LONDON — A high-level conference on Islam and the West
opened Monday, June 4, in London, bringing together
prominent Muslim scholars from around the world with UK
"Some of the most distinguished scholars and religious
leaders the world over are gathered here. And I ask
people in the country and wider to listen to them,"
outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair said in his welcome
speech, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"They are the authentic voices of Islam."
Politicians and religious leaders from more than 30
Muslim countries attended the Cambridge
University-organized event themed "Islam and Muslims in
the World Today."
Chief among the scholars taking part are Egypt's Mufti
Ali Gomaa and his counterpart from Bosnia-Herzegovina
The conference, which opened with a video message from
Prince Charles, will be further addressed by Gordon
Brown, the prime minister in waiting, and Tory leader
Organizers said that the two-day event aims to address
the relation between Islam and Western societies and
explore ways in which greater understanding could be
fostered between Muslims and non-Muslims.
"The conference will focus on the relationship between
Islam and the non-Muslim world," Professor David Ford,
of Cambridge University's inter-faith program (CIP),
"There is an urgent need for Islam and traditionally
Christian cultures to understand one another,
specifically from a religious perspective."
Discussions are also expected to address concerns of
local Muslim minorities in Britain and other Western
Speakers will additionally tackle the contribution
Islamic debate has made to hot topics including
citizenship and the place of Shari`ah in the West.
In his speech, Blair said the two million Muslims in
Britain should be particularly appreciated.
"I would like to pay tribute to our British Muslim
communities today," he said.
"We have successful Muslims in all areas of our national
Affirming his call for "greater understanding" of Islam
in Britain, Blair pledged a one million-pound boost for
Islamic studies at universities citing a
government-commissioned report that criticized the
quality of Islam teaching on campuses.
The review, concluded by leading UK scholar Ataullah
Siddiqui who takes part in the Cambridge conference,
warned that Islamic studies in Britain were "out of
date" and failed to reflect the "realities" of Muslim
life in the multi-cultural country.
"We intend to follow-up on many of Dr. Siddiqui's
recommendations and will be providing significant
funding to deliver on this commitment," Blair said.
He added that the fund would help train home-grown imams
to reduce mosques' reliance on overseas preachers who
may not understand British society.
The government has already declared in April funding a
new project to teach home-gown imams to become role
models for the younger generations.
Under the 6-million-pound "hearts and minds" plan, imams
will be given "civic leadership" courses in universities
The conference, however, drew heavy fire from a leading
Muslim peer, who charged that the event is politically
"The conference is fronted by Cambridge University, but
organized by Downing Street, the Foreign Office, and the
Communities Department," Nazir Ahmed, a Labour member of
the House of Lords, told the BBC.
Ahmed said the conference has "deliberately chosen to
exclude those Muslims who disagree with government
He noted that Blair pursued "divide and rule" tactics as
leading Muslim groups were not invited in the event,
such as the umbrella body Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
"It's a colonial style of governing."
British think-tank Demos accused in a report published
in December Blair and his cabinet of pursuing diplomatic
double-talk with the Muslim minority, failing to
practice the social harmony and integration they are
preaching in the meeting rooms of Whitehall.
Blair is due to step down on June 27, handing over the
leadership of the governing Labour Party and Britain's
premiership to Brown.
Blair's aides told The Independent that he was planning
to cast himself as a multi-faith ambassador soon after
stepping down through setting up a foundation in London
to mainly enhance dialogue between religions.
But his plans were met by scorn from lawmakers and
experts, who believe his "bloody legacy" of
Muslim-targeting anti-terror measures plus his blind
support to the US in invading Iraq has widened rather
than bridged the Islam-West divide.
The South African
Muslim community’s contribution to the global Islamic
from a report by ZAFAR BANGASH,
director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic
There is one country – South Africa –
where the Muslims have not only understood the problem
fully but have also taken steps to address the issue in
earnest. This is perhaps because Muslims, and indeed
most people in South Africa, have experienced directly,
on their own skins, the ravages of apartheid, and that
has enabled them to appreciate the suffering of other
peoples much better. Whether in Palestine or
Afghanistan, Kashmir or Chechnya, the Muslims of South
Africa have been foremost in helping their brothers and
In recent weeks the people of South Africa have been in
the forefront of rallies in support of the Palestinian
people. Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Pietersburg and
Cape Town, to name but a few cities, have all been the
scene of enormous rallies. Unlike other parts of the
world where Muslims live as minorities, in South Africa
all segments of society – from the trade union movement,
the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to
the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the
Communist Party of South Africa – have joined Muslims in
their condemnation of Israeli crimes against the people
On this visit I have spoken at public meetings attended
by both Muslims and non-Muslims, in mosques and
elsewhere, and given a series of radio interviews, both
on Muslim Radio and in the mainstream media. The degree
of understanding of issues demonstrated by Muslims was
In addition to the dissemination of
ideas, Muslims in South Africa have taken numerous bold
initiatives to organise themselves. The country boasts
some of the most beautiful mosques in the world, which,
unlike mosques in most of the rest of the world, do not
remain empty most of the time. The oldest mosque in
South Africa is in Cape Town; the largest mosque in the
southern hemisphere is the Gray Street Mosque in Durban.
Masajid in South Africa are not used merely for Friday
salat, as happens elsewhere, especially in North America
and Europe; nor are they opened or used only at
weekends. There is activity going on almost all the
time. Attendance at fajr is impressive.
Most mosques have a school or madrassa attached. They
are also collection points for relief work. Islamic
schools are also emerging in large numbers; some are
impressive, with hundreds or even thousands of students.
Again Pretoria (Laudium), Johannesburg, Petersburg,
Durban and Cape Town have at least one Islamic school
each. There is keen awareness among Muslims that quality
education is necessary for their children. Cape Town
also has two major Islamic Radio Programmes: Radio 786
and Voice of the Cape, which present news, talkshows and
other programmes 24 hours a day. Both have large
audiences and have played a major role in raising
awareness in the Muslim community. On April 16 both
stations applied to the licensing commission for
four-year licenses to run their programmes.
One can almost divide the country into distinct
population types. Cape Town has the largest
concentration of Muslims. Cape Muslims are known for
their militancy and activism; this explains the massive
rallies there in recent weeks in support of Palestine.
On April 21, for instance, more than 20,000 people
packed the stadium in Athlone, a suburb of Cape Town.
Present were not only well-known leaders of the Muslim
community of Cape Town – leaders of the Muslim Judicial
Council (Shaikh Ebrahim Gabriel, Shaikh Ehsan and
others), a number of leading imams such as Shaikh Zafir
Najjar, leaders of the Islamic Unity Convention (Imam
Achmed Cassiem) – but also trade union leaders,
representatives of the ANC, and Ronnie Kasrils, Minister
of Water Works in the current South African government.
Himself of Jewish origin, Ronnie Kasrils has spearheaded
the campaign "Not in my Name" to distance Jews of
conscience from the unconscionable practices of the
zionist regime. More than 300 prominent South African
Jews have added their names to the list so far.
Other major Muslim population centres include Durban and
the Johannesburg/Pretoria region. Each has a unique
flavour of its own. In Durban, for instance, the Sufi
tariqah seems to predominate. Many masajid and shrines
are dotted all over the city (there are also a large
number of shrines and karamats in Cape Town of the early
Muslim shaikhs who were brought in chains from the Malay
Archipelago by the Dutch colonialists some 300 years
ago). Throughout South Africa Muslims have done well as
traders: this is a legacy of the apartheid era, when
non-whites – Coloureds, Indians and Blacks – were
prohibited from acquiring education and training, and
thus prevented from entering the major professions. This
is now changing, but it will be some time before Muslims
are represented properly in most professions.
Both Johannesburg and Pretoria in Gauteng province have
large and dynamic Muslim communities. Johannesburg is
the gateway to South Africa, although it is not the
country’s capital; Pretoria is the administrative
capital and Cape Town the legislative capital. In
Johannesburg most Muslims are traders. They have done
well, but many are now also entering the manufacturing
sector. Johannesburg also has a number of radio and
part-time television programmes. The Voice of Islam has
been on air for many years; Channel Islam has also now
added its voice to the airwaves. Channel Islam,
broadcast through satellite, can be heard in 55
countries if one has the appropriate receiver. Laudium
(the "Indian" township near Pretoria) also has a radio
programme on 1840 AM dial.
Two other institutions have been established in recent
years: the Media Review Network (MRN) and Al-Ghazali
College. Both serve extremely important functions in
addressing issues of major concern to Muslims. MRN has
taken on responsibility for monitoring the media,
offering the Muslim perspective on news and challenging
the stereotypical images of Muslims in the mainstream
media. It has made great strides in correcting some of
the distortions and the one-sided presentation of news.
Articles and letters by MRN staff now appear regularly
in major South African newspapers. Al-Ghazali College
has emerged as a centre of academic excellence in a
short time. Students are not only taught the regular
academic subjects; there is also much emphasis on
character-building. This is an important factor in
developing a well-rounded Muslim personality for the
In many ways the South African Muslim community can be
regarded as pioneers of Islamic work in a minority
situation. While preserving their Islamic identity, they
have not isolated themselves from the rest of the Ummah;
indeed if any part of the Ummah can be said to live up
to its obligations, the South African Muslim community
is that part.
Zafar Bangash is the Director of
the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT).
This is a Muslim think-tank specialising in Muslim
Political Thought and the Life-history of the Prophet of
Islam. He also writes a regular column for Crescent
Britain loves Mohammed
LONDON: Mohammed is likely to become the
most popular name for baby boys in Britain by the end of
the year, The Times newspaper reported.
The Office for national Statistics said
that in 2006 Mohammed ranked second behind Jack when all
the different spellings of the name were taken into
In total, 5991 baby boys were given some
version of the name Mohammed and 6928 baby boys were
Source: Courier Mail
On the other side of
the finishing line
To make up for not being able to take
part in CresWalk this year over 40 of the Crescents of
Brisbane Team and friends and families have entered in
this year’s Gold Coast Bulletin 7.5km Walk and 10km Run.
Normal entries closed off on Wednesday
during the week, but late entries are still being
Ahmed is New Custodial
Officer in Corrective Services
Gravatt's Ahmed Mohamud brings experience and
understanding to his role as a custodial officer.
With a Somali background and as a Muslim,
Mr Mohamud is happy to be of help to prisoners from a
""Because I understand the issues that
surround significant events such as Ramadan, I can
liaise with management to help solve problems," Mr
"I also think it is advantageous for the
prisoners to have someone from their own cultural
background to talk to."
Mr Mohamud said his job brought diversity
and challenges but also satisfaction from helping
offenders improve their lives.
He joined more than 3200 Queensland
Corrective Services staff members after graduating last
He has come a long way - in more ways
than one - since fleeing his war-torn homeland at the
age of 18 to New Zealand. He came to Australia in 1995.
Corrective Services Minister and Member
for Mt Gravatt Judy Spence said Mr Mohamud was made for
"Ahmed brings compassion and
understanding to his job," Ms Spence said.
"He has embraced the opportunity to work
in a diverse organization, where 4 per cent of the
workforce comes from non-English speaking backgrounds.
Source: Mersija Mujic, Southern Star Wed
June 6 2007
Condolences to Omar
CCN wishes to record our condolences
to Omar Khan (Global Convenience) and Ismail Khan
(Coldrock, Calamvale) and their families
on the passing away of their mother in South Africa
Yassmin adds another
notch to her belt
Ms. Yassmin Abdel-Magied can add
another award to her already impressive collection of
accolades this year which include being named the 2007
Young Australian Muslim of the Year, the regional Lions
Youth of the Year and John Paul College school prefect
This month she was recognized for her
efforts by the Southern Star newspaper as its YoungStar
Got the Goods to Give
Australian Muslim Sadaqah is now
collecting all your unwanted items (electrical,
furniture, beddings, tools etc) and redistributing it to
others in need in Brisbane & elsewhere. Items may also
be sold to fund da’wah efforts and aiding reverts.
call: Abu Zaid 0410 977 465 or Abu Owais
0424 139 392.
COLLECTION OF ITEMS WILL TAKE PLACE ON THE FOLLOWING
AREAS AROUND KURABY MASJID: Saturday June 23 & Sunday
*** Must contact them by Thursday June 21st.
AREAS AROUND DARRA MASJID: Saturday July 7 & Sunday July
*** Must contact them by Thursday July 5th.
Items will be collected from your homes. Please DO NOT
leave them at your nearest masjid.***
They will also be coming to Lutwyche, Gold Coast,
Buranda, Holland Park and Rochedale soon.
The CCN Centre Link
Two free courses are available in school
hours. The first one is: Certificate 2 in business
taster (Mondays and Tuesdays only-for 5 weeks). The
second one is aged care (one day per week- for 20
weeks). If interested, please call Sushil of ACCESS on
3808 9299/ 0417 746 977
10 years old Babar
Iqbal sets world record in computer field
PESHAWAR, May 28 (APP): 10 year old
Babar Iqbal from Dera Ismail Khan has set a world
record in the field of computer by securing 80 percent
marks in an examination held in Dubai.
According to the details, Babar Iqbal participated in
the examination of Certified Virus Network Administrator
(CVNA) and grabbed a world record by obtaining 80
percent marks in it.
He is the youngest world record holder in the computer
field and has also qualified for the trainers programme.
Babar Iqbal has earlier set world records in the fields
of Microsoft Certified Professional and CIW.
It is pertinent to mention here that the CVNA
examination is arranged by American company wherein
candidates across the world participate.
Talking to APP, Babar Iqbal said that he wants to make
further progress in the field of computer adding that
having set three world records he has won laurels for
his country and is receiving offers from a number of
world reputed US companies.
Key Skills: Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional,
Web Development, Microsoft FrontPage XP, Flash MX,
Family distinction: 5 brother and sisters are
Microsoft Certified, Babar Iqbal being the youngest. His
sister Asifa Khan studying in the 7th, who is elder to
him, aged 11 Years 4 months and 17 days is also a
Microsoft Certified Professional. The rest of the
With less than 20 days to go for the Gold Coast run (and
8 weeks to the 12km Bridge to Brisbane) CCN's
Woman-on-the-Workout-Mat, Kareema Benjamin,
offers handy hints over the next few weeks for those
training towards them.
Why is it important to stretch your muscles after a
Stretching is just as important as your
workout. Not only does it reduce the risk of injury, it
prepares the body or muscles for your next workout.
Stretching while the muscles are warm gives them the
greatest benefit to flexibility and also decreases the
level of muscle soreness you sometimes feel a few days
after your workout!
WEEK 1 of our
3 week training program in preparation for the upcoming
Gold Coast Marathon:
Please note that the following program is suitable for
beginners (aimed at the 7.5km walk). For the more
competitive or serious athlete intensity, duration and
frequency of exercises need to be increased!
REMEMBER: NUTRITION IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR
TRAINING REGIME. SO START EATING HEALTHIER TODAY
AND DON'T FORGET TO DRINK YOUR WATER!
Walk for a minimum of 30 mins. (10 mins. at a moderate
pace, 15 mins. at a more brisk pace and 5 mins. cool
down / slow pace.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO STRETCH AFTER EVERY WORKOUT!
Healthy Tip: Always keep your body hydrated - carry a
bottle of water with you daily!
Similar to day 1. Increase your walking time by 5 mins.
or more if you feel comfortable and include some hills
as part of your course.
Rest your legs and opt for some strength and resistance
training (lifting light weights and doing some push-ups,
etc.). Ensure good posture and technique.
Get walking...the aim is to increase your time and
Relaxation and recovery - Do an activity that you enjoy
(low impact). Include your stretching routine.
Cycle if possible, otherwise take on a more challenging
walking course (steeper hills, etc.). Always challenge
yourself, but do not overdo it. Listen to your body -
QUALITY rather than QUANTITY!
Have a rest, recover and get ready for week 2!
PLEASE NOTE: The above training program assumes a
healthy participant. Those with medical conditions,
injuries or who are not
physically active, need to seek clearance from their GP
before starting any form of exercise.
All questions sent in
are published here anonymously and without any
references to the author of the question.
As salaam alaikum
It is with excitement that I inform you I will be
going OVERSEAS from Monday 11th June – 29th July
2007. I will be back at work MONDAY 30th July.
Acting Sergeant Jose SARMIENTO will be the relieving
Metropolitan South Regional Cross Cultural Liaison
Officer (CCLO) and can be contacted on the normal
CCLO mobile (0438 114 619).
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank
you ALL for your support over the past two years.
Cross Cultural Liaison Officer
Metropolitan South Region
The Culinary Corner
RECIPE As Winter
sets in soups begin to find their way to the table. Many
vegetable soups served in non-Halaal establishments may
contain Haraam ingredients such as beef and poultry
stock from non-Halaal slaughtered animals and alcohol
Food enthusiast and author Mariam
Jadwat-Omar (of South Africa) gives us her delicious
Butternut Soup recipe.
The recipe is
contained in her book "Creative Cooking, the Easy
2 cups cubed
ground white pepper
1 cup water
1 cup cubed
1/4 cup pasta
(alphabets, stars or rice noodles)
1 x 125ml
1 green chilli,
onions, to garnish
carrots, peeled, grated
Cook butternut with
water until soft. Puree with half cup water and set
Braise green chilli,
garlic and cumin in butter. Add chicken, pepper and
aromat and cook until chicken is tender
Add pasta, carrots,
butternut and boiling water. Bring to the boil and
simmer until pasta is done.
A guy is driving
around Kuraby and he sees a sign in front of a house:
"Talking Dog For Sale".
He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in
the back yard.
The guy goes into the backyard and sees a Labrador
retriever sitting there.
"You talk?" he asks.
"Yes, I do," the Lab replies.
"So, what's your story?"
The Lab looks up and says, "Well, I discovered that I
could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the
government, so I told the ASIO about my gift, and in no
time at all they had me jetting from country to country,
sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because
no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one
of their most valuable spies for eight years running.
"But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew
I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle
down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some
undercover security wandering near suspicious characters
and listening in."
"I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a
batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies,
and now I'm just retired."
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner
what he wants for the dog.
"Ten dollars," the guy says.
"Ten dollars? This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you
selling him so cheap?"
"Because he's a shameless liar. He never did any of that stuff."
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It is the usual policy of CCN to include from time to time, notices of events that some readers may find interesting or relevant. Such notices are often posted as received. Including such messages or providing the details of such events does not necessarily imply endorsement of the contents of these events by either CCN or Crescents of Brisbane Inc.