Saturday, 31 March 2012

4500 Saudi Graduates from the Universities of the UK & Eire

King Abdullah’s Scholarship Program:
4500 Saudi graduated from the UK and Eire

Dr. Mozammel Haque

4500 Saudis graduated from the Universities of the United Kingdom and Ireland under the King Abdullah’s Scholarship Program. Since the start of the Foreign Scholarship Program of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques seven years ago, this Scholarship Program has been carried out so far in more than thirty countries worldwide. More than one hundred thousand male and female scholarship recipients have been sent all over the world. More than 16,000 Saudis are studying in the Universities of the United Kingdom and Ireland under this Scholarship Program and 4500 graduated this year out of which 2,000 Saudi graduates, both male and female, took part at the Second Annual Graduation Ceremony.

At the Second Graduation Ceremony, organised by the Saudi Cultural Bureau, London and sponsored by the Al-Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University Riyadh, was held at the Excel Exhibition Centre, London. This Ceremony was attended by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad bin Nawaf, the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom & Ireland, Professor Ghazi bin Abdul Wahid Al-Makki, Saudi Cultural Attache in the United Kingdom and Ireland and Professor Sulaiman bin Abdallah Abalkhail, Rector of the University of Al-Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, Riyadh and official sponsor of the Second Graduation Ceremony and the Career Day of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah’s Scholarship Program.

Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Angari
Addressing the graduates of the Scholarship recipients of the King Abdullah’s Scholarship Program in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Saudi Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Angari said in his speech which was delivered by Professor Al-Makki: “Honouring this class of graduates of the Program as well as other classes of graduates in the rest of the world is not unusual in the history of this great entity, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For its rulers have always showed us how much attention they have given education and the honour they have bestowed upon science and scientists since the establishment of this proud entity, whose light had shined in 1932, to announce the establishment of the greatest Arab unity in modern times.”

The Minister also mentioned that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also realized that the process of transition to a knowledge society can only be achieved as a result of the economic and social contribution of higher education, and the commitment to follow in the footsteps of contemporary scientific progress worldwide, and to make a positive contribution in the orbit of globalization with its educational dimension.

Since the start of the Foreign Scholarship Program of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques seven years ago, this Scholarship Program has been carried out so far in more than thirty countries worldwide. More than one hundred thousand male and female scholarship recipients have been sent all over the world. This fact confirms, the Minister Al-Angari said, that the Kingdom has been able to meet some requirements necessary for growth and prosperity, and in all honesty, consistent with its urgent needs.

A large number of recipients of the Saudi male and female studying in universities and scientific research centres in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This reflects undoubtedly, the Minister pointed out, - in the best way - the extent to which the Saudi – British relations have developed, which extend over eight decades of common interests and close cooperation in all fields.

The Minister maintained, This Scholarship Program is a program of real change, which balances between the constants derived from our true religion and our ambitions, so that our beloved Kingdom will occupy a prominent position it deserves among nations.

The Minister also pointed out that “our enlightened leadership has realized with its conscious insight that building the future of our dear country is embodied in education open to all civilizations of the world, and never hesitated to do so regardless of the cost in efforts and material support.”

Finally, the Minister reminded the graduates of their responsibilities and the expectations of their dedication at the service of the homeland of their parents and grandparents and also reminded them that obtaining their diplomas and the academic recognition is only a phase which allows them a chance, in the future, to express in practice their true love for their country, contribute to its advancement and progress, and be loyal to their parents and families.

Professor Sulaiman Abalkhail
This gigantic project offered the opportunity to tens of thousands of male and female students to continue their higher education in the most prestigious universities in the world. Congratulating the graduation of a new batch of students of this program, Professor Sulaiman Abalkhail, Rector of the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, said, “You are the vanguards of our modern renaissance, whose march is being led by the just builder, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.”

Professor Abalkhail also said, “You form an integral part of a comprehensive development project, initiated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, May God Protect him, thanks to his profound vision - with you, for you are at its origin, its most important component, as the human development is the most important in the building process as well as in the development and modernization project, so that our country will reach the rank of developed nations.”

Professor Abalkhail also said, “These students are the most precious thing we have. They are the hope of our present and future. Celebrating their success and honoring their achievement is a tribute to the homeland and the citizen. I would also like to remind them to thank those whom the credit of their success is due. Should one fail to acknowledge people’s credit would be failing to acknowledge God’s credit.”

Professor Abalkhail reminded the graduates to fear God Almighty in secret and in public, and to carefully bear the trust, duty, and loyalty to your country, and to harness what you have learned at the service of your country. Your country needs you; and its development is ambitious. The leadership is looking forward to you to play your part in the advancement of your country and the contribution to its development using your ideas and knowledge.

Earlier, two graduates, male and female, spoke on the occasion and said, “Our country which gave us opportunities to continue our education and enabled us to study and research to achieve our ambitions does deserve all our praise the return of the favour to give and contribute to its renaissance, advancement and the continuing of its march towards more development.”

They also pledged, “We promise God and then promise our home country to do what we can to pay off the debt, which surrounds our necks. This means that we join in the fields of employment or continue to pursue higher degrees of learning and self-development for our dear country and our good people are expecting so much from us. So please pray for us.”

Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz
Declaring the Graduation Ceremony a milestone in the history of the Foreign Scholarship Program of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz mentioned “The number had increased back then to over six hundred males and female graduates.”

While celebrating the reaping the first fruits of this futuristic and ambitious program, Prince Mohammed mentioned that the number of male and female graduates of this batch has increased eight fold, reaching more than four thousand five hundred graduates who have obtained all university degrees, in disciplines and areas whose number is by far higher than I can count in this speech.

Prince Mohammed also mentioned that it is an auspicious gathering of the citizens of Saudi Arabia who specialized in all academic fields and obtained diplomas, earning recognition and excellence awards and thereby they became a source of pride for their fellow countrymen and homeland

The Saudi Ambassador said that the members of this gathering will participate, God Willing, in “incarnating a far-reaching, futuristic, and leading vision” held by the leader with an open-minded insight, King Abdullah. The Ambassador also pointed out. “He implemented this vision by relying on the sons and daughters of his country to uphold, through their faith and academic knowledge, the nation-building process and continue the durable and comprehensive development for long decades to come.”

Prince Mohammad said, “I do not think that there is a more since expression of my wishes than to personally attend this event where we are celebrating the graduation of more than four thousand and five hundred distinguished minds refined by the highest and most academic disciplines.”

“More than four thousand and five hundred hearts filled with allegiance to him and his wise leadership and with love and aspiration to all that can make our beloved country develop and progress. These graduates proved their determination during their stay in foreign countries to overcome all obstacles standing in the way of their hopes to achieve their common goal in acquiring knowledge,” Said Prince Mohammed.

Speaking about this Foreign Scholarship Program of King Abdullah, the Saudi Ambassador mentioned that “it represents a distinct initiative which embodies the vision of our wise leadership and its sharp vision, which considers that the progress of the homeland and the citizen can only be achieved through an enlightened education, based on accurate balance between the cultural, intellectual, and moral constants and the modern scientific, economic and social leaps, coupled at the same time, with an openness to the world’s cultures and civilizations.”

“This vision is a reflection of the idea of building the Saudi citizen on the basis of solid scientific and moral foundations. This idea was and continues to be a top priority for our wise leadership since the era of the founding father. An idea that led our wise leadership to consider education, in general, and higher education, in particular, to be one of the most important pillars of sustainable development and real progress of our country,” pointed out by the Saudi Ambassador.

The Saudi Ambassador also reminded the graduates that this is only the beginning of a more important stage with far-reaching implications, where your country, leadership and parents expect you to serve your country and the entire world with all the skills and knowledge you have acquired.

In this regard, the Saudi Ambassador also reminded the words of the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, in the Sahih: “On the day of judgement, the feet of a faithful will not leave their place before God asks him about four…” He mentioned among them, peace be upon him: “He will be asked about what he did with his knowledge.” Although acquiring knowledge and excelling in it are sources of pride the individual can commended for, the real source of pride is when an individual can make all people benefit from the fruits of this knowledge.”

The Saudi Ambassador mentioned that the saga of construction continues in our country with the same high pattern as it started. He said, “you can continue the march initiated by your fathers with the founding leader by holding their hands put what you have learned into practice in all areas, and to continue the march of comprehensive sustainable development throughout the Kingdom and for each of its citizens, so your Kingdom w ill remain a country of pride, dignity, prosperity, development and well-being for all citizens all over the country. Go ahead with the blessing and protection of God Almighty.”

Prince Mohammed concluded his speech, quoting the Words of God Almighty: “Praise be to Allah Who guided us to this and we were to guide us for the fact that guided us”, then ask him, glorified and exalted, that saves us our precious, cherished of God, and our wise leadership, endorsed by God, and that sustains us the blessing security and safety, and always brings us together for good.”

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Duke of Kent Visits British Museum Hajj Exhibition

Duke of Kent visits the Hajj Exhibition
An Absolutely Extraordinary Exhibits

Dr. Mozammel Haque

His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, visited the Hajj Exhibition at the British Museum, on Monday, the 5th of March, 2012. He was received and welcomed along with other guests by His Excellency, Faisal bin Abdurrahman bin Muammar, Supervisor General of the King Abdulaziz Public Library, Riyadh, to the exhibition, “Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam”.

Last Monday’s event was one of the events during this exhibition: Hajj: A Journey to the Heart of Islam, organised by King Abdulaziz Public Library of Riyadh, the aim of which is, of course, to bring some guests, the VIP people to the exhibition which is very important. Again it’s a chance and opportunity to introduce more knowledge about Hajj, Makkah and Madinah.

At the reception organised by the King Abdulaziz Public Library at the British Museum, Mr. Neil Macgregor, the Director of the British Museum expressed his thanks to the King Abdul Aziz Public Library Riyadh. He said, “We are extremely keen to present to the public the experience of Hajj, the one which the non-Muslims are not to be a party but to experience which are captured in exhibits.”

There was excellent response from the public. Within the few weeks since the exhibition has been opened already 60,000 visitors came and visited with the enthusiastic interests, said the Director of the British Museum.

Welcoming the guests and Duke of Kent, HE Faisal said, “Saudi Arabia is proud to host the largest annual gathering for peace and love among humans to perform the ritual of the Hajj and to get closer to God on the plains of Blessed Makkah and the holy places.”

He also mentioned about initiative of King Abdullah, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques who initiated important initiative of interfaith dialogue three years ago for the followers of different religions and cultures to come closer to each other.

Dr. Faisal said this exhibition make visitors observe the civilization, tolerance, and culture of Islam and gives them an opportunity to know the significance of the Hajj and its contribution to mutual knowledge and understanding, brotherhood and affection among Muslims of various races, cultures and nations.”

“We share a lot of things with other religions,” said Dr. Faisal and added, “600 million Muslims pray five times a day facing the Qibla and in their prayers they ask God for peace and love for the Muslims and the non-Muslims in Europe and the people throughout the world and also to teach the new generation of the Message of Islam.”

Kwasi Kwarteng, MP from Spelthorne
The reception at the Hajj Exhibition was visited by many Members of Parliament besides the community leaders and dignitaries. I had the opportunity to interview some of them. Conservative Party Member of Parliament from Spelthorne, South West London, Kwasi Kwarteng, MP, observed, “This Hajj Exhibition is very well presented, very clearly presented. The most interesting information to mention is some of the artefacts astonishing, the Mahmal and the great silk objects, the ceramics, beautiful writings and calligraphy. It is very impressive. I think it will promote much deeper appreciation of Islam among people who are not familiar with Islamic culture and Muslim religion.”

Sheryll Murray, MP for South East Cornwall
Another Member of Parliament from the Conservative Party for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, MP, observed, “I think this exhibition is fascinating and I think it is a good thing that non-Muslim like myself can come and see it. It sets out very clearly and I feel very very privileged to have had the experience and I think it will create much better understanding for people like me and I think it is just really really a good thing for relations between the different religions. I think it is superb.”

Rehman Chishti, MP, for Gillingham and Rainham
Another Conservative Member of Parliament for Gillingham and Rainham, Rehman Chishti, MP, observed, “It is a truly fascinating experience to be here today to see the first hand the values and the virtues of the Hajj, the importance of the Hajj, what it means to a Muslim and the history and the journey they set out for so many centuries. I think the Saudi government and the Saudi Embassy and everyone has done a great job by bringing that experience into London so people of all different faiths and all different backgrounds can experience this fascinating journey which of course it is.”

BBC journalist, James Robbins
I met BBC journalist, James Robbins, who has been a diplomatic correspondent for the BBC since January 1998 and is currently based in London. I enquired his experience and comment on the Hajj Exhibition. Mr. Robbins said, “It is an extraordinary exhibition to me because it has told me a huge amount about Hajj which I don’t know and some of the basic things but I did not know the complexity of Hajj.”

He also said, “It reminded me, I suppose, of the facts that so many Muslims make this incredible journey had done for centuries. I mean behind this there is an explanation how earlier pilgrims used to walk about the whole of Africa and I think from the west of Africa which they can carry travelling and sailing boats across towards the holy places and I think that’s remarkable.”

Mr. Robbins also observed, “The exhibition also told me about the tolerance between religions. There is very interesting map to an Englishman like me which Queen Mary Tudor, a Roman Catholic, had made in 1555, the middle of the 16th century, which actually shows, Madinah Makkah which actually representation of the most of the holy places but showing the cathedral because I was born Christian like her would have understood holy places. But what I found really interesting nations in the atlas from 1555 this was where it was written in the book where Saracens went on pilgrimage rather it explained as Christians would go to Rome.”

Mr. Robbins also observed, “I suppose more than anything what it actually reminds me anyway is of the commonness, the co-existence, and the shared heritage of the Abrahamic faiths. Abrahim is absolutely central to the Christian faith Christianity, to Judaism and to Islam and there are subtle variations what the different Abrahamic faiths believe. But the central truth and the central underlying moralities are very similar. I think for me that is the most interesting experience but also just sheer beauty in the exhibits. It is very striking that how much care individual human beings have taken over centuries to make great works of arts. They have in all religions; people dwell in great works of arts in Christianity as in Islam.”

Mr. Scott Young, diabetic charity fundraiser
Mr. Scott Young, Diabetic Charity Fundraiser, said, “I think it is absolutely extraordinary exhibit. Looking at pieces like this you can see the devotion and spiritual commitment of people to create wonderful piece of art because of their faith even though there is no monetary reward, there is not even a reward of fame; there is only the reward of being a peace with your God your Allah and that’s very impressive to me today.”

HRH Prince Salman bin Mohammed bin Nawaf
His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Mohammed bin Nawaf said, “I just wanted to emphasize the importance of such an event for the understanding of people and their religion, particularly Islam. Exhibition like this is very important because we have seen that many many people have been coming in and seeing the Hajj Exhibition. They want to come and want to see what makes three million people, even more, to come to the Hajj. The answer for that is simply its faith, its imaan, the belief in the Qur’an al-Kareem, belief in the Kitab Allah, the belief in religion and also the belief in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). All these together bring them to the Hajj.”

Kiswa of Ka’aba
HRH Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent also visited and watched the demonstration of the preparation of Kiswa, the cloth that covers the Ka’aba. The Kiswa was first introduced during the pre-Islamic era.

When Makkah was taken by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Muslims first decided to leave the Kiswa as it was but later on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) draped the Ka’aba with a white Yemeni Cloth. From the very early time, during the Ummayyads, Abbasids and Osmania period, Muslim Caliphs and Sultans who reigned the Islamic world used to send their gift of Kiswa and during these whole period, Kiswa went through so many changes, from cotton to silk, white to black, new kiswa every year instead of “Accumulation Kiswa” (putting new one on the older one).

The colour of Kiswa kept changing during the reigns of different Caliphs and rulers. During the Abbasid period, Caliphs Al-Mamun and Al-Nasir covered the Ka’aba three times a year, each time with a different colour, white, red and green and later on, they switched to black and it remains so till today.

The founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz al-Saud, for the first time established a factory in Makkah for manufacturing the Kiswa of the Ka’aba in 1926. It took more than 100 craftsmen the whole year to weave the cloth on ancient handlooms and to embroider it in magnificent calligraphy. A new Kiswa is made every year by Saudis who work at the factory. The Holy Makkah is given a new Kiswa or covering annually on the 9th day of Zil-Hijja. The kiswa is wrapped around the Ka’aba and fixed to the ground with copper rings.

The black Kiswa is made with 670 kg of pure silk, and 150 kg of gold and silver thread that is used for sewing the Qur’anic verses. It is 658 square meters in size and consists of 47 pieces, each 14 meters long and 95 cm wide. It costs about SR16.8 million ($4.5 million).

Dr. Ahmed al-Dubayan
In an interview with me, Dr. Ahmed al-Dubayan, the Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre, London told me, “Covering the Ka’aba actually started during the pre-Islamic period, before Islam. Some Arabs thought it needs to be covered because this building is holy; but the coverage changed into cotton, then they changed it into white cotton and then they changed it again in centuries with black because black actually looks better.”

“It used to come from Egypt, sometimes from Syria. It was one of the many presents sent with money from Egypt, Syria, sometimes from Yemen and Morocco to be presented to the poor people in Makkah and Madinah. It was only during the period of King Abdul Aziz who changed this system” said Dr. Dubayan and added, “King Abdul-Aziz started to establish factory for the Kiswa of Ka’aba in Makkah. Every year it has to change. They use cotton, black silk and dye the silk with black colour and after that they of course embroidered that with gold and silk.”

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Seminar on the Life of the Prophet peace be upon him and the UMO under Dr. Pasha

Seminar on the Life of the Prophet
(PBUH) and the UMO under Dr. Pasha

Dr. Mozammel Haque

Born in an aristocratic Syed family of Madras, brought up in a country where Muslims are minority and having basic Islamic education at home, Dr. Syed Aziz Pasha developed an ideological commitment, a conviction and mission to which he remained firm, unchangeable and unyielding till his death. He had a solid grounding to understand the importance of Dawah work to live peacefully and harmoniously with his cultural and religious identity.

This understanding became more effective and operative when he went to the United States of America for higher studies where he obtained SJD (Doctorate in Juridical Science) equivalent to Ph.D. in the United Kingdom. But when he came to the United Kingdom, the first thing he thought essential is to bring unity within the Muslim communities. But he also realised that to establish peace and harmony in a multicultural country like the United Kingdom, it is very much essential to understand each other, to know each other’s culture, belief, tradition and values.

Dr. Pasha chose once in a year to bring people of different religions, cultures, traditions and races under one roof to speak about the religion culture and belief of Muslims and their Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and that is the background of holding this Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Since the formation of the UMO, Dr. Syed Aziz Pasha, its former General Secretary, used to hold this Seminar on the Life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for the past forty years without fail. This is one item which Dr. Pasha never missed. As early as in 2009, Dr. Pasha told me in an interview: “Once I was in hospital and I asked my assistant secretary to carry on and he held the function.”

The UMO’s last Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) organised by Dr. Pasha was in 2010. After that, he could not organise the Seminar in 2011. Since November, 2010, Dr. Pasha had been off and on hospitals and home. He died in the morning of Wednesday, the 23rd of November 2011.

In the Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) organised by Dr. Pasha, among the distinguished guests, there were, besides others, Rt. Hon. Mr. John Patten, M.P. the then Minister of State, Home Office in 1989, Rt. Hon. Mr. Robin Corbett, M.P. the then Shadow Minister on Home Affairs in 1990; Rt. Hon. Mr. Jack Straw, M.P., the then Shadow Education Secretary in 1991. In 1996, nearly forty nations were represented at this celebration.

This year, in 2012, the UMO is organising again the Seminar, on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) at the same place, Churchill Hotel, on Wednesday, the 29th of February, but this time the person who never failed to hold the Seminar to convey the Message of Islam to the Muslim community as well as to the wider society was not there, I mean physically. Both the Muslim and the wider society felt the physical absence of this dedicated pious Muslim, Dr. Pasha, who started and founded this organisation to bring unity among the British Muslim community and also to foster and develop good cordial and harmonious relationship with the wider society through interfaith dialogue.

Dr. Pasha told me in an interview, the purpose of holding this Seminar every year without fail was two fold, “We organised this function every year without fail for two reasons, said Dr Pasha, one is spiritual and another is mundane; spiritual reason because the Prophet (peace be upon him) was the first of Creation. Allah created the Nur of the Prophet and then the other Creation. He gave the title Rahmatullil Alamin; Mercy of all the Creatures. He said that. Allah is Rabbul Alamin; Prophet is Rahmatullil Alamin. Then all the Prophets who subsequently came they had the same faith al-Islam which he brought. The latest Prophets - Musa (peace be upon him) and Issa (peace be upon him) - both of them had forecast the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). And they said when he comes follow him.”

Secondly, while speaking on the mundane side, Dr. Pasha mentioned, “Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) brought a system of life; a system of government and ideology which guarantees happiness on this earth and permanent felicity in the life Hereafter. Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) was the only Prophet who was given the honour of being transported bodily to witness all the seven Heavens and what happens to people after they die. The Paradise and the Hell they are realities.”

Dr. Pasha also mentioned, “The UMO, for the past 40 years, what we have tried to do is to promote unity between the Muslims and to facilitate the upbringing of Muslim children in a moral and spiritual atmosphere.”

Purpose of Holding Seminar on
The Life of Prophet (PBUH)
As the Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was the last Seminar organised by the UMO under the leadership of Dr. Pasha in 2010, I am reproducing below in his own words the purpose of holding a Seminar on the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Dr. Pasha said, “The UMO being the representative body of the British Muslims has, since its formation forty years ago, has maintained its tradition to celebrate the birthday of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) for two reasons, namely, 1. spiritual and 2. mundane. At a spiritual level ALLAH Subhanahu wa Ta’ala created the Noor (Light) of the Holy Prophet before any other Creation and designated him as the Seal of the Prophets and Mercy unto all creatures. This Noor was transmitted through all Prophets from Adam to all succeeding Prophets including Prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them all. ALLAH ordered all these Prophets and their followers to accept Islam as their religion and way of life. As our Prophet is the last in the line of Prophets, the responsibility of conveying this Message to the British people lies on the Muslims and the UMO has been performing this duty on behalf of the Muslim Ummah.”

At a mundane level, said Dr. Pasha in his press release of 2010, “The Divine Message that the Prophet brought is for the guidance of the whole of humanity guaranteeing a life of peace and tranquillity in this transient world and eternal felicity in the Life Hereafter. Historians, both Muslims and non-Muslims and Orientalists, acclaim him as the greatest benefactor of humanity. He is renowned for his mercy, compassion and magnanimity. He even forgave his enemies after the conquest of Makkah al-Mukarramah. After his emigration to Madinah al-Munawwarah, he promulgated a Charter of Madinah guaranteeing freedom of religion to minorities. In the historic Sermon delivered at the Farewell Pilgrimage he declared a Charter of Human Rights establishing the brotherhood of all mankind regardless of race, colour or ethnicity, raising the status of women to one of legal equality with men, abolishing usury to prevent exploitation of the poor by the rich and banning the consumption of intoxicants.”

Dr. Pasha said in his press release of 2010, “It has taken 1400 years of strife and suffering before the West has accepted the glorious Message of the Prophet and has adopted the United Nations Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mankind owes a debt of gratitude to the Holy Prophet for his enormous contribution which has brought enlightenment and civilisation. Islam is making steady progress in Europe and desperate attempts are being made in the media to distort the image of Islam as a religion of peace, justice and brotherhood. The whole world is watching that Muslims are not terrorists but they are victims of terrorism. The UMO for the past forty years has been encouraging Muslims to play their full role in the mainstream while retaining their religious and cultural identity.” (UMO Press Release on 2 March 2010 on the Birthday of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Picture: File Photo (from Left to Right: Rt. Hon. Councillor Alan Bradley, Lord Mayor of Westminster (locam tenens), Dr. Syed Aziz Pasha, General Secretary of UMO and Rt. Hon. Lord Sheikh of Cornhill at the celebration of the Birth of the Prophet (peace be upon him), function at Churchill Hotel, London, 16 March 2009);