Halal Trip Info partners with Indian Muslim Observer, to provide 5% exlusive discount to IMO readers

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 30 April 2013 | Posted in , , , , ,

By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi/Kuwait: The concept of Halal Tourism is becoming a rage with Muslim travelers who want to spend on tourism while at the same time continue fulfilling their religious obligation during their trip.

To fulfill the tourism needs of religious-minded Muslims, HalalTripInfo.com recently entered into partnership with IndianMuslimObserver.com to offer Halal tourism package and other travel related information from time to time through its online platform.

"We are going to provide exclusive discunt of 5 percent to IMO readers who book Hala friendly holidays packages through the Indian Muslim Observer website. For this, the IMO readers are required to enter the discount code IMO2013 when booking halal tourism packages," said Bilal Thakur, Co-Founder & Owner of HalalTripInfo.com.

HalalTripInfo.com is headquartered at Mumbai and has branch office in Kuwait and other Middle East countries.

Explaining the concept of Halal tourism, Mr. Thakur said, " Halal Friendly Tourism is a new product in tourism industry which allows a Muslim Individual/Family to perform Halal activities (Praying, food, etc) even during his holidays/Business travel."

"Halal friendly tourism is nothing different but just giving additional services to the people who are keen and are looking for certain services to make their stay more comfortable. Halal tourism is not restricted only for Muslims but can also be experienced by any other traveler who would like to feel and explore the experience," said Mr. Thakur.

Providing further details about Halal frendly tourism concept, Mr. Thakur said, "Basically a practicing Muslim faces lot of problems at time of moving out, like finding a neighbouring Mosque, Qiblah direction, on deciding whether the food served is in accordance with what has been prescribed i.e. Halal, etc. In conventional tourism, a person may not find suitable hotels, information, food etc. during travelling. Halal friendly tourism is a concept wherein this unmet latent need is being fulfilled by a service organization or a group of service organizations like travel company, hotels, taxi operators etc. In this, all the major requirements of a traveller with respect to his/her religious obligations are taken care of by a travel company along with the normal needs for food, shelter, entertainment, adventure, medicinal, business etc."

HalalTripInfo.com was launched in November 2012, headquartered in Mumbai (India), and is the first Online Travel Company from India which specializes only in “Halal Friendly Tourism” services and is one of the pioneer companies in this “Halal Friendly Tourism” industry.

HalalTripInfo.com provides following services to its esteemed customers: Prayer Mats in the Hotels; Qiblah Direction for Praying in Rooms; Information on Closest Mosque to the Property (If available in a radius of 5 kms); Information on Closest Halal Certified/Muslim Restaurant (Near the Property used in the Package if available); and Information on Closest Pure Veg Restaurant (Near the Property used in the Package). Apart from Halal tourism friendly services, other conventional services like hotel accommodation, airport transfers, sightseeing visits, medical tourism, local conveyance etc would also be provided.

Mr. Thakur also said that HalalTripInfo.com is going to showcase its products in Arabian Travel Market from May 6-9, 2013.

Danish Ahmad Khan, Founder-Editor, IndianMuslimObserver.com, said, "The IndianMuslimObserver.com has emerged as India's leading online Muslim news portal and would continue to offer its platform to emerging entreprenurs and innovators to showcase their products and expertise for the benefit of Muslims and the country."

‘I am sorry, O Prophet…’ from Islamophobe to Muslim

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , , ,

By Majed Al-Sugairi

Madinah: Former Dutch Islamophobe and a former leading member of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ party Arnoud Van Doorn visited the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to pray and say sorry for becoming part of a blasphemous film.

Doorn was among the Freedom Party leaders who produced the blasphemous film, Fitna. Last month he reverted to Islam after an extensive study about the religion and the Prophet (peace be upon him).

He said that the worldwide outrage against the film made him study about the Prophet (pbuh) and that eventually led to his conversion.

He headed for Makkah to perform Umrah after meeting the two imams of the Prophet’s Mosque, Sheikh Ali Al-Hudaifi and Sheikh Salah Al-Badar, who enlightened him on how to lead the life of a good Muslim and confront challenges facing Islam in the West.

A member of the Dutch parliament and The Hague City Council, Doorn announced his decision to accept Islam on his Twitter profile. He also posted a tweet in Arabic declaring that “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet.”

At first, other users took the news as a joke. After all, an active supporter of a notorious Dutch hater of Islam, Wilders, he repeatedly approved Islamophobic statements and public actions, and personally participated in them.

But Doorn, who now serves as a regional adviser at the City Hall in The Hague, personally confirmed his decision to practice Islam in an official letter to the city mayor.

Most recently, the politician filed a formal application to the mayor of the city to allow him to perform prayers obligatory for Muslims during his working hours.

“I can understand people are skeptic, especially that it is unexpected for many of them,” Doorn told Al-Jazeera English satellite channel.

“This is a very big decision, which I have not taken lightly.”

“In my own close circle people have known that I have been actively researching the Qur’an, Hadith, Sunnah and other writings for almost a year now,” he said.

“In addition, I have had numerous conversations with Muslims about the religion.”

Driven by his party’s anti-Islam discourse, Doorn decided to dig in for the truth about the religion himself.

“I have heard so many negative stories about Islam, but I am not a person who follows opinions of others without doing my own research,” he said. “Therefore, I have actually started to deepen my knowledge of Islam out of curiosity.”

The 46-year-old has continued on The Hague Council as an independent candidate since splitting from Wilders’s party. Doorn’s decision to embrace Islam has won mixed reactions in the Netherlands.

“According to some people I am a traitor, but according to most others I have actually made a very good decision,” he told Al-Jazeera.

“The reactions are generally positive and I also received quite some support via twitter.
“It feels good that people who do not know me personally have understanding of my situation and support me in my choice.”

Asked if he now regretted joining the Freedom Party, he replied: “I have learned that every experience in life has a purpose. However, with the knowledge I have today, I would have undoubtedly made a different choice.”

For the Dutch politician, finding Islam was finally guiding him to the true path in his life. “I have made mistakes in life as many others. From these mistakes I have learned a lot,” Doorn said.
“And by my conversion to Islam I have the feeling that I finally found my path. I realize that this is a new start and that I still have much to learn as well.”

(Courtesy: Saudi Gazette)

When media jostled to capture the rare moment

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , ,

By J. S. Ifthekhar

Madhava Reddy and his wife Lakshmi Reddy could not hold back tears when their adopted daughter, Farzana, left with her husband, Abdul Rashid. It rivalled the best of marriages. The print and electronic media was there in full force. Local political functionaries turned up in good number. For TV channels, it was the story of the day. The crew fell over one another to capture the event.

It rivalled the best of marriages. The print and electronic media was there in full force. Local political functionaries turned up in good number. For TV channels, it was the story of the day. The crew fell over one another to capture the event.

No, it was no VIP marriage which aroused such attention on Sunday. It was a simple wedding in a godforsaken place called Gourapally in Bhongir Mandal. More than the couple tying the knot, it was the bride’s parents who were the cynosure of all eyes.

Madhava Reddy and Lakshmi Reddy with their adopted daughter, Farzana, who married Abdul Rasheed, on Sunday. Also seen in the picture are Ghiasuddin Babukhan and his wife.
Madhava Reddy and his wife Lakshmi Reddy never thought the whole village and the media would turn up. As people got wind of the marriage of their adopted daughter, Farzana, everyone wanted to be there to witness the ‘nikah’ of the Muslim daughter of Hindu parents. Madhava Reddy’s house was all decked up for the event. His relatives from Hyderabad also dropped in to join the festivities. Right from morning his phone never stopped ringing as people called up to congratulate him.

The Reddy couple could barely hold back their tears as they headed to the Z.P. High School for the ‘nikah’ ceremony. Farzana was also seen shedding silent tears as she hugged the duo whom she loved more than her biological parents.

Dressed in red bridal attire, she offered ‘namaz’ just before she went through the marriage paces. Shujat Babukhan, wife of Ghiasuddin Babukhan, chairman, Hyderabad Zakat and Charitable Trust, helped the bride.

Being her guardian, Madhava Reddy, signed before the Qazi, Mohd Taher Ali Akhtar, while giving away his daughter in marriage.

The Reddy couple presented a modest trousseau, which included a burqa and a Quran with Telugu commentary. The nikah over, it was time for a sumptuous lunch. It was a touching scene as Farzana left with her husband, Abdul Rashid. With a heavy heart the Reddy couple bade her adieu. Could anybody love an adopted daughter so much was the question on everybody’s lips. “They have set a hard to emulate example. They have proved that majority of Hindus are secular,” said Mr. Babukhan.

(Courtesy: The Hindu)

Aligarh Muslim University bans motorcycle for hostel residents from next academic session

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , ,

IMO News Service

Aligarh: The Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah has taken a policy decision that motorcycles will not be permitted in University hostels from the next academic session.

Shah said that “motorcycle has become a major menace” as criminal elements were operating “motorcycle gangs” and using these vehicles to indulge in crime and then get away. He said that he was writing to all parents of boarders “not to permit their wards to bring motorcycles to the campus”. He said that the “motor bike culture” was exacerbating class-conflicts between the rich and the poor students at the campus.

In an open letter to all faculty members and students, the Vice Chancellor stated that if a student can afford a motorcycle, he can also afford to live outside the University campus as Non-resident student and he should vacate the hostel accommodation for his less wealthy brothers who cannot find a place in the Halls of residence. He clarified that this restriction will not apply to female students.

In another letter to the parents, Gen. Shah urged them not to permit their sons and wards to bring his motorcycle to the University during the next academic session. In case a male students brings a motorcycle or scooter to the University campus, he will be shifted to NRSC and will not be provided hostel accommodation.

Gen. Shah observed that the main stumbling block on our way forward was the presence of non-student criminals being given shelter by a small proportion of University students in the hostels. These criminals were armed, they supported illegal issue and intimidated other students who only wished to be left alone and pursue their studies.

The Vice Chancellor has decided to get all hostels fully vacated during the period from July 1-15, 2013 except medical interns’ hostels. He said that special arrangements will be made to safeguard students’ belongings and baggage which will be stored centrally by hall provosts. He made it clear that the Research Scholars will also have to vacate their rooms during this period. They should re-plan their research and academic activity accordingly, with their supervisors.
AMU Vice Chancellor said, “I intend to give more opportunity for interaction. Students who wish to meet me in the office will be dressed in Sherwani”. He said that he would be delighted if he sees students dressed in Sherwani on Fridays and during University functions. It will only enhance the prestige of the University. He also requested the female students to dress according to the customs and traditions of AMU.

Gen. Shah urged the faculty members and students to restore AMU’s past glory.

Khudai Khidmatgar organises dialogue with youth on social responsibility at Muzaffar Nagar

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , ,

IMO News Service

Khudai Khidmatgar recently organised a day long discussion with the Youth in Muzaffar Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh.

The discussion on social responsibility of youths was held with the aim of creating social responsibility among youths, and analysing various social issues and problems in the society. The youths, particularly from the Village Khampur, participated in a large number.

The programme was arranged by Khudai Khidmatgar Organising Secretary Qamar Intekhab, Khudai Khidmatgar Leader Faisal Khan and National Secretary Inamul Hasan. MG Public School Director and Western UP organising Member of Khudai Khidmatgar Shandar Gufran was the chief guest.

Organising Secretary Qamar Intekhab highlighted the aim of the programme and the necessity to organise the programme like youth leadership camp and discussions.

Khudai Khidmatgar leader Faisal Khan while addressing the participants said, "We are living in this country which is secular and democratic. Muslims are the second largest citizens in this country and we are having the same rights and duties as such other than Muslims had in this country. We are lacking behind in getting our rights and facilities that has been given to us by the government. The painful issue is that we people even don’t know the facilities that has allotted to us by the government, how can these be known without being aware and lacking behind from taking the initiative from social responsibilities. We are seeing nowadays that the leadership quality is no more in Muslim community and the peoples sufferings are increasing to the great extent, so it is important request to all my youths who gathered here in a large number to come forward and put our struggle to create better society in future."

Khudai Khidmatgar National Secretary Inamul Hasan said, "Khudai Khidmatgar is widely concentrated on various social issues those are the basic needs of every human being. We are keen on protecting the land, water and natural resources of every citizen including their dignities. No rights should be violated because this is our country and we are highly responsibile to save our country and our people whether a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh or others. I request my brothers and sisters who gathered here and failed to present here be active to make yourself responsible and come foreward to protect our nation, our people and our resources. If we failed to do so, I cannot assure and predict to say that anything might be happened in future."

Shandar Gufran said, "We are hopefully involved with Khudai Khidmatgar because the method and the way it has adopted to work in this country, we assure that we will strengthen the hands of Khudai Khidmatgar to make a bright future of our society in this country."

Participation Certificate was distributed at the end of the programme for those who successfully participated the three days youth leadership camp held at Muzaffar Nagar.

Rapid Unplanned Development: A Danger For Us

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Ravi Nitesh

We all live together on this green planet. Earth is seen as a Mother, as it bears our weight and our notorious activities that even causes harm to it. It is sometimes also considered to be a Teacher, as there is so much to learn from it. It also gives us warnings and sometimes even 'punishments' when our activities cross the limit. But what have we given to her? Today, we are living in a world that is considered to be ‘progressive’, ‘civilized’ and ‘modern’ but with development; we also developed and increased waste, pollution and disturbance to the nature. We are continuously exploiting her resources without any care for her. Our earth is sensitive to our notorious activities. We are continuously exploiting its resources without any care for it. Not just this, we are also not adopting small steps that can be beneficial for our mother earth. Every year, the world observes World Earth Day. A day, on which all of us remind ourselves the importance of adopting a lifestyle that is healthy for earth, because it is not only our moral responsibility but also necessary for us and the coming generations.

When we talk about development we know that it will certainly disturb the nature. In all fileds of human development, machinization took the role and replaced not only the manpower, but also many other things. Through the rapid and unplanned machinization, we replaced measurable and immeasurable things. There are the losses that can be calculated as these are direct losses but many others that cannot be calculated and indirect losses. Unplanned rapid machinization in this so called modernization, replaced manpowers with machines, increased health issues through harmful and polluted gases and chemicals, made an unsafe condition of living etc etc. The present trend of modernization is quite debatable in terms of sustainable development. What should be the basis of development? Is our present economic policy sustainable and safe enough. In view of amid protests against many big plants viz nuclear plants, steel plants and ports, it can be said that atleast a group of concerned citizens became aware about all such fake developmental policies. These protests are not for faishon or politics, instead it is towards right of the people and coming generations. Nuclear plants have various ill effects that can cause dangerous, Big dams are not only the reason of displacement of population but also badly affects the flora and fauna of the region and can cause various problems that can be seen in future by coming generations. We also know about problems of land acquisition in tribal areas, that is mainly with the reason of getting rights of exploiting natural resources by corporate for the sake of revenue on the cost of displacement of indigenous people from their land.

With this sense of development, we tried to copy the developmental models as per other countries rather than developing of our own in our terms and conditions and in Indian context. Most of the developmental plans at present are in the hands of handful of people. This plan is only increasing problems in India, as it is dividing the society in classes and in terms of their vested interests.

Ongoing policy of development must be challenged and alternate policy must be suggested. We cannot deny the basic facilities to our citizens. We cannot deny the development, but for rapid, unplanned, and unsafe development, we must learn to say NO. Policies must be based on society, it must not only create the revenue and benefits in terms of money and facilities but also in terms of safety to environment, safety to all living being and coming generations, it must include a region specific developmental plan with all possible public debates for its pros and cons. It must include policy analysts, activists and people’s representatives of local levels. It must include a vision that must be towards ‘development for all’ and not ‘for few’.

[Ravi Nitesh is based at New Delhi.He is Member at Mission Bharatiyam. He can be contacted at ravinitesh@gmail.com]

An apology from the rest of us

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , ,

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

I was going through comments from expatriates when I came upon a story that turned my stomach upside down. In the comments, an expatriate executive working for one of the leading banks in Jeddah described an incident that happened to him and his wife at the hands of a Saudi couple while they were out shopping for groceries at a supermarket in Jeddah.

In his own words to the supermarket management (edited): “We regularly visit this supermarket for grocery shopping and on this particular date we had completed the grocery shopping and my wife, with the kids, went to a checkout counter while I was getting the vegetables tagged. After that I joined my wife who was already in the queue and was putting her stuff on the counter for checkout.

“Behind her was a Saudi lady who pushed her cart forward preventing me from putting the tagged vegetables in my hand on the counter. My wife politely told her ‘I am in a queue and he’s my husband and this is our stuff,’ to which the Saudi lady replied, ‘shut up and leave, this is our country’. My wife replied, ‘Sorry, we are not leaving, we are already in the queue.’

“There was a heated verbal exchange between my wife and her after which the Saudi lady grabbed my wife’s wrist and told her: ‘Hit me, you will hit me?’ to which my wife, slightly taken aback by this reaction, replied, ‘Sorry, why should I hit you?’

“Meanwhile, the Saudi woman’s husband who was standing behind her also jumped into the argument. I told him that if ‘the women are arguing, why are you jumping into it? Instead we should try to solve the problem and get going.’ He then started quarreling with me unnecessarily. During the loud exchange of heated words, no one from the superrmarket management or security came to resolve the issue.

“We were finally able to complete our checkout and I was about to complete the transaction by taking out my card to pay the bill, but again that lady for no reason at all started shouting, ‘quickly, quickly’ in Arabic. I asked her to be patient as we are doing it as quickly as we could, but again the husband jumped into the situation and started quarreling with me.

“My wife grabbed my hand to say let’s just go, and at that moment the Saudi man pushed my wife which really was too much to bear. I was angry with him and shouted at him, ‘How dare you touch my wife!’ At that moment two or three other men, apparently all Saudis, grabbed and restrained me while the Saudi husband was still shouting at my wife. My wife told the man, ‘How dare you push me?’ and he shoved her again and this time so hard that my younger son fell to the floor and my wife’s foot was injured and sprained badly.

“During the whole scenario nobody from the supermarket came to our rescue and I was loudly pleading for security or the police as that guy was now getting openly physical. My wife was all tears. Finally someone from the store called security who took us to their offices. I demanded that either the police are called to see the CCTV footage of the incident or this man apologize to us. After some time, the security let the man and his wife go while his wife continued yelling at us that this was her country. I asked the security officer if he had taken the man’s ID details to which he shrugged and replied ‘why?’

“We then went back to the supermarket to speak to the management and asked why they did not interfere as the whole episode happened on their premises. To this the manager explained that they had the whole footage of the incident and if we requested the police or their higher management then they could provide us the recording. However, he implied that it would be futile as everyone will favor Saudi’s version rather than give a fair hearing. I was devastated.
“I feel that the management owes us an apology for the unnecessary humiliation. We are bringing this to your notice as now we are somewhat traumatized to go to any supermarket as there is no guarantee that such an incident would not happen against the expat community. Signed — A.K.A.”

A similar incident befell an American lady married to a Saudi last year in Riyadh, and at the hands of Saudis.

The comments by the expatriate said that “all the negative press over the past few months in the local news has escalated this problem and Saudis feel more hostile to the expatriates. The expatriates have become Saudi Arabia’s scapegoats! Maybe this hatred is also an indication of underlying issues and a way of people expressing their frustrations.”

Perhaps it is so, but that in itself is no excuse for such despicable behavior. The expatriates are our guests and should be treated with utmost hospitality. There was no justification for such unprovoked behavior on the part of the Saudi couple, or on the other Saudi males who just stood by watching.

And if the supermarket management fails to apologize to this expatriate and to his wife for the trauma they went through, then let me be the first among many Saudis to offer my personal apologies. Such rude behavior is certainly not within most of us.

[The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com and followed on Twitter @Talmaeena.]

(Courtesy: Saudi Gazette)

Bosses are loud and proud of Blackburn Islamic school

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , , ,

Muslim leaders have described how they have transformed their madrassah to make it a happier, more effective learning environment. Sophia Rahman spent a day at Blackburn’s Jamia Ghosia Mosque to discover more.

By Sophia Rahman

Every weekday Muslim children across East Lancashire come home from school, have something to eat and head back into lessons at their local Islamic evening school.

Following reports of children being mistreated in madrassahs, Muslim leaders want to show how pleased they are with how the institutions have improved.

In the last year, the Chester Street madrassah has overhauled its management, curriculum, classroom practices and tools.

The desire was to create an interactive experience for pupils based on that of traditional British establishments.

Boys and girls from reception age to GCSE level attend Arabic, Urdu, citizenship, religious education and Qu’ran lessons in mixed-sex classes. This is a novel set-up for a madrassah, most of which will not allow boys and girls to be taught in the same room.

Abdul Rehman, a member of the educational management, said: “We want to give everyone the best chance at a good education. We just put them in different sections of the room now, for modesty.

“It isn’t fair that one class might get a sub-par lesson because they are a girl or boy, and have to have a different teacher from the other.”

In citizenship lessons, children are taught everything from how to politely retrieve a lost football from a neighbour’s garden, to how to converse with a secular person and basic human rights law.

The syllabus is prescribed by the government-funded Islam and Citizenship Education Project, and is just one instance of the standardisation of the curriculum.

As of September this year, the brightest students will be sitting Arabic GCSE exams accredited by Blackburn College.

Mr Rehman said: “Extra qualifications will mean better chances for the children to get into college or university.

“We want to help them do their best, whether they go down the religious or secular route.
“We’re really excited to show everyone what we’ve done here because we’re so different now.”
All 12 teaching staff are CRB-checked educational professionals, ranging from university lecturers to teaching assistants, and every class has two members of staff.

Mr Rehman said: “When I was a student here a few years ago, kids were desperate to leave. All we did was sit on the floor and learn Qu’ran by heart, not understanding what we were speaking.

“Lots of young people weren’t learning how to become a good citizen and stay off the streets.
“Now, we teach kids citizenship so they will know how to be a good British citizen, teach them Arabic so they can understand the Qu’ran and be a good Muslim.

“We also teach them about other religions, so they can see the differences and similarities and make their own minds up on everything.

“It’s completely different now, parents have to fight to get their children to go home.”
The 130 pupils work for two hour-long sessions per evening, with a 10-minute break in between.

Younger children sing songs, play games and do crafts while they learn Arabic, and the older students are in constant dialogue with their teachers, as is in any high school language lesson.
Mohammed Ismail, president of the madrassah, said: “We know the children have been at school all day and we don’t want it to be hard for them to keep learning, so we make it interactive.”

Salim Mulla, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: “It’s time madrassahs move into the 21st century, and Jamia Ghosia is a great example of one that is.

“It’s really important that children learn how to be good citizens and good Muslims, and they will certainly get that there.”

(Courtesy: Lanchashire Telegraph)

Islam forbids terrorism

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 24 April 2013 | Posted in , , , , , , ,

Rushdi believes that a change agent must tell the truth to a benevolent dictator, religious hardliner, and compassionately connect with youth and have nots.

By Rushdi Siddiqui

In the post 9/11 environment, we have a funny farm of Muslim characters like the Shoe Bomber Richard Reid; Underwear Bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Times Square Would-be Bomber Faisal Shahzad, Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan, and other less prominent unsavoury characters.

What state do they belong to? Stateless! Where do their leaders reside? Caves! What rules of engagement do these people follow? Chaos! What God do these people follow? Devil! Do they understand the consequences of suicide missions (that gravely harm innocent people) on their own souls? No!

For Muslims in the US, UK, and other non-Muslim countries, every time there is an “incident” like the Boston Marathon explosion, our immediate thoughts are (1) God willing no injuries or deaths of innocent people and (2) please don’t let it be a Muslim!

We Muslims cannot continue to live this way. At one level, law-abiding Muslims everywhere need to declare a “civil war” on these stateless actors. We have been “hijacked” by these persona non-grata and broad-brush blamed (implicit endorsement of their actions) by the like of Islamophobes like Pamela Geller and self-proclaimed terrorist experts like Steve Emerson.

[Frankly, I would like to see a “wrestling match” between the extremists and Islamophobes, with evidence presented to support their ideology and assertions, respectively.]

The present approach of explaining, declaring counter fatwas, inter-faith dialogue, etc needs to be expanded to include language and actions these characters understand.

No, we are not talking about drone strikes and vigilante justice, although, it would be an appropriate and proportional emotional reaction. But, it would also be a slippery slope into their world of lack of respect for human life, rule of law and chaos ideology.

These characters are brainwashed by “out of context text” from the Quran and Hadith, and passions inflamed by actions (unwelcomed), presence and policies of super-powers on Muslims and Islam. Thus, liberators become occupiers.

It is here a well co-ordinated global PR campaign on “text references” needs to take place, and executed by the local imams at mosques and other places where such extremists congregate.

(The politics of Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc is a contributor to their way of thinking, but it’s for the G20 and the UN to aggressively chime with equitable treatment of competing aggrieved players, actions over inertia, etc. The countries must also be part of the solution by addressing corruption, youth unemployment, access to entrepreneurial capital, justice and rule of law.)

There is a brilliant piece by Juan Cole, “Top Ten Ways Islamic Law Forbids Terrorism”, that I have reproduced below. It is a starting point to build an educational campaign in local languages.

Yes, there will be a “blind faith” minority only interested in “blind justice”, hence, will not change their views and will counter-campaign. But their ideas and philosophy will be real-time tested in the hearts and minds of all people — Muslims and non-Muslims.

This report was first published on Cole’s website Informed Comment.

Erik Rush and others who hastened to scapegoat Muslims for the Boston Marathon bombing are ignorant of the religion. I can’t understand why people who have never so much as read a book about a subject appoint themselves experts on it. We don’t yet know who carried out the attack, but we know they either aren’t Muslims at all or they aren’t real Muslims, in the nature of the case.

1. Terrorism is above all murder. Murder is strictly forbidden in the Quran. Quran 6:151 says, “and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.” (i.e. murder is forbidden but the death penalty imposed by the state for a crime is permitted). 5:53 says, “… who so kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.”

2. If the motive for terrorism is religious, it is impermissible in Islamic law. It is forbidden to attempt to impose Islam on other people. The Quran says: “There is no compulsion in religion. The right way has become distinct from error.” (The Cow, 2:256). Note that this verse was revealed in Medina in 622 AD or after and was never abrogated by any other verse of the Quran. Islam’s holy book forbids coercing people into adopting any religion. They have to willingly choose it.

3. Islamic law forbids aggressive warfare. The Quran says: “But if the enemies incline towards peace, do you also incline towards peace. And trust in God! For He is the one who hears and knows all things.” (8:61) The Quran chapter “The Cow,” 2:190, says: “Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.”

4. In the Islamic law of war, not just any civil engineer can declare or launch a war. It is the prerogative of the duly constituted leader of the Muslim community that engages in the war. Nowadays that would be the president or prime minister of the state, as advised by the mufti or national jurisconsult.

5. The killing of innocent non-combatants is forbidden. According to Sunni tradition, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first Caliph, gave these instructions to his armies: “I instruct you in 10 matters: Do not kill women, children, the old, or the infirm; do not cut down fruit-bearing trees; do not destroy any town …” (Malik’s Muwatta’, “Kitab al-Jihad.”)

6. Terrorism or hirabah is forbidden in Islamic law, which groups it with brigandage, highway robbery and extortion rackets — any illicit use of fear and coercion in public spaces for money or power. The principle of forbidding the spreading of terror in the land is based on the Quran (Surah al-Ma’ida 5:33–34). Prominent Muslim legal scholar Sherman Jackson writes: “The Spanish Maliki jurist Ibn `Abd al-Barr (d. 464/1070)) defines the agent of hiraba as ‘Anyone who disturbs free passage in the streets and renders them unsafe to travel, striving to spread corruption in the land by taking money, killing people or violating what God has made it unlawful to violate is guilty of hirabah …’.”

7. Sneak attacks are forbidden. Muslim commanders must give the enemy fair warning that war is imminent. The Prophet Muhammad at one point gave four months’ notice.

8. The Prophet Muhammad counselled doing good to those who harm you and is said to have commanded: “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

9. The Quran demands of believers that they exercise justice towards people even where they have reason to be angry with them: “And do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.”[5:8]

10. The Quran assures Christians and Jews of paradise if they believe and do good works, and commends Christians as the best friends of Muslims. I wrote elsewhere, “Dangerous falsehoods are being promulgated to the American public. The Quran does not preach violence against Christians.”

Quran 5:69 says (Arberry): “Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Christians, and those Sabeaans, whoso believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness — their wage waits them with their Lord, and no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow.”
In other words, the Quran promises Christians and Jews along with Muslims that if they have faith and works, they need have no fear in the afterlife. It is not saying that non-Muslims go to hell — quite the opposite.

When speaking of the 7th-century situation in the Muslim city-state of Medina, which was at war with pagan Mecca, the Quran notes that the polytheists and some Arabian Jewish tribes were opposed to Islam, but then goes on to say:

5:82. “… and you will find the nearest in love to the believers [Muslims] those who say: ‘We are Christians.’ That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.”
So the Quran not only does not urge Muslims to commit violence against Christians, it calls them “nearest in love” to the Muslims! The reason given is their piety, their ability to produce holy persons dedicated to God, and their lack of overweening pride.

(Courtesy: The Malaysian Insider)

Shakir Ali awarded with “Best Upcoming Digital Marketing Academy in Andhra Pradesh”

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , , ,

IMO News Service

Hyderabad: eMerchant Digital Academy, an enterprise of eMerchant Digital Solutions Pvt Ltd has been awarded with “Best Upcoming Digital Marketing Academy in Andhra Pradesh” for the year 2013 in Education Excellence Award Ceremony organized by Brands Academy on 13th of April 2013 in New Delhi. Shakir Ali, CEO eMerchant Digital Academy, was honored with this prestigious award by AdGuru Prahlad Kakkar in the presence of many globally reputed identities on an international platform for his contributions in education sector. The ceremony was organized at ITC Maurya in New Delhi.

Brands Academy is one of India’s leading brand management and consulting firm which organized Brands Academy Education Excellence Awards Ceremony on April 13th to felicitate India’s leading autonomous and private educational institutions that have displayed exemplary excellence as education providers to the young generation of India. The awards were based on a comprehensive market research study and opinion surveys considering various criteria, but are not limited to infrastructure, faculty, placements, strength of students, annual growth, student’s feedback, and industry feedback. This award is a medium to recognize the achievements of people who dedicate their lives to young generation and showcase the valuable work and innovation in Indian classrooms.

Shakir Ali has been awarded with Education Excellence Award for his initiation with eMerchant Digital Academy which is first of its kind in Andhra Pradesh to train students as well as small and medium scale industries for their economic growth and business expansion in the digital world. The academy aims at enabling people and enriching them with skills that is required for successful ecommerce today with untapped competition on the web. This academy gains an edge over other institutions being led by Shakir Ali who was recently awarded with “Award for Eminent Educationist” by one of the globally recognized firm. Further adding to his credibility, this award declares eMerchant Digital Academy as the best amidst the rest in this category and geography.

The recognition of eMerchant Digital Academy as the best upcoming digital marketing academy in Andhra Pradesh is a cornerstone in its history and an inspiration for many other institutions which will aim for even higher standards.

Shakir Ali taken away by this honor, acknowledges the commendable efforts made by Brands Academy in motivating private and autonomous institutions in promoting excellence in professional education in India. His out-of-the-box approach in running a professional institution has led him harvest these sweet results, their recognitions, and demand even much beyond his expectations. “Heading an Academy governed by values and one that aims at imparting practical knowledge rather than distributing certificates of completion is my aim which is slowly taking shape with even bigger promises for the future” are the words of Mr. Shakir on this milestone of his achievements.

By organizing seminars, attending conferences, and meeting people of different fields and professions, Shakir Ali has always welcomed new ideas, inspirations, and strategies which get reflected in his Academy that invites all willing to bring a difference in their businesses. It imparts knowledge and enables everyone to learn from big corporate houses to a small start-up company, from a big marketing strategist to an individual willing to run his own marketing campaign. This diversity, yet an approach of equality for all interested in learning has probably brought eMerchant Digital Academy to such a huge platform. With focus on quality education and a service to Indian educational sector, eMerchant Digital Academy has to march a long way serving more states in India and abroad.

For more information visit www.emerchantacademy.com or call Shakir Ali at 09849256286.

Empower women with education to uplift Muslims: Dr. Asma Zehra

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The Tehreek Islah-e-Moashra Committee of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, (AIMPLB), organised a day-long social reform convention to create awareness among Muslim women for social reform, to solve family disputes, maintenance, divorce and khula issues, inheritance issues, parents rights and duties, eradication of social evils and customs here at Indira Priyadarshini College on Monday.

The topic of the convention was “Women & Social Responsibilities” wherein the key speaker was Dr. Asma Zehra from Hyderabad, who is executive committee member of the AIMPLB. The other speaker was Ms Tabassum Siddiqui from New Delhi. The convention was hosted by Congress leader Arif Masood, who is also executive committee member of the AIMPLB.

In today’s fast moving society the rights of women is at stake and their position has become very much vulnerable. The balance between the rights of women and its protection and her family and social responsibilities is disturbed totally. Women have to play an important role in society, family and the country. They are to be made to fulfill the responsibilities as a daughter, sister, mother, wife and daughter-in-law in society and as a citizen of the country.

However, the western culture has made women more victim of luxury and lust. They are escaping from the basic role of family and society. Women’s freedom is taken in a different context. The building of family and society on strong moral values is vital for community and nation. And as such their empowerment with knowledge and proper guidance is very essential. This was the gist of the convention wherein different speakers emphasised upon.

Interacting with media persons after the convention Dr. Asma Zehra said India is facing a number of challenges and two issues stand out as the most important for society. First the protection of rights of women and controlling the crimes against women. Secondly, the impact of western culture, films with nudity and obscenity has degraded the moral values and social fabric of Indian society.

Dr. Zehra said that Muslims lag behind in education which is largely responsible for most of the problems faced by the community. If women of the community is educated, things would change as women are the axis of Indian families. Sachchar Committee report has also highlighted that all communities progressed after independence except for Muslims, she pointed out.

She said Muslim women could be empowered through education as one woman can reform the whole family. Moreover, this would help her in protection of her rights and controlling crimes against women.

Replying to a question, she said the right of Talaq given to menfolk in Islam is being misused by men. They lack awareness as how to exercise their right of pronouncing Talaq as ordained in Islam. “Adaab-e-Talaq Mardon Ko Nahin Sikhaejate Hain”, she remarked.

In matrimonial discord or disputes Muslims should avoid going to courts. They should approach first family elders to solve their issues to save their marriage or then go to Qazis to settle their cases, she added.

While replying to a questioner, she said that Shariah laws stand on moral grounds in India. They exist as personal law in the country wherein there is no freedom to award punishment to those who breach Shariah commandments, she pointed out.

She said a shift in education in Muslim institutions, especially Madarsas could be seen. Madarsas are going through a lot of reforms and integration of education is taking place. Most of the Madarsas have taken up computer education in a big way.

Dr. Zehra stressed on the need of more interaction between religious heads of different communities. It is the duty of Muslims to initiate, discuss and debate social issues with members of other communities so that co-existence of communities become more harmonious. Polarisation in society should be discouraged as it serves the purpose of vested interests. She said that such conventions are very helpful to uplift and empower women.

Answering a query, she said that one cannot avoid use of technology like internet, mobile phones or television. An educated woman could only guide her children on how to use technology in a positive manner. Giving an example she said a knife is generally used to cut vegetables and cakes which is the proper use. However, the same knife can used to harm people if one’s intentions are bad, she explained.

She said that Tehreek Islah-e-Moashra Committee of AIMPLB is conducting special meetings and public programmes across the country to bring changes and reform the society.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

Release of Health awareness booklet authored by Dr. Vivek Sharma

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , , ,

By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi: Sitaram Yechury, Rajya Sabha MP & CPI (M) leader, recently released a Health awareness booklet on 20 April 2013 at CPI (M) Central Office at New Delhi.

The 80-page booklet "Health Guardian" has been authored by Dr. Vivek Sharma, a prominent Jaipur-based Consultant Paeditrician. Dr. Vivek Sharma is also associated with Indian Muslim Observer as Health Editor.

A wide range of topics for teenagers have been covered in the enlightening health awareness booklet. The topics include teenage obesity, smoking, depression, scholastic problems, rebellious adolescent, sleep problem, tattooing etc.

Dr. Vivek Sharma said that he will continue to provide valuable guidance and make all possible efforts to promote health awareness among the people by using various information tools.
Dr. Sharma also said that the book will be distributed free of cost among parents, counsellors, school libraries and disability centres. He further stated that this book will be translated in regional languages and distributed all over the country.

Sitaram Yechury said that this booklet will effectively fulfill the long felt need for an authentic treatise on the day to day problems face by teenagers.

He appreciated the efforts taken by Dr. Sharma for compiling this book for the welfare of society, particularly teenage population.

Association of Muslim Professionals announces its 3rd Governing Council and Office Bearers

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , ,

IMO News Service

Mumbai: Association of Muslim Professionals a pan-India social welfare organization recently announced the formation of its Governing Council and election of its new office bearers for the third term.

AMP is a registered Non-Profit Organization and has grown exponentially in various cities across India. It is registered under the societies act and has its members located not just within India but globally as well. The present term of two years of the current Governing Council came to an end on 31st of March 2013 and having grown at an exponential rate across the country it became imperative to formulate the Governing Council with a national representation.

AMP Governing Council is the highest executive body of AMP looking after all the Policy decisions of AMP. The new 15-member Governing Council with 2 Special invitees to GC has been formulated for a period of 2 years from April 2013 to March 2015. It has a composition of stalwart professionals from various walks of life who are very strong and influential with their network spread across the country. The new composition was formed also taking into consideration representation from various states across India as well. With its new strong GC team in place AMP now looks forward to focus on its expansion drive and take up its various projects even more aggressively and spreads its presence across every town and city in the country.

The new GC elected its new office bearers as well who are elected from among the GC members. The choice of GC was unanimous with Amir Idrisi being elected President of the organization for the third consecutive term and Syed Najeeb-Ur-Rahman (who is also the PR & communications Head of AMP) being elected its General Secretary.

Speaking on the occasion Aamir Idrisi said, “It is matter of great honour that the Governing Council has placed its firm faith on my abilities and approved of my leadership. More than a matter of pride it is a great responsibility on me. Having been elected for the third consecutive term has put even bigger responsibilities on my shoulders which I need to take care of and live up to the expectations of not just my organization but the entire community. With a team of such strong and influential people in the GC we hope that their rich experience and network across the country will help AMP to reach all over India and have strong presence everywhere.”

On his being elected as Gen. Secretary Syed Najeeb-Ur-Rahman said, “With every responsibility comes a great degree of accountability. These appointments are not just laurels but accountability to the faith the highest executive body of the organization has placed on us and it comes as a bigger responsibility to live up to their expectations and never belie the faith bestowed upon us. It is not just the organization or the community we are responsible towards, we are accountable to ourselves and our conscience as well. There are still lots to be done for the community. With such a wonderful team of professionals I am sure we can achieve our objectives and stand up to the expectations of not just the community and the society but the entire humanity.”

The President in consultation with GC will now decide about the other Key positions to be filled within the organisation which includes the administration, Finance, Projects etc.

The new resolute team of the Governing Council include various stalwarts from different professional fields. The list includes Aamir Idrisi, a Software Engineer turned Businessman and Social activist from Mumbai [President], Syed Najeeb-Ur-Rahman, Sales & Marketing Professional, Mumbai. [Gen. Secretary], Mohd Shahanshah Ansari, Sr. Software Engineer from Bangalore, Soheb Selia, Senior Manager - MIS & Analytics, Mumbai, Javed Mohammed Syed, Entrepreneur and Designs Professional, Mumbai, Ms Naaz Khair, Social Development Professional, Delhi, Dr. Shaesta Abdul Aziz Mehta, MD (Medicine) & DNB (Gastroenterology), Mumbai, Ms Shamina Shafique, Political, Educational and Social Activist, Lucknow, Abdul Rahim Ahmed, Civil Engineer and Project Technical Manager, Chennai, Ms Asira Tarannnum, Senior Correspondent, MIDDAY, Indore, Mohammed Fahad Alam, Telecom Engineer, Gorakhpur (UP), A.K. Mohammed Azad, Entrepreneur, CEO, REACH ICS and Managing Partner VEE Connect Systems, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Syed Mubasshir Hasan, Project Manager, Hyderabad, Ms Arfa Khanum, TV Journalist, presently working as Senior Anchor with Rajyasabha TV, Delhi, Abrar Syed, Research and Development Professional, Pune. Special Invitees to Governing Council includes Ms Rubina Jawed, Advocate, Supreme Court, Delhi,  Aatif Naseem Ansari, Area Manager & Sales & Marketing Professional, Mumbai.

Madhya Pradesh govt. to give wheat/Re. 1 per kg & rice/Rs.2 per kg to poor from June

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: With an eye on impending elections of the state legislative assembly at the end of this year the rightist Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), ruled Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced to provide wheat at Re. 1 kg and rice Rs.2 per kg from fair price shops in the state from June 2013 to poor families. Iodized salt will also be provided to BPL (Below Poverty Line) and “Antyodaya” (poorest of the poor) families at the rate of Re. 1 per kg in all development blocks.

The Chief Minister made the announcement while addressing village development convention at Gandhwani in Dhar district of the state on Saturday. He said that in order to ensure that benefits of development reach poor common people, the State Government has decided to provide wheat at the rate of Re. 1 per kg and rice Rs.2 per kg to poor people instead of earlier Rs.3 kg and Rs.4.50 per kg, respectively. Now, a poor person will be able to buy one month’s food grains from one day’s wages.

It may be noted that Madhya Pradesh will be the first state after Chhattisgarh to provide food grains at such special concessional rates. Half of Madhya Pradesh’s population i.e. 35 millions people will benefit from these special rates. These include 0.8 million Antyodaya and 5.6 million BPL families.

This important and public-oriented decision will put a burden of Rs.3600 millions (66.67 millions USD) additional subsidy on the state exchequer. At present, 35 kg food grains are being provided to "Antyodaya" and 20 kg to BPL families per family per month under Mukhyamantri Annapurna Yojana. The State Government is already bearing burden of Rs.4400 (81.48 million USD) subsidy on this.

The decision by the State Government to provide food grains at special concessional rates to BPL and Antyodaya families is one step ahead of proposed Food Security Bill of the Union Government. Under the Bill, it is proposed to provide wheat at the rate of Rs.2 kg and rice Rs.3 per kg.

It is also noteworthy that Madhya Pradesh is receiving food grains from the Union Government for BPL families including wheat at the rate of Rs.5 kg and rice Rs.6.50 per kg. The State Government is already bearing expenses on transporting food grains for providing them to beneficiary families and commission of cooperative and lead societies.

In another important decision, the State Government also decided to provide iodized salt to BPL and "Antyodaya" families at the rate of Re. 1 in all 313 development blocks of the state with effect from June 2013. At present, this facility is being provided in only 89 tribal-dominated development blocks in the state.

The aim of the decision is that iodized salt becomes available not only to tribal families, but all BPL and "Antyodaya" families at reduced rates for health and nutrition.

This important decision will put additional burden of Rs.400 million (7.41 million USD) per annum on the State Government, which was Rs.250 million (4.63 million USD) only earlier. Thus, the decision to provide iodized salt at special concessional rate of Re. 1 per kg to all BPL and "Antyodaya" families in the state will put a total burden of Rs.650 million (12.04 million USD) per annum on the state exchequer.

Meanwhile, main Opposition Congress party in the state legislative assembly has said the chief minister's announcement of providing wheat at Re 1 per kg and rice at Rs.2/kg is an attempt to hijack the Federal Government's scheme of subsidized food programme to be implemented under the Food Security Act. The programme is going to be implemented in the country by the Congress-led UPA government, according to a statement from the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ajay Singh issued on Saturday.

"However, this is style of the chief minister to take the credit of centre's scheme and he has done it again," Singh said.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi unveils plans for US$500 million global halal fund

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , , , , , , ,

IMO News Service

'Halal Opportunities Fund' to secure integrity of halal food supply chain as global sales, including pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, hits US$2.1 trillion annually

Dubai: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi today revealed plans for a US$500 million private equity fund focused on global opportunities in the halal industry.

The fund is expected to be raised in stages and the aim, through a "roll-up" strategy, is to acquire, convert (non-halal companies) and grow companies in the food and agri-business sectors so as to have global reach as well as offer a diverse range of high quality quick service restaurant (QSR) products and services.

"There have been global developments in halal awareness, standard and certification, manufacturing and trade in the last decade. It is now time to create strong investment opportunities to enable more participation in this important halal sector," said Badawi at the launch of Azka Capital at the eighth World Halal Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Rushdi Siddiqui, Co-Founder and Managing Director Azka Capital
Azka Capital is a private equity advisory firm focused on halal industry initiatives. It has assembled a team which has a thorough understanding of the global halal food landscape including working with certifying industry bodies from 55 countries through its strategic partnership with the International Halal Integrity Alliance.

"Azka is advised by world-class practitioners from the halal food sector, and Shariah advisory services from Dar Al Shariah and Amanie Advisors and Mr Badawi is Chairman of its Advisory Board," said Rushdi Siddiqui, Co-Founder and Managing Director Azka Capital.
The highly fragmented nature of the industry would benefit from a consolidated strategy while Azka's proprietary access to deal flow makes it uniquely positioned to capitalise upon this opportunity," he added.

Siddiqui went on to explain that food security has become an integral part of national security policy in part because many Muslim countries are net importers of food and generally do not control the supply chains and, hence, the integrity of their food.

Dr. Abdullah Badawi
"The recent scandals including horsemeat in Europe and, more alarmingly, the evidence of pork DNA in halal beef by the very multinational companies responsible for halal integrity should be unacceptable to all halal stakeholders. Paying lip service to food security is wholly inadequate. The Halal Opportunities Fund is the first opportunity for investors and policymakers to take concrete steps toward securing the integrity of their food supply," he concluded.

Currently the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) nations' food imports exceed US$40 billion annually, an overwhelming majority of their consumption. That figure will doubtless increase substantially with current estimates forecasting that the global Muslim population is expected to increase from 1.6 billion at present to 2.2 billion by 2030.

Commenting on Shari'a compliance, Dr Nasser Saidi, Member of Azka Advsiory Board, Founder and President of Nasser Saidi & Associates and former Chief Economist of Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) said: "Ethical, Shari'a compliant investors have typically relied on various 'filters' to weed out non-compliant publicly available investment opportunities. But these filters are not always reliable and cannot keep up with new opportunities and are typically limited to developed markets. There is a better way: direct equity investing in vetted industries and activities on an international basis. That is what is being offered to investors through the Halal Fund. This is major innovation in the ethical investment space."

About Azka Capital

The Azka Capital team has assembled an experienced and multi-functional team who have a thorough understanding of the global halal food landscape including working with certifying industry bodies from 55 countries through its strategic partnership with the International Halal Integrity Alliance. The team has vast experience with the halal sector combined with several billion dollars in executed deals, access to proprietary deal flow, and structuring transactions with Islamic modes of financing and investing. Azka's strategy is focused on acquiring, integrating, incubating, growing and exiting companies. Please visit at www.azkacapital.com

About Dar Al Sharia

Dar Al Sharia (DAS) is a Dubai-based subsidiary of Dubai Islamic Bank, the world's first Islamic bank. Over a period of 9 years, DAS developed the reputation as authentic and one-stop solution centre for all Islamic finance advisory and consultancy needs. It specializes in Sharia-compliant structuring and documentation for all types of Sukuk, Syndication and Funds, besides product development, restructuring, R&D for innovative products, Sharia audit and training, conversion of conventional financial institutions into Islamic ones, and the other allied services. It has a well-qualified team of Sharia scholars, lawyers, Sharia researchers, financial analysts, capital market specialists, accountants, bankers and other professionals working under the guidance of Dr. Hussain Hamed Hassan, a highly learned Sharia scholar and head of several Sharia boards in the region.

Amanie Advisors Sdn Bhd

Amanie Advisors Sdn Bhd (''Amanie'') is a Shariah advisory, consultancy, training and research and develop­ment boutique for institutional and corporate clientele focusing on Islamic financial services. It has been established with the aim of addressing the global needs for experts' and Shariah scholars' pro-active input. This will ultimately allow the players in the industry to manage and achieve their business and financial goals in accordance with the Shariah Principles.

Amanie is guided by its international Shariah Supervisory Board consisting of four globally renowned Shariah scholars namely;
i) Dr Mohamed Ali Elgari (Chairman) (Saudi Arabia)
ii) Dr Muhammad Amin Al Qattan (Qatar)
iii) Dr Mohd Daud Bakar (Malaysia)
iv) Dr Osama Al Dereai (Kuwait)

About KasehDia

KasehDia is a communication and consulting firm focused on the application of Islamic values in a universal and contemporary setting. Established in 1999 KasehDia has provided high level consultations for businesses and governments and created game changing global forums and content. KasehDia became the world pioneer in concept-based (halal) communication and developmental systems.

In 2003 it launched an integrated global initiative on the 'halal industry', a term it coined. It involves strategic projects in media, consultancy, training, business forums and lobby efforts on the global scale. Its key halal initiatives include The Halal Journal, Halal Food Guide Series, Muslim Travel Guide Series, the World Halal Forum, Global Halal Lead Auditor Training and lead consultation for the Government of Malaysia for the Halal Chapter in Malaysia's 3rd Industrial Master Plan (2006-2020). Due to its prolific and cutting edge ideas, KasehDia and its initiatives have been featured on the cover of TIME magazine, The New York Times, Asia Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Forbes, Guardian UK and Bloomberg.

About Nova Capital

Nova Capital Global Markets LLC is a leading middle market global investment bank. Nova offers a full range of investment banking services to middle market companies, and specializes in facilitating transactions in emerging markets. Nova provides clients with access to all forms of equity, senior debt, subordinated debt, convertible debt, and mezzanine financing. For more information about Nova please visit: www.novacapitalglobal.com.

For more information, contact:

Darhim Hasim,
Managing Principal,
darhim.hashim@azkacapital.com or info@azkacapital.com

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