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Suicide Bomber Kills 100 in Northern Afghanistan Shia Mosque during Friday Prayers - It Bore All the Hallmarks of Islamic State-Khorasan

New Age Islam News Bureau

09 October 2021


The Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s northeastern city of Kunduz, where the suicide bomber blew himself up during Friday prayers.


• Germany's Cologne to Allow Public Muslim Call to Prayer in Two-Year Pilot Scheme

• Fifty-Five Percent Pakistani Favour Taliban-Style Islamic Government: Gallup and Gillani Survey

• US Condemns Suicide Attack on Afghan Mosque; Says Afghans Deserve a ‘Future Free of Terror'

• Israeli Court Upholds Ban on Jewish Prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound


South Asia

• IS claims Afghan mosque attack that killed dozens, says it targeted Shiites

• Islamic Emirate delegates head to Doha for talks on Afghanistan

• US, Taliban to hold first talks since Afghanistan withdrawal

• Afghan acting foreign minister leaves for Qatar

• ISIS claims responsibility for deadly blast in Kunduz province

• UNSC condemns attack on Afghan mosque, underlines need to bring perpetrators to justice



• UK Muslim Charity Slams 'Institutional Islamophobia' After Regulator Concludes Two-Year Investigation

• Macron: France has 'no goal of staying in Mali for long time’

• Germany 'deeply regrets' UN vote to end Yemen war crimes probe

• Ukraine's security depends on partnership with 'real friends' like Turkey: FM

• Bosnia Herzegovina gets financial assistance from EU



• Pakistan’s Islamic Parties Push for Taliban Recognition in Afghanistan

• US Deputy Secretary Of State Emphasises Importance of 'Coordinated Approach' To Afghan Issue in Talks with Pakistan Leadership

• Plot to destroy peace in Pakistan, Afghanistan: Ashrafi

• Afghan dispute overshadows desire for broad-based US-Pakistan ties

• Special cell to coordinate Afghan-related matters

• Should be 'very proud': US official lauds Pakistan for helping Afghan refugees over last 42 years


North America

• US delegation to meet Taliban in first high-level talks since pullout: Officials

• US, Pakistani officials in strained talks over Afghanistan

• US removes 2 Iranian firms from sanctions blacklist

• Cheer in Pakistan over Taliban capture of Kabul will be short-lived: Ex-CIA Director General David Petraeus



• Israeli Court Upholds Ban on Jewish Prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound

• FM: US, Europe’s Practical Acts, Removal of Sanctions Matter to Iran

• Envoy: Missile Power Iran’s Inalienable Right

• Iranian FM Meets Hezbollah Chief, Palestinian Leaders, Lebanese Officials in Beirut

• Iran FM ‘optimistic’ on nuclear talks if US plays ball

• Turkish opposition deepens cooperation, heaping pressure on President Erdogan



• I Don't Want Miya Votes, We Live In Harmony: Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma

• Will Dismantle Terror Ecosystem: LG Manoj Sinha

• Gurugram: Namaz under Heavy Security As Group Organises Bhajan, Aarti at Prayer Site

• Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Nasir Ul Islam Condemns Killing Of Two Teachers

• Kashmiri Pandits in US condemn killings of Hindus, Sikhs by militants in Kashmir

• Political class has failed miserably in promoting spirit of Constitution: Kerala Guv Arif Mohammed Khan

• Grave of Islamic Jihadi Terrorism Will Be Dug By India: VHP Announces Nationwide Protest against Targeted Killings In Kashmir

• NIA files charge sheet against radical who wanted to establish Islamic State in Tamil Nadu

• Dubai: Grand Mufti of India, Sheikh Abubakr Ahmad, receives UAE Golden Visa

• Lashkar terrorist killed in encounter in Srinagar: Police

• Hundreds bid farewell to slain school teacher and principal in Jammu and Kashmir


Arab World

• 10 Injured In 2 Drone Attacks At Saudi's King Abdullah Airport

• Two killed in Israel strike on Syria base: Monitor

• Bashar al-Assad allows exiled uncle to return to Syria, pro-government newspaper says

• Syrian air defences intercept Israeli attack above Homs countryside: State media

• Azhar grand imam condemns 'fatal flaw' in global production and distribution of vaccines



• Gunmen Kill Imam, 10 Others In Northern Nigeria

• UK, US, Norway urge end to eastern Sudan protests

• Morocco’s King Mohammed VI urges MPs to confront ‘external threats’

• Libya’s rival camps adopt plan for withdrawal of mercenaries

• Kidnapped Nigerian students freed after ransoms paid: School

• UN hails signing of plan for withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters from Libya


Southeast Asia

• Religious Groups, Activist Weigh In On Potential Dangers Of Recent Incendiary Comments By Ustaz

• Sabah CM welcomes support from independent assemblymen

• Annuar Musa: National Sports Day best platform to promote unity among Malaysians

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Suicide Bomber Kills 100 in Northern Afghanistan Shia Mosque during Friday Prayers - It Bore All the Hallmarks of Islamic State-Khorasan

Omer Farooq Khan

Oct 9, 2021


The Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s northeastern city of Kunduz, where the suicide bomber blew himself up during Friday prayers.


ISLAMABAD: A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Shia mosque during Friday prayers in Afghanistan’s northeastern city of Kunduz, killing at least 100 worshippers and injuring about 150.There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but it bore all the hallmarks of Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), which had recently attacked a mosque in Kabul, killing several people.

Video footage showed horrific scenes with bodies surrounded by debris inside the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, confirmed the explosion and said there were casualties. However, he did not immediately provide any death toll, saying the Taliban were still investigating. "Today in the afternoon, in the Khanabad Bandar area in the capital city of Kunduz, a blast targeted a mosque belonging to our Shia citizens and martyred and wounded a number of our compatriots," he tweeted.

Local security officials said over 300 hundred people had been attending Friday prayers when the attack took place.

There are conflicting reports about the number of casualties. Dost Mohammad Obaida, the deputy police chief for Kunduz province, said at least 100 people were killed and many more wounded in the attack. "I assure our Shia brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety," Obaida said, adding that an investigation was underway.

Earlier, authorities at Kunduz’s provincial hospital said that 35 dead and more than 50 injured were brought there, while health officials at the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in the city reported that 15 dead and 90 wounded were brought to their facility. MSF hospital workers said they feared the death toll could rise.

If the IS-K claims the Friday blast, it would be the worst attack in the war-battered country after the group had targeted Kabul airport in a devastating bombing in August.

Afghanistan’s minority Shia Muslims, who make up roughly 20 per cent of the Afghan population, have been victims of some of the country’s most violent assaults. Many of them are Hazara, an ethnic group that has been heavily persecuted in Afghanistan for decades.

The IS-K has repeatedly targeted Afghanistan's Shia minority in the past, with suicide bombers striking at their mosques, sports clubs and schools.

Kunduz is a key transit point for economic and trade exchanges with Tajikistan. The province saw fierce battles as the Taliban fought their way back into power in August this year.

Source: Times of India

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Germany's Cologne To Allow Public Muslim Call To Prayer In Two-Year Pilot Scheme

09 October, 2021


The new scheme will be carried out under certain rules [Getty]


Municipal authorities in the western German city of Cologne have announced that the Muslim call to prayer will be allowed to be recited on loudspeakers on Fridays, when Muslims hold weekly congregational prayers.

The public call to prayer, known in Arabic as the azan, will happen under a two-year pilot project.

Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker said that the decision came in response to requests, calling it "a sign of mutual acceptance of religion”, according to Anadolu.

"Our Muslim citizens are an integral part of our city. Hearing the call to prayer alongside church bells in our city shows that diversity is valued in Cologne and that diversity is experienced here," the mayor said.

Under the pilot scheme's rules, the azan must last no longer than 10 minutes and the volume must be monitored, with each mosque assigning an individual to receive queries from the public and log complaints.

Cologne is the largest state in Germany's North-Rhine Westphalia region and is the country's fourth most-populous city. The city is home to a large number of Turkish first and second generation immigrants, with official censuses from 2017 and 2018 numbering the community at close to 55,000.

The Muslim call to prayer has often been the target of anti-Muslim political rhetoric, as is often seen with other symbols of Muslim identity, like the hijab and niqab.

Last year, a court in the German city of Münster reversed a ban on a local mosque's call to prayer, which had come into force after a complaint from a local Christian couple.

The court ruled that the call did not infringe on the couple's rights.

"Every society must accept that one will sometimes be aware that others exercise their faith," presiding judge Annette Kleinschnittger said at the time.

Source: The New Arab

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Fifty-Five Percent Pakistani Favour Taliban-Style Islamic Government: Gallup and Gillani Survey

8 October 2021

Nearly 55% of the Pakistanis want to have Taliban-styled Islamic government in Pakistan. The results were presented by a survey conducted by a leading Pakistani research firm on Thursday.

The study was carried out by Gallup and Gillani Pakistan- an affiliate of Gallup International. According to the survey, a sample of 1,418 men and women from rural and urban areas were questioned from August 13th to September 5th, 2021.

The main question asked was: “Do you want the kind of Islamic government that the Taliban have brought to Afghanistan in Pakistan as well?”

In response, 55% of respondents said ‘yes’ and 31% said ‘no’. Meanwhile, 14% said they don’t know or did they not respond.

According to the survey result, 31% of males and 33% of females were against the Taliban-styled Islamic government.

In the new development, more than 100 music students and teachers have fled Afghanistan in a nail-biting flight from Kabul following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

Fearing a crackdown on music by the country’s new leaders, a total of 101 members of Afghanistan’s top musical institute landed in Doha on Sunday evening.

The group, about half of them women and girls, plan to fly to Portugal with the support of the government there.

The Taliban have banned barbershops in a southern Afghanistan province from shaving or trimming beards, claiming their edict is in line with Islamic, law.

The order in Helmand province was issued on Monday by the provincial Taliban government’s vice and virtue department to barbers in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital.

“Since I have heard (about the ban on trimming beards) I am heartbroken,” said Bilal Ahmad, a Lashkar Gah resident. “This is the city and everyone follows a way of living, so they have to be left alone to do whatever they want.”

During their previous rule of Afghanistan, the Taliban adhered to a harsh interpretation of Islam. Since overrunning Kabul on Aug 15 and again taking control of the country, the world has been watching to see whether they will re-create their strict governance of the late 1990s.

Source: Global Village Space

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US Condemns Suicide Attack on Afghan Mosque; Says Afghans Deserve a ‘Future Free of Terror'

Lalit K Jha

Oct 9, 2021

Washington: The US has condemned in the strongest terms the suicide attack on worshippers at a mosque in Afghanistan in which at least 46 people were killed, saying the Afghan people deserve a “future free of terror”.

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing that tore through the packed Shiite Mosque in northern Afghanistan’s city of Kunduz.

At least 46 people were killed and dozens of others injured in the attack which was the latest in a series of Islamic State bombings targeting Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers, religious institutions and members of the country’s minority Shiite Muslims.

In a statement on Friday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the US condemns in the strongest terms the Friday’s attack on worshippers at a mosque in northern Afghanistan.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families. The Afghan people deserve a future free of terror,” Price said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference, “Obviously, any loss is an enormous tragedy, and our heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones”.

“We, of course, will continue to work in partnership with leaders in the region to work to get partners who stood by our side out of Afghanistan, who want to depart. That’s something that there’s ongoing work on, as we speak,” Psaki added.

The Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, dubbed Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) which has stepped up attacks in several Afghan cities since the Taliban seized power in Kabul on August 15, had claimed the deadly suicide attack at Kabul airport on August 26 that killed nearly 170 Afghans and 13 US military personnel.

Source: The Wire

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Israeli Court Upholds Ban On Jewish Prayer At Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound

08 October, 2021

An Israeli court on Friday upheld a ban on Jewish prayer at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, overturning a lower court’s decision that had sparked fury among Palestinians and the Muslim world.

Aryeh Lippo, an Israeli rabbi, was slapped with a two-week ban from the compound last month after praying there, but a Jerusalem court on Tuesday struck down the move, saying Lippo’s whispered prayer did “not violate police instructions.”

Jews are allowed to visit the site but may not overtly pray or engage in rituals there.

Israeli police appealed the decision, and Jerusalem District Court judge Aryeh Romanoff on Friday upheld the ban, saying officers had acted “within reason.”

“The fact that there was someone who observed [Lippo] pray is evidence that his prayer was overt,” Romanoff wrote. “I restore the decision of the police commander.”

Palestinians, as well as officials in Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia had condemned the lower court’s decision.

Sacred to Muslims as the third-holiest site in Islam and revered by Jews as the location of two ancient temples, the mosque and its surrounding plaza has long been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel captured east Jerusalem including the mosque in 1967, but Jordan is custodian of Islamic sites in the city.

No Israeli law prohibits Jewish prayer at the Al-Aqsa compound, but since 1967, Israeli authorities have enforced a ban to prevent tensions.

In a statement in favor of the police ban on Friday, Israel’s Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev had warned that a change in the status quo would “endanger the public peace.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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South Asia


IS claims Afghan mosque attack that killed dozens, says it targeted Shiites

October 08, 2021

The militant Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Shiite Muslim mosque in northern Afghanistan that killed at least 46 people and wounded dozens.

The claim, carried by the IS-linked Aamaq news agency and cited by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant postings, came just hours after the blast tore through the packed mosque in the city of Kunduz on Friday.

The attack was the latest in a series of IS bombings and shootings that have targeted Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers, as well as religious institutions and members of the country's minority Shiites.

The explosion tore through a mosque in the city of Kunduz during noon prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week. It blew out windows, charred the ceiling and scattered debris and twisted metal across the floor. Rescuers carried one body out on a stretcher and another in a blanket. Blood stains covered the front steps.

Area resident Hussaindad Rezayee said he rushed to the mosque when he heard the explosion, just as prayers started. I came to look for my relatives, the mosque was full," he said.

The worshippers targeted Friday were Hazaras, who have long suffered from double discrimination as an ethnic minority and as followers of Shiite Islam in a majority Sunni country.

The Islamic State group has been behind a rise in attacks, including against the Taliban, since the departure of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan at the end of August. IS and the Taliban, who seized control of the country with the exit of the foreign troops, are strategic rivals. IS militants have targeted Taliban positions and attempted to recruit members from their ranks.

 In the past, the Taliban managed to contain the IS threat in tandem with US and Afghan airstrikes. Without these, it remains unclear whether the Taliban can suppress what appears to be a growing IS footprint. The militants, once confined to the east, have penetrated the capital of Kabul and other provinces with new attacks.

This comes at a critical moment, as the Taliban attempt to consolidate power and transform their guerrilla fighters into a structured police and security force. But while the group attempts to project an air of authority through reports of raids and arrests of IS members, it remains unclear if it has the capability to protect soft targets, including religious institutions.

In Kunduz, police officials were still picking up the pieces Friday at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque.

Citing preliminary reports, the deputy Taliban police chief of Kunduz province, Dost Mohammad Obaida, said more than 100 people had been killed or wounded, and that he believed the dead outnumbered the wounded. Hours after his initial statement, police had still not provided an update.

An official at the Kunduz provincial hospital said at least 25 people were killed and 51 wounded in the attack. He said the figures were preliminary because casualties were being transferred to private hospitals as well. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media.

 Even the preliminary death toll of 25 is already the highest in an attack since foreign troops left Afghanistan.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack as part of a disturbing pattern of violence targeting religious institutions.

Obaida, the deputy police chief, pledged to protect minorities in the province. I assure our Shiite brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety, he said.

A prominent Shiite cleric, Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi, condemned the attack and called on the Taliban to provide security for the Shiites of Afghanistan. We expect the security forces of the government to provide security for the mosques since they collected the weapons that were provided for the security of the worship places, he said.

The new tone struck by the Taliban, at least in Kunduz, is in sharp contrast to the well-documented history of Taliban fighters committing a litany of atrocities against minorities, including Hazaras. The Taliban, now feeling the weight of governing, employed similar tactics to those of IS during their 20-year insurgency, including suicide bombings and shooting ambushes.

Source: The Week

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Islamic Emirate delegates head to Doha for talks on Afghanistan

October 09, 2021

KABUL: A delegation of the Islamic Emirate left Kabul for Doha on Friday for talks with officials from a number of countries to discuss Afghanistan’s political situation.

Zabihullah Mujahid, deputy minister for the Ministry of Information and Culture, said the delegation will meet with Qatari officials and the envoys of a number of countries on Afghanistan’s situation. The delegation is led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, Mujahid said. The acting information and culture minister Khairullah Khairkhwa, the general director of intelligence Mullah Abdulhaq Wasiq, interior deputy minister Malwlawi Noor Jalal, Shabuddin Delawar and Haji Mohammad are all members of the delegation, said Mujahid. Reuters reported that a delegation of the Islamic Emirate will be invited to an international talk on Afghanistan in Moscow, citing Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan. The talk, according to Kabulov, will be hosted by Moscow on October 20.

Source: The News

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US, Taliban to hold first talks since Afghanistan withdrawal

October 9, 2021

Senior Taliban officials and US representatives are to hold talks Saturday and Sunday about containing extremist groups in Afghanistan and easing the evacuation of foreign citizens and Afghans from the country, officials from both sides said.

It's the first such meeting since US forces withdrew from Afghanistan in late August, ending a 20-year military presence there, and the Taliban's rise to power in the nation.

The talks are to take place in Doha, the capital of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar.

'Talks to revisit the peace accord of 2020'

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who is based in Doha, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the talks will also revisit the peace agreement the Taliban signed with Washington in 2020.

The agreement had paved the way for the final US withdrawal.

"Yes there is a meeting... about bilateral relations and implementation of the Doha agreement," said Shaheen. "It covers various topics."

"Terrorism will also feature in the talks," said a second official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Since the Taliban took power, the militant group Islamic State have ramped up attacks on the group, as well as ethnic and religious minorities.

On Friday, an IS suicide bomber killed at least 55 worshippers at a Shia mosque and wounded dozens in the deadliest attack since the US departure.

The IS has carried out relentless assaults on the country's Shias since emerging in eastern Afghanistan in 2014. IS is also seen as the greatest threat to the United States.

The US-Taliban agreement of 2020, which was negotiated by the Trump administration, demanded the Taliban break ties with terrorist groups and guarantee Afghanistan would not again harbor terrorists who could attack the United States and its allies.

It seems certain the two sides will discuss in the weekend talks how to tackle the growing threat.

The Taliban have said they do not want US anti-terrorism assistance and have warned Washington against any so-called "over-the -horizon" strikes on Afghan territory from outside the country's borders.

'US to press Taliban to fulfil commitments'

The United States, meanwhile, would seek to hold Taliban leaders to commitments that they would allow Americans and other foreign nationals to leave Afghanistan, along with Afghans who once worked for the US military or government and other Afghan allies, a US official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorised to speak by name about the meetings.

The Biden administration has fielded questions and complaints about the slow pace of US-facilitated evacuations from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan since the US withdrawal.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday that 105 US citizens and 95 green card holders had left since then on flights facilitated by the US. That number had not changed for more than a week.

Source: Dawn

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Afghan acting foreign minister leaves for Qatar

09 Oct 2021

Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Amirkhan Motaqi leading a high-level delegation left Kabul for the Qatari capital Doha on Friday, October 8.

Deputy Minister of information and culture and spokesperson of the Taliban Zabiullah Mujahid said that Amir Khan Motaqi and his delegation will meet the Qatari officials and representatives of other countries in Doha.

The Afghan delegation is due to discuss the political situation of Afghanistan.

It comes after Amir Khan Motaqi hosted his Uzbek counterpart in Kabul and discussed bilateral relations, trade, and other economic projects including the import of electricity.

Earlier, members of the Taliban’s political office in Doha and their UN nominee Suhail Shaheen had discussed Afghanistan’s situation with the representatives of EU members states, the US, and Japan.

Source: Khaama Press

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ISIS claims responsibility for deadly blast in Kunduz province

09 Oct 2021

The Islamic State-ISIS- has claimed the responsibility for the heinous explosion in a mosque in northern Kunduz province that occurred on Friday afternoon, October 8.

ISIS in a statement that was published in Arabic said that the suicide bomber was named Muhammad and was and Uyghur Muslim.

The blasts happened in the Shite Muslim mosque.

The ISIS statement claimed to have killed and wounded three hundred Hazara-Shite in the explosion.

The explosion that targeted worshipers who had gathered for Friday prayer in Khan Abad port of Kunduz province killed 50 and wounded over a hundred more civilians.

The Taliban have condemned the incident and pledged to bring to find and punish the culprits.

Source: Khaama Press

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UNSC condemns attack on Afghan mosque, underlines need to bring perpetrators to justice

9 October 2021

New York [US] October 9 (ANI): United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has condemned the deadly attack on a Shia mosque in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz province, preceding recent attacks against religious institutions in the country.

"We underline the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice," the UNSC statement said on Friday (local time).

According to the statement, the members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the atrocious and cowardly terrorist attack in Kundth, Afghanistan on 8 October 2021.

"The attack, which was claimed by Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP)..... resulted in more than 100 casualties killed and wounded," it read.

The statement further stated that its members expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. They underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice, as per the statement.

The members of UNSC urged all states, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with all relevant authorities in this regard.

Source: Yahoo News

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UK Muslim charity slams 'institutional Islamophobia' after regulator concludes two-year investigation

08 October, 2021

Human Aid UK has welcomed the end of a long and drawn out inquiry conducted by the Charity Commission on Thursday, claiming the investigation was based on Islamophobia.

The Muslim charity, which provides emergency assistance to all communities, released a statement outlining alleged institutional bias where they said the commission was “excessive in its approach” and acted as an “extension of police and security services harassment policy”.

“The institutional Islamophobia faced by Human Aid UK has been further compounded in the way the Commission has presented certain events in the two-year investigation, using incriminating language against the charity,” said the statement.

The aid group also drew a comparison between the treatment they faced with the way the Charity Commission handled claims of sexual exploitation against Oxfam:

“The institutional bias of the Charity Commission report into Human Aid UK is evident when compared to the report into the serious allegations of sexual misconduct at Oxfam a non-Muslim charity, which was completed in less time, and which resulted in a carefully worded 143-page report, “ Chair of Human Aid UK, Nur Choudhury said.

Source: The New Arab

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Macron: France has 'no goal of staying in Mali for long time’

Yusuf Özcan



French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday at a summit that his country has “no goal of staying in Mali for a long time.”

The Africa-France Summit was held in Montpellier, where young Africans participated without the involvement of the heads of states of African countries.

Macron, the only president at the summit, said he wants to close military bases in Mali as quickly as possible but there should be "strong state” and “investment projects,” and his goal is not to have bases on African soil forever.

The French president said his country is in Africa not to support any regime, but to fight terrorism.

Macron, who said the French army is in Mali at the request of the Malian government, told African governments that France is reducing support in terms of investment and Paris wants to carry out projects with civil society. 

Curious dialogue at summit

But an exchange between Macron and an African teen at the summit attracted attention.

The teen said: "What happened in the Sahel is a result of what was done in Libya. In the intervention in Libya, (France) forgot about the existence of the African Union.

“'We are in Mali to help Mali, there would be no government in Mali right now if we hadn't come to the Sahel region,' you like to say that. But I want to say that without the Africans, there would be no France today.”

“Stop telling me you're here to help us. Terrorism is not only threatening Mali, it is also threatening you. Stop making us feel guilty by putting us in a victim position,” he added.

Macron responded: "I am trying to build a dialogue within the framework of mutual respect. We didn't come to Mali in 2013 for our own interests. This is a fact. I have said what you said about Libya several times as president.

“I agree with what you're saying. We did not respect the sovereignty of the people over Libya. This is a mistake.”

The teen retorted by saying that France was in the Sahel region to compensate for its mistake in Libya.

"You are making other mistakes in trying to make up for this mistake of yours. Mr. President, I would like to remind you that foreign military interventions have never solved problems,” he said.

“What about Libya today? What about Afghanistan? Therefore, military intervention will not solve the problems. I don't want my country to be like Libya.

“Take their responsibility and stop saying 'we're here to help'. No, you're not here to help us,” he said. “We're together. We have a common enemy. We are fighting with him together. The statements made between you and the Malian authorities in recent days are deceptive. We need cooperation and partnership, not help.”

Macron told the teen that he agreed with what he said. “You cannot upload unacceptable statements of people without legitimacy to me. They made unacceptable statements,” he said.

Macron, who expressed that African authorities have not completely fulfilled their responsibilities in the fight against terrorism, noted that military interventions will not replace the work done by a state.

He said he did not send the French army to an area against the sovereign state or in its place. 

Wagner's polemic between France, Mali

The Prime Minister of Mali, Choguel Kokalla Maiga, accused France, which decided to withdraw from Mali, of acting unilaterally when allegations were raised that Russian security company, Wagner, would be stationed in the country.

Laurent Michon, commander of Operation Barkhane, which France is conducting in the Sahel, also said that the Bamako administration has been in talks for about two years about the decision to withdraw from three bases in northern Mali.

Macron, however, was shocked by Maiga's comments, stating that "These shameful statements from a country where there have been two consecutive coups, where there is not even a government, are unacceptable.

“We are in Mali at the request of the state of Mali. Without France, Mali would have fallen into the hands of terrorists."

French Ambassador to Bamako, M. Joel Meyer, was then summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mali on Oct. 6. 

Wagner's claim that it will be stationed in Mali

It was claimed that the military-dominated transitional government established after the coup in Mali and Wagner was about to sign an agreement providing training of the Mali army and protection of high-ranking officials.

It had been suggested that about 1,000 mercenaries could go to Mali, and in return, a monthly payment of $10.8 million would be made.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Germany 'deeply regrets' UN vote to end Yemen war crimes probe

Oliver Towfigh Nia  



Germany on Friday expressed “deep regret” over a vote in the UN Human Rights Council to end the Yemen war crimes investigation.

“We deeply regret that the Yemen resolution in the (UN) Human Rights Council failed. We observe ongoing serious human rights violations in Yemen by all parties to the conflict and one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes of our time,” Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Christopher Burger told media representatives in Berlin.

UN Human Rights Council members narrowly voted to reject a resolution proposed by the Netherlands and backed by Germany to extend the independent investigators' mandate to monitor severe human rights violations in Yemen's civil war for another two years.

Burger vowed that his country will continue to "closely monitor” the human rights situation in Yemen.

“Even though the resolution has now been rejected, the human rights situation in Yemen will continue to be dealt with and will be closely monitored by us,” Burger said.

Bahrain, Russia, and several other members of the UN Human Rights Council pressed ahead with the vote on Thursday to end the body's war crimes investigations in Yemen amid western diplomatic efforts to keep the mission alive.

It is the first time in the Geneva-based UN human rights body's 15-year history that a resolution has been defeated.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Ukraine's security depends on partnership with 'real friends' like Turkey: FM

Talha Yavuz  



The Ukrainian foreign minister on Friday said his country's security depends on partnership with "real friends" like Turkey.

"As Ukraine is not a member of NATO, there is no security guarantee from other countries, our security depends on ourselves and now partnership with real friends like Turkey," Dmitro Kuleba told a panel at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, along with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

He said Turkey helped Ukraine in the most difficult times, and that it is suffering from Russian aggression for the last seven years.

Russia has tripled its military presence in Crimea since 2014, Kuleba said, adding that taking this into account they began the "Quadriga format" talks in 2020.

Kuleba said Ukraine started to form regional alliances with its active diplomacy and launched the Crimean Platform, a new international consultation and coordination format to “achieve the main goal – de-occupation of Crimea and its peaceful return to Ukraine.”

He said 46 foreign delegations have so far joined the platform, and they are pleased with Turkey's support.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Bosnia Herzegovina gets financial assistance from EU

Mustafa Talha Öztürk  



The European Union on Friday disbursed €125 million (around $145 million) in macro-financial assistance (MFA) to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“This disbursement is part of the €3 billion [around $3.5 billion] emergency MFA package for 10 enlargement and neighborhood partners, which aims to help them respond to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the bloc said in a statement.

The financial support “represents an important act of solidarity with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Paolo Gentiloni, EU commissioner for economy.

“It is an important contribution towards repairing some of the economic and social damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Pakistan’s Islamic parties push for Taliban recognition in Afghanistan

October 9, 2021

Powerful Islamist factions in Pakistani politics are putting pressure on the government to officially recognise the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Fazlur Rehman, head of the Islamic political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), recently demanded that Islamabad officially recognise the theocratic Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Rehman is one of Pakistan’s most powerful clerics, and also heads the country’s largest alliance of opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement.

He has a massive following in Pakistan and wields considerable influence in the country’s religious and political circles.

Out of 36,000 Pakistani Islamic religious seminaries, over 18,000 belong to the strict Deobandi school of thought, which emphasises adherence to Islamic law.

The Afghan Taliban, and Rehman, both follow Deobandi ideology, and Taliban officials and foot soldiers alike have studied in these seminaries, some of which are said to be under the control of JUI affiliates.

Although the Taliban have been courting governments around the world for international recognition of its “Islamic Emirate” in Afghanistan, no country officially recognises their rule.

Several members of the Taliban’s leadership are also on international terrorist lists.

After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, reports have piled up of public executions, a violent crackdown on media, suppression of women, banning girls from schools, and violating the rights of ethnic minorities.

Islamic groups say Afghan Taliban is ‘legitimate’

Islamic hardliners in Pakistan say they support the Taliban’s application of Shariah law in running Afghanistan.

The JUI believes that recognition of the Taliban is in Pakistan’s national interest.

Jalal Uddin, an aide to Rehman, told DW that the Taliban is a “Pakistan friendly” government, and that recognition from Islamabad will further strengthen ties between the two Muslim-majority countries.

Even if many critical in voices in Pakistan believe that the Taliban have come into power through force, and consider their government illegitimate, religious groups in Pakistan are pushing back.

The right-wing religious groups say liberal Pakistanis have launched a campaign against the Afghan Taliban.

Hafiz Ihtesham from the Martyrs Foundation, an Islamist organisation affiliated with Islamabad’s Red Mosque, claimed that the 2001 US-NATO invasion deposed the Taliban as legitimate rulers of Afghanistan and that now their rule has been “restored.”

“We think Pakistan is a sovereign and independent country and it should ignore western pressure and recognise this government,” he told DW.

Ihtesham added his organisation was considering approaching the government with a request to recognise the Taliban.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, a leader of the Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami, says his party chief is demanding that Islamabad recognise Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

“We will also make this demand in parliament,” he told DW, adding that the party is also launching mobilisation for this purpose.

Will Pakistan recognise the Taliban?

In 1996, when the Taliban first took over Afghanistan, Pakistan was the first country in the world to recognise their government. The Taliban ruled the country with an iron first, handing down inhuman punishments and putting severe restrictions on women.

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia also recognised the Taliban’s first Afghan government.

This time around, experts believe Pakistan cannot afford to infuriate the West by recognising the Islamists.

Islamabad is dealing with a faltering economy, dependent on international monetary institutions for help, and is over $100 billion in debt.

Husain Haqqani, South and Central Asia director at Hudson Institute, a think tank in Washington, said that Pakistan will likely see how other countries respond before making a decision.

He told DW Islamabad would be isolated, as it was in the 1990s, if it rushes into recognising the Taliban while the rest of the world condemns their rule.

Haqqani added that Islamabad should ignore the pressure coming from right-wing religious parties.

However, a Pakistani lawmaker with the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) rejected the notion it has not recognised the Afghan Taliban because of US pressure.

Muhammad Bashir Khan said that many Pakistanis and PTI members support recognising the Taliban.

“We have very cordial ties with the Kabul government and want to recognise them in consultation with China, Russia and other regional states,” he said.

Source: Indian Express

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Plot to destroy peace in Pakistan, Afghanistan: Ashrafi

October 09, 2021

LAHORE: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony and Middle East Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi has warned that anti-Muslim forces are unleashing a conspiracy to destroy peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Explosions in mosques in Afghanistan are deplorable, he said while addressing the Pakistan Stability and Ulema-Mashaykh Convention here on Friday. Ashrafi, who is also chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC), said that after the new developments in Afghanistan, the responsibility of Mihrab-o-Mimbar has increased manifold. India is conspiring to create misunderstandings and chaos between Afghanistan and Pakistan, he warned. “India wants to cause sectarian strife in Afghanistan and Pakistan in which it has failed in the past,” he said, adding that Ulema and Mashaykh have to play their role in foiling the enemy’s conspiracies like they had done in maintaining peace in Muharramul Haram.

He said the PUC has initiated consultations with the religious and political leadership of the country on the current situation in the country and Afghanistan, and meetings in this regard are being started from Saturday (today). He said that during Ashra-e-Rehmatul-lil-Alameen, the solution to contemporary problems will be presented to the nation in accordance with the teachings of holy prophet Mohammed (SAW). He said Pakistan Stability Ulema-Mashaykh Conventions, Rehmatul-lil-Alameen Conferences, seminars and religious congratulations will be held during the months of Rabi-ul-Awwal and Rabius Saani. He urged the young generation to study the life of holy prophet Mohammed (SAW), his pious companions and the Ahl-e-Bayt, adding that the only role model for Muslims is the holy prophet Mohammed (SAW).

Source: The News

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Afghan dispute overshadows desire for broad-based US-Pakistan ties

Anwar Iqbal

October 9, 2021

After the latest round of talks in Islamabad on Friday, both the United States and Pakistan expressed their desire for reviving a broad-based relationship, yet both remain focused on Afghanistan.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman arrived in Islamabad on Thursday for the talks that focused on the current situation in Afghanistan and on Washington’s efforts to evolve a coordinated approach towards Kabul’s new Taliban rulers.

The top US diplomat met Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa during her two-day stay in the Pakistani capital. She was also expected to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan, but the meeting did not materialise.

On Friday afternoon, the State Department issued two statements on Sherman’s engagements in Islamabad, indicating the centrality of the Afghan issue in US-Pakistan talks.

The department’s spokesperson Ned Price said that in her meeting with Qureshi, Sherman discussed areas of bilateral cooperation, the importance of the US-Pakistan relationship and the way forward in Afghanistan. “Deputy Secretary Sherman emphasised the importance of a coordinated approach to Afghanistan and other issues vital to regional stability,” the statement added.

Another brief statement on Sherman’s meeting with NSA Yusuf said that the two officials “discussed developments in Afghanistan and ways to advance cooperation across the bilateral relationship”.

At a news briefing in Islamabad, Sherman said that while she also discussed bilateral relations with Pakistani officials, “this particular trip was to really consult deeply on how we see the changing circumstances, given the change that has taken place in Afghanistan.”

This confirms what Sherman said at an event in Mumbai on Thursday where she declared that the US no longer sees itself building a “broad-based relationship” with Pakistan and that she was going to Islamabad with a “specific and narrow purpose” of talks on Afghanistan.

Later in a tweet, Sherman did say that she met Qureshi to “discuss Afghanistan’s future” and “the important and long-standing” US-Pakistan relationship. “We look forward to continuing to address pressing regional and global challenges,” she added.

OTH capability for Afghanistan

But Afghanistan remains a factor even in the pursuit for a long-standing partnership with Pakistan, as the US deputy secretary of state said at a news briefing in New Delhi on Wednesday. Speaking to a select group of Indian journalists, Sherman said that the Biden administration was putting together a robust programme for “over-the-horizon” (OTH) capability for Afghanistan.

The top US diplomat, who visited India before coming to Pakistan, did not elaborate this over the horizon capability but a senior US general told a congressional hearing in Washington last week that the United States was holding direct talks with Pakistan over the use of a vital air corridor to Afghanistan.

Gen Frank McKenzie, who heads the US Central Command, expressed the desire for Pakistan’s cooperation at a hearing dominated by demands for punitive actions against Islamabad. The same week, a group of 22 Republican senators also moved a bill in the US Senate, seeking a probe into Islamabad’s alleged role in the Afghan war.

“Over the last 20 years we’ve been able to use what we call the air boulevard to go in over western Pakistan and that’s become something that’s vital to us, as well as certain landlines of communication,” Gen McKenzie said.

Continued engagement

Diplomatic sources in Washington say that despite differences on Afghanistan and other issues, the Biden administration will continue its engagement with Pakistan. According to these sources, future contacts may include the much-desired telephone call from US President Joe Biden to Prime Minister Imran. And there could be more bilateral talks at lower levels as well.

Source: Dawn

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Special cell to coordinate Afghan-related matters

October 9, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday ordered setting up of a special body for coordinating Afghanistan-related matters.

The prime minister “directed the establishment of a dedicated cell to synergise various streams of efforts on Afghanistan across the government, including international coordination for humanitarian assistance and effective border management to prevent any negative spillover into Pakistan,” the PM Office said in a statement on the meeting of the National Security Committee.

The NSC, which is the top body for coordination on security issues, had met to discuss the developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s approach for dealing with them.

The meeting chaired by PM Khan was attended by key federal ministers, national security adviser, services chiefs and heads of intelligence agencies.

Pakistan has not only been providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, but has also extended trade facilitation to Afghan traders for promoting their exports. The trade concessions have tipped the trade balance in favour of Afghanistan.

The government is also planning to extend a financial and technical package to the Taliban regime that is faced with the twin looming crises of economic collapse and humanitarian disaster. The situation has been aggravated by the drought in the country.

More than 18 million Afghans need urgent assistance, including nearly a million children who are at risk of starvation, according to Unicef.

The economic crisis has emerged after Western donors pulled the plug on assistance for Afghanistan, which was the mainstay of Afghan economy, following the Taliban takeover. Moreover, the US has frozen Afghan reserves and international lending agencies have blocked Taliban regime’s access to their funds.

Mr Khan, in view of the diverse support being extended to Taliban in Afghanistan, emphasised the need for a coordinated policy effort.

“The prime minister was given a detailed briefing on the evolving regional security situation, particularly the recent developments in Afghanistan and their possible impact on Pakistan,” the PMO said.

“Committee members emphasised that the evolving situation in the region was extremely complex and that any instability in Afghanistan could have severe implications for Pakistan,” it further said.

Islamabad has lobbied hard with the international community to persuade it to engage with the Taliban regime, grant it recognition, and resume development assistance so that the prospects of viability of the new set-up could improve.

The international community has generously provided humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, but has linked development assistance to the recognition of the new government. The recognition issue further depends on Taliban meeting demands about formation of an inclusive ruling set-up, observance of rights, and fulfillment of counter-terrorism commitments.

Source: Dawn

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Should be 'very proud': US official lauds Pakistan for helping Afghan refugees over last 42 years

October 8, 2021

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Friday expressed appreciation for Pakistan's efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, saying that it should be "very proud of 42 years of helping Afghan refugees" and the US, as well as the world, was grateful for that.

Sherman, who is leading a US delegation on a visit to Pakistan, lauded Pakistan's role in this regard during an exclusive interview on PTV News programme 'Shahrah-e-Dastoor'.

In response to a question, she said she had visited a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Documentation Renewal and Information Verification Exercise centre here earlier in the day, where registration cards were being issued for Afghan refugees so that they could have access to facilities such as healthcare in Pakistan.

"It is an extraordinary system," she said, commending Pakistan for persistently helping Afghan refugees over a long period of time.

Sherman was also asked about her comments about relations between the US and Pakistan during her visit to India.

"It’s for a very specific and narrow purpose, we don’t see ourselves building a broad relationship with Pakistan," she had said, according to Indian publication The Indian Express.

In response to the question, Sherman clarified that by "specific steps" she meant that the purpose of her trip to Pakistan was to predominantly focus on the aftermath of events in Afghanistan and review bilateral relationships between the US and Pakistan.

"The US and Pakistan have had longstanding relations for decades," she said.

She went on to say that "this is a time of great change in [this] region because of the events in Afghanistan", and the US and the world were reassessing what the future would look like and how to ensure a better future for Afghans and ensure that no country remained a safe haven for terrorists.

Sherman also assured that the US was willing to engage with Pakistan on "the wide-ranging agenda we have" and and the aftermath of recent events in Afghanistan.

She added that the US was glad that Pakistan had called for an inclusive government in Afghanistan and progress on this front should be made so as to "create a better life for the people of Afghanistan".

"And we also agree that humanitarian assistance [to Afghanistan] should continue," Sherman said, sharing details of measures taken by the US for this purpose.

'We don't ask countries to choose between US, China'

When asked about the Quad, a recently formed group that includes India, the US, Japan and Australia as members and perceived to be an alliance against China in the region, Sherman described it as a "cooperative effort" on matters such as energy and people-to-people exchange.

In this connection, she also clarified that the US didn't ask countries to choose between itself and China.

Source: Dawn

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North America


US delegation to meet Taliban in first high-level talks since pullout: Officials

Oct 9, 2021

WASHINGTON: A US delegation will meet with senior Taliban representatives in Doha on Saturday and Sunday in their first face-to-face meeting at a senior level since Washington pulled its troops from Afghanistan and the hardline group took over the country, two senior administration officials told Reuters.

The high-level US delegation will include officials from the State Department, USAID and the intelligence community, and will press the Taliban to ensure continued safe passage for American citizens and others out of Afghanistan and to release kidnapped US citizen Mark Frerichs, the officials said.

Another top priority will be to hold the Taliban to its commitment that it will not allow Afghanistan to again become a hotbed for Al-Qaeda or other extremists while pressing the group to improve access for humanitarian aid as the country faces the prospect of a "really severe and probably impossible to prevent" economic contraction, US officials said.

US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, who has for years spearheaded dialogue with the Taliban and been a key figure in peace talks with the group, will not be part of the delegation.

The US team will include the State Department's deputy special representative Tom West as well as top USAID humanitarian official Sarah Charles. On The Taliban side, cabinet officials will be attending, officials said.

"This meeting is a continuation of the pragmatic engagements with the Taliban that we've had ongoing on matters of vital national interest," said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

"This meeting is not about granting recognition or conferring legitimacy. We remain clear that any legitimacy must be earned through the Taliban's own actions. They need to establish a sustained track record," the official said.

The United States' two decades-long occupation of Afghanistan culminated in a hastily organized airlift in August which saw more than 124,000 civilians including Americans, Afghans and others being evacuated as the Taliban took over. But thousands of other U.S.-allied Afghans at risk of Taliban persecution were left behind.

Washington and other Western countries are grappling with difficult choices as a severe humanitarian crisis looms large over Afghanistan. They are trying to formulate how to engage with the Taliban without granting it the legitimacy it seeks while ensuring humanitarian aid flows into the country.

Many Afghans have started selling their possessions to pay for ever-scarcer food.

The departure of US-led forces and many international donors robbed the country of grants that financed 75 per cent of public spending, according to the World Bank.

While there was an improvement for humanitarian actors get access to some areas that they haven't been in a decade, problems still persisted, the US official said, adding that the delegation would press Taliban to improve.

Source: Times of India

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US, Pakistani officials in strained talks over Afghanistan

Oct 8, 2021

ISLAMABAD: US and Pakistani officials held difficult talks on Friday in Pakistan's capital amid a worsening relationship between Washington and Islamabad as each searches for a way forward in a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

The meeting between Washington's deputy secretary of state and Pakistan's leaders came amid an array of unsettled issues. They include questions such as the level of future engagement with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the ongoing evacuation of foreign nationals and Afghans who want to flee the country's new Taliban rulers.

Another question on the agenda is who will provide funds to stave off a full economic meltdown and looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban takeover, billions of dollars in aid have been frozen. Nearly 80% of the former Afghan government's budget was funded by international donors.

Even as it shies away from any unilateral formal recognition, Pakistan has been pressing for greater engagement with the all-male, all-Taliban Cabinet that the insurgents set up after they overran Afghanistan in mid-August, in the final weeks of the US and NATO pullout from the country.

Pakistan has also urged Washington to release billions of dollars to the Taliban so that they can pay salaries of the many Afghan ministries and avoid an economic meltdown. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has warned that s such a crash could unleash a mass migration.

Washington, which spent almost two full years negotiating peace with the Taliban, is still smarting from its dramatic exit from Afghanistan, after 20 years of war. Images of desperate Afghan men, running alongside a departing American C-17, some falling to their death from the wheel well, have come to represent the mayhem of the US withdrawal.

Still, the United States is quietly talking to some Taliban leaders and current Taliban Cabinet ministers to secure the evacuation of American nationals remaining in Afghanistan and others. At home, Republican senators are pressing for legislation that would sanction Afghanistan's new rulers.

The legislation introduced late last month by 22 Republican senators also calls for sanctions on Pakistan for providing safe haven for the Taliban. That has raised hackles among Pakistan's leaders, who have slammed Washington for what they say is unjust blaming of Pakistan for America's losses in Afghanistan — especially after seeking and receiving Islamabad's help in the protracted peace talks with the Taliban.

Pakistan has also opened doors to tens of thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan, providing temporary shelter for both foreigners and Afghans fleeing Taliban rule.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Friday held meetings with Pakistan's army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, considered the leading architect of Pakistan's Afghan strategy. She also met with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Little information has emerged from the meetings. A statement from Pakistan's foreign ministry said "an inclusive and broad-based political structure reflecting the ethnic diversity of Afghan society was essential for Afghanistan's stability and progress."

That was a clear message to the Taliban: An acceptable Afghan government is one that includes representatives of all Afghan minorities.

The statement also had a message for the world, saying "the current situation required positive engagement of the international community, urgent provision of humanitarian assistance, release of Afghan financial resources, and measures to help build a sustainable economy to alleviate the sufferings of the Afghan people."

The international community has repeatedly expressed concern over Taliban restrictions on access to education for girls and women, both at the high school and university level. It has warned against a return to the the harsh Taliban rule from the 1990s, when they first controlled Afghanistan and banned women from school, the workplace and a public life.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan also featured prominently at a national security meeting Friday attended by Pakistan's military leaders and Prime Minister Imran Khan. A statement warned that instability in Afghanistan would have "severe implications for Pakistan." Khan ordered that a "special cell" be set up to coordinate humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and manage Pakistan's border with its neighbor.

Sherman, who arrived on Thursday for a two-day visit, also met with Pakistan's Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf late on Thursday, to discuss "developments in Afghanistan and ways to advance cooperation across the bilateral relationship. "

Pakistan walks a fine line as it seeks to establish a relationship with the US in a changing region, where both Russia and China have increasing influence.

A strident opponent of the US-led so-called "war on terror," Khan has assured Pakistanis that Washington would have no access to Pakistan's territory for so-called "over-the-horizon" attacks on Afghanistan.

Source: Times of India

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US removes 2 Iranian firms from sanctions blacklist

Michael Hernandez  



The Biden administration removed on Friday two Iranian firms alleged to have been involved in Iran's ballistic missile program from the US's sanctions blacklist.

The removals include Mammut Industrial Group, and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel Company. Both companies were sanctioned under former US President Donald Trump's failed "maximum pressure" campaign, which was geared at imposing costs on Tehran in order to bring Iran back to nuclear negotiations.

Those talks never materialized, and 2015 nuclear agreement has been badly battered in the aftermath of Trump's efforts with Iran taking steps away from its commitments in retaliation for the US reneging on its own, and imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

President Joe Biden has sought to return to talks with Tehran to resume mutual compliance, but the hitherto indirect diplomatic meetings have failed to do so. The last round of negotiations concluded in June with both sides voicing views that were sharply at odds with each other about their status.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Cheer in Pakistan over Taliban capture of Kabul will be short-lived: Ex-CIA Director General David Petraeus

October 8, 2021

Former CIA Director General David H Petraeus said any "cheer in Pakistan" over the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan would be short-lived.

Speaking at the 19th edition of the India Today Conclave, David Petraeus, said the situation in Kabul was heartbreaking as the Afghan people were suffering once again under the Taliban, which has an extremist interpretation of Islam.

"Pakistan could not take control of the territory of the very organistaions that were making life difficult for the people and Afghan forces. Pakistan will have millions of Afghan refugees on its soil as it did 20 years ago. It will be difficult for Pakistan as their financial condition is not good," David Petraeus said.

David Petraeus said the Afghan people were staring at a humanitarian catastrophe as the economy had collapsed and aid had dried down.

"A very cold, dark and hungry winter lies ahead for Afghanistan and its people. There has been persecution of minority population, most of whom are ethnic Hazaras. Taliban fighters are going house-to-house to hunt those who worked with the US and Afghanistan governments," said David Petraeus.

Petraeus was appointed by former President George W Bush to head multinational forces in Iraq (2007-08) and later served as commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan (2010-11). He was later director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2011-12).

On August 15, the Taliban took control of the capital city of Kabul and declared that the war in Afghanistan was over and rechristened the country as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The development came after a weeks-long blitz that saw provinces fall like a pack of cards to the insurgents amid the exit of US troops.

David Petraeus also hinted that there were differences between the Taliban and Haqqani network. "Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder of Taliban, is not in Kabul. The Haqqanis are controlling Kabul and East Afghanistan. The Haqqani outfit is also not going to accept orders from Islamabad. This will continue to be a chaotic scene," David Petraeus said.

Source: India Today

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FM: US, Europe’s Practical Acts, Removal of Sanctions Matter to Iran


“If there is real intention on the part of the other sides and all of them return to their commitments, Iran will return to its commitments as well,” Amir Abdollahian told reporters after a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bou Habib in Beirut on Thursday.

“However, in this regard, the US oral messages are not our criterion,” he added.

“The unfulfilled promises of the three European countries are not our criterion. We will act in accordance with the other sides’ practical actions, the removal of the sanctions and their return to their commitments.”

Amir Abdollahian maintained that although Iran accepts negotiations as a principle, it only pays attention to talks that secure the Iranian nation’s rights and interests.

“In the nuclear agreement, Iran is the only country that remained committed until the very end and we will revive this approach if there is reciprocation from the other sides," he said.

Earlier, the top Iranian diplomat had urged Washington to release some of Iran’s blocked funds as a positive signal that would translate into tangible outcomes for the Iranian people, instead of constantly messaging Iran to come back into the Vienna talks.

“The Americans have been constantly looking for connections and sending messages [to Iran],” he said, adding, “If the Americans have the stated intention, they should release some of Iran’s blocked funds.”

Elsewhere in his Thursday remarks, Amir Abdollahian said Iran is ready to build two power plants in Lebanon, one in Beirut and the other in the South of the country, in a period of less than 18 months.

“We would do this quickly as part of a joint venture between Lebanese and Iranian investors and sharing Iranian technical engineering services [with Lebanon],” he said.

He also stressed that the Islamic Republic is prepared to help Lebanon overcome the economic crisis it is facing.

The fate of the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was put in limbo after former US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from it in 2018 and reinstated harsh economic sanctions against Iran.

Following Washington's departure from the agreement, the remaining parties to the JCPOA have launched negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna, to revive the deal and bring the US back into full compliance with all of its contractual commitments.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Envoy: Missile Power Iran’s Inalienable Right


"The undeniable fact about the JCPOA is that it was only Iran that complied with the JCPOA regulations and the three European countries and the United States did not fulfill their commitments under this document,” Balouji said, addressing the UN General Assembly’s First Committee meeting on Thursday.

"Iran is committed to the implementation of the JCPOA, provided that other members fulfill their commitments and all unjust sanctions are lifted promptly and verified," he added.

"Iran's missile defense capability is within the framework of our inalienable rights and Iran's international commitments," the envoy noted.

"European countries, in addition to fulfilling their obligations under the JCPOA, must put pressure on the United States to return to the full implementation of the JCPOA and UN Security Council Resolution 2231," Balouji said.

"During the JCPOA negotiations, Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime did their best to disrupt the JCPOA process," he said, adding, "Of course, we are not surprised by their position on the JCPOA, and after the JCPOA was unanimously approved in the Security Council, they have not missed any opportunity to spread false accusations for destroying the deal and the resolution."

"Saudi Arabia accuses Iran while it refuses to accept and implement a comprehensive safeguards agreement, despite repeated requests from the International Atomic Energy Agency, and as a result, the IAEA is unable to fully monitor and verify Saudi Arabia's nuclear program," he noted.

On regional security allegations, Balouji said that the baseless allegations about Iran's missile defense program were a desperate attempt to cover Saudi Arabia's staggering military spending and its insatiable thirst for the purchase of military weapons.

"The real source of regional insecurity is the large military presence of foreign forces and foreign military bases in the region, including in Saudi Arabia," he added.

Commander of the Iranian Army’s Air Defense Force Brigadier General Alireza Sabahi Fard said in August that the cruel sanctions imposed by the US against Iran have failed to prevent progress of the country’s missile industries.

"Today, we have been able to upgrade and localize missile systems and turn the oppressive sanctions of the enemy into an opportunity," General Sabahi Fard said while visiting the manufacturing site of S200 missiles in Fordow.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian FM Meets Hezbollah Chief, Palestinian Leaders, Lebanese Officials in Beirut


Amir Abdollahian who has traveled to Beirut to meet with Lebanese officials, also met and held talks with Nasrallah on Thursday.

During the meeting, Iran’s foreign minister underlined that Tehran has a firm stance when it comes to supporting Lebanon and the resistance movement.

Nasrallah, for his part, thanked the Islamic Republic of Iran for standing with the Lebanese government, nation and resistance for several decades.

"Iran has proved that it is a sincere ally and a loyal friend, which will not abandon its friends even in difficult times,” Nasrallah said.

People are very hopeful that as a result of all-out cooperation, Lebanon will get rid of the current hard situation, he added.

During his visit to Lebanon, the Iranian foreign minister met with the Lebanese President, Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss bilateral relations and regional and international developments.

Amir Abdollahian also held a meeting with Ziyad al-Nakhalah and a group of leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement on Thursday.

The Iranian foreign mister also met with several high-ranking Lebanese officials as well as the Palestinian Resistance members in Beirut.

Amir Abdollahian met and held talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut on Thursday.

During the meeting, the two sides exchanged their views on strengthening bilateral ties and issues of mutual interests.

He also held talks with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

In these separate talks with high-ranking Lebanese officials, Amir Abdollahian emphasized strong support of the Islamic Republic of Iran for Lebanon, and said that Islamic Republic of Iran is ready for all-out cooperation and assistance to Lebanese government.

During his meeting with Berri, the two sides exchanged views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interests.

He also met and held talks with Lebanese President Michel Aoun in Presidential Palace in Beirut on Thursday.

During the meeting, the two sides exchanged their views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interests.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran FM ‘optimistic’ on nuclear talks if US plays ball

08 October ,2021

Iran is optimistic talks on reviving a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with major powers will bear fruit, provided the US fully resumes its commitments, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Friday.

The deal, which gave Iran sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear program, has been on life support since 2018, when then US president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out and reimposed crippling sanctions.

US President Joe Biden has signalled a willingness to return to the deal, but his Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned last week that time was running out and the ball was in Iran’s court.

Amir-Abdollahian said Iran was looking for concrete signs from the US that it was ready to resume all of its commitments but said he was confident a deal could be done if it was.

“It is important that we receive signals from the other side, including from the United States, showing that they are intent on returning fully to their commitments,” the minister told a news conference in Beirut.

“We are assessing the behaviour of the United States. If it reflects a full return to their commitments, we can be optimistic about the Vienna talks.”

The talks in the Austrian capital between Iran and the remaining parties to the agreement -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- have been on hold since a June election in Iran led to a change of president.

New President Ebrahim Raisi -- an ultraconservative former judiciary chief -- is thought to be less ready than his predecessor Hassan Rouhani to make concessions to the West for the sake of a deal.

Tehran has gradually rolled back its nuclear commitments in response to the US pull-out, and Washington has been demanding that Iran return to its obligations too.

The United States has had no seat at the Vienna talks but has been participating indirectly.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkish opposition deepens cooperation, heaping pressure on President Erdogan

08 October ,2021

Six Turkish opposition parties are stepping up collaboration in their bid to unseat Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party at elections due by 2023, raising pressure on the president as opinion polls point to dwindling support for his ruling alliance.

Broadening the coordination which helped them deal a blow to Erdogan at 2019 local elections, the parties held a third meeting on Tuesday and plan weekly meetings to agree shared principles by year-end, those involved in the talks said.

“The opposition in Turkey is trying something that has never been tried before: getting united to confront the government,” political commentator Murat Yetkin said.

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Support for Erdogan’s government is ebbing amid criticism of its handling of economic woes such as high inflation and unemployment, the COVID-19 pandemic and forest fires and floods.

Opinion polls show the AK Party on around 31-33 percent, down from 42.6 percent in the 2018 parliamentary election, and its nationalist MHP ally on 8-9 percent, down from 11.1 percent, levels which would lead to Erdogan losing control of parliament at the next election.

The opposition talks aim to identify shared principles, rather than agreeing a presidential candidate, with the goal of ditching the presidential system of government introduced in 2018 and returning to a parliamentary system, participants said.

IYI Party deputy chairman Bahadir Erdem said they agreed to focus on issues such as independence of the judiciary, media and academia, and laws concerning political parties and elections, with the aim of boosting the separation of powers and democracy.

“These six parties coming together is giving people hope. Instead of divisiveness, there is togetherness, uniting on common ground,” Erdem told Reuters, contrasting it with what he said was the polarization under two decades of AKP rule.

CHP deputy chairman Muharrem Erkek, who also attended the talks, said Turkey was being “dragged to the edge of a precipice” by the presidential system, which puts far greater powers in the hands of the head of state.

“Citizens’ problems are worsening under this one-man system... A strengthened parliamentary system will inspire confidence,” he said.

Senior AK Party deputy Bulent Turan dismissed the talks on restoring the parliamentary system as “reactionary,” saying the new system worked well and had reduced political instability.

Source: Al Arabiya

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I don't want Miya votes, we live in harmony: Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma

October 9, 2021

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the BJP does not need votes from the Bengali-origin Muslim community in Assam -- often colloquially referred to as 'Miya' Muslims.

Speaking at the 19th edition of the India Today Conclave 2021, Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "I don't want Miya votes, we live in harmony I don't go to them for votes, and they also don't come to me."

Himanta Biswa Sarma said many people in the state believe immigrant Muslims are the root cause why Assam has lost identity, culture and land. Himanta Biswa Sarma also said that there was no community-based politics in Assam.

Himanta Biswa Sarma said encroachment was taking place because immigrant Muslims were producing in large numbers. "Many Assamese people think this way. This process started before Independence. I am carrying this burden of history with me," Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Clashes broke out in Sipajhar's Dholpur 3 village last month as thousands protested against the government’s eviction drive against "illegal encroachers". Two civilians had died in police firing. At least 12 others, including a policeman, were injured.

A viral video showing an injured person being beaten by policemen and stomped upon by another civilian as he lay motionless on the ground led to national outrage. The civilian was later arrested.

"There is no hate narrative in Assam. We evicted them because there is land of 77,000 acres. 1,000 families cannot occupy this land. Our policy is that one family cannot occupy land more than 2 acres. We have to give land to many people. We have to evict people if they encroach upon land. Eviction is a continuous process. Local Assamese people are also being evicted. No communalisation on this," Sarma said.

Speaking on the Assam government's drive against drugs, Himanta Biswa Sarma said per day recovery of narcotics was around Rs 2 crore. In his first 100 days as chief minister, the government has arrested 2,000 smugglers and 500 land brokers.

"We are going heavily against drug peddlers. We burnt rhino horns to bust the myth that they do not have medicinal value. We have digitised land records and signed a peace accord with tribal people. Assam is on the road of development. In the next five years, Assam will be one of the top states in India," Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Source: India Today

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Will dismantle terror ecosystem: LG Manoj Sinha

Bharti Jain

Oct 9, 2021

NEW DELHI: Strongly condemning the recent attacks in Jammu and Kashmir on civilians, including a Kashmiri Pandit and a Sikh school principal, J&K Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday said the latest trend of terrorist strikes against ‘soft and easy’ targets shall be dealt with an iron hand, with the revised strategy focused on dismantling the entire terror eco-system.

“We have posted the best police officers across J&K. A strategy review meeting was held on Wednesday and the revised action-plan has been rolled out. Counter-terror action is underway since last night. We are confident about containing these ‘soft-target’ attacks. We shall not buy peace but instead establish peace. Terror eco-system has to be dismantled whether here or elsewhere. It is our duty and responsibility to secure the people and their livelihood and we shall discharge it with utmost sincerity,” Sinha said in an exclusive chat with TOI.

According to sources, one Lashker e Taiba was killed in an encounter in Natipora on Friday evening, while another managed to escape. The dead terrorist is believed to have been linked to the recent attacks.

Sinha has visited the grief-stricken families of M L Bindroo, the pharmacist and Kashmiri Pandit killed by terrorists earlier this week, and Sikh lady principal Supinder Kaur, and assured them that government and security agencies would spare no effort to identify the perpetrators of targeted attacks and take strictest action against them.

Sources in the security agencies told TOI that the string of attacks this month, which have killed 7 civilians including four from the minority community, were carried out by young Kashmir boys, all neo-recruits lured by Pakistani handlers to go for one-off attacks on easy targets with pistols supplied by other terrorists. They possibly work for drugs or money, and the pistols are taken from them after the attack, allowing them to go back to their normal lives.

Among the 28 civilians killed by terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir so far this year, seven were non-Muslims, including 1 Kashmiri Pandit, while 21 were Muslims. In 2020, of the 37 civilians killed, 34 were Muslims and 3 non-Muslims. As many as 38 Muslims and 6 non-Muslims were killed by terrorists across J&K in 2019. Most Muslims were targeted either because of their political affiliation, particularly with the BJP, or their association with the security forces.

Of the 7 non-Muslims killed by terrorists this year, five belonged to the local Hindu or Sikh communities and two were non-local Hindu labourers.

A source said the terrorists have been choosing their targets consciously to send out a message. Earlier, they were targetting panchayati raj institution representatives and workers. Now, victims of their targetted killings have changed. Bindroo, a Kashmiri Pandit who had stayed on despite the mass exodus by his community in Nineties, was targeted to protest against the J&K government’s initiative to allow Kashmiri migrants to reclaim their properties in the Valley through a portal. A J&K government functionary said 5,728 applications were received in the three weeks since launch of the portal, of which 2,349 cases have been closed.

Source: Times of India

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Gurugram: Namaz under Heavy Security As Group Organises Bhajan, Aarti at Prayer Site

Oct 9, 2021

GURUGRAM: It was a tense afternoon at a Namaz site in the city in Sector 47 as a group of people organised an ‘Aarti’ and a Bhajan recital during Friday prayers to register their opposition to it.

Police threw a heavy security cordon around the area and moved the Namaz congregation towards the edge of the ground where prayers are offered every week, as far away as they could from the other gathering that was stopped at the entry to the ground but used a loudspeaker to make its presence felt.

The protest against Namaz being offered in the open involved some locals and an MCG councillor. Over the years, there have been several attempts to disrupt Namaz in the city, leading to police designating sites for Friday prayers. But that hasn’t stopped the friction.

Former Rajya Sabha MP Mohd Adeeb, who was a part of the Namaz congregation, said the country gives its citizens the constitutional right to practise their own religion. “Muslims of this country who ditched Jinnah are today not allowed to perform namaz in their own country. What kind of country have we become? What kind of atmosphere has been created in the country?” said Adeeb.

Alleging mosques were not being allowed to be built on Waqf board land, he added, “We are not asking for any funds. We can construct mosques on our own. Just give us land.”

Mufti Mohamad Salim, president of Jamiat Ulema Gurgaon, said attempts to disrupt namaz had been made at the site for the past few weeks. “It takes only 15 minutes to perform Namaz, that too just once in a week, but they have a problem with it. People from nearby areas come here for Namaz,” said Salim, adding there were an estimated 5 lakh Muslims in Gurgaon but just 13 mosques, leaving no option but to perform Namaz in open areas.

Asked about his presence among the group opposing Namaz, MCG councillor of ward number 29 Kuldeep Yadav said the congregation had no permission from any authority to perform Namaz there and locals were opposed to it as well. “The mosque is just a few kilometres from here and they can go there. Why is public space being occupied?” said Yadav.

Source: Times of India

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Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Nasir ul Islam condemns killing of two teachers

9th October 2021

Srinagar: Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam has expressed his shock and grief over the innocent killings of civilians in Kashmir and stated that it is unfortunate that members of the minority communities are being targeted. He has also appealed to people to maintain communal harmony and brotherhood.

While talking to CNS Mufti condemned the civilian killings and said no religion allows the killing of innocent civilians as this will lead to nowhere. There have been a spate of killings this past week by armed terrorists.

“No one will be allowed to harm the communal fabric of Kashmir which is intact since past so many decades”, Mufti stated. The Mufti also expressed his deep shock and grief and extended solidarity and sympathies with the families of all those killed in the past few days in Srinagar stating that Islam prohibits attacking unarmed person.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Kashmiri Pandits in US condemn killings of Hindus, Sikhs by militants in Kashmir

9th October 2021

Houston: A prominent socio-political organisation of Kashmiri Pandits in the US on Friday expressed shock and anguish over the brutal and targeted killings of minority Hindus and Sikhs by militants in Kashmir this week.

The Indo American Kashmiri Forum (IAKF) urged the US government to consider opening a special desk in the US Embassy in New Delhi to facilitate the registration of religious minorities Hindus, Sikhs and Christians from the Kashmir Valley as refugees who are fleeing persecution.

In a press release, the IAKF said well-known pharmacist Makhan Lal Bindroo, Hindu teacher Deepak Chand, Sikh school principal Supinder Kaur and Hindu street food vendor Virender Paswan were all killed by terrorists just for belonging to minority community.

On Tuesday, Bindroo, a prominent Kashmiri Pandit, and Paswan, who hails from Bihar, was shot dead by terrorists in Srinagar.

The IAKF underlined that Bindroo had served the community for years and enjoyed close relationships with Kashmiris of all faiths.

It noted that just two days after, militants rounded up a school in the Valley and separated the staff based on their identity cards. Muslim teachers were released, but Kaur and Chand were brutally killed in broad daylight.

Three pistol-wielding terrorists barged into Sangam Eidgah Boys’ Higher Secondary School around 10:30 am on Thursday and singled out 44-year-old Kaur and her colleague Chand after confirming who among the staff were from any community other than Kashmiri Muslims. Both were escorted out of the building and shot multiple times before the assailants walked out of the campus.

Chand died instantly, while Kaur succumbed to her injuries en route to hospital.

These cold-blooded terror attacks bring back painful memories of the 1990s, when the targeted killings and torture of Kashmiri Hindu Pandits led to the exodus of over 400,000, said IAKF International Coordinator Dr Vijay Sazawal.

Lalit Koul, IAKF Social Media Director, said, “Kashmiri Pandits are the aboriginal people of the Kashmir Valley. If their security and right to live in their homeland cannot be guaranteed, then the government has failed us.”

Source: Siasat Daily

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Political class has failed miserably in promoting spirit of Constitution: Kerala Guv Arif Mohammed Khan

October 9, 2021

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said the political class had failed miserably in promoting the spirit of the Constitution. Asserting that Indian civilization was never defined by religion, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said the "Supreme Court has not been able to define who is a minority in India".

Speaking at the 19th edition of the India Today Conclave 2021, Arif Mohammed Khan said, "The political class has failed miserably. It is the duty of the media to question us if we are not promoting the spirit of the Constitution."

Arif Mohammed Khan has been a vocal supporter of the NDA government's propositions to bring reforms in the Muslim community and backed the move to criminalise Triple Talaq.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is the second Muslim after Najma Heptulla to be granted constitutional office by the Modi government.

The Kerala Governor said the Partition happened because of the "imaginary Muslim question". "Have we learnt any lesson from the Partition? There are two things that have awakened India -- the Constituent Assembly took the decision on abolition of untouchability and abolition of a separate electorate," the Kerala Governor said.

"On the protection of minority rights, the Constitution mentions 'lingual minority' and they will have the right to establish educational institutions," Arif Mohammed Khan said.

Arif Khan had walked out of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1986 over differences in the Shah Bano case. He was a minister of state in the Rajiv Gandhi-led government.

Arif Mohammed Khan said minority rights were needed in theocratic nations and not in India, while stressing that Indian civilization was never defined by religion.

"The word Hindu rashtra is not used in any of our scriptures. Indian civilization was never defined by religion. Other civilizations were defined by religion, race and language. The Constituent Assembly included Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist in the definition of Hindusim, making it clear that Hindu does not mean uniformity of belief or practices in the matter if religion. It is the duty of the political system to protect each one of them. When you are saying Hindu Rashtra, you are actually equating it with Muslim theocracy or Christian theocracy," Arif Mohammed Khan said.

Source: India Today

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Grave of Islamic Jihadi Terrorism will be dug by India: VHP announces nationwide protest against targeted killings in Kashmir

8 October, 2021

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has released a statement announcing a nationwide protest on October 9 to protest against the targeted killing of seven Kashmiri Hindus by the Jihadists in the last 5 days. On October 8, the VHP in a statement stated, “that the best way to end Islamic terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir is to safely rehabilitate the exiled Kashmiri Hindus and provide them free mobility in the valley”.

The statement by VHP said that the grave of the Islamic Jihadi Terrorism will be dug by India only.

The Central General Secretary of VHP Milind Parande condemned the brutal killing of 7 civilians in the valley. Parande expressed deep concern about the targeted killings of Hindus in the valley and urged the Central government to take coercive steps to tackle the Islamic Jihadists spreading their tentacles in Kashmir.

He wrote that the government should teach a lasting lesson to the terror state of Pakistan. The statement added that the government should encourage the rehabilitation of the indigenous Hindu migrants back to the valley. This he said would be the best way to curb terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the statement, Hindu organisations such as the Bajrang Dal and the VHP would stage protests across the country on October 9 in which they will burn effigies representing Pakistan’s terror regime.

Islamic terrorists and their apologists in India were warned by Milind Parande that their ill-fated attempt to break India’s unity and integrity will fail miserably. He stated that Hindu organisations will respond appropriately to such ill-fated attempts.

Slamming the Islamist apologists, the General Secretary of VHP remarked that when Hindus or Sikhs are mercilessly butchered, these apologists of Islamic terrorism say nothing. Milind Parande warned the apologists that these Islamic terrorist snakes who they have been feeding would someday come back to bite them. He remarked that to prevent the terror state of Pakistan from exploiting terrorism as a political tool, the international community will have to intervene soon.

In conclusion, the VHP statement added, that it stands in solidarity with the families of those who have been systematically targeted in Jammu and Kashmir. “Every VHP worker and entire Hindu society stands with the families of the victims. Their sacrifices will not be wasted. Indians will now etch the grave of Islamic terrorism in the country”.

Source: Opindia

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NIA files charge sheet against radical who wanted to establish Islamic State in Tamil Nadu

Oct 08, 2021

India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) files a charge sheet against a Tamil Nadu resident.

According to the NIA, they have filed a charge sheet against Saravana Kumar, alias Abdullah, of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He is being booked under multiple sections including Sedition, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) etc.

The charges against him have been filed for supporting, furthering ISIS ideology and uploading incendiary posts on Facebook. An NIA special court in Chennai has filed cases under sections 124A and 505(1)(b) of IPC and section 13(1)(b), 38 and 39 of UAPA. 

The case against this Madurai-based individual was registered at the Theppakulam Police Station in Madurai City, on April 10th of this year. Following this, a probe was conducted by the NIA, which revealed the grave nature of the accused's intentions.

“Abdullah was uploading posts on his Facebook account to instigate people to establish Khilafah (an institution governing a territory under Islamic rule) and threaten the unity, security and sovereignty of India. He was also seeking cooperation from other countries to set up an Army to establish an Islamic State in Tamil Nadu through Jihad.” the premier investigation agency said.


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Dubai: Grand Mufti of India, Sheikh Abubakr Ahmad, receives UAE Golden Visa

Ashwani Kumar

October 8, 2021

Islamic scholar from Kerala honoured for humanitarian work

Grand Mufti of India and Islamic scholar Sheikh Abubakr Ahmad has received the UAE’s Golden Visa for his humanitarian works.

Sheikh Abubakr, the Sheikh Zayed International Peace Conference chairman, is an educationist, social worker, and philanthropist. An influential leader from the southern state of Kerala, he is the chancellor of Jamia Markaz, an Islamic university in Kozhikode district.

The religious leader, who is popularly known as Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliar, has been a regular face at platforms promoting peace and interfaith dialogue.

Major General Mohamed Ahmed Al Marri, General Director of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai, presented him with the golden visa.

Thanking the UAE leadership, he said: “I am honoured to receive the UAE Golden Visa. I always feel at home when I am in the UAE. It is a second home to millions of Indians. I express my immense gratitude to the leadership of the country, who have been promoting peace, unity and tolerance.”

Source: Khaleej Times

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Lashkar terrorist killed in encounter in Srinagar: Police

M Saleem Pandit

Oct 9, 2021

SRINAGAR : Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday said that a terrorist was killed in a brief exchange of fire near Natipora area of Srinagar while another escaped.

According to police, the slain terrorist was identified as Aqib Bashir Kumar of Trenz Shopian, affiliated with Lashker-e-Taiba.

A senior police officer said that two magazines, one AK-47 and a weapon bag with fruits was recovered from him.

Source: Times of India

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Hundreds bid farewell to slain school teacher and principal in Jammu and Kashmir

Sanjay Khajuria

Oct 9, 2021

JAMMU: Hundreds gathered to bid farewell to the government school teacher and principal who were shot dead by terrorists inside their school in Srinagar on Thursday.

The last rites of slain principal Supinder Kaur were performed by her family at a cremation ground in Karan Nagar area in Srinagar. Hundreds of members of the Sikh community assembled at Kaur’s residence in Aloochi Bagh area and took out a protest march from there, carrying her mortal remains on a stretcher.

A pall of gloom descended as school teacher Deepak Chand’s mortal remains arrived from Srinagar at his home in Patoli Morh in Jammu. Chand is survived by his wife and a three-year-old daughter. He had joined duty in Srinagar on Sunday after performing the rituals of his father’s first death anniversary.

Wrapped in tricolour, Chand’s body was taken to the cremation ground amid slogans ‘Pakistan murdabad, Deepak Amar Rahe’. His family and friends demanded immediate arrest of the culprits responsible for the ‘barbaric act.’

Source: Times of India

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Arab World


10 injured in 2 drone attacks at Saudi's King Abdullah airport

October 9, 2021

Ten people were injured in two explosives-laden drone attacks at King Abdullah airport in the southern Saudi city of Jizan late on Friday and early on Saturday, the Saudi-led coalition said.

The military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing forces of the ousted government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group.

Six Saudis, three Bangladeshi nationals and one Sudanese were injured in the first attack, Saudi state media said, citing a coalition spokesman. Some of the airport's facade windows were shattered in the attack, the spokesman said.

A second explosives-laden drone was intercepted early on Saturday, the coalition said, without giving details on any injuries or damages.

Source: Dawn

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Two killed in Israel strike on Syria base: Monitor

09 October ,2021

An Israeli missile strike on an airbase in central Syria has killed two Damascus-allied foreign fighters and wounded several Syrian service personnel, a Britain-based war monitor said on Saturday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the two foreigners were killed in the raid on the T4 airbase late Friday, but their nationality was not immediately clear.

The official Syrian news agency SANA earlier said that, at around 9:00 pm (1800 GMT), the Israeli enemy... fired a volley of missiles towards the T4 military airport.”

The aggression wounded six soldiers and led to some material damage,” it added.

The Observatory said the attack targeted a drone depot at the base.

Contacted by AFP, an Israeli army spokesperson said the military did not comment on foreign media reports.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Bashar al-Assad allows exiled uncle to return to Syria, pro-government newspaper says

08 October ,2021

Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad has allowed his exiled uncle Rifaat to return to Syria, pro-government Al Watan newspaper said on Friday, citing sources.

“Rifaat Al-Assad arrived in Damascus yesterday, in order to prevent his imprisonment in France after a court ruling was issued and after the confiscation of his property and money in Spain as well,” it added.

Reuters could not immediately verify the Al Watan report.

A former Syrian vice president who was sent into exile in the 1980s, Assad was living in France, where he was put under investigation for tax fraud and money-laundering.

He was handed a four-year jail sentence earlier this year that he was unlikely to serve because of his age but the ruling cleared the way for all his property in France to be seized.

His properties in Spain were confiscated before that on the back of a money laundering investigation as well.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syrian air defences intercept Israeli attack above Homs countryside: State media

08 October ,2021

Syrian air defenses responded on Friday night to missiles flying over the country’s central province of Homs, the Syrian state news agency reported. Details were scarce and there was no confirmation of any casualties or damage in the development.

The SANA news agency did not name the source of the attack. Israel is believed to have been behind many of the strikes inside government-controlled parts of Syria.

Israel has acknowledged it is going after bases of Iran-allied militias, such as the powerful Lebanese militant Hezbollah group fighting on the side of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in the civil war, and suspected arms shipments believed to be bound for the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Syria’s pro-government media said the strikes landed in rural parts of Homs province.

But Israel rarely comments on individual attacks.

Hezbollah has sent its members to fight alongside the Syrian government forces for much of the decade-old conflict.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Azhar grand imam condemns 'fatal flaw' in global production and distribution of vaccines

8 Oct 2021

"The result was the death of five million victims in less than two years," El-Tayyeb said on the closing of the World Meeting for Peace, Peoples as Brothers, Future Earth Religions and Cultures in Dialogue", promoted by the Rome-based Community of Sant'Egidio.

A fatal flaw in the distribution system has left entire continents without access to the vaccines, the grand imam of the world's leading Sunni institution said.

The crisis revealed severe poverty in the field of “duty, conscience and responsibility”, in which our contemporary world has regressed despite efforts undertaken by the world’s religious institutions, their symbols and leaders to promote the philosophy of cooperation and exchange of good among people and to prioritize the interests of the community over the interests of individuals, he added.

Source: Ahram

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Gunmen kill imam, 10 others in northern Nigeria

Merve Berker 


KANO, Nigeria

Eleven people, including children and an imam, were killed when suspected gunmen from the outlawed Yan Sakai vigilante group in the Sokoto State in northern Nigeria stormed a market Friday.

The massacre occurred at the Mamande village in Gwadabawa local government.

The victims were from different Fulani settlements in the area who came to buy food and other items at the weekly market.

They died immediately while four others who sustained gunshot wounds were taken to a hospital, according to the head of the Gwadabawa local government Aminua Aya

The imam, Malam Aliyu, was leading prayers at a mosque when the attack occurred.

The gunmen stormed the market from Goronyo Local Government Area, attacking the victims they accused of aiding banditry before fleeing with sheep and cows of the victims.

Witness Ahmad Wada said the victims’ sin was that they belonged to the Fulani tribe.

He demanded that the government conduct an investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UK, US, Norway urge end to eastern Sudan protests

08 October ,2021

The US, UK and Norway on Friday urged Sudanese protesters who have shut down oil pipelines and the main port in the country’s east since mid-September to end their blockade.

The appeal came as the civilian-military government in Khartoum has warned that unrest has crippled Sudanese exports and imports of basic goods.

“The Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States) strongly supports the efforts of Sudan’s government to resolve protests in eastern Sudan,” a statement said.

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But a prolonged blockage of roads, docks and the airport in east Sudan threaten to have “a serious impact on the country’s economy and the well-being of its citizens,” it said.

The Troika are guarantors of the 2005 peace agreement struck between Sudan and southern rebels ahead of South Sudan’s secession six years later.

On September 17, protesters objecting to parts of an October 2020 peace deal between the Khartoum government and a coalition of rebels blocked the country’s main container and oil export terminals in Port Sudan.

It crippled Sudan’s own exports and also blocked the 154,000 barrels of oil per day pumped from neighboring South Sudan – for which Khartoum earns lucrative transit fees that are an important source of revenue for the cash-strapped government.

The protesters in the east say the 2020 deal – orchestrated by a transitional government that came into being in 2019, following the ouster of veteran autocrat Omar al-Bashir – overlooks them.

They agreed to allow South Sudanese oil exports to resume, but continued to block other key infrastructure in Port Sudan.

On Sunday, the Khartoum government said it was running out of life-saving medicine, fuel and wheat.

“The Troika joins with the civilian-led transitional government in calling for an end to the ongoing blockades of port and transportation infrastructure in eastern Sudan,” Friday’s statement read.

The Troika said it “fully recognizes the development challenges facing the people of eastern Sudan.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Morocco’s King Mohammed VI urges MPs to confront ‘external threats’

09 October ,2021

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI urged the country’s new parliament on Friday to defend the country’s sovereignty and “stand up to external threats” amid “challenges and risks” in the region.

Addressing lawmakers a day after he named a new government, the king urged them to focus on “consolidating Morocco’s standing and the defense of its supreme interests, especially in a context charged with challenges, risks and threats.”

He did not specify the threats or their source, but the North African kingdom has been locked in a deepening crisis with neighboring Algeria, which in August cut diplomatic ties following mounting tensions over Western Sahara.

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Morocco claims sovereignty over the former Spanish colony, a position backed by Washington since a deal last year that also saw Rabat normalize ties with Israel.

Algeria backs the Polisario Front, which seeks independence for the territory and has declared a 30-year-old ceasefire with Morocco “null and void.”

King Mohammed called Friday for measures to secure self-sufficiency in foodstuffs, medical supplies and energy “to strengthen the country’s strategic security.”

His speech via video link came a day after he announced the cabinet of incoming prime minister, billionaire tycoon Aziz Akhannouch, who trounced incumbent Islamists in September elections but will face pressing economic issues exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Libya’s rival camps adopt plan for withdrawal of mercenaries

08 October ,2021

The eastern side in Libya’s conflict said on Friday it had agreed with its opponents on a plan for a phased withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries, but gave no details or timeline for a move seen as crucial to cementing a year-old ceasefire.

Mercenaries brought by the foreign powers involved in Libya, including Russia and Turkey, remain entrenched on both sides despite the ceasefire and a parallel political process aimed at resolving the decade-long crisis through elections.

Both those UN-backed efforts are seen as highly fragile, however, with a constant risk that the process could unravel.

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An eastern military official said the joint committee meeting in Geneva had agreed on a “an action plan for the withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign forces in a gradual, balanced and simultaneous way.”

The official added that international monitors and a monitoring mechanism were needed before any withdrawal could begin.

Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush said on Sunday that a very modest number of mercenaries had already left.

Forces from western Libya involved in the talks were not immediately available to comment.

The committee was formed through a UN-backed ceasefire agreed last year that followed the collapse of eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar’s 14-month offensive against Tripoli.

His assault was the latest bout of fighting in a series of conflicts between rival factions since the 2011 uprising that led to the ousting and killing of former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafied, drawing in foreign powers.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Kidnapped Nigerian students freed after ransoms paid: School

09 October ,2021

Five more students who were kidnapped by gunmen from a school in Nigeria three months ago have been released after ransoms were paid, the school administrator said.

About 150 students went missing after armed men raided the school in Kaduna state in Nigeria’s northwest in July, the 10th mass school kidnapping since December.

Such kidnappings at schools in Nigeria were first carried out by extremist group Boko Haram, and later its offshoot ISIS West Africa Province, but the tactic has since been adopted by criminal gangs seeking ransom, according to authorities.

The bandits have been releasing the students in batches after getting ransom payments.

Reverend John Hayab, the administrator of the Bethel Baptist High School, said after the latest release, four students remained in captivity and the school was working to ensure they were freed soon.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN hails signing of plan for withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters from Libya

Peter Kenny  


The UN on Friday welcomed the signing of an action plan by the group known as the Joint Military Commission that will see the withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters, and foreign forces from Libya.

Also known as the JMC, 5+5, the group ended a three-day meeting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, where they agreed on the plan.

“The United Nations applauds the patriotism and commitment of the JMC members, encouraging them to seize this opportunity to further the full implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement through this Action Plan,” according to a UN statement in Geneva.

Coupled with the plan, the UN said the JMC is developing an implementation mechanism that calls for the “gradual, balanced, and sequenced departure of all mercenaries, foreign fighters, and foreign forces.”

UN Special Envoy on Libya Jan Kubis said the “agreement responds to the overwhelming demand of the Libyan people and creates a positive momentum that should be built upon to move forward towards a stable and democratic stage.”

He said it included holding free, credible and transparent national elections on Dec. 24, “with results accepted by all.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Southeast Asia


Religious groups, activist weigh in on potential dangers of recent incendiary comments by ustaz

10- 07- 2021

PETALING JAYA: A human rights activist and non-Muslim groups have called on the people to stand together to stamp out religious prejudice.

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia commissioner Jerald Joseph(pix) said more people should speak out against religious persecution.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (Council) wants action to be taken against anyone sowing hatred against other religions.

The outcry over religious prejudice arose with a recent comment by a Muslim preacher that Hindus and Buddhists were out to exterminate Muslims.

In a minute-long video that has been widely shared on social media, Ustaz Syakir Nasoha cited incidents in Myanmar and India to back his claim.

Joseph pointed out that while every individual has the right to freedom of expression, it is not a passport for them to incite hatred against another group, person or faith.

He said Syakir should be investigated and prosecuted if his speech is found to have incited feelings of hatred.

“He should be subject to our criminal laws.”

Joseph pointed out that as children, everyone is taught to not have any prejudice against others.

“However, every community holds prejudice against other communities. What we need is to respect each other’s beliefs as well as our diversity and differences, and this requires more education,” he said, adding that managing prejudice is not just about prosecution.

“It’s about laying the groundwork for broader education, engagement, information sharing and building a Malaysian value centred on respect regardless of religion or whether the community makes up the majority or minority.”

He said while the Keluarga Malaysia concept is appealing, it needs a fundamental shift in how the country deals with its people.

“It demands inclusivity and equality across racial and religious lines. By virtue of being Malaysian, the room for fair opportunity and non-discrimination should be conventional,” he added.

Council president Jagir Singh said Syakir clearly aimed to sow hatred between Muslims and Hindus, Buddhists and the Dayak community.

“Such actions will lead to a breach of the peace.”

In a statement on Monday, the Council said Syakir’s reference to non-Muslims as infidels and his comment that they were plotting to kill Muslims in Malaysia was aimed at instigating harm against non-Muslims.

The statement was endorsed by the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council, Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia, Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Christian Federation of Malaysia and Malaysian Buddhist Association.

Source: The Sun Daily

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Sabah CM welcomes support from independent assemblymen

09 Oct 2021

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 9 — Support from independent assemblymen to the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government will help it to focus more on the state’s development and progress.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor said the GRS government is grateful to the independent assemblymen for pledging their support to it.

“We are therefore able to focus more on unity and development for the state and the rakyat,” he said.

Hajiji who was met after officiating the state-level National Sports Day celebration at the Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex today, said this when asked to comment on the support from independent assemblymen towards the realisation of the state Government’s Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) halatuju.

On the resignation of Sindumin assemblyman Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob from Parti Warisan Sabah to become a government-friendly independent, Hajiji said that it is the special right of every state elected representative.

“They have the democratic right to choose where they want to serve or through which platform or party they desire,” Hajiji said.

On Friday, just four days after brushing off the claim, Yusof officially announced his resignation from Warisan.

The 66-year-old former Warisan information chief said he decided to become a government-friendly independent so that he can meet with the Chief Minister, Prime Minister and government officers whenever he wants to.

The former State Education and Innovation Minister pointed out that his current term may be his last chance to contribute to his constituents and he would not want to waste the remaining four years by ‘shouting in the coffee shops’.

He said that his constituency is currently facing numerous issues such as the Sabah Forest Industries dilemma, water supply issues, the Pan Borneo Highway project delay, the Sabah Oil and Gas Industrial Park.

Meanwhile, Hajiji said the National Sports Day program is the best platform to inculcate sports culture among the community to enhance the development of sports in the state.

He also expressed his happiness to see the commitment and high spirit of the rakyat in Sabah to celebrate the National Sports Day 2021 under the new norm.

“I see the people of Sabah do not use the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse not to play sports or enjoy recreation. This shows that the people of Sabah are always aware that sports is the practice of a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Hajiji added that the re-opening of several sports activities in the state is definitely good news for those who love sports.

Therefore, take full advantage of any sports facilities provided and these activities are now allowed but remember to adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs) set, he stressed.

According to Hajiji, the National Sports Day celebration is a platform to inculcate sports culture among the community and make Malaysia a sporting nation which is one of the government’s aspirations to realise the ‘Wawasan Kemakmuran bersama 2030’ other than being a platform for people’s unity and national unification.

Hajiji also asked the state Youth and Sports Ministry to continue to develop sports in the state so as to be able to produce athletes who make the country famous at the international level.

“In the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), presented by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently, the development of sports is among those given emphasis. Therefore, the state Ministry of Youth and Sports must take the opportunity in the 12MP to also develop sports in this country, “he said.

Source: Malay Mail

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Annuar Musa: National Sports Day best platform to promote unity among Malaysians

09 Oct 2021

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 9 ― Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa has described the National Sports Day (HSN) as the best platform for inculcating and strengthening the spirit of unity among the multi-racial people in line with the aspirations of the Malaysian Family.

He said the Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) is the main agency responsible for nurturing the soul and spirit of the Malaysian Family, which values solidarity and unity.

“There is nothing better than sports, which can strengthen racial ties and boost the spirit of patriotism.

“Sports activities are among the most important medium for making a success of the Malaysian Family philosophy in the context of our country. I hope KKMM and its agencies can play their role to realise this in the best way possible,” he said after launching the KKMM-level HSN 2021 here today.

Earlier, Annuar attended in a virtual manner the launch of the national-level HSN celebration by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS). Also present was KKMM secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek.

As a symbolic launch of the ministry-level HSN 2021 celebration, Annuar took a 'penalty kick' and joined in the Zumba dance exercise.

Source: Malay Mail

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