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Sport News Discrimination Playing a Starring role in Europe

Featured Islam in Romania

World Powers have‘FAILED’ Issue: 22

January 2010

Gazans Full story on page13


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I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

the Passion -

Passion Islam

I January 2010

By Shakir Ahmed

British Muslims should take example from US Muslims An American Muslim advocacy group (CAIR) launched a massive advertisement campaign in New York City’s infamous Times Square in a bid to present to millions of Americans a “fair” and “accurate” portrayal of Islam. The ad is expected to run on New Year’s Eve when at least one million will gather for celebrations. This shows how advance US

Muslims are in portraying the true religion, like it or not mast majority of UK non Muslims still see Islam as a violent religion, mainly down to the mainstream UK media’s false coverage and also their own ignorance to learn the true Islam through the Sunnah and Quran. Why can’t the British Muslim do the same have a massive campaign

leading up to New Year eve in the heart of London, it is time British Muslims did more to educate non Muslims of our faith to tell them that this religion is pure safe and nothing to be scared of, let’s send out the same message that US Muslims are doing.

I think it’s time?

Write to: Editor, Passion Islam, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: info@passionislam.com - www.passionislam.com

This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran -

Views expressed in the Passion column are of the contributers and not Necessarily of Passion Islam


UK drops terrorism charges against Libyan Passion Islam

I January 2010

A Libyan national who has been under restriction for the past six years in the United Kingdom on terrorism charges has won his long court battle against the UK Home Office and Security Services. Faraj Hassan told Press TV that his solicitors tried hard and finally succeed in convincing a High Court judge that he is not a terrorist threat to the United Kingdom. “They couldn’t manage to fight this case. All the allegations they had against me were based on suspicions,” he said.

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Hassan, 28, was arrested in 2002 shortly after he entered Britain. He spent 15 months in detention without trial before eventually being charged in 2003 under the UK Terrorism Act. He has been subject to a control order ever since. “After spending months in detention I was told that they wanted to extradite me to Italy. I fought this case for approximately five years,” Hassan said. “After my acquittal in absentia in Italy, the Italian government was not interested in me anymore,

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therefore I was released under strict conditions,” he told Press TV. “Myself and my family were for two-and-a-half years isolated from the community, we were not

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allowed to use the basic things that any human being is entitled to such as mobile phones and internet,” the Libyan said about his lifestyle in the UK


E-borders project “illegal” in EU, UK warned 4

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LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

The British government was warned that its program to electronically gather personal information on all travellers entering or leaving the UK could be illegal. A new report released by the all-party Home Affairs Committee highlighted a number of problems in the UK’s “e-borders” project to digitalise immigration control, which is set to cost taxpayers £1.2 billion ($1.7 bn). “The major stumbling block, and a very disappointing oversight, is that we are sure that what the program requires will be illegal under the EU Treaty,” said committee chair Keith Vaz. “It is shocking that money has already been spent on a program which could never be implemented,” warned Vaz, who is a former minister. The report found that an EU member state cannot impose any requirement other than simple production of a valid identity document on an EU citizen except in exceptional circumstances. The UK Borders Agency (UKBA), it said, is “imposing expensive requirements on the private transport sector for the e-borders program, in the name of urgent public good, without apparently having ascertained that the program requirements are lawful.” The parliamentary committee

Passion Islam

also suggested that there were problems with the project relating to national data protection laws and found that there was “no proof” of having any serious talks with the European Commission on this. “This program is supposed to cover tens of millions of passengers intra-EU account for a very significant chunk of travel in and out of the UK,” said Vaz. “Until this legality is resolved UKBA must just halt any further work to “go live” on intra-EU routes. We cannot have another massive IT project which flounders or is even abandoned at huge cost to the taxpayer, it is simply unacceptable,” he said. The report said that the government must also make it as a priority to discuss all the national level data protection problems with

I January 2010

the relevant bodies. “UKBA must report the results of these discussions to the Committee by the end of February at the latest, and in the meantime, any proposals to extend ‘go live’ to further intraEU routes must be put on hold,” the MPs said. The Home Office has claimed that the e-Government program is vital for securing border controls, stopping criminals fleeing the country and increasing protection against international terrorism. Data received by travel operators such as credit card details, names of fellow passengers and car registration numbers is collected and checked against ‘watch lists’. Some 60% of journeys out of Britain are checked, this is expected to rise to 95% by the end of 2010. www.passionislam.com


London Jewish school guilty of discrimination

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I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

The UK Supreme Court ruled that JFS school broke the law by granting admissions based on ethnicity. A Jewish school in London is found guilty of racial discrimination as the UK top court describes the school’s admission policy as based on ethnic origins, not faith. The Supreme Court ruled that the popular JFS school north of the capital broke the law by granting admissions

Passion Islam

based on ethnicity. The ruling, passed by a narrow five-to-four majority by the nine judges sitting on Britain’s highest judicial body, received criticism from Jewish leaders, who argued it could have an impact on other Jewish organizations in Britain. The controversy arose after the school refused to admit a 12-year-old boy whose mother was not born into Judaism but had converted at a nonOrthodox synagogue — a conversion process unrecognized by the Office of the Chief Rabbi of Britain. The school accordingly rejected the boy’s application, saying that his mother was not Jewish, and therefore the boy was not either. The family’s suit against JFS

I January 2010

was rejected until an appeals court overturned the previous rulings in July and said, “The admissions policy should be based on the faith itself, not origin.” The school, backed by Britain’s Jewish community, appealed to the Supreme Court but the judicial body ruled the school had discriminated against the boy on the basis of his ethnic origin. Russell Kett, the chairman of governors at JFS, formerly the Jews’ Free School, said they were disappointed by the decision and would now try to establish a more workable solution for the school’s admission test. www.passionislam.com

Young British Muslims honoured The Muslim Council of Britain honoured those grassroots community organisations who inspire excellence in their work with young people.In holding its second Young Muslim Beacon Awards at the Westminster House, the 2009 winners were the Leicestershire based-BUILD Development Project, the national student body known as the Federation of Students Islamic Societies (FOSIS), and the disability charity the RADAR Leadership Project. The Awards were presented by MCB Secretary General Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari, Lord Altaf Sheikh of Cornhill, MP Alistair Burt, Opposition Assistant Chief Whip and the Chair of the Department for Communities and Local Government Select Committee, MP Dr Phyllis Starkey MP. The ceremony was attended by over 100 of MCB’s Affiliates, youth groups and civic society representative bodies from across the UK, which saw people from all backgrounds converge to celebrate the work of the three organisations receiving the

awards. Speaking on the occasion, Lord Sheikh lauded the contributions of British Muslims to the British society and said they have played a key role in developing a multicultural society in the country. He said the British Muslims by sheer dint of hard work and labour have been able to establish a place for themselves in the various occupations and can be found in all almost all profession including the armed forces. In his commendation of the winners, the Awards’ external judge Neil Jameson, Executive Director of London Citizens, said, “it is inspirational to see all the outstanding work that is happening. The winners have all carried out exceptional work. Their work is to be highly commended and will hopefully serve as examples to the rest of the country”. Presenting the Awards, Alistair Burt said, “The Muslim Council of Britain wants to emphasise what their young people are doing and the contribution they are making to the nation arrives

at the most important time in the development of our society. It’s very, very important that everybody sees this and welcomes it, and I think this is the best counter to those who seek to separate and divide and you’ll find us all standing shoulder to shoulder to defend our unity.” Dr. Phyllis Starkey appreciated MCB’s Youth Committee in encouraging young people within the community to reach out to the communities in Britain to play their full part as active citizens of this country. “It is incredibly important as you are examples for your community and for the country as a whole,” he said.

RADIO & TV COMING SOON


Bradford trainee barrister is youngest Muslim JP Passion Islam

I January 2010

The youngest female Muslim magistrate in the country was sworn in at a ceremony at Bradford Magistrates’ Court. Faiza Ali, 23, of Bradford, was among three new magistrates and one transferee to take part in the ceremony. Miss Ali – along with Helen Langley, 59, of Calderdale, Mohammed Amin Zaman, 36, of Bradford, and Katy Blake, who transferred from Bristol – has now joined the 265 magistrates in Bradford. The new recruits were due to help fill the gap left by the retirement of three magistrates with a combined

LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

service of more than 60 years. Miss Ali said: “It feels great, but I do feel that all the credit goes to my parents for supporting me, for trusting me to be out there in the real world and trust my decisions to allow everything I have wanted to do in my life. “I have always wanted to do something for the community, it has been my interest since childhood. “The role itself is amazing – it’s tremendous and it’s good to know and be part of society, not just serving for the money, but serving to benefit other people voluntarily.” Miss Ali is training to become a barrister at the City Law School in

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London and has given up her time for numerous causes in the past, including being a panel member for the Youth Offending Team. She said she hoped her work as a magistrate and as a barrister would help benefit Bradford. She said: “I would hope to help create a safer environment in Bradford, so it’s easy for every girl to walk around in the streets and for parents to trust the girls to be out there and support them in their education.” Anyone interested in becoming a magistrate should contact Jane Sturmey on (01274) 302034 or visit directgov.co.uk.

Terrorism officers admit to monitoring Muslim children The Times discloses an email sent by a police officer in the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit to community groups involved in the region’s Prevent programme that suggests that police forces are monitoring nurseries and children as young as four in their counter-radicalisation efforts. According to The Times: ‘…an officer in the West Midlands counterterrorism unit wrote: “I do hope that you will tell me about persons, of whatever age, you think may have been radicalised or be vulnerable to radicalisation ... Evidence suggests that radicalisation can take place from the age of 4.”’ The paper reports that ‘The police unit confirmed that counter-terrorist officers specially trained in identifying children and young people vulnerable to radicalisation had visited nursery schools.’ ‘Arun Kundnani, of the Institute of Race Relations, contacted the officer and said he was told that officers had visited nursery schools. ‘Mr Kundnani added: “He did seem to think it was standard. He said it wasn’t just him or his unit that was doing it. He said the indicators were they [children] might draw pictures of bombs and say things like ‘all Christians are bad’ or that they

believe in an Islamic state. It seems that nursery teachers in the West Midlands area are being asked to look out for radicalisation. He also said that targeting young children was important because they would be left aware of what was inappropriate to say at school. He felt that it was necessary to cover nurseries as well as primary and secondary schools. He said it was a precaution and that he wasn’t expecting to come back with a list.”’ The Times report will do little to allay fears among British Muslims, whatever the assurances given by John Denham at the Prevent national conference that the programme is

not about ‘covert surveillance’ or ‘stigmatis[ing] or demonis[ing] Muslim communities’. It seems bizarre that the police should be targeting toddlers and those of pre-school age using the follies of their parents as justification. Further, the police officer’s remark that being visited by counter terrorism police would leave young children ‘aware of what was inappropriate to say at school’ is nothing short of terrifying. The same remark leveled at youngsters from any other ethnic or faith community would be inconceivable. Little wonder that Kundnani’s report on Prevent, ‘Spooked! How not to prevent violent extremism’, found that its methodology and delivery resulted in Muslims being treated as a ‘suspect community’. Denham said in his speech ‘Identifying someone at risk in any circumstances is not easy. It is even more complex in this area where the ‘risk factors’ are still not well understood. ‘So we cannot take that trust for granted - we have to build it.’ How relationships of trust can be built when parents live in fear of their young child being observed for signs of radicalization is impossible to comprehend.


I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

I January 2010

Health professionals speak out against detention of children

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Passion Islam

Every year hundreds of children in the UK are detained in immigration centres because their families face deportation, this policy is harmful and must change say medical experts. The Royal Colleges of Paediatrics, GPs and Psychiatrists say other countries have found alternatives to detention and want the British government to take a different approach to stop the physical and psychological damage suffered by children. Dr Rosalyn Proop, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said, ‘These children are among the most vulnerable in our communities and detention causes unnecessary harm to their mental and physical health. The current situation is unacceptable and we urge the Government to adopt alternatives to detention without delay.’ The average stay of children at Yarl’s Wood, the UK’s largest immigration removal centre, is fifteen days but a third are detained for more than a month. Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners says this cannot continue. ‘Detaining children for any length of time, often without proper explanation, is a terrifying experience that can have lifelong consequences. As well as the potential psychological impact, these children invariably experience poor physical health as they cannot access immunisation and preventative services.

As a civilised society, we cannot sit back and allow these practices to continue they are unethical and unacceptable. GPs work at the heart of their local communities and are well placed to work with families, agencies and the government to come up with alternatives that will improve the health and life chances of these children and young people.’ The Royal College of Nursing has also been highly critical of the treatment of child detainees and has backed calls to change the current policy. David Wood, head of Criminality and Detention for the UK Border Agency, says detaining families is always a last resort. ‘When we do have to detain people, their wellbeing is a priority - Yarl’s Wood is registered with the Care Quality Commission who regulate healthcare in the UK. We agree with the Royal Colleges that families at Yarl’s Wood should get the same level of care available on the NHS, and they do. Medical care includes sixteen full-time nurses including a paediatric and mental health nurse, full-time independent social workers, daily attendance by a GP, child focussed counselling and attending midwives and dentist.’ That view is not shared by charities like Medical Justice, set up in 2005 to expose and challenge medical abuse, it claims many detainees are denied treatment for serious medical conditions.

Law reform plan after arrest warrant for Israeli

The UK Government is “urgently” considering reforms to the legal system after a British court issued an arrest warrant for Israeli politician Tzipi Livni, it was revealed. Foreign Secretary David Miliband said it was important that senior figures from Israel could visit the UK and have a “proper dialogue”. The warrant against Livni was apparently granted by a London court over last weekend at the request of Palestinian plaintiffs. It was revoked when it emerged the former foreign minister was not

due to visit Britain after all. Livni has claimed the court was “abused” by individuals who wanted to see her put on trial over last year’s assault on Gaza. The hard-line Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has branded the legal action “absurd”. In a statement, Miliband said he was keen to “avoid this sort of situation arising again”. “Israel is a strategic partner and a close friend of the UK,” he said. “We are determined to protect and develop these ties. Israeli leaders

like leaders from other countries must be able to visit and have a proper dialogue with the British Government. “The procedure by which arrest warrants can be sought and issued without any prior knowledge or advice by a prosecutor is an unusual feature of the system in England and Wales. “The Government is looking urgently at ways in which the UK system might be changed in order to avoid this sort of situation arising again”, he concluded. www.passionislam.com


I January 2010

LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

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British companies criticised for human rights record Passion Islam

The UK government was urged to impose tougher standards on businesses following a report from MPs that some British multinational companies have a “woeful” human rights record abroad. Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Human Rights said that the government should develop a strategy that “clearly sets out the human rights standards which UK businesses are expected to meet.” “Human rights law is designed to protect the individual against the State. In the modern world, the law is increasingly failing to address the impact of the private sector on individual rights,” said committee chair Andrew Dismore. “When businesses incorporated in one country operate across the globe the only way properly to address this is a binding international agreement,” Dismore suggested. In a new report, the human rights committee said it was “most concerned about the range and seriousness of allegations both in the press and in the evidence we received, including against 18 British companies which are household names.” But none were named. It said that MPs heard complaints

about companies “using forced labour, polluting neighbourhoods, collaborating with repressive regimes and helping in projects that forced people out of their homes or damaged their health.” Dismore accused the government had “no coherent strategy” but said that much that it can do to provide

guidance to business on human rights and to set the standards which the UK considers business should meet. “We are not convinced by the argument that if the UK takes a lead in this area it would impact on UK business competitiveness,” he said, calling on the government to review rules and produce a new guidance.


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I January 2010

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I 11

UK issues advice on labeling West Bank products

Passion Islam

The British government says that produce from the West Bank may not be labeled as “produce of Israel,” because the area is not within the internationally recognized boundaries of the state. Such products are now labeled “produce of the West Bank.” The advice drew an angry response from Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which said Friday that it would promote further radicalization of Palestinians. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said traders and retailers could, at their option, add the additional label of “Israeli settlement produce” or “Palestinian produce.” The department issued the advice saying it was responding to requests from retailers, consumer groups and others for greater clarity in labeling.

Britain regards Israeli settlements on the West Bank as illegal, but it also opposes boycotts of Israeli products, DEFRA said. Since 2005, an agreement between Israel and the European Union excludes produce from the West Bank from a preferential tariff rate. Shahar Arieli, assistant spokesman of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said the

British advice “is a surrender to the Palestinian organizations, will lead to another radicalization within Palestinian positions, and will harm, at a critical moment, the Israeli and international efforts to renew the peace process on the basis of understandings between the two sides.” Some campaigners in Britain welcomed DEFRA’s position. “We support the right of consumers to know the origin of the products they purchase,” said Barbara Stocking, chief executive of the Oxfam aid charity. “Trade with Israeli settlements which are illegal under international law contributes to their economic viability and serves to legitimize them. It is also clear from our development work in West Bank communities that settlements have led to the denial of rights and create poverty for many Palestinians.” www.passionislam.com

UK ex-spy chief denies Iraq dossier manipulation

Britain’s Iraq Inquiry has heard evidence from former intelligence chief Sir John Scarlett who maintained information about Iraq’s weapons were not ‘intentionally’ manipulated to meet the government’s demands. He dismissed speculation that he had been under pressure to “firm up” the September 2002 dossier which contained the claim Iraq could use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) within 45 minutes of Saddam’s order. Scarlett’s appearance at the inquiry, a Commons Defense Committee member and Conservative lawmaker, Adam Holloway, published a report alleging that the source of the fateful 45-minute claim was in fact an émigré taxi driver. “The provenance of this information was never questioned in detail

until after the Iraq invasion, when it became apparent that something was wrong…In the end it turned out that the information was not credible, it had originated from an émigré taxi driver on the Iraqi-Jordanian border, who had remembered an overheard conversation in the back of his cab a full two years earlier,” Holloway’s report read. The inquiry, led by a five-member committee of former advisors and civil servants selected by Downing Street, did not question the ex-spy chief on Holloway’s claims, saying it would not deal with the claim unless it was later deemed “relevant” in the inquiry. Opening the session, the chairman of the inquiry, Sir John Chilcot, said his committee was not interested in reopening issues already dealt with

by the previous Hutton and Butler inquiries. British media have questioned whether a committee selected by the government could act as independent, amid criticism for lack of tangible proof in the official’s defenses and its refusal to reinvestigate serious accusation over the government’s now-notorious pre-war dossiers. The notorious dossier has been linked to sudden death and possible murder of former UN Iraq weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly, whose identity as a BBC source in a documentary claiming the government exaggerated the report as a pretext for the 2003 war was revealed days before his so-called ‘suicide.’ www.passionislam.com


Muslims face alarming discrimination in Europe

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I WORLD NEWS

Passion Islam

I January 2010

Effective and sustainable measures are urgently needed at the city, national and European levels to tackle religious discrimination, according to a report released by the Open Society Institute’s At Home in Europe Project. Europe needs to live up to its promise of an inclusive, open society, said Nazia Hussein, Director of the At Home in Europe project at the launching of the report at the City Hall. Switzerland’s recent ban on minarets is a clear sign that antiMuslim sentiment is a real problem in Europe. Too many Europeans believe that religious identity is somehow a barrier to integration, yet the majority of Muslims surveyed identify strongly with the city and country where they live. The role of the city is crucial in tackling discrimination but also in paving the way for inclusion of different people. She said Europe’s treatment of its Muslim residents will test the Region’s commitment to equal rights. “Muslims in Europe: A Report

on 11 EU Cities” is the culmination of over 2000 one-on-one in-depth interviews and more than 60 focus groups with Muslim residents as well as interviews with local government officials, Muslim leaders, academics, journalists, and activists in select neighbourhoods in seven countries. The selected cities included Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Leicester ,London, Marseille, Paris, and Stockholm. The 11 city-specific reports, to be released in early 2010, highlight positive examples of change at the local level and analyze how authorities are addressing challenges related to integration in sectors such as education, employment, health and the media. About 20 million Muslims live within the European Union, mostly in capital cities and large industrial towns. They are a diverse and growing population of citizens as well as newly arrived migrants. Though the majority of Muslims are a long-standing and integral

part of the fabric of their cities, many still experience discrimination and suspicion. This complex situation presents Europe with one of its greatest challenges on how to effectively ensure equal rights and social cohesion in a climate of political and social tension, global economic recession, and rapidly expanding diversity. “There is very little official data available on Europe’s Muslim and minority populations. What does exist is either anecdotal or extrapolated and contributes to an inaccurate picture of Muslim communities and minorities in Europe and a lack of understanding of the experiences and concerns of these communities,” said Hussein. This body of work, she added, will offer new data on the everyday situation in Muslim communities and concrete recommendations for improving living conditions. “It also points to how communities, regardless of faith, have largely the same concerns. Where they differ is how they are treated and viewed.”

Police in Pakistan arrested three suspects on the charges of spying for the Indian intelligence agency and has recovered maps and important documents from their possession. The three suspects were arrested in

raids, jointly conducted by the police and Law-Enforcement Agencies (LEA), in different parts of eastern Lahore city, the LEA sources told KUNA. They said that the initial investigations have suggested that the suspects are

spy agents of the Indian Intelligence agency RAW. They added that police has recovered fake national identity cards, pistols, maps of the important places of the city and other travel documents from their possession.

Pakistan arrests 3 suspects on spying charges


I January 2010

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World powers have ‘failed’ Gazans Passion Islam

Continued from front page The world has “betrayed” civilians in the Gaza Strip by failing to end a blockade of the enclave, 16 rights groups, including Amnesty International and Oxfam have said. “The international community has betrayed the people of Gaza by failing to back their words with effective action to secure the ending of the Israeli blockade which is preventing reconstruction and recovery,” said the report. “It is not only Israel that has failed the people of Gaza with a blockade that punishes everybody living there for the acts of a few,” said Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International. “World powers have also failed and even betrayed Gaza’s ordinary citizens. They have wrung hands and issued statements, but have taken little meaningful action to attempt to change the damaging policy that prevents reconstruction.” The groups said that Israel had allowed only 41 truckloads of construction materials into Gaza since a devastating 22-day war launched by Tel Aviv nearly a year ago ended with mutual ceasefires on

WORLD NEWS

January 18. “Little of the extensive damage the offensive caused to homes, civilian infrastructure, public services, farms and businesses has been repaired” because of the shortages, the report said. Some 1,400 Palestinians (mainly civilians and a third of which children) and 13 Israelis were killed during the war, which flattened portions of Gaza, an impoverished territory where the

US President approves military aid to Israel worth 2.7 billion Prior to his departure to Climate Change Copenhagen Summit, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the 2010 foreign aid budget, which will provide USD 2.775 billion in security aid to Israel, a report by Israeli newspaper (Israel today). The newspaper added this aid package -- which comes for the second consecutive year -- is based

on previous understanding and agreement between the two sides, noting that in the upcoming year the amount would increase to USD 30 billion. The agreement between the two sides also included the allocation of a technological development aid to Israel for the upcoming years, the newspaper added.

vast majority of the population relies on foreign aid. Israel controls all but one of Gaza’s border crossings, the Rafah terminal with Egypt, which Cairo rarely opens due to US-Israeli pressure. “Sick, traumatised and impoverished people are being collectively punished by a cruel, illegal policy imposed by the Israeli authorities,” said Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK. “Israel’s responsibility to protect its citizens does not give it the right to punish every man, woman and child of Gaza,” she added. The groups also urged rival Palestinian factions to create a unified government capable of delivering aid, and said resistance groups should refrain from rocket attacks from Gaza. The report called on European foreign ministers to visit Gaza to see the damage for themselves and urged the EU to do all it can to lift the blockade. Other groups signing the report include: Broederlijk Delen, CAFOD, CCFD Terre Solidaire, Christian Aid, Church of Sweden, Diakonia, Finn Church Aid, Medical Aid for Palestinians, medico international, medico international schweiz, Mercy Corps, MS ActionAid Denmark, Trocaire, and United Civilians for Peace.

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I January 2010

International Human Rights bodies urged to visit Indian jails Passion Islam

The UK-based Kashmiri organisation has urged the International Human Rights organisations and the International Red Cross to visit Indian jails and investigate reports of torture. Director, Justice Foundation Kashmir Centre, Nazir Ahmed Shawl, while commenting on a report released by the Medical Board of the Srinagar Hospital, has asked International Human Rights organizations and the International Red Cross to ask the Indian Government to give them access to the different Jails and torture centres where political leaders and Kashmiri people have been detained. “This has become necessary because the life in the Indian Jails particularly in the torture centres is creating health hazards and immoral practices for those detained,” he said in a statement. Mr.Shawl said the revealing report of the Medical Board of the Srinagar Hospital after examining eight Kashmiri boys, who have been tortured under custody, suggests that one of the tortured has lost the hearing sensation due to torment. He also mentioned that due to intensity of the conflict and due to different repressive measures the psychological health of large number of people of all age groups is continuously threatened. “It is imperative for the International community to take strong notice of this situation and adopt measures to bring the parties of dispute to negotiating table for finding the just and honourable solution in accordance with popular aspiration of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

Saudi TV to start Quran channels

Four new Saudi television channels are to be launched in the beginning of the next Hijrah year, Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja announced. The first two channels will be dedicated to the Holy Quran and Sunnah and will be broadcast from the two holy cities while the other two

will focus on economy and culture. Khoja said the four channels have been planned on the directives of King Abdullah. “The two channels for the Quran and Sunnah are a gift from King Abdullah to the Islamic world,” he added. Speaking about the economy channel, Khoja said it would highlight

Saudi Arabia’s leading position in global economies, being the largest oil producer and exporter. He also noted the importance given by the Kingdom to cultural dialogue.

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I January 2010

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I 15

UN human rights chief calls for universal abolition of death penalty

The top UN human rights official called for the universal abolition of the death penalty, citing a host of reasons ranging from the fundamental right to life to the possibility of judicial errors. “I am opposed to the death penalty in all cases,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a message marking the 20th anniversary of the Death Penalty Optional Protocol which was added to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1989 with the aim of abolishing the punishment. “I hold this position for a number of reasons: these include the fundamental nature of the right to life; the unacceptable risk of executing innocent people by mistake; the absence of proof that the death penalty serves as a deterrent; and what is, to my mind, the inappropriately vengeful

character of the sentence.” Ms. Pillay noted that 140 States no longer carry out the penalty. The 72 States which have ratified the Protocol are duty-bound not to execute anybody, to take all necessary steps to definitively abolish the death penalty, and not to extradite individuals to a country where they would face the death penalty. “Ratification of the optional protocol, as well as similar regional instruments in Europe and in the Americas, thus draws a firm line under the use of the death penalty,” she said, noting that the instrument is a key step for states moving towards abolition. “Abolishing the death penalty is a difficult process for many societies, and ratification of the Optional Protocol can often only come about after a period of national debate.” Until they reach that point, I urge those States

Muslim-Christian Scholars Joint Conference Planned in Romania A joint conference of Muslim and Christian scholars has been planned by the Islamic-Christian Group for Defending Quds and Religious Sanctities” to be held on February 10 in Bucharest, Romania. According to Ma’an news agency, the three-day conference will be attended by a number of eminent Muslim and Christian scholars from Arab and European countries including Romanian archbishop. Supervised by representatives of the Islamic-Christian group, the conference is aimed at promoting Islamic-Christian relations to defend common values between Muslims and Christians including Quds and Palestinian sanctities. According to the leader of Palestinian minorities in Romania special facilities will be provided by Romanian government and the country’s church for the conference. Programs stressing the importance

of Quds and Palestinian identity have been planned by officials of the Islamic-Christian Group for Defending Quds and Sanctities, which is based in Ramallah in Palestine.

still employing the death penalty to place a formal moratorium on its use, with the aim of ultimately ratifying the Optional Protocol and abolishing the punishment altogether everywhere.

Dubai Islamic Bank named best bank

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has announced that it has been named “Best Bank” at this year’s Islamic Business ‘&’ Finance Awards. This is the third time that the world’s first Islamic bank has received this prestigious accolade. The award was presented at a gala ceremony to Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Chief of Retail and Business Banking and Mohammed Al Nahdi, Chief of Central Operations Department, in recognition of the bank’s innovative products, unparalleled customer service and undisputed market leadership, marking the 24th time this year that DIB has been recognized for excellence in achievement.

www.passionislam.com


Jordan’’s Prince calls for world soldarity social fund

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I January 2010

Founder of Arab Thought Foundation Prince Al-Hassan bin Talal called on to establish a world soldarity social fund, in addition to activate places of worship to discourage citizens particularly the youth from getting too much involved in politics. During his inaugration of the “Global Reconciliation Summit”, that takes place in Amman, with participation of representatives of non-governmental organizations from 37 countries, he affirmed necessity of achieving comprehensive global reconciliation comes through the cooperation of every sector to “re-discover mutual humanity”. Prince Al-Hassan stressed that to achieve reconciliation it needs to move away from narrow nationalism and consider issues across the country to work towards reconciliation between the human and natural sources. He stressed in this context, the need to think hard to create a fund for social solidarity, to give the poor the opportunity to participate actively in building their future and the future of

human society. “It was important to counter the psychological walls that impede the processes of reconciliation through the pursuit of change in action, not words, “ he said. In this regard, Prince Al-Hassan stressed the importance of setting priorities, to listen to the people to help them stand on their feet, activate the places of worship in social work that transcends religion above politics, adding that the role of religions should be linked to international standards and the establishment of effective bridges between different religions as well as international and humanitarian law. He stressed that the moral dimension to resolve problems and global crises requires a deep understanding, therfore, ‘we must take into consideration the anthropological understanding of different societies, calling for consideration of the issues of security, economy and culture within the law.” Prince Al-Hassan presented at the end of the opening session of

the Summit, awards of (Desmond Tutu Fellowship of Reconciliation) to each of Dr. Ian Campbell, a resident in Britain, and the Croatian Katarina Izetbegovic, in addition to the Australian Elizabeth Angslo. The aim of the fellowship is to provide opportunities for people from different disciplines to undertake projects that contribute to reconciliation within societies. According to the organizers, the “Global Reconciliation Summit”, organized by Monash University in Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in cooperation with the Jordan’s Regional Center for Human Security in response to the growing political violence in the world and to explore alternative paths to peace that emphasizes local reconciliation processes. Participants in the four-day conference, are about 200 activists, academics and experts who represent non-governmental organizations and international organizations that are active in 37 countries.

New Delhi has revised its regulations pertaining to the entry of foreign nationals holding long-term Indian tourist visas. Various ports of entry in the country have already started enforcing the revised regulations. The revision comes in wake of the arrest of David Coleman Headley and Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana by FBI on charges of plotting terror attacks in India, All India Radio (AIR) reported quoting official sources. Both Headley and Rana were issued multi-entry visas by India without proper security clearances. The US advisory on the embassy website said, Americans with five-or ten-year tourist visas will no longer be allowed to enter India within two

months of their last departure from India if their last visit was longer than ninety days or if they have stayed longer than 180 days during the past year. The US advisory also said these restrictions will be enforced whether or not the tourist’s passport has been

stamped to indicate that return is not allowed within two months. The changes, however will not affect Americans with other types of visas such as tourists with short-term visas, and those who have not stayed in India for the stipulated time period. www.passionislam.com

India tightens regulations for entry of foreign nationals


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I January 2010

100 gitmo detainees to be Speakers transfered to Illinois prison of Muslim About 100 Guantanamo detainees are expected to be transferred to a prison facility in the US, the White House said. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs in a late afternoon briefing confirmed the number estimated by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin that roughly 100 detainees would be transfered and said that the administration is in the process of reviewing files of the suspected terrorists held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. “Those that can be safely and securely transferred either back to their home countries or to a third country, more of those transfers have taken place in the past eight months than have taken place in the previous eight years,” Gibbs told reporters. “Determinations, as you know, will be made at the Department of Justice as to the venue for trying those that need to answer for their actions. And they’re going through those files as we speak,” Gibbs said. US

world meet

President Barack Obama ordered the federal government to acquire the Thomas Correctional Center in Illinois to house the detainees along with Federal inmates.

Members of a committee tasked with amending statute and mechanisms of the union of parliaments of member states of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), met to discuss proposed amendments by member states. A source close to the meeting told reporters the committee members have set a host of proposals that would develop and activate the union role in the service of Islamic causes The committee members will submit its report to a meeting of speakers of parliament of the union, who will meet here tomorrow. The committee consists of speakers of Kuwait, Turkey, Uganda, Iran, Niger, Azerbaijan, OIC Secretary General Ekmelledin Ihsanoglu and the Union’s Secretary General Dr. Mohammad Qullaij. The Kuwaiti delegation groups speaker Jassem Al-Kharafi, and MPs Saleh Ashoor, Ali Al-Deqbasi and Askar Al-Enezi.

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Playing a Starring role Passion Islam

SPORT I 19

I January 2010

This month we speak to Starr Zaman Physical Activities officer at the Hamara Centre in Beeston, Leeds

Q Tell us a bit about your family background My family came from Mongolia and the tribal areas of Afghanistan near the North west frontier province. They came to Sheffield in the 1960’s where my dad worked in the steel industry. Eventually my family relocated to Dewsbury for religious reasons and my dad was involved in building the first mosque in Dewsbury. Q How did you get involved in Rugby League? My older brother got into Rugby league first and played for Thornhill - he was massive - someone you didn’t really mess with! I followed him and started playing Rugby League for Westborough High School in Dewsbury. Then after school I stopped playing until I saw Dewsbury Celtic practicing in the park and I asked the coach how to get involved. From then on I played for the team as a prop and centre but mostly a winger. My Heroes as a youngster were Martin Offiah, Mal Meninga, Ikram Butt, and the great Ellery Hanley. Q What drew you to Rugby league as a sport? My love of the game came from the fact that the contact part of the game was a chance to channel your aggressions in a positive way, the importance of working together as a

team and the discipline involved - all of these things are also important to Islam so Rugby league fitted in well with being a Muslim. Q Tell us about how Rugby league is now part of your working life? I wanted to get more people who you wouldn’t normally associate with Rugby League involved in the sport and as the Physical Activities officer for Hamara I worked with the RFL, Leeds Sport Development and Beeston Broncos to introduce rugby session at Cross Flatts Park Beeston and encourage young people from all backgrounds to get involved. I then realised I needed to get some coaching qualifications and I was on the first BME level 1 coaching course that the RFL set up earlier this year. A few months ago I got a job working for the Connecting Communities project which is managed by Ikram Butt and aims to develop sports opportunities for BME people in Leeds and the surrounding areas. I have now completed my level 2 and after about a year of discussions got the Mufti of the Dewsbury Mosque to allow us to run weekly rugby sessions throughout December at the mosque - I think this is a first and the Mufti is very forward thinking and I am looking forward to seeing what happens with this project! I think that a lot of BME communities give up their time voluntarily for various

causes and think some of this time should also be proportioned to rugby as I do believe that the goodness and discipline the game brings are in line with the basic beliefs and morals of these communities. Q Is there anything else you would like to add? I think the RFL is very progressive in working with and meeting the needs of BME communities especially on match days and the RFL has worked really hard to encourage groups to get involved in the sport at a grass roots level. I also believe that it’s going to take a lot of time to get the next Ikram but I think as a Governing body we are definitely heading in the right direction in doing the basics right. Q What of the future? I would like to see more people from different backgrounds playing Rugby League at all levels and personally I would like to continue what I am doing, delivering Rugby League to the community and hope eventually to become a coach educator! I hope to be working on the scholarship programme for Leeds Rhinos come 2010 season and further develop links and opportunities for the various minority ethnic groups through out Yorkshire. Courtesy RFL In League together

Ex-Liverpool and Everton star Abel Xavier reverts to Islam Fomer Liverpool and Everton defender star Abel Xavier has quit football and reverted to Islam. The Portugal star will now go by the name of Faisal Xavier and will embark on humanitarian projects. He last played for LA Galaxy in 2008 and he has now decided to give up on his career.

Xavier, 37, joined Liverpool from Everton in 2002 and scored twice in 21 appearances for the club. He also played in two spells for Middlesbrough. He moved to Major League Soccer club LA Galaxy to play out the final games of his career alongside David Beckham.

Xavier said: ‘It’s an emotional goodbye and I hope to participate in something very satisfying in a new stage of my life. ‘In moments of grief, I have found comfort in Islam. Slowly, I learned a religion that professes peace, equality, freedom and hope. www.passionislam.com


Muharram

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I SPECIAL FEATURE

Passion Islam

I January 2010

The Start of the Islamic Calendar

Muharram is the month with which the Muslims begin their lunar Hijrah Calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months about which the Holy Quran says, “The number of the months according to Allah is twelve months (mentioned) in the Book of Allah on the day in which He created heavens and the earth. Among these (twelve months) there are four sanctified”. These four months, according to the authentic traditions are the months of Zulqadah, Zulhijjah, Muharram and Rajab. All the commentators of the Holy Quran are unanimous on this point, because the Holy Prophet in his sermon on the occasion of his last Hajj, has declared: “One year consists of twelve months, of which four are sanctified months, three of them are in sequence; Zulqadah, Zulhijjah, Muharram, and the fourth is Rajab.” The specific mention of these four months does not mean that any other month has no sanctity, because the month of Ramadan is admittedly the most sanctified month in the year. But these four months were specifically termed as sanctified months for the simple reason that their sanctity was accepted even by the pagans of Makkah. In fact, every month, out of the twelve, is originally equal to the other, and there is no inherent sanctity, which may be attributed to one of them in comparison to other months. When Allah Almighty chooses a particular time for His special blessings, then it acquires sanctity out of His grace. Thus, the sanctity of these four months was recognized right from the days of Sayyidina Ibrahim. Since the Pagans of Makkah attributed themselves to Sayyidina Ibrahim they observed the sanctity of these

four months and despite their frequent tribal battles, they held it unlawful to fight in these months. In the Shariah of our Holy Prophet the sanctity of these months was upheld and the Holy Quran referred to them as the “sanctified months”. The month of Muharram has certain other characteristics peculiar to it, which are specified below. Fasting during the month The Holy Prophet has said: “The best fasts after the fasts of Ramadan are those of the month of Muharram.” Although the fasts of the month of Muharram are not obligatory, yet, the one who fasts in these days out of his own will and choice is entitled to a great reward by Allah Almighty. The Hadith cited above signifies that the fasts of the month of Muharram are most reward-able ones among the Nafl fasts i.e. the fasts one observes out of his own choice without being obligatory on him. The Hadith does not mean that the award promised for fasts of Muharram can be achieved only by fasting for the whole month. On the contrary, each fast during this month has merit. Therefore, one should avail of this opportunity as much as he can.

The day of Ashurah Although the month of Muharram is a sanctified month as a whole, yet, the 10th day of Muharram is the most sacred among all its days. The day is named Ashurah. According to the Holy companion Ibn Abbas. The Holy Prophet , when migrated to Madinah, found that the Jews of Madinah used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which the

Holy Prophet Musa (Moses) and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously and the Pharaoh was drowned in its water. On hearing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet said, “We are more closely related to Musa than you” and directed the Muslims to fast on the day of Ashurah. (Abu Dawood) It is also reported in a number of authentic traditions that in the beginning, fasting on the day of Ashurah was obligatory for the Muslims. It was later that the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory and the fast on the day of ‘’Ashurah was made optional. Sayyidah Aishah has said: “When the Holy Prophet came to Madinah, he fasted on the day of Ashurahh and directed the people to fast it. But when the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory, the obligation of fasting was confined to Ramadan and the obligatory nature of the fast of Ashurah was abandoned. One can fast on this day, if he so wills, or can avoid fasting, if he so wills.” However, the Holy Prophet used to fast on the day of Ashurah even after the fasting in Ramadan was made obligatory. Abdullah Ian Masud reports that the Holy Prophet preferred the fast of Ashurah to the fast of other days and preferred the fast of Ramadhan to the fast of Ashurahh. (Bukhari and Muslim. In short, it is established through a number of authentic hadith that fasting on the day of Ashurah is Sunnah of the Holy Prophet and makes one entitled to a great reward. According to another Hadith, it is more advisable that the fast of Ashurah should either be prefixed or suffixed by another fast. It means


Passion Islam

I January 2010

that one should fast two days: the 9th an 10th of Muharram or the 10th and 11th of it. The reason of this additional fast as mentioned by the Holy Prophet is that the Jews used to fast on the day of Ashurah alone, and the Holy Prophet wanted to distinguish the Islamic-way of fasting from that of Jews. Therefore, he advised the Muslims to add another fast to that of Ashurah. Some traditions signify another feature of the day of Ashurah. According to these traditions one should be more generous to his family by providing more food to them on this day as compared to other days. These traditions are not very authentic according to the science of Hadith. Yet, some Scholars like Baihaqi and Ibn Hibban have accepted them as reliable. What is mentioned above is all that is supported through authentic sources about Ashurah. However, there are some legends and misconceptions with regard to Ashurah that have managed to find their way into the minds of the ignorant, but have no support of authentic Islamic sources, some very common of them are these: This is the day in which Adam was created. This is the day in which Ibrahim was born. This is the day in which Allah accepted the repentance of Sayyidina Ibrahim. This is the day on which the Qiyamah (dooms-day) will take place. Whoever takes bath in the day of Ashurah will never get ill. All these and other similar whims and fancies are totally baseless and the traditions referred to in this respect are not worthy of any credit. Some people take it as Sunnah to prepare a particular type of meal in the day of Ashurah. This practice, too, has no basis in the authentic Islamic sources. Some other people attribute the sanctity of Ashurah to the martyrdom of Sayyidina Husain during his battle with the Syrian army. No doubt, the martyrdom of Sayyidina Husain is one of the most tragic episodes of our history. Yet, the sanctity of Ashurah cannot be ascribed to this event for the simple reason that the sanctity of ‘Ashurah

SPECIAL FEATURE

was established during the days of the Holy Prophet much earlier than the birth of Sayyidna Husain. On the contrary, it is one of the merits of Sayyidna Husain that his martyrdom took place on the day of Ashurah. Another misconception about the month of Muharram is that it is an evil or unlucky month, for Sayyidna Husain was killed in it. It is for this misconception that people avoid holding marriage ceremonies in the month of Muharram. This is again a baseless concept which is contrary to the express teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. Such superstitions have been totally negated by the Holy Prophet . If the death of an eminent person in a particular day renders that day unlucky for all times to come, one can hardly find a day, free from this bad luck, out of 365 days of the whole year, because each and every day has a history of the demise of some eminent person. The Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet have made us free from such superstitious beliefs, and they should deserve no attention. Another wrong practice related to this month is to hold the lamentation and mourning ceremonies in the memory of martyrdom of Sayyidna Husain. As mentioned earlier, the event of Karbala is one of the most tragic events of our history, but the Holy Prophet has forbidden us from holding the mourning ceremonies on the death of any person. The people of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance) used to mourn over their deceased relatives or friends through loud lamentations, by tearing their clothes and by beating their cheeks and chests. The Holy Prophet stopped the Muslims from doing all this and directed them to observe patience by saying “Inna lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji oon”. A number of authentic hadith are available on the subject. To quote only one of them: “He is not from our group who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and cries in the manner of the people of jahiliyyah.” All the authentic jurists are unanimous on the point that the mourning of this type is absolutely

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impermissible. Even Sayyidna Husain shortly before his demise, had advised his beloved sister Sayyidah Zainab not to mourn over his death in this manner. He said: “My dear sister, I swear upon you that you, in case I die, shall not tear your clothes, nor scratch your face, nor curse anyone for me or pray for your death”. It is evident from this advice of Sayyidna Husain that this type of mourning is condemned even by the blessed person for the memory of whom these mourning ceremonies are held. Every Muslim should avoid this practice and abide by the teachings of the Holy Prophet and his beloved grand child Sayyidina Husain. Blessings of Muharram It is the first month of the Islamic Calendar. The meaning of the word:The word “Muharram” means “Forbidden.” Even before Islam, this month was always known as a scared month in which all unlawful acts were forbidden, prominently the shedding of blood. A blessing of Muharram:- There are many bounties of this month, especially the tenth of Muharram. Two of the many virtues of the 10th of Muharram:- On this day he who spends more lavishly for the sake of his family members, Allah Taala will bestow blessing upon the sustenance of the following year. Abu Qataada has related that the Prophet has reported to have said, It is my thought that by fasting on the 10th of Muharram Allah Taala will pardon the sins of the past year. (Tirmizi) Events of Muharram Hadhrat Hussain was martyred in this month. Shaykhain Tirmizi & Haakim has narrated from Anas that the following verse: “Allah may forgive thee of thy sins that which is past and that which is to come.” (Al-Fath) was revealed on the 10th of Muharram. The Prophet Muhammed went to defeat Bani Muhaarin and Bani Tha’laba (Tribes of Bani Gatfan) in the year 4 A.H. (Asahhus-siyar) www.passionislam.com


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I January 2010

ISLAM IN

ROMANIA part 1


I January 2010 Carol I Mosque in ConstanţaIslam in Romania is followed by only 0.3 percent of population, but has 700 years of tradition in Northern Dobruja, a region on the Black Sea coast which was part of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries (ca. 14201878). In present-day Romania, most adherents to Islam belong to the Tatar and Turkish ethnic communities and follow the Sunni doctrine. The Islamic religion is one of the 16 rites awarded state recognition. According to tradition, Islam was first established locally around Sufi leader Sari Saltik during the Byzantine epoch. The Islamic presence in Northern Dobruja was expanded by Ottoman overseeing and successive immigration, but has been in steady decline since the late 19th century. In Wallachia and Moldavia, the two Danubian Principalities, the era of Ottoman suzerainty was not accompanied by a growth in the number of Muslims, whose presence there was always marginal. Also linked to the Ottoman Empire, groups of Islamic colonists in other parts of present-day Romania were relocated by the Habsburg expansion or by various other political changes. After Northern Dobruja became part of Romania following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, the community preserved its selfdetermining status. This changed during the communist regime, when Romanian Muslims were subject to a measure of supervision by the state, but the group again emancipated itself after the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Its interests are represented by the Muftiyat (Muftiyatul Cultului Musulman din România), which was created as the reunion of two separate such institutions.

Passion Islam

Demographics and organization According to the 2002 census, 67,566 people, approx. 0.3 of the total population, indicated that their religion was Islam.The vast majority of Romania’s believers in Islam are Sunnis who adhere to the Hanafi school. Ethnically, they are mostly Tatars (Crimean Tatars and a number of Nogais), followed by Turks, as well as Muslim Roma (as much as 15,000 people in one estimate), Albanians (as many as 3,000), and groups of Middle Eastern immigrants. Members of the Muslim community inside the

Roma minority are colloquially known as “Turkish Romani”. Traditionally, they are less religious then people belonging to other Islamic communities, and their culture mixes Islamic customs with Roma social norms. Ninety-seven percent of the Romanian Muslims are residents of the two counties forming Northern Dobruja: eighty-five percent live in Constanţa County, and twelve percent in Tulcea County. The rest mainly inhabit urban centers such as Bucharest, Brăila, Călăraşi, Galaţi, Giurgiu, and Drobeta-Turnu Severin. In all, Romania has as many as eighty mosques,or, according to records kept by the Romanian Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs, seventy-seven.The city of Constanţa, with its Carol I Mosque and the location of the Muftiyat, is the center of Romanian Islam; Mangalia, near Constanţa, is the site of a monumental mosque, built in 1525 (see Mangalia Mosque). The two mosques are staterecognized historical monuments, as are the ones in Hârşova, Amzacea, Babadag and Tulcea, together with the Babadag tombs of two popularly revered Sufi sheikhs—the supposed tomb of dervish Sari Saltik and that of Gazi Ali Paşa. There are also 108 Islamic cemeteries in Romania. The nation-wide Islamic community is internally divided into 50 local groups of Muslims, each of whom elects its own leadership committee. Members provide funding for the religious institution, which is supplemented by state donations and subsidies, as well by assistance from international Islamic organizations. The Muslim clergy in Romania includes imams, imam-hatips, and muezzins. As of 2008, the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs recognizes 35 imams.[5] The Constanţa Mufti, who is the community’s main representative, is elected by a secret ballot from among the imams. He is assisted by a synodal body, the Sura Islam, which comprises 23 members and offers advice on matters of administration and discipline. The current Mufti is Murat Iusuf. History Early presence The first significant numbers of Muslims arrived in Romania with the

SPECIAL FEATURE I 23 Pechenegs and Cumans. Around 1061, when the Pechenegs ruled in Wallachia and Moldavia, there was a Muslim minority among them, as was among the Cumans. The Cumans followed the Pechenegs in 1171, while the Hungarian kings settled the Pechenegs in Transylvania and other parts of their kingdom.

Muslim presence is traditional in Dobruja, and partly predates both Ottoman rule and the creation of the neighboring Danubian Principalities. Both the Pechengs and Cumans were present in the area, where they probably established a number of small communities. Around 1260, two Rûm Seljuq community leaders, the deposed Sultan Kaykaus II and the mystic Sari Saltik, were allowed to settle the region during the reign of Michael VIII Palaiologos, ruler of the Byzantine Empire. Kaykaus, who arrived in Dobruja with his brother and co-ruler Kilij Arslan IV, was reportedly followed by as many as 12,000 of his subjects. Researchers such as Franz Babinger and Gheorghe I. Brătianu endorse the view that Saltuk and his followers were in fact cryptoShiite Alevis who were regarded as apostates by the dominant Sunni group of central Anatolia, and who sought refuge from persecution. The exact location of their earliest area of settlement is disputed: a group of historians proposes that the group was probably tasked with defending the Byzantine border to the north, and settled in and around what later became known as Babadag, while another one centers this presence on the Southern Dobrujan strip of land known as Kaliakra (presently in Bulgaria). In addition, various historians argue that this Seljuq migration was the decisive contributor to the ethnogenesis of the Gagauz people, which, some of them believe, could also have involved the Cumans, Pechenegs, Oghuz and other Turkic peoples. The Gagauz, few of whom have endured in Dobruja, are majority Eastern Orthodox, a fact which was attributed to a process of religious conversion from Islam. The presence of Tatars was notably attested through the works of Berber traveler Ibn Battuta, who passed through the area in 1334.[3] In Ibn Battuta’s time, the region was regarded as a westernmost continued next month


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A Comparative Study of Ideologies Part Three

Fascism stands for State-controlled capitalistic system. Uncontrolled capitalism cannot achieve stability, provide employment or utilise the capital resources completely. If various economic groups are unified by the State, private ownership could be divested of its evils and made to work as a beneficial system. All economic life must be nationally directed within the frame-work of private ownerships. Fascism does not, generally speaking, believe in the possibility of perpetual peace. Mussolini utters his philosophy of war and peace in the following rhetorical sentences: “Fascism discards pacifism as a cloak for cowardly supine renunciation in contradistinction to self-sacrifice. War alone keeps up all human energies to their maximum tension and sets the seal of nobility on those people who have the courage to face it. All other tests are substitutes which never place a man face to face with himself before the alternative of life or death. Therefore all doctrines which postulate peace at all costs are incompatible with Fascism. Equally foreign to the spirit of Fascism - even if accepted

as useful in meeting special political situations - are all internationalistic or League superstructures which, as history shows, crumble to the ground, whenever the heart of nations is deeply stirred by sentimental, idealistic or practical consideration. Fascism carries this anti-pacifistic attitude into the life of the individual. ‘I do not care a damn’ ( me ne frego ), the proud motto of the fighting squads scrawled by a wounded man on his bandages, is not only an act of philosophic stoicism, it sums up a doctrine which is not merely political; it is evidence of fighting spirit which accepts all risks.” “Such a conception of life makes Fascism the resolute negation of the doctrine underlying so-called scientific and Marxian socialism, the doctrine of historic materialism which would explain the history of mankind in terms of the class-struggle and by changes in the processes and instruments of production, to the exclusion of all else.” Fascism recognises the importance of economic factors but it denies that class-struggle is the preponderating agent of all social transformations.

Fascism denies the hedonistic utilitarian doctrine that the summum bonum is the greatest happiness of the greatest number, meaning by happiness only the sum of pleasures. Communism prophesies that the State, being always an engine of oppression, must finally wither away for Fascist State is more real than the individual and is greater than the sum of the individuals. Strengthening of the State must be the ultimate aim, to which all individual liberty and individual happiness must be sacrificed if it becomes necessary. Fascism considers nationalism to be an indisputable datum; it comparison with this internationalism is an ineffective makeshift. Fascist State is a totalitarian state; the sovereignty of the State is total and indivisible and cannot be distributed among the citizens, as is the case is democracies. Mussolini’s famous dictum expresses it forcefully in a few words: ‘Everything is the State, nothing against the State, nothing outside the State. It is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omnicompetent.’ “The Fascist State lays claim to


I January 2010 rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country, by means of its cooperative, social and educational institutions and all the political, economic and spiritual forces of the nation, organised in their respective associations, circulate within the State.” The State, being an abstract entity, in action practice, the persons who control the State become the symbol and embodiment of this omnipotence. At the head is the Leader, who can assert with greater truth than Louis the XIV of France ‘ l’etat, c’est moi .’ ‘I am the State,’ and lay claim to blind loyalty and unconditional obedience. National pride must be fostered by history and, if necessary, by myth. The virtues of the nation must be extolled at the expense of other nations. The myth of the ‘chosen people’ must become a psychological reality. Propaganda must be vigorously directed against the decadence of democratic nations. The Nazis emphasized, more particularly, the doctrine of racial superiority and racial purity. Force is the creator of nations, States and empires and it shall continue to be so in the present and the future. The strong shall rule over the weak and there is no shame or injustice attached to it. Communism strives for a universal, international unity of working humanity transcending the barriers of nationality and the differences of race and colour. Fascism stands for the accentuation of national differences, dividing the world into natural masters and natural slaves. Inter-State morality must be different from morality among individuals of the same State. There are superior and inferior races or the cooperation of the strong and weak nations on terms of equality is a retrograde step in the course of biological evolution whose basic law is natural selection and survival of the fittest. In a totalitarian Fascist State, the State precedes the individual, while in liberal democracies the individual precedes the State and has his rights guaranteed by constitutional statues. The German idealist, Fascist, said that history is a gradual evolution of liberties. Mussolini and the great Fascist philosopher, Giovanni Gentile, repudiate this interpretation of human

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history and maintain the thesis that ‘the maximum of liberty coincides with the maximum of State force.’ “All history of man’s civilization, from the caves to the civilized or so-called civilized man, is a progressive limitation of liberty.” Since the State is of one mind and one policy, a single party is necessary to make decisions and to enforce them. Decisions are made ultimately by an inner circle of leaders and then directives are issued to the executives. Leadership is pyramidal, at the apex is the Great Leader whose judgment must be taken as infallible and whose will is absolute. Fascism believes in regulated and controlled capitalist economy. Individual and corporate enterprises are retained; government is not the only enterpriser or employer but is a controller of the direction which production is to take. Article Eight of the Italian Labour Charter of 1926 states, “The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation.” The employer and the employee must be made to work harmoniously in the interest of the nation. Without creating a socialist State, certain socialistic measures are necessary. The Nazis proposed the abolition of unearned incomes, the confiscation of war profits, nationalisation of trusts, profit-sharing in large concerns, the extensive development of old-age pensions and the improvement of the public health through the protection of mother and child. Fascism does not intend to abolish groups and classes. The national economy has to devise an economic framework in which national solidarity will replace the opposing interests of the groups. The vast groupings of employers and employees into syndicates, grouping of employers and employees into syndicates should constitute the practical machinery for welding the classes into an organic whole. It is not the production and equitable distribution of the economic goods that can awaken and stimulate the potentialities of man. The strength and glory of the nation ought to become ruling passions in the minds of the citizens. In place of individual

SPECIAL FEATURE I 25 liberty, unswerving loyalty to the nation must be inculcated. If national glory is attained by even lowering the standard of living, a nation should accept it with good cheer. As Mussolini stated in 1934, “We are probably moving towards a period of humanity, resting on a lower standard of living. Humanity is capable of asceticism such as we perhaps no conception of.” Fascism has no definite, logically formulated philosophy, but its trends and tracks may be traced in its general outlook as well as in its methods. These trends may best be defined negatively. It is against all democratic, liberal and equalitarian philosophies. The philosophical basis of French and American Revolutions is repudiated, which starts with the natural rights of man. It is definitely against the philosophical presumptions of laissezfaire . Humanitarian doctrines of the New Testament Christianity also do not suit it. Fascism considers all doctrines of class-war and working class control as false. It is against rationalism. Search of truth for its own sake or observation, experiment, deductive and inductive reasoning have a subordinate place in human existence. Any scientific or philosophical truth must be evaluated by its effects on the spirit and life of the nation. In the interest of national glory the citizens must be drilled and conditioned to accept certain views and reject others. Rationalism repudiates mere authority without proof; fascism demands blind acceptance and obedience. Many fascists exultingly take of revolt against reason and take pride in irrationalism. They emphasize will rather than thought, and feeling rather than intellect. Propaganda takes the place of objective reasoning, force is preferred to argument with the tacit belief that it is might which ultimately assumes the complexion of right. Peace has a degenerating influence and continued peace leads to the decadence of nations. War and struggle, therefore, must be glorified in the form of race or national conflict.

For the background of the fascist philosophy one has to go back to

We gratefully acknowledge and thank the Institute of Islamic Culture for permission to reproduce Chapter 13 from his book “ Ideology of Islam “ by Khalifa Abdul Hakim. Continued next month


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I January 2010

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