Flashes from the Muslim World

INDIA

Interest-free Project in Kerala

The Jeddah based Indian Forum for Interest-free Banking (IFIB) has launched a goat-farming project in Kerala with the support of a local organization, said V. K. Abdul Aziz, Secretary-General of IFIB. The Forum mobilized interest-free finance for the project aimed at poverty alleviation. He said that they decided to support the project in order to show that Islamic finance is a good solution for eradicating poverty in India, and strengthening the country’s economy. The project will benefit not only investors but also poor farmers. He said the project in Dauwil (Kannur) was officially inaugurated by Syed Munawar Ali ShihabThangal, who commended IFIB for funding such projects aimed at improving the condition of the poor and enabling them to get money required for a decent living.

Educate Children on Islam

The SauhrdaVicharaVedi (Good-Will Forum), which groups different religious organizations, intends to hold a variety of programs in the coming months to educate Muslim children from Kerala to teach their religion, said Ismail Maritheri, its General Convener. Speaking with Arab News, he emphasized the Forum’s role in strengthening unity and solidarity among Muslims from the Indian state. He said the Forum would organize training programs for Islamic school teachers, conduct seminars on common issues and hold joint campaigns on the need to promote Muslim unity.

BRUNEI

Pushes ahead with Islamic Law

The Sultan of oil-rich Brunei announced that Islamic criminal punishments would be introduced shortly. Bruneians enjoy among the highest standards of living in Asia due to the country’s energy wealth, with education, medicine and other social services heavily subsidized. The Sultan first proposed the Shariah penal code in the 1990s. He has called Islam a ‘firewall’ against globalization. Brunei is the first country in East or Southeast Asia to introduce a Shariah penal code on a national level. Situated on Borneo Island, which it shares with Malaysia and Indonesia, the small state already banned the sale of alcohol. Muslim ethnic Malays, who make up about 70% of the population, are broadly supportive of the move.

SAUDI ARABIA

Stainless Steel tanks to replace Containers

Authorities at the Grand Mosque at Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque at Madinah will soon replace plastic water dispensers with stainless steel tankers in a bid to keep Zamzam water supplies sterile and cool for pilgrims ahead of the scorching summer months. Authorities have stepped up efforts to make Zamzam water more accessible to pilgrims amid ongoing expansion works. The new water tankers are produced from the highest caliber of heat and corrosion resistant stainless steel.

Delighted at envoy’s OIC victory

Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Naeem Khan, has been elected the Assistant Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) from among eighteen member states of the Asian Group. Candidates from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia contested from the Asian group for the general position of Assistant Secretary-General. The OIC, established in 1969, is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations and has 57 member states spread over four continents. The body also has a permanent delegation to the UN. The organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and works to safeguard and protect the interests of Muslims in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.

Hosts Workshop

Abdul Azeez Abdul Raheem, Director of Understand Qur’an Academy and Associate Professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Mines (KFUPM) in Dhahran, gave a lecture on the importance of understanding the Holy Qur’an. Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association (AMUOBA) in Riyadh organized the workshop. The association organized the workshop with the aim of reinforcing the importance of understanding and embracing Islamic values. The Director explained the new trends in Islamic education and the means of understanding the holy book. He pointed out that many people have been misled to believe that the Qur’an is difficult to understand especially for non-Arabic speakers. He asserted that the Arabic language is not difficult to learn and demonstrated, in an introductory presentation, the ease of learning the language. He added that many western scholars have learned the Arabic language and understand verses in the Qur’an while, unfortunately, millions of Muslims have not taken the time to understand the contents of the holy book.

OIC flays Carnage of Indian Muslims

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned the attacks on Muslims in which 32 were killed, including women and children, in the Indian state of Assam. OIC Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani, has expressed concern at local media reports of hundreds of Muslim villagers fleeing their homes with belongings on push-carts as a result of the violence. He said that these attacks are criminal acts of brutality against innocent civilians. Madani urged the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and supported their efforts to bring rule of law to the areas affected by violence.

Mutawwifeen to wear Special Robes

The Haj Ministry recently announced that Mutawwifeen (Arabic for men who help pilgrims perform the pilgrimage) may soon be obliged to wear traditional robes to make them stand out from the crowd in every sense of the word. These robes which were worn in the past give these officials a more prestigious ranking, the ministry said in a press statement. The ministry also intends to train several qualified heads, deputies, and field members to become pilgrim guides. The ministry said that it has introduced a comprehensive book on Haj and Umrah pilgrimage, chosen from among more than 3,500 books on the subject. The book summarizes the four Islamic schools of thought and has been circulated among field service offices to enhance guidance.

OIC Willing to help Solve Crisis in CAR

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is willing to find a political solution to the Central African Republic (CAR) crisis and is ready to intervene in the humanitarian field to support economic development, according to OIC Secretary-General, Iyad Ameen Madani. He emphasized the need to establish a national dialogue that satisfies all parties and added that the success of national dialogue will undoubtedly contribute to the return of peace and security in the country.

US$100 bn IDB loans

The Islamic Development Bank has given loans worth US$100 billion to member states since its inception to finance development projects, thus playing a big role in accelerating economic growth in Muslim countries, said Ahmed Mohammed Ali, its President. He said that IDB has played a remarkable role in the economic and social development of its 56 member countries and promoting trade relations among them. We also play a leading role in boosting Islamic solidarity, he added. The IDB is at the forefront of promoting and advancing Islamic financial services industry through partnership with governments, private sector and multi-lateral financial institutions. It also has been developing the Awqaf sector for charitable purposes.

IDB – Islamic Banking Prize

The Islamic Development Bank has announced Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani from Pakistan and Professor Rodney Wilson from the United Kingdom as the joint winners of the 2014 International Development Bank (IDB) prize in Islamic Banking and finance. The award comes in recognition of the professional and academic role they have played in advancing Islamic finance and banking regionally and globally. The prize was first launched by the IDB in 1988 to honor efforts and reward outstanding achievements in the Islamic banking and finance fields. A total of 33 outstanding researchers and professionals have won the prize over the past 24 years.

Dar al-Hekma Honors Qur’an Students

Dar al-Qur’an, a center dedicated to the memorization of the Holy Qur’an and with Sheikha status, recently organized a ceremony titled ‘Glory and Reverence,’ to celebrate the coronation of the eighth batch of 27 Qur’an Hafiza students (women who have memorized the Holy Qur’an) with one student being granted the title of Sheikha last week at Dar al-Hekma University. The students are currently pursuing nine different majors and are of different nationalities. Among the organizers of the event were many philanthropists.

HOLLAND

Son embraces Islam

Almost a year after his father’s reversion to Islam, the son of a former anti-Islam Dutch politician, Arnoud Van Doorn, has reverted to Islam after studying the Holy Qur’an. Doorn, a former member of the far-right Freedom Party (PVV), embraced Islam a year ago after an extensive study of the religion following the Muslim outcry against Fitna, the anti-Islam movie for which Doorn was a distributor earlier. His son, Iskander De Vrie, was among 37 people who converted to Islam during the Dubai International Peace Convention, leaving the other attending participants astonished. “I saw my father become more peaceful after converting to Islam,” Doorn’s son said. As his son reverted to Islam, Doorn reiterated his regret for participating in producing the anti-Islam film, Fitna. The former far-right politician also announced his plans to form the first Islamic political party in Europe last October to serve Islam and Muslims, a few months after reverting to Islam.

[Compiled by: Syed Nehal Zaheer]