News Flashes – February 2015

INDIA

Scholars Recall Allama Shibli’s role

Allama Shibli Nomani was an iconic figure who heralded the new age with spiritual intellect in a critical and formative period of the Muslims in the Indian sub continent, said scholars at an international seminar in Riyadh to mark his death centenary. The seminar entitled “Shams-ul-Ulema Allama Shibli Nomani – a bridge between tradition and modernity, was organized by Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulema Old Boys Association, Riyadh chapter, which was attended by expatriates from the subcontinent. Addressing the seminar, Ajmal Ayyub Islahi, an Islamic scholar and ex-faculty member of the Madinah University, said: “Shibli was a rising star during the decline of Muslim rule in undivided India with scholarly work to revive the glory of Islam and respond to the queries of Western scholars.”

Centers for Crash Courses in Arabic

India is preparing to set up centers for crash courses in the Arabic language in cooperation with the Kingdom in order to equip Gulf-bound workers with the knowledge of Arabic. Hussein Madavoor, the new President of the Asian Chapter of the World Association of Humanitarian Organizations told Arab News. Madavoor was in the Kingdom to attend the 9th Saudi-Malyalee Qur’an Knowledge Content held in Riyadh under the patronage of King Khaled Foundation. He said the knowledge of Arabic will bridge the gap between the employee and the employer. He noted that the first center will be opened in the Indian capital of New Delhi as it is home to several foreign missions from Arab countries.

Reflexologist Highlights Benefits of Ablution

Ablution or Wudu, the mandatory washing ritual for Muslim before the five time prayers help to rejuvenate the body as a result of washing, vital reflex points such as the hands, face, ears and feet, says a famous Indian reflexologist Dr. C. A. Ansar. An alternative medicine specialist, Ansar has been successful in treating various diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, autism, and Parkinson through his healing touch, without any medicine. Ansar, who can identify various diseases by touching the individual’s foot, said that reflexology is a successful treatment which has been widely practiced in China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

BANGLADESH

Dhaka to Send 60,000 Umrah Pilgrims in 2015

Bangladesh will send around 60,000 Umrah pilgrims to the Kingdom throughout 2015, said the Ambassador, Mohammed Shahidul Islam. He further said that his country had sent 98,000 pilgrims for the recently concluded Hajj. A total of 170 flights operated by Biman and Saudi Arabian Airlines ferried the pilgrims to and from Bangladesh. More than five million Umrah pilgrims from all parts of the world are expected during the coming months. Last year, six million Umrah pilgrims came to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah during the Umrah season. Vaccination against Meningitis is mandatory.

CHINA

To Build Arabic Language Centers

The Chinese government is seeking Arabic speaking specialists from the Kingdom to teach the Arabic language in Chinese Universities in response to an increasing interest in learning the Arabic language in China. According to a report, some 44 Chinese Universities have requested for Arabic language experts and specialists to develop the language in its Arabic departments. Dr. Ding Hui, chairman of the Board of Chinese Islamic Relations Council, said that the Arabic language has become an important tool to link China to all Arab and Islamic countries.

INDONESIA

Tops List of Umrah Arrivals

A total of 1.1 million Umrah visas have been issued, said a top official. The director of the Hajj Ministry’s branch in Madinah said that 580,000 Umrah pilgrims have already arrived in Saudi Arabia. Hotels in Madinah are currently witnessing 100% occupancy rates, he said. The peak Umrah season is now under way. Indonesians top the list with the highest number of pilgrims, followed by Pakistanis, Turks, Egyptians, Iranians, Malaysians and Indians, he said.

SAUDI ARABIA

Ahmad Yaqout, 7, Memorizes Qur’an

At seven years, Ahmad Yaqout is the youngest person in Jeddah to memorize the Qur’an. His father says that Ahmad joined the reading sessions in Dar al–Sadeeqa, where he memorized the last chapter of the Qur’an in record time. After that, he joined Qur’an sessions at the al-Shuaibi complex, which is affiliated with the Khairokom Charitable Society in Jeddah.

Zahran Named World’s Most Influential Woman

A website has named Saudi lawyer, Bayan Mahmoud Zahran, as the world’s most influential woman for 2014. Buzfeed cited Zahran’s successful venture in opening the Kingdom’s first female law firm for assigning her the top position among the world’s 15 most influential women in 2014. Her efforts in demanding legal rights for her and her colleagues to work in the law field made her an international figure and earned her the title of most influential woman in 2014. The Kingdom’s constitution which is based on the Islamic Shariah states that all citizens are equal regardless of gender, color, and religion.

Saudis Waste Eight Hours a Day on Internet

Saudis are “wasting eight hours a day” on the Internet, a local expert said recently. Rashad Faqiha, a human development expert, said that 7.6 million Saudi users have accounts on Facebook, more than 4.8 million use Twitter and more than one million are on LinkedIn. Moreover, Saudis view YouTube videos 290 million times a day. Saudi youth must learn that time is valuable and should invest it in developing professional careers, rather than spending it on social networking sites. Smartphones have played a big role in the youth wasting their time, he said during a seminar held at King Khaled University.

Play Bukhari, Muslim Audio with New App

People can now enjoy on smart-phones Hadiths (traditions on the Last Prophet, peace be upon him) recorded by Bukhari and Muslim as a new App has been developed by a Da’wah center in Riyadh. The new App will enable people hear all Hadiths recorded in the two authentic books, said the supervisor of the Project at the Cooperative Da’wah Office in Rabwa. The App allows people to download these Hadiths and share them with others. It also offers a list of most important Hadiths.

Visting Al-Aqsa Every Muslim’s Right

The head of the world’s largest Islamic organization paid a rare visit to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, urging Muslims to follow suit and come to the city in a bid to strengthen Palestinian claims to the holy city. The visit by Iyad Madani, Secretary-General of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), came at a sensitive time following months of tension and violence surrounding the holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City. The hill top compound is revered by Muslims. Al-Aqsa is Islam’s third holiest site after Makkah and Madinah. “Coming to the mosque is a right for me as well as every Muslim,” Madani said.

KSA Ranks Second in the World for Remittances

Saudi Arabia was the second biggest country in the world to transfer money in a five-year period (2008-2013), according to a financial report. The United States topped the list with an average of USD51.8 billion, during the same period, the report published by Al-Riyadh daily said. The Kingdom came second with USD28 billion. Regarding the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia ranked first in money transfer by expatriates.

Muslim World Questions Logic

Iyad Madani, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has denounced the publication of sacrilegious cartoons by French magazine Charlie Hebdo, calling the move “insolence, ignorance and foolishness. He said “Freedom of speech must not become a hate speech and it must not offend others. No sane person, regardless of doctrine, religion or faith accepts his beliefs being ridiculed.” The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian lands, Mohammed Hussein, said such cartoons “fuel feeling of hatred and resentment among people, and publishing them “shows contempt for Muslim feelings.” Leading Islamic authority Al-Azhar calls on all Muslims to ignore this hateful frivolity. The International Union of Muslim Scholars also criticized the antics of Charlie Hebdo, claiming they would further stir up hatred, extremism and tension.

OIC Weighs Legal Action against French Magazine

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) intends to take legal measures against the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo for publishing blasphemous cartoons, Secretary-General, Iyad Madani, told a local daily. “OIC is studying Europe and French laws and other available procedures to be able to take legal action against Charlie Hebdo,” he said. OIC will not hesitate to prosecute the French magazine, he said. This (the publication by Charlie Hebdo) is an idiotic step that requires necessary legal measures, Madani said on his Twitter account while condemning the republication of the anti-Islam cartoons. Freedom of speech must not become a hate speech and must not offend others.

MOROCCO

80 Countries to Participate in WAMY Conference

The 121st conference of World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) will be in the historical Moroccan city of Marrakesh from Jan 29 to Feb 1. Announcing this, Saleh Al-Wohaiby, Secretary-General of the WAMY told a press conference that WAMY conference is themed “Youth in Changing World.” The theme for this edition of the conference stemmed from the fact that youth makes up about 60% of the population in Muslim countries, which is a great boon for all communities. “Also, choosing Marrakesh as a venue for our conference was not accidental, but rather part of the policy of conducting big events in all the continents.” WAMY, founded in 1972, is one of the Kingdom’s leading charity organizations and a member of the United Nations non-governmental organizations. It has both local and international presence through many branches and affiliate organizations. It is especially active among young Muslim in various humanitarian works.

GERMANY

Don’t Attend Anti-Islam Rallies, Merkel tells Germans

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned the country’s citizens not to participate in weekly anti Islam rallies that have attracted growing numbers of supporters in the eastern German city of Dresden. Merkel condemned the organizers of the protests and said they were driven by prejudices and hatred against foreigners. When the protesters chant “We are the people, they actually mean to say “you don’t belong – because of your religion or your skin color,” Merkel said.

SWEDEN

In Defense of Mosque

Swedes expressing solidarity with Muslims have staged demonstrations after a series of recent attacks on mosques. In the city of Uppsala, where anti-Muslim rhetoric was scrawled onto a mosque-wall, hundreds of people pasted red paper hearts and messages of support onto the buildings entrance ahead of Friday prayers. Earlier, a mosque in Eslov in the south suffered partial damage after a blaze that police suspect was arson.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Seeks Removal from UAE Terror List

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that it has sought to be removed from a United Arab Emirates list that designates it as a terrorist organization, along with dozens of other groups. Washington-based CAIR describes itself as America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. The Emirates included CAIR on a list of 83 groups; it also included another US-based group, the Muslim American Society. UAE has taken a tough stance against radical militants such as the IS group.

[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]