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El-Sisi reiterates need for end to foreign interference in Libya

CHICAGO: The Iranian regime has sanctioned a “campaign of hate” to fuel public animosity against the country’s Baha’i religious community, Baha’i officials told Arab News. Anthony Vance, Baha’i public affairs director in the US, said Iran has adopted laws that target its 300,000 Baha’is, barring them from universities and public sector employment, as well as…

El-Sisi reiterates need for end to foreign interference in Libya

CHICAGO: The Iranian regime has sanctioned a “campaign of hate” to fuel public animosity against the country’s Baha’i religious community, Baha’i officials told Arab News.

Anthony Vance, Baha’i public affairs director in the US, said Iran has adopted laws that target its 300,000 Baha’is, barring them from universities and public sector employment, as well as confiscating their property and arresting their leaders.

The religious group was founded in the mid-19th century in what was then Persia, and now has about 8 million followers worldwide.

More than 2 million Baha’is live in India, and there are sizable communities in the Middle East, Africa and the US.

“After the 1979 revolution, between 1979 and 1992, over 200 Baha’is were executed, killed in Iran, mostly by execution. Most were elected members of the (Baha’i) administration institutions. It’s clear that the (Iranian) regime was targeting those whom they perceived to be the leadership of the Baha’i community,” Vance said.

“Baha’is are barred from university education. They’re barred from employment in the public sector, by the government that is, or in government-owned entities. Given that the public sector makes up more than half of the Iranian economy, that’s quite a disadvantage in that society,” he added.

“There are genuine efforts to impoverish the Baha’i community. There have been confiscations of Baha’i property, several thousands since the revolution. But more recently, there have been attempts to make it a normal, legal attempt in the country. Just to illustrate, last year there were two appellate court decisions to affirm the lower court in the province of Mazid Darran that said the Baha’is were ritually unclean and don’t have any right to own property.”

Vance said persecution by Iran “is quite systematic” and has prevented the Baha’i community from growing in recent years.

The Baha’is are the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran. The religion’s principle founder, a merchant who adopted the name Bab (“The Gate“), was executed in 1850 after he began preaching that another prophet similar to Jesus and Mohammed would appear. Persecution increased under the ayatollahs following the 1979 revolution.

Vance said Baha’is respect and recognize the importance of the Christian and Muslim traditions, and it is a monotheistic religion.

Persecution of Baha’is by Iran was the focus of a resolution introduced on Oct. 25 in the US House of Representatives, which condemned Tehran’s state-sponsored persecution of the community. There are more than 180,000 Baha’is in the US, Vance said.

The resolution called on Tehran to immediately release imprisoned or detained Baha’is and all other prisoners held solely on account of their religion; to end the campaign of hate propaganda against the Baha’is; and to reverse state-imposed policies denying them and members of other religious minorities equal opportunities to higher education, earning a livelihood, due process under the law, and the free exercise of religious practices.

It also calls on US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to condemn the Iranian regime’s continued violation of human rights and demand the immediate release of prisoners held solely on account of their religion.

The resolution, introduced by Florida Democrat Ted Deutch and supported by a bipartisan group, also calls for sanctions on Iranian regime officials over human rights abuses against the Baha’i community.

Vance praised support from the governments of Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where there are small Baha’i populations.

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220,000 visitors at Egypt’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai since its opening

DUBAI: The Muslim World League has launched an exhibition on the lives of the prophets at its Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion. “The Prophets As If You See Them” uses the latest technology to present the biographies of Islam’s prophets and messengers. It sheds light on the messages of peace, love, affection, tolerance, coexistence, and humanity…

220,000 visitors at Egypt’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai since its opening

DUBAI: The Muslim World League has launched an exhibition on the lives of the prophets at its Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion.

“The Prophets As If You See Them” uses the latest technology to present the biographies of Islam’s prophets and messengers.

It sheds light on the messages of peace, love, affection, tolerance, coexistence, and humanity that they brought to the world.

It also highlights the noble morals of Prophet Muhammad and the comprehensiveness and beauty of Islam’s global message.

The 25 prophets and messengers mentioned in the Qur’an will be introduced in five different languages: Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, and Indonesian.

Visitors can learn about the prophets’ titles, nicknames, characteristics, morals, childhoods, relatives, the books that were revealed to them, the miracles they performed, and the languages they spoke.

The exhibition employs digital technology in different languages to transport visitors to another world, providing a cinematic experience enhanced by LED screens that take visitors to the heart of the action, as if they were accompanying the prophets through their lives.

It includes a campaign called “Islam is a Religion of Peace” and focuses on the humanitarian behavior of the prophets, especially Prophet Muhammad.

An interactive LED wall – “Your Message to Humanity” – is aimed at removing racial divides, overcoming negative cultural conflicts, and deepening the concept of people’s right to live in dignity and freedom, emphasizing the importance of coexistence.

Visitors can leave a video message that will be part of an interactive mural. It will bear the signatures of visitors and messages of love, tolerance, and acceptance of others.

The second floor of the MWL pavilion contains models of Makkah and Madinah, among other exhibits.

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Middle East News

Egypt to host Food Africa starting Dec. 12

DUBAI: The Muslim World League has launched an exhibition on the lives of the prophets at its Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion. “The Prophets As If You See Them” uses the latest technology to present the biographies of Islam’s prophets and messengers. It sheds light on the messages of peace, love, affection, tolerance, coexistence, and humanity…

Egypt to host Food Africa starting Dec. 12

DUBAI: The Muslim World League has launched an exhibition on the lives of the prophets at its Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion.

“The Prophets As If You See Them” uses the latest technology to present the biographies of Islam’s prophets and messengers.

It sheds light on the messages of peace, love, affection, tolerance, coexistence, and humanity that they brought to the world.

It also highlights the noble morals of Prophet Muhammad and the comprehensiveness and beauty of Islam’s global message.

The 25 prophets and messengers mentioned in the Qur’an will be introduced in five different languages: Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, and Indonesian.

Visitors can learn about the prophets’ titles, nicknames, characteristics, morals, childhoods, relatives, the books that were revealed to them, the miracles they performed, and the languages they spoke.

The exhibition employs digital technology in different languages to transport visitors to another world, providing a cinematic experience enhanced by LED screens that take visitors to the heart of the action, as if they were accompanying the prophets through their lives.

It includes a campaign called “Islam is a Religion of Peace” and focuses on the humanitarian behavior of the prophets, especially Prophet Muhammad.

An interactive LED wall – “Your Message to Humanity” – is aimed at removing racial divides, overcoming negative cultural conflicts, and deepening the concept of people’s right to live in dignity and freedom, emphasizing the importance of coexistence.

Visitors can leave a video message that will be part of an interactive mural. It will bear the signatures of visitors and messages of love, tolerance, and acceptance of others.

The second floor of the MWL pavilion contains models of Makkah and Madinah, among other exhibits.

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Probe launched after video shows emaciated patients tied to filthy beds in Lebanese healthcare center

AMMAN: Amid a delay in rainfall, Jordan’s major dams are either completely empty or facing critically low water levels, putting the country on the verge of an unprecedented drought crisis should dry weather conditions persist. Of the kingdom’s 14 major dams, three are now empty, according to officials, who said that emergency plans are being…

Probe launched after video shows emaciated patients tied to filthy beds in Lebanese healthcare center

AMMAN: Amid a delay in rainfall, Jordan’s major dams are either completely empty or facing critically low water levels, putting the country on the verge of an unprecedented drought crisis should dry weather conditions persist.

Of the kingdom’s 14 major dams, three are now empty, according to officials, who said that emergency plans are being put in place to save farmers in the fertile Jordan Valley, known as the food basket of Jordan.

In recent remarks to Arab News, Omar Salameh, spokesperson of the water ministry, said that the Waleh, Mujib and Tanour dams in the southern desert regions have dried up due to crippling drought.

Salameh added that the King Talal and Wadi El Arab dams in the north are not yet empty, but are reporting critically low water levels.

“All in all, all the country’s dams have reached their lowest water levels due to extremely dry seasons over the past two years,” he said.

The official explained that the 2020-2021 rain season — from December to May — was “very low” and brought 60 percent less rainfall than the annual average.

“This coupled with high temperatures and high demand on water has led to all the consequences we are having now.”

However, citing data from the Jordan Meteorological Department, the official said that the delay in rainfall is “not exceptional” and that “it’s still too early to declare an emergency water situation.”

In a recent report, the JMD said that delayed rainfall is expected as a result of climate change, adding that rainfall in autumn makes up less than 20 percent of the total wet season.

Salameh said that the ministry has put in place short and long-term plans to address a possible dry season.

With low water storage in dams meaning less water to be portioned out to farmers, Minister of Agriculture Khaled Hneifat announced that farmers in the Jordan Valley are now permitted to drill wells to access groundwater for irrigation — a practice that was previously prohibited in the country.

During a recent meeting with the Lower House’s water and agriculture committee, Secretary General of the Water Authority of Jordan Bashar Bataineh said that Jordan’s water deficit in 2021 stands at 40 million cubic meters, of which half is in Amman, the densely populated capital of about 4 million people.

Head of the Jordan Valley Farmers’ Union Adnan Khaddam blamed the government for the “risky” water situation, adding that it “stood idly by and took no action.”

Khaddam was quoted in local media outlets as saying that the King Talal Dam, the largest in the kingdom, has reached “dangerously low levels.”

He added: “The dam covers 80 percent of the water needs of farmers in the Jordan Valley, but the available quantity in the dam is very low,” he said, warning of serious drought if rain does not arrive.

National conveyor project

Jordan, classified as the world’s second most water-scarce country, announced the launch of the Aqaba-Amman Water Desalination and Conveyance National Project (AAWDC), described as “the largest water generation scheme to be implemented in the history of the kingdom.”

During a meeting with lawmakers, Bataineh of Jordan’s Water Authority said that the megaproject will “ensure the country’s water stability until 2040.”

The water ministry announced that the AAWDC, once completed, will generate 130 million cubic meters of water each year.

Launching the project’s first phase in February 2020, the government said that the AAWDC will be implemented on a build-operate-transfer basis and will provide a sustainable water resource for future generations in all parts of the kingdom.

The government said at the time that the strategic scheme is part of the Jordan’s efforts to adapt to climate change, dwindling water resources and population growth.

Additional water from Israel

On Oct. 12, Jordan signed an agreement with Israel to purchase an additional 50 million cubic meters of water outside the framework of the peace agreement and what it stipulates in regard to water quantities.

The additional water Israel will provide will come from the Sea of Galilee.

The water ministry issued a statement at the time, quoting an unnamed source who said that the agreement was signed following a meeting in Amman of technical committees from both sides.

The agreement “was proof that we want good neighborly relations,” Karine Elharrar, Israel’s minister of infrastructure, energy and water resources, told Israeli media.

Jordan and Israel in July said that they had reached a deal under which the latter will sell an additional 50 million cubic meters of water annually to the kingdom following a meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries.

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