Monday, August 20, 2007

World Commission for Propagating Islam holds meeting

from the Ministry of Hajj (Saudi Arabia)

The board of directors of World Commission for Propagating Islam held its 4th meeting in Madinah today under the chairmanship of Secretary General of Muslim World League Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulmohsin Al-Turki. The meeting was attended by the Commission's Secretary General Dr. Yahya bin Ibrahim Al-Yahya and members of the board. In his speech, Dr. Al-Turki expressed his thanks to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz for supporting the League, its commissions and the programs of propagating Islam and its moderate and just principles. On qualification of Muslim Imams and preachers, he called on them to select all universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He expressed the League's readiness for organizing a conference to coordinate and accomplish joint projects in the field of propagating the principles of Islam.

Re: An Israeli in Kurdistan

by Michael Rubin from National Review

Fewer young people in Iraqi Kurdistan, for example, can point out (or are even aware) of Erbil's Jewish quarter. In the last year, many Jewish buildings in Kuysanjaq have fallen victim to the developers' bulldozer. And in Sulaymaniyah, the destruction of old building in the former Jewish area is a historian's nightmare. Memory is being erased. Second, as corruption among the major political parties increases in Iraqi Kurdistan, so too does Islamist influence. Erbil has grown steadily more conservative over the past five years. Many of the mosques in Erbil and Dahuk are built with the assistance of Saudi NGOs. WAMY and IIRO have active presences (even if the KDP keeps a close eye on both). On the PUK side, such sentiment permeates the region around Halabja around which there is still heavy Iranian penetration.

Distilling the Muslim World's First 20-Year-Old Whisky

by Padma Rao from Spiegel Online

At almost 150-years-old, the Murree Brewery in Pakistan is preparing to bring the Muslim world's first 20-year-old single malt whisky to the market ... Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and others, the Zoroastrians, known as "Parsi," make up Pakistan's tiny religious minority (3%) who are excluded from rigid anti-alcohol law and allowed to buy beer, wine and spirits from state-owned shops. Fundamentalist Islamic clerics and the stridently oppositional Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal coalition of religious parties help to ensure that the alcohol ban remains in place. They routinely hold up the latter Koran reference as ultimate proof of the Islamic ban on alcohol. But Pakistan's Western-educated elite and liberal army officers -- many of whom trained overseas -- would prefer to leave the Koran references open to interpretation. The tendency of upwardly mobile Muslims to occasionally enjoy a tipple is by no means restricted to Pakistan. "Britain's leading gin manufacturer told me that his biggest market is not the United States but the officially dry Saudi Arabia," says Bhandara. "Even in Pakistan, prohibition will not work -- it is just lip service to propriety."

Saudi should do more to stop maid abuse

from Reuters

Growing from a Bedouin desert society, Saudi Arabia has long needed expatriates as it uses its massive oil wealth to build cities and a modern economy. The Labour Ministry has acknowledged that there are problems with workers' rights, but the government often also says that Islamic law ensures protection for both Muslims and non-Muslims and reminds foreigners that they are guests in the country. "During visits to Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka in November and December, Human Rights Watch interviewed Sri Lankan domestic workers sentenced to prison and whipping in Saudi Arabia after their employers had raped and impregnated them," the report said. It said the government should scrap requirements for workers to get their employer's permission to leave the country or change jobs inside Saudi Arabia.

Arrests and accusations

by Jill Nelson from World Magazine

Egypt's once-vibrant Jewish community has dwindled over the decades into virtual nonexistence, and now Egypt's Coptic community—a blanket term that includes Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestants in the faith—are bearing the brunt of the nation's Islamist rulings ... United Copts of Great Britain Chairman Ibrahim Habib says this latest wave of Christian persecution is worsening each day and is part of a larger effort by Islamists to claim Egypt as their own: "You walk the streets of Cairo and you see people who are covered in Islamic dress—totally different from the secular Egypt we knew 40 to 50 years ago. The attitude of the people now is fundamentally Wahabi Islamic. They believe that apostates must be killed in accordance with Islamic Shariah law," Habib said. "The Copts have no future because of this persecution, 10% have already emigrated." Saudi Arabia, he adds, has been a major source of this extremism, preying on Egypt's poor.