Vol. 11    Issue 07   16-31 August 2016
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Professor A. R. MOMIN

Muslim Countries Agree On Common Calendar

Turkey’s Office of the President of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) organised an international conference -- known as International United Hijri Calendar Congress – in Istanbul on May 28-30, 2016. Dozens of scholars, scientists, astronomers, representatives of fatwa and law councils, ministers and journalists from 50 Muslim countries participated in the conference. The participants unanimously approved a resolution calling for the adoption of a common Islamic calendar for fasting in the month of Ramadan and for the feasts of Eid al-fitr and Eid al-adha.    Read more


Turkey’s Failed Military Coup

Professor A. R. MOMIN

As night fell on 15 July 2016, military jets were seen flying menacingly over Ankara and over the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul and gunshots were heard at some places in the two cities. It soon became clear that a small faction of the Turkish army had attempted a military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP-led government. Rebel soldiers seized parts of Ankara and Istanbul, bombed the police and intelligence service headquarters, attacked Parliament and the Presidential Palace in Ankara and fired at policemen and the public. The plotters had at their disposal 35 military planes, 37 helicopters, 74 tanks, aerial refuelling tankers and 3 ships. They held Turkey’s chief of staff Gen. Hulusi Akar hostage, almost strangling him with a belt, and tried to force him to sign the coup declaration. But a defiant and furious Gen. Akar rebuked the rebel soldiers and refused to sign the declaration. A total of 246 people, mostly civilians, were killed by the rebel soldiers and more than 2000 injured. The dead included young men, women and old men.

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Refugees Encounter a Foreign Word:

How Canadian hockey moms, poker buddies and neighbors are adopting Syrians, a family at a time.


Photographs by DAMON WINTER

TORONTO — One frigid day in February, Kerry McLorg drove to an airport hotel here to pick up a family of Syrian refugees. She was cautious by nature, with a job poring over insurance data, but she had never even spoken to the people who were about to move into her basement.

“I don’t know if they even know we exist,” she said.

At the hotel, Abdullah Mohammad’s room phone rang, and an interpreter told him to go downstairs. His children’s only belongings were in pink plastic bags, and the family’s documents lay in a white paper bag printed with a Canadian flag. His sponsors had come, he was told. He had no idea what that meant.

Across Canada, ordinary citizens, distressed by news reports of drowning children and the shunning of desperate migrants, are intervening in one of the world’s most pressing problems. Their country allows them a rare power and responsibility: They can band together in small groups and personally resettle — essentially adopt — a refugee family. In Toronto alone, hockey moms, dog-walking friends, book club members, poker buddies and lawyers have formed circles to take in Syrian families. The Canadian government says sponsors officially number in the thousands, but the groups have many more extended members.  Read more


The ruining of Egypt

Repression and the incompetence of Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi are stoking the next uprising

IN EGYPT they are the shabab al-ahawe, “coffee-shop guys”; in Algeria they are the hittistes, “those who lean with their backs to the wall”; in Morocco they go by the French term, diplômés chômeurs, “graduate-jobless”. Across the Arab world the ranks of the young and embittered are swelling.

In most countries a youth bulge leads to an economic boom. But Arab autocrats regard young people as a threat—and with reason. Better educated than their parents, wired to the world and sceptical of political and religious authority, the young were at the forefront of the uprisings of 2011. They toppled rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and alarmed the kings and presidents of many other states.  Read more

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