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92Sharia News Watch 92

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Dec 21, 2003
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      Sharia 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
      college campus.
      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.
      security guards.
      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
      fundamentalist warlords.
      [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.[6]
      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
      www.awqafdubai.gov.ae .
      "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
      security officials.

      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
      international trial.

      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 quota.

      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
      respecting them.'
      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 [2003] 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
      and analogy.

      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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