Posts Tagged ‘Muhammad’

It is imperative to point out that the growth of Islam is not only attributed to high birth rates but due to conversions as well. A case in point is that in America alone, according to St. Petersburg Times, “Every year, about 20,000 people in the United States convert to Islam, in addition to those who convert in prison . . . of these converts, there are more women than men, the majority of them young and unmarried . . .”[1]The NBC News has also reported the same yearly figure of converts. According to New York Times, “An estimated 25 percent of American Muslims are converts.”[2]And this is bloodcurdling figure.

Let’s take Europe, for instance, as a case study. We will witness sources asserting that Islam will become a dominant religion in Europe. According to The Washington Quarterly:

. . . Muslims will comprise at least 20 percent of Europe’s population by 2050. Some even predict that one-fourth of France’s population could be Muslim by 2025 and that, if trends continue, Muslims could outnumber non-Muslims in France and perhaps in all of western Europe by mid-century.[3]

Patrick Buchanan is an American political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician and broadcaster. He had also served as a senior advisor to President Richard Nixon, President Gerald Ford, and President Ronald Reagan.  In a speech delivered on 7 December 2001, Buchanan said: “Don’t count Islam out. It is the fastest growing faith in Europe and has surpassed Catholicism worldwide. And as Christianity expires in the West and the churches empty out, the mosques are going up.”[4]A 1999 United Nations’ survey showed that between 1989 and 1998, Europe’s Muslim population grew by more than 100 percent.[5]Currently, Muslims comprise of about 10 % of Europe’s population while others predict that Muslims will make up 10% of Europe’s population by 2025.[6]Funny enough, Amsterdam and Rotterdam are expected to be the first large majority-Muslim cities in about 2015.[7]In an article entitled “In Europe, skylines reflect the rise of Islam” which appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Isabelle de Pommereau states: “Across Europe, the Continent’s fastest-growing religion (i.e. Islam) is establishing its public presence after decades in basements and courtyards, changing not only the architectural look of cities, but also their social fabrics.”[8]  Discussing the major trends reshaping the global context, William Van Wishard illustrates that “the Catholic Church is facing the distinct possibility that in coming years, Islam will be the largest European faith.”[9] There are three major factors that are and will be making Europe become a Muslim majority continent: 1) Immigration; 2) Muslim High birth rate; and 3) conversions to Islam.

We are interested with the third factor because it is conversions to Islam that will hasten Bernard Lewis’* famous prediction that Europe will be Islamic by century’s end.[10]In 2005, The Christian Science Monitor stated: “Although there are no precise figures, observers who monitor Europe’s Muslim population estimate that several thousand men and women convert each year.”[11] The Muslims already in Europe will also convert the non-Muslim Europeans to Islam. Either the Muslims will directly engage in proselytizing efforts to win European souls or the Europeans will just convert due to “I converted to Islam because I was impressed by the behaviors of Muslims” argument or the European will convert to Islam to marry a Muslim. Perhaps, this (conversion) factor was inclusive in the Gadhafi speech: “We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe – without swords, without guns, without conquests. The 50 million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.”[12]

In Europe, Islam is the second largest religion.[13]From life experiences, even from school performances, we know that a student who used to get D grade can move to C grade then B grade. With continual hard work and determination, the student can attain grade A.  Hence, it won’t be mysterious for Islam to surpass Christianity (and all other religions) in Europe. If Islam is currently the second largest religion in Europe, chances are that it is going to be the largest religion in Europe. In an interview, Ingmar Karlsson, Sweden’s consul general in İstanbul, who is a Doctor of Divinity honoris causa at Lund University and a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Växjö and the author of more than 10 books, has acknowledged Islam as a “domestic” European religion. He said in an interview: “When I grew up in Sweden after World War II, there were three Muslims in the country, three! . . .  Now, Muslims make up 5 to 6 percent of Sweden’s population. And as this number continues to rise, everyone will realize that Islam is and will be a European religion.”[14]  The Sweden’s consul general was distressed by those who don’t understand the dynamics of Islam in Europe, “People are ignorant about the religion of Islam. People don’t understand that Islam today is a European religion . . .”[15]  He said in the interview.

According to Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent Evan Osnos: “For Europe . . . the question is not which civilization, Western or Islamic, will prevail, but which of Islam’s many strands will dominate.”[16]  Some might anticipate the following as the product of a Muslim-majority Europe: Europe will have more of mosques and minarets than churches and cathedrals; Adhan, call to prayer will echo from Paris to Rotterdam to Brussels and London; bearded men and hijab-wearing women flooding the streets; Muslim head’s of state throughout the Europeans governments; Christians lobbying for minority rights; freedom of expression compromised; Sharia law implemented . . . .

{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}
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FOOTNOTES

[1]. Wiener, Jocelyn (Times Staff Writer). “Young, Female and Muslim.” St. Petersburg Times 7 Oct. 2002.

[2]. Elliott, Andrea. “Muslim Converts Face Discrimination.” New York Times 30 April 2005.

[3]. Savage, Timothy M. “Europe and Islam: Crescent Waxing, Cultures Clashing.” The Washington Quarterly Summer 2004. p. 28.

[4]. Buchanan, Patrick J. “Coming Clash of Civilizations? theamericancause.org. 7 Dec. 2001. <http://www.theamericancause.org/patcomingclashprint.htm.&gt;

[5]. Allen Jr., John L. “Europe’s Muslims Worry Bishops.” National Catholic Reporter 22 Oct. 1999.

[6]. “The Integration Of Muslims In Europe.” Oxford Analytica 24 Feb. 2009. <http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/23/france-uk-muslims-business_oxford.htmllast&gt; retrieved 29 April 2009.

[7]. Pipes, Daniel. “Europe or Eurabia?” Australian 15 April 2008.

[8]. Isabelle de Pommereau. “In Europe, skylines reflect the rise of Islam.” The Christian Science Monitor 26 July 2007.

[9]. Van Wishard, William. “Major Trends Reshaping the Global Context.” worldtrendsresearch.com <http://www.worldtrendsresearch.com/major-trends.php&gt; Retrieved 12/09/2009.

* Bernard Lewis is a British-American historian, Orientalist, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and the recipient of AEI’s Irving Kristol Award for 2007. He made his prediction in 2004 that Europe would be Islamic by the end of the century. See Hundley, Tom.  “Article of Faith for Some: Europe Going Muslim.” Chicago Tribune 25 June 2006.

[10]. Lewis, Bernard. “Europe and Islam.” American Enterprise Institute. 7 March 2007 (AEI Annual Dinner, Irving Kristol Lecture :Washington).  Also see Machlis, David and Tovah Lazaroff. “Muslims about to take over Europe.” The Jerusalem Post 29 Jan. 2007.

[11]. Ford, Peter. “Why European Women Are Turning to Islam.” The Christian Science Monitor 27 Dec. 2005.

[12]. Edwards, Ruth Dudley. “Will Britain one day be Muslim?” The Daily Mail 5 May 2007. Also see: Al Jazeera television. 10 April 2006.

[13]. Esposito, John L. “Introduction John L. Esposito.”In The Oxford History of Islam. Ed. John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. 11 March 2009. Also see: “Observing Islam.” Online newshour. pbs.org. 16 Nov. 2001.<http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/religion/july-dec01/islam_11-16.html&gt;

[14]. “Islam is and will be a European religion.” Today’s Zaman 12 March 2007.

[15]. “Islam is and will be a European religion.” Today’s Zaman 12 March 2007.

[16]. Osnos, Evan. “Islam shaping a new Europe.” Chicago Tribune 19 Dec. 2004.

“I found it hard believing that Jesus did not die on the cross”

~ Balqis’ perception after reading Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction! by Ahmed Deedat

Either the sky or the heaven was the limit for Caroline Chelang’at Chepkwony. She was a brilliant student always topping in her primary school. Her father wanted her to become a doctor but a white man, a friend to Mr. Chepkwony (her father) suggested that Caroline pursue Actuarial Science. They heeded the advice.  It is only the top scorers nationwide that are eligible for places in the very few highly selective national government-supported secondary schools in Kenya and Caroline Chelang’at was one of the students selected. She chose Alliance Girls High School. A school reputed as a high-standard institution of secondary learning in Kenya, often attracting news coverage on radio, television, and newspaper. Students at Alliance Girls High School often refer to their school as “Bush” and the students as “Busherians.” Most likely the informal name was because of the dense vegetation that used to surround the school. It is by no way related to the former President of America who was missed by a shoe. The school has consistently excelled in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations, frequently earning the position of top 10 best schools in Kenya.

After scoring KCSE score an aggregate A-, with plain A’s in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science and Geography, Caroline automatically qualified for a place in the state-supported universities. University of Nairobi (UoN), the largest university in Kenya, enrolled her in the department of mathematics to undertake a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Sciences. University of Nairobi was the only University in Kenya offering Bachelor of Science (Actuarial Science). Back then in 2002, University of Nairobi was taking only 16 government-selected students nationwide and Chelang’at was one of those who qualified.

In the second year of her academic study, the then Caroline Chelang’at met Salim, a BA student at the University of Nairobi. Salim’s priority list of conversation included religion. He provoked Chelang’at’s mind regarding her belief systems. Salim invited her to do research on religion and Caroline listened to him. Without much ado, Salim handed her some thought-provoking literatures on comparative religion and a list of websites that scrutinize religions in the light of reason and intellect.

Among the books Caroline read are the works of the great Muslim scholar Ahmed Deedat such as:

►Is the Bible the word of God?

►Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction!

►Resurrection or resuscitation?

►What was the sign of Jonah?

►Who moved the Stone?

►Qur’an Miracle of Miracles

►What the Bible says about Muhammad (pbuh)?

►Christ in Islam

►Combat kit

Ahmed Deedat’s books wrecked her Christianity and Caroline was left with only one choice; to convert to Islam. That was 14 April 2005 at the age of 22 when Caroline made the decision to embrace Islam and traded her Christian first name for a Muslim one, while retaining her Kalenjin names. She had become Balqis Chelang’at Chepkwony. Before her conversion, her mind had been full of negative ideas about Islam and Muslims. “I used to perceive Muslims as weird, disillusioned people who believe in a dead Prophet,” she said. Other books she read before her conversion, included Let the Bible Speak by Abdul Rahman Dimashkiah, Oneness of God: The Ultimate Solution to the Trinitarian Controversy by Marmarinta Umar P. Mababaya and The Pillars of Faith by Jaafar Shaikh Idris. Furthermore, Balqis had watched Ahmed Deedat debating prominent Christian theologians. Remarkably, after her conversion, she took a month and a half to memorize Juzuu Amma, one part (Juzuu) of the Qur’an (i.e 1/30 of the entire Qur’an). Despite her busy program doing her final years’ project, Balqis managed to memorize the 1/30 of the entire Qur’an. This may be equivalent of memorizing the entire Gospel of Mathew, word after word! Kenya’s largest mosque, Jamia Mosque has a department for Reverts where classes are organized to teach the new Muslims about Islam. Immediately after her reversion, Balqis grabbed the chance and graduated from the Reverts Program at the Jamia Institute.

Balqis took Qur’anic teachings seriously, in compliance with the verse, “. . . take the Scripture [i.e., adhere to it] with determination.” [Q 19:12]. After she graduated from the University of Nairobi in 2006, like any other graduate, Balqis ventured into job searching expedition. Her family and friends also helped in hooking her up with lucrative job positions. Her father working as a Chief Accountant at Moi University would definitely have a myriad of business connections with people from different other institutions and Companies. This would be enough leverage to get Balqis a job. With Actuarial Science, Balqis had a 100% chance of being recruited by Insurance Companies* and Banks. In fact, she got many companies willing to hire her at a starting salary of Kshs 40 000 (about 520 $). Despite being financially crippled, Balqis turned down the offers just because the insurance companies and Banking companies were illegal according to Islamic Sharia. “She must be fanatically crazy,” her friends and relatives wondered. But to her, it was unethical to work in an interest-based company while defying God’s words: “Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest.” [Q 2:275]. She had strong hope that by leaving something for the sake of God, God would compensate her with something even better than what she left. She took the words of Prophet Muhammad very seriously: “You will never give up anything for the sake of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, but Allah will give you something better than it in its stead.”[1]Balqis was consoled by Islamic teachings which gave her enormous hope and strength. She was putting the following saying of Prophet Muhammad into practice: “O people, fear Allah and be moderate in seeking a living, for no soul will die until it has received all its provision, even if it is slow in coming. So fear Allah and be moderate in seeking provision; take that which is permissible and leave that which is forbidden.”[2]

Instead, Balqis took up a job in an Auditing firm along Mombasa Road which paid her Kshs 10 000 (about 130$) per month. From the salary she was to spend Kshs 2500 (about 32$) to pay rent to her Guantanamo-looking-like room in Eastleigh, a suburb of Nairobi City. The room she rented was around 2.5 by 1.5 square meters, too small to accommodate a bed. She just had a mattress which was suspended to the window during the day to pave way to a sitting room and at night the mattress was spread to the ground for the place to be transformed to a bedroom. Her monthly transport expenses to her place of work was Kshs 3 000 (about 40$) and her food cost per month was around Kshs 3 000 (about 40$). Putting aside other expenses like medical, the Kshs 10 000 (about 130$) salary was not enough but Balqis persevered.

After one month she got another job as a Bursar at WAMY High School earning Kshs 20 000 (about 260$). She worked with the High School for two months before God’s promise started to materialize. She received an unexpected call. “Is this Chelang’at . . .” the caller asked, “could you please avail yourself for a job interview at our offices.” She had got a good job at Nairobi based Hass Petroleum Company as an accountant. Hass Petroleum is the regional oil Marketing company that has fully fledged operations in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region and is rapidly expanding its activities to other areas. Balqis calls the company a great blessing from Allah for it is the only company in Kenya that does not only separate women’s offices from men’s but also women are allowed to wear their Islamic attires including niqab (face veil). In addition, the company has a reserved place for prayers and at the stipulated Islamic prayer times the employees are allowed to pause their work for prayers. Her starting Salary was double what she was earning from WAMY high School. Moreover, the company has given her an interest-free loan to which she intended to buy land in Nairobi. Currently, the figures in her paying slip is not less than Kshs 80 000 (about 1039$). She now understands that whoever leaves something for the sake of Allah will surely be rewarded with something far better. She left interest-based jobs for the sake of God and now she is working with an Islamic friendly Company. Indeed, this lady had the audacity to go to Heaven by becoming God-conscious in denouncing the forbidden businesses. Ibn Masood, a great scholar and disciple of Prophet Muhammad, defined Piety in these terms: “. . . to obey God and never disobey Him, to remember Him and not forget Him, to thank Him and never be ungrateful to Him.”

At this point, it is vital to digress from her story to remind ourselves that all our needs are broadly categorized as something good you are looking for or something bad you fight against.  One solution for the two needs is provided in the two different verses of the Qur’an. If you are working hard to run away from misfortunes/harms e.g. diseases, joblessness, bad boss, distress, insecurity . . . God says: “And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out.” [Q 65:2]. A way out of your hardships and adversities, a way out of your fears, a way out of your worries, way out of bankruptcy, unemployment, damage to reputation in the market, natural disaster, technical failure, business failure, ill-health, poverty, and most importantly a way out of Afterlife punishment.

The Go-getters will find the path to achieve their dreams so easy if they are God-conscious. The things you want to possess such as a good job, good house, a dream car, outstanding spouse, riches, anything you want it is easily achievable with the help of piety. The Qur’an reveals: “And for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.” [Q65:4]. Even your path to Paradise would be made easier. And that is the greatest success.

Success is therefore determined by the level of God-consciousness. All your dreams will be easily achieved if you have piety and at the same time, with piety, God will make a way out of all the misfortunes and worries that harbors your mind. To build the bridge between success and you, piety must be observed. To be pious means that you must search for the true religion/revelation, know the do’s and don’ts of God and keep up to them. There are others who become ‘successful’ without being pious. This transient earth-based fleeting ‘success’ will avail them not in the hereafter. Their abode will be hell. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” [Mark 8:36].

Balqis is now married, and adding to her stock of blessings, God gifted her with a baby boy. Inspired by the world’s most influential person* and his recommendation: “Give name (to your children) after my name (i.e. Muhammad) . . . .”[3]the couple rejoiced naming their baby Muhammad. If they get another boy, they intend to name him Ahmad*, yet another name of the Messenger of Allah as mentioned by Jesus himself in a Qur’anic prophecy:

“And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O Children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to  them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”[Q 61:6].

“Oh wait a minute,” one would question, “did Jesus predict a phenomenon called ‘Holy Ghost’ or a being named Ahmad?” The answer depends on how much we know about the authenticity of the Bible. Whether it was written according to inspiration or according to uninspired human beings. Or whether it was originally preserved or tampered with! Basically, the answer depends on whether we studied the Bible employing a historical-critical approach or the usual devotional-approach to understanding the Bible. Ignorance in its best manifestation is captured when a person who has never read even a single book evidencing the bible to be inauthentic persists that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Dr. Laurence B. Brown who did an extensive research on the authenticity of biblical scripture is one person who is qualified in giving the following statement: “In the face of modern textual criticism, we deceive ourselves (as well as invite ridicule and condemnation) if we believe the Old or New Testaments to be the unadulterated Word of God.”[4]Before you unleash a plethora of qualms and quibbles . . .  or rather I should say, a fair and scholarly response to Brown’s statement should be made after you have read either his  book Mis’Goded or any scholarly work on textual criticism such as the best-seller Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by the world renowned Bible scholar, Bart D. Ehrman. Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was the recipient of the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement. For more about Ehrman, visit his website, http://www.bartdehrman.com. From Jesus, Interrupted, Bart D. Ehrman writes:

Scholars have made significant progress in understanding the Bible over the past two hundred years and the results of their study are regularly and routinely taught, to both the graduate students in universities and to prospective pastors attending seminaries in preparation for the ministry. Yet such views of the Bible are virtually unknown among the population at large. As a result, not only are most Americans (increasingly) ignorant of the contents of the Bible, but they are also almost completely in the dark about what scholars have been saying about the Bible for the past two centuries.[5]

Another statement that might send shockwaves is that of Professor John Rogerson of Sheffield University, in The Expository Times, 113/8, p.255: “Most congregations are kept in ignorance of the findings of biblical criticism.”

Regarding the Qur’anic verse affirming that the Gospel predicted the coming of Muhammad, it is worth educating the fact that in the Bible, there is the word paraclete (from the Greek parakletos) which can mean “helper, defender, mediator, consoler.” It may be by coincidence or by design that  “the word Paraclete occurs only five times in the Bible, and all five occurrences are in the purported writings of St. John: 1st Epistle of John 2:1; and the Gospel according to John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7.”[6]Another observation that beseeches amazement is the fact that, also in the Qur’an, Prophet of Islam is mentioned by name only five times (Q 3:144; Q 33:40; Q 47:2; Q 48:29 and Q 61:6). This may be food for reflection.

Balqis is not the only lover of Muhammad, the Messenger of God. The Times reports that “Muhammad is now second only to Jack as the most popular name for baby boys in Britain and is likely to rise to No 1 by next year, a study by The Times has found.”[7]And in January 2005, an article in The Guardian stated that: “In Brussels, Mohammed has been the most popular name for boy babies for the last four years.”[8]Besides, in Religion on the Rise, Hofmann declares: “. . . for years now, “Muhammad” has been the name most frequently given to baby boys in France.”[9]

Back to Balqis’ story. I forgot to mention that Balqis did French at Alliance Française in Nairobi. Also, she is about to be a CPA (K), which is obtained by  passing all the six sections of the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) exams administered by Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examination Board (KASNEB). Having passed section five, Caroline is planning to sit for Section six exams as soon as possible. Besides engaging in a perpetual study of Islam, she is also doing some private studies in Arabic. She has greatly progressed to an extent of saying, “No one can now say things in Arabic behind my back.”

Contact Information:

P.O. Box 102489 – 00101

Nairobi,

Kenya.

Email: balqischepkwony@yahoo.com

Phone: +254722941896

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

…………..     …………..     …………..     …………..     …………..     …………..     …………..
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FOOTNOTES


[1] *See Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’, 15/8: {“Life insurance is a kind of commercial insurance, which is haraam (forbidden), because it involves uncertainty, interest and gambling, and consuming wealth unlawfully. It is not permissible to work in commercial insurance companies, because this is a kind of cooperating in sin, which Allah has forbidden, as He says: “Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment”[Q 5:2]}

. Ahmad # 22565.  It was also classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Da’eefah, hadith no. 5.

[2]. Ibn Maajah #2144, Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.

[3] * Dr. Michael H. Hart wrote a book titled The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History and to people’s surprise, he could only (objectively) see Prophet Muhammad fit to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons. See Hart, Michael H. The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2000.p.3.

. Muslim Bk. 25, No. 5325. Also Prophet Muhamad had said, “Name yourselves by my name. . . .” See Bukhari Vol. 8, Bk. 73, No. 207; Bukhari Vol. 8, Bk. 73, No. 216;  Bukhari Vol. 8, Bk. 73, No. 217.

* Prophet Muhammad was reported to have said: “I have many names, I am Muhammad, I am Ahmad, I am Maahi (the one who erases-eradicates) through whom Allah has eradicated kufr (Disbelief). I am Haashir, whom Allah will raise first on the day of Qiyama (Resurrection Day), the whole Ummah (Nation) will be judged before my feet on the day of Qiyama. I am ‘Aaqib (the one who comes last), and that ‘Aaqib, after whom there shall be no other nabi (Prophet).” See Tirmidhi Chapter 51, Hadith No. 1 (360).

[4]. Brown, Laurence B. MisGod’ed: A Roadmap of Guidance and Misguidance in the Abrahamic Religions. USA: BookSurge Publishing, 2007.p. 219.

[5]. Ehrman, D. Bart.  Jesus Interrupted. Front Flap. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. ; Also see “Cover Content From the Publisher.” bartdehrman.com. Retrieved on 25 Nov. 2009. <http://www.bartdehrman.com/books/jesus_interrupted.htm&gt;

[6]. New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol 10, p. 989.

[7]. Nugent, Helen  and Nadia Menuhin. “Muhammad is No 2 in boy’s names.” The Times 6 June 2007.

[8]. Browne, Anthony. “The Triumph of the East.” The Guardian 27 Jan. 2005.

[9]. Hofmann, Murad Wilfried. Religion on The Rise: Islam in the Third Millennium. Maryland: Amana Publications, 2001.p. 183.