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APRIL 2001

MONTHLY    *    Vol 15-04 No:172    *   APRIL 2001 / MUHARRAM 1422H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

NEWS FROM ISLAMIC WORLD


US Muslims Urge: War Crimes Tribunal for Israel
Pope John Paul to visit Syria
Minnesota Airline Changes Policy
Foot and Mouth Disease: French Shun Sacrifice
Iranian Homes Produce 1.3 Million Carpets
New Haj Website: www.tohajj.com
Haj Pilgrims Spent SR 9 billion
King Khaled Foundation set up
WHO Study: Marriage Between Relatives Could Cause Blood Problems
Mass Graves in Chechnya
Friday Sermon in non-Arabic Languages
Germany: Mosque set on fire
Bauchi State to Enforce Shari'a
19,000 Hajis from France
Advanced Eye Hospital in Pakistan
Poverty Strikes Indonesia
New mosque opened in Russia
Moscow Mayor call for building of more mosques
No Age Restriction for Visitors
News in Brief
Peoples
On Record

US Muslims Urge

War Crimes Tribunal for Israel

Washington : Eight national American Muslim groups have called on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to establish an International Tribunal for Israel, similar to those established to deal with crimes against humanity in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

In an open letter to Annan published as a full-page advertisement in the Washington Times, the group wrote, among other things, “We make this request as the brutal nature of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land becomes apparent even to those who have for decades accepted that state’s founding mythology negating the Palestinian people’s very existence.”

The write-up went on to say: “On a regular basis, Israeli death squads carry out extra-judicial killings of men, women, and young people in Occupied Territories. Muslim and Christian Palestinians are routinely barred by Israel from religious sites in Jerusalem....” IINA

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Pope John Paul to visit Syria

Damascus : Pope John Paul II, leader of all the Catholics in the world, will visit the Umayyad Mosque here in May next, when he tours Syria. His aim would be to visit the Prophet John the Baptist (e), who has a venerated place in Christianity. Pope John Paul II would be the first pontiff in history to visit a mosque.

The Roman Catholic Church’s patriarch has said that the visit will also involve a Muslim-Christian dialogue, and the two sides will pray in one area. The Mufti of Syria will lead the Muslims in prayer, while the Christians will be led by the Pope.

The Umayyad Grand Mosque in Damascus is one of the important historical Islamic landmarks. Previously, 5000 years before, it was an Aramaic Temple, then it became a Roman Temple in the first century of the Christian calendar, then it was converted into a church by the Christians, and in the eighth century the Muslims converted it into a mosque. But the Muslims have maintained the same respect for the tomb of Prophet

John (Yahya), who is very much revered by the Christians as John the Baptist, who lived at the time of Jesus and was a close relative of his. IINA

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Minnesota Airline Changes Policy

Bloomington : Some 50 female Muslim employees at the Bloomington facility of in-flight catering giant LSG Sky Chefs challenged a uniform policy that would have forced them to wear pants and sports shirts. The women said the uniform violated Islamic standards of modesty.

Representatives of CAIR’s Minnesota office contacted LSG Sky Chefs’ corporate office to request religious accommodation for the workers. Company officials agreed to CAIR’s request for a modified uniform. The revised uniform policy gives Muslim women the option to wear their own ankle-length non-flowing skirts under long-sleeve lab coats.

“The company was not opposed to making an accommodation to satisfy religious requirements as long as such accommodations fall within the applicable health and safety regulations,” said Priscilla Loges, LSG Sky Chefs’ Corporate Manager for Diversity.

Damon Drake, spokesman for CAIR, said, “LSG Sky Chefs responded to our requests with an open mind and moved quickly to agree to a simple policy change that makes sense for everyone.”

Arlington, Texas-based LSG Sky Chefs, Inc. is the world’s largest in- flight catering firm with combined annual revenues of over $3 billion.

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Foot and Mouth Disease

French Shun Sacrifice

Paris : Muslims in France avoided sacrifice of cattle on Idul Azha and paid equivalent amount in cash to the beneficiaries, following a ruling from the Imam of the Paris Mosque. The French Government had appealed to the Muslims to stop slaughtering animals, in view of the foot-and-mouth disease that has affected the livestock in Europe, in general.

The Imam said that the animal sacrifice is not a must, and that one could pay a third of the value of a sheep in cash, instead to the poor and the needy. IINA

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Iranian Homes Produce 1.3 Million Carpets

CarpetTeheran : Iranian homes and families have produced 1.3 million carpets during the last one year. This was possible due to active government support for the cottage craft. Other trades that keep the Iranian family occupied are the canning of dates, pistachios, and the production of vegetables, the drying of fruits, milk, bread and biscuit production, weaving and cloth-making etc.

At the moment a million families, comprised of 44 lakh members, are benefiting from these cottage crafts, the majority of them women, because there are 1.7 million women employed in these home crafts. IINA

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New Haj Website

www.tohajj.com

Makkah : Abdul Majeed bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of Makkah region formally launched the Website “Bwaabat Al-Hajj” (Bwabaat means Gates) on the Internet.

Dr. Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Tuweijry, the Director General of the HARF Company, which is responsible for developing the Website (www.tohajj.com) said that the site is a gift from the company to the pilgrims. He added that the Website would be in Arabic, English, French, Spanish, German, Urdu, Malayu, Bahasa Malay, and Turkish languages.

Dr. Tuweijry said that the Haj Website comprises more than 100,000 electronic pages, highlighting the Hajj rites, in accordance with the four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and gives a complete account of how Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) performed the Hajj.

He said it also contains a special section on women’s Hajj, fatwas, and a glossary of Haj terms, among other instructive material. IINA
For more information do access: www.tohajj.com

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Haj Pilgrims Spent SR 9 billion

Makkah : It has been estimated by the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry that Haj pilgrims spent more than Saudi billion 9 Riyals during this year’s Haj season, and that foreign pilgrims account for largest part of this amount.

It estimates that pilgrims spent about SR800 million for the services of Tawafa organizations, car syndicates and Zam Zam office, adding that they also spend “enormous sums on the various styles of accommodation available in and around Makkah and Madina.” The amount spent on accommodation is estimated at SR 1.5 billion, with most of the accommodation that is close to the Grand Mosque showing slight increase in the rental, compared to buildings situated some distance away from it. Tents in Mina and Arafat account for considerable amounts of expenditure.

Transportation companies serving the pilgrims earned more than SR700 million this season. The MCCI source say that the pilgrims spent SR4.5 billion on the purchase of sacrificial animals, foodstuffs, and gift items. These included prayer mats, clothes, electrical appliances, rosaries, and other souvenirs. IINA

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King Khaled Foundation set up

Riyadh : The King Khaled Charitable Foundation has been set up here, and the Chairman of its Managing Committee, Prince Faisal bin Khaled bin Abdul Aziz, has said that the Foundation aims at realizing the aims which the late King Khaled had espoused. He said it would serve individuals as well as communities, particularly in raising the standard of education, culture, and professionalism.

Prince Faisal said that in order to realize its set objectives, the Foundation will set up vocational and technical centers, initiate educational and social programmes and projects, with the aim of raising the standard of living of individuals.

He added that it would also be involved in providing relief aid during times of emergency, grant scholarships to students, give research grants to individuals and institutions, and also set up commercial and industrial projects.

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WHO Study

Marriage Between Relatives Could Cause Blood Problems

Riyadh: The head of the Cooperative Center of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Muhsin Al-Hazmy, has said that marriage between relatives is behind many blood-related problems, and therefore making a diagnosis and test prior to marriage is important and beneficial.

Dr. Hazmy told Al-Dawaa magazine that 20 per cent people are infected with hereditary diseases in Saudi Arabia, and added that even if the couple intending to get married are not related, it is still advisable that they should be examined for any possible hereditary disease that could possibly be passed on to their children.

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Mass Graves in Chechnya

Grozny : Women in Chechnya have demonstrated in protest at the disappearances of their relatives and their arrest by Russian forces. Several mass graves have been uncovered, and all of them show that the victims had been tied up and then shot. Many Russian soldiers have already been detained for committing war crimes, looting and raping in Chechnya.

Thousands of Chechens have been arrested on the mere pretext that they are cooperating with the Chechen resistance, and many have been killed, without even being tried. There also are allegations that some Russian soldiers have retained some Chechen civilians, so that they could extract money from their relatives, in exchange for freeing them. IINA

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Friday Sermon in non-Arabic Languages

Cairo : The Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Dr. Nasr Fareed Wasil, has given a ruling to the effect that it is admissible to deliver the Friday Sermon in a language other than Arabic, provided that the people of the area cannot understand Arabic. He quoted Imam Abu Hanifa on that ruling. The only exception is that the Quranic verses must be read in original Arabic, though they may be followed by their translation.

He said the objective of the Friday Sermon is to offer advice, to remind the listeners, and to instruct them to their Islamic duties, adding that this could only be achieved if the audience is listening to the sermon in the language that he understands. IINA

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Germany: Mosque set on fire

Cologne: Unknown arsonists have set on fire an under-construction mosque here. Glass façades of the mosque were destroyed. Dr. Nadim Ilyas, President of the Muslim Council of Germany has said the fire was deliberately set, and that the police ignore the crimes that are perpetrated against Muslims. Last year, there were three such incidents in which mosques in three different cities were torched. IINA

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Bauchi State to Enforce Shari'a

Lagos : Nigeria’s Bauchi state is giving serious consideration to the adoption of the Islamic Shari’a, and by so doing it would the 10th state to implement the Sharia’. Rising crime and violence graph is said to be the reason for proposed implementation of the Sharia, observers point out.

It is expected that the Shari’a would be implemented by the end of March, though the Christian population of the State would not come under its jurisdiction.

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19,000 Hajis from France

Makkah : A total of 19,000 pilgrims from France performed this year’s Haj, an increase of 1,000 over last year’s figure, according to the head of the French Haj Delegation, Salim Okas. He said the number of pilgrims from France continues to rise every year, and added that in 1983 the figure was 3,500 only. Out of France’s population of 65 million, Muslims make up six million. IINA

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Advanced Eye Hospital in Pakistan

Islamabad : Pakistan has set up an Eye Specialist Medical Center at Hayat Abad, 120 kms from Islamabad which is said to have the most advanced facilities in treatment of eye diseases.

Pakistani President Rafiq Tarar inaugurated the Center on March 3. Among the prominent participants were Prince Abdul Aziz bin Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia. Tarar pointed out that 90 per cent of those affected with eye diseases are in the developing world, while 80 per cent of the blind, could have been treated, but for the lack of such facilities. IINA

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Poverty Strikes Indonesia

Jakarta : A World Bank publication has said that half of Indonesia’s population faces the problem of poverty, in that their incomes do not meet their daily basic needs of food, while government statistics reveal that 45 per cent of Indonesians live below the poverty line. IINA
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New mosque opened in Russia

Moscow : The Chairman of the Ifta (Islamic jurisprudence) Council, Sheikh Rafi Einuddin, inaugurated here a new mosque, in the Shilcovo suburb of Moscow. The two-story mosque can accommodate about 500 worshippers. He pointed out that during the last ten years, more than 5,000 mosques have been built in Russia. IINA

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Moscow Mayor call for building of more mosques

Moscow : The Mayor of Moscow, Brichkov, has called for construction of more mosques in the city, where over a million Muslims live, saying that the present number of mosques is inadequate. He said the Russian Government would give its assistance in this respect. IINA

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No Age Restriction for Visitors

Dubai: Foreigners of any age can visit Dubai on a visit visa, as there is no age restriction, neither for women nor for men, according to the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department.

We have instruction from the higher authorities not to take age into consideration when we study a visa application - be it for a man or a woman,” said Col. Bin Bleilah, Director of the Department.

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News in Brief

Qaradhawi’s Scholars Body

Doha : Islamic scholar Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi has announced that he is in the process of forming a body to be known as the World Muslim Scholars League, whose main objective would be to give advice and opinions on contemporary matters affecting Muslims. Its main purpose is to direct the Muslim Ummah towards the right path, for their own good and for the good of humanity. IINA


Documentary on Shaarawi

Cairo : The Egyptian Cinema Commission is making a documentary film on Muslim dawah activist, Sheikh Muhammad Mitwalli Shaarawi, who will be represented by the film star Ahmed Zaki. The script has been written by Mustafa Mahram. Sheikh Shaarawi was popular not only in his native Egypt, but was also liked by millions of others in the Arab world. The documentary will cost around four million Egyptian pounds. It will be scrutinized by Al-Azhar scholars. IINA


Digital Library on Science

Islamabad : Pakistani President Muhammad Tarar inaugurated recently the COMSTECH’s Library of Resource Network, which will be providing material published worldwide, in 16,000 publications to Muslim world scientists and scholars living in the OIC member countries, according to an official announcement made here.

The digital library, the first of its kind in the Muslim world, will be the biggest source of information for Muslim scientists. COMSTECH stands for Committee for Sciences and Technology, and was set up by a resolution of an OIC Summit that was held in Taif, Saudi Arabia, some 20 years ago.

In his speech, President Tarar emphasized the need for educating the Muslim youth, in science and technology, so that the Muslim Ummah could compete with the other nations in the world. IINA


Azhar's Manuscripts Internet

Cairo : Egypt’s Al-Azhar, plans to make its entire collection of 44,000 manuscripts available to the public for the first time by displaying them on the Internet.

The project “will make available the biggest library of (Islamic) manuscripts in the world,” Al Azhar’s Sheikh Mahmoud Ashur said. He did not specify a date for the launch of the website. The collection includes old works on Muslim traditions, jurisprudence and interpretation of the Quran, he said. Some 9,000 of the manuscripts existed in only one copy and had never been displayed previously.

The project is funded by a grant of $ 5 million from the Emir of Dubai, Sheikh Maktum bin Rashed.

The famed mosque at Al Azhar was completed in 972 A.D., built on orders from Gohar al-Siquilli, commander of the army that conquered Egypt in the name of the Fatimid caliph Al-Mu’iz. Al Azhar, which means the “most flourishing and resplendent,” was named after Fatima al-Zahraa, daughter of the prophet Mohammed, who gave rise to the Fatimid dynasty which governed Egypt from 969 to 1171. IINA


Project for Islamic MSs

Cairo : Egypt’s National Book House has drawn up a project to preserve the Islamic treasures and manuscripts at a cost of Egyptian Pounds 11 million.

Samir Gharib of the House’s told IINA that the House has set up an Internet Web site, which could be used free of charge. The House has also set up libraries at Munshiat Bakri and Umbaba locations of Cairo, at a cost of Egyptian Pounds 2,000,000.

He said many researchers, both local and from other Muslims and Arab countries could benefit from the facilities offered by the House, particularly students of the Azhar University. The House receives nearly 3,000 researchers, students, and the like every day. IINA


Dawah Commission

Makkah : The Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) is in the process of forming a new body to be known as the International Islamic Daawah Commission, according to MWL’s Secretary-General, Dr. Abdullah Abdul Muhsin Al-Turky, who made the announcement after meeting Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir. IINA


Al-Maktum Institute

London : The Al-Maktum Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Britain is scheduled to open in September, and the inauguration ceremony is likely to be attended by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktum, the deputy ruler of Dubai, and UAE’s Minister of Finance and Industry. IINA


Malaysia-Jordan Medical Uniy.

Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia and Jordan will jointly set up a medical university with 13 departments relating to various medical specializations. The agreement was reached between Malaysia’s Minister of Health visited Amman recently.

The idea was mooted in 1997 when the then Prime Minister of Jordan, Dr. Abdul Salam Al-Majali, visited the beautiful island of Lankawi, to attend an international conference. The IINA which supplied the news did not say where the medical university would be located. IINA


Medical Seminars

Rabat : The Rabat-based Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and Kuwait-based Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences will jointly hold an international seminar on the subject of “Combining Alternative Medicine with Conventional Medicine” in October 2001 in Cairo. The two bodies have also agreed on the holding of an international conference on the topic of “The Role of Religion in Mental Health,” at a date to be specified later and convening a conference on “The Effect of Globalization on the Development of Healthcare in the Muslim World,” to be held in Kuwait next January. IINA


Azhar to Open Branch in Syria

Cairo : The Constituent Council of the Azhar University, has decided to set up a branch Damascus. It will encompass the College of Sharia and Religious Fundamentals, the College of Arabic, and the College of Islamic Daawa. The Council spokesman told the IINA that the curriculum that would be used at the Syrian branch would be the same as the one used at the Azhar University. IINA

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Peoples

Salah TarifAppointed: Salah Tarif became the first Arab and Druze Muslim to be appointed a minister, though without portfolio, in the Israeli cabinet headed by hardliner Ariel Sharon. 47-year-old Tarif was a paratrooper in the Israeli army.

Speaking to the press, Tarif said he wanted to work for the Arab-Jewish relationship and to be representative of one million minority citizens. Grandson of late Sheik Amin Tarif, the spiritual leader of Druze community, Tarif has been dubbed “a fig leaf to cover the Government’s nakedness.” Israeli Jews criticised him for standing silent when national anthem was being sung by Jewish members of Parliament on the swearing-in ceremony. Tarif is one of the eight ministers from the Labour Party.


Nominated: Syed Ali Shah Geelani, former chief of the All Party Hurriyet Conference of Jammu and Kashmir has been nominated as a member of the Rabitat Al Alam Al Islami (Muslim World League) by Saudi Arabian Minister for Religious Affairs and special advisor to King Fahd Abdullah Al-Muhsin Al-Turki. Others to be nominated to the body are Ahmad Leo of Nigeria, Gaitro Vanar of Ivory Coast, Abu Sardhana of Palestine, Omar Khayyat of Saudi Arabia, Syria’s Abdur Rahman Al-Maidani and Thailand’s Van Mohammad Nur. Geelani who earlier headed Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir is the third person from the Indian subcontinent to be appointed on the Rabitat Committee.

Earlier Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maudoodi of Pakistan and Maulana Syed Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi of India had represented this region. It is however uncertain if Geelani would ever attend the meeting as he has not be issued a passport from the Government of India.

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On Record

To Cleanse Politics

My story is not complete. I want to clean political stables. I want to fight political pigmies and ethics and scruples till my end. My party’s (Lok Sewa) sole agenda is to cleanse the politics. I know none of my candidates will scrape through. But I want to show the public that without money and muscle power, one can fight elections.

I like Nayanar for his innocent face, Karunakaran for his political acumen, Chandrababu Naidu for his vision and A. B. Vajpayee for his boldness in exploding the atom bomb.

Malayalam poetess and neo-Muslim Kamala Suraiya quoted in a report by Hindustan Times on March 8, 2001


Casting Doubt

“Unfortunately, the Taliban’s destruction of the statues has cast doubt on the comprehensive views offered by Islamic ideology in the world,

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi
Quoted by Islamic Republic News Agency.


Visual Aids

Ancient statues are ‘’just a recording of history and don’t have any negative impact on Muslims’ beliefs. I very strongly doubt if a single person is worshipping these images- anymore than we worship other images around us. Though Buddhists do not actually worship these statues- they are visual aids to remind them of higher states of prayer and being- I can understand the Mullah’s lack of appreciation of this tradition as not his own. However, for a Muslim leader to be so insensible to the spirituality of these objects and the skill embodied in them is quite shocking. To be in a museum room of Buddhas is not to be beguiled by demons; not to be tempted by popular culture; but to be reminded with much skill and beauty of God through prayer, and any Muslim man or woman secure in faith would not be disturbed by their stillness, their symbolism and their different language of love of the sacred.”

Egypt’s chief Muslim cleric Grand Mufti Nasr Farid Wasel quoted by the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat.


Historical Landmarks

These were not idols that were being worshipped, but historical landmarks that do not in any way impinge upon Islam or Islamic beliefs. Ancient Muslim conquerors used to preserve such landmarks in many countries, which had passed on to their suzerainty.

Rabat-based Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (ISESCO)

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