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85Sharia News Watch 85

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Nov 24, 2003
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      Sharia News Watch 85 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/message/85

      The Sharia Newswatch provides an almost weekly update of news quotes
      on Sharia (Islamic Law) & related subjects, as appearing on the major
      news- searchengines. All editions :
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/

      AUSTRALIA

      [jihad] Suburban world of an angry young man - 22 Nov 03
      http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,7939390%255E6=
      01,00.html

      [Victoria] Witch Sues Christians Under Controversial Hate Laws
      http://www.crosswalk.com/news/1232192.html - 23 Nov 03
      ..
      The state's Racial and Religious Tolerance Act is enabling members of
      one religious group who object to the beliefs of another, to take
      legal action against them. Defending accusations of vilification in a
      special tribunal, which holds hearings under the law, can be costly.
      The case involving alleged slurs against Islam, which has run for more
      than a month and still is not finalized, already has cost the
      defendants well over $70,000 in legal and other expenses, a source
      close to the case confirmed Friday. If the Victorian Civil and
      Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), which operates like a court, upholds a
      vilification complaint, it can order the payment of compensation of up
      to $3,900 for individuals and $19,800 for organizations.

      BANGLADESH

      Answer me with books, articles: Taslima - 22 Nov 03
      http://www.newkerala.com/news-daily/news/features.php?action=fullnews&id=10=
      66
      ..
      Controversial feminist writer Taslima Nasreen, whose latest book has
      evoked libel suits from Indian and Bangladeshi intellectuals, has
      dared her detractors to respond to her with literary creations. "If
      anyone has to say anything about me, let him say so in books and
      articles," says Nasreen, whose new book 'Dwikhandito', meaning Split
      into Two, refers to her sexual experiences with some leading
      intellectuals of the two countries. 'Dwikhandito', billed as the third
      in the exiled writer's autobiographical series, has been banned in
      Bangladesh for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and encouraging
      moral turpitude. The 395-page Bengali book's sale has also been
      temporarily stayed by the Calcutta High Court following a petition by
      a Bengali author who Nasreen alleges in the book shared a physical
      relationship with her.
      ..
      Most intellectuals in India and Bangladesh have made unflattering
      remarks about Nasreen's new book and said it would have been better
      had she avoided indulging in personal slander. They, however, didn't
      support banning her book. Nasreen said she did not want to besmirch
      anybody's name but "I only tried to write an honest autobiography".
      "It is but natural that while writing my own life story, people who
      I've come across and my interactions with them will find mention."
      ..
      The book has been slapped with a damage suit by one of Bangladesh's
      leading intellectuals, Also, Kolkata-based poet Syed Hasmat Jalal has
      moved the Calcutta High Court to stop the sale of the book. Jalal
      objected to the printed matter in four pages that he claimed defamed
      him. Nasreen has said she is planning two more sequels to
      'Dwikhandito' - one dealing with the two months she spent in hiding
      inside Bangladesh after she was accused of blasphemy and the other
      with her life in exile.

      BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

      Three caught for eating in public - 24 Nov 03
      http://www.brudirect.com/DailyInfo/News/Archive/Nov03/241103/bb01.htm

      Brunei Women To Get Equal Justice - 23 Nov 03
      http://www.brudirect.com/DailyInfo/News/Archive/Nov03/231103/nite01.htm
      ..
      Bruneians who try to send their wives away practically empty handed
      after divorcing them are in for a big surprise. There is a 'sting' now
      in the new Shariah laws, which could force the man to give up half of
      what he has. There will not be an easy ride for the man anymore
      because there is so much "teeth" in the current Islamic laws that
      there is little chance of getting away with it. That has come to pass
      because Brunei's long awaited Shariah Courts are now up and running
      bringing much needed justice to a neglected section of the community –
      the divorced women. The Shariah Court has the power to make it
      mandatory to ensure that the divorced Muslim women are treated fairly
      and justly and it can enforce the division of property under the new
      Shariah laws, said a lawyer.
      ..
      But now things could hopefully change for the better. The woman may
      hire a Shariah lawyer and take the man to court and make him pay
      dearly for his indiscretion under the Shariah laws which has wide
      powers. For example, a Syariah Court may order the husband's landed
      property be divided equally and shared. The Land Officer would be
      required to enforce the order by law. Errant husbands could be jailed
      and fined.
      ..
      A Chief Justice presides over a panel of judges and the court sits
      regularly. The Shariah Court is temporarily housed at the Religious
      Ministry Building at Jalan Mentri Besar in the Brunei capital. It is
      due to move next year to the imposing Shariah Court complex under
      construction in the city center. Currently there are two legal systems
      operating in Brunei. One is the code based on the British legal system
      and the other Shariah laws. The civil code at the moment has dominance
      and stature over the Shariah laws in many aspects. Shariah courts
      covers only offenses under Muslim laws, like close proximity (Khalwat)
      and similar offenses involving Muslims. It also has jurisdiction over
      Muslim divorce and estate and other matters.
      ..
      The civil court covers every other aspect of legislation and a merger
      of the two is on the cards. It is the brainchild of late Professor
      Saedon as he pointed out that Brunei holds the MIB (Malay Islamic
      Monarchy) concept as a guiding principle. Essential progress towards
      this was made when the first batch of 30 local lawyers specially
      trained under Shariah legislation received their official certificates
      last year.

      DENMARK

      [burial site] Muslims must wait - 21 Nov 03
      http://cphpost.sites.itera.dk/get/73479.html
      ..
      Muslims are going to have to wait a few more months before their dream
      of a Muslim burial plot in Brøndby becomes reality. The price of the
      ground in Brøndby Council should have been finalised this week, paving
      the way for work to start on the burial site. However, a final
      planning meeting has been postponed until 27 May 2004, three years
      after Muslims were originally promised their own burial ground.

      EGYPT

      Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimeen: The Muslim Brotherhood - 01 Jul 03
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=43995593

      FRANCE

      French Minister Engages Islamic Thinker Over Hijab - 22 Nov 03
      http://www.islam-online.net/English/News/2003-11/22/article03.shtml
      ..
      French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and Islamic intellectual
      Tariq Ramadan locked horns over sensitive issues such as hijab and
      anti-Semitism, in a live100-minute exciting, yet fierce debate leaving
      seven million viewers glued to the national TV channel France2. [..]

      INDONESIA

      Islamic band Debu sticks to its principles - 23 Nov 03
      http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailfeatures.asp?fileid=20031123.D01&irec=5=

      ..
      Debu -- an American Sufi band living in Jakarta -- has received much
      acclaim over the last two years for its unique brand of Islamic and
      world music. The Sufis, who live strictly according to Islamic
      principles, have made numerous television appearances, played concerts
      to thousands of Indonesians and even performed for Vice President
      Hamzah Haz. AlQuran Seluler, the mobile phone service which allows
      almost 90,000 subscribers to listen to sermons from famous preachers,
      also features the group's tunes as background music. The songs Debu
      sings -- in Indonesian, English and Arabic -- are mostly about love
      and peace, and the band members exude goodwill and equanimity. They
      clearly revel in the opportunity to reach more and more people through
      their music.
      ..
      "There's too much focus on Ramadhan. That's when all the Islamic
      artists perform and release their albums. Everything is commercialized
      during Ramadhan and then after it's back to the usual," said Najib
      Ali, a 31-year-old band member from California and also Debu's
      manager. "Yeah, when Ramadhan comes you get people becoming real
      religious and then afterwards, they forget all about it," added his
      22-year-old brother in law, Mustafa, lead singer of Debu. Mustafa
      believes their music appeals to a wide audience, including non-
      Muslims, nonpracticing Muslims and heavy metal rock music fans. The
      name of the band, which means "dust" in Indonesian, came from a rock
      band in the U.S. called Dust on the Road, but is also a reference to
      all living things eventually turning to dust.
      ..
      Jakarta's American Sufis are financially supported by family members
      in the U.S. and say they are a long way off making a living from Debu.
      The band's manager is not opposed to making a profit but not at any
      price; Debu refuses to accept money from cigarette companies who
      sponsor most major concerts in Indonesia.

      IRAN

      Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books By Azar Nafisi
      http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/11/21/1069027320754.html

      Canada Revives UN Measure Rapping Rights in Iran - 18 Nov 03
      http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?storyID=3846148
      ..
      Canada said on Tuesday it introduced a draft U.N. resolution accusing
      Iran of human rights abuses, including suppression of free speech,
      torture and discrimination against women and religious minorities. The
      document, obtained by Reuters, was given to members of the General
      Assembly's human rights committee in hopes of a vote by Friday.
      Adoption by the panel, which includes 191 U.N. members, is usually
      tantamount to passage by the assembly.
      ..
      Specifically, the Canadian resolution calls on Iran, dominated by
      Shi'ite Muslims, to eliminate religious discrimination against
      minorities, including Bahais, Christians, Jews and Sunni Muslims.
      It expresses concern at continuing public executions, the use of
      torture and amputation, arbitrary sentencing of political dissidents,
      suppression of press freedom and systematic discrimination against
      women and girls "in law and in practice." Photojournalist Zahra
      Kazemi, a Canadian citizen of Iranian descent, died in custody in Iran
      in June, from a blow to the head, seriously damaging relations between
      Ottawa and Tehran.

      IRAQ

      Even Communists get religious in new Islamic Iraq - 21 Nov 03
      http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L20482387.htm

      Iraqi gangs launch a killing spree against Saddam's Old Guard - 23 Nov
      http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101031201-548790,00.html

      Iraqi Civilians, Army Remnants Behind Resistance - 18 Nov 03
      http://www.islamonline.net/english/In_Depth/Iraq_Aftermath/2003/11/article_=
      08.shtml
      ..
      The same day the Chinook helicopter was downed near Fallujah, jittery
      US forces fired on a truck carrying Iraqi civilians back from taraweeh
      (traditional Ramadan) prayers. Six Iraqi civilians were killed. No
      independent inquiry was made of the incident since then. Relatives
      later told reporters that US forces had declared the curfew lifted for
      Ramadan prompting the men to travel about freely.
      ..
      Conservative City Center of Unrest - 18 Nov 03
      http://www.newsday.com/ny-wofall1118,0,4131447.story
      ..
      "There are three main forces in Fallujah: the mosques, the religious
      leaders and the tribes," said Sheik Mohammed Zoubaiyi, a professor at
      the Islamic Studies College in Baghdad and a resident of Fallujah.
      "The tribal forces are telling people to reject the occupation, and
      the religious forces are pushing them to fight it."

      ITALY

      Italy Deports Africans in Islamic Groups - 18 Nov 03
      http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/opinion/7295692.htm
      ..
      Italy ordered the deportations Tuesday of seven North Africans,
      launching a crackdown on militant Islamic groups following the deadly
      attack on Italian soldiers in Iraq. The announcement of the expulsions
      came a day after the government announced the deportation of an imam
      from Senegal who had warned that Italian soldiers in Iraq and
      Afghanistan risked attack as allies of the United States.
      ..
      The six Moroccans and an Algerian named in Tuesday's deportation order
      were accused of proselytizing on behalf of "terrorist organizations
      with an Islamic origin."

      KUWAIT

      Kuwait hijab row - 23 Nov 03
      http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Articles.asp?Article=67466&Sn=WORL
      ..
      Kuwaiti non-governmental organisations (NGOs) yesterday strongly
      criticised the education ministry for failing to take action against a
      school official who reportedly punished girls for not wearing the
      hijab headscarf. In a joint statement, the 11 NGOs accused top
      ministry officials of trying to cover up the case and defend the
      vice-principal "instead of referring her to investigation". The
      vice-principal is reported to have barred up to 200 girls from
      attending classes for two days last week after they refused to wear
      the headscarf. "Civil bodies in Kuwait are urged to protest against
      such oppressive practices that breach the values of tolerance and
      freedom ... After all, there is no law in Kuwait to force wearing the
      hijab," the statement said.
      ..
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=44022472
      .. [Kuwaiti news agency Kuna] - 23 Nov 03
      The Ministry of Education denied published reports on kicking out
      students from one of the girls high schools at Al-Firwaniyah for not
      wearing hijab, the mandatory Islamic head- dress for women.
      ..
      Al-Sa'dun pointed out that what occurred at Umm Umar al- Ansariyah
      high school concerned 12 students who did not wear the school uniform,
      therefore they were warned by the school's administration but were
      still allowed to attend their classes and they did respect the school
      uniform the next day.

      MALAYSIA

      Getting marital rape in the book - 24 Nov 03
      http://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2003/11/24/features/675=
      3940&sec=features

      New Straits Times chief editor sacked - 21 Nov 03
      http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/topstories/story/0,4386,221283,00.html
      ..
      While such observations have also been made by American commentators,
      the Saudis saw it differently in that they came from an establishment
      newspaper in another Muslim country. The Malaysian Ambassador to
      Riyadh was called in for a dressing down and the country's quota for
      haj pilgrimages was slashed.

      Pamphlets on Malaysia being "an Islamic state" distributed nationwide
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=43976768
      .. [report Malaysian news agency Bernama] - 22 Nov 03
      The Department of Islamic Advancement Malaysia (Jakim) has distributed
      more than 100,000 pamphlets nationwide on Malaysia being recognized as
      an Islamic State. Jakim Deputy Director-General Che Min Che Ahmad said
      the pamphlets had been distributed since early this year. "The
      pamphlets were distributed so that Muslims will not be confused by
      certain groups which still dispute Malaysia's status as an Islamic
      State," he said at a zakat [Islamic tithe] distribution ceremony here
      Friday [21 November]. Che Min said the pamphlets contained statements
      of the National Fatwa [Islamic Edict] Council on Malaysia being an
      Islamic State and also acknowledgement to this effect by renowned
      Ulamas from other Islamic States.

      NIGERIA

      [Bauchi] Emir Advocates Proper Training of Hisba Personnel - 21 Nov 03
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200311210322.html [Daily Trust - Abuja]]
      ..
      The Emir of Ningi, Alhaji Yunusa Mohammed Danyaya, has called on the
      Bauchi State Sharia commission to organise workshops and seminars of
      all categories for the Hisba personnel, on Sharia enforcement team in
      the state. Alhaji Danyaya while hosting members of the Sharia
      committees in Ningi town stressed the need for the training and
      retraining of the Hisbah personnel in order to sensitise them of their
      role in the quest for the full implementation of Sharia legal system
      in the state and to alley fears among the non Muslims in the state
      ..
      However, Ningi's emir expressed displeasure that the Ningi emirate
      despite the leading role in the collection and distribution of Zakkat
      in the state also describe it as one of the emirates that has a high
      rate cases of prostitution and the popular game of masquerade "dodo,"
      which he said were against the teaching of Islam and the traditions of
      the Holy Prophet. He therefore called for the Emir's support towards
      eradicating such vices in the society, stressing that if such vices
      were eliminated completely many other minor ones would eventually die
      off.

      [Jigawa] Jigawa Govt Probes Kazaure Student's Crisis - 21 Nov 03
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200311210230.html [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      ..
      The Jigawa State government has set up an administrative committee of
      inquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the Kazaure
      crisis, even as it disclosed that the crisis was the handiwork of
      hooligans and policemen's insensitivity
      ..
      While explaining the initial causes of the crisis, the Deputy Governor
      said the alleged blasphemy occurred one month ago after a disagreement
      between two students. He said after some long rumours, the hoodlums
      besieged the school premises demanding for the girl. Alhaji Hadejia
      further disclosed that the Emir went to the school to control the
      situation, and it was at the school that a policeman fired at a 13
      year old boy and that action culminated the crisis that led to
      destruction in the town.

      PAKISTAN

      Pakistan following ambitious education sector and Madrassah reforms
      http://www.hipakistan.com/en/detail.php?newsId=en45797&F_catID=&f_type=sour=
      ce
      .. - 21 Nov 03
      To highlight the targets, objectives and implementation of these
      projects, the Pakistan Embassy Washington Wednesday uploaded two
      briefs on 'Education Sector Reforms' and 'Madrassah Reforms' in
      Pakistan ots website [www.embassyofpakistan.org].
      ..
      The Madrassah Reforms (Teaching of Formal Subjects in Deeni Madaris)
      http://www.embassyofpakistan.org/pb7.php is a five year project
      costing Rs. 6587 million [EUR 97 million], and started in financial
      year 2002-2003. The aim of the project is to facilitate 8000 willing
      Deeni Madaris of Pakistan through teaching of English, Mathematics,
      Pakistan Studies/Social Studies and General Science from Primary to
      Secondary levels and English, Economics, Pakistan Studies and Computer
      Science at Intermediate level to integrate religious education with
      formal education system. Its objective is to teach formal subjects in
      8000 Madaris to bridge the gulf between Madrasah Education and Formal
      Education system, to open the lines of communication with the Ulama
      who run the Madaris, to impart formal education in addition to
      religious education for spreading of Islamic values at national and
      international levels.

      Liberal Islam being marginalised, warns Pakistani academic - 22 Nov 03
      http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_22-11-2003_pg7_45
      ..
      In a presentation at the US Institute of Peace, Dr Mohammad Waseem of
      Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, criticised Western countries and
      their media for adopting a "text-based" approach to Islam, instead of
      making an effort to understand Islamic societies and their ethos. In
      many cases, tradition and cultural norms were mistaken for religion
      which only contributed to the further distortion of Islam's meaning
      and message
      ..
      Unrepresentative governments in Islamic countries had used religion to
      claim legitimacy and perpetuate themselves. In Pakistan, for instance,
      the most blatant use of Islamic ideology had been made by unelected
      governments. During the rule of such governments, experience showed,
      the use of Islam as a slogan was ten times higher than under civilian
      rule. Such governments were unwilling to surrender power to the people
      and their genuine representatives and instead used Islam as a weapon
      to resist popular sentiment which favoured a democratic dispensation.
      Unfortunately, the established Islamic clergy or those who arrogated
      to themselves the right to represent Islam often entered into
      arrangements with undemocratic forces. In Pakistan, the phenomenon was
      sometimes called the "khaki-mullah nexus."

      Using theatre to rebel without a pause - 23 Nov 03
      http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031123/herworld.htm#1
      .. [Madeeha Gauhar - actress, director and activist]
      Q: How did you manage nearly 40 plays with meagre finance?
      A: Both the private and public sector shied away from financing us,
      due to stringent Shariat laws and the Hadood ordinance enforced there,
      that degraded women in every possible manner. We made plays that had
      strong social themes and sent out messages of awakening against
      repressive laws. Some voluntary donors who did come forward then,
      attached conditions. It was a no-win situation. Whatever little we
      earned from staging plays was put back in while all actors, till date,
      voluntarily act in my plays without remuneration.

      Jail and fine for rapist - 23 Nov 03
      http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_23-11-2003_pg10_2
      ..
      A Federal Shariat Court [Lahore] full bench on Saturday awarded 15
      years imprisonment and Rs 10,000 [EUR 147,-] fine to Mumtaz Khan in a
      rape case. In case of not paying the fine, the convict will have to
      undergo a further six-month imprisonment. A court had earlier
      acquitted Mr Khan and his friends Gul Taj Khan and Riaz Khan in the
      case. Exonerating the three, the court had relied on a verbal
      statement of the victim before police that the three were innocent.
      The FSC bench convicted Mr Khan while partly accepting an appeal of
      Zahoor Ahmad, father of the victim girl. The court, however, acquitted
      Gul Taj and Riaz in view of the victim's statement.

      PALESTINE

      Occupation, Patriarchy, and the Palestinian Women's Movement
      http://madiaq.indymedia.org/news/2003/11/1898.php - 21 Nov 03
      ..
      Generally speaking, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is not
      recognized internationally as an important factor in the ongoing
      existence of patriarchy in Palestinian society. However, numerous
      studies have shown that the ongoing Israeli occupation is a key factor
      in the maintenance of patriarchy in Palestinian society. Israeli
      occupation has undermined the Palestinian right to self- determination
      and has thus impeded the development of a Palestinian constitution or
      legal institutions. In the absence of indigenous legal institutions,
      Palestinian women have been governed by foreign archaic laws and have
      been unable to use the legal realm as a means of gaining rights. For
      example, the personal status law used in the Palestinian Occupied
      Territories is a combination of repressive and outdated components of
      Ottoman law, British Empire law, and pre-suffrage movement Jordanian
      law. In addition, the components of the Ottoman law that are in use
      predate the secular movement, and are thus based on sharia (religious)
      law. Without the establishment of an independent state, it is
      impossible to develop an indigenous legal framework that can defend
      Palestinian women's rights- and this is a direct result of the Israeli
      occupation.

      SAUDI ARABIA

      [muttawa] Saudi enforcers of religious rules feared, endured - 21 Nov
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/11/21/intern=
      ational0444EST0467.DTL

      [tv] Seeing the Funny Side of Islamic Law, and Not Seeing It - 24 Nov
      http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/24/international/middleeast/24SAUD.html?ex=1=
      070341200

      Ramadan in the Holy Land [Sunday Mail - Kuala Lumpur] - 23 Nov 03
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=44036725

      7 protesters jailed in Saudi - 23 Nov 03
      http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Articles.asp?Article=67466&Sn=WORL
      ..
      A Saudi court has sentenced seven people to up to three months in
      prison for taking part in a street demonstration in western Saudi
      Arabia last month. Those convicted, who were charged with obstructing
      security men from doing their duty, were also ordered to sign an
      agreement to not repeat their actions, the Arab News newspaper said.
      A Saudi was sentenced to three months in jail, a Sudanese to two
      months and five other to one-month terms each. The Saudi also was
      sentenced to 60 lashes, for not confessing or acknowledging that he
      had done damage to public welfare. The Sudanese would be deported
      after completing his jail term.

      Change afoot in Saudi Arabia - 23 Nov 03
      http://www.sltrib.com/2003/Nov/11232003/nation_w/113744.asp
      ..
      Mansour al-Nogaidan, a former zealot turned reformer, was the first
      columnist to suggest publicly that the extreme lessons within the
      Wahhabi sect about shunning foreigners helped terrorists to justify
      their attacks. That column and subsequent ones created such an uproar
      that Nogaidan's writing was suspended for a couple of months, and this
      summer he found himself summoned by a conservative judge who he said
      sentenced him to 75 lashes. "He told me that all my articles in the
      Riyadh newspaper are against our religion, against Islam," Nogaidan
      said. But the sentence has not been carried out, and Nogaidan used his
      return column last week to write that music -- considered sinful under
      Wahhabi tenets -- could aid spiritual enlightenment.

      Saudi cleric shown recanting past edicts approving Muslim militancy
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/11/18/int=
      ernational1408EST0612.DTL
      .. - 18 Nov 03
      Using prime-time TV in their campaign against extremism, Saudi
      officials interrupted a popular comedy show to air footage of a jailed
      Muslim cleric renouncing his calls for Islamic militants to attack the
      West.
      ..
      Appearing on Saudi state television, cleric Ali al-Khudair said of his
      previous fatwas, or religious edicts, calling for attacks on the West:
      "If I had the choice I would not have said them. I hope that, God
      willing, I have time to correct them." .. Al-Khudair, looking relaxed
      in a traditional white Saudi robe and red-checked headdress, was
      interviewed in a television studio for about 50 minutes by another
      cleric, Ayed al-Qarni. Three times during the interview, al-Khudair
      swore to God he had not been coerced into recanting. .. It was a
      dramatic reversal for a man once known for his sympathy for al-Qaida
      and the Taliban. Al-Khudair was a follower of the late Saudi Sheik
      Hammoud bin Oqla al-Shuaibi, who days after the Sept. 11 attacks
      issued a fatwa declaring that those supporting the "nonbelievers"
      against Muslims were themselves nonbelievers. Al-Khudair, al-Fahd and
      al-Khalidi traveled the kingdom and used the Internet to spread the
      ideas of al-Shuaibi, who died in January 2002 but remains an
      influential figure.

      Another Scholar Recants - 23 Nov 03
      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=35473&d=23&m=11&y=2003
      ..
      Sheikh Nasser ibn Hamad Al-Fahd has recanted and withdrawn his
      controversial fatwas, describing them as "a grave mistake" in an
      interview broadcast yesterday. Fahd was the second Saudi scholar
      detained for promoting militancy this year who took to the airwaves to
      renounce his support for militants and condemn terrorist attacks.
      ..
      He had also ruled against giving information to security forces about
      the 19 suspects announced by the Ministry of the Interior a week
      before the May 12 bombing. The other two were Ali Al-Khudair, who
      recanted on Saudi TV last Monday, and Ahmad Al-Khaledi. Al-Fahd was
      first arrested in 1995 following events in Buraidah along with several
      other religious scholars. He remained in prison for more than three
      years. Al-Fahd said he requested the interview of his own accord after
      being "shocked" by the suicide bombing at a Riyadh housing compound
      this month which killed 18 people, mostly Arabs. He said the attack
      was a sin and the bombers were not martyrs because they violated Islam
      by killing both Muslims and non-Muslims who were under the protection
      of the state, murdering women and children, harming security and
      property, distorting the image of jihad (holy war) and Islam.

      Replacement for dentist hard to pull - 21 Nov 03
      http://times-age.co.nz/news2003/031121c.html
      ..
      After 20 years in town, Dr Ireland is staying on at his property at
      Opaki [New Zealand] where he grows grapes and olives. He came to
      Masterton after a career in academia where he taught at St Andrew's
      University in Scotland and at universities in New Zealand, Australia,
      the United States and Saudi Arabia. Dr Ireland's experience in Saudi
      Arabia was one of the more hair-raising. He was detained for two weeks
      on suspicion of blasphemy against Mohammed for suggesting an elderly
      patient use a toothbrush rather than a particular type of plant. The
      matter was sorted out after the resident religious historian decided
      Dr Ireland had not blasphemed. A Norwegian eye surgeon working in
      Saudi Arabia wasn't so lucky: When Dr Ireland was there, the man was
      in his sixth year waiting to be allowed to leave the kingdom.

      SRI LANKA

      Look out for the new moon: Colombo Grand Mosque - 21 Nov 03
      http://www.dailymirror.lk/2003/11/21/news/5.asp
      ..
      A conference of the learned Ulemas, Theologians, Katheebs and Trustees
      of Jumma Mosques, representatives of the All Ceylon Jemmiyathul Ulema,
      Sharia Council, Thakiyas, Zaviyas, Anjuman Faiz-E-Raza (Memon
      Community), and the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural
      Affairs, Insha Allah, will be held under the auspices of the Colombo
      Grand Mosque at the Madrasathul Harmeediah Hall on Monday November 24,
      2003, immediately after the Salath UI Maghrib, to decide on the
      beginning of the Islamic months of Shawwal Hijri 1424 and to fix the
      date to celebrate the Eid-Ul-Fitr (Ramazan Festival) on the evidence
      of sighting the new moon in any part of Sri Lanka. The Colombo Grand
      Mosque appeals to the Muslim public to look out for the new moon on
      Monday November 24, 2003 immediately after Magrib (6.21 pm).

      SWEDEN

      Ramadan in Swedish Lapland - 21 Nov 03
      http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=7904

      SYRIA

      Man sentenced for smoking in public during fasting month of Ramadan
      http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2003/11/23/266436-ap.html
      .. - 23 Nov 03
      Tawfiq Breik Hneidi, 36, is the first Syrian arrested for smoking in
      public in 50 years during Ramadan when Muslims abstain from eating,
      drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn to dusk. Hneidi, a bookshop
      owner in Jaramana on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, said he
      was arrested Oct. 30 and bailed Nov. 1 after a court issued a
      suspended sentence of one month in prison.
      ..
      Hneidi, a follower of the Druze religion, which is an offshoot of
      Islam, said he was unaware of a law in secular Syria permitting the
      arrest of citizens seen smoking cigarettes in public.

      TAJIKSTAN

      Religious freedom survey, November 2003 - 20 Nov 03
      http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=190
      ..
      In its survey analysis of the religious freedom situation in
      Tajikistan, Forum 18 News Service reports on the confusion that leads
      to officials wrongly insisting that registration of religious
      communities is compulsory. Unregistered religious communities do
      encounter difficulties with the authorities, but Forum 18 has been
      told that excesses "are not as a rule state policy, but simply the
      arbitrary actions of local officials." Compared to neighbouring
      Uzbekistan, Tajikistan generally follows a more lenient policy towards
      unregistered religious communities. This may be because Tajikistan,
      after a civil war, is not able to exert such harsh controls as
      Uzbekistan can. The Tajik authorities are most concerned with
      controlling Muslim life, because Muslims make up more than 90 per cent
      of the country's population, and because of the aftermath of the civil
      war. The possibility exists that government pressure on believers may
      intensify in the near future, under a proposed new law on religion.
      ..
      Formally, the Muslim clergy are chosen by the congregation, and the
      candidate they choose is confirmed by a council of ulema (Islamic
      scholars). However, in practice the council of ulema acts on the
      instructions of the authorities and an undesirable imam will quickly
      be replaced. The head of the central mosque in Dushanbe, haji Yakub,
      and member of the council of ulema, Faizullo Zabuido admitted to Forum
      18 on 10 November that a person judged undesirable by the authorities
      could not be an imam. "Although formally the Islamic clergy is
      independent of the secular authorities, in fact the authorities make
      sure that the mosques are governed only by people under their
      control," Kabiri told Forum 18. "For example, recently the authorities
      noticed that the leaders of the IRP party were praying in one of
      Dushanbe's mosques, and they immediately changed its imam-hatyb."
      The committee for religious affairs also closely monitors religious
      literature imported into the country. No religious book may be
      imported until it has been subjected to expert analysis at the
      committee for religious affairs. In several academic institutions
      students are not allowed to attend lessons wearing the hijab (a scarf
      covering the hair and neck which is traditional to Muslims countries).
      The police also frequently refuse to accept photographs for passports
      when women are shown wearing the hijab. However, Kabiri believes that
      these cases of discrimination against believers are not state policy,
      but are simply "at the whim of the official".

      TURKEY

      Excerpts from alleged al Qaeda claim for Turkey blasts - 21 Nov 03
      http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L2197843.htm
      ..[Statement from the Jihad al Qaeda "Operation Islamic Iron Hammer"]
      In Turkey today, the vanguards of the Abu Hafz al-Masri Brigades
      targeted the British consul, Roger Short, because of his extensive
      experience in combatting Islam and because he is considered the
      mastermind of British policy in the region comprising Iraq, Syria,
      Turkey and Iran. Our cars of death struck the consulate building...
      and by the grace of God, he was killed. As for the British bank [HBSC]
      headquarters, this is a bastion of the British economy and let Britain
      and its people know that its alliance with America will not bring it
      prosperity or security... We admit that the cars of death that
      targeted the British bank was put in an inappropriate place, which
      caused some casualties among innocents, and this pains us
      tremendously, but the media must share our blame because we have
      repeatedly warned Muslims not to go anywhere near the diplomatic,
      economic or military headquarters of America and its allies; for our
      real war, which will begin soon, will have no boundaries and will show
      no mercy towards the tyrant of the era and his allies.
      ..
      http://www.aljazeerah.info/Opinion%20editorials/2003%20Opinion%20Editorials=
      /November/22%20o/Iraqi%20resistance%20warns%20Turks%20to%20keep%20off%20Iraq=
      %20By%20K%20Gajendra%20Singh.htm
      ..
      IBDA-C's claims were dismissed by the Turkish Police as a hoax. 'The
      IBDA-C has a history of claiming responsibility for atrocities it
      didn't commit,' said Umit Ozdag, an Ankara terrorism expert. '[Their]
      leader was imprisoned three years ago. I doubt his followers have the
      organisational capacity to carry out such an attack.' Nilufer Narli,
      an expert on Turkey's Islamic groups and the dean of Istanbul's Kidir
      Has University in Istanbul, said the Raiders' Front lacked the
      resources to carry out such a sophisticated attack. Roland Jacquard,
      head of the International Terrorism Observatory in Paris, thought that
      the likeliest suspect was the militant group Ansar al-Islam, which the
      Pentagon has called the principal "terrorist adversary" of US forces
      in Iraq. Jacquard said claims of responsibility should be treated
      cautiously, but that IBDA/C was also very close to Ansar. According to
      a western intelligence source it appeared to be a home-grown group
      acting in the style of al-Qaeda and according to their agenda. 'It is
      possible they had some input or assistance from someone close to bin
      Laden or his aides but there are a growing number of militants within
      Turkey with the will and, as we now see, the means to cause massive
      destruction. This could be seen as an "overspill" from what's
      happening in Iraq.'
      ..
      http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml;?type=worldNews&storyID=4=
      07908
      ..
      Residents in the remote southeastern town of Bingol said on Sunday
      security forces had seized computers believed to have been used in
      planning Istanbul's suicide bomb attacks from Internet cafes owned by
      a brother of one of the four suspects. The residents also said DNA
      tests had been carried out on relatives of the three other suspected
      suicide bombers who also all came from Bingol. The tests were used to
      confirm descriptions of the bombers by witnesses and figures captured
      on security cameras in the synagogue attacks. Police have set up
      roadblocks into Bingol, a town of 200,000, long an area of Islamic
      fundamentalism close to the Iran and Syrian borders. Turkish media
      said police had so far detained 18 people and investigations were
      focused on Bingol. The reports said the four suspected bombers had
      travelled extensively abroad, including to al Qaeda training camps in
      Afghanistan.
      ..
      http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=159F6C9C-B521-4C82-A96CE29124C7=
      A66A
      ..
      Turkey has ordered the nation's mosques to preach an anti-terrorism
      sermon Tuesday, at the start of the holiday Eid-Al-Fitr. The
      government's department of Religious Affairs prepared the sermon,
      which says that "terrorism, violence and anarchy have nothing to do
      with Islam."

      UK

      Islamic groups in Britain [UPI] - 18 Nov 03
      http://www.newsalert.com/bin/story?StoryId=Cp7MNubebyNjPDgfPBI1IDxnOlwLZBgf=
      TAwm
      ..
      The most prominent Islamic groups active in Britain include:
      -- The Islamic Sunni Methodology Revival Group, which was founded 15
      years ago by Sheikh Abu Khadija, from Kashmir. It is active in the
      educational field and does not interfere in politics. It is known to
      be opposed to al-Qaida and other armed Islamic movements. According to
      sources, this group is loyal to Saudi Arabia and has been getting
      generous funding from Riyadh. It is active in distributing religious
      books that it sells through its many bookshops throughout the United
      Kingdom.
      -- Al-Muhajiroun Movement was launched in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in
      1983. It was operating as part of the Liberation party in Britain from
      which it broke away in 1996. The movement calls for the establishment
      of a Sunni Muslim state -- in Britain. It is a small group with some
      700 followers, but has partisans in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
      Emirates, Kuwait and some Muslim Asian countries. The movement is led
      by Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian living in Britain since the
      mid-1980s as a political refugee. The group was accused of recruiting
      and mobilizing young Muslims in Britain and sending them for jihad
      (Islamic holy war) abroad. It is also accused of inciting hatred and
      strife against non-Muslims and raising money for terrorist Islamic
      groups. Last September, the movement issued an edict considering any
      Muslim working with British intelligence, police and armed forces an
      atheist. The movement is financed by members of Muslim Asian
      communities in Britain.
      -- The Liberation Party was founded in Jerusalem in 1953 by Takieddine
      al-Nabhani. The party promotes itself as a political group with the
      mission of enlightening Muslim thinking and achieving Islamic
      renaissance. Its aim is to lead Muslims on the right path and help
      them fight corruption and deviation from Islamic principles. The party
      is a staunch critic of al-Qaida and bin Laden. It has spread in many
      Arab countries. Its British branch was founded in 1986 by Sheikh Omar
      Bakri Mohammed before he broke away in 1996 to establish his own
      Muhajiroun movement. The party is keen on spreading its ideology among
      students and has gained influence in 50 universities and educational
      institutes. In the past few years, the party split into three factions
      that carry the same name and are in constant struggle.
      -- Sharia (Islamic law) Partisan Movement is led by Mustafa Kamel
      Mustafa, known as Abu Hamza and considered as the most controversial
      Islamic figure in Britain. The movement supports al-Qaida and was
      accused of recruiting volunteer fighters in various parts of the
      world, especially in Yemen, which has been asking the British
      authorities to extradite him. Sanaa says Abu Hamza masterminded
      bombing attacks on Yemeni territory. Abu Hamza, an Egyptian, fought
      against Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan before settling in
      England and gaining British nationality after marrying an
      Englishwoman. He was the imam of London' Finsbury Park mosque, which
      was raided by British police early this year after tips it was being
      used to harbor illegal immigrants and to recruit Muslim fighters. The
      mosque has been closed since and Abu Hamza faces the possibility of
      being stripped of his British nationality and extradited to Egypt.
      -- The Muslim Gamaa is led by Sheikh Abu Issa al-Korshi, a Jordanian
      who fought in Afghanistan for many years before settling in Britain in
      1996. Partisans of the group live in Africa and Asia and few are in
      Arab countries. The group, which has some 300 followers in Britain, is
      opposed to suicide attacks. It is critical of Palestinian militant
      groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as Lebanon's Hezbollah
      and al-Qaida. It believes militant groups have deviated from the right
      Islamic ideology though it considers Jihad (holy war) as part of
      Islam's pillars, such as prayer, pilgrimage and charity. The group is
      financed by donations and the sale of books and publications.
      -- Islamic Information Observatory led by Yasser al-Siri, an Egyptian,
      is strictly active in the media and information sector. Al-Siri was
      detained by British police for a while under the anti-terrorism laws,
      and later released.
      -- Al-Makrizi Center For Historical Studies is directed by Hani
      al-Sibai, an Egyptian who strongly sympathizes with bin Laden and
      al-Qaida.
      -- Omar Mahmoud Abu Omar, known as Abu Katada, is a Palestinian
      considered to be al-Qaida's representative in Britain and Europe.
      Jordan and seven European countries want him extradited on terror
      charges. He was arrested by Scotland Yard last October after a
      10-month-long chase.
      Many Islamic groups based in Britain are opposed to violence and limit
      their activities to politics against the countries of origin. These
      include the Muslim Brotherhood Organization in Egypt, the Muslim
      Brotherhood in Syria, the Committee for Defending the Sharia Rights in
      Saudi Arabia, and the Islamic Reforms Movement of Saudi Arabia.

      USA

      [B.C.] Cartoon called slur against Islam - 23 Nov 03
      http://www.ljworld.com/section/arts/story/152923

      5 Pakistanis freed from Guantanamo - 23 Nov 03
      http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/south/11/22/pakistan.guantanamo.a=
      p/index.html
      ..
      Pakistan, a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, has
      been urging Washington to release its citizens. The five men -- Hafiz
      Liaquat Manzoor, Mohammed Ishaq, Talha Mohammed, Majid Mahmood and
      Ijaz Ahmad -- were among nearly 50 Pakistanis caught in Afghanistan
      while allegedly fighting against U.S.-led coalition forces there. So
      far, U.S. authorities have released nearly a dozen Pakistani prisoners
      from Guantanamo Bay, including a 51-year-old man, Mohammed Sanghir,
      who has filed a lawsuit against U.S. authorities demanding $10.4
      million in compensation for his detention. Sanghir was captured in
      Afghanistan in 2001. He was freed in November 2002 and claims he was
      in Afghanistan to teach Islam and was not involved in anti-U.S.
      activities there. Earlier this month, a Pakistani judge issued notices
      to the Pakistani government and the U.S. State Department demanding
      they respond to Sanghir's lawsuit by December 12.

      Ramadan and the Single Girl - 21 Nov 03
      http://www.beliefnet.com/story/134/story_13474_1.html
      ..
      For me, this same rite of opening the fast includes warming leftover
      pasta in my microwave. If I'm feeling spunky, I might order Indian
      food for delivery. My dinner companion is Alex Trebek, hosting
      Jeopardy. I pray by myself and then decide whether or not to go to the
      gym. The only scent filling my apartment is from my neighbor's evening
      cigar.
      ..
      For Muslim women in America, however, finding a mate is not so simple.
      Many female readers of my first book have recently begun asking: where
      do I meet eligible men who are my age, who will support my career and
      help me raise a family, and who are also Muslim? This query was
      probably the most frequent one I heard when I attended the Islamic
      Society of North America (ISNA) Convention on Labor Day Weekend. (I
      also heard, quite frequently, "Wearing hijab is required," from Muslim
      men about the same age.) The fact that these women were asking at ISNA
      shows how dire the situation has become. ISNA is populated primarily
      by immigrant Muslims and their children. Because there is no
      matchmaking wedding season in America, ISNA fills the void. How? To
      put it bluntly, the annual convention is known as a "meat market,"
      where second-generation Muslims flock from all over the country to
      check each other out.
      ..
      Every year, ISNA hosts a "matrimonial" event - which is usually
      ignored by Muslim singles in favor of the main drag. But this year,
      ISNA kept pace with current culture - holding a "speed dating" style
      function instead of the usual benign reception.
      ..
      One online Muslim dating service had a strong presence at ISNA, giving
      away lipsticks and tote bags at an exhibit hall booth. The company's
      promotional flyer, with a picture of a happy, young Muslim couple (of
      non-descript Arab or South Asian ethnicity) was supposed to have been
      included with the materials each registrant received when they checked
      in--a spot the company had paid for. But at the last minute, the
      conference organizers pulled the plug, leaving the flyers to be passed
      out individually or stacked on tables. The woman in the flyer was not
      wearing a hijab, and ISNA didn't want to be perceived as endorsing her
      lack of modesty.

      Muslim tracking program to end - 21 Nov 03
      http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/news/7316635.htm
      ..
      The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to abandon a
      visitor-registration program that primarily affects Muslim men and
      caused widespread confusion and protests earlier this year after
      thousands of people who complied were arrested or ordered deported,
      according to several government officials. The decision comes at the
      start of a second round of registration for men from 25 predominantly
      Muslim nations. Immigration lawyers and advocates have said the
      requirement to register again has been poorly publicized by the
      government and will put tens of thousands of visitors at risk for
      deportation proceedings.
      ..
      Government sources familiar with deliberations on the special
      registration system said a decision to end the program is likely and
      could be announced within days. Homeland Security spokesman Bill
      Strassberger and other officials said a new border-control effort set
      to begin Jan. 5, the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator
      Technology program (U.S. VISIT), will play a similar role in
      monitoring visitors. The program will use photographs and fingerprints
      to log entries and exits at major U.S. airports and seaports.
      ..
      The [former] approach was implemented by Attorney General John
      Ashcroft and the Justice Department, which at the time oversaw the
      immigration service and border police. Immigration matters have since
      been transferred to the new Homeland Security Department, where many
      officials view the special registration program as ineffective and a
      waste of limited resources.

      WORLD REGIONS

      Escalation of Incitement to Violence During the Month of Ramadan
      http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD61203 - 20 Nov 03

      Europe, Kuwait, UAE, Lebanon Mark Eid Tuesday - 21 Nov 03
      http://www.islam-online.net/English/News/2003-11/21/article06.shtml
      ..
      Muslims in European countries are to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr Tuesday,
      November 25, according to astronomical calculations, the European
      Council for Fatwa and Research said Thursday, November 20.
      ..
      "The physical observation of the moon, either by the naked eye or the
      observatory, is conditioned on the uncertainty of scientific
      astronomical calculations as to defining the date of Eid," read the
      statement. Renowned moderate Islamic scholar Sheikh Qaradawi was
      chosen as the chairman of the council when it was established in March
      1997. The Islamic crescent council in Germany said that the moon could
      stay in the sky for 28 minutes after the sunset of Monday, November
      24, where it could be visible in most of Arab and European countries.
      Accordingly, as the moon could not be observed late Sunday, November
      23, the Eid should be marked Tuesday, the head of the council, Mohamed
      El-Hawari, told IOL. Most of Muslims in European countries marked
      Ramadan Monday, October 27.
      ..
      In the meantime, Arab countries of Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab
      Emirates are expected to celebrate the Islamic event of Eid Al-Fitr
      Tuesday. In Kuwait, astronomical calculations by Saleh Al-Ugeiry
      observatory's calendar accounts found that Eid is to be marked Tuesday
      The crescent of Shawwal, the first month after Ramadan, would not show
      up in the Arab Gulf country's skies before Monday. Kuwait is one of
      the countries that marked Ramadan as of October 27, along with other
      Gulf states. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also said the Eid will be
      celebrated Tuesday. "The moon will be observed Monday evening in Abu
      Dhabi, Dubai, Makkah, Manama, Marakesh, Cairo and London," said the
      UAE astronomy amateurs group said in a statement obtained by IOL.
      "So, the Eid will arrive on Tuesday, astronomically," said the
      statement. In Lebanon, prominent Shiite scholar Mohamed Hussein
      Fadallah said that the Eid will be also marked in the country on
      Tuesday, after "accurate astronomical accounts were carried out".

      FINANCE

      [Pakistan] SBP Shariah Board to have a pro-Riba member - 19 Nov 03
      http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/nov2003-daily/19-11-2003/main/main9.htm
      ..
      An influential lawyer, who had opposed Islamic banking, is most likely
      to be hired for the Shariah Board of the State Bank of Pakistan "to
      facilitate the institution with regard to Islamisation of the
      country's financial system." Senior lawyer Riaz Husain Gilani, who
      opposed Islamic banking on behalf of the United Bank Limited in the
      Supreme Court of Pakistan last year, is now being listed on the
      founding members of the State Bank's Shariah body.
      ..
      The Shariah Board would be mandated to recommend the State Bank the
      policy guidelines as well as technical opinion on the Islamisation of
      economy, including the banking system. After exhaustive spell of
      hearings last year, the Supreme Court's Shariat Appellate Bench had
      reviewed its earlier judgment in which it had directed the government
      to eliminate Riba from the economy by July 30, 2002, and remanded the
      case back to Federal Shariat Court for fresh decision. Representing
      the United Bank Limited, Riaz Husain Gilani argued during hearing in
      Supreme Court Shariat Appellate Bench against historic decision of Dec
      23, 1999 of the SCSAB to eliminate Riba (interest) from economy.

      [Pakistan] No more licences for interest-based banking, says SBP
      http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_22-11-2003_pg7_24
      .. - 22 Nov 03
      The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has decided that new banks would get
      licences only if they operate on the Riba-free banking system, said Dr
      Munir, the Bank of Khyber managing director on Friday. .. Provincial
      Finance Minister Sirajul Haq .. said with the establishment of this
      [Peshawar] branch, the BoK [Bank of Khyber] would be the first ever
      interest-free bank running under government supervision in the Muslim
      world.

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