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Sharia News Watch 25

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  • Norbert Roovers
    Sharia News Watch 25 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*]AFGHANISTANReligious fundamentalism is the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 21, 2002
      Sharia News Watch 25 : a collection news quotes on Sharia,
      for research & educational purposes only. [*]


      Religious fundamentalism is the rallying cry of the disenfranchised
      .. 20 Nov 02
      This week in Herat, a district still under the strictest religious
      edicts of the warlord Ismail Khan, an epidemic of young women burning
      themselves alive is reported. There have been over 100 girls arriving
      in the Herat hospital covered in burns, most young wives or teenagers
      betrothed against their will who have taken to self-immolation, the
      only protest left to them: the clash of civilisations is always fought
      out over women's bodies. In Afghanistan women's rights are the main
      battleground that will determine if the new constitution is secular
      and democratic or if Sharia law prevails.

      Expert: Iran, Afghanistan can cooperate in human rights area
      http://www.irna.com/en/head/021118103847.ehe.shtml 18 Nov 02
      An Afghan Independent Human Rights (AIHRC) Commissioner [Ahmad Zia
      Langari] said that Iran and Afghan have a long history of relations in
      the fields of religion and culture and can therefore cooperate with
      each other in the areas of human rights and implementation of Islamic
      Emphasizing the fact that Islamic laws do not contradict human rights,
      Langari said that the aim of Sharia law is to develop society to a
      level where people become cognizant of their rights and, on occasions
      where such rights are violated, press for punishment of the culprits
      that are responsible for any violation, adding that this is the
      essence of international human rights principles.

      Referring to the importance of education and enlightenment in a
      society, the Afghan Independent Human Rights (AIHRC) Commissioner said
      that it is the obligation of governments to promote education for good
      governance and to make people aware of their rights and obligations.


      .. 16 Nov 02
      In Chechnya, the birth rate notably exceeds the mortality index while
      the number of marriages is higher than that of divorces, reports Bek
      Baskanov, the Russian Justice Ministry's Chechnya board chief.
      According to Bek Baskanov, Chechnya had lacked any birth, marriage and
      death registration agencies as well as other civilian institutions
      until 2000 because the Dudaev-Maskhadov regime imposed the Sharia law
      upon the Chechen people. There are registration agencies at each of
      the republic's 18 districts today. [RIA "Nowosti"]


      Nine jailed for running brothel, adultery 21 Nov 02
      Nine people were sentenced to various prison terms and ordered to be
      deported for running a brothel and committing adultery.
      The Sharia Court sentenced Rampel and Ahmed to three years
      imprisonment and ordered them to be lashed 90 times for running a
      brothel, exploiting prostitutes, encouraging vices and committing
      adultery. Both were also ordered to be lashed 80 times for drinking
      alcohol at the brothel.


      Egypt : No protection - systematic torture continues 13 Nov 02
      In Egypt everyone taken into detention is at risk of torture.
      Political detainees face a heightened risk. Those most at risk are
      alleged members of Islamist organizations, particularly during the
      initial period of incommunicado detention, cut off from the outside
      world, at premises of the State Security Intelligence (SSI). However,
      victims of torture in Egypt come from all walks of life.

      Amnesty International continues to receive well-documented allegations
      of torture and ill-treatment from vulnerable people: from women and
      young people; from poor people; and from those detained for their
      sexual orientation.
      Reports by Egyptian and international human rights organizations based
      on interviews with victims and witnesses, medical examinations and
      judgments by Egyptian courts clearly demonstrate the systematic
      practice of torture. Working for the abolition of torture has become a
      priority for several Egyptian human rights organizations who monitor
      and document incidents of torture, and provide legal and medical
      assistance for victims and their relatives as well as conducting
      public awareness campaigns.

      Green light for fixed-interest banking in Egypt 18 Nov 02
      Al Azhar institute in Cairo has given a green light to fixed-interest
      banking in Egypt, an issue that has long been a focus of debate among
      Sheikh Saber Taalab said the decision was backed by 21 of the 22
      members of the committee, but declined to identify the opponent of the
      measure or his reasons.
      The imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, who is close to
      the government, has long pressed for an easing of curbs on money-
      lending to resolve differences between conservative theologians and
      "Religious jurisprudence means change, and it is illogical to remain
      frozen while the world changes around us," Sheikh Saber Talaab, head
      of the research committee secretariat, told AFP. "So long as we do
      not go against what is written (in the Koran) or the Sunna (Islamic
      tradition), we have a clear conscience."

      [al-Qaradawi] Scholar dismayed over fixed-interest banking decision
      http://www.gulf-times.com/2002/11/19/locals.htm 19 Nov 02
      Qatar's renowned Islamic scholar Dr Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has
      expressed shock and dismay over the announcement made by the Islamic
      theological research committee of Al-Azhar University - one of the
      oldest centres of Islamic learning in the world - on fixed-interest
      banking as lawful and acceptable for Muslims.

      Speaking to the correspondent of our sister Arabic newspaper Arrayah,
      he said: "I remember that this subject was discussed nearly 40 years
      ago - in the year 1965 - by the then committee for Islamic research at
      the Al Azhar university headed by the late Sheikh Hasan al-Mamoon and
      several other eminent scholars and it was categorically declared that
      fixed-interest banking is usury, so is unlawful (haram) - for Muslims.
      "Hence I am unable to understand the reasons for reversing this
      decision. I have also not yet read any plausible argument for changing
      the earlier decision. What are the changes that have occurred in
      justification of this new decision which is in total contradiction to
      the original decision based on careful study and scrutiny?" he asked.

      [Mustafa Mashhour] Farewell in sea of arms to father of militants 16
      Nov http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-3-481842,00.html

      [Amr Khaled] A sheikh for modern living 17 Nov 02
      the message of guiltless consumption is the secret to his popularity?


      Indonesia bans traditional parade on Eid eve 20 Nov 02
      The Jakarta authorities (Muspida) has decided to ban the traditional
      takbiran keliling (post-fasting parade on the last night of Ramadhan)
      in the capital city, the RRI state radio station reported Wednesday.
      Last year, the city police arrested 137 people on the night before
      Idul Fitri, mostly for setting off firecrackers and disturbing the
      peace. Although firecrackers are illegal, many people still light
      firecrackers during national holidays. A dozen people have been
      injured by firecrackers during the Idul Fitri celebration in the past
      three days.

      [Aceh] Aceh rebels lose the plot, and the war 18 Nov 02
      why the rebels suddenly agreed to enter into a peace agreement with
      the government. The secessionist movement, which has been fighting for
      independence since 1976, had always refused to settle for anything
      less than a nation separated from the Republic of Indonesia.
      The attitude of these rogue fighters is proving very costly to the
      movement. Local Acehnese people, and especially local religious
      leaders who were previously sympathetic to the movement, are growing
      antipathetic toward the rebels, whom they see as no better than
      government troops.
      On Thursday, religious leaders, youth organizations, students, and
      business people in Aceh urged the rebels to sign the government-
      prepared peace deal.

      [Bali Bomber] Ordinary village spawns an extraordinary killer 16 Nov
      At any one time, more than 20 per cent of Tenggulun's 2300 people are
      off working in Malaysia. Amrozi has seven brothers and sisters and
      five stepbrothers and sisters from his father's two wives.
      This debate about Islamic ideology runs in a deep vein through
      Tenggulun, just as it does in many parts of Indonesia where the
      dominant liberal views of most Muslims are regularly challenged by
      those pushing for less tolerant, more orthodox interpretations of
      Islam. In Tenggulun, this debate is centred on the Al Islam school
      Amrozi's brothers set up a decade ago to propagate their own more
      hardline views.
      the strict dress rules of Al Islam, which is out of step with the
      surrounding community. Males are forbidden from shaving their beards
      and must wear tunics that do not hide the ankles, while girls must not
      only cover their heads with a shawl but cover their faces with a veil.

      It is in accordance with sharia law, which Khozin believes should be
      instituted throughout the country. To instil that philosophy in the
      students, he appointed as headmaster Zakariah, a graduate of the
      central Java boarding school at Ngruki run by radical Muslim cleric
      Bashir. Khozin first came into contact with the Ngruki school through
      his two younger brothers who studied there.
      [Saleh] said Al Islam was currently the only such school he was aware
      of in Indonesia with such close ideological links to Bashir's Ngruki
      school. He said Amrozi's brothers were trying hard to extend the
      Bashir influence. "I think there's a trend of many people to like a
      clear ideology and Ngruki from the outset has always had a clear
      ideology like jihad (holy war)."
      But even strong opponents of Bashir like him could understand the core
      reasons why some Muslims would not condemn the Bali bombings. "They
      don't like America. It's because America supports Israel and kills
      Palestinians. For many years they are killed and are forced from their
      land. I heard from Amrozi; the target is not Australia, it's America."


      Iranian protests threaten upheaval in Islamic state 19 Nov 02
      Yesterday, as 5,000 university students gathered inside an auditorium
      at Tehran's Sharif University to demand greater political freedoms and
      a deeper separation between religion and the state, several hundred
      Islamist vigilantes stormed the building and pummelled and kicked a
      small group of protest leaders.
      The protests have swept the country, touching off demonstrations in
      half a dozen cities, including Hamedan, Isfahan, Ahvaz, Yazd and Tabriz.


      The President for the Human Rights Commission at the Senate, Enrico
      Pianetta (FI), together with two other Commission members, Iovene (DS)
      and Boldi (Northern League), yesterday met with Amina Lawal Kurami,
      the Nigerian woman condemned to stoning, and her lawyer, in Abuja.
      The Sharia Court of Appeal in Katisna will announce the date for the
      hearing at the end of Ramadan , during which they will re-examine the
      case. The woman, thanking the Italian delegation, recalled that this
      was the second official visit she had received after the one by US
      Congress Members.
      They also announced they will make Amina the symbol for the first
      World Day against the death penalty promoted by the Community of Sant'
      Egidio, in agreement with the World Coalition against death penalty on
      November 30.


      Rebels reject draft peace accord 15 Nov 02
      The rebels say they are fighting to protect the rights of
      predominantly Muslim northern Ivorians, who complain of discrimination
      and harassment by the Christian and animist southern tribes that
      traditionally have dominated the government.


      Clerics condemn sections of draft constitution 14 Nov 02
      Church leaders have strongly condemned the draft constitution saying
      it has flaws that are likely to promote immorality in the country.
      Addressing a press conference at a Nairobi hotel on Thursday morning,
      the clerics said the document provides for abortion, homosexuality and
      lesbianism among other immoral practices.

      In a statement read on their behalf by the National Council of
      Churches of Kenya, NCCK Chairman Reverend Jesse Kamau, the leaders
      said they are concerned with the fact that the draft document provided
      for a secular government while promoting the Islamic Sharia laws. They
      claimed that by allowing the operation of Sharia laws in the country,
      the document will open room for religious discrimination.


      [7 year long divorce case] The Aida Melly story 17 Nov 02
      "Why did it have to take so long?" she repeats a rhetoric no one ever
      had an answer to. "It" is her divorce from a husband, whom she said
      was abusive and a cheat, and "It" had taken seven years to materialise.
      "My experiences at the Syariah Courts were unbelievably terrible and
      nightmarish," says the 36-year-old mother, adding, "only those with
      great mental strength can endure such torture." Mind intact, Aida is
      not rambling like a vengeful sore loser in the divorce battle. She
      just wants to know why she was subjected to the agony which comprised
      unhelpful lawyers, un-cooperative court officials, an errant husband
      and, by her reckoning, biased judges.
      Aida is holding on to assurances from JAIS officials that her divorce
      is final. She already has support from no less than the Deputy Prime
      Minister himself, among other notables. "My special thanks to the
      Sultan of Selangor for his staunch support of my fight for freedom,
      and for being a kind and compassionate ruler," she credits, apart from
      a whole support system of women's groups. Known for his strong
      criticism of the State's Syariah system, The Sultan of Selangor had
      shown keen interest in Aida's case since it was brought to his attention.

      Time for syariah system to buck up 18 Nov 02
      .. [New Straits Times]

      Muftis' views need to be studied 13 Nov 02
      The National Fatwa Council has to study the views of the two muftis
      that divorce cases cannot be appealed, Prime Minister's Department
      parliamentary secretary Datuk Noh Omar said.

      ''According to present laws, we allow appeals in all Syariah cases.
      But if the two muftis are right then we might have to review the laws.
      ''We don't want our laws to contradict Islamic laws,'' Noh said at the
      Parliament lobby today. [New Straits Times Management Times]
      Two more muftis today said a divorce is final and an appeal to the
      Syariah Court was against the Syariah law. [New Straits Times]

      [close proximity] What is khalwat? 17 Nov 02
      .. [Sunday Mail - Kuala Lumpur]
      The conditions for khalwat are provided under the Syariah Criminal
      Provisions Act, and the circumstances differ from state to state.
      Generally, as provided by the Syariah Criminal Provisions Act (Federal
      Territories), Section 27, it entails:

      "Any man who is found together with one or more women, not being his
      wife or mahram; or any woman who is found together with one or more
      men, not being her husband or mahram, in any secluded place or in a
      house or room under circumstances which may give rise to suspicion
      that they were engaged in immoral acts shall be guilty of an offence
      and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding RM3,000 [EUR
      780] or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both."
      Who is the authority of enforcement?
      * Enforcement officers from the Unit Penguatkuasaan Pejabat Agama (The
      Enforcement Unit of the Religious Office) * Religious officers or
      public officers, for example the police. * Nazir and Imam if the
      Religious Office is too far away.

      There can be no citizen's arrest made for khalwat. However, the public
      can make a complaint to the Religious Office, much like the way a
      member of the public can make a police report if they have any
      suspicion of robbery or abuse.

      There will be a minimum of four persons in each enforcement unit
      because of the stipulation of four male Muslim witnesses for crimes
      under the Syariah Law.

      [Johor] Malaysia state 'cancels' Xmas as Muslims fast 18 Nov 02
      Malaysia's southernmost state of Johor has ordered its shopping malls
      to remove all Christmas decorations to give priority to the Muslim
      celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr next month, a newspaper reported on Monday.

      [Kelantan] 40 women fined for not wearing headscarves 20 Nov 02
      Forty women were fined in northern Malaysia's Kelantan state--which is
      controlled by the opposition Parti Islam SEmalaysia (PAS)--for not
      wearing headscarves at their workplaces since early this year.


      New threat to Miss World over children facing hand amputation 18 Nov
      .. [Evening Standard - London]

      [Amina Lawal] Tourism and national development (I) 15 Nov 02
      The one-and-a-half decade of military dictatorship literally
      ostracised Nigeria as a pariah state in the committee of nations. The
      additional bad image from the deleterious activities of drug couriers,
      419ers and educationally ill-equipped defectors should inform us to
      seize this opportunity of the Miss World Pageant with both hands, to
      project a positive image.

      However, the contentious issues of state Sharia, incessant communal
      crises and the deplorable state of Nigerian roads could militate
      against the effective realisation of the lofty goals of tourism. The
      threat of boycott from the pageant arising from the death sentence
      passed on Aminat Lawal shows the extent to which internally generated
      crises could affect the image and economic development of a country.

      [Misss world] Pageant Highlights Nigeria's Ugly Side 17 Nov 02
      Josephine Essah-Chukuwuma, who heads Project Alert on Violence Against
      Women, a nongovernmental advocacy group based in Lagos, blames the
      government for inaction. "They pay lip service that there is one law
      for everyone, but they are not taking any action," she said. "If they
      had acted strongly when the first state passed sharia, we wouldn't be
      in this situation."

      Miss World Pageant: Sharia Council Calls for Media Blackout 18 Nov 02
      The Supreme Council for Sharia Implementation in Nigeria has urged the
      12 Northern states that introduced the Sharia Legal System to ensure a
      total media blackout on the current Miss World pageant holding in Nigeria.

      Speaking through its National President, Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, the
      body described the event as an abomination. It also called on other
      states in Nigeria where Muslims are in the greater majority to bar
      their radio and television stations from carrying stories on the event
      as a mark of respect to both Islam and Christianity which abhor nudity
      and promiscuity. [Daily Trust (Abuja)]

      [Kaduna] Islamic militants riot over Miss World report 20 Nov 02
      Islamic militants burned down the regional office of a leading
      Nigerian newspaper Wednesday after it referred to the Prophet Mohammad
      in a report on the Miss World pageant in Nigeria, witnesses said.
      "They said they were protesting against a story in This Day newspaper
      of last Saturday which said Mohammad would have married one of the
      beauty queens,'' a witness said. 'This Day' later retracted the report
      and published an apology on two separate days.
      The fundamentalist Nigerian Muslim Umma, declaring a "serious
      religious emergency" immediately issued a statement calling on the
      government to stop the December 7 pageant, already dogged by
      controversy. The incident in the northern city of Kaduna triggered
      tension in other parts of the predominantly Islamic region where
      sectarian riots have killed thousands in the past three years.
      Islamic clerics later read out an edict in mosques branding This Day
      an "evil newspaper" and urging Muslims to shun it, according to
      worshippers. Newspaper vendors quickly hid away copies of This Day.
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200211200521.html 20 Nov 02
      .. [Daily Trust]
      Meanwhile, Muslim youths from all over the federation began arriving
      in Abuja yesterday with a view to organising a peaceful demonstration
      to register their displeasure over government's seeming insistence in
      going ahead with the hosting of the Miss World beauty pageant.

      Nigeria to block stoning of women 10 Nov 02
      Seeking to repair an international image hit by boycott threats,
      Nigeria insisted Saturday it will block Islamic courts from carrying
      out stonings of women sentenced to death for sex outside marriage.
      [Junior] Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dubem Onyia said
      Nigeria's government "will not fold its arms while the rights of its
      citizens are abused."

      He was referring to judgments by Shariah courts in northern states
      condemning at least four people to death by stoning for adultery or
      rape. The sentences have sparked international outrage and threats by
      beauty queens to boycott the Miss World pageant, which Nigeria is
      hosting December 7.

      Although he did not say how, Onyia stressed Nigeria would use "its
      constitutional powers to thwart any negative ruling, which is deemed
      injurious to its people."

      Nigeria's response to shariah outrage is lame 18 Nov 02
      Amina Lawal, a 31-year-old Muslim in Nigeria, was sentenced in March
      to death by stoning. Her offense was not a crime, except in the
      twisted eyes of the Islamic court that judged her. Amina had a child
      out of wedlock.

      Amina Lawal - the Nigerian government's double speech 14 Nov 02
      Several Northern States in Nigeria have gradually introduced new
      Sharia Penal Legislation since 1999. Thus, they opened the door for
      the application of death sentences, torture and other cruel, inhuman
      and degrading punishments.

      The Nigerian constitution guarantees the right to life and to freedom
      from torture and cruel inhuman and degrading punishments and the right
      to fair trial. Nigeria is a state party to the Convention against
      Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
      and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The
      ICCPR protects the rights to life and establishes that, in countries
      which have not abolished the death penalty, sentences of death must be
      imposed only for "the most serious crimes". This has been interpreted
      by several United Nations bodies, including the United Nations
      Commission on Human Rights to be limited and not go beyond "...
      intentional crimes with lethal or extremely grave consequences and ...
      not to be imposed for non-violent acts." (United Nations Human Rights
      Commission Resolution 2002/77, para 4cc). [Amnesty International]

      [capital] Victims of Jos Crisis Embrace Crime in Abuja 19 Nov 02
      Several cases being handled at the magistrate court has shown that
      many of the accused persons have relocated to Abuja to find new means
      of livelihood, only to be disappointed and in an effort to survive,
      turn to stealing.

      The Federal Capital Territory Minister, Abba-Gana on N.T.A news,
      observed that the safety which the FCT provides makes it an easy
      refuge for victims of crisis and this has however resulted in making
      the FCT overpopulated and infested with criminals including
      prostitutes displaced from Sharia-implementing states. [Daily Trust]

      [Kano] Kwankwaso's Aides, Associate Dump Sharia 17 Nov 02
      .. [Kwankwaso is Kano State Governor]
      Chairman of Kwankwaso Initiative, (a Kano State government women
      empowerment programme, Alhaji Sani Nuhu and its associate Alhaji Sagir
      Mohammed, who are currently facing trials in a Kano sharia court over
      alleged fraud of N500 million [EUR 4 mill.] have opted to dump the
      islamic legal code for English type court.

      In a motion of exparte sworn by the counsel O.A. Dada both Nuhu and
      Mohammed had prayed the Kano High Court to grant leave of proceedings
      == apply for judicial review of the proceedings of the upper sharia
      court, Bompai, which has been hearing the case brought by their
      business associate, Dr Labaran Abdullahi. The court presided by
      justice, Wada Abubakar granted the leave of proceeding.

      [Northern] Arewa Congress Boss Accuses Gov of Blasphemy 14 Nov 02
      Chairman of the outlawed Arewa People Congress (APC) and notable
      traditional leader in the North, Alhaji Sagir Mohammed, has described
      the statement credited to the Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji
      Abdullahi Adamu, that God had spoken to President Olusegun Obasanjo
      endorsing his candidature was "blasphemous."

      Reacting to the speech by Adamu during the recent presidential visit
      to Nasarawa state, Mohammed in a telephone interview, said that "as a
      Muslim, Adamu knows that God does not speak to people directly, not
      even prophets," but "Speaks only through a veil." [This Day (Lagos)]

      [Northern] Fundamentalism's Toll on Nigerian Music 18 Nov 02
      http://worldpress.org/Africa/819.cfm 'Shariahphrenia' Reigns
      More and more Hausa musicians are thinking about leaving the North.
      Southern musicians, for their part, long ago gave up the idea of
      performing further north than Abuja, the federal capital in central
      To get a feeling for the damage Shariah law has done to Kano's
      formerly cosmopolitan life, you need only take a walk in the Sabon
      Gari section of the city. Traditionally reserved for "nonindigenous"
      people—which means Nigerians not of the Hausa or Fulani ethnic
      groups—this part of town, where the nightlife once rivaled that of the
      big cities of the South, now goes dark and quiet after 10 p.m.
      Since its creation earlier this year, the censorship office [in Kano]
      has found itself enmeshed in a particularly Nigerian kind of paradox:
      It's supposed to censor and protect at the same time. "We heard of
      those states that started introducing Shariah in Nigeria and that some
      molestations of artists or performing artists had occured," Bature
      says. "But, on the contrary, the introduction of Shariah has helped us
      to keep things in order in those states. We looked into our own
      history, found that performing artists are part of the culture, part
      of the royal system, therefore we cannot just stop it because of
      misunderstanding of religion. So we have to make people aware that
      this thing was accepted even during the Prophet's time."
      When we hear about something, we call the organizers of these hisbas
      and we explain to them they should not harass or get into physical
      contact with any artist. The only real challenges we have for now are
      with the traditional dances that accompany the music. You know, since
      the implementation of the Shariah, they don't appreciate men and women
      mixed in the dance, but we managed to keep it. We still have mixed
      performances in Kano. This is the only state in Nigeria under Shariah
      where this thing is still allowed."

      [Zamfara] Who Can Stop Yarima in 2003 ? 15 Nov 02
      But when it comes to the understanding of what the masses want and
      have been given, the governor of Zamfara is said to be in the lead.

      To the average Hausa-Fulani man in the North, his religion is what
      matters most to him and whoever protects it does everything for him.
      Having understood that, Yariman Bakura introduced the issue of Sharia.
      It is known to everybody that there were jubilations in all parts of
      the state when Sharia was launched in Zamfara sometime in 2000 and the
      agitation extended to all the neighbouring states and beyond. The
      issue of Sharia has therefore made the governor of Zamfara State more
      popular among the masses. Whether it is a political Sharia as some
      critics say, is a different thing. The fact remains that the masses
      have accepted it and many would be willing and ready to give their
      blood in its defence. [Weekly Trust (Kaduna)]

      [Zamfara] Terror for Nigerians as Sharia marks its victims 19 Nov
      Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State, is the birthplace of Sharia in
      Nigeria, and it is taken very seriously here.In 1999, Ahmed Sani, the
      Governor, stood in Akilu Square, a place where boys, but no girls, now
      play football in the dust. He assured his people that the transition
      to Islamic law would end corruption, chaos and poverty. A people who
      live without clean water, electricity or medical care welcomed it in
      the same way as the Afghans had the Taleban after the violent years of
      the Mujahidin.
      Women are clothed head to toe in "hajibs", the local Muslim dress.
      They are not allowed to ride on the backs of motorcycles, the favoured
      means of transport, or to take buses with men. They cannot stand at
      the same bus stop, but have their own.

      At night, the Hizbah, the feared religious vigilante police, roam the
      town in their blood-red uniforms. These volunteers cruise in packs, in
      minivans belonging to the Nigerian Boy Scouts that are still
      emblazoned with the words: "Be Prepared."

      They pick up drunkards, thieves and prostitutes, toss them in the van
      and pack them off to the Sharia court. Posted everywhere are
      green-and-white signs bearing inscriptions from the Koran or reading:
      "Allah's Law is Supreme."
      The reach of Sharia does have its limits, even in Gusau. On the edge
      of the town, in a cluster of huts inside the grounds of the federal
      army barracks, is a mini-Ibiza. Generators provide electricity for
      discos with flashing red lights. Enormous bottles of Star beer are
      served and prostitutes sit on the laps of God-fearing Muslims.
      The Hizbah cannot enter federal territory, so they wait outside Sin
      City and and hope to pick up the drunkards as they stagger home. But
      the fear penetrates the army barracks, even if the Hizbah cannot. A
      man points to the road beyond the shacks. "Out there, Sharia is
      everywhere," he says.


      Royal decrees issued help plan, regulate rights 21 Nov 02
      The Ministry of Justice has issued a report on the occasion of the
      32nd National Day, which highlighted the ministry's achievements
      during the blessed Renaissance era.
      The ministry drafted a notary public law and until that law is enacted
      a ministerial decision empowered the notaries department to exercise
      the prerogatives of the deeds sections of the old sharia courts. The
      decision also provides that deeds are to be approved by a judge of
      sharia court department in the court of first instance in whose
      jurisdiction falls the notaries department that prepared the deed.
      The ministry appointed Omani judges and recruited some judges from
      brotherly countries to meet the shortage. Judges were also deputed to
      work in other courts and employees appointed to staff courts. The
      ministry regularly holds forums in the regions to introduce the new
      judicial system, the laws and the amended structure of the ministry


      Musharraf shows his iron fist 21 Nov 02
      The new anti-terror law promulgated by President General Pervez
      Musharraf could lead to more rights abuses, but do little to curb
      terrorism in the country, critics say.

      The Anti-Terrorism Ordinance 2002 allows the police to detain a
      suspect for up to a year without any charges. Previously, the term of
      detention was a month. Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan
      People's Party (PPP) condemned the law, expressing fears that it would
      be used to silence political opposition.
      Now there are reports that the FBI is also scaling up activities from
      the scanning of satellite phones to include cellular phones and the
      Internet. For this, the FBI has already installed powerful boosters
      and hi-tech communication systems in different parts of the country.

      But the legal community is not convinced that the law would remain
      al-Qaeda specific and would not hit ordinary Pakistanis.

      Pearl Prosecutor Resigns in Pakistan 09 Nov 02
      The government said Saturday it had received a resignation letter from
      the chief prosecutor in the trial of the kidnappers of slain Wall
      Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

      Raj Quereshi did not say why he wanted to step down, Interior Minister
      Moinuddin Haider said, but his assistants told The Associated Press on
      condition of anonymity that Quereshi had received threatening letters
      and phone calls.


      Identity Under Siege 19 Nov 02
      During the Israeli invasion of Beirut, Israeli soldiers plundered and
      destroyed the Palestinian archives and important cultural treasures.
      During the invasion of Ramallah earlier this year, the same thing
      happened, important historical archives were plundered, key databases
      destroyed, and the video archives of the Palestinian TV stations were
      damaged. The Sakakini Centre and Kasaba Theatre in Ramallah, two very
      important contemporary cultural institutions, were demolished earlier
      this year. These attacks aim to erase the Palestinian history and
      culture, an important aspect of any national identity.
      Archeology has been a battleground with a long history. Israelis have
      always claimed monopoly in archeology, and they have prohibited
      Palestinians from studying this field in Israeli universities. Israeli
      archeologists will usually concentrate on the old layers in the
      archeological excavations, to the exclusion of the more recent ones
      dealing with Palestinian history -- these are usually destroyed.


      Al Jazeera is Pulled into Saudi Royal Squabble 19 Nov 02
      the secret purchase of a 20-25 percent stake in al Jazeera by none
      other than the veteran Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar
      bin Sultan. This coup is the hottest item of news in the ruling
      circles of Riyadh and Cairo. The Saudi crown prince Abdullah bin
      Abdulaziz, Bandar's uncle, is reported to have hit the ceiling. So
      extreme is his loathing for Al Jazeera that he has recalled the Saudi
      ambassador from Doha and severed ties with Emir Hamad.
      Another bone of contention is the starring role assigned by the Qatari
      channel to the Egyptian fundamentalist sheikh Yousef Qaradawi on one
      of its most popular programs – "The Sharia (Muslim ritual law) and
      Life" – a two-hour show broadcast every Sunday.
      After failing to influence al Jazeera's producers, Egypt invited
      Riyadh to organize an advertising boycott of the station. Al Jazeera's
      advertising revenues plummeted, leaving it unable to cover its
      overheads. While the Qatari emir provides a generous allocation, both
      he and the station's management prefer it to stand on its own feet.
      This was made possible by Bandar's investment and influence.

      Beggary up 50% in Ramadan 17 Nov 02
      The number of beggars in the Kingdom increases by 50 percent during
      Ramadan, according to Awadh Al-Radadi, deputy minister of labor and
      social affairs. He told Al-Watan daily that 80 percent of beggars are
      non-Saudis. .. The beggars use modern telecommunication methods such
      as mobiles to inform one another about the arrival of anti-beggary


      Sudan firm on sharia 17 Nov 02
      President Omar al-Beshir vowed on Saturday never to compromise on
      Islamic Sharia law, a major factor in Sudan's long-running civil war,
      and that the capital Khartoum will never become a secular city.
      .. General Beshir told a rally marking the 13th anniversary of the
      creation of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF).
      Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir has said Khartoum would not be
      exempted from Islamic laws, despite calls by southern rebels for a
      secular capital while the two sides work toward a final peace deal.
      "This government will never relinquish Islamic law, and Khartoum will
      never be secular," el-Bashir was quoted Sunday by the official Al-Anba
      newspaper as saying.


      Lawmaker barred for pro-Islamic leanings 20 Nov 02
      Turkey's president blocked a lawmaker [Besir Atalay] from becoming
      education minister because he had been fired as a university dean for
      alleged Islamist activities, the prime minister [Abdullah Gul] said.


      Cleric faces arrest 18 Nov 02
      Radical Muslim cleric Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri may face arrest after
      the emergence of secret videotapes in which he incites the death of
      Americans and suggests he may have had advance knowledge of the deadly
      bomb attack on the USS Cole in Yemen two years ago.
      Al-Masri, who lives freely in northern London, says that if a "kaffir"
      (non-believer) enters a Muslim country, then he is "like a cow" and
      can be sold into slavery or killed. Then, without prompting, al-Masri
      talks about attacking a ship that may enter Muslim waters.
      Al-Masri said he was simply explaining Islamic law, and that bombings
      were a legitimate response to the rounding up and arrest of innocent
      Muslims in Albania.
      Al-Masri and his organisation, the Supporters of Sharia, have always
      denied being actively involved in terrorism, even though he has openly
      condoned atrocities.

      [Ireland] McDowell in breach of Universal Declaration of Human Rights
      http://www.irlnet.com/aprn/current/news/14refu.html 14 Nov 02
      .. No right to sanctuary for women fleeing mutilation

      [Pakistan] Fleeing Catholics launch network 21 Nov 02
      Catholics who fled persecution in Pakistan have launched a support
      network in Glasgow for "the forgotten victims" of sectarianism. The
      Pakistani Catholics formed the group with the help of a priest this week .
      Asif Mall, a spokesman for the group, said children as young as 12
      were being held on death row in Pakistan, after being convicted under
      strict Sharia law of blasphemy . He said: "Blasphemy laws are a major
      problem. Discrimination is rife and Christians are being forced out of
      their land. In this country we have freedom of speech, but for
      speaking like this in Pakistan I could be killed.
      A judge who acquitted two Christians of blasphemy was killed by
      extremists who claimed he had been too lenient. The Bishop of Lahore
      recently killed himself outside the steps of the city's court house in
      protest of the strict laws.


      Contemporary Islamic influences in sub-Saharan Africa 22 Sep 02
      The fact that the Islam in Africa Organisation has been established at
      the behest of the Islamic Conference Organisation with the stated
      objective of ensuring the appointment of Muslims to strategic posts
      and the ultimate replacement of Western legal systems with the sharia
      is significant. It may be, however, that the adoption of the longue
      durée perspective justifies the institution of sharia in sub-Saharan
      African states. Radical Islam has more recently adopted a liberating
      posture, presenting itself as religion that will wrest countries from
      their neo-colonial dependencies, but largely ignoring the fact that it
      too was a conquering and colonising force in Africa over the longue durée.

      Exclusive- Words of Advice for Ramadhaan 15 Nov 02
      Mistakes (sins) are forgiven during this month, for those who fast and
      perform voluntary prayers, with sincere faith and hoping to attain
      Allaah's rewards. The Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said:
      ((Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadhaan, out of sincere faith
      and hoping to attain Allaah's rewards, then all his previous sins will
      be forgiven)).

      The Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) also said: ((When the
      month of Ramadhaan starts, the gates of the Heaven are opened and the
      gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained)).

      The Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) also said: ((Fasting is a
      shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of
      you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and
      quarrelling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he
      should say, "I am fasting")). [The Independent - Banjul]

      It's time for Muslim states to give boost to tourism 18 Nov 02
      Muslim tourists, especially from higher income countries, are most
      likely to visit tourism destinations in North America, Europe, China
      and East Asia, rather than destinations in Muslim countries.


      Swiss banks set sights on Muslim customers 16 Nov 02
      Switzerland already houses a number of financial institutions which
      operate according to banking principles set out under Sharia law, such
      as the Kanz bank in Geneva, which was founded in 1998.
      Sharia banking differs from standard banking in two main ways. First
      of all banks and customers are not allowed to profit from interest
      payments – termed "usury" in the Koran.

      "We have to find different forms of investment opportunities, as you
      can't have a savings account [which increases through interest
      payments]," explains Christoph Meier from UBS. "You have to invest in
      equities or certain forms of leasing so you can profit from
      [investment appreciation]." The capital gains made on investments are
      then shared between the bank and the client, enabling both parties to
      make money.
      Although there are Islamic banks in Switzerland, [expert] Gian Trepp
      says the precise number is not known. Neither the Swiss National Bank
      nor the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) has specific details.
      Trepp fears the banking watchdog is dragging its heels when it comes
      to Sharia banking.

      "The SFBC is not interested in Islamic banking, even though Sharia
      banking carries certain risks, which a banking watchdog should
      monitor," he says.

      However, SFBC spokeswoman Tanja Kocher rejects the charge, insisting
      that Switzerland's existing banking regulations are sufficient to
      control and monitor Sharia banking.
      Trepp points to the examples of Britain and France, where action has
      already been taken to monitor Sharia banking. He says that Britain's
      banking watchdog, the Financial Services Authority, has already
      scrutinised the Islamic banking sector.

      [Islamic Gold Dinar] In Gold We Trust 21 Nov 02
      China has set up a gold exchange, the Shanghai Gold Exchange, which
      started trial operations on October 16. The official launch is
      expected at the beginning of next year. In China, gold trading - which
      means transactions apart from those involving jewellery on the retail
      market - has been strictly controlled by the government, with the
      People's Bank of China, the central bank, monopolizing the purchase
      and allocation of this precious metal. But with the new gold exchange,
      which will mainly target gold producers and wholesalers, market forces
      will determine prices and the central bank will gradually withdraw
      from its monopoly position.
      Next, consider that Dubai is establishing a commodities exchange that
      will start by trading gold early next year. Part of the reason for
      this development is the Islamic gold dinar, a newly created 100% gold
      currency which has a weight of 4.3 grams and whose value is based on
      the metal's international price. Its backers are hoping that the gold
      dinar will become the currency of more than one billion Muslims, and
      eventually turn into a rival to the dollar and serve as a reserve

      Already, Malaysia is said to want to use the gold dinar for trade with
      Islamic countries from mid-2003 onwards. [Far Eastern Economic Review]

      [Malaysia] Islamic Finance Grows At 15 Pct Per Annum Says LOFSA
      Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority (LOFSA) director general
      Datuk Noorazman A. Aziz .. said that the two Islamic Sukooks (bond)
      have been successfully issued through Labuan IOFC, namely the first
      global Sukook by Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd, a plantation conglomerate, for
      US$150 million (RM570 million) and the first Sovereign Sukook by the
      Malaysian government for US$600 million (RM2.28 billion).

      Noorazman said that Labuan IOFC was chosen to issue these Islamic
      instruments due to its conducive legal framework, efficient tax
      structure and presence of the international players.
      there was a need to create an expert grouping of Islamic finance
      professionals from various core competencies and have them seconded
      and mandated to countries on projects basis. "This will spur the
      creation of Islamic products for the global market," he added.

      Gold Dinar: An Economic and Strategic Response to Chaos 15 Nov 02
      In his speech to the October seminar, Dr. Mahathir made clear that the
      proposal was not intended to establish a gold standard (as put forth
      by fixated "gold bugs" around the world), but to return to the Bretton
      Woods policy of a gold-reserve system, which was destroyed when
      President Richard Nixon removed the dollar from a fixed peg to gold on
      Aug. 15, 1971, allowing currencies to float at the whim of speculators.
      Other voices are also warning that the current folly in Washington
      will only hasten this break from the bankrupt IMF system. James
      Sinclair, the head of the mining company Tan Range Exploration, said
      in an Oct. 28 editorial in Financial Sense Online: "It is perceived,
      and correctly so, that the Islamic world is controlled via the use of
      the U.S. dollar as the main settlement currency.... I am told there is
      a significant possibility that when the U.S. attacks Iraq, the united
      Islamic salvo back will be at the U.S. dollar via the Gold Dinar." The
      Saudis, he says, "are less likely than most observers think to rescue
      the dollar this time." [Executive Intelligence Review]

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