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95Sharia News Watch 95

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Jan 3, 2004
      Sharia News Watch 95 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/message/95

      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 :
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/

      AFGHANISTAN

      Articles Altered in Constitution - 01 Jan 04
      http://www.e-ariana.com/ariana/eariana.nsf/be77f8366cbd693387256b790077e1df=
      /75abc537859d3ccc87256e0e0082e982?OpenDocument
      ..
      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.
      ..
      http://www.detnews.com/2004/nation/0401/02/a05-24647.htm
      ..
      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
      http://www.e-ariana.com/ariana/eariana.nsf/allDocs/1B6539555C1E351787256E0F=
      005A2E4A?OpenDocument
      ..
      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.

      BAHRAIN

      Hijab protest by Bahrain clerics - 03 Jan 04
      http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Articles.asp?Article=70636&Sn=BNEW
      ..
      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.

      CANADA

      Unit handles 31 hate crimes in first year - 02 Jan 04
      http://www.canada.com/edmonton/news/story.asp?id=0819C21C-F424-46F5-B66A-70=
      9ABAFA00F1
      ..
      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.

      EGYPT

      The art of the ban - 31 Dec 04
      http://www.cairotimes.com/content/archiv07/books0742.html
      .. [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
      http://www.islam-online.net/English/News/2003-12/31/article01.shtml
      ..
      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
      http://www.khilafah.com/home/category.php?DocumentID=8991
      ..
      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.

      FRANCE

      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]

      GERMANY

      Hijab causes major row in Germany - 02 Jan 04
      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/22F0F85C-6E4A-41CA-8EA4-A68E57A9259F=
      .htm
      ..
      [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
      clerics.
      ..
      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.

      INDIA

      Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity among the Daudi Bohras
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=45329968
      .. [Journal of the American Oriental Society] - 01 Jan 03

      [Ayodhya] Muslims cold to Jama Masjid Trust's solution - 30 Dec 03
      http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=38237
      ..
      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
      http://news.findlaw.com/ap_stories/i/1104/1-2-2004/20040102230000_08.html
      ..
      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.

      IRAN

      [Bam] A production line of death at the mass graveyard - 29 Dec 03
      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=476682
      ..
      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
      shrouds.
      ..
      [opinion] http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/03_01_04_c.asp
      ..
      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.

      IRAQ

      US troops reportedly arrest 20 in Baghdad mosque operation
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=45418792
      .. [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
      http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/040102/2004010213.html
      ..
      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.
      ..
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=45446463
      .. [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
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=45403035
      ..
      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
      http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,8302177%255E2=
      703,00.html
      ..
      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

      Israel To Dig New Tunnel Under Aqsa Mosque - 03 Jan 04
      http://www.islamonline.org/English/News/2004-01/03/article02.shtml
      ..
      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.

      ITALY

      Christians Second-Class in Muslim Lands - Cardinal - 01 Jan 04
      http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=CAS1NAYWU2Y1WCRBAEOCFF=
      A?type=reutersEdge&storyID=4061491
      ..
      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.

      KUWAIT

      varsity teacher suspended on blasphemy charges - 31 Dec 03
      http://paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=50157
      ..
      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 .

      MALAYSIA

      On the legal lookout - 31 Dec 03
      http://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2003/12/31/features/690=
      0036
      ..
      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
      others.

      MALI

      Mali Takes Steps To Combat Female Genital Mutilation - 02 Jan 04
      http://www.unwire.org/UNWire/20040102/449_11682.asp
      ..
      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
      their virginity.

      NIGERIA

      [Kano] expert panel backs Muslim fears of WHO polio vaccine- 03 Jan 04
      http://www.terra.net.lb/wp/Articles/DesktopArticle.aspx?ArticleID=129655
      ..
      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
      immunisation drives.

      [Yobe] Suspected religious fanatics invade communities - 30 Dec 03
      http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/national/nr530122003.html
      ..
      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.
      ..
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=45383084
      ..
      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.

      NORWAY

      Islamic group's spiritual leader arrested - 02 Jan 04
      http://www.adn.com/24hour/world/story/1101863p-7708939c.html
      ..
      "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.

      PAKISTAN

      Musharraf and the mullahs - 30 Dec 04
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3357245.stm
      ..
      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.

      PALESTINE

      For homosexual Palestinians, Israel is their best shot at safety
      http://www.jta.org/page_view_story.asp?strwebhead=Palestinian+gays+seek+saf=
      ety+in+Israel
      .. - 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 ?"

      QATAR

      Conference on burdens the Islamic charities suffer due to September 11
      http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/040102/2004010208.html
      .. - 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

      Russia-Islam ties better after Putin's call to join OIC - 02 Jan 03
      http://www.brunei-online.com/bb/fri/jan2w13.htm
      ..
      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 ARABIA

      Saudi religious police ban New Year commercial goods - 30 Dec 03
      http://www.menareport.com/story/TheNews.php3?action=story&sid=266788
      ..
      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
      http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,8284217%255E1702,00.html
      ..
      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
      decision-making level".

      Saudis to verify veiled women's identities - 03 Jan 04
      http://www.newsalert.com/bin/story?StoryId=Cp_zmubebC2f1zgKTD29Tzw4
      ..
      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
      http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/world/story/0,4386,228032,00.html?
      ..
      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

      Somalia's Tiny Christian Community Reportedly Under Fire - 02 Jan 04
      http://www.crosswalk.com/news/1237505.html
      ..
      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.

      SRI LANKA

      Electoral reforms - The Muslim case - 03 Jan 04
      http://www.dailymirror.lk/2004/01/03/opinion/3.asp
      ..
      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

      Sudan security: Expel Aljazeera call - 01 Jan 04
      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/C0F8DB76-339C-404E-A8FB-B96294DA193A=
      .htm
      ..
      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
      Sudan.
      ..
      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.

      TURKEY

      Official Turkish Fatwa Against 'Lottery' - 29 Dec 03
      http://www.turks.us/article.php?story=20031229162105831
      ..
      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.

      USA

      Friend of Malcolm X, former Negro League player is Muslim of the Year
      http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20040103muslimlocal4p4.asp

      [Florida] WorldNetDaily goes inside 'mainstream' Muslim conference
      (1/3) http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=36430

      Ford Has a Better Idea: One Nation Under Allah - 30 Dec 03
      http://frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=11513
      .. [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
      http://www.beliefnet.com/story/138/story_13800_1.html
      ..
      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
      child.
      ..
      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."
      ..
      http://entertainment.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4459,8293714%5E10431%5=
      E%5Enbv,00.html
      ..
      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
      differences".

      [Georgia] Islamic cemetery awaits final permission - 02 Jan 03
      http://www.gwinnettdailyonline.com/GDP/archive/articleBA6CA257305F45FA89F7E=
      7E6E0BFD017.asp
      ..
      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.

      WORLD REGIONS

      Hijab, Moderation Top European Fatwa Council Meeting - 01 Jan 04
      http://www.islam-online.net/English/News/2004-01/01/article05.shtml
      ..
      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
      European country.

      FINANCE

      Islamic Finance: Learning rules of wakala and its termination - 01 Jan
      http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=106879

      [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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