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103Sharia News Watch 103

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Feb 10, 2004
      Sharia News Watch 103 : 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) & related subjects, as appearing on the major
      news searchengines. All editions :


      MP proposes motion to segregate sexes in university - 08 Feb 04
      An Islamist member of the Bahraini Parliament said yesterday he has
      proposed a motion to segregate the sexes in the class rooms of the
      kingdom's national university. The proposal aims to "allow women to
      continue their high education without any harassment," MP Jassim Al
      Saidi told Gulf News.
      The Bahraini Parliament, elected in October 2002, is dominated by
      Islamists who control up to 22 of the house 40 seats. Bahrain is
      considered one of the most open and multicultural societies in the
      Middle East where most people lead a Western life style. But the
      constitution states Bahrain is a Muslim country, Al Saidi argued. "And
      according to the Islamic Sharia, men and women sexes must not mingle
      in public places," he said. He claimed the desegregation of the sexes
      at the university denied "thousands of women" the chance to progress.
      "This bill doesn't make any sense," commented Dr Anissa Fakhro, an
      education expert and social commentator. "It seems that these people
      have yet to realise that we are living in the 21st century," she
      added. Anissa's latest book is called The Psychological and Social
      Tendencies of the Bahraini Youth. In the book, she argues that mixing
      the sexes in at schools "helps create a more tolerant and less violent
      generation." "Based on the interviews I had with hundreds of students
      from both segregated and desegregated schools, those who have been
      studying since elementary level at mixed schools tend to have less
      psychological and social tensions. They look at the members of the
      other sex as equals," she explained.


      French politicians pave way for hijab ban - 06 Feb 04
      The country's ruling conservatives and left-wing opposition approved
      the deal over a controversial draft law on Thursday before a formal
      vote by the National Assembly next week. The Socialists said their
      backing depended on an amendment requiring the law to be reviewed
      after a year. Their support also hinged on the understanding that the
      law would not be wielded in a way that would alienate religious
      The amendments were seen as a way to bring those hesitating on board
      to back the bill, which goes to the vote in the lower chamber of
      parliament next Tuesday. It will then be passed to the upper chamber,
      the Senate.

      Ban on veils may spread to hospitals - 06 Feb 04
      As France's national assembly neared the end of a four-day debate on a
      ban on religious emblems in state schools, the prime minister,
      Jean-Pierre Raffarin, said "similar legislation" was planned to stop
      hospital patients refusing to be treated by male doctors.
      Health administrators have reported cases of Muslim husbands who would
      rather their wives were denied treatment than be examined by a man.
      Women in labour have refused epidurals because the anaesthetist was
      male. The government is also considering a "secularism charter" for
      other public institutions. These include town halls, where Muslim
      women must remove their veils for official ceremonies, and public
      swimming pools, where Muslim women have demanded segregated bathing.


      Muslims urged to reinterpret personal laws affecting women - 07 Feb 04
      The National Commission for Women (NCW) today called upon the Muslim
      community to review existing personal laws relating to talaq,
      maintenance and polygamy etc to ameliorate the socio-economic
      condition of their women. Pointing out that so many Muslim countries
      like Turkey, Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan had amended laws relating to
      these subjects to meet the demand of the changing times, NCW
      chairperson Poornima Advani said that in India also, these laws
      demanded a new interpretation.
      Ms Advani, who has taught Muslim Personal Law at the Bombay
      University, said there were so many laws which were intended to be
      good and arose according to the demands of the day when they were
      formulated, but later they came to be misinterpreted to do injustice
      to women. In this connection she cited a sub-clause in the Dissolution
      of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939 under which a woman can seek divorce only
      if her husband does not treat her equally with his other wife. But,
      she pointed out that there is no such man as can ensure this equality
      and the provision continues to be misused. She said the NCW during the
      hundreds of public hearings it held over the year has found that the
      problem of instantaneous talaq and multiple marriage were the ones
      affecting Muslim women most adversely.
      A number of other speakers on the occasion stressed the need of
      launching an intensive campaign to make Muslim women, specially those
      living in samall towns and villages, aware of their legal rights
      relating to their share in property which in most of the cases they
      surrender to their brothers out of social pressure.


      [Opinion] Haj tragedies: Time for a look in the mirror - 07 Feb 04

      NU alleges rampant corruption over haj - 10 Feb 04

      Rampant corruption, including price markups, at the Ministry of
      Religious Affairs involved many officials, businesspeople, politicians
      and foreigners, a respected Muslim leader alleged on Monday. Hasyim
      Muzadi, chairman of the country's largest Muslim organization
      Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), said that reforms within the ministry required
      extra effort from all parties, including lawmakers, non-governmental
      organizations and the press.
      Hasyim doubted, however, that the private sector would be able to
      handle the haj pilgrimage professionally -- as some have recently
      suggested -- saying that the government had once delegated the matters
      to private firms and similar problems still took place. The government
      handed over the management of the special minor haj, with about 15,000
      people, to a private firm two years ago, but later dropped the firm
      after the organizers failed to carry out their duties properly. This
      year, some 30,000 haj pilgrims, mostly under the ONH Plus arrangement,
      were not able to go to Mecca despite promises from the government,
      that it would grant a higher quota. Indonesia's quota stood at 205,000
      people this year.

      Intl Halal Standards To Be Formulated In Jakarta - 07 Feb 04
      Representatives of certification bodies from many countries will
      gather in Jakarta on February 11-12 to formulate international halal
      (allowed under Islamic law) standards to protect Muslim consumers.
      "So far, the halal status of food products originating in non-Muslim
      countries entering Muslim countries is always in doubt," the president
      of the World Halal Council, Aisjah Girindra, said here Friday. Aisjah
      said, the halal certificates issued in food producing countries had
      yet to remove the doubts.

      Government to blame for stampede in Mina: Gus Dur - 05 Feb 04

      Former president and former chairman of the country's largest Muslim
      organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid said on
      Thursday that the [Indonesian] government did not provide clear
      guidance on how and when to perform the devil-stoning rite. "If we
      refer to the Wahabi sect's regulations, the pilgrims should perform
      the devil-pelting rite in the afternoon, but the government
      (reportedly) never told our pilgrims what time they should go. So the
      incident was our government's fault," Gus Dur said. "I understand
      the situation because I once went for a pilgrimage and no government
      official informed us about the procedures. Of course, the lack of
      information meant that we could go to Mina anytime we wanted ... in
      the morning, afternoon or evening," Gus Dur explained during a press
      conference at the NU headquarters on Thursday.
      Several haj pilgrims had claimed that they were never told there was
      to be an allotted time for the trek to Mina. Acting Minister for
      Religious Affairs Jusuf Kalla claimed that the Saudi government had
      scheduled Indonesian pilgrims and other pilgrims from Southeast Asian
      countries to go to Mina between 4 p.m and 10 p.m. He claimed that the
      incident happened at 9 a.m, obviously with a lot of Indonesians
      involved, but the morning schedule had been allocated for pilgrims
      from Arab and African countries. The Ministry of Religious Affairs's
      Haj Information Office head Nunun Firdaus suspected that Indonesian
      group leaders had not informed their fellow pilgrims about the stoning


      Iraqi Official Wants Law Based on Islam - 10 Feb 04
      Iraq's current top official has demanded that Islam be the principal
      basis for Iraq's laws, a move that breaches a previous agreement among
      the framers of the interim constitution and creates the possibility
      that Islamic law could rule the land. If approved, the proposal could
      have broad effects on secular Iraq, taking away rights of women in
      divorce and inheritance cases, shuttering liquor stores and banning
      gambling, legal advisers here say. Elements also run counter to
      President Bush's goal of turning Iraq into a beacon for democracy in
      the Middle East. "There could be changes in the Iraqi state," said
      Salem Chalabi, a legal adviser to the Governing Council and a member
      of the 10-member committee framing the basic transitional law, which
      acts as an interim constitution and is to take effect at the end of
      this month. "If someone proposes a law of inheritance that conflicts
      with sharia, or Islam, then it´s invalid," Chalabi said. "The
      registration of liquor stores may become illegal."

      Mohsen Abdel-Hamid, the current president of Iraq's U.S.-picked
      Governing Council and a member of a drafting committee, proposed the
      change last week. Abdel-Hamid is a Sunni Muslim scholar who heads the
      Iraqi Islamic Party, which espouses a conservative view of Islam.
      Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Abdel-Hamid said he wants "a
      constitution that represents the Islamic identity of the majority of
      the Iraqi people, with all the respect due to other identities."
      Abdel-Hamid's measure would not take away freedom to practice other
      religions, but would make Islamic codes the arbiter of future laws,
      with exceptions made for minority religions. The proposal sparked what
      framers of the law called "heated" discussions. Perhaps the largest
      effect would be to moot much of Iraq's 1959 Law of Personal Status,
      which grants uniform rights to husband and wife to divorce and
      inheritance, and governs related issues like child support, Chalabi
      said. Representatives of Iraq's Kurdish and Christian parties, and
      those with liberal Western views have voiced opposition to the
      Islamization of Iraq's legal code, and the issue remains under
      discussion. Women would be most affected, said one opponent.
      "If this happens 50 percent of Iraqi society will need to be
      liberated," said Younadem Kana, a Christian member of the Governing
      Council. "We need to fight for the rights of all Iraqis _ women and
      minorities as well."
      To take effect, the Islamic law proposal would have to be approved by
      the framing committee and added to the transitional law, which must be
      accepted by the full Governing Council.
      Saudi cleric criticizes Arab League stand against empowering ethnic,
      religious groups http://www.dailystar.com.lb/10_02_04/art23.asp
      .. - 10 Feb 04
      A leading Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia criticized Monday a recent
      Arab League report that warns of empowering religious and ethnic
      groups in Iraq which could lead to destabilizing neighboring
      countries. "The saying that granting political rights to religious and
      ethnic groups in Iraq would constitute a threat to neighboring
      countries indicates a sickness in the Arab political mentality," said
      Sheikh Hassan al-Saffar from his office in the mainly Shiite city of
      Al-Qatif in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.
      The report, prepared by an Arab League delegation that spent two weeks
      in Iraq in December, reflects concern among Arab states that giving
      too much authority to Kurdish and Shiite groups would inspire
      minorities in neighboring countries to rise up and demand more power.

      Iraq Draft Constitution Calls For 40 Percent Women in Assembly
      http://www.occupationwatch.org/article.php?id=2880 - 02 Feb 04
      Members of the United States-appointed Iraqi Governing Council started
      debating a proposed constitution for Iraq's interim government.
      According to the Washington Post, the plan calls for a three-member
      presidency and for at least 40 percent of the assembly and
      constitutional convention to be women. The deadline for the
      document's completion is February 28. Iraqi officials are expecting
      major disagreements and debates over the issues of quotas for women,
      the role of religion, and the possibility of federalism, reports the
      Washington Post. The legal advisor to the Governing Council, Salem
      Chalabi, believes that the quota for women will be reduced to 20
      percent. In regards to religion, the proposed constitution states that
      Islam will be one source, rather than the sole source, of legislation.
      The designation of Islam as only one of the sources is also a source
      of contention for the conservative members of the Council.

      'Iran, Iraq should remove visa restrictions' - 08 Feb 04
      A senior Iranian official said Saturday that Iran and Iraq should
      remove visa requirements on each other's citizens as a step towards
      improved relations between the two former enemies. "We wish in the
      future Iraqis could visit Iran without any problem and vice versa,"
      Ali Asghar Ahmadi, an Iranian deputy interior minister in charge of
      security, told reporters. Ahmadi is part of an Iranian government
      delegation that arrived Friday for talks with Iraqi officials on
      border issues and travel between the two countries. It is believed to
      be the first official team to visit Iraq since the fall of Saddam
      Hussein's regime last year. Ahmadi said about 10,000 Iranians come to
      Iraq daily, mostly pilgrims to the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and
      Najaf. But Iranian border officials say the number is likely double
      with most of the visitors crossing the border illegally before
      boarding buses to visit the holy places.
      Hundreds of thousands of Iranians visited Iraq every year until1980 ,
      when the two countries went to war that ended only in1988 . There was
      virtually no travel between the two peoples until July 1998 when
      Saddam allowed 12,000 Iranians a month to visit holy shrines.
      In pilgrims' rush, Iraq's shrine city of Najaf sees new fortune - 09
      Feb 04 http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=110304

      [comment] Al-Sistani's Vision Of Iraq's Political And Religious Future
      .. - 05 Feb 04
      The sociologist [Faleh Jabar, University of London] says al-Sistani is
      often portrayed by the media as a man of spiritual concerns with a
      highly ascetic lifestyle. But as one of a handful of top Iraqi Shi'a
      leaders regarded as a "marja" -- or "model for emulation" -- by the
      faithful, al-Sistani also is the head of one of his community's
      richest religious foundations, thought to have assets worth tens of
      millions of dollars. Jabar says that, as leaders of institutions with
      vast networks of social services, al-Sistani and other top Iraqi Shi'a
      clerics are in constant touch with the concerns -- both spiritual and
      worldly -- of their community. "Seemingly they are isolated, living
      like hermits. But this is a myth," he said. "They have thousands of
      students, of novices, of agents, of representatives, and they have the
      best feedback in the world. They can feel [the concerns of their
      community]. This is an institution that we are talking about. We are
      not talking about a person living in a small room." Iraq's religious
      foundations, which are supported by contributions from a marja's
      followers, fund institutions and services ranging from religious
      schools, to dormitories for religious students, to welfare grants to
      the needy. Al-Sistani inherited his vast endowment network from the
      late Grand Ayatollah Abd al-Qasim al-Khoi, who named him as successor
      before his death in 1992.
      "He issued several fatwas," Jawar said. "First, he said, we will not
      have a government like Iran, meaning [theocracy] is not applicable in
      the case of Iraq. The Shi'a Islamic parties would like to forget this
      [fatwa]. The second fatwa is that he forbade clerics from assuming any
      administrative and government office at all." Jabar says these fatwas
      were in part motivated by al-Sistani's belief that clergy should not
      become part of the political system and thus risk losing their
      spiritual authority. But they also may be an effort to balance the
      interests of distinct groups within the Shi'a population. These
      include a strong middle class of professionals that is uncomfortable
      with the Islamist political parties. Tensions between the groups have
      risen as Islamist parties have sought to impose dress codes on women
      in some parts of southern Iraq where their armed militias hold power.
      The sociologist says al-Sistani's writings suggest he would be
      comfortable with a constitution that enshrines Islam as the state
      religion, assures freedom of worship to all communities, and accepts
      sharia as just one of several sources of legislation. That is a
      position closer to the sentiments of the Shi'a middle classes.
      However, al-Sistani also is reported to have said in his religious
      rulings regarding personal behavior that men and women should not mix
      socially, that music for entertainment is prohibited, and that women
      should veil their hair.


      Parliament and Bomas: Who'll have the last word on review?
      .. - 08 Feb 04
      As far as Muslims are concerned (North Eastern is predominantly
      Muslim), the faction that will win their support is the one that
      affirms two issues they hold close to their hearts: The kadhi's courts
      as contained in the draft constitution coupled with a promise to
      soften the Anti-Terrorism Bill. The fact that Ufungamano dropped the
      kadhi's courts from their draft constitution was enough to make the
      Muslims pull out of the group.


      [opinion] Explaining the addiction to jihad - 05 Feb 04
      Individually, the terrorists I interviewed cited many reasons for
      choosing a life of holy war, and I came to despair of identifying a
      single root cause. But the variable that most frequently came up was
      not poverty or human rights abuses ­ as has been posited in the press
      ­ but perceived humiliation. Humiliation came up at every echelon of
      terrorist group members ­ leaders and followers.


      Objections to UN homosexuality view [New Straits Times] - 10 Feb 04
      Legal experts and religious groups today expressed their objection to
      the United Nations' threat to punish nations which banned homosexual
      activities through a new human rights resolution to be tabled in
      April. Bar Council president Khutubul Zaman Bukhari said civil and
      syariah laws clearly stated that homosexual behaviour was illegal.
      Section 377 (A), (B) and (C) states that any penile penetration
      through the anus or mouth is considered carnal intercourse against the
      order of nature. An offender could be jailed a minimum of five years
      and maximum of 20 years. He said most State Syariah Criminal Offence
      laws imposed a RM1,000 fine and a minimum one-year imprisonment for
      men who publicly wore women's clothing and posed as women for immoral

      MP: Issue fatwa on use of mosques near homes - 08 Feb 04
      The National Fatwa Council has been urged to issue an edict (fatwa)
      for Muslims to perform Friday prayers at mosques near their homes.
      Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Seri Mohd Shariff Omar said yesterday that the
      council should issue the fatwa because some Muslims preferred to
      perform the Friday prayers at mosques elsewhere which were inclined
      towards a certain political party. He said these Muslims did not want
      to pray at mosques set up by the Government or with an appointed imam,
      thus causing disunity in the community. "The council must issue a
      fatwa as the situation will cause a further split if it is not
      checked," he said at a ground-breaking ceremony for the RM 2.5mil
      [Eur 518.000,-] Merbau Kudung mosque here yesterday. Speaking to
      newsmen later, Mohd Shariff said the fatwa should specify those who
      pray at mosques of their choice outside their khariah (committee or


      The Death Penalty and Women under the Nigeria Penal Systems
      .. - 10 Feb 04
      The new Sharia penal codes which came into force in 12 states(5).in
      northern Nigeria since 1999, define someone who has committed zina
      as"whoever, being a man or a woman fully responsible, has sexual
      intercourse through the genital [sic] of a person over whom he has no
      sexual rights and in circumstances in which no doubt exists as to the
      illegality of the act" (6). Zina was previously punishable by flogging
      for Muslims under the Penal Code. However, in the States that have
      introduced Sharia penal laws, zina carries a mandatory death sentence
      if the accused is married, while 100 lashes is the mandatory sentence
      if the accused is not married. The charge of zina and the punishment
      for it prescribed in the law applies to Muslims only. Of particular
      interest is that by using the death penalty in this way, other rights
      are being violated, such as the right to be free from discrimination,
      freedom of expression and association and the right to privacy. While
      Amnesty International opposes the death penalty under any
      circumstances whatsoever, Amnesty International believes that zina as
      a criminal offence for Muslims only negates the principle of equality
      before the law and equal protection of the law and the organization
      furthermore opposes the criminalization of consensual sexual relations
      between people over the age of consent. The application of the death
      penalty for zina offences combined with the gender-discriminating
      evidence rules within the Sharia penal codes have meant that women
      have disproportionately been sentenced to death for zina in northern
      Nigeria since the introduction of new Sharia penal codes. Amnesty
      International has raised this concern by campaigning on the cases of
      Safiya Yakubu Hussaini, Amina Lawal and Fatima Usman. Amnesty
      International is aware of at least 11 death sentences handed down
      since 1999 by Sharia courts in the States of Bauchi, Jigawa, Katsina,
      Niger and Sokoto and in four of these the convicted are women. Three
      of these cases concern women accused of zina. Only two men were
      sentenced for zina in the same period. (7).s of November 2003, four
      people have lodged appeals against their death sentences and are
      awaiting dates for a hearing. Two of the women, Safiya Yakubu Hussaini
      and Amina Lawal, have had their convictions for zina overturned on
      appeal. The most recent woman convicted of zina is Fatima Usman who
      received her death sentence in May 2002 by the Sharia court of
      Gawu-Babangida, Niger State. Although at present no-one sentenced to
      death for zina under the new Sharia penal legislation, has yet had
      their sentence carried out, Amnesty International remains concerned
      that prescribing the death penalty for the crime of zina is in
      violation of international standards including Article 6 of the
      International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which
      Nigeria is a state party, which states "sentence of death may be
      imposed only for the most serious crimes" (8). The organization is
      additionally concerned that the practice of prescribing the death
      penalty for zina violates the right of women to be free from
      discrimination and the rights to freedom of association and expression
      and the right to privacy. The definition of zina de facto recognizes
      that men have in certain cases, namely marriage, sexual rights over
      women. This in itself is a violation of the principle of equality
      between the sexes and results in women in reality having less control
      over their sex life than men. This social context results in women's
      human rights being violated and Amnesty International fears that the
      definition in law endorses an unequal relationship between men and
      women and leads to men having power over women, denying them the right
      to exercize control over their own sexuality and control over their
      reproductive rights(9).
      During a mission to Nigeria in March 2003 Amnesty International
      interviewed seven women detained at the Katsina prison, Katsina State,
      and found that one of the interviewees had already been convicted of
      culpable homicide and sentenced to death by hanging for having had an
      abortion. Of the women still awaiting trial, three had been charged
      with the capital offences of culpable homicide. Two of the women had
      been charged or convicted under the Penal Code and one under the
      Sharia penal code of Katsina.
      A common characteristic of all these cases is that they concern women
      from rural low-income backgrounds, and that most of them had conceived
      outside a functioning marriage as they were either unmarried,
      separated or divorced at the time of their arrest. They had generally
      been reported to the police by third parties, including village heads
      and neighbours. Two of the interviewees from Katsina State told
      Amnesty International that they had had still births in the last three
      months of pregnancy, but had been reported for inducing abortions.
      None of the women from Katsina State or Sokoto State had legal
      representation at the police station at the time of the arrest or
      during the investigation/interrogation, or appeared to have been
      informed of the reasons for their arrest. Furthermore, several of them
      appeared to have signed or thumb-printed confessions they had not
      written, as most of them could not read or write, and were apparently
      fabricated by the police. Upon charge the women were not kept informed
      by the authorities of their rights. Furthermore, medical evidence
      which could have been used to exonerate some of them was either never
      obtained by the police or in the case of the woman who has been
      convicted may have been deliberately excluded by the police in order
      to secure a conviction. It is also not clear whether these women have
      been charged with the correct offences.
      Cases attracting the capital punishment, such as zina, are tried by
      the lower Sharia courts. The right of appeal to an Upper Sharia court
      is guaranteed in all the Sharia criminal procedure codes. For
      instance, the Sharia Criminal Procedure Code of Sokoto State
      establishes: "Whoever is dissatisfied with the order, ruling, decision
      or judgment made by a Sharia Court may appeal to the Upper Sharia
      Court sitting in its appellate jurisdiction."(37) The subsequent
      appellate court is the Sharia Court of Appeal in each of the 12
      states, and if that particular state does not have one the case may be
      transferred to the Sharia Court of Appeal in another state. When the
      judicial remedies at the state level have been exhausted, the case can
      be taken to the Federal Court of Appeal. (38) So far no case has yet
      been brought to this level. Finally, the President has the right to
      exercize mercy.
      Under the newly introduced Sharia penal codes(52), the behaviour of
      women and men of Muslim faith is now governed by legislation that
      defines criminal offences some of which carry the sentence of death by
      stoning. The death penalty has been introduced under the hudud for
      criminal offences such as zina(53), rape(54), "sodomy" as termed in
      Sharia penal codes(55) and incest(56), but also for robbery(57).
      Intentional homicide(58) under the qisas category(59) and a few
      witchcraft and juju offences under tazir(60) also carry the death
      sentence. With regard to the first four offences the convicted is
      executed by stoning, however in the latter cases the method of
      execution is not specified.

      Amnesty International has encountered violations of the right to a
      fair trial and due process of women in the context of the offence of
      zina within the Sharia penal system. Zina is punishable by death by
      stoning if the convicted is married or divorced(61), otherwise by
      imprisonment(62) and flogging. Judges in cases of zina do not have any
      discretion with regard to the sentences they are handing down; they
      are mandatory. One sentence applies if the defendant is married or has
      at some point entered a legal marriage, and another one applies if the
      defendant is not married and has never been. Partly as a consequence
      of the way the evidence rules operate, the number of women sentenced
      to death on conviction of zina as compared to men, is
      disproportionately high. In the cases known to Amnesty International,
      four women and two men have been convicted.
      Many abortion-related offences are, in the cases known to Amnesty
      International, deemed to fall under the capital offence of culpable
      homicide under the Penal Code and the Criminal Code. (75) However,
      there are also specific provisions for abortion-related offences not
      imposing the death sentence under the Penal Code and the Criminal
      Code. For example, the Penal Code imposes a penalty of 14 years
      imprisonment for a woman causing a miscarriage. (76) Likewise, the
      Criminal Code prescribes imprisonment for up to seven years for any
      person who attempts to procure an abortion, and up to 14 years for a
      woman's own attempt to procure an abortion. However, in all cases of
      which Amnesty International is aware, women involved in
      abortion-related cases have instead been charged with the offence of
      culpable homicide and are therefore subject to the death penalty. (77)
      Culpable homicide is defined in Section 221 of the Penal Code.
      Amnesty International has different human rights concerns with regard
      to the Sharia penal system as compared to the Penal Code and the
      Criminal Code. Although Muslim women are being discriminated against
      on the basis of religion and gender by all three penal legislations,
      Amnesty International's main concern is that the death sentence is
      applied to offences which are not punishable with the death penalty
      under the Penal and Criminal Codes. Hence, a married or divorced
      Muslim in the north will be sentenced to death by stoning in the
      northern Sharia states if proved guilty of zina, whereas for a Muslim
      living in southern Nigeria, where the Criminal Code applies,
      consensual sexual relations between people over the age of consent is
      not punishable. This negates the principle of universality of human
      rights, equality before the law and has a discriminatory effect on
      women on the basis of religion, and as already outlined, on the basis
      of sex.
      Amnesty International is concerned that during some trials in Sharia
      courts international standards of fair trial and due process are not
      upheld. Furthermore, the evidence rules under Sharia penal codes of
      procedure in Nigeria, in some cases such as in the Katsina State rules
      which are unwritten, have a discriminatory effect on women and make it
      more likely than men that they will be convicted of acts of consensual
      sexual relations between people over the age of consent. According to
      the dominant Maliki interpretation of Sharia in Nigeria, pregnancy is
      often considered sufficient evidence to convict a woman for zina. (95)
      The oath of the man denying having had sexual intercourse with the
      woman is considered sufficient proof of his innocence unless four
      independent and reputable eye-witnesses declare his voluntary
      involvement in the act of sexual intercourse.
      The age when a person reaches taklif is flexible under Sharia penal
      law, and is defined as the age at which a person attains legal and
      religious responsibility. (99) This is commonly regarded as being the
      age of puberty and is therefore widely variable. Young girls and boys
      therefore face no dispensation when faced with being charged and tried
      for capital offences, contrary to the ICCPR and the Convention on the
      Rights of the Child which prohibits the use of the death penalty on
      those who were under 18 years of age when the act was committed.
      In all cases known to Amnesty International of women tried for capital
      offences under the Sharia penal legislation in northern Nigeria, the
      accused had no access to legal representation during their first
      trial. The Sharia codes of criminal procedure and the Sharia penal
      codes introduced in some of the states does not make explicit mention
      of the right to legal representation of every accused who is being
      tried. For example, the only provision on legal defence in the Sharia
      criminal procedure code of Sokoto is: "A legal practitioner shall have
      the right to practice in the Sharia courts in accordance with the
      provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1990" (100), but the code
      does not guarantee the right of the accused to have access to a legal
      The majority of death sentences for zina are handed down to women. One
      of the reasons for this is that in relation to the weight of evidence
      women and men are subjected to different requirements. According to
      scholars under the Maliki school of thought, but which appears to be
      contrary to some interpretations of the Qur'an, pregnancy is often
      considered sufficient evidence to condemn a woman for zina. However,
      the mere fact of her being pregnant does not mean that she has
      committed zina. Pregnancy can also occur as a result of non-consensual
      or coerced sexual relations. Amnesty International is concerned that
      the Sharia penal law in its application in Nigeria does not allow
      protection from assault for women.
      Another problem with evidence in relation to women under the Sharia
      penal codes, is the issue of confession as evidence. According to the
      Evidence Act(107) used in conjunction with the Penal Code, a
      confession is not deemed to provide sufficient evidence to secure a
      conviction. However, under the Zamfara Sharia criminal procedure code
      for example, a confession in the absence of any corroborative evidence
      can be used to secure a conviction. Although both systems of criminal
      procedure impose formal duties on the police and courts to ensure that
      all evidence is obtained free of duress, the reality is that there is
      a long history of torture and ill treatment of people in custody by
      security forces across Nigeria and reports of pressure exercized by
      state-endorsed vigilante groups in order to enforce the new Sharia
      penal legislation(108).
      The Sharia criminal procedure codes in Nigeria vary in their
      requirements regarding the number of judges which make up properly
      constituted courts and which can conduct the hearings and pass
      sentences in criminal, including capital, cases in the lower Sharia
      courts. On appeal the requirement is generally for three judges to
      hear a case. When a case is heard by one sole judge in the lower
      Sharia courts this raises the concern of a potential lack of
      guarantees for adequate safeguards of fair trial standards. Amnesty
      International fears that this could also distort the impartiality of
      the courts. Furthermore, judges ruling in capital cases are often the
      same judges who adjudicate in civil matters and have rarely received
      adequate training to judge criminal matters under the new criminal
      procedures. (110)
      5. Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger,
      Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.
      6. Each state shares a similar definition of zina, see for example
      Section 121 of The Sharia Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes 2002 of
      Kaduna State.
      7. Two of the men allegedly involved in these cases were acquitted, on
      the basis of swearing on the Qur'an and for 'lack of evidence'. They
      are Yahaya Muhammad in the case of Amina Lawal and Yakubu Abubakar in
      the case of Safiya Yakubu Hussaini.
      37. Section 233(2)(a) the Sharia Criminal Procedure Code Law 2000 of
      Sokoto State.
      38. If the person does not appeal the case to the Federal level he/she
      can turn to the State Governor who can exercize his prerogative of
      mercy to commute the sentence.
      52. It should be noted here that to date Amnesty International has not
      been able to acquire all Sharia penal codes and criminal procedure
      codes of the states which have introduced Sharia penal codes. The
      reason for this is twofold; firstly, acts are not always properly
      published, and secondly, the ones which are not necessarily made
      available to the public. Hence we refer to the codes which Amnesty
      International has access to. These are from the States of Kaduna,
      Kano, Katsina (the Law to make Provision for the Establishment of
      Sharia Courts and related matters Law No. 5 of 2000 and the Law to
      provide for the Adoption of Islamic Penal System for the State Law No.
      6 of 2000), Sokoto and Zamfara.
      53. Sections 126 and 127 of the Sharia Penal Code Law 2000 of Zamfara
      State; 128 and 129 of the Sharia Penal Code Law of Sokoto State;
      Sections 121 and 122 of the Sharia Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes
      2002 of Kaduna State; and Sections 124 and 125 of the Sharia Penal
      Code Law 2000 of Kano State.
      54. Note that the death sentence is applied if the defendant is
      married and the subject for the act is somebody else than the spouse.
      Hence, rape within marriage is not a criminal offence within the
      Sharia penal system. Sections 128 and 129 of the Sharia Penal Code Law
      2000 of Zamfara State; Sections 130 and 131 of the Sharia Penal Code
      Law of Sokoto State; Sections 123 and 124 of the Sharia Penal and
      Criminal Procedure Codes 2002 of Kaduna State; and Sections 126 and
      127 of the Sharia Penal Code Law 2000 of Kano State.
      55. Sections 130 and 131 of the Sharia Penal Code Law 2000 of Zamfara
      State; Sections 132 and 133 of the Sharia Penal Code Law of Sokoto
      State; Sections 125 and 126 of the Sharia Penal and Criminal Procedure
      Codes 2002 of Kaduna State, note that according to the Sharia Penal
      Code of Kaduna the act of "sodomy" is defined as "whoever has anal
      coitus with any male person is said to commit the offence of sodomy";
      and Sections 128 and 129 of the Sharia Penal Code Law 2000 of Kano
      State, where the act is sanctioned by death by stoning if the
      defendant is or has been married. In Kano the Sharia penal code
      defines "lesbianism" as "whoever, being a woman, engages another woman
      in carnal intercourse through her sexual organ or by means of
      stimulation or sexual excitement of one another commits the offence of
      lesbianism" and is sanctioned in the same way as "sodomy", see
      Sections 183 and 184 of the same code.
      56. The death penalty applies if the defendant is married, see
      Sections 132 and 133 of the Sharia Penal Code Law 2000 of Zamfara
      State; Sections 134 and 135 of the Sharia Penal Code Law of Sokoto
      State; and Sections 127 and 128 of the Sharia Penal and Criminal
      Procedure Codes 2002 of Kaduna State.
      57. Note that for robbery to be punishable by the death penalty the
      defendant must have caused death in the process of the robbery. See
      Sections 152 and 153 of the Sharia Penal Code Law 2000 of Zamfara
      State; Sections 154 and 155 of the Sharia Penal Code Law of Sokoto
      State; Sections 147 and 148 of the Sharia Penal and Criminal Procedure
      Codes 2002 of Kaduna State; and Sections 139 and 140 of the Sharia
      Penal Code Law 2000 of Kano State.
      58. Sections 199 and 200 of the Sharia Penal Code Law 2000 of Zamfara
      State; Sections 201 and 202 of the Sharia Penal Code Law of Sokoto
      State; Sections 192 and 193 of the Sharia Penal and Criminal Procedure
      Codes 2002 of Kaduna State; and Sections 142 and 143 of the Sharia
      Penal Code Law 2000 of Kano State.
      59. Qisas in short means the right of relatives to choose that a
      deliberate offender be punished in the same manner as his or her act,
      in certain cases of murder or grievous bodily harm.
      60. Exemplified by offences relating to ordeal, witchcraft and "juju"
      (Sections 408-413) in the Sharia Penal Code Law 2000 of Sokoto State,
      and Sections 405-409 of the Sharia Penal Code Law 2000 of Zamfara
      61. The word zina, both in general use and as a term defined in the
      Sharia penal codes does not accurately translate as "adultery". Zina
      is intended to cover consensual heterosexual relations where neither
      partner is married, where one or both are married to another, or where
      one or both are divorced. The punishments vary according to marital
      62. Under the Kaduna State Sharia Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes
      2002, Section 122 unmarried women can only be sentenced to flogging,
      whereas unmarried men are both sentenced to flogging and imprisonment
      for zina.
      108. In the judgment in the case of Amina Lawal, the Sharia Court of
      Appeal in Katsina State has stated that they do not consider pregnancy
      outside marriage alone to be sufficient proof of zina and cites an
      unknown source which claims that a divorcee can be said to be pregnant
      for five years after divorce.


      222 women await trials in NWFP jails - 09 Feb 04
      As many as 222 female under-trial prisoners are languishing in various
      jails of the NWFP, including 83 of them detained under Zina
      Ordinances. .. Among the 94 convicted female prisoners, 13 of them
      are imprisoned under the Zina Ordinances. Sources said 74 children
      were accompanying their detained mothers in various jails and eight of
      them attend school regularly.
      Among the 94 convicted prisoners, 14 are detained under murder cases,
      60 under narcotics smuggling cases, 13 under Zina Ordinance, 4 under
      robbery/abduction cases, and 3 are detained under sections
      107/151/55/109 of the PPC.


      Russian Islam - 05 Feb 04
      It must be mentioned that as a rule, Russian Muslims are young
      energetic people, whose communities are scattered all across various
      cities of Russia. Up until recently, Karelia Muslims (in Northwestern
      Russia) have been considered to be most active thanks to the
      missionary work of Abu Ahmad Mustafa (Oleg Starodubtsev). There are
      all reasons to believe that the number of Russian Muslims will not be
      just increasing, but it will be multiplying at the rapid rate. There
      are all prerequisites necessary. Russians can now freely get
      familiarized with the translations of the Holy Quran, among which
      there is the poetic translation of 1991, made by ethnic Russian Muslim
      woman Iman (Valeria) Porokhova. If in the past people in the mosques
      of Russia were speaking the languages of ethnic Muslims, today they
      are speaking Russian to one another. Many Russian Islamic mass media
      have appeared, some of them are owned by Russian Muslims. For example,
      www.koran.ru website by Shamil Matveev or www.islam.ru by Ali Polosin.
      Little by little the misunderstanding that Islam is an attribute of
      the cultures of Russia's ethnic minorities and a symbol of their
      national identity is disappearing.


      Kuwaiti criticises Saudi plan to expand stoning site - 06 Feb 04
      The death of pilgrims while stoning the devil during the annual Muslim
      hajj pilgrimage could best be avoided by raising peoples' awareness of
      the risks and not by expanding the site of the ritual as proposed by
      Saudi authorities, a Kuwaiti official was quoted Friday as saying.
      But a senior Saudi cleric said educating pilgrims about hajj rituals
      is the responsibility of their governments.
      A plan drawn up by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for
      Hajj Research and the ministry of municipal and rural affairs
      envisages boosting the capacity at the stoning site "from 160,000
      pilgrims to 500,000 pilgrims per hour," according to the institute's
      dean Osama al-Bar. The kingdom's influential Council of Senior Ulemas,
      or religious scholars, endorsed the project Thursday.


      Long waiting lists at Islamic schools in Britain - 07 Feb 04
      Such institutions often offer both Islamic classes and a broad secular
      curricula for students aged between seven and 18. Compulsory subjects
      include English, English literature, maths, science, geography, art,
      Arabic studies, Islamic studies, Islamic history and information
      technology. Other than Arabic-language classes, all other classes,
      including Islamic studies, are taught in English. Mr Ibrahim Hewitt,
      former director of the Association of Muslim Schools, told The Straits
      Times that over the past decade, the number of Islamic schools had
      grown by more than five times - from about 20 to more than 100 now.
      Their increasing popularity is clear from long waiting lists all over
      the country.
      Mr Ibrahim put it more starkly: 'There is an increasing awareness
      among parents of the success of Islamic schools, and an increasing
      disillusionment towards state schools.' He recounted how a teacher in
      a state school told a school inspector that he was proud of having
      persuaded a number of Muslim students not to fast during Ramadan. 'The
      fact that such things can happen after so many years is telling,' he
      said. As students take the GCSEs and A levels like those who go to
      state schools, they can go on to universities without problems.

      London Islaamic Conference Review: "Salafiyya" Onslaught - 04 Feb 04
      Sunday the 18th January 2004, saw one of the largest gatherings in
      London this year of Muslims professing the ideas of authentic-
      Salafiyyah according to the understanding of Ahl Al Sunnah Wal
      Jama'ah. The key note speaker was Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammed, Judge of
      the Shariah Court of the UK and worldwide supreme leader of
      Al-Muhajiroun, an Islaamic group within Ahl Al Sunnah Wal Jama'ah.
      [the people who most correctly follow the teachings of the Prophet of
      Islaam] The conferences aim was three-fold, to act as a Statement and
      Clarification of authentic Salafiyyah, its true concepts and
      principles and to distinguish that from the fake Salafiyyah of the
      Saudi Government. It also attempted to examine the call and the works
      of the great Imaam, Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (rh). It also
      examined the affect this call had as a driving force behind the
      activities of the greatest of the magnificent contemporary mujahideen
      and martyrs in the universal revival of Islaam across the world, since
      the destruction of the Islaamic Khilafah State in 1924 at the hands of
      the Taghout.
      In other words, the first step on the road to becoming a monotheist is
      the complete and total rejection of any form of Taghout. The word
      Taghout was defined as: "Any thing that is worshipped (Ma'boud), any
      thing that is obeyed (Mutaa') and anything that is followed (Matbou')
      instead of Allah, is Taghout" [Hadith Mowqouf of Ibn Masood]. ..
      Examples cited included: Ahl ul-Hawaa (the people of rational desires)
      whose criteria of judgment for right and wrong comes from their own
      weak and limited minds and is not based on the Shariah (Islaamic
      laws); the rulers (hukaam) in the Muslim world who do not rule by
      whatever Allah has revealed as legislation, and instead implement
      man-made laws; the parliaments in the world who legislate law
      (majaalis ash-shaab) and usurp the right of Allah; the United Nations
      (ummah mutahhida); the kufr and nationalistic parties existent in the
      Muslim and non-Muslim world's e.g. the U.K. Labour party or
      Conservative Party, the UK based Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the
      U.S. Republican and Democratic parties, the US based Islaamic Supreme
      Council (Haqqani branch), CAIR; Human Rights (al-insaneeyah); the
      nation-state concept and nationalism (al-qawm'u wal qawmiyyah); the
      majority of the people (sawaad al-a'tham) amongst others.
      The conference reaffirmed the Islaamic view that the world was divided
      into two distinct camps. The camp of Haq (Truth) characterised by
      Islaam Tawheed and Eemaan, and the camp of Baatil (falsehood)
      characterised by Kufr Bid'ah and Shirk. [..]


      [Chicago] Hard-liners won battle for Bridgeview mosque - 08 Feb 04

      [Indiana] Appointment of Muslim scholar causes unease in US
      http://nzz.ch/2004/02/08/english/page-synd4700038.html - 08 Feb 04
      The controversial Swiss Islamic scholar, Tariq Ramadan, has accepted a
      professorship at Notre Dame University in the United States. The
      Catholic college says the accusations of anti-Semitism levelled in
      France against the Muslim philosopher are unfounded. Ramadan, who
      currently teaches in Geneva, will begin his teaching and research
      duties at the university in South Bend, Indiana, in the new academic
      Notre Dame is standing by its new professor, who will take up the Luce
      chair for religion, conflict and peace-building at the Kroc Institute
      for Peacebuilding. "We are convinced Ramadan's calls for non-violence
      and dialogue between religions are genuine," Julie Titone, a
      spokeswoman at Notre Dame, told swissinfo. Notre Dame is one of the
      better-known Catholic universities in the US, ranked in the top tier
      of national colleges.
      The scholar was branded an anti-Semite after he accused French Jewish
      intellectuals in October of supporting war in Iraq to bolster Israel's
      interests – despite having publicly taken position in the past against
      anti-Semitic acts. His speeches all over the country attract many
      young, and often disenfranchised, Muslims from France's poorer
      neighbourhoods. Tapes of his talks sell by the thousands. Ramadan's
      central message is that Islam and European society are not mutually
      exclusive. He wants Muslims to integrate fully and learn from Europe,
      while remaining rooted in their religion. Critics have their
      misgivings about Ramadan's philosophy though, saying that he doesn't
      have anything to offer to Muslims who choose not to practise their
      Doubts also persist about his position on Sharia law, the Islamic
      legal system. His elder brother, Hani, director of Geneva's Islamic
      centre, was fired from his public teaching job after he told a French
      newspaper that stoning a woman for adultery was acceptable. Ramadan
      has so far only called for a moratorium on stoning. He has also become
      embroiled in the debate over young women wearing headscarves at French
      government schools.


      Female Circumcision Not Obligatory: Qaradawi - 07 Feb 04
      Female circumcision is not obligatory in Islam, a leading scholar said
      Saturday, February 7, as the international day against the practice
      was marked by calls of zero tolerance. More than 130 million women
      around the world have undergone the procedure as female circumcision
      is still performed every year on 2 million girls, United Nation's
      Children's Fund (UNICEF ) said on the first anniversary of the
      International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation and
      Cutting (female circumcision).
      Islamic scholar Sheikh Youssef Al-Qaradwi asserted that the practice
      is by no means obligatory in Islam. "Muslim countries differ over the
      issue of female circumcision; some countries sanction it whereas
      others do not. Anyhow, it is not obligatory," Qaradawi said in an
      edict published by IslamOnline.net. Qaradawi said that "whoever
      chooses not to do it is not considered to have committed a sin for it
      is mainly meant to dignify women as held by scholars". He said that
      some scholars even hold that whoever finds that some Muslims have
      stopped practicing male circumcision should force them to revert to
      the procedure. But there is nothing in the Islamic sources, either
      the Qur'an or the Sunnah, to suggest that it is a prescribed ritual of
      initiation for women in Islam, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer
      and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Canada,
      said in a separate edict.
      Female circumcision - or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as UNICEF
      calls it - is practiced in 28 African countries as well as in Asia
      (Indonesia) and the Middle-East (Yemen), according to the U.N.
      organization. But the procedure is also increasingly found in Europe,
      Australia, Canada and the USA, primarily among immigrants from these
      countries, it added. .. UNICEF further said that at current rates,
      by2010 , sixteen million more girls will be cut. So far, only 14 of
      the overall 53 African countries have adopted laws banning the
      practice, Amnesty International said in a separate release.
      The immediate and long-term health consequences of female genital
      mutilation vary according to the type and severity of the procedure
      performed. Immediate complications include severe pain, shock,
      hemorrhage, urine retention, ulceration of the genital region and
      injury to adjacent tissue. Long-term complications include and
      recurring urinary tract infections, the group said. Other diseases
      could also show up as pelvic infections, infertility (from deep
      infections), scarring, difficulties in menstruation, fistulae (holes
      or tunnels between the vagina and the bladder or rectum), painful
      intercourse, sexual dysfunction, and problems in pregnancy and
      childbirth (the need to cut the vagina to allow delivery and the
      trauma that results, often compounded by re-stitching).


      Islamic financial services awards for HSBC - 09 Feb 04
      HSBC has been recognised as best international provider of Islamic
      financial services and best international Sukuk House in Euromoney's
      2003 Islamic Finance Awards. In selecting HSBC, the magazine said:
      'The breadth of services and the respect with which it is held in both
      Asia and the Middle East meant that the award was won by HSBC, which
      has not only developed a comprehensive range of products and services
      at its Islamic division, Amanah Finance, but has also marketed them
      aggressively through its global banking network. Significantly, it is
      selling its Islamic products to non-Islamic as well as Islamic
      customers.' For the sukuk award, the magazine said: 'This award has
      gone to HSBC for the highly professional management of its deal for
      Qatar, with which it built on an already strong reputation gained when
      it issued the first sovereign sukuk for Malaysia.' HSBC's work on the
      Government of Malaysia sukuk in 2002 was previously recognised by
      Euromoney, as Best Asian Sovereign Bond, and by Institutional
      Investor, which named it Deal of the Year, reflecting the pre-eminence
      of HSBC Amanah Finance in the provision of Islamic financial services.

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