KUWAIT : An official Kuwaiti committee had proposed launching a cable television network which would cut out material seen as un-Islamic, “The Arab Times reported recently. It proposed the installation of cable television which would provide ``high quality reception and allow censoring of unwanted material,’’ the daily quoted Adel al-Falah, deputy chairman of an advisory committee set up to implement Islamic Sharia Law, as saying.
“Channels that are unsuitable to our values and traditions will be rejected. “The system also allows censorship on other channels so as to make sure the programmes received are decent.” He added that of the network, which would carry “a large number” of international satellite channels including encrypted ones. The proposal, in the form of a draft law, was submitted to Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah for approval, the newspaper reported. A committee was appointed by the Emir after a Western-led coalition drove Iraq out of Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War. The panel’s brief was to make all laws in Kuwait conform with strict Sharia.
ST. LOUIS : The 35th annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America, the largest group of American Muslims, took place in St. Louis at the beginning of September 1998. Nearly 18,000 Muslim men, women and children from around the United States came to Saint Louis, Missouri for the convention. The foreign guests included president Cassam Uteen of Mauritius and former Prime Minister Abdelhamid Brahimi of Algeria. Maulana Sirajul Hassan and Mr. Ejaz Ahmed Aslam, president and secretary of Jamaat e Islami Hind attended the conference representing the Indian Muslims. The delegations from Kosova, Jerusalem and other parts of the Muslim world were represented. In addition, young people held meetings to discuss such topics as college, drugs, promiscuity and other issues, facing them.
The Vice President of the United States, Al-Gore, sent a message through video-tape which was shown in the main meeting hall of the convention: Gore said, “this conference is an important way to teach young people about the leadership role that they can play in the future. By promoting Islamic identity you are also contributing to a deeper cultural understanding for all Americans. Your work is helping to weave the sacred strand of Islam into the rich religious tapestry of America. And by focusing on so many of our most pressing social issues and organizing the Muslim community politically, you are truly strengthening our self-government.”
WASHINGTON: The Council for Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) has criticised the formation of the American National Terrorism Committee, because, judging from his pronouncements, it appears that the supervisor of the committee is deliberately targeting Islam and Muslims by accusing them of terrorism. Furthermore, it said that some of the members in the proposed committee are known for their animosity towards Muslims, and one of them has even been convicted for violent crimes and terrorism. This American committee is charged with the responsibility of devising policies for fighting terrorism. (IINA)
WASHINGTON: Three weeks after the explosions that hit US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Islamic organisations in the United States have begun an intensified media campaign to deal with the misunderstanding that has spread to some quarters of American public opinion to the effect that Islam is connected to terrorism.
These Islamic organisations are issuing statements and writing letters to the White House and to the US media channels. They also hold lectures and press conferences, and explain to the Muslims in the US the best means of protecting themselves in the event of any violent acts that might be carried out against them.
In the framework of this campaign, they held a press conference to criticise a film entitled “The Siege” which has been produced by 20th Century Fox, which maliciously portrays Muslims as the source of terrorist activities. The campaign has already scored some successes, with coverage by 12 television stations and three national newspapers. (IINA)
CAIRO : The Islamic Economics Center of the Al Azhar University will hold an international seminar on “The Contemporary Practice of Zakat” from December 15 to 16.
The objective of the seminar would be to spread awareness on the spiritual, social and economic significance of the Zakat institution, and to clarify the fact that it is not right to mix the Zakat with government taxes and voluntary alms-giving. It will also discuss the contemporary methods of investing, and the lack of institutions for collecting and distributing Zakat funds. The seminar will discuss the Zakat and the general rules and regulations attached to it, Zakat and Taxes, Zakat on Commercial Stock, and Zakat on Employment Income, among other topics. At the end of the seminar there will be a debate session on “Proposing a Law on Zakat” in which scholars of Islamic jurisprudence will take part. (IINA)
LONDON: At the Cultural Center of the Central Mosque an exhibition was held here recently under the theme title “Discover Islam.” Dr. Mahmoud Hamoud, the Lebanon’s ambassador in Britain, performed the opening of the exhibition in his capacity as chairman of the Central Mosque Endowment Trustees in London.
Many books and photographs aimed at introducing Islam to the West were on display and a piece of the Kiswa (black cloth) for the Ka’abah was also exhibited. There was no entrance fee to the exhibition, so that an opportunity is given to the non-Muslims to know more about Islam. (IINA)
KUALA LUMPUR : A Ten-day Muslim Leaders’ Forum Seminar was held in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, to discuss Islamic educational, cultural and economic issues between last August 15 and 25 this year. The seminar was attended by delegates from 30 countries. Professor Dr. Omar Hassan Kasule, Chairman of the Forum’s Organizing Committee, said that the seminar was quite successful, and in December this year another seminar would be held in Kuala Lumpur.
The Forum was organized by the Tarbiyah and Training Center of the International Islamic University in Malaysia, and participants spoke about education, the rights of minorities, and the problems of the youth and the Islamic Dawah and its methods. They also discussed about Islamic banking, industrial development, university education, strategy and planning, technology transfer, business ethics, Islamic insurance, Islamic education in South Africa. Other discussions centred on Islamic Dawah work in South African prisons, reform of education in the Muslim world, the way ahead for Muslim schools, higher education in Palestine, Zakat in Malaysia, Zakat Fund in South Africa, oppression of Muslims in Burma (Myanmar), Islamic Projects in Ghana, and several other topics. (IINA)
RIYADH : The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) is in the process of setting up an International Islamic House for Culture, Authorship, Translation and Publication. Its objective would be to make it easy to spread the message of the Qur’an and by translating it into several other languages, and making it available at a very nominal price.
SOFIA: For the first time in 50 years, Bulgaria has allowed circumcision ceremonies for young Muslim boys, the German News Agency (DPA) reported quoting the official BTA news agency of Bulgaria.
More than 30 Muslim boys between the ages of two and 14 were circumcised in a ceremony on September 6 in Teke Mosque in Dobritsch in North Eastern Bulgaria, BTA reported. Chief Mufti Mustafa Aliv attended the ceremony.
The circumcisions were carried out by Fawzi Ibryamov. Ibrayamov was jailed under former communist rule for performing the circumcisions illegally. Well-off Muslim families were coughing up to 100,000 leva (about 58 dollars for a circumcision) which is a lot of money for average Bulgarians, the DPA reported.
Under communist rule, Bulgaria’s Turkish minority which makes up about 10 per cent of the population of 8.5 million people was not allowed to practice its Islamic faith or speak Turkish in public. Turks were also forced to replace their Islamic names with Bulgarian ones.
DHAKA : A group of Islamic clerics in Bangladesh have criticised the release of postage stamp commemorating Princess Diana.
“She was an adulteress and immoral woman. The release of the stamps in her honour has hurt the sentiments of Muslims”, 21 Muslim clerics said in a joint press statement. They urged the government to immediately stop the sale of the stamps.
The multi-coloured stamps adorned with the smiling pictures of the princess who was killed last year in a car crash in Paris went on sale in Bangladesh on Diana’s death anniversary. “Princess Diana will be remembered for her services to the distressed people, especially the children, post and telecommunications minister Mohammad Nasim said while releasing the stamps. The government did not immediately respond to the clerics statement, according to the Associated Press.
JEDDAH : Dr. Ezzedin Laraki, the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), has announced his organisation’s total support to the government of Bangladesh and its solidarity with its people who are presently going through difficult and painful circumstances, as a result of the damage and destruction that have been caused by the recent floods in the country.
The secretary general has, therefore, made an urgent appeal to the international community, particularly the Muslim countries, to hasten in lending a helping hand to the affected people of that country with emergency relief and other kinds of help. (IINA)
NAIROBI: President Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya has said the recent bombings in the capital, Nairobi, should not be cause for animosity between Muslims and Christians. He noted that no religious group should be stigmatised in connection with the bomb blast. He reiterated that terrorism transcended religious boundaries, and called upon Kenyans to peacefully co-exist with one another, regardless of religion, colour or race. The President advised that offensive language that could trigger hatred amongst the people should be avoided at all costs. (IINA)
STOCKHOLM : A Swedish translation of the Holy Qur’an will soon be published in Sweden. The translation was undertaken by a Muslim Swedish diplomat who had served in a number of countries. The former Swedish diplomat, Muhammad Knutz Baristarm, had embraced Islam many years ago, and after years of hard work, he has been able to effect the Swedish translation. The translation runs into 1000 pages and will be published by one of the largest publishing houses in Stockholm. (IINA)
CAIRO: A seminar will be organised by the League of Islamic Academies will be held in Cairo on November 22. Its theme will be “The World Media and Muslim World’s Issues.” The aim of the seminar is to put in place a comprehensive media strategy for Islamic awareness as a faith, a legal and moral system, and as a civilisation. It will also discuss the continuing anti-Islam campaigns in the media and the ways to bring together Muslim minorities with the larger Muslim ummah.
The seminar will also discuss Islam and Muslims in the context of the global information system, the needs and dangers emanating from the free outflow of undesirable information, the Islamic identity, national sovereignty and the media, the weakness of the Islamic communication infrastructure, and the international media strategy. (IINA)
ISTANBUL: One of Turkey’s Islamic organisations will soon embark upon a project for the service of Islam and the various Islamic issues via the Internet. Reliable sources have indicated that this project will be implemented in conjunction with the Islamic Encyclopaedia Foundation in Turkey so that it is able to impart accurate facts and figures on Islam and Muslims. The organisation that has undertaken the project has created a special working group to oversee the progress of the work and has selected a number of expert advisors on various topics. They will advise on various issues and will answer questions from those interested in knowing more about Islam and the various issues concerning it.
ISTANBUL: The Center for Research in Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) in conjunction with the Academy of Turkish History of Ankara, the Turkish Academy of Scientific History, and with the cooperation of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is in the process of organising an international conference. The theme of the conference will be “Science and Education in the Ottoman World,” on April 12-15, 1999, in commemoration of the 7th centenary of the Ottoman state. At the conference, several papers dealing with the activities and traditions of the Ottoman scientific and educational organisations would be presented. Other studies will deal with the scientific and intellectual life. It is expected that the conference will come up with findings on the Ottoman history by giving an opportunity to researchers who are keen to present the results of their researches and exchange of ideas.
NAIROBI: The Kenyan Government has decided to terminate the activities of six large charitable, humanitarian, and Dawah Islamic organisations that have been operating in Kenya, charging them of being involved in political and subversive activities. The whole Muslim world knows only too well that these organizations were solely concerned with the welfare of orphans, the offering of free medical services, and the spread of Islamic cultural and religious education, as well as calling people to Islam.
This action has been taken by the Kenya authorities without prior investigation and without obtaining any ruling from a court of law or any other judicial entity. (IINA)
DOHA: The state of Qatar will soon establish a museum of Islamic Art in the capital, Doha. The museum will be built opposite to the National Museum on the Corniche Boulevard, and will occupy 27,590 square metres of land. The first phase of the museum will be opened in the year 2000 AD.
The museum will have four exhibition halls for the display of paintings, embroidery, excavations, rare books, maps and hand-written manuscripts, ancient currencies, medals, financial papers, weapons and other archaic arms.
The museum has been designed in such a way as to blend with the environment and the traditional architectural styles. (IINA)
RIYADH (IINA): The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Endowments is organizing 14 courses and symposiums in Shariah studies and the Arabic language this year. The objective is to prepare Dawah workers. Four of them were held in Russia, Tataristan, Kazakhstan, and one in Kenya. Three hundred and fifty students and Imams benefited from these courses.
The ministry also held five symposiums in the United States, India, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria, and about 450 propagators of the ministry and of the countries concerned benefited from them. Similar courses will be held in the Philippines, Uganda, Bulgaria, Australia and Venezuela.
TOKYO (IINA) : The Institute of Humanities at the Tokyo University has decided to create a Center for Islamic Studies. It’s aim will be to research and carry out objective and scientific studies of Muslim affairs in the world in general. The institute will depend entirely on Japanese researchers, at the head of whom will be Professor Tsuju Kasato, the president of the Association of Middle-Eastern Studies in Japan. The center has already been promised assistance from Palestine’s Ministry of Education.
ISLAMABAD: The International Islamic University in Islamabad will hold a four-day conference on the “Life, Thoughts and Contribution of Imam Abu Hanifa.” The conference will be held in Islamabad starting October 5, 1998.
The conference will be inaugurated by President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar, and a number of scholars from Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Germany, Bulgaria, Morocco, India, and Qatar are expected to attend. Over 50 scholars, drawn from a number of Islamic sects will highlight the achievements of Imam Abu Hanifa and his role in the fields of Hadith and Fiqh. IINA
LONDON: The Bank Committee of Switzerland, the international watchdog for the world’s banks, reported that the operations of Islamic Banks are increasing at the rate of 15 per cent every year and their deposits have reached US $ 70 billion, with the possibility that they would reach the $ 100 billion mark by the years 2000.
Presently, Islamic Banks are functioning in 48 countries of the world and their branches are functioning in Western countries. Some Western Banks have special sections which offer Islamic Banking services to Muslims in compliance with the Islamic Shariah. (IINA)
ALIGARH: A National Level Seminar on Islamic Economics-Issues and Challenges will be held at New Delhi on December 5-6, 1998 on the following topics;
* An Appraisal of the Development in Islamic Economics.
* Islamic Banking and Finance System and the Indian Economic Challenges.
* The Muslim Economic Situation : An Islamic Prescription.
* Globalization, Liberalization, Privatization; Credits and Debits.
The organizers invite scholars to contribute papers on the topics. For details contact; Seminar Convenor, IAFIE, 4/1212, Sir Syed Nagar, Aligarh -202002. Tel: (0571) 502256, Tele Fax: (0571) 401028.
JEDDAH : The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has invited nominations for the award of the prize in Islamic Economics for the year 1999. The IDB prize for the year 1998 was awarded to Dr. Tanzilur Rahman for his remarkable contribution to Islamic Banking in Pakistan.
Deadline for receiving nominations is 11th November 1998. For further details please contact; Chairman IDB Prize Preparatory Committee, Post Box.No:9201, JEDDAH 21413, Saudi Arabia.
DAMASCUS: Syria has become the biggest producer of cotton in the world after Australia by registering 6,80,000 tons production. The area under cultivation is 1,56,000 hectares of land. The progress came about as a result of increased allocation of land and better irrigation facilities. Syria is now exporting the cotton to neighbouring countries.