Why Iran’s hate-filled public school curriculum should be a global concern

Why Iran’s hate-filled public school curriculum should be a global concern
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Updated 04 March 2021

Why Iran’s hate-filled public school curriculum should be a global concern

Why Iran’s hate-filled public school curriculum should be a global concern
  • Teachers use state-designed textbooks that encourage young people to export global revolution using violent means
  • Curriculum encourages political subversion against Arab states and demonizes the US, Israel and Jewish people

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The government of Iran remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, and unfortunately its educational curriculum is no exception. Public school teachers in Iran today use textbooks designed by the state to indoctrinate young people to export global revolution using terrorism and other aggressive means. As a result, the content of its textbooks should be a global concern.

Image titled “Let’s Go” from a current Iranian state textbook depicting an IRGC officer killed in Syria named Mohsen Hojaji. Grade 10, Defense Preparation, page 123. (Supplied)

I recently completed the first comprehensive study of hate and extremism in current Iranian textbooks in nearly half a decade as part of my ongoing work with the Anti-Defamation League, the results of which are accessible in full on the ADL website.

Evaluating teaching materials to identify and discourage hateful content is an important trend in the Middle East. Accordingly, this essay reproduces key findings from the ADL research on Iran and adds several notable new examples beyond the content in the original report.

The Iranian state curriculum especially encourages terrorism and political subversion against Arab states in particular. It also demonizes America, Israel and the Jewish people, including in ways that are part and parcel with these same hateful conspiracy theories and calls to violence.

For this reason, condemning the problematic content in Tehran’s textbooks is only part of the solution. We should also redouble efforts to teach peace-building and interfaith tolerance in every country’s textbooks, so that it is harder to exploit suspicions between East and West, between Sunnis and Shiites, or between Muslims, Jews, Christians and followers of other faiths.

The Iranian government’s current textbooks indoctrinate children with messages that put them on a permanent footing for war. The books teach children how to assemble assault rifles, to carry out military maneuvers, and to learn about the importance of cyber warfare.

Graphic from a lesson on cyber warfare. Grade 10, Defense Preparation, p. 126. (Supplied)

The books also idealize young people who sacrifice their lives to sustain or export the Iranian revolution. Often this involves glorifying child soldiers who fought and died under traumatic circumstances during the Iran-Iraq War or displaying children wielding weapons of war, including a rocket launcher.

Diagram listing the parts of a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Grade 10, Defense Preparation, p. 92. (Supplied)

Likewise, the textbooks glorify a 20-year-old Iranian named Muhammed Reza Dehghan as a “model martyr defending the shrines.” Dehghan was killed within weeks of deploying to Syria as a volunteer fighter for the student wing of Iran’s Basij paramilitary. The books also teach that an ideal Basij member always yearns for martyrdom.

Textbook passage depicting Hezbollah’s Mustafa Badreddine and the founder of the Afghan Fatemiyoun Brigade as “model martyrs” killed in supposed defense of Syria’s Islamic shrines, shown at bottom right and bottom left. Student Basij volunteer Muhammed Reza Dehghan is depicted middle left. Grade 10, Defense Preparation, p. 45. (Supplied)

Also presented on the same textbook page listing “model martyrs defending the shrines” is Mustafa Badreddine, the deceased terrorist mastermind of Lebanese Hezbollah, as well as Ali Reza Tavassoli, a founder of the Fatemiyoun Brigade, one of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ proxy groups that recruits young Afghan men, including child soldiers, to fight in Syria.

This year Iran’s state curriculum added passages across numerous subjects to celebrate the martyrdom of the IRGC’s late terror master, Qassem Soleimani. For example, an official textbook on military studies now features a graphic under the heading “Templates and Models of Steadfastness and Resistance.”

In addition to Soleimani, the picture includes Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, whom it calls a “model martyr of the Islamic World.” At the time of their death in 2020, both al-Muhandis’s Kata’ib Hezbollah in Iraq and Soleimani’s IRGC Quds Force were US-designated terrorist groups.

“Lesson 6: Templates and Models of Steadfastness and Resistance”. Qassem Soleimani is shown at center top. Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis is shown at second right, with the label “model martyr of the Islamic world” appended in the associated caption. Image from a current Iranian state textbook, Grade 10, Defense Preparation, p. 45. (Supplied)

Militant language is even applied to policies that Tehran insists have no military application. Remarkably, a current high school textbook presents the work of “young Iranian nuclear scientists” as “a blessing with your great jihad and the blood of your bounteous youths.”

“…With the great ambition and determination of the young Iranian scientists and in spite of the constant conspiracies and oppositions of the enemies of the Islamic Revolution, Iranian nuclear scientists have achieved many successes. Imam Khomeini has said about protecting the achievements of the revolution: ‘I advise the dear nation of Iran to know that you have achieved a blessing with your great jihad and the blood of your bounteous youths’…” [Natanz Nuclear Facilities]. Grade 11, History of Contemporary Iran, p. 230. (Supplied)

Those most immediately impacted by Iran’s radical curriculum are its Arab neighbors. For example, an eleventh-grade history textbook brazenly calls for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Bahrain, proclaiming that “the Bahraini revolution has not yet come to fruition” and that this should specifically include “the overthrow of Al-Khalifa rule.”

“…The people of Bahrain are seriously demanding the implementation of fundamental reforms and the overthrow of Al Khalifa rule, and in this way they have sacrificed many martyrs, but due to foreign protection of this regime and severe repression of the people, the Bahraini revolution has not yet come to fruition. [Pearl Square, the starting site of the Bahrainis’ uprising]” Grade 11, The History of Contemporary Iran, page. 251. (Supplied)

This passage is part of an entire chapter focused on exporting Iran’s revolution across the Arab world. It advocates for uprisings in recent years against what it calls “puppet” governments in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen in hopes of advancing what the books laud as “the school of Hajj Qassem Soleimani.” The chapter also expresses noteworthy admiration for the Muslim Brotherhood and its founder, Hassan Al-Banna.

These extremist messages are then supplemented with intolerance and conspiracy theories.  For example, a current tenth-grade textbook on Defense Preparation teaches the false allegation that Saudi Arabia and America created Daesh as an act of sabotage against Iran.  A religious law textbook for the same grade suggests that the followers of certain religious creeds are physically unclean, including Buddhists, Baha’is and Saudi Salafis.

A complementary profile of Hassan Al-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Page 238 of an 11th grade textbook ostensibly on the topic of Iranian national history. (Supplied)

The Iranian curriculum casts America as today’s leading villain in a perennial conflict between Islam and imperialism. The books characterize America as “the Great Satan” and claim international sanctions against Iran are merely part of Washington’s “Satanic plan” to subjugate the nations of the world and to destroy people’s faith in Islam.

Graphic from a current Iranian state textbook, Grade 10, Defense Preparation, p. 120. The text in red translates to “Sanctions”. The text in black says “Iran.” (Supplied)

The textbooks also claim that America and other Western nations are engaged in a conspiracy to spread disbelief and moral corruption using such tools as drugs and video games, and that Western Christians who try to spread their faith are engaged in this widespread imperialist plot rather than a genuine expression of their religious doctrine.

Such disinformation is even applied to the issue of the global pandemic by Iran’s latest official textbooks, which teach that foreign media has exaggerated the coronavirus to deter Iranians from pro-regime rallies and to create panic about medical shortages.

Activity 3: “Why did the foreign media inhibit people from attending the national celebration of the 22nd of Bahman (i.e. the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on 11/2/20) in a coordinated way with rumors of the spread of Corona?”
Grade 10, Defense Preparation, p. 121. (Supplied)

Unsurprisingly, the state of Israel is targeted for explicit overthrow by Iran’s official textbooks. Graphics in the books today teach the chant “Death to Israel” and feature the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s instruction that “Israel must be wiped out.”

Graphic from a current Iranian state textbook with the Khomeini quotation “Israel Must be Wiped Out”. Grade 5, Heaven’s Gifts: Islamic Education and Training, p. 102. (Supplied)

But Tehran’s animus is not directed solely at Israel. Its curriculum also encourages a fundamentally anti-Jewish narrative of human history from ancient to modern times, selectively presenting Jewish people in an overwhelmingly negative way.

Graphic of a boy holding a sign that says “Death to Israel,” from a lesson about Iranian government marches for International Quds Day. Grade 7, Heaven’s Messages: Islamic Education and Training, pp. 120-122. (Supplied)

For example, Saudi Arabia recently instituted textbook passages teaching the Charter of Madinah as a model for Muslim-Jewish coexistence. The Iranian curriculum, on the other hand, still places much greater emphasis on the example of Jewish tribes that broke that pact, suggesting that Jews in general are untrustworthy and seek to destroy Islam.

Iran’s textbooks similarly scapegoat Jewish people for a range of societal ills in a way that propagates longstanding anti-Jewish generalizations such as greed, disloyalty or world domination.

Debates over the appropriate direction for Muslim prayer or the possibility of inaccurate hadiths are each presented as the work of immoral Jewish conspiracies. So are Freemason clubs.

As is global media consolidation. Furthermore, all Jewish people who aspire to any form of self-determination are labeled “enemies of Islam,” even those who advocate for a two-state solution and Palestinian statehood.

The anti-Americanism and anti-Jewish bigotry in Iran’s official curriculum are essential pieces of its radical orientation. This includes its justification for enmity toward Iran’s Arab neighbors, who are depicted unjustly as servants of Jewish and colonial interests.

When the books accuse Saudi Arabia of creating Daesh, they claim this is in service to “Zionism and Global Arrogance.” They present wars in the region as a Zionist conspiracy to incite strife among Muslims, and Arab leaders are portrayed as “ignorant and extremist Muslims” sought out by America, Israel and the West to slander Islam.

Image from a current Iranian state textbook, in a lesson titled “Cultural Attack”. Grade 9, Heaven’s Messages: Islamic Education and Training, p. 105. (Supplied)

The greatest tool nations in and beyond the region can use to combat this incitement would be to redouble efforts at instituting tolerance education and removing any remaining teachings that others could exploit to spread hate, mistrust or extremism.

This includes rooting out vestiges of lessons that present Israel and Zionists as “the enemy” or perpetuate dangerous stereotypes about Jewish people.

It includes ensuring that doctrinal disputes, such as between Sunni and Shiite Islam, are addressed by curricula in ways that recognize and respect important differences while ensuring that minorities are not marginalized by educational messages that could lead to recruitment by extremists or violence from within either community.

And it includes teaching that America, Europe and non-believers worldwide are potential friends and partners, not enemies of Islam per se.

Of course, effectively teaching tolerance can never be a one-way street. America, Israel, and all nations must do more to teach all kinds of tolerance as well, and that should include much greater tolerance toward Muslims, toward Arabs, and toward Palestinians and their legitimate aspirations for statehood as well.

It means teaching our young people to be not only patriots but also global citizens, and that humanity’s future depends upon our collaboration across political and religious boundaries to address shared challenges.


* David Andrew Weinberg is Washington Director for International Affairs at the Anti-Defamation League. Twitter: @DavidAWeinberg

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Lebanon PM hopes potential Pope Francis visit will jumpstart government formation

Lebanon PM hopes potential Pope Francis visit will jumpstart government formation
Updated 37 min 58 sec ago

Lebanon PM hopes potential Pope Francis visit will jumpstart government formation

Lebanon PM hopes potential Pope Francis visit will jumpstart government formation
  • Pontiff calls for end to political deadlock as Prime Minister-designate meets other Italian leaders in Rome on Thursday
  • “The Vatican knows very well who is and who is not obstructing the government formation process,” Hariri says

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is hoping a potential visit from Pope Francis to his fractured country will help political forces put aside their differences and finally form a government. 

Hariri met with the pope in the Vatican on Thursday, along with other Italian leaders.

“The Vatican knows very well who is and who is not obstructing the government formation process,” said Hariri, who has been unable to form a government of non-partisan specialists in Lebanon since his appointment on Oct. 22.

Pope Francis confirmed he would visit crisis-hit Lebanon but only after its fractious politicians can agree on a new government.

Hariri has been in disagreement with President Michel Aoun and his political team, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), for months over naming Christian ministers. Aoun has insisted on having the blocking third in the government.

It was a quick visit to Italy but Hariri was very busy. He also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for relations with states. While in Rome, Hariri held meetings with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Luigi Di Maio, the country’s foreign minister.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said: “The pope met alone with Hariri for about 30 minutes and wanted to reaffirm that he is close to the Lebanese people, who are enduring extreme hardship and instability.”

The pope hoped, according to Bruni, that “with the help of the international community, Lebanon will be able to once again be the land of gathering, coexistence, and pluralism.” He stressed that “all political forces have the responsibility to urgently commit to all what benefits the country.”

After his meetings, Hariri said Pope Francis “was aware of the current problems in Lebanon and was understanding and encouraging that we can form a government. He also expressed his keenness to visit Lebanon, but only after the government is formed. This is a message to the Lebanese that we must form a government so that all powers and countries come together to help us.”

Hariri accused Hezbollah and the FPM, without explicitly naming them, of obstructing the formation of a new government.

“The dispute in Lebanon today is over two economic points of view,” Hariri said. “The first of which wants to have power over everything in the country, from the banking sector to the productive sector and telecommunications, under the pretext that they want to control it. The other team believes in a free economy and in communicating with all the world and not just with one, two, or three countries.

“We want a free economy and we want to work with the US, Europe, China, and Russia against a team that only wants to work with one side. There is a Lebanese group that supports the latter.”

Hariri stressed that the situation in Lebanon “is very bad, and forming a government will stop this collapse. There are those who are trying to prevent us from stopping this collapse in the first place because they want Lebanon to collapse so that they can stay in politics.”

Hariri indirectly criticized Aoun, saying: “Suggesting that I traveled abroad for the purpose of tourism offends the countries that I visit. Maybe they are on a tourist trip in the Baabda Palace.”

The one-on-one meeting between the pope and Hariri on Thursday was preceded by a meeting on Wednesday between Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rai and Gebran Bassil in Bkerke. 

Bassil implicitly declared after the meeting: “If Christ abandoned his message 2,000 years ago, there would be no Christians today. He bore witness to the truth, and we will continue to bear witness to the truth whatever the cost. We are sure that the cost is high, but we know that the truth will win in the end.”

Bassil’s statement was slammed on social media by his opponents, who criticized him for likening himself to Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile, Aoun reprimanded security services about how they dealt with the FPM supporters who accompanied the Mount Lebanon state prosecutor, Judge Ghada Aoun, when she raided the Mecattaf money exchange company on Wednesday.

The media bureau of the Baabda Palace said: “Aoun stressed the importance of respecting freedom of expression while protecting public and private property and not attacking them, as well as the importance of understanding the pain of the citizens, especially as they have lost their money and deposits. The security forces must maintain security peacefully in accordance with the laws in force and avoid repeating what happened.”

Caretaker Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmy said: “The internal security forces acted within the scope of policing and they did not attack private and public property.”

Judge Ghada Aoun, who defied the decision of the Supreme Judicial Council and the discriminatory public prosecutor to dismiss her from investigating a case related to financial transfers abroad, took computers and documents from the Mecattaf company office. She put them in her private car before leaving amid the support of FPM supporters and the astonishment of the judicial body and public opinion.

Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces party, blamed the FPM and said: “Protecting the rights of Christians cannot be done by attacking and destroying private companies. Fighting corruption cannot be done by anonymizing the perpetrator in the electricity sector, communications, and customs, and at illegal crossings, nor can it be done by practicing clientelism in the state through discretionary and unjust methods.”

US formally excludes Turkey from F-35 consortium 

US formally excludes Turkey from F-35 consortium 
Updated 22 April 2021

US formally excludes Turkey from F-35 consortium 

US formally excludes Turkey from F-35 consortium 
  • Move comes after Turkish purchase of Russian missile defense system
  • Russia-Turkey relationship remains unsteady following Ankara backing for Ukraine

ANKARA: The US has reportedly informed Turkey of its formal exclusion from the new F-35 consortium agreement.  

The long-awaited decision comes as little surprise, following Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft weapons system, amid fears over its compatibility with the F-35 and its possible use for Moscow to obtain intelligence on NATO members.  

Turkish companies are expected to fulfill commitments to manufacturing thousands of parts for the F-35 program until next year, but Ankara will no longer be able to obtain the aircraft. 

Turkey now faces a decision over its direction in terms of military procurement, with relations with Moscow complicated by the latest standoff between Ankara and Kremlin over Ukraine. 

Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat and chairman of the Istanbul-based Center for Economics and Foreign Policy (EDAM), told Arab News: “Exclusion from the F-35 program has two important consequences. One is obviously about the companies that have until now participated in the manufacturing process of the F-35s. There is no going back because the manufacturing process shifted away from Turkey to other countries.”

The other consequence, he said, concerned the Turkish airforce and Ankara’s deterrence power without the acquisition of the fifth-generation aircraft. 

“There is no real, tangible way to replace the F-35s with another such platform. The only commercially available fifth-generation platforms that could potentially replace them is the Russian Su-57, and the Chinese (Chengdu J-20) but both of them will create more complications given that they are not NATO-interoperable, and it would be considered a signal that Turkey is distancing itself further away from the West,” Ulgen added. 

In February, Turkey hired a Washington-based lobbying firm to attempt to orchestrate a return to the F-35 program with a six-month contract, claiming that its removal was not fair. 

The lobbyists were also expected to get back money Ankara paid to buy over 100 of the jets, but as yet nothing has come of this.  

“Turkey could work on creating the conditions for its return to the F-35 program, which will require an elaborate negotiation with the US. If that is not possible, and if CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) sanctions are not lifted, Turkey could create its own domestic fighter plane (development) program,” Ulgen said.

“So far, there has been no solution for manufacturing (an) engine for that potential plan. Secondly, even if that problem is solved, Turkey can only acquire a sizeable number of these airplanes — realistically speaking — in a timeframe of between 2025 and 2030, which means that Turkey’s air superiority will be diminished given that many countries in the region have started to require fifth-generation planes. It will be a strategic gap if it is not addressed properly.”

On Thursday, Selcuk Bayraktar, executive of Turkish drone producer Baykar, and son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that his firm had accelerated its National Unmanned Combat Aircraft project. 

It remains to be seen to what part Russia will play in future Turkish military procurement. 

As Ankara voices support for Kiev amid Russian military reinforcement along its border with Ukraine, Turkey’s defense ties with Moscow might become unsustainable in the short run. 

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said on Wednesday the Kremlin will scrutinize the prospect of military and technical cooperation with Turkey if Ankara delivers drones to Ukraine. 

That was triggered by a report in Turkey’s pro-government Turkiye newspaper claiming that Ankara was ready to sell its weapons and drones to all countries, including Ukraine, following their successful deployment in the recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. 

Ulgen said the future of military and industrial cooperation with Russia remains clouded, with Borisov’s statement showing how difficult it would be to rely on Moscow as a safe partner. 

“It also demonstrates the differences between trying to find alternative suppliers outside of the NATO framework. Unlike some NATO partners like Canada, which halt supplies of some specific materials and don’t go beyond that, Russia is trying to gain and use leverage over Turkey, and put pressure on Turkey’s foreign policy positions through its supply lines to the military,” he said. 

Last week, Canada canceled permits for high-tech arms exports to Turkey over the “credible evidence” that the Canadian technology, as an end-user, was diverted to the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh last year. 

Gunmen kill two Guard members in Iran’s Kurdish area

Gunmen kill two Guard members in Iran’s Kurdish area
Updated 22 April 2021

Gunmen kill two Guard members in Iran’s Kurdish area

Gunmen kill two Guard members in Iran’s Kurdish area
  • Guard members killed two gunmen and wounded few accomplices in shootout near Kurdish town of Marivan
  • Iran’s Kurdish area has seen occasional fighting between Iranian forces and Kurdish separatists

TEHRAN: Unknown gunmen suspected of terrorism killed two members of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, the official IRNA news agency reported on Thursday.
The Guard members also killed two gunmen and wounded several of their accomplices in the Wednesday night shootout near Kurdish town of Marivan, near the border of Iraq.
It said other several other members of the terrorist group fled the site of the clash.
The report identified the fallen Guard members as Osman Jahani and Nasser Amini without giving their rank. It said they were buried on Thursday in Marvian cemetery, which suggested they were local forces of the Guard.
Iran’s Kurdish area has seen occasional fighting between Iranian forces and Kurdish separatists, as well as militants linked to the extremist Daesh group.
In December, unknown gunmen killed three Iranian border guards in the Kurdish area near the country’s northwestern border with Turkey. In July, Iran said “terrorists” killed two people and wounded a third person in an attack in a Kurdish area. In June, Iran attacked bases of Iranian Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

New definition of anti-Semitism that accepts criticism of Israel gathers support

New definition of anti-Semitism that accepts criticism of Israel gathers support
Updated 22 April 2021

New definition of anti-Semitism that accepts criticism of Israel gathers support

New definition of anti-Semitism that accepts criticism of Israel gathers support
  • Jewish Declaration on Anti-Semitism challenges International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition
  • ‘Just like every other state, Israel needs to be subject to criticism,’ Jewish professor tells Arab News

ATLANTA: More than 200 Jewish-studies scholars and academics have endorsed a definition of anti-Semitism that accepts criticism of Israel.

The Jewish Declaration on Anti-Semitism (JDA) challenges the definition proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and adopted by the US government.

The IHRA’s definition treats criticism of Israel, including calls to boycott the country or its products, as anti-Semitic.

The JDA, however, considers valid criticism of Israel and Zionism as a legitimate form of protected speech, and does not consider the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the country as anti-Semitic.

Pro-Palestinian rights activists say equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism is an attempt to muzzle discussion about Palestinian suffering.

Prof. Barry Trachtenberg, a scholar of Jewish studies and anti-Semitism at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, told Arab News that he signed the JDA because he thinks enacting a law to protect Jews specifically reinforces the perception of Jewish exceptionalism.

“The pro-Israel crowd wants to prevent any criticism of Israel as entirely anti-Semitic. Obviously this isn’t correct because Israel is a political entity, and just like every other state it needs to be subject to criticism,” he said.

“Israel doesn’t represent the entire Jewish people, but even if it did, because it’s a political entity it should be subjected to valid criticism.”

Joshua Cooper — a mathematics professor at the University of South Carolina, and a member of the US-based group Jewish Voice for Peace — told Arab News that the JDA is “mostly a positive development in countering the harmful definition of the IHRA.”

However, he expressed concern about the JDA’s “vague” Article 10, which opposes “denying the right of Jews in the State of Israel to exist and flourish, collectively and individually, as Jews, in accordance with the principle of equality.”

Cooper said: “If someone believes that the radical Jewish settlers living in stolen homes and terrorizing Arabs … should leave, is this an anti-Semitic stance? Surely not.”

Iymen Chehade, a history professor and pro-Palestinian human rights activist in Chicago, told Arab News that the JDA’s definition is a step up from the IHRA’s.

However, he said the JDA “reinforces the false and misleading idea that Israel and the Palestinians live on the same moral plain.”

He added: “It’s ironic that while the signatories rightfully seek to protect one group, they ignore the rights as well as the suffering of the Palestinians in the process.”

UAE suspends flights from India as COVID-19 cases spike

UAE suspends flights from India as COVID-19 cases spike
Updated 22 April 2021

UAE suspends flights from India as COVID-19 cases spike

UAE suspends flights from India as COVID-19 cases spike
  • India recorded the world's highest daily tally of 314,835 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday
  • Health officials across northern and western India including the capital, New Delhi, said they were in crisis

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates on Thursday suspended all flights from India, including transit passengers, as coronavirus cases in the country spiked to global records.
Some 300 flights a week were operating between the UAE and India before the ban was announced, according to local media, making the air corridor one of the busiest in the world.
"The decision to suspend flights came after studying and evaluating the epidemiological situation in the friendly Republic of India," the General Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement carried on state news agency WAM.
The GCAA said that those coming from India through other countries must stay in that third destination for at least 14 days.
UAE nationals and passengers in private jets are exempt from that requirement.
Cargo flights between the two countries will continue after the ban, which comes into effect on April 25 for a period of 10 days "that can be extended".
"This comes in response to the proactive precautionary and preventive health measures issued by all concerned authorities in the country to limit the spread" of the pandemic, WAM cited authorities as saying.
The UAE is home to some 3.3 million Indians who make up a third of the population - most of them in Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the federation.
India announced Thursday that nearly 315,000 new cases of coronavirus had been recorded during the past 24 hours, in the highest daily toll in the world.
New Delhi sent out warnings that patients could die if oxygen supplies in hospitals were not replenished.
The country's long-underfunded healthcare system is being stretched to the limit by a devastating second wave of the pandemic blamed on a "double mutant" variant and "super-spreader" mass gatherings.