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COLOGNE, Germany (AFP) — German police said tens of thousands of Cologne residents took to the streets Saturday in protest at an “anti-Islamisation” conference of European far-right leaders.

Carrying banners saying: “We are Cologne — Get rid of the Nazis!,” protesters gathered outside the city’s cathedral to demonstrate against the congress organised by the local far-right group Pro-Koeln (For Cologne).

Pro-Koeln began two days of seminars Friday during which speakers denounced an influx of Muslims to Germany and the construction of one of Europe’s largest mosques in the city.

Earlier Saturday, police banned a rally organised by far-right adherents in Cologne just as it was about to begin, following clashes with thousands of opponents.

Some 3,000 police, drafted in to control the protests and seal off part of the old city, used truncheons and water hoses to fend off violent “anti-fascist” leftist activists.

“It is a dictatorship!” said a Pro-Koeln member of the decision to ban the far-right rally.

Andreas Molzer, a member of the European Parliament and an Austrian far-right group who attended the congress, called the ban an “anti-democratic scandal.”

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Seattle Times religion reporter

The ads are simple and stark.

Running on the sides of several Metro buses, they merely say: “Q: Islam. A: You deserve to know,” with a phone number and Web site.

For Bilal Aijazi, a Bellevue software developer, the ads are meant to stir conversation and steer people toward information on Islam.

As a Muslim, Aijazi sometimes fields questions about his faith. Especially during Ramadan, which began about two weeks ago, people ask Aijazi why Muslims fast during this Islamic holy month.

Then there are the questions he gets other times of the year: Why some women wear head scarves; whether Muslims condone terrorism.

“We feel often Muslims don’t have a voice,” said Aijazi, one of about six people who helped coordinate the local effort to get the ads onto the outside of six Metro buses and the inside of about 25. About 10 local Muslims contributed to the nearly $5,000 campaign.

“This is just a way to present the community with a source of information about Islam that comes from Muslims themselves,” he said.

The ads, scheduled to run until November, were designed by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and direct people to a toll-free number and Web site sponsored by the group. ICNA is a New York-based nonprofit that seeks to educate people about Islam and has 22 U.S. chapters in the U.S.

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By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:55AM BST 16 Sep 2008

Five sharia courts have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester and Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The government has quietly sanctioned that their rulings are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court. Previously, the rulings were not binding and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

Lawyers have issued grave warnings about the dangers of a dual legal system and the disclosure drew criticism from Opposition leaders.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said: “If it is true that these tribunals are passing binding decisions in the areas of family and criminal law, I would like to know which courts are enforcing them because I would consider such action unlawful. British law is absolute and must remain so.”

Douglas Murray, the director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, added: “I think it’s appalling. I don’t think arbitration that is done by sharia should ever be endorsed or enforced by the British state.”

Muslim tribunal courts started passing sharia judgments in August 2007. They have dealt with more than 100 cases that range from Muslim divorce and inheritance to nuisance neighbours.

It has also emerged that tribunal courts have settled six cases of domestic violence between married couples, working in tandem with the police investigations.

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By Ghassan Barqawi

Buying a home is a major dream for almost every family. However, it is a decision that goes well beyond finances. You want your home to reflect your values and your lifestyle. The biggest advantage to owning a house over renting an apartment is that your house belongs to you. It’s your home, and that’s a pretty big achievement in itself. This is why when a person is ready to buy a house, emotion can often get in the way of effective decision making. Not only can it hinder sound financial planning, but it can lead one into major sins. This CD Set is a guide to know what Islamic Finance really is, how one can understand the different terms used by various Islamic financial institutes, and how to make the best decision for your family in this life as well as the next. Shiekh Ghassan had the honor to study under the late scholar of Yemen, Shiekh Muqbil bin Haadi al-Waadi’ee, and earned an Ijaazah in Hadith from him. He has a Masters degree in Business and is an advisor who is able to give guidance in the field of Finance. He is also the founder of the Islamic Institution of Islamic Studies of Columbia, South Carolina. At present he is the Imam of the Islamic Center of Mobile, Alabama.

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Geneva, 10 September 2008. The first beam in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN1 was successfully steered around the full 27 kilometres of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator at 10h28 this morning. This historic event marks a key moment in the transition from over two decades of preparation to a new era of scientific discovery.

“It’s a fantastic moment,” said LHC project leader Lyn Evans, “we can now look forward to a new era of understanding about the origins and evolution of the universe.” (huh)

Starting up a major new particle accelerator takes much more than flipping a switch. Thousands of individual elements have to work in harmony, timings have to be synchronized to under a billionth of a second, and beams finer than a human hair have to be brought into head-on collision. Today’s success puts a tick next to the first of those steps, and over the next few weeks, as the LHC’s operators gain experience and confidence with the new machine, the machine’s acceleration systems will be brought into play, and the beams will be brought into collision to allow the research programme to begin.

Once colliding beams have been established, there will be a period of measurement and calibration for the LHC’s four major experiments, and new results could start to appear in around a year. Experiments at the LHC will allow physicists to complete a journey that started with Newton’s description of gravity. Gravity acts on mass, but so far science is unable to explain the mechanism that generates mass. Experiments at the LHC will provide the answer (oh, really :D). LHC experiments will also try to probe the mysterious dark matter of the universe – visible matter seems to account for just 5% of what must exist, while about a quarter is believed to be dark matter. They will investigate the reason for nature’s preference for matter over antimatter, and they will probe matter as it existed at the very beginning of time.

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DUSHANBE, September 8

The Times of Central Asia

Addressing a meeting dedicated to the 17th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Independence, President Emomali Rahmon announced that the year of 2009 will be Year of Imama Azam in Tajikistan.

The president noted that separation of Islam from Tajik national culture and separation of Tajik national culture from Islam is erroneous.

The Tajik head of state noted that 1,310 birthday anniversary of Al-Imam al-A’zam, “The Greatest Imam” Nu’man bin Thabit bin Zuta bin Mahan, better known by his kunya as Abu Ḥanīfah, who was the founder of the Sunni Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence.

Al-Imam al-A’zam, “The Greatest Imam” Nu’man bin Thabit bin Zuta bin Mahan, better known by his kunya as Abu Ḥanīfah, (699 — 767 CE / 80 — 148 AH) was the founder of the Sunni Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence.

Abu Hanifa was also one of the Tabi’een, the generation after the Sahaba, because he saw the Sahabi Anas ibn Malik, and transmitted hadiths from him and other Sahaba.

Abu Hanifa (699 — 767 CE / 80 — 148 AH) was born in Kufa, Iraq during the reign of the powerful Umayyad capilph Abdul Malik bin Marwan.  Acclaimed as Al-Imam al-A’zam, or Al-A’dham (the Great Imam), Nu’man bin Thabit bin Zuta bin Mah was better known by his kunya Abu Hanifa. It was not a true kunya, as he did not have a son called Hanifa, but an epithetical one meaning pure in monotheistic belief. His father, Thabit bin Zuta, a trader from Kabul, part of Khorasan in Persia, (the capital of modern day Afghanistan),was 40 years old at the time of Abu Hanifa’s birth.

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