DANISH FAR-RIGHT LEADER BURNS COPY OF QUR’ĀN IN SWEDEN
The leader of the far-right Danish party Stram Kurs (Hard Line) burned another copy of the Holy Qur’ān on May 12 under police protection in Sweden. Rasmus Paludan, who has dual Danish and Swedish citizenship, recently burned copies of the Qur’ān in the Frolunda, Boras and Trollhattan regions of the southwestern province of Vastergotland, which has a large population of Muslim residents. Around 100 police officers, as well as 10 plainclothes officers from the Swedish intelligence agency SAPO, accompanied Paludan to protect him against counter-demonstrators. Paludan has burnt the holy book in various cities in Denmark since 2017. Riots broke out in the cities Malmo, Norrkoping and Jonkoping as well as in the capital Stockholm, leaving 125 police vehicles damaged and 34 officers injured, while 13 people were detained.
KILLING OF SHIREEN ABU AKLEH EARNS WIDE CONDEMNATION
The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) has condemned in the strongest terms the brutal and cold-blooded killing of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera correspondent for 25 years Shireen Abu Akleh. Ms Abu Akleh, a Christian female Palestinian journalist, was with a group of press reporters covering Israeli raids on Jenin in the occupied West-Bank when she was killed by a sniper bullet on May 11. Shireen Abu Akleh was reportedly wearing a clear and visible press vest and a helmet. According to Abu Akleh’s fellow reporters and multiple-trusted media sources, Abu Akleh was targeted and intentionally shot by an Israeli sniper who shot her right under the ear. Israeli police, on May 13, also assaulted Palestinian mourners in the funeral procession of Abu Akleh in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Spanish and Irish Foreign Ministers as well as AHRC and CAIR have condemned the death of the Al Jazeera journalist and called for an in-depth investigation into the cause of her death. Meanwhile, Birzeit University on May 12 announced the launch of the “Shireen Abu Akleh Award for Media Excellence” as an annual award for Palestinian media professionals. This award will be announced on 11 May each year. The university also announced the allocation of an annual scholarship in honour of Abu Akleh to one of its distinguished female media students as recognition for academic excellence.
SINGAPORE BANS ‘THE KASHMIR FILES’
Singapore has banned the controversial Bollywood movie ‘The Kashmir Files’, assessing it to be “beyond” the city-state’s film classification guidelines. According to reports on May 10, the Singaporean authorities refused classification of the Hindi-language film for “its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the on-going conflict in Kashmir”. The film’s representations “have the potential to cause enmity between different communities, and disrupt social cohesion and religious harmony in our multiracial and multi-religious society,” the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of Singapore said in a statement. Under the film classification guidelines, “any material that is denigrating to racial or religious communities in Singapore” will be refused classification.
STOP PLANS FOR MORE ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS IN WEST BANK
Fifteen European countries, on May 13, urged Israel to stop plans for more illegal settlements in the West Bank. “We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Israeli Higher Planning Council to advance plans for the construction of more than 4,000 housing units in the West Bank,” said spokespersons for the foreign ministries of France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden. “We urge the Israeli authorities to reverse this decision,” the statement added. The statement said the Israeli settlements are in “clear violation of international law and stand in the way of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” The EU nations also urged Israel “not to proceed with any planned demolitions or evictions, especially in Masafer Yatta.”
‘ROTARY GLOBAL PEACE PARK’ SET UP AT KARTARPUR
RI Director Mahesh Kotbagi announced the setting up of the ‘Rotary Global Peace Park’ at Kartarpur in Narowal district, Pakistan, Rotary News said on April 27. He, along with his wife Amita and Rotarians of RI District 3070, visited the Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara. They were given a warm reception by RIDE Faiz Kidwai, RID 3271, Pakistan, in the presence of over 350 Rotarians from districts 3271 and 3272. The visit was made memorable with a provisional chartering of RC Chakwal (to be sponsored by RC Lahore Garrison), with 25 members in RI District 3272, Pakistan. The new club plans to execute joint projects on literacy and heart surgeries with Indian Rotary clubs.
PAK-TURK MAARIF STUDENTS WIN TOP HONOUR AT US SCIENCE FAIR
Two students of the Pak-Turk Maarif International Schools and Colleges have won a top award at an international science event in the US. Talia Kulsoom and Umm-e-Kulsoom, 12th-grade students at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Girls’ Campus in the southern port city of Karachi, took the first position in the Physical Science category at the 2022 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held in Atlanta, the US, the school announced in a statement. Their project, completed under the supervision of their teacher Hira Bashir, focused on the extraction of “vegan leather” from Cedrus deodara, a cedar tree species native to the Himalayas, according to the statement. “Our intelligent students believe in the green world and in the conservation of resources, which encouraged them to come up with this unique idea,” the school said.
UAE PRESIDENT SHEIKH KHALIFA BIN ZAYED PASSES AWAY
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, passed away on May 13. He was 73. He served as the president of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi since November 3, 2004. He was elected to succeed his father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who served as the UAE’s first president since the union in 1971 until he passed away on November 2, 2004. Born in 1948, Sheikh Khalifa was the second President of the UAE and the 16th Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He was the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed. Since becoming the president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa has presided over a major restructuring of both the Federal Government and the government of Abu Dhabi. On May 14, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected as the new president of UAE.