Hong Kong Muslim group in new push for mosque as community grows

asia-china-hong-kong-skylineThe Muslim community in Hong Kong has so far amassed about HK$300,000 (US$38,200) in a drive to build a mosque project that has been held up for over a decade.

“We are slowly but surely accumulating the amount we need,” she said.

The association sought to collect HK$10 million (US$1.27 million) within this year, the figure needed to initiate construction in Sheung Shui, in the New Territories, where the local Muslim population has been growing and no mosque exists.

“With the influx of migrants and more Muslims in Hong Kong, it is really necessary to have a place of gathering not only for religious reasons but also for social reasons,” Castro said. “We are a service-orientated organisation. We have schools, elderly homes … services that the Muslim community in Hong Kong has long been involved in. This is why this project is important. It’s not only a mosque but also a social centre.”

There are an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 Muslims in the city. Many hail from countries such as Pakistan, India and Malaysia, with domestic workers from Indonesiarepresenting a large portion. Ethnic Chinese Muslims are believed to account for about 40,000.

Hong Kong currently has five permanent mosques and a temporary one, along with dozens of madrassas – Islamic learning centres – spread across the city. The lack of proper spaces has led many Muslims to pray in makeshift mosques.

The idea of the Sheung Shui project emerged in the 1990s. The association in 2006 bought a plot of land from the government for HK$9.8 million (US$1.24 million), and was expected to complete the project by 2011.

However, the mosque ended up never getting off the ground due to a lack of funding and struggles within the association. Meanwhile, local officials have imposed high fines on the group for not building the project within the agreed time.

Saudi Arabia in 2009 pledged to finance its construction. But about two years ago, the country claimed it could not support the project after a fall in global oil prices.



Muslims Debate First Mixed-Gender Mosque in France

dwfmnsgw0aaoravKahina Bahloul, a Muslim woman who was born for an Algerian father and a French mother, has established an association for Muslims in France and it is called: “Tell Me About Islam.” The association aims to discuss controversial debates that are not discussed among Muslims.

Bahloul was the first to suggest the idea of a mixed-gender mosque in France where is doing her PhD on Islamic studies.

In an interview with French Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, Bahloul said the mosque is going to be named “Fatima Mosque” and it is the first of its kind in France.


Translation: “A mixed-gender mosque in Paris where women are not covering their heads.. French newspaper, Le Monde revealed proposals to establish a “liberal and mixed-gender” mosque in Paris where it gathers Muslim men and women who feel current mosques in France do not represent them.”

Bahloul also confirmed the mosque idea was first inspired by the “discrimination” Muslim women are facing when praying in mosques where they are seperated in a different room than men. However, Muslim women should not be any less than men when performing religious rituals.

Accordingly, the proposed project will also emphasize other interpretations of Quran to reflect more intolerant and less radical image about Islam in the world.

The mosque will not be mixed-gender only, but it will also welcome non-hijabi women to pray without covering their heads despite all criticism this idea had received.

Between supporters and critics, Bahloul’s idea had stirred wide controversy among the Muslim world.

Many had fiercely criticized it suggesting it breaks Islamic taboos and this is only part of a “conspiracy theory” that is targeting Islam and Muslims.


London mosque to honor Muslims who rescued Jews in the Holocaust


JTA — A mosque that opened recently amid protests in a heavily Jewish part of London announced plans to host an exhibition celebrating Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Golders Green Mosque is set to feature the exhibition prepared by the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel at the beginning of the new year, The Jewish News of London reported Thursday.



Mitzvah Day: Jews and Muslims come together to cook chicken soup

Traditional Jewish dish is prepared at East London mosque on day of social action.

 Jewish and Muslim volunteers prepare the soup for distribution to homeless centres. Photograph: Yakir Zur

It is a beloved Jewish dish, served at Shabbat dinners to family and friends and reputed to have powerful medicinal properties. It is not normally cooked or served in a mosque.

But on Sunday, vast quantities of chicken soup – often known as “Jewish penicillin” – were being made at the East London mosque by Jewish and Muslim volunteers to be distributed to homeless centres.

Mounds of carrots, garlic, onions and celery were peeled and chopped on long benches by Muslim scouts, volunteers from Muslim Aid, members of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organisation and the New Stoke Newington Shul.

Tahir Iqbal, events director of Elite Caterers, was in charge of preparing 90 halal chickens for the pot. His company, which caters for Asian weddings and corporate events, donated the ingredients, equipment and transport for the cookathon.

“This is a new experience for us. I’ve never made Jewish chicken soup before, but I’ve been practising for two weeks, including on my family,” he said. The nearest Asian equivalent was chicken yakhni, a spicy broth, he added.


D’Amato: Doing Islam differently: Mosque fully includes women, gay people

B88374925Z.1_20180920205032_000_GTFB5BSD.2-0_Super_Portrait.jpgAt this mosque, women worship in the same room as the men. They lead prayers and give sermons.

They are not forced to watch the service on television in a different room.

At this mosque, gay people are welcomed.

And there’s no dress code. You can cover your head or not, as you see fit.

This mosque, based in Kitchener-Waterloo, does Islam differently.

“We reject a patriarchal system,” says Fran Pappert-Shannon of Waterloo, who co-founded the mosque two years ago, and co-ordinates its activities.

“We are egalitarian, without a patriarchal hierarchy. and we believe in the concepts of shared authority.”

All of this is very unusual for the religion, as it is often practised in North America.

And so, in order to write about the K-W El-Tawhid Juma Circle, I had to agree not to publish its location.

Some members of the congregation, who are gay and haven’t come out yet, were uneasy about having a journalist around, so I couldn’t observe the service.




A lost city thought to be more than 1,000 years old has been discovered in Ethiopia and may offer insight into Islam’s origins in the country.

The settlement, located near Ethiopia’s second largest city of Dire Dawa, in the east of the country, consisted of buildings constructed with large stone blocks, which gave rise to a local myth that giants lived there. Researchers believe it may date back as early as the 10th century.

Archaeologists discovered a 12th-century mosque in the settlement at Harlaa, as well as evidence of Islamic burials and headstones. The team, from the University of Exeter and the Ethiopian Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, also found artifacts from as far afield as India and China, suggesting that the region functioned as a hub for foreign traders.

Prophet Muhammad died in the mid-seventh century, and Islam is thought to have spread to the East African coastline sometime in the eighth century. But an earlier tradition holds that the Prophet Muhammad sent some of his first followers to Abyssinia—modern day Ethiopia—in the early seventh century.


Eid al Adha 2018 quotes: What do Muslims say and do on each day of Eid to mark festival?


Islam has its most important holiday of Eid al Adha spread over the next four days and the one billion strong Muslim population is ready to celebrate.

The extended period of Eid officially runs from August 21 to August 25, giving Muslims time to engage in ritual and finery.

Different from the previous Eid al Fitr, the holier Eid is a celebration is one of feasting rather than fasting.

Over the four day period of Eid Muslims will engage in a variety of activities to celebrate, but what will they be?

What do Muslims do on each day of Eid?

Like most religious holidays, Eid al Adha is a time for prayer and the period is opened with an important one.

The congregational prayer is the traditional practice reserved specifically for Eid and is performed in unison as Muslims gather in a Mosque.

Led by an Imam, the congregational prayer opens the period of celebration and is often performed in an open field.

Men, women and children are all encouraged to take part but menstruating women are not.