Category: Africa Written by Rudi and Edited by Syarif Hidayat
Nairobi, 19 Jumadil Akhir 1435/19 April 2014 (MINA) - A Human Rights Watch (HRW) representative has accused Sudan and South Sudan of committing grave human rights violations amid reports about ill-treatment and torture of detainees
"The government [of North Sudan] has a lot of blood on its hands," Jehanne Henry, HRW's representative in South and North Sudan, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview in Nairobi, Kenya, quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Henry said that the Khartoum government has violently cracked down on anti-government protests that rocked several Sudanese cities in September.
"Our research shows that there is strong evidence, strong indication that Sudan's government security forces were responsible for the shooting of protesters, killing 170 of them," Henry said.
Protests had flared up in different Sudanese cities in September after the government had lifted fuel subsidies as part of a raft of controversial austerity measures.
According to the Sudanese government, around 34 people, including police, had been killed in the recent wave of protests.
Global rights watchdog Amnesty International, however, had put the death toll at some 200.
The HRW representative said that many of the protesters were "shot in the back, in the head and even a two-month-old infant was killed and also elderly people".
Heny said that the Sudanese authorities had rounded up hundreds of people, including opposition party members, journalists and students.
"Some were released but dozens still remain in detention," Henry said. "They are being ill-treated and tortured in detention. This is something Sudan is known for."
She went on to say that many of the detainees are being held at National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS)-run detention facilities.
"The NISS is widely known as the organ that detains people for political reasons because of their real or perceived political positions and is widely known as being very abusive," Henry said.
When asked to compare Sudan's human rights record with that of other African countries, Henry said that "It is very pervasive repression and violent tactics."
"The government is still bombing civilian areas. This is a huge violation of international humanitarian law that we have emphasized over and over again," she said.
"It is really and truly a very bad human rights situation in Sudan that I have spent year-in year-out watching. It remains worse. There is no meaningful improvement in recent years."
South Sudan abuse
The HRW representative has also documented massive human rights abuses in neighboring South Sudan.
"We have seen some really horrific abuses of civilian human rights," Henry told AA.
"We have seen ethnic targeting throughout the country, sometime it is retaliatory where you have the opposition forces and their so-called White Army launching large attacks on innocent civilians."
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused sacked vice president Riek Machar of trying to overthrow his regime.
The conflict has already claimed more than 10,000 lives, with the U.N. estimating that some one million South Sudanese have been displaced by the recent violence.
Following weeks of peace talks mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa, the two sides signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in January.
They have yet to reach an agreement, however, to resolve the ongoing conflict.
"The situation in South Sudan is very fluid now. We have documented massacres in Juba," Henry said.
"Now the situation in Juba appears to be more normal. However, there are tens of thousands of mostly ethnic Nuer people in IDP camps in UN compounds in Juba and in Bor [Jonglei State] and Bentiu [Unity State] and elsewhere," she said.
"The fighting is continuing even though there was a cessation of hostilities agreement made."
The HRW representative blamed South Sudan's warring parties for the human rights abuses in the world's newest state.
"Both sides must pass the message and instructions to their commanders to stop targeting civilians," she said.
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 April 2014 07:13
Category: Palestine Written by Rudi H and edited by Widi Kusnadi
Al-Quds, 18 Jumadil Akhir 1435/18 April 2014 (MINA) - Hundreds of Palestinian youths performed Friday prayers on the streets outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after Israeli police barred Muslim worshippers from entering the holy site.
Hundreds of Israeli policemen were deployed in the vicinity of the compound, erecting barricades at the entries of the Old City of Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) and denying access to people under 50, an Anadolu Agency reporter at the scene said.
Earlier in the day, Israeli police said they would only allow men over 50 and holders of blue ID cards (issued to residents of Al-Quds and Israel) into the compound, Israeli Channel 7 reported.
Israeli police said the decision had followed an intelligence tipoff that Palestinians were planning to stage demonstrations following prayers, Anadolu quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
On Thursday, Palestinians marked Palestinian Prisoners' Day, which is commemorated by Palestinians on April 17 of every year to demand the release of nearly 5000 prisoners long-detained by Israel.
Tension has mounted in Al-Quds over recent threats to Al-Aqsa by extremist Jewish groups, which have called on supporters to force their way into the holy compound during the current Jewish Passover holiday (April 14 to 22).
On Wednesday, clashes broke out at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after Israeli security personnel stormed the holy site in an apparent bid to disperse Palestinians who have been camped out there for days.
In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers, often accompanied by Israeli security forces, have repeatedly forced their way into the Al-Aqsa complex. The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied Al-Quds during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state. (T/P09/P04).
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 23:10
Category: Indonesia Written by Fauziah and edited by Widi Kusnadi
Jakarta, 16 Jumadil Akhir 1435/ 16 April 2014 (MINA) - A Korean new Muslim converter, Dr Ali An Sun Geun, MA launched a book antitled “ Carilah Ilmu ke Negeri Korea" (find out the knowledge to the land of Korea” Wednesday (16/4) in the Indonesia cpital Jakarta.
Sun Geun quoted a Prophet Mohamad's hadith which Stated “ find out the knowledge to the land of Korea.” He claimed the land of Korea incleded China's terrirotial as mentioned in the hadith.
He said, Korea has a lot of things that can be learned by Muslims, particularly indonesians. “Korea is well known of their cultural richness, disciplint and highly work ethic. Muslims also need to learn how the Koreans build their civilication which now many youngsters imitate the lifestyle," he added.
In his "Indonesian version" book, Sun Geun stated that Korea has many similarities with Indonesian cultural . “ As the nation's East, Indonesia and Korea have a lot in common, from the habits of its people, to a range of cultural,” he added.
Currently, Korea is one of the countries in East Asia that are actively promoting Islamic tour program.
Nowadays, Sun Geun actively guides the Korean expats (foreign workers) who re staying in Indonesia. He is also developing bilateral relations between Indonesia and the Gingseng country.
Ali An Sun Geun is a Muslim. He was born in Seoul, 28 February 1964. His curiosity about islam has brought him to indonesia. He became Muslim in 1979 when he was still a high school student. Sun Geun was being fascinated by the beauty of adzan (Muslim call prayer) from a musalla (small mosque) not so far from his home in the District of Kwangju, 45 kilometers from Seoul. Sun geun completed his master and doctoral degrees in Indonesia, taking Islamic studies department.
Sun Geun is now becomes one of a spokesman for for the Government of South Korea. He is also as consultant for the prospective Korean investors if they want to know more information about Indonesia.
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 23:04
Category: Opinion Written by Syarif Hidayat and edited by Ismet Rauf
Malaysia as an International Halal Food Hub
by Syarif Hidayat*
What is Halal? Halal is an Arabic word referring to what is permissible under Islamic law. In most cases, halal is used to refer to food that is deemed permissible to consume for Muslims. To be deemed halal, the ingredients and method of production must be thoroughly checked to ensure they adhere to Islamic dietary laws.
Muslims are allowed to consume what is Halalan Thoyyiban ("halal" and "good" food and drink.) (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Al Qur'an, Surah Al-Baqara, Verse:168 " O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaitân (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy.”.) The food that is, what is pure, clean, wholesome, nourishing, and pleasing to the taste. In general, everything is allowed (halal) except what has been specifically forbidden.
“They ask thee what is lawful to them (as food): say: Lawful unto you are (all) things good and pure: and what ye have taught your trained hunting animals (to catch) in the manner directed to you by Allah; eat what they catch for you, but pronounce the name of Allah over it: and fear Allah; for Allah is swift in taking account.” (Al Qur'an, Surah Al-Maeda, Verse 4)
Eating is a matter of faith in Islam. Muslim dietary practise is fundamentally about obeying God Almighty Allah.
All practising Muslim believers obey God Almighty by eating the allowed foods (halal) and avoiding the forbidden foods (haram) which are mentioned in the Qur’an and in the sayings of the final Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
International Halal Hub
Why Malaysia? Malaysia has aspirations to become a global hub for the production and trade of Halal products and services, as outlined in the 2006 Third Industrial Master Plan (IMP3), according to the official website of Malaysian Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC): www.hdcglobal.com And as a modern Islamic country at the forefront of economic development, Malaysia has unparalleled potential.
With a progressive living and operating environment boasting political stability and consistent economic growth, Malaysia is fast becoming a business hub of choice for all industries. Further, Malaysia has unique advantages in developing and promoting the Halal products and services industry for many reasons:
Malaysia is a progressive Islamic country. It is business-friendly to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, making it a Halal industry advantage. As an economically thriving nation, the Malaysian economy registered a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 4.6 per cent for 2008, fueled by domestic demand and continued expansion in private and public consumption.
In 2008, its total trade grew 6.8 per cent from RM1.11 trillion to RM1.19 trillion. Its exports increased by 9.6 per cent to RM663.51 billion, while imports escalated 3.3 per cent to RM521.5 billion, resulting in a trade surplus for the eleventh consecutive year valued at RM142.01 billion. Furthermore, the economy is expected to record positive growth rate in 2009.
Malaysia has today become an export-driven economy spurred on by high technology, knowledge-based and capital-intensive industries. From January to September 2008, the services sector recorded the highest growth at 7.9%.
Racking up its global competitiveness, Malaysia has moved up the value chain to a high-technology, knowledge-based and capital-intensive powerhouse, incorporating design as well as research and development activities. Therefore, From Halal product traceability to Islamic Finance facilities, Malaysia is able to provide end-to-end Halal services.
Furthermore, Malaysia strategically located country within Asia Pacific, providing easy in-roads emerging markets in Asia and a total population larger than 500 million.
And Halal business owners will enjoy easier trade and market access to member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), judging by the fact that its Chairman is a Malaysian representative.
Government and People Talent Support
Moreover, Malaysia has a pro-business government, offering tax and other investor incentives. In a bid to create a conducive operating environment, the government has introduced policies and an efficient institutional infrastructure to develop industry – Halal or otherwise.
An industry without talent, is simply said, asset-poor. The Malaysian talent pool is rich with young, educated and productive workers with skills necessary for science- and service-based industries.
With Malaysia being a multi-racial and multi-lingual country made up of predominantly Malays, Indians and Chinese, Halal business owners will find no shortage of bilingual talent skilled to enrich trade relations in countries such as China.
The topography of Malaysia's economic landscape is made up of a network of well-maintained highways and railways that links to efficient seaports and world-class international airports.
With Malaysia's commitment to industrial development and free trade, the government has established five economic growth corridors, in addition to over 200 industrial estates or parks and 13 free industrial zones. And as part of HDC's initiatives, Malaysia is also home to one of the world's first Halal Parks.
What and Why HDC?
Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) is a developmental body that is unique in its own right. The Malaysian government established HDC in September 2006 because it realised the potential of the halal business. It also understood the country’s unique position and strengths would enable HDC to spearhead the overall development of the halal industry. HDC is the only Malaysian government- mandated company in the world tasked with coordinating and developing the national halal industry.
As a brand, HDC is business friendly, driven to make things happen, steered by experts delivering world-class know-how and collaborative by working towards a win-win situation. HDC’s promise is to help businesses access new markets both locally and globally.
For businesses, it means halal is the avenue for new markets with the help of HDC and its agencies. For consumers, it means that with the growth of the halal industry, they will have increased awareness and better choices on halal goods. And finally, for the government, with new markets reached through halal, it translates into economic growth.
The halal industry encompasses many sectors cutting across the entire halal value chain. HDC thus has multiple roles to play in the entire chain.
These include managing the stakeholders’ interest by:
-Creating business opportunities
HDC is the central implementation agency for key industry development initiatives and working with authorities and businesses. It promotes industries relating to halal, liaising with and assisting businesses and investors. It also manages and distributes government funding for the halal industry.
-Coordinating national initiatives
HDC is the referral agency for businesses and agencies involved in the Halal industry while understanding their specific roles and needs. It is also coordinator and chair for halal-related agency activities and organises discussion sessions.
-Communicating value to consumers
HDC provides support to businesses by providing branding and promotion of halal products and industries. It also provides training and consultancy services to support halal certification.
HDC also focuses on the following elements of the halal value chain:
1.Feed and Farm management
5.Research & Development and Innovation
7.Advertising & Promotions
In order to be more effective in developing the halal industry, HDC is focusing on core clusters that will add significantly to the economy. These clusters include specialty processed food, ingredients, livestock, pharmaceuticals and personal care. Development of these areas is key to realising a more holistic halal ecosystem. In order to realise this goal, HDC works hand in hand with all the relevant government ministries and agencies.
On the international front, it is the first point of contact and a key reference centre as well as providing stewardship and direction through the extremely varied array of sectors in the halal industry. This includes the processed food, beverage and livestock sectors to the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and personal care sectors and also the Islamic banking and logistics sectors.
An important factor is the role HDC plays in capacity development as the halal industry heads onward into the 21st century and the challenges that lie in store for it.
This includes strengthening and streamlining compliance, marketing, communication and response time in all sectors. To constantly embrace change for sustained growth is the methodology HDC consciously employs.
At home, HDC has been mandated by the Malaysian government to assist, in particular, the small and medium-sizes enterprises (SMEs). HDC works hand in hand with all the relevant government ministries and its agencies, especially the Ministry of International Trade and Industries (MITI), for leverage and achieving desired results.
The help to SMEs are mainly in the form of tax incentives, funding, licensing, skills upgrading plus marketing and promotional expertise. To sum it up, when it comes to everything halal, HDC plays the leading role in shaping and guiding its ascendency both at home and abroad.
Malaysia to standardize halal standards
A Malaysia-based group is drafting halal standards to give Muslim countries a framework to regulate a $2 trillion global industry ranging from food to finance. The global halal industry is regarded as a vast but difficult market with the substantial Muslim population outweighed by the use of disparate sharia standards, differing levels of development across Muslim countries and a lack of regulatory infrastructure.
The International Halal Integrity Alliance is working on guidelines relating to the use of sharia-compliant pharmaceuticals, finance and processed food which would be completed by year-end, its chief executive officer Darhim Hashim said. “We, as Muslims, are not in control of the supply chain,” he said on the sidelines of a halal forum.
“We cannot say that we can accept everything that comes into the country is halal so at the very basic level is some kind of import regulation. That in return leads to a standard.”
Darhim said the alliance has published seven other standards which include the regulation of sharia-compliant restaurants, cosmetics, lab testing and animal slaughtering which have been ratified by the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a grouping of 56 Islamic countries.
The alliance’s members include certification bodies from Europe, India, the Phillipines, Cambodia and Australia.
The halal industry has been overshadowed by the Islamic finance sector in recent years as the petrodollar boom sparked a rush for sharia-compliant assets. But the large global Muslim population is seen as offering growth opportunities for the industry. (T/E01/IR)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 08:32