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MARCH 2000

MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-03 No:159    *   MARCH 2000 / ZIL-HIJJA 1420H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

NEWS FROM
ISLAMIC WORLD - I


German Scribe has Video evidence against Russia
Not only Holocaust
Agenda being set for Civilisations Dialogue
Muslims demand Official Recognition of Islam in Italy
UK Mosque Bombed
Qradhawi Calls for a Balanced Approach to Fiqh
Islam insists on Justice for all 'Terrorism thrives in an Unjust Society'
Islam-Church Dialogue
British Muslims Oppose Bond Scheme for UK Visa
20,000 Pilgrims from England for Haj
'Islam Honours Woman, West uses Her'
Smoking Prohibited by Islam, says Al-Azhar Chancellor
OIC Research Project focuses on Turkish Islamic States
Hearing on US Secret Evidence Act
Muslims facing Discrimination in SwitzerlandO
Kazakhstan: Combating a Nuclear Past
'Banning Books Counter-Productive'
Qur'an in Russian on CD-ROM
World Islamic research centre representing All Schools Mooted
Zanzibar Church wants Muslim President
Germany okays Teaching of Islamic Studies in its Schools
Chechens seek World Intervention to stop Genocide, Destruction
'Save Democracy ' Convention
300,000 Pilgrims from South Asia
Islamic Development Bank goes Online
Agri-Economic Meet to address Challenges to Muslim World
Harvard Varsity Meet on Islam in America
Anti-Muslim Book in American Schools
Aid to Sierra Leone Refugees by IIRO
Sokoto considering Introduction of Sharia
King Faisal Award for Bangladeshi Scholar
People

Chechen Genocide:

German Scribe has Video evidence against Russia

Grozny (IINA): A video recording made by a German journalist of what was already being said about Russian atrocities against the freedom fighter of Chechnya, proves the point beyond doubt. These acts of atrocity are not only perpetrated against the fighters, but also against the civilian population. The film shows mass graves, with some of the Chechen dead badly disfigured before they were killed. Another shot shows a Chechen Muslim being dragged by a tank, with his feet tied to the tank and the rest of his body on the ground, being dragged by the tank. The US President Bill Clinton has asked Russia to allow international investigators to look into these crimes against humanity, while the European Union representative has asked for an independent and fair investigation. Russian human rights activists have said that what has happened in Chechnya is a complete violation of human rights and that this is a shame to Russia and is in contravention of international conventions.

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Not only Holocaust

London: The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has suggested to the British Government to rename the "Holocaust Remembrance Day" as "Genocide Remembrance Day" in order to include genocides, massacres and ethnic cleansing in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosova.

In a letter to the UK Home Office's Race Relations Equality Unit, secretary of the MCB said: "The Muslim Community in Britain does not want to minimize the enormity of the Holocaust in Germany earlier this century, but feels it inappropriate not to remember other similarly horrendous crimes elsewhere in Britain.

It may be recalled that the Jews world over have elevated the massacre of Jews in Hitler's Germany to the history's worst crime against humanity. The Jewish controlled Western media does not brook. The comparison of Holocaust with any other genocide or massacre and is ever watchful against attempt to underestimate the Hitler's crime. The Jewish lobby around the world sets up museums to commemorate the holocaust and underplays all other crimes. It is also a powerful tool to extract advantages against the Germany's crime. Israel's formation and existence is held to be a compensation against what the Germans-and by extension the West-did to the Jews in Europe in Hitler era.

The MCB secretary Iqbal Sacranie urged the UK government and the European Union to rename the Holocaust Remembrance Day as European Union Genocide Remembrance Day. He said, "anti-semitism is as abhorrent as the Islamophobia and hatred against any other culture, race or religion."

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Agenda being set for Civilisations Dialogue

Jeddah (IINA): A group of experts who have been meeting here to discuss on dialogue between civilisations, have prepared the two documents representing the Islamic view for the basics of the dialogue which is scheduled to be held next year under the auspices of the United Nations. Representatives from 23 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) took part in the meeting, together with three organisations, namely the Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), Centre for Research into Islamic History, Art and Culture, (IRCICA) in Istanbul, and the Fiqh Academy.

The meeting decided to combine the two papers into a single document, containing all the ideas and opinions expressed by the various delegations regarding the issue. One of the conditions set out is that the dialogue must be fair and divorced from the negative aspects of globalisation. The group also agreed that national association and governmental as well as no-governmental organs should be allowed to take part in the dialogue, which should also deal with various other aspects, so that it can achieve practical results.

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Muslims demand Official Recognition of Islam in Italy

Rome (IINA): There are 1.5 million Muslims in Italy, of various origins, and had started to immigrate to it since the 1930s. The total Italian population is 65,000,000, and Islam is the second religion, after Christianity. The President of the Muslim Association, who is also head of the Islamic Academy of Italy, Sheikh Abdul Wahid Balalfasini, said that among the most important problems facing the Muslims in Italy is the government's refusal to officially recognise Islam, but is prepared to do so on one condition. The condition is that the Muslims themselves must first unite and then conclude an agreement with the government, and based on that agreement the government would recognise the Islamic religion, and that way Muslims would be accorded all their rights. But the Muslims have no time, he said, nor do they have the resources for organising themselves and deciding on someone who would represent them at government level and demand their rights. However, the mosques and Islamic centres in Italy do try to bring together the Muslims and serve their needs, but, sadly enough, there is no coordination between them, and for this reason Muslims cannot have access to many of their rights. Sheikh Abdul Wahid said that in the last few years there have been calls in Europe for the holding of dialogue between religions, and some have even suggested that dialogue is the only way to go. He said public opinion in the West in general has started to understand the issues concerning Islam, and to sympathise with them. He said that much of the misunderstanding is created by the Western media, in order to satisfy the interests of certain parties. But any adverse propaganda against Islam must be countered, he added.

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UK Mosque Bombed

London: A mosque was bombed and widely damaged in Britain on Feb 13. According to the Muslim News Shacklewell Lane Mosque run by the Turkish Community was bombed by unknown miscreants. The mosque is a brick-built Victorian structure which was earlier a synagogue (place of Jewish worship) and was sold to the UK Turkish Islamic Trust. Damage is estimated to be around one lakh sterling pound.

According to Ramadan Hossein Gueney, it was impossible to say who did it. He said two years ago Turkish Community centre run by Milli Goerus was burnt by anti-socials. The centre is located across the street. "Kurdish miscreants were then accused of the act then", he informed.

The British Police is of the view that the bombing is not related to racist violence. The mosque authorities also reported the attempts to remove copies of the Qur'an and the chair used for sermon before bombing indicating that the attack was directed against Turkish properties and not Islamic place of worship. In another incident a charity bookshop "Call to Islam" in East London was poured with gasolene in an attempt to set alight but was saved because of timely action.

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Qradhawi Calls for a Balanced Approach to Fiqh

Kuwait (IINA): The well-known Islamic thinker, Sheikh Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi, has called for adopting a new approach in the study of Islamic Fiqh. He said the Fiqh that he is referring to is not the Fiqh that is taught at Sharia and law colleges a Fiqh that emanates from the Qur'an itself, which comprises various kinds of Fiqh, foremost among which are the verses that have been revealed by Allah and the Prophet's Sunnah, relating to the universe, the society, and the family.

He said: "Our world is not moving haphazardly, but rather according to divine laws that are not subject to change," adding that this is what Allah has said in the Qur'an. In a discussion with the Kuwait-based publication "ALALAMIYA," Dr. Qaradhawi said among the things that the Fiqh he is calling for relates to the maintenance of balance, particularly in matters relating to human interest. He said people should not sacrifice the higher interests for the sake of minor gains, or permanent interests for the sake of temporary ones, or fundamental ones for ones that are of minor importance. Turning to the topic of the "Fiqh of Balance" and "Fiqh of Priorities," Sheikh Qaradhawi said the latter was based on the former, and means that we should understand what things are more important than others, and that we should not put things upside-down. Sheikh Qaradhawi then touched on the Fiqh of differences of opinion, and said that it is not possible for all the people to have a consensus of a uniform opinion on any particular matter. He said those who wished to impose a single opinion on the Muslim Ummah would only intensify the differences among the people. He added that those who wanted to eliminate all the sects not only did not succeed but helped in only increasing the number of sects by adding new ones. He said there is no way of eliminating differences of opinion, and added that it was, in fact, a religious, linguistic, human, and universal necessity. Sheikh Qaradhawi commented: "This is the type of Fiqh that I am calling for, and I am working towards including it in my encyclopaedia 'The Simplified Fiqh,' and in my opinion we should continue to strive to find out more and renew." He said if the scholars of bygone era had lived during our times and witnessed what we are witnessing, they would have changed much in their pronouncements and their efforts, as did those who came after them but who were closer to their era.

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Meet on Human Rights in Islam

Islam insists on Justice for all 'Terrorism thrives in an Unjust Society'

Rome (IINA): Islam does not approve of violence and terrorism. However, the face cannot be ignored that terrorism thrives only in unjust societies, said the speakers at a seminar on human rights in Islam, convened by the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL), in the Italian capital, Rome. The deliberations focussed on the human rights violations around the world. The final resolution said that Islam is a faith and a legislation, that it is a comprehensive and complete in building the land, establishing justice and realising the sovereignty of man. The meet said that all human beings are partners in Divine regency on earth, and it is therefore everyone's responsibility to cooperate in designing the system and devising rules and regulations that will dictate the scales of justice and the mechanisms and standards for achieving their common interests. They should also find ways and means of benefiting from the bounties which God has blessed the world with. The participants also focussed on the relationship between science and technology on the one hand, and religious and moral values on the other. The speakers pointed out peaceful co-existence is imperative for harnessing the knowledge in the interest of the human integrity and environmental safety. The speakers called for respecting the peculiarities of each religion and culture, and that the family should be based on the marriage between a man and a woman, and is the basic unit of any society. It is a foundation upon which responsible and peaceful generations are built. The speakers pointed out that Islam insists on fairness and justice for all human beings, regardless of the differences in their ethnic origins or religious inclinations for peace and security among individuals and communities. It said that divine values and the upbringing of generations based on those values and inner faith in Allah are the basic elements in ending the phenomenon of violence and extremism in international societies. On child labour, the meet called for providing education and health care to all children. "The child is the basis of human society," said the communique. Referring to the phenomenon of violence and terrorism, the final communique said Islam deprecates this phenomenon, but calls for prevailing of justice and peace, under which the individual feels the responsibility and respect for another's life.

Islam also looks down upon oppression, aggression, and attempts at dominating others, because this is the very environment in which violence and extremism thrive. The seminar was of the opinion that man needs a number of principles, to link human rights to a point of reference that takes into account the beliefs and values, and also that link the rights to the duties and responsibilities. It also considered it important that dialogue between cultures and civilisations should be encouraged, since this would create better understanding of human rights, and would enable work to be done in uprooting discrimination among individuals in human society, on grounds of ethnicity, colour, language or national origin.

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Islam-Church Dialogue

Cairo (IINA): 300 Italian nationals embraced Islam in December 1999. Dr. Hassan Giulio Soravia, the Muslim Italian Orientalist, who is also professor of Islamic Studies at the Bologna University in Italy, said that the Muslim population in Italy has reached 1.5 million, yet the Italian Government does not as yet recognise Islam as one of the country's religions. In an interview conducted with him by IINA's correspondent when he was visiting the Egyptian capital, Dr. Soravia said: "The reason why the Italian Government does not as yet recognise Islam in the country, is attributable to the lack of consensus among Italy's Muslims as to who would represent them in government circles." He said the government would also like to know who among the Muslim leaders in the country would enter into an agreement with the Italian Government for its recognition of Islam in accordance with Italy's Constitutional demands. Dr. Soravia also agreed that the forces that run the media in the West direct it toward adopting a distorted picture of Islam, adding that this has made the ordinary Italian ignorant of Islam. He said this is because their knowledge of Islam is based on whatever they see in the electronic media or read in the print media, which, of course, is contrary to the reality. He said Al-Azhar University and the Vatican have formed a committee to look into the possibility of holding a Muslim-Christian Dialogue, and added that dialogue is one of Islam's methods of calling people to it. The Orientalist said the motive behind the Vatican's desire for such a dialogue is to defend it against any distortion that are bandied about it from time to time. Dr. Soravia said it has been possible to observe a large number (300 to be precise) of Italians embracing Islam during 1999, one of them a wealthy Italian who paid for the distribution of 5,000 copies of translations of the Holy Qur'an.

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British Muslims Oppose Bond Scheme for UK Visa

London: The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the apex body of Muslims in the UK has opposed bond scheme for UK visas for visitors from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Under the scheme the visitors sponsors in Britain will be asked to furnish bonds ranging between 5,000 to 10,000 sterling pounds for issue of UK visas to their sponsored relatives. The scheme has evoked strong disapproval from various sections in India also.

An MCB release said the Board scheme will create divisions among ethnic minorities in the UK and cause hardships-financial and emotional-to the visitors from south Asia, a region known for poverty and resourcelessness.

However, Home Office Minister Barbara Roche has defended the proposal saying it would help visitors who might otherwise be refused entry. Jeremy Corbyn, MP for North Islington said the move could be illegal under Race Relations laws. The MCB has asked the Government to abandon this scheme and improve the present system of dealing with visa applications.

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20,000 Pilgrims from England for Haj

Jeddah (IINA): About 20,000 pilgrims are expected from Britain for this year's Haj, and the British government is sending representatives from the Foreign and Colonial Office in London to Saudi Arabia to assist in facilitating matters for them. The British Hujjaj Association sent out a delegation in November last year, to discuss Haj arrangements with Saudi officials, and the meeting was "very successful" according to the association's local representative here, Yusuf Mirza. Mirza thanked the Saudi Government, and particularly the Haj authorities, for their cooperation and assistance in facilitating matters, not only for the British pilgrims, but for pilgrims from all corners of the world as a whole. He lauded the huge projects that the Kingdom has initiated in the various holy sites, so that pilgrims could perform their Haj rites with ease and comfort.

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'Islam Honours Woman, West uses Her'

Paris (IINA): Islam has honoured woman, given her rights due to her, protects her and her femininity, contrary to what happens to the woman in Europe. - Dr Zuhair Shukr Mahmoud, Director of European Institute of Humanities in France, Dr. Zuhair Shukr Mahmoud said here that the woman in Europe was under the mercy of the Church and had to go through persecution and oppression, and has become just a chattel, to be used in such things as publicity and advertisement material, and also used by the Mafia. He said the women in Europe has come to the point of confining herself to giving birth to only a single child, or even decides not to have any conception at all, for fear that might keep her away from work or be an impediment in any other way. Dr. Shukr said that the Muslim woman in France is forging ahead in her struggle to prove herself in all fields, including the issue of Hijab, and her struggle with taunts in the streets and at school. He said she has taken matters to court, in order to defend her rights, and this is yet another manifestation of the Muslim woman's freedom of action, and an honour to her.

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Smoking Prohibited by Islam, says Al-Azhar Chancellor

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.

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OIC Research Project focuses on Turkish Islamic States

Istanbul (IINA): The Istanbul-based Center for Research in Islamic History, Art and Culture, (IRCICA) an offshoot of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), has made sizeable achievements during the years 1980-1999. It has, for instance, published 65 of its research studies, and also published indexes of Islamic manuscripts in various branches of knowledge. It also published four directories of international Islamic cultural organisations, and the international bibliography of the Qur'an translation. Another of its published studies was one on "The Cultural Dimensions of Development in OIC Member Countries. The center has also published a number of studies on the history of a number of Islamic peoples, such as "Concise History of Islamic Turkish States," "The Ottoman State and Its History," (two volumes), and "Islamic Civilization in the Malay World." It also published seven studies on the history of Bosnia and its civilization, plus a number of albums of Islamic art, the last one entitled "Album of Islamic Calligraphy."

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Hearing on US Secret Evidence Act

Washington (IINA): For the first time, a hearing on the proposed Secret Evidence Act was held last week before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. Witnesses included a relative of a Muslim detainee held based on secret evidence, according to a report by the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The Secret Evidence Repeal Act seeks to repeal a section of the 1996 Anti-Terrorism Act allowing the government to withhold evidence against a suspect on the basis that to reveal it would be a threat to national security. 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.

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