95Sharia News Watch 95
- Jan 3, 2004Sharia News Watch 95 : 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 :
Articles Altered in Constitution - 01 Jan 04
The dilution of presidential powers and the creation of a national
commission to oversee major government decision are declared part of
the document. Without a new vote being cast, major changes to
Afghanistan's new constitution were declared approved Thursday by the
Loya Jirga. The changes include modifications of presidential and
parliamentary powers and the establishment of a commission to oversee
the implementation of the constitution.
It is also unclear whether the commission will rule on the
constitutionality of new laws a role otherwise assigned to the
Supreme Court or have the authority for other practical aspects of
the new government. The new article says that members of the
independent commission will be chosen by the president and approved by
parliament. A coordination committee, made up of 38 delegates
including the leadership of the 10 working committees and the elected
leadership of the Loya Jirga, wrote these changes into five articles.
Then the articles were read to the entire gathering Thursday morning
and declared approved. Delegates were not allowed to debate or object
to articles. This time, there was no outcry from the floor for a
debate, as had happened on the previous day. The new commission
replaces the idea of the Diwan-e-Aali, or High Council, that had been
scrapped from the revised draft earlier this week. The Diwan-e-Aali,
which would have overseen implementation of the constitution and
supervised work of the administration, was proposed by jihadi
delegates. Some observers described that proposal as similar to the
Council of Guardians in the Iranian constitution, which checks that
all legislation does not contradict the tenets of Islam.
The mujahedin delegates had warned they would boycott a final vote on
the document if the Diwan-e-Aali was not approved, and there was a
heated exchange among delegates Tuesday when an article creating the
council was not included in the revised draft of the constitution.
A nearly three-week-old grand council, or loya jirga, ground to a halt
Thursday after more than a third of the 502 delegates boycotted the
start of voting on the charter.
The dissenters, mainly from the Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara minorities
from the north who helped U.S. forces defeat the Taliban two years
ago, are fighting most passionately for greater recognition of their
languages. They are ranged against a bloc of Pashtuns, Karzai's ethnic
kinsmen from the south, who are reluctant to make concessions that
could compromise their role as the country's traditional rulers.
Mujaddedi calls delegates 'infidel' - 02 Jan 04
EU representative Francesc Vendrell said on Thursday he was "very
disturbed" after the chairman to Afghanistan's constitutional
convention branded as "infidels" delegates who did not want the
country described as Islamic. The delegates collected more than the
necessary 151 signatures and presented an amendment calling for the
word "Islamic" to be removed from article one of the draft
constitution, which describes Afghanistan as an "Islamic republic".
"We won't vote on this. People who suggest such things are infidels,"
said Sibghatullah Mujaddedi.
Hijab protest by Bahrain clerics - 03 Jan 04
France's decision to ban headscarves (hijab) in public schools was
slammed yesterday in petitions signed at several Bahrain mosques
following Friday prayers. Imams urged the petitions to be handed over
to the French ambassador Anita Limido, in protest against what they
considered an assault on personal freedom.
Unit handles 31 hate crimes in first year - 02 Jan 04
Const. Steve Camp, who helped spearhead the creation of the Edmonton
Police Service hate-and-bias crimes initiative, says the case
illustrates how a hate-motivated crime -- in this instance, uttering
threats -- can have lasting, damaging effects. "When a person with a
hijab is feeling stress just walking out of their house, that's a huge
victim impact," Camp says. "Just walking down the street is a
stressful experience for a person in an intolerant society, and that's
why we take a very, very hard line against hate-motivated crime."
Established early in 2003, the hate-crimes unit advocates a safe and
inclusive environment for Edmonton's diverse society. Camp and his
partner, Const. Dave Huggins, investigate crimes, reach out to
community groups, and educate fellow police officers on hate and bias
issues. Since the unit opened last January, they have started 31 files
on hate-motivated crimes and 22 files on less serious hate-motivated
incidents. They have also opened 16 intelligence files, monitoring
activities of groups and individuals.
The art of the ban - 31 Dec 04
.. [Gabrielle Menezes looks at the confluence of politics and religion
in the decision to blacklist books]
Tantawi Draws Flack From Egyptian Scholars - 31 Dec 03
Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Mohammad Sayed Tantawi's support for
France's right to ban hijab in state schools has drawn fire from
Egypt's top scholars, who said Tantawi was only representing himself.
"Sheikh Tantawi's statements came as a surprise to the members of
Al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy and were impromptu," Sheikh Abdal
Sabour Marzouk told reporters. "Hence, Tantawi only speaks for
himself and his statements do not represent the official point of view
of Al-Azhar [the highest authority of the Sunnis]," he stressed.
Marzouk said he and the other scholars present did not heckle Tantawi
for the sake of "ethics of dialogue" and given that they were promised
a meeting with Sarkozy following his talks with Sheikh Tantawi, which
was not honored. "The French interior minister came here and snatched
the go-ahead from Al-Azhar. Tantawi, in effect, from the very
beginning gave him this right, which is prohibited in Islam.
Mubarak says French headscarf ban an internal matter - 01 Jan 04
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said France's decision to ban Islamic
headscarves from state schools is an internal matter, the official
MENA news agency reported Thursday. "It is a French matter in which we
cannot interfere or say 'no' to," Mubarak said in a television
interview the transcript of which was published by MENA. He said the
plans by Paris to ban religious insignia from state schools applied to
other religions as well as Muslims.
The Hijab controversy in France [video] - 01 Jan 04
download http://www.dawah.tv/broadcast/hijab.rm [10,5 MB]
watch http://www.dawah.tv/broadcast/hijab.ram [14.30 min]
Hijab causes major row in Germany - 02 Jan 04
[president] Rau's appeal that Islamic headscarves receive equal
treatment with symbols of other faiths such as Christianity or Judaism
has led to furious reactions from Roman Catholic politicians and
If headscarves are banned in German schools, then other religious
symbols should get the same treatment, he argued. This drew an angry
retort from Edmund Stoiber, Bavarian state prime minister and head of
the ultra-conservative Christian Social Union, the Bavarian wing of
the Christian Democratic Union, Germany's main opposition in
parliament. Rau has no right to "cast doubt on our national identity,
distinguished by the Christian religion," he said. He described
Islamic headscarves in schools as "a political symbol incompatible
with our democracy".
Germany's highest tribunal, the federal constitutional court, ruled in
September that Baden-Wuerttemberg was wrong to forbid a Muslim female
teacher from wearing a headscarf in the classroom. But the court said
individual states could legislate to ban religious apparel if it were
deemed to unduly influence children. Since then, Baden-Wuerttemberg
and neighbouring Bavaria have drawn up legislation and plan to put a
ban in place.
Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity among the Daudi Bohras
.. [Journal of the American Oriental Society] - 01 Jan 03
[Ayodhya] Muslims cold to Jama Masjid Trust's solution - 30 Dec 03
Fresh efforts to find a mutually-acceptable solution to the
Ramjanmabhoomi issue by the fledgling Ayodhya Jama Masjid Trust seem
to have crashed with Muslim organisations rejecting outright the
proposal to build the mosque at any place other than the disputed
site. The VHP welcomed the proposal at a recent meeting of religious
heads and senior functionaries at Karsewakpuram in Ayodhya. Further,
the outfit has decided to breathe new life into the movement for the
temple by taking the issue to every household.
[Kashmir] Religious Extremism Grows in Kashmir - 02 Jan 04
The shift to extremism in predominantly Muslim Kashmir, many analysts
say, has less to with the rise of homegrown Islamic radicalism than a
reaction to political mismanagement and rising Hindu militancy. The
region also has seen a seemingly endless cycle of bloody militant
attacks and heavy-handed crackdowns by Indian security forces.
"The reaction is purely a response to a crisis," Kashmiri Muslim
scholar Ghulam Ali Gulzar said. Extremist Muslim groups, disillusioned
by the political situation, decry democracy as a menace. "Democracy
is part of the system we are fighting," said a supporter of a radical
Islamic group. The man, requesting anonymity to avoid reprisal by
authorities, said it was his duty to wage war against Sufism - Muslim
mysticism that preaches moderation - and tolerance of non-Muslims.
The fearful atmosphere created by the insurgency has magnified the
extremism. Some 65,000 people, mostly Muslim civilians, have been
killed. Human rights groups say Indian troops routinely detain, harass
and reportedly even torture and kill Muslim youth on the pretext of
fighting rebels. "Preaching toleration to the humiliated, the angry
or the desperate is useless," Hussain said.
[Bam] A production line of death at the mass graveyard - 29 Dec 03
A grisly production line of death enters the graveyard as vehicles of
all descriptions vie to get through the gates and down the dusty
track. Bodies wrapped in blankets are piled on the backs of pick-up
trucks and jammed in the back seats and boots of private cars.
As soon as graves are prepared, they are filled. A digger is still
scooping out one end of a trench while bodies are lain in the other.
The smell of decomposing flesh is intense. An adolescent boy drives
from the grave on a moped, his face broken with grief. Volunteers,
mainly from the Iranian Red Crescent Society and the Basij Islamic
militia, offload bodies as soon as they arrive and carry them to the
side of a mass grave. About 20 blanketed figures wait to be processed
with purpling bare feet protruding from the ends. Red Crescent mullahs
quickly perform burial rites over the dead. There is no water, so the
ritual cleaning of faces and the backs of hands must be made with
dust. The bodies are stiff and a mullah has difficulty unbending a
hand. Prayers are said over the bodies as they are wrapped in white
The political vultures were quick to descend upon the corpses of Bam.
Amir Taheri, writing in the Saudi daily Arab News, claimed that much
of the shoddy buildings in Bam were the result of property
racketeering engendered by the 1979 Iranian revolution. According to
Taheri, the turmoil that ensued after ex-Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's
ouster enabled swindlers to seize large chunks of land in Bam, on
which poorly constructed houses and shops were built. Taheri added
that the deals were backed by fatwa-issuing clerics who in turn
received a healthy slice of the profits. Yet he provided not a shred
of evidence to buttress these allegations. Arguably, David
Aaronovitch, writing in The Guardian on Dec. 30, delivered the best
piece of political commentary. Extolling the virtues of American
masonry and the value put on human life in the US, Aaronovitch noted
that the earthquake that recently hit California with almost the same
intensity as the Bam quake killed only 2 people.
The incompetence of the Iranian authorities is not, as some would
imply, the result of ideology. Rather, it is symptomatic of the same
kind of incompetence and sheer disrespect for human life that is
visible all across the developing world, and which also, for example,
was responsible for the thousands of lives lost in the Turkish
earthquake of 1999. And Turkey, lest pundits forget, is ultra-secular
and staunchly pro-Western. The Islamic regime in Iran does not wield a
monopoly on incompetence.
US troops reportedly arrest 20 in Baghdad mosque operation
.. [Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 1 Jan 04]
The US troops have arrested about 20 members of the Higher Committee
for Call, Guidance, and Issuance of Fatwa [religious edicts] in Iraq.
The US troops, backed by helicopters and armoured vehicles, stormed
Ibn-Taymiyah Mosque in Baghdad, which used to be known as Umm al-Tubul
Mosque. The members of the Higher Committee for Call, Guidance and
Fatwa were about to hold an internal meeting to discuss issues
pertaining to the committee and its relationship with the Sunni Shura
Council. The US troops arrested those who were in the meeting, led by
Mahdi al-Sumaydi'i, representative of the Salafi current at the Sunni
Shura Council. [Video shows damaged contents of an office]
Resistance operations continue, detention of al-Salafeyah leaders
The American forces detained some 20 members of of the higher
commission for al-Dawa, Irshad and al-Fatwa ( Call, Guide and Fatwa ),
in Iraq, at Ibn Teimeyah mosque, during breaking-in operations carried
out by the occupation forces.
Member of the al-Dawa and al-Irshad commission, Fakhri al-Qeisi,
deplored the detention operation in being an attempt to prevent the
natural birth of the Sunni reference, and comes in the context of
violating the sanctity of mosques ( houses of God ) in Iraq.
.. [Text of live satellite interview with Shaykh Abd-al-Sattar al-
Janabi, deputy secretary-general of the Higher Committee for Call,
Guidance and Issuance of Fatwa, in Baghdad] - 02 Jan 04
Sunni Leaders Unite In Tikrit [Augusta Chronicle] - 30 Dec 03
Influential spiritual leaders from Saddam Hussein's hometown - a
bastion of anti-American sentiment - are joining forces to persuade
Iraqis to abandon the violent insurgency, one of the leaders said
Monday. .. Sheik Sabah Mahmoud, the leader of the Sada tribe,
said he and 10 other tribal elders have formed a reconciliation
committee in Tikrit to speak to other Iraqi leaders about trying to
persuade rebels to put down weapons. He said he took that message last
week to a group of scholars, religious leaders and other prominent
figures meeting in Baghdad.
Pentagon dumps Halliburton deal - 02 Jan 04
The Pentagon is to axe its controversial contract with Halliburton,
the company formerly headed by US Vice-President Dick Cheney, to
oversee oil imports to Iraq. The decision, announced yesterday, comes
less than a month after Pentagon auditors found Halliburton
overcharged US taxpayers by up to $US61 million ($81.3 million) for
delivering petrol to Iraq. The contract was awarded without a tender.
Iraq's senior Shia ayatollah has issued a fatwa condemning oil
smuggling in a move US-led forces hope will curb one of the worst
problems facing the country, where people have to queue for days to
get petrol despite the fact Iraq has the world's second-largest oil
reserves. Najaf Grand Ayatollah Sistani said: "The current oil crisis
is being caused by a group of people aiming to enhance disorder and
make illegal money from the people. This is unlawful."
Israel To Dig New Tunnel Under Aqsa Mosque - 03 Jan 04
Israel is planning to dig a new tunnel under Al-Aqsa mosque - Islam's
third holiest site - with eight million dollars donated by a Jewish
American millionaire, a Palestinian organization revealed Friday,
January 2 . The tunnel is designed to tighten the grip of the Israeli
occupation forces on the sacred compound, protect Jews who visit it
and Judaize the Old City, said Al-Aqsa Foundation for Reconstruction.
"I warn against taking such a transgression on the Islamic holy place,
and call on Muslims - governments and people - to heed this dangerous
situation," Ikrima Sabri, Mufti of occupied Jerusalem, told
IslamOnline.net. "Al-Aqsa mosque and its surroundings, including
Buraq Wall, is a Muslim legitimate right", he averred. Snaking under
the whole mosque up to the courtyard of Buraq Wall, called by Jews
Wailing Wall, the tunnel is an extension to an earlier one built
in1996 . The tunnel will run all the way under the compound reaching
to Al-Selwan area which is inhabited by Palestinians, an Israeli
architect was quoted by Israeli newspapers as saying.
The Buraq Wall forms the base of Al-Haram Al-Sharif, encompassing the
Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. Israeli occupation forces had
been digging under the holy Islamic compound in search for Solomon
Temple which Jews claim had been demolished by the Babylonians in 586
BC and should be built again.
Christians Second-Class in Muslim Lands - Cardinal - 01 Jan 04
Too many Islamic countries treat their Christian minorities as
second-class citizens and bar them from building churches while
Western states let their Muslims build mosques freely, according to a
senior Vatican official. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who recently
retired as the Vatican's foreign minister, told the French Catholic
daily La Croix Wednesday that Christianity and Islam faced "an
enormous task" of learning to live together in mutual tolerance.
Tauran was the latest and highest-ranking Catholic official to voice
concern about Vatican relations with Muslims, an issue seen as central
for whoever succeeds the ailing Pope John Paul.
varsity teacher suspended on blasphemy charges - 31 Dec 03
The professor of the faculty of Arts was arrested Monday for contempt
of the Holy Quran. The sources elaborated that the man, in his late
sixties, suffered some psychological disorders leading him to commit
the crime that was discovered by his building janitor. Meanwhile,
Kuwait Education Minister Tuesday refuted reports which have quoted
him saying that some part of the current educational curricula promote
extremism and need to be revised, while MPs warned the government they
will not accept Americanization of education .
On the legal lookout - 31 Dec 03
One well-received bit of news was the introduction of a longer prison
term for incest crimes. The Cabinet decided that incestuous relations
will carry a prison term of between 15 and 30 years, and a minimum 10
strokes of the rotan. Under a proposed amendment to the Penal Code,
incestuous rape that results in death will be punishable by the death
sentence. With the proposed new Section 376C, there will be three
categories under rape in the Penal Code. Apart from the Penal Code,
the Government's move to get tough with incest involves major
amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, the Criminal Justice Act
and the Registration of Criminals and Undesirable Persons Act, among
Mali Takes Steps To Combat Female Genital Mutilation - 02 Jan 04
Mali's government has agreed to begin training programs and hold a
national summit geared toward fighting the widespread practice of
female genital mutilation, which is carried out on 90 percent of girls
in the country. The decisions were the result of government
discussions with religious and civil society and UNICEF. Participants
also agreed to draft a brochure in Arabic to be distributed to the
country's Muslim community. The actions fall short of a law banning
the popular custom. The process involves the partial or total removal
of external female genital organs for cultural, religious or other
non-medical reasons. Muslim leaders attending the discussions said
the practice was not grounded in Islam, but many parents believe it
suppresses the sexual desires of their daughters and helps preserve
[Kano] expert panel backs Muslim fears of WHO polio vaccine- 03 Jan 04
Nigerian and international health officials had hoped that Kano
State's 13-member committee would help calm fears stirred up by
radical Muslim preachers that the polio vaccine has been laced with
anti-fertility drugs by Western governments bent on depopulating
Africa. Instead, committee chairman Dr Lawal Alassan Bichi, told AFP
that the team had found traces of the reproductive hormone oestrogen
in the drugs which it feared that it could damage girl babies' future
fertility, and would not be recommending a resumption of immunisation.
The Kano committee's warning flies in the face of international
medical opinion and the conclusion of Nigeria's own federal health
ministry -- which conducted similar tests on the vaccine last month --
and is a blow to the World Health Organisation's hopes of eradicating
polio this year. "The tests we conducted on some vials of the polio
vaccine confirmed the presence of oestrogen, a human reproductive
hormone which can act as an infertility agent," said Bichi, a
pharmacologist by profession.
Bichi, who sat with a number of Islamic scholars on the committee --
which commissioned tests on the vaccine at Kano's main hospital -- did
dismiss widespread accusations that the vaccine carries the AIDS
virus. But he accused the international community of knowingly
supplying vaccines contaminated with oestrogen, and called on them to
look for a safer way to combat the spread of polio.
Kano -- a city where dozens of crippled beggars ply the dusty streets
-- is at the centre of the world's only growing patch of polio
infections, and has been traced as the source of outbreaks in five
countries, the WHO says. Islamic preachers, playing on popular
resentment of the White House's pro-Israeli stance and anger over the
US-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, have told Kano's Muslims
that Washington has plans to attack their community through fake
[Yobe] Suspected religious fanatics invade communities - 30 Dec 03
Suspected Muslim fanatics have invaded Kanamma and Geiddan local
government areas of Yobe state, sending residents on forced exile. The
suspects had destroyed the Kanamma police station, killing a policeman
and carting away arms and ammunition. They kidnapped three other
policemen who they have since released. On Sunday they moved to Geidam
where they sacked the police station. During the last eid-el fitri
prayers, the fanatics distributed leaflets in which they accused the
government of fraudulent activities and non-adherence to the Sharia.
Residents said more than 200 people had attacked the police stations.
Most or all of the group's members are Nigerians. Little is known of
the sect, including its name. Zubeiru Tanko, a resident of Damaturu,
the Yobe state capital, told The Associated Press that the group had
moved into Yobe from neighboring Borno State about four months ago.
Tanko said the sect included university graduates as well as
unemployed youths. Members in recent weeks had distributed leaflets
accusing state Gov. Abba Ibrahim of failing to adhere to Shariah, or
Islamic law, he said.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200312310442.html - 31 Dec 03
Ideas such as those of the Geidam religious sect have recently
surfaced in Maidu-guri through a religious teacher, Malam Mohammed
Yusuf, who claimed that working for the government or joining formal
schools was Haram (unlawful in Islam). Several people who spoke to
Daily Trust said that considering the membership of the Geidam sect,
it was highly most they might have been influenced by the teachings of
Malam Yusuf. Daily Trust learnt that Malam Yusuf has been away in
Saudi Arabia for medical treatment for over a month when our
correspondent sought to speak with him over the matter.
Islamic group's spiritual leader arrested - 02 Jan 04
"He is accused of cooperating in the attempted murder of his political
enemies in northern Iraq during the period of December 2000 to April
2001," [Mullah] Krekar's lawyer, Brynjar Meling, told the AP. "As far
as I can see, these are matters he has explained to prosecutors
before, and it's strange they're being raised again."
Ansar al-Islam, a group of as many as 600 Islamic militants in the
mountains of northern Iraq, is regarded as a terrorist organization by
the United States and the United Nations.
Musharraf and the mullahs - 30 Dec 04
In the end, the groups that have always pretended to be his biggest
critics - the Islamic parties - have bailed him out by providing the
constitutional legitimacy that he so badly needed. From President
Musharraf's point of view the most crucial clause that has been added
to the Constitution is Article 270-AA, which validates all his actions
since his 1999 coup.
Despite being faced with one of the biggest parliamentary oppositions
in Pakistan's history, General Musharraf never had any doubt in his
mind that at the time of his own choosing he would get the necessary
constitutional backing for his actions. This is exactly what the
latest changes to the constitution have done. And without the support
of the Islamic parties, it would not have been possible to get the
required two-thirds majority in parliament. The Islamic groups had
appeared implacable in their opposition to General Musharraf following
his reaction to the 11 September attacks on the United States in 2001.
Some analysts say that the long-standing co-operation between the army
and senior religious leaders - what is known in Pakistan's as the
so-called military-mullah alliance - is still intact. .. This
military-mullah alliance has suffered some setbacks in recent years
because of President Musharraf's liberal policies and his decision to
dump the Taleban. But because of Pakistan's changing realities, the
Islamic political parties have been adjusting some of their policies
and started to distance themselves from the militant Islamic groups.
After nearly five decades of political struggle they have made big
inroads in domestic politics.
Analysts believe the MMA wants to retain its control in NWFP. It is
highly likely that it may have been given a verbal assurance to
continue its Islamic reforms agenda in the province, without any
resistance from Islamabad.
But even if the central government in Islamabad decides to look the
other way to the strict Islamic code that the MMA government plans to
introduce in the province, it is highly unlikely that the it will
allow the place to become a breeding ground for militancy. With
President Musharraf now having his required legitimacy, he is in a
position to crackdown on Islamic extremists with greater zeal, even at
the cost of annoying the Islamic political alliance.
MMA unfolds 17 point agenda for enforcement of Islamic order
http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=50361 - 02 Jan 04
Elaborating the 17 demands, Qazi Hussain Ahmad said that it is the
first and foremost demand of MMA that amendment be brought in article
2 of the constitution to the effect that Quran and Sunnah is supreme
law of the county and legislation prejudicial. As per decision of the
high court, the powers of the President for granting amnesty in Hudood
case should be withdrawn and the clause 89 of the constitution be
deleted as parliament has become rubber stamp due to this clause.
He underlined that that the Federal Shariat Court judges should enjoy
the same terms and conditions of the service which are enshrined in
the constitution for the judges of the superior courts, he added.
Qazi called for putting the recommendations of the council for Islamic
ideology to the parliament for debate. In line with these
recommendations, necessary legislation be enacted for the enforcement
of Islamic Sharia in the country, he stressed.
He called for withdrawal of restrictions on the construction of the
new mosques. The NOC condition imposed by the interior ministry for
registration of deeni society under societies registration act be
withdrawn, he added. He held that madrissa ordinance be abolished and
the madrissas be de-listed from the watch list of terrorists. He
emphasised that subjects of Islamiat and Deeniyat struck off from the
syllabus of colleges and universities be included again. He held that
the drug use be banned. The national dress of shalwar and shirt be
introduced across the country. The co-education system be eliminated.
The privatisation and secularisation of education should be abolished.
He stressed that the decisions of the Sharia bench of the Supreme
Court and federal Shariat court be pursued in letter and spirit for
introduction of usury free economy.
For homosexual Palestinians, Israel is their best shot at safety
.. - 03 Jan 04
Torture by Palestinian Authority security services or vigilante
attacks by relatives is a fate suffered by countless gays in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip, where sodomy carries a jail term of three to 10
years. Islam prescribes capital punishment for homosexual activity.
Those who survive torture and attacks either fade into meek
self-abnegation or, like Sani, break away. But it's an unlikely
scenario, given the efforts Israel has made to tighten its borders
over the last three years to keep out terrorists.
Israel signed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
covenant of 1951, guaranteeing asylum for anyone persecuted on the
basis of sexual orientation. The country's Interior Ministry said any
gay Palestinian can apply to remain in Israel indefinitely if
persecution is proven, but the ministry gave no figures on how many
such applications have been filed. Another option for the
Palestinians is to seek haven abroad. One gay Israeli-Palestinian
couple found a home in Canada, and Gonen currently is campaigning to
persuade European Union nations to be more forthcoming with offers of
asylum. Many runaways are apparently unaware of their rights, or
worried that through some bureaucratic bungle they could find
themselves on the wrong side of an Israeli military checkpoint before
their asylum application is processed.
One 19-year-old runaway told Israel's Channel One TV that the Al-Aksa
Brigade, the terrorist wing of the Palestinians' mainstream Fatah
movement, tried to pressure him into becoming a suicide bomber to
"purge his moral guilt." He refused and fled to an Arab village in
Israel's Galilee region.
Hassan Khreisheh, head of the Palestinian legislative council's human
rights committee, dismissed the runaways in Israel as "collaborators
guilty of various crimes, including homosexuality." Human rights
observers suggest that Palestinian homosexuals, fearing for their
lives if exposed, are especially vulnerable to Shin Bet blackmail. But
a veteran handler of collaborators, Menachem Landau, denied this.
"Gays are already treated with suspicion in Palestinian society,"
Landau said in an interview. "So what good are they for covert work ?"
Conference on burdens the Islamic charities suffer due to September 11
.. - 02 Jan 04
Economists from several Islamic countries have expressed their concern
over the pressures the Islamic charity work is exposed to following
the incidents of September 11 in the USA. They stressed that these
pressures cannot much affect the process of charity activity
especially al-Zakat (endowment). Several participants in the world
conference for al-Zakat, which concluded its deliberation in Qatar on
Wednesday, considered that certain campaigns which are launched
against the Islamic charities work, is part of a position that stands
against Islam itself, reflecting an ignorance in the Islamic values.
In a press statement,[chairman of the Islamic organizations in Europe,
Ahmad] al-Rawi said that the federation enhanced the process of legal
work and auditing control, and worked for strengthening the relation
with the foundations of the European civil society with the aim to
block the road against any attempt to limit Islamic charity work in
the west. He added that efforts were made to develop the resources of
the Islamic community in the west.
Russia-Islam ties better after Putin's call to join OIC - 02 Jan 03
Russia's ties with the Islamic world have improved as a result of
President Vladimir Putin's decision to apply for Russian membership of
the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a top official said
Thursday. The initiative "drew a positive response in Muslim nations
.. Russia and the Muslim world are moving toward each other," Veniamin
Popov, Russia's envoy for relations with the OIC, was quoted as saying
by Interfax news agency.
Saudi religious police ban New Year commercial goods - 30 Dec 03
Saudi Arabia's religious police are cracking down on local shops
selling gift items for the upcoming Christian New Year's holiday.
Raids will be conducted for the next two days ensure that local
retailers do not promote the non-Muslim festival, Al-Watan reported.
A press release posted on APVPV's website on December 29, 2003 stated
that Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Commerce is forbidden from registering
trademarks for products whose structures resemble that of a cross, a
star of David or a Buddha statue. "For Muslims, there are only two
holidays a year;Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha," and APVPV official said.
Saudi women petition for more rights - 30 Dec 03
More than 300 women from across Saudi Arabia, most of them
professionals with university degrees, have petitioned Saudi Crown
Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz for greater rights. In the petition, a
copy of which was sent to AFP, the women list eight demands centred on
recognition of their contribution to civil society, without the need
for "judicial guardianship or support". Calling for a supreme council
to oversee women's affairs, the petition also presses women's rights
to "education and jobs ... without needing permission" from a
guardian. Saudi women are allowed to study or work only with the
explicit agreement of a male relative. The petition also calls for
"women to reach a senior level in ministries and government
institutions" and for "competent women to be appointed at a senior and
Saudis to verify veiled women's identities - 03 Jan 04
All Saudi women, normally veiled in public, must have their identities
verified when traveling or using hotels, banks, courts and other
institutions. Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz
ordered the new policy Saturday, the first such directive in the
kingdom's history, to "close any security gaps." Officials told
United Press International that Saudi authorities have hired women to
verify the identities of women, most of whom veil their faces with a
"burqa" when in public.
Saudi girls may have sports in school soon - 02 Jan 04
Saudi Arabia's Shura (Consultative) Council has voted to introduce
sports in girls' schools in the conservative kingdom. 'Seventy-five of
the Shura Council's 120 members voted in favour of a recommendation
put by a council member to introduce sports sessions in girls'
schools,' said Mr Hussein al-Alawi, who heads a ministry committee in
charge of developing education.
Somalia's Tiny Christian Community Reportedly Under Fire - 02 Jan 04
Christian persecution in Islamic Somalia is on the rise, and
humanitarian aid workers from the West are also under attack by Muslim
radicals, according to a Christian human rights organization. The
UK-based Barnabas Fund is hoping to draw international attention to an
unreported situation in the Horn of African country, which has been
without a functioning administration for more than a decade.
About 99.5 percent of the Somalia population is Muslim. The small
Christian minority comprises ethnic Bantus as well as humanitarian
workers and expatriates. The recent wave of violence began early last
October, when two armed men killed an elderly Italian nun, Dr.
Annalena Tonneli, in front of a hospital in Borama. Tonneli had been
involved in humanitarian work in Somalia for 30 years.
Campaigners believe these victims may have been targeted for their
faith. Early last year an extremist Islamist group in Mogadishu called
Kulanka Culimada issued a statement saying all Somali Christians were
apostates from Islam and should be killed. The Barnabas Fund, which
works among Christians in Islamic nations, said the threats were
reportedly prompted by the Christian decision to send delegates to
peace talks, which are currently being held in neighboring Kenya.
Electoral reforms - The Muslim case - 03 Jan 04
Of the three major communities in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese, the Tamils
and the Muslims, the Sinhalese live as a huge body in all the
Provinces outside the Northern, the Tamils do so in the North, East
and the Central regions, the Muslims, on the other hand, live in
scattered communities throughout the country .. Herein, lies the
basic problem with regard to providing proper representation to the
Muslims; that is, when the basis on which to determine representation
is contiguous territory. Unless this territorial concept for providing
representation is appropriately and definitely qualified, adequate
representation is almost impossible for a community like the Muslims.
Sudan security: Expel Aljazeera call - 01 Jan 04
The Director of Intelligence at the security apparatus on Thursday
confirmed requesting Sudan's National Press Council to cancel
Aljazeera's office work permit permanently. In his written request,
the intelligence director, accused the Aljazeera channel of "lying"
and "reporting false information on Sudan."
The channel, whose motto is "The opinion and the other opinion", had
given government and opposition figures a platform when reporting on
Amnesty added that authorities unlawfully arrested journalists and
editors and fined or suspended newspapers. Sanctions were also imposed
for publishing articles critical of the government.
Official Turkish Fatwa Against 'Lottery' - 29 Dec 03
The Turkish Religion Affairs Authority the official body responsible
for religious affairs in the state has issued a fatwa prohibiting
the purchase of lottery papers called "Piango", which the Turks are
greatly fond of. The fatwa has been issued few days prior to
Christmas festivals, as 10 trillion Turkish liras (equivalent to eight
million dollars) worth of prizes are bound to be withdrawn December
31, 2003. The committee has justified its fatwa, published by Millie
Gazette daily Sunday December 28, declaring that the amounts of money
earned through lottery papers are prohibited, as this is a form of
gambling. Financial gains in Islam should be related to work or trade.
A group of professors of religious studies in the Turkish universities
had previously declared that lottery papers are legitimate, as a large
part of such papers goes to social institutions. Such an attitude has
encouraged some Turkish TV channels like "Star TV" and "Show TV" to
air the lottery withdrawal event.
Friend of Malcolm X, former Negro League player is Muslim of the Year
[Florida] WorldNetDaily goes inside 'mainstream' Muslim conference
Ford Has a Better Idea: One Nation Under Allah - 30 Dec 03
.. [first in a series of articles FrontPage Magazine will present on
the misdeeds of the Ford Foundation].
New Jersey Imam Making Move to Head Black Muslim Group
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/137/story_13764_1.html - 01 Jan 04
Mustafa El-Amin, the 46-year-old imam of the small Masjid Ibrahim
mosque, said he wants to lead the American Society of Muslims, an
organization in turmoil after its leader, W. Deen Mohammed, resigned
in August. "We will transform (the American Society of Muslims) and
make it better, more appealing and attractive," El-Amin, the author of
nine books about Islam and a history teacher at Montgomery High School
in Newark, said in a speech at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center at
Rutgers University in Newark. El-Amin would be the latest American
Muslim leader to tackle the question that has long faced African-
American Muslims: whether to focus their religion mainly around black
people or to embrace a more inclusive and traditional Islam.
Mohammed, 70, is viewed as among American Islam's most important
figures. The son of the late Elijah Mohammed, who founded the Nation
of Islam, W. Deen Mohammed rejected his father's militant views. After
his father died in 1975 he transformed the Nation of Islam into what
became the American Society of Muslims and sought to focus more on
religious aspects of traditional Islam. Louis Farrakhan later
resurrected the Nation of Islam.
Sources: Nation of Islam Aiding Jackson - 01 Jan 04
Sources close to the Jackson camp, speaking on condition of anonymity,
told the AP that Nation of Islam members have handled security at the
singer's Neverland ranch and have begun taking over some of his
business affairs since he was accused of committing lewd acts on a
The group, which in the past has been accused of anti-Semitism and
inflammatory, separatist rhetoric, issued a statement Monday after
receiving inquiries from the AP and other news organizations. "The
Nation of Islam, in response to several inquiries, has said today that
it has no official business or professional relationship with Mr.
Michael Jackson," the statement said. "The Nation of Islam joins
thousands of other people in wishing him well."
[attorney] Geragos acknowledged that when he held a news conference on
Jackson's behalf after charges were announced on Dec. 18, one of those
standing behind him was Leonard F. Muhammad, identified on the Nation
of Islam's Web site as its chief of staff. "Leonard Muhammad was
there," Geragos said. "He's one of Michael's supporters." Under the
leadership of Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam advocates black
self-empowerment and a separate African-American state; Jackson is not
a Muslim nor a member of the Nation of Islam, according to one of his
brothers. Asked about the Nation of Islam's reported role in
directing Jackson's affairs, Jackson business adviser Charles
Koppelman said, "It's not the case as to his music, finances and
assets. I think it's primarily in security."
Sources said Jackson had moved into a Los Angeles house with members
of the sect after vowing never to return to his Neverland Ranch.
Claims that the movement is slowly taking over the singer's affairs
come as Jackson's official spokesman resigned over "strategic
[Georgia] Islamic cemetery awaits final permission - 02 Jan 03
A new Islamic cemetery on New Hope Road should open soon, said the
imam of the Georgia Islamic Institute, which is located here. The
five-acre site near the intersection of Grayson-New Hope Road has been
graded, landscaped and a wooden fence erected around its border.
The institute applied for and received a special use permit from the
Gwinnett County Commission almost two years ago so it could create the
1,276-plot cemetery. The permit was strongly opposed by nearby
homeowners who said they feared Muslim burial rituals would affect the
environmental health and aesthetics of the community. Muslim tradition
calls for cleansing the body, wrapping it in a shroud and burying it
within 24 hours, with the face turned toward Mecca. Coffins and
embalming are not part of the tradition, but before approving the
permit in 2002, county officials added a condition requiring wooden
coffins at the New Hope site.
Hijab, Moderation Top European Fatwa Council Meeting - 01 Jan 04
A number of eminent Muslim scholars from the United States, Europe and
the Islamic world kicked off Wednesday, December31 , the12 th session
of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), with promoting
moderation, defining a fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) of Muslim
minorities and the issue of hijab high on the agenda.
Qaradawi, the head of the ECFR, raised the issues of hijab in France
and moderation, which he deemed the most crucial in 2003 .
"International parties on various levels in the East and West, Muslims
and non-Muslims have called for adopting the methodology of
moderation," he said. The veteran scholar noted that even rulers who
used to prosecute those who call for moderation have reversed their
opposition. Nevertheless, Qaradawi vocalized fears that the call
might be misplaced or misused for chalking up political gains.
The ECFR is permanently headquartered in Dublin, with a mission mainly
meant to serve Muslims living in the West and better display the true
identity of Islam as a moderate religion. The council meets twice a
year, with one session always held in Ireland and second in another
Islamic Finance: Learning rules of wakala and its termination - 01 Jan
[Bahrain] Islamic cleric approves Sharia abiding investments
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/business/31_12_03_f.asp - 31 Dec 03
A prominent Bahraini Islamic cleric, Sheikh Nizam Yaqoubi, has
approved investments in an Islamic hedge fund called Tahawat, in the
first such move by an Islamic scholar. This will pave the way toward
introducing hedge funds by Islamic banks and financial institutions.
The Islamic Sharia principles ban common hedging tolls because of
speculations and interest. Islam also forbids selling something you do
not own, which applies on firms with debts or their stocks.
Asked on trust funds being invested in the West, Sheikh Nizam said:
"Selling, buying or leasing to non-Muslims is halal, but dealing with
usury or moharamat (anything un-Islamic) is forbidden." "Islamic banks
can not deal with every bank. They deal according to Islamic
principles. So leasing to hotels, for example, is prohibited if they
have bars," he said. Sheikh Nidam said "the Islamic banking industry,
thank God, is growing fast because the people in the region want to
deal with and invest in Islamic banks to generate halal income."
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