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JUNE 2000

MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-06 No:162    *   JUNE 2000 / RABI-UL-AWAL 1421H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

NEWS FROM ISLAMIC WORLD


OIC Centre Should be Shifted to Jerusalem :
Islamic World Faces Food Shortage
Prince Naif Sponsors Research Contests
Al-Azhar Library in South Africa
Islamic Book Wing in Hanover Fair
Tanzania Muslim Students Protest
Islamic Cinema Industry
Stockholm Islamic Centre to Open
US Muslims Question Secret Evidence
Islam and Europe Seminar
Data Centre on Fatwas
Islam and Family Planning Study
Female Dawah Activists
2272 Embrace Islam
Electronic Prayer Mat
Qur'an Translation in Macedonian
Invention of Islamic Inheritance Calculator
Shari'a Introduced in North Sokoto
Russian Muslims to Form Party
Azan and Prayer Back in Georgia
Belgium Schools Begin Islamic Courses
News in Brief

OIC Centre Should be Shifted to Jerusalem

Egyptian Minister

Amman: Egypt’s assistant minister of foreign Affairs, who is responsible for political and international affairs, Sayyid Kassim Al-Masry, has said that the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) would immediately transfer its headquarters to Jerusalem, as soon that city is liberated from Israeli occupation and its return to Palestinian sovereignty. The news is contained in an IINA dispatch from Amman.

He told the Jordanian publication Al-Arabal Alyoum (Arabs Today) that the present headquarters of the organisation in Jeddah is only temporary, because its charter clearly says that Jerusalem would be the organisation’s main office.

The minister said the OIC meeting that is to be held next June in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, would discuss the Israeli excavations and the attempt at Judaising Jerusalem and wiping out its Arab Islamic character and landmarks.

He said the meeting would also consider the possibility of giving financial assistance and increased moral support to the Jerusalem issue, and the role of the Jerusalem Fund in the matter.

The Egyptian official urged all Arab and Islamic countries to wage an awareness campaign in their countries that would focus on the issue of Jerusalem, and all its ramifications, including the importance of making funds available to the Jerusalem Bait-ul-Mal Fund.

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Islamic World Faces Food Shortage

Muslim countries in Asia and Africa are likely to face foodgrain shortage to the extent of half their requirement

Dakar (Senegal) : At a time when the water problem is threatening many countries, particularly those in the African and Asian continents, economic indications warn of the possibility of a 50 per cent reduction in the availability of foodgrain in Muslim countries. The proportion of grains taken by Muslims individuals has seen an alarming reduction compared to the quantity taken in other parts of the world, 340 kgs per annum.

The economic prognosis for year 2000 indicates that there would be a reduction of 63 million tons of grains in the Muslim world, which is the minimum shortage forecast.

The Anba Al-Alam Al-Islam newspaper, quoting reports from the International Agricultural Centre, has said that there are anything between 300 - 500 million Muslims who do not get adequate food, and this has led to malnutrition. The result of this is the reduction in life expectancy in a number of Muslim countries, varying between 33 and 42 years.

The average life expectancy in a country like Britain is 68 for men and 74 for women. Economic and trade reports indicate that countries of the Muslim world import 50 per cent of their main food requirements, and if nothing is done about it, this figure might go to 70 per cent within the first half of this century.

With the increase in the population in Muslim countries, there is a corresponding increase in the demand for food at an average of 3.4 per cent per annum, while the grain production stands at 127 million tons.

It is estimated that the value of the foodstuffs imported by Muslim countries is about $ 350 billion, which clearly shows the need for Arab and Islamic solidarity and integrations, so that advantage could be taken of the natural resources that are available in Muslim countries. This is more so in view of the fact that Arab countries have 127 billion cubic meters of surface water resources per annum that are renewable, plus another 44 billion cubic meters of underground renewable water resources, in addition to 7.7 billion cubic meters of stored underground water reserves. IINA

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Prince Naif Sponsors Research Contests

Riyadh : An international “contest on Islamic research and studies” would be held under the title “The Prince Naif International Contest in Islamic Research.”

The Saudi Minister of the Interior, Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz, has agreed to sponsor the contest. to encourage researchers in all parts of the world to involve themselves in serious research in Islamic subjects and contemporary issues that concern the Muslims, and to propose solutions for any problems arising from their researches.

The contest would be divided into four categories: Research and Studies on the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah (Traditions), Research in Da’awa and Means of Awakening, Research in Islamic Fiqh and Contemporary Issue, and Research in the Biographies of Past Scholars.

There would be an annual function for the distribution of the awards to the winners. IINA

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Al-Azhar Library in South Africa

Cairo : The Al-Azhar Council of Sheikhs will build a library in Cape Town in South Africa on 2500 metre plot of land granted by the Islamic Judiciary Council.

This disclosure was made to IINA by the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, who added that in view of the size of the land donated there would be built, not only a mosque and library, but also institutes.

He said the project would cost around Egyptian Pounds one million, and will be borne by Al-Azhar. He added that it is envisaged that the library would be of great help to the students and researchers of South Africa. IINA

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Islamic Book Wing in Hanover Fair

Hanover : The Supreme Council of Muslims in Germany has been permitted to set up a wing for books on Islam at the Hanover 2000 Book Exhibition as a part of the Christian wing. Negotiations for this have been going on since 1995.

The Islamic Wing will cover the theme of Human Being ? Nature and Technology from the Islamic point of view, and will discuss Islamic history and the solutions for future challenges for humanity.

The Islamic wing will be manned by eminent scholars. It is estimated that the Islamic Wing would be set up with an estimated cost of two million German Mark and the Supreme Council of Muslims in Germany is expected to realize the money from donations from various Islamic quarters. The 5-month (July to October) exhibition is likely to attract around 40 million visitors would visit the show, with one million expected to visit the Islamic Pavilion. IINA

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Tanzania Muslim Students Protest

Dares Salam : A number of Muslim students at a secondary school in Chadia, Mtwara Region of Tanzania, have complained about the ill treatment they receive from the school administration on religious grounds.

In a memorandum addressed to the Tanzanian Human Rights Committee, the students said that the school administration deliberately institutes regulations that prevent them from practising their faith. They gave the example of not making water available to them for taking ablution, and the fixing of examinations for Fridays (at the time of Jumaa prayers), which means that they would miss the exams.

The students alleged that the school officials are anti-Muslim, and do things that make it impossible for the students to succeed. IINA

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Islamic Cinema Industry

Kuala Lumpur : A Malaysian cinematographer has proposed the setting up of an Islamic cinema industry to counter the influence of Western cinema, and also to set up production studios in the Muslims and the Third World in general, just like those of Hollywood.

There are a number of Muslim countries that have a cinema industry worth speaking about, such as Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan and Iran.

The Malaysian cinematographer, Mansur bin Puteh, said that the Muslim world annually imports numerous Western films for the entertainment of their masses, but these films contain vulgarity and obscenities.

However, there are films that are produced in some Islamic countries that conform to Islamic behaviour and lifestyles. Such countries are Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Algeria, Malaysia, and Egypt.

He said it is necessary that an Islamic organ be set up to take care of the cinema industry in the Muslim world, and which would devise directions and facilitate their distribution in the Muslim world, films that would depict Islamic values and morals.

Mansur pointed out that the Third World would welcome such Islamic films as an alternative to the Hollywood type of films, in addition to the fact that such films would be an important means of instructing Muslims in how to observe Islamic values and morals. IINA

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Stockholm Islamic Centre to Open

Stockholm : What is tipped to be the largest Islamic centre in the Scandinavian countries will be inaugurated here on June 8. The centre has been financed by the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nhayyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation of the United Arab Emirates.

Several Swedish government and officials, politicians as well as other prominent personalities, members of the Arab and Islamic diplomatic corps will attend the opening ceremony from a number of European countries, and from the UAE.

The Islamic League of Sweden will stage a festival on June 29, to celebrate the occasion of the opening of the new centre. A similar centre was opened in the Danish capital of Copenhagen last year, and that, too, was financed by the same source. IINA

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US Muslims Question Secret Evidence

Washington : The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has expressed concern over the scheduled appearance of what it calls “Islamophobe” at a House Judiciary Committee hearing this week. Steven Emerson, a self-styled “terrorism expert,” is expected to testify before the committee at a May 23 hearing on the Secret Evidence Repeal Act.

American Muslims and civil libertarians believe secret evidence is unconstitutional and that it is used disproportionately against members of the Muslim and Arab-American communities.

Emerson is best known for his controversial 1994 program “Jihad in America.” Muslims say that he has a long history of defamatory and inaccurate attacks on the Islamic community in the United States. IINA

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Islam and Europe Seminar

Rome : A seminar with the theme "Islam and Europe: Present and Future Challenges" concluded its deliberations here recently. It was organized by the University of Florence, in conjunction with the Federation of Islamic Universities.

The objective was to sow the seeds of cooperation in scientific field between the Islamic and European universities, and also to clarify the image of Islam to the Europeans and correct the impression of Islam that the Western media has. A number of scholars and university dons from Europe and from the Muslim world participated in the seminar. IINA

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Data Centre on Fatwas

Cairo : Egypt will be a setting up a documentation centre for the fatwas (legal decrees). Egypt's council of ministers, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, Dr. Atef Obeid, approved the setting up of the data centre for the Dar-ul-Ifta, in response to the proposal made by Mufti of Egypt Dr. Nasr Fareed Wasil.

Dr. Wasil told IINA that the proposed centre would cost five million Egyptian Pounds, and would be the first of its kind in the world, in that it would be dedicated to the Fatawi. He said the entire Muslim world would benefit from the centre, including those who have come to Egypt to study.

The centre would be built on a piece of land measuring 2,000 square metres, which has already been set aside, and work is expected to start soon. IINA

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Islam and Family Planning Study

Washington : An American medico-scientific study has confirmed what the Prophet of Islam (Pbuh) said on the question of family planning and spacing between one pregnancy and the other, until the preceding child is weaned.

The US study took ten years to complete, and it confirms that when one pregnancy immediately follows the other, it is likely to become injurious to the mother’s health. The study adds that the space between one pregnancy and the next should be at least two years, and that was what the Prophet (Pbuh) had advised.

Numerous scientific studies have confirmed that the health of a woman who bears many children is adversely affected as a result. IINA

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Female Dawah Activists

Cairo : For the first time Egypt’s ministry of endowments is appointing female Da’awa activists. The initial batch comprises 500 graduates of the Al-Azhar University, and their basic function will be to give lectures to women in the mosques in Cairo and other cities.

Ministry of endowments undersecretary Sheikh Sha’aban Al-Gharbawi, said there is a pressing need to appoint female Da’awa activists from among graduates of Al-Azhar University, so that they could begin spreading Islamic enlightenment to the womenfolk in various parts of the country. IINA

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2272 Embrace Islam

Makkah : 2,272 individuals embraced Islam during the past year, through the efforts of the Center of Dawa and Guidance. The center provided them with literature on Islam in their own languages, and answered queries they had about the new faith, its practices and procedures, according to the Director? General of the Makkah branch of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Dr. Hassan AlHajaji. IINA

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Electronic Prayer Mat

Istanbul : An electronic prayer mat manufactured in Turkey has been held “unacceptable” by the Mufti of Saudi Arabia. The mat is illuminated on all sides, and it also informs the prayer performer as to how many prostrations he or she has completed, meaning that it acts as a reminder.

The Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Alsheikh, has said that this kind of prayer mat is unacceptable, because it distracts the attention to the prayer performer, while concentration is one of the requirements of a Muslim’s prayer. As to the act of forgetting, Sheikh Abul Aziz said this is but natural, and even the Prophet (Pbuh) used to forget at times. But when there is absolute concentration, he said, it is difficult to forget. IINA

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Qur'an Translation in Macedonian

Skopje : The Holy Qur’an has been translated into the Macedonian language for the first time and published and by the King Fahd Qur’an Printing Complex in Madinah. It was made possible with the assistance of Hassan Gilu, who had graduated from the Ghazi Khusro Bek College in Sarajevo. After his return to Macedonia, he worked in the Islamic Sheikh’s Council, as Secretary of the Issa Bek Library in the capital, Skopje. He is conversant with a number of languages, such as Arabic and English, and before attempting the translation of the Holy Qur’an he had translated a number of other Islamic books.

The number of Muslims in Macedonia is estimated at between five to seven lakh and they make up about 30 percent of the 2,000,000 population of this country. They are made up of four ethnic groups, namely Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, and Ghajar, but about 25 percent are of Albanian descent. There are other translations of the Holy Qur’an, such as Albanian and Turkish, and the other ethnic groups (such as the 2.5 percent Ghajar) are still waiting for a translation rendered in their language. IINA

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Invention of Islamic Inheritance Calculator

Damascus : A Syrian researcher has invented a simple way of calculating the division of inheritance the Islamic way, by using the latest technology that is able to make millions of calculations and arrive at the perfect answer and quick answer. This would by-pass the ancient method that has been used by Muslim judges, lawyers, and scholars in dividing inheritances according to the Islamic Shari’a.

The inventor, Ahmed Abdul Ghani Na’is, says this is a unique method of making inheritance calculations and the only one of its kind in the world, because up to now there is no technological or electronic way of making such calculations, despite the fact that in the Muslim and Arab worlds this is a very important matter.

Na’is says his invention and its speed and ease of use would benefit not only Muslim judges and scholars, but also such institutions as ministries of endowments and others. IINA

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Shari'a Introduced in North Sokoto

Lagos : A second state in Nigeria , Skoto has implemented the Islamic sharia law. Following the footsteps of Zamfara, the Sokoto state has become the second Nigerian State to implement the Islamic Shari’a. It took effect on May 29. Zamfara had introduced it in January. But the Islamic Shari’a in Sokoto applies only to Muslims, and it is considered to be the only decisive solution to the worsening economic and social conditions in Nigeria. IINA

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Russian Muslims to Form Party

Moscow : The Russian Muslims would launch known a political party named as The Welfare in 2003, according to the legal adviser of the founders, Malik Karimov.

The founders of the party are 12 members of the Russian parliament (Duma) out of the 31 Muslim members of the 450-member parliament. There are two crore Muslims among Russia’s population of total 14 crore people.

In parliament, the Muslims in Macedonia have 24 elected members, while out of 25 ministers they have six Muslims. IINA

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Azan and Prayer Back in Georgia

Tiblisi : The Azan (prayer call) is once again being heard in the Georgian capital Tiblisi after 70 years, now that Georgia is independent of the Soviet Union, after the fall of Communist hegemony in the country.

Sheikh Yassin Aliyev, the Imam of the Grand Mosque in the capital, the only one, said that the Muslims were oppressed under Communism, and added: "But we never stopped, nor did we abandon our worship, in spite of the fact that they destroyed our mosques." He said now prayers are being performed in the mosque. The Muslims in Georgia, Abkhazia and Agaria number about half a million, out of a total population of six million. But Muslims are concentrated in Abkhazia, whose capital is Sukhumi, and the Agaria Republic, both of which overlook the Black Sea and are adjacent to the Turkish border. IINA

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Belgium Schools Begin Islamic Courses

Brussels : Belgium schools have begun teaching Islamic studies as a result of a royal decree recognising Islam as one of the religions in the country. Already 800 teachers have been appointed for this purpose by the Executive Commission for Belgian Muslims, which also has approved the syllabus of study.

The Commission is also preparing special programmes for the local TV station, teaching Muslim prisoners, maintenance of the country’s 300 mosques, the training of Imams, supervising the slaughter of animals, and preparing Da’awa programmes. IINA

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News in Brief

ISESCO Book on Drugs

Rabat : The Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) has published a book in Arabic under the title Harmful Effects of Drugs and How to Remedy Them from the Islamic Perspective." The book is the result of the research done by three researchers from Morocco. The book deals with the stages of addiction, Islamic way of dealing with the addiction, and prevention of its recurrence.

It also looks into the Islamic way of prevention, and the role of the Islamic upbringing in preventing the addiction and its ill effects. IINA

ISNA Conference on Zakat

Washington : The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) will organise its first international conference on the economics of Zakat. The conference will be held between October 20 and 22, 2000. The general theme of the conference will be "Reviving The Fiqh of Zakat and the Muslim Minorities in the West." ISNA has solicited papers and panel programmes in all aspects of Zakat, including calculation, distribution, financing, social institutions, and establishing endowments. IINA

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