Category Archives: Human Rights

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

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


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


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.


Source: Radio Pakistan

Myanmar deploys extra troops to further genocide in Rakhine: Rohingya group

Myanmar (IINA) – The deployment of extra troops to Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state is to further the Rohingya genocide, according to a group representing the Muslim minority on Tuesday.

The army dispatched a battalion, around 500 soldiers, to the Maungdaw area of northern Rakhine, where Rohingya Muslims form the majority, on Thursday last week.

Hla Kyaw, chairman of the European Rohingya Council, said the troops were from the 33rd Light Infantry Division, which he described as the most notorious military unit when it comes to the serious violation of human rights against ethnic communities.

He said the deployment was designed to establish a permanent military presence in Rakhine as well as the advancement of Rohingya genocide.

In emailed comments to Anadolu Agency, he added: The advancement of Rohingya genocide is the primary goal of the army. The instability in Rakhine state is used as an excuse for the heavy and permanent presence of the army in Rakhine state.

Rising tensions were exacerbated by the killing of seven villagers in the Maungdaw area late last month. The government blamed extremists for the killings and said it had found terrorist hideouts in the state’s northern May Yu mountains.

However, Kyaw said the killings were a pretext created by high-level military intelligence, citing unspecified sources.

First, the military intelligence created a pretext or problems, he said. Then the state propaganda media spread rumors that the Rohingya are involved in the killing[s] without any evidence or proper investigation.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya have sheltered in refugee camps in Rakhine since communal violence flared in mid-2012.

The state is home to around 1.2 million Rohingya, who have long been officially labeled Bengali — a term suggesting they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

In a report on the four-month operation, the UN said it had uncovered human rights violations by security forces in Rakhine that indicated crimes against humanity, Anadolu Agency reported.

During interviews with Rohingya refugees in neighboring Bangladesh, the UN documented mass gang rape, killings, including of babies and children, brutal beatings and disappearances.

Representatives of the Rohingya minority have said approximately 400 people were slain during the operation. We have been documenting an extraordinary escalation of daily abuse of Rohingya by the army since the mobilization of the army, Kyaw said. He accused State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi of complicity in abuses again Rohingya. Unfortunately, Aung San Suu Kyi is on board with the army in the advancement of the Rohingya genocide agenda. To make the situation worse, the West is completely silent on this matter.

We urge the EU, the UN, and regional governments to pressure the Myanmar government to end the complete destruction of the Rohingya community.”

At the weekend, Buddhist protests called for international aid agencies to be thrown out of Rakhine state, claiming they supported militant groups.

Last month, the World Food Program said nearly 226,000 Rohingya were on the brink of starvation.

Its report said nearly a third of the population in northern Rakhine was identified as severely food-insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance. Among them were an estimated 80,500 children under the age of five.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

Hard-pedaling Soft Power, China Helps Launch $13B Belt and Road Rail Project in Malaysia

KUANTAN, MALAYSIA China and Malaysia broke ground on Wednesday on a $13 billion rail project linking peninsular Malaysia’s east and west, the largest such project in the country and a major part of Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure push.

The planned 688-km (430-mile) East Coast Rail Link will connect the South China Sea, large parts of which are claimed by China, at the Thai border in the east with the strategic shipping routes of the Straits of Malacca in the west.

It is among the most prominent projects in China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build a modern-day “Silk Road” connecting the world’s second-largest economy by land corridors to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia and maritime routes opening up trade with the Middle East and Europe.

“The ECRL is indeed yet another ‘game changer’ and a ‘mindset changer’ for Malaysia as it will significantly cut travel time to and from the east coast of the peninsula,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said at the ceremony halfway along the route in Kuantan, which faces the South China Sea.

For China, the project is another expansion of its soft power in Malaysia, which also lays claim to some disputed South China Sea islands, and is critical for China’s geopolitical and strategic interests.

“The China government has attached great importance to the China-Malaysia relations and has always considered Malaysia a dear neighbor and trustworthy partner who is committed to seeking mutually beneficial cooperation and common development in the country,” Chinese State Councillor Wang Yong said at the ceremony, heading up a 100-strong delegation in Kuantan.

Najib said the project would be financed with an 85 percent loan from China Exim Bank and the balance through a “sukuk” Islamic bond program managed by local investment banks.

The project is being built by China Communications Construction Co. Ltd.

Beijing has repeatedly come to the rescue of Najib over the last year, as he sought foreign investment that would help him pay off a massive debt piled up by scandal-plagued state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Najib has announced a spree of infrastructure projects in the last few months, many funded by China, as he builds up momentum for a general election that he has to call by mid-2018.

A Nomura research report last month said foreign direct investment inflows from China into Malaysia surged by 119 percent in 2016 and continued to grow at 64 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2017.

The growing closeness to China has raised eyebrows among Najib’s opponents who have argued that the country has become too reliant on Chinese funds.

But Najib dismissed the concerns in a speech on Tuesday, saying turning away from Chinese FDI made “no economic sense.”

There have been protests in Sri Lanka and Thailand over the Belt and Road initiative. A planned rail link through Thailand hit some resistance with what critics said were Beijing’s excessive demands and unfavorable financing.

But Thailand’s cabinet last month approved construction of the first phase of a $5.5 billion railway project to link the industrial eastern seaboard with southern China through landlocked Laos.

Source: Voice of America