Second group of Indonesian Hajj pilgrims arrives in Madinah

Jumat 12 Juli 2019 20:57 WIB
Second group of Indonesian Hajj pilgrims arrives in Madinah
Madinah, NU Online
The plane carrying the second group of Indonesian pilgrims as part of the “Makkah Route” initiative arrived at Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah with 393 pilgrims on board.

As reported by, the pilgrims would perform Hajj this year and visit the Prophet’s Mosque.

In statements to SPA, the pilgrims thanked Saudi Arabia for its hospitality and for the initiative that helped to facilitate their travel and entry into the Kingdom. (Masdar)
Sabtu 29 Juni 2019 22:51 WIB
Saudi affirms Alquds as Palestine's capital city
Saudi affirms Alquds as Palestine's capital city
Jakarta, NU Online
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia affirms that Palestine is the main issue and the existence of the Palestinian state is very important, President of the Islamic Communication Center of Saudi Arabia, Faheem H. Alhamid told Antara via a phone call here on Tuesday night.

"Our minister counsellor reiterates the international resolutions on the Palestinian issue which provides an opportunity for the Palestinian people to have an independent state with Alquds as the capital city," Faheem stressed.

He continued that Palestinian independence along with Alquds as the capital of the country cannot be compromised.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will participate in the Peace for Prosperity workshop, organized by the Kingdom of Bahrain in partnership with the United States of America on June 25-26, according to the Saudi Arabian News Agency (SPA).

The Saudi Arabian delegation will be led by Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance, and will include Minister of State and Cabinet's Member Mohammed Al Sheikh and the Governor of the Public Investment Fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

The Kingdom’s participation in this workshop comes as a continuation of its steadfast positions and continued support for the Palestinian cause and its assistance to the brotherly Palestinian people in their effort to achieve stability, growth and a decent living.

The Kingdom reiterates its firm position on the Palestinian cause and solving it in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative, which called for establishing an independent Palestinian state along the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Kingdom calls for sharing international efforts to achieve comprehensive and just peace.

The Kingdom also affirms its support for all international efforts aiming to achieve prosperity in the region, create an investment-friendly environment and enhance economic growth opportunities. (Antara/Masdar)
Rabu 5 Juni 2019 4:45 WIB
Sri Lanka Muslim ministers quit to protest 'threat to community'
Sri Lanka Muslim ministers quit to protest 'threat to community'
Sri Lanka

Colombo, NU Online
All of Sri Lanka's Muslim ministers and their deputies have resigned from their portfolios after accusing the government of failing to guarantee the security of the nation's minority Muslim community amid fears of attacks following the Easter suicide bombings.

The decision comes after hardline Buddhist monks, including firebrand monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, set a deadline to the government to fire Muslim provincial governors and a minister.

Gnanasara, who has long been accused of instigating hate crimes against Muslims, was released from jail on a presidential pardon last month.

The resignations of nine ministers and two provincial governors come after thousands of people led by Buddhist monks began demonstrating this morning in the country's central city of Kandy, 115km east of the capital Colombo.

Three weeks ago, mobs swept through Sri Lanka's North Western Province, destroying hundreds of Muslims' properties and killing one in apparent reprisal for the April suicide bombings in the island nation - a popular tourist destination.

"It is disturbing to see Muslim politicians being forced to resign their posts on the basis of unproven allegations made by politically powerful religious leaders who claim to speak for the Buddhist majority, backed by a thinly veiled threat of violence," said Alan Keenan, Sri Lanka Project Director, International Crisis Group, referring to two governors.

"This sets a disturbing precedent, especially in Sri Lanka, where the repeated violation of the due process rights of minorities and political dissidents has contributed directly to Sri Lanka's decades of extreme political violence," he told Al Jazeera.

Keenan, however, said that police should investigate the allegations that some Muslim politicians may have been linked to Easter blasts.

Police have been accused of failing to intervene in the attacks in Kottaramulla and Minuwangoda in spite of a government curfew.

More than 250 people were killed in the coordinated attacks on churches and hotels blamed on a local Muslim group, National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ).

At a press conference on Monday, Rauff Hakeem, the leader of Sri Lanka's primary Muslim political party, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, said: "All Muslim cabinet, non-cabinet and deputy ministers - all those representing Muslims - will resign [from their portfolios].

"If our ministerial portfolios is in the way, we are willing to give it up for the safety of our community."

He added that the Muslim community was paying a heavy price due to the crimes of a few individuals even after complying with security forces and the government on various rules and regulations such as the closure of madrasas.

He said that the Muslim politicians would continue in their positions as Members of Parliament. The former ministers will sit at the back of parliament and will cease to hold any ministerial positions.

"We will continue to support this government but will give them a grace period of one month to complete their investigations," he said. "Until such time we don't feel that it's suitable to remain in this government."

Tension in Kandy

Meanwhile, in Kandy, protesters gathered in support of hardline Buddhist Monk Athuraliye Rathana Thero, who began a "fast-unto-death" on Saturday, demanding the sacking of two Muslim governors and a Muslim cabinet minister in the Buddhist-majority island nation of 21 million people, nearly 10 percent of whom are Muslims.

Thero has said the two governors are linked to the Easter bombings.

The monk ended his three-day fast earlier on Monday after Western Province Governor Azath Salley and Eastern Province Governor MLAM Hizbullah submitted their resignations to President Maithripala Sirisena, whose office said they have been accepted.

He was subsequently whisked away in an ambulance to the Kandy National Hospital for treatment.

Tension prevailed in Kandy as the crowd rallied outside the famous Temple of the Tooth Relic, where Buddhists believe a tooth of the Buddha is enshrined. Shops were forced to close and public transport came to a halt in the city that witnessed anti-Muslim riots last year.

Gnanasara, head of the hardline Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or "Buddhist Power Force", gave a speech at the protest saying, "for the sake of the children of this country, we will defeat these extremists even if it means dying."

The head of the Catholic Church in Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, also travelled to Kandy on Monday to express solidarity with Thero.

"We support the monk's campaign because so far justice has not been served," Ranjith told AFP in Kandy.

'Create fear psychosis'

Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka's minister of finance, tweeted that the cardinal was "fanning the flames of hatred" by participating in the protest.

In his resignation letter addressed to Sirisena, Hizbullah said there had been a "calculated attempt to discredit the Muslim community and create fear psychosis" over the Easter bombings.

"As part of an attempt to target my community, racist forces have called for my resignation without any reason," he wrote.

The Muslim politician said as he was "convinced that the Muslim community's safety cannot be guaranteed" he had decided to resign "only in the interest of my community".

Sri Lanka imposed a state of emergency in the wake of the Easter attacks, empowering security forces to arrest and detain suspects. Nearly 100 people linked to the local NTJ group have been arrested since then, according to the government. (Aljazeera/Masdar)

Senin 3 Juni 2019 15:21 WIB
Mosques that host some of the world’s largest Eid congregations
Mosques that host some of the world’s largest Eid congregations
Dubai, NU Online
Muslims will soon observe Eid Al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of Ramadan. Eid Al-Fitr, which means Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, will see Muslims gather for the congregational prayer in mosques or special prayer grounds around the world. Preachers congratulate Muslims on the blessed occasion, pray to Allah Almighty to accept their fasting, charity and good deeds, and wish them good outcomes.  

1. Masjidil Haram, located in Makkah, Saudi Arabia; capacity: 900,000 worshippers; 4 million during Hajj

History: Dates back to the era of Prophet Ibrahim, who built a smaller, simpler version with his son Ismael. The Grand Mosque, which surrounds the Kaaba, has a Green Dome in the southeast corner. First painted green in 1837, the dome is built above the Prophet’s tomb and the tombs of Caliph Abu Bakr and Caliph Umar. The late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz launched a major extension project in 2007 to raise the masjid’s capacity to two million. After passing through the control of various caliphs, sultans and kings, the mosque is under the control of the King of Saudi Arabia in his capacity as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Significance: The Grand Mosque is the holiest shrine in Islam, being the site of pilgrimage for the Hajj and also as the main phase for Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage. The masjid includes sites such as the Black Stone, the Zamzam Well, Maqam Ibrahim and the hills Safa and Marwa.

2. Masjid Nabawi (the Prophet's mosque), located in Madinah, Saudi Arabia; capacity: 10,000 worshippers

History: Built by Prophet Muhammad in 622 AD, the original mosque was an open-air building and served as a community center, a court
and a religious school. The structure was expanded many times over the years in the
reign of the caliphs and the Umayyad, Abbasid and Ottoman states. The largest expansion operation was undertaken by the Kingdom in 1994.

Significance: Many pilgrims who perform Hajj travel to Madinah to visit the Prophet’s Mosque due to its strong connection to the life of the Prophet. The masjid is home to the tomb of Prophet Muhammad. Every year tens of thousands of pilgrims perform the ritual of Itikaaf, involving seclusion and staying in the mosque with the intention of worshipping.

3. Masjid Faisal (Faisal Mosque), located in Islamabad, Pakistan; capacity: 100,000 worshippers

 History: Impetus for the masjid’s construction came from Saudi King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz. In 1969 an international competition was held in which architects from 17 countries submitted 43 proposals. The winning entry was that of Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay. Construction began in 1976 and ended in 1986. The design was conceptualized as the national mosque of the country and a symbol of the hopes and aspirations of Pakistan. It was dedicated to the memory of King Faisal, who bore the cost of the project as a gift to the Pakistani people.

Significance: The shape of Faisal Mosque is inspired by a desert bedouin’s tent and the Kaaba in Makkah, flanked by four unusual minarets inspired by Turkish architecture but lacking both the traditional domes and arches of most other mosques. The walls are adorned with golden calligraphy, with large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The ceiling itself is a piece of art, designed with sharp lines and grooves. The mausoleum of General Zia Ul-Haq is located adjacent to the mosque.

4. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, located in Abu Dhabi, UAE; capacity: More than 40,000 worshippers and visitors

History: Designed by Syrian architect Yousef Abdelky and constructed between 1996 and 2007, the project was launched by the late president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. The architects were British, Italian and Emirati, and design inspiration came from Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, Egypt and other Islamic countries. More than 3,000 workers and 38 companies took part in the mosque’s construction.

Significance: Sheikh Zayed’s vision for the Grand Mosque was to incorporate architectural styles from different Muslim civilizations and celebrate cultural diversity. The largest mosque in the UAE, it is the key place of worship for daily prayers, Friday gathering and Eid prayers. The hollows of the domes are etched with verses from the Qur’an and painted with gold leaves in Naskh lettering.

5. Jama Masjid, located in New Delhi, India; capacity: 25,000 worshippers

 History: Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan after he moved his capital from Agra to Delhi, the mosque’s construction began in 1644. The architect was Ustad Khalil, who used red standstone and white marble. The construction, involving 5,000 artisans, was completed by 1656. The masjid was inaugurated by a cleric from Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Sayed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari, on whom Shah Jahan bequeathed the title Shahi Imam. These days, the masjid is managed by the Delhi Waqf Board and the Jama Masjid Committee under the direction of the present Shahi Imam.

Significance: The mosque faces west toward Makkah and houses several relics of Islamic religious significance, including an age-old transcript of the Qur’an. Each year thousands of Muslims throng the masjid to offer special Eid prayers in the morning. Seven arched entrances are inlaid with inscriptions in black marble detailing the history of the mosque. (Arabnews/Masdar)
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