LONDON: Now the military-backed Turkish government has begun targeting the Islamic business organisation MUSIAD (Turkish name for Independent Industrial and Businessmen’s Association) headed by President Erol Yarar. He has been accused of inciting religious hatred in a speech he made in October last year and criticising restrictions on religious education. The charge carries a prison sentence of three years. Yarar has denied the charges saying that the press distorted his speech. In a reply to the charges in the court, Yarar said MUSIAD had ties with all business organisations and in all parties. Yarar in a letter to his supporters, said that he had support from businessmen like Sakip Sabanci, owner of the second largest Holding of Turkey and the President of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce.
MUSIAD was established on May 5, 1990 by a handful of young businessmen. It is now the biggest voluntary organisation for businessmen in Turkey. It had 3,000 members and branches in 27 cities of Turkey by the end of 1997. It maintains offices in 35 countries.
EDINBURGH: This Scottish capital received a grand mosque and Islamic Centre last month which is described as a symbol of friendship between Saudi Arabia and Scotland. The King Fahd Mosque has been built with Saudi aid and can accommodate 1,200 namazis. The consecration ceremony was attended by Scottish Home Affairs Minister Henry McLeish,, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Eric Milligan, Saudi Minister of Justice, Dr Abdallah Bin Mohammad Bin Ibrahim Al-Shaikh and around 1,000 guests. Consecration took place with Friday prayers. Nearly 10,000 families residing in the Scottish capital are likely to use these facilities.
An Islamic exhibition was held alongside the opening of the mosque. On display were the models of the two holy Harams in Makkah and Madinah, a practical demonstration of the work done on the Ka’abah covering (kiswah) and the Quran Printing Complex in Madinah.
DAR -E- SALAM : Muslim Scholars in Zanzibar, Tanzania, have disapproved a fresh attempt once again after six years to teaching sex education in the country’s secondary schools by some organisation in the west. The proponents of the idea claim that the objective in placing the subject in the school curriculum is to prevent incidents of AIDS, and also to reduce the number of school girls having premature pregnancies.
The latest attempt to introduce the subject comes from the union government in Dar-es-Salam, which wants sex education as one subject of examination for Tanzanian secondary schools. The UN Family Planning Programme has given Tanzania US$ 2.7 million as grant to help it introduce sex education to organise seminars and the purchase equipment and drugs that prevent pregnancy. This subject is not taught in Islamic countries, but only in some European countries.
Muslims in Zanzibar constitute 99 per cent of the 750,000 population, while in mainland Tanzania the Muslims constitute 60 per cent of the 30 million population. (IINA)
LOGOS: The progressive Democratic Islamic Party has been formed in Nigeria so as to represent Muslims in the political life of the country. It calls for the implementation of the Shari’a. Muhammad Mansur Williams, founder of Logos-based First Islamic Educational Foundation and President of the new party, said the objective of forming the party is to rid Nigeria of administrative corruption and to restore hope to the people in a better future. It also aims at protecting Nigerian women, children, and the youth. It also aims at restoring Nigeria’s good name that has been tarnished by some criminal and high-handed elements.
Also among the objectives of the party is the implementation of the Shari’a and the reformation of the judicial system.
LONDON : Muslims in Nottinghamgate and West Kensington has been granted land for a Islamic centre and half a million pounds sterling by the British government.
The Muslims residing in these areas are mainly immigrants from North Africa and high-ranking officials from the British government. The local Muslims have expressed their happiness and highly appreciated this gesture. (IINA)
LONDON : Tawhid Mosque initiated by Ahl-al Hadith group has an area of 11,000 square meters at an estimated cost of sterling pounds one million.
President of the Mosque, Dr. Suheib bin Hassan Abdul Gaffar, informed that 90 per cent of the total cost will be borne by the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahad bin Abdul Aziz.
Dr. Suheib informed that the Mosque will comprise an assembly hall on the ground floor a prayer hall for men, a prayer hall for women. In addition, there would be the Imam’s and Maudhin’s quarters, a parking lot. Attached to the Mosque will be an school for 150 pupils. (IINA)
LONDON : Britain’s Exeter University has announced the establishment of the centre for Islamic and Arabic Studies. Donation of over a million sterling pound for the set up of the centre was given by the ex-university student Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimy.
The centre will teach Islamic studies and the principles of Islam, in addition to the Arabic language, Islamic economics and Islamic and Arabic Culture. (IINA)
Annual Unity Conference in Tehran (July 10-12), was convened by the Majma al-Taqrib bain al-Madhaahib al-Islami (Forum for the Convergence of the Islamic Schools of Thought), was a classic demonstration of the unity of the Ummah. Over three hundred Muslims, of every possible race, nationality, colour, language, Islamic school of thought, from all parts of the world, came together as guests of the Islamic State, to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet of Islam, upon whom be peace, and the unity and diversity of the global Muslim Ummah.
For many of these Muslims, it was their first visit to Iran; in some cases, their first visit to any Muslim country. Certainly many were not familiar with the different histories, theologies and practices of other Muslims present. But none of this mattered. Their conduct was a classic example of the simple truth that the unity of the Ummah, far from being a serious problem requiring deep study and complex strategies to overcome, depends only on a simple state of mind: that the things all Muslims have in common, which make them Muslim, which unite the Ummah, are far greater than the sum of issues on which they differ.
In practice, this attitude translates into two modes of behaviour: sensitivity to others’ feelings, and tolerance of their failings. All Muslims must avoid any behaviour which any other Muslim might find improper or objectionable. And if some Muslims fail in this, others must give them the benefit of the doubt. This is all that is required for unity to prevail over disunity. This is the meaning of the Qur’anic verse: ‘Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah, and those who are with him are strong against unbelievers (but) compassionate amongst each other’ (Al-Qur’an 28-29).
This is the attitude which was seen at the Unity Conference. For example, not all delegates were familiar with the Ja’afari style of performing salat. But when a Shi’i alim led the jama’at, all delegates, of whatever fiqh, recognised this style as a valid way of performing their obligations as a Muslim, and adapted to it as best they could. The days when some Muslims would pray separately if the imam was not of their own fiqh are long gone, alhamdulillah.
The late Dr Kalim Siddiqui, who was a member of the High Council of the Majma al-Taqrib, used to put it thus: “There are no sects, only Schools of Thought, in Islam. All positions within Islam are equally true and valid.” He also drew a subtle distinction between ‘differences’ among schools of thought in Islam, and ‘divisions’ between them. Differences, he said, were the natural, inevitable and acceptable result of different interpretations in the process of ijtihad following the completion of revelation. The divisions between them he attributed to historic and political positions, which have subsequently been legitimised by exclusivist theologies which are not based on genuine ijtihad.
Trying at this stage, as a strategy to eliminate disunity, to pick through theology, identifying areas where historic factors had intruded, and correcting them, would be an exercise in futility. The history of the past is too established, and has too many grey areas, to be so simply deconstructed. What is required is that the global Islamic movement focus on points of unity and common purpose in their shaping of Islam’s new and future history. Thus the divisive histories of the past — the histories of Muslims’ decline — will come to be superseded by a common history of the struggle for the re-emergence of Islam as the dominant civilizational force in the world in the fifteenth century Hijri.
There is no doubt that the Ummah is deeply divided today, and that this division must be highlighted and fought with all our energy and efforts. Even then, it may prove difficult to overcome. But this division is not between Shi’i and Sunni. It is between those Muslims committed to unity, and those who cannot see past disunity. There are Muslims of all schools of thought on both sides of this divide. This was seen at the Unity Conference, where both Shi’is and Sunnis criticised those of their own school of thought who insist on promoting it above other schools of thought, and so contribute to this unnecessary and immensely damaging conflict within the Ummah.
French Foreign Legion Battalions flew into Paris last weekend from their headquarters in Algeria resplendent in full-combat gear. This was how The Daily Telegraph (June 6) reported the other aspect of France’s deep military involvement in the now 7-year old anti-Islamic conflict in Algeria. Robert Philip who reported the news in connection with the World cup that the French legionnaires were chosen to police, claimed “the rank and file of the French Foreign Legion are hardened criminals.....
French journalist Claude Ariel told The Daily Telegraph that the French legionnaires “are ruthless mercenaries whose job is war”.
Many journalists in Britain and Europe have reported numerous eyewitness accounts that show that current atrocities have been taking place within easy reach of military barracks. Yet the reports have stated that, strangely enough, no soldiers have even intervened to assist the helpless population.
Worse still, the authors of the several year long massacres have never been caught red-handed nor arrested afterwards. A situation that has remained a mystery. ...
Therefore, one could legitimately ask whether today’s massacres, the like of which were known only during the Algerian war of liberation and earlier under French rule, have not been the work of the French legionnaires themselves. Many eyewitnesses report that the night killers speak with a typically French accent. Witnesses also reported that the balaclava-wearing soldiers who took away the Islamic Salvation Front’s (FIS) literature from its headquarters in Algiers following the arrest of Abbassi Madani on June 30, l991 were unusually tall and spoke typically “Parisian” French.
Ali Waliken in The Muslim News
KARACHI : Shri Mahant Chatromal Chandan, Chairman of All Pakistan Hindu Panchayat (APHP) and Managing Trustee of Swami Narain Temple Estate Trust urged the minority communities of Pakistan to celebrate the country's Independence Day on August 14 with festivity, fanfare, illumination and decoration of temples. He also urged them to distribute free food among the poor. Chandan said Pakistan was "a strong and peace-loving country which was endowed with unlimited natural resources and was also a granary and garden of the world".
The Hindu Panchayat chief also called for complete prohibition of liquor in the country and enforcement of Islamic laws. He also called for unity and close ties between India and Pakistan. He gave a call for enthusiastic celebration of Krishna's birthday on August 15. He said Krishna was a Hindu deity born 15,000 years ago.
(Associated Press of Pakistan)