Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Jamadi Thani 1424 H
August 2003
Volume 16-08 No : 200
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News from Islamic World


15 Muslims in Queen's Honours List
Azaan from Grenada Mosque after 500 Years
HSBC to offer 'Islamic Mortgages' in Britain
Report on Status of Muslim Civil Rights
"Jedariyat" by 700 Jordanian Women
Arab-American FBI Agent Alleges Racial Discrimination
New Attack on Muslim Graves

15 Muslims in Queen's Honours List

London: Fifteen prominent Muslim professionals figured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List published recently. Bushra Nasir, head teacher at the Plashet School in Newham received the CBE for her services to education. Those who received the Order of British Empire (OBE) included Maqsood Ahmed, Muslim advisor to Home Office, Mohammed Haneef Bhamjee, founder of the Wales Anti-apartheid organisation for race relations, Mohammad Akram Khan Cheema for services to education. The MBE (Member of British Empire) honours were conferred upon Miss Riaz Begum of Asian Heritage Young People for service to youth, Rahimah Elahibuccus for Public understanding of science and technology and Hasanat Moha-mmad Hussain for services to community relations in East London, Shafaquat Hussain, coordinator, Khushi Project for services to the Asian community in West Midlands, Shelim Hussain, Chairman and managing director, Eurofoods limited for services to business in Wales, Mrs. Nahid Arshad Mather, Deputy chairman, Unity Housing Association for services to the community in West Yorks, Bambul Miah for services to the community in the West Midlands, Mohammad Arju Miah, for services to community relations, Mehmet Ramadan, lately Lift attendant at the Palace of Westminster, Mohammad Risaluddin for services to inter-faith relations, Samir Sharma for services to community relations in Scotland, Mohammad Ali Syed for community relations in South West London, Abu Taher, for services to community relations in the Midlands.

Mohammad Shafiq has been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal this year. He was lately working as a detective in Greater Manchester area.

Muslims are nearly two million

in the United Kingdom. But Hindus and Sikhs are numerically less, around eight lakh. This year’s Queen’s Honours list has nearly 22 names from these communities.

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Azaan from Grenada Mosque after 500 Years

 

Grenada MosqueMadrid: On July 10, the muezzin called for the Muslim prayers from the minarets of Grenada’s grand mosque once again after nearly 500 years of Muslim rule on the Iberian Peninsula. The neo-Muslim spokesman of the mosque, Abdul Huq Salabery held the revival of the Muslim prayers as the renaissance of Islam in Europe. He hoped that the revival would also remind the Europeans of the immense contributions made by the Muslims to medicine, literature, architecture, music and astronomy through their universities, archives, libraries and laboratories in Muslim Spain. It may be recalled that Muslims (locally remembered as Moors) ruled Spain from 777 to 1492. Their rule ended on inquisition, when all Muslims and Jews were either expelled or exterminated or converted under orders from Queen Isabella. The Grenada Mosque was re-opened following persistent requests of nearly 500 Spanish neo-Muslims who now intend to start a university for resuming research in Muslim contribution to Spain. The Spanish neo-Muslims have embraced Islam during the last 30 years. The authorities however took 22 years to grant permission to re-start the mosque. Now they have agreed to re-open the garden attached to Al-Hambra Palace too for visitors. A formal inauguration is however still due. Madrid Mayor and ruling party bigwigs have consented to participate in the inaugural ceremony.

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HSBC to offer 'Islamic Mortgages' in Britain

London: HSBC is to become the first British high street bank to offer mortgages and current accounts designed to comply with Islamic law. The scheme will allow over two million Muslims living in Britain to buy a house or use a mainstream bank without having to pay or receive interest, which is prohibited under the strict Islamic Shariah law.

Under HSBC’s new home finance scheme, the bank will buy the property outright on the customer’s behalf and lease it back to them for an agreed term, usually 25 years, the same period as a traditional mortgage. The customer will then pay a monthly rent instead of interest as well as a contribution towards the price of the property and become the official owner of the house after their final payment. The bank is also offering an Islamic current account in which customers will not receive any interest on their balance, but will not have to pay interest on credit. The account also has no overdraft facility. Four HSBC branches, including one in London and another in Birmingham, will offer the new financial products. By September, 21, 2003, more branches will be added to the scheme.

Up till now, Muslim home owners in Britain have had to ignore Islamic law and take out a loan or wait until they can pay for their property outright.

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Report on Status of Muslim Civil Rights

Washington: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, recently, released its eighth annual report on the status of Muslim civil rights in the United States, titled “Guilt by Association.” The report, the only annual study of its kind, details a 15 per cent increase in the number of incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment during the past year. It also outlines the civil liberties impact of government policies that target the American Muslim community in the post-9/11 era and looks at the rise in Islamophobic rhetoric in society. “Along with an increase in the number of bias-related incidents and experiences, we have also witnessed the negative results produced by government policies that target ordinary Americans based on religion, ethnicity or national origin,” said CAIR Research Director Dr. Mohamed Nimer. “It is this guilt by association that has created a sense of siege in the American Muslim community.”CAIR began documenting anti-Muslim incidents following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

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"Jedariyat" by 700 Jordanian Women

Amman: Inspired by both past and present, a wide collection of wall hangings created by 700 women from various projects across Jordan were on display at an exhibition at the Jordan River Foundation’s (JRF) head-quarters in Jabal Amman. Opened by Queen Rania, the “Jedariyat,” or wall hangings exhibition was produced by women, who have benefited from foundation income-generating projects, such as the Bani Hamida women’s Weaving Project, the Jordan River Designs Project and the Wadi Rayan Project. “Our goal is to promote the work of the women and to develop a dynamic Jordanian society by initiating and supporting sustainable social, economic and cultural programmes,” said the communications and project manager, Suhair Obeidat. The income earned from the creation of these items provides income to the women and their families. The Bani Hamida collection contains an extensive collection of bedouin hand-weavings, executed in a traditional warp-faced flat weave in pure wool. The work was inspired by simple surroundings, exuding memories and associations of feelings, objects or events. Also on display are wall hangings inspired by traditional bedouin jewellery, highlighting the cultural roots and identity of traditional Jordanian handicrafts.

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Arab-American FBI Agent Alleges Racial Discrimination

Twin Towers on FireWashington D.C: Bassem Yousuf, an Egypt- born American who worked as an FBI agent, has alleged that he was kept out of the investigation process pertaining to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America on the basis of racial discrimination. According to The New York Times, Yousuf has alleged in a petition filed with a court in Columbia city that he was kept out of the process merely because of his Arab origin and no non-Arab employee of the FBI suffered because of his racial origin even though he (Yousuf) had sufficient experience to contribute to the investigation.

He also alleged that the investigation process and terrorism-combat measures suffered due to his being kept out. He also charged the FBI of indulging in racial discrimination due to which, national security suffered immeasurably. Providing an instance in this regard, he said, a potential informer of Al-Qaeda gave a slip to the FBI agents in Miami two months before the 9/11 attacks, merely because FBI bigwigs kept discussing whether to involve him (Bassem Yousuf) in the investigation. His counsel Stephen Cohen pleaded that such racial discrimination by the FBI had affected the American war against terrorism.

The FBI has refused to comment upon the charges levelled against it by Bassem Yousuf. It said since the petition has several charges of sensitive nature, it could take time to develop response.

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New Attack on Muslim Graves

Muslim Graves on AttackLeicester: Thirty Muslim graves have been attacked in a cemetery in Leicester. It is the second time in four months that Muslim graves have been targeted by vandals in the city’s Saffron Hill Cemetery. In April, over 40 Muslim graves were desecrated and headstone overturned. The police and the city council, which owns the burial ground, are now investigating. But Muslims leaders say they have no doubt the attack was racially motivated and they are warning it is likely to happen again unless security at Saffron Hill is stepped up. Manzoor Mogul, head of the Federation of Muslim Organisations, said: “It would appear this is racial in terms of being anti-Muslim and it’s very worrying and steps have to be taken. “But the police and the city council have been very co-operative and we have to find ways and means of controlling this because it is a danger that these attacks will increase anxiety in the community.” In the previous attack, headstones were pushed over, even though many were bolted or cemented down. An Islamic prayer room at the site was also damaged.

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