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Extend a Hand to Africa
Ramada Mubara n k
Ten million people in the Horn of Africa are suffering amidst the worst drought seen in 60 years. The situation is desperate: children are dying of starvation, pregnancies are resulting in miscarriages and farmers’ livelihoods are being destroyed.
Ten million people in the Horn of Africa are suffering amidst the worst drought seen in 60 years. The situation is desperate: children are dying of starvation, pregnancies are resulting in miscarriages and farmers’ livelihoods are being destroyed. An unprecedented number of refugees have fled Somalia to neighboring Kenya. At least 800 children are arriving at the Dadaab refugee camp – the largest in the world - every day. In the past two weeks alone, 20,000 exhausted Somalis have arrived at the camp. Many mothers and their children have walked for a month on bare and bloodied feet. In their search for food and water,
they have slept for weeks on burning sand under open skies. Journeys of more than 300 miles are common. Ummah Welfare Trust, a UK-based relief organization, has launched a £1 million appeal to help these victims. The charity was part of the huge relief efforts in Pakistan following last July’s devastating floods. After launching a national appeal, it raised £5 million for the flood’s victims. The charity is now hoping for a similar response to an equally difficult, albeit different, humanitarian crisis. Its team has currently flown out to Nairobi and is aiming to provide emergency relief in the Dadaab camp in Northern Kenya.
Emergency food parcels containing flour, sugar, tea, beans, salt and oil will be distributed to thousands of families in the camp. The team will also work in southern Somalia, where they will distribute clean water – as Ummah Welfare Trust has been doing all year - in the Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions. Ummah Welfare Trust is appealing for the generous support of UK donors to help the millions in Africa who are going through some of the hardest times of their lives.
Donation Hotline: 0800 4 0800 11 / 01274 390 396 Donate Online: www.uwt.org
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I August 2011
By Jahangir Mohammed
Director Centre for Muslim Affairs
The Religious & Political narrative that feeds Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism
Just a couple of months ago the Norwegian Security Services concluded that there was little threat of terrorism from those associated with the far right. The British government in its revised Prevent Strategy also arrived at a similar conclusion. In the wake of the terror in Norway, we need to question whether Western Governments have taken the far right threat seriously enough or indeed understood it. The UK Home Office seem to have overlooked the fact that it was violent provocation by extreme ring wing activists in 2001 that was the cause of the worst disturbances in this country since the early 1980’s, with appalling consequences for community relations. Somehow thanks to policy makers, the narrative became one of Muslim separate lives and segregation instead of right-wing political provocation and violence. Muslim communities were too weak to challenge this narrative. There have also been 17 convictions for terrorism in the UK of those with extreme rightwing views, and others under the explosives legislation. The extent of explosives and ammunition found in some of these cases should have been of much more concern to the police and intelligence services than it currently is. Equally, the threatening, abusive language and incitement that takes place at many extreme right-wing events and demonstrations, with Police officers in attendance seems to be of little concern. No Muslim would be able to get away with such provocation (some have been prosecuted for much less). Whilst Muslim websites and organisations are monitored those of the far right appear to be overlooked. There seems to be some surprise that the attacks in Norway were not the work of Muslims.
There should not be. The Annual Europol reports on terrorism consistently show that Muslims are not responsible for the majority of terrorism cases in Europe. In the United States most acts of terrorism since the 1980’s have emanated from extreme right-wing militias rather than Muslims. In the USA there are some 70 million Zionist Christians; many belong to right-wing militias and extreme groups and have access to military hardware and training. It is this Zionist Christian movement, militantly pro-Israel and anti Muslim that has spawned neo-con ideology. So when the key suspect in the Norway attacks is described as having far right views, being anti government, a Christian fundamentalist, and anti Muslim this might seem at first an odd mix; but it is precisely this worldview that comes out of the neo–con handbook. This worldview is churned out week after week, crudely in the tabloids, and other media outlets. The quality papers and neo con think tanks churn out more of this argument presented as sophisticated political debate. These arguments and views have been reinforced by politicians and in State policies over the last decade. So when David Cameron pointed his finger at Muslims and Multi culturalism in Munich earlier this year, he might as well have been addressing an EDL demonstration. Except that those on the far right see Governments as the problem. Sadly some Zionist Jews have been an integral part of this neo con propaganda, and unfortunately part of organisations like the EDL. They and we should all know better. Didn’t the Third Reich also give offensive titles to Jewish areas? Didn’t the Nazis propagate that Jewish values were alien to Christian Europe and were infecting
Europe. Didn’t they talk of the Jews and Jewish conspiracies taking over countries and Europe? They also claimed that Jewish men were taking advantage of non-Jewish women and raping them, and polluting their pure blood (note the current debate that Muslims consider English women to be “easy meat” and where this argument is heading)? Didn’t Nazi propagandists include political, academic and cultural personalities? And wasn’t Adolf Hitler claiming to be a devout Christian who was ridding Europe of a people with alien values to Christian Europe. Over the last decade European politicians and intelligence services have been concentrating on the threat of attacks from Muslims. That threat exists purely as a reaction to Western interference in the political affairs of Muslim states, and will come to an end when Western involvement ends. However, whilst we have been looking the other way, a much more familiar and dangerous threat has been brewing. Its time we all took the far right terror threat to Europe more seriously, rather than viewing it as acts of loners or madmen. There is an ideology at work here, it starts with neocon think tanks, is popularized by neo-con media outlets, legitimized by neo-con inspired politicians and commentators and ends up as racism and fascism in the hands of far right organisations. This inspires some to violence and others deciding to take unilateral action believing it can affect change, as in Norway. We all need to deconstruct this neo-con ideology for what it is; a conveyor belt to right-wing terror and the rise of racism and fascism in Europe once more. The real threat to Europe is the rise of its old enemy fascism, not Islam. majedsblog
Write to: Editor, Passion Islam, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: firstname.lastname@example.org - 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
7-month jail for Navy medic who questioned Afghan War Passion Islam
I August 2011
A Royal Navy medic has been found guilty of wilful disobedience of a lawful order at a military hearing, has been sentenced to seven months’ detention for refusing rifle training before deployment. The court martial, at Portsmouth naval base, heard that on 20 September, British Royal Navy medic Michael Lyons,
25, refused pre-deployment assault rifle training, repeatedly requesting to be assigned to a non-combat role. Michael Lyons also raised moral objections to the war in Afghanistan. Lyons had served since 2005 as a medical assistant submariner, thus was dismissed and demoted from the navy afterwards. His case had been the first heard since 1996 by the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors, which considers appeals from serving forces personnel to resign or retire on moral grounds, his case was one of only 37 cases considered by the committee in its 41-year life. The committee rejected Lyons’s appeal for conscientious objector status in December, leading to the hearing. A depleted Lyons said: “My initial objections started with Afghanistan and I wanted to investigate the reasons why we were at war. At the time WikiLeaks came along and mentioned Iraq and Afghanistan. The reports said there had been some civilian casualties that nobody knew about and they were being
covered up. After a lot of deliberation I decided I was a conscientious objector.” Lyons claimed he was told he would be barred from treating Afghan civilians, and this formed part of his objection. “We were put into scenarios and in one of these a family had been walking for two days to our base. The child had a birth defect that was causing it pain and the instructor asked us whether they would get treatment. I said we would offer them whatever we could, but I was shouted down by an officer who said it was a waste of resources”, he said. Also at the court Warrant Officer Robert Bainbridge, who issued the training order, told the court he discussed Lyons’s objections for hours said: “We spent six hours in my office talking about the issue. I told him that as a medic he is in a combative and non-combative role and had an inherent right to self-defence. He briefed me that he felt that the war in Afghanistan was unjust, but I told him I was not sending him to war, I was training him how to use a rifle.”
â€˜Whoever feeds a fasting person will have a reward like that of the fasting person, without any reduction in his reward.â€™ - Tirmidhi
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I August 2011
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
School heads to get powers to sack teachers with extremist beliefs School heads in Britain will now be given the power to sack teachers who express extremist Islamic beliefs and stage lessons that undermine ‘fundamental’ British values such as the rule of law, democracy and individual liberty. The measure is designed to make it easier for heads to sack teachers who are members of the British National Party or those with extremist Islamic beliefs. The guidelines form part of a raft of stringent new teaching standards, which are enforceable from September 2012 and designed to weed out bad teachers, the Daily Mail reports.
Teachers will also be at risk of losing their jobs if they do not uphold high standards of ‘literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standards English’ at all times. The new rules are designed to give heads clear, legal grounds on which to dismiss staff who are extremists or simply not up to the job, the paper said. The move follows comments from Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, that membership of farright groups was incompatible with the duty to ‘shape young minds’. The guidelines direct staff ‘not to undermine fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule
of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs’. The National Association of Head Teachers has welcomed the document, saying the standards were ‘clear, concise and relevant’.
British Taliban suspects held Jews & Muslims British armed forces have arrested two Britons in Afghanistan suspected of fighting for the Taliban, it was announced. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed that two people claiming to be British nationals had been detained. An MoD spokesman said “We can confirm that British forces have detained two individuals in Afghanistan who claim to be British
nationals. We are not prepared to comment further at this stage.” A Foreign Office spokesman said “We can confirm that two British nationals have been detained in Afghanistan. Embassy staff are providing assistance.” News of the arrests came as British troops handed responsibility for security in the capital of war-torn Helmand province to Afghan forces.
Police “to quiz Guantanamo inmates”
Scotland Yard detectives are planning to travel to Guantanamo Bay to interview prisoners as part of an inquiry into an officer the external intelligence service, MI6, it was reported. The force is attempting to track down prisoners who were at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan in January 2002, ITV News, said. The move is said to be part of an investigation into claims the MI6 officer witnessed the alleged
inhumane treatment of detainees by the US military. He is reported to have spoken to officials in London in 2002, raising concerns about the way a detainee had allegedly been treated by the US military. ITV News said the MI6 officer was told not to intervene, but to raise the issue with a senior US official. It has been reported that he took no further action. It is not alleged that the MI6 officer was involved in any alleged mistreatment himself. A Scotland Yard spokesman would not confirm whether its detectives were planning to interview Guantanamo Bay prisoners. He said: “We are not giving a running commentary on this investigation.” US government permission would be needed for the interviews to go ahead.
put faith in a joint pilgrimage
An organisation is promoting friendship between Jews and Muslims – with a joint pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Jewish-Muslim Forum of Greater Manchester is now looking for more people of both faiths to sign up for the trip to the Holy Land next year. Formed seven years ago, the group works to reduce hostility between Muslims and Jews with social activities and foreign trips. The tour of Jerusalem is the biggest trip the group has organised. Muslim Qaisra Shiraz, 53, said: “There’s a lot of animosity between Jews and Muslims because of Palestine, but we don’t want that to filter into our country. People might think we shouldn’t travel there as a group but we want to get rid of those perceptions. The foundation means we can learn from and respect each other. Everyone should befriend someone of another faith or religion or we’re just locked in our own little worlds.” Jewish member Heather Fletcher, 51, , said: “Our two religions have more in common than differences and we can be common allies in fighting far right groups like the BNP. Go to muslimjewish.org.uk
I August 2011
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
More flexible airport security in UK Proposals for a more “passengerfriendly” approach to security at UK airports have been outlined by the Government. Under the plans, airports will be able to have greater flexibility in the way they screen passengers. Announcing a consultation on aviation security, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he wanted to move away “from the current highly-prescriptive one-size-fits-all approach” at airports. One outcome of the new security regime could mean that such measures as making passengers remove shoes will be done far more selectively. Hammond said he wanted the new regime to be one which “maintains and improves security standards but in a more efficient and passenger-friendly way. “the safety and security of passengers remained “of paramount importance to the Government” and he was proposing to require all airport industry operators to develop a security management system. This would demonstrate a clear commitment to providing an overall high level of security and set out how security outcomes specified by the UK and EU would be delivered.
Hammond said he was also proposing new arrangements where airports would have to regularly report to the UK authorities on their performance. He added that he planned to introduce a system that allowed “staff to report on a confidential basis any concerns relating to aviation security”. Jim McAuslan, general secretary of the pilots’ union Balpa, said he hoped the new regime would help pilots.“Pilots are part of the solution
to airline security, not part of the problem. It is frankly bizarre that the professionals responsible for safely flying hundreds of passengers every day are currently treated with the same degree of suspicion as highrisk passengers. “Pilots are routinely held up at security and, like passengers, have their water and other items confiscated. Given the responsibility they are entrusted with, that is clearly ridiculous.” passionislam.com
Jail for man who ripped burka from woman’s face A scottish drug addict who assaulted a Muslim woman by pulling a burka from her head has been sent to jail. Duncan Gandy grabbed the woman’s burka as she walked through the Kingdom Shopping Centre in Glenrothes last month, leaving her extremely distressed. Sheriff Grant McCulloch told the 31-year-old accused, who was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the incident, that custody was the only appropriate sentence for what he termed an offensive, frightening and demeaning attack. Gandy, of Provosts Land, Leslie, appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court after previously admitting assaulting Shaheen Khan by pulling her burka from her face and head. He was sentenced to 135 days in prison for the attack. He also admitted
breaching bail conditions, for which he was sentenced to an additional 60 days. However the sentence was backdated to May 10, when he was initially remanded in custody and Sheriff McCulloch revealed he could be released as early as the end of August, at which point he will receive treatment for his drug problem. Sheriff McCulloch pointed out that the accused had admitted a racially-aggravated assault, and added, “Suddenly, without warning, you pulled the burka from her face. That was clearly offensive, clearly frightening and clearly demeaning for her. “There is no mitigation that can be put forward other than the fact you were under the influence of illegal substances. That, in my view,
is an aggravation not a mitigation and I take the view that only a custodial sentence is appropriate.” The sheriff said the sentence would have been 180 days had it not been for Gandy’s early guilty plea. His jail term was welcomed by a Fife organisation promoting racial equality and awareness. Naeem Khalid, co-ordinator of Fairness, Race Awareness and Equality (FRAE) Fife, said Gandy had committed an attack on a vulnerable woman as well as on her faith. “The burka is a principle of her faith and, for me, to remove that is attacking her faith and belief. She was a vulnerable female and the attack will have other repercussions as it will affect her confidence to walk in public.” passionislam.com
A3poster.pdf 1 06/06/2011 11:18:46
Minorities ‘alienated by Glasgow Airport security’ Passion Islam
I August 2011
Over zealous airport security threatens to exacerbate the terror threat by pushing those flirting with radical Islam over the edge, an MSP has warned. Humza Yousaf, who organised a meeting between members of ethnic minorities and police and Scottish Government figures, warned there was growing resentment over how Glasgow Airport’s border control was operating. He has also launched a petition calling on Home Secretary Theresa May to review Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2006, which governs searches of people at UK borders. Mr Yousaf, who is the Nationalist MSP for Glasgow, said: “Everyone understands there’s a security threat to Scotland, but any counter-terror expert will tell you that there is a tipping point caused by a sense of grievance towards an authority. “Instead of counter-terror, it’s counter-productive, and leaving people with a sense of resentment.
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Now 999 out of 1,000 people will shrug their shoulders and carry on, but one person who may already be flirting with these ideas may be pushed over the edge.” Glasgow Airport plans to organise a security open day for members of ethnic communities to try to allay concerns that they are being unfairly singled out. “People as young as 18, right up to 70-year-olds have been affected. The complaints generally fall into three categories. “One is the questions asked. What mosque do you pray at? How many times a day do you pray? Does your wife wear a headscarf? “Second is the nature of the stop itself. Sometimes it is so blatant that it is literally making ethnic minorities queue up in a different line. I’ve been stopped twice myself and it’s humiliating. “The third point that people
raise is the frequency with which it happens. One person said he had been stopped seven times in three months. If you’ve been cleared once, why must you continue to go through this?” Mr Yousaf has also joined the likes of David Lammy MP in calling for a review of Section 7 of the Terrorism Act, and launched a petition to give to Mrs May.
British Warship recognised in Libya role
A British Royal Navy warship has been formally recognised by the American Armed Forces for its role in blocking Libya’s ports during operations earlier this year. HMS Westminster was initially deployed to Libya on Operation Ellamy to take part in humanitarian operations and evacuate refugees. The Type-23 frigate also conducted
surveillance and sea embargo operations in support of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR). A navy spokesman said: “For this, her Merlin helicopter regularly patrolled the coast and a detachment of Royal Marines stood by ready to assist the board and search teams in enforcing any operational tasking. “HMS Westminster also played an important role in deterring Colonel Gaddafi’s navy from attempting to launch attacks from the sea on the Libyan people by providing a threatening presence.” US Joint Operational Command, Africom, the body that commands operations within and around the African
continent has now formally presented the Portsmouth-based frigate with a plaque which recognises the ship’s contribution. The plaque reads: “To the officers and crew of HMS Westminster. Thank you for your world-class support. Delivering the goods when no one else could, you are truly second to none.” Accepting the award on behalf of the ship, executive officer Lieutenant Commander Nick Wood said: “Libya was a real demonstration of the flexibility of the Royal Navy. At very short notice we sailed from the UK and quickly arrived off the Libyan coast into a dynamic and hostile environment. HMS Westminster is currently undergoing a maintenance period in Portsmouth Naval Base, Hampshire, southern England.
I WORLD NEWS
I August 2011
Spain to Build High-Speed Rail Network Linking Medina-Makkah
A Spanish consortium has won a contract worth 7.0 billion euros ($10
billion) to build a high-speed rail network linking Medina, Jeddah and
the Muslim pilgrimage site of Makkah in Saudi Arabia, Spanish media said. Spain has been a world leader in high-speed rail networks and now has the longest such system in Europe, ahead of France. The â€œAl Haramainâ€? project is aimed at transporting Muslim pilgroms between Jeddah and the two holy cities of Medina and Makkah, a distance of 450 kilometres. The annual Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah attracts some 2.5 million Muslims from around the world for a stay of two weeks on average. The winning consortium will supply the high-speed trains and maintain the line for a period of 12 years.
25 new mosques in Qatar opened for Ramadan
Qatar is all set to observe the holy month of Ramadan for its faithful with 25 new mosques including those with spacious three-storey buildings already built by the Mosque Department at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. Eng Salah Al Pakry, head for Construction of the Mosque Department, said the newly-built mosques comply with international standards as well as providing environment-friendly facilities with solar energy used to water the gardens of which technology was applied in coordination with Qatar Green Building Centre. Al Pakry said 94 more mosques will be constructed soon including 12 projects estimated at QR42.5m, 39 projects financed by donors costing QR154m and 43 new projects amounting to QR249m by the government. The new plan to build three-storey mosques to replace old demolished structures was intended to reduce
outdoor prayers especially during hot summer seasons. The new large mosques in Al Ezab and Al Emala are complete with all facilities to make it more comfortable for worshippers. Fahad bin Salem Al Pahry, head
of the Maintenance Department said they have been ready to keep all facilities working during Ramadan as it allocated QR32m devoted for maintenance services to keep the faithful experience with comfort and ease.
There are 652 mosques in Doha with 259 of them being provided for women to pray the Al Taraweeh and Tahjid. Three maintenance teams will be assigned during the prayers until the morning time and another team tasked in the afternoons and emergency purposes as well as the last ten days of the Ramadan. Al Pahry said two big companies were tapped to undertake maintenance works including one assigned to 169 mosques in Shamal Area and the other for 79 mosques in the Southern area. Tareq Bin Abdullah Al Mousy, head of the Services Department, has assured all mosques will remain clean all the time during the Ramadan since they already tapped four specialists companies to supervise the best quality sanitary services. The Control Department has been tasked to monitor the performance of these companies.
I August 2011
Grand Mosque gets more female guides for Ramadan More female guides have been hired in view of the large number of Umrah pilgrims expected to reach around four million this year. The tasks of the female guides include serving and guiding female visitors, and preserving the cleanliness of the Haram to provide a proper environment that matches the site’s sanctity during the holy month when various courtyards and aisles see higher-than-usual crowding. The guides said they are honored to work in the Grand Mosque and showed their determination to increase their efforts to provide comfort and peace to the visitors, despite the difficulties of dealing with pilgrims of different nationalities speaking a variety of languages. “I am satisfied with my work in the Grand Mosque,” a female guide said. “We confront difficulties in dealing with some visitors who don’t speak Arabic and that gets much harder during Ramadan and Haj, but we are about to increase the number of workers doing three shifts – morning, afternoon and evening – to be able to cover all parts of the mosque and
prevent the spread of trash left by some visitors.” Another female guide said the Guides Affairs Unit recruits temporary guides to work at certain locations of the mosque, including Safa and Marwah hillocks and the circumambulation (Tawaf) area. “During peak seasons, many women wander outside the areas of
the mosque designated for them,” she said, adding that monitoring the mosque is increased in Ramadan to deal with begging, protecting visitors and guiding those who get lost. Another guide from the unit’s Cleaning Department said its employees supervise cleanliness and return copies of the Holy Qur’an to the shelves.
month on how it was carrying out obligations under 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Since the 7/7 attacks, which killed 56 commuters including 4 Muslim bombers, British Muslims have complained of a growing Islamophobic climate. The UN committee also pressed the British government to ease back its tough anti-terror measures. People suspected of being involved in terrorism and subject to control orders and curfews limiting their movements should be “promptly charged with a criminal offence” and their lawyers given access to the
evidence against them, it said. The committee also criticized government plans to extend pre-trial detention of terror suspects from 28 to 42 days. “Suspects should be brought to court within a reasonable period of time, or released,” said the UN body. British Muslims have taken the full brunt of anti-terror laws since the 7/7 terrorist attacks. The UN body also urged UK to launch independent investigations into allegations of torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees.
UN Condemns UK’s Anti-Muslim Attitudes The UN human rights committee condemned Britain over growing anti-Muslim sentiments, calling for reconsidering its draconian anti-terror measures. Negative public attitudes towards Muslim members of society continued to develop in Britain. The 9-member body, composed of legal experts from a range of countries, said the government should take firm measures to fight the negative public attitudes towards Muslims. The government “should take energetic measures to eliminate this phenomenon.” The structure was issued after UK presented a report earlier this
I WORLD NEWS
I August 2011
Islam is the fastest growing religion in Australia Passion Islam
In Case You Missed It
Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriaty said that Islam is one of the fastest growing religion in his country and contribute significantly to the successes in Australia and the contemporary cultures. He said in the statement that the visit of the Indonesian delegation to Australia, which comes within the framework of an exchange program visits to the Muslim leaders of the two countries aimed to show a wide range of cultural diversity of Muslims in Australia, which consists of 70 different ethnic background, including from Indonesia. He added that it was important to contribute to these young Indonesian Muslims to clarify understanding of the role of religion in Indonesia on a number of issues. The visit includes the cities of Melbourne and Sydney and Canberra for meetings with community leaders and religious representatives, academics and
the media, and seeks to identify the Indonesian delegation on the experience of the diversity of Australian society, and methods of government and non-governmental organizations to engage in the community, and exchange ideas about the future of relations between Australia and Indonesia. The delegation will pay a short visit to the city of Victoria in the rural areas of Shepparton, which has a long history of immigrant settlement in the region. The visit of the Indonesian delegation in the framework of the third program of exchange visits by leaders of Islam in Indonesia
Al Qaeda commander Ilyas Kashmiri is alive: Report Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, the Al Qaeda commander who was believed to have been killed last month in a US drone attack in Pakistan, is alive, a media report said. Kashmiri is still active in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Dawn said on its website quoting unnamed sources. Media reports had earlier said that Kashmiri was killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region. The US and the Pakistani government however could not confirm his death.
Anti-terrorism experts describe Kashmiri as one of Al Qaeda’s main commanders. He was held responsible for a number of attacks in Pakistan, including the May 22 attack on a Navy airbase in Karachi and the 2009 attack on the army headquarters in Rawalpindi. The US believe that Kashmiri, who is also a member of the terror group Harkat-ul Jihad al Islami (HuJI), was behind the March 2006 suicide bombing of the US consulate in Karachi that killed four people and wounded 48 others. The US State Department designated him as a “global terrorist”.
this year, and the four young men from Muslim leaders in Australia, who visited Indonesia to learn online Islam in Indonesia in light of a diverse society and a democratic and tolerant society.
Indian Muslim condemn Mumbai serial blasts India’s Muslim Organisations, Jamaate-Islami Hind and All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, strongly condemn the attacks in India’s Mumbai city. In a statement, Nusrat Ali, Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, strongly condemned the serial blasts in Mumbai, expressing grief at the incident and demanded the government to conduct a high-level inquiry into the blasts to bring the culprits to justice. The Secretary General, drew the attention of the government on the clumsy performances of the investigating and called on it to check why security forces have failed in to protect public lives? He cautioned sections of media and police who have started blaming certain organisations. This, he said, only distracts the investigations and has proved wrong in the case of many previous terrorist attacks.
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Arabs disapprove of Obama, US: Poll Passion Islam
I August 2011
A vast majority of people in the Arab world are not satisfied with US President Barack Obama and his administration’s policies in the Middle East, a new poll says. The poll released was conducted by the Arab American Institute in six Arab nations -- Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. According to the survey, the US is viewed less favorably in much of the Arab world today than it was during the final year of the Bush administration. When President Bush left office, 9 percent of Egyptians had a favorable attitude towards the US. After Obama was elected, that number jumped to 30 percent. But today, only 5 percent
of Egyptians surveyed said they have a favorable opinion of the US and its president. Similar figures in Jordan, the UAE, and Morocco show that the initial optimism in the region has been eclipsed by a widespread sense of disappointment with Obama and US policies. Only 10 percent of the respondents in Jordan and 12 percent in the UAE have favorable attitudes towards the US in 2011. The poll also found that 88
percent of Moroccans think that Obama has not met the expectations laid out in his 2009 “Cairo speech.” Disappointment was highest in Lebanon, where 99 percent disapprove of Obama’s policies, and in Saudi Arabia 77 percent felt let down.
Study probes Muslims’ image in Switzerland Terror attacks, political manoeuvering by rightwing parties and oversimplification in the media explain why Muslims in Switzerland are perceived as a threat. The National Research Programme 58 study into religious pluralism says immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries have been singled out even though this group has no reason to be suspected as fundamentalist. The research, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, was led by Patrik Ettinger and Kurt Imhof of Zurich University. The authors point out that the immigrants in question come from very diverse countries like Turkey, Macedonia and Morocco and practise their faith in a variety of ways, seeing themselves first and foremost as members of a particular ethnic group. Their research focused on how often and in what way Muslims were mentioned in domestic newspapers and public television reports
beginning in the 1960s. Parliamentary debates were also included, and how these were covered in the media. Oversimplification, the study says, has increased among both politicians and in the media in recent years, leading to the approval by voters of a ban on the construction of new minarets in 2009. The researcher added that a broad debate about Switzerland’s role in Europe also played a role. In the end, the political elite were discredited, enabling the People’s Party to take advantage of the situation and promote its own version of what it means to be Swiss, with an emphasis on disassociation from foreigners. In response to the findings, the People’s Party said the study results were of “questionable value” highlighting the fact that since 1970, the Muslim population in Switzerland has grown from 16,000 to more than 350,000. However, support for the findings
came from the imam of the Bosnian community in Zurich, Sakib Halilovic. Halilovic said the results pointed in the right direction and the research apparently had been done seriously. “I think the statement is spot on that the media have failed to differentiate between global terror on the one hand and Islam on the other, and from Muslims in Switzerland, most of whom are integrated.” “The findings are correct, Muslims were considered differently after 9/11,” said Yahya Hassan Bajwa, who runs an intercultural communications office in Zurich and is a member of canton Aargau’s parliament. He has lived in Switzerland since his childhood. “Even my long-time doctor asked me at the time if I had anything to do with terrorism,” he remembered, adding that he believes the People’s Party have had a direct influence on the image people have of Muslims as bogeymen. passionislam.com
I WORLD NEWS
I August 2011
War on terror’ set to surpass cost of Second World War The total cost to America of its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the related military operations in Pakistan, is set to exceed $4 trillion – more than three times the sum so far authorised by Congress in the decade since the 9/11 attacks This staggering sum emerges from a new study by academics at the Ivy-league Brown University that reveals the $1.3 trillion officially appropriated on Capitol Hill is the tip of a spending iceberg. If other Pentagon outlays, interest payments on money borrowed to finance the wars, and the $400bn estimated to have been spent on the domestic “war on terror”, the total cost is already somewhere between $2.3 and $2.7 trillion. And even though the wars are now winding down, add in future military spending and above all the cost of looking after veterans, disabled and otherwise and the total bill will be somewhere between $3.7 trillion and $4.4 trillion. Unlike most of America’s previous conflicts moreover, Iraq
and Afghanistan have been financed almost entirely by borrowed money that sooner or later must be repaid. The human misery is commensurate. The report concludes that in all, between 225,000 and 258,000 people have died as a result of the wars. Of that total, US soldiers killed on the battlefield represent a small fraction, some 6,100. The civilian death toll in Iraq is put at 125,000 (rather less than some other estimates) and at up to 14,000 in Afghanistan. For Pakistan, no reliable calculation can be made. Even these figures however
Israeli settlers set fire to olive groves near Nablus
Extremist Jewish settlers set fire to olive groves in Mount Sulaiman near the village of Bourin to the south of the northern West Bank village of Nablus. Eyewitnesses told PIC that more
than 20 settlers set fire to the trees in Mount Sulaiman near the village burning 80 dunums (8 Hectares) of land including hundreds of olive trees. The sources said that the Israeli occupation forces did nothing to stop the attack by the settlers against the land the villagers and that the Palestinian fire brigades could not put out the fire, until the preparation of this report. Settlers’ attacks against Palestinians have lately increased in terms of frequency and violence, especially in the southern West Bank. passionislam.com
only scratch the surface of the suffering, in terms of people injured and maimed, or those who have died from malnutrition or lack of treatment. “When the fighting stops, the indirect dying continues,” Neta Crawford, a co-director of the Brown study, said. Not least, the wars may have created some 7.8 million refugees, roughly equal to the population of Scotland and Wales. What America achieved by such outlays is also more than questionable. President George W Bush proclaimed that the Iraq war would cost $50bn to $60bn. Governments that go to war invariably underestimate the cost – but rarely on such an epic scale. If the Brown study is correct, the wars that flowed from 9/11 will not only have been the longest in US history. At $4 trillion and counting, their combined cost is approaching that of the Second World War, put at some $4.1 trillion in today’s prices by the Congressional Budget Office.
Kazakhstan will not impose hijab restrictions
The Kazakh government will not take legislative measures to restrict the wearing of a hijab, Prime Minister Karim Masimov said. “I believe that the authorities must not ban the wearing of hijabs. We will not be taking any legislative and regulatory measures to ban this,” he told a video online conference. This issue is being strongly politicized not only in Kazakhstan, but also in other countries, he said. “Religion, and Islam in particular, have the right to exist, and we must respect the religious beliefs of any person,” Masimov said. “We must be tough on the extreme forms that have nothing to do with religion, and both the government and the state must pursue the appropriate policy,” he added.
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Paris seeks out new prayer spaces for Muslims In Case You Missed It
A huge hangar, owned by the Ministry of Defence located near Porte des Poissonniers, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, could well become a new place of worship in Paris. In an attempt to allieviate the
problem of prayer in the streets, the City of Paris is seeking ways of finding more prayer space without violating a 1905 law against the government supporting religions. Insufficient number of places in the mosques of Paris has led the police headquarters in Paris to search for suitable premises. They identified the site in the 18th arrondissement as able to satisfy the needs of Muslims who pray every Friday at the Myrha Street mosque and the Polonceau Street mosque, both which have an overflow problem. Daniel Vaillant, the Socialist mayor of the 18th district, assured that the move is being made to “solve the problem of street prayers.” The premises have recently been visited by Salah Hamza, rector of the Mosque of the Myrha Street mosque, and Moussa Diakite, rector of the Polonceau street mosque. Part of the hangar is used by an association to house the homeless. The other, an area of about 1500 m², has been unoccupied for two years.
A tentative occupation agreement should be signed between the city authorities and Muslim associations in return for which the latter will have to pay rent, the 1905 law prohibiting the state from financing religious groups. Development work to bring the premesis up to safety standards would be made by the state and passed on to the Muslim associations in the form of additional rent. Meanwhile, the mayor has found another way to provide additional prayer space for Muslims in the neighborhood of La Goutte d’Or without controvening the 1905 law. He directed the building of Paris’s Institute of Islamic Cultures and had two prayer rooms constructed as part of the institute’s facilities. The rooms can accommodate nearly 1000 people each. These two prayer rooms will be sold to Muslim organizations to the tune of “6 to 7 million euros,” says Vaillant. “There is no question that the city would make it a gift,” he took care to add.
Pakistanis seek arrest of ex-CIA legal chief over drone attacks
Three Pakistani tribesmen filed a complaint with the police against former legal counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) for approving drone missile strikes that killed hundreds of people, their lawyer said. Missile-armed drones have been playing a greater role than ever in U.S. counterterrorism operations. But Pakistan has regularly complained about the U.S. drone strikes, saying they complicate Islamabad’s efforts to win the support of the Pakistani people and isolate the militants in border regions. In the complaint, the attorney for the tribesmen, Shahzad Akbar, pointed out that John A. Rizzo was acting General Counsel to the CIA until June 25, 2009. “At CIA, one of his role was to
approve a list of person to be killed every month in Pakistan by the CIA using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” Akbar said in the complaint written in English. The complaint said Rizzo admitted to approving the drone strikes in an interview with the Newsweek magazine this year. “The agency was very punctilious about this ... They tried to minimize collateral damage, especially women and children,” the magazine quoted him as saying about the attacks in an interview in February. Rizzo explained that he was the one who signed off, the magazine reported. Drone strikes target a large number of militants, including al Qaeda and Taliban figures. But human rights groups say many civilians have also fallen victim to
these attacks, which have mainly concentrated in a tribal area of Waziristan on the Afghan border, a region seen as a hub of global militancy. While Pakistan publicly opposes the strikes, it has privately allowed them and cooperated with the United States determining targets. Washington has shown no sign of stopping them. More than 135 militants have been killed since the beginning of June in drone attacks, according to Reuters figures and based on statements from local intelligence officials. The New America Foundation, which tracks drone strikes, estimates they have killed a total of 2,189 people from 2004 through January of this year. Of those, 1,754 were militants.
Muslims call for imams in the German military
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Muslim leaders have slammed the lack of an Islamic spiritual counsellor in the German armed forces in spite of the fact that an estimated 1,200 Muslims serve in the Bundeswehr. Two of the main umbrella groups representing Germany’s estimated
4.3 million Muslims said in remarks published that such a move would be a good step forward for integration. “That would have a great significance for integration,” the chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek,
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told the online news portal, News.de. While Protestants and Catholics have about 90 priests each providing spiritual support to soldiers, there is no Muslim imam or counsellor, even though there are about 1,200 Muslims serving in the Bundeswehr, according to website. Mazyek called for the issue to be discussed at the next German Islam Conference, which his own group has previously boycotted. It would be a “win-win situation” to have a Muslim spiritual figure in the Bundeswehr. The chairman of the Islamic Council for the Federal Republic of Germany, Ali Kizilkaya, echoed the call, saying: “If the good will is there, it is uncomplicated.” He added that such a move would be “a bid for integration.” passionislam.com
Israel’s high court asked to overturn boycott law An Israeli peace group has petitioned the country’s Supreme Court to overturn a controversial new law banning boycotts of West Bank settlements, as international human rights groups and Israel’s own attorney general joined a growing chorus of the legislation’s critics. The Gush Shalom peace group, which says it began calling for a boycott of settlement products back in the 1990s, alleged that the new law violates basic democratic principles. “The parliamentary majority seeks, through the Boycott Law as by other pieces of legislation, to silence any criticism of government policy in general and of government policy in the occupied territories in particular,” the statement said. The state has 60 days to respond to the suit, at which time the court will decide how to proceed.
The law was approved in a vote that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leading officials did not attend, allows settlers or settlement-based businesses to sue Israelis who promote settlement boycotts. Courts would determine whether a boycott caused financial harm and, if so, assess damages. The legislation has drawn sharp criticism both in Israel and abroad. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both issued statements calling it a violation of freedom of expression. And Maariv quotes the British ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, as saying Britain was concerned about the law because it damages the legitimate right to freedom of speech. At the heart of the controversy are the more than 120 settlements built in the West Bank since Israel captured the territory - the core of
the Palestinians’ hoped-for state - in 1967. Some 300,000 Israelis now live there, along with 200,000 more who live in the occupied eastern sector of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, a Palestinian man was killed in an Israeli military raid on a West Bank refugee camp, the Palestinians said. Israeli troops had entered the El Fara camp north of Nablus in pursuit of a fugitive militant. A witness, Emad Abu Kishik, said residents began throwing stones at the troops, who responded with live fire, killing Ibrahim Sarhan. The military said troops fired at a man who tried to evade arrest. Elsewhere, Israeli aircraft, struck two suspected weapons manufacturing sites in Gaza overnight. A Palestinian woman was reported injured. passionislam.com
I August 2011
Aussie Imams ask to Include Australian values in sermons Passion Islam
Imams have been told to include Australian values such as a fair go and tolerance when leading Friday prayers and speaking to Muslims. The instruction is part of a $55,000 federal training program that arose out of concern about Muslim integration into mainstream society. Program facilitator Hass Dellal, head of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, said religious leaders had received training in civics, core values and media awareness. “There’s always been a concern about not hearing enough of the right Muslim voices,” he said. Dr Dellal said the Immigration Department program urged imams to find passages in the Qur’an that matched core Australian values and convey those to their members. “We’d be encouraging them to sustain that over a period of time, particularly when they’re delivering messages to young people and on leadership,” he said. “Particularly when they’re delivering messages to newer communities about the concepts of fair go, integrity, respect and responsibility.” Dr Dellal said it was striking how easily they could do that because the Quran had many suitable texts. A survey of Australia’s Islamic leaders was conducted in the wake
of the Federal Government training program to find out what their concerns are. One of their primary concerns was the limited availibility of non-Interest financing. Imam Yusuf Parker, from the Alhidayah Centre in Perth, said that Australia should consider recognising sharia law as it applied to finance and family law matters. He said that Islam forbade the charging or paying of interest “so finding interest-free loans will again help Muslims to practice their Islam better”. “Other than the two major issues mentioned, I don’t see other sharia law that Muslims would seek to have
legally recognised,” he added. Sheikh Burhaan Mehtar said the issue of sharia law was often raised to scare non-Muslims, but a dialogue would lead to better understanding. “Islamic banking and the non-slavery of humans is a classic example. Interest is slavery,” he said. Another issue was the “burqa” question. Sheik Mohamadu Saleem, a spokesman for Board of Imams Victoria, accused some MPs of trying to get political mileage out of the burqa issue. “It is mere political expediency,” he said. passionislam.com
Palestine to adopt Malaysian model in incorporating Islamic values The success of Malaysia, especially in incorporating Islamic values into its system, will soon be adopted as a model in Palestine, a parliamentarian from Gaza said. Palestine head of Political Committee in Parliament, Dr Khalil Alhaya, said Malaysia was a very good example of a modern Islamic nation. “We have submitted a proposal to Parliament to adopt Malaysia’s formula in developing the nation,”
he told reporters after a “Dialogue on Palestine” organised by Perdana Global Peace Foundation, here. Khalil said certain ideas from Malaysia had already been adopted into the Palestine education curriculum. Asked on a recent statement by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he would seek international recognition for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations General Assembly if there
is no resumption of peace talks by September, Khalil said it was their right to pursue the matter for the future of Palestine. He also urged all nongovernmental organisations and private bodies around the world to put more pressure on the UN and United States over the Palestinian statehood issue. “Let us light more candles so that more people are aware (of the Palestinian cause),” he said.
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I August 2011
European police plan task force to tackle non-Islamist terrorism 20
In the wake of Norway’s terrorist attack, the European police agency is setting up a task force of more than 50 experts to help investigate non-Islamist threats in Scandinavian countries, its spokesman told The Associated Press. Soeren Pedersen said the group, based in The Hague, hopes to help Norway and to aid other countries such as Denmark, Finland and Sweden in assessing nonIslamist threats. Norway has not yet requested forensic experts but Europol stands ready to assist, Mr. Pedersen said. “There is no doubt that the threat from Islamist terrorism is still valid,” he said, adding that the task force could be expanded in the future to include even more European nations. “But there have actually been warnings that (right-wing groups) are getting more professional, more aggressive in the way they attract others to their cause.” Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, European countries have
viewed Islamic terrorism as the primary threat. But the fact that the suspect attacks turned out to be a Norwegian with rightwing views is raising questions about whether homegrown, non-Islamic terror threats have been misjudged. The alleged assailant was identified by Norway’s national broadcaster as Anders Behring Breivik, 32. comments on Christian fundamentalist websites and held anti-Muslim views. He was also once a member of the youth wing of a rightist party. In leaked diplomatic cables dating back to 2008, U.S. diplomats warned that Norway seemed complacent about terror threats and criticized gaps in intelligence. The cables
Muslims urges Belgium to reconsider burqa ban
A Muslim group calling itself the International Imam Organization has called upon the Belgian government to re-consider a decision to ban the burqa (veil covering the face) and to seek advice with Islamic organizations on how to deal with such religious issues. A law came into force in Belgium last month banning women from wearing the burqa in public. Dr. Mehmood Khalid a spokesperson for the International Imam Organization which is based in Brussels said “instead of taking such measures the Government should launch programs for integration of Muslims into Belgium and implement open door policy.” “We all should work together and increase the brotherhood and parity between Islam and other faiths. This is the time to create harmony and peace and to welcome all
religions with open arms,” noted the statement. Belgium is the second European country after France to enforce a burqa ban in public. Offenders could face prison term of one week and a fine of 137 euro. Supporters of the burqa ban argue that covering of the face poses a security threat. Only a few dozen Muslim women reportedly wear the burqa in Belgium. According to Belgian media reports, two women have announced that they will be challenging the burqa ban in Belgium’s Constitutional Court. A Belgian lawyer Ines Wouters, representing the two women, told the Belgian daily La Libre that “we consider the law a disproportionate intrusion into fundamental rights such as the freedom of religion and expression.”
released by Wikileaks also give a snapshot of simmering antiimmigrant and anti-Semitic tensions in Norway. Anti-immigrant sentiment has grown in Norway as tensions rose over its policy of taking in conflict refugees. The task force would be a special group assigned to looking at nonIslamist threats and investigating links to right-wing networks through Europe.
Islamic Arts Expo in Hungary The second Islamic arts exhibition organized by Kuwait opened in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. According to KUNA news agency, the exhibition has been organized by Kuwait’s Awqaf and Charity Affairs Ministry in cooperation with the country’s Islamic Arts Center and its embassy in Hungary. Khulaif Mutheeb Al-Othainah, Kuwait’s Assistant Undersecretary for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, attended the opening ceremony. In a speech, Al-Othainah regarded the exhi9biton as an opportunity for the world’s countries to learn about the cultural and civilization heritage of the Islamic world, which is based on tolerance, cooperation and fraternity. Titled Nur-al-Ghalam (light of pen), the exhibition will be running in Budapest for four days.
South African cricketer reverts to Islam Passion Islam
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I August 2011
In Case You Missed It
South African cricketer Wayne Parnell as reverted to Islam. The promising Warriors leftarm seam bowler confirmed in a statement that he reverted in January, “after a period of personal study and reflection”. Port Elizabeth-born Parnell, 22, said: “While I have not yet decided on an Islamic name I have considered the name Waleed which means Newborn Son, but for now my name remains Wayne Dillon Parnell. “I will continue to respect the team’s endorsement of alcoholic beverages. I am playing cricket in Sussex and this is my immediate focus. “As I am approaching my first period of fasting, I ask that this special time is treated with respect. “I am a young man, a
professional cricketer by trade, and while I can appreciate and am grateful for the public interest in my personal life, my faith choice is a matter which I would like to keep private.” His manager Donne Commins told Sport24 she had never realised his conversion would generate so much interest. “There’s certainly nothing to extract that’s in any way ‘negative’ about it,” she said. “Personally I think it’s fantastic: as with anything in life, if there’s something that guides you it’s wonderful. “It suits Wayne’s personality, he’s an emotionally-intelligent, switched-on guy. Many of his close friends are Muslims.” Parnell has played 3 Tests, 19 ODIs & 11 20/20 matches for SA.
Qatar World Cup Stadium to be the most expensive
One of the stadiums being built for the Qatar 2022 World Cup could be the most expensive sports facility ever built, the architect behind the project has said. The Sports City Stadium which will hold 65,000 fans could cost more than $2bn, Dan Meis, of US-based Populous was quoted as saying.
This compares to the $1.28bn it cost to build the new Wembley Stadium, which is judged one of the world’s best new stadiums. “A lot of the cost is the fact that it’s much more than a stadium,” Meis said in comments originally published by sportingnews.com and cited by Qatar daily Gulf Times.
“That’s kind of the big idea, that it’s a full entertainment destination in one building. It’s a mall, it includes a hotel tower, an office tower and a media tower that all support this giant floating roof and there’s occupied space up on the roof, as well,” he said. The Sports City Stadium, one of 12 facilities being built for the mega event, would also be among the most technologically advanced, with removable seats that can scale the building down to a 10,000-seat amphitheatre. The project, which is inspired by the shape of a Bedouin tent, will have a partially retractable roof, which will open and close in 15 to 20 minutes. An in-stadium cooling system will be installed to help players and spectators from overheating in a climate where temperatures surpass 100 degrees. Water will run through an absorption chiller that will chill the water and send it into another tank. The tank will pump 64-degree air at the ankle and neck level in each row of seats.
Object of Ramadan
I SPECIAL FEATURE
On a sweltering hot day your throat has become parched. You are in the privacy of your home and the refreshingly cool water is within hand’s reach. You desire to drink it, but you do not. Why? Simply because you are fasting and while fasting you cannot eat and drink. If somebody prompts you to nevertheless drink it and says: “Nobody is watching,” you will immediately rebuke him with the words: “But Almighty is watching!”
ALMIGHTY IS WATCHING! SubhanAlmighty! Almighty Ta’ala is watching. Almightyu Akbar! Almighty Ta’ala is All Hearing, All Knowing, He is Omnipresent. He sees and knows when we cheat while fasting, thus we resist all temptations of food, drink and lawful conjugal relations from dawn to dusk. We have learnt the lesson of Taqwa. We have learnt that lesson which the fasting was meant to teach us. Almighty Ta’ala is watching! Yes, Almighty Ta’ala is Watching! Every time there is an urge to eat or drink while fasting, the voice from within cries out: “Almighty Ta’ala is watching!” Dozens of times daily for an entire month this reality is reaffirmed. Almighty Ta’ala is watching. So deeply is it embedded in the heart that by the time Ramadan is over, a person becomes conscious of Almighty Ta’ala to such an extent that he is now guided by an inner force that propels him in the direction of righteousness and turns him away from sin. TAQWA The fasts of Ramadan were prescribed for the purpose and object of attaining Taqwa. This is clearly declared in the Qur’an-alKareem. Taqwa simply is to obey the commands of Almighty Ta’ala and refrain from all sin, The increased rewards for lbaadah (worship) in Ramadan and all the blessings of this great month should be considered as the bonus. The object is Taqwa. If one performs an abundance of Salaah, completes the recitation of
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the Qur’an thirty times and engages in many other acts of lbaadah, but fails to give up sins - one has failed to achieve the object and purpose of Ramadan. One has failed to firmly embed the reality of Taqwa in the heart, the Taqwa that cries out “Almighty Is watching” whenever one contemplates committing any transgression.
is a wedding or funeral, or at the time of distributing the inheritance of the deceased, the same level of Almighty consciousness must be displayed as was apparent when refraining from drinking the cold water while fasting.
TEMPTATION The dictates of Taqwa are not restricted to abstaining from drinking, gambling, adultery, transacting in interest and other such vices. Indeed Taqwa demands that while abstaining from all the above vices one also observes Taqwa in one’s business. When the temptation to cheat the customer beckons, or when one is tempted to buy stolen goods, or to indulge in fraud, at that time also the heart should cry out “Almighty is watching” and it should restrain one from the sin.
ABSTAIN FROM SIN This then is the object of Ramadan. This will only be achieved if we conduct ourselves in this great month with Taqwa. Or else the object of Ramadan will be defeated. Hence Rasulullah (sallAlmightyu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “He who does not forsake lying and other futile actions, Almighty Ta’ala has no need for him to give up his food and drink.” Thus together with fasting, performing Salaah, reading the Qur’an, serving the cause of Deen, etc,, one must totally abstain from every sin in the month of Ramadan and adorn oneself with Taqwa. Insha-Almighty this will then carry one along for the rest of the eleven months to abstain from all sins.
RIGHTS Similarly, Taqwa demands the fulfillment of the rights of the husband/wife, It also demands the joining of family ties. It demands respect for the elders and kindness for the young. Taqwa entails, among other aspects, being honest and clear in all monetary dealings and social interactions. Hence when there
PURDAH Likewise, when the laws of purdah are violated, does the heart cry out “Almighty is watching”? Or when one intends to watch something on TV., which will most definitely involve one in zina of the eyes and ears, does one hear the voice from within: “Almighty is watching,” as a result of which one refrains from that sin? The same pertains to the Shari’ aspects of appearance and clothing. How often have we done things to appease and please even the enemies of Almighty Ta’ala and Rasulullah (sallAlmightyu alaihi wasallam)? How often have we abandoned the dictates of Taqwa in order to earn a few coppers? Now is the time to sincerely repent. It is the time to say “Almighty is watching” and to do everything to please Him. It is a time to acquire Taqwa.
May Almighty Ta’ala enable us to make this Ramadan a month where we will truly attain Taqwa. Aameen. - www.alhaadi.org.za
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The Greatest Return There are many great “returns” that people experience in their lives. The returning of a missing child, finding a very valuable lost item or a close family member returning home after spending many years overseas are some instances of a great return. These are moments of immense joy and happiness. The greatest “Return,” however, is when a sinful servant who had abandoned Almighty Ta’ala and fallen into sin makes sincere taubah (which literally means “to return”) and returns to his Creator. There can never be a happier moment for such a person. Retuning to Almighty Ta’ala in sincere repentance brings down the showers of the Mercy of Almighty Ta’ala. Due to his repentance, the one who was previously known in the court of Almighty Ta’ala as a faasiq (sinner) earns the title of Habibullah (the beloved of Almighty). His crying and sobbing while begging for forgiveness is more beloved to Almighty Ta’ala than the recitation of tasbeeh of those who are busy glorifying Almighty Ta’ala. Can there be a greater return? YARDSTICK OF PIETY The object of the auspicious month of Ramadan is to truly return to Almighty Ta’ala by repenting from all sin and adopting piety. The Qur’anal-Kareem declares: “O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed upon you, just as it was pescribed upon those before you, so that you may acquire taqwa (piety)” (S2:183). Taqwa, in simple terms, refers to giving up every sin. The one who forsakes all sin is the greatest worshipper and the most pious person, even though he may not be performing nafil (optional) Haj and Umrah every year, giving thousands in charity or standing the entire night in tahajjud salaah. Indeed, these great acts of worship
should be performed as much as possible. However, the yardstick of piety is taqwa – abstaining from sin. Taqwa cannot be acquired without first making sincere taubah. It thus follows that the one who does not make taubah has to a degree defeated the purpose of Ramadan, even though he may have performed many other good deeds in the blessed month. MENTAL NOTE It is thus evident that in order to acquire the object of Ramadan, one must start with sincere taubah (repentance). One should sit in solitude and list down, or make a mental note, of all the laws of one’s beloved Master and Creator which are being disobeyed. Think: Have I performed all my Salaah, Zakaah, Qurbaani, etc? Have I taken anyone’s property wrongfully? Did I lie, backbite, slander? Do I have pride, harbour jealousy and do actions for name and fame? What about the laws of hijaab? Am I obeying my most beloved Rabb in this regard or do I disobey Him? Am I involved in any illicit relationship? Have I sinned with my eyes, ears, tongue and heart? Have I fulfilled the rights of my neighbours and relatives? Do I take intoxicants? Am I shaving or trimming my beard to less than a fist length? … After having carefully taken note of all the sins in one’s life, sincerely repent from each one. Beg Almighty Ta’ala’s forgiveness. For one’s taubah to be accepted, the following preconditions apply: * Give up the sin immediately. * Regret having sinned. Feel the pain in your heart, just as you would be pained if you lost a million rands. * Resolve never to commit the sin again. * The unfulfilled rights of Almighty Ta’ala (salaah, zakaah, etc.) and the rights of people (debts, etc.) must be
discharged. NO TAUBAH Often many people stop committing various sins in Ramadan. Gambling comes to a hault. The T.V. is switched off. Intoxicants are given up. Lying, vulgar languages, zina and a host of other evils are forsaken. Similarly, many actions that were previously neglected are performed in Ramadan. Salaah is performed regularly. The Musjid is full even for Fajr Salaah. Many other good deeds are performed. It is indeed a great gift from Almighty Ta’ala that one respects the month of Ramadan by refraining from sins and engaging in good deeds. However, the tragedy is that as soon as Ramadan leaves, it is as if Deen has left. The day after Eid the Musjid is crying out for those who were regularly there for the entire month. The gambling dens are once again frequented by those who were frequenting the Musjid. Numerous other evils which were given up during Ramadan are once again perpetrated. One of the fundamental reasons for this speedy slide into a life of disobedience is that, while we respected Ramadan, we did not sincerely return to Almighty Ta’ala and repent from our sins. Thus this is our need of the moment: To undertake the Greatest Return. Having repented sincerely, one should also closely link oneself to a pious personality who one feels comfortable with. Take his guidance in all aspects and one will be saved from the many hazards, Insha Almighty. ENCOURAGE Furthermore, actively encourage others to undertake the Greatest Return. While your encouragement will insha Almighty benefit them, it will also greatly help you to remain steadfast.
I SPECIAL FEATURE
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Windows of the Mind “Books are to the mind what windows are to a home!” Imagine living in a home with no windows. How dark, how stale, how dreary! Windows bring light to a home. Windows bring in crisp air to a stale room. Windows open on to a vast and sweeping landscape. Books do the same for the mind. Books bring light into the mind. Books stir a fresh breeze of thought in a stale mind. Books open new horizons to the mind. Iqra! - The first lesson of the Qur’an Reading is second nature to a Muslim. The Qur’an’s first words: “Iqra!” teaches us the lesson to “Read!” Ever since that day, Muslims lead mankind to the wonderful world of reading, learning and study, which they knew nothing about before this revelation. The Muslim public of the past were avid readers. Muslim authors churned out books by the thousands. Just take the Qur’an; no book in the world can boast of so many commentaries as the Qur’an. Take the biography of the Holy Messenger; no person has been more chronicled than Nabi Muhammad (sallAlmightyu-alayhi-wasallam) - even by his nonMuslims admirers. Coming from such a rich literary heritage, it is sad to observe that in our times, Muslims tend to be very poor readers overall. By right, Muslims should be leading the world in reading as they had done in the glorious past. A ‘secret’ of the Muslims’ successes in the past is the fact that they read profusely, thereby producing razor-sharp minds and geniuses of the finest order. Today, the finest of Islamic literature is available in a bewildering variety of topics in almost all major world languages. Ranging from thick, voluminous works to glossy monthly magazines and even doublesided, single-page flyers - the needs of almost every kind of reader is catered for. As a further service, a big percentage of this Islamic literature is available absolutely free-of-charge or at a very nominal price. Even so, many Muslims just do not have any interest in reading at all. NO TIME! & other common excuses The most common excuse is NO TIME! This is
surprising because the very same people tend to have ample time for any of the following activities; reading and digesting the propaganda of daily papers, reading social-gossip magazines, watching TV and videos, playing computer games or surfing on the internet for hours. Time is also available for sports, spectating sports, taking drives, browsing in shopping malls, socialising with friends at clubs or braai parties. Unfortunately the people that ought to read this message are probably too busy with any one of the above activities so it doesn’t matter to them anyway. However, a plea is made to those who are convinced of the importance of reading to pass this article (or its message) to our ‘busy bretheren’. It may just have an effect, one never knows. The fact that “Knowledge is an ocean” and “There is no end to learning” are well-known to all Muslims. Every Muslim has to acquire a minimum level of knowledge of Islam that will enable him to lead a 24-hour and a 365-day life according to Almighty’s chosen way of life. “Acquiring knowledge is compulsory upon every Muslim male and female” - Hadith. The way every individual goes about doing this is his personal choice. However, Islamic literature is one of the easiest and most effective method of acquiring a sound Islamic education. A book - an easy going companion A book does not dictate the pace of learning. It has no fixed times. It is not limited or restricted to space or venue. Books do not make any demands nor do they get tired. Books can be studied in the privacy of the home at one’s own leisure and pace. Books are not limited to just one person,; the whole family can benefit from a single book and for many years on end. Today when a deluge of filthy and unsavioury reading material is flooding the homes of the world, it is time that Muslims turned quickly towards good, authentic Islamic literature to fill their homes and adorn their bookshelves. Remember, a vacuum does not remain void for long. It has to be filled sooner or later. Rather than letting it fill with the wrong, let it be filled with what is right and wholesome! Islamic
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“Acquiring knowledge is compulsory upon every Muslim male and female” literature is a little candle of light and guidance in the pitch dark night of misguidance outside Books bind the family! Books can provide hours of joy for the Muslim family if read as a family unit. It helps to cement the family bond of love and caring. Instead of the home being a ‘motel’ housing ‘strangers’ on their own course of life (the present home atmosphere), it will bring everyone together in a shared activity. It helps to imbue the mind of young and growing children with the wonderful values of Islam. It will also help to rid the home of the evil and negative influences of the twin-terrors: TV and videos. Five advices Take note of five sentences of brief advice at this point: 1. Be extra-careful about the choice of Islamic literature one reads. Not every nice-sounding title is safe to read. It’s a minefield out there. Always ask the opinion of a learned, trusted, experienced elder before buying or reading anything 2. Islamic literature always contains an element of Qur’an and Hadith. Great respect must be shown
to books of this nature. It must also be studied with respect and dignity, never with outstretched legs or in any disrespectful posture. Also endeavour to be with Wudhu. Keep in a clean, high and respectful place. Do not scratch, tear or mishandle. If worn out, bury with respect 3. Buying or borrowing a book is one thing. Reading is another. Many people tend to confuse the two. Just ‘having it’ is not good enough. It has to be read to be useful and beneficial 4. Set aside time for reading; say 15-20 minutes daily at a fixed time. This will help with self-discipline 5. Try and establish a little ‘library corner’ or bookshelf in the home. Also strive to establish a reasonable Islamic library in every Muslim locality. This will be very beneficial, especially for those who are eager to read but cannot afford it Invest in a good book today! It should last a lifetime and beyond! If not you, your children or grandchildren might appreciate it some day! Mufti Z. Bayat, South Africa
I SPECIAL FEATURE
I August 2011
I August 2011
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