World Bulletin / News Desk
Canada's ambassador of religious freedom returned home from Turkey defeated after a failed attempt to criticize the country on its human rights record.
Andrew Bennet had arrived in Turkey to discuss the expropriation of properties belonging to Christian and Jewish minorities in the country, even though Turkey is already in the process of returning such properties back to their rightful owners following the announcement of the democratization packet in October.
His concern about religious freedoms in Turkey, however, backfired, as Turkish officials immediately raised their own concerns about religious freedoms in the Canadian state of Quebec, which recently banned all open displays of religious symbols in the public sector, including headscarves.
Bennett refused to take questions on the issue, saying that his mandate did not include domestic issues and therefore he had no authority to speak on them.
However, speaking to reporters in Washington, Bennet said "People in countries overseas where religious freedom is being violated are being imprisoned, tortured, killed because of their faith."
"In Canada, we have the courts. We have the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. ... We can advance religious freedom overseas because we enjoy it in Canada. So that's the approach that I take."
At the same time Bennett praised Turkey for the strides it has taken to improve religious freedoms in the country.
Both Muslims and non-Muslim minorities have gained a number of new freedoms since the democratization packet officially removed bans on headscarves, as well as many other freedoms.
Muslims currently account for between 5 and 12 percent of the country's total population of roughly 14.2 million.
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Muslims performed prayers at open grounds and parks that were filled with worshippers donning white attire.
President of the Addis Ababa Islamic Affairs Supreme Council called on the faithful to pursue peace in the country, blaming "foreign elements" and "non-Muslims" for recent clashes between Muslim protesters and police in the Ethiopian capital.
An ongoing Israeli offensive on the blockaded Gaza Strip also dominated the Muslim prayer
Addressing worshippers at the Al Zarah playground in Juba, Sheikh Juma Said Ali, the chairperson of Central Equatoria Muslim Council, called for peace and stability in South Sudan.
In the main sermon at Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque, the preacher called for supporting the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip
Saleh and incumbent President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi performed the prayer at the Al-Saleh mosque in the capital Sanaa.
Commodity price hikes in Juba have been exacerbated by the looming Muslim Eid holiday, local traders and shoppers say
Five countries – Oman, Morocco, Gabon, Tanzania and Azerbaijan - have so far announced that Eid al-Fitr will start on Tuesday
The feast is due to start on Monday in Gaza as well as in some other Islamic countries
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Three were hospitalized after a fire broke out in scaffolding.
The Indian Parliament was adjourned as lawmakers called for a debate on an incident in which right-wing Hindu politicians alleged forced a Muslim worker to break fast in Ramadan