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Sharia News Watch 27

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  • Norbert Roovers <6vtmu001@sneakemail.com>
    Sharia News Watch 27 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 12, 2002
      Sharia News Watch 27 : a collection news quotes on Sharia,
      for research & educational purposes only. [*]
      Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      all editions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/


      Case against journalist postponed 03 Dec 02
      A court here yesterday postponed to January 25 a case brought against
      a Bahraini journalist by the wife of disgraced former security officer
      Adel Flaifel who accuses the reporter of publishing an unauthorised
      wedding picture.
      She said the published picture was obtained without her consent. The
      wedding picture, run along with an over-the-phone interview in the
      London-based daily, was taken on 1988, was taken when Rajaa was not
      wearing the traditional hIjab (head-scarf). She has since has started
      wearing it.


      Bad year for journalists in Bangladesh 02 Dec 02

      PM tells mission officials - Increase manpower export to S Arabia
      .. 04 Dec 02
      Prime Minister Khaleda Zia advised the Bangladesh mission officials in
      Saudi Arabia to make all-out effort to enhance remittances and
      investment from there as well as increase the country's manpower
      export to the Kingdom.
      She asked the Bangladeshi officials and employees to work actively for
      convincing the Saudi authorities so that more skilled and semi-skilled
      workers from Bangladesh are recruited to different sectors in Saudi
      Arabia. Khaleda thanked the Bangladeshis working in Saudi Arabia for
      remitting home their wage earnings. She told the officials to make
      sure that the remittances come through legal channels.


      'Arab Malcolm X' poised to put a flame to Belgium's powder keg 01 Dec


      12 more violations than last year 06 Dec 02
      As the Hari Raya celebration was approaching, the number of people
      caught for disrespecting the holy month of Ramadhan also kept
      increasing. As of Tuesday, 60 Muslims had been caught for eating in
      public places throughout Sarawak, 12 more than the total number of
      cases recorded last year.
      other divisions like Sri Aman, Betong, Mukah, Kapit and Miri still
      maintained a clean record since State Islamic Religious Department
      (JAIS) carried out its operations to arrest Muslims disrespecting the
      holy month. Muslims caught will be persecuted according to Syariah Law.


      [Imarat-e-Shariah] Muslims facing leadership crisis in Jharkhand 02 Dec 02
      Without directly opposing the creation of a separate Imarat-e-Shariah,
      the religious body having a vital role to play in the social and
      religious spheres on account of its authority to adjudicate in family
      disputes, particularly the ones dealing with issues like separation
      and asset division as per the provisions of the Quran and the
      traditions established by prophet Mohammed, the Qaumi Tanzeem [Daily]
      piece said that the real intention for the demand for a separate
      religious body for the new state, was to grab vital posts of Qazi and
      Mufti entitled to pronounce Fatwa (the religious dictat).

      As of now there is a single Imarat-e-Shariah having religious
      jurisdiction over the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa. The
      Imarat has its headquarters in the Phulwari locality of the Bihar
      capital Patna.According to the article, though the move to have a
      separate Imarat-e-Shariah for Jharkhand has flopped, the bickering and
      distrust caused among the different sections of the Muslim population
      of Jharkhand has already caused damage by creating, what it called an
      artificial and wholly unwarranted divide.


      Critics - Broadcasting Act Turns The Clock Back 28 Nov 02
      It took Indonesia's House of Representatives more than two years of
      often-heated debate to pass a controversial broadcasting bill on
      Thursday, but critics here say the law is a return to the repressive
      measures of the Suharto regime.
      At least a third of the bill's 63 articles carry the threat of fines
      or imprisonment, says the Indonesian Society of Press and
      Broadcasting. Particularly offensive, say free speech advocates, are
      articles that restrict domestic programming, with the official intent
      to control news, editorial and entertainment deemed to promote
      violence, pornography, gambling, and unethical behavior.

      Also tightly controlled will be any material that has the potential to
      aggravate tribal, racial and religious relations in this country of
      220 million people.
      Another controversial aspect of the law is the authority of the
      industry regulatory body, the Indonesian Broadcasting Committee (KPI).
      Critics are concerned about the KPI's powers to control broadcasting
      content, set the limits to media ownership, decide the licensing
      process for frequencies and broadcasting, limit advertisements, and
      decide the punishment for breaches of these regulations.

      The passage of the law represents the single biggest shake-up of the
      Indonesian broadcasting landscape since the 1998 fall of the Suharto
      regime, which controlled the media for 30 years with an iron fist.
      Throughout the Suharto years, the Information Ministry closed down 237
      press publications and obliged privately operated television and radio
      stations to relay news from the state-run Televisi Republik Indonesia
      (TVRI) and the state-run Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI).
      The post-1998 years have seen new media outlets mushroom across the
      country. Since Suharto's fall, Indonesia has seen the number of radio
      stations increase by 50 percent to 1,100, and that of commercial
      television stations double to 10. The country also now has 15 regional
      television stations.


      Campaign to make women worth the same as men 04 Dec 02
      A campaign to make a woman equal in value to a man in Iranian legal
      cases has won the support of leading clerics, a woman member of
      parliament was quoted as saying Wednesday.
      "The grand ayatollahs Yussef Sanei, Mohammad Hadi Marefat and Mohammad
      Ebrahim Janati said they were in favour of the blood money of women
      being the same as that of men," she said, naming senior clerics close
      to the reformist movement. She said she and her colleagues would be
      meeting other religious dignitaries, many of whom from the
      conservative factions are strongly opposed to the move.

      Under Iran's Sharia law, for purposes such as compensation a woman is
      valued at half the price of man, who is currently deemed to be worth
      150 million rials (around 18,750 dollars).
      legal experts who spend much of their time labouring over the sources
      that make up the Sharia - or Islamic law - argue that there is room
      for maneuver, especially given that some Shiite scholars have built up
      a reputation for coming up with innovative solutions to modern problems.
      And blood money is also built into some vehicle insurance policies, in
      case of a fatal accident involving a pedestrian. With the number of
      fatal accidents on Iran's roads and many women victims of reckless
      drivers being family bread-winners, questions are being asked.


      Muslim-run store in pork and drink row 10 Dec 02
      The Socialist mayor of a high-immigration Paris suburb has threatened
      to call in the police unless the Muslim managers of a local
      supermarket stock the full range of standard items including alcohol
      and pork.

      When brothers Mohamed and Abdel Djaiziri took over the Evry branch of
      the Franprix supermarket chain in October, they removed products that
      are banned by Islam, prompting the anger of mayor Manuel Valls who
      said their action encouraged "sectarianism."
      [Muhamed Djaiziri] said the decision to ban alcohol was in order to
      avoid the attentions of young Muslim radicals in the area, while the
      ban on pork was to qualify for a "halal" meat certificate from the
      Muslim authorities. However the Franprix chain said it had written to
      the brothers reminding them that it is in their contract that they
      sell the whole range of Franprix products.


      All going according to plan 09 dec 02
      The Kenyan coast, particularly in the Mombasa area, is abuzz with
      fundamentalist Islamic activity and this has given rise to several
      heated political disputes. In one such, the mayor of Mombasa, Najib
      Balala, offered to build an Islamic city in the area that would be run
      according to sharia (Muslim religious law). His suggestion met with
      stiff resistance from the presidential palace. The chief of security
      in the president's bureau clarified that "the coast of Kenya does not
      belong only to Muslims. It's a secular, multiracial region, and its
      institutions cannot rest on theocratic foundations." The announcement
      did not calm the Christians in the area.


      [Khalwat] Celebrities held under Muslim law 02 Dec 02
      Two Malaysian celebrities have been arrested by religious authorities
      for the Islamic offence of "khalwat", which forbids men and women who
      are not married to each other from being in close proximity, reports
      said. Actress Aida Rahim and singer Joe Radzwill were detained early
      yesterday at a condominium in a suburb outside Kuala Lumpur following
      a tipoff, the New Straits Times said. They were expected to be
      charged under Islamic Sharia laws and face up to two years' jail or a
      3,000 ringgit ($1400) fine if found guilty, the daily said.

      [Sisters in Islam] Muslim women who stand up to ulamas 02 Dec 02
      In February, seven groups led by the Ulama Association of Malaysia
      wrote to the Council of Rulers, the official guardians of the
      religion, to ask them to take action against Ms Zainah and five other
      individuals for allegedly insulting Islam.

      Ms Zainah had written in a Malay newspaper that the interpretation of
      the Quran, the Muslim holy book, is not the sole domain of the ulama.

      The fact that she does not wear the tudung, know Arabic or have at
      least some Islamic qualifications is sometimes used to say she is not
      qualified to talk about religion.
      Controversy is not the group's sole road to fame. Sisters won
      accolades for helping women through messy divorces through the Syariah
      (Islamic) courts and sexual-abuse cases.

      'We appreciate their fight to raise women's rights. But I feel they
      don't have religious grounding and tend to speak without basing issues
      on the path laid by past scholars,' said Islamic scholar Puan Seri
      Sohair Abdal Moneim.

      [Kedah] Keeping tabs on Kedah's progress 06 Dec 02
      With one of the thrusts of the Kedah Maju 2010 Action emphasising
      material development that promotes positive social values, religion
      and its role in development will be a key aspect of discussion during
      the convention. National Fatwa Council chairman Datuk Dr Ismail
      Ibrahim will be chairing a workshop session on the matter.

      [Perlis] Total of 208 divorce cases pending 05 Dec 02
      A total of 208 divorce cases are pending in the Perlis Syariah Court,
      state religious affairs committee chairman Datuk Ishak Arshad told
      Azihani Datuk Ali (BN-Sena).
      Other reasons were the shortage of court personnel as there were only
      one judge and one assistant judge in the Syariah Court.

      Make sure halal certs genuine, Muslims told 03 Dec 02
      Deputy Chairman of the District Consumer Affairs Council, ABM Fajeer,
      advised the Muslim community here to be wary of unauthorised "halal"
      signs placed at slaughter houses or premises selling dressed chicken.

      He said it was important to make sure that the certificate put up by
      any operator was genuinely issued by the Islamic Affairs Department
      (JHEAINS) under the directive of the Domestic Trade and Consumer
      Affairs Ministry.

      [Terengganu] Hadi: No date set to enforce Syariah laws 12 Dec 02
      The Terengganu Government has no plans to enforce in the near future
      the Syariah Enactment (Hudud and Qisas), which was passed by the State
      Assembly in July. Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the
      state government would instead send a delegation to some West Asian
      countries, including Saudi Arabia, to study the implementation of the

      [Terengganu] state plans to send team to study Islamic laws in Iran
      http://www.irna.com/en/head/021211122357.ehe.shtml 11 Dec 02
      The Terengganu state government, which is controlled by Malaysia's
      main opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), on Wednesday said it is
      planning to send a team to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan to study
      implementation of Islamic laws there.
      Terengganu State Chief Minister Abdul Hadi Awang said the state, which
      passed the "hudud" law in July, has decided not to enforce it although
      it has obtained the royal assent from the Sultan of Terengganu, and
      will not gazette the Shariah Criminal Offense Enactment (Hudud and
      Qisas) yet as it wanted to observe how such laws are implemented in
      other Islamic countries before making a decision.

      [Terengganu] Syariah voluntary officers cannot act 07 Dec 02
      The 274 Syariah voluntary enforcement officers appointed under the
      Islamic Religious Affairs Administration Enactment, 1986 are not
      empowered to investigate or arrest offenders under the several Islamic
      enactments passed last year.

      According to a circular issued by the Terengganu Islamic Religious
      Affairs Department, their appointment contravened Section 56 (1) of
      the Islamic Religious Affairs (Terengganu) Enactment, 2001 and Section
      18 of the Syariah Criminal Procedure (Terengganu) Enactment, 2001,
      which came into force on Aug 1.

      "Their status is just like any member of the public," said the Nov 20
      circular signed by state Islamic Religious Affairs Commissioner Datuk
      Engku Mohamed Engku Abdul Rahman.

      Under Section 56 (1) of the enactment, volunteer officers cannot be
      appointed and existing officers are not allowed to arrest offenders
      without a warrant. They could only assist in enforcement operations
      carried out by Syariah officials.

      Section 18 of the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment only permits
      enforcement officers, the police or mosque officials like the chief
      imams, imams and bilals to make arrest without a warrant or on a
      judge's order.


      Imams Compelled to Learn Dutch Language, Values, Customs 03 Dec 02
      Dutch Immigration and Integration Minister Hilbrand Nawijn asked Imams
      and preachers in mosques across the country to use the Dutch language
      in their sermons. He also pressed them to convince members of the
      Islamic minority to comply with the values and customs of the Dutch

      Imams play a major role in rectifying the negative image of Islam and
      are steering the Islamic community to merge into the Dutch society,
      added the minister.
      According to an article published on the Islamic Al-Resala website,
      the new school will give the preachers and Imams intensive courses as
      well as lectures on the principal values of the Dutch society,
      including tolerance, religious freedom, and freedom of expression.

      The school will also address some controversial issues such as Hijab
      and crimes of honor. The Immigration and Integration Ministry, a newly
      introduced one, asserted that joining the school is compulsory for all
      new Imams.
      The new school will be administrated by veteran Muslim activists known
      for their close ties with the Dutch government circles and their
      enthusiasm for merging Muslims into the Dutch society.

      According to some Muslim activists, the school is a chance for Muslims
      to rectify misunderstandings inside the small Muslim community and
      help its members abandon extremists tendencies.


      Rights of Women in Nigeria : News Conference at Rights & Democracy
      .. 06 Dec 02
      Ayesha Imam, the founding director of BAOBAB for Women's Human Rights
      in Nigeria, has won Rights & Democracy's annual human rights prize for
      her exemplary contribution to the women's rights movement, and in
      particular for her work against the restrictive and discriminatory
      forms that the new Sharia Criminal laws in her country.

      Nigeria's window of opportunity 04 Dec 02
      As president of one of the world's most populous and diverse nations,
      Mr. Obasanjo is in a unique position to strike a workable balance
      between federal power and the rights of the individual states to
      govern certain aspects of their own affairs. He has the opportunity to
      preserve the independence of the sharia sentencing system, while
      complying with the international conventions and agreements to which
      Nigeria is a party.

      The Nigerian government can make use of the moment at hand in several
      ways. It can initiate a dialogue with moderate representatives of the
      sharia courts and constructively negotiate sentencing guidelines that
      are in step with Nigerian and global norms. It can also appeal to
      other nations with large Muslim populations that have successfully
      balanced the needs of religion with the responsibilities of secular
      states to provide models for integrating the shariasystem.

      Sharia encompasses four principal schools of Islamic legal thought
      developed over the past 1,400 years. These different strains of legal
      tradition reflect the differing needs of local circumstances as the
      religion spreads through the world. Islamic scholars and international
      human rights groups could aid Nigerian leaders in the effort to find a
      more acceptable form of sharia for the Nigerian circumstances. The
      advisers could seek to ensure that all cases being judged under sharia
      law meet internationally recognized human rights standards and
      conventions signed and ratified by Nigeria.
      [Charles Adams Cogan is the Nigeria country specialist for Amnesty
      International USA].

      Nigeria's Economy May Pick Up Next Year 07 Dec 02
      [The World in 2003 published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in its
      country analyses] also noted that the sharia law is an issue to watch
      in 2003. "The fault line between Christians and Muslims have widened;
      sharia justice, which includes amputation and death by stoning, is
      perhaps the best example of this. Now enforced in 12 northern states,
      many Christians see this as an attempt to make Nigeria islamic as
      election approaches, sharia law will be fertile ground for conflict,"
      the report concluded.

      Goverment advised on crime reduction 03 Dec 02
      Addressing a Ramadan symposium, organised by Moslem Teachers
      Association of Nigeria (MUTAN) at the weekend, [Abdu-Rasheed Akinsanmi
      Ibrahim] identified widespread unemployment and poverty as hindrances
      to the successful application of the Sharia legal code in the country.

      "The greatest hindrance to the application of the Sharia in Nigeria is
      the widespread poverty and unemployment. The government has to provide
      the citizens with the means of getting access to food, shelter,
      clothing and water, through the provision of regular employment.
      Application of the Sharia in the midst of widespread unemployment and
      poverty would amount to mere charade," he added.

      He also said the Sharia was not only a system of punishment, but a
      complete way of life which incorporated such issues as marriage,
      divorce, inheritance and rights and duties of the government and the
      Extolling the virtue of the Sharia, [Ambassador Isa] Salahdeen said it
      is God's infallible law whereas man-made laws are full of mistakes and
      errors. He said another advantage of the Sharia is that it is based on
      the fear of sanctions as well as the fear of the wrath of God on the
      day of judgment.
      Examining the legal angle, Barrister Musodiq Sanni observed that the
      Sharia provide a number of safeguards against miscarriage of justice.
      He said such safeguards include the need to have four witnesses to the
      offence of adultery providing unequivocal corroborative evidence
      establishing the guilt of the accused before he can be duly convicted.

      He also traced the origin of the Sharia to the biblical time, citing
      portions of the Bible which establish Sharia.

      "The Sharia is not a new development. It has been existing before the
      coming of Prophet Muhammed. It can be found in the Bible. Leviticus
      chapter 20 verses 10 to 16 and Deuteronomy chapter 22 verses 23 and 24
      are some of the portions of the Bible where reference to Sharia was
      made," Sannin concluded.

      'Misinformation, Reason For Religious Intolerance' 03 Dec 02
      Justice Wale Abiru, one of the newly sworn judges of the Ikeja High
      Court is a University of Ife alumnus. He was called to the Nigerian
      Bar in 1985. He worked with Bentley Edu & Co for 7 years, lectured at
      LASU for a year and was appointed judge in May 2001. He is the (Amir)
      President of the Movement for Islam Culture and Awareness. (An
      organisation of young professional muslims).
      9/11 until tomorrow, there is yet to be convincing evidence that it
      was basically the work of Islamic terrorists. That is my understanding
      of it. There are a lot of theories going round as to what happened on
      9/11. The western press believes what it wants to believe and promotes
      what it wants to promote.
      The first mistake is that Nigeria is not a secular country. It is a
      misconception. Nigeria is a multi-religious country. Secularism means
      godlessness. The Constitution states 'We the people of Nigeria under
      Another problem is that unlike Christianity which has an umbrella
      organisation (CAN), there is no umbrella organisation for Muslims.
      There are a lot of Muslim organisations springing up.. Movement for
      Islamic Affairs, Grand Council for Islamic affairs, Supreme Council
      for Sharia. The tendency is that when you have these bodies running at
      their own tangent, they can only control their members. That is the
      Speaking honestly there is none. The Supreme Council for Islamic
      Affairs, the government sees it as the umbrella organisation for
      Muslims, but in terms of enforcement, the Council does not have it.
      The Supreme Council cannot say this is what Muslims are doing and you
      have a bandwagon effect by all Muslims following it.

      There is the Grand Council for Islamic Affairs in Ibadan, National
      Association for Muslim Youths. So when you have such things it is
      difficult to maintain control.
      Hitherto, a judge did everything, criminal, civil, commercial. It was
      thought that if you let a judge stay in a particular division long
      enough to master it, ordinarily he would have had to adjourn for
      consideration but now he will be quicker because he does it all the
      time. Adjournments, are limited and rulings take a shorter period.
      Right now, a lot of judges are computer literate, I use my laptop to
      write my judgments and rulings. [ThisDay - Lagos]

      [Kaduna] Muslim Leader Says His Arrest was Politically Motivated
      .. 03 Dec 02
      A senior Nigerian Muslim leader has accused authorities of arresting
      him for political reasons, after he was accused of inciting rioting
      two weeks ago that left more than 200 people dead in the northern
      state of Kaduna.

      Nafiu Baba Ahmed was released on bail Monday after being arrested
      Friday. Mr. Nafiu is a leader in the Supreme Council for Sharia in
      Nigeria, which is critical of Kaduna's governor, Ahmed Makarfi.

      [Katsina] 'I'll Take Responsibility for Fatwa On Isioma' 09 Dec 02
      As the controversy on the legitimacy of the fatwa passed on Isioma
      Daniel, author of the blasphemous article in ThisDay continues, a
      leading Izala cleric in Katsina State, Ustaz Abdul Basir Unguwar Kano
      Kankara, has said that he will take full responsibility in the event
      that the life of the writer is taken by any Nigerian Muslim.
      "By writing what she wrote, that ungodly woman has signed her death
      warrant literally and so there is no stopping us from carrying out the
      fatwa as decreed by the Zamfara State government," he said, adding
      that it is a duty to Islam to carry out the order. [Daily Trust]

      [Sokoto] Govt Spends N22m Converting Cinema to Mosque 05 Dec 02
      The Sokoto State government has commenced the conversion of the old
      Sokoto Cinema to an Islamiyya school and a mosque at the cost of N22
      million. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that work has
      already commenced at the cinema house, which was abandoned as a result
      of the introduction of the Sharia in the state two years ago.
      Residents of Sokoto metropolis told NAN that it was their hope that
      another cinema house, the Northern Cinema would also be converted to
      an Islamiyya school and mosque.

      [Zamfara] Sharia state holds firm on fatwa 04 Dec 02
      The land here is dry savannah. Rainfall is scarce. Everyday life is
      more of a battle than in the lush tropical south. But Sharia law is
      arguably the most important factor separating Zamfara state from the

      Taxis and bus shelters in Gusau display pictures of a woman's head
      wrapped in a scarf, meaning "women only." If you try talking to a
      Muslim woman without permission from a man, expect trouble.
      Public floggings and amputations of hands have already taken place in
      Zamfara. Gusau residents say a woman received 100 lashes near Gusau
      just last week for extra-marital sex. A volunteer force has been set
      up for monitoring compliance with Sharia law.
      Hafsat Ahmed said that many sharia judges are unqualified to properly
      apply the law. In cases of fornication - sex outside marriage - the
      courts are quick to condemn women, but little effort is made to bring
      the men to court too.
      Hafsat Ahmed said the state government had launched media attacks on
      her. "They believe I have been sponsored by the American state and
      some English people to come and destroy them."
      Sheikh Kanoma Ahmed Umar, an Islamic scholar in Gusau, said the state
      government spends too much each year on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca
      of its members and supporters. This money should be given to the rural
      poor instead, he said.

      Such criticism, coming from a strong proponent of Sharia should ring
      alarm bells for the state government. Sharia is seen by its supporters
      as an antidote to the corrupt ways of politicians in Nigeria's
      capital, Abuja.

      Nigerian crime and holy punishment 24 Nov 02
      The schools in Zamfara are now segregated by sex. The taxis are, too.
      Buses aren't, but men and women sit separately, with women confined to
      the rear because, as a sharia advocate named Abubakar Mujahid
      explains, "If you put women behind, you free men from looking at
      them." As for motorbikes, the most popular way for people to get
      around this poor place, men and women who aren't related can no longer
      ride together because if they did "a woman would be touching another
      man's back."


      Ordinances restrict freedom of expression 20 Nov 02
      Three Ordinances recently promulgated by the President of Pakistan
      will exert a significant chilling effect on freedom of expression in
      Pakistan. The three – the Press Council Ordinance, Registration
      Ordinance and Defamation Ordinance –not only restrict freedom of
      expression also but undermine the process of democratic transition.
      Nothing about them justifies the urgent procedure invoked by the
      President and, should new rules in these areas be deemed necessary,
      this should have been left to the new Parliament.

      The Press Council Ordinance establishes a Press Council, largely
      controlled by government appointees – the Chair, for example, is
      appointed by the President – with responsibility for enforcing an
      Ethical Code of Practice, binding on all journalists. The Code
      contains a number of extremely vague obligations, such as to "strive
      to uphold standards of morality", as well as illegitimate obligations,
      such as to avoid printing material which may bring the country or its
      people into contempt.

      The Registration Ordinance requires all publishers, printers and
      owners of newspapers and news agencies to be centrally registered, no
      matter how small their circulation. Registration may be refused if the
      applicant has been convicted of a criminal offence or, in the case of
      printers, of a crime involving `moral turpitude'.

      The Defamation Ordinance provides for criminal sanctions for
      defamation, including a minimum level of compensatory damages of Rps.
      50,000 – one third of the annual per capita GDP – and up to three
      months' imprisonment. The Ordinance fails to address serious problems
      with existing defamation law, preserving existing criminal defamation
      provisions and the power of public bodies to sue in defamation.

      Editorial - Not Friday again 02 Dec 02
      Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali has announced that the Friday will
      once again be the weekday off instead of Sunday. He is reported as
      saying that he intends to review the executive orders passed by Nawaz
      Sharif and soon announce Friday as the weekly holiday on the demand of
      the MMA [Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal].

      It may be recalled that when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto declared Friday as
      the weekly holiday in 1977 instead of Sunday, he did so at the height
      of the Nizam-e-Mustafa movement against him when he was under pressure
      to make political concessions to the mullahs. Thus it was an
      opportunist political decision. But the decision to revert to Sunday
      by Nawaz Sharif in 1997 was taken on the demands of the business
      community. It was widely welcomed because it was the logical and
      rational thing to do from the point of view of the economy.

      The importance of zuhr prayers aside, Friday is not prescribed as a
      day of rest by Islam as is Sabbath in Christianity. Islam does not
      make "rest" mandatory and consequently does not preclude work-related
      activity taking place on Fridays. Indeed, as the Saying goes, "Pray on
      Fridays but disperse after prayers to work and trade for your material
      well-being". Regrettably, Mr Jamali's pending decision appears to
      disregard such good advice.

      [NWFP] Musharraf has handed over the border regions to al-Qaida allies
      .. 11 Dec 02
      No doubt Mr Durrani had sound reasons for these measures. Alcohol,
      after all, is banned in Pakistan, though it is a prohibition widely
      ignored. And if the ban on music carries echoes of the Taliban regime,
      Mr Durrani can argue that it was a safety measure. Music, he said,
      tends to cause accidents. But among his supporters, it was a promising
      start to honouring their party's promises: a ban on cable television
      and cinemas, and the enforcement of sharia law.
      The religious parties came to power on the back of two factors:
      Pashtun anger at General Musharraf's support for the war in
      Afghanistan, and Musharraf's desire to hold on to power while
      honouring his promise to hold elections.
      None of this is reassuring to those organisations in the NWFP who do
      support moderation - the human rights organisations, the NGOs and the
      secular political parties. In the last couple of years civic groups,
      aid workers and development organisations have been targeted by
      religious groups in NWFP: several have been subjected to grenade attacks.

      In Baluchistan, the new chief minister, Jam Mir Mohammad Yousaf, has
      released Islamist radicals whom Musharraf detained earlier this year
      when he banned extremist groups. The arrests were applauded in the
      west as evidence of his determination to eliminate sectarian killings
      and terrorism.


      Gay Rights Policy Under Scrutiny 04 Dec 02
      According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association's (ILGA)
      world legal survey, "Article 201 of the Qatari Penal Code punishes
      sodomy between consenting adults (irrespective of sex) with up to five
      years of imprisonment."

      Qatar's sodomy laws hardly make it unique, especially in the Arab
      world. According to Amnesty International, 83 countries explicitly
      condemn homosexuality in their criminal codes. 26 of those 83
      countries are Muslim. Most convictions in those 26 countries happen in
      the Sharia courts, which use the Koran, Sunna and Ijma as sources for
      In 1995, while the country's government was still under Sheikh Khalifa
      bin Hamad Al-Thani, the father of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani,
      with whom Cornell has been largely negotiating, an American citizen in
      Qatar was sentenced to receive 90 lashes during a 6-month prison term
      for "homosexual activity," according to the U.S. Department of State's
      report on human rights practices for 1996. In October of 1997, 36 gay
      Filipino workers were deported, according to the Manila daily
      newspaper, Today.

      Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin, however, remains confident that the
      University will be able to protect those students, faculty members and
      staff of the medical school who may be affected by Qatar's sodomy laws.
      Qatar currently has no medical school of its own, and Cornell Provost
      Carolyn Martin said she believes that the University will be able to
      protect those students, faculty members and staff of the medical
      school who may be affected by Qatar's sodomy laws.

      U.S. Has Responsibility to Promote Democracy in Muslim World
      .. 04 Dec 02
      Muslim commentators note that educational systems are not necessarily
      preparing students to succeed in the 21st century. Abdel Hamid
      al-Ansari, the Dean of the Faculty of Sharia at Qatar University,
      identifies the problem quite directly: "A significant part of our
      educational discourse is cut off from the modern sciences, and is
      based on a uni-dimensional view, creating a closed mentality and an
      easy slide towards fanaticism. It plants misconceptions regarding
      women and religious or ethnic minorities; it is dominated by
      memorization and repetitive methods." Education means much more than
      merely going to school. Thriving democracies require a tradition of
      questioning, not memorization.


      Saudi lifts death sentence against sect rioters 04 Dec 02
      Saudi King Fahd has spared the lives of 17 members of a Muslim sect
      sentenced to death for taking part in a 2000 riot in the conservative
      Gulf Arab state, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

      The convicts had their sentences reduced to 10 years in prison after
      appealing to the king for mercy, a ministry statement carried by the
      Saudi Press Agency said.

      The Saudi Supreme Court had rejected the appeals of the group, whose
      members were also accused of engaging in sorcery.

      The 17, along with 70 fellow members of the Ismaili sect, an offshoot
      of Shi'ite Islam, were reportedly arrested after protesting against
      the closure of their mosque by security forces in the southwestern
      city of Najran in May 2000.

      Protest for Gay Rights In Saudi Arabia 08 Dec 02


      Islamic court in Mogadishu turned over to the TNG 07 Jun 02
      One of the first Islamic courts to be set up in the capital,
      Mogadishu, was on Tuesday officially turned over to the Ministry of
      Justice of the Transitional National Government (TNG), according to
      Information Minister Abdirahman Ibbi.

      The court, better known as the Shirkole Islamic Court, was one of the
      first to be set up in the mid-1990s in south Mogadishu along clan
      lines, in response to spiralling crime rates, local sources in
      Mogadishu told IRIN.

      The Islamic courts in Mogadishu played a dual role: operating under
      Islamic Shari'ah law, militia recruited by the courts were used to
      deal with criminals and provide protection, while the courts also
      handed down sentences on offenders.

      Ibbi said the prisoners who had been held by the Shirkole court were
      transferred to Mogadishu's central prison on Tuesday. All the court's
      judges had been posted to the High Court "as Islamic qadis, who will
      adjudicate family matters", he said.

      The Shirkole court's militia would be absorbed by the security
      services, "with some of them going into the army, while others will be
      trained as police officers", Ibbi added.
      Despite attempts by the TNG to "nationalise" all the Islamic courts, a
      few of them were still operating in some parts of Mogadishu,
      especially in the north, a Somali source in the capital told IRIN on

      International Religious Freedom Report 2001
      There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom
      during the period covered by this report. There is no central
      government; a Transitional National Government is headquartered in
      Mogadishu, but it exercises little effective control over the rest of
      the country. Some local administrations, including the "Republic of
      Somaliland" and "Puntland," have made Islam the official religion in
      their regions. Local tradition and past law make proselytizing a
      crime for any religion except Islam. Islamic court militias at times
      administered summary punishments, including executions.
      The judiciary in most regions relies on some combination of
      traditional and customary law (Xeer), Shari'a law, the penal code of
      the pre-1991 Siad Barre government, or some combination of the three.
      There are three Islamic courts operating in Mogadishu, which are
      aligned with different subclans, raising doubts about their
      independence. These courts are administrative bodies that are
      supported by militias and operate as judicial systems. The Government
      has established a working relationship with the courts, and over 40
      percent of the staff of the Transitional National Government's police
      force comes from the courts. In June 2001, Dr. Abdiqasim Salad Hasan,
      President of the Transitional National Government, announced that the
      Islamic courts in Mogadishu had been nationalized and would operate
      under state supervision. Despite the nationalization and the working
      relationship, the Government does not yet have effective control over
      the courts.


      Mystery Enshrouds Kola Boof, Writer and Internet Persona 11 Dec 02
      Ms. Boof said a fatwa was ordered up on her in London for her stand
      against organized religion, but particularly against Arab Muslims.
      Sudanese officials in London, however, said that was not true. One of
      those officials did denounce her in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, a leading
      Arab-language newspaper in the United Kingdom. A number of well-known
      African-American activists have taken up her causes, which include her
      opposition to slavery in the Sudan and her condemnation of stoning and
      female castration and other harsh measures taken against African women.
      criticism isn't the same as a fatwa, which is a juristic opinion
      issued by a Muslim scholar to address a specific problem, that can be
      related to political, economic or social issues. "Nobody issued a
      fatwa against Kola Boof," said Sheikh Omar Bakri, a senior judge of
      the Islamic Sharia court in London. "I know she was criticized by a
      Muslim official in London, but he isn't in a position to issue a fatwa."

      Khartoum Unhappy With New Southern Currency 02 Dec 02
      .. [UN Integrated Regional Information Networks]
      A plan by the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A)
      to introduce a new currency in the territories it controls will hurt
      the country's peace process, a senior Sudanese diplomat has said.
      The currency, known as the "New Sudan Pound", is part of a plan to
      introduce a suitable secular financial system for the non-Muslim
      southern part of the country, as opposed to the Islamic Sharia system
      being utilised in the north, SPLM/A spokesman George Garang told IRIN.
      "We need a financial system that is not Sharia based," he added.

      Awaiting the Mahdi…Peace at the Eye of the Storm 10 Dec 02
      The predominate player in Islamic Eschatology is the "Mahdi", the
      great religious leader at the head of a victorious army. The "Mahdi"
      leads an Army in advance of the appearance of the Islamic version of
      Jesus (In Islam Jesus is a mortal conqueror who rules for 40 years and
      then dies). With the appearance of the Mahdi followed soon by the
      Islamic Jesus the Cross is broken and the "swine" are killed, and the
      faithful of Islam THEN live in peace.
      British General Charles "Chinese" Gordon was the appointed Governor-
      General of the Sudan in 1877. Gordon, a devout Christian was
      responsible for ending the Islamic practice in the Sudan of enslaving
      Blacks. He left the Sudan, but returned in 1884 to confront Islamic
      fundamentalism and the "Mahdi". The charismatic leader Muhammad Ahmad,
      an Islamic holy man had emerged and taken the title of the "expected
      one" or Mahdi. Aligned with the slave traders and Islamic
      fundamentalist, the Mahdi led a popular uprising to bring a pure
      Islamic rule to the Sudan.

      General Gordon was killed defending the besieged city of Khartoum on
      January 26th, 1885. The "Mahdi" died himself about 5 months later of
      Typhus, but not before establishing a "jihad" state, Sharia law, and
      successors who continued to run the Sudan as a "jihad" state.

      The expected appearance of the Islamic "Mahdi" is a deeply held and
      popular article of faith among Muslims even to this day. It is
      arguable that it is this expectation of the warrior Mahdi that has
      overwhelmed any source of democratic reform in the Islamic world and
      has worked instead to install tyrant after tyrant. Even in modern
      times the allure of the "Mahdi" is felt.


      Market growing for foods meeting Muslim dietary rules 06 Dec 02
      Halal beef patties and fast-food style chicken nuggets can now be
      found on the shelves of Pathmark and other grocery chains, and the
      attention American Muslims received after Sept. 11 only raised
      awareness of the industry's sales potential, drawing newcomers to the
      Kosher companies have about $ 6 billion in annual U.S. sales,
      according to Integrated Marketing Communications Inc., which
      specializes in kosher markets. Many producers think the halal market
      could be as lucrative, since the number of Muslims is expected
      eventually to exceed the number of Jews in the United States.
      Estimates of the American Muslim population now vary from 2 million to
      6 million.


      [Women] What would Mohammed do ? 04 Dec 02
      Geraldine Brooks, an expert on the role of women in Islam, says the
      "haters of beauty" behind the Miss World riots misrepresent what is a
      "pro-sexuality" religion.

      Marc Erikson - Islamism, fascism and terrorism [Part 1 - 4]

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