A Muslim Cleric: Malaysia Won’t Ban Manchester United Jerseys

Islamic authorities in Malaysia say soccer uniforms with devils, crosses or skulls promote the “wrong value,” but that doesn’t mean Manchester United jerseys should be banned. Recent reports said Muslims have been urged not to wear the Premier League club’s shirts because its emblem features a red devil holding a trident. The team is sometimes referred to as the Red Devils. It was also reported that Muslims in Malaysia were forbidden to wear similar jerseys of other international teams. “We just advise people not to wear this,” Harussani Zakaria, a cleric from northern Perak state, told The Associated Press on Friday. “Satan is for us our enemy … It’s the wrong value. Satan is always bad.”

UK’s Islam Channel TV chief insists: “We are not extremists”

The Islam Channel, which is watched regularly by three in every five British Muslims despite allegations that it panders to extremism, is aiming to expand its services to other countries where it feels there is a need to counter negative coverage by western media.

In the cases of three countries with large Muslim populations – Malaysia, Nigeria and Kenya – the channel plans to begin by providing programs already available to viewers in the UK, according to the channel’s chief executive, Mohammed Ali Harrath.

Mr Harrath said “extensive negotiations” were also in progress to launch transmissions in North America – he did not specify whether the United States or Canada, or both – with immediate use of locally produced content.

After accusation of a Quilliam Foundation report that Islam Channel showed extremist programs, Harrath replied: “We do not promote extremism at all. What they qualify as extremism may be something else. If someone is opposed to abortion, are you going to say that is extremism? If a trade union argues for better conditions for workers, do you accuse it of promoting Karl Marx, and Lenin, or communist ideology?”

Associates of Christmas Day terrorist arrested

Ten suspects thought to be connected to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab were arrested in Malaysia. The suspects, from Nigeria, Malaysia, Syria, Jordan, and Yemen. They were detained while attending a religious meeting, and are confirmed to belong to a terrorist organization.

Muslims of Europe: The ‘Other’ Europeans

The interchange between Muslims and Europe has a long and complicated history, dating back to before the idea of ‘Europe’ was born, and the earliest years of Islam. There has been a Muslim presence on the European continent before, but never has it been so significant, particularly in Western Europe. With more Muslims in Europe than in many countries of the Muslim world, they have found themselves in the position of challenging what it means to be a European in a secular society of the 21st century. At the same time, the European context has caused many Muslims to re-think what is essential to them in religious terms in their new reality.

In this work, H.A. Hellyer analyses the prospects for a European future where pluralism is accepted within unified societies, and the presence of a Muslim community that is of Europe, not simply in it. He draws upon his
academic expertise in a variety of disciplines, including sociology, politics and religious studies, in order to give the reader a thorough theoretical backdrop. Uniquely, he combines this knowledge with his background as an independent scholar engaged in policy networks and institutions. The result is a work that has drawn critical acclaim from some of the most noted scholars in the West on a very important topic.

Biography of H.A. Hellyer
H.A. Hellyer is Fellow at the Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations at the University of Warwick (UK) and Director of the West Muslim world relations research consultancy, the Visionary Consultants Group (UK, Egypt & Malaysia). A United Nations ŒGlobal Expert¹ on minority-majority relations, political philosophy, and the interplay between religion and modernity, Dr. Hellyer was Ford Fellow of the Project on US Islamic World Relations at
the Brookings Institution.

As Senior Research Fellow at Warwick University, he was ESRC Placement Fellow at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office from October 2007 to April 2008, offering independent advice on Muslim European communities. In the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings, Dr Hellyer was nominated as Deputy Convenor of the UK Government¹s Home Office working group on Muslim communities, to provide independent counsel and critique.

A prolific commentator in Western media and media in the Muslim world, he is currently completing work on his next book entitled ³Muslims on the Margins: Muslim Minorities in Southeast Asia, Africa and the West².

Please visit www.hahellyer.com for further information about the book and the author.

Germany waking up to growing market for Muslim food

Germany has four million Muslim inhabitants but the market for halal food — produced according to Islamic law — is still in its infancy, partly because firms fear the wrath of animal rights groups. But companies are slowly waking up to this fast-growing market.

The potential market for halal food in Germany is huge. An estimated four million Muslims live in Germany, and the community is pre-programmed to grow because Muslims have a higher birth rate than non-Muslims. Halal already accounts for 17 percent of the global food market, according to the World Halal Forum based in Malaysia.

“German companies are too cautious,” says Levent Akgül of ethnic marketing agency Akkar Media in Hanover. “They don’t know the different culture and they can’t calculate the risks.”

In addition, German food retailers are worried that putting halal food products on grocery store shelves will deter non-Muslim customers, says Akgül. Advertising for halal products in Germany is still taboo for many German companies, he says.

First Sharia-Compliant Exchange-Traded Fund Available Soon in Canada

Islamic financial services company UM Financial Inc. and Jovian Capital Corp. hope to list Canada´s first sharia-compliant exchange-traded fund (EFT) in the next week. In compliance with Islamic law, the index avoids firms involved in financial services alcohol, gambling and pork products. It would target Canada´s growing Muslim population (approximately one million) as well as foreign investors. In recent years, sharia-compliant EFTs have emerged in Britain, India, Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia and South Africa.

International Financial Centres Battle for Islamic Markets

International investment services compliant with Islamic financial law are competing for a slice of the oil revenue in the Middle East. With the price of crude oil almost doubling in the last year, countries with large Muslim populations and connections – including Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Birmingham and Paris – are vying to act as key centres of expertise in the new boom. A spokesperson for the British Standard & Poor’s claims that, “By preparing the ground for Islamic finance, France can help financial innovation and benefit from the deep pockets of Middle Eastern investors as liquidity has dried up elsewhere in the global financial markets.”

Generally, more and more businesses have come forward to meet demand for Shariah-compliant services. Approximately two-thirds of the world-wide market for Islamic bonds (sukuks), an estimated $100 billion, is currently based in Malaysia, where the industry first took off. Outside of Asia and the Middle East, Britain in particular, is seen as the clear leader, worth about $6.5 billion.

International Financial Centres Battle for Islamic Markets

International investment services compliant with Islamic financial law are competing for a slice of the oil revenue in the Middle East. With the price of crude oil almost doubling in the last year, countries with large Muslim populations and connections – including Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Birmingham and Paris – are vying to act as key centres of expertise in the new boom. A spokesperson for the British Standard & Poor’s claims that, By preparing the ground for Islamic finance, France can help financial innovation and benefit from the deep pockets of Middle Eastern investors as liquidity has dried up elsewhere in the global financial markets. Generally, more and more businesses have come forward to meet demand for Shariah-compliant services. Approximately two-thirds of the world-wide market for Islamic bonds (sukuks), an estimated $100 billion, is currently based in Malaysia, where the industry first took off. Outside of Asia and the Middle East, Britain in particular, is seen as the clear leader, worth about $6.5 billion.

Bishop defends missionary efforts towards Muslims

The Bishop of Lichfield has stepped into the debate about whether the Church should seek to convert Muslims by defending the church’s missionary approach to Islam. The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, in a pastoral letter in parish magazines throughout Staffordshire, the northern half of Shropshire and most of the Black Country, said the Church had nothing to fear by recognising that Islam too is a missionary faith. “Both Christianity and Islam are missionary faiths. That means that each understands that the other has a message to convey to the world,” he said. “Muslims do not respect Christians who compromise their faith or water down their belief in the uniqueness of Christ. “A fundamental plank of a free society is the freedom to argue for one’s beliefs and to seek to persuade others. “Just as important is the freedom to change one’s religion (‘be converted’) and to change it again.” He stressed, however, that the decision to change religion must be taken freely, saying: “Any coercion is to be avoided.” He added: “Part of that will be to learn about the Muslim religion and to show respect for Muslim communities. Part of neighbourliness will be to share our Good News with them.” Next month, bishops, clergy and laity from the Diocese of Lichfield will join with their partners from Malaysia, South Africa, Canada and Germany, to discuss “Mission and the challenge of Islam”.

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Bishop defends missionary efforts towards Muslims

The Bishop of Lichfield has stepped into the debate about whether the Church should seek to convert Muslims by defending the church’s missionary approach to Islam. The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, in a pastoral letter in parish magazines throughout Staffordshire, the northern half of Shropshire and most of the Black Country, said the Church had nothing to fear by recognising that Islam too is a missionary faith. “Both Christianity and Islam are missionary faiths. That means that each understands that the other has a message to convey to the world,” he said. “Muslims do not respect Christians who compromise their faith or water down their belief in the uniqueness of Christ. “A fundamental plank of a free society is the freedom to argue for one’s beliefs and to seek to persuade others. “Just as important is the freedom to change one’s religion (_be converted’) and to change it again.” He stressed, however, that the decision to change religion must be taken freely, saying: “Any coercion is to be avoided.” He added: “Part of that will be to learn about the Muslim religion and to show respect for Muslim communities. Part of neighbourliness will be to share our Good News with them.” Next month, bishops, clergy and laity from the Diocese of Lichfield will join with their partners from Malaysia, South Africa, Canada and Germany, to discuss “Mission and the challenge of Islam”.