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88Sharia News Watch 88

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Dec 8, 2003
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      Sharia News Watch 88 : 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 :


      Afghans debate new constitution - 04 Dec 03


      Imam accused of gay hatred - 07 Dec 03
      Police are investigating claims that one of Australia's most senior
      Islamic clerics has incited his followers to attack homosexuals. A
      complaint made to Victoria Police alleges the chairman of the Board of
      Imams, Rexhep Idrizi, was reading from the Koran when he made
      derogatory comments about homosexuals and said they should have "their
      heads chopped off". Imam Idrizi's alleged outburst occurred before
      1000 worshippers at a prayer service to celebrate the conclusion of
      fasting for Ramadan at the Albanian Mosque in Drummond St, Carlton.
      Imam Idrizi, whose son was jailed last year for bashing gays, said
      yesterday the claims were unfounded and he had a video of the service,
      in Albanian, to prove it. "It's just spite from idiots," he said. "All
      I said was that homosexuality is prohibited in Islam."
      worshipper Asip Demiri, who was at the service, told the Sunday Herald
      Sun that Imam Idrizi had verbally attacked homosexuals. "I couldn't
      believe it. I was sitting there with my son and he comes out with
      comments as if the Koran says it's OK to attack homosexuals," Mr
      Demiri said. "He told us they should have their heads chopped off. "My
      son asked me if what the Imam said was true and I said 'No, it's not'.
      Then, he wanted to know if the Imam was lying and I couldn't give him
      an answer that would make any sense.
      Last year, Imam Idrizi's son was jailed for four years and eight
      months, with a minimum of 15 months, for bashing gays. Muhamed Idrizi,
      20, and four others attacked a cyclist with a machete and bashed and
      robbed two other men. The court heard that the group had gone on what
      he called a "p--fter bashing" mission. The first victim was repeatedly
      kicked, punched and struck over the head with a machete in Alma Park,
      St Kilda. The gang then robbed the man, stripped him and taunted him.
      They later attacked two other men in Elwood. At the time, Imam Idrizi
      said his son had "been the devil this month". "God will punish him."


      Separatists Target Muslim Sect in Bangladesh - 08 Dec 03
      A 150,000 strong Muslim minority sect in Bangladesh called the
      Ahmadiyyas is under attack from a separatist group in the country,
      which warns they will face dire consequences if the government does
      not declare them non-Muslims before Friday. In the last two months,
      attacks on the Ahmadiyyas by Sunni Muslim separatist groups have
      intensified, especially in the southwestern district of Kustia and the
      northern districts of Rangpur and Jamalpur. One member of the sect was
      killed in the southwestern district of Jessore. Ninety percent of
      Bangladesh's 130 million population comprises Sunni Muslims.
      Hailing from the central Bangladesh region of Brahmanbaria from 1912,
      the Ahmadiyyas follow the same rituals as the Sunnis, apart from their
      belief that Imam Mehdi, the last messenger of Prophet Muhammad, has
      already arrived to uphold Islam as it was preached 1400 years ago.
      In one of the largest anti-Ahmadiyya protests last Friday, more than
      30,000 separatists under the banner of the Khatme Nabuat Movement
      Coordination Committee (KNMCC) laid seige to an Ahmadiyya mosque in
      Dhaka. The attack was foiled by a deployment of 1000 policemen, but
      the separatists have sworn to storm the mosque again this Friday. The
      KNMC has said they will stage demonstrations against the sect in the
      city every Friday throughout December.
      Another separatist group has issued a similar ultimatum to Ahmadiyya's
      living in Sarishabari in Bangladesh's northern Jamalpur district.
      Mobassher believes the current aggressive stance has spilled over from
      anti-Ahmadiyya clerics in Pakistan. Significantly, most of the
      anti-Ahmadiyya publications in Bangladesh are written by Pakistani
      clerics who are more militant than their Bangladeshi counterparts.
      But none of the attackers has so far been arrested. Reportedly, the
      Islamic Oiyko Jote (Islamic Alliance) -- which is an alliance partner
      in the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party government -- tacitly
      supports the anti-Ahmadiyya movement.


      Mufti: Violence due to ignorance of Islamic teachings - 05 Dec 03
      "The wave of violence sweeping through some Islamic countries is due
      to ignorance of Islamic teachings," Egypt's Mufti of the Republic Ali
      Gomaa said yesterday. "Only by educating the new generation in
      accordance with the true principles of Islam can these dangerous,
      trends be reversed, Gomaa said in an interview with the Middle East
      News Agency (MENA). "The image of Islam has not changed, only the
      realities which we are experiencing," Gomaa explained, adding that he
      rejected the idea that a fatwa (ruling based on Islamic law) should
      apply to all Muslim countries. "A fatwa demonstrates the flexibility
      of Islamic law, but the Muslim should be selective in such matters,
      otherwise the imposition of one opinion on all believers is tantamount
      to bigotry, which is rejected by Islam," he said.

      Egyptian library removes 'anti-semitic' book - 07 Dec 03
      Egypt's Library of Alexandria has removed a book perceived as
      anti-semitic from its shelves, following protests and has opened an
      inquiry into the matter. The library's director Ismail Sirag al-Din
      said on Saturday there was an error in displaying The Protocols of the
      Elders of Zion. The book, which was the text's first Arabic
      translation, completed in 1951, had been put on display "several days
      or several weeks ago' in the manuscripts museum, which is part of the
      new library in Egypt's second city, said Siraj al-Din. It was
      withdrawn from the museum after articles appeared in the Egyptian and
      Israeli press. The document was displayed "as a curiosity", Siraj
      al-Din said.


      German Women Campaign Against Hijab Ban - 04 Dec 03
      Seventy of Germany's woman intelligentsia, all non-Muslims, have
      launched Wednesday, December3 , a counter-campaign against draft laws
      banning hijab in public institutions in a number of German states.
      They signed a statement warning of the grave consequences of such
      discriminatory laws on the German society. Chief among the signatories
      are Federal Minister of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture
      Renate Künast, Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees
      and Integration Marieluise Beck and Federal Government Commissioner
      for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid Claudia Roth. Others
      include former speaker of the German parliament Rita Suessmuth;
      Berlin's point woman on immigration Barbar John and former justice
      minister Sabina Shnarrengerger. The statement was also inked by the
      Archbishops of the Protestant Church in Hamburg and Luebeck, Maria
      Jepsen and Baerebel Wartenberg and famed actress Katja Riemann. The
      mass-circulation Der Spiegel said that Mrs. Beck snapped at plans by a
      number of German states to ban hijab in public institutions. She said
      that such laws, if ratified, would hold in contempt religion-related
      articles in the German constitution, which state that all religions
      should be treated on equal footing. Seven states backed last October
      a legislation barring hijab at a meeting of 16 regional ministers for
      culture, education and religious affairs in the western German city of
      Darmstadt while eight opposed such laws. She further said that placing
      restrictions on Muslim women inside state schools and government jobs
      is a kind of racial discrimination and flagrant injustice that would
      leave them psychologically scarred.
      German President Johannes Rau admitted in a congratulatory message to
      the Muslim community on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr that the
      controversy over hijab has cast a pall over their everyday life. The
      president welcomed the employment of hijab-wearing Muslim teachers in
      state schools as long as they did not take sides.

      Muslims pray in Berlin's first mosque - 05 Dec 03
      The city already boasts more than 70 places of prayer for Muslims, but
      not until the Pehitlik opened on Columbiadamm, a non-descript street
      in southern Berlin, has it had a mosque. "It is good to have a
      representative place," said Recep Turkogu, a member of the
      Turkish-Islamic Union for the Office of Religion (DITIB) which
      supervises 600 of the 2200 Muslim prayer centres in Germany. There
      are some 3.4 million Muslims in Germany, including 220,000 in Berlin.
      An estimated two thirds are of Turkish origin. Countrywide the
      Muslim community has 77 mosques. In Berlin, up to now, the prayers
      have been organised in apartments, halls and courtyards.
      However, news of a dozen similar plans to build mosques or Islamic
      centres in Berlin, notably in the Turkish-dominated areas of Kreuzberg
      and Neukoelln, have raised concerns. "Generally, people think that,
      Islam being embedded in this district, it is legitimate that there are
      representative buildings," said Guenther Piening, a Berlin city
      official responsible for matters of racial integration. "But they
      fear mosques will encourage a radicalisation that would threaten the
      liberal atmosphere of those districts."


      [Andhra Pradesh] Protesters killed in Babri mosque clashes - 07 Dec
      Between three and six people have died in clashes between Hindus and
      Muslims in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on the eleventh
      anniversary of the razing of the 16th century Babri mosque.
      Twenty-four people were hurt in the incident late on Saturday, 12
      suffering bullet injuries, as police opened fire to control rampaging
      mobs in Muslim-majority areas. The violence broke out, AFP reported,
      after Muslims accused Hindus of burning a black flag put up to protest
      the destruction of the mosque by Hindu zealots in the northern town of
      Ayodhya 11 years ago.


      Amien Denies Exploitation of RRI Forum for Political Campaign - 04 Dec
      Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Prof.Dr. Amien
      Rais has denied allegations that he exploit the Republic of Indonesia
      Radio (RRI) for his own political campaigns. In a statement during the
      "Halal Bihalal" gathering at the Parliament (DPR) building here
      Thursday, Amien Rais said that he had only been requested to help
      substantiate the Holy Ramadhan (fasting) month by making a religious
      talk at the RRI forum. Halal Bihalal is a deeply-rooted tradition
      among Indonesian Moslem to forgive one another following the end of
      the Ramadhan fasting month.


      Iran making room for its spiritual minorities - 04 Dec 03
      Another major step forward may come with the ending of one of Iran's
      most egregious forms of discrimination -- unequal status for
      minorities in the payment of "blood money" as compensation for victims
      of violent crime. Under the system, the amount legally owed by a
      perpetrator to the victim's family is just 1/13 of the amount due to
      Muslims. Iranian law retains an old Islamic definition of blood money
      as one of the following: 100 camels, 200 cows, 1,000 sheep, 200 silk
      dresses, 1,000 gold coins or 10,000 silver coins. To simplify things,
      religious authorities have set an inflation-adjusted cash equivalent,
      which this year is 150 million rials, or $18,750 [EUR 15.500,-].
      Because auto and life insurance coverage is rare in Iran, the ability
      to collect blood money can be vital for citizens who lose a family
      member. A bill to eliminate the discrepancy between Muslims and
      non-Muslims is winding its way tortuously through the legislative
      system -- after being vetoed twice by the powerful 12-member Guardian
      Council as un-Islamic -- and may become law by the end of this month.
      "For sure, this bill will not be rejected in the Expediency Council,"
      said Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, a cleric in the city of Qom who is
      close to Khamenei. "The supreme leader has expressed his support for
      it. There is a fatwa determining that blood money should be equal."
      The estimated 300,000 Baha'is in Iran are denied permission to
      worship, hold office or carry out other communal affairs publicly or
      privately. They are banned from university education, they are denied
      most business and professional licenses, and their property is often
      confiscated. .. Iranian women also will not benefit from the blood
      money reform. They receive only half the payment due Muslim men (or
      1/26 if they are female members of the three minority religions).


      Shiite religious leaders can hold many different titles - 05 Dec 03

      Iraqi resistance deeply divided over Saddam's role - 08 Dec 03
      Hariss al-Dari, a former professor of Islamic Sharia law at Baghdad
      university and a Sunni tribal leader, noted that "Islamist guerrillas
      are against Saddam because he persecuted them". He accused "the
      Americans of inflating the role of Saddamists to link the guerrillas
      to terrorism." "The Islamist resistance recruits in the mosques and
      does not need financing because its members are volunteers, the
      weapons are available and the population shelters them."
      An Islamist guerrilla organiser, who asked not to be named, said "a
      small number of fundamentalists coordinate with Saddam because from a
      religious point of view, he is in charge of the country and as head of
      state he has called for jihad (holy war)." The Islamist added that
      coordination took place mainly in the supply of weapons.
      The third faction, the nationalists, refuses any cooperation with the
      ousted leader but does coordinate at a local level with the Islamists,
      said Abu Hazem, a nationalist combattant.
      All the factions minimised the role of the followers of the
      puritanical Wahhabi Islamic sect and non-Iraqi Arab combattants,
      without denying their presence.

      Iraq Set to Form War Crimes Tribunal - 06 Dec 03
      Human rights workers said the trials could include genocide cases -
      for a campaign against Kurds in northern Iraq in the 1980s, and for
      the draining of southern marshes in 1992 that drove many Shiites from
      their homes. They also could include cases against former Iraqi
      officials for the massacres of Shiites and Kurds in 1991, when those
      communities rose up against Saddam at the end of the Gulf War.
      The tribunal will use a combination of laws, according to people who
      have seen a draft of the plan, including the Iraqi penal code of 1969
      and the Iraqi criminal code of 1971. In addition, the new charges of
      genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity - taken from
      international courts - will be added, they said.
      "Any tribunal established on behalf of the Coalition Provisional
      Authority will not be able to rid itself of the perception and the
      fact that it is an instrument of American power," said Paul van Zyl of
      the International Center for Transitional Justice. "Any justice it
      dispenses will be of dubious legality and questionable legitimacy."
      Richard Dicker, director of the international justice program at Human
      Rights Watch, said he was concerned officials didn't consider bringing
      in judges who have worked on major war crimes trials in other
      countries. "After three decades of Baath Party rule, the capacity of
      Iraqi judges to conduct incredibly complicated trials has been greatly
      diminished," he said by telephone from New York. He said he worried
      about the tribunal's ability to provide fair trials. Two recent
      studies of the Iraqi judicial system, obtained by AP, describe a legal
      system riddled with corruption and incompetence. One was conducted in
      August by the United Nations; the other in June by the Justice
      Department. "A degraded justice system and inadequate and outdated
      legal framework is not capable of rendering fair and effective justice
      for violations of international humanitarian law and other serious
      criminal offenses involving the prior regime," the U.N. study said.
      But Sandra Hodgkinson, director of the coalition authority's human
      rights and justice office, said she believed an Iraqi court system -
      with some training from international experts - will work.
      Hundreds from Saddam regime will face war crimes tribunals - 06 Dec 03
      The law creating the tribunal - which could be passed as early as
      today - will be similar to proposals made in Washington in April, one
      member of Iraq's Governing Council said on Friday. It calls for Iraqi
      judges to hear cases presented by Iraqi lawyers, with international
      experts serving only as advisers. That would be starkly different from
      UN-sponsored tribunals set up to consider war crimes in the former
      Yugoslavia and in Rwanda. In those cases, international judges and
      lawyers have argued and decided cases.
      It remained unclear when the trials would begin. The coalition
      authority now holds at least 5,500 people in prisons, but it isn't
      known how many of those are war crimes suspects and how many are
      accused of common crimes.
      Prosecutors will draw on a huge and growing cache of documents seized
      from the former regime. Evidence will also come from the excavation of
      mass graves that dot the Iraqi landscape. Some 270 mass graves are
      believed to hold at least 300,000 sets of remains.


      Muslim scholars say Islam rejects all forms of terrorism - 07 Dec 03
      "Islam is an international religion which promotes justice and human
      rights, and rejects all forms of terrorism," Muslim scholars agreed at
      the end of a two-day conference that ended in Amman late Thursday.
      More than 150 Islamic scholars from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and
      Palestine gathered to address a wide range of issues, including
      sectarian fanaticism, and extremism among followers of the different
      Muslim theological and jurisprudence schools. The meeting, according
      to organisers, aimed to establish a common ground among Muslims,
      regardless of their sect.
      At the conclusion of the conference, the participants announced a plan
      to set up a fatwa comprising senior scholars in Bilad Al Sham. In the
      research paper he presented on Thursday, Wahbi Zuheili criticised
      clerics for their failure to stand up to social, economic and
      political changes influencing and involving the Muslim world. Among
      some of these challenges, according to the Sharia professor, are
      terrorism, globalisation, secularism and fragmentation in the Islamic
      world, in addition to the Palestinian and Iraqi issues. Rajih Kurdi, a
      sharia professor at the University of Jordan, called for a revision of
      Islamic education curricula and that of Sharia faculties at
      universities in the Muslim world, so that these syllabi begin to deal
      with contemporary issues from an Islamic perspective. He also urged
      more attention on the quality of sharia students.


      US vision of democracy in Mideast flawed, say Islamist thinkers
      .. - 07 Dec 03
      International scholars and Islamist thinkers accused Washington
      yesterday of trying to impose a flawed vision of democracy on the
      Middle East that was biased and doomed to failure. The delegates told
      the opening session of a three-day conference on the role of Islamic
      groups in political reform in the Middle East [organized by Al-Watan
      newspaper and the US Carnegie Endowment for International Peace] that
      any reform process that was not home-grown was destined to fail. "The
      idea of imposing an agenda from outside is completely rejected,
      especially as the administration behind this project has a position
      that is deviant, extremist and biased against the cause of the Arabs
      and Muslims," said Abou Al Illa Madhi, manager of the Egypt-based
      International Studies Centre.
      John Esposito of the US-based Centre for Muslim-Christian
      Understanding, said many viewed Washington's talk of democracy with
      great cynicism. "They're wondering whether or not, along with military
      and economic options, democracy is simply being used as a tactic to
      redraw the map of the Middle East," the author and academic said.
      Marina Ottaway, a conference organiser and Johns Hopkins University
      lecturer, said Washington wanted to democratise Arab states but feared
      a democratic process could bring about Islamist governments hostile to
      the US. "So there is this continuous ambivalence which is very much
      reflected in US policy."


      Mosque takeovers will hurt Umno more - 08 Dec 03
      In recent months, Umno has embarked on a mission to rid mosques and
      suraus of what its leaders called activities and abuse by PAS and its
      sympathisers. In Selangor, the government of Menteri Besar Mohd Khir
      Toyo has sent out its over-zealous Islamic officials to take over the
      running of mosques from what he has called unprofessional people. He
      claimed that the move was to put into motion an administrative
      machinery to better govern mosques for the good of local Muslims.
      Everybody knows that it is just a ploy to replace existing
      officer-bearers, whom he considers as PAS supporters, with Umno men.
      Firstly, it is a common secret that mosques are regularly frequented
      by PAS sympathisers. It is true that Umno people also pray at mosques
      but from my observation, their numbers are small and they can only be
      seen at a few occasions like when the Sultan or MB were present. This
      is the true character of Umno Muslims who only use mosques as a means
      to an end and not as a way of life (addin).
      The recent seizure of the mosque in Bangi was unfortunate as the
      government had refused to accept the office-bearers whom the people
      wanted. Currently, not many people go to pray at the mosque and many
      are being turned away by the activities which include inviting guest
      speakers who only speak good of government policies and nothing else.

      'Most men in Terengganu prefer young single mums' - 04 Dec 03
      Thee State Assembly was told Wednesday that most men in Terengganu
      prefer to take unmarried women or young single mothers with few
      children as their life partners. State Social Welfare and Health
      Committee Chairman, Abu Bakar Abdullah, said reports from the Women
      Affairs and Communal Relations Committee showed that old single
      mothers with many children were not wooed because the men preferred to
      marry unmarried women and single mothers who were young and had few
      kids. However, the PAS Government gave an assurance to single mothers
      in the State that they would be better looked after in future, he said
      when winding up the 2004 State Budget. On Tuesday, PAS Assemblyman for
      Paka Satiful Bahari Mamat proposed that the State Government launch a
      polygamy campaign to help reduce the number of single mothers in
      Terengganu, which currently stands at more than 4,000, to ease their
      burden, especially poverty.

      [Terengganu] Probe timber concession to woman - 04 Dec 03
      The state Hisbah (ombudsman) has been urged to investigate the
      awarding of a timber concession to a company owned by a 26-year-old
      woman. Tengku Putera Tengku Awang (BN–Telemong) claimed that the
      woman was only a sawmill worker. "I'm not sure how she could afford
      to raise the RM1.5mil to pay the state government for the concession,"
      he said when seeking clarification to a reply from state Economic
      Development, Petroleum, Industrialisation and Human Resource Committee
      chairman Datuk Mustafa Ali at the state assembly yesterday. The issue
      was raised by Rosol Wahid (BN–Ajil), who claimed that a young woman
      had been granted a timber concession involving 2,631 ha of land in
      Merang, Setiu. "Congratulations to the state government for making an
      instant millionaire of this person, who is from Kuala Berang," he
      said. Showing records obtained from the Companies Commission of
      Malaysia, Rosol said the company was only registered in July. Yet, it
      managed to bag the concession within four months, he added.
      PAS government: No individual got concession - 05 Dec 03
      The Terengganu PAS government has denied a press report that it had
      given a timber concession in Setiu to a 26-year-old female factory
      worker. State Economic, Petroleum, Industrial and Human Resources
      Committee chairman Datuk Mustafa Ali said the state government had
      never given any logging concession to any individual. The 2,600 ha
      concession in question had been given to the Terengganu Foundation –
      the only foundation to which the state government had given land and
      timber concessions to work on to source funds for its education


      Chief Imam Wants Legislation On Discrimination Against HIV/Aids
      Victims http://allafrica.com/stories/200312040381.html - 04 Dec 03
      .. [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      As campaigns for awareness and societal change of attitude towards
      people living with the dreaded pandemic HIV/AIDS intensifies, the
      Chief Imam of the National Mosque, Abuja, Ustaz Musa Muhammed, has
      called for a Bill eliminating all forms of discrimination against
      HIV/AIDS victims. The Chief Imam gave this suggestion in Abuja before
      the World Aids Day observed on Monday. According to Ustaz Musa
      Muhammadu, the National Action Committee Against AIDS (NACA) should
      spearhead a bill to the National Assembly which should aim at
      safeguarding people living with the disease. "NACA should ensure that
      victims are not relieved of their jobs. They should go from ministry
      to ministry and other establishments and find out those who are
      retrenched or relieved of their jobs because of their HIV status so
      that they can fight for them and ensure their reinstatement," he

      Credibility of Sharia law is in jeopardy - Bauchi State AG - 05 Dec 03
      .. [Mallam Aliyu Habib is the Attorney- General and Commissioner
      of Justice of Bauchi State].
      Q: Though the expanded Sharia is practiced in your state, it has not
      attracted the kind of controversy witnessed in other states. What
      would you say is responsible for this?
      A: It is a question of attitude and approach. The expanded scope of
      Bauchi State was handled in a much more sober and reflective manner
      because of the sizeable population of non-Muslims in the state who are
      quite vociferous. To avoid the controversy that took place in other
      states, we took every body along. Let me give you an example, which is
      unique to Bauchi State in respect to the implementation of the Sharia
      code. The Sharia Commission in Bauchi State decided that it would
      discourage the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks and it is
      there in the law. But how to go about its implementation was another
      matter. But with the active support of the governor, the Sharia
      implementation committee was given a huge amount of money with which
      it was meant to induce the sellers of alcoholic drinks to engage in
      other trades
      The implementation of Sharia in Bauci State is being used for
      religious reorientation, social engineering and reorientating the
      society towards achieving a moral goal. It does not require harshness
      or high handedness but persuasion. If you stop an alcoholic trader
      from selling his goods, what else does he do? The government provided
      about N25 million [EUR 150.000,-] to alcoholic sellers requesting them
      to engage in other trades. They were made to realise that they would
      make more money and have access to credit facilities if they engage in
      other trades.
      Q: Critics of the Sharia legal code argue that only people of the
      lower social status are the victims of the law. Why are the elites not
      being brought before the Sharia law?
      A: Honestly I must confess that to some extent that observation is
      true. In almost all the states that controversial cases have been
      brought to court, you will discover that most of the people that were
      involved are poor rural folks who are either illiterate who do not
      know their rights. That is the greatest challenge in the
      implementation of the Sharia legal system in Nigeria.

      Sharia: Kano Moves Against Pornography - 04 Dec 03
      In line with its resolve to fully implement the Sharia Legal Code,
      Kano State Government 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.
      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.

      [Kano] Queen's Trip Was Cancelled Because We Are Sharia State
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200312070076.html [Weekly Trust - Kaduna]
      .. [Kano Commissioner of Information] - 06 Dec 03
      I do not believe it was cancelled for security reasons as postulated
      by the authorities at the federal level, it must be due to some
      elements in power who said we are a Sharia state, so she [= British
      Queen] should not come.

      [Kano] Sharia commission probes harassment of female students
      http://www.mtrustonline.com/dailytrust/sharia08122003.htm - 08 Dec 03
      The Kano State Sharia Commission is set to probe alleged harassment of
      female Muslim students of the Nigerian Law School for wearing veils. A
      member of the commission, Alhaji Munzali Hanga, announced this at a
      news briefing in Kano. He said the affected students from all the
      states of the federation had been denied entry into the Bar Dinner at
      the Lagos, Abuja and Kano campuses of the school. Entry into the Bar
      Dinner was a pre-condition for any law student before being called to
      the bar, he pointed out. Hanga stated that he was not aware of any law
      at the institution which prohibited a particular mode of dressing.

      Niger Flogs Six for Drunkenness - 05 Dec 03
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200312050162.html [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      Six persons in Niger State were flogged publicly by the state liquor
      board for allegedly consuming the banned liquid.
      The board chairman further stated that besides this operation, some
      cases have also been referred to the board's mobile court for hearing.
      Similarly, Barrister Awwal Bida told journalists that revenue realised
      from fines has declined from N1.2 million naira [EUR 7.130,-] since
      October to N359,000. [EUR 2.132,- ] "This development reflects the
      increased activity by the board as they are less offenders who
      contravene liquor laws in the state now," he said.

      Zamfara Denies Teaching Arabic - 03 Dec 03
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200312030493.html [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      The Zamfara State government has denied allegations that it has
      introduced Arabic language in public schools to intimidate non-
      Muslims. A statement signed by the Director of press affairs, Alhaji
      Ibrahim Magaji, and made available to Daily Trust in Gusau, explained
      that the policy of religion in the state does not affect non-Muslims.


      Confessions of a failed jihadi - 05 Dec 03

      Violence against women unabated - 06 Dec 03
      The existence of the Punjab Prevention of Domestic Violence bill of
      2003 and the Hudood Ordinance bill point at positive attempts to curb
      violence against women. But, an analysis of four months of data on
      violent crime by the Citizens' Commission for Human Development (CCHD)
      indicates close relatives, family, friends or neighbours commit most
      crimes against women. The increase in the number of incidents of
      honour killing, gender-based violence and socio-cultural related abuse
      reveal that violent practices against women are difficult to stop,
      despite government action on a few cases.

      Violence, including murder, rape, physical violence, suicide, burning,
      and kidnapping, remains rampant at the grass root level in Pakistani
      society, according to a press release from CCHD on Friday. At least
      211 women were murdered, 183 kidnapped, 177 raped, 128 were physically
      abused, 116 committed suicide and 63 were burnt or had acid thrown on
      them by their relatives between July and October 2003. According to
      CCHD, 62 women were murdered during July, 62 in August, 61 in
      September, and 26 women in October. Their data indicated that 37 women
      were murdered by their husbands, 23 by brothers, 16 by in-laws, 10 by
      fathers, 7 by uncles, 5 by sons, and 113 women by other relatives.
      Out of the 183 kidnapped, 49 women were taken in July, 43 in August,
      45 in September, and 46 in October. Most of the kidnappers were either
      close relatives, friends or from victim's neighbourhood.

      [NWFP] Commission to Islamize education system - 07 Dec 03
      The NWFP government has constituted a commission to ensure the
      province's education system is consistent with the Shariat, an
      official statement said. The commission, the statement said, would
      guarantee character-building in the light of Islamic injunctions.
      The commission would be headed by Mufti Ghulamur Rehman of Jamia
      Usmania, Nauthia, Peshawar. The statement said the commission would
      submit its recommendations as envisaged in Section 7 of the Shariah
      Act, 2003.
      NWFP Education Minister Maulana Fazle Ali has complained that
      well-known nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan had expressed his
      inability to head the provincial Educational Reforms Commission after
      having agreed to do so earlier. The commission was notified here the
      other day. In place of Dr Qadeer, the new chairman of the commission
      is Maulana Ghulamur Rahman, a prominent religious scholar, who also
      headed the Nifaz-i-Shariat Council. The council was formed to make
      recommendations for enforcing Shariat in the NWFP.


      Geneva : A Blow To Peace - 07 Dec 03
      The so-called Geneva Accord, signed last week by Yossi Beilin, a
      former Israeli justice minister, and Yasser Abd-Rabbo, a former aide
      to Yasser Arafat, has met with a mixture of childlike enthusiasm by
      some and wizened cynicism by others.
      A more official condemnation came from the Palestinian Dar al-Fatwa
      (House of Edicts) which declared the accord to be "haraam" (forbidden)
      and a violation of "the sacred principles of Islamic justice."


      Saudi killer saved by victim's family - 05 Dec 03
      A convicted Saudi Arabian murderer has been spared execution after
      tribal sheikhs persuaded his victim's father to accept five million
      riyals [EUR 1,1 m] in return for his life, Saudi newspapers report.
      Al-Watan newspaper said on Friday 22-year-old Saeed bin Manea
      al-Harith killed Abdallah bin Jakhdab al-Kawal after an argument at
      work last year. Thousands of men from the convicted murderer's tribe
      besieged the Kawal family house in South Dhahran in southern Saudi
      Arabia at dawn on Thursday to try to save him from his punishment.
      After several hours of talks Kawal's father, overruling the wishes of
      his wife, agreed to spare the killer. He originally demanded 10
      million riyals compensation, along with 10 cars and 10 daggers, the
      paper said. Under Islamic laws, relatives of a murder victim can
      accept "blood money" instead of the execution of the offender.


      Pledge, assurance not enough to give hope to Singapore Malays
      .. - 06 Dec 03
      Top of the list is the issue of loyalty of the Malay-Muslim community.
      The challenge has become more testing following the arrests of several
      members of the community for supposedly being members of the banned
      terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah that has been blamed for the bombings
      and alleged planned terror acts in the region and in Singapore.
      Members of the community also form the highest number of unemployed in
      the country as most employers blatantly refuse to hire Malay-Muslim
      workers, citing their inability to speak Mandarin as the reason, and
      preferring, instead, to hire foreigners who speak the language. The
      community also tops the class in the number of serial divorcees, or
      those who have gone through two, or more divorces. The problem
      afflicts mainly the very poor who are either unemployed or earn less
      than S$500 (RM1,100) [EUR 240,-] a month. The Syariah Court, which
      administers Muslim marriages and divorces, blames the problem on
      younger men who marry or remarry for short-term goals, mostly to
      satisfy physical needs, and the low educational level of the couples.
      Social workers, however, insist that the blame should be on the court
      for its eagerness to settle marital problems through divorce, rather
      than help save a marriage. Still, there is hope for the community,
      which is recognised as the city-state's indigenous race.


      Muslim leaders vow to reject proposed family law if it opposed Sharia
      .. [New Vision - Kampala] - 05 Dec 03
      Muslim leaders have said they will not accept the Domestic Relations
      Bill if it contradicts the Islamic marriage and family law. Meeting
      members of the Uganda Women Parliamentarians Association (UWOPA) at
      Parliament yesterday, seven Muslim sheikhs said the Islamic law
      adequately caters for their marriage and family concerns. They said
      the bill has British origins and could not adequately cater for
      Islamic concerns on marriage.
      "We have also been to school. There is no way you can say you can
      harmonize the Muslim marriage law with any other law. The law you are
      talking about is of British origin, which is a Christian country with
      the seat of the Church," said [Sheikh Imam] Kasozi [secretary of the
      Muslim Tabliq community].
      The meeting, however, ended prematurely, after the leaders rejected
      the debate as 'meaningless'. They said they could not go any further
      as they did not have copies of the Bill, and could not debate what
      they did not know.


      Muslim doubts over training scheme - 08 Dec 03
      Proposals are being drawn up by the Home Office to educate Muslim
      community leaders. The state-funded course, equivalent to an A-level,
      is being developed with the Learning and Skills Council and aims to
      train Muslims to become mosque leaders known as imams. Keighley MP Ann
      Cryer, who has spoken out against imams being brought to Britain with
      little English and no knowledge of local communities, said: "Many of
      the imams in West Yorkshire are part of the problem rather than the
      A Home Office spokesman said: "The courses will focus on professional
      and managerial skills and do not include theological training. The
      initiative responds to concerns within the Muslim community at the
      shortage of imams with knowledge and understanding of the needs of
      Muslims in Britain today." But Ayub Laher, vice-president of the
      Bradford Council for Mosques, said there was no substitute for imams
      from the sub-continent. It is too simplistic to say we can train the
      graduates coming through the Islamic colleges, because they need
      guidance from the overseas scholars."


      [California] Islam has an African-American face - 06 Dec 03
      At its core, the Islam practiced at Masjidul Waritheen [East Oakland
      mosque] is no different from what is practiced in Indonesia, India or
      Saudi Arabia. The Quran and the collected sayings of the Prophet
      Muhammad form the basis for all beliefs. But there are differences of
      interpretation, culture and history. Most African-American Muslims are
      converts; many feel they are returning to the religion of their
      ancestors, slaves who were Muslims. Many came to the faith through the
      Nation of Islam -- which even African-American Muslims consider to
      have Islamically heretical beliefs. Women also have a higher status
      and more visible presence in the mosque, and music plays a role.
      "A common misperception has been that they are Muslims in training,
      even though they are fully Muslim and they have a lot to offer," says
      Shahed Amanullah, 35, a child of Indian immigrants and a spokesman for
      United Muslims of America. While race and class play a role in the
      divisions, the historic tie many African-American Muslims have with
      the Nation of Islam and its quasi-Islamic beliefs is also a reason
      immigrant Muslims sometimes don't view African Americans as full
      followers of the faith. Remnants of that history are still visible. Go
      to Masjidul Waritheen on a Friday, the Muslim Sabbath, and you might
      see members selling everything from bean pies, strawberries and
      mangoes to soap, tea and vegan chocolate chip cookies. Such
      farmers-market scenes aren't part of immigrant mosques, but Masjidul
      Waritheen's congregants believe economic self-reliance is one more
      step on the straight path toward Islam.
      One of the most striking differences between today's immigrant and
      African-American Muslims involves the role of women. At Masjidul
      Waritheen, women follow the Quran's teachings on modest dress but also
      serve in leadership roles. Men and women mingle freely after services,
      sometimes exchanging hugs. Both genders pray in the same room -- rare
      in many immigrant mosques.

      [California] Muslim Football Team Names Spark Protest - 07 Dec 03
      It was planned as a way to bring young athletes together for a weekend
      of fun, but when participants in the Muslim Football tournament
      started naming their teams Intifada, Soldiers of Allah and Mujahideen,
      Jewish leaders took offense. Intifada means "uprising" in Arabic and
      is the term applied to suicide bombings and other attacks against
      Israelis in the Middle East. Mujahideen means holy warrior. Rabbi
      Bernie King, who lives in Irvine, said the teams' names undermined
      those who worked to have closer relations with Muslims. "Something
      like this ... tends to support those in the community who have
      suspicions about the real intent of Islam," King said.
      One of the Jan. 4 tournament's organizers said the names were meant to
      show support for Muslims in the Middle East, but also represent
      football bravado. "A lot of the kids on our team are from Palestinian
      origin," said Tarek Shawky, Intifada's 29-year-old captain and
      quarterback. "We are in solidarity with people in the uprising. It's
      about human rights and basic freedoms."


      Islamic banking growing, but faces challenges - 07 Dec 03
      Bankers in the Muslim world find that the biggest hurdles to the
      growth of Islamic banking are of their own making -- lack of
      regulation and local expertise, bankers said on Sunday. With available
      funds totalling an estimated $260 billion worldwide, Islamic banking
      has vast growth potential in a region where personal wealth is
      estimated at $1.1 trillion. "There is a great deal of demand. People
      like to invest their money according to their beliefs," said Rifaat
      Ahmed Abdelkarim, secretary general of Islamic Financial Services
      Board (IFSB).
      One shortcoming, according to experts, is the lack of clear regulation
      and guidelines to help central bankers supervise Islamic financial
      entities. "Islamic institutions have to abide by sharia, but does the
      regulatory environment support this? Such (shortcomings) expose
      Islamic banks to increased risks and affect their products,"
      Abdelkarim said. Abdelkarim's IFSB, whose job is to set prudential and
      supervisory standards for central banks in Islamic countries, has been
      trying to tackle a number of challenging issues, including capital
      adequacy, risk management and corporate governance. Yet at a meeting
      this weekend in Bahrain the body failed to so more than agree to set
      up one more working group to study new standards for corporate

      Another challenge, bankers say, is an insufficient pool of human
      resources to lead Islamic finance. "The region suffers from a shortage
      of financiers in general and Islamic banking experts in particular,"
      said Khalid Abdullah Janahi of Solidarity, a Gulf-based Islamic
      insurance company. "Governments have just discovered the wide interest
      in Islamic banking; it's something to keep their people happy. So why
      not pay more attention to it?" Janahi told Reuters. Experts also say
      Islamic banking needs to develop a wider variety of products to lure
      customers among the one billion Muslims worldwide.

      The growing importance of Islamically-structured bonds (Sukuk)
      .. [Jordan Times] - 07 Dec 03
      The interest of investors in the Islamically-structured debt
      instruments, commonly known as Sukuk, has been on the rise recently
      and demand for these instruments will continue to surge. The list of
      sovereign issuers of these bonds has grown to include Bahrain, Qatar,
      Lebanon, Turkey and Malaysia in addition to the Saudi-based Islamic
      Development Bank. Corporate issuers have also started to tap this
      market, with Emaar Properties and Tabreed, both of the United Arab
      Emirates (UAE), issuing Sukuks of $50 million and $100 million
      respectively. Not only Islamic fnancial institutions are seeking to
      invest in the Sharia-compliant bonds, but also the investment
      community at large is showing interest in these instruments.

      The Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA), the country's central bank, issued
      the first tradable Sukuks in September 2001. Since then the pace of
      issuance has quickened with the BMA tapping this market seven more
      times, brining the total value of the Sukuks issued by Bahrain close
      to the $1,000 million mark. There has been a $ 600 million sovereign
      issue from Malaysia that came to the market in June 2002, $400 million
      from the Islamic Development Bank issued in July 2003, $700 million
      from Qatar issued in September 2003 and Lebanon is planning a $200
      million issue before year end.
      The main reason for the success of Islamic bonds is that they offer a
      solution to one of the main problems that have slowed the growth of
      Islamic finance, that of liquidity management. Islamic financial
      institutions are not allowed to deposit the excess balances they have
      in short- term debt instruments, or to draw on the Interbank market
      for that purpose. As a result, most Islamic financial institutions end
      up having highly liquid balance sheets with rising liabilities, but
      only limited opportunities on the asset side. Sukuks have, over the
      past two years, been creating new venues for the short-term placement
      of funds.

      Sukuks must be asset-backed and as such they are structured as bundles
      of ijara, or leasing transactions. Sukuks are tradable because they
      are backed by real assets. Murabaha contracts, on the other hand, in
      which a client makes payment to a bank for a product that the bank has
      bought for the client cannot be traded because they represent money
      owed, not tangible assets. If an Islamic financial institution wants
      to tap the debt market in a Sharia-compliant way, a special purpose
      company needs to be established, call it Islamic Global Sukuk (IGS).
      The IGS will issue trust certificates or Sukuks to potential
      investors and will use the money raised to purchase a rent generating
      property from the Islamic financial institution. IGS will then rent
      the property back to the financial institution for say a five-year
      period corresponding to the duration of the trust certificates or
      Sukuks, and will keep the property or the asset in trust for the
      holders of the Sukuks. The lease rental payments from the Islamic
      financial institution to the IGS will exactly match the periodic
      payments due to the holders of the Sukuks. These rental payments are
      not fixed and may be calculated based on six months US dollar Libor
      plus a margin. All claims due to IGS, the special purpose company
      issuing the Sukuks, including the rent that will fund the periodic
      payments on the trust certificates are a direct, unconditional and
      irrevocable obligations of the Islamic financial institution under the
      agreement. The Islamic financial institution is also obliged to
      purchase from the IGS upon the maturity of the lease, the asset or the
      property leased at the agreed exercise price which will be used for
      the repayment of the principle to the holders of the Sukuks.
      For example, Bahrain's $250 million Sukuks issued in May 2003 is
      backed by an ijara lease on the country's airport, Malaysia's global
      Sukuk, launched in June 2002, is similarly backed by an ijara lease on
      a single piece of government property. The money raised by the
      government of Qatar will be partly used to finance the construction of
      the Hamad Medical City. The $50 million Islamic bonds arranged by the
      Bahrain-based Liquidity Management Centre for Emaar Properties of
      Dubai will be used to fund Emaar's expanding portfolio of new
      commercial and residential projects in and around Dubai.

      [Bahrain] USD 300m Islamic insurer - 07 Dec 03
      Today marks the official launch of Solidarity, a USD 300m Islamic
      insurance and assurance company established in Bahrain. It claims to
      be the largest Islamic insurance company in the world, and is a first
      for the Kingdom. The company will offer a wide range of Takaful
      insurance products.

      [Bahrain] Murabaha offer by Noriba Bank - 08 Dec 03
      Noriba Bank has announced the launch of Range Murabaha Investments
      (RaMI), an innovative new product that offers capital preservation
      while allowing investors the opportunity to optimise the risk-adjusted
      returns on their short-term investments. RaMI is a Sharia-compliant
      structured yield investment alternative which provides investors with
      the potential to earn up to 10 per cent per annum, significantly
      higher than normal 'Murabaha' (Sharia-compliant trade finance)
      investments. RaMI investors select their benchmark commodity or
      currency and its performance within a selected price range band,
      thereby planning for a higher overall return within a given time
      period. Periodic Murabaha trades are carried out over the life of the
      investment. Once the individual Murabaha deferred sales proceeds are
      due, any profit arising from the investment is paid to the investor.
      The original amount is re-invested in another Murabaha transaction,
      and so on.

      [Saudi] NCB Launches Five New Islamic Funds - 08 Dec 03
      The National Commercial Bank (NCB) has launched five Islamic mutual
      funds, continuing what it calls its history of innovation. Three are
      new risk-profiled funds called Al-Manara Portfolios -- Al-Manara
      Conservative Growth, Al-Manara Medium Growth and Al-Manara High
      Growth. The other two funds are the Al-Ahli Diversified Saudi Riyal
      Trade Fund and the Al-Ahli Diversified US Dollar Trade Fund.
      The Al-Manara portfolio range offers three diversified investment
      solutions provided by NCB with its chosen sub-advisers. The
      stock-picking skills of such managers as Wellington, Gulf
      International Bank, Bakheet and Deutsche Bank are combined with NCB's
      extensive experience in Islamic investing. "The Al-Manara Conservative
      Growth Portfolio is a solution for investors who are still cautious
      about the risks of equity markets but who realize that cash-only funds
      cannot, in the current environment, provide a sufficiently high
      return." The Medium Growth Portfolio is a solution for investors who
      are prepared to commit half of their investment portfolio to equity
      markets, but appreciate that it is sensible to diversify across a wide
      range of markets and currencies and countries. The High Growth
      Portfolio is suited for investors who understand and appreciate that
      equities, although volatile, are the asset class that has the highest
      probability of delivering significant capital growth. Such investors
      typically take a longer-term view of returns.

      "We already manage the Al-Ahli Saudi Riyal Trade Fund which, at over $
      3 billion, is the world's largest Islamic mutual fund. We conducted
      research recently which made it clear that investors were looking for
      more innovation and higher returns. We now offer two new funds -- one
      denominated in riyal and one in dollars -- which are managed to
      deliver higher returns to investors without taking on the risk of
      equity markets." "The two Al-Ahli Diversified Funds are low-risk
      specialist, open-end funds designed for investors who wish to employ
      the manager's full discretion in the search for high returns from
      trade transactions which conform to murabaha principles and from
      Islamic bonds -- sukuk -- and other instruments."

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