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View Full Version : Ramadhan 1429 AH/2008 CE News Worldwide

08-25-2008, 07:32 AM
Muslim Hands for France Ramadan

By Hadi Yahmid, IOL Correspondent

Satellite?blobcolurldata&ampblobheaderimage2Fjpeg&ampblobkeyid&ampblobtableMungoBlobs&ampblobwhere1219332999360&ampssbinarytrue - The Muslim Hands charity is preparing to provide help to thousands of poor people and orphans in France during Ramadan. (IOL photo)
PARIS — As French Muslims ready to greet the fast-approaching Ramadan, a Muslim charity is preparing to feed thousands of poor people and orphans in the European country during the fasting month.

"We hope our Ramadan campaign will be the real launch for the Muslim Hands charity in France," Kamal Al-Zein, the charity's exchequer, told IslamOnline.net.

Established in 1993 in Britain, Muslim Hands is an international NGO offering help to people affected by poverty, natural disaster and conflict around the world.

It has offices in more than 40 countries worldwide and has partnership with world relief organizations including the UN Food Program and UN children's fund (UNICEF).

Based in Faubourg Saint Denis district in the capital Paris, Muslim Hands made its first steps in France last year.

"Over the past year, we focused on gaining a legal status to the group and promoting its activities," he said.

Now, the group is preparing to start its charity work.

"Ramadan will see the group's first real chairty activity in France."

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, will fall this year in early September.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Food Packages

The Muslim charity is planning to distribute food packages among people affected by the soaring food prices.

"We have a deal with a local charity to distribute food packages during Ramadan to the needy, students, prisoners and refugees in La Courneuve in central France," said Zein.

Driven by the increased use of biofuels, the growing demand for grains to feed a booming Asia, droughts and market speculation, food prices have nearly doubled in three years.

This caused 50 million more people to go hungry last year, compared to the year before, according to UN figures.

"Our relief campaign is part of the Muslim Hands' work," said Zein.
"Last Ramadan, nearly 500,000 people from around the globe benefitted from our campaign."

The group is also running a series of projects for orphans and helping people affected by disasters and wars.

Zein said Muslim Hands hopes to make people financially independent.

"That is why we are running nearly 290 schools around the world,
because education is the gateway to the job market and making a decent living."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

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08-26-2008, 05:54 AM
"Air-conditioned" Iftar in Qatar
By Mohammad Sabrah, IOL Correspondent

Satellite?blobcolurldata&ampblobheaderimage2Fjpeg&ampblobkeyid&ampblobtableMungoBlobs&ampblobwhere1219333303884&ampssbinarytrue - One of the "air-conditioned" iftar tents will be dedicated for the new Muslim reverts. (IOL photo)
DOHA — With "air-conditioned" iftar tents, food banquets in the open air and aid for the needy in poor Muslim countries, Qataris are welcoming the fast-approaching holy fasting month of Ramadan.

"Some 14 million riyals ($3.8 million) has been allocated for the project," Mohammed Judae, director of Iftar program at the Doha-based Zakah Fund, told IslamOnline.net on Monday, August 25.
The fund is building 23 giant "air-conditioned" iftar tents for the poor during the dawn-to-dusk fasting month.

"More than 600,000 people are expected to benefit from the project this year," said Judae.

Two famous restaurants have been tasked with preparing the iftar meals in the tents.

One of the tents, which caters for 300 people, in Al-Khoweir area will be dedicated for the new Muslim reverts.

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, will fall this year in early September.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

After breaking their fast, Muslims attend Tarawih, a special nightly prayers.

It is customary for Muslims during Ramadan to host iftar banquets for the poor and needy people.


Many Qatari charities are also vying to feed the poor during the holy fasting month.

The Qatar Red Crescent has allotted 1.32 million riyals ($363,000) to feed 50,000 people in the Gulf country during Ramadan.

It has also allocated one million riyals ($273,000) to send food packages for the poor in Sudan's war-torn Darfur province, Somalia and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The Sheikh Eid Bin Muhammad Al-Thani charity has also allocated 520,000 riyals ($140,000) for food packages for 2,600 poor families.

The charity also has a series of tents to host scholars from around the Muslim world to give religious lessons to the faithful.

Al-Fanar Islamic Center is also preparing to provide more than 40 Muslim scholars to give religious lessons to the faithful during the holy fasting month.

Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer and self-restraint.

Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.

It is also customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur'an.

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout


08-27-2008, 02:53 AM
Ukraine's Spiritual Ramadan

By Mohammed Safwan Jolak, IOL Correspondent

KIEV — Muslim organizations in Ukraine are racing time to prepare for the fast-approaching holy fasting month of Ramadan with plans for religious lectures to re-charge people's spirituality and brochures to introduce Islam to non-Muslims.

"The Federation of Social Organizations in Ukraine (Arraid) is sponsoring programs to raise religious awareness among Muslims during Ramadan," Ismail Al-Kadi, its chairman, told IslamOnline.net.

The federation will be organizing session for Muslims to study the Noble Qur'an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

It will also host iftar banquets for the poor and needy during the holy fasting month.

"In Ramadan, Arraid sends nearly 800 food packages every day to poor families and orphans," said Kadi.

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, will fall this year in early September.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer and self-restraint.

Many spend part of the day studying the Qur'an.

Introducing Islam

Ramadan is a special time for Ukraine's two million Muslims, who make up nearly five percent of the population.

"Ramadan brings a special joy for Ukrainian Muslims," Seran Arifof, director of the Radwan center for memorization of the Qur'an, told IOL.

"During the holy fasting month, Muslims become more active in joining awareness programs, not to mention paying zakah for the poor and orphans."

Arifof said many children show increasing interest in memorizing the Qur'an and learning more about their faith during Ramadan.

"We have seen many Ukrainian Muslims compete in international competitions for Qur'an memorization in recent years."

There are up to 200 mosques and 20 Islamic centers nationwide, which experience no restrictions by the Ukrainian authorities.

Ukrainian Muslims are also planning to seize on the holy fasting month to introduce their faith to non-Muslim compatriots.

"We are doing our utmost efforts to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims about Ramadan," said Kadi.

His organization has been distributing brochures and pamphlets about Islam and the holy fasting month.

"It is amazing the kind of reaction with which the brochures have been received by many non-Muslim Ukrainians and we have seen many of them embracing Islam during Ramadan."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

08-27-2008, 03:03 AM
Bangladesh Fights Ramadan Price Hikes

By Ferdous Ahmad, IOL Correspondent

DHAKA — The government and business leaders are intensifying efforts ahead of Ramadan to curb the traditional soaring of prices that exacerbates the sufferings of the poor and low-income brackets during the holy fasting month.

"Demand of essential commodities generally increases ahead of Ramadan accompanied with an increase in prices," Colonel Anisuzzaman of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), a paramilitary force charged with guarding the borders, told IslamOnline.net.

"To control the prices we have opened fair prices shops where most essentials will be sold at cheaper rates."

With the advent of Ramadan, to begin this year in early September, prices of basic foodstuffs and commodities usually witness inexplicable hikes.

To help alleviating the impact of that, the BDR has established about 210 fair price outlets across the country, including 100 in the capital Dhaka.

It has also established a Rice and Pulses distribution program.

Colonel Anisuzzaman, chief coordinator of the program, notes that the number of BDR outlets has been increased to keep the prices of essential goods within the purchasing capacity of the common people.

During Ramadan, which is dedicated to spiritual growth, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Bangladesh is the world's third largest Muslim majority country, with Muslims making up more than 80 percent of its 148 million population.

Nearly half of the population lives on less than a dollar a day and the country is among the poorest and most crowded in the world.


Bangladeshi business leaders are also vowing to shield people from prices rises during Ramadan.

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) will open fair price shops during the month in district chambers.

"We are operating these fair price shops for poor people only during Ramadan," Anisul Haque, FBCCI President, told IOL.

"There is no business target. It's our social responsibility."

But many people are still skeptical.

"No strict measures and steps have been taken by the government and business bodies to beat the essentials' price hike ahead and during Ramadan," says a grocer in Dhaka New Market.

He doubts the ability of the fair price shops to contain the prices increase.
"It will not impact the markets."

Commodity prices have nearly doubled in the country over the past year.
While this is mainly due to global surge in food and other commodities prices, analysts also blame poor market control.

The country has also suffered a huge rice loss due to last year's devastating floods and cyclone Sidr.

Nonetheless, many still see the increase of key food items in Ramadan as unjustifiable.

"Most of these items are exported from foreign countries," insists Asrafuzzaman, a lawyer by profession.

"There was no rise in the prices of these items in international markets, so why the rise in Bangladesh?"

He blames both the government and the business leaders' federation.
"This is a syndication of some immoral businessmen. The government should check the price-hike."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...ws%2FNWELayout

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08-27-2008, 03:06 AM
Malawi's Poor Brace for Tough Ramadan

By Mallick Mnela, IOL Correspondent

BLANTYRE — Malawi Muslims have gone full throttle with preparations for the holy fasting month of Ramadan, with food stockpiling dominating the arrangements.

This year, they will have to cough a little more money than in previous years because of the global food price rises, leaving the low-income and underprivileged watching not buying.

"It’s an annual tradition to gather food-stuffs in readiness for the fasting month here," Jassim Zacharia Nsosa, a Muslim social worker, told IslamOnline.net in Blantyre.

"But this year, it seems a substantial population of poor Muslims will brace themselves for tough times as a result of rising costs of food."

Although Malawi has sufficient food reserves, media frenzy on the prospects of global food price hikes prompted a sharp increase in the cost of maize, the main staple food, among others.

The speculation on the hikes has ultimately led to hoarding of food items on the local market.

On the other hand, other food items such as cassava, potatoes and rice – while available in abundance - are becoming unaffordable for the average Malawian.

"The main problem is that poor people are likely to starve when food is available. Food traders are capitalizing on their vulnerability," says Nsosa.

"It actually makes little sense to victimize the starving poor at the alter of maximizing profits."

Nothing New

A brief survey conducted by IOL correspondent in some parts of southern Malawi suggests a majority of poor Muslims will have tough times unless there is intervention by Muslim bodies.

"We can not rule out suffering due to the lack of food, but we have become used to it," said Abiti Sumani, an old woman, at her homestead on the outskirts of Zomba.

"Ramadan or no Ramadan food problems have always been with us."
She said she will have to make do with maize husks she has been getting as payment for winnowing errands at a local maize meal.

"This is life as we have always lived it. We can not claim to need luxurious food to enable us to fast if we involuntarily fast almost all year round due to lack of food.

"This time we ought to be proud that we go hungry alongside those who can afford to buy the food – but for Allah’s pleasure."

Poverty levels are high in Malawi, with a majority of its 12 million population living below the poverty line, consuming less than a dollar per day.

According to state figures, Muslims constitute 12 percent of the entire population, though the Muslim umbrella body puts the figure at 36 percent.


Muslim charities are on alert, determined to mitigate potential problems as a result of the food costs rising.

"We normally compliment one another in these efforts – only that we go different ways to avoid duplication of activities," says Sheikh Hatim Ibrahim, Chairman of the Al-Barakah Charity Trust.

"Our main focus will be on those who can not afford to feed themselves and their families."

Munazzamat Al-Dawa Al-Islamia (Malawi Mission) hopes to cater for over 500 institutions – including mosques, orphanages, madrasahs, hospitals, prisons and secondary schools - during Ramadan.

"We are trying to gather as much food as possible to ensure that we cater for a majority of vulnerable poor people around the country," says AbdulRahman Abdallah.

"We will cater for suhur and iftar."

He said that his organization has so far made considerable progress in gathering food stuffs to distribute among the poor in the country.

"We are determined to see the plight of a majority poor reduced to the lowest levels. This is one of our objectives.

"We feel more obliged to commit ourselves to the cause of ending the suffering of the poor, particularly in the month of Ramadan."

The organization is sponsoring agricultural irrigation schemes in selected parts of southern Malawi as a way of empowering communities to be food secure.

"The project has just started but we trust it will start yielding results soon. By next Ramadan we trust they will be independent."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

08-27-2008, 03:09 AM
Ramadan Unites Balkan Muslims

By Hany Salah, IOL Correspondent

BALKAN CAPITALS — In a show of unity, Muslim religious authorities in Bosnian, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia have agreed to observe the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan on September 1.

"We follow astronomical calculations to determine the beginning of the lunar months," Subhi Wassim, an official with the Islamic Sheikdom of Bosnia, told IslamOnline.net.

"Therefore, the first day of Ramadan will be observed in Bosnia on September 1," he added.

Muslims make up nearly 40 percent of Bosnia's 3.8 million population.
During Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Neighboring Serbia's nearly half a million Muslim will start the dawn-to-dusk fast on the same day as Bosnia.

"We consider ourselves part of the Islamic institution in Bosnia and coordinate with them in all things," said Hajrudin Balic, a media officer of the Islamic Sheikdom of Serbia.

The Islamic Sheikdom in Croatia will also follow neighboring Bosnia in observing the beginning of Ramadan, said sources in the Islamic Sheikdom of Bosnia.

Moon sighting has always been a controversial issue among Muslim countries, and even scholars seem at odds over the issue.

While one group of scholars sees that Muslims in other regions and countries are to follow the same moon sighting as long as these countries share one part of the night, another states that Muslims everywhere should abide by the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia.

A third, however, disputes both views, arguing that the authority in charge of ascertaining the sighting of the moon in a given country announces the sighting of the new moon, then Muslims in the country should all abide by this.


Muslims who make up 33 percent of Macedonia’s two million population will follow Turkey in determining the start of Ramadan.

"The Islamic Sheikhdom of Macedonia and Dar al-Ifta in Turkey have an agreement to unify all Islamic occasions according to astronomic calculations," Afrim Alija, a teacher in a school affiliated to the sheikdom, told IOL.

Turkey’s Presidency of Religion Affairs, the country’s highest religious institution, has announced on its website that Ramadan will fall on September 1.

The Islamic sheikhdom of Slovenia, where Muslims make up 2.4 percent of two million population, agrees with Turkey and Bosnia on the start of the fasting month.

Montenegro Mufti Jusuf Gjoken said the country's 140,000 Muslims, who constitute up to 20 percent of the population, will coordinate with both Bosnia and Turkey on Ramadan start.

"We are living in neighboring countries and it would be wrong to disagree on the beginning of the fast," he told IOL.

"The unity of Muslims in the Balkan is a top priority to all Islamic sheikhdoms in the region."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

08-27-2008, 03:11 AM
Ramadan on September 1: ISNA

By IOL Staff

CAIRO — The first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan will fall in North America on September 1 according to astronomical calculations, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has announced on its website.

"The Astronomical New Moon for Ramadan is on Saturday, August 30, 2008, at 19:58 Universal Time," said ISNA.

It added that the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, thus, will be Monday, September 1.

ISNA said the last day of the dawn-to-dusk fasting month will be on Tuesday, September 30.

`Eid Al-Fitr, one of the two main religious festivals on the Islamic calendar will be on Wednesday, October 1.

During Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Moon sighting has always been a controversial issue among Muslim countries, and even scholars seem at odds over the issue.

While one group of scholars sees that Muslims in other regions and countries are to follow the same moon sighting as long as these countries share one part of the night, another states that Muslims everywhere should abide by the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia.

A third, however, disputes both views, arguing that the authority in charge of ascertaining the sighting of the moon in a given country announces the sighting of the new moon, then Muslims in the country should all abide by this.

This usually causes confusion among Muslims, particularly in the West, on observing the dawn-to-dusk fasting and celebrating the `Eid el-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting.

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...ws%2FNWELayout

Eric H
08-27-2008, 03:21 AM
Greetings and peace be with you north_malaysian;

Thank you for posting these stories, it is so important for faith organisations to support justice for the poor.

Blessings and peace be with you.


08-27-2008, 03:27 AM
A flight campaign for Ramadan

Friday, August 22, 2008

Atlasjet, one of Turkey's largest private airlines, is offering new benefits for its frequent flyer program clients. The airlines has announced a new campaign that will enable its Jetmil cardholders to earn more flight miles during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins Sept. 1 and will end Sept. 29.

ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News

Source: http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/a...enewsid=113312

08-27-2008, 03:29 AM
format_quote Originally Posted by Eric H
Greetings and peace be with you north_malaysian;

Thank you for posting these stories, it is so important for faith organisations to support justice for the poor.

Blessings and peace be with you.

:D <----- in islam this is a charity too..

08-27-2008, 03:32 AM
Religion: Saudi mosques open 24 hours for Ramadan

Riazat Butt, Religious affairs correspondent
The Guardian,
Thursday August 21 2008

Mosques across Saudi Arabia will open 24 hours a day under new plans to allow Muslims to pray at their convenience during Ramadan, the month of fasting which begins in September.

Under the proposals, unveiled yesterday by the Islamic affairs ministry, extra imams are to be drafted in to accommodate the annual increase in worshippers who spend longer hours at their local mosque. In Ramadan, Muslims lengthen the fifth and final prayer of the day and more time is given over to religious practices, such as reading the Qur'an and repeating phrases glorifying Allah.

A ministry official, Tawfik al-Sedairi, said that worshipping Allah was a priority for many during Ramadan.

"The ministry is ensuring the safety of Muslims by hiring more staff for night shifts. Imams and workers will be present every day." Some Muslim men also choose to perform itkaaf, spending the last 10 days exclusively within the confines of a mosque.

Al-Sedairi said imams had a great duty to meet the additional spiritual needs and activities of Muslims during Ramadan, adding that the ministry had instructed mosques with four loudspeakers to avoid disrupting nearby, smaller mosques after worshippers complained about losing their concentration during prayer.

Meanwhile, Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, is preparing itself for the arrival of 3 million pilgrims during the 30 days of Ramadan.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008...diarabia.islam

08-27-2008, 03:42 AM
Inflation could take the shine off Ramadan festivities

08/20/2008 17:22

Food prices have jumped by up to 100 per cent over last year with the poor and wage earners as the most affected. Families are preparing more frugal iftars. Governments appeal for lower prices during the holy month; analysts blame the pegging of local currencies to the US dollar for high inflation.

Jeddah (AsiaNews) – Governments and local chambers of commerce in Gulf states are worried about the effect of inflation on their economies and how that is impacting on Ramadan traditions.

Ramadan is a month-long period of daytime fasting; this year it will run from 1 to 30 September. From sunrise to sunset believers will not be able to drink or eat—not even swallow their own saliva. Once the sun is down each household will hold a large meal called iftar during which friends, relatives and the poor are invited.

This year because of inflation many people are planning leaner iftars with fewer invitations because the price of victuals like rice, oil, wheat flour, lentils have all shot up by more than 100 per cent.

The most affected are the families of wage earners from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines who must prepare more frugal iftars. Many low-wage earners will likely miss out on invitations to free meals.

Governments and economics ministries have appealed to merchants to cut food prices during the month of Ramadan, or at least not raise them over and above last year’s.

A windfall of record-high oil revenues has provided Gulf countries with large fiscal surpluses, allowed them to reduce their public debt and boost their foreign exchange reserves. But inflation has been higher than usual, exceptionally in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, at 13.76 and 11.1 per cent in 2007, respectively.

For various analysts the problem lies with the fact that Gulf currencies (except for Kuwait’s) are pegged to the US dollar.

Source: http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=e...theme=5&size=A

08-27-2008, 03:49 AM
Diet patches for Ramadan

22/08/2008 16:13 - (SA)

Ankara - Turkish Muslims plan to resort to appetite suppressing diet patches to help them get through the daily fast during the Ramadan holy month, Anatolia news agency reported on Friday.

One of the most popular questions asked on a helpline run by Turkey's religious affairs directorate is "whether diet patches are suitable for fasting" and "whether the use of diet patches will amount to foul play", the report said.

Theologists have reassured them they have nothing to worry about.

"Fasting is a way of disciplining the body. Those who use diet patches try to achieve the same. That's why diet patches are not objectionable," said Mehmet Baris, the muftu, or highest Muslim authority, in the southern province of Adana.

The patches, which release appetite-supressing ingredients to the body through the skin, cannot be considered as corrupting the fast because their effect amounts to "showering or applying a pomade on the skin" rather than eating, theology professor Kerim Yavuz said.
During Ramadan, which this year starts on Monday in Turkey, observant Muslims eat a light pre-dawn meal and fast until sunset, a practice aimed at fostering self-discipline, sacrifice and empathy for the poor.

Source: http://www.news24.com/News24/World/N...380672,00.html

08-27-2008, 04:00 AM
Ramadan traffic plan

Published Date: August 26, 2008

KUWAIT: Major General Thabit Al-Mehana, Assistant Undersecretary of Traffic Regulation Department held a meeting with traffic department officials in order to discuss the traffic plan during the month of Ramadan.

A source said that the plan will be implemented from the beginning of September by combining the Ministry of Interior's forces and evenly distributing security personnel and patrols near intersections, ring roads and expressways. The General Department for Traffic Control has designated 315 patrols to enforce the plan, which is aimed at facilitating smoother traffic control, will be brought into effect from September and will last until October 15, reported Al-Qabas.

End of Ramadan holiday

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Education (MoE) will implement the national holiday for the last days of Ramadan at the country's schools if this is approved by the Council of Ministers. MoE Assistant Undersecretary Mohammad Al-Kandari told reporters that the ministry has completed all the necessary technical and administrative preparations for the academic year 2008/2009, pointing that all the work on new schools has been completed, along with the distribution of almost all the required textbooks.

Al-Kandari said that the school year would begin as scheduled from Sept 8 for elementary schools, with intermediate and secondary schools reopening six days later on Sept 14.

Source: http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news...d=Nzk5ODc2NTQ1

08-27-2008, 04:02 AM
Awqaf activities for Ramadan

Published Date: August 27, 2008

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs' Quran affairs department announced that it has prepared numerous activities for the holy month of Ramadan. Quran Affairs Department Manager Khalid Bo-Gaith noted that the department had started the preparations very early in order to be ready for the people. Bo-Gaith noted that a schedule of the department's activities and important religious and medical tips on Ramadan would be obtainable from the Grand Mosque and other places.

"The most important activity we will be holding this year will be a special Quran reciting and memorizing competition which will happen during the last 10 days of Ramadan," Bo-Gaith said adding that participants would take part in reciting the whole Quran during the last 10 days of Ramadan at Al-Bahar mosque in Salwa and Al-Wazzan mosque in Hawally.

Source: http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news...MTIxMjYyNDE3Nw==

08-27-2008, 04:04 AM
Worshippers deplore conditions in mosques

Published Date: August 27, 2008

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti authorities as well as the society in general are busy gearing up for the upcoming holy month of Ramadan. Local markets stock up on consumer foodstuff and goods that are usually consumed by worshippers who fast from sunrise to sunset during the month.

Officials however deplored the lack of maintenance at several local mosques. They slammed the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs for not completing maintenance works in mosques that are expected to accommodate thousands of worshippers during Ramadan.

They inspected several mosques and noticed that most of them lacked even basic facilities like refrigerators and toilets; especially toilets for handicapped and aged people. Worshipers meanwhile commended the recent visits to mosques made by the Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Hussein Al-Huraiti.

They however urged other officials to also visit the neglected mosques and do the needful as it is not possible for the minister to personally check the estimated 1,300 mosques in Kuwait, reported Al-Qabas. They also found it odd that while some mosques are well equipped and maintained, others suffer from neglect and poor services.

Source: http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news...d=OTM2ODY1OTcz

08-27-2008, 04:18 AM
Rising food prices accompany Ramadan

Khairul Saleh , The Jakarta Post , Palembang | Tue, 08/26/2008 10:32 AM | The Archipelago

Prices of staple foods have increased in Java and West Sumatra due to the approaching fasting month of Ramadan, even while local authorities have guaranteed the food supply.

South Sumatra provincial trade agency head Eppy Mirza said food stocks were enough to handle the increase in demand for staples during Ramadan, which will start in early September.

"We will conduct market operations to stabilize the prices. The stock of staple foods is enough until December," Eppy said Sunday.

He said rice supply had reached 77,200 tons while consumption was at 26,962 tons per month.

Eppy's promise to stabilize the market, however, has not been reflected in prices, which increased in several traditional markets in Palembang on the same day.

The prices of staple foods such as sugar, eggs, peppers and rice have risen between Rp 1,000 (about 11 US cents) and Rp 5,000 at Kilometer 5 and Cinde markets.

The prices of beef, chicken and eggs increased from Rp 55,000 to Rp 60,000, from Rp 20,000 to Rp 24,000 and from Rp 13,000 to Rp 14,000 per kilogram respectively.

Separately, Palembang trade and cooperatives agency head Wanrjik Badarudin confirmed the current increase in staple food prices was due to Ramadan.

"But the rise is still within the normal limit. We will contact food distributors to ask about it," Badarudin said Sunday.

He promised his office would take stern action against distributors found to be increasing prices to excessive amounts.

While a fasting month would seem to reduce food consumption, people often prepare a variety of cuisines to welcome in the holy month, upping demand for staples.

In West Java, Antara reported Sunday that prices of beef and chicken in Harjamukti, Jagasatru and Pasar Pagi markets in Cirebon had gained an average of Rp 1,000 to Rp 2000 per kilogram.

Market traders increased the prices following a rise from distributors.
"The increase will be even higher closer to Ramadan," said Soleh, a trader at Pasar Pagi market.

Meat prices in traditional markets in Purwakarta, West Java, have also increased.

"People buy less meat than usual as the price is higher now," said Epung, a trader at Pasar Rebo market.

Mona Anis, 45, a housewife in Gorontalo, said prices of staple foods, such as flour and vegetable oil, as well as meat, have increased.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2...y-ramadan.html

08-27-2008, 04:22 AM
Batam nightspots to open during Ramadan

Fadli , The Jakarta Post , Batam | Tue, 08/26/2008 10:32 AM | The Archipelago

The Batam municipality is allowing nightspots to operate during most of Ramadan despite the call from the local chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI)'s to close them during the fasting month.

Based on a city leadership meeting held Aug. 15, the municipality has decided that nightspots are required to close on the first day of Ramadan, the 17th day or Nuzulul Qur'an, (the eve) and on the days of Idul Fitri.

This means entertainment establishments will stop operating for only four days during Ramadan, compared to 17 days last year.

Batam Mayor Ahmad Dahlan told The Jakarta Post that his office would strictly oversee nightspot activities during Ramadan in order to prevent immoral acts being carried out.

The Islamic fasting month will start in early September.

"Massage and karaoke parlors and bars offering live music will be allowed to open within the hours we have determined and activities must conform to the guidelines, especially no immoral acts," Dahlan said recently.

"Public order officers will be at hand to supervise implementation."

According to Dahlan, operators are only allowed to open their premises between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., failing which the municipality will revoke their licenses.

"The ruling is based on inputs from the authorized agencies and MUI.
However, we did not stop them from operating throughout the whole month, as a form of religious tolerance," said Dahlan.

Chairman of the Riau Islands chapter of MUI, Azhari Abbas, expressed regret over the decision, saying it was inadequate compared to previous practice.

"The number of closed days is far lower than in previous years. We had hoped that this year the municipality would close them for the whole of Ramadan," said Azhari.

He added MUI would file a protest with the Batam municipality but appealed to those in favor of MUI not to resort to anarchy.

"We will try to negotiate with Batam municipality in connection with the policy on nightspot operation during Ramadan," said Azhari.

"If the municipality insists the nightspots should remain open, can it guarantee they won't be engaged in immoral activities and that they will comply with approved hours of operation?"

Azhari speculated that the ruling, endorsed by the municipal council, reflected political motives ahead of the 2009 elections so as to gain support, especially from business people and workers.

Chairman of the Barelang Entertainment Service Association (Ajahib), Gembira Ginting, said his group welcomed the municipal decision, despite the limited operational hours.

"The decision this time is quite fair. We will follow the rules issued by the municipality. We will also ask nightspot operators to abide by the operating hours," said Gembira.

The decision, according to him, will have a positive impact on the well being of nightspot workers because they could still earn money, such as from tips, if their work places remained open.

"They also need money to celebrate Idul Fitri," said Gembira.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2...g-ramadan.html

08-27-2008, 04:29 AM
No music videos on MTV Arabia during Ramadan

August 21st, 2008 - 3:29 am ICT by IANS

Dubai, Aug 21 (DPA) MTV Arabia, the Middle East’s version of the international MTV entertainment and lifestyle channel, announced Wednesday it would refrain from playing music videos during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.Samer al-Marzouqi, the channel’s manager, said they would mark the month by airing cultural news programmes and the latest reality shows only to allow viewers to engage in quiet contemplation.

“Ramadan is a time for introspection and we would like to offer our viewers a break from the ordinary fare. Though part of a global brand, MTV Arabia is conscious of regional sensitivities and we are keen to respond to the needs of viewers in the Middle East, the vast majority of whom will be fasting and focusing on their spiritual lives,” al-Marzouqi told reporters.

The channel will continue to play reality shows, celebrity news and pop culture documentaries. The newest programme during the month will be “Hogan Knows Best”, which follows wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan in his lesser-known roles as husband and father.

As is customary with television channels across the region, MTV Arabia will air the call to Maghreb (sunset) prayer. During Ramadan, which is due to start Sep 1, Muslims are obliged to fast every day from dawn to sunset.

Source: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/..._10086710.html

08-28-2008, 01:40 AM
No Iftar Meals in Saudi Mosques

IslamOnline.net & Newspapers

CAIRO — Less than two weeks before the holy fasting month of Ramadan, Saudi Arabia banned hosting free iftar banquets inside mosques, the Saudi Gazette reported on Friday, August 22.

"The Imams will not be allowed to hold iftar meals in the mosques," said Tawfik Al-Sedairi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

"Our new decision bans Imams from collecting money to offer free iftar and even taking iftar meals from citizens."

Sedairi said iftar meals would only be held special places away from mosques.

"They will be held in big opened yards to avoid food smell from spreading and the leftover food from lying around the mosques."

He said only licensed charities will be allowed to host iftar banquets during Ramadan.

"We have asked those wanting to give money to deposit their contribution in bank accounts belonging to charity associations and they will provide an official seal with serial number.", will fall this year in early September.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

After breaking their fast, Muslims attend Tarawih, a special nightly prayers.
It is customary for Muslims during Ramadan to host iftar banquets for the poor and needy people.


Sedairi said the new rules are meant to better manage the collection of donations.

"We will provide legal accountants to charity associations and mosques that have collected money to provide iftar meals in order to ensure that all the collected money will be used judiciously," he said.

"Charity associations will be responsible for the money that they have collected."

The Saudi official said the move also aims to avoid using the donations in malicious activities.

"We want to ensure that only the poor people will take the iftar as well as ensuring that the money will be spent only on charity."

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Riyadh has issued several regulatory resolutions that reduce the activities of charity institutions in the kingdom.

Al-Haramain Charity, the largest among Saudi charities, has been dissolved in October 2004, after Washington accused it of financing "terrorism".

Saudi Arabia also began to close charities and relief organizations outside the kingdom and place their funds and properties under the control of a newly established governmental body.

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

08-28-2008, 02:00 AM
Holy Ramadan to start on September 1 in Azerbaijan

[13 Aug 2008 15:08 ]

Holy Muslim month, Ramadan will start on September 1 in Azerbaijan, Press Service of Caucasus Muslims Office told APA.

Holy Ramadan will last 30 days.

Laylat al-Qadr falls on 19th, 21st, 23rd, 25th or 27th nights. Ramadan ends with the holiday Eid ul-fitr to be verified by the sighting of the new moon on September 30 or October 1.

Caucasus Muslims Office will give fetva on month of Ramadan.

Source: http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=86671

08-28-2008, 02:05 AM
Ramadan 'time to purify oneself'



A BAN on all alcohol sales in Bahrain's hotels and restaurants will be imposed for the fourth year running this Ramadan, tourism officials said yesterday.

Hotels had for years been allowed to serve alcohol after sunset during Ramadan, but a total ban was introduced in 2005. Live entertainment is also banned during Ramadan.

Drinking, eating and smoking in public is prohibited between sunrise and sunset, said an Interior Ministry spokeswoman. She said those violating the law would be arrested and referred to the Public Prosecution.

Based on astronomical calculations Ramadan is expected to take place from September 1 to September 30, said Bahrain Astronomical Society vice-president Professor Dr Waheeb Alnaser.

Ramadan is a Holy month for Muslims that occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and when the Holy Quran was believed to have been revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. Ramadan is held 11 days or so earlier each year.

During Ramadan Muslims are required to fast from sunset to sunrise and abstain from food, drink, smoking and sexual relations.

A devout Muslim should refrain from telling lies, backbiting and committing sinful acts while fasting. Muslims believe that if a person commits a sinful act while fasting, God will not reward him.

"The point is to control yourself, it's a moral and spiritual training programme,"

Ahmad Al Fateh Mosque (Grand Mosque) senior co-ordinator for the tourist visitors programme Farahat Al Kindy told the GDN.

"We are commanded by God to fast to show obedience to God and he is merciful that we can eat and drink at night. Fasting is also prescribed for the Christians and Jews.

"It's a chance to purify yourself and for God to forgive all your past mistakes. It's a chance to get rid of bad habits like smoking. Also it's a chance to pray and empathise with the poor and it leads to people being charitable."

Mr Al Kindy said Ramadan was a month of blessings and Muslims showed thanks to God by being charitable and giving food, clothes and money to the poor.

During this time Muslims were encouraged to forgive those that had offended them and clear up grievances. "We find Ramadan creates a spirit of brotherhood and unity among Muslims," he said. "It creates an atmosphere of peace and everyone is trying to be kind to everyone."
Mr Al Kindy said fasting helped to purify the body and eliminate toxins because it gave it a rest from food. He said those fasting should try to stay out of the sun and away from situations where they may be tempted to break their fast.

When they break their fast they should begin with dates and water, followed by a light meal, rather than eating several big meals in one sitting.

Mr Al Kindy said it was unfortunate that some Muslims used Ramadan as an opportunity to sleep all day and eat all night. However, he said this was not considered fasting and would not bring any benefits. "This is spoiling the meaning of Ramadan, no-one will benefit. "It's a shame because during Ramadan you should be more active and have less sleep. They should spend the night in worship, do their job in the day and fulfil their responsibilities and then go and have a rest just before they break their fast."

Mr Al Kindy said a Muslim was required to pray five times a day but in Ramadan they were encouraged to add an optional prayer after the ishaa (nightfall) prayer.

Many people choose to follow this optional prayer with a reading of the Quran and aim to complete the entire book by the end of the Holy Month. During the last 10 days of Ramadan Muslims wait for the night of Lailat Al Qadir, also known as the night of power.

They believe that prayers on that night will be answered and God will forgive the sins of those that repent. "We believe if we worship on this night of power which will occur on an specific day during the last 10 days of Ramadan then you will be rewarded like if you had worship for 1,000 months, which is the equivalent of 83 years," said Mr Al Kindy.

"This is because in the days of Noah and Adam people lived 1,000 years and had more years for worship, but now our life span may only be 50 to 60 years. So because our life span is going down, God compensates us on this night, so we should make an extra effort. And if you go for Omrah (pilgrimage) during Ramadan it's like you are performing the pilgrimage with Prophet Mohammed."

Mr Al Kindy said non-Muslims should show sensitivity to Muslims during Ramadan by eating, drinking and smoking in private.

It is also preferable that women dress appropriately. "If men see women in Ramadan they may be tempted to look at her and if he does he breaks his fast, so they should wear long sleeved clothes," he said.

"If invited for iftar I encourage non-Muslims to go, we welcome them to join us. I also recommended non-Muslims to try fasting, even for a few days."

The Grand Mosque will be open for visitors free of charge during Ramadan between 8.30am and 2pm. For more information contact 17727773.

Source: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story...&IssueID=31159

Eric H
08-28-2008, 07:08 AM
Greetings and peace be with you north_malaysian; thanks for all the encouraging stories.
Mosques across Saudi Arabia will open 24 hours a day under new plans to allow Muslims to pray at their convenience during Ramadan, the month of fasting which begins in September.

Under the proposals, unveiled yesterday by the Islamic affairs ministry, extra imams are to be drafted in to accommodate the annual increase in worshippers who spend longer hours at their local mosque. In Ramadan, Muslims lengthen the fifth and final prayer of the day and more time is given over to religious practices, such as reading the Qur'an and repeating phrases glorifying Allah.
A wonderful way to become closer to Allah during this holy time, We all need to spend more time glorifying and giving thanks to God.

In the spirit of praying to one God,


08-28-2008, 08:25 AM
format_quote Originally Posted by Eric H
Greetings and peace be with you north_malaysian; thanks for all the encouraging stories.

A wonderful way to become closer to Allah during this holy time, We all need to spend more time glorifying and giving thanks to God.

In the spirit of praying to one God,

I am just encouraging everybody about Ramadan......with news about it worldwide..... I really cant wait for Ramadan...

08-30-2008, 06:55 PM
Bush offers Ramadan best wishes

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President George W. Bush on Friday offered his best wishes for Muslims around the world as they observe the holy month of Ramadan.

"I send greetings to Muslims observing Ramadan in America and around the globe," he said in a statement released by the White House. "Laura and I send our best wishes. Ramadan Mubarak."

"I thank the men and women of the Muslim community for their contributions to America. Your love of family, and gratitude to God have strengthened the moral fabric of our country. Our nation is stronger and more hopeful because of the generosity, talents, and compassion of our Muslim citizens," he said.

During Ramadan, which starts on September 1, observant Muslims eat a light pre-dawn meal and fast until sunset, a practice aimed at fostering self-discipline, sacrifice and empathy for the poor.

Source: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5...pCqiMum9CjTXYA

08-30-2008, 07:00 PM
Mindanao Ceasefire Urged in Ramadan

IslamOnline.net & News Agencies

MANILA — As the fasting month of Ramadan draws nearer, a Catholic bishop has urged the Philippine government to cease hostilities in the Muslim-predominantly south during the holy month, to the deaf ear of the government.

"I would press the government not to continue the fighting even, especially at the Ramadan time," Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo said in a statement cited by the ABS-CBN News Online on Saturday August 30.

He suggested an "informal ceasefire" be reached between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) if the government refused to halt military operations in the south.

Ouevedo's call echoed a similar call by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Thursday, which issued a prayer for peace in the violence-wracked south.

"We offer this prayer as one nation and in solidarity with the Mindanao Bishops as well as the thousands of innocent people who are forced to evacuate and live in uncertainty and fear because of the current crisis and war," said CBCP president Angel Lagdameo.

The Philippine army has launched an offensive against MILF fighters in the southern island of Mindanao.

Nearly 200 people have since been killed in two week of fighting in Mindanao.

The fighting was triggered by a court ruling on August 4, to halt a peace deal between the MILF and the government over protests from Christian groups.

The deal had called for the establishment of a Muslim ancestral homeland in the south with its own "basic law," police and internal security force.
The region would have been allowed to run its own banking and finance system, civil service, education and legislative and electoral institutions.
It would also have been given full authority to develop and dispose of minerals and other natural resources within its territory.


But Manila stood defiant to calls for halting military operations during Ramadan.

The government will not allow MILF groups "to use Ramadan to escape or avoid facing the consequence of the law," said press secretary Jesus Dureza.

"There is going to be no let-up in hunting down those who have to face the consequence of the law.

"But the forces on the ground will definitely exercise great sensitivity to the observance of Ramadan," said Dureza.

Earlier, lawmakers have called for a cessation of hostilities in Mindanao during the holy fasting month.

"The government will not allow those who are object of this manhunt to hide behind Ramadan to escape liability before the law," Dureza said, in comments on the lawmakers' call.

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, will fall this year in early September.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Mineral-rich Mindanao, Islam's birthplace in the Philippines, is home to ore than 5 million Muslims.

Muslims make up nearly 8 percent of the total populace in Catholic Philippines, which Islam reached in the 13th century about 200 years before Christianity.

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

08-30-2008, 07:03 PM
Afghans Need Food Aid Before Ramadan

By IOL Staff

KABUL — As the world is preparing to welcome the holy fasting month of Ramadan, millions in war-torn Afghanistan are facing their worst humanitarian crisis in two decades.

"Up to five million Afghans face severe food shortages," said the British charity Oxfam in a statement on its website.

"Large parts of Afghanistan are facing crisis as a result of the cumulative effect of factors including the harsh winter, high food prices, drought, and increasing and spreading insecurity."

Oxfam cited the central Daikundi province as one of the hardest-hit where people are facing their worst humanitarian conditions in more than 20 years.

"Similar conditions can be found in other provinces," it warned.
The warning comes a few days before the advent of Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, which falls this year in early September.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

"As it is almost impossible to deliver aid to rural areas during the harsh Afghan winter, concerted action is needed now to avert the crisis," said Oxfam.

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world with more than half of the population living below the poverty line.

The country is so destitute and undeveloped that most inhabitants have no central heating, electricity or running water.

According to the international policy think tank Senlis, more than 70 percent of Afghans are chronically malnourished, with less than a quarter having access to safe drinking water.

Action Needed

Oxfam called an urgent action to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in the war-torn country.

"This is a race against time," said Matt Waldman, Oxfam's Head of Policy in Kabul.

"The international community needs to respond quickly before winter when conditions deteriorate."

Many areas in Afghanistan are virtually inaccessible in winter because of snow, poor roads and worsening security, hindering the delivery of aid and food.

About 1,000 people died in the last, exceptionally severe winter marked by bitter cold and heavy snowfall.

"The health of one million young children and half a million women is at serious risk due to malnutrition," said Waldman.

In a letter to development ministers around the world, Oxfam called for help to meet the funding shortfall and to support Afghanistan's agriculture sector and ability to cope with disasters.

"We believe the current situation requires a major humanitarian response," the letter said.

"If the response is slow or insufficient, people could be forced to sell assets or leave their homes and villages, and there could be a further deterioration of stability.

"Infant, child and maternal mortality rates – already some of the world's highest – could increase even further."

Child mortality rates in Afghanistan are among the highest in the world, and one out of every five Afghan children (or 191 out of every 1,000 live births) will not survive beyond age five.

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

08-30-2008, 07:05 PM
East London Council Adapts to Ramadan

IslamOnline.net & Newspapers

CAIRO — Showing courtesy to Muslim employees, a local council in east London is urging non-Muslim members not to eat or drink during meetings with Muslim colleagues during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, reported the Daily Mail on Friday, August 29.

"It is requested that members do not partake of any refreshments until after the iftar (fast breaking) refreshments are served," John Williams, head of Tower Hamlets Council's democratic services, said in an e-mail to non-Muslim council members.

The order is part of special arrangements made by the council for the holy dawn-to-dusk fasting month.

The arrangements also include giving Muslim employees a 45-minute break during evening meetings to allow them break their fast and perform prayers.

Muslim members would also be offered iftar packs including tea, coffee, sandwiches and special Muslim snacks at the time of iftar.

The council's agenda has also been reduced during Ramadan to include only seven committee meetings all over the month.

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, will fall this year in early September.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.


The arrangements have drawn reprimand from some council members.

"I was rather disconcerted to see that the arrangements put in place for Ramadan, which we support for Muslim colleagues, have been imposed upon all councilors," said Stephanie Eaton, leader of the Liberal Democrat group in the council.

"We object to the request that non-Muslim councilors observe the fasting rules for Ramadan."

Eaton warned that the measures could be offending to people of other faiths.

"This sends out the wrong message to our community," she said.

"Our community consists of a huge number of different religions, all of which should be valued, and no one religion should be accorded more status or influence than others."

But the council defended the arrangements.

"(The arrangements were in place) where it is not reasonable to expect members observing Ramadan, and who are required to attend a formal committee or other meeting, to travel home in time for sundown in order to break fast and undertake prayers," the council leaders said.

A spokesman for the council said the arrangements are only meant to show courtesy to Muslim members.

"All that's being asked for is courtesy to be shown to the sensitivities around some councilors eating during council meetings whilst others in the room are fasting.

"Non-Muslim councilors have simply been asked to ensure that there is iftar food available for Muslim councilors, because in previous years, Muslim councilors wanting to break their fast following prayers had found that the iftar packs had been eaten."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

08-30-2008, 07:09 PM
Bosnia Angry Over Gay Festival

IslamOnline.net & News Agencies

SARAJEVO — In a rare show of inter-ethnic unity, Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats were united on Thursday, August 28, in condemning the first-ever gay festival to be held in the former Yugoslav republic.

"It is unnatural, sick and deviant behavior," said Rajko Vasic of the Social Democrats, who hold power in Bosnia's Serb entity of Republika Srpska, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The former Yugoslav republic's main religious and ethnic groups are infuriated by Queer Sarajevo Festival that will be organized by next month.

The controversial four-day event, to open on September 24 in the capital, Sarajevo, will tell through films, exhibitions and panels the life stories of gays and lesbians in the country.

"Bosnia is a conservative society," Amir Zukic, of the Party of Democratic Action, Bosnia's main Muslim party, told the local newspaper Dnevni Avaz.

"I doubt that such an event would be accepted."

Islam considers homosexuality to be clearly sinful.

Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation.

Bosnia, a small country on the Balkan Peninsula, is home to three ethnic "constituent peoples": mainly Muslim Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.

Out of Bosnia and Herzegovina's nearly 4 million population, some 40 percent are Muslims, 31 percent Orthodox Christians and 10 percent Catholics.


Ivo Tomasevic, a Croat leader, said the festival runs against the norms of the conservative Bosnian society.

The event is organized by "a small group of people promoting ideas which do not represent basic values," said Tomasevic, the Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bosnia.

The festival will be held at a time Bosnian Muslims are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

"We respect freedom and tolerance," Zukic, of the Muslim party of Democratic Action, said.

"But the festival is a kind of provocation since it is taking place during Ramadan."

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, will fall this year in September.

In Ramadan, which is dedicated for spiritual growth, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain during daylight hours from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

After breaking their fast, Muslims attend Tarawih, a special nightly prayers.

Muslims also dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer and self-restraint.

Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.

It is also customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur'an.

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

09-01-2008, 12:25 AM
Muslims To Begin Ramadan Fast Monday

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 (Bernama) -- Muslims in Malaysia will begin the Ramadan fast Monday, Sept 1.

A statement issued by the office of the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal Sunday said the date was set after getting the consent of the Rulers.


source: http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/ne....php?id=356508

09-01-2008, 12:47 AM
PLN promises no power cuts during Ramadan

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 08/31/2008 9:35 PM | Business
State power company PLN has promised to prevent power cuts during the fasting month of Ramadan.

PLN operations director for Java and Bali, Murtaqi Syamsuddin, said the company would make every effort to avoid power cuts.

"But we also ask our customers not to use electricity excessively," he said, as quoted by Antara.

Murtaqi said to prevent power cuts, PLN would control power consumption, which unless controlled could go as high as 16,700 megawatts during its highest peak load this year from 16,250 megawatts last year.

The government expects to reach 16,000 megawatts of consumption during the average peak load through a number of retrenchment programs.

Murtaqi said the government's policy of shifting factories' non-working days to days other than Saturday and Sunday would cut industrial and business power consumption by 430 megawatts.

Under the policy, industrial customers must move two working days a month to Saturday and Sunday. Businesses such as malls, offices and hotels are subject to three-hour power cuts once a week during the peak load (6.00 p.m. - 9.00 p.m.). (dre)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2...g-ramadan.html

09-01-2008, 12:49 AM
Police to conduct Ramadan sweeping in Medan

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 08/31/2008 12:21 PM | National

Police in Medan, North Sumatra, ordered all entertainment places in the city to close down during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and would regularly conduct sweeping to ensure that no one breaks the rule.

Medan Police chief Sr. Comr. Bambang Sukamto said Saturday night he had made an agreement with the Medan mayoralty to revoke the operating licenses of those entertainment places that violated the rules by opening their services during the fasting month.

"That policy is part of the decisions taken during our recent coordination meeting with the Medan mayoralty," Bambang Sukamto was quoted as saying by Anara.

Bambang added that his personnel would also conduct raids and regular checks at public places against sharp weapons and firearms. (rid)

source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2...ing-medan.html

09-01-2008, 12:53 AM
Fasting month starts Sunday in Jember

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 08/31/2008 11:57 AM | National

Thousands of Muslims in Jember regency, East Java, started their fasting on Sunday, while most Muslims in the country would start it on Monday.

Antara news agency reported that most of Muslims who started their fasting month early were the people living near the Mahfilud Dlulor Islamic boarding school in Suger Kidul village in Jelbuk district in Jember.

Head of the school, Ali Wafa, said that the decision to start fasting earlier was based on a rule stating that the beginning of the fasting month or Ramadhan fell five days after the same date of last year’s start.

He said that the rule was written on a book titled Nazahatul Majalis by Syech Abdurrohaman As Shufuri of the Syafi’i school. Ali Wafa said that his school had been using the rule since 1826 and the people near the school gradually followed suit.

Some Muslim groups in the country still differ in their interpretation of Koranic verses in conducting astronomical observations and calculation, raising differences in determining the exact date for the start of the fasting month and the end of the fasting month or Idul Fitri.

The Nahdlatul Ulama, which uses Koranic verses supporting rukyatul hilal or determining the start of Ramadan by seeing the moon with naked eyes, has planned to do the observation on Sunday night.

Separately, the Muhammadiyah Muslim group, which uses hisab or calculations, has announced that the start of the fasting month falls on Monday, tempointeraktif.com reported. (dre)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2...ay-jember.html

09-01-2008, 12:55 AM
mashallah there are some really intresting stories here

Eric H
09-01-2008, 01:02 AM
Every blessing and peace be with you north_malaysian during this holy period.

I pray that it will be very special for all of you, a time to become closer to Allah.

In the spirit of praying for peace on Earth, and a greater interfaith friendship


09-01-2008, 01:02 AM
format_quote Originally Posted by Muslimah421
mashallah there are some really intresting stories here
yeah.. thousands of Javanese started fasting on 31st September...earlier one day than most of Muslims...:D

09-01-2008, 01:04 AM
format_quote Originally Posted by Eric H
Every blessing and peace be with you north_malaysian during this holy period.

I pray that it will be very special for all of you, a time to become closer to Allah.

In the spirit of praying for peace on Earth, and a greater interfaith friendship

In this month God opens the Gate of Heavens call Al Rayyan... and closes the gate of hell....

I dont know why... I feel so happy!!!!

Ramadan Kareem!!!

09-01-2008, 01:08 AM
Morocco Mosques Shine Up for Ramadan

By Abdel Rahman Khaizaran, IOL Correspondent

RABAT — Painting walls, cleaning up floors and buying new furniture, Moroccans are shining up mosques to welcome the sea of worshippers during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

"We are preparing the mosque for Ramadan," Lahsan Mottahar, the imam of Al-Radwan Mosque in Casablanca, told IslamOnline.net.

Volunteers are racing time painting the mosque's walls, cleaning up the floors and buying new furniture.

Loudspeakers have been added to carry the recitation of the Noble Qur'an during the Tarawih, a special nightly prayers Muslims perform during Ramadan.

"This is how we show our joy welcoming the holy fasting month," says Mottahar.

Morocco will sight the moon of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, on Sunday, August 31.

This means Ramadan will start in the country either Monday or Tuesday.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint and good deeds.

Dear Ramadan

Khadijah joined fellow volunteers in cleaning up "Al-Harameen" mosque in Casablanca.

"We are shining up the mosque for worshippers to perform Tarawih prayers and study their faith," she told IOL.

"This is how we welcome the dawn-to-dusk fasting month."

Mustafa is also helping with the mosque cleaning effort.

"This is the way Moroccans show their love for performing good deeds in Ramadan."

It is customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur'an.

Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.

"Ramadan is a dear guest for Moroccans and we are doing our best to welcome the guest," said preacher Abdullah bin Oqba.

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

09-01-2008, 01:11 AM
Ramadan Monday in Most Countries

By IOL Staff

WORLD CAPITALS --The holy fasting month of Ramadan will start Monday, September 1, in most Arab and Gulf countries as well as North America and European countries.

Muslims in Malaysia will begin the Ramadan fast on Monday, September 1, according to a statement issued by the office of the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal on Sunday, August 21.

The Algerian Religious Affairs Ministry announced Sunday that the first day of the holy fasting month will fall on Monday.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, and most world countries announced Saturday, August 30, that Ramadan will start on Monday.

"There was no evidence of any person seeing the new crescent today," the Saudi Judicial Council confirmed in a statement.

Therefore, Sunday, August 31, will be the last day of the month of Sha`ban and Ramadan will fall on Monday, September 1, added the council.

Religious authorities in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen and Mauritania issued similar announcements.

Divided politically, the Palestinians will be united in starting the holy fasting month on Monday after the religious authorities in both Gaza Strip and the west Bank issued statements to that end.

Sunni religious authorities in both Iraq and Lebanon announced Saturday that the new crescent was not sighted and that Ramadan will fall on Monday.

Syria's top Islamic judge confirmed that the holy month of Ramadan will start on Monday.

In Cairo, the grand mufti of Egypt confirmed that the new crescent was not sighted Saturday and that fasting will start Monday.

The minister of justice and religious affairs in Djibouti also announced Monday as the start of Ramadan.

Mauritania will observe Ramadan as of Monday.

During Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.


The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) confirmed that Ramadan will fall on the first day of September based on astronomical calculations.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith, Central London Mosque, the imams' society in the Netherlands, the imams' association in Belgium and the Islamic Center in Milan decided to follow ECFR on the start of Ramadan.

Muslims in Bosnia and Serbia will observe the first day of Ramadan on Monday, the Islamic Sheikhdom of Bosnia and Serbia had said.

Croatian Muslims will follow neighboring Bosnia in observing the beginning of the holy fasting month.

Turkey's Presidency of Religion Affairs, the country's highest religious institution, had earlier announced Monday as the start of Ramadan based on calculations.

Muslims in Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Bulgaria will be following Turkey in observing the dawn-to-dusk fast.

Muslims in Germany, Austria, Romania and Ukraine will fast on Monday based on calculations, according to Muslim organizations.

The Islamic endowment authorities in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia decided to follow Saudi Arabia and Egypt in observing Ramadan as of Monday.

Australian Muslims will start fasting Ramadan on Monday, according to the Islamic center in Canberra.

The deputy head of the Russian Council of Muftis told IOL Monday has been confirmed as the start of Ramadan according to astronomical calculations.

The head of the Islamic cultural center in Saint Petersburg told IOL that the Islamic republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Kirghizstan always follow Turkey in depending on astronomical calculations.

Muslim scholars in the Philippines also announced that Ramadan will fall on Monday based on astronomical calculations.

Most Muslims in China will be fasting Monday based on astronomical calculations.

The first day of Ramadan will fall in North America on September 1, according to astronomical calculations, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has announced.


Libya and Nigeria announced the start of Ramadan on Sunday, August 31.

Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritius, South Africa, Somalia, Jordan, Iran, and Bangladesh will sight the new moon on Sunday.

This means Ramadan will either fall Monday or Tuesday.

Indonesia's Nahdlatul Ulama, the country's largest Muslim group, will sight the Ramadan moon on Sunday.

Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second largest group, has already announced that Ramadan will start on Monday.

Muslims in India, Pakistan and Kashmir will sight the new Ramadan moon on Monday.

Oman is the only country so far to start the fast on Tuesday.

Moon sighting has always been a controversial issue among Muslim countries, and even scholars seem at odds over the issue.

While one group of scholars sees that Muslims in other regions and countries are to follow the same moon sighting as long as these countries share one part of the night, another states that Muslims everywhere should abide by the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia.

A third, however, disputes both views, arguing that the authority in charge of ascertaining the sighting of the moon in a given country announces the sighting of the new moon, then Muslims in the country should all abide by this.

This usually causes confusion among Muslims, particularly in the West, on observing the dawn-to-dusk fasting and celebrating the `Eid el-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting.

source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

09-01-2008, 01:19 AM
Ramadan Under Curfew in Kashmir
By Farooq A Ganai, IOL Correspondent

SRINAGAR — With tightened curfews and a shortage of essential commodities because of a Hindu economic blockade, Muslims in India-ruled Kashmir are bracing for hard times during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

"We have been waiting for the holy month of Ramadan like previous years," Reyaz Ahmad, from north Kashmir, told IslamOnline.net.

"But due to the present prevailing circumstances and curfew restrictions, it seems this year it would be very difficult to perform."

Indian authorities have slapped a tight curfew since Sunday, August 24, to block pro-independence demonstrations by the Muslim majority.

It was lifted briefly for four hours on Saturday, August 30, to allow Kashmiris to stock up for the holy fasting month before being re-imposed.

The curfew has prevented the publication of regional newspapers over the past week and those coming from New Delhi have not been distributed.

Local television executives and editors have also been ordered to suspend news programs and broadcast only entertainment.

Arif Hussain, from Srinagar city, complained that Kashmiri Muslims are under virtual house arrest.

"We hope this holy month of Ramadan will bring peace and freedom for us."

Kashmiri Muslims sights on Monday, September 1, the new crescent of Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.


Kashmiri Muslims are suffering from a shortage of essential commodities over a Hindu economic blockade imposed on the Muslim-majority region.

"When the whole Muslim world is enthusiastic about the holy month of Ramadan, we, the Muslims of Indian-held Kashmir, are facing problems in absence of essential commodities," a local imam in Kupwara told IOL.

"We even are unable to perform special prayers during these day."

Muslim worshippers were prevented by police from
performing the Friday prayer last week.

Most mosques in the region remained closed as people were forced to remain indoors.

Many Kashmiris still don't find food to buy for Ramadan.
Stores in Srinagar, home to one million Muslim, are already running out of supplies.

Kashmir is divided into two parts and ruled by India and Pakistan, which have fought two of their three wars since the 1947 independence over the region.

Pakistan and the UN back the right of the Kashmir people for self-determination, an option opposed by New Delhi.

source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

09-01-2008, 01:28 AM
Iraq's Absent Ramadan

By Afif Sarhan, IOL Correspondent

BAGHDAD — Sarah Mohammed used to be very busy on the first day of Ramadan, making elaborate dishes for her family members who would gather around the table to break their fast together.

This year, the iftar table will be half empty.

"Since they are gone, we don’t have reasons to celebrate anything," the mother of two, whose husband and son were killed by militants four months ago, told IslamOnline.net.

For Mohammed, 43, what is left of the usual Ramadan joy is the bitter memories of warm family gatherings.

"We don’t have my husband who was praying all day during Ramadan or my son who was happy to help me at the kitchen," the Baghdad resident said in grief.

For many Iraqis, this year's Ramadan is bringing less joy after they had lost many beloved ones to the violence racking their country.

"Ramadan for us had always been a period of love and strength. The family was always together," recalls Khalid al-Hashimy, a father of three.

"But today, it means suffering and pain," lamented the 46-year-old Baghdad pharmacist whose son was shot dead two months ago near their home.

"He was the person who every year made our Ramadan a symbol of laughing and charity," cried the heart-broken father.

"Today we just have a huge empty space inside our lives.

"This year's Ramadan is going to be the hardest period for us after he is gone."

New Ramadan

Not only those who lost beloved ones, but many Iraqis feel that the old spirit of Ramadan is gone with the wind.

"Ramadan period used to be an amazing period," Waleed Abdel-Latif, 36, told IOL.

"Now, it has turned into difficult days to all Iraqis, except for politicians who have all our money in their hands."

Latif, an unemployed father of four, said that before the 2003 US-led invasion, Iraqis used to share with the people they know and those in need during Ramadan.

"Today we hardly know if we can survive during this period, being unemployed, late in our rent payments and suffering from violence."

Without a UN mandate, America invaded Iraq in 2003 on claims of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and links to Al-Qaeda, both since proved unfounded.

Since then, the oil-rich Arab country has plunged into a vicious circle of violence that claims the lives of innocent civilians on a daily basis.

Latif's wife, Salwa, misses the old Ramadan nights when survival was not the only preoccupation for every Iraqi.

"I miss sitting with my neighbours during Ramadan sharing the sweets we cooked, talking about plans while drinking tea and watching our children play in ours safe streets.

"Today, we have to stay inside our homes to be safe. And the sweets are only a dream because we have to make calculations even when drinking water."

Shopkeepers lament prosperous Ramadan business in pre-invasion Iraq.

"Now, people don’t have money to spend and others are too sad after losing their loved ones in the war to celebrate this special month like they used to," said Abu Zeinab, a shopkeeper in Baghdad.

"It is the new Ramadan in Iraq."


source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...ws%2FNWELayout

09-02-2008, 02:35 AM
Mosque Adds to California Ramadan Joy
IslamOnline.net & Newspapers

Satellite?blobcolurldata&ampblobheaderimage2Fjpeg&ampblobkeyid&ampblobtableMungoBlobs&ampblobwhere1220244776574&ampssbinarytrue - The new mosque will accommodate about 1,100 Muslim worshippers from Rancho Cucamonga. (LA Times photo)
CAIRO — Muslims in California's fast-growing city of Rancho Cucamonga are celebrating this year's Ramadan with a special joy as they finally get their long-awaited mosque.

"We have been waiting for this," Salma Shah, a 62-year-old city resident, told Los Angeles Times on Monday, September 1.

"It's our dream."

For years, the growing Muslim community in the city squeezed themselves into an old stucco house, using its small rooms for prayer.

But with the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which starts Monday in North America, they will be able to hold their prayer in the newly-build mosque.

Over the weekend, construction workers were hurrying to polish the marble floors and lay the last roof tiles to finish the mosque in time for Ramadan.

Mosque leaders had worried they could not finish in time for Ramadan, but the city granted them a temporary occupancy permit.

The mosque, which has two minarets and a broad dome, will accommodate about 1,100 worshippers.

It is being built by the Islamic Center of Inland Empire, located in the heart of Rancho Cucamonga, at a cost of $2 million.


Satellite?blobcolurldata&ampblobheaderimage2Fjpeg&ampblobkeyid&ampblobtableMungoBlobs&ampblobwhere1220244776771&ampssbinarytrue - "This is our holy month, so anything we want to do, we want to do this month," said Zafar. (LA Times photo)
Muslims in the city believe their new mosque came just in time.

"This is our holy month, so anything we want to do, we want to do this month," said Tehseen Zafar, 54.

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, is a time for Muslims to get closer to God through prayer and good deeds.

During this holy month, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain during daylight hours from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

The daily fast is broken with the iftar, after which Muslims join Tarawih, a special nightly prayers performed during Ramadan.

Many Muslim men also perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.

For some Rancho Cucamonga Muslims, the new mosque will serve another cause, bringing the racially diverse city of 170,000 population together.

Dr. Shoaib Patail, one of the Islamic Center's founders, said the mosque's design purposefully incorporates traditional Eastern arches and Western cathedral ceilings.

He hopes the mosque can become a gathering place for the city as well as for the Muslim community.

"It glorifies the importance of our relationships, our community and our city," Patail told the LA Times.

"It allows us to show the non-Muslim community we are a part of the community."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

09-02-2008, 02:39 AM
America's Largest Tarawih

By Nancy Elbassiouny, IOL Correspondent

Satellite?blobcolurldata&ampblobheaderimage2Fjpeg&ampblobkeyid&ampblobtableMungoBlobs&ampblobwhere1220244935434&ampssbinarytrue - "I like the simple quiet, rustling of fabrics and bowing my head to the ground and this makes Islam so rich and full," Pouros (L) told IOL.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thousands of Muslims from across the US and Canada welcomed the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which started Monday, September 1, by joining the largest congregation for Tarawih prayer in the history of North America.

"It is an amazing site to see thousands of Muslim men, women and children standing shoulder to shoulder with their fellow Muslims of their gender and simultaneously bowing down in prayer to God in worship," a Greek Orthodox woman who only identified herself as Helen told IslamOnline.net.

"I’ve never seen anything quite like this."

Helen joined many non-Muslims who watched with admiration as thousands of Muslims prayed in unison.

The Tarawih, a special nightly prayers performed during Ramadan, marked the conclusion of the annual Islamic Society of North American (ISNA) convention.

It began shortly after 9:30 pm Sunday, August 31, in the large prayer hall of the convention center.

For Barbara Pouros, a Cincinatti resident wearing a brown, orange and beige hijab even though she had not yet formally converted to Islam, the Tarawih was the highlight of the ISNA convention.

Asked what drew her to Islam, she recalled that after meeting a Muslim one month after 9/11 and being invited to his mosque, she wanted to know more about prayer.

"So I did a lot of research on the Internet to figure out what was being said in the prayer.

"I like the simple quiet, rustling of fabrics and bowing my head to the ground and this makes Islam so rich and full."


A couple of hours before the Tarawih, many Muslims attended ISNA entertainment program, which features several poets, Nasheed singers and a comedian.

The house was packed with an enthusiastic audience.

The looks on the children’s faces sitting next to their parents reflected the joy and happiness of the evening.

"This is the happiest day of my life," Ahmed Khan, a ten-year-old fourth grader from Houston, told IOL.

"I want to be a Nasheed singer like Native Deen. They are my favorite group."

Native Deen, a famous Nasheed group, participated in several youth activities during the ISNA convention.

Aisha Mohamed, a 12-year-old originally from Somalia, had a similar dream.
"When I grow up, I wanna be a comedian and make people laugh."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...ws%2FNWELayout

09-02-2008, 02:43 AM
Ramadan Brings Peace to Tribal Pakistanis

By Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent

Satellite?blobcolurldata&ampblobheaderimage2Fjpeg&ampblobkeyid&ampblobtableMungoBlobs&ampblobwhere1220244956930&ampssbinarytrue - The Ramadan ceasefire is allowing many displaced people to return to their homes. (IOL photo)

PESHAWAR — Bacha Khan, 45, is busy packing up his language as he and his family members are set to return to their hometown in the restive North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) thanks to a ceasefire by the government and pro-Taliban militants in honor of Ramadan.

"This is unbelievable for me because I was not expecting that I will spend this Ramadan at my home," a happy-looking Bacha told IslamOnline.net.

A massive military operation in his Bajur town, some 50 kilometers north of the NWFP capital Peshawar, has so far claimed hundreds of lives from both government troops and militants.

The clashes led to the displacement of around 500,000 residents, the country’s second biggest exodus since the 2005 devastating earthquake that battered Azad Kashmir and NWFP.

The displaced have been provided shelter in hundreds of makeshift camps set by the government and Al-Khidmat Foundation, Pakistan's largest relief organization, in Peshawar, Mardan, Dir and other adjoining areas.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has announced a government ceasefire in honor of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which falls in Pakistan on Tuesday, September 2.

"There will be no military operation during Ramadan, and we hope the other side will also abide by its promise."

The minister, however, insisted army troops will remain on alert and will retaliate in case of any aggression or violation of the ceasefire.

In reciprocation, Taliban freed over two dozen army troops they captured in Bajur.

Military sources confirm that in most of the tribal areas, operations have been halted as per government directives.

But clashes and bombings are still raging in some areas.

Ramadan Break

The arrangement is allowing Bacha and thousands of displaced people in Munda camp, the largest shelter camp near Peshawar, to go home before Ramadan.

"Though I have lost my two cousins and a nephew in a bombing, I'm still very happy to return to my home."

Bacha, a father of four, has managed to contact relatives taking shelter in other camps in the province.

"They all are coming back. We all are so happy, and looking forward to meeting each other on the first day of Ramadan."

Bacha is particularly excited that he will be able to perform Tarawih, a special nightly prayers performed during Ramadan, as usual in their mosque.

"I was thinking that this time, we will have to arrange Tarawih somewhere in this shelter camp. But thanks to Allah, He has made this possible for us. We are so blessed," he said.

"My wife and kids are also very happy. They had been asking me for Eid clothes, and I had no answer to their innocent questions except that everything will be fine Inshaullah.

"And thanks God, things are going to be alright, at least for Ramadan."

Hopes, Fears

Satellite?blobcolurldata&ampblobheaderimage2Fjpeg&ampblobkeyid&ampblobtableMungoBlobs&ampblobwhere1220244956943&ampssbinarytrue - Many people are leaving their wives and kids behind until making sure the situation is stable. (IOL photo)Hassan Ali Khan, a farmer who calls Azan in his village mosque, is equally happy.

"Inshaullah, I will call Azan again after stopping for many weeks," he told IOL with a big smile covering his face.

"I don’t know whether the people were offering prayers there or not because almost the entire village had left after massive bombings."

He yearns for the special Ramadan atmosphere in his village.

"The village people send different dishes everyday for iftar in the mosque, which is also our meeting place.

"Things will not be as enjoyable as they were in past, but being a Muslim, in any situation, we are thankful to Allah. He knows better what is in our interest. I am thankful that He has granted us another Ramadan."

Khan prays the ceasefire will hold.

"I wish the ceasefire remains intact after Ramadan. We, the poor people, are paying the price for things we have not done."

Mushtaq Khan, who owns a small grocery store in Bajur town, is also worried about what would happen after Ramadan.

"I am returning to my home, but not with all family members," the father of three told IOL.

"I will leave my wife, mother, younger brother, and kids here (in the camp) because you never know when one of the sides violates the ceasefire, leaving us in the crossfire."

Though the ceasefire has been announced for Ramadan only, tribal elders are trying to extend it for another month.

"I'm aware of such efforts, but I don’t want to put my kids at risk," says Khan.

"I'm taking my cousins and some other relatives with me. We all want to see what has happened to our shops and houses.

"I will spend some days alone there and if I find the situation stable then I will bring my family back."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...ws%2FNWELayout

09-02-2008, 03:30 AM
Quiet start to Ramadan

Tuesday September 2, 2008


KUALA LUMPUR: The first breaking of fast this Ramadan was a quiet affair here as many city folk were away for the National Day long weekend.

A check by The Star in Jalan Masjid India yesterday also found that, despite having the usual offerings on sale, many did not feel the cheer of the coming Hari Raya because the cost of living had gone up.

Rohainiah Asmuni, 24, who runs a stall selling serunding and kurma, says she doesn't expect her business to bring much profit this year because the cost of ingredients had gone up, especially the price of chicken which had increased from RM4.20 per kilo to RM7.

Nurse Aznieha Hayati Che Ali, 28, said she was hoping to get things at a bargain closer to Hari Raya because traders at the Ramadan bazaar would want to clear their stock.

Soon-to-be-wed prison warders Faezah Tumin, 26, and Mohd Amin Abdul Majid, 23, were also cutting expenses for the Raya celebrations this year.

“I used to buy three to four sets of clothing for Raya but now I’m cutting back,” said Mohd Amin.

Clothing shopkeeper Norazlina Mohd Noh, 32, lamented that business was slow this year compared to previous years.

“I don’t mind giving discounts, but there are just not many people to offer them to,” she said.

Florist Rychey Syah Putra , 25, who used to buy his baju raya from shopping centres like Sogo, is now shopping at the Mydin hypermarket instead.

He, too, felt the Ramadan bazaar was not as merry as before.

“Perhaps everyone is affected by the tight economic situation and Budget 2009 doesn’t really seem to benefit the rakyat.

Hawker Hani Haryanti Sion, who increased the price of her nasi campur by 20 to 30 sen, said a few of her customers were upset but most seemed to understand.

Model-actress Dilla Syahirah Ab Latiff, 25, of Malaysia’s Most Beautiful reality TV show fame, was spotted helping her friend run a clothing shop in Jalan Masjid India.

Dilla maintained that the prices of clothes in the shop were the same.

“If you buy your own material and have it tailored, the tailoring service would easily cost you around RM70 or more,” she said, adding that a baju kurung in the shop sold for as low as RM55.

“However, no matter how much you want to save, Raya tetap Raya! (Hari Raya will still be celebrated),” she said with a smile.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp...333&sec=nation

09-02-2008, 03:34 AM
Bazaars stick to old prices

Tuesday September 2, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: Food prices have remained the same this fasting month despite the increase in fuel prices and other foodstuff.

For businesswoman Fauziah Abdul Jalil, 45, this means that she can still choose a variety of food for her family for buka puasa.

“I like to come to the Ramadan bazaars as there is a large variety of food.
“The prices have not gone up that much compared to last year. So, I will try to sample a little bit of everything,” she said at the stalls in Jalan Raja Alang.

It was the start of the Ramadan and business should pick up in the coming days as more traders set up stalls.

Popular attraction: Muslims queuing up to collect their portions of the famous ‘bubur lambuk’ at Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru in Kuala Lumpur Monday

Like always, the bubur lambuk of nearby Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru is drawing in the crowd.

Despite the rain, people started queuing as early as 3pm for a taste of the famous porridge.

Mohd Basir Abdul Rahim, 52, said about 50 men had been preparing the porridge since 10am.

“We cooked 15 pots and are expecting about 9,000 people to turn up to collect the porridge,” he said.

Primary school teacher Norazlin Zaini, 36, from Taman Tun Dr Ismail took advantage of the public holiday and travelled all the way to the mosque for the porridge.

“I have been coming here for the past 11 years as this is the best bubur lambuk I’ve tasted,” she said.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp...301&sec=nation

09-02-2008, 03:36 AM
Sale of dishes without rice allowed in Kota Baru

Tuesday September 2, 2008

KOTA BARU: Restaurants which only sell dishes but not rice are allowed to do so in the afternoon during Ramadan but the food should be packed.

Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said this would mean that the food should be packed and consumed only at the break of fast.

He said that in the past, there were disagreements between the Kota Baru Municipal Council and food outlets which employed Muslim cooks but operated inside coffeeshops owned by non-Muslims.

To put the matter to rest, he said food outlets would be allowed to open but they could only sell takeaway dishes and not rice to Muslim patrons.

“If operators sell rice together with the dishes, they will be flouting the regulations,” he said in an interview.

The PAS-led state government has been strict in enforcing fasting regulations.

“Muslims have to abide by the guidelines. Otherwise they are only cheating themselves,” he said when asked if the new move would mean that everyone would follow the rules.

During Ramadan, all Muslim restaurants and hawker stalls here are closed during the day and open only after the breaking of fast.

As for fast-food outlets, Takiyuddin said they could only operate from 3pm onwards until the usual closing time.

The Kota Baru council has formed a unit to patrol and monitor all food outlets to ensure they don't sell food to Muslims during the fasting period.

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp...138&sec=nation

09-03-2008, 01:56 AM
Ramadan welcomed with excitement in Turkey

The whole of Turkey was surrounded by a spiritual atmosphere on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan this Monday, bringing all people together at feast-breaking dinners and reviving old traditions of the holy month.

İstanbul's historical Sultanahmet Square was one of the centers of traditional Ramadan entertainment on the first day of the holy month. Various traditional Turkish drinks and food were sold at the square, which was designed as a Ramadan center by the municipality.

Festivities at the square began with recitations from the Quran and a concert of Sufi music after the terawih prayer, an evening prayer performed during Ramadan after the regular night prayer. The Ramadan activities drew the attention of both foreign and Turkish tourists. People that gathered in Sultanahmet Square said it was very nice to welcome Ramadan in İstanbul.

The square is home to the German Fountain, built by German Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1903. Sherbet flowed from the German Fountain instead of water and visitors lined up. Eminönü Mayor Mahir Katırcı said that this will continue for eight days, with every day being marked by a different syrup, totaling 500 liters of syrup for the eight days. This drink is being served for free.

İstanbul’s Bayrampaşa Prison, which was a symbol of ill treatment of prisoners and was recently closed for this reason, is hosting a large fast-breaking tent this Ramadan. The former prison is now witnessing the joy of people breaking their fasts. Over 1,500 people broke their fast at Bayrampaşa Prison, with former inmates among them.

Adem Çimen, who stayed at Bayrampaşa Prison for four and a half years about 25 years ago, said coming to the prison revived bad memories. “I lived through some very difficult years here. It is unbelievable but we are here today again -- though this time for a meaningful activity.” The menu of the first fast-breaking dinner at Bayrampaşa Prison was lentil soup, rice and yoghurt.

Religious representatives meet at fast-breaking tent

Turkey’s Chief Rabbi Ishak Haleva, Turkish Syriac Orthodox Church Patriarchal Vicar Mor Filiksinos Yusuf Çetin, Turkish Syriac Catholic Bishop Yusuf Sağ, Turkish-Armenian Patriarchal Archbishop Aram Atesyan and Şişli Mufti Recep Öztürk gathered at İstanbul’s Şişli municipality’s fast-breaking tent and delivered messages of peace.

Haleva said it was very nice to come together as religious representatives on the first day of Ramadan, which coincided with World Peace Day, and added: “This is an important message for the whole world. The whole world should see that representatives of different religions can sit together around a fast-breaking dinner in peace.”

Fast-breaking dinners have raised religious feelings of Turkish citizens in other parts of the country also. Officials from the southeastern province of Gaziantep had their fast-breaking dinner with relatives of martyrs from Gaziantep.

Gaziantep deputies Özlem Müftüoğlu and Halil Mazıcıoğlu, Gaziantep Governor Süleyman Kamçı, Gaziantep Mayor Asım Güzelbey and mayors of other districts of the province had their fast-breaking dinners at the municipal soup kitchen in Gaziantep with the relatives of martyrs.

Fatih Çiftçi, the mayor of the district of Erciş of the eastern province of Van, had his first fast-breaking dinner with citizens in need in the municipality’s fast-breaking tent.

Çiftçi said that they have been establishing feast breaking tents during Ramadan since he became the mayor of Erciş and added he was very happy to have his dinner with people in need. Çiftçi said they are hosting around 5,000 people every day at the tent and serve four different kinds of food. Civil society organizations and the municipality are in competition in Konya to serve fast-breaking dinners and send food packages to people. While civil society organizations like Kimse Yok Mu? (Is anybody there?) and Dost Eli send food packages to people in need, the municipality serves food to 5,000 people daily at a fast-breaking tent.

03 September 2008, Wednesday

Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/de...ay&link=152002

09-03-2008, 02:04 AM
İstanbul to be center of feasting, charity during Ramadan

Surrounded by the spiritual atmosphere of the holy month of Ramadan, İstanbul is to become a center of feasting, reviving old traditions of the holy month

It will also be a focal point of charity work through which thousands of poor people will be given a helping hand by donors who are aware that Ramadan is not only a month of fasting but also an opportunity to alleviate the hardship of the needy.

The İstanbul Municipality has completed preparations to turn the city into an entertainment center during Ramadan. In three different spots -- at the Feshane Cultural Center, the Topkapı City Park and the Bağlarbaşı Cultural Center -- İstanbulites will be offered a visual and cultural feast every evening until the end of the holy month. Among the events will be Sufi music performances, Karagöz and Hacıvat shadow puppet shows for children, storytelling and plays relating the tales of Nasreddin Hodja in addition to performances by an Ottoman janissary band. More than 100,000 people are expected to visit the feasting centers during Ramadan.

İstanbul’s Bağcılar Municipality will also take the opportunity to entertain its denizens during Ramadan in a move to strengthen the ties of unity and fraternity among them. Bağcılar Mayor Lokman Çağrıcı said the holy month of Ramadan should be conceived of and spent in a manner different than that of other months.

“We will not settle for offering free fast-breaking dinners to our citizens during this month. We will also establish a cultural and intellectual bridge among İstanbulites so that we can remove all obstacles standing before their gathering together around traditional and sacred values,” he said.

Çağrıcı noted they plan to invite many prominent figures, including artists, intellectuals, poets, politicians and representatives from nongovernmental organizations, to the events to be hosted by the municipality. “In this way, we will provide a bridge between the city’s high-profile names and citizens. We will also organize events for women, children, the disabled and the poor. We will also establish amusement parks and shopping stalls in various spots in our district. We regard Ramadan as an opportunity to bring together our people around cultural values, not merely as a month during which people focus on religious practices,” he added.

The historical Sultanahmet Square will also be one of the centers of traditional Ramadan entertainment in the city. The festivities at the square will begin with recitations from the Quran and a concert of Sufi music after the terawih prayer, an evening prayer performed during Ramadan after the regular night prayer. There will also be fast-breaking dinners, puppet shows and other events at the square every day.

The traditional bazaar will also be set up in Sultanahmet this year as well, which will comprise dozens of stalls featuring Turkish cuisine, gifts and traditional crafts.

Ramadan, time to remember the poor, needy

Aware of the fact that the holy month of Ramadan is more than just not eating and drinking, municipal officials in İstanbul have rolled up their sleeves to extend a helping hand to those in need.

The most prominent charitable activity of the holy month is, undoubtedly, setting up iftar tents in which thousands of people have the opportunity to break their fast. Iftar tents are not only a place where people fill their stomachs but also a spot which brings together the rich and the poor. The helper and those helped sit at the same table at these tents and feel the joy of helping and being helped. Tents all across the city will accommodate thousands of people during Ramadan.

The Esenler Municipality will both pitch iftar tents and deliver iftar dinners to those unable to come to the tents. Esenler Mayor Mehmet Öcalan said his municipality first started delivering iftar dinners to the poor and sick who were unable to go to the iftar tents two years ago.

“Our activity of delivering iftar dinners to the houses of the poor was met with great appreciation. We’ve prepared a list of around 10,000 people in our district who are in a difficult situation. Our objective with such an activity is to put a smile on the faces of the needy. We will continue to feed the poor during Ramadan,” he noted.

The Zeytinburnu Municipality has chosen a historical spot to set up its iftar tents to provide fasters with the pleasure of breaking their fast in a historical atmosphere. Two tents pitched by the municipality in the Merkezefendi area will offer fast-breaking dinners to around 2,500 people every day.

The Sarıyer Municipality, on the other hand, has prepared food aid packs to be delivered to the needy. The special packs contain sunflower oil, flour, sugar, tea, tomato sauce, beans, rice, pasta, olives and other foodstuffs. The municipality will also organize Sufi music performances and Karagöz and Hacıvat shadow puppet shows during fast-breaking dinners at iftar tents to be set up in various areas in the district.

02 September 2008, Tuesday

Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/de...1890&bolum=154

09-03-2008, 02:08 AM
Kosovo has first iftar as independent state in Turkish tents

Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia on Feb. 17, hosted its first fast-breaking dinner, iftar, as an independent state on Monday at iftar tents set up in different parts of the country by Turkish donors.

An atmosphere of enthusiasm marked the independent nation’s first iftar at the tents, which were bedecked with Kosovar and Turkish flags. Hundreds of Kosovars lined up in front of the tents to eat and expressed thanks to the Turkish government and the donors for their assistance.

“We extend our thanks to the Republic of Turkey, which has always assisted Kosovo both before and after the war. I extend my gratitude to those who brought together hundreds of Kosovars, Albanians and Bosnians in such a great atmosphere. We also thank the Turkish government for having recognized the independence of Kosovo in a very short time,” said Naim Tırnava, the head of Kosovo Islam Union.

Mustafa Sarnıç, undersecretary of the Turkish Coordination Office in Pristina, said Turkey shared a common culture and history with Kosovo. “Here we have the opportunity to witness the best example of the historical and cultural common points between the two countries. Turkey will continue its assistance to its Kosovar brothers,” he said.

Many different foods from Turkish and Kosovar cuisine were served at the iftar.

03 September 2008, Wednesday

Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/de...1964&bolum=154

09-03-2008, 02:14 AM
Ramadan in Ottoman times

Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, is upon us. It is during this month that the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. In addition to refraining from food, beverages and sexual intimacy during daylight hours, believers also try to refrain from greed, slander and even gossip during this period.

But come sundown, iftar, the breaking of the fast, offers a chance to partake of a wide array of dishes in the company of family and friends. The iftar dinners of today, though, pale in comparison to those of the Ottoman sultans. The sultans as well as the wealthy families of the city opened their doors to guests, invited and uninvited, and vied to create the most memorable dinners.

The Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I began the custom of stringing oil lamps between the minarets of mosques and spelling out greetings in the early 17th century. Nowadays, however, the oil lamps have been replaced by electric lights. Most mosques display the message Hoş geldin ya şehri Ramazan (Welcome O month of Ramadan). On the first night of Ramadan, the lights were lit and they remained on throughout the month in celebration.

On the 15th day of Ramadan, the sultans would pay a visit to the Mantle of the Prophet Muhammad and perform prayers there. The palace, in the meantime, would be busy preparing round trays of baklava for the janissaries. Each tray was made with 100 layers of pastry and served 10 men. It took two men to carry one tray. Before being sent to the janissaries, though, each tray was tested by dropping a gold coin into it from a half meter above. If the coin pierced the baklava and clinked on the bottom of the tray, it was deemed good enough to serve. If, however, a tray did not pass the test, the cook responsible for that particular tray was sent back to the kitchen, along with their tray, in disgrace.

During the time of Sultan Mahmud II, the viziers hosted dinners atop the Beyazit fire town after the 20th day of the month. An invitation to one of these dinners ranked just below an invitation to the palace. Everyone who was socially anyone wanted to be asked to participate, and competition was fierce for invitations. If for some reason an invitee was not able to attend, they made sure to send a representative in their stead, along with a gift of food by way of apology.

In a well-known story, one day Sultan Mahmud II was boating on the Bosporus as the time for iftar approached. Knowing that anyone was welcome to any house at sunset to eat, he ordered his barge to dock at Salacak on the Asian side. He decided to show up unannounced at the door of Darüzzade Abdullah Efendi, an official known to be gourmand. The host graciously received the sultan, while in the kitchen the wife and servants rushed to prepare special dishes for their unexpected guest. The meal proceeded along splendidly, with each course better than the one before. Everything was served on gold dishes in honor of the sultan’s visit. However, when it was time for the fruit compote that finished off the dinner, it was served in a cloudy, oddly formed bowl rather than a traditional crystal one. Confused, the sultan asked Darüzzade Efendi why the meal had been served on the very best china of the house, but the compote was being served in such an odd bowl. Darüzzade Efendi explained that his cook did not want to dilute the compote by putting ice into it to cool it down, so he had, instead, carved a bowl out of ice to keep it cool. “Ah, my friend, you know how to live,” was the sultan’s reported reply.

Following palace meals, an infusion of herbs was prepared to aid in digestion. This infusion, made with rose water, contained over 10 different herbs, each with medicinal qualities. It was filtered and given to the viziers and honored guests in either plain or gilded bottles, depending upon their rank.

Wealthy families followed this tradition by presenting each guest with a dış kırası, or tooth fee, at the end of the meal. The meaning behind this gift was that the guest honored the house by coming to iftar, and since the host had kept the guest’s teeth so busy with the job eating, they wanted to pay for making the guest’s teeth have to work so much. Well-off guests were given small gifts, but poor guests were usually presented with money.

Competition among the Ottoman elite to prepare the most lavish feasts reached an almost frenzied pace. So much time and money was being spent trying to out do each other that Sultan Mahmud II felt obliged to step in and issue an edict saying that there should be a limit of 60 dishes maximum served at any one iftar.

While Ramadan dinners are no longer on par with the excesses of the sultans, every iftar table will boast the very best that the house has to offer. This is the time for all cooks to trot out their specialties and show off their culinary skills. So, if you are lucky enough to be invited to someone’s home for iftar, be prepared for new taste sensations.

03 September 2008, Wednesday

Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/de...1963&bolum=154

09-04-2008, 07:20 AM
Terawih prayer

Special evening prayer performed during Ramadan. It is performed after the isha (night) prayer. It can be performed at home, alone or in congregation, or at a mosque.

Terawih is usually prayed in pairs of two and can be prayed in any amount of pairs, although eight or 20 pairs is the general practice among Muslims.

Prophet Muhammad regarded the terawih prayer as a means of forgiveness of sins. He said, “The one who observes the terawih prayer at night during Ramadan with complete faith and devotion only for the sake of the recompense of the hereafter will have all of his previous sins forgiven by God.”

Sunni Muslims believe terawih is a sunnah (a practice of the Prophet) and may be performed at home if one is unable to attend a mosque. According to this tradition, the Prophet Muhammad initially prayed the terawih in congregation during Ramadan but later discontinued this practice out of fear that Muslims would start to believe the prayers were mandatory. Shiite Muslims do not perform terawih because its practice was institutionalized by Umar, the second caliph -- whose rule Shiites view as illegitimate.

04 September 2008, Thursday

Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/de...ay&link=152044

09-04-2008, 07:23 AM
Ramadan more prominent in Turkey today, says famous singer

Ahmet Özhan Famed classical Turkish music singer Ahmet Özhan has said celebrations of the holy month of Ramadan in Turkey have improved over previous years.

Özhan, in an interview with daily Zaman, said he felt that the Islamic month of fasting had lately been celebrated amidst an unprecedented atmosphere in Turkey.

“I’ve never experienced such nice Ramadans before. Did you witness in the past such charitable activities, and iftar tents where thousands of people break their fast?” he asked. Charitable donors and district municipalities provide the poor and the needy with fast-breaking dinners offered every day in iftar tents set up across Turkey. Millions break their fasts at these tents each year.

Underlining that Ramadan increases charitable giving and strengthening the ties of brotherhood in society, Özhan said television and radio programs related to Ramadan have become a part of daily life during the holy month.

“Ramadan has recently occupied a greater place in television and radio programs and in the music sector. Had you before witnessed activities similar to the Ramadan celebrations in Sultanahmet, Sarıyer, Üsküdar and other districts of İstanbul? It is great to see that the holy month has gradually taken a bigger part in daily life,” he stated.

04 September 2008, Thursday

Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/de...ay&link=152042

09-04-2008, 07:28 AM
Spice Bazaar welcomes Ramadan for 348th time

İstanbul’s historical Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı), where herbs and spices from around the globe have been sold for centuries, welcomes Ramadan for the 348th time this year since it was constructed in 1660.

Marking the advent of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, historical bazaars in İstanbul are revived with excitement and zeal that both shopkeepers and customers carry in their hearts on the occasion of having embraced another holy month, which is supposed to improve the physical and emotional conditions of Muslims during the 30-day fasting period. Each İstanbul bazaar has its own distinctive flavor that attracts hundreds of visitors every day. They are a great place for visitors to sample traditional Turkish tastes. Among these bazaars is the Spice Bazaar (also known as the Egyptian Bazaar), which is currently witnessing another Ramadan full of excitement, the 348th in its history.

Home to hundreds of kinds of herbs and spices from around the world, the Spice Bazaar is one of the most oft-visited places in İstanbul during Ramadan. Both domestic and foreign tourists, drawn to exotic dried fruits and vegetables hanging on strings and barrels of colorful spices, flock to the historical Spice Bazaar every day. Though spices were previously used for preserving food and making medicine, they are currently used more for adding flavor and seasoning to dishes. Dates, dried apricots, olives and cheeses are undoubtedly among the most sought-after foods at the bazaar during the holy month.

Shop owners at the bazaar enjoy the commercial liveliness Ramadan brings with it. Mehmet Ekinci, one of the shop owners, said his revenues have increased significantly with the arrival of Ramadan. “What we sell most during Ramadan is dates, dried apricots and prunes. I’ve been working at the Spice Bazaar since my childhood. It has been 55 years now. This bazaar has a different atmosphere -- it becomes even more different when Ramadan arrives. Our earnings increase and more and more people visit our shops during the holy month,” he noted.

Ekinci also expressed confidence that the Spice Bazaar would be around for many more Ramadans to come. “Our bazaar has stood for hundreds of years now. I am sure it will embrace many more Ramadans,” he said.

Another shop owner at the Spice Bazaar, Ali Battal, said the holy month brought abundance to the bazaar: “We as shopkeepers at the bazaar are pleased with the existing commercial liveliness. People flock to the bazaar for Ramadan shopping. The holy month has brought with it economic vitality.”

Customers are also pleased with the unique atmosphere Ramadan has brought to the Spice Bazaar. “The emotional excitement of this holy month is felt by every member of the family. The sultan of 11 months has finally arrived. It has added a different beauty and excitement to our lives. We can see that the shop owners are also happy to welcome Ramadan. There must be an increase in business during this month,” he remarked.

One may find dates priced between YTL 8 and 45 per kilogram at the bazaar. Pastırma (a special kind of dried spicy beef) can be found for YTL 32/kilogram, sucuk (sausage) at YTL 9/kilogram, kaşar (a yellow, firm cheese) for YTL 10/kilogram, feta cheese at YTL 9/kilogram, olives priced at YTL 4/kilogram, dried figs at YTL 18/kilogram and walnuts for as low as YTL 6/kilogram at the bazaar.

A quick glance at the Spice Bazaar

One of the oldest bazaars in the city, the Spice Bazaar is located in the Eminönü district and is the second-largest covered shopping complex, after the Grand Bazaar.

Spices, dried fruits, lokum (Turkish delight) and other edibles fill most of the shops, along with stores that sell jewelry and other high-margin goods. As to where its name originates, there is different speculation. Many spices sold at the bazaar used to be imported from Egypt. One the other hand, in the Byzantine period the site of the Spice Bazaar was the center of the corn trade. The word “mısır” has a double meaning in Turkish: Egypt and corn.

04 September 2008, Thursday

Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/de...ay&link=152041

09-04-2008, 07:32 AM
Mosques Solace Iraqis in Ramadan

By Afif Sarhan, IOL Correspondent

Satellite?blobcolurldata&ampblobheaderimage2Fjpeg&ampblobkeyid&ampblobtableMungoBlobs&ampblobwhere1220244935312&ampssbinarytrue -
Mosques have received aid donations from families and some well-offs but say much more is still needed. (IOL Photo)

BAGHDAD — As Ramadan begins, mosques are trying to draw a smile on the faces of many underprivileged Iraqi families, offering them banquets and food packages.

"Never has Iraq seen so many needy families and it is our obligation to help our brothers, especially in the holy month that is synonymous of charity, sharing and love," Sheikh Othman Ahmed, a religious leader in the Baghdad Mansour district, told IslamOnline.net.

Dozens of mosques have appealed to well-offs to donate food or money to banquets that will be organized at least twice a week.

"We have already collected many food items to divide among those in need during Ramadan but much more is required," said Ahmed.

"We call on everyone to help these families because they might not have even enough food to feed their children during the fasting period."

Iraqi Sunnis begin observing Ramadan as of Monday, September1, while Shiites will start the fast a day later.

During this holy month, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain during daylight hours from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

"Prices of vegetables and cereals have absurdly increased in Iraq and we hardly are able to feed ourselves," regrets Abdallah Abdul Qader, 41.

"We are still trying to share and help but with much lower extend then before.

"Years ago we were able to donate the same amount of food we were getting ourselves but today we can only help for three days," he noted.

"Ramadan means charity, however, how can you aid someone if you are getting close to become one of them?"


Satellite?blobcolurldata&ampblobheaderimage2Fjpeg&ampblobkeyid&ampblobtableMungoBlobs&ampblobwhere1220244935414&ampssbinarytrue - NGOs fear that cooperating with mosques in distributing aid during Ramadan might cause them problems with militants. (IOL Photo)

Mosques in Adhamiyah and Kadhimiyah, two main Sunni and Shiite districts of Baghdad, will be organizing the iftar banquets indoors.

"We will organize banquets after the Magreb prayer inside the mosque,"

Ibraheem Youssef, an official with the Abu Hanifa Mosque, told IOL.

"Dates and yogurt will be offered before the prayer and those present will have a chance to break their fast eating inside," he added.

"Of course we would have liked to have this banquet done outside the mosque but it is too dangerous and suicide bombers may use this moment to carry out sectarian attacks," cautioned Youssef.

"We were lucky in the past years as violence was in low levels but we cannot thrust and it is better to guarantee some security for our Muslim brothers."

Iraq has plunged into a vicious circle of violence that claims the lives of innocent civilians on a daily basis since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Local aid agencies are too afraid of being targeted to cooperate with mosques.

"Our life would be much easier if we could share with the mosques the delivering space for food items," said Mayada Zuhair, an aid worker and activist in Baghdad.

"But if we do that, we can seriously put ourselves in danger. If we help a Sunni mosque we can be targeted by Shiite militants and vice-versa," she fears.

"For this reason, our activity decreases a lot and sometimes we have the items to help but cannot reach to the place for security reasons, leaving locals suffering."

Sheikh Tahir Abdul Kareem, a Shiite religious leader in Baghdad, called all sides of the conflict to stop fighting and attacks during Ramadan.

He urged them to channel all their resources into helping desperate families, who are victims of this violence.

"It [Ramadan] is a time of happiness and charity not fighting," stressed Sheikh Kareem.

"I call on all parts to join hands in helping their brothers who are in need and are fasting on an empty stomach to please God."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

09-09-2008, 03:37 AM
Hindus helping fasting Muslims in India’s Bihar camps

Patna, India – Ramadan 08, 1429/ September 08, 2008 – Setting an example of communal harmony in relief camps in flood-hit north Indian state of Bihar, Hindus are helping Muslims keep Ramadan fast by sharing their meager resources. “What is interesting to note that Hindus are helping Muslims to keep fast by providing whatever possible in relief camps,” said Bihar Disaster Management Minister Nitish Mishra. The majority of Muslims in relief camps were observing fast while sharing everything with others. Several NGOs are providing food to Muslims observing fast outside government control relief camps. “People, mostly Hindus, are arranging fruits, sweets and dinner for Muslims observing fast outside relief camps,” said Ranjeev, an activist in Saharsa district.

For the first time, we have been left with no option but to observe the fast in the relief camp after getting displaced by Kosi river flood. It is an opportunity to show our faith in God,” said Shakila Bano in her 50s, a resident of a village in Araria district. Halim Ahmad, in his 30s, a small time businessman, admitted that keeping fast is difficult and challenging without proper arrangement of food and clean and hygienic environment to offer prayers. But most of the Muslims in relief camps are observing fast, he said. Muhammad Sultan, another displaced Muslim, said that the lack of traditional food and clean space to offer prayers put us in trouble. “But it is not an excuse to ignore fast in Ramadan.”

It is estimated that over 700,000 to 800,000 Muslims were badly affected in flood-hit areas, particularly in Araria and Purnia where Muslims account for 40 percent. In Madhepura, Supaul and Saharsa Muslims are up to 20 percent of the total population. The Bihar government has directed all flood-affected district authorities to make special arrangements for Muslims observing fast. Official sources said district magistrates have been asked to ensure adequate food to all Muslims who are observing fast.


Source: http://www.islamicnews.org.sa/en/sea...ews&start_from

09-09-2008, 03:40 AM
Makkah's large Iftar stretches for 12 km

Makkah – Ramadan 08, 1429/ September 08, 2008 – The squares within and outside the Haram Mosque of Makkah witness in Ramadan the biggest ever Iftar in the world. More than 12,000 meters of tablecloth are stretched daily for Iftar along the Mosque area for worshippers to end their fast. Officials in charge of the Iftar in the Holy Mosque say its daily cost amounts to about one million Saudi riyals. Iftar does not take more than 15 minutes - from the time that people stretch the tablecloths out to the clearing of the remaining food. The area where people take Iftar is cleaned as fast as possible in order to leave room for people to perform Maghreb prayers.

The meal is served by various benefactors who are assisted by cleaning boys. The Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques divided the squares around the Holy Mosque into various sections and assigned them to charity givers willing to provide Iftar for worshippers. Iftar offered by these benefactors are made of dates, juice, milk, and cakes. Dates and Zam Zam water are served first before Iftar. The number of dates consumed daily by worshippers in the Haram Mosque is estimated to be more than 5 million. With about 1.2 million worshippers attending Maghreb prayers in the Holy Mosque, that huge number still only equates to three dates per person. In the meantime, more than two million bottles of Zam Zam water are consumed by worshippers during Iftar.

In the Tawaf area inside the Haram Mosque, the Iftar tablecloths are not stretched until the last moment in order not to block the way for worshippers who want to finish the Tawaf rituals before Maghreb prayers. Iftar inside the Mosque differ from that served in the outside squares. It is not allowed to bring any food other than dates and coffee into the Holy Mosque to maintain the cleanliness of the Haram area.


Source: http://www.islamicnews.org.sa/en/sea...ews&start_from

09-09-2008, 03:47 AM
Iraq Sunnis, Shiites Closer in Ramadan

By Afif Sarhan, IOL Correspondent

BAGHDAD — Many families have left aside their sectarian differences and are celebrating the holy fasting month of Ramadan in unity, sharing prays and food.

"We don’t have too much to share but it is enough to show others that we are more into peace than disputes over power in Iraq," Salman Abdul-Muta'al, a 40-year-old resident of the capital Baghdad, told IslamOnline.net.

"It is amazing to see our children playing together without worries about their sects or religious differences," he added.

"Before our meetings, I tell my children they shouldn’t talk about religion as division among Sunni and Shiite but remember that Islam is only one and they are all together despite what others think."

Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites were divided in determining the start of Ramadan, the ninth month of the lunar calendar.

Sunnis started the fast on Monday, September 1, while Shiites began a day later

"The differences are only political," insists Feiraz al-Raffi, 43.

"For years, we lived in our country without worrying about our sects. We need to show everyone that we are the same Iraqis as before and there isn’t a better time than Ramadan," he maintains.

"Together with other Shiite and Sunni families, we share our daily meal, happiness and problems, showing our children the true Iraq, trying to erase from their minds the differences created by isolated groups in our country."

During Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain during daylight hours from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and suns.

They mark the period by asking forgiveness for their sins, performing good deeds and helping the poor.


A decline in car bombings and attacks is allowing many families, who had been forced out of their homes, to return and live in peace with their neighbors.

"We are happy that we are able to share happiness with other families without the fear of being killed because of that," Omar Rawi, a 47-year-old Sunni resident of Masour district, told IOL.

"We know that it hasn’t ended yet but at least, with some religious protection, we feel more secure and comfortable."

Local imams have used their Friday sermons to urge militants to respect Ramadan and respect families from different sects.

"I’m not a rich man but we do the possible to give some charity to families in need and now I can do that beside a Shiite friend who isn’t worried about our sect differences but only in how to help the ones nearby," said Rawi.

Bahira Mohammad, a 36-year-old mother of three, is happy that her neighbor are back after two years.

"My neighbors returned to their home a week before Ramadan and it was another big motivation for me during this holy month," she told IOL.

"They are close friends to us and we were sorry to see that good people like them had to live such a hard situation," she said, recalling how militants forced her neighbors from their home two years ago.

"But now to show my happiness, we are sharing our daily meal, making our home prays together and remembering the good old days we shared since they first moved here nine years ago."

The general security situation in Iraq has improved compared to earlier months but isolated attacks are still being reported, especially in the capital Baghdad.

A total of 430 Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police officers were killed nationwide last month compared with 1,860 during the same period last year.

Government security departments said that they expect a safe Ramadan compared to earlier ones since the 2003 US-led invasion.

"This Ramadan we can see a low level of violence and in response, more families from different sects are returning to their normal way of living way," said Col. Mohammad Abdallah, a senior officer in the Ministry of Interior.

"We have increased security for this period but despite that, security levels have improved and we expect a calm and safe Ramadan. We hope this situation continues for latter months."

Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...News/NWELayout

09-11-2008, 02:05 AM
Balkan Muslim youth embrace Ramadan fast

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Religious identification has become much higher after the 1990s. The trend is explained partly by the war and partly by a new political and social system following Yugoslavia's break-up. Before the war, urban Muslims preserved religion in their homes only. Religion had been pushed out of the public sphere. Then freedom arrived and people opted to express publicly their religious identity

Daria Sito-Sucic
SARAJEVO, (Reuters)

Mela Softic stopped drinking alcohol a month ago as part of her preparations for Ramadan fasting that began last Monday. "This is the only religious holiday when I obey all the rules," said Softic, a 24-year-old junior marketing manager, joking that she was a "Muslim on batteries" since she behaved as a true believer only once a year. Softic belongs to a new generation of urban Bosnian Muslims who embraced their faith during and after the 1992-95 war, in which the Muslims suffered the greatest losses.

They come from families of moderate Muslims, most of whom were secular during the socialist era, when Bosnia was part of the former socialist Yugoslavia. Obeying an Islamic taboo, many do not eat pork, which is seen rarely in Sarajevo butchers or on restaurant menus. But outside Ramadan, the majority still drink alcohol. "All my Muslim friends are fasting," said the blue-eyed woman with a carefully coiffed bare head and smart business outfit. The Bosnian capital Sarajevo had been known for its peaceful co-existence of Muslims, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians as well as Jews over the past five centuries. But since the war it has become a predominantly Muslim city.

The return to religion can be felt in all spheres of life, not least because Muslim politicians and Islamic clerics have promoted Muslim values. "Religious identification has become much higher after the 1990s, and some studies have shown that nearly 90 percent of population in Bosnia identify themselves according to their respective religion," said Zilka Spahic-Siljak, coordinator of religious studies at the University of Sarajevo. She explained the trend partly by the war and partly by a new political and social system following Yugoslavia's break-up. Before the war, urban Muslims preserved religion in their homes only as part of their family tradition and culture, but religious customs were rarely observed. "Religion had been pushed out of the public sphere before the 1990s and then freedom arrived and people opted to express publicly their religious identity," she said. Softic said all Muslim students in her high school fasted during Ramadan and that it was something of a trend which students of other faiths respected. "I know many people of other faiths who really respect Ramadan, and I find it great," she said. "I have Catholic and Orthodox friends who don't drink during Ramadan." In nearby Albania, where religion had been virtually erased under the Communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, the majority Muslim population is still overwhelmingly secular but imams and Islamic scholars say more young people are coming to mosques. "In my 10 years here, I see more people coming every Friday and there are even more during Ramadan," said Ahmed Kalaja, the imam of a mosque in central Tirana where young and middle-aged believers prayed or sat talking after prayer. Albanian Muslim scholar and journalist Agim Baci said even people who do not pray regularly observe Ramadan. "I have been observing Ramadan for 11 years and I have seen the number of practitioners rising. I have seen youth come en masse. They are engineers, journalists, lecturers," said Baci. He said most people fast only during the Night of Kader, which falls towards the end of Ramadan and marks "when the Koran came to our sky. Even Christians observe it in Albania for luck because it is believed that the night is more important than 1,000 months (of praying)." The exception to the trend is Kosovo, a province which declared independence from Serbia in February after being a U.N. protectorate for nine years.

The majority of Kosovo Albanians are secular Muslims and people drinking beers during Ramadan are a common sight in bars in the capital of Pristina. Sociology professor Ismail Hasani said there were no reliable figures on the number of believers in Kosovo but added he had not observed any increase in religious sentiment. Enver Bajrami was the only one fasting among a group of six people sipping coffees and smoking in a cafe in Pristina on a recent sunny day. "Everybody in my family is fasting except my two-year-old daughter," Bajrami said. "This is the private matter. I respect decisions of other people. I have never asked anyone why they were eating or drinking on Ramadan." In Bosnia, organizing iftar dinners at sunset has become a matter of prestige among Muslim politicians and businessmen alike, and a social event for common Muslims. Muslims traditionally break their daylong fast with dates before going on to a full meal. During the 15 hours of down-to-dusk fast, Muslims must not eat, drink or smoke. So when they break their fast they take easily digestible foods such as soups, dairy-based dishes and stewed fruits.

Source: http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/a...enewsid=114847

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