New Age Islam
Thu Sep 24 2020, 05:37 PM

Islamic World News ( 23 Apr 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

In View of the ‘Changed Environment 6 Muslim Families in Jind District Convert to Hinduism







• In View of the ‘Changed Environment 6 Muslim Families in Jind District Convert to Hinduism

• Entire Muslim Community Cannot Be Held Responsible for One Group's (Tablighi Jamaat) "Crime", Minority Affairs Minister

• Moscow Institute Calls for Radical Reordering of Russian Muslim Spiritual Directorates (MSDs) to Promote Muslim Unity in the CIS

• Ramadan: ‘Feed Christians, Nigerians Suffering from Hunger Virus’ – Islamic Group to Muslims

• Ramadan: Pray for Nigeria Over COVID-19 – Atiku Begs Muslims

• Ulema-Govt Agreement on Ramadan Measures in Line with WHO Recommendations: Mufti Taqi Usmani

• Religious Fatwas to Ensure Muslims Follow Social Distancing Rules Welcome: Jakarta Post

• Iran Receives Signals from Military Satellite, Vows New Surprises

• Human Rights Watch Concerned Over Due Process in Arrests of Muslims In Sri Lanka

• Islamic Organisation Takes Step to Address Food Security Crisis in Covid-19

• World Coronavirus Dispatch: UK's Massive Study, And Stay-At-Home Ramadan

 

 

India

• In View of the ‘Changed Environment 6 Muslim Families in Jind District Convert to Hinduism

• Entire Muslim Community Cannot Be Held Responsible for One Group's (Tablighi Jamaat) "Crime", Minority Affairs Minister

• Two Quote Marks Could Have Saved Me: Kashmiri Journalist Reacts to UAPA Charge for Social Media Posts

• Offer prayers at home, Andhra Pradesh Governor appeals to Muslims

• Hate against Indian Muslims: Widening Gulf?

-----

 

North America

• Moscow Institute Calls for Radical Reordering of Russian Muslim Spiritual Directorates (MSDs) to Promote Muslim Unity in the CIS

• Sunlight destroys coronavirus quickly, say US scientists

• Canada's premier wishes Muslims 'a blessed Ramadan'

• How Islamophobia changed politics for Muslim America

• US coronavirus death toll climbs to almost 50,000 after 3,176 deaths in 24 hours

------

 

Africa

• Ramadan: ‘Feed Christians, Nigerians Suffering from Hunger Virus’ – Islamic Group to Muslims

• Ramadan: Pray for Nigeria Over COVID-19 – Atiku Begs Muslims

• COVID-19: Muslim Lawyers Call For Restraint Over Continued Hajj, Umrah Advertisements

• Ramadan: Don’t engage in rituals that could spread Coronavirus – Buhari warns Muslims

• Court to rule on whether Muslims can pray under lockdown rules

• Buhari, Lawan, Sultan Caution Muslims against Mass Gatherings as Ramadan Begins

------

 

Pakistan

• Ulema-Govt Agreement on Ramadan Measures in Line with WHO Recommendations: Mufti Taqi Usmani

• Muslim countries’ govts bearing risk as Ramazan begins

------

 

Southeast Asia

• Religious Fatwas to Ensure Muslims Follow Social Distancing Rules Welcome: Jakarta Post

• Millions of Indonesian Muslims will observe Ramadan in a different way this year

• Muslims in CDO receive fruits, vegetables from city gov’t as Ramadan opens

• Muslims mark Ramadan with unprecedented COVID-19 lockdowns

• Welcoming Ramadan; State Minister Boosts Public Morale

• Expert: Cut Down Sugar, Fat, and Salt for Better Immune System

-------

 

Mideast

• Iran Receives Signals from Military Satellite, Vows New Surprises

• Turkey’s Late Response to Coronavirus Overshadows Ramadan

• Saudi-led coalition impounding 127 oil tankers, levying massive fines on Yemen: Oil company

• Turkey brings additional military reinforcement to Syria's Hasakah: SANA

• Yemeni army repels infiltration attempts by Saudi-led coalition

• Iran provides cash handouts to nearly 17 million households

• IRGC chief commander thanks Ayatollah Khamenei for message of support

------

 

 

South Asia

• Human Rights Watch Concerned Over Due Process in Arrests ofMuslims In Sri Lanka

• S. Korea Hopes Ramadan Will Help Enhance Solidarity, Tolerance amid COVID-19 Pandemic

• Bangladesh Places Curbs on Iftar Gatherings During Ramadan

• Afghan forces kill Mullah Khaliq, capture 4 Taliban compounds in Balkh province

• Afghan force kill, wound 14 Taliban militants; detain 2 others in 3 provinces

• Coronavirus cases climb to 1226 in Afghanistan as authorities record 50 new cases

-----

 

Arab world

• Islamic Organisation Takes Step to Address Food Security Crisis in Covid-19

• Reconstruction of Al Nouri Mosque Complex in Mosul moves ahead

• ADIB first Islamic Bank to use blockchain tech

• Emirates Islamic net profits down by 62pc

• Syria envoy denounces UN failure to enforce resolutions on Israeli occupation

• First Taraweeh prayer of the holy month offered at Prophet’s Mosque

• Organization of Islamic Cooperation calls for aid to flood-stricken Aden

• Ramadan 2020: Abu Dhabi cannon-firing ceremony to have no spectators like other emirates

• Dubai announces partial easing of Covid-19 curbs for Ramadan

• Saudi Arabia’s King Salman wishes Muslims a blessed Ramadan

------

 

Europe

• World Coronavirus Dispatch: UK's Massive Study, And Stay-At-Home Ramadan

• Covid-19: Easing of Restrictions for Ramadan: In Dubai, Cafes and Restaurants Reopen, Reduced Hours for Shops and Shopping Centres

• Ramadan message from the British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

• Ramadan starts as Covid-19 lockdowns clash with tradition of gatherings

• UK leaders extend Ramadan greetings to Muslims

• Muslims find creative ways to observe Ramadan under lockdown

• Mufti of Kyrgyzstan calls to comply with quarantine rules during Ramadan

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL; https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/in-view-of-the-‘changed-environment-6-muslim-families-in-jind-district-convert-to-hinduism/d/121663

------

 

 

In View Of The ‘Changed Environment 6 Muslim Families In Jind District Convert To Hinduism

Vijender Kumar

Apr 23, 2020

JIND: Thirty-five members of six Muslim families, belonging to Danoda Kalan village in Haryana's Jind district, have embraced Hinduism.

The families converted to Hinduism three days ago, but there are no details of how exactly they did this. An elderly Muslim, Neki Ram (70) died of some illness on April 18 and his family performed his last rites according to Hindu customs. The move comes as violence against Muslims has increased in the state in the last few weeks during the lockdown. Four Muslims were attacked in Jind's Dhadrath village on April 5 when they didn't switch off their lights on the PM’s appeal. A welding shop, owned by a Muslim, was set on fire on April 9 in CM ML Khattar's adopted village and the owners were threatened that their skull caps would be removed and their beards shaved off.

Danoda Kalan sarpanch Purshotam Sharma told TOI, “Muslim community members came to meet me a few days ago and said they wished to adopt Hinduism. We didn’t oppose them. These families told me some Muslims, such as Tablighi Jamaat men had created bad image of their religion. They also said their ancestors were Hindus at the time of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb but had embraced Islam. Now they wanted to return their original religion.”

There was no pressure on these villagers to convert, the sarpanch maintained.The families belong to mirasi or Doom community, who are considered genealogists and traditionally are singers and dancers. There are around 60 Muslim families identified with different castes such as lohar (blacksmiths), teli (oil-millers) and mirasis in this village, which is situated 43 km from Jind town on the Hisar-Narwana road.

The members of the Doom community have a fluid religious identity, with names and customs taken from both the religions in the region. Guru Nanak Dev’s accompanying musician Bhai Mardaana, too, belonged to the Doom community.

Naresh Kumar (38), whose father died on April 18, said, “We were not completely Muslims as we were following rituals which were similar to Hinduism except performing the last rites after death. Now, we have decided to convert to Hinduism and have no pressure on us.”A Muslim resident of the village, on condition of anonymity, said, “The village’s environment has changed these days. People have forgotten the pandemic and are only targeting Muslims for spreading the deadly virus, which has caused panic among the community. Even in this village, we are getting information that the situation is becoming scary with the passage of time. Our community, which is dependent on seeking alms, is facing a hard time as Hindus doubt us due to the Tablighi Jamaat incident. The Muslim community is as patriotic as others in India but panic is being created deliberately in the country which should be opposed by every responsible citizen.”

Another villager, who also did not want to disclose his identity, said the situation has become worse in villages. “Muslims are getting threats and face a social boycott.”

When asked for his reaction, Jind deputy commissioner Aaditya Dahiya told TOI: “No one has approached us on the issue of somebody facing religious persecution. If any citizen of the district faces trouble, they can contact us and we will take action promptly.”

https://m.timesofindia.com/city/gurgaon/6-muslim-families-in-jind-district-convert-to-hinduism/amp_articleshow/75310903.cms?__twitter_impression=true

-------

 

Entire Muslim Community Cannot Be Held Responsible for One Group's (Tablighi Jamaat) "Crime", Minority Affairs Minister

By Vikash Aiyappa

April 24, 2020

New Delhi, Apr 24: The entire Muslim community cannot be held responsible for one group's "crime", Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Thursday while reacting to instances of Muslims being blamed for the spurt in COVID-19 cases after Tablighi Jamaat congregation here, and asserted that most of the minority community members have condemned the group's action. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi In an interview to PTI, Naqvi also expressed confidence that Muslims will abide by lockdown guidelines during the holy month of Ramzan. Economic, religious rights of Muslims secure in India: Naqvi He said across the India, imams, Ulema and Muslim organizations have unanimously decided that during Ramzan (the Islamic holy month), Muslims will not congregate in mosques, religious places and perform all rituals like 'Iftaar' (breaking of fast) and 'Taraweeh' (special prayers) at home keeping in mind social distancing norms. Naqvi said he has spoken with state waqf board officials, social and religious leaders, imams on adherence to the lockdown and social distancing guidelines during the Ramzan month starting Friday or Saturday evening and they have begun creating awareness among the people. Asked about some people blaming Muslims for the spread of the pandemic after a large number of cases were found linked to the Tablighi Jamaat event at Nizamudddin here, Naqvi said the whole community cannot be held responsible for the "crime" of one organisation or one person. "Whatever that organisation did, criminal negligence or crime...most Muslims have strongly reacted to it, condemned it and called for action against it. Entire community cannot be held responsible for one person or one organisation's crime," he asserted, adding that this has always been India's culture. Centre asks states to remain cautious during Ramzan; ensure no gatherings in mosques Last week, the Union Health Ministry had said 29.8 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases - 4,291 out of 14,378 COVID-19 infections - in the country were linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in March at the group's headquarters in Delhi following which some sections of the society severely criticised Muslims, and blamed them for the spread of the pandemic in the country. Naqvi's comments also assume significance in view of the 57-member prominent international Mulim grouping, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), asking India to take "urgent steps" to protect the rights of its minority Muslim community and stop the incidents of "Islamophobia" in the country. Hitting out at the OIC, the minister had said the country is "heaven for Muslims" and those trying to vitiate the atmosphere of prosperity cannot be friends of Indian Muslims. Naqvi said those targeting Muslims are few isolated people who are trying to spread "misinformation" and "we should be united and isolate such elements". On the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions during Ramzan, Naqvi said no Muslim wants to stay away from mosques during the holy month, but everyone has resolved to win this battle against coronavirus.

https://www.oneindia.com/india/dont-blame-entire-muslim-community-for-one-groups-crime-naqvi-3077270.html

-----

 

 

Moscow Institute Calls for Radical Reordering of Russian Muslim Spiritual Directorates (MSDs) to Promote Muslim Unity in the CIS

April 24, 2020

Staunton, April 22 – Moscow must use the Islamic establishment in Russia to influence immigrants from CIS countries and thus their countries of origin as a first step toward the reordering the MSD system in Russia itself with three super-MSDs to be charged with promoting reintegration of Muslim countries with Russia, the Moscow Institute for CIS Countries says.

The Russian government has not taken full advantage of the Russian umma to promote CIS-wide integration. It should be using the existing MSDs to influence the millions of Muslim gastarbeiters now working in Russia so that they can influence their countries of origin in that regard, the Institute’s Islamic Research Department says (materik.ru/rubric/detail.php?ID=104639).

That department, headed by Islamicist Ildar Safargaleyev, has been a source of ideas for the Russian government in the past; and consequently, its latest proposals are likely to gain a hearing in Moscow. In addition to influencing the diasporas, he also calls for making sufism “a common platform” for CIS Muslims and for reordering the MSD system in Russia.

“Sufism or the tasawwuf which despite the Salafi (Wahhabi) attack of the 1990s is ever more deeply rooted in the Russian Federation and thus serves as a common platform for consensus in Central Asia (including Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) where it historically was disseminated widely,” the Institute’s Islamicists say.

Such an acknowledgement of Sufism’s role in the region is rare. In Soviet times and more recently, most Russian writers have treated that mystical trend in Islam either as limited to parts of the North Caucasus or a marginal phenomenon elsewhere.  A call to make it central and use it against Salafism, while not unprecedented, is thus striking.

And then the article turns to what it describes as “the key obstacle” for the spread of influence of Russia’s Muslim establishment abroad – the absence of a single super MSD and thus the competition among several, a pattern that looks strange to Muslims in other CIS countries and limits Moscow’s influence there.

According to the usual listing, there are four super-MSDs in Russia, a super-MSD being a Muslim spiritual directorate that subordinates to itself MSDs in the regions: the Central MSD in Ufa, the Council of Muftis of Russia (SMR), the Coordinating Council of Muslims of the North

Among these, “the most loyal to the Russian state and occupying a significantly stronger position” is the Central MSD in Ufa, the institute says.  The oldest of the super-MSDs, it has some 1400 parishes subordinate to itself.  But it has some serious problems: its aging cadres, its lack of an office in Moscow and its conflicts with other centralized MSDs.

The institute suggests that the Russian state take the lead in reforming the top of the Muslim community, something Moscow can do because none of these bodies could exist without government funding. And it proposes a reordering that would require upgrading several regional MSDs and the downgrading or closure of some of the super-MSDs.

While it might be ultimately desirable to have a single super-MSD, the institute continues, that is currently something that would be almost impossible to achieve. Pushing for it could lead to the collapse of the system as a whole. Instead, it proposes that the Russian umma be regrouped around three super-MSDs.

These would be the Central MSD in Ufa which would direct its influence at Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the MSD of Tatarstan which would promote the influence of the Russian umma in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, and the MSD of Daghestan which would be charged with influencing Azerbaijan.

Russian commentators and experts have talked about reordering the MSD system since perestroika times given the proliferation of more than 80 MSDs at the regional level and the half dozen super-MSDs which often work at cross purposes, simultaneously discrediting official Islam and opening the way for radicalism.

What makes this proposal intriguing is that it suggests the Russian state should take the lead in overcoming these problems, something most Islamic writers aren’t prepared to make explicit, and that Moscow should recognize that one of the most important roles the super-MSDs can have is in foreign rather than domestic policy.

Given the Kremlin’s focus on foreign affairs over domestic matters, this proposal may thus gain a larger hearing among officials, even though it is certain to generate opposition among the current Muslim leadership.

http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/04/moscow-institute-calls-for-radical.html

------

 

Ramadan: ‘Feed Christians, Nigerians suffering from hunger virus’ – Islamic group to Muslims

April 24, 2020

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on Friday lamented that Nigerians are currently battling with “Conavirus and hunger virus.”

Against this backdrop, MURIC urged Muslims to use the Ramadan period to extend their charity and feeding programmes to Christians, traditionalists and other faiths.

The body in its Ramadan message to Muslims also sent fraternal greetings to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Sultan of Sokoto and all Muslims in the country on the occasion of the beginning of Ramadan.

The message signed and sent to DAILY POST by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, MURIC said, “We felicitate with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Sultan of Sokoto and all Muslims in Nigeria on the advent of 2020 Ramadan and we pray that we will witness many more on earth. We call on all Nigerians to show gratitude to Allah for being alive at this trying period.

“Ramadan 2020 has coincided with COVID-19 which is a global health challenge that has defied all solutions. It has heralded death in its thousands and has rendered the global economy asunder. Hunger and starvation stare mankind in the face. Therefore, Nigerian Muslims have the responsibility to extend their feeding and other charity programmes to Christians, traditionalists and people of all faiths. COVID-19 is a leveler. It has equated fasting Muslims with hungry non-Muslims. Nigerians are battling with two viruses: Corona virus and hunger virus.

“We are all fasting. We are all in the Ramadan season, a season of hope, mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, nurse no malice towards any human being no matter his religious or tribal background so that your fasts may be accepted. Extend charity to all.”

MURIC added: “We must raise the banner of love and kindness as proclaimed by the Prophet of Mercy, Muhammad the son of Abdullahi when he said, “Show mercy to those on earth so that those in heaven will show mercy to you.

“In particular, we charge Muslims who are used to travelling out to Saudi Arabia for Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) every year and wealthy Muslims who used to sponsor large number of Muslims for the same exercise to channel their riches towards the feeding of fasting Muslims and hungry Nigerians. The hadith affirms the huge reward accruing to those who feed people who are fasting without prejudice to the reward of those who are fed.

“We call on Muslims who are engaged in this holy exercise to spend the period in prayers for the lifting of this COVID-19 affliction from Nigeria in particular and the globe in general. We call for prayers for peace, political stability and economic buoyancy in our country.”

https://dailypost.ng/2020/04/24/ramadan-feed-christians-nigerians-suffering-from-hunger-virus-islamic-group-to-muslims/

-----

 

 

Ramadan: Pray for Nigeria over COVID-19 – Atiku begs Muslims

April 24, 2020

By Seun Opejobi

Former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has urged Muslims to use the Ramadan period to pray for Nigeria as the country tackles the COVID-19 scourge.

Atiku urged Muslims to pray because COVID-19 has paralyzed the social lives of Nigerians, including congregating for religious activities.

In his message to mark the beginning of Ramadan, the former Vice President urged Muslims to obey all safety guidelines laid down by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, while observing the religious exercise.

“Sadly Nigeria has not been spared this scourge. Since our first incident case in February, we have seen the figure rise to 981 with 31 deaths as at April 23, 2020. The good news however is that thanks to our heroic healthcare workers, 197 of the cases have recovered.”

He said: “But we’ve had to make sacrifices, and much more is required of us in the days ahead if we must defeat the scourge of this plague. Our social life has been disrupted by the lockdown of sections of our country and the practice of social distancing.

“In the last three weeks, we have been unable to gather to fulfil our religious obligations to worship the Almighty Allah. The lesser hajj has been suspended.

“I urge the Muslim faithful to pray for the country at this difficult moment when the #COVID19 plague has paralysed every aspect of our social lives.

“This is a moment of trial because for the first time in our recent history, we have never seen anything like this in terms of limitations on the activities we once performed without hindrance.

“Above all, it is imperative that we observe all guidelines of @NCDCgov aimed at stemming the spread of the virus, much so as it is the teaching of the Noble Prophet Mohammed (SWT) during plague seasons such as this.

“I supplicate to Allah to answer our prayers and help us overcome this extraordinary challenge soonest, and put our country on the path of renewal and prosperity. RamadanMubarak.”

https://dailypost.ng/2020/04/24/ramadan-pray-for-nigeria-over-covid-19-atiku-begs-muslims/

-----

 

Ulema-govt agreement on Ramadan measures in line with WHO recommendations: Mufti Taqi Usmani

Apr 24 2020

KARACHI: Prominent religious leader and vice president of Jamia Darul Uloom Karachi, Mufti Taqi Usman, on Friday said that the agreement signed with the government by religious leaders is in line with the coronavirus recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“We are proud of our doctors and there’s no doubt on their hard work, abilities and intentions but on coronavirus, WHO’s advisory is similar to those healthcare professionals who have endorsed our Ijmah agreed with the president," he said in a statement on Twitter.

The statement from the cleric comes after top Pakistani doctors appealed that the government and religious leaders review the declaration under which mosques have been allowed to hold Taraweeh prayers under certain restrictions.

“Allowing congregational prayers in larger numbers will have fatal outcomes amid a rising number of COVID-19 patients in the country,” the doctors warned in a letter earlier this week.

They requested the authorities and the business community practice patience and keep the markets and non-essential shops closed, allowing home deliveries only.

In an interview with Geo News, President Arif Alvi said the agreement with the religious scholars was Ijma-e-Ummat [consensus of the Muslim community] and that its violation would "be categorised as a sin".

In a late night video statement, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that Taraweeh prayers throughout the province will only be observed by the mosque's administration (4-5 people) in the mosque premises.

Shah said taking such "difficult decisions" is a government's responsibility and the decision was taken especially keeping in mind doctors' recommendations.

https://www.geo.tv/latest/284647-ulema-govt-agreement-on-ramadan-measures-in-line-with-who-recommendations-mufti-taqi-usmani

-------

 

 

Religious fatwas to ensure Muslims follow social distancing rules welcome: Jakarta Post

3 HOURS AGO

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Millions of Indonesian Muslims will observe Ramadan in a different way this year.

With the pandemic showing no signs of subsiding, it is highly risky for Muslims to engage in various communal traditions that make the Islamic holy month the largest and the longest religious festivity in the world's biggest predominantly Muslim country.

We therefore welcome the religious fatwas issued by Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the nation's mainstream Islamic organisations, asking Muslims not to hold mass prayers at mosques or have iftar dinners with extended families or colleagues.

Indonesia is not out of the pandemic woods yet. The government has made the right call to impose a partial lockdown on Greater Jakarta and ban residents from leaving the area to celebrate Idul Fitri in their hometowns; yet, as of now, there is no indication the coronavirus outbreak has peaked in the country.

With limited testing capacity, health authorities have struggled to grasp the true scale of the pandemic, let alone determine with confidence in which areas of the country, particularly on Java Island, Covid-19 is not circulating.

The fatwas by the NU and Muhammadiyah, the faces of Indonesian Islam with millions of followers, are crucial to ensure Muslims follow social distancing rules set by the government during the fasting month.

Some people would likely ignore the rules, thinking that a virus should not prevent people from praying at the mosque or having a bukber (iftar dinner) with old friends.

The Aceh Ulema Council has announced that it will allow people to perform daily mass prayers and tarawih (night prayer) despite the outbreak.

The council argued that not all areas were considered "red zones" and in areas where the spread of Covid-19 was contained, group prayers should be permitted.

The argument is flawed simply because it is still hard to pinpoint which areas in the country are completely free of Covid-19. In the face of a full-blown health disaster, we should err on the side of caution.

Both Muhammadiyah and the NU have cited scientific and religious arguments to justify their calls to suspend religious gatherings during a pandemic.

Some people may argue that religion and science are incompatible or antithetical, but Muslims could easily find scriptural grounds for physical distancing or a lockdown.

For instance, Muhammadiyah has cited a hadith quoting Prophet Muhammad as saying, "When you hear that a plague is in a land, do not enter it and if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place."

These are tough times for everyone in the world. Some people rely on religious institutions, such as mosques or churches, to find solace in this difficult time. But we just cannot risk mass contagion by allowing mass prayers.

Such a policy is by no means anti-Ramadan. As the Quran says when ordering the believers to fast, "Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you."

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/religious-fatwas-to-ensure-muslims-follow-social-distancing-rules-welcome-jakarta-post

-----

 

Iran receives signals from military satellite, vows new surprises

24 April 2020

The Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Division has said that the country is receiving signals from its recently launched Noor satellite and that it plans to launch a future satellite in higher orbit.

Speaking on Thursday, Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said that Iran had received the satellite’s signals from stations near the capital Tehran and the southeastern cities of Zahedan and Chabahar following its launch.

“We received the latest signal last night,” he added, explaining that the satellite orbits the earth every 90 minutes.

“The satellite’s configurations will be fully set in a few days allowing the satellite to attain its full operational capacity,” he added.

Iran’s first military satellite, dubbed Noor-1 (Light 1), was launched into orbit some 425 kilometers above the Earth’s surface on Wednesday.

He added that the development of the satellite was a “super project” made possible by undertaking major leaps in the technology field.

The general added that the IRGC seeks to launch a future satellite “in a higher orbit and with better performance” in the “near future”.

Explaining that Noor’s satellite carrier – dubbed Qased (Messenger) – used a missile engine from Iran’s existing missile arsenal operating on liquid fuel, the general said that future motors will be upgraded to work with solid fuel.

Hajizadeh added that the Qased’s structure had also been made of composite material, a “complex” and “state-of-the-art” feature decreasing the weight of the missile.

The general also noted that the Noor satellite’s communication and telecommunication systems had been fully designed and manufactured inside the country.

“It is natural for them to be frustrated by what we’ve done,” he added, stressing that the force will continue with its space operations “with force” to protect the country.

Hajizadeh added that Iran’s military capabilities have allowed the country to focus on countering US economic sanctions imposed on the country without facing security disturbances.

Hajizadeh also noted how Iran’s capabilities had successfully deterred Washington from further provocations after Iran responded to Washington’s assassination of its top commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in January.

“During the Ain al-Assad operation we believed the Americans would respond and we had prepared 400 targets, but they did not,” he said.

A few days following the assassination of General Soleimani, Iran launched salvos of missiles at two bases housing US troops in Iraq’s western Anbar Province and Kurdistan regional capital, Erbil.

Despite the attacks leading to widespread destruction and casualties, Washington did not follow up on its vow to attack if Tehran targeted US assets in response to General Soleimani’s assassination.

In a tweet on Thursday, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani also said that “new surprises are on the way” as the country battles US sanctions and pressure alongside the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Sanctions & threats cannot slow down our trend to pursue its national interests & legal rights. The continuous production of power & use of up-to-date knowledge for security & welfare of #Iran people from hospitals to space will continue. New surprises are on the way.

“The continuous production of power & use of up-to-date knowledge for security & welfare of Iran people from hospitals to space will continue. New surprises are on the way,” he said.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) unveils a new technology that can detect and diagnose the new coronavirus within a 100-meter (0.06-mile) radius in only seconds.

The US claims that medical equipment and medicines are technically exempt from the sanctions, but their purchases and imports are blocked by bank’s unwillingness to process payment over fears of heavy US penalties.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/04/24/623774/Iran-signals-military-satellite-IRGC

-------

 

Human Rights Watch concerned over due process in arrests of Muslims in Sri Lanka

Apr 24, 2020

Apr 24, Colombo: Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international human rights watchdog expressing concerns over Sri Lanka’s due process in recent arrests of Muslims said Sri Lankan authorities should uphold due process rights and ensure that recently detained Muslim figures have proper access to lawyers.

The arrests, soon after the government adopted a Covid-19 funeral policy biased against Muslims, raise concerns about the safety of Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority, the right organization said.

On April 14, 2020, the authorities arrested Hejaaz Hizbullah, a prominent lawyer, apparently under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act. He was one of six people, including the brother of a former minister and a customs official, whom police recently detained for their alleged involvement in the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings by an Islamist group, which killed over 250 people. Ramzy Razeek, a retired government official who has a following on Facebook, was arrested on April 9 after decrying religious discrimination in a social media post.

“Sri Lankan authorities have a responsibility to prosecute those responsible for the horrific Easter Sunday attacks last year, but the arrests should be lawful, and not used to vilify an entire community,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director. “The recent arrests of well-known Muslims, combined with biased government actions and rising anti-Muslim hate speech, raise concerns for the broader safety of the Muslim community.”

Concerns for the safety and security of Sri Lanka’s Muslim community after the Easter bombings have increased since the outbreak of Covid-19. On April 12, Sri Lankan Muslim organizations wrote to the Inspector General of Police reporting an upsurge in hate speech, including calls to boycott Muslim businesses and accusations that Muslims are deliberately spreading Covid-19. Senior government figures have made public remarks associating the Muslim community with Covid-19 infection, HRW said.

Hizbullah has been legal counsel in a number of high-profile cases, including the challenge to the dissolution of parliament in 2018 and fundamental human rights cases. Police from the Criminal Investigation Department visited him at his home on April 14, where they handcuffed and questioned him, and later took him into custody. A habeas corpus petition brought on his behalf said the authorities searched Hizbullah’s legal office, opened files, and “perused his briefs and professional work related files.”

The police allege that Hizbullah was arrested in connection with the Easter bombings. He has been held in apparent violation of basic due process rights. Although he is believed to be detained under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, no detention order has been served, and he was not taken before a magistrate within the required 72 hours. He has been denied regular access to a lawyer, except for brief meetings in the presence of the police on April 15 and 16.

Razeek, who regularly writes posts advocating harmony between Muslim and Buddhist communities, criticized a new government policy that requires cremating all victims of Covid-19, contrary to Islamic traditions. On April 2, Razeek wrote a Facebook post in Sinhala that stated: “Muslims have been surrounded on all sides by racist groups operating in the country.… It is time to prepare for an ideological jihad for the country and all its citizens, using the pen and keyboard as weapons.”

Razeek was arrested on April 9. His lawyer said that police detained him under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Act for allegedly advocating hatred leading to incitement to hostility, discrimination, or violence. On April 22, Razeek’s custody was extended by a week.

The magistrate ordered that he be given access to medical treatment for existing serious health conditions, which had not yet been provided. Sri Lankan authorities should also ensure that Razeek has proper access to legal counsel, the HRW said.

The group says the government’s position on mandatory cremation is contrary to World Health Organization guidelines and has been criticized by four United Nations special rapporteurs as a violation of freedom of religion. The special rapporteurs noted that Sri Lankan Muslims have been stigmatized and targeted with hate speech during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The threat that the coronavirus poses to all Sri Lankans provides the government with an opportunity to improve communal relations in the country,” Ganguly said. “To promote public safety, it’s important for the authorities to be seen as acting against discrimination, not promoting it.”

http://www.colombopage.com/archive_20A/Apr24_1587707914CH.php

-----

 

Islamic Organisation takes step to address food security crisis in Covid-19

April 24, 2020

The Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) has been following with great concern the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the socio-economic welfare of the teeming populations of OIC member states, in all spheres including support for lives and livelihood during this emergency period and beyond. As a specialized institution of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), our most urgent pre-occupation is to address the enormous challenges posed by the global pandemic to food security within the OIC region.

There is no doubt that the far-reaching implications of the near-total restriction on movement of persons as a protective measure against coronavirus and the attendant disruption of all economic activities would have untold effect on the availability of food products, owing to the potential supply chain disruption. Given the vulnerability of our member states to any global food supply shocks, it is most incumbent to adopt a concerted regional effort to mitigate the effects of food shortages, which may lead to hunger and food crisis in our member states.

Given the current statistics showing that more than 64.5 mln people in OIC member states suffered acute hunger in 2017 and considering the fact that the annual food deficit within OIC amounted to US$67 bln in 2018, the region is gravely concerned by the imminent danger of any novel food crisis at this very period. It is to this end that the IOFS has continued to fast-track its various initiatives aimed at promoting agrifood trade financing and investment, development of strategic commodities along the food supply chain, cross-border logistics, and indeed providing urgent food aid and palliatives in the wake of the current humanitarian emergency.

In view of the foregoing and based on the mandate as per its Statute, I have addressed a Memorandum to all member states on the following actions in the immediate&medium terms.

On the national level, IOFS supports the current national actions of member states to cushion the effect to social confinement due to COVID-19, through providing palliatives, food aid, conditional cash transfer, job security and free volunteer programmes to assist poor and vulnerable segments of the populations.

We commend and encourage the actions of OIC member states over utilization of national strategic food reserves and providing food aid shipments to fellow member states, which are in dire need of emergency food supplies.

Accordingly, IOFS commends and supports actions of those member states, which heeded the various appeals of the international community by allowing free flow of food commodities across national borders. Similarly, we support and commend the on-going national campaigns towards eradication of food waste and price hikes as well as encouragement of household and community actions on urban and school gardening, nutrition security and food safety. To this end, IOFS underscores the role of private sector and commends the financial contributions made by philanthropists in contributing to Government efforts on palliatives and social intervention initiatives. In addition to ongoing programmes on Food safety and Halal Food Sector development, IOFS undertakes to accelerate the take-off of the Islamic Food Processing Association (IFPA) as a B2B mechanism for addressing post-harvest losses through increased collaboration within the downstream food supply sub-sector.

On the intra-OIC level, IOFS undertakes to pursue implementation of the various OIC agreements on free trade and investment promotion and commend the funding commitment made by International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) to the tune of US$850 million for trade financing during this emergency period. Similarly, we laud the declared financial commitment made by other OIC financial institutions, namely Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF) and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and commits to interface with the latter on the utilisation of these funds, incl. US$730 million pledged by IsDB for financing recovery efforts vs. COVID-19.

On pest control and trans-boundary animal diseases, IOFS would take urgent measures in concert with relevant corporate and state stakeholders to combat the menace of locust invasion, which has adversely affected food production in many countries within the region.

As a sustainable strategy to addressing perennial food shortages due to crop failure and related problems, IOFS is vigorously pursuing the creation of the OIC Regional Food Security Reserve, while encouraging the expansion of various national food security reserves via PPP schemes.

On research and development, IOFS shall develop its Food Balance Database, while mainstreaming science, technology and innovation through the development of a regional mechanism for conservation and sharing of plant and animal genetic resources for food and agriculture, in collaboration with FAO and COMSTECH.

https://pakobserver.net/islamic-organisation-takes-step-to-address-food-security-crisis-in-covid-19/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=islamic-organisation-takes-step-to-address-food-security-crisis-in-covid-19

------

 

World coronavirus dispatch: UK's massive study, and stay-at-home Ramadan

April 24, 2020

The number of coronavirus infections in South Asia has crossed 37,000, with more than half of those being in India, official data showed on Thursday, complicating the task of governments looking to scale back lockdowns. Here is an update on the virus spread in the region:

India: 21,392 cases, 681 deaths

Pakistan: 10,513 cases, 224 deaths

Afghanistan: 1,176 cases, 40 deaths

Sri Lanka: 330 cases, seven deaths

Bangladesh: 3,772 cases, 120 deaths

Maldives: 34 cases, no deaths

Nepal: 45 cases, no deaths

Bhutan: 6 cases, no deaths

For a complete analysis of this break-down, click here

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 2,580,729

Change over previous day: 66,783

Total deaths: 184,372

Total recovered: 4,482,434

Nations hit with most cases: US (842,624), Spain (213,024), Italy (187,327), France (157,135) and Germany (150,729).

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

UK launches study to test 300,000 people for infection and immunity: The UK is going to test 300,000 people over the next 12 months to discover levels of coronavirus infection and immunity in its population. Nearly 20,000 households are already being contacted in the first wave of the study, which aims to cover a representative sample of people living in the country by geography and age. Read more here.

US jobless claims rise: Another 4.4 million people filed for new unemployment claims last week, bringing the five-week total to more than 26 million. The relentless increase in the jobless ranks has intensified the debate over when to lift restrictions that have helped halt the virus’ rapid spread but placed the economy in a stranglehold. Read more here.

Trump’s push to re-open economy may be a political move: Trump aides and allies say they are growing confident that an earlier restart amid the coronavirus pandemic could help the president in his re-election campaign. A swift economic restart, however, could backfire politically for Trump if it causes a flare-up. Public health experts caution that the country currently lacks the robust testing capacity needed to relax social-distancing guidelines. Read more here.

Journalists let into Wuhan say it was difficult to get out: As a 76-day lockdown neared its end, journalists and others were allowed to enter central China’s Wuhan city, where the global pandemic started. Few hotels were accepting foreigners and each neighbourhood had different regulations. Some forced multiple nucleic acid tests on journalists and 48 hours of quarantine. But the most difficult part was to travel out of the city. Read the account here.

US’s fourth stimulus package explained: The $484-billion relief package, passed on Thursday, will inject another $310 billion into a key loan programme designed to keep employees’ salaries flowing in small and medium companies. The initial $350 billion in the so-called paycheck protection programme dried up last week. Another $60 billion is allocated to small lenders as part of the small business aid programme. About $75 billion will be infused in hospital relief and $25 billion will be spent on coronavirus testing. The latest package takes the total aid by the US government to $3 trillion. Read more here.

Magic Leap to lay off 50% workforce: Augmented-reality start-up Magic Leap, which raised more than $2 billion from high-profile investors Alphabet and Alibaba, among others, is cutting about half of its workforce as part of a major restructuring. About 1,000 employees will be affected as the company winds down its consumer business. Read more here.

Lockdowns lower personal hygiene standards, says Unilever: As large numbers of people work from home, they are washing their hair less often, putting off shaving and even abandoning deodorant. Graham Pitkethly, Unilever’s chief financial officer, said homeworking was leading to a decline in demand for products like razors, shampoo and deodorant. The company said lockdowns had affected its haircare portfolio in China and India, while skincare sales were also down. Read more here.

When $8 trillion in global fiscal stimulus is not enough — a region-wise analysis of govt aid: As governments dedicate more than $8 trillion to fight the coronavirus pandemic, a further widening in the gap between rich and poor countries threatens to exacerbate the global economy’s pain. Wealthy nations have delved deep to cushion the blow. For instance, Germany and Italy have each allocated more than 30 per cent of gross domestic product, while many African and Latin American economies have failed to reach even a few billion dollars in fiscal aid. Read more here.

Ramadan on Zoom: Ordinarily during Ramadan, the holy month that commences this week, the Muslim community life swells with special prayers at mosques and crowded iftaar dinners that can stretch into the early hours. But that kind of socialising now risks spreading coronavirus, and bans on religious and family gatherings will persist across much of the Islamic world. In the UK, more than 1,400 have signed up for nightly iftaar broadcast organised over Zoom by a group called Ramadan Tent Project. Read more here.

All you need to know about Trump’s immigration ban: Who is exempt from the order? The different types of immigration applications. What will happen to foreign workers already working in the US? Find these and more questions answered here.

What Covid-19 does to your brain: Scientists are racing to figure out why some patients also develop neurological ailments like confusion, stroke, seizure, or loss of smell. It’s an open question, the answer to which could have wide-ranging implications for how doctors diagnose and treat Covid-19 patients.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/world-coronavirus-dispatch-uk-s-massive-study-and-stay-at-home-ramadan-120042301488_1.html

-------

 

India

 

Two Quote Marks Could Have Saved Me: Kashmiri Journalist Reacts to UAPA Charge for Social Media Posts

APRIL 23, 2020

Masrat Zahra has been booked under UAPA in which an individual can be designated a terrorist and jailed for up to 7 years. (Photo: News18)Two Quote Marks Could Have Saved Me: Kashmiri Journalist on UAPA Charge for Social Media Posts

Srinagar: On Tuesday, Masrat Zahra, a photojournalist from Kashmir, was summoned to the Cyber Police Station in Srinagar for questioning, a few days after she was booked under a stringent anti-terror law for her social media post.

She explained her side of the story to the policemen, but officials have said investigations will continue. “Two small apostrophes around the word Shaheed could have kept me away from harm's way. I am not sure though,” she sighed, while speaking to News18 afterwards.

The 26-year-old was pointing to the caption on a picture she uploaded a few days back on social media that is being cited as the main reason for the FIR against her. The picture, published in 2018, shows a group of Shia mourners carrying a poster of slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani during a procession on Muharram.

Zahra says she started posting a series of pictures, used earlier by different publications, on social media as she was bored staying home due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

“I started digging through my old feeds and uploaded pictures with captions. But because there is a character limit on twitter, I could not put apostrophes (denoting quotes) in the caption of this particular picture,” she says, adding, “you will notice I have tried to squeeze characters.”

In her four-year career, Zahra’s work has appeared in reputed publications like The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, The Caravan magazine and Turkish news channel TRT. “I never thought I would face this kind of a situation,” she says.

Tahir Ashraf, SSP of the cyber police wing, however, told News18 that the particular picture may not be the sole reason for the photojournalist being booked. “I don't have all the details,” he said, but claimed that the cell has received complaints “from time to time”.

Ashraf has faced backlash for booking the journalists, and his old tweets, which were critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and right-wing parties were widely shared and commented on. He was forced to delete the tweets. “I am doing a professional job and some people are getting personal on social media. This is unfortunate,” he says.

The UAPA allows authorities to declare individuals as terrorists and seize their properties. If found guilty, a person can be jailed for up to seven years. Section 505 of the penal code deals with provocation to commit offence against any class or community.

Police in a statement said it had “received information through reliable sources that one Facebook user namely ‘Masrat Zahra’ is uploading anti-national posts with criminal intention to induce the youth and to promote offences against public tranquillity”.

“The Facebook user is also believed to be uploading photographs which can provoke the public to disturb law and order. The user is also uploading posts that tantamount to glorify the anti-national activities and dent the image of law enforcing agencies besides causing disaffection against the country,” the statement said.

Zahra is not the only one booked by cyber police. Gowhar Geelani, a noted author and commentator, was also booked on Tuesday. In a statement, police said his "social media posts are prejudicial to national integrity, sovereignty and security of India".

Charges against him include “unlawful activities, including glorifying of terrorism in the Kashmir Valley, causing disaffection against the country and causing fear or alarm in the minds of public that may lead to commission of offences against public tranquillity and the security of the state.”

The statement did not mention Geelani as a journalist and did not cite the sections under which he was booked, but sources said these were similar to those connected with Zahra.

Geelani, the author of Kashmir Rage and Reason, and whose works have appeared in national and international publications, has written extensively on Kashmir for the last 15 years. He has appeared on TV debates and is known to put forth his views candidly while maintaining a calm demeanour.

“I have been telling all kinds of stories from Srinagar to Berlin, from New Delhi to London. A journalist can’t make all sides happy. Someone always finds something unpalatable. But that’s a journalist’s professional predicament,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I have been writing stories of the marginalised and the dispossessed, the powerful and the powerless — all kinds of stories, the tragedies and triumphs. I have been showered with accolades by the people & global institutions. As a journalist, it is my job to write, to tell stories and analyse and interpret different situation…,” he tweeted.

Media watchdogs and rights groups have called the police charges against journalists in Kashmir a "brazen attack" on freedom of expression and urged the government to revoke the cases.

Before Zahra and Geelani, Peerzada Ashiq, a correspondent for The Hindu, was also summoned by cyber police to explain the content of a news story. On Monday, the police said they had booked Ashiq for the alleged “fake news item”.

The police claim the story — related to an encounter in Shopian — was published without confirmation from district officials. In his defence, Ashiq had said he had evidence to prove that he had got the facts right.

https://www.news18.com/amp/news/india/two-quote-marks-could-have-saved-me-kashmiri-journalist-reacts-to-uapa-charge-for-social-media-posts-2589643.html

-------

 

Offer prayers at home, Andhra Pradesh Governor appeals to Muslims

24th April 2020

VIJAYAWADA: Extending greetings to Muslims in the State on the occasion of the beginning of Ramzan, Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan has appealed to the people of the community to stay indoors and offer prayers at home during the Holy Month in view of COVID-19  pandemic. 

The Governor said the country was passing through a difficult phase and people of all communities should cooperate with the authorities in curbing the spread of coronavirus. “The Centre and State governments are taking all measures to contain the spread of the virus, which has affected the whole world,” he asserted.

He said that success in the fight against coronavirus can be achieved only with the active cooperation of the people belonging to all religions, castes and sects.

The Governor said pluralism is an integral part of Indian society and an essential element of Indian culture and historically all people belonging to different religions come together and work in unity to fight a common challenge. “COVID-19 is one of the biggest challenges faced by mankind and it is time for everyone to come together and follow social distancing in all our social and religious engagements. All Muslim brothers and sisters should stay at home and pray to the Almighty to give us the strength to bring the world back to normalcy,” the Governor said in his message.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2020/apr/24/offer-prayers-at-home-andhra-pradesh-governor-appeals-to-muslims-2134508.html

-----

 

 

Hate against Indian Muslims: Widening Gulf?

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay

APR 24 2020

For the first time since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office, his government is overtly at odds with the civil society and intelligentsia of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. This development has the possibility of casting a shado...

The spate of public responses from important personalities in some of these countries has come in the wake of the vilification drive fanned by Hindutva votaries against Indian Muslims and Islam after several people contracted the coronavirus infectio...

These responses from abroad -- expressed through social media -- do not remotely carry the official tag. Yet, it needs to be kept in mind that in these societies, public discourse -- especially on subjects that could have a diplomatic fallout -- is r...

Worryingly, India has already earned the ire of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), an expert body with advisory capacity established by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). It has formally condemned "the unrelenting ...

Interestingly, appreciable anger on social media against the attempts to whip up Islamophobia in the wake of the Markaz Nizamuddin incident stands in contrast to the muted response in these countries over the past six years during which Indian Muslim...

The Indian government has gone on an overdrive to recover lost ground but the worry is that the response is not just reactive, but too late and muted. The official Indian response is at two levels. The first is the move to recover the situation somew...

Three sentences containing 31 words from this 1147 worded blogpost in his name has been widely quoted: "COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or border before striking. Our response and conduct thereafter should attach ...

Then on April 23, another instance of damage control came in the form of Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi stating in an interview that the entire Muslim community cannot be held responsible for one group’s "crime". He added that most of ...

To return to Modi, his words, written towards the end of the article, were posted on a platform which is primarily a business and employment-oriented service used for 'networking' by professionals.

The vital question is, was this message intended for his supporters who have been fanning hatred towards Muslims or was it just to put it on record that the prime minister was opposed to religious profiling of coronavirus patients? Modi's messaging i...

Additionally, the campaign has painted just the Tablighi Jamaat as representative of all Muslims. Furthermore, it has been alleged that the event was organised with the devious intention of spreading the virus and that was a grand Islamic design. Thi...

The added anger in these countries is over an old tweet of Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament from Bangalore, Tejasvi Surya, resurfacing on social media. This post was sexually offensive and derogatory towards Arab women. Its circulation, af...

The points made were pointed: a) India's relationship with the Arab world is based on mutual respect; b) how could Modi allow Indian parliamentarians to humiliate Arab women; and c) Arab civil society expected 'punitive action' against Surya. There w...

She posted a long list of Hindu religious festivals that were held across India between March 9-19. She even gave an interview to several Indian media houses and platforms in which she said: "Hatred is not welcome in Emirates. Hate is illegal in UAE....

While diplomacy demands Modi to come down on his supporters with an iron hand, domestic political compulsions have often prevailed in the past. The path he chooses on this occasion will certainly be closely monitored in the Gulf and this shall have a...

https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/hate-against-indian-muslims-widening-gulf-829180.html

-----

 

North America

 

 

Sunlight Destroys Coronavirus Quickly, Say US Scientists

24 April 2020

US President Donald Trump listens to DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology William N. Bryan speak during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on April 23, 2020, in Washington, DC.

The new coronavirus is quickly destroyed by sunlight, according to new research announced by a senior US official on Thursday, though the study has not yet been made public and awaits external evaluation.

William Bryan, science and technology advisor to the Department of Homeland Security secretary, told reporters at the White House that government scientists had found ultraviolet rays had a potent impact on the pathogen, offering hope that its spread may ease over the summer.

"Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus, both surfaces and in the air," he said.

"We've seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well, where increasing the temperature and humidity or both is generally less favorable to the virus."

But the paper itself has not yet been released for review, making it difficult for independent experts to comment on how robust its methodology was.

On the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, nurses and doctors are caring for the living. But there is another front line of those who must care for the dead - like the four women who run a funeral home in New York City's Harlem, which is so overrun with bodies they sometimes must, heartbreakingly, turn families away.

It has long been known that ultraviolet light has a sterilizing effect, because the radiation damages the virus's genetic material and their ability to replicate.

A key question, however, will be what the intensity and wavelength of the UV light used in the experiment was and whether this accurately mimics natural light conditions in summer.

"It would be good to know how the test was done, and how the results were measured," Benjamin Neuman, chair of biological sciences at Texas A&M University-Texarkana, told AFP.

"Not that it would be done badly, just that there are several different ways to count viruses, depending on what aspect you are interested in studying."

Bryan shared a slide summarizing major findings of the experiment that was carried out at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center in Maryland.

It showed that the virus's half-life -- the time taken for it to reduce to half its amount -- was 18 hours when the temperature was 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius) with 20 percent humidity on a non-porous surface.

But the half-life dropped to six hours when humidity rose to 80 percent -- and to just two minutes when sunlight was added to the equation.

When the virus was aerosolized -- meaning suspended in the air -- the half-life was one hour when the temperature was 70 to 75 degrees with 20 percent humidity.

He added, though, that reduced spread did not mean the pathogen would be eliminated entirely and social distancing guidelines cannot be fully lifted.

"It would be irresponsible for us to say that we feel that the summer is just going to totally kill the virus and then if it's a free-for-all and that people ignore those guides," he said.

Previous work has also agreed that the virus fares better in cold and dry weather than it does in hot and humid conditions, and the lower rate of spread in southern hemisphere countries where it is early fall and still warm bear this out.

The reasons are thought to include that respiratory droplets remain airborne for longer in colder weather, and that viruses degrade more quickly on hotter surfaces, because a protective layer of fat that envelops them dries out faster.

US health authorities believe that even if COVID-19 cases slow over summer, the rate of infection is likely to increase again in fall and winter, in line with other seasonal viruses like the flu.

https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/world/2020-04-24-sunlight-destroys-coronavirus-quickly-say-us-scientists/

-----

 

Canada's premier wishes Muslims 'a blessed Ramadan'

Jeyhun Aliyev

24.04.2020

Canada’s prime minister on Friday extended greetings to Muslims around the globe on the start of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.

"Wishing a blessed Ramadan to Muslims observing the month at home this year. By coming together virtually, we'll be able to stay connected and still honour the values at the heart of Islam – compassion, peace, and service to others. Ramadan Mubarak!" Justin Trudeau said in a tweet along with a video message.

In the video, Trudeau said the "month-long spiritual journey of fasting and prayer" is traditionally a time of "collective gathering" but will "look different" this year as the country continues its fight against COVID-19.

“During this crisis, the values at the heart of Islam – compassion, gratitude, and generosity – resonate more than ever, as we see Muslim Canadians helping their neighbours," he said.

"A time of charity and spiritual contemplation, Ramadan reminds us to put the needs of others before our own and to practice those values in our daily lives."

Trudeau also urged citizens to take the time to "recognize, and show gratitude for the invaluable contributions" that Muslim Canadians make each day to the country.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/canadas-premier-wishes-muslims-a-blessed-ramadan/1816760

-----

 

 

How Islamophobia changed politics for Muslim America

April 23, 2020

Simran Jeet Singh

(RNS) — Nazita Lajevardi grew up in Southern California’s Iranian American community, where her encounters with bigotry shaped her interest in the myriad ways in which Islamophobia manifests itself and how it affects those touched by it. Now a professor of political science at Michigan State University, Lajevardi examines these two issues in a new book, “Outsiders at Home: The Politics of American Islamophobia.”

Part of the book’s force derives from its insider perspective,as Lajevardi shares her own experiences of a world unfamiliar and foreign to most Americans. But the takeaways stem from her sharp analysis of political and legal histories that places a troubling phenomenon into the American context.

I grew up in a very politically active family. My parents, especially my father, were very interested and somewhat involved in local politics, so I spent some time growing up in that space. I had this sense that finding a place in American politics where your voice mattered was actually feasible. It was a true sense of belonging through political participation.

Then 9/11 happened, and I saw we were not as welcome in those political spaces anymore — the invitations stopped flowing in. About a year after 9/11, Bush labeled Iran as part of the axis of evil. Things shifted so much more at that point for Iranian Americans, and especially the observant Muslim community that my family belonged to. We began to feel that we were next. Faced with a country that would bomb their homeland, my parents and their friends began to calculate exit strategies.

This was my world when I was in high school. I internalized many of their anxieties and saw the world through their eyes. Our belongingness in the polity felt threatened. Efforts at assimilation proved futile. While some of the Obama years offered a reprieve, the Trump era not only reignited those threats, but amplified them and made them real. This book is a comprehensive account of discrimination, because we as a community encountered discrimination from a myriad of angles.

It means that, no matter how much we check the boxes of being American — being born here, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every morning of grade school, serving our country, being active in politics and in our communities, whatever the metric is — we will never be welcome. Our identities are sticky and the signaling doesn’t work. Our belongingness will always be called into question. This is rooted in the orientalist tropes that have long defined our status.

Anecdotal accounts of discrimination are not persuasive to lawmakers, to courts, to policymakers or to advocates. Without systematic evidence, we can’t trace whether these phenomena are actually occurring. By measuring discrimination empirically from a number of different perspectives and using a number of different methods, the book provides an account of discrimination that moves beyond anecdotes.

I’m both cautiously optimistic but also very reserved, given all of the backlash and harassment it has come with. I’m optimistic because it represents a giant leap forward for the representation of women and Muslims everywhere, but especially for these big Muslim communities in Michigan and in Minnesota. It is empowering, and an incredibly powerful force for young Muslims. On the other hand, (U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib) have faced immeasurable discrimination, more so than (U.S. Reps. Keith) Ellison and (André) Carson, the first Muslims elected to Congress, experienced during their respective tenures.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, right, speaks, as U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, listens, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington on July 15, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

But certainly, disproportionate attention has fallen on them, from extremists online and offline, ordinary citizens and the media. It cannot be divorced from the rate at which the president has targeted them, especially Omar. There is a cost to being in the public eye: harassment from the highest seat of elected office. Their identities and backgrounds are constantly politicized, their belongingness in the American policy continuously questioned.

Not many scholars address the psychological toll that Islamophobia has taken on Muslim Americans. Can you describe what you mean by “avoidance behaviors”?

People react to discrimination in different ways. Around the time of the 2016 campaign, I saw some family members no longer going out or to public spaces or even to the mosque because they were so scared of being attacked. My grandfather in particular kept insisting that we should not go to the mosque during Ramadan because he was so scared there may be an attack. People would warn each other not to post online, to become invisible, essentially, in order to escape the rising tide of harassment. This community response resonated with me so I wanted to make sure to ask Muslims about it in the surveys.

Political discrimination comes in many different forms. In the case of U.S. Muslims, they are not represented by their elected officials and other citizens are unwilling to elect them. These discriminatory attitudes towards them and negative media portrayals about them and Muslims abroad all has devastating consequences.

https://religionnews.com/2020/04/23/how-islamophobia-changed-politics-for-muslim-america/

------

 

US coronavirus death toll climbs to almost 50,000 after 3,176 deaths in 24 hours

24 April 2020

The novel coronavirus has killed nearly 50,000 people in the United States, after one of the deadliest days of the pandemic which saw 3,176 deaths, according to a tally Thursday from Johns Hopkins University.

The deaths were recorded in the 24 hours up to 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Friday), bringing the overall coronavirus death toll in the United States to 49,759, according to the Baltimore-based university.

Last week, the country recorded two consecutive days of high death tolls – 4,591 on Thursday and 3,856 on Friday. But those numbers were believed to include “probable” coronavirus deaths that had not been previously included in the count.

Outside of those two days, Thursday’s toll of 3,176 marked the deadliest day yet in any country amid the global pandemic which has claimed nearly 190,000 lives.

Despite the alarming figures, several US states such as Georgia and Texas were preparing to reopen some businesses as they started lifting lockdown measures.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/coronavirus/2020/04/24/US-coronavirus-death-toll-climbs-to-almost-50-000-after-3-176-deaths-in-24-hours.html

------

 

Africa

 

COVID-19: Muslim Lawyers Call For Restraint Over Continued Hajj, Umrah Advertisements

Apr 24, 2020

THE Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria (MULAN), Oyo State branch, has expressed concern over consistent advertisements in the print, electronic and social media by some hajj and umrah tour operators inviting members of the public to make payments or deposits towards the performance of hajj and umrah rites this year.

The association said as a stakeholder in Islamic matters in Nigeria and Oyo State in particular, it was shocked by such advertisements coming at this time when coronavirus is rampaging all over the world, Nigeria inclusive.

According to a statement by the Oyo MULAN signed by Alhaji Akeem Adetunji (chairman) and Alhaji Sakariyau Sanni (publicity secretary), it is even more worrisome, considering the position of Saudi Arabia, which is the custodian of hajj and umrah operations.

The Saudi Arabian government had made declarations suspending umrah operations during this year’s Ramadan season, while it is yet to come up with a clear position as to the performance of hajj this year.

“Against this background, we, as an association of learned minds, view with suspicion the motives of these hajj and umrah tour operators in calling for payments/deposits towards the year 2020/1441 AH umrah and hajj pilgrimages.

“These calls for payments/deposits for the pilgrimages negate the subsisting directives of the Saudi Arabian government as well as the Nigerian government on the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic,” the association said.

It added: “On this note, we hereby, as a matter of concern, call on members of the Muslim Ummah to be wary of falling prey to swindlers and fraudsters who are all out to deprive them of their hard-earned income under the guise of taking them on pilgrimage.

“We equally call on all media houses to scrutinise the contents of advertorials being sponsored in their media organisations by hajj and umrah tour operators in order to avoid offering themselves as willing tools in the hands of fraudsters.”

It urged the regulatory agencies and security agencies such as the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Oyo State Pilgrims Welfare Board (Muslim Wing), the police, the State Security Service, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to rise up to the occasion and protect unsuspecting members of the public from falling prey to frauders.

Meanwhile, the organisation commended the efforts of the federal and state governments, particularly the Oyo State government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and all health professionals in the front line of the battle for the containment of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

It urged Nigerians to cooperate with the government by obeying various directives and regulations to stem the spread of the virus and pray Allah to put an end to “this calamity which has continued to claim lives in droves and grounded the world economy.”

https://tribuneonlineng.com/covid-19-muslim-lawyers-call-for-restraint-over-continued-hajj-umrah-advertisements/

-----

 

Ramadan: Don’t engage in rituals that could spread Coronavirus – Buhari warns Muslims

April 24, 2020

By John Owen Nwachukwu

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent his best wishes to Muslims in the country and all over the world as they begin this year’s 30-day fast following the sighting of the moon.

“I congratulate all Muslims as they commence this year’s Ramadan fast which is depicted by self-denial, universal brotherhood, austerity and helping relatives and needy people,” said the President in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Friday night by Garba Shehu, his spokesman.

President Buhari described Ramadan 2020 as a challenge, falling in the period of the global pandemic, which has spread to more than 200 nations, with virtually all countries advising citizens to avoid large gatherings and have their prayers and meals (suhoor and iftar) individually or with family at home.

“In this Ramadan period, the kind of socializing you are used to now risks spreading the Coronavirus,” the President cautioned Muslims, while enjoining them to refrain from those Ramadan rituals and traditions such as group meals and congregational prayers that have been put on hold by Muslim religious authorities all over the world.

President Buhari urged Muslims to endure and not to use the Coronavirus as an excuse not to participate in the Ramadan fast, unless such abstention is warranted by the excuses clearly outlined by health and religious authorities.

https://dailypost.ng/2020/04/24/ramadan-dont-engage-in-rituals-that-could-spread-coronavirus-buhari-warns-muslims/

-----

 

Court to rule on whether Muslims can pray under lockdown rules

BY SHONISANI TSHIKALANGE

24 April 2020

The Pretoria high court is expected to rule next week on whether mosques should be opened for prayer “under limitations” during the lockdown.

Muhammed Bin Hassim Mohomed, Anas Mohammed Chotia and the As-Saadiqeen Islamic Centre are challenging President Cyril Ramaphosa to relax lockdown regulations so that they can be opened for daily prayers.

The matter reconvened on Thursday when advocate Feroz Boda argued that the country was not in a state of emergency and the regulations were subject to ordinary constitutional scrutiny.

“We are not in a state of emergency - in the state of emergency, the state has a right to take away certain rights, but we are not in the state of emergency. We are in a state of disaster. The National Disaster Act and the regulations by the ministers are subject to ordinary constitutional scrutiny.”

“Now in the present case, these regulations effectively make it a criminal offence for any person to travel to attend a congregational prayer in any place of worship. The applicants submit that the prohibition is unconstitutional and unjustifiable and offends the right of an individual to practise his or her religion,” he said.

“We are dealing with something extremely contagious. People who pray at the mosque, go back to their families who then go out,” Goodman said.

Earlier this year the Zion Christian Church postponed its annual Easter pilgrimage held at its headquarters in Moria due to the coronavirus pandemic.

https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2020-04-24-court-to-rule-on-whether-muslims-can-pray-under-lockdown-rules/

-----

 

Buhari, Lawan, Sultan Caution Muslims against Mass Gatherings as Ramadan Begins

April 24, 2020

Omololu Ogunmade, Chuks Okocha, Deji Elumoye in Abuja and Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto

As Muslims all over the world begin Ramadan today, President Muhammadu Buhari; the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Sa’ad III, have urged Muslims to keep observing social distancing in order not to aid the spread of COVID-19.

Buhari, who noted that the disease had spread to more than 200 nations, said in a message yesterday that virtually all countries were advising their citizens to avoid large gatherings and have their prayers and meals (suhoor and iftar) individually or with family at home.

The president sent his best wishes to Muslims both in the country and all over the world as they begin the 30-day fast, following the sighting of the moon.

“I congratulate all Muslims as they commence this year’s Ramadan fast, which is depicted by self-denial, universal brotherhood, austerity and helping relatives and needy people,” he said.

Presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement, said Buhari described this year’s Ramadan as a challenge, coming up during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement he signed, the Senate president said Nigerians and the global community were living in an unusual times because of the effects of the pandemic.

He told Muslims that the observance of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is a special period for seeking the face of Allah through fasting and prayers.

“As we enter the holy month, I urge the Muslim community and Nigerians in general to maintain full compliance with the directives given us by the relevant government and religious authorities in the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19,” he stated.

On his part, the Sultan of Sokoto, who declared today as the First Ramadan 4041AH signifying the commencement of the annual fast, also urged Muslims to abide by measures put in place by medical experts to avoid the spread of the virus.

He urged all Muslims to intensify prayers against the COVID-19 for Allah’s intervention, stressing that they should live in peace with one another, irrespective of religious or ethnic backgrounds.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest mosques, has also announced that the holy fasting month of Ramadan will start today, as Muslims worldwide face unprecedented restrictions to counter coronavirus.

“Based on the sighting of the new month’s moon … it has been decided that Friday is the start of the month of Ramadan,” the royal court said yesterday in a statement cited by the SPA news agency.

“I am pained that the holy month arrives amid circumstances that make us unable to perform group prayers and Taraweeh — special Ramadan night prayers — at mosques due to precautionary measures to protect the peoples’ lives and health in combating the coronavirus pandemic,” the king said.

https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2020/04/24/buhari-lawan-sultan-caution-muslims-against-mass-gatherings-as-ramadan-begins/

----

 

Muslim countries’ govts bearing risk as Ramazan begins

April 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The coronavirus pandemic is cutting off the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims from their cherished Ramazan traditions as health officials battle to ward off new infections during Islam’s holiest month, haunted by multiple outbreaks traced to previous religious gatherings, foreign media reported on Thursday.

Ramazan is beginning amid worldwide debate over when and how to lift virus restrictions. Keeping the faithful healthy during the entire month poses a whole new challenge.

The virus has already disrupted Christianity’s Holy Week, Passover, the Muslims Haj and other major religious events.

“Ramazan is coming, and people have nothing to eat,” said Afghan daily laborer Hamayoon, who goes by only one name. “The government must have some mercy on us and allow people to work at least half a day to be able to feed themselves.”

US President Donald Trump is pushing for a swift nationwide reopening, Vietnam and New Zealand moved Thursday to end their lockdowns and European leaders were gathering via video Thursday to try to reinvigorate their virus-crippled economies.

The coronavirus crisis is far from over, however, and the threat of new outbreaks looms large. “The question is not whether there will be a second wave,” Dr. Hans Kluge, the head of the World Health Organization’s Europe office, said Thursday. “The question is whether we will take into account the biggest lessons so far.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised some German states Thursday for moving too briskly in trying to reopen their economies. Germany has been praised for its proactive approach to the pandemic and has a much lower reported death toll than other large European nations. “We’re not living in the final phase of the pandemic, but still at the beginning,” Merkel warned. “Let us not squander what we have achieved and risk a setback. It would be a shame if premature hope ultimately punishes us all.”

Governments are bearing that risk in mind as Muslim leaders announce the official start of Ramazan, trying to balance health protection with traditions. Many have closed mosques or banned collective evening prayers.

In addition to Ramazan’s sunrise-to-sunset fast, families and friends gather for large festive meals at dusk, worshippers go to mosques for hours of evening prayers and communal meals are held for the poor.

Authorities in the capital of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim majority nation, on Thursday extended to May 22 its strict disease-fighting restrictions — covering the whole holy month. Turkey banned communal eating during the holiday, and Albanian Muslim leaders urged the faithful to spend more time teaching their children about Islam.

Prime Minister Imran Khan bowed to the country’s religious clerics, refusing to close the mosques despite a warning from the Pakistan Medical Association that such gatherings are like a petri dish to spread the virus in a country that has a fragile health care system.

Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Allam said healthy Muslims have a religious obligation to fast despite the global pandemic — but added that coronavirus patients would be “most eligible” for an exemption.

A US federal judge plans to deny a bid by three Southern California churches to hold in-person church services during the pandemic, saying government’s emergency powers trump what in normal times would be fundamental constitutional rights. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Muslims to “focus on our common enemy — the virus,” and repeated an appeal for an immediate cease-fire for all conflicts.

The UN also warned that more than 135 million people were at acute risk of starvation even before COVID-19 appeared and the virus is making that situation worse. Massive lines have appeared for food banks from the Texas city of El Paso to the Paris suburbs, and food scarcities were hitting Africa especially hard.

“On one hand, the lockdown and lack of jobs. And on the other hand, Ramazan is coming and the prices for all food items have gone up. It is a huge problem,” shopkeeper Noor Alam lamented in the Afghan capital of Kabul. The EU has pledged 20 billion euros ($22 billion) to help vulnerable communities globally

Meanwhile, scientists are reporting new signs that the virus was circulating in countries earlier than initially thought. Two people with coronavirus died in California as much as three weeks before the US reported its first death from the disease in late February. A new genetic study published by Spain’s main epidemiology research center suggested that the virus was spreading in the country in mid-February, weeks before the first local contagion clusters were identified.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/648984-muslim-countries-govts-bearing-risk-as-ramazan-begins

------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Millions Of Indonesian Muslims Will Observe Ramadan In A Different Way This Year

April 24, 2020

Millions of Indonesian Muslims will observe Ramadan in a different way this year. With the pandemic showing no signs of subsiding, it is highly risky for Muslims to engage in various communal traditions that make the Islamic holy month the largest and the longest religious festivity in the world’s biggest predominantly Muslim country.

We therefore welcome the religious fatwas issued by Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the nation’s mainstream Islamic organizations, asking Muslims not to hold mass prayers at mosques or have iftar dinners with extended families or colleagues.

Indonesia is not out of the pandemic woods yet. The government has made the right call to impose a partial lockdown on Greater Jakarta and ban residents from leaving the area to celebrate Idul Fitri in their hometowns; yet, as of now, there is no indication the coronavirus outbreak has peaked in the country.

With limited testing capacity, health authorities have struggled to grasp the true scale of the pandemic, let alone determine with confidence in which areas of the country, particularly on Java Island, COVID-19 is not circulating. One thing is for sure, cases have been confirmed in all of the nation’s 34 provinces.

The fatwas by the NU and Muhammadiyah, the faces of Indonesian Islam with millions of followers, are crucial to ensure Muslims follow social distancing rules set by the government during the fasting month. Some people would likely ignore the rules, thinking that a virus should not prevent people from praying at the mosque or having a bukber (iftar dinner) with old friends.

The Aceh Ulema Council has announced that it will allow people to perform daily mass prayers and tarawih (night prayer) despite the outbreak. The council argued that not all areas were considered “red zones” and in areas where the spread of COVID-19 was contained, group prayers should be permitted.

The argument is flawed simply because it is still hard to pinpoint which areas in the country are completely free of COVID-19. In the face of a full-blown health disaster, we should err on the side of caution.

Both Muhammadiyah and the NU have cited scientific and religious arguments to justify their calls to suspend religious gatherings during a pandemic. Some people may argue that religion and science are incompatible or antithetical, but Muslims could easily find scriptural grounds for physical distancing or a lockdown.

For instance, Muhammadiyah has cited a hadith quoting Prophet Muhammad as saying, “When you hear that a plague is in a land, do not enter it and if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.” In another hadith, the Prophet reportedly said: “Do not place a sick patient with a healthy person.”

These are tough times for everyone in the world. Some people rely on religious institutions, such as mosques or churches, to find solace in this difficult time. But we just cannot risk mass contagion by allowing mass prayers.

Such a policy is by no means anti-Ramadan. As the Quran says when ordering the believers to fast, “Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you.”

https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2020/04/24/ramadan-during-a-pandemic.html

------

 

Muslims in CDO receive fruits, vegetables from city gov’t as Ramadan opens

APRIL 24, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 24 April) – The city government delivered fruits and vegetables to Muslim residents here on Friday morning, the start of the month-long Ramadan.

Teddy Sabugaa, head of the Cagayan de Oro City Social Welfare and Development Office said trucks full of watermelons, pineapples, cabbages and tomatoes were delivered to various mosques.

He said the Imams have agreed not to hold congregational prayers in accordance with the guidelines set by Regional Darul Ifta of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Drieza Liningding, a leader of the Marawi Civil Society, said fruits are in short supply in Marawi City after deliveries from Cagayan de Oro were hampered by the tight quarantine measures against COVID-19.

https://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2020/04/muslims-in-cdo-receive-fruits-vegetables-from-city-govt-as-ramadan-opens/

-----

 

Muslims mark Ramadan with unprecedented COVID-19 lockdowns

24 Apr 2020

JAKARTA: Muslims around the world began marking Ramadan under COVID-19 lockdown on Friday (Apr 24) with unprecedented bans on family gatherings and mass prayers, while a pushback in some countries has sparked fears of a surge in infections.

Widespread rules have been imposed banning praying in mosques or meeting relatives and friends for large "iftar" meals at dusk - a centrepiece of the month-long fast.

The restrictions have put a damper on spirits in Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim majority nation, where national religious organisations have called on the faithful to stay at home.

However, some religious leaders in Asia - home to nearly a billion of the world's Muslims - have waved off fears about the spread of COVID-19.

Several thousand worshippers attended evening prayers Thursday at the biggest mosque in the region's capital Banda Aceh - though crowds were smaller than usual.

"I'm not worried because I'm wearing a face mask and keeping my distance," said Cut Fitrah Riskiah, one of those taking part.

The threat of large religious gatherings has been highlighted in recent weeks by waves of infections in Asia, linked to separate, massive Islamic congregations in Malaysia, Pakistan and India.

And Pakistan has seen its mosques crammed in the lead up to Ramadan with the faithful sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and paying little heed to social distancing.

Mohamad Shukri Mohamad, the top Islamic cleric in the conservative Malaysian state of Kelantan, planned to skip public prayers and family meals - even if it meant not seeing his six children and 18 grandchildren.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has extended a strict lockdown until mid-May with mosques, schools and most businesses closed - and police checkpoints set up to catch rulebreakers.

Instead, Malaysians can only order from so-called "e-bazaars", where people order goods online and have them delivered to their homes.

In neighbouring Indonesia, fears of a spike in COVID-19 cases when millions travel to hometowns and ancestral villages at the end of Ramadan has forced the country of some 260 million to issue a ban on the annual exodus.

Jakarta resident Erik Febrian said he was relying on a computer to allow him to keep in touch with his out-of-town parents until he can see them in person at the end of Ramadan.

"Thanks to technology I can video-call my parents every day during Ramadan," he said. "And keep an eye on their health."

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/covid-19-coronavirus-muslims-ramadan-lockdown-12672954

------

 

Welcoming Ramadan; State Minister Boosts Public Morale

24 April 2020

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Minister of Religious Affairs Fachrul Razi boosted public morale entering this year’s Ramadan as Muslims are expected to spend the holy month under the condition of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“That must not reduce our spirit and determination to use the holy month of Ramadan to improve our religious observance,” said Fachrul in a teleconference following the Isbat (confirmation) meeting on Thursday, April 23.

The direct effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will potentially ban a number of religious activities for the sake of safety. Some of the annual traditions during the holy month include the mass gathering in breaking the fast, tarawih prayers, and reciting the Quran routines.

The Religious Affairs Minister also called for people to avert from conducting Ziyarat or pious visits, which could potentially worsen the coronavirus chain of transmission as people would gather in large groups during such tradition.

Fachrul Razi also cited President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s previous announcement regarding the ban on the annual mudik tradition. “We are also recommended by the government to not travel in large exodus or mudik,” said Fachrul.

https://en.tempo.co/read/1335014/welcoming-ramadan-state-minister-boosts-public-morale

-----

 

Expert: Cut Down Sugar, Fat, and Salt for Better Immune System

24 April 2020

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A healthy immune system is an important weapon to fight against COVID-19, as it will be able to combat all kinds of viruses and bacteria.

The Jakarta Health Service Chief of Non-infectious Disease, Mental Health, and Narcotics Division, Endang Sri Wahyuningsih, explained that cutting down on sugar, salt and fat can result in a better immune system. Excessive consumption of sugar, fat, and salt can increase a person's risk of developing degenerative diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol.

"For example, diabetes. Characterized by uncontrolled sugar levels, diabetes can increase the risk of inflammation in the body, meaning that the immune system cannot work properly in fighting disease and infection," she said in a Teleconference Media Workshop Online with Nutrifood in Jakarta on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

More specifically, Endang explained that each person should only consume a maximum of 52.5 grams of sugar, 2000 milligrams of salt, and 60 grams of fat per day.

“That (amount) is a good rule of thumb and is suitable for the energy sufficiency of the Indonesian people. If you find calculating it is too difficult, it would be easier to limit consumption to 4 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 5 tablespoons of fat every day," she added.

https://en.tempo.co/read/1334998/expert-cut-down-sugar-fat-and-salt-for-better-immune-system

-----

 

Mideast

 

 

S. Korea Hopes Ramadan Will Help Enhance Solidarity, Tolerance amid COVID-19 Pandemic

2020-04-24

South Korea expressed hopes that the Islamic sacred month of Ramadan that began on Friday will offer an opportunity for enhanced international solidarity and a spirit of tolerance that is necessary in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring public safety.

In a message posted on its official Twitter account, the Foreign Ministry said fasting during Ramadan is meant to bring people's hearts closer together and bolster solidarity and tolerance toward neighbors in need.

Emphasizing that the meaning of Ramadan this year holds special significance amid the global health crisis, the ministry thanked all volunteer medical personnel and laborers assisting others on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.

While the ministry has hosted an "iftar" dinner, the evening meal to end the daily Ramadan fast at sunset, for ambassadors from Islamic nations during Ramadan since 2004, it's unlikely the annual event will be held this year due to the outbreak.

http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm?lang=e&Seq_Code=153011

-----

 

Saudi-led coalition impounding 127 oil tankers, levying massive fines on Yemen: Oil company

23 April 2020

The Yemeni Petroleum Company (YPC) says the Saudi-led coalition has been preventing more than 120 tankers carrying energy derivatives destined for the war-ravaged Arab country from unloading their critical consignments, imposing multi-million dollar fines on them.

The company announced in a press release on Thursday that 127 vessels are now impounded off the coast off Yemen for different time periods, and that the seizure has resulted in fines worth nearly $60 million for delayed delivery of their consignment, Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported.

The YPC added that Bahia Damas oil tanker, which is reportedly sailing under the flag of Panama, has not been allowed to dock at Yemeni ports over the past 145 days.

The company noted that the fines could have been avoided if the coalition of aggression had not pressed ahead with its arbitrary measures of seizing oil tankers offshore.

The YPC went on to say that the seizure of the oil vessels comes despite the fact that the tankers had earlier acquired necessary permits from the United Nations, and were sailing towards the Red Sea port of Hudaydah.

It highlighted that the ongoing Saudi-led blockade has deprived the Yemeni nation of the opportunity to reap the benefit of the sharp decline in crude oil prices.

A Yemeni maritime official says the Saudi-led coalition has impounded over a dozen ships carrying fuel and foodstuff destined to Hudaydah at a port in Djibouti.

“The aggressive siege is meant to push up the cost of basic commodities and services, and subsequently increase the sufferings of the Yemeni nation,” the YPC said.

Moreover, the YPC revealed that the Saudi-led military alliance together with Saudi-backed militiamen loyal to Yemen's former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi are trying to stop refineries in Yemen’s central province of Ma'rib from operating despite an urgent local demand for oil derivatives.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring Hadi back to power and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

The Yemeni army says it has repelled several infiltration attempts by the Saudi-led military coalition on various fronts, killing or wounding dozens of mercenaries.

Riyadh and its allies have been widely criticized for the high civilian death toll resulted from their bombing campaign in Yemen.

At least 80% of the 28 million-strong population is reliant on aid to survive in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/04/23/623727/Saudi-led-coalition-impounding-127-oil-tankers,-levying-massive-fines-on-Yemen-Petrolatum

-----

 

Turkey brings additional military reinforcement to Syria's Hasakah: SANA

23 April 2020

The Turkish army has brought additional military reinforcements to Syria's easternmost Hasakah province as part of Ankara's unauthorized cross-border offensive into the Arab country, says a report by Syria's official news agency.

Syria's official news agency, SANA, citing unnamed local sources, said on Thursday that the Turkish military convoy, consisted of four military vehicles equipped with machine-guns, arrived in the villages of Dawodyah and Anyq al-Hawa in Abu Rasin district in the northern parts of the province.

Most of the military reinforcements, which include weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, have been distributed among Ankara-backed militants in order for them to continue their "criminal practices" against the locals in the occupied areas, and to "attack" neighboring regions.

The presence of US-supported militants from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which regarded by Turkey as a terrorist organization, in the northern and northeastern parts of Syria has prompted Ankara to conduct a cross-border offensive into the Arab country to purportedly eliminate the Kurdish militants, occupying a long narrow border area in Syria's north.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria last October after Turkish military forces launched the long-threatened invasion.

Meanwhile, a number of Turkey-backed militants were either killed or wounded Thursday after some landmines went off on their way in al-Ahras village in Ras al-Ayn area in northwestern parts of Hasakah.

According to SANA, quoting local sources, several landmines went off as a group of Turkey-backed militants were passing in al-Ahras village in Ras al-Ayn area of Hasakah province, killing and injuring a number of them.

Apart from the recent offensive, Turkey has launched two other cross-border operations in northern Syria, namely “Euphrates Shield” in August 2016 and “Olive Branch” in January 2018 with the declared aim of eradicating the presence of YPG militants and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.

Damascus has time and again firmly rejected the Turkish-led operations as a blatant violation of its sovereignty and has vowed to liberate the whole country from foreign-led occupation.

Hasakah has also witnessed the arrival of a number of US military convoys during the past months. Just recently, SANA, citing local sources, reported that a US convoy, consisting of 35 vehicles carrying cement blocks and logistic supplies, entered the Arab country via the Walid border crossing.

At the time that the convoy was heading from the Yaroubiya countryside northeast of Hasakah toward American bases near Qamishli, according to the report.

Earlier this month, another convoy of military reinforcement consisting of 25 military vehicles and trucks with ammunition had reportedly entered the US base in the city of Shaddadi, south of Hasakah.

The local residents of a village in the northeastern Syrian province of Hasakah block the passage of a US military convoy through their community, Syrian state media say.

Washington has long been supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militant group with arms and training, calling the group a key partner in Washington's purported fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which has already been defeated and almost eliminated in the Arab country. The YPG is considered as the backbone of the SDF.

Turmoil, taken advantage of by Washington and many of its Western and regional allies, erupted in Syria in 2011. Militants and Takfiri terrorists overran parts of Syria’s territory before government forces retook almost all of them with help from Damascus’ allies, including Russia.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/04/23/623718/Syria-Turkey-reinforcement-militants-Hasakah-

----

 

Yemeni army repels infiltration attempts by Saudi-led coalition

23 April 2020

The Yemeni army says it has repelled several infiltration attempts by the Saudi-led military coalition on various fronts, killing or wounding dozens of mercenaries.

A spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, announced the news in a statement on Wednesday evening, confirming that a number of Saudi-led attempts to advance and infiltrate had been blocked in border areas and several fronts in the provinces of Jawf, Ta’iz, and Bayda.

He said enemy forces had failed in two infiltration attempts in Nate and Qaniyeh districts in the central province of Bayda, and in a major attempt in Khab and al-Sha’af districts in the northern province of Jawf.

The Yemeni forces also successfully repelled anther infiltration attempt in Hayfan district in the southwestern province of Ta’iz, Saree added.

According to the statement, carried by Yemen’s al-Masirah television, at least 30 Saudi-led mercenaries were killed and 45 others wounded overall during clashes that lasted from midnight on Tuesday until Wednesday morning.

Saree added that the Yemeni forces had also thwarted two infiltration attempts by Saudi-led mercenaries from the border districts of Baqim and al-Rabwa in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern province of Asir, resulting in “considerable losses in enemy ranks.”

The Saudi-led coalition invaded Yemen in 2015. Since then, over 100,000 people have been killed, according to the US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).

The Saudi-led aggression and an accompanying blockade of Yemen continue despite the coronavirus pandemic and the impoverished country’s urgent need for medical supplies.

In his Wednesday statement, Saree also said that Saudi-led warplanes had conducted nearly three dozen airstrikes on different localities in Yemen on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He said they carried out 23 airstrikes on Majzar and Serwah districts in the central province of Ma’rib, seven strikes against Khab and Shaf districts in Jawf, and five raids on Kitaf district in the northern province of Sa’ada.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/04/23/623686/Yemen-Saudi-Arabia-repel-infiltration

-----

 

 

 

Iran provides cash handouts to nearly 17 million households

23 April 2020

Iranian government has provided 17 million families in the country with cash handouts as part of measures to ease the economic impacts of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Tthe Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said that nearly 16.5 million households had received the 10-million-rial ($62.5) payment as of Thursday evening local time.

The payment is part of a series of inclusive measures adopted by the Iranian government to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic as many people have temporarily lost their jobs because of the outbreak.

The government has eased some of its lockdown measures which have been in place since early March, allowing some businesses and industries to gradually reopen. However, cash has been offered to many people to compensate for losses suffered during the outbreak.

The inclusive cash handouts, which covers nearly 23 million people, has cost the government around $1.6 billion. Families will return the interest-free loan in 30 months through deductions made from their monthly benefits.

The government has provided other forms of cash support to nearly three million workers directly affected by the pandemic. Another four million people have received loans worth 10-20 million rials.

Iranian health authorities said on Thursday that the number of coronavirus cases in the country had exceeded 87,000 of which nearly 65,000 people have recovered since the outbreak started in late February. The number of deaths from the virus topped 5,481 on Thursday.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/04/23/623733/Iran-cash-handouts-coronavirus-relief

----

 

IRGC chief commander thanks Ayatollah Khamenei for message of support

23 April 2020

The chief commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has thanked Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for the message in which the Leader lauded the elite defense force after the successful launch of the country’s first military satellite.

On Wednesday, the IRGC successfully launched and placed Iran's first military satellite into the orbit, using a domestically-built satellite carrier through an operation in Iran’s central desert.

Following the launch, which was made on the day when the elite military force marked the anniversary of its establishment on April 22, 1979, Ayatollah Khamenei expressed his gratitude towards the IRGC for its performance.

“Convey my regards to the IRGC personnel and their respectable families on the occasion of its founding anniversary,” the Leader said in his message, adding, “I extend gratitude to them for their good performance and efforts. My prayers are with them.”

On Thursday, Major General Hossein Salami issued a message to thank the Leader for his “inspiring and affectionate” missive, saying that the IRGC will spare no effort in its drive to guarantee that the Iranian nation "will hold its head high."

“I apprise [you] hereby [of the fact] that the IRGC has received [the Leader’s] ‘We must grow strong” message,” General Salami stated. Upon the orbiter’s launch, General Salami had likewise noted that the space achievement represented acknowledgement of the Leader's directive.

The IRGC would, accordingly, not waiver even for a moment in its cause to establish “the modern Islamic civilization” and will endeavor to realize “the Second Phase” of the country’s Islamic Revolution by engaging in constant development of its strength and power.

Last February, Ayatollah Khamenei issued a statement detailing “the Second Phase” on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the United States-backed Pahlavi regime of the time.

Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a detailed statement dubbed "The Second Phase of Islamic Revolution" on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the 1979 uprising that toppled the US-backed Pahlavi regime.

In the statement, the Leader noted that the Revolution had guaranteed Iran’s security, stability, and territorial integrity, stressing that the country must not back down from its national and revolutionary values.

Further in his message, General Salami described the potential dismissal of US terrorists forces from the region and dissipation of its  “delusion of grandeur” as a first step on the path of the world’s oppressed and underprivileged people.

“We are death-defying protectors of this noble and morally-aware people and stewards of their Revolution,” the commander stated.

The defense force would expend all that it has at its disposal to realize the Iranian nation’s great ambitions, “including dissolution of the hegemonic system in the world and establishment of justice and spirituality worldwide,” the IRGC's chief commander noted.

Owing to the Leader’s “Qur’anic and sapient directions,” Salami concluded, the freedom-seeking and disadvantaged people across the globe have by now become certain about the “rightfulness of [the practice of] resistance and its influence in deposing the hegemony.”

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/04/23/623726/Iran-IRGC-thanks-Leader-Ayatollah-Khamenei-message-successful-launch-military-satellite-Nour

-----

 

 

South Asia

 

 

 

S. Korea Hopes Ramadan Will Help Enhance Solidarity, Tolerance amid COVID-19 Pandemic

2020-04-24

South Korea expressed hopes that the Islamic sacred month of Ramadan that began on Friday will offer an opportunity for enhanced international solidarity and a spirit of tolerance that is necessary in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring public safety.

In a message posted on its official Twitter account, the Foreign Ministry said fasting during Ramadan is meant to bring people's hearts closer together and bolster solidarity and tolerance toward neighbors in need.

Emphasizing that the meaning of Ramadan this year holds special significance amid the global health crisis, the ministry thanked all volunteer medical personnel and laborers assisting others on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.

While the ministry has hosted an "iftar" dinner, the evening meal to end the daily Ramadan fast at sunset, for ambassadors from Islamic nations during Ramadan since 2004, it's unlikely the annual event will be held this year due to the outbreak.

http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm?lang=e&Seq_Code=153011

-----

 

Bangladesh places curbs on Iftar gatherings during Ramadan

24 Apr 2020

In order to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, no individuals or institutions will be allowed to arrange or participate in any gathering over Iftar, it said.

Legal action will be taken against those who fail to comply with the order, according to the ministry.

The government has also decided not to allow more than 12 people in mosques for Ramadan evening prayers this year as the coronavirus outbreak continues to escalate. The 12 will include senior clerics and other mosque officials.

The mosques’ governing bodies will decide who will be included from the neighbourhoods if the quota is not filled for Isha and Taraweeh prayers, State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheikh Md Abdullah told bdnews24.com on Thursday

No outsider will be allowed in, if the quota is made up all by mosque officials.

He also said the restrictions on gathering for other prayers in mosques will remain in force.

Currently, the number of people allowed for mosque prayers is five. As many as 10 can offer Juma prayers on Fridays.

Muslims in Bangladesh are expected to start the month of fasting on Saturday, a date subject to the sighting of the crescent moon. Taraweeh prayers will start on Friday evening if the moon is sighted.

https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2020/04/24/bangladesh-places-curbs-on-iftar-gatherings-during-ramadan

------

 

Afghan forces kill Mullah Khaliq, capture 4 Taliban compounds in Balkh province

23 Apr 2020

The Afghan forces killed a key Taliban commander, Mullah Khaliq alias Saifullah, and captured four compounds of the group during the operations in northern Balkh province.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the Afghan forces conducted the operations in Qaland Kheli, Qarghanchi and Sayad Villages of Sholgara district of Balkh.

The statement further added that the Afghan forces fully cleared the three villages during the operations and captured four compounds of the Taliban group.

The Afghan forces also killled Mullah Khaliq alias Saifullah, one of the key commanders of Taliban during the operations, the 209th Shaheen Corps added.

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-kill-mullah-khaliq-capture-4-taliban-compounds-in-balkh-province-04714/

-----

 

Afghan force kill, wound 14 Taliban militants; detain 2 others in 3 provinces

24 Apr 2020

The Afghan forces killed 9 Taliban militants, wounded 5 others and arrested 2 more during the operations in three provinces of the country.

The 203rd Thunder Corps in a statement said the Afghan forces repulsed a Taliban attack on security posts in Qarabagh district, killing 6 militants and confiscating a PKM machine gun and an Ak-47 assault rifle.

The statement further added that the Afghan forces killed 2 Taliban militants and wounded 2 others during a separate operation in Chagari area located in the outskirts of Ghazni city.

The 203rd Thunder Corps also added that the Afghan forces killed another militant and wounded 3 more during an operation in Azra district of Logar province.

Meanwhile, the Afghan forces arrested two Taliban militants and 5 other suspected militants during an operation in Aryoub Zazai district of Paktiya province, the 203rd Thunder Corps said.

khaama.com/afghan-force-kill-wound-14-taliban-militants-detain-2-others-in-3-provinces-04718/

------

 

Coronavirus cases climb to 1226 in Afghanistan as authorities record 50 new cases

23 Apr 2020

The Afghan authorities recorded 50 new positive cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Public Health said.

Ferozuddin Feroz, the Minister of Public Health, confirmed that the authorities recorded 50 new positive cases across the country in the past 24 hours.

According to Public Health Ministry, the new cases increase the total number of COVID-19 positive cases to 1,226 across the country.

Meanwhile, Waheedullah Mayar, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health, said 21 of the new cases were recorded in Herat province of Afghanistan.

Mayar further added that 15 other cases were recorded in Kunduz, 6 in Kabul, 4 in Logar, 2 in Panjshir, 1 in Takhar and 1 in Jawzjan province.

https://www.khaama.com/coronavirus-cases-climb-to-1226-in-afghanistan-as-authorities-record-50-new-cases-04715/

-----

 

Arab world

 

 

Reconstruction of Al Nouri Mosque Complex in Mosul moves ahead

April 23, 2020

Following the meeting, Unesco Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that "today marks the culmination of many months of hard work, but also of cooperation, dedication and determination to ensure that we all move ahead together, side by side, to revive the spirit of Mosul. At the end of phase one of the reconstruction of the Al Nouri Mosque complex, I wish to reiterate Unesco's firm commitment to the successful implementation of the project for Mosul, for Iraq, and for the world."

Acting for the Committee, Unesco will launch an international architectural competition for the reconstruction of Al-Nouri Mosque. The competition will take on board the input of the residents of Mosul who will be invited to take part in a large-scale consultation concerning the main reconstruction options for the Minaret and the Mosque. The timetable of these activities will depend on the ongoing response to Covid-19 in Mosul.

The second phase of the Revive the Spirit of Mosul Project involving the consolidation of the remaining base and reconstruction of the Minaret and Mosque, will begin once field and soil investigations are completed and after an extensive consultation with the local community on the design of the edifice and on whether to make the Minaret lean to one side as the original did.

At this stage, the Joint Steering Committee endorsed the reconstruction of the Al Hadba Minaret in its original location and opted for an intermediate solution for Al Nouri Mosque, aimed at maintaining the visual aspects of the building as it was before its destruction in 2017.

Recalling that "Al Nouri Mosque is a cultural asset, an archaeological and historical monument," Iraq's Minister of Culture expressed "a strong desire to maintain the authenticity of Al Nouri Mosque with the least of modification."

The project, supported by the United Arab Emirates, aims to restore and reconstruct the historic landmarks of Mosul, notably the emblematic Al-Nouri Mosque and its celebrated, 45-metre tall leaning Al Hadba Minaret, built more than 840 years ago. This historic and defining structure was all but levelled by violent extremists who occupied the city from 2014 to 2017.

The project also provides employment opportunities and job training. It is an integral part of Unesco's flagship initiative Revive the Spirit of Mosul, launched in February 2018, as the Organisation's response for the recovery of one of Iraq's most iconic cities, through the revival of education, heritage and cultural life.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, the UAE's Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, welcomed progress in the reconstruction project saying, "we have come a long way since the project's inception. This progress would have not been possible without the relentless efforts made by the technical committee and the steering committee."

"We have witnessed significant developments on the ground. Al Nouri Mosque represents a historical and a cultural asset," she added.

"We are all aiming at the same goal and we shall agree on the principle of safeguarding this Cultural Heritage. This project has invested a great deal in the local community. We will continue to engage Maslawis throughout the process and are committed to train and hire more Iraqis in the project."

Tuesday's meeting of the Joint Steering Committee marks the end of the first phase of the project that began in early 2019 and lasted a year. It consisted of clearing and demining the site, documenting and assessing it, stabilising parts that could be salvaged as well as overall planning.

In October 2019, Unesco, the UAE and the Government of Iraq agreed to undertake the reconstruction of two churches in the Old City of Mosul: the Al-Tahera Syriac Catholic Church and the Conventual Church of Our Lady of the Clock, with a view to reviving the cultural diversity that has characterised the history of Mosul over the centuries.

The President of the Sunni Waqf of Iraq, Saad Kambash for his part said that "rebuilding Al-Nouri Mosque, Al-Hadba Minaret and Al saa'a and Al Tahera Churches, is an essential part of the process of reviving the Spirit of Mosul and spreading hope to enhance the community cohesion"

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the third meeting of the Joint Steering Committee was held virtually. It was co-chaired by the Minister of Culture of Iraq, Abdulameer Al-Hamdani, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development of the UAE, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, and the Assistant Director-General for Culture of Unesco, Ernesto Ottone R., with the participation of the President of the Sunni Waqf of Iraq, Saad Kambash, the Representative of the Christian Waqf, Safaa Saffo, and Nicolas Tixier, of the Provincial Dominican Order.

The Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, Ernesto Ottone R., for his part said that "Mosul always was a crossroads of cultures, proud of its identity and diversity. The project underway pays tribute to the courage of the Moslawis who, spontaneously, in the face of violence, formed a human shield to protect their common heritage."

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/region/mena/reconstruction-of-al-nouri-mosque-complex-in-mosul-moves-ahead

-----

 

ADIB first Islamic Bank to use blockchain tech

April 24, 2020

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), a leading Islamic financial institution, has become the first Islamic bank to successfully execute trade finance distribution transactions using Blockchain technology.

The cross-border transactions, which were completed with multiple based banks, were made possible through ADIB’s partnership with TradeAssets, a trade finance e-marketplace powered by Blockchain technology to help digitize the traditional processes of origination and distribution of trade assets. For the past year, ADIB’s collaboration with TradeAssets has enabled it to automate trade finance transactions and conclude transactions successfully with banking counterparts in emerging markets.

Commenting on the milestone, Haytham Elmaayergi, Global Head of Transaction Banking at ADIB, said: “The completion of the first trade distribution transaction using Blockchain by an Islamic bank shows that ADIB is at the cutting-edge of global transaction banking.

As the only Islamic bank providing end-to-end Sharia’a-compliant trade financing through digital channels, ADIB is committed to expanding its digital footprint in trade financing and distribution, enhancing the efficiency and productivity of businesses across the region and globally.”

ADIB values the importance of incorporating emerging technologies and forming strategic partnerships in a rapidly evolving business climate.

This commitment is represented in the bank’s collaboration with TradeAssets, an e-marketplace that complements ADIB’s diversified digital cash, trade and foreign exchange offerings, available to businesses through its flagship ADIB Direct platform.

https://pakobserver.net/adib-first-islamic-bank-to-use-blockchain-tech/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adib-first-islamic-bank-to-use-blockchain-tech

-----

 

Emirates Islamic net profits down by 62pc

April 24, 2020

Emirates Islamic has reported a net profit of AED 155 million for the first quarter (Q1) ending on 31 March 2020, down by 62% year-on-year (YoY).

The lender’s total assets fell by 3% on an annual basis over Q1-20 to stand at AED 62.9 billion, while total income reached AED 641 million, 3% lower than Q1-19, according to a press release on Monday. Moreover, customer accounts were seen at AED 44.8 billion in Q1-20, broadly flat from 2019 year-end. Current and savings accounts balances went up by 5% when compared to 2019. Commenting on the results, CEO of Emirates Islamic, Salah Mohammed Amin, said, “Net profit is lower as we have made additional impairments allowances to boost coverage in anticipation of a deterioration in credit quality in subsequent quarters.”

https://pakobserver.net/emirates-islamic-net-profits-down-by-62pc/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=emirates-islamic-net-profits-down-by-62pc

-----

 

Syria envoy denounces UN failure to enforce resolutions on Israeli occupation

24 April 2020

Syria’s UN ambassador says the Security Council has failed the Arab world by not enforcing its resolutions on the Israeli occupation due to pressure from certain permanent members of the council.

“The UN, due to pressure by some permanent members of the Security Council, has so far failed to enforce resolutions calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Arab lands, particularly Resolutions 242, 338 and 497,” Bashar al-Ja’afari said at a UN Security Council session on the situation in the Middle East via video link on Thursday.

Ja’afari also described the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as an integral part of his country’s territories, stating that the return of the strategic area is among the high priorities of the Syrian government.

He added the UN inaction has emboldened some countries to try to wriggle out of their legal commitment and change the facts, such as the provocative US recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel in December 2017, and later recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in March 2019.

Ja’afari then noted that Syria, along with the majority of other countries, condemns such unilateral moves by a party, which is devoid of any political, moral or legal capacity to seal world nations’ fate and to hand over lands which belong to Syria and Palestine.

He also criticized the Israeli regime for using Lebanon's airspace to launch missile attacks on Syria, emphasizing that such strikes are against UN resolutions and meant to boost the morale of the last remnants of foreign-backed Takfiri terrorist groups.

On March 25, 2019, US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation, formally recognizing Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights. The announcement came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House at the time.

US President Donald Trump has formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, a border area the Tel Aviv regime seized from Syria in 1967.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community. The regime has built dozens of settlements in the area ever since and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/04/24/623762/Syria-envoy-denounces-UN-failure-to-enforce-resolutions-on-Israeli-occupation--

-----

 

First Taraweeh prayer of the holy month offered at Prophet’s Mosque

April 24, 2020

MADINAH — The first Taraweeh prayer on the first night of the holy month was offered at the Prophet’s Mosque on Thursday night with the continued suspension of entry of worshipers due to coronavirus pandemic.

The reduced version of the Taraweeh prayer comprising five Tasleemat (10 Rak’ahs), which was earlier approved by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, was attended by employees and workers of the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques' Affairs.

The Prophet’s Mosque authority has provided all care and attention while putting in place preventive measures in and around the mosque in coordination with the various departments and relevant authorities.

The authority has also intensified cleaning and disinfection operations with environmentally friendly sterilizers and detergents of high quality that do not affect public health. It has also activated high-accuracy thermal cameras to monitor body temperature of people when they enter the mosque.

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/592268/SAUDI-ARABIA/First-Taraweeh-prayer-of-the-holy-month-offered-at-Prophets-Mosque

----

 

Organization of Islamic Cooperation calls for aid to flood-stricken Aden

April 24, 2020

DUBAI: The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has urged countries and international organizations to provide urgent humanitarian aid to Aden, it was ravaged by heavy rain and flood last week.

Yousef Al-Othaimeen said it was important for organizations such as the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center to respond to the needs of the people who were affected by the floods.

Heavy rains and flash floods struck Yemen’s port city of Aden and neighboring provinces on Tuesday, killing one person as the country also fights the spread of the coronavirus.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1664206/middle-east

-----

 

Ramadan 2020: Abu Dhabi cannon-firing ceremony to have no spectators like other emirates

April 24, 2020

Abu Dhabi's cannon-firing ceremony to announce Iftar time during the holy month of Ramadan will be held without spectators as part of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

This follows similar announcements from Dubai and Sharjah that their cannon-firing events will also proceed without people present.

Colonel Talib Abu Talib from the Support Units Command told the Arabic language daily Al Khaleej that nine sites had been selected for the Ramadan cannons event this year, including four in Abu Dhabi, one in Umm Al Qaiwain and one in Ras Al Khaimah.

"The Ceremonies Squadron of the Support Units Command fired three rounds today immediately after the announcement of Ramadan. The Squadron will fire one round every day to announce Iftar time and three rounds to announce Eid Al Fitr at the end of the holy month," he added.

The cannons were introduced in 1970 by the then Abu Dhabi Defence Force. The firing ceremony was re-introduced as a means to announce Iftar time in 2014 after the restructure of the Ceremonies Squadron within the Support Units Command.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/ramadan-2020/ramadan-2020-abu-dhabi-cannon-firing-ceremony-to-have-no-spectators-this-year-like-other-emirates

-----

 

Dubai announces partial easing of Covid-19 curbs for Ramadan

2 hours, 52 minutes ago

In line with the decisions of the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management headed by Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has announced a partial reduction in the restrictions on movement in the emirate starting from today (April 24).

The move, which coincides with the start of Ramadan, allows increased freedom of movement, while ensuring the continuation of strict precautionary and preventive measures.

Public transport (bus & metro), restaurants & cafes (except for buffet and shisha), retail sector (malls, high-street outlets and souqs), wholesale sector and maintenance shops will be allowed to operate under certain conditions.

Family entertainment facilities, cinemas, changing rooms and prayer rooms will not be allowed to operate. Hotels will be allowed to operate without opening pools, gyms, sauna and massage parlours. A maximum of 30% of the workforce of all organisations will be allowed to work from their offices while the rest will be required to work from home.

The Committee has also outlined a new set of guidelines on movement and a list of exempted commercial activities and vital sectors, reported state news agency Wam.

The decision to reduce restrictions on movement in Dubai follows a careful assessment of the current situation and analysis of reports from various authorities working to combat the pandemic, the Committee said.

Underlining the emirate’s success in countering the spread of the virus, it said that stringent measures undertaken over the last three weeks have significantly helped to mitigate the crisis.

The committee thanked members of the community for their full commitment to the preventive and precautionary measures. It added that the community’s compliance with restrictions on movement reflects its strong spirit of shared responsibility highlighted by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s recent remark: ‘Today we are all responsible’.

It further stressed that despite the partial easing of restrictions on movement, the public is not allowed to hold public or private gatherings. Those who breach the guidelines will face legal action. The need to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the community cannot be underestimated, the Committee stressed, it added.

As part of the first phase of easing of restrictions, the stringent curbs on public movement will now be limited to the period between 10pm and 6am. During this period, the public will be allowed to leave their homes only for medical emergencies.

Individuals will be able to leave their homes between 6am and 10pm without a permit. The public will be required to strictly follow precautionary measures which include maintaining physical distance from others as per guidelines and wearing a face mask. Those who do not wear a mask will be subject to a fine of Dh1,000.

The residents can exercise outside their homes provided they do not leave their area of residence. They can undertake activities such as walking, running or cycling for 1-2 hours each time.

Only a maximum of three persons can exercise at the same time. Individuals must follow preventive measures including ensuring two-metre distance from other individuals and wearing face masks, it stated.

Considering the advent of Ramadan and the social customs and traditions surrounding the holy month, members of the public are permitted to visit first and second degree relatives. Gatherings should be restricted to not more than five people.

However, visiting high-risk individuals (individuals above 60 years and those with underlying medical conditions) should be avoided. It is prohibited to hold gatherings in public or private places.

Shopping malls, markets and commercial outlets will be open daily to the public from 12pm to 10pm. Furthermore, restaurants and shops are allowed to operate at a maximum of 30 percent capacity at the shopping malls.

Malls and retail outlets will not be allowed to hold entertainment events to avoid congestion and crowding, said the statement.

There will be no valet parking at malls and restaurants. The first hour of parking in shopping malls will be free. Only 25% of the parking spaces will be open in order to reduce overcrowding in malls. The public should visit a mall only when absolutely necessary.

Sterilisation operations will continue inside malls. Visitors will be subject to temperature checks at entrances and will be required to wear masks as a condition for entering a mall. Malls are also required to make sterilisers widely available to ensure the highest level of protection for visitors and workers.

All shopping malls will have a medical isolation room for emergency purposes in case someone in the mall is suspected to be infected with the virus.

Restaurants and Cafes - Restaurants and cafés are allowed to operate normally but are not permitted to serve shisha and buffet. Dine-in customers are allowed but should occupy only a maximum of 30% of the outlet’s capacity.

A two-metre physical distance should be strictly maintained between individuals. All diners and staff should wear masks. Only single-use cutlery can be used at restaurants and cafes.

Services offered at salons for males and females will be restricted to hair and nail services. Customers can be received only by prior appointment and all preventive and health measures should be strictly observed.

Public Transport - Public transport services, including Dubai metro services, will be resumed from Sunday April 26. The normal tariff system will be reintroduced. Precautionary measures will continue to be followed and there will be specific guidelines for passengers.

Preventive measures should be strictly followed by all passengers and staff in metros, taxis and buses and at public transport stations including maintaining physical distance and wearing face masks. Only two passengers are allowed in one taxi.

Administrative offices for companies and institutions - Employees are allowed to work in offices only if it is absolutely necessary. Their numbers should not exceed 30% of the total workforce. The rest of the workforce can continue working remotely from home. Companies should constantly monitor the number of employees and visitors entering and leaving the workplace every day.

Meetings should be held at the office only if it is absolutely necessary. Attendees should not exceed five people and each person should maintain a two-metre physical distance from others.

Daily sterilisation of the workplace is mandatory and employees and visitors should be provided with sanitisers at all times. Everyone is required to wear face masks when at the workplace.

General guidelines - Individuals are prohibited from distributing food except through mass distribution initiatives organised under the supervision of licensed charity organisations and relevant authorities.

- Individuals are advised not to share food with family members living in different homes. If food needs to be shared with relatives or friends living in the same area, it should be transported in sealed containers.

- Reopening of mosques has been postponed since close proximity between worshippers can pose risks of infection. Group prayers are not authorised to be held in public places and mosques. Group prayers and Taraweeh prayers are permitted at home but the worshippers must be from the same family, residing in the house.

- Individuals who step out of their homes for any purpose must wear a face mask and avoid touching any surfaces or their face. They must also use hand sanitisers and wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

- Seniors and people with chronic diseases or any illness are not allowed to leave the house and must avoid going to public places to ensure their safety.

- Domestic workers are prohibited from meeting anyone outside the home or receiving food from unknown sources. They should be provided with protective gear if they need to interact with people outside the house. They must also be guided on precautionary measures to be followed when receiving deliveries of parcels or goods (including disinfecting the packaging and using gloves).

Sectors exempted from restrictions on movement between 10m and 6am are Shopping malls - Retail shops - Open Souqs - Pharmacies - Financial services - Restaurants and cafes (Shisha and buffets will not be served) - Food services - Delivery services - Social welfare services - Maintenance and repair services - Laundry services - Nail and hair salons (Only through pre-booked appointments) - Healthcare services (Hospitals and clinics) - Food Supply outlets - Industrial supply chain for services and basic commodities - Manufacturers of medicines and providers of healthcare and medical supplies - Industrial sectors - Water and electricity sector, petrol and gas stations and district cooling services - Telecommunications - Media - Airports, airlines, ports, shipping - Customs duty and border crossings - Public and private security services - Municipality services and public and private service providers involved in garbage collection, sewage management and general cleaning and sanitation

http://www.tradearabia.com/news/MISC_367111.html

------

 

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman wishes Muslims a blessed Ramadan

Tamara Abueish

24 April 2020

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz wished citizens and Muslims around the world a blessed Ramadan on Thursday night after the Kingdom’s Supreme Court announced the sighting of the crescent moon, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

“We are entering Ramadan this year while living in extraordinary circumstances that have impacted all of humanity, and it is a critical and sensitive stage in the world’s history because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. This is despite the measures being taken by humanitarian organizations and the world countries to prevent its spread,” King Salman said, according to SPA.

King Salman also expressed his sadness at the fact that Muslims will not be able to pray inside mosques due to the restrictions imposed in several countries to curb the pandemic.

“I am pained that the holy month arrives amid circumstances that make us unable to perform group prayers and Taraweeh at mosques due to precautionary measures to protect the peoples’ lives and health in combating the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

He also thanked the security personnel at the Kingdom’s borders, as well as health practitioners, security and military sector personnel, everyone working in one of the government sectors, and all volunteers for their effort in helping curb the coronavirus outbreak.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/coronavirus/2020/04/24/Saudi-Arabia-s-King-Salman-wishes-Muslims-a-blessed-Ramadan.html

----

 

Europe

 

Covid-19: Easing of Restrictions for Ramadan: In Dubai, Cafes and Restaurants Reopen, Reduced Hours for Shops and Shopping Centres

04/24/2020

In Dubai, cafes and restaurants reopen, reduced hours for shops and shopping centres. From 26 April public transport is back in operation. Cairo reduces curfews, but the alert remains high with the country registering the highest number of infections. In Iran, efforts are being made to restore "breathing space to the economy". A "sad" sacred month in the West Bank and Gaza.

Dubai (AsiaNews / Agencies) - From the United Arab Emirates to Egypt, several Muslim nations of the Middle East and North Africa affected by the coronavirus pandemic have loosened closures, restrictions and curfews for Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer that began yesterday.

The Dubai authorities have sanctioned the reopening of cafes and restaurants; shops and shopping centers will be in operation between noon and 10 in the evening, albeit with a maximum capacity limited to 30%.

According to local authorities, public transport will start working again (including the metro) on April 26th. Moreover, the UAE is shortening the curfew imposed by two hours to limit the spread of the epidemic. From today it will be in force from 10 in the evening until 6 in the morning.

Egypt has decided to loosen the grip on its citizens, allowing the reopening of some shops and reducing the night curfew, announced Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly yesterday. This despite the fact that the country continues to experience a critical situation with the highest number of infections since the beginning of the epidemic in February. There are 232 Covid-19 cases confirmed yesterday and 11 victims; in all there are 3891 infected and 287 coronavirus deaths.

In spite of the complex situation, Cairo has decided to reduce the curfew which will begin at 9 in the evening (an hour more than in the past weeks) and ends at 6 in the morning. Instead, the decree closing the mosques and the ban on gatherings and public meetings, also for praying, remains in force; citizens are invited to observe Ramadan in their homes.

In spite of the internal struggles between those who seek the continuation of the restrictive measures and others who are pressing for their easing, the authorities in Iran have also chosen to loosen their grip to give "breathing space to the economy" as explained by President Hassan Rouhani.

The number of infections is decreasing in all provinces, in the Middle Eastern nation most affected by the new coronavirus. However, the fear of scientists is that of a second or third wave of return, with the danger of further escalation in the victims.

Nevertheless, the parks, some shopping centers and shops have been open for two days; permission has also been given for low-risk shops, even if the government continues to press for "intelligent social distancing". Travel between different provinces has also been allowed; on the employment front, at least four million are at risk of losing their jobs or suffering a sharp reduction in wages.

Algeria from today will also reduce the nightly curfew and cancel the total lockdown for a province (Blida) adjacent to the capital Algiers. However, the recommendations to the population that must continue to "be vigilant" remain and the measures "may vary according to the evolution of the epidemiological situation".

Finally, Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza Strip face a sad Ramadan "too poor to buy anything, too scared to meet." Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, gatherings, meetings and prayers group, as well as meals in families (Tarawih) are prohibited. East Jerusalem resident Ammar Bakir confirms that "there are no faithful, there are no people and the closure of the al-Aqsa mosque has a vast influence on the population". As a rule, tens of thousands of people, even hundreds of thousands in the last few days, visit the place of worship for prayer which will now be broadcast live from the mount.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Covid-19%3A-Easing-of-restrictions-for-Ramadan--49907.html

-------

 

Ramadan message from the British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

24 April 2020

British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Neil Crompton, in his message said:

In the coming weeks, Muslims in Saudi Arabia and around the world will mark the Holy Month of Ramadan. This is my first Ramadan as British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. It is a time for fasting, prayer, charity and family gatherings. I was looking forward to meeting and hosting Saudi friends over iftar and suhoour.

But this Ramadan will be different from any before, as we all face a new threat. This is a time when the festivities are replaced by concerns for our loved ones and we have to adapt to a strange and unique situation. At this time, I find it helpful to take inspiration from the spirit of Ramadan.

I am inspired by stories of people looking out for one another, and sharing with those less fortunate. Ramadan is a time to reflect and pray for peace and coexistence. And to remember those in conflict zones, displaced or homeless, without essential medical and healthcare facilities.

As Ramadan starts, I want to thank all those who are working to battle coronavirus here and around the world to keep us safe.

Let us have faith and remain hopeful for future celebrations when we will be reunited with family and loved ones. At the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, I am pleased to extend my warmest wishes to the people of Saudi Arabia, and all those observing Ramadan. Ramadan Karim.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ramadan-message-from-the-british-ambassador-to-saudi-arabia

-----

 

Ramadan starts as Covid-19 lockdowns clash with tradition of gatherings

24/04/2020

The coronavirus pandemic has muted Ramadan rituals for the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims, as the holy month started for many countries on Friday, amidst bans on prayers and large gatherings in Muslim communities from Southeast Asia to the Middle East and Africa.

Rules banning praying in mosques or gathering with relatives and friends will mean no large traditional iftar meals to break the daily fast.

Clerics and conservatives in some countries have pushed back and have refused to stop prayer gatherings in mosques.

National religious organisations in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, have called on the faithful to stay at home. And yet several thousand people attended evening prayers on Thursday at the biggest mosque in the capital the conservative Aceh province.

In Malaysia, with a Muslim majority, a strict lockdown has been extended until mid-May, with mosques, schools and most businesses closed, and Ramadan bazaars, where people buy delicacies before breaking their fast, have been banned.

Algeria will ease confinement measures starting Friday, shortening curfews in some provinces around the capital, Algiers.

Distancing measures and the economic impact of the pandemic has also meant a hit for charitable activities, especially food distribution. Mosques and charities give food to thousands of people during Ramadan.

In the Gaza Strip, where there have been 17 officially declared coronavirus cases, many are wondering how they will manage.

Hamas, which runs the territory and has announced all mosques will remain closed throughout the holy month, said it would hand out money to 5,000 poor families.

http://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20200424-ramadan-starts-as-covid-19-lockdowns-clash-with-tradition-of-gatherings

------

 

UK leaders extend Ramadan greetings to Muslims

Jeyhun Aliyev

24.04.2020

Top UK officials on Friday greeted Muslims on the beginning of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

“At this time of year I want to say Ramadan Mubarak to Muslims at home and across the world who are beginning the holy month,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a tweet.

At this time of year I want to say Ramadan Mubarak to Muslims at home and across the world who are beginning the holy month.

This Ramadan will be particularly challenging, but the values of compassion, charity and sacrifice are more important now than ever before.

"This Ramadan will be particularly challenging, but the values of compassion, charity and sacrifice are more important now than ever before."

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock thanked Muslims for "making major changes to the vital parts of practice" during "a month that is so special for so many people."

"As we enter Ramadan, many Muslims won’t be sharing the joy of this month as they normally do in light of coronavirus. Thank you for staying home," he said in a tweet.

"To everyone welcoming in the month of Ramadan, Ramadan Mubarak. I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the Muslims working in our NHS [National Health Service], our care service and everywhere on the front line of our fight against coronavirus. Thank you for keeping us safe," he said in a tweet along with a video message.

"Ramadan brings out common qualities that we have; of compassion, of sharing, of supporting each other, qualities we need more than ever just at this time."

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/uk-leaders-extend-ramadan-greetings-to-muslims/1816846

-----

 

 

Muslims find creative ways to observe Ramadan under lockdown

By Maryam Qaiser

24 APR 2020

It is one of the five pillars of Islam, observed by billions of Muslims across the globe - including 3,372,966 in the UK - but today marks the start of the world’s lockdown Ramadan.

Usually a time for fasting, reflection and charity work, 2020 has seen Muslims looking for new ways to observe rules and share food and time together.

Digital technology is being used to help people enjoy online prayers and sermons, as well as to give to charity during the month-long celebration.

Iftar, the meal to break the fast at sunset, is usually a time when friends and family come together to enjoy a feast of delicious food. Muslims then attend the Mosque for special Ramadan prayers called Taraweeh.

But as we approach week six in lockdown, Iftars and Taraweeh prayers will be taking place in isolation as Mosque doors remain firmly bolted.

Instead, many Mosques are going digital, offering online sermons, Islamic teaching sessions and live streaming prayers so Imams can still engage with the community.

One of these is the Karimia Institute in Nottingham - they’re hosting a special Iftar programme on their community radio station at 7:30pm. Readings from the Quran and short prayers will be shared via their Facebook page, which people can watch online before praying Taraweeh at home.

Dr Musharraf Hussain OBE, CEO and Chief Imam at Karimia Institute says this year sees people being urged to find new ways to observe and celebrate.

Dr Musharraf Hussain from Karimia Institute, Nottingham, has been giving sermons and reciting prayers digitally (Image: Dr Musharraf Hussain)

As he says: “We are telling people to stay home and don’t share Iftar with each other, technology has allowed us to communicate with the community, it is better than nothing.

“Ramadan is always a time for inner development, reflection, patience and sympathy and of course charity. Muslims give a lot of money to charity during this month as well as recite the Quran.

“The Quran plays an important role during Ramadan, they both tie in together and during the pandemic, people have turned to the Quran and many have improved their spirituality.”

Since the lockdown Dr Hussain has also been giving online Islamic sermons and reciting short prayers called the Jummah Khutba on Fridays.

Earlier this month, around 400 worshippers joined Dr Hussain online for Shab-e-Barat. The special day happens every year in the Islamic calendar and it is when Muslims believe Allah (God) writes their destinies for the coming year, after taking into account their past actions.

Mosques rely on this cash to sustain services and maintain the buildings but since the pandemic, it has become increasingly difficult to raise funds.

In response, Muslim crowd-funding platform LaunchGood has launched The #SupportOurMosque campaign, which has been supported by the Muslim Council of Britain.

Harun Khan, general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “The message for this Ramadan is clear - fast and pray at home and share Ramadan digitally. This is the way to help save lives.

“It is important to use this time to reconsider, to reflect on the way we live our lives and the way we relate to our Creator, our communities and those in need. We must be sure to celebrate Ramadan in the safest way possible - in our homes.”

In London a group of Muslims from different nationalities have created a Facebook video project called Ramadan Together - and they’ll be using other social media platforms including WhatsApp to reach out to friends and family.

Photographer Mohamed Abdulle and filmmaker and writer Basma Khalifa will be sharing content showing how different cultures from around the world celebrate Ramadan.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/muslims-find-creative-ways-observe-21909571

-----

 

Mufti of Kyrgyzstan calls to comply with quarantine rules during Ramadan

24 April 2020

The month of fasting for the Muslims began today in Kyrgyzstan. Mufti Maksat azhi Toktomushev congratulated the believers on the beginning of the month of Ramadan.

He noted that the believers around the world are fasting in quarantine regime this year.

«This is also the test of the Most High. Let us all pray and ask the God to deliver us from illnesses and troubles. Take the disease seriously. Support each other and be always in peace and harmony. We must protect our health without succumbing to panic, without disseminating false information. Do not harm the other people by ignoring the rules,» the mufti said.

Maksat azhi Toktomushev reminded that it is forbidden to gather for Friday prayers and tarawih prayer during quarantine.

«If you had any intention of organizing iftar, help the families who need food. This month, gratitude for your good deeds will be multiple,» the mufti said.

https://24.kg/english/150982_Mufti_of_Kyrgyzstan_calls_to_comply_with_quarantine_rules_during_Ramadan/

-----

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/in-view-of-the-‘changed-environment-6-muslim-families-in-jind-district-convert-to-hinduism/d/121663

 

New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism


Loading..

Loading..