Flashes from the Muslim World

SRI LANKA

MWL Chief Thanks Sri Lankan Government

The Sri Lankan government has agreed to the request of the Muslim World League (MWL) – in accordance with Islamic procedures – to stop cremating the bodies of Muslims who have died of COVID-19. The news came in a phone call to Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, MWL Secretary General from Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dinesh Gunawardena. Gunawardena said that this served to strengthen the close relationship between the MWL, which is a global reference for Muslim nations, and the Sri Lankan government. Al-Issa thanked Sri Lanka for approving the MWL’s request to stop the cremation of the bodies of Muslims and instead allow their burial. The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also welcomed the Sri Lankan government’s decision.

INDONESIA

UAE Breaks Ground for Mosque Replica in Indonesia

Top Emirati officials have broken ground for a replica of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Indonesia. The mosque will be constructed in Solo in Central Java province, the hometown of Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The mosque which will be built on a three hectare plot, will feature four minarets, with the main dome, surrounded by smaller domes. It will be able to accommodate about 10,000 worshippers. The USD20 million project is expected to be ready to welcome worshippers in September 2022.

MALAYSIA

Visits the International Museum in Madinah

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin visited the International Museum of the Prophet’s Biography and Islamic Civilization in Madinah. He appreciated the efforts of the Saudi leadership in serving the two holy mosques and taking steps for the preservation of Islamic heritage. The museum is operated by the Muslim World League and aims to present the message of Islam of justice, peace, mercy, tolerance and moderation. There are seven languages available to visitors: Arabic, English, Spanish, Urdu, French, Turkish and Indonesian. It also includes a 4DX theater, which screens a series of films about the Prophet’s life.

Welcomes Increase in Hajj Quota

Malaysian officials have welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase the Southeast Asian nation’s annual Hajj quota by 10,000 following Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s official visit to Riyadh. The current Hajj quota for the country of 32 million, where 60% are Muslims, is 31,600. Muhyiddin said that the increased quota would apply when the Hajj situation returns to normal after the coronavirus pandemic.

SAUDI ARABIA

Book on Zamzam – The Holy Water

Saudis were mourning the loss of Yahya Hamza Koshak following his death at the age of 80. An engineer by profession, he became famous for his services to the Zamzam well. He led the cleaning team of the Zamzam well four decades ago and wrote a book, ‘Zamzam: The Holy Water,’ in which he recorded his observations inside the well. In his book, Koshak outlined the history of the well and its water sources, and also documented the archaeological objects found during the cleaning project.

Saudi, Somali Envoys Discuss OIC Cooperation

Saleh Hamad al-Suhaibani, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), met with his Somali counterpart, Dr. Abdur Razzaq Sead Abdi. The envoys discussed ways to enhance their cooperation as the OIC aims to serve Islamic causes in the midst of current challenges.  The two sides also discussed areas of joint Islamic action and how to best serve the OIC and its 35 active bodies and institutions. Al-Suhaibani said cooperation and coordination among the organization’s bodies are a top priority for Saudi Arabia. Abdi stressed the importance of lasting peace, stability and development within Somalia. He also praised the Kingdom for the humanitarian support and developmental contributions it provides to the Somalia people.

Calligraphy Expo to Promote Rich Heritage

The King Abdul Aziz Public Library will launch the Global Exhibition of Arabic Calligraphy, simultaneously in Riyadh, Casablanca and Beijing. The exhibition will continue until end of the year and will include various cultural events such calligraphy workshops for budding calligraphers. Famous calligraphers will take part in the exhibition. It will also showcase rare and ancient manuscripts and coins belonging to different Muslim dynasties. It is reported that the exhibition and other events to be held on the sidelines aim to promote Arabic calligraphy and help preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Arabian peninsula.

Resumption of Iftar Sayim Permits

In keeping with the spirit of giving and unity during Ramadan, Muslim worshippers in the Makkah region will soon be able to resume one of the holy month’s most valuable acts of kindness. The Watering and Relief Committee in Makkah announced the resumption of permits for the Iftar Sayim initiative after the ongoing Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic temporarily halted the application process. Iftar Sayim generally refers to the charitable practice of providing fasting Muslims with meals to break their fast. Restaurant owners and families provide meals – usually consisting of dates, a drink, and a hot dish – that are then distributed to mosques.

Al Mihrab: Unique Pieces Inspired by Islamic Art

A Jeddah-based artist is on a mission to redefine and modernize classical Islamic art by creating affordable handmade pieces inspired by her heritage. Afnan Tash, the artist behind Al-Mihrab, creates unique pieces inspired by Islamic art across the ages, utilizing materials such as paper, glass, wood and metal. She said that her great focus is on adding a special beauty to everything that is created. Tash takes her inspiration from classic cultural elements of the Kingdom’s western province. The Qibla compass, indicating the direction of Makkah, the Holy Ka’aba and the namesake of the project, the Mihrab or semi-circular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the Qibla.

BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA

Meets OIC Secretary General

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen, received Dr. BiseraTurkovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations between the OIC and Bosnia & Herzegovina as well as issues of common interest. Also, al-Othaimeen received a phone call from the Sri Lankan President. They reviewed existing relations between the OIC and Sri Lanka as well as the situation of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka. He reaffirmed the OIC’s keenness to follow up on the conditions of Muslim communities and defend their rights in non-OIC member states.

SPAIN

Memorandum of Understanding

The Muslim World League (MWL) signed a memorandum of understanding  (MoU) with the Islamic Commission of Spain during a meeting between the Secretary General of the MWL, Dr. Mohammad bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, and the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Ayman Idlibi. Al Issa began the meeting by praising Spain, which has been shown by MWL studies to be one of the best European countries in terms of national integration. He said that the Commission – with the support of the Spanish government – played an active role in this achievement. He also praised the religious diversity in Spain, making it an example of openness to all religions, which is important to counter the hate-speech promoted by some extremist groups. Idlibi expressed his admiration for the Makkah Document and the pride of Spanish Muslims for it as an Islamic curriculum and constitution.

Tariq bin Ziyad Mosque in Madrid, Spain

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Seminar Organized by Los Angeles World Affairs

The Secretary General of the Muslim World League , Mohammed bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, said the Muslim women always enjoyed a prominent position since the beginning of Islam and any violation of their rights are against the basic teachings of the religion. He was speaking at an online seminar organized by the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall. Al-Issa said it is important to fight the wrong ideas about women propagated by extremist elements. He said armed struggle against terrorism and the deviant ideology is not enough. Al Issa stressed the need to combat the extremist narrative using intellectual means to root it out from the world. He stressed the need to promote dialogue between the East and the West to bridge the gap between different communities, cultures and civilizations. The Muslim World League Chief blamed the trust deficit between different communities for violence. He explained the Islamic concept of moderation and its importance to promote global peace and harmony. Kim McCleary Blue, President of the World Affairs Council, praised the efforts of the MWL in promoting a culture of dialogue and cooperation between followers of different religions and cultures.

[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]