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New Violence hits Burma Muslims
178 Destroyed house boats and floating barges
Limit of building destructions
633 Destroyed buildings
Zone of total buildings destruction (14.4 ha in area)
Satellite Imagery Shows Widespread Destruction of Rohingya Homes, Property The government of Burma should take coastal edge of Kyauk Pyu following Human Rights Watch shows extensive immediate steps to stop sectarian destruction of homes and other property arson attacks reportedly conducted on violence against the Rohingya Muslim in a predominantly Rohingya Muslim area October 24, 2012, less than 24 hours population in Arakan State, in western of the coastal town of Kyauk Pyu â€“ one before the satellite images were captured. Burma, and ensure protection and aid of several areas of new violence and The area of destruction measures 35 to both Rohingyas and Arakanese in the displacement. acres and includes 633 buildings and 178 state, Human Rights Watch said. Human Rights Watch identified 811 houseboats and floating barges adjacent New satellite imagery obtained by destroyed structures on the eastern on the water, all of Continued on Page 13
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I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I November 2012
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We need to know UK drones policy British Foreign Secretary William Hague appeared in court last month over the UK government’s complicity in US assassination drone strikes in Pakistan. A Pakistani citizen, who is being supported by the London-based human rights group Reprieve and represented by solicitors Leigh Day & Co, has brought a legal case against the British government over its practice of passing over intelligence to the US for deadly drone attacks in the Asian country, which have claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. Noor Khan, the son of Malik Daud Khan, who died in a CIAoperated assassination drone attack in Waziristan region of Pakistan on March 17, 2011, is seeking to take legal action against the UK government due to its role in the strikes that involves exchanging
intelligence with the US. In a comment to the Guardian newspaper, Reprive founder Clive Stafford Smith said “ There are many more questions that beg for an answer. One is the degree to which drones are to be used simply as a weapon of terror. In British Air and Space Power Doctrine, the MoD informs us that “air power is not employed solely for kinetic purposes. The psychological impact of air power from the presence of a UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] … has often proved to be extremely effective in exerting influence, especially when linked to information operations.” In plain English, the circling drones are used to terrify the citizens below into providing intelligence. Did not the Geneva conventions forbid such a war against civilians? Did we forget so soon how the material frightened
out of people in the “war on terror” proved so suspect? The British people need to be told the true reasons for this shift. One, no doubt, is the US predilection for what is called “chopping”, a 21st-century euphemism that means a “change in operational control”. A Nato or British drone might be on the Pakistan border when the US decides to kill someone in Waziristan – just another international war crime to the CIA, but an act that the UK would rather was committed with no British fingerprints. So the machine metamorphoses into an American drone and the US “pilot” slips into the comfy chair to let loose the Hellfire missile. Moving the controls to RAF Waddington may make this kind of blurred line easier to define, but it does not erase the moral and legal issues.
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UK, US munitions damage births in Iraq
I November 2012
In Case You Missed It
A study has found that US and UK weapons ammunition were linked to local babies suffering heart defects, brain dysfunctions and de-formed limbs. The study published by the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology last month, revealed a shocking rise in birth defects among children in Iraq
after the US and Britain invaded the country in 2003, Russia’s Englishlanguage news channel RT reported. The report showed a connection between military activities in the Middle Eastern country and the rising number of miscarriage and deformity of babies being born. The study documented 56 families in the city of Fallujah, which
was invaded by US troops in 2004. It also examined births in Basrah in southern Iraq that was attacked by British forces in 2003. Between 2007 and 2010 in Fullujah, over half of all the surveyed babies were born with birth defects. Before the US-led invasion of Iraq, the figure was one in 10. In Basrah’s Maternity Hospital, over 20 babies out of 1000 were born with defects in 2003, which makes the figure 17 times higher than it was in the previous decade. The UK government has refused to take the survey seriously regarding birth defects in Iraq as a government spokesman said there was no “reliable scientific or medical evidence to confirm a link between conventional ammunition and birth defects in Basrah.”
Five UK marines charged with murder in Afghanistan
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Five members of British forces in Afghanistan have been charged with murder in a 2011 incident in the Asian country, the Ministry of Defense has confirmed. The ministry said the Royal Military Police have arrested a total of nine marines in connection with the case but four of them have been released without charge while investigations into their involvement
in the murder case continue. “The Royal Military Police (RMP) has arrested two further Royal Marines on suspicion of murder in relation to an incident alleged to have taken place in Afghanistan in 2011, taking the total number arrests to nine. Four Marines have since been released without charge pending further enquiries,” the MoD said. “The RMP has referred the
I November 2012
cases of the remaining five Royal Marines to the independent Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA). Following direction from the SPA these marines have now been charged with murder and they remain in custody pending court proceedings,” it added. The ministry has not revealed more details into the arrests and charges saying further comment will be delayed until after police investigations are complete. The soldiers were arrested following the discovery of a video on a laptop belonging to a marine. The footage apparently shows the servicemen standing around a dying Afghan as he lays injured on the ground and discussing whether to administer first aid. No further details are available on the footage but the MoD has confirmed that the injured Afghan has died. The MoD has claimed the Afghan has been a Taliban fighter against some media reports that suggest the man has been a civilian.
Amnesty condemns UK secret courts
British civil rights group Amnesty International is warning that the government’s secret courts plan that allows prosecutions without a clear charge or evidence creates a dark justice system “straight from the pages of a Kafka novel.” The government is pushing a justice and security bill that allows sensitive intelligence to be presented to a judge by officials while preventing victims and claimants from knowing the allegations against them in full. Officials say the move is designed to protect national security by preventing confidential information from being exposed. Amnesty said in a report published that the secret courts plan
gives the government the power to “simply play the ‘national security’ card whenever it wants to keep things secret”. “[It poses] a real threat to the principles of fairness and open justice in the UK - principles which should always be at the heart of the justice system,” Amnesty’s UK researcher Alice Wyss said. The report-- called Left in the Dark: the use of secret evidence in the UK-- says the new bill will substantially extend the use of the so-called closed material procedures (CMPs) even to the cases where the government faces a lawsuit for human rights violations such as torture and enforced disappearance. Amnesty said the government can
already rely on secret evidence in at least 21 different contexts. The report quoted a 43-year-old man who had been sentenced to detention and living under highly restrictive conditions for ten years based on evidence he has never seen. “Evidence that is kept secret, lawyers that can’t talk to you - it’s a secret justice system straight from the pages of a Kafka novel,” Wyss said. “The Justice and Security Bill will enable the government to throw a cloak of secrecy over wrongdoing. We want the House of Lords to reject this bill unless it is very seriously amended, with the secret justice components removed,” she added.
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I November 2012
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I November 2012
I November 2012
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
British Muslim Artiste showcases her work at London Central Mosque
Sahima Imaan 33 a British Pakistani Muslim woman who grew up in Coventry, and now lives in London has just become the first Muslim woman to exhibit her art work at the
exhibition hall at the London Central mosque. Some of Sahima’s best and most creative work has unfolded over the last few months as she has been grieving for her best friend Razia Khan who sadly lost her battle through cancer a few months ago. Sahima Imaan told Passion Islam “I have always had an interest and love for art and architecture but never actually pursued this up until recently after losing my best friend Razia, Razia was an inspiration to me and my
work is dedicated to her memory.” Sahima has travelled to various Middle East countries including performing Umrah and whilst visiting these amazing places she has managed to capture the beauty and architecture of some of the most world renowned mosques through her vision and her take on them through her charcoal sketching. Sahima is writing a book of her journey and also has plans of a project to help Muslim women in the UK and hopefully other countries around the world. Sahima work can be viewed online at www.sahimaimaan.com
Muslim TV comes to UK homes on Freeview and Roku players Muslim TV package available on Freeview Channel 230 and Roku Streaming Player Five channels available half price for the first six months (normally just £4.49)
UK viewers can now watch Muslim TV live on Freeview and Roku Streaming Players through the Vision TV Network from Vision247. Broadcast in both Arabic and English, Muslim TV offers a vibrant mix of five cultural and religious channels of programming, from Qur’anic recitation to cookery shows, all provided live, all day, every day from across the Middle East. Muslim TV introduces viewers to the Qur’an through readings on Al Majd Holy Qur’an; Al-Sira, the life of Prophet Muhammad, the Hadiths and the Sunna on Al Majd Al Hadith al Nabawi; religious broadcasts from Egypt on Al Nas TV; and the the best quality Muslim programming in Arabic and English on the Iqraa channels. To access these channels, viewers will need either a FreeviewHD enabled television or set top box; a Roku Streaming player; or a PC or web capable connected device. Any chosen device will be required to have access to a home broadband
connection to receive Muslim TV broadcasts. Muslim TV - on Vision TV Network2 - is located on Freeview channel 230. With just a click of the remote the Muslim TV package of channels are delivered over the internet at speeds which more than 90% of UK homes currently support. On a Roku Streaming Player such as the Roku LT or Roku 2 XS, viewers need to first download the VisionTVNetwork app available free from the Roku ‘channels’ app store then just select Muslim TV to view. Once connected to the VisionTVNetwork2 channel, viewers can view the full Muslim TV package for just £4.49 per month. But if they subscribe now they receive the first six months half price. Older devices, non-compliant or FreeviewHD devices not connected to the internet will receive on screen tips advising viewers on what to do in order to view the new internet delivered channels. Viewers without Freeview or a Roku Streaming Player who wish to watch Muslim TV can still do so
by visiting the website http://www. muslimtvuk.com/. John Mills, CEO of Vision247, said: “Muslim TV provides any UK viewer with a range of simple ways to watch the latest broadcasts live from the Middle East in the comfort of their home. For the UK’s three million Muslims, it allows them to bring their families together to be closer to their faith. Muslim TV also gives everybody, including non-Arabic speakers, a very accessible window into a rich, vibrant culture.” For more information on Muslim TV visit: http://www.muslimtvuk.com/ For more information on Freeview visit: http://www.freeview.co.uk/ For more information on Roku Streaming Plapyers visit: http://www. roku.com/uk Like Muslim TV on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ muslimtvuk Like VisionTVNetwork on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ visiontvnetwork Follow us on Twitter @visiontvnetwork
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I November 2012
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UK Must Apologize to Palestinians
I November 2012
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
The Palestinian Return Center (PRC) organization has launched an international campaign aiming to collect one million signatures asking Britain to apologize to the Palestinian people over its colonial policy in the region between 1917 and 1948. The London-based independent consultancy, which focuses on the political, historical and legal aspects of the Palestinian Refugees, said in a statement on October 22 that the
UK should apologize for its “past atrocities” starting with the Balfour Declaration and for the human rights abuse suffered by Palestinian citizens under the UK’s mandate. The establishment of the Zionist entity could have been impossible without Arthur Balfour, Britain’s foreign secretary from 1916 to 1919, as in a letter in November 1917, he single-handedly set the wheels in motion for the creation of Israel 31 years later. The PRC organization that was founded and registered in the UK in 1996, said the global five-year campaign called “Britain, It’s Time To Apologize”, is seeking to condemn nearly 100 years of Palestinians’ suffering under the shadow of Britain’s colonial past. Stressing that millions
Al-Mizan Charitable Trust celebrate networking event in Manchester Last month a UK charity celebrated their first networking event in the north of England at Nawaabs in Manchester. Al-Mizan Charitable Trust (AMCT) who are UK’s first Muslim grantfunder which offers direct financial support to individuals and families undergoing economic hardship, regardless of their faith, culture or background. The networking event which had guess speaker Kristianne Backer ex MTV Europe host and now Muslim and Author to MTV to Mecca with series of other signatories presided at event which also saw an auction of some fine pieces of Islamic art.
Their aim is to promote social justice by supporting the most disadvantaged in communities across the UK through a fair and accountable system of grant giving. Al-Mizan Charitable Trust is particularly interested in supporting those who are affected by illness and disability or have suffered bereavement, domestic violence or abuse. The financial assistance they provide covers subsistence, specialist medical treatment and essential social services, as well as access to vocational skills, personal development and employment.
Palestinians suffer from “the unjust and misguided British policy”, the PRC said the campaign “will gather a million signatures from those seeking justice in Palestine, in condemnation of British colonial policy between 1917-1948.” On October 23, Palestinians living in Scotland asked the Scottish people to support the Palestinian-led global movement for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of the Israeli regime. Moves to tighten a boycott grip on the Israeli regime have gained momentum in the UK since April, when Britain’s fifth-largest food retailer, the Co-operative Group, extended a boycott of goods from illegal settlements that have been produced on occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank.
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I November 2012
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I November 2012
UEA’s Islamic Centre to remain open
Controversial plans to close the Islamic Centre at the UEA have been put on hold, and plans have been lodged to renew temporary permission for it to remain on campus until 2014. The university planned to shut the centre and adapt the existing multifaith chaplaincy building to meet the needs of its Muslim students. But following protests by students, the university has decided to keep the centre open. The building is used for Friday prayers by Islamic students at the UEA, plus members of the local community. A UEA spokesman said: “The University of East Anglia is committed to meeting the needs of the diverse range of faith groups within the campus community. “Following recent discussions about our current religious facilities, the university has decided to develop a long-term policy for future provision of appropriate prayer facilities for followers of the key world faiths. “UEA’s governing body, University Council, will meet to discuss these
matters in due course. “In the meantime, both the multifaith chaplaincy and the building housing the current Islamic prayer facility will remain open.” The Union of UEA students has welcomed the decision and called for the university to consult students over its long-term policy on campus faith provision. Norwich South MP Simon Wright, who previously raised concerns over the closure, said: “I went to a very well-attended prayer session at the centre on a Friday, and I think it’s a very wise decision.” The UEA has applied to Norwich City Council to renew temporary permission for the centre to remain on campus until June 30, 2014.
LOCAL & NATIONALI 11
Cambridge University to Host Islamic Manuscript Conference The Islamic Manuscript Association is going to hold the 9th Islamic Manuscript Conference at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge from 2 to 4, September 2013. The Conference will be hosted in cooperation with the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge. The Association invites the submission of abstracts on topics related to the study of Islamic manuscripts, particularly codicology, and the care and management of Islamic manuscript collections. Preference will be shown to submissions pertaining to the Conference’s theme: Manuscripts of the Mamluk Sultanate and Its Contemporaries. The Conference seeks to explore the full range of manuscript production that occurred from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries CE: from books produced under royal patronage, such as the Mamluk and Ilkhanid Qur’an manuscripts that are almost unmatched for splendor, opulence, and size in the history of the Islamic arts of the book, to simpler, less lavish manuscripts that are no less essential to increasing our understanding of Islamic codicology and palaeography. The Conference will be organized around the Association’s four key working areas: cataloguing, conservation, digitisation, and research and publishing; and papers falling into these broad categories will be included in the relevant panel. www.passionislam.com
I November 2012
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New Violence hits Burma Muslims
I November 2012
Continued from Front Page which were razed. There are no indications of fire damage to the immediate west and east of this zone of destruction. Media accounts and local officials said that many Rohingya in the town fled by sea toward Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, 200 kilometers to the north. Violence renewed between Arakan Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims on October 21 and continued in at least five townships: Minbya, Mrak-U, Myebon, Rathedaung, and Kyauk Pyu. This was the first time violence had reached Kyauk Pyu and most of these other parts of the state since the sectarian violence and related abuses by state security forces against the Rohingya began in early June. The Rohingya have suffered the brunt of the violence. The Burmese government initially said that more than 2,800 houses were burned down in the new violence and that 112 people were killed, an estimate they later reduced to 64. Human Rights Watch fears the death toll is far higher based on allegations from witnesses fleeing scenes of carnage and the government’s well-documented history of underestimating figures that might lead to criticism of the state. In June, Human Rights Watch documented killings, rape, and mass arrests by Burmese security forces against Rohingya Muslims after the
security forces failed to protect both them and Arakan Buddhists during deadly sectarian violence. Since then, government restrictions on humanitarian access to the Rohingya community left many of the displaced – at times as many as 104,000 people – in dire need of food, shelter, and medical care. Prior to this most recent outbreak of violence, the local Arakan Buddhist population had largely resumed life and daily activities as usual. The approximately 75,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), most of them Rohingya, were still taking shelter in at least 40 IDP camps in Sittwe and Kyauktaw townships. The 15 largest camps surround Sittwe. Sittwe’s estimated population of 200,000 people had been divided evenly between Buddhists and Muslims. Now the Rohingya and non-Rohingya Muslim population of Sittwe has been largely segregated to the IDP camps, and Sittwe is nearly devoid of Muslims. The Burmese government denies citizenship to most Rohingya and the protections that come with it. Since communal violence between Rohingya and Arakanese erupted in June, many Rohingya have been compelled to live in squalid camps in Arakan State, where they have been denied access to adequate humanitarian aid and vulnerable to attack from Arakan militants.
The recent resurgence of violence and displacement of thousands more Rohingya will put added pressure on the humanitarian needs in the state, Human Rights Watch said. Humanitarian agencies have had little to no access to remote rural areas where affected Rohingya are located, and some of the IDP camps need adequate shelter, water and sanitation, health, education, and other aid. Moreover, all United Nations and international agency pre-crisis humanitarian aid programs to the Rohingya population were suspended by the central government in June, Some – but not all – have been reauthorized. The approximately 1 million Rohingya in Burma were effectively stripped of the right to citizenship with the passage of the 1982 Citizenship Law, though most have been residents of Arakan State for decades. Both the Rohingya and Arakan communities have long experienced a litany of abuses by the Burmese authorities. “Deploying sufficient security forces to restore order impartially and protect basic rights in Arakan State is necessary, but not enough,” Robertson said. “Burmese government officials and opposition leaders need to condemn the violence and work for lasting solutions to Arakan’s ethnic problems.” www.passionislam.com
I WORLD NEWS
I November 2012
UN envoy concerned by Israeli attacks Palestinian farmers
A high-ranking United Nations official says he is concerned about Israeli settlers’ relentless attacks on Palestinian farmers and their olive trees. UN Special Envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry said in a statement, sent to reporters, on
Sunday that Israel must do more to protect Palestinians and their property in the occupied West Bank, The Associated Press reported. Nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in more than 100 colonies illegally built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and
East al-Quds (Jerusalem). According to an Israeli rights group, since the harvest season began on October 10, the extremist Israelis have either damaged or uprooted at least 450 olive trees owned by the Palestinians. Every year Israeli settlers, mostly armed, carry out attacks during harvest season. Most of the attacks take place close to settlements in the occupied West Bank. Tel Aviv rarely arrests the assailants. Israeli settlers torched dozens of Palestinian olive trees in the occupied West Bank. According to local villagers, settlers torched the trees at several spots simultaneously. Security officials said evidence pointed to an arson attack by residents of the neighboring settlement of Ee-Lai. The attack happened a few days after the cutting-down of almost 70 olive trees in the same village.
Myanmar bans world Islamic body Myanmar’s president blocked a world Islamic body from opening an office in the country, an official said, bowing to rallies against government efforts to help Muslims in unrest-hit Rakhine state. “The president will not allow an OIC office because it is not in accordance with the people’s desires,” said an official from Myanmar leader Thein Sein’s office, after thousands of monks
held the latest protests against the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in two major cities. Thousands of monks protested in the country’s commercial hub Yangon and second-largest city Mandalay. “We cannot accept any OIC office here,” Oattamathara, a monk leading the Mandalay protest, told AFP. Sectarian tensions are running high following Buddhist-Rohingya
clashes in June in western Rakhine which left thousands dead and forced Muslims to seek refuge in temporary shelters. Members of the 57-member OIC toured Rakhine last month after accusations from rights groups that security forces opened fire on Rohingya during the sectarian unrest, prompting concern across the Islamic world. www.passionislam.com
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HRW condemns Syria use of cluster bombs
I November 2012
Human Rights Watch accused the Syrian air force of using cluster bombs against rebels and in populated areas across the country. “Syria’s disregard for its civilian population is all too evident in its air campaign, which now apparently includes dropping these deadly cluster bombs into populated areas,” said Steve Goose, arms director at the New York-based group.
“Cluster bombs have been comprehensively banned by most nations, and Syria should immediately stop all use of these indiscriminate weapons that continue to kill and maim for years,” he said in a statement. HRW reported an increase, notably in the Maaret Al-Numan area where the armed forces have been locked in combat with rebels
for control of the highway linking Damascus to the northern city of Aleppo. But cluster bombs were also being dropped in the provinces of Aleppo, Homs, Latakia and Damascus, it said, basing its findings on videos posted online by Syrian activists. “Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned by the risks posed by the unexploded submunitions to the civilian population, as men and even children can be seen in the videos handling the unexploded submunitions in life-threatening ways.” Syria has not ratified a convention banning cluster bombs that has been adopted by 109 countries since 2008. The weapon is estimated to have claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1965.
US drone strike kills 29 in Somalia A US assassination drone strike has claimed the lives of at least 29 people in southern Somalia. The unmanned aircraft targeted al-Shabab fighters near the Shalanbood region in Merka town. Heavy clashes erupted between al-Shabab fighters and Somali government troops in the same region where at least 24 Somali troops were killed. The US military uses remotecontrolled drones in Somalia for reconnaissance operations and
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targeted killings. Washington has been carrying out assassination attacks using the unmanned aircraft in other countries including Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen. The United States claims the CIArun strikes are aimed at militants. But witness reports and figures offered by local authorities indicate the attacks have led to massive civilian deaths. The UN has condemned the US assassination drone strikes, saying
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they pose a challenge to international law. The Western-backed transitional government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab fighters for the past five years, and is propped up by a strong African Union force from Uganda, Burundi, and Djibouti. Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia remains among the ones generating the highest number of refugees and internally-displaced persons in the world. www.passionislam.com
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Oman eyes first underwater hotel
The shipbuilding arm of Dubai World has announced plans to build a series of underwater hotels in the emirate. BIG InvestConsult, the Swiss contractor which this summer signed a deal with Dubai-based Drydocks World to build a series of underwater hotels in the emirate, is planning
to expand the aquatic hospitality concept to Oman, it was reported. “In our internal analysis, Oman has been defined as one of those locations where the Water Discus Hotel could be implemented. The project is still in the conceptual stage. However, we have planned to find an exact location within three
I November 2012
to four months. Then we will start to develop the project and look for a co-investor,” Bogdan Gutkowski, president and CEO of Swiss-based BIG InvestConsult, told the Oman Daily Observer newspaper. The project will be the first underwater hotel in Oman and follows the announcement in May that BIG InvestConsult had struck a similar deal with Drydocks World, the shipbuilding arm of Dubai World. According to Drydocks World, as well as providing leisure facilities, the development will also include a laboratory for ocean environment protection and research. Drydocks World did not provide any details on the cost of the project or a potential completion date. Drydocks World, part of government-owned holding company Dubai World, is in the process of restructuring US$2.2bn worth of debt.
US, “Israel” stage largest common drill The US and “Israel” have embarked on the largest exercise in their long military relationship. US military forces arrived into the Zionist entity and took part in the largest joint missile military exercise of its kind. One thousand American soldiers were in “Israel” and a further 2,000 US troops in Europe and the United States took part via remote war computing systems An equal number of “Israeli”
soldiers were involved. During the drill, named Austere Challenge 12, “Israeli” air systems, such as the Iron Dome anti-rocket shield and Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile batteries, were deployed, as well as US and “Israeli” Patriot batteries. American naval ships carrying the Aegis combat system took part, and one US Navy ship docked at Haifa. Most of the drill involved computer simulations of incoming
rockets, though in the last stage, a Patriot was fired at a mock projectile. The drill cost the US $30 million, while “Israel” contributed NIS 30 million ($7.85 million) for the exercise.
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Shariah-compliant MasterCard Launched
I November 2012
A bank in the United Arab Emirates has rolled out a new MasterCard that includes an embedded compass pointing the way to Makkah.
The card released by Gulf stateowned bank Al Hillal will allow the cardholders to orientate themselves towards prayers five times a day.
UAE launches own version of Wikipedia The UAE has unveiled an online encyclopaedia that allows users to contribute to and modify content in a vein similar to the popular Wikipedia site. UAEPedia.ae follows an ‘open source’ model, allowing the public to create and edit their own entries on the website. In its first phase, UAEOPedia.ae will only be available in Arabic, but theTelecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), says there are plans to add other languages later. Currently, the web site hosts close to 1,000 articles distributed over 18 main subjects including geography, history, economy, language and literature, as well as hundreds of sub topics related to the UAE. “The encyclopaedia is an embodiment of the principles of a knowledge-based society,” HE
Mohamad Nasser Al Ghanim, TRA director general, was quoted as saying. The TRA will be hoping to emulate the success of editable online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, which is estimated to have an audience of around 365m readers worldwide. Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi-based online Arabic content provider firm Taghreedat signed a joint partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, the group behind Wikpedia, to set up courses to aim to improve the number of Arabic editors working on the web encyclopaedia. Supported by twofour54, Abu Dhabi’s government-backed media free zone, the partnership aims to set up set up courses to train internet users from the Arab world to create high quality, Arabic language content. www.passionislam.com
The card also complies with Islamic laws banning charging interest on loans in a bid to appeal to the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. According to scholars, Islamic law or Shariah forbids ‘riba’, the charging of interest on loans, because it enables the rich to exploit the poor, creates social and economic crisis. Cardholders will also have access to travel vouchers to pay for the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, the report said. MasterCard spokesman James Issokson said that ‘a percentage of the money spent using the card is donated to local charities.” “We continue to see a growing demand, especially in the Middle East, for Islamic banking in general, and more specifically in our case, for cards that are Shariah-compliant in accordance with the tenets of the Islamic faith,” he added.
Latest US drone missiles kill 16 in Pakistan
In its latest US assassination drone strike, 16 people ha`ve been killed in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region. According to local officials, the unmanned aircraft targeted South Waziristan’s tribal region The aircraft reportedly fired four missiles on a regional compound in the area. last month Pakistanis took part in a massive two-day peace march led by major Pakistani opposition figure, Imran Khan, in protest against US assassination drone strikes in the country. The drone strikes have contributed to the rise of anti-US sentiment. Despite Pakistani government’s repeated calls on Washington to end the drone attacks, the US government continues its strikes on the tribal regions of the country.
German cabinet approves circumcision law
I WORLD NEWS
I November 2012
In Case You Missed It
Chancelor Angela Merkel’s cabinet has passed a draft law to allow circumcision in Germany after a court said the rite amounted to grievous bodily harm, a ruling that caused international uproar. The new legislation, which must now be passed by the German parliament, “makes clear that circumcision is possible in Germany,”
said Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger in a statement. The ministry added the new text would “remove the legal uncertainty created by the judgement of the regional court in Cologne.” While considering a case brought against a doctor who had circumcised a Muslim boy, the court
in the western German city ruled that the rite was tantamount to grievous bodily harm. The decision united Jewish and Muslim groups in opposition and caused outrage from religious and political leaders in Israel and Muslim countries. Diplomats admitted that the ruling proved “disastrous” for Germany’s international image, particularly in light of its Nazi past. Merkel was reported to have warned that Germany risked becoming a “laughing stock” if it banned circumcision. The new bill stipulates certain provisos for a boy to be circumcised. Among these conditions, the draft law stipulates the practice must be carried out “professionally” and “with the most effective pain relief”. An exception must also be made in individual cases if there are health risks, for example if the infant is suspected of being a haemophiliac. Germany is home to about four million Muslims and more than 200,000 Jews.
Americans losing trust in main mediastream A prominent political activist says a majority of Americans are rapidly losing their trust in the Western main stream media due to its unbalanced reporting of ongoing events around the world. “The narrative diverges so much from the reality at this point that people just wake up and go out into the world everyday and see that what’s happening, what’s being told to them, as opposed to what’s actually happening on the ground, are not the same thing,” radio host Don DeBar said in an interview with Press TV. DeBar also criticized the media for misrepresenting facts, noting that “some of the things like the official unemployment rate and the constant cheerleading for the economy, that it’s getting better when people are falling further and further into an
economic abyss, that’s at the basis of their loss of confidence.” The analyst said media networks filter information sent out over the airwaves “to build public support or negate public opposition to policies that are made in Washington.” “The very narrow band of information that gets out to the American people” can be attributed to “news outlets which are very tightly held -- there’s a very small circle of owners that own all of the means of communication here,” DeBar said. This comes as former CNN reporter Amber Lyon has stated that the US-based network and other American mainstream media are engaged in the “constant demonization” of countries in the Middle East -- particularly Iran. Lyon also revealed that CNN gets paid by despotic regimes to
produce and broadcast what she referred to as “infomercials for dictators,” saying that the sponsored content of such pieces aired on CNN International is paid for by regimes and governments. Lyon, an award-winning reporter, also said that CNN was bribed by Bahrain’s regime to censor her documentary which exposed the country’s brutal crackdown on popular protests. Western media groups keep Americans in the dark regarding world affairs, but “if it wasn’t for Press TV, I wouldn’t know that there was even a place called Bahrain let alone that the Saudis occupied it and they’ve been killing Bahrainis since they’ve started occupying it when the Bahraini government was about to fall to a peaceful, indigenous uprising,” DeBar concluded.
First Headscarved Mayor of Europe
I November 2012
Budget hotel chain eyes 50 hotels in Saudi Arabia
A new woman mayor in Bosnia who is the first in her country and the continent to wear the hijab headscarf, said her election was “a model for Europe and Islam.” “This is a great victory of democracy. My fellow citizens showed a great open spirit because they elected me first as a woman but also as a woman who wears a veil,” respecting Islam, said Amra Babic, elected Sunday in the town of Visoko. The 43-year-old won 30 percent of the votes in the October 7 local elections in Visoko, a town of some 40,000 inhabitants near the capital city of Sarajevo. “Islam is very clear regarding the woman. It reserves for her a place
in the public life and all those who interpret it correct know that this is the way it is,” she stated. A mother of three and an economist, Babic added, “I believe that my headscarf should not be a hindrance… Europe will understand that it has to do with people who respect their own identity, but who are tolerant enough to respect the rights of others.” Muslims are the biggest religious group in Bosnia and make up about 40 percent of the country’s population of 3.8 million. The hijab was banned under Communism when Bosnia was part of the federal Yugoslavia from 1945 until the early 1990s. www.passionislam.com
EU wins 2012 Nobel Peace Prize The European Union (EU) has won the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize at a time that social unrest and financial problems are shaking the very pillars of the 27-nation bloc. Announcing the award, the Nobel Committee President Thorbjoern Jagland acknowledged the EU’s current financial woes and social unrest as many analysts also questioned the timing of the event coinciding with a wave of unrest in the bloc.
The award comes as the EU has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy program and plans more embargoes against Syria. The bloc has also slapped several rounds of sanctions on Syria which has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 and many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil. www.passionislam.com
Premier Inn is aiming to open 50 hotels in Saudi Arabia within the next 10 years, a senior executive has revealed. Darroch Crawford, managing director of Premier Inn Middle East & Africa, said the biggest potential market for the brand in the Middle East was the Gulf kingdom. “We are about to announce our first project and we believe (Saudi Arabia) has the scope for at least 50 Premier Inns over the next 10 years,” he said in comments published by Hotelier Middle East. This is double the estimate of Premier Inn hotels Crawford envisaged in the kingdom back in 2010. “It’s got the biggest potential of all of the countries in the region because of the size and the population,” he said, adding: “It could be more.” Crawford confirmed to Hotelier Middle East that the figures had been revised positively. “Premier Inn is planning a fairly rapid expansion throughout the Middle East and Africa, with hotels currently under construction at Abu Dhabi International Airport and Doha Education City to add to the four already open in the UAE,” he said. Further GCC projects are planned in Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia. The company currently has development teams in place in the UK (where there are more than 630 hotels and 50,000 rooms), Dubai, New Delhi and Singapore. Crawford added there is “a view to a rapid roll out of the brand in the GCC countries, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Turkey, India, Sri Lanka and throughout Asia Pacific”.
I WORLD NEWS
I November 2012
Up to 5 years imprisonment to insult religion in Russia
The Duma, Russia’s parliament proposed a new law that insulting a holy site would carry a penalty of up to five years. The Duma, Russia’s parliament, announced a campaign last week to “protect the rights of religious people.”
Adding teeth to the initiative, the parliament has also now proposed a new law that would punish anyone who insults the feelings of religious believers with up to three years in jail. Insulting a holy site would carry a penalty of up to five years. Both the campaign to protect the
rights of believers and the proposed changes to the criminal code -touted as sending a strong message to anti-religious extremists -- have gotten support from representatives from all of the traditional religions in Russia. In expressing their support, the country’s religious leaders have mentioned the Pussy Riot scandal, the vandalism of crosses around the country and the riots across the Muslim world in reaction to the film “Innocence of Muslims.” “To counteract insults to citizens’ religious beliefs and feelings, as well as to protect holy objects, sites and ceremonies from insult,” the deputies in the Duma want to put a new entry in the Criminal Code to make insulting religious beliefs a criminal act. Insulting the feelings of religious believers could be punishable by a fine of some $10,000 and three years in prison; insulting churches, mosques or synagogues would carry a higher fine and a five-year prison sentence.
Indian upset by Dubai Taj Mahal
A proposal to build a Dubai replica of the Taj Mahal up to four times bigger than the original has been slammed by cultural officials in India. The project, known as Taj Arabia and planned for the emirate’s 41m sqft Falconcity development, will boast a five-star hotel with 300 rooms when completed in 2014. The plan to copy the UNESCO
world heritage site in Aggra has however drawn vociferous criticism from some. “It is patently wrong and absurd,” former Agra legislator Satish Chandra Gupta told India’s IANS news agency. “This kind of distortion and in principle duplication of history artificially makes no sense.” “You cannot re-create history.
Agra must get its share in terms of royalty from anyone using the brand Taj Mahal,” he added. Others called on the developer behind Taj Arabia, Global Group, to scrap the project altogether. The US$36.5bn Falconcity of Wonders development in Dubai, which Taj Arabia will form a part of, was originally announced in 2005. Initial plans proposed building lifesize reconstructions of other famous historical landmarks such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, as well as monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and Leaning Tower of Pisa. In light of the emirate’s property slump in 2008-2009, many of Dubai’s more audacious construction projects have been pared back or cancelled altogether.
India’s first glass mosque opens
I November 2012
India now have its first glass mosque - in the country’s northeast. Madina Masjid, an imposing and resplendent structure of glass dome and glass minarets, was formally open last month in Meghalaya’s
capital. “It is an architectural marvel,” Congress legislator Sayeedullah Nongrum, who helped in the mosque’s construction, said. “It took us one and a half years
to complete the only glass mosque in India and the largest one in the northeastern region,” said Nongrum, who is also general secretary of the Shillong Muslim Union (SMU). The four-storey building - 120 feet high and 61 feet wide -- stands inside an Idgah Complex in the city’s Lahan area and is close to the garrison grounds along the Umshyrpi river. At night, the mosque’s glasswork glows and glitters. The mosque houses a new orphanage named Meherba, a library and a ‘markaz’. Madina Masjid has a capacity of around 2,000 people and has separate space for women to offer prayers. Around Rs.2 crore was spent on the building, with fund from SMU and well-wishers. India has about 165 milllion Muslims, the third largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan.
Arab Spring countries face food insecurity
Somalia tops three-quarters of African countries that are at high or extreme risk of food crisis due to conflicts, drought. Three-quarters of African countries and several “Arab Spring” nations are at high or extreme risk of a food crisis, according to an analysis published. In a survey of 197 countries, 59 are most at risk of food insecurity, the British consultancy Maplecroft said. Thirty-nine of these are African, out of the 11 countries that are in the “extreme risk” category, nine are in Africa. They include Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), which are ranked joint first, Burundi (4th), Chad (5th), Ethiopia (6th), Eritrea (7th), South Sudan (9th) and the Comoros (10th). Haiti (3rd) and Afghanistan (8th)
are the other two countries in the extreme risk category. “Although a food crisis has not emerged yet, there is potential for food-related upheaval across the most vulnerable regions,” including sub-Saharan African and Arab states, said Maplecroft’s Helen Hodge. The 48 countries considered to be at “high” risk for food supplies include Yemen (15th), Syria (16th), Pakistan (27th), Iraq (54th) and Libya (58th). Egypt, ranked 71st of the 197 countries, and Tunisia, 100th, are among medium-risk countries. Sources of food insecurity range from conflict and instability in the Sahel, DR Congo and eastern Africa to rising prices for corn, caused by the worst US drought in 50 years and declining production in former Soviet countries, Maplecroft said.
The report, called the Food Security Risk Index, is intended for governments, NGOs and businesses to identify countries that could be susceptible to hunger or unrest because of food shortages or price hikes. “The drivers of the ‘Arab Awakening [Spring]’ were varied and complex and included long standing public anger at high levels of governmental corruption and oppressive tactics against populations and political opposition,” said Maplecroft. “When these factors combine with food insecurity, sparked by rising global prices, it can create an environment for social unrest and regime change.” Notable changes compared to last year’s rankings were North Korea (19th on the 2011 list); Egypt (88th) and Syria (89th).
Dubai unveils Real Madrid football academy
I November 2012
In Case You Missed It
Spanish football club Real Madrid, which earlier this year unveiled plans for a US$1bn branded resort in Ras Al Khaimah, has increased its links with the UAE with the announcement of the launch of a football academy in Dubai. Baniyas Investment and Development, the investment arm of Baniyas Football Club, on Sunday announced the inauguration of the Real Madrid Foundation Football Academy in Dubai. Set up in association with
the Real Madrid Foundation, the organisers said the academy will offer specialist training to those aged 4 to 17-years old and will focus on technical, social, educative and moral aspects, as well as on field tactical practices. “After the success of the Real Madrid Foundation Football Academy in Abu Dhabi and in response to strong demand, we decided to launch operations for the Academy in Dubai,” said Waleid Gamal Eldien, deputy CEO of Baniyas Investment
and Development Company. The academies will take place at Brighton College in Abu Dhabi and at the Dubai Municipality Club Field. The announcement comes just months after a ceremony was held to unveil plans for a US$1bn Real Madrid Resort Island, which is set to open in Ras Al Khaimah by 2015, despite having not yet secured funding. Speaking at a press conference in March 2012, CEO of the venture Louis Armand De Rouge said developers were still in the process of luring investors to the project, but planned to start construction in six months. “This is such a unique project, that I don’t see any drawbacks in people being attracted to funding,” he told reporters. The development, which is a joint venture between Spanish football team Real Madrid, the government of Ras Al Khaimah and Luxembourgbased RAK Marjan Island Football Investment Fund, will begin building work following a roadshow which aims to bring in investors, he said at the time.
Rajas become Bulls first Asian Sponsor Bradford Bulls have announced that Rajas will be their first Asian Sponsor. Rajas, who are suppliers of fast food and have outlets throughout the UK, have signed a one year deal to become partners of the Bulls. Bulls Chairman Gerry Sutcliffe said today: “This is a very significant investment both for the club and for the sport. “Rajas will be one of, if not the first, Asian businesses to become partners with a Rugby League Club. We are delighted that leading businesses from the Asian Community are coming on board and we want to make sure this is the first of many.” Omar Khan, who took over the Bulls in September, is delighted
with the partnership: “I am delighted Rajas have come on board with us. “They approached me as soon as we took over the club and asked if they could help us and today’s announcement is the culmination of that process. Rajas are well known in the Asian Community as a quality company and they have provided a significant investment for the club with this sponsorship. They are the first Asian business to join with us and we are delighted to welcome them to the Bulls.” “Rashid Bashir of Rajas said of the agreement: “Like everyone else I was following the fortunes of Bradford Bulls and when Omar Khan took over the club I asked him how I could help. “I am delighted and proud to
be the first Asian Sponsor of the club and I am sure that both our businesses will grow as a result of this partnership. My business started in 2001 and has expanded from its Bradford roots and I am sure this partnership will help it grow further. It is for a one year term initially but I am sure it will grow into a very long term relationship.” www.passionislam.com
I November 2012
SPORT I 23
I November 2012
AFC apologizes to the UAE over ‘Sand Monkeys’ remark on its website Asian soccer’s governing body has apologized for referring to the United Arab Emirates national team as “Sand Monkeys.” The comment came in an article published on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) website and set off a wave of criticism in the Gulf country. The AFC called it a “genuine mistake” inserted by a new writer who saw “Sand Monkeys” wrongly listed as the team’s nickname on its Wikipedia page. The team’s actual nickname is Al-Abyad, or The White, and the Wikipedia page has been corrected. A spokesperson for the AFC said, that “he [the writer] was reprimanded and the reference was removed immediately. It was a really bad day for him and he was mortified by his
mistake. But this was a genuine mistake and it has nothing to do with racism,” according to the Gulf news. “If we let such terms pass today, next it will be Saudi Arabia or Bahrain that gets insulted. We cannot allow insults to be directed at Arabs,” UAE Football Association President Yousuf al-Serkal said. The offensive statement, published on the Malaysian based AFC’s website also drew an angry response from UAE fans as they took to the internet to voice their opinions. “The AFC must be punished and have their website shut down for this offence against UAE,” an Emirati man said on a football blog attached to social networking site Facebook. Another Facebook voiced the opinion that “monkey for most Asia
people is an icon of speed and smartness. I think this is the reason for the problem.” AFC said it wanted to “apologize for any hurt this might have caused to soccer officials and fans in the UAE.”
Dubai-linked Rangers eyes London Stock Exchange listing
Scottish football club Rangers, in which Dubai businessman Arif Naqvi is the biggest shareholder, has announced its intention to list on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. Rangers said it intends to raise up to £20m through an institutional investor placing and limited public offering. Arif Naqvi, chief executive and
founder of private equity firm Abraaj Capital owns just under 18 percent in the club which went into liquidation during the summer. Naqvi is said to have invested £2m in the club in June. The funds by the listing will be used for strengthening the player squad, improving and developing the club’s properties and facilities, as well as providing additional working
capital. It is anticipated that listing will become effective before the end of the year, Rangers said in a statement. Since its formation in 1872, The Rangers Football Club has become one of the world’s most successful clubs, having won 54 League titles, 33 Scottish Cups, 27 League Cups and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972. The decision represented a spectacular fall from grace for the 54-times Scottish champions. Rangers went into administration in February before a takeover last month by a consortium led by English businessman Charles Green Naqvi, who founded Abraaj in 2002 and has raised $7bn since then, said in March he believes an IPO will provide the company with a currency to continue to grow. Dubai-based Abraaj Capital, the Middle East’s largest private equity firm, owns stakes in budget carrier Air Arabia and supermarket chain Spinney
SPORT I 25
I November 2012
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Creating the Universe?
I SPECIAL FEATURE
I November 2012
In our day, some circles hold the view that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution does not contradict with religion, and that those who renounce the theory of evolution unnecessarily promote it. This view, however, includes many misconceptions. It is the result of a failure to grasp the main tenet of Darwinism and the extremely dangerous outlook it mandates. That is why, for those who have faith in the existence of God, the mere Creator of all living-beings, yet carry the conviction that “God created living beings through evolution”, it would be quite useful to primarily review the fundamental tenets of the theory. In this essay, in an endeavor to warn believers who have this misconception, some essential scientific and logical explanations regarding why the theory of evolution is not compatible with Islam and the fact of Creation it introduces to mankind, are provided. The basic tenet of Darwinism holds that living beings came into being spontaneously, as a result of coincidences. This view is completely contrary to the faith of Creation. The most important misconception of those who think that the theory of evolution does not contradict with creation is their assumption that the basic assertion of the theory of evolution is that living beings came into existence through evolving from one another. Accordingly, they comment: “There is no reason why God did not create all living beings by making them evolve from one another; so what is the rationale to raise objection to it?”
However, there is a very important point here which is ignored: the essential difference between the advocates of evolution and creation is not based on the question of whether “living beings appeared individually or through evolving from each other.” The main question is “whether living beings came into existence by chance and as a result of natural events, or were they consciously created?” The theory of evolution, as known, claims that inorganic chemical compounds came together by chance and as a result of randomly occurring natural phenomena, they formed first the building blocks of life and ultimately life. Consequently, in its core, this claim accepts time, inorganic matter and chance to be creative powers. Even the layman, who is somewhat acquainted with the literature of evolution, is aware that this is the basis of the claims of evolutionists. Not surprisingly, despite being an evolutionist scientist, Pierre Paul Grassé, acknowledges the implausibility of the theory and summarizes what the concept of “coincidence” means for evolutionists: “…Chance becomes a sort of providence, which, under the cover of atheism, is not named but which is secretly worshipped.” (Pierre Paul Grassé, Evolution of Living Organisms, New York, Academic Press, 1977, p.107) That life is an arbitrary by-product of the compound formed by time, matter and coincidence, on the other hand, is a nonsense unacceptable
by those who have faith in the existence of God as the sole Creator of all living beings. Believers should assume the responsibility to save societies from such perverted and unreal beliefs and warn them. The claim of “coincidence” put forward by the theory of evolution is denied by science. Another significant fact that deserves a special consideration about this subject is that scientific discoveries also definitely refute the evolutionist claims that “life emerged as a result of pure coincidences and natural phenomena.” This is because there are extraordinarily complex examples of design in life. Even the cell of a living being is a great wonder of design that totally annuls the concept of “coincidence”. This superior design and plan in life are certainly indications of God’s unique and matchless creation, of His eternal knowledge and might. The efforts of evolutionists to explain the origins of life with chance are rejected by science in the 20th century and today, in the 21st century, they met a total defeat. (See Harun Yahya, Blunders of Evolutionists, Vural Publishing) Indeed, the reason why they deny Creation although they see this fact is their blind adherence to irreligiousness. God did not create living beings through an evolutionary process. Since the existence of creation, in other words, a conscious design, is obvious, the only question that remains is “through what kind of a process the living beings were created.” The misconception of
By Harun Yahya - Continued next month
I November 2012
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