US CONGRESSIONAL MUSLIM STAFF DEMAND ACTION ON ISLAMOPHOBIA

Dozens of Muslim congressional staff members sent an open letter to the US House of Representatives’ leadership, demanding consequences for Islamophobic comments made by a Republican member. The letter denounced comments by Lauren Boebert from the state of Colorado, who was seen on video at a public event, joking that Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar joined her on an elevator at the Capitol building, and left Boebert thinking: “Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,” a reference to terrorism. She then referred to Omar as part of the “jihad squad.” The comments outraged Omar, a Democrat from the state of Minnesota, and other Muslims. Omar said the story was not true. Sixty-two Muslim staff members in the House and Senate, along with nearly 400 allied staff, signed the letter.

ARSON ATTACK ON MOSQUE IN SOUTHERN CYPRUS CONDEMNED

Turkey on December 5 condemned the December 2 attempted arson attack on a mosque on the Greek side of the long-divided Cyprus island. “We strongly condemn the arson attack against the Grand Mosque in Larnaca, the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “As a recent instance of Islamophobia, this attack and similar actions do not only target Muslims, but also threaten the common values of humanity, and reveal how certain circles are far from the understanding of peaceful co-existence,” it added. Earlier in the day, President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Ersin Tatar also condemned the attempt to set the mosque on fire. No casualty was reported, with police arresting at least one suspect.

KILLING OF YOUNG PALESTINIAN BY ISRAELI SECURITY CONDEMNED

The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned “Israel’s assassination of a Palestinian young man.” Palestinian official Wafa news agency reported that Mohammad Shawkat Salima, 25, was killed in the vicinity of the Damascus Gate plaza in occupied Jerusalem. “The latest crime was a continuity of Israel’s ongoing aggression on the Palestinian people that should not be tolerated,” it said. The office also urged the “international community to immediately act to stop Israel’s crimes, provide protection to the Palestinian people, end the occupation and create an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital,” it added. Video showing Israeli police firing shots at Salima, who was lying on the ground, was widely shared on social media.

WORLD SQUASH EVENT IN MALAYSIA AXED AFTER ISRAELIS BARRED

A major squash tournament in Malaysia has been cancelled, the sport’s governing body has said after the Southeast Asian country refused to grant visas to an Israeli team. It is the latest instance of Muslim-majority Malaysia, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel, barring the country’s athletes. The World Team Championship for men had been due to take place in Kuala Lumpur from December 7, with 26 squads taking part. But the World Squash Federation (WSF) and Malaysia’s squash body said that the tournament had been axed because of the “possibility that some nations would be unable to compete due to the lack of confirmation over the issuing of visas.” WSF president Zena Wooldridge said, “It is important to WSF that no nation who wishes to compete misses out on the event.

MUSLIM LEADERS CONCERNED AT SHORTAGE OF BURIAL SPACE

More than 75 Muslim leaders representing over 20 Islamic organisations gathered at Kemps Creek cemetery, Western Sydney on December 5 to urge NSW Government not to delay the provision for much needed burial spaces in Sydney. The gathering was addressed by NSW Leader of the Opposition, Chris Minns who assured of his full support to resolve the matter. NSW Property Minister, Ms Melinda Pavey has been pushing ahead with plans to merge all five Sydney cemetery trusts under one single government-controlled model called One Crown. A number of speakers at the event urged the Premier of NSW, Dominic Perrottet to step in and resolve the protracted negotiations about the future of the cemetery trusts as it is delaying the construction of much needed burial spaces for them in Sydney.

NUMBER OF KAZAKH YOUNG FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS INCREASES

The number of young female entrepreneurs has increased to 15 per cent in Kazakhstan over the last 10 months, according to a report by the Finprom financial and business analytical service. A majority of women entrepreneurs work in wholesale and retail trade, as well as in the auto repair field. As of October 1, more than 10,000 legal entities owned by women under the age of 29 have been registered in the country. This number has increased to 14.5 per cent for the last year. Building construction ranks second among key industries (984 enterprises, +5.5 per cent per year), and education ranks third (612 companies, +21.4 per cent). Above these things, the top five branches include professional, scientific and technical activities.

SECOND TALLEST BUILDING IN WORLD SET TO OPEN IN MALAYSIA

The 118-storey skyscraper measuring over 2,227 feet high has risen above the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. Set to become the world’s second tallest building upon its completion next year, Merdeka 118 now stands higher than China’s 2,073-foot Shanghai Tower and is second only to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters the project is an “iconic tower for the future,” adding, “This is not only a great achievement in the field of engineering. But it also further strengthens Malaysia’s position as a modern and developed country.” Containing 3.1 million square feet of floor space, with more than half being offices, the tower will also have a mall, a mosque, a Park Hyatt hotel and Southeast Asia’s highest observation deck.

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