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12 I ORLD NEWSW Passion Islam I March 2010
Mosque vandalism
unites Nashville faiths
The attack has prompted Nashville
Muslims to launch a discussion on
religious tolerance to raise awareness
about Islam.
“We want people to understand
what we believe,” said Rashed
Fakhruddin, board member at the
Islamic Center on 12th Avenue South,
the event organizer.
The open house event will include
a presentation on Muslim beliefs and
an interfaith panel discussion.
Local faith leaders will also discuss
the mosque vandalism and religious
Leading among attendees will be
A vandalism attack on a Tennessee Avenue, in Nashville, south Tennessee, Al-Farooq center spokesman Salaad
mosque has prompted leaders of was vandalized on Wednesday. Nur and Jewish community activist
different faiths to join hands to fight The attackers spray-painted Rev. James Thomas.
religious and racial hatred in the “Muslim go home” and several Fakhruddin said the mosque
south-eastern American state. crosses in red on the exterior of the attack has re-energized local interfaith
“As Jews, we have been subjected Muslim worship place. efforts.
to similar attacks on our synagogues An expletive and hate-filled letter The attack also showed that
and communal institutions in Nashville was also left behind at the mosque’s violence against one faith hurts the
over the years and can empathize youth center stating that Islam is the entire community, he said.
with your anguish,” Steve Edelstein, enemy and that the religion is trying to A recent survey by the Pew
executive director of the Jewish destroy the US and Israel. Research Center showed that the
Federation, writes in a letter to Muslim Police investigators are looking at majority of Americans know very little
leaders and cited by The Tennessean the attack as a possible hate crime. about Islam.
on Saturday, February 13. The incident was the first attack on A new Washington Post-ABC
Christian leaders also expressed the mosque, established in 2003. News poll also showed that more than
solidarity with Muslims, with Rev. In 2008, a mosque in Columbia, half Americans already hold negative
James “Tex” Thomas of Jefferson about 40 miles south of Nashville, views about the faith.
Street Baptist Church visiting the was destroyed by an arson fire. The Though there are no official figures,
mosque. attacker was handed a 14-year prison America is believed to be home to
Al-Farooq Mosque on Fourth sentence. nearly seven million Muslims.
Islamic finance reaches Australia
Australia’s largest bank has launched classes,” said Alfieris whose bank is Crean told the Financial Standard.
the country’s first Islamic financing the largest in Australia. Last May, Australia launched its
tool for commodity trade, joining a Westpac was recognized by the first Shari`ah-compliant real estate
booming global industry. Dow Jones Sustainability Index as the in Bahrain in an effort to lure Muslim
“We believe it is the first in most sustainable bank in the world for investors looking for opportunities in
Australia,” Emmanuel Alfieris, head five consecutive years. alternative investments and in new
of Westpac Banking Corp’s financial Government surveys show markets.
institution and trade, told Reuters. that Australia is home to 365,000 Islamic finance is one of the fastest
Shari`ah-compliant financing deals Muslims, who would use Islamic growing sectors in the global financial
resemble lease-to-own arrangements, financial services if they were more industry.
layaway plans, joint purchase and accessible. Starting almost three decades
sale agreements, or partnerships. Islam forbids Muslims from usury, ago, the Islamic banking industry has
Investors have a right to know receiving or paying interest on loans. made substantial growth and attracted
how their funds are being used, and The launch is part of Australian the attention of investors and bankers
the sector is overseen by dedicated efforts to join the increasingly-growing across the world.
supervisory boards as well as the Islamic finance industry. Currently, there are nearly 300
usual national regulatory authorities. “Islamic financing is a booming Islamic banks and financial institutions
“Depending on the success of this sector and Australia should be part worldwide whose assets are predicted
one, we are looking at other asset of the action,” Trade Minister Simon to grow to $1 trillion by 2013.
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