MANAMAH : Visa regulations have been changed to make it easier for visitors to change visit visas for work visas. Expatriates on visit visas who find suitable employment can now transfer their sponsorship without leaving the country. In the past, expatriates on visit visas who found a job had to leave the country and return with a valid work visa under a new sponsor. Under the new rule, a visit visa for 72 hours, or one week, can be changed for an employment visa at a cost of 60 Bahrain Dinar, provided the new sponsor has obtained a valid work permit from the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry.
WASHINGTON D.C.: This was the third year in a row the First Lady, Mrs. Hillary Clinton invited some 100 American Muslims to the White House to commemorate Eid-ul-Fitr on January 25. When Hillary Clinton arrived, the small auditorium was already full. She welcomed the guests and delivered an impassioned speech on the beauty of Ramadan. Ramadan, she referred to, as a month to meditate, reflect and to re-energize one's moral and social contact with fellow human beings.
Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at length about her visit to Jerusalem, the core of all the three great religions of the world and the contribution of Islam to modern Western thought and learning. Following her speech, Mrs. Clinton mingled freely with the participants and later invited them to refreshments in another room of the White House.
RIYADH: Eight scholars from the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Australia have won the annual King Faisal International Prizes worth $200,000 each, officials in Saudi Arabia said recently.
The prizes are awarded for service to Islam, medicine, science, Islamic studies and Arabic literature. An awards ceremony will be held in about a month, the King Faisal Foundation said.
The statement said Juma al-Majid Abdullah of the United Arab Emirates was the winner of the service to Islam award "in recognition of his distinguished humanitarian efforts, especially in the field of Islamic education."
His Dubai-headquartered foundation, Al-Majid Center for Culture and Heritage, provides free services and resources to students of Islamic and Arabic culture.
The statement from the foundation named the other winners as:
— Sheik Mohammed Nasireddin al-Albani, a Syrian scholar, in the Islamic studies category.
— Ryoji Noyori of Japan and Dieter Seebach of Germany in the science category. — Professors Patrick G. Holt of Australia and Stephen T. Holgate of Britain for medical research.
— Makarim Ahmad al-Ghamri of Ain Shams University in Egypt and Said Abdel-Salam Allouche of Morocco for Arabic literature.
The awards were established in 1979 by the King Faisal Foundation, which was founded in memory of Saudi Arabia's third king.
NEW YORK: A commemorative postal stamp honouring Malcolm X went on sale honouring the man who once was shadowed by the FBI because of his activism.
Malcolm X, who was assassinated in a Harlem ballroom in 1965, "was a visionary, a man who dreamed of a better world and dared to do something about it," Postal Service Governor S. David Fineman said in unveiling the 33-cent stamp at Harlem's Apollo Theatre.
Malcolm X joined the Nation of Islam in 1952 and became a fiery orator who advocated black nationalism in the early 1960s. He was often followed by government agents suspicious of his motives and views toward whites.
A 1964 falling out with Nation founder Elijah Muhammad led Malcolm to start a splinter group, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, and to found a mosque in Harlem. Three black Muslims were convicted of Malcolm's murder, which was witnessed by his family.
BONN : The new German coalition government is seriously taking up the matter of granting dual citizenship to foreigners, most of whom are Muslims. At a press conference in Bonn, the Minister of the Interior, Otto Schiller, announced that the government was willing to grant dual citizenship to foreigners, adding that this will help in the maintenance of security in the country.
The former Education Minister in the Helmut Kohl government, Jorgen Rutteger, said a law should be enacted that would allow the teaching of Islamic studies in German schools, though when he was minister he was opposed to just such an act. At the same the Christian Democrats Party in the state of Hessen has started to collect signatures to petition against the proposed law of giving dual citizenship. However, the new government wants to have a dialogue with the Muslims of Germany, so as to jointly study the possibility of recognizing Islam as one of the major religions in the country. The Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Bonn has called for the convening of a conference within which a dialogue would be held with the Muslims. IINA
LONDON: The British weekly, Sunday Telegraph, has apologised to the Muslims in Britain and withdrawn its allegations against the Interpal, the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund.
The weekly in its issue on May 26, last year, had alleged that Interpal was a Hamas body and encouraged terrorist activities and suicide bombers in Israel in an article by Con. Coughlin entitled London Fatwa Backs Suicide Bombers. In an apology appearing on November 29, the Sunday Telegraph said that “we now accept that the Trustees of Interpal are not Hamas activists. We also accept that the Charity Commission’s investigation found there no evidence of any pro-terrorist bias in the charity or of its funds towards the training of suicide bombers.” The Commission concluded that the Interpal is a well-run and committed organisation which carries out important work in a part of the world where there is great hardship and sufferings. We withdraw the allegation that appeared in our article and apologise to the trustees of Interpal for the embarrassment caused.”
DUBAI: Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry, has ordered printing of an English translation of the Holy Qur’an at his expense. Copies of the English version, which took 10 years to complete, will be distributed in Europe. It will be printed within a week, said Mirza Hassan Al Sayegh, Sheikh Hamdan’s representative. The translation was done by Dr. Abdul Haq Diluly under the supervision of the Islamic call Association in Europe. Sheikh Hamdan has met representatives of the association and the Scotland based Sheikh Hamdan’s Islamic Centre and sanctioned the work which serves Islam and the Muslims who embraced Islam recently.
PARIS : French interior minister Jean-Pierre Chevenment has stepped into a controversy over whether Muslim girls could wear Islamic headscarves in France’s public schools, said last month. “Such headgear aims to mark women as inferior to men. These headscarves are very often the mark of a certain inferior status for women and they make integration into French society more difficult, “ he said. Integration meant accepting all the laws of our Republic and specifically those stipulating that women are equal to men, he said. “You can be French and Muslim at the same time but I say wearing the headscarf at school is not desirable,” he added.
Islam after catholicism is estimated to have four to five million followers, most of them from former French colonies in North Africa. Controversy has simmered in France for years over the extent to which the school system had to accommodate Muslim students. Chevenment, a left-wing socialist, is considered highly sympathetic to Arab causes and resigned as defence minister in 1991 to protest against France joining the US against Iraq in the Gulf War, said the Gulf News. The newspaper did not inform why the minister and the French authorities did not see other women wear dresses inferior to that of men.
YOGYAKARTA: An international Islamic village will soon be built in the Yogyakarta province of Indonesia, the provincial governor Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, has disclosed in the legislative assembly on January 18. The Sultan told the press that 27 Islamic or predominantly Muslim countries had agreed to participate in the project.
The Yogyakarta Governor said a foundation would be set up to manage the project and envoys of Islamic or predominantly Muslim countries would be included in the foundation’s membership.
He said some 200 hectares of land, mostly belonging to the Yogyakarta sultanate, had already been demarcated to serve as the site for the project.
The Sultan said the village would not only add to Yogyakarta’s tourist attractions, but also promote cultural interaction between the participating Islamic countries and the local community around it. Work on the project is expected to begin in April, 1999. (IINA-ANTARA)
LONDON : Kemal Zukic’s new book Islamic Architecture, Paintings and Handicrafts will soon be published from London, informs The Muslim News, London. Zukic is Director of the Centre for Islamic Architecture, Sarajevo, Bosnia. The 1,000-page book will have 1300 designs and 300 colour plates. He has collected research material, manuscripts, films and sketches during the last 30 years. The book traces Islamic art and architecture from the period of Umayyads to Safavid Iran and in Balkan states. He deals with differences between the Islamic and Western approaches in art and architecture.
MOSCOW : The all-Russia political movement called the Union of Muslims of Russia (SMR), known in the Russian language as Souyuz Mussulman Rossi, has adopted its new Charter (Ustav), program manifesto, and political action program at is congress held in Moscow recently.
Attending the congress were 200 delegates from 47 regions of the Russian Federation, representatives of a number of Russian political and public organizations, and foreign observers. The crisis condition of Russia and the search for ways and means of achieving peace and other challenges, figured prominently in the political report read by the vice-president of the movement, Tejmuraz Ragimov.
The reports of other prominent Russian Muslim political figures, such as G. Djemal , H. M. Ibrahimbeili, N. Ashir, M. Bibarsov, M.Minachev and others, were also presented during the congress’ deliberations. IINA
BONN: Peter Kohl, son of the ex-Chancellor of the Germany Helmut Kohl, had faced a trying situation under his father’s leadership. His close friendship with Turkish born Ms. Elf. Sozen was proving to be A muddle of nationalities.
Under the reign of the Social Democrats the laws stated that only those who have pure German blood would be considered Germans. Helmut Kohl’s embarrassment came when Turkish President Mesut Yilmaz asked long-term Turkish residents in Germany (the country has as many as 2 million Turks) to vote against the Chancellor in the last elections. Junior Kohl may have voted for the new government that promised granting citizenship to the guest workers. Ms. Sozen may, in the near future, be able to claim citizenship after being a legal resident of the country for eight years.
The Muslim News, London
RABAT : Two cooperation agreements have been signed here between ISESCO, the FUIW, and the Texas Consortium for International Education for exchanges in the fields of education, research, training and publication between the leading organisation of the OIC and the American Universities. The agreements were signed by Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Othman Al-Tuweijri, Director-General of the Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) and ex-officio Secretary-General of the Federation of Universities of the Islamic World, and Dr. Bill Franklin, Chairman and Managing Director of the Texas Consortium. The latter comprises 32 member universities from the American State of Texas.
The agreement provides for organisation of educational, scientific and cultural symposia, conferences and workshops in addition to publishing studies and research papers, providing support to researchers in the field of Islamic culture and civilisation and promoting Western understanding of the Muslim world.
The objective is to benefit from scientific and academic expertise of American universities and build on that expertise to develop the universities of the Muslim world and promote their academic and technical levels.
TRIPOLI : Libya has set up a petrochemical industries complex at Ras El Anouf. It is considered as one of the largest oil complexes in Africa, for, its production capacity, except for the refinery, is about 961,000 tons a year. In this it depends for its raw material on products of the refinery.
The industries in the complex have already entered their production stage. Among them are the ethylene factory, the polythene, propylene, and the butane unit, etc. Also within this huge complex is a chain of other industries, such as two units each of methanol, urea and ammonium factories and a natural gas factory, with its immense production capacity. (IINA)
ABU DHABI : Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Naihayyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) donated UAE dirhams 12 million to the Sheikha Fatimah bint Mbarak Charity Award on December 12. The charity has decided to designate the new year the “Year of the Orphan,” and the sum donated will be dedicated to projects related to orphans, which will be implemented under the auspices of the Red Crescent Society, and will be distributed to all the charity organisations in the Emirates. (A UAE dirham is equivalent to four US dollars.)
Sheikh Zayed held a reception for 48 individuals and organizations that care for orphans. The reception was held during the second session of the award in Abu Dhabi. In his address to the gathering, Sheikh Zayed called for the affirmation of the values of compassion between members of the Muslim society, and to increase their keenness in doing charitable work.
The UAE First Lady, Sheikha Fatima bint Mbarak, who is Honorary President of the Women’s Committee of the Red Crescent Society, for her part held a reception for the 65 women winners of her award for the care of the orphans. Sheikha Fatimah is also President of the General Women’s Union and the Association for the Awakening of Abu Dhabian Women.
The Red Crescent Society of the UAE is taking care of 3,927 orphans, among them 560 within the emirates and the rest in 12 other Muslim countries. (IINA)