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The Biblical Roots of the Palestinian Problem

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 30 September 2011 | Posted in , , , ,

Jehovah's Promise

The Zionist Jews claim that Jehovah promised the whole Land of Palestine exclusively to them, as they are the Children of Abraham. The relevant scriptural verses are:

Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. (Genesis 12: 1-2)

And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. (Genesis 15:7)

And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. (Genesis 17: 8-9)

Chiefly relying on a twisted interpretation of the above verses in their scripture, the Zionists claim that God's eternal covenant with Abraham and his descendants means that Israel must have undivided political sovereignty over all the land mentioned there, which according to them stretches from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates in Iraq.

In fact, this Zionist claim is erroneous from the Bible's own point of view, because God's covenant was given to Abraham and to all his descendants; not merely to Israel. Abraham is 'the father of many nations', not only one nation as can be seen from the following:

Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you." (Genesis 17:3-6)

We know that the Bible speaks of Abraham's two sons: His firstborn was Ishmael, and the second was Isaac. The Arabs are the children of Ishmael and the Jews are the children of Isaac. The mother of Abraham's son Ishmael was Hajar the Egyptian, who had received a covenant promise:

"I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count." (Genesis 16:1-15)

"Those descendants were Arabs, settling in Arab territory." (Genesis 25:13-18)

But the Zionists argue that only the children of Isaac deserve to live in the Land promised to the Children of Abraham; because Ishmael's mother Hajar was only a handmaiden of Sarah, so (they say) her children have no right to their homeland.

(Sarah) was childless for many years. She gave her handmaiden Hagar to Abraham so he could have children, and Hagar bore Ishmael. At the age of ninety, Sarah was told she would give birth and she laughed because she thought she was too old to have children. Sarah gave birth to Isaac (Yitzhak). Later Sarah drove Hagar and Ishmael away, saying "the son of this hand-maiden will not inherit together with my son, Yitzchak." (Bereshit 21:10)

The above claim of Zionism is deliberately aimed at denying their Arab brethren any right to the land of their birth. It is interesting to see how the architects and believers in Zionism twist the divine command to establish their unreasonable claim. For this, they blatantly refuse to honor this law in the Torah:

"If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: but he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his." (Deuteronomy 21: 15-17)

It is obvious here that the status of the mother of the firstborn does not in any way disqualify him from inheriting his rights (which is the double of what the other son gets, according to this provision) from his father. But the Jews as well as some sects of Christians sideline this simple rule of the Torah, just for denying the Palestinians the right to the land which God gave them as well as to their brethren, the Children of Isaac (or Children of Israel).

The Jews believed in the superiority of their race, because they thought that their status as the 'Chosen People of God' could mean nothing else. The Quran (though it has sometimes been criticized by some Jews as anti-Semitic very clearly states that the Children of Israel are the Chosen People of God. But the Quran clearly denies the claim that this means that God will consider the Jews as His favorites in derogation of others. Their special status only means that God chose them as the special carriers of His Message; for He chose from them a large number of prophets, for instance.

As a community of people, the Jews were unmindful of the mission entrusted with them, and compared to others they were very 'casual' in the matter of obedience to God and His prophets. (Exodus 32:1- 9) The way the Jews treated their prophets could be understood from the experiences of those prophets, as described in the Old Testament of the Bible. Muslims and probably Christians too would say that this was the reason why God made them undergo severe hardships again and again.

The point to be made here is that the Jews, Christians and Muslims are all followers of the same religious tradition; and those in the Middle East irrespective of their religion are the Children of Abraham, whether through Ishmael or Isaac. Neither the Jew, nor the Christian nor the Muslim can deny this, since it is clearly stated in their respective scriptures. One may find in this a ray of hope for the settlement of the Middle East crisis. But of course, when the politics of racial or tribal pride or what could be crudely put as "herd instinct" rules, things get worse and worse as it happens now.

The People, the Land and the Torah

It was in the 19th century, following a trend that began earlier in Europe, people around the world began to identify themselves as citizens, parts of a 'nation-state' project, and to demand national rights. At this time, the Jews living as citizens of different countries for centuries could have remained in their respective countries, as the Christians and Muslims were doing. But two factors conspired against this. One, their consciousness of the Promised Land to which the Jewish fundamentalists had been calling all Jews to return; and two, the bitterness they felt against the lands where they had been treated as outcasts so far. (Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, Harper Collins, London, 2001, p. 150)

The Zionist movement began in 1882, with the intention of recovering what they thought to be the land 'exclusively' promised to the Jews by God. The extremists among them believed that they could live as real Jews only if they practiced all the laws in the Torah. This would be possible 'only' if they returned to the Promised Land; because otherwise the laws regarding farming and settlement, and politics and government could not be observed, for instance. (Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, p. 258)

The question that comes to the fore here is whether God actually wants us humans to uphold values of justice and truth in everything, while He supports His Chosen people to defy them in the matter of their unfortunate brethren. Of course, the Jews have always been able to find precedents in their own history to support their unjust policies (for instance the Book of Joshua, where Jehovah is reported to have supported a very brutal war against the Gentiles, to take away their land, their property and their lives). (Joshua 10:25)

The Zionist movement identified Palestine as the place for their new nation and started a wave of immigration from Europe for settlement there. At that time, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. According to Ottoman records, in 1878 there were 462,465 subject inhabitants of the Jerusalem, Nablus and Acre districts: 403,795 Muslims (including Druze), 43,659 Christians and 15,011 Jews. The great majority of the Arabs (Muslims and Christians) lived in several hundred rural villages. Jaffa and Nablus were the largest and economically most important Arab towns. (The Middle East Research and Information Project: Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict)

Until the beginning of the 20th century, most Jews living in Palestine observed traditional, orthodox religious practices, spending their time studying religious texts. Their attachment to the land was 'religious' rather than 'national', and they were not involved in the Zionist movement, which began in Europe and was brought to Palestine by immigrants.

Most of the Jews who immigrated from Europe lived a more secular lifestyle and were committed to the goals of creating a Jewish nation and building a modern, independent Jewish state. Zionism, or Jewish nationalism "was influenced by nationalist ideology, and by colonial ideas about Europeans' rights to claim and settle other parts of the world." (The Middle East Research and Information Project: Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict) But at the same time, the secular Zionists were cunning enough to make use of the religious fervor of the fundamentalists.

For fundamentalist Jews, the land and the people and the Torah formed a triad, each of which is holy. They considered it a religious duty to annex and occupy all the Promised Land(the borders of which God alone knows), no matter who owns it now. (The Middle East Research and Information Project: Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict) They believe that in this effort Jehovah is with them, as He was with Joshua. For this reason, to the Israelis world criticisms against their atrocities, or the UN resolutions against occupation of Arab lands, do not matter, whatsoever.

Is not it a paradox that the Jews who were the victims of a racial holocaust are now inflicting a similar racial holocaust on the Palestinians? When the Zionist leaders accuse the Palestinians of religious fundamentalism and terrorism, the whole of "the civilized world" believe them. But really, who could be more fundamentalist or more terrorist than the Zionists who openly encroach on Arab lands, demolish Arab homes, kill Arab men, women and children in the name of Jehovah?

(Courtesy: OnIslam.net)

French govt. shows interest in heritage conservation of 2 Madhya Pradesh cities

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The Government of France has shown interest in conservation of ancient heritages in two cities of central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh namely Bhopal and Maheshwar.

Members of a French delegation called on Madhya Pradesh Urban Administration and Development Minister Babulal Gaur here on Wednesday (September 28, 2011) and expressed their interest in this connection. The two-member French delegation comprised of Christian Lee Petit, Managing Director Urban Planning City of Rheims (France) and Benjamin Gestin, Culture Representative at French embassy in India. Ms Protima Dee, Project Manager, UNESCO India, New Delhi also accompanied the French delegation.

The Urban Administration Minister Mr. Gaur accorded a warm welcome to the members of the delegation. The delegation members informed the Urban Administration Minister that the French government is interested in working of projects for conserving and augmenting Bhopal city's ancient heritages like the French city of Rheims. The French government has identified two cities of Madhya Pradesh – Bhopal and Maheshwar – for conservation of their heritages under its Indian Heritage Cities Network (I.H.C.N).

The delegation members informed that the heritage buildings of Bhopal, which will be taken up for conservation and augmentation works, include Sadar Manzil, Pari Bazaar and three ancient reservoirs – Motia Talab, Siddique Hasan Khan Talab and Munshi Hussain Khan Talab.

Mr. Gaur urged the delegation also to undertake conservation and augmentation of Bhopal's famous buildings Taj Mahal, Benazir building and Taj-ul-Masajid as also Gwalior's heritages. The delegation gave assurance in this regard.

It may be mentioned that Urban Administration Minister Mr. Gaur had visited French cities Rheims, Lorient and Paris in September and October 2010. During his visit, Mr. Gaur had expressed desire for chalking out a programme for maintenance of heritages on the lines of Rheims city of France.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

Wedding dance with a history

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 29 September 2011 | Posted in , , , ,

Oppana dance is performed during Muslim weddings in Kerala. In some forms of this dance, women move in circles around the bride while men sing songs to receive the bridegroom.

By KDL Khan

Light mopla (colloquial term for Kerala Muslims) songs that suit the tempo of the dance are usually chosen for these dances. The songs of mappilappattu are sung by the group leader and then joined by the group.

Today, in every district of Kerala, there are Oppana troupes which can be hired for a price. Keralites settled abroad too make it a point to have Oppana troupes perform at their functions, thus giving it the status the other well-known dance forms enjoy. Musical instruments like harmonium, tamburine, cymbals and tabla are used as accompaniments for this dance form. There are two kinds of Oppana dance — Oppana Chayal and Oppana Murukkam. Though, predominantly performed by women, men too perform Oppana on certain occasions.

Owing to the entertaining quality of this dance form, it is not only performed during weddings, but also during stage shows. This new status for Oppana can be attributed to the encouragement it has received from the increasingly rich Muslim community and also to Indian educational institutions where Oppana is accorded as much importance as any other art form including Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Margham Kali, etc.

Oppana, in its modern form, owes much to U V Muhammad Ali who has done for Oppana what Rukmini Devi did for Bharatnatyam and Guru Birju Maharaja for Odissi. As a young boy growing up in Kozhikode, Muhammad Ali found himself fascinated by this dance form.

He then set about collecting information on the art form and gradually built up a repertoire of authentic Oppana songs. He even got old Muslim women to teach him traditional steps of Oppana. That was nearly 35 years ago. Today, Muhammad Ali is the last word in Oppana. His Oppana troupe has performed all over India and in Russia too.

He has also choreographed Oppana dance sequences in a number of films.

“I never thought I could accomplish so much. Neither did I intend to; all I wanted to do was show the world the real Oppana,” he muses. He is convinced that Oppana has the potential to entertain wider audiences. So be it.

(Courtesy: Deccan Herald)

Muslim fathers to pay marriage expenses of children, says HC

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Mahir Haneef

Kochi: All fathers are equal when it comes to the duties to their children, and Muslim fathers are no exception, the high court clarified this week. The court also held that those executing the law need not wait for implementation of Uniform Civil Code but can use the mandate granted by the Constitution.

Considering a writ petition by a Muslim father challenging a lower court order to pay expenses, Justice R Basant and K Surendra Mohan ruled that law interpreters need not wait for Parliament to enact the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

Until UCC is enacted, the interpretation, as a functionality of State consistent with the mandate of Article 44 of the Constitution, is applicable to all, the division bench held. Article 44 says that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.

The judgment was on a petition by a Muslim father who questioned a family court order directing him to pay the marriage expenses of his daughter. The family court ordered Ismail from Thrissur to pay Rs 10 lakh as marriage expenses and to attach 50 cents of land owned by him to realize the cash.

The contention of Ismail was that a Muslim father is not obliged to provide marriage expenses according to Shariah law. However, the court disagreed and ruled that the law specifies that it is the duty of the father to provide maintenance of children, and that the obligation is not limited to food, shelter, and other basic expenses.

The right or obligation to maintain unmarried daughter includes right or obligation to meet marriage expenses. This is applicable to all fathers, the court ruled.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

Madhya Pradesh to become best tourism state soon: Tourism Minister

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in , ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Tourism Minister Tukojirao Puar has said that the state will soon emerge as best tourism state in the country. Private sector and tour operators will have an important role in this.

Mr. Puar was speaking as chief guest at state-level Tourism Awards distribution function held at Hotel Jehan Numa Palace on the occasion of World Tourism Day on Tuesday. Chairman of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation Dr. Mohan Yadav, Deputy Chairman Santosh Jain, Principal Secretary Tourism Deepak Khandekar, Secretary and Commissioner Tourism Hariranjan Rao and Managing Director Pankaj Raag were the guests of honour on the occasion.

At the function, office-bearers of tour operators associations, officers and employees of the corporation and others were honoured for their contribution to promoting tourism. Three books and one print-aid were also released.

Mr. Puar said that Madhya Pradesh has made unprecedented progress in tourism sector during the last five years. It is a state where tourism has multiple hues. Here all kinds of tourism are available including religious, adventure, wildlife etc. The only requirement is full utilisation of this potential for which the proper infrastructure is being developed in the state. He said that private players and tour operators have to essay an important role in this connection. The days are not far off when tourism will be the biggest revenue-generating sector in Madhya Pradesh. He said efforts are afoot to provide best services available to tourists of all categories in the state. Air-taxi services have been started, which is going to yield good results. Madhya Pradesh will soon emerge on the map of world tourism prominently.

Corporation's Chairman Dr. Mohan Yadav said that concept of tourism is age-old in India. About 1400 years ago, Adi Shankaracharya had termed journey to Char Dham (four pilgrimages) as the biggest achievement of his life and had given the message that tourism increase life's experiences.

Managing Director Pankaj Rag informed that a target has been fixed to attract one percent tourists of the world to Madhya Pradesh under 12th Five-Year Plan. For this, attention is being given to aggressive marketing and infrastructure development.

Mr. Rag said that special attention has been given to development of less famous tourist destination situated around famous tourist places so that a tourist does not return from the main tourism destination in just a day and instead stays for some more days to enjoy all the nearby tourist places. He said that efforts are being made for making air-taxi link available between Agra and Khajuraho. Besides, film tourism is also being promoted. For this, a road show will be held in Mumbai in October.

Three books were also released on the occasion. One book is focused on Ratlam, Neemuch and Mandsaur, second on Bhojpur-Bhimbethka and third one on Omkareshwar-Maheshwar.

Deputy Chairman of Indian Association of Tour Operators Pradeep Sarkar said that Madhya Pradesh has become a very tourism-friendly state now. Its campaigns on radio and TV are quite impressive. Tour operators' attention towards Madhya Pradesh has increased due to road shows organised by Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation. Due to this, the number of tourist coming to Madhya Pradesh has risen. He lavished praise on air taxi and other tourism facilities in the state.

President of Association of Domestic Tour Operators Subhash Verma said lauded Madhya Pradesh government's effort to promote domestic tourism. He said that domestic tourism is not tourism alone, but also a source to promote national integrity and unity and generate employment. Madhya Pradesh has now become a leading state in tourism sector.

At the outset, the guests lighted a lamp to inaugurate the function. Mementoes were presented to the guests. Corporation's Deputy Chairman Santosh Jain proposed a vote of thanks at the conclusion of the function.

State Tourism Awards

Meanwhile, on the occasion, awards of various categories were given away to 36 persons for special contribution in tourism sector. They included Deepak Deva of Kuoni Destination India Management, Gurgaon, and Yadvendra Singh of Star Adventure Himalayan Sports Institute (Adventure Sports) in tour operator category, M.S. Gujral of Hotel Rishi Regency Jabalpur, P.J. Pillai of Welcome Heritage Narmada Jackson Jabalpur, Nadir Rasheed of Renipani Lodge Madai, Dharmesh Karippa of Hotel Chandela Khajuraho, and Anil Kumar of Ambrosia Hotel Fortune Landmark Indore in the hotel category. Tourist guides Lakhanlal Rajak and Ghanshyam Goswami, tourist operator Vijay Singh Parihar, and Mrs. Naseem Yusuf, Mrs. Arti Khedekar, Mr. Tahir in other special categories and Surendra Singh, H.S. Mohanta, B.P. Nagaich, Rajat Charkarvarti were also honoured on the occasion apart from Hoshangabad Collector Nishant Badbade at the Tourist Friendly Collector.

Similarly, officers and employees were also honoured with awards for putting in best services. They include S.K. Gupta, Ujjain; Ashok Sahu, Bhopal; D.S. Parihar, Indore; Rakesh Argal, Bhopal; Mrs. Mini Thomas, Bhopal; Yuvraj Padole, Nagpur; Vilash Purdare, Gwalior; Rudra Bahadur Khadag, Gwalior; Mohammad Rafi, Pachmarhi; Ram Bhuvan Gupta, Satna; Shyam Dave, Kota-Bargi; Ganeshilal, Khajuraho; Tejpal, Pachmarhi; Rajendra Tarul, Ahmadadbad; Shekhar Athle, Bhopal; Chandrabhan Rai, Bhopal; M.S. Rana, Orchha; S.A. Naqvi, Bhopal; Ajid Dhar, Kolkata; Ajay Sharma, Pachmarhi; A.U. Khan, Pachmarhi; and M. Joseph, Bhedaghat.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

The Pope vs. Muslims

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

An upcoming autobiography from press baron Conrad Black reveals that Pope Benedict lamented the 'slow suicide of Europe' because of Muslim immigration.

By Andrew Roberts

Buried away on page 48 of the former press proprietor Conrad Black’s superb, soon-to-be-published autobiography, A Matter of Principle, is the answer to a burning question that very many people have been asking for several years: What does the pope really think about Islamic immigration into Europe? What, in his heart of hearts, does the Supreme Pontiff of the world’s estimated 1.15 billion Roman Catholics truly feel about the future of Western civilization in a continent that has seen such large-scale Muslim immigration over the past half century?

Everyone remembers the massive international controversy surrounding Pope Benedict XVI’s lecture at Regensburg University in September 2006, when he quoted the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, one of the last Christian rulers before the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." There were riots in the streets of many Muslim countries, the Pakistani Parliament demanded a retraction, Christian churches were firebombed—including five in the West Bank and Gaza, our exciting new Palestinian state—and 100 Muslim clerics wrote an open letter criticizing the speech, even though all the pope was doing was quoting someone else. As security was stepped up around St. Peter’s, the Vatican issued an apology, saying that the pope "sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions."

Pope Benedict
Now, however, Lord Black’s authoritative and highly readable new memoir (full disclosure: I’m a dedicatee) reveals that at a small dinner party given at the home of Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter, the then–cardinal archbishop of Toronto, in 1990, the then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—now Pope Benedict—"lamented 'the slow suicide of Europe:' its population was aging and shrinking, and the unborn were being partly replaced by unassimilable immigrants. He thought that Europe would awake from its torpor, but that there were difficult days head." Black concluded that "Like other cardinals of my acquaintance (including our host), he was a far-sighted judge of important secular matters."

This four-man dinner party—the fourth was Cardinal Carter’s chancellor—of course took place over a decade before 9/11, and 16 years before Ratzinger would, as pope, speak at Regensburg, before apologizing and rightly pointing out that the offensive words had not been his but those of a long-dead Byzantine emperor. Since then, the Roman Catholic Church has been conspicuous by its absence in championing Western values against the cacophony of radical Islamic assertions. Where was the Vatican during the controversies over the Danish cartoons, for example, or the fatwa against Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or the Swiss minarets issue or the French hijab debate, let alone over the multifarious moral and ethical aspects of the global war on terror? It was most often nowhere to be seen, or else comfortably denouncing NATO and the Americans for "excesses." A strong statement by the Vatican this week opposing Palestine joining the comity of nations while still promising death to Israel, for example, would have been invaluable, but of course the modern, PC-obsessed Catholic Church is not about to display that kind of long-overdue wisdom.

Yet thanks to Lord Black’s fascinating book we now know what the pope really thinks, and indeed thought back in 1990, even before the last two decades of mass immigration into Europe from African and Middle Eastern Muslim countries. For the phrase "unassimilable immigrants" cannot refer to anyone else, because there was no large-scale immigration into Europe at that time from any other peoples who fit that description. The largely unassimilated Muslim populations of Germany, France, Holland, Italy, and Britain were undoubtedly what His Holiness was discussing, and in his (correct) view they represent "the slow suicide of Europe," or at least the Christian Europe for which he should be the prime spokesman. It was Arnold Toynbee who wrote in his multicivilizational work The Study of History that "Civilizations die from suicide, not murder." Now we know that the pope agrees with him, but only in private, not in public, just in case the reaction is too unpleasant.

Thanks to Lord Black’s fascinating book we now know what the pope really thinks.

The great thing about being the Vicar of Christ, who has the job literally for life and without the need to stand for reelection, is that you can say precisely what you believe without fear or favor from anyone terrestrial. You’re even the sovereign of a state, so no secular power can touch you either. So now should be the time that Pope Benedict XVI speaks in public about the phenomenon that everyone knows is true, but because of political correctness most of us shrink from saying. It's hard to think of better words than his own: the slow suicide of Europe is taking place in large part due to unassimilable Islamic immigration. In the meantime, Conrad Black has done us all a signal service in bravely quoting his true thoughts, rather than his own, on this most vital issue.

(Courtesy: The Daily Beast)

China turns to its Muslims to tap the West Asian halal food market

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

By Ananth Krishnan

When Chinese officials discovered a business opportunity in the fast-growing West Asian halal food market, they turned to Wang Meng, who prefers to introduce himself as “Sayyid” when he meets foreigners.

Twelve years ago, Mr. Wang, who is from China's Hui Muslim minority group, founded a halal food company in Beijing to cater to the city's Muslim community.

In a country where pork is the dominant meat — consumed in every restaurant and found on most dinner tables — Mr. Wang felt there was a crying need for a brand of food that ensured the strictest quality control. A brand, he said, that Chinese Muslims could trust.

“As a Muslim, I wanted to do something for my community,” Mr. Wang said. “So I started this business, from the heart.”

Today, Mr. Wang's Xiangjuzhai Foods Group is one of Beijing's biggest halal food suppliers, and has been approached by the government to play a role in its ambitious plan to build a dominant halal foods export industry to cater to West Asian markets.

With the support of the government, Mr. Wang's company will, next year, begin exporting its halal products to West Asian countries, Malaysia and Indonesia, at competitive prices that traders say will challenge dominant halal exporters around the world, including those from Brazil and India.

China's growing halal trade is only one part of a wider push to expand ties with the Arab world beyond oil, which makes up a bulk of the trade now. China is dependent on the region for its growing energy needs, importing 55 per cent of its oil.

This week, China launched its biggest effort yet to tap West Asian markets in Yinchuan, the fast-growing capital city of Ningxia, a dry desert land home to the Hui. Ningxia, where two million Hui Muslims live, making up a third of the population, is being developed into a “strategic centre” for China's West Asian trade push. The government is looking to leverage the region's religious and historical connections to the Arab world — Huis descended from Muslim traders who travelled to China on the Silk Road — to boost trade ties.

At a China-Arab States trade fair in Yinchuan this week, the government sought Arab investment in the construction of a $300-million industrial park, four five-star hotels and a number of infrastructure projects listed in its Five-Year Plan, announced earlier this year.

China's plans, in the food processing sector for example, will have an impact beyond the region. Mr. Wang said Ningxia was in the process of setting up a halal certification system — with Malaysian help, to boost its credibility — and had received the support of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. According to the local government, nearly 10,000 companies are now involved in Ningxia's $3.7-billion halal food and Muslim products industry.

Mr. Wang, of the Xiangjuzhai food company, said Ningxia's preferential policies for “Muslim products” had led him to invest in a factory near Yinchuan. With government support, low investment costs and huge infrastructure investments in Ningxia's processing centres, companies like his, according to many traders at the fair, will pose a serious challenge to the Brazilian, Australian and Indian players who dominte the halal foods market.

At this week's fair, he said, a number of Malaysian and Indonesian investors had expressed interest in his halal products, from traditional Chinese mooncakes to bread. Mr. Wang will also visit India later this year, to meet with potential trading partners.

“The halal market in China is growing every year,” he said, pointing to rising consumption and a fast-growing middle class. “But our focus from now,” he added, “will be overseas.”

(Courtesy: The Hindu)

IMO EXCLUSIVE: Bihar Ex-Minister’s nephew out to grab Wakf property

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | 28 September 2011 | Posted in , ,

By H.R. Ahmad

Gaya: The way the land-hungry people are occupying trust (wakf) land in Gaya district suggests that people have no fear for Almighty Allah. Those who donated thousands of acres of land in the name of Allah must have been God-fearing and pious and they did make a place for themselves in paradise by these philanthropic deeds. Their piey, if Allah willing, will pay off in the world beyond. But their progenies have failed to protect the wakf properties.

Jama Masjid, Gaya
Those who donated their property in the name of Allah also preferred to die unknown and unsung. Today, there are only a few people in Gaya who know that one Mir Abu Saleh had the grand Jama Masjid built at Sarai and donated a huge property worth crores of rupees for its maintainance. It has approximately 30 shops whose income comes at around Rs. 90,000 per month. It is spent on the maintainance of the mosque and the salary of its staff, said Aftab Noor, Secretary of Jama Masjid Gaya. Similarly, one Quazi Farzand Ahmad had madarsa Anwarul-Uloom built in the name of his only son, Quazi Anwar Ahmad, who had died in the prime of his youth.

But the biggest among all the donors was Babu Irshad Ali Khan of Bhadiya estate, who in 1918 donated 1000 acres of land including Irshad Manzil, now known as Plaza Market situated in the heart of Gaya town. The deed executed by Babu Irshad Ali Khan clearly says that 75 percent of the income has to be spent on the welfare of the poor, the downtrodden, widows, and orphans of the area and maintainance of madarsa and mosque and promotion of Islamic education in Bhadiya and its neghbourhood. The caretaker or mutawalli is free to spend the rest 25 percent on himself.

His son, Babu Mushtaque Ali Khan who happened to be its first caretaker sold a major part of the wakf property at a throwaway price for the sake of the girl whom her second wife had brought with her from Bhagalpur.

Interestingly enough, a few greedy and dishonest persons of Bhadiya and its surroundings not only bought valuable trust land in Sarma and Barachatti but also occupied wakf property. Recently, Ozair Khan, a close relative of Shakeel Ahmad Khan, who was energy and wakf minister in the Rabri Devi cabinet and also a minister in Laloo Yadav cabinet, staked his claim to Plaza Market also known as wakf No. 99. Shakeel Ahmad Khan has recently joined Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) in Bihar after dumping Laloo Prasad Yadav-led RJD. However, Wakf Board Chairman Mr. Irshadullah through an advertisement in an Urdu daily made it clear that Plaza Market is still a trust property and that the board has never permitted any caretaker to sell it.

Jama Masjid, Gaya
It may be mentioned that the Supreme Court in its recent judgement has also ruled that any property once donated can neither be bought nor be sold. In this way, the sale or purchase of any trust land or property done even in the past today stands null and void in the light of the apex court judgement.

There is, however, a long list of zamindars who before and even after independance donated their fertile land for the upkeep and maintanance of mosques and madarsas as well as the welfare of the downtrodden of the district.

To look after the trust (wakf) land is the sole responsiblity of the Sunni Wakf Board, Patna, that appoints a caretaker as per the deeds of the donors. But, the Wakf Board has not all along been honest enough to serve as the custodian of the trust property. As a result, the usupers have made a mess of the trust land in the district.

The list would be incomplete if Bisrampure madarsa is left out. Nooruddin Haider Khan, the scion of Babu Raziuddin Haider Khan of Imamganj whose aunt, Mate-Bar Bibi had donated more than hundred acres of land at Bisrampure under Imamganj block, sold a major portion of the trust land at a throwaway price after seeking permission from the board as he said and added that he spent the money on the maintainance of Bisrampure madarsa and mosque. But the locals say that the money was pocketed by Mr. Khan.

What is wort-mentioning is that there were only two madarsas in the district, including Anwaru-Uloom and Bisrampure that not only fed the students but also provided them everything. Anwarul-uloom is somehow running with public endowment but Bisrampure madarsa is in a shambles and on the verge of closure.

Land mafia has now set their eye on these valuable lands which, as S. Ahmad a senior journalist said, must be protected at all costs by the board. It is also the responsibility of the entire Muslim community to stand up against the mafia and protect the trust property.

[H. R. Ahmad is a Journalist based in Bihar. He is a Press Correspondent with Hindustan Times. He is also associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Bihar). He can be contacted at hafizruknuddin@gmail.com]

Hajj for persons living in Haram or Hill areas like Makkah and Jeddah

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

There are three kinds of Hajj:

1- Hajj-e-Tamattu’ (تمتع): To wear Ihram for Umrah from Meeqaat, remove it after Umrah and wear it again for Hajj. It is compulsory for Hajj-e-Tamattu’ that Umrah and Hajj should be done in the same Journey before returning home. (Qurbani is compulsory).

For example, a person who lives in Riyadh comes back to Riyadh after doing Umrah in the months of Hajj (Shawwal, Dhul-Qa’da and Dhul-Hajj) and he wants to perform Hajj in the same year, he is supposed to perform another Umrah, if he wants to do Hajj-e-Tamattu’.

2- Hajj-e-Qiraan (قران): To perform Umrah and Hajj with one Ihram. Ihram will be removed only after performing Umrah and Hajj. (Qurbani is compulsory).

3- Hajj-e-Ifraad (إفراد): To perform only Hajj (Umrah is not done in this kind) (Qurbani is not compulsory).

As there are three kinds of Hajj, there are three kinds of Hajjs also who come to Makkah to perform Hajj.

1- Aafaaqui (آفاقي) means one who lives outside the five Meeqaats fixed by the Prophet Mohammad SA, such as Riyadh or Madinah or any other part of the world. Aafaaqui can perform any of these three kinds.

2- Ahl-e-Haram (أهل حرم) means the persons living inside the Hudood-e-Haram like Makkah. Ahl-e-Haram are supposed to perform only Hajj-e-Ifraad.

3- Ahl-e-Hill (أهل حل) means the persons living between Meeqaat and Hudood-e-Haram such as the people living in Jeddah. Ahl-e-Hill can perform Hajj-e-Ifraad, all Ulamas are agree regarding this. Whereas there is difference between them regarding Hajj-e-Tamattu’ and Hajj-e-Qiraan for Ahl-e-Hill (أهل حل). The main reason of this difference is in the extraction of the meaning of ذلك لمن لم يكن أهله حاضري المسجد الحرام in the Ayah No.196 of Surah Baqra.

فَمَن تَمَتَّعَ بِالْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى الْحَجِّ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ذَلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ )البقرة: 196

(Allah says in this verse that if someone perform Hajj-e-Tamattu’, he should do Qurbani. If he is unable to do Qurbani then he is supposed to keep three fasts in Makkah and seven fasts after returning home. This directive is for the لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ.

There are some opinions in extracting the meanings of لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ, three of them are:

1) The persons living in Makkah.

2) The persons living in Makkah or living within the distance of Shar’ee Safar from Makkah.

3) The persons living inside the five Meeqaats fixed by the Prophet Mohammad SA.

Imam Abu Haneefa RA and some other Fuqahaas have taken the 3rd opinion that the persons who are living inside the five Meeqaats are not supposed to perform Hajj-e-Tamattu’.

Note:

1. All Ulamas agree that the directives of Hajj-e-Tamattu’ mentioned in this verse are same for the Hajj-e-Qiraan also. So the people living in Makkah cannot do Hajj-e-Tamattu’ and Hajj-e-Qiraan.

2. The people living in Jeddah should also avoid Hajj-e-Tamattu’ and Hajj-e-Qiraan in the light of third opinion.

3. The reason for preventing the people living in Makkah and the adjacent areas from doing Hajj-e-Tamattu’ and Hajj-e-Qiraan, is that the people coming from various parts of the world can perform Tawaf and Umrah as much as they want easily.

Summary:

1. Aafaaqui can perform any one from the three kinds of Hajj.

2. Ahl-e-Haram will not perform Hajj-e-Tamattu’ (تمتع ) and Hajj-e-Qiraan ( قران ), rather he will do only Hajj-e-Ifraad. All Ulamas are agree on this.

3. Ahl-e-Hill (أهل حل) should avoid Hajj-e-Tamattu’ or Hajj-e-Qiraan as there is difference between Ulamas and Hajj-e-Ifraad is better for them.

[Sent by: Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi, Riyadh. He can be contacted at mnajeebqasmi@gmail.com]

Madhya Pradesh stands at third position in wheat procurement

Posted by Indian Muslim Observer | | Posted in ,

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh now stands at third position in the country in wheat procurement. Last year, a record procurement of 49.64 lakh metric tonnes of wheat was made. In view of this, a target to procure 60 lakh metric tonnes of wheat has been fixed for the next year. All necessary arrangements for this are being made right from now.

According to State Civil Supplies Corporation, which is the main agency looking after wheat procurement in Madhya Pradesh, has intensified its activities in this connection. Corporation's Chairman Mr. Ramesh Sharma “Guttu Bhaiyya” Madhya Pradesh now stands third in wheat procurement after Punjab and Haryana. This year, payment to the tune of Rs. 6,300 crore was made to farmers who sold wheat on support price. The State Government alone paid a sum of Rs. 500 crore to farmers as per Rs. 100 per quintal bonus on wheat procurement. Besides, for the first time, payment of about Rs. 250 crore was also made as per Rs. 50 per quintal bonus announced by the Central Government. Incentive worth one month's salary was given to the employees connected with wheat procurement.

In comparison to last five years, maximum of four lakh 30 thousand metric tonnes of paddy was also procured on support price in the state.

Meanwhile, in view of even more large-scale wheat procurement next year, advance preparations have been started regarding availability of gunny bags, bank credit limit, transport etc. Contemplation has started for inviting tenders through area-wise division with the collectors' advice for making proper transport arrangements in procurement-dominant districts. Trucks carrying food grains under public distribution system will be monitored through GPS system.

Terms and conditions of tenders for supply of gunny bags are being made tougher. The concerning company will have to put its mark on gunny bags. This will help check black-marketing and ensure supply of high quality food grain to people after its procurement.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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