Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Rabi-Ul Akhir / Jamadiul Awwal 1423 H
July 2002
Volume 15-07 No:187

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News From Islamic World


Americans did It, says French author
Al Jazeera TV and Worldtent announce exclusive Agreement
First Bait-ul-Mal in Tanzania
Stem-cell Research Centre in Saudi
"Baladullah" Muslim Village Experiment Collapses
US-Muslim Imams Exchange Program
Islamic Eco-activism
Indonesia cancels licenses of Haj agencies


September,11 Attack

Americans did It, says French author

The current best-seller in France by author Thierry Meyssan says
Americans themselves destroyed the WTC in order to gain military advantage in Central Asia.


French Author Thierry Meyssan Paris: The terrorist attack of September 11 in the World Trade Center were the handiwork of the American themselves, says the French author Thierry Meyssan’s latest book L’Effroyable Imposture (The Horrible Fraud), currently the bestseller in France. The author dismisses the whole episode as ‘a loony fable’ patched together by the White House and the US department of Defence. He says neither American Airlines flight 77 nor any other aircraft crashed into the Pentagon on September 11. The explosion supposedly detonated on the ground. He similarly rejects notions that the planes that struck the World Trade Center were flown by al-Qaeda terrorists and argues they were pilot-less planes directed from the ground by remote control. A story in Time’s issue dated May 27, 2002 quoting Meyssan says the attacks were launched by US officials who were looking for an excuse to launch a war on Afghanistan and Iraq. “If the energy lobby was the main beneficiary of the war in Afghanistan, the biggest victor of Sept. 11 was the military-industrial lobby.” “Its wildest dreams are now fulfilled,” Meyssan writes. To support his theories, Meyssan says no film footage of the Pentagon explosion exists. Meyssan casts the events of Sept. 11 and those that followed as the work of a virtual shadow junta within the US government that has manipulated media and public opinion.

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Al Jazeera TV and Worldtent announce
exclusive Agreement

Virginia: Al Jazeera TV and Worldtent, Inc. have reached an exclusive webcasting agreement. The agreement gives Worldtent the live webcasting rights to the Al Jazeera Arabic Channel, which Worldtent will make available by paid subscription on the www.worldtent.com website.

Qatar based Al Jazeera TV is the popular broadcaster of world news and views in the Arab world. Worldtent, located in Washington, DC is headed by journalist and lecturer Mohamed Hakki who has 50 years of experience in print, radio and television media. The company takes advantage of the converging technologies of digital media to service all Arab expatriates around the world via the Internet. The Worldtent website features live Middle Eastern webcasts of 17 popular TV and radio stations such as Al Jazeera, LBC and the Abu Dhabi Channel. For more information,visit www.worldtent.com.

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First Bait-ul-Mal in Tanzania

Dar-es-Salam: The Tanzania Muslim Professionals Organisation (TAMPRO) has launched the first ever Bait-ul-Mal here, to finance various Muslim activities, based on the procedures laid down by the Zakat rules. TAMPRO has members from all walks of life, mostly professionals, and the organisation seeks to find proper ways in which the Zakat revenue could be put to use. It organises seminars to educate its members on the proper methods of levying the Zakat dues and also on how to utilise the revenue so collected. These seminars are organised in conjunction with the Tanzania office of the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL). TAMPRO intends to launch its own FM radio station and has its own regular newsletter.

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Stem-cell Research Centre in Saudi

Jeddah: Bypassing the ethical debates in the West regarding stem-cell research and therapeutic cloning, which involve the use of cells taken from either miscarried/aborted fetuses or cloned embryos, Saudi Arabia is set to open a stem-cell research centre that operates under Muslim religious law. Unlike religious Christian opposition in the US that wants all research on stem cells taken from human embryos banned, some Islamic scholars have ruled that embryos terminated for medical reasons used within 120 days of conception can indeed be used for research into life-saving treatments. Dr. Hamad Al-Omar, a haematologist at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, suggests that Saudi Arabia’s Fiqh Council on Ethics will eventually approve the use of therapeutic cloning as a life-saving treatment, which pending laws would forbid in both Canada and the United States.

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"Baladullah"
Muslim Village Experiment Collapses

California: It started with noble intentions, in the hills above California's Central Valley, with a group of mostly African-American Muslims creating a place where they could live in peace, away from drug-addled, violence-plagued inner cities. They called the place “Baladullah” (City of God), and were led by a Kashmiri immigrant named Shaykh Gilani. “They become real good citizens. They stop smoking, they stop stealing, they stop living on welfare,” says Gilani. “That is what I teach them.” But somewhere along the way, something went wrong. After September 11, people grew suspicious of secretive Muslims living on land with an airstrip and firing range. Shaykh Gilani was accused by the US State Department (the accusation was later dropped) of running a terrorist group called Al-Fuqra, whose members are either suspected or convicted of a series of crimes including bombing several Hindu temples and murdering an Ahmadiyya imam in Arizona. Baladullah's 300 residents denied any knowledge of Al-Fuqra, as well as any mismanagement at the school, but the damage has been done. Now Baladullah is all but deserted, as its residents have succumbed to legal, media, and investigative pressures. And Shaykh Gilani? He's in Pakistan, where his latest brush with fame was being the person that Daniel Pearl was on his way to interview when he was kidnapped and later killed.


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US-Muslim Imams Exchange Program

New York: Responding to calls for more contacts between America and the Muslim world, the US State Department has allocated $500,000 for an Imam Exchange Program that hopes to “enhance understanding about the place of Islam in American society.” “We have found that this type of exchange can be very effective in breaking down stereotypes,” said State Department spokesman Stephen Hart. One of the program’s main backers is Imam Yahya Hendi of Georgetown University, a former Muslim chaplain in the US Navy and a strong believer in inter-cultural exchange. “We have to have more exchange of ideas,” says Hendi. “We have to have more people come to America to know America from within.” Doubters include Middle East pundit Daniel Pipes, who worries about a “real danger that the money will fall into the wrong hands.” Despite Pipes’ objections, the program is set to begin soon.

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Islamic Eco-activism

Zanzibar: On the white sand beach of Misali, an uninhabited island off mainland Africa, fishermen carefully unload their precious catch. Even more precious is the fact that they are involved in a conservation project based on Islamic principles. Spearheaded by the Misali Island Conservation Association (and supported in part by NetAid,), the project is a cooperative effort of the Zanzibar government and several NGO's. The fisherman agree not to fish along Misali's coral reefs (or use dynamite, poison, or improper nets) in return for a portion of revenues from eco-tourism. "There are verses in the Quran that teach us why we should not destroy the environment," Ali Mohammed Haji said as he lifted slippery octopuses from his small sailboat.. "To conserve is investment. There are a lot of benefits. What we conserve will be used by generations to come," he says.

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Indonesia cancels licenses of Haj agencies

Jakarta: The government of Indonesia has revoked the operational licenses of 12 firms that offer special Haj services, because they had failed to live up to their commitments. Among the infringements that had been committed by the agencies were charging the pilgrims more than the standard fee, providing poor accommodation, failing to report to the government's representatives in Saudi Arabia and sub-contracting their licenses to unauthorised firms. The action was taken to curb such infringements and protect the public interest.

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