Flashes From The Muslim World

INDIA

Honors Haj operators

The Indian Haj Mission honored five of the 28 Haj operators involved in providing services to Indian pilgrims. The five operators were selected from among the best of the best, said Consul General, B.S. Mubarak. Explaining the criteria for the award, he said there were many variables taken into consideration. “How our pilgrims were received at the airport, how their baggage was handled, their transportation from the airport to their accommodation and from Makkah to Mina and then to Arafat from Mina and back to Muzdalifah… All these were taken into account during the selection process,” said Mubarak. Welcoming the new Haj Consul, Mohammed ShahidAlam, he said the coming Haj season is going to be extremely hot. We are looking forward to meeting the Indian officials to plan a proper mechanism to deal with the vagaries of the weather during Haj 2016, he added.

INDONESIA

Qur’an Memorization to be held in Jakarta

The annual Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Competition for the Memorization of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah for ASEAN and Asia Pacific Countries will be held in Jakarta on April 17-21. The competition is organized by the Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Foundation (SAASF) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs in collaboration with the Saudi Embassy in Indonesia. Around 140 contestants who memorize the whole or part of the Holy Qur’an and sayings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, are expected to participate in the competition.

PHILIPPINES

Muslim Rebel Calls for Keeping Truce

The head of the Philippines main Muslim rebel group urged his followers to maintain a ceasefire with the government despite failure to pass a bill implementing a peace accord. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman, Murad Ebrahim, made the appeal in a statement carried on the group’s page. In spite of the non-passage of the bill, the MILF will continue to uphold the peace process and ensure that all the gains will be preserved, his statement read.

OMAN

To Borrow USD5bn from Abroad

Oman plans to borrow between USD5 billion and USD10 billion from abroad to help finance a budget deficit caused by low oil prices, Central Bank Executive President, HamoodSanboural-Zadjali, told Al-Arabiya television. The borrowing plans underline the heavy financial pressure which Oman faces because of cheap oil: the government has not issued an international bond since 1997. The government has decided to borrow abroad to reduce pressure on the local banking system, where money market rates have been rising as inflows of new oil revenues decrease.

SAUDI ARABIA

Food Wasted in Makkah Enough to Feed Millions

The food wasted in Makkah could feed 17% of hungry children in eighteen developing countries, said a press report from Makkah. There are an estimated 4.8 million starving children in Africa, Asia and Latin American countries, said Ahmad Al-Matrafi, Director General of a charity food project in Makkah. Al Matrafi said the food wasted at an average wedding was sufficient to feed at least 250 people. He said that during the mid-year holidays, 24000 people were fed with food collected at weddings and other social events. The charity was trying to create awareness about the situation so that more needy people can be helped.

Reverts Stress Beauty of Islam

The MaulanaHifzur Rahman Seoharvi Academy (Women’s wing) organized a function for more than 200 new women reverts, who shared their experiences. FakehaZinjani, who conducted the event, said that despite Islam being the most targeted religion and labeled as a misogynistic religion, more people, especially women, are coming into its fold by choice after deep study. The stories touched the chords of many hearts in the audience. The new Muslim women were presented with gifts that were sponsored by some companies and philanthropists.

Experts Call for New Technology

Saudi Arabia ranks second in the world in the production of dates, with a total production of 1.122 million tons from almost 23 million palm trees, or about 17% of total global production. But the reality is that the country and its citizens did not benefit as desired of this global excellence. Saudi dates reach 72 countries that have opened their markets to Saudi products and could become the second exported product associated with the Kingdom’s name after oil. The experts say that they have called for an establishment of an ozone association or body in the Kingdom to act as a scientific reference and research hub in the region in collaboration with the International Ozone Association.

Expats Remitted SR157bn in 2015

Remittances by expatriates in the Kingdom reached an all-time high of SR156.9 billion in 2015, up 2.3% from a total of SR153.3 billion in remittances in 2014. In all, SR1.5 trillion in remittances sent by expatriates in the Kingdom have been recorded over a 22-year period. The increase in the expatriate remittances coincides with the issuance of 1.8 million new work permits to expats from several foreign countries during the past Islamic calendar, about 4.8% of which received government recommendations through contracts or endorsements.

Friendship Redefined by Saudi with a Golden Heart

Want to know the real meaning of friendship? Meet Salman bin Muslehal-Sharari,a Saudi, who didn’t hesitate to sell his prized possession to send home his injured Turkish friend, Mohammed Ali Arasalan.Arasalan became crippled when a car accident left him with fractures and bruises. When Al Sharari paid him a visit, a distressed Arasalan expressed his desire to be with his family and children in Turkey. Al Sharari did not hesitate for a minute and sold his car to buy Arasalan a business class ticket from Jouf to Riyadh and then to Ankara.

Grand Mufti Urges Youth to Shun Sites

Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh has exhorted the youth to seek peaceful solutions to their problems and avoid radical tendencies. “The youth have serious problems which we have to address properly so that we can come up with lasting solutions,” he said during a lecture at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque. He asked the media to be responsible in disseminating information and ideas that could have a lasting effect on the youth. He urged the youth to keep in close contact with people or organizations that will help them follow the right path and instill in them the good values.

Criticize Hate Speech by Some Imams

A number of Shoura Council members have voiced objections to some Imams who express their personal opinions during Friday sermons. The members asked the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to supervise the sermons to make sure they were written by specialists and circulated to all mosques. Mohammed al Naji said Imams should focus on social change and current affairs, he called on the Ministry to coordinate with the Madinah-based institute of Imams and offer them intensive training. He said the Ministry should reformulate the way it deals with Imams.

Muslim States Must Lead War on Terror

Prince Turki al-Faisal said that Muslim countries need to take the lead in fighting terrorism and that a recently announced 34-nation Islamic alliance should have been created sooner. “I consider this a leading and commendable step that should have happened sooner and thank God it has taken place,” he said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi. “It’s no secret, unfortunately, that in the majority of terrorism related acts, victims are Muslims,” he said.  “Therefore, it is our responsibility as Muslim countries to play the primary role in fighting this disease that has impacted us all.”

MOROCCO

World’s Biggest Solar Plant

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has inaugurated Morocco’s first solar power plant, a massive project that the country sees as part of its goal of boosting its clean energy output. The solar plant underlines the country’s determination to reduce dependence on fossil fuels,use more renewable energy and move towards low carbon development, its developers said in a statement. Morocco has scarce oil and gas reserves, and is the biggest importer of energy in the Middle East and North Africa. Morocco, host to next year’s world climate change conference COP22, aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 32% by 2030.

AUSTRALIA

Muslim Teen Wants to be First Hijabi Ballerina

Meet young Australian Muslim teen, Stephanie Kurlow, who hopes to become first hijabi ballerina. Kurlow, 14, embraced Islam along with her siblings, Australian father and Russian-born mother in 2010 and had initially feared the religion might derail her dream of dancing. Kurlow hopes to turn her dream into reality by raising USD10,000 to train full-time ballet school. She also hopes to become certified to open her own performing arts school in Sydney. “Dancing is like flying for me. It makes me feel free,”Kurlow told the Daily News website.

OIC Discusses Issues of Muslim

Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) met Hon David Hurley, the governor of New South Wales in Sydney. They discussed issues concerning the Muslim community in Australia in light of events in the Middle East and how it is affecting them. The governor stressed that all communities are respected, maintain their identity and are integrated in a multicultural society. Madani said that citizens should be loyal to the country and at the same time have rights that should be respected.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Ibtihaj to be First Hijabi Olympian

Ibtihaj Muhammad,30, a native of New Jersey, will be the first hijab wearing American athlete to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio this summer. When she was 13, her mother suggested that she give fencing a try because the sport allowed her to remain fully clothed. Now Ibtihaj’s devotion to fencing has her set to make history. She added, “I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals – not race, religion or gender. I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance.”

 [COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]

OIC Discusses Issues of Muslim

Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) met Hon David Hurley, the governor of New South Wales in Sydney. They discussed issues concerning the Muslim community in Australia in light of events in the Middle East and how it is affecting them. The governor stressed that all communities are respected, maintain their identity and are integrated in a multicultural society. Madani said that citizens should be loyal to the country and at the same time have rights that should be respected.