Flashes from the Muslim World


Moving Rohingya Refugees to Island Camp

A new group of hundreds of Rohingya arrived in Bhasan Char. Bangladeshi authorities said, as they resumed the relocation process following a decision by the UN’s refugee agency to start operations on the remote island camp in the Bay of Bengal. Bangladeshi authorities have shifted 20,000 out of a planned 100,000 people to Bhasan Char Island since December to take pressure off Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement that already hosts more than 1.1 million Rohingya who fled neighboring Myanmar during a military crackdown in 2017.


Visits King Fahd Printing Complex

Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, visited the King Fahd Holy Qur’an Printing Complex in Madinah. The Indonesian Minister was briefed on the work process in the Complex, the phases of the printing the Holy Qur’an and the modern technologies used. The King Fahd Holy Qur’an Printing Complex was established in 1985 to produce and distribute Islamic print and audio publications, as part of the leading role played by the Kingdom in serving Islam and the needs of Muslims world-wide.


Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2022

Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, delivered a message of hope and tolerance during a recent meeting at the Vatican with the judging committee of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2022. “We have to maintain and sustain, the path of human fraternity,” he told the Committee. Zayed Award was created to build on the historic 4th February 2019 meeting in Abu Dhabi between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al Tayeb. The award recognizes those who inspire us to play our part in creating a more understanding, inclusive and peaceful world. The winner of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2022 will be announced on February 4, 2022.


Tribute to the Noble Incense

Frankincense, the aromatic resin harvested from trees that grow in a narrow climate-belt, from the Horn of Africa to India and parts of southern China, has been used for 6,000 years as both a perfume and panacea for a host of ailments. Most of the world’s supply comes from Somalia, Eritrea and Yemen. But it is Oman that famously produces the world’s finest, and most expensive, frankincense – a rich and spicy aroma that ancient Egyptians called the ‘Sweat of the Gods.’ Trade in frankincense has flourished in this region for centuries and was one of the most valued commodities of the ancient and medieval world. Today the resin, harvested from the Boswellia tree, is still highly prized, as Oman’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai shows.

USD5bn Investments in Oman

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is planning to invest SR18.7 billion (USD5 billion) in Oman, according to a statement from the two countries. The plan was announced after the visit of Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to his Middle East neighbor. There are not details yet as to what industries or companies the money will be invested in. The two countries announced the opening of the first land crossing between the two Gulf neighbors. The 725-kilometer Saudi-Omani road will contribute to the smooth movement of citizens of the two countries and integration of supply chains.


Receives Bridge-Builder Award

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League and Chairman of the Muslim Scholars Association, has received the Norwegian Bridge Builder Award at a ceremony in Oslo. He was one of three recipients of the award in 2021, which is given to people who have helped to build bridges between individuals, nations and societies. The award committee described Al-Issa as a leading global force in moderation, saying that he is a clear and distinct voice for peace and cooperation between nations and religions. On conflicts resulting from religious, cultural, political and other divides, Al-Issa said, “Distancing ourselves from each other builds walls of fear, suspicion and misunderstanding.”

Madinah Library Offers Visitors 180,000 Books

The Prophet’s Mosque Library in Madinah is seeking to enrich visitor knowledge through its 180,000 books. The library which is affiliated with the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, is considered one of the most important places that visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque are keen to visit. It aims to offer people the opportunity to acquire skills and expertise, as well as enrich their knowledge, through its diverse range of books in more than 21 languages. The library houses around 180,000 books and 71 classifications, most of which are books on the prophetic biography with 86 titles, and other specialist administrations and departments.”

Ithra Islamic Art Conference

For thousands of years, mosques have served as sacred ground for Muslims around the world. But there is more than meets the eye, with Ithra’s Islamic Art Conference examining the deeper meaning and spiritual effects that mosques have on their communities. The Conference is a collaboration between the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for Mosque Architecture and Ithra, a leading destination for art and cultures. Using recent studies, Abdullah Al Rashid, Director of Ithra, discussed the mosque of the future, outlining its shape and function, and discussing how the 3.5 million mosques around the world will transform with time.

Saudi Date Exports Up

The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports rose by 7.1% last year to SR927 million (USD247 million), while shipments by volume in the period increased by 17% to 215,000 tons. As one of the world’s largest date producers, the Kingdom is home to more than three million palm trees and 157 processing facilities. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has grown to become the world’s largest exporter of the fruit, selling to 107 international destinations.

Receives Legion of Honor

The French government has awarded Dr. Hoda Al-Helaissi the rank of ‘Knight of the Legion of Honor.’ She is the first Saudi female to be honored with the award in recognition of her contribution to strengthening relations between Saudi Arabia and France. The Legion of Honor award is the highest decoration in France and was established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. More than 500 Saudis have been awarded one of the two distinctions since France first established official diplomatic relations with the Kingdom in the 1930s.

Complex Launches Warsh Qur’an app

The King Fahd Holy Qur’an Printing Complex has launched the Warsh Qur’an application, available on Apple, Windows, and Android, to provide Muslims who read the Warsh recitation with an app compatible with smart devices. The app includes many features and is available in four languages, Arabic, English, French and Spanish. The app provides a search history, and bookmarks automatically appear for selection.

Russia – Islamic World

The meeting of the Group of Strategic Vision “Russia” Islamic World concluded recently in Jeddah. The meeting was held under the theme “Dialogue and Prospects for Cooperation.” Many officials and scholars from the Russian federation and Muslim countries participated in the event in order to discuss issues of common interest and enhance cooperation in addressing existing challenges. Saudi Arabia hosted this meeting for the second time after hosting its fourth session in Jeddah in 2008. The group currently focuses on the practical implementation of the strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Islamic world.


The Olive Tree in Perspective

Few things encapsulate the Palestinian identity quite like the humble olive tree. It roots an entire nation to a land and livelihood lost to occupation, while serving as a potent symbol of resistance to the encroachment of illegal settlements. To this day, between 80,000 and 100,000 families in the Palestinian territories rely on olives and their oil as primary or secondary sources of income. The industry accounts for about 70% of local fruit production and contributes about 14 % to the local economy. Olive trees provide Palestinians with a vital part of their diet, but have also become a symbol of hope and unity. The land around the Sea of Galilee was once the world’s most important olive region. The area was the site of the earliest olive cultivation dating back to 5,000 BC. Southern Spain and southwestern Italy are now the world’s biggest olive oil producing regions.


Flies the World from Homemade basement Cockpit

Jordanian, Muhammad Malhas, has long harbored dreams of being a pilot. Now at 76 years old, he’s soaring above the clouds in a cockpit he built in his basement. “Since the beginning of time, man has been watching the birds in the sky, and dreaming of flying freely.” Malhas said. Sitting in the flight simulator, a replica of the cockpit of a Boeing 737-800, which he has spent three years building from scrap and second-hand items. By 2006, he was flying virtually thanks to flight software he downloaded on his computer.


To open USD45m Hospital

A new hospital developed with support from the European Union is set to open early next year in southern Turkey to help meet the needs of an ever-growing community of Syrian refugees. The 250 bed facility, in the border district of Dortyol in Hatay province, is a collaborative project between Turkey’s Health Ministry and the European Union. There are several migrant health care centers across Turkey providing limited medical services, but building a hospital will ease the pressure on Hatay’s overall health infrastructure while guarding the quality of services for the members of the host community and Syrians. Authorities expect the facility to serve about 6,000 patients per day and help to create a health hub for both the local community and refugees, especially those coming from war zones.


Gallops to Glory with UNESCO Award

Tbourida, the Moroccan equestrian art, also known as ‘fantasia’, was added as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. This horsemanship art has been inherited from an old Moroccan warrior tradition and is performed during cultural festivals and Maghrebi wedding celebrations.


Largest Muslim Cemetery

The Issa brothers, who are among Britain’s richest men, have unveiled plans to build Europe’s largest Muslim cemetery on a massive plot in northern England. The Issa Memorial Gardens would be built west of the town of Blackburn – which has  a sizable Muslim population – and would cover a space equivalent to roughly 40 football fields, or 82 acres. The land would have space for 35,000 burial plots – 25,000 more than the Garden of Peace in London which is currently the largest Muslim cemetery in Europe. It would also have 663 parking spaces and extensive landscaping. Earlier this year, a plan by the Issa Foundation to build a ‘landmark’ USD6.9 million mosque in Blackburn was approved.


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