JAPAN JOINS DIPLOMATIC BOYCOTT OF BEIJING WINTER OLYMPICS

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he would join the U.S.-led diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, adding that he will not attend the Opening Ceremony. “At the moment, I have no plans to attend,” Kishida said in Japanese Parliament. The United States, Britain, Canada and Australia have all said they won’t send an official delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympics, as is standard practice for the quadrennial event. The primary reason, they said, is concern over China’s human rights practices, particularly those involving the minority Muslim Uyghur population.

MINIMUM AGE FOR MUSLIM BRIDES IN MALAYSIA KEPT AT 16

The Malaysian government will not raise the legal age for Muslim girls to get married, from 16 to 18, after many states rejected the proposal, the minister for Islamic religious affairs said when questioned in parliament about this. Idris Ahmad told MPs that the federal government had studied the proposal to raise the minimum age through forums with state governments before taking this decision. “Based on the feedback and views that we have received, in principle most states have decided to maintain the current legal marriage age,” he informed.

BELGIUM’S MUSLIMS TO CHALLENGE HALAL SLAUGHTER BAN

The Muslim community in Belgium will appeal at the European Court of Human Rights against the ban on ritual halal animal slaughtering. The move comes after the Belgian Constitutional Court approved the ban on ritual slaughtering. “The Belgian Muslim Executive and the Coordination Council of Islamic Institutions of Belgium will challenge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg the ban imposed by the Flemish and Walloon government on the ritual slaughter,” the two organisations wrote in a press statement. In 2019, new legislation on the protection and welfare of animals entered into force in the country’s Wallonia and Flanders regions. The law banned slaughter by traditional Muslim and Jewish rites by requiring butchers to stun the animals before cutting them.

ISRAELI SETTLERS ATTACK PALESTINIAN HOMES IN OCCUPIED WEST BANK

Israeli settlers have reportedly attacked scores of Palestinian homes in recent past in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. Ghassan Daghlas, an official in charge of the settlement file in the northern West Bank affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO), told that settlers attacked 40 Palestinian houses in Nablus and noted the attacks have intensified in villages around Nablus. Daghlas pointed out that the settlers used weapons, stones and sticks in the attacks. The settlers also attacked many homes in Qaryout town, south of Nablus, and injured several Palestinians, in addition to attempting to abduct one man. There are more than 250 illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which Israel occupied in 1967. These more than 500,000 Jewish settlers make life more difficult for Palestinians living under the occupation.

VP INDONESIA RECEIVES MUSLIM COUNCIL OF ELDERS

Vice President of Indonesia, Ma’ruf Amin,  received Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Elders, Sultan Faisal Al Rumaithi, and other Muslim scholars at the official residence. During the meeting, the Vice President and Muslim scholars discussed religious tolerance and harmony flourishing in Indonesia. The Ulema visiting the Vice President expressed their interest to study from Indonesia’s Muslim scholars to learn how Indonesian Muslims could live in harmony with other Indonesians belonging to religious minority communities. Scholars of the Abu Dhabi-based independent international Islamic organisation also informed Amin about the organisation’s work and its current activities. Members of the Council decided to come to Indonesia and participate in activities relevant to the organisation. Further, the pavilion by Muslim Council of Elders was named as the Best Pavilion at Indonesia International Book Fair in Jakarta.

WHY HE CHOSE MALAYSIA – ZAKIR NAIK

Zakir Naik in a video uploaded on his Facebook page and YouTube channel has described the reasons why he preferred Malaysia. The first reason Naik gave was Malaysia was away from war zones. It was also away from the “wrong influence” of the Western countries. He noted that Malaysia had the “strongest passport among Muslim countries” as a Malaysian can travel to 185 countries without any visa. The 2021 Henley Passport Index, published in October, ranked Malaysia at 13th position, with its citizens being allowed to fly to 179 countries without visas. He said that among “non-Arab Muslim countries”, the average Malaysian is “a more practising Muslim” than the average Indian or Pakistani Muslim. Naik claimed the number of Muslims going to mosques in India five times a day was “minute” while the percentage of people going to mosques in Malaysia was higher.

DEVASTATING FLOODS IN MALAYSIA

Eight bodies have been recovered in the western state of Selangor, where the capital Kuala Lumpur is located, along with six others in the neighbouring Pahang state. This brings the tally of people who perished in the floods which struck eight states to 14. More than 60,000 flood victims across the country have been evacuated from their homes, according to the National Disaster Management Agency, including nearly 35,000 in Pahang. In a statement, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced intensified efforts to evacuate residents still trapped in their flooded homes. The Social Welfare Department was also preparing cooked meals to be sent to victims at home and relief centres. Malaysia’s worst flooding in decades took place in 2014, forcing about 118,000 people to flee their homes.

KAZAKHSTANI SWIMMER RESETS 2 NATIONAL RECORDS IN UAE

Kazakhstan’s swimmer Adilbek Mussin broke two national records of Kazakhstan at the 2021 FINA Short Course World Championships in the United Arab Emirates, bringing together 943 athletes from 183 countries. Kazakhstani taekwondo team 2nd at World Taekwondo Junior Championships in Minsk Adilbek finished 18th in the 200m butterfly with a time of 1:54.4, surpassing his previous best by 2.27 seconds and 24th in the 100m butterfly clocking 51.23, thus breaking his previous record by 0.27 sec. Another Kazakhstani Alexander Varkin came 42nd in the 50m freestyle with a time of 0:22.40 and 61st in the 100m freestyle with a result of 0:50.52 at the 2021 FINA Short Course World Championships. Adelaida Pchelintseva was put 33rd after finishing the 50m breaststroke in 31.73 seconds and 35th in the 100m breaststroke (01:11.31).

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