World News

  • Not in our name!

    Not in our name!

    A sick, evil and mindless attack on an innocent man. Islam is free from this and so is the Muslim community. The perpetrators of this kind of attrocity deserve not to be associated with the human race let alone to be associated with any one community. May the swiftest and strongest punishment be served on the perpetrators of this barbaric attack and may all of our communities not play in to the hands of all those who wish to divide us and create conflict.
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  • Global population of Muslims stands at 1.8 billion, predicted to reach 30% of the world’s total population by 2025
    They spent 102bn euros travelling in 2011, expected to spend 158bn euros in 2020

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  • California Muslims launch first US Halal food and Eid Festival

    By: Irfan Rydhan


    The Bay Area is home to some 300,000 Muslims, and with Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations just around the corner, Muslim foodies are gearing up to celebrate the state’s first “Halal Fest.” Dozens of vendors will sell everything from halal cupcakes to brisket soft tacos with all of the goodies prepared according to Islamic dietary standards.
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  • Muslims advised to be careful when buying leather goods online

    Muslims advised to be careful when buying leather goods online



    KUALA LUMPUR: Muslim consumers are advised to be careful when buying leather goods and tableware online fearing they contain haram (prohibited) elements.
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    Their culinary buzzword is provenance; they know their Jamie from their Nigella; and they have the spare cash to splash on eating out, if they could only find the right restaurants. The catch is that any meat they eat must be halal, on either religious or taste grounds.

    Meet the Haloodies, a growing group of food lovers who are bored of curries, fed up with kebabs, and long for nothing more exotic than a shepherd’s pie. Their increasing spending power has sparked a race among retailers, wholesalers and canny restaurateurs to carve out a chunk of a market that is worth about £420bn globally.

    This week an estimated 20,000 Haloodies will congregate in east London at the Halal Food Festival, the world’s first gastronomic celebration of halal produce. All of the UK’s major supermarket chains are sending scouts to help them find ways to exploit the trend. Attendees can browse food stalls offering anything from hot dogs and sushi to French and Moroccan dishes without worrying how the meat was killed or even transported.

    Imran Kausar, a doctor by training, who masterminded the festival, said British Muslims were no longer “economic migrants trying to make do [but] affluent and aspirational members of the middle class [who wanted to] expand their culinary horizon.” He added: “While typical British dishes have got more exotic, Muslims want the reverse. We want regular stuff like shepherd’s pie, which we see everywhere but we can’t try.”

    Contrary to stereotypes, not all those planning to go will be Muslim by faith: there is a small but expanding group of people who opt for halal much as they might choose free-range or organic meat. Simon Teal, 32, a scientist at Pfizer who lives in Wimbledon, London, explains why. “The meat has more flavour, and cuts that you flash fry or grill, like lamb chops, are more tender than non-halal meat. Plus buying halal gives me more confidence about where the meat has come from in the same way that buying something that is organic or free-range does.”

    Around 4 per cent of the UK’s population is Muslim, yet halal produce comprises more than 15 per cent of all meat sold in the UK, according to Saqib Mohammed, the chief executive of the Halal Food Authority, one of the two main organisations that regulate Britain’s halal food industry. “Some is exported but the rest is being consumed by non-Muslims,” he said, adding: “Educated non-Muslims are convinced that halal meat is more hygienic.”

    One company seeking to profit from Britain’s taste for halal, worth an estimated £3bn, is DB Foods, the country’s largest meat wholesaler. It recently converted one of its warehouses to producing halal meat and will this week launch a new online business, halal2go, to sell direct to consumers pledging 100 per cent traceability. “It’s a bit morbid but you can ring and check who slaughtered it,” said Zac Johnson, of DB Foods. The move is in response to “strong demand”, including from areas that “aren’t always high-Muslim communities,” he added. “Our end game is to be the halal Ocado.”

    Restaurant chains that are changing their menus include Pizza Express, which uses only halal chicken. One in five branches of Nando’s serves halal-certified chicken, and KFC is running a halal trial in about 100 of its outlets. The Meat & Wine Co steakhouse in Westfield Shepherd’s Bush even has a separate halal menu.

    Although halal is most often used in connection with meat, the word simply means “lawful” and refers to any object, not just food, or action or behaviour that is deemed permissible under Islamic law. The issue can be incendiary, however, on both faith and animal welfare grounds. Dr Kausar admitted he is braced for protests. “An element of society will use this to express their anti-Islamic sentiments,” he said.

    For meat to be considered halal the animal must be alive and healthy before it is killed, crucially with a single cut across the jugular. All the blood must be drained from the body, and the slaughterer must recite a special Islamic prayer as the animal is killed.

    The point that arouses controversy is whether the animal has been stunned first: stunning livestock is compulsory throughout the EU but most member states, including the UK, grant exemptions to Muslims and Jews. That said, Food Standards Agency data published last year shows that 84 per cent of all cattle and calves slaughtered by the halal method in the UK in 2011 were stunned first.

    Dil Peeling, of Compassion in World Farming, said: “It’s always sensitive. Halal principles could lead to better treatment of animals beforehand but there aren’t any assurances. We believe, and this is backed by science, that animal should be stunned before they are slaughtered and that can’t be guaranteed with halal slaughter, so that is a concern.”

  • By: Courtney Trenwith


    Dubai has long been known as the playground of the Middle East, where Westerners can drink in some of the flashiest bars in the world.

    But hotels are increasingly choosing to become alcohol-free zones in a bid to tap into the growing, and often lucrative, Islamic market, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and CEO Hamad Buamim said.

    Alcohol can be legally served in licensed hotels and sporting venues across the emirate and the liberal laws attract tourists and expats by the droves.

    But Buamim said the increase in the number of Muslim tourists, especially those cashed-up and coming from wealthy oil states such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, meant some investors were changing tact.

    “Certain hotels have started in the last few years where, for example, they don’t have alcohol served in the hotel,” he said.

    “This is by itself kind of qualified them, if we were to label them, to be halal hotels. But we’re starting to see more and more of these ones.

    “I would say the encouragement is really the investors themselves. Everybody nowadays they talk about Saudis as the biggest market coming to Dubai … and most of us known that Saudis, especially families, they like hotels with such [halal] labels.

    “I know they are limited but they are expanding. There is nothing from the government saying that ‘we need this much’ but we encourage investors to consider something like this.”

    The number of alcohol-free hotels remains a tiny percentage of the total rooms in Dubai but Buamim said at least one-third of all the tourists arriving were from Muslim countries.

    “Of course Muslim tourists are not necessarily in such [alcohol-free] hotels but this is becoming an opportunity,” Buamim said.

    “I remember Dubai always being marketed overseas with a certain lifestyle, maybe this can be also boosted more by going to other markets and marketing Dubai with different images.”

    Other cities, including places like London, also are beginning to tap into the Islamic travel market.

    Thomas Reuters global head of Islamic finance Sayd Farook said MENA markets represented 60 percent of global tourism expenditure, creating enormous business opportunities for cities worldwide, not only in Islamic countries.

    “Imagine the influence that catering to the Muslim markets can have on types of tourism, whether it’s in Dubai or it’s in the UK or it’s in America,” he said.

    Other Gulf cities already have numerous alcohol-free hotels as well as dry zones.

    Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are completely dry, while in December 2011 alcohol was controversially banned at Doha’s Pearl Qatar.

    The ban has been blamed for subsequent falls in revenue and numerous restaurant closures months later, including an eatery owned by international chef Gordon Ramsey.

    However, general manager of retail leasing at the development, Ehab Kamel, argued the change attracted more visitors.

  • By: Musa Furber


    In The Grand Mufti of Google, Shahan Mufti writes about some of the e-mails he receives due to his name. The bulk of the article concerns a man in Sweden who is married to a woman in Pakistan who has asked the sender of the e-mail to forge his signature on divorce papers so that he can marry a Swedish woman in order to obtain citizenship. The sender of the e-mail wanted to know whether forging his friend’s signature on divorce papers would effect an actual divorce. Shahan writes that his answer was:

    “If you sign all these papers and send them to your friend in Sweden, this will actually lead to a divorce in the eyes of Allah. Allah does not differentiate between real and forged divorce papers.”

    He continues:

    “I felt my heart pound, terrified at the ease of my lies and their power to steer the course of others’ lives. As my finger hovered over the send button, I felt something tighten around me, and like Tahir, I was paralyzed by the decision in front of me. I saved the message in my drafts folder, where it sits today.

    I wished there were someone out there, anybody, who could tell me what I should do. For the first time ever, I felt the need for a fatwa.”

    It is very good that he did not send his answer. I would like to point out some of the problems with the claim that forging signatures does effect a divorce, and then provide a tentative answer to the question.

    First, there is the issue of who can issue divorces. Islamic law (fiqh) recognizes men as the primary issuers of divorce with judges being authorized to issue divorce or annulment in certain circumstances. It also recognizes that husbands can authorize a proxy to issue divorce in his stead. There is nothing in the article to indicate that the husband wanted a divorce or had authorized his friend to issue one on his behalf. Rather, the fact that the husband is considering forging divorce papers instead of obtaining a genuine paper through divorce is a clear indication to the opposite. Neither a judge nor the husband have issued a divorce. The husband’s actions indicate that he does not want a divorce and he has not assigned his friend a proxy to do so. Who, then, would have issued the divorce that it was claimed would have taken place?

    Second, there is the issue of whether a written divorce is the same as an uttered divorce. The default is that enacting and dissolving contracts is through uttering specific phrases. When it comes to divorce, Islamic law (fiqh) divides phrases into two categories: explicit phrases which mean nothing other than divorce; and allusive phrases which carry several meanings – with divorce being just one of them. A husband saying to his wife “you are divorced” is an explicit divorce; “go home to your parents” is an allusive phrase and does not constitute a divorce unless that is the husband’s intention. Some schools of Islamic law (such as the Shafi’i) treat phrases which are explicit when uttered as allusive when written. This is germane to the case mentioned in the article since, even if the husband had authorized the sender of the e-mail to be his proxy in issuing divorce, writing it out would not constitute a divorce unless the person writing it did so with the intention that it was to effect a divorce.

    Third, the statement that “Allah does not differentiate between real and forged divorce papers” is absurd. Imagine what the world would be like if it anyone holding a grudge could forge divorce papers against a married opponent, condemning the opponent (and his or her spouse) to punishment for adultery. If true, it would also extend to other fraudulent papers of dissolution – pretty soon almost every marital or financial partnership would dissolve.

    Those three points show some of the problems with the claim that forging the divorce papers effects an actual divorce. Whether forging divorce papers effects divorce is separate from the issue of the status of committing fraud, providing false information, and perjury – all of which are unlawful. So while forging and submitting those documents is unlawful, carrying them out does not effect a divorce though it will likely set the husband down a path that ends with at least one.

    So, what’s the fatwa? Forging his friend’s signature on divorce papers will not effect a divorce. It is, however, unlawful to lie, commit fraud, bear false witness, and to assist others in committing these and the many other acts mentioned or entailed in the details of the e-mail provided in the article. And Allah knows best.

    Many individual muftis and fatwa institutes offer their services online, as do many less specialized Q&A services. Google is not itself a mufti, but it’s a great search engine for looking them up.

  • By:


    About 100,000 primary school pupils in Scottish health board areas taking part in a pilot programme are being offered the Fluenz vaccine.

    It is given as a nasal spray rather than the traditional jab.

    But parents in Pollokshields, which has a high number of Muslim pupils, have complained the spray contains gelatine.

    A letter sent to Glasgow schools in the wake of concerns cites a World Health Organisation study in 2001 which indicated that Islamic and Jewish scholars had agreed pork gelatine was permissible within a vaccine.

    However, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), whose area contains most of Scotland’s Muslims, said it had put back the rollout of the vaccinations “following concerns raised by a small number of parents”.

    The programme is due to resume next week when parents will be offered a choice of the nasal spray or the more traditional jab.

    Scottish government public health minister Michael Matheson said flu was a “very serious infection” which needed to be vaccinated against.

    He said: “That is why, for the new programme for children, we are using a quick and painless nasal spray Fluenz, which has proven to be more effective in children and avoids the use of needles.

    “Parents should be reassured that the existing guidance issued in 2001 from the World Health Organisation, prepared by religious scholars, advises that gelatine of porcine origin used in vaccines and other medicines is judicially permissible as the gelatine in the final product is a completely changed substance.

    “Vaccination is voluntary and we want all parents to have the information they need to make an informed choice.

    “If parents continue to have any concerns, children can be given an alternative safe injectable vaccine which does not contain any porcine gelatine but provides less protection than the nasal spray.”

    He added: “The Scottish Government very much appreciates the help and advice provided by Muslim councils in response to these concerns and a letter has been issued to parents of children in Glasgow to offer reassurance about the use of the Fluenz vaccine.”

    A fifth of the Scottish population will be offered a free flu vaccine, including people aged over 65 and those with conditions that put them at greater risk.

    For the first time, all two and three-year-olds – about 120,000 children – will be offered the vaccine, as well as 100,000 primary school pupils in health board areas which are taking part in a pilot programme.

    The programme will be rolled out to eventually see about one million children aged between two and 17 have the chance to be immunised towards the end of 2015.

  • By: World Bulletin


    Police in Xi’an, the capital of China’s Shaanxi province, have seized more than 20 thousand kilograms of pork being sold off as halal beef products. The pork had been treated with chemicals such as paraffin wax and industrial salts to make it look like beef.

    Taiwan’s Want China Times reported that the factory sold between up to 2,000 kg to local markets. A police statement revealed that the factory processed the pork at night and sold it as beef the next day.

    This news has infuriated many Muslims in the region who bought the meat believing it was halal. Islam forbids Muslims from eating pork and other non-halal food.

    Scandals like this are not at all uncommon in China. Earlier this year the Medical Daily said that 904 people were arrested for “meat-related offences”.

    According to China‘s public security ministry. more than 22 meat products were found to have E. coli levels that “seriously exceeded standards”.

  • By: Timothy Spangler


    Is your mortgage halal? How about your pension?

    Islamic finance has been a significant global force for the past few decades, but in recent years sharia-compliant saving and investing have become more common in the United States. For example, in June, Goldman Sachs provided a loan to Arcapita Bank, an Islamic investment company, that in compliance with sharia law did not charge interest. In July, a US-based trade association, the World Council of Credit Unions, published a manual explaining to would-be community financiers in developing countries how to operate sharia-compliant credit unions.

    Western discussions of sharia law often focus on extremist groups imposing brutal interpretations of these legal codes on unwilling populations. But sharia law, which derives from the Qur’an and the religious teaching of Islam, can also be applied to the finance sector. Importantly, Islamic finance can be seen as part of a wider movement towards the promotion of sustainability as a key element of economic life.

    The sharia establishes distinctly Islamic concepts of money and capital, focusing on the relationship between risk and profit, and the social responsibilities of financial institutions and individuals. As is widely known, the payment or receipt of all forms of interest (or riba) is strictly forbidden by the Qur’an. This prohibition is intended to prevent exploitation from the use of money and to share profit and loss. Money is a means of exchange – not an asset that grows over time. Islam also forbids followers from dealing in prohibited goods – alcohol, pork products, tobacco, pornography, and weapons.

    The basic premise under sharia law that no one should profit purely from money leads to a shift in both parties’ perspective away from the short-term transaction and towards the longer-term relationship and its consequences.

    In short, the structures that have evolved do away with classic debt – and the banks that provide such financing – in exchange for direct participation in risk and reward. For example, an ijara can be used to purchase real estate for the purpose of leasing it out to tenants and the rental income is distributed pro rata to subscribers. A sukuk is a fully negotiable certificate that can be bought and sold on the secondary market, and allows the new owner to “step into the shoes” of the original holder, taking all the rights, obligations and liabilities relating to the underlying assets that accompany the certificate.

    Importantly, participants in an ijara and holders of a sukuk have no guaranteed return and are all economically aligned in the long-term success of the project. If the project fails, they cannot simply take their profits to date and sell of the loan collateral to make themselves whole. As a result, Islamic finance encourages the creation of social value alongside economic value.

    Because it has at its core the concept of both parties to a transaction explicitly sharing the risk, the argument has been made that Islamic finance is, in fact, more sustainable than its western counterpart. And as questions still remain over whether the banks that were pushed to the brink during the recent financial crisis, have actually changed their ways and become more responsible in their investment activities, the continued growth of Islamic finance demonstrates the growing acceptance in the market of radically different approaches.

    Today, lenders provide sharia-compliant mortgages that do not charge any form of interest to the borrower and instead permit the bank and the borrower to share in the risks of the repayments. Notably, these mortgages are eligible for purchase through Freddie Mac. The Amana Mutual Funds, based in Bellingham, Washington, have invested more than $3bn in accordance with Islamic investment restrictions listed above. A Dow Jones Islamic Index has been constructed that screens out companies that violate these restrictions, allowing people to track the performance of the universe of potentially sharia-compliant investments.

    The increased presence of sharia law in the US, however, has not been without controversy. In particular, a number of high-profile domestic law and family court cases has provoked a strong backlash in many states. In addition, some feared Islamic finance could be a dangerous risk, arguing that money entrusted to these firms could eventually be used to finance terrorism.

    Because of these concerns, several state legislatures, including in Arizona, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee, have since 2010 tried to ban – or at least severely curtail – any application of sharia law in their state courts.

    But Islamic finance is a legitimate expression of an economic philosophy of the use of money. This shouldn’t be stigmatised or criminalised – especially in light of the excesses and abuses that preceded the recent global financial crisis.

    Islamic finance is becoming an important part of important emerging economies in the Middle East and Asia – high-growth markets where American businesses will want to compete and succeed. And the Muslim population in the United States is continuing to grow and can be an engine for further growth here at home.

    Ignoring these developments at a time when sustainable banking and responsible investing still has ground to gain in the financial markets will be harmful to American banks and investors, as well as to the American economy itself.

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