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Sharia News Watch 108 - dd. 06 Mar 04

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 108 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 6, 2004
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      Sharia News Watch 108 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/message/108

      The Sharia Newswatch provides a regular update of news quotes
      on Sharia (Islamic Law) & Islamic news, as appearing on the major
      news searchengines. All editions :
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/

      AUSTRALIA

      When legal absurdity is watched world-wide - 04 Mar 04
      http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story.jsp?sectionid=1292&storyid=986134
      ..
      In a case being closely followed around the world, the Victorian
      Government has effectively placed Islam on trial under its
      controversial Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001. It didn't mean
      to, of course. The legislation was intended to shield religions –
      particularly Islam – from scrutiny and was championed by the Islamic
      Council of Victoria and other Muslim organisations before being passed
      by the Bracks Government in mid-2001.
      ..
      The case in the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission bears all the
      hallmarks of a set-up, but it has exploded in the equal opportunity
      industry's face. Consider the facts. The matter had its genesis in a
      seminar held under the aegis of Catch the Fire Ministries, one of the
      major opponents of the legislation.
      ..
      Unfortunately for both the EOC and the Victorian Islamic Council, the
      three complainants – whose evidence is critical to the case – have
      scant knowledge of the Koran. Pastor Scot, on the other hand, has
      testified to having read the Koran more than 100 times and has made a
      study of Islam and Islamic scholars. Attempts to discredit his
      knowledge of the topic have backfired embarrassingly for the
      complainants' counsel, Brind Woinarski QC, and have highlighted some
      crucial differences between Christian and Islamic teachings. Among the
      arguments Mr Woinarski has tried to develop is the claim that laughter
      during Pastor Scot's reading of the Koran at the seminar may have
      breached the Act's prohibition on "severe ridicule". The screwy law
      was already on dangerous ground concerning freedom of speech, but now
      freedom to laugh is also under threat in Victoria.
      ..
      Pastor Scot has also been asked to comment on the Koranic verse which
      calls for the cutting off of the right hand of a thief, and another
      verse which mentions repentance. As Pastor Scot's barrister, David
      Perkins, noted, there is nothing about re-attaching the hands of those
      who later repent. Pastor Scot was also able to point out that Mohammed
      cut off the hands of thieves and that Muslim scholars, four schools of
      Sunni Islamic law, as well as Shi'a law, all say that a hand can be
      cut off and do not link the verse relating to repentance with the
      earlier verse about such punishment. Indeed, he explained that the
      Koranic law as well as the hadith (the collected teachings second only
      to the Koran) say that if a thief steals again they also will have
      their right leg chopped off. Islamic mercy, he said, was shown by the
      fact those who had been punished by having a hand chopped off did not
      have their leg similarly treated – so long as they changed their ways.
      [..]

      AZERBAIJAN

      Authorities In Baku Target Shi'a Mosque - 04 Mar 03
      http://www.payvand.com/news/04/mar/1019.html
      ..
      Authorities in Azerbaijan face growing criticism at home and abroad
      for clamping down on political and religious freedoms. The latest
      target appears to be a Shi'a Muslim congregation whose imam was
      recently arrested for alleged anti-government activities.
      ..
      Azerbaijani officials at the time said [imam] Ibrahimoglu was linked
      to radical Shi'a groups in neighboring Iran. Shortly after his arrest
      on 16 December 2003, authorities gave the members of the congregation
      of the Cuma mosque two weeks to stop using the building. But
      worshippers refused to comply.
      ..
      A new order to vacate the Cuma mosque was issued on 1 March by the
      Sebail district court in Baku. Reading the verdict, chief judge Yusif
      Kerimov said the decision came into force immediately.
      ..
      The order to evacuate the mosque follows a legal suit filed by a
      cultural association known as Iceri Seher. The group claims the Cuma
      mosque -- which has a 15th-century minaret -- is a historical building
      and should be closed to the public. Last November, authorities
      resorted to a similar strategy to obtain the closure of Musavat Party
      headquarters, saying the building was of special architectural
      interest and should not be let out to tenants. Musavat has been one of
      the main targets of the political repression that followed the October
      presidential elections.
      ..
      Rafiq Aliyev chairs Azerbaijan's Religious Affairs Committee, the
      state body that oversees religious activity in the country. He
      dismisses as "disinformation" the allegations that the Cuma mosque
      will be turned into a museum and says the government has no plans to
      close down the building. However, he tells RFE/RL the mosque may not
      be returned to the Cuma congregation. "To vacate the mosque does not
      mean that it will be closed down. We are talking about vacating a
      building that is being illegally occupied. Whether we're talking about
      a mosque or any other sort of building, people who illegally occupy it
      must leave. What we are proposing is that [worshippers] vacate the
      mosque, register themselves, and file an application to occupy this
      building again," Aliyev said. Aliyev justifies the court's decision by
      saying the Cuma mosque is the property of the Culture Ministry, which
      reportedly never authorized religious rituals to be performed within
      its walls.

      CANADA

      Despite fear of torture, Iranian faces deportation - 06 Mar 04
      http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=bfc57c62-ce=
      75-4bd3-9d92-c76c88a581d2

      DENMARK

      Criticism over new Danish laws against Muslim preachers - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.kuna.net.kw/English/Story.asp?DSNO=608274
      ..
      According to the new laws, only few Imams all over Denmark were given
      the right for giving marriage certificates for Muslim expatriates.
      Other laws stipulate that Muslim preachers should have academic
      background for involvement in religious activities. The Council of
      Danish Churches said in press statements today that the new practices
      were a clear violation that should be confronted. The Danish Minister
      of Integration has rejected to comment.

      DUBAI UAE

      Islamic jurisprudence conference starts today - 06 Mar 04
      http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=112973
      ..
      Islamic scholars gathered here for the six-day 15th annual conference
      of the Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) Academy (IFA) to discuss various
      topics, including challenges faced by Islam.
      ..
      "We will discuss one topic per session and everyday two sessions will
      be held," said Dr. Mohammed Habib Ibn Al Khodja, Secretary General of
      the IFA, at a press conference to announce details of the conference.
      The membership of Islamic Fiqh Academy, which is a subsidiary organ of
      Organisation of Islamic Conference, comprises Islamic Jurisprudence.
      ..
      "The aim behind IFA was to set up with an objective of forming a
      common forum for the interpretational reflection ('Ijtihad') of
      Islamic jurisprudence, scholars and philosophers so as to provide the
      Ummah with an authentic Islamic answer to each question that may arise
      from the developments of contemporary life," Al Khodja said. The
      academy is in the process of publishing a Fiqh Encyclopaedia which
      would address the major issues in old as well as new social dealings
      and the rules governing them. There are 52 members in the academy and
      10 Islamic scholars are designated including one from the Islamic
      minority of North America. There are three representatives from
      academies, one being operated in India, one in Al Azar and the third
      in Amman.
      ..
      Al Khodja stressed that all decisions are taken by consensus. Hundred
      and twenty delegates have arrived in Muscat to discuss among other
      things the threat posed to Islam, expropriation of private property
      for the public utilisation, credit cards, its wider use and issues of
      interest involved with it and Islamisation of education.

      FRANCE

      Senate Vote Assures Ban on Scarves - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.news-journal.com/news/content/news/ap_story.html/Intl/AP.V9257.A=
      P-France-Head-Sca.html
      ..
      With an overwhelming vote [276-20], France's Senate has assured that a
      law banning Islamic head scarves from public schools will be on the
      books for the new school year in September despite protests at home
      and abroad.
      ..
      The legislation stipulates that "in schools, junior high schools and
      high schools, signs and dress that conspicuously show the religious
      affiliation of students are forbidden.'' It does not apply to students
      in private schools. Sanctions for refusing to remove offending
      apparel will range from a warning to temporary suspension to
      expulsion. How the law will be applied remains unclear. Instructions
      are to be distributed to schools around the nation. However, no one is
      yet certain whether Muslim girls wishing to cover their hair will be
      allowed to wear smaller apparel like bandannas -- or whether Sikh boys
      will permitted to keep their turbans.

      INDONESIA

      Muslim allowed to take donations from politicans - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailnational.asp?fileid=20040304.C02
      ..
      Muhammadiyah chairman Ahmad Syafii Maarif asked on Wednesday Islamic
      boarding schools across the country to respond wisely to the
      intensifying visits of politicians ahead of the elections.
      ..
      "Muslim leaders should teach their followers how to deal with the
      politicians. They have to remain critical of political visits and ask
      their students to follow suit," Syafii said on the sidelines of a
      ceremony marking the handover of a Japanese government donation to
      Muhamamdiyah for a humanitarian mission in Aceh. .. "Muslim leaders
      can accept donations, but never make promises of political support in
      return," he remarked. .. Muhammadiyah is the second largest Muslim
      organization in the country, claiming 30 million followers and running
      thousands of boarding schools across the country.

      IRAQ

      [comment] Sunnis and Shias must play an equal part in a new Iraq
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1162498,00.html
      ..
      [comment] The rise of Shi'a Petrolistan by Mai Yamani - 05 Mar 04
      http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_5-3-2004_pg3_5

      Islamic Media Review 28 February - 5th March [BBC] - 05 Mar 04
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=48007838
      ..
      Initial reaction on the day of the [Ashura] attacks was particularly
      strong ('Today war has been launched on Islam' - Thaer al-Shimri of
      Iraq's Shia al-Dawa party). But spokesmen from both the Shia and Sunni
      communities, interviewed on the pan-Arab TV channels, appeared united
      in stressing the need to avoid a sectarian response. Mahmud Othman, a
      Kurdish member of Iraq's interim Governing Council, took a typically
      cautious view: "The main aim is to create problems between the Sunni
      and Shia people. We have to be very careful." The Baghdad-based press
      (eg Al-Manar, Al-Mada, Al-Nahdah) described the attacks as acts of
      "terrorism" and called on Iraqis to unite against "sectarian
      sedition". Many commentators agreed, but several clerics and analysts,
      and some newspapers (eg Ayatollah Sistani representative Ahmad
      al-Safi, SCIRI member Ammar al-Hakim; Al-Jaridah) held the US
      responsible for failing to fulfil its obligation as the occupying
      power to provide better security. Several papers (Al-Adalah, Al-Manar,
      Al-Nahdah, Al- Furat) carried Ayatollah Sistani's statement making the
      same point. By contrast, participants in several Sunni jihadist
      bulletin boards welcomed the attacks: "It is time, God willing, for
      the Sunnis to take vengeance on the Shia," wrote one contributor.
      ..
      [comment] Betraying ignorance of Muslim world - 05 Mar 04
      http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=29037
      ..
      Reporting the bomb blasts in Karbala and Baghdad, The Guardian,
      London, said: "The attacks were aimed at Shia pilgrims celebrating the
      festival of Ashura." The phrase "celebrating the festival" betrays
      ignorance of Ashura, Muharram, Shias, Iraq and, possibly, the Muslim
      world. .. No, Muharram is not "celebrated" but very solemnly
      observed. Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram, climax to the tragedy
      of Karbala. It is not a festival, but a period of mourning. It was on
      this day that the Prophet's second grandson, Imam Hussain, and 72
      relatives and friends were martyred at the hands of vast armies in the
      epic battle of Karbala.

      [Bagdad] Shiites mobilize militias in Iraq - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/content/auto/epaper/editions/today/news_0=
      464faba7232311e0048.html
      ..
      Rifle-toting Shiite Muslim militiamen, some in crisp uniforms and
      others in civilian attire, deployed in force Wednesday around a
      bomb-scarred shrine in Baghdad, setting up dozens of checkpoints on
      bustling streets devoid of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police officers.
      The militiamen, loyal to various Shiite political parties, joined a
      contingent of armed guards from the Imam Kadhim mausoleum in asserting
      control over the neighborhood surrounding the gold-domed shrine, which
      a trio of suicide bombers attacked Tuesday morning as tens of
      thousands of Shiites gathered to commemorate a religious holiday.

      Shi'i leader decrees an end to illegal border crossings - 05 Mar 04
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=48014167
      .. [United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi TV]
      The Shi'i religious authority Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a
      fatwa [religious ruling] considering the entry of Iraqi territory via
      unofficial outlets as religiously prohibited [Arabic: haram]. He also
      considered as religiously prohibited the acquisition of money
      generated from smuggling operations and any effort that facilitates
      these operations. Al-Sistani's fatwa comes in response to news reports
      that thousands of Iranians enter Iraq via unofficial outlets on a
      daily basis, and that smuggling operations, particularly operations
      involving oil by-products, via the south, are widespread.
      ..
      Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani: The real face of power in Iraq -05 Mar 04
      http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/story.jsp?story=498357
      ..
      Most revealingly he is a specialist in ijtihad, the use of reason to
      apply Koranic values to contemporary situations - a discipline which
      only the most distinguished Shia clerics are allowed to practise. (The
      "gates of ijtihad" were closed to Sunni Muslims 1,000 years ago). This
      allows Islam to be reinterpreted in light of changing circumstances.
      Thus Sistani's website concerns itself with such contemporary
      obsessions as whether Muslims can use perfume which contains alcohol
      (yes), use interest-bearing investments (in some circumstances),
      gamble (on horses but not lotteries), masturbate (no), perform anal
      sex (yes, though it is "strongly undesirable") or oral sex (yes, so
      long as no fluid gets into the mouth). All of which is some distance
      from current Western values but which at least offers the possibility
      of engagement with the West in a way which is inconceivable with such
      Sunni fundamentalists the Taliban, al-Qa'ida or the Wahhabi puritans
      of Saudi Arabia.

      Iraqi women face old, new hurdles - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/edit/archives/2004/03/04/2003101107
      ..
      Those suspicions have arisen lately because of efforts by religious
      parties in the Governing Council to push through Resolution 137, which
      would abolish a 1959 law that Minister of Justice Hashem Abdul-Rahman
      al-Shibli says drew on the most generous protections for women and
      children from different schools of Shariah. "Women don't want clerics
      to write the constitution," Salman said. According to Shibli, the
      resolution would stipulate that a Shiite woman, for example, would
      have her divorce adjudicated by Shiite law, a Sunni by Sunni law.
      Besides atomizing the law into many laws, Shibli noted, such a move
      would strip every woman of some rights. Inheritance rights for women
      are more generous under Shiite law than Sunni, but divorce protections
      are better under Sunni law. So a Shiite woman would still have some
      good inheritance protections but would see her divorce rights
      diminished.
      ..
      Interim Constitution Shortchanges Women - 05 Mar 04
      http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/03/05/iraq7936_txt.htm
      ..
      [The interim constitution] does not specifically guarantee equality
      between men and women in at least three critical areas where women in
      the Middle East have historically suffered discrimination:
      * The interim constitution offers no explicit guarantee that women
      will have equal rights to marry, within marriage, and at its
      dissolution.
      * It does not explicitly guarantee women the right to inherit on an
      equal basis with men.
      * It fails to guarantee Iraqi women married to non-Iraqis the right to
      confer citizenship to their children.
      The interim constitution contains certain equal protection clauses,
      including the provision granting Iraqi women a substantial number of
      seats in parliament and explicitly states that any references made in
      the masculine tense apply to both men and women.

      The plight of the widows of Anfal on the edge of Kurdish society
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=48013450
      .. [Irish Times] - 05 Mar 04
      As many as 100,000 Kurdish women are thought to have lost their
      husbands during Anfal [1988 genocide*]. But whereas war in the west
      may have had the incidental effect of speeding women's emancipation,
      here in Germian genocide has only confirmed their marginal status.
      ..
      "Because Saddam never confirmed that their husbands had been killed,
      the status of these women was ambiguous," explained Dilshad Ferez,
      assistant director of the office of humanitarian aid in nearby Kalar.
      "Many found themselves living with their parents again, but receiving
      financial support from their in-laws." With remarriage the only real
      option if widows were to be able to begin again, the Kurdish
      authorities passed a law in March 1999 confirming that the missing
      should be considered legally dead. But that has only solved the
      problem for a small minority of women.
      ..
      "After the law came out, relations of mine told me that there was a
      man interested in marrying me", she said, sitting in the Smood women's
      centre where she now earns $35 a month working as a cleaner. "But my
      former husband's family wanted both my dowry and my children. I turned
      the offer down," she said. "My son and my daughter are my flesh and
      blood." "Widowers who have children do not have this problem,"
      explained Dilshad Ferez. "But women are still seen here as little more
      than chattels, last on the list to take decisions which affect them
      personally." .. A widow wanted to get married, and her former
      husband's family wanted to have her children, in essence because they
      were afraid her new husband would refuse to support them.
      ..
      the problems widows with children face often have little to do with
      any desire they may have to marry again. "My husband was a peshmerga
      [Kurdish militiaman] and a deserter from the Iraqi army during the
      Iran-Iraq war," she said. "We were married by a local imam, but
      obviously we couldn't register with the civilian authorities. My
      daughter is 15 years old now, but officially she does not exist." She
      laughs. "Officially I am still a virgin."
      ..
      * [maps] The Anfal Campaigns Overview Page - 2000
      http://www.rightsmaps.com/html/anfalbeg.html

      KENYA

      Ufungamano demands that Ghai quits Bomas - 05 Mar 04
      http://www.eastandard.net/headlines/news05030411.htm
      ..
      The Ufungamano group yesterday demanded the resignation of
      Constitution of Kenya Review Commission chairman Yash Pal Ghai and
      secretary PLO Lumumba, charging that they had taken sides in the Bomas
      talks.
      ..
      "It is our view that members of the commission who cannot restrain
      themselves from taking partisan positions on the review process should
      resign," the letter read in part. They said the statement represented
      views from the Catholic Church, National Council of Churches of Kenya
      (NCCK), Hindu Council, Anglican Church of Kenya, Presbyterian Church
      of East Africa, the Methodists and the Organisation of African-
      instituted Churches. They cited as the reason to Lumumba's views at
      the weekend on the Kadhi courts, among other contentious issues.
      ..
      The faiths leaders said Kenya was a secular State where religion and
      State are kept separate. They demanded that the Kadhi courts be
      expunged from the draft Constitution. "We are unable to decipher the
      logic behind inclusion of Islamic religious courts in the body of the
      Constitution," the leaders said. They proposed the creation of a
      multi-sectoral representative forum to conclude the stalled
      negotiations on contentious issues. The group that would take over
      where the consensus group left, should have technical back-up.
      According to the leaders, the draft should then be taken to a
      referendum where Kenyans can ratify it.

      KUWAIT

      Nuwa Wea hears horror stories of RI maids - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailnational.asp?fileid=20040304.C03
      ..
      Kuwait has sent 99 Indonesian workers to prison, including seven women
      who fell pregnant and gave birth in prison after having a relationship
      with their employers.
      ..
      [Spokesman for the Indonesian manpower ministry] Hotma explained that
      the Indonesian prisoners, mostly women, have been jailed mostly for
      having affairs with their employers, a crime punishable with a prison
      sentence in the small but prosperous country.
      ..
      Aidah of Kerawang, West Java, who along with her eight-month-old son
      has been jailed for one year said she wanted to go home so that she
      could give her son a normal life. She said she gave birth in prison
      and would tell her son to kill his father when he grows up for
      refusing to take responsibility for the child. "I will train my son to
      shoot his father," she said in a emotional tone. She said she had an
      affair with her employer's son during the four years she worked there,
      but later was sent to jail after being sentenced by an Islamic court.
      ..
      Hotma said that of the 99 jailed workers, almost 90 percent were women
      and seven were bringing up their children born in the prison.

      MALAYSIA

      [Sabah] Student held in Khalwat raid - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=25206
      ..
      Eighteen people, including a Form Six student, were picked up on
      suspicion of khalwat (close proximity), consuming liquor and illegal
      entry in an integrated operation conducted by Jheains, Immigration
      Department and City Hall on Tuesday night. Seven hotels, one dwelling
      place and four entertainment outlets around the city centre were
      raided between 9pm and 12.30am. Of those detained, five couples were
      picked up in hotel rooms for allegedly committing khalwat, another
      five for suspected liquor consumption and three on suspicion of
      illegal entry. Two of the couples were picked up in adjoining rooms in
      a hotel at Kg Air, another two couples in separate rooms on the same
      floor of another hotel at Jalan Pantai and the fifth couple at a hotel
      at Bandaran Berjaya [in Kota Kinabalu].
      ..
      A surprise awaited the raiding party in one of the locked rooms in a
      dwelling above an entertainment outlet on the second floor of a block
      of shops at Jalan Pantai. The door to the particular room was
      obviously locked with a latch from inside, but after the personnel
      forced it open, no one was in the room, the only means of escape in
      this case being two grilled windows. According to a Jheains (Sabah
      Islamic Religious Affairs Department) spokesman, the raided places
      were identified as possible locations of illegal activities, based on
      observation and information received from the public.

      MAURITIUS

      MPL: the decision is up to the Muslim community - 02 Mar 04
      http://www.lexpress.mu/display_article_sup.php?news_id=13888
      ..
      The question of application of the Muslim Personal Law (MPL) has been
      raised time and again. .. The MPL concerning Mauritius will deal
      mainly on the marriage and heritage aspect.

      NIGERIA

      [Kano] Muslim State In Nigeria Seeks Alternative Polio Vaccine
      http://framehosting.dowjonesnews.com/sample/samplestory.asp?StoryID=2004030=
      420300013
      .. - 04 Mar 04
      Kano state government spokesman Sule Ya'u Sule said his government was
      sticking with its position that vaccines procured by the Nigerian
      government - with U.N. assistance - last year were "contaminated with
      anti-fertility agents," despite repeated assurances by U.N. experts to
      the contrary. Sule's state government was in touch with predominantly
      Muslim countries, "especially in Asia, with a view to seeking
      alternative vaccines." Alternatively, Kano might decide to permit
      Nigeria's government to send new batches vaccines to replace existing
      stocks which have expired, but only after tests conducted by the state
      determine the new arrivals "are safe," Sule told The Associated Press.

      PAKISTAN

      Govt to table Hudood ordinance before parliament soon - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=56976
      ..
      Chairman Senate Muhammadmian Soomro has said that government will soon
      table much controversial Hudood ordinance before the parliament for
      discussion, saying presence of large number of women parliamentarians
      showed government's earnest efforts for the progress and prosperity of
      women. The Chairman Senate expressed these views while talking to
      journalists here on Thursday after inaugurating the "Inquiry report by
      the National Commission for Women Development." Instead of advocating
      or opposing the Hudood laws, Mr Soomro said that it is best way to
      table the said ordinances at the floor of the house for discussion,
      whether parliamentarians, representatives of the people wanted to
      retain it as it is or wanted to reverse them.

      Angry Pakistan Shias delay burial - 03 Mar 04
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3530287.stm
      ..
      Shia Muslims have delayed the burial of most of the 43 people killed
      in Tuesday's attack in south-west Pakistan [Quetta] in protest at
      arrests of Shia youths. About 15 people were detained in Quetta after
      reprisal attacks, although Shias later reportedly secured their
      release and set the funerals for Thursday. .. Leaders of the community
      said Shias had been arrested when they went to hospitals to donate
      blood.

      [FATA] Stampede in Shi'ite mosque kills 13 - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsec=
      tion=Pakistan+%26+Sub%2DContinent&month=March2004&file=World_News20040304927=
      35.xml
      ..
      A stampede sparked by a power blackout at a crowded Shii'te mosque in
      northwest Pakistan left at least 13 women and children dead, a local
      official said yesterday. The mosque was packed with devotees observing
      the Shiites' holiest day Ashura in the town of Parachinar late on
      Tuesday. A short circuit caused a blast and plunged the mosque into
      darkness, sending worshippers fleeing in panic, Parachinar official
      Azam Khan said. "It triggered a stampede and dozens of women and
      children crammed on a staircase which collapsed under their pressure,"
      he said. The dead included eight women and five children, he said.

      Black magic casts its spell on the aggrieved - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_4-3-2004_pg7_20
      ..
      On the upper floor of the Mairaj building on Lytton Road [Lahore],
      Haji Abdul Razzaq sits on the floor scribbling on a piece of paper.
      This is his office, from where he has dispensed amulets to ward off
      evil spells for the last 14 years. "Even the Prophet Mohammad (peace
      be upon him) was once a victim of black magic," said Mr Razzaq,
      holding up a copy of the Tahfim-ul-Bukhari, a collection of Hadith or
      the sayings of the Prophet (peace). "By the grace of Allah, he
      recovered," he said, "but if even the Prophet (peace) can be targeted,
      you must realise anyone can." This realisation is perhaps what takes
      many to the some 200 houses of magic or talisam kadas in the city. And
      most are doing well, charging up to Rs 500 [EUR 108,-] for the first
      of many sessions, which pretend to be solutions to everything from a
      broken heart to a bad career. Many of those who come to Mr Razzaq,
      also known as Diwan Bawa, are coping with disease or financial crisis.
      Mr Razzaq says he only uses his knowledge of black magic to save
      people from evil, though he could make a lot more money if he acceded
      to the demands of the disgruntled and put curses and vexes on their
      perceived tormentors. "Only 20 percent of the people who visit us do
      so for a positive purpose," said Mr Razzaq. "The other 80 wish ill on
      others."
      ..
      Akmal Raza Mir, a trained homeopathic, learned the art through his
      elder brothers. He runs an office on Ferozepur Road near Shama Chowk.
      "You have to be very skilful in manipulating the psychology of the
      target," said Mr Mir. "The basic aim is to agitate him to such an
      extent that the required objective is achieved." Mr Mir puts curses on
      people through non-human agents known as moakals, whose services are
      acquired by reading scripture in a prescribed way. It is not an easy
      job. "Catching a moakal takes three or four months and if not done
      properly, these moakals can turn against you," he said. "To get the
      attention of a moakal, you chant mantras, to get him to do your
      bidding you must use perfume essence or blood, usually from an owl,"
      he said, adding that he did not use his powers to hurt others.

      PHILIPPINES

      Policewoman tops Shari'ah examination - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2004/mar/04/yehey/metro/20040304met4.ht=
      ml
      ..
      A Policewoman topped the 2003 Shari'ah Bar Examination administered by
      the Supreme Court of the Philippines in July last year opted to remain
      with the police force instead of joining the judiciary as a Shari'ah
      (Muslim Law) judge. .. Jalman was the first and only Filipino Muslim
      woman to have topped the special bar exam given every two years since
      1983 for graduates of the Shari'ah. The police bar topnotcher obtained
      her Bachelor of Laws degree from Jose Rizal University in Mandaluyong
      City. .. Examinees who took the exam included Filipino Muslims who
      studied Islamic law and jurisprudence in known universities abroad
      such as Al Azhar University in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

      SAUDI ARABIA

      Haram Imam Blasts Al-Hurra for Causing 'Intellectual Chaos' -06 Mar 04
      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=40668
      ..
      Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah,
      yesterday .. also blasted the newly established US-run Al-Hurra
      television channel for causing "intellectual chaos and confusion"
      among Muslims. Delivering his Friday sermon to hundreds of thousands
      of faithful who packed the large mosque complex.
      ..
      Sheikh Sudais denounced a "war of ideas" being waged by parts of the
      Western media with the aim of imposing particular cultural and
      intellectual patterns and dictating specific reforms in the name of
      globalization, openness and freedom. The US government-funded Al-Hurra
      Arabic channel was aimed at sowing doubt among Muslims, especially
      women, about Islamic teachings and discrediting Islamic principles.
      "It spreads intellectual chaos and destroys the correct thinking of
      the Ummah and its cultural heritage," he said.

      First independent rights body set up in Saudi Arabia - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=112812
      ..
      According to the Arabic daily Asharq Al Awsat, the National Human
      Rights Organisation (NHRO) held its first meeting at the headquarters
      of the Saudi Shura Council in Riyadh last Thursday. The organisation
      has 41 members, out of which 10 are women.
      ..
      At the meeting, the members appointed nine individuals to form an
      executive body and submitted a plea to Custodian of the Two Holy
      Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, requesting official approval to allow
      the organisation to function. The organisation aims to reinforce human
      rights in Saudi society and stand against injustice, despotism,
      intolerance and torture. It will work to protect human rights inside
      the kingdom in compliance with regulations and rules followed in the
      field of human rights and Islamic Sharia. The organisation will also
      follow up the implementation of international human rights charters
      signed by Saudi Arabia, including the charters of the United Nations,
      the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the Arab League. The
      meeting saw the formation of four committees, the most important of
      which is the committee for follow up, and the family committee. The
      family committee will be responsible to discuss and follow up on
      family related issues, particularly those concerning women.
      ..
      There will be another, government-run human rights body, the prince
      said, adding that each organisation will serve a different role. The
      government rights body will be charged with implementing "government
      decisions regarding human rights, and to reformulate local laws so
      they are consistent with the basic system of governance, which focuses
      on human rights", he said.
      ..
      The formation of the organisation comes after the first human rights
      conference in Riyadh last October when Minister of State Mutlab Al
      Nafeesa said the existing human rights committee at the Shura Council
      would coordinate with the two human rights bodies.
      ..
      The minister added that the Shura's Islamic Affairs Committee planned
      to set up a supreme family council to work for the welfare of women
      and children, including the increasing number of divorces and the rise
      in the number of unmarried women.
      ..
      Human Rights Society discusses group's objectives [Al-Sharq al-Awsat]
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=47981902
      .. - 04 Mar 04
      Dr Abd-al-Haq Abd-al-Hay, political sciences teacher at the King Sa'ud
      University and member of the Saudi National Human Rights Society, has
      stated that the society will be taking retroactive action in
      connection with former human rights cases.
      ..
      Regarding the society's inclusion of names from various tendencies,
      which might arouse the reservations of some parties, he explained that
      the others "must realize that disagreement does not disappear just
      because the members are Saudis and also that society is diverse. This
      is a fact that cannot be ignored. Man consists of three souls: The
      evil, the admonisher and the assured ones. Diversity is found even in
      the small single family."

      SINGAPORE

      More eateries caught using fake halal certificates - 04 Mar 04
      http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/latest/story/0,4390,238325,00.html
      ..
      Muis [Islamic Religious Council of Singapore] has taken 33 companies
      and restaurants to court in the last five years for this, and all were
      fined. Under the Administration of Muslim Law Act, it is an offence to
      display the mark or even use the word halal if the food is not
      prepared according to Islamic laws. The penalty is a fine of up to
      S$10,000 [EUR 4.800,-] or 12 months' jail, or both.

      SUDAN

      [Amnesty] Making Violence Against Women Count - 05 Mar 04
      http://www.southamericadaily.com/p/03/4de4311d99e404.html
      ..
      A husband's rights in relation to his wife are, according to Section
      52 of the Muslim Personal Law Act of Sudan of 1991, to be taken care
      of and be amicably obeyed as well as to have the wife preserve herself
      and his property. If she refuses to obey her husband, her right to be
      provided with a living ceases to be valid. (Section 92). Under Article
      146 of the Criminal Act of 1991 a woman stands the risk of being
      prosecuted and punished if she fails to prove that she has been raped.

      THAILAND

      Thailand to end martial law in some Muslim areas - 03 Mar 04
      http://www.abc.net.au/asiapacific/news/GoAsiaPacificBNA_1058527.htm
      ..
      Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, says the
      easing of martial law, which allows detention without charge, will
      start in a couple of weeks. He says it will be lifted initially in
      only a couple of the 10 or so districts in each of the three
      southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia. Muslim leaders in the
      region have complained that stringent night patrols disrupt work in a
      region heavily dependent on rubber tapping, for which workers leave
      early in the morning.

      UK

      Qur'anic Ideas Have Consequences [Jihad Watch] - 01 Mar 04
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=47942553
      ..
      Hate preacher loses appeal: Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, a London- based
      imam, has lost an appeal of his conviction for soliciting murder and
      making threats during his taped lectures. The BBC reports that in the
      lectures he was "urging followers to kill non- believers, Jews, Hindus
      and Americans." He also "told young British Muslims they would be
      rewarded with 72 virgins in paradise if they died in a holy war."
      At his trial, el-Faisel argued that "he was interpreting and updating
      the words of the Qur'an, the Islamic holy book."
      ..
      When asked how he could say such things while holding British
      citizenship, Bakri was dismissive. "As long as my words do not become
      actions, they do no harm. Here, the law does not punish you for words,
      as long as there is no proof you have carried out actions. In such a
      case you are still on the margins of the law, and they cannot punish
      you...." El-Faisel, meanwhile, is being punished for his words. he
      was originally sentenced to nine years in prison; last week this was
      reduced to seven. he is also liable to be deported back to his native
      Jamaica.

      UK minister affirms students' right to wear head scarves - 04 Mar 04
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=47963430
      ..
      "We certainly will continue to allow girls to wear the hijab in
      schools just as we allow Muslim women police officers to wear the
      hijab and Sikh male officers to wear the turban,'' said Patricia
      Hewitt, who is the minister for women as well as trade secretary.
      [statement in the House of Commons].
      ..
      Only two schools in England attempted to ban the head scarves, and
      both have reversed their position.

      USA

      Disney Movie Under Fire For Stereotyping Muslims - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.islamonline.org/English/News/2004-03/04/article01.shtml
      ..
      A new Disney movie, due for release on Friday, March 5, came under
      fire for negative stereotyping of Muslims and Arabs. "Hidalgo" tells
      the so-called "incredible true story" of a 5,000-km horse race across
      the Arabian Peninsula, showing a U.S. cowboy hero pitching up in Aden
      in 1890 with his American mustang to compete against a hundred Bedouin
      riders on their Arab steeds, the Gulf News said.
      ..
      critics insisted that no ever source pointed to such a race or an
      American called Frank T. Hopkins, the hero of the movie, nor his horse
      "Hidalgo".
      ..
      The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), America's largest
      Islamic civil liberties group, wrote to Disney's chairman to express
      concern that the movie negatively stereotypes Muslims and Arabs.
      It also demanded the removal of the "True Story" tag line that is
      touting the production, the Saudi-owned Arab News reported.
      ..
      Saddled with a sorry script, 'Hidalgo' gallops to mediocrity - 05 Mar
      http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/orl-calhidalgo05_mvrv030504mar=
      05,0,3882910.story
      ..
      [B-movie] Hidalgo is a Disney Western about a man, a Bedouin princess,
      a femme fatale and a painted horse -- and a race across about 3,000
      miles of Arabian desert, circa 1890. [Viggo] Mortensen plays Frank T.
      Hopkins, a U.S. Cavalry courier and long-distance horse racer who is
      rescued from a life of touring with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show by
      sheiks with an eye for competition. Even though his horse is "of
      impure blood," they invite him to take part in the greatest horse race
      on Earth, a death-ride gallop from the Persian Gulf to Damascus for a
      big prize in gold. An English noblewoman (Louise Lombard) has a horse
      in the race and her eye on a fine Arabian line of horses that she
      hopes to score with a victory. She may even have her eye on Frank.
      Omar Sharif is the sheik with the favored horse and rider. But there
      are treacherous relatives at work, and the sheik's daughter is
      kidnapped. Will the laconic American cowboy ride to the rescue or keep
      his nose in the race?

      WORLD REGIONS

      Religion guides views of fertility treatment in Middle East
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=47979366
      .. [Health & Medicine Week] - 08 Mar 04
      University of Michigan researcher Marcia Inhorn has used medical
      anthropology methods for the last 20 years to study infertility and in
      vitro fertilization (IVF) in the Middle East, where Israel and Lebanon
      are home to some of the highest per capita numbers of IVF centers in
      the world.
      ..
      In qualitative, ethnographic interviews with nearly 400 patient
      couples, Inhorn identified major differences in cultural attitudes
      toward reproductive technologies between Shi'ite Muslims in Lebanon
      and Sunni Muslims in Egypt. Results of her work in Egypt are part of a
      book published in 2003, Local Babies, Global Science: Gender,
      Religion, and In Vitro Fertilization in Egypt. Egypt's first fatwa, or
      religious proclamation, on medically assisted reproduction came in
      1980, not long after the first IVF baby was born in England. More than
      90% of Egypt's citizens practice Sunni Islam. Sunni religious rules
      state that IVF is allowed, but that since marriage is a contract
      between a husband and wife, no third party should intrude into
      procreation, thus prohibiting such things as sperm or egg donation.

      Most leaders of Shi'a Islam, the minority branch of Islam found in
      countries including Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and India,
      concur with Sunni religious authorities about the strict prohibition
      on third-party donation. But in the late 1990s, an Iranian leader
      issued a fatwa stating egg donation "is not in and of itself legally
      forbidden." Inhorn notes that Shi'ites practice a form of individual
      religious reasoning called ijtihad, in which various Shi'ite religious
      leaders come to their own conclusions. Shi'ites who are strict in
      their interpretation of a third-party donation in IVF believe a couple
      should get approval from a religious court first, and the husband
      needs to do a muta'a, or temporary, marriage with any egg donor so the
      child is not born out of wedlock. However, since a married Shi'ite
      Muslim woman cannot marry another man, sperm donation from a man other
      than her husband is akin to adultery.

      Middle Eastern societies expect all married couples to produce
      biological children, since legal adoption as it is practiced in the
      West is prohibited in both Sunni and Shi'a Islam. In the absence of
      adoption and gamete donation, infertile Muslim couples in countries
      such as Egypt have no choice but to turn to IVF using their own
      gametes.

      [comment] Shi'ite attacks pave way for rapid responses - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/FC04Df02.html
      ..
      Muslims of the [Indian] sub-continent and Iraq have a tradition of
      mourning the martyrdom of Hussein on Ashura, the 10th day of the
      Muharram month. This is when, in the 7th century, Hussein, a grandson
      of the Prophet Mohammed, was assassinated by the army of Yazid, the
      Umyaid ruler. It should be noted that on the day of Ashura, notably
      in Iraq, India and Pakistan, Muslims, both Shi'ite and Sunni, take
      part in processions. There is a difference, though, as Shi'ites whip
      and torture themselves in sympathy with the killing of Hussein, Sunnis
      do not in their Tazia (mourning) processions. In Pakistan's NWFP and
      Balochistan provinces, though, the population follows a version of
      Islam (Deobandis) closer to the Salafi version, and Sunnis in these
      regions never participate in the Ashura mourning rituals. Pakistan has
      a long history of conflict between Shi'ites and Sunnis, resulting in
      hundreds of deaths over the years, as opposed to Iraq, where such
      sectarian violence between the two branches of Islam is highly unusual
      - there were a few isolated events in 1991 in Basra after the Gulf
      War.

      Searching for a soul mate - 28 Feb 04
      http://cjonline.com/stories/022804/rel_soulmate.shtml
      ..
      Part of her hoped she would find her soul mate when she joined Naseeb,
      a new online Muslim community. But getting a marriage proposal just
      three months later -- while on a snowboarding trip in Pennsylvania --
      was way beyond Saara Sheikh's expectations. Raised by conservative,
      Pakistani Muslim parents, Sheikh knew dating was out. Still, she
      rebelled at the idea of a traditional arranged marriage, skipping out
      on meetings her parents set up with potential spouses.
      ..
      Like the company, which is based in San Jose, Calif.[USA], but has
      engineering operations in Lahore, Pakistan, many of Naseeb's users are
      a blend of East and West, comfortable with technology yet tied to
      tradition. In Naseeb, they have found a culturally sensitive middle
      ground that lies somewhere between dating, which experts say is
      discouraged by Islamic law, and the old-fashioned practice of
      marriages brokered by parents.
      ..
      More than 45,000 Muslims have joined Naseeb.com since it went online
      last fall, some searching for a spouse, others looking to make
      friends. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Monis Rahman said he founded
      Naseeb, which means "destiny" in Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Malaysian,
      Indonesian, Turkish and Hindi, in response to a desire for community
      that arose after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
      ..
      About 84 percent of Naseeb's users are in North America and the United
      Kingdom, and most are invited to join by a friend. Online, they create
      a profile that includes links to their friends' profiles, and so on,
      for up to four degrees of separation. Connecting with people who are
      friends of friends is especially important in Muslim culture, which
      frowns upon sharing personal information with strangers.
      ..
      Naseeb also offers a religious compatibility quiz that allows users to
      display their responses to questions such as how frequently they pray,
      whether it is inappropriate to have dancing or music at weddings and
      how they'd react if alcohol was served at a company party.

      FINANCE

      [Pakistan] Islamisation of economy - Sharia Board to be constituted
      http://jang.com.pk/thenews/mar2004-daily/05-03-2004/business/b1.htm
      .. - 05 Mar 04
      Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Dr Ishrat Hussain on Thursday
      announced the formulation of new prudential regulations for
      structuring and devising sharia-compliant financial products.
      ..
      Dr Ishrat announced the constitution of the Sharia Board of the SBP to
      supervise the Islamisation of the financial system of the country. The
      governor SBP also announced the issuance of Ijara Sukuk (government
      bonds) based on sharia, to replace the present T-bill system in due
      course of time.
      ..
      The governor announced that since over 40 commercial banks and DFIs
      need to be merged, therefore, in the near future, all new licences for
      commercial banks have been restricted for the establishment of new
      Islamic banks in the country. Dr Ishrat said: "We do not want to take
      hasty steps for the Islamisation of the country's banking system."
      This, the governor claimed, may lead to the failure of Islamic banking
      in Pakistan. He said the government wants to establish Islamic banking
      on firm and solid footings so that it could flourish on sound
      financial basis. He categorically mentioned that the SBP would not
      press the business community or individuals to switch over to Islamic
      banking rather "they should act according to their faith." With the
      introduction of Islamic banking in the country, Dr Ishrat saw a
      tremendous rise in the number of bank deposit holders. The reason
      being that currently, many potential bank clients are reluctant to do
      business with banks because of the involvement of Riba, he claimed.
      He predicted that with the rise in Islamic banking, the deposit base
      of the country's banking and financial system would increase, the
      currency in supply would get down, resulting in a decrease in
      inflation and facilitation of the documentation of the national
      economy.
      ..
      [Dr Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi] said the Sharia Board would not re-start its
      basic work; instead, it would complete the already set target - as per
      the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan - to eliminate riba from
      the national economy.

      [UK] ABC International Bank launches alburaq - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.tradearabia.com/routes/sections/News.asp?Article=65362&Sn=BANK
      ..
      Arab Banking Corporation International Bank (ABCIB) has announced the
      launch of 'alburaq', created to be the premier retail Islamic
      financial services brand in the West. The new alburaq brand, aimed
      primarily at the UK's Muslim community, will offer a range of
      competitively priced financial products that adhere to religious
      values and comply with Sharia'a.
      ..
      'There is an obvious need and a large demand for Islamic retail
      products for the vastly under-served Muslim communities in non-Muslim
      countries in the West.' .. ABC's principal shareholders are Abu
      Dhabi, Kuwait and Libya. .. the majority of group-wide Islamic
      banking activities are carried out by ABC Islamic Bank (Bahrain) and
      ABCIB Islamic Asset Management Limited (London).

      [Indonesia] Signs of "overheating in Syariah banking - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.antara.co.id/e_berita.asp?id=139476&th=2004
      ..
      Signs of "overheating" in the syariah banking system have begun to
      appear following the Indonesian Ulema Council's fatwa on interest
      rates, a senior banker said on Wednesday. Syariah banks' funds showed
      an increase in their BI Wadiah (demand deposits and saving)
      Certificate, Burhanuddin Abdullah, Bank Indonesia governor, said at a
      convwing the issuance of the MUI`s binding rules. (1 US dollar =
      Rp8.500). According to Abdudllah, if the liquidity increase was not
      balanced with larger capacity, it would create overheating in the
      syariah banking industry.

      [Malaysia] Global adoption of IASB standard - 04 Mar 04
      http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2004/3/4/business/7451948
      ..
      The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) hopes its system
      will be adopted worldwide in the next three to four years.
      ..
      Zainal also said Malaysia was in discussion with the IASB to formulate
      methodology for a syariah-based standard."Forty per cent of Malaysia's
      issuance of private debt securities are Islamic based and there has
      been a lot of interest generated from the Middle East for these
      Islamic products," he said. MASB executive director Dr Nordin Mohd
      Zain said a standard of presentation for Islamic banks' financial
      statements was introduced in December 2001 and became effective on Jan
      1, 2003. "We are currently developing other standards like ijarah,
      takaful and zakat."
      ..
      http://www.theedgedaily.com/article.cfm?id=29018 - 03 Mar 04
      ..
      The Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB) is drafting four new
      Islamic accounting standards, with the first one on Ijarah (leasing)
      to be issued in the first quarter of next year.

      [Saudi] Insurance companies look to make gains in Gulf - 04 Mar 04
      http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm?id=ZAWYA20040304091511
      ..
      The main [insurance] market in the Gulf is Saudi Arabia, followed by
      UAE and Kuwait. Bahrain, Qatar and Oman are almost the same size.
      Furthermore, the Saudi market is certain to develop much more over the
      next few years. The main reason is because the Saudi government is
      now issuing a new insurance law. In the past, people were doing
      insurance in Saudi Arabia, but the legal framework was not very clear.
      But recently three things have happened: They made third-party motor
      insurance compulsory, they made medical insurance compulsory for
      expatriates, and they are now issuing a new law for establishing and
      registering insurance companies. These factors will considerably
      improve the growth of Saudi insurance business.

      Qatar Government Issues Islamic Trust Listing On Labuan Exchange
      http://www.tax-news.com/asp/story/story.asp?storyname=15283
      .. - 05 Mar 04
      The government of Qatar last month issued a $700 million Sukuk, or
      Islamic Trust Trading Certificate, on the Labuan International Finance
      Exchange (LFX). The move has been described as a significant step away
      from the LFX's listing of more conventional western instruments, as
      Islamic finance begins to gain in popularity.

      [*] Copyright: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 -
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      distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. If
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      go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright
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