Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine


 JAMADI-AWWAL / JAMADI THANI
JUNE 2004
Volume 17-06 No : 210

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News From Islamic World


"Stop War, Tackle Poverty," says Amnesty International
National Council for Imams and Islamic Centres
Marriage comes under "Essential Commodities Act!"
Awards for British Professionals
Turkey Warns of Muslim Backlash if EU says 'NO'
Factbook
Islamic Memorial for Rachel Corrie

“Stop War, Tackle Poverty,” says Amnesty International

London: The US-led war on terror against extremist groups such as Al Qaeda has produced the most sustained attack on human rights and international law in 50 years, Amnesty International said in its annual report released recently. Irene Khan, secretary general of the human rights group, condemned terrorist assaults by groups such as Al Qaeda, saying they posed a threat to the security of people around the world.

“The global security agenda promoted by the US administration is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle,” Khan said in a statement. “Violating rights at home, turning a blind eye to abuses abroad, and using pre-emptive military force where and when it chooses has damaged justice and freedom, and made the world a more dangerous place.”

Amnesty said the US-led war on terror continued to be waged using indiscriminate and disproportionate means. The report cites the hundreds of foreign nationals who remain in indefinite detention without charge or trial in US custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It also details alleged unlawful killings of civilians by coalition troops in Iraq and allegations of abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers.

The report criticised several governments, including those of Spain, France and Uzbekistan, which it said have introduced “regressive” anti-terrorist legislation and restrictions on freedom since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Britain was singled out for holding 14 foreign nationals under anti-terrorism legislation that allows indefinite detention without charge or trial. The legislation has been criticised by lawmakers, civil rights groups and Muslim associations.

Amnesty also criticised several European nations - including Portugal, Spain, France, Britain, Ireland and Malta for tough new policies on asylum seekers.

The report also said that Iraq and the war on terror have obscured the greatest human rights challenge in recent history and the tendency of many developing countries to spend billions of dollars a year on weapons instead of tackling poverty is on thr rise.

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National Council for Imams and Islamic Centres

Washington, DC: Imams and directors of Islamic Centers from across the nation will be meeting in the first week of June 2004, to ratify the Constitution for the establishment of a National Council for Imams and Islamic Centers in the United States. After meetings and discussions with local leaders, regional shura councils and the national leadership from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA) and others, all agree the effort is critically needed.

People in America are familiar with the Council of Churches or Council of Bishops. But no such structure exists for the American Muslim community.

The Council will serve as a national body, coordinating and directing operations of the nation-wide Muslim community, while respecting the integrity and autonomy of each individual mosque or centre.

MAS President Souheil Ghannouchi states, “We have driven this process with the hope that at this meeting, the community will take up this work and make it their own”.

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Marriage comes under “Essential Commodities Act!”

By M.Hanif Lakdawala

Marriage ceremonies will never be the same again in Jammu and Kashmir. The state government has brought nuptials of all religious hues under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) to prevent wastage of food at wedding feasts. This Act empowers officials to regulate the number of guests and menu at any marriage ceremony. "The ECA of 1955, which was notified in September 1973, has been re-invoked in view of the huge wastage of food involved in marriage feasts across the state," said Minister for Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs, Taj Mohiuddin.

The order stipulates that not more than 45 kg each of rice and meat must be consumed at a wedding. The bride's side must not invite more than 75 guests, including 25 baratees. The groom can invite 50 guests, Mohiuddin said. The minister said extravagance at marriage feasts has often led to a rise in prices of essential commodities, especially in the wedding season. A special team of consumer affairs department and police will monitor marriage functions to ensure implementation of the new order.

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Awards for British Professionals

London: The British monthly, The Muslim News announced the annual awards of professional excellence in various fields on March 31 for Muslim citizens of Britain. The awards were presented at a ceremony here which was attended by Ebrahim Rasool, Minister of Finance, Cape Province at South Africa and Sir John Stevens, Commissioner, Metropolitan Police. Home Secretary, Jack Straw sent a video speech for the audience. Here is the list of winners:

Amina Al-Yassin and St. Mary the Virgin Primary School were declared the joint winner of the Sankore University Award for excellence in education. Amina teaches Arabic and Islamic studies in Brent. She had also won the Outstanding Student of the Year Award in 2003 by Edexcel. The St. Mary the Virgin Primary School in Butetown, Cardiff, received the award for creating an Islamic Garden. The garden was created by its pupils, nearly half of whom come from Yemen and Somalia. The school was chosen for promoting cultural and religious tolerance.

Rezia Wahid was adjudged the winner of the Alhambra Award for excellence in arts. She specialises in delicate handwoven textiles. She held her first exhibit in Tokyo under the aegis of Maka Textile Collaboration. She teaches at London and donates her creations for Islamic charities.

Akhila Khanum received the Imam Hasan and Husayn children’s award for excellence. She looked after four of her younger siblings after her parents suffered from mental illness. She struggled to keep them together in foster homes thereby creating a new homely atmosphere.

Fadi Itani, executive director for Muslim Finance House, was conferred Alija Izetbegovic Award for excellence for good citizenship. Fadi who took over an institution in decline brought about a turnaround by pulling enough charities, and built good relations between various communities in Finnsbury Park area of London.

Gareth Peirce has bagged the Annemarie Schimmel Award for championing Muslim cause. She is a civil liberties lawyer and successfully represented the Guilford Four and took up the case of Moazzem Baig, the detainee at Guantanomo Bay and several US extradition cases.

Muslim Youth Helpline has been given the Uthman Dan Fodio award for excellence in community development. Launched in 2001, it helps the Muslims youth of 18-25 age group providing them counselling that is sensitive to their religion and culture. It is based in Wembley.

Leeds Health Focus provides healthcare and sports opportunities for Muslim youth in deprived areas of the City. It sets up exercise classes and advises on healthy eating and coordinates with mainstream health institutions.

Khalid Yasin has been selected for the Al-Biruni Award for excellence in community relations. Yasin is executive director of Islamic Teaching Institute at Sheffield and lectures on Islam to non-Muslim audiences. He has set us the first Islamic Information Network and broadcasts in Europe.

Yasmeen Nawaz, Scotland champion of Korean martial arts, Tae Kwon Do, was given the Faezah Hashemi Award for excellence in sports. She teaches the art to other youth.

Charles Le Gai Eaton (Hasan Abdul Hakim), noted author on Islam and Muslims, a consultant at the London’s Islamic Cultural Centre, was chosen for the Allama Iqbal Award for creativity in Islamic thought. He has written books like The Richest Vein, Islam and the Destiny of Man and The Concept of God in Islam.

Heartley Village Community was selected for the Judges Iman was Amal Special Award for people of Heartley, a village in Kent. The villagers welcomed a Pakistani family and accommodated them. Ghurchgoers helped the family’s child afflicted with bone cancer.

Fazlun Khalid, foremost expert on environment was conferred the Fazlur Rahman Khan Award for excellence in engineering, science and technology. He is consultant to World Wild Life Fund for Nature and Director of Training at the Alliance of Religions ans Conservation. He has authored a book titled Quran, Creation and Conservation. He lives in Granada, Spain.

Pharmaco 2000 has taken theUmmul Mumineen Khadijah Award for excellence in enterprise. It is a profit sharing company with 150 members. It has a revenue in excess of quarter of a million pound. Profits allow the company to train its staffers in news business techniques, Information Technology.

Sandra Herbert, religious producer at BBC Radio at Leicester was chosen for Ibn Batuta Award for excellence in media. She has encouraged Muslim women in programming and trained student Abdul Sattar in producing a programme titled “Myths About Muslims”.

Hany El-Banna, Birmingham based expert on International Development was adjudged the winner of the Ibn Khaldun Award for excellence in understanding between global culture and faiths. He speaks and broadcasts on faith. He is also involved in peace process in South Sudan.

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Turkey Warns of Muslim Backlash if EU says 'NO'

Istanbul:“ Rejection of Turkey by the European Union would provoke a backlash in the wider Muslim world and increase the risk of a “clash of civilizations,” said Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan also said he was confident EU leaders would agree at a summit this year in December to open long-delayed entry talks with Turkey.

“Turkey can no longer be kept waiting at the doorstep. If the EU does not want to be viewed as a union of geography or as a Christian club they have to give us a date,” he was quoted as saying. “(If rejected), my people’s ... attitude toward the West will change. The wider Muslim world will say the West is not ready to integrate with people who do not share the same faith with them.” Erdogan’s government has won praise from the EU for a recent flurry of human rights reforms, though some member states remain wary of admitting a relatively poor country of 70 million people whose eastern borders extend to Iraq and Iran.

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Factbook

  • An average Iraqi labourer earns $ 3 a day, a surgeon earns $ 150 a month, yet it costs $4.50 for them to buy a kilogram of meat. But an expatriate who works in Halliburton (oil company owned by American vice president Dick Cheney and contracted to tap oil in Occupied Iraq) makes a minimum of $ 20,000 a month. Whatever money is being spent is going directly to corporation, which do not put their profits back into Iraq. (Reference: Rick M. Dowell, and Mary Tortochaud, human rights observers who recently toured Iraq as representatives of American Friends Service Committee and as reported by Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 2004).
  • Foreign investment in Israel has declined to $1 billion in Israel in 2002 from $ 11 billion before Intifada began. (Basil Ghattas, CEO of Galilee Society)
  • Checkpoints against ‘infiltration of Palestinians’ into Israel have increased from 132 in 1987 (after first Intifada) to 734, according to Mustafa Barghouti, a physician and co-founder of Al-Mubadara (The Initiative).
  • Women constitute 72 % of student population in Kuwaiti universities. Nabila Al-Mulla is Kuwait’s ambassador to the UN. (Dr. Rasha Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Undersecretary for Education)
  • The drop-out rate among the Arab children of 14-17 age group within Israel is double than that of the Jewish students. Unemployment among Jewish men is just about 9.3 per cent, but among Israeli Arab men it is 14.1 per cent. The Israeli Ministry of Labour and Social Afffairs supervises some 1,700 day care centres throughout the country—but only 26 of them are in Arab communities. (Reference: Shalom Dichter, Coordinator, Sikkuy, an Israeli association for the advancement of civic equality).

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    Islamic Memorial for Rachel Corrie

    Washington: The Islamic Coalition Seeking Universal Justice and Peace for All People (JCSUJAP) has sponsored a memorial for murdered peace activist Rachel Corrie at Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C. Corrie was killed by a Caterpillar bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier on March 16, last year in the Israeli Occupied Palestine. Speaking on the occasion, Corrie’s father Criag Corrie, demanded independent investigation into Rachel’s death. He said the memorial would be a monument to Corrie’s courage and sacrifice for peace and justice in Palestine.

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