Muslims in Toowoomba gathered in the first Masjid of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs region to mark the transfer of ownership of the place of worship to the Muslims, and to offer the first congregation Asr prayers at 5:00pm on Friday, 17 January 2014. The celebration continued until Magrib and packaged dinner was served after the prayers.
The Islamic Society of Toowoomba (IST) has completed the purchase of 2765sqm church property on 217 West St, Harristown (Toowoomba) on 16 January. The settlement of the under contract church property on Thursday 16 January has concluded a chapter of the history of Muslims of the city and opened a new era of further commitment and engagement.
The President of the Islamic Society of Toowoomba Inc, Professor Shahjahan Khan welcomed all the participants and thanked them for their spontaneous involvement and sense of belongingness of the Masjid project. He told the worshippers that this is a "new bright chapter in the over 30 years history Muslims in Toowoomba."
He paid tributes to the "extraordinary contribution of the senior community leaders in Brisbane through participation in the series of strategy meetings, generous time, guidance, advice, free legal/accounting support, organizing fundraising dinner, and above all help engaging the Imams of all Masjids and the committee of all Societies."
He recognized all those who were involved in forming the Society in 1994 and served it over the years in various capacities. He emphasized the importance of the teaching and participation of the young Muslims and children the running and activities of the Masjid to ensure the continuation of the spreading the words of Allah in the city and beyond in the years to come.
"The Eid like environment of the men, women, and children in the Masjid was a rare opportunity to express deepest thanks to Allah, and those who have contributed to the project through duwa, advice, volunteering, donation, and organizing various fundraising events," said Prof Khan. He especially thanked the Muslim communities of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Wollongong, Melbourne, Armidale, Hobart, Darwin, and Perth who organised various fundraising activities for Toowoomba Masjid and made significant contributions. He also thanked all the former residents of Toowoomba and students of USQ who also have made remarkable contributions to the project.
Imam Abdul Kader talked about the essence of Masjid for Muslims and why it is important to take care of Masjid. Quoting from the Qur’an and Hadith he explained the requirements and benefits of a successful Masjid.
Secretary of the Society, Dr Md Shahiduzzaman, Dr Shahbaz Mustaque, Dr Mainul Islam, Br Shahbaz Rafiq and others also addressed the congregation. The children recited from the parts of the Qur’an and various Nasheeds.
Br Abrurahman AlHeweg called the first Adhan for the first prayers for which he delayed his scheduled return to home flight after completion of his PhD degree by one week. "This is an indication of the kind emotion that worked among the Muslims in Toowoomba for their first Masjid," said Prof Khan.
Subject to the completion of planned toilet and ablution blocks and replacement of carpet the full operation of the Mosque is expected to start in early February 2014. A formal opening function is planned to be held in late March with dignitaries from Brisbane, Gold Coast and other cities in attendance.
As part of its ongoing process of engagement, the Islamic Society of Toowoomba invited the neighbours of the church for a meeting and afternoon tea (see pictures above) on Sunday, 12 January at the USQ Islamic Centre. "It was a very cordial and productive meeting, " Prof Khan said.
Based on the feedback from the meeting, the Society plans to invite the neighbours again for another `meet and greet’ session in the Mosque.
"We re-affirm our commitment to work with everyone to build a peaceful and harmonious community through mutual understanding and respect and we seek their support, understanding and cooperation so that people of all faiths and culture in our proud city can together to build and maintain a peaceful and harmonious community," Prof Khan added.
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Saudi Arabia to raze
Prophet Mohammed’s tomb to build larger
The key Islamic heritage site, including
Prophet Mohammed’s shrine, is to be
bulldozed, as Saudi Arabia plans a $ 6
billion expansion of Medina’s holy Masjid
an-Nabawi Mosque. However, Muslims remain
silent on the possible destruction.
Work on the Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, is
planned to start as soon as the annual Hajj
pilgrimage comes to a close at the end of
“After the Hajj this year, in one months’
time, the bulldozers will move in and will
start to demolish the last part of Mecca,
the grand mosque which is at least 1,000
years old,” Dr. Irfan Alawi of the Islamic
Heritage Research Foundation, told RT.
After the reconstruction, the mosque is
expected to become the world’s largest
building, with a capacity for 1.6 million
And while the need to expand does exist as
more pilgrims are flocking to holy sites
every year, nothing has been said on how the
project will affect the surroundings of the
mosque, also historic sites.
Concerns are growing that the expansion of
Masjid an-Nabawi will come at the price of
three of the world’s oldest mosques nearby,
which hold the tombs of Prophet Mohammed and
two of his closest companions, Abu Bakr and
Umar. The expansion project which will cost
25 billion SAR (more than US $6 billion)
reportedly requires razing holy sites, as
old as the seventh century.
The Saudis insist that colossal expansion of
both Mecca and Medina is essential to make a
way for the growing numbers of pilgrims.
Both Mecca and Medina host 12 million
visiting pilgrims each year and this number
is expected to increase to 17 million by
Authorities and hotel developers are working
hard to keep pace, however, the expansions
have cost the oldest cities their historical
surroundings as sky scrapers, luxury hotels
and shopping malls are being erected amongst
A room in a hotel or apartment in a historic
area may cost up to $ 500 per night. And
that’s all in or near Mecca, a place where
the Prophet Mohammed insisted all Muslims
would be equal.
“They just want to make a lot of money from
the super-rich elite pilgrims, but for the
poor pilgrims it is getting very expensive
and they cannot afford it,”
Dr. Irfan Al Alawi said.
complex – a 40 tower ensemble – is being
depicted as a new pearl of Mecca. When
complete, it will consist of six five star
hotels, seven 39 storey residential towers
offering 520 restaurants, 4, 360 commercial
and retail shops.
But to build this tourist attraction the
Saudi authorities destroyed the Ottoman era
Ajyad Fortress and the hill it stood on.
The Washington-based Gulf Institute
estimated that 95 percent of sacred sites
and shrines in the two cities have been
destroyed in the past twenty years.
The Prophet’s birthplace was turned into a
library and the house of his first wife,
Khadijah, was replaced with a public toilet
Also the expansion and development might
threaten many locals homes, but so far most
Muslims have remained silent on the issue.
“Mecca is a holy sanctuary as stated in the
Quran it is no ordinary city. The Muslims
remain silent against the Saudi Wahhabi
destruction because they fear they will not
be allowed to visit the Kindom again,” said
Dr. Al Alawi.
The fact that there is no reaction on
possible destruction has raised talks about
hypocrisy because Muslims are turning a
blind eye to that their faith people are
going to ruin sacred sites.
“Some of the Sunni channels based in the
United Kingdom are influenced by Saudi petro
dollars and dare not to speak against the
destruction, but yet are one of the first to
condemn the movie made by non Muslims,” Dr.
Al Alawi said.
Chechnya gives parents
$1,000 for naming newborns ‘Mohammad’
Chechnya: Families in
Chechnya who name their newborns “Mohammad,”
after Islam’s prophet, will be given $1,000,
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on
The initiative was announced to mark the
birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad this
week, according to Moscow-based news site
On the social media image-sharing site
Instagram, Kadyrov said that his mother's
privately-sponsored charity will give away
the money, adding that she was behind the
The reward is not limited to those who name
their newborns "Mohammad," Kadyrov said,
adding that those who name their infants
after any of the prophet's wives, children
and 10 companions would also receive $1,000.
Asmaa Sarah, 19, who hails from the Amazigh
ethnic group, was crowned Miss Amazigh 2014
in the Moroccan city of Agadir on Friday.
The Amazighs are a group of people who
inhabit the area extending from the eastern
Siwa Oasis to the Atlantic Ocean to the
west, and the Mediterranean Sea in the north
to the south of the Sahara.
The contest also came during the occasion of
the Amazigh New Year.
Held at a university in Morocco's southern
city of Agadir, the contest judged the
beauty queens by their mastery of their
ethnic language, and the quality of their
A group of 10 women aged between 18 and 25
have been selected to line up for the beauty
their age criteria, the women were expected
to master their Tamazight language, a family
of Berber dialects spoken in North African
countries. A third judging point was related
to their ethnic clothing.
More than 50 percent of the event's proceeds
went to a local charity association.
“I am very happy to win the pageant and be
able to help local charity organizations,
especially the ones that will be held next
month in the Berev province of Agadir,”
newly-crowned Sarah told a reporter from
Anatolia News Agency
Was the First President Defamed for
neighbor as yourself, and your country more
than yourself,” wrote Thomas Jefferson the
year before his death. Who did he include
among his neighbors in the blueprint for the
nation he loved so much?
implicitly included Muslims in his patriotic
rendering of the Golden Rule. Many may find
this idea startling today, but explicit
proof for it exists.
In 1776, Jefferson inscribed these pivotal
words among his private notes: “(N)either
Pagan nor Mahometan (Muslim) nor Jew ought
to be excluded from the civil rights of the
commonwealth because of his religion.” They
were written a few months after he composed
the Declaration of Independence, when he
returned to Virginia to draft new laws for
Jefferson borrowed the precedent of “civil
rights” for Muslims from the English
philosopher John Locke’s 1689 tract, A
Letter Concerning Toleration. Locke’s ideas
about the toleration of Muslims and Jews
provoked attacks: One critic condemned him
for having “the faith of a Turk.” His
enemies also charged, rightly, that he owned
a copy of the Quran, which they termed “the
For centuries, it had been common in Europe
for one Christian to defame another with
references to Islam, a practice that crossed
the Atlantic. Jefferson, for his expansive
views of religious liberty and political
equality, would be attacked repeatedly as an
“infidel,” a word that in his time meant not
just an “unbeliever,” but a Muslim.
And like Locke, Jefferson owned a Quran.
The 22-year-old Jefferson bought his Quran
in 1765, while studying law in Williamsburg,
Va. The local newspaper documented his
purchase of the two-volume translation by
the Englishman George Sale. First published
in 1734, Sale’s version was the earliest
made directly from Arabic to English. It
included a 200-page “Preliminary Discourse”
with an overview of Islamic belief, ritual
Jefferson may have been interested in the
Quran as a book of law, for at the time he
also ordered many English works of
jurisprudence. He would have been struck by
the translator’s definition of the Prophet
as “the lawgiver of the Arabians.”
Yet while Sale condemned Islam as “a false
religion,” he also took care to praise the
Prophet as “beautiful in his person, of a
subtle wit, agreeable behavior, showing
liberality to the poor, courtesy to
everyone, fortitude against his enemies, and
above all a high reverence for the name of
God.” The translator also refused to define
Islam “as propagated by the sword alone,”
reminding his readers that both Jews and
Christians warred in the name of their
Critics accused Sale of being too
even-handed in his depiction of Islam,
resulting in his Anglican missionary
employers distancing themselves from his
translation. Posthumously, he was condemned
as “half a Muslim,” by the British historian
Edward Gibbon in 1788.
Those who appeared to defend Islam, or its
adherents, were harshly criticized on both
sides of the Atlantic.
What did Jefferson think about the Quran and
its contents? He left no notes that capture
his immediate reaction, either because he
never wrote them or because they did not
survive the fire that destroyed his mother’s
house five years later. In the blaze,
Jefferson said he lost “every paper” and
“almost every book.” The Quran may also have
succumbed to the fire, but if it did, he
most certainly bought it again, for it
survives in the Library of Congress.
In the Quran, Jefferson inscribed only his
initials at the bottom of one page of the
Jefferson criticized the religion in his
early political debates in 1776 as “stifling
free enquiry,” a charge he also leveled
against Catholicism. He thought both
religions fused religion and the state at
precisely the time he wished to separate
them in Virginia.
Despite his criticism of Islam, Jefferson
supported the rights of its adherents, a
pattern he repeated for Judaism and
Catholicism, moving beyond his hero Locke,
who refused toleration to Catholics and
In Jefferson’s 1784 Notes on Virginia, he
published his views on the relationship
between his neighbor’s religion and the
state: “The legitimate powers of government
extend to such acts only as are injurious to
others. But it does me no injury for my
neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no
God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks
With his assertion that government should
never intrude into the metaphysical beliefs
of its citizens, Jefferson provided
unintentional, lasting ammunition for his
political enemies. For many, these words
proved he was not really Christian.
Jefferson’s legal version of the Golden
Rule, combined with Locke’s views of Muslim
civil rights, would echo most potently in
his 1821 autobiography, in which he recalled
the final fight to pass his most famous
legislation, the Statute of Virginia for
Religious Freedom, still in force today.
The Statute proclaims: “(O)ur civil rights
have no dependence on our religious
opinions.” Although Jefferson’s proposed
legislation originally met with resistance
in 1779, James Madison lobbied for its
passage and, finally, achieved victory in
1786 while Jefferson was away in France.
Jefferson recorded happily in his
autobiography that a final attempt to change
his preamble by adding the words “Jesus
Christ” failed. And this failure led
Jefferson to affirm that he had intended the
application of the statute to be
“universal.” By this he meant that religious
liberty and political equality would not be
exclusively Christian, a belief in religious
pluralism that Madison also shared.
Jefferson asserted that his original
legislative intent had been “to comprehend,
within the mantle of its protection, the Jew
and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan,
the Hindoo, and Infidel of every
By the time he wrote these words in 1821,
Jefferson certainly appreciated the
consequences of being labeled an infidel
himself. In the wake of his narrow
presidential victory in 1800, he confided to
a close friend: “(W)hat an effort, my dear
Sir, of bigotry in politics & religion we
have gone through.”
Jefferson would not be the last presidential
candidate to be defamed for referring to
Islam, but he remains the first.
Tragically, though Jefferson championed
Muslim rights, he never knew that America’s
first Muslims — slaves of West African
origin — were denied the freedoms he thought
were universal. The Founder may have even
owned Muslim slaves, but there is no
conclusive proof. There remains no doubt,
however, that Jefferson imagined Muslims as
neighbors in his country’s future, a
forecast that retains signal implications to
Denise A. Spellberg is associate
professor of history and Middle Eastern
studies at the University of Texas at
Austin. She is the author of Thomas
Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders.
Vandalized a Stockholm Mosque and the
Community Responded Beautifully
turns out not everyone is a complete jerk.
morning, members of the Stockholm Muslim
congregation arrived at the doors of their
previously defaced mosque in Södermalm to
see that bouquets of pink and white flowers
replaced the black swastikas that vandalized
the mosque's doors last week.
hate crime there is a flower," read a note
that accompanied the flowers. "An attack on
you is an attack on Sweden! We stand
The swastika graffiti was discovered
Thursday morning by members of the
congregation. According to the head of
Sweden's Islamic federation Omar Mustafa,
this incident marks the first time the
entrance was defaced with swastikas since
the mosque was built in 2000 (the mosque is
targeted by hate mail or vandalism about
twice a month).
But just as anonymously as the swastikas
appeared, so did the flowers and
accompanying note of kindness. "I thought
society was moving the wrong direction. But
now my view changed 180 degrees," said
The secret florists also adorned a mosque in
Fittja, which was also vandalized with pigs'
feet in November, and Hagsätra church that
was also graffitied with swastikas on
most of the
works of the
some of the
that are the
For the next
that has, as
The Return of a King: The Battle for
1842 some 700 European soldiers, 3,800 Indian sepoys and
14,000 civilian staff fled Kabul in the deep chill of
winter. The British occupation of Afghanistan, in place
since 1839, was no longer tenable. A week later a single
survivor from this fleet staggered into view at the
British-held fort at Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan. This
lone soldier on a collapsing pony, as depicted in Elizabeth
Butler’s 1879 painting “Remnants of an Army” (pictured), has
become a lasting image of the first Anglo-Afghan war. It is
an appropriately bleak one.
It was “a war begun for no wise purpose”—and
one that need never have taken place. It would stand as the
worst British military disaster until the fall of Singapore
exactly a century later. William Dalrymple, a British
historian, recounts Britain’s early misadventures in
Afghanistan in “Return of a King”, a masterful history. This
is a story that hangs heavy with imperial overconfidence,
political incompetence and wilful bureaucratic misjudgment.
And as the latest occupying force in Afghanistan negotiates
its exit, this chronicle seems all too relevant now.
Afghanistan in the early 19th century was insignificant.
Though home to the largest market in Central Asia, it was
wretchedly poor, and its rulers barely clung to power. But
the country was also a vital gateway for invasions into
India. Fearing a Russian attack on its most treasured
possession, Britain looked to secure Kabul.
It would have been easy simply to make a pact with
Afghanistan’s ruler, Dost Mohammad. Instead Britain backed
Shah Shuja, the deposed king, who had been living in exile
in India for three decades. Thus began the “Great Game”, an
entirely unnecessary competition for Afghanistan between
Russia and Britain, conjured up by armchair polemicists in
The war began promisingly. The grandly named Army of the
Indus lumbered off to Afghanistan with 58,000 people, 30,000
camels (300 for the wine alone) and a pack of foxhounds for
hunting. The force took Kabul with relative ease and
restored Shuja to the throne; he was accepted with little
turmoil. But the infidel occupation soon proved unpopular.
Shuja was swiftly seen as a puppet of the invading army. A
local chieftain inquired of the British, “You have brought
an army into the country. But how do you propose to take it
out again?” It remains a tough question to answer.
The occupation grew entrenched. Families joined officers and
tried to make themselves comfortable. In one case this meant
bringing a grand piano; in another a cat, a parakeet and
five maidservants. And the soldiers did little to endear
themselves, but rather meddled in religious affairs, created
a thriving market for prostitutes and helped generate
inflation. Afghans grew restless, and within a year
rebellions started breaking out.
A series of tactical mistakes followed. Assuming the
conquest was complete, Britain withdrew large portions of
the army in preparation for the brewing opium war in China.
Reports of growing discontent were disregarded, and no money
went towards new defences in Kabul. The final straw came
when the British cut payments to the tribes who guarded
vital supply routes, guaranteeing widespread revolts. Much
of the carnage that followed was conducted in the religious
name of jihad—a “relative innovation” in Afghanistan as
previous wars had been largely between Muslims. Ultimately
the struggle ended as it began, with Dost Mohammad in power
The war cost £15m—about £50 billion ($80 billion) in today’s
money—and the lives of 40,000 people, 50,000 camels and at
least one cat. That is still a bargain compared with the
current conflict, which costs America more than $100 billion
“Return of a King” confirms Mr Dalrymple’s reputation as a
gifted historian and an engaging writer. But the signal
achievement of this work is that it makes a nearly
two-century-old war seem disturbingly fresh. It makes for
grim reading. Like the current adventure in Afghanistan,
this first one was undone by the unsustainable cost of
occupation, waning political and public interest, and the
need to divert resources. In the race to secure the country,
the British ambassador in Tehran believed “that he who is
not with us is against us”. “Operation Infinite Justice”,
the abandoned name for the 21st-century war, carries echoes
of the “Army of Retribution” sent in after the disastrous
Yet there is one parallel that Mr Dalrymple leaves his
readers to draw, which is the futility of treating a diffuse
enemy like a traditional state. By using a wealth of unmined
sources, including Afghan epic poetry, official court
histories and Shuja’s own biography, he brings out the
“deeply fractured” nature of the resistance, in which
“different groups under different commanders…acted…with only
the bare minimum of co-ordination”.
Today’s bloody conflict in Afghanistan is scarcely
different, with a complex web of allegiances fiercely
fighting the occupation. Few lessons have been learned from
past mistakes. Mr Dalrymple’s book is a timely reminder of
the way that wars can begin with promise but end in
KB says: Jardo (or
Zarda) is a a traditional Indian sweet dish
usually served as a starter. Farzana Pandor of
Ellsberg (South Africa) has perfected the recipe
and is happy to share it with CCN readers.
1 cup thick grain
1 stick tuj
1 cup sugar
10 ml lemon juice
few strands saffron
1. Boil rice with a
good pinch of turmeric until soft and then
2. Put ghee in pot
with tuj and when ghee is hot then add boiled rice, sugar,
lemon juice and saffron. Steam very gently with
lid closed but carefully tossing at intervals,
and adding a little water if necessary.
3. Garnish with
slivered pistachios and serve hot.
International Food Festival hosted by Kuraby Mosque
Wally Tate Park
0422 191 675
10am to 9pm
Lailatul Mehraj (27th Rajab 1435)
Lailatul Bhahraat (Nisf of Sha’baan 1435)
1st of Ramadhan 1435
Lailatul Qadr (Night of Power)
of Ramadhan 1435
1st Muharram 1436 (Islamic New Year)
Day of Aashooraa (10th day of Muharram)
Prophet’s Birthday 12th Rabi-ul Awwal 1436
1. All Islamic Event dates given above are tentative and
subject to the sighting of the moon.
2. The Islamic date changes to the next day starting in
the evenings after maghrib. Therefore, exceptfor Lailatul Mehraj,
Lailatul Qadr – these dates refer to the commencement of the event starting in the
evening of the corresponding day.
The weekly program schedule is as follows:
The above lessons will start at 7:30 pm and will go for
approximately 1/2 an hour each day.
All brothers and sisters are welcome.
Hosted by SeekersPoint Brisbane
Topic: SeekersCircle - Etiquettes of the Seeker
Commences: 7:30pm Friday 18 October. Every Friday for 10
Venue: Multi Faith Centre (N35), Griffith University, Nathan
Queensland Police Service/Muslim Community
Meeting Dates & Times
Thursday 20 February 2014 Metropolitan
South Regional Office 1993 Logan Road, Upper Mt Gravatt
opinions appearing in this newsletter do not necessarily
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its Editor or its Sponsors, particularly if they eventually
turn out to be libellous, unfounded, objectionable,
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