By Abu Al-Shamail
BONN : Opinion polls carried out in Bonn, Germany, have shown that the majority of Germans approve of the inclusion of Islamic studies in the curricula of the country's schools. The poll, which was carried out by the German newspaper Die Fuch revealed that out of the 1000 sample polled 52 per cent approved the teaching of Islamic studies, while 39 per cent were opposed to the idea. The rest were either undecided or had no opinion on the matter.
In some German states, such as Westphalia, Lower Saxony and North Rhine, Islamic studies is already taught as an optional subject. The surprising thing is that most of those polled showed an interest in the teaching of this subject using the German language as a medium of instruction, contrary to what is being done now. At present Islamic Studies is taught in Arabic to the children of immigrants, among them a large number of Moroccans. (IINA)
WASHINGTON : The US Muslims have organised an Islamic museum called "Collections and Stories of American Muslims (CSAM)," which has developed a travelling exhibition and archives of America's Islamic heritage. The museum covers America's Islamic history from 1312 to the 20h century. The museum's first project was to introduce a new book last year titled Muslims in America: Seven Centuries of History (1312-1998). The book highlights many hidden facts of America's Islamic history. CSAM was formed in 1996 as a non-profit organisation, whose objective is to educate the general public about Muslim life and culture in America; to foster better understanding among Muslims and non-Muslims; to dispel the negative stereotypes about Muslim Americans; to collect, research and exhibit the collections and artifacts of Islamic history, life and culture among Muslim Americans' and to develop an archives that would be significant to students, educators and scholars.
ISLAMABAD: Members of minorities have noted with satisfaction the arrangements being made by Pakistan Government on the occasion of the 300th birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion being held in April next. Under a well- conceived programme, Guru Nanak's temple at Nankana Sahib in Sheikhupura district, about 150 km west of Lahore, is being renovated at top speed to accommodate five to six thousand Sikh pilgrims from all over the world on the eve of the centenary celebration of the Khalsa.
Normally, about one thousand Sikh pilgrims, mostly from India, visit their holy places in Pakistan situated at Hasan Abadal, Lahore, and Farooqabad besides Nankana Sahib annually. (AP/IINA)
ABU DHABI : The total number of those who have embraced Islam in the United Arab Emirates has reached the 10,000 mark, and a new center is now being built in which there would be four classrooms for men and a similar number for women, a lecture hall, administrative offices, and it is expected that it will also open branches in various other emirates of the UAE.
Most of these converts embraced Islam due to efforts efforts exerted by the Sheikh Zayed Center for New Converts.
The majority of the new converts are from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and a few from Western countries. The Center distributes books, cassettes, both audio and video, in a number of languages. It also organises evening classes for men as well as women and arrange for lectures by scholars and Da’awa workers from various Islamic countries. It also translates some Islamic literature into various languages. (IINA)
PARIS: The Union of Islamic Organizations in France which has a membership of 230 organisation is coordinating the affairs and issues concerning the Muslim community in the country with a view to making preparation for the establishment of a Muslim Representative Council in France. The union has made some progress in various fields for the benefit of the Muslims there, among them the setting up of Islamic Wakf Organization which will take care of collecting assistance and getting support and grants for the development of the community. These endowments will guarantee continuous income for the Islamic activities and will shield them from financial instability.
The union has also acquired a piece of land on which it has built a large Islamic centre, so as to meet the needs of Muslims in Paris, apart from its role as a center for Da’awa and other Islamic cultural and social activities. But the centre, which cost about 13 million Franc, now needs furnishing and equipping.
The union also supported the formation of the European College for Islamic Higher Studies, one of whose aims is to prepare qualified and specialised Muslim preachers and forming the Imams Academy in France for the same purpose.
The union also helped in the preparation of a feasibility study for the establishment of an Islamic school, the first in that part of the world which is expected to teach and train Muslim girls who don the Hijab and face discriminatory treatment in the public schools in the wake of ban on wearing of Hijab in schools.
The union also set up the Zakat House and has decided to set up a Scholarships Fund to help needy Muslim students, apart from taking care of the sick and prisoners and playing a role in the solution of other social problems that face the Muslims in France. (IINA)
ATLANTA (US): Ford Foundation has granted $ 371,000 for the global study of Islamic Family Law to Abdullahi Al Naim, termed an Islamic scholar by the Associated Press in a dispatch. He is said to be leading a team of 20 scholars. It said the study would find out how Muslims reconcile teachings of their faith with the cultural and political factors that affect Muslim families. The dispatch which did not throw much light on the background of Al Naim, said, the survey is expected to produce surprises about how Islam is practised today. “Personally, I challenge the assumption that Islam and secularism are incompatible,” he was quoted telling the AP.
HARIPUR (Pakistan): Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have jointly set up Hera Orphan Technical Institute to train the children of the people of shuhada (martyrs) of Pakistan and neighbouring countries. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif who inaugurated the Institute on February 6 called it a symbol of matchless Pak- Saudi relationship which is based on mutual trust.
Sharif laid the foundation stone of the Institute on a 48,000 square metre land leased out by the Government. Haripur is situated 90 kilometres from the federal capital Islamabad. Hera Children Home is part of Al-Harmain and Al- Masjid Al- Aqsa Charity Foundation. The Prime Minister had laid the foundation of Hera Children's Home in October 1991 and had announced Rs. 20 million for the project. Nawaz Sharif also announced Rs. 20 million for the Hera technical school which would train one thousand orphan boys and girls in various trades. (IINA)
DUBAI: For the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia, a group of Saudi women has joined the hotel industry. The Saudi Ministry of Labour gave the Dhaharan Palace Hotel Ramada permission to employ them and, according to the hotel, they have picked up their jobs well and are happy at their work.
For some, the issue was not only a matter of earning some money. They found they needed to keep themselves busy.
DUBAI: UAE ambassador to China Ismail Obeid Yusuf, conveyed the greetings of the UAE’s leadership and people to the government and people of the city of Fu Yang in Anhui province. Yusuf made his statement during a ceremony to mark the laying of the foundation stone of a mosque and Islamic Institute in Fu Yang. The mosque is the first to be built in the city, of which 130,000 of its 12 million population are Muslims. Yusuf also donated 100,000 yuans towards the cost of the three million yuan mosque.
During his visit to Anhui province, the ambassador discussed with senior officials ways of enhancing relations between the UAE and China in economic, trade and investment fields.
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, will inaugurate the 9th Abudhabi International book fair on March 7.
In all some 523 local, Arab and foreign publishing houses will feature 155,000 titles - of which 5000 Arabic and 10000 foreign will be covering an extensive range of subjects.
Also for the first time the event will be transmitted live on the Internet.
President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin sultan Al Nahyan has ordered that 600 citizens be sent to saudi Arabia to perform Haj at his personal expense. The president’s private Department called on citizens who have not performed Haj to report to the Director of the President’s office for registration.
Iranian President Mohammed Khatami is to make his first visit to Saudi Arabia around the time of Haj at the end of March, Iran’s ambassador to Riyadh said.
Mohammad Reza Nuri said the visit would come during Haj or shortly after. “contacts are in progress to fix the exact date,” he told. Saudi Defence Minister prince Sultan bin Abdelaziz, meanwhile, is also to visit Iran soon, the ambassador said.
Saudi Arabian Airlines is to resume flights to four Iranian cities after two decades, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. It said officials from the civil aviation authorities of both countries singned an agreement on the flights after two days of talks in the Saudi Red sea city of Jeddah. The report did not say when the flights would begin.
Relations have been improving since the election of more moderate Iranian President Mohameed Khatami.