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Bridgetown, Barbados: Around a dozen Muslim students were among the graduates this year making that among the highest number of Muslims to graduate in one year from the Cave Hill Campus. Among this group were 3 First Class Honours in the Bachelor of Arts Degree.  Topping the list of Muslims graduating was Dr. Haajima (Hajra) Degia receiving her Doctors of Philosophy in Sociology.  Her work was on the Indo-Barbadian Identity. First of its kind for a female Muslim at the Cave Hill Campus. The other Muslims graduated in various fields including, Engineering, Social Sciences and Science.

Dr Hajra Degia after being conferred with her Doctors of Philosophy by Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies.
Close to 2,000 students graduated from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados last Saturday, making it the largest class in the past five years.  Some 1,606 at the undergraduate level, while 368 at the postgraduate level.  Additionally, 154 of the undergraduates achieved first class honours. 

The University of the West Indies has campuses at Cave Hill in Barbados, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago and Mona in Jamaica.

Firhaana Bulbulia receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree (First Class Honors)
The total student body which is approximately 24,321 is distributed amongst the Faculties of Law, Humanities & Education, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Medical Sciences at Cave Hill; Arts & Education, Medical Sciences, Social Sciences and Science & Technology at Mona; and Agriculture & Natural Sciences, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Medical Sciences and Social Sciences at St. Augustine. Story by Suleiman Bulbulia

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October 20, Georgetown: Guyana Times Online edition reports that the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG) on Sunday commissioned a newly-reconstructed Masjid and multi-complex at Meten-Meer-Zorg, West Coast Demerara.  The project was sponsored by the Zakat House of Kuwait, an international aid organisation which provided a whopping GYD $90 million (USD 450k) for the construction of the multi-complex. Zakat House was established in 2009 to support and work with new and growing charities to make the charity sector sustainable and efficient. This is done by offering affordable office space and office services and resources to support these charities.

The initiative at Meten-Meer-Zorg was undertaken to rebuild its Masjid after it was found that the previous structure could not accommodate the growing Muslim population in that community and its environs.  The facility will serve communities along the West Coast of Demerara and East Bank of Essequibo. It can accommodate approximately 500 worshippers. Additionally, it has facilities that can be used to host social and cultural events and offer training and other integral social services to the persons in those communities.

CIOG President Fazeel Ferouz said the building represents an integral step forward in community involvement. He said that “Masjid is a place for the community” as he extended gratitude to the Zakat House of Kuwait for its part in the construction of the Masjid.
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More than 120 Muslim scholars from around the world joined an open letter to the “fighters and followers” of the Islamic State, denouncing them as un-Islamic by using the most Islamic of terms.

Relying heavily on the Quran, the 18-page letter released Wednesday (Sept. 24) picks apart the extremist ideology of the militants who have left a wake of brutal death and destruction in their bid to establish a transnational Islamic state in Iraq and Syria.

Even translated into English, the letter will still sound alien to most Americans, said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, who released it in Washington with 10 other American Muslim religious and civil rights leaders.

“The letter is written in Arabic. It is using heavy classical religious texts and classical religious scholars that ISIS has used to mobilize young people to join its forces,” said Awad, using one of the acronyms for the group. “This letter is not meant for a liberal audience.”

Even mainstream Muslims, he said, may find it difficult to understand.

Awad said its aim is to offer a comprehensive Islamic refutation, “point-by-point,” to the philosophy of the Islamic State and the violence it has perpetrated. The letter’s authors include well-known religious and scholarly figures in the Muslim world, including Sheikh Shawqi Allam, the grand mufti of Egypt, and Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem and All Palestine.

A translated 24-point summary of the letter includes the following: “It is forbidden in Islam to torture”; “It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God”; and “It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslims until he (or she) openly declares disbelief.”

This is not the first time Muslim leaders have joined to condemn the Islamic State. The chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, for example, last week told the nation’s Muslims that they should speak out against the “terrorist and murderers” who fight for the Islamic State and who have dragged Islam “through the mud.”

But the Muslim leaders who endorsed Wednesday’s letter called it an unprecedented refutation of the Islamic State ideology from a collaboration of religious scholars. It is addressed to the group’s self-anointed leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and “the fighters and followers of the self-declared ‘Islamic State.’”

But the words “Islamic State” are in quotes, and the Muslim leaders who released the letter asked people to stop using the term, arguing that it plays into the group’s unfounded logic that it is protecting Muslim lands from non-Muslims and is resurrecting the caliphate — a state governed by a Muslim leader that once controlled vast swaths of the Middle East.

One of the persons who have had a lasting impact on Muslim praxis in the Caribbean especially Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname is Maulana Ansari. Here we present a biographical sketch.   Dr Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ansari (ra) was an outstanding theologian & philosopher of the Muslim World. His broad knowledge of the modern sciences together with his Islamic learning and insight enabled him to expound on Islam in a manner that was inspiring to both the masses and the intellectual elite.

An Address delivered by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Chairman of the Caricom Reparations Commission, House of Commons, Parliament of Great Britain, Thursday, July 16, 2014.

I speak this evening, in this honourable chamber of the House of Commons, as Chairman of the Caricom Commission on Reparations.

My colleagues of the Commission are tasked with the preparation and presentation of the evidentiary basis for a contemporary truth: that the Government of Great Britain, and other European states that were the beneficiaries of enrichment from the enslavement of African peoples, the genocide of indigenous communities, and the deceptive breach of contract and trust in respect of Indians and other Asians brought to the plantations under indenture, have a case to answer in respect of reparatory justice.

The case of genocide is not only in respect of our decimated native community. It is also important to recognize the genocidal aspect of chattel slavery in the Caribbean.

British slave ships brought 5.5 million enslaved Africans into their Caribbean colonies over 180 years. When slavery was abolished in 1838 they were just 800,000 persons remaining. That is, a retention/survival rate of 15%. The regime of enslavement was crafted by policies and attitudes that were clearly genocidal.
Jamaica received 1.5 million Africans. Only 300,000 remained at Emancipation (20%).
Barbados received 600,000 Africans. Only 83,000 remained at Emancipation (14%).

The Shuttered Bug

When she was 12, she got her first camcorder and discovered a world waiting to be recorded. Soon, everyone in the family expected her to be the one taking pictures, recording their gatherings. She edited her first home film then too, and has even done music videos with her cousins.

For Maryam Mohamed, filming has been a passion for exactly half her life—she’s 24—so when she finished her BSc in Sociology with a minor in Psychology, she was thrilled to begin a double major in the Faculty of Humanities at The UWI; a BA in Film Studies and Film Production.

For her dedication and application to her studies—she sounds like a model student—she was given the bpTT Student Award at the just concluded Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, a prize she is careful to point out is not for her short film, “If I could Fly,” but for her “studentship.”

“A group of students from UWI film programme was nominated for the award (based on our GPA) then we had to write an essay stating why they should select us to go to the International Rotterdam Film festival and how will this benefit us personally and professionally. The award is sponsored by bpTT and it’s an all-expense paid trip to Holland for the film festival,” she explains.

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