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  • SUNDAY, 11 MARCH 2012 ሙስሊሙ ኅብረተሰብ በአፍራሽ ኃይሎች ብዥታ እንደተፈጠረበት የኡላማዎች ምክር ቤት አስታወቀ

    SUNDAY, 11 MARCH 2012 00:00 BY HAILE MULU HITS: 642 ethiopian reporter news - ‹‹አገሩ እየተበጠበጠ ያለው ከውጭ በሚመጣ ዕርዳታ ነው›› የኢትዮጵያ ኡላማዎች ምክር ቤት ፕሬዚዳንት - ‹‹የፌዴራል ጉዳዮች ሚኒስቴር ጥያቄያችንን አልመለሰም›› የሙስሊም ማኅበረሰቡ ተወካዮች ከቅርብ ጊዜ ወዲህ የኢትዮጵያ እስልምና ጉዳዮች ምክር ቤት በተለያዩ ቦታዎች እየሰጠ ያለውን ሥልጠና በማስመልከት በአንዳንድ ኃይሎች የሚናፈሰው አሉባልታ፣ በሙስሊሙ ኅብረተሰብ ላይ ብዥታ የፈጠረ መሆኑን የኢትዮጵያ ኡላማዎች ምክር ቤት ገለጸ፡፡ የኡላማዎች ምክር ቤቱ ትናንት በሰጠው ጋዜጣዊ መግለጫ እንዳስታወቀው፣ በአዲስ አበባ ከተማና በተለያዩ ክልሎች እየተሰጠ ያለው ሥልጠና የሙስሊሙን የዲን ዕውቀት ለማጐልበት ታስቦ ትክክለኛውን መንገድ እንዲይዙ ለማድረግ የተከናወነ እንጂ፣ አንዳንድ ወገኖች እንደሚሉት ሌላ እምነት ለመስበክ አይደለም፡፡ የኡላማዎች ምክር ቤት በኡላማዎች የሚሰጠውን ትምህርት የተከታተለ መሆኑን የገለጹት የምክር ቤቱ ዋና ጸሐፊ ሼክ ኢዘዲን አብዱልአዚዝ፣ በትምህርት ሒደቱ ላይ በጠቅላላው ማስረጃ ተደርገው የተጠቀሱት ከቁራን፣ ከሀዲስ ከኢጅማዕና ከአራቱ መዛሂብ መሪዎች መሆኑን አስረድተዋል፡፡ ሥልጠናው እየተሰጠ ያለውም በፈቃደኝነት መሆኑን አክለው ገልጸዋል፡፡ ዋና ጸሐፊው እንዳሉት፣ ሥልጠናውን በአሁኑ ጊዜ መስጠት ያስፈለገበት ምክንያት ነብዩ መሐመድ እንደገለጹት አፍራሽ የሆኑ አስተሳሰቦች፣ ብቃትና ዕውቀት የሌላቸው፣ ያለፉትን ኡላማዎች የሚያጣጥሉ ሰዎች የሚመጡበት ወቅት በመሆኑ ነው፡፡ ‹‹ሙስሊሙ ኅብረተሰብ ቀደም ሲል የነበሩትን ብርቅዬ ኡላማዎችን ፈለግ እንዲከተል ለማድረግ ታስቦ እንጂ፣ አዲስ እምነት የመጣ አለመሆኑን ሊያውቅ ይገባል፤›› ብለዋል፡፡ በኡላማዎች ምክር ቤት የፈተዋ ዘርፍ ኃላፊ ሼክ ሙፍቲ አብዱልቃድር በበኩላቸው፣ በአሁኑ ጊዜ አገሩ እየተበጠበጠ ያለው ከውጭ በሚመጣ ዕርዳታ መሆኑን ተናግረዋል፡፡ በአሁኑ ወቅት በተለያዩ የአገሪቱ ክልሎች ትምህርት እየሰጡ ያሉት ኡላማዎች ከቁራንና ከሀዲስ ውጪ የተለየ ነገር ይዘው አለመምጣታቸውን የገለጹት ሼክ ሙፍቲ፣ በውጭ የገንዘብ ዕርዳታ የሚሽከረከሩት አንዳንድ ወገኖች የፈለጉትን ነገር ስላላገኙ ‹‹ኡላማዎች አዲስ ዲን (አስተምህሮ) ይዘው መጥተዋል፤›› በማለት ሙስሊሙን ኅብረተሰብ ብዥታ ውስጥ የከተቱት መሆኑን ተናግረዋል፡፡ ከቅርብ ጊዜ ወዲህ በአወሊያ ትምህርት ቤት የሚሰበሰቡ ሙስሊሞች የእስልምና ምክር ቤቱ አስገድዶ እያስተማረ ነው የሚል ቅሬታ ሲያቀርቡ ቆይተዋል፡፡ የኡላማዎች ምክር ቤት ፕሬዚዳንት ሼክ መሐመድ ሀሰን ግን የእስልምና ምክር ቤቱ ትምህርት የሚሰጠው በፈቃደኝነት መሆኑን ይናገራሉ፡፡ ‹‹ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ በርካታ ኡላማዎች እያሉ ለምን ከሊባኖስ መሻሂዎችን አስመጣችሁ?›› በሚል ለቀረበላቸው ጥያቄ ሲመልሱም፣ ትክክለኛ ትምህርት እስካስተማሩ ድረስ ከየትም አገር ኡላማዎች መጥተው ቢያስተምሩ የሚያስከትለው ችግር እንደማይኖር ገልጸዋል፡፡ በቀጣይም ከሊባኖስ ብቻ ሳይሆን ከሌሎች አገሮች የሚመጡ ኡላማዎች ሊኖሩ እንደሚችሉ አመልክተዋል፡፡ ‹‹የእስልምና ምክር ቤት ምርጫ መካሄድ አለበት፣ የአወሊያ ትምህርት ቤትም በመጅሊስ መተዳደር የለበትም፤›› በሚል በተደጋጋሚ እየቀረበ ያለውን ጥያቄ በተመለከተ ማብራሪያ የሰጡት የኡላማዎች ምክር ቤት ዋና ጸሐፊ ሼክ ኢዘዲን አብዱልአዚዝ፣ ጥር 9 ቀን 2004 ዓ.ም. በተካሄደው የእስልምና ምክር ቤቱ ስብሰባ ምርጫ መካሄድ እንዳለበት መወሰኑንና ለዚህም ቅድመ ዝግጅት እየተካሄደ መሆኑን አስታውቀዋል፡፡ አወሊያ ትምህርት ቤት ግን እንደ ሌሎች ትምህርት ቤቶችና መስጂዶች ሁሉ በመጅሊስ መተዳደር ያለበት መሆኑን አስታውቀዋል፡፡ በተያያዘ ዜና በብዙ ሺሕ በሚቆጠሩ ሙስሊሞች ተወክለናል የሚሉ የኮሚቴ አባላት ለፌዴራል ጉዳዮች ያቀረቧቸው ጥያቄዎች ያልተመለሱላቸው መሆኑን አስታወቁ፡፡ በተከታታይ ለዘጠነኛ ሳምንት በአወሊያ ትምህርት ቤት በተካሄደው የጁማ ሶላት ተገኝተው ሪፖርት ያቀረቡት የኮሚቴ አባላት ለሙስሊም ማኅበረሰቡ እንደገለጹት፣ ‹‹የእስልምና ምክር ቤቱ እያስገደደ ማስተማሩን ያቁም፣ የመጅሊስ ምርጫ መካሄድ አለበት፤ አወሊያ ትምህርት ቤት የሕዝብ በመሆኑ በመጅሊስ ሥር መሆን የለበትም፤›› የሚሉ የመደራደሪያ ነጥቦች የቀረቡለት ፌዴራል ጉዳዮች አጥጋቢ ምላሽ መስጠት አልቻለም ይላሉ፡፡ እነኝሁ ተወካዮች እንደሚሉት፣ ፌዴራል ጉዳዮች ሚኒስቴር ምርጫ ይካሄዳል ቢልም መቼና እንዴት እንደሚካሄድ አልገለጸም፤ አወሊያ ትምህርት ቤትም በተመረጡ የቦርድ አባላት ይተዳደራል ቢልም ቦርዱ ውስጥ ማን እንደሚካተት በግልጽ አልተናገረም፡፡ አህበሽ የተባለው አስተምህሮም አዲስ ነገር ባለመሆኑ በፈቃደኝነት ማስተማሩ ይቀጥላል ብለዋል፡፡ ‹‹ለፌዴራል ጉዳዮች ሚኒስቴር ያቀረብነው ጥያቄ በቂ ምላሽ አላገኘም፤›› ያሉት ተወካዮቹ፣ ፌዴራል ጉዳዮች የመንግሥት አካል እንጂ መንግሥት ባለመሆኑ በቀጣይ የሙስሊም ማኅበረሰቡን ጥያቄ ይዘው ወደ ፓርላማ፣ ወደ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ቢሮና ወደሌሎች የሚመለከታቸው አካላት በመውሰድ ሰላማዊ ትግል እንደሚያካሂዱ አስታውቀዋል፡፡ በአዲስ አበባና በተለያዩ ክልሎች በሚገኙ ሙስሊሞች በተፈረመ ፒቲሽን ውክልና አለን የሚሉት እነኝሁ የኮሚቴ አባላት፣ ከፌዴራል ጉዳዮች ጋር ሳይስማሙ እንደተስማሙ ተደርጐ በሚዲያ መግለጫ መሰጠቱን በመቃወም ለፌዴራል ጉዳዮች ደብዳቤ የጻፉ መሆናቸውን ገልጸዋል፡፡ ለሚኒስቴር መሥርያ ቤቱ የጻፉትንም ደብዳቤ በአወሊያ ትምህርት ቤት ለተሰበሰቡት የሙስሊም ማኅበረሰብ አባላት ማንበባቸውንም አስታውቀዋል፡ bilal tube comment >> we are asking who is ethiopain ulema mekerebet they are same mejils enesu rasachewu meweged albeachew፡ Read more
  • Earliest Known Chinese Translation Of The Qur’an Discovered

    Earliest Known Chinese Translation of the QurMuslim culture researchers in China’s northwestern Gansu province said they have found the earliest Chinese version of the Qur’an, a handwritten copy completed in 1912.

    Before the 1912 version was found, experts believed the earliest complete Chinese version of the Qur’an was the one produced and published in Beijing in 1927.

    The newly discovered manuscript translation, found among old archives by researchers with the Muslim Culture Institute of Lanzhou University, is believed to have been translated into Chinese by Sha Zhong and Ma Fulu, two noted imams and Arabic calligraphers in Lanzhou, said Ding Shiren, head of the institute.

    Sha and Ma began translating the Qur’an in 1909 and completed their work in 1912, Ding said.

    Sha then copied out the Chinese text and made three handwritten books, which were widely used in Lanzhou.

    Ding said two other Chinese versions of the Koran were finished in Gansu in the 20th century.

    Ding and his colleagues are still making a comparative study of the three versions.

    He said the translation by Sha and Ma is faithful to the Arabic version, though parts of the Chinese text used Lanzhou dialect.

    Experts say Islam was introduced to China in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). But early Chinese Muslim scholars did not translate the Koran, out of fear they might misinterpret its text, Ding said

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  • Secret £14million Bible In Which ‘Jesus Predicts Coming Of Prophet Muhammad’ Unearthed In Turkey

    A secret Bible in which Jesus is believed to predict the coming of the Prophet Muhammad to Earth has sparked serious interest from the Vatican.

    Pope Benedict XVI is claimed to want to see the 1,500-year-old book, which many say is the Gospel of Barnabas, that has been hidden by the Turkish state for the last 12 years.

    The £14million handwritten gold lettered tome, penned in Jesus’ native Aramaic language, is said to contain his early teachings and a prediction of the Prophet’s coming.

    Secret Bible: The 1,500-year-old tome was is said to contain Jesus' early teachings and a prediction of the Prophet's comingSecret Bible: The 1,500-year-old tome was is said to contain Jesus’ early teachings and his prediction of the Prophet’s coming

    Ancient: The leather-bound text, written on animal hide, was discovered by Turkish police during an anti-smuggling operation in 2000Ancient: The leather-bound text, written on animal hide, was discovered by Turkish police during an anti-smuggling operation in 2000

    The leather-bound text, written on animal hide, was discovered by Turkish police during an anti-smuggling operation in 2000.

    It was closely guarded until 2010, when it was finally handed over to the Ankara Ethnography Museum, and will soon be put back on public display following a minor restoration.

    A photocopy of a single page from the handwritten ancient manuscript is thought to be worth £1.5million

    Turkish culture and tourism minister Ertugrul Gunay said the book could be an authentic version of the Gospel, which was suppressed by the Christian Church for its strong parallels with the Islamic view of Jesus.

    He also said the Vatican had made an official request to see the scripture – a controversial text which Muslims claim is an addition to the original gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.

    In line with Islamic belief, the Gospel treats Jesus as a human being and not a God.

    Serious interest: The Vatican, under Pope Benedict XVI, is said to want to see the recently re-discovered BibleSerious interest: The Vatican, under Pope Benedict XVI, is said to want to see the recently re-discovered Bible

    Historic: The £14million handwritten gold lettered tome is penned in Jesus' native Aramaic languageHistoric: The £14million handwritten gold lettered tome is penned in Jesus’ native Aramaic language

    It rejects the ideas of the Holy Trinity and the Crucifixion and reveals that Jesus predicted the coming of the Prophet Muhammad.

    In one version of the gospel, he is said to have told a priest: ‘How shall the Messiah be called? Muhammad is his blessed name’.

    WHO WAS ST BARNABAS?

    Born in Cyprus as Joseph, Barnabas was an Early Christian later named an apostle.

    His story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles.

    The date, place, and circumstances of his death are historically unverifiable.

    But Christian tradition states that he was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus.

    He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Church, with his feast day on June 11.

    And in another Jesus denied being the Messiah, claiming that he or she would be Ishmaelite, the term used for an Arab.

    Despite the interest in the newly re-discovered book, some believe it is a fake and only dates back to the 16th century.

    The oldest copies of the book date back to that time, and are written in Spanish and Italian.

    Protestant pastor İhsan Özbek said it was unlikely to be authentic.

    This is because St Barnabas lived in the first century and was one of the Apostles of Jesus, in contrast to this version which is said to come from the fifth or sixth century.

    He told the Today Zaman newspaper: ‘The copy in Ankara might have been written by one of the followers of St Barnabas.

    ‘Since there is around 500 years in between St Barnabas and the writing of the Bible copy, Muslims may be disappointed to see that this copy does not include things they would like to see.

    ‘It might have no relation with the content of the Gospel of Barnabas.’

    Theology professor Ömer Faruk Harman said a scientific scan of the bible may be the only way to reveal how old it really is

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  • Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) launch Syria initiative

    OIC to launch Syria initiative

    09-02-2012

     

    JEDDAH, (Arab News): The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is making international efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis following a veto by Russia and China at the UN Security Council that foiled ratification of a draft resolution supporting an Arab initiative to end the violence in Syria. 

    "OIC is closely following up on recent developments aimed at forming an international group of friends to the Syrian people as proposed by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. OIC does not dismiss a role in this international initiative to support the Syrian people," said Khaled Bakheet, official OIC spokesman, during a press conference. 

    "The organization sent out international communications to resolve the Syrian crisis after the unsuccessful voting at the Security Council on Saturday to support the Arab initiative. At the same time, Syrian authorities refused a demand of the OIC to send envoys, claiming there was no need for external organizations." 

    The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) will investigate the Syrian government's human rights violations. 

    "It is expected the IPHRC will investigate the violations against human rights in Syria during the first formal session of the commission to be held in Jakarta from Feb. 20 to 24," said Radwan Al-Sheikh, spokesman for cultural affairs in OIC.

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  • Palestine: Israeli judge orders Professor to remain in prison without charge


    09-02-2012

    Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians Press Release: 

    The Israel military court has extended administrative detention for two months in addition to three months already detained for civil rights lawyer Dr. Yousef Abdul Haq, a lecturer at An-Najah National University and the Cultural Coordinator for the Tanweer Palestinian Cultural Enlightenment Forum, currently detained in Ofer Prison near Ramallah. 

    Yousef Abdul Haq had been arrested. 7/11/2011 in his home at two o'clock in the morning suffering from illness requiring medicine constantly forcing his transfer to a hospital immediately after his arrest at Ramle. He was sentenced to two months in administrative detention immediately. 

    This arbitrary administrative detention is legally incompatible with the most basic international standards of human rights, because it is without any specific charge against the prisoner, it also depends on the military file and secret evidence which cannot be seen by the detainee or defense lawyers; this file is prepared by the Israel intelligence service collecting intelligence information illegally. 

    This type of detention is internationally banned not only for the specific category of the Palestinian people; and in addition includes lawmakers in the Palestinian Legislative Council, members of local councils, university students, political activists, academics, trade unionists and even women and children. 

    The imposition of administrative detention by Article 111 of the military state of emergency imposed by the British colonial authorities of Palestine in September of the year 1945 is illegal on the grounds that Article 43 of the Hague international agreement of 1907 prohibits an occupying power to change the legislative reality of the country occupied. 

    Administrative detention is the endless suffering of the prisoners because they may de detained for a decade which plays on the nerves and psychology of the detainee and their family based on the expectation that the next decision will be an extension of detention. 

    The International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights received from the Israel Court of Ofer that the number of additional administrative detentions issued by the Israel military governor reached a total of 5971 since the beginning of the year 2004 until the end of 2010. 

    We in the Tanweer Enlightenment Forum, call for the release of our colleague Dr. Yousef immediately from behind bars, and we hold the Government responsible for the conditions of Israel's occupation, in respect to his health. We demand the end of the administrative detentions which are contrary to international law, and contravenes the human and ethical values of civilization.

    On this occasion, we declare our solidarity with the prisoner hero Khader Adnan, who is continuing his hunger strike battle in his 55th day to end the administrative detentions. 

    We also call on international institutions and the Arab and local media to expose the policy of administrative detention. We uphold the work of a united front for the release of Palestinian militants including lawyers, members of the Legislative Council, academics, students, children and women. We call for the end of administrative detentions forever. 

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  • Mahathir urges countries to achieve 50% market share for Islamic banking

    Mahathir urges countries to achieve 50% market share for Islamic banking

    Even in retirement he remains the most popular politician to the Muslim “man-and-woman-in-the-street”. Now as an elder statesman, Mahathir Mohamed, the former Malaysian prime minister, continues to give advice whether on the global financial crisis, on the future of the Islamic banking industry, on the Islamic gold dinar, on the future of US dollar as an international trading currency, and on his celebrated spat with arch speculator and fund manager, George Soros, in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

    In an exclusive interview, Mahathir, albeit a bit more frail now, was his usual outspoken self, and he had a clear and present message for the Islamic banking industry – learn from the mistakes of conventional banking if the industry is to avoid the same fate. There definitely is a future for Islamic finance. It would not be spectacular; it would not be the cause of booms and busts.

    “It would be steady and would not cause the kind of social and economic upheavals that we are seeing today. Islamic banking and the wealth of the Muslims will cause the rest of the world to link up with Muslim countries. Muslims will feel comfortable doing business without going against the injunctions of Islam provided that the abuses of the Riba banks are avoided there will not be the periodical collapse of the Islamic financial system. We are seeing how the Islamic banks have remained unaffected by the current crisis. Insha’Allah it will remain crisis-free in the future,” he added.

    Mahathir is perhaps one of the better qualified persons to talk about Islamic banking. Not because he is an expert in Islamic finance or Fiqh Al-Muamalat (Islamic law relating to financial transactions). It is because that he is the architect of the Islamic banking system in Malaysia. Not many people today realize that one of the first actions that Mahathir took when he came to office in 1981 was to set up a National Steering Committee to implement Islamic banking in Malaysia. The report of this committee on the viability and strategy of Islamic banking was the impetus for the creation and robust development of the Islamic financial industry in Malaysia. The rest is history.

    He strongly believes that the Islamic system for economic and financial management has something to offer to the world especially in these dire times of financial crisis, sovereign debt and economic recession. Indeed, he urges countries to resort more to using Islamic finance in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and stressed that the industry is here to stay and definitely has a future in the global financial system.

    “The Islamic financial system is not just about the proscription of Riba (interest) and Gharar (deception). It has certain codes, for example, if you lend money you have to do so with good intention and not in order to cheat your partner or to exploit him. Uncertainty and speculation in terms of gambling are not allowed in Islam. The Islamic system practically says ‘No’ to the speculative products of the financial market. Without these products the chances of economies collapsing would be much less,” he maintained.

    He believes that the Islamic financial system has much greater connectivity with the real economy and not the speculative one. But its development and evolution will take time. “When we started Islamic banking in Malaysia, there were very few Islamic banks around the world. We had to build the industry in Malaysia from scratch. Today Islamic banking is spreading everywhere and even the conventional banks have standalone subsidiaries or Islamic banking windows. We decided that instead of confining ourselves to one system, people should have a choice whether they wanted to use the conventional or Islamic banking systems. This has done us a lot of good. It does not disturb the process of doing business that much,” he added.

    With Malaysia’s new 10-year Financial Master Plan (2012-2022) due to be launched later this week by Bank Negara Malaysia, the central bank, the Islamic finance industry is keen to see the provisions pertaining to the industry. The main objective of the 2012 Master Plan is the consolidation of the Islamic finance industry, unlike the previous one which concentrated more on the establishment of the industry and the achievement of certain targets of which the most celebrated one was achieving 20 percent market share for the Islamic banking industry by the year 2010. The new Master Plan avoids setting market share targets for the Islamic finance industry for the next decade.

    In fact the market share of Islamic banking in Malaysia is currently 22 percent. Mahathir is not coy about wanting to see this market share increasing further “We started with nothing, and the growth to over 20 percent in less than three decades compared with three centuries of conventional banking is very fast indeed. I would perhaps like to see a 50:50 percent market share for both systems operating side-by-side. The Muslim world today is much richer than it has ever been,” he advised. And he believes that this aspiration is both achievable and sustainable, provided the Islamic banking industry is properly governed. “There cannot be any playing around with products that are speculative and that are not really tangible. We must do real business. It is something that is doable not only by Malaysia but also some other countries,” he added.

    While it is a vindication of the Islamic banking system that Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg and London all aspire to become centers for Islamic finance and capital markets, he warns that “if we are not careful the big conventional banks might become bigger in Islamic banking than the Islamic banks.” As such the challenge for Islamic banks going forward is for them to study the needs of borrowers in greater detail and coming up with fair solutions for them.

    He would you like to see Muslim sovereign wealth funds for instance direct more of their investment portfolios to the Islamic financial sector. But he concedes that would depend on whether the sector can offer products to absorb all this liquidity. But he is confident that over time people in the sector will manage this. “The Islamic world is flush with funds. We have to show that it is worthwhile for them conforming with the injunctions of Islam in terms of financial transactions and investment, without them losing much money.”

    Mahathir is an ardent promoter of the Islamic Dinar concept, which he maintains has been misunderstood. He is advocating the use gold merely to back bilateral trade between Muslim countries and between developing countries as a unit of accounting to be settled between central banks. This as opposed to gold as a means of exchange, which is Riba and uses gold as a commodity, and which is proscribed in Islam.

    “It is not so much an Islamic dinar but using the most stable of metals, gold, as a backing for currency. We are not talking about the physical movement of gold which would expose us to all kinds of dangers. We can use the value of gold. There are some people who have the wrong perception that the gold dinar could be used like ringgit for the purchase of all goods both in the country and abroad,” he added.

    To him the use of the US dollar as an international currency is over-rated and its days are indeed numbered. “I have said this a long time ago that East Asia should have its own trading currency. Not like the euro which is used domestically. This would purely be for the settlement of trade,” he added.

    But he knows the staying and pulling power of the greenback. When Mahathir was prime minister, his government pioneered the Bilateral Payments Arrangement (BPA) with countries such as Chile and Iran, to the chagrin of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which thought it was against the spirit of the free market and financial liberalization. People hailed it as a good and a cost effective bilateral payment settlement system for emerging countries. But the BPA proved to be unsustainable.

    “Everybody says the BPA is a good system. But governments are loathe to doing away with a system of using US dollars as payment for trade. Of course the US would not like this. If you don’t use US dollars, their value will certainly go down. We can use our own currencies or a basket of currencies. If this is backed by gold then there won’t be the volatility in the appreciation or depreciation as we have seen in currency exchange rates,” maintained Mahathir.

    He is only half surprised that the world is in this financial meltdown and crisis because people have been writing books predicting that these things would happen. He admits that he did not think that it would happen on the scale that it has happened.

    The crisis is a question of abuses in the financial, the banking and the monetary systems. The conventional banking system has served the developed economies very well by financing industry and services thereby enriching themselves through doing real business. However, these economies could not compete any longer with the emerging economies of the East and Latin America in the post-war years. This, he explained, necessitated a switch to the financial markets with the promise of huge capital gains from investments in the share markets of the world. This also spurred on financial innovation in derivative products including collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), short selling, hedge funds and currency speculation, which bore no relation to real economic activities.

    Capitalism, he added, has given many nations prosperity, but when capitalism is combined with unbridled greed, the result is what we are seeing today. In the Western financial system the abuses are made possible because the system allows unlimited money to be created by the banking system. Loans by the banks have a guaranteed return. There was no risk for the banks, but new ways of guaranteeing returns were invented so that more money could be created and lent by the banks. The greedy played on the greed of people.

    The idea that the market should regulate itself is wrong. “The market is about making money. It is not interested in regulating. The more money it makes the happier the market. Governments must exercise some degree of control over what is happening in the financial market. At the moment there is no control at all. One day of currency trading can amount to $4 trillion,” he advised.

    He has a message for his immediate successor then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and the current incumbent Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak.

    He is completely satisfied with the stewardship of his legacy of managing the economy. “The present prime minister is trying his best. The world has been going through a very traumatic period and this has also affected our economy. Some of our trading partners are now very poor. The US and Europe used to take 40 percent of our exports but they are now poor. We need to find new markets. We are less affected because we did not dabble in derivatives and short selling. This is bad for business and the economy,” he added.

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  • First Masjid, Part of the Heritage of All Canadians

    By DAOOD HAMDANI

    This May, as Muslims mark the twentieth anniversary of the induction of Al-Rashid Masjid in Fort Edmonton Park, the country’s largest living history museum, the spotlight will be on the leadership role of Muslim women in this historic event.

    FIFTYyears after they burst onto the front line to help complete the construction of Canada’s first mosque in 1938, Muslim women took over a floundering campaign to save it from demolition. They surprised many by not only preserving this irreplaceable piece of Canadian heritage but enshrining it in the history museum. Al-Rashid, once a bustling hub of community life, started drifting into disrepair after the congregation outgrew it and moved to a new Islamic centre in 1982. Numerous efforts to raise money and find a new location for the old structure failed. Al-Rashid was set for demolition in 1988. Out of options, the Muslim community could only hope for a miracle.

    To many, including Canadians of other faiths, the loss of the country’s oldest mosque and a Canadian heritage building was unthinkable. Al-Rashid was more than a place of worship. It was also the story of the struggle, adjustment and integration of early Muslim settlers.

    While the community braced itself for the inevitable, the Terrific Twelve, a group of twelve women who belonged to a relatively new and untested organisation, the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW), which was founded in 1982 to speak for Muslim women, defiantly dug in to save the mosque. Led by Lila Fahlman and Razia Jaffer, founder and president of CCMW respectively, these young, highly educated women of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds included second-generation Canadians and new immigrants, working moms, full-time homemakers and single professional women.

    Their audacity to take on what had thwarted community leaders sparked a buzz. The media was taken by surprise by this “strange twist” because the Terrific Twelve did not fit the stereotype of Muslim women as subservient housewives. Within the Muslim community itself, there were sceptics. Doubts were raised about the ability of a women’s organisation to lead the project. Some called the move naïve, while others welcomed it.

    Unfazed, the women pressed on. Their unyielding resolve won over many naysayers and inspired a dispirited Muslim community. They formed alliances with Canadian mainstream organisations interested in preserving old and unique buildings in order to draw upon their influence, and launched an educational campaign to calm the fears of those who viewed the admission of a mosque into a Canadian history museum as a “foreign intrusion”, emphasising the contribution of Albertans of all faiths in building the mosque and the deep Muslim roots in the country that predate the Canadian Confederation in 1867.

    In the end, they prevailed. Funds were raised and conservation authorities agreed that the mosque, as an historic place with heritage value, deserved a place in the history museum. In 1992, a renovated Al-Rashid, repaired to the meticulous standards prescribed for the heritage buildings and restored to its 1938 look with the original furnishings, opened to the public in Fort Edmonton Park amid tributes to the leadership of these remarkable women.

    Today, the mosque is a living legacy for all Canadians. Instead of hewing to the old thinking, the Terrific Twelve transformational leaders challenged ingrained attitudes, discarded outdated assumptions and shifted the way local authorities see the collective heritage of all Canadians.

    Preserving Al-Rashid was not a Muslim issue, they argued – to the surprise of many Muslims. As a heritage building, it belonged to all Canadians and they shared the obligation to pass their collective heritage to the next generation, undiminished. Their call was heard. Prominent organisations like Fort Edmonton Foundation and the Alberta Historical Society committed funds, making it the only instance that a Muslim religious institution was wholly funded by Canadians with contributions from mainstream organisations.

    Simple as this sounds, it was in fact a big leap in thinking and orientation. It made Muslims see themselves as an integral part of the broader society and made all Canadians aware that Canadian

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  • Afghans have held a demonstration in a northeastern town to protest against the deadly attacks on civilians by the US-led foreign forces.


    Afghans chant slogans as they protest the killing of civilians in a NATO night raid in Taloqan, Takhar province.

    ONThursday, hundreds of people in the Chawki district of Kunar province protested against a US-led NATO night attack that killed six civilians on Wednesday and also chanted slogans condemning foreign forces occupying the country in the center of the district, a provincial official said.

    They were asking NATO to free Afghanistan.

    Afghan parliamentarians also expressed outrage over the civilian deaths and demanded an immediate end to night raids that often kill more civilians than Taliban fighters.

    A woman and a child were among the dead in the air and ground attack on Dewa Gul Vally, in the Chawki district, provincial governor Fazlullah Wahidi stated.

    "The raid was not coordinated with us. Those killed were civilians, among them a woman and a child," Wahidi said, adding, "Now the people are demanding justice.”

    The raid is said to have been part of the US kill-and-capture operations in Afghanistan. NATO has confirmed the attack, saying it is investigating the incident.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has set up a commission to probe into the civilian deaths in Kunar.

    Thousands of civilians have been killed in US-led airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of Afghanistan  with Afghans growing increasingly outraged over the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults.

    Moreover, the rising death toll for Afghan civilians as a result of NATO and US military operations in the country has also increased tension between the puppet President Karzai and his Western allies.

    The United Nations has reported that the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan rose by 15 percent in the first half of 2011 to 1,462.

    Agencies

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