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Sharia News Watch 102

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 102 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2004
      Sharia News Watch 102 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/message/102

      The Sharia Newswatch provides a regular 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/

      Hajj, Eid-al-Adha, hijab, mixed marriages, secular, constitutions

      AFGHANISTAN

      [comment] Judiciary not upholding Afghan law - 30 Jan 04
      http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/158606_afghanwomen30.html
      ..
      [Chief Justice Mawlavi Fazl Hadi Shinwari] has put scores of
      unqualified mullahs on benches at all levels and has created a "fatwa
      council" in the Supreme Court to issue religious edicts. Another
      justice on the court who has more than 30 years experience as a judge
      told me that this fatwa council, a throwback to the Taliban era, is
      illegal under Afghan law.
      ..
      [Afghanistan's new constitution] has a very dangerous loophole: It
      states that no law can be contrary to the "beliefs and provisions" of
      Islam. (This formulation replaced the more liberal phrase, "principles
      of Islam," in last-minute politicking at the loya jirga, Afghanistan's
      constitutional convention.) "Provisions" can be interpreted by
      extremists to allow for the imposition of Sharia, or strict Islamic
      law. Another section of the constitution gives the Supreme Court the
      power to determine whether laws and treaties made by the government
      are in accordance with the constitution. Together, these two articles
      give the Supreme Court the power to reject virtually any law or treaty
      as un-Islamic.
      ..
      It is critical that Karzai take decisive action. First, his
      administration should make clear that the Supreme Court can issue
      opinions only on legal cases that have been properly argued before it.
      Second, Karzai should disband the current Supreme Court and appoint
      new members, a power granted to him by the constitution. This new
      court must consist of respected and experienced Afghan jurists.
      ..
      http://paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=53691 - 04 Feb 04
      ..
      In a specific recommendation to the president, the secretary of state,
      and Congress, the Commission [U.S. Commission on International
      Religious Freedom] says the Afghan constitution should also exclude
      the use of blasphemy, "offending Islam," apostasy, or similar offenses
      to stifle debate or restrict religious freedom.

      Afghan paper calls on elders to help prevent poppy cultivation
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=46487640
      .. [Afghan newspaper Anis on 28 January]
      [enemies of lives and health of human beings and particularly of the
      youth] have also restarted their efforts for poppy cultivation in some
      parts of the country. They have encouraged a number of our farmers to
      grow this haram [forbidden] plant instead of wheat and other useful
      plants. Our farmers do not know that poppy cultivation is forbidden by
      Islam and that the illegal drugs made from the nectar of the poppy
      crop destroys the lives of a number of uninformed human beings,
      particularly the youths as a result of efforts made by the traffickers
      of illegal drugs inside the country and in different parts of the
      world.
      ..
      Therefore, influential elders and ulema of the country; let us use our
      humane, Afghan and Islamic feelings and tell all those farmers who own
      lands to destroy their poppy crops if they have already cultivated
      them and urge the relevant authorities to provide these farmers with
      assistance considered by the international organizations. In this way
      they can benefit both in this world and in the life hereafter. Let us
      tell them that in the future they should only grow halal [allowed by
      Islam] crops and not haram [forbidden by Islam].

      BANGLADESH

      Blood problem for Bangladesh festival - 29 Jan 04
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3440799.stm
      ..
      Eid ul Adha, Islam's annual festival of sacrifice is here. But Sadiq
      Hossain, the mayor of the Bangladeshi capital, wants this year to be
      different. Hundreds of thousands of cattle will be sacrificed in the
      capital and across Bangladesh on 2 February. Mr Hossain is urging
      those who can to carry out the sacrifice in public parks. But he knows
      that in this crowded city most animals will be slaughtered in the
      street, leaving the stench of blood hanging in the air for days.
      "Wherever you go in the Islamic world - Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or
      Qatar - you will never see such a slaughter in the streets as in
      Dhaka," Mr Hossain says. The festivities are held every year to
      commemorate the readiness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ishmael.
      ..
      On the day of the Feast of Sacrifice, teams of mullahs will travel
      around the city to carry out the slaughter. Bystanders use a rope
      around the animals' legs to bring them to the ground. Verses from the
      Koran are recited before the cattle are despatched with a sword across
      the throat.
      ..
      "This year there are fewer cattle than last year," said trader Khazi
      Mohammed Selim at Gabtali market. "Officials at the border are being
      very strict. They are not allowing any cattle through from India."
      ..
      For those tired of beef, a novel but expensive option is a camel.
      Abdul Zabar specialises in them. "I went to Rajasthan, in India, just
      before Eid to buy camels," he said.
      ..
      Eid also means bumper sales for blacksmiths. .. "During Eid I get
      lots of orders for knives. Everyday I make eight to ten." By
      tradition, the meat from the sacrifice will be divided into three
      parts, one for the owner, one for friends and relatives, and one for
      the poor. But off-cuts and offal will be discarded, leaving a big
      clean-up job for the city authorities.

      BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

      Khalwat, Divorce Cases On The Rise In Brunei - 31 Jan 04
      http://www.brudirect.com/DailyInfo/News/Archive/Jan04/310104/nite01.htm
      ..
      Religious authorities in the country yesterday expressed concern over
      the reported rise in the number of lose proximity (khalwat) cases,
      adultery and consumption of alcohol by Muslims. According to records
      there were 304 Khalwat cases, 77 adultery cases and 60 alcohol abuse
      cases last year.
      ..
      In an interview with the Weekend yesterday, the Acting lead of
      Religious Enforcement said religious enforcement officers have carried
      out a series of talks at schools and colleges like Maktab Dull,
      villages in Tutong and Belait with plans to expand these to the
      village consultative councils in all the four districts, besides
      carrying out spot checks and raids.
      ..
      Other violations under Civil Criminal Section include eating, drinking
      and smoking during Ramadhan and two cases of preventing Muslims from
      performing prayer, twenty nine cases of non-Muslims aiding in the
      offence of close proximity. Divorce outside the court contributed the
      largest slice of the cases recorded under Family Section last year
      with 121 cases, 17 cases getting solemnised without the approval of
      the Syariah court and 16 cases with failing to report divorce. Others
      included six cases of polygamy without the consent of the Syariah
      court, one unfaithful wife, two cases of wife abuse and two cases of
      wife leaving house without the consent of husband. In total, 168 cases
      were reported under the Family Section last year. The Acting Head of
      Religious Enforcement Division also cautioned Muslims to think twice
      before having their marriages solemnised abroad.

      BULGARIA

      Biggest Mosque in Bulgaria Close to Ruin Down - 03 Feb 04
      http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=30616
      ..
      Tombul Mosque, the biggest Bulgarian mosque based in the northern town
      of Shumen, is on its fast way to ruin down soon, as it has seen no
      reconstruction works since its erection in 1744. The 260-year-old
      mosque is also the biggest one on the Balkan Peninsula, besides the
      Turkish Islam-praying religious temples. The Bulgarian mosque,
      distinguished as a cultural monument, forms a complex of its temple
      and the monastery school attached to it. According to the estimations
      of the National Institute for Culture Monuments, the religious
      building reconstruction demands over half a million levs. [EUR
      255.000,-] Residents say that the mosque is frequented not only by
      prayers, but also by tourists from Germany, Japan, the United States,
      attracted by its historical and cultural merits. An agreement between
      Turkey and Bulgaria envisages common financing of reconstruction works
      at the Tombul Mosque, the Bulgarian share amounting to BGN 520,000.

      CANADA

      Islam's Feast of Sacrifice - 02 Feb 04
      http://www.canada.com/ottawa/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=f1187010-752b=
      -4ef2-9be9-2448955cabd5

      CHINA

      Cellphone for Chinese Muslims - 02 Feb 04
      http://www.cellular-news.com/story/10530.shtml
      ..
      China's official Xinhua News Agency has reported that China Mobile is
      to start selling a mobile phone designed specifically for China's
      Turkic Muslim population. The new Uighur compatible phone went on sale
      last week in the Uighur heartland, the strongly Muslim region of
      northwestern China known as Xinjiang. The phone was developed by
      Beijing Capitel, and features Uighur-language menus, text-messaging
      ability and voice-activated dialing. Chinese and English can be used
      as backups.

      EGYPT

      Egyptian butcher sold dog meat for Eid - 03 Feb 04
      http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=8746
      ..
      The Egyptian police arrested a butcher who allegedly sold dog meat to
      his customers who believed they were buying lamb for the Muslim
      holidays of Eid al-Adha, a government newspaper reported Tuesday. A
      veterinarian alerted the authorities and the 29-year-old butcher
      confessed to police that he slaughtered three dogs and sold the meat
      as lamb to earn enough money to get married, Al-Akhbar said, quoting
      police.

      FRANCE

      Paris Suburb to Televise Slaughter of Sheep - 31 Jan 04
      http://www.aljazeerah.info/31%20n/Paris%20Suburb%20to%20Televise%20Slaughte=
      r%20of%20Sheep.htm
      ..
      The Paris suburb of Evry, which has one of France's largest Muslim
      populations, has decided to install video screens to enable the local
      faithful to watch some 3,300 sheep being slaughtered for Eid this
      year. The televised ritual slaughter which will take place in a large
      mobile abattoir is the idea of a local meat wholesaler.
      ..
      The new approach to the slaughter of the Eid sheep comes after years
      of difficulties for French Muslims who, having bought a sheep for Eid,
      thought it was their right to see them killed in a local slaughter-
      house. That, however, contravened strict governmental regulations on
      security and hygiene. Additionally, there were relatively few
      slaughterhouses available for the killing of the sheep according to
      Halal practice. However, with the number of sheep to be killed this
      year rising to 110,000, the government decided it was time to
      introduce new methods by which they might be slaughtered under
      government sanitary regulations but also religiously-authorized
      conditions.

      INDIA

      [Kashmir] Truce on borders, lessening violence cheers Kashmiris ahead
      of Eid - 31 Jan 04
      http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040131/wl_sthasia_afp/india_=
      kashmir_eid_040131054443
      ..
      Taking advantage of a ceasefire on Kashmir's borders and lessening
      violence inside the region, Kashmiri Muslims have been crowding
      markets to shop for Islam's second biggest festival of Eid al-Adha.

      [Maharashtra] Camel to be sacrificed on Bakr-Id - 31 Jan 04
      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/456312.cms
      ..
      A four-year-old camel is all set to be slaughtered in Dongri on Bakr-
      Id on Monday. Mohammed Khan of Attargali Lane brought the camel, named
      Kaveri, all the way from Hyderabad on Wednesday. Advocate Kamal
      Kishore, who fights for animal rights, said that it was illegal to
      kill camels without permission under the Prevention of Cruelty to
      Animals Act.
      ..
      Secretary of the Raza Academy, Sohail Rokadia, said that the sacrifice
      of camels was uncommon in Mumbai -- around 10 to 12 camels are
      sacrificed in Mumbai every year. However, in Arabian countries camels
      are commonly sacrificed during Id. Mr Rokadia claimed that it was not
      illegal to kill camels who are beyond their productive years. The
      average lifespan of a camel is 40 years, though it is usually retired
      from active work at 25. Mr Rokadia said that as per Shariat law, a
      camel should be more than five years before it can be slaughtered.

      [Uttar Pradesh] Cow sacrifice on Eid not mandatory: Deoband seminary
      http://www.keralanext.com/news/index.asp?id=25309 - 01 Feb 04
      ..
      One of India's leading centres of Islamic learning Sunday said Muslims
      were under no compulsion to sacrifice cows, an animal considered
      sacred by Hindus, on the occasion of Eid ul Zuha. The Darul Uloom
      Deoband, however, dismissed reports that its leaders had issued a
      'fatwa', or edict, banning cow slaughter by Muslims during Eid, which
      will be bserved Monday.
      ..
      He, however, noted that religious leaders in Deoband had even in the
      1940s issued an appeal advising Muslims that sacrificing cows was not
      mandatory on the occasion of Eid.
      ..
      "There are states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh where cow
      slaughter is banned and it is natural that Muslims in these states
      should respect the laws of the land," said a student at Deoband.

      [West Bengal] And the garland goes to... by Bhusan Nandy - 29 Jan 04
      http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=4&&id=34506
      ..
      Nasreen's arrival in Kolkata to release her next book added a
      disturbing new dimension to the controversy over Dwikhandita [Split in
      Two]. Interested quarters were out to engineer a facade of communal
      tension brewing in the state to retrospectively justify the ban. They
      found an agent provocateur in the Shahi Imam of the Tipu Sultan Mosque
      who issued a post-prayer fatwa on 16 January that Nasreen be greeted
      with a garland of shoes and her face be tarred black. The Sunni cleric
      also announced on behalf of the Ulema Council a payment of Rs 20,000
      to any one who would implement the punishment. The Kolkata mullah's
      action is dreadfully reminiscent of the spate of fatwas his
      Bangladeshi counterparts had issued in 1994 pronouncing death sentence
      on Nasreen because her book, Lajja [Shame], was a chilling expose of
      the post-Babari, no-holds-barred Hindu cleansing in Bangladesh –
      wanton arson, murder, rape and destruction and desecration of temples
      and deities. The BNP government of the day let the perpetrators of the
      genocidal crimes go scot-free but proscribed the book and exiled its
      author. The Left Front here didn't ban Lajja fearing that would
      alienate Hindu voters, but in order to humour the minority community,
      Marxist elements maligned Nasreen on the sly. At the height of the
      anti-Nasreen agitation in Dhaka, at a wining and dining session hosted
      by a Bangladeshi diplomat in Kolkata, a CPM politburo member
      reportedly told his host that R&AW had sponsored the writing and
      publication of Lajja. Though the Bangladesh High Court has declared
      fatwa illegal, Islamic zealots there continue to commit atrocities on
      ordinary Muslims for alleged violation of the Shariat, albeit in
      remote, rural areas.
      ..
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=46549394
      .. - 01 Feb 04
      Controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin's latest book is
      selling well in India, her publisher said Sunday, despite threats to
      her personal safety from Islamic leaders here who allege the book
      insults Islam. The Bangla language book "Sei Sob Andhakar,'' or "Those
      Dark Days,'' has sold more than 1,500 copies in two days at the
      Calcutta Book Fair, said her publisher Shibani Mukherjee of People's
      Book Society. The figures are high by Indian publishing standards.
      ..
      "Sei Sob Andhakar'' -- the book fourth in an autobiographical series
      -- covers the two months that she spent in hiding in Bangladesh after
      Islamic fundamentalists ordered the fatwa against her.

      INDONESIA

      Indonesia Backgrounder: Jihad in Central Sulawesi - 04 Feb 04
      http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/10759031951.htm
      ..
      The International Crisis Group's latest report, Indonesia
      Backgrounder: Jihad in Central Sulawesi,
      http://www.crisisweb.org/home/index.cfm?id=2500 takes as a starting
      point an outbreak of violence in Poso and Morowali districts in
      October 2003 in which thirteen people were killed, most of them
      Christian villagers. Most of the attackers proved to be locally
      recruited men from the Mujahidin KOMPAK militia group, and most had
      family members killed in a wave of attacks on Muslims in May-June 2000
      and were likely motivated by revenge. Mujahidin KOMPAK is an
      organisation that was spawned by Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), had JI members
      among its leaders, but was institutionally distinct from South East
      Asia's largest terrorist organisation. In trying to piece together why
      it was created and how it had come to Poso, ICG uncovered new
      information about rifts within JI. "JI is not a monolithic
      organisation with a single set of goals", says Sidney Jones, South
      East Asia Project Director for ICG. "There are serious differences
      over how, when, and where to wage jihad, and the gap appears to be
      widening". The report found that Mujahidin KOMPAK and JI cooperated
      and competed in Poso. Both aimed to strengthen local groups for jihad
      so that they do not need outside assistance, but their approaches
      differed significantly. JI insisted on religious indoctrination as an
      absolute prerequisite to war; Mujahidin KOMPAK focused on "learning by
      doing" and getting recruits into battle as fast as possible. "JI was
      viewed as slow and bureaucratic", says Jones. "Mujahidin KOMPAK was
      seen as leaner, meaner and quicker".

      IRAQ

      Iraqi Council to Debate Plan for Transition - 31 Jan 04
      http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq31jan31,1,7392077.s=
      tory
      ..
      Iraqi leaders are to begin debate today on a newly crafted proposal
      for a transitional government that would fuse European and American
      styles of democracy, with executive, legislative and judicial branches
      underpinned by a bill of rights.
      ..
      The document does not call for the strict version of Sharia religious
      law in place in countries such as Saudi Arabia. Rather, it says that
      the broad sweep of Islam -- encompassing a vast landscape of thought
      and legal concepts -- should be the principal source for legislation.
      ..
      Others familiar with similar ethnic power-sharing arrangements in
      Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere said that a tripartite presidency
      could cement rather than ease ethnic rivalries in Iraq. "You are
      defining the political dialogue in terms of ethnic and religious
      identity, which is not the way to start building a democracy," said
      Paul Williams, an American University professor of law and
      international relations who has been a legal advisor to the Bosnian
      government. Such a system would likely exclude Iraq's minorities, such
      as Turkmens, Christians or Assyrians, from holding the presidency,
      Williams said.
      ..
      Included in the draft law is a bill of rights that guarantees freedom
      of speech, the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of movement, the
      right to demonstrate and strike and the right to schooling and
      healthcare. The proposal also grants an array of other rights unheard
      of in Hussein's time, including a ban on arbitrary arrest or
      detention; the right to a fair and public hearing; the right to speedy
      public trial; the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty;
      and a ban on the use of physical or psychological torture.
      ..
      Details of Iraqi Draft Fundamental Law - 02 Feb 04
      http://www.juancole.com/2004_02_01_juancole_archive.html#107570900566603237=

      ..
      The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas ["Firebrand": arabic url :
      http://www.alqabas.com.kw/news_details.php?cat=2&id=55661] has
      published a draft of the Fundamental Law on which the Interim
      Governing Council is working. It will function as Iraq's constitution
      until a new one can be fashioned, and will allow a transitional
      government to be installed this summer.
      ..
      The Fourth Article, says, "Islam is the official religion of the state
      and is considered a fundamental source of legislation. This Law
      respects the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and
      guarantees the complete freedom of the other religions and their
      practice of their rites."

      This article had been insisted on by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and
      its insertion was one of the first attempts by Bremer and the IGC to
      compromise with him. It is similar to a provision put into Egyptian
      law to mollify the Muslim Brotherhood there. The Egyptian constitution
      initially recognized Islamic law as "a" source of legislation. After
      the MB agitated (and after splinter groups now related to al-Qaeda
      engaged in violence), the government changed the phraseology to
      "Islamic law is the principal source of legislation" and reviewed
      thousands of laws to ensure they did not contradict Islamic law. It is
      not entirely clear that fundamentalist forces in Iraqi society do in
      fact interpret Islamic law in such a way that they would protect the
      rights of the religious minorities.
      Article six recognizes Arabic as the official language, but says the
      situation in Kurdistan will be respected.
      ..
      Article 7 recognizes "the people" as the "source of authority."
      Article 9: "Iraqis are equal in rights and duties regardless of race
      (al-jins), national origin, sect, or ethnicity (al-'irq), and all are
      equal before the law."
      Article 11: "An individual has a right to education, well-being, work
      and security, and the right to a just and open trial."
      ..
      Article 16: "It is not permitted to carry a weapon for self-defense
      without a permit issued in accordance with the law."
      ..
      Article 18, point 1: "No Iraqi citizen may be deprived of Iraqi
      citizenship."
      ..
      Article 20: The transitional parliament will have one member for every
      100,000 citizens, i.e., about 250 seats at the moment. Several later
      articles create a "presidential council" (with 3 rotating presidents!)
      that will appoint the prime minister and his cabinet (!) and have the
      power to veto the parliament's legislation. This is an extremely
      cumbersome executive.
      Article 41, point 5: The transitional parliament will specify the
      decentralized prerogatives of the provinces, which are not included in
      the Federal purview.
      point 6: "The guarantee of the rights of women to political and other
      participation in a manner that is equal to the rights of men in the
      entire society."
      ..
      [comment] Interim Iraqi Constitution - January 2004 draft - 03 Feb 04
      http://www.geocities.com/nathanbrown1/interimiraqiconstitution.html

      secular parties unite in effort to prevent religious government
      http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/7827974.htm
      .. - 29 Jan 04
      The umbrella group, whose Arabic name roughly translates as the
      "Consortium of Democratic Forces," met for the second time Thursday,
      with representatives from the two main Kurdish factions, the Iraqi
      Communist Party, the Arab Socialist Movement and two other secular
      democratic parties. It's impossible to gauge the parties' appeal in
      the absence of elections. However, in a poll last August by Zogby
      International in four Iraqi cities, 49 percent of Iraqis said they
      preferred a democracy guided by Islamic law, 24 percent wanted an
      Islamic state dominated by clerics and only 21 percent desired a
      secular democratic state. The poll of 600 adults has a margin of error
      of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
      ..
      Politicians and community groups that stand by their secular message
      are increasingly the targets of attacks.

      [comment] I wanna secularise you up - 29 Jan 04
      http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/675/re6.htm
      ..
      An article in the 17 January issue of Al Zaman daily newspaper
      marvelled that the IGC found time to worry about marriage laws in the
      face of Iraq's other problems, asking "Is the personal status law an
      obstacle that stands in the way of rebuilding the telephone network,
      or the electrical and water systems or repairing schools or
      establishing security or, most importantly, ending the occupation?"
      Al-Damluji criticised the decision as symbolic of a short-sighted and
      simplistic view of Iraqi society. The idea of locking familial law
      under a single religious banner ignores the ethnic and religious
      diversity of the country and this blurring of lines has become
      commonplace in diverse cities such as Baghdad and Mosul.
      ..
      However, Al-Damluji is not opposed to the idea of a comprehensive
      review of the law to streamline it and make it more relevant to modern
      times. The original 1959 law was liberal and secular, but it has been
      tampered with over the years, according to the political conditions of
      the time. The law contravened Shari'a by decreeing equal inheritance
      shares for male and female children, and banned men from polygamy
      without the consent of the first wife. But the inheritance rule was
      abolished shortly after Abdul-Karim Qassem was ousted by the Ba'ath
      Party in 1963, and the polygamy ban was later cancelled by Saddam
      Hussein.
      ..
      [comment] The GC's view of women in Iraq by Raqiya Al-Qaisi -24 Jan 04
      http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/archives/2004_01_01_healingiraq_archive.htm=
      l#107495900426007029
      ..
      US lawmakers say Iraqi women's rights in jeopardy - 05 Feb 04
      http://www.dailystar.com.lb/05_02_04/art23.asp
      ..
      The letter made reference to GC resolution 137, approved by the
      25-member GC on Dec. 29, which replaces Iraq's 1959 personal-status
      laws with religious laws, to be administered by the clerics from the
      religious group to which the parties in the dispute belong. The laws
      in question span a wide range of domains, from the right to education,
      employment and freedom of movement, to property inheritance, divorce
      and child custody.
      ..
      While the CPA is considered highly unlikely to ratify the resolution,
      there is concern Muslim conservatives could push it through the
      transitional government, to which sovereignty is supposed to be
      returned by the CPA by June 30. Shiite clerics are not only expected
      to increase their representation in the government, but they may be
      supported by conservative Sunnis, as well. Since the ouster of Saddam
      Hussein by US-led forces last April, religious conservatives in both
      Shiite and Sunni parts of the country are reported to have become
      increasingly prominent and influential.

      Religious disputes agitate situation in Iraqi holy city of Najaf
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=46654998
      .. - 03 Feb 04
      Aswad Al Abayachi, a government employee, told Xinhua that followers
      of the young Shiite cleric, Muqtada Al Sadr, are not on good terms
      with the members of the Badir brigade, the military wing of the High
      Council of Islamic Revolution, headed by Abdul Aziz Al Hakim, member
      of the Interim Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). "The shrine of the Imam
      Ali (the forth caliph at the Islamic State) is closed to visitors for
      days now, and the situation is very tense," Al Abayachi said and
      advised us to return immediately to Baghdad.
      ..
      Tension started when the followers of Ayatollah Al Sistani, the top
      Shiite cleric, demanded the closing of the Sadr followers office,
      which is said to be carrying out special trials of some people inside
      the shrine.
      ..
      Some political parties, which are interested in Iraq, expect the
      dispute to aggravate between the Shiites during Ashoraa, a Shiite
      occasion with special rituals banned at the time of the former regime.
      The gatherings at that time would help in heightening the feelings of
      the followers to pronounce their aims and goals in that period. Some
      Iraqi newspapers mentioned lately that the IGC gave Al Sadr a 48-hour
      deadline to cancel the court that he formed and close the prison that
      came with the court and hand the detainees to the government.
      ..
      Iraqi sources say that Muqtada Al Sadr arrested a number of people in
      the city within a frame of legitimate sues to be tried by a court he
      formed, which had an Islamic characteristic and works inside the
      shrine of Imam Ali.

      KENYA

      Muslims mark Idd Ul Hajj - 02 Feb 04
      http://www.eastandard.net/headlines/news0202200404.htm
      ..
      Muslim leaders asked the Government to declare the second Idd Ul Hajj
      a national holiday. Idd is recognised as an Islamic holiday by the
      United Nations Organisation and Islamic states. The Council of Imams
      and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) and the unregistered Islamic Party of
      Kenya (IPK) said the UN has declared today (Monday) a holiday to all
      its staff to compensate for the Sunday holiday. .. Only the Idd-Ul-
      Fitri, which follows the Holy Month of Ramadhan, is recognised by the
      Government.

      KYRGYZSTAN

      Interview with prominent Uighur human rights activist - 29 Jan 04
      http://www.uzbekdaily.com/p/9b/3eb0f69df79508.html
      ..
      Since 9/11, Chinese officials have portrayed Uighur radicals in
      Xinjiang as separatists and terrorists with links to a range of
      extremist Islamic groups throughout Central Asia. In Bishkek, these
      charges have found a sympathetic ear. In 2000 and 1999, Kyrgyzstan
      struggled to contain armed incursions by militants affiliated with the
      Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). Uighur activists maintain that
      they are trying to preserve their cultural identity in the face of
      relentless assimilation pressure from Chinese authorities in Xinjiang.
      Some 10 million Uighurs live in China and roughly 50,000 Uighurs are
      believed to be living in Kyrgyzstan, though unofficial estimates put
      the number at twice that amount. Tursun Islam, head of 'Democracy' - a
      local rights group helping the Uighur minority in Kyrgyzstan, told
      IRIN in an interview about his concern for Uighur asylum seekers, who
      had been extradited by Kyrgyz security forces and sent back to China.
      Many have been accused of terrorist offences and executed.

      MALAYSIA

      Conflict of laws in mixed marriages - 30 Jan 04
      http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=24425
      ..
      Conflicts could arise in a mixed marriage to determine the custody of
      the children when one of the parents converted to Islam, he said at
      the opening of Legal Day 2004 here. "Under the Syariah law, the
      children will follow the Muslim parent and adopt the Muslim religion
      and the Muslim parent will also have custody over the children.
      However, under civil law the non-Muslim parent will also have custody
      over the children," he said. Mohamed Bazain said in the case of
      properties succcession in a mixed marriage, the Syariah Court would
      apply the Syariah law principle to the children who embraced Islam as
      their religion, while the non-Muslim children might take the matter
      before the Civil Court. "Where do we draw the line? It is not clear in
      the present context of the law," he said. Mohamed Bazain also said
      only time would tell whether there would a symbiosis between the Civil
      Court and the Syariah Court.

      However, he said that at the appellate stage of the Syariah Court,
      High Court Judges were already sitting together with Syariah Appellate
      Court Judges. In terms of procedures, Mohamed Bazain said there were
      many procedural similarities between the two courts, like the Sabah
      Syariah Civil Procedure and Criminal Procedure Code were almost
      equivalent to the provisions in the Civil Court. The Syariah Civil and
      Criminal Procedure Codes were now in the process of being standardised
      throughout the country and very soon there would be very little
      difference between the Civil Court Procedure and the Syariah Court
      Procedure, except on the jurisdictional powers of the judges, he said.
      ..
      http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2004/1/30/nation/7207740
      ..
      Lawyers may be compelled to study Syariah law as the line between
      conventional and Islamic judicial systems blurs in the country, Sabah
      Attorney-General Datuk Mohd Bazain Idris said. He said there was
      already a standardisation of the Syariah civil and criminal procedure
      codes while there were minimal differences between the civil court and
      Syariah Court procedures except for the jurisdictional power of the
      judges.

      [Terengganu] Islamic Party Prohibits Lunar New Yr Celebration
      http://framehosting.dowjonesnews.com/sample/samplestory.asp?StoryID=2004020=
      510180003
      .. - 05 Feb 04
      Malaysia's Islamic party [PAS] has rejected permission for a major
      Chinese New Year celebration in a state under its control, criticizing
      plans for women performers to sing and dance. Organizers vowed
      Thursday to defy the ban, saying the state government's refusal to
      grant a permit challenged traditions of tolerance between the Malay
      Muslim majority and the large ethnic Chinese minority. The refusal put
      the state government of Terengganu, controlled by the Pan-Malaysia
      Islamic Party, on a collision course with the organizers, led by the
      national Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry and the state chapters of
      two ethnic Chinese parties. Abdul Hadi Awang, chief minister of
      Terengganu, was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times newspaper
      that permission had been denied because women would be performing
      during the time of Muslim evening prayers. "We will not tolerate any
      activities with female performers dancing and singing, especially when
      Muslims are supposed to perform the evening prayers," Abdul Hadi was
      quoted Thursday as saying.

      MOROCCO

      Row over Morocco's 'commercial' Eid - 30 Jan 04
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3445411.stm
      ..
      The Eid season is considered to be a time when Morocco's impoverished
      farmers earn extra income to see them through hard economic times.
      But increasingly, it is the middle men who make the profit. There are
      sometimes three middlemen in the sheep's journey from a rural farm to
      the city, who inflate prices leaving farmers with very little profits.
      A sheep can cost anything between $160 to $450 in the capital, Rabat.
      But there have been complaints in newspapers and from politicians,
      that the Eid festival has become too commercialised.
      ..
      Abdelkader Amara of the Islamist Justice and Development Party says
      the adverts are corrupting the idea of the Eid al-Adha. "This is
      influencing people to go to the bank, to get money for something which
      is not an obligation," said Mr Amara. He says according to Islam, you
      cannot be condemned if you cannot afford to sacrifice a sheep. The
      Eid festival also presents a challenge in Morocco's cities. Often
      those who buy a sheep do not have anywhere to keep it, before it is
      slaughtered. Many families keep the animals waiting to be sacrificed
      on the balcony or in their bathrooms.

      NIGERIA

      Zamfara issues dress code for female corps members - 03 Feb 04
      http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/news/article03
      ..
      Alleging series of complaints about indecent dressing, the Zamfara
      State Governor Ahmed Sani has announced a dress code for female youth
      corps members. Speaking at the weekend in Gusau, the governor
      declared: "Any female corps member deployed to the state will be
      issued with a new pamphlet to serve as a guide on how to dress
      decently." The move, according to him, was necessitated by the series
      of complaints received about indecent dressing among the female corps
      members. The governor added: "I want to tell you that we have drawn
      the attention of the concerned authorities, we have gone to the extent
      of discussing the issue with the leadership of the Christian
      Association of Nigeria (CAN)."
      ..
      The state governor, the first to introduce the criminal aspect of the
      legal system in the Fourth Republic, has constantly urged moslem
      scholars to commit their knowledge into writing to erase misgivings
      about the Sharia legal system. Speaking in October last year at the
      launch of the book: Sharia and Justice by Justice Bashir Sambo in
      Kaduna, Sani argued that the sustenance and establishment of the legal
      system could only be successful if it was properly documented at every
      stage.

      NORWAY

      Norway Muslim woman wins Hijab case - 31 Jan 04
      http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=197560&n=34
      ..
      A Norwegian store has overturned its own ban on staff to wear a hijab
      to allow a Muslim woman to return to work after a ruling by the
      country's gender equality Ombudsman.
      ..
      The decision comes two weeks after several hundred people in Oslo
      joined an international day of protest against French plans to ban the
      hijab in state schools and offices. Oslo daily, Aftenposten reported
      that the dispute over Pervez was resolved at a meeting with the
      store's administration director, Anniken Aaseth, after which it was
      agreed that nothing more about the case would be said to the press.
      ..
      Pervez filed a complaint with the gender equality, which concluded
      that A-Mobler could not prohibit employees to wear headgear unless it
      is a danger for life and health.

      PAKISTAN

      The Hijab Syndrome II - By Burhanuddin Hasan - 31 Jan 04
      http://www.hipakistan.com/en/detail.php?newsId=en52228
      ..
      I have received a large number of e-mails from Muslims living in the
      westerns countries, both for and against my point of view. I thought
      in view of the growing controversy in France and England over the
      issue of Hijab (head scarf) worn by some girl students and working
      women, I should present both points of view on the subject. It is
      however; amazing that only some obscurantist Muslims living in western
      countries have strongly reacted to my liberal approach to the Islamic
      dress code. There has been no feedback from Pakistan or any Muslim
      country. [..]

      [Punjab] Women acquitted in Hudood case - 02 Feb 04
      http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_2-2-2004_pg7_39
      ..
      District and Sessions Judge Chakwal Chaudhry Riaz Ahmad acquitted two
      women and another accused man involved in Hadood Ordinance case of
      Choa Saiden Shah by giving them the benefit of the doubt. Choa Saiden
      Shah Police reported an accused Muhammad Nadeem, Kalsoom Bibi and
      Kaniz Bibi as they were arrested red handed in a poultry farm in a
      sexual compromising position. The prosecution could not prove the case
      because of which the accused were released.

      QATAR

      Overload hinders phone services during Eid holidays - 04 Feb 04
      http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Local_News&subsec=
      tion=Qatar+News&month=February2004&file=Local_News200402043138.xml
      ..
      Mobile and fixed line telephone users in the country experienced some
      delays in getting their International Direct Dialling calls through
      from January 31 evening until late yesterday, owing to an apparent
      overload of international switches. Some mobile phone users also
      experienced a temporary outage of the Calling Line Identification and
      Presentation (CLIP) service. According to available reports the
      delays were, however, not as severe as those witnessed during the Eid
      Al Fitr season in November last year, when Qatar Telecom (Qtel)
      handled nearly three million mobile phone calls and almost half that
      number of outbound IDD calls. International routes on which delays
      were experienced included India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt and GCC
      countries. Qtel was charging the lower, off-peak hour rate for calls
      made during the Eid Al Adha holidays.

      SAUDI ARABIA

      Eid-ul-Azha Special - Fifth pillar of Islam - 01 Feb 04
      http://www.thedailystar.net/2004/02/01/d40201090283.htm

      The pilgrimage to Mecca: one woman's journey - 30 Jan 04
      http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0130/p07s02-wome.html

      Haj Reflections: Day One - 31 Jan 04
      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&article=38892

      Haj Reflections: Day 3 - 02 Feb 04
      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&article=38963

      Hajj pilgrims continue stoning rituals - 02 Feb 04
      http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/apmideast_story.asp?category=1107&sl=
      ug=Saudi%20Hajj

      The Stoning: A Symbol of Complete Devotion - 23 Jan 04
      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=5&article=38444

      Hajj: The journey of a lifetime – III - 30 Jan 04
      http://www.bahraintribune.com/ArticleDetail.asp?ArticleId=20795

      Pilgrims Pour Into Mina - 30 Jan 04
      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&article=38812

      Muslims Gather at Mount Arafat for Hajj - 31 Jan 04
      http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040131/ap_on_re_mi_ea/saudi_h=
      ajj_040130191331

      'Illegal' Hajis Breach All Barriers - 31 Jan 04
      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&article=38887
      ..
      Yesterday, there were thousands without Haj permits who had
      successfully crossed various barriers and checkpoints set up
      specifically to turn them back. Many of them were seen squatting on
      the pavements. By law, anyone living in the Kingdom needs a Haj permit
      from the passport office. Both Saudis and expatriates are limited to
      performing Haj once every five years. However, many disregard the
      rules and have made it their practice to perform Haj annually. Their
      zeal unfortunately adds to the logistic pressures at the holy sites
      and makes it harder on the legitimate pilgrims.

      Death Toll In Hajj Stampede Tragedy Rises To 244 - 02 Feb 04
      http://www.indolink.com/displayArticleS.php?id=020104104720
      ..
      At least 244 people, including three Indians and 15 Pakistanis, were
      trampled to death and an equal number injured in a stampede as
      pilgrims scrambled to stone the Satan on Sunday in Mina valley near
      Makkah. Hajj Minister Iyad Madani told reporters in Mina, Saudi
      Arabia, that the stampede occurred at 9:00 am and lasted for four and
      a half-hours. He said 244 pilgrims died in the incident in Jamarat and
      244 were injured. The stampede took place as pilgrims flocked to
      Jamarat Bridge in Mina to stone the Satan. According to the minister,
      some pilgrims were not organised and there was a crush by people
      carrying personal belongings which caused obstacles to the movement.
      He said most of the dead were believed to be from among illegal
      pilgrims. These are people who came to Makkah to perform Umrah during
      Ramazan, as well as residents of Saudi Arabia who never registered to
      perform this year's Hajj. But the minister could not provide the
      nationalities of those who lost their lives.
      ..
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/02/02/intern=
      ational0411EST0446.DTL
      ..
      Most of those killed in Sunday's tragedy on the plains of Mina outside
      Islam's holy city of Mecca were Asians, with the biggest number of
      dead identified thus far from Indonesia and Pakistan, the official
      Saudi Press Agency reported.
      ..
      Fifty-four Indonesians and 36 Pakistanis were among the dead, plus
      about a dozen citizens each from Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, India and
      Bangladesh, SPA reported. It said other pilgrims to die in the
      stampede were from China, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and several
      African countries. Two of the dead were Saudis, and 53 bodies remained
      unidentified, SPA said. The crowd got out of control Sunday as people
      moved along a wide ramp leading to the "stoning of the devil" ritual
      -- where pilgrims throw pebbles at three stone pillars, symbolizing
      their contempt for the devil. Saudi authorities said that with
      pressure from behind, a few pilgrims fell down and panic set off a
      stampede.
      ..
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3450333.stm
      ..
      Pilgrims traditionally throw stones at the pillars - called Jamarat
      al-Aqaba, Jamarat al-Wusta and Jamarat al-Ula - before beginning the
      religious feast of Eid al-Adha, when animals are sacrificed. Hundreds
      of thousands crossed over and under the 15-metre (50-foot) bridge
      spanning a small valley between two cliffs at Mina. "There was more
      than 400 metres of people pushing in the same direction (which)
      resulted in the collapse of those next to the stoning area... and
      those behind. That led to panic," said Hajj minister, Iyad Madani.
      ..
      Recent history of hajj marred by tragedy - 02 Feb 04
      http://www.iht.com/articles/127582.html
      ..
      King Fahd orders modernisation of Mecca, Medina after Hajj tragedy
      http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=8731 - 02 Feb 04
      ..
      The 20-year project, announced by royal decree, would be drawn up by
      ministers and senior regime officials who would "gradually put forward
      proposals" and could call on expertise from abroad as well as within
      the kingdom, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

      SWEDEN

      Slaughter Ban Mars Eid Al-Adha In Sweden - 30 Jan 04
      http://www.islam-online.net/English/News/2004-01/30/article04.shtml
      ..
      Some 500,000 Swedish Muslims will celebrate Eid Al-Adha, to be marked
      on Sunday, February 1, with prayers and new clothes, but animal
      sacrifice will not be an easy job. The Swedish law bans the slaughter
      of the animals in general, an act of worship where Muslims revive the
      tradition of Prophet Ibrahim.
      ..
      The ban leaves some Muslims with no other option but to travel for
      villages where they buy and sacrifice sheep.
      ..
      Swedish Muslims do not only have to worry about sacrificing animals,
      but also about distributing the meat. A Muslim who makes a sacrifice
      should give at least third of the meat to the needy and poor, who
      almost do not exist in this rich high-standard country. The Swedish
      government pays a monthly allowance to unemployed citizens until they
      get a job. With these difficulties in mind, some of the Swedish
      Muslims who hail from other countries send money to relatives in their
      homeland to make the sacrifice on their behalf.

      TUNESIA

      Tunisia holds out welcome cup - 29 Jan 04
      http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/Features/0,,2-11-37_1475919,00.html
      ..
      Women are seen as men's equals, she notes. This is unusual in a Muslim
      country but the tradition stems from 19th century personal status
      traditions that were passed into law in 1956 - revolutionary
      legislation for the region. Intermarriage is illegal and divorce can
      only be settled in a court of law. A family planning programme was
      initiated to curb excessive population growth. Women vote, study and
      serve in government. And women earn equal salaries to men in similar
      professions. Legislation giving women status as equal partners in
      marriage was passed in 1993. Over a quarter of the work force is
      female (including teachers and health care workers). In excess of
      10.000 Tunisian companies have women at the helm. In politics the
      country boasts five female cabinet members and 11,5% of women are
      members of parliament.

      UGANDA

      Muslims reject new family law - 02 Feb 04
      http://www.monitor.co.ug/news/news020211.php
      ..
      Several Muslim leaders in Uganda celebrated the Idd Adha holiday
      yesterday vowing to disobey a proposed new family law. Several
      speakers here - at the headquarters of the Uganda Muslim Supreme
      Council - opposed the Domestic Relations Bill, which proposes, among
      others, to outlaw polygamy. Muslim leaders said the proposal violates
      the Muslim holy book, the Koran, which allows Muslim men to marry up
      to four women. One of the speakers, acting Mufti Sheikh Rajab Kakooza,
      who is also the director of Sharia law, said the DRB contradicts the
      Koran. "In Islam we are taught to obey our leaders, but when they are
      diverting us from the Koran, we have to oppose them and obey Allah,"
      he said. Kakooza asked politicians to always consult religious leaders
      over spiritual matters before making laws that could spark off chaos
      in the country. Both the Mufti, Sheikh Ramathan Mubajje, and his
      deputy, Sheikh Twaib Mukuye, are in Saudi Arabia for the hajj
      pilgrimage and did not attend the prayers.

      UK

      [Lancashire] Muslim body scan to avoid post mortems - 05 Feb 04
      http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/lancashire/bolton/news/NEWS2.html
      ..
      Muslim families opposed to traditional post-mortem examinations will
      soon be able to pay for MRI body scans under new rules set to be
      approved by the council. The move was suggested by Islamic leaders
      whose religion disapproves of bodies being dissected by pathologists
      attempting to find the cause of death. Bolton coroner Jennifer Leeming
      has agreed that, where possible, families will be able to pay £ 750
      [EUR 1.100,-] to use a scanner at the Royal Bolton Hospital.
      But full autopsies will still have to go ahead in cases where Magnetic
      Resources Imagery scans cannot determine how death was caused.
      No date has been set for the introduction of the rule change which is
      being recommended by council advisors. Town hall bosses were
      approached by Bolton's Council of Mosques after the idea was suggested
      by Derby ward councillor Dr Ebrahim Adia, who had become aware of a
      similar arrangement being used by the Jewish community in Manchester.

      Muslim parents to withdraw kids unless school lifts hijab ban
      http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/00328203060.htm - 28 Jan 04
      ..
      Muslim parents at Lutan in Bedfordshire have threatened to take their
      children away from the local Icknield High school unless its
      headmaster revoked his decision to ban wearing 'hijabs' by Muslim
      girls. The secondary school in Bedfordshire is the only school in the
      UK which has banned the use of hijabs (veils), provoking
      al-Muhajiroun, a radical Muslim group, to take up the issue.
      ..
      News of [the headmaster's] decision, which is rooted in the school's
      strict "no hats" uniform policy, quickly reached the local branch of
      al-Muhajiroun. Within days, community activists had condemned the
      school as racist and the local Labour MP was urging a rethink. Last
      night, as the school's governors held a meeting to discuss the issue,
      Muslim parents were threatening to take their children away from the
      school, while non-Muslims were urging the governors to resist the
      pressure.

      USA

      Prayer: A central part of Islamic religion - 29 Jan 04
      http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/Stories/0,1413,209~22484~1923201,00.html

      FINANCE

      Islamic Finance: A look at irrevocable and revocable contracts
      http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=109486

      [UK] Islamic funds breeze in to new cash source - 30 Jan 04
      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-5-982346,00.html
      ..
      Wind power and the stable, bond-like returns it promises to investors
      have convinced First Islamic Investment Bank to make its first step
      into the UK's complex renewable energy market. Producing electricity
      from wind may currently be more costly than generating it from the
      black stuff, but Islamic investors are hoping that getting in at the
      early stages of the Europe-wide push to reduce carbon emissions will
      pay long-term dividends.
      ..
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,1134690,00.html
      ..
      The City - in the unlikely guise of Bahrain-based First Islamic Bank
      and a new private equity fund, Englefield Capital - has finally woken
      up to the fact that the government's target for producing 15% of our
      electricity from renewables by 2015 is for real. The two, courted for
      a year, are together taking two-thirds of the £400 m [EUR 585 m]
      vehicle being set up by RWE Innogy, the German-owned power group, to
      fund the expansion of its National Wind Power offshoot. Green energy
      costs a bundle and the government's plans require a multi-billion
      investment. For debt-laden RWE it is, as one adviser put it, "better
      to lease the assets rather than own them, a bit like leasing an
      aircraft".

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