Flashes from the Muslim World

INDIA

Indian Body Seeks Ties with NGOs

An Indian Islamic scholar who is currently in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on an invitation from the Al Waleed Philanthropies said that his organization wants to develop cultural cooperation with NGOs in the Kingdom. Sheikh Aboo Backer Ahmed, Secretary-General of the Jamiah Markaz Managing Committee, said his organization is currently in the process of building a Knowledge City in Calicut, which will be completed in 2020. It includes a law college, Unani Medical College, an international school and professional colleges to provide education from LKG to university level. Jamiah Markazu Ssaqafathi Ssunniyya is an Islamic university in Kerala, operating since 1978. It has roughly 10,000 students studying Qur’an, Hadith, Fiqh, Arts, Science and Technology in different institutes.

INDONESIA

Seeks Arab Tourists - Expects 20 Million Visitors

Indonesia is working on plans to attract more tourists from the Middle East, including the Kingdom and has set itself the target of hosting 20 million visitors by 2019. In order to achieve the ambitious goal of 20 million visitors in total, Indonesia recently waived visa requirements for 90 countries including the Kingdom and other GCC countries. Notably, Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population in the world.

QATAR

Do Not Depend on State for Everything

Qatar’s ruler said he hoped the global fall in energy prices would help reduce dependency on the state in the Gulf nation, official media reported. He warned of wasteful spending, overstaffing and a lack of accountability in the country and raised concerns about dependency on the state to provide for everything. This reduces the motivation of individuals to take initiatives and be progressive, he said in remarks reported by the Qatar News Agency. Qatar has admitted it is facing a fiscal shortfall of 4.9% of Gross Domestic Product in 2016 and 3.7% in 2017 due to falling oil prices.

SAUDI ARABIA

OIC Television Channel to Project Muslim Viewpoint

The world’s largest pan-Islamic body, the 56-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has taken another step toward launching a new television channel, with a search for partners and financial and other planning underway. “The Islamic world today urgently needs to have a serious and meaningful television channel that would contribute to positive change and help Muslims achieve their goals,” said OIC Secretary-General, Iyad Madani.  Madani said the new channel would be broadcast across the world and discuss issues affecting Muslims, create awareness of Islamic teachings and encourage solidarity that would ensure action is taken on critical matters as defined in the OIC charter.

Nation Prays for Rain

Prayers for rain were held across the Kingdom at various mosques, schools and universities, under the orders of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman. Imams of various mosques and the royal court urged Muslims to seek favor from Allah (swt) by behaving according to the precepts laid down in the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), seek forgiveness and give charity. An official from the Saudi Wildlife Authority told Arab News that rain would be good for wildlife and plants across the country.

21 Historic Mosques Restored

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) and the Al Turath Heritage Foundation has completed the restoration of 21 mosques around the country. A study to revamp eight mosques has been completed. A total of 87 historic mosques in the Kingdom have been identified for restoration including four in Makkah, eight in Madinah, fourteen in Riyadh, five in Qassim, 36 in Asir, six in Tabuk, six in Jazan, four in Najran and four in Baha.

Highlights Expats’Role in Economic Growth

Saudi Arabia has provided work for ten million expatriates, most of them Muslims from the Islamic world,Labour Minister, Mufrej al-Haqabani, said recently. These expatriates have helped to boost the economy of the Kingdom, Al-Haqabani said at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s Third Labour Minister’s Conference in Jakarta. During his speech, Al Haqabani also outlined the Kingdom’s efforts to create jobs for young men and women in the country. He said the biggest challenge facing Arab countries is finding work for young people.

Most Expats Feel Safe in KSA

Most expatriates feel safe in the Kingdom and have been able to save, buy homes, pay for education and travel abroad, according to a survey conducted by Western Union. The company, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, surveyed people who were aged 30 on average, according to a report in a local online publication. Most of the respondents said they felt safe, satisfied and happy in the host country. 54.6% said they had managed to save money, 38% had improved their lifestyle,37.5% could purchase homes and 32% were able to pay their education expenses.

Historic al-Hudaibiya Mosque to be Rebuilt

The historic Al-Hudaibiya mosque will be demolished and rebuilt by the Islamic Affairs Ministry and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) to reflect its significance in Islam. The mosque was built on the site where the Prophet (peace be upon him) signed a peace agreement in 628CE with the pagans of Makkah, which was called the Treaty of Hudaibiya. The area is on the western side of Makkah.

Youth Exhorted to Join Qur’an Contest

Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, has urged the Saudi youth to participate in the King Abdul Aziz International Competition for Qur’an Recitation. He said the holy Qur’an is a beacon to every Muslim in all aspects of life, doctrine, morality, and in the conduct of the Shariah. Qur’an recitation calls for action, its implementation and application of the orders and prohibitions. The grand Mufti said the book of Allah (swt) is the elixir of happiness and the road to civilization. The holy Qur’an is a platform of governance, worship, doctrine, and arbitration in all spheres of life, he added.

Saudis Hailed for Anonymously Making Donation

Expatriates are all praise for two Saudi men with golden hearts who donated SR 225,000 to pay the diya (blood money) for a Filipino driver convicted of running over an Indian man on a motorway in the Kingdom. The kind gesture of the two was greatly appreciated on the social media. The court has just sent the letter to the prison to release the driver and consider the case closed, the online newspaper reported without identifying these two or saying why they paid the diya.

Grand Mufti: Islam Deals Mercifully with Violators

Islam encourages Muslims to deal with opponents and violators in a gentle manner, said Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, in Madinah recently. He said that Muslims must try to convince fellow-believers through kind and patient discussion where they may be violating Islamic law. There are many people disseminating incorrect and deceitful advice on the Internet about Islamic teachings, he said. Al-Sheikh said that Islam honors contracts drawn up between people and upholds justice at all levels.

KUWAIT

Income Drops by 60% as a Result of Reform Call

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, has called on officials to seek alternative revenue sources and reduce public expenditure after state income dropped 60% due to sharp slide in crude prices. The decline in global oil prices has caused state revenues to drop by around 60% while spending remained without any reduction leading to huge deficit, the ruler told lawmakers. He called for speedy actions to adopt serious and fair measures to complete economic reforms and reduce public expenditures. Oil prices have lost around 60% of their value since June 2014, hitting the coffers of energy-dependent countries like Kuwait.

‘We Can Bank on Islamic Finance’– IMF

The fast growing Shariah-compliant Islamic Finance industry has the potential to promote financial stability because of its risk-sharing and asset-backed features, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, has said. “Islamic Finance has, in principle, the potential to promote financial stability because its risk-sharing feature reduces leverage and its financing is asset-backed and, thus, fully collateralized,” Lagarde told an Islamic Finance conference in Kuwait. Lagarde said Islamic assets have crossed the USD2 trillion mark, and has the potential to grow much larger. Around 40 million of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are clients of the Islamic Finance industry, which has surged in popularity since its niche market days of the early 1970s.

TURKEY

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is a crowd drawer. With its six minarets and sweeping architecture, the Sultan Ahmed or Blue Mosque in Istanbul impresses from the outside. While still used a mosque, the Blue Mosque has also become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul. It was built between 1609 and 1616 and like many other mosques contains the tomb of the founder. Inside the mosque, the high ceiling is lined with 20,000 blue tiles with different patterns that give the mosque its popular name.

United Muslim Anti-Terror Front Needed

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called for a united front, by Muslim leaders, to fight extremism after the Paris attacks, warning that, otherwise, radicals will commit further atrocities. Erdogan warned that calamities will happen again if the rise of radicals is not halted in Europe, after the Paris attacks claimed by Daesh which killed 129 people and suicide bombings in Ankara that left 103 dead on 10thOctober,2015. “We are at cross-roads in the fight against terrorism after the Paris attacks,” Erdogan told a meeting of the Atlantic Council think-tank in Istanbul. “I strongly condemn the terrorists, who believe in the same religion as me, and I am calling on all leaders of Muslim countries to put up a united front.”

ITALY

‘Not in My Name’

Hundreds of Muslims rallied in Rome and Milan to show solidarity with the victims of militant attacks, condemning violence in the name of religion and chanting, “We are not enemy.” The message is clear: terrorism cannot continue to attack everywhere in the name of Muslims. “We want the whole world to listen,” Abdellah Redouane, Head of the Islamic Cultural Center in Rome, said at the demonstration in the capital. “The Qur’an is against violence,”“Islam is peace and solidarity with Paris victims,” read banners held up by members of the Muslim community. The rally, under the slogan, “Not in my name,” began with a minute’s silence for the victims of the attacks. In Milan, people chanted: “No to ISIS,” referring to Daesh which claimed the France attacks.

FRANCE

French Imams Reject Violence at Friday Prayers

Mosques across France held their weekly Friday services in the shadow of the recent Paris massacre by militants, with sermons rejecting violence and asking how some radical French Muslim could support it. In an unusual step, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), the main umbrella group for mosque associations, and several of its member groups urged their Imams to denounce the attacks in their sermons and distributed suggested texts.  France’s five million strong Muslim minority is the largest in Europe and about eight percent of the population.

SWEDEN

Aida, at 27, is Muslim Minister – Doing the Community Proud

A 27-year-old Bosnian Muslim immigrant has been named as the new Swedish Minister of Education,setting a role model for young active Muslims. Aida Hadzialic, in Stefan Lofven’s new cabinet, is a law graduate from the University of Lund. She became the deputy mayor of the Swedish city, Halmstad, at the age of 23. Born in 1987 in Bosnia, the Swedish politician is now the youngest person ever to serve as a minister in Sweden. The Swedish politician for the Social Democrats is now the Minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education Initiative in Sweden.

AUSTRALIA

Muslim Party to Contest Senate Seats

Australia’s first party representing Muslims intends to contest senate seats at the next federal elections, BBC reported. Launching the party in Sydney, founder, Diaa Mohammed, told reporters he wanted a louder voice for his community. The founder condemned the attacks in Paris and said Islam strictly forbade the killing of innocent people.

[Compiled By: Syed Nehal Zaheer]