Flashes from the Muslim World

INDIA

Indian Muslims Condemn Daesh as ‘un-Islamic’

More than 1,000 Muslim clerics in India have ratified a religious ruling that condemns the Daesh and calls the extremist group’s action un-Islamic, a top Indian Muslim leader said recently. Religious leaders from hundreds of Islamic mosques, educational institutions and civic groups across India have signed the edict, or fatwa, saying the actions of the Daesh group went against the basic tenets of Islam. Islam does not allow the killing of even an animal. What the Daesh is doing is damaging Islam.

SAUDI ARABIA

Expat Body to Distribute Prayer Mats

The Jeddah-based Maulana Hifzur Rehman Seo Harvi Academy and Haji Mohammed Ayoob Welfare Organization will distribute more than 12,000 prayer mats among the pilgrims this year. Bahjat Najmi, the man behind this noble task, said that more than 12,000 prayer mats, 10,000 perfume bottles and souvenirs containing verses from the Holy Qur’an and other supplications will be given to pilgrims from India, as also among other pilgrims like those coming from Pakistan. Both these organizations are engaged in distributing the gifts of spiritual values among Haj pilgrims as well as in the holy month of Ramadan continuously for the last six years. Besides distributing gifts, the academy is also engaged in other social works. This Ramadan, they distributed food packets to 50 needy families in Jeddah. The packets contained food, enough for small family for a month.

Islamic Studies Neglected

As international schools in the city of Jeddah gear up for the new academic sessions, some parents have requested that schools improve the quality of their classes in Islamic studies. Although the Ministry of Education has decreed that all international schools must teach Islamic civilization, several concerned parents have complained that international schools still have serious deficiencies in the teaching of Islamic studies. The parents have reported that it is essential for the students to have knowledge about Islam and said that the schools should put in more effort to promote a good understanding of Islam and the role of Muslims in the contemporary world.

Seventeen Expatriates Embrace Islam

Seventeen expatriates embraced Islam in Jazan. The expats were of various nationalities. Sheikh Mesdif al-Neami, an official with the office of propagation, said the expats have embraced Islam thanks to Allah Almighty and the office’s great efforts. The office focuses on providing many attractive programs to target non-Muslim expatriates working across the Kingdom.

Film Slammed by Scholars

Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, has slammed the Iranian produced film entitled ‘Muhammad – Messenger of God,’ saying that Islam does not allow the Prophet, peace be upon him, to be depicted in this manner.  He said the film depicts the Prophet in an ‘untrue light,’ and undermines the important role he plays in Islam. This is a mockery of the Prophet and a degradation of his stains, he said. Nearly 140 cinemas in Iran began showing the USD40 million film, the most expensive in Iranian history. According to the film’s director, Majid Majidi, the aim of the 171 minute production is to promote Islamic unity. Al Azhar scholars denounced the film, demanding that the Iranian government ban it. The Muslim World League (MWL) has also denounced the movie, which was shown at the Montreal Film Festival in Canada.

500-Year-Old Miniature Document

The King Abdul Aziz Foundation will put on display a 500-year-old miniature manuscript. The manuscript is one of the oldest documents owned by the foundation. The miniature, a decorative painting on a manuscript, will be displayed at an exhibition in Madinah along with many other local, Ottoman and foreign documents about the holy city. The Exhibition of Madinah Manuscripts will have a number of rare documents of historical significance about Madinah. Twelve libraries from the Kingdom and abroad will participate in the Exhibition.

New Haj, Umrah App Launched

Two new Haj and Umrah applications in English, Urdu, and Hindi were launched in Riyadh recently. The application named Haj-e-Mabroor contains three books on Haj and Umrah, nine speeches, one Haj and Umrah presentations and 21 articles. The second app has been named ‘Deen-e-Islam’ and consists of 175 articles dealing with different aspects of life, 75 speeches and seven books. Renowned scholars have urged Muslims to use the application, including Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, rector of Darul Uloom, Deoband.

OIC Nations Host 7m Syrian Refugees

Member nations of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) host more than seven million Syrian refugees who are officially registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, hosts 2.5 million Syrians who are not registered as refugees. Five member countries are registered with the UNHCR. Turkey has 2 million, Jordan has 1.4 million, but only 600,000 registered as refugees. Lebanon has 1.5 million and Egypt has 130,000 registered as refugees out of 800,000 living in the country.

Islamic Law Center at Yale

A Saudi businessman has donated USD10 million to Yale Law School to establish what school officials hope will become the country’s top center for the study of Islamic law. Abdullah Kamel, son of renowned Saudi businessman and philanthropist, Saleh Kamel, made the announcement after meetings with university representatives. Yale officials say the Abdullah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization reflects a growing interest at Yale and other institutions in Islamic law, history and culture. For two decades, Harvard Law School has had its own Islamic legal studies program, established with support from the Saudi King.

No Cut in Pilgrim Quota

Saudi Haj Minister, Bandar Hajjar, said that this Haj season will witness the last reduction in the  number of pilgrims following completion of expansion work inside the Grand Mosque. Starting from next Haj season, the number of pilgrims will increase to five million and then to 30 million in the coming five years, the minister was quoted as saying to a local publication.

Holy Qur’an Expo

Rare manuscripts of the Holy Qur’an were displayed at an exhibition inaugurated by Madinah Governor, Prince Faisal bin Salman. The event was sponsored by the Simaya Group in cooperation with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Madinah. The exhibition area is carefully designed to tell the history and importance of the Holy Qur’an.  A piece from the cover of the Holy Ka’bah, over 140 years old is also one of the exhibits at the show.

KAZAKHSTAN

Signs 25 Deals Worth USD23 Billion

Kazakhstan and China have signed 25 agreements worth USD23 billion, aiming to move cooperation dominated by raw materials to products with greater added value, the official site of the Kazakh president and the state run wealth fund said recently. Kazakhstan, a Central Asian nation of 17.5 million, is the second largest post-Soviet oil producer after Russia. China has invested billions in mineral rich Kazakhstan, mainly in oil and gas, and in infrastructure projects serving the industry.

IRAN

Fined USD260 for Bad Hijabs

A Teheran court has fined two women USD260 for violating the Islamic dress code by not wearing their mandatory hijabs (head scarves) properly in the street, a judicial official was quoted as saying. When in public, all women in Iran, including foreigners, are required to wear the loose scarf, which covers the hair and neck. However, in some rich neighborhoods of northern Teheran, a city of twelve million people, it is not uncommon to see women’s scarves around their shoulders. Many young women also wear tight clothes and short coats.

Cameroon

Lauds Haj Preparations

Cameroon’s Ambassador, Iya Tidjani, expressed his appreciation for the just-concluded Haj of this year. “One thing I have noticed is we can now do things electronically, like applying to come for Haj or accessing the Saudi Embassy for whatever information a pilgrim needs,” said the Cameroon envoy. He also noted that pilgrims could now travel between Makkah and Mina and Arafat by railway, which was not possible before. He also noted the excellent transportation and accommodation facilities for the pilgrims. He said that his country has a quota of 10,000 pilgrims, although only 4,500 had been given the green light to come for Haj this year. He noted that there are nearly 50 Cameroonian scholars enrolled in Arabic and religious courses at universities in the Saudi capital.

NORWAY

Oslo’s Next Mayor

A Muslim environmentalist originally from Pakistan could become Oslo’s next mayor after his party became kingmaker in the Norwegian capital following local elections. After winning five seats on Oslo city council, the green party insists that its candidate, Shoaib Sultan, be given the position of mayor in upcoming negotiations with the other parties. Shoaib Sultan, 41, is a former Secretary General of the Islamic Council, an umbrella organization representing Muslims in Norway, and has also worked for an anti-racism centre.

AUSTRALIA

Islamic Museum of Melbourne

Saudi Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, Nabil bin Mohammed al-Saleh, inaugurated the pavilion of the Kingdom in the Islamic Museum of Melbourne. The pavilion titled, ‘Cradle of Islam,’ was opened in the presence of the Director of the Museum, Ahmed Fahour, and a number of Australian and Arab dignitaries. Al-Saleh praised the financial contribution made by the Kingdom to support the museum’s programs.

UNITED KINGDOM

Labour Selects Muslim Lawyer

London could get its first Muslim mayor after the main opposition Labour Party selected Sadiq Khan, a bus driver’s son and former government minister, as its candidate. Khan, a former human rights lawyer, will stand in elections being held in next May to decide who should follow Conservative, Boris Johnson, one of Britain’s best-known politicians, into City Hall. While the mayor of London has fewer powers than in comparable world cities such as New York, it is a high-profile job which usually attracts ambitious figures. Khan, who is of Pakistan descent and is MP for Tooting in south London, vowed to build more affordable housing and freeze transport fares while still investing in infrastructure projects.

[Compiled By: Syed Nehal Zaheer]