Flashes from the Muslim World

INDIA

Haj Quota Fixed at 136,020

Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement with India for a Haj quota this year of 136,020 pilgrims. A total of 100,020 pilgrims will come through the Haj committee of India and the other 36,000 through Private Tour Operators (PTOs). A high level delegation led by Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen. V.K. Singh, was in Jeddah to sign the agreement with Haj Minister, Bandar Hajjar. Saudi and Indian officials discussed various Haj related issues, including better catering services for pilgrims. Both sides agreed to work and coordinate closely for Haj 1437.

NGO to Embark on Educational Project

The Muslim Education Trust (MET) of India is going to launch a mega community-based project in cooperation with the All India IDB-Graduate Association (AIGA). The proposed MET-AIGA Hospital Project and Research Center is being launched after a series of discussions and consultations with different international voluntary agencies and community leaders, said Akhtar Siddiqi, a Jeddah based MET official. Siddiqi said the aim is to take initiatives in economic development and social progress of the Muslim community through education, but within the parameters of the principles of Shariah. Work has already begun on the project, which is based in Aligarh city, 140 kms from Delhi. Aligarh is one of the fast developing hubs of educational and health activities.

NRI Businessman Wins Humanitarian Award

Dr. Siddeek Ahmed, a non-resident Indian businessman and Chairman &Managing Director of Eram Group, has been selected for the International Humanitarian Award in recognition of his contributions to enhance the quality of life of fellow human beings. The award will be presented at the International Interfaith Harmony Conference. “The contribution of Dr. Siddeek in the development of humanitarian events and services, especially E Toilets in the Indian villages and adaptation of a district to ensure its hunger-free status are credible and convincing reasons for selecting him for this prestigious award,” the jury said.

SRI LANKA

Seeks Bigger Haj Quota

Sri Lanka has sought an increased Haj quota for the forthcoming Haj pilgrimage during a meeting between Haj Minister, Bandar Hajjar, and visiting Muslim Religious Affairs and Posts Minister, M.H.A. Aleem, in Jeddah recently. Sri Lanka has requested for an increased quota from the current 2,840 to 7,000 pilgrims from Colombo. The island has more than three million Muslims and there are more than 8,000 applications for Haj, he said. He said that Colombo needs an increased quota of  pilgrims since the Muslims in the island are now free to travel in and out of the country following the end of the ethnic conflict.

INDONESIA

OIC Urges Ban on Items

A global Muslim body called for a ban on products from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and pledged full support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinians. The call came at the end of an Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim majority country, which brought together representatives from 57 states. An OIC resolution urged member states and the wider international community to ban products produced in or by illegal Israeli settlements from their markets. However, the move was not binding on member states.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Dubai to Build World’s Biggest Wholesale Hub

Dubai has launched a project to build a AED30 billion (USD8.2 billion) city that would be the world’s largest wholesale hub. Dubai Wholesale City will cover more than 550 million squre feet (49.5 million square meters) and be able to house 15,000 wholesale traders, state news agency, WAM, reported. Home to one of the world’s largest free trade zones at Jebel Ali, Dubai is aiming to increase its share of global sector valued at USD4.3 trillion, WAM said.

SAUDI ARABIA

New Smart System to Ease Congestion at Grand Mosque

A new smart system is ready to manage rush and security arrangements at the Grand Mosque, a top Saudi official said. The ‘Rased,’ system has been developed in cooperation with Umm al-Qura University, said Col.Badr bin Saud Al Saud, of the directorate of Haj and Umrah security operations. The new smart system will provide an interactive electronic platform to display the rush with the use of 50 cameras, he said. AnasBasamalah, head of the research team at Umm al-Qura University, said the ‘Rased,’ system will streamline the movement of pilgrims at the Grand Mosque.

200 Mosques to be Built

Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Naif, has ordered the construction of 200 mosques  in the name of martyrs in new housing projects all over the Kingdom. He issued the order to honor the 210 martyrs who died during the last 14 years. He said that these martyrs are employees of the Ministry of Interior who defended the Kingdom against deviant groups who unjustly targeted innocent men, women and children.

Islamic Law Secures Nation

The application of Islamic law has ensured the safety and security of the Kingdom, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh said recently. Al-Sheikh made the comments at a symposium on ‘Comprehensive Security, Partnership and Integration’ at King Saud University. Al-Sheikh said that faith, good deeds and worship of Allah (swt) remained the cornerstones of stability for communities, while disobedience caused the opposite. Security was also based on cooperating with others in carrying out work entrusted to them, he said. He said that stability and security allow for the protection of people’s money, bodies, and minds.

Sixteen Filipinos embrace Islam in Jeddah

Sixteen Filipinos – six of them convicts – embraced Islam during a ceremony in Jeddah recently, according to an online report. Ten of the converts are employees of a contracting company, while the other six are detainees at the Jeddah Detention Center, the report said. The Filipinos’ conversion to Islam was the result of a collaboration between the Jeddah Detention Center and the Cooperative Office for Call and Guidance.

Shariah is Sacrosanct

The Kingdom has told the United Nations Human Rights Council that it would not accept any recommendations that contravene Islamic law. Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, made the comments recently at the meeting of the rights body attended by Heiner Bielefeldt, the special rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, according to a report in a local publication. Trad said Islamic law upholds the rights of all human beings and that Saudi Arabia’s justice system guarantees freedom of religion. Saudi Arabia is the sacred destination for all Muslims around the world. More than ten million Muslims come to the Kingdom to perform Haj and Umrah and non-Muslims come to the country for business and trade under fixed term signed contracts.

Man finds ATM Machine Open

A Saudi man who wanted to withdraw money from a roadside cash machine was shocked when he found that it was open and all its contents were exposed. Instead of taking the money, he phoned the police. A YouTube film published by the Ajel newspaper showed the man standing near the machine without touching the money before he called the police. Ajelsaid the unnamed man himself shot the film of the open machine and quoted him as saying, “You can see… this machine is open and there is no one here… may God Almighty keep us off bad acts.” The paper did not say where in the Kingdom was the film shot.

EGYPT

KSA,UAE Eye USD3bn Suez Industrial City

A Saudi-UAE alliance involving a group of companies has submitted a request to the Economic Commission of the Suez Canal to obtain five million square feet to establish a USD3 billion industrial city. The alliance representative, Ahmed Sabri, said the industrial city would have factories to manufacture various products, including food and cars. There would also be a business city and storage areas. He said the development plan for the Suez Canal would be completed before July and that the commission would have the mandate to set up projects that would create jobs for Egyptians.

ITALY

Anti-Mosque Law Thrown Out

Italy’s highest court nullified a regional law in Lombardy dubbed ‘anti-mosque’ by critics, easing regulations on the construction of places of worship in the country’s north. The law drawn up by the anti-immigrant party, Northern League, and voted in at the start of 2015, tightened rules regarding all religious buildings, but was widely believed to target the region’s Muslim community. According to the Interior Ministry, at the start of 2015 there were 1.6 million Muslims in Italy, 26.5% of whom lived in Lombardy, which boasts the country’s oldest and second largest mosque. While there are over 700 places of Islamic worship in the country, there are only six official mosques, with many Muslims instead praying together in makeshift areas now a growing phenomenon.

UZBEKISTAN

ICD Extends USD10m MurabahFacility

An opening ceremony of a unique multi-disciplinary medical center, Vitamed Medical Center, was concluded in Tashkent, Uzbekistan recently. The Islamic Cooperation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) extended a USD10 million Murabah Facility for the financing of medical equipment, furniture and fixtures required for the operations. The project contributed toward the development of healthcare sector in Uzbekistan by way of providing a quality diagnostic consultation services and improving access to latest medical equipment.

[Compiled By: Syed NehalZaheer]