Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

34Sharia News Watch 35

Expand Messages
  • Enzo Picardie <6vtmu001@sneakemail.com>
    Feb 4, 2003
      Sharia News Watch 35 : a collection news quotes on Sharia,
      for research & educational purposes only. [*]
      Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      all editions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/


      Division Between Islamists, Moderates Hampers Effort On New
      Constitution 30 Jan 03
      RFE/RL regional analyst Amin Tarzai, who specializes in Afghan
      constitutional law, notes that both Rabbani and Sayyaf fought against
      the Taliban. But both, he says, still want to see a conservative
      interpretation of Sharia law incorporated into the next Afghan

      "Mr. Sayyaf is the head of one of the most strict Islamist parties in
      Afghanistan. Granted, they are allies of Mr. Rabbani. And Mr. Rabbani
      himself is a very strict Islamist. These groups, these parties,
      believe in the strict implementation of the Sharia -- i.e., an Islamic
      state. And they are [in power] right now because they were part of the
      winning Northern Alliance. Mr. Rabbani's group, Mr. Sayaf's group,
      they believe in this. They fought for this."

      Afghan Chief Justice Shinwari is a supporter of Sayyaf and a member of
      his Itihad-i-Islami party.

      The International Crisis Group is accusing Shinwari of stacking the
      Supreme Court with political allies since his December 2001
      appointment by expanding the number of Supreme Court judges from nine
      to 137.

      Of the 36 judges whose qualifications are known, including Shinwari,
      the ICG says none has a degree in secular law as required by the
      current law of the land -- an amended version of the 1964 Afghan
      Constitution. The ICG also notes that none of the judges is a woman.
      Finally, the ICG complains that Shinwari is in his 80s, even though
      the 1964 constitution says the chief justice must be younger than 60.

      Clashes in southeastern Afghanistan 28 Jan 03
      The chairwoman of the German parliament's human rights committee,
      Christa Nickels, just back from Afghanistan, has criticised a draft
      Afghan constitution as deficient on equal rights for women. Western
      jurists had instead drafted a "Sharia light" version, Nickels said.


      Alarming rise in Syariah crimes 29 Jan 03
      The Department of Syariah Affairs of the Ministry of Religious Affairs
      has recorded a rise in Syariah criminal cases last year.
      The alarming rise in Syariah criminal cases is attributed to the lack
      of religious teaching, promiscuity, negative environmental influences,
      instability in the family and media influences. Records showed that
      Syariah criminal cases had increased from 389 cases in 1997 to 574 in
      Among the offences under the Islamic Religious Council Act and Kadi
      Court Paragraph 77 - 1984 concern failure to perform the Friday prayer
      for those aged 15 years and above. First offenders will be levied a
      fine of B$ 100 [Eur 53,-], B$ 200 for the second time and B$ 500 for
      consequent failures.

      Illicit sex between a man and a woman who can marry will be fined B$
      5000 [EUR 2.671,-] or six months imprisonment. Those found to have
      committed adultery, a 5-year jail term will be imposed on the man
      whilst the woman, one-year imprisonment.

      Halal Raid Members Names Remain Unrevealed 22 Jan 03
      The names of some of the people who one day suddenly burst into Happy
      Dean Restaurant in Kampong Anggerek Desa near in the Brunei capital
      during a religious Halal raid will remain unknown, Brunei High Court
      has ruled.

      That is the verdict in a matter connected with an ongoing
      two-year-long civil case in which two restaurateurs are suing the
      sultanate' Religious Affairs Minister, Pehin Dato Ustaz Awang Md Zain
      bin Haji Seruddin for wrongful trespass and defamation.
      "A citizen whose premises are entered by a public officer purporting
      to act under a statutory poser ought to be told the identity of the
      officer and by what authority he claims the right to enter," the court

      They lost in the current action to elicit the names of the raiding
      party members because the couple failed to lay the necessary
      foundation for their "reasonable " application so that they have been
      defeated by a purly technical objection, the judge remarked.


      Best of Both Worlds 29 Jan 03
      It's an unlikely combination: young e-commerce entrepreneur and
      up-and-coming religious talk-show host. How does Moez Massoud manage
      success in both vocations? [..]


      Muslim women march against violence 03 Feb 03
      In spite of sub-zero temperatures, sleet and snow, thousands of Muslim
      women turned up on Saturday for the first day of a five-week march
      that will take them to 23 cities of France , and allow them to protest
      the growing violence to which they are subject in the country's urban

      Symbolically, the march began in the city of Vitry-sur-Seine, where a
      young Muslim woman, Sohanne Denziane, was burned alive last October
      when she refused the advances of a group of young men who had been
      regularly raping and harassing the young women of this large Islamic
      community located in the south-eastern suburb of Paris.
      The principal slogan being chanted by the marchers will be "Ni Putes
      Ni Soumises," which indicates, in the words of Fadela Amara, president
      of the Federation des Maisons des Potes, "that we're neither loose
      women nor submissive women, contrary to what is often expected of us
      by the young men of the country's urban centres."

      "Indeed," she adds, "we made a purposeful choice of words in coming up
      with that slogan, for our main goal is to provoke a debate because the
      women are largely viewed by the local men as being nothing less than


      [Annemarie Schimmel] Islamic Studies Scholar Dies at 80 04 Feb 03


      Indonesian Muslims hear a plea for peace 26 Jan 03
      Dr. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, who now teaches in Atlanta, said in his
      public lectures here that Indonesian scholars should learn more about
      sharia and do comparative studies on other Islamic countries where it
      was officially implemented, such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran,
      and countries where sharia had been being campaigned and partly
      imposed, such as Sudan, Algeria, Nigeria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon.
      None of them is democratic.

      "Most advocates of the sharia do not know its content. But they made
      others hostage to their sharia campaigns. It's you who have to learn
      the content and speak out, be straightforward," An-Na'im told a
      workshop of Muslim scholars on Friday.
      "The concept of the sharia was developed in a different world, the
      pre-colonial world. Like it or not, the world we live in today, the
      post-colonial world, is not the world of our dreams. It's not the
      world that we have lost," said An-Na'im.

      He said many sharia advocates have a romantic feeling about the
      glorious days of the Prophet Mohamad as well as the other Islamic
      sultanates. The long history of Islam, however, showed that not a
      single Islamic state has ever imposed sharia in the way modern sharia
      advocates propose, which is to equate faithfulness to God with
      observance of public order.

      (comment) Fighting the fire in Indonesia's camp 03 Feb 03
      Following the 1999 election, despite capturing only 15 per cent of the
      vote in the elections, politicians of Islamic parties dominated public
      discourse through religious rhetoric.

      In Poso, Central Sulawesi, Islamic parties' expressions showed support
      for the dispatch of holy war troops in the communal conflict stance.
      Even Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Amien Rais
      consented to the violent acts of the paramilitary units, who said they
      were acting in self-defence. A number of other Muslim party leaders in
      the House of Representatives and MPR had the same position.

      The behaviour of Muslim politicians and leaders of mass organisations
      in the region seems to have been derived from their superiors in
      Jakarta. Acts of vandalism by the Islamic Defenders Front or the power
      display by the Ka'bah Youth with unsheathed swords were justified and
      backed by religious figures.

      The successful imposition of syariah in certain provinces and
      regencies/municipalities is another example of the fundamentalists'

      The implementation of regional autonomy was responded to with too much
      zeal by the introduction of laws opposed to national legislation. As
      Indonesia is a unitarian state, any law in contradiction to the
      Constitution gives reason for anxiety.

      As anticipated by feminists here, discrimination or marginalisation of
      women has served as an easy way to show that syariah has been
      enforced. The night curfew on women, the compulsory use of Islamic
      wear, the shaving of commercial sex workers, while leaving their male
      customers unscathed, are some examples of prominent cases in several
      regions. The passing of gender-biased regional regulations is the
      current form of legitimised symbolisation of Islam here.


      [Montazeri] Iranian dissident attacks political trials 01 Feb 03
      Iran's foremost dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali
      Montazeri, on his second day of release from five years' house arrest,
      condemned political trials as being against Sharia, or Islamic law,
      and called for revision of the country's hardline judiciary.

      "The so-called political trials and verdicts have no basis in Sharia.
      The revolutionary court and special clerical court are misused as a
      scarecrow. These courts are against the constitution," he said.
      The 80-year-old ayatollah, who suffered serious depression as the
      result of his long arrest, impressed visitors by his awareness of
      current affairs. He was arrested in November 1997 in Qom following a
      speech questioning the low-ranking religious authorities of supreme
      leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the leader's assumption of
      extensive power in all state affairs.

      Yesterday he criticised the conservative constitution watchdog, the
      Guardians Council, and the higher arbitrator, the Expediency Council,
      both under the control of Ayatollah Khamenei, for rejecting
      parliament's pro-reform plans in the name of Sharia and the supreme
      leader's position.
      Iran's leading dissident cleric kept up his defiance just days after
      his release from house arrest, calling the Islamic establishment a
      dictatorship that is afraid of reform.


      Syariah Court move wins praises 27 Jan 03
      Women organisations and opposition leaders lauded the government's
      plan to appoint women judges in the Syariah Court to address
      complaints by women who are not satisfied with judgment s passed by
      men judges.

      Sisters in Islam legal officer Nora Murat said such a move was a step
      in the right direction as there were many competent women who were
      able to become Syariah Court judges.
      Parliamentary secretary in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Noh
      Omar had said on Saturday that the Government hoped the appointment of
      women Syariah Court judges would put to rest complaints that men
      judges were biased.

      Analysis: Establishing binding precedents 31 Jan 03
      The Federal Government's proposed standardisation of the Islamic
      family laws is long overdue. This won't be its maiden attempt.

      In 1984, the Attorney-General Chambers prepared a model statute for
      the States to voluntarily adopt, which was approved by the Conference
      of Rulers. But this Federal attempt hit a brickwall because many
      States strayed from the draft, reinforcing the fact that
      administrative suasion will not work.

      Ironing out the wrinkles 01 Feb 03
      A lareger issue in the Government's move to have a uniform Islamic
      Family Law is whether the standardisation would involve more than
      tailoring the States' laws to the model statute.
      But some legal activists disagree. Their logic is compelling:
      Inadequate amendments do not make good, albeit uniform, law. Since the
      problems in the administration of Islamic family law arise from the
      loopholes in both the substantive and procedural laws, they argue that
      now is the time to go for a Botox fix and iron out all the wrinkles.
      Section 23(4)(e) which provided that the proposed polygamous marriage
      should not directly or indirectly affect the standard and quality of
      living enjoyed by the wife and dependents was deleted from the Act.
      "It should be reinstated," said Nik Noriati.

      Section 65(1) was amended to allow the termination of the right of
      iddah maintenance upon the wife being nusyuz (leaving the matrimonial
      home without permission). There have been many cases where the husband
      abused this provision to escape from maintaining their wives during
      the iddah period.

      This provision has been invoked against wives who were forced to leave
      home because of fear of physical or mental abuse. The right and
      privilege of the woman to reside in the house during the iddah period
      has been turned into an obligatory duty to remain there, irrespective
      of her conditions. This, she said, should be repealed.

      One of the issues long championed by SIS and like-minded women groups
      is the re-examination of the term nusyus.

      In Islamic jurisprudence, it relates to the conduct of both husband
      (Quran,4:128) and wife (4:34). It has been defined by Syed Qutb and
      many other scholars as "disruption of marital harmony by either
      spouse". Yet Section 59(2) defines nusyus as a wife's unreasonable
      refusal to obey the lawful wishes or commands of her husband.

      SIS proposes the re-definition of the term as disruption of marital
      harmony by either spouse and the inclusion of a clause to make it an
      offence for the husband to commit nusyuz which is defined under Hukum
      Syarak (Islamic legal principles) as "failure to provide the wife with
      adequate maintenance, place of abode, clothing and her entitlements
      under the law".
      Section 55A allows the Chief Registrar to register a pronouncement of
      talak (divorce) without the court's permission if it is satisfied the
      talak is consistent with Hukum Syarak. This allows men to escape with
      unilateral divorces and avoid the provision of ancillary relief such
      as maintenance and harta sepencarian (division of matrimonial
      property). Before registering the divorce, the Court should make
      orders to ensure the divorced wife's financial rights are secured.

      In moving towards a single law, Nik Noriati argued the need to
      strengthen the restrictions governing the practice of polygamy,
      including making it optional for a woman to invoke cerai taklik
      (conditional divorce) should her husband marry another. Harta
      sepencarian during the existing marriage should be done before the
      husband enters a polygamous marriage to ensure the wife's rights are
      not undermined, says Nik Noriati.

      No doubt this will agitate the conservative establishment which is
      already advocating the abolition of the requirement on the wife's consent.


      MP Creates Seismic Waves by Insulting Prophet Muhammad 27 Jan 03
      In an interview with the Dutch daily Trouw on Saturday, January 25,
      Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 32, shocked as many as one million Muslims living in
      the Netherlands by branding Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with some
      abhorrent, repugnant descriptions, stirring up feelings of anger and
      antagonism towards her.

      Having no inkling about Islam or Sharia (Islamic law) as it appears in
      her curriculum vitae, Ayaan said the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a
      "despotic, narrow-minded and violent" man, who killed whoever stood in
      his way.

      She further alleged that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was against
      the freedom of women, since, she claimed, he ordered them not to leave
      their houses, wear the veil and denied them the right to work and
      inheritance, not to mention a number of other calumnies mouthed
      frequently by some venomous orientalists.


      Obasanjo Approves New Salary for Judges 28 Jan 03
      President Olusegun Obasan-jo has finally signed into law, the Act that
      prescribes the salaries, allowances and fringe benefits of certain
      political, public and judicial officers of the Federation. The signing
      of the Act last week followed a special appeal to the President on the
      matter by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
      The recommendations of the Senate, the delegation argued before the
      President, would go a long way in cushioning the economic hardships
      being encountered by judicial officers at all levels. The delegation
      was also said to have reminded the president of the council's resolve
      to cleanse the judiciary of bad eggs even as it pledged to be fair in
      the pursuit of their entitlements.

      A source at the Commission disclosed that the NJC has already
      recommended the dismissal of 17 judges including some Chief Judges.
      The judges are being dismissed for gross misconduct unbecoming of
      judicial officers.

      The Act signed by the President contains the following information.
      Basic salary for judicial officers at the federal level is as follows:
      Chief Justice of the Federation - N 1,346,589.00 [Eur 9.700,-]
      Justice of the Supreme Court - N 990,844.00 [Eur 7.100,-]
      President of the Court of Appeal - N 990,844.00 [Eur 7.100,-]
      Justice of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court,
      Chief judge of the High Court FCT, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia
      Court of Appeal, FCT, President of the Customary Court of Appeal -
      N 798,172.07, [Eur 5,700,-]
      Judge of the Federal High Court, Judge of the High Court of the FCT,
      Abuja; Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal of the FCT; Judge of a
      Customary court of Appeal of the FCT, Abuja. - N 776, 038.22 [5.600,-]

      Supreme Court frees civil servants to join parties 28 Jan 03
      Civil servants are now free to join political parties of their choice
      according to a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court.
      In Justice Tobi's detailed judgement on the case, he ruled that
      guideline No. 5(b) which states that a person shall not be eligible to
      be registered as a member of political association seeking to be
      registered as a political party if he/she is in the civil service of
      the federation or a state, is unconstitutional because it "offends the
      provisions of sections 40 and 222(b) of the 1999 Constitution.

      [Borno] Archbishop We Have No Problem With Sharia 18 Jan 03
      Archbishop Kana Mani is the new arch-bishop of Jos province. The Jos
      province covers Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, Plateau
      and Benue states.
      [Mani:] But one thing that has been responsible for the peaceful
      co-existence is awareness on the part of the adherents of the two
      religions, and also the peaceful nature of the Shehu of Borno, and
      even the governor, including the elders and other traditional rulers
      have also contributed to the peaceful co-existence.

      So for now, the Christians (in Borno) have nothing to complain about
      Sharia implementation in Borno State. And if it will continue in this
      manner, certainly, we will continue to live in peace and move the
      state forward.
      WT: Finally, you will agree with me that Sharia implementation in
      Borno State is in stages. We have gone through the first phase, which
      is prohibition of prostitution, abolition of sales and consumption of
      alcohol among others. Some people are however feeling that by the time
      we get into phase two, which covers the criminal aspects, there are
      likely to be frictions between the adherents of the two religions. Do
      you share this view?

      Mani: Well, to that, I will say let us reach the bridge before we
      cross it. Time will tell. but I believe we will continue to live in
      peace in Borno, because without peace, there will be no development,
      progress or harmony. Also, there will be no planning, no execution.
      Personally, I am happy that I'm in Borno State.

      [Kano] Kwankwaso Reaffirms Commitment to Sharia 22 Jan 03
      .. [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      Gov. Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano has reaffirmed the determination of his
      government to ensure the full implementation of Sharia in the state.

      [Katsina] Amina Lawal - "This case is as simple as drinking water"

      .. 27 Jan 03
      At the Shariah court of appeals here, the chief judge presiding over
      the case of Amina Lawal, the peasant woman sentenced to death by
      stoning for having slept with a man who was not her husband, refused
      to comment on the guilt or innocence of the defendant before him.

      It was "sub juris" - still pending - the judge explained, relying on
      the Latin he had learned in law school. But his opinion on the matter
      of fornication was unambiguous. "The best deterrent is the death
      sentence, for people to see what happens to a fornicator," said Grand
      Khadi Aminu Ibrahim Katsina. "They watch you be stoned to death. They
      wouldn't want it to happen to them. So it definitely would be a


      SBP evolving Islamic finance model: Ishrat 03 Feb 03
      State Bank of Pakistan is striving hard to find out a viable
      alternative to interest-free banking compliant with Sharia. The bank
      would have to move cautiously in this regard, as we cannot dislocate
      the present financial system without developing a perfect Sharia-based

      Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr Ishrat Hussain said this while
      addressing a launching ceremony of a book on interest-free financing.
      He said the Islamic Division at the State Bank has studied different
      models of Sharia compliant financing. The difficulty, however, is that
      the sharia scholars differ on every model, he added. He said the
      central bank is trying to develop an Islamic finance model acceptable
      to all.
      Dr Ishrat, however, cautioned those who believe that zero interest
      financing would solve all economic problems. He said interest rates
      are below zero in Japan but its economy is in recession. The bank
      defaults, he added are very high. He said a rational economic
      management accompanied with Islamic financing is the right answer to
      the problem. For this, he added, it is essential strengthen
      institutions that would regulate such economy.

      [NWFP] MMA asked to enforce Shariat 29 Jan 03
      Speaking at a public meeting on the 15th death anniversary of Abdul
      Ghaffar Khan,[the leader of Awami National Party Azam Khan] said the
      MMA government had got votes in the name of Islam and pledged
      enforcement of Shariat. "Now, it is the time to honour all its pledges
      made during the election campaign," he said.

      The government should abolish all the unjustified taxes, as promised
      during the electioneering, Hoti maintained. He alleged that the MMA
      government was misusing the name of Islam. It neither could enforce
      Islam nor provide good governance, he said.
      Provincial ANP President Bashir Ahmad Bilor said that despite a
      unanimous resolution adopted by the NWFP Assembly against interest,
      the MMA had not yet implemented it. He said the government had removed
      billboards from cinema but failed to ban cables, which was the main
      source of obscenity.

      [NWFP] Freedom of expression under attack in frontier 27 Jan 03
      Now the provincial government has taken another step in the same
      direction. Recently the police launched an operation on what is known
      as the musicians' street in the provincial capital, Peshawar. On the
      night of 24 January, they raided a wedding party in a local hotel,
      beating up singer Gulzar Alam and smashing his harmonium.

      "We were not doing anything illegal, I was singing," Alam told IRIN
      from Peshawar. He added that he was beaten, then taken to the police
      station, and even tested for drinking alcohol, which is strictly
      prohibited in the conservative Islamic country. "Singing is my only
      source of living. What will I do if they ban music?" Alam asked.

      In another incident, political writer Fazale Wahab Wahab was shot dead
      by unidentified individuals inside a shop in Mingora town, some 150 km
      north of Peshawar, on 21 January. The shopkeeper and his assistant
      were killed in the crossfire. Local observers believe that Wahab was
      killed because he had written several controversial books criticising
      the politics of the local religious leadership.

      According to Khattak [chairman of the Human Rights Commission of
      Pakistan] his writings were not blasphemous, but an analysis of the
      clergy's role in politics. Over the past decade Mingora and the
      surrounding Malakand region have experienced sporadic violence due to
      the rise of the Tehrike-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi (TNSM), which
      called for the imposition of Islamic Shari'ah law there.

      [NWFP] Hardline region tries to impose sharia law 31 Jan 03
      Now the provincial government is planning a ministry for the promotion
      of virtue and prevention of vice, an unwelcome reminder of
      Afghanistan's religious police force under the Taliban.
      "Sharia means the supremacy of law, the provision of justice, the
      provision of healthcare facilities," Mr Haq said, speaking at his
      sparsely decorated official residence in Peshawar. "It means
      education, providing food and shelter, and satisfying people
      spiritually. We can claim to have in the frontier province the most
      ultra-modern and democratic government in the world."
      But to succeed, the religious parties will also need to tackle the
      frontier's pressing need for services such as education, water
      supplies, and healthcare.

      [Peshawar] Police propose elders' council 31 Jan 03
      The police have proposed the formation of local councils, comprising
      elders and notables to assist in the maintenance of law and order, and
      their authority should be equal to that of a civil judge. Official
      sources told Dawn here on Thursday that the 20-member Nifaz-i-Shariat
      Council had convened a meeting of the police high-ups at the official
      residence of Senior Minister Sirajul Haq.
      The two officials proposed the formation of elders' council in every
      market place, whose authority should be equal to that a civil judge to
      reduce the burden on police force. "We waste about 80 per cent of our
      time on money and family disputes, which can easily be solved by such
      councils," SP Kohat Abid Ali said.

      The government has already been considering the formation of a
      ministry called Promotion of Virtues and Prevention of Vices to
      streamline the police, judicial and communication affairs.

      [Punjab] Chakwal Diary: Caught in the muddle 31 Jan 03
      In the October elections in which I was a candidate for the National
      Assembly my opponents, rolling out their heaviest artillery, charged
      me with being a Qadiani.

      On the strength of a column I had written about the exploitation of
      religion as a political tool by successive governments, in which I had
      also referred to legislation against the Qadianis, a local maulana,
      Qazi Mazhar Hussain, issued a fatwa to the effect that I was

      Only too happy to get this incendiary ammunition into their hands, my
      opponents from the Q League – ah! the Q League – circulated the fatwa
      far and wide.

      From every platform my good friend General Majid Malik, in times past
      a worthy ornament to the general staff (and then novitiates wonder why
      the army has such a talent for making a mess of things), denounced me
      as a Qadiani. Adding for good measure, that I was also a drunkard.

      Nor was this all. A spirited young maulvi, Shakoori Naqshbandi by
      name, holding out the offending column in his hands after the Asar
      prayers declared to his small congregation that after what I had
      written it was an Islamic duty to kill me (wajab-ul-qatal). He then
      went to distribute the original fatwa in the bazaar.


      No nighttime arrests 28 Jan 03
      While the plans were underway for a Palestinian vote, the PA
      [Palestine Authority] established a committee headed by cabinet
      minister Nabil Sha'ath to prepare a draft constitution for a
      Palestinian state. Many of the 229 articles of that draft were
      published last week and they are evidence of the type of state the
      Palestinians want to establish. It is defined as a republic, with a
      presidential-parliamentary democracy. "Arabic will be the official
      language of the State of Palestine and the religion of Islam will be
      the official language," says Article 6.

      "Monotheistic religions will be respected and the state will guarantee
      freedom of worship." The next article states, "The sharia (Islamic
      religious law) will be the primary source of legislation."

      These articles are formulated in language similar to that of many Arab
      states where there is no separation of religion and state. Only
      Turkey, of all the Middle East states, including Israel, has a clear
      separation of religion and state.
      The draft constitution did not inspire much excitement in the
      Palestinian street, which seems much more curious about the outcome of
      the Israeli elections and the various campaign scandals . There is
      also much more interest in the preparations for war in Iraq. These are
      practical issues for the Palestinians, not like the theory-only
      Palestinian elections and constitution for its state


      Pilgrims stone Hajj Directorate officials in Mecca 02 Feb 03
      Hundreds of Pakistani pilgrims in Mecca hurled stones at the allegedly
      corrupt Haj Directorate officials because of whom they had to face
      many hardships.

      The News learnt through scores of pilgrims speaking from Mecca about
      the alleged malpractices of the Haj Directorate officials who
      reportedly minted millions of riyals in commission by forcing the
      Hajis to live in the residential areas far from Haram Sharif.

      The pigrims alleged that Deputy Director Haj in Mecca Asim Majeed,
      along with his accomplices, earned millions of riyals with the tacit
      approval of Director Haj, Ahmad Baksh Lehri, by putting up 15,000
      pigrims in the rented buildings in Azizia about 9 km from Haram Sharif.
      Asim Majeed, when contacted, said it was true that the rent in Azizia
      was SR 400 [Eur 100,-], but they had taken this place for a long
      period, thus they were paying SR 1,000. But they were providing
      transport facility to the pilgrims. He accepted that the ideal
      selection for an accommodation for pilgrims was within 1,400 to 1,000
      metres and Azizia was 6 km and not 9 km from Haram Sharif. He denied
      the charges of any malpractices or favoritism.

      The pilgrims said in the days near Haj, the transport vehicles became
      a source of great trouble, as they were caught in the rush, and
      therefore people preferred to stay closer to Harm Sharif. They alleged
      that Asim Majeed deliberately took a building 9 km away from the Haram
      and another building in Muzlafa, 15 km away to earn a hefty commission.


      [Yorkshire] Pair jailed over botched halal goat slaughter 04 Feb 03
      Two men involved in the "squalid and cruel" slaughter of 10 goats were
      sent to prison yesterday after a judge said they had botched an
      illegal attempt to carry out a halal killing under Islamic religious
      Lakha and Hawkswell pleaded guilty to the illegal slaughter in January
      last year. Lakha admitted cruelly ill-treating the goats and
      slaughtering without a licence. Hawkswell admitted allowing goats he
      owned to be cruelly ill-treated and using unlicensed premises as a

      Islamic cola launched in the UK 04 Feb 03
      A British company has entered the Islamic cola market, hoping to
      emulate the success of Mecca and Zamzam colas. The Derby-based Qibla
      Cola Company produces regular and diet versions under the catch line
      "Liberate your taste".
      Qibla - named after the Arabic word for the direction of Mecca - has
      contracted a Yorkshire soft drink maker to produce an initial run of a
      quarter of a million bottles for its first week of business.
      The cola - with very similar label designs to those of Coke - will be
      marketed to Muslim communities in major cities including London,
      Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow.
      Mecca Cola - which bears the slogan "No more drinking stupid, drink
      with commitment" - sells about two million 1.5 litre bottles every
      month in Britain. Launched in France just three months ago, the drink
      is also being exported to Germany, Belgium, Italy and Spain.
      Qibla's spokesman, who admits the directors have no experience in the
      soft drink market, said the company is financed by Muslim businessmen.


      Lawmakers urge Ashcroft to halt mosque counting policy 02 Feb 03
      Congressmen John Conyers, (D-Michigan) Jerrold Nadler, (D-New York)
      and Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wisconsin) this week asked the Attorney
      General to "immediately terminate" the Justice Department's new policy
      directing fifty-six FBI field offices to count the number of mosques
      and Muslims.

      "We cannot sanction the targeting of Muslim populations and mosques,
      or any other community group or institution, to gather intelligence
      without any suspicion or cause that a specific individual or group of
      individuals, or a particular mosque or religious organization, is
      engaging in terrorist activities. We urge you to follow the
      constitutionally prescribed channels of investigation to ensure that
      the rights of American citizens are not violated..." said the lawmakers.

      McCollum named to International Relations Committee 29 Jan 03
      Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from St. Paul, said Wednesday that she
      has been named to the House International Relations Committee.
      McCollum on Tuesday reintroduced a resolution condemning the practice
      of death by stoning. That resolution, first introduced last year, was
      motivated by the case of Amina Lawal, a Nigerian single mother who was
      sentenced to death by stoning for having sex outside marriage. Nigeria
      has said it will block Islamic courts from carrying out the sentence.


      Islamic law and communal autonomy 19 Jan 03
      It is worth noting that even among Muslim states there is no agreement
      on how to apply the Shariah including its rulings on family matters.
      Saudi Arabia and Iran apply the Shariah in an all-encompassing sense.
      Mauritania, Libya and Egypt do so in principle but do not consistently
      base their legal praxis on the Shariah. The United Arab Emirates, Oman
      and Pakistan recognise the Shariah as the supreme law of the land, but
      deviate from it in practice. Twenty countries retain Shariah courts
      for the personal law, while fourteen make reference to Shariah in
      personal law codifications. Nine countries have abolished all
      reference to the Shariah. These include Eritrea, Senegal, Turkey, and
      the former Soviet republics with a Muslim majority including
      Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and


      [USA] Hedge Fund To Launch Shariah Product 27 Jan 03
      Islamic finance is about to pass another step in its development with
      the expected launch of a shariah-compliant hedge fund. Meyer Capital
      Partners, a Connecticut-based hedge fund start-up, says that it is
      planning a new fund for Islamic investors, and that the project has
      won the backing of some of the most respected shariah scholars,
      including Sheikh Nizam Yacuby and Sheikh Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo. The
      product, which will be known as Shariah Funds Inc, will be a
      long-short fund of funds based on US and European equities.
      Islamic investors are not able to invest in conventional hedge funds
      because the practice of shorting stocks through derivatives involves
      trading in an underlying asset that the investor does not own. In
      Islamic finance, investors can trade only in assets that they own and
      that have a real value. Shariah Funds Inc hopes to use mechanisms that
      will allow for the shorting of stocks in a shariah-compliant manner.
      Shariah Funds Inc will not be the first hedge-fund to claim to be
      shariah compliant but it stands a good chance of being the first to be
      widely accepted. Sidrah, a US-based Islamic hedge fund has been
      operating for more than a year but has failed to gain wide recognition
      in the Islamic finance community partially because of its
      comparatively unknown shariah board.

      Islamic finance sector can emulate Malaysian model 03 Feb 03
      In January this year, new regulations introduced by the securities
      regulator, the Securities Commission (SC) relating to Shariah
      compliance of Islamic investment funds came into effect in Malaysia.

      These regulations follow an earlier one introduced in July 2002 by the
      SC regarding the registration and appointment of Shariah advisories
      for Islamic investment funds and schemes offered in Malaysia. Both
      these regulations have gone almost unnoticed in the global Islamic
      finance sector. And yet they have important implications for the
      future of Shariah compliance relating to global Islamic financial

      This especially in the light of the current pyramid scheme scandal in
      Saudi Arabia, where illegal, unregulated, and unregistered `financial
      firms' have amassed a reported SR7 billion [EUR 1,7 billion] in
      deposits supposedly on the back of Shariah endorsement for the
      schemes, offering depositors outrageous rates of returns. It took
      decisive action from the Ministry of Interior not the regulator, SAMA
      (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency), to close these companies down recently.

      According to Gulf banking sources, similar illegal schemes surfaced in
      neighboring Qatar in 2001 and 2002, threatening a major scandal, which
      forced the authorities to act and bail out the depositors. Similar and
      other unauthorized investment schemes have also surfaced in Kuwait,
      Turkey, and Egypt in the past decades.
      most of the Shariah advisories and consultants involved in Islamic
      finance today operate as individuals — very often the same people are
      appointed to the boards of rival banks and companies. The issues of
      conflict of interest and of confidentiality are either not
      appropriately considered or are `contained' through special clauses in
      agreements. This status quo has tended to give Shariah advisories and
      consultants an inordinate power over financial institutions, without
      the requisite independent scrutiny and monitoring of their role,
      qualifications, experience, and judgments.

      Islamic bankers and allied companies tend to agree that they are
      partly responsible for this `free-for-all' Shariah compliance culture
      in the sector, which unfortunately has given rise to a number of
      unfortunate cases, which in turn have only served to add confusion and
      to undermine the very ethos of Islamic finance.
      There are several other shortcomings in Shariah advisory relating to
      Islamic financial management. Fortunately, some have seen the writing
      on the wall, and are organizing themselves into Islamic legal entities
      or firms — a move that should be encouraged. Yasaar Limited,
      incorporated in the UK; Securities House, incorporated in Kuwait; and
      the Islamic Finance Institute, set up in Pakistan, are but three such

      The Malaysians of course not for the first time in the Islamic finance
      sector have gone several steps further than their counterparts in the
      Gulf and elsewhere in the Muslim world. They have managed to introduce
      Shariah compliance quality control, enforcement and monitoring, and
      through registration have introduced a level playing field for all
      Shariah advisories involved in Islamic finance in the country. Yet
      another Malaysian model to emulate.

      Inside the new breed of Islamic bank 01 Feb 03
      The parent Swiss banking group, UBS, used to offer a limited range of
      Islamic products from its offices in Switzerland and London.
      Currently the Noriba fund portfolio contains three funds; the Noriba
      Global Equity Fund, the Noriba Murabaha Fund and the Noriba Timber
      Fund. The Global Equity Fund and Murabaha Fund show characteristics
      that one might expect; both are open-ended, both portfolio managed by
      UBS Asset Management, both with daily issue and reinvestment rather
      than distribution and so on. As well as differing fee rates, the key
      variance is that by investing in Murabaha commodities trading
      investors can look for short-term returns, whereas by investing in
      equities in the Dow Jones Islamic Market Index investors are looking
      for longer-term capital growth.

      The timber fund, in particular, is a concept of which Kanafani [CEO of
      Noriba] is markedly proud, not least because it was a first in the
      industry. "The timber fund is a prime example of our innovative
      Islamic products and is appropriate as the nature of the investment is
      acceptable under Sharia anyway," he says. This closed-end 10-year fund
      (with the right to extend maturity for a further 3 years) is managed
      by UBS Timber Investors from the Cayman Islands, but again monies are
      kept separate from those joining the fund from conventional sources.
      Kanafani adds that the obvious difference is that "the Noriba fund
      receives no interest while the UBS one can. With excess cash we enter
      into Murabaha transactions, for example, and that's why we have our
      own fund." The caveat to this position is that if the fund generates
      excess cash through timber sales or the disposition of timber
      properties then the fund can pay distributions on an annual basis.
      Though he won't reveal further details at this stage, Kanafani says
      that more products in the vein of the timber fund can be expected from
      Noriba in the future. In fact he believes that long-term high return
      investments are quite clearly the way ahead: "You just can't make a
      lot of money in the short term – those days are gone," he says. "You
      have to get back to basics with sound investments rather than gambling
      on high risk returns." People have forgotten what the P/E ration
      means, he laughs, and now it is time to remember the fundamentals of
      prudent investing!

      [Dubai] Gulf awaits fiscal boom 29 Jan 03
      Dubai is also gambling on a positive outcome [quick victory for Bush].
      The fleshpot of the region, Dubai has an advantage over its neighbours
      because its oil is likely to run out within a decade. The rapidly
      depleting fuel tank has jerked minds out of their air-conditioned
      slumber and the idea that has emerged is the Dubai International
      Financial Centre.

      Some 36 ha of sand worth about $1 billion (£600 million) has been set
      aside by the Emir to erect a sort of Canary Wharf within which the
      world's banks would wheel and deal, sucking in the region's
      petro-dollars and dispensing services — insurance, pensions and mutual

      This not another offshore tax haven. Dubai has bigger ambitions and
      the Sharia courts are being kept out. The centre will have its own
      commercial code, based on a US model, and a financial services Act as
      well as real estate law and data protection. For Saudis, fed up with
      the constraints of Islamic banking, it offers a serious alternative.
      Unfortunately other developments in the Gulf have intervened and Dubai
      could find its debut marred by a more noisy launch. This confuses
      American bankers, who persist in viewing the Gulf as a war zone rather
      than a trillion-dollar honeypot.

      [Australia] AXA heads to Indonesia 31 Jan 03
      AXA Asia Pacific Holdings has shrugged off concerns about Indonesia's
      economic prospects and has announced a bancassurance joint venture
      that it expects to make profits within four years. AXA will own 51 per
      cent of a joint-venture company to be owned 49 per cent by Indonesia's
      largest bank, Bank Mandiri, which it hopes will repeat the rapid
      growth of its bancassurance venture in the Philippines, set up five
      years ago.
      Initially the joint venture will aim at the 20,000 Bank Mandiri
      customers who have more than $US50,000 to invest. They plan to expand
      into Bank Mandiri's syariah banks, which provide services to
      Indonesia's majority Islamic population who subscribe to the dictates
      of their religion - meaning that some investment categories that
      involve liquor, such as in hotel companies, are off limits.

      [Bahrain] Shamil wins 'best Islamic project finance house' award
      Shamil Bank of Bahrain has won the best Islamic project financehouse
      award for 2002, instituted by Euromoney magazine. The award was
      received by Mohammed Hussain, the institution's group head, corporate
      banking, at the Islamic Finance Summit in London.

      Shamil Bank has won the award ahead of other Islamic banks because of
      the way it has made use of its historical relationships with
      institutions to provide them with project-finance services, said a
      spokesman for the bank. Recently, the bank arranged $45 million
      financing for a waste-water treatment plant near Didim in Turkey
      through a structure based on an istisna and parallel istisna. Shamil
      has also structured and co-arranged a $150 million serial Islamic
      lease sukuk .

      This represented beneficial rights in Malaysian plantation land
      operated in the ordinary course of business by Kumpulan Guthire. Such
      proceeds were used to purchase beneficial interest in the plantation
      land. Other deals include the lease financing of $55 million floating
      production, storage and an offloading vessel in Malaysia.

      [Bahrain] Bank signs deal to buy aircraft portfolio 02 Feb 03
      Bahrain-based First Islamic Investment Bank EC has embarked on a
      $149.9 million joint venture to acquire the first Sharia compliant
      aircraft portfolio.
      The portfolio consists of a mix of narrow body, regional jet and
      turbo-prop aircraft leased to British Airways, Air Canada and Brit Air
      - which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Air France. First Islamic and
      its co-investors hold a majority stake in the joint venture and acted
      as equity arranger.

      [*] Copyright: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 -
      http://liimirror.warwick.ac.uk/uscode/17/107.html - this material is
      distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. If
      you wish to use copyrighted material from this list for purposes that
      go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright
      owner. [USA: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html%5d