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  1. Protesters hold up placards in a demonstration to voice their protest ? against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital ? as they gather outside the US Embassy in London, Britain, December 8, 2017. AFP/Ben Stansall AMMAN: Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Muslim and Arab countries across the world Friday to protest against US President Donald Trump?s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians. Demonstrators at the protests which followed the weekly prayers in mosques vented their anger at the unilateral decision which has sparked widespread international criticism. In the Palestinian territories, at least one Palestinian was killed in clashes with Israeli troops. Trump?s announcement on Wednesday prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash, including warnings from Turkey, the European Union and Russia over the risks of new violence in the Middle East. "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine," chanted crowds in Jordan, one of only two Arab states to have made peace with Israel, with an estimated 20,000 people pouring into the streets of Amman and other cities, AFP correspondents said. They carried banners reading "Go to Hell!" directed at Israel and the United States and set ablaze the two countries? flags. Hundreds of demonstrators, circled by anti-riot police, also gathered outside Al-Azhar mosque in the capital of Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state. "We will sacrifice our soul, our blood for you, Al-Aqsa," they pledged, referring to the mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem that is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. War-torn countries Thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians demonstrated in Lebanon and its refugee camps, while similar joint protests were staged in Syria despite the country?s brutal war. In another war-torn country, thousands of Yemeni rebel supporters rallied in Sanaa under the banner "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine". "This case belongs to all Muslims and no one has the right to sell it out," Mohammed Ali al-Huthi, a Huthi rebel leader, shouted to the crowd. "Jerusalem is ours and Jerusalem belongs to the Arabs," hundreds of Iraqi demonstrators chanted in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, where Israeli and American flags were also torched. "Death to America! Death to Israel!" was the rallying cry as thousands demonstrated in Tehran and other Iranian cities. Thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters marched after prayers at the Ottoman Fatih mosque in the centre of Istanbul. "We consider Jerusalem as the bastion of the Muslim community... We are here to show our unity and our strength," said protester Doguhan, 17. In North Africa, thousands demonstrated in central Tunis, calling for the expulsion of the US ambassador, while a small crowd of around 300 gathered in the Libyan capital?s Martyr?s Square to vent their anger at Trump?s decision. Protests in Asia In Asia, thousands of protesters demonstrated outside the American embassy in Malaysia, condemning Trump?s decision as a "slap in the face" for Muslims worldwide. They carried banners that read: "Hands off Jerusalem" and "Down USA President Trump". In neighbouring Indonesia, the world?s most populous Muslim-majority country, several hundred people demonstrated outside the US embassy in Jakarta, unfurling a large Palestinian flag. In Afghanistan, more than 1,000 protesters hit the streets after Friday prayers in Kabul. They burned effigies of Trump as well as American and Israeli flags. A few dozen tried to reach the heavily barricaded US embassy, but were pushed back by local security forces. Around 2,500 demonstrators also protested in the western city of Herat, an AFP correspondent reported. Hundreds took to the streets in Pakistan, including in the capital Islamabad. The protesters chanted "Death to Trump" and "Trump is mad".
  2. US President Donald Trump recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital Wednesday. Photo: courtesy Getty Images WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital Wednesday, prompting an almost universal diplomatic backlash and fears of new bloodshed in the Middle East. Trump's defiant move, making good on a core campaign pledge, ended seven decades of US ambiguity on the status of the Holy City, which is vociferously claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. America's leader appeared further isolated, as allies and foes alike denounced his decision and Palestinians questioned whether their dream of statehood, as part of a peace deal brokered by Washington, was still possible. But the US president claimed this marked the start of a "new approach" to solving the thorny Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital," Trump said in a speech given from the White House. "It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," he said, urging calm and "the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate." 'Courageous' or 'deplorable'? Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Trump's "deplorable and unacceptable" move signified America´s withdrawal as a sponsor of the peace process. Hamas -- the Palestinian movement that runs the Gaza Strip -- warned that Trump had opened "the gates of hell on US interests in the region." Hamas says Trump's decision opens 'gates of hell' Radwan called on the Arab and Islamic states to 'cut off economic and political ties with the US embassy' this decision And although welcomed by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "courageous and just decision," Trump´s move left many angry US allies struggling to find a measured response -- and hoping that the tinderbox region is not destined for yet another round of bloodletting. Through gritted teeth, Britain described the move as "unhelpful" and France called it "regrettable." Germany said plainly that it "does not support" Trump´s decision. Eight countries including Britain, France and Italy pressed for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in response to the move, which was set for Friday. The leaders of Muslim nations meanwhile deployed ever-harsher rhetoric to describe Trump´s decision. Turkey and Iran -- both vying for regional influence -- tried to give voice to the anger felt by many across the Muslim world. Turkey called the decision "irresponsible" and illegal. Iran said it would "provoke Muslims and inflame a new intifada." Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia branded the move "unjustified and irresponsible" -- and said it goes against the "historical and permanent rights of the Palestinian people." Diplomatic fallout Trump also kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In doing so, he begins to make good on a campaign promise dear to evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters -- as well as donors. Trump´s predecessors -- from Bill Clinton to George Bush -- had made the same promise, but quickly reneged upon taking office and assuming responsibility for war and peace. The 45th US president was determined to show his arrival in Washington spells the end of business as usual, suggesting his predecessors failed to act though lack of "courage." UN Security Council to meet Friday on Jerusalem: diplomats 'We believe the Council needs to address this issue with urgency' Moving the embassy will probably take years to implement, but the repercussions of Trump´s decision preceded even his announcement. Hundreds of Palestinians burned US and Israeli flags as well as pictures of Trump in the Gaza Strip, while relatively small clashes erupted near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron. The Palestine Liberation Organization announced a strike across the West Bank Thursday, while Hamas called for a "day of rage" on Friday. US government officials and their families were ordered to avoid Jerusalem´s Old City and the West Bank, though the situation remained largely calm up until Trump´s address. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on a visit to Germany, said the United States had "implemented robust security plans to protect the safety of Americans in affected regions." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the main pan-Islamic body, in Istanbul next week to display joint action over Jerusalem. Jordan and the Palestinians also requested an emergency meeting of the Arab League. Peace still possible, US says Most of the international community does not formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel´s capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved in negotiations -- a point reiterated by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the wake of Trump´s decision. Guterres implicitly criticised Trump, stressing his opposition to "any unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peace." Trump insisted the move did not prejudge final talks, saying it simply reflected the reality that west Jerusalem is and will continue to be part of Israel under any settlement. Pakistan 'deeply concerned' as Trump Jerusalem move targets 'entire Muslim world' 'This is a blatant evidence of opposition to Muslims,' the minister says of Jerusalem's recognition as Israel's capital "This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do," Trump said. "Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach it," said the US leader, who declared that "this decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace." "The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides," Trump said, as he announced that Vice President Mike Pence would travel to the region in the coming days. Trump further stated that the United States was not taking a position on any "final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders." "Those questions are up to the parties involved," he said. Israel seized the largely Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, claiming both sides of the city as its capital. The Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state. Several peace plans have unravelled in the past decades over the issue of how to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites in Jerusalem.
  3. KARACHI: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif Wednesday said the United States, by means of its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, targeted not only Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world. President Donald Trump on Wednesday recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital - a historic decision that overturns decades of US policy and risks triggering a fresh spasm of violence in the Middle East. "I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Trump said from the White House. "It's the right thing to do." Speaking on Geo News' programme 'Aapas Ki Baat', Asif said, "Not only Palestinians are a target of this wound, but the entire Muslim world." He said the sanctity of Al-Quds for Muslims is not hidden from anyone. United States recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital Jerusalem is the home of the modern Israeli state, says Trump "This is a blatant evidence of opposition to Muslims. A proxy is being propped up in the Middle East, which is extremely condemnable," the foreign minister said. Trump also kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying his decision marked the start of a "new approach" to solving the thorny conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Asif said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the OIC summit, adding, "We fully back it and the Muslim world will present its detailed stance from the platform, so that we may fight for the aspirations of our Palestinian brothers." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called an OIC summit in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the US move, his spokesman said on Wednesday, hours before Trump's announcement. Earlier in a tweet prior to the announcement by President Trump, Asif had said that "by moving the embassy US will practically alter the status of Jerusalem, an affront to Palestinians and the Muslim world." He had said the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital will be practically burying the two states solution. "It will add another wound to already bleeding body of Muslim Ummah."
  4. RIYADH: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Monday called for a summit of Muslim nations if the United States takes the controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. President Donald Trump faces a key decision this week over Jerusalem's status, potentially reversing years of US policy and prompting a furious response from the Palestinians and the Arab world. The 57-member OIC sought to amplify concern over the possible move in an emergency meeting on Monday in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah. "If the United States takes the step of recognising Jerusalem as the so-called capital of Israel, we unanimously recommend holding a meeting at the level of council of foreign ministers followed by an Islamic summit as soon as possible," the pan-Islamic body said in a statement. The OIC also warned that recognising Jerusalem or establishing any diplomatic mission in the disputed city would be seen as a "blatant attack on the Arab and Islamic nations". The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most of the international community, including the United States, does not formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved through final-status negotiations. Central to the issue of recognition is the question of whether Trump decides to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. All foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv with consular representation in Jerusalem. Israelis and Palestinians are eagerly watching to see whether he again renews a waiver delaying the move, as his predecessors have done. There are suggestions that Trump will sign the waiver and decline to move the embassy for now, but later this week declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Israel, which seized the largely Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, claims both halves of the city as its "eternal and undivided capital". But the Palestinians want the eastern sector as capital of their promised state and fiercely oppose any Israeli attempt to extend sovereignty there. Several peace plans have come unstuck over debates on whether, and how, to divide sovereignty or oversee the city´s sites holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims.
  5. A screengrab from the video, which went viral on social networking sites, shows the woman removing her burqa. KARACHI: A Muslim woman was forced by police to take her veil off at a rally in India's Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, Indian media reported, in yet another incident highlighting growing extremism in the country. The video of the incident shows the woman removing her veil minutes before UP CM Yogi Adityanath made an appearance at the public meeting, the Hindustan Times reported. The woman, identified as Saira, first removed her veil but the women constables on duty forced her to remove the burqa, according to the newspaper. She said she was a BJP worker and had come to the rally from her village wearing her "traditional dress." An inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
  6. Three Muslims clerics were allegedly attacked with sharp objects by unknown men for covering their heads in Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat district on Thursday, reported Indian media. The three men, identified as Gulzar, Israr and Abrar, were getting off a train when they were attacked by six to seven men, reported ANI. The attack occurred after the men quarreled over Muslim men covering heads. There were also reports that the clerics were pushed off the throw, but the police did not confirm it. As a result, the three men were shifted to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. The three clerics started wearing their shoes to get off at village Aheda in Baghpat when men attacked them with iron rods and an ice pick. ?The police have registered an FIR against the unidentified attackers,? Northern Railway?s public relations officer Nitin Chaudhary told ANI. In May, two Muslim men were killed after they were attacked by Indian villagers who suspected them of stealing cows, police said Monday, the latest such attack over the animal Hindus consider sacred. Police in the northeastern state of Assam said they had registered a murder case over the deaths of Abu Hanifa and Riyazuddin Ali, who were beaten with sticks on Sunday. Two suspects have been detained for questioning. Mob in India kills two Muslims over suspected cow theft Two Muslim men have died after they were attacked by Indian villagers "They were chased and beaten with sticks by villagers who said the two boys were trying to steal cows from their grazing field," Debaraj Upadhyay, Nagaon´s top cop, told AFP by telephone. "By the time we took them to the hospital at night they had succumbed to their injuries," he added. The incident comes amidst a wave of rising tensions over the killing and smuggling of cows in Hindu-majority India, where the animal is considered sacred and its slaughter is a punishable offence in many states.
  7. A slain Muslim delivery driver?s father forgave and hugged the man who was sentenced to 31 years for his son?s killing in the US state of Kentucky. According to a report, Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud hugged Trey Alexander Relford, who cried as it happened. The court found Relford guilty for stabbing to death Salahuddin Jitmound at an apartment complex in Lexington in 2015. The deceased?s body was found lying in the breezeway of complex. As many as three people were taken into custody for the murder, but, a grand jury only indicted Relford. [embed_video1 url= style=center] The local police officials maintained that Relford planned the robbery at Jitmound?s house. Jitmoud's father told Relford he forgives him "on behalf of Salahuddin and his mother," who passed away two years before her son. The father said he did it in the spirit of Islam. "The door of opportunity for God to forgive him is open.... So, reach out to Him. You have a new chapter of good life coming," he told Relford in court. Relford told the Jitmoud family, "There's not much I can really say. I'm sorry about what happened that day. I cannot do nothing to give that back to you."
  8. Muhammed Nawshad Kamal, 32, was working in a town in east London on Thursday when he was attacked-Facebook A pizza delivery guy is fighting for his life and may be blinded after being attacked by acid in London on Thursday evening. Muhammed Nawshad Kamal, 32, was working in a town in east London on Thursday when he faced the attack. The Independent reported that police have arrested a 14-year-old on suspicion of committing grievous bodily harm. According to police, two people on a scooter approached Kamal and tried to steal his bike, and threw acid in his face ?repeatedly?. ?This attack has left a man fighting for his life and with terrible eye injuries,? a senior police official said. ?This was an innocent man going about his work as a delivery driver, who may never see again.? London has seen a number of acid attacks this year. Muslim model Resham Khan posts first pictures after acid attack Resham Khan and his cousin Jameel Mukhtar faced acid attack two months ago, on the model?s 21st birthday, disfiguring both of them In July, Muslim model Resham Khan and her cousin Jameel Mukhtar faced acid attack on the model?s 21st birthday, disfiguring both of them, and leaving Jameel Mukhtar paralysed for life. Acid was thrown at them through a car window in London. Six people were injured on September 23 ? with their injuries "not life-threatening or life-changing" ? after a group of males reportedly sprayed a noxious substance in a number of attacks in an area around a shopping centre in east London, police said. Earlier, at least three people received minor injuries in the wake of a suspected acid attack on revellers at Notting Hill Carnival in London in late August.
  9. People gather for a candlelight vigil for victims of the pickup truck attack at Foley Square in New York City, US, November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon PATERSON: The largely Muslim neighbourhood where the New York terrorist suspect lived for little over a year seethed with anger Wednesday, furious that the Uzbek had besmirched their hard-working immigrant community. "They should hang him!" snapped the manager of a launderette near the two-storey brick building where Sayfullo Saipov lived with his wife and children in the New Jersey town of Paterson. "If you come to the US, it's to do something better, not something bad!" she spat, refusing to give her name out of fear. Paterson is just 32 kilometres (20 miles) northwest of New York but is otherwise far removed from the glittering skyscrapers and wealth of the TriBeCa neighbourhood where Saipov killed eight people in the name of Daesh on Tuesday. A former industrial hub, the median household income was less than $33,000 between 2011-15, only 10 percent of residents had a university degree or higher and more than 34 percent of residents were foreign-born. In the southern part of the town, home to Pakistani, Palestinian, Syrian, and Turkish communities, anger was palpable Wednesday that the man wanted for the worst attack in New York since the 9/11 al Qaeda hijackings had lived among them. As President Donald Trump vowed to terminate the Green Card lottery program that allowed Saipov to enter the US, neighbours spoke of their desire to be accepted in a country where many had migrated at considerable personal cost and saw Saipov as a liability. Sala Merakai, a 25-year-old Algerian who is already a permanent US resident, blamed US authorities. "Before giving him his visa, they should have got to know this person, where he came from and what he did," Merakai told AFP. Piecing together a detailed picture of the man was difficult, but he reportedly worked as an Uber driver and a truck driver. Handwritten notes in Arabic pledging allegiance to Daesh were found at the scene, along with multiple knives in the smashed-up pickup truck with which he mowed down pedestrians and cyclists. Took 'kids to school' Forensic investigators, their shoes wrapped in plastic, trudged in and out of the building where he lived in an apartment. There was no sign of his family, as police intelligence and the FBI interview his friends, relatives and associates. Neither at shops nor at the mosque did people appear to remember the young man with a bushy black beard. Altana Dimitrovska, who lived in the same building, was the rare exception. She says they occasionally said hello, but nothing more. "He was walking his kids to school in the morning," she told AFP. An employee at a nearby supermarket told the New York Post that Saipov had been "erratic" and regularly argued with cashiers. "He would get angry very fast... he would break the cans, dumb things," the manager was quoted as saying. Dimitrovska said he arrived in Paterson a little over a year ago, where he reportedly attended the Omar mosque. "We had never seen this man," said Hasan Husein, a member of the mosque administration. "Our mosque has nothing to do with that," added Ibrahim Matair, another member. "We condemn this act of violence." As in the wake of extremist attacks across the world in both the West and Muslim-majority countries, people in Paterson said Tuesday's attacker and Daesh-sympathizers knew nothing of religion. "These people don't know anything about Islam," says Merakai. Those living on his street were in shock. "We thought we were pretty safe," said Kimberly Perez, 20. "But to know that someone like that lives down the street is scary," she added. "We're shocked, very shocked. This a nice neighbourhood," said Mildred Malave, 56, who lives a few blocks north but whose husband works at a recycling company about 30 meters down the street from Saipov's place.
  10. NEW DELHI: Indian police said Thursday they were still hunting for two men suspected of murdering a Muslim folk singer because his performance angered a Hindu priest, sparking communal tensions. Adam Khan was murdered in late September in western Rajasthan state after the priest complained the singer's rendition of a particular tune failed to invoke the spirit of a temple goddess. A group of men set upon the 45-year-old singer in Jaisalmer, breaking his instruments before beating him to death, police said. Khan's relatives reported the murder to police despite warnings from the powerful Hindu community. Nearly two dozen Muslim families have since fled the area, fearing retribution, in what police say is a dispute within India´s complex caste system. One of the accused, Ramesh Suthar, was arrested in early October but two other suspected attackers remain on the run, police said. "Several teams of police are working to arrest the accused. We will nab them soon," Gaurav Yadav, Jaisalmer police chief, told AFP. Khan belonged to Manganyar caste, a largely Muslim community of folk singers from Rajasthan and neighbouring Pakistan. The Manganyar traditionally sing at Hindu temples and are popular with tourists in the far western Thar desert region. Yadav said the death has sown divisions between Hindus and Muslims, adding police were trying to persuade Muslim families that fled to return, assuring their protection, he added. But the incident is the latest in a string of vigilante attacks by Hindu hardliners on the Muslim minority in western Rajasthan state ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party. In April, a Hindu mob killed a Muslim cattle trader in Alwar district after he was accused of smuggling cows for slaughter. Cows are considered sacred by many Hindus and beef consumption is a flashpoint issue in Hindu-majority India. Vigilantes raided a hotel in Rajasthan´s capital Jaipur in May after the owners were accused of serving beef. Critics of Modi´s ruling BJP say Hindu radicals have been emboldened since the party swept to power in 2014, with dozens of Muslims lynched by mobs across India.
  11. Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh (C) nominated candidate of political party Milli Muslim League (MML), waves to his supporters during an election campaign for the National Assembly NA-120 constituency in Lahore, Pakistan September 9, 2017. Photo: Reuters 1 ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday reserved its decision in the case pertaining to the registration of Milli Muslim League (MML), the political front of the Jamaat-ud-Daa'wa (JuD), as a political party. The ECP told MML counsel Advocate Raja Abdur Rehman that the letter written by the Interior Ministry objecting the registration says the party is associated with a proscribed outfit. To this, Rehman replied that no party member has any association with any proscribed outfit and that the party has fulfilled all legal requirements for registration. The ECP wondered why the party is not approaching the ministry regarding the issue, to which the MML asked under what law should the party approach the Interior Ministry. [embed_video1 url= style=center] The Ministry of Interior in September wrote to the ECP conveying its objection to the candidature of MML nominee Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh in the NA-120 by-election. Sheikh is affiliated with Jamaat-ud-Daa'wa (JuD) and his party has been registered under a new name to contest the election, the letter read. The JuD is under scrutiny after the Interior Ministry listed in the Second Schedule of the ATA 1997 in January this year. Sheikh independently contested the NA-120 by-election in Lahore last month on the electoral symbol of an 'energy saver', bagging 5,822 votes ? securing the number four position. Though he lost to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate Kulsoom Nawaz, the gaining of almost 6,000 votes by a first-time candidate surprised analysts. Pakistan receives negative feedback over MML?s active participation in politics MoFA asks interior ministry to keep an eye on banned outfits; interior ministry recommends ECP not to register MML ?Recent political activities of the group [Milli Muslim League] have also been officially objected at diplomatic level ? Ministry of Foreign Affairs has highlighted our international obligations and commitment to National Action Plan and recommended that Ministry of Interior take up the matter of registration and activities of MML and its association with proscribed organisations with the Election Commission of Pakistan to avoid any negative consequences for Pakistan and therefore recommended that MML application for registration should not be supported for registration,? read the content of the letter the Interior Ministry wrote the ECP. ?The Ministry of Interior has taken up the issue with security agencies. The reply of one agency is awaited; while the other agency has intimated that indulgence of proscribed/under observation organisation in the political process with an aim to win legitimacy is a serious issue, thereby neutralising the gains of the National Action Plan. Given the clamour, philosophy, outreach and modus operandi to operate, it is difficult to believe that the MML will tread its own path, completely at variance with its mother organisation. In view of the above, the registration of MML is not supported,? read the letter exclusively made available with The News.
  12. GENEVA/YANGON: The United Nations braced on Friday for a possible ?further exodus? of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh six weeks after the world?s fastest-developing refugee emergency began, UN humanitarian aid chief said. Some 515,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar?s western state of Rakhine in an unrelenting movement of people that began after Myanmar security forces responded to Rohingya militant attacks with a brutal crackdown. The United Nations has denounced the Myanmar military offensive as ethnic cleansing but Myanmar insists its forces are fighting ?terrorists? who have killed civilians and burnt villages. Rights groups say more than half of more than 400 Rohingya villages in the north of Rakhine state have been torched in a campaign by the security forces and Buddhist vigilantes to drive out Muslims. Mark Lowcock, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, reiterated an appeal for access to the population in northern Rakhine, saying the situation was ?unacceptable?. Buddhist-majority Myanmar has blocked most access to the area, although some agencies have offices open in towns there and the International Committee of the Red Cross is helping the Myanmar Red Cross to deliver aid. ?This flow of people of Myanmar hasn?t stopped yet. Obviously there?s into the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya still in Myanmar, and we want to be ready in case there is a further exodus,? Lowcock told a news briefing in Geneva. Lowcock said a senior UN official was expected to visit Myanmar in the next few days. An estimated 2,000 Rohingya are arriving in Bangladesh every day, Joel Millman of the International Organisation for Migration, told a separate briefing. Myanmar officials have said they attempted to reassure groups trying to flee to Bangladesh but could not stop people who were not citizens from leaving. The official Myanmar News Agency said on Friday ?large numbers? of Muslims were preparing to cross the border. It cited their reasons as ?livelihood difficulties?, health problems, a ?belief? of insecurity and fear of becoming a minority. Rain-drenched camps Aid agencies have warned of a malnutrition crisis with about 281,000 people in Bangladesh in urgent need of food, including 145,000 children under five and more than 50,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women. Cholera is a risk, amid fears of disease spreading in the rain-drenched camps where aid workers are trying to install sanitation systems, a spokesman for the World Health Organization said. About 900,000 doses of cholera vaccine are due to arrive this weekend and a vaccination campaign should start on Tuesday. UN-led aid bodies have appealed for $434 million over six months to help up to 1.2 million people - including 300,000 Rohingya already in Bangladesh before the latest crisis and 300,000 Bangladeshi villagers in so-called host communities. The Rohingya are regarded as illegal immigrants in Myanmar and most are stateless. Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced criticism for not doing more to stop the violence, although a military-drafted constitution gives her no power over the security forces. She has condemned rights abuses and said Myanmar was ready to start a process agreed with Bangladesh in 1993 by which anyone verified as a refugee would be accepted back. Lowcock said talks between Myanmar and Bangladesh on a repatriation plan were a useful first step. ?But there is clearly a long way to go,? he said. Both the United States and Britain have warned Myanmar the crisis is putting at risk the progress it has made since the military began to loosen its grip on power. China, which built close ties with Myanmar while it was under military rule and Western sanctions, has been supportive. In Washington, US officials said sanctions and the withholding of aid were among the options available to press Myanmar to halt the violence but they had to be careful to avoid worsening the crisis. ?We don?t want to take actions that exacerbate their suffering. There is that risk in this complicated environment,? Patrick Murphy, a deputy assistant secretary of state, told a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. Murphy said efforts were under way to identify those responsible for rights violations.
  13. WASHINGTON: In the first two months after a June Supreme Court ruling allowed partial implementation of President Donald Trump?s travel ban, visas issued on average each month to citizens of six countries targeted by the order were 18 percent lower compared to the month prior to the ban, a Reuters analysis of government data shows. The 3,268 visas issued in July and 3,884 visas issued in August to citizens of the six majority-Muslim countries were down from 4,351 issued in June. The July figure was lower than the monthly average at any point since 2007, when an average of 3,080 visas per month were issued to those countries. The lower July and August numbers were especially noteworthy, immigration attorneys say, because a larger number of visas are typically issued in the summer months, as foreign students prepare to arrive in the United States for the fall semester. ?We are processing visa applications for nationals of the six affected countries as directed by the Executive Order and to the extent permitted by court decisions,? a State Department official said on condition of anonymity when asked about the lower numbers. The decline comes on top of already plummeting figures for U.S. visas issued to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen after Trump issued an executive order in late January halting entry of travelers from those countries for 90 days. That order, and a more limited form of the ban issued in March, were hamstrung by months of legal challenges until the Supreme Court approved a limited version in June. But in the interim, the State Department issued far fewer visas to travelers from those six countries compared to the number issued in 2016 under the administration of President Barack Obama. On Sunday, Trump issued a third version of the ban, which indefinitely restricts travelers from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. Certain government officials from Venezuela will also be barred. From March through June, a period when Trump?s order was mostly blocked by the courts, citizens of the six countries were issued an average of 3,929 visas monthly, 42 percent fewer than the 2016 monthly average of 6,799, according to State Department data. After the Supreme Court ruling, that monthly average was 47 percent lower than in 2016. Trump?s initial travel ban, which barred citizens of the six countries as well as Iraq, sparked chaos and protests at airports around the United States. Issued with little forewarning, the order?s scope was unclear and sowed confusion among travelers as well as authorities responsible for implementing it. Courts quickly enjoined the main parts of the order. Trump eventually issued a new order that excluded Iraq and delayed its enactment to allow the administration and travelers time to prepare. But that order, too, was soon blocked by courts. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which allowed a limited version of the ban affecting only those citizens of the six countries lacking ?bona fide? ties to the United States. After Trump issued the revised ban on Sunday, the Supreme Court canceled oral arguments scheduled for Oct. 10 to decide whether or not the earlier version of the ban was discriminatory. Even as sharply fewer visas were being issued, the president often complained on social media and in speeches about limits imposed by U.S. courts on the two executive orders establishing the travel ban. ?The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!? Trump tweeted on Sept. 15. ?CHILLING EFFECT? Because the State Department only releases data on how many visas are issued and not total application numbers, it is unclear if the drop is due to fewer people applying, or because the administration is denying more applications. In addition, a month-by-month comparison with prior years is not possible because the State Department released only annual numbers ? not monthly data - until March of this year. Stephen Pattison, a former U.S. consular official and now an immigration attorney, said he suspects that the huge drop in visas issued is due to fewer people applying rather than higher rejection rates. ?Quantifying the chilling effect of the Trump administration?s policies on the international public is hard to do, but I think that?s the biggest impact of what this administration has done,? Pattison said. ?This atmosphere is causing bona fide, legitimate travelers to think twice about coming to the United States.? Michael Boos, general counsel for the conservative nonprofit Citizens United, which filed a brief to the Supreme Court in support of the Trump administration in the travel ban case, said the figures show the ban is having its intended effect. ?Clearly the purpose of the temporary ban was to reduce the number of visas that would be issued to persons from the affected countries, so it?s not surprising that...when the court reinstated the ban, the number of visas would have dramatically diminished,? Boos said. ?If people are deterred from seeking admission to the United States because they?re going to go through a vetting process that?s real and substantial, then maybe they shouldn?t be coming here in the first place.?
  14. source: Reuters MARSHALLSITTWE: Buddhist protesters in Myanmar threw petrol bombs to try and block an aid shipment to Muslims in Rakhine State, where the United Nations has accused the country's military of ethnic cleansing. The incident on Wednesday, ended when police fired in the air to disperse the protesters, reflected rising communal animosity and came during an official visit by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy. Murphy said later, after talks with government leaders, that Washington was alarmed by reports of rights abuses and called on authorities to stop the violence, which raised concern about Myanmar's transition from military rule to democracy. Myanmar's army chief on Thursday called for internally displaced non-Muslims to go home. In a speech on his plans for Rakhine State while on his first visit there since strife erupted, he made no mention of the estimated 422,000 Rohingya Muslims who have crossed the border into Bangladesh. They have fled Myanmar to escape a sweeping counter-insurgency operation by his army in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents on August 25. Hundreds of protesters were involved in the attempt to stop Red Cross workers loading a boat with relief supplies bound for the north of Rakhine State, where the insurgent attacks last month triggered the military backlash. The boat being was loaded with aid at a dock in the state capital of Sittwe, a government information office said. "People thought the aid was only for the Bengalis," the secretary of the state government, Tin Maung Swe, told Reuters, using a term that Rohingya find offensive. Protesters threw petrol bombs and about 200 police eventually dispersed them by shooting into the air, a witness and the government information office said. The witness said he saw some injured people. Eight people were detained, the office said. No aid workers were hurt, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said. Plight The tension between majority Buddhists and Rohingya, most of whom are denied citizenship, has simmered for decades in Rakhine, but it has exploded at times over the past few years, as old enmities surfaced with the end of decades of harsh military rule. The latest bout of bloodshed began with August´s insurgent attacks on about 30 police posts and an army camp, in which about a dozen people were killed. The government says more than 400 people, most of them insurgents, have been killed since then. Rights monitors and fleeing Rohingya say the army and Buddhist vigilantes have mounted a campaign to drive out the Muslim population and torch their villages. Myanmar rejects that, saying its forces are tackling insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army who it has accused of setting the fires and attacking civilians. The crisis has drawn international condemnation and US President Donald Trump called on Wednesday for a quick end to the violence. The plight of the Rohingya has raised questions about the commitment of government leader Aung San Suu Kyi to human rights. Nobel peace prize laureate Suu Kyi addressed the nation on Tuesday and condemned abuses and said all violators would be punished. However, she did not address the UN accusations of ethnic cleansing by the military, which is in charge of security. 'Disproportionate' Murphy, the most senior foreign official to visit Myanmar since the violence erupted, met government officials and representatives of different communities in Sittwe. "It's become quite clear to many that the Burmese security forces have had a response that is disproportionate and failed to protect all local populations," he later told reporters. The situation could have an impact on Myanmar´s transition and risked creating "a more significant terrorism problem". "We continue to call on the Burmese authorities to respect the rule of law, stop the violence - including that perpetrated by local vigilantes," he said, adding that he had raised concern about two remote Muslim villages cut off by hostile Buddhists that Reuters reported about this week. Military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said his forces had handled the situation as best they could and he urged the internally displaced, most of them Buddhist, to go home. "For the national races who fled their homes, first of all they must go back ... that is their rightful place," he said in a speech in Sittwe. "National races" refers to officially recognised indigenous ethnic groups. The Rohingya are not recognised as a "national race" and Min Aung Hlaing did not refer to their return. The Bangladesh government and aid groups are struggling with shortages of food, water, shelter and medical supplies for the refugees, who keep coming, though at a slower pace than over the past couple of weeks, officials say. The group Medecins Sans Frontieres said a "massive scale-up of humanitarian aid in Bangladesh is needed to avoid a massive public health disaster".
  15. Members of Milli Muslim League (MML) holding their party flag with others during a news conference in Islamabad. ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The Ministry of Interior has objected to the candidature of Milli Muslim League nominee Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh in NA-120, Lahore-III by-election, sources told Geo News Wednesday. The ministry conveyed its objection to the Election Commission of Pakistan through a letter, according to sources. JuD chief Hafiz Saeed placed under house arrest JuD, Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation put under Watch List as per UNSC 1267 Sanctions, added to ATA Second Schedule Sheikh is basically affiliated with Jamaat-ud-Daa'wa (JuD) and his party got itself registered under a new name to contest the election, the letter read. It is pertinent to mention here that Sheikh's party, the JuD, is under scrutiny after the Interior Ministry listed in the Second Schedule of the ATA 1997 in January, this year. Sheikh is contesting the NA-120 by-election on electoral symbol 'energy saver'. Sources further informed that Sheikh's party has not been formally registered with the election commission. The MML has already shown its presence in NA-120, and decided to oppose Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Kulsoom Nawaz. LHC dismisses petition against Kulsoom Nawaz's candidature for NA-120 Senator Asif Kirmani says petitioners failed to provide any evidence of 'discrepancies' in Kulsoom's nomination papers Interestingly, sources in the JuD say the MML opposition to Kulsoom is not because she is a woman but because they are against the PML-N politics and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. "We have a lot of respect for Mrs. Nawaz and we are not opposing her but the PML-N," a party source said. The party held its first corner meeting in the constituency in August.
  16. ASTANA: Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain said on Sunday that the Muslim world is lagging behind and failed over the years to pay adequate attention to education. He was addressing the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's conference on science and technology in Astana, Kazakhstan. He said that from the determination expressed by the attendants of the conference it was apparent it would be a success. It is pertinent that the Muslim world gains independence in socio-economic issues, said Hussain,adding that the focus should be on science and technology studies. He said under the new projects, work in space sciences, astrology and marine life sciences would be the focus. President Mamnoon, while thanking the organisation and Islamic development bank for cooperation, said that Pakistan will take all the necessary measures on its part. According to a Foreign Office statement, President Mamnoon also held a meeting with his Turkish counterpart along the sidelines of the conference. The two leaders expressed satisfaction over longstanding Pak-Turkey relations. The OIC First Science and Technology Summit is a one-day conference, having a view to ?identifying priorities, goals and targets for the advancement and promotion of science, technology and innovation in the OIC Member States?, according to its official website. The summit which will be the first-ever heads of state and government meeting to develop prospects regarding Science and Technology will set priorities for the members countries to achieve goals over the next decade.
  17. Months after having suffered a horrible acid attack in London, aspiring Muslim model Resham Khan has posted her latest pictures on social media showing her sans injuries and confident-looking. Resham Khan and his cousin Jameel Mukhtar faced acid attack two months ago, on the model?s 21st birthday, disfiguring both of them, and leaving Jameel Mukhtar paralysed for life. Acid was thrown at them through a car window in London. Well wishers praised her for her bravery and perseverance in dealing with the hard times. The model had also started a blog, and has written updates on her recovery; however, this is the first time after the attack she has posted her pictures. She has talked about her trauma and how was mentally "up and down" after the attack wearing specially-made clothes to "prevent scars". UK acid attack victim says police treated him differently because he?s Pakistani ?I would have been treated differently if I was not a Pakistani. Police could have turned the country upside down if it was the other way round, Resham has also started campaigning for awareness about the issue and has been asking the UK government to discuss acid attacks in parliament, the BBC reported.
  18. Muslim pilgrims sit on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat in the early morning during the annual Haj pilgrimage near the holy city of Mecca, October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Files LONDON: Some 2 million people are travelling across the globe to eat, sleep, and pray in unison as the annual Islamic pilgrimage of Haj gets underway in Mecca. For billions of Muslims who are physically and financially able, Haj is a mandatory act of worship. But the religious celebration also has a substantial impact on the environment. Environmentally aware worshippers say that that should be reduced, inspiring Muslims to adopt a greener lifestyle. "Haj is all about living lightly and centring yourself around God," 28-year-old pilgrim Shanza Ali ? the chair of the UK-based group Muslim Climate Action ? told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Mecca in Saudi Arabia. "We make many journeys in our life, and we go to many places, but this is the only journey that's physical, mental and spiritual," she added. Ali has found many similarities between Haj's message of simplicity and being environmentally conscious and has tried to minimise her own carbon footprint and waste during the pilgrimage, which lasts for at least six days and takes worshippers to a series of holy sites in Saudi Arabia. Haj ? which predates Islam and is traced to Abraham ? is now the world's largest annual gathering of Muslims. Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation on its guardianship of the faith's holiest sites. For The Green Guide for Hajj author Husna Ahmad, Muslims are doctrinally required to be stewards of the Earth. Tackling climate change is no longer about preserving the planet for future generations as its effects are evident now, she said. The majority of Muslims live outside Saudi Arabia and could collectively influence the greening of the sacred rituals, Ahmad added. "Consumer power is something that people need to think about in terms of flights, what they take, what they wear, the rubbish they throw, plastic bottles, and all those sorts of things. We have to be conscious of that," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Muslims need to move away from a fast, disposable society, she added, with Haj being the potential start of that journey. Green city audit In recent years, Saudi Arabia has taken steps to green the Haj, such as setting quotas for pilgrim numbers and developing the Mecca metro system to limit pollution. The Saudi Green Building Forum ? a Riyadh-based non-governmental group recognised by the United Nations ? has recently been tasked with auditing green efforts in Medina, the country's second holy city where the Prophet Mohammad is buried and a site visited by millions of pilgrims. The Forum's secretary-general Faisal Alfadl said his team will measure the green credentials of the holy cities of Mecca, Medina, and others against international guidelines on energy use, waste, water, transport, and human well-being. People now realise it is politically and culturally incorrect not to respect the environment, said Alfadl. "We have moved forward," he said, noting a shift in the public mood from desert Bedouins to city dwellers on the importance of protecting the environment, with the focus now on action rather than simply raising awareness. Reviving traditional practices could help ? for example, sharing water among pilgrims from a communal source, which was common before plastic bottles became ubiquitous. And the white marble stones surrounding the central cube-shaped Kaaba building in Mecca naturally prevent the heat-island effect found in other urban areas, Alfadl said. Recycling may not be at the top of pilgrims' minds, but Muslims have a duty to recognise the creator of the environment and reflect on Islamic teachings not to harm animals, waste water or cut down trees unnecessarily, said Fatima Ragie of Green Deen South Africa ? a Muslim environmental network. Ragie ? who completed Haj in 2009 ? urged greater efforts once the pilgrimage ends. For instance, to ensure food is not wasted when millions of animals are slaughtered, marking Abraham's near sacrifice of his son and the start of the Eid holiday. More mosques and Muslim leaders should also speak up about climate change and the environment, she said. Taking the message home From Bangladesh to North Africa, climate change is a reality for many Muslims, as floods and droughts fuel instability and conflict, said Nana Firman ? who participated in the UN climate talks in Morocco last year for the Global Muslim Climate Network. "A lot of people feel like they don't know what to do, so it's really important that we engage (them)," she said. Indonesia ? which has the world's largest Muslim population, according to the Pew Research Center ? has launched initiatives, from a phone app showing pilgrims how to enjoy a green Haj, to offsetting carbon emissions from flights by planting trees, and limiting the number of times each person can undertake the pilgrimage, said Firman. She urged Haj pilgrims to "reflect and make a change in their lives when they go back, and care more for the environment". As Ali prepares herself to undertake the challenging pilgrimage in the Gulf heat with her husband and mother, the natural environment offers a way for her to draw closer to God. "I think just reflecting on the fact you're with humanity, you see people from every corner of the world? That really makes you appreciate the idea that we're all sharing the Earth together," she said. ?via Thomson Reuters Foundation
  19. Maria said that she accepted Islam out of her own will and has not been forcibly converted ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Saturday allowed a Muslim convert to continue living with his Muslim husband, after the woman?s family members had filed a case against the man and his family. In a written order, the IHC said that it had directed a meeting be held between Maria and her parents. The meeting, held for 40 minutes, ended without any agreement. The order said that Maria had prayed to the court to allow her to live with her husband, Bilawal Bhutto, who also gave his word to live with her. In the last hearing, Maria while talking to Geo News had said that she is 21 and has accepted Islam out of her own will and has not been forcibly converted. She said that she had changed her religion on August 21 in a seminary and then contracted marriage with Bilawal. The woman?s family members had earlier filed a case against Bilawal and his family, after which 15 of his family members were detained illegally. The IHC had directed in the hearing to release the members from illegal detention. The court in its decision has directed Islamabad police to ensure the security of both and has asked the deputy interior secretary to send a copy of the court decision to the IG Sindh to take the necessary action.
  20. KARACHI: Pakistan Mulsim League-Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said on Wednesday that he is on a mission to unite the Muslim League factions in the greater interest of the country. Hussain, a former prime minister, arrived in Karachi today. Addressing the media at the airport, Hussain said those crying conspiracy should now disclose who is conspiring against them. He informed that he has not scheduled a meeting with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. In reply to a question, Hussain said as of now has made no contact with former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf. Answering another question regarding allying with Pakistan Peoples Party supremo Asif Ali Zardari in the previous elections, he said alliances are formed and broken [at will].
  21. Rehana Khursheed Hashmi, 75, migrated from India with her family in 1960 and whose relatives live in India, goes through a family photo album at her residence in Karachi KARACHI/NEW DELHI: As Pakistan and India prepare to celebrate 70 years of independence from Britain next week, thousands of families in the nuclear-armed neighbours remain divided by a border that strained diplomatic ties make harder to cross. Pakistan and India have fought three wars since 1947, and relations remain tense, particularly when it comes to Indian occupied Kashmir. "The people who have migrated are not able to come to India, nor can we go there freely," said Asif Fehmi, a resident of a New Delhi neighbourhood where thousands of Muslim families divided by Partition have blood ties over the border. "We can't meet them freely, and there was a time when we couldn't talk to them freely." Rehana Khursheed Hashmi, 75 (2nd L) prepares pan (beetle leaf) while sitting with her grandsons and daughter in-law at her residence in Karachi Fehmi's family was among the millions of people whose lives were disrupted in 1947, after departing British colonial administrators ordered the creation of two countries - one mostly Muslim and one majority Hindu. A mass migration followed, marred by violence and bloodshed, as about 15 million Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, fearing discrimination, swapped countries in a political upheaval that cost more than a million lives. Many survivors of the bloodshed found themselves separated from family on the other side of a hastily drawn-up border. "I was unable to understand what Partition was, because I was not old enough," said Rehana Hashmi, 75, whose family migrated from India to Pakistan's southern city of Karachi in 1960. "My brother told me that India and Pakistan had emerged." The move to Pakistan, when Hashmi's father retired from a career in India's railways, left behind many close relatives, but they kept in touch. Rehana Khursheed Hashmi stands at the entrance of her house as her five year-old grandson Faraz Hashmi plays in Karachi When Hashmi's husband, Khurshid, died in 1990, bringing to a close a 26-year-long marriage, his first cousin, Asif Fehmi, sought a Pakistani visa to attend the funeral. "I knew some people in the Pakistan embassy," said Fehmi. "I finally got the visa, but when I reached there, it was already over. So, at a time when we should have been there, we weren't." For the Hashmis and the Fehmis, as for thousands of other families, the quarreling has meant fewer visits across the border.
  22. Israeli security forces stand by as Palestinian worshippers gather to pray in the old city of Jerusalem on July 26, 2017. Photo: AFP JERUSALEM: A top Muslim official said Thursday worshippers should maintain a boycott of a sensitive Jerusalem holy site until an inspection has been completed after Israel removed more new security installations overnight. Sheikh Omar Kiswani, director of the Al-Aqsa mosque, joined Palestinian celebrations outside the compound in the early hours of Thursday after Israel removed the installations. He was lifted onto the shoulders of joyous Palestinians and given a microphone, then said: "Don´t rush my brothers to enter. "Do not enter until after there is confirmation from the technical committee," he said, referring to a committee of Muslim officials inspecting the mosque compound, which is also holy to Jews. A meeting was expected to be held on Thursday morning and a decision may be announced afterwards. A tense standoff has been underway between Israel and Muslim worshippers at the holy site despite the removal of metal detectors on Tuesday, with concerns of major unrest later this week if no resolution is found. Newly installed railings and scaffolding where cameras were previously mounted had also been removed early on Thursday from at least one main entrance to the Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, an AFP journalist reported. The compound encompasses the revered Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The crowds grew larger overnight, with some holding up a large Palestinian flag outside Jerusalem´s Old City. Israel installed the new security measures after an attack nearby that killed two policemen on July 14. Muslims have refused to enter the site and have prayed in the streets outside for more than a week after Israel installed the new security measures. Palestinians view the move as Israel asserting further control over the site. Israeli authorities said the metal detectors were needed because the July 14 attackers smuggled guns into the site and emerged from it to attack the officers. Deadly unrest has erupted since the new measures were introduced, with clashes breaking out around the compound and in the occupied West Bank, leaving five Palestinians dead. A Palestinian also broke into a home in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank last week and stabbed four Israelis, killing three of them.
  23. A woman poses in a Nike hijab being developed for Muslim women athletes, in an undated photo released by the company March 8, 2017. Vivienne Balla/Nike/Handout via REUTERS BEIRUT: The hijab ? one of the most visible signs of Islamic culture ? is going mainstream with advertisers, media giants, and fashion firms promoting images of the traditional headscarf in ever more ways. Last week, Apple previewed 12 new emoji characters to be launched later this year, one of a woman wearing a hijab. Hijab emoji ? one of the several new ones that Apple debuted last week. Image courtesy: Huffington Post via Apple Major fashion brands from American Eagle to Nike are creating hijabs, while hijab-wearing models have started gracing Western catwalks and the covers of top fashion magazines. Many Muslim women cover their heads in public with the hijab as a sign of modesty, although some critics see it as a sign of female oppression. But there is one thing most can agree on: when it comes to the hijab, there is money to be made. Muslim girls in hijabs walk past a man, as he shouts and gives a 'thumbs down' at activists (not pictured) protesting outside Trump Tower against the US Supreme Court decision to revive parts of a travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries in Manhattan, New York, US, June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky "In terms of the bottom line ? absolutely they're (young Muslims) good for business? it's a huge market and they are incredibly brand savvy, so they want to spend their money," said Shelina Janmohamed, vice-president of Ogilvy Noor, a consultancy offering advice on how to build brands that appeal to Muslim audiences. Nike announced it is using its prowess in the sports and leisure market to launch a breathable mesh hijab in spring 2018, becoming the first major sports apparel maker to offer a traditional Islamic head scarf designed for competition. Widi Rahmawati (L) and Firdda Kurnia, members of the metal Hijab band Voice of Baceprot, perform during a school's farewell event in Garut, Indonesia, May 15, 2017. Picture taken May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Yuddy Cahyataken May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Yuddy Cahya2 In June, Vogue Arabia featured on its cover the first hijabi model to walk the international runway, Somali-American Halima Aden, who gained international attention last year when she wore a hijab and burkini during the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. "Every little girl deserves to see a role model that's dressed like her, resembles her, or even has the same characteristics as her," Aden said in a video on her Instagram account. A woman wears a union jack hijab in St Ann's Square in Manchester, Britain, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls1 Western advertising Hijabs have also become more visible in Western advertising campaigns for popular retailers like H&M and Gap. "Brands especially are in a very strategic and potent position to propel that social good, to change the attitudes of society, and really push us forward and take us to that next step," Amani al-Khatahtbeh, founder of online publication, said by phone from New York. People look at a market stall selling the hijab in east London, Britain January 20, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo In Nigeria, a medical student has become an Instagram sensation for posting images of a hijab-wearing Barbie, describing hers as a "modest doll" ? unlike the traditional version. And mothers in Pittsburgh have started making and selling hijabs for Barbies in a bid to make play more inclusive. However, al-Khatahtbeh warned of the potential for the young Muslim market to be exploited just for profit without any effort to promote acceptance and integration. Women wearing US flag hijabs are pictured during an 'I am Muslim Too' rally in Times Square, Manhattan, New York, US, February 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri "It can easily become exploitative by profiting off of communities that are being targeted right now, or it could be a moment that we turn into a very, very empowering one," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Emojis and fashion Frustrated she could not find an image to represent her and her friends on her iPhone keypad, Saudi teenager, Rayouf Alhumedhi, started an online campaign, the Hijab Emoji Project. An audience member wears an American flag hijab during US President Donald Trump's address to the Joint Session of Congress in Washington, US, February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst She proposed the idea of the emoji last year to coding consortium Unicode that manages the development of new emojis, Alhumedhi said on her campaign's website, helping to prompt Apple to create its hijab-wearing emoji. "It's only really in the last 18 to 24 months ? perhaps three years ? that bigger mainstream brands have started to realise that young Muslim consumers are really an exciting opportunity," said Janmohamed of Ogilvy Noor. Halima Eden. Image courtesy: Cosmopolitan A global Islamic economy report conducted by Thomson Reuters showed that in 2015, revenues from "modest fashion" bought by Muslim women was were estimated at $44 billion, with designers Dolce & Gabbana, Uniqlo and Burberry entering the industry. Janmohamed, author of the memoir Love in a Headscarf, sees young hijabi representation in the digital communications and fashion space a step forward for tolerance. A Muslim woman in hijab is seen amid activists as they make their way to the Women's March in opposition to the agenda and rhetoric of President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, US, on January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif "It feels particularly empowering for young people to see themselves represented. So today, I think it is the least that consumers expect and anyone that doesn't do it is actually falling behind." ?via Thomson Reuters Foundation
  24. On one hand where some people are fighting against each other in the name of religion and fueling the Hindu-Muslim conflict, Alam Ara is setting an example that the whole nation needs to learn from and at the same time feel ashamed of as well. For the past 17 years, this woman from Varanasi has been carving Shiv Lingams for a living and believes that there are no Hindus or Muslims in the country, everyone is a Hindustani. She believes that this divide is a waste of time and we don't think anyone could have said it as easily as her. “Making Shiv Lingams is a god-gifted art and we make it with love,” Ara told ANI. UP: Varanasi's Alam Ara making Shiva Lingam for the last 17 years to earn a living, says "this is god-gifted art, we make it with love" — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) 22 July 2017 Ara further said that this is her source of income; when it comes to art there are no Hindus or Muslims. We only hope that more people realize that art knows no religious boundaries and religion should never come in the way of work or love for something. Ye humari rozi hai...Hindu-Muslim se kuch nahi hota hai. Hum Hindustani hain: Varanasi's Alam Ara on making Shiva Lingam for 17 years — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) 22 July 2017 “Hindu-Muslim se kuch nahi hota hai. Hum Hindustani hain,” she told ANI and we couldn't agree any less with her. While the feeling of solidarity is losing its sheen with each passing day, it's people like Alam Ara who help us restore our faith in unity.
  25. Cosplayers prepare for a cosplay event at a mall in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin JAKARTA: After donning a blue Cinderella dress, Sind Yanti carefully arranges her pale yellow "hijab", or traditional headscarf, into folds that resemble hair. "Wearing a hijab should not be a barrier for anything. We are free to be creative," said the 24-year-old Indonesian designer after posting selfies of her latest "cosplay" outfit. She is among a growing number of young Muslim women in Southeast Asia who are taking part in "hijab" costume play, finding creative ways to incorporate the head covering into colourful fantasy costumes. Yanti's fashions are inspired by Disney and Japanese anime characters, with artful hijab designs that resemble wigs or hoods. She can express herself while preserving the Islamic requirement of modest dress for women, Yanti said. Her made-to-order designs cost between 250,000 rupiah ($18.79) and 500,000 rupiah each. The fashion play is also popular in neighbouring Muslim-majority Malaysia, where young people dressed as superheroes, warriors, and princesses flocked to a cosplay show in Kuala Lumpur, the capital. Among them was 20-year-old film student Nursyamimi Minhalia, who wore a black hijab cut to form a fringe with two buns on either side. She did not include the hijab when she began cosplaying in 2012 but was later inspired by others wearing the headscarf. "It's quite challenging. Usually, I pick a character that covers most of my body, so it's easier for me to wear it in the 'Muslimah' style," Minhalia said, employing the Arabic term for Muslim women. Costumed roleplay, which can feature revealing outfits and elaborate hair styles, has long been part of the fan culture linked to anime and comics. Hijab cosplay is a new phenomenon that appears to be growing in appeal among the wider Muslim community. Sharifah Maznah Syed Mohd, 48, whose son is an avid cosplayer, said the role-playing hobby was acceptable as long as participants stuck within religious boundaries. Yanti says hijab cosplay has helped her stay true to her faith even while enjoying the cosplay experience. "If I took off my hijab just because of cosplay, I'd feel sorry for myself," she added. "It would feel like there is a conflict inside my heart."