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JANUARY 2000

MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-01 No:157    *   JANUARY 2000 / Shawwal 1420H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

NEWS FROM
ISLAMIC WORLD - II


Now Abkhazia Muslims Demand Independence From Georgia
Headscarves War: UK School Isolates Muslim Girls
Ugandan Tribes Taking to Islam
Kuwait Plans to Tax Expat Workers
New Mosque in North London
Muslims' No to Manila' Plebiscite Plan
Exhibition of Rare Copies of Qur'an
Historic Bosnia Mosque Restored
King Faisal Prize for Al Azhar
Local Body Polls in Bahrain
News in Brief

Now Abkhazia Muslims Demand Independence From Georgia

Tiblisi (IINA): It is now five years since the Muslim people of Abkhazia, south of Georgia, have started to ask for their independence and freedom. Georgia was among the first former republics of the former Soviet Union to declare its independence. But the Abkhaz people are looked upon as third class citizens in Georgia, simply because they are Muslims.

Attempts at reconciling the differences between the wishes of the Abkhazian people for independence and Georgia's wish to dominate the region have failed. In 1992 they both agreed to use the good offices of Russia and a search for a peaceful settlement of the issue had begun. But with the events that occurred afterwards when the Abkhaz and their allies attacked the city of Gagra on the Black Sea, Georgia lost a part of its land in the north of the country. However, despite all attempts at negotiations that were held in Moscow and other places, matters have escalated and military activity increased, because of the aggressive policies in Caucasus, and particularly when many Muslims in the region volunteered to help their brethren in Abkhaz. Among the proposals made for the settlement of the issue is to set up a demilitarized zone in Abkhazia, under the supervision of the UN and the Commonwealth countries, in which Russia's participation is important. A start has, in fact, been made in this direction, and a new head of the Georgia Department in Abkhazia has been appointed, the aim being to bring about peace in Abkhazia and a comprehensive political solution to the problem.

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Headscarves War: UK School Isolates Muslim Girls

Luton(UK): Two Muslim girls, Shabana Kausar(16) and Fehmida were placed in isolation for refusing to remove headscarves in Government Foundation School in Luton in Bedfordshire. The school authorities said the girls wereisolated because the headscarf was not part of the uni form. But the girls said the Sikh boys were not asked to remove their turbans despite turban not being part of the uniform. They held this to be a clear case of discrimination. Muslims in Britain have been demanding a change in law to outlaw religious discrimination.

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Ugandan Tribes Taking to Islam

Kampala (IINA): The Libya-based Dawa activists of the World Islamic Propagation Organization (WIPO) has been very successful in Uganda. Nomadic Dawa activist Abdulrazzaq Nandebbo, has said that new Muslims enter the fold of Islam on a daily basis. He said success has been more pronounced in the city of Iganga, and for this reason a building for use by the new Muslims would be built somewhere close to the mosque, known as the Makkah Mosque. WIPO's Dawa activists visit the new reverts to Islam in their homes and at mosques, and try their best to solve their problems, particularly those who have been ostracized by their families for embracing Islam. The mobile Dawa activists hold open meetings with the Christians of the region in which not less than 36 embraced Islam within the last two months only.

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Kuwait Plans to Tax Expat Workers

Kuwait : The government unveiled plans to tax expatriate workers $ 1000 a year in an effort to create jobs for Kuwaitis. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Abdel Wahhab Al Wazzan told Al - Siyassah newspaper draft legislation would be put to parliament for the 300 dinar levy.

The money would go into a fund to pay privat sector firms to employ Kuwaitis, he said. Some 60000 people work in the private sector but only two per cent are Kuwaitis. Kuwaitis has launched a series of economic reforms this year to try to slash a burgeoining budget deficit, including charging foreigners for medical care.

Foreigners make up 66 per cent of Kuwait's 2.29 million population. Indians number 285,575. Egyptians 273,950 and Bangaladeshis 157,471.

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New Mosque in North London

London: North London has a new mosque called Sulemaniya Mosque built by Turkish Muslims. Built with 7 million sterling pounds over four years, it has a Turkish Islamic Cultural Centre, a 100-room youth hostel and library and seminar halls. It has been built by Sulemaniya Mosque Committee which manages 500 mosques in Europe. The mosque is located on Kingsland Road in London E2 area. The Committee plans another mosque in Lewisham. President of the Union of Islamic Cultural Centre of Europe, Dr. Nurettin Akman, inaugrated the Sulemaniya Mosque. Ex-Mayor of Istanbul, Tayyip Erdogan, also attended the opening ceremony.

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Muslims' No to Manila' Plebiscite Plan

Manila (IINA): Mr. Nur Misuari, the chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), who is also the governor of the autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao, has once again said that he rejects the Philippine government's plan of conducting a plebiscite to decide the fate of the expanded autonomy. He said this would violate the "letter and spirit of the peace agreement." He said: "Referendum is suicidal on our part. I rather go back to war than have a referendum," adding that unless he is satisfied that such a referendum will deliver genuine autonomy to the people, he would oppose it.

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Exhibition of Rare Copies of Qur'an

Manama : An exhibition featuring some of the world's rare copies of the Holy Quran, dating back to the early years of Islam opened here. Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalid Al Khalifa inaugurated the exhibition at Beit Al Quran, which itself houses the world's largest collection of the holy book under one roof. Around 80 copies of the holy book in different shapes, sizes and formats are being displayed at the exhibition which will remain open until March next year. Founder and executive chairman of Beit Al Quran , Dr Abdullatif Jassim Kanoo, noted that the manuscripts on display are authentic and carry historical significance in the Islamic world. It is a rare opportunity for both Muslims and non-Muslims for exhibits of such types are hard to come by, said , Dr Kanoo, who is among the world's formeost individual collectors of rare manuscripts of the Quran and whose personal collection is what is housed at Beit Al Quran.

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Historic Bosnia Mosque Restored

Mostar (IINA): The historical Nadhir Agha Mosque in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina has reopened, after repair and renovation work had been carried out. The mosque was badly affected by the violent conflict and Serbian ethnic cleansing that was aimed against the Muslims and Islam. The repair work was made possible by a donation made by Sheikh Sultan Al-Qassimy, ruler of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The mosque was built in 1550, and had a school, a square, and a cemetery attached to it.

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King Faisal Prize for Al Azhar

Riyadh : Egypt based Al-Azhar , Islam's highest authority, has won the annual King Faisal Prize for services to Islam, official sources said. The $ 200,000 prize name after the Saudi monarch who died in 1975 , has been awarded since 1979 in five categories, whose winners have still not been announced, are Islamic studies, Arab literature, science and medicine.

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Local Body Polls in Bahrain

Bahrain: Bahrain's Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa pledged to revive municipal elections to give people a bigger public role in the Gulf Arab state. We have decided to revive the municipal elections system which Bahrain pioneered in the region... with various social groups participating, and the woman casting her vote alongside the man, he said in a speech on National Day. The elected new municipal councils will enjoy all the powers normally exercised in municipal duties, and this is the correct start of popular representation.

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News in Brief

Belgium Bishop Calls for Dialogue With Muslims

Bussels (IINA): The Catholic Archbishop of Belgium, Godfried Danilza, has called for a dialogue with Muslims in Europe, and told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir that despite all else the Muslims remain an example for the Christians and ought to be emulated. He added that Islam might even help us return to the true meaning of faith. The Muslims of Belgium have welcomed the statement from the cleric, and said they were prepared for such a dialogue.

Controversial Book to be Withdrawn

Washington (IINA): The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) recently announced that Wadsworth Publishing will cease distribution of a college textbook that defames Islam and the Muslim woman. The book, Marriage and the Family: A Brief Introduction, by David Knox and Caroline Schacht, by Wadsworth, carries a passage that says, "Modern-day cross-cultural examples of gender roles include subservient Hindu and Muslim women."

Thousands Homeless as Philippines Targets Moros

Manila (IINA): Nearly three thousand families in Southern Philippines have been rendered homeless because of the clashes between the Muslim Moro National Liberation Front and government forces. The front wants to secede itself from the rest of the Philippines. The International Red Cross has put up 20 camps for the refugees and provided them with emergency aid.

Canada Firm withdraws Controversial T-Shirt

Ottawa (IINA): Warehouse One, a Canadian retail chain that specializes in jeans and T-shirts, has agreed to discontinue sales of a women's T-shirt deemed inappropriate by Muslims.There are an estimated 500,000 Muslims in Canada.

Imams' Meet for Unity in Birmingham

London (IINA): A conference of Imams, Khateebs, and heads of Islamic centers will held in the British city of Birmingham towards the end of the month of Ramadhan. The aim of the conference is to unite the ranks of the Muslims, according to a statement made by a senior official of the Muadh Charity Society in Birmingham to IINA's correspondent.The official, Bahlool Amin Saleh, secretary for social affairs, said non-Muslims who would be invited to the conference would include local government officials, who be acquainted with the needs of the Muslim community in that part of Britain..

Arabic-Fulani Dictionary

Rabat (IINA): Within the framework of the series of dictionaries published by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), to revive the languages of the African Muslim peoples, an Arabic-Fulani dictionary has been published in medium format in 150 pages. ISESCO recently published an Arabic-Hausa dictionary. The Fulani language is widely used in West Africa, and in some other African areas in general.

US Media, Government Urged not to Link Islam with Terrorism

Washington (IINA): The American Muslim Council has urged the US government and media to report recent terrorism alerts without linking threats to Islam or the Muslim community. AMC is concerned that as anxiety increases about potential threats around New Year, American Muslims may face harassment, as happened in earlier scares during 1990s.

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