Flashes from the Muslim World

INDIA

Academics underline importance of Urdu

A report making recommendations on the promotion of Urdu in India has been submitted to the government. It stressed that Urdu is a language that symbolizes India’s cultural synthesis, national integration and harmonious coexistence. It noted that since independence, it has been greatly marginalized and made a victim of linguistic injustice and, as such, the situation calls for concern and redressal both at governmental as well as non-governmental levels.

SINGAPORE

Request for Haj quota increase

Singapore Communications and Information Minister met with Saudi Minister fro Haj at his office and sought an increase in the quota for his country. The two ministers also discussed the arrangements being made for Haj pilgrims from Singapore. Singapore’s official Haj quota is 680 based on the Muslim population which is 0.1%. This was decided by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1987.

PHILIPPINES

New e-system to assist Filipino pilgrims

The new e–system, which will be launched by the Ministry of Haj soon, would facilitate electronic transactions pertaining to Haj, operations and arrangements, the head of the Philippine Haj Mission and Chief Executive Officer of National Commission on Muslim Filipinos said. The new system would be a milestone that will redefine the entire process of Haj arrangements for countries across the world. Philippines requested for an increase in the Haj quota but Saudi authorities said the chances were bleak due to the expansion work going on in the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

MYANMAR

 

Anti-Muslim violence

The acts of violence being committed against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims represents grave violation of the Myanmar government’s international commitment to protect civilians, said the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). He stressed that these acts violate the basic rights of Rohingya Muslims to be protected as citizens and as a minority by their own government.

 

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Keen to become Islamic economy capital

Dubai’s proposed Islamic Economy Development Center is expected to advance the Emirate’s seven-pillared strategy to establish itself as the capital of the Islamic economy within three years. The center, which will be chaired by the UAE minister of Cabinet Affairs, is aimed at bolstering Dubai’s bid to become a global hub for Islamic finance, encompassing sectors including Sukuk and Takaful, as it competes with international rivals such as London and Kuala Lumpur. It will conduct research and specialist studies to determine the contribution of Shariah-compliant activities to the gross domestic product, and explore how to extend this contribution to boost the economy. The report puts the value of Islamic financial assets at USD1.35 trillion, which is expected to grow 15 to 20% per year in core markets.

Two-day conference for converts

Dubai-based Kalemah Islamic Center organized a conference focusing on the needs and issues of Muslim converts in the UAE. Muslim converts are a rapidly growing community, with more than 1,500 embracing Islam every year in the UAE, according to official statistics. The conference was an attempt to raise awareness, educate and provide direction to new Muslims and those born into the faith alike.

QATAR

Signs aid-deal worth USD1.25 billion

Qatar and Morocco have signed an aid-deal worth USD1.25 billion, part of the five year package of financial assistance extended by the Gulf states to the North African Kingdom to help it weather Arab Spring protests. Four Gulf States – Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE – agreed in 2012 to provide aid worth a total of USD5 billion to Morocco in the period 2012-2017 to build up its infrastructure, strengthen its economy and foster tourism.

SAUDI ARABIA

Thousands flock to Expo

An exhibition on the 99 names of Allah opened in Briman showcasing the attributes of the Almighty in Arabic and English, with pictures, paintings, calligraphy, sculptures, and state of the art audiovisual displays. The show has attracted thousands of visitors. The communication manager of the exhibition said that exhibition has four large screens showing documentaries on the names of Allah and their significance in the life of Muslims, the creation of the planets and galaxies, and beautiful Qur’anic verses. The aim of the exhibition is to strengthen the faith of Muslims and bring them closer to Allah.

Remittances up 17% to SR133bn

Expatriate remittances from the Kingdom rose by 17% to SR 133.3 billion in the first eleven months of 2013 compared to SR 113.9 billion for the same period last year. Likewise, Saudi remittances to foreign countries rose by 10% to SR 69.6 billion in November 2013 compared to SR 63.3 billion in November 2012, al-Eqtisadiah reported.  An economic expert earlier predicted that remittances of foreign workers in the Kingdom to their home countries would climb to nearly SR 109 billion during the current year.

OIC helps Niger overcome its food shortage

The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), traveled to Niger to inaugurate several humanitarian and developmental projects. The OIC completed the third stage of several projects including 21 wells, 11 agricultural farms and 10 boreholes. In addition, five fish-farming projects have also been finished. Located in West Africa, the land-locked country suffered from severe drought in 2005 that resulted in food shortage and famine In 2007, the OIC organized its first donors conference in Doha, Qatar, to promote food self-sufficiency in Niger. The conference yielded positive results, as OIC member states and other participants pledged USD370 million in aid.

Imams face the sack

Imams who politicize Friday sermons at mosques will not be allowed to continue in their positions, said the Islamic Affairs Minister. “We have set up a legal panel to advise such Imams.” He said that the ministry would continue monitoring all mosques and Imams to make sure nobody violates the regulations “The use of politics in sermons will divide the community and create hatred among people,” he said.

IDB most highly rated institution in Muslim world

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is currently the most highly rated institution in the Muslim world and among regional and international multilateral development banks. This is substantiated by the fact that the three leading international rating agencies, Standard and Poor, Moody and Fitch Ratings, have all reaffirmed their credit rating of the bank for 2012 with a stable outlook. The IDB is a multilateral development bank that was established with the purpose of fostering the economic development and social progress of its member countries and Muslim communities in non-member countries in accordance with the principles of Islamic banking.

1,300 cameras installed around Prophet’s Mosque

The Commander of the Prophet’s Mosque’s security force has said that security set up in the Mosque was a deterrent to any one who thinks of breaching security, with surveillance cameras scanning everything in a radius of seven kilometers. The Mosque’s security was active round the clock and its cameras record everything around it. It has more than 1,300 cameras that work under all weather conditions.

King Faisal Award Winners

Five distinguished scholars from various parts of the world, including a Saudi citizen, won the prestigious King Faisal Prize. The announcement was made at a glittering event in Riyadh recently. The King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam was awarded to Dr Ahmed Abou Bakr Lemu of Nigeria.

Driver gifted car on sponsored

In a heart warming gesture rarely witnessed, a Saudi businessman in Buraidah celebrated the wedding of his Indonesian driver and, what is more, handed over the keys of his personal car to the groom as a wedding gift that has been applauded by Saudis and expats alike. The businessman not only footed the wedding bill, but also paid his salary and that of this wife for a year besides taking on the expense of transferring the wife’s sponsorship. To make it a truly memorable event, he invited prominent personalities in the town, including businessmen and religious scholars, to attend the wedding that was performed as per Saudi tradition.

Seeks modern technology

The historical factory that manufactures the Kiswa, the covering for the Holy Ka’aba in Makkah, is exploring the possibility of importing state-of-the-art technology from the US, Japan, Switzerland, Italy and Germany to upgrade its facility in keeping with modern times. The factory, which was built in an area of 1,500 square meters, was first of its kind to be set up in Makkah. The covering of the Holy Ka’aba is known as the Kiswa, and it is one of the most important signs of respect and veneration in the House of Allah. Its history is as much part of the history of the Holy Ka’aba itself.

 

[Compiled by: Syed Nehal Zaheer]