Sharia News Watch 86 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
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 :
Rare political satire staged in Bahrain - 29 Nov 03
The crowd roared with laughter when actors on a makeshift stage poked
fun at politicians in Bahrain a rare show of criticism in the Gulf
region. About 3,000 Bahrainis defied a government ban to watch the
show on Thursday on a wooden stage hastily erected on a dirt lot in a
poor Shi'ite neighbourhood here. The organisers, the leading Shi'ite
opposition group Al Wefaq Islamic Society, had tried to hold it on
Tuesday but were stopped by the authorities. The actors were careful
not to mention people by name. The play also tackled other sensitive
issues like rising unemployment and alleged corruption in Bahrain.
Information Minister Nabeel Yacoub said the show was illegal and vowed
to take legal action against the organisers.
Exodus from Dhaka as country readies for Eid - 25 Nov 03
Millions of Bangladeshis were on the move yesterday as they packed
buses, trains and ferries to be with their families and friends for
Islam's biggest festival, Eid Al Fitr. Many commuters started their
holiday journeys on Sunday, but a major dash out of Dhaka is expected
when the new moon is sighted this week signalling the holiday that
closes the holy month of Ramadan.
Millions of people in Dhaka alone are estimated to head out of town
each year for Eid Al Fitr. Preparations are underway for mass prayers
on the festival across Bangladesh, which is the world's third largest
Muslim-majority country. The travel season can be deadly in
Bangladesh, where more than 3,000 people have died in 260 ferry
accidents since 1977.
Thousands of ferries operate along Bangladesh's 230 rivers and
waterways, transporting more than 100,000 people daily. The government
has also tried to boost street safety, sending another 7,000 police to
the streets of Dhaka a week ago to stop muggings and other crimes as
the festival gains momentum. .. And newspapers go on a marathon
holiday from today, subject to the sighting of the new moon.
Clashes on Eid leave one dead, 138 injured in BD - 30 Nov 03
A man was killed and 139 were injured during clashes among people on
Eid congregations in eight districts of Bangladesh on Wednesday.
Clashes occurred in Eidgahs in Kishoreganj, Bogra, Gopalganj,
Patuakhali, Jamalpur, Meherpur and Rajshahi districts. At one place
the local civil administration had to deploy police to control the
tension. In another clash over the announcement of a prayer leader at
Kishoreganj, a man named Abdul Quddus (45) died of his injuries. In
Patuakhali, Gopalganj and Jamalpur, the announcement of prayer leaders
became controversial which led to a tension among locals. In another
Chapainawabganj district, two rival groups quarrelled after the Eid
prayer over a minor dispute. At Rajshahi, the Muslims raised objection
regarding an Islamic edict (Fatwa) by the prayer leader.
View from the right - Sharia to be enforced by Canadian courts - 25
Nov 03 http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001952.html
Normally Moslems are required to obey the Sharia, the law that obtains
in Moslem societies, but if they live under a non-Moslem government,
as hundreds of thousands of them do in Canada, they are excused from
that obligation. According to the Canadian Law Times, recent changes
in the Canadian Arbitration Act have radically changed all that. Here
are the key passages from the article:
Syed [Mumtaz Ali, who in in 1962 became the first lawyer in Canada to
swear his oath of allegiance on the Koran] explained that until recent
changes in the law, Canadian Muslims have been excused from applying
Shariah in their legal disputes. Arbitration was not deemed to be
practical because there was no way to enforce the decisions. Syed said
the laws have recently changed with amendments to the Arbitration Act.
"Now, once an arbitrator decides cases, it is final and binding. The
parties can go to the local secular Canadian court asking that it be
enforced. The court has no discretion in the matter. "So, the
concession given by Shariah is no longer available to us because the
impracticality has been removed. In settling civil disputes, there is
no choice indeed but to have an arbitration board."
In other words, if two Canadian Moslems get into a dispute with each
other, over property or marriage or a business contract, and they take
the problem to a Moslem arbitrator and reach an agreement that
involves Sharia, the terms of that agreement will now be overseen and
imposed by Canadian courts. Canadian courts and police thus become the
enforcers of Islamic law on Canadian citizens. And the obligation goes
both ways. Since Moslems are required to follow Islamic law if it is
practicable to do so, and since it has now become practicable to do so
in Canada, that is what Canadian Moslems must do. The Moslems are
required by Moslem law to seek Sharia-based solutions to their private
disputes, while Canadian courts are required by Canadian law to
enforce these privately reached agreements between Moslems.
Muslim delegates at a conference in Etobicoke, Ont., in October
elected a 30-member council to establish the Islamic Institute of
Civil Justice. The institute is classified in Islamic law as a
Darul-Qada, or judicial tribunal. Its bylaws are scheduled to be
drafted and approved by Dec. 31. Cases will be decided by a Muslim
arbitrator, but the local secular Canadian court will be the enforcer.
One of the obstacles to establishing the system, the Law Times said,
has been the Muslim communities' lack of unity and organizational
strength. Muslims in Canada come from many different countries and
different schools of Islam. Also, there are few Islamic legal
scholars, known as ulama, in North America, which are essential to
adjudicating complex issues.
Interpreters of dreams - 29 Nov 03
Anyone who ever found themselves wondering about the significance of
their dreams can now find out their meanings according to Islamic
principles. It is all on two new webpages provided by the Dubai
Department of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, which has been keen to
provide a better alternative to many misleading interpretations
provided by "amateurs and charlatans". It is available on the
department's website www.awqafdubai.gov.ae and through the Dubai
E-government website by clicking on 'Awqaf and Islamic Affairs'.
The department's two online services interpret dreams and allow people
to gain 'Fatwas' or religious instructions following their enquiries.
[Islamic scholar and dreams interpretor] Sheikh Al Kamadani spoke to
Gulf News saying: "A group of eight people meet and issue the Fatwas
after consultations. Then they refer to Dr Ahmad Abdul Aziz Al Haddad,
the Assistant Director of Ifta' and Research in the department, and
who gives the final say or introduces any amendments if there are
He added: "We are offering the service in light of one of the prophet
Mohammed's (PBUH) Hadeeth that supposedly means that good dreams come
from God but bad ones come from the devil. "People have the religious
right to have their dreams interpreted and we find ourselves happy to
offer that community service. Our interpretations or Fatwas are
extracted from the Holy Quran, Prophet's Sunna and based on clear
scientific methods rather than hallucinations and superstitions."
French Ruling Party Votes For Anti-Hijab Law - 29 Nov 03
As a French school has irreversibly expelled a Muslim girl for
refusing to take off her hijab, French Premier Jean-Pierre Raffarin
secured Friday, November28 , a majority approval of his ruling party
to pass a bill banning the Muslim headscarf in public schools. He
reiterated determination to introduce a bill that would "explicitly
ban the ostentatious wearing of any political or religious sign" in
public schools a reference to hijab - to the parliament, which is
dominated by his Union Pour un Movement Populaire (UMP) party.
Getting the approval of 90% of UMP delegates at Friday's meeting near
Paris, Raffarin argued the mooted motion was designed to "defend
secularism and protect all women from fundamentalist pressures".
"That is the main point. This is not about religion, it's about
lifting constraints on women," he claimed.
French President Jacques Chirac had set up a commission in July to
rule on whether new legislation was needed to handle a growing debate
over religion in schools, particularly Muslim schoolgirls wearing
hijab. The commission is expected to submit its report to the
president by the end of this year after questioning a number of
ministers and representatives of French non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) and various syndicates.
In a related development, a disciplinary council at Charles-Walch de
Thann school, north of France, decided to expel12 -year-old Hilal, of
Turkish origin, from school. It claimed the girl failed to respect the
school's in-law by insisting to wear clothes "of ostentatious
religious sign on purpose to harass her colleagues, which runs counter
to the secular nature of the school".
[West Bengal] Copies of Taslima's controversial book seized
- 29 Nov 03
Police said raided several areas of Kolkata and seized around 2,500
copies of Taslima Nasrin's controversial book "Dwikhandita" (Split in
Two). The crackdown began after the government proscribed the book
earlier today for hurting the sentiments of the Muslim community in
the wake of Calcutta High Court stopping the sale of the book for a
fortnight since November 18 on a petition by poet Syed Hasmat Jalan,
who filed a Rs 11-crore defamation suit against that the writer for
presenting a "distorted view of his moral and religious standing".
"We seized around 2,500 copies of the book after raiding several parts
of the city. Around 2,000 copies of the book were confiscated from the
publisher Peoples Book Society in College Street," said a senior
police official. "Raids are also on in other parts of the state
jointly with the state enforcement branch," the official added.
Meanwhile, the novelist, who has been in exile ever since the
Bangladesh government issued a 'fatwa' on her debut publication
'Lajja' in 1994, expressed 'shock and dismay' over the decision to
proscribe her book, saying the West Bengal government, which had
opposed the Centre's ban on Salman Rushdie's controversial 'Satanic
Verses', had shown "double standards" in proscribing her book now.
"When Rushdie's book was banned for anti-Islamic content, the same
government made a strong case against it. Today they are toeing the
same line," she said.
Some Muslim intellectuals had written to Chief Minister Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee asking the government to confiscate the book alleging
that it contained passages which denigrate the Prophet and the Islam.
Indonesia could ban inter-religious marriages - 25 Nov 03
With an eye on next year's elections, where Islamic-affiliated parties
are expected to drain support from President Megawati Sukarnoputri's
bid to retain office, hardline Muslim groups are drafting laws to
combat Christianity's spread in the world's largest Muslim country.
The so-called Religious Tolerance Bill would curb the building of
churches and insist that all religious activities be restricted to
members of that religion, in effect barring attempts at conversions.
The laws would also bar a person from converting to another religion
after marriage and prevent children being adopted into a different
faith, as well as restrict overseas funding for religious activities.
Iranian mothers win custody rights - 30 Nov 03
Divorced Iranian mothers were granted Saturday the right to the
custody of their children up to the age of seven. The arbitrative
Expediency Council sided with the parliament after the bill was twice
quashed by the supervisory Guardian Council on the ground that it went
against the Islamic Sharia law. Divorced mothers have already the
custody right to their daughters up to the age of seven and the new
law incorporates the same right to their sons. "Mothers will be given
priority in custody rights of their children among divorced couples
and after age seven, the custody will be held by fathers," the
secretary of the Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezaei, said. The move is
seen a step in the right direction for women who a redemanding
improved rights, especially in recent years.
Sunni leader calls for truce in Iraq during Aidilfitri - 25 Nov 03
A Sunni Muslim leader called today for a week-long ceasefire in Iraq
to allow peaceful celebration of Aidilfitri. "I call on the resistance
to suspend operations this week so that Iraqis can live in peace,
without the blast of explosives, bombs and shooting," said Adnan
al-Dulaimi, head of Iraq's Sunni religious administration or Waqf.
Dulaimi also urged the US-led coalition to free detainees and
prisoners "apart from those proven to have carried out criminal acts".
Sunni religious scholars declared today to be the first day of the
holiday ending the month-long fast after sighting the new moon in the
northern regions of Samarra and Mosul, and in Khales, west of Baghdad.
However, Iraq's main Shia organisation, the Supreme Council for the
Islamic Revolution in Iraq, invited the faithful to watch for the new
moon tomorrow evening - meaning they would celebrate either Wednesday
Iraq's Sunni and Shia Muslims have chosen different days to celebrate
the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, for the first time in many
years. .. Shias looked on, awaiting a pronouncement by the Shia
religious authorities - known as the hawza - in the holy city of
Najaf. Iraqis recalled the era of Saddam Hussein, when the president
proclaimed the first day of the Eid holiday, alternating between the
Shia and Sunni timetables depending on his shifting relations with
(Shia) Iran and (Sunni) Saudi Arabia.
The differences within Iraq appear to be widening. Last Ramadan, the
two sects also broke their daylight fasts at different times but
Iraqis say the previous six-minute interval has widened to 16 minutes.
"They're breaking their fast when the sun is still up in the sky,"
said one Shia in a Baghdad restaurant.
As with Christmas in Christian countries, it is a time when little --
if any -- work is done. With several groups marking the holiday on
different days, the no-work period is dragging out even longer than
usual this year.
The U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council didn't name a new religious
affairs ministry, fearing it would only worsen the rivalry between
majority Shiites and minority Sunnis over which group should be in
charge. So there was no universally recognized authority to declare
when Ramadan ends and the Eid al-Fitr festival begins. Most Muslim
countries began the three-day festival on Monday.
Al-Azami said it is enough for one Sunni to see the crescent in order
for the feast to begin. For Shiites, a large number must see the
crescent "and this only happens on the second or third day of the
moon. This is a very normal.''
Iraq's Shi'a Group Says No Need To Fear Majority Rule - 27 Nov 03
Sheikh Ayatollah Muhammad Al-Yaqubi is one of the leaders of the
influential Shi'a organization called Al-Hawzah Al-Ilmia, headed by
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Al-Hawzah -- based in Al-Najaf -- is an
international network of Shi'a universities. Its elders are regarded
as the final authority on religious and political matters for Shi'a
worldwide. Al-Yaqubi says Al-Hawzah fully supports the idea of
putting in place a provisional Iraqi government but says the plan
agreed on by the U.S. and the Iraqi Governing Council is faulty. As
part of that plan, provincial caucuses are expected to choose a
transitional assembly by the end of May. The transitional assembly
would elect a sovereign government by the end of June. Al-Yaqubi
says Al-Hawzah does not support a provisional government that is
appointed or selected. He says there are no reasons why the
provisional bodies should not be directly elected. He notes that some
80 percent of the country is stable.
However, Al-Yaqubi says the U.S. should respect Shi'a interests and
the role of the Shi'a in the country. Otherwise, he says, the U.S.
could encounter an uprising: "The Shi'a are calm because they hope
they will have their rights [guaranteed] peacefully in a dialogue. But
if they feel something is wrong, maybe they will have another say in
it." Al-Yaqubi says the people could rise up against the coalition
without a specific fatwa, or religious ruling, if they feel they have
Shiite Leaders Push for Iraq Elections - 27 Nov 03
The president of the U.S.-picked Iraqi Governing Council said Thursday
that he agrees with a top Shiite Muslim leader's objections to the
U.S.-backed plan for transferring power to Iraqis by next summer.
The cleric's demands for average Iraqis to have a direct role in
selecting a transitional legislature will be discussed by the council
and the U.S.-led coalition, said council president Jalal Talabani, who
is an ethnic Kurd and a Sunni Muslim. After talking with Grand
Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani, Talabani said: "I see the views of
his grace as logical and reasonable, and I agree with them."
"The agreement remains, but we may add an attachment that has
additional clauses," he added. "The agreement can evolve."
As one of the most influential Shiite religious leaders, Al-Sistani
could disrupt American efforts for a smooth transition in power.
Shiites make up more than 60 percent of Iraq's population, and it is
unlikely any political program could win broad public acceptance
without support from Shiite clerics.
Al-Hakim told reporters Wednesday that al-Sistani expressed "deep
concern over real loopholes" in the power-transfer plan. Unless those
objections are dealt with, "the process will be deficient and fail to
meet the expectations of the people of Iraq," al-Hakim said. He said
that one of al-Sistani's main demands is for voters to directly elect
a transitional national legislature.
Iraq officials plan to boost religious tourism - 29 Nov 03
Iraqi government officials said Saturday they plan to boost religious
tourism, and warned of the illegal pilgrims sneaking into the country
from neighboring Iran. Iraq contains the Shiites' sacred shrine of
Prophet Mohammed's cousins Imam Ali in Najaf city, in addition to the
shrines of Ali's two slain sons, al-Hussein and al-Abbas in Karbala.
Also, tens of thousands of Muslim Sunnis from all over the world pour
to the country every year to pay homage to the shrine of sheik
al-Qeilani, a highly respected dead Sunni religious man. "We are
working to revive the tourism industry, especially religious
tourism,'' Culture Minister Mofeed al-Jaziari said at a seminar at a
"In past years, revenues gained by the religious tourism reached USD$1
billion a year. Unfortunately, the funds were stolen by Saddam's
relatives and agents. Nothing was spent on developing tourism,'' said
Raouf al-Anssari, a supervisor of the Iraq Tourism Board. Al-Anssari
urged authorities to stem the flood of Iranian pilgrims who routinely
skirt border controls to visit the Shiite holy shrines in cities such
as Karbala and Najaf. He said that the illegal influx of large numbers
of Iranian pilgrims also could complicate the security situation in
Iraq. "It is not a positive sign. Some of them come without even
having identification cards,'' he said."Freedom dose not mean chaos.''
Fatwa bars Muslims from working on barrier - 26 Nov 03
The top Palestinian Muslim official said Wednesday that he had issued
a religious decree which would bar Muslims from working in any
capacity on the construction of Israel's West Bank separation barrier.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Ikeremah Sabri, said the barrier was
being built on "stolen" land and therefore any financial gain from its
construction would be immoral. "The wall is built on stolen land and
whatever is built on stolen land is illegal and the participation of
anyone in building this wall - whether they are contractors or owners
of heavy machinery - should be forbidden," he said. "Any Palestinian
participating in this is, from a religious view, committing a sin and
his money is immoral."
Ratzinger criticises Islam for mixing politics, religion - 27 Nov 03
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has criticised what he sees as a tendency
among Islamic leaders to identify politics and religion, insisting on
the importance of respect for religious freedom. He was particularly
insistent that converts to Christianity in predominantly Muslim
countries should be treated respectfully. He urged Christians to be
confident in their own beliefs, and welcome converts into their
communities. Speaking to the Italian daily Il Giornale, the cardinal
argued that Christianity brought an entirely new idea into the world's
history by making a "distinction between the emperor and God".
With the rise of Islam, he continued, a substantial portion of the
world returned to the earlier identification between the political
world and the religious world, with the belief that "only political
power can make men moral". He said the distinction between spiritual
and temporal power "creates a space for freedom", in which an
individual can oppose the state.
Muslim Faithful Mark Idd-Ul-Fitr - [East African Standard - Nairobi]
- 27 Nov 03
Muslims yesterday marked Idd-ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadhan. In Mombasa,
there was uproar over the Suppression of Terrorism Bill, with leaders
claiming that once implemented Kenyans will never be free.
The leaders were speaking during the annual Idd Baraza at the Treasury
Square in Mombasa. They further said it had become almost impossible
to get a passport, national Identification Card and birth certificate.
The chairman of the Islamic Festival Committee, Sheikh Hamid Ahmed,
said Muslims were still being denied the important national documents.
He claimed conditionalities attached to applying for the documents
were too stringent for Muslims. In Nakuru, Muslims urged the
Government to drop the contentious Suppression of Terrorism Bill.
Lebanon's Hizbullah: The quest for survival [World Affairs]- 01 Oct 03
.. [I argue that Hizbullah's ideological tone and political behavior
since the signing of the Taif Accord to end the Lebanese civil war
reveal the movement's dilemmas regarding political survival]. [..]
Druze spiritual leader dies at 103 - 26 Nov 03
The spiritual leader of the Druse, Sheik Abu Hassan Aref Halawi, died
Wednesday at the age of 103, Druse officials said. An offshoot of
Islam, the Druse have 300,000 followers in Lebanon and nearly half a
million around the world. There are small Druse communities in Israel,
Syria and other Arab states. Druse officials said Halawi, who was the
sect's highest religious authority, had undegone surgery two months
ago, but they declined to identify his illness.
Incest victims prefer federal law to syariah - 30 Nov 03
There are more prosecutions of incest under the Penal Code than the
syariah criminal laws of the various states because the penalties are
higher in the federal law. "The complainants seem to prefer to lodge
reports with the police for action under federal law. The maximum
penalties for incest and any other offence in syariah law is three
years jail, RM5,000 [EUR 1100,-] or six strokes of the rotan," said
Syariah Judiciary Department legal adviser Najib Zakaria in an
interview. "Under Section 376B of the Penal Code, however, anyone
convicted of incest faces a mandatory minimum of six years jail and
not more than 20 years and shall also be liable to whipping," he
Najib, who is also a Senior Federal Counsel, added there was a
technical committee under the Religious Affairs Department that was
studying whether offences such as incest, which already exist in the
Penal Code, should be removed from the state syariah criminal offences
laws. On whether peeping by religious enforcement officers was
necessary to successfully prosecute for incest as in the case of the
mother and son convicted by the Kelantan Syariah High Court on Nov 11
Najib said how an officer did his job would depend on his objective.
"If the exercise is to prevent the act, then as soon as it looks like
the `couple' are going to have sex, they should arrest them. If it is
to secure a conviction for incest, then they may have to wait and
Syariah Appeal Court judge in Putrajaya, Justice Ustaz Abu Bakar
Ahmad, said enforcement officers should prevent a couple from
committing incest instead of watching them at it. He added that if
there was no confession, the prosecution could turn to qarinah
(circumstantial evidence) to prove their case conduct a DNA test if
the woman was pregnant or examine the bedroom for medical evidence of
Sisters In Islam legal officer Nora Murat said that enforcement
officers must only act on the basis of what is known through direct
observation without recourse to spying, eavesdropping and other
methods of searching of evidence. "Spying is forbidden in the Quran,
and so is indulgence in suspicions that are degrading and offensive to
the personal dignity of others," she said.
Morocco pushes women's rights - 25 Nov 03
Some reforms of the [Mudawana] code were adopted in 1993 after
Moroccan women's rights activists conducted a million-signature
campaign. That effort resulted, for example, in the marriage contract
requiring the consent and signature of the bride. But Amina Lemrini of
the Democratic Association of Moroccan Women said the only positive
effect of the 1993 reforms "was to make the code less sacred."
Agreeing that the reforms were "minimal," Human Rights Watch said that
"numerous provisions still discriminate against women."
Once adopted, the new family code should bring Morocco closer to
Tunisia, where polygamy and repudiation of a wife have been forbidden
since 1956, the year that country gained independence from France.
Just months after independence, Tunisia broke sharply with the
pre-existing Islamic law and adopted a national family law. "The
Tunisian reforms became a yardstick against which to judge changes in
family law in other Middle Eastern countries," said Mounira Charrad in
the book, "States and Women's Rights - The Making of Postcolonial
Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco." Under Tunisia's laws, citizens are
equal. However, in certain areas such as inheritance, where Islamic
law prevails, women experience discrimination, according to a State
Department report last year on human rights practices.
On the other hand, women in Algeria continue to face legal and social
discrimination, according to the report. Even if the constitution
prohibits discrimination based on sex, the Algerian Family Code,
adopted in 1984, limits women's civil rights by treating them as
minors under the legal guardianship of a husband or male relative.
To marry, a woman must have her father's approval, and divorce is
difficult to obtain except in cases of abandonment or if the husband
is convicted of a serious crime. As in Morocco and Tunisia, women in
Algeria suffer from discrimination in inheritance claims.
Nigerian vaccine tests refute contamination claim - 18 Nov 03
The Kaduna region has announced that polio immunisation will re-start.
However, no such announcements have yet been made in the other two
regions, Kano and Zamfara.
[Opion] Sharia Practice, Not Theory - 26 Nov 03
[Daily Trust - Abuja]
Since the re-introduction of the Sharia legal system in some parts of
the Northern states, antagonists have been making destructive
criticisms of the Muslim legal system. One of such platforms used is
the Media, which unfortunately instead of playing its primary and
constitutional role of promoting national cohesion engaged in a
campaign of blackmail against Sharia.
The fact that there is a minor case of Sharia violations, proves to
the cynics that the entire Muslim community in Yobe State has welcome
the Sharia legal system with enthusiasm. We are aware that some
Muslim, do not know or know little about the implications of the
Sharia, that is why concerted efforts are geared towards public
enlightenment and that is where the appropriate role of the media will
[Katsina] Governor, Emir Proffer Solution to Nigeria's Problems
[Daily Trust - Abuja]
.. - 26 Nov 03
Governor Umaru Musa Yar'Adua of Katsina State and the Emir of Katsina,
Alhaji (Dr) Muhammadu Kabir Usman have blamed the nation's woes on the
non-observance of Sharia, maintaining that the story would have been
different if Nigeria was a nation of God-fearing people. .. "We must
all strive to establish Sharia in our individual hearts and among
ourselves as that will facilitate the cleansing of the entire
society," he implored.
Woman's word proves marriage legal: LHC - 29 Nov 03
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday
observed that no Nikah Nama (marriage certificate) was needed to
establish the validity of a marriage. If a woman appeared before the
court and declared a man her husband, the court held, the marriage
should be considered legal. "It is in accordance with the Islamic
principles and utterly lawful that mere declaration of a woman before
the court should be deemed enough to institute validity of her
marriage," the court observed while disposing of a writ petition
against a girl who married a man of her choice. The court declared
the marriage of petitioner Gulnaz with Mohsan Ali, her cousin, fair
and lawful and let her go with her husband. The LHC observed that the
courts had no authority under Islamic jurisprudence and the
Constitution of Pakistan to declare marriages of choice by adult girls
invalid. "An adult girl has all rights to marry a man of her choice in
an Islamic society. Islam puts no bar on marriages of choice," the
court said. The LHC also quashed the first information report (FIR)
lodged against the couple under the Hudood law, calling it (FIR)
totally baseless and unnecessary. The court also observed that the
parents out of their frustration were trying to prosecute their
children, portraying social and matrimonial issues as crimes.
The court observed that such an attempt by parents amounted to abuse
of the law, which the courts would not allow on the wishes of
"frustrated" parents. The court advised the parents to observe
restraint and not make love marriages of their children a matter of
Second opinion: 'Hatha-pai' over the moon - Khaled Ahmed - 29 Nov 03
Neither the clergy nor the press in Pakistan is 'modern' enough to
recommend a 'scientific' calendar of appearance of the moon. This is
because in the 21st century the Muslims in general have become more
literalist in their approach to Islam This year saw the highest
point of schism in the religious establishment in Pakistan over the
sighting of the Ramadan moon. This had happened every year with much
wringing of the hands over the fact that Pakistani ulema could not
observe Ramadan and Eid on the same day. The chairman of the
moon-sighting committee even told on TV that he had been manhandled by
his opponents. It is sad to note that editorials written on the
subject in the Urdu press did not propose anything substantial by way
of solving this annual demonstration of disunity.
The ulema are politically divided while the federal Moon-Sighting
Committee insists that moon must be physically sighted by observation
posts devoted to the job all over Pakistan under the tutelage of the
Committee. Needless to say it is no use reiterating this point. The
truth is that despite the network of observatories set up by the
state, the ulema remain regionally and ethnically divided.
According to daily 'Pakistan' (29 October 2003), the Ruet Halal
Committee got divided over the sighting of the moon. The chairman
decided that the moon was not sighted but one member of the committee
went to Peshawar and announced late at night that the moon had been
sighted and got the police to open the mosques and made them announce
the first day of fasting. The quarrel in the Committee was an
extension of the quarrel between the federal government and the NWFP
government. Because of the nature of the two governments, the sighting
of the moon was more important for the NWFP government. It looked upon
the functioning of the Committee with suspicion, which is a measure of
the lack of trust that persists between the centre and the provinces.
On the job with a Taliban recruiter - 26 Nov 03
On Abdul's most recent foray into Afghanistan he was accompanied by 14
youths from the remote Pakistani tribal areas in Killa Abdullah
district in northern Balochistan province, whom he had rallied to the
cause to fight against the "foreign invaders". Since his return he has
another six lined up, all of whom are ready to cross the porous
border. He took the last batch to a post in Zabul province, but he has
no idea where the fresh recruits will go.
Abdul says that he had been itching to join the Afghan jihad ever
since the Taliban were driven from power in December 2001. But his
Taliban superiors only told him in July that the jihad had resumed. "I
had always thought of fighting Americans because they are the real
enemies of Islam and when I realized that they were next door, I took
up the gauntlet to prepare all Muslims to go and fight them." As
reported in Asia Times Online in recent months, the Taliban have
regrouped, rearmed and upped the ante in their battle against US-led
forces in the country, as well as against the newly-instituted Afghan
Army, forcing international aid organizations to limit their
operations and raising doubts about the viability of plans to hold
national elections next year.
The Pakistan government's claims apart, independent politicians in
Balochistan province said that it would be simply impossible for the
Taliban to operate freely on Pakistani soil unless they had some
guarantees from the powers-that-be. Says Haji Sardar Lashkari, a
former provincial minister in Balochistan: "How is it possible for
senior Taliban leaders and the likes of Mullah Dadullah and other
most-wanted Taliban remnants to come to Pakistan quite often, convince
students at the religious schools openly or even to attend social
gatherings like weddings, without the knowledge of the ISI and other
Indeed, on a visit to the border areas and Quetta, the capital of
Balochistan province, one witnesses hundreds of Taliban in their
unique black robes, black turbans and long beards. They reside in
mosques, madrassas and in nearby villages or refugee camps, seemingly
with the full support of the ruling provincial party and militant
groups. In many of the mosques in the surrounding satellite town of
Pashtunabad or Nawakili, the clergy openly incite people through
mosque loudspeakers and ask them to sign up for jihad. "In every
madrassa in Balochistan there are one or two Taliban recruiters," says
a local politician in Quetta, requesting not to be identified. "If you
want to sign on for jihad, the easiest thing is to stay at one of
these madrassas and someone will for sure contact you. These
recruiters keep a vigil on your activities, and once they realize that
you are a genuine fighter, they will certainly talk to you and put you
in touch with the Taliban commanders." So the madrassas, from where
the Taliban originally emerged, are once again serving as a means of
their revival. Even Karzai recently lashed out at the Pakistani
religious clergy for their support of Taliban resurgents. Karzai in
particular mentioned the Shaldara madrassa in Quetta, run by the
Jamait-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI)-backed member of the National Assembly,
Maulana Noor Mohammed, and called it a headquarters of the Taliban.
Abdul, a Pakistani Pashtun farmer by profession, recalls that on his
last trip he took his recruits to a militant camp near Zabul, where
Taliban commanders gave them weapons. "They had huge deposits of
weapons, both sakeel [heavy] and safeef [light]," he says. They were
then told that whichever weapon they managed to master, they could
take. Abdul grabbed an AK-47 rifle for himself, while he also assisted
his comrades in carrying bags of bullets and grenades whenever they
had to go to a battle. Abdul says that he spent 40 days with his
jihadis in Afghanistan, during which they had at least one major
combat with an Afghan army patrol in the mountains of Zabul province.
He then returned to Pakistan in mid-October "to regain some energy".
"It is not easy to live in the mountains. You are at the verge of
death every now and then. You survive only on plain bread, or at the
most, yogurt milk," he says. "At the same time, you walk for miles
every day on foot, it's very tiring."
Telling the Truth, Facing the Whip by Mansour al-Nogaidan - 28 Nov 03
[website] 'Islamic Affairs Department' of Saudi Embassy in Washington
- 26 Nov 03
Shura chief criticizes "western drive" against Muslim charity work
.. [Text of report by P. K. Abd-al-Ghafur from Jedda, entitled "Bin-
Humayd blasts drive against charities", published in English by Saudi
newspaper Arab News web site on 26 November].
The imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca yesterday lambasted a "Western
campaign" against Islamic charitable organizations and emphasized the
need for charity work to counter poverty and crime and promote better
human relations. Addressing the more than one million faithful who
thronged the huge mosque complex to attend Id al-Fitr prayers, Dr
Salih Bin- Humayd, who is chairman of the Shura Council, said some 70
per cent of the world's needy were Muslims.
The imam said the "smear campaign" had led to the freezing of charity
funds, confiscation of assets and closure of organizations. It had
also hit philanthropists and businesses supporting charity.
Turkish Court Charges 9 in Bombings Probe - 25 Nov 03
On Tuesday, the court charged eight with being members of an illegal
organization, and one was accused of aiding and abetting an illegal
organization. Authorities declined to say which group the suspects
allegedly belonged to.
The people charged earlier in the synagogue bombings belonged to
Beyyiat el-Imam, a little-known group formed in al-Qaida camps in
Afghanistan whose name is Arabic for "Allegiance to the Imam,'' the
daily Cumhuriyet reported Tuesday, citing police. Police would not
confirm the report. Turkish media said the two bombers in the
consulate and bank attacks were militants previously reported to be
accomplices of the suicide bombers in the synagogue attacks.
In Ankara, police detained 10 suspected members of a little-known
militant group, Warriors of Islam, the daily Hurriyet reported
Tuesday. The suspects were believed to have links to Azad Ekinci, who
the press says has been identified as one of Thursday's suicide
bombers. Police said the 10 underwent military training in Afghanistan
and Iran and were planning attacks, the newspaper said. Police refused
to confirm the report to The Associated Press.
Istanbul's governor, Muammer Guler, said Monday that DNA tests had
identified the bomber who rammed an explosive-packed pickup truck into
British consulate. "We've identified the culprits who carried out the
attack on the British Consulate,'' Guler said. "We have all the
details and we know their connections.'' Guler would not name the
man; but the Istanbul newspaper Milliyet defied government reporting
restrictions and identified him as Feridun Ugurlu, a Turk believed to
have fought with Islamic radicals in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Ekinci
was identified as the bomber of the bank offices, according to
newspapers. Police have examined the hard drives of 10 computers taken
after the synagogue bombings from an Internet cafe in the city of
Bingol, believed to be the hometown of at least three suicide bombers.
The cafe belonged to the brother of one of the suspected bombers, a
local official said by telephone.
Islamic weddings leave women unprotected - 24 Nov 03
The leader of Britain's Muslim parliament has warned that many women
are legally unprotected when their marriages end because they wrongly
believe that Islamic wedding ceremonies are recognised by British law.
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui has asked imams not to carry out weddings
unless they are accompanied by civil registration, after being
contacted by an increasing number of women who have found that their
marriages were not legally binding.
Mosques and other Islamic centres can be registered for the
solemnisation of marriage, but according to the Office of National
Statistics, only 160 have done. Couples who wed in unregistered ones
must arrange a civil ceremony for their marriage to be legally
binding. Dr Siddiqui urged mosques to register and asked imams at
unregistered venues not to perform weddings without evidence that the
civil ceremony had taken place or had been scheduled for the immediate
future. Other possible solutions will be discussed at a conference of
imams in February.
Women who have been through an Islamic ceremony have some advantages
over other cohabitees. The Nikah, or marriage certificate, records a
"haq mehr": the financial sum the wife will receive in the event of
divorce or widowhood. That can be enforced as a form of contract.
"Judges do listen to what the intentions of the parties were as
Muslims; English law is open to that," added Mrs Khan. But while some
mosques encourage couples to state that assets will be split 50-50,
the mehr is often a symbolic sum, such as £50 or £101. [EUR 72 -145,-]
Algerian-Born Detainee Seen as Victim of Excess - 29 Nov 03
Jailed the night of the attacks on the World Trade Center and
Pentagon, the Algerian air force lieutenant with an expired visa has
spent the past 26 months in federal prisons, much of that time in
solitary confinement -- even though the FBI formally concluded in
November 2001 that he had no connection to terrorism.
It appears that no detainee has been locked up as long as Benatta,
although it is impossible to know because of secrecy surrounding some
material witnesses who may still be in government custody. He remains
behind bars, awaiting a deportation hearing, unable to post a $25,000
Benatta was among the 1,200 or so men detained by U.S. law enforcement
agents in the frenzied weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks. He had a most unfortunate résumé: An Algerian and a Muslim,
he was an avionics technician, and -- like most of the others -- he
lacked proper immigration papers.
It was as though Benatta became invisible. His name never appeared on
lists of detainees. His family in Algeria believed he had vanished. No
defense attorney knew of his existence until a federal defender in
Buffalo was assigned his case in late April 2002. The federal
government has few explanations for what happened. In legal briefs,
the U.S. attorney in Buffalo blamed some of the delays on bureaucratic
wrangling between prosecutors and the U.S. Marshals Service, and the
confusion that followed the terrorist attacks. But in the documents,
U.S. Attorney Michael A. Battle of the Western District of New York
ultimately acknowledged that such conditions could "not justify
violating the defendant's rights." Two years after the attacks,
federal Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. would examine
Benatta's case and find a study in governmental excess. Schroeder
issued an unsparing report in September, writing that federal
prosecutors and FBI and immigration agents engaged in a "sham" to make
it appear that Benatta was being held for immigration violations.
Prosecutors trampled on legal deadlines intended to protect his
constitutional rights and later offered explanations for their
maneuvers that "bordered on ridiculousness," Schroeder wrote. And he
found that the government compounded its mistakes by failing to act
once it was clear that Benatta was not an accomplice to terrorists.
U.S. Brings New Charges Against Guantanamo Chaplain - 25 Nov 03
The U.S. Army brought four new charges, including adultery and viewing
pornography, on Tuesday against a Muslim chaplain who worked with
terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison, but ordered him
released from detention to return to military duty.
"To bring in adultery in a case that began with the destruction of my
client's reputation with public allegations of aiding the enemy is
really outrageous, and the type of thing that can give military
justice a bad name." Yee now faces a total of six charges, including
the charge that the married chaplain had sexual intercourse with a
woman other than his wife in Orlando, Florida, and at Guantanamo.
Charges of failure to obey an order and conduct unbecoming an officer
stemmed from an accusation that Yee used a government computer to
store and view pornographic images. He also was charged with making a
false official statement. Yee was charged on Oct. 10 with two counts
of failure to obey an order relating to taking classified material to
his home and wrongfully transporting the material without proper
security containers or covers.
[Minnesota] Ramadan ends, the eid arrives - 25 Nov 03
Last year in Minnesota, many Muslims complained of a mix-up about the
proper date of the eid, and confusion ensued about the timing of
celebrations and the breaking of the fast as many people stayed up
past 2 a.m. waiting to hear whether the crescent moon was seen.
This year, Minnesota's Islamic organizations for the first time formed
a jurisprudence, or "fiqh,'' council. The group of scholars intended
to settle the issue for most Muslims in the state. "Ninety percent of
the mosques in Minnesota agree they will accept the decision made by
the fiqh council,'' said Mohamud, an immigration lawyer for the Legal
Aid Society of Minneapolis who serves on the council. The half-dozen
members of the council, from a variety of Muslim organizations, spent
Sunday calling around the world, checking e-mail and tracking
satellite news broadcasts.
"We decided to agree upon the sighting of the moon anywhere,'' said
Hamdy El-Sawaf, executive director of the Islamic Center of Minnesota
and also a member of the fiqh council. "The ultimate goal would be for
Muslims all over to have the end of Ramadan on the same day, to convey
the message of unity, of being united.'' Because of the time
differences, the first sightings typically occur in places such as
Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt or Yemen.
"We have differing opinions about the moon sighting in America, and we
saw that it would be good to unite Minnesotans,'' Mohamud said. "That
is why we came up with the new council.''
Identifying Muslim moderates - by Daniel Pipes - 25 Nov 03
Millions celebrate Eid with prayers for peace - 26 Nov 03
Al-Jazeera star anchor dons Islamic headscarf - 27 Nov 03
A star anchorwoman [Khadija Ben Ganna]with an Arab satellite channel
has decided to don the Islamic headscarf. .. She said the decisive
moment came after a one-on-one with Egyptian preacher Omar Abdul Kafi,
who appeared on a programme called Syariah (Islamic law) And Life.
The Islamist identity by Nilufer Gole - 25 Nov 03
.. [Nilufer Gole is Directeur d' Études, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en
Sciences Sociales, Paris]. .. Young Muslim women in Europe illustrate
this transformation perfectly. Girls who adopt the headscarf in French
and German schools are closer in many respects (namely youth culture,
fashion consciousness, and language) to their classmates than to their
homebound, uneducated mothers. In adopting the headscarf for Europe's
public sphere, these girls are unintentionally altering the symbol and
the role of Muslim women. This tendency extends deeper than
headscarves. All Western Muslims possess a double sense of belonging,
a double cultural capital. They define themselves through their
religiosity, but they also have gained universal, secular knowledge.
Because they have a double cultural capital, they can circulate
relatively freely between different activities and spaces-home,
school, youth associations, and urban leisure space. Being a Muslim
and being an Islamist are not the same thing. What we are witnessing
today is a shift from a Muslim identity to an Islamist identity. The
religious self for individual Muslims is being shifted from the
private to the public realm. The question for everyone is whether that
search for identity can be satisfied with headscarves and wide public
acceptance of Islamic religious practice, or if positive affirmation
of Islam demands a more fundamental renunciation of modernity.
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