Flashes from the Muslim World

INDIA

Jama Masjid, Delhi: Magnificent Mosque

Jama Masjid Delhi has a capacity to accommodate 25,000 worshippers, the mosque was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan after he moved his capital from Agra to Delhi, the mosque’s construction began in 1644. The architect was Ustad Khalil who used red sandstone and white marble. The construction, involving 5,000 artisans was completed by 1656. The masjid was inaugurated by a cleric from Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Sayed Abdul Gafoor Shah Bukhari,on whom Shah Jahan bequeathed the title Shahi Imam. These days the Masjid is managed by the Delhi Waqf Board and the Jama Masjid Committee under the direction of the present Shahi Imam. The mosque faces west toward Makkah and houses several relics of Islamic religious significance, including an age-old transcript of the Qur’an. Each year, thousands of Muslims throng the Masjid to offer special Eid Prayers in the morning. Seven arched entrances are inlaid with inscriptions in black marble detailing the history of the mosque.

BANGLADESH

201 Dome Mosque become Center of Attraction

A 201 dome mosque in Bangladesh has become the center of attraction for people all around the world. It is built on the bank of the Jhinai River in the Tangail district, some 140 km from the capital Dhaka. The 451 foot minaret is the tallest concrete minaret in the world, recognized by the Guinness. The mosque complex has a helipad, old people’s home, orphanage and a charity hospital. The mosque will hold more than 15,000 devotees at a time. Among the 201 domes, the tallest one is 79 feet high and the surrounding ones are 42 feet high. The tiles and marbles of the mosque were imported from Italy, Germany, Turkey, Switzerland and China.

Offers Little Respite to Rohingya Refugees

In the 34 camps at Bangladesh’s Cox Bazar, hundreds of Rohingya remain stranded following a spate of violence in Myanmar. However, estrangement from their motherland fails to dampen their spirits on Eid. Just a couple of days before Eid, the Rohingya were busy making preparations to celebrate the occasion. Bangladesh government has allotted around 6,500 acres to establish the refugee camps but space is still tight. This refugee camp is highly congested and there is no open area available to offer Eid congregation. There are more than 550,000 Rohingya children who are deprived of playgrounds and basic recreational pursuits for lack of space.

SRI LANKA

Celebrate Eid under Cloud of Fear

Tough security measures and a climate of fear marked Eidal-Fitr in Sri Lanka, as authorities tried to contain an anti-Muslim backlash sparked by suicide bombings in April. Muslims have been targeted in anti-terror operations and by angry mobs after extremists carried out attacks on churches and hotels. There are around 2,000 mosques in Sri Lanka, which has a Muslim population of around two million. Colombo has around 150 mosques. Worshippers were unable to perform Eid prayers at Colombo’s Galle Face Green,as the government enforced a ban on open air prayers during Eid. Further Muslim ministers resigned in protest at the harassment faced by the community since the bombings. They included Cabinet ministers, their deputies and non-Cabinet ministers.

MYANMAR

White Roses Offered Eid Solidarity

Myanmar Buddhists handed out white roses to Muslims heading to pray to mark the end of Ramadan. Volunteers lined up outside Dargah Mosque in eastern Yangon, giving flowers to scores of devotees heading inside to mark the Eid festival. Muslim motor bike courier, Tin Myint, said the gesture had raised spirits in the Muslim community. The team of some 100 volunteers gave out around 15,000 flowers to Muslims at 23 locations across the country during Ramadan. ThetSwe, explained the roses were a warning to extremists that many in Myanmar don’t share their unjust views.

SINGAPORE

Sultan Mosque of Singapore

Singapore’s Sultan Mosque is a focal point for Muslims in the cosmopolitan city state and the vibrant Kampong Glam neighborhood comes alive during the holy month of Ramadan when people from all walks of life flock to its bustling bazaars. Kampong Glam is Singapore’s ‘Muslim Quarter’ with a mix of Malay, South Asian and Middle Eastern elements. Around 14% of Singapore’s 5.6 million population is Muslim, according to the latest official data. Arab Street – an area that includes Bussorah Street, Haji and Bali Lanes and Muscat Street – is a hub for hipsters, vivid murals, Persian rug stores, shisha bars, perfumes and textile shops as well as being home to the distinctive golden domes of the Sultan Mosque. Sultan Mosque was designated a national monument in 1975.

MALAYSIA

Woos Arab Tourists

Malaysia is on a mission to welcome more tourists from the Arab world, establishing itself as a cosmopolitan, halal paradise. With pristine beaches and diverse cultures, the Southeast Asian country has become a magnet for Middle Eastern tourists. Malaysia enjoys good relations with the Middle East. Malaysia has a multi-cultural society. There are a lot of ethnic groups that live happily and peacefully in this country. Colonized by the British, migrants from China and India were brought to Malaysia as laborers.

PHILIPPINES

“We Lost Everything, but Not Our Faith!”

Thousands of Filipino Muslims, who lost their homes in a bitter-five month battle between security forces and terrorists in 2017, welcomed Ramadan this year in evacuation centers and a tent city. The country’s only Muslim city fell to the Daesh-inspired Maute Group, forcing 44,000 families to flee, according to official figures. Upto 18,000 of these families are still living in makeshift shelters awaiting a return home. “The war has taken everything from us – our house, our belongings – but not our faith,” said Mansawi Hadinonamen.

Defends Use of Funds for Hajj

Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, has defended the use of Marawi rehabilitation funds to sponsor Hajj for displaced residents of the former besieged city. Citing the importance of the Makkah pilgrimage for Muslims, Duterte expressed his support for the idea which he described as an investment in peace. “If you can understand the Muslim culture, then we’d have less friction in society,” said the President. The President also said that he had been supporting poor Muslim Filipino pilgrims since he was mayor of Davao city. “You want peace? All of you want peace… Filipinos, you want peace. Let us invest in peace. Spend for it. You are not buying it; you are helping your fellow Filipino who is a follower of Islam. Let us invest in peace,” said the President of the Philippines.

Muslims are Instruments of Love

“Muslims are instruments of love,” said the President of Philippines as he urged his countrymen to promote peace in the country and wished them a happy Eidal-Fitr. President Rodrigo Duterte, who says he has Muslim ancestry, earlier this month declared 5th June a public holiday in observance of the festival marking the end of Ramadan. He called on Muslim Filipinos to take the occasion as an opportunity to deepen their role as instruments of love, sacrifice, respect, and selfless service. Dueterte last year unveiled a law granting greater autonomy to the country’s Muslim south in a bid to end decades of bloody separatist conflict.

CAMBODIA

Met the Adviser to the Prime Minister

Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), met Osman Hassan, an adviser to the Cambodian Prime Minister and Minister of Special Tasks, on the sidelines of an international conference organized by the Muslim World League. Earlier, during the just-concluded holy month of Ramadan, the OIC delegation distributed copies of the Qur’an and dates for those who were fasting,then visited a number of mosques and schools for Muslims. They also toured a number of Muslim neighborhoods in the Cambodian capital. About 800,000 Muslims live in Cambodia, which has a population of sixteen million people.

THAILAND

Efforts to Serve Muslims

Thailand is one of dozens of countries where Saudi clerics have been dispatched to lead prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. The program to feed Ramadan fasters, organized by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance is a benevolence program initiated by the government of Saudi Arabia. The Ministry is making great efforts and Thais are enthusiastic about these efforts and the Qur’an teaching programs. There are many Kingdom-led projects in Thailand, including a development fund to set up a residential camp and schools for Rohingya refugees in coordination with the UN and the Thai government.  The Kingdom also sends dates to be distributed among mosques and charities, as well as copies of the Mushaf Qur’an in Arabic and Thai.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque is located in Abu Dhabi and has a capacity to accommodate more than 40,000 worshippers and visitors. The Mosque was designed by Syrian architect, Yousef Abdelky, and constructed between 1996 and 2007, the project was launched by the late President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan. The architects were British, Italian, and Emirati,and design inspiration came from Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, Egypt and other Islamic countries. More than 3,000 workers and 38 companies took part in the mosque’s construction. It is the largest mosque in the UAE. It is the key place of worship for daily prayers, Friday gatherings and Eid prayers. The hollows of the domes are etched with verses from the Qur’an and painted with gold leaves in Naskh lettering.

Be Kind to Donate Water Sales to ERC

A UAE-based bottled water company has pledged to donate 100 percent of proceeds from the sales of its products during the just-concluded holy month of Ramadan to the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC). Be Kind, the collaborative platform aiming to establish charitable partnerships, launched in March 2018 during the Year of Zayed, is now launching the first product. Locally, Be Kind is partnering with the Al-Ihsan Charity Association to donate over 70,000 bottles of Zayed Water to their annual Ramadan Aman campaign and over 50,000 bottles to expatriate labors during Iftars run by the ERC at mosques across the Emirates.

SAUDI ARABIA

Grand Mosque: Masjid al-Haram

Masjid al-Haram is located in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The mosque has a capacity of 900,000 worshippers and can accommodate four million during Hajj. The mosque dates back to the era of Prophet Ibrahim, who built a smaller, simpler, version with his son Ismael. The Grand Mosque which surrounds the Ka’aba, has a Green Dome in the southeast corner. First painted green in 1837, the dome is built above the Prophet’s tomb and the tombs of Caliph Abu Bakr (ra) and Caliph Umar (ra). The late Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz launched a major extension project in 2007 to raise the Masjid’s capacity to two million. The Grand Mosque is the holiest shrine in Islam, being the site of pilgrimage for the Hajj and also as the main phase for Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage. The Masjid includes sites such as the Black Stone, the Zamzam Well, Maqam Ibrahim and the hills, Safa and Marwa.

The Prophet’s Mosque

The Prophet’s Mosque is located in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. The Mosque was built by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in 622 CE,the original mosque was an open-air building and served as a community center, a court and a religious school. The structure was expanded many times over the years in the reigns of the Caliphs and the Umayyad, Abbasid and Ottoman states. The largest expansion operation was undertaken by the Kingdom in 1994. Many pilgrims who perform Hajj travel to Madinah to visit the Prophet’s Mosque due to its strong connection to the life of the Prophet. The Masjid is home to the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

2.83m Liters of Zamzam Water

On the 27th day of the just-concluded holy month of Ramadan, visitors to Makkah’s Grand Mosque consumed 2,833,000 liters of Zamzam water, while the Suqiya Zamzam department distributed 26,634 Zamzam water coolers throughout the mosque and the surrounding areas,the Saudi Press Agency reported. All of this is part of the services provided by the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

Delivers Last Friday Sermons

Seventy Imams from the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Da’wah and Guidance delivered the last Friday sermon of Ramadan in 35 countries worldwide. The Imams are part of the Ministry’s Al-Imamah program during Ramadan, and their services were requested by Islamic countries and organizations to these countries.  In their sermons, the Imams called for vigorous prayer, piety, repentance, reading the Qur’an, helping the needy, and doing good even after Ramadan. This year, the Saudi government also organized King Salman’s Iftar program in 24 countries in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe at a total cost of SR3.75 million benefitting over a million Muslims. Over 500,000 copies of the Qur’an have also been delivered across the world.

Launches Qur’an and Adhan Competition

Two competitions calling for the most beautiful and influential voices from around the world to recite the Qur’an and perform Adhan have been officially opened by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Entertainment, according to a tweet from its Chairman, Turkial-Sheikh. According to the statement on the competition’s website, the Qur’an and Adhan awards aim to provide a rich Islamic experience to the world by highlighting the diversity of the cultures of the Islamic world, which is reflected in the different methods of reciting the  Qur’an and raising the Adhan. Organizers of the competitions also hope to encourage a better understanding of the Qur’an and its recitations among Muslim youth, as well as promoting the nature of Islam which rejects extremism and intolerance in all its forms.

OIC Summit in Makkah

From defending Palestinian rights to taking a unified stand on threats against member states, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been making a difference in the Muslim world for the last 50 years. The Islamic Summit in Makkah which was concluded on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, was the organization’s 14th Ordinary summit,and was attended by kings and heads of state and government of the OIC’s 57-member countries. The OIC first met a month after an arson attack inside Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on 21stAugust, 1969. Meanwhile, an anti-extremism document was signed by 1,200 figures from the Muslim world following a gathering in Makkah. The Makkah Declaration said that religious and cultural diversity did not justify conflict and it was everyone’s duty to fight terrorism, injustice, oppression and the violation of human rights. It warned that Islamophobia stemmed from ignorance about the reality of Islam and that people clung to the misdeeds committed by those claiming to be Muslims and falsely attributing their acts to Islamic laws.

Guests of God Service Program

King Salman, inaugurated the Guests of God Service Program featuring more than 130 initiatives, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Mohammed Salih Bentin, said that the program aims to offer the finest services on all levels, as well as enriching the experience of pilgrims by managing the archaeological and cultural sites in the country so that pilgrims can experience a spiritual religious and cultural  journey full of faith. Bentin said that more than 32 government agencies and hundreds of private sector agencies will take part in implementing the program that facilitates and harnesses all potentials in the services of the guests of God.

Mosque Visitors Praise Efforts to Serve Islam

Visitors to the Kingdom have praised the efforts of the Saudi government to serve Islam and Muslims around the world, through development projects to improve and preserve the Two Holy Mosques in the cities of Makkah and Madinah. Visitors praised security measures, comfort facilities and the guidance they received during their journeys. Bilal Bouziane, a visitor from Algeria, called Saudi Arabia the beacon of Islam and peace for the whole world. Some lauded the continuing expansion of the Two Holy Mosques to allow more Muslims to visit the holy sites. More than 1,300 volunteers are providing assistance around the clock to pilgrims at the Prophet’s Mosque.

Call to Promote Moderate Islamic Discourse

Scientists and intellectuals, on the second day of sessions of the Makkah Conference on the Islamic values of moderation, stressed the importance of moderate Islamic discourse and the preservation of the rights of minorities in non-Muslim countries. Scholars want Muslims to forge unity among their ranks. Muslims were urged to study their religion objectively. Alfredo Milesi, the Italian Minister for Middle Eastern affairs at the International Parliament for Safety and Peace and President of the European Muslim League, said that this Conference sends a direct message to the whole world about the tolerance of Islam and the important role of Muslims in building civilized societies in Europe and the world.

Islamic Finance Key to Economy

The Islamic finance industry’s role in stimulating the national economy was highlighted at a Riyadh workshop organized by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA). The workshop was held under the banner “The Islamic Financial Industry’s Role in Achieving National Aspirations.” More than 30 participants took part in the second edition of the workshop, which focused on the essential role the Kingdom’s Islamic financial industry played in the financing of small and medium enterprises.

Segregation between Men and Women

The former Imam of the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah, Sheikh Adil al-Kalbani, has called for men and women not to be separated using a partition during prayers. In a televised interview with Saudi Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), he said that this type of segregation did not happen during the era of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He stressed the current segregation practices have no roots in Islamic tradition and are a result of unjustified ‘paranoia’ of women even during prayers. In the Prophet’s era – and they were the most protective and God-fearing people –with all these traits, the men used to pray in the front and women prayed in the back of the mosque without a partition, not even a curtain. He also touched on the issue some conservative men have in calling a woman by her name, pointing out that this should not be the case as there are also no roots of this fear in Islamic tradition.

Welcomes all Muslim Pilgrims

“Saudi Arabia welcomes all Muslim pilgrims from anywhere in the world without discrimination,” said Hajj and Umrah Minister, Dr. Mohammed Salih Bentin. “The Kingdom is ready to provide facilities and services to enable pilgrims to perform their rituals with ease and tranquility,” he added. Bentin praised the cooperation of the various bodies concerned with Hajj and pilgrims affairs and their keenness to facilitate their access to the Two Holy Mosques and their movement between the holy sites.

Rise in Grand Mosque’s Quota of Zamzam

Pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque who want to drink the Zamzam water and buy bottled Zamzam water for their families and friends have just received a helping hand. The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques is providing the Grand Mosque with 10,000 new containers of Zamzam water through its Suqiya Zamzam department. The number of containers provided has reached more than 25,000 daily, along with 650 drinking stations and 216 stainless steel tanks. The General Presidency is exerting all efforts to provide visitors, worshipers and pilgrims at the Grand Mosque with services allowing them to perform their pilgrimage with ease. The new containers are known for their high quality, they keep the water temperature cool and cannot be affected by weather conditions.

Musaharati Tradition

Despite the march of modern technology, old Ramadan traditions continue to die hard for Muslims in the Kingdom’s largest province. The job of Musaharati is the name given to the person who walks and beats a drum in residential areas to wake worshippers for their Suhoor meal. In the Eastern Province, where the custom remains a deep-rooted part of the holy month, the drummer is known as Abu Taliba. The fasting month is not complete in Al-Ahsa governorate without him roaming the streets before dawn prayers. The Musaharati profession is one of the oldest Ramadan traditions in Al-Ahsa, and every town has its own Abu Taliba.

Kingdom to Employ Inmates during Hajj

The Saudi Project for the Utilization of Hajj Meat (Adahi) discussed with the Directorate General of Prisons the establishment of a partnership to enable inmates and parolees to work during this year’s Hajj season in supervisory and technical professions. Employment would be according to qualifications and requirements, and is in line with the Vision 2030 reform plan’s aim to reformulate the concept of rehabilitation.

Eid in Hijaz Marked by Family Reunions

For years, families native to Saudi Arabia’s Hijaz region have observed Ramadan and Eidal-Fitr celebrations in their own special way, keeping traditions alive from one generation to the next. As the holy fasting month comes to a close, Eid customs come alive. Natives of Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah ring in the holiday with customs and traditions that last for no less than three days. The night of Eid starts with homes spotlessly cleaned. Amid the smell of Bukhoor (incense), kitchens prepare the Ta’teemaal-Hijaziya, a buffet-style table setting that includes an assortment of cheeses, breads, jams, marmalades, olives and traditional desserts. Many families in Makkah and Madinah prefer to head to the Two Holy Mosques. It is a tradition for the young ones to go with their fathers, while mothers tend to the home before guests start arriving. Hijazi family gatherings are large, loud, and full of joy and laughter. Eid is a celebration for all.

Conducts Fifteen Projects in Thirteen Countries

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) carried out fifteen projects to hand out food baskets and Iftar meals during Ramadan in thirteen Muslim countries, at a total cost of USD14 million. 1.7 million people benefited from the projects, 306,000 Iftar meals distributed in Yemen and 7,590 Eid gifts distributed in Yemen. With the objective of ensuring that no child is denied happiness during the festive occasion of Eidal-Fitr, KSRelief entered into an agreement to distribute Eid gifts to Yemeni children.

Ehtiwa Breaks Guinness Record

Ehtiwa, which launched its annual campaign to collect clothes for families in need during Ramadan, broke the Guinness World Record for the number of clothes collected over a period of time, it has been revealed. The campaign called ‘Keswat Farah’ was launched in Riyadh and Eastern Province for the eighth year in a row and broke the record on 28th May. A group of nearly 2,000 volunteers collected over 500,000 pieces of clothes donated by members of the public. Keswat Farah is an Arabic word referring to the action of buying, or giving, new clothes at Eidal-Fitr to family members or to those in need and the word ‘Farah’ means happy.

Kiswa Factory and Wahj Fair

Muslims in the holy city of Makkah will be able to visit the Kiswa factory for the Kaaba where artisans work with golden threads. This factory also has a valuable collection of antiquities from the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. This event is ongoing from 10 AM to 3 PM. The WahjFair introduces different types of Islamic manuscripts to the modern world, with the features and styles of famous calligraphers on display. This exhibition has a large collection of Islamic manuscripts and rare heritage pieces. It runs until 6thAugust, from 10 AM to 10 PM at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.

JORDAN

Why Al-Aqsa Mosque Matters

“There is a spot just in the center of Al-Qibli Mosque where you feel so light when you stand in it,” –this is the way in which Wasfi Kailani, of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque, describes his favorite spot within Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the UNESCO World Heritage site also known to Muslims and Palestinians as Al-Haram Al-Sharif. The holiest spot in the entire compound is in the center of the mosque. It is the place from where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ascended to the heavens to meet God Almighty with all the Prophets with him. AblaRweis, a mother of three from Nablus told Arab News that her favorite spot is the mosque itself. “It has a special holiness to it as it is where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) spent the night on his ascent to heaven.”Rweis is talking about al-Israwa al-Miraj, the two parts of Night journey that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) took. In Islam, al-Israwaal-Miraj signifies both a physical and spiritual journey.

Peace Possible Only with a Palestinian State

Jordan’s King Abdullah told US President Donald Trumph’s adviser, Jared Kushner, that a lasting Middle East peace can come only with the creation of a Palestinian state on land captured by Israel in a 1967 war and with East Jerusalem as its capital. Kushner is leading a US delegation to the Middle East, the trip began in Rabat and Kushner is to unveil the first part of Trump’s long awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Amman is particularly sensitive to any changes of status in Jerusalem after the Trumph’s administration’s decision to recognize it as Israel’s capital.

MAURITIUS

Gifted 10,000 Tons of Dates

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance concluded the distribution of 10,000 tons of dates and 2,000 food baskets, offered by King Salman’s Iftar project in Mauritius. The Ministry carried out a number of programs during Ramadan in the context of the interest paid by the government of King Salman and the crown prince to Muslims in all countries of the Islamic world, including Mauritius.

EGYPT

Spiritual Atmosphere: Cairo’s Midanal-Hussein

For many in Egypt, and beyond, Ramadan would not be complete without a short visit to the historical area of Midan al–Hussein in the heart of Cairo. It’s a district that has come to symbolize the spirit of the country, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. Midanal-Hussein is full of life, its bustling street echo with greetings, and there is a multitude of entertainment on offer. The Al-Hussein Mosque is full of Muslims praying, reading the Qur’an or reciting Zikr. The area radiates with all shades of greatness, love and joy, says caretaker of Al-Hussein Mosque. Tourists also love to visit Midanal-Hussein in Ramadan.

PALESTINE

Gaza’s Omari Grand Mosque

Previously a pagan temple, and then a church, the Omari Grand Mosque, in Gaza City,was converted to a Muslim place of worship under Caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab. During Roman and Greek rule, the site was a temple, said Heyamal-Bitar, Head of the tourism and archaeology department at the Tourism Ministry in Gaza. “It was built during the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian. The temple was converted to a church in 406 CE, and then into a mosque in 643 CE,” said archaeologist, Dr. Salim al-Mubaid. “It was the first mosque to perform Friday prayers in Gaza after the Islamic conquest,” he added.

Number of Displaced Surges to 70 Million Worldwide

More than 70 million people were recorded last year as displaced from their homes, the UN said in a new report to mark the World Refugee Day. The number of displaced people in the world has doubled in the past 20 years and now exceeds the population of Thailand, and the trend continues to go in the wrong direction.  The countries with the most internally displaced people are Syria and Colombia. Those counted as refugees included 5.5 million Palestinians in countries such as Lebanon and Jordan.

260,000 Pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque

More than 250,000 worshippers took part in the final Friday prayers of the just-concluded holy month of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of annexed East Jerusalem, as Israel heightened security following a Palestinian stabbing attack. The mosque compound is a key religious and political symbol for Palestinians. The prayers came only hours after a Palestinian teenager was shot dead by Israeli security inside the Old City. Inside the mostly uncovered mosque compound, water was sprayed on worshippers to keep them cool in the baking Jerusalem sun, with temperatures approaching 40 degrees. Despite a heavy police presence, there were no reports of further incidents.

KAZAKHSTAN

Date Packs Gifted

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Da’wah and Guidance, represented by the office of the Saudi cultural attache in Kazakhstan, distributed high quality dates in various Kazakhstani cities as part of King Salman’s gift of dates. The Kingdom has distributed four tons of dates in Kazakhstan so far, along with a number of Qur’ans and scientific publications. The Kazakh people, along with a large number of religious and political leaders,all commended the Kingdom’s efforts under the leadership of King Salman and his Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to serve Muslims around the globe.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Efforts Praised

The people of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina expressed their thanks and appreciation for the Kingdom’s work among Muslim communities around the world through the efforts of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and its programs abroad. During the distribution of dates at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Sarajevo the beneficiaries asked God to protect the Kingdom, its wise leadership and its generous people.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Detroit’s Islamic Center Organizes Iftar Tent

For many American Muslims, Iftar is more than just the breaking of the fast at sunset each evening during the holy month of Ramadan. It is an opportunity for them to build bonds by gathering with other communities to convey a better understanding of Islam. The Iftar initiative aims to strengthen bonds between American Muslims and other communities. Throughout the United States, Muslims are inviting non-Muslims, including public officials, to join them during Iftar. The non-Muslims are leaving the gathering with stronger ties and a better understanding of Islam and America’s growing Muslim community. The Islamic Center in Detroit (ICD), the largest mosque in the Midwest, launched an initiative to establish the ‘Ramadan tent,’ which provides free Iftar meals for Muslims and non-Muslims, as well as offering free Sahoor meals during the last ten days of the holy month. The mosque had also organized breakfast events for a variety of public figures in the American community to strengthen cooperation between the ICD and American institution. The ICD invited several major mainstream news media representatives to share Iftar in recognition of the role they play in educating the community on important issues, including that of the Muslim community.

[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]