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Muslim Chaplains ‘Role Models’ Issue: 43
Full Sto on Page ry 7
“Muslim chaplain is a important role model and helped me strengthen my faith” Muslim young offender
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
thePassion Death from Afar:
I October 2011
Andy Worthington Campaginer/Journalist
The Unaccountable Killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki What a strange and alarming place we’re in, when the US government, under a Democratic President, kills two US citizens it dislikes for their thoughts and their words, without formally charging them with any crime, or trying or convicting them, using an unmanned drone directed by US personnel many thousands of miles away. And yet, that is what happened when Anwar Al-Awlaki (aka alAwlaqi, or Aulaqi) and Samir Khan, both US citizens, were killed in a drone strike in Yemen, along with several companions. Al-Awlaki, an imam who had left the US in 2002, had aroused the US government’s wrath because his anti-American sermons were in English, and readily available online, and because he openly advocated violence against the United States. It has also been widely reported that he apparently met three of the 9/11 hijackers, that he had been in email contact with Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the sole suspect in the killing of 13 military personnel at Fort Hood, in Texas, in November 2009, who he later reportedly described as a “hero,” and that he was allegedly involved in planning the failed plane bombing on a flight into Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, for
which a Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was arrested. In December 2009, when the US first claimed to have killed alAwlaki in a drone strike that killed 30 other people — all, conveniently, described as “suspected militants” by Yemeni security and government sources — the Washington Post reported that US officials said that al-Awlaki had been “moving up the ranks” of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, “having recently been promoted to regional commander.” However, the officials also “described him less as an operational leader than an inspirational one, whose contacts with members took place largely online.” This is an important distinction, but
it is one that has largely been overlooked when al-Awlaki has been discussed in the mainstream media in the US, even though Americans, through the First Amendment to the US Constitution, are supposed to be uniquely placed to understand the difference between free speech and action. The other US citizen to be killed, Samir Khan, was also deeply disliked by the US government. A former “Internet Jihadist” in the US, as the New York Times revealed in an interview with him in 2007, he moved to Yemen in 2009, where he became the editor of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s online English language magazine, Inspire. Despite this, he, unlike al-Awlaki, had not even been put on a hit list at the time of his death, relegating him to the same kind of non-status as the foreigners — Afghans, Pakistanis and others — who are regularly killed by drone strikes in Pakistan. There are three main problems with the killings — one, as hinted at above, involves the use of drones in general, the second involves the legality and wisdom of assassinations in other countries, and the third involves the legality and wisdom of assassinating US citizens
Write to: Editor, Passion Islam, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: email@example.com - www.passionislam.com This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran -
Views expressed in the Passion column are of the contributers and not Necessarily of Passion Islam
Palestinians accuse Blair of bias towards Israel
I October 2011
In Case You Missed It
Tony Blair’s future as Middle East peace envoy was in jeopardy after the Palestinian Authority said it was set to sever all contact with him because of his “bias” towards Israel, according to a report. The senior echelons of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) are expected to meet in the coming days to discuss a proposal to declare Blair persona non grata, officials told the Daily Telegraph newspaper. Predicting unanimous support for the motion from the entire Palestinian leadership, they said the intention was to isolate the former Prime Minister to such an extent that his position would become untenable. Blair has been viewed with an element of distrust by some Palestinians ever since his appointment as the envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East - the mediating body comprising the
United States, the EU, the UN and Russia - on the day he left Downing Street in June 2007. But antagonism has mounted over allegations that he lobbied European powers to vote against a Palestinian bid for statehood submitted to the United Nations in New York, the paper reported. “We have been extremely unhappy and dissatisfied with Blair’s performance since he became envoy, but particularly in the past weeks,” a senior Palestinian official said. “If Palestinians were to persist in refusing to meet Blair, it is hard to see how he could continue to do his job effectively.” “There is no one within the Palestinian leadership that supports or likes or trusts Tony Blair, particularly because of the very damaging role he played during our UN bid,” a second Palestinian official said.
“He is considered persona non grata in Palestine. Although we can’t prevent him from coming here, we can hopefully minimise the role he can play because he is not a mediator, he is totally biased on one side.” Palestinian anger towards Blair exploded into the open last week when Nabil Shaath, a senior negotiator, denounced him for peddling a US-backed peace plan that failed to call for a halt to Israeli settlement building. “He sounds like an Israeli diplomat sometimes,” Shaath said. If Palestinian claims are true, his efforts to persuade European powers not to back the statehood bid may have been an attempt to burnish his credentials in Washington. An aide to Blair declined to comment on the Palestinian accusations. passionislam.com
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I October 2011
“Met police counter terrorism role should end” - MP’s In Case You Missed It
The Metropolitan Police’s counterterrorism role should be given to the new National Crime Agency when it becomes operational in 2013, British MPs said. The Home Affairs Committee says the change would mean less intervention in the Met by the Home Secretary and its accountability would be clearer. It adds that uncertainty over police reforms for England and Wales could be damaging to the 43 forces. The Home Office says its plans will lead to improvements in policing. Under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, the government set out plans to introduce police and crime commissioners, elected by the
public, in place of police authorities and greater collaboration between forces. The wide-ranging report from the cross-party committee of MPs says the scale of the reforms was unprecedented and the scope for mistakes “accordingly large”. It said it was “unacceptable” that, with the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPLA) being phased out next spring, there were still no definite decisions about many of its functions. It called for the NPIA closure to be delayed until the end of 2012. But the MPs said Scotland Yard should not be given any additional national policing functions in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, which lead to the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson as commissioner amid questions about the Met’s investigation. Meanwhile, the national Database, and the Police National Missing Persons Bureau also needed to be taken on by new organizations, but such a move would not be helpful “either for it the Met or for the police service as a
whole”, it added. The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, known as “SO15”, based at New Scotland Yard, has responsibility for protecting London and the UK from terrorism. The Home Affairs Committee says the terrorist threat is a “national problem” there would be “advantages” in transferring responsibility to the National Crime Agency. “Such a change would also allow for greater clarity in the leadership and accountability of the Metropolitan Police through the Mayor of London, since there would be less justification for involvement by the Home Secretary: For example, in appointing the Metropolitan Police Commissioner,” it said. The MPs called for other key reforms to be delayed and in its report cited the Police Superintendents Association’s view that “it feels like pieces of the new policing jigsaw are being put together in different places without having agreed what the picture on the box should be”
Palestinian activist wins compensation over detention
A Palestinian activist detained on the orders of the home secretary, Theresa May, was held unlawfully and is entitled to compensation, the high court has ruled. The decision is the latest embarrassment for the government over the case of Sheikh Raed Salah, 52, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who entered the country. Since his arrival on 25 June, it has emerged that no one informed him he was prohibited from coming to Britain and that a Heathrow immigration officer who scanned his passport ignored a live alert to exclude him. Three days after entering the UK he was detained at his west London hotel, handcuffed and taken to
Paddington Green police station. He had been due to address a series of public meetings, including one at the Houses of Parliament. The home secretary subsequently served a deportation notice on him, on the grounds that his presence in the UK was “not conducive to the public good”. Salah challenged his removal and obtained bail in July. He is appealing against the decision to deport him in separate proceedings before an immigration tribunal which continues. In the judgment released, Mr Justice Nicol found for Salah on one of three grounds that his detention was unlawful. He rejected his claim on two other grounds. Any compensation is likely to be small since it only covers a period
of two days until the time when the Palestinian preacher was finally informed correctly why he was being detained. The judgment says immigration officers who detained him failed to ensure information was translated and failed to include the necessary details. It emerged that senior officials at the UK Border Agency had opposed the home secretary’s decision to deport the Palestinian, warning that the evidence against him was disputed, open to legal challenge and the case “very finely balanced”. Salah had sought damages for illegal detention, arguing in an earlier hearing that he had been “confined without lawful authority” and subjected to what was essentially “false imprisonment”.
Once the beating heart of the Muslim Ummah, Iraq is now seen as a symbol of suffering. A legacy of sanctions, conflict and neglect has led to a situation where at least a million women have no husbands, millions of children have no fathers, and countless mothers have no sons. In a time when people have forgotten about this poor nation, UWT asks you to extend your hand once again and help the people of Iraq. ‘If a dog dies hungry on the banks of the River Euphrates, Umar will be responsible for dereliction of duty.’ - Umar (Radiallahu’anh) WIDOW SPONSORSHIP (And her children)
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Muslim Chaplains Can Serve As ‘Role Models’ Passion Islam
I October 2011
Muslim chaplains in Britain have a strategically important role at the interface between multi-faith, secular, public institutions, and diverse Muslim communities, new research by the Cardiff University has found. Led by Dr Sophie Gilliat-Ray of the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK - based in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion - the three-year project aimed to find out more about the background, training, role and impact of Muslim chaplains in Britain today. Muslim chaplains now work in a number of public institutions in Britain such as prisons, hospitals, airports, HM Courts, higher education institutions and the military. “Chaplaincy is a rapidly expanding sphere of work for Muslim religious professionals in the UK, but we know very little about the work and role of these chaplains,” said Dr Gilliat-Ray. “We wanted to answer questions such as: Who decides to become a Muslim chaplain? What is involved in Muslim chaplaincy practice? What is the impact of Muslim chaplaincy within and beyond the institutions they serve?” The research involved interviews with 65 Muslim chaplains, both male and female, observing Muslim chaplains at work and conducting focus groups and interviews with stakeholder groups. One Muslim
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
young offender said that the Muslim chaplain was an important role model for him, and helped to strengthen his faith: “When you are around the Imam or when the Imam goes past you [in the corridor], the first words that normally come to you are like “Assalamu alaikum” and ....you’re being reminded of Allah.” Muslim chaplains are highly motivated in their work. One chaplain in the study reflected on her role: “I do love what I do, I love the responsibilities that I have, the role that I play, the awareness that I bring, the guidance that I give, the care that I provide, the shoulder, the ear that I give. These are more rewarding than any position or salary, to me”. The outcomes of the project were shared with participants at a special conference on 22nd September at the University. The event was the first ever all-sector national conference on Muslim chaplaincy in Britain and was held in collaboration with the Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy Studies (St Michael’s College). “Opportunities for Muslim chaplains to network with one another from around the UK are extremely rare. This conference
has brought together leading practitioners, policy-makers, interfaith leaders, and academics with an interest in Muslim religious leadership,” added Dr Gilliat-Ray. The research was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council’s Religion and Society’ Research Programme. For more information about the project visit: www.cardiff.ac.uk/ share/research/centres/csi/research/ muslimchaplaincyproject/index.html
UK seeks end to Human Rights Act? Passion Islam
I October 2011
Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May says she would like to see an end to the Human Rights Act in comments that threaten to trigger a row within the coalition government. “I’d personally like to see the Human Rights Act go because I think we have had some problems with it,” she told the Sunday Telegraph. The Human Rights Act is the piece of regulation that integrates the European Convention on Human Rights into British law; May claims that it prevents the Ministry from easily dealing with what she called foreign criminals and suspects of terrorism. May’s remarks risk dividing the coalition as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged during the Liberal Democrat party conference last month that they will not allow any major changes in the Act. “Let me say something really clear about the Human Rights Act. In fact I’ll do it in words of one syllable: It is here to stay,” he said. However, May said the piece of law has become problematic for her ministry, as they are “unable to deport people who perhaps are terrorist suspects.”
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
She did not explain how regulations on human rights hamper their work or whether the ministry’s job is in breach of human rights regulations. The coalition has already formed a commission of human rights experts who will report to Clegg and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke the possibility of introducing a British Bill of Rights to replace the act. Clarke, who is a Tory member of the cabinet, has dismissed any key changes in the law. “There isn’t the faintest chance of the present Government withdrawing from the Convention on Human Rights,” he said last month. Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has vowed to give Conservatives a hard time in the coalition if they tamper with the Human Rights Act. “If Conservative backbenchers persist in wanting to tear up the European Convention on Human
Rights, then I can foresee a time when this party would be extremely uncomfortable in Coalition,” he said. Yet May is insisting that they are “not standing still on this issue.” The Home Office considers the Article 8 of the European Convention on the right to a “family life” as particularly problematic. Other points of contention between the EU and the British government are cooperation with the European prosecutors on extraditing criminals who have committed offenses in other countries but live in Britain as well as the EU demands that London recognizes foreign nationals’ full right to claim benefits.
National Nasheed Factor a Huge Hit
After rattling through hundreds of auditions the best Sound of Souls National Nasheed /Naat 2011 reciters have been chosen to perform on 9th October in London. The young, middle & old Muslim, female and male contestants came out in their plenty to convert their creative words into pure vocal art, all aiming to deliver a positive message. Replacing the X Factor panel of four and the dragons of the den where Khaleel Muhammad, Abdullah Rolle, Shemiza Rashid and Guest Judge Ali Abbas. All making the nerves of the
contestants twitch, but soon to calm them down with encouraging advice, constructive pointers and clear reasons for them to carry on. Every contestant had the opportunity to choose their own individual style in which they wished to showcase their incredible talent, from traditional Hamd, Naat music to the more contemporary Nasheed, Hip Hop, Rap and Acoustic. The organisers, GNA Academy believe that in this modern age, innovation is key, to engage the interest of the new generation. Hasnat Qureshi one of the main
founders of the Academy said “Come along and show your support for what the Muslim youth of today are achieving at the Live Finals where which will see who will be crowned the winner of the Sound of Souls National Nasheed Contest 2011”. Grab yourself some tickets by logging onto: www.gnaacademy. com or calling the ticket Hotline on: 07731011433 Passion Islam have been given 2 tickets to Giveaway for the Final, please email your name, age and address to info@passionislam. com to enter and WIN
Qatar company buys top London Hotel
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I October 2011
In Case You Missed It
Qatar’s Al Faisal Holding Company has bought the W London Hotel from Northern Irish developer McAleer and Rushe for £200mn. The 10-storey property opened on the corner of Leicester Square and Wardour Street in February this year and has 192 rooms, a Michelinstarred restaurant, a 35,000 square foot M&M’s World store and 11 apartments.
“Al Faisal Holding Company, one of Qatar’s largest private diversified industry groups, through its subsidiary Al Rayan Tourism and Investment Company (Artic), exchanged contracts with McAleer and Rushe to acquire the W London Hotel, for close to £200mn, making this one of the most prestigious hotel transactions of the year,” a company statement said. Artic is engaged in real estate development, acquisition and leasing with a primary focus on the hospitality sector and hospitalityrelated services both in Qatar and overseas. “We are delighted to have acquired this iconic landmark London development,” said Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, chairman of Al Faisal Holding Company.
“Given its one-of-a-kind architectural quality, attractive setting and the strength of the international covenants of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and Mars Retail Group, the addition of the W Hotel to the portfolio reflects our clear investment focus on high quality assets in prime locations as we continue to grow the business both locally and internationally.” The acquisition of the W in London brings the company’s hotel portfolio to 11 properties located across Qatar, Egypt and London, comprising seven fully operational hotels and four under development. Al Faisal Holding owns a controlling stake in Qatar’s Aamal , a diversified trading, property and industrial company. passionislam.com
First Islamic free school approved
The first free school for Muslims in the country will open in Blackburn next year. The business case for Tauheedul Islam Boys’ School has been approved by the Government. Tauheedul Islam Girls’ School principal Mufti Hamid Patel, who made the application with governors, has vowed that the school will be a beacon to raise overall achievements in all schools in Blackburn with Darwen. But opponents have described the decision as ‘extremely bad news’ for community cohesion and claim it will deprive state schools of vital funds. Mr Patel said he had developed a curriculum where the school would play an active role in all areas of the community. He also believes students could enrol into university at 16 thanks to accelerated learning. The detailed plan includes all students undertaking 500 hours
of community service throughout their school life, specialisms in sport and the Big Society, outdoor pursuits such as canoeing and mountain climbing more than once a year and a finishing school. The school plans to benefit non-pupils by running GCSE and A-Level revision sessions in areas such as Darwen and Shadsworth, as well as creating a sports’ academy for primary school children. Since the plan was first mooted, around 700 pre-registration admission forms have been submitted by parents - including from London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Dewsbury and Bolton - for the first 150 places. Mr Patel said: “This is a fantastic milestone. We are very excited and think it is good news. “The support is generally good from across all the communities.
“This has been 18 months in the planning and will be the first free school in the town and the first Muslim free school in the country.” The school will open in September next year on the site of the girls’ school. It will have an admissions policy of 75 per year with year’s seven and eight starting in September next year. Only 50 per cent of the admissions will be allocated to members of the school’s affiliated mosques.
I October 2011
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
UK informs Israeli politicians of arrest law constraint
A former Israeli official was informed by the British Embassy in Tel Aviv of the adoption of a British law limiting citizens’ right to seek the detaining of foreign politicians on accusations of war crimes. British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould bore the good news for former Israeli Foreign Minister and opposition Kadima party leader, Tzipi Livni, according to reports reaching here from Tel Aviv and London. The law amends legislation that allowed private entities to start criminal prosecutions, including for international war crimes, by applying to a local court for the issuance of an arrest warrant. Israel had been angered by the former law and the former minister
would have risked arrest on war crimes charges over the 2008-09 raid on Gaza, had she not called off an earlier visit to London. According to the report, Livni welcomed the new decision, claiming that the law, up until now, had ironically allowed the apprehension
of soldiers tasked with defence. In addition to Livni, British individuals had attempted to issue arrest warrants against visiting foreign dignitaries such as former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and senior Chinese Communist Party official Bo Xilai.
Sotheby’s holds sales preview exhibition
Examples of some of the Islamic ceramics from the Harvey Plotnick collection being displayed by Sotheby’s at the Ritz-Carlton. Sotheby’s has opened an exhibition of Islamic ceramics as well as Modern and Contemporary Arab art, ahead of sales which are both set to take place in London on October 4. The exhibition, being held at the Ritz-Carlton, features 16 ceramic items from the collection of Harvey
Plotnick, which have been brought to Doha to give potential buyers a chance to examine the kinds of items that will be on offer in both sales. Gulf Times spoke to senior director and head of the Sotheby’s Middle East department, Edward Gibbs ahead of the opening, and he expressed his excitement at what he described as “an exquisite collection” of Islamic ceramics. “Plotnick discovered Islamic ceramics at Le Louvre and started collecting in 1992,” he said, adding “he was meticulous and only bought the best of the best – these pieces are all museum quality.” Gibbs singled out the Abbassid pottery bowl with Kufic inscription as his favourite piece in the collection, highlighting its simplicity and minimalistic style as “very powerful.” The piece dates back to the 9th century and has an estimated sale price of between £150,000 and £200,000. Gibbs noted that art appreciation continues to grow in Qatar, with increased interest in each event that Sotheby’s holds here. “We’ve been coming to Qatar for
four years, but we have relationships with people here that go back over decades,” he said, adding “each year we bring more and more, which is a reflection of our commitment to the development of culture here and also the growing interest in the region.” Specialist Ruba Asfahani explained that the collection of paintings on display at the exhibition is aimed at providing a taste of what will be on offer in the 123 lot sale, with a selection of art from across the region, displaying a wide variety of styles. “Modern Arab art is becoming more and more important and people are realising this fact,” she said, adding “we have even seen some amazing work being produced from Egypt during the trouble there.” The exhibition also features a selection of Iraqi artists’ work, providing an insight into how the art scene has developed there and revealing the inspiration behind a lot of current artists’ work. “We have a really exciting collection, and we wanted to show people how the works are connected across time,” added Asfahani.
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I October 2011
Student awarded payout of £20k after terror arrest
A masters student who was arrested under the Terrorism Act and spent six days in custody before charges were dropped has been awarded £20,000 by Nottinghamshire Police. Rizwaan Sabir, 22, who was studying in the politics department at the University of Nottingham, was arrested on the campus on May 14 2008 on suspicion of possessing extremist material. Mr Sabir was arrested after downloading an edited version of the The al Qaeda Training Manual from a US government website for his postgraduate research, his solicitor said. He was held for six days before he was released without charge. After the cash award was announced, Mr Sabir said he was
pleased to have cleared his name after a battle lasting more than three years. A police spokesman confirmed a sum of £20,000 had been agreed to settle Mr Sabir’s civil case. “We stand by the fact that the arrest, detention and obtaining of a warrant of further detention were all perfectly legal, proportionate and necessary in the circumstances as they were in 2008,” a statement said. “The matter was settled without admission of liability save that the force admitted that one brief search of Mr Sabir and his vehicle carried out in February 2010 was the result of a mistaken belief on the part of the officers involved. This was admitted in November 2010 and the force apologises for this search.
“Nottinghamshire Police has also agreed to amend some records held on Mr Sabir to give them greater clarity. “Given that all litigation carries with it a risk this modest monetary settlement was viewed as a sensible way of keeping overall costs to a minimum.” Following his release from custody, Mr Sabir told ITV Central News: “It was the most terrifying experience that I have ever had.” “It absolutely broke me. It has been the lowest time in my entire life.” He said he had felt “the bureaucracy of the state hit me in its hardest form and I feel that the police powers were used in the wrong ways”. Mr Sabir, who is of Pakistani descent, “Like I said there is no smoke without fire. There’s fire and the fire is that I am Asian and I’m Muslim and I have got a beard and that’s the fire so there is smoke.” Mr Sabir, who is currently a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde researching domestic UK counter-terrorism policy, was arrested after the manual was discovered on a friend’s computer. It is understood Mr Sabir had then sent the 1,500-page document to the friend - who was also arrested on May 14 under the Terrorism Act and later released without charge - because he had access to a printer. passionislam.com
Britain supports Syrian opposition Turkey-based group Britain welcomed the formation of a Syrian opposition national council based in Istanbul, Turkey, expressing readiness to work alongside the movement. This comes shortly after France also announced its support of the movement. British Foreign Ministry spokesman, Barry Marston
described the move as an important additional step in the direction of uniting the Syrian opposition and strengthening its front. Britain is in contact with the movement, he noted, and looks to build a productive relationship with its representatives. Marston added it was unfortunate that Syrian President Bashar Al-
Assad’s remaining time in power was measured by the number of innocent Syrians his regime kills, tortures and arrests. He said that if that was not the legacy Al-Assad intends to create, then he should immediately step down and hand over authority to a new generation of Syrians aspiring for democracy, peace and prosperity.
Islam set to be dominant religion in France
I October 2011
In Case You Missed It
New research suggests there are now more practicing Muslims in France than practicing Catholics. While 64 percent of French people describe themselves as Roman Catholic, only 2.9 percent of the population actually practices the Catholic faith. That compares to 3.8 percent of the population who practice the Muslim faith. The research was carried out by the French Institute of Public Opinion on behalf of the Catholic newspaper La Croix. More worrying for Islamic authorities in France is the finding that only 41 percent of the country’s 6 million Muslims actually describe themselves as “practicing,” although 75 percent are happy to label themselves “believers.” Seventypercent also claim to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Most French Muslims hail from the country’s former colonies in North and sub-Saharan Africa. There is also further evidence that mosques are being erected at a much faster rate than Catholic churches. Mohammed Moussaoui, President of the Muslim Council of France, last month estimated that
150 new mosques are currently under construction across the country. By contrast, the Catholic Church in France has built only 20 new churches during the past decade, and has formally closed more than 60 churches. Many of these are now destined to become mosques, according to La Croix. Research in 2009 by the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research suggested that nearly 500 new mosques were built between 2001 and 2006, taking the present total to over 2,000. Many of these new buildings, however, were erected to re-accommodate local Islamic communities who had previously been using temporary accommodation – the so-called “Islam of the basements.” One of France’s most prominent Muslim leaders, Dalil Boubakeur, who is the head of the Grand Mosque of Paris, recently called for the number of mosques in the country to be doubled again – to 4,000 – to meet growing demand. The lack of building space for France’s Islamic population had led to many mosques not being able
to accommodate the believers who arrive for Friday prayers, leaving many Muslims to pray outside in the streets.
Qatar now world’s richest nation Qatar surpassed Luxembourg as the world’s richest nation in 2010 and is set to pull away with wealth that’s almost twice that of the US, latest estimates from the International Monetary Fund show. The IMF’s Chart of the Day shows Qatar’s gross domestic product per capita at $88,221 in 2010, beating Luxembourg for the top spot, according to IMF data. The figure may reach $111,963 by 2016, surpassing Luxembourg’s $94,621 and Singapore’s $70,992, the IMF said. US GDP per capita is forecast at $55,622 in five years, from $46,860 in 2010. “It’s the combination of wealth, growth and a small population,” said Paul Cooper, Dubai-based
managing director at Sarasin-Alpen & Partners, which oversees more than $500 million in the Middle East. Qatar, the host of the 2022 soccer World Cup, forecasts economic growth of about 16 percent in 2011 and projects a budget surplus of $6.1 billion this fiscal year. The IMF estimates the Persian Gulf nation will have the world’s fastest-growing economy for a second year. Qatar, which is smaller than Connecticut, has a population of about 848,000, according to the CIA World Factbook. The country, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, has reached its target of 77 million tons of annual production. Qatar is expected to keep
posting budget surpluses in the coming years and the OPEC member’s nominal gross domestic product should jump to QR547bn ($150bn) this year, its central bank governor said earlier this month. Qatar, one of the largest global investors through its sovereign wealth fund, plans to spend over $125bn in the next five years on construction and energy projects according to its plan. Qatar’s nominal GDP reached QR463bn in 2010. The government 2011 estimate is putting its growth at 18 percent at current prices, according to Reuters calculations. Analysts polled by Reuters in June forecast Qatar’s real GDP to expand by 16.7 percent in 2011. passionislam.com
Over half million floods-hit Pakistanis short of food Passion Islam
I October 2011
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said it feared that more than half of those affected by the monsoon floods in southern Pakistan are critically short of food. The results of an assessment concluded indicate that some 3 million people are in need of food assistance in Sindh province, the WFP said. WFP plans to reach 80 percent of this total – 2.5 million people – from October, with the remainder to be assisted by other agencies. “We look to our donors and their usual generosity to help us reach all those in immediate need following this latest disaster, while ensuring that the recovery of those affected last year is not compromised” Frankefort said. The WFP is rapidly scaling up its life-saving food distributions in the flood-hit areas of southern Pakistan to reach 500,000 people this month with general food rations and highly fortified, locally-produced foods
designed to tackle undernutrition in young children. “Initial assessment data confirms what we feared: that more than half of those affected by the monsoon floods are critically short of food,” said WFP Acting Country Director, Dominique Frankefort. The National Nutrition Survey, just released by the Ministry of Health, found that rates of undernutrition in Sindh were at worrying levels with 17.5 per cent of children under five years suffering from acute malnutrition, of which
nearly seven per cent were severely malnourished. In addition, half of all children in Sindh were stunted – that is shorter than average height, more susceptible to disease and at risk of impaired intellectual and physical development. WFP is addressing immediate needs in the first five priority districts of Badin, Mirpur Khas, Nawabshah, Sanghar and Tharparkar, by drawing upon existing food stocks available in-country. So far WFP has provided life-saving rations to some 80,000 flood-affected people.
Report: US building new drone bases
The United States is reportedly building a series of secret drone bases in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula to conduct strikes against targets in Somalia and Yemen. One of the new bases is being built in Ethiopia to “fight against al-Shabab fighters in Somalia,”
prominent US daily The Washington Post reported. Another base is being set up in the Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. A US official told the newspaper that the base will be used for drone attacks against Yemen. According to the report,
Washington is also conducting drone attacks over both Somalia and Yemen from the African country Djibouti. The US, which already has drone bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan, regularly launches deadly nonUN-sanctioned strikes in the two countries. Pakistan said it has decided to lodge a complaint with the UN on unauthorized US drone attacks against civilians with the pretext of targeting militants. The US has stepped up its unauthorized airstrikes in Pakistan since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Washington claims the drone strikes target militants, although casualty figures indicate that the aerial bombings have led to the loss of hundreds of Pakistani civilians.
I WORLD NEWS
I October 2011
Qatari royal appointed head of Al Jazeera Qatar appoints a member of the royal family to the head of the Al Jazeera television network following unexpected resignation by the Dohabased satellite broadcaster’s former director general. The replacement is named as Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, who is also an executive at Qatargas, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas company, British newspaper The Guardian reported . His predecessor Wadah Khanfar, a Palestinian-born journalist, who was credited with revolutionizing the Arab media landscape with daring news broadcasting, announced that he was stepping down after eight
years in office. In his resignation letter, he wrote his goal he had set himself was “to establish Al Jazeera as a global media leader” and that “this target has been met.” It remained a mystery why he had resigned. A diplomatic cable released last month by the whistleblower website the WikiLeaks had alleged that the US administration was once upset with the ‘disturbing website content’ published on Al Jazeera’s website, obliging him to remove the material. Despite the satellite network’s being hailed as an outspoken one against many Arab regimes, some
Malaysia set to abolish security law
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced plans to repeal a security law that permits the government to detain people indefinitely without trial. The Malaysian premier said on Thursday that the Internal Security Act (ISA) is to be replaced by a new law that would target terrorists, Press TV reported. The ISA was passed during British colonial rule, which ended in 1957. Najib also promised to amend a media law. According to the amendment, media organizations would not be subjected to yearly license renewals; instead, they would be given a one-shot permit that will be valid until revoked.
The Malaysian opposition says Najib is seeking to regain support before next year’s general election. Najib’s popularity rating plunged from 72 percent in June 2010 to 59 percent due to his government’s handling of a street rally calling for electoral reforms in July. The rally was organized by a group of activists called Bersih or the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections. More than 1,000 people were arrested, although most were quickly released. Political analysts say the next few months will be crucial for Najib Razak, as he might face strong resistance from his own political party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO).
analysts say it has been mostly lenient, when it came to the ruling structures in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, and Qatar itself.
Saudis sign deal with UN to establish global centre to combat terror The Saudi government signed with the United Nations an agreement to establish the world centre for counter-terrorism, which will be headquartered in New York City. The Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon announced during the signing ceremony with the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal, that “the Centre will contribute significantly to fighting against terrorism in all parts of the world,” calling on Member States to work collectively to combat terrorism. For his part, the SecretaryGeneral of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Akme Al Deen Ihsanaglo, expressed the support of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to the agreement signed between Saudi Arabia and the United Nations to establish a center for combating terrorism. He added: “I believe that terrorism cannot be tackled effectively by dealing with this issue purely from a security perspective.
I October 2011
FBI prejudice France bans against Islam Muslims street prayers unveiled In Case You Missed It
The French government has enforced a new law forbidding Muslims from saying their prayers in the streets of the capital of Paris and other cities. French Interior Minister Claude Gueant claimed that the government was trying to protect French secular values by implementing the law. “My vigilance will be unflinching for the law to be applied. Praying in the street ... violates the principles of secularism,” he said. French Muslims disapprove of the ban, saying there is not enough space for them to pray in the mosques. “I have been praying here every Friday for 15 years. We just want to practice our religion and we need
more mosques,” a French Muslim said. “There is no need to have so many police here. They should have just informed people that the mosque is closed. That’s all we need because we respect the law,” another prayer said, referring to policemen surrounding the area. “We are still in the street. We are still without a roof. One hour before lunch time prayer, it was already full,” one prayer complained. There are only a limited number of mosques in France -- which has the biggest Muslim population in Europe -- leading Muslims to attend prayers at about a dozen street locations across the country.
FBI has been teaching its counterterrorism agents that “mainstream” Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers and the more devout a Muslim is, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Documents leaked by an FBI whistleblower, show agents are instructed that the Islamic practice of giving charity is a “funding mechanism for combat,” Huffington Post reported. The briefings, which come from the organization’s Quantico training grounds in US State of Virginia, includes presentation that says Muslim tendencies toward violence cannot be reversed. These are excerpts from dozens of pages of recent FBI training material on Islam, in which, the constitutionally protected religious faith of millions of Americans is portrayed as an indicator of terrorist activity. Focusing on the religious behavior of American citizens instead of proven indicators of criminal activity like stockpiling guns or using shady financing makes it more likely that the FBI will miss the real warning signs of terrorism, the report said.
Greek MPs approve first Athens mosque Greece’s parliament has approved the construction of the first official Mosque in Athens, as demanded by thousands of its Muslim residents, after 35 years of debate. The project to build a place of worship for its Muslim population in the Greek capital had 198 votes in favor, and only 16 against. The measure was voted for by MPs of all political parties except for those belonging to Laos, the small far right-wing party. Giorgos Karatzaferis, who leads the party, accused the government of creating “a laboratory for the production of terrorists in the centre of Athens.”
Athens is the only European capital city that does not have any mosques for its 200,000 Muslim residents. The mosque construction plan calls for the renovation of an existing state building which is a disused military base, in the run-down Current building in Athens to be converted into Mosque Athens industrial an official prayer site or a cemetery. district of Elaionas. Muslims have built mosques in Despite the Greek governments’ rented flats and disused warehouses, promises, thousands of Muslims who all of which are regularly targeted in live and work in Athens do not have racist attacks.
I WORLD NEWS
I October 2011
Dutch Muslim and Jews campaign against ban on ritual slaughter
A Dutch Muslim activist and a Dutch Rabbi have joined hands to from a Jewish-Muslim platform to campaign against a ban on ritual slaughter and to protect religious freedom in the Netherlands. Chairman of the Islamic Burial Foundation Ibrahim Wijbenga said Eindhoven that he and Dutch Rabbi Lody van de Kamp formed the platform to protect the freedom of religion. The Islamic Burial Foundation is a member of the City Council of Eindhoven and a member of the Christian Democratic party. He said they have lodged an appeal in the courts of Eindhoven and Amsterdam against the legislation to ban ritual slaughter. Eindhoven is a city of about 213,000 people and lies close to the Belgian border and about 105 kilometers from Amsterdam. On June 28, the Dutch parliament passed a law proposed by the Animal
Welfare Party, which has only two seats in parliament, to ban ritual slaughter. The ban requires that animals must be stunned before being slaughtered. The Muslim and Jewish ritual slaughter customs are opposed to the stunning. “We do care about animal health and take good care of the animals before slaughter,” Ibrahim, who is also a politician, told KUNA. “Here the freedom of religion is at stake. I am very surprised that no Muslim country has commented or said anything about this issue,” he
said. An estimated one million Muslims and 40,000 Jews live in Holland out of a total population of about 17 million. Ibrahim noted that the prohibition of halal and kosher meat has been widely condemned by both Jewish and Muslim communities in Holland as a violation of their religious freedom. He warned that circumcision “could be the next target” after the expected ban on the face-veil (burqa) passionislam.com
Gulf currency launch date not agreed
The launch date of a single Gulf currency has yet to be determined, with steps needed to complete the move requiring additional accurate consideration, Chairman of the Gulf Monetary Council, Mohammed AlJasser said. After the Gulf Monetary Council
(GMCO) concluded its 11th session, Al-Jasser told a press conference that the monetary union was steadfast in its approach to launching a unified Gulf currency. Today’s session maintained discussions on a number of aspects pertaining to the emerging monetary
union, its internal bodies and their functions and past achievements on the regional level, he said. On the GMCO’s position at the current stage, whereby the US credit rating has dropped and a debt crisis affects a number of countries in the European Union, he noted that the GMCO cannot discuss international economic policies at this time, as the GMCO has yet to formally exist. Discussing this issue is currently the task of each of the monetary bodies of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s six states - Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, he stressed, describing their economies as “exceptional”. The EU debt crisis does not seldomly affect the GMCO, but other monetary authorities as well, he emphasised. He also denied there being any obstacles to the formation of the Gulfstate monetary union. passionislam.com
I October 2011
Muslim, Jewish groups in Netherlands circumcision debate
Circumcision for boys in the Netherlands, should now be the subject of public debate, according to the Dutch federation of doctors called KNMG. The KNMG is calling on human rights groups to make explicit statements on the issue, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported. Muslim and Jewish organisations in the country have expressed concern over the move. “Circumcision is a precept of our faith, which we want to continue observing,” Driss El Boujoufi from the umbrella organisation, the union of Moroccan mosques, told the Trouw newspaper. “No appreciable change can be made to the practice of circumcision,” said Rabbi Raphael Evers of the NIK Orthodox Jewish umbrella organisation. In the Netherlands, the circumcision is carried out between
10,000 and 15, 000 times a year.The KNMG’s main objection to the ritual practice is that it amounts to mutilation of a child, said the radio. “You’re doing something that’s irreversible to an underage child without him being able to give his consent,” argued KNMG’s Lode Wigersma who claimed that between 5 and 15 percent of cases lead to later complications. Lex Klein, a doctor working at the BCN circumcision centre disagreed. “In the decade that the BCN has been operating, we’ve circumcised about 37,000 boys and there’s not been a single serious complication,” the radio reported him saying. The KNMG denies that it is pushing for a ban on the circumcision of boys, saying that a first step is for doctors to discourage parents from having their male children
circumcised. Yusuf Altuntas of the CMO contact group for Muslims with the government voiced concern that the discussion may end in a ban. “If the KNMG wants to raise awareness, it shouldn’t be addressing government, parliament and human rights organisations but seeking dialogue with Jewish and Islamic youth,” he told de Volkskrant newspaper.
Bouazizi nominated for EU’s human rights prize
A group of five activists from the Arab world and a Palestinian doctor have been nominated for European Parliament’s prestigious 2011 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought. Mohamed Bouazizi the young man who set fire to himself on 17 December in Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia which triggered the popular
movement that led to the fall of the regime is among the nominees, said an EP statement. Bouazizi together with Asmaa Mahfouz (Egypt), Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi (Libya) and Razan Zeitouneh and Ali Farzat (both from Syria) were nominated jointly by the EP’s four largest political groups, the European People’s Party, the Socialists, the Liberals, and Greens. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor and founder of the Daughters for Life Foundation was nominated by the European Conservatives and Reformists group. Three activists from Belarus,
Slovenia and Colombia have also been nominated. These nominations will be presented at the joint meeting of the EP committees on Foreign Affairs, and Development and Human Rights on 5 October, followed by a vote on 20 October to pick the three finalists. The leaders of the political groups in the EP will choose the winner on 27 October and the laureate will be invited to the award ceremony on 14 December . The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought named after the Russian physicist Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov is awarded each year by the European Parliament. The 50,000 euro prize was set up in 1988 to honour individuals or organisations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
I WORLD NEWS
I October 2011
USA designates Indian Mujahideen as “terrorist organization” In Case You Missed It
Clintom designated the Indian Mujahideen (IM) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization describing it as “an India-based terrorist group with significant links to Pakistan, IM is responsible for dozens of bomb attacks throughout India since 2005, and has caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians”. “IM maintains close ties to other U.S.designated terrorist entities including Pakistan-based Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) and Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI). IM’s stated goal is to carry out terrorist actions against non-Muslims in furtherance of its ultimate objective - an Islamic Caliphate across South Asia”, noted the State Department in a statement. The State Department added that “IM’s primary method of attack is multiple coordinated bombings in crowded areas against economic and civilian targets to maximize terror and casualties.
In 2010, IM carried out the bombing of a popular German bakery in Pune, India frequented by tourists, killing 17 and injuring over 60 people. In 2008, an IM attack in Delhi killed 30 people”. State Department’s Coordinator for Counter terrorism Ambassador Daniel Benjamin said that “these designations highlight the threat posed by IM not only to Western interests, but to India, a close U.S. partner. The Indian populace has borne the brunt of IM’s wanton violence and today’s actions illustrate our solidarity with the Indian Government”. “These designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to abandon terrorism”, he added. The State Department further affirmed that the consequences
of these designations include “a prohibition against knowingly providing material support or resources to, or engaging in other transactions with, the Indian Mujahideen, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the control of U.S. persons”.
Pakistan says no confirmation about killed Al-Qaeda leader
Pakistan said that it has no knowledge about the killing of an AlQaeda militant in a US drone strike in the bordering Waziristan tribal belt. Media reports from Washington
have been reporting that an Al-Qaeda militant Abu Hafs al Shahri, was killed in a drone strike North Waziristan tribal agency. Shahri was a Saudi national and had been serving as the senior figure in Al-Qaeda’s central command. Military Spokesman Major Gen. Ather Abbass told media that they have no knowledge of Shahri’s killing. While another Al-Qaeda militant’s killing is being viewed in Washington as another blow to weaken the already degraded terror network, the security officials in Pakistan have said that
they even have no knowledge about the person. Local news media citing unnamed security officials reported that they have never heard of this person. However, tribal sources from North Waziristan confirmed that two persons including an Arab suspect were killed and three others were wounded in a drone strike near Mir Ali village. The identity of the killed Arab foreigner has not been established yet, said sources. However, they added, the other person is being identified as Hafizullah and belongs to Haqqani network group.
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Qatar royals linked to fresh £1.5bn Man Utd buyout Passion Islam
I October 2011
Qatar’s royal family is preparing to offer about £1.5bn in a takeover bid for Manchester United. A delegation from the Qatari royal family, headed by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, were in Manchester to try to complete the transaction. The news was welcomed by Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of Manchester United Supporters Trust, who told the paper that fans would support an owner that introduced a more sustainable business model to the club. “We would like any potential new owner of Manchester United to use the club’s own revenues to fund the football club, rather than extracting money from it, as the current owners are,” he said. “Manchester United generates enough money from its own commercial activities to compete with the very best teams in the world.” Manchester United was bought by the Glazer family in 2005. It’s not the first time the Premier League football club, which is preparing to list on Singapore’s stock
exchange, has been linked to the wealthy Gulf emirate. Qatar Holding, the investment arm of the state’s sovereign wealth fund, was in June forced to deny it was in talks to buy the club, saying there had been “no relevant negotiations”. Media reports in the first quarter of the year appeared on an almost weekly basis linking Qatar Holdings with a bid for the club. Singapore’s stock exchange approved Manchester United’s application to raise about $1bn in an initial public offering, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Manchester United had been reviewing the IPO schedule because of volatile markets, the people said.
Iraq banned from playing matches at home Iraq will have to play all their home qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup and next year’s London Olympics at a neutral venue due to fears over security, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said. In a letter sent to the Iraq Football Association (IFA), FIFA raised concerns over security conditions and a breach of safety regulations in their qualifier with Jordan earlier this month, according to an AFC statement. IFA President Najih Hmoud said Iraq would try to have the ban lifted.
“We will respect the FIFA decision and we will implement it. But I think it was not appropriate because it was based on incorrect information,” Hmoud said. The FIFA letter said Iraq would have to nominate a neutral ground in Asia for the World Cup qualifying matches and the 2012 Olympic qualifiers. The venue must not be one of the countries where Iraq is scheduled to play qualifiers, however.
The football club wants to raise cash to help cut almost $500m in debt, a burden that has made the club’s American owners deeply unpopular with some fans. Its choice of Singapore was aimed at expanding the club’s huge Asian fan base as well as tapping the region’s stronger growth and investment climate. Manchester United earlier this month reported record full year profit and revenue, strengthening its hand ahead of its planned flotation. The club said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and operation (EBITDA) rose to £110.9m in the year to end June from £101.2m the year before. JP Morgan, which has been appointed as a global co-ordinator for the IPO, had forecast the club would make EBITDA of £114m this year. The club said total revenue increased to £331.4m, up £45m on the year incorporating a 27 percent rise in commercial revenue boosted by the club’s £80m shirt sponsorship deal with Aon Corp. That helped it swing to a pretax profit of £29.7m, compared with a loss of £15m last year.
I SPECIAL FEATURE
I October 2011
g n ti r ta S f o g in k in h T u o y Are Your Own Business?
Are you one of the many people who always talk of starting a business but never actually get it off the ground? Are you one of the many people stuck in the 9 – 5 routine and fedup? In business, we have a saying, “Business success is not measured by the entrepreneur’s ability to dream up a winning strategy but by his/her ability to deliver the strategy.” The same principle applies here. Don’t just think, convert your idea into something concrete – your very own business and be your own BOSS! Starting your business is the easy part. Ensuring the business is a success is the hard part. In coming weeks, I will cover important steps to take when setting up your business right through to how to position your business to secure the funding you need. The Four Key Steps to Starting up your own business 1) Plan 2) Research 3) Business & Marketing Plan 4) First Impressions The first step is ‘Planning’. What is it that you wish to achieve? How would you ideally like to achieve this? It is vital to brainstorm and put anything and everything that comes to mind on paper. It is through this process that a clear direction for your business will emerge. In the planning stage no idea should be discarded as it has still to go through the qualification stage. Once all ideas have been jotted down, they should be classified under headings of Targets, Objectives, Finance, and Boundaries –(this is the qualification of ideas). If some of your ideas do not fit under these classifications, then chances are those ideas will not work for this business at the current ‘start-up’ stage. Don’t discard those ‘extras’, but keep them safely tucked away to
revisit during your growth years. Best way is to create a ‘Mind Map’. Next step is ‘Research’. It is in this stage that you should thoroughly explore your classified ideas. Sadly, often entrepreneurs ignore this stage before starting their business and reserve this stage for a later date. Researching not only your classified ideas but also researching your Market, Competition, Finance options, Banks, Suppliers, local networking groups will set the scene for the business’ success or failure. In addition, securing finance for poorly researched businesses is a mighty task and often leads to disappointment. Do your homework well. Having thoroughly conducted your research and fine-tuned your ideas, it is important to create your ‘living and breathing’ ‘Business and Marketing Plan’. A Business Plan is not just for when the business is being set-up, but rather for as long as the business exists. Often plans are forgotten apart from when the business was first being set-up. I’ve heard many entrepreneurs say that they don’t have time to keep the plan updated as they have been busy running the business. Frankly, there is no excuse to not keep updating your plan to allow you to mark milestones achieved, milestones outstanding, and milestones that may have been audacious. The business is yours and so should its plan be. The Marketing plan of a business will determine how successful the business is in attracting clientele and is often missed out completely. Writing Business and Marketing Plans will be explored in more detail in coming weeks. Final step of starting your own business, but by no means less important is creating the right ‘First Impression’. Ensuring a good first
impression for your business is as important as creating the right first impression for you as the owner. First impressions are lasting impressions as we categorise others in 150 milliseconds and form lasting judgements within 30 minutes. As such, 55% of your appearance and body language counts towards creating your first impression, voice and attitude 38%, and the content 7%. I’ve seen entrepreneurs both professionally as well as on BBC’s Dragons Den, where first impressions have not been considered and investment has been rejected. A mediocre first impression can be overcome but it leaves you at a disadvantage & requires greater effort than making the right first impression. For a business, the first impression is not only created by your brand image, but also by your attitude towards customer service, your interaction through social media, and what your existing customers say about you. Islamic Disclaimer Islamically, it is every Muslim’s duty to ensure that our income is halal and is obtained through halal means. By Aisha Ejaz
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A Greener Deen
I October 2011
Islam & The Environment
Excerpt “What is an eco-Muslim? What does Islam teach about the environment? Should I care about planet Earth?” Zaufishan, The Eco Muslim shares her lifestyle advice for how you can implement eco-Islam.”
What is an Eco-Muslim? The Eco Muslim is part of The Eco Jihad™, a Muslim’s greener effort towards self-improvement and preserving natural resources. This means changing our behaviour to minimise environmental impact. Although many Muslims view other Eco-Muslim-Activists as something novel or not as important as prayer and fasting, ecological ethics have always been deeply infused in Islamic principles. Hundreds of verses in the Qur’an describe how nature, clay and water, is a part of us and in need of safeguarding. The Qur’an describes believers of God as those who “walk on the Earth in humility,” (25:63). What does this indicate? This is interpreted along with many others like it, to mean that Muslims are supposed to protect the Earth’s provisions from which they survive. Numerous ahadith (sayings) of a true environmentalist, Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings be upon him), also teach us to have a deep and longstanding respect for the natural world. Preservation is therefore more than a good policy recommendation - it is a commandment from God. Environmentalism in Islam Choosing to practice the religion of Islam goes hand in hand with affirming a relationship with the environment. As part of ‘greening’ your faith, try going a whole month without extra “stuff”. No more packaged foods, less use of television and computers, no more cars and fumes, no more indulgentconsumption, nothing bought from a department store, nothing with an on and off switch. Try just letting go and disconnecting from material “things”. The whole idea of being a Muslim “environmentalist” is founded on discipline. You are in control of what you use, what you eat, what you do, where you go, and what you affect.
The boundaries of halal (lawful) and haram (prohibited) are there so we are not taking more than we ought to. So you have to ask yourself – what am I affecting and is it positive? Top Tips For Greening Your Islam “If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, 8:41) ‘Green’ is a relaxing colour that psychologically connects us to the green in nature – plants, growth, rebirth. By including more ‘green’ in your life, you automatically come to appreciating the ground. The same earth that will one day cover you after death. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was a steward of the earth, who hugged trees and planted seeds. Eco-Muslims believe in water management, they do not excessively cut down plants and they reuse everything from fruit peelings (which makes great compost) to rain water (better plant nourishment). - Grow flowers in your back garden, start a community project and get your children involved. Herbs such as parsley and basil, and tomatoes and peas grow with little maintenance from a large pot or container - Check how much water you’re using for wudhu (ablutions for prayer)
and reduce this amount. Prophet Muhammad only needed a potful for his wudhu so use less water - Sort your rubbish out into– recyclables, glass, uncooked food, and then bin or compost it. What you throw away is going to be dumped somewhere else, but by using less plastics and reusing paper and card, you’re creating less (or no) garbage for someone else - Ask your masjid committee to install low-energy light bulbs, use solar panels for lighting and to ask masjid-goers to recycle their rubbish in provided bins. Introduce more outdoor prayers for healthier minds and create a mini-garden for children – a greater incentive to attend the masjid - At home, break from your household routine to carry out community service in your neighbourhood, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day. Shop at charity stores to buy inexpensive things you need for your home and always ask yourself before buying brand new, “Do I really need this?” More often, the answer will be no. By using less, we are actually gaining more. More appreciation, more understanding and more faith in Allah. I am The Eco Muslim, and I hope you can join me on this path. Peace & Eco-Jihad - Zaufishan www.theecomuslim.com
I SPECIAL FEATURE
I October 2011
Firaoun / Pharaoh (Ramesis II) A Great Lesson for Humanity When Francisco Mitra became the president of France in 1981 ,France requested from the Egyptian government to host the mummy of Pharaoh, for the purpose of running laboratory and archaeological examinations on the mummy of the most notorious dictator ever lived on earth. Upon arrival, a very royal attendants were there including the French president himself and all ministers who bowed in honour for the mummy. When the ceremony ended, the mummy was carried to a specially designed section at the Archaeology Centre of France Where it was to be tested by the greatest French archaeological and anatomical scientists in order to discover more about such a great mummy ,the scientists were headed by Professor
Maurice Bucaille. Scientists were trying to restore the mummy while Professor Maurice was mainly concerned with how did this mummy die! The final report of the scientists was released late at night which states that the remaining salt in the mummy is overt evidence that it was drawn in the sea, and the body was rescued very shortly where it was immediately embalmed to be saved. An amazing thing was still confusing Professor Maurice is that how could this body possibly be safer than any other mummy despite being taken out of the sea up until this time. Professor Maurice was writing his final report on what he thought would be a new discovery about saving Pharaoh’s body immediately after his death and embalming it.
And there, someone whispered to him that Muslims claim to know something about the drowning of this mummy Yet the Professor firmly denied such thing saying that it’s impossible to discover this without the development of science and without using his high-tech and complicated laboratories and computers, to his surprise, he was told that Muslims believe in a book called ‘Quran’ and this Quran narrates the story of Pharaoh’s drowning and ensures the safety of his body after his death as to be a Sign to mankind. The Professor couldn’t believe his own ears and started to wonder: How can a book existed 1400 years ago speak about the mummy that was only found 200 years ago, in 1898 ? How can that be possible while
I October 2011
the ancient Egyptian heritage was discovered only a few decades ago and no one knew about it before? The Professor sat down pondering on what he was told about the book of Muslims, while his Holy Book narrates only the drowning of Pharaoh without saying anything about his body. ‘Is it possible that this mummy in front of me is the one who was chasing Moses ?’ ‘Is it possible that Muhammad knew this 1400 years ago ? The Professor couldn’t sleep that night till they brought him the Old Testament where he read: ‘the sea drowned Pharaoh and his army, no one else was left alive’ He was surprised that the Holy Book didn’t mention about the destiny of the body and that it will be saved When the scientists were done with the mummy, France retuned it to Egypt, but Professor Maurice couldn’t rest for a moment since he was told that Muslims know about the safety of the body. So, he decided to travel and meet anatomy Muslim scientists and there he spoke about his discovery of the safety of the mummy after its death in the sea and so on. One of the Muslim scientist stood up and simply opened the Quran and pointed to the Professor at one verse: ‘This day shall We save you in your body, that you may be a Sign to those who come after you! But verily, many among mankind are neglectful of Our Signs’ Quran 10:92) The Professor was struck when he read that and immediately stood in front of the crowd and said loudly: ‘I believe in Islam, I believe in Quran’ Then he went back to France with a different face he traveled with. In France, he dedicated 10 years investigating the scientific discoveries and comparing them with the Quran and trying to come up with one scientific contradiction with the Quran. Finally he quoted one verse from the Quran to be his conclusion: ‘No falsehood can
approach it (this book) from before or behind it: it is sent down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of all praise’ (Quran 41:42) As a result of all years of his research, Professor Maurice wrote abook that shook all Europe, especially the scientists there ‘Quran, Torah, Bible and Science: A Study of the Holy Books in the Light of Modern Science’ All copies were sold out at a very short time I personally visited the Cairo Museum where the mummy is preserved and there you get astonished at the scenery of thousands of people from all over the world visiting the place everyday, unfortunately, many of the tourists there would think: ‘Wow, look at that! Amazing!! So nice to see people of all times!! Without realizing the intended lessons that Allah has kept this body a Sign to all mankind of anyone who denies Allah and His messengers. In another chapter in the Quran: ‘When Moses came to them with Our clear Signs, they said: This is nothing but sorcery faked up: never did we hear the like among our fathers of old! Moses said: ‘My Lord knows best who it is that comes with guidance from Him and whose end will be best in the Hereafter: certain it is that the wrong-doers will not prosper. ‘Pharaoh said: ‘O Chiefs! No god do I know for you but myself: therefore, O Haman! Light me a (kiln to bake bricks) out of clay, and build me a lofty palace, that I may mount up to the god of Moses: but as far as I am concerned, I think (Moses) is a lair!’ And he was arrogant and insolent in the land, beyond reason, - he and his hosts: they thought they would not have to return to Us! So We seized his and his hosts, and We flung them into the sea: now behold what was the end of those who did wrong! And We made them (but) leaders inviting to the Fire; and on the Day of Judgment no help shall they find. In this world We
made a curse to follow them: and on the Day of Judgment they will be among the loathed (and despised).’ (Quran 28: 36-42) So now Has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and the Truth which has been revealed to them, and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors. Know you (all) that Allah gives life to the earth after its death! Already have We shown the Signs plainly to you, that you may learn wisdom. For those who give in charity, men and women, and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credits), and they shall have (besides) a liberal reward.And those who believe in Allah and His messengers - they are the Sincere (lovers of Truth), and the Witnesses (who testify), in the eyes of their Lord: they shall have their Reward and their Light. But those who reject Allah and deny Our Signs, - they are the companions of Hell-Fire’ (Quran 57: 16-19) (Anonymous Sender) many among them are rebellious transgressors Know you (all) that Allah gives life to the earth after its death! Already have We shown the Signs plainly to you, that you may learn wisdom. For those who give in charity, men and women, and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credits), and they shall have (besides) a liberal reward. And those who believe in Allah and His messengers - they are the Sincere (lovers of Truth), and the Witnesses (who testify), in the eyes of their Lord: they shall have their Reward and their Light. But those who reject Allah and deny Our Signs, - they are the companions of HellFire’ (Quran 57: 16-19) (Anonymous Sender) - Rabetah
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I October 2011
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