An abridged English translation of the Japanese report on Da'wa Workers Training Conference, 1995
Translated by Masahiko Yamamoto
Checked by Syed Murtuza Kurasawa (2)
- Activity Reports -
◆Tokyo Mosque committee
By Mr. Termimdar Muhit ― Director of Education, Islamic Center Japan
The Tokyo mosque built in 1938 had become very old and parts of its walls had started falling down. So we had to demolish the old mosque and plan to build a new mosque there, as you may know. After repeated requests, last year we finally heard from Diyniyat, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Turkey that an architectural design for the new mosque had been finalized. The picture of the model has been printed in the calendar of 1416 AH (1995). Working on the project, we are now trying to get a permit for construction and preparing for foundation work to start. Please read the distributed copies of the letter about construction of the mosque written by the Vice Minister of Turkey. Needless to say, the mosque is for all Muslims; the Turkish Association, however, will manage the mosque.
◆Muslim Student Association
By Mr. Suｐiantoro ― Delegate from the Association
The activity of MSA concerns mostly with those who come to Japan for study or training. Our purpose is to develop mutual understanding, friendship and co-operation among Muslims beyond their ethnic differences. Aiming at exchange of information, this association periodically publishes news bulletins. We also promote exchange of information and contact with Muslim Student Associations of various countries in the world. In Japan, we also organize camps for studying Islam and developing friendship. Moreover, each local branch also has its own activity. Although being busy as students and lacking in sufficient funds, we have limits to our activities; still we are willing to do as much as possible for promoting Islam. Finally, we would you to introduce Japanese Muslim students, whoever you may know, to this association.
◆Nara Muslim Association
By Mr. Muhammad Nakamura ― President
Today I am really happy to meet and talk to you in a friendly atmosphere like this. As a matter of fact, this year we had several earthshaking events in Japan, such as, the Great Hanshin Earthquake and sarin-gas attack on subway commuter trains in Tokyo. So, I am going to talk about the Japanese way of thinking.
It is necessary to know about the Japanese history for Da'wa work for Islam. During the Tokugawa period, Christians were persecuted and a national “isolation policy” or seclusion was adopted. After opening of Japan to outside world under pressure of the “Black-ship Incident,” Japanese came in contact with the Western civilization. But simultaneously, Japanese traditional religion Shintoism, which symbolized the Emperor, was restored as the state religion. It was only after the World WarⅡ that complete freedom of religious belied was permitted. And then, the Auhm religious cult incident occurred.
Considering this historical background, I have to say that Japanese are quite nervous to hear about religion. I teach at Tenri University in Nara. The Tenri religious sect is the sponsor of this university. But Tenriism was also suppressed in the past as a religion. With this experience, the Tenri religion adopted a tradition of guarding religion by restricting it to private belief. In the case of Islam too, I consider it advisable to emphasize Iman (belief) at private life. This is the message that I brought from Nara hoping that it may help you. Thank you for listening.
◆Arab Islamic Institute [Mahad]
By Mr. Abdul Aziz Bidah ― Principal
This institute is one of the six special schools established in the USA, Japan, Indonesia, and so on under Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University in Saudi Arabia. The plan to establish schools in other countries also are under progress. The contents of these schools differ depending on the country. Talking about our institute in Tokyo, there are three departments: (1) Arabic language learning and comprehension of Islam, (2) Arabic and Japanese translation, and (3) Computer training. Another department on education for children will be added in future. At present, we are preparing 27 kinds of small books (or booklets) on introductory Islam, three of which will be published soon. We are now proceeding with a plan to build a new center for Mahad and an attached mosque. And we also plan to establish the Asian office of Da'wa activities in Japan. We would do our best, whenever possible, to help you to arrange symposium or study camp related to Islam.
◆Japan Muslim Association
By Mr. Khalid Higuchi ― President
Japan Muslim Association is one of the older Islamic organizations in Japan. I am the 9th President of the association. Over the last 35 to 40 years our association has been sending many students to Arab countries to learn about Islam. We also have translated and printed the Qur'an in Japanese. Now we are engaged in mainly nine different activities: lessons on Qur'an and Hadith, youth camp for studying Islam including non-Muslims, preparation for Id prayers, management of Islamic cemetery, and so on. Talking especially about the cemetery, Muslims living in Japan are increasing in number including foreigners coming to Japan from Islamic countries, so to procure a new ground for cemetery is becoming a pressing need.
◆Kobe Mosque Association
By Mr. Abdul Aziz ― Delegate
Please allow me to speak on behalf of people in Kobe. Kobe mosque, with thanks for your co-operation, is kept in good condition and has become the only grand mosque in Japan. When the Great Hanshin Earthquake hit Kobe, by the grace of Allah, Muslims living in or around Kobe were all safe and unhurt. The mosque also remained secure, although it needs restoration works here and there. The estimated cost for the repair is about J\50 million yen, so we need your kind help and donation. At present an Imam appointed by alAzhar University in Egypt is present at the Kobe mosque and is living at Islam Culture Center attached to the mosque. Therefore, in Kobe various activities are held centering the mosque. Study of Islam and Da'wa activities are also popular.
◆Kyoto Japan Islamic Mosque
By Mr. Muhammad Kobayashi ― President
Kyoto prospered as capital of Japan for about 1,000 years. Kyoto is regarded as center of Japanese culture and religion. Under the circumstances, Kyoto Japan Islamic Mosque is working hard. These days, the number of young women is increasing among those who come to us to learn about Islam. We give them books and ‘Assalam' magazine published by Islamic Center-Japan. As an organization we still need to improve many things, so from now on we will do our best to vitalize our organization.
◆Sendai Islam Bunka Center
By Mr. Muhammad Sato ― President
Most of the Muslims in Sendai are foreign students. Among the Japanese, I and a few Muslim ladies are the only Muslims living in Sendai. Under such circumstances, as a Muslim community we are doing ordinary activities to lead Muslim life. It is hard for us to secure a place for Friday prayers, but now we have rented two rooms where we arrange prayers. At the foreign students dormitory we perform the isha prayer all together. Twice a month we hold study meeting. We explain about Islam in detail to those who wish to accept Islam. Therefore, our Da'wa activity is mostly internal, or among Muslims.
With the cooperation of foreign students, in addition to the Arabic class, other foreign language classes spoken in the motherlands of foreign student are held. Lately, most of the students attending these classes are women and some are retired men. For Muslims coming to Sendai we also provide information utilizing the public information center or volunteer groups about Friday prayers and halal meat. Further, whenever Talighi-Jamaat visits Sendai, we hold study meetings together.
◆Nagasaki Muslim Association
By Mr. Supiantoro ― Delegate
There are only a small number of Muslims in Nagasaki, and all of them are students. The Muslim Association has not yet made a formal start. Anyway, our main concern at present is to hold Friday prayers. Because the university faculties we study are different and apart from each other, so only seven to ten persons can assemble together. Again, twice a month regular meeting and study session on the Qur'an and Hadith are held. Sometimes a few Japanese friends also attend. Now we have a plan to start Arabic classes. We do not have sufficient books on religion and the guide on Islamic life, or teaching materials for Arabic lessons, so in fact we cannot give them to the Japanese students who want to know about Islam. There is one woman who has converted to Islam near Nagasaki. She says she wants to learn Arabic language and about Islamic life from a Muslim woman, but there is no Muslim woman foreign student, so we cannot help her. We need information and support from other Muslim organizations in Japan.
◆Japan Islamic Trust
A few years ago, when Muslim Student Association and the Kobe Mosque Association held a joint Kobe Conference, the need for a platform of cooperation among Islamic organizations was discussed for Da'wa work in Japan. Taking from the results of discussion, Japan Islamic Trust in cooperation with several organizations arranged places for Id prayers every year. In Tokyo, large halls where more than 5,000 people can perform prayer is necessary, so once we used the International Exhibition Hall in Harumi. But to our regret, the actions and behavior of some Muslims made it impossible for us to rent the hall again. So now the Trust is trying to buy a land for such congregations. Our aim is not only to build a mosque but also establish and manage an Islamic school for children. At present, another activity is the maintenance and management of ‘Musalla' (places for prayer) at Ikebukuro and Shibuya.
◆Islamic Mission Japan
By Mr. Mohammad Alauddin ― Delegate
Our association holds study meetings and camps mainly for Bangladeshis living in Japan. Our aim is to help them lead live according to Islamic regulations or Sharia. First of all, we think that individual Muslims by being good Muslims and obeying Islamic regulations create interest among others for understanding Islam. Good deed not only about religion but also activities related to manners of life, such as, punctuality or keeping to the words or promises, etc. We aim toward promoting practice of Islamic regulations in daily life. We also include activities for Japanese to promote understanding of Islam.
◆African Muslim Organization
By Mr. Zaf Muhammad ― Delegate
Our organization was established in 1992 facing a reality of increasing number of African Muslims in Japan. The purpose of our organization is to discuss problems that Africans experience in Japan, and to solve some of these problems. For example, when the problem involving Africans who avoid marriage while keeping company with women in Japan arises, we recommend them to marry so that they may not make irresponsible acts. When we made enquires at Islamic Center Japan whether we could secure a Islamic burial ground in case of death in Japan, I am disappointed to say, we could not get a precise answer. Considering it too heavy for an individual to bear, in case of illness or death, we are urging the African Muslims to make a mutual aids fund.
Complimentary Words by the Chairman
Mr. Muheet of ICJ: Living in Japan for many years, I feel that in the past the Japanese regarded Muslims as honest, clean, and kind people. But these days, laborers coming to Japan from Islamic countries are increasing in number, and the image of Muslims has largely deteriorated. Just talking about good points of Islam cannot create appreciation. After all, the actions or behavior of Muslims have greater effects.
Therefore at your respective associations during prayer time please ask your Imam to talk about how Muslims should behave in this land. Japan is different from our motherlands. I think we should refrain from acts and behavior that disturbs the public order in Japan or creates disgust among Japanese people. I would like you to understand that our Iman or belief begins with cleanness.
You may know, it is becoming difficult to rent any hall for Id prayers. The main reason is the behavior of Muslims gathering there for prayer. Obstructing roads by parking cars on the road, or making the floor of the hall wet by wudu or ablution before prayer, etc. You must understand that making floors wet displeases Japanese. Just a little care, for example, finishing wudu at home before coming to the Id gathering, or refraining from coming by car can improve the situation a lot. I would request you to discuss thoroughly in your individual organizations with all members about life in Japan and proper actions and behavior.
With these words I would like to declare the session closed. We will continue our discussion in the next session. Your kind opinions and discussion are welcome in the next session as well. Thank you very much for joining us for such a long time.
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