India, October 29, 2011: Four Muslims are listed among the top 100 rich Indians in the ranking for the year 2011, released by Forbes on 26th October 2011. Azim Premji (3rd) from IT industry Wipro, Yusuf Hamied (30th) from pharmaceutical Cipla, Habil Khorakiwala (80th) Chairman of generics maker Wockhardt and Irfan Razack (87th) from the real estate industry Prestige Estates are among the richest Indians.
Premji and Hamied are the regular persons listed in the Forbes richest person ranking for many years but Habil and Irfan are the recent entries to the Indian richest club. Shahid Balwa, Partner of DB realty and Etisalat, was also among the billionaires of 2010 ranking with the worth of $1.06 billion, but he is not in the list of 2011.
Total cumulative net worth asset of all four Muslims are $15930 million. Details of the four richest Muslims are shown in given table:
Azim Premji, prominent Indian Muslim consistently ranked in Forbes richest listing, is the head of India’s leading IT outsource agency Wipro with the worth of $13 billion which was $16.8 billion last year. Last December he was in limelight by donating $2 billion to his trust to fund his education charity which is the largest individual amount donated so far by any Indian. Premji is ranked 3rd among Indians and 36th in overall world billionaires ranking 2011. In March 2010, he was at the same position among Indian billionaires but worth of assets was $17.6 billion that is higher in comparison to 2011.
Yusuf Hamied & family is the renowned drug maker in India under the Cipla brand for last 75 years. His asset also declined from $1.95 billion in the year 2010 to $1.1 billion in March 2011. But they improved the business and current worth is reached to $1.75 billion. In the global ranking 2011, he is at position of 1057 among world richest.
Habil Khorakiwala has the family-owned pharmaceutical business under Wockhardt brand which has the main source of revenue from the United States and Europe. Now they have entered to develop hospital infrastructure in Indian major cities. Earlier in the year 2006, he was 746th ranked among the World billionaire with the net worth of one billion.
Irfan Razack is the managing director of real estate developer Prestige Estates group. He and his younger siblings, Rezwan and Noaman, who share fortune and work with him, took company public last year, raising $240 million. Has built over 45 million square feet of commercial, retail and residential properties so far; has 61 ongoing projects covering 62 million square feet in South India.
Mukesh Ambani with worth of $22.6 billion and Lakshmi Mittal with worth of $19.2 billion are at the top among Indian richest in the ranking of 2011 but the assets of both top Indian billionaires have decreased in comparison to last year. India’s 100 richest have lost 20% of their total wealth: They are collectively worth $241 billion, down from $300 billion a year ago, due in part to a 10% decline in the Mumbai Sensex and a falling rupee.
- shafeeq rahman
The head of Syro Malabar Church (SMC) made the appeal yesterday at the 12th convention of SMC Catholics in Delhi.
More than 10,000 people attended the convention. The dignitaries included Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, who indicated the possibility of a new SMC diocese in Delhi in near future.
Major Archbishop Alencherry said the new SMC diocese ‘is possible in Delhi but it is up to Rome to decide about the establishment.’
The Syro Malabar Catholics living in Delhi and surrounding areas have for years demanded a separate diocese to help their spiritual growth.
Although SMC is a sui juris (self governing) Church, its jurisdiction is restricted to Kerala state in southern India.
The Latin rite bishops, who are the majority in the country, oppose new Oriental dioceses outside Kerala saying such structures would give counter witness to Christian unity and affect works of evangelization.
The SMC Catholics living outside Kerala come uder Latin rite dioceses. Delhi archdiocese has created 23 personal parishes for SMC Catholics.
The major archishop, who took over the SMC in May, lauded the unity and harmony among the three ritual Churches in India. He urged the gathering to “protect and cherish” their distinct culture and tradition while continuing to “spread love and unity.”
The apostolic nuncio told the gathering that “your dream of a new diocese may realize soon,” and offered to pray for it.
He also asserted that every Catholic has a right “to live his rite wherever he lives” and every bishop is called to be the minister of their community. He said that all Christians are called to evangelize and all should work in peace and harmony.
Auxiliary Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Delhi, who represented the Latin-rite, did not mention anything about the new diocese. He called the faithful to be the “ambassadors of peace, love and unity.”
The convention started with a solemn concelebrated Mass led by Major Archbishop and assisted by Bishops Gratian Mundadan and Mulakkal and some 30 priests.
- Jessy Joseph
The land was granted by the governor of the regional government in Dohuk. Deputy Governor Gurgis Shlaymun, an Assyrian Christian, attended a ceremony to mark the occasion at the end of last month. He pledged his support for the project and spoke openly about the spiritual dimension of the centre:
Jesus said your light will be shone through the people to see your works and glorify your Father in the Heaven… You understand this project is from God.
The event was attended by around 100 local officials and Christians. One Iraqi pastor spoke of the dream that God had put in his heart and the hearts of others to see such a centre established in Iraq, adding: “Thanks to our God and for His plan for us.”
It marks a positive turnaround for Christians in Simele, where they have a tragic history. In 1800, Christians were forced out of their homes and massacred, and in 1933, an estimated 3,000 Assyrian and Chaldean Christians were slaughtered by the Iraqi government.
The modern complex will feature one four-storey building and one two-storey building. The clinic for women and children, who generally have limited healthcare options in the Middle East, will be built first.
The new Baptist school will have a Christian ethos, teaching principles of “kindness, respect, compassion, human rights, charity, dignity, equality, and peaceful co-existence among every Kurd, Assyrian, Arab, Chaldean, Turkmen, Syriac, and Armenian”, according to one of the leaders.
Northern Iraq has become a refuge for thousands of Christians, who have been forced to flee their homes in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities because of targeted violent attacks against them.
Muslim extremists are trying to “cleanse” the country of any trace of Christianity, but Iraqi Christians are showing courageous resistance. The Grace Baptist Cultural Centre is the latest effort to maintain a visible Christian presence in the country. In July, the first new church in the country since the 2003 US-led invasion was opened in Kirkuk.
- barnabas team
UK, October 28, 2011: AN Ulster MP has challenged the prime minister in person on why Britain is cutting aid to countries which persecute gay people — but giving away millions to countries which are killing Christians.
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who was at Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons, said: “The prime minister has warned some African countries that unless they improve the rights afforded to gay people, then aid to them from the United Kingdom will be cut.
“However, there are African countries which are in receipt of millions of pounds of UK aid where Christians face great persecution.
“This persecution goes beyond the repression of their religious belief, but extends to the often violent destruction of churches and other property as well as attacks on the people themselves.
“Here in the United Kingdom there has been an incident where a cafe owner faced prosecution for the display of a bible verse on the wall of their property. Was Ann Widdecombe MP right when she said that in the 21st Century hedgehogs have more rights than Christians?”
Mr Donaldson was referring to the case of Blackpool cafe owner Jamie Murray, who was threatened with arrest by police recently unless he stopped playing DVDs of the New Testament in his cafe. They claimed the DVDs incited hatred against homosexuals.
That story prompted Ann Widdecombe MP to ask in a column: “Does the chief constable of Lancashire want to ban the Bible itself? After all, that is the logic of his position if what his force is doing meets with his approval.” She added that hedgehogs are better protected that Christians in Britain today.
Lancashire Constabulary told the News Letter they had not asked for the DVD to be stopped but apologised to Mr Murray for “misinterpreting” the law and for any distress caused.
The prime minister told Mr Donaldson in response yesterday: “Ann Widdecombe is often right, but not always. I do think the honourable gentleman makes an important point. The way we judge our aid decisions is to judge human rights across the piece. And that does mean how people are treating Christians and also the appalling behaviour that some African countries treat people who are gay.”
Mr Donaldson added afterwards: “It is a fundamental belief that we are all created equal yet whilst aid has already been cut to Malawi for their treatment of two gay men there has been absolutely no action taken against aid provided to Zimbabwe which currently receives £69 million of aid despite the systematic persecution of Christians there.
“This is an issue of equity and fairness and a question about our government not picking and choosing which groups of oppressed people we choose to stand for.”
In May, Mr Donaldson’s colleague David Simpson proposed a Westminster debate on the violent persecution of Christians internationally.
Mr. Simpson said: “Nigeria continues to witness wave upon wave of violence directed against Christians with hundreds of Christians killed in the aftermath of the election,” he said. Mobs massacred hundreds of Christians, burned more than 300 churches, and destroyed countless Christian homes.
“In Iraq, since the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime, more than half of its Christian population has, as a result of violent suppression, been forced to either flee their homes or else flee the country altogether.”
Mr. Simpson added: “In the old Soviet bloc countries – from Russia itself, through to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan – violence, prosecution and imprisonment are common.”
Pakistan, October 13, 2011: Pakistan’s Federal Ministry for inter-religious harmony – appointed as a delegate for religious minorities – has “intensified all the controls of the case and ordered an internal investigation” to protect the life and conditions of Asia Bibi in jail in Sheikupura (in Punjab) this is what the Catholic AkramGill, Minister for interreligious harmony says in an interview with Fides, following press reports that tell of ill-treatment towards Asia Bibi, a Christian woman unjustly sentenced to death for blasphemy.
According to Asia Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, over the past 15 days, a female prison guard named Khateeja has mistreated Bibi. The guard demanded to be present when Bibi used her personal toilet, which is located in the confinement cell. When Asia complained, the guard began to threaten and mistreat her. Asia made a complaint to the prison authorities who have suspended the guard for three months.
Akram Gill of the ministry for inter-religious harmony remarked, “As members of the executive, to help Asia Bibi, we will contact the prison authorities to ensure that the woman is assured maximum protection and humane conditions. As for the rest, her case is now in the hands of the judiciary system: we are waiting for the appeal trial and we cannot interfere with the judiciary”.
Asia Bibi’s lawyer, S. K Chaudhry will go to visit her in prison on October 15. Harron Barkat Masih, Director of the “MasihiFoundation” said “The Christians in Pakistan and around the world, follow Asia’s situation with attention and affection and continue to pray for her. We follow her story with anxiety and hope, because she is an innocent woman, unjustly locked up in prison. We ask the government to assure maximum protection, health and wellness, in her life within the walls of the prison which we hope will end soon. We have faith in the supreme justice that can restore her coveted freedom”.
Reverend Prabhat Kashyap of Sparsh Sewa Samiti (society for touch service), who organized the October 25 event, said around 150 people came to the camp shouting anti-Christian slogans.
They accused the medical team of converting people under the garb of medical treatment.
The mob led by leaders of the Bajrang Dal asked for the permission letter for the medical camp. When Reverend Kashyap showed a copy, Digvijay Tiwari, one of the leaders, wanted one copy for himself.
The Church leader refused to oblige since Tiwari did not represent any government authority. An angered Tiwari went back and returned an hour later with more people.
The mob broke the tent structure, overturned chairs and tables and started manhandling people. The medical team ran to the roof to escape to adjacent building, but the mob chased and stopped them.
The mob thrashed Reverend Charles Gola, who coordinated the medical team. The intruders tried to bring the team members to the rooms but they refused, Reverend Kashyap narrated.
However, the mob forcibly brought Reverend Kashyap down and accused him of being the kingpin of a conversion racket. They also thrashed and abused him
Meanwhile, the medical team managed to escape with the help of local volunteers, who had overhead the mob planning to burn down the building.
The mob took Reverend Kashyap to nearby Shahganj police station where the activists pressed the police to jail the Church leader.
Reverend Kashyap showed the police a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Agra permitting him to conduct the medical camp. The Church leader then filed a complaint against the mob.
The police have arrested Tiwari and jailed, but released him later on bail.
The Church team had already submitted copies of the permission to the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police.
Jammu & Kashmir, October 29, 2011: Jammu and Kashmir state’s top Muslim cleric has asked a Church of North India pastor to appear before an Islamic court to answer conversion charges.
Mufti Bashir-ud-din’s summons on October 28 has given Rev. C.M. Khanna November 12 as the date to appear before the supreme court of Shariat in Srinagar.
The grand mufti said his court has received a video that shows Rev. Khanna converting Muslim children.
“We had issued him summons to appear before the court today (Friday) but he did not turn up. Now we have issued him summons again and asked him to appear on the next hearing (November 12),” the mufti said.
The mufti said his people have asked to issue a fatwa (ban) against the Christian pastor. “But we have not issued it because we want to listen to him. We have asked him that communal harmony should not be disturbed,” he added.
The government does not appoint the grand mufti, who does not have any legal authority to issue fatwa or summons.
However, the government recognizes him as top Muslim cleric in the state.
Meanwhile, Reverend Khanna has denied the charges and instead accused the grand mufti’s office of seeking favors by asking for admissions of a child in a Church school in Srinagar.
“There is no forced conversion and there is nothing which can be called allurement. We do not offer any job or any money. We tell them ‘If you come it is your responsibility to contribute and support the church’,” Khanna said.
The pastor also said he was a member of the school management until last year and advised the mufti’s people to approach the principal for the admission.
“They said the school has not given admission to the successful candidate,” he said.
Reverend Khanna said the grand mufti had made similar charges against him five years ago.
“Islam is an evangelical religion so is Christianity. To propagate a faith is not crime. Our concern is not conversion. There are many people who are coming to listen to the word of God,” the pastor added.
Meghalaya, October 30, 2011: In what is suspected to be a shocking case of kidnapping, a 57-year-old Salesian priest from Tura has gone missing from the train he was travelling on from New Delhi to Guwahati en route to Tura with his last whereabouts located at Katihar in Bihar on the morning of October 27.
Rev. Fr. Francis Fernandez, who happens to be the Rector of Don Bosco College, Tura, left for New Delhi on October 22. From there he went to Dehradun to meet his nephew and also visited the Doon School before taking the Rajdhani Express from New Delhi for Guwahati on the 26th of this month.
He was due to arrive in Guwahati the next day. While the train reached its destination the priest was nowhere to be found.
Salesians from Don Bosco College, Tura, last received a message from Fr Fernandez that was sent from Katihar train station at 7:54 AM of Thursday informing of his destination.
“He was in a compartment that was filled with local people at Katihar railway station of Bihar. That was the last message we got from him,” informed senior Salesian priest Fr PD Johny of Don Bosco College, Tura.
The compartment B2-28 of Rajdhani Express 12424 was where the Don Bosco Rector was supposed to have been. It was filled with a large group of minority workers from Kisanganj and nearby villages at the time it reached Katihar station.
The Salesian community was completely unaware of the unfolding events until they received a SMS from an unknown number in broken English about the condition of the priest.
The message mentioned that Fr Francis has been hospitalized in Kisanganj, a notorious area for crime, with serious stomach pain and needed money for emergency operation. The message goes on to mention that a passenger collected money but it was too late as his appendix had ruptured leading to his death.
The message further states that the body was taken away for cremation by the passenger and the person sending the SMS. The last message from the sender, who has since gone incommunicado, claims himself to be a villager with no telephone.
Following receipt of the message, the Salesians of Don Bosco immediately alerted the authorities including the Railway Protection Force and the Intelligence Bureau for help with the case.
A frantic search was made at several train stations along the route since the last two days and it was only late Saturday night that police and railway authorities and search teams found the personal belongings of Fr Fernandez in a garbage pit near New Jaipalguri Railway Station in North Bengal. “From the garbage pit police retrieved the identity card of Fr Fernandez, his province directory of Guwahati Don Bosco Province, his flight ticket to New Delhi and a return train ticket to Guwahati, one of his favourite novels he took on his travels and other documents.
The closely knit family of Salesian fathers of Don Bosco are hoping for the best even as they fear for the worst. “We are deeply distressed and are praying for the safe return of Fr Fernandez,” informed Don Bosco College priests from Tura.
The Don Bosco College of Teacher Education, Tura, has put forward two numbers for any information on the whereabouts of the missing priest. The numbers are 09862588757 and 9436730717
- fwd: cm paul