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Islamic World News ( 10 Aug 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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‘When Love Glorifies God’

Econo-Jihad, a new Al-Qaeda priority

Indian Muslims divided over bigamy

Peshawar: Jamaat-e-Islami vows to forge anti-US alliance

Taliban houses demolished

Saudi shuts TV offices over sex talk show

Burqa not welcome anywhere

Police review anti-Islamic rally in Birmingham

Somali Islamists warn over closer US ties

Hashmi's U-turn: No discrimination for being Muslim

Islamic influence on Victorian artist William Morris

Plan to attack Pakistan's Parliament House foiled

Pak accepts four 26/11 terrorists as 'nationals'

47 Killed in Bombings in Iraq

Israel bombs Gaza tunnel near Egypt

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/‘when-love-glorifies-god’/d/1629

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‘When Love Glorifies God’

Islamic film is emerging as a new genre in the Indonesian film world

 

The current star of the Indonesian film is Ketika Cinta Bertasbih (When Love Glorifies God, directed by senior filmmaker Chairul Umam), the latest in a series of Islamic-themed films that are changing the face of Indonesian cinema. The film is based on the bestselling novel by Habiburrahman Syirazi, the author who also wrote Ayat-Ayat Cinta (Holy Verses of Love), another novel which was a huge commercial success when adapted for the big screen. Ketika Cinta Bertasbih (or KCB) began screening Indonesia-wide on 11 June 2009, but even in its pre-production phase in 2008, it was already an Indonesian cinema phenomenon.

Auditions for the film lasted for three and a half months, and took place in nine different Indonesian cities. A TV show was created to enable viewers to follow the audition process, and the grand final was screened nationally on 14 September 2008. The wannabe actors all had to show they could recite the Holy Quran fluently and show that they applied Islamic values in their daily lives. The judging panel consisted of prominent Islamic figures in the arts and entertainment industry, such as the actress Neno Warisman and Habiburrahman Syirazi himself.

The pre-release promotional hype declared KCB would be a ‘Mega Film’, and the first Indonesian film produced in the land of Egypt’. Giant billboards on main streets were part of the promotion. ‘Ready to shake eight countries’ screamed one. Following the movie’s release, the promotion continued: ‘One million viewers after a month’s screening!’ became ‘Two million viewers after two months’ screening!’ Another billboard announced a promotional competition: ‘Win a tour to the places where KCB was shot’.

    ‘One million viewers after a month’s screening!’ became ‘Two million viewers after two months’ screening!

With a budget of 40 billion rupiah (around US$ 4 million), KCB is the most expensive film ever to be produced in Indonesia. In the first week of its release, it screened in 148 cinemas across the country, breaking the previous record set by Riri Riza’s Laskar Pelangi (Rainbow Militia, 2008) which appeared at 115 cinemas in its opening week. The sequel, KCB 2 is due for release nationally on September 17, a few days before Idul Fitri.

An Islamic love story

The basic storyline of KCB deals with the problem of how to find a soul-mate in an Islamic way. In the movie, dating or even handshaking between men and women is not allowed if the characters are not married. The story focuses on Khairul Azzam, an Indonesian student at al-Azhar University in Cairo. Azzam comes from a modest family and he has to work, making and selling tempeh and tofu, to support his mother and sisters back in Yogyakarta. He is also a moderate Islamic activist who has a deep knowledge of Islam and applies Islamic values in his daily life. Eliana, the daughter of the Indonesian ambassador, and an actress in the making, falls for him because of his hard work and piety, but Azzam gently rejects her.

One day, Azzam hears about Anna Althafunnisa, a highly educated girl from a respected religious family; he wishes that one day she will become his wife, just on the basis of what he hears about her. But one of his close friends from a rich family, Furqon, has already proposed to her. One day, Azzam helps Anna during a robbery, but still they don’t know each other’s names. Anna also becomes close to Azzam’s family in Yogyakarta. Meanwhile, Furqon is the target of blackmail and becomes HIV positive; but his marriage proposal has already been accepted.

    The film is full of Islamic advice and preaching about how to deal with problems of daily life

The film is full of Islamic advice and preaching about how to deal with problems of daily life. It deals, for example, with the debate on polygamy. When Furqon proposes to Anna, she sets two conditions: she will remain in her family’s pesantren (Islamic boarding school), and Furqon is not allowed to take a second wife. ‘I just want to be just like Khadijah (the Prophet Muhammad’s first wife) and Fatimah (the Prophet’s daughter) who were the one and only wives of their husbands for the rest of their lives,’ Anna says. When other character respond and accuse Anna of rejecting the concept of polygamy that is allowed by the Holy Quran, she argues back and shows them a page from a classical book of hadith (sayings and deeds of the Prophet) that strengthens her argument.

Islam on the big screen

As a cinema phenomenon, the film has raised questions about the relationship between Islamic values and the film industry. Like other popular Islamic films that have preceded it, such as Ayat-Ayat Cinta, Kun Fayakun (Be, and It Is), Mengaku Rasul(Claiming to be a Prophet) and Syahadat Cinta (Testimonial of Love), Ketika Cinta Bertasbih is the result of a process of negotiation between idealism and commercialism. In the eyes of some film critics, the battle between these two objectives tends to result in a film genre that is mediocre at best. Other critics, like the film historian Salim Said, regard it as simply the latest illustration of an age-old and probably eternal struggle to reconcile the need for profits with the desire to produce quality films that benefit society.

There are Islamic groups and individuals who reject the whole undertaking. Lukman Hakim, a well-known Islamic blogger who belongs to the very conservative Salafi School, has written that buying a ticket to watch a movie like Ayat-Ayat Cinta is just like buying a ticket to hell. For him, watching movies is a useless and pointless activity that takes place in an environment of ikhtilat, meaning the mingling of boys and girls who are not blood relations in a non-segregated space. He sees cinema as a form of figurative painting, which should be forbidden according to Islamic law.

There are, however, various groups that try to combine cinema and Islamic law, such as MAV-NET (Morality Audio Visual Network) which has branches stretching from Padang to Bogor. MAV-NET has produced a manifesto which states that Muslim filmmakers should make movies that represent Muslim morality and do not violate Islamic law. Such groups try to find ways around problems that arise when attempting to reconcile every last detail of Islamic law and film culture. For example, a scene showing a husband and wife hugging can be a problem if the actors portraying the characters are not in fact married, because in reality these two individuals should not be in such close physical contact. Ustadz Abu Ridho from the PKS (Prosperous Justice Party) argues that in such cases if the focus is simply on Islamic virtues, then everything will be clear.

Other, more liberal, Muslim directors see things differently. Deddy Mizwar, for example, says that it is a filmmaker’s duty to expand the language of film in new and creative ways. Like a number of prominent Iranian directors, he believes that syariah (Islamic law) and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) open up creative spaces in the search for alternative idioms and new forms of storytelling. For him, showing an unmarried couple hugging to express their feelings for each other is just an old-fashioned cinematic cliché. He goes for a more poetic alternative by having the male character in his popular TV series Para Pencari Tuhan (The God Seekers) address his female counterpart with the words, ‘If syariah allows it, I will purify myself in the water of your tears’.

    Film critics and internet bloggers alike seem to agree that KCB is too wordy and too ideologically driven to be a successful work of art

What these conceptions of ‘Islamic film’ leave out of consideration is the question of how to place films with Islamic themes by prominent directors who are not proponents of the genre like Garin Nugroho or Riri Riza. Films like Rindu Kami padaMu (Our Longing for You) and Laskar Pelangi (Rainbow Militia) are not considered to be examples of ‘Islamic film’ but they are still full of Islamic values and representations of Muslim society. Film critics would argue that these films are more successful as art, and more representative of Islam in Indonesian society than the works of self-declared makers of ‘Islamic film’.

An artistic achievement?

In contrast, film critics and internet bloggers alike seem to agree that KCB is too wordy and too ideologically driven to be a successful work of art. Unlike films from other parts of the Islamic world, especially Iran, KCB largely ignores the language of film, preferring to present all its religious content through verbal explanations alone. For some viewers, it is just another sinetron, an open-ended soap opera like so many others on Indonesian television.

Yet the film’s promoters continue to insist on its ‘quality’ aspects. Advertisements have included statements by prominent Islamic figures such as Hidayat Nur Wahid, a founder of the PKS and chairperson of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), who stated that the commercial success of KCB proves that Indonesian cinema audiences have the ability to identify quality and value in film. The same advertisement that includes Hidayat’s endorsement urges potential viewers to show their support for quality Indonesian film by seeing the film: ‘By watching KCB you are contributing to the birth of a national cinema of quality, dignity and respect for women’ viewers are told. Some observers see this kind of promotion as a sign that the filmmakers are afraid their film will be seen as nothing more than a box office hit, and not the ‘authentically Islamic’ film they want it to be remembered as. ii

Ekky Imanjaya (eimanjaya@yahoo.com) is co-founder and editor of Rumahfilm.org, an Indonesian online film journal. Source: http://insideindonesia.org/content/view/1229/47/

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Econo-Jihad, a new Al-Qaeda priority

By Gabriel Weimann

10 August, 2009

Al-Qaeda, known for its spectacular attacks on US embassies, navy ships and symbols of military and economic power, may be fine-tuning its targets to cause maximum damage to the Western economy.

Recent Jihadist chatter on the Internet suggests both exultation about the economic crisis gripping the West and a call for what can be labelled as “Econo-Jihad,” targeting Western financial systems and economic infrastructure. This is not simply a new propaganda spin. Monitoring Al-Qaeda’s online statements, videos, audio messages, letters and press releases reveals that Jihadists see Econo-Jihad as a promising weapon of terror and the current financial crisis as a result of their activities. In fact, crippling the Western economy may now be the primary goal for the Jihadists.

While not a new idea for Osama bin Laden and his supporters, Econo-Jihad has recently become more appealing for them. As long ago as 2002, Al-Qaeda claimed that its strategy was to reduce America to economic ruin. On its now defunct website, alneda.com, the movement’s propagandists assured its followers that even though the September 11, 2001, attacks had failed to deliver the knockout blow Osama bin Laden had intended, they needn’t despair. Just as the Muja?hideen had triumphed against all odds over the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, defeat of the United States was inevitable.

In 2004 bin Laden referred to the September 11 attacks as economic: in his videotape broadcast on Al-Jazeera and posted online, he bragged that Al-Qaeda spent $500,000 on the event, while America lost, “according to the lowest estimate, $500 billion … meaning that every dollar of Al-Qaeda defeated a million dollars [of America] … besides the loss of a huge number of jobs.” He concluded: “America is a superpower, with enormous military strength and vast economic power, but all this is built on foundations of straw. So it is possible to target those foundations and focus on their weakest points, which, even if you strike only one-tenth of them, then the whole edifice will totter and sway.”

Full Report at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=105117

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Indian Muslims bitterly divided over bigamy

August 9th, 2009, By Khalid Akhter

New Delhi, (IANS) Do bigamy and Islam go together? The Law Commission of India doesn’t think so. Indian clerics of all hues disagree. But they don’t seem to have the backing of ordinary Muslims.

The issue of a Muslim man having more than one wife has always divided the country’s second largest religious minority. The row has escalated since the Law Commission asserted Thursday that bigamy conflicts with the “true Islamic law in letter and spirit”.

“Bigamy is not against the spirit of Islam,” asserted Maulana Abdul Khaleeq Sambhali, pro-vice chancellor of Darul Uloom in Deoband town, some 150 km from here, and one of the biggest seminaries in India.

“Islam permits a man to have more than one wife provided he does justice to both his wives on economic and other issues,” the Maulana told IANS on telephone from Deoband.

Sambhali was reacting to the 227th Law Commission report submitted to the central government. While falling short of suggesting a change in Muslim law that permits bigamy, the commission report said: “We fully agree that traditional understanding of Muslim law on bigamy is gravely faulty and conflicts with true Islamic law in letter and spirit.”

This is one of the most radical observations on the subject in any recent government publication.

Full Report at: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/politics/indian-muslims-bitterly-divided-over-bigamy_100229825.html

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Jamaat-e-Islami vows to forge anti-US alliance

Party chief rules out possibility of MMA revival

Yousaf Ali, 10 Aug, 2009

PESHAWAR: Ruling out the possibility of revival of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Jamaat-e-Islami head Syed Munawar Hassan Sunday declared that an anti-America alliance would be forged in future.

Speaking at a ‘Go America Go’ rally here, he said those sharing power with the Zardari administration were part of his pro-US policies. “Maulana Fazlur Rahman cannot distance himself from the policies of President Zardari on the basis of a few statements,” he argued.

“The Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, too, are part of the Zardari-led government. Any party that is interested in forming broader political coalition should come out of the government first,” he said.

The Jamaat chief urged all the political forces to launch ‘Go America Go’ campaigns so that a strong anti-US alliance is formed. He said the present elected rulers had continued the pro-US policies of former President Pervez Musharraf but the people everywhere were against the US.

The Jamaat chief said the so-called US war against terror was actually a war against the Islamic world. He said that the US drone attacks from the air and Pakistani offensives on ground were part of the plot to accomplish the US agenda. He claimed the Pakhtun belt, which a US think-tank terms as nursery for Al-Qaeda, would become the graveyard for the US and Nato forces as it was for the UK and Russia.

Full Report at: http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=192286

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Taliban houses demolished

10 August, 2009

GHALNAI: A tribal peace committee demolished the houses of two local Taliban in Lakaro tehsil of Mohmand Agency on Sunday.

A political administration official said committee members demolished the houses of Shakir and Pyanda Gul in Qandaro village. The law and order situation has considerably improved in most of the agency and routine activities are smoothly in progress, he added. app

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Saudi shuts TV offices over sex talk show

10 August, 2009

Saudi Arabia said that it has closed the offices of a Lebanon-based television channel controlled by a billionaire reformist tycoon after a national boasted of his sexual exploits on its racy talk show ‘Bold Red Line’. The company’s offices in the commercial capital of Jeddah were locked shut on the orders of Deputy Prime Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, information ministry spokesman Abdul Rahman al-Hazzaa told AFP. “It was because of the interview with Mazen Abdul Jawad,” Hazzaa added, referring to a July episode of ‘Bold Red Line’ in which Jeddah resident Abdul Jawad openly discussed his free-wheeling sex life and use of sex aids and toys. The episode outraged Saudi conservatives, and Abdul Jawad and two of his friends who participated in the show were arrested last week. afp

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Burqa not welcome anywhere

Mustapha Sami

Since World War II and the beginning of the emigration of thousands of Muslim Arabs from North Africa, the French Government has failed to take meaningful steps or to draw up a conscious plan for integrating the Muslim minority into French society.

But we must also acknowledge that the Muslim Arabs brought with them to France their own fears and emotional complexes, which dictated their patterns of behaviour and their despicable treatment of women — to which Islam has no connection at all. Of their own free will, the Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian Muslims imprisoned themselves in neighbourhoods that became filthy slums, where a visitor felt as if he had been immediately transported away from Paris — the most beautiful city in the world — to one of the poverty-stricken cities of the Arab countries — cities rife with tin-shack neighbourhoods that export terrorists to the world.

Full Report at: http://www.dailypioneer.com/194703/Burqa-not-welcome-anywhere.html

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Police review anti-Islamic rally

A police review of an anti-Islamic rally and counter protest in Birmingham city centre in which 35 people were arrested is being carried out.

West Midlands Police said a "post operation investigation" was under way.

Police said Saturday's rally was made up of football fans calling themselves the English and Welsh Defence League and Casuals United.

The counter-protest was organised by campaign group Unite Against Fascism, West Midlands Police said.

Police described the trouble as "sporadic incidents of disturbance in the city centre" with the majority of the arrests being for disorder.

Full Report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_midlands/8192284.stm

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Somali Islamists warn over closer US ties

By ABDULKADIR KHALIF, August 9 2009

MOGADISHU: Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of Hizbu Islam, one of the Islamist groups opposing the Transitional Federal Government has condemned the close ties between the Somali government and United States.

In a statement signed by Sheikh Aweys, the movement labelled the meeting between President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Nairobi on Thursday as hostile action against the people of Somalia.

“In the past, the US supported freedom fighters, but its recent policies have followed imperialistic approach,” said the Hizbu Islam. “Its strategy on Somalia is one based on adversary and chaos creation,” it added.

Full Report at: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/-/1066/637168/-/13845p9z/-/

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Hashmi's U-turn: No discrimination for being Muslim

PTI 10 August 2009

MUMBAI: In a U-turn, actor Emraan Hashmi, who had alleged that he was denied a flat by a housing society because he was Muslim, today claimed there was no discrimination against him and the controversy arose because of a "miscommunication".

"The dispute between me and the members of Nibbana housing society has been resolved. The society had not discriminated against me. There had been a miscommunication," Hashmi, who had sparked a furore with his allegation of religious, profiling, told reporters after a hearing on his complaint at the State Minorities Commission.

Hashmi's lawyer Majeed Memon said that a broker Jagjit Arora had told the actor that the society had refused to sell the flat as Hashmi was a Muslim.

Full Report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Hashmis-U-turn-No-discrimination-for-being-Muslim/articleshow/4877467.cms

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Islamic influence on Victorian artist William Morris 

Journalist Navid Akhtar examines the influence of Islamic design and values in the life of Victorian designer, poet, and craftsman William Morris.

The designs of William Morris are inextricably linked to the curving sinuous arabesques of traditional Islamic Art.

He was inspired by Turkish ceramics and Persian carpets to create a new movement in British design.

For him the Muslim world had managed to preserve the art of the craftsman and avoid the ills of industrial production.

However his admiration went beyond the surface, Morris was influenced by Islamic ideas of what art should be.

His famous advice to "have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful," echoes the Muslim saying in the Koran that "God is beautiful and loves beauty".

Full Report at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2009/08/090807_wiilam_and_the_muslims.shtml

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Plan to attack Pakistan's Parliament House foiled: Minister

IANS 10 August 2009

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's security forces have foiled a plan to attack Parliament House and the headquarters of the country's spy agency and have arrested 36 terrorists, it was announced on Monday.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on the Interior in Parliament House, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Islamabad Police and intelligence agencies in a joint action had foiled the terror attempts.

Eight suicide jackets had been recovered from the arrested terrorists, Online news agency quoted Malik as saying.

Full Report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/world/pakistan/Plan-to-attack-Pakistans-Parliament-House-foiled-Minister/articleshow/4878039.cms

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Pak accepts four 26/11 terrorists as 'nationals'

10 August 2009

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday accepted that four out of nine terrorists who carried out the Mumbai terror attacks, were its nationals, Times Now reported. Maharashtra government has now urged Pakistan to accept the bodies of the terrorists, currently lying at a Mumbai morgue.

Pakistan had earlier refused to accept that 26/11 perpetrators were its nationals and had not agreed to accept their bodies.

Few days back, in a "major breakthrough" in its probe into the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan had arrested a key suspect with links to the outlawed LeT for allegedly facilitating 26/11 strikes.

Full Report at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/world/pakistan/Pak-accepts-four-26/11-terrorists-as-nationals/articleshow/4877575.cms

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47 Are Killed in Bombings in Baghdad and Northern Iraq

By SAM DAGHER, August 10, 2009

BAGHDAD — At least 47 people were killed and hundreds were wounded early Monday morning as a series of bomb attacks struck Baghdad and destroyed an entire village near the northern city of Mosul.

Nearly 100 people have been killed and many more wounded in Mosul and Baghdad since Friday in the worst outburst in violence since June 30, when Iraqis officially took the lead on national security and American troops became largely confined to their bases.

The attacks raised serious concerns about the Iraqi government’s ability to maintain security. They also highlighted the underlying conflicts that continue to fuel violence, especially the rift between Arab and Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq and the continued disenfranchisement felt by many Sunni Arabs and loyalists to the former government.

Full Report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/11/world/middleeast/11iraq.html?hp

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Israel bombs Gaza tunnel near Egypt

Reuters 10 August 2009

GAZA - Israeli warplanes bombed a tunnel along the Gaza Strip border with Egypt on Monday, the Israeli military, Hamas officials and witnesses said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the pre-dawn raid in the Palestinian coastal territory, ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.

The raid was launched in response to recent mortar and rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel, an Israeli military spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said the warplanes targeted a tunnel under the town of Rafah suspected of being used to smuggle explosives into Gaza from Egypt. Israel has frequently attacked tunnels it says are used to smuggle weapons or materials to build weapons, though such raids have occurred less frequently in the past few months.

Israel launched a ground and air offensive in Gaza in December, in which some 1,400 Palestinians were killed in what the Jewish state called a response to rocket fire by Gaza militants. Fourteen Israelis were killed in the 22-day conflict.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/‘when-love-glorifies-god’/d/1629

 

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