New Age Islam
Mon Jul 04 2022, 11:33 PM

Islamic World News ( 17 May 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

US-Taliban Deal Biggest Factor In Collapse Of Afghan Forces, Watchdog Says

New Age Islam News Bureau

18 May 2022

 

The Taliban overran Afghanistan in August 2021 as the former Western-backed government collapsed with surprising speed and and the last US troops withdrew.

----

• Temples Not Razed, But Turned Into Mosques By Converts, That Adopted Islam: Tauqeer Raza, Millat Council

• The Taliban Orders the UN Female Staff in Afghanistan to Wear Hijab

• Egyptian Grand Mufti), Shawki Allam, Launches ‘Fatwa Pro’ Mobile App During Speech before the British House of Commons and Lords

• Cross-Voting Against Party Fiat Can’t Be Counted As Vote: Pak SC

 

North America

• US Offers Strong Support To Rebuild Pakistan’s Economy

• Pentagon finds no wrongdoing in 2019 Syria strike that killed civilians

• India intends to operate S-400 missile system to defend against threats from Pak, China: Pentagon

• US holding up energy deal between Egypt and Lebanon: Ambassador

• Turkiye wants to resolve issues with US: Cavusoglu

• Turkish foreign minister to hold talks, attend meetings in New York

--------

India

• Gyanvapi Officials: Structure Inside Tank Is A Fountain

• Congress Asks BJP Not To Break India On Religious Lines

• Gyanvapi Mosque Row: AIMPLB Legal Team to Extend Assistance to Muslim Side

• Varanasi court sacks survey chief Ajay Kumar Mishra over leak

• Plea Seeks Muslims Be Stopped From Offering Prayers At Mathura Mosque

• Petition Seeking ‘Puja-Archana’ Of ‘Shivling’ Found In Gyanvapi Mosque Filed

• Karnataka: Muslim leaders propose limiting use of loudspeakers for Azaan

--------

South Asia

• Key Taliban Leader Haqqani Seeks Good Relations With US, International Community

• Islamic Emirate Reacts to CSTO’s Statement

• Pakistan views Afghan Taliban as ‘strategic asset’: Top US intelligence official

--------

Arab World

• Hezbollah, allies lose parliamentary majority in Lebanon polls

• Qatar to invest $5 billion in Spain’s EU-funded recovery

• MPs charged over Beirut blast re-elected, troubling families of victims

• Lebanon cenbank says to continue selling dollars at Sayrafa rate ‘without amendment’

• Saudi deputy defense minister meets US national security adviser

• Son of Egypt’s former president Mubarak says family clear of corruption charges

• Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government arrests members of PKK-linked group

• UAE Development Under President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan 'Example for Islamic World'

--------

Pakistan

• Two Pakistani Taliban Commanders are Killed in Pakistan’s Northwest Region

• Pakistani military says shootout kills 2 Taliban commanders

• Pakistani man from minority Ahmadi community stabbed to death over faith: Police

• Fazl suggests Nawaz should return home, participate in politics

• ECP to announce verdict on disqualification references against 25 dissident PTI MPAs today

Pakistan-IMF talks begin in Qatar

--------

Southeast Asia

• Militant Suspects Held in Indonesia Pledged Islamic State Loyalty - Police

• Perlis Govt, State Islamic Religious And Malay Customs Council, Object To Single Mum’s Application To Challenge Children’s Conversion To Islam

• ‘Tiny’ Usno could be the catalyst of big changes in Sabah

• Singapore denies ‘extremist’ Indonesian cleric entry

• Indonesian clerical body 'sorry' for false apostasy claims

--------

Mideast

• Yemeni Minister Claims Iran-Backed Houthis Undermining Peace Efforts

• Iran working on new underground centrifuges: Israel defence minister

• Algerian lawmakers seek to criminalize normalization with Israel

• Iran, Russia Open Joint Technology Centre in St. Petersburg

• Ship carrying smuggled fuel seized in Iran, crew detained: Iranian media

• Iran protests spread to major central province; unofficial death toll rises to six

--------

Africa

• African Union, Somali Troops Retake Strategic Town From Al-Shabaab Terrorists

• Turkiye has touched minds and hearts of Somalis: Somalia's new president

• Tunisia military court jails four lawmakers from dissolved parliament: Lawyer

• Incoming Somali president meets with predecessor for 1st time since election

• Libya's Bashagha says his government to start working from Sirte

--------

Europe

• Talks Can Resolve Turkiye’s Reservations On Sweden, Finland Joining NATO: Finnish President

• Germany says Turkiye’s concerns over Sweden, Finland’s NATO bid should be taken seriously

• UN Human Rights office concerned over pending Swedish-Iranian’s execution

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/us-taliban-afghan-forces/d/127035

--------

US-Taliban Deal Biggest Factor In Collapse Of Afghan Forces, Watchdog Says

 

The Taliban overran Afghanistan in August 2021 as the former Western-backed government collapsed with surprising speed and and the last US troops withdrew.

----

May 18, 2022

WASHINGTON: The biggest factor that led to the collapse of the Afghan military in August last year was the US decision to withdraw forces and contractors from Afghanistan through an agreement with the Taliban signed by the Trump administration and executed by the Biden administration, a US watchdog report concluded.

The withdrawal “destroyed” the morale of the Afghan military as it was dependent on US military support, according to an assessment by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, which was made public late Tuesday.

“SIGAR found that the single most important factor in the ANDSF’s (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) collapse in August 2021 was the US decision to withdraw military forces and contractors from Afghanistan through signing the US-Taliban agreement in February 2020 under the Trump administration, followed by President Biden’s withdrawal announcement in April 2021,” the report said.

Under US President Joe Biden’s Republican predecessor Donald Trump, the United States made a deal with the Islamist Taliban to withdraw all American forces.

After the signing of the deal, the US military support to Afghan forces came down, which also included a drop in air strikes in 2020 after a record high level in the previous year, the report added.

“Limiting airstrikes after the signing of the US-Taliban agreement the following year left the ANDSF without a key advantage in keeping the Taliban at bay,” John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said.

The Taliban overran Afghanistan in August as the former Western-backed government collapsed with surprising speed and the last US troops withdrew.

Biden had argued the war in Afghanistan needed to be brought to a close after 20 years of fighting that had cost American lives, drained resources and distracted from greater strategic priorities.

The US Congress created the office of SIGAR to provide an oversight of reconstruction projects and activities during the war in Afghanistan.

“Many Afghans thought the US-Taliban agreement was an act of bad faith and a signal that the US was handing over Afghanistan to the enemy as it rushed to exit the country,” Sopko said.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2084421/world

--------

Temples Not Razed, But Turned Into Mosques By Converts, That Adopted Islam: Tauqeer Raza, Millat Council

 

PTI photo

----

May 18, 2022

BAREILLY: A large number of people “converted their places of worship to mosques when they adopted Islam” and such mosques “shouldn’t be touched”, said Tauqeer Raza, the head of Ittehad Millat Council, on Tuesday.

Speaking on the Gyanvapi mosque issue, he said, “Calling what was found in the Gyanvapi mosque a Shiv Ling is actually making a mockery of Hinduism. There are many mosques in the country where there were temples before. Those temples were not razed... just converted (into mosques) when people adopted Islam. The mosques shouldn’t be touched, and if anything is done forcefully, Muslims will oppose the government.”

He added: “Muslims don’t need any legal fight as they have seen the judgment in the Babri Mosque case. This time, we won’t appeal in any court. Hatemongers will find a shivling at every mosque in the country with a fountain. If they have their way, they will encroach all of them. I would like to see where these people will stop. Muslims have remained quiet to ensure peace in the country.”

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/temples-not-razed-but-turned-into-mosques-by-converts-millat-council/articleshow/91628863.cms

--------

The Taliban Orders the UN Female Staff in Afghanistan to Wear Hijab

 

Representative Image

-----

By Saqalain Eqbal

17 May 2022

The Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has ordered female staff members of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to wear the hijab.

On Monday, the 16th of May, the organization shared the Taliban’s directive to wear the hijab with its employees.

“Taliban claim new women’s dress rules are ‘advice’ but are imposing them as mandatory—including on Afghan women working at UN.” Heather Barr, Associate Director of the Women’s Rights division at Human Rights Watch, tweeted.

Despite Taliban rules, Barr called upon UNAMA on “how will [it] protect [its] colleagues’ safety & freedom?”.

According to a UNAMA statement, a delegation of Taliban officials from the Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice told the UN that female employees should consider wearing the hijab, while reporting to duties.

The statement also notes that the personnel of the Ministry will stand outside the UN office to “monitor if hijab is used or not”. In an event if the personnel finds a female staff member without hijab, they will talk to her “politely” to wear it as wearing hijab is mandatory outside.

In addition to that, outside the UN office, the Ministry has also placed a poster calling on women to wear the “hijab.” Barr tweeted a photo of the poster, which shows a black layered Niqab and a bright blue Burqa (Chadari), as examples of hijab.

The Ministry, which had recently ordered that the hijab was mandatory, said the best type of hijab in the directive was Chadari or Burqa.

The Taliban had warned that if the women disobeyed the order, their parents would be punished and imprisoned.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/the-taliban-orders-the-un-female-staff-in-afghanistan-to-wear-hijab57483/

--------

Egyptian Grand Mufti), Shawki Allam, Launches ‘Fatwa Pro’ Mobile App During Speech before the British House of Commons and Lords

 

Photo: Egypt Independent

----

May 17, 2022

The Egyptian Grand Mufti, Head of the General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide (GSFOW), Shawki Allam, launched the initiative of Fatwa Pro mobile app during his historic speech before the British House of Commons and Lord’s.

This was  part of his visit to the United Kingdom, which began on Sunday.

The Grand Mufti explained to members of the British Parliament the application, which the Egyptian Dar al-Ifta initiated on smartphones, and is dedicated to Muslims in the West, using English, French and German.

Allam added that the application aims to provide all fatwas of interest to Muslims and answer their questions within Islamic societies.

It is also an aid to provide religious guidance to Muslims to ensure that they preserve their Islamic identity and prevent them from falling into the clutches of extremist ideology and subsequently terrorist groups.

He explained that the Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa realized early on the importance of technology and modern means in conveying its message to the whole world.

Confronting extremist and terrorist groups and answering many of the issues that occupy the minds of Muslims and non-Muslims in Western societies about Islam and its teachings.

The Mufti described Fatwa Pro as a moderate, permanent, and available mufti at any time for Muslims in the West.

He pointed out that this application provides fatwas in different languages, answered by a group of specialized and qualified muftis to carry out this task.

It is also seen mainly as a quick source of providing fatwas of interest to Muslims in Western societies in various disciplines, as well as protecting Muslims in these societies from extremist or atheistic thought, and controlling Fatwa discourse.

Source: Egypt Independent

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

https://www.egyptindependent.com/egyptian-grand-mufti-launches-fatwa-pro-during-speech-in-uk-parliament/

--------

Cross-Voting Against Party Fiat Can’t Be Counted As Vote: Pak SC

 

Representative Image

-----

May 18, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Votes of Pakistani lawmakers against their party’s directives in Parliament will not be counted, the nation’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday in a case filed by President Arif Alvi on March 21 seeking interpretation of the Constitution’s Article 63-A related to dissenting parliamentarians after an alliance sought to remove then PM Imran Khan through a no-trust vote.

In a 3:2 split decision, a larger five-member SC bench led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial ruled on the presidential reference. The verdict appears to have no effect on the National Assembly—the country’s Parliament—but it can create a crisis in Punjab, where if votes of rebel lawmakers are disregarded then new CM Hamza Shehbaz loses majority in the provincial assembly. In such a scenario, the election of the CM will have to be held again.

Khan’s government had sought a lifetime disqualification on lawmakers attempting to deviate from the party’s voting direction. His government, which was eventually ousted, had feared that party’s lawmakers would cross-vote. On the voting day, PTI’s rebel members abstained from voting and Khan was instead removed with the support of his government’s allies.

In a short order, the SC said defections were “one of the most pernicious ways” in which political parties could be destabilised, noting that they could also delegitimise parliamentary democracy. “Defections rightly stand condemned as a cancer afflicting the body politic. They cannot be countenanced,” the order said.

Will defected MPs’ vote be given equal weightage? On this query, the bench ruled that in its “view” an MP’s vote cast contrary to party directions “cannot be counted and must be disregarded”. “This is so regardless of whether the party head, subsequent to such vote, proceeds to take, or refrains from taking, an action that would result in a declaration of defection,” the court said.

In response to another question regarding the disqualification of members, the top court rejected the PTI’s plea, saving the lawmakers from permanently being barred from Parliament.

The bench said a “declaration of defection” can be dealt with by the “appropriate law made by Parliament”.

Reacting to the verdict, former information minister and PTI member Fawad Chaudhry said PM Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab’s CM have lost their majority after the SC decision and their governments have practically ended.

“I request the President that now no one has a majority in the assembly and assembly should be dissolved and new elections should be held,” Chaudhry said.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/cross-voting-against-party-fiat-cant-be-counted-as-vote-pak-sc/articleshow/91626467.cms

--------

 North America

 US offers strong support to rebuild Pakistan’s economy

Anwar Iqbal | Baqir Sajjad Syed

May 18, 2022

WASH­­INGTON/ISLAMABAD: Hou­rs after Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari arrived in New York on Tuesday for a series of meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a State Department spokesperson assured Pakistan of strong US support for their efforts to rebuild the Pakistani economy.

The United States “will continue to work bilaterally on ways to grow investment and trade opportunities to build a prosperous and stable Pakistan,” the spokesperson told Dawn in Washington.

The United States also “welcomes the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) deliberations with Pakistan,” the spokesperson added.

Also, IMF sources in Washington confirmed that Pakistan and the IMF would start their review talks in Doha on Wednesday (today) to strike a staff-level agreement for the release of a $1 billion tranche under an Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The week-long review will be an opportunity for Pakistan to convince the IMF to revive a stalled $6bn package for stabilising its cash-starved economy.

A public expression of US support would boost Islamabad’s efforts to revive the programme and could smooth bullish market trends as well.

The spokesperson also confirmed media reports of a one-on-one meeting between Secretary Blinken and Mr Bhutto-Zardari.

“We confirm Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Bhutto-Zardari will meet one-on-one and cover a number of bilateral concerns in a follow-up to their May 6 call,” the US official said.

Earlier, the foreign minister told journalists in New York that he would share Pakistan’s perspective on various issues with the international community in his UN engagements.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari is attending a UN ministerial meeting of Global Food Security Call for Action and the Security Council’s open debate on maintenance of international peace, with a focus on conflict and food security.

The US mission to the United Nations initiated both meetings to highlight how the Feb 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine was threatening global food security.

“We are here to share Pakistan’s message with the United Nations,” said Mr Bhutto-Zardari while talking to a group of Pakistani journalists at New York’s JFK airport.

The PTI had earlier planned a protest on his arrival but later they canceled the programme. Even PML-N supporters stayed away from the small PPP crowd that gathered at the airport to welcome their leader.

The foreign minister took an Emirates flight, which was delayed by a medical emergency. Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s entourage included a senior official from his ministry and some members of his personal staff. He was received by Ambassador Munir Akram, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, its US envoy Ambassador Masood Khan and other senior officials of the two missions.

Renewal of ties with US

Speaking about Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s maiden official visit to the US, other upcoming overseas trips, and the external policy priorities of the new government at Foreign Office in Islamabad, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar told the media the government was committed to renewal of ties with the US.

She said Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s meeting with Secretary Blinken provides “a useful opportunity” for strengthening bilateral engagement with the US.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1690253/us-offers-strong-support-to-rebuild-pakistans-economy

--------

Pentagon finds no wrongdoing in 2019 Syria strike that killed civilians

18 May ,2022

An investigation into a 2019 strike by US forces in Syria that killed numerous civilians found no violations of policy or wanton negligence, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The internal US Army investigation focused on an operation by a special US force operating in Syria which launched an airstrike on an ISIS bastion in Baghouz on March 18, 2019.

The investigation was sparked last year after the New York Times reported that in the original strike the US military had covered up dozens of non-combatant deaths.

The Times report said that 70 people, many of them women and children, had been killed in the strike.

The Times report said a US legal officer “flagged the strike as a possible war crime” and that “at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike.”

But the final report of the investigation rejected that conclusion Tuesday.

It said that the US ground force commander for the anti-ISIS coalition received a request for air strike support from Syrian Democratic Forces fighting the extremists.

The commander “received confirmation that no civilians were in the strike area” and authorized the strike.

However, they later found out there were civilians at the location.

“No Rules of Engagement or Law of War violations occurred,” the investigation said.

In addition, the commander “did not deliberately or with wanton disregard cause civilian casualties,” it said.

The report said that “administrative deficiencies” delayed US military reporting on the strike, giving the impression that it was being covered up.

The Times cited an initial assessment of the incident saying that about 70 civilians could have been killed.

Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby said that 53 combatants were killed, 51 of them adult males and one child, while four civilians died, one woman and three children.

Another 15 civilians, 11 women and four children, were wounded, he said.

Asked if anyone was being punished for the civilian deaths, Kirby said the investigation did not find the need to hold any individuals accountable.

The probe “did not find that anybody acted outside the law of war, that there was no malicious intent,” Kirby said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/18/Pentagon-finds-no-wrongdoing-in-2019-Syria-strike-that-killed-civilians

--------

India intends to operate S-400 missile system to defend against threats from Pak, China: Pentagon

May 18, 2022

WASHINGTON: By June 2022, India intends to deploy the S-400 missile defence system that it has received from Russia to defend itself against threat from Pakistan and China, a Pentagon spy master has told US lawmakers.

India started receiving the delivery of S-400 missile defence system from Russia in December last year, Lt Gen Scott Berrier, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a recent Congressional hearing.

As of October 2021, India's military was seeking to procure advanced surveillance systems to strengthen its land and sea borders and boost its offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.

“In December, India received its initial delivery of the Russian S-400 air defence system, and it intends to operate the system to defend against Pakistani and Chinese threats by June 2022,” Berrier said.

“India continued to develop its own hypersonic, ballistic, cruise, and air defence missile capabilities, conducting multiple tests in 2021. India has a growing number of satellites in orbit, and it is expanding its use of space assets, likely pursuing offensive space capabilities,” he said.

Berrier told lawmakers that New Delhi is pursuing an extensive military modernisation effort encompassing air, ground, naval, and strategic nuclear forces with an emphasis on domestic defence production.

India is taking steps to establish Integrated Theatre Commands that will improve its joint capability among its three military services.

Since 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given priority to strengthen India's economy by expanding its domestic defence industry, and establishing a negative import list to curtail defence purchases from foreign suppliers.

“India's longstanding defence relationship with Russia remains strong, holding their first ‘2+2' format talks in December — a joint foreign and defence ministerial that India previously only held with the United States, Japan, and Australia.

“India has maintained a neutral stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine and continues to call for peace,” Berrier told the lawmakers.

According to Berrier, throughout 2021, New Delhi continued to implement foreign policy aimed at demonstrating India's role as a leading power and net provider of security in the Indian Ocean region.

India seeks to promote prosperity and ensure stability in the Indo-Pacific region by seeking strategic partnerships to build influence through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he said.

“New Delhi seeks to deepen intelligence and operational cooperation on cybersecurity, protect critical information infrastructure, prevent adversary manipulation of public opinion, and to create standards and norms that protect and secure data governance,” he added.

Following the collapse of the Afghan government, New Delhi is increasingly concerned about potential attacks against India by terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed - empowered by a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, he said.

The evacuation of Indian personnel from Afghanistan degraded its resources to monitor potential threats and cultivate influence over regional stability, he said.

Despite recommitting to the 2003 ceasefire, India remains postured to respond to perceived militant threats, and it has continued counterterrorism operations in Kashmir. Occasional skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani troops will continue, and a high-profile attack in India by Pakistan-based terrorists risks an Indian military response,” he said.

Berrier said that Chinese-Indian relations remain strained following the fatal clashes in summer 2020 between their respective forces along the Western sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-intends-to-operate-s-400-missile-system-to-defend-against-threats-from-pak-china-pentagon/articleshow/91632216.cms

--------

US holding up energy deal between Egypt and Lebanon: Ambassador

17 May ,2022

A World Bank-backed plan for Egypt to export energy supplies to Lebanon is still in limbo as Cairo awaits assurances from the US that it will not face sanctions.

The deal would require transit fees to be paid to the Assad regime, which has had crippling Caesar Act sanctions prevent foreign countries and companies from dealing with the Syrian government as a result of its war crimes.

Despite US officials and diplomats publicly stating that sanctions would not be an obstacle, Egypt’s top diplomat in Washington said otherwise on Tuesday.

“No one would enter into a regional mechanism to find themselves later on under sanctions,” Motaz Zahran said in response to a question from Al Arabiya English.

Speaking at an event with Al-Monitor in Washington, Zahran said Egypt was prepared to move ahead with the deal once it was given what was being asked for in terms of assurances.

“So, if there is a will here in Washington to help the Lebanese through regional mechanisms, well, we have a regional mechanism that has been set and been out there waiting… for it to be able to function without repercussions of sanctions,” Zahran said.

Asked about Zahran's comments, a State Department official said the US was waiting for the final contracts from all sides. “The United States government awaits the final contracts and financing terms from the parties to ensure that both the gas and electricity projects are in line with US policy and addresses any potential sanctions concerns,” the official told Al Arabiya English.

“We refer you to these governments for the status of the commercial contracts and to the World Bank for updates on the status of the financing application,” the official added.

With the World Bank saying that Lebanon’s financial crisis is one of the worst the world has seen in over 150 years, such a deal would reportedly help ease power shortages across the country.

The deal was first reported by Al Arabiya English last summer and later confirmed by US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea.

But the fact that the energy would pass through Syria has stirred up opposition in the US, specifically from Republican lawmakers.

Earlier this year, Shea relayed a letter from the US Treasury Department reportedly informing the Lebanese government not to worry about potential sanctions.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/17/US-holding-up-energy-deal-between-Egypt-and-Lebanon-Ambassador

--------

Turkiye wants to resolve issues with US: Cavusoglu

Servet Günerigök 

18.05.2022

WASHINGTON

Turkiye wants to resolve issues with the US, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday.

Speaking in an address at the Turkevi Center in New York, Cavusoglu recalled the "important" meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Joe Biden in Rome, Italy last year.

"We have established a strategic mechanism upon Mr. Biden's proposal," said the foreign minister, referring to a diplomatic effort agreed in Rome on Oct. 31, 2021.

Erdogan and Biden agreed to establish a mechanism that promotes high-level dialogue and addresses issues on which Turkiye and the US do not fully agree, along with issues they are working on.

"Within the framework of the crises around the world, we will discuss with the US on which areas we can develop our relations as part of this mechanism," said Cavusoglu.

During the April 4 visit of US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to Ankara, the Turkiye-US Strategic Mechanism was launched. On Wednesday, Cavusoglu will meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the level of foreign ministers.

A meeting at the level of presidents could take place this year, Cavusoglu said.

"I hope, within this mechanism, we can solve or reduce the issues and improve our cooperation by working with a result-oriented approach," he added.

Turkiye-US relations have been strained in recent years due to the latter's cooperation with the PYD-YPG/PKK terrorist organization in Syria, its stance toward the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), disagreements over Turkiye’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system and Washington's sanctions against Turkiye.

On Wednesday, Cavusoglu will attend the first-ever International Migration Review Forum within the margins of the UN General Assembly.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkiye-wants-to-resolve-issues-with-us-cavusoglu/2590876

--------

Turkish foreign minister to hold talks, attend meetings in New York

Ali Murat Alhas 

17.05.2022

The Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday is set to begin a four-day visit to New York to attend a global forum on migration, the Foreign Ministry said late Monday.

Mevlut Cavusoglu will pay an official visit to New York “to attend the first-ever International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) within the margins of the UN General Assembly,” said a ministry statement.

In addition, Cavusoglu will also attend the Global Food Security Call to Action ministerial meeting to be hosted by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and hold bilateral meetings, the statement added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkish-foreign-minister-to-hold-talks-attend-meetings-in-new-york/2589895

--------

 

India

 

Gyanvapi officials: Structure inside tank is a fountain

Piyush Srivastava 

18.05.22

The Gyanvapi mosque authorities have said the structure inside a tank that the Hindu side in the dispute is claiming to be a Shivalinga is a fountain that had been installed a few years ago and had been lying defunct.

Members of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, the management committee of the mosque that adjoins the Kashi Vishwanath temple, said the now-removed head of the commission tasked by a court to survey the mosque had refused to get the structure repaired so that it could be proved it was a fountain.

Mohammad Merazuddin, one of the counsels for the Muslim side, said: “They are claiming that a fountain in the middle of a tank on the mosque premises is a Shivalinga. The small, shallow tank behind the mosque has been there for over a decade. There are water taps affixed to a wall of the tank for the purpose of wuzu (ablution before offering namaz). A fountain was installed inside the tank a few years ago and a circular wall was built around it.”

The Hindu side has held up the structure that they are calling a Shivalinga as evidence that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had demolished the original Kashi Vishwanath temple to have the mosque built. The RSS has been campaigning for the removal of the mosque.

Hari Singh Jain, an advocate for the Hindu side, had on Monday moved the civil court that is hearing the dispute and has ordered a survey of the mosque to get the area where the structure has been found cordoned off. The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Varanasi district magistrate to ensure protection of the site.

A member of the Gyanvapi management committee said, requesting anonymity: “The claim on the Shivalinga is ridiculous. We have been saying right from the beginning that Mishra (advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra who was removed by the civil court on Tuesday) was playing with our emotions. We believe that he has already done enough damage to us.

“Still, we need to explain that till a few years ago, the water of the tank was used for wuzu before people went inside the mosque to offer namaz. Later, water taps were installed there. The fountain and the wall encircling it (within the larger triangle-shaped tank) were built three-four years ago. The fountain has been lying defunct since the end of 2020, so we had put fish in the area between the tank and the fountain wall to keep its water clean. Now, we use water from the taps for wuzu.”

He added: “Our workers had cleaned the holes in the fountain with the help of iron wires in the presence of Mishra on Monday and requested him to put water in the circular area and call someone to repair the fountain so that it could be proved that it was a fountain, not a Shivalinga. But he didn’t listen to us and some people kept chanting Har Har Mahadev.”

Mohammad Suleman, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board that is planning to provide legal assistance to the Gyanvapi mosque authorities, said: “The civil judge has crossed his jurisdiction. He was supposed to act on the basis of the law codified by the country. But he violated the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, that provides for status quo on any religious structure as it existed on August 15, 1991. Even the Supreme Court had said this in its verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case in 2019.”

“The Hindu lawyers are trying to make a weird claim. The entire country knows that the place that was sealed on Monday was the wuzu area and the structure that they are claiming to be a Shivalinga is actually a fountain. Muslims used to wash their hands and faces there in the past. The management committee of the mosque put fish in the tank when the fountain stopped working,” Suleman told reporters in Kanpur on Tuesday.         

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/gyanvapi-officials-structure-inside-tank-is-a-fountain/cid/1865602

--------

Congress asks BJP not to break India on religious lines

Sanjay K. Jha  

18.05.22

Don’t break India to such an extent that uniting the country becomes impossible, the Opposition Congress appealed to the ruling BJP on Tuesday, cautioning against the frenzy being whipped up around the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi and flagging a raft of economic challenges.

“I am requesting the BJP, they should kindly take a relook at the way they are functioning. They should kindly take a relook at the way they are governing. Don’t break the country so badly, to such an extent that uniting the country becomes impossible. That’s why we have come up with the Bharat Jodo slogan. We are going to carry out yatras throughout the country asking people to be together,” Congress general secretary Ajay Maken said.

The Congress iterated that status quo should be maintained at all religious sites under the Places of Worship Act, 1991. The act prohibits conversion of any place of worship and seeks to maintain the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947.

Maken alleged that polarising controversies were being manufactured to divert attention from the failures of the Narendra Modi government at a time the economic situation had turned grim. Former home minister P. Chidambaram had said the same thing a few days ago in the context of the Gyanvapi mosque row.

Responding to the question about the claim of the discovery of a Shivalinga on the Gyanvapi premises, Maken said: “The Supreme Court is looking into the matter. The order passed by the Supreme Court in the Babri mosque case was under the Places of Worship Act, 1991.

“All the controversies should be seen in the context of this law, which calls for status quo. But we are clear that the BJP and its affiliated outfits are raising such matters because they don’t want the real issues to be discussed.”

Maken said: “Prices of essential commodities and unemployment have reached an unbearable extreme today. The wholesale price index that has come today is 15.08 per cent, the highest ever. The rupee has tumbled to its lowest. We have seen what happened in Sri Lanka.

“The BJP doesn’t want the real issues to dominate public discourse. When the BJP divides the people of India, they break the country. India is not only a landmass, a geographical entity. Dividing people on the basis of religion and caste is breaking India.”

The Congress called a meeting on Tuesday of general secretaries and state minders to discuss the timely implementation of the new resolve finalised at the Udaipur Chintan Shivir. The meeting will continue on Wednesday. The party will hold state-level workshops to sensitise the organisational machinery about the new decisions.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/congress-appeals-to-bjp-not-to-break-india-on-religious-lines/cid/1865621

--------

Gyanvapi Mosque Row: AIMPLB Legal Team to Extend Assistance to Muslim Side

MAY 18, 2022

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Tuesday held an emergency meeting amid the ongoing row surrounding the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi where claims of a Shivling being found inside the mosque during a survey was made on Monday.

A source said that since the matter is being heard by the court, the Board’s legal team would extend all the necessary assistance to the Muslim side.

The meeting lasted around two hours during which 45 members of the AIMPLB interacted virtually.

A source in the know of the things told IANS: “We will go through the matters discussed and presented in the court on Tuesday, and our legal team will provide help to the Muslim side. At the same time, we will try to reach out to the people with facts through pamphlets, books etc. so that people don’t get misguided."

“Also, we would like to know the stand of the Central government as well as other political parties on the Places of Worship Act, 1991," the source added.

Then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao had in 1991 brought a law pertaining to the places of worship.

The law prohibits conversion or changing the religious outlook of any place of worship that existed before August 15, 1947. Anyone attempting to do that can face fine and imprisonment between one year and three years.

The AIMPLB would hold another meeting on Wednesday to present its views in details.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court directed the Varanasi administration to protect and seal the area where a ‘Shivling’ was found during a video survey inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex, while also directing the authorities concerned not to restrict Muslims from entering the mosque to offer namaz.

A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and P.S. Narasimha said: “The area where the Shivling is found should be protected."

Source: News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/india/gyanvapi-mosque-row-aimplb-legal-team-to-extend-assistance-to-muslim-side-5194885.html

--------

Varanasi court sacks survey chief Ajay Kumar Mishra over leak

May 18, 2022

VARANASI: A day after petitioners claimed that a 'shivling' had been found during the survey of Gyanvapi premises, civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar on Tuesday removed advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra on the charges of not performing his duty responsibly and engaging a private cameraman in the survey process.

This cameraman had reportedly leaked some details of the survey to the media on Monday. Mishra, who was the first to be appointed as the advocate commissioner to supervise the Gyanvapi survey, denied the charges.

As the survey report could not be submitted by the commission on Tuesday, the court directed special advocate commissioner Vishal Singh to table the report of the survey conducted after its May 12 order on May 19.

In its Tuesday order, the court also mentioned that Vishal Singh informed it that Ajay Kumar engaged a private cameraman, RP Singh, in the survey process.

When the survey was in progress, this photographer kept passing wrong facts to the media due to which he was ousted from the survey work, said the court and added that Ajay Kumar Mishra had admitted to the fact. “A person assumes the role of a public servant on being appointed as advocate commissioner,” the court said, adding, “it was expected that the advocate commissioner will perform his duty impartially and honestly, and avoid issuing irresponsible statements in public.

However, Ajay Kumar Mishra performed his duties as advocate commissioner very irresponsibly.” “In investigation, it has become clear that the photographer engaged by him kept giving media bytes, which is totally against the judicial decorum,” the court said while ordering to remove Mishra from court commission with immediate effect.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/varanasi-court-sacks-gyanvapi-survey-chief-for-leaking-to-media/articleshow/91629188.cms

--------

Plea Seeks Muslims Be Stopped From Offering Prayers At Mathura Mosque

May 17, 2022

Mathura: A group of lawyers and law students has filed a plea in a court in Mathura demanding that Muslims be restrained from offering prayers at the Shahi Idgah mosque, which they said has been built at the place believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna.

Ten separate petitions have earlier been filed in Mathura courts by different Hindu groups seeking the removal of the mosque, which they claimed was built at the birthplace of the deity, within the 13.37-acre premises of the Katra Keshav Dev temple.

The fresh plea said a majority of the Hindu community believes that Lord Krishna was born at the place where the mosque stands.

Advocate Shailendra Singh, one of the petitioners, also claimed that the mosque was built at the place where once a temple stood.

"Since the structure has been constructed on the remains of a Hindu temple, it is akin to a temple and does not qualify the merit of a mosque," he said.

They have approached the court with a plea seeking "permanent injunction" on the use of the structure by the Muslim community, he said.

The advocate said the mosque does not fulfil the pre-condition laid out in the Quran, which says a mosque should be built on an undisputed land having no mark of any other religion.

Source: ND TV

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

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/plea-seeks-muslims-be-stopped-from-offering-prayers-at-mathura-mosque-2985011

--------

Petition seeking ‘puja-archana’ of ‘shivling’ found in Gyanvapi mosque filed

17th May 2022

LUCKNOW: After the conclusion of the court-ordered survey of Gyanvapi mosque premises, a petition was filed in the court of civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar on Tuesday seeking permission for 'puja-archana' of the 'shivling' allegedly found during the survey of the Gyanvapi premises by the court commission on Monday.

However, another plea was filed in the same court demanding direction for the demolition of walls of the basements on the premises and removal of debris for collection of more evidence in the matter.

Sadhvi Purnamba and Sadhvi Shardamba filed a petition urging the court to grant permission for 'puja-archana' of the said 'shivling'. The area where the 'shivling' has been found was sealed by the order of the court on Monday.

The petitioners are the disciples of Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati of Dwaraka and Jyotish Peeth. They filed the petition through their lawyer Ramesh Upadhyaya. Upadhyaya said that the petition will be heard with their old petitions.

The litigants' lawyer claimed that Lord Adi Vishweshwar was found in the form of a 'linga' during the commission's survey on May 16.

"Immediate permission should be given to start its worship with vedic rituals, because we Sanatani Hindus

respect the deity as a living self after pran-pratishtha (consecration)," they requested in the petition.

The other petition was filed by the plaintiffs in the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri worshipping case, demanding the demolition of the walls of different basements on the Gyanvapi premises and removal of debris to uncover the areas hidden behind them for collection of more evidence in the matter. However, the Anjuman Intejamia Masajid (AIM) raised serious objections to the plea.

Admitting the plea, judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday when special advocate commissioner Vishal Singh will also present facts in this matter before the court.

The plaintiffs of the Shringar Gauri worship case include Rakhi Singh of Delhi, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak, all natives of Varanasi, who filed the petition on April 18, 2021, seeking permission for daily worship and performing rituals at the idols of Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman and Nandi and stopping the opponents from causing any damage to the statues.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/may/17/petition-seeking-puja-archana-of-shivling-found-in-gyanvapi-mosque-filed-2454708.html

--------

Karnataka: Muslim leaders propose limiting use of loudspeakers for Azaan

17th May 2022

Bengaluru: In a bid to calm the simmering unrest in Karnataka, Muslim community and religious leaders are urging people to postpone the use of loudspeakers while calling Azaan in mosques from 5 AM to 6 AM

Several mosques have started following this from Tuesday. “There is a difference between our old pandits and new ones. We are progressive and development oriented. Many changes are going to happen in the coming days. The changes will be in accordance with the law,” Umar Sharif, President of Discover Islam Education Trust, academician and thinker told IANS.

Decision of postponing calling of Azaan using loudspeakers from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. has been announced. The community and religious leaders showed no opposition to it, he said.

The government guidelines will be followed from Tuesday regarding use of loudspeakers. “Why should we give room for controversy? We intend to get distanced from all the controversies,” he explained.

During the hijab crisis, there was an opinion that the community disrespected the court’s decision and it was also felt that there is no value for the constitution. “However, it was wrongly communicated. We are law abiding. Once made to understood, we will follow. But, it is the government’s responsibility to convince, Umar Sharif stated.

Talking about the unrest situation, Umar Sharif noted that seeing the unrest situation in the state is one perspective. The ground reality is different. There is no dispute among common people. The dispute is between organisations. Within religion also, there are no conflicts. In the name of religion conflicts are created.

“The nationalism includes us all. We should all be united in our soil. Our contributions to the country should be brought out. The religion does not want us to fight,” he maintained.

The exercise of conveying a message to all mosques to postpone use of loudspeakers for Azaan from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. is taken up seriously. The message has been sent to all. If some are not understanding, they will be convinced, he explained.

Imam of Jamia Mosque Shaikh Maqsood Imran Rashadi has asked to communicate about it to all districts to follow the Supreme Court order on use of loudspeakers, he said.

“Let Sri Ram Sena activists’ lead a peaceful life. Similarly, let our imam also live in peace. We will strive to end all disputes, we will forgo our rights to establish peace. We have come here with good intention to lead life,” he said.

Experts say that the move by religious and community leaders in Karnataka has been praised and appreciated. It is also regarded as the right step towards establishing peace in the state, presently going through an unrest situation.

Source: Siasat Dailly

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

https://www.siasat.com/karnataka-muslim-leaders-propose-limiting-use-of-loudspeakers-for-azaan-2328932/

--------

 

South Asia

 

Key Taliban leader Haqqani seeks good relations with US, international community

17 May, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], May 17 (ANI): Key Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani on Monday said that his outfit, which now rules Afghanistan, seeks “good relations with the US and the international community.”

Haqqani,who is also acting as the “Minister for Interior” in Taliban regime, which took over Kabul in August last year, made the comments during an interview to CNN.

Responding to a question on whether his outfit still considers US as the enemy, said that they do not “look at them (US) as enemies” and are committed to the Doha agreement, and want relations with the US based on principles and diplomatic norms, Tolo News reported.

“I would like to make a small clarification. The period of the last 20 years was a situation of defensive fighting and war. When the agreement was made in Doha, we decided that we would not be talking about this. In the future, we would like to have good relations with the United States and the international community,” Haqqani reportedly said.

Haqqani also talked about the ongoing human rights issues in Afghanistan including women’s education saying that “good news” will be heard about the education of girls and that a mechanism is being developed in this regard, the report said.

“We all believe that education has been created as a blessing from God, which has been made essential to both men and women. As I mentioned earlier, there is no one who is opposed to education,” Haqqani said.

“The problem is education based on the Afghan way of thinking and understanding, the culture aspect of Afghanistan. There is an issue of making arrangements of Islamic rules and principles,” he added.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/key-taliban-leader-haqqani-seeks-good-relations-with-us-international-community/959729/

--------

Islamic Emirate Reacts to CSTO’s Statement

17 May 2022

In reaction to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) leaders’ statement in which they expressed concerns over the situation in Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate said there will be no threat to anyone from Afghan soil. 

The conference, which was held on Monday in Moscow, was attended by delegations from Belarus, Armenia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. 

“We focus on countering international terrorism and extremism, illegal drug and weapons trafficking, and illegal migration. In this context we attach great importance to the developments in Afghanistan. The unstable situation there as well as the unrelenting activity of armed groups on the territory of Afghanistan continue to threaten the security and stability of our states,” President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev told the conference.

“I believe the CSTO must consider every potential threat while paying even more attention to ensuring the security of the southern borders of Central Asia," he said.

The CSTO voiced concerns about the situation in Afghanistan and on other external borders of the organization’s member states.

“The government should reassure the neighbor and regional countries and address their concerns in this regard, otherwise, they will not receive good results,” said Sadiq Shinwari, a political analyst. 

“The world wants valuable engagement with the Islamic Emirate and wants the Islamic Emirate to engage in relations based on current norms,” said Saleem Kakar, a university instructor. 

But the Islamic Emirate downplayed the concerns and pledged the Afghan soil will not be used against anyone. 

“The Islamic Emirate is very serious in regard to focusing on its security and preventing the use of Afghan soil against others,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate. 

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/index.php/afghanistan-178053

--------

Pakistan views Afghan Taliban as ‘strategic asset’: Top US intelligence official

LALIT K JHA

18 May, 2022

Washington, May 18 (PTI) Pakistan seeks to maintain positive relations with the Taliban as it views the hardline Islamist militant group as a “strategic asset” useful for securing its interests in Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official has told US lawmakers.

Lt Gen Scott Berrier, Director, Defence Intelligence Agency told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a recent Congressional hearing that Pakistan currently views instability in Afghanistan as its most pressing concern and will likely prioritise preventing its spillover into Pakistan in the next year and beyond.

“Although Pakistan has not formally recognised the Taliban, Islamabad seeks to maintain positive relations with them, and it is providing humanitarian assistance, international outreach, and technical support to achieve this,” Berrier said.

“Pakistan views the Taliban as a strategic asset, useful for securing its interests in Afghanistan. However, Islamabad’s ability to shape Taliban behaviour will probably diminish because the group no longer relies on its safe havens in Pakistan,” he said.

Pakistan remains vulnerable to attacks by a variety of anti-Pakistan militant groups, including Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), ISIS-K, and Baloch separatists, he said.

Pakistan’s military continues to execute operations against these militant groups and remains concerned about their ability to conduct small-scale attacks and occasional high-profile attacks inside the country, he said.

“Since 2020, TTP has consolidated factions and increased its attack tempo. In November 2021, TTP agreed to a one-month ceasefire with Pakistan but announced it would not extend it further due to perceived Pakistani violations of the terms of the agreement. Fighting resumed in early December 2021, with dozens of deadly attacks, and probably will persist,” he added.

A Pakistani delegation led by a former ISI chief Faiz Hameed reportedly held talks in Afghanistan with the representatives of the banned terror group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) involved in scores of deadly attacks on Pakistani security forces, according to a media report from Islamabad on Tuesday.

However, there was no official confirmation from either side about the development but reports suggested that it was part of a renewed push by the Afghan Taliban to broker some kind of a deal between Pakistan and the TTP, The Express Tribune reported quoting Afghan journalists and sources.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/pakistan-views-afghan-taliban-as-strategic-asset-top-us-intelligence-official/960624/

--------

 

Arab World

 

Hezbollah, allies lose parliamentary majority in Lebanon polls

İdiris Okuduci 

17.05.2022

BEIRUT, Lebanon

Lebanese group Hezbollah and its allies lost majority in the 128-seat parliament following this weekend’s general elections, according to official results announced by the interior minister on Tuesday.

The final election results announced by Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi showed that no party has secured the 64 seats necessary to form the government.

The Lebanese Forces Party, an opponent of Hezbollah, gained ground by securing 20 seats, up from only 15 in the outgoing parliament.

Hezbollah opponent Kataeb Party, a Christian faction led by Samy Gemayel, also increased its number of lawmakers in the parliament from three to five.

The Progressive Socialist Party led by Druze politician Walid Jumblatt won nine seats in Sunday’s vote, the Christian Independence Movement won two seats, while the Christian National Liberal Party won only one seat.

The Hezbollah group, which is defined as being close to the Syrian regime and Iran, increased its votes slightly, but its allies either lost votes or could not enter the parliament.

Hezbollah won 16 seats in the new parliament, up from 14 in the outgoing parliament.

A total of 718 candidates ran for places in the parliament during Sunday’s vote.

Voter turnout in the elections reached 41%, down from over 49% in the 2018 elections, Mawlawi told reporters.

Sunday’s parliamentary elections were the first in Lebanon since the 2020 Beirut port explosion that killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and destroyed much of the capital Beirut.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/hezbollah-allies-lose-parliamentary-majority-in-lebanon-polls/2590518

--------

Qatar to invest $5 billion in Spain’s EU-funded recovery

18 May ,2022

Qatar’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund plans to invest $5 billion in Spanish projects, the Gulf state’s ruler said late on Tuesday in a dinner held in his honor in Madrid.

The amount shows how confident Qatar is in the Spanish economy’s strength, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said in a speech during a dinner held in King Felipe’s Palace in Madrid, a government source told Reuters on Tuesday.

Qatar’s ruler, who is visiting Spain this week, is expected to sign a bilateral agreement with Spain to invest in the projects funded by the European Union COVID recovery funds, the first such agreements between a member state and a non-EU country.

The investments, mainly in sustainability and digitalization projects, are due to be implemented within two to three years, according to that person, government sources told Reuters.

Spain, the main receiver of EU funds, with a total 140 billion euros ($147.53 billion), about half of its in grants, is scrambling to get support from private and foreign investors to speed up the recovery from the record 11 percent contraction it suffered in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

As part of efforts to lift up its economy, Spain wants to build up an energy hub around Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports and re-export terminals.

The country has spare LNG capacity and aims to position a supply hub for the EU nations seeking to reduce their dependence on Russia.

Spain though still lacks re-export capacity to the north to live up to its hub ambitions.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/18/Qatar-to-invest-5-billion-in-Spain-s-EU-funded-recovery

--------

MPs charged over Beirut blast re-elected, troubling families of victims

17 May ,2022

Two Lebanese lawmakers charged in connection with the 2020 Beirut port blast have been re-elected in the first poll since the catastrophe, leaving some families of victims fearing further delays in a stalled investigation into the explosion.

Many in Lebanon blame the disaster, which killed more than 215 people, on safety failings by senior political and security officials. Accountability for the blast emerged as a main rallying issue for opposition candidates and voters.

Interior Ministry results show Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter, both running with the Lebanese Hezbollah-backed Amal Movement, won seats in Baalbek-Hermel and south Lebanon respectively.

Khalil and Zeaiter were charged in December 2020 but deny any wrongdoing and have declined to attend interrogation hearings, citing immunity afforded to them by their parliamentary seats.

The investigations are secret so the exact charges against them have not been made public.

Rima Zahed, whose brother Amin died in the blast and who sits on a committee representing victims, described their victory as a “farce.”

Another committee member, Kayan Tleis, whose 39-year-old brother Mohammad died in the explosion, told Reuters: “We are troubled and provoked and don’t want anybody to be above the law.”

An arrest warrant was issued for Khalil but was not implemented by security forces, who cited parliamentary immunity.

Lawsuits filed by suspects including the two MPs against the judge investigating the blast have stalled the probe for months.

Still, victims’ relatives said they were encouraged by wins by newcomer opposition candidates in Beirut, who took five of 19 seats across the capital’s two electoral districts.

“We have more people in parliament who can work for us... They are people who will help our cause,” Tleis said. “I hope we will not have to wait long for justice.”

Newcomers who won include the former head of the Beirut Bar Association, Melhem Khalaf, who was backed by the families of some blast victims.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/17/MPs-charged-over-Beirut-blast-re-elected-troubling-families-of-victims

--------

Lebanon cenbank says to continue selling dollars at Sayrafa rate ‘without amendment’

17 May ,2022

Lebanon’s central bank will continue to allow commercial banks to purchase US dollars on its Sayrafa platform rate, it said on Tuesday, in response to rumors it had halted purchases following the country’s parliamentary election.

A statement by the bank said the purchases, which began in January, could take place “as usual, without amendment.”

The policy has been criticized as unsustainable for using limited US dollar reserves to prop up the local currency, which has lost more than 90 percent of its value since the economic crisis began in 2019.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/17/Lebanon-cenbank-says-to-continue-selling-dollars-at-Sayrafa-rate-without-amendment-

--------

Saudi deputy defense minister meets US national security adviser

May 18, 2022

RIYADH: Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of defense, on Tuesday met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Washington to review bilateral ties.

Prince Khalid said in a Tweet that the meeting was upon the directive of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“I met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to review the enduring and historic Saudi-US partnership, and discuss solidifying US-Saudi coordination,” he said.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2084336/saudi-arabia

--------

Son of Egypt’s former president Mubarak says family clear of corruption charges

May 18, 2022

CAIRO: The son of Egypt’s former president said Tuesday that he and family members were innocent of corruption charges made in international courts after the country’s 2011 popular uprising.

His statements came after years of attempts by the deposed president’s family to rehabilitate its image as it faced litigation in Egypt and abroad.

In a video statement released online, Gamal Mubarak, the son of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, said that recent court decisions in the European Union and elsewhere demonstrate their innocence, but did not explain how the family had amassed its significant wealth.

In February, a massive leak of Credit Suisse clients’ information showed Gamal Mubarak and his brother, Alaa, to have held at least $197.5 million in the bank at one point in time.

“The facts have now been established, and the false allegations have been unequivocally rebutted. The historical record has thus been independently and judicially corrected,” he said in a video statement released on YouTube. He blamed Egyptian judicial authorities for taking the issue to international courts.

The 2011 protests were built on calls for an end to deep-rooted embezzlement and government corruption in Egypt, and growing concerns that Gamal Mubarak would be set up to succeed his father, who was in power for nearly 30 years. The international anti-corruption group Transparency International has estimated that as president, Mubarak stole some $70 billion in public funds. The former president died in 2020, aged 91.

In April, Swiss prosecutors decided not to file charges after concluding a decade-long investigation into alleged money laundering and organized crime linked to linked to Mubarak’s circles in Egypt. They also said they would release some 400 million Swiss francs — $430 million — frozen in Swiss banks.

The same month, the General Court of the European Union ruled that the rights of Mubarak’s wife, two sons and their wives had not been respected during an local Egyptian investigation of his assets, on which the prosecution was depending. The ruling meant EU sanctions on the Mubaraks’ accounts were deemed unlawful, and lifted. Gamal Mubarak said his family was being reimbursed for their legal costs related to the case.

Transparency International condemned the move, saying it would show corrupt leaders around the world that they can act with impunity.

The EU and Swiss investigations were part of a series of court proceedings against the Mubaraks in the wake of the mass protests. The father and the two sons were first detained in April 2011, two months after the uprising forced Mubarak to step down as part of the Arab Spring protest movement. A leading military council was established in his place, which then gave way to the divisive Islamist president Muhammad Mursi after elections in 2012. Mursi was later deposed by the military amid more popular protests.

Following a lengthy trial, Hosni Mubarak was acquitted of killing protesters during the 18-day uprising against his autocratic rule.

The two sons and their father were sentenced to three years in prison following their conviction of embezzling funds set aside for the restoration and maintenance of presidential palaces, using the money to upgrade their private residences. The sons were released in 2015 for time served, while Mubarak walked free in 2017. The trio paid back to the state the money they embezzled.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2084301/middle-east

--------

Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government arrests members of PKK-linked group

17.05.2022

ERBIL, Iraq

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq announced Monday that its security units had arrested members of a group affiliated with the PKK terrorist organization ahead of a planned attack.

According to the anti-terror units of the KRG, the terrorists were planning to carry out rocket attacks on Peshmerga forces, public areas, state buildings and dams.

The Security Council of the KRG announced on April 26 that a “dangerous plot” aimed at the region was neutralized and that security forces had confiscated a large number of explosives.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iraq-s-kurdish-regional-government-arrests-members-of-pkk-linked-group/2589956

--------

UAE Development Under President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan 'Example for Islamic World'

17 May 2022

Analysts praised former United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his role in the development of the UAE in a short time and said it could be an example for other Islamic countries. 

According to the head of the Afghan traders' council in the UAE, more than $10 billion has been invested by Afghan traders in the UAE and around 300,000 Afghan citizens are working there.

“Around 80 percent of top traders have been living in the UAE for over the past 30 years. They have invested in different fields,” said Obaidullah Sadarkhail, head of the council.  

The UAE has also supported many development projects in Afghanistan since 2002. Under Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed a town was built in Kabul at the cost of $179 million.  

Khalifa, who was born in 1948, came to power in 2004 in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and became the head of state. He was the oldest son of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. 

He graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK.

When Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed was born, Abu Dhabi was known for the fishing industry and had a population of only 4,000.

“Political balance, economic balance, attracting foreign investment and formatting rules for investment which encourage foreign investment, are the main points (implemented) by the Sheikh Khalifa, which will provide examples for a long time,” said Sayed Masoud, an economist. 

The UAE also provided a large amount of aid to Afghanistan during the time of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed. 

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed supported the formation of a university in Khost, the construction of a residential town in Kabul and many other big development projects in Afghanistan. 

The latest development project supported by the UAE was the residential town in Kabul which has 3,000 housing complexes. 

“He constructed a university in Afghanistan, many mosques and focused on welfare projects in every corner of Afghanistan,” said Farid Rohani, a trader.

“This (UAE) was the only Arabic and Islamic country that sent its troops to Afghanistan during the past 20 years,” said Sayed Noorullah Raghi, a former diplomat. 

The analysts believe that Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed was able to manage the balance between the East and West.

“Even though every country has its own specialties, the UAE could be a good model to all Islamic countries. The civilization of Islam with open views, justice and implementation of law and the distribution of power among the five Sheikhs, these all could be a good model for Islamic countries,” said Azeraksh Hafizi, former head of ECO Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed died at age 73 last Friday. 

The UAE announced 40 days of mourning. His younger brother Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/index.php/afghanistan-178057

--------

 

Pakistan

 

Two Pakistani Taliban Commanders are Killed in Pakistan’s Northwest Region

By Saqalain Eqbal

18 May 2022

Two local Tehreek-e-Taliban aka Pakistan Pakistnai Taliban commanders were killed in a battle with Pakistani security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Pakistani military reported on Tuesday, May 17.

Pakistani Taliban commanders were killed in battle in the North Waziristan region, which borders Afghanistan, according to the Pakistani military.

The Pakistani Taliban’s ally in Afghanistan, the Afghan Taliban, regained control of the country in August 2021.

Following the Taliban’s assumption of power in Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban became emboldened and initiated attacks against Pakistani security forces.

Thousands of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan fanatics are sheltering in Afghanistan, according to Pakistani officials, and frequently coordinate operations against Pakistani forces from Afghan territory.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/two-pakistani-taliban-commanders-are-killed-in-pakistans-northwest-region75983/

--------

Pakistani military says shootout kills 2 Taliban commanders

May 17, 2022

PESHAWAR: Pakistani security forces killed two local Taliban commanders in a shootout Tuesday in a former militant stronghold in the country’s northwest, the military said.

In a statement, it said the militants were killed in North Waziristan, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Taliban — also known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP — are a separate group from the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan who took over that country last August, though the two are allies.

The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has emboldened the Pakistani Taliban to step up attacks on Pakistani forces, raising fears that the insurgents are regrouping in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistani-military-says-shootout-kills-2-taliban-commanders/articleshow/91616798.cms

--------

Pakistani man from minority Ahmadi community stabbed to death over faith: Police

M ZULQERNAIN

18 May, 2022

Lahore, May 18 (PTI) A 35-year-old Pakistani man belonging to the minority Ahmadi community has been stabbed to death by a “religious fanatic” over his faith in the country’s Punjab province, the police said on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s Parliament in 1974 declared the Ahmadi community as non-Muslims. A decade later, they were banned from calling themselves Muslims. They are banned from preaching and from travelling to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.

The latest incident took place in Okara district, some 130 km from here, on Tuesday.

Abdul Salam, a member of the minority Ahmadi community, was brutally stabbed to death by “religious fanatic” Hafiz Ali Raza apparently because of his faith, senior police officer Muhammad Saddique told PTI.

“When Salam was returning from his agricultural land, Raza attacked him with a knife. Salam died on the spot with multiple wounds on his body. Raza managed to flee after raising religious slogans,” the officer said.

A case has been registered under murder and terrorism charges against the suspect.

The police officer said that the alleged killer was a seminary student and had no other apparent reason to kill Salam except his faith.

Since Salam’s murder created terror in the locality, the suspect has also been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Salam’s uncle Zafar Iqbal told the police that Raza had killed his nephew “for his religious hatred against Ahmadis”.

He said that his nephew had no enmity whatsoever with anyone, including the killer.

“Raza is a member of radical Islamist party, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) which promoted religious hatred in the area. After the incident, the Ahmadi families living in the Okara district are feeling highly insecure,” Iqbal said.

He urged the police to arrest the culprit at the earliest and provide security to the Ahmadi community.

“Attacks on Ahmadis are increasing with every passing day. It is becoming more difficult for Ahmadis to do even basic things like running their business or going to their work. The government is not interested in curtailing hate speech or apprehending those behind this violence,” Jamaat Ahmadiya Pakistan spokesperson Saleemuddin said on Twitter.

Minorities, especially Ahmadis, are very vulnerable in Pakistan and they are often targeted by religious extremists.

Former military dictator Gen Zia-ul Haq had made it a punishable offence for Ahmadiyyas to call themselves Muslims or to refer to their faith as Islam.

In Pakistan, around 10 million out of the 220 million population are non-Muslims.

According to the 2017 census, Hindus constitute the largest religious minority (5 million) in Pakistan. Christians make up the second largest religious minority, with almost the same number (4.5 million) and their concentration is mostly in urban Sindh, Punjab and parts of Balochistan.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/pakistani-man-from-minority-ahmadi-community-stabbed-to-death-over-faith-police/960672/

--------

Fazl suggests Nawaz should return home, participate in politics

NNI 18 May, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Tuesday that he was in favor of the fact that former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif should return to Pakistan and stay in the country and do politics.

In an interview with the BBC, the JUI-F chief said that it was decided to go to the polls after reforms in some institutions and it cannot be said how long it will take to carry out electoral reforms. “The government has more than 1 year and it cannot go beyond this,” he said.

Source: Brecorder

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

https://www.brecorder.com/news/40173873/fazl-suggests-nawaz-should-return-home-participate-in-politics

--------

ECP to announce verdict on disqualification references against 25 dissident PTI MPAs today

May 18, 2022

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is set to announce at 12pm its verdict on references seeking the disqualification of 25 dissident MPAs of the PTI, who voted for PML-N's Hamza Shehbaz in the election for Punjab chief minister.

It had reserved the verdict yesterday.

The Election Commission's verdict is particularly significant in light of the Supreme Court's decision on a presidential reference seeking its interpretation of Article 63-A, related to the disqualification of lawmakers over defection, which was announced yesterday.

Article 63-A seeks to restrict lawmakers from voting (or abstaining) in violation of party instructions "in relation to election of the prime minister or chief minister; or a vote of confidence or a vote of no-confidence; or a money bill or a Constitution (amendment) bill".

In its interpretation of this Article, the apex court said votes cast against party direction "cannot be counted and must be disregarded, and this is so regardless of whether the party head, subsequent to such vote, proceeds to take, or refrains from taking, action that would result in a declaration of defection".

The votes of the 25 PTI dissidents had been instrumental in helping Hamza get over the line; he received a total of 197 votes while 186 votes are required for a simple majority. If the 25 votes by PTI lawmakers are removed from his tally, he would lose his majority.

Read: After SC opinion on Article 63-A, what's the status of Punjab CM election?

Following Hamza's election as the chief minister on April 16, the PTI had sent a declaration for declaring the 25 MPAs as defectors to Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, who was also the PTI-PML-Q's joint candidate for the CM Office.

Subsequently, Elahi had sent the reference to the ECP, urging it to de-seat these lawmakers for defecting from the PTI by casting their votes in Hamza's favour in violation of party directions.

The dissident lawmakers are Raja Sagheer Ahmed, Malik Ghulam Rasool Sangha, Saeed Akbar Khan, Mohammad Ajmal, Abdul Aleem Khan, Nazir Ahmed Chohan, Mohammad Amin Zulqernain, Malik Nauman Langrial, Mohammad Salman, Zawar Hussain Warraich, Nazir Ahmed Khan, Fida Hussain, Zahra Batool, Mohammad Tahir, Aisha Nawaz, Sajida Yousaf, Haroon Imran Gill, Uzma Kardar, Malik Asad Ali, Ijaz Masih, Mohammad Sabtain Raza, Mohsin Atta Khan Khosa, Mian Khalid Mehmood, Mehar Mohammad Aslam and Faisal Hayat.

Most of the 25 dissident MPAs tried to justify their action of voting in favour of Hamza by claiming that they had received no directives from the party. They raised procedural objections and claimed they never received any show-cause notices — a mandatory requirement.

However, PTI's counsel, Barrister Ali Zafar, argued that the MPAs were issued instructions by the party's chief whip in the Punjab Assembly, as well as, Secretary General Asad Umar through a letter.

Article 63-A

According to Article 63-A of the Constitution, a parliamentarian can be disqualified on grounds of defection if he "votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction issued by the parliamentary party to which he belongs, in relation to election of the prime minister or chief minister; or a vote of confidence or a vote of no-confidence; or a money bill or a Constitution (amendment) bill".

The Article says that the party head has to declare in writing that the MNA concerned has defected but before making the declaration, the party head will "provide such member with an opportunity to show cause as to why such declaration may not be made against him".

After giving the member a chance to explain their reasons, the party head will forward the declaration to the speaker, who will forward it to the chief election commissioner (CEC). The CEC will then have 30 days to confirm the declaration. If confirmed by the CEC, the member "shall cease to be a member of the House and his seat shall become vacant".

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1690279/ecp-to-announce-verdict-on-disqualification-references-against-25-dissident-pti-mpas-today

--------

Pakistan-IMF talks begin in Qatar

Tahir Sherani

May 18, 2022

The government began talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday over the release of crucial funds, a process slowed by concerns about the pace of economic reforms in the country.

Pakistan has repeatedly sought international support for its economy, which has been hit by crippling national debt, galloping inflation and a plummeting rupee.

The talks are being held in the Qatari capital Doha, the Ministry of Finance said, and are expected to continue into next week.

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Minister of State Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob Shaikh, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Acting Governor Dr Murtaza Syed, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Asim Ahmad and other officials from the Finance Division are participating in the talks.

A major sticking point is likely to be over costly subsidies — notably for fuel and electricity — and the finance minister said he wants the two sides to “find a middle ground”.

“The government will try to convince the IMF that for political stability purposes it is important to keep at least some of the subsidies,” said economist Shahrukh Wani.

“The IMF will possibly, rightly, say that these are unsustainable and they should be rolled back to make the trade and budget deficit manageable,” he added.

A $6 billion IMF bailout package signed by former prime minister Imran Khan in 2019 has never been fully implemented because his government reneged on agreements to cut or end some subsidies and to improve revenue and tax collection.

Islamabad has so far received $3bn, with the programme due to end later this year.

Officials are seeking an extension to the programme through to June 2023, as well as the release of the next tranche of $1bn.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has vowed to jumpstart the moribund economy, but analysts say his fragile government has failed to take tough decisions.

In recent meetings with the new finance minister, the IMF has linked the continuation of its loan programme with the reversal of fuel subsidies, which were introduced by the previous government. However, Prime Minister Shehbaz has multiple times rejected summaries by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority and the finance ministry to increase fuel prices.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1690281/pakistan-imf-talks-begin-in-qatar

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Militant Suspects Held in Indonesia Pledged Islamic State Loyalty - Police

May 17, 2022

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Members of a cohort of suspected extremists arrested in Indonesia at the weekend had made pledges of loyalty to Islamic State via an instant messaging application, the national police said on Tuesday.

Indonesia's elite Densus 88 counter-terrorism taskforce arrested two dozen suspects during raids on Saturday and subsequent interviews revealed some had performed bayat, or a pledge of allegiance, to Islamic State's new leader, Abu al-Hassan al-hashemi al-Quraishi, police said.

National police spokesperson Ahmad Ramadhan said 22 of the suspects were detained in central Sulawesi, an area with a long history of sectarian violence and extremism, and were linked to the East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) network.

They had assisted MIT by providing ammunition and concealing their activities, he told a news conference. The other two arrests were made on Java island and in Kalimantan.

Members of the group performed bayat by reading a text message circulated on their WhatsApp messenger accounts, he added.

As many as 1,100 men, women and children left Indonesia to join the Islamic State at the height of the group's control of territory in Syria and Iraq, according to Jakarta-based security expert Sidney Jones.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, suffered its worst militant attack in 2002 when two nightclubs on the island of Bali were bombed, killing 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

The attacks were carried out by Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant group that later conducted bombings in the capital Jakarta.

Source: US News

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

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-05-17/militant-suspects-held-in-indonesia-pledged-islamic-state-loyalty-police

--------

Perlis Govt, State Islamic Religious And Malay Customs Council, Object To Single Mum’s Application To Challenge Children’s Conversion To Islam

17 May 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — The state government of Perlis, the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIPs) and two others today objected to the application for leave for judicial review by single mother, Loh Siew Hong, to challenge her ex-husband’s action in registering their three children as Muslim converts without her consent.

The woman’s lawyer A Srimurugan said that the four respondents submitted their objection on the ground that Loh had filed the application for leave for judicial review after the allotted period of time.

“The respondents objected on the ground that she should have filed the application within 90 days after her children converted to Islam on July 7, 2020.

“We have also included relief to get an extension of time if it was too late to file the application, but it was also objected by the respondents,” he said when contacted after the online hearing of the application before High Court Judge Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh today.

Srimurugan said there was no delay in the application as Loh only found out that her children had converted to Islam on March 10 and the application was filed on March 25 with the Perlis State Registrar of Converts, Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council, Perlis Mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin and the Perlis state government named as the first to the fourth respondent.

The lawyer said the court set August 1 for the decision on the application.

The single mother is seeking a declaration that her three children are Hindus and her ex-husband, M Nagahswaran, did not have the legal capacity to allow the Perlis State Registrar of Converts to register their children as converts without her consent.

The woman is also seeking a declaration that her three children, as children, do not have the legal capacity to convert to Islam without her consent.

She also sought a certiorari order to revoke the Declaration of Conversion to Islam, dated July 7, 2020, issued by the Registrar of Converts of Perlis in the name of her three children, and also other cards on their conversion to Islam that have been issued by other parties, and also prevent any party from issuing such a card.

Loh is also applying for a mandamus order to compel the Perlis State Registrar of Converts to delete or cancel the names of her three children or their Muslim names in the Perlis State Register of Converts and a prohibition order to prevent Mohd Asri, through officers, employees or the Perlis State Mufti Department from issuing statements that could mean that her children are converts or Muslims.

She is also seeking a declaration that Section 117 (b) of the Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2006, which empowers the Registrar of Converts of Perlis to register a child as a convert only with the consent of the mother or father of the child, even if both of them are still alive, is unconstitutional and is invalid.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/05/17/perlis-govt-state-islamic-religious-and-malay-customs-council-two-others-ob/2059424

--------

‘Tiny’ Usno could be the catalyst of big changes in Sabah

Robin Augustin

May 16, 2022

PETALING JAYA: For several years now, the once-mighty United Sabah National Organisation has been trying to find its way back into Sabah’s political mainstream without much success.

Last Monday, that changed when the party officially became a member of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, the coalition in charge of Malaysia’s second-largest state.

On the face of it, Usno’s entry into GRS seems puzzling.

There is already a Muslim Bumiputera-dominated party in the form of Bersatu, lynchpin of the GRS coalition. Usno’s entry raises questions about what the coalition’s smallest member could possibly bring to the table.

“It’s a vehicle to unite Sabah’s Muslim Bumiputeras under one party. And it’s about time,” one Sabah Umno veteran told FMT.

The leader, who declined to be named, said Usno was already reaching out to Umno leaders to entice them to join them.

The party, led by former Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia, could serve as a new home for Sabah Bersatu leaders, the Umno veteran said, as Bersatu is as good as dead in Sabah, especially with Muhyiddin Yassin no longer prime minister.

He said many Sabah members of Bersatu and Umno were looking at Usno’s possible rise into becoming the Sabah equivalent of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, the dominant party in Sarawak, and thereby free Sabah of political control from the Peninsula.

“This would be a big change. This should be the goal. But making it work, getting everyone to come and join Usno is the real challenge, particularly accommodating Umno leaders.

“Many of us still have grassroots support, so how will we fit into the picture if we ‘pindah rumah’ (jump to Usno)? This is something Usno has to think about.”

Universiti Malaysia Sabah analyst Lee Kuok Tiung said he believed Usno was more of a “Plan B” for the Sabah Bersatu and Umno leaders. “The dynamic between Umno and Bersatu in Sabah is very different from that in Peninsular Malaysia. Here, they are still very much friends,” he told FMT.

But if they came under too much pressure to fight each other, it was likely they would all go to Usno, he said.

However, Lee said he believed state Bersatu and Umno leaders would prefer the status quo as it allows them to share power without having to be under “one single boss”.

“In terms of branding too, their flags are more recognisable than Usno’s. But I think if their hands are forced, they may move to Usno.”

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/05/16/tiny-usno-could-be-the-catalyst-of-big-changes-in-sabah/

--------

Singapore denies ‘extremist’ Indonesian cleric entry

May 18, 2022

SINGAPORE: Singapore said late yesterday border officials in the city state had denied entry to an Indonesian Muslim cleric, citing what it said were Abdul Somad Batubara’s “extremist and segregationist teachings”.

The cleric, who had travelled by ferry from the Indonesian port of Batam to Singapore on Monday has a large online following in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.

“Somad has been known to preach extremist and segregationist teachings, which are unacceptable in Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society,” Singapore’s home affairs ministry said in a statement.

Somad, along with six companions, was denied entry after being interviewed by border officials at a ferry terminal in Singapore.

“Somad has preached that suicide bombings are legitimate in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and are considered ‘martyrdom’ operations,” MHA said.

“He has also made comments denigrating members of other faith communities, such as Christians, by describing the Christian crucifix as the dwelling place of an ‘infidel jinn (spirit/demon)’. In addition, Somad has publicly referred to non-Muslims as ‘kafirs’ (infidels),” it said.

Somad did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Indonesia’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the incident.

In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Somad said immigration officials had not given him an explanation for preventing him from entering Singapore.

“They need to explain to our community, why did your country, your government reject us, why did your government deport us. Why? Because of terrorism, IS, narcotics?”

On Somad’s Instagram page, which has 6.5 million followers, the cleric posted a photograph of himself before leaving Singapore in a room with a caged top that he likened to a “prison”.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2022/05/18/singapore-denies-extremist-indonesian-cleric-entry/

--------

Indonesian clerical body 'sorry' for false apostasy claims

May 17, 2022

A provincial branch of Indonesia’s highest Muslim clerical body was forced to apologize on May 17 after coming under fire from local authorities and Christians for indirectly accusing religious minorities of apostasy.

The row began several days earlier when the North Sumatra branch of the Ulema Council claimed that a district in the province had a very alarming rate of apostasy cases.

Muhammad Hatta, who heads the council’s local religious propagation desk, said over the weekend that he was informed about a large number of Muslims abandoning their faith in Langkat district.

Despite a lack of concrete data confirming this, he claimed that “it was very alarming.”

According to him, there were attempts to convert local Muslims to other faiths through marriage and other methods.

“Sometimes a couple professing Islam and another religion get married the Islamic way but after the Muslim is forced to adhere to his or her partner’s religion,” Indonesian language news portal detick.com quoted him as saying.

He pointed to a case in which a 30-year-old Muslim woman was allegedly forced to convert to Christianity after marrying a Protestant man in the district.

However, his claims were fiercely denied by a local official and a Catholic Church leader.

The acting district head, Syah Afandin, acknowledged a Muslim woman had converted to Christianity but asserted that “she was the only one” and “there are no attempts at organized apostasy.”

He said Hatta’s remarks were very inflammatory, “because what really happened was that the Muslim woman dated the Christian man, left her parent’s home for six months to be with him, converted to Christianity, and was married to him by a Protestant pastor.”

He also said the Muslim woman’s parents had filed a police report which was rejected as they had no authority to deal with the case.

Speaking with UCA News on May 17, Reverend Ahmad Sajli DK Pinem, general secretary of the North Sumatra chapter of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, criticized the said the local Ulema council claim was blown out of proportion.

Commenting on the conversion of the Muslim woman he said: “Conversion is a personal affair. It has nothing to do with others.”

He said the woman’s family might be disappointed with her decision. “Or perhaps they want something else. I do not know.”

He also called on Christians in the district not to be provoked by the Ulema Council's claim about large-scale conversions he said.

The North Sumatra chapter of the MUI finally issued a clarification on May 17 following the criticisms.

Source: UC News

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/indonesian-clerical-body-sorry-for-false-apostasy-claims/97298

--------

 

Mideast

 

Yemeni minister claims Iran-backed Houthis undermining peace efforts

17 May ,2022

A Yemeni minister said the Iran-backed Houthi militia is undermining efforts to reach complete peace by violating the agreed-upon ceasefire terms, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday citing the Yemeni state-run news agency.

The claim was made by the Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Moammar al-Eryani, who said that the militia continues to “avoid its commitment to lift the seize on Taiz governate.”

US Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg had earlier said separate talks would be held to open roads in disputed Taiz region, but no progress has yet been reported.

A two-month truce between the Arab Coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi militia that runs the north went into effect on April 2, coinciding with the holy month of Ramadan, and has largely held up.

Al-Eryani said that the internationally recognized coalition government in Yemen is “keen to end the suffering of millions, including those who live in Houthi-controlled areas.”

The minister sought help from the UN to apply international pressure on the Houthis and ensure that the truce terms are followed, and importantly, lift their control over the Taiz region.

He reiterated that the country’s legitimate government is making “concessions after concessions” to find common ground and achieve peace.

As part of the truce, the first commercial flight in nearly six years took off on Monday from Yemen’s capital, which is held by the Iran-backed Houthi militia, a major step forward in a peace process that has provided rare relief from conflict, AFP reported.

Sanaa’s airport has been closed to commercial traffic since August 2016. Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been wracked with war since 2014.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/17/Yemini-minister-claims-Iran-backed-Houthis-undermining-peace-efforts

--------

Iran working on new underground centrifuges: Israel defence minister

17 May ,2022

Iran is working on advanced uranium centrifuges at new underground sites being built near its Natanz nuclear plant, Israel’s defense minister said on Tuesday, giving figures that appeared to go beyond those published by a UN watchdog.

Centrifuges are used to purify uranium for civilian projects or, at higher levels, to make bomb fuel.

Iranian progress in the field is being watched by world powers trying to resurrect a nuclear deal with Tehran, which denies having military designs.

“Iran is making an effort to complete the manufacturing and installation of 1,000 additional advanced IR6 centrifuges in its nuclear facilities, including new facilities being built at underground sites abutting Natanz,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a speech at Reichman University near Tel Aviv.

A March 3 report by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had installed or planned to install a total of three IR6 cascades, amounting to around 660 machines.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said last month that Iran had set up a new underground Natanz workshop for making centrifuge parts, an apparent precaution against attacks.

In his remarks, Gantz alluded to Israel’s long-standing threat to take military action if it deems diplomacy is at a dead end to deny its arch-enemy the means to make nuclear weapons.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/17/Iran-working-on-new-underground-centrifuges-Israel-defense-minister

--------

Algerian lawmakers seek to criminalize normalization with Israel

AbdulRazzaq bin Abdullah

17.05.2022

ALGIERS, Algeria

Algerian lawmakers on Tuesday submitted a bill criminalizing normalization with Israel, including articles prohibiting travel or any direct or indirect contact with Tel Aviv.

Youssef Ajesa, a lawmaker from the Movement of Society for Peace, told Anadolu Agency that he "lodged on behalf of his party's group of deputies (65 out of 462) the bill to the parliament.”

The Movement of Society for Peace is an Islamic party that forms the largest opposition bloc in the Algerian parliament. The party's leadership, however, has constantly confirmed its support for the country's foreign policy.

Ajesa said "his parliamentary bloc tried to include other groups to contribute to the bill, but it did not receive a response, so I took the initiative to present it in its name."

The bill includes seven articles that aim to "criminalize normalization with the Zionist entity (Israel)" as well as forbidding any contacts with Israel or traveling to and from Israel.

A simple majority (50+1) of the first chamber of Parliament is required to approve the bill to be referred to the second chamber for a final approval.

Algeria does not have any diplomatic or commercial relations with Israel, a position that enjoys broad political and popular support.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/algerian-lawmakers-seek-to-criminalize-normalization-with-israel/2590611

--------

Iran, Russia Open Joint Technology Centre in St. Petersburg

2022-May-17

Iran-Russia Joint Center has an independent management office and several joint halls for holding seminars, face-to-face meetings, and joint and specialized courses for technology companies.

The most important services of the center are facilitating the transfer and exchange of technology between Iranian and Russian companies and exporting high-tech products of Iranian companies to Russia and vice versa.

So far, 17 projects have been identified by Iranian knowledge-based companies and five by Russian technology companies which currently, seven of them are in the process of concluding contracts for the purchase, transfer and export of technology, as well as joint production in Iran.

In a relevant development in June 2021, Iran’s Consul General in Russia’s Astrakhan Region Mahdi Akouchian said Tehran is keen on comprehensive scientific and academic cooperation among five littoral countries of the Caspian Sea.

“Boosting ties among universities of Caspian region will guarantee closer ties among elites and nations of those countries,” Akouchian made the remarks during his speech at "Caspian 2021: Ways for Sustainable Development Conference".

He reiterated that exchange of professors and students, implementing joint scientific projects and research works, and establishment of multilateral scientific institutes can ensure closer ties among both elites and nations.

“In early 1990s, the need for establishment of relations among the universities and academic and research centers of the Caspian Sea littoral countries was felt and thanks to the initiative proposed jointly by the Gorgan Agricultural University and the Astrakhan Technical University, the foundation was laid for the Union of Caspian Sea universities and research institutes,” the diplomat noted.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010226000562/Iran-Rssia-Open-Jin-Technlgy-Cener-in-S-Peersbrg

--------

Ship carrying smuggled fuel seized in Iran, crew detained: Iranian media

18 May ,2022

Authorities seized a foreign ship carrying smuggled fuel in Iran's southern province of Hormozgan and detained its crew, lranian media said on Wednesday.

The ship, carrying more than 550,000 liters of smuggled fuel, was seized in Gulf waters and escorted to harbour, where it was handed to judicial authorities for the necessary investigations, according to local media.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/18/Ship-carrying-smuggled-fuel-seized-in-Iran-crew-detained-Iranian-media

--------

Iran protests spread to major central province; unofficial death toll rises to six

18 May ,2022

Protests broke out in Iran’s central province of Isfahan on Tuesday with demonstrators chanting against Iran’s clerical leaders, videos shared on social media showed.

Protesters in Isfahan’s city of Golpayegan chanted against Iran’s highest authority, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as President Ebrahim Raisi, videos shared on Twitter showed.

“Death to the dictator,” protesters in Golpayegan chanted, referring to Khamenei in one video. “Death to Raisi,” protesters chanted in another video. Al Arabiya English could not independently verify the videos’ authenticity.

Protests have broken out in several Iranian provinces – including Khuzestan, Lorestan, Charmahal and Bakhtiari,

Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad and Ardebil – since a government announcement last week that the cost of staple foods such as cooking oil, chicken, eggs and milk would rise as high as 300 percent.

Activists have reported at least six deaths since the protests began last week, blaming security forces for the deaths. The sound of gunfire could be heard in several recent protest videos on social media.

Iranian authorities have yet to report any deaths. However, one lawmaker said one person was killed during a protest in Khuzestan without giving any further details. At the same time, state media published footage of a man that said his son was shot dead by anti-regime protesters in Charmahal and Bakhtiari. Activists said authorities pressured the man into making the statement and that his son, named Saadat Hadipour, was killed by regime forces.

From non-political triggers to regime change

The latest round of protests in Iran – triggered by a sharp rise in the prices of staple foods – has quickly taken a political turn, with demonstrators calling for regime change in dozens of Iranian cities.

That has been the case with protests in Iran in recent years.

In 2021, protests erupted over water shortages. In 2019, an overnight increase in fuel prices sparked protests across Iran. In both 2021 and 2019, the protests’ trigger was non-political, but protesters’ eventual demands were political as they demanded regime change.

“Over the past half-decade, the Islamic Republic has seen explicitly non-political triggers, be they economic or social, produce explicitly political protests,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), told Al Arabiya English.

“In recent years, Iranians have used every available opportunity to signal their dissatisfaction and discontent for the regime that rules over them. This includes election boycotts and widespread protests,” he said.

“The decline of the ballot box and embrace of street power by Iranians is fundamentally a proxy for the lack of legitimacy the system has in the eyes of Iranians,” Ben Taleblu added.

Ben Taleblu believes more protests are on the horizon, given the poor state of Iran’s economy. According to official figures, inflation has risen to nearly 40 percent, and almost half of Iran’s 85 million population is under the poverty line.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/18/Iran-protests-spread-to-major-central-province-unofficial-death-toll-rises-to-six

--------

 

Africa

 

African Union, Somali troops retake strategic town from al-Shabaab terrorists

Mohammed Dhaysane 

17.05.2022

MOGADISHU, Somalia

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), alongside the Somali national army (SNA), recaptured a strategic town Tuesday in southern Somalia, according to an official.

Burundian peacekeepers serving under the AU mission, backed by Somali soldiers, retook El-Baraf in the Middle Shabelle province, according to mayor Abdullahi Haji.

It comes 14 days after al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group, al-Shabab, attacked an AU military base in the town that killed dozens of Burundian troops.

El-Baraf is located 150 kilometers (93 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu.

A security official told Anadolu Agency that AU peacekeepers have an image to protect and recapturing the town will ease the pressure that was put on them after they lost the town in the al-Shabaab raid.

“ATMIS have an image to protect because they are paid millions of dollars by the international partners to fight al-Shabaab and it will be shameful and an admission of defeat if they don't get back to the Ceel Baraf military base or inflict huge damage to al-Shabaab," he told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/african-union-somali-troops-retake-strategic-town-from-al-shabaab-terrorists/2590724

--------

Turkiye has touched minds and hearts of Somalis: Somalia's new president

Mohammed Dhaysane and Tufan Aktas  

17.05.2022

MOGADISHU, Somalia

Somalia's new president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who spoke exclusively to Anadolu Agency in his first-ever international interview, said that Turkiye has touched the hearts of minds of Somali people due to its tangible and visible impact in Somalia.

Mohamud was elected by Somalia's members of parliament on Sunday in the capital Mogadishu, defeating the outgoing president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, who said the Turkish people and its government has a lot of impact on Somalia.

"As I said, the Turkish people and the government of Turkey have a lot of impact on Somali people. The support of Turkiye has touched the hearts and minds of Somali people and this support was very visible and tangible and saved many many lives throughout Somalia," the new president told Anadolu Agency in the capital Mogadishu.

He said Turkiye supports the human capital of Somalia by providing education from schooling all the way to universities.

President-elect Mohamud said Turkiye provides high-level training for the Horn of African nation's security forces.

"Turkiye provides very competent security officers by training not only in Turkiye but here in Somalia and equipping, providing all necessary tools to implement what they have learned in Turkiye," he said.

He added that Turkiye has a "very unique position towards the hearts of Somalia."

'Most challenging issue in Somalia is security'

Touching on his priority, President Mohamud said: "Today, the most challenging issue in Somalia is the security."

He said the fight against Al Shabab, the terror group that emerged with the collapse of the Islamic Courts Union that was established after the civil war, will continue.

Mohamud said that despite all the steps taken for the welfare of the people, Somalia could not achieve the success he had hoped for in this area.

They do not want to repeat the mistakes made in the past and the security problem is also fed by the inadequacy in other areas, he added.

Political reconciliation in Somalia

The newly elected 66-year-old president underlined the importance of political reconciliation.

"In every election, there are losers and winners. What is important after the election is we have to do some sort of healing process where the losers and winners sit together, discuss and share the future," he said.

Promising to listen to all segments of Somali society, Mohamud said they wanted to open the political space, which was narrowed and closed in recent years.

He said: "It is all about, again, moving forward about the reconciliation, not the social reconciliation but the political reconciliation. Putting the contentious issues in place and asking the people to discuss freely and fair."

Political stability, constitution among priority agenda

He underlined that the most important issues after the security are political stability and building a democratic state, Mohamud said: "Political stability means building the foundation of a democratic state, finishing the constitution, establishing electoral laws, and the political party systems, political party laws, local governance system."

"And all these must be an agenda that consensually agreed among Somali people," he added.

Regarding the exit plan of the African Union Mission to Somalia, which has been serving in the country for years and includes nearly 20,000 African soldiers, he said that the African Union forces planned to leave the country long ago, but they were not successful.

Noting that the African Union forces have done a lot for Somalia and they have sustained significant casualties, Mohamud said that after the step-by-step construction of the security system in the country, a security transfer will be possible in a short time.

Turkiye congratulates new president of Somalia

A statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that it was pleasing to see that the presidential elections in Somalia held on Sunday have been completed successfully.

"We congratulate H.E Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and wish him success during his tenure," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/turkiye-has-touched-minds-and-hearts-of-somalis-somalias-new-president/2590347

--------

Tunisia military court jails four lawmakers from dissolved parliament: Lawyer

17 May ,2022

A Tunisian military court on Tuesday issued prison sentences to four lawmakers from the country’s dissolved parliament, including Saif Eddine Maklouf, a prominent opponent of President Kais Saied, their lawyer told Reuters.

Makhlouf, head of the conservative Karama Party, and three other party members were charged with assaulting policemen last year.

The military court issued 5-month prison sentences for Makhlouf and Nidhal Saoudi and 3-month terms to Mohamed Affas and Meher Zid.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/05/17/Tunisia-military-court-jails-four-lawmakers-from-dissolved-parliament-Lawyer

--------

Incoming Somali president meets with predecessor for 1st time since election

Mohammed Dhaysane  

17.05.2022

MOGADISHU, Somalia

Somalia's new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Tuesday met with his predecessor Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo for the first time since his weekend election in the Horn of African country.

Mohamud, who was sworn in after Sunday’s presidential election, is also the first ex-president Somalia has ever returned to office.

A statement by the country's presidency said that the former president reassured Mohamud of his support for smooth assumption of office ahead of his formal inauguration.

"H.E. Farmaajo congratulated President Hassan & reassured his support for smooth assumption of office ahead of inauguration as he prepares to serve #Somalia & fulfill our Citizens’ hope,” said the statement.

In a separate tweet, Somalia's state house said the presidency got congratulatory messages for Mohamud and thanked "our friends & partners for the solidarity & willingness to further our diplomatic ties & work closely with our newly elected President, the gov't & the people of Somalia.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/incoming-somali-president-meets-with-predecessor-for-1st-time-since-election/2590717

--------

Libya's Bashagha says his government to start working from Sirte

Ebu Bekir Aşkın

18.05.2022

TRIPOLI, Libya

Libya’s parliament-appointed Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha announced late Tuesday that he will base his government in the city of Sirte as of Wednesday.

In a statement from Sirte on clashes that erupted between armed groups after he attempted to enter the capital Tripoli, Bashagha said they believe in the democratic process and the peaceful transfer of the government. He said his government will start working from Sirte and will enter Tripoli only by peaceful means.

Clashes erupted in Tripoli between armed groups loyal to Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh and rival leader Bashagha, who was recently appointed as premier by the Tobruk-based parliament.

Bashagha reached the capital Tuesday night to take control of the government from Dbeibeh, who has refused to hand over power.

However, a security source told Anadolu Agency that Bashagha was forced to leave the capital after fierce clashes were reported between the two sides.

Meanwhile, Algeria is following with concern the latest developments in "brotherly country Libya" after the conflicts in Tripoli, the country's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Algeria also called for restraint and urged the Libyan parties “to refrain from escalating tensions,” stressing that "for a democratic and modern country, the best interests of Libya should be prioritized.”

For more than two months, there have been two governments in Libya: the national unity government led by Dbeibeh and the one granted confidence in early March by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/libyas-bashagha-says-his-government-to-start-working-from-sirte/2590879

--------

 

Europe

 

Talks can resolve Turkiye’s reservations on Sweden, Finland joining NATO: Finnish president

Burak Dag  

17.05.2022

STOCKHOLM

Turkiye’s reservations on Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bids can be resolved with the help of constructive talks, said Finland’s president on Tuesday.

Speaking in the Swedish parliament, the Rigksdag, Sauli Niinisto said: "The statements from Turkey have changed and hardened very quickly in recent days."

He added: "But I am sure that, with the help of constructive talks, we will resolve the situation.”

On the factors that pushed Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership after decades of opposition, Niinisto said they are taking these "historic steps in the shadow of brutal war," referring to Russia’s nearly four-month-old war on Ukraine.

"December last year marked the beginning of a course of events that revolutionized our security policy environment," he said. "Russia's demand to stop NATO enlargement was aimed at reducing our freedom of choice and our sovereignty. This put us in a new position."

Among Russia’s justifications for starting the war – most criticized by Western countries as being mere pretexts – is Ukraine being close to joining NATO, though its membership bid was in the earliest stages.

Niinisto underlined that Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine showed that Moscow is "ready to use its armed forces in its immediate areas to achieve its goals."

"The sum of these factors showed that our traditional positioning was unsustainable," he added.

Saying that Finland and Sweden are acting together in the NATO membership process, Niinisto said they will jointly apply for NATO membership.

Turkiye, a longstanding NATO member, has voiced objections to Finland and Sweden’s membership bids, criticizing the two Nordic countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups like the YPG/PKK.

The Turkish Justice Ministry, in line with court verdicts, requested from Finland the extradition of 12 terrorists – half affiliated with the PKK terror group, and half with the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated coup of 2016.

Both Finland and Sweden "must stop supporting terror groups," and give clear security guarantees to Ankara to become NATO members, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday. He underlined that NATO is a security alliance in which member states should show solidarity with each other.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkiye, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.

The Turkish government accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/talks-can-resolve-turkiye-s-reservations-on-sweden-finland-joining-nato-finnish-president/2590622

--------

Germany says Turkiye’s concerns over Sweden, Finland’s NATO bid should be taken seriously

Ayhan Simsek

17.05.2022

BERLIN

Turkiye’s concerns about Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO should be taken seriously, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels ahead of an EU defense ministers meeting, Lambrecht underlined that NATO decisions require unanimous approval from all allies, including Turkiye.

“Therefore, it is also important now to have intensive talks with Turkiye and take its concerns or arguments seriously,” she stressed.

Lambrecht underlined Germany’s support for Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership and expressed hope that they will find a solution.

“If strong EU members like Sweden and Finland finally join the alliance, it will enrich NATO. I am confident that Turkiye will be convinced too,” she said.

Sweden’s government signed a formal request to join NATO on Tuesday, while Finland’s parliament is expected to hold a vote later in the day on the country’s application for NATO membership.

Turkiye, a longstanding NATO member, has voiced its objections to Finland and Sweden’s membership bids, criticizing the two Nordic countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups like the YPG/PKK.

Both Finland and Sweden “must stop supporting terror groups,” and give clear security guarantees to Ankara to become NATO members, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.

He underlined that NATO is a security alliance, in which member states should show solidarity with each other.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/germany-says-turkiye-s-concerns-over-sweden-finland-s-nato-bid-should-be-taken-seriously/2590499

--------

UN Human Rights office concerned over pending Swedish-Iranian’s execution

17 May ,2022

The UN human rights office’s spokesperson on Tuesday urged Iran to halt the imminent execution of Swedish-Iranian academic Ahmadreza Djalali and reverse his death sentence.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency has reported that Djalali, sentenced to death on charges of spying for Israel, would be executed by May 21.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/05/17/UN-Human-Rights-office-concerned-over-pending-Swedish-Iranian-s-execution

--------

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/us-taliban-afghan-forces/d/127035

 

New Age Islam Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Loading..

Loading..