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The News in Brief

Tuesday, November 17
Mufti of Georgia condemns the terrorist attacks

“No believers are pleased when such crimes are committed in the name of Islam,” said the Mufti of Georgia. “Islam is not a violent religion; Islam condemns all forms of terrorism and violence, we condemn terror acts and no believers are pleased when such crimes are committed in the name of Islam,” Beglar Qamashidze, the Mufti of Georgia, said when commenting on the Paris attacks.

According to the Mufti, Christians also kill children in terrorist attacks (though he did not provide examples of these crimes), but this does not mean that their religion condones such violence. “There are some radicals who kill children and women,” he said.

He said that holy books forbid the killing of innocent people and the Koran is no exception.

Head of Georgian Church: Terrorism ‘has nothing to do with religion’

In his Sunday sermon, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, paid tribute to the victims of the Paris terror attacks, and said that terrorism “has nothing to do with Islam”.

“There is a struggle between good and evil,” he said. “This [struggle] has always been ongoing, but it has been intensified know that a plane was blown up and we also extend our sympathy to the French people – there were lots of casualties [in the Paris terror attacks]. We pray for them. There are people who relate these [terrorist acts] to Islam, but in fact religion has nothing to do with it; a person expresses their evil will.

“Let the victims rest in peace and may God give health to those who were wounded. We extend our condolences to the families of the victims,” the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church said in his sermon in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.

In a statement on November 14, the Georgian Muslims’ Directorate condemned the terrorist acts. “This is a crime directed not only against the French people, but also against the humanity, which has nothing to do with any of the religion and which has no justification whatsoever,” it said.

456 internally displaced families offered new Tbilisi homes

Hundreds of people displaced from Georgia’s breakaway regions, who were forced to flee their homes and live in sub-standard collective centres, have received new housing through a Government initiative to re-home vulnerable citizens.

This week, 456 internally displaced families found themselves on a list of people who were granted new homes in newly built apartment blocks in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

Of these 330 flats were located at the Olympic village in Tbilisi, built for the European Youth Olympic Festival that took place in the capital last summer.

Minister of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees Sozar Subari said his agency would release an additional list naming 105 other families who would be gifted new apartments before the end of this year.

Subari said the rehoming project would continue in 2016 too; next year plans were to re-home 600 other IDPs.

The Government-led rehousing project was launched on November 1, 2014.

A 2013 United Nations (UN) survey revealed many Georgian IDP collective centres did not meet adequate living standards. To get IDPs into adequate housing, the Georgian Government purchased more than 1,500 houses. These will soon be gifted to eligible families in Georgia’s regional areas.

According to the UN Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), there were up to 206,600 IDPs registered by in Georgia at the end of 2013.

About 45 percent of IDP’s lived in collective centres. Of this, the majority of housing (70 percent) did not meet minimum shelter standards, lacked adequate privacy, lacked access to water, proper insulation and functional sewage systems, stated the Gap analysis of the UN Refugee Agency.

"Our position is clear, in the Gali district, an incident prevention mechanism must be restored," the Minister of European Integration said

The Government of Georgia and the Georgian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum have signed a memorandum of cooperation. The agreement underlines a special place of the local NGO’s in the process of planning, implementing and monitoring the Association Agreement. The Minister of European Integration also has commented on the statement of Karasin, the Russian envoy, which he made at a meeting with UN representatives. Mr. Bakradze noted that it is necessary to come up with joint solutions to the problems along the Abkhaz-Georgian border.
(Rustavi 2)