Flashes from the Muslim World

BANGLADESH

Rohingya Refugee Crisis Worsening

Warning that a wider regional problem is at hand, Bangladesh’s leader said that the crisis involving Muslim Rohingya refugees from neighboring Myanmar is going beyond the camps where they are staying.  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appealed to the international community to understand the untenability of the situation surrounding the refugees from Myanmar who are fleeing persecution by the military there. The crisis is now going beyond the camps. Despite all our efforts to contain it, the crisis is now becoming a regional threat. She said that health and security are becoming problems as congestion and environmental problems increase.

Exporting Ships to Asia, Africa and Europe

At present, Bangladeshi ships are being exported to around twelve countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. ‘Made in Bangladesh’ ships have a huge potential in India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Germany, and some African countries. Vessels worth USD160 million were exported by the South Asian country last year. Bangladesh’s exports earnings will exceed the benchmark of USD 1 billion per year within the next five years. With government support, ship-building could play an important role in export diversification. The main challenge for this sector is arranging working capital.

INDONESIA

To Build Largest Ever Museum

The Muslim World League (MWL) and the Indonesian Mosque Council (DMI) have joined forces to build the largest ever museum dedicated to Islamic history and civilization. The huge Center, to be established in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, is expected to attract four million visitors a year on completion, the Saudi Press Agency reported. MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, and Indonesian Minister of Administrative Reform and DMI Vice Chairman, Syafruddin, signed an agreement in Jeddah to mark the launch of the ambitious project. The museum will be set up as a branch of its headquarters in Madinah. Using the latest presentation techniques, the Indonesian museum will house displays highlighting the biography of the Prophet Muhammad and Islamic civilization. When built, the museum is expected to cover an area of more than 100,000 square meters in the Jakarta suburb of Pioppo and will include conference halls and restaurants selling food accepted by Islam. Construction work is due to begin over the next few months.

HONG KONG

HK Leader Apologizes after Mosque Incident

Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, has apologized to the city’s Muslim community after police fired a water-canon at a mosque during operations to quell violent pro-democracy protests in the Asian financial hub. While the morning after cleanup was under way, Lam visited the mosque in Kowloon district, her head covered by a shawl, to express her sorrow to religious leaders over the  incident.  Lam thanked  Islamic leaders for repeatedly calling for calm during the political  turnmoil that has gripped the city in past  five months. South Asians have not been involved in  any protesting – anti Hong Kong or Pro Hong Kong. We are  just living peacefully, said Waqar Haider, an interpreter who works with ethnic minorities.

BAHRAIN

Making good progress on fiscal balance plan

Bahrain, which does not have the  vast oil wealth of fellow  Gulf states, was hit hard by the 2014 slump in crude prices. The Kingdom released a plan last year to overhaul its economy and fix its debt hardened finances, aided by USD10 billion aid package from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.  Bahrain is  making good  progress on its fiscal consolidation plan  and is on track to eliminate its deficit by 2022 as planned. Finance Minister Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said. Maintaining economic growth is important but job creation is important  regardless of where you are in the business cycle, he said.

SAUDI ARABIA

Highlight key issues at UN assembly

The secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen concluded a high level OIC delegation to New York and participated in the higher segment of the UN General Assembly’s deliberations at its  74th session.  Al- Othaimeen held bilateral talks with a number of heads of state and foreign  ministers of OIC  member states.  Meetings were held and highest on the agenda was the current  situation in Palestine and Jerusalem, along with Jammu and Kashmir, the Rohingya minority, Armenia’s aggression towards Azerbaijan, further issues in Sierra Leone, Mali and the Sahel and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The OIC General Secretariat held discussions with the situation of Muslims in Europe.  OIC meetings also highlighted the issues relevant to youth, the family, humanitarian affairs and human rights.

AlJouf: The Kingdom’s food basket

Al Jouf in Saudi Arabia, known as the land of olives, is an area deep rooted in history and biodiversity.  Due to its moderate climate and fertile land,it has  become known as “ The Kingdom’s food basket”.  Al Jouf is an area steeped in civilizational, cultural and archaeological heritage and historical  diversity. It is all not sand, however, there is also a huge green area containing more than 18 million trees, including 15 million olive trees that produce 20,000 tons of olives each year, a million date palms that produce 40,000 tons of dates, and a million fruit trees that produce 17,000 tons of fruit. An abundant variety of vegetables  are  also also cultivated. Al Jouf also includes has what is said to be one of the largest artificial lakes in the Middle East, and the only lake in the Arabian Peninsula.

Rejects interferences in its internal policies

Saudi Arabia is pursuing well established reform policies that conform to its basic principles and Islamic pillars, particularly with regard to women’s rights and enhancing their role in public life, said Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel, Saudi ambassador to the UN in Geneva.  Al-Wasel added that the Kingdom boasts a strong, independent judiciary system that handles all cases in accordance with the rulings of Islamic Shariah and the country’s legal regulations.  He added that Saudi Arabia categorically rejected interference of  any state in the Kingdom’s internal policies,and the envoy emphasized the sovereignty and independence of its judicial institutions.

Meets Norwegian Prime Minister

The secretary general  of the  Organization  of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al- Othaimeen met Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. They discussed issues of mutual interest particularly cooperation in the fight against extremism and terrorism. They also discussed political developments in the Middle East particularly in Palestine and Yemen.  They also agreed to review a memorandum of understanding to ensure effective implementation.

Forum promotes Qur’an special needs teaching

A symposium on teaching the Qur’an to  people with special needs was launched recently by Yousef bin Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz bin Saeed, deputy  minister of Islamic Affairs,call and guidance.  Specialists in teaching the visually impaired  took part in the forum.  Bandar bin Fahd Al-Suwailem, secretary general of the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah urged participants to develop new methods and ideas in the service of those with special needs.  Qur’an encourages the teaching of Islam to the weak and the disabled.  Abdul Aziz bin Saeed launched several Qur’an projects on behalf of the complex, including a  five  volume Braille version and a translation in Japanese.

Donates USD3 m to UN Cultural tolerance initiative

Saudi Arabia has pledged USD3 million in support of the UN Alliance of Cigvilization’s (UNAOC) plan of action, activities and programs over the next three years, the Saudi Press Agency reported. UNAOC seeks  to improve understanding and cooperation among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, in addition to countering polarization and extremism. The initiative of UAAOC  was a positive step toward promoting noble values, building bridges of love and peace, addressing all that violates holy places and providing security for houses of worship.

Smart Hajj. More services planned

The first phase of  “ Smart Hajj” helped the movement , transportation, and safety of pilgrims this year, the Ministry of  Hajj and Umrah has announced.  The ministry of Hajj and Umrah is undergoing digital transformation in  cooperation with leading technology companies to promote the  concepts of using smart solutions in provide high quality services for the Services of  Allah, which will contribute to improving and enriching pilgrims as well as achieve  one of the main goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

OIC intensifies efforts to protect heritage

Discussions were held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah to establish a platform to preserve cultural heritage. The platform aims to preserve the heritage and monuments in the Muslim world. OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen said the project is a confirmation of OIC’s commitment to heritage conservation. It also translates the organization’s desire to catch up with the  international community in its increasing efforts to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of member states, as  a living witness to the richness and diversity of the Muslim world, he said.

Discuss ways to fight ignorance and poverty

The Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al – Issa met Tony  Blair, former  British Prime Minister and chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for  Global Change at his office in Jeddah.  They discussed issues related to promoting positive change and enhancing common understanding between nations, cultures and peoples.  They discussed  ways to intensify efforts and  promote programs to fight disease, poverty, illiteracy and ignorance worldwide, by bolstering cooperation between the MWL and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. Blair’s non profit institute is dedicated to  programs, consultancy and research that support national development worldwide, through good governance, cultural reform  and the promotion of tolerance and civilization.

Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society

The European  envoy to   Saudi Arabia called for more tolerance and respect to help bring diverse societies closer together.  Ambassador Michele Cervoned’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European  perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity. Dr. Mohammed bin  Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a  state that applied and was governed by Shariah law. The director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) , Dr.  Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was  characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs ,even from the Muslim perspective .  The gathering proposed establishing platforms for producing software and smart apps related to the Qur’an and Sunnah and the launch of an international service award under the umbrella of the Muslim World League (MWL).  Al Issa added that the MWL had staged a number of Qur’an memorization programs in 78 countries and  said that there were now 68 colleges and institutes where 7500 students were studying the Qur’an.

Life goal : football referee eyes World Cup

Saudi Arabia’s first female football referee already has her sights set on taking charge of a World Cup match. I spend hours reading and listening to advice from refereeing experts, 22 year old Sham Al Ghamdi told Arab News. To referee a World Cup would be a dream come true. Al-Ghamadi, who is studing English literature at university said her interest in football began when she was only nine.  Sham Al Ghamadi hopes to gain recognition from the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and become FIFA certified international football referee.

To host OIC event on water

The Kingdom is next year hosting the fifth session of the Islamic Conference of Ministers responsible for Water, the Saudi Press Agency reported.  The Saudi Minister of water said that  cooperation with  OIC member states was of great interest to the Saudi  government and  that he looked forward to further collaboration to achieve water security and sustainable development. He added that the  Kingdom had sought to develop and enable the country’s water sector to overcome challenges.  Saudi Arabia has limited  reserves of non renewable groundwater which are being rapidly depleted.

EGYPT

Calls for peaceful coexistence

Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, the secretary  general of the Vienna based King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) stressed the importance of the first Cairo Arab meeting on the opportunities and challenges of coexistence, respect diversity and accept pluralism under the umbrella of shared citizenship.  Bin Muaammar made the comments during his speech before the international meeting held in Cairo, under the theme “ Euro – Arab Dialogue toward peaceful coexistence, opportunities and challenges. The meeting was organized by the Coptic Evangelical Social Services Organization in collaboration with Oikosnet Europe and Sigtuna.

JORDAN

Take on refugee education

The Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF), Save the Children and the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) concluded a  high level meeting  on refugee education in Amman addressing some of the critical humanitarian issues born out of the global refugee crisis.  Held under the patronage of Queen Raina Al-Abdullah, the meeting brought together philanthropists, business leaders, donor institutions and international and regional development organizations. The Amman meeting followed a  high level  roundtable held at the  World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019.  The gathering was part of the build up  to  UNHCR’s Global Refugee Forum due to convene in Geneva in December. Dubai Cares committed USD1.5 million to the Transforming Refugee Education toward Excellence (TREE) initiative.

MOROCCO

Conference of Environment

The Secretary General of the  Organization of Islamic Cooperation ( OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, has said that the challenges of environmental degradation, climate change, water, food and energy security require a coordinated national, regional and international response. Al Othaimeen made the comment during  his  opening remarks at the 8th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers (ICEM) at the Islamic Educational, Scientific and  Cultural Organization (ISESCO) headquarters in Rabat, Morocco. He said that historically the contribution of OIC countries to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming had been negligible but these nations were among the most vulnerable to climate change. He reiterated the OIC’s commitment to continue working with member states to identify and  mobilize expertise and practical mechanisms, which are consistent with the political, economic and cultural objectives of these countries.

PALESTINE

Vatican visit to Al Aqsa

Palestinian and Jordanian officials praised the  important visit  by the Vatican’s cardinal for eastern churches Leonardo Sandri and Francesco Paton to Al Aqsa Mosque.  The officials also praised the important position taken during the visit in  support of  coexistence and the  Hashemite  custodianship of Christian and Muslim holy places.  It has been reported that there is no alternative to the two state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state in accordance with international law. The visit to the  Al Aqsa has valuable meaning to the importance of Christian and Muslim coexistence ni our homeland Palestine.

ETHIOPIA

A well deserved honor

Ethiopian Prime Minister AbiyAhmed  has won this year Nobel Peace Prize.  It was his leading role in ending his country’s bitter dispute with neighboring Eritrea and this was highlighted by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in its peace prize award. The decision amounted  to recognition of  the efforts and success of an indefatigable peacemaker in  a continent wracked by conflict and violence. Abiy has played a significant role in bringing peace to the Horn of Africa region, from Sudan  to Somalia and Djibouti, all of which had at some time border disputes. Small wonder, then, fellow African leaders were among the first to congratulate him.  The value of the Nobel Peace Prize is  9 million in Swedish Crowns. There were 301 candidates who were nominated for the award.

NIGER

Received the Saudi ambassador

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou received the Saudi ambassador to his country, Turki bin Naji Al–Ali, at the  presidential palace in the capital Niamey. During the meeting Issoufou thanked Saudi Arabia for serving Islam and Muslims worldwide. He reiterated Niger’s solidarity with the Kingdom in all is stances on regional and international issues and lauded relations between the two countries in all domains.

AZERBAIJAN

Meets OIC Secretary General

Azerbaijan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia ShahinAbdullayev, who also represents his country in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), called on  OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen at his office in Jeddah.  The meeting marked the centenary of Azerbaijan Diplomatic Service.  The envoy presented the OIC  chief with the  Centenary Medal awarded by  Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov. The decoration was in recognition of the OIC secretary general’s services and his efforts to enhance bilateral relations with  Azerbaijan.

FRANCE

CG visits Kiswa complex in Makkah

The consul general  of France, Mostafa Mihraje, visited the King Abdul Aziz Complex for  Holy Kaaba Kiswa in Makkah and was received by the  director of the complex, HishamAlaa Al-Din. During the visit, Mihrage was briefed on stages of manufacturing the Holy Kaaba Kiswa and the capabilities of the modern equipment in the complex.  The Kiswa is made up of more than 670 kilograms of raw silk, dyed black  inside the complex, 120 kilograms of  gold threads and 100 kilograms of silver threads.  The cost of the Kiswa is approximately SR 22 million.  At the end of the visit, Mihraje expressed his admiration for the great developments in the service of the Two Holy Mosques, enabling pilgrims and visitors to perform their rituals in comfort.

AUSTRALIA

MWL slams abuse of Jewish students

The Muslim World League (MWL) denounced  two attacks on Jewish boys committed by Muslim students in Australia , calling them appalling  and barbaric and contrary to the doctrine of Islam. Recently Australia media broadcast images showing a Jewish student pressured to kneel and kiss the shoes of his Muslim classmate. According to local reports, the Jewish student was a  12 year old from Melbourne.  In a separate incident, a five year old boy was allegedly called a Jewish cockroach. In Islam, Judaism is considered a divine religion and Allah called Jews and Christians the People of the Book, said MWL Secretary General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al Issa.

[Compiled By: Syed NehalZaheer]