Flashes from the Muslim World

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Joins Travel Expo

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center (SZGMC) participated in the Arabian Travel Market 2021 exhibition, which was held in Dubai and concluded recently. The participation is part of the Center’s strategy to play a religious, cultural and civilizational role in society.

The exhibition also enabled the Center to shed light on Islamic heritage and noble values and the mosque’s richness in arts and aesthetics of Islamic architecture. The Grand Mosque stand welcomed many visitors from different cultures, who learned how the mosque is one of the most important examples of Islamic architecture.

OIC Chief Urges Focus on Education

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) oversaw the second Islamic Summit on Science and Technology virtually hosted by the UAE, under the theme, Scientific Technology and Innovation: Opening New Horizons. During a speech at the summit, OIC’s Secretary-General, Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen said, “The OIC member-states have made positive progress in the recent period, as the number of scientific publications increased by 34%, and the value of technology exports from OIC countries increased by 32%. Al-Othaimeen also drew attention to a space probe that the UAE developed which is successfully orbiting Mars.

SAUDI ARABIA

Makkah Document

The Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) said that the ‘Makkah Document,’ carries an enlightened message signed in the holiest city in Islam by more than 1,200 prominent Muslim scholars and 4,500 Islamic intellectuals from 139 countries and 27 Muslim schools of thought. Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim al-Issa, who is also the Chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars, made his remarks in a  lecture at an international symposium titled ‘The Makkah al-Mukarramah Document: Achievements and  Prospects,’ organized by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) in cooperation with MWL in the Moroccan capital, Rabat.

Ancient Path to Makkah

The famous Zubaida Trail, also known as the Kufi pilgrimage route, once served thousands of pilgrims each year from Iraq and some parts of the Levant Region to the holy sites. It stretches more than 1,600 kilometers from Kufa in Iraq, through Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders Region and into Makkah.

The ancient path was once a common trade route in the pre-Islamic era and was later used by worshippers following the spread of Islam. The Zubaida Trail became one of the most important pilgrimage and commercial routes during the Abbasid Era between the years 750 CE and 1258 CE. Back then, it became the link between Baghdad, the Two Holy Mosques and the rest of Arabia. It was named after Zubaida bint Ja’afar, wife of the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid, who contributed to its construction.

Support of Honey Farms

Honey, an essential part of the breakfast ritual for many Saudis, is one of the most popular products from the Kingdom’s southern highlands. For hundreds of years, the mountains of Asir have produced some of the finest varieties of honey. The mountains are known for their climatic and geographical diversity, with thousands of trees and flowering shrubs providing an ideal environment for nature’s cultivators, the bees. The Sarat Asir mountains are ideal for bee-keeping in the Saudi summers, due to the precipitation and moderate weather.

Jouf Olive Festival

Jouf is Saudi Arabia’s olive capital, with a million olive trees found in the region. The Jouf Olive Festival celebrates the crop and this year, in its fourteenth year, hosted 45 farmers representing the region, all competing for the Prince Faisal bin Nawaf Award, worth SR500,000 (USD133,000) and given by the Prince, who is also the regional governor. Saudi Arabia’s olive production amounts to 120 tons annually and there is a specialized committee to monitor the volume of sales at the end of the festival and to crown the winners of the award. Saudi Arabia now has over 20 million olive trees, more than 80% of which are in the Jouf region, which is famous for olive cultivation thanks to its suitable environment.

Saudi Father Pardons Son’s Killer

A convicted killer was pardoned by the Saudi father of his victim, minutes before he was due to be executed.  Awad Suleiman al-Amrani from Tabuk in northwestern Saudi Arabia, whose son was killed in a brawl four years ago, stipulated that neither the killer nor his family should celebrate the forgiveness. He also said that the family should not attempt to raise money from donors or attend any events that might be organized as a result of the waiver. He did not demand any blood money in compensation for his son’s death, and so the killer will be released. Islam urges its followers to forgive whenever possible.

Ten Robots Join Grand Mosque’s Disinfection Team

Ten robots joined the Grand Mosque’s disinfection team. The robots will help in the Grand Mosque’s disinfection measures to help check the spread of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. The smart machines are equipped with a special program to analyze disinfection requirement of the area they are assigned to.  According to the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, these robots can work between five and eight hours without any human intervention.

EGYPT

Tampering with Water Rights is Forbidden

The claim of ownership of some natural resources and disposing of them in a way that harms other countries is dangerous, according to Egypt’s Islamic scholar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. During his virtual speech at the UN celebration of World Environment Day, al-Tayeb said that religion is for those who believe in it and respect its laws, explicitly ruling that the ownership of people’s essential resources is public property. This comes amid the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) involving Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

TURKEY

New Mosque in the Heart of Istanbul

Turkish President, Recep Tayyib Erdogan, inaugurated an imposing new mosque in Istanbul, fulfilling a decade-old goal of his and stamping a religious identity on the landmark Taksim Square in the heart of the city. The Taksim Mosque and

its 30-meter high dome symbolically over a monument to the foundation of the Turkish republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Construction of the mosque began in February 2017 in a project championed by Erdogan and his AK Party, but which was beset for decades by court battles and public debate.  The mosque complex, with two towering minarets will be able to host as many as 4,000 worshippers and include an exhibition hall, a library, car park, and soup kitchen, state owned Anadolu News Agency said.

UNITED KINGDOM

British Expat Using Social Media to Dispel Misconceptions

A British expatriate who has lived in Saudi Arabia for more than two decades is showcasing the changing face of the country to hundreds of thousands of followers around the world and dispelling some of the misconceptions about life in the Kingdom. Abdurahman Afia was born and grew up in London. He moved to Saudi Arabia in 2000 along with his family. He has watched the nation evolve and grow in the past 21 years, and recently decided to embrace the power of social media and use it to show the world that modern-day Saudi Arabia and its people are really alike. The 46-year-old is fast becoming a social media sensation, with 1.4 million followers on TikTok, more than 24,000 on Twitter and 100,000 on Instagram. He says that he has discovered many admirable qualities that are common to the people of all regions of the Kingdom, including generosity to guests, love of traditional culture, and good manners. He shares with them a varied mix of entertaining, informative and compelling content in Arabic and English.

CANADA

Charged with Terrorism

Canada is pressing terrorism charges against a man accused of mowing down a Muslim family with a pick-up truck, prosecutors said recently, in an attack denounced as ‘terrorist’ by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Four members of the Afzal family – a man and his wife, their teenage daughter and his mother – were out for a walk in London, Ontario, when a truck driver ploughed into them on purpose, according to authorities. The attack has fueled debate about the prevalence of Islamophobia in Canada and heightened fears within the Muslim community that outward signs of religious affiliation can make a person a target. It was the deadliest anti-Muslim attack in Canada since a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City that had killed six people in 2017.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Growing Number of Americans Support a Palestinian State: AAI Survey

A recent poll shows that a majority of Americans are in support of a Palestinian state and of conditioning aid to Israel if the latter continues to build settlements in contravention to US policies. The online poll, conducted by the Arab American Institute (AAI) based on a sample of over 1,000 Americans and released on May 27,  shows that while American attitudes are shifting toward a more balanced view, US Democrats are much more  supportive of Palestinian rights than Republicans. James Zogby, Founder and President of the AAI, told Arab News that the shift has been building up for some time.

[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]