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President-Elect Joe Biden Quotes A Hadith Of The Prophet Muhammad While Making A Vow To Muslims

New Age Islam News Bureau

09 November 2020


Joe Biden, President Elect of USA


• President-Elect Joe Biden Quotes A Hadith Of The Prophet Muhammad While Making A Vow To Muslims

• Meeting French FM, Al-Azhar Sheikh Vows To Internationally Prosecute Those Insulting Islam’s Prophet

• Tanzanian Sunni Cleric: Respect, Necessity For Islamic Version Of Freedom Of Expression

• Allama Iqbal Has Rendered Great Services For The Promotion Of The Muslims Cause: Pakistan President

• French Minister, In Cairo, Affirms Respect For Islam In Dispute Over Cartoons

• Yemen: Polio Reported After Houthi Fatwa Bans Vaccines

• Biden Should Consider Doha Agreement, Taliban Say


North America

• President-Elect Joe Biden Quotes A Hadith Of The Prophet Muhammad While Making A Vow To Muslims

• Ilhan Omar calls out The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson over newly surfaced ‘vile’ tweet on Muslims from 2014

• EU Weighs Crackdown on Islamist Extremism After Terror Attacks

• U.S. Seizes 27 Domains Run by Iran’s Regime. Time To Counter Mullahs’ Propaganda


Arab world

• Meeting French FM, Al-Azhar Sheikh Vows To Internationally Prosecute Those Insulting Islam’s Prophet

• Top Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Is Undeterred by Damage From Pandemic

• Saudis targeted in new wave of financial scams

• Firewood sellers arrested in Riyadh

• UAE convicts 6 Nigerians for wiring $782,000 to Boko Haram, FG official indicted



• Tanzanian Sunni Cleric: Respect, Necessity For Islamic Version Of Freedom Of Expression

• Time secular Muslims stood between Islam and terror

• S Africa is new market for Afghani drug cartels

• Breaking: Boko Haram launches fresh attack in Gwoza town

• Islamic group warns Muslims against joining fresh protests



• Allama Iqbal Has Rendered Great Services For The Promotion Of The Muslims Cause: Pakistan President

• Gender gap among GB voters widens: Fafen

• Kamal calls for grand national dialogue to save Pakistan



• French Minister, In Cairo, Affirms Respect For Islam In Dispute Over Cartoons

• Swedish Minister Slams Violent Islamists as 'Biggest Threat to Europe' Amid Elevated Preparedness

• Europeans Must Not Fall Into The Islamic State Trap

• Attack on Burkina Faso mosque wounds 6, says government



• Yemen: Polio Reported After Houthi Fatwa Bans Vaccines

• All Muslims rejoice for liberation of Shusha from occupation - Iranian MP

• Gli the Hagia Sophia cat dies months after the site’s conversion into a mosque

• Iran Is Laughing at Trump and Placing Hope in Biden

• Allies, Iran hopeful of US return to N-deal

• Iranian policy expert talks the ‘politics of Islam’


South Asia

• Biden Should Consider Doha Agreement, Taliban Say

• Wearing masks compulsory in mosques, other places of worship

• Mine Blast Wounds 2 Civilians in Kabul

• Taliban Kill 4 Soldiers In Baghlan Clashes

• Taliban Battered in Helmand, 6 Nabbed


Southeast Asia

• Kedah Islamic Affairs Chief Says Religious Activities Allowed In State During CMCO

• Ex-MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari survives Melawati helicopter crash which killed two



• BJP Doesn’t Discriminate, Muslims Have Same Right As Me, Says Bengal Party Chief

• Muslim Clerics Demand That Pilgrimages of All Religions Be Exempted from All Taxes

• Aligarh Muslim University seeks President's intervention to mitigate its financial crisis

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




President-Elect Joe Biden Quotes A Hadith Of The Prophet Muhammad While Making A Vow To Muslims

Web Desk

November 8, 2020


Joe Biden, President Elect of USA



President-elect Joe Biden is set to make good on a promise made to Muslim Americans in the days leading up to the election.

The promise was that he would put an end to the "vile" Muslim ban on his first day in office as President of the United States.

The ban was instituted by President Donald Trump during his first month in office in January 2017, under which immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries were barred from entering the United States.

In June this year, in a video speech to Engage Action, an advocacy group for Muslim Americans, Biden said that Muslims were the first to suffer attacks under the Trump administration.

He said under Trump's rule, an "unconscionable rise" in Islamophobia was witnessed.

He went on to quote a Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that instructs: “Whoever among you sees a wrong, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart.”

Biden said: "So many of you are living this teaching in your own communities every day, joining your faith and your principles with the American principles that are consistent, actions that [make] life better for your families, for your neighbours through service, advocacy work, and preaching peace."

The Democratic nominee said that Muslims deserve a president and an administration that will work with them and support them in these efforts instead of scapegoating them to advance a "xenophobic agenda".

"If I have the honour of being president, together we can work to right the wrongs, and see our world better, with our hearts, with our hands, with our votes," Biden said.

He called upon Muslims in America to join him in rooting out such "poison" through their votes.


Meeting French FM, Al-Azhar Sheikh vows to internationally prosecute those insulting Islam’s Prophet

8 Nov 2020

Ahram Online


Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayyeb during his meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Cairo, 8 November 2020. (Photo: Al-Ahram


Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Egypt’s top religious authority, Ahmed El-Tayyeb expressed categorical rejection of the act of insulting Prophet Muhammad and vowed to prosecute perpetrators at international courts, Al-Azhar said in a statement.

His remarks came in a Sunday meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is visiting Egypt to help de-escalate tensions that followed France’s President Emmanuel Macron’s comments on Islam.

Macron defended the right to draw cartoons on Prophet Muhammad, saying that France would not renounce the cartoons. Also, several campaigns were launched in the Islamic world, mainly on social media, calling for the boycott of French products as a response.

"Europe is indebted to our prophet Muhammad and to our religion, due to the light this religion has introduced to all humanity," El-Tayyeb said.

"We reject calling terrorism 'Islamic,'" El-Tayyeb said, adding that everyone has to immediately stop using this term, as it hurts the feelings of Muslims worldwide and it contradicts the truth known by everyone.

El-Tayyeb affirmed that Muslims around the world reject terrorism acting under the cover of religion, and stressed that Islam and its prophet has nothing to do with terrorism.

"Al-Azhar represents the voice of nearly two billion Muslims, and I said terrorists do not represent us and we are not responsible for their actions. I announced that in all international forums, in Paris, London, Geneva, the United States, Rome, Asian countries and everywhere."

"I and this Al-Azhar turban carried the roses at the Bataclan Square — in Paris — and declared rejection of any form of terrorism."

"Violations are available among followers of all religions and under all systems. If we say that Christianity is not responsible for the New Zealand incident, we also have to say that Islam is not responsible for the terrorism of those fighting in its name."

The Grand Imam also referred to the educational and ideological role of Al-Azhar across time in facing terrorism, saying that it put new curricula affirming that terrorists are criminals and that Islam is not responsible for their acts.

El-Tayyeb hailed Le Drian’s remarks during the crisis sparked by Marcon’s controversial statements, saying his remarks represented the voice of wisdom.

In press remarks, Le Drian affirmed France’s deep respect to Islam, including its role in culture, history, and French sciences, as well as to Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam El-Tayyeb’s role in calling for tolerance and moderation.

He added that Muslims in France are an integral part of the French society and are able to practice their rituals under the state’s protection.

The only battle that should be fought along with partners in Egypt is that against terrorism and extremism and those who distort the religion for political purposes, Le Drian said.

The French minister said his country differentiates between Islam and those extremists, affirming that Muslims are the main victims of terrorism.

"With a great institution such as Al-Azhar, we have to fight against this combination of extremists’ religious hatred and delusions," he said.,-AlAzhar-Sheikh-vows-to-internat.aspx


Tanzanian Sunni cleric: Respect, necessity for Islamic version of freedom of expression

November 9, 2020


Sheikh Mohammad Eidi, senior Sunni scholar from Tanzania highlighted importance of freedom of expression in Islam which clearly goes against the view by leader of a European country.

Top Sunni scholar called Islam as a religion which stresses freedom of expression for all and that it calls on people to exchange views and talk based on rationality.

He called religion as a straight path which is committed to all laws and said,” Islam calls all people to rational negotiations and stresses freedom of expression as far as the people maintain mutual respect.”

Tanzanian cleric in this webinar on “Freedom of Expression in view of Prophet Mohammad” referred to his visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran as a country which belongs to all Islamic denominations.

He hailed the coexistence of Shia and Sunni Muslims in Iran and also freedom of the Sunni Muslims to practice religious rituals in their mosques.

Sheikh Hamid Jalala, manager of Imam Sadiq (AS) seminary in this webinar condemned the sacrilegious comments made by French President Emanuel Macron and noted that Muslims, based on teachings of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) can live with other societies without any problems.

Sheikh Meraj Saloum criticized French President Emanuel Macron over his supportive stance of a sacrilegious cartoon by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo  and expressed regret over neutral stance of some Muslims in regards to the derogatory cartoon.


Allama Iqbal Has Rendered Great Services For The Promotion Of The Muslims Cause: Pakistan President

By Staff Reporter

November 9, 2020

President Dr Arif Alvi has said that Allama Iqbal has rendered great services for the promotion of the Muslims cause. Iqbal infused a revolutionary spirit in Muslims and played a prominent role in the renaissance of their society in the sub-continent.

This was stated by the President in his message on the occasion of birth anniversary of Allama Muhammad Iqbal i.e. 9th November, 2020.

He said, “I would like to pay rich homage to the great Muslim philosopher and Poet of the East, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, on his birth anniversary.

He was the great benefactor of the Muslims of sub-continent, who envisioned the idea of a separate homeland for them and later his dream was translated into reality.”

The President said, “He was a great thinker who imbibed in Muslims the spirit of unity, through his writings and poetry, that greatly helped them to achieve a separate homeland. Following his philosophy of “Khudi” can take us to the heights of development. Our countrymen, particularly the younger generation, need to follow his path and ideals that would greatly help Muslim Ummah in overcoming the modern day’s challenges.”

“In order to make Pakistan a prosperous nation, we need to follow Allama Iqbal’s teachings on Islam and his philosophy of “Khudi” that believe in the promotion of self-respect and human dignity. It is high time to stand united, set aside our differences and work committedly for the socio-economic uplift of the country,” he said .

“Let us pledge on this day to work for the unity of Muslim Ummah, and progress and prosperity of the country,” Alvi said.


French minister, in Cairo, affirms respect for Islam in dispute over cartoons


from Reuters

The French foreign minister asserted his country's "profound respect for Islam" during a visit to Cairo on Sunday in a dispute with the Muslim world over France's defense of the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's visit comes in the wake of several attacks in France apparently provoked by anger over the defense of the caricatures, considered blasphemous by Muslims, as freedom of expression.

After meeting Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Le Drian said an "anti-French" campaign in the Muslim world had often been the result of a distortion of French President Emmanuel Macron's comments on the issue.

"We have a first principle which is the highest respect for Islam," said Le Drian, adding "I also want to say that Muslims are fully part of society in France."

"The second message is that we're confronted by a terrorism threat, fanaticism, on our soil but also elsewhere, and this battle is a common battle." Le Drian said he had a long exchange marked by "great frankness" with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, who heads al-Azhar, Cairo's thousand-year-old seat of Sunni Muslim learning.

The only battle France was fighting with Egypt and other countries was against extremism, Le Drian said.

In a written statement about the meeting, Tayeb said he had stressed that any insult against the prophet was unacceptable.

"I am the first to protest against freedom of expression if this freedom offends any religion, not just Islam," he said.

"We refuse to describe terrorism as Islamic," he added. "Al-Azhar represents the voice of nearly two billion Muslims, and I said that terrorists do not represent us, and we are not responsible for their actions."


Yemen: polio reported after Houthi fatwa bans vaccines

Ali Mahmood Mohamed

November 8, 2020

Polio has been reported in Yemen for the first time since the disease was eradicated in 2006.

Sixteen cases were recorded after the Houthi rebels denied vaccination teams access to the province of Saada, the group's stronghold in northern Yemen, for more than two years, Dr Eshraq Al Subaei, Yemen's deputy minister of public health, told The National.

“They prevented the vaccination campaigns from accessing their region based on extremist religious fatwas issued by top Houthi religious figures along with trivial pretexts regarding security," Mr Al Subaei said.

Dr Taha Boutag, health manager of Saada province and a government loyalist, told The National from exile in Marib province that the Houthis have rejected polio vaccination campaigns for a long time in the areas under their control, such as Saada and neighbouring provinces.

“The Houthi authorities in Saada usually don’t impose official bans on vaccination campaigns to avoid accountability, but they let high ranking medical staff loyal to them warn parents of hidden motives behind the vaccine, to deter them from administering it to their children," Dr Boutag said.

Many pro-Houthi doctors wrote unfounded posts on Facebook to tell residents that vaccines will kill their children or cause permanent disabilities, he said

Dr Boutag said "we don’t have exact statistics or details about the districts where the polio cases were recorded because we still work from Marib. As a result, we face lots of difficulties in contacting the health offices in the areas still held by the Houthi group".

During an online meeting last week with the WHO and Unicef, Yemeni Minister of Public Health Dr Nasser Baaum called on the UN and the other international organisations to support the Yemeni government's efforts to curb the spread of polio cases in Saada and elsewhere, state-owned Saba news reported.

Dr Baaum said supplementary vaccination campaigns will be carried out in the Houthi-held provinces of Saada and some regions of Hajja as soon as possible.

Houthi health authorities rejected the shipment, the organisation said, on the grounds it did not meet international standards.

Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, the WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean region, and Ted Chaiban, Unicef regional director for the Middle East and North Africa region, issued a joint statement in September confirming that recent vaccine-derived polio outbreaks in Yemen were a consequence of low levels of immunity among children.


Biden should Consider Doha Agreement, Taliban Say

By Mohammad Haroon Alim

09 Nov 2020

The Taliban say newly elected US President Joe Biden should respect the Doha Agreement because it was not made with a single person but with the US government.

A spokesman for the Taliban told France press that the Doha agreement was with the US government and not with a single individual.

He pointed to Biden that the Taliban had made the agreement with the US government, not with one person, and that the new US administration needed to acclaim the agreement.

The Taliban signed a peace deal with the United States on February 28, based on which the Taliban will not attack the U.S. forces inside Afghanistan. The agreement requires U.S. government to withdraw their troops within 14 months since the intimation of peace process.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Biden is trying to repeal all of Trump’s decrees in the early days of his presidency, including a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban.

On the other hand, some political analysts believe that Biden’s policy towards Afghanistan will be tough, according to the analysts Biden prefers Pakistan over Afghanistan.

Intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha have also stalled, as dozens of innocent Afghans being killed and wounded every day in the wake of the war.



North America

Ilhan Omar calls out The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson over newly surfaced ‘vile’ tweet on Muslims from 2014

November 8, 2020

by Greg P.

An old tweet of The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson has caught the attention of squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar where he said, “I don’t care what flavor or [sic] Islam these dicks are. “The flavor the [sic] need to be is bleeding out of a hole in their temple”:

We’re not sure exactly what he’s referring to, but it’s likely that tweet is in response to an attack on December 14 in Sydney, Australia where a lone terrorist killed two and injured four in a two-day siege at a cafe:

'Just absolutely insane' --> If this thread doesn't 'make ya' go hmmm' on Biden's projected win NOTHING will

Any hopes of journalism improving under Biden already dashed - ABC News states no candidates refused to concede, like Trump

Rep. Omar called the tweet, “vile” and she doesn’t want any of the group’s help going forward:

Readers, pull up a chair and get ready to sit for awhile because watching these libs and The Lincoln Project fight it out in Georgia is going to be epic:


EU Weighs Crackdown on Islamist Extremism After Terror Attacks

Nikos Chrysoloras


European Union governments are considering a coordinated crackdown on Islamist radicalization, according to a draft statement that risks stoking tension with Muslim countries.

“We must protect people in Europe from Islamism,” according to the draft seen by Bloomberg, which has been prepared for a meeting of EU home-affairs ministers on Friday. It calls for the EU’s executive arm to promote religious education and training of imams within the EU “that is in line with European fundamental rights and values.”

Attacks in France and Austria have catapulted terrorism back to the top of the EU’s political agenda. French President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to crack down on Islamist “separatism” has led to conflict with some Muslim leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accuse him of religious persecution.

“We require mutual respect, including within religious communities,” ministers will declare if the draft is approved. “This applies equally to Islam and all other religions.”

EU leaders have added a debate on religious extremism to the agenda of their December summit, where relations with Turkey will also be discussed, according to a memorandum to national delegations seen by Bloomberg.

Bearing the stamp of Germany, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, the draft ministerial statement says integration “is a two-way street: providing support, but expecting more in return.”

“Migrants are expected to make an active effort to become integrated, while they are offered help with integration through government integration measures,” it says.

Among the measures considered for the clampdown on extremism is empowering governments to access encrypted communications, such as messages exchanged by most electronic-chat applications.

“Access to digital data is becoming ever more crucial — whether it is connection data or in some cases data content,” according to the draft statement.

“Social media and other hosting service providers have a responsibility in making sure that their services are not used for illegal activities or to promote crime, terrorism or hatred,” ministers plan to say, ahead of an expected new regulation on online terrorist content.

The draft urges the European Commission to “present an ambitious Digital Services Act (DSA) with regard to liability of the internet companies for illegal content and amplification, financial penalties and an oversight mechanism.”


U.S. Seizes 27 Domains Run by Iran’s Regime. Time To Counter Mullahs’ Propaganda

By Mohammad Sadat Khansari

8th November 2020

The United States Department of Justice banned 27 additional domain names the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) unlawfully used to spread the regime’s disinformation and push the mullahs’ talking points.

The Department of Justice, in a statement on November 4, announced that “all 27 domains were being used in violation of U.S. sanctions targeting both the Government of Iran and the IRGC. Four of the domains purported to be genuine news outlets but were actually controlled by the IRGC and targeted audiences in the United States, to covertly influence United States policy and public opinion, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The remainder targeted audiences in other parts of the world. This seizure warrant follows an earlier seizure of 92 domains used by the IRGC for similar purposes.”

“Within the last month we have announced seizures of Iran’s weapons, fuel, and covert influence infrastructure,” said John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “Today’s 29 seizures are another important step against Iran’s worldwide disinformation campaign,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson. “This work will continue. We cannot allow Iran’s attachment to fake news to overtake our commitment to the rule of law.”

American Herald TribuneAmong the closed domains, there is a website called American Herald Tribune. This website, which had claimed to be a “genuinely independent online media outlet,” was founded in 2015, published in English, and paid Americans to write articles.

“A Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business that company staff who looked into the website’s Facebook page say it was linked to Iranian state media. Facebook removed the page in 2018. FireEye, a top cybersecurity company, says it assessed with ‘moderate confidence’ that the website originates in Iran and is part of a much larger influence operation,” read the CNN report.

“The articles posted to the American Herald Tribune are largely in line with the views of Iran’s ruling establishment. It publishes stories criticizing American foreign policy and attacking President Donald Trump and Israel. Often the criticism is not unlike viewpoints expressed on authentic US-based independent websites, especially ones with an anti-establishment perspective.”

“Lee Foster, who leads the team at FireEye that first uncovered the network of sites, told CNN Business that ‘indicators, both technical and behavioral’ point to American Herald Tribune being linked to an operation run from Iran,” read the report.

This website had published numerous articles against the MEK, repeating the baseless allegations already rejected by high courts in the U.S. and Europe.

The regime’s Ministry of intelligence and Security (MOIS) has been using various covers to pursue its demonization campaign against the opposition, tarnishing the image of the mullahs’ only viable alternative.

The Iranian regime has been trying to push its talking points through various lobbyists. Many of the regime’s apologists are either working under the banner of “Iranian activists,” “Members of the Iranian community,” “journalists,” or “Iran experts.”

One example is the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) which openly defends the religious fascism ruling Iran and its foreign policy. On January 14, 2020, U.S. senators, Mike Braun, Ted Cruz, and Tom Cotton called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate NIAC.

These Senators in a letter to the U.S. Attorney General William Barr called for an investigation into NIAC and its sister organization, NIAC Action, for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

“FARA requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, to refrain from certain types of speech; rather, it helps guarantee transparency and accountability receipts, and disbursements in support of those activities. FARA does not compel any American in our political system,” read the Senators’ letter.

“NIAC’s relationship with the Iranian regime and its role amplifying regime propaganda in the United States have been the subject of discussion in Washington D.C. for years,” Senators added.

When the regime’s terror mastermind Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, NIAC along with other regime apologists condemned this action. Qassem Soleimani was responsible for killing thousands of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), in a report in January 2020, revealed NIAC’s origins and how it operates inside the U.S.

“NIAC has been the Iranian regime’s primary outlet in Washington. NIAC and its founder Trita Parsi have direct contacts with the clerical regime in Iran and have acted as the chief deal makers for Tehran in Washington,” read NCRI’s report.

“In direct coordination with the Iranian regime and while pursuing a specific policy path, Parsi has been attempting to justify the regime’s policies while at the same time urging the doling out of unilateral concessions by the U.S. to the regime, billing it as the only option capable of inducing a change of behavior by Tehran. Part and parcel of this approach has been the dissemination of lies and accusations against the Iranian Resistance and specifically the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Parsi and NIAC have been trying to cement and buttress Tehran’s propaganda against the organized opposition, portraying them as facts and launching a demonizing campaign against the MEK. According to NIAC’s propaganda, the Iranian society’s main problem and the main obstacle to change in Iran has been the presence of the opposition MEK, and not the ruling regime in Iran,” the NCRI report added.

Ali Fallahian, the Iranian regime’s former Intelligence Minister on July 9, 2017 told state television: “The Ministry of Intelligence needs a cover to gather information, whether inside or outside the country. We do not send an intelligence officer to Germany or the United States to say that I am from the Ministry of Intelligence. A business or journalism cover is needed.”

The world was shocked to hear that a so-called Iranian “diplomat” Assadollah Assadi and three other terrorists were arrested while trying to bomb an opposition rally in the heart of Europe in Paris in June 2018.

The “Free Iran,” rally, hosted annually by the NCRI, was attended by the NCRI’s President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and hundreds of distinguished European and American personalities.

The motive of the regime’s demonization campaign against the MEK is to justify terrorism abroad and oppression inside Iran. Propagating the regime’s talking points and not countering them will only allow the regime to continue its killing spree both inside and outside of Iran.



Arab world

Top Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Is Undeterred by Damage From Pandemic


The biggest Islamic bank in Abu Dhabi is striking an upbeat tone despite emerging from the global pandemic with one of the highest shares of bad loans among its peers.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC came out “fairly undamaged” from a program of loan deferrals rolled out as part of the UAE central bank’s relief effort during the outbreak, according to Mohamed Abdel Bary, the lender’s group chief financial officer. Known as ADIB, the bank is seeing “no significant pressure” on clients as they weather the pandemic, he said in an interview.

The regulatory measures bought time for banks by freeing up liquidity and ensuring access to funding as the UAE economy came under strain from the twin shock of the coronavirus and lower oil prices. But with the program set to expire at the end of the year, local lenders have been setting aside more money in preparation for the likely deterioration in asset quality.

In the case of ADIB, non-performing loans already rose to almost 9% of the total last quarter, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, the second-highest among banks in the region that have published financial statements for the period. That’s up from 8.4% in the previous three months and compares with an average of 7.5% for UAE-based banks in the second quarter, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Relative to many of its peers, ADIB has been allocating less money when provisioning for bad loans, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Impairment charges totaled 245.5 million dirhams ($66.8 million) in the third quarter, down almost 24% from the previous quarter. Credit provisioning is still up 73% in the first nine months compared with last year.

The bank has “been watching very closely” the clients who have been offered to delay payments, according to the CFO. The decline in provisioning shows the bank is “on the right trajectory,” he said in a separate interview with Bloomberg Television.

But the risk is that lenders can become more vulnerable once stimulus measures expire. S&P Global Ratings has warned of an extended period of reduced profitability for banks the region, predicting their asset quality may deteriorate at a faster rate when the regulatory forbearance measures are lifted.

“It is early to conclude on the state of deferred loans in the UAE as bad loan formation could be delayed by the monetary support program that ends in December,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Edmond Christou. “Still, we believe that banks with soft coverage are likely to sustain provisioning given persisting pressure on collateral value.”


Saudis targeted in new wave of financial scams


November 08, 2020

RIYADH: Convincing-looking fraudulent messages and misleading online adverts are rife in the digital world, so it is not surprising that some Saudi residents continue to fall for scams that attempt to trick unsuspecting victims.

In some cases the con artists warn that savings are at risk, in others they offer easy ways to make lots of money. Recently, for example, people have been receiving text messages claiming their bank accounts have been compromised and must be protected, and requesting private financial details to do so.

Another tactic involves bogus online adverts for sham investment opportunities that often use the names of real, trusted organizations in the Kingdom without their permission, such as the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) or the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Retired engineer M. Al-Mansouri regrets the day he answered a telephone call from someone who claimed to be calling from a government authority. Ultimately, it cost him about SR50,000 ($13,000). The woman he spoke to said she needed to double-check his personal information, including his Saudi ID details and the last four digits of his bank card.

“In less than half an hour, I received SMS messages showing that my bank card details had been used to obtain money,” said Al-Mansouri. “I assumed there was some mistake but the messages did not stop and all of a sudden I found that about 50,000 riyals were taken from my account.”

Saudi Banks spokesperson, Talat Zaki Hafiz, told Arab News that con artists lure potential investors by using social engineering, manipulation techniques that exploit human error to gain access to personal information.

“The technique enables fraudsters to gradually lure their victims to obtain their personal information as well as their bank information in order to complete their scams. They have been using the technique on a large scale, luring them by using official names of known entities, high-profile individuals and others to gain more attention to their scams,” he added.


Firewood sellers arrested in Riyadh


November 08, 2020

RIYADH: The Special Forces for Environmental Security (SFES) have arrested firewood sellers in Riyadh for violating the forest and rangeland law that forbids logging, and regulations prohibiting the sale or transport of local firewood, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

Spokesman Maj. Raed Al-Maliki said the SFES monitors the marketing, selling and transport of local firewood, and everything shared on online platforms in this regard.

He added that the goal is to take legal measures against violators of environmental regulations to protect vegetative cover.

Al-Maliki said the SFES and relevant security sectors, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, will apply the penalties stipulated by law against anyone who trades or transports local firewood or charcoal. This includes a fine of between SR10,000 ($2,666) and SR50,000 per ton.

He urged citizens and residents to preserve the country’s environmental capabilities and avoid logging as it damages natural resources, rangelands, forests and parks, endangers trees and increases desertification.


UAE convicts 6 Nigerians for wiring $782,000 to Boko Haram, FG official indicted

By Wale Odunsi

November 9, 2020

An Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has convicted six Nigerians over alleged funding of Boko Haram.

The conviction was upheld by the appellate court after they lost an earlier appeal at a lower court.

Daily Trust reported on Monday that Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The rest, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa, got ten-year imprisonment each.

Court documents show that between 2015 and 2016, the convicts were allegedly involved in cash transfers totalling $782,000.00 to Boko Haram.

The act was contrary to Article 29, Clause 3 of UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law No 7 of 2017.

National Security Bureau said investigation of the Nigerians “confirmed their involvement and membership of the Boko Haram”.

They were arrested between April 16 and 17, 2017, and their homes searched according to the search warrant issued by the National Security Prosecution office dated April 16, 2017.

Abubakar and Adamu were charged for joining Boko Haram knowingly.

This negates Article 22/2 of UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law No 7 of 2017 punishable by death or life imprisonment.

Alhassan, Musa, Yusuf and Isa were charged with assisting the sect knowingly.

The crime, under Article 31, Clause 1 of the same law, is punishable by life imprisonment or at least five years in jail.

Most of the transactions were facilitated by two undercover Boko Haram agents based in Nigeria. One of them is “Alhaji Sa’idu”.

The other “Alhaji Ashiru” was described as “a Nigerian government official”.

He also reportedly funnelled misappropriated public funds to terrorists.

Sa’idu’s modus operandi is using unidentified Arab persons on a visit to Dubai from Turkey to hand over US Dollars to one of the convicts, who then remit Naira equivalent to the agent.

Families of the convicts say they were “framed up”, insisting their bureau de change business in the UAE was legitimate.




Time secular Muslims stood between Islam and terror

08 November 2020


As the world grapples with a fresh round of alleged Islamist terror attacks, this time in France, the Muslim world is once again looked at with suspicion.

This has been the bane of this mighty segment of the world population ever since Islamic terrorism, unchallenged by ordinary, secular Muslims, crossed Europe and entered the United States in 2001, even as it spread across the Middle East and Asia.

There have been many provocations, most recently the re-publication of the Prophet Muhammad caricatures by satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo as a follow-up of their original publication in 2015, but the victims, apart from those killed by the terrorists, are the Muslims in general.

Notwithstanding the rationale behind Christian countries coming down heavily on Islam and terrorism following the latest spate of attacks in France, it is a reality that the Muslims have to one day come out in the open to stand between Islam and terrorist groups and orthodox clergy.

They are free to argue that such situations exist within other major religions in the world, but that does not help them ward off the world’s suspicion about them. There is certainly the argument that President Emmanuel Macron of France could have measured his outburst following the violence.

The outrageous beheading of a teacher, Samuel Paty, on October 16 and a similar attack on a 60-year-old woman and two others in the Notre-Dame cathedral in Nice two weeks later, provoked Macron to say: “Samuel Paty was killed because Islamists want our future and because they know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it. They divide the faithful and the unbelievers.”

The French Council of Muslim Faith lost no time in condemning the violence: “The horrible assassination […] reminds us of the scourges which sadly mark our reality: that of the outbreaks in our country of radicalism, violence and terrorism, which claim to be Islam, making victims of all ages, all conditions and all convictions.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said in a tweet: “We strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack in #Nice.” In an apparent reference to the caricatures, he tweeted that “This escalating vicious cycle -- hate speech, provocations & violence -- must be replaced by reason & sanity.”

The rest of the Muslim world was up in arms against Macron. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan questioned Macron’s mental health.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted: “This is a time when President Macron could have put a healing touch and denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarisation and marginalisation that inevitably leads to radicalisation.”

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was more virulent in his tweet: “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.”

On the face of it, the heads of both Turkey and Pakistan hardly have any credibility to speak about religion, given the blatant way they promote Islamic orthodoxy. Nobody really cares what Mahathir Mohammad says anyway, because he is given to routine outbursts of the irrational kind.

Well-known mixed martial fighter from Dagestan, Khabib Nurmagomedov, flayed Macron and called for “the Almighty to disfigure the face of this creature”. He went on Instagram with a picture of a boot mark on the face of Macron.

Faced with such criticism, Macron eased off a bit. The man who once said that there was a need to “free Islam in France from foreign influences” mellowed down a bit to tell Al-Jazeera a few days ago with reference to the Muslim objections to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons: “I understand the feelings this stirs, I respect them. But I want you to understand my role: my role is to calm things down as I’m doing here, and to protect those rights.”

NazihaMayoufi, a member of Les Musulmans, an association of Muslim groups and mosques in France, told The New York Times that “she felt ‘dread and infinite sadness for the families of the victims, for our Catholic friends’”.

She at the same time expressed the fear that the attacks will make politicians to freely label Islam as an “enemy from within”. Her final statement is self-explanatory: “As Muslims, we pay the damages of those two forms of extremism.”

She continues to be a small but powerful voice to admit that Muslims were victims of terrorist groups and a section of the anti-west clergy misinterpreting Islamic tenets for their own purposes. The Muslim world needs more such voices for sanity to prevail.

After 9/11, when the world’s anger against Osama Bin Laden and “Islamic terror” was at its peak, well-known Pakistani nuclear physicist, Dr. Pervez Amir Ali Hoodbhoy, was quoted in an article in the American Humanist: “Leaders of the Muslim community in the United States, and even President Bush, have routinely asserted that Islam is a religion of peace that was hijacked by fanatics on September 11. These two assertions are simply untrue.”

He went on to say that Islam is neither about peace nor war. “Every religion is about absolute belief in its own superiority and the divine right to impose its version of truth upon others.”

In an article in the Washington Post, Dr Hoodbhoy famously wrote of Islam, touching the core issue: “The religion is as heterogeneous as those who believe and follow it. There is no ‘true Islam’.”

His statement has been analysed over and over to mean: Uniformity in Islam is confined to the five pillars: confession of faith, prayer ritual, religious fasting, giving alms to the poor and performing the Haj pilgrimage.

Terrorist groups and obscurantist schools have sought to introduce and wrongly interpreted version of ‘jihad’ as the sixth pillar. There is no clarity on the meaning of the word with each section of Muslims having its own interpretation.

Several scholars have agreed that the history of Islam is replete with “accounts of divergences in the theory and practice of the religion”.

There is no dearth of literature that analyses the periodic changes in the interpretation of the Quran and the Hadith ever since the formative period of Islamic thought.

A western scholar, W. Montgomery Watt, authored a book in which he says as the Islamists transited from oral tradition to a written form of God’s words, the then territory where Islam took birth was experiencing tumultuous times of war, expansion and control, different school of Islamic law came up in different areas with their own, separate interpretations. And as the religion spread to other continents, it took diverse forms and nuances according to local customs and necessities.

With such a multifarious past, only the element of practical humanism can give Islam the authority to stamp out those who misinterpret or misuse it for their own purposes, be it terrorists or super orthodox clergy.

Watt counsels in his book and it is relevant today: “What should thoughtful people infer from this whole narrative?... Muslims need a secular and democratic state that respects religious freedom and human dignity and is founded on the principle that power belongs to the state…We have but one choice: the path of secular humanism, based upon the principles of logic and reason.”

Albert Hourani, a British historian of Lebanese descent, in his Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798-1939, wrote: “Modern Muslim terrorist groups are more rooted in national liberation ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries than they are in the Islamic tradition. Although these terrorist groups adopt various theological justifications for their behaviour, their ideologies, symbolism, language and organizational structure reflect the influence of the anti-colonial struggle of the developing world. For instance, the groups often use expressions . . . imported from national liberation struggles against colonialism [which] did not emerge from the Islamic heritage. In short, modern Muslim terrorism is part of the historical legacy of colonialism and not the legacy of Islamic law. According to the Islamic juristic tradition, terrorists would have no quarter.”

American Humanist in a 2002 edition quoted author Salman Rushdie: “If Islam is to be reconciled with modernity, these [critical Muslim] voices must be encouraged until they swell into a roar. Many of them speak of another Islam, their personal, private faith…The restoration of religion to the sphere of the personal, its depoliticization, is the nettle that all Muslim societies must grasp in order to become modern….If terrorism is to be defeated, the world of Islam must take on board the secularist-humanist principles on which the modern is based and without which Muslim countries’ freedom will remain a distant dream.”


S Africa is new market for Afghani drug cartels



Johannesburg, Nov 9 (PTI) South Africa has emerged as a lucrative new market for drug cartels operating out of Afghanistan, a latest report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) has said.

But local dealers identify the illegal imports as originating in Pakistani rather than Afghanistan, according to drug researchers.

Jason Eligh, senior illicit drug market expert at GI-TOC, told the weekly Sunday Times that the organisation''s research had looked at how Southern and East Africa are being affected by different narcotics.

"Through our research we identified the emergence of the apparent new meth supply route into Africa and South Africa from Afghanistan,” Eligh told the weekly.

"Confirmation of this new route is strengthened by the seizures at Komatipoort (the main border post between Mozambique and South Africa) and (the port city of) Pemba, in Mozambique,” Eligh added.

GI-TOC is a multi-national organisation that works with law enforcement agencies to analyse and interpret trends in organised crime.

The drug crystal meth, popularly known in South Africa as tik, is very popular, particularly among unemployed youth who are known to resort to crime to get their hands on the drug.

But drug researcher Monique Marks, head of the Durban University of Technology’s Urban Futures Centre, told the weekly that meth is now also used by those in affluent areas in this port city in South Africa.

In Cape Town, the Afghani drug is commonly referred to as ‘Pakistani’, with one dealer reportedly claiming to have no idea that there was a country called Afghanistan.

According to the GI-TOC report, crystal meth is being smuggled into South Africa through long-established heroin smuggling routes.

In May this year, during the national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two South Africans were arrested at the Komatipoort border post for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country 100kg of crystal meth. PTI FH DPB DPB


Breaking: Boko Haram launches fresh attack in Gwoza town

NOVEMBER 9, 2020

By Ndahi Marama

Fleeing residents of Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno state have revealed that armed Boko Haram sect has on Sunday night launched a deadly attack on the town with fear of severe casualties.

Gwoza is one of the Council areas declared as Boko Haram caliphate until it was liberated. The incident according to sources started at about 10 pm with heavy sounds of gunshots and explosions from the side of the terrorists and security operatives.


Islamic group warns Muslims against joining fresh protests

By John Owen Nwachukwu

November 9, 2020Nigerian Muslims have been advised to ignore any invitation to join a fresh protest in the country.

The advice was given by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), in a statement issued to DAILY POST on Monday by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

He said, “The attention of MURIC has been drawn to subterranean rumblings as precursors of demonstrations. We like to remind Nigerian Muslims in particular and all citizens in general that the last experience we had during #EndSARS protests was very bitter as it pushed the country to the edge of the precipice.

“Protests are legitimate as long as they are peaceful but the last one was hijacked by disgruntled politicians, religious bigots and ethnic jingoists. The smoke from the burning embers can still be seen above our chimneys.

“There is indisputable evidence showing that funds for the protest were provided by people who lack integrity and whose sources of income lack credibility.

“These are people who have been engaging in criminal activities. They have been playing hide and seek with the police and their topmost wish has always been to get rid of all signs of law enforcement agents. Unfortunately innocent but gullible Nigerians played into their hands and became weapons of mass destruction.

“Ceteris paribus, we expected the protests to abate the moment the government accepted all the five demands made by the youth but this did not happen. The demands were expanded until they became frivolous, ridiculous and irrational.

“The ensuing destruction of properties during the protest was too massive, enough to cause goose pimples in anyone with the milk of homo sapien compos mentis flowing in his or her veins. It is also enough to discourage another protest so soon.

“Hoodlums have been allowed to destroy facilities that coming generations should enjoy. Only the apostles of Shaytan (Satan) will be happy at the sight of more than 150 new luxurious buses and other assets of the Lagos State government burnt by hoodlums during the last protest.

“To what end? Does Governor Sanwoolu ride those buses? It is so illogical. These were buses meant for poor Lagosians. How could we allow ourselves to be deceived into destroying facilities intended to make life better for the poor? Are we fighting the masses?

“Nevertheless, we believe that Lagos will rise again to the chagrin of envious eyes and enemies of progress. It is for these reasons that we are calling on Nigerian Muslims in particular and other citizens in general not to join any new protest. Enough is enough.

“The Glorious Qur’an commands Muslims to join hands in righteous deeds, not for aggression and destruction. It says, ‘Join hands together in good deeds and piety. But do not join others to commit sin and aggression’ (Qur’an 5:2).

“This is a clear injunction directed at Muslims and it is enough for them to steer clear of any new protest. Somebody once said, ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me a second time, shame on me’. ‘Wisdom’, according to the Prophet (SAW), ‘is the property of believers’. We should not allow anyone to deceive us into joining a rudderless protest again.

“Our observations in the last protest are that it was mainly a southern affair. The North did not participate. This tainted it with ethnic colouration. Also, while Islamic scholars and Muslim leaders in the South West shunned the protest, Christian clergymen from the region and from the South East actively encouraged it. Igbo Christians also seized the opportunity to get rid of mosques within their domain. This gave it religious bias.

“The modus operandi of the protest also exposed the evil intention of the organisers. Police personnel were attacked. Some were killed. Many were injured. About 15 police stations were burned down in Lagos alone. Nigerians forgot that nearly every one of them has at least one relation in the police force (a son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin, nephew or in-law). Yet they allowed attacks on policemen.

“What if the next policeman attacked is your father or brother? It became apparent that the intention was to enthrone the Hobbesian state, a state of lawlessness where might is right and innocent citizens will be at the mercy of cultists, armed robbers, kidnappers and warlords. Unfortunately this is exactly what is happening in many places where police have been destabilized.

“The approach was similar to leftist-communist inclination as public and private properties were mercilessly looted and innocent citizens were dispossessed of their prized possessions. On the contrary, MURIC belongs to Rousseau’s school of thought where ‘right is might’ and where there is respect for the rule of law. Hatred for the rich is contrary to the teachings of Islam. Allah gave them their riches. We too must work hard enough and we must be contented with what we have.

“The aftermath of the attacks on policemen and their stations was general commotion. Daylight robberies occurred in Lagos in particular but there were no policemen to call. It was every man to himself. Traffic gridlocks forced motorists to remain in one spot for up to three hours but there were no traffic policemen to ease the flow of traffic. As you make your bed, so you will sleep on it.

“Nigerian Muslims and, indeed, every right thinking Nigerian for that matter, should not allow this to happen again. We must not join any fresh protest under whatever guise. Leaderless protests lead to chaos. Leaderless protests come with awful intentions. We should not join them. The last demonstration has taught us a bitter lesson, namely, that it is difficult to know the true intention of any protest. They may start peacefully but graduate to violent outings.

“Our major points in this advocacy are : one, Nigerian Muslims and all reasonable citizens should avoid joining any new protest; two, destruction of public and private properties can only be the handiwork of unscrupulous and unpatriotic elements; three, Nigerians should be wary of leftist-communist revolutions which aim at violent seizure of properties of the rich and the middle class and, four, attacks on policemen and burning of police stations will only open the door for criminal activities with the attendant disruption of socio-economic life whose victims will be the poor masses.”




Gender gap among GB voters widens: Fafen

Amir Wasim

09 Nov 2020

ISLAMABAD: While the voters’ list for 2020 elections in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) reflects the remarkable achievement of registering 126,997 new voters — a 21 per cent increase — since 2015, women’s representation has declined with the result that gender gap in the figures of registered voters has widened.

From the perspective of gender representation, the relatively higher number of men (75,888) compared to women (51,109) among the 126,997 newly registered voters indicated a slight increase in the overall gender gap from 7pc in the previous election to 9pc this year, according to Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen).

Fafen, which released its report titled “Women in Elections: Analysis of Registered Voters in GB” to the media on Sunday, found the highest gender gap of 10pc in Diamer division, followed by Baltistan division where gender gap rose to 8pc and Gilgit division where the 8pc gender gap remained unchanged.

The report pointed out “since the last elections in the region, as many as 126,997 voters have been added to the electoral roll. Compared to 618,364 registered voters on the 2015 electoral rolls, the number has increased to 745,361 voters reflecting an increase of 21pc.” Tracking the increase in the number of voters on the electoral rolls compared to the 2015 elections, there is a relatively similar trajectory across divisions and districts.

However, the trends across constituencies show significant variations ranging from 4pc in GBA-7 (Skardu-I) to 30pc in GBA-15 (Diamer-I).

At the division level, the highest increase in terms of number of registered voters is recorded in Gilgit with an increase of 55,053 voters, followed by Baltistan with an increase of 38,581 new voters and Diamer with 33,363 new voters. When assessed in percentage change, Diamer is leading with 22pc increase in the number of registered voters, followed by Gilgit (21pc) and Baltistan (18pc).

From the perspective of gender gap, the increase in registered voters reflect a slight increase in two of the divisions. With a disproportionate increase in the number of men, the 2020 electoral rolls for Diamer and Baltistan reflect an overall gender gap of 10pc and 8pc, respectively, whereas the gender gap did not change in Gilgit and remains consistent at 8pc.

While the number of registered voters increased in all the districts, the maximum increase is recorded in Diamer district where over 23,000 voters were added to the list and the least increase is witnessed in Kharmang district where only 4,911 additional voters were registered.

Overall, more than 20,000 new voters were registered in each of two districts, between 15,000 and 20,000 new voters were registered in each of two other districts.

Among the rest, two districts reflect an increase ranging between 10,000 and 15,000 while four districts show an increase of less than 10,000 in number of newly registered voters.

Gender gap drops in Hunza only According to the report, the increase in the number of registered voters reflects aproportionately higher number of men added to the voters list in all but three of the 10 districts.

Of these three, only Hunza district reflects a proportionately higher number of women getting registered for vote, as their percentage on the electoral roll slightly increased from 48pc in 2015 to 49pc in 2020.

Ghizer and Kharmang districts show a consistent gender gap of 8pc while the remaining seven districts have proportionately more men added to the list resulting in the widening gender gap.

It says the gender gap in voters’ list of four districts (Shigar, Nagar, Diamer and Skardu) refl ects a comparative increase of 4pc while the remaining three districts (Ghanche, Astore and Gilgit) have a comparative increase of 2pc.

As with the division and district level trends, the number of registered voters, when compared with 2015 elections, reflects universal yet varying increase. The variance in the number of new voters to the constituency-wise list ranges from as low as 643 new voters in Skardu-I (GBA-7) to 8,133 in Ghizer-II (GBA-20). The trend at the constituency level shows over 20pc increase in registered voters of 11 constituencies and between 15pc and 20pc in 12 other constituencies, while only one constituency records less than 5pc increase in new voters. Among the new voters, in all but two constituencies, a disproportionately higher

number of men were registered. Only in one constituency, GBA-6 Hunza, the percentage increase in female voters exceeds the percentage increase in male voters (22pc increase in women compared to 19pc increase in men), as in the other GBA-7 Skardu constituency, the percentage of increase in men and women voters remained the same at 4pc.

Among the 22 remaining constituencies, the percentage of men voters in the new additions to the voters list outdid the entries of women voters by a margin ranging between one percentage point to 20 percentage points.

The disproportionately higher number of men added to the voters’ list increased the gender gap in 20 of the 24 constituencies. Of these 20 constituencies, gender gap increased by two percentage points in 12 constituencies, four percentage points in five constituencies and six percentage points in the remaining three constituencies.

At present 17 constituencies have a gender gap ranging between 5pc and 10pc while only three constituencies have less than 5pc gender gap.

Out of 745,361 voters on the 2020 Gilgit-Baltistan voters’ list, 339,998 (46%) are women. The figures reflect as many as 65,365 more men registered compared to women. The figures, according to Fafen, are not ideal but once contextualised, reflect an encouraging picture of a region that is predominantly rural with significant environmental and infrastructure challenges that inhibit access to and provision of key public services, including the provision of national identity cards, a primary requirement for registration on the electoral roll since the 2015 elections in the region.

“In the post-election phase, the issue of a representative voters’ list shall be pursued as a cause of common concern by all relevant stakeholders, especially the Election Commission of GB,” Fafen expects.

Starting with the four constituencies where the gender gap exceeds the legally defined threshold of 10 percentage points, there is a need for a proactive approach to ensure registration of eligible-age women at a level that establishes the balance among registered voters across genders.

The template for cooperation and coordination among the stakeholders with specific goal of increasing women representation in the voters’ list, as implemented in Pakistan, may be replicated in the region. Where the variation in the disaggregated data under sub-section (1) is more than 10pc in a constituency, the Commission shall take special measures to reduce such variation under Section 47(2) of the Election Act, 2017.


Kamal calls for grand national dialogue to save Pakistan


09 Nov 2020

KARACHI: Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal on Sunday asked the government and opposition parties to initiate a grand national dialogue and formulate a plan to run Pakistan for next 20 years and to steer the country out of multiple crises that had been eroding the masses’ trust on democratic dispensation.

“Let’s initiate a dialogue to save Pakistan. Let’s hold a grand dialogue, a grand jirga to find out the solution. This system has become outdated and the country is not moving forward,” Mr Kamal said while speaking at a huge public meeting organised by his party at the Bagh-i-Jinnah.

The PSP held a power show in response to the Oct 18 public meeting of 11-party Pakistan Democratic Movement at the same venue in the shadow of the Quaid’s mausoleum.

A large number of people, including women and children, attended the event at the Bagh-i-Jinnah, which was packed to capacity. Participants in the public meeting were seen waving PSP flags and shouting slogans in favour of Mr Kamal and PSP president Anis Kaimkhani.

Addressing Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said: “You are willing to talk to [Indian Prime Minister] Modi who is the killer of Kashmiris and you are ready to talk to him but not ready to talk to the opposition parties. What kind of system is this,” he asked.

He reminded Mr Khan that he was not a monarch but an elected prime minister and bound under the Constitution to sit with the opposition to resolve issues of national importance.

“Let’s hold a dialogue in the country. You are ready to talk to Modi ... you should also talk to the opposition parties of this country,” he said, asking the government and the opposition to stop calling each other thieves and looters. He asked the government and the opposition to make a “new beginning” and introduce judicial, health, education and local government reforms.

Highlighting the issue of an unprecedented price hike in the country, he warned the government and the opposition not to take the people’s silence for granted as a silent revolution would wipe them out if they failed to act to end their miseries.

He said that the local government was the first step of any democratic system but none of the provinces currently had an elected LG set-up.

He reiterated his demand of holding a correct and transparent census in Karachi and observed that it would double the existing 21 National Assembly seats in the metropolis.

Mr Kamal was critical of both PML-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in his speech.

Talking about PDM’s rally in Quetta, he said he saw Maryam Nawaz “exploiting the sentiments of the families of missing persons for her vested political gains at the rally, as she chanted the slogan of ‘shame shame’, which actually added more sufferings to the already distressed families”.

He asked Ms Nawaz as to what her father, who had been elected prime minister thrice, had done for the recovery of the missing persons when he was the country’s premier.

The PSP chief said that the PPP had hosted the Oct 18 public meeting of the PDM in Karachi and it was an irony that none of the leaders of the 11 parties spoke about the plight of Karachi.

Addressing Mr Bhutto-Zardari, he said that the PPP had been ruling Sindh for the past 12 years and if anyone was responsible for the problems from Kashmore to Karachi it was the PPP-led provincial government.

He said that recently Karachi was declared the worst city in terms of its transport system. He said he was happy to see the project of Orange Train in Punjab, but those who left Karachi at the mercy of Qingqi rickshaws and did not bring even one bus during their 12-year rule must be held accountable.

Mr Kamal said that the PSP was a reality and “this huge public meeting has been organised without using any government resources”.

He said that people of all ethnic and linguistic backgrounds were part of the PSP and present in the rally. “Today, Karachi is united under the banner of PSP and ready to lead the country politically.”

PSP President Anis Kaimkhani and other leaders including, Hassan Sabir, Arshad Vohra, Shabbir Kaimkhani and others also spoke.





Swedish Minister Slams Violent Islamists as 'Biggest Threat to Europe' Amid Elevated Preparedness

by Igor Kuznetsov


Following a spate of terrorist attacks in Europe, Swedish Minister of the Interior Mikael Damberg has lashed out against violent Islamists, stressing that all forces that challenge democracy and equality or restrict freedom of expression or "our way of life", must be fought.

Damberg underscored that in today's Europe Islamist forces that resort to violence are one of the biggest threats. Therefore, the Swedish state cannot be neutral when people attempt to attack the very heart of democracy, he stressed.

Damberg's comments come as the Swedish police decided to launch a "special national event" in order to be able to act quickly against a possible terrorist attack. The decision to elevate preparedness was taken following the terrorist attacks in France and Austria.

"It is important for Sweden to increase preparedness to be able to handle special events. There is a risk that others will be inspired through these acts, which is why the authorities have come to the conclusion to take precautionary measures to ensure that we can act very quickly", Damberg told national broadcaster SVT.

"Our Swedish Constitution is not neutral, it is democratic. If we don't stand up for freedom of expression and the equality we enjoy in our country, then these forces must be counteracted and fought. That is why I believe that we should not only look at the concrete terrorist threat, but also at the environments in which radicalisation takes place", Damberg stressed.

The interior minister declined to speculate on the rumours of a feared terrorist attack. In response, he emphasised that the terrorist threat level in Sweden remains the same. If the authorities considered an acute terrorist threat to be imminent, they would have most certainly raised it, he underscored. At the same time, he stressed that an increased police presence and the aforementioned "special national event" are necessary.

"It is not often that you have three-four attacks in a row in a short time, then there is increased vigilance and stronger preparedness. The Swedish police and security police also have much stronger counter-terrorism preparedness today than just 5-6 years ago", Damberg underscored.

Last week, a shooting spree in Vienna left four people dead and over 20 injured. The attacker was liquidated by the police. Daesh* later claimed responsibility for the carnage.


Europeans must not fall into the Islamic State trap

Karim El-Gawhary

Nov 09,2020

THE attack in Vienna proves once again that it was always a pious hope that IS, the so-called Islamic state, was defeated with the reconquest of its caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Even though US president Donald Trump has repeatedly emphasised in his election campaign that the victory over the IS is down to him personally. IS has always been more than a territory, it is an ideology and its followers follow strategies that are also given to them online.

One of these strategies for Europe was described in the now discontinued, professionally produced, IS online magazine ‘Dabiq’. In a manifesto published there in 2015, a social dynamic was described that the militant Islamists aimed to exploit for themselves. The idea was relatively simple: with every Islamist attack in Europe, the anti-Islamic mood there grows. The consequence, the manifesto said, would be polarisation and, as it said at the time, ‘the elimination of the grey zone.’

This so-called ‘grey zone’ was used to describe the co-existence of Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe, which must be challenged. The exclusion of Muslims in the West would make it all the easier to drive them into the arms of the militant Islamists and their ideology, and they would thus be easily recruited to IS, wrote Islamic State strategists at the time.

The attack in Vienna fits exactly into this concept. IS is aiming to trigger a vicious circle, in which its calculation will work out even without the caliphate. After each of its attacks in Europe, its strategists hope that the Muslims living there will be marginalised.

THE best IS scenario would then be follow-up attacks by right-wing radical, self-proclaimed crusaders on mosques, for example, which would drive Muslims further into a corner, only to make them more vulnerable to IS ideology. The best strategy against the IS is therefore not to fall into this trap and to stand together as a society.

Incidentally, the strategic IS manifesto for Europe may even have an Austrian connection. The Middle East expert Petra Ramsauer points out that one of the main propagandists who may have co-written the manifesto comes from Vienna of all places. Mohamed Mahmoud, born in Vienna in 1985, became a leading member of the Global Islamic Media Front in 2006.  Also known as Abu Usama al-Gharib, he was arrested in Vienna in 2007 because, according to authorities, he had started buying components for an explosive belt.

The GIMF had also distributed a video threatening attacks on targets in Austria and Germany. Mohamed Mahmoud served a four-year sentence, in which he is said to have written about the ‘grey zone’ in the IS manifesto.

After his release, he moved to Berlin and later to Solingen to join IS in Syria. In March 2013 he appeared in an Internet video in which he burned his Austrian passport and announced further attacks.  In 2018 he was killed in an air raid by the anti-IS coalition in Syria.


Attack on Burkina Faso mosque wounds 6, says government

8 November 2020


Burkina Faso (AP) - An unknown assailant threw a flammable bottle into a mosque in Burkina Faso's capital, wounding six people, the government spokesman said Sunday.

Investigations into the Friday evening attack are ongoing, Remis Fulgance Dandjinou told The Associated Press.

Security Minister Ousseni Compaore visited the site of the Friday evening attack and met with the victims on Saturday, according to a Facebook post from the ministry.

A 30-year-old woman who arrived at the mosque for evening prayers shortly after the attack told AP that people were crying and some were lying on the ground with burns. She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of her safety.

A note left on the ground nearby said: "Close the mosque or we´ll launch grenades at you," she said.

Burkina Faso has been reeling from attacks linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group for five years. More than 2,100 people have been killed this year due to violence, seven times larger than the number from two years ago, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.

Burkina Faso experts say that years of extremist violence could be fueling anti-Islamic sentiment.

"The attack represents emerging signs of divisions observed in areas of conflict now spreading to the capital and manifesting in violence with an Islamophobic dimension," said Heni Nsaibia, a Sahel researcher.

Others worry the attack signifies the government´s inability to secure the country, two weeks before presidential and legislative elections.

"The attack signifies that security and intelligence services are not sufficient in Ouagadougou, said Siaka Coulibaly, with the Center for Public Policy Monitoring by Citizens. "This incident will increase fear and make people more afraid."




All Muslims rejoice for liberation of Shusha from occupation - Iranian MP

8 November 2020 20

By Elnur Baghishov

All Muslims rejoice that the Azerbaijani army liberated the city of Shusha from occupation, Iranian MP Vali Esmaeili told Trend.

The MP wished the liberation of the remaining occupied territories of Azerbaijan as soon as possible.

"Azerbaijan liberates its territories from occupation in accordance with four UN Security Council resolutions,” he added.

Esmaeili said he is very glad that the sound of call to prayer will be heard in the Shusha mosque once again after many years. This makes all Muslims happy, he said.

Armenian Armed Forces launched a large-scale military attack on positions of Azerbaijani army on the front line, using large-caliber weapons, mortars and artillery on Sept. 27. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-offensive along the entire front. Currently, Azerbaijan continues the liberation of its territories from Armenian troops.

Back in July 2020, Armenian Armed Forces violated the ceasefire in the direction of Azerbaijan's Tovuz district. As a result of Azerbaijan's retaliation, the opposing forces were silenced. The fighting continued the following days as well. Azerbaijan lost a number of military personnel members, who died fighting off the attacks of the Armenian Armed Forces.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian Armed Forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.


Gli the Hagia Sophia cat dies months after the site’s conversion into a mosque

November 8 2020

Gli the Hagia Sophia cat died at the age of 16 on Nov. 7, months after the site was converted into a mosque.

His caretakers in September had announced that he fell ill and that he had been living in a private room away from people.

“I was born in Hagia Sophia, the heart of the world. I met with millions of people who visited the heart of the world and became a mirror for the light of love. I died,” read the caption of the post on his Instagram account on Nov. 7.

“I thank everyone who carry the marks of my paws in their hearts,” it added.

Gli’s caretakers had been sharing footage of his treatment in a veterinary clinic.

Before his isolation, the caretakers warned worshippers to not overwhelm Gli after footage of them taking pictures of the cat with flashes and feeding him unhealthy food emerged on social media.

Gli the Hagia Sophia cat falls ill two months after the site’s conversion into a mosque

Muslims were also seen to be putting on Ottoman clothing on the cat despite repeated warnings on not to touch him.

Hagia Sophia was opened for worship on July 24 after it was declared a mosque by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Following the site’s conversion, Islamists and pro-government trolls on Twitter had also started to search for a new name for Gli, saying that it should be more Islamic.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya on Nov. 7 shared the news on Twitter, saying that Gli died of old age.

“Gli, who had been receiving treatment at a private veterinary clinic in Levent since Sept. 24, died of old age. We will never forget you,” he said.

Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın quoted Yerlikaya’s tweet and said, “Beautiful Gli” with a sad face emoji.


Iran Is Laughing at Trump and Placing Hope in Biden


NOVEMBER 8, 2020

As U.S. President Donald Trump urged his followers to disrupt the counting of ballots, he provoked laughter from the leaders of countries to which the United States had long preached democracy. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, tweeted, “What a spectacle! One says this is the most fraudulent election in US history. Who says that? The president who is currently in office. His rival says Trump intends to rig the election! This is how #USElections & US democracy are.”

Trump walked out of the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and reimposed debilitating sanctions on the country. This “maximum pressure” policy punished the Iranian regime, but, as is often the case, it mostly hurt the Iranian people. The resulting absence of popular goodwill explains why Iranian Twitter so vociferously exploded with mockery at Trump’s post-election press conferences disputing the results; one Iranian said their own regime could never match the U.S. president’s success at undermining democracy on live television. Iranians were also quick to rejoice when Joe Biden was declared president-elect, expressing hope that he would restore normal economic relations.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani indicated his government was ready for talks, although in a well-calculated manner that guarded Iranian pride. He said he hoped that the last three years of pressuring Iran without much avail taught the United States a lesson that will make “the next U.S. administration follow the law and return to all its commitments” under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed when Biden was vice president. Seyed Mohammad Marandi, an Iranian American academic and political analyst, said in an interview that Iran expects the United States to fully comply with its obligations under the deal and “compensate for damages done due to U.S. violations of the deal.” Only then would Iran return to the table, Marandi added.

Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior policy fellow and deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said that while Biden has made it clear he wants to rejoin the agreement, the U.S. Senate might make it harder if it goes to the Republicans. “Nonetheless, there would be a very obvious opening between Tehran and Washington on the nuclear deal,” Geranmayeh said. “From the U.S. perspective, and frankly from Europe’s perspective too, Iran’s expanding nuclear program is the No. 1 threat to security that they need to deal with.”

She added that Biden intends on ending conflicts where Iran exerts influence over local actors, including in Yemen and Iraq, which would imply some further cooperation between Washington and Tehran. “Biden would look to stabilize the region, which would mean reaching some sort of direct or indirect settlement with Iran.”

But in an article in Foreign Affairs published in the spring, Biden added a caveat. He would renew commitment to diplomacy to strengthen the existing nuclear agreement “while more effectively pushing back against Iran’s other destabilizing activities,” implying curtailment of Iran’s funding of Shiite militias in the region, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah. (Lebanese President Michel Aoun, for his part, expressed hopes that Biden would “restore balance” to Lebanese-U.S. ties after the Trump administration newly imposed Hezbollah-related sanctions on his son-in-law Gebran Bassil, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement.)

Iranians are cautiously anxious about Biden’s plans for the region. But they may have to be patient. The president-elect’s most clearly stated priorities, the coronavirus pandemic and China’s rise, have little to do with the Middle East.


Allies, Iran hopeful of US return to N-deal

Nov 9, 2020


Joe Biden’s election win will be greeted with a sigh of relief by many US allies, whose confidence in Washington was shaken over the four years of Trump’s combative “America First” approach to the world. The Biden administration is expected to reverse course quickly on parts of Trump’s foreign policy agenda by rejoining the Paris climate change agreement and trying to breathe new life into the Iran nuclear accord.

Although differences with Europe on crucial topics such as China and trade will remain, Biden and his team of national security officials will usher in a return to a more congenial way of operating. “We will lead not only by the example of our power but by the power of our example,” Biden told jubilant supporters on Saturday.

European officials, who have sought to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive despite Trump’s effort to dismantle the accord after quitting it in 2018, say they will work with the Biden administration to revive the agreement. Even so, they face roadblocks thrown up through an array of revived sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Meanwhile, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani called on Biden to “compensate for past mistakes” and return the US to the 2015 nuclear deal, a state-run news agency reported on Sunday. In an op-ed for CNN, Biden wrote, “If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the US would rejoin the deal as a starting point for follow-on negotiations.”


Iranian policy expert talks the ‘politics of Islam’


NOV 08, 2020

On Friday morning, professor Mohammad Tabaar of Texas A&M University gave a virtual talk to about 25 students in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department entitled “The Political and Social History of Contemporary Iran.”

The central proposition of his talk was that conventional wisdom — which holds that factional, political and strategic decisions made by some groups in Iran are driven by Islamic ideology — is wrong. In fact, he argued, the reverse is true: Factional political dilemmas and problems drive ideology and its role in Iranian politics. The same, he said, was true for the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Tabaar is an associate professor of international affairs at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. His research areas include the politics of ideology and domestic sources of international security.

Tabaar described how even today, internal political divisions drive ideology, both religious and otherwise. One example he drew upon is the current U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“Because these sanctions are benefiting certain factions inside Iran such as the revolutionary guard, they are welcomed,” Tabaar said. “And although these sanctions are undermining the state, they are empowering the revolutionary guard, and that is why they are not effective. They use these sanctions to eliminate their internal rivals.”

Kahveh Zahiroleslam ’24, an attendee who is also taking an L1 Persian class, said that he was particularly struck by the “unseen internal unrest [in Iran]” that Tabaar described.

“I was unaware as to the ways in which the regime and other political factions within Iran manipulated ideology in order to serve political ends,” he said.

In the talk, Tabaar focused on two moments in Iranian history that he described as examples of this reversed positioning of politics and ideology: the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis in 1980 and the Iran-Iraq War.

The crisis in 1980 was the product of anti-American sentiment but only occurred because the three main political groups in Iran at the time — leftists, nationalists and clerics — were all vying for power and using vitriol towards America as a way of rising to power, Tabaar said.

As a result, these groups competed with each other, leading to the seizure of the embassy. This is an example, according to Tabaar, of how ideology is secondary to political considerations, as anti-Americanism was used as a tool to gain political power. To illustrate this, Tabaar pointed out that before the hostage crisis, leading Iranians were not all strictly anti-American, with even Khomeini reportedly being sympathetic to the Americans.

“It was the competition between the nationalists and the Islamists and between the revolutionary guard and the military that shaped the war,” Tabaar said. “At every stage Khomeini used religion to compete with his rivals.”

“It was a pleasure to attend Professor Tabaar’s talk,” attendee Alexander Williams GRD ’26 wrote in an email to the News. “I am not a political scientist, and not particularly familiar with the literature on the 1979 Revolution, but his reframing of religion and politics in Iran as the ‘politics of Islam’ rather than ‘political Islam’ seems to be an important corrective for contemporary U.S.-based understandings of the role of religion in Iranian history and state policy.”



South Asia

Wearing masks compulsory in mosques, other places of worship

National News

Nov 8, 2020

DHAKA, Nov 8, 2020 (BSS) – The Ministry of Religious Affairs has made obligatory the wearing of masks in all religious institutions, including mosques, temples, churches and pagodas in view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In order to ensure wearing of masks in all areas, including religious institutions, to prevent the possible second wave of Covid-19, all have been requested to follow the below instructions in continuation of the previous notification.

The mosque committees must ensure that announcements are made through the mosque’s mikes before every prayer to wear masks, along with displaying banners at the entrance of the mosques in this regard.

Followers of other religions, including Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, must enter the places of worship wearing masks and the relevant worship committees must ensure that banners are displayed at the main entrance for wearing masks.

The slogan should be projected through posters or digital displays in all open spaces and in public and private institutions.

Officials of the local administrations, Islamic Foundation, Hindu Religious Welfare Trust, Buddhist Religious Trust and Christian Religious Welfare Trust and the managing committee of the respective mosques and places of worship are requested to regularly continue to publicize the above declarations through microphones in all mosques and other places of worship in the country.


Mine Blast Wounds 2 Civilians in Kabul

By Mohammad Haroon Alim

09 Nov 2020

Around 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning, a roadside mine exploded in the Pul-e-Charkhi area of Police District 12 in Kabul city.

Two civilians were injured in the blast.

Kabul police confirmed the blast, saying the mine was planted in a culvert that targeted passer-bys at the location.

The purpose of this explosion is still unknown.

Meanwhile, officials told media that a security force member was killed in a clash with the Taliban in the Qarabagh area of Paghman district.

Health officials confirmed at least four civilians killed and 34 people, including police and civilians, wounded in last night’s car bomb explosion in Maiwand district of Kandahar. Among the wounded are women and children.

Meanwhile, nine Taliban militants were killed in reciprocal attacks and an airstrike in the Zari district of Balkh on Monday, as a result of the operation several Taliban strongholds were captured by the ANA, MOD reported.


Taliban Kill 4 Soldiers In Baghlan Clashes

By Mohammad Haroon Alim

08 Nov 2020

In a Taliban attack in various areas of the northern province of Baghlan, At least four government security forces were killed and six others are reported wounded in the last 24 hours on Sunday.

The attacks targeted security outposts in Baghlan– Markazi, Nahrin district, and the center of the province Pule Khumri.

Two of the wounded soldiers in Nahrin district are reported to be in critical condition, both have not yet been transferred to the hospital as the highway leading to the center of the province is blocked by the Taliban.

Officials told media they are calling for air support to shift the wounded. According to reports 10 Taliban militants are also among the dead and wounded as the battle turned fierce.

On the other hand, MoD reports, that 31 Taliban fighters were killed and 15 others were wounded in counter-attacks by ANA forces in Ghazni, Helmand and Khost provinces.

Earlier, Hanifullah Safi Sarweyar, an employee of the Ministry of Defense, was assassinated in an attack by unidentified gunmen in the Pul-e-Charkhi area of Kabul city, on Sunday morning.


Taliban Battered in Helmand, 6 Nabbed

By Mohammad Arif Sheva

08 Nov 2020

HELMAND, Afghanistan – At least four Taliban insurgents were killed and further five wounded in a battle with Afghan National Army in Nadali district of Helmand province, said the Ministry of Defense in a statement Sunday.

Security forces also arrested six members of the Taliban terrorist group, according to the statement.

“4 Taliban were killed, 5 were wounded and 6 others were arrested by ANA in Nadali district of Helmand Prov. during reciprocal operations last night,” said MoD in a tweet.

Meanwhile, the authorities seized a number of arms and ammunition, including some military equipment, during the operation. 

“Additionally, a large amount of their weapons and ammunitions were seized,” the tweet added. “These TB had gathered to plan attacks on ANDSF positions.”

Meanwhile, the MoD said at least “5 Taliban were killed and 4 others were wounded in Marja district of Helmand” Province, where “a large amount of their weapons and ammunitions were seized and several of their vehicles were destroyed as a result of the operations.”



Southeast Asia

Kedah Islamic affairs chief says religious activities allowed in state during CMCO

08 Nov 2020

by Sayuti Zainudin

ALOR SETAR, Nov 8 — Religious activities at mosques and suraus in Kedah during the conditional movement control order (CMCO) which will be implemented from tomorrow until Dec 6, will be allowed to be held subject to certain conditions.

Kedah Islamic Religious Affairs Department director Mohd Yusri Md Daud said however, all mosques and surau would only be opened one hour before call for prayers and one and a half hour before Friday prayers.

“Congregation attendance for obligatory and Friday prayers in the green and yellow zones would be according to mosque and surau capacity and must adhere to the one-metre physical distancing rules.

“As for mosques and surau in the red zone, only 40 people are allowed to attend Friday prayers and a maximum of 12 people for obligatory prayers,” he said in a statement today.

Mohd Yusri said mosques and suraus are also required to set up a counter to check body temperature, sanitise hands and record attendance of congregation members adding that those with symptoms such as fever, breathing difficulty and sore throat should not be allowed to enter the premises.

He said congregation members are also required to leave the mosque or surau immediately after performing prayers and they are not allowed to gather in or outside the premises.

Mohd Yusri said programmes such as talks, lectures and religious classes are still allowed to be held but not more than 30 minutes and subject to compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the authorities set by the authorities.

“Large-scale programmes are not allowed to be held during the period, while funeral prayers can only be performed and attended by mosque officials as well as immediate family members,” he said.


Ex-MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari survives Melawati helicopter crash which killed two


08 Nov 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — Former Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAS) group chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Jauhari Yahya is one of the two survivors of a helicopter crash today, which killed two passengers.

Ampang Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Mohamad Farouk Esha confirmed that he and another flyer by the name of Tan Chai Eian survived the incident, while two others; My Heli Club’s captain and chief flying instructor, Commander (Rtd) Mohamed Sabri Baharom and Mohamad Ifwan Rawi died in the crash.

Earlier today, the Fire and Rescue Department confirmed that two helicopters flying four passengers had collided and crashed in Melawati.

In a statement today, the department’s operations centre head Zulfikar Jaffar said that one female and three male victims were involved in the crash, with two confirmed dead at press time 1.20pm.

“Two pilots flying the Heli Cabri 9M-HCB died on the spot, whereas two pilots who were flying the Heli Cabri 9M-HCA only sustained minor injuries,” he said, adding that the helicopters collided mid-air while flying from Genting Sempah to the Subang Air Base.

In a statement later, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said that the helicopters, which departed from the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, had been involved in a flight training session with four crewmembers.

“The Kuala Lumpur Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (KL ARCC) had subsequently been activated to provide all necessary rescue coordination efforts. Tragically, the latest information indicates that two crew members had perished in the crash landing while the other two have been given the necessary medical treatment.

“Following this accident, a technical investigation based on Annex 13 — Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO Annex 13) has been initiated by the Ministry of Transport’s Air Accident Investigation Bureau (BSKU) from 8 November 2020. Based on ICAO Annex 13, an initial investigation report will be prepared within 30 days from the date of the air accident,” Wee said.

He stressed that the main objective of the investigation was to determine the circumstances and cause of the accident, in order to protect lives and prevent accidents in the future.




BJP doesn’t discriminate, Muslims have same right as me, says Bengal party chief


8 November, 2020

Kolkata: BJP’s Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh on Sunday asserted that the saffron party does not discriminate on religious lines and assured Muslims that they also enjoy the same rights that he does under the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre.

And it is “only the BJP” that believes in this ideology”, Ghosh said at a rally at the port city of Haldia in Purba Medinipur district.

“We do not follow different policies depending upon a person’s status, political affiliation or anything else when it comes to distribution of benefits of schemes.

“Muslims of Bengal have benefitted from the various schemes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There has been no differentiation as done by the TMC government.

Ghosh was speaking at the citadel of state Transport minister Suvendu Adhikary who of late has been maintaining a distance with the leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress and has given several important party meetings a miss.

In the past, Ghosh had been quite vocal about the minority community, particularly while speaking about alleged Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh.

He alleged that all political parties who ruled West Bengal be it the CPI(M)-led Left Front, Congress and the TMC, had used Muslims only as “vote bank by keeping them illiterate, jobless and poor”.

Mentioning that the Mamata Banerjee government in the state had differentiated among people, Ghosh said, “earlier, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government had announced Rs 2,000 as stipend for Imams. And only after realising that Hindus were annoyed, she announced Rs 1,000 for priests. Why this difference?”

Moreover, “Only 8,000 priests will receive stipend when there are 80,000 such eligible persons. And unless you are a party follower the stipend is not for you,” the BJP leader alleged, asking the priests to decline to accept the stipend as it is “ill-gotten”.

During his recent visit to the state, Union Home Minister and top BJP leader Amit Shah on Thursday had set a target of winning 200 seats.

“The party is keeping tabs on police officers who are harassing BJP workers and threatening leaders of other political parties, who wish to switch camps, with false cases,” Ghosh said.

Holding the West Bengal government responsible for the spiralling potato price in the state, the BJP state president said, the ruling dispensation in the state owes an explanation to people on this issue.

Ghosh also claimed that if elected to power, the BJP will withdraw all “false cases” against political activists, including TMC workers, alleging that the “vindictive attitude” of Mamata Banerjee government has resulted in filing of 28,000 such cases against adversaries of the TMC.

Describing Ghosh’s comments as “baseless and frivolous”, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said, “the state is regularly conducting raids in markets to ensure that sellers do not hike potato prices while the tuber is being sold at lower prices from state outlets.”

The senior TMC leader said, the Centre’s recent decision to remove regulatory control on essential commodities has emboldened a section of traders to hoard potato and sell the product at a premium.


Muslim Clerics Demand That Pilgrimages of All Religions Be Exempted from All Taxes


NOVEMBER 08, 2020,

Muslim clerics have demanded that Haj and pilgrimages of other religions be exempted from all types of taxes, including GST, and the condition of filing income tax returns for Haj pilgrims be removed. Head of Islamic Centre of India Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali on Sunday said that a meeting of the Haj Department of the Islamic Centre of India was held.

At the meeting, it was demanded that the Haj and pilgrimages of other religions be exempted from all types of taxes, including GST. Five per cent GST is levied on the Haj pilgrimage.

Mahali said that the condition of filing income tax returns for Haj pilgrims should also be done away with as a large number of pilgrims hail from villages and it is impossible for them to fulfil this condition. He also said that the advisory issued by the Saudi Arabian government and the Haj Council of India should be adhered to and followed completely.


Aligarh Muslim University seeks President's intervention to mitigate its financial crisis

08th November 2020


ALIGARH: The Aligarh Muslim University teachers have sought President Ram Nath Kovind's intervention as the varsity's visitor to mitigate its “unprecedented” financial, which has further accentuated this month.

In a letter to the President, AMU Teachers Association on Saturday sought to draw his attention to the fact that thousands of university pensioners have "received only half of their pension money this month causing severe financial crisis and hardships to them".

AMUTA secretary Prof Najmul Islam told reporters that AMU received Rs 17 crore less money against the stipulated amount this month.

Apart from pensioners, those adversely affected include researchers and all other staffers who have not been receiving a host of other allowances including arrears of pay and leave encashment, he said.

As the university braces itself to confront the mounting financial crisis, top university officials led by Registrar Abdul Hamid have rushed to New Delhi to apprise the University Grants Commission to find a way out of the situation.

When contacted, AMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor said, "We have initiated all necessary steps for finding a way out of this crisis. We are fully seized of the situation and will take all steps to mitigate the adverse impact of this financial crunch."




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