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The Life of Barakah
Hajj Exhibition Attracts 80,000 Visitors in 7 weeks Issue: 49
‘Holy Quran is a Miracle’ says Brazil’s famous footballer “Kaka”
Brazil’s famous footballer “Kaka” said that Holy Quran is beyond human words, it is considered as one of miracles. Real Madrid “Ricardo Kaka” said that when one study Holy Quran, he got to know that the words of Holy Quran
The Brtitish Museum have been amazed at the huge scale of visitors to the Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam exhibition reaching target visitor figure for the exhibition of over 80,000 in just over seven weeks. are beyond human words, rather they The exhibition opened on 26 January and are a miracle. runs until 15 April. An editor of a religious institute The exhibition has been seen by a diverse in Brazil said that Kaka is a religious audience including many family visitors Christian but he also respects other (children under the age of 16 can access the religions. exhibition for free). In Brazil, prayer leader of a Mosque With only four weeks left the Museum while denying the news saying Kaka is a have had to extend the opening hours of the Muslim said that Kaka is still a Christian exhibition on Saturday and Sunday evenings and he goes to Church but he likes to to release more tickets and meet the high listen to the recitation of Holy Quran. demand as time slots are frequently being Kaka said during his visit to a sold out. Mosque in Dubai that Islam is a religion Passion Islam figures show that there’s of forgiveness, I am impressed by the been more non muslim families visiting the attitude and characteristics of Muslims exhibition making it the most popular Muslim and I want to study more about Islam. exhibition in the UK.
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I April 2012
By Shakir Ahmed
Extracts from Press TV News
Galloway secures remarkable win Respect Party candidate George Galloway has won a landslide victory in a parliamentary byelection in Bradford West, securing a 10,140 majority in what he described as a great” rejection” of mainstream parties. Galloway beat Labour Party candidate Imran Hussein by a massive and surprising margin. The victory is regarded as a serious blow to Ed Miliband’s Labour party as the constituency has been a Labour stronghold since 1974. “By the Grace of God we have
won the most sensational victory in British political history,” Galloway posted on Twitter after the votes were counted. Galloway, who is also an antiwar activist, called his remarkable victory as the Bradford West Spring, and compared it with a series of awakenings in some Arab countries. “Labour has been hit by a tidal wave in a seat they have held for many decades and dominated for 100 years. I have won a big victory in every part of the constituency, including in areas many people said
I should not even compete,” he said. He stressed that his victory went back to “the path of treason by Tony Blair in 1994” that took away the party from its supporters. He insisted that Blair “remained revered inside the modern Labour party, swanning around making millions, instead of facing trial in The Hague for war crimes.” This indicates do not underestimate the Muslim vote, Galloway a true people favourite with the Muslim community has shown that anything is possible
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I April 2012
UK Labour MP condemns Israeli illegal settlements
Alex Cunningham condemns Israel’s “ethnically cleansing” East al-Quds (Jerusalem), calling on the UK government to help stop funding for illegal Israeli businesses in the Palestinian occupied territories. During a Commons debate on humanitarian issues in occupied East al-Quds, Stockton North Labour MP said Jerusalem was not “the international city it should be - free
and fair for all residents, regardless of their religion or nationhood.” Referring to the pressure facing the Palestinians including being surrounded by check points and barriers and being unable to live as united families without permissions from the occupying forces, he added, “It is time to demonstrate that we are just not prepared to support or even tolerate the ethnic cleansing of
Palestinians from east Jerusalem.” Furthermore, he called on the British government to help stop EU funding for projects in the Palestinian occupied territories including one that provides monitoring equipment for the Israel’s apartheid wall. However, British Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne ruled out any practical action to stop Israel although he admitted that much of what the Israeli authorities were doing was illegal. Moreover, Palestine Solidarity Campaign said Labour MP Alex Cunningham had spoken “the truth” and that 15,000 Palestinians had already lost their right of residency in East al-Quds. “The Jerusalem municipality has admitted that it wants to limit Palestinians to 30 per cent of the total population of the city - currently they represent 38 per cent,” said Palestine Solidarity Campaign spokeswoman Sara Apps.
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I April 2012
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to open in London
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is planning to expand its wealth management and private banking division with a new office in London and further units across the Middle East, Asia and mainland Europe, a senior executive told Arabian Business in an interview. “From a private banking perspective, I have three offices across the UAE but we need to have a way [of]booking assets in other parts of the world so we are just in the process of opening our branch in London, which we can use as a
service centre when our clients visit during the summer,” said Stuart Crocker, head of ADIB’s wealth management and private banking. In addition to the new UK base, Crocker said the Islamic lender is also planning to open more offices in the region and in Europe and Asia. “We are certainly going to be looking at various locations across the Middle East and we will share that information in due course. “We also need to have a few international booking centres and it would make sense to
Britain supports Afghan peace talks with Taliban The UK envoy to Afghanistan has confirmed that his country would continue to support an Afghan-led peace and national reconciliation process with the Taliban. William Patey, the out-going British diplomat in Kabul, said the UK has continued and will continue to support Afghanistan’s High Peace Council. “We supported the High Peace Council, we continue to support the High Peace Council, we continue to support an Afghan-led peace process,” Patey told reporters in a press briefing in Kabul. He made the remarks just days after a Taliban statement sent to media said the outfit has suspended peace talks, saying Taliban would not negotiate unless the Americans “clarify their stance with regard to dialogue and show willingness in carrying out their promises instead of wasting time.” “It is not for us to do a separate
deal,” Patey responded to a query when his opinion was sought towards Taliban recent statement and suspending peace talks with the United States. “It is for the international community and the United States to help facilitate discussing between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan,” the outgoing British Ambassador to Afghanistan further said, adding that “it is for Taliban to end the war now and rejoin their villages.” He also backed the stance of Afghan government with regard to peace talks with Taliban, saying Taliban have to reject al-Qaida, renounce violence and accept Afghan constitution. Currently, around 9,500 British troops have been stationed in Afghanistan, and the death toll of the British military has topped 406 since the US-led invasion of the South Asian state in 2001.
have something in Switzerland and it would make sense to have something in the Far East, somewhere like Singapore,” he said. Last year, the bank also launched a concierge service for its private banking clients, branded as ADIB Lifeestyle, and it is planning to roll out this service this year. “We have formed ADIB Lifestyle, if you would like us to organise your daughter’s wedding we can do it [or] we can charter planes... we launched it a year ago,” Crocker said. ADIB in February reported a 2011 fourth quarter net profit growth of 35 percent, helped by higher fee and commission income and lower provisions. The lender made AED338.6m (US$92.3m) in the last three months of 2011, compared with AED250.6m a year earlier, it said in a statement, as fees, commissions and foreign exchange rose 11.3 percent. “ADIB’s enhanced transaction banking and advisory-based investment banking franchises more than compensated for the decline in personal banking fees,” the bank said.
Britain mulling plans to sell RBS to Abu Dhabi The British government is mulling over plans to sell up to a third of its stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to Abu Dhabi, one of the seven states of the United Arab Emirates. The current share price at which the British government plans to sell its stake is almost half the price it paid in 2008, when the British government invested £45.5bn of British taxpayers’ money to rescue the bank from collapsing. In an interview with the BBC, a Treasury spokesperson has claimed that the government’s plan is “to repair and return RBS to full health so that it is able to support the UK economy in the future, and the current strategy is working to achieve that.”
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I April 2012
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
UK Government to demand data on every call and email
ISPs and landline and mobile phone operators could be forced to store records of calls, texts, emails and visited websites under a new government scheme designed to combat terrorism. The government has begun negotiations with the companies involved and the new Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) could be announced as early as May, according to reports. The databases would not record the content of the customer’s communications but would store the numbers and email addresses of the sender and the recipient and, for the first time, security services will have access to Facebook communications. Direct Messages between Twitter users will also be monitored, as well as users of online gaming services. ISPs and phone operators will have to store the data for one year
and make it available to security services, such as MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, who have been lobbying for the scheme. If the CCDP were to be implemented, authorities would be granted ‘real-time’ access to suspects’ communications and would also be able to reconstruct their movements as records would be able to show within yards where a call or text was made, while internet browsing histories could be matched to IP addresses. The scheme is based on a Labour plan which was scrapped due to a lack of support and security fears. Its plans made provision for a centralised database, although this was dropped due to cost. The project appears to have been resurrected over fears of a terrorist attack at this summer’s Olympic Games in London and security services’ inability to track terrorist’s
communication over the internet. The government has already pledged ‘unprecedented levels’ of cyber security for the event. Not surprisingly, the prospect of the CCDP has raised concerns over a loss of privacy but also about the security of the stored records. If they fell into the wrong hands, these could be used by hackers to launch spam email and text campaigns, while details of visited websites could also be used for commercial gain. “Labour’s online surveillance plans have hardly changed but have been rebranded. They are just as intrusive and offensive,” commented Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group. “The plans are a huge waste of time and money, as well as being a huge intrusion on our civil liberties. Online government surveillance is the last thing we need right now.” The Open Rights Group has also launched a petition, addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg and home secretary Theresa May, which allows the public to voice opposition to the scheme. “I do not want the government to try to intercept every UK email, Facebook account and online communication,” it read. “It would be pointless – as it will be easy for criminals to encrypt and evade – and expensive. It would also be illegal: mass surveillance would be a breach of our fundamental right to privacy.”
Judge orders Muslim to stand down from jury A Muslim women was thrown off a jury during a UK court case after refusing a judge’s order to remove her veil. In what appears to be a first for the country, the un-named woman was told she could not serve on the jury for an attempted murder trial as her face was covered by a niqab, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. Prior to taking a legal oath amid
legal proceedings at London’s Blackfriars Crown Court, Judge Aidan Marron QC asked that the woman remove her veil. When she refused, Judge Marron replied: “I entirely understand that, but in this particular case it is desirable that your face is exposed, so I’m going to invite you to stand down. I hope you understand.” She was replaced by a white,
male juror, according to the Daily Mail. Following the incident, Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, told the newspaper: “This is totally unacceptable. I really can’t understand why facial expressions could have any impact on the judge, the judgment or anyone else in a trial. It has no relevance.”
UK to be sued over assist drone attacks in Pakistan
I April 2012
A human rights group and a law firm took legal action against the British government, accusing it of passing on intelligence to assist US covert drone attacks in Pakistan. The London-based charity Reprieve and the law firm Leigh Day & Co. are filing papers to the High Court claiming that civilian staff at Britain’s electronic listening agency, GCHQ, could be liable as “secondary parties to murder” for providing “locational intelligence” to the CIA in directing its drone attack program. The two are acting on behalf of Noor Khan, 27, a Pakistani whose
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
father was killed by a drone strike in northwest Pakistan in March 2011 while attending a gathering of elders. More than 40 other people were killed in that attack, they said. Reprieve, which helps death row prisoners and Guantanamo Bay inmates, urged the British government to be more transparent about its role — if any — in the drone program. “What has the government got to hide? If they’re not supplying information as part of the CIA’s illegal drone war, why not tell us?” Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith said.
British officials have never commented publicly on the drones. The Foreign Office and GCHQ declined comment on the legal action Monday, saying they could not speak about ongoing legal proceedings or and intelligence matters. Since 2004, CIA drones have targeted suspected militants with missile strikes in the Pakistani tribal regions, killing hundreds of people. The program is controversial because of questions about its legality, the number of civilians it has killed, and its impact on Pakistan’s sovereignty. US officials do not publicly acknowledge the covert drone program but they have said privately that the strikes harm very few innocents and are key to weakening Al-Qaeda and other militant groups. Leigh Day & Co. did not detail what evidence the firm has regarding Britain’s alleged role in the drone program, but it cited media reports that quoted an anonymous GCHQ source as saying that the assistance it gave to the US authorities was in ‘strict accordance’ with the law. The law firm disputed that, saying GCHQ staff may be guilty of war crimes by passing along detailed intelligence to a drone program that violates international humanitarian law.
Top nasheed artists to perform at charity event Islamic nasheed artists from across the world are to perform in as Islamic Relief UK presents ‘An Evening of Inspiration 2012’. The event will showcase some of the leading performers of Islamic cultural entertainment with famous names including Outlandish, Zain Bhika, Junaid Jamshed, Native Deen and Preacher Moss. The annual concert will see all proceeds donated to Islamic
Relief’s projects in over 40 countries worldwide. Zain Bhika is a South African singer-songwriter, who has achieved success as a performer of Islamic nasheed songs Junaid Jamshed is a Pakistani recording artist who first found fame as the front man of the pop group – Vital Signs. Native Deen are an Islamic musical group from the Washington
D.C. who combine a hip-hop style with lyrical themes relating to Islam. Also performing at the concert is Preacher Moss who is an American comedian and writer. The evening will begin at 5.30pm at the Manchester Bridgewater Hall on Saturday April 7. Tickets are priced at £15 for adults and £10 for children under 12 years old. To buy tickets call 0161 907 9000 or see www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk
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Human rights commission fatally split 12
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The British Bill of Rights Commission seems unlikely to agree final proposals as leaked emails and papers published in the Daily Telegraph reveal splits between the Commission members. Sir Leigh Lewis, who chairs the Commission, wrote to members saying that at the time of publishing report members were “likely to be far apart on a number of key issues”. “The Commission could publish as many as three different reports from the chairman Sir Leigh Lewis and its different factions, allowing the Government to claim that it is split and so ignore its findings”, said the leaked papers. Last year, The British Prime Minister David Cameron called for the abolition of the Human Rights Act, which integrates the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, after the unprecedented unrest in August afflicted the country. The coalition formed a
commission of human rights experts who were expected to report to the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke the possibility of introducing a British Bill of Rights to replace the Act, which was passed by the Labour Party in 1998. But Nick Clegg pledged during the Liberal Democrat party conference last September that Liberal Democrats will not allow any major changes in the Act. The lack of agreement between the Commission members will make it difficult for the UK premier to persuade his Liberal Democrats to agree to a new British Bill of Rights. Remarking that the Commission set up to look at the idea of a British Bill of Rights was “not really up to the job”, Douglas Carswell MP said, “If we want change, and I want change, we need to get ourselves a new justice secretary.”
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I April 2012
Dubai’s Landmark part of Iceland Foods takeover
Dubai’s Landmark Group has taken a stake in British frozen foods retailer Iceland Foods as part of a deal that sees founder and chief executive Malcolm Walker back in control. In a deal valuing the firm at £1.55bn ($2.45bn), the buyout of the 77 percent stake from the liquidators of failed Icelandic banks Landsbanki and Glitnir is being backed by an £860m debt package, the company said. Walker and other managers will own a 43 percent stake of Iceland’s equity, while new coinvestors Lord Kirkham, Brait and Landmark Group will own the rest, Reuters reported. South African investment firm Brait said that its £80m stake amounted to 19 percent. Landmark, one of the largest retail conglomerates in the Gulf region, is ramping up its expansion through buying franchise rights of international firms and developing its own brands. The firm on November 1 said it expects to see an annual turnover of $5bn by 2015. The operator of more than 1,000 outlets across the Middle East and India said it had seen a 28 percent increase in revenues in 2010-2011. Walker founded the Iceland Foods with £60 of capital in 1970. Friday’s deal gives the business an enterprise value of £1.45bn and an equity value of £1.55bn. The buyout debt package is being funded by Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Nomura and RBS. Iceland operates 800 stores in the UK and had sales of £2.4bn in the year to March 2011.
I April 2012
US soldier formally charged with 17 murders In Case You Missed It
A US soldier has been formally charged with 17 murders over the killings of civilians in a village in southern Afghanistan, US forces said in a statement released in Kabul. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry, was also accused of six counts of assault and attempted murder in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province earlier this month. The statement said that under the US military’s code of justice, “the maximum possible punishment for a premeditated murder conviction
is a dishonourable discharge from the Armed Forces, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, total forfeiture of pay and allowances, and death”. The mandatory minimum sentence is life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, it added. Bales is currently being held at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, and a senior US official said earlier that it had “pretty much been decided” the trial would be held in the United States. But relatives of the victims have demanded the proceedings take place in Afghanistan.
Danish school fined for forcing Muslim to eat pork
A Danish vocational school has been ordered to pay a fine to a Muslim student of Lebanese origin after expelling her when she refused to eat pork, Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman said. The school has been ordered by the Danish Equal Status Council to pay the student a 75,000 Danish kroner ($13,389) fine after the council ruled that forcing Muslim students to eat pork was discrimination, according to the paper. Trine Bramsen, a politician from the ruling Danish Social Democrat Party, supported the ruling, and said that Muslim students should be allowed to graduate from school without having to taste pork. Another Danish school, the Copenhagen Hospitality College, made headlines earlier this month when a Muslim student of nutrition was forced to taste pork and wine in order to complete his studies, the paper added.
Saudi students complain 5000 Copies of Quran of racist slur in Poland
Arab students in Poland, especially those from Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries, say they are being racially harassed by locals. According to eyewitnesses, racist messages with slogans such as “Go home Arab terrorists” were being posted on the students’ houses in the city of Olisschen, near the Polish-Russian border. The students have complained to their respective embassies. The Saudi ambassador in Warsaw, Walid bin Tahir Rudwan, is monitoring the situation and expected to meet with the mayor of the city and other officials. Polish students created a site on Facebook calling for the expulsion of Arab students from the city. The Arab students reportedly tried to
engage in a friendly discussion with them, but local media got involved and their editorial content was biased toward the Polish students. In addition, their stories on the issue ignored developments in the Middle East, religious values in the region and spirit of freedom approved by all communities, including Arabs and Muslims. Olisschen police have already arrested a 25-year-old pizza delivery man who used to stick racist posters on the doors of Arab students’ houses. Meanwhile, cultural attaches at Arab embassies have called on their students to exercise utmost care and caution and keep away from places where incidents might occur. passionislam.com
distributed in Brazil
Some 5000 copies of Quran translation in Portuguese language have been distributed in Brazil. According to Al-Ittihad Daily News Paper, Dubai Charity Association has distributed the copies with the purpose of getting Brazil’s Muslims further acquainted with the Book of Allah. Ahmed Mohammad Mesmar, an official with the centre, said in a statement that so far some 15000 copies of Muslims’ scripture have also been handed out among Ethiopian Muslims.
US builds world biggest spy centre 14
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Pakistani entrepreneur launches airline in UAE
The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is building the biggest spy center for intercepting and storing electronic communications collected from all over the world and American citizens. A new report published by the monthly magazine Wired, said that the centre located in Bluffdale, a remote valley in the state of Utah, can process yottabytes (a million billions of gigabytes) of data. The facility of USD 2 billion is designed to “intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications including the contents of telephone calls, private e-mails, mobile phone text messages and Internet searches. According to the report, the facility is “the most covert and potentially most intrusive intelligence
agency ever,” and it will use 65 megawatts of electricity a year, with an annual bill of USD 40 million. The spy center intercepts commutation signals as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. Using what will likely be the world’s fastest super computer, the NSA can gather data through ‘dumb’ home appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and lighting systems which are connected to the Internet. The facility is to provide technical assistance to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), collect intelligence on cyber threats and carry out cyber-security objectives, reported Reuters.
A 26-year-old Pakistani businessman from Abbottabad, Malek Naureed Awan, is set to launch an airline in the UAE. MMA Airline has been registered with the Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone, from where it received its licence as a company last month, Awan, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, told Gulf News. “We have also received an Air Operators Certificate [from the General Civil Aviation Authority GCAA] on March 14,” he said. An air operator’s certificate (AOC) is an approval granted by a national aviation authority to an aircraft operator to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes. This requires the operator to have personnel, assets and systems in place to ensure the safety of its employees and the general public.
Canada shipping bomb uranium to US Canada is secretly transporting large amounts of highly enriched weaponsgrade uranium to the United States, according to Canadian media reports. A confidential federal document made public says at least one payload of used, US-origin highly enriched uranium fuel has already been transferred stateside under a new accord between Canada and the US. The Canadian stockpile, which
is quietly shipped from Chalk River in the province of Ontario, contains hundreds of kilograms of bomb-grade uranium, enough to make several Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs. This is while the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the country’s atomic watchdog, seeks to keep the issue secret by refusing to set up public hearings about it or disclose which communities lie along the transit route. The transportation of atomic
material originates from the highly publicized deal signed by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President Barack Obama in 2010. The deal was signed amid fears that terrorists may get access to weapons-grade uranium. The development has aroused a great controversy inside Canada, hampering the shipment of 16 generators from the North American country through the St. Lawrence River onto the European countries.
I April 2012
Interest-free microfinance hope for poor Muslims in India
EU forced to withdraw racist video clip
Making headlines in the recent past for crushing interest rates claiming lives of debtors, microfinance is now being offered with a more humane approach. The Human Welfare Foundation will now offer loans in the form of interest-free microfinance to the poor across India, including Hyderabad, said vice president of Jamat-e-Islami Hind Prof K A Siddique Hassan. Hassan is the general secretary of the Human Welfare Foundation. In addition to interest-free loans, a support system for human welfare involving a network of activities focusing on healthcare, protection of civil rights, women’s empowerment, disaster management and encouraging strict adherence to ethics in professions such as medicine is the need of the hour, he noted. “The burden of interest never allows the debtor to extricate himself from the web of interest and loans. Also, Muslims need skills, technical guidance and entrepreneurship apart from financial assistance,” he added. As part of an initiative entitled Vision 2016, the Human Welfare Foundation (HWF), along with 50 affiliate NGOs, has been implementing around 125 projects in 20 states to establish a support
network for human welfare. “The plan aims to bring about the complete upliftment of Indian society. By adopting business models such as musharika (joint venture), mudariba (hire purchase) and qarz-e-hasana (loans with the intention of goodwill), we intend to help the poor. This will be 100% interest free. The NGO Sahulat Microfinance Society intends to achieve justice and plans to remove socioeconomic disparities by providing interest free loans thereby bringing about equity for educationally and financially backward section of society. Hyderabad will be the hub of operations in Andhra Pradesh,” said Hassan. There are 15 such microfinancing centres in and around Hyderabad. Hassan observed that the ghettoisation of Muslims is the primary cause for their backwardness. He added that poverty alleviation was possible with education. He said the first phase of the project was completed in March 2011 and the second phase would begin in March 2012 and will focus on states in South India. «This is the first time a national NGO for protection of civil rights of Muslims has been formed in the county,” Hassan said.
The European Commission has been forced to withdraw a high budget teaser video promoting European Union enlargement after it was accused of being racist. The video, entitled Growing Together, features three men from ethnic minorities using martial arts skills apparently preparing to fight a white woman. The ethnic characters include a threatening-looking Chinese man who shouts kung fu slogans, a sword-wielding Indian man and a dreadlocked black man and the woman wears a yellow dress, the color of the stars of the EU. The woman stares at the men who are threatening her with marital art moves. She then multiplies herself to form a circle around the men who drop their weapons and sit down. The woman’s yellow outfit then turns into the stars of the EU. The video shows the words “The more we are, the stronger we are,” at the end. The European commission was accused of depicting other cultures in a racist manner and in stereotypes in the video, which was aimed at young audiences. The Commission said it regretted that the video had been perceived as racist and apologized. “We apologize to anyone who may have felt offended. Given these controversies, we have decided to stop the campaign immediately and to withdraw the video,” the official in charge of the Commission’s enlargement and neighborhood policy, Stefano Sannino said.
US Mosques Increased by 74% since Sept 11
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The number of American mosques has increased dramatically in the last decade despite post 9/11 protests aimed at Muslim houses of worship, according to a new study. The new Islamic centers serve Muslims who moved into the suburbs and newer immigrants from Africa, Iraq and elsewhere. Researchers conducting the national count found a total of 2,106 Islamic centers, compared to 1,209 in 2000 and 962 in 1994. About one-quarter of the centers were built between 2000-2011, as the community faced intense scrutiny by government officials and a suspicious public. In 2010, protest against an Islamic center near ground zero erupted into
a national debate over Islam, extremism and religious freedom. Anti-mosque demonstrations spread to Tennessee, California and other states. Ihsan Bagby, a professor at the University of Kentucky and lead author of the study, said the findings show Muslims are carving out a place for themselves despite the backlash. “This is a growing, healthy Muslim community that is well integrated into America,” Bagby said. “I think that is the best message we can send to the world and the Muslim world in particular.” The overwhelming majority of mosques are in cities, but the number located in suburbs rose from
I April 2012
16 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2011. The Northeast once had the largest number of mosques, but Islamic centers are now concentrated in the South and West, the study found. New York still has the greatest number of Islamic centers — 257 — followed by 246 in California and 166 in Texas. Florida is fourth with 118. The shift follows the general pattern of population movement to the South and West. The study found the ethnic makeup of mosque participants largely unchanged from 2000. South Asians comprise about one-third of participants, while Arabs and AfricanAmericans are about one-quarter each. Bagby found a slight increase in the percentage of Muslims from West Africa and Somalia. An influx of Iraqi and Iranian refugees is behind a jump in the number of Shiite mosques since the 1990s. Shiites still represent a very small percentage of the U.S. Muslim population. Each congregation reported an average of around 15 converts to Islam annually, a figure that has held steady. Latinos jumped from 7 percent of all reported converts in 2000 to 12 percent in 2011, while the percentage of white converts dropped slightly. In findings similar to those in surveys conducted by Pew Research Center and Gallup, nearly all respondents said they supported Muslim involvement in American society and politics.
Muslims build homes for fellow Americans In a new outreach to show the true face of their religion, Muslim students are volunteering to help build homes for residents of the US state of West Virginia. “They are one of the most delightful groups of students you are ever going to meet,” Gwen Miles, volunteer coordinator for Wood County Habitat for Humanity, told the Parkesburg News. “This is the first group of Muslim students (to volunteer here) and the
first group we’ve had from as far away as Washington, D.C.” Muslim students from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. have volunteered to build homes for residents in south Parkesburg in West Virginia. “Not many students would give up their Spring Break to come work in cold and snowy Parkersburg,” Miles said. “They are making the best of it.” The initiative is part of Muslim
efforts to show the American public the truce face of their faith. “I asked how we can best translate our faith into action, how we can best be Americans,” said Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim chaplain for Georgetown University. “The idea is to be there for those who are overlooked,” he said. “The students decided to take this idea seriously.” passionislam.com
I April 2012
Toronto first own cemetery for Muslims to open
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Foundation of a new mosque in Kosovo
The Greater Toronto Area will be getting its first cemetery catering to all Muslims this summer. The province has granted a license to the Toronto Muslim Cemetery Corporation, allowing it to operate the site in Richmond Hill. The corporation says the cemetery is a joint project between Sunni and Shia Muslim communities and will open in June. Board chairman Sabi Ahsan said the cemetery is a “landmark co-operation” between Muslims of all denominations and will bring the entire community closer together. “This is the final nail in the coffin, so to speak,” said Abdulhuq Ingar, one of the founding members of the cemetery project. The group plans to open the 14-hectare cemetery officially in June. It’s expected to serve the needs of the estimated 300,000-strong Muslim community
for at least 25 years. He says the cemetery will be the first in the area which manages services according to Muslim custom, operates on weekends and will have all graves correctly aligned toward Mecca. The 14-hectare land for the cemetery was bought for $6.8-million from a Jewish company – Beth Olam Cemetery Corporation – which provided the Muslim corporation with an interest-free mortgage. It’s expected to serve the needs of the estimated 300,000-strong Muslim community for at least 25 years. Mr. Ahsan said it will hold 40,000 graves and will allow Muslims to bury their loved ones on the day they die, according to religious custom. A Muslim cemetery to meet the needs of residents in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que, is expected to open in June as well
A new mosque is being constructed in Preshtina city of Kosovo, with the support of city council. The municipality of Kosovo’s capital Preshtina has decided to build a new mosque in Kosovo’s capital for implementing the long standing demand of the country’s Islamic authorities. This municipality said in its statement that the council of Preshtina has supported the decision of selecting a place for the construction of mosque in this city. It is decided that this mosque will be constructed on the area of 8100 square meters and currently the building of post office is located at this place. That’s why the building of post office is shifted to another place. Ala-cola reported that the Islamic authorities of Kosovo have supported the selection of this place for the building of a Mosque. According to a survey in Kosovo, about 96% from the population of two hundred thousand are Muslims and nearly forty thousand Catholic and twenty five thousand orthodox Christians are living. Kosovo had announced its independence from Serbia in year 2010.
Germany to have Europe’s biggest Mosque
Construction of Europe’s biggest mosque began in the German city of Cologne, Al-Yawm As-Sabi daily reported. Set to be Europe’s 1000th mosque, it will accommodate 2000 worshippers upon competition.
The construction project is carried out by one of Turkey’s biggest companies at an estimated cost of 34 billion Euros. Mayor of Cologne Jürgen Roters said the mosque will add to the city’s fame in the world.
He noted that it will be inaugurated and welcome worshipers in a year. Germany is home to over 4 million Muslims. It has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France.
I WORLD NEWS
I April 2012
Sheikha Lubna most powerful Arab woman in 2012 In Case You Missed It
The UAE’s minister of foreign trade, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, has been ranked as the most powerful Arab woman by CEO Middle East magazine for the second year running. Previously minister for the economy and planning, UAEborn Sheikha was praised for her contribution to the Gulf state’s flourishing trade industry and her key role in the country’s diversification programme. The list, which is running for the second year, ranks Arab women according to the number of people whose lives they have touched and influenced. Coming in at second place was Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman, who became internationally
recognised after she claimed the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to improve human rights during the Arab Spring. In third position was Lubna Olayan, CEO of Olayan Financing Company, who dropped one place from 2011 but continues to be seen as a key business leader and role model for Arab women throughout the region. As a member of the ruling family of Sharjah, Sheikha Lubna was the first ever female to be appointed as a government minister in the UAE. In her current post, the Emirati national is responsible for promoting trade ties with international partners - a vital part of the UAE’s diversification strategy.
Aside from her ministerial duties, Sheikha Lubna sits on the board of directors for organisations such as the Dubai Chamber for Commerce and Industry, and has also launched her own perfume line.
Australian state toughens law for Muslim veils
Muslim women in Australia’s most populous state will have to remove veils to have their signatures officially witnessed under the latest laws giving New South Wales officials authority to look under religious face coverings. New South Wales state Attorney General Greg Smith said in a statement Monday that beginning April 30, officials such as justices of the peace and lawyers who witness statutory declarations or affidavits without making identity checks will be fined 220 Australian dollars ($236).
“If a person is wearing a face covering, an authorized witness should politely and respectfully ask them to show their face,” Smith said. The face coverings also include motorcycle helmets and masks. The government began an information campaign to ensure the public and officials are aware of the new penalties before they come into force. New South Wales laws passed last year that introduced a AU$5,500 ($5,900) fine and a 12-month prison sentence for anyone who refuses to remove face coverings when requested to do so by police. Ikebal Patel, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils and an advocate for Australian Muslims, said while some Muslims regarded the laws as a knee-jerk reaction to the court case, the majority did not object. “I don’t object as long as the laws are enforced with respect and sensitivity,” Patel said. Patel said he was also a justice of the peace and would never witness
a document without seeking proof of the author’s identity. He said Muslim women can find female justices of the peace working at most post offices. Women who object to showing policemen their faces have an option of being taken to a police station where their identities can be confirmed by a female official. New South Wales laws demanding the removal of religious face coverings are an Australian first, although other states including Victoria and Western Australia are considering similar legislation. Muslims are a rapidly growing minority of 400,000 within Australia’s
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I April 2012
Western scientists receive Arab world’s most prestigious prize
Three American scientists will were awarded the King Faisal International Prize, known colloquially as the “Arab Nobel Prize” at a ceremony in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Alexander Varshavsky, Professor of Cell Biology at the California Institute of Technology, will accept the Prize for Science in
Riyadh for his pioneering work in cell biology which is helping in the treatment of cancer. The Prize for Medicine was awarded jointly to two American professors, Professor Richard L. Berkowitz and Professor James Bruce Bussel, for their research into life-threatening conditions in unborn and new born infants. The Prizes are awarded on behalf of the King Faisal Foundation which was founded in 1976 in memory of Saudi Arabia’s late King by his eight sons. It recognises exceptional achievements in Science and Medicine, in Service to Islam, Islamic Studies and Arabic Language and Literature. Other Prize winners included two eminent Egyptian computer scientists
and a Saudi scholar for his study of the links between contemporary human rights and Islamic jurisprudence. Shaikh Sulaiman Al-Rahji, one of the world’s leading philanthropists is being honoured for his Service to Islam. So far, there have been a total of 209 laureates honoured from 40 different countries including, in recent years, the UK, Germany and Italy, as well as India, Russia, Morocco, Jordan and Japan. No less than 15 award winners have gone onto to win Nobel Prizes. The King Faisal Prize rewards individuals whose accomplishments are not only exceptional in their own right, but which make a significant contribution to the body of knowledge belonging to humankind.
Qatar to be Middle East’s top tourism performer in 2012
Qatar is set to see the fastest growth in tourism this year, with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasting 13.2 percent growth. It said growth in the Middle East as a whole would be a more subdued three percent, with stark difference at a country level. The WTTC said in a statement that Qatar will grow fastest at 13.2 percent while Syria will likely see another dramatic fall, projected at 20.5 percent, as the political situation worsens, increasing concerns over security. For Syria, it represents a huge decline after the country attracted 14 percent of all international arrivals in the Middle East in 2010, second only to Saudi Arabia. Last month, STR Global data said Qatar’s tourism sector was likely to see a near-70 percent growth in hotels, the largest in the Middle East and Africa. The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline for January comprised a total of 495 hotels
totalling 131,981 rooms, according to STR Global’s construction pipeline report. Among the countries in the region, Qatar reported the largest expected growth (up 69.9 percent) if all 7,340 rooms in the country’s total active pipeline open. According to the WTTC’s latest research, the tourism industry’s direct contribution to the global economy should exceed $2trn in GDP and 100 million jobs this year. This contribution to GDP would represent a growth of 2.8 percent, marginally faster than the global rate of economic growth, predicted to be 2.5 percent. When the wider economic impacts of the industry are taken into account, travel and tourism is forecast by WTTC and its research partner Oxford Economics to contribute some $6.5trn to the global economy and generate 260 million jobs - or 1 in 12 of all jobs in the world.
According to the WTTC, South and Northeast Asia will be the fastest-growing regions in 2012 (up 6.7 percent), driven by countries such as India and China where rising incomes will generate an increase in domestic tourism spend and a sharp upturn in capital investment, as well as a recovery in Japan. It added that North Africa was showing signs of recovery in 2012 with Morocco (8.3 percent) forecast to be the star performer as the region recovers from the civil unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya last year.
I April 2012
Young Muslims take lead in celebration for 2012 Olympic Games
Young athletes and sports personalities took centre stage at the Muslim Council’s third annual Muslim Leadership Dinner, in celebration for this year’s Olympics. Olympic hopefuls, Mohammed Sbihi (rowing), Darren Cheesman (hockey) and sporting personalities joined ambassadors, MPs and other dignitaries to speak about their passion for their chosen sports,
as well as sharing inspiration from their faith. Messages of dedication, determination and commitment were heard throughout the evening at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair. In his welcome speech, Farooq Murad, Secretary General of the MCB, said: “This event is an occasion to celebrate the determination and positive achievements of Muslims in Britain, to encourage Muslims to be optimistic and creative participants.” He commended the contribution of the rich and diverse range of the affiliates of the Muslim Council including leading charities, entrepreneurs, mosques and institutions. He spoke of the importance of engaging with young people and encouraged the Muslim community to invest more time and energy with them. Multi-medal winning Paralympian, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, shared her own inspirational story of getting involved with sports when everyone else told her she “shouldn’t bother” because she was
in a wheelchair. She talked about the importance of education and the role her father played in encouraging her to work hard at both school and sports simultaneously. In preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, guests watched live performances by Colin Nell, a professional football freestyler, and also watched a live competition between all the Muslim athletes and sports personalities present during the evening for an improvised freestyle performance. Guest speaker Dr Hany El Banna OBE, founder and former president of international relief agency, Islamic Relief, called for the community to take charge of its own destiny, including raising the profile of women, opening up to critical thinking and new scholarship, and celebrated the democratic tradition of the UK. He also discussed the importance of leadership, saying: “If you want to create leadership you need to serve, educate and train society – youth, women and men.”
Qatar foundation’s partnership with FC Barcelona on Facebook
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) has launched new social media channels focused on its partnership with FC Barcelona (FCB) to engage directly with followers and fans. The official channels in Facebook and Twitter aim to raise awareness about the two organisations and bring their fans the shared values and the joint programmes that underpin their partnership, a QF statement said. The partnership’s Facebook page, available in Catalan, Spanish, Arabic and English, provides detailed information on QF and FCB’s latest news, activities, match results and contests. The page also features photo albums on the partnership’s participation in international
tournaments and events, with insight on upcoming matches and exclusive pictures. The Facebook page is a destination where fans can post photos, videos and exchange comments about their experiences with the organisations. Students from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCU) have recently attended FCB’s match against Sporting Gijon and posted pictures on the QF-FCB partnership page. “The enormous power of sports has brought different cultures to collaborate together,” said Fatima Al Kharaz, a VCU Qatar student. The Twitter channel provides more frequent coverage and communication with fans, pushing tweets with pictures on the team’s
latest news releases and its participation in major tournaments. The goal of the social media efforts launched last month is to increase awareness of QF and its partnership with FCB and to provide concrete benefits to fans of the partnership, the statement said. The partnership is the result of a sponsorship agreement reached between Qatar Sports Investment and FCB signed at the end of 2010.
SPORT I 21
I April 2012
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International Football Association Board approves hijab In Case You Missed It
July 2. Jordan’s women’s team was handed a 3-0 win in the Olympic 2012 qualifiers in June, despite no game taking place, after the Iranian team was banned from playing for wearing Islamic scarves. “I am deeply grateful that the proposal to allow women to wear the headscarf was unanimously endorsed by all members of IFAB,” Prince Ali said. “I welcome their decision for an accelerated process to further test the current design and I’m confident that once the final ratification at the special meeting of IFAB takes place, we will see many delighted and happy players returning to the field and playing the game they love,” he added.
The eight-man International Football Association Board has given the green light to Islamic female footballers that wish to wear the hijab, or headscarf, during matches. The Iranian women’s football team had to forfeit a match against Jordan in June 2011 because they refused to play without the hijab (see more photos) The IFAB agreed in
principle in Bagshot, south of London, on Saturday to overturn the decision they took in 2007. The hijab decision, taken after a presentation to the Board by FIFA executive committee member Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, was agreed by all eight members and will also be subject to further evaluation with a final decision to be taken on
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I SPECIAL FEATURE
“You are blessed, Umm Ayman (Barakah). Surely you have a place in Paradise.” - The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam)
We do not know precisely how the young Abyssinian girl ended up for sale in Makkah. We do not know her ‘roots’, who her mother was, or her father or her ancestors. There were many like her, boys and girls, Arabs and non-Arabs, who were captured and brought to the slave market of the city to be sold. A terrible fate awaited some who ended up in the hands of cruel masters or mistresses who exploited their labour to the full and treated them with the utmost harshness. A few in that inhuman environment were rather more fortunate. They were taken into the homes of more gentle and caring people. Barakah , the young Abyssinian girl, was one of the more fortunate ones. She was saved by the generous and kind Abdullah, the son of Abd al-Muttalib. She became the only servant in his household and when he was married, to the lady Aminah, she looked after her affairs as well. Two weeks after the couple were married, according to Barakah , Abdullah’s father came to their house and instructed his son to go with a trading caravan that was leaving for Syria. Aminah was deeply distressed and cried: “How strange! How strange! How can my husband go on a trading journey to Syria while I am yet a bride and the traces of henna are still on my hands.” Abdullah’s departure was heartbreaking. In her anguish, Aminah fainted. Soon after he left, Barakah said: “When I saw Aminah unconscious, I shouted in distress and pain: ‘O my lady!’ Aminah
opened her eyes and looked at me with tears streaming down her face. Suppressing a groan she said: “Take me to bed, Barakah.” “Aminah stayed bedridden for a long time. She spoke to no one. Neither did she look at anyone who visited her except Abd al-Muttalib, that noble and gentle old man. “Two months after the departure of Abdullah, Aminah called me at dawn one morning and, her face beaming with joy, she said to me: “O Barakah! I have seen a strange dream.” “Something good, my lady,” I said. “I saw lights coming from my abdomen lighting up the mountains, the hills and the valleys around Makkah.” “Do you feel pregnant, my lady?” “Yes, Barakah,” she replied. “But I do not feel any discomfort as other women feel.” “You shall give birth to a blessed child who will bring goodness,” I said. So long as Abdullah was away, Aminah remained sad and melancholic. Barakah stayed at her side trying to comfort her and make her cheerful by talking to her and relating stories. Aminah however became even more distressed when Abd al-Muttalib came and told her she had to leave her home and go to the mountains as other Makkans had done because of an impending attack on the city by the ruler of Yemen, someone called Abrahah. Aminah told him that she was too grief-striken and weak to leave for the mountains but insisted that Abrahah could never enter Makkah and destroy the Kabah because it was protected by the Lord. Abd al-Muttalib became very agitated but there was no sign of fear on Aminah’s face. Her confidence that the Kabah would not be harmed was well-founded. Abrahah’s army with an elephant in the vanguard was destroyed before it could enter Makkah.
I April 2012
Day and night, Barakah stayed beside Aminah. She said: “I slept at the foot of her bed and heard her groans at night as she called for her absent husband. Her moans would awaken me and I would try to comfort her and give her courage.” The first part of the caravan from Syria returned and was joyously welcomed by the trading families of Makkah. Barakah went secretly to the house of Abd al-Muttalib to find out about Abdullah but had no news of him. She went back to Aminah but did not tell her what she had seen or heard in order not to distress her. The entire caravan eventually returned but not with Abdullah. Later, Barakah was at Abd alMuttalib’s house when news came from Yathrib that Abdullah had died. She said: “I screamed when I heard the news. I don’t know what I did after that except that I ran to Aminah’s house shouting, lamenting for the absent one who would never return, lamenting for the beloved one for whom we waited so long, lamenting for the most beautiful youth of Makkah, for Abdullah, the pride of the Quraysh. “When Aminah heard the painful news, she fainted and I stayed by her bedside while she was in a state between life and death. There was no one else but me in Aminah’s house. I nursed her and looked after her during the day and through the long nights until she gave birth to her child, “Muhammad”, on a night in which the heavens were resplendent with the light of God.” When Muhammad was born, Barakah was the first to hold him in her arms. His grandfather came and took him to the Kabah and with all Makkah, celebrated his birth. Barakah stayed with Aminah while Muhammad was sent to the badiyah with the lady Halimah who looked after him in the bracing atmosphere
I April 2012
of the open desert. At the end of five years, he was brought back to Makkah and Aminah received him with tenderness and love and Barakah welcomed him “with joy, longing and admiration”. When Muhammad was six years old, his mother decided to visit the grave of her husband, Abdullah, in Yathrib. Both Barakah and Abd al-Muttalib tried to dissuade her. Aminah however was determined. So one morning they set off- Aminah, Muhammad and Barakah huddled together in a small hawdaj mounted on a large camel, part of a huge caravan that was going to Syria. In order to shield the tender child from any pain and worry, Aminah did not tell Muhammad that she was going to visit the grave of his father. The caravan went at a brisk pace. Barakah tried to console Aminah for her son’s sake and much of the time the boy Muhammad slept with his arms around Barakah’s neck. The caravan took ten days to reach Yathrib. The boy Muhammad was left with his maternal uncles of the Banu Najjar while Aminah went to visit the grave of Abdullah. Each day for a few weeks she stayed at the grave. She was consumed by grief. On the way back to Makkah, Aminah became seriously ill with fever. Halfway between Yathrib and Makkah, at a place called al-Abwa, they stopped. Aminah’s health deteriorated rapidly. One pitch dark night, she was running a high temperature. The fever had got to her head and she called out to Barakah in a choking voice. Barakah related: “She whispered in my ear: ‘O Barakah, I shall depart from this world shortly. I commend my son Muhammad to your care. He lost his father while he was in my abdomen. Here he is now, losing his mother under his very eyes. Be a mother to him, Barakah. And don’t ever leave him.’ “My heart was shattered and I began to sob and wail. The child was distressed by my wailing and began to weep. He threw himself into his mother’s arms and held tightly onto her neck. She gave one last moan and then was forever silent.” Barakah wept. She wept bitterly. With her own hands she dug a grave in the sand and buried Aminah, moistening the grave with whatever
tears were left in her heart. Barakah returned with the orphan child to Makkah and placed him in the care of his grandfather. She stayed at his house to look after him. When Abd al-Muttalib died two years later, she went with the child to the house of his uncle Abu Talib and continued to look after his needs until he was grown up and married the lady Khadijah . Barakah then stayed with Muhammad and Khadijah in a house belonging to Khadijah . “I never left him and he never left me,” she said. One day Muhammad , called out to her and said: “Ya Ummah!” (He always called her “Mother”.) “Now I am a married man, and you are still unmarried. What do you think if someone should come now and ask to marry you?” Barakah looked at Muhammad and said: “I shall never leave you. Does a mother abandon her son?” Muhammad smiled and kissed her head. He looked at his wife Khadijah and said to her: “This is Barakah. This is my mother after my own mother. She is the rest of my family.” Barakah looked at the lady Khadijah who said to her: “Barakah, you have sacrificed your youth for the sake of Muhammad . Now he wants to pay back some of his obligations to you. For my sake and his, agree to be married before old age overtakes you.” “Whom shall I marry, my lady?” asked Barakah . “There is here now Ubayd ibn Zayd from the Khazraj tribe of Yathrib. He has come to us seeking your hand in marriage. For my sake, don’t refuse.” Barakah agreed. She married Ubayd ibn Zayd and went with him to Yathrib. There she gave birth to a son whom she called Ayman and from that time onwards people called her “Umm Ayman” the mother of Ayman. Her marriage however did not last very long. Her husband died and she returned once more to Makkah to live with her “son” Muhammad in the house of the lady Khadijah . Living in the same household at the time were Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hind (Khadijah’s daughter by her first husband), and Zayd ibn Harithah . Zayd was an Arab from the tribe of Kalb who was captured as a boy and brought to Makkah to be sold in the slave market. He was
bought by Khadijah’s nephew and put in her service. In Khadijah’s household, Zayd became attached to Muhammad and devoted himself to his service. Their relationship was like that of a son to a father. Indeed when Zayd’s father came to Makkah in search of him, Zayd was given the choice by Muhammad of either going with his father or staying with him. Zayd’s reply to his father was: “I shall never leave this man. He has treated me nobly, as a father would treat his son. Not a single day have I felt that I am a slave. He has looked after me well. He is kind and loving towards me and strives for my enjoyment and happiness. He is the most noble of men and the greatest person in creation. How can I leave him and go with you?...I shall never leave him.” Later, in public Muhammad proclaimed the freedom of Zayd However, Zayd continued to live with him as part of his household and devoted himself to his service. When Muhammad was blessed with prophethood, Barakah and Zayd were among the first to believe in the message he proclaimed. They bore with the early Muslims the persecution which the Quraysh meted out to them. Barakah and Zayd performed invaluable services to the mission of the Prophet . They acted as part of an intelligence service exposing themselves to the persecution and punishment of the Quraysh and risking their lives to gain information on the plans and conspiracies of the Mushrikin. One night the Mushrikun blocked off the roads leading to the House of al-Arqam where the Prophet gathered his companions regularly to instruct them in the teachings of Islam. Barakah had some urgent information from Khadijah which had to be conveyed to the Prophet . She risked her life trying to reach the House of al-Arqam. When she arrived and conveyed the message to the Prophet , he smiled and said to her: “You are blessed, Umm Ayman. Surely you have a place in Paradise.” When Umm Ayman left, the Prophet looked at his companions and asked: “Should one of you desire to marry a woman from the people of Paradise, let him marry Umm Continued on page 24
I SPECIAL FEATURE
Ayman.” All the companions remained silent and did not utter a word. Umm Ayman was neither beautiful nor attractive. She was by now about fifty years old and looked rather frail. Zayd ibn al-Harithah however came forward and said: “Messenger of Allah, I shall marry Umm Ayman. By Allah, she is better than women who have grace and beauty.” Zayd and Umm Ayman were married and were blessed with a son whom they named Usamah . The Prophet , loved Usamah as his own son. Often he played with him, kissed him and fed him with his own hands. The Muslims would say: “He is the beloved son of the beloved.” From an early age Usamah distinguished himself in the service of lslam, and was later given weighty responsibilities by the Prophet . When the Prophet migrated to Yathrib, henceforth to be known as al-Madinah, he left Umm Ayman behind in Makkah to look after certain special affairs in his household. Eventually she migrated to Madinah on her own. She made the long and
difficult journey through the desert and mountainous terrain on foot. The heat was killing and sandstorms obscured the way but she persisted, borne along by her deep love and attachment for Muhammad . When she reached Madinah, her feet were sore and swollen and her face was covered with sand and dust. “Ya Umm Ayman! Ya Ummi! (O Umm Ayman! O my mother!) Indeed for you is a place in Paradise!” exclaimed the Prophet when he saw her. He wiped her face and eyes, massaged her feet and rubbed her shoulders with his kind and gentle hands. At Madinah, Umm Ayman played her full part in the affairs of the Muslims. At Uhud she distributed water to the thirsty and tended the wounded. She accompanied the Prophet on some expeditions, to Khaybar and Hunayn for example. Her son Ayman , a devoted companion of the Prophet was martyred at Hunayn in the eighth year after the Hijrah. Barakah’s husband, Zayd , was killed at the Battle of Mutah in Syria after a lifetime of distinguished service to
I April 2012
the Prophet and Islam. Barakah at this time was about seventy years old and spent much of her time at home. The Prophet , accompanied by Abu Bakr and Umar often visited her and asked: “Ya Ummi! Are you well?” and she would reply: “I am well, O Messenger of Allah so long as Islam is.” After the Prophet , had died, Barakah would often be found with tears in her eyes. She was once asked, “Why are you crying?” and she replied: “By Allah, I knew that the Messenger of Allah would die but I cry now because the revelation from on high has come to an end for us.” Barakah was unique in that she was the only one who was so close to the Prophet throughout his life from birth till death. Her life was one of selfless service in the Prophet’s household. She remained deeply devoted to the person of the noble, gentle and caring Prophet . Above all, her devotion to the religion of Islam was strong and unshakable. She died during the caliphate of Uthman . Her roots were unknown but her place in Paradise was assured.
Know Your Audience Passion Islam
I April 2012
As our current series of Business articles draws to a close, I’d like to bring to your attention the most important topic of all – “Knowing Your Audience”. It is all very well, knowing the topics covered in previous issues, but unless you deliver the right message to the right audience, the entrepreneur will not achieve the goals and objectives they’ve set for the business. Let’s assume you have launched your own business & have chosen the relevant business entity type, have written your business & selling plans, established strategic partnerships, started trading and have identified suitable sources of finance. There comes a time within the lifecycle of a business, where additional funds are required, whether to assist with cash-flow or for growth and expansion. For simplicity, we’ll consider three main sources of finance available to a typical UK entrepreneur – Family & Friends, Bank finance, and/or Business Angel investment. (As Muslims, it is imperative to confirm that any such source is halal as per Islamic directive.) A mistake most entrepreneurs make is believing that ONE SIZE FITS ALL. They deliver the same presentation to the Bank, to their Friends and Family, as well as to Business Angel investors and wonder why they received little or no interest in their proposition. This tactic is surely a recipe for disaster. Not only do you risk alienating the ‘audience’ but not delivering a presentation tailored to your audience, also shows apathy and lack of focus. This is a sure sign for whichever audience the entrepreneur
is presenting to needs to be respected. Give them the information they would specifically be interested in. It is therefore imperative that entrepreneurs do their homework, find out about their audience prior to making any presentation. Think about what topics you are likely to include in your presentation for Banks, Business Angel Investors, and Friends and family? Think logically – when you approach a Bank for support, what kind of support does the Bank provide? Would they be interested in a presentation which covers the benefits and features of your product/ service, covers investment and achievements to date, management expertise and competitor information? Yes they definitely would. Would Banks be interested in a presentation that includes an equity amount in exchange for funding? No, they certainly wouldn’t. UK Banks are not in the business of taking equity in exchange of cash support. The type of presentation Banks would be interested in is one which not only includes relevant topics but also one which clearly shows how the entrepreneur intends to repay the Bank debt. These claims should be fully backed by market research & any other evidence that can illustrate the entrepreneur’s repayment claims. The presentation duration shouldn’t be longer than 20 minutes. As a rule of thumb, a minute per slide. Similarly, entrepreneurs must ask the question, what kind of presentation would Business Angels be interested in? For an entrepreneur to keep the attention of such a sophisticated audience,
the presentation must at the very least include basic information about the product/service as included for Banks, but must also include valuation of the company and how much equity is on offer in exchange for investment. In addition, presentations for business angels should not be as long as a piece of thread. Ideally the presentation should last no longer than 15 minutes. Same principal applies – a minute per slide. Where friends and family are concerned, I recommend treating them as Business Angel Investors if they are taking an equity stake in your business and as Banks if they are lending you funds (As per Islamic directive, any loan transactions entered into must be interest free – whether with Banks or friends and family). Presentations delivered to Banks and Business Angel Investors are likely to be detailed and quite number focused. For friends and family, the entrepreneur must make things as simple as possible to ensure full understanding of the proposition at hand. It is important to remember that when approaching friends and family for cash support by way of a loan or investment in the business, entrepreneurs can often be naïve. In their excitement, they tend to ignore how quickly relations may be affected should the business not go to plan. As such, I always recommend that any transaction where money changes hands, is always a formal one – even where friends and family are involved. At the very least your friends & family, just like banks & investors, will want to know how much return they can expect and when in return for supporting the business by a cash loan or investment. About the Author Passion Islam Business Articles series as published since October 2011, have been submitted by Aisha Ejaz, Managing Director, Noor Business Services Ltd. For further information, Aisha can be contacted at email@example.com Islamic Disclaimer Islamically, it is every Muslim’s duty to ensure that their income is halal and is obtained through halal means.
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