CALLING ALL YOUNG MUSLIMS
Want to get involved in activities and change the way people think, then this is the opportunity for you, we are looking for young muslims to be part of a group which will contribute and deliver various projects.
42 DAYS Issue: 05
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NO CHANCE Controversial legislation to extend precharge detentions to 42 days risks undermining the independence of the judiciary and threatens the chances that terrorist suspects will receive unfair trials, a House of Lords committee warned this month. The all-party Lords constitution committee, which includes former lord chief justice Lord Woolf and the former attorney-general Lord Morris, said that the new law was muddled and gave parliament a “quasi-judicial” role to debate each use of the detention powers. The concession by the government to let MPs vote on whether to allow extensions in the pre-charge time limit beyond the existing 28 would create a “recipe for confusion”, rather than a “system of checks and balances,” the committee said in a new report. The report comes ahead of peers in
inside this month issue
the House of Lords debating the new terrorism law after parliament returns from its summer recess in October. The extension of pre-charge detentions was narrowly passed by 9 votes in the 646-seat House of Commons, but it is expected to be fiercely opposed in the upper parliamentary chamber. Last month, former head of Britain’s MI5 security service Lady Manningham Buller warned that the new law was unprincipled and unworkable. Under the legislation, MPs and peers would vote on whether to grant a temporary “reserve power” for the home secretary, allowing courts to authorize detention for up to 42 days if there was an operational need. The committee said the government’s desire to increase democratic accountability was “understandable”, but warned it risked “conflating the roles of
Parliament and the judiciary, which would be quite inappropriate.” “Far from being a system of checks and balances, this is a recipe for confusion that places on parliament tasks that it cannot ffectively fulfill and arguably risks undermining the rights of fair trial for the individuals concerned,” it said. In response to the report, the Conservative’s shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve called on the government to “abandon” the measure and concentrate on things that would make the UK “safer”, such as allowing the use of intercept evidence in terror trials. Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman David Howarth also called for the legislation to be dropped, saying the proposal had “everything to do with politics and nothing at all to do with the struggle against terrorism.” www.passionislam.com
British citizenship Treat Muslims better, Christian, Muslim leaders Britain told by UN lessons for young Muslims in interfaith dialogue
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I August 2008
the Passion Social cohesion - excluding Muslims
Several UK newspapers last month published alarmist stories based upon a new report entitled Islam on Campus by the Centre for Social Cohesion and a YouGov poll also commissioned by the CfSC. The website of the CfSC explains its purpose as trying to generate: “new thinking that can help bring Britain’s ethnic and religious communities closer together while strengthening British traditions of openness, tolerance and democracy.” The headlines included “A third of Muslim students back killings (Sunday Times), One third of British Muslim students say it’s acceptable to kill for Islam” (London Evening Standard) and “Killing for religion is justified, say third of Muslim students” (Sunday Telegraph). You can see how these headlines are designed to bring people ‘closer together’ can’t you? Now I have blogged previously on Cif about my misgivings concerning the “findings” of several agenda-driven outfits falsely posing as thinktanks and this particular case has proved to be no different. A look at the YouGov poll revealed that a far more ambiguous question was actually posed to the Muslim students who took part in the survey. The question was: Is it ever justifiable to kill in the name of religion? The responses were as follows: Yes in order to preserve and promote that religion (4%) Yes but only if that religion is under attack (28%) No it is never justifiable (53%) Not sure (15%) Are the results really that surprising given that “Yes, but only if that religion is under attack” can bear so many different meanings? Now it is very likely that the vast majority of those who answered ‘yes’ to the above question were
thinking of a scenario where Muslim majority countries were under attack by hostile forces. After all, Islam is not a pacifist religion and allows the use of violence to defend oneself and one’s family, property and homeland. The director of the Centre for Social Cohesion is an excitable chap called Douglas Murray. He wrote a book a couple of years back called Neoconservatism: Why We Need It. More pertinent to this, he has publicly expressed views about Muslims that give us a better idea of what he understands by “social cohesion”. In a February 2006 speech entitled What Are We To Do About Islam? delivered at the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference in The Hague, Murray asked: “Why is it that time and again the liberal west is crumpling before the violence, intimidation and thuggery of Islam?” Ah, those liberals, eh? So what did Murray propose to do then? “I promised to propose some of the solutions to this problem ...” Oh good, so let’s hear your number one option. “All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop.” Now we’re getting somewhere! Are all black people to be excluded too, or would advocating that position more obviously contravene our racial discrimination laws? Yes, I think it might, so perhaps it is best to stick to Muslims. Anything else you have in mind? “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition.” A prophet! You appear to have anticipated Martin Amis’s outburst in which during a ‘thoughtexperiment’ he advocated that the Muslim community be made to suffer ‘until it gets its
own house in order’. And what sort of suffering did Amis have in mind? In his own words, ‘Not letting them travel. Deportation - further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan ... Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children.’. Come on Mr Murray, surely you can match that? “And of course it should go without saying that Muslims in Europe who for any reason take part in, plot, assist or condone violence against the west (not just the country they happen to have found sanctuary in, but any country in the west or western troops) must be forcibly deported back to their place of origin.” But of course. And what about those Muslims who are born in Europe and have European citizenship but are convicted of terror-related acts, should we treat them like other criminals or can we be a little bit more stern? “Where a person was born in the west, they should be deported to the country of origin of their parent or grandparent.” Mr Murray, you appear to have planned for everything! A solution for every eventuality. Almost a final solution one might say! How about those Muslims who are overseas though. Can’t we do something about them too? “Abroad we must continue our work at taking the war to the terrorists. We are winning that war, and we should extend that war.” Yes, social cohesion, you say. You know I think I understand just exactly what you mean. Inayat Bunglawala is a well-known Muslim activist
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This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran
SHAME ON YOU
I August 2008
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Broadcasters and academics in Britain have been condemned for ‘mischief-making’ in a renewed spate of coinciding attacks on Muslims.
The National Union of Students (NUS) has joined Muslims in criticizing a report on ‘Islam on Campus’, while a new Channel Four television documentary on the Holy Qu’ran has been widely accused of being ‘misleading and defamatory’. NUS president Wes Streeting said the Islam on Campus report by the Center for Social Cohesion was a ‘reflection of the biases and prejudices of a right wing think tank -- not the views of Muslim students across Britain’. “Only 632 Muslim students were asked vague and misleading questions, and their answers were then wilfully misinterpreted in order to fit this organisation’s own tawdry obsession with Islam,” Streeting said. “This report actually undermines cohesion and the joint efforts of students, institutions and government in tackling violent extremism,” he said. The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) in the UK and Eire damned the report as an attack on
Britain’s two million Muslim community by ‘elements within the academic arena whose only purpose seems to be the undermining of sincere efforts’. “The report is methodologically weak, it is unrepresentative and above all serves only to undermine the positive work carried out by Islamic Societies across the country,” said FOSIS president Faisal Hanjra. “Muslim students have had a tough time since the dreadful attacks on 7/7, they have faced numerous challenges with courage and perseverance, it is evident that those challenges have yet to go away,” Hanjra said. But he warned that ‘the message though to those who seek to cause this mischief is clear, we will not be deterred, our work will continue and the results of our efforts are clear for all to see’. The report coincided with a documentary on the Holy Qur’an, which launched a week of television coverage of Islam, but which was also criticized for making
‘seriously inaccurate statements’. Criticisms that the program was ‘misleading, even defamatory’ led Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, to warn that ‘specific misrepresentations’ could damage cohesion between Muslim communities. “The program unfairly maligns Muslims following the Shia tradition by accusing them of heresy based on a collection of age-old polemics and misinformation,” Bari said in a letter to Channel 4’s chief executive, Andy Duncan. “With respect, this is an irresponsible portrayal which plays into the hands of those who wish to seek discord amongst Muslims, which we hope you did not intend,” he said. Some of the serious misrepresentations included accusations of Shia Muslims as heretics and attempts to link orthodox denomination with Wahhabi clergy in Saudi Arabia. - IRNA www.passionislam.com
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LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Exploitation of Hajj Pilgrims must stop
The Government last month hosting a summit to tackle problems faced by British Muslims making the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah alongside Travel operators, community groups and consumer organisations discussed with the Government on how to protect people from rogue travel agents. In recent years many pilgrims have been ripped off by a variety of scams, including: Paying for a five star hotel, but getting a poor quality cramped room, Visas and flight tickets not arriving, Last minute changes to flights, In extreme cases agents are simply disappearing - taking pilgrims’ money with them. Consumer Minister Gareth Thomas said, “Unfortunately, for some pilgrims what should be the occasion of a lifetime
is turning into a nightmare. It’s not acceptable and we want to put an end to it. “We need to help pilgrims avoid booking with rogue travel agents and to get redress when they fall foul of those who break the law. “Pilgrims who are defrauded by rogue travel operators must complain to the Police or Trading Standards, so we can take action to bring the criminals to justice. “It is encouraging for the UK’s annual 25,000 Hajj pilgrims that so many people involved have come together today to find solutions.” Hajj pilgrims from the UK have legal rights under the Package Travel Regulations and may be eligible for compensation if a tour operator has failed to honour its
I August 2008
contractual obligations. To help avoid rogue traders, pilgrims are advised to Check the package operator holds an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL), Consider booking with a company that has been independently recommended by friends or family, Keep documents such as contracts, invoices and letters in a safe place, as this helps with redress if things go wrong. Pilgrims can check whether their operator has an ATOL on the Civil Aviation Authority’s website at http://www. atol.org.uk or by calling 020 7453 6424. 2. Contact details for nearest local authority trading standards offices are available from Consumer Direct on 08454 04056, at http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk or from local town halls.
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Muslims and reaching out to wider society. Politicians and faith leaders attended, including Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, Saudi Ambassador Prince Muhammad bin Nawaf Al Saud and Lord Provost George Grubb.
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The UN human rights committee said last month Britain should ease back on tough “anti-terror” measures and take firm action to combat “negative public attitudes” towards Muslims. In separate comment, the 9-member body, composed of legal experts from a range of countries, also called on Ireland to open up its largely Catholic primary school system to secular education, and to moderate tough abortion laws. The strictures were issued in summary observations by the committee on reports presented by both countries earlier this month on how they were carrying out obligations under the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Expressing strong concern over British government plans to extend pre-trial detention of terrorist suspects from 28 to 42 days, the committee said suspects should be brought to court “within a reasonable period of time, or released”.
I August 2008
Treat Muslims better, Britain told by UN
People suspected of being involved in terrorism and subject to control orders and curfews limiting their movements should be “promptly charged with a criminal offence” and their lawyers given access to the evidence against them, it added. The body, whose members are expected to be independent of their governments, said it was concerned “negative public attitudes towards Muslim members of society” continued to develop in Britain. The government “should take energetic measures to eliminate this phenomenon and ensure that authors of such acts of discrimination on the basis of religion are adequately deterred and sanctioned”. It said Britain should conduct prompt and independent investigations into all allegations of suspicious deaths, torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment inflicted by its personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. Britain “should ensure that those
responsible are prosecuted and punished in accordance with the gravity of the crime,” said the committee, which has members from Australia, Benin, Britain, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ireland, Mauritius and Sweden. In comments on the Irish government report, it said Dublin “should take measures to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies so that they do not have to resort to illegal or unsafe abortions....” It also expressed concern “that the vast majority of Ireland’s primary schools are privately-run denominational schools” with religion integrated into the curriculum, “thus depriving many parents and children who so wish to have access to secular primary education”. The committee told Ireland it should amend its constitution to drop a compulsory religious oath for judges and allow them to make a non-religious declaration instead. – Reuters
I August 2008
UK government accused of trying to ‘re-program’ Muslims
Britain’s mainstream Muslim umbrella organisation has expressed its “deep reservations” about the government’s latest plan to create a government-funded board of theologians to prevent Islam being abused by extremists. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) also criticised why Islam was being singled out in what it called a “top-down initiative from sections of government who have been seeking to marginalise large segments of the British Muslim community Muslims.” “For too long now, British Muslims have been viewed by this government through the narrow prism of security,” said MCB secretary general Abdul Bari. “British Muslims - like all citizens - have every right to peacefully disagree with government policies if they wish and they do not need to be ‘re-programmed’ by a government-approved list of theologians,” Bari said. The latest plan to establish a board of around 20 leading Muslim scholars and community leaders, who have yet to be named, was announced by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears. The board will examine issues relating to Islam in a modern context and how that fits with being a citizen in the UK, Blears
said in launching a government report on ‘Preventing Violent Extremism, next Steps for Communities’ in Manchester, northern England. MCB questioned the government’s claim that the initiative came from the country’s two million Muslim community, saying “scepticism for such an idea will resonate not only amongst Muslims, but wider British society.” “In a country where the state is largely neutral on theological matters, and where no other similar arrangement exists for other minority faiths, such an initiative will inevitably be met with scepticism and mistrust,” Bari warned. Muslim News editor Ahmad Versi accused ministers of trying to interfere in the Muslim community on religious matters and warned that other attempts to have a state-controlled version of a had “no credibility.” “It proves that the whole strategy of the UK government is to target not just Muslims but Islam itself,” Versi said. “It is not targeting extremism but the Muslim community, including now on matters of Islam,” he warned. The MCB, which embraces over 500 affiliated national, regional and local
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
organisations, mosques, charities and schools, said it had argued that the government’s counter-terrorism strategy was mis- guided. “The most productive way to tackle extremism is to improve upon civic engagement with all communities, to work towards eradicating prejudice and discrimination against all sectors of society and to pursue policies designed to increase social justice both at home and abroad,” it said. Bari also referred to the government’s controversial decision to reverse its previous policy more than two years ago by trying to exclude the umbrella organisation at the expense of cooperating with selected fringe groups that support its policies. “Our disagreement with government is now regarded by some as extremism and we appeal to all reasonable minded people to stand firm in opposing such dictatorial and unhelpful positions,” he said. But dispute the rebuff, the secretary general repeated that the MCB “remains committed to work for the common good of the society at large.” read more www.passionislam.com
The Greatest Gift - The Human Body Diet plays a very important role in the daily life of a believer. There are many verses in the Noble Qur’ân which draw man’s attention towards his self and which invite him to carefully study his body and soul and the nature of their mutual relationship. By doing so, one will firstly find in it strong evidence of the existence of Allah and that Allah has not created mankind and all other beings of this world without any purpose as mentioned in the Noble Qur’ân: “Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose.” (3:191) - InterIslam
UK raises marriage age for foreigners to 21
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
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The British government announced last month that the age at which someone can apply for a marriage visa will increase from 18 to 21 as part of a crackdown on forced marriage. The new law, which also includes asking spouses to enter into an agreement to learn English before coming to Britain, applies to only foreigners who need a visa to enter the UK. Powers are also being introduced to revoke leave to remain in Britain where there is evidence that the marriage route has been abused. Other changes include a requirement by all sponsors to register their intention to marry overseas before they leave the UK. A code of practice is also being established for specialist teams to identify vulnerable people at risk of forced marriage. Announcing the plans, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith warned that forced marriages
Shariah compliant insurance launched
Britain’s two million Muslims will now be able to take out motor insurance that complies with their faith, with the launch of Salaam Halal insurance, the UK’s first independent Islamic insurance operator in the UK. Despite the UK insurance market being flooded with more than 140 insurance companies actively writing motor and property insurance*, there has never been a real choice for Muslims who want the option of buying a product that is aligned with their faith. At a stroke, Salaam Halal insurance will change the
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lead to ‘victims suffering years of physical and mental abuse and -- in extreme cases -unlawful imprisonment and rape’. “It has no place in our society. That is why the Government is determined to do everything it can to stamp it out and to ensure that victims receive the help and support they need,” Smith said. “That is why we are raising the age limit for visas, checking anyone entering into a marriage does so of their own free will, and demanding that those coming to the UK learn English,” she added. Government statistics were said to show that 30 percent of the cases dealt with by the government’s Forced Marriage Unit involved victims aged between 18 and 21. The tough rules will mean that anyone abusing the marriage visa system will be removed from the UK under a new power to revoke people’s right to stay in the country.
competitive landscape of the UK insurance market. The company will offer Shariahcompliant motor insurance which is available by telephone or online. Salaam insurance plans to launch a home insurance product before the end of the year. In addition to offering a genuine choice to British Muslims, the products are also designed to appeal to the nonMuslim community who are interested in products of an ethical or co-operative nature, because of the nature of Halal insurance - known as Takaful.
I August 2008
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Archbishop hosting Christian-Muslim conference on ‘Common Word’ Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, announced last month that he is inviting a group of Christian and Muslim leaders and scholars to a conference in October that will mark the first anniversary of the publication of A Common Word. The conference is being held in collaboration with Cambridge University and the archbishop said the scholarly engagement will seek to consider a “program of practical steps to deepen mutual understanding, action and friendships.” In a letter of response to the common word initiative signed now by over 250 Muslim religious leaders and scholars, he said the Anglican Church was deeply appreciative of the “significant development in relations between Christians and Muslims.” The Church of England spiritual leader reflected on “the hospitable and friendly spirit” of the letter, acknowledging it as a timely initiative “given the growing
awareness that peace throughout the world is deeply entwined with the ability of all people of faith everywhere to live together in peace, justice, mutual respect and love.” Understanding of love of God and love of neighbour provide the basis on which Christians and Muslims can take practical steps together for a “radical, transforming, nonviolent engagement with the deepest needs of our world and our common humanity,” he said. The archbishop called for a vision for Christian-Muslim encounter that “breaks the current cycles of violence, to show the world that faith and faith alone can truly ground a commitment to peace which definitively abandons the tempting but lethal cycle of retaliation in which we simply imitate each other’s violence.” By rejecting the notion that coercive
human power is the ultimate authority and arbiter in our world, he asserted that “we can together suggest a way in which religious plurality can be seen as serving the cause of social unity and acting as a force for the common good.” There have been over 50 positive responses from various Christian leaders and scholars from around the world to the Common Word, including from Pope Benedict XVI.
Foreign students hoping to come to the UK to study will have to meet strict new criteria, the Government announced last month. The Home Office has published proposals for much tighter rules for foreign students - and the universities and colleges hosting them - under the student tier of its new Points Based System. All colleges and universities that want to recruit foreign students will now need a licence to do so and will have to take greater responsibility for their international students, helping Government crack down on bogus colleges who abuse the system. For the first time education providers face a ban on bringing over international students if they fail to follow strict new rules - including alerting the UK Border Agency (UKBA) if students fail to enrol. Students will also face stringent new criteria if they want to study in the UK,
ensuring only those who benefit Britain can come. Before they can study here, foreign students must be sponsored by a UKBA-licensed education institution, prove that they have the means to support themselves and their families while studying here; and supply their fingerprints. Stricter rules on work placements for students will also ensure that the UK’s labour market is protected Visas will only be granted to students who show a proven track record in education and are applying for a course that meets a minimum level of qualification. They must also be able to demonstrate they can financially support themselves and any of their dependants. Students on courses for longer than 12 months will have to show they have sufficient funds to pay their first year of fees, plus £9,600 to cover their first year in the UK. Students wishing to bring
their dependants with them will need to show they have a further £535 per month for each person they bring. Each year, international students contribute £2.5 billion to the UK economy in tuition fees alone and an overall estimated contribution of £8.5 billion. In recognition of the many economic and cultural benefits that these students bring to the UK, earlier this year the Government announced a special visa category allowing successful international students who have graduated from a British university to work in the UK for up to two years. Universities and colleges face losing their licence if they fail to keep copies of all their foreign students’ passports, keep and update their students’ contact details, alert the UKBA to any students who fail to enrol on their course, report unauthorised absences to the UKBA; and inform the UKBA if any student stops their studies.
Tough Visa criteria for students announced
Newcomers must earn the right to stay in the UK
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Foreign nationals wishing to become British citizens will have to earn the right to stay, the Government announced last month.The tough new approach will require all migrants to speak English and obey the law if they want to gain citizenship and stay permanently in Britain, while speeding up the path to citizenship for those who contribute to the community. The reforms are at the centre of a sweeping overhaul of all immigration laws dating back to 1971 and confirm new modern laws reserving full access to benefits and social housing will be reserved for citizens and permanent residents. Foreign nationals who commit serious offences will face automatic consideration for deportation - and even minor offences will delay access to citizenship by up to three years. Public support for the proposals was confirmed by new Home Office polling
released. A Mori poll carried out for the Home Office revealed that: 70 per cent of the public think that newcomers should earn the right to stay in Britain, 83 per cent think that immigrants in Britain should be made to learn English; and 69 per cent agree that newcomers should be penalised on the path to citizenship if they don’t obey Britain’s laws. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: “In recent months we have listened to people across Britain and the message is clear - they want those who want to make Britain their home to speak English, to work hard, and to earn the right to stay here. “We are making the biggest changes to our immigration system for a generation, and part of that is making sure those who stay in the UK make a positive impact on their local community.” The draft Immigration and Citizenship Bill published replaces ten Acts of Parliament
and enshrines into law the Government’s biggest ever shake-up of the immigration system. The Home Office confirmed that newcomers will have to pay a little extra before they become citizens to create a fund of tens of millions of pounds a year to help police, schools, councils and local health services to use the money to deal with the shortterm pressures of migration in their areas. Border and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: “Britain is not anti-foreigner, we’re a welcoming, tolerant place. But we do expect newcomers to sign up to a deal if they want to stay and build a life in Britain. “The public overwhelmingly supports the idea of newcomers earning their right to stay. Today we show how we’ll make these ideas law, hand in hand with our new points system for selective migration, like the one that’s worked so well in Australia.” These changes are part of the biggest shake-up to the immigration system for a generation, and to make sure these changes stick today’s Bill will see the currently complex immigration laws replaced by one simplified piece of legislation. By updating the law, and getting rid of any room for misinterpretation, the UK Border Agency can cut red tape and accelerate the speed of its work. www.passionislam.com
I August 2008
Lesson Islam for hospital staff Rotheram Hospital is to run a workshop for staff who want to find out more about Islam. The half-day workshop 1001 things you never dared ask about Islam - will be held later in the year. It is designed to try and dispel some of the myths and stero-types which exist about the religion and give staff the opportunity to learn more about it. Hospital bosses say the workshop should help improve customer and patient care and employment practices. A hospital spokesman said: “After Christians, Muslims are the next largest religious group in Rotherham. The course will provide staff with a generic framework within which they can come to understand Islam and Muslims better.” The workshop will also advise staff about the Religious Discrimination Act 2003 and its implications on patient care and employment practices.
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I August 2008
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
British citizenship lessons for young Muslims
Muslim children will be taught British citizenship in mosque schools as part of a Government attempt to keep them away from the influence of Islamist extremism. A trial of the new lessons will begin in several cities at the start of the new school year in September, according to Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary. The initiative, designed to show young Muslims that there is no conflict between their religion and being British, is part of a package of measures published last month. It also includes a new independent board of academic and theological experts, and a group of community leaders to advise on local responses to tackling extremism. “We have made significant progress working with communities to build an
alliance against violent extremists,” Ms Blears said. “We have a responsibility to ensure that our young people are equipped with the skills they need to stand up to violent extremists and this project will help them understand how their faith is compatible with wider shared values and that being a good Muslim is also compatible with being a good citizen in the UK. “We need to encourage and create safe places for sensible debate around issues that extremists can seek to exploit and make sure that young British Muslims recognise that their faith teaches shared citizenship vales.” Officials said mosque teachers in London, Leicester, Birmingham, Oldham, Rochdale, and Bradford would
be trained in using the new materials over the summer. The new lesson plans will be used alongside traditional teaching about the Quran. The teaching prospectus describes lessons capable of “demonstrating to young British Muslims that their faith is compatible with shared values and with being a British citizen - undermining the violent extremists’ argument that there is a fundamental conflict between the West and Islam, and being British and Muslim”. Last month, the Government published a national “de-radicalisation” programme including advice to town halls to consider mapping their areas religion by religion and ensuring they had systems in place to remove funding or other support from inappropriate groups.
Czech first mosque celebrates 10-year anniversary
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Czech Muslims are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first mosque ever built in the Czech Republic which opened in 1998 in the city of Brno. While ten years ago, the Islamic Foundation in Brno had to face protests and their mosque had to do without a minaret, today the community is thriving and even planning to build a new, greater mosque in the Moravian capital. Muneeb Hassan Alrawi is the head of the Islamic Foundation in Brno and one of the mosque’s founders. “We are celebrating ten years of the Brno mosque but we consider it a success of the society, of the people in the Czech Republic. Two different entities agreeing on a common principle of coexistence is definitely a success. Today, we are celebrating with a culture event at Náměstí Svobody square in Brno where we’ll hand out 3,653 roses that represent the number of days the mosque has been open.”
Major expansion project around Madinah Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has issued instructions for the acquisition of property toward the east of the Holy Mosque in Madinah where an expansion project was launched in 2006, Al-Madinah newspaper reported. Habib Zain Al-Abdeen, acting secretarygeneral of the High Authority to Develop Makkah and Madinah, said the properties to be acquired extend from the eastern side of the mosque to the first ring road (King Faisal) going up until the Al-Safa district in the north. Details of project’s costs and the compensation that will be paid to the owners of property that come under the expansion will soon be announced, and will be in line with the established compensation system, he added. The new expansion, which may cost over SR7 billion, will include the Bani Al-Najjar Project area, the old maternity hospital and the Al-Dikhail hotel. The new expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque from the eastern side will cover an area of 37,000 sq m and will accommodate more than 70,000 worshippers. It will also provide parking for about 420 vehicles and 70 buses. There will be three underground tunnels linking the expansion to the first ring road. King Abdullah laid down the foundation stone for the new expansion two years ago. The expansion, to cost at more than SR4.7 billion, is to create space for over 200,000 worshippers.
But back then, the relations between the Muslims and Czechs were everything but a bed of roses. Some locals protested the idea of having a mosque in their neighbourhood and tried to bar the Muslim community’s efforts by signing petitions. Mr Hassan says relations are much better now. “The situation has improved substantially. I think people soon found out that they didn’t have to be afraid of the people who come to the mosque. We even got in touch with some of the organizers of the petitions, and we get on really well. We have always believed that behind the protests was a fear of the unknown. I think it’s natural and we never blamed anyone. Today things look very good.” Soon after the first mosque opened in Brno, another one followed in Prague. And the first Czech mosque in Brno is no longer big enough to accommodate Brno’s growing Muslim community which
currently has some 800 members, both Czechs and foreigners. The Islamic Foundation has therefore come up with another ambitious plan. “We are trying to build a new, bigger mosque, because the current mosque has become too small. We have many activities both for our community, for Muslims, and for the public. The current mosque is too small – I think that no such small mosque has ever attracted so much attention. But that’s because it was the first mosque in the Czech Republic and in Central Europe.”
Meat with Allah, Muhammad inscriptions found Proprietors of Daula Food Restaurant in Birnin Kebbi, Northern Nigeria the capital of Kebbi State, were much more busy than usual last month as they had to attend to more people other than their customers who trooped to the restaurant to see the mysterious meat that was found with Arabic words which bore the names of ‘Allah’ and ‘Muhammad.’ The Managing Director of the restaurant, Alhaji Kabiru Haliru, told Weekly Trust: “Well, there are some butchers who supply meat to us on a daily basis from the abattoir. So, as usual, on Wednesday they brought the meat in large quantity and it was cut into pieces and
boiled. After that, the meat was fried and kept ready for sale. “Throughout this process, nobody noticed anything on the meat until when we started selling food. One of our customers called Abubakar Zaki, who works at a block industry close to our restaurant came and bought a take-away dish with some of the meat. “After a while, the man returned the meat when he discovered that there were some Arabic inscriptions on the meat and the word looked like it was engraved on the meat; the word was Allahu. He came and showed the meat to the restaurant manager who out of curiosity went to the kitchen
to check other pieces of the meat. While inspecting the meat, he saw other pieces with similar inscriptions which read ‘Allahu’ and ‘Muhammad.’ “ We found four pieces but before then many customers had been served with the meat so we don’t know whether some other pieces were sold to people. But these pieces are still kept with us, and by the time the writings were discovered, there were some Islamic scholars who came to eat here and they all commented that it was a sign to show that Islam is the only true religion for mankind and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was the true messenger of God.”
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Madinah University to host global conference against terrorism
Dr. Mohammad Al Oqla, director of the Islamic University in Madinah, announced that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has granted his endorsement to the university to hold an international conference against terrorism. Several key figures, including leading Islamic scholars, thinkers and intellectuals from various parts of the world will be invited. Dr. Al Oqla told reporters that the conference “is aimed at spreading the values of mutual understanding and a spirit of tolerance, and promoting a culture of dialogue and peaceful coexistence.” The Madinah conference is aimed at exerting efforts to root out terrorism as well as to drain its financial sources, said Dr. Al Oqla. The conference is also part of Saudi Arabia’s initiative to
tackle the malicious campaign being waged against Islam, its Prophet (peace be upon him) and its holy book, he said, adding that there will be a serious attempt to present the true picture of Islam and Muslims. The Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) is also holding a global interfaith dialogue conference in Madrid next month. The MWL has extended invitations to some 200 prominent religious figures representing Islam, Christianity and Judaism from around the world to attend the conference. The call for a dialogue conference was made by King Abdullah after he won the backing of leading Islamic scholars from around the world at the International Islamic Dialogue Conference in Makkah this month. The Kingdom is making every effort to address religious extremism and deviant
thoughts through analyzing the position of Islam, which is a religion of moderation and tolerance, Dr. Muhammad Al Oqla said. “The Madinah conference will be a serious initiative in this regard. The conference is aimed at exerting all efforts to address this problem
Jeddah airport gets face lift
After a year of work on developing and modernizing the King Abdul Aziz International Airport, passengers were be able to see the difference last month. Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who was on an inspection tour of the airport’s Southern Terminal, praised the development, saying, ‘There will be a visible improvement in airport services. The airport lounges will be different and facilities will be upgraded.” Prince Khaled pointed out that this was a vital first step, the next one being the construction of a new airport.
“I expect the next phase to be even more advanced,” he said. The prince noted that a number of development projects in Jeddah would also be announced soon by the municipality. Khaled Al-Mulhim, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Abdullah Ruhaimy, president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Saleh Al-Turki, president of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, along with other top officials accompanied the prince during his visit.
Ruhaimy stated that 80 percent of the work on the Southern Terminal, which is popularly known as the Saudia Terminal, had been completed. He said that by the end of this month, the final touches would be put on the new airport’s design. The project consists of 24 stages and the work on other stages will begin this year. He said the new airport would be operational by 2012. The Haj Terminal is also undergoing an expansion and 40 percent of the work will be completed before this year’s Haj.
intellectually together with security operation to root out terrorism as well as to drain its financial sources. “The conference will highlight the moderate stance taken by Islam on all issues and will counter effectively the wrong notion of linking Islam with terrorism,” he said.
Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. Martin Luther King Jr
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Thai University hosts Asian Peace Conference Thailand’s Islamic University of Yala held the annual Asian Peace Conference last month. About 300 experts from various Asian countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, India, Jordan, Sudan, Brunei and Shri Lanka attended the conference. Executive directors of Thai Islamic NGOs and associations were also among the sponsors of the conference. Meanwhile, the Islamic University of Yala is also organizing a Quran Week, in cooperation of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) nest month. During the Quran Week, special Quranic programs will be held for Thai school students and participants will take Arabic conversation courses.
every Grand Mufti urges youths month to combat extremism over 90,000 people read Passion Islam Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Aalu Al Sheikh called on Saudis and foreigners living in the Kingdom last month to cooperate in saving the country’s security and stability by informing authorities about militants. The Grand Mufti warned citizens and foreigners living in the Kingdom against hiding information about militants in the Kingdom. The statement from the Grand Mufti follows a government announcement last month that it is holding 520 suspects, arrested since January, who planned car bomb attacks against oil and security installations. “I warn citizens and residents from concealing them and giving them shelter, this would be a great sin,” the statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency said. “Aggressions against Muslims and occupation of land ... cannot be a justification for explosions, denouncing other Muslims as infidels and disobeying the Muslim rulers and social consensus,” the Mufti said. “Obeying the Muslim ruler is a basic principle of Islam.” The Grand Mufti also advised Muslims to pay Zakat, and give donations only to those who
deserve them, and to abide by the directives issued by the authorities in this regard to make sure that they do not fall in the hands of criminals. The statement warned youths against extremism and deviant thoughts, as Islam is the religion of moderation. It also called for Muslims’ consensus, as Allah orders unity among them and forbids division. Alu Al Sheikh said that the deviant groups’ plans were against the Kingdom’s security, people and resources. This made them obedient tools in the hands of Islam’s enemies. The explosives and weapons that were discovered recently, according to the Interior Ministry’s statement, made it necessary for Muslims in the Kingdom to stand together against deviant criminals, and not to be lenient towards them, as to protect the nation’s interests, public and private properties, the statement said. The Mufti said it is a duty for scholars, parents, teachers, preachers, guides and intellectuals to warn against deviant groups’ ideologies, and to guide the youth to the right path.
Do not say, that if the people do good to us, we will do good to them; and if the people oppress us, we will oppress them; but determine that if people do you good, you will do good to them; and if they oppress you, you will not oppress them. - Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
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Jordanian move to prosecute Dutch politician Geert Wilders
A Jordanian prosecutor charged Dutch politician Geert Wilders with blasphemy and contempt of Muslims for making an anti-Quran film and ordered him to stand trial in the Kingdom, judicial sources said. Judicial sources in Amman said Jordanian prosecutor Judge Abdallat had charged Wilders after a legal complaint by a coalition of Jordanian activists and community leaders. An order was issued through the Dutch embassy in Amman to bring Wilders to stand trial. The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison; Reuters reported quoting the lawyers as saying. Wilders, whose right-wing, antiimmigration Freedom Party has nine of the 150 seats in the Dutch parliament, welcomed the Dutch prosecutors’ ruling
and said he had been careful to limit his criticism to the religion of Islam and not Muslims. But he said he was concerned about the Jordanian case against him which could limit his freedom to travel. Dutch prosecutors said Wilders was not inciting hatred of Muslims as he did not call for acts of violence against them. A Dutch anti-discrimination group, The Netherlands Shows its Colors, said it would appeal the prosecutors’ decision. The film produced by Wilders, “Fitna”, accused the Muslim holy book of inciting violence and prompted protests and condemnation in many Muslim countries. Dutch prosecutors also received complaints about comments Wilders made in newspaper interviews including one in which he compared Islam’s holy
The Saudi Arabian Civil Aviation Authority urged airline companies operating Haj services to strictly adhere into the regulations issued by the authority with regard to offering the best possible services for the pilgrims. In a press briefing, the authority warned that punitive measures will be taken against those airlines which are violating these regulations. “All the airlines should be prompt in ensuring that their flights are on time while bringing in the pilgrims as well as in taking them home after the annual pilgrimage of Haj. No lapses in time schedules of arrival at or departure from King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah will be tolerated without genuine reasons,” the statement said adding that in such cases, the airline companies shall be solely responsible for making
arrangements to ensure safe return of the stranded pilgrims, in coordination with their respective agents in the Kingdom. “The airlines should also provide meals and accommodation for the pilgrims until their departure,” the statement said.
book to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The film sparked calls for boycotts of Dutch products in some Muslim countries, but has not lead to the kind of violence that was directed against Denmark in 2006 after newspapers there published cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).
Airline companies urged to abide by regulations in serving Haj pilgrims
The authority has also set conditions for agents to get Haj operation license. Applications for license shall be submitted
before September 19 (Ramadan 19). Additional fees shall be levied for the applications submitted after this deadline, it said. The statement noted that all these regulations and conditions are outcome of the keenness of the government of Saudi Arabia in facilitating smooth transportation of Haj pilgrims so that they can perform their obligatory ritual in ease and comfort. Abdullah Al Rahimi, chairman of the authority, said, in a statement, that all these directives were being issued in coordination with the concerned Haj related agencies and departments in order to offer the excellent services possible to the Haj pilgrims, who are the guests of Allah. “Every year, about 90 per cent of Haj pilgrims arrive in the Kingdom by air. The Kingdom is keen to ensure that the arrival and departure of these pilgrims will be undertaken smoothly and as per schedule,” he added.
The greatest night of blessings and virtues
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The Significance of Sha‘bãn Sha‘bãn, the eighth Islamic month is second only to Ramadhãn in virtue, blessings and greatness. It is due to this virtue and greatness that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam used to emphasise its importance not only verbally but practically too. ‘Ã’ishah radiyallahu anha narrates, “Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam used to fast till we would say that he would never stop fasting and he would abandon fasting till we would say that he would never fast. I never saw Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadhãn and did not see him fasting in any month more than in the month of Sha‘bãn.” (Bukhãri, Muslim, Aboo Dãwood, Nasa’i) ‘Ã’ishah radiyallahu anha narrates, “Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam used to fast the (whole) month of Sha‘bãn except for a few days.” (Nasã’i) Usãmah radiyallahu anhu asked, “O Rasoolullah! I do not see you fasting in any
month as much as in Sha‘bãn.” He replied, “It is a month people are negligent of between Rajab and Ramadhãn. It is a month in which deeds are raised towards the Lord of the worlds. Therefore, I like my deeds to be raised whilst I am fasting.” (Nasa’i) Fifteenth of Sha‘bãn Amongst the days and nights of Sha‘bãn, there is one night called Laylatul Barã’at or Shabe Barã’at, a night noted for its great blessings and virtues. The Glorious Qur’ãn describes it as the blessed night. Lo! We revealed it on a blessed night. (44:3) According to ‘Ikrimah radiyallahu anhu and a group of muffassireen, the ‘blessed night’ referred to in this verse is the fifteenth night of Sha‘bãn. Fortunate indeed are those who attain the full blessings and benefits of this night by spending it in performing good and refraining from evil. One must strive his utmost to attend to ‘ibãdah (worship) in this auspicious night as this night indeed is a great favour of Allah subhanahu wata’aala for the believers. There are a number of ahãdeeth in regard to this night. ‘Ali radiyallahu anhu narrates that Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “When it is the fifteenth of Sha‘bãn, then stand (in worship) at night and fast during the day. Because Allah subhanahu wata’aala descends in this night at sunset to the first heaven and says: ‘Is there any seeker of forgiveness, that I may forgive him? Is there any seeker of sustenance, that I may sustain him? Is there anyone in affliction, that I may remove his affliction? Is there anyone like this, like that (and so on)’. This continues until Fajr.” (Ibn Mãjah) Aboo Moosã Al-Ash‘ari radiyallahu anhu narrates that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “In the fifteenth night of Sha‘bãn, Allah subhanahu wata’aala manifests and forgives all His creation except for the Mushrik (idolater) and the spiteful.” (Ibn Mãjah)
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‘Ã’ishah radiyallahu anha narrates: “The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam came to me (one night) and took off his clothes, but he had hardly sat down when he got up again, put on his clothes and left. A strong ghayrat (sense of honour and self-respect) overtook me as I thought he was going to one of his other wives. I followed him and found him in the graveyard of Baqee‘ seeking forgiveness for believing men and women and the martyrs. I said (to myself), ‘May my parents be sacrificed for you. You, (the Prophet) are in want of your Lord and I am in want of the world.’ I returned to my room (quickly) and I was breathless. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam arrived shortly and said, ‘Why are you breathless, O ‘Ã’ishah?’ I said, ‘May my parents be sacrificed for you. You came to me and took off your clothes, but you had hardly sat down when you got up and put on your clothes (and left). A strong ghayrat overtook me and I thought you were going to one of your (other) wives until I saw you in (the graveyard of) Baqee‘ doing whatever you were doing.’ He said, ‘O ‘Ã’ishah! Did you fear that Allah and his Messenger will treat you with injustice? Jibra’eel came to me and said, ‘This night is the fifteenth night of Sha‘bãn. Allah sets free from Hell during this night, souls equivalent to the hair (and wool) of the goats of Bani Kalb’ (Bani Kalb possessed the largest number of goats in the Arabian peninsula). ‘However, Allah will not look (with mercy) even on this (auspicious) night towards idolaters, one who harbours ill-will against his fellow beings, one who cuts himself off from his near relatives, one who dangles his clothes over his ankles, one disobedient to parents and a habitual drunkard.’” ‘Ã’ishah radiyallahu anha says, “He took off his clothes, then said, ‘O ‘Ã’ishah! Will you permit me to spend this night in worship.’ I replied, ‘Certainly. May my parents be sacrificed for you.’ The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam got up and remained in sajdah (prostration) for a very long time until I thought he had passed away. I got up to inquire and placed my hand on his feet to feel that he was alive,
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SPECIAL REPORT / WORLD NEWS
thus I became happy. I heard him say in his prostration: ‘I take refuge of Your forgiveness from Your punishment. I take refuge of Your pleasure from Your anger. I take refuge from You. Great is Your eminence. I cannot praise You (as You are worthy of praise). Your eminence is exactly as You have praised yourself.’ In the morning I mentioned these words to him. He said, ‘O ‘Ã’ishah! Learn them and teach them (to others) because Jibra’eel taught me and ordered me to repeat them over and over again in sajdah.’” (Bayhaqi) Note: Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmãni hãfizahullah states: “Although the chain of narrators of some of these traditions suffers with some minor technical defects, yet when all these traditions are combined together, it becomes clear that this night has some well founded merits, and observing this night as a sacred night is not a baseless concoction as envisaged by some modern scholars who, on the basis of these minor defects, have totally rejected to give any special importance to this night. In fact, some of these traditions have been held by some scholars of hadeeth as authentic and the defects in the chain of some others have been treated by them as minor technical defects which, according to the science of hadeeth, are curable by the variety of their ways of narration. That is why the elders of the Ummah have
constantly been observing this night as a night of special merits and have been spending it in worship and prayers.” Recommended Deeds The following practices are derived from the traditions of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam which have been mentioned above for Sha‘bãn and its virtuous 15th night. It is desirable that one fasts in the month of Sha‘bãn as much as one can. However, if fasting in Sha‘bãn is going to affect the fasting of Ramadhãn then one should refrain from it. Although the fast of 15th of Sha‘bãn can only be derived from the ahãdeeth which have a weak chain of narration, nevertheless the fast would be desirable considering other factors such as: The fasts of the first half of Sha‘bãn have special merits as can be seen from the practice of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam; The virtues of the fasts of Ayyãmul Beedh (i.e. 13th, 14th and 15th of the Islamic month) have been mentioned in the ahãdeeth; A large number of the elders (salaf) of the Ummah have been observing the fast of the 15th of Sha‘bãn. Although everyday salãh should be performed in Jamã‘ah (congregation), on this auspicious night, one must participate with deep and solemn care in the Maghrib, ‘Ishã and Fajr Salãh.
150 religious leaders, academics gather to promote interfaith dialogue at four day conference. A conference of Muslim and Christian leaders aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue ended here. The four day event hosted by the Yale University Divinity School is the first of a series of Christian-Muslim talks to be held around the world. Future events will be hosted in Britain, at the Vatican, and in Jordan. Some 150 religious leaders and academics gathered for the event - mainly protestant theologians and evangelical leaders on the Christian side, and Shiites, Sunnis and Sufis on the Muslim side. Six Jewish guests were present as observers. “The practical issues included world poverty, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the situation in Palestine and Israel, the danger of further wars, and the freedom of religion,” said Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan, describing the closed-door meetings. The final declaration, approved by consensus, states that Muslims and Christians “affirm the unity and absoluteness of God.
“We recognize that God’s merciful love is infinite, eternal and embraces all things. This love is central to both our religions and is at the heart of the Judeo-ChristianIslamic monotheistic heritage.” Yale theology professor Miroslav Volf said that the ‘absoluteness of God’ should not be understood as that of an all-powerful divinity, but rather as that of a being that irradiates love. “It is not just the love of God, but love of neighbor also,” Volf, the event organizer, said. That view of God excludes any extremism, Volf said. In September Volf is scheduled to co-teach a course at Yale with British former prime minister Tony Blair titled “Faith and Globalization.” The final text of the meeting avoids mentioning Christian or Muslim fundamentalist ideologies, though the final declaration does “denounce and deplore threats made against those who engage in interfaith dialogue.” A similar dialogue between Anglicans and Muslims is scheduled for October at Cambridge University in Britain, and between Catholics and Muslims at the Vatican in November.
Spend as much time of the night as possible in worship individually. No specific du‘ã or method of worship has been prescribed. One may engage in dhikr, recitation of the Qur’ãn, salãh, learning and teaching or any other form of ‘ibãdah. However, one must refrain from worldly talk and wasting of time. If ‘ibãdah is not possible then at least avoid all sinful and useless acts and go to bed as soon as possible. In one hadeeth it has been mentioned that Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam visited the graveyard of Baqee‘. However, one may not establish the practice to be Sunnah as there is no mention of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam making it a general practice of this night. Hence, if one visits the graveyard once in a while it will be permissible. One must refrain in particular from all those practices which are contrary to the Sunnah. Many of us deprive ourselves of the blessings of such auspicious moments and the Favours of Allah subhanahu wata’aala by following those customary acts which have no basis in the Qur’ãn and Sunnah. May Allah subhanahu wata’aala guide us all on the straight path and enlighten us with the blessings of this sacred month and its blessed night. Ãmeen. By Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat
Christian, Muslim leaders in interfaith dialogue
In March there will be another conference at Georgetown University in the US capital to look at social and political issues, and a final gathering will be held in October 2009 at the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan. The idea behind the inter-faith conferences followed the October 2007 publication of an open letter to Christians signed by 138 Muslim leaders in 40 countries.
Imaam Abu Hanifah (RA)
I SPECIAL FEATURE
Imaam of Imaams; Lamp of the Ummah; Leader of the Jurists and Mujtahideen; Hafize-Hadith Hadhrat Imaam Abu Hanifah (R.A) was a prestigious Mujtahid, Muhaddith, authoritative person, truthfully spoken, abstinent, wise, and pious. A great many Muhadditheen and Hanafi, Shafi’ee, Maaliki and Hanbali Ulamaa are in unison with regards to Imaam Sahib’s strengths and virtues. Thousands of literary works have been compiled by Imaam Abu Hanifah (R. A.). Amongst the Imaams ‘Imaam-e-Aazam’ (Greatest of the Imaams ) was the address of Imaam Abu Hanifah (RA.) alone. A great group of Ulamaa and Muhadditheen remained the followers of Imaam Abu Hanifah (RA.), and more than half of the Ummah of Prophet Muhammed Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam are, till this day, followers also. He was born in the era of the Companions (R.A.). Abstinent, God fearing, generous, knowledgeable and virtuous are all attributes collectively found of Imaam Abu Hanifah (R.A.). His origination is in Kufa, which at the time, was the greatest centre of ahaadith. As, in Kufa thousands of Companions (R. A.) of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam had resided there; more than one thousand jurists were born in Kufa of which one hundred and fifty were Companions of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Kufa, was
where the ranked Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (R.A.) and Hadhrat Abu Huraira (R. A.) had previously resided. Imaam Sahib’s upbringing and education was achieved in such a reputed educational centre, and he reaped much advantage from the Ulamaa of Haramain. LINEAGE Nu’maan ibn Thabit Ibn Zuta Ibn Maah\ lbn Marzubaan. (Difference of opinion lies only in choice of wording not name.) YEAR & PLACE of BIRTH 80 A.H. Kufa, Iraq. RENOWNED ADDRESS Imaam-e-Aazam \ Abu Hanifah (R. A.). SPECIAL ATTRIBUTE It has been unanimously agreed that Imaam Abu Hanifah (RA.) was a Taabi‘ee. There are various differing quotes concerning the number of Companions seen by Imaam Sahib. Sahib-e-Ikmaal narrates a total of 26, whilst Hafiz Ibn Hajr quotes 8. The most opposed view is that of Hafiz Almizzi whom has stated 72 Companions (R. A.). ACQUISITION OF KNOWLEDGE Primary, basic Islamic teachings were acquired as a child, which were short
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lived due to Imaam Abu Hanifah’ s father’s death. Subsequently, he supported the family business. MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD Silk Merchant. ADVANCEMENT OF KNOWLEDGE At the age of 22 years much spare time was spent in debating. In this period of time Imaam Sha’bee (R. A.) advised Imaam Abu Hanifah ( R.A.) to associate himself with a scholar. Being unable to answer a query regarding the correct Sunnah procedure of divorce, Imaam Abu Hanifah began to join the gatherings of lmam Hammad (R. A), (student of Hadhrat Anas (RA.) ), disposing of his works as a debator. For the next ten consecutive years he remained the student of Imaam Hammad (R.A.). After two years, for a period of two months Imaam Hammad took a sudden leave to Basra ( due to his relative’s death) leaving Imaam Abu Hanifah (R. A.) to continue his works in Kufa. Imaam Abu Hanifah (R. A.) remained Imaam Hammad’s student for a further 8 years. MOST EMINENT TEACHER OF JURISPRUDENCE Imaam Hammad (R A)
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MOST EMINENT TEACHER OF AHAADEETH Imaam Aamir Sha’bi (R. A.).
of 70,000 Ahaadeeth, ‘Aalim-wal-muta ‘allim’, ‘Fiqhe Akbar’, ‘Jaami’ul Masaneed’, ‘Kitaabul Rad alal Qaadiriyah’ etc. etc.
NO. OF AHAADEETH ACQUIRED 4,000 Ahaadeeth in which 2,000 Ahaadeeth from Imaam Hammad (RA.) alone.
IMAAM ABU HANIFAH’S CHARACTERISTICS Impartiality: Imaam Abu Hanifah (R. A.) has never accepted a favour from anyone and so was never indebted to anyone. HUMANITARIAN WAYS & GENEROSITY On seeing Imaam Abu Hanifah (R. A.) a passer by avoided him and took a different path. When Imaam Abu Hanifah (R.A.) questioned as to why he did so, he replied that he was ashamed of himself as he was Imaam Abu Hanifah’s debtor of 10 000 Dirhams. The man’s humbleness over took Imaam Abu Hanifah (R.A.) and so he forgave the repayment of the debt.
PROMINENT PRINCIPLES UPON WHICH IMAAM ABU HANIFAH ACCEPTED AHAADEETH Since the initial day of hearing the hadith it is remembered in its correct form to the very time of narration. The hadith must have been projected by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and narrated onwards via wholly reliable persons. Any Ahaadeeth which contradicted the Qur’an or other famous Ahaadeeth were unacceptable. A SMALL GLIMPSE OF IMAAM ABU HANIFA’S (R.A.) TEACHERS Aamir Ibn Shurahbeel, Sha’abi Kufi, Alqama Ibn Marthad, Ziyaad Ibn Ilaqa, Adi Ibn Thabit, Qataada Basri, Muhammed Ibn Munkadir Madni, Simaak Ibn Harb, Qays Ibn Muslim Kufi, Mansoor Ibn Umar etc. etc. A SMALL GLIMPSE OF IMAAM ABU HANIFA’S (R.A.) STUDENTS Qazi Abu Yusuf, Muhammad Ibn Hasan, Zufar Ibn Huzayl, Hammad Ibn Abu Hanifah, Abu Ismat Mugheera Ibn Miqsam,Yunus Ibn Is‘haaq, Abu Bakr Ibn Ayyaash, Abdullah Ibn Mubarak, Ali Ibn Aasim, Ja’ far Ibn Awn, Ubaydullah Ibn Musa etc. etc. IMAAM ABU HANIFAH’S (R.A.) LITERARY WORKS ‘Kitaab-ul-Aathar’ - compiled from a total
KIND-HEARTEDNESS Once, whilst sitting in a Masjid Imaam Sahib learnt of someone who had fallen from a roof. Immediately, Imaam Sahib departed from the gathering, barefooted, and ran to the place of accident. Until the injured recovered, Imaam Sahib paid daily visits to nurse him. DISPOSITION Imaam Sahib would never speak unless it was necessary to do so. Someone mentioned before Sufyan Thawri (R.A.) that he had never heard Imaam Sahib back biting. Sufyan (R.A.) replied, “Abu Hanifah (R.A.) is not such a fool that he will destroy his own good deeds.” ABSTINENCE & GOD FEARING WAYS Sharik has stated, “I have never once observed Imaam Abu Hanifah reposing within the nights hours.” Abu Nu’aym states, “Even before observing salaah Imaam Hanifah (R. A.) would weep and supplicate before Allah.” There is no such Surah within the Qur’an which I have not recited during Nafl prayers.” - Abu Hanifah (R. A.) Kharija lbn Mus’ab has
stated that 4 religious leaders have completed the recitation of the entire Qur’an in one rakaah of salaah alone. Uthmaan Ibn Affaan (RA.), Tameen Daari (RA.), Sa’eed Ibn Jubair (R. A.) and Imaam Abu Hanifah (R. A.). There was once acknowledgment of a stolen sheep. Imaam Abu Hanifah inquired and researched as to how long a sheep lives. After finding out, he never ate sheep for 7 years, fearing that the meat may be from the stolen sheep. For 40 consecutive years Imaam Sahib observed a nocturnal practice of performing Fajr salaah with the ablution of Esha. NO. 0F QUR’AN’S COMPLETED IN RAMADHAAN 60 (Sixty) NO. OF PILGRIMAGES OBSERVED IN LIFETIME 55 (Fivety)
TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS Trial No.1: During the reign of Ibn Hubaira Imaam Abu Hanifah ( R.A.) rejected his request of the post of Chief Justice. (As Imaam Sahib did not want to collaborate with the corrupt). Consequence of Rejection No.1: Tormented by passing through the city mounted upon a horse, whereby he was whipped 10 times a day for eleven consecutive days. Trial No.2: During the reign of Abu Jaafar Mansoor again the above request was pledged, yet again rejected. Consequence of Rejection No.2: Imprisoned and violently beaten. Prolongation of Trial: Khalifa Abu Ja’far Mansoor again urged that Imaam Sahib should reconsider. Finally, Imaam Sahib swore by Allah that he would not accept. Consequence Imaam Sahib was lashed, shirtless 30 times, drawing blood that seeped to his heels. He was again imprisoned, with restricted rations for 15 days, after which he was forcefully made to drink a poison that led to his martyrdom. STATE OF DEATH In the state of prostration. AGE & DATE OF DEATH 70 years of age : 150 A.H. in the month of Rajab. (Others have stated Sha’baan and Shawwaal also). BURIAL Six Janaazah salaah were conducted in order to cater for more than 50,000 people whom had collected. His son, and only child; Hammad, lead the last Janazah salaah.
I SPECIAL FEATURE
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Islam & Alcohal
It is stated in the Qur’ân: “They ask you regarding wine and gambling. Say, in both of them is major sin, and there is some benefit for men, but the sin of them is far greater than benefit ” (Surah Baqarah) THE PROPHET AND ALCOHOL During the early days of Islam, consumption of liquor, just like other ills and evils of society, was also prevelent. When Rasulullah migrated from Makkah to Madinah he found that the Madinites were also indulging in drinking. The masses were so attracted by the superficial and deceptive benefits offered by drinking that their minds became oblivious of the harmful effects and the evils lurking within these addictions. Our Prophet was the finest model who set the best example of his sublime characteristic, so much that whatever was yet to be declared Haram, His habit and nature made him detest it from the
very outset. Besides Rasulullah other Sahâbâhs also refrained from consuming alcoholic beverages even when these were Halaal. On Reaching Madinah some of Sahâbâh realised the evil in liquor. So, Hazrat Umar Farooq ., Maaz Ibn Jabal .and some of the other Sahâbâh approached Rasulullah and questioned him regarding alcohol and gambling, which they thought were ruining not only man’s intelligent but also his wealth. In response to this query, the above verse was revealed and it constituted the first of a series of revelations leading to the final and conclusive verse, which prohibited and declared Haram both gambling and liquor. Although the above verse dose not prohibit alcohol outright, but it never the less presents a ‘Mashwarah’ (advice) for abstaining from the usage of alcohol. This is why some of the Sahâbâh , after
hearing this verse immediately stopped consuming alcohol and accepted this mashwarah. STORIES REGARDING ALCOHOL On the other hand some of the other Sahâbâhs resumed that this verse did not declare alcohol Haram, so they declared that it overtakes full precaution and law, that a mediate consumption of alcohol would not be harmful. However, shortly an incident occurred which brought about a sudden change in the situation. One day, Hazrat AbdurRahman Ibn Auf had invited some of his companions, and as was the custom of the Arabs they had consumed alcohol after their needs. Thereafter, while still in a state of intoxication, the Maghrib Salâh was performed. The Imâm who was also drunk made an error in his recitation of Surah Kafiroon. Upon this, the second step
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was taken to prevent the consumption of alcohol, by the revelation of the following verse: “O Believers’ do not approach Salâh while intoxicated.” (Surah Nisaa) This verse now declared alcohol Haraam in clear-cut terms but the consumption was for the duration of Salâh times, and at other periods it was still permissible. With this second warning many more of the Sahâbâhs refrained completely from drinking Alcohol, reasoning that what good can there be in something that deprives one from Salâh. There were others however, who drank liquor during the intervening periods of salâh until the following incident took place: Uthmaan Ibn Maalik invited a few Sahâbâhs for a meal. After the meal, as was customary liquor was served. Thereafter, they became involved in another Arab custom, reciting poetry praising oneself, family and clan and simultaneously teasing and belittling others who didn’t belong to that group. During this gathering, Hazrat Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas recited a few lines of poetry in which he criticized and belittled the Ansars of Madinah. Hearing this, an Ansari youth became enraged and threw a bone at him, which inflicted a severe wound on the head of Saad Ibn Waqqas . He then complained against the youngster to Rasulullah , after which he made dua’a to Allah: “O Allah! Grant us a clear cut for regarding alcohol.” In response to this the 3rd and 4th verses concerning the complete prohibition of alcohol, were revealed as part of Surah Ma’idah: “O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, idolatry and arrows (for seeking help on decision) one an abomination of order that you may be successful. Shaytan seeks only to cast amongst you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from his worship, will you then not refrain? ” (Surah Ma’idah 90)Allah in his wisdom, firstly disclosed the evils in alcohol, then prohibited it at Salâh times and finally declared it absolutely HARAAM. ALCOHOL THE MOTHER OF ALL SINS Just as there lies great wisdom in the gradual revelation of laws prohibiting alcohol, there is also wisdom in the strait enforcement of severe punishment for drinking alcohol. Therefore, the Prophet referred to alcohol as the mother of sins because after consuming it, man can indulge in other major sins. Once a pious man met a woman, who invited him towards committing a sin (adultery). The man flatly refused. After her constant insisting, she still failed. Thereafter, she gave him a choice of options, 1. Committing adultery with her or 2. To murder her newly born child, whom had she begot from her previous husband. Or 3. To consume some alcohol which she possessed. If he were not willing to comply then she would scream
and falsely inform the inhabitants of that place that he had raped her. The man upon pondering decided to consume the alcohol, taking it to be least harmful of the three sins. Upon the consumption of alcohol, he became intoxicated, and then consequently, he killed the child and also committed adultery with the woman. In one Hadith, Rasulullah has said that Imâm and alcohol cannot gather (are not compatible) with a person (Nasai) THE BENEFITS AND HARMS OF ALCOHOL People generally are quite well acquainted with what benefits are attributed to alcohol, for instance enjoyment of temporary happiness, strength increase of a short time, colour becomes clearer, initially (as to some medical claim). Compared to the few limited benefits of alcohol its risks and harms are so varied that, perhaps so many disadvantages may not be present in any other thing. 1. Through alcohol, the stomach gradually loses its ability to function properly. 2. Causes loss of appetite. 3. It spoils ones facial features (Appearance) 4. Makes one age quicker. 5. Weakens and reduces the ability to think and speak properly. 6. Causes heart failure 7. The progeny of alcohol are weaker. 8. Creates fights and enmity between people 9. Leads towards grave sins, often adultery and murder are the direct results of drinking. 10. Thousands of pounds are wasted in this vice PREVENTING ALCOHOL Dr M Robertson states, “If half the pubs and bottle stores were closed, I guarantee that half the hospitals and jails will remain closed.” Those who have stopped repented sincerely have not failed to arrive to the conclusion that alcohol is the mother of all evils, a deadly poison from which one must abstain. May Almighty Allah save the Ummah, especially the youth from this sin and everything, which calls upon His wrath. performed. The Imâm who was also drunk made an error in his recitation of Surah Kafiroon. Upon this, the second step was taken to prevent the consumption of alcohol, by the revelation of the following verse: “O Believers’ do not approach Salâh while intoxicated.” (Surah Nisaa) This verse now declared alcohol Haraam in clear-cut terms but the consumption was for the duration of Salâh times, and at other periods it was still permissible. With this second warning many more of the Sahâbâhs refrained completely from
drinking Alcohol, reasoning that what good can there be in something that deprives one from Salâh. There were others however, who drank liquor during the intervening periods of salâh until the following incident took place: Uthmaan Ibn Maalik invited a few Sahâbâhs for a meal. After the meal, as was customary liquor was served. Thereafter, they became involved in another Arab custom, reciting poetry praising oneself, family and clan and simultaneously teasing and belittling others who didn’t belong to that group. During this gathering, Hazrat Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas recited a few lines of poetry in which he criticized and belittled the Ansars of Madinah. Hearing this, an Ansari youth became enraged and threw a bone at him, which inflicted a severe wound on the head of Saad Ibn Waqqas . He then complained against the youngster to Rasulullah , after which he made dua’a to Allah: “O Allah! Grant us a clear cut for regarding alcohol.” In response to this the 3rd and 4th verses concerning the complete prohibition of alcohol, were revealed as part of Surah Ma’idah: “O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, idolatry and arrows (for seeking help on decision) one an abomination of order that you may be successful. Shaytan seeks only to cast amongst you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from his worship, will you then not refrain? ” (Surah Ma’idah 90)Allah in his wisdom, firstly disclosed the evils in alcohol, then prohibited it at Salâh times and finally declared it absolutely HARAAM.
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Muslims in Switzerland
I SPECIAL FEATURE
Immigration Waves Prior to 1960, the presence of Muslims within the Swiss population was rare. That changed with three waves of immigration: one economic-based, one familybased, and one politically-based. The first wave, occurring in the late 1960’s, was mainly born of economic reasons and consisted chiefly of men coming to work in Switzerland with no particular intention to stay permanently in the country. These immigrants were mostly from Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, and Albania. The second wave came in the late 1970’s after Switzerland changed its legislation concerning foreigners to allow family regrouping. This decision had direct implications: from this point on, Islam was no longer only a masculine ephemeral social fact in Switzerland, but had become a reality with the presence of families. The last wave is a political one consisting of foreigners seeking asylum from oppressive dictatorships, various civil wars, famines and other reasons. More accurately, this is not a wave as much as it is an ongoing movement since it started in the 1960’s (mainly from the Middle East) and continues on today with the
exile of people from the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, North Africa and other African countries. Statistics Based on the census of the year 20001, the total Swiss population numbers 7,288,010. Of this number, 310,807 are Muslims, meaning Muslims represent 4.3% of the total population of Switzerland. An element that is important and interesting to note is that of the 310,807 Muslims in Switzerland, only 36,481 have Swiss nationality, having been born Swiss nationals and/or converting to Islam (approximately onehalf of the 36,481) or having gone through the process of naturalization to become Swiss citizens. These Swiss Muslims represent 0.6% of the total population of Switzerland, a proportion which remains relatively low—low in comparison to other Europeans countries—because access to Swiss nationality is passed along through the bloodline and not merely by birth on Swiss territory. In general, foreigners must have lived a total of 12 years in Switzerland before they may apply for Swiss nationality. There is a facilitated procedure for foreigners married to Swiss citizens and for second generations. Note that the years spent in Switzerland
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between the ages of 10 and 20 are counted double. Of the overall number of Muslims in Switzerland, there are a majority of ex-Yugoslavians Yugoslavia: 108,058 Bosnia Herzegovina: 23,457 Macedonia: 43,365 Croatia: 392 Slovenia: 102, followed by Turks and Albanians, Turkey: 62,698 Albania: 699 and finally, we find the North African and Middle Eastern immigrants, Morocco: 4,364 Tunisia: 3,318 Algeria: 2,654 Egypt: 865 Libya: 489 Iraq: 3,171 Lebanon: 1,277 Syria: 459 The fact that statistics reveal the presence of 169,726 Muslim men compared to 141,081 Muslim women demonstrates that the Muslim presence has evolved and is no longer merely due to a working immigration. Statistics also show that the Muslim population in Switzerland is rejuvenating. This is another indication that the Muslim community is settling in the country. With all nationalities combined, there are less than15 years old: 77’322 Between 15 and 24: 59’867 Between 25 and 34: 59’932 Between 35 and 44: 46’125 Between 45 and 54: 28’675 Between 55 and 64: 7’057 Between 65 and 74: 3’165 More than 75: 1’231 Relations between the State and the religious communities Switzerland is a laic state. Nonetheless, the Swiss state recognizes both Catholicism and Protestantism as official religions. The relations with the religious communities are based on the fundamental rights to freedom of religion and philosophy and to equality before the law . As a federation of states, all matters of religion fall under the competence of the cantons within the limits of federal (constitutional) law. The only two cantons that have clearly separated the state and religion are Geneva and Neuchatel. Coincidentally, these are also the only two cantons that have had to deal with legal cases with regards to wearing of the veil. Also of note is a recent case of another type (from May 7, 2003): in Wallis, a Catholic canton, an imam from Macedonia was denied a work permit (to work as an imam
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in Switzerland) based in large part on the fact that the imam had studied in Medina (Saudi Arabia); the cantonal authorities considered the imam a potential threat to religious peace.
Islam and Law in Switzerland Muslims in Switzerland must abide by all Swiss laws and regulations. In general, no Swiss laws exist that directly interfere with any Islamic duty. For example, no Swiss laws forbid Muslims from exercising their religious beliefs or practices, such as praying or fasting. However, some conflicts with Islamic rights may be found in the Swiss family law. For example, according to the shari’a, polygamy is a right for the Muslims, but not a duty; however, in Switzerland like in other European countries, polygamy is legally forbidden. Similar conflicts may also arise in estate law or in cases where women are called to testify in Swiss courts. Religion at school At the Swiss primary school level, catechism is often given as religious class. However, this type of education is evolving as catechism is slowly being replaced with non-religious and inter-religious classes. In secondary school, only an introduction to the history of religions is offered and is most often taught as non-dogmatic or nonconfessional. ’’Enbiro’’ (Enseignement Biblique Romand) developed a new pedagogy for teaching religion at school. This new program gives an introduction to the most influential religions of the world. This religious teaching was in general openly accepted in French-speaking Switzerland, but not in the canton of Wallis where a controversy exploded in November 2003. Some conservative Christian parents removed their children from religion class when they learned that Mohammed was presented as a prophet receiving God’s messages and that the Koran was treated as a holy book. These parents were concerned that Islam teachings were contrary to the religious education that they wanted to provide to their children. All of the objections made towards this new religious teaching aimed at Islam, to the exclusion of all other religions taught. These parents have requested that the ’’good old’’ classes of catechism, which respected the Christian faith, be brought back. The question of religious studies falls under the competence of the cantons. Each canton’s department for public education decides what weight to give to religion in its schools’ programs (usually offering no more than one hour per week). Therefore, in order to provide religious education for their children, Muslims must organize it themselves. The religious socialization is done through the families, and Muslim organizations that offer different classes such as introduction to Islam, the Holy
Koran and Arabic. So far, Muslim pupils (as well as pupils of other religious communities) do not beneficiate from any free hours to attend those classes. They often take place on Saturdays or in the early evening. To date, there is one exception. In the canton of Lucerne, two communes decided to introduce Islamic religious classes for their Muslim pupils in fall 2002. This class is given in German language to all nationalities together and is optional. After a difficult start largely diffused through the media, this decision has now been accepted. Political Participation To date, no Islamic or Muslim political parties exist in Switzerland. Only a few Swiss Muslims are involved politically and the few Muslims elected to office have not made Islam their battle. To the contrary, their religious belonging usually remains silent. Similarly, no Swiss political party has directed its political views against Islam, even with the far right Swiss parties - which tend to take a hard line
against foreigners in general - gaining in popularity. Note that the controversy mentioned above about religious classes was largely supported by the UDC (Union Democratique du Centre), a political party often identified as far right. The UDC initiated a similar movement in November 2003. The canton of Zurich was preparing a vote for a modernization of the relations between state and church and the recognition of new confessional communities. This project intended to give some religious communities an official status that would allow them to perceive religious taxes and organize religious teachings. The UDC, opposed to this project, directed its entire campaign against Islam, underlying that violence was a daily fact in Muslim countries, and arguing that the confrontation of Islam with other religious communities had always led to violence. The UDC also publicly claimed that the shari’a (Islamic law) is a threat for the lawful state of Zurich. The UDC’s campaign was a success and lead to the refusal of the project.
I SPECIAL FEATURE
Muslim Religious Holidays No particular measures exist in Switzerland concerning Muslim religious holidays. However, according to some judicial decisions, Muslims have a right to take days off from work on Muslim religious holidays unless this leave causes a major economical damage to the employer. Also note that no reduction of work hours is legally permitted during the Ramadan fast, but arrangements can be made with the employer on an individual basis. One example of unofficial regulation that exists concerns gymnastics at school during Ramadan. Students following their religious rite of fasting during Ramadan are exempted from gym class due to the danger of fainting or dehydration. Number of mosques and prayer halls Switzerland has registered 97 mosques and/or prayers hall. Only one in Geneva and one in Zurich have the proper Islamic architecture to be considered mosques whereas the rest are mainly prayer halls. Some have real infrastructures with a library and/or a cafeteria, but these are rare. Islamic Schools There are no Islamic schools in Switzerland. Thus, the religious socialization of young Muslims is mostly performed by the families and the local associations. The only exception to the rule is the canton of Lucerne mentioned above. The foundation of the Geneva Mosque intends to create an institute to train imams, a national first. The students
will take university-level courses for a minimum of two years. The teachings will be particularly geared towards young Muslims born in Switzerland of second or third generation. The goal is to have people educated in religious matters as well as being integrated in local life. Alongside classes on the Koran and the Sunnah, the students will also follow courses in judicial decisions and comparative law, thus enabling them to profess an Islam adapted to the Swiss laws and way of life. This project is supposed to begin in fall 2004. Organizations and Associations There are various Muslim associations in Switzerland. At present, there are 35 generically named Muslim associations, 4 Muslims youth associations, 3 Muslim women associations and 4 Muslim help associations. It should be noted that most of the regular Muslim associations have substructures for their youth and, often, the women are also organized within the framework of the main association. [The main associations are presented below with their websites.] Muslim associations are generally locally organized, but they are also starting to organize themselves within the frame of the cantons. In most cantons, the associations are organizing themselves into unions (for example, the Union of Muslim associations of the canton of Fribourg) giving them more weight to discuss important issues (eg. cemeteries, swimming pools, construction of mosques, etc.). At the Swiss level, two main structures exist: “Musulmans
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et Musulmanes de Suisse” (MMS) and “La Ligue des Musulmans de Suisse”; however, there is no official representative like in France. Cemeteries The issue of cemeteries for Muslims in Switzerland varies. As a federation of states, Switzerland has left this issue to the competence of the cantons. Most often the cantons then let the communes individually decide a solution which best suits their population. However, we can briefly note that Bern was the first canton to set aside and reserve in their cemeteries a section for Muslims. Likewise, Basel, Saint-Gall and Zurich have opted for this solution of ’’Muslims sections.’’ Moreover, Geneva has a Muslim cemetery and, it appears, Basel has a private Muslim cemetery. The Muslim cemetery in Geneva is now fully occupied and the Geneva authorities are looking for new solutions. In January 2004, a law project was submitted to make confessional cemeteries legal. In Neuchatel and Fribourg, requests for ’’Muslim sections’’ of existing cemeteries or for a Muslim cemetery have recently been made but no official response has been given thus far. As for the funeral rites, Muslim organizations usually provide personnel to prepare the body for the funeral. The question of internment also falls under the competence of the communes. When no legislation exists, the parishes do their best to find a solution that is acceptable to the family.
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I August 2008
Gift it with a Halal hamper
When Nasreen Karim wanted to buy something for her friends wedding she came up with a novel idea. “I was contemplating what to get and all of sudden I thought why can’t I give them a hamper, it is different, exclusive and will really stand out from the crowd.” Since she launched Hiba Hampers with her sister Shaheen and Zahid Rauf the company has begun to turn heads. It has already featured at a host of celebrity parties and awards nights. And the company has started a small revolution of it’s own by encouraging
Asians to get a little more creative when it comes to giving wedding presents. “We all know that when it comes to weddings, some of us are not always the most imaginative. I just got a bit tired of buying the same old gifts or handing over an envelope full of cash! “But with Hiba Hampers you can make an exclusive hamper to suit you. “All the products are 100% halal and if you want something completely new we will try our best to get it for you.” “We want the hamper to be personal and judging from some of the feedback, it is that personal touch that is so important to the person who receives the hamper.” The hamper is made from the finest products sourced from around the world. All the drinks are non-alcoholic. The hand made baskets are imported from abroad, the jams from France and the chocolates from Belgium. Prices for the hampers range from £50 to £250 for the most expensive. “It all depends on what the customer wants. People always choose different things but if you like me can’t make your mind-up, then just tell us about the occasion and a little bit about the person and we’ll do the rest.” Tahir Mirza an IT consultant was one of
Hiba Hampers first customers. “I must say I was a little apprehensive but when my sister got a hamper for her wedding she was overjoyed. I put in all of her favourite chocolates and even a teddy bear she used to play with as a child. Just to see that look on her face was priceless in itself.” It’s such a simple and original way to put a smile on the face of someone really special to you.” - Asian Image
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I August 2008
Jewish and Arab children Dickie Bird in peace football mission opens top
A remarkable social inclusion project is using football to help unite Jewish and Arab children in Israel. Jennie Hambleton and Mick Baikie from The FA’s International Relations team, together with Derby County’s Hat-Trick Officer Richard Astle, recently returned from the Football 4 Peace project in Israel, which aims to bring divided communities together and highlight co-existence in areas of tension. Based around the northern regions of Nazareth and Galilee, the social inclusion project uses football as a way of uniting children, aged 9-14, from the local Jewish and Arab communities.
The project teaches the children how to deal with conflict and celebrate success together and FA Regional Football Development Manager, Mick Baikie believes that the project clearly compliments The FA’s Respect agenda. “The main focus of the project is to get Jewish and Arab children to respect each other, play fairly and to work together as a team,” he explained. “At the beginning of the week the children were hesitant to integrate with each other, but within a relatively short space of time, carefully planned activities meant that they learnt to work together, communicate and trust each other.” Jennie Hambleton said:
“It was great to see Jewish and Arab children playing together and respecting each other. One elderly Arab observer commented that he was witnessing something he had not seen since he was a boy playing football back in the 1930’s, which tells you how significant this project is, and the power of football to integrate communities.” The project culminated in a Festival of Football for over 600 children, where Jennie assisted in the presentation ceremony, awarding fair play plaques to teams who had shown the most respect to others. The FA will now assist the project to make it more sustainable and to help facilitate the community sports managers in Israel to take the concepts forward in their local communities. The innovative methods used to unite communities will also assist Richard Astle in the development of a manual and a short course that can be used for Hat-Trick coaches and across grassroots football.
For a young and up-andcoming coach like Reading’s Nas Bashir, there could be few better men in football to learn from than Steve Coppell. A former coach at Wycombe Wanderers who now works with the Academy at the Royals, Bashir is keen to improve himself and says that Coppell has been a key figure in his development. Speaking exclusively as he received his Pro Licence, Bashir said: “Steve is a top manager. He manages the people around him, that is absolutely vital if you are working at a Premier League or Championship club. “Some coaches get their first job and try and do everything. But I’ve learnt from being around Steve that you are either a coach or a manager, and you have to focus on one of those areas. “Steve is a breath of fresh air for us at Reading, he pushed me to go on the Pro Licence and he is on hand to give his
advice. He is always willing and open to discussion to help me and other coaches at the club. “The whole thing about coach education is that everyone wants to learn, and you can see that in the people on this course. I have certainly improved as a coach and I hope there is further room for me to develop.” As he completed the final part of the Pro Licence course , Bashir was keen to stress that his learning was only just beginning. “I call myself a coach philospher in terms of learning the game, I’ve been on a lot of courses in my time and you never stop learning. “I have been involved in coaching for ten, 15 years now and it’s nice to be on such a fantastic course which has a bit of everything on it. “The seminars, the conference calls and of course looking at other people’s work has been really
refreshing for me and will stand me in good stead for my own development. It will certainly enhance the players I work with. It’s an excellent course.” As Bashir learns more and increases his experience, he feels that every aspect of coaching could have an impact on whether you succeed or fail. “The stakes at the highest level are so high, so any detail that can improve yourself, your players or your club can only be a plus,” he added. “If you can be a percentage, or even five per cent better, that could be the difference between success and failure.
Bashir eager to learn
sports complex at Muslim centre
Retired International Cricket Umpire Dickie Bird visited Batley last month to open a new state-of-the-art sports complex at Indian Muslim Welfare Society, Al Hikmah Centre. Dickie gave a speech in front of more than 100 cricket fans at the IMWS on Track Road. He then officially opened the new cricket facility, which includes four bowling bays, cricket bowling mats and a bowling machine. Bashir Karolia chair of IMWS told Passion Islam “We hope these facilities will be used by the community and give our youngsters a great focus and chance to play and train in a very stylish modern environment”
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Do not be ashamed to tell this world, our temporary abode, that we are Muslims, the ummah of Rasulullah(saw) & a nation of peace NOT terrorists! The prophet Muhammad (SAW) at the time of death: ‘O Jibril, explain to me about my rights in front of ALLAH?’ Rasulullah (SAW) asked with a weakest voice.‘The doors of the sky have opened, and the angels are awaiting your soul.’ ‘All Jannats open widely and wait for you,’ Jibril said. But, in fact, hearing all those did not make Rasulullah (SAW) feel relieved, his eyes were still full of worry. ‘You are not happy to hear this news?’ asked Jibril. ‘Tell me about the destiny of my people in future?’ said Rasulullah (SAW) ‘Don’t worry, o Rasulullah (SAW) ALLAH told me: ‘I make Jannat haram for everyone, except for the people of Muhammad,’ Jibril said. It became closer and closer; the time for Malaekat Izrail to do his work.
Slowly, Rasulullah’s soul was pulled. It was seemed that the body of Rasulullah (SAW) was full of sweat; the nerves of his neck became tight. ‘Jibril, how pain this sakaratul maut is!’ Rasulullah (SAW) uttered a groan slowly. Fatimah closed her eyes, Ali sat beside her and bowed deeply, and Jibril turned his face back. ‘Am I so repugnant to you that you turn your face back o Jibril?’ Rasulullah asked to the Deliverer of Wahyu. ‘Who is the one who could see the Habibullah in his sakaratul maut,’ Jibril said. Rasulullah (SAW) uttered a groan because of unbearable pain. ‘O ALLAH, how painful is this sakaratul maut. Give me all this pain; don’t give pain to my people.’ His lips vibrated as if he wanted to say something, Ali took his ear close to
Rasulullah. ‘Uushiikum bis salati, wa maa malakat aimanuku – Take care of your Salaat and take care of the Weak people among you.’ Fatimah closed her face with her hands and, again, Ali took his ear close to Rasulullah’s (SAW) mouth which became bluish. ‘Ummatii, ummatii, ummatii?’ - ‘My people, my people, my people.’ Then body of Rasulullah (SAW) became cold,his feet and chest did not move anymore. And the life of the noble man ended. Could we love each other like him? Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad wa baarik wa salim ‘alaihi. How deep was and is Rasulullah’s (SAW) love for us. And what are we doing in this world to make all the effort of Rasulullah worth it.
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We normally dont put something like this but hey this was just too good to miss out.
Don’t make it out to be us & them, work together no matter who they are. Keep smiling even when your sad. Listen and learn. Share your knowledge. People will not like you because sometimes you will speak the truth. People will argue and backbite when all of us are achieving the same goal. Respect your elders. Respect your scholars. Respect your young brothers and sisters. Strive to become a friend of Allah. Together as one nation one tribe forget the politics and everything else let’s serve our Ummah. Passion Islam 2008
I August 2008
Time for Allah When I received this e-mail, I thought... I don’t have time for this... And, this is really inappropriate during work. Then, I realized that this kind of thinking is... Exactly, what has caused lot of the problems in our world today? We try to keep ALLAH in MASJIDS on FRIDAY... Maybe, FRIDAY night...And, in the unlikely event of a MAGHRIB SALLAH. We do like to have Him around during sickness, And of course, at funerals. However, we don’t have time, or room, for Him during work or play, because that’s the part of our lives we think we can, and should, handle on our own. May ALLAH forgive me for ever thinking that there is a time or place where HE is not to be FIRST in my life. We should always have time to remember all HE has done for us. Yes, I do Love ALLAH. HE is my source of existence and Savoir. He keeps me functioning each and every day. Without Him, I will be nothing. Sent in by Ahmed - Blackburn
Life is Test,Islam is best, Namaz is must,Aakhrut is for rest,World is only dust, If Quran is in chest,nothing need next, Obey ALLAH first. 1st success wil b next. sent in by Maryam Watch your Thoughts, they become Words! Watch your Words, they become Actions! Watch your Actions, they become Habits! Watch your Habits, they become
Character! Watch your CHARACTER! ..It becomes your DESTINY!!! sent in by Shabana “Be content with what Allah has given you, and you will be the richest of people.” sent in by David “The most beloved of food to Allah is that which is touched by many hands (i.e., shared among many people).” sent in by Khatija
emailbox comments Salam, Congratulations on a fantastic issue once again. Mustafha – Swindon I have come across many publications but this stand out to me from a far, real voice for Muslims informative and a great real focus for young Muslims. Amina – London A most interesting magazine and very well put together my congratulations to the organisation for filling a real gap in the market. I would urge you to consider targeting young (12-24) people as your readership as there appears to be a distinct lack of contemporary material from a Muslim perspective for this group. Ebrahim Dockrat – Batley I really enjoined reading the magazine. Aisha – stoke on Trent
Last month I read your article on Drugs and what Islam says about it and I really found it useful, thank you so much, thanks to brother Shakir for listening to me and giving me some really good advice and put me through to an excellent Moullanah, may Allah reward you. Brother Hamza (Tex) Blackburn I am a devoted Christian and I have just read though your magazine a few very good articles and an excellent read learnt allot about Islam, keep up the good work hope we all can work together. Mary Hall - USA Thank you for brining this magazine to my attention, I instantly forwarded it onto my contacts, I think it’s really interesting & worth the read, please keep me informed. Sara Klose, Germany
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