Govt of Pakistan announces four-day holiday for Eidul Fitr

ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry on Tuesday announced a four-day holiday on the occasion of Eidul Fitr for government organisations, semi-government organisations, banks and educational institutions.

The notification stated the holidays will run from July 5 until July 8.

A meeting of the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee would take place on July 5 to sight the Shawwal crescent, which would be attended by religious scholars and experts of Pakistan Meteorological Department.

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Eidul Fitr is likely to be on July 6.

The Islamic festival marks the culmination of the month of Ramazan in which Muslims fast for 30 days.

 

Source (Dawn News)

Australia: Victoria Ahmadiyyas to serve Iftar dinner at Uniting Church

Breakfast at sunset

MEMBERS of the public can find out more about Ramadan – Islam’s holiest month – by attending a meal served after sunset on Sunday 3 July.

The sunset meal is a tradition of breaking a fast and will be served as a buffet by members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Victoria. The community has a mosque at Langwarrin but the meal is being served at the Uniting Church in Frankston.

Those attending will get the chance to speak with mosque members and find out more about Islam.

The Interfaith Iftar Dinner, 4.30pm Sunday 3 July, will be held at the Uniting Church, 16-18 High St, Frankston.

Cost: $10 adult, $30 family, $5 student/pensioner/concession

Bookings: 1300 322 842 or www.visitfrankston.com/frankston-interfaith-network

Muslims in Liverpool: ‘We want to re-establish our faith as a peaceful faith’

How Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Liverpool is ‘Stopping The Rot’ at their mosque in Breck Road, Anfield

Members of the Liverpool Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Liverpool in Breck Road, Anfield

Love For All Hatred For None is the motto emblazoned on the wall of a landmark building on Breck Road, Anfield.

And, in this case, the love begins with the bricks and mortar being saved and given a new lease of life.

The former Richmond Baptist Chapel was bought last year by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Liverpool and is now being used as a mosque by around 150 members of the local Muslim community.

Colin Lane
The sign on the wall of the mosque on Breck Road, Anfield

We were kindly invited inside the building – one of 25 on the city’s council’s buildings at risk list – to hear about the association’s ongoing plans to Stop The Rot and restore the building to its former glory.

Designed by Sir James Picton, it was built in 1864-65 and was granted Grade II listed building status in 1975.

Irfan Ahmad, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Liverpool, says: “Our volunteers have done an enormous amount of work to clear a large amount of rubbish from inside and at the back of the building.

“The upstairs was a mess, but we have been able to carpet and paint part of it and put in central heating – so we could use this area for worship. And we are currently in the process of compiling final bits of listed building consent, as we look to restore the building fully.”

Colin Lane
The Ahmadiyya mosque on Breck Road, Anfield

Since buying it, the Muslim community has been able to use parts of the building on a daily basis, but Irfan adds: “Some areas need a complete refurbishment due to dry and wet rot. We also need to carry out repointing and roofing work – but we won’t be disturbing any heritage features of the building. We won’t, for example, be moving the war memorials on the walls.”

Those areas currently in use include the ground floor area – for sports activities – and part of the upstairs, which is used as a place of worship.

Irfan adds: “If everything goes according to plan with the listed building consent, we would hope that all of the building could be completely operational by the end of the year – with work starting in September.”

Colin Lane
Still much work to be done – the large room upstairs at the mosque

There is a lot of restoration work to be done upstairs, but the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Liverpool has a lot of help to call upon. Irfan explains: “In terms of labour we have a lot of volunteers at local, regional and national levels.

“We are a well-established organisation across Europe, and we had 50 youngsters come up all the way from London to help us clear the rubbish from outside the building.”

Colin Lane
Left to right: Irfan Ahmad with daughter Uswa, Attaul Aleeam, Amir Noman and Ahmad Khurshid in the hall used for sports activities on the ground floor

And the amount of volunteer labour might explain why the Liverpool association – which previously used a community hall in Kensington – believes it can complete its restoration work for what seems like a modest £500,000.

While there is much physical work to be carried out, community leaders say they believe there is also another type of repair work that is needed.

Ahmad Khurshid, iman of the mosque, says others have damaged the reputation of Islam by their violent actions, but adds: “I think, with time and, especially, with the community work our youth workers are doing, we can go a long way to re-establishing our faith as a peaceful faith.

“Last year, for example, we raised half a million pounds for different charities, including the Royal British Legion.”

Colin Lane
Place of worship – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Liverpool’s mosque on Breck Road, Anfield

The community members give me a guest pack, which includes a leaflet entitled Islam’s Response To Extremism, which stresses: “The very meaning of Islam is peace, security and giving a guarantee of protection against all forms of harm.”

And in Liverpool, in the form of their home in Breck Road, Anfield, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Liverpool is hoping to lay solid foundations for a peaceful and positive future.

iRabwah | News Watch |
Source/Credit: Liverpool Echo
By Paddy Shennan | June 26, 2016

Indonesia: Media asked to stay balanced by Ahmadiyyah

Media asked to stay balanced by Ahmadiyah

The Ahmadiyah Indonesia Congregation (JAI) has called on the mass media to be balanced in its reporting of news related to minority groups in Indonesia.

Leader (Amir Nasional) of Ahmadiyah Indonesia Abdul Basit said some media outlet usually did not provide the complete story behind cases involving minority groups and seemed to forget to ask them to voice their opinion.

“Most of the time, media only quotes officers from government institutions […] when they should also ask the minority groups,” Abdul said at JAI’s office.

Zuhairi Misrawi from the country’s largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) said that some media outlets were still sensitive about the word Ahmadiyah. “I once wrote an opinion piece about Ahmadiyah based on my own experience and sent it to a local print media group. The group published my opinion but they deleted almost all ‘Ahmadiyah’ references in it. That doesn’t make sense at all,” Zuhari said.

iRabwah | News Watch |
Source/Credit: The Jakarta Post
By The Jakarta Post | June 27, 2016

Does the Quaid’s Pakistan exist?

Does the Quaid’s Pakistan exist?

Sectarianism, extremism and violence in Pakistan, what can be done to address these problems? The country, after all, started life with such a colorful cabinet. Its founder Jinnah possessed a Hindu grandfather and a Parsi wife. The father in law of Pakistan’s first Minister for Foreign Affairs Liaquat Ali Khan was a Hindu converted to Christianity, whose daughter, Liaquat Ali Khan’s wife Rana became a Muslim only at marriage. For a brief period when Liaquat Ali Khan went on to become Prime Minister after Jinnah’s death, we had her as First Lady. There was also Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, Pakistan’s first Foreign Minister who belonged to the Ahmadiyya community, and of course Jogendra Nath Mandal Pakistan’s first Minister for Law and Labour, a Hindu.

None of these people would have made it to the cabinet in later years. Mandal, being Hindu, may not have survived, as in stayed alive, here for long, whereas that Chaudhry Zafarullah lived to ninety plus right here in Lahore is nothing short of a miracle given that he became a target for extremist groups who called for his resignation from the cabinet and would have been happy with taking his life. If it comes to that, Jinnah himself, although he personally never professed any particular sect was born to a Khoja (Shia) Ismaili family; he might have found himself at the wrong end of something loud and explosive, had he lived today.

Yet things were not all hunky dory even with that first cabinet. Jinnah differed with Liaqat Ali Khan on the subject of minorities and was not too impressed by the rest of his cabinet either. ‘Below average’, is how he described it to a friend. Nor were general attitudes towards other sects as they ought to have been even then. Jogendra Nath Mandal who had initially opted for Pakistan returned to India soon after Partition where he cited discrimination against Hindus as the reason for his move.

It was just six years after Partition in 1953 that the first anti-Ahmaddiya violence took place in Lahore leading to martial law that same year, the first of several in Pakistan.

It is hard to say how these attitudes may be changed. If education alone were the key to change ‘educated’ countries like the US (that at least possesses some basic literacy which is all we can aspire to in the foreseeable future, we are so far behind at present) would not have such a large number of people holding extreme right wing views. That it does have a large number of people holding such views is confirmed by Donald Trump’s success so far in the lead up to the elections.

The alleviation of poverty is another potential tool for change. However if poverty alone were the cause of extreme right wing mentality and terrorism, a far greater number of Pakistanis would be extreme right wingers, and terrorists, which is not the case at all. That is not to say that extreme poverty is not a contributing factor, it is.  But according to an article by Beenish Ahmed in Think Progress, a group of researchers who spoke with extremists and their sympathisers on behalf of Mercy Corp reported that ‘the forces that lead them to militancy included experiences of injustice, discrimination, marginalization, corruption, or physical violence, such as being beaten by police or security forces, or being faced with the killing of a family member.’

“I did not join the Taliban because I was poor,” a 23-year-old former militant fighter told Mercy Corps researchers. “I joined because I was angry.”’

Injustice, discrimination, marginalisation, corruption, and police violence brings us closer to a more accurate description of Pakistan. There are millions in this country who are not facing extreme poverty, who may not be facing poverty at all, but who are pushed against the wall daily and led extreme frustration, intolerance and anger by all these factors enumerated above every single day of their lives.

It would normally be the job of a civilian government to address these problems but to date civilian governments in Pakistan have either been too disinterested, apathetic, self centred or unfit, or all of the above, to do so. Aside from allowing extreme right wing groups to proliferate these governments allowed the military to gain powers it was never supposed to possess, starting with that first Martial Law in 1953.

The present position is as Faisal Siddiqi said in his article last year that ‘a militarised democracy has emerged, in which the political and military elites consensually treat each other as co-equal decision-makers, even though the military has a subordinate constitutional role.’

Subordinate to the civilian government that is.

Such being the case, and since the situation is urgent and requires more muscle than civilian governments possess, Zarb-e Azb has been a good move towards removing extremist groups from the fabric of this country like nits from hair. You wish the operation possessed more transparency, and was being conducted under the aegis of the civilian government, not in spite of it.

A major hitch is the undoubted presence of extreme right wing support within the army itself, and the possibility, given precedent, of the army of overstepping its remit.  You almost wish someone would frame the motto: ‘The military is subordinate to the civilian government under the constitution’ and place it in every available public place, to recalibrate the mindset of the military. Easier that than the whole nation. Maybe. It’s a tall order.

Success depends upon the presence of some other factors taking place simultaneously and on a mandatory basis: 1) the provision of better (read: rational) and more widespread education in Pakistan. 2) A serious attempt to improve the courts and systems of judicial redress in the country. Nothing can be achieved without this since poor access to justice leads most directly to frustration and anger, creating fertile ground for extremism. 3) A genuine attempt to alleviate extreme poverty wherever it exists in the country. 4) A civilian government that is committed to the nation rather than to itself.

Sadly, Pakistan has never been able to achieve any of these, but particularly the last. Which is why Jinnah’s Pakistan did come into being on paper, but if ‘Pak’ means rational and welcoming rather than rigid and rejectionist, such a country never really existed in terms of the real meaning of its name.

iRabwah | News Watch |
Source/Credit: Pakistan Today
By Rabia Ahmed | June 27, 2016