberate attempts to infect people with corona may induce fear, it is rather unclear how such a systematic transmission of the virus would work because people get infected with the virus anyhow,” he said.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/de-radicalised-twice-pune-woman-went-back-to-is-nia/story-soyni1wx8kNrbEyDEhFrOK.html

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Africa

 

Algeria Accuses ‘Foreign Parties’ of Negotiating with Terrorists

29 October, 2020

Algeria’s Defense Ministry has implicitly slammed two European governments on a case involving an alleged ransom to release hostages in Mali, which sparked controversy earlier this month.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said it arrested Mustapha Derar, an Algerian national, in Tlemcen.

Security forces had tracked him after crossing the border into Algeria. The man had joined a terrorist group in 2012, it added.

In early October, foreign parties held negotiations that resulted in an agreement in which Mali releases more than 200 terrorist elements and pay a ransom for extremist groups in exchange for releasing one Malian national and three European hostages.

Malian authorities have neither confirmed nor denied that militants were released in exchange for Soumaila Cisse, Sophie Petronin, Pierluigi Maccalli and Nicola Chiacchio.

The ministry’s statement on foreign parties involved most likely refers to France and Italy.

This is the first time that Algiers almost directly accuses France of paying ransom to terrorists to secure the release of captives.

“These actions are unacceptable and violate UN resolutions, which criminalize paying ransoms to terrorist groups since it would impede efforts to combat terrorism and dry up terrorists’ sources of financing,” the statement stressed.

Separately, the 21-day political and media campaign to win over 23.5 million Algerians to vote in favor of the constitutional referendum, set for November 1, ended on Wednesday.

The referendum coincides with the inauguration of the Great Mosque of Algiers, the 66th anniversary of the Algerian Revolution and falls on the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday.

Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad said the new constitution will save the country from corruption, mismanagement and one-man rule, which marked president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s ruling period.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who drafted the new constitution, will most likely miss the vote after he was transferred from hospital in Algiers to Germany following reports of suspected coronavirus cases among his aides.

Tebboune failed to attend the religious ceremony that was held on Tuesday evening to mark the birth of the Prophet Mohammad.

The event was attended by the Premier and some MPs and took place in Algeria's Grand Mosque, known locally as the Djamaa El-Djazair.

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2593231/algeria-accuses-%E2%80%98foreign-parties%E2%80%99-negotiating-terrorists?utm_source=iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1670847_

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Sudan signs agreement with US restoring its sovereign immunity

31 October 2020

Sudan and the United States signed an agreement to restore the African country's sovereign immunity, the Sudanese Ministry of Justice said on Friday.

The ministry said in a statement the agreement will settle cases brought against Sudan in US courts, including for the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, for which Sudan has agreed to pay $335 million to victims.

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

The deal is part of a US pledge to remove Sudan from its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, which goes back to its toppled Islamist ruler Omar al-Bashir when Washington believed the country was supporting militant groups.

President Donald Trump said this month that the United States will remove Sudan from the list as soon as Khartoum sets aside the $335 million it has agreed to pay to American victims of militant attacks and their families.

To avoid new lawsuits Sudan needed its sovereign immunity restored, which it lost as a designated sponsor of terrorism.

The designation makes it difficult for its transitional government to access urgently needed debt relief and foreign financing as it fights an economic crisis.

Sudan has under US pressure also agreed to normalize ties with Israel, making Khartoum the third Arab government after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to establish relations with Israel in the last two months.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/10/31/Sudan-signs-agreement-with-US-restoring-its-sovereign-immunity

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Arab World

 

Clashes at Lebanon’s capital Beirut as people protest French cartoons of the Prophet

30 October 2020

Security forces and young men clashed in Lebanon's capital Friday after around two hundred people protested against the French president's defense of the right to publish cartoons seen as offensive to Islam.

Demonstrators marched towards the residence of the French ambassador waving black and white flags with Islamic phrases after Friday prayers, but dozens of riot police on the street outside blocked their path, an AFP photographer said.

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

At the end of the demonstration, a few protesters lobbed stones and bottles at the security forces, who responded with tear gas.

The protest comes amid anger in the Islamic world over French President Emmanuel Macron's defense earlier this month of the right to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Macron made the comment after an extremist on October 16 beheaded history teacher Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb for showing pupils cartoons of the prophet – earlier published repeatedly by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – in a class on free speech.

One protester at the demonstration held a cartoon portraying Macron as a snake.

"France is in crisis because of Macron," read his sign in Arabic and French. "Islam is dear" to us.

Macron earlier this month described Islam as a religion "in crisis" worldwide.

France has been on high alert since a January 2015 massacre at Charlie Hebdo in the wake of its initial publication of caricatures of the prophet.

That massacre marked the beginning of a wave of attacks labelled as "jihadist attacks," that have killed more than 250 people.

A knife-wielding man killed three people at a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday.

Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons last month, as the trial opened for 14 suspected accomplices in the 2015 attack against the magazine.

Similar cartoons published in Denmark in 2005 triggered a global backlash from Muslims, including in Lebanon.

The Danish consulate building in Beirut was set ablaze in February 2006 in clashes in which at least 28 people were wounded, and Denmark called on its nationals to leave Lebanon.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/10/30/Clashes-at-Lebanon-s-capital-Beirut-as-people-protest-French-cartoons-of-the-Prophet

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French freedom of speech based on double standards: Nasrallah

31 October 2020

The secretary-general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement condemns the French president's Islamophobic remarks, saying the freedom of expression is based on double standards there.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks in a televised speech on the occasion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) birthday on Friday, a day after an assailant waged a knife attack at a church in France’s southern city of Nice, beheading a woman and stabbing to death two other people.

The deadly attack came days after another assailant decapitated Samuel Paty, a history teacher, who had used offensive cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a civics class in the capital Paris.

The Paris attack prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to say that he would fight against “Islamist separatism,” which according to him threatens to take control in some Muslim communities across France.

The French leader also defended showing the insulting cartoon in schools across the European country and considered the highly provocative move in line with freedom of expression, a move that has infuriated Muslims across the globe.

“What is the message which the French authorities want to send to the Muslims by insisting on allowing the cartoons which insult Islam?” Nasrallah said, the Hezbollah-linked al-Manar television network reported.

“Instead of addressing the root causes of the problem, the French authorities waged a war of this sort, claiming that it is a matter of freedom of speech,” he added.

The chief of Hezbollah strongly rejected Macron’s use of the “Islamic terror” term, saying religions cannot be blamed for crimes committed by individuals. He also said that no one blamed Christianity for the crime committed by the French military in Algeria or the atrocities of the US military across the globe.

Nasrallah also emphasized that Takfiri terrorist groups in the Middle East have been protected by the Western states.

He further called on the French authorities to reconsider the kind of freedom of speech which infringes on human dignity, saying that freedom of expression is restricted by political considerations, citing the example of French philosopher Roger Geraudy who was persecuted for denying the Holocaust.

Nasrallah also called on the French authorities and public opinion to avoid blaming Islam and all Muslims for the Nice or similar attacks elsewhere, stressing that such acts are illegal and immoral, and that only the culprits must be punished.

Nasrallah also called on the French authorities to bear in mind that Muslims can never accept any humiliation and insult against their Prophet.

"The insults against the Prophet can never be tolerated by Muslims. Even the political regimes cannot cover up such abuses. So, you have to withdraw the excuses and stop this violation,” Nasrallah said, addressing the French authorities.

Separately on Friday, thousands of Muslims staged rallies in different countries across the world, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Lebanon, Palestine, and India, to condemn France’s anti-Islam stance.

A number of countries have already boycotted French products to show their strong dissent against Macron’s anti-Islam remarks.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/10/31/637588/Lebanon-Nasrallah-Hezbollah-France-Macron-Islam-Nice-Takfiri-freedom

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South Asia

 

Man lynched in Bangladesh for alleged Quran desecration: Police

30 Oct 2020

Hundreds of people in a Bangladeshi town have beaten and lynched a man who had allegedly desecrated the Muslim holy book, police said.

The crowd on Thursday seized two men who had been in official custody after they were accused of stepping on a Quran in the main mosque of Burimari in Lalmonirhat district, more than 300 kilometres (186 miles) northwest of the capital, Dhaka.

“They beat one man to death and then burnt the body,” district police chief Abida Sultana told the AFP news agency.

Sultana said the two men told the imam at the mosque that hardline fighters might have stored illegal arms inside the building, the DPA news agency reported.

The two men then tried to search for the weapons on a shelf where the Quran and Hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) were kept, in a way the imam found disrespectful to the holy books.

An altercation followed and the locals initially confined the two men to a room.

Several hundred people then rushed to the scene in the night and took away one of the men to a nearby area where they beat him and set his body on fire, said the officer.

Police recovered the charred body of the man, local government official Abu Newaz Nishat said.

The footage of the attack went viral on social media shortly after the incident.

The 35-year-old victim was reportedly struggling with psychological problems after he recently lost his job as a librarian at a college in neighbouring Rangpur district, Nishat said.

Police did not find any weapons at the mosque and the second man was taken into protective custody by the police.

Rumours and superstitions frequently lead to violent incidents in Bangladesh. More than 50 people were killed in mob beatings in 2019, according to rights watchdog, Ain o Salish Kendra.

The incident also came amid mounting anger in the Muslim-majority country over allegedly Islamophobic comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Tens of thousands of people took part in anti-France rallies this week in the capital Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong, calling for a boycott of French products.

More demonstrations have been called on Friday after the weekly Muslim prayers.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/30/man-lynched-in-bangladesh-for-alleged-quran-desecration-police

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Taliban ‘Military Commission Deputy’ Killed In AAF Airstrikes

By Mohammad Haroon Alim

31 Oct 2020

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) says ANA forces have killed the deputy head of the Taliban military commission for Helmand province.

Mullah Amanullah, deputy of the Taliban’s military commission for Helmand Province was killed besides eight of his fighters, yesterday in an airstrike carried by the Afghan Air Force in Nawa district.

A large amount of their weapons and ammunitions were also destroyed.

On the other hand, MOD reports 14 Taliban were killed and 9 others were wounded after they attacked ANDSF positions in Dahrawod district of Uruzgan Province, last night. As a result of the airstrikes, three of the Taliban strongholds in the region were also destroyed.

The Taliban have not yet commented on the incident.

Southern province of Helmand last month witnessed attacks by Taliban militants on large scale and in various parts of the area.

Taliban attacks on Helmand province provoked many reactions and condemnations and displaced nearly 40,000 people.

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-military-commission-deputy-killed-in-aaf-airstrikes-9879879/

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Officials Prevent Dehraud District of Uruzgan from Falling into Taliban Hand

By Mohammad Arif Sheva

30 Oct 2020

URUZGAN, Afghanistan – Local officials in Uruzgan province say they have prevented the fall of Dehraud district to the Taliban, but clashes are still ongoing in the center of the district.

Jan Mohammad Karimi, police chief of Dehraud district, told media that all government buildings and facilities are now under the control of Afghan security forces.

According to Karimi, the Taliban had intensified attacks on the district center for the past four days, reaching local establishments in the district.

“The Taliban are present in the western part of the district bazaar. Last night, I checked with the lieutenant general and the deputy security chief of the Ministry of Interior that fresh troops had reached the district and that airstrikes had been carried out on Taliban positions,” said Karimi.

The Dehroud police chief also said the district had been prevented from falling into the hands of the Taliban, but the Taliban were barricading themselves in civilian homes and fighting the Afghan army.

There were casualties on both sides and civilians in the clashes, according to sources, but the exact number is not yet clear.

https://www.khaama.com/officials-prevent-dehraud-district-of-uruzgan-from-falling-into-taliban-hand-3453/

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Afghan officials: 8 inmates dead after prison riot in Herat

29 October 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Rioting at a prison in western Afghanistan has left at least eight inmates dead, provincial officials said Thursday.

The violence erupted on Wednesday night at the prison in the city of Herat, the capital of western Herat province, according to Mohammad Rafiq Shirzai, a spokesman for the provincial health department.

He said 12 others — eight inmates and four prison guards — were wounded in the outbreak at the facility, which holds around 2,000 prisoners. It wasn't immediately known if there are any Taliban at the penitentiary.

The rioting erupted after prison guards began clearing some partitions created by prisoners in the so-called Block 5 of the prison, said Jelani Farhad, a spokesman for the provincial governor. The police tried to collect “unnecessary items in the possession of the prisoners, which the prisoners resisted," he said.

One of the eight fatalities had gunshot wounds, Shirzai said, adding that the incident is under investigation.

According to a provincial official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, the prisoners torched one prison block. Farhad and Shirzai could not confirm that.

Rundown Afghan prisons have occasionally seen rioting, with inmates seeking better conditions in the notoriously overcrowded facilities, many built with poor construction.

The country's largest prison, Pul-e-Charkhi on Kabul's outskirts, was built in the 1970s to house 5,000 prisoners but now holds 10,500. A riot there in May 2019 killed four inmates and injured dozens, including police officers.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/afghan-officials-inmates-dead-prison-riot-herat-73896733?utm_source=iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1670847_

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan’s police fire teargas at demonstrators protesting French cartoons of Prophet

31 October 2020

Pakistani police on Friday briefly fired tear gas at protesters who broke through security blockades in Islamabad in a failed attempt to demonstrate at the French Embassy against the printing of images depicting the Prophet Mohammad.

No one was injured and protesters later moved back towards a gathering spot originally agreed with the authorities, police said.

Muslims around the world have protested against France and President Emmanuel Macron, who has vowed to stand firm against what he described as attacks on French values and freedom of expression by radical Islamists.

Around 3,000 protesters gathered in Islamabad, about half a km (less than a mile) from the fortified diplomatic enclave where the French Embassy is, according to a Reuters witness.

Roads leading to the enclave were blocked using shipping containers and barbed wire and were guarded by riot police, but protesters managed to climb over the blockades - prompting police to fire teargas.

"We needed to fire teargas shells when the protesters tried to violate their agreement," police official Amanullah Niazi said, referring to an agreement with protest leaders that they would not progress beyond a certain point.

The protest was organized by a traders' association, which has already announced that it would take French products off shelves across the country, and came on the day Pakistan is celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

Protests and gatherings marking the occasion were also held in the cities of Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/10/31/Pakistan-s-police-fire-teargas-at-demonstrators-protesting-French-cartoons-of-Prophet

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Opposition promoting enemies’ narrative, minister tells Senate

30 Oct 2020

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Syed Shibli Faraz while speaking in the Senate on Thursday advised the opposition not to play into the hands of enemies by making the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project controversial.

The remarks came after former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on a calling attention notice pointed out that the CPEC Authority Ordinance had lapsed in June and questioned the status of the Authority functioning without any legal cover for months.

Mr Faraz conceded that the ordinance had expired and said it would shortly be brought before the two houses of parliament in the form of a bill. He, however, said such insinuations amounted to creating a cleavage between China and Pakistan.

The minister alleged the opposition always made efforts to destroy institutions, adding that they were also trying to sabotage the CPEC project.

He said the CPEC was not a project of any political party rather it was a project between Pakistan and China, two governments and the people of both the countries.

Rabbani questions status of CPEC Authority functioning without legal cover

When Deputy Chairman of the Senate Saleem Mandviwala reminded him that it was a discussion on the Peshawar blast, the minister said it was a sequence. “If you continue to weaken the state, God forbid, more such incidents would take place.”

He accused the opposition of putting the national interests and security at stake for their personal interests, saying that the country’s enemies were taking advantage of the environment created by the opposition.

The minister pointed out that the slogan of “independent Balochistan” was raised in a rally of the PDM in Quetta.

Taking part in the discussion, Jamaal-i-Islami emir Senator Sirajul Haq asked the government to fight against poverty, joblessness and price hike instead of attacking the opposition.

He regretted that despite a threat alert no security was provided to the Peshawar madressa which was attacked on Tuesday.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl Senator Attaur Rahman while rejecting allegations that the opposition was supporting the Indian narrative recalled that a visit of the Chinese president to Pakistan had to be postponed due to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s prolonged sit-in in Islamabad in 2014.

He termed the Peshawar blast an attempt to scare the PDM leadership. He, however, said that the PDM’s rally in Peshawar would take place as per plan.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1587697/opposition-promoting-enemies-narrative-minister-tells-senate

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Gujranwala jalsa to be decisive blow to selected govt: Marriyum

Oct 31, 2020

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb on Monday said that the upcoming public meeting in Gujranwala would be a decisive blow to the “selected” government, adding that the people coming to attend the meeting have offered their passports and CNICs for cancellation before Prime Minister Imran Khan cancels Nawaz Sharif’s passport and CNIC.

Talking to party leaders, supporters and workers during preparations for the Gujranwala meeting, Marriyum said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is “scared” and added that PM Imran can cancel Nawaz’s documents, not his power and influence.

Responding to Imran’s statement about not cancelling the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally, Marriyum said the premier never held that power in the first place.

She said that these public meetings are a resolve of the people of Pakistan frustrated by the theft of sugar, flour, medicine and fuel by the looters in this government.

The former information minister said these statements by PM Imran are a desperate effort to mask his embarrassment.

“The unabashed flood of Pakistanis is ready to break all barriers and express their will, they do not need Imran’s permission. The true leaders do not need Imran’s advice or permission to arrive as all they need is the love of their people which they already have more than the ‘selected’ prime minister can imagine,” Marriyum said.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/10/12/gujranwala-jalsa-to-be-decisive-blow-to-selected-govt-marriyum/

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As anger rises, Muslims protest blasphemous caricatures

Oct 31, 2020

DUBAI: Tens of thousands of Muslims, from Pakistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian territories, poured out of prayer services to join anti-France protests on Friday, as the French president’s vow to protect the right to caricature the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) continues to roil the Muslim world.

Muslims across the region have seized on the French government’s staunch secularist stance as an affront to Islam, rallying their supporters and stirring up rage.

Demonstrations in Islamabad turned violent as some 2,000 people who tried to march toward the French Embassy were pushed back by police firing tear gas and beating protesters with batons.

Crowds of Islamist activists hanged an effigy of French President Emmanuel Macron from a highway overpass after pounding it furiously with their shoes. Several demonstrators were wounded in clashes with police as authorities pushed to evict activists from the area surrounding the embassy.

In Lahore, an estimated 10,000 followers of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party celebrating the Mawlid, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), took to the streets. They chanted anti-France slogans, raised banners and clogged major roads en route to a Sufi shrine.

“There’s only one punishment for blasphemy,” bellowed Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a fiery cleric leading the march.

“Beheading! Beheading!” the protesters yelled back.

The demonstrations, largely led by Islamist parties across the region, come amid rising tensions between France and Muslim-majority nations, which flared up earlier this month when a young man beheaded a French schoolteacher who had shown blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in class.

The images, republished by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to mark the opening of the trial for the deadly 2015 attack against the publication, have stirred the ire of Muslims across the world who consider depictions of the prophet blasphemous.

On Thursday, a knife-wielding Tunisian man carrying a copy of the Quran killed three people at a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice.

A few hundred demonstrators in Lebanon’s capital Beirut flocked toward the Palais des Pins, the official residence of the French ambassador to Lebanon, but found their way blocked by lines of police officers in riot gear. Waving black and white flags with Islamist insignia, the Sunni Islamist activists cried, “At your service, oh prophet of God.” Some slung stones at police who responded with smoke and tear gas.

The sight of anti-France protests in Lebanon is an embarrassment for Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, who is trying to form a new government that would implement a French plan for reform. France, Lebanon’s former colonial ruler, has been helping the country chart a course out of its spiraling economic and financial crisis.

In Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, worshippers thronged a Shiite mosque after Friday prayers, chanting religious slogans and holding signs lampooning Macron. Turkey has led regional condemnation of the French president, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s verbal attacks on Macron prompting France to recall its ambassador to Turkey last weekend.

Hundreds of Palestinians also protested against Macron outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, chanting, “With our souls and with our blood we sacrifice for our prophet, Muhammad.” Some youths scuffled with Israeli police as they exited the esplanade into the Old City. Israeli police said they dispersed the gathering and detained three people.

Scores more turned out in the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas group organised anti-France rallies at mosques across the territory that it controls.

Fathi Hammad, a Hamas official, addressed a demonstration at the Jabaliya refugee camp, vowing “to stand together to confront this criminal offensive that harms the faith of about two billion Muslims,” referring to depictions of the Muslim prophet. He reiterated Hamas authorities’ appeal for Palestinians to boycott all French products.

One protester, who identified himself as Abu Huzayfa, equivocated when asked about recent attacks in France in retribution for the cartoons.

“We don’t target innocents,” he said. “But those who directly insult our prophet will shoulder the responsibility.”

Cries of “Death to France” rang out in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul and several other provinces as thousands filled the streets. Demonstrators trampled on portraits of Macron and called on Afghan leaders to shut down the French embassy, halt French imports and ban French citizens from visiting the country. In the country’s western Herat province, protesters hoisted an effigy of Macron on a crane and set it alight.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hezb-i-Islami, an Islamist party, warned Macron that if he doesn’t “control the situation, we are going to a third world war and Europe will be responsible.”

Muslims also rallied outside the Middle East, with a huge crowd of some 50,000 noisily chanting protesters in Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka torching effigies of Macron and holding signs that read, “Say no to Islamophobia,” “Stop racism,” and “Boycott French products.” Several hundred protested peacefully in Ethiopia’s capital after Friday prayers.

Over the past week, protests and calls to boycott French products have spread rapidly. Social media has been pulsing with anti-France hashtags. Muslim leaders have loudly criticised France for its provocative and anti-Muslim stance.

Thursday’s attack in Nice also drew condemnations from leaders of countries that had voiced outrage over the caricatures, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt.

The leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, denounced Thursday’s stabbing attack in Nice which he said is rejected by Islam.

However, in a televised address Friday, he criticised French authorities and President Emmanuel Macron for their insistence on defending the blasphemous caricatures in the name of freedom of expression.

Nasrallah said the concept of the freedom of expression should not include “violating the dignity of 2 billion Muslims.”

“No Muslim in this world can accept insulting his Prophet,” he said.

In a Friday sermon aired live on Egyptian state TV, the country’s minister of religious endowments appeared to denounce any violent retaliation for the cartoons.

“Love of the prophet cannot be expressed by killing, sabotaging or responding to evil with evil,” said Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, addressing dozens of worshippers at a mosque in Egypt’s Delta province of Daqahleya.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/10/31/as-anger-rises-muslims-protest-blasphemous-caricatures/

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Southeast Asia

 

Mahathir says remarks on French attacks taken out of context

30 Oct 2020

Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday he is disgusted because his comments on attacks by Muslim extremists in France had been taken out of context.

Mahathir, 95, sparked widespread outrage when he wrote on his blog on Thursday that Muslims have a right to be angry and kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past if "an eye for an eye" law is applied.

Twitter removed a tweet from Mahathir containing the remark, which it said glorified violence, and France's digital minister demanded the company also ban Mahathir from its platform.

"I am indeed disgusted with attempts to misrepresent and take out of context what I wrote on my blog,” Mahathir said in a statement.

He said critics failed to read his posting in full, especially the next sentence which read: "But by and large Muslims have not applied the eye for an eye law. Muslims don't. The French shouldn't. Instead the French should teach their people to respect other people's feelings.”

He said Twitter and Facebook removed the posting despite his explanation, and slammed the move as hypocritical.

On the one hand, they defended those who "chose to display offending caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) [...] and expect all Muslims to swallow it in the name of freedom of speech and expression,” he said.

"On the other, they deleted deliberately that Muslims had never sought revenge for the injustice against them in the past [...] what is promoted by these reactions to my article is to stir French hatred for Muslims,” he added.

The comments by Mahathir, a two-time prime minister, were in response to calls by Muslim nations to boycott French products after French leader Emmanuel Macron described Islam as a religion in crisis and vowed to crack down on radicalism following the murder of a French teacher who showed his class blasphemous sketches.

His remarks also came as a Tunisian man killed three people at a church in Nice, France. The US ambassador to Malaysia, Kamala Shirin Lakhdir, said on Friday that she strongly disagreed with Mahathir's statement.

"Freedom of expression is a right, calling for violence is not,” she said in a brief statement.

Australian High Commissioner in Malaysia Andrew Goledzinowski wrote that even though Mahathir wasn't advocating actual violence, in the current climate, words can have consequences.

Mahathir's second stint as prime minister lasted from 2018 until he quit in February 2020.

He has been viewed as an advocate of moderate Islamic views and a spokesman for the interests of developing countries. But at the same time, he pointedly criticised Western society and nations and their relationships with the Muslim world.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1587811/mahathir-says-remarks-on-french-attacks-taken-out-of-context

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Indonesia Condemns Macron's Statements on Islam

OCTOBER 31, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia has condemned the statements from French President Emmanuel Macron, which was deemed disrespectful toward Islam and the Muslim community worldwide, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Friday.

"Indonesia condemns the statements made by the President of France that is disrespectful towards Islam and the Muslim community worldwide," the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

"The statement has offended over 2 billion Muslims globally and has sparked division among different faiths in the world," the ministry said.

The ministry did not specify Macron's statement that is deemed disrespectful. Macron has drawn angry responses from Muslim leaders and falls for boycotts on French products in the Muslim world after suggesting that "Islam is a religion in crisis" in a speech on Oct 2.

The speech was actually about what he called Islamist separatism, an ideology wielded by some Muslims in France who tried to asserts religious laws and threaten the country's secularism principle.

"I do not ask any of our citizens to believe or not to believe, to believe a little or moderately, it is not the business of the Republic, but I ask any citizen, whatever his religion or not, to respect absolutely all the laws of the Republic," Macron said.

"And there is in this radical Islamism [...] a methodical organization to contravene the laws of the Republic and create a parallel order, to erect other values, develop another organization of society, separatist at first, but whose final goal is to take control, complete it. And it is what makes us gradually come to reject freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, the right to blasphemy," the French president said.

The speech came in light of rising tension in the country following Islamist terrorists attract in recent times. These include an attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo office in Paris in 2015, killing 12.

Two weeks after the speech, an 18-year-old Muslim refugee killed and beheaded Samuel Paty with a knife. Paty was a school teacher who days earlier showed Charlie Hebdo's caricatures of the Islam Prophet Muhammad to his classes as part of a lesson about freedom of expression.

On Thursday, another attack happened on Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, killing three congregation members. Less than a kilometer from the church, 86 people lost their lives when an attacker drove a truck into a crowd in 2016.

Global Response

Still, macron comment about Islam and the right of blasphemy has drawn fire from Muslim leaders worldwide.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — who has been exchanging strong words with Macron in recent months on various issues ranging from the Cyprus conflict, oil in the eastern Mediterranean, and the Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict — wasted no time in attacking Macron for his comment about Islam. Erdogan called the French president Islamophobic, questioned his mental health, and called for a boycott of French products.

Mahathir Mohamad, a two-time Malaysian prime minister, also caused a stir on social media for his response to Macron comments.

"Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past," Mahathir in a tweet on Thursday. Twitter removed this tweet tweet for violation of the platform's terms and conditions.

"But by and large, the Muslims have not applied the “eye for an eye” law. Muslims don’t. The French shouldn’t. Instead, the French should teach their people to respect other people’s feelings," he said in a subsequent tweet.

Indonesia took a similar position to Mahathir's.

"Freedom of expression should not be exercised in ways that tarnish the honor, sanctity, and sacredness of religious values and symbols," the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

"As the largest Muslim-populated country and the third-largest democracy in the world, Indonesia urges the global community to put forward unity and religious tolerance, particularly amidst the on-going pandemic.," the ministry said.

https://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesia-condemns-macrons-statements-on-islam

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Airports and skyscrapers are fine, but not Quran Village? FT minister hits back at critics after backlash over RM150m mega project

30 Oct 2020

BY ZURAIRI AR

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Tan Sri Annuar Musa has hit back at critics who lambasted him on social media for promoting the so-called Quran Village, a mega project set to be built in the administrative capital of Putrajaya reportedly at a cost of RM150 million.

The Federal Territories minister compared the negative reaction towards the mega project with other ventures such as airports, undersea tunnels and skyscrapers that have been lauded by their developers and the wider public.

“There are those who were proud when building airports, even when there is already an airport nearby. Proud of undersea tunnels, although there are two bridges across the sea.

“Proud with building towers when Kuala Lumpur is ‘littered’ with them. But when it comes to building mosques, Quran centres, they start getting negative,” Annuar posted on Twitter today.

He did not elaborate on those projects, but his remarks appear to be a dig on controversial projects such as the Kulim International Airport, Penang Undersea Tunnel, and several skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur such as the Merdeka PNB118 and The Exchange 106.

Annuar was lambasted by critics earlier today after unveiling the design for the planned Quran Village which would span 20 acres and started construction next year.

According to him, the federal government has already agreed to the project in principle and its funding has been approved by the government.

“It is the only project in the Muslim world. Let Malaysia be the pioneer,” he tweeted this morning.

Following the backlash, Annuar has sought to clarify the issue of the project’s funding.

He clarified that the Quran Village development will be jointly managed by local council Perbadanan Putrajaya and the Restu Foundation, while the funding will come from wakaf and private funds.

He also justified the project as being merely an extension of the existing Nasyrul Quran Complex in Precinct 14, Putrajaya — a Quran printing facility run by the above-mentioned foundation.

Annuar had in August told Parliament that the RM150 million Quran Village will include the construction of hostels, exhibition halls equipped with laser and holographic technology to “showcase the Quran”.

However, another report by his ministry’s media Wilayahku in August said the project could cost up to RM190 million, and is set to complete by 2025.

In his tweet today, he revealed that the Quran Village will consist, among others, a new 5,000-capacity mosque, a "Quranic Science and Prophetic Biography" centre, a hostel and event space, a market, and an arts centre which will be dedicated to Malaysia, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates and Brunei, respectively.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/10/30/airports-and-skyscrapers-are-fine-but-not-quran-village-ft-minister-hits-ba/1917963

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Wisma Putra calls up French embassy rep, condemns actions defaming Islam

28 Oct 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 — The Foreign Ministry has reiterated Malaysia’s stern condemnation of any rhetorical and provocative actions that seek to defame Islam, such as the publication of caricatures depicting Prophet Muhammad.

The stance was made known during a meeting with the charges d’affaires from the French Embassy in Kuala Lumpur who was called to Wisma Putra today.

“Malaysia is committed to upholding freedom of speech and expression as a human right as long as this right is exercised with respect and responsibility, so as not to contradict and violate the rights of others,” the ministry said in a statement here tonight.

In the meeting, Malaysia also expressed concern over the growing hostility, hate speech and slander against Islam.

“Malaysia is of the opinion that such tensions will not allow for a peaceful coexistence of all religions,” it said.

The statement also emphasised the importance of initiatives to reduce and eliminate Islamophobia at all levels, and that in this regard, Malaysia would continue to work with the international community to increase mutual respect between religions and prevent religious extremism.

According to media reports, on October 16, a teacher was beheaded on the outskirts of Paris after showing some cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in Charlie Hebdo to his students. — Bernama

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/10/28/wisma-putra-calls-up-french-embassy-rep-condemns-actions-defaming-islam/1917287

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URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/unac-insulting-religions-sacred-religious/d/123334

 

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