Flashes from the Muslim World

INDIA

Islamic center’s overseas chapter inaugurated

The Indian Minister of Minority Affairs inaugurated an overseas chapter of the New Delhi based Indian Islamic Cultural Center (IICC). The center will be tasked with building two buildings for the center in the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The IICC is a major organization that seeks to promote mutual understanding and peace amongst the people of India on cardinal principles of human values. The minister has said that his ministry has finalized plans to set up five new universities in India for minorities. He further pointed out that his government has identified 90 districts in India as Muslim concentrated districts. Muslim population in these districts is about 25% of the total population.

BAHRAIN

Ancient and modern side by side

The Kingdom of Bahrain was called the land of the living by the first civilization on earth. It is a place of culture, tradition and history that goes back to the mists of time. It was part of Dilmun, an ancient independent kingdom that flourished circa 2,000 BC, but now it is Bahrain. The word ‘bahrain’ is Arabic for two waters, and the waters surrounding the islands are unique. Fresh water bubbles up from underground springs straight into the sea, and this phenomenon fed ancient legends about a magical island that gave Bahrain its name, its sea-based culture, and tradition. Bahrain is known as the island of one million palm trees and was the first Arab country to discover oil in 1932. It is a must-visit for those who love history, exploring, luxury and, of course, fun in the sun. Bait al-Qur’an Museum is housed in a spectacular Arabic script engraved building. It showcases a significant collection of Qur’anic manuscripts and scriptures dating back to the seventh century. The elegant Bahrain Mosques are among the precious beauties of this country. The al-Khamis Mosque, whose foundations were laid at the end of the eighth century, is one of the world’s most ancient mosques. Al Fateh Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world. It offers reasonably priced programs to help people understand Islam, Hadith and Qur’an. The mosque can take over 7,000 people at a time.

SAUDI ARABIA

Ebsar Society distributes Holy Qur’an

The Ebsar Society (charity organization to help visually impaired people) launched the distribution of copies of the Braille language version of the Holy Qur’an in collaboration with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Press for the printing of the Holy Qur’an in the Braille language. Those who applied for the copies of the holy book, including those applied from foreign countries will receive copies. The society is also coordinating with the Holy Qur’an Memorization Society for the distribution of the copies.  The Secretary General called on businessmen and officials of corporate responsibility to support the Ebsar society in its charitable activities, as the printing and transportation of the Braille copies of the holy book and its administration work were expensive.

OIC slams French caricature of Prophet

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has slammed caricatures of the Prophet (peace be upon him), published in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, saying it incites hatred and intolerance against Muslims. The OIC Secretary General expressed concern at the publication of the comic book series on the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He urged the authorities in France to take appropriate action against the magazine.

MWL, MUI sign cooperation deal

The Muslim World League (MWL) and the Council of Indonesian Ulama (MUI) have signed cooperation deal to exchange visits, publications and organize regular meetings, lectures and events in both countries. The deal is also aimed to organize qualification courses for Indonesian imams and preachers and facilitate enrollment of Indonesian students in Saudi universities. Head of the MUI said that there are more than 60 Islamic societies in Indonesia working under the umbrella of MUI, which coordinates their Islamic preaching and call activities. He said that fatwas issued by the MUI are the key references for all decisions related to Shariah issues due to the absence of a grand mufti in Indonesia.

Mataf expansion work in full swing

Works on Mataf (circumambulation area around the Ka’aba) expansion is being stepped up. The area surrounding the isolated space has been expanded to ensure the safety of worshippers against any objects falling from the upper floor. The pace of work accelerated with the beginning of the Umrah season, and to complete construction before the next holy month of Ramadan as the number of pilgrims and visitors doubles. With this expansion, the area of mataf will extend by 20 meters.

JORDAN

Bank courier’s blushes

A Jordanian, who found a bank money bag containing nearly half a million dollars on the street in the northern city of Zarqa, called a local radio-station for help in returning the cash. The money belonged to one of the banks, the city’s police chief said. The police said that they have the money now and are investigating. Three bank courier staff had told police earlier that they have lost an amount of money, while on a delivery from a bank in Zarqa, Petra added. There was no immediate word on whether he had received any reward for his honesty from either the bank or the courier.

PUERTO RICO

Muslims in Puerto Rico

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is unincorporated, organized territory of the United States with an area of 13,790 sq. km. It has been under US control since 1898 when it was captured from Spain. It is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and over a 100 smaller islands mostly to the east of the main island and almost all are uninhabited, the largest of which are Vieques (348 sq. km), Culebra (30 sq. km) and Mona (57 sq. km but uninhabited). The first Muslims are said to have arrived in Puerto Rico around the mid 20th century from Palestine as a result of the declaration of Israel. Today, the number of Muslims has more than doubled, but the percentage of Palestinians remains the same. The number of mosques mushroomed to nine that are spread throughout the main island. Only one Muslim family lives on Vieques, none in Culebra, and the rest of Muslims live on the main island. The first mosque was established in 1981 in Rio Piedras, part of the capital, San Juan, and on a walking distance from the University of Puerto Rico. The mosque has a full time Imam and Adhan and Khutba are heard by speakers outside the mosque.

HAITI

Islam finds a place in Haiti

Haiti, the Caribbean nation closely associated with the African derived faith of voodoo, is home to a small but growing community of Muslims. Two Islamic centers in the capital of Port-au-Prince are among nearly a dozen around the country started by those who have converted to the faith. Officials with the major Islamic groups estimate there are between 4,000 to 5,000 Muslims in Haiti, a nation of about eight million people. But followers of Islam have recently stepped into the public eye. Muslim men distinctive in their kufi headwear and finely groomed beards, and women in traditional scarves are now seen on the streets of several cities.

KOSOVO

Kosovo wants all OIC states to recognize it

Kosovo foreign minister paid a special visit to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) headquarters in Jeddah meeting with the OIC’s Secretary-General. The Foreign Minister expressed his hope that more OIC member states will recognize Kosovo as an independent country. So far, only 31 of the organization’s 57 members have granted recognition to Kosovo. He said the last country to recognize Kosovo was Pakistan. Kosovo has been recognized by all GCC countries and has received 100 diplomatic recognitions as an independent state.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Muslims in Mississippi playing a vital role

The US state of Mississippi has an area of 125,443 sq. km with a total population of three million. Jackson is the capital city of Mississippi, where Muslims are playing a vital role in the development of the state. They cover all spectrum of the society. Regardless of race and country of origin, all Muslim communities pray, celebrate and do other religious and cultural activities together. There are at least nine Islamic centers or mosques distributed all around the state. Further Jackson is the home of the International Museum of Muslim Cultures, which is dedicated to educating the public about Islamic history and Culture and is the only such museum in the United States. The number of Muslims in the State of Mississippi could be estimated at 5,000, distributed as follows: 2,000 in Jackson area, 1,000 in Hattiesburg area, 1,000 in the Gulf Coast and 1,000 spread throughout the state.