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On the weekend Milford Mosque opens to the public we ask: What is Islam?

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WE may think we may know, but do we understand this faith which is followed by approximately a quarter of the world’s population?

here are some facts about Islam on the same week that the Mosque in Milford Haven opens to the public:

  1. The core message of Islam is that the One God created everything in existence. This Eternal being is All-Powerful, and He is unlike anything in His creation — where no partners should be attributed to Him. Muslims will refer to this being as Allah — which is another name for God — more specifically ‘the God’ who is the only one who is worthy of worship. The name’s origin can be traced to the earliest Semitic writings in which the word for God was Il, El, or Eloah, the latter two used in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Allah is the standard Arabic word for God and is also used by Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews. There are three core themes in the Quran (the final revelation from Allah to humans) about Him: (1) He is the Creator, Judge, and Rewarder; (2) He is unique (wāḥid) and inherently one (aḥad); and (3) He is omnipotent and all-merciful. Allah is the “Lord of the Worlds,” the Most High; “nothing is like unto Him,” and this in itself is to the believer a request to adore Allah as the Protector and to glorify His powers of compassion and forgiveness.
  2. This Creator created humanity to know Him and to worship Him. To worship God is the ultimate purpose of our existence. Worshipping God in Islam means remembering Him, being grateful to Him, praising Him, loving Him, and living righteous lives according to His revelation. Through this worship, we’ll find true inner peace in this life and attain paradise in the Hereafter as a reward for fulfilling our purpose. Although God created us to worship, He does not need our worship of Him — but we are in need of Him — the next point explains further.
  3. The Arabic term Islam, literally means “submission” which highlights the core religious notion of the faith — that the believer (Muslim) accepts surrender to the will of Allah. Islam as a religion provides a comprehensive explanation for why we at times suffer in this world, and why we go through hardships. God outlines in the Quran that He created life and death to test which of us are best in action and would try to do what’s right to please our Creator. If you hark back to the past, you may have experienced heartbreak when you loved a lost one. This is undoubtedly the most testing of times for most of us, but during this period, we should be conscious of our Creator; “Remember Me; I will remember you. And thank Me, and never be ungrateful.” [The Quran, Chapter 2 Verse 152].

As God will aid you in this time of need and in turn it becomes an opportunity to develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Hardship enables us to practice patience and thus drawing closer to Him — putting our temporary existence into perspective — as we all have an expiration date, and paving the way to an Eternal life of bliss: “So, surely with hardship comes ease.” [The Quran, Chapter 94 Verse 5].

  1. Muslims believe Allah sent messengers throughout history to guide humanity and remind them of their Creator. Muslims believe in all the significant Biblical prophets of the past, such as Adam, Moses, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, and Jesus (peace be upon them all) with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) being the final messenger where Jesus him. Islam teaches us that these prophets were the best of humanity created by God, the perfect role models for their people and us to follow — however, they were not divine in any way. Their role was to wake people up to the reality of life and draw them away from worshipping created objects, bringing them back to the worship of the One true God. In essence they are the epitome of those who submit themselves to Allah — so every prophet is deemed as a Muslim. However, over time the message and scriptures of the previous prophets were corrupted by humanity hence Allah sending another messenger to replenish the original message.

In Christianity and Islam, there is the message that God wants to make Himself known to us; He wants a relationship, and that’s why He has sent messengers and revelation to humanity throughout history. The question we should ask ourselves is: “Are we willing to take the time and effort to seek out God’s truth?” This is the key to fulfilling the purpose of our creation, which will give us inner peace in this life and success after we pass away. The pursuit of the purpose of our lives is a noble endeavour; however, it should be an objective for everyone to achieve. What will be our means of attaining this lifelong objective?

One of the keys to unlocking the truth lies in the person of Jesus Christ. Islam holds a unique position among the world’s religions as it is the only religion, barring Christianity, that acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah — where believing in him is a compulsory component of being recognised as a Muslim. Even though Jesus is one of the most significant personalities in the world today, with nearly two billion Christians and around 1.8 billion Muslims believing in him, he is also perhaps the most misunderstood and misrepresented person in history. As we will explore, while Christianity and Islam share much in common concerning Jesus, they also make opposing claims that should be studied and discussed with love and compassion.

If we were living in first-century Palestine, then it would be straightforward. We could simply walk up to Jesus and ask him about his message. Since we obviously don’t have that opportunity today, we have to make use of the tools that are available to us, such as scripture, history and reason. We would love for you to attend this upcoming exhibition so we can together explore the life of Jesus, one of the most remarkable men to walk this earth and learn what Islam has to say about Jesus, his life, and his mission.

Those interested in learning more about Islam are welcome to attend the Milford Haven Open Days/Jesus Exhibition taking place on Sat 9th and Sun 10th September at the Hamad Bin Khalifa Islamic Centre, 122 Charles Street, Milford Haven (Post code for Sat Nav: SA73 2HW) The opening times of the exhibition are11:00HRS until 17:00HRS. Women are kindly requested to respect the traditions of Islam when dressing for the occasion.

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Five people have been charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine

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FIVE people have appeared in court charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine in Carmarthenshire.

On Wednesday, October 27, 2021 officers from Dyfed-Powys Police executed a warrant at a farm in Capel Dewi, Carmarthenshire, where they found firearms and large quantities of cannabis, cocaine and cash.

Stephen Paul Leyson, aged 54, of Capel Dewi, Carmarthen, was this week charged with possession of a firearm and conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs, while Lynne Ann Leyson, aged 51, and Samson Paul Leyson, aged 22, both of Capel Dewi, were charged with conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.

Andrew Leslie Jenkins, aged 50, of North Hill Road, Mount Pleasant, Swansea, was charged with conspiracy to supply class B drugs and Ritchie John Coleman, aged 32, of Vetch Close, Pembroke, was charged with supplying class B drugs and cannabis production.

All five appeared before Llanelli Magistrates Court yesterday, with Stephen Leyson, Jenkins and Coleman remanded into custody.

Lynne and Samson Leyson were granted bail with conditions.

They are next due to appear at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, January 5, 2023.

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Business

Town council to help elderly with online banking as last bank in Tenby set to close

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LOCALS in Tenby have been left reeling at this week’s news that the town’s HSBC branch is set to close next year.

The closure, announced on Thursday (Nov 30) will leave Tenby without any of the UK banks.

In recent years, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander have all left the town. Barclays has also just shut its doors for the last time, with the nearest branches being in Haverfordwest or Carmarthen.

The move comes as part of the latest round of closure, which will see 114 branches of the bank closed across the UK.

It follows 69 HSBC branches closing earlier this year and 82 HSBC branches closing last year.

Other HSBC branches closing in Wales include Abergavenny, Chepstow, Port Talbot, Pontypool, Brecon and a branch in Cardiff – Rhyd y Penau.

HSBC says its customer numbers have fallen rapidly since the pandemic and that some of the branches that are being shut now serve less than 250 customers a week.

Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK’s managing director of UK distribution, said: “People are changing the way they bank and footfall in many branches is at an all-time low, with no signs of it returning.

“Banking remotely is becoming the norm for the vast majority of us.

“Not only can we do it anywhere at any time of day or night, many more things can be done at the customers’ convenience and don’t rely on a branch visit.

Speaking to The Herald by telephone on Wednesday evening (Nov 30), Mayor of Tenby, Cllr. Sam Skyrme Blackhall said: “This is really bad for the town of Tenby, and it’s just very, very said. This is a case of where are banks going?

“We have always looked after our banks here in Tenby, and it feels like no one is looking after us. Its as if no one in the banks cares anymore.”

Pointing out the number of retired people living in the area, she said: “We have a lot of elderly people in town who do not use online banking, and depend on the branch being open.

“I am talking to the Post Office and other people with the aim of looking to the hub system, which is happening in other towns where they are also loosing their banks.

“Its very sad that we will losing another cash point. How is a busy town expected to function without a bank or cash points. Where do people go for money?

Asked if she thought it was possible that the branch would be saved, as Tenby HSBC was one of the few banks without a confirmed closure date, Cllr. Sam Skyrme Blackhall seemed to think that the decision had been firmly made. She said: “They have to give six months notice, so we could be looking at May or June 2023 for the closure.

“I don’t think the branch could be saved.

“Barclays officially finished the other week.

“Banks don’t care about residents and people don’t matter [to them] during these very worrying times.”

Town council is planning to offer struggling Tenby residents help with online banking from their offices, creating a kind of drop-in-service, The Herald has been told.

Like in any time of difficulty the people of Tenby will rally together as they always do, but no matter what is done in the face of the closure of the last bank in the historic town, nothing will fully replace traditional face-to-face banking services.

Tenby Mayor Cllr. Sam Skyrme Blackhall: These are sad times for Tenby
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Community

Park Authority sponsorship boost for Boxing Day Swim’s belated half century

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PEMBROKSEHIRE Coast National Park Authority says that it is delighted to be one of the main sponsors of this year’s Tenby Boxing Day Swim.

The popular event will mark its belated 50th anniversary this year, after Covid-19 enforced cancellations of the event in 2020 and 2021.

Chair of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Di Clements said: “The Authority is delighted to be helping this well-supported community event celebrate its half-century landmark, especially as the National Park celebrates its own notable 70-year milestone this year.

“We hope this support will help raise much needed funds for a range of local causes, recognise the efforts of the brave participants and link to the Authority’s wider winter of well-being support programme, helping communities across the Park to stay well this winter.”

Chairman of the Tenby Sea Swimming Association, Chris Osborne added: “The swim’s stunning location on Tenby’s North Beach calls for continuing collaboration between community events organisers, like Tenby Sea Swimming Association, and environmental custodians such as the Park Authority.

“These joint anniversaries, and this generous sponsorship for which we are very grateful, are a choice way of celebrating this partnership.”

The 2022 Tenby Boxing Day Swim is raising money for the Tenby Memory Café, the Dai Rees Foundation, Tenby RNLI and the Paul Sartori Foundation.

Swimmers are asked to register online and make a small donation to help cover the cost of organising the event, which will ensure more of the sponsorship money raised goes to the chosen good causes.

For further information, visit www.tenbyboxingdayswim.co.uk, or follow Tenby Boxing Day Swim on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Ends

Caption: National Park Authority Chair, Cllr Di Clements with Tenby Sea Swimming Association Chairman, Chris Osborne.

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