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12 Oct, 2015

Ancient footwear exhibition to open at Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil & Sana Shamsi

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 12 October 2015 (28 Dhul Ḥijjah 1436). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story.




malaysia logo

Click on the image to get a full list of all the great festivals and events right across Malaysia this year.

The fabulous Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015, or MyFEST 2015, is witnessing an endless celebration of festivals, events and happenings. MyFEST 2015 is set to make Malaysia the top-of-the-mind tourist destination, encouraging tourists to stay longer in order to enjoy the festival offerings nationwide. Themed “Endless Celebrations”, the year-long calender is packed with festivities of every genre; for instance cultural festivals, shopping extravanganzas, international acclaimed events, eco-tourism events, arts, music showcases, food promotion and other themed events. The Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 campaign leverages on smart partnerships in line with the National Blue Ocean Strategy that nurtures stakeholders engagement, support and participation. The symbiosis enables Malaysia’s tourism efforts to be competitive and to remain one of the prime contributors to the socio-economic development of the nation. As Malaysia is blessed with various cultures, the new campaign seeks to showcase and celebrate Malaysia’s bountiful, diverse cultures and various festivities. The design for Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 logo depicts a traditional musical instrument known as the Rebana Ubi. The drum is a musical instrument which can be associated with Malaysia’s multicultural society, in line with the spirit of 1Malaysia. Therefore, the logo design reflects an important part of the country’s heritage, traditions and culture.

For a full listing of all the great festivals, activities and events this year, pls click on this link


The Islamic Tourism Centre in Malaysia has launched a vibrant new website presenting Malaysia as a prime destination for Islamic tourism and a global halal hub. The website offers a wealth of information on Mosque trails, Islamic Museums, Ramadan & Eid-ul Fitr, Muslim-Friendly Tour Highlights, as well as a Muslim Visitor’s Guide, Halal Directory and Souvenirs Directory. Located strategically at the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is well-known for its natural beauty and diverse cultural landscape. At its social core are three of Asia’s oldest civilisations – Malay, Chinese and Indian – as well as the ethnic communities of Sabah and Sarawak, resulting in a unique and inspiring blend of cultures. With an abundance of halal food, prayer facilities and Islamic attractions, Malaysia perfectly caters to the needs of Muslim travellers. The ITC plays a pivotal role in bringing Malaysia to the forefront of Islamic tourism. It works with industry players to build their capacity in Islamic tourism, thus ensuring that the needs of Muslim visitors are better served. ITC has also taken several initiatives in standardising industry’s best practices through research, seminars, workshops and industry outreach programmes. Now is the perfect time to experience the country’s multitude of Muslim-friendly tourism products – Islamic architectural heritage, halal gastronomic delights, vibrant Islamic festivals and world-class Islamic events – all guaranteed to give visitors an incredible time.

Click here to see the fabulous new website

For more information about what makes Malaysia one of the most popular destinations in the Islamic world, as well as on planning your next holiday or MICE event in Malaysia, please click: http://www.tourism.gov.my/ or http://www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/friendofmalaysia

twitter: http://twitter.com/tourismmalaysia

Blog: http://blog.tourism.gov.my


Watch Islamic Travel Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil’s landmark TEDx lecture on “Peace through Tourism” on YouTube — the first travel industry journalist in Bangkok invited to speak at this prestigious forum. CLICK HERE.




Twelve Arab Innovators Become Stars of Science Candidates on MBC4

Doha, October 10, 2015 – Twelve of the Arab world’s most promising and remarkable young innovators beat thousands of rival applicants to be selected as candidates on the seventh season of Stars of Science, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development’s (QF) “edutainment reality” TV program on MBC4.

This selection concludes the casting phase and marks the onset of the highly competitive engineering stage of the program, in which candidates work tirelessly with mentors to turn their concepts into prototypes; further advancing QF’s mission of unlocking human potential in the next generation of aspiring young science and technology innovators.

Chosen candidates have roots in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisa, reflecting the diversity that has characterized Stars of Science since its inception. Their distinct inventions feature smart technology that can solve problems in fields as varied as medical diagnostics, mobility for the physically challenged, sports, renewable energy and nutrition.

On the first three episodes of Stars of Science, thousands of applicants from across the Middle East and North Africa were screened in a multi-country casting tour by a panel of highly experienced jurors. In the latest Majlis episode, jury members selected twelve of the seventeen shortlisted applicants to become candidates, advancing them to the next phase of the competition, held at Qatar Science & Technology Park, a member of Qatar Foundation.

As candidates enter the critical engineering stage, which spans three episodes, they compete against each other in three separate groups labeled; blue, red and purple. To promote both teamwork and friendly rivalry, each group develops their inventions in the same laboratory. There, they benefit from the advice and support of mentors, who are professionals in many fields, including engineering, design, executive coaching and psychology.

The innovators’ efforts – showcased in one episode per group of four candidates – will be evaluated by an expert jury. Two candidates per group will advance to the next stage of the program.

The blue group contains the KSA’s Hassan Albalawi, who will develop his idea for an “EEG Cap Analyzer.” He will join Egypt’s Hazem Khaled (“Sign Language EMG Sleeve”), Palestine’s Nadim Rifai (“Rewarding Behavior Treadmill”), and Tunisia’s Naouel Ayari (“Smart Refrigerator”).

The red group will feature Lebanon’s Adib Al Ghossein (“Ergonomic Activity Desk Lamp”), Syria’s Yaman Abou Jieb (“Solar Washing Machine”), Jordan’s Maymoona Ayesh (“Date Pits Filter in Desalination”), and Algeria’s Mourad Mohamed Benosman (“ECG Wearable Stress Analyzer”).

The purple group will see the KSA’s Abdullah Aldossary work on a prototype of his “Airport Smart Chair,” along with Tunisia’s Fawzy Othman (“Robotic Goalie Trainer”), Egypt’s Omar Hamid (“Prayer Chair”), and Palestine’s Hussam Al Hinnawi (“Automatic Stair Climber Machine”).

“With each season, the quality, scope and variety of the inventions presented continue to increase,” said Mr. Youssif Abdulrahman, longtime juror and General Manager of Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre (QSRTC). “While this trend speaks to the great skill of Arab innovators in shaping the future of science and technology, it turns evaluation into an especially challenging task. The journey these young people are embarking on will be greatly inspiring for many, driving interest in science and technology innovation in the region,” he continued.

Khalid Al Jumaily, who has taken viewers through the many captivating moments of previous seasons, is returning to host this seventh edition of Stars of Science, as candidates work toward realizing their visions. Viewers can track their progress through daily episodes starting on Saturday, October 10th at 4 PM KSA / 1 PM GMT on MBC4. The first engineering elimination episode will be aired on Friday, October 16th at 7PM KSA/ 4 PM GMT on MBC4. This seventh season will culminate in a live final, where both the jury and viewers will decide which candidates will share the prize money of $600,000.

For more information please visit:

Website – www.starsofscience.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/StarsOfScienceTV
Twitter – https://twitter.com/starsofscience
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/StarsOfScienceTV
Instagram – https://instagram.com/starsofsciencetv/

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Qatar Launches Initiative To Prevent Blindness In Developing Countries

DOHA, Qatar, Oct 10 (NNN-QNA) – Qatar has unveiled a partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and pledged to support the initiative with $8 million.

Qatar Assistant Foreign Minister for International Cooperation Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, said, the initiative aims to provide treatment and care for millions of children around the world and prevent blindness in affected developing countries.

This would be done by supporting healthcare centres, in carrying out surgeries and providing high-quality mobile medical units, as well as, awareness and training activities, he said, during a meeting with the Countess of Wessex, Sophie Rhys-Jones.

The initiative will include physicians from all over the world and specialist Qatari ophthalmologists of both sexes, as well as, members of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and Qatari volunteers.

The initiative is part of Qatar’s role in backing global health agenda by enhancing its partnership with the different world countries and relevant organisations.– NNN-QNA

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AirAsia To Make Langkawi Its International Hub By Year-End

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 (NNN-Bernama) — AirAsia plans to make Langkawi its international hub for the region by year-end, said chief executive officer (CEO), Aireen Omar.

“We are working closely with the government in trying to see how we can build Langkawi as the region’s international hub.

“You can see that happening sometime towards the end of this year,” she told a press conference after officiating the AirAsia-Bukit Bintang monorail station here.

Aireen said the airline would hold another press conference with AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail soon to reveal its plans for Langkawi, as well as, announce new destinations.

Prasarana’s “station naming rights programme” for the monorail station is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and offers companies an opportunity to transform a station to reflect the brand’s corporate identity and name it after themselves.

Also present was Prasarana Malaysia Bhd President/Group CEO Azmi Abdul Aziz, Prasarana Integrated Development Sdn Bhd CEO Mohd Zahir Zahur Hussain and AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail.

AirAsia has also established a new sales centre at the monorail station for customers to make flight bookings, flight changes, add-on meals, baggage as well as seat selection.

It is offering a 20 per cent discount for selected routes such as Bangkok, Clarke, Langkawi and Penang until Oct 19 for the travel period from Oct 12-29 next year.

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Many Iranian historical monuments line up for global registration

Sari, Oct 4, IRNA – Secretary General of UNESCO National Commission of Iran Sa’dollah Nasiri-Qeidari said on Sunday that many Iranian historical monuments line up for registration on global heritage list.

Nasiri-Qeidari added on the sidelines of a local meeting that as many as 17 Iranian historical monuments have so far been registered on global heritage list and the country has the potential to register more.

UNESCO National Commission has always provided all the countries with incentives to register their sites on global heritage list and it has never discouraged them from doing so, he said.

He further noted that registration of the monuments on global heritage list is mandatory not only for the countries housing them but also for all UN member states.

They should all extend material and spiritual support to them, he said. Nasiri-Qeidari expressed pleasure with cooperation of the Iranian universities and educational centers with the National Commission of UNESCO.

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Ancient Egypt footwear exhibition to open at Egyptian Museum

Cairo, AlAhram Online, Saturday 10 Oct 2015 – An exhibition on ancient Egyptian footwear is to open Sunday evening at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir under the title “Stepping Through Time: Footwear in Ancient Egypt”.

malaysia logo

Click on the image to get a full list of all the great festivals and events right across Malaysia this year.

Although much is known about ancient Egypt, especially with regards to royalty, religion and death, details of the daily life of the Egyptians are less well-known.

What was a day in the life of an ancient Egyptian like? What did they eat? Where did they sleep? What did they wear?

The exhibition aims to answer a small but significant aspect of daily life in ancient Egypt; footwear.

Mamdouh Eldamaty, minister of antiquities, told Ahram Online that the exhibition is the result of ten years of research led by André J. Veldmeijer, a visiting research scholar at the American University in Cairo, in conjunction with the curators of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.

The exhibition showcases objects that have been recently excavated or are in museum collections, as well as texts and images.

Through 47 objects, Eldamaty explains, the exhibition presents footwear through the different ages, from pre-dynastic times (3000 BC) to the Ottoman Empire.

It also covers the development of different shoe and sandal types, the raw materials and technology used to make them, the symbolism associated with them and the status that each one represented.

The exhibition also touches upon the organisation and production of footwear from all levels of society; from kings to farmers, from soldiers to priests.

“Of course, footwear offered protection for the feet, but its importance extended beyond it,” Veldmeijer said, adding that as in our lives today, status, style and symbolism played an important role in the choices of which shoes and sandals were worn and what they looked like.

He also pointed out that the study of footwear is interesting not only for what it reveals about the symbolic, economic and cultural aspects of the ancient Egyptians, but also about ancient technology and the role of sandal makers and leather workers in ancient Egyptian society.

Furthermore, studying footwear can also provide an insight into how individuals walked, whether they limped or favoured a particular leg.

Colourful and lavishly illustrated information panels (both in Arabic and English) are complemented by numerous authentic examples from the marvellous collection of the Egyptian Museum, including shoes and sandals from the tomb of Tutankhamun. Additionally, reconstructions have been brought in to illustrate the original appearance of some shoes and sandals.

Sabah Abdel-Razek, director of the temporary exhibition at the museum, told Ahram Online that among the most important objects on display are the statue of King Tutankhamun wearing golden sandals and the statue of an Old Kingdom servant holding his sandals in his hands.

The exhibition will last until the end of December 2015 in Room 44.

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Rouhani: Iran-Europe relations on upward trend

Tehran, Oct 10, IRNA – President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that under the current circumstances Iran and Europe are geared to broaden relations with Poland as Iran’s close friend in the European Union playing a very effective role in this regard.

President Rouhani made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Polish Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz in Tehran on Saturday.

Tehran sees no barrier to expansion of relations with Poland, President Rouhani said adding that this is a very suitable opportunity for both sides to broaden all out relations and cooperation.

Priority should be given to those countries that had already established economic cooperation with Iran, said President Rouhani.

Grounds for expansion of mutual economic, agricultural, industrial and technological cooperation are well prepared and the two nations could seize the opportunity to broaden cultural and parliamentary cooperation, Rouhani said.

Iran and Poland can cooperate in resolving regional and international issues through negotiations, President Rouhani said adding that ‘We hope regional problems would be resolved through political means as restoring stability to Eastern and Centeral Europe is of prime importance for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Polish Senate speaker, for his part, expressed satisfaction with his meeting with President Rouhani and said his country has adopted very positive stands on Iran and regards the country is a pillar of regional stability.

Describing nuclear talks between Iran and G5+1 as very positive, the Polish Senate speaker called for expansion of all out political and economic relations with Iran. Cultural role of countries such as Iran in resolving regional disputes is of prime importance, he said adding that grounds should be prepared to urge rival groups to patch up their disputes through negotiations.

The Polish senate speaker arrived in Tehran on October 9 and he has already conferred with Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on issues of mutual interests along with regional and global developments.

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Turkish Cultural Centre to Be Established in Gambia

7 October 2015 – The Point (Banjul) – In line with the agreement that was reached between the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, a Turkish Cultural Centre will be established in The Gambia.

To this end, officials from the Turkish Yunus Emre Institute visited The Gambia between 29 September and 1 October 2015, and held discussions with the relevant Gambian authorities regarding the establishment of a Turkish Cultural Centre in The Gambia.

“If everything goes as planned by the stakeholders, all the necessary arrangements would be in place for the centre to be fully functional in early 2016,” a statement by the Turkish Embassy in Banjul said.

This outstanding Turkish Institute was named after Yunus Emre, famous Turkish Folk Poet who lived in Turkey between 1240 -1321, the statement added.

The initiative created by a decree by President Erdogan back in 2007, is an organisation offering cultural, vocational and social programmes for the people of friendly countries around the world.

Today, Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centres are operating in more than 40 countries in Europe, America, Asia, Middle East, Balkans and Caucasia.

The Turkish Cultural Centre will be the venue for a wide-range of activities, especially for young people and women, the statement also said.

The activities will include Turkish cooking and Turkish language classes, traditional and modern forms of Islamic arts including embellishment, ornamentation, marbling, calligraphy and penmanship, miniature, poetry and literature, handicrafts and craftsmanship, tile and porcelain making, glass and silverwork, carpet and kilim weaving, Karagoz shadow theatre, musical instruments and folk dances, fashion design, and some exhibitions of pictures, paintings and sculptures, and also concerts, theatre plays andmovie weeks, lectures, conferences, symposiums and cultural heritage preservation training, both tangible and intangible, according to the statement.

“The proposed ‘Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centre’ will no doubt help connect in a better way the cultures of these two brotherly and friendly countries,” the statement added.

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Gambian Minister Tours Tourism Facilities

8 October 2015 – The Daily Observer (Banjul) – The Minister of Tourism and Culture, Benjamin A Roberts, Monday embarked on a weeklong tour of the tourism facilities across the regions in the country.

The Tourism minister was accompanied by officials of The Gambia Tourism Board (GTBoard); National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC); Tourism Security Unity (TSU); chairman GTBoard’s board of directors and National Assembly member.

This weeklong tour is to enable the ministry and other institutions under its purview to gauge the level of preparedness of hotels, operators in the industry in showcasing their products, projection for the season and as well to know their constraints and other tourism facilities as the year 2015/2016 winter tourism season kicked-off.

On his first day, Benjamin A Roberts was taken on a conducted tour of various tourism facilities, which included Fort Bullen, Barra; Juffureh Revamp Project in Juffureh/Albreda village; Chamen Agricultural Training and Seed Multiplication Centre; Kauren River Camp; Eddie Mote; all in North Bank Region and the Stone Circles at Wassu in the Central River Region.

The minister, who had taken his time to inspect and interact with different officials and proprietors, expressed his impression over those visited facilities.

Commenting on the significance of visited facilities, he said they would enhance the value of cultural heritage sites in the region. This, he noted, is the reason his delegation comprises different senior staff of his ministry, institutions and the Tourism Selected Committee of National Assembly, and as well councilors and Alkalolu.

He dilated on the potentials of North Bank Region as it is very close to the capital city, Banjul and that made it necessary to develop the region. The Tourism minister however pointed out that a lot remains to be done for further improvement of the facilities and to overcome other challenges.

He intimated that it is his ministry’s intention to improve the cultural heritage sites as their next focus point after the initiative already taken place at the Juffureh/Albreda and Kinta Kunteh Island.

He assured of meaningful engagement in terms of enhancement of the value of the area as a tourist outlet.

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Algeria hosts Oman Cultural Week

4 October 2015 – Algerie Presse Service – Constantine — Minister of Culture Azzedine Mihoubi said Saturday during the Oman cultural week opening at the Ahmed Bey hall in Constantine this event marks a milestone in inter-cultural cooperation.

Mihoubi, in a brief address to the authorities of the province and the Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Algiers, Ben Nacer Seif El Hosseini stressed “the secular history of this country and its people.”

“The visitor to Oman, formerly called Majan, discovers a rich oasis of history, identity and civilization,” said Minister of Culture before recalling that the Sultanate contains several archaeological sites classified as world heritage.

Mihoubi who toured the different stands of the exhibition organized for the occasion (visual arts, photography) did not hide his admiration for the authenticity of the Omani Heritage, while congratulating this country that celebrates the selection this year of One of its cities, Nazwa, known for its mosques and citadels, to be capital of Islamic culture.

For his part, Mohamed Yahyai, head of the Omani delegation, thanked Algeria for its “customary hospitality” and stressed the need to use culture to disseminate the values of peace and tolerance. He also highlighted the role of several Algerian academicians and poets who have contributed and continue to contribute to enriching the Arab cultural scene, including Moufdi Zakaria and Wassini Laredj.

Besides the exhibitions, the program of the cultural week of Oman, which will continue until next Wednesday as part of “Constantine 2015 capital of Arab culture”, especially with poetry evenings will include Hissa El Badi and Khaled Ali El Maamari.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Minister of Culture inaugurated, at the palace of the Bey, an exhibition entitled “Design in the Arab world.” An event that brings together 24 designers including Tunisian and Moroccan ones as well as 20 local artisans.

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Int’l Conference On Climate Change Kicks Off in Algiers

4 October 2015 – Algerie Presse Service – Algiers — The works of the international conference on climate change and the role of space technology began Sunday in Algiers in the presence of experts from the region of North Africa and Sahel-Saharan space agencies, representatives of regional organizations, academic and research institutions and civil society.

Organized by the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL), in partnership with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the conference will last three days and will focus on “Climate Change: a reality to be considered in developmental trajectories: modelling, space technology and adaptation. ”

It will focus in particular on the impact of climate change on economic activities and natural environments in North Africa and the Sahel, the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL), organizer of the event, stressed.

As for the objectives of the conference, is aims at updating on the issue of climate change and its potential impacts on various sectors and natural environments in North Africa and the Sahel-Saharan region, identifying ways and means to deepen scientific knowledge of the region and the sharing of experiences and best practices in national and regional sectoral adaptation strategies to find potential lines of regional cooperation.

The Director General of ASAL, Azzedine Oussedik who chaired the conference opening session called in his address to implement strategies against climate change.

The conference to be held in plenary sessions and workshops will culminate in recommendations. It also comes a few weeks before the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) held in Paris the month of December.

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New Algerian Customs Code to Be Ready By Late 2015

5 October 2015 – Algerie Presse Service – Oran — Director General of Customs Kaddour Bentahar announced Sunday in Oran the new Customs Code will be ready by late 2015.

On the sidelines of his visit to inspect a number of projects in the sector in the province, Bentahar stated the standards in force in the current world, particularly those having a significant impact on the Customs services, have been introduced to the new code, which will be submitted, when ready, to Parliament.

“We have amended and improved the organizational and legislative procedures governing customs so that this code will be up to the economic challenges facing the country,” he said.

As for the reorganization and modernization of this body, Bentahar stressed the need to review the customs control mode, through facilitation measures and the reduction of clearance time.

“We see several phenomena that impact negatively the economy and must be treated with the establishment of necessary mechanisms and intelligent procedures to fight against various ailments, like smuggling and commercial fraud,” he added.

As for the improvement of services, the official emphasized the training of customs officers, as the “backbone” of the new strategy of the Customs Directorate General for the period 2016-2019.

The concern of his institution is to develop the customs services through a strategy that focuses on the promotion of the customs administration to the aspirations of the national economy and global policy on the matter, stressed.

In terms of protecting the economy against the phenomenon of smuggling, Bentahar said customs is omnipresent in the vast Algerian borders, adding that the of deployment of customs services has been strengthened by the implementation of 80 checkpoints on western borders.

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Gambia Hosts Islamic Conference

5 October 2015 – The Daily Observer (Banjul) – The president, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa on Thursday organised a night-long Islamic conference at the presidency, bringing together venerable Islamic scholars as well as other ordinary Muslims at State House in Banjul.

The nightlong conclave, which featured sermons by erudite scholars such as Sheikh Cherno Darboe, Oustass Momodou Sarr, Aja Maimuna Savage and Sheikh Oustass Ayouba Sanneh, availed the scholars the platform to dilate on various selected topics mainly on Islam and other social issues that are confronting or impacting on Islamic religion as well as attitude of Muslims towards their religion.

This was not the first of its kind, as the president is widely known for his support and propagation of Islam and its values.

Thursday’s gathering in Banjul provided the religious leaders to delve on four topics: Fear of Allah and its impacts in human beings; Importance of Salat as the second pillar of Islam; Attitude in the religion of Islam and Brotherhood in Islam. Sporadic religious songs by the various Daira groups present followed presentations on these four thematic topics at the occasion.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Fear of Allah and its impacts in human beings’, Sheikh Oustass Muhammad Sarr said the fear of Allah is the foundation of Islamic religion. He further described Islam as a way of life; total submission and obedient to the will of Allah. Thus, he said the sole purpose of creation is to worship Allah and Allah alone. He told the gathering that whosoever performs his/her Salat prayers correctly are rewarded on whatsoever he/she sought from Allah.

He used the platform to urged Muslims to seek knowledge of Allah and His religion by learning the Quran.

Also speaking at the conference at the presidency in Banjul was Oustass Sheik Cherno Darboe. He spoke extensively on the topic ‘Salat’ that is the second pillar of Islam. He referred to it as the most important pillar of the Islamic religion, which Allah has given to Prophet Muhammad PBUH directly.

He urged Muslims to learn about the basis of prayer. He thanked the Gambian leader for constructing numerous mosques around the country to enable Muslims pray and worship their God in a very conducive and clean environment.

For her part, Aja Maimuna Savage who spoke on the topic ‘Attitude in the religion of Islam’, used her sermons to enjoined Muslims, especially the women to hold firm on to their religion and do away from vices that will make them forget about the creator.

She as well spoke against other negative social vices that are contrary to the teachings and dictates of the Islamic religion. She further challenged Muslims to follow the teachings and the Sunnah of Islam as prescribed by God the Almighty.

Alhaji Modou Lamin Touray, the president of The Gambia Supreme Islamic Council and Sheikh Ayouba Sanneh all spoke at the conference. They praised President Jammeh for his stance in supporting and propagating the Islamic religion in the country, citing his numerous interventions to provide support to Muslims, especially during the months of Ramadan among other Islamic feast.

They also thanked the president for organising such forum and also for exercising his prerogative of mercy in releasing unprecedented number of prisoners and as well extending olive branch to his adversaries among other dissidents living abroad.

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Moroccan King Calls for an Islamic Academy for Sustainable Development

8 October 2015 – Maghreb Arabe Presse – Rabat — King Mohammed VI on Thursday called on the Ministers of Environment of the Islamic world to develop a “road map” for the establishment of the Islamic Academy for the environment and sustainable development, to serve sustainable development objectives in the Muslim world.

In a message to the participants in the 6th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers, which kicked off Thursday in Rabat under the chairmanship of Princess Lalla Hasna, the Sovereign recalled the pertinence of the proposal about the establishment of the Islamic Academy for the environment and sustainable development, contained in the Royal message to the participants in the Third Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers, held in Rabat in October 2008.

“Given the importance of such an Academy for the Islamic world, a new vision for the proposed Academy has been set out so that the latter may support Islamic countries’ endeavors towards achieving sustainable development goals”, HM the King said in this message, read by Delegate Minister to the Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment, in charge of Environment, Hakima El Haite.

“My hope is that you will deepen the debate and step up efforts to develop a road map in order to bring this important project to fruition and achieve its lofty objectives”, the Sovereign added.

Climate change is one of the major issues facing humanity today since it now represents a real threat not only to the environment, but also to economic and social development and to global security and stability, the Monarch noted, calling on Islamic countries which, like the rest of the world, are suffering from the negative impact of global warming on their economies, to support the multi-party negotiation process aimed at adopting a new global system to tackle climate change.

Pointing out that the new system should also be based on the principle of justice as well as on the right of developing countries to respond to their current and future development needs, the Sovereign called for placing special focus on the leading role advanced countries should play in reducing the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and providing developing countries with the financial and technical support they need.

“This is why the Tangier Call, which was signed on September 20 by the French Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco and which stressed the imperative need to take urgent action to address climate change in a serious, effective and equitable manner, is so important”, the King stressed.

The North-South divide is not inevitable, and the fight against climate change should be a common struggle, so long as the principles of solidarity and commitment to collective action prevail, the Monarch confirmed.

The King recalled that 14th centuries ago, “the precepts of our Islamic faith essentially called for sustainable development”. There are many Quranic verses and sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) that point to the finite nature of resources and to the need for their sensible, rational use because they belong to everyone, the Sovereign underlined.

In this message, the Monarch commended the ISESCO’s constructive efforts to raise awareness about environment issues in the Islamic world, showing that it realizes the great importance of the environmental dimension in efforts to conserve Islamic countries’ resources and safeguard the rights of future generations.

The King also congratulated the conference organizers on their choice of topic for this session: Climate Change: Future Challenges for Sustainable Development, adding that the conference will indeed shed light on some of the major environment issues facing the world in general, and Arab and Islamic countries in particular.

“I am convinced this conference will contribute to the success of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Paris in December. It will also be an important step in the Kingdom’s preparations to host the COP22 in Marrakech next year”, the Sovereign stressed.

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Nigeria’s Abia Moves to Boost Tourism

5 October 2015 – Daily Trust – Umuahia — The Abia State government has taken measures to revive the tourism sector, as part of its transformation agenda. The measures include world class organization of entertainment and cultural events, revival of the culture of the people and talent hunt for potentials.

Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Entertainment and Protocol, Mr. Uchenna Ebochuo, who unfolded the plan in Umuahia said, “we want to make sure that everything that has to do with entertainment is properly handled like is done in Abuja and Lagos.”

He said tourism sites including Long Juju of Arochukwu, Azumini Blue River would be revived.

Ebochuo added that the government would soon convene a stakeholders conference for an interface between captains of the industry and young talents.

The conference, he explained, would also expose the entertainment and tourism potentials in the state for investors to take advantage of.

The Senior Special Assistant lamented that facilities like the International Conference Center in the state is not being put to good use because there are no events. He said Abia State has a rich culture which must be harnessed.

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Nigeria: ‘Government Is Committed to Establishing National Carrier’

6 October 2015 – Daily Trust (Abuja) – The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Hajiya Binta Bello, has said that establishing a national carrier is a priority of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Hajiya Bello stated this in Abuja while receiving the report of a committee constituted to look into the modalities of establishing a new national carrier. The committee was inaugurated on August 24, 2015.

Bello assured the committee that the recommendations will be critically studied by the ministry which will make its recommendations to the President for his consideration and its possible implementation.

The committee chairman, Mohammed Abdulsalam, while delivering the report, said that they consulted comprehensively with a total of 74 stakeholders, ranging from airline operators to aviation agencies, service providers, financial consultants, institutional investors, aircraft and parts suppliers, former staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways Ltd, maintenance and repair organisations, developers, aerodrome designers/builders and aviation staff.

The chairman added that the acceptance of the recommendations made by the committee by the authority will impact positively on the aviation industry in Nigeria, which, he believed, will translate into better service delivery and safer operations.

Abdulsalam said the report, apart from employing consultation strategy, also employed the system thinking paradigm as a pictorial analysis tool for understanding the inherent dynamics and complexities for establishing a national carrier.

The committee, on inauguration, was mandated to review previous consultants’ submissions and recommendations on a national carrier, invite submissions from the Asset Management Corporation Of Nigeria (AMCON) on the debt profile of the domestic airlines, consult widely with stakeholders on the establishment of a national carrier, review the report of the failure of the Nigeria Airways and other private airlines, consult with interested international partners on setting up a national carrier on a public-private partnership basis, develop the best (optimum) model for a national carrier for Nigeria and consider any other matter incidental to any of the above terms.

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Promoting Virtual Tourism in Uganda

8 October 2015 – The Monitor (Kampala) – A new campaign codenamed Koikoiug has kicked off. It comprises a team of ‘Instagrammers’ who go out to capture sceneries of different towns.

They started with Kampala and with its pulsating urban culture.

One of the brains behind the Koikoiug idea, David Oguttu, of Kafunda Kreatrive, explained that this was just the first piece of a bigger picture, a campaign aimed at collecting one million photos in a period of 10 weeks in a bid to create a crowd sourced promotion about Uganda, by Ugandans for Ugandans.

“This campaign is aimed at changing the stereotypes about the country, and putting these pictures online via Instagram and by extension Facebook, is a good way to challenge these perceptions,” he added.

Kafunda Kreative is a fellowship of creative professionals learning from one another, growing their skills and collaborating, working with existing and emerging brands to help build effective and relevant brands, products and services in Uganda and then the world.

The group comprises professional and amateur photographers as well as photo enthusiasts. The group has managed to get 550 photos.

“With seven weeks to go and more Ugandans coming on board and tagging the photos of their country with hashtag #koikoiug, we can hit the one million target, in a bid to flood the Internet with photos of this, the Pearl of Africa,” Oguttu says.

Asked why the project was called Koikoi, Oguttu says, “Koikoi, is a phrase that signals the beginning of a riddle, the point was to make us a little wiser or teach us a lesson. Koikoiug in turn is a social media campaign to create awareness about Uganda, but also to teach Ugandans to appreciate the beauty in their country.”

The koikoi campaign is for all Ugandans with a smart phone camera, or camera and a social media account to tell the world about their country.

The team intend to roll out the campaign to other parts of the country.

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Tunisia World’s Top Olive Oil Exporter

8 October 2015 – Tunis Afrique Presse – Tunis — Tunisia was the world’s top olive oil exporter in the 2014/2015 campaign, overtaking Spain.

Tunisian olive oil exports reached 299,300 tonnes this season, generating record revenues of 1,902 million Tunisian dinars (MTD), according to recent statistics (September 2015) of the Ministry of Industry, Mining and Energy.

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Sudan’s North Kordufan Hosts Celebrations of International Tourism Day

5 October 2015 – Sudan News Agency – Al-Obied — The Minister of the Council of Ministers, the Wali (governor) of North Kordufan state and the Minister of Tourism and Wild Life have attended the celebration of the tourism international day at Al -Hurriya Square in Al -Obied.

The Minister of the Council of Ministers Ahmed Saad Omer has appreciated the great development achieved in North Kordufan state in all fields, calling on all the states to give due concern to tourism.

The Wali (governor) of North Korduufan state asserted that the coming year will witness the state’s great concern with the tourism.

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Uganda: Tourism Contribution to Economy Rises to Shs6 Billion

5 October 2015 – The Monitor (Kampala) — Uganda’s tourism sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the financial year 2014/15 increased to Shs6.3b up from Shs5.6b the previous year. GDP is the total value of goods and services produced within a country annually.

The performance is captured in the annual tourism sector performance review released in Kampala recently. The growth translates into 9.9 per cent contribution to GDP (Shs96.7 trillion), up from 7.9 per cent in 2013/14.

The new figure is as a result of an increase of visitors (1,266, 046) who came to Uganda in 2014 up from 1,206,334 in the previous year, which ministry of Tourism officials attribute to better marketing of the country and improvement in infrastructure, among others.

The sector’s contribution to the economy was Shs5.6 trillion (7.9 per cent of GDP) in 2013 and rose to Shs6.4 trillion (9.9 per cent of GDP) in 2014

Additionally, the sector contributed 592,500 jobs up from 551,100 in 2013.

Talking about the report, Tourism minister Maria Mutagamba said Uganda’s beautiful flora and fauna has potential to turn around the economy if government continues to support the sector.

“I request local governments to have a budget for tourism activities and make a plan for it… this is bringing tourism on the round table,” she said, adding that the ministry is drawing up a plan to develop sites on River Nile and infrastructure in the Rwenzori sub-region, areas she said have beautiful sceneries to attract tourists.

Mr Stephen Asiimwe, the chief executive officer Uganda Tourism Board, said the board is looking at innovating and inventing more tourism products such that when visitors come, they are forced to spend more.

He was, however, of the view that government revives a national carrier, a move which he said would boost tourism in the country. The tourism sector is forecast to grow by 8.0 per cent in 2015 and by 6.6 per cent per annum from 2015 to 2025.

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Gambia, Ghana Plan Joint Tourism Campaign

5 October 2015 – The Point (Banjul) – A joint tourism promotion and marketing programme between The Gambia and Ghana has been planned to commence by the end of this year.

The initiative involves a knowledge exchange programme by which staff of Ghanaian and Gambian tourism facilities will undertake industrial attachments for on-the-job skills upgrade.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the joint tourism promotion programme between the two countries states that both countries will enter into a multiple destination agreement by which a tourist who buys a ticket to visit The Gambia will, automatically, visit the other country as one package.

Many other fine and beneficial initiatives, such as cultural exchange programmes, drama and dance groups from each country, as well as strengthening private sector activities through tourism, have been discussed between the two parties.

But it is sad to note that such plans and efforts would hardly succeed owing to the fact that a direct flight linking the two countries is unavailable to facilitate movement of people and business between both destinations, which is really serving as a spoke in our wheel.

“The biggest threat to efforts at any joint Ghana-Gambia tourism cooperation is the absence of a direct flight linking the two countries,” the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) president was quoted as saying by media reports.

The GHATOF president was also quoted as saying there were moves in consultation with the Board of Airline Representatives in Ghana to remedy the situation, after Gambia Air, which used to fly to Accra, has ceased operation.

With all the good plans being put in place to promote tourism and cultural exchange between both countries, moves are still at consultative stage to remedy the situation of flight deficiency between the two countries!

These are some of the reasons good plans or dreams hardly come to fruition, or succeed in Africa. If the fundamental conditions for growth and development are not really put in place it would require a miracle for such joint-national plans or agreements to succeed.

The essence of having regional flights linking countries in the sub-region needs not be overemphasised.

Without regular and efficient flights linking the region, movement of people and trade or business transactions between nations will be greatly hindered, and growth and development would hardly be meaningfully realised.

Hence we in The Gambia cannot afford to go on without regular flights linking us with our West African neighbours. Our authorities in the region would need to come together to do something about this impeding situation as regards regional flights in West Africa.

The Gambia Bird, a Gambian-based airline company, which was connecting countries, people, and economies, has had to fold for one reason or the other, leaving the skies empty, people stranded and regional business retarded.

We, therefore, need to seriously and urgently start to address this retarding situation. Let’s make it possible to achieve our joint regional agreements in tourism.”

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Indonesia Develops Ten Tourism Sites

JAKARTA, Oct 9 (NNN-Bernama) — Indonesia’s tourism sector plans to develop ten new destinations that are expected to help the country attract ten million tourist arrivals in 2015, reports Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

The sites include Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Thousand Islands in Jakarta, Mount Bromo in East Java and Labuan Bajo fishing town in Nusa Tenggara region. Well-known Bali has become too familiar while the potential of other islands are still tremendous to be tapped.

Indonesia’s non-smoke industry has set the goal to increase the number of visitors to 20 million by 2020, thus creating jobs for seven million from the current three million.

The archipelago nation is home to more than 17,000 islands in all shapes and sizes. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has just signed a decree on visa exemption for citizens of 75 countries in a move to boost foreign tourist arrivals and the country’s economy

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North Will Be Uganda’s Industrial Hub – President Museveni

KAMPALA, Oct 10 (NNN-NEW VISION) — President Yoweri Museveni has announced plans to transform northern Uganda Uganda into the country’s industrial hub to accelerate development in the region that is recovering from the 20-year Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency.

Presiding over the 53rd independence anniversary celebrations in Gulu district, the President said the ongoing road and electricity infrastructure development projects in the region would attract more investments and create jobs for the youth.

Citing sites like the 650MW Karuma power dam which is under construction and others to be built like Ayago (850MW), Uhuru, Kiba, and Murchison Falls, Museveni said the amount of electricity northern Uganda will produce will be much higher than what is produced in Jinja, where hydro electricity production started.

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Egypt To Renovate King Tuttankhamun’s Gold Mask

CAIRO, Egypt, Oct 10 (NNN-MENA) – The gold mask of King Tutankhamun, one of ancient Egypt’s most famous artifacts, will be restored on Saturday (today), months after the mask’s beard was damaged and glued onsite.

An Egyptian-German team will repair the mask inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The mask is displayed in a glass case at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.

In Jan, media reported that the long shinny blue beard of the king was damaged by the museum’s cleaning workers and then was glued back onsite hastily and unprofessionally.

According to the reports, dried glue was visible along the joints between the beard and the mask.

Tutankhamun, who ascended to the throne at the age of nine and died at the age of 19, is the world’s best known pharaoh of ancient Egypt.

He won his fame for his tomb, which was discovered by British Egyptologist, Howard Carter, in 1922 and has remained one of the best preserved.

The young king was a pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt, which ruled from 1332 BC to 1323 BC, during a period known as the New Kingdom in Egypt’s history.

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Jordan Plans To Assign Tourism Day At Schools, Universities

AMMAN, Jordan, Oct 5 (NNN-PETRA) – Jordanian Prime Minister, Abdullah Ensour, on Sunday, instructed the ministries of education, higher education and tourism and antiquities, to assign a day to raise awareness on national tourism at schools, colleges and universities across the Kingdom.

Ensour said, the move aims at raising awareness among the various segments of the society, on best tourism-related practices, as tourism is considered a kingpin of the national economy.

Meanwhile, the cabinet approved three soft loan agreements, that will be signed with the French Development Agency (AFD).

These agreements come as part of Jordan’s efforts, led by King Abdullah II, to increase support to Jordan, either through grants or through increasing the Kingdom’s ability, to take advantage of international soft loans.

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GCC Tourism Meeting Kicks Off

DOHA, Qatar, Oct 6 (NNN-QNA) – A preparatory meeting of Undersecretaries for Tourism Affairs in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), began here Monday, to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation among the GCC countries in the tourism sector, Qatar News Agency reported.

The meeting, which commenced prior to the GCC Tourism Ministers’ second meeting, to be held here tomorrow (Wednesday), seeks to enhance decision-making processes, transfer of knowledge and identify cooperation frameworks, between travel and tourism sectors in the GCC region.

Speaking at the meeting’s opening session, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) Chairman, Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, lauded efforts to activate the GCC joint action in the field of tourism.

He urged participants to discuss issues and joint programmes in the field of tourism, and identify challenges faced by the objectives that have been approved by the GCC Tourism Ministers, in their first meeting in Kuwait.

Assistant Secretary General for Cultural and Media Affairs of the GCC, Khaled Al-Ghassani, stressed that the GCC General Secretariat attaches great hopes for this meeting, which aims to focus on the revitalisation of intra-tourism, through activating tourism strategy for the GCC countries, in collaboration with the cultural and commercial aspects in each country.

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Indonesia Waives Visa For 75 Countries

JAKARTA, Oct 8 (NNN-Bernama) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo has signed a decree on visa exemption for citizens of 75 countries in a move to boost foreign tourist arrivals and the country’s economy, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported citing Indonesia’s Antara news agency.

Before March 2015, visa-free facility was given to citizens from only 15 countries.

Antara reported that among the 75 countries are the US, South Africa, India, Italy, Germany, South Korea, France, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Austria.

The policy is expected to attract 10 million visitors this year and 20 million by 2019, thereby increasing revenue to the tourism sector.

The news agency had reported earlier that until October 2015, the government’s visa-free policy has significantly boosted foreign tourist arrivals, citing the Indonesian tourism ministry.

The number of tourist arrivals has increased by 16 per cent since August, compared to only 2.9 per cent during the January-July 2015 period.

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Iran To Construct Seven International Airports By 2025

TEHRAN, Oct 5 (NNN-FNA) — Iranian Road Minister Abbas Akhundi announced that seven international airports are to be built in the neighborhood of the capital city of Tehran during the next ten years to guarantee Iran’s pioneering role in tightening the security and development of the region.

“A new arena has started in our political relations with the world after the nuclear agreement with Group 5 1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany) last July and we will witness a novel chapter in various sectors, including transportation due to Iran’s strategic position in the region,” Akhundi said at the ‘International Transportation and Development Summit; Investment Opportunities’, held at the IRIB International Conference Center on Oct 3-4.

He said that at present, some 92 percent of domestic transportation is conducted through roads and the government plans to decrease the figure to 78 percent in the future along with raising the share of air transportation from its current 0.1 to one percent.

“Seven international airports, with the capacity of receiving 400 long-distance flights each, will be constructed around Tehran to improve the country’s transit potential in the region,” the Iranian minister added.

Akhundi underlined that the administration seeks to attract foreign investments to improve domestic infrastructure and transit projects, including the intended airports, and has eased the related regulations in this regard.

“We will put the projects out to tender in the future to attract the needed funds,” he said.

On Aug 31, Iranian President’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Nahavandian announced that the Islamic Republic has turned into a hub of air transit in the region, especially following the Vienna agreement with the world six powers.

“Iran will renovate its domestic air fleet when the sanctions on the aviation industry fall away in the upcoming months,” Nahavandian said in a televised interview. The official underlined that to experience a booming economy, Iran needs to exploit its transportation potential through developing its railways, roads, and ports.

“The incumbent government will take advantage of domestic and foreign investments to convert the country into a bridge that links West to East,” he said.

The foreign aviation companies have made a flood of offers to sell their airplanes to Iran following the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the six world powers (the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) that ended boycott on the supply of passenger planes to Tehran.

Tehran has been conducting negotiations with creditable international aviation companies to purchase airplanes.

Earlier in the same month, Deputy Head of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran Mohammad Khodakarami said the country plans to buy up to 90 Airbus and Boeing passenger planes per year to revamp its aging air fleet.

Iran also held talks with MTU Aero Engines AG over supplying maintenance services to its ageing fleets.

“MTU has a great interest in supporting Iranian airlines with maintenance services and negotiations with Iranian companies are done in consultation with German and US export control authorities,” Chief Executive of MTU Aero Engines Reiner Winkler said in July.

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Second Int’l Islamic Economic Summit Opens In Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 6 (NNN-WAM) – Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE, Prime Minister of the UAE and Governor of Dubai, opened here today, the 2nd International Islamic economic summit, under the theme ‘Innovation Support and Opportunities Creation’ in the attendance of more than 2,000 decision-makers and business leaders, from all over the Islamic world and the entire world.

Addressing the gathering, Sheikh Al Maktoum suggested that our world would see, in a few years, a new science that occupies its place among today’s science, in reference to the Islamic economy.

He said, the electronic website of the international Islamic economy, is the first step in this march. At today’s session, a debate took place between executive managers, on the extent of the link between Islamic economy sectors and Islamic finance.

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Islamic Bank Approves US$30.8 Mln Education Loan For Suriname

JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia), Oct 7 (NNN-CARIBBEANNEWS) — The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has approved nearly US$895 million to contribute towards new development projects in IDB member countries.

US$30.8 million will go to Suriname to support a secondary and technical education project in that Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member country.

The new foreign minister of Suriname, Niermala Badrising, expressed her government’s desire to continue expanding ties with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Islamic Bank.

The Islamic Bank is a branch of the OIC, which Suriname joined in 1996. Suriname is now working on a permanent member country partnership with the Islamic Bank according to the minister of finance, Gillmore Hoefdraad.

Another mission from the Islamic Bank will visit Suriname and Guyana next month. Guyana has often expressed interest in joining the bank, and is the only OIC-member country that is not part of the Islamic Development Bank.

According to a press release from the bank, the board of executive directors of the IsDB, which met on Monday Oct 5, made several decisions and reviewed major reports on the Islamic Bank’s ten-year strategy, the three-year operation plan for 2016-18, the report on financing the private sector in the framework of sovereign guarantees, as well as the IsDB Group chairman’s proposed program for the next five years (2016-2020).

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50 Malaysian Companies To Showcase Halal Food In Cologne

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 (NNN-Bernama) — Fifty Malaysian companies, spearheaded by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), will take part in the ANUGA 2015 trade fair in Cologne, Germany from Oct 10 to 14.

ANUGA 2015, a food fair for retail trade and food service and catering market, provides buyers access to made-in-Malaysia halal organic and vegetarian food, and beverages.

Held annually, ANUGA is considered the leading and fastest growing food show in Europe and has become a global brand for food players as well as distributors to converge and discuss trade opportunities.

Malaysian companies will be showcasing products ranging from frozen food, beverages, processed food, palm oil-based products, and energy food.

This is Malaysia’s ninth participation in the fair, Matrade Trade Commissioner to Frankfurt S.Jai Shankar said in a statement .

“Healthy living and lifestyle is big (business) in Europe, including Germany. Health and environmental concerns are important aspects our exporters need to consider when planning to export (their products) to developed markets such as the European Union (EU),” he said.

As Germany is one of Malaysia’s largest trading partners in the EU, he said Matrade is confident that Malaysia’s participation in trade fairs in the region would ease product entry and market expansion.

Matrade has also arranged over 400 one-on-one business meetings between Malaysian exhibitors and European importers at the Malaysia Pavilion.

About 6,500 exhibitors from more than 100 countries and over 150,000 trade visitors from 180 countries are expected to attend the exhibition.

At the event, Malaysia’s Laras Marketing and Services Sdn Bhd will be launching a series of new products that use innovative food technology process to prolong their freshness.

Other Malaysian companies taking part, include Halcent International Sdn Bhd and Solution Sdn Bhd.

Last year, total trade between Malaysia and Germany amounted to over RM41 billion. Malaysia’s exports to Germany totalled RM17.86 billion, while imports amounted to RM23.16 billion.

Malaysia’s exports of processed food to Germany amounted to RM114 million. Major food products exported to Germany were cocoa and cocoa preparations valued at RM105 million, accounting for 90 per cent of the total exports of processed food.

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Muslim Turkish chemist wins 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Thursday 08 Oct 2015 – Istanbul, (IINA) – Following the great Egyptian chemist professor Ahmed Zewail who won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, another chemist from another Muslim country won 2015’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, according to OnIslam.

Aziz Sancar, a biochemist who has exquisitely mapped part of the DNA repair system in cancer cells, has been honored this year with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden announced on Wednesday, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill website reported.

Sancar, the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine, received the call at 5 a.m. at his home, while he was sleeping.

“It was 5 a.m. so I was a bit incoherent,” said Sancar, who is also a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. “But I managed to thank him and told them it was an incredible honor.”

It is noteworthy that Sancar shares this award with two others: Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory in Great Britain, and Paul Modrich of Duke University School of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Egyptian Zewail, known as the “Father of Femtochemistry”, won for his work on femtochemistry, while Dr. Aziz Sancar won today’s prestigious science prize for mapping how human DNA repair systems function at a detailed molecular level.

The Nobel Prize committee says that the three laureates work “has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments”.

DNA damage occurs all the time round the clock. The scientific reason through which Allah made our genetic material doesn’t disintegrate into complete chemical chaos is that a host of molecular systems continuously monitor and repair DNA.

In the early 1970s, scientists believed that DNA was an extremely stable molecule, but Tomas Lindahl demonstrated that DNA decays at a rate that ought to have made the development of life on Earth impossible.

This insight led him to discover a molecular machinery, base excision repair, which constantly counteracts the collapse of our DNA.

Aziz Sancar has mapped nucleotide excision repair, the mechanism that cells use to repair UV damage to DNA. People born with defects in this repair system will develop skin cancer if they are exposed to sunlight.

The cell also utilizes nucleotide excision repair to correct defects caused by mutagenic substances, among other things.

Paul Modrich has demonstrated how the cell corrects errors that occur when DNA is replicated during cell division. This mechanism, mismatch repair, reduces the error frequency during DNA replication by about a thousand fold. Congenital defects in mismatch repair are known, for example, to cause a hereditary variant of colon cancer.

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UAE launch its first Islamic banking index

Monday 05 Oct 2015 – Abu Dhabi, (IINA) – Emirates Islamic on Monday announced the launch of the Islamic Banking Index by Emirates Islamic, a consumer-focused survey on Islamic banking in the UAE, CPI Financial reported.

The new index will provide an annual benchmark of shifts in the ‘penetration’, ‘perception’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘intention’ of UAE consumers when it comes to Shari’ah compliant banking.

The Islamic Banking Index was unveiled by Emirates Islamic CEO, Jamal Bin Ghalaita at the 2015 Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) who commented, “The creation of the Islamic Banking Index by Emirates Islamic marks a new chapter in how we measure the development and growth of Shari’ah compliant banking in the UAE.

“By analyzing four key indicators, (penetration, perception, knowledge and intention), we have created for the first time, a benchmark that brings together perception and reality on the status of the Islamic banking industry in UAE. In doing so, the index reveals more than just the attitudes and opinions of people in the UAE towards Islamic Banking, it also creates a pathway to the solutions that will enable us to drive the continued growth of Islamic banking in the UAE.”

“As one of the fastest growing Islamic banks in the region, the launch of the index also marks our continued commitment to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and prime minister and ruler of Dubai to make the emirate the global capital of the Islamic Economy.”

Commenting on the findings, Bin Ghalaita said, “With three out of four people in the UAE willing to consider an Islamic banking product, there is clearly an opportunity for the industry as we continue on our path to become the global centre of the Islamic economy. Trust, fairness and community responsibility are core pillars of the Islamic banking proposition and clearly, people associate with that. Yet, the same consumers also want the best products, technology and service. This is also our call to action.

“With a firm focus on continued innovation, Emirates Islamic is committed to developing the best products and services that will meet the needs of our customers. In doing this, we will ensure we play a leading role in supporting individuals, entrepreneurs, corporates and SMEs that shape the future of the UAE’s Islamic economy.”

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Islamic Center in Chicago open up to people of all faiths

Wednesday 07 Oct 2015 – Naperville, Chicago (IINA) – Islamic Center of Naperville in Chicago (ICN) held an “Open Mosque Day” on Sunday, during which the mosque opened its doors to people of all faiths. It provided a rich opportunity for two-way communication aimed at dispelling negative notions prevalent about Islam and spreading its real message of love, peace, and tolerance, Chicago Tribune reported.

The event, in which a large number of mosques from across Chicago took part, was sponsored by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) and co-sponsored by Al-Furqan and Gain Peace.

“Even though Muslims in the US, a staggering three million, who are adequately educated and hold decent positions in different walks of life, are largely misunderstood by Americans. According to the recent Gallup Poll, nearly a third of Americans do not have a favorable opinion of Islam”, said President of ICN Adil Fareed.

“The more interactions between the communities, the more harmony it promotes. Islamophobia tears apart the communities while dialogues and interaction dispel prejudice and misconceptions and strengthen our societies, Fareed added.

For his part, Mir Rizwan Ali, Imam of ICN, said that the event provided for meetings with the local imams and community members, participation in the Q and A sessions, high-quality presentations at different booths, and free distribution of Islamic literature in order to foster communication and open opportunities for dialogue. “I believe that many of the conflicts in the contemporary society can be minimized by putting in place a mechanism for continuous discussions”, he added.

Rebecca Obarski, city council, Naperville felt that the open mosque day should not be a one-shot affair. She underlined the need for many such initiatives as one can find true picture of Islam directly from Muslims themselves rather than getting its distorted version from others. “Our society needs to internalize the reality that Muslims are also Americans and they are working hard for a better and more progressive America. Today’s event further consolidates this sentiment”, she added.

Roberto Ramirez, Founder/ CEO, Spanish Public Radio and a Mexico Community leader said that the event was an eye opener for him as he was not fully aware of teachings of Islam.

ICN community, which comprises over 3500 families, representing India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Somalia, Iraq, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, etc., addresses the needs of Muslims as well as those who belonged to other religions. It is a member of Naperville Interfaith Leaders Association. It also takes part in the activities of DuPage County.

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Kenya to host first East Africa Islamic Finance Summit

Thursday 08 Oct 2015 – Nairobi, Kenya (IINA) – Kenya is set to host the first East Africa Islamic Finance Summit (EIAFS2015) at Nairobi’s Villa Rosa Kempinski on December 14, Kenyan “Citizen Digital” reported.

The summit themed “Unveiling opportunities”, aims to initiate dialogue, build network between East Africa’s financial institutions, policy makers and the Islamic finance institutions in the region and the Middle East.

The Cabinet Secretary for Treasury Henry Rotich will give a presentation on Kenya’s role in developing East Africa as an Islamic Finance investment destination.

In addition, experts in Islamic finance will discuss the development of Islamic finance in East Africa, explore infrastructure projects in the region and discuss alternative opportunities for project and trade finance for both public and private sector projects.

Speakers and panelists will cover key areas including regulatory framework, regional infrastructure projects and opportunities for financing and Sukuk issuance amongst other topics.

EAIFS 2015 comes at a time when Kenya and other EAC countries are contemplating a sukuk issuance to finance the ambitious infrastructure projects.

EAIFS 2015 has tapped the participation and support from international and regional leadership in governments and private sector who’ll be in the country for the WTO meetings.

The conference is organized by UK based private sector body, East Africa business network and supported regionally by Anjarwalla & Khanna and the Somali economic forum.

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Global Islamic Economy Summit concludes in Dubai

Thursday 08 Oct 2015 – Dubai, (IINA) – The 2015 edition of the Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) ended on Wednesday, with participants unilaterally agreeing on a set of recommendations that can significantly enhance the stature of Islamic economy in the Arab region and worldwide, CPI Financial News reported.

The summit emphasized the need to achieve integration between Islamic investment sectors, accelerate the role of Islamic finance in building a sustainable future and strengthen the prosperity of national economies in general.

The second edition of GIES was attended by 3,500 visitors and stakeholders from the government, financial and investment sectors from more than 85 countries worldwide. The event validated Dubai’s success in strengthening its position as capital of Islamic economy. The summit also highlighted Dubai’s proactive role in developing an Islamic economy ecosystem that articulated the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

Chairman of the Board of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) Mohammed Al Gergawi said: “The UAE is a major player in the global economy with its proven ability to open up unmatched opportunities and initiatives. The deliberations of the GIES have defined a new phase of development for this emerging ecosystem. It has laid the foundations of solutions to current challenges, and highlighted the possibilities offered by the growth opportunities in all sectors of the Islamic economy.”

Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chamber, said: With more than 3,500 delegates, the discussions held during the summit reinforce the importance of the stability and ethical code of conduct that the Islamic economy provides to the global markets in these uncertain times.

Covering all the seven pillars of the Islamic economy, this summit has provided a platform for exchanging new ideas on contemporary issues, such as the role of innovation in the digital economy, which also aligns with our strategy to focus on innovation as a pillar of growth. More importantly, the GIES has initiated a dialogue on relevant issues impacting Islamic economy. Entrepreneurs are the future of Dubai and the opportunities that the Islamic economy offers them to build on new and existing ideas are boundless and mark a step in the right direction for Dubai to emerge as the global capital of the Islamic economy.

On his part, CEO of DIEDC, Abdulla Al Awar, said: “The summit’s deliberations will go a long way to shaping our next steps in this nascent domain. The insights and outcome of this summit have validated DIEDC’s objectives in hosting a landmark event of this stature at a most significant time when the world is seeking alternatives to a conventional economic system that has triggered several crises.

“One of our principle aims in hosting this summit was to achieve synergy between various sectors of the Islamic economy – the summit has underlined the importance of such collaboration if we are to unlock the full potential of this unique ecosystem.”

Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East and North Africa, of Thomson Reuters, said: “The growing prominence of Islamic economy as a new horizon of opportunities has caught the attention of established corporates, entrepreneurs, and governments worldwide. Thomson Reuters is proud to have contributed to this emerging global opportunity. The GIES 2015 has leveraged this momentum through offering participants real, tangible insights and connectivity.

“We assembled two days of programming for delegates attending GIES 2015 which explored how the Islamic economy is having an increasing effect at the global level, and how it presents viable solutions well beyond the typical sectors of banking and finance.”

GIES 2015 honoured the winner in the ‘Innovation 4 Impact’ contest organized specifically for the summit by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and Thomson Reuters with the support of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC). Ali Dabajah founder of Hajjnet received the award.

On the second and final day of the summit, John Defterios, senior anchor emerging markets, CNN, moderated a panel discussion entitled: ‘The Islamic Economy in Corporate Strategy Agendas’. The panelists included Nirmal Govinda Das, Senior Vice President – Corporate Treasury, Emirates Airlines, Dr El Rashid Dafalla Mohamed, CEO, Emirates Modern Poultry Co., and Eyup Isik, Senior Vice President – Finance, Turkish Airlines, and Turkey.

GIES 2015 also included two sessions on Islamic design and arts. The first one ‘Islamic Art & Design: Is Islamic Art Going Mainstream?’ was moderated by Sultan Saoud Al Qassemi, Founder, Barjeel Art, with panelists including Ahmed Salim, producer and managing director, 1001 Inventions, Dr Ulrike Al Khamis, Senior Strategic Advisor, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Moustafa Fahour, Founder Islamic Art Museum of Australia, Australia and Assoc Prof Salwa Mikdadi, associate professor of Art History, New York university Abu Dhabi.

The second session on Islamic art and fashion was moderated by Alia Khan, founder and chairwoman, Islamic fashion and design council, UAE. The session was headlined by Diajeng Lestari, Founder, Hijup.com, Indonesia, Kerim Ture, Founder, Modanisa.com, Turkey, Rami El Malak, Founder, Miella, UAE and Harun Rashid, Founder, Islamic Design House, UK.

In the afternoon, Amani Alkhatahtbeh, founding editor-in-chief, MuslimGirl, moderated the session ‘Islamic Digital Economy: Innovation, Millennials and the Digital Revolution’. The speakers included Ayman Al Bannaw, Managing Partner, Alaa Capital Management, UAE, Dr Philip Boigner, Vice President – Investments, Dubai Silicon Oasis, UAE, Chris Abdur-Rahman Blauvelt, Founder, LaunchGood, USA and Shahed Amanullah, CEO and Co-Founder, Affinis Labs, USA.

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Dubai Islamic Bank CEO: India an emerging Islamic finance market

Thursday 08 Oct 2015 – Dubai, (IINA) – Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest Shariah-compliant lender, is exploring an entry into India as it seeks to benefit from the funding needs of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Bloomberg Business reported.

“We as part of our international growth strategy are looking into India as one of the emerging Islamic finance markets,” Chief Executive Officer Adnan Chilwan said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News. India presents huge opportunities as an emerging economy because of infrastructure development and growing trade with the Middle East, he said.

Indians make up nearly a quarter of the U.A.E.’s population, and India is its biggest trading partner, with combined exports and imports of $63.7 billion in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The two countries plan to create a $75 billion fund to invest in Indian infrastructure, according to a joint statement at the end of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.A.E. in August.

Dubai Islamic Bank is seeking opportunities abroad as its home market, with about 10 million people, offers limited growth potential. Last week it won approval to boost its stake in Indonesia’s Bank Panin Syariah Tbk PT to 40 percent, and it’s set to begin operations in Kenya within a few months, Chilwan said.

The Indian government needs capital to complete ambitious projects including the modernizing of railways, the construction of about 100 smart cities and establishing dedicated freight corridors, Chilwan said. India faces a funding gap of $300 billion in meeting its infrastructure needs until 2017 and its public sector banks, which have been the main source of funding, are over-leveraged, he said.

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Manama declared capital of Gulf Tourism 2016

Thursday 08 Oct 2015 – Doha (IINA) – Tourism Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states approved a recommendation to name the Bahraini capital of Manama as the Capital of Gulf Tourism 2016, given the city’s tourism and cultural potential.

This came at the conclusion of the 2nd meeting of the GCC ministers in charge of tourism, held in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday, during which the ministers welcomed a proposal put forward by Bahrain for the project of Gulf Tourism Capital to enhance intra-tourism among the member states and encourage cooperation between them.

The meeting discussed the avenues to bolster the integration between the GCC countries for the advancement of tourism sector and for the utilization of the existing cooperation to facilitate measures of supporting intra-tourism.

The ministers also discussed issues related to the development of joint action between the public and private sectors in the field of tourism. They further highlighted the importance of preparing a strategy for joint tourism action in the GCC countries, along with coordinating regional and international cooperation in the field of tourism.

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Spirit of Islam captured in Dubai exhibition

Monday 05 Oct 2015 – Dubai, (IINA) – Some 35 paintings by artists from across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the UK will be on display at an exhibition in Dubai. The London-based ‘Ahlan Art’ gallery is presenting the exhibition, titled “The Spirit of Islam,” the National daily reported.

The show is an attempt to embody Islamic culture and the artwork includes pieces that incorporate verses from the Holy Qur’an and abstract works highlighting the essence of the Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam.

“We are about giving a voice to emerging artists, and creating opportunities to highlight the intricate nature of Islamic Art,” says Hassan Mawji, the co-founder of Ahlan Art and the charity Mount Elimu. “Even a lot of non-Muslims will find a relationship with Islamic art. Many feel at peace when observing Islamic art, regardless of their faith.”

The Spirit of Islam, which will be held during the second week of October, will run until October 18 at the Warwick Hotel. The exhibition will feature two of the worlds leading Islamic Artists: Siddiqa Juma and Peter Gould, Ahlan Art website reported. The exhibit will showcase modern, contemporary, abstract as well as classical art centred around the Kaaba. In addition to the exhibit, there will be an opportunity to meet the artists at the evening networking events.

Ahlan Art had organized the first ever interactive Hajj art exhibition in Octber 2014.

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Crimea to host Islamic education conference

Monday 05 Oct 2015 – Baku (IINA) – The City of Yalta on the Crimean peninsula will host on October 10-13 an international scientific conference under the theme of “Islamic Education in Crimea: Historical stages and ways to revive them”.

The four-day event will be held on the occasion of the 515 anniversary of the establishment of Zengjirla School for Islamic Studies – one of the oldest Islamic educational institutions in Eastern Europe, and in memory of its founder Mangle Cray Khan, Islam Rowe online reported.

The conference agenda includes several topics, such as Islam and science in the Crimea, and Education and Science in the Emirate of Crimea, as well as film screening about the history of Zengjirla School to be held on the margins of the conference.

It should be noted that the conference is organized by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea, Religious Administration of Muslims of Crimea (RAMC) and Sevastopol City, the Fund for support of Islamic Culture, Science and Education, the Crimean Tatar Museum of History and Cultural Heritage, and the Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University.

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Indonesia develops national animation industry

7 October 2015 Bandung, West Java (ANTARA News) – The Indonesian government, through the Creative Economy Agency, has been working towards developing its animation industry that helps showcase Indonesian culture.

“All the Indonesian animators are currently developing animation products that have a distinct Indonesian identity,” Head of the Creative Economy Agency, Triawan Munaf, said here on Wednesday.

He said Indonesia has a lot of local characters that can serve as inspirations to create interesting animation works, such as Siliwangi tiger and a traditional weapon called kujang from West Java.

According to him, animation with typical local Indonesian characters will have a potential to sell very well abroad because of its uniqueness.

So far Cimahi city, West Java province, is the most active place for animation development in Indonesia.

“Cimahi appeals to the national and international animators as it is viable for developing animation,” he said.

Cimahi organizes Baros International Animation Festival (BIAF), an international annual event being organized since 2013, which brings the worlds animators together to share their knowledge and capacities.

BIAF 2013 successfully invited eight countries, while the second BIAF in 2014 brought nine countries together. BIAF 2015 being organized now brings together animators from 15 countries.

BIAF 2015, that began on October 7 will last until October 10, 2015, and will feature programs such as seminars, training, and short film competition in which creative minds from 42 countries will participate.

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Qur’anic manuscript sold by Christie’s

LONDON – Doğan News Agency – A Holy Quran manuscript, written by Mahmut Celaleddin in the second half of the 18th century and owned by Sultan Abdulaziz, was sold for 540,000 pounds at the Islamic artworks auction, which was held on Oct. 8 in London by Christie’s.

The Holy Quran, found in the library of Nazime Sultan, the daughter of Sultan Abdulaziz, has been given to the Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Gillani by the Saudi Arabian king.

Islamic artwork collector Yusuf Gezer said, “Mahmut Celaleddin was one of the most important calligraphers in the Ottoman Empire. Unlike other calligraphers, he learned calligraphy by himself without any teacher. It is very pleasing that a unique Islamic artwork found a buyer for 540,000 pounds.”

The head of the Christie’s Islamic Artworks Section, Sara Plumbly, said the Quran was one of the most important Islamic artworks and the most valuable Islamic work at the auction.

Stating that interest in Islamic artworks was on the rise in recent years, Plumbly said they had a significant buyer profile from Turkey.

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Orhan Pamuk’s museum to host show in London next year

ISTANBUL – Hurriyet Daily News – Exhibits from the Museum of Innocence, the award-winning Istanbul museum created by the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk in 2012, will go on show early next year at the Somerset House in London as part of a special display, the Art Newspaper has reported. The Museum of Innocence is based on the author’s 2008 novel of the same name, a love story in which the narrator, Kemal, collects numerous items owned by his cousin and love, Füsun.

The museum, which was named the 2014 European Museum of the Year, is home to 83 wooden boxes related to the book’s 83 chapters. Each box is filled with items—both ready-made pieces and commissioned works of art—that reflect each chapter, thereby covering a 30-year period in the history of modern Istanbul from 1975, when the novel begins.

The Museum of Innocence is, meanwhile, the focus of a major documentary feature that premiered at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month. Pamuk was involved in the making of the 95-minute film, “Innocence of Memories: Orhan Pamuk’s Museum and Istanbul,” which is directed by British filmmaker Grant Gee.

The documentary brings to life Pamuk’s museum. Pamuk wrote the film’s narration, which is relayed by a childhood friend of Füsun, the novel’s lead female character.

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Turkish Excavations to shed light on ancient trade

KAYSERİ – Anadolu Agency – New excavation work started on the Kültepe Kaniş/Karum mound, located in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri, will shed light on the early stages of trade. The work, coordinated by Japanese archaeologist Professor Ryoichi Kontani, aims to uncover data about ancient international trade.

Kontani said since 1948, excavations in Kültepe had been carried out in a field known as the palace. The team has recently started works in the settlement field, located 300 meters north of the palace.

“Our goal is to reach the first eras when trade started 6,000-7,000 years ago in Kültepe. We have so far reached 4,500 years ago. This is the basement of the places where people lived. We discovered a furnace from 4,500 years ago… We also found the pieces of an idol made of marble and known as the Kültepe Idol. What is interesting to us is that those idols were found inside the sanctuaries in the palace field. Finding them 300 meters away from the palace shows us that the Kültepe Idol had religious meaning not only for upper-class people but also lower-class people,” said Kontani.

Kontani said that there were rumors that trade dated back 6,000 years in Kültepe but it has not been proved. “We will try to find evidence (for this claim) in this work,” he said.

He said Kültepe was trade hub of the Middle East in the past. “Since this place was the transition zone for civilizations, its history might go back to earlier times than expected. At the first stage, we aim to reach 6,500-7,000 years ago. But we will continue working in this level because this place was home to many civilizations, one after the other. We see the traces of a different civilization in each layer. This means that Kültepe was not only the trade hub of Anatolia but of the Middle East,” added Kontani.

He said that they had been working with a team of four people in a 30-square-meter area. “We keep the area narrow because we want to reach older ages within a shorter time. But we will start excavations in a wider field with a larger group of people in the coming years,” he said.

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Hijab-wearing chef Named Star Baker in UK

OnIslam & Newspapers Thursday, 08 October 2015 CAIRO – A hijabi Muslim has been crowned as Great British Bake Off queen after beating her two male competitors, defusing the negative stereotypical discourse surrounding Muslim women.

“I’m never going to put boundaries on myself ever again,” the Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Jamir Hussain, said in her victory speech, The Sun reported on Thursday, October 8.

“I’m never going to say ‘I can’t do it’. I can. And I will. I really hope that I have not become known more for my facial expressions or my eyebrows than my baking.”

The Muslim baker won the judges praise with her iced buns, mille-feuille and lemon drizzle wedding cake.

Naming Nadiya Satr Baker, BBC1 judges stressed that she deserves to win.

“I am really proud of Nadiya, not so confident to start with, but over the weeks she has grown in confidence,”presenter Mary Berry told Mirror. “The finished result had to wow us and Nadiya’s Showstopper was stunning. Sheer perfection and I have enjoyed every minute.”

On his part, Judge Paul Hollywood said: “Nadiya has brought something special to the Bake Off. Her ideas, flair, her emotions and her passion were all in her bakes, she just nailed the whole final. That was the best tasting final we have ever had.”

Spending every second ahead of the two-day final in tuning her bakes, Nadiya said that she was left physically shattered.

“I practiced so much at home before the final, right through the night and even in the morning before I was going to catch my train I squeezed in another practice.

“I was absolutely exhausted before the last two days of filming, because I had done so much practice at home, but I felt I had given myself the best chance to fight for my place. I was pretty tired but high on the adrenaline of what I had achieved so far.”

Nadiya, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, feared being dismissed by viewers before the semi-final because of not being a stereotypical British person.

A few days later, praised the positive response she got after appearing at the BBC1 cookery program, saying that it has shown how “tolerant” and “accepting” British society is.

Islam is the second largest religion with results from the United Kingdom Census 2011 giving the UK Muslim population in 2011 as 2,786,635, 4.4% of the total population.

Last May, an American Muslim woman became the first ever veiled female chef to appear on an American primetime cooking show after joining this season’s Masterchef contest on Fox, breaking down negative stereotypes on veiled women.

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H&M Hijabi Model Makes Headlines

OnIslam & News Agencies Wednesday, 30 September 2015 WASHINGTON – A new advert for the world’s second largest retailer has created lots of debates, after featuring the first Hijabi Muslim model in modest attire.

“It was just a one-off, I didn’t plan on it getting this big,” Mariah Idrissi, 23, told CNN on Tuesday, September 29.

“I was surprised, they actually really knew exactly how I should be dressed. They understood it had to be very loose fitting, not figure hugging, not anything revealing. They gave a range of different outfits. I kind of hinted what I liked and all of them were respectable,” she said.

The young Muslim woman was recalling how she was first introduced to modeling job in H&M.

It all started when her casting director friend submitted her photo to the giant retailer. Idrissi appeared in a video entitled “Close the Loop”, which is a slick production by the Swedish brand. Urban scenes, stylish attire and models of various nationalities, genders and sizes.

For the young Muslim, modeling career does not contradict with traditional Islamic beliefs.

“I’ve seen a few comments where (people are) against it, but there’s nothing that says there is anything against it. In our religion, anything that’s not stated as forbidden is permissible,” she said. “As long as I’m dressed correctly, according to Islam, then there’s no problem. It’s just promoting the hijab, in a way. If anything, it’s good.”

The United States is the home to from 7-8 million Muslims.

Praising the move by H&M, Mariam Veiszadeh, a female Muslim lawyer, writer and advocate for Muslims based in Australia, said more work needs to be done. “Muslim women still continue to face additional barriers in many industries. Women may face a glass ceiling when it comes to the workforce but women of colour have to contend with a concrete ceiling,” she told the CNN.

“I look forward to the day when a hijab-clad model no longer makes headlines.”

The advert is expected to bring new customers to the giant retailer, with regard to the fact that Muslims spent $266 billion on clothing and footwear in 2013, according to Thomson Reuters.

“I think it’s a fantastic development in H&M’s brand positioning,” says Shelina Janmohamed, vice president of Ogilvy Noor, a specialist consultancy for building brands with Muslim consumers.

“We know that in many countries where they (H&M) have a presence and as a global brand the young, female Muslim consumer is a growing demographic and when we’ve spoken to young Muslim women they feel that they are not represented in today’s global fashion identity.”

The advert should be followed by similar moves from other major retailers, Janmohamed said.

“They don’t need something that says, ‘Muslim woman: this is for you.’ What they want to see is that they’re treated as any other consumer,” she said.

“There is so much in the news and political discussions about Muslims that brands understandably feel a bit nervous about reaching out to Muslim audiences. I would encourage them to be brave and be bold and they’ll see that Muslim audiences are extremely responsive and very loyal.”

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Abu Dhabi to host World Strategy Summit

Gulf Today – 08 October, 2015 – Abu Dhabi will play host to the inaugural World Strategy Summit, which features an impressive line-up of the most prominent, contemporary thought leaders and expert strategists, drawn from academic, corporate and government entities and takes place on Nov.16-19, 2015.

“If we are to create a better, sustainable future, then strategic leadership, thinking, planning, and execution have to be the most important components of both public and private sector leadership in the 21st century,” said General Dr Nasser Al Khreibani Al Neimi, Secretary General of the Minister of Interior, UAE

“The World Strategy Summit is bringing together the world’s leading authorities on strategy, leadership and innovation to present an unprecedented opportunity for government & business leaders to learn, interact, challenge, and apply — helping them to become effective champions of their strategic undertakings and enabling them to overcome the real challenges that will dominate tomorrow’s world,” added General Dr Nasser.

The summit features some of the world’s renowned strategy, leadership & innovation thought leaders, such as Tom Peters, Gary Hamel, Renee Mauborgne and Rafael Ramirez. Gary Hamel is one of the world’s most influential and iconoclastic business gurus. His most recent bestsellers have been The Future of Management and What Matters Now. In these volumes, Hamel presents an impassioned plea for reinventing management and lays out a blueprint for building organisations that are fit for the future.

The Wall Street Journal recently ranked Gary Hamel as the “World’s most influential business thinker” and Fortune magazine has called him “The world’s leading expert on business strategy.”

Renée is a Professor of Strategy at Insead business school and Co-Director of the Insead Blue Ocean Strategy Institute.

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Flydubai expands network in Russia

Khaleej Times – 09 October, 2015 – Flydubai on Thursday inaugurated flights to two new destinations in Russia, Nizhny Novgorod and Novosibirsk, making it the first Dubai-based airline to serve these cities. Offering one of the most comprehensive networks from the UAE, the carrier now operates to 10 destinations in Russia.

Flydubai marked its first entry to the Russian market in 2010 with the launch of flights to Samara and Yekaterinburg. Five years on, the carrier continues to grow its network in the market, opening up previously under-served destinations that had no or few direct links to the UAE.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer of flydubai, said: “Since the start of our flights to Russia five years ago, we have seen strong demand for affordable, reliable and direct services to Dubai. We are committed to growing our network in the market and the new flights to Nizhny Novgorod and Novosibirsk will provide passengers from the UAE and Russia with an accessible means to explore both countries.”

The inaugural flight to Novosibirsk landed on October 7, at Tolmachevo International Airport. On board the aircraft were Jeyhun Efendi, Senior Vice-President Commercial (UAE, EU, ME, CIS) for flydubai, and key representatives from the UAE and Indian media and members of the UAE business community. The delegation was welcomed by Sergey Titov, Minister of Transport of the Novosibirsk region. During the trip, the UAE delegation is holding a series of meetings in Novosibirsk with their Russian counterparts to discuss business and trade opportunities between Novosibirsk and Dubai.

Jeyhun Efendi said, “flydubai is committed to creating free flows of trade and tourism between Dubai and the destinations it operates to. We are pleased to introduce flydubai’s business class service and cargo operations to our newest destinations in Russia and to provide passengers with more options to explore not only Dubai but further afield across our network to Africa, the Middle East and Subcontinent.”

flydubai’s network in Russia includes Kazan, Krasnodar, Mineralnye Vody, Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Ufa and Yekaterinburg, providing the large Russian expatriate community in Dubai and the UAE with the option to visit family and friends more often for less.

The direct flights also make it easier for businesses to explore opportunities across Russia which were not very accessible before due to the limited availability of direct flights.

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Iran, Azerbaijan agree on North-South Corridor

Islamic Republic News Agency – 10 October, 2015 – Minister of Information and Communiation Technology Mahmoud Vaezi leads the Iranian side in the Joint Commission in which construction of the Rasht-Astara railways was agreed, Iranian Ambassador Mohsen Pakaein told IRNA.

‘Completion of Qazvin-Rasht railways and its connection to Rasht-Astara by 2016 indicates political determination of Iranian and Azerbaijani presidents to complete the North-South Corridor, he added.

The Silk Road will also be completed by the Iranian and Azeri railways, and European countries such as Finland can be connected via Russia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman, Pakeaein said.

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