Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

July 2006
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The Muslim World

Expansion of Prophet's (Pbuh) Mosque
Madinah: (IINA)

Custodian of the two holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz laid the foundation stone for expansion works of the Prophet’s (Pbuh) Mosque in Madinah recently. He also announced the decision to make Prince Muhammad Airport in Madinah an international airport to facilitate the flow of Haj and Umrah pilgrims. The SR 4.7 billion expansion works of the Prophet’s Mosque includes construction of the eastern courtyard covering an area of 35,000 square meters to accommodate around 70,000 people. A total of 182 umbrellas will also be installed to provide shade to 200,000 worshippers. The project also includes construction of two basement floors for public utility services especially parking lots for cars and buses.

Islamic Studies Faculty in Sri Lanka
Colombo: (IINA)

The first batch of 43 students (boys and girls) was enrolled at the Faculty of Islamic Studies and Arabic Language at the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. A ceremony was held at the university on the occasion recently. Dr. K.M.H. Kalideen has been appointed the first Head of the Islamic Studies and Arabic Language. This is the first time a Faculty for Islamic Studies and Arabic Language has been opened in a Sri Lankan university since 1942. The medium of instruction will be in Tamil, English and Arabic languages.

OIC Meet in Baku
Baku: (IINA)

Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev opened the 33rd session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) foreign ministers in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan. In his inaugural speech, Aliyev stressed that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance and it must not be equated to terror. He also underscored the need for joint efforts for achieving economic development and strengthening bilateral trade relations among the 57 OIC member countries. Representatives of 51 Muslim countries, including 33 foreign ministers, gathered at the Gyulistan Palace, in central Baku.

Denmark to Host Grand Festival

A grand cultural festival will be held simultaneously in Copenhagen, capital of Denmark, and eight other major cities in the country. The festival, featuring the Middle East, will begin on August 12, 2006 and would continue for six weeks. It is mainly intended to acquaint the people of Denmark with the main features of the cultures of the people in the Middle Eastern countries, especially the Islamic culture and civilization. Prior to the grand festival called “Pictures from the Middle East”, another festival titled “Islam Expo’ will be held in Copenhagen on June 19-21. This festival is aimed at shedding light on Islam as a heavenly religion and the noble personality of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh).

Calligraphy Competition

The IRCICA, the cultural body under the Organisation of Islamic Conference has organised the 7th International Calligraphy Competition to be held this year. It has been dedicated to the memory of noted calligrapher Hashim Al-Baghdadi (died 1973). It will receive entries in all styles like Jaly, Jaly Thuluth, Naskh, Nastaliq, Jaly Diwani, Diwani, Muhaqqaq, Reyhani, Maghribi, Riqa, Khurde Taliq etc. Aspirants can contact: International Calligraphy Competition Secretariat, IRCICA, P.O. Box: 234, 80693- Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey. Ph: (212) 259-1742, email: Awards would carry US $ 750 in each of the above styles of calligraphy. Total number of awards and incentive prizes number 77.

First Qur'an TV Station in Bahrain
Manama: (IINA)

A Bahrain member of Parliament said that he had applied for a license for a television station that would be devoted to the holy Qur’an and to serving Islam . “I have submitted a request to the minister of Information to establish a private television station that will bring together the various sects of Islam, promote Islamic arts and produce films and documentaries,” stated a press release from Abdullah Al A’ali.

Investors from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will fund the project which is expected to cost 3 million Dinars.

Jakarta Hosts International Islamic Scholars Conference
Jakarta: (IINA)

Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened an international conference of Islamic scholars here recently. Addressing the conference, Yudhoyono stressed that Muslims should help solve global problems including terrorism and reach out to the rest of the world if they want to be understood. He called on the participants to put forward moderate views. Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lashed out at the media for depicting militant groups like Al Qaeda as typical of Islam. He suggested that the media was responsible for most of the misunderstanding about Islam.

Saudi Arabia Donates $10 million
Riyadh: (IINA)

Saudi Arabia donated $10 million to the International Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The donation was announced by the Kingdom’s UN Ambassador, Fawazi Abdul Majeed Shobokshi, during a three-day meeting hosted by the international organisation that ended recently in Riyadh. Within this framework, he said the Kingdom has generously contributed to the construction of 77 hospitals and 54 clinics in a number of developing countries, noting that the contribution stems from its strong belief of cooperation with the international community to support the development process in these countries.

Bahraini Woman Elected President of UN General Assembly
New York

Haya Rashid Al Khalifa, a Bahraini, was elected as the president of the United Nations General Assembly. Haya is the third woman to chair the General Assembly since 1969. Haya, who is specialist in the legal affairs and a former Bahraini ambassador to France, currently works as a legal advisor at the Bahraini Royal Court.

Haya, a champion of women’s rights in Islamic courts and one of the first two Bahraini women to practice law in her country, beginning in 1975, will succeed Jan Eliasson, the Swedish foreign minister. Haya heads her own law firm. From 2000 to 2004, she served as Bahrain’s ambassador to France and as its non-resident ambassador to Belgium, Switzerland and Spain

High-tech Jamrat Bridge
Makkah : (IINA)

At least 30 per cent of the work of the first phase of the new Jamrat bridge has been completed. The first phase of the project will be completed before next Haj and it would facilitate the flow of Haj pilgrims and help reduce the rush at the stoning area. This was disclosed by Dr. Habib Zain Al-Abideen, deputy minister for municipal and rural affairs. “The construction work of a huge tunnel, located north of the Jamrat, with six tracks are also progressing,” he said adding that the tunnel will have several floors, escalators and a helipad. The SR 4 billion Jamrat expansion project, to be carried out in four phases, will help nearly four million pilgrims perform the ritual of stoning the devil in one day. The project will ensure the smooth flow of pilgrims at Jamrat and prevent the stampedes which have killed several people during Haj in the past.

Media University for Pak
Rawalpindi: (IINA)

Pakistan President, General Pervez Musharraf has suggested of opening a Media University for the training and development of media personnel in view of the global advancement in media technology. In a presentation made to Musharraf by minister for Information and Broadcasting, Muhammad Ali Durrani, the President appreciated the idea of launching an electronic news gathering service by APP to bring the national news agency at par with international standards. The President was briefed about the establishment of a media tower by the ministry in Blue Area Islamabad which would serve as a hub for facilitation of electronic media and telecom companies by providing up-linking facilities to the visiting journalists.

Oslo Bans Burqas at School
Oslo : (IINA)

Schools in the Norwegian capital will soon ban Muslim girls from covering their faces, adding to the list of European cities and states that have banned the garment. Toerger Odegaard, the head of the city’s education department, said Oslo’s city council wants to ban the burqa and niqab, garments which cover the face.He said teachers could not do their job properly without seeing their students’ faces. “We will introduce a ban after the summer holidays at the end of August,” he said. Muslims in Norway, which has large Pakistani and Somali minorities concentrated mainly in Oslo, said the move was an encroachment on personal freedom.

Japan Eyes Islamic Banking
Tokyo: (IINA)

Japan will study the Islamic financial system in an attempt to lure oil-rich Middle Eastern investors amid record crude prices, according to a report in Japanese daily, Nihon Keizai Shimbun. The report said that the government-backed Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has set up a four-member advisory board of Islamic legal scholars from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Pakistan.

UK- Gateway for Islamic Trade
London: (IINA):

The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Gordon Brown announced the intention of the government to make the United Kingdom a gateway for Islamic trade and finance and cultivate the ground for stronger trading links between UK and the Muslim World. “This endeavour, the chancellor pointed out, would not just help the UK economy, but also help to narrow the divisions between the West and the Muslim World,” he said while addressing a two-day conference, organised by the Muslim Council of Britain, in London recently.

World Islamic Economic Forum
Islamabad : (IINA)

The second meeting of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) will be held in Islamabad in November 2006, this year, according to Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz. The WIEF entitled “Unleashing the Potential of Emerging markets,” is expected to be attended by 400 leading business persons and investors from various parts of the world.

Iran's Success in Aircraft Industry
Tehran: (IINA)

Syria’s Defence Minister, Lt. Gen. Hassan Ali Turkmani, who is also deputy commander of Syria’s Armed Forces lauded the achievements of Iran’s aircraft manufacturing industry. Inspecting the Isfahan Aircraft Manufacturing Complex and the production line of ‘Iran 140’ aircraft, he said that the industry is sophisticated. The aircraft which is currently being produced in Isfahan in cooperation with Ukraine is modeled on ‘Antonov 140'.

UAE-Top Investor in Saudi Arabia
Abu Dhabi: (IINA):

With the signing of the 100-billion riyal deal with Emaar for the King Abdullah City in Jeddah, UAE overtook Japan to become the top foreign investor in Saudi Arabia, according to statistics released by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA). UAE investments approved by SAGIA till May 2006 stood at 122.9 billion riyals. SAGIA, which was founded as part of Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification program, has licensed 3,608 projects valued at 292.657 billion riyals.

Third Mega Economic City in Madinah

Madinah will have Saudi Arabia’s third mega economic city. Custodian of the two holy Mosques, King Abdullah laid the foundation stone for the SR25 billion project. It is expected to create more than 20,000 new jobs. The new Knowledge Economic City in Madinah is composed of the Taiba Technological and Economic Information Centre, an interactive museum on the Prophet’s (Pbuh) life, a centre for studies of Islamic civilisation, and another centre for medical studies, bio-sciences and integrated medical services. King Abdullah issued the license to a group of investors to carry out the project that also includes housing, as well as commercial centres.