American Missionary Surrenders to Dr. Naik
French Muslims Protest Government Fiat on Hijab
Islam is Part of Germany: Minister
OIC Meet on Muslims' Minority Status
Drug use on Rise in Muslim Countries
Muslims Outgrow Jews in US, UK
Mosque Restored in Occupied Palestine
Qur'an Inspired Me: Blair
US Muslims Support the Ohio State Motto
The Mobile Phone Call to Prayer
Anti-God Film Withdrawn
Appeal for Ethiopia's Starving Muslims
56,000 Industrial Units in Egypt
Arab League in Paris
American Missionary Surrenders to Dr. Naik
Chicago: In a historic event of epic proportions, Dr. Zakir Naik emerged as a winner in his dialogue with Dr.William Campbell on the topic of ‘The Bible and the Qur’an in the Light of Science’. Dr. Zakir Naik literally took the air out of missionary assertions that Dr.Campbell is unassailable and unsurpassable by anyone. In this sold out event which was held in Skokie, a suburb of Chicago, people were fighting and trying all that they could do to gain admission in the 1500 capacity auditorium. Extra police had to be called outside the venue for crowd control. This kind of event has never happened in Chicago — for this dialogue, people actually paid to attend the programme even when the admission fees did not include any food. Another unique feature of this program was that people of all ages, races and gender equally participated and lauded the performance of Dr. Zakir Naik. Many people who had earlier expressed apprehensions about this dialogue came out supporting it in the end. After watching Dr. Zakir Naik in action, many youth expressed a keen desire to attend the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation’s Da’wah workshops. Dr. Zakir is the President of this foundation and has designed, developed and conducted several Da’wah training workshops.
Dr. William Campbell’s use of overhead and video projection was no match for Dr. Zakir Naik’s convincing oratory. A humble Dr. Naik attributed this success to Allah, the Most High. During the rebuttal and subsequent question and answer sessions, Dr.Campbell repeatedly confessed that he was in trouble and that he had no answers to some questions that he was asked. On the other hand, Dr. Naik’s convincing answers to each and every question that was posed to him was widely appreciated. On a humorous note, Dr. Naik challenged Dr. Campbell to prove himself a true Christian by just reading the phrase ‘one hundred rupees’ in the seventeen languages of India as is depicted on a hundred rupee note of India - in this context, Dr. Naik referred to the claim of the Bible that true Christians can speak in any foreign language. Dr.Campbell was speechless at this. He later returned the hundred rupee note. Dr. Naik presented him with a copy of his newly released book, The Qur’an and Modern Science - Compatible or Incompatible?.
The book authored by Dr. Naik was released by noted Islamic scholar from Canada, Dr. Jamal Badawi, who was also present at the event. All those who witnessed this historic dialogue will remember it for a long time to come.
Paris (IINA): General Federation of French Muslims president Muhammad Al-Bishari, has said that preventing schools and educational institutions in France from allowing Muslims girls to put on the Hijab was nothing but a form of hatred in the hearts of some Frenchmen against Islam and Muslims. He said his organization has made efforts to find the relevant clauses that entitle Muslims girls to wear the Hijab in schools. He told Al-Jazeera magazine that it is imperative to be concerned with the second and third generations of Muslims in France, and in Europe generally. Bihsari said it is the mosques and Islamic centers that should play a role in making it possible for the young Muslims to preserve their Muslim identity, at the same time interacting wisely with the society that they live in. Turning to the General Federation of French Muslims, Bishari said the organization is a cultural and social organization, and one of its main objectives is to unify the ranks of Muslims, and is also involved in dealing with the government authorities in matters relating to Muslims and the practice of their faith. The General Federation of French Muslims was founded in 1985. There are now over 350 Islamic organizations that are affiliated to the Federation, most of them running Islamic centers, mosques, Qur’an schools, and Arabic language lessons.
Berlin (IINA): Germany’s Interior Minister Anu Schilli, has said that Islam has become a natural feature of Germany, and is no longer regarded as an alien religion. He said attacks on foreigners increased in 1999 by a margin of 5.4 per cent, and added that the perpetrators of these assaults were mainly youth from the Eastern part of the country, mostly Nazis and extremists. He attributed the attacks to worsened conditions in the former East Germany.
The minister said his government, which came to power in 1998, has been trying to eliminate the problem between its German nationals and foreigners, and to bring close the views of the Muslims and the other denominations in the country.
Schilli said in his report on the Higher Security Directorate’s operations in 1999 that the number of neo-Nazis and youth attackers has decreased. He said the rightists resort to using music for attracting the youth, and set up their Website on the Internet. In the musical renditions, the lyrics instill love for the former German dictator, Hitler, and promote violence. Berlin has become the capital for such elements, added the Interior Minister.
The Schell Institute for Social Sciences, University of Homboldt in Berlin, has conducted a study on the extreme right in Germany, and one of the findings was that 35 per cent of the German youth hate foreigners and would like to see a Germany that is devoid of any of them.
Jeddah (IINA): Dr. Ezzedin Laraki, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) will open the 2nd session of the ‘Groups of Experts on Elaborating a Plan of Action for Safeguarding the Rights of Muslim Communities and Minorities’ in non-member countries of the OIC. The meeting is to be held later this month in Brazil. Participating in organizing the meeting, in conjunction with the OIC, are the Islamic Cultural Relations Organization in Iran, and the Islamic Da’awa Center in Latin America, in Brazil. The meeting would be attended by members of the Committee of Experts in Charge of Muslim Minority Affairs, which brings together an elite group of intellectuals and other Muslim scholars. The Committee’s meeting comes within the framework of implementing the resolutions of Islamic conferences calling for ensuring all effective and appropriate measures to protect the rights of Muslim minorities in non-OIC member states, and take care of their religious and national rights. This is to be done in a way that does interfere with or in any way prejudice the sovereignty of the states to which those Muslim communities belong.
Vienna: The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been criticised for encouraging opium cultivation while Iran’s efforts to stop the use of its territory for the passage of the drugs has been lauded by the UN Commission for Drug Control. In its recent report the Commission said 79 per cent of the area under opium cultivation falls under the Taliban ruled territory and the Talibans were collecting taxes on them. The Commission has expressed concern over cultivation, sale and abuse of drugs in Central Asian Countries and pointed out that Afghanistan was the main supplier of opium in the region. It also pointed out that manufacture of heroine had moved from Pakistan to Afghanistan and Turkey was a conduit for its passage to Europe while all South Asian countries including India were the conduits for the Far East and Asian Countries. The report said the area of opium cultivation had increased to 90,000 hectares in Afghanistan - an increase of 40 percentage - but not one trader, farmer or smuggler of opium has been apprehended by the Talibans. The report pointed out that the abuse of drugs had increased in the cities of Pakistan.
London (IINA): According to reports emanating from the US and the UK, it would appear that the number of Muslims in the former would outstrip that of the Jews within the next ten years only, and this increase might possibly influence America’s domestic as well as foreign policies. The British newspaper The Independent says that by the 2010 the Muslims population in the US, which has increased from 0.4 per cent to 1.4 percent, will exceed that of the American Jews. The Britannica 1999 edition had indicated that Jews had constituted 3.3 percent of the US population in the 1970s, will decline to two per cent within three years. The Independent went on to say that by year 2010 the proportion of Muslims will increase and exceed that of the Jews, adding that according to statistics published by both Jewish and Muslim organizations in the US, the two are close to being equal, with each community claiming that its population is in the region of 6,000,000. Although the US Bureau of Census does not include region in its questionnaire, American officials have started to understand the demographic changes that are taking place among religious and ethnic minorities in the country. The Independent quoted an official of the Census Bureau as saying that the Arabs in America have to understand the need to exploit their numerical strength in the efforts to establish an American-Islamic identity that is local and not from the outside, and added that the only way to do so is to participate in this year’s census. The American weekly Newsweek said that Muslims in the US have started to be an electoral and economic factor that has to be reckoned with. It said that this demographic perspective has not been lost sight of by the White House, for during the Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adh’ha occasions President Bill Clinton sent a congratulatory message to both the American Muslims and the Muslim world as a whole.
The reports foresee some differences in policies among the Jews, and the decline of their usual clout as the Muslim population becomes bigger, and the Muslims lobby increasingly confronts the Jewish lobby.
Tiberias (IINA): After intensive protests from the Muslims living in Tiberias in the Occupied Palestine (Israel), the Israeli Minister-in-charge Mitan Valnai, has ordered restoration of the control of the Suq Mosque in Tiberias to the Muslims. The Al-Aqsa Society for Islamic Endowments had complained to the Israeli police, the justice department, and Arab members of the Israeli parliament, for their inaction in the matter of the destruction of the mosque some weeks back, though the police are aware of the culprit. In another development, resulting from the initiative of the Aqsa Society for Islamic Endowments, the Israeli Court of Arbitration, in Tiberias, ruled that the municipal authorities should return the Islamic cemetery to the Muslims, and also remove all the equipment they have placed in it. The municipality was also ordered to fix the cemetery’s boundaries and fence it. The municipality had wanted to construct a sewage pipeline that passed through the cemetery.
There were clashes between the Muslims, Jewish extremists, and the Israeli police when the Muslims tried to congregate for the Friday Prayers in the mosque, and were prevented on the pretext that there were no Muslims living in Tiberias. The Muslims consequently organized demonstrations in Occupied Palestine, to protest the constant violations of the Jewish extremists on the mosques and cemeteries of Muslims.
Christina Elizabeth Jones
Blair says Islam is a'Deeply Reflective, Peaceful Faith'
London: Prime Minister Tony Blair has praised the Muslim faith as “beautiful”, and says he has read the religious holy book, the Qur’an. Mr Blair says he owns two copies of the Qur’an, and has drawn inspiration from reading it. “I carry a copy of this book with me whenever I can, to give me inspiration and courage.
This habit is something that I picked up from Chelsea, President Clinton’ daughter. “If you read the Koran, it is so clear... the concept of love and fellowship as the guiding spirits of humanity,” he says, in an interview due to be published in the MUSLIM NEWS. Mr Blair told the newspaper that he appreciates Islam as “a deeply reflective, peaceful, very beautiful religious faith”. And he said he would be “very surprised” if Labour did not have Muslim candidates standing in winnable seats in the next election.
The newspaper published on 31 March quotes Mr Blair as saying that Britain should “reach out and build a greater understanding of what Islam is”. Full text of the interview can be found at ‘The Muslim News’ web- site http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/131/131-1-1.html.
Washington, DC: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today offered support to the state of Ohio in its court battle to use the motto “With God, all things are possible.” Recently, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided 2-1 to reverse a lower court’s decision permitting use of the motto. In that decision, Judges Avern Cohn and Gilbert Merritt said the lower court erred in 1998 when it concluded that the words were acceptable as an official motto if the state did not attribute them to their Biblical source. CAIR in a statement says: “Our society is suffering from many problems associated with a decline both in moral values and in respect for religious and family principles. These problems will not be solved by eliminating references to God from public discourse. “The statement ‘With God, all things are possible’ is not, as the court stated, ‘a uniquely Christian thought.’ In fact, a similar phrase is used many times throughout the Qur’an, Islam’s revealed text. For example, verse 106 of chapter 2 states: ‘Know you not that God is able to do all things?’ “We agree with dissenting Judge David Nelson who found the motto no more troubling than the words ‘In God We Trust’ on American currency. We also accept and support the views of Ohio officials who stated that the motto was never intended to promote or advance a single set of religious beliefs.
By Ruth Gledhill
A Muslim family has launched a new service to call believers to prayer on their mobile phones. Rather than the traditional approach, where a muezzin climbs to the top of a mosque's minaret and calls Muslims to prayer five times a day, the signal will go out as a national "beep" from Preston. The online azaan, or prayer call, is being offered on the new Muslim website, www.PatelsCornerShop.com, and is being backed by the Muslim Council of Britain and the Lancashire Council of Mosques. Prayer times change every day because of the changing times of sunrise and sunset. The site's owners, the Patel family of Preston, are offering to send owners of Internet mobiles the namaaz, or prayer times, as a text alert.
The service has been launched because noise restrictions in the West mean that traditional azaans cannot be broadcast. Pressures of modern life mean that increasing numbers of the nation's two million Muslims find it difficult to take time to pray, but this is also because they are not reminded by a muezzin.
PatelsCornerShop.com also offers properties for sale, jobs and community advice. Preston Borough Council is among the bodies that advertise on the site which is managed by Bilal, Shahida and Sufia Patel.
Bilal Patel said: "Prayer is absolutely obligatory on Muslims. It's not prayer for its own sake though. It is actually very beneficial for people to take time out from what they're doing day to day and reflect on a spiritual level. I have found prayer to be a great way to calm down. It is a great stress buster. Whatever religion people follow, it is good to take time out on a regular basis."
Washington (IINA): NBC television has cancelled its new animated series “God, the Devil and Bob.” The programme portrayed God as a beer-drinking hippie (God forbid!) who picked a Detroit autoworker to prove that mankind is worth saving. Some NBC affiliates refused to carry the programme or moved it to a late-night slot, says a statement from the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR asked Muslim viewers to contact the network and its local affiliates to express their concerns about any company that would advertise during the programme. CAIR was the only religious organization of any faith quoted in opposition to the programme.
Addis Ababa (IINA): About half of Ethiopia’s population is Muslim, and presently the country is going through a period of famine. Over a million children are under threat of starvation, and they need urgent assistance. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has put out an appeal for donations, in order to vaccinate the children and also provide food aid to them. The total amount that is immediately needed for the purpose is US$ 7 million. Ethiopia’s Muslims look to their brethren in the Muslim world to help in this hour of need.
Cairo: Egypt is privatising the industries. Only 10 percent of the industries remain to be privatized. Last month the government sold off the cement factory in Asyut for Egyptian Pound two billion. The Country has 56,000 Industrial units. The industrialisation of egypt in 1805 during the reign of Muhammad Ali.
Paris: The French Parliament has granted diplomatic status to the Arab League Office here. The French Senate approved a law enacted in 1987 to permit the Arab League to gain diplomatic Status.