Headlines

Sawt Al Noor: Interactive Quran App released

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 19 July 2013 | Posted in , , ,

IMO News Service

For the Ramadan, the first interactive learning of the Holy Quran based on
Voice Analysis is coming on mobiles and tablets.

Lille: Studio Redfrog in partnership with Saudi Telecom Company
STC and Intigral are proud to celebrate the Holy month of Ramadan with the release of Interactive Quran - Sawt Al Noor, the first mobile and tablet application for Tajweed learning, based on its unique and major technological innovation, Voice Analysis.

Through Voice Analysis feature, a technological innovation deployed for the first time for the Holy Quran, Muslims from all around the world will be able to enhance and improve their recitation of the Suras through exercises guided by the most renowned reader of Tajweed, Sheikh Abdul Basset Abdassamad. Tone and rhythm are detected and analysed by the application Interactive Quran - Sawt Al Noor and a percentage score detailing the right or wrong pronunciations is given at the end of each Sura.

Interactive Quran - Sawt Al Noor also offers an evolutionary teaching by explaining the main rules of Tajweed to achieve a better level of understanding. Users of the application will discover the Tafseer, or exegesis of the Verses, for a better interpretation of the Holy Quran. By a simple click on a Verse, the full explanations and detailed comments will pop up. Muslims will listen to all 114 Suras recorded in Arabic and in full HD audio. More recordings of Qaris will be available soon to listen to different versions of the Texts of the Holy Quran.

The application also allows Muslims to meet other active users via the community of Interactive Quran - Sawt Al Noor on the website and on the main social networks. They can compare the results of their Tajweed exercises, share their thoughts and tips, and discover cultural and religious
themes allowing them to grow within a community of enthusiasts.

Interactive Quran - Sawt Al Noor is available worldwide on many smartphones and tablets, for Android through Google Play, for Nokia through OVI store and on Blackberry through Appworld…. And is coming soon on Apple Appstore. Menus are available in English, Arabic and French.

For details, visit at https://www.sawtalnoor.com/

Islam On Demand iPhone App debuts on the App Store

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

On-demand access to an extensive catalog of enriching lectures about Islam.

IMO News Service

Islam On Demand, producer of original high-quality video content since 1995, successfully launched its long-anticipated iPhone app on July 9th, the first day of Ramadan. Anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch can download the app and get instant access to a unique catalog of inspiring lectures by Hamza Yusuf, Suhaib Webb, Jamal Badawi, Jeffrey Lang and countless others. The app arrived at the onset of the Islamic holy month in which Muslims worldwide not only fast during the daylight hours, but also strive to increase their spirituality through extra prayers, good deeds and general studies of the religion. The Islam On Demand iPhone App helps to achieve all of this as it provides lectures on a wide variety of important topics such as fasting, faith, seeking knowledge, living Islam in the West, marriage, domestic violence, gender relations, raising Muslim children, peer pressure, basic beliefs, hijab, women in Islam, etc. Learn about Islam while getting things done on-the-go. Watch videos on the bus, train or cross-country flight. Or listen to audio on road trips, daily commutes or while working out. The app is free to download and includes more than 2000 titles that can be played without advertisements. All the content is organized within a robust and clean interface that makes it a cinch to find titles quickly and easily. You can search, sort, rate and filter titles, save favorites and share titles with friends. You can also add comments and download titles from iTunes.

Although there is no shortage of video streaming apps already available on the App Store, the Islam On Demand iPhone app distinguishes itself from all other others by providing 100% original and professionally produced content, not user-uploaded content which may lack quality, and reliability in terms of authentic and accurate Islamic information. All lectures featured are by trusted and well-known speakers, most of whom are balanced Muslim scholars and/or activists. A second distinguishing feature are "premium" titles that can't be found on any other mobile app. Delivered by such speakers as W.D. Muhammad, Karen Armstrong and Umar Faruq Abdallah, these "premium" titles can be unlocked with an optional In-App Purchase. Lastly, the Islam On Demand iPhone app is unique as it provides a handy chapter feature that divides each full-length lecture into multiple stand-alone titles, making it easier to pinpoint relevant content and making load times much faster. The app can be downloaded at http://www.islamondemand.com/app or by searching for "Islam On Demand" on the App Store.

Islam On Demand is a professional video production company that focuses on original, high-quality lectures about Islam and Muslims. Since 1995 Islam On Demand has been a service to anyone interested in learning the true teachings about Islam. Lectures recorded are geared towards a Western, English-speaking audience. Many of the speakers are Western-born and/or Western-raised, and many are converts to Islam.

Islam On Demand iPhone App set to launch on first day of Ramadan

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 20 June 2013 | Posted in , , ,

On-demand access to a vast and original catalog of enriching lectures about Islam.

IMO News Service

Islam On Demand, producer of original high-quality video content since 1995, is excited to announce the launch of its long-anticipated iPhone app. After 4 years of development the app goes live on the App Store on July 9, 2013, the first day of Ramadan.

"Anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch can download the app and get instant access to a unique catalog of inspiring lectures by Hamza Yusuf, Suhaib Webb, Jamal Badawi, Siraj Wahhaj, Abdal Hakim Murad and countless others," said a press release.

The app arrives at the onset of the Islamic holy month in which Muslims worldwide not only fast during the daylight hours, but also strive to increase their spirituality through extra prayers, good deeds and general studies of the religion.


According to the press release, the Islam On Demand iPhone App helps to achieve all of this as it provides lectures on a wide variety of important topics such as fasting, faith, seeking knowledge, living Islam in the West, marriage, domestic violence, gender relations, raising Muslim children, peer pressure, basic beliefs, hijab, women in Islam, etc. Learn about Islam while getting things done on-the-go. Watch videos on the bus, train or cross-country flight. Or listen to audio on road trips, daily commutes or while working out. The app is free to download and includes more than 2000 titles that can be played without advertisements. All the content is organized within a robust and clean interface that makes it a cinch to find titles quickly and easily. You can search, sort, rate and filter titles, save favorites and share titles with friends. You can also add comments and download titles from iTunes.

"Although there is no shortage of video streaming apps already available on the App Store, the Islam On Demand iPhone app distinguishes itself from all other others by providing 100% original and professionally produced content, not user-uploaded content which may lack quality, and reliability in terms of authentic and accurate Islamic information. All lectures featured are by trusted and well-known speakers, most of whom are balanced Muslim scholars and/or activists. A second distinguishing feature are "premium" titles that can't be found on any other mobile app. Delivered by such speakers as W.D. Muhammad, Karen Armstrong and Umar Faruq Abdallah, these "premium" titles can be unlocked with an optional In-App Purchase. Lastly, the Islam On Demand iPhone app is unique as it provides a handy chapter feature that divides each full-length lecture into multiple stand-alone titles, making it easier to pinpoint relevant content and making load times much faster. The app can be downloaded at http://www.islamondemand.com/app or by searching for "Islam On Demand" on the App Store," the press release stated.

Islam On Demand is a professional video production company that focuses on original, high-quality lectures about Islam and Muslims. Since 1996 Islam On Demand has been a service to anyone interested in learning the true teachings about Islam. Lectures recorded are geared towards a Western, English-speaking audience. Many of the speakers are Western-born and/or Western-raised, and many are converts to Islam.

For details, get in touch with Islam On Demand at: info@islamondemand.com

Indian researcher Bilal Habib wins UNESCO Yong Scientist Award for Uttarakhand ecological programme

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 12 June 2013 | Posted in , , ,

New Delhi: Indian researcher, Bilal Habib is one among the winners of 2013 UNESCO’s Young Scientist Award.

He was conferred the award for his ‘Design and Development of an Ecological Monitoring Programme’ in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Uttarakhand, India, involving local communities.

The 2013 winners of the Young Scientists Awards and of the Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management have been announced by the International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, which met at UNESCO’s Headquarters from 27 to 30 May 2013.

The MAB programme has been granting awards of up to $5,000 each since 1989. These grants are intended to encourage young researchers to undertake work on ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity. An additional two special awards have been financed by the Austrian MAB Committee since 2010.

The other winners of the year 2013 awards

Julio Blas Garcia (Spain) for Praying for the “white dove”: How do wildlife populations perceive massive human pilgrimages;

Angela Camargo (Mexico) for An assessment of the effectiveness of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve to preserve populations and functionality of large bodied herbivorous mammals;

Hilaire Kouakou (Côte d’Ivoire) for Biodiversity protection project at the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve;

Atieh Kazemi Mojarad (Iran) for Sustainable development of Biosphere Reserves through the promotion of key ecosystem services;

Claudia Munera (Nicaragua) for “Biocultural design” as a framework to identify sustainability issues in Rio San Juan Bisosphere Reserve and
Fortress of the Immaculate Conception, Nicaragua.

The $6,000 Michel Batisse Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management was attributed to Marisa Coetzee and Harry Biggs (South Africa) for their case study concerning the South African Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve.

Biosphere reserves are areas that promote innovative solutions to issues of conservation, ecology and sustainable development recognized as such by UNESCO’s MAB Programme.

(Courtesy: IndiaFirstEdition.com)

Middle East coronavirus: No reward for man behind discovery

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

Dr Zaki was fired from his job for alerting the Saudi authorities to a new and unknown strain of viral infection

By Tariq A. Al Maeena

There is a new and deadly threat making its round in Saudi Arabia. It is the Mers, or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and what makes this virus an ominous threat is that the majority of those who had contracted the disease died from it.

Saudi Arabia seems to be ground zero for the new Mers coronavirus, as more than 80 per cent of the cases involved Saudis and residents in the Kingdom. The disease is a distant relative of Sars, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome which created global concern back in 2003 when it was transmitted from animals to humans in Asia and killed some 800 people.

And not unlike Sars, the Mers virus causes an infection deep in the patient’s lungs, and infected patients end up suffering from a high fever, coughing and difficulty in breathing. Mers carries a stronger punch in that it also leads to rapid kidney failure.

Although the numbers of afflicted have been relatively small with some 40 confirmed cases so far, there is always an element of concern as four million Muslims from around the world had travelled to Saudi Arabia already this year to perform the pilgrimage known as Umrah, and public health experts are already worrying about whether the influx of pilgrims will lead to spreading Mers around the globe.

But the discovery of Mers carries a story behind it. The man behind it, Ali Mohamed Zaki, discovered the deadly pathogen last June at a microbiology lab at a private hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Zaki had been following up the case of a 60-year-old man who was admitted with a lung infection and died 18 days after symptoms started. When he couldn’t identify the virus, he sent a sample abroad to Ron Fouchier, a Dutch researcher who was able to sequence it. The report that came back was chilling. It was a coronavirus, one never seen before in humans.

He stated that he sent samples and clinical data to the Saudi health ministry, which did not act on his concerns. He also posted a warning on the international website on infectious disease reporting that had been used during the Sars outbreak - ProMED, which alerted doctors in the UK to reevaluate their diagnosis on the world’s second-known case. “It was a new kind,” Zaki said, worried about his own exposure to the virus. “I became afraid it could (spread) like Sars and I listed it on ProMed.”

Doctor Zaki is no stranger to discovering new viruses in Saudi Arabia. In 1994 he was the first specialist to correctly isolate and identify the dengue fever generators in Saudi Arabia. He found discovered another virus, a tick-borne virus that killed two people in 1995.

Rather than being honoured or felicitated for his ground-breaking discovery, Dr. Zaki was summarily summoned and fired from his job! His crime? To alert the pertinent authorities of a new and unknown strain of viral infection. As he states it, his discovery had upset officials at Saudi ministry of health. “They were very aggressive with me. They sent a team to investigate me,” he said. “And now they force the hospital administration to force me to resign.”

For whatever unexplained reasons, the ministry officials were upset at Zaki’s alerting international health organisations of a potentially fatal viral strain. “It was the president of the hospital that said they don’t want me to stay there anymore,” Zaki stated. “The hospital president told me - They are forcing me to fire you. If you come back, they will make big trouble for you and for our hospital.”

“I am not happy to be fired but I did the right thing for humanity,” Zaki said. “I don’t regret about anything.” Doctor Zaki was sent back to his home in Egypt. He said he will now assist the Egyptian government in the testing of sick people returning from the Hajj for possible infections of the MERS.

The Saudi deputy minister for public health at the health ministry, Ziad Memish justified the ministry’s displeasure with Dr. Zaki because he had “either intentionally or inadvertently not followed national established procedures”, forgetting to add that Dr. Zaki had indeed sent the same ministry samples of the virus to alert them.

Clearly upset of suggestions that the viral home base is Saudi Arabia, Ziad Memish is quick to point out that the virus could be found globally if it was being properly tested for. “If you ask why we’re picking up more cases in Saudi recently, it’s because we’re just looking harder and harder. We’re processing hundreds of samples a day from different parts of the country. So far we sampled 1,500 or 1,700 samples in the whole of the country. I don’t think any country in this world is doing that much testing. And I guess the more you look the more you’ll find. I would not be surprised if it’s in every other country in the globe.”

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota bluntly refuted that argument by stating that, “Such a statement merely blames the rest of the world for the continued problems with transparency by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in responding to this public health crisis.”

This unfortunately has been the trend with some Saudi government officials who believe that being candid is giving away well-kept secrets. Better to bury their heads deep in the sand. They seem to forget that they live in a global village, and cannot isolate the Kingdom from the rest of the world.

[Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@talmaeena]

(Courtesy: Gulf News)

Pew survey finds Muslim internet users have more favorable view of Western culture

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 02 June 2013 | Posted in , , , , , ,

Washington: The latest international Pew Research survey released Friday found that Muslim internet-users abroad had a more favorable opinion of Western culture but did not impact their faith.

The poll across 39 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East found a median of 18 percent of Muslims respondents access the world-wide-web at home, for work or during school. But internet use varied widely geographically, ranging from just two percent in Afghanistan to almost 59 percent in Kosovo.

The poll honed in closely on the views of Muslims in 25 countries and found those that go online were more likely to enjoy Western entertainment, including movies, music and television and "somewhat less inclined to say that Western entertainment is harming morality in their country," according to Pew in a statement. These findings remained constant regardless of age, education or gender.


The difference between internet users, who tended to be younger and higher educated, and non internet users were significant in countries like Kyrgyzstan, Senegal, Russia and Indonesia, with Muslim internet users at least 30 percent more likely to have a positive view of the Western entertainment.

While the poll found the internet did not make much difference in Muslims' interpretations of their faith, the internet-savvy "somewhat more likely" to see common ground between Islam and Christianity.

(Courtesy: KUNA)

Innovation and invention in modern Muslim world

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

By Rushdi Siddiqui

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower" -- Steve Jobs

The Islamic Development Bank, held their 24th Annual Symposium in beautiful Dushanbe, Tajikistan, invited me to chair a session on ‘Innovating for Economic Development in IDB Member Countries’.

At first glance, the words ‘invention’ and ‘innovation’ are not typically associated with the Muslim world.

The word ‘imitation’ (or reverse engineering) often is linked to the third world, Muslim majority countries. Yes, there is some element of innovation involved in reverse engineering, from pharmaceuticals to electronics, but it’s not something to be proud about to entice, say, foreign direct investment. The bigger question is, how much longer should the Muslim world continue to flatter via imitation, i.e., a ‘Xerox’ society.

Innovation and invention have been traditionally linked to Islam/Arab/Muslims since the birth of the religion, but something happened along the way. We have become a society of buyers over builders, consumers over savers, exporters of capital and importers returns, hence, an unsustainable situation.

The first revelation to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was about reading:

Translation: In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

Read: In the name of your Lord Who created.
Quran: 96:1

Created man from a clot of blood
Quran: 96:2

Read: And your Lord is the Most generous
Quran: 96:3

Who taught [man the use of] the pen
Quran: 96:4

and taught man that which he did not know
Quran: 96:5

Reading implies searching and seeking information to the far corners of the world, from Arabia to China and beyond, that yields knowledge, which eventually becomes wisdom. A wisdom that gets applied for betterment of man (individually), society (collectively) and the stewardship for future generations.

Thus, our predecessors have contributed to sciences, humanities, culture, arts, mathematics (algebra, logarithm, system of numbers), etc., and acknowledged by the likes of Prof Carole Hillenbrand’s book, ‘What the East taught the West.’

Furthermore, there is a ‘mobile’ museum, 1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilisation, .. ‘…1001 Inventions uncovers a thousand years of scientific and cultural achievements from Muslim Civilisation from the 7th century onwards, and how those contributions helped create the foundations of our modern world.’ It has been showcased in the GCC: Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Dhahran.

There are number of theories, from conspiracy to self destruction, on what happened along the way for the Muslim world, as a whole, to become a ‘knowledge deficient society.’ We only have to look at the small number of patents filed form the Muslim world to the US Patent/Trademark Office, countries aspiring to become knowledge based economies in their 2020/2030 vision planning, countries establishing entities, like Malaysia’s Talent Corporation, to bring back the emigrated human capital, and so on.

Innovation formula?

There is neither an exact formula for innovation nor a firm timetable with milestones. Instead, innovation is about establishing a fluid enabling infrastructure, with accountable benchmarks, customised to the local situation. Some of the elements of enabling include:

• Initially government leads but removes itself from being a market participant to avoid crowding out affect, hence, a sunset privatisation of innovation
• Availability and accessibility of risk capital PLUS mentoring, Muslim majority countries are about collateral based finance, including Islamic banking. Therefore, funds alone will not result in success, but MUST include mentoring to include, say, opening doors to suppliers/customers, legal documentation, etc.
• Culture and cluster that is focused addressing national/regional needs, hence, one size fits all becomes a ‘white elephant’ project.
• Education both university oriented (reverse linkage) and harnesses power of street smarts via inclusion to offer market demand, not just based, solutions.

First step

The IDB has the credibility and financial muscle to possibly fast track innovation in selected Muslim countries like the UAE, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc., however, it must take a stakeholder approach.

It must understand that the constraints of a country and work within those challenges to offer a market based solution as innovation is not only about economic development, but, as important, economic diversification.

The benchmarks must be reasonable and measurable with two important milestones: employment generation and raising the gross national income (GNI).

Thus, as a first step, IDB should create an Innovation Council (IC) for several selected member country as pilot programmes. The members of the IC may include financiers, regulators, businessmen, academics, etc., to give 360 degree review of the landscape and a pathway forward towards leading instead of following.

[Rushdi Siddiqui is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Azka Capital, a private equity advisory firm focused on halal industry initiatives, and an Advisor to Thomson Reuters on Islamic finance and the halal industry.]

(Courtesy: Khaleej Times)

IMO EXCLUSIVE: Gujarat Muslim brothers invent Magnetic Fly Wheel for vehicles

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 13 May 2013 | Posted in , , , , , , , ,

By Danish Ahmad Khan

New Delhi: In a remarkable achievement two Muslim brothers from Gujarat Ayubkhan Babi and Liaqatalikhan. Babi have invented a new magnetic device which promises to save the world from global warming and climate change.

The newly invented "Magnetic Fly Wheel", as the device is currently named, is also aimed at air pollution control as well as fuel efficiency.


Ayubkhan Babi said that he has already applied for the patent of "Magnetic Fly Wheel" vide Application No. 1397/MUM/2010.

Mr. Babi claims this invention to be the first of its kind in India, and probably the world.
The two brothers have electrical and mechanical engineering. They also have keen interest in the history of Islamic Science and Technology.


The invention is based on kinetic motion energy by rotating magnetic field. Mr. Ayubkhan Babi said that the invention would significantly help in saving fuel by 10 to 50 percent. It also helps in reducing pollution by 50 percent. The invention would also help save engine from warming and saves engine oil for a long time. The invention would also help save earth from global warming and climate change.

"The basic purpose of this invention is to save fuel, increase performance, increase average approximately 10 to 30 percent, pollution remains under control, reduces engine load and reduces warming of the engine," said Mr. Ayubkhan Babi.


The magnetic fly wheel device can be used in cycles, scooters, cars, buses, trucks, electric vehicles, electric motors, water pumps, handicap cycles, wind mills, generator sets, railways, earth movers equipments, agricultural equipments, and other kinds of movable machines.

The magnetic fly wheel device can be applied on either front or rear wheel without any changes in the model or engine. With the use of this device the vehicles have no jerks, are vibration free, gain extra pick up, and significant reduction in physical stress.

[Danish Ahmad Khan, a Delhi-based Journalist, is Founder-Editor of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at indianmuslimobserver@gmail.com or on his Mobile # +91 9868778453]

Confce of Islamic World Academy of Sciences begins in city

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 08 May 2013 | Posted in , , , ,

OIC chief attends the event opened by Prime Minister

Dhaka: Bangladesh is hosting the 19th International Conference of Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) to share scientific and technological innovations with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the four-day conference at the Sonargaon Hotel on Monday. Outgoing Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, IAS President and former Prime Minister of Jordan Dr Abdel Salam Majali, Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni and University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Prof Dr AK Azad Chowdhury also spoke on the occasion, reports UNB.

Thirty-three renowned experts from 23 countries are participating in the two-day conference, said officials at the Foreign Ministry. There will be a Dhaka declaration after the conference ends on Tuesday.

The prime minister told the inauguration ceremony that the use of science and technology could help the Muslim countries achieve the goal of growth and prosperity, and emphasised cooperation among the Muslim countries in this area.

“The use of science and technology can help realise the goal of growth and prosperity. Cooperation of Muslim countries in this area will be extremely useful,” she said.

The theme of the 19th International Conference of the IAS is ‘Achieving Socio-economic Development in the Islamic World through Science, Technology and Innovation’.

“Backwardness of Muslim countries in the areas of science and technology is one of the factors that aggravate our difficulties,” Hasina said, stressing the need for scientific and technological innovations to address challenges like food, water and energy insecurity.

“Experience-sharing among the Muslim countries as well as undertaking projects towards capacity building in ICT may be a useful stepping stone in the right direction,” she said.
In response to the need for an international organisation that can play such a role, the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) came into being in Amman (Jordan) in 1986 as the academy of sciences of the 57-countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the OIC science community worldwide.

Bangladesh has been hosting the Islamic University of Technology (IUT), a subsidiary organ of OIC that is contributing to human resource development of the member states, to build Islamic scholars and scientists.

As part of its ‘Vision 2021’, Hasina said, her government aims to establish a knowledge-based and technology-dependent Digital Bangladesh by the year 2021 when Bangladesh will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of her independence.

She recalled the golden age of the Muslims and contribution of Muslim scholars to the evolution of science and technology-- astronomy, mathematics and every discipline of physical science, including medical science.

Hasina mentioned that the Muslims have a rich history for which they can be proud of. “Our past generations have done their part well and it is now our job to build further on their achievements.”

The 19th International Conference of Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) is expected to be an occasion for the host country to showcase its best practices and successes in the broad areas of science, applied science and technology like healthcare delivery system, pharmaceutical industry, renewable energy and e-service.

The conference will highlight issues like science, higher education, energy, public health, pharmaceuticals, climate change, environment, sustainable technology and joint research.

(Courtesy: Dhaka Tribune)

Going high-tech to keep the world's Muslims halal

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

By Jessica Griggs

Hamzah Mohd Salleh's lab is trying to ensure the world's 1.6 billion Muslims can stick to their religion's strict halal rules.

Can you explain the concept of halal?

In Islamic law, there are things that are allowed, known as halal, and things that are forbidden. In terms of Islamic dietary laws, things that are forbidden include pork, products derived from pork, and alcohol. But many products are in a grey area. Muslims are advised to only consume things which are clearly halal.

What type of research do you do?

My colleagues and I aim to find ways to detect non-halal materials in products that are to be certified halal. Our chemists check for porcine DNA or an unacceptable level of alcohol, for example. We also try to find alternatives to forbidden ingredients, such as gelatin made from fish skin instead of from pigs. Our research assists the halal industry – estimated to be worth trillions of US dollars per year globally – and the religious organisations that certify products as halal.

Does halal go beyond food?

Yes, it extends to cosmetics, personal care products and pharmaceuticals, to name but a few. Most capsules for medicines contain gelatin, for example. More and more pharmaceutical companies, at least those in the Muslim world, are trying to source gelatin from halal sources. And Muslims want to know whether the lipstick they wear or the lotion they put on their skin is acceptable. We are also looking at the food animals eat, so whether it is OK to use a pig's body parts as animal feed, and whether pig hair is permissible for use in, for example, a pastry brush.

Are there other areas of active research?

We are working on making sure the processes used to make drugs are halal. To make vaccines and other proteins, you need to culture cells in a bioreactor. To increase the density of the cells you can use microcarriers – insoluble particles that the cells congregate around – usually made of porcine gelatin. I'm developing a microcarrier that works in the same way but is made of halal materials. The next step will be ensuring that nutrients given to the cells to make them grow are also permissible.

Halal slaughter involves cutting the animal's throat with a sharp knife, before draining the blood. Does your work inform this area?

The Malaysian halal regulatory body doesn't encourage stunning before slaughter, but since the country imports meat from countries such as Australia and New Zealand, where stunning is required, guidelines have been drawn up. These detail the current to be used and how long it should be applied, based on an animal's weight. We want to detect if guidelines are violated. So we are trying to find biomarkers – increased levels of hormones or enzymes – that are produced if an animal is overstunned, to make sure that the electricity is only used to stun rather than kill.

Do you think the growth of halal science is because halal certification is big business?

That's one reason. There are great opportunities for companies to address the needs of Muslims around the world. If you fulfil the requirements and accommodate those needs, that is OK, even if the driving force behind this is profit.

(Courtesy: NewScientist.com)

Abdul Gaffor Qureshi develops world’s first hi-tech electronic salah time indicator

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 19 March 2013 | Posted in , , , , , ,

[Indian Muslim Observer in association with India’s only Muslim Lifestyle magazine 'Muallim' brings a series on achievers of the Muslim community. Under this series, Representative of Muallim magazine interviewd the Gem of the community and us at Indianmuslimobserver.com, present it to our readers through our platform.]

Achievers – Innovator
Abdul Gaffor Qureshi
Founder & CEO – Abdullah’s Electronics Centre, Mumbai
Invention – World’s first hi-tech electronic salah time indicator

“When we use sophisticated machines in our houses, why not use the technology for Allah’s houses too?” This thought paved the way for the development of world’s first hi-tech electronic salah time indicator. In an exclusive chat with Muallim, 44 years old Abdul Gaffor Qureshi, Founder and CEO of Abdullah’s Electronics Centre, Mumbai discusses about his invention.

Give us your profile.

I started my schooling from Municipal school in Marathi medium till SSC. A diploma holder in Electronics Engineering and Advance Diploma in Computer Software and Programming,
I could not study further due to financial constraints. I gave up the idea of pursuing masters and thus took up a job.

I tried my best to excel in whatever task was assigned to me and soon was promoted to the highest possible position. I was reporting directly to the owner. After 10 years I excused myself from the post to start my own venture.

How Abdullah electronics and its products come into existence?

I used to watch that the caretakers of the mosque would manually change the salah time after every prayer, I used to wonder while we have used sophisticated machines in our houses, why not use the technology for Allah’s house too? However, at that point of time I never thought that I will be the founder of the manufacturing unit in future that produces automated salah time indicators, hi-tech equipment for the masjids and madrasas.

In 1997 I registered Abdullah’s Electronics to carry out my own business, but not the salah indicator but something else in the electronics field. Again finance was the issue, I could have easily taken a loan but I was determined that In Sha Allah I will start my firm which will be free from the evils of interest.

Thus finally in 2002, I myself ventured into manufacturing Salah indicator units for masjids and then for the Madrasas, Homes, offices and now have recently invented rakat counters for Masjids.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

I am of the belief that opportunities camouflage in challenges. I am of the habit that whenever
I come across a challenge I pray to Allah and try to overcome it to the best of my ability.
In College English language was a problem. With Allah’s help and sheer planning and determination became master of the English language. In the initial phase of the Abdullah’s Electronics, people rejected my products; I struggled for almost seven years, but never gave up. I used to run English coaching classes to support my dream project of developing a hi-tech machine for our mosques. A loss for continuous seven years and all against me and my decision never deterred me from giving up and finally my patience and perseverance paid up.
Alhamdulillah now the salah indicator of Abdullah electronics has market all over India and abroad.

Kindly brief us more about your English Classes?

Islam teaches to think positive and negativity should never crop in a believer’s mind. During my college days I worked hard to master the English language, so to generate finance for my venture I started coaching people in spoken English. My students were doctors, officers, engineers, lawyers, graduates, students, etc. I gave up teaching to focus completely on my dream. Even now I get calls from my students asking to start it all again.

When did you decide to keep a beard?

During my job tenure, I used to offer my salah in an office where my boss, the owner of the company was a Jain. He never objected because he was more than satisfied by my work.

Any negative experience you faced due to your sunnah or Muslim identity?

No in fact never ever faced such situation.

What are the product variants?

As of now we produce, salah time indicator for masjids and madrasas, Rakat counter for masjids and madrasa and Salah time indicator for homes and offices.

Future Plans?

I faced language problem and came up with a solution for many.

I dreamt of making a hi tech product and came up with automated salah counter.

I tried to get finance on pure shariah parameters but could not find any, Insha Allah, I don’t know when but I will surely work on it so that others may benefit from it.

(Courtesy: Muallim Magazine)

Al Qamar Academy outstanding institution in developing scientific attitude among students: CMPA

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 12 March 2013 | Posted in , , ,

IMO News Service

Chennai: The Centre for Media & Public Affairs (CMPA) celebrated the birthday of Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, the first human to journey into outer space on March 9 at Chennai.

Born on March 9, 1934 in Klushino, Russia, Yuri Gagarin is recognized as the international hero in the history of space science! On April 12, 1961, aboard the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1), Gagarin became both the first human to travel into space, and the first to orbit the earth. Yuri Gagarin's birthday is celebrated all over the world by students, academicians, scientists and media people as the most significant day to promote Scientific Outlook among the young people!

"On this significant day, the Governing Body of Centre for Media & Public Affairs (CMPA) has chosen and announced Al Qamar Academy, Chennai, as the Outstanding Institution (2013) in developing scientific attitude among the students," said V. Venkat Raj, National President of CMPA.

Al Qamar Academy provides world class education with the aim of creating independent thinkers, all round personalities and creative human beings who fully contribute to their society. CMPA congratulates and appreciates the commendable vision and accomplishments of Al Qamar Academy in promoting scientific outlook and methodical values among the budding new generation!

[V Venkat Raj, National President, Centre for Media & Public Affairs, Chennai 600033 can be contacted on Mobile # 09884554656. Website : http://www.cmpaindia.com]

Fifth of women in India and Egypt think internet use is 'inappropriate'

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 02 February 2013 | Posted in , , , , , ,

One in five women in India and Egypt believe that the internet is not appropriate for them to use, according to a new study looking at female web use in the developing world.

By Emma Barnett

These women, polled by technology company Intel, believe that engaging online would not be useful for them and that if they did, their families would disapprove.

In some communities, societal norms restrict women from walking on the street and certainly from visiting cybercafés – which may be the only means of accessing a computer and therefore the web.

The report, entitled ‘Women and the Web’, found that the women in these countries who did use the internet were almost three times as likely as non-users to report that their families were ‘very supportive’ of their web usage – while non-users were six times more likely to report family opposition.

Intel commissioned the report to collate hard data to illustrate the large internet gender gap in the developing world – with a view to understanding the reasons for the divide in order to help more women get online in these countries through scholarships and community learning programs.

It also found that on average, across the developing world, nearly 25 per cent fewer women than men have access to the web, and the gap soars to nearly 45 per cent in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa.

"With the powerful capabilities the internet enables - to connect, to learn, to engage, to increase productivity, and to find opportunities - women's lack of access is giving rise to a second digital divide, one where women and girls risk being left further and further behind, "said Melanne Verveer, ambassador-at-large for Global Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State, which helped compile the report. "My hope is that this report will catalyze action to close the internet gender gap. This will require knowledge, leadership, determination and collaboration among governments, public institutions, corporations, and civil society to tackle the wide range of gender-specific barriers to internet access."

"There is wide acknowledgement around the globe that women's empowerment is a basic issue of social and economic justice and also essential to wider social progress and sustainable development," added Michelle Bachelet, under-secretary-general and executive director of UN Women, which also worked with Intel to collate the findings.

"This report demonstrates that expanding access to the internet and technology for women and girls is critical to their improved education, increased opportunity and ability to foster entrepreneurship in countries around the world."

Those behind the report are now calling for governments, companies and communities to work together to help double the number of women and girls online in developing countries from 600 million today to 1.2 billion in three years.

It is estimated that getting another 600 million women online in this part of the world could potentially contribute an estimated $13bn to $18bn to annual GDP across 144 developing countries – because of the transformative power of the web on business and education opportunities.

The study’s findings are based on interviews and surveys of 2,200 women and girls living in urban areas of four focus countries in the developing world; Egypt, India, Mexico and Uganda.

Currently in the UK 16 million people do not have basic digital skills – despite many of them having an internet connection in their homes. Additionally 7.9 million Britons have never been online – a figure which has come down from 11.5 million in the last four years. Martha Lane Fox, the Government’s digital champion tasked with getting more people online around the UK, and the chair of Go On UK, a charity which helps people get online, says that even in Britain more of the non-web users are women – especially older women.

“It is such an important issue – and when the UN called the internet a ‘basic human right’ a few years ago, I couldn’t have agreed more,” Lane Fox told The Telegraph.

“No country can afford to be complacent about such matters – even in Africa when we keep hearing stories of smartphone usage having shot through the roof. We cannot assume that the market will sort this sort of gender divide out. It needs a coalition of governments – to set the tone and lead, the private sector and citizens to offer peer support to step in.”

Lane Fox believes the most effective way of getting people online for the first time is through peer to peer support. “Most people who haven’t been online always say ‘what’s the point?’. But they cannot know what they are missing out on until someone they trust recommends a particular service – whether it’s ordering food online or speaking to a member of the family over Skype – and shows them. Only then does the naysaying stop,” she said.

(Courtesy: The Telegraph)

Sunny Solar Outlook For Middle East and North Africa

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 21 January 2013 | Posted in , , , , ,

By Laurie Balbo

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are expected to bring 3.5GW of solar capacity online by 2015: Saudi Arabia and Turkey lead the way.

A new report published by Green Tech Media (GTM) Research pins the surge from today’s near-negligible production on rapidly rising energy demand spurred by MENA economic expansion, population growth, and urbanization. It helps that the region is supersaturated with sunlight.

Factor in rising opposition to nuclear development and growing public awareness of the environmental sins of fossil fuels, and solar’s sunny reception makes perfect sense. Plus renewables, specifically concentrated solar (CSP) and photovoltaics (PV), would provide a secure domestic substitute for state-subsidized oil-generated electricity.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey are expected to account for 70 percent of MENA’s total demand; each nation has unique motivations and strategies.

Conservation of oil for export is driving Saudi’s solar targets: 16GW of PV and 25GW of CSP by 2030. Turkey’s swing towards solar is a defense against its tenuous reliance on imported Russian and Iranian gas.

Saudi production will be based on large-scale ground-mounted arrays and CSP plants. Turkey will go with commercial and industrial rooftop PV segments.

In 2005, Turkey was the first MENA nation to establish a feed-in tariff (FIT), a limited program that failed to create adequate demand to attract large manufacturing. But with a retooled FIT in place and favorable renewable energy policies, Turkey’s predicted to experience significant PV demand. The nation has a 2023 solar target of 3GW, a planned capacity that GTM believes they’ll significantly exceed.

Abu Dhabi is moving forward with Shams-1, the world’s largest single-unit (100MW) concentrating solar power plant. Qatar plans to install 1.8 GW of PV capacity by 2014 and Dubai aims to source 5% of its power supply from solar by 2030. Then there’s Abu Dhabi’s EU-backed Desertec project.

Jordan and Morocco also have solar ambitions.

Last December, Jordan announced the kingdom’s first FIT. Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Commissioner Mohammad Hamid told pv-tech,“With rising international oil prices, the government has been looking for ways to reduce electricity demand and costs. We found that the best way to achieve both is by encouraging Jordanians to go solar.” ERC claims that solar could save individuals and small to medium sized businesses up to 70% on their monthly bills.
Intentionality is great, but implementation demands strong policies and reasonable regulatory frameworks. In a region experiencing dramatic political and social change, solar’s future remains dubious.

The report was authored GTM Research analyst Scott Burger in collaboration with the Emirates Solar Industry Association. Burger presented highlights at the World Future Energy Summit on January 16th, describing major stakeholders, overall market structure, and long term outlook of each solar market in the region.

(Courtesy: Green Prophet)

Two Saudis invent bone screw from date stones

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 15 December 2012 | Posted in , , , , ,

Jeddah: The European Patent Office (EPO) granted a patent to two Saudis for their invention of a nail ‘screw’ made of natural minerals, including date stones.

The screw is similar in its formation to the structure and composition of bones because it contains carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and minerals.

It is used in surgical procedures to install fractured bone segments, where it settles into the bones and begins to decompose naturally in the body after a period of 30-45 days, from the date of the surgery. Full decomposition requires a period of six to nine months.


“This new screw is a scientific leap. It differs from other metal screws made of chrome or other metals in many ways; the most significant modification is the fact that it is made of natural and biodegradable elements that decompose in the body without any complications or adverse effects,” said a joint statement by the two inventors Mohammed Assa’edi and Nagwan Abu Khair.

This screw requires no further surgery to remove it from the body, after the fractured bone has healed. It is also easy to use and cheaper in price.

Khaled Saleh, director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Licensing Program at King Saud University, said the program received the patent application and submitted it to the EPO.
The scientific team at the university will commence clinical trials on the screw, in preparation for its use, locally and globally.

The EPO consists of 146 international entities. Countries with important scientific and commercial discoveries have been selected for this purpose, including the European Office for Patents, the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

(Courtesy: Arab News)

Eco-Hybrid Car From Qatar Unveiled During Climate Talks

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

By Tafline Laylin

Counteracting overwhelming criticism leveled at Gulf nations for their lack of environmental accountability, the Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD) unveiled a low-emission, lower fuel consumption hybrid car-concept that can be applied to any vehicle.

“The engine captures thermal waste energy that is utilized to generate electric energy to run hydrogen fuel cells using the potable water as a source for the gas,” GORD announced in a press release. Initial studies show that this technology emits 50% less carbon monoxide (CO) & nitrous oxide (NOX) than conventional oil or natural gas-powered vehicles.

GORD unveiled their Eco-Hybrid car at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP18) meetings in Doha.

The car’s fuel cell is powered in part by a thermoelectric generator which recovers heat from exhaust-gases and a thin film photovoltaic that is installed on the sunroof. This system slashes fuel consumption by approximately 20% and it can be applied to existing vehicles as well.

Explaining the difference between GORD’s Eco-Hybrid vehicle and other hydrogen power concepts, GORD Chairman Dr. Yousef Al Horr said that their car requires no extra electricity since it produces its own by capturing wasted thermal energy.

“Also, bulky compressed-hydrogen cylinders are a thing of the past, as our concept accomplishes the production of hydrogen by using water through fuel cells integrated within the car,” he continued.

That Qatar is the world’s biggest per capita consumer of fossil fuels has been a source of valid criticism, but GORD, the non-profit governmental research subsidiary of Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, is helping to clean up the country’s act.

Dr. Al Horr said that hosting the COP18 conference gave GORD the opportunity to showcase the fruits of their R&D labor.

“The hybrid concept that is fully designed, built and installed in Qatar, is a landmark achievement and testament to GORD’s alignment with Qatar National Vision 2030,” he said.

“This indigenous product demonstrates Qatar’s capability to reduce environmental impact and to make a contribution to sustainable development.”

(Courtesy: Green Prophet)

Qatar aims to build biofuel industry on sea organisms

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 14 December 2012 | Posted in , , , , ,

Qatar University revealed the first public details of its research into sustainable aviation biofuels made from marine organisms, to coincide with the opening of the UN climate change conference COP18 in Doha, the Qatari capital.

The state-backed £7.8m biofuel project is the only one of its kind in the region. Run by the university in collaboration with Qatar Airways and Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), it is now into its third year. In that time, the research team has developed state-of-the-art facilities from labs that were nothing more than empty rooms.

The project aims to produce affordable, sustainable biofuels that do not use valuable arable land and that can be produced efficiently in the punishing climate of Qatar. These fuels should provide an alternative source of energy for use by the airline industry. If successfully produced on a commercial scale, the discovery will have international ramifications - significantly reducing one of the industry’s biggest fixed costs and providing an environmentally-friendly fuel where carbon dioxide is recycled rather than accumulating in the atmosphere.

Team members isolated multiple forms of single-celled photosynthetic organisms (cyanobacteria and microalgae). These are locally unique but abundant and grow well in the extreme heat, strong sunlight and highly saline waters of Qatar.

The research group successfully grew these cultures in the lab, extracting the fat – lipids – to make fuel, while carbohydrate is used to make bioethanol. They then scaled up their tests to tanks of 1,500 litres situated outdoors at QU’s research farm north of Doha, where they grew the cultures successfully for six weeks. Now the experiment is being scaled up even further, to specially-designed 25,000-litre outdoor research ponds.

The step after that will be construction of a pilot plant on a much larger scale – 1.5million litres. The aviation industry has been keenly following the project throughout its stages.

Project manager Hareb al-Jabri said: “We are at an exciting and critical point in this project. If successful, it could help transform the international aviation industry.

“This project is a real example of successful state-backed collaboration, to find sustainable ways of enabling Qatar’s development which will have an impact across the world.”

Biofuels project director Dr Malcolm Potts added: “We are working with micro-organisms which can be grown anywhere, and which are particularly suitable to the environment of Qatar. We are trying to develop a biofuel industry here, using new technologies not found anywhere else in the world.

“We are also delighted that more than one-third of the 20-strong international Biofuel team comprises Qatari graduates of QU who bring to bear a high level of skill to the project.”

(Courtesy: E&T Magazine)

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