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What Hindus Worship as Om, Muslims Worship as Allah; Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind Chief Equates Om, Allah and God

New Age Islam News Bureau

13 February 2023

 

Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, the president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (Arshad faction) speaks at the 34th General Session of Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, at Ramlila Ground, in New Delhi, on Feb. 12, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

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• Spreading Religious Hatred and Sectarianism Should Be Treated as National Crime; Outreach to Pasmanda Muslims Welcome: Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind

• Turkey-Syria Earthquake Death Toll to Top 50,000, UN Relief Chief Says

• Saudi Arabia Sending Gender Balanced Astronaut Team to International Space Station

• Females Will Get Jobs, Education within Islamic Framework: Deputy Foreign Minister of Islamic Emirate

 

India

• Jamiat's Arshad Madani Says 'Manu Worshipped Allah', Jain Muni Storms Off Stage With Other Religious Leaders

• 'No Cooperation': After Allah-Om Remark, Jamiat Chief's Stern Message On Extremism In Name Of Jihad

• Deep influence of Indian Islam in subcontinent: Experts

• ‘Attempts to deconstruct Muslim renaissance history in Kerala’

• Minorities panel received maximum complaints from Muslims in last 5 yrs from UP

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Europe

• Saudi Arabia, France enjoy ‘remarkable relationship of trust,’ says French FM

• UK counterterrorism report slammed for conclusions based on ‘half-dozen cases’

• Pope Francis calls for prayers, solidarity with quake victims in Türkiye, Syria

• UN says delivery of quake aid to northern Syria blocked due to lack of ‘approval’ from terror outfit

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Arab World

• Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition holds workshop in Riyadh

• Cairo Court Places Five Muslim Brotherhood Figures on Terrorism List for 5 Years

• More than 4,300 people reported dead in northwest Syria from quake: UN

• Syria earthquake aid held up by ‘approval issues’ with hardline group, says UN

• ISIS attack in central Syria kills 11, mostly civilians: War monitor

• Turkish government lauds Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian aid after deadly earthquake

• Lebanese religious leader slams politicians’ abuse of ‘power, influence’ over election of new president

• US an enemy, no place for Americans in Iraq: Harakat al-Nujaba

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South Asia

• Indian embassy in Kabul under threat of Islamic State attack: UN report

• The Islamic Emirate Believes In Freedom Of Press: Spokesman

• India arrests two terror suspects planning to leave for Afghanistan

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Southeast Asia

• Tougher Challenges Ahead for Indonesia’s Moderate Islam: Nahdlatul Ulama

• Dangerous Divides Bedevil Southeast Asia’s Majority-Muslim Democracies

• Body of new-born baby girl found abandoned at mosque grounds

• King calls for greater racial harmony to prevent extremism

• China sends emergency items to Syria, asks Chinese rescue teams to stand down

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Mideast

• Iran’s Raisi to Leave for China on Three-Day Official Trip

• Iran Reiterates Commitment to Nuclear Disarmament

• World Leaders, Senior Officials Felicitate Iran on Victory Anniversary of Islamic Revolution

• Israel’s President Herzog warns of ‘constitutional and social collapse’

• Arab leaders warn Israeli actions in Jerusalem, West Bank threaten regional turmoil

• Israeli forces kill 14-year-old Palestinian boy in West Bank’s Jenin

• Turkey earthquake: China sends 53 tonnes of tents to aid earthquake relief

• Nearly 26 million people affected by Turkey-Syria earthquake: WHO

• Iran releases filmmaker held for 6 months over criticism of government

• Israeli justice minister accuses judiciary of seeking 'coup' against Netanyahu gov't

• Israel 'buys island' in Bahrain; activists call it 'dangerous and worrying'

• Israel to step up crackdown against Palestinian ‘attackers’: Netanyahu

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Africa

• Tunisia’s Ennahda Condemns ‘Arbitrary Arrests’ Of Opposition Activists

• Tunisian influential businessman Kamel Eltaief arrested: Lawyers

• Tunisian Activist Khayam Turki Arrested, ‘Taken To An Unknown Destination’: Lawyer

• Tunisia police arrest ex-judges sacked by president, lawyer and media say

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Pakistan

• ‘Super king’ Bajwa, not US, behind ouster: Imran

• Imran Khan Blames 'negligence' of security forces for spike in terror attacks in Pakistan

• Eight injured in blast near car carrying wounded ASI in North Waziristan

• 60 suspects arrested in Nankana Sahib lynching case

• Bannu jirga urges Pakhtuns’ unity to establish peace

• Envoy underscores enhanced defence cooperation between Indonesia, Pakistan

• Pakistan-US defence talks begin today

• Muslim Hands over 20 houses to flood victims in Mastung, Jafarabad

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North America

• Biden Calls For Consensus in Israel on Plans To Tame Judiciary

• US delegation to meet GCC officials in Riyadh for talks on Iran, counterterrorism

• US carrier positioned in eastern Mediterranean to assist Türkiye in earthquake response

• Trump and Kushner profited from close Saudi ties: Report

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/hindus-worship-om-muslims-allah-jamiat-madani/d/129095

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 What Hindus Worship as Om, Muslims Worship as Allah; Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind Chief Equates Om, Allah and God

 

Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, the president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (Arshad faction) speaks at the 34th General Session of Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, at Ramlila Ground, in New Delhi, on Feb. 12, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

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ZIYA US SALAM

February 13, 2023

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind’s president Arshad Madani stirred up a controversy on Sunday, with a speech which seemed to equate Om, Allah and God, prompting some religious leaders to walk off the stage on the final day of the organisation’s three-day conclave.

“What Hindus worship as Om, Muslims worship as Allah,” Mr. Madani said. “Whom we call Adam, Hindus call Manu. Adam’s progeny is called Aadmi (mankind). Manu’s progeny is Manushya (mankind). When there was no Ram, Brahma, Shiva, whom did Manu worship? Few people tell us, they used to worship Om who had no image. I say, we call Om as Allah, those who speak Persian say Khuda, the English-speaking call God,” he added.

Following his remarks, Jain religious leader Acharya Lokesh Muni left the stage, stating, “We only agree with living in harmony, but all the story regarding Om, Allah, and Manu is all rubbish.”

‘Faith cannot be forced’

Mr. Madani’s presidential address had an audience of over two lakh people. “For 1,400 years Hindus and Muslims have lived here together as brothers. We have no differences. We have never forced anybody to convert to Islam. We believe religion is a personal matter and acceptance comes from the heart. Nobody can be forced to accept a faith,” said the Jamiat president. “Since Independence we had not heard of Ghar Wapsi [literally ‘homecoming’, referring to reconversion to Hinduism] till the time the BJP assumed power,” Mr. Madani added.

Later, the Muslim body issued a statement, expressing disappointment with the judiciary and raising concerns about increasing communalism in the country. “Jamiat considers religious hatred and sectarianism as the biggest threat to the integrity to the country. It does not match our long-standing heritage and ethos. Unfortunately, Muslims are the direct target of the internal and external enemies of the country. The so-called organisations which propagate extremist tendencies n the name of jihad are not entitled to our cooperation. Sacrifice, loyalty and patriotism to the nation are our national and religious duties,” said the Jamiat statement.

“The first duty of every ruler is to provide equal and fair treatment to all. The Supreme Court and other courts of the country are the guardians of democracy, but for some time, there is a general impression that the courts are working under the pressure of the State. The situation is not acceptable. If the judiciary is not free, then the country is not free. We appeal to all Muslims of India to enforce in practice the code prescribed by the Shariah. They should focus on ridding the Muslim society of evils like divorce, non-maintenance to the wife and injustice to women in general,” it added.

VHP slams remark

Hitting out at Mr. Madani, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said his remarks on “Om, Allah and God” have exposed his real mind-set. “Was it a ‘Sadbhavna Sammelan’ or a gathering of Jamiat’s poisonous group?” VHP national spokesperson Vinod Bansal said in a video statement on Sunday.

The way Mr. Madani tried to assert “his supremacy and that of Islam” with his comment in the “presence of Hindu dharma gurus at the event exposed his real mindset and character”, Mr. Bansal charged. “You talk about religion and indulge in sinful acts. Shame on you... The mindset of this Jamiat’s gathering will now have to be driven away from this country.”

In a tweet in Hindi, Mr. Bansal also alleged that an attempt was made to attack the Jain monk at the “Jamiat’s forum” and demanded that Delhi Police take action in the matter.

Source: The Hindu

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

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/what-hindus-worship-as-om-muslims-worship-as-allah-jamiat-chief/article66501468.ece

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Spreading Religious Hatred and Sectarianism Should Be Treated as National Crime; Outreach to Pasmanda Muslims Welcome: Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind

 

Madani said the Jamiat does not have any religious or ethnic enmity with the RSS and the BJP, but its differences are based on ideology. Credit: PTI Photo

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13.02.23

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind asserted that efforts to create a rift between people from different religions should be treated as a "national crime", and welcomed the government's outreach to Pasmanda Muslims.

This was stated in a message read by Jamiat president Maulana Mahmood Madani at the conclusion of the three-day 34th general session of the Muslim body at Ramlila Maidan here on Sunday.

"Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind considers religious hatred and sectarianism as the biggest threat to the integrity of the country. It does not match our long-standing heritage and ethos," the message read out by Madani stated.

Any efforts to create a rift in the relations between people from different religions should be considered a "national crime", he said.

In the message, Madani asked Muslims to remain vigilant against being targeted by "internal and external enemies" of the country.

"The so-called organisations, which propagate extremist and violent tendencies in the name of jihad are not entitled to our cooperation and support in terms of the country's interest or the religion of Islam," he said.

"Sacrifice, loyalty to the nation and patriotism are our national and religious duties," he said.

On the judiciary of the country, the Jamiat said the Supreme Court and other courts of the country are the guardians and strength of India's democracy, but for some time, "there is a general impression that the courts are working under the pressure of the state".

"This situation is not acceptable at all. If the judiciary is not free, then the country also is not free," the Jamiat said.

Madani said the Jamiat does not have any religious or ethnic enmity with the RSS and the BJP, but its differences are based on ideology.

"We welcome the recent statements of the RSS Sarsanghachalak encouraging mutual harmony and national unity. According to Islamic teachings, a hand extended for friendship should be held firmly and strengthened," the Jamiat chief said.

"Therefore, we warmly invite him and his followers to forget mutual hatred and enmity and embrace each other and make our beloved motherland the most developed, ideal... and peaceful superpower in the world," he said.

Madani said Islam teaches equality and racial non-discrimination, but despite this, the existence of Pasmanda communities amongst Muslims is a ground reality.

"No doubt that there has been discrimination and bias against marginalised communities, which is religiously and morally wrong and also reprehensible from the humane approach.

"We take this opportunity to say that we are ashamed of the abuses that have been committed in the name of caste, and to remove it, we pledge to reform the Muslim community and would make every possible effort to establish equality among Muslims on economic, social and educational fronts," he said.

"We congratulate the government of India for its recent statement to uplift the backward communities (Pasmanda) and hope that practical steps will be taken soon for the welfare and progress of the backward communities, irrespective of their religious affiliations," he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked his party workers to reach out to the Pasmanda Muslim community.

The Jamiat chief also appealed to the Muslims of India to enforce in practice the code prescribed by the Islamic Shariah.

He also urged them to focus on ridding the Muslim society of evils such as the exclusion of women in inheritance matters, violation of Islamic injunctions regarding divorce and non-maintenance to the wife, and injustice to women in society in general.

"There is a dire need for Muslims to conduct a mass movement across the country and take necessary steps for reforms so that there is no room for anyone to interfere in the Muslim Personal Law," Madani said.

Earlier, Maulana Arshad Madani, who leads the other faction of the Jamiat, said that Hindus and Muslims have been living side by side in the country for 1,400 years.

There was never any difference between them, he stressed.

Muslims should spread the message of love, he added.

Leaders of various religions and gurus also expressed their views at the event.

National Parliament of Religions head Goswami Shusheel Maharaj said that in the presence of leaders of different religions at the session here, there is a big message for the country.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/spreading-religious-hatred-should-be-treated-as-national-crime-jamiat-ulema-e-hind/cid/1916168

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Turkey-Syria Earthquake Death Toll to Top 50,000, UN Relief Chief Says

 

Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images

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12 February, 2023

The death toll from a massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria will “double or more” from its current level of 28,000, UN relief chief Martin Griffiths has said.

Griffiths arrived on Saturday in Turkey’s southern city of Kahramanmaras, the epicenter of the first 7.8-magnitude tremor that upturned millions of lives in the pre-dawn hours of Monday.

He said of the death toll in an interview with Sky News on Saturday: “I think it is difficult to estimate precisely as we need to get under the rubble but I’m sure it will double or more.”

“We haven’t really begun to count the number of dead,” he said.

Officials and medics said 24,617 people were killed in Turkey and 3,574 in Syria. The confirmed total now stands at 28,191.

Tens of thousands of rescue workers are scouring flattened neighborhoods despite freezing weather that has deepened the misery of millions now in desperate need of aid.

The United Nations has warned that at least 870,000 people urgently need hot meals across Turkey and Syria. Up to 5.3 million people may have been made homeless in Syria alone.

Almost 26 million people have been affected by the earthquake, the World Health Organization (WHO) said as it launched a flash appeal on Saturday for $42.8 million to cope with immediate health needs.

Turkey’s disaster agency said more than 32,000 people from Turkish organizations are working on search-and-rescue efforts. There are also 8,294 international rescuers.

“Soon, the search and rescue people will make way for the humanitarian agencies whose job it is to look after the extraordinary numbers of those affected for the next months,” Griffiths said in a video posted to Twitter.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/12/Turkey-Syria-earthquake-death-toll-to-top-50-000-UN-relief-chief-says

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Saudi Arabia Sending Gender Balanced Astronaut Team To International Space Station

 

Ali Al-Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi

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February 12, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will send the Kingdom’s first female astronaut and a male astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) during the second quarter of 2023.

Astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali AlQarni will join the crew of the AX-2 space mission, Axiom Space’s second all-private astronaut mission to the ISS.

“The step aims to empower Saudi capabilities in human spaceflight geared towards serving humanity and benefiting from the promising opportunities offered by the space industry”, the Saudi Press Agency said.

The spaceflight is scheduled to launch from the United States to the International Space Station. The Saudi Human Spaceflight Program includes the training of two more astronauts, Mariam Fardous and Ali AlGamdi, on all mission requirements.

Previously launched by the Saudi Space Commission (SSC), the Saudi Human Spaceflight Program is a collaboration with US company Axiom Space to train Saudi astronauts and bolster SSC’s space exploration.

The space mission is historic as it will make the Kingdom one of the few countries in the world that brings two astronauts of the same nationality aboard the ISS simultaneously.

Saudi Space Commission Chairman Abdullah Al-Swaha said the Kingdom’s leadership is keen to give unlimited support to the program, which aims to increase graduates’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to nurture innovation in space sciences.

It also aims to improve the Kingdom’s capacity to conduct its own research, which will benefit the industry and the nation, and develop human capital by attracting skilled talents.

SSC CEO Mohammed Al-Tamimi expressed his gratitude to the Saudi leadership for supporting and empowering the commission, which has allowed the Kingdom to make significant strides in the space sector.

Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman, the first chairman of the Saudi Space Commission, owns the distinction of being the first Arab, Muslim and royal to fly into space.

A former Royal Saudi Air Force pilot, Prince Sultan flew aboard the American STS-51-G Space Shuttle mission as a payload specialist on June 17, 1985.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2249611/saudi-arabia

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Females Will Get Jobs, Education within Islamic Framework: Deputy Foreign Minister of Islamic Emirate

 

Photo: Heart of Asia

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By Bibi Amina Hakimi

Deputy Foreign Minister Sher Mohammad Abas Stanekzai said that the Islamic Emirate will provide access to work and education to all citizens particularly women and girls.

Stanekzai praised the activities of the aid organizations in the country.

“Currently, the government of the Islamic Emirate wants to create work and even education opportunities for all Afghan sisters and brothers inside the country based on an Islamic format and Afghan tradition and Sharia. The work is underway in this regard, and we hope to fix it soon,” he said.

TOLOnews reached out to a professional who is at home now since the Islamic Emirate ordered a nationwide ban on female workers at NGOs.

Giti, who worked for one of the NGOs, said that she is concerned about her future.

“There are some girls who do not have father or a caretaker or brother so they need to work to meet the expenses of their families,” she said.

This comes as the Ministry of Economy said that at least 260 organizations are active in the social and economic spheres.

“The Islamic Emirate has provided various facilities for the activities of the organizations, the security discussions and procedures which we created provides them with facilities and they are under our focus in this regard,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, deputy Minister of Economy.

The economists said that there is a need for the continuation of international aid to alleviate the ongoing poverty in the country and that women are necessary for the economic growth of the families.

“The ban on female work that also caused a reduction in GDP affects the property of the families,” said Meer Shikib, an economist.

Following the decree of the Ministry of Economy to ban females from working at the NGOs, many organizations halted or reduced their activities.

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-182023

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India

 

Jamiat's Arshad Madani says 'Manu worshipped Allah', Jain Muni storms off stage with other religious leaders

12.02.23

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind chief Maulana Arshad Madani on Sunday stoked controversy at the prominent Muslim body's general session by claiming that "Om" and "Allah" were the same God worshipped by 'Manu', drawing objections from a prominent Jain monk who stormed off the stage along with a group of other religious leaders.

Speaking on the third and final day of the 34th general session of the Jamiat at the Ramlila Maidan here, the Muslim cleric, who heads the Arshad Madani faction of the outfit, said he asked the "dharma gurus" as to who was worshipped when there was no Shri Ram, Brahma or Shiva.

"Some say Manu worshipped Shiva. Very few have pointed out that there was nothing in the world and Manu worshipped Om.

"I asked who is Om, many said 'it is just air, it has no form, it has no colour and it is everywhere, it made the sky and land'. I said this is what we call Allah, you call Ishwar, those speaking Persian call Khuda and those speaking English call God," Madani said.

"This means that Manu, that is Adam, used to worship one Om, that is one Allah," he said.

Manu is a term found in religious texts, referring to the first man or the progenitor of humanity.

Arshad Madani's remarks were strongly disapproved by Jain monk Acharya Lokesh Muni who walked out of the session, accusing Madani of digressing from talking about unity to spinning a story about "Manu and Allah".

“We only agree with living in harmony, but all these stories regarding Om, Allah, and Manu are all baseless. He (Madani) completely spoiled the environment of the session,” Muni said.

"The stories he narrated, I can narrate even bigger stories than that. I would even request him (Madani) to come for a discussion with me, or even I can come to meet him in Saharanpur,” he said.

“It should be remembered that the first Jain Tirthankar was Rishabh, and his sons were Bharata and Bahubali, on whose name this country 'Bharat' was named… . We don't agree with his (Madani's) statements," the Jain monk asserted, before leaving the stage along with a group of leaders of other religions.

Religious leaders of several religions are often invited to the programmes and sessions of the Jamiat. Acharya Lokesh Muni has been part of several Jamiat-organised programmes in the past as well.

On Friday, Mahmood Madani, who heads the other faction of the Jamiat, triggered a row by claiming that India is the "birthplace of Islam" and the oldest religion of the country. He had asserted that the country belongs to him as much as it does to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/jamiats-arshad-madani-says-manu-worshipped-allah-jain-muni-storms-off-stage-with-other-religious-leaders/cid/1916037

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'No cooperation': After Allah-Om remark, Jamiat chief's stern message on extremism in name of jihad

Ashutosh Mishra

Feb 12, 2023

The three-day general session of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan concluded on Sunday. Jamiat passed a resolution that “the organisations which propagate violence and extremism in the name of jihad are not entitled to our cooperation.”

Earlier in the day, Maulana Arshad Madani, who heads the Arshad Madani faction of the outfit, had stoked controversy after he claimed that "Om" and "Allah" were the same God worshipped by 'Manu'. The remark drew a sharp reaction from a prominent Jain monk who stormed off the stage along with a group of other religious leaders.

But amidst the row triggered by Maulana Arshad Madni, Jamiat passed several resolutions and issued a message, saying “Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind considers religious hatred and sectarianism as the biggest threat to the integrity of the country. It does not match our long-standing heritage and ethos. Friendly and brotherly relations between different religions have been the proud and enduring hallmark of Indian society. Any plan to create a rift in these relations should be considered a national crime."

The message was read by Jamiat chief Maulana Mahmood Asa’d Madani on Sunday.

During the 34th general session of Jamiat, chaired by Maulana Mahmood Asad Madani, the Muslim organisation “resolved that they would never insult religious leaders and holy books and they would free society from terrorism and hatred and strive for the protection and honor of the country.”

But amidst the row triggered by Maulana Arshad Madni, Jamiat passed several resolutions and issued a message, saying “Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind considers religious hatred and sectarianism as the biggest threat to the integrity of the country. It does not match our long-standing heritage and ethos. Friendly and brotherly relations between different religions have been the proud and enduring hallmark of Indian society. Any plan to create a rift in these relations should be considered a national crime."

The message was read by Jamiat chief Maulana Mahmood Asa’d Madani on Sunday.

During the 34th general session of Jamiat, chaired by Maulana Mahmood Asad Madani, the Muslim organisation “resolved that they would never insult religious leaders and holy books and they would free society from terrorism and hatred and strive for the protection and honor of the country.”

The resolution added, “This situation is not acceptable at all. If the judiciary is not free, then the country is also not free.”

NO ENMITY WITH RSS, BJP: JAMIAT

Jamiat said that the “aggressive communalism” being promoted in the name of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity does not match the soil and ethos of this country.

“We want to make it clear, that we do not have any religious or ethnic enmity with RSS and the BJP, but our difference is based on the ideology,” the resolution read.

They said that they believe in equality and do not recognize “racial superiority”.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/after-allah-om-remark-jamiat-chiefs-stern-message-on-extremism-in-name-of-jihad-2333827-2023-02-12

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Deep influence of Indian Islam in subcontinent: Experts

12 February, 2023

New Delhi [India], February 12 (ANI): Asserting that the Indian Chishti Order had a significant impact on the Indian subcontinent, particularly in the realm of spirituality and religion, Gaddi Nasheen of Ajmer Dargah and the Director of Indo Islamic Heritage Center Professor Syed Liaqat Husain Moini Chishti on Sunday said that the order is known for its emphasis on devotion, love, and the personal experience of union with God.

“The Indian Chishti Order had a significant impact on the Indian subcontinent, particularly in the realm of spirituality and religion. The order, which was founded in the 11th century by the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, was known for its emphasis on devotion, love, and the personal experience of union with God,” Syed Liaqat said while speaking on a webinar on “Impact and Reflection of Chishti order in Indian Sub-continent”.

The Chishti Order is a ‘tariqa’, an order or school within the mystic Sufi tradition of Sunni Islam. The Chishti Order is known for its emphasis on love, tolerance, and openness.

Prof Shah Kausar Chishti Abululayi, Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Dhaka (Bangladesh) and the Director of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Dhaka Bangladesh, said that one of the impacts of Indian Islam in Bangladesh has been significant, shaping the country’s religious, cultural, and social landscape.

“The impact of Indian Islam in Bangladesh has been significant, shaping the country’s religious, cultural, and social landscape. Bangladesh was part of the Indian subcontinent for much of its history, and its cultural and religious traditions were heavily influenced by the Indian traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. One of the most notable impacts of Indian Islam in Bangladesh is the spread of Sufism, a mystical form of Islam that emphasizes personal devotion and the experience of union with God,” he said.

Shah Kausar Chishti Abululayi further said that Sufism was introduced to Bangladesh by Indian Sufi saints and mystics, and it became popular among the masses due to its emphasis on spiritual fulfilment and its rejection of religious formalism.

He went on to say that Indian Islam also had an impact on the development of the Bengali language and literature.

“Many Bengali Muslim scholars and poets were influenced by Indian Sufi traditions and their works reflect this influence. The Sufi emphasis on devotion and love is a recurring theme in Bengali literature, and Sufi saints are celebrated in poems and songs,” Chishti Abululayi said.

Bangladesh professor also said that Indian Islam also played a role in shaping the political landscape of Bangladesh.

“Sufi leaders and scholars often played an important role in mediating conflicts and promoting peace and justice in society. They also helped to foster a sense of unity and solidarity among the diverse religious and ethnic communities in Bangladesh,” he added.

Another Speaker from Sri Lanka Inthikab Zufer, Associate Professor and COO for International Medical Campus said that the Chishti order and teaching of Khwaja Moin ud Din has had a profound impact on Sri Lanka, shaping its religious, cultural, and political landscape.

“Its legacy continues to be felt in the country, and Sufi traditions and practices remain an important part of its cultural heritage. The ideals of Sufism, as taught by the Chishtis, helped to create a more tolerant and pluralistic society in Sri Lanka, where people of different religions and backgrounds could coexist peacefully. Additionally, the Chishti Order’s emphasis on generosity and hospitality inspired some Sri Lankan Sufi communities to establish communal kitchens and hospices, which served as centers of social and spiritual life for local communities. This helped to promote a culture of generosity and compassion, and provided support for the poor and needy,” Inthikab Zufer said.

Dr Shujaat Ali Quadri who was the moderator of the webinar said that the Chishti Order also had a profound impact on the cultural and political life of the Indian subcontinent.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/india/deep-influence-of-indian-islam-in-subcontinent-experts/1368209/

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‘Attempts to deconstruct Muslim renaissance history in Kerala’

February 12, 2023

A conference organised by the Wisdom Islamic Organisation here on Sunday condemned the alleged attempts to deconstruct the history of Muslim renaissance in the State in a bid to reintroduce superstitions in society.

The speakers pointed out that some sections were disturbed because many social reformers in the community had imbibed the Salafi ideology. They claimed that these reformers had helped the community escape from spiritual exploiters, who confined the people in superstitions, misinterpreted Islamic principles, and diverted the spiritual inquiries of the believers. The participants also criticised attempts to persuade women to change their gender and force men’s attire upon them.

Source: The Hindu

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

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/attempts-to-deconstruct-muslim-renaissance-history-in-kerala/article66501031.ece

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Minorities panel received maximum complaints from Muslims in last 5 yrs from UP

13th February 2023

New Delhi: As incidents of violence against minority communities in the past few years across the country have seen a spike, what specifically raises eyebrows is the fact that a bulk of complaints, or 71 per cent of total complaints and petitions received by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in the past five years are related to the Muslim community alone.

Uttar Pradesh has been the only state for the last five years, from where the maximum number of complaints related to the Muslim community have been received by the commission.

According to the Ministry of Minority Affairs’ data, of the total 10,562 complaints received by the commission related to all the minority communities, namely Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists between 2017-18 and 2022-23 (till January 31, 2023), 7,508 pertain to the Muslim community alone. This is 71 per cent of total complaints received by the minorities’ panel from all the minority communities.

As per Section 9(1) of the NCM Act, 1992, among its various other functions, the commission is required to look into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguard of minorities and taking up such matters with the appropriate authorities.

The complaints now being received by it are mostly related to police atrocities, service matters, minority educational institutions and encroachments to religious properties.

Reports are sought from the concerned authorities under the Union and state governments. On receipt of the reports, the commission makes appropriate recommendations to the respective authorities for redressal of the grievances.

A closer analysis of the data pertaining to the total complaints received in the last five years by the NCM, a majority of them come from the Muslim community.

In 2017-18, of the total 1,498 complaints received by NCM, 1,128 of them or 75 per cent of the complaints came from the Muslim community. Of these, 529 complaints were from Uttar Pradesh alone from Muslims.

Similarly in 2018-19, 1,344 complaints of the total 1,871 complaints (72 per cent) received by the commission, belonged to the Muslim community. Here, too, Uttar Pradesh led with 810 complaints from the Muslim community.

This pattern could also be seen in 2019-20, when 73.7 per cent of the total complaints received by NCM, were from the Muslim community, with Uttar Pradesh leading with 728 complaints.

In 2020-21, too, 75.5 per cent or 1,105 out of the total 1,463 complaints received by the panel pertained to the Muslim community, with 646 from Uttar Pradesh alone.

In 2021-22, 68 per cent of the total complaints came from the Muslim community to the NCM, 659 being from Uttar Pradesh.

During the current fiscal (2022-23) till January 31, 2023, the NCM received 1,984 complaints, of which 1,279 or 64.4 per cent came from the Muslim community, with 662 from Uttar Pradesh.

According to the Ministry’s data, complaints received by the panel from other minority communities have been very few during the last five years, if the figures are to be compared to those sent by the Muslim community.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/minorities-panel-received-maximum-complaints-from-muslims-in-last-5-yrs-from-up-2525381/

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Europe

 

Saudi Arabia, France enjoy ‘remarkable relationship of trust,’ says French FM

LILA SCHOEPF

February 12, 2023

PARIS: Following her visit to Saudi Arabia on Feb. 1 and 2, Catherine Colonna, France’s minister for Europe and foreign affairs, talked to Arab News en Francais about the evolution of ties between both countries against a backdrop of regional and international tensions.

Q. What is your take on your visit to Saudi Arabia and your meetings with Saudi officials? What transpired from these meetings?

A. It was the first time I visited the Kingdom as minister for Europe and foreign affairs and it was an honor for me to be received by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. We held enriching discussions based on the remarkable relationship of trust between our two countries.

I also had a long meeting with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. We signed an energy cooperation agreement. I also spoke with my counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, as well as with Minister of State (for Foreign Affairs) Adel Al-Jubeir.

I had the opportunity to observe a great convergence of views with all the officials I talked to. There is a fundamental, clear, and mutual understanding whereby the regional troubles are largely intensifying under the impetus of none other than Iran, which is wrapped up in a dynamic of escalation in all kinds of fields: The nuclear field obviously, but also the proliferation of missiles toward non-state actors, not to mention the support for terrorism.

Iran is engaged in a broad campaign aimed at destabilizing its neighbors. We are also seeing the proliferation of drones, to the same non-state actors as well as to Russia where they are being used to carry out war crimes in Europe.

Faced with this growing threat, I strongly reiterated France’s support for Saudi Arabia, which we consider an ally and a regional stabilizing power.

France is resolutely committed to contributing to the security and stability of this part of the world. These are not mere words. During my trip, I visited the naval base of the French forces in the UAE, which houses several hundred French soldiers in Abu Dhabi, particularly within the framework of Operation European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz. Our soldiers are mainly involved in the surveillance of maritime traffic. They had just seized a few days earlier tens of tons of weapons that were on their way to the Houthis in Yemen. This is one of many examples of our actions. When there are threats involved, we walk the walk, and we shall continue to do so.

In the context of our dialogue, we have also obviously tackled the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine and its harmful consequences on a global scale, not only in terms of security but also in terms of energy, economy, and food. We must work hand in hand to restore stability wherever the balance has been lost.

I also had the opportunity to meet the new secretary general of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) with which we share the same regional security and prosperity objectives. The GCC is an important coordination and consultation body that proves that our friends in the Gulf are capable of uniting when the need arises. We shall intensify the dialogue between France and the GCC in the future.

Allow me to also highlight the extraordinary dynamism of our cultural cooperation with Saudi Arabia.

France has become Saudi Arabia’s main partner in this regard, as evidenced by the development of the extraordinary site of AlUla with the French Agency for Alula Development. Archeology is an old and well-known pillar of our cooperation, but it is not its only aspect. We are seeking to expand our partnership to include museums, research, fashion, design, and cinema.

Villa Hegra, a project that is progressing rapidly, is poised to become a major cultural center on a regional scale and is another example of this flourishing cooperation with a definite focus on the future.

We will actively broaden these exchanges in order to be able to swiftly establish a strategic partnership desired by our two countries with the aim of fitting all future projects into an ambitious framework.

Q. During a telephone conversation last June with your Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, you jointly expressed the wish to expand cooperation in the areas of regional security and stability. What measures or initiatives have been taken in this regard?

A. As I already mentioned, Saudi Arabia has a major role to play in promoting security and stability in the region, being the largest country in the Gulf.

We are working hand in hand to develop our bilateral cooperation in the political and security fields, particularly through enhanced consultation in order to respond to the crises affecting the world in general and the Middle East in particular.

To begin with, as I said, there is an escalation led by Iran, as it conducts destabilizing activities across the region. We are keen to face this together.

But there are several other points of tension that are increasing the risks of confrontation and instability in the region: The rise in violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the lingering power vacuum in Lebanon, the instability and volatility of the situation in Yemen in the absence of a permanent political solution, or even Syria, which remains a major point of instability and vigilance.

In this troubled context, my message was clear: France is loyal to its commitment to secure its Gulf partners. France is a historic and trusted partner. We have proven over the years that the Gulf can count on our support.

In order to alleviate tensions, dialogue is key. France is sparing no effort to promote dialogue. This was the main point of the Baghdad II Conference held last December within the framework of an unprecedented consultation format between regional states.

There is tremendous potential for cooperation between the countries of the region, and it must be materialized. Cooperation must be the name of the game in this troubled region, for the benefit of all, and above all, for the benefit of the peoples of the region.

We are working on a third conference under the Baghdad format, possibly this year. This was one of the topics of discussion with my hosts in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Q. The face of Saudi society has deeply changed since the launch of Vision 2030. What is your take on the gradual changes taking place in the Kingdom?

A. Saudi Arabia has been engaged for five years in a vast and ambitious program of reforms and modernization in the economic, societal, and cultural sectors within the framework of Vision 2030 led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In this new perspective, France intends to play its full role and wishes to support the roll-out of this vision.

I must say that Vision 2030 is far from being a mere vision: I was struck by the profound changes taking place in Saudi Arabia. In only a few years, Riyadh has literally been transformed, as it is currently showing the world a face that is resolutely focused on the future and open to cooperation. We obviously support this change and are available to continue to support it.

Q. Saudi Arabia and France have a relationship that we can call “historic” and that dates back to 1926. How would you describe the current relationship between Paris and Riyadh?

A. Relations between our two countries are indeed solid and deeply rooted. The opening of a French consular post in Jeddah dates back to 1839. It was the first French diplomatic mission in the Arabian Peninsula.

France was subsequently the first state to recognize the sovereignty of King Abdulaziz in March 1926. It is based on this trust and this historical friendship that a dynamic relationship is thriving today and is more than ever focused on the future.

Franco-Saudi bilateral relations are booming. Following on from the crown prince’s visit to France on July 28, 2022, the two heads of state agreed to boost cooperation between Saudi Arabia and France in all kinds of fields.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French President Emmanuel Macron met in Jeddah, in Paris, recently during the G20 summits in Bali, and on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bangkok. Similarly, to the visits of my government colleagues, Bruno Le Maire (French minister of economy and finance), at the end of January, and Olivier Becht (French foreign trade minister) in December 2022, my visit to Riyadh on Feb. 1 and 2 was fully in line with this framework.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2249861/saudi-arabia

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UK counterterrorism report slammed for conclusions based on ‘half-dozen cases’

February 12, 2023

LONDON: A controversial review into the UK’s counterterrorism strategy has been slammed due to its author only witnessing half a dozen meetings of its deradicalization program, The Observer reported on Sunday.

William Shawcross, who was appointed to review the British government’s Prevent program in January 2021, has been accused after his report said too much focus was given to far-right extremism and not enough on Islamist extremism.

Between April 2021 and March 2022, almost 1,500 assessments for Channel — the Prevent support program tasked with assessing more extreme individuals — took place.

But critics say Shawcross’s attendance of just six of these case referrals raises concerns over how thorough the research was that led to his findings.

Layla Aitlhadj, director and case study lead at Prevent Watch, said her organization had examined hundreds of referrals for its report last year into the counterterrorism program.

“We analyzed 600 cases ... Shawcross based his entire report on just six Channel cases,” she added. “Light on research, poor on analysis and heavy on anti-Muslim bias, the Shawcross review failed in every regard.”

The UK’s former top counterterrorism officer, Neil Basu, said the Conservative government-backed report is “insulting” to those who serve to tackle extremism in Britain.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2249856/world

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Pope Francis calls for prayers, solidarity with quake victims in Türkiye, Syria

Burak Bir 

12.02.2023

LONDON

Pope Francis on Sunday again called for prayers and solidarity with the victims of this week’s earthquakes that shook southern Türkiye and affected Syria.

"We continue to be close, with prayer and concrete support, to the earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey," he said during his Angelus address, the Vatican News reported.

His remarks came as international search and rescue efforts continue in affected areas of Türkiye following the two devastating quakes.

"Let us not forget, let us pray and think what we can do for them," added the pontiff.

In Türkiye, over 24,600 people were killed and over 80,000 others wounded after magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes struck 10 southern provinces on Feb. 6, affecting around 13 million people, according to the latest official figures.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the strong tremors.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/pope-francis-calls-for-prayers-solidarity-with-quake-victims-in-turkiye-syria/2817063

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UN says delivery of quake aid to northern Syria blocked due to lack of ‘approval’ from terror outfit

12 February 2023

The United Nations says an anti-government group, which has been designated as terrorist by the international community, is preventing aid consignments from being delivered to the earthquake-stricken areas in the northern part of Syria.

A spokesman for the UN's humanitarian aid office made the remarks on Sunday, saying there were "issues with approval" by the group, which it identified as the terrorist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

The group has been waging deadly violence against Syrian people and government forces alike since 2011, when the Arab country found itself in the grip of foreign-backed militancy and terrorism.

The northern part of Syria, which is currently under HTS' control, has received little relief aid as terrorists have sealed front lines with the government, despite last week's announcement by Damascus that it is willing to send aid to that region.

Meanwhile, Reuters quoted an HTS source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as confirming that the terror outfit will not let in shipments from government-held parts of Syria, alleging, "We won't allow the regime to take advantage of the situation to show they are helping."

The developments come as the death toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday has approached 33,000.

The biggest part of the fatalities that have been caused in Syria, have occurred in the territory that is being held by Takfiri terrorist groups.

UN aid chief: We failed people in NW Syria, they feel abandoned

In a related development, the UN's Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths took to Twitter on Sunday, lamenting the world body's failure to properly help the quake-hit Syrians in those areas.

"We have so far failed the people in north-west Syria. They rightly feel abandoned. Looking for international help that hasn’t arrived," he wrote.

“My duty and our obligation is to correct this failure as fast as we can. That’s my focus now,” he added.

Also on Sunday, UN envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus, noting, "We need all the access we can have, crossline, cross-border, and we need more resources."

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/12/698112/Syria-earthquake-United-Nations-terrorist-group-preventing-aid

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Arab World

 

Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition holds workshop in Riyadh

February 12, 2023

RIYADH: The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition on Sunday held a workshop to discuss the latest developments in combating terror groups.

The seminar was delivered by coalition adviser Farhat Al-Harshani in the presence of Maj. Gen. Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Moghedi, acting secretary-general of the intergovernmental alliance.

Representatives of member states looked at ways to tackle intellectual, media, and military terrorism, and how to undermine the financing of terrorism.

Al-Moghedi noted that coalition countries had specific experiences and expertise to share with fellow nations in helping fight terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2249806/saudi-arabia

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Cairo court places five Muslim Brotherhood figures on terrorism list for 5 years

12 Feb 2023

According to the court's ruling, five fugitive members of the MB have been placed on the terror list for five years. The five members are  prominent MB preacher Wagdy Ghoneim and MB youth figures Abdel-Rahman Ezz and Ahmed El-Mogheir as well as Reda El-Sawy and Hany Sayid.

Courts in Egypt have already given rulings in absentia -- including a death sentence in 2017 -- against Wagdy Ghoneim for inciting hatred and encouraging the murdering of policemen.

Egypt demanded Interpol to arrest him along with other MB figures, including MB youth figure Ahmed El-Mogheir, in 2017.

Ghoneim had residences in both Qatar and Turkey for years, but it is unclear where he resides currently.

Source: Ahram

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

https://english.ahram.org.eg/News/487973.aspx

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More than 4,300 people reported dead in northwest Syria from quake: UN

13 February ,2023

More than 4,300 people were dead and more than 7,600 others were injured in northwest Syria as of February 12 following the deadly earthquake and aftershocks in neighboring Turkey, the UN office for humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said in a statement on Monday.

Rescue workers in Syria’s opposition-held northwest zones have revealed a lower toll as of Friday, and are anticipating announcing higher toll in the hours ahead.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/13/More-than-4-300-people-reported-dead-in-northwest-Syria-from-quake-UN

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Syria earthquake aid held up by ‘approval issues’ with hardline group, says UN

13 February ,2023

Earthquake aid from government-held parts of Syria into opposition-controlled territory has been held up by “approval issues” with one hardline group, a United Nations spokesperson said on Sunday.

The hostilities that criss-cross Syria, shattered by nearly 12 years of conflict, are an added challenge for aid workers trying to reach the northern regions affected by Monday’s earthquake, which killed at least 29,000 people in Turkey and Syria and flattened swathes of towns and cities.

Of the 3,500 deaths so far reported in Syria the bulk occurred in the northwest, in territory largely held by extremist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

The area has received little assistance as frontlines with the government are sealed off and only a single border crossing links it to Turkey to the north. The Syrian government last week said it was willing to send aid to the northern zone.

An HTS source who was not authorized to talk to the media told Reuters the group would not allow shipments from government-held parts of Syria and that aid would be coming in from Turkey.

“We won’t allow the regime to take advantage of the situation to show they are helping,” the source said.

A spokesperson for the UN’s humanitarian aid office told Reuters there were “issues with approval” by the group, which the UN and the United States classify as a terrorist organization, without giving further information.

A UN spokesperson in Damascus declined to comment beyond saying the organization “continues to work with relevant parties to have access to the area.”

Arriving in Damascus on Sunday, UN envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen said: “We need all the access we can have, crossline, cross-border, and we need more resources.”

“We are reaching out of course to bilateral countries, we are mobilizing funding, and we’re trying to tell everyone (to) put politics aside, this is a time to unite behind a common effort to support the Syrian people,” he said.

Aid convoy

Earlier on Sunday UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said the people of north-east Syria had been failed and “rightly feel abandoned.”

The HTS media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An aid convoy from Syria’s Kurdish-led northeastern region carrying fuel and other aid was also turned back on Thursday from the northwest, where Turkey-backed fighters are in control.

But Turkey said last week it may be willing to open a direct border crossing with government-held zones in Syria, as ties begin to thaw more than a decade after Ankara cut off diplomatic ties with Damascus over the conflict.

The UN is also hoping to ramp up cross-border operations by opening an additional two border points between Turkey and opposition-held Syria for aid deliveries, spokesperson Jens Laerke said.

UN aid chief Griffiths “is working the phones very hard on that front on the diplomatic front, speaking to everyone to unlock more border crossings,” Laerke said.

Griffiths will brief the UN Security Council on Monday and hoped to use a “water-tight argument” about urgent needs to overcome historic resistance from Russia - a key ally of Damascus - to the cross-border aid operation.

Russia has pushed for more cross-line deliveries but Laerke said that “in terms of volume and frequency of aid, the cross-border operation is the main show.”

The European Union’s envoy to Syria on Sunday urged authorities in Damascus to “engage in good faith” with aid workers to get help to those in need.

“It is important to allow unimpeded access for aid to arrive in all areas where it is needed,” Dan Stoenescu told Reuters.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/13/Syria-earthquake-aid-held-up-by-approval-issues-with-hardline-group-says-UN

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ISIS attack in central Syria kills 11, mostly civilians: War monitor

12 February ,2023

At least 11 people, mostly civilians, were killed in an attack in central Syria blamed on ISIS, a war monitor said Sunday.

ISIS “attacked about 75 people on Saturday while they were collecting truffles in the Palmyra area, in the eastern countryside of Homs,” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/12/ISIS-attack-in-central-Syria-kills-11-mostly-civilians-War-monitor-

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Turkish government lauds Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian aid after deadly earthquake

11 February ,2023

The Turkish government thanked Saudi Arabia for its humanitarian aid to the deadly quake-hit Middle Eastern country.

Following Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria, more than 25,000 people have died.

Soon after reports of overwhelmed search and rescue resources, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries rushed to setup air bridges, providing food, medicine, essential supplies and rescue personnel.

The official statement, reported by the Saudi Press Agency, said: “We are thankful for the support and solidarity of the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its brotherly people.”

“Several planes carrying Saudi humanitarian, relief, and medical aid have arrived in various affected areas in Turkiye, and Saudi search and rescue teams are working side by side with their Turkish peers.”

“Receiving support and solidarity from brotherly countries is extremely important at such a difficult time, and Saudi Arabia is one of the first countries to support us.”

As of Saturday, the Kingdom has sent six planes with aid for Turkey and Syria. The sixth plane arrived in Turkey’s Gaziantep on Saturday morning, carrying 98 tons of humanitarian aid, including food, blankets and medicine.

Trucks carrying Saudi humanitarian aid to quake-stricken areas in Syria began entering from Turkey through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing on Saturday, Al Arabiya reported.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) officially launched its aid program on Wednesday to aid people who have been affected by the earthquake that killed at least 25,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

The Kingdom is accepting donations through its “Sahem” program which had received $71.1 million (SAR 267 million) from 745, 937 donors, according to information on the program’s website

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2023/02/11/Turkish-government-lauds-Saudi-Arabia-s-humanitarian-aid-after-deadly-earthquake

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Lebanese religious leader slams politicians’ abuse of ‘power, influence’ over election of new president

NAJIA HOUSSARI

February 13, 2023

BEIRUT: A Lebanese religious leader on Sunday accused politicians of an abuse of their “power and influence” in obstructing the election of a new president and the work of state institutions.

In his Sunday sermon, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi said the Arab and international communities condemned their “corruption,” adding that parliament should convene as soon as possible and decide on a new presidential head.

He said: “Yes, the president is a Maronite, but the voters are not all Maronites and Christians.

“Indeed, Christian leaders are responsible for the presidential vacuum, but the greater responsibility rests with others. Christians cannot agree over the identity of the president while others cannot agree over the identity of the republic.

“We are thus keen not to harm the identity of neither the president nor the republic because they are a guarantee of Lebanon’s unity.”

Referring to the parliamentarians, he added: “Are you respecting your top constitutional responsibility of electing a president who legislates the work of parliament and the government? Are you carrying out the internationally required reforms?

“Are you letting the judiciary carry out its duties and investigate the Beirut port explosion to reveal the truth and implement justice?

“Are you implementing the measures expected from the International Monetary Fund and the international community?

“Are you achieving the state of law and eliminating chaos, the proliferation of illegal weapons, and the law of the jungle?

“Are you consolidating Lebanon’s sovereignty over all its lands and establishing its independence?”

Al-Rahi’s comments came after a meeting held in Paris last week of officials from France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, and the US, to discuss developments in Lebanon.

The French Foreign Ministry urged Lebanese officials to take the initiative to elect a new president and carry out the reforms needed to secure international support for the country.

Political parties loyal to Hezbollah want to hold a legislative session to approve a capital controls bill and extend the term of Lebanon’s director general of security, Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, who is due to retire. But 46 opposition and reformist MPs have rejected the move claiming it would be a violation of the constitution.

Meanwhile, MPs Melhem Khalaf and Najat Saliba are in the fifth week of a parliament sit-in in protest over the presidential election stalemate. They are demanding that Speaker Nabih Berri keeps holding voting sessions until a new president has been agreed upon.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2249916/middle-east

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US an enemy, no place for Americans in Iraq: Harakat al-Nujaba

12 February 2023

The head of the Iraqi resistance group Harakat Hezbollah Nujaba says there is no friendship between Baghdad and Washington, and the American occupation forces cannot stay in the Arab country under any pretext.

Akram al-Kaabi, the founder and secretary-general of the movement, made the remarks in a meeting on Sunday with the resistance group’s injured veteran soldiers in the fight against US occupation forces and Takfiri terrorists.

“The path of crusade continues and the fronts are active as the enemy is still present. As long as the US and Israeli Zionism are fighting against God, religion and humanity, the believers in sanctities and authentic values should stand up to them,” Kaabi told the meeting.

“There is no friendship with America,” he said. “The US is an enemy and will remain an enemy. We do not accept the staying of American forces, including advisers, technicians and combat forces. The resistance has no other position and will never change it.”

While the US claims it has ended its combat mission in Iraq, some 2,500 US troops still remain inside the Arab country in what Washington calls an “advisory” mission.

Pressured by the Iraqi people, US President Joe Biden and Iraq’s then-Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi declared in July 2021 that the US mission in Iraq would transition from combat to an “advisory” role by the end of that year.

Anti-American sentiments have soared in Iraq over US military adventurism in the region, in particular since Washington’s assassination of the top anti-terror commanders of Iraq and Iran in the Arab country three years ago.

General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were martyred along with their comrades in a US drone strike that was authorized by then-president Donald Trump near the Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

The two iconic anti-terror commanders are greatly admired for their instrumental role in fighting and decimating the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/12/698106/US-occupation-forces-cannot-stay-Iraq-Resistance-group

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South Asia

 

Indian embassy in Kabul under threat of Islamic State attack: UN report

Rakshit Sharma

February 12, 2023

New Delhi: The Indian embassy in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul along with those of Iran and China is at the centre of an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Khorasan’s (ISIS-K) plan to weaken Taliban’s realations with regional countries, a UN report has said.

ISIS-K “threatened to launch terrorist attacks against the embassies of China, India and the Islamic Republic of Iran in Afghanistan,” the report read.

The group is engaged in a struggle against the Taliban, just like Taliban was with the earlier government in Kabul. It is no way near being the challenge the Taliban had posed to the government, however.

It wants to weaken the Taliban by undercutting its ties with the regional countries, whom the Taliban is trying to develop relations with to establish itself as a legitimate force.

“It (ISIS-K) had positioned itself as the primary rival to the Taliban and was reportedly set to portray the Taliban as incapable of providing security in the country,” the report said.

Last year on 5 August the terror group attacked the Russian embassy.

Source: Firstpost

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

https://www.firstpost.com/world/indian-embassy-in-kabul-under-threat-of-islamic-state-attack-un-report-12143292.html

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The Islamic Emirate Believes In Freedom of Press: Spokesman

February 12, 2023

The spokesman of the Islamic Emirate said on Sunday that the government believes in freedom of the press and supports media outlets where content is in line with Sharia and national interests.

Zabihullah Mujahid said this while speaking at a seminar organized by the Ministry of Higher Education.

“If we observe the Islamic principles, national interests and prevent spreading of rumours and pure propaganda of intelligence activities, the government strongly supports the press and media, and if the media operates within this framework, it will not have any problems, rather it will be supported, and that media will be the real media of our country,” Mujahid said.

He also called on officials to listen to criticism reflected by the media.

“May government officials listen to criticism with patience. If it is not true, they should respond, and if it is true, they should bring reforms. This is the cooperation of society with the government. When this cooperation is brought together by the media, we can have an advanced and stable country.”

Mujahid also emphasized the importance of impartiality of the media and said that the media should be a neutral bridge between the government and the people so that trust in the media increases and the rulers can address the problems of the people.

“The responsibility of the media is that they should be neutral and not biased as they act as a medium between the government and the people. When they criticize the government or have an objection or question about the government, they should raise it as a third party. When the media acts as a third party, the government also trusts the media,” he said.

The spokesman of the Islamic Emirate also said that national unity and establishing relations with the world are part of Afghanistan’s national interests, and the media has an obligation to strengthen national unity in the country and not allow division.

Source: Ariana News

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

https://www.ariananews.af/mujahid-the-islamic-emirate-believes-in-freedom-of-press/

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India arrests two terror suspects planning to leave for Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

February 12, 2023

According to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India, two terrorist suspects about to travel to Afghanistan were detained in a case involving Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent’s efforts to radicalize and incite young people to commit terrorist crimes in the country.

According to a federal agency official, Hamraz Worshid Shaikh of Maharashtra and Mohd Arif, a resident of Bengaluru, were in online touch with handlers working for banned terrorist groups who were headquartered abroad.

On Saturday, the two were apprehended and taken up for questioning following searches at Thanisandra in Bengaluru and Palghar-Thane in Maharashtra state, India.

“NIA arrested the two accused on Sunday in a case relating to a conspiracy by terrorist organizations based in India and abroad to radicalize the youth and provoke them to indulge in acts of violence and terrorism,” a spokesman said.

After the Doha agreement between the US and the Taliban group in February 2020, the Taliban agreed to cut ties with Al-Qaeda as part of the agreement with the United States.

On the other hand, it will not allow any groups to operate against the United States or other countries. However, Ayman al Zawahiri, the Al-Qaeda leader, has found and killed by the US in Kabul last year.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/india-arrests-two-terror-suspects-planning-to-leave-for-afghanistan/

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Southeast Asia

 

Tougher Challenges Ahead for Indonesia’s Moderate Islam: Nahdlatul Ulama

February 09, 202

By Siktus Harson

Indonesia’s oldest and largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, turned 100 years old this month. The main centennial celebration was held on Feb. 7 in East Java.

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), which means the revival of ulemas (scholars), claims a membership of over 95 million people. It’s also said to be the world’s largest Islamic organization.

Being the largest group, questions arise over its effectiveness, contributions, failures, or challenges as it moves forward.

What amazes the world is that despite Muslims making up over 87 percent of Indonesia's 270 million population, the country remains a secular-democratic nation. Unlike other Muslim-majority countries, where Islamic doctrine dominates their constitutions, Indonesia’s founding fathers wanted modern democracy as its way forward.

Nevertheless, the country’s day-to-day life is strongly affected by Islamic influences.

The situation has irked Muslims in the radical Salafi-Wahhabi worldview.  Wahhabism, introduced by 18th-century theologian Muhammad ibn Abd al- Wahhab, was a dominant sect in the Arab region and was seen as an ultraconservative movement. Its influence started to gain a foothold in the archipelago in the 19th century.

Members of this movement think that democracy is against sharia, and Indonesia should be an Islamic state.

However, the NU has rejected such ideology. Instead, it has become the guardian of pluralism against the radical Wahhabi movement.

Attempts to replace Indonesia’s secular ideology with sharia principles have multiplied in the past two decades since the start of the reform era marked by the fall of Suharto in 1998.

Since then radical movements have taken advantage of democracy promoted by civil society groups. At the same time, the NU has increased its monitoring and uncovered threats to the group’s mission and the Indonesian people.

Many times it has warned the government about the dangers of not taking tough action against radical groups, particularly during the presidency of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Lack of action on the government’s part during his 10-year tenure provided fertile ground for the growth of the caliphate movement.

It was only under President Joko Widodo that radical groups began to get serious attention. The banning of two such groups — Hizb ut Tahrir and the Islamic Defenders Front — is just an example.

Throughout Widodo’s anti-radical drive, the NU has stood up and defended its position to cooperate with state agencies, civil society, and religious groups in the fight against the spread of radicalism.

Having such a huge membership, is it succeeding in fighting radicalism? Why does radicalism or extremism continue to grow?

In some ways, the group has successfully educated its members at the grassroots level about Islam Nusantara (Islam of the archipelago). It’s a worldview of Islam deeply rooted in local wisdom, love, tolerance, pluralism, and respect for other religions.

Radicalism or discrimination against religious minorities continues to happen because radicalism is deeply rooted in Indonesian culture. Long before Islamic State started its influence in 2014, efforts to make Indonesia an Islamic nation had already been attempted.

The arrival of wahabbism in the 18th century in some ways influenced Sekarmadji Maridjan Kartosoewiryo who founded Darul Islam (Islamic Caliphate) in West Java in 1949; four years after Indonesia declared independence from Dutch colonial rule following the end of World War II. West Java province, with nearly 50 million people, remains a hotbed of radicalism.

It can be said that the NU has not been able to maximize its efforts to combat the rising tide of radicalism or extremism. But it should be noted that this cannot be done by the group alone. Support is needed from the government and elsewhere, including from other religions, such as the Catholic Church.

In addition, NU members who are mostly ordinary people, in grassroots communities, are struggling to improve their living standards, education, and health. Stunting, for instance, threatens many Indonesian children, including those of NU families.

What about its relationship with other religions, particularly the Catholic Church?

Catholicism started in Indonesia in the 16th century with the arrival of Portuguese missionaries in Maluku. On the other hand, Islam came in the 7th century with the arrival of Arab merchants in Sumatra.

NU as a moderate Muslim organization works closely with the Catholic Church in Indonesia. In the last several decades, cooperation between Muslims and Christians has progressed significantly. The youth wing of the NU plays a crucial role in protecting churches during Christmas and Easter.

Without the NU, Christianity could have faced a more difficult journey. Whenever there’s opposition against the building of churches, NU members are at the forefront to challenge conservative groups or urge the government to protect minorities.

There’s a similarity between the Catholic approach and the NU’s commitment to spreading the Indonesian version of Islam, the so-called “Islam of the archipelago.” It refers to the spread of Islam in Indonesia through a cultural approach, not with a rigid and hard doctrine.

This approach finds a place in Indonesian Islamic discourse. But it’s not free from criticism and rejection not only in social media discussions but in real life.

A few years ago, conflicts occurred between NU members and followers of the wahhabi sect in East Java. It started when sect members shirked Prophet Muhammad’s birthday celebrations or called visiting cemeteries or praying for the dead heretical.

The biggest threat is perhaps the rapid expansion of a radical understanding of Islam that reaches all corners and walks of life. The presence of these groups is not only a threat to moderate Islam but also to Christians and other religions.

Some observers underestimated the increasing signs of radicalization, saying that they won’t cause the failure of moderate Islam in Indonesia.

Source: UCA News

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https://www.ucanews.com/news/tougher-challenges-ahead-for-indonesias-moderate-islam/100306

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Dangerous divides bedevil Southeast Asia’s majority-Muslim democracies

13 February 2023

Around the time of Indonesia’s 2019 presidential elections, there was great concern about the damage that polarisation over issues of religious politics was doing to Indonesia’s democracy and its social fabric.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysia's Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim walk after inspecting the honour guards during a welcoming ceremony upon their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, Indonesia, 9 January 2023. (Photo: Reuters/Willy Kurniawan).

Then, once the voting was over, Indonesia seemed to revert to its cooperative, moderate mean. The defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto was dealt into President Joko Widodo’s government as defence minister and cut his ties to Islamists as the Widodo government began a crackdown on the Islamist opposition.

But despite the relative political placidity of Widodo’s second term, it would be premature to conclude that polarisation was a flash in the pan. Ahead of the February 2024 presidential election, polls show that the two strongest candidates are Widodo’s ally, the governor of Central Java province, Ganjar Pranowo, and Anies Baswedan, the former governor of Jakarta who has found his political groove as the candidate of more conservative Muslims who dislike Jokowi.

If Ganjar and Anies secure nominations, a contest between them could quickly reignite Indonesia’s latent cultural conflicts. Islamists would line up behind Anies, and pluralists and religious minorities would flock to Ganjar. Everybody else — including Prabowo, if he too secures a candidacy — would be stuck in the middle, being told by ideologues on both sides that equivocation isn’t an option. What could start as a relatively civil contest could well turn nasty.

The fact is that elite cooperation and consensus-building between elections can only paper over deep and abiding social divisions for so long, as Dan Slater emphasises in this week’s lead article which highlights growing affinities between the structure of democratic competition in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Slater takes a glass half-full view of the political changes ushered in by the fall of Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional (BN) in the wake of the 2018 and 2022 general elections, writing that ‘authoritarian hegemony has finally died in Malaysia just as it did decades ago in Indonesia’ with the electorate ‘now splintered behind a handful of parties rather than concentrated behind a hegemonic party’.

There are catches, though. The first is that just as Suharto’s party vehicle Golkar dealt itself back into governing coalitions after the end of the New Order regime, so has UMNO ‘pulled off a similar trick’. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan coalition is propped up in part because of the support of UMNO, now led by Zahid Hamidi, a party warlord from central casting who faces serious charges of corruption. With both men needing each other’s support to maintain their positions, political realities dictate that Anwar’s promises of a political renewal are compromised from the get-go.

Anwar’s voters, though, are mostly willing to forgive his realpolitik approach because of another way in which Malaysian political dynamics have come to resemble Indonesia’s. ‘Far more than during Malaysia and Indonesia’s authoritarian eras’, Slater writes, ‘the divide between government and opposition is assuming a worrisome ethno-religious colour’.

The deep racial and religious divides in Malaysian society have historically had complicated political effects — encouraging ugly identity politics while incentivising political coalitions to maximise their electoral support by maintaining multi-racial political coalitions. Even the BN government, Slater points out, balanced its core party UMNO’s upholding of Malay special rights with its need to co-opt minorities via alliances with Chinese, Indian and East Malaysian coalition partners. The opposition, meanwhile, also strived with variable success in a reformist multiracial coalition that mirrored BN’s.

But the post-2018 collapse of BN has now, after the 2022 polls, led to a reordering of coalitions in which the opposition to Anwar’s multiracial government is effectively an alliance between Malay-chauvinist and Islamist political forces.

How pluralists cope with the new terms of political competition will matter almost as much as the opposition’s demagoguery. As Slater cautions, ‘we still do not know if either Malaysia or Indonesia will succeed at fending off the worst aspects of polarisation without plunging straight back into authoritarian hegemony’. Certainly, there has been a tightening of space for dissent in Indonesia under the banner of a crackdown on Islamism. If Pakatan Harapan’s anxieties about the threat posed to Malaysian multiculturalism by the opposition persist, pluralists might yet start to rationalise similar hard-knuckled tactics. So much is yet uncertain: ‘[f]or Malaysia, polarising pluralism is uncharted waters’, writes Slater.

There is no institutional magic formula for fixing these problems. Efforts at electoral reform in Malaysia remain unfinished business from Pakatan Harapan’s first stint in office between 2018 and 2020, with political scientists disagreeing about whether a shift towards proportional representation would soften or exacerbate communalist politics.
Source: East Asia Forum

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https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2023/02/13/dangerous-divides-bedevil-southeast-asias-majority-muslim-democracies/

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Body of new-born baby girl found abandoned at mosque grounds

12 Feb 2023

SEREMBAN, Feb 12 — The body of a newborn baby girl was discovered abandoned on the grounds of the Kampung Sri Jemapoh Congregational Mosque, Juasseh, Kuala Pilah near here this evening.

Kuala Pilah district police chief Supt Amran Mohd Gani said they received information from a man about the discovery of the body, which was wrapped in cloth and placed in a yellow bag at 4.35pm.

“We believe the baby was just born within the last 24 hours. Detailed investigation is being conducted under Section 318 of the Penal Code,” he said in a statement tonight.

Source: Malay Mail

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/02/12/body-of-newborn-baby-girl-found-abandoned-at-mosque-grounds/54649

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King calls for greater racial harmony to prevent extremism

Danial Azhar

February 13, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, has called for a greater push towards racial harmony in an effort to stamp out extremism.

In his address at the opening of the first meeting of the second session of the 15th Parliament today, Sultan Abdullah noted that the spirit of goodwill and respect among races is the basis of the country’s stability.

“Harmony, through the idea of unity based on the principles of the Federal Constitution, should be our main agenda for the sake of our beloved country,” he said.

“The agenda of unity in the cultural context also needs to be focused through the implementation of programmes oriented to the unity of the country’s multiracial communities.

“This is also in accordance with the teachings of Islam, which invites its people to practise patience and tolerance, and to avoid extremism, which can destroy our racial harmony.”

Sultan Abdullah said that 66 years after independence, the public should be mature enough to make its unique differences the main flavour in the formation of a Malaysian race (Bangsa Malaysia) that loves and respects each other, is tolerant, and united.

“If diversity and politics continue to be a cause for controversy and division, I am concerned that we will not be able to achieve peace and progress forever,” he said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/02/13/agong-calls-for-greater-racial-harmony-to-prevent-extremism/

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China sends emergency items to Syria, asks Chinese rescue teams to stand down

February 13, 2023

BEIJING: China sent the second batch of supplies to earthquake-hit areas of Syria and has asked Chinese rescue teams that have not left for disaster zones in Turkiye and Syria to cancel trips in order to ease the burden on rescue operations.

The China Association for Disaster Prevention called on Saturday for Chinese rescue teams to cancel or suspend their trips to not increase the burden on hard-hit areas, and avoid risks due to inclement weather.

Cotton tents, family kits, jackets and other daily necessities, as well as medical supplies, were being provided to Syria by the Red Cross Society of China, CCTV reported on Monday.

China has already committed financial aid to Turkiye and Syria, and has sent a number of rescue teams from several parts of the country, including 82 members dispatched by the Chinese government, as the death toll tops 33,000.

China’s 53 tons of tents to aid Turkiye have arrived in Istanbul, CCTV said on late Sunday. China has said more emergency aid is planned in the near future.

Shipped on large cargo planes, according to video from CCTV, the tents will help aid in relief operations as rescues continue.

The first batch of supplies from China’s government, 40,000 blankets, arrived in Istanbul on Saturday, according to CCTV. The country is planning to send more medical equipment, including electrocardiogram machines, ultrasound diagnostic instrument, and medical vehicles and hospital beds, CCTV said.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2249966/world

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Mideast

 

Iran’s Raisi to leave for China on three-day official trip

February 13, 2023

TEHRAN: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will head to China on Tuesday (today) for a three-day visit, aimed at strengthening economic cooperation, state media reported on Sunday.

The Iranian president will set out for Beijing in response to an official invitation by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iran’s state news agency IRNA said.

Both presidents met for the first time last September in Uzbekistan at a summit for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, where the Iranian president called for expanded ties.

On his upcoming trip, the Iranian president is expected to hold private talks with Xi, and delegations from both countries are due to sign “cooperation documents”, according to IRNA.

The agency added that President Raisi would also take part in meetings with Chinese businessmen and Iranians living in the country.

Iran and China have strong economic ties, especially in the fields of energy, transit, agriculture, trade and investment.

In 2021, both countries signed a 25-year “strategic cooperation pact” said to include “political, strategic and economic” components.

China is Iran’s largest trade partner, IRNA said, citing the 10-month statistics of Iranian customs authorities.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1736891/irans-raisi-to-leave-for-china-on-three-day-official-trip

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Iran Reiterates Commitment to Nuclear Disarmament

2023-February-12

Eslami stated that Iran’s enemies are "spreading misleading information" about Iran’s nuclear program and "they are seeking to block Iran’s pathway toward progress by making excuses and baseless claims".

The AEOI director added that the main issue is the new power which emerges thanks to new technologies and end foreign domination over a nation.

The official underscored that all allegations about Iran seeking to make nukes, secret goals and undeclared nuclear sites in the country are a lie.

Tehran says it is refining uranium only for civilian energy uses, adding all nuclear activities of Iran are under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the nuclear agency’s verification activities and reports have proved the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program.

Iranian officials have numerously stressed that the country has not been and is not after developing nuclear weapons.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has on many occasions stated the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons "a grave sin" from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.

In April 2010, Ayatollah Khamenei issued a fatwa declaring that the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are all haram (religiously banned).

"Iran is not after a nuclear bomb. Why would Iran want a nuclear bomb? Moreover, when an atomic bomb is detonated, it does not just kill enemies. Rather, it kills innocent people as well, and this goes against Islamic beliefs and the principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran. An atomic bomb does not discriminate between good and bad people, and it is not something that the Islamic Republic would use," a part of the fatwa said.

The Islamic Republic is relying on something that is not affected by bombs, foreign invasions and other such things. Such things only strengthen what the Islamic republic is relying on. The Islamic republic is relying on the people," it added.

Iran has always had full cooperation with the IAEA and allowed it to visit the country’s nuclear sites, but calls the nuclear agency's approach unconstructive and destructive. Tehran has asked the IAEA to avoid politicizing the issue and focus on technical aspects in line with the organization’s mandate.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011123000218/Iran-Reieraes-Cmmimen-Nclear-Disarmamen

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World Leaders, Senior Officials Felicitate Iran on Victory Anniversary of Islamic Revolution

2023-February-12

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sent separate messages to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei and President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi to congratulate them the 44th victory anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

Pashinyan in his message to Iran's Supreme Leader said that warm and amicable ties between Armenia and Iran have hundreds of years of roots, adding that the friendly ties will bring important achievements for people of both countries.

In his letter to President Rayeesi, the Armenian premier reiterated his invitation for official visit by the Iranian president to Armenia.

Meantime, Russia felicitated Iran on the 44th victory anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a congratulatory message to his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian on Saturday said that relations between Iran and Russia are further growing based on good neighborliness policies and despite the tough international conditions.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko also congratulated the 44th victory anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

Lukashenko sent a message to his Iranian counterpart, expressing his eagerness to visit the capital Tehran.

The Belarusian president emphasized that he is hopeful to travel to Tehran in the near future to hold talks with the Iranian authorities on mutual, regional and international affairs.

Since Iran has succeeded in growing in the sophisticated situation, the Islamic country is an important player at regional and international areas, he said, adding that Belarus has always stood by Iran and complied with implementation of bilateral agreements.

Mauritanian Foreign Minister Mohamed Salem Ould Marzoug, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister Reshit Meredov, and Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik sent congratulatory messages to Amirabdollahian on Saturday afternoon.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) felicitated Iran as the country is commemorating the 44th victory anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE),  the president of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the vice president, prime minister, and minister of defense of the United Arab Emirates as well as the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in separate messages, felicitated Iran as the country is commemorating the 44th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

A large number of senior officials from different world countries had already congratulated Iran on this auspicious day.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011123000476/Wrld-Leaders-Senir-Officials-Feliciae-Iran-n-Vicry-Anniversary-f

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Israel’s President Herzog warns of ‘constitutional and social collapse’

13 February ,2023

President Isaac Herzog of Israel warned in a rare prime-time speech on Sunday that the country is on the verge of “constitutional and social collapse” over a government plan to reduce the power of the judiciary.

Herzog, known more as reliably dull than alarmist, was speaking of a widespread concern that the change planned by the new government of Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu is so radical that it raises doubts about the future of Israel’s democracy, its appeal to foreign investors and ties to its strongest allies.

“The absence of dialogue is tearing us apart from within, and I’m telling you loud and clear: This powder keg is about to explode,” Herzog told the nation. “This is an emergency.”

Tens of thousands have demonstrated weekly against the government’s plans while scores of economists, business leaders, retired security chiefs and legal scholars have all gone on record in opposition.

Shortly after Herzog spoke, calling for compromise and dialogue, the heads of the country’s top banks — Hapoalim, Discount, Leumi and Mizrahi — all expressed support for his approach.

Netanyahu and his aides want to increase the government’s role in appointing judges and greatly limit the Supreme Court’s authority to strike down legislation. While they aren’t alone in saying that the high court has too much power, many say the planned remedy is far worse than the problem.

All of this is happening as violence among Israelis and Palestinians has increased in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The security cabinet announced plans late Sunday for the legalization of nine settlement outposts and an increased police presence in the occupied areas as an answer to Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians there.

The overlapping crises have led to a level of discourse that itself threatens internal violence among Jews.

A coalition lawmaker blamed the supreme court chief justice for the death of three people in an attack by a Palestinian in Jerusalem. Earlier, a retired combat pilot wrote in a Facebook post that if a prime minister assumes dictatorial powers, “he deserves to die.

Allies express concern

Israel’s closest allies are also speaking up.

President Joe Biden told a New York Times columnist over the weekend that, like US democracy, Israel’s is based on institutional checks and balances, notably through an independent judiciary.

Herzog, whose role is one of symbolic leadership rather than policy, noted the need to work together amid the rising violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. He laid out a framework to start talks toward a compromise.

“The threats from outside are great enough,” he said.

Former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition, called Herzog’s negotiating framework reasonable, noting its stipulation that talks be conditioned on immediate suspension of the legislative process.

“Until then, the struggle will continue, the protests will not stop, Lapid said in a statement. “We are fighting for the values of the Declaration of Independence, and for the very idea of living here together as one people.”

Israel has only one legislative body and in such a parliamentary system, the executive can exert enormous control, leaving only the courts to rein in perceived abuses of minorities and human rights.

The concern of many opponents is that the proposed changes would make Israel far less open and less appealing as a place to invest, increasing the influence of religious fundamentalists.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/13/Israel-s-President-Herzog-warns-of-constitutional-and-social-collapse-

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Arab leaders warn Israeli actions in Jerusalem, West Bank threaten regional turmoil

13 February ,2023

Dozens of leaders and senior officials from Arab and Islamic countries warned on Sunday Israeli actions in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank could worsen regional turmoil, as violence surges between Israel and the Palestinians.

The meeting in Cairo was hosted by the Arab League and attended by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas along with many foreign ministers and senior officials.

The high-level gathering came amid one of the deadliest periods of fighting in years in Jerusalem and the neighboring Israeli-occupied territory. Forty-five Palestinians have been killed so far this year, according to a count by The Associated Press. Palestinians have killed 10 people on the Israeli side during that time.

Speakers at the meeting condemned Israel’s “unilateral measures” in Jerusalem and the West Bank in statements, including home demolitions and expanding settlements.

They also condemned visits by Israeli officials to the city’s contested holy site, which is sacred to both Jews and Muslims and has often been the epicenter of Israeli-Palestinian unrest.

There was no immediate comment from Israel’s government.

The officials also voiced support for Jordan’s role as custodian of the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. The mosque is built on a hilltop in Jerusalem’s Old City that is the most sacred site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because it was the site of the Jewish temples in antiquity.

Since Israel captured the site in the 1967 War, Jews have been allowed to visit but not pray there. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Calling Jerusalem “the backbone of the Palestinian cause,” Sisi warned of dire repercussions of any Israeli move to change the status quo of the holy site, saying they would “negatively impact” future negotiations to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He said such measures would impede the long-sought after two-state solution to the conflict, which would leave “both parties and the whole Middle East with difficult and grave options.”

Sisi, whose country was the first Arab nation to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, called on the international community to “reinforce the two-state solution and create conducive conditions for the resumption of the peace process.”

King Abdullah II also called for Israel to cease its violations and incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque.

“The region cannot live in peace, stability, and prosperity without any progress made on the Palestinian cause,” he warned.

Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, the secretary-general of the pan-Arab organization, also warned that attempts to partition the al-Aqsa Mosque and obliterate its Arab and Islamic identity “would fuel endless unrest and violence.”

Abbas, the Palestinian president, said his administration would resort to the United Nations and its agencies and demand a resolution to protect the two-state solution to the conflict.

“The State of Palestine will continue going to international courts and organizations to protect our people’s legitimate rights,” he said.

The ongoing bout of violence has put the region on edge. Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian leaders and urged them to ease tensions.

Israel is run by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right government. Many politicians in Netanyahu’s administration oppose Palestinian independence.

Sunday’s meeting in Cairo issued a final statement that condemned what it called “Israeli’s systemic policy” that aims at “distorting and changing” Jerusalem’s “Arab and Islamic culture and identity.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/13/Arab-leaders-warn-Israeli-actions-in-Jerusalem-West-Bank-threaten-regional-turmoil

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Israeli forces kill 14-year-old Palestinian boy in West Bank’s Jenin

13 February ,2023

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian teenager Sunday in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said, with the army reporting they came under fire during a raid.

The ministry reported 14-year-old Qusai Radwan Waked died “as a result of being seriously wounded in the abdomen by live fire from the occupation (Israel)” in Jenin, a city in the northern West Bank.

The army said Israeli forces were shot at while they were trying to arrest an alleged Palestinian militant, while “explosive devices and rocks” were also thrown at them.

“We are aware of the reports regarding a number of armed individuals who got injured during the exchange of fire,” an army statement said, adding that no troops were hurt.

An AFP photographer saw the teenager’s body wrapped in a sheet and being carried on a stretcher.

The latest killing comes as violence flares in the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.

This year there have been 46 Palestinian fatalities, including attackers, militants and civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official statements.

Nine Israeli civilians and one Ukrainian have been killed over the same period.

Elsewhere in the northern West Bank on Sunday, Palestinian mourners gathered for the funeral of a 27-year-old man shot dead allegedly by an Israeli settler.

Mithkal Suleiman Rayyan was shot in the head Saturday near the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, where the army reported “heavy clashes between dozens of Palestinians and Israeli civilians.”

Attia Asi, who witnessed the killing, said the shooting happened before soldiers arrived.

“In the beginning it was in the air, then it turned toward the (Palestinian) guys, aiming to kill,” he told AFP at the funeral.

The latest raid in Jenin by Israeli forces led to the arrest of Jebril Zubeidi, who the military said is accused of “terrorist activity against security forces and planning attacks.”

The city’s deputy governor, Kamal Abu al-Rub, said Jebril Zubeidi is the brother of jailed Zakaria Zubeidi, who headed the armed wing of the Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/13/Israeli-forces-kill-Palestinian-14-year-old-boy-in-West-Bank-s-Jenin

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Turkey earthquake: China sends 53 tonnes of tents to aid earthquake relief

12 February ,2023

China shipped 53 tonnes of tents to aid earthquake-hit Turkey on Sunday, with more emergency aid planned in the near future, state broadcaster CCTV said.

The tents departed Shanghai and are scheduled to arrive in Istanbul later on Sunday, CCTV said.

Shipped on large cargo planes, according to video from CCTV, the tents would help aid in relief operations as rescues continue after earthquakes devastated Turkey and Syria and caused nearly 26,000 deaths.

The first batch of supplies from China’s government, 40,000 blankets, arrived in Istanbul on Saturday, according to CCTV. The country is planning to send medical equipment, including electrocardiogram machines, ultrasound diagnostic instrument, and medical vehicles and hospital beds in the near future, CCTV said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/12/Turkey-earthquake-China-sends-53-tonnes-of-tents-to-aid-earthquake-relief-

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Nearly 26 million people affected by Turkey-Syria earthquake: WHO

11 February ,2023

Almost 26 million people have been affected by the deadly earthquake that ravaged Turkey and Syria this week, the WHO said Saturday, warning that dozens of hospitals had been damaged.

As the death toll from the quake rose above 25,000, the UN health agency launched a flash appeal Saturday asking for $42.8 million to help it address the immediate, towering health needs.

The World Health Organization, which has already released $16 million from its emergency fund, had previously said up to 23 million people could be impacted.

But on Saturday, that rose to nearly 26 million, with 15 million affected in Turkey and nearly 11 million in war-torn Syria.

Among them, more than five million people were considered to be particularly vulnerable, including close to 350,000 elderly people and over 1.4 million children.

WHO estimated that in Turkey, where more than 4,000 buildings have collapsed in the quake, 15 hospitals had suffered partial or heavy damage.

In Syria, where the health care system had already been ravaged by 12 years of civil war, at least 20 health facilities across the hard-hit northwest, including four hospitals, had sustained damage.

This is making it all the more difficult to help the tens of thousands of people who have been injured in the disaster.

And while emergency medical services have been overwhelmed with trauma patients, essential health services have been severely disrupted, WHO warned.

The UN agency said there was a dire need for immediate trauma care, post-trauma rehabilitative care, essential medicines, prevention and control to prevent disease outbreaks and access to mental health support.

“WHO’s goal is to save lives in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, to minimize its downstream health consequences, including mental health, and to rapidly restore essential health services across all earthquake-affected populations.”

The agency added that it had flown 37 metric tons of trauma and emergency surgery supplies to Turkey on Thursday, while 35 metric tons had arrived in Syria on Friday.

“These life-saving supplies will be used to treat and care for 100,000 people as well as for 120,000 urgent surgical interventions in both countries,” it said.

A third flight carrying a similar load was scheduled to reach Syria on Monday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/11/Nearly-26-million-people-affected-by-Turkey-Syria-earthquake-WHO

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Iran releases filmmaker held for 6 months over criticism of government

February 13, 2023

DUBAI: Iran has released an award-winning filmmaker more than six months after arresting him for criticizing the government, a pro-reform newspaper reported Monday.

Mohammad Rasoulof, whose 2020 film, “There is No Evil,” won the top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, is one of several prominent artists, athletes and other celebrities detained in recent months for criticizing authorities.

He was arrested in July for criticizing the government’s crackdown on protests in the southwestern city of Abadan over a deadly building collapse. Two months later, nationwide protests broke out after a 22-year-old woman died in the custody of the country’s morality police.

The Shargh newspaper, which is associated with the country’s reform movement, said Rasoulof had recently been furloughed from prison and was formally released, without specifying the dates or providing further information. There was no official comment.

Earlier this month, Iran released famed director Jafar Panahi, who was arrested in July after inquiring about the detention of Rasoulof and another colleague. Authorities also released Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti on bail, after she was detained for criticizing the crackdown on the latest protests.

Iranians took to the streets over the September death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish Iranian woman who was detained by the morality police for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code. The protests escalated into calls for the overthrow of the country’s ruling clerics, marking one of the biggest challenges they have faced since coming to power in the 1979 revolution.

At least 529 protesters have been killed and nearly 20,000 arrested since those protests began, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has closely monitored the unrest. Iranian authorities have not released official figures for those killed or arrested.

Source: Arab News

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2250031/middle-east

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Israeli justice minister accuses judiciary of seeking 'coup' against Netanyahu gov't

Zain Khalil  

12.02.2023

JERUSALEM

Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin on Sunday accused the country’s judiciary of seeking to carry out a “coup" against the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

The accusation came after a watchdog group called "the Movement for Quality Government" filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to oust Netanyahu over plans to enact sweeping judicial changes.

"An attempt to oust a prime minister against the law, while trampling on democratic choice, is no different from a putsch carried out with tanks," Levin said.

"This is a group of lawyers who do not respect the results of the election and are working to carry out a coup and declare Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unfit," he added.

During his previous tenure, Netanyahu in 2020 signed an agreement on "conflict of interest" with then-attorney general Avichai Mandelbit in order to allow him to stay in power at that time while he is on trial.

On May 24, 2020, Netanyahu's trial began over charges of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust, accusations he vehemently denies.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israeli-justice-minister-accuses-judiciary-of-seeking-coup-against-netanyahu-govt/2817155

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Israel 'buys island' in Bahrain; activists call it 'dangerous and worrying'

13 February 2023

Taking their "normalization" to the next level, Israel has reportedly "bought an island" in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, drawing outrage from social media users.

Arabic-language news websites said TV7 Israel News reported that Israeli company Himnota, which is owned by the ultra-right Jewish National Fund (JNF), bought a private island with an area of 9,554 square meters for $21.5 million in an auction.

The TV channel claimed that the island is residential and suitable for investment projects of special nature, quoting a source within Himnota as saying that skyscrapers can be founded on the island and can be used for evacuating Israelis in the event of war.

According to the report, Avery Shnayer, representative of the Blue and White party on the board of directors of Himnota, said talks will be held with the "friendly" Bahraini regime to transfer sovereignty over the island to Israel.

Although the TV7 Israel News report was immediately deleted without clarification, it sparked anger and outrage among Bahraini activists and social media users who expressed concern that the sale is a prelude to the occupation of another Arab territory.

"Reports emerging (posted by Israeli news then deleted) that Israel has bought an island in Bahrain - best described as colonial expansion - from a foreign ruling family that occupied Bahrain violently and has been ruling it violently since," Bahraini human rights activist Maryam Alkhawaja said in a tweet.

Jawad Fairooz, a former Bahraini lawmaker and the head of SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM DHR), described the report as " a very dangerous and worrying signal."

The news about the sale of the island came a day after Israeli military chief Herzi Halevi landed in Bahrain to participate in an international military conference involving several regional leaders, according to the Israeli media.

The conference was held under the auspices of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), with the head of the CENTCOM, Erik Kurilla also in attendance.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed US-brokered normalization agreements with the Israeli regime in Washington in September 2020.

The move sparked widespread condemnation from various Palestinian resistance factions and ordinary civilians as well as Muslim nations and human rights advocates across the globe

Bahrainis have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the so-called "normalization" of ties with the Israeli regime, taking to the streets often to hold demonstrations against the ruling dispensation in Manama.

Bahrain’s main opposition group al-Wefaq and top cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who is currently living in exile in Iran, have also repeatedly condemned the "normalization" move made by the ruling al-Khalifah dynasty.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/13/698124/Israel-bought-island-Bahrain-

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Israel to step up crackdown against Palestinian ‘attackers’: Netanyahu

12 February 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to ramp up a campaign of crackdown against Palestinians in East al-Quds and the West Bank, following a spate of retaliatory attacks against settlers in the occupied territories.

Netanyahu made the pledge on Sunday, two days after a Palestinian man allegedly carried out a car-ramming in the occupied territories that killed at least two settlers.

"The cabinet is meeting today to prepare for an even broader action against those carrying out terrorism and their supporters” in East al-Quds and the West Bank, “while preventing as much as possible harming those uninvolved," he said, without providing further details.

Netanyahu’s remarks comes as far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has already ordered the regime’s police force to prepare for a major offensive in al-Quds.

Ben-Gvir told reporters on Friday that he has instructed the police forces to be prepared for "Defensive Shield 2" operation in the holy city starting from Sunday.

He referred to a major Israeli offensive called 'Defensive Shield' order by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that led to dozens of deaths among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Ben-Gvir’s statements regarding the new large-scale offensive were widely criticized by Israeli authorities, who said such decisions should be taken after consulting with all security authorities.

Two Israeli settlers were pronounced dead and five others were injured when a Palestinian man allegedly carried out a car-ramming at a bus stop in the Ramot Alon settlement north of al-Quds on Friday.

Palestinian media outlets identified the Palestinian as Hussain Karaka, a 31-year-old resident of Bethlehem’s Dheisha refugee camp, who was fatally shot by Israeli forces on Friday afternoon.

Also on January 27, seven illegal settlers were killed and 10 others wounded in a shooting operation in occupied al-Quds which came a day after Israeli forces raided the city of Jenin and its neighboring refugee camp in the north of the occupied West Bank, killing nine Palestinians in one of the deadliest raids in years.

In a separate shooting on January 28, two Israeli settlers were injured in occupied al-Quds.

The latest incidents came amid increased Israeli violence against Palestinians in the occupied territories, especially in the West Bank.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/12/698090/Israel-Netanyahu-campaign

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Africa

 

Tunisia’s Ennahda condemns ‘arbitrary arrests’ of opposition activists

Yamena Salemi 

12.02.2023

TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisia’s Ennahda movement has condemned what it described as arbitrary arrests of opposition political activists in the North African country.

Tunisian security forces detained political activist and former Ennahda leader Abdelhamid Jelassi from his home in the capital Tunis Saturday evening.

The private Radio Mosaique said Jelassi was arrested upon suspicions of conspiring against state security.

“The indiscriminate targeting of opponents of the coup will not solve people’s problems, but it reflects the authorities’ lack of vision and its unbridled desire to eliminate all opponents, including politicians, human rights defenders, trade unionists, intellectuals, media professionals, bloggers and businessmen,” Ennahda said in a statement.

“It further confirms [President] Kais Saied’s appropriation of the function of the judiciary and issuing of orders outside the law, reminiscent of the methods of fascist regimes that terrorize people by targeting critics and persecuting them as well as citizens in their daily living needs,” it added.

There was no comment from the Tunisian authorities on Ennahda’s statement.

Tunisia has been in the throes of a deep political crisis that aggravated the country's economy since 2021, when Saied ousted the government and dissolved parliament.

Since then, Saied held a referendum to draft a new Constitution last July and parliamentary elections last December.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/tunisia-s-ennahda-condemns-arbitrary-arrests-of-opposition-activists/2817156

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Tunisian influential businessman Kamel Eltaief arrested: Lawyers

11 February ,2023

Tunisian police on Saturday arrested powerful businessman Kamel Eltaief, a former confident of late president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, as well as political activist Khayam Turki, their lawyers said.

Eltaief, 68, was arrested at his home in the capital Tunis, lawyer Nizar Ayed said without providing further details.

Many Tunisians, especially supporters of the Ennahdha, saw Eltaief as a symbol of past corruption in the North African nation.

The influential power-broker was involved in the 1987 coup that forced former president Habib Bourguiba from power on medical grounds, and was long considered a crony of his successor Ben Ali.

Eltaief later fell out of grace with Ben Ali in 1992 in a feud with the former dictator’s wife Leila Trabelsi.

After the fall of Ben Ali in 2011, the businessman moved closer to the opposition.

In 2012 he was investigated for “conspiracy against state security,” but no charges were brought against him and the case was closed in 2014.

Political activist Turki, 58, had once been considered as a potential candidate to head the government after the resignation of premier Elyes Fakhfakh in 2020, and belongs to the social democratic Ettakatol party.

Turki’s lawyer Abdelaziz Essid, who said his client was not known to be wanted by the authorities, said he was arrested in an early morning police raid.

“He was taken to an unknown destination,” said Essid, adding Turki had not been “facing any legal proceedings” to justify his arrest. No further details were immediately available.

Ettakatol was allied with the Ennahdha party within the government between 2011 and 2014, before the latter became part of the opposition.

Ennahdha condemned Turki’s arrest and called for his “immediate” release.

Tunisia has seen a spike in the arrest and prosecution of politicians, journalists and others since President Kais Saied seized wide-ranging powers in a dramatic move against parliament in July 2021.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/02/11/Tunisian-influential-businessman-Kamel-Eltaief-arrested-Lawyers

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Tunisian activist Khayam Turki arrested, ‘taken to an unknown destination’: Lawyer

11 February, 2023

Tunisian police on Saturday arrested political activist Khayam Turki, his lawyer said, noting however that he was not known to be wanted by the authorities.

Turki, 58, had once been considered as a potential candidate to head the government after the resignation of Premier Elyes Fakhfakh in 2020, and belongs to the social democratic Ettakatol party.

The lawyer Abdelaziz Essid said Turki had been arrested early morning by police who stormed his house and searched it.

“He was taken to an unknown destination,” said Essid, adding Turki had not been “facing any legal proceedings” to justify his arrest. No further details were immediately available.

Ettakatol was allied with the Ennahdha party within the government between 2011 and 2014, before the latter became part of the opposition.

Tunisia has seen a spike in the arrest and prosecution of politicians, journalists and others since President Kais Saied seized wide-ranging powers in a dramatic move against parliament in July 2021.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/02/11/Tunisian-activist-Khayam-Turki-arrested-taken-to-an-unknown-destination-Lawyer

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Tunisia police arrest ex-judges sacked by president, lawyer and media say

February 13, 2023

TUNIS: Tunisian police on Sunday arrested two former judges who were dismissed by President Kais Saied last year, a lawyer and local media said, in the second day of a wave of detentions of prominent people, including politicians and a businessman.

Bechir Akremi and Tayeb Rached, who were among the dozens of judges and members of the judiciary sacked in 2022, were detained by police, Anouar Awled Ali, a lawyer close to the cases, told Reuters.

The local Mosaique FM radio network said Akremi’s arrest was linked to the investigation into the assassination a decade ago of Chokri Belaid, a political activist. It added that Rached’s arrest was due to suspicion of financial corruption.

On Saturday, police detained a number of people on suspicion of conspiracy against state security. Among those arrested was former Finance Minister Khayam Turki, Abd El Hamid Jlassi, a former senior official in the Ennahda Islamist party, and Kamel Ltaif, a businessman with close ties to successive coalition governments.

A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the arrests.

Ennahda, the biggest opposition party, said the arrests were aimed at intimidating opponents of Tunisia’s president.

Rights groups have voiced increasing concern over political freedoms in Tunisia since Saied’s seizure of most powers in 2021 and his moves to assume ultimate authority over the judiciary.

Saied’s political opponents, whom he has labelled traitors, have accused him of a coup aimed at dismantling the democracy built after a 2011 revolution.

The president has denied those accusations, saying his moves were lawful and necessary to save Tunisia from chaos. He has promised to uphold rights and freedoms won in the revolution.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2249946/middle-east

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Pakistan

 

‘Super king’ Bajwa, not US, behind ouster: Imran

Mansoor Malik

February 13, 2023

LAHORE: After months of allegations, former prime minister Imran Khan has given a clean chit to the United States and instead held former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa responsible for the ‘conspiracy’ which resulted in his ouster via a no-confidence motion in April last year.

The PTI chairman made these remarks during an interview with the Voice of America English aired on Saturday and a separate televised address on Sunday. On both occasions, the former premier took swipes at the ex-chief of army staff, who, according to Imran Khan, was the source of all the crises plaguing Pakistan today.

“Whatever happened, now as things unfold, it wasn’t the US who told Pakistan [to oust me]. It was unfortunately, from what evidence has come up, [former army chief] Gen [Qamar Javed] Bajwa who somehow managed to tell the Americans that I was anti-American. And so, it [the plan to oust me] wasn’t imported from there. It was exported from here to there,” Mr Khan told VoA in a sharp U-turn from his previous position of blaming the US.

In the televised address, Imran Khan termed Gen Bajwa, who retired in November last year, ‘super king’ and admitted that his three-and-a-half-year stint in the Prime Minister’s Office was more like of a puppet.

“Gen Bajwa had become an expert of everything, including economy, politics, and foreign policy,” Mr Khan alleged.

“Gen Bajwa used to get the credit for good decisions and Imran Khan used to serve as a punching bag for every wrong decision,” Mr Khan claimed, alleging that the former army chief was responsible for the “political and economic ills” faced by the country today.

Imran Khan also slammed the former chief for hampering the process of accountability. The PTI chairman claimed Mr Bajwa had decided that there would be no accountability of Shehbaz Sharif as he had already taken a decision to elevate him as the prime minister. “No accountability was held thereafter,” he said and claimed that the former army chief had also acknowledged this in an interview with a columnist.

“If Bajwa could be criticised or [held] accountable for his actions, he would not have been able to damage the country to such an extent,” he added.

‘Elections only solution’

During the address, Imran Khan doubled down on his demand for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa following the dissolution of provincial assemblies. He believed that only fresh elections could drive Pakistan out of the current economic and political mess.

According to the PTI chief, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the incumbent caretaker government were duty-bound to hold general elections in Punjab and KP within 90 days of the dissolution of the assemblies. “On the 91st day, the caretaker governments will cease to have constitutional cover,” he said, asking the bureaucrats and police officers to disobey the ‘unconstitutional caretaker government’ after the end of its three-month timeframe.

Mr Khan alleged that the Sharifs and Zardaris were afraid of elections as they first wanted to create a “level-playing field” by disqualifying him from contesting elections and then putting him in jail along with his party leadership.

“The ruling coalition in the federal government is afraid of one person and one party, which is Imran Khan and PTI, and wants to block us to get their NRO given to them by Gen Bajwa,” he alleged.

The former premier also went after the ECP and said the electoral watchdog was taking decisions on the “instructions of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif”.

‘Stand with judges’

Claiming that the ‘mafias’ would now try to ‘pressurise the judiciary’, Mr Khan urged the nation to be ready to stand with the judges in these “trying times” as he linked the survival of the country with the supremacy of the rule of law.

“Statements have already started pouring in against the judiciary after its verdict directing the ECP to hold elections within 90 days,” he stated. It may be mentioned here that a single-member bench of the Lahore High Court has asked the ECP to consult the Punjab governor to ensure elections in Punjab are to be held in the constitutional timeframe.

Speaking about the IMF deal, Mr Khan said the government’s agreement with the Fund would open floodgates of inflation and push millions of people down the poverty line. Asserting that the Pakistan was rapidly growing in economic terms, the former prime minister said the IMF had in Feb 2022 – only six weeks before PTI government’s ouster – acknowledged that Pakistan’s economy was making record progress.

In the past 10 months, the PDM government has “shattered the economy” and almost every person has lost one-third of their income due to an increase in inflation owing to the wrong policies of the incumbent rulers, he added. “Who is responsible for shattering the economy showing robust improvement,” he asked.

‘Failure of security forces’

Talking to VoA, Imran Khan said international relationships should not be based on “personal egos” but on the interest of the country’s people. He was responding to questions about his approach towards the US upon a possible return to power and his allegations about the country’s involvement in his ouster.

“The people of Pakistan, their interest is that we have [a] good relationship with the US,” he said, explaining that it was a superpower and Pakistan’s biggest trading partner.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1736897/super-king-bajwa-not-us-behind-ouster-imran

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Imran Khan blames 'negligence' of security forces for spike in terror attacks in Pakistan

Feb 12, 2023

LAHORE: Imran Khan has said the outlawed Pakistani Taliban was allowed to flourish because of the "negligence" of the country's security forces, as the former prime minister underlined the importance of working closely with Afghanistan to jointly combat terrorism in the region.

Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, who was ousted from power in April 2022, made these comments in an interview with the Voice of America website on Saturday.

In the interview Khan, 70, strongly defended his government's move to greenlight negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) terrorist outfit.

"Well firstly, what were the choices [the] Pakistani government faced once the Taliban took over and they decided the TTP, and we're talking about 30, [30,000] to 40,000 people, you know, the families included, once they decided to send them back to Pakistan? Should we have just lined them up and shot them, or should we have tried to work with them to resettle them?

"We had a meeting, and the idea was that the resettlement had to be done with the concurrence of the politicians of all along the border, the FATA [tribal] region, and along with the security forces, plus, the TTP. But that never happened because our government left and once our government was removed, the new government took its eye off the ball," Khan said. He pinned the blame on the negligence of Pakistan's security forces that allowed the banned outfit to prosper in the region.

"Meanwhile, this threat grew and it's possible that they regrouped, but then where were the Pakistani security forces? Where were intelligence agencies? Could they not see them [re]grouping? So, the problem is, how could we be held responsible for their negligence?" he asked.

Pakistan has been hit by a wave of terrorism, mostly in the country's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and also in Balochistan and Punjab provinces.

Khan asserted that despite the differences between the two sides, Islamabad must get Kabul to work jointly to combat terrorism in the region.

"I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but do we want a repeat of what happened to Pakistan from 2005 onwards to 2015, where Pakistan was going under, suffering from terrorism all along the Afghan border? I think we are not in a position to have another war on terror. And the only way is to somehow get Kabul to work with us so that we can jointly deal with this issue," Khan explained.

Khan, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April 2022.

Since his ouster, he has stepped up the ante on the ruling coalition to announce snap polls.

During the Apex Committee meeting earlier this month, Pakistan's civil and military leadership decided to seek Afghan Taliban chief Haibuttallah Akhundzada's intervention to control the TTP.

In November last year, the TTP called off an indefinite ceasefire agreed with the government in June 2022 and ordered its militants to carry out attacks on the security forces.

Pakistan hoped that the Afghan Taliban after coming to power would stop the use of their soil against Pakistan by expelling the TTP operatives but they have apparently refused to do so at the cost of straining ties with Islamabad.

On January 30, a Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up in a high-security mosque in Peshawar, killing over 100 worshippers and injuring 200 others.

The TTP, set up as an umbrella group of several militant outfits in 2007, called off a ceasefire with the federal government and ordered its militants to stage terrorist attacks across the country.

The group, which is believed to be close to Al-Qaeda, has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases, and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khan-blames-negligence-of-security-forces-for-spike-in-terror-attacks-in-pakistan/articleshow/97844997.cms

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Eight injured in blast near car carrying wounded ASI in North Waziristan

February 13, 2023

NORTH WAZIRISTAN / DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Eight people, including women, suffered injuries in a bomb attack on a vehicle carrying a wounded police official in the Ghulam Khan area along the border with Afghanistan on Sunday.

Unidentified people had attacked Assistant Sub-Inspector Aminullah inside his home at around 4am on Sunday.

Officials said the police official sustained injuries in the attack and was being shifted to the hospital in a car when a bomb near the vehicle went off.

“He was in the car and was about to be shifted when the explosion took place leaving eight people wounded,” a police official said, adding that two women were among the victims.

He said the injured were taken to Khalifa Gul Nawaz Hospital in district Bannu and added that three of them were in critical condition.

Attacks on police in Tank, Lakki Marwat repulsed

The official said a police team had reached the scene of the occurrence and started investigating the attacks.

Earlier on Saturday night, police in the Gomal Bazaar area of district Tank repulsed an attack on the police station following heavy exchange of fire with militants.

According to police officials, militants armed with latest weapons had stormed Gomal Bazaar Police Station. However, they said, the attack was repulsed since the police were ready to respond.

“We had already observed their [militants’] movement with the help of thermal imaging camera. They [militants] attacked the police station but police personnel responded to it immediately,” a police official said, adding that it was the fourth attack on the police in the district within a week.

Official sources said the number of attacking militants was between 13 and 15 and the exchange of fire continued for around 15 minutes. Heavy contingents of police immediately reached the spot, they said. However, no casualty was reported.

A statement issued from the office of the Inspector General Police Khyber Pakhtun­khwa Akhtar Hayat Gandapur read that the provincial police chief immediately contacted the station house officer and lauded bravery of the personnel. He announced cash reward and certificate for the police team that took part in the gunfight.

Meanwhile, police in district Lakki Marwat also repulsed a similar attack on a police post in the Bakhmal area.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1736872/eight-injured-in-blast-near-car-carrying-wounded-asi-in-north-waziristan

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60 suspects arrested in Nankana Sahib lynching case

Asif Chaudhry

February 13, 2023

LAHORE: The Nankana Sahib police arrested 60 suspects involved in the lynching of a man outside the police station on Saturday morning.

Several police teams launched a massive crackdown at the residences, business points, and other places to round up the suspects.

Sheikhupura Regional Police Officer (RPO) Babar Sarfraz Alpa said some 17 suspects/attackers have been nominated in the FIR.

He said the police were very clear in its action against the attackers whether they were from any religious organsation or a political party.

“Raids are underway for the arrest of others,” Nankana Sahib District Police Officer (DPO) Asim Iftikhar told Dawn here on Sunday.

He said that the Warburton police lodged two first information reports, one against hundreds of suspects who attacked the police station and murdered Waris and the other for desecrating the Holy Quran.

He said that the police teams seized 923 video clips of the incident, and identified and arrested 60 of them, adding that the identification of more suspects was in process.

The forensic analysis of the clips, mostly recorded with mobile phones, was also done.

According to the DPO, an 800-strong mob attacked the police station in order to illegally detain the man accused of blasphemy.

Mr Iftikhar said there were 50 police personnel who tried to save the man, but they were outnumbered.

He said that in response to an emergency call for reinforcement, several police personnel were on the way but the mob killed the man before their arrival.

He said some 15 people arrested were members of a religious-cum-political party.

Another senior police officer who was close to the entire incident declared the 15 members principally responsible for the lynching incident.

He said that Waris, who was lynched, was recently released from jail in a blasphemy case registered in 2019.

He said the deceased was declared innocent by the court of law.

Married in 2016, Waris divorced his wife within a couple of years and was living alone in his house in the jurisdiction of Warburton police station.

According to the police source, the Warburton police had received three calls in the last several days over the purported desecration of the Holy Quran.

In the last such call, the local residents claimed they found the burnt pages of the Holy Quran and a picture of Waris’s ex-wife at the spot.

This sparked outrage among local residents, who rushed to Waris’ house and overpowered and thrashed him, according to the police officer, who added that the police responded to the emergency call and rescued him.

When the charged mob was chasing them to take him from police custody, the cops rushed him to the station.

The police immediately locked him in the bathroom of the police station as more people started gathering outside the building when the local mosques made announcements to take the law into their hands.

The police source said the situation got out of control when some members of a religious party took the lead, raised ‘religious slogans’ and provoked people to attack the police station.

The police officer also identified a strategic blunder in the design of the Warburton police station building, saying that the contractor had left a three-foot wide hole over its main entrance gate.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1736861/60-suspects-arrested-in-nankana-sahib-lynching-case

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Bannu jirga urges Pakhtuns’ unity to establish peace

February 13, 2023

LAKKI MARWAT: Leaders of political parties and rights’ organisations have called upon Pakhtuns to forge unity to stop ‘usurpers from plundering their resources’ and to establish lasting peace on their lands.

They were speaking at a jirga convened by Olasi Aman Pasoon outside the Bannu Press Club on Sunday.

Speakers included ANP’s provincial general secretary Sardar Hussain Babak, Manzoor Pashteen of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, former district councillor Halimzada Khan, Pir Kamal Shah, Bakht Niaz Sikandari, Malik Shaoib Khan Advocate of PPP, Haji Abdul Samsad Khan, Illauddin Khan, Junaid Rasheed and Nisar Khan Advocate.

They said Pakhtuns were divided and their resources were being usurped under a conspiracy. The speakers said attempts to disrupt peace and create lawlessness in the region were part of this conspiracy, adding unity was inevitable for peace and prosperity in the Pakhtun region.

They said world powers in collaboration with their local helpers had used Pakhtuns’ land for their vested interests, causing bloodshed and heightening miseries of local residents.

The speakers said Pakhtuns didn’t want any more bloodshed on their land and had become tired of collecting bodies of their near and dear ones. They asserted that establishment of peace was the only demand of Pakhtuns and they won’t budge from it.

The speakers said divisions among Pakhtuns could be judged from the fact that when youths from Bannu were murdered, only Banochi tribesmen mourned their killing.

They asked the powers that be to shun toeing US policies as Pakhtuns did not want war on their soil.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1736785/bannu-jirga-urges-pakhtuns-unity-to-establish-peace

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Envoy underscores enhanced defence cooperation between Indonesia, Pakistan

February 12, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Indonesian Ambassador Adam Tugio has urged the Pakistani business community to look at Indonesia as a trade hub for expanding its export to the huge market of more than 640 million people in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“Participation of a frigate vessel of Indonesian Navy to AMAN Naval Exercise 2023 is an example of how Indonesia attaches great importance to its partnership with Pakistan to promote global peace and security” he said.

During a discussion at Karachi Council for Foreign Relations (KCFR), the Ambassador said that cooperation in defence sectors had the potential to grow beyond an exchange of military officers and capacity building programs, said a news release issued by the Indonesian Embassy here Sunday.

“More than 50 percent of conflicts are taking place in OIC geographic. Indonesia and Pakistan are the two biggest UN troops contributing countries and the role of women peacekeepers of the two countries can give a significant contribution to creating an enabling environment for peace and reconciliation in such conflicts”, Tugio added.

The Ambassador specifically referred to the newly established mechanism of the Joint Ministerial Commission which would allow the two FMs to meet regularly for stocktaking progress of bilateral cooperation and give strategic direction to deepening bilateral relations.

He further mentioned that Pakistan has the full potential to develop its economy due to its geostrategic location to serve as a gateway to the broader region in Central Asia.

“Pakistan has strong resilience to overcome the economic crises and make strong revival as attested through its history”, the envoy said.

Responding to a question on a doable strategy for Pakistan to strengthen its partnership with ASEAN, he suggested a two-prong approach of institutional collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat and bilateral processes with ASEAN members.

The envoy underlined the importance of deepening connectivity through hard elements, such as building infrastructure as well as increasing people-to-people connections as soft elements of connectivity.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/02/12/envoy-underscores-enhanced-defence-cooperation-between-indonesia-pakistan/

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Pakistan-US defence talks begin today

Anwar Iqbal

February 13, 2023

WASHINGTON: The second round of US-Pakistan mid-level defence dialogue begins in Washington on Monday (today) to consider various options for strengthening ties between the two establishments.

The Pakistani team, headed by the Chief of General Staff (CGS), Lt Gen Mohammed Saeed, reached the US capital on Sunday afternoon. The delegation includes two major generals, two brigadiers and a civilian representative, the Additional Secretary for Americas Muhammad Mudassir Tipu from the foreign affairs ministry.

They will interact with their counterparts at the US Defence Department, which is also known as the Pentagon.

The CGS heads the second most influential office in the Pakistan Army after the Chief of Army Staff. He is the administrative head of both intelligence and operational forces.

The agenda for the four-day (Feb 13–16) talks includes expanding coordination on strategic issues between the two defence establishments.

Expansion of coordination on strategic issues on the agenda

“This is an important mechanism for talks on bilateral issues,” said a diplomatic source. “Defence and security cooperation, strategic coordination, key regional and global issues,” said the source when asked about the agenda.

“This is an important forum for institutionalised dialogue and may lead to further talks at a higher level,” the source added.

The foreign affairs ministry in Islamabad said in a press release that the Pakis­tani delegation inclu­ded representatives from the Joint Staff Headquarters and the three services headquarters.

The US multi-agency team will be represented by the Office of the Under­secretary of Defence.

“Issues of bilateral defence and security cooperation will be discussed during the defence dialogue,” the ministry said. The first round of the dialogue was held in Pakistan in Jan 2021.

The two military establishments have maintained close ties despite disagreements on political issues. On Jan 13, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with the new Chief of Army Staff, Gen Asim Munir, congratulated him on his appointment and discussed “areas of mutual interest as well as recent regional developments” with him, said a Pentagon statement issued after the call.

On Oct 4, Secretary Austin hosted the then Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in Washington during the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The Pentagon issued a brief statement after the meeting, saying that “this long-standing partnership continues today with discussions focused on opportunities to address key mutual defence interests”.

In an earlier statement, Secretary Austin said the US relationship with the Pakistani military would provide openings for both countries to cooperate on key issues.

During his confirmation hearing in Jan 2021, Secretary Austin had termed Pakistan an ‘essential partner’, adding that “continuing to build relationships with Pakistan’s military will provide openings for the United States and Pakistan to cooperate on key issues”.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1736896/pakistan-us-defence-talks-begin-today

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Muslim Hands over 20 houses to flood victims in Mastung, Jafarabad

February 12, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The “Muslim Hands” active in relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction projects in flood-hit areas of the country have handed over 20 houses to flood victims in Mastung and Jafarabad while the construction of around 200 other houses has entered the final stage.

Executive Director of Muslim Hands in Pakistan Syed Javed Gilani told APP on Sunday that ‘Muslim Hands’ has successfully reached 1 million beneficiaries through its Emergency response in flood-affected regions across Pakistan during the past six months. The organization perpetrated about USD 8 million for rescue, relief, and rehabilitation projects out of which USD 4 million have been spent/disbursed.

“We are constructing hundreds of disaster resilience houses in Mastung, Jaferabad, and Badin out of which 90 percent has been entered in the final stage while more than 20 houses have already been handed over to the flood affectees” Gilani added.

He told that 222,928 people were provided with ready meals, and food baskets, 4,782 with winter kits, and 4,527 with other Non-Food Items. In the health sector, 259 medical camps and 10 basic health centers were established where more than 120,000 people were provided with free check-up medicines and other health facilities apart from 2400 herbal medicine and 64 wheelchairs.

Syed Javed Gilani further informed that 4,902 people were provided with employment support which includes shops, rickshaws, agricultural equipment kits (fertilizers, seeds, tools), and other skill-based kits.

“We also provided temporary shelters to more than 33,000 people which includes tents, community centers, and shelter

kits while clean drinking water facilities (bottles, wells, water pumps, filtration plant) have also been provided to 544,000 people,” he said.

Syed Javed Gilani said that despite its own resources the Muslim Hands has also provided relief to millions of victims with the support of UNICEF, USAID, Concern Worldwide, and the Turkish Organization TIKA.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/02/12/muslim-hands-hands-over-20-houses-to-flood-victims-in-mastung-jafarabad/

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North America

 

Biden calls for consensus in Israel on plans to tame judiciary

February 13, 2023

JERUSALEM: US President Joe Biden has called for wide agreement to be reached in Israel on sweeping changes to the judiciary which have sparked nationwide protests.

Israel’s parliament may on Monday begin the legislation process of the judicial overhaul, which would increase the government’s sway in selecting judges while weakening the judiciary’s power to strike down laws or rule against the executive.

“The genius of American democracy and Israeli democracy is that they are both built on strong institutions, on checks and balances, on an independent judiciary. Building consensus for fundamental changes is really important to ensure that the people buy into them so they can be sustained,” Biden said.

Netan­yahu has said the changes are needed in order to restore balance between the government, the Knesset and the judiciary, which some in his coalition accuse of elitism and overreaching its powers to interfere in the political sphere.

Critics say the changes would deal a fatal blow to Israel’s democracy because they would politicise the bench and undermine judicial independence, which could make corruption easier and endanger human rights and civil liberties.

Many legal experts, economists and former security and economic officials, who include Netanyahu confidants and appointees, have come out against the government’s judicial plans.

Israel’s central bank chief has urged lawmakers to safeguard the independence of institutions and the opposition is calling on Israelis to join a general strike on Monday.

Israel has ‘crossed all red lines’

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas accused Israel on Sunday of having “crossed all red lines” in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, and urged world leaders to put an end to its actions.

The international community must “protect” the Palestinian people and “put a stop to Israeli aggression... (and) unilateral actions”, the head of the Palestinian Authority told an Arab League meeting in Ca­iro.

“Mr Biden tells me he supports a two-state solution, but then does nothing at all,” Abbas added.

A two-state solution would mean the dismantling of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, as well as the partition of Jerusalem, which Israel refuses as it considers the city its undivided capital.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1736888/biden-calls-for-consensus-in-israel-on-plans-to-tame-judiciary

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US delegation to meet GCC officials in Riyadh for talks on Iran, counterterrorism

11 February ,2023

A senior US government delegation is set to travel to Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, to participate in the US-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Working Group meetings, taking place from February 13-16, the US State Department said.

The US delegation will meet with representatives from the GCC member states and the Secretariat to discuss shared priorities, including integrated air and missile defense and maritime security, Iran, and counterterrorism, the State Department said.

The delegation will be led by some of the top US government officials, including Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley, Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Acting US Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Christopher Landberg, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Peninsula Affairs Daniel Benaim, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Dana Stroul.

The top officials will be joined by other senior leaders from the military and civilian sectors, the State Department said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2023/02/11/US-delegation-to-meet-GCC-officials-in-Riyadh-for-talks-on-Iran-counterterrorism

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US carrier positioned in eastern Mediterranean to assist Türkiye in earthquake response

Rabia İclal Turan 

11.02.2023

WASHINGTON

The US European Command (USEUCOM) said Friday it has positioned military capabilities, including the George HW Bush carrier in the Mediterranean Sea to help Türkiye’s search and rescue efforts following deadly earthquakes.

“The George Herbert Walker Bush Carrier Strike Group arrived in the eastern Mediterranean Sea within hours of notification on Feb. 7, and stands ready to provide logistics, medical, and rotary airlift support,” USEUCOM said in a statement.

A source speaking on condition of anonymity told Anadolu that the US carrier was positioned off the island of Rhodes in international waters.

The statement said a team from USEUCOM arrived at the Incirlik Air Base in Türkiye on Feb. 9 to determine “how the U.S. military can rapidly respond” to the support assistance requested by the Turkish government through USAID.

The US Army rotary wing aircraft have also been flying missions out of the Incirlik Air Base and began transporting first responders to quake-hit areas Feb. 7, it said.

UH-60 Black Hawks helicopters transported injured civilians to a local medical facility, said USEUCOM.

“Additional aircraft, including Black Hawks and CH-47 Chinooks are being sent to Incirlik and will be postured for potential follow-on missions to support any requests from Turkish medical professionals,” it said.

It added that the Incirlik Air Base has received more than 1,337 international aircraft sorties in support of earthquake relief assistance following the quakes hitting the southern provinces of the country.

"When an Ally or partner nation faces moments of incalculable disaster and tragic loss of human life, there's never a moment of hesitation from the United States to quickly respond to the needs of that nation," US Army Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, who leads USEUCOM, said in a statement.

"From search and rescue to medical assistance and humanitarian aid, our command is working with other U.S. government agencies to provide assistance requested by the government of Türkiye in the aftermath of this natural disaster,” he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-carrier-positioned-in-eastern-mediterranean-to-assist-turkiye-in-earthquake-response/2815314

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Trump and Kushner profited from close Saudi ties: Report

12 February 2023

Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner established close ties with the Saudi royal family when they were in the White House and now they are profiting from the relationship with billions of Saudi dollars flowing into their businesses, according to a report.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday quoting US administration sources that Trump and former White House senior adviser Kushner used their positions in government to ensure they profited when re-entering the private sector.

“The financial links between the Saudi royal family and the Trump family raise very serious issues,” Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told the Post. “When you factor in Jared Kushner’s financial interests, you are looking right at the cat’s cradle of financial entanglements.”

Democrats have launched congressional investigations into Trump’s and Kushner’s ties to Saudi Arabia. They argued there is no precedent for how the two men have relied so extensively on Saudi investments in their businesses after helping Saudi Arabia's then-deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) while in office, the newspaper added.

The lawmakers said that such business ties could leave them indebted to the Saudi crown prince if Trump returns to the White House after winning the 2024 election

While in the White House, Trump admitted that he “saved” bin Salman in the wake of the CIA’s finding that the crown prince ordered the brutal murder of Post contributing opinion columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. He used to be a vocal critic of the Saudi regime and the crown prince.

The CIA concluded in 2018 that MBS had ordered the killing of Khashoggi, contradicting Saudi Arabia's insistence that the crown prince had had no prior knowledge of the plot.

The prince has denied ordering Khashoggi’s killing but acknowledged later that it took place “under my watch.” Saudi officials later blamed “rogue agents” for the journalist’s murder.

Trump, who had already refused to directly implicate MBS, then defied his own country’s intelligence agency by saying that the CIA assessment was “very premature.”

Former White House officials said that Trump and Kushner used their offices to set themselves up to profit from their relationship with the Saudi princes after leaving the White House.

“I think it was an obvious opportunity for them to build their Rolodexes,” John Bolton, who was Trump’s national security adviser, said in an interview. “And I think they were probably hard at work at it, particularly Jared.”

“Why should Jared be worried about the Middle East?” Bolton said. “It’s a perfectly logical inference was that had something to do with business.”

Some six months after leaving the Trump administration, Kushner secured a $2-billion investment from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, chaired by bin Salman.

Kushner’s firm structured those funds in such a way that it did not have to disclose the source, according to previously unreported details of Securities and Exchange Commission forms reviewed by The Washington Post.

Trump, too, has profited from post-White House Saudi investments. Trump’s golf courses started hosting tournaments for the Saudi fund-backed LIV Golf a year after his administration ended. Meanwhile, the Trump Organization secured an agreement with a Saudi real estate company that plans to build a Trump hotel as part of a $4 billion golf resort in Oman.

The significant investments by the Saudis in enterprises that helped both men financially came after they established close ties with the prince while Trump was in office.

They empowered the crown prince by scheduling Trump’s first presidential visit to the kingdom, backing him amid many international crises and meeting with him repeatedly in Washington and Riyadh.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/12/698113/%C2%A0Trump-and-Kushner-profited-from-close-Saudi-ties--Report

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URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/hindus-worship-om-muslims-allah-jamiat-madani/d/129095

 

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