Category Archives: Business News

Hajj an opportunity to explore Islam’s origin for Western Muslims: IINA Report

Makkah (IINA) – The Hajj season represents a valuable opportunity for Muslim minorities in Europe and the Americas to explore Islam’s origin, in particular for those who have recently converted to Islam.

As of Saturday, more than 150,000 pilgrims from 40 countries in Europe, South America, and North America arrived in Makkah to perform Hajj and Umrah. Approximately 50 percent of them hails from four countries: Britain with 25,500 pilgrims, Russia with 20,500 pilgrims, the United States with 17,000 pilgrims, and France with 10,000 pilgrims.

Foreign pilgrims see Hajj as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Islam and to alleviate some of the hardships they face in their countries, especially in light of the vast spread of Islamophobia and extremist misconceptions about Islam.

Grand Mufti of Croatia Aziz Hasanovic told the International Islamic News Agency (IINA) that Muslims of Europe are keen to perform Hajj because they see that the character of a Muslim is complete with performing the Haj rituals, the fifth pillar of Islam.

He added: Therefore, we advise Muslims in Europe to perform Hajj at an early age because it educates them, polishes their personalities, and strengthen their faith.

The Mufti noted that all Muslims dream of performing the pilgrimage, but they are constrained by the possibilities and the availability of financial capacity. Therefore, Hasanovic said, religious organizations in Europe advise Muslims to save money from an early age in order to perform Hajj.

Saudi Hajj institutions are keen to intensify educational programs directed at foreign pilgrims, enabling them to return to their countries with a deeper understanding of Islam and its moderate and peaceful values.

The institutions also coordinate visits for minority pilgrims to historical sites in Makkah and Madinah to introduce them to the cultural aspects of the holy sites.

Saudi Arabia is preparing to accommodate the largest number of pilgrims in its history this year after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman issued a royal decree to increase the number of pilgrims by 800,000, reaching a total of 2.6 million pilgrims.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

Pakistan Postpones US Visit After Trump Speech

ISLAMABAD Pakistan postponed a visit by a U.S. acting assistant secretary of state, officials said, as small protests broke out against President Donald Trump’s accusations that Islamabad was prolonging the war in Afghanistan.

The visit of Alice Wells, acting assistant Secretary of State for South and Asian Affairs, scheduled for Monday, would have been the first high-profile visit by a U.S. official since Trump’s Afghan policy speech on Aug. 21.

“At the request of the Government of Pakistan, Acting Assistant Secretary Wells’ trip has been postponed until a mutually convenient time,” a U.S. Embassy spokesperson told Reuters in Islamabad on Sunday.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry released a statement with similar wording.

Neither side gave a reason for the postponement, but U.S. officials working in Pakistan have been on high-alert since Monday’s speech.

Trump accused Pakistan of harboring “agents of chaos” and providing safe havens to militant groups waging an insurgency against a U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

Pakistani officials responded by saying the U.S. should not “scapegoat” Pakistan and accused the American military of failing to eliminate militant sanctuaries inside Afghanistan.

In the southern metropolis of Karachi, police fired tear gas at protesters from a religious student group as they began moving toward the U.S. consulate building.

Between 100 and 150 protesters carrying placards bearing pictures of President Trump and chanting anti-U.S. slogans were kept at bay by police and not allowed within 3 km (2 miles) of the consulate.

On Friday, banned Islamist organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa, held responsible by Washington and New Delhi for a series of coordinated attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, staged nationwide protests but also failed to draw large numbers.

Source: Voice of America

US Military Commanders Reject Extremists in the Ranks

While American white supremacists and ultra-nationalists have been appearing in public and the news more often recently, the heads of the U.S. military have made clear such individuals have no place in the ranks.

The commanders of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps last week issued strong statements condemning intolerance and racism after protests in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia turned deadly. Organizers and participants in the original demonstration espoused racist, white nationalist positions.

That’s a crucial message for those in uniform, say some military experts and veterans.

It was important, I think, for the service chiefs to get on record with what had happened and to show that what was being represented in Charlottesville as people standing up for their culture really had no place in our armed forces. It wasn’t our [military] culture, said Peter Mansoor, a retired U.S. Army colonel and professor of military history at Ohio State University.

The message was clear, said Steven Leonard, a retired U.S. Army colonel now teaching at the University of Kansas School of Business. If you can’t live by the values of our institutions, then you don’t have a place in the ranks. Leonard also runs the popular Doctrine Man micro-blog and social media platform, which discusses military and veterans’ issues.

The Department of Defense bans actively advocating supremacist, extremist or criminal gang causes. Doing so can result in dismissal from military service.

While the military is one of the most socially integrated communities in the United States, it has had a problem with extremists in the ranks. Some current leaders of racist organizations have served, and veterans have committed several hate and terror crimes in recent years.

The military has acknowledged it has a problem, most notably after Army veteran Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal office building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1995, killing 168 people. The Department of Defense went on a campaign to oust militants.

And it made progress, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks U.S. hate groups; but, in less than a decade, that ground was lost because the military relaxed recruiting standards to meet demand as the U.S. fought wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the center said in reports issued in 2006 and 2012.

The military is a reflection of American society, Mansoor said � which means it has members of all backgrounds and beliefs. You get this sliver that comes in; they may have grown up in a gang culture, or white nationalist culture.

Some criminal gangs and white nationalist groups in the U.S. encourage adherents to join the military, particularly Army and Marine Corps combat, according to Southern Poverty Law Center studies. Some nationalist groups advocate a race war against African Americans, Jews and other minorities, and they want members with weapons and tactical experience.

They’ve been doing that for years, Leonard said, as have criminal gangs. Where else can you get the skills?

But that creates a challenge. A service member who holds allegiance to a hate group or gang is likely to stay quiet, and remain in place.

If they don’t pop up, what can you do? Leonard said.

While DOD training emphasizes tolerance, Mansoor notes that it’s not possible to train away unwanted beliefs. You sort of have to live it day to day and model the values and drive it home at every opportunity.

And, it’s essential to do so, said Mansoor, who served as a brigade commander in Iraq in 2003. If you have division in the ranks based on the color of one’s skin or their religious creed or their gender, it’s like a cancer that grows and causes division and eventually will cause a reduction in the combat effectiveness of the unit.

That is why commanders train troops from the very start that they are all one force � to do otherwise weakens it, former commanders said.

While there might be white supremacists in the ranks, overall, the military has become one of the most ethnically mixed segments of the country since it was integrated nearly 70 years ago. Service members of all backgrounds live and work in tight quarters on ships and in barracks, while housing and schools for their families reflect the full range of the nation’s population.

We’re supposed to be a better example of what it is to be a good citizen, said Margaret Witt, a retired Air Force major who was dismissed because of her sexual orientation. Now a physical therapist for the Veterans Administration in Portland, Oregon, Witt’s successful lawsuit over her dismissal paved the way for the DOD decision to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the military.

The military really has made a tremendous effort to lead the way on tolerance, including on the acceptance of gays and lesbians, she said, although it takes time to change attitudes in such a large organization.

The military does adapt to social change, Leonard said, because the measure that matters is how well a service member performs.

Can you do your job and will you do your job when the bullets start to fly? he said. Because if you can’t, you start to put people’s lives at risk.

Source: Voice of America

Makkah’s Al-Baiaa Mosque a golden chapter in the glorious history of the Prophet’s Hijrah

Jeddah (IINA) � Al-Baiaa (allegiance) Mosque is one of the historical mosques in Makkah, representing a fragrant memory in the Prophet’s life. The mosque, located east of Jamarat Al-Aqaba in Mina, still carries its historical shape despite all the development and expansion works experienced by Mina over the centuries.

In the 12th year of Prophet Muhammad’s mission, 12 of the nobles of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj tribes who came from Madinah pledged allegiance to the Prophet (peace be upon him). They promised to protect the Prophet in Madinah as if he were a man from their own tribes. The pledge is known as the First Aqaba Allegiance.

During the Hajj season of the 13th year of the Prophet’s mission, the same spot witnessed the Second Aqaba Allegiance in the attendance of 73 men and two women from Madinah.

It is believed that the mosque was built in the same site of Al-Baiaa � 300 meters northeast of Jamarat Al-Aqaba, at the foot of Mount Thabir � during the era of Caliph Abu Jaafar Al-Mansour in the year 144AH. The mosque is close to three She’eb (valleys) in Mina, known as She’eb Al-Ansar, Al-Baiaa, and Al-Aqaba, whose names are related to the pledge of allegiance given by the Ansar (supporters) of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in honor of his migration to Madinah.

Caliph Abu Jaafar Al-Mansour ordered the building of the mosque in commemoration of Al-Baiaa, which was witnessed by Al-Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib, grandfather of the Abbasid family.

Two inscriptions are engraved on the interior west (Qibla) wall of the mosque, one of which dated 14AH. Al-Baiaa Mosque underwent several renovations, most notably by the Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir Bellah in 625AH. This is shown in an inscription plate, fixed on the interior south wall of the mosque in the latest renovation carried out in the Ottoman era.

The mosque is currently composed of a Qibla corridor whose roof has collapsed, and an open space at the posterior part, ending with a one-meter-high terrace. The gates have been closed, leaving only one gate on the western edge of the northern wall. The mosque’s mihrab (prayer niche) contains a minbar (a pulpit in the mosque where the imam stands to deliver sermons), which is an architectural phenomenon seen only in Makkah mosques.

The front bottom corners are supported by two pillars to help absorb the floods rushing towards the mosque during the rainy season. The top part of the Qibla wall is crowned with 14 rectangular ornamental battlements called sharafat. The building material of the mosque consisted of stone and bricks, while the interior and exterior walls of the mosque are covered by a coat of plaster.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

WEST INDIES TO TOUR PAKISTAN IN NOVEMBER: NAJAM SETHI

Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board, Najam Sethi has announced that West Indies team will be touring Pakistan in November this year.

Addressing media at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Tuesday Najam Sethi said the West Indies Cricket Board has agreed to play three T20s in Pakistan.

The PCB Chairman said Sri Lanka team will also visit Pakistan in October this year to play a one T20 match in Pakistan.

Source: Radio Pakistan

FOUR MILITANTS KILLED DURING INTELLIGENCE BASED OPERATION IN MASTUNG

Security forces have killed four militants during intelligence based operation in Kanak area Mastung district of Balochistan.

According to security sources, the forces were conducting search operation in the area when suspects opened fire on them.

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Source: Radio Pakistan