FRENCH MODEL MARINE EL HIMER ANNOUNCES CONVERSION TO ISLAM
French reality television star Marine El Himer announced on her Instagram that she converted to Islam, publishing a video of her in Ka’aba. Marine stated that she converted to Islam months ago but never made it official until now. “It was a choice of soul, heart, and reason, a choice that was evident to me and I freely and proudly practice,” she wrote. El Himer affirmed that there is no shame in converting to another religion of any kind, stressing that it is a fundamental right that everyone should be able to exercise freely. In another post where she was seen touching Ka’aba, Marine said: “There are no words strong enough to express the intensity of happiness and emotions I’m experiencing right now. A spiritual journey that I hope will continue to uplift and guide me In Sha Allah.”
In September, the influencer celebrated obtaining Moroccan nationality with over a million of her followers. “After a long year of back and forth, heavy and long administrative procedures, I can finally celebrate this little document which means so much to me: my Moroccan National Card,” she said in an Instagram post. The celebrity proudly declared herself a “Moroccan citizen,” with the post garnering thousands of likes and congratulatory messages. French media reported that Himer grew up with her stepfather, made some researches about her real father and where they originally came from for a long time, and met Islam during this period.
UK SCRAPS PLAN TO SHIFT BRITISH EMBASSY IN ISRAEL TO JERUSALEM
United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has dumped plans to shift the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A Downing Street spokesperson told foreign journalists at a press briefing on November 2 that the controversial plan to shift the embassy had been dropped. A spokesperson told Middle East Eye “there are no current plans to change the location of our embassy”. The spokesperson did not say whether an official review into the potential move, set in motion by Rishi Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss, had been abandoned. UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly warned strongly against moving the embassy. The Palestinian ambassador to London, Husam Zomlot, welcomed the news, remarking: “The question about the location of the UK’s embassy should never have been asked in the first place.” Meanwhile, the elected president of Britain’s National Union of Students (NUS), Shaima Dallali will be seeking legal advice following her dismissal over allegations of anti-Semitism after an independent code-of-conduct investigation was carried out.
PAK’S EX-PREMIER TO RESUME ANTI-GOV’T LONG MARCH
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan said his anti-government march on the capital Islamabad will be resumed on November 8 from the same point where he was attacked and wounded on November 3. Addressing a press conference on November 6 at Shaukat Khanum Hospital in the northeastern city of Lahore where he is being treated, Khan said the march will take another “10 to 14” days to reach the garrison city of Rawalpindi, which borders Islamabad, where he himself will join the marchers to move towards the capital. Khan had called off the “long march” following a failed assassination attempt on him in the Wazirabad district of north-eastern Punjab province, governed by his centre-right Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. He was wounded in the leg when shots were fired at him and other officials standing on the top of a modified container truck.
AL SUMMIT AFFIRMS CENTRALITY OF PALESTINIAN CAUSE
The concluding statement of the 31st Arab League Summit in Algiers has affirmed the centrality of the Palestinian cause as well as unequivocal support for the Palestinians’ inalienable rights to freedom, self-determination and the establishment of an independent state on the 4 June, 1967 nominal borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The summit also backed the legitimate right of return and compensation for Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194 passed in 1948. The statement issued on November 2 also affirmed support for the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative with all its elements and priorities. These include a commitment to a just and comprehensive peace as a strategic option to end the Israeli occupation of all Arab lands, including the Syrian Golan Heights, Lebanese Shebaa Farms and the Kafr Shuba Hills, and to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict on the principle of land for peace in accordance with international law and relevant international resolutions.
ISRAELI FIGHTER JETS BOMB GAZA, FIRST SINCE AUGUST
Israeli fighter jets on November 4 targeted what the Israeli army claimed was a rocket manufacturing site in the Gaza Strip, in the first such bombing since Israel’s offensive against the besieged enclave in August. The Israeli army said the attack on the facility, which they said belonged to Hamas, was in response to rockets fired towards Israel. One of the rockets was intercepted and three others “exploded inside the Gaza Strip”, the Israeli army said on November 3. The rocket fire from Gaza came after Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man who was said to be a member of both the Jenin Battalion armed group and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement. Israel has maintained a crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007, which critics say amounts to collective punishment of the impoverished enclave’s two million residents. Israel prevents the importing of materials and equipment into Gaza and has imposed strict restrictions on exports, leading to a state of “paralysis” in several sectors of Gaza’s economy.
QATAR DENOUNCES ‘HYPOCRISY’ OF WORLD CUP CRITICISM
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani has slammed criticism of the Gulf country’s hosting of the World Cup as “hypocrisy”. Qatar is set to host World Cup from November 20 through December 18, becoming the first Arab and Middle Eastern country to organise the global tournament. The country, however, came under fire since it was awarded the event in 2010, mainly on alleged mistreatment of migrant workers and its human rights records. “I think there are some people who don’t accept that a small country in the Middle East is hosting such a global event,” bin Abdulrahman said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper. “The reasons given for boycotting the World Cup do not add up. There is a lot of hypocrisy in these attacks, which ignore all that we have achieved,” he added. The Qatari minister said that attacks against his country over hosting the global event were made “by a very small number of people”. “It is frankly unfortunate. The reality is that the world is looking forward to this celebration. Over 97 per cent of the tickets have been sold. Among the 10 countries that bought the most tickets, we find European countries like France,” he said. The top diplomat stressed that Qatar is a “very welcoming country” and that the “entire world is welcome in our country”.