92Sharia News Watch 92
- Dec 21, 2003Sharia News Watch 92 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
The Sharia Newswatch provides an almost weekly update of news quotes
on Sharia (Islamic Law) & related subjects, as appearing on the major
news- searchengines. All editions :
Islamic law at center of Afghan debate - 20 Dec 03
The new charter, designed to set the stage for presidential elections
next summer, caps a two-year U.S.-sponsored drive to put the
impoverished country back on its feet after more than two decades of
war. But delegates to the grand council appear deeply divided over the
nature of the new charter being debated under a huge tent on a Kabul
The 500 delegates, including 100 women, drawn from across the
ethnically divided country, have come together to debate the draft
constitution put forward by the government of President Hamid Karzai.
The draft calls for a moderate Islamic state dominated by a strong
presidency. That has drawn criticism from Islamic hard-liners who want
a structure of laws based on Islamic law. Liberals are pushing for
Western-style guarantees of human rights, including those of women.
"These religious people say some articles are not in accordance with
Islamic law. Some of the women are worried." Abdul Raouf Mukhlis, a
delegate from Herat in the far west, complained there is no mention of
Islamic law, or Sharia. "The word 'Sharia' should be added" in the
constitution's second article, which enshrines Islam as the official
religion, he said by telephone during a break in the closed-door
proceedings. The delegates divided into 10 groups Thursday to debate
the draft article by article.
The United Nations gave Malalai Joya, from western Farah province,
armed guards after she denounced as "criminals" faction leaders such
as former President Burhanuddin Rabbani and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a
deeply conservative Islamist. Both men command respect for their role
in the resistance against Soviet occupation in the 1980s. But they
also participated in the ruinous civil war that followed. Delegates
said yesterday that Joya was spending her nights away from her
quarters on the campus and was escorted to the council tent by U.N.
Rights groups worry that references in the draft to citizens' rights
could be overridden if Islamic conservatives control the legislature
or the supreme court. Western observers also are concerned that
moderates and independents are outnumbered by those loyal to Muslim
[president] Karzai said that about 60 articles in the 160-article
draft constitution had already been agreed on by many of the
subcommittees. Delegates said 30 more articles are being debated on
Saturday in closed session meetings. The draft calls for a moderate
Islamic state dominated by a strong presidency, and has drawn
criticism from Muslim hard-liners who want Islamic law used as a base.
Liberals are pushing for Western-style guarantees of human rights,
including those of women.
"It would be a success if the current draft remains intact," said
Almut Wieland-Karimi of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a German
think-tank that sponsors young Afghan democrats.Still, other delegates
said there was a spirit of compromise. One committee supposedly wants
an amendment that spells out the rights of women, for instance, while
others expressed frustration at the slow pace of the proceedings, now
in their fifth day.
Albanians And Islam: Between Existence And Extinction - 20 Dec 03
Albanians are the biggest Muslim nation of Europe. It is believed that
they derive from the ancient Illyrian tribes which inhabited Europe
2000 years before. With the advent of Pax Islamica in Europe under the
Osmanlis, they were the first Balkanic nation to be integrated in the
Ottoman Empire and massively convert in Islam.
At our present days, Albanians live scattered in three Balkanic
countries; in Albania, Kosova and Macedonia. Their countries were
created after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First Balkanic
War of 1913 from the Balkanic Alliance of Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and
Montenegro. While Kosova and Macedonia were incorporated into
Yugoslavia after the First Balkanic War, Albania for its part was
projected to be a 'buffer state' from Austria and Italy against any
Slavic expansion in the Adriatic Sea.
According to Albania's 1967 census, 73% of its population is Muslim
(70% are Sunni, while the rest are suffi and Bektashi followers), 14%
Orthodox and 10% Catholics. Albania's total territory is 28.000 km2.
Its capital city is Tirana, founded in the 17th century by an Albanian
Pasha who originally named it Teheran.
The worst persecution of Albanian Muslims came in 1967 when its
communist regime decided to abolish any religious freedom in the
country and declared Albania atheist state. During the decades of
communist horrors which lasted until 1991, many Albanian Hojas (Imams)
and Dervishes were assassinated, imprisoned or exiled by the regime.
Their temples demolished, and religious literature banned and
destroyed. Communist's massacres against Albanian Muslims sent its
after 1990 Muslim generation to wake up in total jahiliyah about its
Islamic past. The Muslims majority of pre-1967 Albania had by 1991 a
very vague idea about its Islamic identity.
However the coup d'etat which happened in Albania in 1997 with the
interference of Greece against the democratic regime of Sali Berisha,
brought the ex-communists in power again. They in return started a
second crusade against Islam in the country, which sent most of the
Arab - Islamic organizations operating in the country to be closed.
Albania's newly established communist government had West's consent
and backing on demolishing the newly established Islamic organizations
in the country and slowing the process of re-Islamization of
The few madrasas which the Albanian Muslim Community (AMC) has, run in
very poor conditions. Their staff is often very poorly educated, its
madrasas are often without running water, cleanness, necessary cloth
for students and books. Since its establishment in 1991 the Albanian
Muslim Community did not manage to constitute a real "Moslem Church"
for the revival of Islam in Albania.
Part of AMC's weakness comes partly from the financial poverty on
which this NGO runs. Even that the Albanian Muslim Community inherits
many WAKF lands and estates from pre-communist Albania, it has not
managed to recover those properties for its own use.
The Albanian Muslim Community has witnessed a tremendous shock in its
identity after the new realities of after 911. In line with the global
hysteria against Islam, even the Albanian state apparatus was in many
cases involved in open crusades against Muslims of Albania. For
example: in January 13, 2003 the AMC's general secretary was
assassinated in his office. This enigmatic killing sent the state
apparatus and secret services of Albania to go in an open rampage
against Muslims of the country. The state backed press accused them of
being fundamentalist. The offices of the Albanian Muslim Community
were raided in many occasions and their staff taken into custody
without any court order. Common believers and imams were taken from
their mosques having their fingerprints and pictures taken as
suspects, even that until today no single proof has been found to
incriminate Albanian Muslims in this heinous crime.
The Albanian Muslims of Tirana do not have any private college where
they can send their covered daughters, when they get fired from the
state schools for keeping their Islamic headscarf. Albanian Muslims,
unlike the Christians do not have any radio for their community,
neither any newspaper. The only Muslim newspaper which was created in
the country after 1991 (Drita Islame), at present is not being sold
and put in circulation by the AMC.
Somali wins new IRB hearing for illegitimate son - 17 Dec 03
A Somali man who was forced to undergo DNA testing before he could
bring his three children to Canada -- then discovered one of them was
fathered by someone else -- has won a new immigration hearing.
Authorities had refused to let the third teenage child immigrate and
join his father, noting the law requires a blood tie. But the Federal
Court of Canada has ruled officials should never have based their
decision solely on the "intrusive" DNA analysis and must reconsider
the unique case.
Making matters more complicated, the father believes Muslim law bars
him from adopting the child, which might have made sponsoring the
16-year-old as an immigrant easier. The federal court judge ordered
that the Immigration and Refugee Board, which had earlier rejected his
appeal of the Immigration Canada decision, tackle the case again, this
time without considering the DNA results. Making the tests all but
mandatory was "improper and unfair" of the government, said Judge
Heneghan. "The intrusion into an individual's privacy that occurs with
DNA testing means that it is a tool that must be carefully and
selectively utilized," she said.
[Geraldine Sadoway, his lawyer] said requiring DNA proof of biological
ties simply because war-torn Somalia does not have formal birth
records discriminates against people such as M.A.O. Even in Canada,
most parents can register births without a genetic test, she noted.
And the rule of thumb in Canadian family law is to avoid DNA testing
unless absolutely necessary, the lawyer said.
Judge Heneghan stressed that the law does require that sponsored
children be biologically linked to the parents. But she said the
requirement for DNA testing was not appropriate.
Interpreting dreams according to Sharia - 21 Dec 03
A government website dedicated to interpretting people's dreams has
seen a huge jump in visitors since it was featured in Gulf News. The
Dubai Department of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs launched two online
services to give people a religious understanding of what their dreams
mean according to the Islamic Sharia. Visitors can gain fatwas or
religious instructions by submitting an overview of their dream and
some details about themselves. Adeeb Mohammed bin Lootah, the
secretary of the Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Council at the Department,
said the department is keen to provide a better alternative to many
misleading interpretations provided by "amateurs and charlatans".
The dreams homepage is available on the department's website
"We are offering the service in light of one of the Prophet Mohammed's
(PBUH) Hadeeth that supposedly means that good dreams come from God
but bad ones come from the devil. Our interpretations or fatwas are
extracted from the Holy Quran, Prophet's Sunna and based on clear
scientific methods rather than hallucinations and superstitions."
Danish Muslim dismissed for wearing headscarf loses court case
.. - 19 Dec 03
Europe's controversy over the wearing of Islamic headscarves took a
new twist yesterday when Denmark's high court ruled against a
supermarket cashier who was sacked for wearing a hijab. The
precedent-setting judgment, which runs contrary to earlier Danish
court rulings, is likely to trigger further heated debate about the
rights of immigrant communities in Denmark, where there have been
The case began two years ago when Najla Ainouz, a 25-year-old woman of
Moroccan origin, lost her job at a Copenhagen supermarket after she
adopted a stricter form of Islam that required her to keep her hair
and neck covered in public. Her employer, the Fotex supermarket chain,
said her headscarf breached its established dress code, which also
bans prominent Christian symbols as well as gaudy hair colourings and
nose rings. Ms Ainouz disagreed and, with the backing of her trade
union, sued Fotex for unfair dismissal under Danish anti-
discrimination law. "I want to go to heaven and I won't do so if I
don't wear my headscarf," she told the court.
Yesterday's ruling came just one day after DSG [Denmark's second-
largest supermarket group] bowed to public pressure and lifted a ban
on another type of headgear - seasonal Santa Claus hats. Mr Hoppe said
it was "thought provoking" that other workers were allowed to wear
Santa hats to mark a Christian holiday.
France's Hijab Ban Draws World Criticism - 20 Dec 03
A planned French legislation to ban hijab in public schools has drawn
a barrage of Muslim criticism worldwide, with British Muslims saying
such laws are only issued by "authoritarian governments and not
liberal democracies". The Chairman of the Union of Islamic
Organizations in Europe, Ahmad al-Rawi, said the move is evidence that
France has misinterpreted secularism and tailored it for its own
requirements in a sharp contrast to the situation in other secular
European countries, notably Britain. "Although Britain and France
are both secular, the former distinguished itself by adopting a set of
pro-freedom concepts long time ago and has been dealing with Islam and
Muslims decently," he told IslamOnline.net. "On the other extreme,
France regards secularism as another religion that is completely
different from other religions," Rawi added.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the proposed ban
would restrict the ability of French Muslims, Jews and Christians to
freely exercise their religious beliefs. The Washington-based civil
rights and advocacy group said the move would also contravene the
French constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Opposition also poured out from this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner
Iranian Shirin Ebadi, who said the French law would only endorse
"Islamic extremism". "If there is a law, only fundamentalists will
profit from it," Ebadi was quoted by the BBC News Online as saying.
"The better the girls are educated and the more they go to school, the
more emancipated they will be," she added.
[Tamil Nadu] Muslim women to build their own mosque - 18 Dec 03
Refusing to tolerate the ill-treatment meted out by their men, some
Muslim women of Tamil Nadu have decided to build their own mosque with
its own jamaat, sending tremors in the state's conservative Muslim
society. Normally, under Islamic laws, women are not allowed to enter
mosques. Coming together under the banner of 'Chaaya', a voluntary
organisation, these women intend to build a mosque at Parambu village
in Pudukottai district. The mosque will house a jamaat for women. "The
local jamaat has given us land for the mosque, which will be an
all-women affair," said Sherifa, convenor of Chaaya. "This decision
was taken after we found male-dominated jamaats handing down
discriminatory verdicts in family disputes, especially in divorce
matters," said Sherifa. "When a man seeks divorce, only his case is
heard by the jamaat. The wife is never called for a hearing, saying
that women are not permitted inside mosques, where jamaats usually
sit." To combat one-sided talaqs, Chaaya has urged Muslim wives not to
accept divorce notices that come from jamaats and instead take
cognisance only of court orders.
The mosque will be a proper affair with minarets. There will be a
woman moulvi versed in the Koran and Islamic tenets. "A survey
conducted by us showed that in one out of every five Muslim household,
there is at least one case of desertion by the husband or instant
talaq or second marriage by the man, citing some mental or physical
disability of the first wife," said Rasheeda. "And when these matters
were taken to the police station, they asked us to settle them with
the jamaat, which are controlled by men." The development has shaken
the 'other side'. "Normally women are not allowed into mosques because
their presence could disturb men during prayers. Jamaats have been
asked to settle disputes outside mosques so that they can hear the
women's side. This arrangement is not really necessary," was the
response of Mohammed Sikandar, secretary of a jamaat in Chennai.
All-India Muslim Personal Law Board vice-chairman Maulana Kalbe Sadiq
said, "there is no harm in constructing such a mosque. Women have the
right to construct mosques and offer prayers in the jamaat."
Women will be freed from the cleric-controlled jamaats. Will get a new
social space within the Muslim society. Number of one-sided Talaaqs
and social inequities will diminish. These mosques can help propagate
education and health among Muslim women.
Islam's All-Enveloping Hijab Is Hip in Indonesia - 18 Dec 03
In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, the Islamic
Hijab is hip, particularly among the rich and upwardly mobile. A walk
through upscale shopping malls like Plaza Senayan in the capital
Jakarta is a real eye-opener. Women are covering up, but with a
dazzling array of chic, colorful and often body-hugging Islamic
clothes, often complemented by the latest accessories. Many smart
department stores have opened separate sections for Islamic clothes
and stores offer an assortment of magazines and books dedicated to
design and Islamic dress for the modern woman. "Islamic dress has gone
upper class," says fashion designer Mira Aviva Zaki on the sidelines
of her show at Jakarta's Hilton Hotel. Although most Indonesians have
long opted for a relatively liberal interpretation of the Muslim dress
code, the basic rule of covering the body from head to toe still
applies. "But we have added more colors and styles," says Zaki.
And the latest styles are proving a real hit.
Long regarded as a staunch defender of Javanese mysticism, for most of
his tenure Suharto promoted pluralism, derived from the state ideology
of Pancasila. As such, Hijab was only incorporated in official uniform
at public schools and government services in the early 1990s, at a
time when Suharto -- in the twilight of his career -- was garnering
all the support he could. Prior to that, religious dress could result
in expulsion from school, or losing your jobs at a government office.
In 1990, when Suharto gave his blessing to the creation of an elite
Muslim group openly dedicated to the Islamization of Indonesia, public
perceptions of the Hijab started to change slowly. Ironically it was
Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, a business mogul and Suharto's eldest
daughter, who helped to erode the negative public image after she
decided to cover her head with loose scarves. But the boom in the
business of Muslim fashion came only after Suharto was forced to step
down in the face of the country's worst economic crisis in decades.
Muhammadiyah launches website - 20 Dec 03
The country second largest Muslim organization, Muhammadiyah, launched
a website for its Islam propagation council, the Majelis Tabligh dan
Dakwah Khusus (MTDK), at its headquarters here. Muhammadiyah chairman
Ahmad Syafii officiated at the launching ceremony for the website,
www.muhammadiyah-tabligh.or.id . During the event, Syafii expressed
the hope that the website would help Muslims from all over the world
access information on Muhammadiyah and the other information posted on
the site. According to Muchlas of the MTDK, the website provides a
variety of information on Muhammadiyah, such as the organization's
structure, profiles of its past and present leaders and essays on
Muslim scholars. "We also provide interactive media to enable them to
engage in two-way communication among themselves or with us."
Iraqis Exact Revenge on Baathists - 19 Dec 03
Iraqi sources with contacts among former and current security
officials estimate that about 50 senior figures in Hussein's
intelligence, military intelligence and internal security
organizations have been gunned down in recent months. There has been
an even larger toll among neighborhood party officials, such as Taee,
who are blamed for having informed on the local community during
Hussein's rule, these sources said. Neither the morgue nor officers
in Iraq's new police force -- who concede they have little interest in
probing these deaths -- have tallied the figures. But the phenomenon
is citywide, according to a survey of police stations, with numbers
varying widely from one district to another.
But only in recent weeks did the tempo of attacks accelerate as
Iraqis, frustrated with the slow progress of the court system and
fearing that Baathists may be seeking to reorganize, have increasingly
taken justice into their own hands, according to Iraqi security and
political sources. "We are an Eastern, tribal society with the
principle of vengeance. Revenge will be exacted," said Maj. Abbas Abed
Ali of the Baya police station in southwest Baghdad. He said at least
six Baathists have been murdered in his district since late November.
In Sadr City, a sprawling, hardscrabble neighborhood in eastern
Baghdad, police reported that the assassinations began about three
weeks ago and now number at least one or two a day, perhaps more. They
said some families do not disclose that the victims were Baathists.
"This is absolutely organized, but we don't know precisely who's
behind it," said Capt. Awad Nima, who heads police administration in
Sadr City. "These killings are a vendetta for the killings by the
Baath Party. . . . Would you expect those people who lost their sons
not to take any action?" Nima said the assassinations have centered
on Hussein followers implicated in violence, not all former party
members. The murders seem meticulously planned, and the perpetrators
leave behind no clues, he said. With few leads, detectives have made
little progress in figuring out who is killing the Baathists, but Nima
said this does not trouble him.
Many of those killed were former intelligence and internal security
officials who had been assigned over their careers to countering the
activities of Shiite political groups and their sponsors in
neighboring Iran, according to sources close to current and former
Foreign judges for Hussein criticized - 20 Dec 03
The appointment of international judges to a tribunal for Saddam
Hussein would undermine Iraqi sovereignty, Iraq's justice minister
said yesterday. Also, a radical Shiite cleric [Al-Sadr] said that an
independent religious tribunal should be set up to try Hussein and
that the court should include religious leaders from Kuwait and Iran,
which were invaded by the former dictator.
Iraq's radical Shiite cleric sets up tribunal to try Saddam -19 Dec 03
.. [Xinhua News Agency]
Iraq's radical Shiite cleric Moqtadar al-Sadr has set up a tribunal to
try the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, Qatar-based al-Jazeera
TV channel reported Friday. "This is an independent tribunal. It will
try Saddam Hussein," he told followers in a Friday sermon in the
southern city of Kufa. The court includes experts from the Hawza of
Najaf, Iraq's Shiite supreme religious authority, and the Hawza of
Iran, he said, adding representatives from Kuwait will also be
involved in the tribunal. Iraq's interim Justice Minister has insisted
that the former strongman, captured by US forces at the weekend,
should be tried in Iraq despite that Iran and Israel called for an
Shi'i-Sunni council set up to deal with "crises"
.. [Text of report by Halim al-A'raji in Baghdad entitled "Baghdad:
Shi'i-Sunni council to deal with unexpected cases" published by
London-based newspaper Al-Hayat on 16 December]
Shi'i and Sunni clerics have reached an agreement that stipulates the
formation of a unified authority called the "Joint council for dealing
with unexpected issues" [Arabic: al-majlis al-mushtarak li mu'alajat
al-qadayah al-tari'ah] that will include symbols and religious leaders
from both sides to resolve the crises that arise between them. This
agreement comes in the wake of attacks on Shi'i and Sunni mosques.
Contacts between the Shi'i religious leaders and the Sunni Clerics
Association succeeded in reaching an agreement to establish this
council to monitor and watch the operations that target mosques and
shaykhs and aim to create a sectarian sedition that destroys Iraq.
Iraqi Women Protest: 'Don't Leave Us Out' - 19 Dec 03
Sex discrimination may be found at the provincial and local government
levels as well. The CPA did not appoint any women to serve as
governors for the 18 provinces and appointed relatively few women to
the councils. The CPA did set an unofficial quota for women on some of
the provincial councils (usually two women), but in some cases, left
it to the men they had already appointed to select the women to fill
the quota. These men were able to choose women they knew they could
intimidate and control. Moreover, some of the councils simply ignored
The imbalance in power caused by the CPA has already led to the
implementation of discriminatory policies on the local level. For
example, in Najaf, a woman appointed to be a judge was denied her post
due to her sex. The council advised her that women could not be judges
under Islamic law. She then procured a fatwa (a religious ruling) from
the Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani, which states that to become a judge
one must have achieved ijtihad (great knowledge). The Grand Ayatollah
did not specify men or women in his fatwa reference to ijtihad.
Despite this, the council has yet to install her to her post. Clearly,
this has been a council decision and cannot be blamed on Islam or the
Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani.
The CPA created these male-dominated councils and has an obligation to
intervene and take immediate steps to redress this discrimination and
correct the failed power structure. The Nov. 15 Agreement on Political
Process gives the CPA a second chance. However, we are deeply
concerned that in the rush to hand over power, the CPA will not accept
its responsibility to correct past mistakes. Indeed, under the Nov. 15
Agreement, the CPA has given control over the creation of the
transitional government to the existing CPA appointed councils, which
are male-dominated by your making and practice an anti-women's rights
Government agrees to set up family court - 20 Dec 03
The Government has agreed on the setting up of the family court to
resolve cases involving domestic problems. Berita Harian quoted
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim
as saying that the department and the Women and Family Development
Ministry were formulating the final concept and study on the court's
structure. He said various amendments to the law needed to be done
for the formation of the family court because it comprised two
components Civil Court and Syariah Court. "To ensure smooth
handling of cases in the court, a few laws such as Divorce and
Registration Act will be amended to enable the Civil Court and Syariah
Court to share facilities for the handling of such cases," said Dr
Rais. The amendment, he added, would ensure that both courts share
facilities despite having different powers. "Sharing of facilities
has been carried out in Shah Alam where syariah court can use
facilities at the civil court." On judges who would handle such
cases, he said many High Court judges could handle them but new judges
would be trained for that purpose.
'Set up court to determine syariah-civil jurisdiction issue'- 21 Dec
The Penang Bar Syariah Committee has asked the Government to look into
the possibility of establishing a court of jurisdiction to determine
the issue of jurisdiction between the syariah (Islamic) and civil law.
Committee chairman Habib Rahman said the system of justice was divided
into the syariah and civil systems with both systems having their
distinctive areas of jurisdiction. He said the court of jurisdiction,
if set up, should comprise judges from civil and syariah background.
"These judges can help determine the issue of jurisdiction whenever a
conflicting decision arises between the two systems," he said at a
dinner organised by the committee on Friday night. He said the court
of jurisdiction would be able to preside over child custody cases
involving Muslim and non-Muslim parents.
"Presently there is no governing legal body to decide on the areas of
jurisdiction as the onus fell on each system to investigate its
jurisdiction," he said. Habib said conflict arose when the syariah and
civil courts ruled that a particular subject matter was within their
jurisdiction, or when both courts declined to exercise the
jurisdiction on a particular matter or when the issuance of
contradictory orders particularly in cases of custody with both
awarding custody to opposite parties. "Such areas of conflict would
often result in problems without remedy," he said.
[Kelantan] Malaysia's moral squads - 21 Dec 03
[Terengganu] PAS slammed over 'sin money' for non-Muslims - 20 Dec 03
Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is ridiculing poor non-Muslims by giving
them what it has cited as 'sin' money to repair their houses in
Terengganu, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) has said. The
move implied that the recipients, including Chinese Malaysians, were
sinners, said Datuk Lau Yin Pin, the state chairman of MCA.
The 'sin' money, the PAS leader said, would be disbursed from revenue
collected by the government from activities that were sinful for
Muslims.These included taxes paid by farmers breeding pigs. But Datuk
Lau accused PAS of taking another step to segregate Muslims and
non-Muslims. He said: 'By giving non-Muslims 'sin' money, PAS is not
He also described the PAS proposal to ban Muslims from entering places
selling alcoholic drinks as another move to separate Muslims and the
followers of other religions. He warned that PAS might even be tempted
to stop Muslims from entering the houses of people who are not
followers of Islam.
Pakistan's blasphemy laws imposed - Oct 03 ??
A High Court in Pakistan has upheld the decision of a lower court to
sentence two Pakistani men to life imprisonment for allegedly burning
a copy of the Qur'an. The men had been prosecuted under Pakistan's
infamous 'Blasphemy Law' for supposedly desecrating the Qur'an.
They were arrested in February 1999 in Jhang, 160 miles northwest of
Lahore, on charges of vagrancy. Whilst in prison they allegedly set
fire to a copy of the Qur'an, but they claim that the police framed
the evidence because they refused to pay a bribe. The men now plan to
appeal to the Supreme Court, but their families are receiving threats
from extremists for trying to pursue the case.
Marriage Without 'Wali's' Consent Valid: SC - 20 Dec 03
A full bench of the Supreme Court Friday ruled that marriage without
the consent of 'Wali' is valid. The bench [..] while setting aside
the judgment of the Single Bench of the Lahore High Court upheld that
this court has violated the orders of the Federal Shariat Court by
declaring that the marriage with out the consent of the Wali is
invalid. The judgment said that the FSC had already declared that the
marriage with out the consent of the Wali is valid and this judgment
is binding on all High Courts and other subordinate courts.
However, the three-member Bench accepted the appeal of Muhammad Iqbal,
a resident of Faisalabad saying his marriage with Shabina Zafar is
valid. Mr. Iqbal had filed an appeal against the orders of the single
bench of the LHC in which it declared his marriage invalid on account
of absence of consent of Wali. The Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan,
Asma Jehangir and Syed Riaz-ul-Hassan had assisted the SC in these
appeals. The Attorney General in his contention had said that the LHC
has overpowered the orders of the FSC by declaring marriage with out
the consent of 'Wali' invalid.
Syed Riaz-ul-Hassan Gillani had argued that the marriage was a social
contract which involves the family of both the man and the woman and
it was not just a matter of couple. He underlined the consent of the
Wali for a valid nikah. Asma Jehangir, however relied upon the
decision of the FSC in which it had declared that the marriage with
out the consent of the 'Wali' is valid.
The legal battles fought through the 1990s on this issue presented an
interesting, though disconcerting, picture. At a broader level, they
evinced a growing trend towards a literalist interpretation of
religious and cultural prejudices and norms, with judges shying away
from inductive reasoning and relying instead on deductive logic
predicated on seemingly 'settled' political or cultural or social
premises. Another interesting phenomenon was the movement away from
the Hanafi fiqh towards the Shafii and Maliki fiqhs. This trend jibed
with the rise in society, generally, of literalist Islam masquerading
as reformist Islam. But even at the time many prominent lawyers and
jurists were of the opinion -- and remain so even today -- that the
Hanafi School does not require the consent of the wali for an adult
girl to contract marriage. It is the same with the Ja'faria School.
[NWFP] Pakistani state bans New Year parties - 20 Dec 03
"We received the orders that no one should be allowed to arrange a
dance or musical parties and use alcohol on New Year's Eve," said a
senior government official in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) on
"The MMA government will not allow any one to resort to any kind of
unethical and un-Islamic activities on New Year's Eve," provincial
senior minister Siraj al-Haq told the NWFP assembly on Friday.
"These (celebrations) are un-Islamic and unethical and the time has
come to start the New Year with an Islamic calendar." The Muslim
calendar is based on a lunar year of 12 months.
[Gaza] Israeli military police investigate razing of Muslim gravesite
.. - 19 Dec 03
The Israeli military is investigating the demolition of a sacred
Muslim grave site in the Gaza Strip to determine whether the soldiers
that razed it had violated regulations, a military spokesman said
Friday. The army destroyed the tomb, which Palestinians say was the
burial place of a prominent sheik, during a February incursion near
the Jewish settlement of Dugit in northern Gaza, the spokesman said.
Military investigators were trying to determine who gave the order to
destroy the tomb, which would be a violation of Israeli regulations,
Haaretz reported. The area surrounding Dugit has been sealed off to
Palestinians since 2001.
Scrap Male Agent Requirement, Say Women Investors - 20 Dec 03
Saudi women are pushing for permission to operate their own businesses
without a male agent. They worry the agents find it easy to cheat them
and harm their ventures. Hussa Al-Aun, chairwoman of Al-Bidaya Company
for Trade and Industry and member of the businesswomen's committee at
the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the commerce and
industry minister responded positively to an application from the
committee to consider the matter.
"It is very strange to have to hire someone to look after a woman's
business. Women are independent in Islam. They are financially
independent and they can conduct business on their own," Layla Ali
Leena Fadhl said once the ministry approves commercial registration by
women without an authorized agent it would encourage women to invest
the huge funds which now lie dormant in their bank accounts. Untapped
bank deposits of Saudi women are estimated at SR 62billion ($16.
5billion). The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority has opened a
special center to encourage investment from Saudi women. In 2001,
Al-Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation launched the Kingdom's
first investment fund for women, targeting some215 ,000 businesswomen
in the country. All Saudi commercial banks have increased their
services for women whose interest in business and investment has
increased considerably in recent years.
The Custodian Of The Two Holy Mosques Calls On Islamic Scholars
http://www.ain-al-yaqeen.com/issues/20031219/feat2en.htm - 19 Dec 03
The address of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques was delivered by
the Under-Secretary of the Governorate of Makkah Region Abdullah Ibn
Daood Al Fayez on behalf of Prince Abdul Majeed. The speech called on
the assembly to correct the imbalance in the methods of thinking that
appeared among some Muslims. The speech urged the assembly to fight
deviant, individual fatwas (edicts) with legal reasoning to explain
their falsehood and address misunderstanding by those who issue them.
The speech suggested reaching an Islamic agreement on issuing fatwas
explaining their controls, conditions, characteristics of those
issuing them and the danger of deviant individual fatwas to the creed
of Muslims and their behaviors.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz called
in his speech for a definition of extremism and an explanation of its
kinds, its danger to the creed of Muslims and their behaviors and how
to address it. The speech also called for addressing the great problem
of judging people as disbelievers which some Muslim societies are
suffering from. The address urged the assembly to define implications
of some legal terms that are raised in a wrong way due to ignorance
about their true nature such as Jamaat Al-Islam (the people of Islam),
Al-Taefah Al-Mansoorah (the winning group), Dar Al-Islam (Place of
Islam), Dar Al-Harb (place of war), Walaa (loyalty), Baraah
(disloyalty), Jihad (various ways of struggle) and dialogue.
Al Jazeera office closed in Khartoum - 20 Dec 03
Sudanese authorities have closed down the office of the popular Arab
satellite channel Al Jazeera and detained its bureau chief for
questioning, the government said on Friday. A statement issued by the
Sudanese security authorities said the measure was taken against Al
Jazeera Thursday "to preserve the security, national interests and
stability of the country." "The channel has been preparing and
diffusing, through its correspondent in Khartoum, ... a number of
programs and articles filled with lies, weak analysis, biased
reporting and selected pictures to serve (its interests)," said the
statement, carried by SUNA, the official news agency. Ibrahim Hilal,
Al Jazeera's editor-in-chief, confirmed that the network's office was
closed by Sudanese security Thursday and that bureau chief Islam Salih
was detained. "It is not clear to us what is the real reason behind
the objection to Al Jazeera's coverage," Hilal said from Qatar, where
the network is based. "Sudanese affairs have been making headlines
recently, so maybe the sensitivity (of officials) has increased."
The closure and arrest came a day after Sudanese officers stormed Al
Jazeera's Khartoum office just before an interview with a leader of
the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army, Hilal said. "They pulled
back when they saw a Southern rebel leader, apparently so as not to
come across as trying to prevent southerners from voicing their
opinions," Hilal said.
Muslim Work Rights Drive - 19 Dec 03
MUSLIM workers in the North West are being urged to use new
anti-discrimination laws to demand religious rights from employers.
Changes they may be able to insist on include:
- The right to attend the mosque for Friday prayers.
- The right to have extended holidays to undertake the Hajj.
- The right to wear Muslim dress at work including the hijab.
- Breaks at prayer times and a quiet area for prayer with washing
- The right not to work in areas where alcohol or non-halal meat and
meat products are sold.
- Canteens that offer halal alternatives.
Bolton councillor Ebrahim Adia is the author of USDAW's pamphlet on
the new discrimination laws. He said they should be the green light to
all reasonable requests from Muslims for greater flexibility at work
to accommodate religious principles.
[USDAW organiser Ruth Stoney] said the new laws could significantly
improve the religious rights of Muslim workers employed by small
retailers in 'white' areas. "In Asian areas supermarkets and store
owners usually have no problem with female employees wearing the
hijab. But in some white area we have had refusal in the past on the
grounds that dress codes should reflect customer tastes. But this law
should change this attitude." Many Muslim workers - including many who
work for Muslim employers - are not in unions. USDAW hope their
campaign for religious rights will encourage more to join.
Britain will not follow French ban on scarves [Birmingham Post]
.. - 19 Dec 03
The Government will not go down the French route of dictating to
citizens how to practise their faith, a Minister said last night.
Home Office Minister Fiona Mactaggart was due to say that the
Government's duty was to support the right to religious freedom.
Ms Mactaggart's speech came the day after French President Jacques
Chirac asked Parliament to pass a law banning Islamic head scarves and
other religious insignia in French public schools. 'In Britain we have
a proud tradition of supporting free speech and allowing people to
follow their own beliefs,' Ms Mactaggart told a celebration in London
to mark the Muslim festival of Eid.
Battle lines drawn in Michael Jackson case - 19 Dec 03
The case's tabloid-like aspects grew in number Thursday evening, with
Jackson family accusations of police mistreatment and reports that the
Nation of Islam had taken over Jackson's management. Both claims were
The attorney also dismissed other reports that Jackson replaced his
management staff with representatives of the Nation of Islam. "They're
trying to inject the Nation of Islam as some kind of a buzz word into
this," Geragos said.
Cleric seeks leadership of Muslim organization - 20 Dec 03
A black Muslim cleric from New Jersey wants to lead a national group
whose founder quit because his followers were not integrating into the
country's broader Muslim community. Mustafa El-Amin, imam at the
Masjid Ibrahim mosque in Newark, took out an ad this month in the
Muslim Journal, a publication of the American Society of Muslims,
announcing his intention to lead the society. The 28-year-old
society, based in Chicago, has seen widespread defections since W.
Deen Mohammed resigned in August. At the time, several imams said
there was no formal process to name a successor.
School's Muslim role-playing constitutional, judge rules - 20 Dec 03
A federal judge has ruled that a California school district did not
violate the U.S. Constitution when its teachers asked students to
simulate Muslim worship and attire in class. The parents of two former
seventh-graders at Excelsior Middle School sued the Byron Union School
District in Byron last year after a world history class mandated their
children simulate Muslim activities, the Contra Costa Times reported.
Among the activities were reciting a Muslim prayer, dressing in Arabic
clothes for a presentation, selecting a Muslim name and playing a
trivia board game in which students race to reach Mecca.
"Objectively, the students at Excelsior cannot be considered to have
performed any actual religious activities in their seventh-grade world
history class,'' wrote U.S. District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton in San
Francisco in an opinion issued in early December.
Islam And Hinduism # 3: The concept of jihad by Sultan Shahin
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/EL20Aa02.html - 20 Dec 03
International Religious Freedom Report for 2003 - 19 Dec 03
2003 Executive Summary - International Religious Freedom Report
U.S. Report On Religious Freedom Selective: Analysts - 20 Dec 03
The new U.S. report on international religious freedoms was rather
selective and politically motivated, American and Arab analysts
concluded. "The report was affected by political factors, as it
launched a harsh attack on states having poor relations with
Washington, and praised others enjoying good relations with the
country," said David Mack, the vice-president of the Washington-based
Middle East Institute. Released by the State Department on Thursday,
December18 , the fifth annual International Religious Freedom Report
described Iran and Saudi Arabia as two of the worst offenders of
religious freedom rights. It similarly assailed France, China and
Belgium three staunch opponents to the invasion and occupation of
Iraq for impediments to religious practice. The report expressed
concerns over plans for a hijab ban in France's state schools,
although "the problem has appeared clearly in the European country
more than ten years ago," said Diaa Rashwan of Al-Ahram Center for
Political and Religious Studies.
it was less severe on Israel, a key Washington ally, heaping the blame
on the Palestinian Intifada against Israeli occupation for allegedly
fanning religious tension between Jews and non-Jews in the country.
"The report gave no mention of Israeli restrictions on Palestinians'
access to Al-Aqsa mosque one of Islam's most sacred shrines or
tough living conditions of Israeli Arabs compared to the lavish
lifestyle of Jews in Israel," said Rashwan. He said the previous four
reports also took the same position, "softly blaming allies and
harshly excoriating opponents".
Fahmy Howeidy, an Egyptian writer, agreed, saying the report is more
ridiculed in Arab and Islamic countries for the widespread belief that
Washington is not a "neutral party" to point a finger at others'
mistakes given its unilateral invasion of Iraq and biased position in
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Ahmed Youssef, the head of the Washington-based United Association of
Study and Research, said the number of hate crimes and
indiscrimination against American religious minorities increased by
the high 170 per cent, citing Amnesty International's latest report.
"But the issue had not been addressed," Nihad Awad of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said.
[comment] 'Deadening' education impedes Arab development - 20 Dec 03
The [Arab Human Development] report  singles out "quality
education" as the Arabs' first priority. One significant definition of
that term is education that empowers youths to think as critically and
creatively as anyone, anywhere, anytime. The Arabs created one of the
few educational systems that offered "empowering" or "quality"
education in history. They can and must now revive that. One might
recall that in the first two centuries of Arabic expansion,
discussions surrounding the "great enterprise" of establishing Sharia,
or Islamic law, caused extraordinary intellectual ferment, and ensuing
Muslim readers of the 2003 report will know that the educational
results of the great enterprise were incidental by-products of this
effort to establish Islamic law. In the second century of Islam, as
Arabs institutionalized education, they divided all subjects between
religion, the humanities and mathematics and science. Each of the
three streams had its appropriate teaching and learning methods.
Religious studies used lecture, memorization and examination methods
to pass on revealed and received knowledge. The humanities continued
the research and discussion methods of the great enterprise era. And
mathematics and science, in addition to memorization, employed
research and discussion methods using inductive reasoning, inference
When religious studies, around 1055, absorbed the humanities and
suppressed research and discussion, Arab critical thinking and
creativity declined. After the Mongol massacres around 1258, Arab
mathematics and sciences also abandoned research, discussion and
experimental methods, and declined too. Soon all teaching and learning
was conducted using lecture, memorization and examination methods.
After 1800, Arab schools introduced Western curricula, though their
continued use of traditional lecture, memorization and examination
methods led to results that were intellectually deadening. This
suggests that re-separating fields of study and distinguishing their
appropriate teaching and learning methods could help lead to an Arab
[Thailand] Islamic Bank gains interest from Brunei - 20 Dec 03
Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has expressed a keen interest in
investing in the government's Islamic Bank, the third branch of which
opened yesterday in Yala province. .. Brunei was prepared to
contribute to any recapitalisation after sending a team of consultants
to train at the bank's headquarters in Bangkok, he said. Mr Wan Nor
said Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were among
other countries considering large-scale investments in the future.
[Philippines] Bahrain eyed to save, revive Al-Amanah Bank - 20 Dec 03
The Kingdom of Bahrain, the global center of Islamic banking and
finance, has expressed interest in rehabilitating and beefing up the
capital of Al-Amanah Islamic Bank, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
said. In a speech before the Filipino community in Bahrain, the
President related how Bahrain Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman
Al Khalifa expressed interest in helping the government strengthen
Al-Amanah at their meeting Monday. "I told him we also have an
Islamic bank in the Philippines that they might be interested in
buying and rehabilitating," she said. "The Prime Minister asked me to
tell him who to talk to and said he would immediately give his
The newly privatised Al-Amanah Islamic Bank, the sole Islamic bank in
the Philippines, is gearing up to achieve great things under its new
owners. Michael Mastura, former president of Al-Amanah and currently
a partner in Malpinas Investments, Inc., the Filipino-Malaysian
company that now owns the bank, said he is optimistic that Al-Amamah
will provide a valuable service to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. He
cited the success of Islamic banks in Malaysia, which reportedly are a
regular source of financing for Chinese and multinational
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