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87Sharia News Watch 87

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Dec 4, 2003
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      Sharia News Watch 87 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:

      The Sharia Newswatch provides an almost weekly update of newsquotes
      on Sharia (Islamic Law) & related subjects, as appearing on the major
      news- searchengines. All editions :


      The Taliban, women, and the hegelian private sphere
      Source: Social Research - 01 Oct 03

      Kandahar's Only Policewoman Walks a Tough Beat - Veiled
      http://paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=46809 - 02 Dec 03
      Malalai Kakar cuts an imposing figure of a female supercop on the job
      - indoors. But out on the sometimes mean, dusty streets of Kandahar,
      an unflattering, all-encompassing chaudari, or traditional robe, gets
      tossed over her dashing ensemble as Kakar tears through town on her
      next policing assignment. Deep in Taliban terrain, in the birthplace
      of a regime that sent shivers down the spines of gender rights
      activists, in a city where women rarely emerge from their homes, Kakar
      is the only female cop on one of the world's most dangerous policing
      The biggest problem, according to Masuda Sultan, WAW program director
      [New York-based Women for Afghan Women], is the arbitrary nature of
      the unofficial morality codes. "It's like the Wild West," says Sultan,
      an Afghan-American who fled her native Kandahar during the Soviet
      occupation. "You never know what you're going to be accused of. It's
      not clear, for instance, that traveling without a marham is a crime.
      Right now, it just depends on the region, on who's the local leader or
      warlord." Rights workers say the situation in Pashtun-dominated
      Kandahar is especially hard to gauge as it is one of the most
      conservative cities, even by Afghan standards. In a region where
      everyday life is still governed by pashtunwali, an ancient, austere
      code of conduct that calls for strict public separation of the sexes,
      women are rarely seen - let alone heard - in public.
      As a female law enforcement official in an ultraconservative city,
      Kakar is a priceless asset to the police force, not just in matters
      concerning women's issues. Often, during the most dangerous raids on
      insurgents' homes, Kakar is the first person to venture into buildings
      since the women in households insist there are no men on the premises
      and policemen cannot enter their homes. Many a time, she has
      singularly searched homes for hidden arms as well as anti-government
      elements hiding in buildings. And while her flowing chaudari may
      hamper her speed on the potholed roads around Kandahar, she insists
      her veil is an asset. "I'm not forced to wear the chaudari," she
      explains. "My husband or the police force does not require it. I want
      to wear it because it gives me advantages. In Kandahar, it is
      culturally frowned on women to go out without the chaudari - people
      will bad-mouth my husband. I wear it to protect my family and myself."


      Restaurants In Hot Soup Over Halal Cooks - 03 Dec 03
      Over eighty restaurants operating in Brunei were found to be in
      contravention of the Fatwa Edict that requires them to have a Muslim
      owner, Muslim Manager and a Muslim Chef authoritative sources said
      yesterday. .. For a restaurant to be labelled as a "Halal"
      restaurant, it must meet all these three criteria set by the Mufti
      Edict (Fatwa Mufti) of Brunei Government. .. The reviewing is part of
      the proposal of putting the 'Bukan Tempat Makan/ Minum Orang Islam',
      (Not a place for Muslims to eat or drink/ Non-Muslim restaurant) label
      at restaurants that fail to meet these three criteria.


      Alerting Bulgaria - 01 Dec 03
      The former head of Bulgaria's Islamic community warned the public on
      24 November that his successor is not doing enough to prevent radical
      Wahabbi Muslims from foreign countries from spreading Islamic
      fundamentalism. The former Islamic community head, Nedim Gendzhev,
      accused Chief Mufti Selim Mzumzun Mehmed in an interview with the
      Bulgarian online news agency Mediapool.bg . Gendzhev said Mehmed was
      accepting bribes from foreign Muslim clerics to turn a blind eye to
      their illegal activities, including the operating of illegal Islamic-
      fundamentalist schools in Bulgaria.
      And Gendzhev says the timing of his warning is no coincidence. He says
      the terrorist attacks on Turkey should be a warning to Bulgaria, and
      that Ramadan has attracted many Muslim imams from Turkey to Bulgaria's
      Muslim-populated towns and villages. The Chief Mufti's office
      announced on 25 November that 22 clerics from Turkey had arrived in
      Bulgaria for Ramadan celebrations -- all of them allegedly approved by
      Turkey's Religious Decrees Department as clerics not related to
      Islamic fundamentalist groups.
      Professor Paul Wilkinson, a well-known British terrorism expert from
      St. Andrews University, told the BBC he believed that Islamic
      terrorists have been seeking supporters in countries with large Muslim
      populations, such as Bulgaria. Wilkinson claimed that the terrorists
      are attempting to penetrate Bulgaria's Muslim community, and warned
      authorities in Sofia to be on high alert. Wilkinson underlined
      Bulgaria's geopolitical position, which in his words makes it a likely
      target of the Al Qaeda terrorist network. The closing down of the
      British Embassy in Sofia came on the heels of intelligence information
      regarding a possible attack on the British Foreign Office, he said.
      "About 100 students, who had earlier been sent to study at the
      Universities of Jordan, Sudan, and Iran are now returning to
      Bulgaria," Gendzhev said, describing the situation as "an attempt to
      replace traditional Islam here with militant Islam." The Bulgarian
      News Agency reported on 24 September 2001, shortly after the terrorist
      attacks on the United States, that 60 foundations associated with
      Islamic fundamentalism were presently operating in Bulgaria. That
      figure came from Ashim Hadzhiasan, president of the Straight Path for
      Bulgarian Nationals of Turkish Origin Foundation.
      There are three legally registered Muslims schools in Bulgaria, where
      future Muslim clerics are trained, and one Muslim university in Sofia.
      Around 2,000-3,000 students passed through those schools between 1991
      and 2003, studying traditional Islam. But it is not these schools that
      have Gendzhev worried. "The Bulgarian public must be alerted; the fact
      that we have not yet been touched by the terrorism wave only allures
      the terrorists. I don't accept it when Bulgarian politicians say that
      everything is under control. They were calming the people down in
      Turkey, too, but look what happened there. We should be very careful,
      otherwise terrorist attacks are possible here as well," he said.


      Will Al-Jazeera win its war? - 02 Dec 03
      You won't find Al-Jazeera, described almost ad nauseam since its
      creation in 1996 as "the CNN of the Arab world," in any TV Guide-type
      listing or on the digital-cable menus of Rogers, Shaw, Videotron and
      other big Canadian carriers. Indeed, it's illegal right now for anyone
      in Canada to carry the unexpurgated 24-hour-a-day Al-Jazeera signal,
      either via cable or DTH satellite.
      Videotron, Quebec's largest cable company, and the Canadian Cable
      Television Association, .. asked the broadcast regulator, the Canadian
      Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, to list Al-Jazeera
      and a dozen or so other "foreign-language" or "ethnic" channels as
      permissible viewing for Canadians.
      [a favourable decision] will no doubt please many of the estimated
      600,000 Canadians of Arab and West Asian origin who have been going to
      places like the Bloor West halal restaurant, with their U.S. satellite
      dish and other so-called "grey-market technologies," for the
      Al-Jazeera broadcasts. But it will prove irksome to organizations like
      the Canadian Jewish Congress, which has strongly opposed the addition
      of Al-Jazeera to the list of satellite services eligible for digital
      carriage. In the cover letter for its 37-page, Aug. 8 submission
      opposing the legal introduction of Al-Jazeera into Canada, the
      Congress argued that Al-Jazeera's "programming content contains hate
      propaganda, in contravention of Canadian laws and broadcast


      A leap of faith - 27 Nov 03
      (explores the often contentious connection between Ethiopia and Islam)


      Al-Jazeera programme discusses Islamic head-dress debate in France

      Letter Campaign Against France's Anti-Hijab Drive - 03 Dec 03
      A London-based human rights advocacy group has launched a worldwide
      counter-campaign to press the French government into giving up plans
      to ban hijab in public institutions. The Islamic Human Rights
      Commission (IHRC http://www.ihrc.org/) urged Muslims all over the
      world to write to European officials and foreign ministers of world
      countries to take a strong action to stop the mooted discriminatory
      "If the French government insist on passing such bill, the IHRC will
      file a lawsuit before the European human rights tribunal, given that
      the discriminatory measure runs counter to human rights enshrined in
      relevant E.U. conventions," [sponsor Monil] Zidan asserted.


      Taslima Nasrin bares herself & others with her latest autobiography

      West Bengal: If re-edited, Bengal may revoke ban on Taslima's book
      .. - 01 Dec 03
      West Bengal may revoke the ban on Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen's
      latest book if publishers edit the "objectionable" portions. The
      state government had banned "Dwikhondito" - published as "Ka" in
      Bangladesh - Friday saying the book could ignite communal passions.
      "Revoking the ban remains a possibility if the publishers agree to
      print the book after editing the controversial and objectionable
      portions," state home ministry official Shib Shankar Basu told IANS.
      The government had particularly objected to pages 49 and 50 of the
      book that allegedly contained slanderous remarks about Prophet
      Mohammed and Islam. However, even if the government withdraws its ban
      on "Dwikhondito", the book may still have to wait to sell again
      because of a Calcutta High Court order blocking its sale. The court
      had put on hold the book's printing, publication and sale till it
      finished hearing a defamation suit filed by city-based Bengali poet
      Syed Hasmat Jalal. The 395-page book in Bengali claims to document
      Nasreen's sexual experiences with several leading intellectuals of
      Bangladesh and India, which have prompted the libel suits from Jalal
      and noted Bangladeshi writer Syed Shamsul Huq. People's Book Society,
      the publishers, however, say they have no plans of bringing out an
      edited version.
      Nasreen said she did not want to besmirch anybody's name. "I only
      tried to write an honest autobiography." She said the truth, however
      ugly, could be the only basis of a conscientious person's

      Books on Islam, Muslims big hit at Bihar book fair - 01 Dec 03
      Books on Islam and Muslims are flying off the shelves at a book fair
      in this Bihar capital, and many of the buyers are non-Muslims, say the
      event's organisers and publishing firms. The demand among non-Muslim
      readers for books on various aspects of Islam and Muslims at the Patna
      book fair has surprised the organisers.
      Mozahir Husain, a salesman at the stall of Maktabe-e-Imarat Sharia,
      said many Hindus appeared keen to read the Koran, the holy book of
      Muslims. "We have sold quite a few copies of the Hindi translation of
      the Koran to Hindus," Husain said. Imarat Sharia, based at
      Phulwarisharief near Patna, is a well-known Islamic centre. The
      organisation's publishing wing is participating in a book fair for the
      first time and its officials are happy with the response it has got
      from Hindu readers. Husain said the Sharia offered a variety of books
      on Islamic law in view of the demand for books in Hindi on Muslim
      personal law and civil code.


      Appeals Court Overturns Bashir Treason Conviction - 01 Dec 03
      An Indonesian appeals court has overturned the treason conviction of
      Abu Bakar Bashir, the accused spiritual leader of a regional terror
      group, and reduced his prison sentence. The court shortened Bashir's
      sentence from four years to three, upholding his conviction on lesser
      charges of forging identity documents and violating immigration laws.
      Bashir was convicted in September of inciting rebellion against
      Indonesia's secular government. But the appeals court overturned that
      conviction, accepting his argument that he was only campaigning to
      implement Islamic Sharia law. At his trial, Bashir was cleared of
      charges of being the leader of the Southeast Asia terror group Jemaah
      Islamiya (JI), which authorities have linked to the al-Qaida terrorist

      Terror hurts Islamist parties in Indonesia - 01 Dec 03
      Indonesia's major Islamist political parties have found themselves in
      a difficult position since terrorism hit the nation's shores. Fighting
      from a significant but minority position, political parties wishing to
      bring about an Islamic republic in Indonesia know that they must unite
      if they are to pose any serious challenge to the secular forces that
      dominate the country's political scene. They are facing a dilemma. In
      the face of rising anti-terrorist sentiment, the marriage of
      convenience between the majority mainstream democratic factions and
      smaller radical factions is now under a lot of strain. To retain any
      legitimacy in the eyes of potential voters, the parties' leaders are
      under pressure to renounce publicly their association with radical
      groups that have exploited religious symbols for political goals.
      But cutting these loose ties with radical Islamist groups would cost
      Islamist parties some of their traditional support in the 2004
      Suppressed for more than 30 years under Mr Suharto - and for six years
      before that by his predecessor, Mr Sukarno - political Islam is one of
      several forces that have taken advantage of the country's
      democratisation process during the past five years. But the Islamist
      parties also quickly learned that their political goals - the
      introduction of the Syariah (Islamic law) and establishing an Islamic
      state - did not sell well even though nearly 90 per cent of the 230
      million people profess to be Muslims. In 1999, only three Islamist
      political parties - out of more than a dozen that used Islamic banners
      in joining the elections - won seats in parliament. The United
      Development Party, the Crescent and Star Party and the Welfare Party
      together polled not more than 16 per cent of the votes.
      Nationalist, secular, and pluralist political forces therefore make a
      formidable force of about 66 per cent, judging by the 1999 election.
      This alone destroys any notion that political Islam is fast gaining
      strength in Indonesia or that the Islamist forces are about to overrun
      the secular forces in the country anytime soon. Political Islam has
      become more vocal, for sure, but its power and influence are checked
      by the populace through elections. The 1999 election reaffirmed the
      view that the majority of Muslims in Indonesia feel much more at ease
      with secular parties. This result is comparable to Indonesia's only
      other democratic election in 1955. Masjumi, the party that unified
      Islamic parties, polled just over 20 per cent then.
      The failure of Islamist parties to lend their full support to the
      nation's fight against terrorism may have been caused by their fear of
      alienating small bands of traditional supporters, especially with
      general elections just five months away. But their failure to denounce
      the terrorists could eventually cost them even more votes among
      moderate Muslims already appalled by the endless terrorism.


      Girl's Murder Spurs Debate over Blood Money - 01 Dec 03
      Under Iran's laws that determine compensation, a woman's life is worth
      half that of a man's life. As a result, the killers' lives are worth
      more in financial terms than the murdered girl. Bizarrely, Fahti's
      family was required to come up with thousands of dollars to pay the
      "blood money" for the execution of their daughter's killers.
      The concept of enforcing blood money provisions for criminal
      punishment appears to be unique to Iran, according to Islamic legal
      experts. In other Islamic countries that use Sharia law as a basis for
      the legal code, blood money is carried out but only in compensation
      and inheritance cases and not for criminal sentences.
      The judiciary decided earlier this year that the state would help pay
      one third of the sum required, an unprecedented ruling that came
      partly as a result of the media coverage devoted to the case.
      From the theological center of Qom, southwest of the capital Tehran,
      [grand ayatollah] Saanei has declared that the blood money provisions
      in Iran are against Islamic Sharia law, which forms the basis of the
      Iranian legal code. "Blood money is the price for a human life and the
      essence of life is driven from the soul," he has been quoted as
      saying. "The soul that God gave women is no less than the soul God
      gave men."
      The rationale for the law on blood money, according to some scholars,
      dates to an era when men were the sole breadwinners in a household.
      Executing the breadwinner could make his widow's family destitute.
      But Ayatollah Saanei has argued that such a concept would mean that
      the lives of children, unemployed people or retired men would be worth
      less in compensation terms as well. For Saanei, the value of human
      life is universal and cannot be linked to whether a victim is a
      breadwinner. "Blood money has nothing to do with breadwinning at all;
      it is the issue of the value of the blood and it is a matter of human
      dignity," Saanei has said in a published interview. Current provisions
      in Iranian law are "cruel," according to Saanei, and violate the
      fundamental Islamic principle of justice and fairness. Other powerful
      clergy disagree with Saanei, one of the most moderate-minded clerics
      in Iran, and have blocked previous attempts to change laws on blood
      money and other issues. The conservatives that wield ultimate
      authority in Iran see any change in women's legal status as a threat
      to what they describe as "Islamic tradition."
      The Guardian Council recently vetoed the parliament's approval of the
      U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
      against Women, calling for equal legal treatment for women without
      exception. [Nobelprizewinner] Ebadi said that there are many other
      cases in which victims' families struggle to come up with the blood
      money to finance punishment of convicted murderers or rapists. The law
      also includes contradictory rules for the loss of limbs or other body
      parts. The penal code defines blood money compensation for a man as
      one of the following: 100 camels, 200 cows, 1,000 sheep, 200 silk
      dresses, 1,000 gold coins and 10,000 silver coins. These older forms
      of valuation are not carried out in practice and the courts have opted
      for cash equivalents instead.


      The United States and Shi'ite Religious Factions in Post-Ba'thist Iraq
      Abstracts from The Middle East Journal, Vol 57, Number 4, Autumn 2003.

      Profile: Al-Hakim, rotating IGC president in December [Xinhua]- 01 Dec

      Iraq's Shiite clerics assume more power - 01 Dec 03
      "The grand ayatollahs will always be the highest spiritual guide in
      everything -- economics, politics and social issues," said the
      ayatollah's son and spokesman, Ali Najafi, sitting on a straw mat.
      "They will be the fathers, the leaders and the advisers."
      "If we see something that violates Islam and our country's traditions,
      we will give advice," said Ali Waadh, Sistani's deputy in Baghdad.
      People look to [Sistani] as the highest authority. People listen to
      him before they listen to a government."
      none of the parties claims the religious authority enjoyed by the
      grand ayatollahs, four of whom in Najaf are widely recognized as
      deserving the title marja al-taqlid, or source of emulation. Their
      authority among their followers is unquestioned. Each day, crowds
      gather at the end of the winding alley that leads to Sistani's modest
      office. Nothing marks it, except for a folded slip of paper on a
      nearby wall that informs religious students when their salaries will
      be paid. The pleas of the crowd range from requests for aid to
      questions on everyday life. They are typically answered in
      hand-written notes, some of which are posted on his Web site.
      Can Muslims play chess and backgammon? "It is not permissible." Are
      birth control pills allowed? "Yes." Can a Muslim go to a swimming pool
      where both men and women mingle? "Absolutely not permissible, as a
      "If there's something that will affect the entire population and if
      there is any strategic point like the constitution, [Sistani] will
      pass judgment on it," said Mowaffaq Rubaie, a member of the Governing
      Council who returned from exile in Britain and has met Sistani. "He
      won't go for policy. He will go for strategic issues." Sistani's role,
      Rubaie said, "is in a state of evolution." He said he expected Sistani
      to play "a very strong advisory role."
      There is also suspicion that U.S. officials are delaying elections --
      increasingly a central concern for Shiites -- in hopes of securing a
      more secular government down the road at the expense of the clergy's
      influence. Sistani's followers say he is particularly worried by the
      example of neighboring Turkey, where unremitting secularism has long
      served as state ideology.
      His latest statement insisting that a provisional government be
      elected could force another revision in the plan. If his demand is not
      heeded, the U.S. administration and its Iraqi allies risk a conflict
      with the clergy, who are widely recognized to have far more
      credibility than an appointed Governing Council still struggling for
      legitimacy. Sistani has also insisted that no legislation contradict
      Islamic law, according to Shiite politicians. That could potentially
      set up the clergy as arbiters of what constitutes a violation.


      Husband's 'travel ban' lands family in nightmare scenario
      http://www.dailystar.com.lb/01_12_03/art23.asp - 01 Dec 03
      Bazi and her three teenage sons have so-called legal stop orders
      placed on them by her estranged husband, prohibiting them from leaving
      Lebanon. Under Lebanese law, a man can prohibit his wife and children
      from traveling outside Lebanon and is not required to provide a reason
      for his actions. The Bazis are both of Lebanese descent and acquired
      Australian citizenship after they moved to Sydney, Australia in the
      The 36-year-old's troubles started after she returned to Lebanon with
      her children to see her family in 2000. She bought the apartment she
      now lives in and a store on the ground floor of the same building,
      which she later relinquished to her husband.
      Low on funds, she decided to borrow money from her family for the
      airfares back to Australia, only to be told at the airport check-in
      counter that her husband had placed a stop order on her and her
      children. In addition, Bazi said she had given her husband power of
      attorney in Australia to sign on her behalf as "it was near the end of
      the financial year and our tax returns were due. "I called our lawyer
      in Australia to stop the power of attorney, but he told me he couldn't
      stop it and that he no longer represented me, only my husband," she
      said. "But he advised me to get another lawyer quickly because, in my
      absence, my husband had sold the family home."
      "My husband told me why he'd put the stop order on me," Bazi said. "He
      told me I had to relinquish my rights to the other four houses. I told
      him no because I worked just as hard as he did for them. "He started
      dragging me through the courts, filing lawsuits against me claiming
      that I had improperly obtained the apartment I am living in and other
      such things until he hit me where it would hurt most ­ custody of my
      children. Bazi said that, as a Shiite, Sharia law gives her husband
      the right to custody of the children, especially as she had no means
      to provide for them.
      As the agreement's maturation date neared, Bazi's husband told her he
      wouldn't divorce her unless she signed a document stipulating that she
      would not later instigate legal proceedings against him in Australia.
      She obliged but was not granted the divorce. As a retaliatory measure,
      Bazi stopped the sale of the only house her husband had not yet sold
      in Australia. The Sharia court was, however, able to give Bazi the
      $200,000 and custody of her children. But she remains embroiled in a
      legal nightmare from which she is desperate to wake up, and the legal
      costs are eating into her funds.
      Archaic system leaves women at mercy of men
      http://www.dailystar.com.lb/01_12_03/art24.asp - 01 Dec 03
      The law governing the prohibition of an individual's travel outside
      Lebanon stipulates that the measure should be temporary, not
      permanent, but the law is being exploited according to lawyer Ayman
      With regard to the religious courts, Ghandour said that Article 21 of
      the 1962 Procedures Law for Sunni and Jaafari (Shiite) Courts states
      that a judge can, upon request and in closed hearing, prohibit an
      individual's travel but that there are different requirements for a
      husband who wishes to prohibit his wife's travel and a wife who seeks
      to place a stop order on her husband. According to Ghandour, the same
      scenario exists for Christians as well. "Prohibiting a husband's
      travel is based on one condition," Ghandour said: "The nonpayment of
      alimony." A husband, however, "has the legal right to impose a stop
      order on his wife and children and does not need to provide a reason."
      So what can a woman do if she discovers that she has been prohibited
      from traveling outside Lebanon? According to Ghandour, she has
      two options. She can formally protest the decision, although "the
      courts often reject such protests," he said. Or she can file a
      lawsuit, which in Ghandour's experience "is often rejected at first
      but later accepted in the appellate courts if a rational reason is
      provided." A stop order placed by a wife on her husband can be lifted
      if he pays alimony, but a wife whose travel has been prohibited is at
      her husband's mercy as it is his prerogative.


      [opinion] PAS' Islamic state and freedom for Muslims - 02 Dec 03
      There is, in other words, no common body of Syariah law that can be
      applied uniformly to all Muslims across the world. There are even
      Islamic law professors, such as Prof Abdullahi An-Na'm (professor of
      law at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia) who claim that the Syariah,
      while its sources are in the Quran, is nevertheless man-made, and
      therefore challengeable and arguable. In Malaysia, Muslims who wish
      to follow Shia Islam (a very small minority admittedly) are heavily
      discriminated against by the Islamic establishment of the current
      government. For there to be truly freedom of choice for all, Muslims
      should be able to choose which tradition of Islam to follow (Sunni,
      Shia, Sufi). Will PAS be willing or able to guarantee this freedom ?


      Umra: Lesser Pilgrimage Or Ramadan Vacation? - 02 Dec 03
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200312020503.html [Daily Trust - Abuja]

      Suspicions Trail Capital Punishment Debate [Weekly Trust - Kaduna]
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200312010037.html - 29 Nov 03
      The clamour for abolishing capital punishment that led to the
      commissioning of a Legal Resources Consortium by the federal
      government to organise a national debate on the issue has generated
      furious reactions from Nigerians, with stiffer opposition from
      religious groups.
      A section of the retentionist group, specifically Muslim bodies, saw
      the move as agenda to clip the extension of Sharia to cover criminal
      offences in some Northern states and vowed to resist it. According to
      Imam Aliyu Ibrahim, who represented the National Council for the
      Propagation and Defence of Sharia at the debate, Muslims are
      suspicious that the western world which propagates the idea might have
      an agenda to stop the application of the Sharia as it pertains to
      criminal justice. "Especially we Muslims suspect that establishing
      Sharia in some Northern states may have triggered this attempt to
      silently reduce the boundaries of Sharia application," he said.

      Imam Aliyu said that since the Sharia implementing states relied on
      certain provisions of the constitution, it follows that if capital
      punishment is expunged from the law books, the states would
      automatically stand stripped of jurisdiction to apply those areas of
      the Sharia. According to him, by Islamic standards, capital punishment
      encircles death penalty, amputation and even caning. "At an earlier
      stage, attempts have been made to oppose the application of capital
      punishment as regard amputation in theft cases, stoning to death and
      so on," he said.
      "This crusade to protect the right to life of the murderer is grossly
      misplaced as the innocent victims of such crimes are more entitled to
      have their rights protected," charged Imam Aliyu Ibrahim. This school
      of thought believes that the retention of capital punishment in the
      nation's laws is in the interest of justice and the nature of a moral
      community, which requires that each person respects the life and
      liberty of others. Accordingly, those who commit vicious crimes
      destroy the basis on which a moral community rests and thereby forfeit
      their rights to life itself.
      And the third group, represented by the likes of Honourable Nwofe,
      believed that it is premature for Nigeria to start thinking of
      removing capital punishment in its laws without first putting in order
      the nation's criminal justice system. "The Nigeria Police for example
      is simply ill-equipped to deal with the high incidence of crime across
      Nigeria. Our police are still a long way away from taking advantage of
      the innovations in the world of crime prevention, investigation and
      control," said Hon. Nwofe. He further observed that the Nigerian
      prison system is an extreme symptom of a chronic illness afflicting
      the criminal justice system and noted the plight of judicial officers,
      specifically those of the lower courts.

      [Bauchi] Fired for refusing to wear head scarves, Christian nurses
      appeal - 01 Dec 03
      Eleven Christian nurses fired by a public hospital in Nigeria's
      strongly Islamic north for refusing to wear Muslim-style head scarves
      are appealing for international pressure to help restore their jobs.
      The women are among 21 fired in December 2001 by a federal government
      hospital in Azare, in the northern state of Bauchi, for refusing
      orders to cover their heads with scarves.
      The women said they had refused to cover their heads because they were
      Christian, and said their families were suffering from hunger and
      other hardships since the firings.
      "When they passed the Shariah law we thought it would not affect us,
      as they said it would not affect Christians,'' Osakwe said. "But
      later, despite our appeals, they insisted we must comply with the
      Shariah way of dressing.'' Sam Mbok, leader of an association of
      Christian nurses, said the health workers planned to launch a legal
      challenge on behalf of the fired nurses.

      [Kano] Sharia: Kano Moves Against Pornography - 04 Dec 03
      In line with its resolve to fully implement the Sharia Legal Code,
      Kano State Govern-ment has moved to stamp out the circulation of
      pornographic films in the state. Already, no fewer than 10 persons
      have been arrested while cartons of Compact Disc (CD) plates and video
      cassettes have also been confiscated from suspected dealers. The State
      Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Garba Yusuf, urged residents of
      the state to report anybody suspected to be involved in the sale or
      use of the banned films. He, however, cautioned the people not to take
      the law into their hands. The commissioner also noted that those
      arrested are now in the police custody and they would soon be
      arraigned before the court. In the same vein, the commissioner
      disclosed that a mobile court would soon be constituted to try those
      who flout the law banning the circulation or use of the pornographic
      films or publication. "The Sharia has given us the guideline to ban
      such films," he said, pointing out that even before the coming of
      sharia, the laws didn't allow it. "How can we allow these films to
      come and contaminate our culture," he pointed out.


      SC resumes wali's permission case today - 01 Dec 03
      The Supreme Court (SC) will resume hearing a habeas corpus case
      against prominent lawyer and rights activist Asma Jehangir today
      (Monday) and is likely to determine the status of those marriages
      which are held without the consent of a bride's guardian (wali).
      The appeal has been filed by Hafiz Abdul Waheed Ropri whose daughter,
      Saima Waheed, married without her parents' consent in the mid-1990s
      and later left the country along with her husband. Ms Jahangir
      provided legal assistance to the girl. Mr Ropri has alleged that Asma
      Jehangir abducted his daughter and accused Ms Jehangir of demanding Rs
      five million to return Ms Waheed. .. In a 1981 judgement, the Federal
      Shariat Court declared marriages without the consent of wali valid.
      SC holds verdict on guardians' consent for marriages - 02 Dec 03
      The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its judgment on a petition
      questioning the status of marriages without the consent of guardians.
      The bench consisting of Justice Mian Muhammad Ajmal, Justice Sardar
      Muhammad Raza Khan and Justice Karamat Nazir Bhandari observed that
      the matter did not lie in its jurisdiction because the Federal Sharia
      Court ruled in 1981 that marriages of free will were valid and all
      such cases should be governed by this judgment. Justice Mian Muhammad
      Ajmal said, "We would have to see whether the decision of the Federal
      Sharia Court was binding on high courts."
      In 1997, two different benches of the Lahore High Court pronounced
      conflicting judgments on the issue. One bench headed by Justice Qayyum
      supported the decision of the FSC and ruled that guardians' consent
      was not necessary for marriages while the other bench ruled otherwise.
      Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan said the Federal Sharia Court's
      judgment was final and binding on all subsidiary courts including high
      courts under Article 203 (g) of the Constitution. "The law relating to
      guardians' consent is not governed by any statutory law, therefore
      only the FSC could define it," he said.

      SC reserves judgement in pension case - 03 Dec 03
      The Supreme Court observed on Tuesday that it is not empowered to
      legislate and the Constitution only authorized the apex court to
      interpret constitutional provisions. Before reserving its judgment on
      an appeal of the federal government, against the Federal Shariat Court
      judgment in which it had struck down the categorization of pensioners
      into old pensioners and new pensioners, the Supreme Court's Shariat
      Appellate Bench made it clear to the pensioners that it had no powers
      to direct the government to raise the pensions. The judges, one after
      the other, observed that there was no violation of law if
      classification of pensioners was made.
      The government had challenged the FSC decision on the ground that the
      Federal Shariat Court had gone beyond its jurisdiction when it
      declared that categorization of pensioners was against the Islamic
      principle of Adal (justice) and Ehsan (kindness). Attorney-General
      Makhdoom Ali Khan stated that reasonable classification was permitted
      in the Constitution, and the state was not discriminating old

      Hamza Alavi: greatness we rebuffed - 03 Dec 03
      Hamza Alavi, who died in Karachi Monday, was known as a leftwing
      intellectual to most of us. But in truth he was a rational philosopher
      in the tradition of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan who thought that Pakistan as a
      Muslim state could survive only if it read its Scripture rationally
      and interpreted it pluralistically. Mr Alavi therefore was a great
      supporter of the Quaid-e-Azam and wrote about him in his
      characteristic investigative manner, only to put off the religious
      establishment in Pakistan. His last great work was a series of
      articles on the impractical interpretation of the Quranic edict on
      interest (riba) by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. (Pakistan couldn't
      implement it.) Ever the man of reason, he demonstrated once again how
      a religious state may hurt itself by being literalist.
      Writings Of Hamza Alavi

      [NWFP] A year of MMA govt in NWFP -- success or failure - 01 Dec 03

      [NWFP] Frontier govt victim of vicious campaign: CM - 01 Dec 03
      The NWFP government had taken strong action against those involved in
      tearing down billboards in Peshawar and suspended the police officials
      concerned for their delinquency. "I personally apologized for the
      incidents at the floor of the provincial assembly and assured to
      compensate for the damages to private property. But none of these
      actions got the attention of international media." The chief minister
      denied that his government was following the Taliban model. "We are
      not following anybody," he insisted. He said he was striving to
      introduce a system based on Islamic principles which could also serve
      as a model for others to follow and added that Islam guarantees rights
      to all including religious minorities.
      The chief minister assured that his government would introduce the
      controversial Hisba bill in the NWFP assembly and get it passed with
      the same spirit. The provincial government had allayed all prevailing
      apprehensions against the proposed law, he said. He said the office of
      ombudsman to be created under the proposed law would play a mediatory
      and conciliatory role and help lessen burden and workload on
      judiciary. About the operation against the suspected Taliban and Al
      Qaeda elements in the tribal areas, the chief minister said tribesmen
      were patriotic Pakistanis who were opposed to interference in their
      affairs and warned that any attempt at snatching their rights and
      autonomy could lead to rebellion.


      Arab Fatwa Calls for Continued "Resistance" - 02 Dec 03
      As the Geneva Accord was launched in Switzerland on Monday, the
      Palestinian Authority's Religious Scholars Association issued a fatwa
      (Islamic religious decree) forbidding any Muslim from signing an
      agreement that does not provide for all refugees to return to homes in
      Israel. ..
      The fatwa branded both the authors of the agreement and any
      Palestinian accepting compensation in lieu of the right of return, as
      traitors - a charge that can often lead to the sentence of death.
      The Geneva Accord [English, authoritative text] - 03 Dec 03


      The public and private in Saudi Arabia: Restrictions on the powers of
      committees for ordering the good and forbidding the evil
      Source: Social Research - 01 Oct 03

      Saudi interrogators use religion to elicit information from al-Qaida
      http://www.harktheherald.com/print.php?sid=7733 - 01 Dec 03
      Saudi interrogators often bring clerics and a Quran to their prison
      interviews to establish a religious connection, a technique that has
      proved successful in eliciting information from terrorist suspects and
      reorienting them to less violent religious beliefs.The tactic, similar
      to the way cult deprogrammers work in the United States, has impressed
      American counterparts enough that Saudi intelligence was permitted to
      use some of the principles on their citizens being held at the U.S.
      detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Saudi officials said.
      The religious reorientation is markedly different from some hard-core
      interrogation tactics that can use sleep deprivation, alternate
      rewards and punishment and other methods to elicit information.
      Saudi officials, who would describe their interrogation methods only
      on condition of anonymity, said the tactic is reserved mostly for
      midlevel and low-level al-Qaida prisoners who were attracted to Osama
      bin Laden's network through a perversion of Islam. Shortly after these
      al-Qaida prisoners are taken into custody, Saudi interrogators send in
      a cleric who appears to espouse militant Islamic views to help build a
      personal bond with the young men and open a dialogue based on Islam,
      the officials said. "Once we connect with them, the interrogators
      slowly hand them over to a more moderate cleric, who sits with them
      and goes over what the Quran says and discusses what the traditions of
      the prophet are," one Saudi official explained. Over time, the clerics
      position the prisoners to repent and renounce their past allegiance to
      the network established by the Saudi-born fugitive bin Laden. Then
      traditional interrogators are brought in to question the prisoners and
      learn tactical information, officials said. "We have learned that what
      drove them into this cult, and what causes them to cooperate, is
      religion," said one senior Saudi official involved in intelligence
      A senior U.S. diplomatic official, speaking only on condition of
      anonymity, said American officials have observed firsthand the Saudi
      interrogation tactic and regard it as "a set of skills that is very
      important in this cultural and religiously oriented society." Saudi
      officials said they were permitted in the last year to visit many of
      their citizens being held as enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay.

      Coming-of-age tale looks at growing up in Saudi Arabia - 01 Dec 03
      Adama is the first of Hamad's trilogy of novels about his native Saudi
      Arabia. Though not as well known in the Western press as his exiled
      countryman Abdelrahman Munif, Hamad's writing has created something of
      a stir in the Arab world, particularly in Saudi Arabia. The novel
      follows the adolescent emotional turmoil of Hisham al-Abir as he moves
      toward "manhood." Graduating from high school during the period of
      regional ferment following the disastrous 1967 war, the idealistic
      young Abir becomes a dissident against the strict moral and political
      mores of the Saudi regime. It seems that, within a month of its
      release in 1998, Adama sold 20,000 copies, earning its author
      best-seller status. The book has also been banned in a number of Arab
      countries and the cycle ­ completed by the novels Shumaisi and Karadib
      ­ earned Hamad four unfavorable fatwas, or legal opinions, which, in
      the tradition of Salman Rushdie, are regarded as placing his life at
      risk. Unlike Munif, Hamad continues to live in the Saudi capital of
      Riyadh. It is uncertain whether he has a security detail to rival that
      of Rushdie. Adama's mix of minor key political and sexual adventure
      was too much for the Saudi censor, but the novel is hardly without
      precedent. The bildungsroman, or coming-of-age novel, has proven very
      popular among novelists in the Arab world.


      Zurich says no to more religions - 30 Nov 03
      Proposed new laws that would have led to the official recognition of
      non-Christian faiths, including Islam, have been turned down in canton
      Zurich. Some 64 per cent of voters said no to recognizing faiths other
      than the three official religions in the canton.
      The People's Party [rightwing] claimed that cantonal contributions -
      which are given to all recognised religions - would be used by Muslims
      for fundamentalist religious teaching. Funding for recognised
      religions is intended to support services that are of use to society
      as a whole, and from which non-members might also benefit. The three
      recognised Churches and the country's anti-racism commission heavily
      criticised the campaign.
      A study by the anti-racism commission has shown that the country's 26
      cantons differ greatly in their recognition of religions. Some, such
      as Bern, Basel City, St Gallen and Fribourg, have already recognised
      the Jewish religion. Others only recognise Christian Churches. Only in
      cantons Geneva and Neuchâtel are all religions treated the same. Other
      cantons have so far rejected such a move.


      Muslim advice on rights in work place - 01 Dec 03
      A leaflet was launched today to inform Muslims of their new rights at
      work. Retail trade union Usdaw has teamed up with the Labour Party,
      the Muslim Council of Britain and the Coalition Against Racism to
      produce the guide. The move comes as the Government introduces a new
      right against discrimination at work on the grounds of religion and
      belief. The rights cover Muslims in the workplace who were previously
      not covered by anti-discrimination laws. The leaflet focuses on the
      ways workplaces should help Muslims to accommodate their faith. These
      include time off for religious holidays, different dietary
      requirements, flexibility for prayer on Fridays, on-site washing
      facilities and accommodating a certain dress code. .. The leaflet
      can be viewed at www.usdaw.org.uk .


      Registration of Muslims, Arabs halted - 02 Dec 03
      A federal immigration program targeting men from Middle Eastern
      countries for mandatory registration was abruptly ended yesterday by
      the Homeland Security Department. The National Security Entry-Exit
      Registration System (NSEERS) had been criticized by Muslims and Arabs
      for singling out such a limited group, despite the fact that all the
      hijackers involved in the September 11 attacks were Muslim. Asa
      Hutchinson, the Department of Homeland Security's undersecretary for
      border and transportation security, told reporters that the change was
      not a response to criticism from civil liberties and minority-
      advocacy groups. He said eliminating NSEERS was a first step toward
      implementing a full entry-exit system called US-VISIT. The system will
      use biometrics to identify travelers by their right and left index
      fingerprints, and digital photographs. Personal and travel information
      also will be collected.US-VISIT goes online in January at 115 airports
      and 14 seaports. It is expected to be fully operational by 2005.


      The American client - 03 Dec 03
      Uzbekistan's real time bomb is in the countryside - specifically the
      Fergana Valley - which occupies 1.5 percent of the country but is home
      to 11 percent of the total population of 25 million. Land and water
      resources are stretched to the limit. Unemployment is as high as 80
      percent. These people are exclusively farmers: they would not dream of
      going to Tashkent to find a job in a factory. Both the Islamic
      Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HUT) which
      advocate, respectively, a violent and a peaceful way to Sharia
      (Islamic Law) are betting on a social explosion in the valley.
      (See Part 6 of this series, Peaceful jihad - 25 Nov 03
      http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/EK25Ag01.html )


      AIDS.. Hidden Crisis In Arab, Islamic Countries - 01 Dec 03

      Apostasy as objective and depersonalized fact - 01 Oct 03
      Two recent Egyptian court judgments - Source: Social Research

      An introduction to the public and private debate in Islam
      Source: Social Research - 01 Oct 03

      New media, new publics: Reconfiguring the public sphere of Islam
      Source: Social Research - 01 Oct 03

      The seductiveness of certainty: The destruction of Islam's - 01 Oct 03
      intellectual legacy by the fundamentalists - Philosophy East and West


      Islamic Finance: Completing a contract under Sharia rules - 04 Dec 03

      Risk and reward in Islam [Investor Digest] - 03 Dec 03
      In Islam, market risk is called ghorm/ghurmi . The fundamental
      principle of investment in Islam is that reward (ghonm) must be
      accompanied with risk (ghorm) (al-ghorm bil ghonm). In this manner,
      all Shariah- approved investments whether stocks, bonds and money
      market instruments must abide by this important principle. The Shariah
      status of equities (common stocks) may have been construed to mean
      only passing the Shariah screening process. Undoubtedly, the screening
      method is imperative to separate the permissible (halal) from the
      prohibited (haram) stocks. However, there is more to it than that.
      Investment in equities means participating in risk-sharing. Capital
      gains and dividends received by investors do not come from pure chance
      or idleness but the preparedness of investors to see their capital
      depleted under market volatilities. For the risk taken, investors
      stand to receive the rewards, if any. The element of ghurmi defines
      the morality of monetary gains. It manifests the equitable and
      harmonious nature of human beings who interact among themselves to
      live a decent life. By the same token, trading (al-bay') as an
      alternative to riba (usury) is an economic activity from which profits
      are made by virtue of the risk- and-reward principle.
      Market risk is unavoidable as it is exogenous to the contracting
      parties. Ghurmi is exogenous risk or simply known as systematic risk
      in modern finance. It causes price to move up and down that no one can
      have control of. The principle of risk-sharing and risk-taking,
      however, is lost when one purchases an Islamic bond. This is true
      since investors are guaranteed capital protection and fixed returns.
      The same applies to al-bai-bithaman ajil (BBA) and al-ijarah thumma
      al-bay'(AITAB). Investment in Islamic bonds is not based on risk
      participation. The risk, that is, credit or default risk, is now
      dispersed to only one party. The investors face credit risk while
      issuers are shielded from bankruptcies. The concept of joint-stock
      company makes this possible.
      The current focus on Islamic risk management is truly reflective of
      the credit character of existing Islamic financial products such as
      Islamic private debt securities (IPDS), BBA and AITAB. The term `risk'
      has no bearing with ghurmi/ghorm as explicated in the Quranic
      conception of trading (al-bay'). In this sense, the convergence of
      Islamic finance and conventional finance is inevitable. For example,
      although the concept of al-bay' is applied in BBA and AITAB, each
      requires the purchaser to place their purchases as collateral. In this
      manner, market risk in al-bay' is replaced with credit risk. For IPDS,
      securitised assets, that is, the underlying assets, and collateral are
      two separate entities. In fact, Islamic financing today is all about
      sale (al-bay') with collateral (ar-rahn).

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