For Church, Morsi, Egypt’s new dictator, puts country in “grave danger”

November 26, 2012 by  
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The president has taken over legislative, executive and judicial powers. Egypt’s Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud is dismissed because too closely associated with the Mubarak regime. The spokesman for the Catholic Church fears the application of Sharia law in a country dominated by an Islamist minority. Young protesters take to Tahrir Square.

President of Egypt, Mohamed MorsiEgypt, November 23, 2012: “Egypt is in grave danger. The Muslim Brotherhood now controls all powers: legislative, executive and judiciary. No one can stop them,” told Fr Rafic Greiche AsiaNews. The president’s recent constitutional amendments are “a move to give the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists a stranglehold over power.” For the clergyman, the Muslim Brotherhood is following a precise plan to place Egypt under Sharia.

Egypt’s polarisation was evident toady in Cairo’s streets as demonstrations got underway. In front of the headquarters of the Justice and Freedom, thousands of Islamists celebrated Morsi’s “victory” over Sharia opponents.

Pro-democracy supporters gathered instead in Tahrir Square to commemorate the massacre of Mohamed Mahmoud Street and appeal to all Egyptians for a new revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood’s stranglehold.

With the stroke of a pen, President Morsi changed the constitution by decree, placing his office above the courts, including the constitutional court. A law in June made all declarations, laws and decrees issued by the president final and binding and beyond the challenge of any state institution.

As a pacifier, the Egyptian president has a proposed to reopen trials against police officials involved in violence against Tahrir Square protesters. He also increased subsidies to the martyrs of the revolution.

According to Fr Greiche, the Islamist leader wants to distract public opinion from his real goal. Other decrees protect the now dissolved Shura Council from challenges of unconstitutionality, and place in his hands the power to dissolve the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly.

“Morsi waited for liberals and Christians to leave their seats so that only Islamists would be able to draft the constitution and no one will stop them,” the priest said. “The only way is to vote No at the constitutional referendum. However, 40 per cent of the people are poor, living in rural areas, where Islamists are strong because they buy votes by giving in exchange bags of grain, meat and rice.”

However, “Now the party that gets the most vocal support is the liberal party. In case of elections, it would win a majority of votes. Islamists are a minority and do not want a new poll,” Fr Greiche said.

Now many are asking how the Muslim Brotherhood leader could centralised so much power in an office that in his own words was merely representative.

Claiming he was defending the ideals of the Jasmine Revolution, Morsi replaced all justices and judges appointed under Mubarak with his cronies. The last holdout was Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, a Morsi opponent, who had been trying for months to dissolve the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly. In his place, Egypt’s new strongman pickled Talaat Ibrahim Mohamed Abdullah, a former vice president of the constitutional court close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In the Egyptian press, many liberals slammed the president for his action as did many ordinary citizens.

For Mohamed el-Baradei, former president of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a former presidential candidate, “Morsi today usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh. A major blow to the revolution that could have dire consequences.”

This afternoon, anti-Islamist demonstrators set fire to the offices of the Justice and Freedom party in Ismailiya, Suez and Port Said.

In Alexandria, violent clashes broke out between young pro-democracy party activists and the Muslim Brotherhood. (S.C.)

– asianews

Karnataka: Most Persecuted State – Attacks in Coorg, Hospet & Mulbagal

November 26, 2012 by  
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EFI: Worship Meetings Attack, Church Closed in Coorg, Karnataka, India

Karnataka : Most Persecuted State - Attacks in Coorg, Hospet & Mulbagal Karnataka, November 24, 2012: Alleged Hindu extremists attacked a worship meeting, tore Bibles and beat up a pastor in Kulshalanagar, Coorg district. Some angry extremists barged into the worship meeting conducted by Pastor Koshy, hurled verbal abuses against the congregation, accused Pastor Koshy of forceful conversion and proceeded to beat him up.

“The radicals tore one Bible inside the church, broke three Church windows and the roof tiles”, Pastor Koshy said. One church member alerted the Kushalanagar police station. The Sub-Inspector Chikkaswamy along with few constables visited the spot at about 12 noon and held an inquiry about the attack.

The police filed First Information Report against five extremists under Sections 295 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs and other various Sections of the IPC.

The extremists had earlier attacked the Sunday worship meeting of Pastor Koshy on 28 October after which the Christians closed down the meeting for two consecutive Sundays.

– efi

Evangelist Grievously Wounded by Muslim Fanatics

Karnataka, November 24, 2012: Pastor Lewis Mascarenhas , a member of the Church of South India (CSI) is an evangelist based at Hospet in Bellary district of Karnataka. He lives with his wife Bhabitha Mascarenhas , at Shanthinagar in Hospet and has been sharing the message of Christ at Hospet and in the surrounding villages, during the last 5 years.

On 23-11-2012 Friday, at about 5 in the evening, he came across some Muslims in the town who struck a friendly note with him and expressed their desire to know more about Jesus Christ as per the belief of Christians in the teachings of Christ. In response to their curiosity he gave them a couple handbills dealing with the Christian faith and also tried to explain to them what exactly the gospels say about the birth, life, death and then of the resurrection of Christ. As he was answering some of their questions about Christianity, the news spread like wild fire in the town that a Christian was trying to forcibly convert Muslims to Christianity. Immediately a crowd gathered and began attacking the pastor without trying to know exactly what was happening.

The enraged Muslims then dragged the profusely bleeding pastor to the Hospet Rural police station at Chithodagi and filed a case against him alleging that he was forcibly trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. The police after a brief inquiry rushed the pastor to the B.C. Acharya Hospital at Hospet and got him admitted as an in-patient. He is under the police custody in the hospital as the police have filed a case against him for insulting the religious sentiments of Muslims as well as for forcibly trying to convert them to Christianity.

As a sequel to the incident the Muslims have begun attacking the churches and the institutions run by Christians in Hospet by pelting stones and destroying the church property. Muslims were also contemplating upon calling for a Hospet Bundh as a protest in this regard, which, as we have learnt, is being prevented after discussions among the concerned senior leaders of different communities in Hospet. Anticipating further trouble, police protection is being provided to Churches and Christian institutions in Hospet.


Jesus Prayer Hall- Dedication disrupted by Barang Dal

Karnataka, November 24, 2012: Pastor Girish(330, his wife Manjula(28)have been serving the people in Kammasahalli village in Mulbagal Thaluk of Kolar District for the past 10 years. There are about 100 believers who used to worship in a shed. They raised funds and bought plot and also built a church on the plot. About 2 months ago, some Bajarang Dal people came and threatened pastor Girish stating that the pastor is forcefully converting people to Christianity. However the village people were supportive of pastor Girish’s good work.

The church dedication was scheduled to be held on 23.11.12. At about 10 in the morning, one Mr.Nellore Ramu, a Bajarang Dal activist, brought about 50 people, and forcefully entered the church. They also complained to the Mulbagal Rural police station that the pastor is forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity. Before the police arrived, they group also installed an idol of Hindu God Ganesha inside the church and began their pooja. The police form the Mulbagal Rural police station has arrived and instead of removing the idol, they apparently started asking the pastor about the ownership of the land.


Acquitted by court, media trial still continues

November 26, 2012 by  
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Despite being acquitted from court, media trial of a former accused force him to go to court against media houses.

Still being made to suffer: Syed Wasif Haider

Still being made to suffer: Syed Wasif Haider

New Delhi, November 24, 2012: Frustrated with repeated media trials Kanpur based Syed Wasif Haider has gone to court against three Hindi dailies.

40 year old Haider was in jail for over eight years in several cases from August 4, 2001 to August 12, 2009 when he was finally acquitted from all cases. Haider was one of the four persons who accompanied CPIM Secretary Prakash Karat to meet the President against specific targeting and persecution of scores of Muslim youth in terrorism related cases and also submitted memorandum demanding compensation and ‘justice.’

However, the ‘media-trial’ against him continues he alleges. Speaking to TCN in Delhi Haider said, “My media-trial continues even after I have been acquitted from the court… it seems media in India has become bigger than judiciary.”

Haider has accused the media of linking him in cases without any possible evidence even after his acquittal. A grieving Haider accuses the media of using the word Aatanki or terrorist before his name even after acquittals in all cases, where persecution was not able to establish a single case against him or present any credible evidence.

Haider clarifies that even in cases he was only charged under IPC for murder, rioting, etc. and there was no specific terror charge against him. Still he is labeled a “terrorist for belonging to a particular community,” he alleges.

For example, On December 9, 2010 a news item in Dainik Jagran on a terror attack speculated on the possibility of Kanpur connection in the attack, and mentioned Haider’s name along with some others as ‘terrorist.’ The article further mentioned that the police are investigating and keeping an eye on people who have charged in terror cases earlier, but are now free. It was repeated in a similar story on December 11, two days later.

Haider has filed a case against Dainik Jagran in the Allahabad High Court. Another case is pending in a court of special judicial magistrate againstAmar Ujala and Dainik Hindustan.

He claims that no police ever called or interrogated him once he was acquitted and hence there was no basis of his name being connected in other cases.

Even after his acquittals from all cases Haider is not able to lead a ‘normal life’ or find a job since people are afraid to meet or even talk to him because such articles keep cropping reminding about his arrest and scaring them, he alleges.

Aggrieved Haider has now decided to fight. “My struggle is against biased media trial,” he told TCN. “It seems that certain people in media and police want to continue witch hunt against educated Muslims,” he alleges.

Wasif Haider is also mulling over filing a case against all those officers who “fabricated evidences to falsely accuse” him. He wants that state should formulate stringent laws to punish those officers involved in fabricating and falsely accusing ‘innocent’ civilians or for communal witch-hunting.

He also wants that those who have been acquitted should be suitably compensated and given another opportunity to lead a normal life.

Haider, the only son of his parents, is married with four daughters. At the time of his arrest, he was working as sales manager in a multi-national company.

Having, however, decided to fight for himself and for all those suffering against ‘brutal’ media trial, Haider wants the civil rights advocates and members of the ‘community’ to come forward and support him in his struggle for justice.

Through TCN he wanted to appeal to “all intellectuals and community members to come forward to strengthen his struggle for the community and humanity.”

– tcn

Anglican church: We support the anti-nuclear protests of Kudankulam

November 26, 2012 by  
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Official message from the Church of South India (CSI). The Protestant leaders suggest closing all nuclear plants in India, and focusing on renewable energy, such as solar. For the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the UN, the Indian reactors are among the “best and safest” in the world.

The Kudankulam nuclear plant, Tamil Nadu

The Kudankulam nuclear plant, Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu, November 24, 2012: The Protestant leaders of southern India support the protest against the nuclear power plant in Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu). In an official message, delegates of the Church of South India (CSI, Anglican)expressed “full solidarity with the struggle of the communities of Idinthikarai and Kudankulam, the survival of which is incompatible with the Indo-Russian nuclear project.” The statement was presented at a seminar organized by the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Ecological Concerns of the CIS, on November 20.

Signed in 1988 but started only in 1997, the Indo-Russian Kudankulam project has long been the center of protests, which have caused several delays. According to the local population, the reactor’s discharges will kill fish and destroy the marine ecosystem of the Bay of Bengal, the primary source of income for many small fishermen.

According to Protestant leaders, India should decommission all the power plants in the country until they are completely shut down, and focus on renewable energy. In particular, they suggest focusing on solar energy and making obligatory the application of panels on the roofs of large buildings and factories. In addition, villages and towns should reduce pollution, and start recycling programs to convert solid waste into energy.

Just this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear inspection body of the United Nations, stated that the Indian reactors are among “the best and safest” of the world. IAEA officials visited the plant of Rajashtan, whose two reactors “can handle an accident like that of Fukushima.” For analysts, the backing of the United Nations body should help to appease the anti-nuclear voices, like those of Kudankulam.

Others judge positively the statements of the IAEA, but believe that India should check the Tarapur plant, the oldest, built in 1969 by General Electric. According to A. Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, “the two Tarapur reactors are not safe and should have been closed long ago. They are similar to the atomic reactors that exploded one after  the other in Fukushima”.

– asianews

Indian Muslim leaders ask India to raise strong voice against Israeli aggression

November 26, 2012 by  
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Israeli soldiers take cover as an Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome defence missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod in response to a rocket launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip on November 18, 2012

Israeli soldiers take cover as an Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome defence missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod in response to a rocket launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip on November 18, 2012

New Delhi, November 20, 2012: With all the force at our command, we condemn the Israeli aggression against the people of Gaza Strip since 14 November and we laud and commend the brave resistance by the people of Gaza Strip and their defenders. We note that Israel is a habitual breaker of truce whenever it suits it. Even in the latest episode, the fighting started with the treacherous Israeli assassination of the Hamas leader Ahmad Jabri who at the time was actively working on a long-term truce with Israel and had just received a draft agreement of the same hours before he was brutally murdered by the Israeli aircraft along with his bodyguard.

We believe that Israel has not learned the lessons of its past crimes and has not learnt that the world around it has drastically changed during these past two years. It can no longer attack its hapless victims with impunity. Instead, it will now have to pay a price for every such aggression.

We appeal to the Arab and Muslim World to come forward to help the people of Gaza in all possible ways including help to resist the aggression. We also appeal to our own government here in India to come out of its cocoon and, being a moral leader of the Third World and Non-Aligned Movement, raise a strong voice against the Israeli aggression and bullying in the Middle East and urge it forcefully to give Palestinians their rights, withdraw from their occupied lands and arrive at a peace acceptable to its victims.

We take this opportunity to declare our full and unconditional support to our Palestinian brothers and sisters, and laud their brave resistance against the aggression of the Israeli oppressors.

Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, President,All India Muslim Majlis-e,Mushawarat
Mujtaba Farooq, Convenor, Coordination Committee of Indian Muslims
Muhammad Ahmad, Political Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind
Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, President, Islahi Movement of India
Dr. Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas, Member, Working Committee, Muslim Personal Law Board
Dr Taslim Rahmani, President, Muslim Political Council of India
Prof. M.H. Jawahirullah, MLA, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi

– tcn

Christians Suffering in the Holy Lands

November 24, 2012 by  
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Mass being celebrated in a church in the Holy LandIsrael & Palestine, November 19, 2012: As we hear news on missiles hitting Gaza and Israel, mass media are telling us about who is shooting missiles and so on. Meanwhile, there are a group of people living in Gaza, in the West Bank, and in Israel, that are suffering; they are the Christians of the Holy Land.

Tom and I have traveled to the Holy Land 42 times since 1984, most of those times were leading groups of pilgrims. Through our experiences of presenting talks on the Holy Land to various church and school groups, we continue to discover the majority of Americans do not know there is a Christian presence in the Holy Land and that this Christian population has been living there since the beginning of Christianity. They are called the Mother Church, because from her Christianity spread throughout the world.

Who Are They?

For 2,000 years, Christian families have lived and worshiped in the land where Jesus lived, died and was resurrected. These Christians are not converts, immigrants or foreigners… they are the descendants of the first followers of Jesus as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2:11. The Christians in the Holy Land (Israel, Palestine, Jordan) are Arab Christians (their mother tongue is Arabic). They are not converts from Islam; Islam did not arrive in Jerusalem until 638 A.D. These Christians are Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Protestant. They are also called Palestinian Christians because they live in Palestine and have been living there before Israel became a state.

Fr. Firas Arideh, a diocesan priest living in Palestine, says: “We are thinkers, we are theologians, we are philosophers, we are teachers, we are believers in the Bible and in Jesus Christ and we are rolling up our sleeves and are making a difference by shedding light in a bleak situation because nothing will stand between us and the Lord.”

Why is it Important to Be Aware of Mother Church?

They are active members of parishes in Jerusalem, Cana, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Gaza, and other villages throughout the Holy Land. These cities are biblical, and their very stones mark the holy sites of our Lord’s life – the Christians are the living stones!

– They are part of a 2,000 year unbroken legacy of Christianity in the Holy Land.
– They are the first to tell you they are the living church, helping sustain the holy sites through their presence, active participation in the Church and the community.
– They receive pilgrims, own restaurants and religious souvenir shops and are proud to speak about their Land, the Land of the Lord! Their warm Middle-Eastern hospitality is always impressive and delightful!

In the last 60 years, the Christian population has gone from 18% of the population to less than 1.5% of the population. This is a serious concern for the Church. If the Christians continue to dwindle, the Churches built over the Holy Sites will be vacant and may become museums!

Why Such a Small Number Now?

– According to sociological surveys, military occupation of the West Bank (Palestine) by Israel has caused a dramatic and steady decline of the Christian community to what is now an “endangered” population. Respondents made it clear that this decline is not due to Islam.
– The Christians are a minority.

– mary jane fox, mysanantonio

Life can begin at 50 / 60 / 70 – It’s all in your hands!

November 24, 2012 by  
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An old couple cycling together

Many people feel unhappy, health-wise and security-wise, after 50 / 60 years of age owing to the diminishing importance given to them and their opinions. But it need not be so, if only we understand the basic principles of life and follow them scrupulously.

Here are ten points to age gracefully, make life after retirement pleasant, enjoy and treasure the elders’ years of wisdom and intelligence at its best.

1. Never say ‘I am aged’:

There are three ages, chronological, biological, and psychological. The first is calculated based on our date of birth; the second is determined by the health conditions and the third is how old you feel you are. While we don’t have control over the first, we can take care of our health with good diet, exercise and a cheerful attitude. A positive attitude and optimistic thinking can reverse the third age.

An old couple at the lake

2. Health is wealth:

Taking care of yourself and your health should be your priority
. Thus, you will not be a burden to anyone. Have an annual health check-up and take the prescribed medicines regularly. Do take health insurance cover.

3. Money is important:

Money is essential for meeting the basic necessities of life, keeping good health and earning family respect and security. Don’t spend beyond your means even for your children. You have lived for them all through and it is time you enjoyed a harmonious life with your spouse. If your children are grateful and they take care of you, you are blessed. But never take it for granted.

4. Relaxation and recreation:

The most relaxing and recreating forces are a healthy religious attitude, good sleep, music and laughter. Have faith in God, learn to sleep well, love good music and see the funny side of life.

An old lady having a great time with friends

5. Time is precious:
It is almost like holding a horse’s reins. When they are in your hands, you can control them. Imagine that every day you are born again. Yesterday is a cancelled cheque. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is ready cash — use it profitably. Live this moment.

6. Change is the only permanent thing:

We should accept change — it is inevitable. The only way to make sense out of change is to join the dance. Change has brought about many pleasant things. We should be happy that our children are blessed.

7. Enlightened selfishness:

All of us are basically selfish. Whatever we do, we expect something in return. We should definitely be grateful to those who stood by us. But our focus should be on the internal satisfaction and happiness we derive by doing good to others, without expecting anything in return.

Old couple dining out

8. Forget and forgive:

Don’t be bothered too much about others’ mistakes. We are not spiritual enough to show our other cheek when we are slapped in one. But for the sake of our own health and happiness, let us forgive and forget them. Otherwise, we will be only increasing our BP.

9. Everything has a reason. A purpose:

Take life as it comes
. Accept yourself as you are and also accept others for what they are. Everybody is unique and right in his own way.

10. Overcome the fear of death:

We all know that one day we have to leave this world. Still we are afraid of death. We think that our spouse and children will be unable to withstand our loss. But the truth is no one is going to die for you; they may be depressed for some time. Time heals everything and they will carry on.

“Regardless how far the journey is
OR how capable we are,
We do our best to reach our goal.
This is perseverance at its best”
– Anonymous

– fwd: jude tandon / stanley lobo

CSF – So do J & K Christians – Iraq’s Christians feel ‘frightened and forgotten’

November 24, 2012 by  
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Iraqis are seen through a shattered windshield of a vehilce at the scene of a car bomb attack that killed dozens of people in Baghdad, Iraq on 30 September

Iraqis are seen through a shattered windshield of a vehilce at the scene of a car bomb attack that killed dozens of people in Baghdad, Iraq on 30 September

Iraq, November 20, 2012: Christians have started fleeing Iraq in large numbers again, warns Canon Andrew White. The ‘Vicar of Bahdad’ said in his latest update that the situation in Iraq has “really deteriorated”. “The violence is so terrible and once again we are seeing so many of our own people fleeing to Turkey and Lebanon,” he said.

Mr White said people in Baghdad “have nothing”, as he told of a churchgoer who was found begging on the street by a member of the church staff. He asked her why she was doing this. She said all the food she had from church has run out and she has no money to pay her rent. “We will give her everything she needs today but another example of the terrible needs. All may have left us but our Lord is still here.”

Mr White said he had not seen so many people fleeing for several years.

“Iraq is no longer a news issue,” he continued. “We cannot blame the media for this. So many of the journalists have been targeted here and many killed, especially locals. The media have moved to the traumas elsewhere in the region.”

He also expressed concern over the scores of people being killed in Syria, Israel and Gaza. As fighting between Israel and Gaza entered a sixth day, health officials in Gaza said the conflict had killed 91 Palestinians so far. Israel has confirmed three deaths.

“The Middle East continues to be in turmoil,” said Mr White.

– christian today

Vayalar Ravi inspects multi-faith funeral centre for Indians in Sharjah

November 24, 2012 by  
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Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi handing over a cheque of AED 500,000 ($136,000) to the members of the Indian Association at Sharjah as New Delhi's contribution towards an AED 6-million project for a multi-faith funeral centre for Indians

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi handing over a cheque of AED 500,000 ($136,000) to the members of the Indian Association at Sharjah as New Delhi's contribution towards an AED 6-million project for a multi-faith funeral centre for Indians

UAE, November 13, 2012: Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi inspected an upcoming multi-faith funeral centre for Indians on the outskirts of this city late Sunday and handed over a cheque for AED 500,000 as New Delhi’s contribution to the AED 6-million ($1.65 million) project.

The funeral centre at Sharjah, which is being executed by the Indian Association Sharjah at a cost of $1.65 million, is nearing completion. The association hopes to formally open it within the next three months.

“The committee members are trying to finish it by January-end and we are encouraging the project,” Vayalar Ravi told IANS late Sunday at the site at Juwaiza, some 25 km east of Sharjah on the road to Dhaid, and 15 km beyond the international airport.

Work continued even as the minister inspected the site with the Indian Ambassador to the UAE M.K. Lokesh, Consul General in Dubai Sanjay Verma and well-known Indian businessman M.A. Yousuf Ali, who has contributed AED 100,000 and has offered AED 200,000 more.

The funeral centre, coming up on 8.3 acres of land donated by the Sharjah ruler, will have an incinerator, burial places for Christians and Muslims and a prayer hall. There are an estimated 1.75 million Indians in UAE — the largest expatriate community here.

Y.A. Rahim, president of the Indian Association Sharjah, told IANS that the incinerator will be delivered from the US in four weeks and added that the project was coming up thanks to the support of Sharjah ruler, His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi.

“The ruler graciously donated 8.3 acres of land free of cost. The Sharjah municipality took up the effort of filling the land at a cost of AED 1.1 million,” he said. New Delhi’s contribution has come from the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF).

The ICWF is maintained by Indian embassies and consulates to assist distressed Indians in host countries, and the budgetary allocation to the fund is made by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA).

The Indian Association Sharjah, too, has put in a large sum for the centre apart from donations from prominent NRI businessmen like Vasu Shroff, M.A. Yousuf Ali, S.P. Singh and the Gurdwara committee in Bur Dubai apart from other donors.

“We started the project with AED 500,000 from our side. Now we have paid AED 800,000,” said Biju Soman, general secretary of the Indian Association Sharjah.

Ali, managing director of the EMKE Group, handed over his contribution at the event. “I congratulate the Indian Association for taking the lead in realising a long cherished dream of the poor who are unable to take their deceased near and dear ones to their country.”

The Indian community in the UAE records just over 1,200 deaths annually. But families of many of the deceased find it difficult to bring the body back to India due to legal procedures involved and the high cost of air travel.

There is a crematorium in Dubai, but inter-Emirate transfer of dead bodies often needs a lot of documentation and police reports. The new facility also aims to ease these legal hassles.

Besides Sharjah, the new facility hopes to cater to Indians living in Sharjah and other Northern Emirates like Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

– ummid

Woman refuses blood to undergo heart op

November 24, 2012 by  
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A Jehovah’s Witness, 40-yr-old Malad mother said it was against her religious beliefs, hunted for a doctor willing to risk a valve replacement.

Meena Koli with Dr Bijoy Kutty at the Mulund hospital where she is recovering

Meena Koli with Dr Bijoy Kutty at the Mulund hospital where she is recovering

Mumbai, November 21, 2012: A 40-year-old fisherwoman successfully underwent surgery to replace a valve in her heart last week — without being given blood transfusion because of her religious beliefs. Meena Koli, a Jehovah’s Witness, told doctors she would rather die than undergo blood transfusion.

Because of her strong religious beliefs, the Madh Island (Malad) woman went from hospital to hospital in search of a doctor who would take up the challenge of operating on her without blood transfusion.

Finally, in Mulund’s Platinum Hospital, Koli found a doctor prepared to take up the daunting task, but not before she and her husband had been counselled and explained in great detail the high risk they were taking and the drastic consequences they faced should anything inadvertently go wrong. Last week, Koli was operated on successfully without being given a single drop of blood.

The operation was performed under Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Arogya Yojana, a government scheme that offers free medical facilities to a certain section of society.

Around three months ago, Koli, a mother of three school-going children, had been diagnosed with severe mitral stenosis and moderate mitral regurgitation with a left arterial clot. The condition necessitated a mitral valve replacement.

“When Koli approached us, she was experiencing acute breathing problems and an immediate valve replacement was the only solution,” said Dr Bijoy Kutty, the cardiac surgeon who operated on Koli. “But she laid down the condition regarding blood transfusion, and we were initially shocked.

I was reluctant to take the risk, but realised she was in urgent need of surgery or could die soon.” Unable to convince the woman to change her mind, yet wanting to help her, Dr Kutty and his team of seven doctors then thoroughly explained the procedure to Koli and her fisherman husband, highlighting the extraordinary risk they were taking.

“I explained everything to them in great detail, but due to their beliefs the woman just wasn’t prepared to accept blood. In any open heart surgery, the minimum of two units of blood is needed,” Dr Kutty said. “But the family was not even prepared to accept her own blood transfusion, in which blood from the patient is harvested before surgery and the same infused after the procedure is over.”

The procedure

Since there was to be no blood transfusion, three months ago the doctors began building up the haemoglobin level of the patient with the use of IV iron supplements. The patient was then taken up for surgery. Dr Kutty said, “Valve replacement surgery does not take more than three hours, but in Koli’s case we decided to go slow to control the bleeding.

So, it took six hours to complete the procedure, during which we used non-blood alternatives like low molecular weight dextrans and starch products to control the bleeding.” In the OT, Koli was connected to a cardiopulmonary bypass machine and her heart stopped temporarily so that the diseased valve could be removed and a new valve sewn into place. Her heart was then restarted.

“Koli’s operation was successful and she is now making a slow, but steady recovery. She hopes to go home to her family in a couple of days,” Dr Kutty said. Koli’s husband Dilip said, “We refused transfusion and blood products as we believe it’s a violation of God. I am happy that my wife is doing well.”

Jehovah’s witnesses and blood transfusion

Based on their interpretations, Jehovah’s Witnesses — a group with beliefs that are distinct from mainstream Christianity — believe that blood transfusions are a violation of God’s law.

The willing acceptance of blood transfusion by an unrepentant member has been grounds for expulsion from the religion, according to Wikipedia. Members are directed to refuse blood transfusions, even in life-or-death situations.

– punemirror

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