OIC condemns Israeli forces’ strip-search of Palestinian women as UN urges probe

News Network
September 7, 2023

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The United Nations has called for an investigation into the forced stripping of five Palestinian women by Israeli soldiers during a raid on their home in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil as the move also draws condemnation from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). 

The regime forces broke into the Ajluni family’s house in the early morning of July 10. Two female troops took the 53-year-old mother, her 17-year-old daughter and the mother’s three daughters-in-law, all in their 20s, into the children’s room, where they were forced to undress. 

Carrying rifles and an attack dog, the occupation soldiers also threatened to unleash the dog if the Palestinian women did not comply with the order to strip nude. This is while the soldiers conducted body searches of the men while they were clothed. 

Asked about the assault, Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said, “We would stand against any form of collective punishment.”

“Obviously, this reported incident needs to be looked at and investigated thoroughly,” he told a press briefing on Wednesday.

Additionally, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that such incidents are “absolutely appalling,” noting, “This relentless assault on people and rights must end.”

Amal Ajluni, one of those strip searched, told the Israeli rights group B'Tselem, “I can’t forget what happened. The search and the humiliation I went through in front of the [female] soldiers, and the helplessness and shame I felt in front of my children. They are now afraid to sleep in their room at night and come to our bed. They don’t sleep well and wet the bed, and when they wake up, they are scared to go to the bathroom.” 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned the assault and urged international bodies to put pressure on Israel to end its daily breaches of human rights in Palestine.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh also denounced the outrageous violation against the Ajluni family.

"Violating the sanctity of our homes and harming our women is a provocative, disgraceful, and terrible act, which is practiced only by those who are stripped of morals and human values," he said.

Meanwhile, the human rights committee of the Palestinian parliament said in a statement that the strip search demonstrated “the extent of the ugliness and fascism of the occupation before the world,” urging the formation of an international investigation committee.

The Hamas resistance movement also vowed revenge, saying that the incident represented a “dangerous escalation that the Palestinian people and their resistance will not ignore.”

The “violations committed by the fascist occupation […] will fall in the face of our steadfastness […] until the last soldier and settler are uprooted from our occupied land,” the Gaza-based group added.

Tarik Salami, a spokesperson of the Islamic Jihad resistance movement, called on Palestinians in al-Khalil and other West Bank cities to “escalate their confrontations with the occupation” and “avenge” the assault.

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News Network
June 8,2024

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Sofia Firdous, the Congress MLA from the Barabati-Cuttack seat in Odisha, has got her name registered in history books. She is the first-ever Muslim woman legislator to have been elected to the Odisha Assembly.  Ms Firdous defeated BJP's Purna Chandra Mahapatra by a margin of 8,001 votes.

Who is Sofia Firdous?

Sofia Firdous, 32, comes from a political family. She is the daughter of Mohammed Moquim, a senior Congress leader. The party replaced Mr Moquim with Ms Firdous in the 2024 Odisha Assembly elections, who emerged victorious. 

Ms Firdous holds a Civil Engineering degree from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology. She also completed an Executive General Management Program from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) in 2022.

In 2023, Ms Firdous was elected as the president of the Bhubaneswar chapter of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI). She also serves as the East Zone Coordinator for the CREDAI women's wing.

She is the Co-Chair of the Bhubaneswar Chapter of the CII - Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and a core member of INWEC India. She is married to entrepreneur Sheikh Meraj Ul Haque. 

She follows in the footsteps of Nandini Satpathy, Odisha's first woman chief minister, who represented the same constituency in 1972. 

In the 2024 Odisha Assembly elections, the BJP secured a majority, winning 78 of the 147 seats, ending Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Biju Janata Dal's (BJD) 24-year rule in the state.

In the Lok Sabha elections, too, the BJP claimed victory in 20 of the 21 seats in the state, eight more than their tally of 12 in the 2019 polls. The remaining seat went to Congress, while the BJD did not win a single seat.

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News Network
June 16,2024

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Muslims around the world mark the Eid al-Adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice) as this year’s celebrations are overshadowed by Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip and its deadly violence in the West Bank.

Eid al-Adha was celebrated on Saturday in several Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, while 9 other Muslim countries such as Iran, Malaysia, Iraq, India, and Oman celebrate the holiday on Monday.

Gazans perform Eid al-Adha prayers in the rubble of their neighborhoods amidst the devastation of destroyed homes and buildings where nearly 37,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began more than eight months ago.

“We usually come to the Eid prayers cheering, with smiles everywhere on the streets. This Eid, I’ve come to the Eid prayers mourning, I’ve lost my son,” says Umm Muhammad Al-Katri who is performing her prayers in rubble in Jabaliya refugee camp.

In al-Quds, Israeli forces once again took harsh measures against Palestinians trying to mark Eid al-Adha in Al-Aqsa Mosque, with entry restrictions and physical assaults on worshipers.

WAFA news agency reported that around 40,000 Palestinians managed to attend prayers inside the mosque, while others were left with no choice but to pray outside the mosque as they were denied entry.

It also reported that Israeli forces disrupted the movement of Palestinians in various parts of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, erecting checkpoints and halting vehicles.

“We are in great pain and we are living through the difficult moments with our brothers in Gaza and in every place where they face calamities and hardships,” said Mahmoud Mohana from Ramallah.

“But with God, they will find their reward and will be elevated. We ask God to lift this distress and quicken the salvation of this nation from this oppression and brutality,” he added.

Jordanians came to the streets in a show of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, following Eid al-Adha prayers.

The protest, held outside Al Kalouti Mosque near the Israeli Embassy in Amman, demonstrates the unwavering support of the Jordanian people for their Palestinian counterparts.

Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah on the lunar calendar every year, which marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Around two million Muslims undertaking the pilgrimage this year perform the last major ritual of the Hajj, the “stoning of the devil” in western Saudi Arabia, many of them have said that during the rituals taking place, they were praying for their Palestinian brothers and sisters and for Gaza.

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News Network
June 3,2024

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A Palestinian official in the Gaza Strip says the Israeli occupation forces have destroyed a total of 50,000 housing units during their nearly-eight-month war of aggression in the northern part of the territory.

The figure was given by the chairman of the Emergency Committee for Northern Gaza Municipalities, during a press conference on Sunday.

“Some 50,000 housing units have been destroyed, and sewage networks and roads have been bulldozed in most municipalities of northern Gaza,” the official, whose name was not given by Palestinian media outlets, said.

The official noted that “35 water wells, schools, and UNRWA facilities have been destroyed, and an imminent famine is threatening northern Gaza.”

The official also declared “Jabalia [refugee camp] and Beit Hanoun [both in northern Gaza] as disaster areas due to the indescribable destruction” caused by Israel’s genocidal war.

The Palestinian official’s warning came a day after the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said in a post on X social media platform that as a result of the Israeli aggression, “Gaza has been reduced to rubble and Palestinian families have to survive in inhumane conditions with scarce water, food and supplies.”

UNRWA’s Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini has also described the destruction caused by Israeli forces in Jabalia refugee camp as “horrific,” adding that “thousands of displaced people have no choice but to live amid the rubble and in destroyed UNRWA facilities.”

It was about a month ago that a UN official said the destruction caused by Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip is unseen since the Second World War, estimating that the reconstruction of the Palestinian territory could take 80 years and cost up to $40 billion.

Abdallah al-Dardari, UN assistant secretary-general and director of the UN Development Program's regional office for the Arab states, added that the Israeli aggression has completely or partially destroyed 72 percent of all residential buildings in Gaza.

According to Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, the regime’s genocide has so far claimed the lives of 36,439 civilians, mostly women and children, while leaving 82,627 others injured.

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