Flashes from the Muslim World


To Relocate Further 80,000 Rohingyas to Island

Bangladesh is planning to send a further 80,000 Rohingya refugees to the island of Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal, officials said after signing an agreement with the UN refugees agency to begin operations there. Since December 2020, Bangladeshi authorities have moved 20,000 out of a planned 100,000 people to the island to take pressure off Cox’s Bazar, which already hosts more than 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims. They are members of an ethnic and religious minority group who fled persecution in neighboring Myanmar during a military crackdown in 2017.


25 New Paths Allocated at Grand Mosque

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has allocated 25 new paths at the Grand Mosque in Makkah in order to provide comfort for visitors, while implementing precautionary measures. This comes in light of the increasing number of worshipers and Umrah performers to the Grand Mosque. The Presidency has also prepared new prayer areas inside the Grand Mosque and its courtyards for Umrah performers in order to ensure their safety. The Saudi authorities aim to focus on the construction and maintenance works at the Two Holy Mosques.

Makkah’s Museums Opens their Doors to Visitors

Ten museums in Makkah have opened their doors to showcase Makkah’s unique identity throughout history. The museums house some of the rarest artifacts, illustrations and collections that reveal the human experiences of the city. They show how the people of Makkah managed to shape a wealth of human knowledge through various epochs and the progress made after the prophecy and its noble teachings came into existence. The Two Holy Mosques Architecture Exhibition is one of the most prominent museums in Saudi Arabia and is home to treasures and artifacts dating back more than 1,400 years. Opened in 2000, during the reign of the late King Fahd, it contains seven main halls highlighting Islamic civilization.

History of Two Holy Mosques, Islamic Heritage, in Focus

The Riyadh International Book Fair, organized by the Ministry of Culture, at the Riyadh Front Expo, is featuring a pavilion that recounts the cultural history of the Two Holy Mosques. Visitors can learn about the Qur’an, the history of the architecture of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, and the written heritage associated with them. The fair will see the participation of 1,000 publishing houses, but it is the books coming from the 28 international publishing houses that have drawn the most interest.

Targets 200 Registered Types of Dates by 2027

To further protect and save plant genetic diversity, Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Palms and Dates registered more than 127 types of local and international date seeds, making it the most significant date palm genetic bank in the world. The Center in Al Ahsa plans to increase the number of date varieties and raise the number of dates registered to 200 by 2027. Saudi Arabia has approximately 30 million palm trees that produce nearly 1.5 million tons of dates.


Egypt’s Recovery Difficult

Egypt has been on a steady course of recovery from last year’s recession, but struggling tourism and a slow vaccine rollout remain key threats, Capital Economics said in a report. The low vaccination rates pose a significant threat however, with only 9.2% of Egyptians receiving at least the first dose of vaccination. Tourism usually accounts for 3% of Egypt’s gross domestic product, but its share has dropped significantly in the first quarter of this year to reach only 0.9%.


Rabat’s Only Woman Taxi Driver

Souad Hdidou is challenging social norms and busting stereotypes from behind the wheel as the only female taxi driver in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, and one of a few in the country. Hdidou, 33, started work as a truck driver after dropping out of school and worked for a fish distribution company, but switched to taxis for the better pay and greater freedom, she said. She now earns enough to pay the mortgage on her flat near Rabat as well as supporting her family in the countryside and has built up a solid customer base.


Muslim Woman becomes Head of World’s Oldest Media Watchdog

South Africa’s leading media figure has been elected as the 35th Chairperson of the International Press Institute, the world’s oldest media watchdog. Khadija Patel, an investigative journalist and fourth generation Muslim of Asian background, became the first woman, first non-European / American and first Muslim to become Chair of the prestigious organization. Set up in 1950 in New York City, by 34 male editors and publishers and one female editor, the Vienna-based press institute has, in addition to Khadija, two other women in leadership positions. Khadija said being a journalist is the best job in the world. The pay is not great, but it brings joy to its practitioners.


Halal Tourism Boom

Italy is missing out on huge revenue opportunities presented by halal tourism, an academic study presented at the Turin Islamic Economic Forum has warned. According to a study by the Management Department of the University of Turin led by Paolo Blancone and Silvana Secinaro, Italy has no overall approach to create an extensive halal hospitality network, which would entice Muslim travelers to the country. In the international halal tourism market, researchers said, Italy’s competitive capacity is so low that the country does not even appear among the top ten destinations in the Global Muslim Travel Index, placing well below Germany and France, the European countries that have done the most to promote halal tourism. The pre-pandemic Islamic tourism market was estimated to be worth about USD220 billion. But this figure is expected to double rapidly due to the demographic increase of the Muslim population as well as a growing middle class.


Academic Accused of Islamophobia Invited to Cambridge University

Jordan Peterson, a controversial academic who has been accused of Islamophobia, has said he will attend a series of seminars at the University of Cambridge in November, The Times reported recently. The Canadian psychology professor was banned by the university following accusations of Islamophobia in 2019. His proposed visiting fellowship offer was cancelled by administrators after he was photographed with a man wearing an Islamophobic T-shirt. Peterson has faced opposition for his writings and talks on gender, politics, religion, in general, and Islam, in particular.


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