BRITISH APOLOGY SOUGHT FOR CRIMES AGAINST PALESTINE
In a major development in West Asia, a 300-page dossier of evidence of crimes and atrocities carried out by British soldiers in historic Palestine has been sent to the UK government. The dossier is part of a petition seeking formal acknowledgment of historical crimes that were committed during the period of British rule in Palestine from 1917 until 1948 and an apology from the government, a report said on October 7. A BBC review of the historical evidence includes details of inhuman practices that continue to be practised by Israeli occupation forces. The request for an apology is being brought by Munib Al-Masri, 88, a well-known Palestinian business owner and former politician, who was shot and wounded by British troops as a boy in 1944. “[Britain’s role] affected me a lot because I saw how people were harassed… we had no protection whatsoever and nobody to defend us,” Al-Masri told the BBC at his home in Nablus in the occupied West Bank. Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the British barrister Ben Emmerson KC, former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, have been appointed by Al-Masri to review the evidence.
COLOGNE MUSLIMS HAIL FRIDAY CALL TO PRAYER OVER LOUDSPEAKER
Muslims in Germany’s city of Cologne welcomed the permission granted to them for two years to announce the call to prayer every Friday on loudspeaker. Abdurrahman Atasoy, the acting president of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), said: “I hope we will hold our first call to prayer (over loudspeaker) here on October 14, after we deal with the measures and issues that need to be resolved by the municipality.” He said the right to call to prayer is granted to Muslims by the constitution of Germany. Prior to the first call to prayer, the Muslim community informed the residents of the neighbourhood about Islam and its tenets to remove any prejudice. The call to prayer invites worshippers to the mosque five times a day, however, Friday is the holiest day of the week for Muslims. Atasoy also thanked Mayor Henriette Reker for granting the permission, adding that Muslims living in Germany for generations are a natural part of the society.
ERDOGAN CALLS FOR HIJAB RIGHTS TO BE MADE CONSTITUTIONAL
Türkiye’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, criticised the main opposition party CHP’s proposal for the headscarf by reminding the past highlighting to change the Constitution to completely solve the problem. Accusing CHP’s leader, Kilicdaroglu, of ‘abuse’, Erdogan stated that the headscarf was no longer a problem, and that no one had a problem in public or schools. Erdogan said, “If CHP is sincere, let’s amend the Constitution to completely solve the problem.” Speaking at the parliamentary group meeting of his party, Erdogan said, “Since CHP brought the proposal, let’s respond with a further proposal. If Kilicdaroglu is honest and sincere in removing the headscarf issue from the agenda, let’s do the solution at the constitutional level, not the law.” Since 2013, Turkish women who want to wear the hijab – the traditional Islamic headscarf covering the head and hair, but not the face – to civil service jobs and government offices have been able to do that; the Erdogan government has relaxed its decades-long restriction on wearing the headscarf in State institutions.
IRAN, OMAN AND PAKISTAN FOR JOINT MARITIME SECURITY CENTRE
Iran will establish a joint Maritime Security Centre with Oman and Pakistan, Chief Commander of the Iranian Army’s Navy, Rear Admiral Shahram Irani, said in a statement. Expressing pride in the progress made by his country’s naval industry, Irani said three Iranian-made destroyers were carrying out security missions in the Indian Ocean, as he spoke at the World Navigation Day ceremony on October 3. He added that the joint Maritime Security Centre between his country, Oman and Pakistan will communicate with all maritime security centres at the global level, with the Indian Ocean being their focus. The Iranian military official also said that his country will soon host an important conference in Chabahar Port in Iran’s south-east, and that Iran chairs two committees in this conference. On October 3, the joint Omani-Iranian Military Friendship Committee started its 17th annual periodic meeting in Muscat.
US SANCTIONS IRANIAN OFFICIALS OVER CRACKDOWN
The United States on October 6 imposed sanctions on seven senior Iranian officials over what it called the “violent suppression of protests” following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. The sanctions targeted Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, Communications Minister Eisa Zarepour, and five senior security officials “for the shutdown of Iran’s internet access and the continued violence against peaceful protesters”, the US Treasury said. Protests have raged across Iran since 16 September when Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died after she sustained severe injuries while in police custody. Iranian authorities have denied that Amini was beaten, but her case has mobilised demonstrations across the country and triggered global outrage. Dozens of protesters have reportedly been killed by security forces, with the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights group reporting that by 8 October, 185 people had been killed.
BIDEN URGED TO PRESS SAUDI COALITION TO END YEMEN BLOCKADE
A group of 38 members of US Congress has sent a letter to the Biden administration, urging Washington to press Saudi Arabia and its allies to lift a blockade on Yemen, as the negotiated truce expired and led to fears of a return to fighting in the years-long conflict. The letter, led by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and Congressman Mark Pocan, was sent on September 30. The UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said efforts to extend and expand the ceasefire for a further six months had not been successful ahead of Sunday’s deadline. The congressional letter stated that “progress towards an expanded truce agreement is increasingly urgent”, however, its ultimate focus was on ending the blockade imposed by US ally Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the report of fifth annual survey by the Eurasia Group Foundation released on October 5 found a majority of American respondents opposed to the continuation of US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, while the majority of younger Americans also oppose arms sales to Israel.
QATAR POPULATION SURGES 13.2% IN YEAR LEADING UP TO WORLD CUP
Qatar’s population has surged by 13.2% over the last year as the tiny Gulf Arab state recruits thousands of overseas workers ahead of hosting the soccer World Cup next month to cope with an unprecedented influx of fans, a report said on October 9. The country’s population stood at 2.94 million after some 370,000 additional people moved to Qatar over the last year, based on data collected in September and released by Qatar’s statistics authority last week. Low-income migrant workers and other foreigners make up the majority of the country’s population while Qatari nationals number around 380,000. World Cup organisers face a personnel shortage as Qatar prepares to receive an estimated 1.2 million visitors during soccer’s largest event, which is expected to put pressure on its infrastructure, hospitality and security sector. Hotel operator Accor is recruiting 12,000 temporary overseas employees to operate 65,000 rooms in apartments and homes serving as temporary fan housing.