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Islamic World News ( 12 Oct 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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When Hindus Sang Praises Of Prophet Muhammad; From “La Illaha Il Allah’’ To “Nabi Nabi Nabi Nabi’’

New Age Islam News Bureau

12 October 2022


The hall of Islam Gymkhana resonated with “wah wahs’’ as Alka ‘Sharar’ recited “Hamesha naam lab par ho tumhara/ Ya Rasul Allaha at Naatiya Mushaira on Sunday. (Bhushan Koyande/ht photo)


• Muslim Husband Who Marries another Woman Can’t Compel First Wife to Live With Him: Allahabad High Court

• Radical Cleric Abu Bakar Bashir Insists On Enforcing Islamic Law in Indonesia

• Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Official Concerned Over Rising Anti-Muslim Racism

• Intl. Rights Group Releases Shocking Report on Human Rights Violations in Saudi Arabia



• Zakat is catalyst for change; helps Muslim students secure jobs in IT industry

• How the BJP Is Banking on Gujjar-Pahari Politics to Enter the Muslim Belt in Jammu

• Court Verdict on Plea for Carbon Dating 'Shivling' At Gyanvapi Mosque On October 14

• Russian FSB to allow India access to detained IS bomber


Southeast Asia

• Un-Islamic To Be Hostile To Followers Of Other Religions, Says Selangor Sultan

• Prayers, release of birds to mark Bali bombing anniversary

• Parliament was dissolved to prevent ‘disharmony’ after PN ministers objected to polls this year: Ismail Sabri

• Bar to oppose UK lawyer’s appeal to represent Najib

• Ex-council deputy president charged with 11 counts of graft



• UK Parliament Report Focuses on Afghan Economy under Islamic Emirate

• Türkiye questions legitimacy, purpose of EU mission off Libya's coast

• Turkish president receives Albanian premier for talks

• Norway-based NGO supports Türkiye's stand against militarization of Greek islands


Arab World

• Saudi FM Defends OPEC+ Decision, Says Ties with US Are Strategic

• Iraq’s parliament to convene Thursday to elect president, says speaker

• Maritime border deal between Lebanon, Israel marked by compromises

• Iraqi Parliament to elect new president on Thursday

• Egypt seeks increased cooperation with WHO to improve healthcare sector



• Hamas, Islamic Jihad Slam Israelis' Desecration of Qur’an after Extremist Settlers Burn Muslim Holy Book

• ‘Act of Israeli Terrorism’: Al-Azhar University Slams Settlers’ Burning Of Holy Quran

• Israeli soldier shot dead near settlement in West Bank, army says

• Iran arrests alleged Mossad spy

• Iranian journalist who broke news on Mahsa Amini pays heavy price

• Some 300 rights groups, civil organizations demand immediate release of Palestinian prisoners

• Palestinian gunmen kill another Israeli trooper in occupied West Bank

• Palestinian groups Fatah, Hamas meet in Algeria to heal rift



• Pakistan, Saudi Arabia to Continue To Play Role in Ummah's Betterment

• Swat schools shut to protest attack

• Pakistan's ousted PM Imran Khan booked for receiving prohibited funding from abroad

• Pakistan has significant place in Muslim world: Dr AI-Issa

• Rivals making ‘dirty videos’ to malign me: Imran

• Pakistan values UK’s balanced role in regional affairs: Gen Bajwa

• Ample opportunities available to boost Pak-Iran trade ties: SCCI chief


South Asia

• Human Rights Council Elections: Afghanistan, a Prospective Member

• Taliban Kabul Municipality Closes Down Dozens of Wedding Halls and Hotels

• US slaps more sanctions on Taliban over treatment of women

• Islamic Emirate Leader Meets with Provincial Intelligence Heads

• Bangladeshi minorities want justice for Catholic politician

• Taliban Official Receives Honorary Doctorate Degree



• Somalia: Lifting Arms Embargo Key to Battling Islamist Militants

• Long petrol queues in Tunisia infuriates motorists after promise of fuel deliveries

• Sheikh Zakzaky: Riyadh was involved in Zaria massacre but only on US, UK orders


North America

• US Student Body Calls For Boycotting Israel over Occupation of Palestine

• Biden Re-Evaluating Relationship with Saudi Arabia after OPEC Decision On Oil Output: White House 

• Biden hails Israel, Lebanon on maritime border deal

• US prosecutors drop all charges against Serial podcast subject Adnan Syed

• Amendments to condition US sale of F-16s to Türkiye removed from Senate defense bill

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



When Hindus Sang Praises Of Prophet Muhammad; From “La Illaha Il Allah’’ To “Nabi Nabi Nabi Nabi’’


The hall of Islam Gymkhana resonated with “wah wahs’’ as Alka ‘Sharar’ recited “Hamesha naam lab par ho tumhara/ Ya Rasul Allaha at Naatiya Mushaira on Sunday. (Bhushan Koyande/ht photo)


Oct 10, 2022

By Jyoti Punwani

Mumbai: From “La Illaha Il Allah’’ to “Nabi Nabi Nabi Nabi’’, the hall resounded with invocations to Prophet Muhammad on Saturday evening. Not surprising, considering the venue was Islam Gymkhana and the Naatiya Mushaira (Naat is a hymn in praise of the Prophet) was being held on the eve of Eid-e-Milad, Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

What was unique about this event though, were the participants. “La Illaha Il Allah’’ was a refrain in Richa Sinha’s Naat, and “Nabi Nabi Nabi Nabi’’ was the chorus of Pandit Sagar Tripathi’s song. All nine artistes on stage were Hindu and Tripathi, who anchored the Mushaira, made it a point to mention that some were Brahmins.

While this Naatiya Mushaira was perhaps the first in India to have only Hindu poets, the practice of Hindus writing Naats and other Islamic genres of prayer is not new.

Farid Ahmed Khan, who had conceived of the programme, mentioned names from the 18th century, and among the two inaugural Naats sung by Anushka Nikam was the late award-winning Marathi ghazal writer Suresh Bhatt’s “Akhercha aasara Muhammad’’.

Editor of ‘Hindustan Urdu Daily’ Sarfaraz Arzu, praising this unique mushaira, hoped that “a whole hearted appreciation of this dwindling tribe of non-Muslim poets who sing the praises of Prophet Muhammed, would attract newer poets to this genre.’’

The Mushaira had both types of poets, the old and the new. Anant Nandurkar ‘Khalish’ from Amravati, had composed a naat specially for the occasion, as this was the first time he was reciting one on stage; at the other end of the spectrum was Pandit Sagar Tripathi, the senior most of the poets, who has recited naats in all Islamic countries including Saudi Arabia. He had also, he told the audience, seen at close hand the clothes of Prophet Muhammad as well as his sword, preserved in Istanbul.

The Mushaira was the penultimate programme of the “Prophet for All’’ campaign that began on September 28 in the Islam Gymkhana, aimed at removing misconceptions about Prophet Muhammad among non-Muslims, and bringing the two communities closer. Coincidentally, “Mohammed Sab ke Liye’’ is also the title of a book of naats by Pune’s Uddhav Mahajan ‘Bismil’ which was released in 2018.

The hall resonated with “wah wahs’’ and “subhanallahs’’ as a bindi-sporting Alka ‘Sharar’ recited “Hamesha Naam Lab Par Ho Tumhara/ Ya Rasul Allah’’; Dr Laxman Sharma ‘Wahid’ sang: “Rab Ki Raza Bhi Mere/ Nabi Ki Raza Mein Hai’’; Uddhav Mahajan ‘Bismil’, with his black prayer topi, sang “Mujhse Madina Jaake/ Phir Aaya Na Jaayega’’ and Siddaarth Shandilya tied a handkerchief over his head to recite: “Safina doob sakta hi nahin jab nakhuda tum ho.”

The ugly controversies over Nupur Sharma, loudspeakers, Navratri, all seemed part of another world as Anant Nandurkar Khalish’s Naat spoke of the Azam spreading love and Sagar Tripathi repeated throughout the programme: “Koi Bhi Paak Saaf Hindu Hai/ Woh Kabhi Dushmane Rasul Nahin.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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Muslim Husband Who Marries another Woman Can’t Compel First Wife to Live With Him: Allahabad High Court


Allahabad High Court


Oct 12, 2022

The Allahabad high court has observed that a Muslim man, who marries for the second time against the wishes of his first wife, cannot seek a decree from any civil court to compel her (the first wife) to live with him.

The bench of Justices Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Rajendra Kumar, made this observation while dealing with an appeal filed by a Muslim man challenging a family court’s order dismissing his case for restitution of conjugal rights, on Tuesday.

The bench, while dismissing the plea, said as per the mandate of the Holy Quran a man can marry up to four women but if he fears that he will not be able to deal with them justly then can marry only one. “If a Muslim man is not capable of fostering his wife and children, then as per the mandate of the Holy Quran, he cannot marry another woman.”

The court also opined that a Muslim husband has the legal right to take a second wife even while the first marriage subsists. But if he does so, and then seeks the assistance of a civil court to compel the first wife to live with him against her wishes, she is entitled to raise the question of whether the court, as a court of equity, ought to compel her to submit to co-habitation with such a husband,” the judges said.

The bench also observed that when the appellant has contracted the second marriage suppressing this fact from his first wife, then such conduct of the plaintiff-appellant amounts to cruelty to his first wife. “Under the circumstances, if the first wife does not wish to live with her husband, then she cannot be compelled to go with him in a suit filed by him for restitution of conjugal rights. If the contention of the husband for grant of decree of conjugal rights is accepted, then from the point of view of the wife, it would amount to breach of her fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” it added.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Radical Cleric Abu Bakar Bashir Insists On Enforcing Islamic Law in Indonesia


Abu Bakar Bashir (Kyodo)


By Rudy Madanir

Oct 11, 2022

A radical Indonesian Muslim cleric, thought to be behind the 2002 terrorist bombings that killed 202 people on the resort island of Bali, said in a recent interview that he still believes Indonesia should implement Islamic law, vowing to work to make it happen.

Abu Bakar Bashir, 84, who was freed last year after serving time in a separate case for funding a militant training camp, spoke with Kyodo News last month near Solo on the main island of Java ahead of the bombings' 20th anniversary on Wednesday.

Bashir is the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant group to which the perpetrators of the Bali attack belonged. The group is also linked to the international terrorism network al-Qaida.

The attack on Bali nightclubs crowded with foreign tourists killed 88 Australians, the most among foreign nations. Two Japanese also died. Indonesia experienced a slew of terror attacks in subsequent years, including the bombing of an upscale hotel in Jakarta in 2003 that killed 12 people.

Days after the Bali attack, Bashir was arrested over a separate case and later imprisoned. After being released in 2004, he was sent to prison again in 2005 for conspiracy over the Bali bombings but was acquitted by the Supreme Court the following year.

In the interview, Bashir said the attack was wrong but that he believes three men executed in 2008 for their involvement in the bombings had "good intentions and purposes" because they were trying to "get rid of sinful deeds" such as music and alcohol that go against Islamic law.

During his trial over the bombings, Bashir was found to have given his blessing when the plan was insinuated prior to the attack. The Supreme Court overturned the determination, finding no orders given by the cleric or conspiracy involving him.

Bashir repeated in the interview that he is not a leader of Jemaah Islamiyah and never ordered the attack.

About Indonesia being a secular democracy and the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, with more than 230 million adherents who primarily practice a moderate form of Islam, Bashir rejected it as a mistake.

"What we have to do now is work hard to make Indonesia implement Islamic law because Indonesia is actually supposed to be an Islamic state. But successive governments have not been willing to implement it," the cleric said.

"I have sent two letters to the president after being released from prison," Bashir said, adding he plans to write more letters to President Joko Widodo to urge him to accept his idea.

Bashir said Indonesia partially implements Islamic law, such as through religious affairs offices, which deal with Islamic marital registration. He called for establishing an Islamic state, saying that is the only way to practice perfect Islamic law.

Wearing a white robe, the white-bearded Bashir still routinely leads an Islamic prayer five times a day at a big mosque at the center of his Al-Mukmin Islamic school.

Despite a worsening health condition, he forces himself to receive guests and walk within the school complex and around his residence located inside the complex. He uses a wooden stick and is aided by his son to walk.

The school, which he founded, marked its 50th anniversary this year. It is attended by hundreds of students coming from all over the country.

In August, an association of school alumni, now numbering around 14,000, held an Independence Day flag-raising ceremony in the school compound, attended by, among others, members of the military and police, and government officials in addition to some 600 students, Bashir said.

In 2011, Bashir was handed a 15-year jail term after being found guilty of funding a terrorist training camp in the westernmost province of Aceh. He was released in January last year after his sentence was shortened for good behavior.

Source: Kyodo News

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Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Official Concerned Over Rising Anti-Muslim Racism




Rabia İclal Turan 


High level officials from the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Tuesday agreed to take concrete steps to combat rising anti-Muslim racism in Europe.

Daniel Holtgen, CoE's special representative on antisemitic, anti-Muslim and other forms of religious intolerance and hate crimes, held an online meeting with Ismail Hakki Musa, the new personal representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims.

In a tweet he posted following the meeting, Holtgen said they have observed a worrying increase in racism against Muslims in Europe, similar to the rise in antisemitism.

"The Council of Europe and the OSCE are committed to stop the trend," he wrote.

In a separate statement, Holtgen said he congratulated Musa on his appointment, adding that they agreed to continue and build on the excellent relations established with his predecessor, and exchanged views on freedom of religion and belief, in particular anti-Muslim racism.

"We both stressed the importance of civil society and engaging young people in combatting all forms of intolerance," the statement said, adding that they looked into "possible avenues of cooperation", such as establishing best practices in "combatting anti-Muslim racism."

On July 27, Turkish ambassador Musa was appointed by Poland, OSCE's 2022 chair, as the personal representative of the OSCE chairmanship-in-office on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Intl. Rights Group Releases Shocking Report on Human Rights Violations in Saudi Arabia


This picture shows a general view of the maximum-security al-Ha'ir Prison, located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (By Reuters)



The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) said in a report that Saudi citizens are subject to all kinds of torture ever since they are arrested on trumped-up charges, and the torments do not stop even after rulings are passed and include the families and relatives of the detainees as well, presstv reported.

The group added that Saudi officials carry out various types of mental and physical torture against the detainees who later face the death penalty. They are severely beaten and forcibly disappeared for long periods of time during detention.

ESOHR went on to note that Saudi authorities make use of different methods of physical torture, including electric shocks, sleep deprivation, beatings, extraction of nails from fingers and/or toes, and hanging from the feet to force the imprisoned activists into signing confessions.

The human rights organization pointed to the case of Saudi teenager Mustafa Al-Darwish, who was executed in June 2021 and was forced to sign a confession under the threat of a retrial.

Apart from physical torture, ESOHR has observed the employment of psychological torture against a number of detainees, including threats to their families.

Haider Al-Leif, a protester who was executed on April 23, 2019, was threatened that if he did not sign the confession, his wife would be summoned to prison to divorce him.

According to the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, detainees endure other brutal measures such as deprivation of contact with their families and and daily insults.

In many cases, torture results in permanent disability, injury, pain, coma and loss of consciousness. The prisoners are denied the right to medical treatment.

The report added that Munir Al-Adam, a young man who was executed along with 36 other men on April 23, 2019, lost his hearing due to torture, and Abdullah Al-Tarif, another young man who was executed in the same mass execution, was tortured.

Torture caused damage to his spinal vertebrae and deviation of his left eye, and other parts of his body were also harmed.

Since Mohammad bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested hundreds of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others for their political activism, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnation of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied by the kingdom's authorities.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Zakat is catalyst for change; helps Muslim students secure jobs in IT industry

JS Ifthekhar

11th October 2022

Hyderabad: Zakat for education is the buzzword these days. Using zakat funds to leverage the prospects of deserving students has caught the imagination of funding agencies. The Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC), US is one such agency that has come forward to extend monetary support for the modern education of community students with the zakat fund.

Zakat forms one of the five basic tenets of Islam wherein every Muslim is enjoined to pay 2.5 percent of his savings for the welfare of society.

Last year the IMRC teamed up with the Hyderabad-based Full Stack Academy and reaped a good dividend when 65 of the hundred engineering and B.Sc (Computers) graduates landed plum jobs in top IT software companies. Buoyed by the success, IMRC has now decided to provide IT skill development scholarships and job placement to 100 zakat eligible students.

Thanks to their financial literacy, IMRC and its Indian branch, Sahayata Trust, is turning more frowns into smiles every day. They have succeeded to a great extent in taking Muslim students from their comfort zone to the growth zone. Over the years they have brought cheer into the lives of many poor and average students in Telangana by throwing open doors of opportunities for them. IMRC works to assess the needs of Muslims and minorities in poverty-stricken areas of India and develops projects based on their needs.

Bushra Nayyer of Hyderabad is all smiles at landing a job in Tata Consultancy Services. “Training at the Full Stack Academy helped me gain confidence and employability skills in my domain of interest,” she says.

Scores of students from Telangana and other states like Syeda Arjuman, Baderul Islam, Ameena Tabassum, Khaja Wasiq, Syed Gazanfar, Abdul Riaz, Ayesha Moiz, Saleema Arshad have secured jobs in companies such as Value Labs, MSR Cosmos. TCS, Skuad, Mindtree, Verizon, HCL, Infosys, Cognizant, Amazon. Most of them are now drawing a decent salary package starting from Rs 4.5 lakh to Rs. 7 lakh per annum. “After just three months of training we could successfully crack the interview,” the students say.

They are unanimous in their views that the training provided by IMCR and Full Stack Academy helped them overcome their diffidence, frustration and fear of rejection and failure. They are grateful for receiving monetary help in time to pursue their dream of securing a good job. A good number of students couldn’t have afforded the fee for the IT skill development course but for the zakat fund.

Of late there is a growing trend and acceptance of using the zakat money to fund modern education.

Normally a major chunk of the zakat money is cornered by madrassas. In recent years there is a demand in the community to use the zakat fund to facilitate modern education.

“It is the best way to help the poor students and ensure the economic uplifting of the community,” says Aijaz Ahmed, co-founder and managing director, Full Stack Academy.

“Skill development is the need of the hour. But there are a lot of issues in securing good jobs. Therefore, we want to train our students to get good jobs,” says Syed Aneesuddin, CEO, Sahayata Trust. He wants Muslim youth to avail the Rs 15,000 per student being provided by the Trust under the zakat programme.

The scholarship programme has evoked good response with more than a hundred applications received.

The last date to apply for the scholarship is October 20. The three-month course will commence from November 1. The course is open to students who have passed BCA, MCA, B.Sc. (Computers) and engineering in different streams in the academic year 2021 to 2023. Those who clear the interview will be selected for training with a placement assistance programme. The training courses are: DEVOPS+AWS, MERN –Full Stack Development and Azure Admin+Azure Devops. The course fee is a whopping Rs. 40,000 but those who get the IMRC zakat scholarship will have to pay just Rs 5000.

Upon completion of the three-month course and internship, the students will be trained in employability skills and taught resume writing, opening LinkedIn profile and tackling technology related interview questions.

Source: Siasat Daily

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How the BJP Is Banking on Gujjar-Pahari Politics to Enter the Muslim Belt in Jammu

Rekha Chowdhary

Oct 12, 2022

Union home minister Amit Shah’s rally in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on October 4 was not only very well-planned but also very participatory. Much before the rally was held, many were anticipating that something special would be announced for the Pahari community with respect to their long-pending demand of granting them Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

Around thousands of people from the Pahari community had arrived at the rally, some of whom had reportedly walked long distances. So effective was the participation of the Paharis from the Poonch-Rajouri belt – also known as the Pir Panchal area – that the Bharatiya Janata Party had to ask its workers from other districts of the Jammu not to come for the rally.

The highly enthused Paharis who attended the rally were not disappointed. The home minister announced that they will be granted the ST status after a due administrative process.

Shah said that the Justice G.D. Sharma-headed Commission had submitted its report and recommended reservation for the Paharis, Gujjars and Bakerwals, and that these recommendations were being accepted by the Government of India.

Gujjar versus Pahari politics

Paharis form a linguistic community of Hindus and Muslims (a large number of them are Muslims). They reside in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir, and are mainly concentrated in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri. Of the total Pahari population in J&K, around 70% live in these two districts. They also have a visible presence in the peripheries of the Kashmir Valley.

Rajouri and Poonch in the Pir Panchal area are the Muslim-majority districts. Poonch and Rajouri have 90.44% and 62.71% of the Muslim population, respectively. These districts, however, are not known not for the Hindu-Muslim divide, but for the Gujjar-Pahari divide, especially since 1991 when the Gujjars and Bakerwals (the 100% Muslim communities) were granted the ST status along with most of the Ladakhis.

While the erstwhile state government had recommended ST status for Paharis along with Gujjars and Bakerwals, the case of Paharis was not accepted by the then Government of India.

It was informed that the ST status had not been granted to the Pahari community of the erstwhile state because the Registrar General of India (RGI) had not accepted their claim to be a tribe. The RGI was of the view that the Pahari community is a linguistic rather than an ethnic group.

However, the Paharis argued that there was not much difference between the Gujjars and the Paharis and they share a common socio-economic environment. And the case of Gujjars was accepted because they had the support of a powerful advocate Rajesh Pilot.

Further, they made a distinction between the Gujjars and the Bakerwals, saying that if anyone can claim the status of ‘marginality’, they are the Bakerwals, who are really backward and not the Gujjars.

Gujjars, on their part, referred to their ethnic history and the continued nomadic condition of a substantial number of Gujjars (at least one-third of the Gujjar population is still nomadic) as well as their continued backwardness, illiteracy and poverty as the basis of their distinction from Paharis to claim the ‘Tribe’ status.

Although the communities of Paharis, Gujjars and Bakerwals are spread all over the Union territory, they are concentrated in the two districts Poonch and Rajouri. Living side by side, the Paharis have been watching the impact that reservation has had on the Gujjar community.

Notwithstanding the fact that a large majority of Gujjars have remained untouched by the reservations, a small section of middle-class among the community has emerged over the last three decades – with many of them not only getting government jobs but also holding important positions in the local administration.

This has resulted in aggressive articulation of the Paharis’ demand for a similar ST status. Gujjars, on the other hand, have been opposing this demand fearing that this would result in diluting the advantages that they have got from the reservation.

The issue appears to have fragmented the politics of Pir Panchal into Gujjar versus Pahari politics. Every situation is being seen as a zero-sum relationship.

Banking on the Gujjar-Pahari politics

The Paharis’ quest for ST status has been politically used by almost all political parties in Jammu and Kashmir. Since 1991 when their case was rejected at the Central level, successive governments have pleaded with the Union government for granting the ST status to Paharis.

Last in the list was the National Conference (NC) government led by Omar Abdullah, who, in a letter written to the Prime Minister in 2011, had pleaded for an early resolution of the issue in favour of the Paharis.

Almost every political party during successive assembly elections has shown its commitment to the ‘Pahari cause’ and the issue has been debated within the legislative assembly with a resolution in favour of reservation for Paharis being passed by the legislative council and a Bill (that later lapsed) also being introduced in the legislative assembly.

In the post-2019 situation where the BJP is seeking to expand its political constituency beyond the traditional Hindu areas of Jammu, it has found in the Pahari cause a very potential support base.

By signalling the possibility that the Union government can consider the granting of ST status to the Paharis, the party could think of creating a space for itself in the community, not only in Jammu but also in Kashmir. It had taken the initial step in enticing the community by starting with the process of reservation at a small scale in March 2020.

In January 2020, the state administration had provided a 4% reservation for the Pahari speaking people in jobs and educational institutions.

In March that year, the J&K government had constituted a three-member commission headed by Justice Sharma to look into the issues relating to the socially and educationally backward classes, Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes.

The local BJP president, Ravinder Raina, a pahari himself, had also been taking the lead in demanding ST status for the Paharis, hinting at the Union government’s decision on this matter.

Ahead of Shah’s rally on October 4, the BJP held an intense campaign on a house to house basis, and thus, a highly enthused Pahari community in Rajouri and Baramulla attended the rally in anticipation of the grant of ST status to Paharis.

The announcement of the grant of ST status to the Paharis is great news as they have been politically engaged in this issue for the last three decades. Their involvement had almost taken the form of desperation, which was quite evident a few months back when Syed Mushtaq Bukhari, a senior NC leader, a former MLA and a former minister, and the most prominent Pahari face of the party in Poonch and Rajouri districts, had resigned from the party and declared a possibility of supporting the BJP if it party helps the Paharis in getting ST status.

Certainly, it appears that the fulfilment of this demand has resulted in a pro-BJP response among the Paharis.

Interestingly, it is not the Paharis alone that the BJP is interested in. It is as much politically invested in the Gujjars as it is now investing in the Paharis.

It may be pertinent to note that before mobilising the Pahari community, the BJP has been projecting itself as the saviour of the rights of the Gujjar-Bakerwal community. It made a commitment of fulfilling its long-pending demand of political reservation to the STs in J&K and extending the welfare legislations related to them to the Union territory.

However, despite granting ST status to the Gujjar-Bakerwals, the political reservation was denied to them on the ground that the state was having its autonomous constitutional status. In May, nine of the 90 assembly seats were reserved for the STs, following recommendations of the Delimitation Commission. This is seen as a major step taken by the BJP to politically empower the community.

The extension and application of the Forest Rights Act (2006) is another step that is cited to have been taken by the BJP for the welfare of the Gujjar-Bakerwal community. Last month, just days before Shah’s announcement on reservation for the Pahri community, Gujjars were given another booster with the nomination of Gulam Ali, a Gujjar leader, to the Rajya Sabha.

Therefore, it becomes easier to understand why the BJP needed to assure the Gujjars while promising ST status to the Paharis.

As earlier mentioned, ahead of Shah’s rally, there were voices of resentment among the Gujjars as many of them had taken to the streets fearing dilution of their reservation status. However, the home minister had clarified that the reservation quota of Gujjars and Bakerwals won’t be affected.

“It will not impact the reservations of the Gujjar community; not even by 1%,” Shah said. But how that would be done, he did not make it clear. But it appears that the assurance is sufficient for the Gujjars for the time being.

The political value of Paharis and Gujjars

With the BJP simultaneously wooing the two communities that have been engaged in bitter rivalry, the question arises as to why are these communities important for the saffron party?

The political value of Paharis, Gujjars and Bakerwals lies in their consolidated number and their value in the BJP’s project of winning a larger number of seats in the next assembly election, so as to make a claim in the government formation on its own. So far, it has its support base in the predominantly Hindu-majority areas of Jammu.

It was mainly from the Hindu-majority districts of Jammu that it was able to win most of its seats in the 2014 assembly elections (21/25).

Despite its vocal political slogan of ‘Mission 44 plus’, it could not enter Kashmir. And even after the reading down of Article 370 in August 2019, notwithstanding the shrill against the ‘dynastic parties’ in Kashmir, there hasn’t been much opening for it in the Valley.

The Gujjars-Pahari project in the Pir Panchal region is an easier one. And the BJP, therefore, is using all its cards to win over these communities.

The importance of these two communities cannot be undermined. Taken together, these two communities form a substantial part of the population of the Union territory and in terms of assembly seats – a total of 13-15 constituencies where they can have some influence. That is the reason why Shah, after announcing the grant of ST status to Paharis and assuring the Gujjars that their interest would be protected, said: “I hope you [Paharis and Gujjars] will join hands and support us now to end the three-family rule in J&K.”

With the support of Gujjars, Bakerwals and Paharis, the BJP is seeking to enter the Muslim belt of Jammu.

In the Hindu-majority districts, it already has a near-hegemonic control at the moment. Though there is an undercurrent of resentment against the BJP in this area, there is no competition or challenge that the party is facing here.

With senior leaders like Devender Rana and Surjeet Singh Slathia having shifted from the NC to the BJP, the little possibility that NC had in this predominantly Hindu belt has been cancelled out. Congress has, too, weakened with its senior leaders joining Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Democratic Azad Party (DAP).

DAP is also too new to give any challenge to the BJP, at least in the predominantly Hindu belt. The Panthers Party, which at one time could win few seats in Jammu, has been fully decimated, and the Aam Aadmi Party has not yet made any impact.

The grant of political reservation to the Gujjar-Bakerwals and ST status to Paharis is a masterstroke that the BJP has played to have an entry into the Muslim pockets of Jammu. That it has succeeded to some extent could be seen from the voluntary presence of a large number of Paharis in Shah’s rally, and the softened response of the Gujjar Bakerwals on this matter.

The constraints

However, it still faces many challenges. First, and most importantly, the balancing act of keeping the two rival groups of Gujjars and Paharis happy is quite precarious. The Gujjars, despite the assurance that their interests would not be compromised, may not be fully convinced and would keenly watch the way the Paharis will be delivered their share of benefits.

There is also the question of political reservation for STs. Though Shah has announced that Paharis will get reservation for jobs, education and election purposes – it has not been made clear how the political reservation will be granted.

Since the delimitation process is based on the 2011 census, will the grant of ST status to Paharis in 2022 enable them to be considered for reserved constituencies? And in case they are considered, will it be possible to create an additional ST quota?

This does not seem to be possible since the process of delimitation is already over. And if that is not done, would they be sharing the seats reserved for the Gujjar-Bakerwals? And would that not generate resentment among the Gujjar-Bakerwals?

There is also the question of the definition of ‘Paharis’. Would the Paharis who reside in the Pir Panchal area and the identified areas of Kashmir be given the ST status? And  would the refugees who have crossed over from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, who also are Paharis, be included?

Source: The Wire

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Court Verdict On Plea For Carbon Dating 'Shivling' At Gyanvapi Mosque On October 14

October 11, 2022

Court Verdict On Plea For Carbon Dating 'Shivling' At Gyanvapi Mosque On October 14

Varanasi court to give its verdict on a plea for carbon dating of a "Shivling" found at Gyanvapi mosque

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh: A district court in Varanasi will pronounce on October 14 its verdict on a plea for the carbon dating of a "Shivling", claimed to be found on the Gyanvapi mosque premises.

Hindu petitioners had during a court-mandated videography survey of the mosque premises claimed that a "Shivling" was found close to the "wazookhana", a small reservoir used by Muslim devotees to perform ritual ablutions before offering the namaz.

The claim was disputed by the Muslim side, which said the object was part of a "fountain".

Arguments on the plea were complete on Tuesday and the court will pronounce its verdict on October 14, District Government Counsel Mahendra Pratap Pandey said.

Advocate Mumtaz Ahmed, who appeared for the Muslim side, said they told the court that carbon dating of the object cannot be done.

If the object gets damaged in the name of carbon dating, it amounts to the defiance of the order of the Supreme Court, he said.

Earlier, the Muslim side had contended that the Supreme Court had asked the Varanasi district magistrate to keep the object safe. In such a situation, getting it examined cannot be justified, they had said.

The Muslim side also said the original case is about the worship of Shringar Gauri while the structure in the mosque has nothing to do with it.

Source: ND TV

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Russian FSB to allow India access to detained IS bomber

Oct 12, 2022

By Shishir Gupta

Russia has agreed into principle to allow Indian security agencies access to detained Islamic State terrorist, who was planning to target members of the ruling BJP or the RSS for alleged blasphemy, after securing approval from the country of radical’s origin Uzbekistan.

On July 27, 2022, the Russian security agency, the FSB, informed their Indian counterparts about the detention of 30-year-old Uzbek national Mashrabkon Azamov, who was planning to commit a suicide bombing against the ruling party representatives in India for alleged blasphemy. Azamov along with another Kyrgyzstan national was radicalized by an IS handler in Turkey as well as through online channels for the mission against India. The terrorist chose the Moscow route to enter India to avoid maximum scrutiny by the Indian immigration authorities.

With India and Russia partners against religious fundamentalism and terrorism, the FSB has conveyed to its Indian counterpart that they will allow access to Azamov after taking approval from Uzbekistan. The Kyrgyzstan national was not picked up by the FSB and apparently went back to Turkey.

Even though Russia has shared parts of Azamov’s interrogation report relevant to the Indian context, the security agencies are keen to dig out the Indian local link that was supposed to supply explosives as well as single out the VVIP target to be hit. The Indian intelligence also wants to find out who is behind the radicalization against India in Turkey, a close ally of Pakistan. The Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) terrorist group has its footprint in Telangana and Kerala and is growing in numbers in Afghanistan as a counter to the Taliban. A terror group that wants to capture land and power in the name of propagating medieval Islam, ISKP believes in Sunni supremacy and is against all other sects of Islam. The ISKP in Afghanistan also plays the cat’s paw for the Pakistani deep state to check the Taliban and keep the Sunni Pashtun force under control with savage indiscriminate violence against the Shia Hazaras community including school children and others.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Southeast Asia


Un-Islamic to be hostile to followers of other religions, says Selangor Sultan

12 Oct 2022

PETALING JAYA: The Sultan of Selangor has called on Malaysians to practice respect and tolerance to accommodate the differences brought forth by the country's multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said differences in religion and race should not prevent Malaysians from living in harmony.

"If the multi-ethnic and multi-religious community in Malaysia is ready to work together and respect each other's religious beliefs, Insyallah, all good intentions and efforts in dignifying religion and strengthening close relationships in the community of various religions, cultures and this nation can be attainable," he said during the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) 30th anniversary ceremony here on Wednesday (Oct 12).

The Sultan said from an Islamic point of view, the existence of a multi-racial society is the nature of the human event, and our differences should not be used as an excuse to be cruel or hostile towards the followers of other religions.

He said Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution has stated that Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions can be practised peacefully.

Respect between races and religions, he added, was also the core of the Rukun Negara.

The Sultan said that the royal institution plays an important role in preserving our unity which has been the main pillar of the nation's prosperity.

"The Royal Institution will continue to remain a neutral body that transcends politics and plays a role in giving advice to the government and religious institutions, especially in the matter of preserving racial unity," he said.

Source: The Star

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Prayers, release of birds to mark Bali bombing anniversary

October 12, 2022

KUTA: Commemorations will be held on the Indonesian island of Bali today as survivors, alongside families and friends of the victims, gather to mark the 20-year anniversary of the Bali bombing – one of the world’s deadliest militant attacks.

A total of 202 people, including 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians, were killed when a car bomb exploded outside the Sari Club in Bali’s Kuta Beach area and from another almost simultaneous blast at the Paddy’s Bar across the road.

A ceremony including peace prayers and the symbolic release of 20 birds will be among several events taking place on the predominantly Hindu island, including at a memorial erected in the area of the blasts.

“The memorial for us is to remember, to remind everyone there was a terrorist attack there and that we don’t want it to happen again,” said Ni Luh Erniati, who lost her husband in the attack and will join morning prayers with her children.

Two decades on from the bombings, which were blamed on the Al Qaeda-linked jihadist network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), memories of the attack continue to haunt survivors.

Balinese father of two, I Dewa Ketut Rudita Widia Putra, was caught in traffic on the busy strip in Kuta, when the bombs were detonated. After crawling out of his smouldering car, he was rushed to hospital with burns covering a third of his body.

“To this day, I still feel traumatised and scared when I take the car out and get caught in a traffic jam,” said the now 55-year-old.

“Even when I realise I am not in Kuta traffic, I can shake in fear, break out in a cold sweat and feel really scared.”

Indonesian police and the Australian consulate general in Bali will also hold memorials.

In the wake of the Bali attacks and with backing from Australia and the United States, Indonesia set up an elite anti-terrorism unit called Special Detachment or Densus 88 that weakened JI and resulted in scores of suspected Islamic militants being arrested or killed.

The world’s biggest Muslim-majority country has also pioneered deradicalisation schemes for convicted militants, though these have been both praised and criticised for their effectiveness.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Parliament was dissolved to prevent ‘disharmony’ after PN ministers objected to polls this year: Ismail Sabri

12 Oct 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Tuesday (Oct 11) that he opted to dissolve parliament in order to prevent disharmony in the Cabinet, after Perikatan Nasional (PN) ministers wrote to the king to voice their objections over holding polls this year.

In a statement, Mr Ismail Sabri said the actions of these ministers showed that they have turned their backs on the prime minister, who was appointed by the king. This eroded the spirit of solidarity in the administration, he added.

“There were others in the Cabinet who had openly criticised government decisions and policies.

“In fact, a remark by PN’s chairman Muhyiddin Yassin, which declared that the main enemy of Perikatan is Barisan Nasional (BN), had sown division despite his party being a part of the government,” he said.

Mr Ismail Sabri also noted that Mr Muhyiddin, as the chairman of the National Recovery Council, had urged the dissolution of parliament by claiming that the government had failed in managing the country and its economy.

“The government could only function smoothly through togetherness and unity in providing the best services and benefits to Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family),” he added.

On Monday, Mr Ismail Sabri declared the parliament dissolved in a televised address, after receiving consent from the king.

Shortly after Mr Ismail Sabri announced the dissolution of parliament, Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara, Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said that the king had no choice but to consent.

“The king expressed his disappointment in the current political developments of the country and had no choice but to consent to the prime minister’s request to return the mandate back to the people for a stable government,” he said.


In response to Mr Ismail Sabri’s statement, Mr Muhyiddhin said that the caretaker prime minister was irresponsible in accusing him and PN ministers of making the government unstable.

He claimed that Mr Ismail Sabri is resorting to finger-pointing after the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) saw backlash from the people who were upset the election was called during the monsoon season.

“This (blame) is because they are facing severe attack and anger from the public at large. You have to blame yourself. You have to bear the burden of the people who are unhappy,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysian media on Tuesday night.

Mr Muhyiddin added that he did not want to prolong the argument as the king had consented to the dissolution of parliament.

An election is not due until September 2023, but Mr Ismail Sabri has been under pressure from some factions of his ruling coalition to hold the vote earlier.

In the weeks leading up to the dissolution of parliament, opposition parties criticised the possibility of an early election, arguing that the monsoon season will impede voters’ ability to access polling stations.

On Sep 30, the UMNO supreme council decided that parliament must be dissolved soon so that GE15 can be held this year.

UMNO’s call for an early GE15 has been criticised by the opposition and Mr Ismail Sabri’s own Cabinet members as Malaysia’s Meteorological Department has warned of floods during the north-east monsoon season, which typically starts in November and ends in March.

The presidential council of the main opposition bloc Pakatan Harapan (PH) said in a statement last Wednesday that the three states controlled by the coalition - Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang - will only dissolve their state assemblies next year due to concerns over floods.

State assemblies led by Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) - Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah - will also not be dissolved if a general election is held soon, said party deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man last Wednesday, according to a report by Free Malaysia Today.

PN’s Cabinet ministers sent a letter to the king to voice their objections over holding GE15 this year, Mr Tuan Ibrahim said then.

Source: Channel News Asia

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Bar to oppose UK lawyer’s appeal to represent Najib

V Anbalagan

October 11, 2022

PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Bar is to make an objection at the Federal Court to an appeal by UK lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw to allow him to represent Najib Razak in the SRC International criminal case.

Bastian Pius Vendargon, representing the Malaysian Bar, said it viewed the Laidlaw appeal as having been rendered academic by the Federal Court decision on Najib’s case in August.

The court had upheld Najib’s conviction, 12-year jail sentence, and RM210 million fine on various corruption charges relating to funds of SRC International, a government-owned company.

Laidlaw, who is a King’s Counsel, had applied in July to represent Najib. Foreign lawyers must apply for ad hoc admission to the Malaysian Bar before they can represent clients in Malaysia.

His application was rejected by the High Court on July 21 as the court held that Laidlaw did not possess special qualifications and experience that were unavailable among local lawyers.

Laidlaw filed a notice of appeal to the Federal Court on Aug 23, the day of the Najib decision. However, his lawyers have yet to file the appeal records, said Vendargon.

He said notice of the Bar’s objection had been handed to the deputy registrar of the Federal Court Suhaila Haron.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Ex-council deputy president charged with 11 counts of graft

October 11, 2022

PETALING JAYA: A former Kuala Langat district council deputy president was charged in the Kuala Lumpur sessions court today with 11 counts of corruption totalling RM22,100.

Zain Hamid, 48, was accused of accepting kickbacks from a company owner when he was with the council, which has since been elevated to municipal status.

He pleaded not guilty before judge Azura Alwi.

Zain, who was charged under Section 165 of the Penal Code, faces a jail term of up to two years or a fine, or both, if convicted.

In a statement, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said Zain had allegedly accepted bribes from Azizul Abd Majid, owner of Kenali Yakin Enterprise, in the form of eight payments made to his girlfriend’s account totalling RM9,000.

He is also alleged to have accepted three payments for his credit card bills totalling RM13,100 from Azizul.

The alleged bribes were kickbacks for helping companies linked to Azizul to bid for jobs at the council, MACC said.

The offences were allegedly committed between Sept 28, 2018 and May 6, 2020.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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UK Parliament Report Focuses on Afghan Economy Under Islamic Emirate

October 12, 2022

The UK parliament released a report under the title: “Afghanistan: One year under a Taliban government” in which it highlighted the Afghan economic and humanitarian situation alongside human rights and political development.

The report said that a combination of sanctions, frozen assets abroad, access to foreign remittances and economic and humanitarian challenges has caused a cash, or liquidity, crisis in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Emirate said that efforts are underway to lift sanctions on Afghanistan and release the Afghan assets.

According to the report, the UK provided £140 million to Afghanistan from April to July 2022.

“£50 million to the Afghanistan humanitarian fund. £70 million to the World Food Program, to support 4 million people with food assistance. £12 million to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF),” the report cited.

The report said that even before the Islamic Emirate swept into power, the country’s economy was in extremely poor shape. “In 2020, its gross national income per person was $500, making it the fifth poorest country in the world by this measure, and well below even the average for low-income countries ($689),” the report reads.

“The economic commission, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ministry of Finance has a special plan in this regard and is working with the World Bank,” said Nooruddin Azizi, acting Minister of Industry and Commerce.

Economists said that there has been slow progress in Afghanistan’s licit economy over the past two decades.

“Overwhelming corruption in the government departments, lack of support for Afghanistan’s industry meant that the Afghan economy did not progress as it should,” said Darya Khan Baheer, an economist, speaking of the past 20 years.

“Opportunities were provided for Afghanistan by the international community. The injection of more than $140 billion was not used properly and we were just heading towards a fake GDP,” said Sayed Masoud, an economist.

Source: Tolo News

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Türkiye questions legitimacy, purpose of EU mission off Libya's coast

Ahmet Gençtürk  


Türkiye on Tuesday questioned the legitimacy, purpose and impartiality of the EU’s maritime mission off Libya's coast.

“After the unlawful boarding of a Turkish-flagged commercial vessel without the flag state Türkiye's consent in November 2020, Türkiye, as a matter of principle, rejects all similar requests,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilginc on Twitter.

The remark apparently came as a response to a tweet by EU's Operation Irini on Monday claiming Ankara denied the request to inspect the ship, MV MATILDE.

The European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Operation (IRINI) was launched in the Mediterranean Sea on March 31, 2020, following the Berlin Conference on Libya to oversee the UN's arms embargo on Libya.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Turkish president receives Albanian premier for talks

Diyar Guldogan  


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday received Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama for talks in the capital Ankara.

The closed-door meeting at the presidential complex lasted around three hours.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Norway-based NGO supports Türkiye's stand against militarization of Greek islands


A Norway-based NGO has supported Türkiye’s opposition to the militarization of Greek islands in the Aegean, saying such a move can be “provocation.”

In response to a tweet by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Aegean Boat Report wrote: “Filling the islands with American military equipment can be seen, by some, as a provocation, especially since it’s a violation of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty.”

Türkiye has been arguing that the militarization of the islands violation of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty.

The NGO was targeted by Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi after its response to Mitsotakis.

Mitarachi claimed that the Aegean Boat Report helps people smuggle and “may be (it's) financed by the East.”

Aegean Boat Report strongly denied accusations, saying Mitarachi's claims are “lies” in a statement.

“Both claims Mr. Mitarachi has made about us are false, and it is impossible to believe that he does not know this. Deliberately spreading false information is lying,” said the statement.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Arab World


Saudi FM defends OPEC+ decision, says ties with US are strategic

11 October, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s ties with the US are strategic and have supported the security and stability of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told Al Arabiya, defending the recent decision by OPEC+ to cut oil output.

Prince Faisal’s comments came shortly after Biden administration officials repeatedly said that Washington needed to review its relationship with Saudi Arabia after last week’s decision by OPEC+.

“Our relationship with the United States has been institutionalized since it was established,” Prince Faisal said.

US officials have publicly hit out at Saudi Arabia following the OPEC+ move, with several American lawmakers calling for an immediate freeze on arms sales to Riyadh. On this, Prince Faisal said that the US-Saudi military cooperation served the interests of both countries.

Last week, OPEC+ agreed to decrease their output target by 2 million barrels daily.

Addressing the OPEC+ decision, Prince Faisal denied it was a political move. “The OPEC+ decision was purely economic and was taken unanimously by the [organization’s] member states.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iraq’s parliament to convene Thursday to elect president, says speaker

11 October, 2022

Iraq’s parliament will meet on Thursday to “elect the President of the Republic,” a press release from speaker Mohammed al-Halbussi’s office said on Tuesday, after months of political impasse.

More than a year after the last general election in Iraq, Halbussi’s office said Thursday’s parliamentary session would have “a single item on the agenda, the election of the President of the Republic.”

Iraqis last voted on October 10, 2021 in an election triggered by a wave of mass protests against endemic corruption, rampant unemployment and decaying infrastructure.

Ahead of Tuesday’s surprise announcement, the United Nations mission had urged political factions to end the deadlock paralyzing the oil-rich country, warning that “Iraq is running out of time.”

The country has yet to form a new government after last year’s election, leaving caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi in charge.

Rival Shia Muslim factions in parliament have been vying for influence and the right to select a new premier and government.

The standoff has seen both sides set up protest camps and at times has sparked deadly street clashes in Baghdad.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Maritime border deal between Lebanon, Israel marked by compromises


Over two years, Lebanon and Israel engaged in indirect negotiations on the maritime boundary between them, with the talks sponsored by the UN and mediated by the US.

On Tuesday, Beirut and Tel Aviv agreed on the final version of the deal provided by US mediator Amos Hochstein.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced reaching a "historic deal" with Lebanon on their maritime border dispute.

Earlier Tuesday, Lebanon also said it was satisfied with a US draft on maritime border demarcation with Israel, noting that it preserves the country’s "rights to its natural wealth."

The following are some of the terms of the deal according to informed Lebanese sources:

1. Line 23 will be the official maritime line between Lebanon and Israel.

2. Lebanon will fully retain its rights in the Qana gas field, including the part located south of Line 23 in the Israeli economic zone.

3. In return for Israel's concession on this, it will receive financial compensation from French company TotalEnergies, which is carrying out gas extraction in the Qana field.

4. Israel will fully acquire the Karish gas field, including exploration and drilling rights south of Line 23 within Israel's economic zone.

5. The withdrawal from the final version of the deal of the section concerning the “line of buoys” that Israel had demanded to start demarcating the maritime borders from and which it used to prevent fishermen from crossing.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iraqi Parliament to elect new president on Thursday

Omar Alothmani  


The Iraqi Parliament will hold a session on Thursday to elect the country’s new president, Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement said Thursday’s session will have a “single item on the agenda, the election of the President of the Republic.”

The move comes as part of efforts to resolve a months-long political crisis that gripped Iraq since last year’s general election.

Iraqi political parties have failed to agree on electing a new president and prime minister since the Oct. 10, 2021 elections.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Egypt seeks increased cooperation with WHO to improve healthcare sector

October 12, 2022

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed strengthening cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) to improve the country’s healthcare sector.

The president met with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Cairo on the sidelines of the 69th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean (RC69).

According to a statement by the spokesperson of the Egyptian presidency, improving medical services to citizens has been a national priority under Egypt Vision 2030.

“Ending the waiting lists for critical surgeries and providing comprehensive health insurance for all citizens across Egypt are among the top priorities,” said the Egyptian presidency spokesperson.

During the meeting, El-Sisi praised WHO’s efforts in addressing COVID-19 pandemic and providing access to vaccines.

Source: Arab News

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Hamas, Islamic Jihad Slam Israelis' Desecration of Qur’an After Extremist Settlers Burn Muslim Holy Book


In a press release on Monday, Hamas Spokesman Abdul-Latif Qanu said the desecration of the Muslim holy book was an “unprecedented escalation” and a “disrespectful racist behavior”, stressing that such a crime showed that the occupying regime and its settlers want “a religious war on Islam”, presstv reported.

Qanu also said that the Jewish religious holidays “involve attacks on the Palestinian people and their holy sites”.

In yet another blasphemous act and provocation against Palestinian Muslims, the Israeli settlers tore and burned the copies of the Holy Qur’an on Monday before "throwing them in a trash container" in the Old City of Al-Khalil.

Islamic Jihad official Khader Adnan said in a statement that the burning of the Holy Qur’an by Zionist extremists is “an [at of] aggression targeting our true religion and the eternal message of our Prophet (PBUH), and a dangerous escalation in the context of the aggression against the sanctities, and the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

Adnan stressed the need to boost resistance in all its forms in the areas of clashes with the occupation and its settlers in response to the crime of burning the Muslim holy book and targeting of holy sites.

The Islamic Jihad official said the crime had targeted the “most sublime religions and heavenly missions”, calling for a responsible stance by Muslim scholars in the face of the blasphemous act.

The sacrilegious move took place following a series of recent violations committed by groups of Israeli settlers against Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied city of Al-Quds.

Over the past couple of weeks, hundreds of settlers escorted by the Israeli police have intruded into the holy site on a daily basis and provocatively performed rituals during the Jewish holidays.

Meanwhile, Palestinian media said scores of Israeli settlers in different groups intruded into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of Al-Quds on Monday morning and later in the afternoon.

The reports said at least 278 extremist settlers, under tight protection from the Israeli military forces, broke into the compound through the Moroccan Gate and performed rituals and Talmudic prayers.

The Israeli occupation police imposed movement restrictions on Muslim worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque’s entrances and gates while the intrusion was taking place.

More than 4,400 Israeli settlers made their way into the holy site and prayed there last month.

Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in Al-Quds.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Source: Fars News Agency

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‘Act of Israeli terrorism’: Al-Azhar University slams settlers’ burning of Holy Quran

11 October 2022

Al-Azhar University, Egypt’s chief center of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world, has condemned Israeli settlers’ burning and tearing up of copies of the Holy Quran in the West Bank city of al-Khalil.

In a statement on Tuesday, Al-Azhar said the desecration of the Holy Quran is perpetrated under the unacceptable silence of the international community, which has failed to play a serious role regarding the inviolability of peoples and their sanctities.

“Al-Azhar Al-Sharif expresses its strong condemnation and denunciation of the misdeed of Zionist terrorists, in Hebron [al-Khalil], Palestine, who tore up and burned copies of the holy Quran, in a scene that demonstrates Zionism’s barbarism, terrorism and hateful racism,” it said.

It added that the Holy Quran “will remain a sublime scripture that guides humanity and steers it to the values of goodness, truth and beauty. So, its sanctity will not be compromised by the grudges of lowly people or the misconduct of those who fan intolerance, grudges, hatred and perversion. Those people have a dark history of murder and terrorism, and their hands are stained with the blood of innocent Palestinians.”

Al-Azhar warned that “these Zionist crimes fuel the sentiments of violence and hatred and contradict international covenants.” It underlined the importance of unity between Arabs and Muslims in the face of those who violate their sanctities.

On Monday, extremist Israeli settlers desecrated copies of the Holy Quran before throwing them in a garbage container in the Old City of al-Khalil.

Nidal Al Jabari, director of Waqf Department in al-Khalil said that burnt copies of the Quran were found near the Qaytoun mosque and Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil, suggesting that the copies were burnt during celebrations of a Jewish holiday in recent days, calling for an investigation into the incident.

He also said that such serious settler attacks on the Holy Quran happened following a series of recent violations committed by groups of settlers against the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Palestinian homes around it.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas also termed the act as “unprecedented” and a “provocation of sentiments of Muslims.”

Al-Khalil, known as Hebron in Hebrew, is the biggest city in the West Bank and home to more than 200,000 Palestinians. About 1,000 Zionist settlers, who engage in frequent attacks on Palestinians, also live there under heavy military protection.

Al-Khalil has seen regular unrest, and the Ibrahimi Mosque, believed to be the burial site of prophets including Abraham, is the focal point of tensions.

Source: Press TV

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Israeli soldier shot dead near settlement in West Bank, army says

11 October, 2022

An Israeli soldier was shot dead Tuesday near a settlement in the occupied West Bank, the second deadly attack on armed forces in less than a week, the Israeli army said.

“Two assailants arrived in a vehicle adjacent to the community of Shavei Shomron and shot live fire at IDF (Israeli military) soldiers,” the army said, announcing one of the soldiers was killed.

The shooting was claimed by “The Lions’ Den,” a loose coalition of Palestinian fighters which has emerged in recent months.

“We announce carrying out a second shooting operation targeting occupation (Israeli) soldiers in the Deir Sharaf area, west of Nablus,” the group said.

Israeli forces are in pursuit of the assailants following the attack near Nablus in the northern West Bank, the military added in its statement.

An AFP journalist saw security forces deployed in the area and checking vehicles.

The killing comes three days after an Israeli soldier was shot dead at a checkpoint in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Israeli forces are continuing a manhunt for the alleged gunman, identified by police as a 22-year-old Palestinian resident of the city.

East Jerusalem and the West Bank have been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran arrests alleged Mossad spy

11 October, 2022

Iran has arrested a man for allegedly working with the Israeli Mossad to undermine security in the southern Kerman province, state media reported on Tuesday, citing a judiciary official.

The defendant had planned to carry out “subversive measures” in Kerman before he was arrested by the intelligence arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Ebrahim Hamidi, Kerman’s prosecutor general, was cited by the semi-official Tasnim news agency as saying.

Hamidi did not specify the nationality of the person arrested.

Iran does not recognize Israel and has in the past accused it of attacking nuclear facilities and carrying out assassinations inside Iran.

The announcement comes amid ongoing anti-government protests that erupted across Iran mid-September after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, died in police custody.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iranian journalist who broke news on Mahsa Amini pays heavy price

October 11, 2022

DUBAI: Niloofar Hamedi, an Iranian journalist specializing in women’s rights, got away with hard-hitting stories for years — until the day she took a photo of Mahsa Amini’s parents hugging each other in a Tehran hospital, where their daughter was lying in a coma.

The photo, which Hamedi posted on Twitter on Sept. 16, was the first sign to the world that all was not well with 22-year-old Amini, who had been detained three days earlier by Iran’s morality police for what they deemed inappropriate dress.

Amini’s death later that day would unleash a wave of mass protests across Iran that continue nearly three weeks later in different parts of the country, despite a government crackdown.

The photo of Amini’s parents was also one of the last things Hamedi, who worked for the pro-reform Sharq daily, would post before she was arrested some days later and her Twitter account listed as suspended.

“This morning, intelligence agents raided my client Niloofar Hamedi’s house, arrested her, searched her house, and confiscated her belongings,” Hamedi’s lawyer Mohammed Ali Kamfirouzi tweeted on Sept. 22. Hamedi has not been charged and is being held in solitary confinement in Iran’s Evin prison, he wrote.

Facing one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution, the authorities have used force to suppress the biggest public show of dissent in years.

At least 185 people, including 19 children, have been killed, hundreds injured and thousands have been arrested by security forces, according to rights groups.

The Iranian government said more than 20 members of the security forces have been killed and that it will investigate civilian deaths. The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Iranian authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release ... all journalists arrested because of their coverage of Mahsa Amini’s death and the protests that have followed.”

It said last month that at least 28 journalists had been detained by the security forces, including Hamedi.

Friends of Hamedi described her as a brave journalist who is passionate about women’s issues and rights. Her investigative articles covered topics such as self-immolation among women suffering domestic abuse, and she interviewed the family of Sepideh Rashno, an Iranian writer and artist who was arrested in July for defying the Islamic dress code.

“She always went beyond her limit to be the voice of voiceless women who were deprived of their rights, whether by their fathers, husbands or by social limitations,” one friend of hers told Reuters, her name withheld for fear of reprisals.

Source: Arab News

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Some 300 rights groups, civil organizations demand immediate release of Palestinian prisoners

12 October 2022

Nearly 300 human rights groups and civil organizations have denounced the continued detention of thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and the Tel Aviv regime’s contentious policy of "administrative detention" that means incarceration without charge or trial.

The 292 human rights organizations and civil institutions, in a joint statement, said the Palestinian inmates include 32 women and girls, about 180 minors under the age of 18, as well as 780 administrative detainees – among them two women and four children.

Moreover, there are 600 prisoners suffering from various diseases, of whom 22 have cancer. A total of 549 Palestinian prisoners have also been once or several times sentenced to life imprisonment.

The organizations went on to urge international bodies, particularly the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, to “pressure the occupying and apartheid Israeli regime to stop the exercise of administrative detention against Palestinians.”

The statement highlighted that Israel is holding about 780 Palestinian detainees without charge or trial, and Israeli authorities have issued nearly 1,350 administrative detention orders against Palestinians since the beginning of the current year.

The organizations also called for an immediate end to “the outdated colonial-era emergency law, and demanded a concerted international campaign in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in general and administrative detainees in particular."

They noted that dozens of prisoners have gone on hunger strikers since September 25 in protest against the administrative detention policy, and in defense of more than 700 Palestinian inmates who are jailed under administrative detention.

The statement underlined that the continued detention of Palestinian prisoners constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law, especially the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war and detainees, and is a war crime according to Article 85, Paragraph 5 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, and in accordance with Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The organizations also stated that Palestinian prisoners are subjected to physical and psychological torture, cruel and inhuman treatment and punishment, as well as flagrant violation of international human rights principles, especially the Convention against Torture (1984-1987), and the standards adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

They went on to condemn the Israeli regime’s policy of medical neglect against Palestinian prisoners, solitary confinement in cells that lack the slightest decent conditions, deprivation of prisoners’ families of visits, and systematic abuse and torture of male and female prisoners.

The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) keeps Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards. The prisoners have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression all through the years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Source: Press TV

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Palestinian gunmen kill another Israeli trooper in occupied West Bank

11 October 2022

A coalition of Palestinian fighters has claimed gunning down another Israeli trooper in the north of the Tel Aviv-occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank.

"The Lions' Den," as the fighters call themselves, claimed responsibility for the killing on Tuesday. "We announce carrying out a second shooting operation targeting occupation soldiers in the Deir Sharaf area, west of Nablus," it said.

The Israeli military identified the trooper as 21-year-old Ido Baroukh, saying he was killed when "two assailants arrived in a vehicle adjacent to the community (settlement) of Shavei Shomron and shot live fire."

The killing came three days after an 18-year-old Israeli soldier was shot dead at a checkpoint near the Palestinian refugee camp of Shuafat in central West Bank.

The Gaza Strip-based Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas hailed the Saturday operation as a “reaction to the Israeli occupation’s crimes against the Palestinian people and its desecration of the al-Aqsa Mosque.” The mosque's compound that is located in the holy occupied city of al-Quds' Old City is considered by Muslims to be their third-holiest site.

So far this year, more than 100 Palestinians have been shot dead by the Israeli military, in what the United Nations has described as "mounting violence" across the occupied territories.

The fatalities include four Palestinian teenagers, whom the Israeli forces have shot dead in less than a week. A fifth Palestinian, a 12-year-old boy, died on Monday from the wounds he had sustained last month during an Israeli military raid on the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

The Israeli military has also put Shuafat and the nearby town of Anata, which together house more than 100,000 Palestinians, under a complete lockdown, hunting for the person responsible for the Saturday killing.

Source: Press TV

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Palestinian groups Fatah, Hamas meet in Algeria to heal rift

11 October 2022

The leaders of two major Palestinian groups, the Hamas resistance movement and Fatah political party, have begun a new round of talks in Algeria in a bid to discuss a proposal for reconciliation and national unity.

Palestine's ambassador to Algiers Fayez Abu Aita said in an interview with the Voice of Palestine radio station on Saturday that the two-day dialog meetings will be attended by representatives of twelve Palestinian groups, including the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and Fatah, which rules the occupied West Bank.

He went on to say that the proposal to discuss ways to end the Palestinian division and achieve unity was drawn up after “months of effort by Algeria to reach a common vision for boosting the Palestinian national action.”

The latest intra-Palestinian discussions are occurring ahead of the annual Arab League summit being held early next month which "Algeria wants to be a purely Palestinian summit," Abu Aita said.

The Palestinian leadership has been divided between Fatah and Hamas since 2006, when the latter scored a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has ever since been running the coastal enclave, while Fatah has been based in the autonomous parts the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Previous reconciliation attempts by the two sides to form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank have failed.

The initiative is the latest attempt to solve a years-long rift that has caused division among Palestinian factions.

Earlier this year, the Algerians hosted a similar meeting of Palestinian factions to try to bring to an end the rivalry between Fatah and Hamas, but it ended without agreement.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune launched the initiative to unite the Palestinians in January. Algerian officials held separate dialogues with officials from Fatah and Hamas to discuss the outlines of the proposal in advance of the talks.

Source: Press TV

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Pakistan, Saudi Arabia To Continue To Play Role In Ummah's Betterment

Oct 11 2022

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia Tuesday resolved to continue playing their part for peace and stability and betterment of the Muslim Ummah, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

The development, according to the military's media wing, came during a meeting between Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Secretary-General of the Muslim World League and President of the Organisation of Muslim Scholars (Saudi Arabia) Sheikh Dr Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa.

During the meeting at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, matters of mutual interest, bilateral security cooperation, and regional peace and stability came under discussion.

The secretary-general said Pakistan has a significant place in the Muslim world, and it is playing a vital role in peace and stability in the region.

In response, the army chief said the relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are based on bonds of brotherhood and mutual trust.

Moreover, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner also called on the army chief at the GHQ, the military's media wing said.

According to ISPR, during the meeting, matters of mutual interest and regional security situation, including bilateral cooperation in various fields were discussed.

The COAS said that Pakistan values UK's balanced role in regional affairs and the country looks forward to enhancing mutually beneficial relationships based on common interests.

The visiting dignitary expressed his grief over the devastation caused by floods in Pakistan and offered sincere condolence to the families of the victims.

Source: Geo TV

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Swat schools shut to protest attack

Oct 12, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Over 1,200 private schools remained shut in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat district Tuesday in protest against an attack on a school van on Monday, with the agitators warning of a march to Islamabad if the culprits were not arrested within 24 hours and peace restored.

The attack left the van driver dead and two students injured. The latest violence gripping Swat Valley in recent days revived memories of the horrors seen in the years when the area was controlled by the Pakistani Taliban.

The school van was targeted a day after the 10th anniversary of the shooting of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Swat when she was a schoolgirl.

Locals blamed the banned TTP for Monday’s attack, but it denied the allegation. Nor has any other group claimed responsibility so far. In a second incident on Monday, two boys and a girl were injured as their school van was caught in crossfire between two groups in Dir district.

The protests, which had erupted hours after the attacks on Monday, continued Tuesday with a sit-in on the main road connecting the upper reaches of Swat with the lower, blocking it to traffic.

The protesters refused to bury the van driver until their demands were met. “We have given 24 hours to the government. If the demands are not met, we will march to Islamabad,” one protester said.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan's ousted PM Imran Khan booked for receiving prohibited funding from abroad

Oct 11, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan and other senior leaders of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party have been booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday for allegedly receiving prohibited funding from abroad.

The case was filed by the state through FIA's Corporate Banking Circle in Islamabad. According to the first information report (FIR), one Arif Masood Naqvi, who is the owner of the Wooton Cricket Limited, transferred "ill-gotten" money to a bank account registered under the name of the PTI, the Dawn newspaper reported.

"The purpose stated in the swift messages of the transactions is 'agreed transfer' to disguise the true nature, origin, location, movement and ownership of these funds," the complaint said.

According to the FIR, the former ruling party leaders have violated the Foreign Exchange Act and they were declared as the beneficiaries of suspicious bank accounts.

The FIR further said that Naqvi was also facing trials in the UK and the US defrauding investors.

The complaint named Imran Khan, Sardar Azhar Tariq Khan, Saifullah Khan Nyazee, Syed Yunus Ali Raza, Aamer Mehmood Kiani, Tariq Rahim Sheikh, Tariq Shafi, Faisal Maqbool Shaikh, Hamid Zaman and Manzoor Ahmad Chaudhary as signatories/beneficiaries of the PTI account in question.

"PTI submitted an affidavit of Arif Masood Naqvi before the Election Commission of Pakistan stating therein that all the amounts collected in the accounts of WCL were submitted into PTI's account in Pakistan. This affidavit has been proved to be false/forged as two more transactions were also made from WCL to two different accounts in Pakistan in May 2013," the FIR said.

Last month, the Election Commission in its verdict in the prohibited funding case against PTI stated that the party did indeed receive prohibited funding.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan has significant place in Muslim world: Dr AI-Issa

October 11, 2022

Secretary-General of the Muslim World League Dr Mohammad bin Abdulkarim AI-Issa has said that Pakistan has a “significant place in the Muslim world”, a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

“Pakistan is playing a vital role for peace and stability in the region,” said Dr AI-Issa who is also president of the Organisation of Muslim Scholars, Saudi Arabia, during a meeting with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.

During the meeting, the ISPR said, matters of mutual interest, bilateral security cooperation and regional peace and stability came under discussion.

The army chief said the relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are “based on bonds of brotherhood and mutual trust”.

“Both nations will continue to play a part for peace and stability and betterment of Ummah,” Gen Qamar was quoted as saying by the ISPR.

On Monday, President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday conferred Hilal-e-Pakistan on Dr Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa in recognition of his services to Pakistan in different fields at a special investiture ceremony in Islamabad at Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The award was conferred in recognition of his services in strengthening the brotherly relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; for being an instrument for the award of scholarships to Pakistani students in educational institutions and higher learning in Saudi Arabia; for pursuing and safeguarding the rights of Pakistani expatriates in the Kingdom; for promoting peace and harmony by holding conferences, seminars and dialogues within the Muslim societies and also with rest of the world with the objective to create harmony and unity in the Islamic world, and showcasing a peaceful harmonious and tolerant picture of Muslims in the world.

Later, Dr Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa and his delegation called upon the president. Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Nawaf bin Saeed Al Malki also attended the meeting.

Read more: Umrah pilgrims can now stay in Saudi Arabia for three months

Talking to the secretary-general, the president termed “Islamophobia” one of the biggest challenges being faced by Muslims, and urged the need to allay the fears of the world regarding Islam.

Source: Tribune Pakistan

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Rivals making ‘dirty videos’ to malign me: Imran

Amjad Mahmood

October 12, 2022

LAHORE: In a pre-emptive move to counter the impact of ‘indecent’ video clips allegedly prepared by his opponents to stop his “revolution”, former prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday claimed the ruling coalition was allegedly making ‘deep fake’ videos to malign him and his party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

“All of the thieves have joined hands to defame me and my party… they are making [my] dirty videos [through the use of] deep fake technology,” Imran Khan said in Nankana Sahib during a political gathering.

“The videos will be shown to the public… but they will fail to achieve the objective,” he said, adding that the government could stoop to every low but it would not be able to stop his long march.

Mr Khan also shared some ‘deep fake’ audio clips of the Sharif family with the audience. In one clip, Nawaz Sharif was speaking against himself, while in another Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was speaking ill of his brother, whereas in the third clip, Maryam Nawaz was praising Imran Khan. “Just for fun – 100 per cent fake” was written on these clips while they were being played by Imran Khan to prove his point about the deepfake technology.

The PTI chief also referred to the recent audio clips leaked to the social and mainstream media and said that he will go to court for an inquiry into the audio leaks.

The former premier said that he wanted to find out which spy agency was responsible for tapping the secure phone line of the prime minister’s official office and added that “surveillance of the premier was fine” but leaking these clips was criminal.

Referring to the money laundering case registered against him and some other PTI leaders by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), he said that the ruling coalition was treating him like a hostile element by registering cases against him and his aides.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan values UK’s balanced role in regional affairs: Gen Bajwa

October 11, 2022

RAWALPINDI: British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at General Headquarters (GHQ), ISPR said on Tuesday.

During the meeting, matters of mutual interest and regional security situation including bilateral cooperation in various fields were discussed, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

COAS Bajwa said that Pakistan values UK’s balanced role in regional affairs and looking forward to enhancing mutually beneficial relationship based on common interests.

The visiting dignitary expressed his grief over the devastation caused by floods in Pakistan and offered sincere condolence to the families of the victims.

The dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for regional stability and also pledged to play his rule enhancing cooperation with Pakistan at all levels.

In another meeting on Tuesday, Sheikh Doctor Mohammad bin Abdulkarim AI-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League & President of Organization of Muslim Scholars, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at GHQ.

During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, bilateral security cooperation and regional peace & stability came under discussion.

Sheikh AI-Issa said Pakistan has a significant place in the Muslim world and it is playing a vital role in peace and stability in the region.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Ample opportunities available to boost Pak-Iran trade ties: SCCI chief

October 11, 2022

PESHAWAR: Pakistan and Iran possess vast opportunities to further enhance mutual economic and trade relations in various sectors, emphasized Muhammad Ishaq, President Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Tuesday.

He emphasized that promotion of bilateral trade between neighbouring countries is the need of the hour and Pakistan and Iran should take joint initiatives to boost up mutual cooperation with Pakistan.

The SCCI chief was speaking to the Commercial Attaché/First Consul of Iranian Consulate in Peshawar, Hussein Maliki here at the chamber’s house. Ejaz Khan Afridi, vice president of the chamber was also present during the meeting.

Muhammad Ishaq and Maliki during the meeting discussed avenues and opportunities to further strengthen mutual economic and trade relations between Pakistan and Iran.

Both sides have stressed the need of making joint and concerted efforts to further improve the mutual cooperation and trade relations.

SCCI is going to organise a trade expo, aiming to promote locally manufacturing products, which would also help to enhance trade with regional countries, Muhammad Ishaq disclosed on the occasion.

Ample opportunities are available to boost up bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran, said Hussein Maliki.

However, he stressed that serious attempts are needed to be taken to remove hurdles in the way of bilateral trade between Iran and Pakistan.

He continued to say that mutual understanding and harmony can eradicate impediments in the mutual trade.

Hussein Maliki urged SCCI to give concrete proposals and share details of the upcoming trade expo in order to ensure maximum participation of Iranian businessmen in the event.

Mr Ishaq appreciated the Iranian diplomat’s commitment toward enhancing bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran. He opined that hurdles to Pak-Iran mutual trade can be removed with joint efforts and coordination.

Stressing the need for promotion of formal trade, the SCCI chief viewed the legal trade would boost up the economy of the both countries. He asked Islamabad and Iran to take initiatives for signing economic and trade agreements.

The SCCI chief thanked the Iranian consul general for felicitating him for becoming president of the SCCI and expressed the hope that Pak-Iran mutual trade would be further strengthened during one year remaining in office.

Earlier, the Iranian diplomat briefed the SCCI chief about opportunities and potentials for further enhancing mutual trade between the two neighbouring countries.

He informed the president of Iran Chamber would soon visit different cities of Pakistan and I have desired that he will also visit Peshawar and meet with businessmen in SCCI.

Hussein Maliki vowed to take joint efforts and initiatives to bring the Iran-Pak bilateral trade to new heights. He said the entire team of Iranian Consulate in Peshawar is fully committed and making vigorous efforts to further bilateral economic and trade ties with Pakistan.

Source: Pakistan Today

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South Asia


Human Rights Council Elections: Afghanistan, a Prospective Member

By Saqalain Eqbal

11 Oct 2022

Afghanistan is a candidate for the Human Rights Council and a prospective member from the Asia-Pacific region; the General Assembly of the United Nations will vote to elect 14 new members on Tuesday.

According to a General Assembly resolution, the Human Rights Council is composed of 47 Member States, each of which is elected directly and individually by a vast bulk of the General Assembly’s members using a secret ballot.

The membership of Human Rights Council is determined based on geographical distribution, with 13 seats allocated to the Asia-Pacific region.

Of these 13 seats, there are currently 4 seats vacant for the elections, in which Afghanistan along with other Asian countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Republic of Korea, Maldives and Vietnam are candidates.

According to the Human Rights Council, each of the newly elected members will serve for a period of three years, starting from January 2023.

The Human Rights Council seat for Afghanistan will enable the amplification of concerns, demands, and voices of Afghan people experiencing human rights violations, according to the diplomatic representative of Afghanistan in Geneva, appointed by the overthrown republic regime.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban Kabul Municipality Closes Down Dozens of Wedding Halls and Hotels

By Saqalain Eqbal

11 Oct 2022

The Taliban-run Kabul Municipality has stated that it has closed down dozens of wedding halls and hotels in the Afghan capital due to violations.

The Kabul Municipality issued a statement on Monday, the 10th of September, stating that the operations of 128 hotels had been assessed.

As many as 115 of the hotels and halls had complied with the standards of the Taliban Kabul Municipality while 23 others have been closed down as a result of failing to comply and violations.

The municipality further issued a warning to the wedding halls stating that if they fail to adjust their operations to the applicable regulations of the city, they will face serious legal action.

The announcement stated that among the standards for hotels and wedding halls that have been established by the municipality are avoiding the use of plastic dishes, having tiled kitchens and clean dishwashing places.

Source: Khaama Press

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US slaps more sanctions on Taliban over treatment of women

12th October 2022

WASHINGTON: The United States announced new sanctions Tuesday against the Taliban as punishment for their repressive treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken unveiled the new visa restriction policy for current or former members of the Taliban and others involved in repressing women through restrictive policies and violence.

Blinken made the announcement on the UN's International Day of the Girl Child.

"As a grim example, for more than a year, Afghanistan remains the only country in the world where girls are systemically barred from attending school beyond the sixth grade, with no return date in sight," Blinken said.

After coming back to power in August 2021 following the retreat of US forces, the hardline Taliban have barred girls from attending secondary school. But women are allowed to attend university.

A recent suicide bombing on a Kabul classroom killed and wounded dozens of pupils as they prepared for exams.

The United Nations has put the death toll at 53, including 46 girls and young women.

Source: New Indian Express

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Islamic Emirate Leader Meets with Provincial Intelligence Heads

October 12, 2022

Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the Islamic Emirate leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada met with officials of the general intelligence department and provincial intelligence heads.

According to a statement issued by Mujahid, Akhundzada ordered the officials to protect the rights, culture, religion and property of the citizens.

Mawlawi Hibatullah said that no one should be detained and jailed without solid proof.

“They should treat the people with good conduct. The people should not be disturbed and detained due to weak allegations, and if it happened, it should be compensated. Until the information is complete-- no one should be allowed to interfere in any institution and disturb the people. The order is issued and I hope it will be useful," Mujahid told TOLOnews.

In the meeting, the need to help the challenges of poor people and treat addicts was emphasized.

The Islamic Emirate leader also emphasized the implementation of his six-principle decree regarding women, according to Mujahid’s statement.

"The intelligence personnel were told to focus on this to implement the decree. There have been violations of the decree in some areas. In some cases, the voices of women have not been heard and teenage girls were married. The intelligence should pay attention to this,” Mujahid said.

The political analysts believe that the meeting between the leader of the Islamic Emirate and intelligence officials is important for the country.

“The duty of intelligence is very important for a country. It should be provided with guidance and thus this meeting has been important,” said Sayed Bilal Ahmad Fatimi, a political analyst.

Some citizens of the country urged the Islamic Emirate to treat the people with good conduct.

Source: Tolo News

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Bangladeshi minorities want justice for Catholic politician

October 10, 2022

Minority groups in Bangladesh have demanded justice for an ethnic Garo Catholic politician, who died ten days after he was brutally attacked by his political rivals.

Subrata Sangma, 48, died on Oct. 8, while undergoing treatment in a hospital. He was a former elected chairman of the Kullagora Union Council, a local government body in Durgapur of northeastern Netrakona district.

Sangma’s relatives alleged that a group of criminals sent by current chairman Abdul Awal and his brother Shamim Ahmed beat him up with iron rods and sharp weapons twice on Sept. 29, leaving him seriously injured. He was rushed to a hospital by local people and died there 10 days later.

One day later, his sister Keya Sangma filed an “attempt to murder” case against Awal, his brother, and 15 others. The accused have secured bail, police said.

“The dead body has been kept at the Mymensingh Medical College Hospital morgue for post-mortem. The accused in the attack case are currently out on bail. Since Subrata Sangma is dead, the case will now be converted into a murder case,” Durgapur police station officer-in-charge Mohammad Shibirul Islam told UCA News.

Sangma, a member of the ruling Awami League party, is the nephew of late Promod Mankin, a prominent Garo Catholic politician, and former state minister of social welfare.

Raymond Areng, a Garo Catholic and central committee leader of the Awami League, alleged Sangma was killed because of his politics.

“We respect the law of the land and hope to get fair justice,” Areng told UCA News.

Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC), the country’s largest religious minorities forum, issued a statement deploring the murder. It alleged the main perpetrator and his associates are members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

The BNP has not commented on the killing yet.

“We express deep concerns and fear over the brutal killing of Subrata Sangma. We demand immediate arrest and exemplary punishment for the culprits,” the group said in a statement on Oct. 9.

Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA), the largest Christian forum, also condemned the killing.

“The government must immediately arrest those involved in the murder and hand down exemplary punishment,” its Oct. 9 statement read.

The brutal assault on Sangma is a part of the ongoing oppression of ethnic minorities, said Garo Student Union.

Apurba Mrong, secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission in the predominant Garo Mymensingh Diocese said the political murder discourages minorities from getting involved in politics.

“The minorities of Bangladesh, especially the Christians, are already few in politics. They will not come to politics if such killings happen. So the government should pay more attention to this aspect,” Mrong told UCA News.

In Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Christians make up less than one percent or an estimated 600,000 of the more than 165 million people, according to the 2022 census.

Source: UCA News

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Taliban Official Receives Honorary Doctorate Degree

By Saqalain Eqbal

11 Oct 2022

The Taliban Acting Minister of Higher Education, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, received an honorary doctorate degree from Nangarhar University in recognition of his “scientific and academic” contributions.

The Taliban Ministry of Higher Education announced in a tweet on Tuesday, October 11, that the leadership of the ministry had received an honorary degree in recognition of his contributions to Afghanistan’s higher education system.

According to the Taliban government’s Ministry of Higher Education, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, in a ceremony attended by the Taliban deputy governor for Nangarhar, was awarded this honorary degree in law and jurisprudence.

In recognition of the Taliban official’s “scientific and academic” services to the government, Nangarhar University reportedly awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in law and jurisprudence.

The Taliban official was given a “service award” in addition to his honorary doctorate degree in order to acknowledge his alleged efforts and achievements.

Source: Khaama Press

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Somalia: Lifting Arms Embargo Key to Battling Islamist Militants

Ahmed Mohamed

October 11, 2022


Somalia is getting support for its campaign to have an arms embargo lifted after Ethiopia joined Uganda in backing the action. The U.N. Security Council is set to vote in November on renewing the partial ban, which Somalia says should be removed so it can better fight al-Shabab terrorists.

Ethiopia's support came after a rare July incursion by Islamist militants into Ethiopia amid a large-scale offensive by Somalia and its allies against the group.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed say the three-decades-long U.N. Security Council sanctions should be removed so Somalia can better fight the militant Islamist group al-Shabab.

The two leaders issued a joint statement September 30 amid an offensive by Somali troops and their allies.

Somalia called on African Union member states in July to support its campaign to lift the embargo, which includes bans on high-caliber weapons and military vehicles.

The Somalia-based security research group Hiraal Institute said in a February report the arms embargo was failing to stop al-Shabab from smuggling weapons that federal forces were not allowed to buy.

The institute's Samira Gaid said Somalia's capabilities are limited because it needs permission from U.N. security council members to buy certain arms.

"But on the other hand, you have al-Shabab, that is able to purchase from the local markets and illegally smuggle these weapons from, say, Yemen or elsewhere," Gaid said. "And so for them, they have access to anything without any obligations. But on the other hand, the government is restricted."

Despite the restrictions, Somali forces and their allies have been making gains against the militants.

Somali President Mohamud's "all-out war" against al-Shabab has seen scores of villages recovered from the militants in recent weeks of intense fighting.

The terrorist group says it has inflicted losses on the Somali military, though casualty figures cannot be confirmed.

Mohamed Muse Matan, who teaches political science and international relations at the University of Somalia, said the sanctions mean Somali forces do not have enough firepower to defeat the militants.

But Matan admits allowing Somalia to get high-caliber weapons is risky.

He said giving high-caliber weapons to Somalia is dangerous due to lack of regulatory mechanisms, but that it is essential that the government's weapons be better than those of al-Shabab if the government is to win the war against al-Shabab.

The U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Somalia in 1992 because of civil war and factional violence. The embargo was partially lifted in 2013 to help Somalia's security forces develop and fight the Islamist militants.

The remaining sanctions, which require requests for certain weapons to be approved, are renewed annually.

While Somalia has for years called for the embargo to be lifted, Mohamud has been campaigning since he was elected in May for the support of neighbors.

In August, Mohamud and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called for the embargo to be removed during Mohamud's visit to Kampala.

Former Somalia national intelligence deputy director Abdisalam Guled said Somalia needs heavy weapons like battle tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs).

Guled said the arms embargo on Somalia was mostly supported by neighboring countries because they were afraid if Somalia got heavy weapons, it could use those weapons against its neighbors. Now that Ethiopia, which is among the strongest countries in the region, is campaigning for lifting the arms embargo, it's a good step that has already been taken, Guled added.

Analysts say al-Shabab's July incursion into Ethiopia's Somali state, one of the deadliest reported in recent memory, was a major factor in Prime Minister Abiy's public call for lifting the embargo.

Ethiopian officials say they repelled the invasion, killing more than 800 of the Islamist militants. It's not possible to confirm the casualty figures directly because the area is off-limits to journalists.

At the last U.N. Security Council vote on the embargo's renewal in November 2021, Kenya was among the 13 council members that endorsed the extension of the partial ban.

With the next vote just weeks away, it's not clear if Kenya will back Somalia's push to have the embargo lifted. There was no response to requests for comment from Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Even if Nairobi supports the move, Somalia would need more support on the council for the embargo to be lifted.

Source: VOA News

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Long petrol queues in Tunisia infuriates motorists after promise of fuel deliveries

11 October, 2022

Frustrated motorists queued in long lines outside Tunisian petrol stations on Tuesday even after the energy minister had said a shortage would end on Monday with a new delivery of fuel.

Many petrol stations started running out of fuel over the weekend as imports slowed and national supplies dropped, leading to lines of cars stretching kilometers in some places, causing bad traffic in Tunisian cities.

“I didn’t go to work today,” said Mohamed Neji, who had been waiting for an hour and a half in the Ariana district of Tunis.

“We’ve become like refugees in our own country,” he added, alluding to other shortages that have struck Tunisia in recent weeks including flour, sugar, butter, milk and cooking oil.

Tunisia faces a crisis in public finances and the labor union which has branches in government and national supply sectors says the state has struggled to pay for imports of goods that it sells at subsidized rates.

President Kais Saied has blamed hoarders and speculators for goods shortages.

Tunisia hopes soon to finalize a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a rescue program that could also unlock billions of dollars in bilateral support from other countries.

However, it is not clear if it can push through the reforms that the IMF wants, including reductions in subsidies that are opposed by the labor union.

Near petrol stations in Tunis on Tuesday there was furious honking from cars as lines of waiting motorists blocked traffic lanes, with vehicles crammed into the spaces around.

Cars at many petrol stations were only allowed to fill up to 30 dinars ($9) worth of petrol, or about 13 liters. At some, petrol station workers were distributing petrol from plastic bottles to ease congestion at the pumps.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Sheikh Zakzaky: Riyadh was involved in Zaria massacre but only on US, UK orders

12 October 2022

Nigeria’s most senior Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky says that although Saudi Arabia was involved in the Zaria massacre in the Nigerian capital Abuja, the kingdom was only acting on the orders of Washington and London.

“We believe that Saudi Arabia was not the main cause of the [massacre], but acted on behalf of the US and the UK and carried out the orders of Washington and London,” Sheikh Zakzaky said in an interview with Al-Alam news network published on Tuesday.

He said the US and the UK were not willing to pay the price of the plot and, therefore, compelled Saudi Arabia to implement it.

In December 2015, Nigerian army troops attacked Sheikh Zakzaky’s residence and a place of worship belonging to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, killing hundreds of his supporters and detaining the cleric and his wife.

The Nigerian troops burned Zakzaky’s house down and afflicted him and his wife with serious injuries that caused the cleric to lose his left eye. Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat also lost three sons during the Zaria massacre.

During the interview, he recalled that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman once claimed that the kingdom suppressed a movement in Africa similar to the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and prevented him as the leader of the movement from establishing an Islamic government similar to the one in Iran.

“We did not see a single person from the Saudi army there, but it was the Nigerian army that carried out the massacre and this means that the Saudi government paid for it,” he said.

The prominent Nigerian cleric added that his country’s government has told various lies about the massacre. “First, they said that not a single person had been killed, but then they said the army had killed 17 people because they chanted slogans in support of their leader.”

According to Sheikh Zakzaky, however, more than 1,000 people were killed in the massacre, with at least 800 Shias and more than 200 others.

‘Muslims see Islamic Republic as role model’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zakzaky thanked the Iranian government and nation’s support for the Nigerian resistance movement, saying Muslims around the world see the Islamic Republic as a role model.

“Thank God, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the government and the people, are all with us. They are doing everything in their power to support our oppressed people,” he said.

“They have done everything they could, and we thank them for that, and we thank the government that was and still is by our side,” he added.

The cleric also said that Muslims see Iran as a role model, arguing that even non-Muslim nations, like Nicaragua and the Philippines, have been inspired by the Islamic Republic.

Source: Press TV

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North America


US Student Body Calls For Boycotting Israel over Occupation of Palestine

11 October 2022

The student body at Wellesley College of Liberal Arts in the US has called for the liberation of Palestine and listed companies supporting the Israeli occupation in an effort to encourage students to boycott them.

In an editorial published by the student body established at the liberal women's university, the group called for the liberation of Palestine and for boycotting the occupation, especially in Boston, Massachusetts, where the university is located.

The student body expressed support to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), the Mapping Project in particular, which puts pressure on the Israeli regime through non-violent means.

According to the independent student newspaper of Wellesley College, Wellesley’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) raise awareness on campus of the mistreatment of Palestinians and the illegal nature of Israel’s settlements.

The editorial said that the student body “unequivocally supports Palestinian students on campus, especially international students who may hesitate to speak in fear of retribution.”

Touching on the Mapping Project, the editorial said it provides a vital service through collecting data about institutions that support Israeli apartheid, tracing their financial and political activities, and publicizing the information,” and stressed that it is of great importance.

The Mapping Project, unveiled earlier in June 2022, identifies policing institutions, universities, weapons manufacturers, and Zionist lobby groups in the New England region that work in tandem to fortify structures of oppression and occupation in Palestine and across the world.

The hallmark of the project that is creating ripples is an interactive map that shows the physical locations of pro-Zionist groups in the Massachusetts area, sparking fears and concerns among pro-Israel lobbyists.

According to key members of the project, the idea is to build a knowledge base of institutions, corporations, and other entities that contribute to the colonization of Palestine, US imperialism, policing displacement, and other forms of oppression.

Giving an example on such institutions, the editorial read “The Mapping project notes that MIT is complicit in the militarization, propaganda/normalization, surveillance and US imperialism and has an active role in developing the technologies used to harm Palestinians.”

Moreover, the student body journalists wrote that they have an obligation to document the truth, and that they are fortunate so far for being able to do it without facing violence, unlike journalists covering Israeli atrocities committed in occupied Palestine, such as Shirine Abu Akleh who was killed in May by Israeli occupation forces fire while covering an Israeli raid on Jenin.

The student body also expressed they are disheartened “to witness Wellesley’s administration refusal to acknowledge the occupation of Palestine and the brutality that has been occurring under Israel’s settler-colonial regime for decades.”

“Wellesley’s News Editorial Board called on our fellow students, professors and the Wellesley’s administration and board of Trustees to acknowledge the atrocities of the Israeli regime and call for the liberation of occupied Palestine,” the editorial concluded.

Following a widespread Israeli media attack, which slammed the College and claimed it was "a beacon of anti-Semitism, the university administration said it did not support the project.

Source: Press TV

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Biden re-evaluating relationship with Saudi Arabia after OPEC decision on oil output: White House 

11 October 2022

The White House says that President Joe Biden is re-evaluating the US relationship with Saudi Arabia after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+), in which Riyadh is a top producer, announced last week it would cut oil production. 

"I think the president's been very clear that this is a relationship that we need to continue to re-evaluate, that we need to be willing to revisit," White House national security spokesman John Kirby said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. "And certainly in light of the OPEC decision, I think that's where he is."

The spokesman added that Biden is willing to work with Congress on the future of Saudi relations.

The oil-exporting alliance, which includes the 13 OPEC nations and 11 non-members including Russia, made the production cut announcement on Wednesday. The group agreed to cut output by 2 million barrels per day, equal to 2 percent of global supply.

Independent observers believe the Biden administration is worried that the decision to cut oil production will cause a gas price hike in the US ahead of the November midterm elections which Democrats are already set to lose to the Republicans.

The OPEC move was a large blow to the administration of Biden, who visited oil-rich Saudi Arabia on a July trip to appeal to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday, urged the country to freeze its cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including most arms sales, accusing the kingdom of helping to underwrite the Russian war in Ukraine.

"The United States must immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including any arms sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely necessary...," Menendez said.

Kirby said Biden was disappointed in the OPEC+ decision, and "he's willing to work with Congress to think through what that relationship ought to look like going forward."

"And I think he's going to be willing to start to have those conversations right away. I don't think this is anything that's going to have to wait or should wait, quite frankly, for much longer," Kirby added.

The White House spokesman said the issue does not only concern the war in Ukraine but it is a matter of US national security interests.

Earlier, independent US Senator Bernie Sanders called for the withdrawal of American troops from Saudi Arabia and an end to military aid to the conservative kingdom for lowering oil production.

“If Saudi Arabia, one of the worst violators of human rights in the world, wants to partner with Russia to jack up US gas prices, it can get Putin to defend its monarchy,” the Vermont senator tweeted Friday after the OPEC+ bloc announced a cut in daily oil production.

“We must pull all US troops out of Saudi Arabia, stop selling them weapons & end its price-fixing oil cartel,” he added.

In a related move, a group of lawmakers has introduced a new bill that aims to end the US military support to Saudi Arabia.

House Representatives Tom Malinowski, Sean Casten and Susan Wild launched the motion on Wednesday.

“We see no reason why American troops and contractors should continue to provide this service to countries that are actively working against us,” they said.

Several congressional Democrats have had similar remarks on the announcement, which is poised to counter-sanctions on Russian oil and potentially drive up gas prices ahead of the midterm US elections.

On Sunday, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cried foul over the decision by OPEC+ to lower oil production, saying it will hurt the global economy.

“I think OPEC’s decision is unhelpful and unwise — it’s uncertain what impact it will end up having, but certainly, it’s something that, to me, did not seem appropriate, under the circumstances we face,” Yellen said in a phone interview with the Financial Times, adding, “We’re very worried about developing countries and the problems they face.”

In August, the United States approved massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates worth more than $5 billion, amid criticism of their ongoing military aggression in Yemen which has inflicted heavy civilian casualties.

Source: Press TV

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Biden hails Israel, Lebanon on maritime border deal

Laura Gamba  


BOGOTA, Colombia

US President Joe Biden spoke with the leaders of Israel and Lebanon on Tuesday to congratulate them for having reached a “historic” deal to establish a permanent maritime boundary, ending a long-running dispute between both countries.

"I am pleased to announce a historic breakthrough in the Middle East," Biden said in a statement after speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Lebanon President Michel Aoun.

“After months of mediation by the United States, the Governments of Israel and Lebanon have agreed to formally end their maritime boundary dispute and establish a permanent maritime boundary between them,” he said.

It took years to achieve the agreement that will allow the countries to obtain revenue from potentially rich Mediterranean gas fields and could ease military tensions between them.

The agreement "will provide for the development of energy fields for the benefit of both countries, setting the stage for a more stable and prosperous region, and harnessing vital new energy resources for the world," Biden said.

The US president spoke Tuesday to Lapid and Aoun to congratulate them on the deal that was praised by both leaders.

“This is a historic achievement that will strengthen Israel's security, inject billions into Israel's economy, and ensure the stability of our northern border," Lapid said in a statement.

President Aoun said in a tweet Tuesday that the final version of the agreement was “satisfactory” for Lebanon. In the phone call, Biden told Aoun that “the United States remains committed to the Lebanese people and to supporting stability and sovereignty with Lebanon."

The agreement, the first one on border demarcation between the two nations that have been at war since 1948, still needs to be formally ratified, for which no date has been set yet.

Negotiations over the territory in the Mediterranean Sea, which contain part of the Karish gas field and Qana, a prospective gas field, have been ongoing since 2020. The Karish field has been threatened by Hezbollah, the Iran-allied militant group that controls a part of Lebanon.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US prosecutors drop all charges against Serial podcast subject Adnan Syed

Michael Gabriel Hernandez  



Prosecutors in the US city of Baltimore announced on Tuesday that they have dropped all charges against Adnan Syed, the man at the center of hit podcast Serial.

Marilyn Mosby, the State's Attorney for Baltimore City, said the decision to drop the charges was based on new DNA evidence, and new information that has come to light supporting alternative suspects in the 1999 murder of Syed's ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

"The fundaments of the criminal justice system should be based on fair and just prosecution and the crux of the matter is that we are standing here today because that wasn’t done 23 years ago," Mosby said in a statement.

"Although, my administration was not responsible for neither the pain inflicted upon Hae Min Lee’s family nor the wrongful conviction of Mr. Syed, as a representative of the institution, it is my responsibility to acknowledge and apologize to the family of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed," she added.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn threw out last month Syed's conviction in Lee's murder, setting in motion a 30-day window to schedule a new trial or drop the murder charge.

Phinn said her decision was based on the grounds that the state had failed to share exculpatory evidence -- known as a Brady violation -- that could have helped his defense at trial.

Laura Nirider, the co-director, of the Center on Wrongful Convictions non-profit legal group, said that the charges are being dropped based on another tranche of DNA testing confirming that Syed is not the individual who killed Lee.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Amendments to condition US sale of F-16s to Türkiye removed from Senate defense bill

Kasim Ileri 



Two amendments introduced by Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Chris van Hollen making potential F-16 sales to Türkiye contingent on a series of conditions were removed from the Senate version of the annual US defense spending bill.

The Senate convened on Tuesday to finalize the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill, which includes the 2023 defense budget.

Nearly 900 amendments submitted for inclusion in the bill continue to be discussed. No votes are scheduled until Nov. 14 when the chamber re-convenes following a break for the US midterm elections.

According to information obtained from congressional sources, the amendments presented by Menendez and van Hollen were dropped from the bill.

After the Senate passes the NDAA, it will be made into a joint text with a previous version passed within the House of Representatives before it is sent to US President Joe Biden's desk to be signed into law.

A similar amendment to those put forward by Van Hollen and Menendez, which sought to impose conditions on Türkiye’s F-16 purchase, was added to the House of Representatives version of the NDAA bill, but these additions are expected to be removed in the joint text.

The amendments sought to impose several restrictions on the sale of F-16s and modernization kits to Türkiye, including requiring the president to inform Congress of “concrete steps” he has taken to ensure the warplanes “are not used by Turkey for repeated unauthorized territorial overflights of Greece or military operations against United States allies."

The amendment put forward by van Hollen pointed in particular to Syrian forces led by the YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization in Türkiye, the US and EU. The US has partnered with the YPG-led SDF in its efforts to counter Daesh/ISIS in northeastern Syria, drawing Ankara's anger in a major strain on bilateral relations.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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