Sharia News Watch 97 : 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 :
Full text: 'Bin Laden' tape - 05 Jan 04
Afghan Envoy Defends New Constitution on Rights - 08 Jan 04
[Kabul's ambassador to France Zalmai] Haquani said the constitution,
whose text was not yet available in Western languages, clearly stated
that men and women were equal under Afghan law and that Kabul would
respect all the international rights conventions it has signed. He
said non-Muslims were free to practice their religion within the law,
without saying which legal provisions would apply. Islamic law usually
bans conversion, a point that U.S. evangelical churches have regularly
Haquani rejected [U.S. ambassador-at-large-for-international-religious
-freedom] Hanford's questioning of the use of Hanafi sharia law
whenever no civil law existed. The text does not use the word "sharia"
but its reference to the Hanafi school of sharia legal scholarship
makes clear it will be used. "Hanafi is the most liberal jurisprudence
in Islam," he said. "It allows a very wide range of interpretation
according to where the law is applied." Haquani suggested critics
placed too much emphasis on legal guarantees, which could be flouted
by a strongman in a country as underdeveloped as Afghanistan, and
placed too much blame on Islam for shortcomings in Afghan society.
"In Afghan history, many of the setbacks for human rights did not come
from the application of Islam," he said. "They came from traditions,
from cultural problems, from tribal problems.
Girls march against veil ban - 09 Jan 04
Hizbollah organised a demonstration yesterday of about 5,000 girls,
most in headscarves, outside the French embassy to protest against a
proposed French ban on headscarves in state schools. Most of the
demonstrators were students brought in by bus. They marched from the
Place du Musee to the embassy, where one veiled girl gave a letter to
an embassy employee. Men from the Lebanese movement acted as marshals
for the march, as the girls carried French flags and banners demanding
that French President Jacques Chirac block any ban.
Mother wins custody battle again - 11 Dec 04
A court yesterday again granted a Bahraini mother custody of her two
children from her ex-Saudi husband and raised the monthly alimony to
BD150, said a report in our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej. The Sharia
Court had in November 2003 ordered the ex-husband to hand over the two
daughters to Badriya Rabea. However, he refused to comply. He said
yesterday that he will appeal the ruling and the court gave him one
day to do so.
Bangladesh bans books by Muslim sect - 08 Jan 04
The Bangladesh government today banned the sale, publication and
distribution of all books and booklets on Islam published by the
Ahmadiya Muslim Jamaat. An official announcement said the proscribed
publications include Bengali or any other translation (with
explanation) of the 'Quran Majid'. The ban came in the wake of
agitation by some Islamic groups, who have also planned demonstrations
in the capital tomorrow, for declaring the Kadianis as "non-Muslims".
"The ban was imposed in view of objectionable materials in such
publications that hurt or might hurt the sentiments of the majority
Muslim population of Bangladesh," said the announcement of the
Bangladesh Home Ministry. Around 5,00,000 members of the Ahmadiya
community live in Bangladesh, where majority Muslims are 'Sunni'.
The Ahmadiya community established in India respects Hazrat Mirza
Ghulam Ahmad Kadiani as a guide of the Muslims after Prophet Mohammad.
Belgium too planning hijab ban - 10 Jan 04
Belgium is seeking to emulate France by planning to ban religious
symbols from its own courts, schools and offices. Backing the
controversial French legislation that seeks to ban the Islamic hijab
and other religious symbols from schools, Deputy Prime Minister
Patrick Dawael on Saturday called for a similar law in Belgium.
[comment] Veiled dependency? - 08 Jan 04
.. [Al-Azhar is under fire after its Grand Imam issued a controversial
edict on France's anti-hijab bill].
Egypt's top Islamist dies at 82 - 10 Jan 04
The spiritual leader of Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood, the
country's largest opposition group, died on Thursday, the group said
in a statement yesterday. He was 82. More than 50,000 mourners joined
a peaceful march outside a Cairo mosque where prayers were held for
Ma'moun Al Hodeiby.
Hodeiby took over as spiritual guide of the Arab world's oldest
Islamic political movement in November 2002 . His father was one of
the founders of the group that says it wants to implement Islamic
sharia law by constitutional means. Hodeiby was known for resisting
attempts by young members of the Muslim Brotherhood to promote a
policy of stronger political confrontation with the government.
Founded in 1928 , the Muslim Brotherhood has been banned since 1954
but is broadly tolerated on the Egyptian political scene. The group is
unofficially represented in parliament by about 20 independent
Hala Shiha to be the star of Adel Imam's upcoming film - 09 Jan 04
Egyptian actress Hala Shiha has been waiting for the right moment to
make her debut back into the big screen after she had previously
resigned from acting due to wearing the Hijab (headdress), which she
took off feeling she is not ready to give up her career. Since she
announced her return, Hala has not taken part in any new film.
According to the London based, Elaph, it was revealed that Egyptian
comedian-actor Adel Imam has nominated Hala for his upcoming film. The
actress has expressed her acceptance of the role offered to her
stressing that a film alongside Adel is a great way of making her come
The Egyptian Censorship Committee has refused to accept the new film
"Siko Siko" co-starring Hala, which tackles the issue of sex education
taught in schools, unless 18 scenes are deleted. The committee
stressed that it will not give the green light to the film unless all
the unfit scenes are removed and a new name is given for the film.
This is the first time in 20 years that the censorship committee
demands this many deletions from one film. The committee stressed that
the creation of any film with such sensitive themes as teaching
children about the nature of sex is in itself very inappropriate for
an Arab audience and does not go with social standards. The writer of
the film stressed that the film is an educational one that enlightens
the community and that he was in shock with the report given by the
Censorship, which simply means destroying the film entirely in terms
of meaning and ideas. He added that the film tackles important issues
that reflect problems in our society in a very serious manner and it
does not display any sexual or inappropriate scenes.
French pro-veil march branded dangerous - 07 Jan 04
The head of France's Muslim council has urged the country's Muslims to
ignore the "siren" calls of Islamic radicals and refuse to join
protest marches against government plans to ban headscarves in public
schools. Dalil Boubakeur, chairman of the French Council of the
Muslim Faith (CFCM), branded a pro-veil march set for next week as a
"very dangerous" measure that could frighten voters two months before
regional elections are held across France. Boubakeur, a moderate
close to President Jacques Chirac, was reacting to growing resentment
among Muslim groups that feel unfairly targeted by Chirac's plan to
ban all religious symbols in public schools and hospitals. The CFCM,
launched last year to represent the diverse groups among France's five
million Muslims, has split over the veil decision. One of its largest
member groups has come out in favour of protest marches set for at
least four large cities.
Qaradawi threatens legal action against France - 07 Jan 04
"If the law is passed, we will seek to file a legal complaint because
this law will be in contradiction with the French constitution,"
Qaradawi said in an interview on Tuesday.
The furore over Tariq Ramadan - 07 Jan 04
The French daily Le Monde devoted the main story on the front page of
its 23 December issue to Tariq Ramadan, the controversial Islamic
activist and grandson, on his mother's side, of Muslim Brothers
founder Hassan El-Banna. [..]
Ramadan's critics argue that he cannot be part of the European Social
Forum as long as he subscribes to a philosophy that rejects the notion
of progress and does not condemn the veil. In their televised debate,
the French Interior minister tried to embarrass Ramadan by raising the
issue of Islamic punishments such as stoning women who commit adultery
and amputating the hands of thieves. Ramadan resorted to ijtihad (one
of the four sources of Islam that is used to find the doctrinal
solution to new problems) to come forward with alternatives to such
The Sarkozy/Ramadan debate was part of a series of televised debates
between the interior minister and a number of key figures, including
Christophe Aguiton, representative of the Porto Allegre "other
globalisation", and Le Pen, leader of France's extreme right. Sarkozy
is planning to present himself in France's next presidential
elections, and these debates appear to be preparing the groundwork for
his campaign. It seems Ramadan is playing a key role, albeit from the
standpoint of an ever more significant Islamic opposition, in
establishing the features of France's future policies. In such a
context, can we continue to ignore Tariq Ramadan ?
People keen to adopt orphans but officials want time - 06 Jan 04
Iran has been flooded with offers to adopt such orphans, but
authorities announced yesterday they needed more time. Officials want
to be sure the children's parents are dead. They want to be sure that
relatives from other provinces and countries have time to search for
their loved ones. They want to wait at least three months before
allowing the children to be released for adoption. "Not yet," said
Reza Khoshnood, the deputy of social affairs for the government's
Better Life Organisation, which runs the orphanage helping most of the
surviving children. "We have to be certain."
Among those offering to adopt them are a government official in Tehran
and strangers from the United States and Canada. The Better Life
orphanage in Kerman, 177 km north of Bam, has served as a transit
centre for most of the children left alone after the earthquake.
Senior Iranian cleric says Egyptian fatwa on Islamic dress
"humiliation" [Iranian Fars News Agency] - 05 Jan 04
A source of religious emulation, Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi, has
written a letter to religious scholars of Al- Azhar protesting about
Makarem-Shirazi added: If true, this report is truly frightening. That
is because it will give a green light to all non-Islamic countries to
pass any kind of legislation against Muslims. Has any Muslim scholar
issued such a fatwa against any Muslims until now?
If Mr Tantawi's source of reference is the necessity of obeying the
guardian of the Muslims' cause, then his remarks are contrary to the
consensus of opinion reached by Islamic religious scholars. They
believe that Muslims must obey officials as the guardian of Muslims'
cause. However, they do stipulate certain conditions for that.
Firstly, the officials in question must be Muslims. Secondly, they
must not issue any decrees that are contrary to divine decrees. That
is because obeying creatures, while defying the creator, is not
permissible. If his source of reference, however, is those people's
rules and regulations, then according to the rules of jurisprudence,
they are not allowed to pass any type of legislation which is contrary
to the commitments into which they have entered.
The letter continues: They have accepted the Declaration of Human
Rights. Therefore, they did not have the right to prevent anyone from
fulfilling their religious obligations. Besides, the obligation in
question is one which does not harm anyone. Moreover, if the law is
approved and implemented, it will prevent a large number of Muslim
residents of France from studying. This is another offence in itself.
Council close to law on transition - 05 Jan 04
Members of Iraq's Governing Council are close to completing a
transitional constitution that would make Islam a basis, but not the
only one, for Iraqi laws, an Iraqi legal expert says.
Istrabadi said a six-page draft of the provisional constitution
circulating among the 24 council members calls for the new Iraq to be
a "pluralistic, federal, parliamentary democracy." It would establish
separation of powers between different branches of government and the
principle of judicial review.
Islam. Iraqi legislators would not be obliged to ban banks from
charging interest or to enact strict punishments such as cutting off
hands for theft or stoning for adultery, as both required under strict
Islamic law or sharia. Laws would be based on Western and Muslim
sources. By making a general reference to Islam, Iraq's majority
Shiite Muslims and minority Sunnis could follow their own traditions
on family law including divorce, child custody and inheritance.
Freedom of religious practice for non-Muslims and equal rights for
women would be guaranteed.
Another major issue is whether the procedure to choose a transition
assembly will satisfy Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's leading
Shiite cleric. He issued a fatwa or Islamic ruling last summer that
members of the assembly must be elected. The Bush administration is
concerned that direct elections might produce a Shiite religious
government; Shiites are 60% of the 24 million population and hard-line
religious groups are better organized than secular ones.
Iraq campus learns freedom's price - 06 Jan 04
Students still talk about an incident in 1998, when Baath Party
officials took two Shiite engineering students from an examination
hall and accused them of taking part in anti-government demonstrations
following the assassination of Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, a prominent
Shiite cleric. The students disappeared without a trace, and the
engineering college dean resigned in protest. "We want the whole
faculty to change from a dictatorial age to an age of freedom," said
Ali Abdul-Jabar, a petroleum engineering student and senior member of
the new Shiite student union.
Abdul-Jabar's student union is the largest and most powerful of the 15
that have sprung up since last spring. Abdul-Jabar said his union was
open to all students, though it is mostly Shiite and is at least
partly funded by a group of prominent Shiite religious schools. The
Shiite union claimed the old headquarters of the Baathist student
union shortly after the war. Some former Baathist students have
reunited into a union based out of the physical education department,
Abdul-Jabar said, and members of the two groups have gotten into
In the early summer, Moktadr al-Sadr, the son of Ayatollah Muhammad
Sadiq al-Sadr, a leading Shiite cleric, mobilized his followers to
take over student unions at universities across the country. But the
Shiite unions have not been able to sweep away the other student
groups - and other ways of thinking - that have blossomed after the
fall of Saddam. "They've been putting up pictures of Sadr, and we've
been taking them down," said Lina Aboosi, a third-year architecture
student. "We're not opposing these things because they're religious.
But this is a university, not a mosque."
Iraqi Artists Anger Sunni Islam - 06 Jan 04
For most Muslims, depicting them is strictly forbidden, but Haidar
Dahlouz sees them in his dreams and then paints them. The family of
the Prophet Mohammad are revered as the true leaders of the Islamic
community by Shi'ite Muslims, and Dahlouz has no compunction about
glorifying them with his brazenly naturalistic brushstrokes.
Sunni Muslim clerics frown on devotional images but have not dared
object. In Baghdad in the Sunni Muslim heart of Iraq, Shi'ites adorn
cars and shops with the small posters and postcards which fill the
capital's street markets.
"These are the same people who used to do portraits of Saddam Hussein.
Now they're doing the imams," railed Qasim al-Sabti. The imams are the
12 descendants of the Prophet through his cousin Ali who are revered
by Iraq's Shi'ites. "This is a big lie and has nothing to do with a
holy figure like Ali," Sabti said, denouncing the way Shi'ite artists
depict Ali, the fourth caliph (leader of the first Islamic state).
"They make him look like a film star, with white-skin, beautiful eyes
and a striking pose," said Sabti, speaking at Iraq's revamped National
Art Gallery. "But we know what he looked like because it's written in
history and it's more like this guy here," he said, pointing to a
squat, dark-skinned man entering the gallery. "He was brown, fat,
short and bald." A Shi'ite listening to the diatribe smiled. "Well,
he's obviously a Sunni," he whispered.
Dahlouz said the Iranian input had only slightly altered the true
visage of the Shi'ite imams. "The imams, peace be upon them, were
first depicted by Iranians, so they always make the nose straight,
while the Arab nose isn't straight. I don't like to make the eyes so
feminine and I try to make the nose round," he said. "Most of the
Iranian artists tend to idealize and beautify them. They make the eyes
dreamy and sleepy. I prefer eyes like a hawk," Dahlouz said, pointing
to a Shi'ite magazine which had commissioned him to draw portraits of
American Baptist Group Hopes To Convert Iraqi Muslims - 05 Jan 04
Jon Hanna, an evangelical minister and missionary from Ohio, told the
Telegraph UK last week that Islam's denial of Jesus as divine
qualifies the religion as "false." Citing the New Testament, Hanna
said, "Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the
Christ. Such a man is the antichrist." Despite the fact that this
defines almost 70 percent of the world's population, access to Iraq's
23 million plus unsaved souls is literally an answer to IMB's prayers,
presenting a unique but possibly brief opportunity. "A U.S. passport
is all you need to get in, until the new Iraqi government takes over,"
said Hanna. "What we thought was a two-year window, originally, has
narrowed down to a six month window." Under the pretense of
providing humanitarian aid, the Baptists come to Iraq with food,
medical services and Bibles; IMB [Baptists' International Mission
Board] holds that the first two items are "a conduit" for the latter.
As one missionary who met with Iraqi children said in an IMB news
bulletin, "...I could tell some of them have not eaten well. But their
biggest need is to know the love of Christ."
An Interview with Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi - 11 Jan 04
.. [Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi is Secretary-General of the
Italian Muslim Association].
- I must say that because of the absence of a Caliphate, i.e.
because of the non-existence of the Islamic state, no Jew or no
Christian can today be in the legal condition of dhimmi. It is only a
Caliph or his delegate who can accept the covenant of dhimmah from a
Jew or a Christian. In my opinion, the absence of the status of
dhimmah is one of the main causes of the violation of the rights of
the minorities in the Muslim world. A Caliph and his officials are
bound by the Shari'ah to respect the religions freedom of the dhimmis
and to protect their rights (even in case they are peradventure
violated by some Muslims). Surely there exist many misunderstandings
considering dhimmah, exactly like there exist similar
misunderstandings about the status of non-Jews in Israel. Some people
claim that dhimmis in Islamic law are second-class citizens, and some
other people claim that non-Jews in Israel are second-class citizens.
The two things are strictly related, since the Knesset law regulating
the status of non-Jews in Knesset law derives from the Ottoman
Mujallat, which in its turn is based on the Shari'ah. If one abides
by a strict secularist ideology, then it is natural to suppose that
all the citizens are equal in front of the law, and that religious
identity is a private matter, having no relevance for the state. If on
the contrary one state wants to be the state which expresses the
values of a certain religion, i.e. the religion of the majority of its
citizens, the immediate problem is the legal status of those citizens
belonging to a different religion. One cannot change their religion by
force, and cannot deny that their abide by the creed which is not the
one by which the state is inspired. Islamic law effaced from the very
beginning the problem of non-Muslim citizens of the Muslim state, and
the rules of "'dhimma"' were the solution. In 1948 Israel had to
efface a similar problem: the status of non-Jewish citizens of the
Jewish state, and the solution was borrowing from Mujallat. Now an
Islamic state does not exist anymore and consequently there exist no
dhimmis anymore while a Jewish state exists, as it existed before
the advent of Islam. I do not think that all this is related to the
problem of the acceptance of an independent state of Israel, which as
such does not opposes the dictates of Islam, but on the contrary
totally opposes the ideology of secular Arab nationalism.
Religious freedom survey, January 2004 - 07 Jan 04
[opinion] When chief justices lack foresight [backlog] - 07 Jan 04
[organ donation] Malay MPs want Muslims included - 07 Jan 04
Almost every Muslim Member of Parliament who spoke in the debate on
the amendments to the Human Organ Transplant Act (Hota) made the call,
while urging their own Islamic religious authorities here to help
redress the situation. The MPs called on them to review the existing
fatwa, or religious rulings, on organ donation and to re-interpret the
Quran so that Muslims are not excluded from the Act. Under Islamic
law, the body of a dead person belongs not to the person, but to the
paternal next-of-kin, known as wari. Hence, Muslims who wish to pledge
their organs for donation need to opt in, and only after obtaining the
consent of two waris, or closest male relatives.
Most Muslims do want to be part of Hota, said Dr Ahmad Magad (Pasir
Ris-Punggol GRC), citing a proposal submitted by the Muslim Kidney
Action Committee, in which 56,000 Muslims pledged their support for
organ donation. However, many faced resistance from their family
members, as could be seen in the rejection of 12,000 pledges by
Muslims to opt-in since Hota was passed in 1987. They were not
accepted because they lacked signatures from both waris.
Acting Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that he was aware that
Malays are the biggest losers, with 50 per cent more likely to suffer
kidney failure than other races. This is why they account for one in
five patients waiting for a kidney. Not only do they have low priority
in getting an organ unless they have opted in, but because of their
genetic difference, it is difficult for them to find a match from a
Chinese or Indian donor. And there are few Malay donors, with organs
taken from only six out of 70 potential Muslim donors since 1988.
Muftis need funds to study social, religious issues - 07 Jan 04
Muftis must be given adequate funds to enable them to carry out
thorough research before issuing fatwas, Wilayah Perseketuan Mufti Dr
Mohammed Yusoff Hassain said Tuesday. "The mufti departments play a
constructive role in society and they must do proper research before
issuing any fatwas," he said on the sidelines of a seminar on
"Understanding Biotechonolgy: Towards An Informed Ulama" here Tuesday.
The changing times, coupled with the increasing issues confronting the
Muslim community, demanded that muftis understand their problems in
depth before coming up with important guidelines, he pointed out.
"We need to study issues relating to family institutions, economy,
education and how to raise the living standards of Muslims.
"Muftis are responsible in advising the King, issuing guidelines on
religious and social matters. Therefore, we must be informed and be
able to defend our decisions," he said.
Dr Mohammed Yusoff said there was no Government funding in the past,
nor was any detailed research carried out. However, recently all State
muftis decided that it was time to study social and religious issues
more carefully. He said his Department had requested for RM 400,000
[EUR 83.000,-] from the Wilayah Baitulmal Foundation for research
purposes, especially to help develop Muslims in Kuala Lumpur and in
Labuan, Sabah. The shortage of qualified reseachers, like sociologists
and pyschologists, was another setback faced by mufti departments, he
[Terengganu] Ex-PAS leader: Party will never implement hudud
.. - 06 Jan 04
Former Terengganu PAS deputy commissioner Latif Mohamad, 63, has
claimed that the party would never implement hudud law in Terengganu.
"PAS does not have the experience or expertise to implement the law
which was gazetted in October 2002," he said. The party only
introduced the hudud enactment following pressure from the grassroots.
"The party knows the national leadership would not allow the
implementation of the enactment. "It all boils down to hypocrisy," he
said in a press conference yesterday.
[Terengganu] 'Focus on business not skirts, blouses' - 06 Jan 03
The Kuala Terengganu Municipal Council should be thinking of ways to
revive the weak business environment instead of how women should
dress. Shoe store owner Lakhmer Singh, 46, said: "It's not enough that
the council has imposed various restrictions on local business
community, now it is trying to squeeze RM250 out of us if the clothes
of our female employees are not loose enough." Lakhmer's reaction was
reflective of the anger the people felt over this latest move by the
Terengganu authorities. Restaurant owner Aw Fang Eng, 52, said such a
rule should not have even been considered by the council as it was a
blatant infringement of the individual's basic rights.
Sisters in Islam programme manager Masjaliza Hamzah questioned Pas'
honour. "When Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang launched Pas'
Islamic State document, he stressed that non-Muslims would still be
able to enjoy the rights of their own beliefs and practices, and that
individual freedom would not end with the inception of a Pas
government. "With this ruling, it sounds like the party has gone back
on its promises." Masjaliza said women should not be held responsible
for the indiscretion of others. "Did Pas consult the non-Muslim
community before coming up with a directive that will affect them? Or
is this yet another 'surprise' for nonMuslims in Pas-ruled States?"
Lawyers Zaid Ibrahim and Karpal Singh challenged the legal right of
Terengganu to impose such a law. "This is illegal. Terengganu has no
right to outlaw such a thing - it is a Federal issue," said Zaid, who
is also Kelantan Umno deputy chief. Zaid said the people should lodge
a report if they were persecuted by the Terengganu Government.
He added that ideas of decency and morality could be enacted in the
Constitution, but the definition had to come from the public's
perspective and not an ulama's opinion.
Man to die by stoning for impregnating step-daughter in Bauchi
- 05 Jan 04
The Alkaleri Upper Sharia Court in Bauchi State has sentenced a randy
father of three to death by stoning for impregnating his
step-daughter. With the case of the 45-year-old Umaru Tori, the number
of persons awaiting death by stoning for adultery in the state is now
three. Tori's case was an open-and-shut one, as he had confessed to
making love to his 15-year-old step-daughter four times in his farm.
But this claim was refuted by the girl, who is already six months in
pregnancy. Tori made love to her only twice, she insisted.
Before the ruling, Umaru, confessed to the offence, claiming that his
predicament was an act of fate and pleaded for leniency. In his ruling
delivered on December 29, last year, the judge, Malam Hashimu
Husseini, sentenced Umaru to death by stoning for self-confession in
accordance with the Bauchi State Sharia penal code. The judge,
however, sentenced the teenage girl to 100 strokes of the cane for
voluntarily giving herself to her stepfather. He said the punishment
should be meted to her after she had been delivered of the baby.
A Ningi Sharia Court [Bauchi] had earlier sentenced a 35-year old man,
Yunusa Rafi'u Chiyawa, to death by stoning for making love to a
friend's wife 13 times. Also sentenced to death by stoning for sodomy
was a 22-year-old-man, Jibrin Babaji. Babaji, however, appealed
against the sentenced, seeking a re-trial. Also, 22 other persons
are waiting for the assent of Governor Ahmadu Mu'Azu to have their
wrists chopped off following their convictions by the various Sharia
courts in the state for thefts. In the list of the prospective
amputees is a 45-year-old man, Husseini Maidoya, who was sentenced to
amputation for forcefully chopping off the leg of his wife for an
[Plateau] Jni, Gov Disagree Over Ulama's Council - 05 Jan 04
[This Day - Lagos]
The Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI) has disagreed sharply with Plateau
State Governor, Chief Joshua Dariye over the ban of the Council of
Ulamas by the state government. On December 31, last year Governor
Dariye had made a special broadcast announcing the ban of the council
of Ulamas for what he called "inciting publications and act of
irresponsibility". The governor had announced that the state
government was only willing to liaise with the JNI and that any other
Islamic group in the state was considered illegal by government.
However in a seven point communiqu issued by the JNI Jos North
chapter and made available to THISDAY at the weekend, the association
noted that the JNI was in full support of the activities of the
council adding that the former was instrumental to the formation of
the latter. "The JNI Jos. North branch has full knowledge of the
activities of the Ulama/Elders council, and apart from its membership
in the council, it has facilitated the formation of the council
consequent upon the crisis that re-engulfed Jos township in May 2002.
It is worthy of note that the Council of Ulamas consist of all
registered Islamic organizations in the state including JNI".
According to the communiqué, other members of the Ulama Council
include JIBWIS 1, JIBWIS 11, Rahatul Islam, Muslim Brothers, Fityanul
Islam and Munazzamatul Fityanul Islam.
Development of Fiqh Sciences in Oman - Seminar - 06 Jan 04
A seminar on development of Fiqh sciences in Oman during the 4th
Hijrah century being organised by the Awqaf and Religious Affairs
Ministry continued at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque's lectures hall
in Bousher today. Several working papers presented by Omani and other
Arab intellectuals and researchers in today's session reviewed the
grammar and its relation to Arab wording and Fiqh rules and other
New proposals unlikely to be presented to parliament - 07 Jan 04
The chances of presenting final report of the Special Committee of the
National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW) on Hudood Ordinances to
the parliament have gone bleaker with the MMA-government agreement on
LFO, a Committee members told Dawn on condition of anonymity. The
special committee after six extensive meetings has overwhelmingly
recommended repeal of Hudood Ordinances with consensus among the
members that the laws, as drafted, are defective and that a major part
of these ordinances consists of sections that have been lifted from
the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
With the announcement of recommendations, the MMA has outright
rejected the findings of the NCSW terming them un- Islamic. The
Alliance has also announced that if such a bill was presented to the
parliament, it would oppose it and never allow any legislation
approving the repeal of the Hudood Ordinances. Now that the MMA and
the government are sitting on the same benches [over LFO], it is
almost impossible that the government will present these
recommendations to the parliament for discussion, he argued.
Cops told to respect religious freedom - 07 Jan 04
Justice Sakhi Hussain Bukhari of the Lahore High Court observed on
Tuesday that the police have no right to interfere in the religious
affairs of citizens, and if they do so, the courts must punish them.
The court gave these observations on a constitutional petition from
Yousaf Masih against police harassment. The court told the Lahore
senior superintendent of police to punish the policemen responsible
after conducting an inquiry. Mr Masih said he and his brother Amanat
had converted to Islam and married according to Muslim rites after
separating from their family. He alleged that North Cantt police had
harassed them on behalf of their relative Chohan Masih and conducted
raids on their house.
Our so-called claims on science - Khaled Ahmed's TV Review - 06 Jan 04
One is forced to concede that the opening of the private channels will
make Pakistanis confrontational in foreign policy and primitive in
national culture. There is so much on TV these days that is painfully
medieval and primitive that one starts doubting whether everyone is
living in the same country
GEO (9 December 2003) had Fahd Hussain discussing moon-sighting with
ex-religion minister Raja Zafarul Haq and an Islamic scientist, Mr
Khalid Shaukat. Mr Shaukat quoted at length from the Holy Quran to
prove that it did not mandate sighting of the moon through the naked
eye. He said that in the light of the divine message the Muslims would
be justified in formulating a scientific calendar indicating precisely
the position of the moon years in advance. Ex-religion minister Raja
Zafarul Haq was asked whether any Islamic state had taken recourse to
the scientific calendar. He appeared to be ignorant about the practice
of moon-sighting in the Islamic world. He tentatively said that Saudi
Arabia relied on the naked eye for sighting, but was informed by Mr
Shaukat that, on the contrary, the Saudi state had a scientific
calendar. While Mr Haq knew little about other states, Mr Shaukat
mentioned that Egypt was living under the scientific calendar for the
past hundred years and that Malaysia too had followed suit.
Channel tv contributed by Pakistan is mostly religious. Now that ary
has opened more channels, the religious programmes have proliferated.
One unfortunate result of this proliferation would be the
medievalisation of the Pakistani population even further. (Shutting of
the eyes during "namaz" is not allowed, etc.) There is no way a cleric
of today can explain Islam without highlighting his alienation from
modern times as if something completely wrong is going on. The geo
programmes devoted to religion seem to emphasise the fiqh-dominated
nature of the religion. Other channels too simply get in the orthodox
schools of thought. On half a dozen channels there are cassettes
showing 24 hour singing of the "na'at" with the horrible new tradition
of literally "cascading" currency notes on the heads of the singers.
In some cases, people go into the condition of "haal" which is really
a series of unseemly contortions that everyone seems to enjoy. The
cassettes are recorded in small towns and the singers are peripatetic
and famous for the ability to cause "haal".
Human rights are universal, say experts - 07 Jan 04
Speakers and delegates on the second and final day of the Human Rights
seminar at The Ritz-Carlton reiterated the fact that human rights are
universal, not nation, culture or religion-specific; that they must be
applied everywhere to all groups of the population; and that the world
needs to translate its fine words into action.
Guidelines for Doing the Tawaf Properly - 06 Jan 04
.. [One of the most important duties of the pilgrimage and the Umrah
is tawaf, which means walking around the Kaabah seven times].
[opinion] Saudi Islamists begin targeting the security forces
- 06 Jan 04
Even the Saudi public discourse on reforms is conducted in secrecy
- 07 Jan 04
The American pressure on Saudi Arabia to carry out reforms, in
particular to remove incitement against the West from its schools
curricula, led Prince Abdullah to establish a respected forum for
"national dialogue" about six months ago.
In accordance with the demand from the Saudi crown prince, Prince
Abdullah, the members of the conference have been forbidden to discuss
the contents of the conference with strangers or to pass on any
information about it to the press; even ordinary citizens are not
allowed to know what was discussed. Those that attended the conference
would only agree to make a few general comments regarding the desire
to "carry out a reform that will help believing Muslims live in the
new reality," one of those present told a Saudi newspaper
"It is as if a new word has been introduced into our Arabic
dictionary," wrote a Saudi journalist [Saudi News Agency]. "Everyone
here is now talking about reforms; everyone knows what it refers to,
but everything is being conducted behind closed doors instead of
holding a public dialogue on the subject."
The Saudi discourse on reforms is not shared with the general public
and is not allowed into the school yards or mosques. .. One may
learn of the enormous difficulty in carrying out reforms faced by a
country like Saudi Arabia from comments made by the Mufti of Egypt,
Dr. Ali Juma'ah, who explained that in Egypt, it would take 160 years
to retrain all the religious preachers.
"The discrimination against the Shiite population in Saudi Arabia is
still carried out in full force. Women Shiite teachers can still not
serve as school principals in Shiite areas; there are no Shiite
officers in the army; and the incitement against Shiites continues
without respite. Nothing has changed in the status of women, and in
the universities, there are still teachers who view the West and its
culture as the root of all evil."
In contrast to the talk on reform, last week a sociological study was
published, whose conclusions revolve around the damage caused to Saudi
families by the employment of foreign, especially non-Muslim, domestic
help. The study calls upon the government to prepare a national
program to restore the traditional roles of the woman as mother and
educator at home. "Too many women are going out to work and the
employment of foreign help has become an integral part of the
luxurious lifestyle and a status symbol of the wife," said the report.
Saudi council calls for moderate Islam - 06 Jan 04
Saudi Arabia's Shura has endorsed an education review Bill that calls
for making the concept of moderation a central tenet of Islam, the
consultative council's secretary-general said. The recommendations,
which have to be approved by the government, include 'entrenching the
Islamic concept, in its moderation and centrism, in the philosophy of
education and in curricula', Mr Hmud al-Badr told the SPA news agency.
The Shura's proposals came just after some 150 Saudis, including
judges, university professors and a cleric with links to Muslim
militants, warned the kingdom against changing its Islam-based school
curricula : 'Any omission or mutilation of what was written by the
Islamic scholars..contradicts the national unity the state is calling
for, as this unity is based on our religious creed.'
The Saudi Paradox by Michael Scott Doran - 01 Jan 04
Radical Sunni Islamists hate Shi'ites more than any other group,
including Jews and Christians. Al-Qaeda's basic credo minces no words
on the subject: "We believe that the Shi'ite heretics are a sect of
idolatry and apostasy, and that they are the most evil creatures under
the heavens." For its part, the Saudi Wahhabi religious establishment
expresses similar views. The fatwas, sermons, and statements of
established Saudi clerics uniformly denounce Shi'ite belief and
practice. A recent fatwa by Abd al-Rahman al-Barrak, a respected
professor at the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University (which
trains official clerics), is a case in point. Asked whether it was
permissible for Sunnis to launch a jihad against Shi'ites, al-Barrak
answered that if the Shi'ites in a Sunni-dominated country insisted on
practicing their religion openly, then yes, the Sunni state had no
choice but to wage war on them. Al-Barrak's answer, it is worth
noting, assumes that the Shi'ites are not Muslims at all.
Sudan, rebels take step toward peace - 07 Jan 04
Sudan's government and its southern rebels agreed on Wednesday to
share the oil-producing nation's wealth, removing a key barrier to
reaching a comprehensive peace deal that would end Africa's
Wednesday's agreement also calls for a new national currency and
different systems of banking. In the north, banks aren't allowed to
charge interest, according to Sharia, or Islamic law; in the south,
Western-style banks charge interest. Currently, Sudan's banks are run
according to Islamic law. The wealth-sharing and the new monetary
systems will remain in place for a six-year transitional period,
starting when a comprehensive peace deal is signed. During this
period, the south will have its own autonomous administration.
Afterwards, southerners will vote in a referendum on whether to
Unresolved are issues involving disputed territory, power-sharing in a
transitional government and whether Islamic law should govern the
The agreement also sets up a monetary system which will allows for
Islamic banking in the north and Western banking in the south, and to
introduce a new currency. Currently, all Sudan's major banks are run
under the regime's version Islamic law, which forbids most forms of
interest but in practice amounts to much higher rates of interest than
in western banking, albeit termed "murabaha".
The focus of the talks will now shift to the three disputed areas, the
Nuba Mountains, southern Blue Nile and oil-rich Abyei, all of which do
not wish to be subject to rule by either the SPLA or the northern
Khartoum-based dictatorship, neither of which have any history of
democratic concerns. Meanwhile the largest state of Sudan, Darur in
the west, bordering Libya and Chad, is in full-scale rebellion and
armed pro-democracy rebels such as the SLA are engaged in an all-out
war with the government troops and local allied Arab militias.
The wealth pact provides for a central bank with two branches -- one
in the south operating international-style banking and one in the
north that will operate Islamic banking that outlaws the charging of
interest, the statement said.
Is The Nation Of Islam Taking Control Of Jackson's Affairs? -31 Dec 03
Is Radical Islam Inevitable in Central Asia? - 27 Dec 03
.. [report examines the attitudes of Central Asian Muslims to the
West, based on public opinion surveys and interviews in Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and offers a range of policy options for
closer engagement with Islam and approaches that might reduce support
for radical alternatives to present regimes].
Islamic Finance: Performing an act by unauthorised agent - 08 Jan 04
[Pakistan] Keynes and Islamic banking by Dr Aqdas Ali Kazmi -07 Jan 04
[Pakistan] 'Islamic banking deals with economy, not money' - 09 Jan 04
[Islamic Banking Department Director Sayeed] said the Islamic banking
system should be adopted purely for banking reasons. He said religion
should not be involved because things would get confused by the
differing versions of the various sects. He said Pakistan had
international-level banking system advisers who should be encouraged
to participate in the system.
[Brunei] Islamic banks seek maximum profits too - 08 Jan 04
Pehin Dato Hj Awg Abu Bakar, the Minister of Health, presenting a
certificate to one of the speakers at the International Conference on
Islamic Banking and Finance. Contrary to popular belief, the Islamic
banks and Islamic financial intermediaries, just like their
conventional counterparts, are also seeking to maximise profits for
their "owners" and they do not work as a charity organisation or Qarde
Hasanali. However, in addition the Islamic institutions address the
issue of distributive justice. .. He said Islamic banking and finance
is a sub-system of the Islamic economic system that gives equal weight
to distributive justice and efficiency.
[Malaysia] Zeti wins top honours from The Banker
Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz is The Banker's choice
of the central bank governor for 2004. The magazine, which is a
publication of Financial Times (London) said that Zeti's continued
pioneering work to build the Islamic finance industry and establish
Malaysia at the forefront "shines out". "No less important, she showed
a deft hand in guiding the Malaysian economy onto a path of solid
growth," the magazine said, adding that as a result of her efforts,
Malaysia leads Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates as the centre for
Islamic finance. Bank Negara leads numerous initiatives to develop
the financial and legal infrastructure in the Islamic banking
industry. These include new disclosure standards for Islamic banks and
court procedures to handle cases involving Islamic finance.
Last September, Dr Zeti was named Asia's best central bank governor in
a poll of investors and bankers in the region by Emerging Markets, a
[Malaysia] Answering to the highest power [Investor Digest]- 08 Jan 04
The Islamic view of corporate governance boils down to one package -
accountability. As simple as it sounds, the study of accountability as
a principle of human action in a corporate environment can be very
complicated. This is because Man does not seem to agree on one thing,
namely, accountability to God.
The concept of formal contracts and informal contracts as readily
found in corporate governance literature can help show how the concept
of accountability is linked to the requirement of law and ethics. In a
formal contract each stakeholder is required to fulfill his
contractual obligations. Failure to do so bears serious legal
implications often with punitive damage. This is because we are
accountable to society and there are penalties and punishment imposed
upon people who break the law. In this way individuals will stay away
from unlawful practices that carry penalties and sanctions. This is
what the law intends to fulfill.
Where formal contract is concerned, both secular and Islamic law is
quite similar in so far as penalties are concerned. Although in the
former we are accountable to society while in the latter we are
accountable to God, failure to observe the law comes with punitive
sanctions and punishment in this world. For example, in the secular
system, people found guilty of evading taxes go to jail. In an Islamic
government, the same applies under a category of penalty called
Informal contracts invoke ethical obligations that warrant no worldly
rewards and punishment. In the western environment, ethical and
unethical actions are rationally-induced behaviour. It is reason that
says whether an action is virtuous or not. There is no fear of legal
penalties when one commits an immoral act such as lying, breaking
promises or turning away a beggar. Man is accountable only to himself,
that is, to reason on which his conscience is based .
However, in Islam, Man is made accountable to God both in his legal
and ethical conduct. As mentioned earlier, the Meccan pagans found it
hard to accept the concept of monotheism and revelation, what more the
idea of resurrection. As a consequence, the idea of moral
responsibility was as dead as the idea of the hereafter where the
final accounting is to take place. To observe the requirements of
informal contracts brings no material reward. Likewise, ignoring them
too will not incur legal punishment.
People who are prone to violating informal contracts are often tempted
to commit corporate crimes like insider trading and manipulating
financial statements and are described by the Quran as `gravitating to
earth' (wa la kinnahu akhlada filal ard). This is because it is easier
to do so than ascending to the heights of purity. It is easier to
follow one's lust and self-seeking ways than to struggle to attain
purity. The Quran says, `So, for him who gives of his wealth, guards
against evil and confirms goodness, We make good easy for him, but for
him who is niggardly, thinks he is self- sufficient and gives lie to
goodness, We make evil easy for him (92:5-10).' The study of Islamic
corporate governance should be an interesting one given that many
untrodden paths have yet to be explored. On the legal side (fiqh), it
requires the fuqaha (Muslim jurists) to take a serious look at the
nature of the corporation and joint-stock company. Undoubtedly,
examining the nature of the human self and factors affecting actions
falls under the domain of philosophy (falasafah) and mysticism
(tasawuf). [Dr Saiful Azhar Rosly is a professor at the Economics
department, Kuliyah of Economics & Management Science, International
Islamic University, Malaysia].
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