Friday, 8 February 2019

Muis highlights Muis Special Needs Trust Scheme

The Muis Special Needs Trust Scheme is a joint partnership between Muis and Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC) that aims to provide financial support for families who include persons with special needs.

Through this scheme, eligible families will receive support to set up a trust with SNTC, thus safeguarding the well-being and long term needs of their loved ones when there is no longer a caregiver for them.

A SNTC trust is infrastructure to ensure the loved one receives the gifts under a person's will, insurance and CPF savings nomination as anticipated and is administered by a trustee who understands special needs. This takes the traditional responsibility away from relatives or friends.

Last year, full-service law firm IRB Law recently conducted a talk on Muslim inheritance as part of on-going education from the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE). AWARE's mission is to remove all gender-based barriers, allowing individuals in Singapore to develop their potential to the fullest and realise their personal visions and hopes.

Nur Izyan and Mohammad Rizuan, both Associates at IRB Law, provided an overview of how Muslim inheritance works in Singapore in Syariah law wills and inheritance: Understanding Muslim wills &The law on Muslim inheritance.

According to IRB:
- The rules for Muslim inheritance are different from those of civil law, and apply to all Muslims living in Singapore. There are also laws specific to Singapore on inheritance where civil law takes precedence over Muslim law.

- As the laws are complex, both speakers stressed that the audience should consult a lawyer about the outcomes they hope to achieve.

- Various legal documents can be drawn up to modify the default distribution of inheritances, but there are limitations to what can be done and the documents must be prepared properly so as not to be rendered invalid. 

- The advantage of writing a will to distribute one's estate to named beneficiaries* would be to be able to choose a guardian executor and prevent potential family conflict, Rizuan noted. However, the person can only give up to a third of the estate; the rest of it is distributed by Muslim law (الفرائض, faraid). If there is no will, then all of the estate will be distributed by Muslim law.


Get eligibility criteria and application process

IRB Law cannot give advice through email but is happy to offer a free first consultation.


View the list of AWARE events

*According to this site, such beneficiaries may not include beneficiaries who already stand to inherit something under Muslim law.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Dr Raja Al Gurg publishes an autobiography

Source: Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Women are playing a vital role in shaping the UAE’s future, making the country a shining example of women empowerment, according to Dr Raja Al Gurg, MD, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group and President of the Dubai Business Women Council.

Dr Al Gurg spoke at a celebration for her new book, Raja Al Gurg: An Autobiography, which was hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The new book charts how Dr Al Gurg became one of the region’s most influential female business leaders during a transformational period for the UAE, including her career milestones and the challenges she faced along the way.

In his welcome remarks, HE Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber described the book as compelling, inspiring and honest and said it includes lessons that everyone can learn from.

“By sharing her story with the world, the book draws attention to the important role that women in the UAE are playing in government, business, and all aspects of our society,” said HE Buamim, adding that Dubai Chamber is proud to have supported the establishment of the Dubai Business Women Council. The organisation has thrived under the leadership of Dr Al Gurg, who also serves as a board member of Dubai Chamber.

Dr Al Gurg said the decision to publish the book in English came from her intention to change perceptions about women in the Middle East among international audiences. This is particularly so as her story sheds light on how women in the UAE are driving progress as leaders and making a significant contribution the country’s economy.

She added that the value and importance of education should not be underestimated as it provides younger generations with the foundation they need to build successful careers and fulfil entrepreneurial aspirations.

Her message for aspiring women entrepreneurs is that there is no substitute for hard work. She also said that dedication and ambition are crucial to succeeding in business.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Sheikh Zayed Book Award announces shortlisted titles for Literature, Literary & Art Criticism categories

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) has revealed the titles that have made the shortlist for the Literature and Literary & Art Criticism categories for the 13th edition of the award, following the Scientific Committee meeting last week.

The Literature shortlist consists of three titles out of 13 longlisted titles, while the Literary & Art Criticism shortlist consists of three out of nine titles selected in the longlist.

The shortlist for the Literature category comprises:

- Terter (ترتر, The Sequin Embroidery) by Iraqi novelist Nizar Abdelsattar, published by Nofal-Hachette Antoine, 2018.

- Ghawaso Al Ahqaf (غواصو الأحقاف, Divers of the Empty Quarter) by Saudi novelist Amal Al Faran, published by Jadawel Publishing, Translation & Distribution, 2016.

- The autobiography Al That Bayn Al Wujood Wal Eijad (الذات بين الوجود والإيجاد, The Self - between Existence and Creation) by Moroccan novelist Bensalem Himmich, published by Book Cultural Centre for Publishing & Distribution, 2018.

The shortlist for the Literary & Art Criticism category includes:

- Al Khetab Tholathy A Ab’aad: Derasat Fe Al Adab Al Mo’aser (الخطاب ثلاثي الأبعاد دراسات في الأدب العربي المعاصر, Three-dimensional Discourse in Contemporary Literature) by Syrian academic Dr Samar Al Dayyoub, published by Department of Culture – Sharjah, 2017

- Ketabat Al Qatl Fi Al Adab Al Arabi Al Qadeem (كتابة القتل في الأدب العربي القديم, Writing about Crime in Ancient Arabic Literature) by Tunisian academic Dr Amna Al Rumaili, published by Zeyneb Edition for Publishing & Distribution, 2018

- Al She’r Al ‘Arabi: Qasidat Al Nathr (الشعر العربي الحديث: قصيدة النثر, Contemporary Arabic Poetry - the prose) by Lebanese scholar Dr Charbel Dagher, published by Al Maaref Forum, 2018

The Literature category received the highest number of submissions for the sixth year in a row with 382 nominations, while the Literary & Art Criticism category received 151 nominations. The longlists for both categories were announced in November and December 2018.

Out of the 13 competing titles for Literature, the long list included three works published by Al Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah, Cairo, Egypt; three novels published by Nofal-Hachette Antoine of Beirut, Lebanon; and two titles each by Jadawel Publishing, Translation & Distribution and Dar Al Adab Printing, Publishing & Distribution

Further announcements on shortlisted titles for the remaining categories will be made in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Mastercard, CrescentRating chart halal travel trends for 2019

Source: Mastercard, CrescentRating. Cover for the Halal Travel report, 2019.
Source: Mastercard, CrescentRating.
The Mastercard-CrescentRating Halal Travel Frontier 2019 (HTF2019) Report has identified 17 trends that will shape the next phase of development in the fast growing halal travel sector.

The report analyses changes in the halal travel space, and provides insights on how these trends will impact and influence the Muslim traveller. It predicts how technology, the environment and social activism will bring about major changes in all aspects of the halal travel industry and make it easier for Muslim travellers to explore the world.

The 17 top trends include:

· The integration of augmented reality to give Muslim travellers crucial cultural insights, including eateries that are halal-certified.

· The proliferation of chatbots which are custom-designed to satisfy the cultural and religious needs of a Muslim traveller.

· A streamlined visa approval process for Muslims travelling to Mecca to perform umrah.

· Non-traditional destinations such as Japan and Taiwan will increasingly attract Muslim travellers.

Changes in the umrah visa process and the rise of new interactive technology will mean that traditional Hajj and umrah service providers will face disruption in their business models. Young Millennial Muslim travellers will now also be able to book their own do-it-yourself (DIY) umrah. This means that existing players will need to re-invent themselves and re-imagine the services they offer to stay relevant.

Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI), coupled with the increased penetration of smartphones, will also drive new trends that will redefine the Muslim travel experience – from planning to purchasing, and sharing travel adventures.

Driven by the demand for more authentic, affordable and accessible experiences, more Millennials and Gen Z travellers will book “instant noodle trips” - affordable, impromptu short trips.

In addition, heightened awareness on social causes and the rising authority of female influencers when planning trips, are also expected to result in changes in the way that Muslims travel.

The report also foresees non-OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) destinations, such as Japan and Taiwan, will dramatically change the Muslim-friendly narrative. Competition and dynamism are expected lead to innovations and developments that will benefit both destinations as well as Muslim travellers.

Finally, the report foresees the consolidation of Muslim travel service providers that will potentially result in the emergence of stronger Muslim lifestyle and travel brands.

“Being at the forefront of the Muslim travel market during the last 10 years, CrescentRating is in a unique position with access to extensive data and insights to have a holistic view of the market. We have also been able to augment these insights by the emerging Muslim traveller behaviour patterns we see on our HalalTrip website and mobile app, as well as the consumer purchasing behaviour trends observed by Mastercard.

"This has enabled us to identify key trends so that all stakeholders can prepare and benefit from the changes about to happen. We hope this motivates all players to embrace and further benefit from the growth.” said Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating and HalalTrip.

“Mastercard has been working with CrescentRating to create invaluable research insights to enhance the payments landscape, encourage cross-border commerce, and set new benchmarks for the expansion of the halal travel and tourism industry. The Halal Travel Frontier 2019 Report gives businesses, governments and other stakeholders in the travel sector an overview of the trends sweeping the fast-growing halal travel industry and how they can maximise opportunities in this fast growing travel sector,” said Safdar Khan, Division President, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, Mastercard.

The global Muslim traveller expenditure is projected to reach US$220 billion in 2020 according to the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2018. It is expected to grow a further US$80 billion to hit US$300 billion by 2026. In 2017, there were an estimated 131 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally - up from 121 million in 2016 - and this is forecast to grow to 156 million visitors by 2020, representing 10% of the global travel segment.

The top 17 trends to watch in 2019
Heightened awareness on social causes while exploring destinations

Urge for “instant noodle trips”
AI will further empower Muslim travellers

Hotel sector will stop hitting halal snooze
Halal assurance will become smarter with AR

Rising female voice in trip planning
AR will reconnect Muslim travellers with lost Islamic heritage
Destinations to encounter multiple Muslim traveller identities with common shared values

Consolidation of Muslim travel space will result in emergence of stronger Muslim lifestyle / travel brands

Decline in Muslim visitors to destinations perceived as unwelcoming
Disruption of the traditional umrah market with DIY umrahs

Human resource development to take centre stage
Deeper training immersion with VR umrahs

Rise in demand for halal advisory
Convergence of travel behaviour around mobile

Preventing halal big data chaos
Growing non-OIC wave in the Muslim travel ocean

Read the Halal Travel Frontier 2019 report

Read the Suroor Asia blog posts about the digital element in halal travel and on the Japan Muslim Travel Index 2017

Hashtag: #HTF2019 

Saturday, 26 January 2019

MIFB to emphasise halal as one of four segments

The 20th Malaysian International Food & Beverage (MIFB 2019) trade fair will provide a platform to taste the future, from new processes and technologies to industry trends, consumer needs, food safety, traceability, and sustainability.

Themed Future of Food Business, the event offers showcases under four categories:

- Food technology

- Food & Beverage (healthy and natural produce),

- Halal food, and

- Seafood and Fishery.

The halal food segment was only introduced in 2018. The time was right to do so as Malaysia is perceived as a leader in the global halal industry, with a halal ecosystem that is equipped with comprehensive and proactive policies as well as the frameworks to develop the halal industry. The organisers also noted that halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) is stringent and highly sought-after under a bilateral halal system recognition programme. Additionally, the Halal Industry Development Master Plan (HIDM) 2008 – 2020 identifies the halal industry as a new source of economic growth.

Over 600 participating companies from 50 countries will be hosted and more than 20,000 trade visitors from around the world are expected to visit the show.

Preregister before 25 June 2019 to collect an express trade visitor pass and a free show directory.


20th Malaysian International Food & Beverage Trade Fair 2019
Dates: 26-28 June 2019
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Only trade visitors aged 19 and above will be allowed entry.

There are two MIFB 2019 roadshows:


9 am – 1 pm, 25 February 2019
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia


2 pm – 6 pm, 26 February 2019
Borneo Convention Centre. Kuching, Malaysia

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

La Kopi, the coffee consumer festival, begins 25 January

Source: La Kopi. The La Kopi website logo.
Source: La Kopi.
The inaugural heritage-driven coffee consumer festival, La Kopi 2019, is designed to be a fun-filled weekend that raises awareness and appreciation of Singapore coffee and bakeries, with the support of its host, the Singapore Coffee Association.

The one-of-a-kind coffee festival will be held at Singapore Expo Hall from 25 January to 27 January 2019 and occupies 4,000 sq m with almost 70 vendors. There will be booths hailing from Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Aside from promoting a sense of belonging and togetherness, La Kopi also seeks to educate people about the origins of different coffees and the industry as a whole through events and competitions.

First Live Barista Competition @ Coffee Festival

La Kopi will be the first local coffee consumer festival to host a live barista competition sanctioned by the World Coffee Events. Skill and talent will be showcased at the annual Singapore National Barista Championship 2019 and Singapore National Brewers Cup 2019.

The 2018 Japan Aeropress Champion who will be at the show with Homeground Coffee Roasters. The Cupping Room HK @cuppingroomhk will also make an appearance.


Classic games like marbles, hopscotch, five stones will be available together with coffee cupping. There are also workshops such as block printing on tote bags with WithAutumn, silk screen printing and coffee cup silk screening.

Participants can also collect “beans” via the La Kopi app during the event to qualify for daily lucky draws and the grand lucky draw. Prizes include a return ticket to Milan, Italy worth S$3,000 and an OTO WELLNESS Massage Chair worth S$2,980.

Educational Zone 

At the Educational Zone, attendees can expect to participate in an origami dripper demo by Trunk Coffee Japan, Japan pour-over coffee demo by Hoshikuwa, Japan Coffee Cupping and Sharing, as well as a keynote session from the founder of social enterprise and cafe, The Caffeine Experience.


Opening hours:

25 January - 12 pm to 9 pm
26 January - 11 am to 9 pm
27 January - 11 am to 7 pm

Venue: Singapore Expo Hall 5B 1 Expo Dr, Singapore 486150

Monday, 21 January 2019

New academic publications about Islam coming online

A number of new academic publications are emerging to discuss Islam. Springer has the Islam in Southeast Asia series, and the Islam and Global Studies series.

The Islam in Southeast Asia series, edited by NM Adiong, I Yusuf, L Zubaidah Rahim, M Mohamad and N Hosen, publishes academic and policy research on historical and contemporary Muslim communities, both in the region and in the diaspora, and on all aspects of Islam in Southeast Asia.

Interdisciplinarity and eclectic contributions from scholars and practitioners are encouraged to facilitate a holistic approach towards the study of Islam.

The series particularly welcomes topics on:

- Islam and politics

- Islam and ethnicity

- Islam and modernity

- MENA influences in Southeast Asia

- Pre-modern and contemporary Islamic thought

- Sunni and Shia relations

- Islamic studies and area studies;

- Canonical and periphery Islam; and

- Relations between Muslims and non-Muslims across the region.

The series will include original monographs, Palgrave Pivots*, edited volumes/ collections, and handbooks.

The Islam and Global Studies series provides a platform for academic exchanges based on multidisciplinary sociopolitical theory that studies the human condition and human interaction from a global perspective. It publishes monographs and edited volumes that are multidisciplinary and theoretically-grounded and that address, in particular, non-state actors, Islamic polity, social and international justice, democracy, geopolitics and global diplomacy.

Cross-national, cross-cultural, minority and identity studies compose the building block of this series. Edited by Deina Abdelkader, Adiong, and Raffaele Mauriello, studies in this series:
- Provide comprehensive insights of the intellectual developments that have defined Islam and Muslim societies both in history and in the contemporary world;
- Delineate connections of pre-colonial Muslim experiences to their responses, adaptations and transformations toward modernity;
- Evaluate old paradigms and emerging trends that affect Muslims’ experiences in terms of political state system, democracy, secularisation, gender, radicalism, media portrayals, etc.;
- Show empirical cases of intra-Muslim and Muslim–non-Muslim relations.

Islam and International Relations is another new series. A partnership between Co-IRIS and Gerlach Press, the series editors are Adiong, Mauriello, and Abdelkader.

The series addresses the role of Islam in the study and practice of the ‘international’, in terms of both conventional relations among modern states and a broader view on interactions among humans and their societies that go beyond their locality. It aims to provide a platform for advancing research on Islam and the ‘international’ with the aim to develop and sustain a body of knowledge that addresses the theories and practices of the Islamic civilisation and of Muslim societies as regards international affairs, and hence enriches and diversifies the disciplines of international relations and geopolitics with contributions from Islamic history and thought.
Book proposals are welcomed in areas such as:

• Islamic theories of international relations
• Islam in international relations theories
• Islamic studies and international studies
• Islamic studies and area studies
• Islamic approaches to world politics
• Islam and foreign policy
• Islam and diplomacy
• Islam and geopolitics
• Islam and security studies
• Islam and post-colonial international relations
• Islam and global development studies
• Islam and international law
• Islam and international political economy
• Islam and international political sociology
• Islam and human rights
• Islam and international organisations

Source: Brill website. IJIA cover.
Source: Brill website. IJIA cover.
Co-IRIS and the three editors are also involved in The International Journal of Islam in Asia (IJIA) published by Brill. This is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles from all disciplines as well as single-country and comparative perspectives that concern Islam in Asia. 
IJIA offers a platform for scholars to engage in academic discussions about historical, contemporary, and critical studies of Islam and Muslim communities in Asia and the Asian Muslim diaspora. These include, but are not limited to, MENA-Asia relations, Islamic thought and intellectual history, intra-Muslim relations, Sufism, Islam and ethnicity, Islam and modernity, Islam and politics, Islam and the State, Islam and geopolitics, and relations between Muslims and non-Muslims across Asia.
The first issue will be published in Spring 2020.


Email book proposals for Islam in Southeast Asia to Vishal Daryanomel 

Email book proposals for Islam and International Relations to and include copies to Abdelkader, Adiong and Mauriello. Read proposal guidelines 

Send proposals for submissions to IJIA to editors-in-chief Adiong, Abdelkader and Mauriello. Proposals for special theme issues are also welcome.

The original Palgrave Pivot from publisher Palgrave enables authors to publish at lengths of between 25,000 and 50,000 words - longer than a journal article, but shorter than a monograph.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed honours Zayed Sustainability Prize 2019 winners

Source: PRNewsfoto/Zayed Sustainability Prize. The Zayed Sustainability Prize award ceremony 2019. HH Sheikh Mohamed handed the prizes to 10 winners across the categories of Health, Food, Energy, Water and Global High Schools, which was held within Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, ADSW.The ceremony was also attended by HH Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu HH Dhabi Executive Council; HH Lt General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy PM and Minister of Presidential Affairs; HH Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court; and HH Sheikh Omar bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation; Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, and a number of senior ministers and officials.

HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, UAE and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, VP, PM and Ruler of Dubai, alongside leaders and representatives from the winners' countries, have presented awards to the 10 winners of the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize.

HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed congratulated the winners and praised their efforts and valuable contribution to support sustainable development. He encouraged them to keep up the good work to find innovative and sustainable solutions to address current and future global challenges.

He also praised their creative ideas and efforts that have contributed to the economic and social development of their countries and regions.

"This year's awards mark a significant milestone in the history of the prize and the UAE. Throughout 2018, we saw the nation unite in commemoration of the UAE's Founding Father, with the Year of Zayed. The celebrations inspired the prize's evolution to recognise a wider scope of globally impactful solutions to address the world's sustainability challenges," said HH Sheikh Mohamed.

"Under the leadership of President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the legacy of Sheikh Zayed's values continues to shape our global vision for development that is sustainable and inclusive, which we will celebrate throughout 2019 as the Year of Tolerance."

"By identifying work across sectors that are the cornerstones to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the prize presents an unparallelled global platform for ideas that have the power to benefit humankind and our planet. Through the wider impact created in the areas of healthcare, food security, energy access, as well as water and sanitation, we are uniquely positioned to embolden and empower a new generation of pioneers to create exciting innovations that will change the lives of millions of underprivileged people around the world."

The 2019 prize honours leaders whose work and spirit of enterprise has resulted in working solutions across communities around the world. Organisations , including small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profits, were invited to submit existing solutions that have already demonstrated a positive impact.

In the Health category, We Care Solar received the award for its Solar Suitcase, a portable maternity device to assist with childbirth and related medical services in off-grid rural areas. The unit brings together light, fetal monitoring and communications equipment and has already helped 1.8 million people by assisting doctors, midwives and medical professionals by providing emergency obstetric care across 3,325 health facilities in Africa.

Sanku, the winner in the Food category, was recognised for its flour fortification machines that equip and incentivise small-scale, local millers to fortify their flour with nutrients using innovative technology. Sanku has currently installed 150 fortification machines in flour mills across East Africa.

In the Energy category, BBOXX, an energy solutions provider, was recognised for its plug-and-play solar device, offering users an on-grid experience in an off-grid setting. BBOXX has installed over 160,000 solar home systems across Africa, South America and the Pacific region, connecting over 675,000 people with clean, affordable energy solutions, and offsetting an approximate 87,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

ECOSOFTT, the winner in the Water category, was awarded for its decentralised community water management standard, which outlines a set of solutions for source management, water use, water recycling and discharge. It has implemented over 50 projects in five countries and provided more than 200,000 people access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

The Global High Schools category seeks to inspire young minds and encourage entries based on concepts or proposed projects they can implement with the award's prize money. The category, which was introduced in 2012, expanded this year from five to six schools, with each representing a specific world region. Participating schools submitted a project proposal that addressed one or more of the four sustainability challenges: health, food, energy or water.

The recipients of the award for the 2019 Global High Schools category were: The Impact School (Guatemala), representing The Americas; Gymnasium Goethe (Tajikistan), representing Europe & Central Asia; American School of Dubai (UAE), representing the Middle East and North Africa region; African Leadership Academy (South Africa), representing Sub-Saharan Africa; SECMOL (India), representing South Asia; and Muntinlupa National High School (The Philippines), representing East Asia & Pacific.

Chair of the Zayed Sustainability Prize jury and former President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, said, "I would like to thank the UAE leadership for their foresight, 10 years ago, in establishing such an award. Through their commitment to its ideals and goals, the Zayed Sustainability Prize's new and broadened mandate facilitates a continuation of its reach, while transforming the lives of vulnerable communities across the world.

"The prize is a significant vehicle for generating support and advocacy for the global sustainability agenda and while we congratulate the 2019 prize winners, I would also like to recognise all entrants, shortlisted candidates, and finalists - as they have all demonstrated a clear passion and dedication towards creating a more sustainable future."

Dr Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Director-General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, said, "The Zayed Sustainability Prize aligns with our Founding Father's holistic, humanitarian vision and will build on the positive impact of the precursor, the Zayed Future Energy Prize. The prize's evolution and the expansion of the categories has resulted in record interest and we are particularly energised by the extraordinary work, passion and innovation taking place around the world to identify the most impactful solutions to global challenges.

"We congratulate the winners of the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize. The prize's success relies on a collaboration between all stakeholders - from governments and industry to the ingenuity and inventiveness at the grassroots. We continue to be inspired by their creativity and enthusiasm as they pursue sustainability-led solutions to achieving the global goals."

Since the prize was awarded for the first time in 2009, winners have had a direct and indirect impact on the lives of more than 307 million people around the world and have been able to contribute significantly towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 1 billion tons. They have also saved 1.2 billion megawatts of clean energy, while expanding access to energy to 27.5 million people in some of the poorest communities in Africa and Asia.

Singapore takes action against two individuals under the Internal Security Act

The Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs has announced that Singaporean Murad bin Mohd Said (Murad), a 46-year-old freelance religious teacher, was placed on a Restriction Order* (RO) under the Internal Security Act (ISA) on 5 December 2018.

Murad’s accreditation under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) had been cancelled by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) in May 2018 for his propagation of segregationist ideologies that contravened the ARS Code of Ethics. 

A RO was issued because Murad propagated beliefs promoting violence and views detrimental to the cohesion of Singapore’s multiracial and multireligious society. He taught that it was compulsory to kill apostates, defined broadly to include non-believers, Sufis, Shi’ites, and Muslims who have renounced Islam or disregarded texts and rulings from the Quran and sunnah.

He also taught that Muslims were allowed to defend themselves by waging “armed jihad” against “infidels who persecuted them”. Murad also encouraged his students to withdraw from Singapore’s secular society, disregard secular laws and adhere to the rulings of shari'ah law instead. Even after his ARS Accreditation was cancelled, Murad continued to propagate his segregationist views online.

Murad’s binary “us versus them” worldview and violent teachings, which he propagated to his students and followers, could have led them to develop extremist views, as well as lead to inter- and intra-faith tensions. His statements on the primacy of shari'ah law over secular laws also undermine Singapore’s secular nation-state system, the ministry said.
The ministry further disclosed that Singaporean Razali bin Abas (Razali), a 56-year-old technician, was arrested under the ISA in September 2018. He was found to hold radical views concerning the use of armed violence against the perceived enemies of Islam.

Like many other radicalised individuals, Razali turned to religion after he became disillusioned with his lifestyle. Sometime in 2012, he was introduced to Murad and began attending the latter’s classes. The exclusivist religious teachings he received from the classes rendered him susceptible to the more radical and violent influences he later encountered on social media.

Over time, Razali became convinced that it was legitimate to kill those he felt were oppressors of Islam, including non-Muslims and Shi’ites. He began to seek out individuals with militant-looking profiles on Facebook, seeing them as “heroes” who were making sacrifices he could not make himself. Their posts also reinforced his belief in armed violence and his admiration and support for terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. 

Razali was issued with a RO in October 2018 to prevent him from continuing his downward spiral into extremism.

MUIS said the case reinforces the need to remain vigilant against exclusivist and extremist teachings and the importance of the mandatory ARS to ensure that Muslims receive religious guidance only from certified religious teachers.

Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, Senior Director of Religious Policy and Development in Muis said that this case is an example of individuals misrepresenting religious ideas by taking them out of context and fitting them into a radical agenda that promotes violence and killing.

For example, the Quran clearly promulgates freedom of belief and leaves it to the individual to accept the religion out of his or her own conscience. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) called others to his faith through good words and deeds, and lived alongside non-Muslims as a single community in Madinah, KSA whose rights to their own beliefs and practices were protected by the Prophet through a covenant or social contract.

"The idea that apostates or non-believers can be killed is misguided and erroneous, and has been exploited by radical groups to justify their indiscriminate killings. There must be no place for such ideas in our multireligious society in Singapore," MUIS said in a statement.

Since 2017, MUIS has developed the Code of Ethics under the ARS to guide religious teachers appropriately. MUIS also works with the authorities to ensure objectionable materials which propagate such teachings are not used in religious classes in schools. This system has ensured that the community receives religious teachings and guidance compatible with Singapore’s context.

Ustaz Pasuni Maulan, Vice Chairman of the Asatizah Recognition Board, which manages the ARS together with Muis, said he was reassured that the Board and Muis are actively monitoring and engaging religious teachers and Islamic religious schools to ensure the Code of Ethics is put into practice, and would not hesitate to remove from the scheme any teachers who violate the Code. Such individuals would not be allowed to mislead the community, as these teachings are clearly incompatible with the values of the Muslim community, who are well-adjusted to Singapore’s multiracial and multireligious society.

Such was the case with Murad bin Mohd Said, who, despite being engaged by Muis and ARB, did not change his views. He was subsequently struck off the ARS register and not allowed to conduct classes in Singapore. In spite of this, Murad persisted in propagating his teachings.

When investigations into radicalised individual Razali bin Abas showed that Razali was influenced by Murad’s segregationist teachings, the authorities deemed that the case was serious enough for him to be issued a RO under the Internal Security Act.

Dr Nazirudin noted that the case is a clear reminder to the community that we should always seek guidance and teachings only from credible religious teachers and religious schools registered under the ARS, which has robust mechanisms in place to preserve and protect the religious life of the community.

The ministry also announced that a RO issued against Singaporean Mohd Jauhari bin Abdullah (Jauhari) was allowed to lapse upon its expiry on 14 September 2018. Jauhari was a senior member of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) who was detained in September 2002 in the second phase of the Singapore JI arrests.  He was released on RO in September 2012. 

*A person issued with a RO must abide by several conditions and restrictions. For example, he is not permitted to change his residence or employment, or travel out of Singapore, without the prior approval of the Director ISD.

The individual issued with a RO also cannot issue public statements, address public meetings or print, distribute, contribute to any publication, hold office in, or be a member of any organisation, association or group without the prior approval of Director ISD.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Zee5 zeroes in on Pakistan, Bangladesh

Source: Zee5. Images for the #ShareTheLove campaign.
Three months after its soft launch across 190+ countries, digital entertainment platform ZEE5 is now focused on Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The #ShareTheLove is themed around the similarities that ZEE5 shares with Pakistan and Bangladesh in terms of culture and entertainment. Bringing in a strong bouquet of content which resonates with audiences in these markets, including Hindi and Bengali original shows like Rangbaaz, Kaali and the upcoming Sharate Aaj, original films like Aranyadeb and Tigers as well as digital premieres like Namaste England and Praktan; ZEE5 shares the love.

Amit Goenka, CEO, ZEE International and Z5 Global, said, "Indian content, especially our TV shows, movies and music gets tremendous love across the globe, and especially so from the sub-continent due to the relatability. We are glad to announce our availability in Bangladesh and Pakistan vide our new campaign #ShareTheLove and we look forward to getting a tremendous response from these markets."

"Good content transcends borders and especially so with Pakistan and Bangladesh where there is so much shared context of culture and language. This high energy TVC captures our innate similarities and showcases the content that we all love to watch, which is now available on ZEE5. With this message at its core, #ShareTheLove is sure to resonate beautifully with audiences in these markets," adds Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global.

ZEE5 offers 1,00,000 hours of Indian movies, TV shows, cine plays, music, videos and exclusive originals across 12 languages - English, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati and Punjabi. It also offers 60+ popular live TV channels.


Download the ZEE5 app from Google Play Store or the iOS App Store. ZEE5 is also available . ZEE5 is also available on Samsung Smart TV, Apple TV, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV.

Watch the TV commercials in Bangladesh and Pakistan

Friday, 11 January 2019

Heineken introduces zero-alcohol option

Stack of six-packs at a Singapore supermarket.
Stack of six-packs at a Singapore.
Heineken 0.0, an alcohol-free malt beverage brewed with a unique recipe for a distinct, balanced taste and just 69 calories per bottle (70 calories per 330ml can), was launched in the US on January 9.

Announced as far back as May 2017, Heineken 0.0 is also available in Singapore. Heineken's Master Brewers created the new zero-alcohol option using only natural ingredients.

Said Jonnie Cahill, CMO, HEINEKEN USA: "Heineken 0.0 brings an incredible beer taste to the non-alcoholic space and opens a world of opportunity for people to come together and enjoy a brew that expands drinking occasions—not limits them."

Willem van Waesberghe, Global Craft and Brew Master at HEINEKEN said creating Heineken 0.0 was the most challenging brewing process of his career. "Removing alcohol from regular 5% Heineken would have been easy, but it wouldn't deliver the same premium beer taste that Heineken is known for. Heineken 0.0 is brewed from scratch and has a perfectly balanced taste with refreshing fruity notes and soft, malty finish," he said.

The brand which has seen strong growth in the zero-alcohol segment in various markets. Heineken 0.0 is available in more than 30 markets around the world.


Watch the videos:

Now You Can: Presentation
Now You Can: Backstage
Now You Can: Parking and
Now You Can: Gas Station.

Hashtags: #NowYouCan, #Heineken00

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Iran Rising now available on audio

Source: ANU. Cover for Iran Rising.
Source: ANU. Cover for Iran Rising.
Iran Rising: The Survival and Future of the Islamic Republic, Princeton University Press (2019) paints a political picture of Iran on the 40th anniversary of the 1978–79 Iranian revolution.

At the time, Iranians overthrew their monarchy, rejecting a pro-Western shah in favour of an Islamic regime. Forty years later, Iran has emerged as a critical player in the Middle East and the wider world, as demonstrated in part by the 2015 international nuclear agreement.

In Iran Rising, Iran specialist Amin Saikal, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Public Policy Fellow, and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (the Middle East and Central Asia) at the Australian National University (ANU), describes how the country has managed to survive despite ongoing domestic struggles, Western sanctions, and other challenges.

Saikal explores Iran’s recent history, beginning with the revolution, which set in motion a number of developments, including war with Iraq, precarious relations with Arab neighbours, and hostilities with Israel and the US. He highlights the regime’s agility as it navigated a complex relationship with Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion, survived the Gulf wars, and handled the fallout from the Iraqi and Syrian crises.

Such success, Saikal says, comes from a distinctive political order, comprising both a supreme Islamic leader and an elected president and national assembly, which can fuse religious and nationalist assertiveness with pragmatic policy actions at home and abroad.

Saikal also wrote The Rise and Fall of the Shah (Princeton) and Modern Afghanistan (IB Tauris).


Listen to an extract from the audio book

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Islam in International Relations to be launched mid-January

Source: Co-IRIS website. Cover for Islam in International Relations.
Source: Co-IRIS website.
Cover for Islam in International
Islam in International Relations: Politics and Paradigms, is to be launched on 15 January 2019. The second Co-IRIS-edited volume is published under the Routledge’s Worlding beyond the West series.

Islam in International Relations: Politics and Paradigms, edited by Dr Nassef Manabilang Adiong, Dr Raffaele Mauriello, and Dr Deina Abdelkader, analyses the interaction between Islam and international relations (IR).

The volume opens with the discussion of the international thought of a major Muslim leader, followed by a chapter that addresses the ethical practice of IR, from traditional pacifism to modern Arab political philosophy. It then argues that the ethnocentric approach of Western academia has hindered readers' understanding of world affairs. The ISIS phenomenon is also addressed, as well as Islamic geopolitics.

Co-IRIS aims to explore Islamic contributions to the field of international relations. The name stands for International Relations and Islamic Studies Research Cohort.