Sharia News Watch 108 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
The Sharia Newswatch provides a regular update of news quotes
on Sharia (Islamic Law) & Islamic news, as appearing on the major
news searchengines. All editions :
When legal absurdity is watched world-wide - 04 Mar 04
In a case being closely followed around the world, the Victorian
Government has effectively placed Islam on trial under its
controversial Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001. It didn't mean
to, of course. The legislation was intended to shield religions
particularly Islam from scrutiny and was championed by the Islamic
Council of Victoria and other Muslim organisations before being passed
by the Bracks Government in mid-2001.
The case in the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission bears all the
hallmarks of a set-up, but it has exploded in the equal opportunity
industry's face. Consider the facts. The matter had its genesis in a
seminar held under the aegis of Catch the Fire Ministries, one of the
major opponents of the legislation.
Unfortunately for both the EOC and the Victorian Islamic Council, the
three complainants whose evidence is critical to the case have
scant knowledge of the Koran. Pastor Scot, on the other hand, has
testified to having read the Koran more than 100 times and has made a
study of Islam and Islamic scholars. Attempts to discredit his
knowledge of the topic have backfired embarrassingly for the
complainants' counsel, Brind Woinarski QC, and have highlighted some
crucial differences between Christian and Islamic teachings. Among the
arguments Mr Woinarski has tried to develop is the claim that laughter
during Pastor Scot's reading of the Koran at the seminar may have
breached the Act's prohibition on "severe ridicule". The screwy law
was already on dangerous ground concerning freedom of speech, but now
freedom to laugh is also under threat in Victoria.
Pastor Scot has also been asked to comment on the Koranic verse which
calls for the cutting off of the right hand of a thief, and another
verse which mentions repentance. As Pastor Scot's barrister, David
Perkins, noted, there is nothing about re-attaching the hands of those
who later repent. Pastor Scot was also able to point out that Mohammed
cut off the hands of thieves and that Muslim scholars, four schools of
Sunni Islamic law, as well as Shi'a law, all say that a hand can be
cut off and do not link the verse relating to repentance with the
earlier verse about such punishment. Indeed, he explained that the
Koranic law as well as the hadith (the collected teachings second only
to the Koran) say that if a thief steals again they also will have
their right leg chopped off. Islamic mercy, he said, was shown by the
fact those who had been punished by having a hand chopped off did not
have their leg similarly treated so long as they changed their ways.
Authorities In Baku Target Shi'a Mosque - 04 Mar 03
Authorities in Azerbaijan face growing criticism at home and abroad
for clamping down on political and religious freedoms. The latest
target appears to be a Shi'a Muslim congregation whose imam was
recently arrested for alleged anti-government activities.
Azerbaijani officials at the time said [imam] Ibrahimoglu was linked
to radical Shi'a groups in neighboring Iran. Shortly after his arrest
on 16 December 2003, authorities gave the members of the congregation
of the Cuma mosque two weeks to stop using the building. But
worshippers refused to comply.
A new order to vacate the Cuma mosque was issued on 1 March by the
Sebail district court in Baku. Reading the verdict, chief judge Yusif
Kerimov said the decision came into force immediately.
The order to evacuate the mosque follows a legal suit filed by a
cultural association known as Iceri Seher. The group claims the Cuma
mosque -- which has a 15th-century minaret -- is a historical building
and should be closed to the public. Last November, authorities
resorted to a similar strategy to obtain the closure of Musavat Party
headquarters, saying the building was of special architectural
interest and should not be let out to tenants. Musavat has been one of
the main targets of the political repression that followed the October
Rafiq Aliyev chairs Azerbaijan's Religious Affairs Committee, the
state body that oversees religious activity in the country. He
dismisses as "disinformation" the allegations that the Cuma mosque
will be turned into a museum and says the government has no plans to
close down the building. However, he tells RFE/RL the mosque may not
be returned to the Cuma congregation. "To vacate the mosque does not
mean that it will be closed down. We are talking about vacating a
building that is being illegally occupied. Whether we're talking about
a mosque or any other sort of building, people who illegally occupy it
must leave. What we are proposing is that [worshippers] vacate the
mosque, register themselves, and file an application to occupy this
building again," Aliyev said. Aliyev justifies the court's decision by
saying the Cuma mosque is the property of the Culture Ministry, which
reportedly never authorized religious rituals to be performed within
Despite fear of torture, Iranian faces deportation - 06 Mar 04
Criticism over new Danish laws against Muslim preachers - 04 Mar 04
According to the new laws, only few Imams all over Denmark were given
the right for giving marriage certificates for Muslim expatriates.
Other laws stipulate that Muslim preachers should have academic
background for involvement in religious activities. The Council of
Danish Churches said in press statements today that the new practices
were a clear violation that should be confronted. The Danish Minister
of Integration has rejected to comment.
Islamic jurisprudence conference starts today - 06 Mar 04
Islamic scholars gathered here for the six-day 15th annual conference
of the Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) Academy (IFA) to discuss various
topics, including challenges faced by Islam.
"We will discuss one topic per session and everyday two sessions will
be held," said Dr. Mohammed Habib Ibn Al Khodja, Secretary General of
the IFA, at a press conference to announce details of the conference.
The membership of Islamic Fiqh Academy, which is a subsidiary organ of
Organisation of Islamic Conference, comprises Islamic Jurisprudence.
"The aim behind IFA was to set up with an objective of forming a
common forum for the interpretational reflection ('Ijtihad') of
Islamic jurisprudence, scholars and philosophers so as to provide the
Ummah with an authentic Islamic answer to each question that may arise
from the developments of contemporary life," Al Khodja said. The
academy is in the process of publishing a Fiqh Encyclopaedia which
would address the major issues in old as well as new social dealings
and the rules governing them. There are 52 members in the academy and
10 Islamic scholars are designated including one from the Islamic
minority of North America. There are three representatives from
academies, one being operated in India, one in Al Azar and the third
Al Khodja stressed that all decisions are taken by consensus. Hundred
and twenty delegates have arrived in Muscat to discuss among other
things the threat posed to Islam, expropriation of private property
for the public utilisation, credit cards, its wider use and issues of
interest involved with it and Islamisation of education.
Senate Vote Assures Ban on Scarves - 04 Mar 04
With an overwhelming vote [276-20], France's Senate has assured that a
law banning Islamic head scarves from public schools will be on the
books for the new school year in September despite protests at home
The legislation stipulates that "in schools, junior high schools and
high schools, signs and dress that conspicuously show the religious
affiliation of students are forbidden.'' It does not apply to students
in private schools. Sanctions for refusing to remove offending
apparel will range from a warning to temporary suspension to
expulsion. How the law will be applied remains unclear. Instructions
are to be distributed to schools around the nation. However, no one is
yet certain whether Muslim girls wishing to cover their hair will be
allowed to wear smaller apparel like bandannas -- or whether Sikh boys
will permitted to keep their turbans.
Muslim allowed to take donations from politicans - 04 Mar 04
Muhammadiyah chairman Ahmad Syafii Maarif asked on Wednesday Islamic
boarding schools across the country to respond wisely to the
intensifying visits of politicians ahead of the elections.
"Muslim leaders should teach their followers how to deal with the
politicians. They have to remain critical of political visits and ask
their students to follow suit," Syafii said on the sidelines of a
ceremony marking the handover of a Japanese government donation to
Muhamamdiyah for a humanitarian mission in Aceh. .. "Muslim leaders
can accept donations, but never make promises of political support in
return," he remarked. .. Muhammadiyah is the second largest Muslim
organization in the country, claiming 30 million followers and running
thousands of boarding schools across the country.
[comment] Sunnis and Shias must play an equal part in a new Iraq
[comment] The rise of Shi'a Petrolistan by Mai Yamani - 05 Mar 04
Islamic Media Review 28 February - 5th March [BBC] - 05 Mar 04
Initial reaction on the day of the [Ashura] attacks was particularly
strong ('Today war has been launched on Islam' - Thaer al-Shimri of
Iraq's Shia al-Dawa party). But spokesmen from both the Shia and Sunni
communities, interviewed on the pan-Arab TV channels, appeared united
in stressing the need to avoid a sectarian response. Mahmud Othman, a
Kurdish member of Iraq's interim Governing Council, took a typically
cautious view: "The main aim is to create problems between the Sunni
and Shia people. We have to be very careful." The Baghdad-based press
(eg Al-Manar, Al-Mada, Al-Nahdah) described the attacks as acts of
"terrorism" and called on Iraqis to unite against "sectarian
sedition". Many commentators agreed, but several clerics and analysts,
and some newspapers (eg Ayatollah Sistani representative Ahmad
al-Safi, SCIRI member Ammar al-Hakim; Al-Jaridah) held the US
responsible for failing to fulfil its obligation as the occupying
power to provide better security. Several papers (Al-Adalah, Al-Manar,
Al-Nahdah, Al- Furat) carried Ayatollah Sistani's statement making the
same point. By contrast, participants in several Sunni jihadist
bulletin boards welcomed the attacks: "It is time, God willing, for
the Sunnis to take vengeance on the Shia," wrote one contributor.
[comment] Betraying ignorance of Muslim world - 05 Mar 04
Reporting the bomb blasts in Karbala and Baghdad, The Guardian,
London, said: "The attacks were aimed at Shia pilgrims celebrating the
festival of Ashura." The phrase "celebrating the festival" betrays
ignorance of Ashura, Muharram, Shias, Iraq and, possibly, the Muslim
world. .. No, Muharram is not "celebrated" but very solemnly
observed. Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram, climax to the tragedy
of Karbala. It is not a festival, but a period of mourning. It was on
this day that the Prophet's second grandson, Imam Hussain, and 72
relatives and friends were martyred at the hands of vast armies in the
epic battle of Karbala.
[Bagdad] Shiites mobilize militias in Iraq - 04 Mar 04
Rifle-toting Shiite Muslim militiamen, some in crisp uniforms and
others in civilian attire, deployed in force Wednesday around a
bomb-scarred shrine in Baghdad, setting up dozens of checkpoints on
bustling streets devoid of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police officers.
The militiamen, loyal to various Shiite political parties, joined a
contingent of armed guards from the Imam Kadhim mausoleum in asserting
control over the neighborhood surrounding the gold-domed shrine, which
a trio of suicide bombers attacked Tuesday morning as tens of
thousands of Shiites gathered to commemorate a religious holiday.
Shi'i leader decrees an end to illegal border crossings - 05 Mar 04
.. [United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi TV]
The Shi'i religious authority Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a
fatwa [religious ruling] considering the entry of Iraqi territory via
unofficial outlets as religiously prohibited [Arabic: haram]. He also
considered as religiously prohibited the acquisition of money
generated from smuggling operations and any effort that facilitates
these operations. Al-Sistani's fatwa comes in response to news reports
that thousands of Iranians enter Iraq via unofficial outlets on a
daily basis, and that smuggling operations, particularly operations
involving oil by-products, via the south, are widespread.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani: The real face of power in Iraq -05 Mar 04
Most revealingly he is a specialist in ijtihad, the use of reason to
apply Koranic values to contemporary situations - a discipline which
only the most distinguished Shia clerics are allowed to practise. (The
"gates of ijtihad" were closed to Sunni Muslims 1,000 years ago). This
allows Islam to be reinterpreted in light of changing circumstances.
Thus Sistani's website concerns itself with such contemporary
obsessions as whether Muslims can use perfume which contains alcohol
(yes), use interest-bearing investments (in some circumstances),
gamble (on horses but not lotteries), masturbate (no), perform anal
sex (yes, though it is "strongly undesirable") or oral sex (yes, so
long as no fluid gets into the mouth). All of which is some distance
from current Western values but which at least offers the possibility
of engagement with the West in a way which is inconceivable with such
Sunni fundamentalists the Taliban, al-Qa'ida or the Wahhabi puritans
of Saudi Arabia.
Iraqi women face old, new hurdles - 04 Mar 04
Those suspicions have arisen lately because of efforts by religious
parties in the Governing Council to push through Resolution 137, which
would abolish a 1959 law that Minister of Justice Hashem Abdul-Rahman
al-Shibli says drew on the most generous protections for women and
children from different schools of Shariah. "Women don't want clerics
to write the constitution," Salman said. According to Shibli, the
resolution would stipulate that a Shiite woman, for example, would
have her divorce adjudicated by Shiite law, a Sunni by Sunni law.
Besides atomizing the law into many laws, Shibli noted, such a move
would strip every woman of some rights. Inheritance rights for women
are more generous under Shiite law than Sunni, but divorce protections
are better under Sunni law. So a Shiite woman would still have some
good inheritance protections but would see her divorce rights
Interim Constitution Shortchanges Women - 05 Mar 04
[The interim constitution] does not specifically guarantee equality
between men and women in at least three critical areas where women in
the Middle East have historically suffered discrimination:
* The interim constitution offers no explicit guarantee that women
will have equal rights to marry, within marriage, and at its
* It does not explicitly guarantee women the right to inherit on an
equal basis with men.
* It fails to guarantee Iraqi women married to non-Iraqis the right to
confer citizenship to their children.
The interim constitution contains certain equal protection clauses,
including the provision granting Iraqi women a substantial number of
seats in parliament and explicitly states that any references made in
the masculine tense apply to both men and women.
The plight of the widows of Anfal on the edge of Kurdish society
.. [Irish Times] - 05 Mar 04
As many as 100,000 Kurdish women are thought to have lost their
husbands during Anfal [1988 genocide*]. But whereas war in the west
may have had the incidental effect of speeding women's emancipation,
here in Germian genocide has only confirmed their marginal status.
"Because Saddam never confirmed that their husbands had been killed,
the status of these women was ambiguous," explained Dilshad Ferez,
assistant director of the office of humanitarian aid in nearby Kalar.
"Many found themselves living with their parents again, but receiving
financial support from their in-laws." With remarriage the only real
option if widows were to be able to begin again, the Kurdish
authorities passed a law in March 1999 confirming that the missing
should be considered legally dead. But that has only solved the
problem for a small minority of women.
"After the law came out, relations of mine told me that there was a
man interested in marrying me", she said, sitting in the Smood women's
centre where she now earns $35 a month working as a cleaner. "But my
former husband's family wanted both my dowry and my children. I turned
the offer down," she said. "My son and my daughter are my flesh and
blood." "Widowers who have children do not have this problem,"
explained Dilshad Ferez. "But women are still seen here as little more
than chattels, last on the list to take decisions which affect them
personally." .. A widow wanted to get married, and her former
husband's family wanted to have her children, in essence because they
were afraid her new husband would refuse to support them.
the problems widows with children face often have little to do with
any desire they may have to marry again. "My husband was a peshmerga
[Kurdish militiaman] and a deserter from the Iraqi army during the
Iran-Iraq war," she said. "We were married by a local imam, but
obviously we couldn't register with the civilian authorities. My
daughter is 15 years old now, but officially she does not exist." She
laughs. "Officially I am still a virgin."
* [maps] The Anfal Campaigns Overview Page - 2000
Ufungamano demands that Ghai quits Bomas - 05 Mar 04
The Ufungamano group yesterday demanded the resignation of
Constitution of Kenya Review Commission chairman Yash Pal Ghai and
secretary PLO Lumumba, charging that they had taken sides in the Bomas
"It is our view that members of the commission who cannot restrain
themselves from taking partisan positions on the review process should
resign," the letter read in part. They said the statement represented
views from the Catholic Church, National Council of Churches of Kenya
(NCCK), Hindu Council, Anglican Church of Kenya, Presbyterian Church
of East Africa, the Methodists and the Organisation of African-
instituted Churches. They cited as the reason to Lumumba's views at
the weekend on the Kadhi courts, among other contentious issues.
The faiths leaders said Kenya was a secular State where religion and
State are kept separate. They demanded that the Kadhi courts be
expunged from the draft Constitution. "We are unable to decipher the
logic behind inclusion of Islamic religious courts in the body of the
Constitution," the leaders said. They proposed the creation of a
multi-sectoral representative forum to conclude the stalled
negotiations on contentious issues. The group that would take over
where the consensus group left, should have technical back-up.
According to the leaders, the draft should then be taken to a
referendum where Kenyans can ratify it.
Nuwa Wea hears horror stories of RI maids - 04 Mar 04
Kuwait has sent 99 Indonesian workers to prison, including seven women
who fell pregnant and gave birth in prison after having a relationship
with their employers.
[Spokesman for the Indonesian manpower ministry] Hotma explained that
the Indonesian prisoners, mostly women, have been jailed mostly for
having affairs with their employers, a crime punishable with a prison
sentence in the small but prosperous country.
Aidah of Kerawang, West Java, who along with her eight-month-old son
has been jailed for one year said she wanted to go home so that she
could give her son a normal life. She said she gave birth in prison
and would tell her son to kill his father when he grows up for
refusing to take responsibility for the child. "I will train my son to
shoot his father," she said in a emotional tone. She said she had an
affair with her employer's son during the four years she worked there,
but later was sent to jail after being sentenced by an Islamic court.
Hotma said that of the 99 jailed workers, almost 90 percent were women
and seven were bringing up their children born in the prison.
[Sabah] Student held in Khalwat raid - 04 Mar 04
Eighteen people, including a Form Six student, were picked up on
suspicion of khalwat (close proximity), consuming liquor and illegal
entry in an integrated operation conducted by Jheains, Immigration
Department and City Hall on Tuesday night. Seven hotels, one dwelling
place and four entertainment outlets around the city centre were
raided between 9pm and 12.30am. Of those detained, five couples were
picked up in hotel rooms for allegedly committing khalwat, another
five for suspected liquor consumption and three on suspicion of
illegal entry. Two of the couples were picked up in adjoining rooms in
a hotel at Kg Air, another two couples in separate rooms on the same
floor of another hotel at Jalan Pantai and the fifth couple at a hotel
at Bandaran Berjaya [in Kota Kinabalu].
A surprise awaited the raiding party in one of the locked rooms in a
dwelling above an entertainment outlet on the second floor of a block
of shops at Jalan Pantai. The door to the particular room was
obviously locked with a latch from inside, but after the personnel
forced it open, no one was in the room, the only means of escape in
this case being two grilled windows. According to a Jheains (Sabah
Islamic Religious Affairs Department) spokesman, the raided places
were identified as possible locations of illegal activities, based on
observation and information received from the public.
MPL: the decision is up to the Muslim community - 02 Mar 04
The question of application of the Muslim Personal Law (MPL) has been
raised time and again. .. The MPL concerning Mauritius will deal
mainly on the marriage and heritage aspect.
[Kano] Muslim State In Nigeria Seeks Alternative Polio Vaccine
.. - 04 Mar 04
Kano state government spokesman Sule Ya'u Sule said his government was
sticking with its position that vaccines procured by the Nigerian
government - with U.N. assistance - last year were "contaminated with
anti-fertility agents," despite repeated assurances by U.N. experts to
the contrary. Sule's state government was in touch with predominantly
Muslim countries, "especially in Asia, with a view to seeking
alternative vaccines." Alternatively, Kano might decide to permit
Nigeria's government to send new batches vaccines to replace existing
stocks which have expired, but only after tests conducted by the state
determine the new arrivals "are safe," Sule told The Associated Press.
Govt to table Hudood ordinance before parliament soon - 04 Mar 04
Chairman Senate Muhammadmian Soomro has said that government will soon
table much controversial Hudood ordinance before the parliament for
discussion, saying presence of large number of women parliamentarians
showed government's earnest efforts for the progress and prosperity of
women. The Chairman Senate expressed these views while talking to
journalists here on Thursday after inaugurating the "Inquiry report by
the National Commission for Women Development." Instead of advocating
or opposing the Hudood laws, Mr Soomro said that it is best way to
table the said ordinances at the floor of the house for discussion,
whether parliamentarians, representatives of the people wanted to
retain it as it is or wanted to reverse them.
Angry Pakistan Shias delay burial - 03 Mar 04
Shia Muslims have delayed the burial of most of the 43 people killed
in Tuesday's attack in south-west Pakistan [Quetta] in protest at
arrests of Shia youths. About 15 people were detained in Quetta after
reprisal attacks, although Shias later reportedly secured their
release and set the funerals for Thursday. .. Leaders of the community
said Shias had been arrested when they went to hospitals to donate
[FATA] Stampede in Shi'ite mosque kills 13 - 04 Mar 04
A stampede sparked by a power blackout at a crowded Shii'te mosque in
northwest Pakistan left at least 13 women and children dead, a local
official said yesterday. The mosque was packed with devotees observing
the Shiites' holiest day Ashura in the town of Parachinar late on
Tuesday. A short circuit caused a blast and plunged the mosque into
darkness, sending worshippers fleeing in panic, Parachinar official
Azam Khan said. "It triggered a stampede and dozens of women and
children crammed on a staircase which collapsed under their pressure,"
he said. The dead included eight women and five children, he said.
Black magic casts its spell on the aggrieved - 04 Mar 04
On the upper floor of the Mairaj building on Lytton Road [Lahore],
Haji Abdul Razzaq sits on the floor scribbling on a piece of paper.
This is his office, from where he has dispensed amulets to ward off
evil spells for the last 14 years. "Even the Prophet Mohammad (peace
be upon him) was once a victim of black magic," said Mr Razzaq,
holding up a copy of the Tahfim-ul-Bukhari, a collection of Hadith or
the sayings of the Prophet (peace). "By the grace of Allah, he
recovered," he said, "but if even the Prophet (peace) can be targeted,
you must realise anyone can." This realisation is perhaps what takes
many to the some 200 houses of magic or talisam kadas in the city. And
most are doing well, charging up to Rs 500 [EUR 108,-] for the first
of many sessions, which pretend to be solutions to everything from a
broken heart to a bad career. Many of those who come to Mr Razzaq,
also known as Diwan Bawa, are coping with disease or financial crisis.
Mr Razzaq says he only uses his knowledge of black magic to save
people from evil, though he could make a lot more money if he acceded
to the demands of the disgruntled and put curses and vexes on their
perceived tormentors. "Only 20 percent of the people who visit us do
so for a positive purpose," said Mr Razzaq. "The other 80 wish ill on
Akmal Raza Mir, a trained homeopathic, learned the art through his
elder brothers. He runs an office on Ferozepur Road near Shama Chowk.
"You have to be very skilful in manipulating the psychology of the
target," said Mr Mir. "The basic aim is to agitate him to such an
extent that the required objective is achieved." Mr Mir puts curses on
people through non-human agents known as moakals, whose services are
acquired by reading scripture in a prescribed way. It is not an easy
job. "Catching a moakal takes three or four months and if not done
properly, these moakals can turn against you," he said. "To get the
attention of a moakal, you chant mantras, to get him to do your
bidding you must use perfume essence or blood, usually from an owl,"
he said, adding that he did not use his powers to hurt others.
Policewoman tops Shari'ah examination - 04 Mar 04
A Policewoman topped the 2003 Shari'ah Bar Examination administered by
the Supreme Court of the Philippines in July last year opted to remain
with the police force instead of joining the judiciary as a Shari'ah
(Muslim Law) judge. .. Jalman was the first and only Filipino Muslim
woman to have topped the special bar exam given every two years since
1983 for graduates of the Shari'ah. The police bar topnotcher obtained
her Bachelor of Laws degree from Jose Rizal University in Mandaluyong
City. .. Examinees who took the exam included Filipino Muslims who
studied Islamic law and jurisprudence in known universities abroad
such as Al Azhar University in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Haram Imam Blasts Al-Hurra for Causing 'Intellectual Chaos' -06 Mar 04
Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah,
yesterday .. also blasted the newly established US-run Al-Hurra
television channel for causing "intellectual chaos and confusion"
among Muslims. Delivering his Friday sermon to hundreds of thousands
of faithful who packed the large mosque complex.
Sheikh Sudais denounced a "war of ideas" being waged by parts of the
Western media with the aim of imposing particular cultural and
intellectual patterns and dictating specific reforms in the name of
globalization, openness and freedom. The US government-funded Al-Hurra
Arabic channel was aimed at sowing doubt among Muslims, especially
women, about Islamic teachings and discrediting Islamic principles.
"It spreads intellectual chaos and destroys the correct thinking of
the Ummah and its cultural heritage," he said.
First independent rights body set up in Saudi Arabia - 04 Mar 04
According to the Arabic daily Asharq Al Awsat, the National Human
Rights Organisation (NHRO) held its first meeting at the headquarters
of the Saudi Shura Council in Riyadh last Thursday. The organisation
has 41 members, out of which 10 are women.
At the meeting, the members appointed nine individuals to form an
executive body and submitted a plea to Custodian of the Two Holy
Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, requesting official approval to allow
the organisation to function. The organisation aims to reinforce human
rights in Saudi society and stand against injustice, despotism,
intolerance and torture. It will work to protect human rights inside
the kingdom in compliance with regulations and rules followed in the
field of human rights and Islamic Sharia. The organisation will also
follow up the implementation of international human rights charters
signed by Saudi Arabia, including the charters of the United Nations,
the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the Arab League. The
meeting saw the formation of four committees, the most important of
which is the committee for follow up, and the family committee. The
family committee will be responsible to discuss and follow up on
family related issues, particularly those concerning women.
There will be another, government-run human rights body, the prince
said, adding that each organisation will serve a different role. The
government rights body will be charged with implementing "government
decisions regarding human rights, and to reformulate local laws so
they are consistent with the basic system of governance, which focuses
on human rights", he said.
The formation of the organisation comes after the first human rights
conference in Riyadh last October when Minister of State Mutlab Al
Nafeesa said the existing human rights committee at the Shura Council
would coordinate with the two human rights bodies.
The minister added that the Shura's Islamic Affairs Committee planned
to set up a supreme family council to work for the welfare of women
and children, including the increasing number of divorces and the rise
in the number of unmarried women.
Human Rights Society discusses group's objectives [Al-Sharq al-Awsat]
.. - 04 Mar 04
Dr Abd-al-Haq Abd-al-Hay, political sciences teacher at the King Sa'ud
University and member of the Saudi National Human Rights Society, has
stated that the society will be taking retroactive action in
connection with former human rights cases.
Regarding the society's inclusion of names from various tendencies,
which might arouse the reservations of some parties, he explained that
the others "must realize that disagreement does not disappear just
because the members are Saudis and also that society is diverse. This
is a fact that cannot be ignored. Man consists of three souls: The
evil, the admonisher and the assured ones. Diversity is found even in
the small single family."
More eateries caught using fake halal certificates - 04 Mar 04
Muis [Islamic Religious Council of Singapore] has taken 33 companies
and restaurants to court in the last five years for this, and all were
fined. Under the Administration of Muslim Law Act, it is an offence to
display the mark or even use the word halal if the food is not
prepared according to Islamic laws. The penalty is a fine of up to
S$10,000 [EUR 4.800,-] or 12 months' jail, or both.
[Amnesty] Making Violence Against Women Count - 05 Mar 04
A husband's rights in relation to his wife are, according to Section
52 of the Muslim Personal Law Act of Sudan of 1991, to be taken care
of and be amicably obeyed as well as to have the wife preserve herself
and his property. If she refuses to obey her husband, her right to be
provided with a living ceases to be valid. (Section 92). Under Article
146 of the Criminal Act of 1991 a woman stands the risk of being
prosecuted and punished if she fails to prove that she has been raped.
Thailand to end martial law in some Muslim areas - 03 Mar 04
Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, says the
easing of martial law, which allows detention without charge, will
start in a couple of weeks. He says it will be lifted initially in
only a couple of the 10 or so districts in each of the three
southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia. Muslim leaders in the
region have complained that stringent night patrols disrupt work in a
region heavily dependent on rubber tapping, for which workers leave
early in the morning.
Qur'anic Ideas Have Consequences [Jihad Watch] - 01 Mar 04
Hate preacher loses appeal: Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, a London- based
imam, has lost an appeal of his conviction for soliciting murder and
making threats during his taped lectures. The BBC reports that in the
lectures he was "urging followers to kill non- believers, Jews, Hindus
and Americans." He also "told young British Muslims they would be
rewarded with 72 virgins in paradise if they died in a holy war."
At his trial, el-Faisel argued that "he was interpreting and updating
the words of the Qur'an, the Islamic holy book."
When asked how he could say such things while holding British
citizenship, Bakri was dismissive. "As long as my words do not become
actions, they do no harm. Here, the law does not punish you for words,
as long as there is no proof you have carried out actions. In such a
case you are still on the margins of the law, and they cannot punish
you...." El-Faisel, meanwhile, is being punished for his words. he
was originally sentenced to nine years in prison; last week this was
reduced to seven. he is also liable to be deported back to his native
UK minister affirms students' right to wear head scarves - 04 Mar 04
"We certainly will continue to allow girls to wear the hijab in
schools just as we allow Muslim women police officers to wear the
hijab and Sikh male officers to wear the turban,'' said Patricia
Hewitt, who is the minister for women as well as trade secretary.
[statement in the House of Commons].
Only two schools in England attempted to ban the head scarves, and
both have reversed their position.
Disney Movie Under Fire For Stereotyping Muslims - 04 Mar 04
A new Disney movie, due for release on Friday, March 5, came under
fire for negative stereotyping of Muslims and Arabs. "Hidalgo" tells
the so-called "incredible true story" of a 5,000-km horse race across
the Arabian Peninsula, showing a U.S. cowboy hero pitching up in Aden
in 1890 with his American mustang to compete against a hundred Bedouin
riders on their Arab steeds, the Gulf News said.
critics insisted that no ever source pointed to such a race or an
American called Frank T. Hopkins, the hero of the movie, nor his horse
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), America's largest
Islamic civil liberties group, wrote to Disney's chairman to express
concern that the movie negatively stereotypes Muslims and Arabs.
It also demanded the removal of the "True Story" tag line that is
touting the production, the Saudi-owned Arab News reported.
Saddled with a sorry script, 'Hidalgo' gallops to mediocrity - 05 Mar
[B-movie] Hidalgo is a Disney Western about a man, a Bedouin princess,
a femme fatale and a painted horse -- and a race across about 3,000
miles of Arabian desert, circa 1890. [Viggo] Mortensen plays Frank T.
Hopkins, a U.S. Cavalry courier and long-distance horse racer who is
rescued from a life of touring with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show by
sheiks with an eye for competition. Even though his horse is "of
impure blood," they invite him to take part in the greatest horse race
on Earth, a death-ride gallop from the Persian Gulf to Damascus for a
big prize in gold. An English noblewoman (Louise Lombard) has a horse
in the race and her eye on a fine Arabian line of horses that she
hopes to score with a victory. She may even have her eye on Frank.
Omar Sharif is the sheik with the favored horse and rider. But there
are treacherous relatives at work, and the sheik's daughter is
kidnapped. Will the laconic American cowboy ride to the rescue or keep
his nose in the race?
Religion guides views of fertility treatment in Middle East
.. [Health & Medicine Week] - 08 Mar 04
University of Michigan researcher Marcia Inhorn has used medical
anthropology methods for the last 20 years to study infertility and in
vitro fertilization (IVF) in the Middle East, where Israel and Lebanon
are home to some of the highest per capita numbers of IVF centers in
In qualitative, ethnographic interviews with nearly 400 patient
couples, Inhorn identified major differences in cultural attitudes
toward reproductive technologies between Shi'ite Muslims in Lebanon
and Sunni Muslims in Egypt. Results of her work in Egypt are part of a
book published in 2003, Local Babies, Global Science: Gender,
Religion, and In Vitro Fertilization in Egypt. Egypt's first fatwa, or
religious proclamation, on medically assisted reproduction came in
1980, not long after the first IVF baby was born in England. More than
90% of Egypt's citizens practice Sunni Islam. Sunni religious rules
state that IVF is allowed, but that since marriage is a contract
between a husband and wife, no third party should intrude into
procreation, thus prohibiting such things as sperm or egg donation.
Most leaders of Shi'a Islam, the minority branch of Islam found in
countries including Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and India,
concur with Sunni religious authorities about the strict prohibition
on third-party donation. But in the late 1990s, an Iranian leader
issued a fatwa stating egg donation "is not in and of itself legally
forbidden." Inhorn notes that Shi'ites practice a form of individual
religious reasoning called ijtihad, in which various Shi'ite religious
leaders come to their own conclusions. Shi'ites who are strict in
their interpretation of a third-party donation in IVF believe a couple
should get approval from a religious court first, and the husband
needs to do a muta'a, or temporary, marriage with any egg donor so the
child is not born out of wedlock. However, since a married Shi'ite
Muslim woman cannot marry another man, sperm donation from a man other
than her husband is akin to adultery.
Middle Eastern societies expect all married couples to produce
biological children, since legal adoption as it is practiced in the
West is prohibited in both Sunni and Shi'a Islam. In the absence of
adoption and gamete donation, infertile Muslim couples in countries
such as Egypt have no choice but to turn to IVF using their own
[comment] Shi'ite attacks pave way for rapid responses - 04 Mar 04
Muslims of the [Indian] sub-continent and Iraq have a tradition of
mourning the martyrdom of Hussein on Ashura, the 10th day of the
Muharram month. This is when, in the 7th century, Hussein, a grandson
of the Prophet Mohammed, was assassinated by the army of Yazid, the
Umyaid ruler. It should be noted that on the day of Ashura, notably
in Iraq, India and Pakistan, Muslims, both Shi'ite and Sunni, take
part in processions. There is a difference, though, as Shi'ites whip
and torture themselves in sympathy with the killing of Hussein, Sunnis
do not in their Tazia (mourning) processions. In Pakistan's NWFP and
Balochistan provinces, though, the population follows a version of
Islam (Deobandis) closer to the Salafi version, and Sunnis in these
regions never participate in the Ashura mourning rituals. Pakistan has
a long history of conflict between Shi'ites and Sunnis, resulting in
hundreds of deaths over the years, as opposed to Iraq, where such
sectarian violence between the two branches of Islam is highly unusual
- there were a few isolated events in 1991 in Basra after the Gulf
Searching for a soul mate - 28 Feb 04
Part of her hoped she would find her soul mate when she joined Naseeb,
a new online Muslim community. But getting a marriage proposal just
three months later -- while on a snowboarding trip in Pennsylvania --
was way beyond Saara Sheikh's expectations. Raised by conservative,
Pakistani Muslim parents, Sheikh knew dating was out. Still, she
rebelled at the idea of a traditional arranged marriage, skipping out
on meetings her parents set up with potential spouses.
Like the company, which is based in San Jose, Calif.[USA], but has
engineering operations in Lahore, Pakistan, many of Naseeb's users are
a blend of East and West, comfortable with technology yet tied to
tradition. In Naseeb, they have found a culturally sensitive middle
ground that lies somewhere between dating, which experts say is
discouraged by Islamic law, and the old-fashioned practice of
marriages brokered by parents.
More than 45,000 Muslims have joined Naseeb.com since it went online
last fall, some searching for a spouse, others looking to make
friends. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Monis Rahman said he founded
Naseeb, which means "destiny" in Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Malaysian,
Indonesian, Turkish and Hindi, in response to a desire for community
that arose after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
About 84 percent of Naseeb's users are in North America and the United
Kingdom, and most are invited to join by a friend. Online, they create
a profile that includes links to their friends' profiles, and so on,
for up to four degrees of separation. Connecting with people who are
friends of friends is especially important in Muslim culture, which
frowns upon sharing personal information with strangers.
Naseeb also offers a religious compatibility quiz that allows users to
display their responses to questions such as how frequently they pray,
whether it is inappropriate to have dancing or music at weddings and
how they'd react if alcohol was served at a company party.
[Pakistan] Islamisation of economy - Sharia Board to be constituted
.. - 05 Mar 04
Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Dr Ishrat Hussain on Thursday
announced the formulation of new prudential regulations for
structuring and devising sharia-compliant financial products.
Dr Ishrat announced the constitution of the Sharia Board of the SBP to
supervise the Islamisation of the financial system of the country. The
governor SBP also announced the issuance of Ijara Sukuk (government
bonds) based on sharia, to replace the present T-bill system in due
course of time.
The governor announced that since over 40 commercial banks and DFIs
need to be merged, therefore, in the near future, all new licences for
commercial banks have been restricted for the establishment of new
Islamic banks in the country. Dr Ishrat said: "We do not want to take
hasty steps for the Islamisation of the country's banking system."
This, the governor claimed, may lead to the failure of Islamic banking
in Pakistan. He said the government wants to establish Islamic banking
on firm and solid footings so that it could flourish on sound
financial basis. He categorically mentioned that the SBP would not
press the business community or individuals to switch over to Islamic
banking rather "they should act according to their faith." With the
introduction of Islamic banking in the country, Dr Ishrat saw a
tremendous rise in the number of bank deposit holders. The reason
being that currently, many potential bank clients are reluctant to do
business with banks because of the involvement of Riba, he claimed.
He predicted that with the rise in Islamic banking, the deposit base
of the country's banking and financial system would increase, the
currency in supply would get down, resulting in a decrease in
inflation and facilitation of the documentation of the national
[Dr Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi] said the Sharia Board would not re-start its
basic work; instead, it would complete the already set target - as per
the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan - to eliminate riba from
the national economy.
[UK] ABC International Bank launches alburaq - 04 Mar 04
Arab Banking Corporation International Bank (ABCIB) has announced the
launch of 'alburaq', created to be the premier retail Islamic
financial services brand in the West. The new alburaq brand, aimed
primarily at the UK's Muslim community, will offer a range of
competitively priced financial products that adhere to religious
values and comply with Sharia'a.
'There is an obvious need and a large demand for Islamic retail
products for the vastly under-served Muslim communities in non-Muslim
countries in the West.' .. ABC's principal shareholders are Abu
Dhabi, Kuwait and Libya. .. the majority of group-wide Islamic
banking activities are carried out by ABC Islamic Bank (Bahrain) and
ABCIB Islamic Asset Management Limited (London).
[Indonesia] Signs of "overheating in Syariah banking - 04 Mar 04
Signs of "overheating" in the syariah banking system have begun to
appear following the Indonesian Ulema Council's fatwa on interest
rates, a senior banker said on Wednesday. Syariah banks' funds showed
an increase in their BI Wadiah (demand deposits and saving)
Certificate, Burhanuddin Abdullah, Bank Indonesia governor, said at a
convwing the issuance of the MUI`s binding rules. (1 US dollar =
Rp8.500). According to Abdudllah, if the liquidity increase was not
balanced with larger capacity, it would create overheating in the
syariah banking industry.
[Malaysia] Global adoption of IASB standard - 04 Mar 04
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) hopes its system
will be adopted worldwide in the next three to four years.
Zainal also said Malaysia was in discussion with the IASB to formulate
methodology for a syariah-based standard."Forty per cent of Malaysia's
issuance of private debt securities are Islamic based and there has
been a lot of interest generated from the Middle East for these
Islamic products," he said. MASB executive director Dr Nordin Mohd
Zain said a standard of presentation for Islamic banks' financial
statements was introduced in December 2001 and became effective on Jan
1, 2003. "We are currently developing other standards like ijarah,
takaful and zakat."
- 03 Mar 04
The Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB) is drafting four new
Islamic accounting standards, with the first one on Ijarah (leasing)
to be issued in the first quarter of next year.
[Saudi] Insurance companies look to make gains in Gulf - 04 Mar 04
The main [insurance] market in the Gulf is Saudi Arabia, followed by
UAE and Kuwait. Bahrain, Qatar and Oman are almost the same size.
Furthermore, the Saudi market is certain to develop much more over the
next few years. The main reason is because the Saudi government is
now issuing a new insurance law. In the past, people were doing
insurance in Saudi Arabia, but the legal framework was not very clear.
But recently three things have happened: They made third-party motor
insurance compulsory, they made medical insurance compulsory for
expatriates, and they are now issuing a new law for establishing and
registering insurance companies. These factors will considerably
improve the growth of Saudi insurance business.
Qatar Government Issues Islamic Trust Listing On Labuan Exchange
.. - 05 Mar 04
The government of Qatar last month issued a $700 million Sukuk, or
Islamic Trust Trading Certificate, on the Labuan International Finance
Exchange (LFX). The move has been described as a significant step away
from the LFX's listing of more conventional western instruments, as
Islamic finance begins to gain in popularity.
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