Globalisation: OIC for Hastening Plan of Action
Smoking Prohibited by Islam, says Al-Azhar Chancellor
Ignorance Cause of Muslim Extremism, says Lebanon Leader
Wakf's Historic Role in Development, Da'awa Stressed
Tyson Offers Prayers at London Mosque
World Bank Supports Idea of Arab Common Market
Islamic Courses by London Open College
IDB-UNESCO Working on Arabic Script for African Languages
Thousands Perish in Somalia Famine, Islamic Relief Body appeals for Aid
Meet on Islamic Cities
Seminar on 'Islamic Civilisation in Balkans'
Islamic Encylopaedia on Compact Disk
Islamic Seminar on Bio-Technology
Nigeria to Join IDB
Women Outnumber Men at Saudi University
"West Violates its Own Human Rights Code"
Eid Reception at House of Commons
Women's Soccer Banned in Nigeria
High Panel to Phase out Riba from Pak System
18,000 Muslims in US Army
Republican Party Still Harbours Muslim Bashers
365,000 Eritrea Muslims Displaced, Plead for Aid
Muslims oppose Tanzanian Laws on Inheritance
UAE Award for its Sultan
Evangelists Targeting Mauritania
African Nations to Adopt Common Islamic Calender
New Mosques in Madagascar
Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi's Book on Prophet's Intercession
US Girl Prevented from saying 'Bismillah'
Muslim Viewpoint at Davos
Holy Quran in Maldivian Language
Cairo Book Fair is Second Largest in the World, Attracts 3,000 Publishers
1,40,000 Pilgrims from West
First Church in Qatar
Nobel Scientist to help Egypt Establish Science Varsity
Azan to be Allowed in Norway
US Media urged to Balance its Approach
Islamic Newsletter in Braille
JEDDAH (IINA): Dr Ezzeddin Laraki, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), has urged the Muslim world to hasten in implementing the plans of action that they had adopted for confronting the negative effects of globalisation in the economic, social, and cultural sectors. These negative effects are obvious in such sectors as the financial crisis that affected the large economies of the world. In his address to the Economic, Cultural and Social Affairs Committee’s 23rd session, which was held here, the Secretary-General said: “Of the main impediments facing the developing countries, among them member countries of the OIC, is the stiff competition in succumbing to the globalisation of world commerce and making it free, as well as the continuation of the protective conditions that are made by the advanced countries, on the pretext of preventing foreign risks.” On the level of cultural and social affairs, Dr. Laraki said that the efforts that have and are being made by his organisation and its specialised organs, are important. He gave the example of the two Islamic universities, one in Uganda and the other in Niger, and said these two are playing a sterling role in spreading Islamic culture in the African continent. He said, however, that lack of financial boost for such institutions was cause for worry for his organisation. He said he foresees a positive role for the Islamic University of Uganda when the King Fahd Commercial Center, which is to be built soon, is taken over by it. The center will be made possible through a donation made by King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia. Laraki also lauded the financial help amounting to nearly US$ 2,000,000 that was received from Kuwait for the benefit of the Trust of the two universities, and hailed the suggestion put forward by the United Arab Emirates, of setting up a Public Trust for all the Islamic universities. The idea was among the topics of the current meeting. After the five-day session, it is expected that the committee will make known its recommendations, which will then be forwarded to the next meeting of the Islamic Foreign Ministers.
Asks Ummah leaders to Curb the Menace
CAIRO (IINA): Dr. Ahmed Omar Hashim, Chancellor of the University of Al-Azhar, has said that smoking is definitely prohibited by Islam, and in this connection he quoted a verse from the Holy Quran, and added that smoking threatens the economic life of the Muslim Ummah. He said that smoking causes diseases such as cancer, heart problems, and also pollutes the environment, adding that the Prophet (Pbuh) had said that there should be no harm or anything harmful. He said there is harm in smoking, both health-wise and in the economic sense, and for this reason it is forbidden. Dr. Hashim said smoking in the Muslim world is a habit that has been acquired by 40 percent of the male population, while the figure for women is six percent, adding that smoking among the youth is on the increase, particularly those in the 18-24 age group. He said smoking is the precursor of other evil habits, and research has shown that there is hardly any drug addict who had not started with cigarette smoking first. The university chancellor said the Muslim Ummah is being targeted economically, militarily, and medically, and it is a pity that its youth are victims of such nasty habit. He said for this reason it is incumbent upon Muslim leaders and organisations everywhere to draw attention to such a menace, adding that it is also for the youth to desist from succumbing to such insidious and invidious habits.
BEIRUT (IINA): Sheikh Muhammad Mahdi Shamsuddin, President of the Supreme Shia Council in Lebanon, has said that the reasons for extremism in the Muslim world are attributable to the closure of the door for striving, because most of the extremist incidents are due to ignorance as to the objectives of the Islamic Sharia. He said the council is working hard toward guiding and directing the movement in doing its field world, because most of the impediments to Islamic work are due to ignorance. Sheikh
Muhammad Mahdi said another reason for extremism is haste, in that some people want results to be achieved in haste. He said haste leads to results that are not yet mature and for which the way has not been paved. Yet another reason for extremism, said Sheikh Shamsuddin, is not being able to set priorities, either in political affairs or in Islamic activity, and not compartmentalizing matters in their proper perspective.
MAKKAH (IINA): Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef has said that the Wakf (endowment) has played an important role in Muslims societies, in the social and educational sectors, including Da’awa work. He said it was time that the role of the Wakf should be rejuvenated and given the due importance it rightly deserves, because the endowment can play an important role in boosting a government’s effort’s in providing some of the essential services which the community needs. He said there should be Wakfs that are self-financing, so that they can bear the expenses of running charities. Dr. Naseef said among the Da’awa role of Wakfs is the construction of mosques, Islamic schools and other charitable deeds that benefit the Muslims, and this is one way of working for Allah’s pleasure. He said in modern times the Wakf might have to take a different form, such as investing in income-generating companies, instead of putting money in real estate and such things.
LONDON (IINA): When the well-known US boxer, Mike Tyson visited the Brixton Mosque in London, a huge crowd of Muslims was there to see him and welcome him. Brixton is a very populous area of the British capital, and in 1994 there were riots by the black minorities of this area, protesting colour discrimination against them. It is reported that the Nation of Islam organisation has a branch and is active in this area. “The Guardian” newspaper carried a story on the visit by Tyson, and said the Brixton Mosque had also been visited by Muhammad Ali Clay, when the boxing legend paid a visit to Britain last year.
CAIRO (IINA): Professor Joseph Stigilitz, First Vice-President of the World Bank, who was visiting Egypt, told IINA here that the number of poor people in the world has increased, particularly in Africa. He said the idea of an Arab Common Market, is a good idea, though some view it as a risky venture, which it is not. He said: “But the fact is that inter-Arab trade is not more than 10 per cent of its total trade, while the rest of 90 per cent is with Europe, America, and other countries.” Turning to the idea of selling public companies to the private sector, which has become a common feature these days, he said the private sector has a significant role to play in the economy. He said the main challenge facing the Arab countries is the huge increase in annual unemployment figures, with the annual increase in population figures. He said Arab countries are not improving their exports, and gave the example of Egypt, which, he said, exports crude worth US$ five billion only annually, while its imports are worth double that figure. He said this situation ought to be corrected by developing the exports.
LONDON (IINA): London’s Open College has opened its doors for those wishing to obtain a diploma, undergraduate, post-graduate or doctorate degrees in Islamic Studies, either in Arabic or English. An official of the college said the institution aims at teaching the fundamentals of religion through the Ahl Sunnah and Jama’a syllabus, and to spread Sharia knowledge in a simple way, to wherever the students are. The official told IINA’s London correspondent that the entrance qualification required is either a general secondary school certificate or its equivalent, or the passing of an entrance examination. As for graduation, the spokesman said that the student must complete the whole syllabus and sit for an examination in such subjects as the Islamic Faith, the Holy Quran and its sciences, Traditions of the Prophet and their sciences, Islamic Fiqh and its Fundmentals, plus the Arabic language. The London Open College uses distance-learning methods that employ the latest technology, and is supervised by scholars and other specialised academic staff, while students are allocated certain times in which to have telephonic discussion with the teachers.
DAKAR (IINA): Efforts are continuing in Africa to implement the project under which the Arabic script would be used for some of the African languages. The countries that have already implemented the scripts to a certain extent are Mali, Senegal, Niger and Nigeria. The idea started when the regional office of the UNESCO presented a special project for the use of the Arabic scripts for fighting illiteracy in Africa, for which agreement was signed in 1984 between UNESCO, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and the World Islamic Propagation Organisation of Libya. Omar Toure, one of the officials responsible for the project has said that a seminar was held in Dakar, capital of Senegal in 1988 for assessing the project, and the Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) also prepared an integrated project on the same subject, that was also presented to the IDB, for its contribution toward its implementation. In 1989, the unification of the script of five West African languages, with two of them completed in 1988 in Rabat. Some special typewriters were made for the purpose, and the first batch of such machines was paid for by the Islamic Development Bank, and were distributed to various concerned quarters. The Libya-based World Islamic Propagation Organisation (WIPO) also paid half of the cost of the manufacture of the machines. Omar Toure explained that it would now be possible for anyone to read and write in the language of the Qur’an, and this would consequently make it easy to read the Qur’an and the basics of the Arabic language, and principles of Islam and Islamic culture. He posed a question: “How is it possible for the European peoples to come together using the Latin script, and why can’t we come together to use the Qur’anic script?”
MOGADISHU (IINA): The southern parts of Somalia are facing acute famine, due to the recent flash floods and the drought of 1998/99, apart from the civil war. In addition, many Somalis have moved from the villages to the urban areas of the country. Dr. Adnan Khalil Al-Basha, Secretary General of the Jeddah-based international Islamic Relief Organisation (IIRO) said the famine had unleashed mass malnutrition. He said there has been increasing numbers of deaths among the general population, mainly due to the lack of medicines and nourishment. Dr. Basha, said the crises that prevailed in the country have left their negative scars, particularly in agricultural productivity, such as in farms in the basins of Webi Shebeli and Juba rivers. The farms in two areas have run barren, mainly due to the fact that the farmers in these areas have abandoned their Farms? Which are now inundated with silt and alluvium. The (IIRO) has provided aid to Somalia to the tune of Saudi Riyals Five million. This amount was used in such things as the care for orphans, helping war victims who are disabled, giving scholarships to needy students, running of clinics and health centres, and other essential health and education services.
TUNISIA (IINA): Eng. Omar Abdullah Al-Qadhi the secretary-general of the Islamic Cities and Capital Organisation at the OIC secretariat, will hold an international conference in Tunis, from March 27 - 30 on completion of 20 years. Al-Qadhi said the conference will promote international cooperation, in order to achieve sustainable development in Islamic cities. It will discuss the problems facing cities in the Muslim world, apart from the showcasing of some of the successful experiments of some cities in the world. The conference will also put up a specialised exhibition of advanced environmental technologies in human habitats. Eng. Al-Qadhi said the recommendations of the conference will be forwarded to the extraordinary meeting of the UN General Assembly that is to be held in Istanbul in 2001.
INSTANBUL (IINA): The Istanbul-based Centre for Research in Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRSICA), an offshoot of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), will organise an international seminar on “Islamic Civilisation in the Balkans.” The seminar will be held on April 21-23, 2000. The centre is carrying out studies on Islamic civilisation in non-Islamic countries, and is also preparing a voluminous encyclopaedia on the history of the Muslim people. The seminar is part of the Action Plan for 1999/2000, and a large number of researchers, scholars and organisations from various parts of the world, including Bulgaria itself, are expected to participate. The seminar will be held in cooperation with Bulgarian Institute of Higher Islamic Studies.
TRIPOLI (IINA): An electronic Compact Disk (CD) dictionary with 55,000 entries on Islamic culture in seven languages has been published in Libya. It is the largest dictionary of its kind on CD, and it is expected that researchers and others interested in Islam and Islamic culture would find it very useful. Apart from the Islamic terms, the dictionary gives an explanation of each of the important terms, accompanied by pictures in motion and speeches. The seven languages used in the dictionary are English, French, Malaysian (Bahasa Malay), Turkish, German, Indonesian, in addition to Arabic.
RABAT (IINA): The Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) and the Organisation of Islamic Conference Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) organised an international seminar on “Biotechnology for Development.” The seminar took place in Islamabad, Pakistan, January 25-27, 2000, with the cooperation of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Inter-Islamic Network on Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (INOGE).
JEDDAH (IINA): Republic of Nigeria will become a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). According to Bank President Dr.Ahmad Mohammad ALi, the application of Nigeria has been accepted. He hoped Nigeria’s membership would boost IDB’s activities in West Africa.
MAKKAH (IINA): For the first time the women students in Ummul Qurra University here outnumber male students. A report by the University indicates that out of the total 12,670 students, women number 8,870. The Ummul-Qurra University is made up of ten colleges, namely the Sharia and Islamic Studies College, College of Arabic Language and Literature, College of Islamic Architecture, College of Education, College of Da’awa and Religious Fundamentals, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, the Institute of Arabic for Non-Arabic Speakers, etc. Apart from the colleges there are several other departments and directorates that deal with such matters as student affairs, library affairs, research units, and the like.
CAIRO (IINA): Awareness must be created about human rights in Islam said Dr. Ahmed Majdhub, professor of Criminal Law at the Center for Crime Research in Cairo. Addressing a seminar on the human rights in Quran, Dr Majdhub said committees of scholars should be formed with the purpose of collecting all material that is relevant to human rights. He explained that there are a number of clauses in the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights and others that are not acceptable from the Islamic point of view. These include clauses such as the one that forbids the execution of a Muslim for abandoning Islam, on the pretext that it is cruel and uncivilized. He said human rights in Islam are a divine injunction, and not granted by society or laws, and urged researchers to present complete studies on human rights in Islam, so as to counter the Western claims that Islamic countries violated such rights. Dr. Karim Ghunaim, president of the Wonders of the Quran Society, said the conduct of Western countries violates human rights which they themselves have devised. He added that despite the ratification of more than 24 international conventions, following the UN convention that forbids religious persecution, Muslims were still persecuted in such places as India, the Philippines, Burma, and Palestine, and there still is racialism in some Western countries. He added that human rights conventions have now turned into mere slogans.
LONDON (IINA): The Middle Council at the British House of Commons (Parliament) held a reception January 24 in honour of the Muslim community of Britain, to celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr occasion. Attending the reception were Muslim dignitaries, prominent Conservative Party members, such as the leader of that party, William Haigue, and other senior party officials. Speaking on the occasion, Haigue highlighted the Islamic teachings and the constructive role being played by the British Muslims in the development of the British economy and enriching the British culture. Jack Straw, the British Minister of the Interior, who represented Prime Minister Tony Blair, highlighted the positive role played by Islam in the service of mankind. He also lauded the role of the British Muslims in the service of Britain.
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