NACEIM- A new coalition of Indian Muslims in the US formed

September 21, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

coalition of Indian MuslimsChicago, 8 September 2015: A new coalition of Indian Muslims was formed in Chicago on the sidelines of the ISNA Convention. NACEIM or the North American Coalition for the Empowerment of Indian Muslims was announced formed after a meeting of representatives of several Indian Muslims individuals and organizations.

The announcement of the formation was made by Javeed Mirza on Sept 6th. Mirza has been coordinating the discussions leading up to this coalition formation for the last several months.

Coalition constituents have decided that education will be their top priority.

According to Mirza this new coalition will be not duplicate or undermine the work of the constituent members. Following organizations have agreed to join the coalition:
Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC)
Good India Foundation
Indian Muslim Relief & Charities (IMRC)
US India Policy Institute (USIPI)
Indian Muslim Education Foundation of North America (IMEFNA).

The following organizations expressed their support for the formation of the Coalition:
Support for Educational & Economic Development (SEED)
Foundation for Economic and Educational Development (FEED)
Aligarh Forum
Aligarh Educational Society
Gujarat Cultural Association
Hyderabad Association of Washington Metropolitan Area (HAWMA)
CHIPA society

– tcn

Archbishop in Mindanao warns against rise of Islamic extremism

September 21, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Archbishop in Mindanao warns against rise of Islamic extremismPhilippine, September 8, 2015: A Catholic archbishop in Mindanao has warned of the possible rise of Islamic extremism if the Philippine government fails to implement a peace deal with Moro rebels in the region.

“A failed BBL [Bangsamoro Basic Law] will favor the growth of extremism, fundamentalism, terrorism in Mindanao,” said Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro.

The Jesuit archbishop said failure to pass a basic law that will eventually create a Bangsamoro region in Mindanao, southern Philippines, “will not help solve the conflict.”

The establishment of the Bangsamoro, an autonomous Muslim region, is part of the peace deal signed by the Philippine government and Moro rebels in 2014 to end a five-decade old insurgency.

“Failure to pass a meaningful BBL is very dangerous as this may trigger the rise of Moro extremism,” he said, adding that there is a growing number of young Moros who are “entertaining political thoughts that have shades of extremism.”

Archbishop Ledesma called on members of Congress to pass a law that is consistent with the peace deal signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.

Philippine legislators are currently deliberating the passage of a basic law that will create the Bangsamoro region.

The prelate said Congress should pass a “meaningful” basic law that will address the “longing for genuine self-governance of the Bangsamoro and embodies the political agreements of the MILF and the government.”

Archbishop Ledesma, who is a member of the Citizens Peace Council, said “support for a meaningful BBL is a support for the Mindanao peace process.”

In July, the Philippine bishops declared support for the establishment of an autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao “that remains part and parcel” of the Philippines.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., however, said the immediate passage of the basic law in Congress is becoming “an impossible dream” due to lack of time.

“I’m still a bit hopeful and confident…. We still have to go on it to show that peace in Mindanao as exemplified by the BBL is a continuing concern,” said Belmonte.

– ucan

Europe drops political correctness, says only Christians, not Muslim refugees welcome

September 21, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Muslim refugeesEurope, September 8, 2015: With large waves of Middle East refugees making their way to Europe, various countries have made clear they are only willing to take in Christians fleeing the carnage and not Muslims.

Abandoning any sort of political correctness, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic have all come out against taking in Muslim refugees. On Monday, Cyprus announced it will allow 300 refugees to take refuge inside its borders, as long as they are Christian.

“We would seek for them to be Orthodox Christians,” explained Cyprus Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos on state radio. “It’s not an issue of being inhuman or not helping if we are called upon, but to be honest, yes, that’s what we would prefer.”

Hasikos, who is responsible for migration policy, added that Christian refugees would have an easier time adjusting to life in Cyprus compared to their Muslim counterparts.

His comments come amid rumored reports that the EU executive will issue a new set of national quotas under which EU member states must take in 160,000 asylum seekers.

At the end of August, Slovakia was the first European country to shockingly announce that Muslim immigrants and refugees would not be welcome inside its borders. Ivan Netik, an Interior Ministry Spokesman, said Muslims “would not feel at home” in his country.

In a followup interview with the BBC, Netik explained that Slovakia was not implementing a policy of discrimination, rather rules to preserve the country’s unity and identity. “We want to really help Europe with this migration wave but…we are only a transit country and the people don’t want to stay in Slovakia,” he said.

“We could take 800 Muslims but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?” Netik asked.

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico warned that his country would not like to “wake up one day” and find Slovakia overrun by Muslims. “If a mechanism for automatic redistribution of migrants is adopted, then we will wake up one day and have 100,000 people from the Arab world and that is a problem I would not like Slovakia to have,” he stated.

Hungary, one of the largest opponents against taking in thousands of refugees fleeing Muslim countries, has expressed his concern for the changing demographic situation in Europe. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán recently warned that the addition of tens of thousands of Middle Eastern Muslims should greatly endanger Europe’s Christian cultural identity.

In a somewhat ironic twist, Arab media has come down hard on European countries not willing to take in Muslims, despite the closed door policies towards refugees and migrants of many Muslim countries.

Gulf States, despite their vast wealth, has made it a policy to refuse refugees from war zones. Saudi newspaper Sabq, criticized European countries, accusing them of allowing “children, women and Muslim families…to starve and drown on the grounds that they could not settle among the Europeans without mosques.” The newspaper went on to call the situation “a new human tragedy.”

– breaking israel

Pope reforms marriage annulment process

September 21, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

marriageVatican, 09 September, 2015: With two documents announced yesterday, issued Motu Proprio, the Pope has given power to the local bishop to judge annulment cases and allowed for “increased brevity” in the legal process by removing the requirement for a second judgment.

Currently, a decree of marriage nullity requires a review of the first decision or “sentence.”

The new rules mean in certain cases a bishop can provide a quick annulment to couples. Church annulments rule that a marriage has been invalidly contracted: however, there have been complaints for many years that the process is laborious and inaccessible to many Catholics.

Last September, Pope Francis announced a commission to look at a reform of the process.

In an introductory letter, which was issued yesterday only in Latin and Italian, Pope Francis admits that an “abbreviated process of judgment might put the principle of the indissolubility of marriage at risk.”

As a result, however, he has “desired that, in such cases the Bishop himself shall be constituted judge, who, by force of his pastoral office is with Peter the greatest guarantor of Catholic unity in faith and in discipline.”

Furthermore, the rules allow for appeals in annulments to be heard by the local Metropolitan See which gives increased responsibility to local churches.

– cns

The three things you need to reach your goals

September 12, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

“We plan the way we want to live,
but only GOD makes us able to live it.” Proverbs 16:9 (MSG)

Proverbs 16:9 says,
“We plan the way we want to live, but only GOD makes us able to live it” (MSG).

You get to plan the way you want to live, but only God gives you the power
and energy to actually make the transformation. Why?

Because God provides the three things you must have to reach your goal
and change your life.

1. You need God’s Spirit to empower you.

holy spirit
You need God’s Spirit to empower you to make changes you can’t make on your own.
It’s not based on will power; it’s based on God power.
It’s not based on trying; it’s based on trusting.
Zechariah 4:6 says,
“‘You will not succeed by your own strength or by your own power,
but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD All-Powerful” (NCV).

2. You need God’s Word to guide you.

The Bible is the owner’s manual for life.
The more you read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it,
the more successful and fulfilled you’re going to be in life.

When Joshua was given the great dream of taking over the Promised Land
— a goal that was going to take him the rest of his life —
God had these words to say to him:

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth,
but you shall meditate on it day and night,
so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it;
for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success”
(Joshua 1:8 NASB).

3. You need God’s people to support you.
people of godYou will not be able to reach your goals on your own.
It takes a team to fulfill a dream!

A crowd can’t support you, but a small group can.

They know when you’re sick, when you’re having a tough time, when you need a break.

You can share your goals and your successes and failures,
and they will rejoice with you and encourage you to keep going.
You’re going to need that when you make the right kind of goals
and pursue them wholeheartedly.

– fwd: v c mathews

Bishops to dedicate day for Kandhamal martyrs

September 12, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Kandhamal tragedySambalpur, September 2, 2015: Catholic bishops in Odisha have decided to dedicate a day to remember those who died in the anti-Christian riots, calling them martyrs of faith.

The regional council of bishops decided to observe “Kandhamal Martyrs Day” every year to remember some 90 Christians killed during the riots in the Kandhamal district of Odisha state seven years ago.

They were killed because of their faith and the observation will commence from next year, Archbishop John Barwa announced after their regional meeting Aug. 31.

“We are pleased to announce that the Church in Odisha would like to honor the Kandhamal martyrs who were killed during the anti-Christian persecution in 2008,” said Archbishop Barwa, whose Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese covers Kandhamal.

Bishop Simon Kaipuram of Balasore said the bishops may later request the national bishops’ conference to dedicate a day at national level to remember “Kandhamal martyrs.”

The regional bishops are yet to ascertain the exact date in month of August for remembering the martyrs. “It will be done after due consultation with all stakeholders,” Archbishop Barwa said.

The lives of those who were killed will inspire the Christian community at large,” the archbishop told Sept. 2.

Bishop Niranjan Sualsingh of Sambalpur said the celebration Martyrs Day would “strengthen peoples’ faith and enable them to live a life of Christian witness in the world according to the principles of Jesus and his gospel.”

Mobs of frenzied Hindus attacked Christian homes seven years ago shouting to convert to Hinduism or get killed. The violence claimed more than 90 lives and displaced some 56,000 people as mobs burnt down houses, churches and Christian institutions like schools and orphanages.

Reports say Hindu-Christian tension has been simmering for years in the district as its Christian population increased to some 27 percent, registering a four fold increase in four decades.

Murder of Hindu leader—Swami Lakhmananda Saraswati—on Aug. 23, 2008 triggered the riot after Hindus accused Christian for the murder. Maoists later claimed responsibility for the murder.

Catholic priest and social activist Father Ajaya Kumar Singh told that the observation of Martyrs Day would motivate Christian community and others to stand for truth and freedom in the region. “The sacrifice of martyrs would be a source of inspiration for faith and witness in the state, India and internally as well,” the priest added.

– ucan

Muslim board to launch ‘save religion and constitution’ movement

September 12, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

MuslimsHyderabad, September 05, 2015: All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the apex body of Indian Muslims, announced on Saturday that it will launch a nation-wide campaign against attempts by the government to impose a particular religious culture.

The board has also involved other minority groups and organisations from depressed classes in its campaign ‘deen aur dastur bachao’ (save religion and constitution).

Voicing concern over the ‘alarming’ situation prevailing in the country, AIMPB general secretary Moulana Sajjad Naomani told a news conference here that as part of the campaign public meetings, seminars and symposiums would be organised to bring public awareness.

He said that there is a threat to the Muslim faith and culture as attempts were being made to impose a particular culture by way of yoga, surya namaskar and Vande Mataram.

“Muslims can never compromise on their faith come what may. The community is disturbed with the developments,” he said while pointing out that India is a secular democratic country and the constitution guarantees the religious freedom.

Naomani said some forces were best upon to distract the community from its fundamental faith and way of life. He cites the examples of large scale changes in the education system and changes in the syllabus of schools and colleges.

The board leaders claimed that efforts are being made to amend the laws, which many affect the Muslim personal laws.

“The communal forces are upbeat with the support of people at the helm of affairs. The growing communalism is not only a danger to the Muslim community but also to other religious, cultural and social groups. This communalism will hamper the growth and well being of the people,” the board said.

AIMPB secretary Moulana Vali Rehmani and other key figures including AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, Abdul Raheem Qureshi and Moulana Khalid Saifullah Rehmani were present.

– tcn

Muslim Board to campaign against imposition of Brahminical culture

September 12, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

IMPBLHyderabad, September 05, 2015: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the apex body of Indian Muslims, has decided to launch a nationwide campaign against attempts by the government to impose Brahminical culture and vedic dharam.

Voicing concern over the threats posed to the religious and cultural identity of minorities and other groups, the board announced the launch of the ‘deen aur dastur bachao’ (save religion and constitution) campaign.

The board has also involved other minority groups and organisations from the depressed classes in the campaign.

Stating that an “alarming” situation was prevailing in the country, AIMPB general secretary Moulana Sajjad Naomani told a news conference here on Saturday that the attempts to impose a Brahminical social order and rituals like yoga, surya namaskar and Vande Mataram were against the Indian Constitution.

“This is not bothering just Muslims but also all other social and religious units. As the largest minority, the board took up the responsibility to take all along and launch a movement to save our faith and constitution,” he said.

As part of the campaign public meetings, seminars and symposiums would be organised to bring about public awareness and to demand implementation of the constitution in letter and spirit.

The board also plans to wage a legal battle by challenging the imposition of Brahminical rituals. It will also challenge in the Supreme Court the orders of the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan high courts, which ruled that rituals like surya namaskar should be optional.

“Even optional is against the constitution. Imposing culture of a particular community on all is not fair,” he said.

When asked if the board would also make a representation to the prime minister or home minister, he said this was not on their agenda for now.

Naomani said it is shameful that Prime Minister Narendra Modi says one thing and then does something else.

“We have no objection to what he is saying. What all he is saying is good but there is so much difference in what he says and what he is doing. Our movement is against his actions not his statements,” he said.

The Muslim leader said minorities can’t be deprived of their religious and social identity in the same of development. “On one side you talk of development and on the other you want to deprive minorities of religious and social identity and you take actions and make legislations for this,” he said.

He also took strong exception to the prime minister’s meetings with the RSS leaders and said this was a government of India and not a government of Hindus and Brahmins.

“Muslims can never compromise on their faith come what may. The community is disturbed with the developments,” he said while pointing out that India is a secular democratic country and the constitution guarantees religious freedom.

Naomani said some forces were bent upon distracting the community from its fundamental faith and way of life. He cited examples of large scale changes in the education system and changes in the syllabus of schools and colleges.

The board leaders claimed that efforts were being made to amend the laws, which may affect Muslim personal laws.

“The communal forces are upbeat with the support of people at the helm of affairs. The growing communalism is not only a danger to the Muslim community but also to other religious, cultural and social groups. This communalism will hamper the growth and well being of the people,” the board said.

AIMPB secretary Moulana Vali Rehmani and other key figures including AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, Abdul Raheem Qureshi and Moulana Khalid Saifullah Rehmani were also present.

– tcn

How Islamic is the “Islamic State”?

September 12, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

ISISIraq, September 05, 2015: About 3 million Iraqis displaced, around 4 million of Syrians fleeing their country in tremendous horror. Women captured, beheaded for refusing to indulge in sex-slavery. Mosques being bombarded in Muslim countries. Hundreds of civilians being killed in just minutes by missiles and air strikes.

Because, a group of self-proclaimed “Islamic jihadists” are out to restore the world order back to what it was 1400 years ago, during the time of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). Switch on the TV, read newspapers, or click on your android news-apps – ISIS is on popular demand.

The attacks, killings, beheadings, flogging, persecution are “religiously motivated.” The “Islamic jihadists” of the organization identify their ideologies as “jihad” and “Salafi” school that propagate “purest extremist interpretation of Islam” as reported by the Australian National Security website and “Mapping Militant Organization” report by The Stanford University. The ISIS has been active since 2002, promoting extreme religious views, wreaking havoc through its most inhumane violence, often killing masses of civilians tagging them as “apostates” or “infidels.”

The ultimate goal is to create a “Sunni Islamic State.”

Does anything as “Sunni Islamic State” exist in the holy scriptures or texts of Islam? Or did it ever exist even at the peak time of the rise of Islam, during the Prophet’s Caliphate 1400 years ago in the Gulf?

Does Islam encourage “jihad”? Does Islam suggest persecution?

The photo of the 3 year old Aylan Kurdi from Syria washed ashore in the Turkish coast, face-down; the harsh sun falling on his bright red coloured t-shirt and Velcro sneakers – forces the above questions in mind.

The haunting image has gone viral in social media with distressed tweets in Turkish by the hashtag, “KiyiyaVuranInsanlik,” translating to “Humanity Washed Ashore.”

The unstoppable and unspeakable murder of humanity in the hands of these “religious extremists”, the failure of international peace-making communities, human rights organizations, or the grand mismanagement of the resourceful Arab world – who to blame for countless children and families dying every day?

The ISIS adheres to “Sunni Islam” rooting itself to the Quran and Ahadeeth as guidelines, as asserted in the last sermon by the Prophet. But did the Prophet really profess this?

A little look at the activities of ISIS and what do the Quran and Ahadeeth say about them :

ISIS : Demolishes historical city of Palmyra, beheads journalists from around the world for their non-acceptance of the faith.

Quran: “There shall be no compulsion in (acceptance of) religion.” [Surah Al Baqarah, Verse 2:256]

ISIS : Bombards a Shia mosque in Kuwait during Friday prayers in Ramazan.

Quran : “Indeed those who have divided their religion and become sects – you – (O Muhammad), are not associated with them in anything. Their affair is only left to Allah, then He will inform them of what they used to do” [Surah Al Anaam, Verse 6:159]

ISIS : As reported by THE WEEK, life under the caliphate of ISIS for women centres around strict moral policing. Women must compulsorily “wear two black gowns to mask their body shape, and three veils so their eyes cannot be seen, even in sunlight.” Any shift in the prescribed clothing style or a female seen unaccompanied by a male relative is detained and dealt with by the all-women “Al Khansaa Brigade.” Children and women have been taken as sex slaves, and the ISIS decrees that girls can marry by the age of 9, and must be married by 16 or 17.

Quran : “Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” [Surah Al Ahzab, Verse 33:35]

Ahadeeth : Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character. And the best of you are those who are best to their women.”(At-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Al-Albani)

There are authentic historical records of women participating in political, economic, domestic, public spheres of life during the Prophet. They were traders (Khadijah bint Khuwaylid ), scholars (Aishah bint Abu Bakr), fighters (Khawla bint Al Azwar), leaders (Zaynab bint Ali), etc.

ISIS : Deliberately raping, looting, beheading, killing, immolating, and bombing civilians which largely include infants, pregnant women and children.

Quran: “Whoever kills an innocent soul, has killed entire mankind. Whoever saves one, has saved mankind entirely.” [Surah Al Maidah, Verse 5:32]

Numerous examples in Ahadeeth illustrate the Prophet’s generous and amiable behaviour with the Jewish and Christian tribes of Madinah,that earned him their good will too.

I am not a Sunni, or a Shia, or a Kurd, or a Syrian, I am a Muslim.

I am a Muslim woman.

Being a Muslim Woman – is my biggest identity. Yet, every time I hear of, read about, or research on the ISIS, I am plagued by the contrasting ideologies between the Islam in reality and the so-called “Islamic State.”

I wonder what the millions of non-Muslim population of the world thinks about my faith, my identity, my way of living…. Despite the differences in beliefs, their questions and mine are still the same:

“How Islamic is the Islamic State?”

– tcn

Why women are needed to help end violence in Africa

September 12, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Christianity in AfricaKenya, Sep 2, 2015: Women are the key to reconciliation in both the family and society.

This was the message given to women from nearly twenty countries across Africa who convened this week in Nairobi, Kenya for “The African Women Moving Towards the African Year of Reconciliation” conference.

The three-day meeting was organized by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in collaboration with the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) with the support of Missio.

The theme of reconciliation is particularly relevant in the African church this year, as in June SECAM launched the African Year of Reconciliation in conjunction with its 46th anniversary of its founding.

This also comes ahead of the Holy Year of Mercy initiated by Pope Francis, which officially begins on Dec. 8 of this year.

In a homily to the women present at the conference, the Executive Secretary for the Pastoral Commission of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Father Charles Odira, told attendees that women, and mothers in particular, play a significant role in bringing reconciliation to the family.

“Reconciliation is not about muscles, it is not about shouting, it is not about who is good and who is bad, it is not about who is on the right and who is on the wrong, it is about the heart,” Father Odira said.

“Women are best placed to foster reconciliation in our societies because they have a nonviolent approach; they do not use muscles,” he added.

The fifty participants in the conference are being hosted by representatives from the Catholic Women’s Associations (CWA) in the Nairobi Archdiocese.

“We are so proud to host this big delegation of women from different countries of Africa. It is going to be an enriching encounter and we shall gain from the experiences we shall share,” the CWA Chairlady for the Archdiocese of Nairobi, Sabina Ng’ethe, told Catholic News Agency for Africa (CANAA).

Participant Marie-Claire Nikiema, who chairs the Catholic Women in Burkina Faso, told CANAA she hopes to take what she learns at the conference and apply it to a reconciliation ministry with which she is involved back home. She said her ministry brings women together to understand and console each other, and to share the good news of the Gospel through worship and devotions.

“We are living in a world where families are very fragile and in challenging situations. Some of our countries are experiencing violent conflicts due to religion and even tribalism. We women are conscious of that and have the possibilities of reconciling the world because all begins with the family,” Marie-Claire told CANAA.

In her ministry, she said: “We insist on each woman to reconcile with herself first, then with God, and the rest will follow quite smoothly.”

The topics the participants will reflect upon include the political, economic and socio-cultural context of Africa today, a theological overview of the social doctrine of the Church in the context of Africa today, the role of and opportunities for women in society and the Church with focus on the role of women for reconciliation in Africa in the context of the African Year of Reconciliation (AYR).

– cna

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