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
Bern (IINA): The Swiss United Commission Against Discrimination has expressed its anxiety at the way the 200,000 Muslims in the country are treated, particularly when it comes to job-searching or at places of work. This was expressed at a seminar at the Bern University. Attention was drawn to the fact that Muslims face discrimination when they apply for Swiss citizenship. Speakers who spoke on behalf of the commission at the seminar stressed the necessity of respecting the right of practising one's religion, and they also criticised the action taken against the wearing of the Muslim headgear, the Hijab. A Swiss court had ruled in favour of a girl student in her right to wear the Hijab, something which her school had denied her.
Alma ata (IINA): The Simplatansk region of Kazakhstan, one of the Islamic republics of Central Asia, is the only place in the Muslim world where the worst, the most dangerous, and most intensive nuclear tests were carried out during the forty years of Soviet hegemony. Needless to say, generations to come in this region would experience the adverse health effects of these tests, as would the environment, apart from the continued dry conditions in the Ural Sea, as a result of those tests. Kazakhstan is trying its best in offsetting the effects of those nuclear tests in addition to the efforts being made by regional and international organisations in rehabilitating the Ural Sea and other areas of Simplatansk. IINA's representative in the area said that the Islamic Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Affairs, which met in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, expressed its grave anxiety about what is happening to life in the Ural Sea and Simplatansk areas, because of those nuclear tests. The committee has called on the United Nations to declare the two areas as international environmental disaster areas, at the same time also asked its member countries to help the people of Kazakhstan in this catastrophic situation in which they find themselves. The Committee has also requested the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and other humanitarian organisations in Muslim countries, in coordination with other international, regional and national programmes, to explore the ways and means of providing assistance to the people of the two affected areas.
Cairo (IINA): The Islamic Research Academy at the Al-Azhar has decided that it would not proscribe any book that is in contradiction to Islamic teachings, and would rather confine itself to issuing rejoinders to anything that is contradictory to Islam. Dr. Mahmoud Himdy Zagzouq, Egypt's Minister of Endowments, has said that the proscribing of any book that is not in keeping with Islamic teachings leads to its quick spread clandestinely and gives it publicity, as happened with Salman Rushidie's book. Dr. Abdul Sabur Marzouq said it is better that the Academy should confine itself to the correcting of any falsehood, myths and concoctions contained in such publications, by publishing the rejoinders in Al-Azhar's and other publications, because proscribing a book is counter-productive.
Cairo (IINA): Egypt's Ministry of Endowments has published a CD-Rom on which there is a translation of the Holy Qur'an in the Russian language, plus recitations of the Holy Book by famous reciters. The CD also includes 10,000 Ahadith of the Prophet (Pbuh), taken from Sahih Bukhari and Muslim. The CD would be freely distributed to the Muslims in Russia and the Central Asian republics. The ministry has also printed Islamic Fatwas that had been made by the Egyptian Dar-al-Ifta for the last 100 years - a total of 4,000 of them. It will also print a number of books whose subject matter is to introduce Islam and also to counter any adverse propaganda against it, particularly that emanating from some of the so-called Orientalists. They would be published in a number of languages, including German and English.
Abu Dhabi (IINA): Sheikh Ahmed Al-Kibesy, professor of Islamic Sharia at the Baghdad University, has said that its is imperative that an international Islamic research institution for scholars should be set up, so that it becomes a point of reference for the Muslims around the world. It should be independent and one of its objectives should be to study their problems and other issues connected with them. Sheikh Kibesy stressed that this point of reference should encompass all the schools of thought, and it should reveal the minimal that is agreed upon by all. He said this institution should be sponsored by scholars from Saudi Arabia and the Al-Azhar, but these scholars must, in their pronouncements, take into account the conditions in each country and the existing differences, at the same time they should be in keeping with the times that we live in. He referred to Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi's observation that: "One of the problems facing Muslims is that they don't have a supreme religious point of reference."
Zanzibar (IINA): The Muslim magazine "ALNOOR," which is published in Zanzibar, has called upon Muslims on the island to be aware of the intense activities of the Archbishop of Zanzibar. It said the Archbishop has objected to the change in the constitution that would allow the incumbent Muslim President, Dr. Salmin Amour Juma to stand for a third term of office. The publication said the church never objected, nor meddled in politics, when Julius Nyerere was president, because he was a Catholic Christian, protected the church, and actually helped it in spreading itself in Africa. The paper said at that time the Muslims were forbidden to mix religion with politics, yet allowed the Catholic Church to interfere in political affairs.
Berlin (IINA): After a debate lasting eight hours, the Culture and Education Committee of the City Council of Berlin has approved the decision made by the Federal Administrative Court to teach Islamic Studies in its schools. The Berlin City Council is considered an independent body, in whose affairs the central government does not interfere. Gerhard Schwartzbarth, a Federal Judge, said there, should be no impediments to the teaching of Islamic Studies in German schools, and added that the fears related to this matter are unfounded. The German governments still does not recognise Islam as one of the religions in Germany, but the matter should come up for discussion in the future, according to Schwarzbarth. He referred to the clause in the German Constitution, which was promulgated in 1949, dealing with equality between all citizens living on German soil, but said this did not mean recognition of Islam, and suggested that the matter should be discussed with the church in Germany. The Judge advised the Islamic organisations in Berlin that brought this suit to the Court against the Berlin City Council for its refusal to allow the teaching of Islamic Studies at city schools, to take the responsibility of selecting those who would teach this subject, provided they are independent. The Court decision is regarded as a victory for the Muslims, who have, for many years now, been urging the teaching of Islamic Studies to their children who go to German schools.
Grozny (IINA): The Chechen leadership has appealed to human rights organisation, as well as other international and Islamic organisations in the world, to intervene and put a stop to the war that is raging in Chechnya, and the resultant violations and other atrocities. They also called for relief aid to be sent to the refugees, who now number in their thousands, and lack both food and medicines. Some infectious diseases have already started to spread in various parts of the country, and among them is pneumonic plague. The leaders have requested that the people of Chechnya be granted the right to self-determination, and pointed out to the swift action taken by the UN with regard to East Timor, while ignoring what is going on in Chechnya. They said there is more death and destruction in Chechenya than there ever was in East Timor.
New Delhi: The All India Milli Council is holding a national convention on 'Save Democracy' on March 11 here at Pyarelal Bhavan.
According to a press release by Moulana Asrarul Haq Qasimi, assistant general secretary of the Council, the convention would focus on the legitimacy being accorded by the BJP government at the centre to the RSS and other fascist forces through such action as targeting madrassas, mosques and branding them as dens of ISI. The release said the government is creating suspicion among other communities through such acts. The convention will also take up the question of review of the Indian Constitution.
Makkah (IINA): About 300,000 pilgrims are expected from South Asia to perform this year's Haj. They would be coming from 15 countries, such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Tibet, Burma (Myanmar) and Bhutan. They make up about one third of the pilgrims from overseas. Preparations are well underway for receiving these pilgrims, and the latest technology would be used, such as computers and the Internet.
Jeddah (IINA): The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has set up its own website on the Internet (www.isdb.org). The new website is an addition to the one that belongs to the President of the Bank, has seven web pages. They include such sectors as the Islamic Institute of Research and Training, Islamic Organisation for Insurance and Investment, the Islamic Banks Portfolio, Investment Shares Portfolio, Islamic Organisation for the Development of the Private Sector, the Saudi Arabian Sacrificial Utilization Scheme, and the Database Network of Member States of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). The website contains facts and figures concerning the IDB and its various projects, including aspects of its various other activities. The site also gives description of the various sections and administrative units of the bank, and the programs the banks has initiated in various members states. It also highlights the 25th Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the IDB.
Cairo (IINA): A conference on the "Agricultural Economics in the Muslim World: Now and in Future," would be held here in April. The conference will discuss a number of related issues, among them the food discrepancy in Muslim countries and the future of agricultural and water resources in the Muslim world. Also to come up for discussion would be Islamic financing for agricultural projects in the Muslim world. Speaking to IINA's correspondent in Cairo, the Director of the Saleh Kamel Center for Islamic Economics, Dr. Muhammad Abdulhalim Omar, said: "The significance of the conference comes at a time when the world is on the verge of the next Muslim century, which has many challenges and changes." He said among them is the possibility of a food crisis, and possible conflict regarding water. The Muslim world imports about 90 percent of its food requirements, 80 percent of its clothes, and 98 percent of its lethal weapons.
New York (IINA): A conference on "The Spread of Islam in America" will be held at Harvard University in March. The conference is being organised by the Muslim Association at the university, in coordination with a number of other Islamic and educational organisations in America.
Washington (IINA): The Washington-based American Muslims group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is warning Muslim parents about a middle school reading text book that contains a number of inaccurate, offensive and stereotypical references to Muslims, Muslim women, Arabs, and Islam. The book titled "The Terrorist" written by Caroline B. Cooney, deals with an American student at a private school in London who seeks revenge for the death of her 11-year old brother killed by a package bomb. Its back cover carries the statement: "This edition is only available for distribution through the school market."
Accra (IINA): The Jeddah-based International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIRO) has distributed large quantities of food aid to the Sierra Leonean refugees in the Sanzuli region of northern Ghana. Previously, IIRO had also distributed food aid to the Sierra Leonean refugees in Guinea Conakry, at a cost of SR 112,368, and is now continuing to do the same there. Among the projects are the medical services that were made available by IIRO last Sha'aban in seven countries, namely Senegal, Yemen, Kurdistan (Iraq), Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, and Burkina Faso. These medical services cost a total of SR 278,530, but they greatly reduced the suffering of the people in those countries from such ailments as typhoid, malaria, malnutrition, and other diseases.
Lagos (IINA): Governor Alhaji Attahini Bafarawa of Sokoto State has inaugurated a religious board to explore the possibility of adopting the Islamic Sharia (law) in the state. The governor also inaugurated boards of pilgrim's welfare and a State Law Reform Commission, to fashion out "proper legal framework for the smooth administration of justice in the state."
Riyadh (IINA): Dr Muhammad Maher Ali, a Bangladeshi Islamic scholar, has been chosen for this year's King Faisal Award. The prestigious book has been given to Dr Ali for his book on the history of Islam in Bengal. The prize for service to Islam was announced last Ramadhan, and was awarded to the Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, for its sterling services to the Muslim world in the field of Islamic education over the last 1000 years.
First Muslim Senior Judge in UK
London: Kashmir-born Khurshid Drabu has been appointed the vice president to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal of United Kingdom. He thus becomes the most senior Muslim Judge in the UK. He was called to the bar of England and Wales in 1979 after migrating to the UK in 1971.
DIED: Sheikh Abdur-Rahim Ameen Bukhari, the pioneer who helped the factory for Kiswah (the covering of Kaabah) died on January 6 at the age of 90 at Makkah. Sheikh Bukhari, a calligrapher of rare perfection, had devoted his entire life to be noble art, said Impact International, London. A new Kiswah is stitched every year and the Kaabah, the centrepiece of Muslim devotion to Allah in Makkah is covered with it in an elaborate ceremony before Hajj. The kiswah is embroidered with gold wires. The parchments of the old Kiswah are distributed to noted Muslims and Muslim organisation throughout the world.
DIED: Shiekh Sayed Sabiq has passed away. Sheikh Sayed fought in the sake of Allah not only with his pen, knowledge and Fiqh but also physically in Palestine in 1948 war with the troops of Ikhwan.
His book of Fiqh Assunnah is a remarkable book for the intensive information and the simplicity of the its introduction. Hardly you can find a Muslim home without this book. His book Fiqhu Sunnah, written after the request of Al-Imam Al-Shaheed Hasan Al-Banna, was the first of its kind in this century. This book broke the walls of blind emitation of the 4 mathhabs and guided the Muslims to follow first Qur'an and Sunnah. (by "seyed" )