Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

September 2007
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The Muslim World

Killing of Innocent Civilians in Iraq Islamic Scholars Convey Concern
Abu Dhabi


A galaxy of eminent Islamic scholars and preachers, representing various schools of thought, voiced their deep concern over the alarming scale of killings of innocent civilians in Iraq. In a statement issued recently, the scholars denounced the killing of innocent people as well as destruction of mosques, places of worship, homes, and the desecration of the dead in Iraq and elsewhere, describing them as alien to Islam.


Following is the full text of the statement: “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. The statement issued by the Islamic scholars and preachers regarding internecine hostilities in Iraq. All praise be to Allah, the Sustainer of all creation, and may the blessings and salutations be upon the most honorable of all creation, the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), as well as his kin and companions. (We issue the statement) at a time when we are diligently anticipating an end to the enflaming crisis and the ensuing security catastrophe that has plagued Iraqi people of all religious denominations as a result of the occupation. The successive turn of events wherein innocent Iraqis are killed with impunity has only increased a sense of trepidation and despair. A great number of criminals and militias have been enabled to commit cowardly acts of destruction that have brought anguish to thousands of Iraqis.


For this reason, a number of Muslim scholars and spokespersons from various schools of thought have called for the issuance of a statement addressing the escalation of hostilities and the committing of criminal acts. These unlawful acts are carried out in the name of religion both in Iraq or elsewhere under the veil of a religious partisanship”.


The undersigned, therefore, affirm all of the following:

1) The sanctity of human life: God has forbidden the killing of innocent people whether they be Muslim, Christian, or others. All who take life without legitimate justification commit a major crime and an atrocity before God.

2) Islamic doctrine does not allow labeling of any Muslim who prays in the direction of Makkah an infidel. All religious edicts that label members of contrasting schools of thoughts or sections as infidel are entirely invalid and have no basis in Islamic law. Consequently, all blood that is spilt as a result of religious edicts that advocate labeling as infidel is considered a criminal act of murder, violating the sanctity of life that God Himself has consecrated. This position has been previously outlined during the Amman Conference and subsequently ratified by religious scholars from all eight schools of thought.

3) The killing of innocent people, destruction of mosques, places of worship and houses, and the desecration of the dead in Iraq and elsewhere violate all that is sacred. All Islamic schools of thought and sections have nothing to do with those who commit such crimes. We call upon the Islamic Ummah, especially its political leaders, preachers, all concerned parties, and the media to uphold their responsibility by resolving to bring about an end to this violence that puts on the guise of sectarian violence as well as to defuse the situation before it is too late. We must not create an opportunity for our enemies to foster conflict and further hostilities. (Courtesy HA/ IINA)

Burda Competition
Abu Dhabi: (IINA):


The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development will organize for the fourth consecutive year, the Burda competition on the properties and characteristics of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Oweis said the annual event, which marks the birthday of Prophet Muhammad aims at honoring talent, creative poets, calligraphers and plastic artists in the Islamic World. “The award was launched to promote the tolerant teachings of Islam and highlight the role Islamic values play in life. It is a tribute to personalities who serve Islam through their dedication and gifted talents,’’ he added. Organizers say the competition is open for all gifted persons in poetry, calligraphy and plastic arts from inside and outside the country. The theme of the eulogy competition revolves around the way of life of the Prophet and his attributes and peculiarities. The Organizing committee has set November 15, 2007 as the deadline for receiving entries.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque to Open in Ramadan
Abu Dhabi: (IINA):

Another star will be added to the galaxy of the world’s most beautiful mosques with the opening of Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi during the holy month of Ramadan. The largest mosque of the UAE and the white pearl of the Gulf, the mosque, which will fulfill the dream of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Father of the Nation, has been completed in 12 years at an estimated cost of Dh 2.167 billion. It is considered one of the 10 largest mosques in the world.


With a capacity to accommo-date 40,000 worshippers, the mosque was built with the help of 38 renowned contracting companies. More than 3,000 workers took part in the construction work. The mosque has four minarets on the four corners of the mosque with a height of about 107 meters each. The mosque consists of 57 domes covering the outside yards, main and side entrances. The main prayer hall of the mosque is expected to be opened during the final days of the month of Ramadan. The largest chandelier having 10-meter diameter and 15- meter height will be installed in the main dome. It is the biggest chandelier in the world. Another feature, which will help the mosque to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, is its grand carpet measuring 5,627 square meters in area. It is the largest in the world.



Man Has No Right to Subjugate His Wife
Makkah


The Imam and Khateeb of the Haram Mosque, Sheikh Saleh bin Humeid has said that Islam requires from every Muslim to behave properly and decently with his wife. “A man’s guardianship (Qawama) over his wife (as described in the Holy Qur’an) does not mean any kind of subjugation or injustice or belittling or depriving of her rights. On the other hand, it warrants decent behavior and guaranteeing of her legitimate rights,” he said.


In his Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque recently, Sheikh Saleh bin Humeid, who is also the president of the Shoura Council, asserted that husband and wife are guardians in their own domains. A man has the responsibility to look after his wife and children while the woman has to take care of the household affairs. “Both should behave with mutual respects, compassion and mercy. The husband should not deprive her of due rights or role as his life partner. Mutual understanding, consul-tation and dignified treatment are essential for the success of family life,” he observed.

1.5 Million Pilgrims for Haj
Makkah


Foreign pilgrims will start arriving in the Kingdom on October 22 (Shawwal 10) for next Haj. About 1.5 million pilgrims from all over the world are expected to perform Haj this year. This was disclosed by Hatem Qadi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Haj.He said that all the concerned departments and agencies are striving hard to complete the preparations to enable the pilgrims to perform their ritual in ease and comfort. “All the arrangements for the transportation, accommodation, health care and guidance of Haj pilgrims are underway in full swing. The ministry has issued specific guidelines to all Haj missions abroad with regard to the dos and don’ts by pilgrims during the Haj, with a focus on avoiding rush at Jamrat, the phenomenon of squatting on the sidewalks of roads in Mina and other holy sites and carrying baggage,” he said.



New Mosque in Munich
(Reported by Omer Zakieldin)
Dubai


The city centre of Munich will soon have a 4,500 sq metre mosque that will be built facing a Catholic church, said the head of a cultural committee that works to strengthen the ties of the Muslims with other communities in Germany.


Heinrich Klier, president of the Munich-based Cultural Co-operation Committee, claimed this would be the first time a European city will have a mosque in its centre, signifying the acceptance of Islam by the people of Munich. “There are more than 40 mosques in Munich for the nearly 100,000 Muslims living in the city. Only two of these mosques are in the main parts of the city. The new mosque will be the first in the inner city. Its presence will change the perception of Islam in Munich, telling everybody that Islam now belongs to the city and has become part of it,” explained Klier.


The construction of the mosque as a symbol of integration was the reason why the Mayor of Munich and its city council so strongly backed the project, Klier asserted.


“Mayor Christian Ude gave his ardent support towards the project and has managed to overcome resistance from conservative groups opposed to the idea,” he noted.


The mosque will be located a five-minute distance from Munich’s railway station in the old city quarter of Sending on a square opposite a Catholic church. A Turkish Islamic Centre is piloting the project to construct the mosque together with an administration building, restaurant, shops and a place for funeral service. There will be a space for some 440 worshippers, with the possibility of extending the space to allow prayer for up to 1,000 people on special religious occasions.

Chinese Family Embraces Islam
Dubai


Three members of a Chinese family converted to Islam, last fortnight in the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai. Aisha Al Kash, director of the Family Guidance in the Department, said that the family converted to Islam at the hands of the first guide, Abdul Hakim Mian. All family members work in the Chinese Dragon Trade Center in Alwargah area in Dubai. Kash added that the family changed their names to Arabic names, head of the family called himself Moses, the mother called herself Asmaa and the daughter Fatima Al Zahraa. She pointed out that the they came to the department with a sincere desire to be Muslims after they had learnt about the principles and concepts of Islam through attending lectures organised by the department in Chinese language in some mosques and in the Chinese Dragon center, in addition to books that introduce Islam to non-Muslims.


(Contributed by Muduvai Hidayath, muduvaihidayath @gmail.com)

Israeli Forces Commit 33,144 Violations in 2007
Ramallah


A recent report monitoring the Israeli violations against the Palestinian people indicated that Israeli occupation forces have killed 32 Palestinians and injured 113 others during July 2007, in 2, 214 violations. The report, which was prepared by the Palestinian National Information Center (PNIC) pointed out that between 1 and 13 July, Israeli forces used its military arsenal against the Palestinian civilian population, in addition to exercising arbitrary measures and collective punishment policies against them, including the constant closures and economic blockade, shelling of civilian population centers and incursions. With this report, Israel would have committed 33,144 violations since early 2007. During these violations, Israeli forces killed 198 Palestinians and injured 1002 as well as established 3,312 roadblocks, arrested 3, 316 citizens and expropriated 85 times Palestinian-owned lands for the sake of constructing the Apartheid Wall, while settlers assaulted Palestinians during this period 182 times.


The report added that Israeli forces opened fire 222 times against citizens and their properties, killing 32 and injuring 113 others. Israeli forces also launched 391 arrest campaigns, in which 668 citizens were arrested. In addition, Israeli forces installed 409 military roadblocks and checkpoints according to the report.

One Million Food Baskets for Ramadan
Algiers: (IINA)


Algeria’s Minister of National Solidarity Jamal Walad Abbas said that the government will distribute more than one million food baskets among the poor families. “The government has allocated 1.2 billion centime for distribution of food baskets, which will be carried out one week before the forthcoming holy month of Ramadan,” he said. According to the minister, a total of 450 restaurants will be opened for giving free food for the poor and the passersby during the holy month. “The government will also distribute 1.5 million bags, uniforms and shoes for the poor students on the occasion of the upcoming new academic year,” he added.

Kuwait's Iftar Projects
Kuwait: (IINA)


Kuwait’s Zakat House announced that it will implement Iftar (breaking-fast) Project during the forthcoming holy month of Ramadan in 24 countries. These included Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Bahrain and Syria. Abdullah Haidar, head of Zakat House’s Management for Activities Abroad, said that as many as 210,000 Iftar meals were distributed among the people in 31 countries, and that amounted to cost a total of KD 78,698. The Iftar Project is being supervised by several charity organizations which has strong cooperation with the Zakat House, he said. Haidar urged all Kuwaitis, who want to contribute to this charity mission, to send their donations to the headquarters of the Zakat House at Salimiya in Kuwait City or any branches of the house, pointing out that a meal costs only 500 Kuwaiti fills.

Imams Barred to Accept Qur'an from Outside
Doha


Qatar’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has directed Imams and Muezzins associated with mosques in the Gulf State not to accept any copies of the Holy Qur’an and other religious books from outside sources without approval from the Ministry. This is part of various steps being taken by the Ministry to ensure that no copies of the holy book with any kind of mistakes are circulated in the country, Al Sharq newspaper reported quoting Muhammad bin Hamad Ajlan Al Kuwari, director of the Inspection Section at the Ministry. Al Sharq had published a report earlier quoting a Qatari national who said he had come across copies of the Holy Qur’an in a mosque with errors in the index. He came to know about it when he witnessed an argument between the Imam of the mosque and a worshipper who came to pray in the mosque. This man pointed out to the Imam that some chapters were missing in the index in a copy of the holy book available in that mosque.

Malaysia Bans Daily Over Jesus Picture
Kuala Lumpur

Muslim-majority Malaysia slapped a one-month ban on a local daily for commissioning an offensive caricature of Jesus Christ clutching a cigarette and can of beer. “[Daily] Makkal Osai has contravened a permit condition… of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984,” said the Internal Security Ministry in a statement. It said that the Tamil-language daily violated the act banning the publication of articles or pictures that could disturb public security, harmony or morality in the country. The caricature was commissioned on the front page with a caption quoting Christ as saying: “If someone repents for his mistakes, then heaven awaits them.”

Jordan Forms Islamic Scholars' Panel
Amman: (IINA)


Jordan has formed a committee of 100 Islamic scholars to address through dialogue “critical issues” affecting Muslims around the world. The committee, called “Salam (peace) 100,” aims to “enable peaceful debate and discussion, using the power of ideas as a means of calming conflict and finding a resolution to problems of the gravest importance.” Controversies such as the 2005 Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), have “exposed the lack of intellectual leadership” in the Muslim world. This “must be addressed with the utmost urgency to prevent further rifts in human understanding. The committee proposes to conquer immediate and future fears and misapprehensions, which are so easily exploited by extremists of every kind.”


The committee is headed by the uncle of King Abdullah II, Hassan bin Talal. It groups Muslim figures from around the world.

Allah is Beautiful Name for God
Amsterdam: (IINA)


A Roman Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands has proposed that people of all faiths refer to God as Allah to foster understanding, stoking an already heated debate on religious tolerance in a country with one million Muslims. Bishop Tiny Muskens, from the southern diocese of Breda, told Dutch television that God did not mind what he was named and that in Indonesia, where Muskens spent eight years, priests used the word Allah while celebrating Mass. “Allah is a very beautiful word for God,” he observed. A survey in the Netherlands’ biggest-selling newspaper De Telegraaf found 92 per cent of the more than 4,000 people polled disagreed with the bishop’s view.

First Mosque Opened in Pretoria
Pretoria: (IINA)

After 14 years of praying in cramped conditions in a high school hall, the Eagle Park Muslim community in Pretoria finally has a mosque to call its own. Following years of prayers and hard work, the growing Muslim community welcomes the construction of the facility in 11th Avenue. “We started the project less than two years ago with the digging of the foundation and we were worried that it would never finish in time,” says resident imam, Sheikh Faizel Lillah, leader of the new Masjidul Kareem. The mosque is named after its benefactor, Ebrahiem Kareem. Kareem lives in Pretoria and has opened several other mosques across the country. According to the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), the whole community should be thanked for uniting to see the religious institution come to fruition, especially before the month of holy month of Ramadan in September. Masjidul Kareem can accommodate up to 500 people and the mosque committee ensures that the mosque will be fully functional. In addition, the mosque also has a room for women to pray.

US Muslim Outrage: Listing of Terror Co-conspirators
Washington: (IINA)


The listing of some 300 Muslim organizations and individuals as un-indicted co-conspirators in a pending terror-related trial has infuriated U.S. Muslims who accused the Justice Department of smearing the entire community. “The Fifth Amendment was violated because the public naming of the un-indicted co-conspirators damaged their reputation, good name, and economic well-being,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement. The Justice Department has announced the list in the trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, once America’s biggest Muslim charity. The founders and top officers of the charity are accused of channeling at least $12.4 million to Hamas, a Palestinian resistance group. The 42-count indictment alleges that the foundation supported Hamas through donations to charity committees and other organizations in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “They think that being related to a terrorism case means we are terrorists,” said Parvez Ahmed, CAIR’s board chairman. He added that the list has already resulted in death threats and hate mail against his group.

CNN Traces “God's Warriors”
New York

From fervent Christian believers to orthodox Muslims and devout Jews, a new three-segment CNN documentary examines religious fundamen-talism among Christians, Muslims and Jews. “I’m not interested in drumming up false fears or falsely allaying fears,” Christiane Amanpour, says host and reporter of the “God’s Warriors” series. Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, has interviewed faith leaders, followers and critics in six countries and four continents on the existence of the super-faithful in the three religions. In the first episode, “God’s Jewish Warriors,” she chronicles the rise of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian land after the 1967 war. She also shows how Jewish religious activists, supported by American money, consider these territories as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. In the last two-hour segment on “God’s Christian Warriors”, the veteran reporter sits down with American Rev. Jerry Falwell, the influential evangelical leader’s last interview before his death in May 2007. Amanpour, raised in Tehran by a Catholic mother and a Muslim father and married to an American Jew, says one of her aims is to show similarities between extremist groups belonging to the three faiths.

Malnutrition in “Bread Basket”
Nairobi: (IINA)


More than 600,000 people in war-ravaged southern Somalia are suffering from severe malnutrition in a part of country that used to be considered its “bread basket”, according to an aid agency report. The Food Security Analysis Unit, which groups several relief agencies, published an assessment of nutrition in Somalia’s Lower and Middle Shabelle region. “Nutrition ... has deteriorated dramatically since March in the ... region, which is generally the most resilient and the bread basket of the country,” the report said.

British TV Documentary: Islam's Story of Jesus
London: (IINA)


A forthcoming British TV documentary will portray Jesus as Muslims see him. With the Holy Qur’an as a main source and drawing on interviews with scholars and historians, the documentary explores how Islam honors Jesus as a prophet but not as the son of God. According to the Qur’an the crucifixion was a divine illusion. Instead of dying on the cross, Jesus was rescued by angels and raised to heaven. The one-hour special, commissioned and narrated by Melvyn Bragg, is thought to be the first time the subject has been dealt with on British television, Guardian reported.


Lord Bragg said: “I was fascinated by the idea ... Jesus was such a prominent figure in Islam but most people don’t know that.”


He denies the program will divide communities. Raised as an Anglican, he describes the documentary as thoughtful and well researched. “I hope it will provoke among Muslims the feeling they are included in television.” The director and producer, Irshad Ashraf, said the film was an attempt to shift the focus away from extremism to the spiritual side of Islam. “Jesus is loved and respected by Muslims and he’s one of the most important prophets in our religion.” Philip Lewis, the Bishop of Bradford’s aide on inter-faith matters, urged believers on both sides to take advantage of a “worthwhile contribution to understanding a complex issue”.

Citizenship Classes in UK Mosques
London


A pilot program funded by the British government is introducing citizenship classes at mosques in the racially and religiously tense town of Bradford to educate Muslim teens about basic duties and shield them against extremism, despite objections from some to singling out Muslims. “The impact this teaching could have is quite considerable,” says Jane Houghton, a spokeswoman for the Department of Communities and Local Government. She said nearly 100,000 school-age Muslim children attend religious classes at mosques across the country daily.


The project, called Nasiha (Arabic for guidance), is based on a curriculum that uses the Qur’an and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) to answer questions about daily life. The 100,000-pound program has enlisted ten imams to teach the curriculum initially in six Bradford mosques and one Islamic school. There are 400,000 Muslim students in Britain, home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2 million.

Malaysia Eases Rules on Islamic Finance
Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia will ease its rules to allow all banks to do Islamic banking business in foreign currencies, the central bank announced. “Non-Islamic commercial banks and investment banks licensed by the government will now be allowed to do Islamic banking business as the country aims to position itself as a global hub for the sector,” central bank chief Akhtar Aziz said in a statement.


“We want and aim to develop Malaysia into a centre for the origination, distribution and trading of sukuks (Islamic bonds) to provide further impetus to the development of an increasingly vibrant and progressive bond market in Malaysia as well as in the Asian region,” Zeti said. However, according to Islamic finance rules, interest payments and profits earned from alcohol, pornography, pork or gambling are still banned.


Muslim-dominated Malaysia has the world’s largest Islamic bond market, accounting for about $47 billion (two-thirds of total Islamic bonds outstanding worldwide). Its Islamic finance industry is worth $38 billion in assets ranging from stocks and insurance to home loans and pawn-broking. Islamic banking assets also make up over 12 percent of total bank assets, the central bank said.

Peace Jirga Calls for Joint Efforts to Combat Terror
Kabul

Afghanistan must work with Pakistan to defeat militants, President Hamid Karzai has told hundreds of tribal leaders at a key peace summit. The Afghan leader was opening the three-day “Peace Jirga” (tribal council) on combating the Taleban and Al Qaeda, in the Afghan capital Kabul. He told 700 Afghan and Pakistani delegates of their “common destiny”. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who was to attend, had pulled out citing other commitments. On behalf of Musharraf, Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz addressed the conference.


Karzai was upbeat as he opened the Jirga in a huge tent, saying it brought together “brother nations”. “I am confident, I believe... if both Afghanistan and Pakistan put their hands together, we will eliminate in one day oppression against both nations,” he said. “If the problem is from the Afghanistan side, we should seek ways to solve it. If the problem is in Pakistan, we should find solutions for it. Our future and our destiny is intertwined,” he said. Although the Afghan president did not mention the recent kidnapping of a group of South Koreans, he denounced the kidnapping of women. “Never in Afghanistan’s history has anyone kidnapped women. Even robbers would back off when they found women in a caravan, respecting their dignity and honor.”


Shaukat Aziz welcomed President Karzai’s comments. “Terrorism, militancy, the violent creed preached by Al Qaeda, extremism and Talebanization represent pain, intolerance and backwardness in our societies and a phenomenon that has maligned our great and noble faith of Islam. They are not the future of Pakistan or Afghanistan. We must fight these dark forces with determination and resolve,” BBC quoted him as saying.


Afghan officials often accuse Pakistan of harboring Taleban and Al Qaeda fighters, but Islamabad has strongly denied the charge, pointing out that it has arrested several senior militant leaders and is battling its own Taleban threat in its tribal areas.


Around 175 Pakistani officials, politicians and tribal elders attended the Jirga. However, tribal elders from Waziristan, the Pakistani region from which much of the instability stems, refused to attend. The idea of a joint Afghan-Pakistan Peace Jirga was first suggested by Karzai during his talks with US President George W Bush last September. Supporters of the Taleban say talks that do not include them could be futile.

Indonesia to Build Tsunami Museum in Aceh
Jakarta


Indonesia will build a $7.4 million museum in Aceh province in memory of about 170,000 people who died there in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The museum in the provincial capital Banda Aceh will feature a building that looks like a traditional house elevated on stilts, said Ridwan Kamil, the architect who won a contest to design the museum. The names of Acehnese who died in the tsunami will be inscribed on a chimney-like atrium, he said. The museum will be a symbol of the Acehnese’ strength in facing a disaster of such magnitude and the site will also serve as an escape hill in the event of another tsunami.


The building will feature a recreation of the tsunami’s passage and a memorial hall equipped with flat panel computer screens to allow visitors to browse information related to the disaster, he said. The government has allocated $7.4 million for the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. On December 26, 2004, giant waves triggered by one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded pulverized villages along Indian Ocean shores, killing or leaving missing about 230,000 people. Aceh is the Indonesian province worst hit by the tsunami with some 170,000 killed or missing.

British Muslims Seek Islamic Books from Indonesia
Jakarta


British Muslims want Islamic books in Indonesia to be translated into English to enable them to learn about all the aspects of Islam in Indonesia, a member of the Indonesia-United Kingdom Islamic Advisory Group said. “Many British Muslims ask for such translation,” Prof Nasarudin Umar said. He said the requests had arisen as many British Muslims thought Islam, as practiced in Indonesia was agreeable to people in Britain. Many Islamic institutions or organizations were looking for Islamic religious trainers or teachers from Indonesia. The Indonesia-UK Islamic Advisory Group is a body established jointly by the governments of Indonesia and Britain to develop dialogues aiming to increase understanding and tolerance between Islam and the West.


Indonesia and Britain each have seven representatives in the group.

Australian Fund for Indonesia's Islamic Schools
Jakarta: (IINA)


Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Bill Farmer announced three-Australian government-funded initiatives worth over A$11 million to improve the quality of education in Indonesia’s Islamic schools. The package of initiatives is funded under the five-year, A$30 million (RP234 billion) Learning Assistance Program in Islamic Schools (LAPIS) through the Australian Government’s international development agency, Aus AID. The new initiatives aim to improve the English language teaching capabilities of 750 Junior High School teachers, to build the capacity of three Islamic universities to design and deliver quality degree programs for primary school teachers, and to promote equal learning opportunities for boys and girls in East Java, NTB and South Sulawesi. “The new initiatives are another step forward for the Indonesia-Australia education partnership, and for the improvement of Islamic education,” Farmer said adding, “we are keen to continue to support Islamic schools, given the important role they play in Indonesia’s education system, particularly for poor students in remote areas.” There are nearly 40,000 registered Islamic schools in Indonesia (about 20 percent of all schools), which educate about six million students.