LONDON: Three Muslims, including a woman were nominated for the United Kingdom’s House of Lords in June. With this the number of Muslims in the upper house of British Parliament has risen to four. Earlier, a member, Lord Yarborough had embraced Islam and taken the name Abdul Mateen.
New members are Abdul Nazeer, Mrs. Polla Minzia Uddin and Waheed Alli. All three belong to Labour Party. Nazeer is the founder of the National Forum of British Muslim Councillors. He is also a member of the Amnesty International. Mrs. Uddin held different positions in the Tower Hamlets and also contested for the European Parliament. Waheed Alli is the co-owner of Planet 24 Television and is a self-confessed homosexual. His assets are worth l0 million sterling pounds. The Conservative Party and the Liberal Democratic Party did not nominate any Muslims.
Al-Nasirah: (IINA): Palestine will soon have its second biggest mosque here to be constructed by Waqf of Shihabuddin with an estimated cost of $ 20 million. It will be a 3-storey mosque on 6600 metres of land with escalator facility, conference hall, classrooms, a close-circuit TV, etc. Daily prayers from Makkah and Madinah will be relayed live in the mosque.
The Waqf of Shihabuddin, an uncle of famous Muslim warrior Salahuddin Ayyubi, goes back to the year 810 AD, when he and his brother, Ameer, took part in the battle of Hittin, and then moved to Al-Nasirah where they eventually died.
Besides two 67-metre minarets, a special 103-metre high tower will be illuminated with a laser beam which will be visible from a distance of 200 kilometres.
Israeli Minister Ariel Sharon had ordered stoppage of the project, but an Israeli court ruled that the Shihabuddin area was an Islamic waqf and construction could be taken up.
LISBON: Prince Kareem Agha Khan, spiritual leader of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims opened an Ismaili centre here last month. President of Portugal Jarge Sampaio stated that the centre would prove beneficial in bringing together Islamic heritage to the Iberian peninsula. The Centre houses offices of charitable Agha Khan Development Network which finances education, health and rural development activities in Asia and Africa.
Portugal has a Ismaili community with several thousand members, most of them those who fled Mozambique during civil war.
Karim is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims who number around 15 million in 25 countries and presides over vast family fortunes. He possesses a degree in Islamic history from Harvard University. According to Reuters.
Incidentally, the Portugal Parliament has taken up a bill for religious freedom and formally guarantees respect and equality for religions.
Researchers in Spain have found that kids who watched more television are more likely to suffer injuries as they imitate stunts. This is the outcome of replies received from parents of 221 children who were admitted to the children’s’ ward of Santa Ana Hospital in Motril in Spain. They filled out questionnaires on family viewing habits.
The study found that the risk of injury rose by 34 per cent for every hour of TV watching. These findings are contained in the latest issue of the Journal Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. “ We believe that the depiction of a distorted reality on the TV screen which the child perceives as being real, may be of some help in explaining our findings.” It said the parents should participate in the choice of children to determine the programmes to be watched. “Without any doubt the effect of TV on its viewers is directly related to the number of hours spent in the watching per day and the content of the programmes watched,” the study noted. According to the study’s estimates, an average child today, upon reaching the age of 70, will have spent between seven and 10 years watching TV.
BERLIN: The Uighurs and the Mongol Muslims of Tibet have formed Popular committees for East Turkestan, with the objective of fighting for the religious freedom, to oppose discrimination and oppression from the Chinese authorities. A report by the committee reveals that 3800 Muslims of these ethnic origin were detained by the Chinese authorities. In another report, it records 18,000 Uighur Muslims being detained in Xinjiang province of China. The report revealed that the Uighur Muslims had represented 3.7 per cent of the total population of Tibet in 1949, but now they remain less than half that number.
ST. GEORGE: The Islamic Students Society (ISS) in the Caribbean island state of Grenada has embarked on a project to establish an Islamic centre, which will include a Mosque, a cultural centre, an Islamic library, an Islamic science school for adults and a centre to train Imams.
The society, which was established by 30 Muslim students at the American Medical College here, has already bought a piece of land for the project.
Islam came to this small 122 square mile island as early as 17th century with the arrival of Black Africans who were kidnapped and enslaved by the European colonialists. Muslims revolted against the degrading conditions of slavery and improved their living, but were eventually defeated and liquidated in a savage counter attack by the colonial forces.
The Grenada government has recognized the Muslim group, and provided them with a piece of land for the construction of an Islamic centre. (IINA)
MAKKAH : A 16-Volume Encyclopedia has been published in Makkah Al Mukarramah on the graceful manners of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). The compilation which took nine years, was supervised by the Imam and preacher at the grand Mosque in Makkah, Dr. Sheikh Saleh bin Humid and Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Malawwah.
The encyclopaedia comprises of 361 appraisals of the exemplary conduct of the Prophet (Pbuh) during his lifetime and linguistic explanation about what the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Hadith say about it and the advantages of good conduct and disadvantages of bad conduct in human affairs.
BERLIN : Muslims in Germany held a conference in the East German town of Freiberg recently. Among the 400 attendants were many ethnic German Muslims. The topic of the four-day meeting was “Thinking Global, Acting Local”.
It was the first time in 21 years Muslims were holding such a meeting in former East Germany. The speakers included some of the best known Islamic scholars in Germany like Ahmad von Denffer who spoke on Islamic charity, and Dr. Nadim Elyas who gave a lecture on how globalization influences Muslims all over the world. Special work groups were set up to discuss issues like Islamic schools, public relations and dawah.
Ethnic German Muslims were always happy to meet other Muslims and attend Islamic lectures in German, which is a rare opportunity in Germany where the majority of Muslims are of Turkish origin having very poor command of the German language. A similar conference will be held next year, the organizers said.
JEDDAH : Seven year old Muhammad Hussein Al-Tabatabai, an exceptional Iranian boy, has amazed the public with an extraordinary display of memory and knowledge of the Qur’an. He also answers questions with quotations from the Qur’an.
The boy began exhibiting his talents two years ago. He has visited several countries and had dialogues with renowned scholars. According to his father, Muhammad Mahdi, four books consisting of his Qur’anic answers have been published.
Tabatabai recently visited the Gulf state of Qatar where he was given rousing welcome by the general public including women and children. People asked him various questions to test his memory and his knowledge of the Qur’an. Many people challenged the boy’s memory by asking him questions from various parts of the Qur’an, but he answered them all correctly.
Qataris as well as expatriates tested the boy’s ability to understand the sign language developed by his father. When a Qur’anic verse is shown to his father, he indicates the verse to his son through a special sign language and the boy then recites the exact verse with no mistake.
Mahdi claimed that it was the first time in Islamic history that sign language had been used to teach the Qur’an.
The boy was also asked to say where certain words were located in the Qur’an. The public was astounded to see the boy, like a computer, trace the verse and locate the word with its chapter name, page number and part number. The boy can also explain the meaning of Qur’anic verses in Persian.
RIYADH: Sheikh Saleh En Chui, President of the Chinese Muslim Association and Director of the Islamic Academy in the Chinese capital, Beijing said there are over 30,000 Madrasas for Qur’an memorization attached to Mosques in China, apart from other regular Muslim schools. He said that his association has established nine Islamic institutes, and is now busy trying to build more such institutes in other parts of the country. The purpose is to graduate Imams, teachers, and Da’wah workers from such training centres.
Sheikh Saleh said among the most important achievements of his association is the translation of the meanings of the Holy Qur’an into Mandarin and other languages spoken by Chinese Muslims, such as Hue, Kyrgyz, Kazak, Uzbek, Uigur, and others, and its distribution among Mosques and Islamic schools in the country.
Sheikh Saleh said that Islam entered China in the year 31 AH, during the era of Caliph Othman bin Affan and since then on one has been compelled to embrace the Islamic faith in the country. He further said the number of Mosques built in China over the decades has now reached 40, 372, and declared, “Therefore, our past is a glorious Islamic past and we will preserve it,” adding, “The future of Islam in China is quite bright.” IINA
MUNICH : A book on “Islam and Democracy” has been published in Munich, Germany, by the publishing company Beck, and the authors are the modern writer Hassuna Misbahi and the German Jardomto Hilalr. In the book the two authors explain democracy and secularism.
The well-known German Orientalist, Dr. Otto Steinbach said that freedom of expression in Islam was a natural thing, as was witnessed during the era of Caliphs when they sat in judgment and accepted the opinions of their subjects. They would implement their decisions in the light of the Shari’a and Islamic Shoura, but in the community’s collective interest.
The authors maintain that there is a conflict between secularism and the return to true and tolerant Islam.
The book consists of a study in the Fiqh and Islamic Shari’a, and political opinions concerning what the world is witnessing today in Islamic awakening, even in countries where there are Muslim minorities, such as Europe and the Far East. The two authors say that the Islamic awakening in places where the Muslims are a minority is something that has to be taken into consideration, and that it is the duty of the governments in such countries where there exist Muslim minorities to grant them more rights than they do at present. IINA
NEW YORK : Saudi Arabian Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Fahad Al-Saud, Minister of State and Cabinet Member, joined with local dignitaries to dedicate the King Fahad Mosque on the Westside of Los Angeles in Culver City.
The King Fahad Mosque will provide the Muslim community of greater Los Angeles with a special sanctuary where they can celebrate their faith. Until now, there has been no significant structure in the area which could serve as a place for Muslims to gather in worship and friendship. The mosque will also serve as an educational centre, and is open to Muslims and non-Muslims in the interest of fostering a better understanding of the Islamic religion.
The $7 million mosque is named in honour of the Prince’s father, King Fahad Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, and was a gift to the Islamic Foundation by Saudi Arabia. The design and architectural elements of the King Fahad Mosque are in keeping with centuries of Islamic tradition, from its marble facade and tile interior to its 72-foot high minaret.
ISTANBUL : Husamuddin Ozakan, Turkey’s Minister for Religious Affairs, said Turkey’s mosques are in urgent need of 6000 Imams and preachers, and about 3000 Muezzins (prayer-callers). He said the religious affairs department in Turkey needs to employ about 16,000 people in various religious duties, pointing out the weakness of the budget in this regard. Muhammad Al Qatmash, a parliament member who belongs to the Virtue Party, blamed the government of Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz for neglecting the department of religious affairs pointing out the shortfall in the number of Imams, preachers, prayer-callers, and other related staff.
Al Qatmash said he was surprised at what the Yilmaz Government is doing in its insistence on closing religious institutions and Qur’an schools, at a time when “we need thousands of Imams and Muezzins to man the mosques in Turkey”.
Some Turkish media have revealed that the department of religious affairs has started to send Friday Sermons and other religious literature already written and asking the preachers to read them verbatim and to strictly adhere to the script. This is done so as to prevent those preachers leaning toward the Islamists, and particularly those attached to the Virtue Party, from using their sermons to serve intellectual or political purposes. IINA
PRISTINA : The Deputy Dean of the Islamic College of Kosovo, Dr. Kamal Yusuf Marina said that Kosovan Muslims are facing a colonialist and ethnic cleansing effort by the Serbs and they are mobilising the forces to prevent Kosovo from gaining independence.
He has appealed to the Dawah organizations and the media in the Arab and the Muslim world to concern themselves with the situation and condition of Muslims in Kosovo.
Dr. Marina said Islam entered Kosovo in the fourth century of the Hijri calendar, and goes back to the dawn of Islam in the Balkan peninsula. They triumphed in the year 1389 AD at which time Kosovo was part of what was known as the Barjun Governorate, presently Albania, which became independent in 1912 and some of its lands were annexed to Greece and Monte Negro.
Dr. Marina went on to say that the Muslim population in Kosovo today is more than two and a half million, most of them ethnic Albanians, apart from those of Turkish, Bosnian and Serb origin. The Kosovan Muslims, said Dr. Marina, are keen to preserve their Muslim identity. According to the 1981 census, the number of Muslims was 15,584,000, Dr. Marina said there are 670 grand Mosques in Kosovo, apart from other smaller Mosques.
WASHINGTON : The US Congress is discussing a bill on the protection of Muslims in the United States from discrimination. The bill comes in the wake of efforts by the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR). In a preamble to the bill it is stated that the American Congress values the contribution of Muslims in science, civilization, literature and arts.
LONDON : According to the British newspaper, “The Daily Telegraph, Malaysia has turned down the offer of financial support for organizing the forthcoming commonwealth games from carlsberg a Danish alcoholic beer manufacturing company. Stiff opposition from the Islamic youth movement led the Malaysian government to reject financial help for the games from an alcohol manufacturing company and the games organizing Committee is now seeking financial help from other sources.
WASHINGTON : The annual Islamic conference in the United States will be held from 4-7 September 1998. The main venu will be Los Angeles, also simultaneous conferences in six other venues in the country to facilitate the Islamic Organisations to attend the conference.
WASHINGTON : The third annual report of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CIR) has details on the status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States. The report chronicles more than 280 incidents of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment. CAIR began documenting anti-Muslim incidents following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma city.
KARACHI: Prof. Juan Zozaya, Director of the National Museum at Madrid in his lecture at the National Museum of Pakistan said that efforts were on to preserve the Islamic historic sites in Spain. At present, about 200 specialists are working on the recovery of Islamic archaeology and architecture in Spain from the year 711, specifically in Cordoba, Granda and Alhamrah. (IINA)
ISTANBUL : The conference on "Science and knowledge in the Ottoman Era" will be held between 12-15 April, 1999, to coincide with the 700th anniversary since the establishment of the Ottoman State. Scientists and researchers, interested in participating in the conference have to submit extracts of their research papers before September 30, 1998 to the Research Centre for Islamic Historical, Arts and Culture in Istanbul. POB. 24, 80692, Besiktas, Istnabul, Turkey.
Kuwait: The Spanish Institute for the Cooperation with the Islamic World last month held "Al-Andalus: Islam in Spain exhibition" in Mojab Al-Dosary Gallery at the Abdul Aziz Hussain Cultural Centre. The exhibits included Islamic and Arab ruins, pictures of fortresses and castles such as Banos de la Encina. There were pictures of Spanish translations on tablets of Al-Battani, ordered by King Alfonso the Wise, and of maps dating back to 11 AD depicting the universe according to Ali B. Jauaf.