Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Jamadi Thani / Rajab 1425 H July 2004
Volume 17-07 No : 211
Camps \ Workshops

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Community Roundup


Still at Loggerheads
Minority Institutions Meet
'Muslims will be Protected,' says Minister
Sharing some Wisdom
Islamic Heritage Foundation for Hyderabad
A New Dawn
Workshop on Madrasas
IDB Scholarship Programme 2004-2005
Just 179 Muslim IAS Officers

Follow Up

Still at Loggerheads

By A Staff writer

Mumbai: Two months after the Supreme Court ordered a re-trial in the Best bakery case of Gujarat and transferred it to Maharashtra, the two states are still at loggerheads over the appointment of a public prosecutor. At the last hearing, the legal squabble between the two states continued before sessions judge Abhay Thipsay, with two sets of prosecutors staking claim to the case. The judge, after observing that Gujarat had the right to appoint the prosecutor, asked the two states to settle the impasse by July 5, failing which the matter would be adjourned to July 19, for Supreme Court to settle the issue. The Supreme Court had in April ordered fresh investigations and a re-trial of those charged with burning alive 14 people in a bakery which occurred in Vadodara on March 1, 2002. Still 16 of the 21 accused remain at large. The apex court’s landmark judgement had come on an appeal by Zaheera Sheikh, a key witness whose father was among those burnt to death, against the acquittal of the accused by a fast track court in Vadodara on June 27, 2003, and upheld by the Gujarat High Court on December 16, 2003.

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Minority Institutions Meet

New Delhi: The Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh will soon organise a high-level meeting of minority institutions affiliated to his ministry. It will mainly discuss their grievances and setting up of a Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, as promised in the UPA’s Common Minimum Programme (CMP). Following the Supreme Court judgement in the T M A Pai case, Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia along with all other universities were asked last year to go in for a single common entrance exam for entry to professional courses like MBBS and Engineering. In the CMP, the UPA government has promised to amend the Constitution to establish such a commission. Through this body, minority professional institutions will be affiliated to Central Universities. The promotion of modern and technical education among the minority communities will also be part of the discussion. Arjun Singh will also review ongoing schemes for the minorities, mainly modernisation of madrasas and promotion of Urdu language.


'Muslims will be Protected,' says Minister

New Delhi: Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Meera Kumar said that her ministry will focus on the interest of minorities. Talking to this correspondent, she said her ministry would review the decisions taken by the previous government, which have adversely affected minorities, particularly the Muslims. All the institutions related to the minorities affairs come under the ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. According to the minister, the National Commission for Minorities, Minorities Financial Corporation, Wakf Board and other institutions come under the ministry. “The previous government widely misused these institutions and did nothing for the Muslim community,” she said. (Reported by Andalib Akhter)

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Sharing some Wisdom

Bangalore: Wisdom International School organised a training workshop for teachers. The focus was to help teachers understand students better, make teaching more interesting and interactive. One of the workshops was conducted at Al Ameen College seminar Hall where teachers of Al-Ameen school shared the module training programme which they were exposed to by Wipro. According to Fayaz Shariff, Principle, CEO OF wisdom International School, the profession of teaching was so noble a duty that teachers deserved more than just the remuneration. They deserve to be honoured and respected. too by the society, he said.

For further details contact Mr. Fayaz Sharief 220702097, 22072095.

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Islamic Heritage Foundation for Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Academicians, professionals and eminent people from different walks of life have joined hands to form the Islamic Heritage Foundation to protect Hyderabad’s Islamic heritage. Habeebuddin Ahmed, who heads the Amir Khusro Academy of America, is the main inspiring force behind this initiative. “It was during the conferences on ‘Time and Space in Islam’ and ‘Islamic Thought and Science’ held in the US last year that the idea of having a foundation was evolved,” said the Chicago-based Habeebuddin, director of the Oracle Corporation. The Foundation is launched with an initiative to rediscover, preserve, protect the city’s Islamic heritage, to create awareness and to encourage and promote research work in the field of Islamic heritage. The foundation will acquire, preserve and translate classical works, including manuscripts and rare publications, in various fields of knowledge and culture. Habeebuddin was in India for the launch of the foundation recently. He has plans to expand the work of the foundation to Delhi and other Indian cities. The foundation plans to have a huge library and museum to preserve and display Islamic heritage.

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A New Dawn

By Yoginder Sikand

Gujarat: Gujarat 2002, was a nightmare few would be able to forget. But it was also a challenge for the conscientious to rebuild from the ashes of despair. SPRAT (Society for the Promotion of Rational Thinking) has responded with vigour and commitment, with the support of persons of goodwill of all religions and regions. SPRAT is managed professionally and is governed by a distinguished Board of Governors. Governors / Advisors include three senior professors of the famed IIMA, two former union ministers, an ex envoy to US, a former CM, celebrities like Mahesh Bhatt and Mallika Sarabhai.

SPRAT fights for justice, promotes communal harmony and works for the empowerment of the impoverished in a rational manner.

Nai Subh and Khitab True empowerment, however, must begin with correct diagnosis of what ails the community. To alert Muslims to the real priorities of today, a campaign has been launched under the banner Nai Subh (A New Dawn) by the President of SPRAT, M. Hasan Jowher. Khitab is the new, comprehensive, deeply disturbing and heart-rending presentation in Urdu available as MP3 audio CD. It raises fundamental questions on every aspect of Muslim life and presents a rational approach for empowerment. Priced at Rs 145/- (or US$ 10) it has created a serious re-thinking in the Ummah. For further details contact on email; khitab@mysprat.org.

Those interested in joining SPRAT in giving dignity to miserable lives and offering a credible hope for a better tomorrow, write to: SPRAT, SF-8, Rajnagar Complex, Narayan Nagar Road, Nr. NID, Paldi, Ahmedabad; 380 007.(2663 46 55 /66 /77, Fax: 2661 20 49) Email: info@mysprat.org Web: www.mysprat.rog

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Event Diary

Workshop on Madrasas

Madrasas are not Dens of Terror

By Yoginder Sikand

In the last week of May 2004, the ISIM, in collaboration with the Zentrum Moderne und Orient (ZMO), Berlin, organised a two-day workshop on the theme 'The Asian Madrasa: Transnational Linkages and Real or Alleged Political Roles'. The nine papers that were presented at the workshop looked at madrasas in different Asian countries in the context of the ongoing debate on 'terrorism'. Five papers presented at the workshop dealt with madrasas in South Asia, home to the largest concentration of Muslims in the world.

Adil Mahdi, a doctoral student at the Open University, Milton Keynes, UK, spoke about the Indian madrasas and the spectre of 'terrorism'. He argued that unlike in the case of certain madrasas in Pakistan, not a single madrasa in India has been involved in 'terrorist' activities. Numerous madrasas played a leading role in India's freedom struggle. Yet, the Indian state and the media have mounted a relentless campaign to demonize the madrasas as 'anti-national'. Dietrich Reetz of the ZMO spoke about the changes in the Deoband madrasa following its split in 1982. Reetz spoke of the efforts of some Deobandis in promoting dialogue with Hindus. Girls' madrasas in contemporary India are a fairly recent development. Mareike Winkelmann of the ISIM dealt with the case of a Deobandi girls' madrasa in Delhi, showing how, by providing free education that was also culturally relevant, such madrasas are playing an important role in promoting literacy among girls from poor families. Overall, there seemed to be a near unanimity among the participants about the fallacy of labeling all or even most madrasas as 'dens of terror.'

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IDB Scholarship Programme 2004-2005

Applications are invited for the IDB Scholarship from meritorious, but financially needy Muslim students, granted admission or intend to seek admission to the academic session 2004-2005 in the first year of degree courses in the fields of Medicine and Engineering, (all branches), Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Food Technology, Business Administration and Accountancy.

The scholarship is offered as an Interest-Free Loan to be refunded in instalments after completion of graduation by the student. The applicants should have passed their qualifying examination in the first division and should not be in receipt of any other scholarship.

Application form can either be downloaded from www.sit-india.org or obtained free of charge by sending an envelope of size 25x11 cm with affixed postage stamps of Rs 10-giving details of course and admission form from ; The Students Islamic Trust, E-3, Abul Fazl Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025. Ph; 26929354/26927004, Fax; 26919076.

The application form complete in all respects must reach the Trust office on address given above latest by September 25th 2004.

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Just 179 Muslim IAS Officers

There are 5018 IAS officers in India, but there are only 179 Muslims here. The Crescent Academy in Aligarh has been set up to coach Muslims aspiring for the civil services

By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

Nearly 950 students of Allahabad University appeared for the civil services competitive examinations in the year 2002. But only 23 were finally able to make it to the services. But only 30 appeared for the same exams from the Aligarh Muslim University, and no one could make the final grade. If discrimination is a factor in keeping the Muslims out of the civil services, it must be a still bigger role to play with students of the Allahabad University, of whom 927 were rejected for the civil service jobs. But no one complained. These statistics were highlighted by Fazlur Raheem Mujaddidi, chairman of the recently established Crescent Academy in Aligarh which coaches Muslim students for the top civil services exams and state administrative exams in Uttar Pradesh. Mujuddadi told this correspondent in an informal chat that discrimination was mostly imaginary with regard to Muslims in India. He said he found most of the students in AMU were not goal oriented and lacked awareness about the job potential in Government sector, consequently only about 30 to 50 students were appearing for the competition for top civil services jobs from the University. He said, few Muslims compete for the official jobs and much fewer compete. He said Muslims need to discard the theory of discrimination and orient their younger generation for the competition. He said, a survey prior to setting up theCrescent Academy revealed that only one per cent of the candidates who appear for the UPSC exams finally emerge successful, hence Muslims need to increase their participation. Those who do not succeed, could as well compete for other gazetted posts. Mujaddidi said of the 5018 IAS officers in India, only 179 or 3.7 per cent were Muslims. He said nearly 50 per cent of the Muslim civil officers were coming from Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, while the contribution of Southern states was just around one per cent, despite higher literacy and better education among South Indian Muslims.

He said as many as 46 IAS officers were from among the promotees from Jammu and Kashmir in 2002. He said the Crescent Academy will coach Muslim students for UPSC as well as Uttar Pradesh Civil Service exams. It is setting up a campus on a 6-acre plot on Anupshahar Road near AMU and in Delhi. The campus will have a hostel for 100 inmates, guest house and quarters for the faculty members. Admission will be on the basis of a test and students would be taken only after they have cleared the Prelims. He said similar campuses would be set up at Allahabad, Lucknow, and still later at Azamgarh, Bangalore and Kochi. The Aligarh centre would coach for UPSC, UP judicial services and combined defence services exam.

The Crescent Academy can be contacted at: Aligarh Prof. Ziaul Hassan, Director, Crescent Academy, ADM Compound Road, Muzammil Manzil, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Ph: 0571-2421251.

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