New Age Islam
Wed Oct 21 2020, 08:24 AM

Islamic World News ( 13 Jun 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Use of Alcohol-Based Sanitizer in Mosques Sparks Off Debate Among Scholars

• Use of Alcohol-Based Sanitizer in Mosques Sparks Off Debate Among Scholars

• Islamist Opposition Party Says Waiting on Erdoğan To Lead Prayer at Hagia Sophia

• Muslim Groups Spread Message of Peace, Unity in N.J. After George Floyd’s Death

• Clergy Calls for Harmonious Co-Existence Between Christians, Muslims In Northern Nigeria

• Muslims Allowed to Hold Marriage Ceremony Outside KUA Office Amid New Normal

• Dubai Progresses Plans to Unify Legal Framework for Islamic Economy

• Places of Worship Reopen - But Mosques Say There Are Many Things You Still Can't Do Yet

• Covid-19 Pushing Millions of South Asians Into Poverty

 

 India

• Use of Alcohol-Based Sanitizer in Mosques Sparks Off Debate Among Scholars

• Muslim Man Develops Contactless Bell to Ring in Shiva Temple In Madhya Pradesh

• Give arms training, weapons to minority Hindus, vulnerable Muslims in Kashmir: Former J&K DGP Vaid

• Mosques open gates for prayer with restrictions in Kolkata

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 Mideast

• Islamist Opposition Party Says Waiting on Erdoğan To Lead Prayer at Hagia Sophia

• Massive protest against Israel demolition of Islamic cemetery in Yafa

• Islamic Development Organization’s Chief to Address Parl. Open Session on Sunday

• Centuries-Old Mosque in Yazd Back to Former Glory

• President-elect of NCRI: Mullahs’ Regime Uses Coronavirus as a Replacement for the Execution of Political Prisoners

• Cars set alight over Jaffa plan to build homeless shelter on Muslim burial site

• 5th Islamic Solidarity Games in Turkey rescheduled

• Ayatollah Hakim’s statement on need to observe principles of health, cooperation with medical staff

• Iranian Embassy Condemns Terrorist Blast in Mosque in Kabul

• Anti-Iran circles seek waging Iranophobia: Russian official

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 North America

• Muslim Groups Spread Message of Peace, Unity in N.J. After George Floyd’s Death

• Ousted State Department Watchdog Says Top Officials Lobbied Him Not to Probe Saudi Arms Deal

• U.S. Imam and U.K. Academic Agree: Christianity Is to Blame for the Riots and Destruction

• US Police kills another black man amid ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests

• SPLC Uses Anniversary of Islamic Terror Attack to Demonize Conservative Christians

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 Africa

• Clergy Calls for Harmonious Co-Existence Between Christians, Muslims In Northern Nigeria

• Have Set Up Covid-19 Treatment Centre, Says Somalia's Islamist Group Al Shabaab

• 20 soldiers, 40 civilians killed in attacks in Nigeria

• Reopening guidelines: NCDC orders churches, mosques to shut toilets, sales outlets

• Council says SA Muslims will not be embarking on hajj due to Covid-19

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 Southeast Asia

• Muslims Allowed to Hold Marriage Ceremony Outside KUA Office Amid New Normal

• Dr Mahathir’s media advisor alleges PNB CEO being ousted using attacks against credentials

• Announcing end to daily security briefings, Ismail Sabri jokes that Malaysians won’t get to see his colourful batik shirts

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 Arab World

• Dubai Progresses Plans to Unify Legal Framework for Islamic Economy

• The Syrian Regime Forced Prisoners to Torture Each Other, Says Activist

• Campaigns Launched to Hasten Return to Normalcy in Saudi Arabia

• Dubai Islamic affairs experts provide 590 consultations in May

• Coronavirus: Bahrain detects 514 new cases as recoveries rise to 12,818

• Eid al-Adha expected to begin on July 31, astronomer says

• Lebanon PM launches attack against his government’s opponents

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 Europe

• Places of Worship Reopen - But Mosques Say There Are Many Things You Still Can't Do Yet

• NCRI Revealing New Documents Confirms Mullahs’ Regime Brutality and Extensiveness of Iran Protests

• Bethnal Green Islamic State schoolgirl ‘cannot be regarded as victim’, court told

• How the Mosques In Burton Are Preparing To Reopen?

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 South Asia

• Covid-19 Pushing Millions of South Asians Into Poverty

• Intelligence Agencies Criticized after Second Mosque Attack

• Mosque Blast Martyrs Four Prayers Including Imam

• Post Covid-19 Labour Market: Bangladesh Eyes Africa

• State minister for religious affairs was infected with Covid-19

• Nasim laid to rest at Banani graveyard

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 Pakistan

• Defence Budget Not Increased to Provide Relief To Masses: Qureshi

• PTA also can’t proceed against US blogger, court told

• Situation aggravates as OPDs at govt hospitals stay shut for a third day in Sindh

• Drap approves locally developed Covid-19 testing kits

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau


URL; https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/use-of-alcohol-based-sanitizer-in-mosques-sparks-off-debate-among-scholars/d/122117

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For representational purposes

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 Use of Alcohol-Based Sanitizer in Mosques Sparks Off Debate Among Scholars

13th June

LUCKNOW: The Islamic seminaries in Uttar Pradesh are divied over the use of alcohol-based sanitizers to clean the mosques. While a Bareilly-based cleric, associated with Ala Hazrat Dargah, issued a fatwa against the use of alcohol-based sanitizer to clean the mosques, Deoband-based prominent Islamic seminary Darul Uloom found no harm in its use to tame the coronavirus.

The standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by government prescribes use alcohol-based hand sanitizers besides practising physical distancing of at least six feet, using face cover/mask, washing hands frequently with soaps for at least 40-60 seconds and covering mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing.

As per the sources, Nashtar Farooqi, Mufti Markazi Darul Ifta, Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat, Bareilly, has come out against the use of alcohol-based sanitizers as he claimed that alcohol content was ‘haraam’ (prohibited) in Islam and Muslims should avoid it. Muslims should not bring it or use it inside mosques as it was ‘napaak’ (impure).

Markazi Darul Ifta is a department of the Islamic seminary which issues fatwa. As per Farooqui, anything the use of which is ‘haraam’ in Islam, how its use in mosques as sanitizer with over 70 per cent alcohol be justified. He said the mosque was a ‘paak’ (pure) place and usage of alcohol-based sanitizers would make the place impure.

The cleric allegedly argued that since alcohol was declared impure, offering namaz with anything impure in the vicinity was not allowed in Islam. He claimed religious leaders of other communities too had objected to the usage of alcohol at religious places.

Significantly, the clerics of Saharanpur-based Deoband Darul Uloom, the biggest Islamic seminary in Asia, have come out in support of the use of alcohol-based sanitizers during an unprecedented situation like Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is an unprecedented situation when a pandemic COVID-19 has taken the entire world in its grip. The use of alcohol-based sanitizers during such unprecedented situation was logical as it would help save lives,” said seminary’s spokesperson Ashraf Usmani while taking to media persons.

He said the alcohol was also processed from vegetables and fruits and the Islamic seminary supported its usage to protect the lives of people. He reasoned out by saying that there were a number of alcohol-based medicines consumed for good health.

According to experts, alcohol-based sanitizers are effective and convenient way of keeping the hands free from virus. “Any sanitizer with at least 60 per cent alcohol is suitable to keep hands free from virus,” said Dr Sunil Verma, a senior physician.

However, coming strongly against those who have been objecting to the use of sanitizer in mosques, former chairman of Shia Central Waqf Board, Waseem Rizvi, favoured sanitization of mosques with alcohol-based sanitizers.

“Scientifically speaking alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good deterrent against any germ or virus. Such superstitions and wrong interpretation of Islam was more dangerous than any virus,” said Rizvi.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/jun/13/use-of-alcohol-based-sanitizer-in-mosques-sparks-off-debate-among-scholars-2156200.html

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Hagia Sophia

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 Islamist Opposition Party Says Waiting on Erdoğan To Lead Prayer at Hagia Sophia

Jun 13 2020

The Istanbul chairman of Turkey’s opposition Islamist Felicity Party has said the party is eagerly waiting for Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia to open for a President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan-led Muslim prayer.

“Let the Hagia Sophia be opened (for prayer) by whoever it may be! We have performed our ablution (pre-prayer wash up) and are waiting. And President Erdoğan should lead the first prayer,” Cumhuriyet newspaper quoted Abdullah Sevim as saying.

Sevim’s statements coincide with intensified political discussion on opening for Muslim prayers the 6th century cathedral turned museum, which has become a source of tension between Athens and Ankara.

Built as a cathedral of the Eastern Roman Empire in 537, the Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque following the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul on May 29, 1453 and then a museum in 1935.

Over the years, Erdoğan has repeatedly suggested turning the UNESCO World Heritage Site into a mosque again to fulfil a long-standing demand by Turkey’s Islamists.

Meanwhile, the top spiritual and symbolic leader of the Armenians in Turkey, Sahak Maşalyan, has also called for the Hagia Sophia to be opened for Muslim prayer.

“A countless number of restorations over 1,500 years, the efforts of the Fatih Sultan Foundation were all carried out so that it could be protected as a place of worship. Not so that it would become a museum,’’  Maşalyan added.

Ayasofya on bin işçinin emeğiyle, bir servet harcanarak kuruldu. 1500 yıllık sayısız onarım, Fatih Sultan Vakfının emekleri, hepsi bu Mabet ibadet yeri olarak korunsun diyeydi. Müze olsun diye değil.

Lawmakers from the AKP in a surprising move on Tuesday rejected a parliamentary proposal to open the museum to prayers, citing a pending decision by the Council of State on the matter in July.

“Turkey’s ruling party should listen to the conscience of the people,” Sevim said. “It should take concrete steps instead of (resorting to) heroism.”

https://ahvalnews.com/hagia-sophia/islamist-opposition-party-says-waiting-erdogan-lead-prayer-hagia-sophia#

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Saturday, June 13, 2020 - Imam Rauf Zaman, Muslim Center of Middlesex County, addresses a Black Lives Matter rally of The New Jersey

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 Muslim Groups Spread Message of Peace, Unity in N.J. After George Floyd’s Death

14-06-2020

Muslim groups gathered at Newark City Hall on Saturday to denounce police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death and reflected on racism and religion.

The New Jersey branch of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Council for Social Justice, one of the organizers of the rally, called for police reforms such as annual racism sensitivity training for all officers.

“All of us - in our Muslim community leaders and community at large - all of us are gathered here to express our full solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the African American community and we are condemning the death of George Floyd in Minessota,” said ICNA CSJ-NJ Director Atif Nazir. “Police brutality is a long-standing issue in this country and Mr. Floyd was a victim of this atrocity.”

Saturday, June 13, 2020 - Newark Mayor Ras Baracka addresses a Black Lives Matter rally of The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations joins the New Jersey branch of the INCA Council for Social Justice, the Council of Imams in New Jersey and the Muslim American Society in New Jersey in front of Newark City Hall.Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes and three other cops looked on. ICNA Council for Social Justice created an online petition demanding murder charges for all four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest, although only Chauvin faces a second-degree murder and manslaughter charge among the four cops arrested.

Imam Wahy-ud Deen Shareef, who is the president of the Council of Imams in New Jersey, reflected on how religion and race have intersected. He said racism was introduced in religion since Jesus is most often depicted as white.

“The very fact that our minds exist in this environment is enough to make that image and those messages go into our subconscious and cripple the Black people’s ability to lift themselves out of their sense of inferiority,” Shareef said. “It also keeps Caucasian people’s minds in a false world by making them unable to see their real worth and value as human beings apart from their physical skin color.

Saturday, June 13, 2020 - Asiyah Muhammad, of Northside, holds a sign at a Black Lives Matter rally byThe New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations joins the New Jersey branch of the INCA Council for Social Justice, the Council of Imams in New Jersey and the Muslim American Society in New Jersey held in front of Newark City Hall.Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Newark Board of Education Vice President Dawn Haynes said Floyd’s death sparked a conversation in her community about how they can become stronger and work together. There is, she said, a conversation to be had within her umma, an Arabic word meaning community, about race as well.

“The racism that we’re suffering in America, we feel that same racism when we’re at some of these summits of our Islamic environment,” Haynes said to cheers. “And that’s sad.”

Saturday, June 13, 2020 - Imam Rauf Zaman, Muslim Center of Middlesex County, addresses a Black Lives Matter rally of The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations joins the New Jersey branch of the INCA Council for Social Justice, the Council of Imams in New Jersey and the Muslim American Society in New Jersey in front of Newark City Hall.Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The group was joined by local council people, mayors and leaders from other religions like the Lutheran Church. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who has been championing a civilian complaint review board, called on those at the rally to join the police force as another way to have more community control of the police department.

Montgomery Mayor Sadaf Jaffer, who organizers said was the first woman Muslim mayor in New Jersey, credited the activism of Black Americans for the freedoms she experiences today. She identified as an Asian American to the crowd.

“Though equality is essential to my understanding of Islam, racial equality has not been the practice in far too many Muslim contexts, historically and today," Jaffer said. "We must take a look at our own communities and ensure that we are centering Black voices.”

Saturday, June 13, 2020 - Layla Berdejo, of Roselle, wears a mask at a Black Lives Matter rally held by The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations joins the New Jersey branch of the INCA Council for Social Justice, the Council of Imams in New Jersey and the Muslim American Society in New Jersey in front of Newark City Hall.Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

nj.com/essex/2020/06/muslim-groups-spread-message-of-peace-unity-in-nj-after-george-floyds-death.html

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Clergy calls for harmonious co-existence between Christians, Muslims in Northern Nigeria

June 12, 2020

By Hafsat Abdulhamid

A clergyman has called on both Christian and Muslim faithful in Nigeria, particularly their youths, to ensure harmonious coexistence to enhance nation-building.

Reverend Father Henry Dabang, who is also the convener of Peace Ambassador Summit 2020, made the call while speaking to journalists during a one-day summit organized for youths drawn from both the Islamic and Christian faith from selected local government areas of Bauchi and Gombe states.

Rev Father Dabang submitted that at a time when the world is battling COVID-19, peaceful coexistence is needed more than ever for the world to tackle the pandemic headlong.

Speaking at the one-day summit being held at Fatima Social Centre in Bauchi, Dabang said participants will be educated on issues bordering on peace-building and harmonious coexistence

He submitted that the issues were carefully selected since there is no way adherents of the two religions will do without interacting with each other.

Father Dabang assured that the organisation will further seek collaborations with other groups with like minds to ensure that both Christians and Muslims understand the tenets of each other’s religion and practice same without any unnecessary tensions.

Dabang expressed optimism that at the end of the summit, participants would have been well equipped to go back to their respective places and set up their cluster groups to promote peace and peaceful living among the people.

https://dailypost.ng/2020/06/12/clergy-calls-for-harmonious-co-existence-between-christians-muslims-in-northern-nigeria/

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Muslims allowed to hold marriage ceremony outside KUA office amid new normal

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

June 14, 2020

The Religious Affairs Ministry has allowed Muslims to hold wedding vow exchange ceremonies – a legal requirement to register the marriage – outside the local religious affairs offices (KUA) as the government eases COVID-19 restrictions.

The ministry had previously allowed such ceremonies to be held only at the KUA offices and with no more than 10 people attending.

“According to the circular, the bride and groom are allowed to hold the ceremony at their house, at the mosque or in meeting halls,” the ministry’s Muslim community guidance director general, Kamaruddin Amin, said in a statement on Friday.

He added that the number of people attending such ceremonies at a home or at a KUA office would remain limited to 10 people, while ceremonies held in mosques and meeting halls were limited to 20 percent of the room’s capacity, though not exceeding 30 people.

"We hope marriage services can still be conducted while preventing or minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission," he said, adding that marriage services would be conducted under strict health protocol.

Couples could submit their marriage applications online through the website simkah.kemenag.go.id, by phone call, email or in person at the local KUA office in their area.

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/06/13/muslims-allowed-to-hold-marriage-ceremony-outside-kua-office-amid-new-normal.html

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Dubai progresses plans to unify legal framework for Islamic economy

14 JUNE 2020

Sarmad Khan

The chief executive of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre outlined the planned phases for developing a unified global legislative framework for the Islamic Finance sector as part of a recent meeting to discuss Dubai's contribution to the Islamic economy.

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar said that once complete, the project would bring "much anticipiated standardisation to the Islamic finance sector, reduce discrepancies in practices across the globe, and eventually translate into positive outcomes for the Islamic economy as a whole", according to a statement from the Dubai Media Office.

The DIEDC is working with the Islamic Development Bank on standardisation, with whom it signed an agreement last month. It had previously signed an agreement with the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions, AAOIFI, to use AAOIFI's standards as a reference in building the international legal framework.

The Sharia-compliant segment of Dubai’s economy contributed 41.8 billion to the emirate’s gross domestic product in 2018, a 2.2 per cent year-on-year rise, as Dubai continues to pursue the goal of becoming the top Islamic economic hub in the world.

The Islamic economy accounted for 9.9 per cent of total GDP in 2018, the Dubai Media Office said in the statement, citing Dubai Statistics Centre data.

Of the total, Dh17.9bn (43 per cent) from the retail and wholesale sector, Dh10.7bn (26 per cent) came from the financial sector, Dh7bn (17 per cent) from the hospitality and F&B sectors and Dh6.2bn (14 per cent) from the manufacturing sector, the statement said.

Dubai, the Middle East’s top trading, commercial and financial hub, is looking to increase economic activity through sharia-compliant segments to boost its GDP and position the emirate as a vital player in the fast-growing global Islamic economy.

Worldwide spending through Islam-inspired ethical consumption sectors is set to increase to $3.2 trillion (Dh11.74tn) by 2024, up 45 per cent from the end of 2018, according to a State of the Global Islamic Economy survey by DinarStandard, a research and advisory company in the US. Islamic finance is the largest sector at $2.5tn, followed by halal food, which totalled $1.4tn in 2018, according to the report released in November last year.

Malaysia, the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia continue to lead the Global Islamic Economy Indicator rankings, out of 73 countries. While Malaysia is the biggest market for Islamic finance, the UAE led in the five other sectors, including halal food and modest fashion, according to the report.

The DIEDC is currently implementing a five-year Islamic economy strategy launched in 2017. The strategy is aimed at identifying new metrics to monitor the growth of three key sectors – Islamic finance, halal products, and Islamic lifestyle (including culture, art, fashion and family tourism) – and measure their contribution to the national GDP.

Dubai’s Islamic economy can contribute significantly to mitigating the economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic and the revival of the global marketplace, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, said.

The ecosystem based out of Dubai can help the sector play an important part in the economic response to the Covid-19 crisis, said Sheikh Hamdan, who is also overseeing Dubai’s “Capital of Islamic Economy Initiative”.

The growth of the Islamic economy is an organic outcome of Dubai’s expertise, advanced infrastructure, strategic geographical location, and its commitment to becoming the preferred investment destination, he added.

“The increase in the contribution of the Islamic Economy to Dubai’s GDP reinforces the confidence of international investors in the UAE’s flexible business environment,” Sultan Al Mansouri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, said.

“These factors, combined with its strong legislative framework, and advanced technological infrastructure, have helped the UAE to maintain its status as a preferred investment hub on the global landscape,” the minister, who is also chairman of the DIEDC, said.

Dubai has taken “significant strides" towards becoming the global capital of the Islamic economy since the emirate first launched its strategy in 2013, he added.

https://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/dubai-progresses-plans-to-unify-legal-framework-for-islamic-economy-1.1033199

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Places of Worship Reopen - But Mosques Say There Are Many Things You Still Can't Do Yet

By David Bentley

13 JUN 2020

The news that places of worship can reopen has brought joy and comfort to many who have missed practising their faith at the local church, temple, mosque, synagogue or gurdwara.

The coronavirus pandemic has been testing time for the nation and the closure of religious buildings has been an additional issue for many to deal with.

It led to the cancellation of Easter church services for Christians and the Eid al-Fitr festival for Muslims, as well as meaning that all the typically communal prayers and meals for the Islamic month of Ramadan had to be carried out solely within people's own homes.

In a joint statement sent to BirminghamLive, the city's mosques point out to worshippers that communal prayers still cannot take place at the moment.

The statement said: "The UK Government has confirmed that places of worship across England will be permitted to reopen for individual prayer from Saturday 13th June.

"Although individual prayer will be permitted, the guidance does not allow for communally led prayer, which is the main purpose of the mosque.

"For the Muslim community, this means that our mosques will have to remain closed for the five daily congregational prayers and Friday Jumuah prayer.

"The Muslim community is eager for the full reopening of the mosques for congregational prayer and we hope that we can stay on course for the original forecast date of 4th July 2020, respecting that this will be dependent on the situation closer to the time."

The Birmingham mosques are working with Birmingham City Council's Public Health Department to ensure the safety of congregations and the public is at the forefront of any plans to fully reopen on the July 4.

The statement added: "The Muslim community has shown great patience over the past few months with the closure of the mosques, to help prevent the spread of infection and save lives.

"We now advise our communities to remain patient until the mosques fully reopen for congregational prayer and religious gatherings."

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/mosques-reopen-warning-jumuah-prayers-18415098

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Covid-19 pushing millions of South Asians into poverty

June 14, 2020

Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: Of the 176 million people expected to be pushed into poverty by the coronavirus crisis, two-thirds are in South Asia, warned a World Bank report released this week.

The US Institute of Peace (USIP) noted that this week that South Asia’s “diverse, densely situated, and economically precarious populations add further complexity to fighting the coronavirus pandemic”.

Another US think tank, the Hudson Institute, noted that the pandemic was “testing the capacities of states to provide security and effective healthcare and to maintain essential services”.

“Recent steps to re-open economies are fueling a rise in cases and risk overwhelming health and governance systems,” USIP added.

The Hudson Institute pointed out that the crisis was also “having an impact on fragile democratic institutions and societal bonds, in addition to putting considerable strains on the economy”.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which approved around $732 million of emergency loans for Bangladesh on Friday, noted that up until the crisis, the country’s economy was growing close to seven per cent a year on average but, “We now project two per cent for 2020, a drop of six percentage points from 2019.”

While announcing a $1.386 billion disbursement to Pakistan in late April, the IMF warned that the pandemic’s impact on its economy would be significant, “giving rise to large fiscal and external financing needs”.

On Thursday, Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said the crisis could cause a loss of Rs3tr to Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP), which was expected to increase by three per cent, but it will now go down by -0.4pc.

A World Bank report released this week noted that its new Global Economic Prospects report depicted “a particularly sobering picture for India, which is home to many of the world’s poor”.

India is predicted to have per capita growth rates in real GDP of 2.1 per cent. With population growth rate of 1.0 per cent, “this is hardly enough for sustainable decreases in the poverty headcount”.

The most alarming projection, however, came from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Unicef, which warned in a report on Friday that millions more children now risk being pushed into child labour, a major problem in South Asia.

The report noted that Covid-19 lockdowns have crippled livelihoods for about a billion people living in slums and working in the informal economy. Declining remittances and business failures would further reduce demand for workers, cause lower wages and eliminate jobs, the report added.

Consequently, “the number of people in extreme poverty could skyrocket by 40 million to 60 million this year alone compared to before the crisis,” the report warned.

“With poverty comes child labour as households use every available means to survive … A one percentage point rise in poverty leads to at least a 0.7 percentage point increase in child labour.”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1563428/covid-19-pushing-millions-of-south-asians-into-poverty

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India

 

Muslim Man Develops Contactless Bell To Ring In Shiva Temple In Madhya Pradesh

14th June 2020

BHOPAL: A Muslim mechanic, who provided soundproof generators to Hindu temples, has now ensured that a bell in a prominent Shiva temple in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh can ring without being touched.

Knowing well that temples across the central Indian state have opened after two months with strict guideline of none (devotee or priest) being allowed to touch the bell (for COVID-19 preventive reasons), the 62-year-old mechanic Nahru Khan has fitted the bell with electric sensor at the Pashupatinath temple in Mandsaur.

The innovation has ensured that the Pashupatinath Temple in Mandsaur town becomes the only temple in MP and perhaps in the country, where bell fitted with sensor rings even if a devotee's hand is around a feet and half from the bell.

“It’s a contact-less bell. It rings just when any devotee or priest gesticulates at ringing the bell from a distance of feet and half. This is an ultimate gift to our temple from Nahru Khan, who truly represents the pluralistic fabric that our country is proud of,” said Kailash Pandit, the prime priest of the Pashupatinath temple – perhaps the most famous and among the most temples in Mandsaur district.

When asked Nahru Khan of what drove him towards this innovation. “How can we see Azaans happening at mosques, but the Shiva temple being bereft of the resonance of bell. I thought of doing something to make the bell contactless, but yet its spiritual sound resonating the entire temple and finally my idea of fitting the bell with sensor clicked. It’s my gift to the temple and its devotees,” said a proud Nahru Khan.

And it’s not the just the first offering by Nahru Khan in this corona pandemic period, as the Class III school dropout has already come out with innovative Light Motor Vehicle Sanitizing Machine and Human Sanitizing Machine. Besides, he has also donated soundless power generators for temples, including the Pashupatinath Temple and Nalcha Mata Temple, both in Mandsaur district in the past.

The earnings from his NK Engineering and Electricals unit has been also been invested by him for daily arranging food for around 2000 people amid this COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t want anything for developing the sensor powered bell at the Pashupathinath Temple, all I want is to pray to the God to rid us all from this killer COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nahru Khan.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/good-news/2020/jun/14/muslim-man-develops-contactless-bell-to-ring-in-shiva-temple-in-madhya-pradesh-2156397.html

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Give arms training, weapons to minority Hindus, vulnerable Muslims in Kashmir: Former J&K DGP Vaid

Sunil Bhat

June 13, 2020

Days after the assassination of Kashmiri Pandit Sarpanch, Ajay Pandita Bharti, in South Kashmir's Anantnag district, former DGP of J&K Police Shesh Paul Vaid has favoured arming the minority Hindus and vulnerable sections among the Muslim community in the Kashmir Valley so that they can protect themselves from terror attacks.

Speaking exclusively to India Today TV at his Jammu residence, the former J&K top cop said that all options must be explored for instilling a sense of security among the minority community of Kashmiri Hindus.

He also said that weapons should be provided to the members of the community and arms training should be given to them so that they can protect themselves from the terror attacks. “There is no harm in giving arms training and providing weapons to the minority Hindu community as well as to the vulnerable section of the Muslims in the Kashmir valley,” former DGP SP Vaid told India Today TV.

He added, “Village Defence Committees (VDCs) can be constituted in the Valley. However, this formula requires detailed planning. Forming VDCs in the Kashmir Valley is difficult, but not impossible."

Since the brutal killing of Kashmiri Hindu Sarpanch Ajay Pandita Bharti, many displaced Kashmiri Pandits have demanded that government must arm the Hindus in the valley as they are soft targets for the terrorists.

The former top cop recalled how he as the SSP of Udhampur in 1995 was instrumental in forming the first VDC in Bagankote village which was part of Udhampur district at that time. The village is now part of Reasi district carved out of Udhampur in 2007.

The area was infested with terrorism in the early 90s. SP Vaid said that later VDCs were formed through a formal J&K government order in Chenab valley region of Jammu division where Hindus are in minority.

"After the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir valley, the terrorists then started targeting the minority Hindus in the Chenab valley region of Jammu division. Many massacres of minority Hindus were carried out by the terrorists in the Chenab valley. But soon VDCs were constituted and people were given arms training. Muslims were also made part of the VDCs as they also faced terror attacks. This formula proved to be very successful and the mass exodus of Hindus was prevented," former DGP SP Vaid told India Today TV.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/give-arms-training-weapons-to-minority-hindus-vulnerable-muslims-in-kashmir-former-j-k-dgp-vaid-1688502-2020-06-13

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Mosques open gates for prayer with restrictions in Kolkata

Jun 13, 2020

KOLKATA: Mosques in Kolkata have started allowing people to enter and offer namaz, but with several restrictions. No big congregations will be allowed including the Friday prayers while people will have to carry their own prayer mats and sanitise hands before entering the premises, said members of the managing committees of the mosques.

Mosques along with other religious places were shut in March when lockdown was enforced to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Namaz was held inside without the presence of public. Though the government allowed religious places to reopen from June 1, almost all mosques remained shut for safety till they worked out a plan of action.

The iconic Nakhoda Mosque on Zakaria Street reopened for prayers earlier this week but only with “limited number” of people being allowed inside.

The water tanks have been emptied so namazis needed to do ablutions at home before coming for prayers. The main gate of the mosque will remain shut and a side entrance will be used by the devotees.

“We are only allowing a limited number of people inside as a precautionary measure. The mosque has a lot of space inside, so social distancing with a limited number of people will not be a problem. People will need to carry their own prayer mats and sanitise their hands before entering the mosque,” said Nasser Ebrahim, a trustee of Nakhoda Mosque.

At the historic Tipu Sultan Mosque in Esplanade too, a side entrance is being used with the main gate facing Lenin Sarani remaining shut.

“We shut the door as soon as 25 people enter. We have requested the locals to offer namaz at home as far as possible. The mosque is also being disinfected regularly,” said a member of the mosque’s managing committee.

Before the festival of Eid last month, religious figures and members of the civil society had urged people to offer special prayers at home. Many people are preferring prayer at home instead of going to the mosques.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/mosques-open-gates-for-prayer-with-restrictions/articleshowprint/76348572.cms

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Mideast

 

Massive protest against Israel demolition of Islamic cemetery in Yafa

June 13, 2020

Hundreds of Palestinian residents of the city of Yafa organised a protest on Tuesday against the Israeli demolition of a historic Islamic cemetery, Anadolu Agency reported.

Protestors performed the Friday prayer and started a march condemning the Israeli decision to demolish the Islamic Al-Isaaf Cemetery located in the north of the city of Yafa.

The protestors gathered in the cemetery in an attempt to stop the demolition. The city council called the police who tried to guard the demolition, resulting in clashes with the protestors after Israeli police fired tear gas and used sound bombs against them.

Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, the imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, who is currently banned by the Israeli occupation from entering the holy site, delivered the Friday khotba.

He conveyed that exhuming tombs is prevented in Islam in order to preserve the dignity of the those buried, stressing that the cemetery is a land of Islamic endowment and is owned by all Muslims.

“We call on you to protect the cemeteries,” Sabri told the gathering, expressing that “defending cemeteries is defending lands, and defending the dead is defending a legitimate right.”

Sabri shared his hope that the cemetery is protected by Allah, and not by a UN Security Council resolution or by the international community.

Al-Isaaf Cemetery, which dates back to Ottoman times, includes hundreds of burials of Muslims who were laid there before the Israeli occupation of the city in 1948.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200613-massive-protest-against-israel-demolition-of-islamic-cemetery-in-yafa/

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Islamic Development Organization’s Chief to Address Parl. Open Session on Sunday

Jun 13, 2020

TEHRAN, Jun. 13 (MNA) – Head of Islamic Development Organization Hojatoeslam Mohammad Ghomi is to deliver a report on Iran's sociocultural status quo at the Parliament's open session on June 14.

Earlier, 150 members of the parliament issued a message appreciating the actions of the organization’s chief regarding the reopening of religious sites and mosques, which were closed due to the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

It is worth mentioning that it is the first time in the history of the Majlis that the chief of the Islamic Development Organization has been invited to present a report.

Hojatoeslam Ghomi announced on May 11 that all mosques across Iran would be re-opened preserving health protocols under the coronavirus pandemic.

As he informed, the decision for re-opening of the mosques was made due to the request of Iranian people and following the held talks with officials of the Iranian health ministry due to the order of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei about holding the religious ceremonies on the Laylat al-Qadr nights in Ramadan.

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/159755/Islamic-Development-Organization-s-chief-to-address-Parl-open

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Centuries-old mosque in Yazd back to former glory

June 13, 2020

TEHRAN – The centuries-old Abolmaali Grand Mosque in the central province of Yazd has undergone some rehabilitation works aimed at reviving, preserving, protecting, and strengthening the historical structure, ISNA reported.

The project involved covering and strengthening rooftop using cob material, changing the building’s worn out bricks and repairing the mosque’s badgir (wind catcher), provincial tourism chief Mohammadreza Falahati said on Saturday.

The mosque was built by Khajeh Abolmaali, of a wealthy and trustee family in Yazd. He also built a school, a public bathhouse, and a tomb next to the mosque in a neighborhood, which was located outside the city at the time.

The mosque, which has unique architectural features, includes a big garmkhaneh (a hot chamber where people perform ablutions), a yard, and a tomb as well as wind catchers. Its walls are decorated with hexagonal azure tiles with square flower pieces in the middle.

With its winding lanes, a forest of badgirs (wind catchers), mud-brick houses, atmospheric alleyways, and centuries of history, Yazd is a delightful place to stay, being referred to as a ‘don't miss’ destination by almost all travel associates in the region. The oasis city is wedged between the northern Dasht-e Kavir and the southern Dasht-e Lut on a flat plain ringed by mountains.

Yazd Jameh Mosque, Dowlatabad Garden, the Yazd Atash Behram, also known as Atashkadeh-e Yazd, Towers of Silence, and adjacent desert landscape are among its tourist sites.

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/448820/Centuries-old-mosque-in-Yazd-back-to-former-glory

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President-elect of NCRI: Mullahs’ Regime Uses Coronavirus as a Replacement for the Execution of Political Prisoners

12th June 2020

Reacting to political prisoner Ali Younesi contracting Coronavirus, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said that the conduct of the mullahs’ regime vis-à-vis these prisoners, despite all previous warnings and positions taken by various international agencies and organizations is a manifest case of crime against humanity. Apparently, under internal and international pressure over the arrest of Amir Hossein Moradi and Ali Younesi, two elite students at Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology, the mullahs’ regime is intent on murdering them with Coronavirus. The regime is using the Coronavirus as a replacement for the execution of prisoners, especially political prisoners.

Mrs. Rajavi urged the United Nations Secretary-General, the Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner on Human Rights as well as the relevant UN rapporteurs and other human rights organizations to intervene immediately to save the lives of Messrs. Younesi and Moradi and to take urgent action to secure their release.

So far, many parliamentarians as well as personalities, organizations, and associations advocating human rights, including Nobel Laureates, a group of European Parliament members, the International Committee in Search of Justice (which enjoys the support of 4,000 lawmakers in Europe and the United States), Amnesty International, lawmakers and Parliamentary committees in the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Romania, Ireland, and other countries, as well as the Committee of French mayors and many Middle East personalities have condemned the arrest of Messrs. Younesi and Moradi and have demanded their release.

https://www.ncr-iran.org/en/ncri-statements/president-elect/maryam-rajavi-mullahs-regime-uses-coronavirus-as-a-replacement-for-the-execution-of-political-prisoners/

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Cars set alight over Jaffa plan to build homeless shelter on Muslim burial site

13 June 2020

A number of vehicles were set on fire and a municipality building was firebombed in Jaffa overnight Friday-Saturday, according to the Israel Fire and Rescue Services, as the unrest continued over plans to build a homeless shelter on land discovered to have been an old Muslim burial site.

According to the news site N12, 13 incidents of vandalism were recorded overnight including cars and trucks set on fire and a building belonging to the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality hit with a Molotov cocktail.

The municipality issued a statement condemning the attack, saying that “the perpetrators of these acts were part of a small group that does not represent most of the residents of Jaffa, who have a great deal of trust in the municipality.” The city said these acts would not affect plans to build the homeless shelter and that these would go ahead “as the court has approved.”

Police said officers were working to identify the perpetrators, whose “bullying behavior disturbs the daily routines of residents, endangers human lives and damages property.”

Israeli police officers at a demonstration against the decision by the Tel Aviv Municipality to demolish an old Muslim burial ground which was discovered after plans had been made to build a new homeless shelter and commercial space at the site. June 12, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90)

On Wednesday, dozens of protesters took to the streets in Jaffa, clashing with police, setting trash cans on fire and throwing stones at officers. Four people were arrested.

The demonstrations were smaller than those that erupted Tuesday when some 300 protesters clashed with police. A video released by police showed a Tel Aviv city bus with shattered windows stopped by the side of the road and riot police using stun grenades to disperse the rioters near Jaffa’s iconic clock tower. Police said the demonstrators also burned trash cans and some cars. Some reports said the violence started when police blocked the marchers and tried to disperse them with force.

The dispute is over a site, known in Arabic as Maqbarat al-Is’aaf, Tel Aviv’s only known Muslim graveyard. According to court filings, the cemetery had gone unnoticed for many years before the Tel Aviv Development Fund decided to demolish an Ottoman-era one-story home which the nonprofit Gagon was using as an improvised homeless shelter.

Litigants fought in court for over a year over whether or not the planned demolition would go forward; the city hoped to build a new and improved three-story shelter in place of the old one.

Muslim citizens pray prior to a protest on June 12, 2020, against a decision by the Tel Aviv Municipality to demolish an old Muslim burial ground amid plans to build a new homeless shelter and commercial space at the site. June 12, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90)

Once bulldozers demolished the house, though, the bones of at least 30 people were discovered to have been buried in the structure. The Antiquities Ministry determined that the cemetery contained bones from the Ottoman period all the way back to the Hellenistic period. The Islamic Council built tombstones over each of the graves.

Negotiations between the Council and the city over the site proved unsuccessful. The High Court of Justice subsequently ordered the construction halted so the matter could be adjudicated in court.

The battle ended in January 2020, when a Tel Aviv court rejected claims by the Council to preserve the space. Judge Avigayil Cohen stated in her decision that the cemetery had not been used by the community for at least 100 years, and had been a public space since at least the 1940s without any legal objections. Moreover, none of the plaintiffs could claim a personal or familial connection to the remains.

“The project’s construction is a response to public need, and uses land which has not be used as a cemetery for over 100 years, and the Muslim community never before treated it as possessing holiness or having a religious affinity,” Cohen wrote.

Cohen’s arguments, however, do not seem to have convinced some Jaffa residents, who objected strongly to the destruction of the structure from the start.

“The Muslim community in Jaffa in general and all of the city’s residents have no problem with the homeless project, and it’s appropriate to find a physical location for it, but not over a Muslim cemetery,” Tel Aviv city council member Amir Badran told the Haaretz daily.

Sheikh Kamal Khatib, the deputy chief of the banned Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, addressed demonstrators at the protest.

While the movement’s southern branch is seen as relatively moderate, the Northern Branch is understood to have ties to terrorist groups such as Hamas. The Northern Branch was outlawed in 2015, and Khatib has been arrested numerous times by police for incitement to violence.

“Our battle for this cemetery is no different than our battle for al-Aqsa,” Khatib said at the protest, referring to the mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “For almighty God in his wisdom made of this whole land a waqf,” or holy site.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/cars-set-alight-in-jaffa-over-plan-to-build-homeless-shelter-on-muslim-site/

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5th Islamic Solidarity Games in Turkey rescheduled

Fatih Cakmak

13.06.2020

The 5th Islamic Solidarity Games due to be held in Turkey next year have been rescheduled and will now start in September 2021, Turkey’s youth and sports minister announced on Saturday.

The event will now take place on Sept. 10-19, instead of Aug. 20-29, in Turkey’s central Konya province, according to Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu.

He said the games were pushed forward by three weeks due to the rescheduling of this year’s Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In this process, we will continue to carry out our work with determination. I believe we will organize the Islamic Solidarity Games in the best way,” Kasapoglu said.

The Islamic Solidarity Games were first held in Saudi Arabia in 2005, with 6,000 athletes from 55 nations competing in 15 different sports, including taekwondo, swimming, shooting, athletics/para-athletics, weightlifting, wrestling, and water polo.

Turkey finished second at the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Azerbaijan in 2017, with an impressive haul of 71 gold, 67 silver, and 57 bronze medals.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/5th-islamic-solidarity-games-in-turkey-rescheduled/1875553

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Ayatollah Hakim’s statement on need to observe principles of health, cooperation with medical staff

June 13, 2020

The Iraqi source of emulation said, “Those who have had Coronavirus previously and their health has now improved, must now be able to work with health centres to provide their blood plasma to reduce the pain and suffering of those infected with the virus.”

Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad-Sa’id al-Hakim, an Iraqi source of emulation, thanked the country’s medical and healthcare staff for explaining religious teachings about providing blood plasma to treat patients with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and other issues.

The Iraqi scholar said that as medical and medical staff, including doctors and nurses, are working tirelessly to treat Coronavirus patients, it was important to note the issue of blood plasma and some tips on how to fight Coronavirus both in Iraq and abroad, we note:

Tip 1: It is befitting that those who have had Coronavirus previously and their health has now improved, should now work with health centres to provide their blood plasma to reduce the pain and suffering of those infected with the virus. Perhaps they will not only help to heal them, but also save their lives, just as God said in the Holy Quran has said, “…Whoever saves a life is as though he had saved all mankind” [5:32]. Undoubtedly, you, the recovered, have endured the pain and suffering of this disease, so do not neglect this important matter and cooperate with doctors and nurses to provide them with your own blood plasma.

Tip 2: We would like to thank all the medical and healthcare staff, including doctors, nurses and other people who serve in pharmacies and health centres and risk their lives to serve their fellow human beings. May you continue your relentless efforts and cultivate hope in the hearts of patients. We hope that with the cooperation of each other, you will establish special research complexes and medical centres with your fellow scientists and researchers so that you can overcome this struggle with pride.

Tip 3: We ask all believers to follow the health instructions and the guidelines of social distancing, to refrain from holding gatherings, shaking hands and kissing each others’ cheeks and to use a mask and gloves to prevent a catastrophe from occurring.

Tip 4: We thank all the believers for their cohesion and cooperation with each other and the social solidarity they have had in these difficult conditions because everyone is witnessing how charities and young people are working to meet the needs of needy families.

In conclusion, Ayatollah al-Hakim prayed to God Almighty for the acceptance of everyone’s good deeds and for the sake of Imam al-Mahdi, to remove the tribulation of the Coronavirus, to cover the afflicted with the clothes of good health and welfare and to protect all the believers under the protection of the al-thaqalayn (two weighty things – the Quran and Ahl al-Bayt).

https://en.abna24.com/news//dd_1045658.html

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Iranian Embassy Condemns Terrorist Blast in Mosque in Kabul

Jun 13, 2020

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian embassy in Kabul denounced the terrorist explosion in a mosque in western Kabul which led to the death of 4 and injury of 10 people.

Iran’s diplomatic mission to Afghanistan, in a statement on Saturday, strongly condemned the assault on Shir Shah-E-Suri Mosque as a criminal act.

Undoubtedly, the assassination and physical elimination of ulema is aimed at promoting violence and is considered as a scheme which will yield dangerous social and cultural consequences, the statement read.

Iran’s embassy called on all people of Afghanistan and the region to be alert against the aftermath of this process.

A bomb exploded in Shir Shah-E-Suri Mosque, western Kabul, on Friday.

The prayers leader of the mosque and three others were killed and 10 people were injured.

No group or individual has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.

In a similar statement on June 3, Iranian embassy in Kabul condemned the explosion in Wazir Akbar Khan mosque in Kabul which resulted in the killing of the prayers leader and injury of others.

https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13990324000257

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Anti-Iran circles seek waging Iranophobia: Russian official

June 13, 2020

Russia's Permanent Representative to the international organizations in Vienna said anti-Iran circles try to promote Iranophobia by the claim that the recent report of IAEA requires urgent adoption of non-proliferation measures.

On his Twitter account on Friday, Mikhail Ulyanov wrote that the problems with the access of IAEA to two sites in Iran stem from a large extent of the fact that there are no clear rules in the Agency on the use of information received from the third countries.

The issue of claims about Iran's nuclear activities was raised by the US and some of its allies, especially the Israeli regime, to cast doubts about the peaceful nature of Iran's legal nuclear program.

The US and its allies have provided the information in the form of a case study of alleged claims about the Possible Military Dimension of Iran's nuclear program (PMD) against the Islamic Republic of Iran, but Iran has responded to questions raised in this regard appropriately.

The IAEA Board of Governors closed the PMD case in 2015, so the implementation of Iran's nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) gets started.

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the international agreement in violation of Washington's obligations under the JCPOA and announced the return of nuclear sanctions.

https://en.abna24.com/news//anti-iran-circles-seek-waging-iranophobia-russian-official_1045594.html

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North America

 

Ousted State Department watchdog says top officials lobbied him not to probe Saudi arms deal

June 13, 2020

The State Department’s former inspector general says US officials discouraged him from investigating arms sales to Saudi Arabia before he was fired by President Donald Trump last month.

Steve Linick, the former State Department internal watchdog, told lawmakers that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to sit down for an interview in the investigation of the administration’s decision to declare a “national emergency” to justify $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia despite congressional objections.

A department official had argued the probe was outside Linick’s jurisdiction, according to a transcript of the former inspector’s interview with US lawmakers released on Wednesday.

In his June 3 testimony to three House and Senate committees, Linick said Under Secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao told him his office "shouldn't be doing the work because it was a policy matter not within the IG's jurisdiction."

“I told him that, under the Foreign Service Act of 1980, it was within the IG purview to review how policy is implemented,” he said.

Linick had earlier confirmed that he was probing the controversial multi-billion-dollar arms sales to Saudi Arabia when he was abruptly relieved of his duties.

In late May, CNN revealed that Pompeo had ordered officials at the department under his watch to find a way to justify the use of an emergency declaration meant to expedite the $8 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia.

Under Pompeo's order, State Department officials had to “reverse engineer the situation” to justify the emergency declared in May 2019 in an “aggressive and unconventional manner”.

Linick was going to ask Pompeo about his role in the “emergency” arms sale to Saudi Arabia when he was sacked by Trump in a controversial move.

Saudi Arabia is the largest buyer of American-made weaponry. Trump signed an arms deal worth $110 billion with Saudi Arabia in May 2017 on his first foreign trip since becoming president.

Before his presidency, he described the kingdom as "a milk cow" which would be slaughtered when its milk runs out.

https://en.abna24.com/news//ousted-state-department-watchdog-says-top-officials-lobbied-him-not-to-probe-saudi-arms-deal_1045569.html

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U.S. Imam and U.K. Academic Agree: Christianity Is to Blame for the Riots and Destruction

BY ROBERT SPENCER

JUN 13, 2020

Miami imam Dr. Fadi Yousef Kablawi and British establishment academic Tom Holland are no doubt worlds apart in worldview. Holland even received numerous death threats a few years ago for his critical examination of the origins of Islam, and although Kablawi may not want Holland dead, he almost certainly disapproves of such inquiries. But there is one thing they agree on: the problem that the U.S. and the U.K. are experiencing now can be laid squarely at the feet of Christianity.

If you haven’t noticed the rioters, looters, and destroyers chanting “Jesus is Lord,” it’s because Kablawi and Holland would have you believe that the connection is more subtle. In a recent sermon, Kablawi asserted: “Christianity – the way it got corrupted – is the main reason for what we see happening in this country. Christianity.”

How could that be? It’s simple: the learned imam thinks that the riots are happening because Christian doctrine tempts believers to libertinism. Jesus died for your sins, so you can do anything you want, including, apparently, looting cities, and all your sins are paid for: “[Jesus] – that’s their god, as they claim – he was killed. But he was not killed for a bad reason, he was killed for your sins. So it does not matter what you do, as much looting as you do – at the end of the week, you are forgiven….Go [to church] on Sunday and confess or repent and you are good. As long as you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, you are fine. You tell me how such a religion will create good citizens.”

Holland, for his part, is not likely to agree that Islam is the solution, or that the trouble comes from Christianity allowing for moral license (an idea condemned in the New Testament and declared a heresy in the earliest days of the Church, by the way), but he does agree with Kablawi in thinking that the real problem we have on our hands today is because of Christianity, or in Holland’s view, “the legacy of Christianity.”

Holland thinks that Left-fascists are destroying statues because of the lingering influence of Protestant iconoclasm in British and American culture: “The assumption that heroes should be morally perfect seems yet another legacy of Christianity. We demand saints, not the often terrifying figures that the ancients knew heroes to be: men whose greatness was often to be measured by their crimes as well as their achievements.”

A reader pointed out that Holland’s claim contradicted the Christian doctrine of original sin, that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If the rioters had believed in that central Christian idea, they would have done exactly the opposite of what Holland said: instead of expecting perfection from heroes, they would have understood that they were imperfect, and not pulled them down for not meeting their arbitrary standards. Holland then clarified his position thusly: “Indeed yes. Christianity does teach that we are all sinners. But as the doctrine of original sin evaporates from public consciousness, so what remains is a kind of Pelagianism: an assumption that we can – should – attain perfection without divine grace.”

When I myself took issue with Holland’s claims and noted that the rioters were Marxists, not Christians, Holland stated: “You seem to find it hard to distinguish between ‘Christianity’ and ‘the legacy of Christianity,’” and declared: “And if you really think Marx owes nothing to the legacy of Christianity – well now!”

But of course the distinction between Christianity and its legacy is exceedingly fine when one is examining the motives of the destroyers: either they were motivated by Christian ideas, consciously or not, or they weren’t. Holland’s position involves a refusal to acknowledge the ideological forces that are really at work in the destruction of the statues. And while it is certainly true that Marxist thought owes something to the legacy of Christianity, Marxists have persecuted Christians and tried to destroy the Church everywhere they have held power. Is that irrelevant? To ascribe their deeds to the legacy of Christianity would require ignoring what Marxism actually is.

Holland’s work has been featured lavishly on the determinedly anti-Christian BBC, so it is perhaps not surprising that he would focus on a tenuous (at best) Christian influence in the riots and destruction of the statues. But both he and the imam Kablawi are a manifestation of what is really wrong with the West today: a profound cultural self-hatred that has led to general contempt for our own history and heritage, and to the welcoming of the historical enemies of the Judeo-Christian West, despite there being no sign that they have discarded the doctrines that set them against Europe for over a thousand years.

The views of this Miami imam and British academic are two symptoms of a much deeper malady. They are furthering the destructive work of the rioters by placing the blame at the feet of our own cultural and religious heritage when in reality the rioters are trying to destroy that heritage. Kablawi and Holland might as well take a hammer to Churchill’s statue themselves. And there are all too many others like them.

https://pjmedia.com/culture/robert-spencer/2020/06/13/us-imam-and-uk-academic-agree-christianity-is-to-blame-for-the-riots-and-destruction-n526513

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US Police kills another black man amid ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests

June 14, 2020

US Police in Georgia has killed another black man later identified as Rayshard Brooks to fan the flame of protests against systematic racism in the United States.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation released surveillance footage from outside Wendy's restaurant, where Brooks was shot. The video captured Brooks running away with what appears to be the officer's Taser, before he turns around and points it at the officer, Sputnik reported.

According to the GBA's press release, police responded to a report at around 10.33 pm about a man sleeping in his vehicle in the restaurant's drive-through causing difficulty for other drivers. He failed the sobriety tests and initiated an altercation.

Footage shared online shows Brooks grabbing what law enforcement believe was an officer's Taser and trying to flee. As one of the officers runs to chase him, the camera looses them from sight, but records the sound of three gunshots.

"During a physical struggle with officers, Brooks obtained one of the officer's Tasers and began to flee from the scene. Officers pursued Brooks on foot and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks," the press release read.

Photo and video footage posted on social media shows protesters gathered at the site where Brooks was shot on Saturday, demanding that Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resign — which she did shortly after. According to local media, there is a whole list of more protests scheduled to take place across the city, including at Police Headquarters.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Saturday that Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields has stepped down following the death of local resident Rayshard Brooks.

Shields, who has served in police for more than 20 years, would continue in another role with the city, while her position as police chief will be temporarily given to Assistant Police Chief Rodney Bryant until a permanent replacement is found.

"[...] because of her desire that Atlanta should be a meaningful model of what reform should look like across this country, Chief Shields has offered to immediately step aside as police chief so that the city may move forward with urgency in rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our communities", Bottoms said.

She also called for the immediate termination of the two officers involved, as she did not believe that this was a "justified use of deadly force".

https://en.abna24.com/news//us-police-kills-another-black-man-amid-%e2%80%98black-lives-matter%e2%80%99-protests_1046165.html

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SPLC Uses Anniversary of Islamic Terror Attack to Demonize Conservative Christians

BY TYLER O'NEIL

JUN 13, 2020

Four years ago yesterday, a radical Islamic terrorist opened fire in Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others. He pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) during the attack, and ISIS later claimed responsibility. Yet, because Pulse is a gay bar, leftists have memory-holed the terrorist’s intentions and blamed “anti-LGBT hate” for the heinous attack. On Friday, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) used the anniversary of the shooting to demonize conservative Christians and the Trump administration.

“The Pulse murders occurred during Pride Month in a nightclub that acted as a haven for LGBTQ people in Orlando to celebrate their whole selves. Anti-LGBTQ hate groups and some members of the radical right, in a sickening display of bigotry, praised the gunman after the attack,” the SPLC’s Lecia Brooks wrote in a post commemorating the anniversary.

“It’s clear that the LGBTQ community remains under threat — the 2019 SPLC Year in Hate and Extremism report showed a nearly 43% spike in anti-LGBTQ hate groups. Groups that vilify the LGBTQ community, the report found, represented the fastest-growing sector among hate groups in 2019, rising from 49 in 2018 to 70 the following year,” Brooks added. “LGBTQ hate even has a home in the halls of the White House: The Trump administration has welcomed members of these hate groups who have designed new, oppressive policies.”

So, who are these nefarious “hate groups” who would celebrate radical Islamic terrorism and yet somehow weaseled their way into the Trump White House, which is — shall we say — not the biggest hub for radical Islam?

Well, the SPLC’s “anti-LGBTQ hate group” category is rather elastic, by design. The SPLC, which grew to prominence by suing the Ku Klux Klan and related racist hate groups into bankruptcy, has weaponized that history to defame its political opponents by accusing them of being “hate groups” like the KKK. It has a financial incentive to do so — SPLC co-founder Morris Dees discovered that “reporting on” “hate” is a fabulous fundraising tool. In fact, former SPLC employees have explained that much of the “hate” tracking is a scam, as the SPLC exaggerates the threat of mostly defunct “hate groups” in order to bilk donors.

“Anti-LGBTQ hate groups” include mainstream Christian law firms like Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which has won nine cases at the Supreme Court since 2011. The SPLC’s category includes the Ruth Institute, a Roman Catholic nonprofit dedicated to helping the victims of the Sexual Revolution. Upon accusing the Ruth Institute of being a “hate group,” the SPLC seized on RI’s statement that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” which is a direct quote from the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet the SPLC has not marked the Catholic Church a “hate group…”

The SPLC’s list of “anti-LGBTQ hate groups” also includes the Family Research Council (FRC), a conservative Christian nonprofit in Washington, D.C. In 2012, a deranged man opened fire at FRC, aiming to kill everyone in the building and place a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich by each person’s head. His attack was foiled, but he got the idea to target FRC due to the SPLC’s list of “anti-LGBTQ hate groups.”

When the SPLC demonizes the Trump administration for working with “anti-LGBTQ hate groups,” it is often referring to ADF and FRC. Trump has spoken at FRC’s annual conference and he has nominated former ADF employees to serve as judges or in his administration. He has also reversed former President Barack Obama’s subversion of basic biology by reaffirming the reality of biological sex over transgender identity in various forms of law.

When the SPLC demonizes the Trump administration for “hate,” the far-left group is using guilt-by-association to suggest that the president is inciting violence, based on the fact that Trump has championed commonsense policies with which the leftist activists disagree.

Shortly after the attack, however, Donnie Romero, then pastor of the Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, praised the terrorist.

“These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, they’re the scum of the Earth and the Earth is a better place now and I’ll take it a step further,” Romero said in a sermon published online by the Dallas Morning News. “I’ll pray to God like I did this morning, and I will again tonight, that God will finish the job that that man started.”

The SPLC responded by including Stedfast Baptist Church on its list of “anti-LGBT hate groups.” In this one instance, the “hate group” accusation may be true.

No Christian should spout this kind of horrific vitriol. To claim that a mass shooting leaves the world a “better place” is, quite simply, beyond the pale.

But notice the SPLC’s sleight of hand in all of this. The SPLC had not previously accused Stedfast Baptist Church of being a “hate group.” It leveled that accusation after Romero’s disgusting “sermon.” None of the mainstream conservative Christian organizations the SPLC demonizes as “anti-LGBTQ hate groups” praised the shooter, and Trump certainly did not.

Furthermore, Brook’s statement about the Pulse nightclub shooting did not once mention the true motivations of the shooter. As it turns out, the gay bar wasn’t the terrorist’s intended target — Disney World was, and he didn’t even search for “gay nightclubs,” but merely for “nightclubs.” He pledged allegiance to ISIS during the attack, and ISIS claimed responsibility for it afterward.

Yet the SPLC has completely ignored the true motivation behind this radical Islamic terrorism. In fact, the SPLC routinely brands people who warn against radical Islam “anti-Muslim hate groups” or “anti-Islamic extremists.” One such “extremist,” Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, sued the SPLC for defamation and won $3.375 million. The SPLC routinely works with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has troubling ties to Hamas.

The SPLC should stop distracting from the radical Islam behind the attack, or at least acknowledge that was the true motivation behind this heinous evil.

Even worse for the SPLC’s narrative, Chick-fil-A — often demonized as a force of “anti-LGBT hate” — fired up the grill on a Sunday to serve free chicken to people as they gave blood to help the victims. Conservative Christians do not “hate” LGBT people, even though we disagree with their alternative sexual morality.

The Pulse Nightclub shooting was a horrific terrorist attack, and Americans should remember it. But we should remember it as it actually was, rejecting the SPLC’s twisted interpretation.

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/tyler-o-neil/2020/06/13/splc-uses-anniversary-of-islamic-terror-attack-to-demonize-conservative-christians-n525473

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Africa

 

Have set up Covid-19 treatment centre, says Somalia's Islamist group al Shabaab

Mogadishu

June 13, 2020

Somalia's Islamist group al Shabaab said on Friday they had set up a Covid-19 treatment centre in the country, and said the disease posed a grave threat, citing international health authorities.

"Al Shabaab's corona(virus) prevention and treatment committee has opened a Covid-19 centre," the group said in a broadcast on their radio Andalus, adding the centre had been set up in Jilib, about 380 kilometres (236 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu.

For more than a decade the group has been fighting to topple the Horn of Africa's Western-backed central government and establish its own government based on its own strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

It frequently carries out bombings and gun assaults in Somalia against both military and civilian targets including hotels, intersections and checkpoints.

In the broadcast a man who identified himself as Sheikh Mohamed Bali thanked al Shabaab for setting up the centre and asked those with symptoms to report to the centre.

"We thank the administration who established the centre, we ask the people not to hide (the) disease to avoid spreading of the virus, people should report to the centre," he said.

Another person in the broadcast who did not identify himself said the centre is ready with vehicles to transport suspected coronavirus patients who call in seeking for care.

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/have-set-up-covid-treatment-centre-somalia-islamist-group-al-shabaab-1688646-2020-06-13

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20 soldiers, 40 civilians killed in attacks in Nigeria

June 14, 2020

At least 20 soldiers and more than 40 civilians have been killed, and hundreds have been injured in twin attacks in northeast Nigeria's Borno state on Saturday, residents and a civilian task force fighter said.

The attacks, in the Monguno and Nganzai local government areas, came just days after armed militants killed at least 81 people in a raid on a village in a third area, Gubio.

Two humanitarian workers and three residents told Reuters that armed militants with heavy weaponry including rocket launchers arrived in Monguno, a hub for international non-governmental organisations, at roughly 11am local time (10:00 GMT).

The militants then overran government forces, taking some casualties but killing at least 20 soldiers and roaming the area for three hours.

The sources said hundreds of civilians were injured in the crossfire, overwhelming the local hospital and forcing some of the injured to lay outside the facility awaiting help.

The militants also burned down the United Nations' humanitarian hub in the area and set on fire the local police station. Militants distributed letters to residents, in the local Hausa language, warning them not to work with the military or international aid groups.

Militants also entered Nganzai at about the same time on Saturday, according to two residents and one Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) fighter. They arrived on motorcycles and in pick-up trucks and killed more than 40 residents, the sources said.

https://en.abna24.com/news//20-soldiers-40-civilians-killed-in-attacks-in-nigeria_1046151.html

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Reopening guidelines: NCDC orders churches, mosques to shut toilets, sales outlets

June 14, 2020

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Saturday issued guidelines for the reopening of religious centres across the country, asking children and people aged 60 and above to avoid worship centres for the time being.

According to the guidelines posted on its website, the NCDC said before reopening, religious houses should fumigate their auditoriums, car parks and other buildings by wiping all surfaces with a disinfecting agent.

The centre also said during services, windows and doors must be opened to enable airflow while adequate provision should be made for soap, running water and hand sanitisers at entry points.

“To help educate on COVID-19, it is recommended for places of worship to have preventive messages from NCDC posted at entry points and around places of worship.

“Holy communion should be packaged in disposable wraps. Drinking water points, public toilets and sales outlets must be closed for now,” the NCDC said.

It said, “Religious leaders must maintain two metres when praying or counselling and avoid body contact with members. Places of worship should be free of carpets and rugs to allow easy disinfection of the floor.

“Places of worship must open only between 5am and 8pm. Choristers are to go home with their robes; hijabs are not to be shared; attendance in every service should not exceed one-third of sitting capacity of the auditorium to enable physical distancing. All other members should join the service virtually.”

https://punchng.com/reopening-guidelines-ncdc-orders-churches-mosques-to-shut-toilets-sales-outlets/

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Council says SA Muslims will not be embarking on hajj due to Covid-19

12 Jun,2020

The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHC) has announced the due to the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africans will not embark on the 1441/2020 hajj.

Due to some of the lockdown restrictions, such as the closure of borders, South African Muslims who were planning on embarking on hajj, will no longer be able to do so. 

On Wednesday, the SAHC met with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to discuss the possibility of hajj under the current Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.

"Based on the closures of our borders, the curtailment of international travel and issues pertaining to Covid-19, it is with regret that we inform South African-accredited Hujaaj that South African pilgrims will not be able to embark on the 1441/2020 hajj," the council said in its statement.

The pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia was scheduled to take place between 28 July and 2 August. The council added any applicable refunds would be paid out.

https://www.news24.com/news24/SouthAfrica/News/p3-council-says-sa-muslims-will-not-be-embarking-on-hajj-due-to-covid-19-20200612

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Southeast Asia

 

Dr Mahathir’s media advisor alleges PNB CEO being ousted using attacks against credentials

14 Jun 2020

BY SYED JAYMAL ZAHIID

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — Datuk Kadir Jasin claimed today Permodalan Nasional Berhad chief executive Abdul Jalil Rasheed was being forced out by unnamed critics who were putting a spotlight on alleged discrepancies in his academic qualifications.

The former media adviser to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad portrayed Abdul Jalil as another victim of the Perikatan Nasional government that he said did not favourably view clean and independent professionals.

PH had sought to abolish the practice of appointing politicians into government-linked corporations (GLCs) under its short stint in power, which was discontinued when PN came to power.

“Like most other professionals appointed during the Pakatan Harapan days and removed by the Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional government, Abdul Jalil had dug up the mucks of the Barisan Nasional era,” Kadir claimed in a Facebook posting.

Yesterday, rumours of Abdul Jalil’s impending removal solidified when The Edge Malaysia reported that a board meeting of PNB’s directors was expected to be called soon to deliberate the matter.

Abdul Jalil, a young uprising corporate star, replaced Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad as PNB’s president and group CEO in October last year.

In a statement announcing Abdul Jalil’s appointment, PNB said the move was in line with the “government’s wish to make optimal use of Malaysian global talents and consistent with the fund’s strategic initiative to diversify its assets globally.”

Reasons for his planned removal were still unclear, but Kadir claimed the PN government could sack him on grounds that he allegedly misled the fund by providing inaccurate details about his qualifications.

The London School of Economics and Politics (LSE) is one of the 17 colleges under the University of London, according to Kadir.

He claimed it was convention for students in the UK to refer to the institution as the LSE instead of the University of London, which is a unifying institution.

Kadir also speculated on Abdul Jalil’s replacement, allegedly one of the deputy directors from Khazanah Berhad from the Barisan Nasional management era he claimed had been involved in selling the fund’s assets to questionable parties.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/06/14/dr-mahathirs-media-advisor-alleges-pnb-ceo-being-ousted-using-attacks-again/1875337

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Announcing end to daily security briefings, Ismail Sabri jokes that Malaysians won’t get to see his colourful batik shirts

14 Jun 2020

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that his press briefing today on security matters related to the various movement control orders will be the last of what had been a daily affair.

During today’s broadcast from Putrajaya, the defence minister said the briefings would be reduced to thrice weekly, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“And today is the last day of me going live on a weekend. Maybe after this there won’t be any colourful batik shirts any more, which became the basis of your kuihs and drinks,” the Bera MP said in jest.

His joke was in reference to online memes that compared his daily choice of batik shirts to traditional cakes and sweets.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/06/14/announcing-end-to-daily-security-briefings-ismail-sabri-jokes-that-malaysia/1875340

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Arab world

 

 

The Syrian regime forced prisoners to torture each other, says activist

14 June 2020

The Syrian regime tortured prisoners with a range of brutal methods, including forcing prisoners to torture each other, said Syrian public speaker and human rights activist Omar Alshogre in an interview with Al Hadath on Saturday.

Alshogre, from a village Syria’s Tartus province, was arrested when he was 15 years old and spent a total of three years in detention after being arrested seven times between 2011 and 2013. While Alshogre eventually managed to escape as a refugee to Sweden after his mother secured his release from prison in 2015, several of his family members including his father, brothers, and cousins were killed in regime prisons.

“I was studying and my father wanted me to become an engineer and my mother wanted me to become a doctor. And I had a lot of studying to do. They raided the home where I was living with my cousins, Bachir, Rashad and Nour,” Alshogre told Al Hadath, which is Al Arabiya's sister channel.

“Bachir and Rashad died under torture. In May 2013 … my father and two brothers, Mohammed and Othman, were killed by the regime. So I lost my brothers and father, in addition to my childhood friends and cousins during the massacres by the regime,” he explained.

“Some methods involved tying a prisoner’s hands behind his back or tying his hands to the ceiling. Shoulders were [jerked out of place with these methods],” said Alshogre.

“For the older prisoners, it was a different situation. Tearing off fingernails is something the Syrian “Mukhabarat” [the Syrian security services] are notorious for. They also burn [prisoners] with cigarettes a lot,” he said.

“The most difficult form of torture was when they sit me down and ask how many officers I had killed. I would tell them none. And then they would hang my cousin in front of me and say as long as I didn’t speak, they would torture him. After an hour, they would bring my cousin and give him a cable and an electric stick and tell him to torture me or else they would torture us and both and we would die together. So prisoners were forced to torture each other,” Alshogre told Al Hadath.

Using the word “allegedly” is a slap in the face of the victims of this genocidal massacre and their families. And we have documented well over 300 civilians slaughtered including my dad, brothers and childhood friends. This is a disappointing tweet. https://twitter.com/USEmbassySyria/status/1256621999343968257 …

While the regime of President Bashar al-Assad remains in power in Syria, two former intelligence officers have been on trial in the German city of Koblenz since April. The officers are accused of complicity in torture at Damascus’ Al-Khatib prison between 2011 and 2012.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/06/14/The-Syrian-regime-forced-prisoners-to-torture-each-other-says-activist.html

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Campaigns launched to hasten return to normalcy in Saudi Arabia

June 14, 2020

MADINAH: As part of Saudi Arabia’s second phase of a gradual return to normalcy, campaigns continue to be launched to ensure that citizens and residents adhere to safety and health measures to complete the transition.

The Madinah branch of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched a campaign called “Qariban Najtame” (“We Will Meet Soon”).

The campaign aims to help maintain social awareness and contribute to ensuring public health by stressing the importance of social distancing, and the right preventive and precautionary measures, the Saudi Press Agecny reported on Thursday.

Abdullah Al-Saadi, general director of the ministry’s Madinah branch, said this and other such initiatives by the government and private entities aim to protect society.

He added that entities participating in “Qariban Najtame” are intensifying their efforts by targeting public places of gathering and identifying ways to prevent infection and disease proliferation.

Al-Saadi said the campaign aims to intensify educational guidance, medical examinations, crowd management, touring markets and mosques, and transmitting instructions via loudspeakers in various languages.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1689476/saudi-arabia

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Dubai Islamic affairs experts provide 590 consultations in May

June 13, 2020

Dubai: The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai (IACAD) provided 590 consultations to customers from January to May, it said on Saturday.

The consultations regarding religious, social and scientific matters were provided by IACAD’s Education and Religious Guidance Department.

“According to the current crisis that society and the family is going through, IACAD put into consideration innovative solutions to reach all segments of society by using safe outputs,” Yousra Al Qaoud, Director of Education and Religious Guidance Department said.

Ebrahim Al Mansouri, head of the Religious Guidance section, said IACAD provides customers consultations throughout the year. IACAD is also providing behavioral, educational, and marital counseling, along with consultation on custody issues and family issues, such as divorce and its effects, through its phone service and IACAD’s website.

“We are receiving remote interviews with the customers according to the current circumstances, following the precautionary procedures in a way that guarantees the safety of our customers,” said Moaza Al Shamsi, Senior Specialist, Religious Guidance.

“The remote work has had a positive impact in transforming the challenges into opportunities in order to support the stability of the family and society.”

Also, IACAD presented 56 lectures through visual communication techniques, delivered by 20 lecturers and preachers to 23 government and private institutions throughout the country during Ramadan in several languages.

Those wishing to have these consultations can submit their request via IACAD’s website, www.iacad.gov.ae, or contact the customer service toll free at 800 600.

https://gulfnews.com/uae/dubai-islamic-affairs-experts-provide-590-consultations-in-may-1.72023713

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Coronavirus: Bahrain detects 514 new cases as recoveries rise to 12,818

Tamara Abueish

14 June 2020

Bahrain detected 514 new cases of the novel coronavirus after 7,571 COVID-19 tests were conducted, raising the total number of confirmed infections in the country to 18,227, the Ministry of Health announced on Sunday.

Out of the newly reported cases, 281 were found among expatriate workers, 230 new cases were of people who had direct contact with previously infected individuals, and three people who had travelled abroad.

Meanwhile, 628 people recovered from the virus, increasing total number of recoveries in the country to 12,818.

Currently, 138 cases are receiving treatment, out of which 18 are in a critical condition, according to the ministry.

A total of 5,352 people are stable, the ministry said, adding that the death toll in the country is currently 39.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/coronavirus/2020/06/14/Coronavirus-Bahrain-detects-514-new-cases-as-recoveries-rise-to-12-818.html

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Eid al-Adha expected to begin on July 31, astronomer says

Tamara Abueish

14 June 2020

The Eid al-Adha holiday is expected to begin on Friday, July 31, a member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences announced on Saturday.

The Muslim holiday, which is celebrated a day after the annual Hajj pilgrimage ends, commemorates the day the prophet Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.

“The crescent of the lunar month of Dhu Al Hijjah 1441 is to be spotted on Monday, July 20, 2020 at 9:33 p.m. - UAE time,” the astronomer Ibrahim al-Jarwan said.

“July 22 will mark the first day of Dhu Al Hijjah month and Friday, July 31, shall be the first day of Eid Al Adha, according to astronomical calculations,” he added.

Al-Jarwan also said that the summer season is expected to start on June 21 and end on September 23, with average temperatures estimated to range from 25 degrees Celsius to 41 degrees Celsius.

The upcoming holiday, which is one of two Islamic celebrations held annually, is often marked with family visits and large social gatherings.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2020/06/14/Eid-al-Adha-expected-to-begin-on-July-31-astronomer-says-.html

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Lebanon PM launches attack against his government’s opponents

NAJIA HOUSSARI

June 14, 2020

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Hassan Diab responded to his government’s political opponents in a tough speech addressing the Lebanese on Saturday night.

As the protests continued and clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the city of Tripoli caused injuries, Diab spoke of “a programmed campaign organized by parties known by name and method of thinking that are not deterred from using any method to shatter the image of others.”

Diab said that his government “has a high percentage of citizens’ confidence, which has disturbed many of those who bet on its failure, and some have tried to invest without any national deterrent by pumping lies and rumors, to prevent the government from removing the rubble under which the secrets of corruption disappear.”

“Know that we have found many keys from that black structure. There is a lot to discover soon with documents and facts, and this structure will fall on those who hide in its corners,” he said.

Diab said that “the coup attempt fell and all secret and public meetings and orders of internal and joint operations to stop discovering of corruption failed too.”

“There are those who want to go back to before Oct. 17 (the date of protests against the Saad Hariri government) and turn the clock back.”

“When the state weakens, the gangs are strengthened, and when the state retreats, small states appear, and when stability shakes, civil peace collapses, and when accountability stops, corruption prevails,” he said.

“The judiciary does not need to be instructed to move. We insist that the judiciary be independent and impartial. The confrontation is difficult, and I call on the Lebanese to be more patient because the battle with corruption is very fierce, because the corrupt will not give up so easily,” the prime minister said.

Diab said that “opening the airport on July 1 will allow us to restore part of the economic cycle, but what is happening today will increase suffering, and I call on the Lebanese to refrain from distorting the protests in order to cross the ordeal and protect Lebanon.”

The prime minister’s remarks came as the anger of groups of protesters who took to the squares of Beirut and Tripoli turned into deliberate sabotage of public and private property without indicating clear slogans for their movement. The riots led to angry reactions in the two cities.

This prompted former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to warn that “Beirut should not be targeted by anyone. Do not force people to protect their own properties and livelihoods. We will not stand by as spectators while the capital is destroyed.”

Beirut awoke to painful scenes left by the riots, during which young men who arrived on motorbikes smashed and burned shops, pulled stones off buildings and threw them at security forces, and uprooted traffic signs. Stones and glass fragments covered the squares and the content of the shops were ruined.

Anger was reignited mid-week with news circulating on social media that the exchange rate of the dollar on the black market had reached 7,000 Lebanese pounds.

On Friday, the government said that the news was incorrect. It took measures to curb the rise of the exchange rate, which exceeded 5,000 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, by requesting the central bank to pump dollars into the market to money changers, starting on Monday, to gradually reduce the exchange rate to 3,200 Lebanese pounds.

Despite the government’s move to stop the collapse of the Lebanese pound, the protests continued in downtown Beirut in the absence of coordination between civil movement groups. Each protesting group seemed to have its own agenda.

The goal of these attacks is to turn public opinion against popular movements, so beware of infiltrators who climb over your demands.

The Lebanese army and internal security forces accompanied the demonstrators, and Prime Minister Diab asked the leaders of the two security establishments to “take appropriate measures to prevent suspicious attacks on public and private property in downtown Beirut.”

Hariri visited the damaged shops and spoke to their owners, one of whom raised a Lebanese flag over his burned shop and wrote under it: “Despite your madness, we love you, Lebanon.”

Hariri said that “those who organized and carried out sabotage and burning attacks in Beirut do not have an iota of the goals and values of the revolution. They are misguided groups drifting behind a cursed plot that seeks sedition and further collapse. The goal of these attacks is to turn public opinion against popular movements, so beware of infiltrators who climb over your demands.”

Hariri accused the Lebanese administration and “its government of ignoring the independence of the judiciary and watching the sabotage of Beirut’s markets, burning its heart and assaulting its role and dignity.”

He warned: “If the state does not carry out its tasks, the jungle law that is not acceptable to any sane person will prevail, and we will no longer be silent about such actions that violate human morals and threaten security.”

Shop owners in the capital and other cities were busy fortifying the fronts of their shops, fearing that riots in the coming days could reach their stores.

Tony Eid, head of the Beirut Traders Association, told Arab News: “What happened, regardless of its causes, will harm traders and business owners. The commercial flow is built on trust, which has been lost, and people will be afraid to continue their declining business.”

“During the last three months, the percentage of business closure in the Beirut’s Achrafieh district alone reached between 50 percent to 70 percent, so everyone is obsessed with material damage as a result of riots that may take place and they no longer have hopes for the country,” he said.

Eid said: “Merchants are not the ones who stole the country, but rather those who are in power. Merchants put their savings, borrowed and risked to establish their businesses, so what is their fault?”

He said that merchants were now asking the association to help them find solutions “to close their businesses with the least possible harm.”

Some rioters arrived on motorbikes and clashed with soldiers, throwing stones and firecrackers at them. The army responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Tripoli MP Mohammed Kabbara said: “We will not be silent on sabotaging Tripoli, nor will we be silent on the increasing poverty in our city, and we will not be silent on some suspected mercenaries from outside Tripoli who target its reputation, image and economy.”

“The true cry of hunger is not to attack others. Rather, it should be directed against the corrupt who looted public money and against the policy of American sabotage of our national economy,” he said.

Hezbollah MP Anwar Jumaa said: “Hezbollah is the only party in Lebanon now that pumps millions of dollars a month into the market, and this contributes to preventing the collapse of Lebanon now and moving the economic cycle.”

Amal Movement MP Ali Bazzi said: “The right of citizens to peacefully demonstrate and express their opinion is constitutionally guaranteed, but attacking public and private property is not different from the damage caused by those who looted and corrupted the country.”

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1689506/middle-east

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Europe

 

NCRI Revealing New Documents Confirms Mullahs’ Regime Brutality and Extensiveness of Iran Protests

13th June 2020

by Mahmoud Hakamian

The Iranian Resistance revealed documents on the transfer of 60 protesters wounded during the nationwide Iran protests in November to the hospitals in Tehran by the Emergency Organization from November 15 to 18, 2019. These documents confirm the extent of the Iran protests and the regime’s crime against humanity. 

A document revealed by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) asserts that, “Among the 60 wounded taken to the hospital by the country’s Emergency Organization, there are six women, two of whom were shot by the security forces. Five young men have been registered as unidentified in the Emergency Organization documents.”

Although this is but a small part of the regime’s brutality during the nationwide Iran protests, it nevertheless shows the huge dimensions of the uprising and how it shook the regime’s foundation. 

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK), via its vast network inside Iran, on December 15, 2019 announced that the regime’s security forces killed over 1500 people across Iran. The MEK, after months of collecting information, published the names and pictures of over 750. 

The Iranian regime, rattled by this uprising, cut the internet to freely brutalize and oppress people and prevent mounting international pressure, and most importantly to cut the relation between people and their organized Resistance. Footages obtained by the MEK show the regime’s security forces shooting people on the streets at pointblank range, and particularly a shocking video shows the regime’s thugs attacking and killing a young man with an axe.

After oppressing the Iranian people’s uprising, the regime’s authorities refused to announce the number of martyrs for months and kept shifting responsibility to each other. This portrayed the regime’s fear of the explosive society that needs a spark to explode. 

Now, using the coronavirus pandemic and other crises, the regime’s authorities try to announce a much smaller number of deaths during the protests. In this regard, the regime’s Minister of Interior, Abdolreza Rahamani Fazli, announced that around 250 people were killed during the Iran protests. Following the same pattern of deception and criminality, Mojtaba Zolnouri, a security figure, claimed: “Only 230 were killed during the November incident.” They both blatantly claimed dozens of those 230 people killed were the regime’s security forces. 

In this regard, Rahmani Fazli, while trying to shift the blame on a third party and yet justifying the regime’s brutal suppression of protesters said: “Some 40 to 45 people were killed with unofficial and unregistered guns.”  

These acknowledgments, as well as the documents’ released by the NCRI, confirm the regime’s crimes during the nationwide uprising, underlining the need for the international community to intervene and condemn the regime. 

Major Iran protests erupted in November 2019 triggering the greatest existential crisis in the regime’s 40-year history. Protesters took to the streets in at least 191 cities calling for regime change. The regime has resorted to brute repression, killing at least 1500 protesters and arresting thousands more. It also shut down Iran’s internet completely for a week, blocking images of the protests from reaching the outside world.

https://www.ncr-iran.org/en/news/iran-protests/ncri-revealing-new-documents-confirms-mullahs-regime-brutality-and-extensiveness-of-iran-protests/

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Bethnal Green Islamic State schoolgirl ‘cannot be regarded as victim’, court told

13 June 2020

Ms Begum, now 20, was one of three Bethnal Green schoolgirls who travelled to Syria to join so-called Islamic State (IS) in February 2015, and lived under IS rule for more than three years.

She was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February last year, prompting then home secretary Sajid Javid to revoke her British citizenship later that month.

In February, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a specialist tribunal which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone’s British citizenship on national security grounds, ruled that the decision was lawful as Ms Begum was “a citizen of Bangladesh by descent” at the time of the decision.

SIAC found that Ms Begum “cannot play any meaningful part in her appeal and that, to that extent, the appeal will not be fair and effective”, but ruled that “it does not follow that her appeal succeeds”.

Ms Begum’s challenge to the decision to refuse to allow her to enter the UK in order to effectively pursue her appeal was also rejected.

Setting out the Home Office’s case on Friday, Sir James Eadie QC said removing someone’s British citizenship was “a highly valuable weapon in the national security armoury” which was used to protect the public from “those who have been radicalised and those who are sympathetic to causes such as al Qaida and (IS)”.

Sir James said: “I fully accept that the position in relation to her (Ms Begum’s) degree of national security threat that she poses, whether or not she has truly recanted and whether or not she left of her own free will ... are untested currently.

“But - and it is quite a big but - there has been an assessment by those who are expert and experienced in these matters and it has been considered appropriate and necessary to deprive in her case.”

Sir James said Ms Begum “went to Syria, she stayed there for four years, she offered herself to and married an (IS) fighter and she aligned, in that sense, with (IS)”.

He added that “why she did so” and what Ms Begum believed now were not known, but said “those bare facts bearing on her risk remain”.

Sir James said it would be “entirely wrong to approach this case on the basis that she is to be regarded properly at this stage as a victim”.

He added that Ms Begum may have now “recanted” her support for IS, but said: “Let us not forget that the attacker at Fishmongers’ Hall was at a seminar given by Cambridge University on rehabilitation.”

Convicted terrorist Usman Khan, 28, fatally stabbed Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, at a prisoner rehabilitation conference on November 29 2019 while out on licence.

He also argued that imposing an order under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act on Ms Begum in the UK would not be sufficient.

Sir James said that “the difficulty of that sort of suggestion ... in the real world is graphically illustrated by the London Bridge killings” in 2017.

He said: “There was considerable monitoring of the individuals in the UK and yet they were able to ... drive along the pavement at London Bridge killing the individuals that they did.”

Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, killed eight people and injured dozens of others by using a hired van to plough into pedestrians on London Bridge before attacking people at random around Borough Market on June 3 2017.

Ms Begum’s lawyers argue that removing her British citizenship took away “the real possibility that she could return to the UK” and exposed her to “the real risk of removal to Bangladesh or Iraq”, where she would face extra-judicial killing or the death penalty.

Tom Hickman QC also pointed out that Ms Begum was only 15 when she left the UK, adding: “The only things that are clear are that Shamima Begum was a child when she left the UK and had been influenced to do so.”

Ms Begum was one of three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy who left their homes and families to join IS, shortly after Sharmeena Begum, who is no relation, travelled to Syria in December 2014.

Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, then 16 and 15 respectively, and Ms Begum boarded a flight from Gatwick Airport to Istanbul, Turkey, on February 17 2015, before making their way to Raqqa in Syria.

Ms Begum claims she married Dutch convert Yago Riedijk 10 days after arriving in IS territory, with all three of her schoolfriends also reportedly marrying foreign IS fighters.

She told the Times last February that she left Raqqa in January 2017 with her husband but her children, a one-year-old girl and a three-month-old boy, had both since died.

The hearing before Lord Justice Flaux, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Singh is due to conclude on Friday and it is expected that the court will reserve its judgment.

https://www.eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk/news/crime-court/shamima-begum-court-of-appeal-hearing-1-6697707

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 How the mosques in Burton are preparing to reopen

ByAdnan Rashid

13 JUN 2020

The Muslim community in Burton has welcomed the news that mosques can open next week.

Private, or individual, worship means worshippers can pray individually but must social distancing by being two metres from the next person.

Traditionally this is not how Muslims pray in mosques, usually congregational prayer is performed with worshippers praying side by side.

One mosque is even looking into having security guards to ensure social distancing is maintained, while another will use some of the other rooms it has at so worshippers can spread out more.

Mosques nationally have been closed since the Prime Minister announced the lockdown on Monday, March 23, and it has been a very difficult period for Muslims, especially with the month of Ramadan and then the celebration of Eid.

Normally, mosques are full with worshippers during Ramadan and the build up to Eid, but that was not been allowed to be the case this year.

Burton Live spoke to four mosques in the town to see how they are preparing for reopening of their respected mosques and this is what they had to say.

Tariq Hussain, spokesperson for the mosque said: "We are hoping by the 15th of June, we have worked out how we will be opening the mosque and be able to comfortably allow daily prayers to happen.

"We will still be abiding by the social distancing rule and will ask worshippers to bring their own prayer mats, along with PPE equipment such as gloves and masks.

"We have a lot of room in the mosque and have the benefit of extra rooms to allow more people to pray and maintain social distancing from one another.

"Starting larger congregational prayers, especially Friday prayers, when sometimes we can have over 700 people at the mosque is something we are still debating.

The 46-year-old said: "We will be having a meeting with other representatives of the mosque to see how we can look into ways how the mosque can operate safely.

"Prayers are normally in a congregation, and we are not as big as other mosques in the town so we have to discuss safety measures and may have to limit how many people we allow in at one time."

Shoukat Mahmood, chairman of the mosque said the opening of mosques was a good sign and hoped "everything will start improving soon".

Mr Mahmood, who has lived in Burton for more than 35 years, said: "I was very happy when I found out that mosques were allowed to open again.

"To begin with, we will only be allowing one person to pray at a time, and we request those who are vulnerable or feeling slightly unwell to continue praying at home.

"The mosque caretaker has been cleaning the mosque and will continue to do so until we open, and we hope very soon to open to the public, but for now we don't want to take the risk."

Aftab Hussain, chairman of the mosque, said: "We are looking into ways of making sure when we open we are not at risk of endangering others.

"Another idea we are thinking about is having security officers in place to direct worshippers where they can pray and make sure the worshippers are abiding by the social distancing rule.

"Their are a few options we are looking into and we aim to sit down and discuss the idea with representatives from the mosque to ensure we have the right measure in place for when we open."

https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/burton/how-mosques-burton-preparing-reopen-4210798

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South Asia

 Intelligence Agencies Criticized after Second Mosque Attack

By Khalid Nekzad

14-06-2020

Residents in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Saturday strongly criticized the Afghan intelligence agencies over their failure to prevent the apparently systematic killing of Afghan religious leaders.

On Friday an explosion occurred at the Sher Shah Suri Mosque in the Kart-e-Char area in the west of Kabul as people were partaking in the Friday prayer, killing at least four worshippers, including mosque Imam Maulavi Azizullah Mufleh.

“These attacks are not acceptable for us, the government must take action, and those who perpetrated the attacks must be arrested,” said Maulavi Naseeruddin, a cleric.

The attack on a Kabul mosque on Friday, the second of its kind in less than two weeks, was widely condemned by the international community who called for peace in the country.

“The people are not satisfied with the government, the people are very angry, it releases the killers every day, it releases the thieves,” said Ahmad Qayoum, a resident in Kabul.

We are working on special measures, we have close contacts with the Afghanistan Ulema Council and with all those who face threats,” said Tariq Aryan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

On June 2, an explosion rocked Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque in Kabul’s diplomatic area, leaving at least two people dead including mosque Imam Mohammad Ayaz Niazi and wounding eight others.

Although the government tasked a team to investigate the murder, there have been no public announcements made.

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan/intelligence-agencies-criticized-after-second-mosque-attack

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 Mosque Blast Martyrs Four Prayers Including Imam

June 13, 2020

Saturday June 13, 2020

Kabul (BNA) Four people, including Imam of a mosque were martyred in an explosion inside Shir Shah-e-Suri mosque located in 3rd security precinct of Kabul city yesterday.

Tariq Arian spokesman for ministry of interior in a tweeted stated, "Explosives materials placed inside the mosque exploded during Friday prayers, in which four prayers including Mawlavi Azizullah Mufleh imam of the mosque were martyred and several more were wounded.

Earlier this month, IS planted explosives at a mosque in Kabul's posh Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood, killing the prayer leader and wounding eight others.

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was in the region earlier this week trying to resuscitate a peace deal that Washington and the Taliban signed in February to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan -- the longest military conflict in U.S. history.

http://www.bakhtarnews.com.af/eng/security/item/43132-mosque-blast-martyrs-four-prayers-including-imam.html

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 Post Covid-19 labour market: Bangladesh eyes Africa

June 14, 2020

The authorities have been exploring labour markets in African countries as overseas jobs may decline in the traditional Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries due to coronavirus pandemic.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen yesterday told The Daily Star that they were looking for new jobs in agriculture sector of the countries.

"We are not saying that the African governments will recruit our people. What we are saying is that African countries have huge land where our people to go for contract farming and recruit workers from Bangladesh," he said.

He specifically mentioned the names of Tanzania, Sudan, Uganda and The Gambia where huge opportunities lye for investment in the agriculture sector.

The move comes as several lakh Bangladeshi migrants may return home in the coming months after losing jobs in the Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries.

The World Bank has projected remittance decline by 22 percent this year compared to $18 billion received from about one crore Bangladesh migrants last year.

"As we are now focusing on economic diplomacy, we have asked our ambassadors to look for new avenues. We have got some reports suggesting that if our businessmen can invest in those countries, over the time some 40 lakh Bangladeshis can have jobs," Momen said.

Presently, some 3-4 lakh Bangladeshis are living in South Africa. They are basically asylum seekers there and are mostly doing businesses.

Some 50,000 Bangladeshis are in Libya, but the country is a major route for human trafficking to Europe via the Mediterranean amid a civil war that has been going on since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

"We have been talking about exploring African labour markets for the last more than a decade, but we have not really worked on the ground. Now, after the pandemic, we are trying to seriously look into the issue," said a foreign ministry official working in Africa desk.

Sabbir Ahmad, Bangladesh ambassador to South Africa, Bangladesh has diplomatic representation only in 30 of the total 54 African countries.

"We need to develop relations with all the countries and find how we can improve business and labour relations," he told The Daily Star yesterday.

https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/news/post-covid-19-labour-market-bangladesh-eyes-africa-1914029

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 State minister for religious affairs was infected with Covid-19

June 14, 2020

State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheikh Md Abdullah, who passed away last night, was infected with Covid-19.

"After his death, his sample was collected at Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka. We just came to know that he was infected with coronavirus," Md Nurul Islam, secretary of the Religious Affairs Ministry, told The Daily Star.

The freedom fighter passed away around 11:45pm yesterday after a cardiac arrest. He was 75.

He was rushed to the hospital after he started feeling unwell at his home around 10:30pm yesterday.

https://www.thedailystar.net/bangladesh-religious-state-affairs-minister-was-infected-with-covid-19-1914181

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 Nasim laid to rest at Banani graveyard

June 14, 2020

Veteran Awami League leader and former health minister Mohammed Nasim was laid to rest at Dhaka's Banani graveyard this morning, after receiving a guard of honour.

The AL presidium member's first namaz-e-janaza was held around 9:40am at Sobhanbagh Jam-e-Mosque in Dhanmondi, where several hundred people, mostly from his constituency-- Sirajganj-1 -- took part.

Nasim was buried around 11:00am after his second namaz-e-janaza at Banani Jam-e-Mosque at 10:30am.

Several hundred leaders and activists of AL took part in the second janaza maintaining physical distance, amid the threat of coronavirus infection.

Nasim, son of Shaheed Captain M Mansur Ali, one of the organisers of the Liberation War of Bangladesh and a close associate of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, passed away on June 13 at the Bangladesh Specialised Hospital in the capital at the age of 72.

https://www.thedailystar.net/politics/mohammed-nasim-laid-rest-at-dhaka-banani-graveyard-1914153

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 Pakistan

 Defence budget not increased to provide relief to masses: Qureshi

June 14, 2020

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday that despite knowing the nefarious designs of India, no increase was made in Pakistan’s defence expenditures in the budget so that the masses should not be overburdened.

In a video statement issued in connection with the federal budget 2020-21, the foreign minister said the revenue target had been brought down to Rs800 billion because of disruption of the economy by coronavirus outbreak.

“Despite all odds, the budget is balanced, reasonable, positive and optimistic. Although we are aware of the designs of India, but did not increase the [allocation for] defence expenditures. Keeping in view the [country’s] financial condition, Pak Army cooperated a lot with us. We focused more on the communities and areas which are living below the poverty line. For this purpose, we have increased the amount allocated for Ehsaas Programme from Rs178bn to Rs208bn. Although, the health and education sectors are related to provinces, we also allocated a huge amount for these both sectors as well,” he said.

“The GDP deficit is Rs3,000bn. The budget has been presented in unusual circumstances as the coronavirus has jolted the world economy. There is a revenue deficit of Rs800bn. Our exports were increasing from July to March but they rapidly declined from March to June because of coronavirus,” he said.

Mr Qureshi regretted that because of the huge loans taken by the previous governments, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had to spend a major chunk of the budget on debt servicing.

Giving credit to Prime Minister Imran Khan for championing the cause of underdeveloped countries by seeking debt relief, he said: “It is a matter of pleasure for me that G-20 and Paris Club granted some relaxations to us, while we are still want more concessions so that we could use the resources to provide employment and eradicate poverty.”

He said efforts were on to reform the Federal Board of Revenue, adding that automation of the tax system would result in improvement in tax collection, while it would also help reduce corruption as well.

He said a huge amount had also been allocated for the betterment of the agriculture sector and improving water resources.

“Rs10bn have been allocated for locust control, besides Rs50bn additional amount for the agriculture sector,” he said.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1563308/defence-budget-not-increased-to-provide-relief-to-masses-qureshi

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 PTA also can’t proceed against US blogger, court told

Malik Asad

June 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) of Islamabad on Saturday reserved a judgement on a petition seeking registration of a criminal case against US blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie, likely to be announced on June 15.

The Pakistan Telecommu­nication Authority (PTA) during Saturday’s proceedings expressed its inability to proceed against Ms Ritchie.

The PTA took the stance before ADSJ Jahangir Awan that the authority lacked the jurisdiction to proceed aga­inst an individual over an alleged controversial tweet.

The PTA, however, suggested that in case there is any criminality related to Ms Ritchie’s official social media accounts then there is a cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to handle this.

Earlier, the FIA opposed registration of FIR in this matter and claimed that the petitioner had no locus standi [right of audience] to become complainant in the mater for invoking the provisions of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act [Peca], 2016.

The Act said that, “bare reading of the law would reveal that only an aggrieved neutral person or his guardian can lodge a complaint. The right provided in subsection (2) to the aggrieved person or his guardian, in case the aggrieved person is a minor for applying the authority for removal of contents further substantiate that in the case under discussion, law can be set in motion only on the complaint of either an aggrieved ‘natural person’ or his guardian.”

The PPP’s Islamabad president, Advocate Raja Sha­keel Abbasi, had filed the petition before Additional District and Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani under Section 22-A of the Criminal Proce­dure Code, seeking registration of an FIR against Ms Ritchie for allegedly defaming the slain PPP chairperson and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on social media.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1563380/pta-also-cant-proceed-against-us-blogger-court-told

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 Situation aggravates as OPDs at govt hospitals stay shut for a third day in Sindh

June 14, 2020

SHIKARPUR: Doctors, paramedics and nurses continued their boycott of work at outpatient departments (OPDs) in several government hospitals across the province on Saturday to force the authorities to accept their demands.

They had begun the agitation under Grand Health Alliance — a joint platform of doctors, paramedics and nurses — with two-hour daily boycott of OPDs from June 8 to 10 and then extended it to full day protest from June 11.

At the RBUT Civil Hospital in Shikarpur, the strikers gathered outside main gate of the facility and demanded Sindh government accept their “genuine” demands at the earliest to end unrest among healthcare providers.

The alliance’s charter of demands submitted to the government on June 1 included high-risk allowance, provision of personal protective equipment to healthcare providers, time scale and promotions, regularisation of the remaining 58 Gavi vaccinators out of 700 (648 had been regularised) and free healthcare facility for Covid-19 affected staff in government and private hospitals.

MIRPURKHAS: Striking doctors, paramedics and nurses gathered on the premises of Mirpurkhas Civil Hospital after boycotting OPDs and raised slogans in support of their demands.

The protesters’ leaders deplored that the government had not yet accepted their charter of demands despite the fact that they were doing high-risk job without surgical masks, safety kits, gloves, sanitizers and high-risk allowance.

SUKKUR: Young Doctors Association continued boycott of OPDs and token hunger strike for three hours at Jacobabad Civil Hospital, demanding payment of high-risk allowance, provision of security and separate isolation ward for infected doctors and other healthcare staff.

The association’s leaders warned the chief minister and health minister to accept their genuine demands at the earliest, or else they would continue the boycott.

HYDERABAD: Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has urged the Sindh government to provide PPE to doctors but distanced itself from the protesting healthcare providers, saying the association did not believe in strikes.

PMA president Dr Agha Taj Mohammad, general secretary Dr Mohammad Zaman Baloch and other office-bearers said in a joint statement issued on Saturday that instead of saluting doctors the Sindh government should take concrete steps to resolve their problems.

They said that doctors and other staff working at healthcare facilities run by Peoples’ Primary Healthcare Initiative and universities should be provided high-risk allowance.

They demanded judicial probe into the death of Dr Shafqat Shaikh and said shuhada allowance be paid to heirs of doctors who had died of coronavirus. PPE should be provided to postgraduates, house officers and doctors serving in basic health units, rural health centres and teaching and non-teaching civil hospitals, they said.

They said that family members of Covid-19 affected doctors should be kept in separate isolation wards. A private hospital had been given billions of rupees funds, which could have been used for building a new hospital, they said.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1563291/situation-aggravates-as-opds-at-govt-hospitals-stay-shut-for-a-third-day-in-sindh

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 Drap approves locally developed Covid-19 testing kits

Jamal Shahid

June 13, 2020

ISLAMABAD: In a major breakthrough on Friday, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) approved indigenous diagnostic kits for the detection of Covid-19 that have been developed by scientists at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust).

“This will bring significant cost reduction of Covid tests that run in thousands of rupees in the country and will save huge import bills.”

He also extended his felicitations to both the leadership of Nust and the scientists, saying they had made the country proud by their outstanding contribution to fight the pandemic through developing these testing kits.

Nust successfully performed lab trials of N-CovKit on 330 blinded samples. These indigenously established assays are robust, sensitive to the target and would soon be available in the market at a lower price compared to imported ones.

A team of experts who developed the kits comprised Associate Professor Dr Aneela Javed and Assistant Professor Dr Ali Zohaib from Nust Attaur Rahman School of Applied Biosciences (ASAB). They have been working on the establishment of these assays for diagnosis of the virus.

The kits will soon be mass produced by a selected pharmaceutical company as soon as the company is granted approval by Drap for commercial production.

Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn that Pakistan was the only country in the world which cut funding after 2007 for research and development from 0.67pc of the gross domestic product (GDP) to 0.24pc. Nonetheless, it is refreshing to see actual Pakistani scientists being tapped for their expertise rather than political alignment to get through this challenge, he commented.

He said all major cities had run short of sanitisers, disinfectant sprays and masks immediately after the first two cases of Covid-19 were detected between February 26 and March 5.

“That is when we realised that we do not produce such basic items and were importing them with a heavy cost to the exchequer,” he had said earlier committing to gain self-sufficiency in the manufacture of these basic items.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1563128/drap-approves-locally-developed-covid-19-testing-kits

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