Finally, Chronicle wakes up to the event of the year, and something positive about Muslims. But credit where credit's due... where are the TV stations, where is 740KTRH, which is always jumping on Muslims' case about not doing 'enough' to portray positive images.
To the Muslim readers, take one minute, and email the author firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as the Readers' Rep: email@example.com and thank them for the positive story
'For the benefit of all mankind'
Local conference highlights Quran's teachings about the importance of honoring animals
Copyright 2006 Houston ChronicleA red-tailed hawk and a large horned owl were brought on stage Saturday morning as participants in the state's largest Islamic conference learned about Muslim values and animal rights.
"Animals have been created by Allah for the benefit of all mankind," said Sheik Yasir Qadhi. "This is a very fundamental idea in Islam."
Because animal rights have become an issue in recent years, Qadhi, a Ph.D. student of theology at Yale University, said he decided to study the issue as it relates to Muslims.
Qadhi said the Quran teaches that one reason God created animals was to worship God and to inspire people to do the same.
"One verse says, 'You will appreciate their beauty,' and that brings you closer to God," Qadhi said. "It is a part of faith and spirituality to contemplate nature around you. Believers are those who contemplate the creation, and that brings them closer to God."
'A finer point'Animals rights are "a finer point" of the Muslim faith, but Qadhi said he wanted to study the issue and make the presentation during the conference.
An estimated 3,000 Muslims participated in the five-day Texas Dawah convention, which continues through Tuesday at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
The hawk and horned owls were brought on stage by members of Wildlife Rehab & Education a nonprofit organization that helps rescue and rehabilitate injured animals in the Houston and Galveston area. The Texas Dawah convention made a contribution to the organization. Volunteers also took the wild birds into the convention's "Kid Zone" for a demonstration.
During his lecture, Qadhi cited specific verses from the Quran relating to the treatment of animals.
The animal rights specifically noted in the Quran include the proper feeding of animals; the merciful treatment of animals; using animals for the purpose they were created; leaving animals in their "natural state," without mutilation, and allowing animals to live, unless they are a threat or a nuisance, Qadhi said.
Other highlightsFor example, he said, Muslims can take steps to kill ants, roaches and rodents in their homes or property to protect their food and their children.
The five-day conference also included an interfaith panel discussion about the First Amendment, a discussion about tolerance in Islam and an award ceremony to honor positive role models in the American Muslim Community.
Awards were presented Saturday to former Houston Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon, Farouq Al-Baz who participated in the Apollo program as supervisor of lunar science planning at Bellcomm Inc., a division of AT&T; Charif Bassiouni, law professor and president emeritus of the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University in Chicago; and Sen. Larry Shaw a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly.