BAKU : President Heider Aliyev of Azerbaijan laid the foundation stone of Bibieybat Mosque to restore the building at its place. It had been demolished by bolsheviks during Communist revolution 73 years ago.
Heider recalled that the place had always been sacrosanct and described the initiative to restore the Mosque wonderful. He said he will personally supervise its reconstruction. He also gave a call for unity of all Muslims, strengthening of Azerbaijan’s statehood, and liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh inhabited by Muslim-Azeris from neighbouring Georgia.
WASHINGTON D.C. : The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called upon the Muslims to combat the Readers’ Digest’s campaign to distort the image of Islam through a series of articles. CAIR executive director Nihad Awad has addressed a letter to the editor-in-Chief Christopher Willcox, saying that after reading the article, one is left with the impression that Islam somehow encourages or permits rape, kidnapping, torture, and forced conversion. The writer and his editors must have known that Islam does not condone these practices, but failed to offer any balancing information or even a cursory disclaimer to that effect, the letter urged.
The letter went on to describe a pattern of unbalanced coverage established by Reader’s Digest in the recent past. He quoted from the new book “Arab and Muslim stereotyping in American Popular Culture” by Dr. Jack G.Shaheen, Professor Emeritus of Communication at Southern Illinois University. Cair referred to a spate of articles in the Digest in recent years. “All in the Name of Islam” by Ann Bardach, January 1994, “A Holy War Heads Our Way” by Fergus M. Bodewich, in January 1995, “Alarm Bells in the Desert”, Fergus M. Bodewich, July 1996. It also quotes New York Times columnist A. M. Rosenthal who says in the February 1997 Digest issue that almost all terrorism directed at the United States originates in the Middle East.
The CAIR has urged the Muslim readers to voice their resentment to the Editor of the Readers Digest and urge him to offer their readers balanced articles on Islamic culture.
JAKARTA: Indonesia’s hopes of producing a national Car have brightened with a syndicate of national banks sanctioning loans worth US $ 690 million. The car named TPN (Timor Putra Nasional) will be a South Korean collaboration project producing 70,000 cars per year. The factory is at Chikampek in West Java. The loans were extended by four state banks and 12 Private Banks. Currently South Korean Kia motors is producing the car in South Korea itself and is exporting it to Indonesia. Malaysia is likely to import 300 cars once TPN starts production in Chikampek.
CAIRO : Egyptian journalist Abdul Gadir Yasin has warned that Al-Aqsa Mosque will witness an attack by Jews within next few days. He sounded the warning at a conference organised by the Egyptian Journalist Union hre and said the Israelis will try to build Suleman’s Temple at the place.
Dr. Soad Galeebo, lecturer at Al-Quds Al-Shareef Palestinian University, called on the Muslim countries to finance a project to complete the buildings of University Colleges. She said only four colleges were functioning now due to paucity of funds. She stressed that the project was necessary to confront Jewish plans to erase the Arab-Palestinian nature of Jerusalem. The project will also help in spreading Islamic culture among Palestinians, she hoped. (IINA)
MUSCAT : The first Sharia and Legal Studies College will commence courses here during the next academic session. The Minister of Higher Education Yahaya Al-Munthare said the college will produce qualified lawyers and legal affairs specialists for such posts within the Sultanate of Oman. (IINA)
WASHINGTON : President Bill Clinton has issued new executive guidelines designed to protect religious expressions by workers in federal agencies, according to Council of American Islamic Cultural Relations (CAIR).
The New guidelines clarify that the federal workers will have the right to wear religiously mandated clothings such as head-scarf. According to them the workers will have the right to adjustment of work schedule to accommodate holy days as long as a substitute is available or the absence does not impose an “undue burden” on the agency. They will have the right to conduct prayers in unused conference rooms on a first-come, first-served basis. They can also talk to other employees on religious matters unless the co-worker objects to such discussion. The employees will have the right to be excused from an assignment if it is religiously objectionable. They will also have the right to distribute religious materials to co-workers or keep scriptural books on an employee’s desk.
The guidelines clarify that these rights are guaranteed as long as they do not diminish job efficiency or interfere with the functioning of the workplace or appear to be a Govt. endorsement of a particular faith. However the guidelines do not cover uniformed military personnel.
The CAIR expects these guidelines to be greatly helpful in the Muslim employees discharge of their Islamic obligations.
LONDON : Nearly 1000 Churches have been abandoned in Britain since 1970 while 1400 new Mosques have been built in the country in the same period. Another 240 Mosques are under construction. These are contained in the British Midweek magazine which anticipates that by the year 2002 the number of Mosque-attendance is set to exceed the Christian Church-attendance. It said the number of Mosque-attendance was increasing in Britain by 4000 persons a year.
Roger Sains Bury, the Patriarch of Reading City, attributed the increasing appeal of Islam to the youth and the poor to Islam’s positive stand regarding racism and social justice. He concluded that the Church must learn from Islam. (IINA)
BEIJING : The Rabat-based Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) held its first ever training programme in China. This training programme for Arabic teachers was held in cooperation with the Chinese Islamic and Literacy Society. Thirty Chinese attended the training programme. They in turn will teach the children of Chinese Muslims. The seminar also aims to raise the standard of Islamic teaching in China in term of language, and religious science. The seminar is supervised by four experts two of whom are Chinese. This inaugural seminar will be followed by others under the auspices of ISESCO in close cooperation with related organizations in China in order to develop the teaching of Arabic, and to help the Chinese Muslims to guard their Islamic heritage, and to increase their links with the Arab-Islamic culture by increasing their knowledge of the Arabic language. (IINA)
NEW YORK : An American judge here has ruled in favour of two American police officers. The officers were sacked from their jobs for wearing beards, but the judge ruled that the decision to sack them was illegal and ran counter to the US Constitution which protects religious rights.
Meanwhile in the Canadian city of Toronto, a Canadian, Mark Harding will be brought before the Court for distributing leaflets which incite people against Muslims. He claimed he distributed the hate literature when a Canadian school allowed Muslim students to pray in the school meeting hall. (IINA)
GENEVA : The Pakistani representative at the United Nations Human Rights Committee here has refuted the allegations of Pakistani Christians being discriminated against. He said Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Shariff has initiated steps to meet the demands of the minorities. The 1997 budget allocated Rs.65 million to ameliorate their conditions. Special prizes were instituted for gifted artists from minority communities in the field of arts and literature. The Government sanctioned Rs. 3.5 million for the poor Christians to celebrate Christmas. A similar amount was granted to other minorities on their festivals.
He said founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, affirmed the equality of all citizens, be they Muslims, Hindus, Christians or Parsis. (IINA).
KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia has started recruiting volunteers to Islamic countries and others in many fields. It is aimed at providing expertise to other countries with the aid of a large number of experts. The volunteers will be drawn from universities and experts from private and public sector. The Malaysian Govt. will provide them housing and daily sustenance in the countries where they work. Volunteers from Malaysia have already served in Croatia, Bosnia, Palestine and Lebanon. The programme is patterned after American Peace Corps, which was started by Late President Kennedy in 1960s. The Malaysian volunteers will be roped into medical services, teaching of languages, eradication of illiteracy and hunger and in imparting technical training. (IINA)
TEHERAN : The Iranian Hadith Science College and Azhar University of Cairo have agreed to exchange information on scientific research. The two signed a memorandum on Aug 9. Azihar’s Sheikh Muhammad Hussain Tantawi and Iranian Hadith Science College’s Hujat Al-Islam Mohammad Ri Shari said they did not see any differences between the two systems as both were based on Islamic principles. They said the differences between Shias and Sunnis were mainly limited to the study of religious branches and that should not become a hindrance to Islamic unity. (IINA)
Occupied West Bank: Yuri Barnes, the well-known US basketball player embraced Islam in Palestinian protest camp of Jabal Abu Ghneim in East Jerusalem, according to a report in Karachi-based The Muslim World. He was on a tour of Israel and was playing several matches. He took the name Bilal. Abu Ghenim is the place where Israel began construction of colonies on March 18 notwithstanding international protests. He said he deliberately chose the spot for construction at the hands of Assad Al-Masri, a fellow graduate of the University of Virginia.
Meanwhile, a report from South Africa said Chief Justice of a South African court embraced Islam at Islamic Cultural Centre in Johannesburg. The woman judge changed her name to Sarah. She is a white South African.
Chris Eubank, a former British boxing champion converted to Islam after a bout with Colombian Comilio Alacan in Dubai in which he knocked out Alacan. He said he was studying Islam for two years. Hamad is his new name.
TEHRAN : Tehran has been chosen as the venue of the second round of the Islamic countries Women’s games.
The decision was made in the sixth session of the executive board of Women’s Sports Solidarity Association of the Islamic Nations, in Kuwait on Tuesday 10 June.
The games will be held in the Iranian capital in mid December simultaneous with the Islamic summit.
Ankara : The army-backed government of Turkey has withdrawn recognition of degree awarded by Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, Turkish education officials said recently.
“Its education standards were insufficient”, a spokesman for Turkey’s Supreme Educational Board told Ruters.
This is said to be in reaction to verbal attacks on Turkey’s atheist founder Kemal Ataturk by Arab students at Al-Azhar. It may be recalled that Army-backed Govt. of Mesut Yilmaz has embarked on a drive to reduce the influence of Islam’ on public life.
KAZAN : Muslims leaders of Moscow, Kazan (capital of Tartarstan), and Ufa (capital of Bashkorostan) agreed on August 20 to set up a an Islamic University here next year. The Muslim leaders also decided to establish a Council of Rectors of Muslim educational facilities in the Russian Federation.
Meanwhile, some 500 representatives of Islamic political parties in Dagestan, the North Caucasus, and Transcaucasus attended the founding congress of the Islamic Order Union in Grozny on August 24 reported the Interfax and ITAR-TASS. The Union merges the Islamic parties of Dagestan and Chechnya. Its aim is to promote the consolidation of Islamic political forces. The Union in headed by Chechen first deputy prime minister Movladi Udugov.
CANBERRA : (Australia) Canberra Islamic Centre was inaugurated on August 23 by the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia in a function held in Canberra Hyatt Hotel.
The $ 3 million complex will have a huge Islamic library with the largest collection of Islamic books in the southern hemisphere. Large number of Government dignitaries including Mr. Justice Rowlands Lady Deane and high commissioners and ambassadors attended the ceremony. Australian Muslims leader Sheikh Taj-ed-Din el Hilali and Canberra Islamic Centre President Abdul Sultan spoke at the occassion and said it was time that contributions of Muslims both in Australia and elsewhere were highlighted.
In a note circulated over Internet, Centre’s vice President Diana Rahman said Muslims were the large non-Christian minority in Australia and represent people born in over 50 countries.
The State of Texas has passed a legislation approving castration as punishment for repeat sexual offenders. The state prisons have 23,000 sexual offenders among 139,000 jail inmates.
The Nation, Lahore, July 29, 1997.
Pakistan has more than 3.7 million heroin addicts, according to a national survey. The survey reveals that the country’s largest city Karachi alone witnesses one lakh new victims getting hooked to heroin every year.
United Press International.