New Age Islam
Tue May 28 2024, 07:10 PM

Islamic World News ( 29 March 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Youth Attacked Over Quran Row Ahead Of Belur Festival; It Is Long-Followed Tradition Of Reciting Quran Verses Ahead Of The Annual Chariot Festival Of Lord Channakeshava Temple

New Age Islam News Bureau

29 March 2023

Picture for representational purpose only.

---------

• ‘We Can Break Legs Too’: Cow Vigilantes, BJP Leaders Shut Muslim Meat Shopsin Several LocalitiesOf Delhi

• Pak Govt Introduces Bill In Parliament To Curtail Powers Of Chief Justice After Cabinet's Approval

• Pakistan Removed From EU’s High Risk Third Countries List: Commerce Minister

• Blinken Praises Afghan Women’s Struggle for a Better Future

 

India

• Police Deployed In Noida Society After Row Over Taraweeh Namaz In The Under Constructed Space Provided By The Builder

• Early Ramazan Leave, An Hour Before The Completion Of Duty Hours, For Muslim School Staff in Bengal

• Delhi Police Denies Permission for Ram Yatra, Ramadan Prayers in Jahangirpuri

• Chennai: Communal Harmony on Display as Muslims, Christians Take Part in Padavettamman Temple Consecration

• Supreme Court to hear plea to club Gyanvapi suits

• Dalit Christians, Muslims hold demonstration for SC status at Jantar Mantar

• Hate Speeches: Muslim Intellectuals Who Met RSS Chief Disappointed

--------

Pakistan

• No Talks WithImran Khan Unless He Apologises To People: Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif

• Chief of PTI splinter group offers his platform to Tareen’s bloc

• Wary Of China, Pakistan Opts Out Of Democracy Summit In Washington

• Pakistan Takes Steps to Facilitate Border Crossing with Afghanistan

• Balochistan lawmakers criticise delay in release of Zakat funds

--------

Europe

• British business ministers announce working group on Islamic finance

• Greece arrests 2 Pakistanis for planning anti-Semitic attacks

• Time For British Remake Of Amar Akbar Anthony?

• At least 2 killed in knife attack at Islamic centre in Lisbon

• UN human rights chief calls for ‘decisive steps’ to clarify fate of missing Syrians

• Hosting PKK/YPG terrorists 'casts shadow over French Senate's respectability': Türkiye

--------

North America

• Biden admin. should have informed Congress earlier about Syria attack: Pentagon chief

• US designates individuals, including Assad's cousins, in drug export

• Sunny Hostin Suggests Chinese Internment Of Muslims Not As Bad As U.S. Mass Incarceration

--------

South Asia

• 237 People Killed In Afghanistan Without Trial After Taliban Takeover

• UN Says Afghan Girls' Education Activist MatiullahWesaHeld InKabul

• Afghan orphaned toddler Maryam finally reunited with family

• Karzai Calls on Taliban to Release Education Activist

• Indian Govt Gave Stranded Afghan Cadets A Lifeline Last Year. Now They Fear Being ‘Handed ToTaliban’

--------

Southeast Asia

• Ideological Polarisation Is The Price Of Democratic Representation In Indonesia

• RM5 meals at KL's Rahmah Ramadan bazaar pull in sales as customers order pricier items on the side

• First 6,000 Rahmah Ramadan Bazaar visitors stand chance to receive RM20 e-wallet incentive

--------

Arab World

• Saudi Arabia Condemns Jewish Settlers’ Blatant Incursion IntoAl-Aqsa Mosque Courtyards

• Bin Salman Thanks China For Efforts To Restore Saudi-Iran Ties

• Belgium probes refugee status of Syrian war crimes suspect

• Presidency receives Grand Mosque visitors in more than 50 international languages

• Egypt to allow Iranians visas on arrival in Sinai as regional tensions ease

• Saudi Cabinet Condemns Qur’an Burnings, Calls For Rejection Of Hate

• Saudi Arabia condemns Al-Aqsa Mosque storming by Israeli settlers

• Saudi interior minister, UK Home Secretary sign raft of agreements at meeting in London

• Lebanese politicians hurl insults at each other as tensions boil over in parliament

--------

Mideast

• Labour Chiefs Probe Exploitation Of Palestinian Workers In Israel

• Israeli Forces Tighten Security Measures Against Palestinians

• Hamas warns Israel against storming al-Aqsa Mosque, provoking Muslims during Ramadan

• Israeli forces detain more than a dozen Palestinians in multiple raids across occupied territories

• Iran: Door to Negotiations Not to Remain Open Forever

• Iran: Crises Consuming Israeli Regime Like Wildfire

• Iran, India Discuss Further Security Cooperation

• Iran, Saudi FMs Discuss Normalization of Ties

• Iran Calls for Broadening of Ties with Libya, Malaysia

• Palestinian dies of injuries from Israeli fire in West Bank

--------

Africa

• Spain Arrests Man For Rude Comments On Islam, Racist Slurs Against Morocco Players

• Tunisia cuts off water supply at night amid severe drought

• Burkina Faso most affected African country by terrorism: Report

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/youth-attacked-quran-row-belur-festival-channakeshava-temple/d/129438

-------- 

Youth Attacked Over Quran Row Ahead OfBelur Festival; It Is Long-Followed Tradition Of Reciting Quran Verses Ahead Of The Annual Chariot Festival Of Lord Channakeshava Temple

Mar 29, 2023

Picture for representational purpose only.

-------

HASSAN: A long-followed tradition of reciting Quran verses ahead of the annual chariot festival of Lord Channakeshava temple here took an ugly turn on Tuesday when some Hindutva activists opposed to the custom allegedly manhandled a youth who they claimed chanted slogans in support of the Islamic text.

Police officials whisked away the youth after he reportedly screamed "Quran Zindabad" repeatedly. SP Hariram Shankar said the youth was a "history-sheeter" and legal action will be initiated against him.

The trouble broke out at Hassan's Belur town when over 100 Bajrang Dal and VHP activists had taken out a rally opposing the Quran recitations.

Protest against tradition

According to sources, the recitations are a syncretic tradition observed during the "car (chariot)" festival of the Channakeshava temple. It falls on April 4 this time.

It's not clear exactly how old the tradition is, though some accounts suggest that it is mentioned in a 1932 temple manual. A week earlier, VHP and the other groups had approached the temple authorities to press their demand to drop the recitations.

The Hindutva activists also approached the state's Muzrai (temple) department with their demands. The issue may be discussed later this week.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/youth-attacked-over-quran-row-ahead-of-belur-festival/articleshow/99073803.cms?from=mdr

--------

‘We Can Break Legs Too’: Cow Vigilantes, BJP Leaders Shut Muslim Meat Shops in Several Localities Of Delhi

28th March 2023

BJP leader force shuts meat shops in Muslim localities (Screengrab: Twitter)

-----------

Amid the ongoing Hindu festival of Chaitra Navratri, cow vigilantes and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have been on rounds forcibly shutting down meat shops in several localities.

Videos of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ravindra Singh on rounds in the Muslim locality MandawaliFazalpur in Vinod Nagar of West Delhi have surfaced on social media.

Ravindra Singh also demanded that local meat traders keep shops shut during all nine days of the Navratri which commenced on March 22 (PratipadaTithi) and will end on March 30 (Navami Tithi).

In a viral video, a BJP leader can be seen walking alongside police personnel inspecting meat shops.

When Siasat.com enquired with the Delhi police over the case, they said that no case regarding the closure of meat shops has been registered so far.

“There is no authoritarian order on meat shop closure during Navratri, he (Ravindra Singh) has visited the meat shops demanding their closure on his own,” police said.

“We cannot barge into the matter without receiving the complaint. There seems no force on shopkeepers they silently obey the order of the BJP leader, where we can do nothing,” police added.

In another similar incident, Gaurakshaks (cow vigilantes) alongside BJP councillor Ashok Chhabra can be seen raiding Muslim meat shops and forcing them to shut shops in view of Navratri.

In a video which is making rounds on social media cow vigilantes can be seen raiding every meat shop and pulling down shutters. They threaten Muslim meat shop owners stating that are supposed to keep shut on Tuesdays and for Navratri.

“We ask you politely otherwise we can break legs and make you close the shop,” a man can be heard threatening shop keeper.

The Gauraksha Dal Krishanpura also reportedly filed a complaint over meat shops remaining open during Navratri and hurting Hindu sentiments.

However, Siasat.com was unable to reach out to Haryana police on the matter.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/we-can-break-legs-too-cow-vigilantes-bjp-leaders-shut-muslim-meat-shops-2556664/

--------

Pak govt introduces bill in Parliament to curtail powers of Chief Justice after Cabinet's approval

Mar 28, 2023

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said "history would not forgive us" if Parliament did not enact laws to curtail the powers of the country's top judge. (File photo)

------------

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government on Tuesday night introduced a bill in Parliament to curtail the discretionary powers of the chief justice, hours after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that "history would not forgive us" if Parliament did not enact laws to curtail the powers of the country's top judge.

Law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar presented 'The Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023', which was approved by the Cabinet earlier in the evening.

The development comes a day after two Supreme Court judges questioned the suo motu powers of the country's top judge.

Tarar said that the bill prepared by the ministry of law and justice was deliberated by the cabinet and after its approval, he was presenting the bill before Parliament.

Giving the details, he said that the bill ensures that "every cause, appeal or matter before the Supreme Court shall be heard and disposed of by a bench constituted by the Committee comprising the Chief Justice of Pakistan and two senior-most judges, in order of seniority" and the decisions of such a committee shall be by majority.

Regarding suo motu powers, the draft states that any matter invoking exercise of original jurisdiction under Article 184 (3) shall be first placed before the committee of three senior-most judges.

"..If the Committee is of the view that a question of public importance with reference to enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by Chapter I of Part II of the Constitution is involved, it shall constitute a bench comprising not less than three judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan which may also include the members of the Committee, for adjudication of the matter,” it adds.

The legislation also allows appeals within 30 days of a verdict being issued on a suo motu case and enforces that a bench be constituted to hear such an appeal within 14 days.

"An appeal shall lie within thirty days from a final order of a bench of the Supreme Court who exercised jurisdiction under clause (3) of Article 184 of the Constitution to a larger bench of the Supreme Court and such appeal shall, for hearing, be fixed within a period not exceeding fourteen days,” according to the proposed bill.

After the bill was presented various members demanded that the bill should be sent to a committee to discuss it and report back before voting. As the law minister did not oppose the demand, the speaker announced to send the bill to a committee with hope that it would present its report soon.

Later, the Speaker prorogued the proceedings till Wednesday.

The bill as presented aimed to reduce the discretionary powers of the chief justice to take suo motu action and also set up benches for hearing of cases.

Addressing the joint session of parliament earlier, Sharif talked at length about the dissenting judgement by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail of the apex court, who lashed out at the unlimited authority of the chief justice to take a suo motu (on its own) action on any issue and constitute benches of choice to hear different cases.

Their judgment was about the case of suo motu notice taken by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on February 22 about elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

Speaking passionately about the need for new laws to limit the chief justice's power, Sharif said if the legislation were not passed, "history would not forgive us".

The suo motu power is based on the original jurisdiction of the court under Article 184 of the Constitution. However, its usage over the years has created an impression of partiality on the Chief Justices' part.

It was openly challenged for the first time by the two judges who were part of a bench that, in its 3-2 majority decision of March 1, directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to consult with President Arif Alvi for polls in Punjab and Governor Ghulam Ali for elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The five-member bench was reconstituted by Bandial, who took a suo motu action against the delay in elections and initially formed a nine-member bench to deal with the issue. However, two of the nine judges differed with the decision to take suo motu notice, while two other judges recused themselves, prompting the Chief Justice to form a new bench.

Justice Shah and Justice Mandokhail, in their detailed 28-page dissenting note, also rejected the 3-2 judgment in the suo motu case by saying that it was a 4-3 judgment to reject the maintainability of the case and lambasted the Chief Justice's power to form a bench for important cases.

The coalition government led by Prime Minister Sharif, which is supporting the ECP's decision to delay the election in the two provinces until October 8, is trying to use Parliament to curtail the powers of the Chief Justice.

The premier also said that the courts were treating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan favourably and were not ready to hold Khan accountable.

Sharif said that “enough is enough” and the law would take its course while the government would not allow “the favourite” to play with Pakistan.

He added that the Constitution clearly defined the division of powers between the legislature, judiciary and administration and set a red line that no one should cross.

The powers of the legislature defined by the Constitution and the powers of the judiciary were being flouted, the prime minister said.

The joint session of parliament was summoned last week to discuss the key issues confronting Pakistan and provide guidelines to deal with those issues.

The development comes as the top court is hearing a case about the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan to postpone the provincial election till October 8, well beyond the 90 days deadline by the constitution to hold elections after the dissolution of an assembly.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-govt-introduces-bill-in-parliament-to-curtail-powers-of-chief-justice-after-cabinets-approval/articleshow/99069635.cms

--------

Pakistan Removed From EU’s High Risk Third Countries List: Commerce Minister

March 29, 2023

The European Commission has removed Pakistan from the list of its “High Risk Third Countries” that pose significant threats to the financial system of the European Union, according to Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar.

The EC had in Feb 2019 issued a list of 23 countries including Pakistan having weak anti-money laundering and terror financing regimes and asked them to remedy their deficiencies swiftly.

“EU has removed Pakistan from the List of High Risk Third Countries,” the minister said announced via a tweet.

Qamar noted that Pakistani businesses and individuals would no longer be subjected to ‘Enhanced Customer Due Diligence’ by European legal and economic operators.

The countries that are currently on the EC list of High Risk Third Countries.

The EU High Risk Third Countries list is a list of countries that the union considers to have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing frameworks.

What does it mean to be on the list?

According to the EU website, the placement of countries on the list is meant to identify jurisdictions which have strategic deficiencies in their national AML/CFT regimes which pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union and hence the proper functioning of the internal market.

When a country is added to the list, it means that the EU believes that there are significant weaknesses in that country’s legal and regulatory systems for preventing financial crime and terrorist financing.

Once a country is added to the EU high-risk third countries list, certain additional measures are applied to financial transactions involving that country. These measures are designed to mitigate the risks posed by the deficiencies in the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing frameworks.

The specific measures that are applied may include increased customer due diligence requirements, enhanced monitoring of transactions, and restrictions or prohibitions on certain types of financial transactions.

In November last year, the United Kingdom also removed Pakistan from its ‘high-risk third countries’ list through a statutory instrument, effectively meaning that the country recognised Pakistan’s efforts to improve money laundering and terror financing curbs.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1744806/pakistan-removed-from-eus-high-risk-third-countries-list-minister

--------

Blinken Praises Afghan Women’s Struggle for a Better Future

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 29, 2023

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday at the Summit for Democracy 2023 in Washington, once again criticized the Taliban’s repressive policies against Afghan women.

While hosting the session, Blinken said despite the Taliban’s efforts to completely erase women from public life, brave Afghan women have not stopped protesting against the Taliban’s orders.  He said these women are taking massive risks to come to the streets and fight for a better future in Afghanistan. 

Blinken further added that women and girls are at the forefront of the struggle to achieve fundamental human rights and establish democracy around the world.

He specifically mentioned “brave Iranian women” who took to the streets despite serious threats and chanted the slogan “woman, life, freedom” for months, some whom had been imprisoned, and possibly faced heavy penalties for raising their voices.

Over the past two years, the Taliban regime has tried to curb women’s dissatisfaction by arresting, harassing, and threatening Afghan women activists time and again. However, these brave women have not succumbed to the demands of Afghanistan’s de fact authorities and kept protesting for their basic human rights.

On Sunday, March 26, the Taliban arrested a group of women during a peaceful protest in western Kabul, a predominantly Hazara-populated area. Fatima Mohammadi, MlalayeeHasheemi, and RoqiaSayee are among the detainees. 

Blinken said the United States is “committed to supporting women and promoting gender equality around the world through diplomacy.”

Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, the group has deepened restrictions on women and girls’ movement. The gender-based restrictions barring women and girls from education, work, and other activities are of major concern – the implementation of which has utterly erased Afghan women and girls from public life. 

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/blinken-praises-afghan-womens-struggle-for-a-better-future/

--------

 

India

 

Police Deployed In Noida Society After Row Over Taraweeh Namaz In The Under Constructed Space Provided By The Builder

Mar 29, 2023

NOIDA: A police team had to be deployed at Supertech Ecovillage 2 in Greater Noida after a group of residents objected to a gathering for Namaz on Monday evening.

The residents said they did not have any objection to people offering prayers in the society's commercial compound, but alleged that many of them were outsiders. This, they said, had put the society's security at risk.

Around 8.30pm on Monday, a group of residents went to the commercial complex of the society and raised objections when some 50 people started gathering for prayers.

"Since it is the holy month of Ramzan, the builder had provided space on the third floor of the commercial compound for Namaz. Around 30-40 people had been offering prayers there every day. The residents started objecting when they found that some outsiders had also gathered," said Anil Rajput, the SHO of Bisrakh police station.

The residents said allowing outsiders would compromise with the society at Ecovillage. "The entrance to the commercial space is only through the main gate. Of the 30-40 people who have been offering prayers here, only 10 are from the society. Look, we don't have any objection to people offering prayers here, but they should be residents of the society," said a resident.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/police-deployed-in-noida-society-after-row-over-namaz/articleshow/99073924.cms

--------

Early Ramazan Leave, An Hour Before The Completion Of Duty Hours, For Muslim School Staff in Bengal

Snehamoy Chakraborty  

29.03.23

The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education on Tuesday asked the heads of institutions under its jurisdiction to allow Muslim staff to leave their workplaces at 3.30pm — an hour before the completion of duty hours — during the month of Ramazan.

The instruction was issued a day after chief minister Mamata Banerjee assumed charge of the minority affairs and madarsa education department.

“This is to notify for all concerned that the Muslim teaching and non-teaching staff members of the recognised schools of WBBSE of West Bengal, may be permitted to leave school at 3.30pm during the month of Ramzan following the Memorandum of Finance Dept, Audit Branch, Government of West Bengal vide memo No. 7751-P(P), the 2nd August 2011,” read the notification dated March 27.

Several sources said although the order was issued for schoolteachers specifically, the heads of all state government offices had also been instructed to allow Muslim staff to leave at 3.30pm.

A district magistrate in south Bengal confirmed the directive. “Yes, we have been asked to allow Muslim employees to leave offices at 3.30pm during Ramazan. However, we are yet to receive any specific order in writing,” he said.

Although education department officials could not confirm the number of Muslim teaching and non-teaching staff members under the Board, they said the figure would not be negligible.

The instruction suggests that the ruling dispensation wants to reconnect with the minority community after the Trinamul Congress’s defeat in the Sagardighi Assembly bypoll. The Murshidabad constituency with over 65 per cent Muslims elected the Congress candidate who was backed by the Left Front.

Muslims form around 30 per cent of the population in Bengal.

The government took a slew of other measures also to woo the community in districts like Murshidabad and Malda with a major Muslim population.

In Malda, greeting cards from the chief minister ahead of Ramazan were handed to over 9,000 imams and muezzins by the officials and the staff of the district minority affairs department. The clerics were felicitated by the zilla parishad and district administrative officials formally and gifts were handed over to them.

A special drive was taken to raise the number of Hajj pilgrims. For it, awareness and information centres were organised at the panchayat level by the minority affairs department.

Source: TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/early-ramazan-leave-for-muslim-school-staff/cid/1925812

--------

Delhi Police Denies Permission for Ram Yatra, Ramadan Prayers in Jahangirpuri

MARCH 29, 2023

Delhi Police has denied permission to hold the ‘Shree Ram Bhagwan Pratima Yatra’ on the occasion of Ramnavamiand for praying at a park on Ramadan in the Jahangirpuri area, an official said on Tuesday.

On April 16, 2022, clashes broke out between two groups from different communities during a procession taken out to mark Hanuman Jayanti in the Jahangirpuri area. As many as eight police personnel and a civilian sustained injuries in the clashes.

An official order signed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, HQ, Northwest district, issued on Monday, stated that the permission was denied for the Shree Ram Bhagwan Pratima Yatra.

“I am directed to inform you that your request for Shree Ram Bhagwan Pratima Yatra on the occasion of Ramnavami Mahotsav on Thursday has been considered by the competent authority but could not be acceded to from the law and order point of view," the order read.

“There was no previous permission as per police record found from thegroup on this particular event. The permission was not ‘traditional’. Only this particular permission of the Jahangirpuri area has been denied," said a senior police official.

Source:News18

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

https://www.news18.com/india/delhi-police-denies-permission-for-ram-yatra-ramadan-prayers-in-jahangirpuri-7409575.html

--------

Chennai: Communal Harmony on Display as Muslims, Christians Take Part in Padavettamman Temple Consecration

MARCH 28, 2023

As a celebration of religious harmony in Tamil Nadu, members of the Islam and Christianity communities came together to participate in a ritual of gifting and a procession towards the Sri Padavettamman temple, where the temple’s consecration ceremony was held near Tiruvottiyur in Chennai.

The renowned Padavettamman temple is situated in the KVK Kuppam fishing community, located near the TiruvottiyurEnnoor Expressway in Chennai. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Sri Padavettamman, who is revered as the guardian deity of the local fishermen.

In 2021, the construction work to expand and renovate the temple began, led by Tiruvottiyur MLA KP Shankar. The renovation was carried out in a contemporary and stunning style, and it was completed successfully. The temple’s Maha Consecration celebration commenced on March 19, after the conclusion of the Tirupani (service).

According to devotees, special pujas were performed in the five yagashalas set up in the temple. Subsequently, on March 26, the temple priests performed the Maha Consecration ceremony for Goddess Padavettamman, Lord Vinayagar, Lord Murugan and Raja Gopuram, and poured holy water on the gathering devotees.

Source:News18

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

https://www.news18.com/india/chennai-communal-harmony-on-display-as-muslims-christians-take-part-in-padavettamman-temple-consecration-7408321.html

--------

Supreme Court to hear plea to club Gyanvapi suits

29.03.23

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to list for hearing on April 21 a plea seeking consolidation of all suits filed in a Varanasi court pertaining to the Gyanvapi mosque complex row.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud during the morning mentioning time on Tuesday took note of the submissions of lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain, appearing for some Hindu claimants, that the Varanasi district judge had failed to consolidate the suits for hearing.

Jain told the bench, also including Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala, that the Varanasi district judge who was entrusted with the task of hearing the issue by the apex court had deferred the verdict four times. Jain sought appropriate directions from the apex court to the district judge following which the CJI said he would list the matter for hearing on April 21.

Consolidation of suits refers to the court’s power to consolidate/club multiple suits on a particular issue raised by different parties to be heard together and disposed of expeditiously to avoid multiple proceedings in different courts on the same issue.

On November 11, the bench headed by CJI Chandrachud had indefinitely extended its May 17 interim orders directing the Varanasi district magistrate to ensure the protection of the area within Gyanvapi mosque where a shivling was purportedly discovered during a survey ordered by the district court.

The apex court had directed that the purported shivling on the mosque premises be protected but stayed all restrictions imposed by a local court on Muslims offering namaz at the place.

Source:TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/supreme-court-to-hear-plea-to-club-gyanvapi-suits/cid/1925770

--------

Dalit Christians, Muslims hold demonstration for SC status at Jantar Mantar

ABHINAY LAKSHMAN

March 28, 2023

The National Council for Dalit Christians and allied Dalit Christian and Dalit Muslim bodies on March 28 held a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, seeking the inclusion of Dalit Christians and Muslims in the Scheduled Castes list.

As per the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, currently only Dalits of Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh faiths can be categorised as such. There is a batch of petitions, seeking the inclusion of Dalit Christians and Muslims to the list, pending before the Supreme Court. The Union Government has already opposed the inclusion but also formed a Commission of Inquiry to look into the issue.

During the demonstration on Tuesday, the NCDC also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office, demanding that the government resolve this long-standing issue as soon as possible.

In the memorandum, it was submitted that even a Commission set up by the BJP-led NDA government in 2002 had favoured including Dalit Christians in the ambit of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Thus, the NCDC sought the government to change its position in the Supreme Court, disband the Commission, and bring about a Bill to amend the Constitution (SC) Order, 1950 accordingly.

When the Union Government had notified the formation of the Justice K.G. Balakrishnan-led Commission of Inquiry, the NCDC and other allied bodies condemned the move. They had argued that multiple commissions since as far back as 1955 had recommended their inclusion to the SC list and alleged that the Commission was formed only to delay proceedings.

A petitioner from Maharashtra had also approached the Supreme Court challenging the formation of the Commission, but the top court had said the government had all the right to form such commissions.

Now, NCDC officials have said the only way for the movement to proceed is by focusing more on public demonstrations, rallies and meetings.

“After Easter this April, we have planned to send delegates to five regions of the country to gather support for our cause and spread awareness about the conditions we live in,” E.D. Charles, national adviser of the NCDC, told The Hindu.

Officials added that a total of 50 delegates will be sent to east, west, north, south and central India for this work, during which they will also be engaging with Hindu Dalit organisations to gather support for their cause.

“In the northeast too, we intend to start campaigns for our demands from Assam and then spread it to other States,” Mr. Charles said.

S.S. Waghmare, national vice-president of the NCDC, said that the organisation will soon have to engage with the Justice Balakrishnan Commission as well to make its case before the panel.

A delegation comprising some members of the NCDC had visited Justice Balakrishnan after the Commission was formed, Mr. Waghmare said, adding that the work to prepare a representation for the panel is underway.

Source:TheHindu

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

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/dalit-christians-muslims-hold-demonstration-for-sc-status-at-jantar-mantar/article66671833.ece

--------

Hate Speeches: Muslim Intellectuals Who Met RSS Chief Disappointed

28th March 2023

New Delhi: Muslim intellectuals, who held a meeting with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat, are upset over the affirmative action on hate speeches by the Hindu organisation.

“There is virtually no let up in Consistent Barrage of hate speeches, calls for genocide and acts of violence against Muslims,” said the Muslim intellectuals in a letter after the March 7 meeting.

The letter also draws attention towards the “anti-Muslim” marches by Hindu bodies in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra against the minority community which were “full of hatred” and included call for boycott of Muslim businesses.

The Muslim leaders urged the RSS chief to speak on the issue and ask the state government to take strictest action against hate-mongers. The letter is written by SY Qureshi, Zu Shah, Najeeb Jung, Saeed Sherwani and Shahid Siddiqui.

According to sources, the response comes after eminent Muslim citizens and religious organisations met RSS leaders in March at the residence of former Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung and discussed the issue of harmony within the communities.

The Muslim side openly wanted an appeal from the RSS and its affliates against the lynchings besides an end to the hate propaganda on television channels daily.

Indresh Kumar, Krishna Gopal and Ram Lal represented the RSS side.

During the meeting, the RSS had raised the issue of cow slaughter and use of the word ‘kafir’ for the majority in India.

Source:Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/hate-speeches-muslim-intellectuals-who-met-rss-chief-disappointed-2556847/

--------

 

Pakistan

 

No talks with Imran Khan unless he apologises to people: Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif

Mar 28, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Talks between the central government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan will be possible only if the former prime minister admits his wrongdoing and apologises to the people for all the things he has done, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said, Geo News reported.

While addressing the National Assembly on Tuesday, PM Sharif said that he was of the opinion that talks between them will start after Imran Khan says sorry to the public.

He also stated that PTI Chief had violated the International Monetary Fund agreement. Pakistan's debt has surged by 70 per cent during the tenure of his government, Pakistan PM claimed and added not a single project was initiated, reported ARY News.

Talking about Khan, PM Shehbaz said that PTI Chief first blamed the US for removing him from the post and then took a U-turn and said that the conspiracy was not planted by America.

The premier observed that differences in the society are increasing and one segment of society thinks that Imran Khan's government was removed through 'US intervention', and the incumbent government is 'imported.'

Friendly countries got annoyed with Pakistan during Imran Khan's regime, claimed the premier and added that they are trying to repair ties with the friendly countries and the superpower US.

While addressing the assembly, Sharif came up with another claim that Khan has hired firms for lobbying in the United States, according to ARY News.

Imran Khan used to say they [opposition] members are 'thieves' and they should not meet with the foreign envoys but now he is meeting with the foreign ambassadors in opposition.

Lobbying firms are giving statements against Pakistan, which is not acceptable, the premier maintained.

No one is making him accountable for 'denting' Pakistan's narrative. "Enough is enough ... now the law will take its course."

The prime minister also criticised 'social trollers' of Imran Khan for politicizing the Lasbela tragedy in which a sitting Lieutenant General and other high-rank officers were killed while carrying out relief and rescue operations in Lasbela, as per the report in ARY News.

In August, the six army personnel on board including Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali died in a crash that was caused due to bad weather, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/no-talks-with-imran-khan-unless-he-apologises-to-public-pakistan-pm-shehbaz-sharif/articleshow/99069468.cms

--------

Chief of PTI splinter group offers his platform to Tareen’s bloc

Zulqernain Tahir

March 29, 2023

LAHORE: One day after a group of politicians — mostly belonging to south Punjab and led by sugar baron Jahangir Khan Tareen — mulled a proposition floated by the powers that be to set up a ‘parallel’ Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to contain ousted prime minister Imran Khan’s party ahead of the next elections, the PTI-Nazriati (PTI-N) chai­r­man offered them his party’s platform on Tuesday.

“I invite Mr Tareen for talks if he and his group members are interested in doing politics from the platform of PTI-N. My party’s doors are open for Tar­een and other ‘clean politicians’ to achieve what we could not in Khan’s PTI which is a ‘one man’ show,” PTI-N chairman Akhtar Iqbal Dar said.

Mr Dar said he got PTI-N registered with the Elec­tion Commission before the 2018 elections after fal­ling out with Imran Khan. “I quit PTI and launched PTI-N after opportunists took over PTI.

“Imran Khan does not respect anyone and takes all decisions on his own,” Mr Dar said. He was a classmate in college of the PML-N’s Saad Rafique and PTI’s Riaz Fatayana.

Akhtar Iqbal Dar, who hails from Sheikhupura, further said the PTI-N would become ‘relevant’ before the next elections.

The Tareen group held a huddle in Lahore on Monday in which disgruntled MNAs and former Punjab MPAs, who were disqualified after voting for the PML-N candidate in the chief minister’s election last year, participated.

Counterweight to PTI

The Tareen group has been given a go-ahead to focus on breaking the PTI, especially in the light of a possible disqualification of Imran Khan in any of the cases pending against him.

A parallel platform would have all the support of the establishment to dent the PTI.

Former Punjab minister Ajmal Cheema, who attended Tareen’s huddle, told Dawn on Tuesday that the meeting discussed the political situation in the country and agreed to make the group’s strategy in keeping with the rapidly changing scenario.

Asked if the Tareen group was considering doing politics from the PTI-N platform to counter the PTI in next elections, Cheema said: “All options are open, but the final decision rests with Mr Tareen.”

He further said currently the group was an ally of the PML-N and would make any other decision at an “appropriate time”.

Imran Khan’s disqualification in any of the cases he is facing may make the Tareen group more relevant as a force to weaken the PTI, members of the group believe. “Imran’s disqualification will give us immense pleasure. It will be the happiest day for us,” Ajmal Cheema said. “The PTI chief is himself responsible for what he and his party are facing today. His ego and one-man show have landed him in a blind alley.”

Mr Tareen, who was once the most trusted lieutenant of Imran Khan and helped the PTI form government in Punjab in 2018, fell out with him after the latter allowed the Federal Investigation Agency to lay hands on him (Tareen) in the sugar scam case in early 2021.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1744771/chief-of-pti-splinter-group-offers-his-platform-to-tareens-bloc

--------

Wary of China, Pakistan opts out of democracy summit in Washington

Mar 29, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, the closest ally of China, has decided to skip the Democracy Summit that begins in Washington on Tuesday, opting instead to engage with the US bilaterally to strengthen democratic values, the Foreign Office here said. The virtual summit is co-sponsored by the US Department of State and USAID on the theme of "Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy".

China and Turkiye have not been invited to the virtual summit. Pakistan's participation in the summit has been a subject of intense debate for some time now.

Islamabad chose to skip the event so that it does not potentially upset its "all-weather ally" China, officials said.

"The Summit process is now at an advanced stage and therefore, Pakistan would engage bilaterally with the US and co-hosts of the Summit to promote and strengthen democratic principles and values and work towards advancing human rights and the fight against corruption," Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson told the media.

However, the Foreign Office thanked the US for inviting Pakistan to attend the Second Summit for Democracy.

"We value our friendship with the US. Under this Biden Administration, this relationship has widened and expanded substantially. We remain committed to further solidifying this relationship for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region," the Foreign Office said.

The three-day event will showcase the role of cities and sub-national governments in the affirmation of democratic values and the renewal of democracy worldwide.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will chair virtually a panel session on "A Just and Lasting Peace in Ukraine" featuring Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Cash-strapped Pakistan is awaiting a much-needed USD 1.1 billion tranche of funding from the Washington-based global money lender, which was originally due to be disbursed in November last year.

The funds are part of a USD 6.5 billion bailout package the IMF approved in 2019, which analysts say is critical if Pakistan is to avoid defaulting on external debt obligations.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/wary-of-china-pakistan-opts-out-of-democracy-summit-in-washington/articleshow/99071401.cms

--------

Pakistan Takes Steps to Facilitate Border Crossing with Afghanistan

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 29, 2023

Pakistan is taking measures to facilitate the movement of Afghan nationals across the border, a move which is highly appreciated by the Afghan interim government.

Currently, Pakistan has five crossing points operational with Afghanistan with an average daily movement of approximately 13,000 individuals, including pedestrians, traders, tourists, and transporters.

Despite the lack of resources and facilities, Pakistan is managing around 100 counters at these crossing points to ensure smooth processing of the heavy inflow of cross-border movement.

It is believed that Pakistan is the only neighboring country that has hosted millions of Afghans over the past four decades and still allows journalists, patients, and those who wish to visit their family members without a visa or legal travel documents.

Furthermore, exclusive counters have been set for women and patients to facilitate their entry at the crossing points.

It is also stated the Pakistani government allows Afghan nationals to extend their visas and stay in Pakistan for longer, which may not be offered in Afghanistan’s other neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, roughly 5-6 Afghan applicants are refused entry due to insufficient or no documents or filling in the wrong application type.

Since the return of the Taliban to power, Afghanistan’s neighboring countries Iran and Pakistan in particular witnessed new waves of Afghan migrants. Thousands of Afghan refugees entered Pakistan mostly through illegal channels and without visas or legal stay documents.

The current dire economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has forced many Afghans to flee the country and enter Pakistan hoping for a livelihood and a safe place to live.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/pakistan-takes-steps-to-facilitate-border-crossing-with-afghanistan/

--------

Balochistan lawmakers criticise delay in release of Zakat funds

Saleem Shahid

March 28, 2023

QUETTA: Balochistan Assembly members have criticised the provincial government for not releasing Zakat funds even after the start of Ramazan.

The lawmakers said the decision of the religious affairs department has aggravated the suffering of the poor.

The issue was taken up by NasarullahZerey of the opposition PkMAP party during Monday’s session presided over by Speaker Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali.

Soon after the chair deferred the question hour due to the absence of ministers concerned, Mr Zerey took the floor to draw the house’s attention towards the matter. He added Balochistan has Rs2 billion in Zakat funds but the religious affairs department secretary was reluctant to release the funds to district and union zakat committees for distribution.

He said poor people were visiting zakat committees’ offices and asking for help in the holy month of Ramazan. “The chief minister should take notice of the situation and ask the officials concerned to immediately release the funds,” the PkMAP lawmaker demanded.

He also pointed out that the administration was imposing fines on profiteers but they weren’t being issued any receipt to deposit the fine. The officials are receiving fine payments on the spot, Mr Zerey claimed.

He said that the commissioner should be summoned to explain the situation.

Mir Ahmed Nawaz Baloch of BNP-Mengal also spoke on the zakat fund and said the issue should be referred to the concerned standing committee for a probe. The speaker summoned the religious affairs department secretary in the standing committee to explain the reason for not releasing the required funds.

Ziarat bill

Earlier, the House passed the Ziarat Valley Deve­lopment Authority Bill moved by Planning and Development Min­ister Noor Muhammad Dummar.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1744596/balochistan-lawmakers-criticise-delay-in-release-of-zakat-funds

--------

 

Europe

 

British business ministers announce working group on Islamic finance

March 28, 2023

LONDON: The British Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch, and Minister of State in the Department for Business and Trade Lord Johnson announced on Monday the launch of new working group on Islamic Finance at a “Great British Iftar” at Lancaster House in London.

The working group will help realize the Secretary of State’s priority of making the UK an undisputed investment destination by ensuring the UK is a global hub for Islamic finance, a statement said.

Johnson will lead a series of roundtables with the world’s leading Islamic banks to map out a path for the UK achieving its goal of becoming a global hotspot of Islamic finance.

The inaugural Great British Iftar included ambassadors from Morocco, Malaysia and several other Muslim majority countries.

Senior executives from investment firms, CEOs of major British businesses, and founders and entrepreneurs of exciting British firms were also in attendance, as were Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and government ministers.

Sheikh Hani Saad Mahmoud, Imam at the historic Al Azhar Mosque in Cairo, travelled from Egypt to lead prayers at sunset.

Badenoch gave a speech at the Iftar celebrating the flourishing trade and investment relationship with the Muslim world.

She made clear the amazing contribution business of all sizes make to the UK economy and the support her department can provide to make them the engines of British exports into new markets.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2277251/world

--------

Greece arrests 2 Pakistanis for planning anti-Semitic attacks

March 28, 2023

ATHENS: Two young Pakistanis of Iranian origin have been arrested by Greek police over planned anti-Semitic attacks in central Athens, as Israel accused Tehran of being behind the plot.

Israel said it was a fresh attempt by Iran “to promote terror against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad.”

“After the investigation of the suspects in Greece, Mossad helped untangle the intelligence of the network, it’s operational methods and ties to Iran,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said referring to Israel’s national intelligence agency.

“As part of the investigation, it emerged that the infrastructure in Greece was part of a broad Iranian network, operated from Iran toward many countries,” the statement said.

Greek police spokeswoman Konstantina Dimoglidou said the “mastermind” of the cell is “a Pakistani who lives outside Europe.”

A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the person lived in Iran.

“After coordinated actions by the Greek police and the National Intelligence Service, a terrorist network was dismantled which, from abroad, was planning strikes against carefully selected targets on Greek territory,” a police statement said.

Police said the network had “already chosen the target of the attack” and were planning how to execute it.

Greece’s Jewish community numbers around 5,000. The government has good relations with Israel, including a number of security and military agreements.

The Greek police source said the two Pakistanis of Iranian origin were aged 27 and 29 and were planning attacks on areas frequented by Israelis in central Athens.

The source said the men were targeting a building which houses a synagogue and a Jewish restaurant.

The mobile phones of the two arrested men had allowed investigators to capture conversations, videos and sketches of the places targeted, according to the same source.

The country has not been the target of any terrorist attacks in recent years.

Greek police said the suspects were trying to undermine state security and its “international relations.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Greece’s under-fire prime minister announced elections would be held on May 21, as popular anger seethes over last month’s train tragedy that killed 57 people.

PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose four-year term is to end in July, is seeking re-election on pledges of safety improvements after the nation’s worst rail disaster and strengthening the economy.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2277236/world

--------

Time For British Remake Of Amar Akbar Anthony?

Amit Roy   |   London  

29.03.23

Humza Yousaf, a Muslim born in Glasgow to Pakistani immigrants, has received congratulations from Britain’s Hindu Prime Minister on being elected leader of the Scottish National Party in succession to Nicola Sturgeon, who caused shock by resigning from the post last month after eight years in power.

Humza wants Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom while Rishi Sunak wants to preserve the union, but the Prime Minister said the two should focus instead on “issues that matter to people”, such as reducing inflation.

Humza, the first head of a devolved government from an ethnic minority background, was due to be confirmed as Scotland’s First Minister in a vote in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he is to be sworn in at a brief ceremony at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

A joke has been doing the rounds that with a Christian King, Charles III, in Buckingham Palace, a Hindu Prime Minister installed at 10 Downing Street, and Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, having been mayor of London since 2016, the time has come for a British remake of the 1977 Bollywood classic on religious tolerance, Amar Akbar Anthony.

It is also worth mentioning that Anas Sarwar, who is the son of Mohammed Sarwar, who was elected Britain’s first Muslim MP in 1997 when he won Glasgow Govan for Labour, was elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party in 2021.

Anas, who went to Hutchesons’ Grammar private school in Glasgow, where Humza was two years behind him, said that despite their political differences, it was important to recognise this was a “significant moment” for Scotland, and offered his “sincere congratulations” to Humza and his family.

Humza’s victory was announced on Monday at the Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh. With a 70.1 per cent turnout of the SNP, Humza, who was health and justice secretary under Sturgeon, secured 24,336 votes to 20,559 received by Kate Forbes, the finance secretary. Community safety minister Ash Regan was eliminated after getting 5,599 votes.

When second preference votes were counted, Humza got 26,032 votes (52.1 per cent) to 20,559 polled by Forbes (47.9 per cent).

Humza’s mother, ShaaistaBhutta, and his wife Nadia El-Nakla, an SNP councillor in Dundee who had come with her two daughters, both wiped away tears as they witnessed history in the making.

Humza was born in Glasgow on April 7, 1985, and studied politics at Glasgow University. His father, Mian Muzaffar Yousaf Arain, was born in Mian Channu in Punjab, Pakistan, and emigrated from the city with his family in the 1960s, eventually working as an accountant. His mother was born in Nairobi to a family of Punjabi Arain descent. Humza’s paternal grandfather worked in the Singer sewing machine factory in Clydebank in the 1960s.

Humza thanked his grandparents for making “the trip from the Punjab to Scotland over 60 years ago”, and said: “We should all take pride in the fact that today we have sent a clear message, that your colour of skin, your faith, is not a barrier to leading the country we all call home.”

Commenting on Humza’s election, MonojitChatterji, professor of economics at Cambridge University and an Edinburgh resident who currently happens to be in Calcutta, said: “That this has happened in a country with a small proportion of BME (Black Minority Ethnic) voters will set the tone for the future — hopefully beyond Scotland, too.

“Scotland is a deeply divided nation. How will Humza make the push for independence, especially with those who are not SNP supporters? He can win an election but can he provide effective leadership of a divided nation? The next elections for Holyrood are in 2026, so he has time to build a winning platform. But following Sturgeon is a tough act. For Scotland’s sake, one must wish him well.”

Mukulika Banerjee, associate professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics, where she was inaugural director of its South Asia Centre from 2015 to 2020, and author of Cultivating Democracy: Politics and Citizenship in Agrarian India, said: “The election of Humza Yousuf as the next leader of the SNP holds several lessons for democracies everywhere, but especially India.

“While his Pakistani Muslim heritage was recognised, this was never a significant issue in the contest. His record as a minister and alignment with the outgoing leader Nicola Sturgeon’s position on issues were discussed instead.

“He noted that his imminent appointment as First Minister is one that his family could never have dreamed would happen, but that it is a testament to how British politics works.

Source: TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/time-for-british-remake-of-amar-akbar-anthony/cid/1925759

--------

At least 2 killed in knife attack at Islamic center in Lisbon

Alyssa McMurtry 

28.03.2023 -

OVIEDO, Spain

Two people were killed and more were injured in a knife attack at the Muslim Ismaili Center in Lisbon on Tuesday.

Portuguese police say they shot the attacker, who was wielding a large knife, after he disobeyed their orders to stop attacking.

The shot wounded the attacker, who was arrested and hospitalized.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa expressed his “solidarity and condolences to the Ismaili community and the families of the victims.”

He said authorities are investigating the incident, and it is still “premature” to jump to any conclusions about the motives of the attack.

The two victims were women, according to Portuguese broadcaster RTP. One, 49, was the manager of the Aga Khan Foundation that helps refugees in Portugal. The other was a 24-year-old volunteer at the center.

RTP also reports that the attacker was from Afghanistan and that three of his daughters attended Portuguese classes at the center.

The Ismailli Center released a statement saying they had no information about the causes of the attack and conveyed their condolences to the families of the victims.

Ismaili, a sect belonging to the Shia branch of Islam, emerged after the death of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq in 765.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/at-least-2-killed-in-knife-attack-at-islamic-center-in-lisbon/2857737

--------

UN human rights chief calls for ‘decisive steps’ to clarify fate of missing Syrians

EPHREM KOSSAIFY

March 29, 2023

NEW YORK: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk on Tuesday called on the international community to take “decisive steps” to help clarify the fate and whereabouts of missing people in Syria, seek the release of those still detained in the country’s prisons, and provide their families with adequate support.

He urged UN member states to consider establishing a new, dedicated entity that would help bring answers and support to the families of the many thousands of disappeared, and to survivors — “bringing clarity about what has happened to all the people of this wounded and exhausted country.

“We owe the people of Syria no less,” Turk told an informal meeting of the General Assembly to hear a briefing by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on missing people in Syria, adding that the pursuit of justice for missing persons is a prerequisite for lasting peace and reconciliation in the country.

Syria’s permanent representative to the UN Bassam Sabbagh had last week, during a security council meeting, attacked the pursuit of such an international institution, describing it as a “hostile” campaign by the West that is weaponizing the issue of missing people. And to “launch another politicized international mechanism, whose sole aim is to distort facts and increase pressure on a country that has been fighting terrorism on behalf of all the peoples of the world.”

But Turk told Arab News after the meeting he still hopes “the realization will set in with the Syrian government” that there can be no future for the country without addressing the issue of the missing people.

“We have heard from five countries (at the GA meeting) that have gone through conflict, who have had the experience of missing people, who all emphasize one point: You cannot go into any addressing of grievances of your population if you don’t address the fate of missing people.

“I myself having worked for Syrian refugees for many years, I know how important it is for them.”

More than 100,000 Syrians have gone missing or forcibly disappeared at the hands of both the Syrian regime, opposition forces, and terrorist groups since the war began 12 years ago.

A large number of nongovernmental, international, humanitarian, and family organizations work on the Syria missing persons issue, collecting information and following up on cases, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Commission on Missing Persons, and the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. But the lack of coordination leaves victims and survivors and their families in a state of uncertainty, searching for any evidence of their loved ones, and not knowing where to give data and information.

Families have been pushing for a dedicated, independent international institution to clarify their loved ones’ fate that is commensurate with the scale and complexity of the crisis.

Guided by their views and advice, the UN secretary-general issued a report last year that concluded that such an international institution – tasked with a robust mandate to clarify the fate of the missing and provide support for their families — would be the cornerstone of a comprehensive solution to the crisis.

Speaking at the meeting, Guterres urged member states “to act” and work on resolving “this deeply painful situation with determination and urgency,” and called on the Syrian government and all other parties to the conflict to cooperate.

Describing the crisis of missing persons in Syria, Turk painted for the gathering a picture of despair that is “crushing in its enormity,” where children are growing with a “gaping absence where their father should be,” where associating with the family of a missing person could bring on more violence on the community. And where searching for loved ones exposes families to risks of exploitation, physical threat and extortion, demands for payment for information about their whereabouts that may later prove to be false.

He said survivors who have been released after arbitrary detention in Syria have spoken of rampant torture and sexual violence, where “death has been a close and constant neighbor.” After their release, Turk added, many women and girls are shunned by their families on the assumption that they have been raped and so are seen as bringing dishonor on their relatives.

“This harrowing accumulation of trauma has led many women survivors of disappearance to disappear again — by leaving the country — or even to try to kill themselves.”

“The pain, the loss, and the injustice are simply too great.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2277471/world

--------

Hosting PKK/YPG terrorists 'casts shadow over French Senate's respectability': Türkiye

Diyar Guldogan

28.03.2023

The French Senate besmirched its reputation after hosting PKK/YPG terrorists and "awarding them with a medal of honor," the Turkish National Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

"The hosting of the representatives of the bloody PKK/YPG terrorist organization in the parliament of NATO member France casts a shadow over its respectability," the ministry said.

The statement came a day after the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned French Ambassador Herve Magro to strongly condemn Saturday's act.

The attacks of the PKK/PYD/YPG and the so-called SDF against Türkiye and Syrians, and their separatist and destabilizing activities in the region were brought to the attention of Magro, Turkish diplomatic sources said.

"This move is against the spirit of alliance and also hollows out NATO's fight against terrorism," the ministry said, adding that the Turkish forces will continue their fight against all terrorist organizations.

Ankara expects French authorities to not give credit to the efforts that provide international legitimacy to the PKK terror group's extensions in Syria.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/hosting-pkk-ypg-terrorists-casts-shadow-over-french-senates-respectability-turkiye/2857348

--------

 

North America

 

Biden admin. should have informed Congress earlier about Syria attack: Pentagon chief

28 March ,2023

A senior US cabinet official admitted Tuesday that the Biden administration should have notified lawmakers earlier than it did about a deadly drone attack on American forces in Syria last week.

“We should have notified you earlier,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

Austin vowed to “improve our performance” after Republican lawmakers grilled him over an almost 13-hour delay between the time of the attack and when US lawmakers were notified.

A series of tit-for-tat exchanges occurred between Iran-backed militias and US forces last Thursday following the initial drone strike, which killed an American contractor and wounded six other Americans.

While the administration knew about the attack, US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Gen. Erik Kurilla was testifying in front of the House Armed Services Committee. No mention was made of the attack or the ensuing retaliatory attack, which the US president ordered. In a room next door, senators discussed repealing a 2002 war powers act, Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Repealing the AUMF has been put up in a bipartisan effort by Senators Tim Kaine and Todd Young, questioning the president’s authority to bypass Congress and send troops into combat.

But there has been some pushback on repealing the law with Republicans, so far, failing to get amendments passed.

The Constitution states that US Congress has the right to declare war, not the president.

Austin, the Pentagon chief, rejected the notion that was any connection between when lawmakers were notified about last week’s attack and “your vote” on AUMF amendments.

Defending the administration’s efforts, National Security Council (NSC) Spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement, “All on the same day: we got hit, we planned and executed our response, and we notified Congress.”

Iran undeterred

The Biden administration has come under increased scrutiny since the attacks last week. Al Arabiya English was the first to report that the US had only responded to three of 83 Iran-backed attacks on US troops since January 2021.

Following the retaliatory US strike on facilities used by Iran’s Quds Force in Syria, another barrage of rockets and drones targeted different US bases in Syria. Washington did not respond to those, Austin told lawmakers on Tuesday.

CENTCOM said three attacks targeted US and Coalition forces in Syria on the evening March 24th and March 25th. A main Syrian war monitoring group said US strikes killed at least 19 fighters.

President Joe Biden ordered the US military to hold off on a second round of attacks against the Iran-backed militias late Friday, the Wall Street Journal cited a senior US official as saying.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/28/Biden-admin-should-have-informed-Congress-earlier-about-Syria-attack-Pentagon-chief

--------

US designates individuals, including Assad's cousins, in drug export

ServetGunerigok

28.03.2023

WASHINGTON

The US Treasury Department, in coordination with the UK, designated six individuals Tuesday for supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime and the production or export of Captagon, a dangerous amphetamine.

Among those designated are two cousins of Assad and Lebanese individuals.

The agency said in a statement that the designations also highlight the important role of Lebanese drug traffickers, some of whom it said maintain ties to Hezbollah, in facilitating the export of Captagon.

"The trade in Captagon is estimated to have become a billion-dollar illicit enterprise," it said.

Samer Kamal al-Assad, a cousin of Assad, oversees key Captagon production facilities in regime-controlled Latakia. Wassim Badi al-Assad, another cousin of Assad, is designated for supporting the Syrian army in various roles, according to the statement.

Hassan Muhammad Daqqou, a Lebanese-Syrian dual national, who is dubbed by the media as "The King of Captagon," has been linked to drug trafficking operations carried out by the Syrian army's Fourth Division.

"Syria has become a global leader in the production of highly addictive Captagon, much of which is trafficked through Lebanon," OFAC Director Andrea Gacki said in the statement.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-designates-individuals-including-assads-cousins-in-drug-export/2857808

--------

Sunny Hostin suggests Chinese internment of Muslims not as bad as U.S. mass incarceration

March 28, 2023

"The View" co-host Sunny Hostin compared the Chinese internment of Uyghur Muslims to the U.S. on Tuesday and said "they're putting more Black people in jail here."

Hostin said she doesn't see American exceptionalism due to the threats her children face as minorities.

"I don’t see that part of American exceptionalism. I’m sorry. I think this country has a lot of problems. They could be solved. Yes, maybe they are putting Muslims in jail in… China," she began, turning to co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin. "They're putting a lot more Black people in jail here."

Farah Griffin said earlier in the segment that if America is not the number-one global superpower, it was going to be China and slammed it for its dreadful human rights record. The Chinese Communist Party has long claimed its re-education camps are voluntary, but its forced labor, sterilization and killing of the subjugated peoples has been deemed a genocide internationally.

"It’s going to be communist China. A country that the government is imprisoning Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps. It’s a deeply racist government. It's a human rights-violating government, it is a government where if they're the leaders of the free world, we're not the free world the way that we are right now," Farah Griffin said.

Farah Griffin also asked Hostin what country she believed would be "better" on the issue of race, and what country she'd rather live in.

"Where I'm not a minority, I felt real good in Ghana," Hostin responded, before co-host Whoopi Goldberg said the issue was not about race.

"I don’t think this is about race," she said. "This is really about all of the things that we believed we were doing that we don’t do anymore. We don’t teach people that it is your right, your birthright to vote in this country. It’s a gift. We don’t teach people what their rights are as human beings."

The hosts were discussing a poll that found the importance of traditional values has plummeted across the U.S.

A Wall Street Journal poll found that just 39% of Americans say their religious faith is very important to them, and just 38% say patriotism is very important.

The WSJ compared those numbers to the first time it ran the poll in 1998 when 62% of Americans said religion was very important to them, and 70% said patriotism was very important.

Hostin criticized American exceptionalism in February and said it hasn't met the "dream" and "doesn't apply" to everyone.

Source: FoxNews

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

https://www.foxnews.com/media/sunny-hostin-suggests-chinese-internment-muslims-not-bad-us-mass-incarceration

--------

 

South Asia

 

237 People Killed In Afghanistan Without Trial After Taliban Takeover

29 Mar, 2023

At least 237 people have been killed without any trial in Afghanistan since the Taliban came back into power, Khaama Press reported quoting Amnesty International.

UK-headquartered NGO Amnesty International filed a 416-page report discussing the situation in Afghanistan in the past two years from 2021-2022 and the generic assessment of the international organization indicates that the human rights situation is rapidly deteriorating in this country.

The report contains that contains data from November 18 to December 16, showing that more than 100 people were flogged in public in sports stadiums all over Afghanistan. In December, an alleged criminal was publically executed in western Farah province for the first time. The international community had described the execution as a “hateful act”.

The Amnesty International report also mentions that restrictions were imposed on the lives of ordinary people, women and girl’s education, along with restrictions on media in Afghanistan. The ways to improve the human rights situation have come to a standstill, Khamma Press reported quoting Amnesty International.

Moreover, incidents of arbitrary arrests, not allowing peaceful protests, oppressing and killing protestors in Afghanistan are on the rise and the de facto authorities are trying to implement these acts illegally.

Amnesty International further stated in the report that the previous government employees, National Resistant Front (NRF) members, and those who are not accepting the orders from the Taliban are the ones targeted.

The report quotes UNAMA to indicate that more than 2,100 innocent civilians were killed and injured in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan between August 2021 and June 2022.

It may be noted that the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021, at least 20 years after US troops had dethroned them. Ever since they came to power, Women’s rights in the country have been one of the worst hit.

The Taliban had intrusively disrupted a women’s press conference in November last year which was held in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Afghanistan and also arrested several women journalists, according to Khaama Press.

Source:PratidinTime

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

https://www.pratidintime.com/world/237-people-killed-in-afghanistan-without-trial-after-taliban-takeover

--------

UN says Afghan girls' education activist MatiullahWesa held in Kabul

Mar 29, 2023

ISLAMABAD: An Afghan rights activist who has campaigned for girls' education has been arrested in Kabul, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The UN mission in Afghanistan said MatiullahWesa, founder and president of Pen Path - a local nongovernmental group that travels across Afghanistan with a mobile school and library - was arrested in the Afghan capital on Monday.

Local reports said Taliban security forces detained Wesa after his return from a trip to Europe.

The UN urged authorities in Kabul to clarify Wesa's whereabouts, reasons for his arrest and ensure his access to legal representation and contact with family. There was no immediate word from the Taliban on the arrest.

Since their takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban have imposed restrictions on women's and minority rights. Girls are barred from school beyond the sixth grade and last year, the Taliban banned women from going to university.

Wesa's brother, Attaullah Wesa, said the Taliban forces surrounded their family's house on Tuesday. They beat up the Wesas' other two brothers, insulted their mother and confiscated the arrested activist's mobile phone.

Social media activists later created a hashtag to campaign for Wesa's release. Many posts condemned his detention and demanded immediate freedom for the activist.

Wesa has been outspoken in his demands for girls to have the right to go to school and learn, and has repeatedly called on the Taliban-led government to reverse its bans. His most recent tweets about female education coincided with the start of the new academic year in Afghanistan, with girls remaining shut out of classrooms and campuses.

Wesa and others from the Pen Path launched a door-to-door campaign to promote girls' education.

"We have been volunteering for 14 years to reach people and convey the message for girls education, Wesa had said in recent posts. "During the past 18 months we campaigned house to house in order to eliminate illiteracy and to end all our miseries," he added.

The U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, said he was alarmed by Wesa's detention.

"His safety is paramount & all his legal rights must be respected," Bennett tweeted.

Also Tuesday, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near the foreign ministry in Kabul the previous day, when six people were killed and about a dozen wounded. It was the second time this year that IS staged an attack near the ministry. In mid-January, the militant group killed five people there and wounded several others.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/un-says-afghan-girls-education-activist-matiullah-wesa-held-in-kabul/articleshow/99071375.cms

--------

Afghan orphaned toddler Maryam finally reunited with family

Mar 29, 2023

DOHA: An Afghan toddler who was bundled onto an evacuation flight from Kabul in 2021 after her parents died in a bomb blast has been reunited with relatives at a Qatar orphanage.

The little girl, now believed to be about 21 months old and given the name Maryam by the orphanage, saw her uncle Yaar Mohammad Niazi and her brother and two sisters again for the first time.

"I did not know if we would ever find her again, and now I am overcome" with emotion, said Niazi, aged about 40 and with four children of his own. "When I held her, I just told myself 'she is alive'."

The tearful reunion ended a desperate search for Maryam since the chaotic days of August 2021 when the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital, sparking a panicked mass flight.

Maryam's parents were among those trying to flee with their four children when they were killed in a huge bomb blast and gun battle at Kabul airport that claimed 183 lives on August 26.

The little girl, whose birth name was Aliza, was only weeks old at the time her mother and father died in the attack that was claimed by the local chapter of the Islamic State group.

Amid the carnage, a teenage boy grabbed her and carried her onto a US military flight taking Afghans and stranded expatriates to Doha, a Qatari official said.

She found a new home in Qatar's Dreama orphanage, while her elder brother and two sisters stayed back in Afghanistan.

Maryam was the youngest of about 200 Afghan children to be evacuated alone on the flights that carried tens of thousands out of Afghanistan.

"We took them in and gave them specialised care," said the Qatari official, speaking on condition of not being identified.

"We worked with UNICEF to see if there were any family members."

The UN children's agency was quickly besieged with frantic requests from families back in Afghanistan looking for missing relatives.

DNA tests

Niazi and the other three orphaned children were back in Afghanistan, where the Taliban installed a government for what they named the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Six weeks after the massive Kabul bomb blast, UN sleuths thought they had the baby's identity.

"They contacted us to carry out DNA tests," the Qatari official said.

Transporting the genetic test results between Doha and Kabul to seek a match took more time, as Niazi waited for months to get a passport from the new Taliban authorities so he could get his family to Qatar.

Now arrived in the Gulf state, Niazi said he would start the process of moving to the United States, together with his wife and the total of eight children now in their care.

"We just want to be somewhere safe," he told AFP.

Social workers will give him and the siblings gradually increased access to Maryam, so they can slowly get to know each other.

Niazi said the little girl will keep her new name because it is the one she answers to.

Other children at the Qatar orphanage have also been reunited with family members.

A three-year-old boy there has joined his father in Canada after a Qatari diplomat recognised him from a missing-child photo.

Most of the other children were aged at least eight, and many have now either joined relatives or been adopted by families in the United States, Canada or Europe.

At one stage thousands of Afghans were in temporary shelters in Doha waiting for countries to take them. Now there are only about 15 left, the Qatari official said.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/afghan-orphaned-toddler-maryam-finally-reunited-with-family/articleshow/99071478.cms

--------

Karzai Calls on Taliban to Release Education Activist

By Fidel Rahmati

March 28, 2023

Former President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday called on the acting government of the Taliban to release education activist MatiullahWesa.

Karzai, in a tweet, said he was disappointed about the arrest of MatiuhullaWesa, an education activist and appreciated Pen path’s activities in Afghanistan.

“I am disappointed about the arrest of education activist MatiullahWesa by the Taliban” and added that “Wesa and Pen Path have conducted appreciable activities for education in various parts of Afghanistan since 2009, Karzai said in a tweet.

“I see Wesa and Pen Path’s activities in favour of Afghanistan and calls on the Taliban to make utmost efforts to free the activist and cooperate with him to expand his activities,” he added.

Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, also expressed his concern over the arrest of Pen Path founder Wesa and called on Taliban authorities that “his safety is paramount and all his legal rights must be respected,” said in a tweet on Tuesday.

In addition, the UN Mission in Afghanistan also called on the Taliban to release MatiullahWesa and asked to “clarify his whereabouts, the reasons for his arrest and ensure his access to legal representation and contact with family.”

Wesa, a famous education and human rights activist who advocated for girls’ education and founder of Pen Path, was arrested by the Taliban on Tuesday close to his house in Khoshal Khan in the west of Kabul.

Wesa has created educational opportunities for thousands of girls across Afghanistan since 2009.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/karzai-calls-on-taliban-to-release-education-activist/

--------

Indian Govt Gave Stranded Afghan Cadets A Lifeline Last Year. Now They Fear Being ‘Handed To Taliban’

PIA KRISHNANKUTTY

29 March, 2023

New Delhi: An Afghan flag and military uniforms hang from a dusty window of a 2BHK apartment in Malviya Nagar. Six young Afghan military cadets have been living in the cramped flat for the past two months as illegal immigrants. They discuss whether to cook something fresh for iftar or eat leftovers from the previous night. It’s likely to be the latter — they’re living on savings and jobs are hard to come by with invalid visas.

It was quite a different story last year.

In February 2022, the Indian government offered a one-year training programme in English and marketing for around 80 Afghan cadets following the completion of their courses in various Indian military academies.

The eligible cadets were already pursuing higher military education in India, studying at prestigious institutions such as the National Defence Academy (NDA), Indian Military Academy (IMA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA) prior to the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan in 2021.

One of the beneficiaries of the programme was one 27-year-old, who is now living in the Malviya Nagar flat described earlier.

When the Taliban returned to power in August of 2021, he was enrolled in the IMA in Dehradun. After completing his course in December, he was relieved when the government of India offered him a one-year, all-expenses-paid course in English and business marketing at Punjab’s Lovely Professional University, starting 7 February, 2022.

“The Indian government offered us a lifeline last year but now they have left us out to dry. The moment the course in Punjab ended in February 2023, our applications for visa extension were rejected,” he told ThePrint.

His story echoes that of many Afghan cadets whose courses ended in February but who want to stay on in India since they fear they may have a target on their backs at home. Some say their visa extension applications have been rejected, while others claim that their existing visas were cancelled by India’s Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO). They now fear deportation.

“We are now living here as illegal immigrants. We are scared that India will give us back to the Taliban as a ‘gift’,” he said.

However, sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told ThePrint that this was not the case.

“We have been regularly extending visas of all Afghan nationals. Some have returned to Afghanistan voluntarily. Visas will be extended and nobody will be forced to go back,” an MEA source said.

The Indian government has not had a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover, but last June a “technical” team was sent to the mission in Kabul.

Earlier this month, foreign ministry officials of the Taliban government were expected to take part in an online training course organised under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) — the leading capacity-building platform of the MEA.

There are also reports that the Taliban has begun pushing India to allow it to station a representative in its embassy in New Delhi. One of the proposed candidates is Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a controversial spokesperson for the Taliban regime’s foreign ministry who has allegedly tried to intimidate journalists with death threats.

Jobless, short-term delivery gigs

India had offered about 80 Afghan cadets training courses in English and marketing training courses last year. Some were trained at Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab, and others at Aptech Training institute in Delhi.

About 30 went back to Afghanistan after their courses ended in February due to financial constraints or family reasons, according to cadets ThePrint spoke to. A few others ended up fleeing to Iran or Pakistan, fearing for their safety in Afghanistan, they added.

Currently, 48 remain in India, all of whom say their visas have been either cancelled or requests for extensions rejected.

The cadets range in age from 22 to 28 years old and live across localities in Delhi, including Tilak Nagar, Malviya Nagar, and Bhogal.

In order to afford rent, groups of five to seven cadets usually share an apartment. For instance, seven Afghan cadets share a 2BHK in Bhogal and split the monthly rent of Rs 14,000.

“We are all paying out of our savings. Some of us tried to get informal jobs which didn’t require Aadhaar and a valid visa,” explained one of seven, who has completed three years of training at NDA and one year at IMA.

According to him, two of his flatmates were working as delivery boys for a packaged water company but had to quit due to constraints during Ramadan.

“It was difficult for them to work eight hours a day while fasting. So, they had to quit. Also, there’s a loss of dignity when, as a military cadet, you have to stoop to doing such jobs,” he added.

Exit forms, fears of ‘revenge killing’

A few Afghan military cadets stuck in India have received exit forms, which are government-issued documents granting permission for an individual to leave the country. However, the language used in the form has left some recipients confused.

For example, one such cadet, who was part of the course at Punjab’s Lovely University, received an exit form on 9 February — two days after his course ended. It mentioned that he must leave India by 22 February.

A copy of the exit form seen by ThePrint reads: “Visa extension cannot be granted. Take exit within given time.”

“What do they mean by ‘take exit within given time’? Does it mean we can stay here indefinitely, or will they deport me?” he asked.

He claimed to have reapplied for a visa extension twice since receiving the form but received emails from the FRRO that his applications were “closed”.

The cadets have been warned by their families in Afghanistan against returning, as they are likely to have a target on their backs, they said.

Source: ThePrint

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

https://theprint.in/the-fineprint/indian-govt-gave-stranded-afghan-cadets-a-lifeline-last-year-now-they-fear-being-handed-to-taliban/1478415/

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Ideological polarisation is the price of democratic representation in Indonesia

29 March 2023

Diego Fossati

Democratic backsliding — understood as the decline of democratic norms, institutions, and processes — is a well-documented development that has concerned most world regions, and Indonesia offers an apt illustration of how this unsettling phenomenon may unfold. After the breakdown of authoritarianism in the late 1990s, it defied expectations by establishing democratic institutions and implementing several waves of free and fair national and local elections. But Indonesia’s democratic trajectory has since taken a darker turn, marked by illiberalism, polarisation and the rise of radical political Islam.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, House Speaker Puan Maharani, Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly Bambang Soesatyo, and the Chairman of Regional Representative Council La NyallaMattalitti, enter the parliament building for the annual State of the Nation Address ahead of the country's Independence Day, at the parliament building in Jakarta, Indonesia, 16 August 2021 (Photo: Pool via Reuters/Achmad Ibrahim).

Given these trends it would be reasonable to assume that ordinary Indonesians are increasingly disillusioned with the country’s democratic institutions. Yet public opinion data presents a contrasting picture, as the erosion of democracy has not been accompanied by a rise in public dissatisfaction with democracy.

Rather, Indonesians have become more satisfied with how democracy is practised in their country. Just before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020, satisfaction with democracy reached an all-time high of about 76 per cent. This strong positive trend appears to have started in the mid-2010s, at about the same time that observers of Indonesian politics began to argue that the country’s democracy was deteriorating.

This puzzle can be understood by focusing on political representation. Though democracy in Indonesia may be falling short of expectations, the deep-rooted ideological division regarding the role of Islam in politics has provided Indonesian citizens with meaningful political choices, pitting pluralist understandings of society against more exclusionary Islamist ideologies.

This cleavage underpins substantive debates about issues such as religious equality, women’s rights, individual freedoms and privacy. While they may be unhappy about some of Indonesia’s democratic institutions and the slow pace of political reform, Indonesians still value their democracy’s ability to provide meaningful representation and avenues for participation. This view is supported by a wealth of empirical data, ranging from electoral returns to surveys of public opinion and the diversity of Indonesian politicians.

This perspective on democratic institutions reveals the complexity of democratic erosion, both in Indonesia and beyond. Increasing polarisation and Islamism may well be injurious to Indonesian democracy, but their implications for political representation may help to explain why Indonesians have become more satisfied with the country’s democracy.

In the minds of the Indonesian public, increasing partisan polarisation may have clarified the ideological division over the role of Islam in politics and consolidated perceptions that important political alternatives exist. The increasing influence of radical Islam observed in the second half of the 2010s may have also bolstered perceptions of fair representation, especially among Islamist Indonesians — a substantial minority in the electorate who have long been underrepresented in political institutions.

Beyond Indonesia, studies of democratic backsliding often see democratic development as a movement along a linear trajectory, where a country becomes more or less democratic over time. Yet dividing opposing partisan camps into either democratic or anti-democratic is problematic. Rather, there is often a clash of values between two different understandings of democracy. Pluralist-liberal camps emphasise the importance of constraints on executive power while populist camps prioritise majoritarianism and substantive representation. This conflict stems from a tension between equally legitimate democratic demands and it typically entails a trade-off between different democratic goals, such as liberalism, egalitarianism, participation and representation.

The repression of radical Islamist groups such as Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia or the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam) illustrates these conflicting dynamics. Disbanding these organisations may have reaffirmed Indonesia’s commitment to protecting religious minorities, but repression may also cause negative long-term implications for democratic representation.

Suppressing radical Islam has curbed the mobilising capacity of illiberal actors, but to deprive Islamist groups of their ability to mobilise is also to deprive a substantial number of Indonesian citizens of their voice. When this happens, substantive debates about the most important ideological dimension of political competition in this country become less meaningful and democratic legitimacy may eventually be compromised.

Indonesia’s democracy also suffers from a lack of genuine cohesive opposition that could function as a check on executive power. Given the current landscape of Indonesian politics, a cohesive opposition could only take the form of an assertive Islamist camp. A more prominent role for radical political Islam is a necessary condition for the emergence of this political bloc.

Indonesia is therefore facing a thorny trade-off between consolidating liberal values — which requires a clearer separation between religion and politics — and strengthening democratic representation and accountability — which requires ideological alignment between citizens and politicians and clearly identifiable opposing partisan camps. The future of democracy in this country will hinge upon its ability to find a balanced solution to this dilemma.

Source:EastAsiaForum

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

https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2023/03/29/ideological-polarisation-is-the-price-of-democratic-representation-in-indonesia/

--------

RM5 meals at KL's Rahmah Ramadan bazaar pull in sales as customers order pricier items on the side

By KeertanAyamany

29 Mar 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — The cheap meals at one of the several Ramadan bazaars nationwide offering the affordable Menu Rahmah items attracted an abundance of visitors, many of whom end up spending more on other dishes to the delight of vendors.

One staff for a fried rice food truck at the Rahmah Ramadan Bazaar located in the backstreets near the Sogo shopping mall here said that he noticed his shop’s RM5 Menu Rahmah item — Chinese fried rice — would often get ordered alongside other items in his menu such as giant fried squid or fried chicken, which cost RM15 and RM9 respectively.

"We sell around 10 to 15 of the Menu Rahmah items a day, and between 50 to 100 other items in total a day,” the worker who wanted to be known only as Junaidi told Malay Mail.

The Chinese fried rice would usually be sold at RM7, while other fried rice items — such as chicken fried rice, or shrimp fried rice with "petai" — cost between RM8 and RM15.

Similarly, 19-year-old Muhammad Putra Aiman who works for the Lebai Pa King Kebab Station, said that their Menu Rahmah kebab meat buns were a good gateway for other items on their menu, such as their popular mini Roti John that is sold for RM7.

"Yes, our Menu Rahmah is selling well. And we do make some profits for the Menu Rahmah, but I’m not sure how much,” he said.

Called Bazaar Ramadan Foodtruck Rahmah, it consisted of some 20 to 30 food trucks parked along Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman and saw heavy foot traffic from about 5.30pm until Muslims break their fast just before 7.30pm.

It is one of the 38 Rahmah Ramadan bazaars opened nationwide as part of the government’s larger Rahmah initiative to encourage businesses to sell affordable meals below RM5 each.

While the rental prices for vendors at these bazaars vary based on the decision of local authorities, according to Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Fuziah Salleh who visited the site yesterday, the rental price at the one visited by Malay Mail is RM10 a day, which contributes towards clean-up costs.

Fuziah explained that while a Rahmah Ramadan Bazaar requires at least 30 per cent of the stalls to offer Menu Rahmah items, all traders in Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman's Rahmah bazaar offer the affordable menu.

The initiative was also welcomed by customers of the bazaar.

Balqis Florence Abdullah, 60, who owns a shop in the vicinity, said she wanted to buy one of the Menu Rahmah items for her "iftar" — the meal eaten by Muslims to break their ritual fasting during Ramadan — after hearing a good review.

"This morning I heard from a friend of mine that she ate a 'nasi goreng ayamkunyit' Menu Rahmah offer.

"She said it was great considering the portion that they gave, so here I am,” said Balqis, holding a packet of fruit rojak that she bought earlier.

Wan Azamuddin Wan Izham, 27, who works as a salesman at the Pertama Complex located some 150m away from the bazaar, said that it was a good way to save some money.

"When people told me there was a Bazaar Ramadhan Rahmah, I automatically knew that some stalls would be offering a RM5 pack of food or a cup of drink.

"I'm here to buy a drink in case I'm stuck in the Ramadan traffic on my way back home in Kelana Jaya. I don't want to overspend on a drink that I'll finish within 20 minutes," he said.

On Monday, Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub launched the Rahmah Ramadan Bazaar initiative in one such bazaar in Putrajaya's Precinct 14.

Source:MalayMail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/03/29/rm5-meals-at-kls-rahmah-ramadan-bazaar-pull-in-sales-as-customers-order-pricier-items-on-the-side/61997

--------

First 6,000 Rahmah Ramadan Bazaar visitors stand chance to receive RM20 e-wallet incentive

29-03- 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: The Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry (KPDN) is expanding the Retail Sector Digitisation Initiative (ReDI) through the provision of RM20 e-wallet incentive to the first 6,000 consumers or traders at the Rahmah Ramadan Bazaars in Kuala Lumpur throughout the month of Ramadan.

Its deputy minister, Fuziah Salleh (pix) said they have allocated RM2 million for the incentive as an approach to encourage consumers and traders to conduct digital transactions at bazaars throughout the country, including Kuala Lumpur.

“Visitors who wish to redeem the RM20 need only scan the QR code at the prepared kiosks there. We want to encourage e-wallet use here,” she said during a walkabout at a Rahmah Ramadan Bazaar at Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman here today.

She added that there are two other bazaars in the capital, at Lorong Tunku Abdul Rahman Parking Lot 4 and at Jalan Raja, involving 41 traders.

“The criteria for a Rahmah Ramadan Bazaar is that 30 per cent of traders there are ready to sell Rahmah menus. But if we look at things here (Kuala Lumpur), 100 per cent of food trucks are selling Rahmah menus,” Fuziah said.

Bernama reported yesterday that Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub launched the Rahmah Ramadan Bazaar in Putrajaya, the newest product under the Rahmah Umbrella, involving 38 locations in the country.

Meanwhile, Fuizah said that the ministry’s enforcement unit has conducted price checks on 6,550 premises, including 983 Ramadan bazaars under Op Pantau as of yesterday.

Source:TheSunDaily

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

https://www.thesundaily.my/home/first-6000-rahmah-ramadan-bazaar-visitors-stand-chance-to-receive-rm20-e-wallet-incentive-CJ10805117

--------

 

Arab World

 

Saudi Arabia condemns Jewish settlers’ blatant incursion into Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards

March 28, 2023

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia condemned on Tuesday the blatant incursions by Israeli settlers into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement carried by Saudi Press Agency.

While rejecting roundly the move, the Ministry emphasized that these practices undermine peace efforts and contradict international principles and norms with regard to respecting religious sanctities.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/631145/SAUDI-ARABIA/Saudi-Arabia-condemns-Jewish-settlers-blatant-incursion-into-Al-Aqsa-Mosque-courtyards

--------

Bin Salman thanks China for efforts to restore Saudi-Iran ties

28 March 2023

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud has appreciated China’s efforts in brokering a rapprochement deal between Riyadh and Tehran.

In a telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, bin Salman “expressed Saudi Arabia’s appreciation for the Chinese initiative to support the development of good neighborly relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume their diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies and diplomatic missions after seven years of estrangement. The detente between the two Middle Eastern powers followed several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China.

Top Saudi and Iranian diplomats have held two phone calls over the past few days and are expected to meet during the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

According to an unnamed Saudi official, Xi had expressed his desire for China to be a “bridge” between Saudi Arabia and Iran during bilateral talks at a summit in Riyadh last December, and bin Salman welcomed the bid.

The Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported that during Tuesday’s phone call, Xi expressed Beijing’s readiness to keep supporting the follow-up process of the Riyadh-Tehran talks.

He also hoped that Saudi Arabia and Iran will “uphold the spirit of good neighborliness and continue to improve their relations on the basis of the results of their talks in Beijing.”

Also in his remarks, the Chinese president said his country stands ready to expand practical cooperation and people-to-people exchanges with Saudi Arabia, and push for greater development of a China-Saudi Arabia comprehensive strategic partnership.

China, he added, is ready to work with Saudi Arabia to make all-out efforts in building a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era and contribute more to peace, stability and development in the Middle East.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/28/700561/Saudi-bin-Salman-China-Iran

--------

Belgium probes refugee status of Syrian war crimes suspect

28 March ,2023

Belgium on Tuesday launched an investigation into how a Syrian man arrested last week on suspicion of carrying out war crimes for ISIS was granted refugee status.

The 38-year-old, who left Syria in 2015, was detained over the executions of civilians who refused to swear allegiance to the extremists near the historic city of Palmyra, federal prosecutors told Belga news agency.

The role of the suspect within the extremist group and whether he participated in the killings in central Syria remains to be determined by an investigation led by Belgian state prosecutors.

“The asylum procedure serves to protect people threatened with war or persecution, not those who are guilty of war crimes,” Belgium’s Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Nathalie de Moor said.

De Moor said that if the man was proven to be guilty then he would be stripped of the refugee status granted to him eight years ago.

The civil war in Syria started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on demonstrators by the government of President Bashar al-Assad before spiraling into a complex conflict involving extremist groups.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/03/28/Belgium-probes-refugee-status-of-Syrian-war-crimes-suspect

--------

Presidency receives Grand Mosque visitors in more than 50 international languages

March 28, 2023

MAKKAH — The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques represented by the Spatial Guidance Department of the General Administration of Languages and Translation, continues to receive and welcome visitors in various international languages under the “We Welcome You in Your Language” initiative.

It is considered a contribution to the excellent hospitality of visitors to perform their rituals and enrich their experience with ease and comfort during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

The Deputy General President for Translation and Technical Affairs, Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz Al-Hamidi said that the administration is always keen to welcome the Grand Mosque guests with kindness and generosity in the Grand Mosque corridors and yards.

The visitors are received in their various languages with the kindest terms and are introduced to the primary services provided by the presidency. In addition, they are helped to access and benefit from them in more than 50 international languages.

250 scouts serve 60,000

voluntary hours in Makkah

The Ministry of Education Monday launched its seasonal initiatives during the holy month of Ramadan to serve visitors to the Grand Mosque; one such initiative entails having the Bader Scout Center perform 60,000 hours of voluntary work during Ramadan.

This work is done in cooperation with the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and security forces, covering all field trails. More than 250 scouts will help visitors at the Grand Mosque, in its various courtyards and on the roads leading to it.

The voluntary teams from the Bader Center start their voluntary work after Al-Asr (afternoon) prayer and continue until midnight; their program includes distributing dates and coffee to fasting people at the tawaf area during iftar.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/631142/SAUDI-ARABIA/Presidency-receives-Grand-Mosque-visitors-in-more-than-50-international-languages

--------

Egypt to allow Iranians visas on arrival in Sinai as regional tensions ease

28 March ,2023

Egypt will soon allow Iranians traveling with tour groups to obtain visas on arrival in the south of its Sinai Peninsula with a view to extending access to other parts of the country, Egyptian tourism ministry officials said.

The decision is part of a series of measures announced on Monday aimed at improving access to visas to boost tourism revenues at a time when Egypt has been struggling economically with an acute foreign currency shortage.

It also comes as some Middle Eastern countries including Egypt are taking steps to ease regional tensions. Saudi Arabia and Iran announced this month that they would restore diplomatic relations.

Cairo has mended a rift with Qatar and is re-establishing ties with Turkey, another country to benefit from new visa rules with Turkish nationals given expanded access to visas on arrival, according to an Egyptian Tourism Ministry statement.

Among the other new visa rules announced were a $700, five-year multiple-entry visa, which Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa told Reuters was aimed at investors and property owners who are based outside Egypt.

On visas for Iranians arriving in South Sinai, home to the highly secured resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Issa said, “We will evaluate the experience of their arrival in South Sinai as a first step, and building on that, we’ll determine if they will be admitted in other places.”

Relations between Egypt and Iran have generally been fraught in recent decades although the two countries have maintained diplomatic contacts.

Tourists from China, which Egypt regards as a market with big potential, and Indians resident in Gulf countries will also be granted visas on arrival.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/28/Egypt-to-allow-Iranians-visas-on-arrival-in-Sinai-as-regional-tensions-ease-

--------

Saudi Cabinet condemns Qur’an burnings, calls for rejection of hate

March 29, 2023

RIYADH: The Cabinet condemned burning of copies of the Holy Qur’an and called for tolerance and respect and a rejection of spreading hatred and extremism, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Kingdom on Sunday strongly denounced the burning of the Qur’an by a Danish extremist group outside the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2277346/saudi-arabia

--------

Saudi Arabia condemns Al-Aqsa Mosque storming by Israeli settlers

March 29, 2023

RIYADH: The Kingdom condemns the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli settlers, under the protection of occupation forces, a Saudi foreign ministry source said.

The ministry emphasized that such actions undermine peace efforts and violate international principles and norms regarding respect for religious sanctities. The ministry also reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to supporting all efforts at ending the occupation and reaching a just and comprehensive solution that enables Palestinians to establish an independent state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2277366/saudi-arabia

--------

Saudi interior minister, UK Home Secretary sign raft of agreements at meeting in London

March 28, 2023

LONDON: Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, the Saudi Minister of the Interior, met with the UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman in London on Tuesday.

Prince Abdulaziz thanked the British Home Secretary for hosting the meeting, which reflected the common desire to boost the strategic and historical ties between the two countries.

The prince stressed that the Saudi government valued and appreciated the existing security cooperation, referring to the ongoing security coordination between the two countries' ministries of interior.

During the session, the two sides discussed ways to strengthen and develop the courses of joint security cooperation.

The session saw the signing of several agreements in the security, development and training fields between the Ministry of the Interior of Saudi Arabia and the UK Home Office.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2277176/saudi-arabia

--------

Lebanese politicians hurl insults at each other as tensions boil over in parliament

NAJIA HOUSSARI

March 29, 2023

BEIRUT: Politicians in Lebanon shouted and hurled insults at each other during a meeting of a joint parliamentary committee on Tuesday. It came as tensions continued to rise amid the ongoing failure to choose a new president and growing concerns that it will be impossible to hold municipal elections scheduled for May.

Amal Movement MP Ghazi Zeaiter, who has been accused of involvement in the events leading up to the massive explosion at Beirut’s port in August 2020, clashed with independent MP Melhem Khalaf, who has been staging a sit-in at the parliament for more than two months over the failure of MPs to elect a new president. As tensions rose, Zeaiter was accused of publicly insulting Khalaf.

Another dispute, over the municipal elections, broke out between Sami Gemayel, head of the Kataeb Party, and the Amal Movement’s Ali Hassan Khalil, who is also accused of involvement in the port explosion. The former accused the latter of using “immoral” insults.

As the rows continued, the meeting was ended. It took place a day after caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati reversed his unpopular decision, announced last week, to delay the start of daylight saving time for a month “to allow those fasting during Ramadan to rest for an hour.”

“What happened during the session was shocking,” said MP Hadi Abu Al-Hassan, a member of the Democratic Gathering bloc. “The country’s situation will become too dangerous if we continue this way.”

Politicians need to heed the voice of reason and consider carefully the best interests of the country and its people, he added.

“We need to elect a president, form a government and start implementing reforms instead of carrying on with this tense drama.”

The presidency has been vacant since Michel Aoun’s term concluded at the end of October last year. Politicians have been unable to reach agreement on a successor.

Abu Al-Hassan said that Walid Jumblatt, the head of the Progressive Socialist Party, has been talking with members of a number of parties in an attempt to ensure the volatile political situation remains under control but underlying tensions remain high.

After the ill-tempered parliamentary meeting, Gemayel refused to go into the details of the dispute but said that he considers what happened to be “a dangerous offense against sanctities and we cannot accept this.”

He warned that if some officials persist with their current approach to managing the country’s affairs, even bigger problems lie in store.

“If I disclosed what happened, I would be contributing to creating the strife that some want to drag the country into, and we do not want that,” Gemayel added.

He called on Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri to “address what happened” and added “if he does not want to deal with it, then he can consider the message received and we will discuss with our allies how we will take things from here.”

Warning of the potential dangers of failure to hold the municipal elections, Gemayel stressed “the need for the state to cover the cost” of the polls “as the required amount is $8 million.”

The Lebanese government has said it is unable to cover the cost of the elections, according to a source in the Ministry of Interior, as “there is no money or staff to hold them.”

The ministry has set the cost of the elections at $12 million. International donors, including the EU, the US Agency for International Development, and the UN Development Program, have pledged $3 million, which would cover the cost of necessities such as printing, stationery and logistics. The Lebanese state would need to provide the remaining money for election workers, judges, security, the transportation of ballot boxes, and electrical power, among other things.

Any decision to postpone the elections would require the calling of a legislative session. Christian parliamentary blocs refuse to agree to such sessions on the grounds that “Parliament is currently an electorate body whose sole purpose is to elect a president.” Meanwhile, other political forces do not want to be the ones responsible for passing a law that extends the terms of the current municipal councils.

In other news, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Lebanese citizens Hassan Daqqou and NouhZeaiter, who are accused of being drug lords.

Daqqou is a Lebanese-Syrian dual national from Tufail, a town the straddles the border with Syria. He was arrested in Lebanon in 2021 and remains in detention. The Criminal Court in Beirut last year sentenced him to seven years of hard labor for manufacturing Captagon and trafficking it to other countries. The US Treasury accuses him and his drug-trafficking operations of having direct links to Hezbollah.

Zeaiter is wanted by the Lebanese state on charges of drug trafficking. He is said to surround himself with no fewer than 14 armed guards and travels in four-wheel-drive vehicles with darkened windows. The US Treasury also links him with Hezbollah.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2277381/middle-east

--------

 

Mideast

 

Labour Chiefs Probe Exploitation Of Palestinian Workers In Israel

MOHAMMED NAJIB

March 29, 2023

RAMALLAH: The powerful International Labor Organization is investigating allegations of ill-treatment and exploitation of Palestinian workers in Israel.

Palestinian leaders have handed a dossier to a fact-finding committee from the organization showing that the Israeli army killed 93 Palestinian workers in Israel in 2022, and a further 31 so far this year.

The report also detailed abuse of Palestinian workers at military checkpoints and barriers, the absence of occupational health and safety standards, and illegal working hours.

The dossier was handed over by Shaher Saad, secretary-general of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions.  Saad also told investigators that brokers and illegal middlemen were deducting about $34 million a month in fees taken from workers’ salaries, which prevented the implementation of a working social security system in Palestine.

About 170,000 Palestinians from the West Bank work in Israel or in illegal Israeli settlements, and 17,000 from the Gaza Strip. Each month they are required to pay about 2,500 shekels ($780) in fees for a work permit, in a system that is riddled with corruption.

A report in 2021 by the Institute for National Security Studies suggests that people illegally selling work permits had annual revenue of 1 billion shekels from about 40,000 Palestinian workers.

Meanwhile Israeli armed forces’ assaults against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have continued with increasing frequency during Ramadan, Palestinian sources told to Arab News.

On Tuesday, the Israeli army arrested 13 citizens from different parts of the West Bank. At the same time, and for the fourth consecutive day, it continued to tighten its grip on the town of Huwara, south of Nablus.

Kamal Odeh, Fatah secretary in Huwara, said that the Israeli army had deployed intensively on the main street, setting up several barriers and trying to divert citizens’ routes through secondary streets inside the town.Soldiers turned several houses along the main street in the center of Huwara into military barracks.

“The security situation around Nablus is frightening,” Amer Hamdan, a rights activist from Nablus, told Arab News.

Israeli bulldozers also demolished three agricultural facilities in the Al-Sawahra wilderness, east of Jerusalem, and a commercial facility in Deir Ballut, west of Salfit.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2277421/middle-east

--------

Israeli Forces Tighten Security Measures Against Palestinians

MOHAMMED NAJIB

March 29, 2023

RAMALLAH: Israeli armed forces’ assaults against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have continued with increasing frequency during Ramadan, Palestinian sources confirmed to Arab News.

On Tuesday, the Israeli army arrested 13 citizens from different parts of the West Bank. At the same time, and for the fourth consecutive day, it continued to tighten its grip on the town of Huwara, south of Nablus.

Kamal Odeh, Fatah secretary in Huwara, said that the Israeli army has deployed intensively on the main street, setting up several barriers and trying to divert citizens’ routes through secondary streets inside the town.

According to eyewitnesses, the Israeli army turned several houses along the main street in the center of Huwara into military barracks.

Amer Hamdan, a human rights activist from Nablus, told Arab News that it usually takes him one hour to drive from Nablus to Ramallah. Today, however, the trip took him two and a half hours due to Israeli military checkpoints in Huwara.

“The security situation around Nablus is ad frightening,” Hamdan told Arab News.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Israeli bulldozers demolished three agricultural facilities in the Al-Sawahra wilderness, east of Jerusalem, and a commercial facility in Deir Ballut, west of Salfit.

Maj. Gen. Abdullah Kamil, the governor of Salfit, said that the policy of demolishing homes and facilities by the Israeli authorities in Salfit is one of the most egregious and inhumane practices and that it serves the occupation’s plans to uproot Palestinian citizens from their lands in order to build more Israeli settlements.

During the past hours, settler militias have launched a large-scale attack on Huwara, south of Nablus.

Sources said that the settlers attacked houses and burned vehicles under the protection of Israeli army forces, who assaulted citizens.

On Tuesday, settlers cut down 14 olive trees in the lands of Husan village, west of Bethlehem, after they had also cut down 50 olive trees in that area about 10 days ago.

Separately, Secretary-General of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions Shaher Saad handed over to the Fact-Finding Committee of the International Labor Organization an annual report on violations against Palestinian workers inside Israel.

The paper included the number of Palestinian workers killed by the Israeli army — 93 in the year 2022, and 31 in the first two and a half months of 2023 — and the risks that workers are exposed to while passing through barriers and openings, in addition to violations related to brokers who deduct approximately $34 million from workers’ salaries per month.

Saad explained to the committee that the Israeli government’s procedures for handing over workers’ money to the Israeli Otaim company threaten their rights and prevent the implementation of social security in Palestine.

The report also included the daily violations that workers face, especially in the absence of occupational health and safety standards, including working hours that extend beyond those legally established.

Some 140,000 Palestinians from the West Bank are working in Israel, 30,000 in Israeli settlements, and 17,000 from the Gaza Strip.

Qadura Faris, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, told Arab News that since 2021, cases of cancer among Palestinian security prisoners have been increasing, with 24 prisoners currently suffering from the disease.

He confirmed that the prison administration has deliberately pursued a policy of medical negligence toward prisoners, which has led to the death of 75 prisoners out of the 236 who have died in prisons since 1967.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2277391/middle-east

--------

Hamas warns Israel against storming al-Aqsa Mosque, provoking Muslims during Ramadan

29 March 2023

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has warned Israeli authorities against restrictions on the entry of Palestinians to al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan and their forcible removal from the sacred site.

“We warn the occupying regime about the repercussions of attacks on pilgrims and worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque,” senior Hamas official Ismail Rizwan said in a statement on Tuesday night.

He added, “The resistance front is closely following up the situation of [Muslim] worshipers at the Al-Aqsa compound – Islam’s third-holiest site. We will defend them and our holy sites.”

On Saturday night, a large number of Israeli police forces stormed the al-Qibli prayer building at al-Aqsa Mosque and forcibly expelled Muslim worshipers from it.

Video from the scene showed Muslim men and women praying, chanting “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “God is the greatest,” and shouting at police officers as the officers removed worshipers from the building and the complex.

Palestinians were blocked from entering the gates of the mosque, according to Palestinian reports. Footage from some of the gates showed Palestinians scuffling with Israeli forces who blocked the gates. A number of Palestinians were arrested at the scene.

Moreover, Hamas spokesman in the occupied al-Quds, Mohammad Hamadeh, condemned Israeli settlers for provocative moves against Palestinian worshipers, and their continual incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds under the protection of the regime’s forces.

Hamadeh also denounced the agreement between Jewish extremists and Israeli police to extend the hours of storming al-Aqsa Mosque, stating that “Such vexatious plans developed by the occupying regime are meant to Judaize al-Aqsa Mosque and assert control over it. These attempts can never undermine its historical uniqueness or change its Islamic identity.”

He called upon Palestinians residing in the West Bank and the 1948 Israeli-occupied territories to stay put at the mosque and recite prayers so as to revive Muslim principles and values and stand up against Zionists’ attempts to distort history.

Hardline Israeli legislators and settlers regularly storm the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied city, a provocative move that infuriates Palestinians. 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 the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/29/700603/Hamas-warns-Israel-against-storming-al-Aqsa-Mosque

--------

Israeli forces detain more than a dozen Palestinians in multiple raids across occupied territories

28 March 2023

Israeli forces have detained at least 13 Palestinians in multiple raids across the West Bank and al-Quds, as the Tel Aviv regime continues its massive arrest campaign across the occupied territories.

Palestine’s Wafa news agency, citing local sources, reported that Israeli troops raided the town of al-Yamoun in the north of the West Bank on Tuesday, arresting four Palestinians.

Four other Palestinians were also detained in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, while three others were rounded up in the city of al-Khalil.

In East al-Quds, the regime’s forces arrested a Palestinian at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, and another Palestinian was detained at a checkpoint at the entrance of the city of Jericho.

Similar raids were also reported in the flashpoint city of Jenin.

The raids in different parts of the occupied territories were followed by clashes that broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian residents. 

The Israeli military frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns across the West Bank under the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians.

Thousands of Palestinians are held in Israeli jails. Hundreds have been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, which allows holding Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons without trial or charge.

Some Palestinian prisoners have even been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.

Meanwhile, at least six Palestinians were injured after a group of Israeli settlers attacked the town of Huwara, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on Monday night.

Palestinian media outlets said settlers physically assaulted Palestinians during the attack, torching homes and cars, damaging ambulances, and throwing stones at passing Palestinian-owned vehicles.

In a  statement, the Palestinian Health Ministry said one of the six wounded was hospitalized after suffering a serious head injury, as it condemned the increasing attacks on the health system.

“The persistence of the occupation [soldiers] and settlers in attacking treatment centers and health workers, and obstructing the movement of ambulances and paramedics, is increasing dramatically day by day,” the ministry said, calling on international organizations to intervene.

Huwara was the site of a settler rampage last month that killed one Palestinian and injured hundreds of others. The settlers were reportedly angered by the killing of two Israeli settlers by a Palestinian gunman in Huwara.

Following the aggression, the regime's finance minister Bezalel Smotrich said the Palestinian village of Huwara should be “wiped out.”  His comments sparked widespread condemnation from Muslim countries. 

Monday’s attack took place a few hours after a young Palestinian man—identified as OmairLoulah--succumbed to gunshot wounds he sustained more than a month ago during an Israeli army raid in Nablus.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

Most of the raids have focused on Nablus and Jenin, where Israeli forces have been trying to stifle a growing Palestinian resistance in the occupied cities.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/28/700571/Palestine-Israeli-forces-raid-occupied-territories-arrest-Palestinians-West-Bank-al-Quds-Huwara-injured

--------

Iran: Door to Negotiations Not to Remain Open Forever

2023-March-28

Amir Abdollahian made the remarks in an interview with Aljazeera Satellite TV network on Monday night.

The top Iranian diplomat also touched upon a number of other regional and Iran-related issues during the interview.

Referring to the recent agreement reached between Tehran and Riyadh to resume their relations, Amir Abdollahian stated that the Saudi King has invited the Iranian President to visit Riyadh, adding that Tehran will send the king of Saudi Arabia a similar invitation as well.

Turning to the issue of Tehran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Amir Abdollahian stressed that Iran is adherent to cooperation with IAEA.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the top Iranian diplomat hailed Qatar's positive role in the cases of JCPOA talks and the prisoner swap.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. Former US President Donald Trump illegally pulled out of the deal in 2018 while the current US President, Joe Biden, has signaled that he is ready to resurrect the agreement.

Russia, the UK, Germany, China, the US, and France have been in talks with Iran since April 2021 to reinstate the deal.

The talks to salvage the JCPOA kicked off in the Austrian capital of Vienna in April 2021, with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing anti-Iran sanctions.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020108000436/Iran-Dr-Negiains-N-Remain-Open-Frever

--------

Iran: Crises Consuming Israeli Regime Like Wildfire

2023-March-28

Kana'ani made the remarks in a Monday tweet after tens of thousands of Zionists poured into the streets across the Occupied territories for the third consecutive day this week in protest at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed judicial reforms.

"The attempt by the criminal prime minister of the Israeli regime to boost his own power and survive has once again revealed internal fault lines in the Zionist society by stoking the most unprecedented street protests and clashes," he said.

“It is ridiculous that the United States and Europe, especially Britain, continue to support a fake entity, which is based on occupation and apartheid, and use democracy as justification for their support," he added.

Monday's protests came after Netanyahu fired the regime's minister for military affairs, Yoav Gallant, over his criticism of the controversial plan.

Netanyahu’s proposed reforms seek to rob the Israeli regime's Supreme Court of the power to overrule decisions made by the regime's new extremist cabinet and the Knesset.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020108000463/Iran-Crises-Cnsming-Israeli-Regime-Like-Wildfire

--------

Iran, India Discuss Further Security Cooperation

2023-March-28

During the phone talk, India's national security adviser announced his country's readiness to help the comprehensive development process of regional cooperation.

Doval also welcomed the recent agreement reached between Tehran and Riyadh on the resumption of diplomatic ties, and deemed the agreement as a decisive step in increasing stability and security in the region.

Shamkhani and his Indian counterpart also conferred on several other international issues, including the Vienna negotiations on lifting anti-Iran sanctions, removing obstacles in the way of mutual cooperation in developing Chabahar Port, as well as India’s contribution to finalizing the International North–South Transport Corridor.

Shamkhani, meantime, invited his Indian counterpart to visit Iran to hold more consultations and pursue bilateral and regional cooperation.

Earlier on March 23, Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers held a phone call during which they agreed to hold a meeting soon to prepare for the reopening of embassies.

The Iranian diplomat welcomed the developing return of the countries' relations back to normal and expressed Tehran's readiness to expand and reinforce its ties with Riyadh.

Pointing to the positive achievements of the Beijing meeting, the Saudi official laid emphasis on the need for the ministers to meet in the near future and the importance of re-inauguration of the countries' respective embassies and consulates general.

The officials, therefore, agreed to meet at the earliest opportunity and lay the groundwork for the reopening of the diplomatic missions.

After several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia finally clinched a deal on Friday to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions within two months.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by the Saudi government, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020108000427/Iran-India-Discss-Frher-Secriy-Cperain

--------

Iran, Saudi FMs Discuss Normalization of Ties

2023-March-27

During the phone talk on Sunday night, the Iranian and Saudi foreign minister agreed on holding a joint meeting in the month of Ramadan.

The constructive process of restoration of full bilateral ties and diplomatic relations was the main topic of talks between the two foreign ministers.

Earlier on March 23, Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers held a phone call during which they agreed to hold a meeting soon to prepare for the reopening of embassies.

The Iranian diplomat welcomed the developing return of the countries' relations back to normal and expressed Tehran's readiness to expand and reinforce its ties with Riyadh.

Pointing to the positive achievements of the Beijing meeting, the Saudi official laid emphasis on the need for the ministers to meet in the near future and the importance of re-inauguration of the countries' respective embassies and consulates general.

The officials, therefore, agreed to meet at the earliest opportunity and lay the groundwork for the reopening of the diplomatic missions.

After several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia finally clinched a deal on Friday to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions within two months.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by the Saudi government, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020107000083/Iran-Sadi-FMs-Discss-Nrmalizain-f-Ties

--------

Iran Calls for Broadening of Ties with Libya, Malaysia

2023-March-28

In his phone talk with Lybian Foreign Minister Najla Mohammed El Mangoush, Amir Abdollahian congratulated the blessed Ramadan month.

The top Iranian top diplomat also invited his Libyan counterpart to pay a visit to Iran at her earliest convenience, which was welcomed by her.

The reopening of the two countries' embassies in each other's capital cities was another issue of their talks, which has been delayed because of the special conditions in Libya after its former regime's downfall.

The top Iranian diplomat also held a phone conversation with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia Zambry Abdul Kadir to discuss mutual, regional and international affairs.

Amir Abdollahian congratulated his Malaysian counterpart on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, noting that both Muslim countries enjoy abundant commonalities.

Iran's foreign minister expressed hope that the relationship between Iran and Malaysia will expand in all sectors.

He also appreciated the Malaysian government for its support for Palestine and recalled the coming international Quds Day on the last Friday of Ramadan, underlining that the Islamic states should do effective measures to assist the Palestinian people.

Abdul Kadir, for his part, felicitated the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Malaysian FM described Iran as a main trade partner, expressing hope that the bilateral ties expand more than before.

He also noted that the restoration of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran can end up in the improvement of peace and stability in the West Asia region.

The two sides also discussed other developments such as Afghanistan’s situation and the war in Ukraine.

Earlier on March 23, Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers held a phone call during which they agreed to hold a meeting soon to prepare for the reopening of embassies.

The Iranian diplomat welcomed the developing return of the countries' relations back to normal and expressed Tehran's readiness to expand and reinforce its ties with Riyadh.

Pointing to the positive achievements of the Beijing meeting, the Saudi official laid emphasis on the need for the ministers to meet in the near future and the importance of re-inauguration of the countries' respective embassies and consulates general.

The officials, therefore, agreed to meet at the earliest opportunity and lay the groundwork for the reopening of the diplomatic missions.

After several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia finally clinched a deal on Friday to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions within two months.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by the Saudi government, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020107000473/Iran-Calls-fr-Bradening-f-Ties-wih-Libya-Malaysia

--------

Palestinian dies of injuries from Israeli fire in West Bank

28.03.2023

By Qais Abu Samra

NABLUS, Palestine (AA) – A young Palestinian on Tuesday succumbed to wounds he sustained from Israeli army fire in the occupied West Bank last month, according to state news agency Wafa.

Amir Mohammad Loulah, 23, from the town of Zawata, west of Nablus, was critically injured during an Israeli raid in the city on Feb. 22.

At least 11 Palestinians were killed and over 20 others injured during the raid.

Tension has been running high across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids into Palestinian towns.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/palestinian-dies-of-injuries-from-israeli-fire-in-west-bank/2857709

--------

 

Africa

 

Spain arrests man for rude comments on Islam, racist slurs against Morocco players

28 March ,2023

A 27-year-old worker at a Madrid hotel hosting the Morocco team was arrested for an alleged hate crime after posting derogatory comments on Islam and racist slurs against the players on social media, Spanish police and the hotel said on Tuesday.

Local police told Reuters the employee, a waiter at the Spanish capital’s five-star Eurostars Hotel Tower, asked players to take photographs with him. He then uploaded the images to Instagram with xenophobic insults and tagged the Moroccan team’s account, with the post quickly receiving over 70,000 views.

The man is due to appear before a judge shortly, police said.

“We wish to offer our most sincere apologies in relation to the unfortunate, reprehensible and unacceptable comments of a racist and xenophobic nature,” Hotusa, the group that owns the hotel, said in a statement.

The waiter was an external worker hired on an occasional basis and not part of the hotel’s regular staff, the group said.

Asked about the incident, Morocco coach Walid Regragui referred to the ongoing holy period of Ramadan, known in the Islamic world as the month of forgiveness and tolerance.

“We do not accept racism, but we want to show that Islam is a religion of tolerance,” Regragui told reporters. “We forgive this person in accordance with the requirements of the Islamic religion and the customs of Moroccan people.”

He added the worker “made a mistake” and invited him to visit Morocco to “see the atmosphere between Muslims during Ramadan.”

Morocco beat Brazil 2-1 last weekend to achieve the first ever victory for an Arab country over the five-times world champions who are top of the FIFA world rankings.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/03/28/Spain-arrests-man-for-rude-comments-on-Islam-racist-slurs-against-Morocco-players-

--------

Tunisia cuts off water supply at night amid severe drought

28 March ,2023

Tunisian authorities have started cutting off drinking water at night in areas of the capital and other cities, residents said, in what appears to be a bid to reduce consumption amid a severe drought.

Cutting off water without prior announcement, in areas of the capital Tunis, Hammamet, Sousse, Monastir and Sfax, threatens to fuel social tension in a country whose people suffer from poor public services, high inflation and a weak economy.

Officials of the water distribution company contacted by Reuters declined to comment.

Tunisia is suffering a serious drought, prompting officials to say the ministry may begin to cut off water supply at night over the summer to reduce consumption due to the scarcity of reserves in the country.

The continued lack of rain, however, appears to have prompted authorities to start doing so early in some places.

Yassin Mami, a lawmaker in the new parliament, said officials from the national water company informed him that the reason for the frequent interruption of water supply in Hammamet city, was “because the country is threatened by water scarcity.”

Tunisian dams recorded a decrease in capacity of around of 1 billion cubic meters due to scarcity of rain from September 2022 to mid-March 2023, Hamadi Habib, a senior official in the agriculture ministry, said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/03/28/Tunisia-cuts-off-water-supply-at-night-amid-severe-drought

--------

Burkina Faso most affected African country by terrorism: Report

James Tasamba

28.03.2023

Burkina Faso is the most affected by terrorism on the African continent and the second most-affected worldwide in 2022, according to the latest global terrorism report that was released Tuesday.

The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2023, a report published by the Australia-based global Institute for Economics and Peace, showed that the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa is now the epicenter of terrorism, accounting for more deaths from terrorism in 2022 than South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa combined.

Across the Sahel, 22,074 people died in 6,408 terror attacks between 2007 and 2022, it said.

In Burkina Faso, 8,564 victims were registered, putting the country in the second position in the world for the most-affected countries, behind Afghanistan.

Terror attacks in the Sahel region increased by more than 2,000% in the past 15 years, it said.

Somalia, Mali and Syria ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Others in the ranking are Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Burma and Niger.

“Of particular concern are two countries, Burkina Faso and Mali, which accounted for 73% of terrorism deaths in the Sahel in 2022 and 52% of all deaths from terrorism in sub-Saharan Africa,” it said.

Most attacks are attributed to unknown insurgents although Daesh and the Al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS affiliate -- Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM) operate in the two countries, according to the report.

The report, however, showed that terror attacks around the world reduced in 2022 for the first time since 2019 -- from 5,463 to 3,955 compared to 2021. And with it, the number of fatalities fell by almost 9% -- from 7,328 to 6,701 deaths.

In Burkina Faso, 1,135 deaths were recorded, representing a 50% increase with attacks targeting mainly civilians.

A large-scale attack in the Seytenga commune, a town 15 kilometers (27 miles) from the border with Niger where 116 civilians were killed, was considered the fourth deadliest attack in the world in 2022.

Burkina Faso has been battling an insurgency that has spread from neighboring Mali in the past decade.

The political situation in the Sahel compounds the terrorism challenge, with six coup attempts since 2021, of which four were successful, said the report.

Addressing the UN Security Council Tuesday, African nations urged the world to pay attention to terrorism threats on the continent, particularly in the Sahel region.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/burkina-faso-most-affected-african-country-by-terrorism-report/2857969

--------

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/youth-attacked-quran-row-belur-festival-channakeshava-temple/d/129438

New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism


Loading..

Loading..