MOSQUE IN COLOGNE BROADCASTS CALL TO PRAYER FOR FIRST TIME
A mosque in Germany’s Cologne broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (adhan) for the first time on October 14. “This a sign that Muslims are at home here,” Abdurrahman Atasoy, the secretary general of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) told reporters, and thanked the city administration. Cologne is one of Germany’s biggest cities, and home to more than 120,000 Muslims, nearly 12% of the city’s entire population. As part of a pilot project, the city administration allowed the Cologne Central Mosque to broadcast the call to Friday Prayers over loudspeakers, but on condition that the volume will not exceed 60 decibels. Cologne’s Mayor Henriette Reker has been a strong supporter of the idea, but she has been heavily criticised by far-right parties. “Cologne is a city of religious diversity and freedoms. Allowing muezzin’s call to prayer for me is a sign of respect,” she said earlier.
4 DEAD, 61 INJURED IN FIRE, CLASHES AT IRAN’S EVIN PRISON
At least four prisoners died and 61 others were injured in clashes and fire at Tehran’s high-security Evin Prison, the country’s judiciary said on October 16. The fatalities happened due to “inhalation of smoke” as a result of the fire, the statement noted, adding that the victims were convicts of theft. The incident took place at around 9:10 p.m., local time on October 15, when videos circulated online showed plumes of smoke rising from the prison compound followed by the sound of explosions and gunfire. State-run news agency IRNA initially reported clashes between inmates and staff at the prison, adding that some prisoners set a warehouse of clothes on fire. Some local media outlets said inmates, mostly those with charges of financial crimes, burnt a sewing workshop at the prison following an altercation with the staff.
JORDANIANS STAGE PROTESTS IN SOLIDARITY WITH AL-AQSA MOSQUE
Thousands of Jordanians on October 15 staged a massive protest in downtown Amman in solidarity with Al-Aqsa Mosque and to denounce Israeli provocations against worshippers at the Islamic compound. During the protest, the protesters called for expelling the Israeli ambassador to Amman and abrogating the peace treaty with the Israeli occupation, which “practises daily violations, killings and deportations of Palestinians.” The protesters raised Palestine flags and placards condemning the aggression of the Israeli occupation forces and settlers against Palestinians. They also condemned the continuous Israeli raids and desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque, stressing that: “It is a highly respected religious symbol for all the Muslims around the world.” According to Quds Press, the protesters consider the Israeli aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque a: “Flagrant aggression on the Jordanian sovereignty over the religious sites in the holy city.”
LEBANON TO RESUME RETURNING REFUGEES TO SYRIA
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun on October 12 announced that the country will start sending Syrian refugees back home at the end of next week, even though rights groups and the United Nations have deemed Syria unsafe to return to. “As of next week, we will see the start of returning Syrians to their home country in batches,” the Lebanese presidency said in a Twitter post, without providing further details. Abbas Ibrahim, the head of Lebanon’s General Security agency which is responsible for the country’s borders, said returns would be voluntary and based on a mechanism first used in 2018. He added the plan had been paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The returns would only include those who had voluntarily signed up to go back with Lebanon’s General Security agency, in coordination with the country’s social affairs ministry, an official was reported as saying. Refugees would not be forced to leave.
TÜRKIYE, QATAR INK 11 NEW AGREEMENTS TO BOLSTER BILATERAL TIES
Türkiye and Qatar signed 11 new agreements during the eight meeting of their Supreme Strategic Committee in Istanbul on October 14. The agreements cover areas including diplomacy, media, culture, and disaster and emergency management. The meeting was co-chaired by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. The leaders earlier held one-on-one talks on bilateral and regional issues. Türkiye and Qatar established the Supreme Strategic Committee in 2014 as a mechanism for high-level dialogue and bilateral cooperation. Meanwhile, on October 12, Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara will continue to support Kazakhstan’s territorial integrity, stability and peace. “This high level of our relations is, of course, powered by the common ties of history, language, religion and culture between our peoples,” Erdogan said.
ISRAEL SUPPORTED BURMA’S MILITARY AGAINST ROHINGYA MUSLIMS
Recently declassified Israeli Foreign Ministry documents reveal deep Israeli military ties with Burma, now known as Myanmar, and its significant role in the brutal massacre against the Rohingya Muslims.
According to a report published by Haaretz on October 6, the 25,000 pages of documents detail how the Israeli regime armed and trained the Burmese army, from the 1950s until the beginning of the 1980s. The documents reveal that one of the main aims of Israel was to win Burmese support in international forums, in exchange for its arms support, reported Haaretz. “It was of no interest to successive Israeli regimes that the military aid was not intended for purposes of defence against external enemies, but was used to make war against the country’s inhabitants,” noted the report.
COAL MINE EXPLOSION KILLS 41 IN TÜRKIYE’S BARTIN
An explosion at a Turkish coal mine killed 41 people on October 14, with the last people believed trapped either confirmed dead or rescued. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the site on October 15, where he announced the last missing to be dead, taking the death toll to 41 people. It is the biggest mining disaster in Turkey in eight years. “Our priority was to find the miners in the gallery. We finally reached the last one. He also died, bringing the number of deaths to 41,” Erdogan said, ending rescue operations more than 20 hours after the deadly explosion. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu earlier said 58 miners had survived the blast, “either by themselves or thanks to rescuers”. Soylu said 28 people had been wounded as a result of the blast. The explosion took place inside a mine in Bartin province, just north of Ankara, near the Black Sea.
AZERBAIJAN SLAMS FRENCH LEADER’S KARABAKH COMMENTS
Azerbaijan on October 14 hit back at French leader Emmanuel Macron for his “false” and “unacceptable” comments on Baku’s conflict with Armenia. “We strongly condemn and reject such statements. We do not see a possibility of France playing any role in normalisation efforts between Azerbaijan and Armenia from now on,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in a speech at a regional summit in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. Aliyev said Macron was included in his talks with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Prague this month as a gesture of goodwill. “A week after this meeting, Macron made these libellous, unacceptable, false and provocative statements, accusing Azerbaijan of starting a war,” he said at a meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States.