Brussels Islamic Center
Brussels: The Islamic
Cultural Center here was started way back in 1963 by diplomats representing
Islamic countries in Belgium, when a small place in one of the localities of
the city was rented for the purpose.
When in 1967 King Faisal of
Saudi Arabi visited Belgium, King Baudouin I of Belgium presented him with
the Orient House, which was being used as a museum, and was situated in one
of Brussels’ posh areas, and only a few meters away from the headquarters of
the European Common Market. The aim was that it should be used as a mosque
and Islamic cultural center.
In 1968, King Faisal decided
that a proper Islamic Cultural Center should be built so that it becomes one
of the prominent Islamic landmarks in Europe, and in the same year the
Belgian Government decided to recognize the center as representative of the
Muslims in the country.
In 1974, the Belgian
Government officially recognized Islam as one of the religions in the
country, and later decreed that Islamic Studies should be incorporated in
the curricula of the formal schools for Muslim students.
In 1978, King Khalid of Saudi
Arabia, in the presence of King Baudouin of Belgium, officially inaugurated
the centre, and in 1982 the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) decided
to undertake the running of the centre and initiated a special budget for
its running expenses. By 1983, it had developed into the Islamic Cultural
Center, and since then it has come a long way. The center holds regular
lectures and prayers, and also organizes seminars and conferences, and tries
to solve the social and domestic problems of Muslims when they crop up from
time to time.
In the educational sector,
the center has set up a number of schools and classes for teaching Islamic
Studies and the Arabic language, at various stages, and special classes are
held for inducting new Muslims every Saturday, while classes for women are
held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Apart from its regular newsletter,
the Islamic Cultural Center has its own broadcasting station known as ‘Islam
Radio’, and a social club for the Muslim youths. It also has its own website
on the Internet. The center also extends financial assistance to the poor
among the Muslim community, and also sent its representatives to visit
prisons, hospitals, and other areas, with the aim of assessing their
problems and helping as far as is possible. The center also solemnizes
Islamic marriages, and generally cares for the welfare and well-being of the
Muslim families in Belgium, and tries to solve any social or domestic
problems as and when they arise.
Muslims of Bermuda
Hamilton: Islamic activity
started in Bermuda with the arrival of Black Muslims, working for American
companies, who then bought a building and converted it into what became
known as the Muhammady Mosque. There are now between 500-800 Muslims in the
island that has a population of 62,472, according to the 1999 statistics.
The four-storey Muhammady
Mosque has a school, known as the Clara Muhammad Islamic School. Another new
mosque would be built next to it. The present mosque is patronized by the
working class, mostly from Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
Muslim Community of Thailand
Bangkok: Muslims in Thailand
now account for over 10 percent of the total population of 61,661,701, with
most of them living in the Fatani Region, a region that had in yesteryears
been as an independent kingdom ruled over by sultans. It was only at the
beginning of the 20th century that it formed part of Thailand.
However, the Muslims of
Fatani still apply the Islamic Sharī‘ah in matters regarding personal law,
such as marriage, inheritance, and the like, and the government has created
a separate section for this in the law courts, and this has become
applicable in all of the country’s regions where there are concentrations of
Dr. Ismail Lutfy, head of the
Islamic College in Thailand, has said that the Fatani youths who graduate
from the universities of the country are closely concerned also with their
Islamic identity, and have formed an organization with the specific
objective of spreading the message of Islam in the country, and also
enlightening Muslims about various matters regarding their faith.
As a result, many non-Muslim
Thais have also taken interest in Islam and seek to find out more about it.
In this connection the Islamic organizations in Fatani have taken the
responsibility of printing and distributing sizeable quantities of Islamic
literature, in addition to recorded audio and video cassettes.
Courtesy: Da‘wah Highlight,
Vol. XIII, Issue 3