Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

DHU'L HAJJ - MUHARRAM 1424 H
February 2004
Volume 17-02 No : 206
Camps/Workshops

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Community Roundup


"US Muslims Appreciate Diversity "
AFMI Convention in Mumbai
The Lone Crusader
Syeda-the Whizkid
Land, for a Good Cause
Jamia Hamdard hosts Conference

“US Muslims Appreciate Diversity ”

Dr. Khalidi delivering his lecture-’Islam in America’ in Bangalore on January 13th, 2004.

Bangalore: The nearly six million Muslims in the United States have learnt to appreciate diversity, democracy and gender equality. This observation comes from Dr. Omar Khalidi, a staff member of the Agha Khan  Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), while delivering a lecture on 'Islam in America' on January 13, 2004 at a programme organised by the  US Consulate and Islamic Voice at "Samad House" in  Bangalore. Dr Khalidi said the mosques in United States reserve space for women unlike as in most Muslim countries where women are denied this facility even though Islam did not restrict their entry. He said this has influenced the architecture of the mosque. He said since Muslims in the US represent a wide variety of cultures, ethnicities, sects and languages, they have learnt to accommodate  intra-Islam diversity into their organisations, which is essentially a compulsion of the democracy. He said in a couple of instances, Muslim women were elected the heads of the mosque management bodies. Dr. Khalidi said Muslims are also trying to emerge as a political force and American presidential candidates now visit mosques to address the Muslim gatherings to seek votes. He said a City Council of a small town even elected a Muslim mayor. Replying to a question, Khalidi said Muslims in the US are a highly educated group and fall in the high-income bracket. He said the latest technology helps them to overcome issues like azan (call for prayers) from mosque, which could be programmed into the mobiles or the desktops rather than insistence on it being blared over the microphones in a multi-religious society where Muslims population is sparse and non-Muslims maybe inconvenienced due to microphones. Khalidi disagreed with the US foreign policy vis-ŕ-vis the Muslim world and said this should not lead to closing the channels of communication with the United States. US Consul for Public Affairs Ravi S. Candadai said the US missions do not refuse visa or immigration on the basis of religion. He exhorted the community members to send their wards to universities in the US and said no discrimination would be observed. Maqbool Ahmed Siraj welcomed the gathering. Ms. Naveen Fathima proposed a vote of thanks. Khalidi also delivered a lecture in Mysore at the Farooqia PU College on January 12. The US diplomat and Khalidi also visited the Darul Umoor at Srirangapatna where madrassa graduates are being imparted a 12-month course in modern sciences and appreciated the effort. They were received there by Mr. M. A. Ataulla and Mr. Abdur Rab.

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AFMI Convention in Mumbai

By A Staff writer 

Mumbai: "Is there a Quranic injunction necessitating Muslims to eat beef or slaughter cows?," asked A. S. Nakadar, waiting for a moment, and then exhorting: ''Focus on issues like illiteracy, poverty, unemployment and moral decadence,'' as Nakadar, secretary-general of the US-based American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI), enumerated the malaise that ails Indian Muslims. And an almost entirely Muslim audience toasted the good doctor's talk at Saboo Siddik Institute in Mumbai last month. Most speakers emphasised that Muslims had just one option: either educate themselves or perish. Justice Ahmadi, former chief justice of the Supreme Court, reiterated AFMI's earlier proposal to set up an All India Muslim Education Board, which would strive for the educational upliftment of the community. Emphasising the need to educate women, Justice Ahmadi said: ''Don't get misled that higher education will spoil your daughters. An educated mother is an asset for the entire family.'' They also brainstormed on how to modernise the madrasas. Firoz Bakht Ahmed, an educationist from Delhi, lauded the efforts of some of the madrasas which had introduced computer and other job-oriented courses in their curricula. ''Teach them Quran and Islamic jurisprudence. But equip them also with a skill,'' urged Ahmed. F. T. Khorakiwala, chancellor of the Delhi-based Jamia Millia Islamia, came down heavily on the ''US funding of terrorism'', observing: ''Stop funding terrorists.'' Freedom fighter Shanti Patel attacked the communalists for pushing Muslims to ghettoes. ''It's for you to decide whether you want to be pushed,'' Patel said. Ishaq Jamkhanawala, president of Anjuman-e-Islam, and journalist, John Dayal outlined the miserable condition of minority institutions in India. They pointed out that the drop-out rate among Muslim children is astonishingly high: 55 per cent (boys) and 75 per cent (girls). Dayal added that there are 50,000 educational institutions run by Christians in India, but 30 per cent of Christian women are illiterate.

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The Lone Crusader

By M.Hanif Lakdawala

Mumbai: When even the male and those with links and contacts with those in power failed, a simple Muslim girl  from Mumbai fought and won against heavy odds. The 20-year-old first year student of the Shri Bhagubhai Mafatlal Polytechnic, Vile Parle (West), Mumbai, who started her hunger strike since January 13, to force her college to conduct lectures, got justice fighting for her rights all alone. Shirin said that lectures were not conducted since the college began in August last year. Though there are 18 students enrolled for the course, all of them except Shirin appeared for their first semester exams that began on January 10, 2004. 

Shirin

 "What do I write in the exam papers when I know nothing about computers? I am yet to see our teaching faculty, let alone be taught by them," said Shirin. Her father, Dr Ali Mohammed, is with her in the fight. "Shirin is a bright student. We cannot see her suffer" It took nine days of hunger strike by Shirin Soorya to stir the conscience of the management that runs Shri Baghubai Mafatlal Polytechnic. Since Jan 6, Shirin, a first-year student of the three-year DOEACC computer course offered by the college, has been protesting against the college for not conducting lectures. She has also filed a complaint against the principal, A.C. Mehta, vice-principal, A.N Sanghvi and Y.I Shah, the head of computer applications department, at Juhu police station. "Initially the college wanted me to sign a note stating that whatever has appeared in the media is false," said Shirin. "On January 13, vice-principal Sanghvi called us and admitted that the college is at fault and that they would refund my fees. He also promised us that an enquiry committee would be set up to look into the matter." To fund her education, her parents took a loan from the Standard Chartered Bank to pay the fees of Rs 24,000 for the first year. They even took an additional loan of Rs 27,000 to buy a computer for Shirin. Shirin claims she will not let the matter settle even after she gets her refund. "It's not just about the money; the college has to clean up their act or else in the future other students will also get cheated." "My career was at stake, no one is bothered about that. They are simply making it an ego issue," she said. "I am now seeking help to move the court. The issue is not only that of getting the refund, there are many inter-linked issues," said Shirin. Shirin is also worried about her future, but has not yet decided what she will be doing next year. "I hope this is resolved soon, so that I can focus on my future," she said. Shirin feels justice will come to her only through a hunger strike. "I want to stand by my daughter," said Dr Mohammed, a doctor by profession, who had to discontinue practice a year ago due to deteriorating health. Shirin's mother Ruksana said, "My daughter has the courage to fight for justice. But her classmates may not be as strong as Shirin."

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Syeda-the Whizkid

Hyderabad: It looks like N. Chandrababu Naidu’s IT mantra seems to be paying dividends in Andhra Pradesh and more so in Hyderabad. Is it an inspiration from the IT savvy chief minister that is making parents encourage their wards or is it their innate talent? Syeda Wafiya Muneer, a three year old girl is making waves by depicting extraordinary skills on the computer by operating various packages -Windows 98/2000, Paintbrush, making presentations, adding sound and animation, using PowerPoint, MS word, MSExcel. When peers of her age are playing, she is an exceptional to the core. Syeda Muneer, daughter of Syed Muneer Basha, a software analyst and a resident of Kachiguda says that her stint with computers began last year when she opened the system to play a game. So he encouraged her to learn more and she mastered most of the programmes. Right now, Syeda is learning Oracle and web designing. The little girl is in LKG at Sri Vidya Secondary School, Tilaknagar. This wonder kid has her own email-id also. You may get in touch with her at 266 Spl ‘C’ C.I.B. Quarters, Kachiguda, Hyderabad - 27. Phone: 040 - 24655106. E-mail:wafiya2000 @ hot mail.com

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Land, for a Good Cause

Chittoor: The Muslim Hamdard Committee, Chittoor owns 3 acres of freehold land abutting the Chittoor-Vellore Main Road, which is a national highway. The land is located just 3 kms from the Chittoor town proper. The land is ideally suitable for establishing educational institutions, madrasa with boarding and lodging facility and for setting up trade centers for the benefit of the minority community members. Philanthropists or enthusiastic entrepreneurs interested in the community work may come forward to take up the project in the larger interests of the Muslim community. Please get in touch with K.M.Ismail, President and H.Karamthulla, Secretary, The Muslim Hamdard Society, 14-853, Musafirkhana Street, Chitoor (PO). Andhra Pradesh. Pin Code-517001

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Jamia Hamdard hosts Conference

New Delhi: The Botany Department of Jamia Hamdard hosted the 26th Annual Conference of the Indian Botanical Society with Prof Muhammad Iqbal as the organising secretary. The three-day conference held recently was attended by over 300 delegates from all over India. A national symposium was also organised to focus specifically on plant biology and bio-diversity in the changing environment. D. S. Brar, chief executive officer and managing director, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, inaugurated the events.

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News Community Roundup Editorial Letters to the Editor Community Initiative Cover Story Features Minorities Event Diary Exclusive The Other View Children's Corner Special Report Quran Speaks to You Hadith Back To The Past Dr. Zakir Naik- Question Houre Special Space Our Dialogue Men Missions & Machines Islam And Health Trends Muslim Perspectives Soul Talk Guest Of Honour Journey To Islam Matrimonial
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