Islamic Voice
Zul-Qada / Zul Hijja 1422
February 2002
Volume 15-02 No:182

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News from Islamic World


Halal Food Authority to issue Licenses
Fiqh Academy Meet deliberates on DNA
Encyclopedia of Economic Fiqh
Islamic Cultural Centre in Athens
Islamic Securities Exchange
Ready-to-eat Meals for Pilgrims
Seminar on Islamic Wakf
Prince Naif International Award for Sunnah
Sacrificial Meat Distribution Program
Chechen Refugees face Starvation
Historic Makkah Fortress Demolished


Halal Food Authority to issue Licenses

Riyadh : The Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) plan to set up a halal food authority with powers to issue licenses. The proposed authority will conduct medical and scientific studies and provide information to highlight the health and nutritional aspects of consuming halal meat. “The Kingdom, being the largest importer of meat, expects to play a leading role in any project that would set out standards for halal food”, said officials from the Saudi Chambers of Commerce.Representatives of more than a dozen international food companies have visited Riyadh to learn more about the standards for halal meat, since a Saudi plan to launch a halal food license was announced at an international seminar here last September. The seminar was organised by the Export Development Center, a subsidiary of the Chamber Council, in association with the SASO.

The conference on halal food products in Riyadh had recommended the formulation of a halal food standard which would be accepted globally for the promotion of halal food exports. The conference also proposed creation of a halal food label to indicate that it was in conformity with the religious specifications. The conference also recommended the setting up of a special cell at the Council of Saudi Chambers to promote halal food exports.

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Fiqh Academy Meet deliberates on DNA

Makkah, IINA: The 16th Annual Congress of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy at the Muslim World League headquarters discussed a number of papers on the DNA issue and the possibilities of benefiting from this scientific finding. Dr. Nasr Fareed Wasil, Mufti of Egypt, explained that since DNA is a scientific evidence of a person’s identity, it should be admissible in the Shariah, subject to certain conditions.

A paper presented by Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Bar, consultant at the Islamic Medicine Department of the King Fahd Medical Research Center of King Abdul Aziz University, emphasised that using alcohol in medicine, has become unnecessary, because there are substitutes that have been invented. The Mufti of the Grand Mosque, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh said that Muslims should devise means of countering the anti-Islam vilification campaigns in a peaceful manner.

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Encyclopedia of Economic Fiqh

Jeddah, IINA: The International Islamic Fiqh Academy will soon implement the publication of treatises such as the Encyclopedia of Economic Fiqh (Jurisprudence), which would be used in clarifying matters relating to the economic, financial and social issues, from the Islamic viewpoint. The Academy has organised over ten specialised seminars during 2001, in addition to taking part in five major conferences hosted by the Organization of Islamic Conference .

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Islamic Cultural Centre in Athens

Islamic Cultural Centre in Athens Jeddah: A multi-million dollar Islamic Cultural Centre is coming up close to the new international airport in Athens and is expected to be completed before the 2004 Olympic Games, according to Greek Consul General Vassilios Moutsoglou. The project, covering an area of 35,000 square metres, will have a mosque that will be built with the assistance of Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries. Moutsoglou told the Saudi media: “We are keen on completing the project before the 2004 Athens Olympics so that Muslim athletes can take advantage of the facilities at the centre.” Greece, with a Muslim population of 100,000, has 250 mosques. Nearly 500 Greeks perform Haj every year.

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Islamic Securities Exchange

Jeddah, IINA: The 9th Islamic Summit here has chalked out plans to set up an Islamic Securities Exchange and a Dealing Room for Shares. The Center for Statistical, Economic and Social Research for Islamic countries has prepared a study report on ways and means of setting up the proposed securities exchange.

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Ready-to-eat Meals for Pilgrims

Makkah, IINA: The holy Kaabah will be ceremonially washed as is done every year, in preparation for the Haj.The various health and other entities that serve the pilgrims have cost the Saudi Government, Saudi Riyals 590 million. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, will this year host 500 pilgrims from Kosovo and Chechnya, who would be performing the Haj at his expense. The Charity Store here has prepared a comprehensive program for the distribution of 7.8 million ready-to-eat meals for pilgrims which will be distributed not only in Makkah, but also in Arafat and Mina.

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Seminar on Islamic Wakf

Riyadh, IINA: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Endowments is organising a seminar on endowments, titled as “The Wakf in the Islamic Shariah and its Scope,” and will be held here at the beginning of the new Hijri year. The seminar would portray Islamic Wakf as it was in the past, as it is now, and what its future is likely to be.

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Prince Naif International Award for Sunnah

Riyadh, IINA: An international award for Prophet Muhammad’s (e) Sunnah and Islamic Studies has been instituted here. The award will be known as the “Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud International Award for Sunnah and Contemporary Islamic Studies.” The award committee would be chaired by Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of the Interior, and its main objective would be to encourage development of the Sunnah and Contemporary Islamic Studies.

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Sacrificial Meat Distribution Program

Jeddah, IINA: The estimated number of animals likely to be slaughtered during Haj this year is over 6,000 head of cattle and camels, in addition to 600,000 goats and sheep, according to Dr. Ahmed Muhammad Ali, president of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The price for each goat is Saudi Riyal 350, which includes its slaughter and distribution costs, while the cattle and camels would be paid for according to the price set by the dealers. The carcasses would be distributed to 26 countries.

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Chechen Refugees face Starvation

Grozny, IINA: Over 3000 Chechen refugees living in eastern Ingushetia have been left in a lurch and are facing starvation, as a result of the withdrawal of the services of one of the relief agencies that was operating there, from the beginning of the new year. The reason given for the withdrawal is the non-payment of dues by the Russian Government of Vladimir Putin.

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Historic Makkah Fortress Demolished

Jeddah: Haj pilgrims this year will miss a notable feature of the Makkah landscape. The Saudi authorities began demolishing the Ajyad fortress built during the Ottoman era, on the Bulbul Mountain overlooking the Grand Mosque in Makkah, to make way for a multi-billion riyal commercial project. The project, due to be completed in 2005, includes the construction of 11 high-rise residential towers consisting of 942 apartments, and a twin-tower five-star hotel with 1,200 rooms.

It also involves the reconstruction of the 230-year-old Ajyad fortress that was used for decades to defend the holy city. The revenue generated from the project, which includes a commercial centre and covers 23,000 square metres will be used for the upkeep of the Grand Mosque. The project will also see the renovation of the historic castle at a cost exceeding $533 million. Plans to demolish the 23,000-square metre castle evoked a protest from residents of Makkah and others, calling for the preservation of the historic site. The authorities then decided to protect the castle and introduce changes in the plan for the construction of the commercial complex. The fortress was made an endowment to the Grand Mosque named after the late King Abdul Aziz.

The towers will be built in areas surrounding the castle after its reconstruction. The decision to preserve the castle has brought a sigh of relief to Makkah residents who were worried about the fate of the historic fort. “It means a lot to us. We were used to seeing it standing there for a long time. It reminds us of our history,” said one resident.

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