Flashes from the Muslim World

AFGHANISTAN

Call to End Afghan Fighting

The International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan has called for an end to the violence in the country, saying fighting between Muslims was strictly prohibited in Islam. Senior Islamic scholars from Saudi Arabia and the Muslim world said it was important the crisis in the country has a supporting religious reference.  40,000 people have died in the Afghan conflict since 2001. The reason behind such atrocities is the ideology of terrorists who accept nothing but their views and opinions. They are, in fact, using religion to reach their political or economic goals.

BANGLADESH

Secretary-General Visits Camps

United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim were in Bangladesh to assess the needs of almost one million Rohingya refugees driven from their homes in Myanmar. “It is unbelievable; my heart is broken,” said Guterres, while briefing the local media at Kutaplong refugee camps in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar. “There is no doubt that the Rohingyas are one of the most discriminated people on Earth. It is unacceptable that these people have suffered so much in Myanmar.” The UN chief urged the international community to generate more funds to deal with the Rohingya refugee crisis.

126,000 to Perform Haj

According to the Hajj agreement with Saudi Arabia, this year a total of 126,798 Bangladeshi pilgrims will be able to perform Haj this year. Bangladesh government will send 6,798 pilgrims through its own management and the other 120,000 will be managed by the 1,200 private Hajj agencies. The Religious Ministry of Bangladesh has provided orientation training to all pilgrims in 64 districts of Bangladesh.

INDONESIA

100 Tons of Dates

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center delivered 100 tons of dates to the Indonesian government to be distributed to the poor and internally displaced families affected by disasters in the country. It is reported that the aid is distributed to countries around the world with priority to Muslim countries and those where there are Muslim populations. But the recipients are not just Muslims; they could be non-Muslims as well.

NEPAL

Eid al-Fitr Party

Nepalese ambassador, Mahendra Prasad Singh Rajput, hosted a colorful Eid al–Fitr celebration at his residence in Riyadh to highlight the friendship between Saudi Arabia and Nepal. The Eid festival symbolizes brotherhood, unity, solidarity, harmony, happiness and prosperity to all Muslims and to all mankind, Mahendra said. Saudi Arabia is a major destination for Nepali migrant workers, home to about 450,000 people from his country, he added. The state-owned Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has been funding projects, mainly infrastructure related in the South Asian countries.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

World Tolerance Summit

The International Institute for Tolerance, part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Makhtoum Global Initiatives, has announced the launch of the World Tolerance Summit. World Tolerance Summit is an initiative of the international Institute of Tolerance (IIT), a think-tank created to advise policies and promote the culture of tolerance. A two-day event will be held in Dubai, to coincide with the International Day of Tolerance which is 16th November. With its theme, Prospering from Pluralism, Embracing, Diversity through Innovation and Collaboration, the summit will host a gathering of 1,000 government leaders.

Restoration of symbolic Mosul Mosque

The Mosul Mosque – which dates back to the twelfth century – was destroyed during fighting between extremist forces and government troops, along with the iconic learning Al-Hadba Minaret. Efforts are being made, led by Iraq’s Gulf neighbor, the UAE, along with UNESCO, to rebuild the mosque and tower following a deal signed in London. Noura bin Mohammed al-Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development in the UAE, said during the London event that Daesh had tainted the image of Islam, and she emphasized that the rebuilding of the mosque would be a uniting force for Mosul’s people. Islam is about coexistence, it is about tolerance, she said.

BAHRAIN

Hails Makkah Summit

Bahrain’s Parliament has praised the results of the summit in Makkah, held at the invitation of King Salman to discuss the economic crisis in Jordan. The Parliament expressed appreciation of King Salman’s role in ensuring the stability of Arab countries, citing his contributions in the service of Arab and Islamic nations.

OMAN

Dagger display in Souq Okaz

Oman highlighted its heritage with a display of its most important ancient crafts to visitors to Souq Okaz market. Omani artisans and folklore groups displayed the special silverware and daggers. Daggers at the market vary to price between SR 1,000 and SR 10,000. The Omani dagger is a national symbol of Oman featured on its flag, alongside two swords. Daggers were carried by Omanis for centuries as a manly symbol. Souq Okaz is a unique tourism destination in Taif, and is considered one of the most important in the Kingdom.

SAUDI ARABIA

USD31bn Aid to 78 Countries

Saudi Arabia has provided humanitarian aid, charitable grants and soft loans to countries regardless of color or race. The Kingdom has always been one of world’s top providers of aid. The number of the Kingdom’s humanitarian, development and philanthropic projects reached 1,084, with a total of USD31.90 billion for 78 benefiting countries.  The top five recipient-countries of aid from Saudi Arabia are Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Niger and Mauritania. The top five beneficiaries of the Kingdom were the UN with 45 contributions totaling USD 303.37 million.

Violations against Rohingya Muslims

Saudi Arabia condemned human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and expressed regret that the Myanmar government is not cooperating with UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee. During a speech to the UN’s Human Rights Council, Dr. Fahad bin Obaid al-Mutairi, the head of human rights for the Kingdom’s delegation in Geneva, called on the country’s government to cooperate and allow the special rapporteur to enter the country and ensure security in all affected areas. He called on the international community to intensify efforts to stop what seems to be systematic ethnic cleansing against the Muslims and work to find a humanitarian solution that protects them from violence and victimization.

Efforts to Serve Hajj Pilgrims

The Muslim World League (MWL) and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General. Dr. Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, lauded Saudi efforts to serve all pilgrims, Umrah-performers and visitors of the Two Holy Mosques, including some 18,000 Syrians this year. The Muslim World League rejected false claims that Saudi authorities have barred Syrians from performing Hajj and Umrah. The Kingdom annually receives pilgrims of more than 80 nations without any discrimination, and provides them with world class services to perform their rituals in ease and comfort, the League said.

6.7 Million People

According to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, between the beginning of Muharram and mid-Shawwal this year, more than 6.7 million people from around the world visited Makkah for Umrah – an increase of 230,000 visitors compared with the same period last year.

107,000 per Hour

The number of people circumambulating the Ka’aba on all floors of the Grand Mosque in Makkah has reached 107,000 an hour, according to the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques. Saudi Arabia is keen to provide the best services for all pilgrims in order to help them perform their rituals in comfort, ease and security.

Plead for Peace and Stability

King Salman received a delegation of Muslim scholars participating in the International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan, at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. King Salman commended the scholars’ efforts and those of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in holding the conference. More than 100 Muslim scholars from around the world participated in the conference. The international gathering was sponsored by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC calls on all parties to observe a truce, respect a cease-fire and enter into direct negotiations.

TUNISIA

Steps Taken to Attract Investment and Tourism

Tunisia has taken huge and effective steps toward attracting investment and tourism, said Zaid Ladhari, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation. Tunisia is ready to establish partnerships with countries – especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE to benefit their experience in development, said Ladhari, who received a delegation from the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), a specialized organ of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

MOROCCO

Talks on Economic, Social and Scientific Fields

Officials of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations will hold talks in Morocco to enhance cooperation in the political, economic, scientific, cultural and social fields. The officials will examine continued political cooperation to address and resolve conflicts. They will also review combating terrorism and violent extremism, as well as promoting democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law. The officials will also discuss agriculture, food security, rural development, transport and tourism.

OIC Chief Attacks

The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen, has said that no political development will affect the status of Al-Quds al-Shariff (Jerusalem), which embodies the central cause of the OIC. Al-Othaimeen said that the OIC will confront Israeli aggression through political, economic and legal measures. He was speaking at an international conference in Rabat on the issue of Jerusalem, held in cooperation with the UN, under the title, Al-Quds: After 50 Years of Occupation and 25 Years of the Oslo Accords. In a statement issued earlier, the OIC condemned Israel’s approval of the construction of 2,070 settlement homes in the West Bank.

MAURITANIA

Delivers 100 tons of Dates

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) delivered 100 tons of dates to Mauritania. The delivery is part of the Kingdom’s continuous support for Mauritania and reflects the strong relations between the two countries. The Mauritania government thanked the Saudi government for the gift, and said that it reflects the brotherly ties between the two countries peoples and leaderships.

ITALY

MWL Chief Wins International Award

Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary–General, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, has won the Galileo International Award 2018 in Florence, Italy. The Galileo Award Foundation said Al-Issa received the award for his excellence in Islamic works and international achievements, praising his leading roles in promoting civilizational peace and harmony. Al-Issa said that human barbarism should not be overlooked by the international community, spiritual leaders, or the general opinion leaders of different groups, pointing to the seriousness of religious, sectarian and political extremism.

Meets Religious, Political and Intellectual Leaders

Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General, Mohammed bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, held meetings with religious, political and intellectual leaders in the Italian region of Tuscany. Cultural exchanges and interfaith dialogue were discussed. Al-Issa stressed the importance of building mutual trust, which, he said, is the first step for extremists and terrorists, who try to undermine it. The MWL Chief visited Florence’s Al-Taqwa Mosque, where he met Islamic leaders and discussed the well-being of the Muslim community and its religious and national activities.

BOSNIA

Bury 35 Massacre Victims

Thousands of Bosnian Muslims gathered in Srebrencia to mark the 23rd anniversary of Europe’s worst massacre since World War II and attend the funeral for 35 recently identified victims. The remains of the men and boys slaughtered at the enclave in July 1995 were laid to rest in the town whose name has become synonymous with the war. The coffins covered in green cloth were lined up at a memorial center and new burial pits were dug at the massive graveyard that already holds 6,575 victims found previously.

FRANCE

Probe Far Right Plot

French police continued questioning ten suspected far-right extremists over an alleged plot to attack Muslims that has fueled safety concerns in Europe’s biggest Muslim community. Nine men and one woman were arrested in raids across France. The suspects had an ill-defined plan to commit a violent act targeting people of the Muslim faith.  Police have linked the ten to a little known group called Action des Forces Operationnnelles (Operational Forces Action), which urges French people to combat Muslims or what it calls ‘the enemy within.’

BELGIUM

European Islamic Media Forum

The first Islamic European forum for examining ways of cooperation to curb hate speech in the media concluded at the Press Club Brussels Europe, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Director of the information department of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Maha Mustafa Aqeel, explained that the Forum is part of the OIC’s media strategy to counter Islamophobia. Aqeel said that, since 2005, the OIC has adopted many resolutions that call for clear and tangible measures to address Islamophobia and counter terrorism resulting from it. The OIC is in the process of establishing a global press award for journalists who contribute to the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue and tolerance, she added.

UNITED KINGDOM

Importance of Peace to all Communities

Prince Willam, the second in line to the British throne, concluded a carefully planned visit to the Middle East region with visits to Jewish, Muslim and Christian sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Duke of Cambridge met with about 200 Jerusalemites at the British Consulate, where he delivered one of his most important speeches in support of peace and in solidarity with Palestinians. The Prince was welcomed at the Haram Al-Shariff Al Aqsa Mosque by leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Community. While on the premises of Al-Aqsa, Islamic leaders talked to him about their difficulties and aspirations.

First UK Ambassador to Perform Hajj

Simon Collis has been British ambassador to Saudi Arabia since February 2015. Led by Collis, a British delegation visited the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry to meet its Chairman, Hisham Kaaki, and discussed promoting business and economic relations. He was also British ambassador to Qatar, Syria and Iraq. In 2016, Collis converted to Islam and became the first United Kingdom’s ambassador to perform Hajj.

Oxford International University

Oxford is possibly the most international university in the country and the preferred (higher learning destination for many around the world), said Farhan Nizami, Founder-Director of the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. In recent years, he said, the complexion of the Muslim student body has changed, with most, he expects now British citizens rather than overseas students. Set up in 1985 to promote the study of Islam and the Muslim world, the Center has been instrumental in broadening the remit of oriental studies at the University to incorporate Muslim societies outside the Middle East and increasingly, the study of Muslims in the West.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Court Backs Travel Ban

The United States Supreme Court handed Donald Trump one of biggest victories of his Presidency by upholding his travel ban targeting several Muslim majority countries and rejecting the argument that it represented unconstitutional religious discrimination. The 5-4 ruling, with the court’s five conservatives in the majority, ended a fierce fight in the courts over whether the policy amounted to an unlawful Muslim ban.

[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]