Sharia News Watch 60 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for
research & educational purposes only. [*]
The Sharia News Watch provides a weekly update of news quotes on
Sharia (Islamic Law) & related subjects, as provided by major news
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Newspaper closed and editors arrested for offence against Islam
- 19 Jun 03
The Kabul supreme court's council of ulemas (religious leaders) voiced
outrage at articles in Aftab's latest issue on 11 June. In a column
headlined "Holy fascism," editor Sayeed Mirhassan Mahdawi criticised
Islam as it is currently practised and linked the social and economic
backwardness of Islamic societies to its archaic character. He also
criticised ethnic crimes committed in Islam's name, especially by
former mujahideen chiefs. Another article in the same issue said Islam
as practised in Afghanistan was contrary to democracy and to its
citizens' social and political rights. Calling the articles an
"offence to Islam," the supreme court asked for Aftab to be closed and
its editor to be prosecuted.
With a circulation in Kabul of only several hundred, the Dari-language
weekly is critical of the present government and the mujahideen
chiefs. It has also often accused warlords and mujahideen of crimes.
Mahdawi, who lived for a long time in Iran and comes from the Shiite
minority, produces Aftab with the help of several Iranian journalists.
He received death threats by telephone in April after publishing an
article calling for a secular government in Afghanistan.
In an interview with the Afghan Islamic Press [news agency] today, the
Supreme Court chairman said: "We cannot accept anyone's demands in
this regard. This is because, on the one hand, it is our religious
duty and, on the other, the Bonn accords clearly declares that Islam
is the religion of Afghans and of Afghanistan and the judiciary is
free and independent. In view of the independence of the judiciary, we
would take such measures which are in accordance with Shari'ah and the
Chairman of the Supreme Court said that Dar al-Efta [a body that
issues religious edicts] would issue a fatwa in this regard and the
file of the accused would be presented to the lower court of Kabul
Province very soon.
.. - 25 Jun 03
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday ordered the release on bail
of two journalists detained for writing articles considered
blasphemous against Islam, the chief justice said. Mawlavi Fazl Hadi
Shinwari told Reuters Karzai's order came after Mir Hussein Mehdavi,
chief of the Aftaab Weekly, and his deputy Ali Reza, an Iranian
national, repented following their arrests last week.
Sixteen killed in Algerian violence - 17 Jun 03
A dozen Islamic insurgents were killed in eastern Algeria - 10 of them
in bombing raids - and four police officers were killed by a bomb that
exploded as their patrol passed, the media reported.
The area east of Algiers, including Bouira, is the haunt of the
Salafist Group for Call and Combat, one of two insurgency movements
still working after more than a decade to topple the military-backed
government. The Salafist group targets mainly police and soldiers and
other representatives of the state.
Le Matin also reported a firefight in the Boumerdes region, about 50
km east of the capital in which two insurgents and a member of a
civilian self-defence force were killed. In other violence, four
police officers were killed yesterday in the Berber region east of
Algiers when a bomb exploded as their patrol passed, the official APS
news agency reported today without elaborating.
Counselling can help bridge the differences - 21 Jun 03
.. Bahraini women often lose out when they resort to the law to
resolve family problems, says a top female lawyer.
Even if they can get a lawyer, it is often difficult to prove that
they have a right to divorce, custody of their children or financial
support after a split, says attorney Zeenat Al Mansoori. The social
stigma attached to airing family problems in public, particularly
domestic violence, means that many choose to stay silent in court
rather than reveal the trauma they have been through. This results in
judgements which favour men. A comprehensive personal law is essential
to ensure that women's rights are protected in court and more free
legal advice should be made available to women in need.
"If you go to court you will see that most women are without lawyers
and they are not aware of how Sharia law works and what their rights
are," she continued. "Their cases can stay in court for up to five
years. With a lawyer, it will take a lot less time. "The judges try to
help by suggesting that the women call witnesses and so on, but they
cannot sway the hearing for one party or another because they are
there to judge the case."
A woman seeking a divorce must prove that her husband has been harming
her, by verbal or physical abuse or through a failure to support her,
or has not been sleeping with her. If she can prove this then she is
entitled to support for her children and any clauses written into the
marriage agreement must be honoured. Otherwise she must ask the court
to agree to a divorce on the basis of her incompatibility with her
husband. In this case the man can agree on the condition that she pays
him and/or releases him from claims for financial support.
"Statistics show that most of the families below the poverty line in
Bahrain are led by women," she noted. "This means that they have
either been divorced or widowed and most often they have been
divorced. "The living standards of the family often drop once the
husband has left, because the law doesn't consider the standard of
living that the children are used to. .. "I hope in the future that
the personal law will be approved by parliament to protect families."
Egypt's religious leaders deny justification for female circumcision
Egypt's Christian and Muslim religious leaders on Saturday denied that
there is any religious justification for the practice of female
Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, grand sheik of Al-Azhar, the most prestigious
Sunni Islamic institution .. [said] "There is no reliable statement in
the Quran or Sunna, the two components of Islamic Sharia, that
addresses this issue," he said. The Sunna is a compilation of the
sayings and deeds of the prophet Muhammad. Tantawi said doctors have
the right to decide on this issue.
.. "The wall of silence has fallen. The national debate on female
genital mutilation has started," Khattab said.
On Wednesday, Egypt convened a two-day conference of international
donors in a bid to raise millions of dollars for projects to eliminate
female circumcision. The United States, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark,
Sweden, Finland and Japan and many UN agencies were among those
represented at the meeting organized by the United Nations Children's
Fund and the Ford Foundation.
Muslim woman allowed to wear veil - 22 Jun 03
One of France's principal appeals court - the Cour d'appel de Paris -
has authorized a young Muslim woman to wear her Islamic scarf at her
place of work. The woman, Dallila Tahri had been fired in July 2002 by
a tele-marketing firm, for insisting on wearing her scarf against the
wishes of her employers who wanted her to wear a briefer veil which
would have not covered her neck and ears.
Islamic cleric says "hidden agenda" to link him to Bali trial - 19 Jun
.. the trial for treason and immigration violations of Indonesian
Mujahidin Council [MMI] Chairman Abu Bakar Ba'asyir.
[Ba'asyir] The United States is afraid of my sermons. That is all. I
have said that the implementation of Syariah [Shari'ah] Islam has to
be in the nation. This is what the United States and other secular
groups in Indonesia are afraid of. The secular groups in Indonesia get
a bad headache because of my sermons. But the Koran teaches this. The
United States does not like this. This situation has been around since
the New Order [Suharto's regime], and this is an "old song".
"Shariah law must be implemented by community, not state" - 18 Jun 03
Head of the NU [Nahdlatul Ulama] Hasyim Muzadi said that the NU
association rules and regulations prescribe that Islamic Syariah [Law]
must be carried out by the community and not just by the government.
According to him, Islamic Syariah implemented by the state has no
meaning, if the officials implementing it still continue to practice
corruption, collusion and nepotism (KKN). "Although regional
decentralisation (regional autonomy) has run according to Act No 22/
1999, and regional Islamic Syariah needs implementation at the state
level too, it will be useless because corrupt national officials are
almost everywhere," he said again.
Top Iranian cleric lashes out at rioters - 20 Jun 03
"I ask the head of the judiciary and public prosecutors across Iran
not to treat these people with compassion as they endangered the
country's security. Islamic Sharia and our laws are explicit on what
we should do with them," Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi said in a Friday
prayers sermon. "The judiciary should deal with these people as
Moharebs (those who fight Allah) and not as Mokhalef (those who oppose
Allah)," he added, urging the courts to handle the detainees "quickly,
meticulously, seriously and ruthlessly".
The charge of being a Mohareb carries the death penalty in Iran. After
student riots in 1999, one protestor was convicted of that charge and
condemned to die, but the punishment was later commuted to 15 years
imprisonment. Ayatollah Yazdi is an ultra-conservative former head of
Iran's judiciary - a bastion of the religious right - and currently a
prominent jurist sitting on both the Guardians Council and Expediency
Council, Iran's two top political oversight bodies.
Government slams 'crimes' of vigilantes, bans further protests
- 24 Jun 03
A senior government official on Monday flayed vigilantes for 'crimes'
committed during their recent raid of a university hostel west of
Tehran, but said Iran had banned further demonstrations outside
universities, IRNA reported from Tehran.
Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told reporters that he
hoped the judiciary would "legally deal with all those who disrupted
the public peace and security during recent riots".
Press has said plain-clothes vigilantes had recently attacked a
university dormitory in Tarasht, west of Tehran, and violently beaten
up students, in addition to destroying their personal belonging.
.. "For an event similar to what happened in Tarasht dormitory, no
description other than crime can suffice," Ramezanzadeh said, adding
the crimes seemed to be 'organized'
US must not separate Mosque and State By Amitai Etzioni [..]
Top Iraqi cleric rules Saddam men to be tried by Shari'ah courts
.. [Iraqi newspaper Sawt Al-Tali'ah on 15 June]
This column .. will also include rulings issued by other high
religious authorities. This week we will start with the rulings by His
Eminence Al-Sayyid Ayatollah al-Ozma Ali al-Sistani. We got these
rulings through his deputy Shaykh Aqil al-fatlawi:
In the name of God, punishment is the right of the family of the
victim after the crime has been proven in a Shari'ah court. It is
impermissible for others to mete out punishment. Moreover, there must
not be any punishment before a Shari'ah judge has announced the
It is not permissible to take the initiative to punish him. The matter
must be deferred until the formation of a Shari'ah court to consider
these cases. .. The case must be referred to the Shari'ah courts.
We have to wait until the formation of the courts.
Women raise their voices in new Iraq - 20 Jun 03
Iraqi women say their status improved in the first two decades of
Baathist rule, but things changed for the worse after the 1991 Gulf
War. More than 12 years of UN sanctions impoverished all but a few
privileged Iraqis. Many families favoured sons over daughters in areas
such as education. "Women paid a heavy price after the sanctions.
Education of women dropped from 92 percent in the mid-1980s to 69
percent in the 1990s, which meant one in three women did not attend
school," said Ghada Kachachi of the UN Children's Fund.
Saddam, shaken by post-Gulf War revolts against him, sought to bolster
his position by an "Islamisation" campaign, which included laws that
struck at some fundamental women's rights. "We want to cancel some
legislation. For instance, a 1992 law bans the foreign travel of a
woman if she is not escorted by her father or husband. An Iraqi woman
married to a non-Iraqi can't give her children her nationality,"
Awatef al-Aswad, a woman who works in finance, told Reuters.
Women said they had also suffered increasing job discrimination in
government ministries in the 1990s, though exceptions were made for
female Baath party members.
Iraqi women had set up five committees to draft ideas for key areas in
which they want a say - the constitution, education, health, economy
and law. Some women were also talking to moderate Shi'ite Muslim
clerics about how to secure the withdrawal of edicts on strict Islamic
law issued by their militant colleagues.
Choice returns to Baghdad's bookshops - 19 Jun 03
Once forbidden books and posters are again on sale in Baghdad, whose
reputation for intellectual and political life was throttled under
Saddam Hussein's rule. Images of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,
executed Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim clerics and other opponents of the
ousted dictator flutter from poster stalls in the capital.
The Baath party banned independent literature, from academic tomes
such as Hanna Batatu's "The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary
Movements of Iraq" to communist literature and tracts by Shi'ite
theologians in the holy city of Najaf.
Also on sale are posters of Sadr, early Shi'ite martyrs Ali, Hussein
and Abbas, as well as modern Iraqi leaders such as Abdelkarim Qassem,
whom Saddam tried to assassinate in 1959.
"Under the Ashes of a Stormy War" by Ala al-Mudares offers a somewhat
fanciful account of the conflict, saying the Iraqi army killed 20,000
invading soldiers before morale collapsed when the enemy broke into
its communications and the United States dropped a tactical nuclear
weapon on Baghdad airport.
Just behind al-Mutanabbi street stands the charred remains of
Baghdad's main public library, named after mediaeval Arab physicist
Ibn al-Haitham and now wrecked by looters.
Iraqis Fear Signing Away Islamic Identity - 20 Jun 03
the latest affront to many Iraqis is one sentence in one document. All
citizens who work for the government are required to sign a document
that states, "I will obey the laws of Iraq and all proclamations,
orders and instructions of the Coalition Provisional Authority." In an
Islamic society where faith and state are intertwined, many fear this
provision is designed to undermine their religion.
The Coalition Provisional Authority, as the U.S.-led administration is
known, is moving aggressively to assert itself as the sole legal
authority in Iraq and to rub out any remnants of the former Baath
Party regime. It has drawn a line in the sand, and in order for Iraqis
to have a role in the running of their country, they must agree to the
conditions laid down by civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer III.
Shiite clerics in the south have issued fatwas, or religious edicts,
instructing that the forms not be signed. Ali wanted his money, and he
wanted his job, but he also wanted to be true to his faith. So he
penciled in his own addendum: "But it should not contradict Islamic
Shias Rally for Big Role in Iraq Councils - 22 Jun 03
Demonstrators handed a petition to the administration, now based in a
former presidential palace in Baghdad, demanding that the Hawza Shiite
authority play a supervisory role in the rapid establishment of local
The demonstration passed off peacefully, an AFP correspondent
reported, in contrast with a protest at the compound Wednesday by
former Iraqi soldiers furious at not being paid.
In the southern city of Najaf, one of Shiite Islam's holiest sites,
the Hawza seminary is charged not only with applying Sharia Islamic
law, but with all aspects of daily life, from the political and social
to the administrative.
Legal Wheels Turn Against Islamic Movement Leaders - 19 Jun 03
The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court extended the custody of five
Israeli-Arab Islamic Movement leaders this afternoon. They are to be
indicted on charges of contact with a foreign agent, laundering money,
and giving financial aid to Hamas elements. .. The judge wrote in her
ruling that there is room to suspect that the subjects harmed state
security, and that the arrests are in no way merely "political."
Seminar shelved after lecturers warned to stay away - 19 Jun 03
An international seminar to discuss the Islamic syariah law has been
postponed after nine of its key local participants withdrew following
a stern warning from the government. Organiser of the meeting, Centre
For Studies in Modernity and Civil Society (Cesmacs), said Deputy
Education Minister Aziz Shamsudin had cautioned yesterday that
lecturers who attend the event would face severe action, including
- 22 Jun
Nine lecturers from three local educational institutions -
International Islamic University, International Institute on Islamic
Thought and Civilisation, and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia -
withdrew as speakers at the conference after being threatened with
expulsion by their superiors.
Jakim launches book on Fatwa decisions - 19 Jan 03
The Islamic Advancement Department (Jakim) on Wednesday launched the
"Keputusan Fatwa Kebangsaan" book which contains decisions made by the
National Fatwa Council since 1970. .. the 59-page book would be
distributed free to the public from Wednesday.
Abdul Hamid said Jakim would publish another book which contained
commentaries, reasoning and related information on the different
fatwa. Contents of the "Keputusan Fatwa Kebangsaan" book are
available at Jakim's website www.islam.gov.my .
Treating IP works as tangible assets - 19 Jun 03
The Government has been urged to take steps to recognise intellectual
property (IP) works such as computer programs and software as a form
of property, like any other tangible asset. Such a move will
facilitate the country to generate revenue from intellectual assets
and extract value from intellectual creations, said lawyer Mohamad
Bustaman Abdullah, "This requires a change of mindset. Currently,
there seems to be a lackadaisical attitude of the public's perception
that piracy eradication and enforcement is for the benefit of foreign
IP owners only,'' he told Computimes in Kuala Lumpur last week.
The question is whether IP is part of the estate of a deceased person
(the owner of the copyright work) both under the civil and syariah
law. ''If it so, what are the rules of distribution that should apply
to the estate. That being the case, can IP be included in a will of
the copyright owner,'' Bustaman said. Secondly, specifically for
computer programs, the question is what would happen to the IP if the
copyright owner is declared a bankrupt or if it is a company, it's
being wound up.
Artiste in porn movie may face action - 20 Jun 03
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Abdul Hamid Zainal
Abidin said various legal aspects need to be looked into before action
can be taken against an artiste and her partner who were said to have
acted in a pornographic movie.
When asked whether the artiste concerned would be called up for
investigation, he said: "Various actions can be taken (against the
artiste) in terms of the Syariah law ..., this is within the power of
the state (Religious Department and State Islamic Affairs Council)
where it happened...," he said.
[hate crime] Mahathir's pound of flesh, Malaysia's gallon of blood
- 23 Jun 03
At the recent Umno General Assembly, delegates were given free copies
of the Bahasa Malaysia version of Henry Ford's anti-Semitic book "The
International Jew" . At a news conference afterwards, Dr
Mahathir said the distribution of the book had nothing to do with him
and added, "I don't need that book to tell me what is right and what
What was the objective of this entire exercise? What has the Jews go
to do with the Umno General Assembly? Is this the launch of a new hate
campaign, this time targeted at the Jews?
[NWFP] Durrani leads Shariat march - 25 Jun 03
The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal government organized a Shariat rally in
the provincial metropolis [Peshawar] to commemorate the passage of
Shariat Act in the NWFP Assembly here on Tuesday evening. .. They
carried banners and placards, shouted slogans in favour of the Shariat
Act, and demanded of the government to implement Islamic laws in
letter and in spirit.
[Bauchi] Islamic Cleric Pleads for Government's Assistance
- 17 Jun 03
.. [This Day - Lagos]
A renowned Islamic scholar in the state, Sheikh Ado Musa Tafawa
Balewa, made the call on the state radio corporation yesterday in
Bauchi. The cleric said that religious leaders play a significant role
in the educational development of the state, and stressed the need for
the state government to give them financial assistance.
He called on the muslim ummah to encourage the propagation of the
Islamic religion as well as join hands with the state's sharia
commission for the full implementation of the sharia legal system in
the state. The Islamic scholar enjoined wealthy muslims in the state
to contribute to the Zakat Endowment Fund, give alms to the less-
privileged, even as he charged them to assist in the building of
Islamiya schools for the training of the children in the ways of islam
and koranic education in the state.
[Kano] Islamiyya, Qur'anic Schools Teachers to Receive Allowance
- 18 Jun 03
.. [Daily Trust - Abuja]
Teachers of Islamiyya and Quranic Schools (Makarantar Allo) would soon
smile as the Kano State Government resolved to introduce payment of
allowances to the teachers monthly. The decision is meant to reduce
the problem the schools face when carrying the activities. The
allowances which would be paid to all Islamiyya and Quranic schools
throughout the state would also assist the teachers to overcome some
[Katsina] Sharia Court Jails Man For Trespassing Into Girls Hostel
- 24 Jun 03
.. [Daily Trust - Abuja]
The Upper Sharia Court in Dutsinma Local Government Area of Katsina
State has sentenced a 45-year-old Mallam Abdu Rabe of Karofi village
to two years imprisonment with no option of fine and 20 strokes of
cane for illicit trespass into girls hostel.
[Witness] said a watchman was attracted by a suspicious alarm raised
by one of the students who was awoken by a strange touch over her body
by the accused, a situation that resulted to a simultaneous alarm by
other occupants of the dormitory upon seeing a strange man in the
hostel. .. He pleaded guilty of the offence and was convicted under
section 225 of the penal code.
[Lahore] The religious reshaping of Pakistan - 20 Jun 03
At Punjab University last month, professors of English literature were
flabbergasted when they learned that a top administrator had ordered
their curriculum reviewed for un-Islamic texts. Among the books deemed
offensive to public morals: "Gulliver's Travels" and "Tess of the
d'Urbervilles." "It was so absurd,"one of the professors recalled. "We
didn't know whether to laugh or cry."
But even in places where the fundamentalists do not hold formal
political power, they are exercising major influence. Lahore is one of
Pakistan's most cultured and cosmopolitan cities and capital of Punjab
province, home to Pakistan's moderate mainstream culture and long
known more for food and festivals than religious zealotry. Yet here
student couples have been physically attacked on college campuses for
holding hands. The bar association recently elected a lawyer from a
fundamentalist party as its head. And on the streets lately,
night-riding vigilantes have been splashing paint on billboard images
of unveiled women. Clerics have mounted a partially successful
campaign to curb the spread of pedestrian-friendly "food streets" in
Lahore's historic walled city. Such amenities, the clerics say,
promote mixing of the sexes and prostitution.
"I think we are entering a new phase," said Ahmed Rashid, author of an
international bestseller on the Taliban who makes his home in Lahore.
"There's a cultural change happening. This is going to spread in [the
frontier province] and spread in the whole country. It will certainly
silence the voice of the liberals," people who favor a more secular
state. Rashid places much of the responsibility for that on the
military, which he says has fostered the fundamentalist groundswell as
a bulwark against India and is now living with the consequences.
But the political and cultural winds may be shifting in Lahore.
Although it is not heavily represented in the provincial government,
the religious alliance wields considerable street power in the city,
which serves as the headquarters of Jamaat-e-Islami. Youth
organizations linked to the religious parties are deeply involved in
campus politics, and are often accused by secular-minded faculty
members of promoting an atmosphere of intolerance. At Punjab
University last month, militant students used wooden clubs to beat a
male and female student - both from Iran - after the two were
discovered sitting together on a campus veranda, according to three
Last month, the university's academic council engaged in heated debate
over whether to drop English as a requirement, as fundamentalist
groups have urged. And then there was the flap over English
literature, which began when Haq ordered a member of the department,
Shahbaz Arif, to scrutinize the curriculum for offensive material.
Gender concerns and PRS [Poverty Reduction Strategy] - 20 Jun 03
The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) is one of the key public
documents, which seems to be in the process of completion forever. For
the last three years the document has kept on being presented by the
government in various forums including Pakistan Development Forum and
number of consultative meetings held at the provincial and national
levels as a draft PRSP.
The radicals rejected PRSP on the ground that the document does not
address the root causes of poverty, which are a growth oriented
macro-economic framework, and an unequal distribution of resources.
They argue that the overall framework of PRSP is within the
neo-liberal paradigm that does not offer any opportunity to reduce or
eliminate poverty. Within this context, the PRSP is simply a charity
effort, which denies people's fundamental right to live in dignity.
Poverty cannot be reduced on sustainable basis by dolling out Zakat
fund or food stamps to poor and turning them into beggars. Religious
conservatives attribute all ills of the society due to westernisation.
Therefore, the introduction of Shariat and Islamisation of the economy
is panacea for reducing poverty. Since they do not see any of this as
part of the PRSP, therefore, they reject it as an un-Islamic document.
For moderates .. the continuing greater emphasis on accelerating
economic growth in the PRSP that assumes that the economic growth by
itself will generate higher employment opportunities and subsequently
people will be in a better position to take care of their social needs
is misplaced. They assert that there is no causal relationship between
the economic growth and poverty reduction which is currently reflected
from the fact that lately the GNP per capita has registered a stronger
growth rate while poverty continues to rise in Pakistan. They reject
the PRSP because of its misplaced emphasis on economic growth rather
than on human development.
women rights activists are contesting PRSP for not going beyond the
rhetoric of engendering growth and gender equity. The strategy seeks
solutions and ways out of poverty trap while being rooted in the given
socio-economic contexts which is based on gender exploitation and
[NWFP] ANP opposes Hisba Act - 21 Jun 03
The Awami National Party has opposed the proposed Hisba Act, which is
likely to be tabled by the provincial government before the Frontier
assembly during its on- going session.
The Hisba Act, [provincial chief Begum Nasim Wali Khan] said, was not
meant to introduce Shariat but was aimed at implementing the MMA
leaders' wishes by force. Accusing the MMA leadership of mimicking the
Taliban regime in running government affairs, she said that the
alliance had intentionally created an uncalled for situation in the
[NWFP] Tabling Of Hasba Act In NWFP Assembly Soon - 20 Jun 03
The NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani has said that Hasba act
will be tabled on floor of provincial assembly after formal approval
of the provincial governor.
The Chief Minister said the copy of the Hasab act have been sent to
Governor and added apparently there seemed no reason for any
interference from the center in the affairs of province. He said after
the establishment of ombudsmen offices rush on the courts will be
reduced. No special force would be created under the act and police
will be used. There was need to set up additional force, he
He said the decision of introducing Shalwar Kamees [traditional
clothing*] and replacing trousers as school uniform was flared up
unnecessarily and unending debate on the dress as being Islamic or
un-Islamic was started. He said in NWFP most of the people are poor
and could not afford expensive uniform and the government decision was
meant to remove the disparity between the poor and wealthy classes.
.. Salwars are pajama-like trousers gathered at the waist and ankles,
worn underneath a long, loose tunic known as a kameez.
[comment] Islamic militants and Musharraf - 19 Jun 03
By imposing Sharia and planning to establish a 'Hisba force' on the
pattern of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Ministry of
the Taliban, the MMA is trying to set up a parallel political,
judicial and police infrastructure in direct opposition to Musharraf's
Ironically, it was the Musharraf's military regime which promoted the
MMA in order to sideline the mainstream political opposition. This
strategy succeed in creating the spectre of a fundamentalist regime
seizing power in nuclear capable Pakistan, a risk calculated to cause
consternation among Western leaders who were, in turn, led to support
Musharraf's undemocratic regime. Indeed, the general hailed MMA's
electoral gains in October 2002 as a victory for his regime and its
policies, as evidenced by the additional leverage he had gained with
the US and its allies.
JID [Jane's] sources indicate that the MMA has gained a significant
support base within the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies,
which are both opposed to Musharraf's support for the US-led war
[NWFP] Apprehensions over Shariat Act debated - 25 Jun 03
Speaking at a debate programme "Implications of Shariat and Hisba Act
on the NWFP" organized by the NWFP Chapter of Liberal Forum Pakistan
on Tuesday [Dr Attaur Rehman] said that successive governments in
Pakistan had been making hollow claims to the people regarding the
enforcement of Shariat laws in the country. ..
Mr Attaur Rehman also defended the proposed Hisba Act saying that it
would provide speedy justice to the people and end corruption in the
Speaking on the occasion ANP leader Dr Mohammad Rehan said that the
MMA government was wasting its energies by indulging in non-issues.
He said that the provincial government should rather concentrate on
the real problems of unemployment, poor law and order situation,
price-hike, and poor standard of education to provide relief to the
people. PPP's Abdul Akbar Khan criticized the federal government of
making fuss over something that had been passed by the provincial
[NWFP] [Open letter to Bush] (Pakistan Christian Post) - 20 Jun 03
Under Pakistan's existing Hudood Ordinance, a woman who has been raped
and wants the state to prosecute her case must have four Muslim men
testify that they witnessed the assault. In the absence of these male
witnesses, the rape victim has no case. Equally alarming, if a woman
cannot prove the rape allegation she runs a very high risk of being
charged with fornication or adultery, the criminal penalty for which
is either a long prison sentence, including public whipping, or,
though rare, death by stoning. The testimony of women carries half the
weight of a man's under this ordinance. Further, the Qisas
(retribution) and Diyat (compensation) Ordinance makes it possible for
crimes of honor (such as the killing of women in the name of honor) to
be pardoned by relatives of the victim and assesses monetary
compensation for female victims at half the rate of male victims.
These are just part of a set of "Islamic" penal laws introduced by the
former military ruler, General Zia ul-Haq in 1979, which have been
left intact by General Musharraf.
In early June, the provincial legislature of the North West Frontier
Province passed a resolution imposing "Sharia laws" in the province.
Some aspects of this law will result in de jure discrimination against
women, raising fears about Taliban-style polices towards women in this
and other parts of the country. General Musharraf has publicly warned
against this kind of extremism, but he and the Pakistani government
should be urged to take concrete measures to protect the basic rights
of women in conformity with international norms. [Brad Adams of HRW].
Looking at Expatriate Women With Suspicion Is Not Doing Us Any Good
the policeman informed me sharply that my maid had been arrested while
out walking with a male companion. .. [She] was, as is her right,
enjoying her weekend off with her husband, who works in a private
company. .. I have often been met with a look of surprise mixed with
distaste by those who have learned that my maid has all the freedom
enjoyed by the rest of my family. .. Is it written in the contract
that the employer is responsible for each step an employee takes? I am
employed by a private company and spend more than half the day at
work. Does that give my boss the right to interfere in my private life
or to imprison me if I don't do as he wishes? .. We believe that women
from other parts of the world are ill-mannered and lost and don't know
right from wrong.
Egyptian Journalist on the Connection Between Wahhabism and Terrorism
- 20 Jun 03
"We used to ask the Wahhabi sheikhs and the members of extremist
Egyptian religious groups: 'You demand obedience to the Saudi ruler
and refraining from rising up against him, while you call for Jihad
against the ruler and toppling the regime in Egypt and in other Arab
countries. What is the meaning of this contradiction?' Their answer
was: 'The difference is that Islamic religious law is implemented in
Saudi Arabia, and not implemented in the other Arab countries.' But
the day came when Saudi youth accused the Saudi authorities too of
heresy, called for [Jihad] against them, and accused them of defiling
the places holy to Islam via the American forces. Anyone who adopts
the Takfir ideology and uses it for his own interests will be burned
in its fire, because no one can control it
Saudis ponder roots of violence Hate arises from ideology - 24 Jun 03
Now a 33-year-old writer, [Mansour] al-Nougaidan is at the forefront
of an emerging debate in Saudi society that asks whether Wahhabism is
a root cause of militant Islamic violence around the world.
"Many of today's radical groups draw at least part of their religious
justifications from Wahhabi ideology," said al-Nougaidan.
New debate over Wahhabism -- and other long-proscribed topics such as
government corruption and democratic reforms -- poses a risk for this
country's rulers .. Pressures are growing from inside and outside
the kingdom on the House of Saud to limit its alliance with the
Wahhabi establishment. But the monarchy has long rested its legitimacy
on its religious credentials, and it is unclear how far the Saudis are
willing to distance themselves from Wahhabi teachings
Religion is not the only problem. Young Saudis are frustrated by
falling living standards and their inability to find jobs. With half
the 14-million native population under age 25, some estimates say
unemployment among the young is as high as 30 percent.
Mesyar: A Convenience or Contentious Issue - 22 Jun 03
"Mesyar" or marriages of convenience are a contentious issue. Fatwa
follows fatwa on the matter, some saying they are lawful, some saying
they aren't. Despite these disagreements, they persist, with men
preferring them over adultery and women prepared, for the sake of
having a man at their side, to give up the right to a home, any claim
to be kept in style, and sometimes even to have children.
Saudi researcher Abdulmalik Al-Mutlaq carried out a detailed study of
Mesyar marriages. Among his findings were that Mesyar marriages are a
legal contract even if women choose to give up their right of housing
and expenses. There are advantages to the arrangement. One is to help
solve the problem of unmarried women. It also enables men in financial
difficulties to get married. For men, it can be a marriage for
Although not new to other Arab countries, the mesyar marriage was
brought to the country [Egypt] by Egyptian men who had worked in the
Gulf countries. This kind of marriage relieved them from any of the
financial burdens or responsibilities of ordinary marriage.
In the mesyar (traveler) marriage, men are not obliged to spend on
their wives and children according to an agreement made between the
couple. The mesyar's husband is free to travel and leave his wife and
children for a long time, and she cannot ask for divorce because of
his disappearance. Also, he can marry another woman in another country
without informing his first wife. Since it is not a registered
(official) marriage, the wife and children lose all their rights if
the man divorces her.
[Cape Town] More rights for Muslim spouses - 24 Jun 03
Legislation which disinherited a bereaved spouse, married by Muslim
rites, whose husband or wife died intestate, was unconstitutional, the
Cape High Court ruled on Tuesday.
"We welcome this decision which gives effect to the constitutional
right not to be discriminated against unfairly on the basis of
religion and culture," - Women's Legal Centre's (WLC)
The case would now be referred to the Constitutional Court for
confirmation, said WLC director Michelle O'Sullivan, who is also the
attorney who dealt with the high court application. If the
Constitutional Court confirmed the decision, the practical effect of
this would be that Muslim spouses could inherit as intestate heirs
from their spouses deceased estates and also claim maintenance from
the estates if they were in a monogamous marriage, Johnson said in the
However, the ruling was limited to the facts of the case and did not
affect Muslims in polygamous marriages, or people married by, for
example, Hindu or African customary rites, O'Sullivan said.
The Cape High Court ruling stated that portions of the Intestate
Succession Act (1987) and the Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act
(1990) were unconstitutional.
Although many people who chose to marry according to Muslim rites knew
that most Muslim officiants were not marriage officers in terms of
South African law, they did not choose to marry without the provisions
of the Marriage Act.
[letter] Religious hate law under question - 23 Jun 03
There are serious objections to passing from a law against "inciting
racial hate" to one against "inciting religious hate". Race and
religion are profoundly different in three respects. First, an
individual is born with his race, and he cannot alter it. But religion
is a personal commitment.
race is not open to moral criticism but religions are because of the
values they promote.
Sharia is very widely accepted by Muslims as an essential expression
of Islam, and it calls for death as the punishment for"blasphemy", and
stoning to death for women who commit adultery. Sharia is Islamic, and
morally unacceptable. This is a legitimate moral judgment. Creeping
criminalisation must not inhibit our right, and responsibility, to say
this. (Harry Stropes-Roe, Vice-President, British Humanist
Watchdog urges ban on beefed-up chicken - 19 Jun 03
Adding beef and pork proteins to chicken should be banned by the
European Commission, the UK's food watchdog has urged. The warning
follows recent surveys by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that found
high levels of added water in chicken mainly destined for the catering
Sir John Krebs, chairman of the FSA, said: "Under European law it is
not illegal to add huge amounts of water or beef and pork proteins to
chicken as long as this appears on the label. It may be legal but it
doesn't make it acceptable. "The only reason to add proteins is to
pump up the water to high levels - that's a recipe for ripping
customers off. "
The FSA's surveys found chicken pieces with high levels of added
water, as much as 55% of the total weight in one case. The tests also
found pork protein in half the catering chicken marked Halal -
denoting food safe for Muslims to eat under Islamic law.
[Newham] Butchers are raided in meat probe - 25 Jun 03
Three butchers in Newham were raided last week as part of a nationwide
operation investigating the meat trade. Environmental Health and
Trading Standards officers from Newham Council stormed the halal meat
outlets in Upton Park flanked by police with shields who were on hand
to prevent breach of the peace or disorder. Meat seized included beef
tripe, sheep carcasses, chickens, lamb brains and cows' feet.
The operation, codenamed Lobster Pot, saw raids on 23 premises across
England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
The national operation which involved the seizure of tons of meat
allegedly involved meat destined for pet food being purchased at
abattoirs across the country which is believed to have been processed
and packaged for re-introduction into the human food chain.
There was also evidence gathered to suggest that chicken pieces
showing discolouration due to putrefaction were systematically
bleached with chemical agents to bring them back to the colour of
[comment] Mahathir's pound of flesh, Malaysia's gallon of blood
- 23 Jun 03
[In London] The first shop I entered was a Lebanese Muslim shop. He
sold halal meat that was stocked in the same freezer as the pork
sausages. When I asked him why the pork sausages and halal meat were
all stacked up in the same place, the shopkeeper replied that they are
all wrapped in plastic and are not in contact with each other.
When I further asked how he, as a Muslim, can sell haram (forbidden)
products, he replied that he only sold them, he did not eat them.
Muslim shop after Muslim shop, I met with the same response. Hours
later I gave up and decided instead to shop in Selfridges that had a
Jewish kosher food department.
An Asian marriage custom reshaped - 23 Jun 03
While couples were once introduced exclusively by relatives and
friends, the Aunt Bijis, as Muslims call their matchmakers, are now
being slowly nudged out by a boom in Asian marriage Web sites, chat
rooms and personal advertisements. South Asian speed dating - Hindus
one night, Muslims the next - is the latest phenomenon to hit London,
with men and women meeting each other for just three minutes at
restaurants and bars before moving on to the next potential mate.
What the young Indians and Pakistanis of Britain have done, in effect,
is to modernize practices that had evolved among the urban middle
class in India in recent decades, allowing the prospective bride and
groom a little more than one fleeting meeting to make up their minds.
The relaxation that had crept in since the 1960s allowed the couple,
after an initial meeting before their extended families, to meet alone
several times, either with family members in another room or at a
restaurant, before delivering a verdict. Now, the meetings take place
in public venues without the family encounter first.
"The term we use now is 'assisted' arranged marriage," said Maha Khan,
a 23-year-old London Muslim woman. "The whole concept has changed a
lot. Parents have become more open and more liberal in their concept
of marriage and courtship."
[WTO] Access to medicines - 23 Jun 03
WTO trade ministers made some progress at their 'mini-Ministerial'
meeting in Sharm-Al-Sheik (21-22 June) on the issue of access to
medicines. .. Unofficial sources also reported that the US are no more
pursuing their demand for a WTO solution to be limited to a short list
[Film] God's Whores - 25 Jun 03
Islamic Finance: Emergence of Sharia-compliant securities indices
.. - 23 Jun 03
[Malaysia] Dow's Islamic index offer - 25 Jun 03
A proposal to apply the Dow Jones Islamic Index to the KLSE [stock
exchange] to complement Kuala Lumpur's efforts to be an Islamic
financial centre was made yesterday by Dow Jones Indexes global
director (Islamic group - business development) A. Rushdi Siddiqui.
Harmonisation between Gulf and Malaysian standards was vital in
attracting funds to the country, he pointed out.
"At present, Gulf investors are of the opinion that Malaysian
standards are too liberal," he told StarBiz on the sidelines of the
conference on Future Trends in Islamic Equity and Bond in Kuala Lumpur
yesterday. The KLSE has over 800 counters, of which 81% are deemed to
be syariah compliant. The Dow Jones has 5,200 companies, but only 22%
are syariah compliant.
"After the 911 incident, between US$ 10 bil and US$ 15 bil of (Gulf)
funds left the US for Swiss banks and European banks and to countries
such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates," Rushdi said.
Net asset value of syariah unit trust at RM3bil in 2002 - 25 Jun 03
The net asset value (NAV) of syariah-based unit trust funds in
Malaysia grew to RM3.21bil [EUR 730 mill.] in 2002 from RM2.42bil in
2001, the number of management companies to 27 from 23, and the number
of approved funds to 44 from 32. But, the percentage of NAV to the
total industry was still small at 6% in 2002, up from 5.1% in 2001.
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