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Sharia News Watch 30

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  • Enzo Picardie <6vtmu001@sneakemail.com>
    Sharia News Watch 30 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 29, 2002
      Sharia News Watch 30 : a collection news quotes on Sharia,
      for research & educational purposes only. [*]
      Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      all editions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/


      Chechens fear 'Wahhabi' threat 19 Dec 02
      The locals blame the November 21 killings on militants they call
      Wahhabis - exponents of one of Islam's most belligerent movements -
      but few will admit this openly. People fear for their lives - and for
      good reason.

      The pro-Moscow interior ministry in Grozny reports that since Russia
      began its current war in Chechnya three years ago, some 30 prominent
      religious figures and upwards of 200 regional and local government
      officials have died at the hands of Islamic militants in the republic.
      The only reason they were killed was that, at different times, they
      had had contact with Russian troops.

      "We are caught between a rock and a hard place," admitted the deputy
      governor of one of Chechnya's municipalities, who did not want to be
      named. "The Russians don't trust us as they think we collaborate with
      the guerrillas. On the other hand, the Wahhabis are after us. As far
      as they are concerned, we are all traitors, or kafir [Arabic for
      Fundamentalist Islam first appeared in Chechnya via the Arab
      volunteers who came to fight the first war of 1994-6. Around this time
      the first jamaats formed, which later developed into powerful Wahhabi

      Several of the Islamic radicals had fought the Soviet army in
      Afghanistan and wanted to continue the struggle in Chechnya. They
      included Fathi, a Chechen of Jordanian origin, and Khattab, a Saudi
      who died last spring under mysterious circumstances. Khattab has since
      been replaced by his deputy, known as Abu Walid, about whom little is
      known. Some say that he is a Jordanian Chechen, others claim that,
      like Khattab, he comes from southern Saudi Arabia.
      By the spring of 1998, most Chechens were strongly opposed to the
      extreme Islamists, their criminality and calls for the introduction of
      the Sharia law.

      Most Chechens are Sufi Muslims, whose religious practices are strongly
      interwoven with old customs and the precepts of Chechen common law,
      known as adat. Chechens worship their own saints - evlia - who brought
      Islam to this mountainous country centuries ago.

      This puts the majority of the population directly at odds with the
      incomers, who have no respect for the Chechen Islamic tradition -
      dismissing it as apostasy, ignorance and polytheis - while the
      Wahhabis are accused in turn of being interlopers and troublemakers.
      However, just as support for fundamentalist Islam had all but
      vanished, a new war in 1999 and Russia's subsequent brutal tactics
      against Chechen civilians have driven young people back into the arms
      of Wahhabi teachings and jamaat squads.


      Amnesty for illegal immigrants expected soon 24 Dec 02
      A date has not yet been confirmed for the issuance of an amnesty for
      illegal immigrants, however, it is expected to be announced soon, said
      Matar Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
      The amnesty will be announced at the right time, as well as the
      amendments to the labour law, he said. The amendments will cover 20 to
      30 articles of the labour law out of 193, he said.
      Al Tayer added: "We are studying the banking insurance, the
      recruitment of unskilled labourers, such as janitors, who must have a
      minimum high school degree. They should at least know how to read and
      write!" The minister stressed that he will not accept illiterate
      labourers in the country.

      He explained that there will be fundamental changes made in the labour
      law regarding UAE national sponsors, and the transfer of sponsorship.
      Al Tayer said that the new labour law will focus on emiratisation
      because "the labour market in the country needs all its nationals to
      help in the development."


      Al-Azhar says Muslims need nuclear weapons to defend themselves
      .. 26 Dec 02
      The Fatwa Committee affiliated with Honourable Al-Azhar has emphasized
      that the Muslim nation must acquire nuclear and other sophisticated
      weapons to defend itself, particularly since these weapons are
      available to its enemies.

      Shaykh Ala al-Shanawihi, member of the Fatwa Committee, pointed out
      that Islam deems it the duty of the Muslim nation to be vigilant about
      the enemy [strength] to be able to make the necessary provisions
      proportionate with the enemy's power, in accordance with the
      Almighty's words: "Against them make ready your strength, to the
      utmost of your power, including steeds of war" [Koranic verse].

      Responding to a question addressed to the committee, Shaykh Al-
      Shanawihi said that Allah's Prophet, may God's prayers and peace be
      upon him, presented the ultimate model by readying himself for the
      enemy with all available means. Consequently, if the Islamic nation
      acquires less powerful weapons than those available to its enemies, it
      will be faulted for negligence in that regard.
      Fatwa Committee Head Shaykh Ali Abu-al-Hasan .. stressed that knowing
      the enemy is a religious duty and that getting ready for the enemy is
      an obligation under the shari'ah. Jurists agree that if a nation,
      friendly or hostile, acquires a certain weapon, Muslims must possess
      that weapon or even more powerful weapons, he said. [Al-Wafd]


      [Kashmir] India claims killing nine Mujahideen 24 Dec 02
      Sixteen people were wounded in a bomb attack on a bar in Rajouri, near
      the Line of Control, a police spokesman said.
      It was not immediately clear if there was a link between the bar
      bombing and what police say are militant threats to punish anyone
      defying Shariat laws, such as prohibitions on alcohol and cigarettes
      and requirements for women to wear veils.

      [Kashmir] KAF decries attempts to enforce dress-code 23 Dec 02
      The Kashmir Aid Foundation, a Non-Government Organization working for
      peace, transparency and social justice, has strongly alleged attempts
      by some unknown militants to enforce the dress code in Rajouri, Poonch

      Taking a strong exception of the reports arriving from rural areas of
      harassment and intimidation, the Foundation appealed to the militant
      leadership and separatist political organization to oppose the
      Talibanization of society in the name of Islam. Foundation held a
      special session of its general council to take stock of the situation
      arising in the wake of threats and violence against the fair sex in
      the rural areas of the Pir Panchal region.
      Later, addressing the special session of the Foundation, Mir Shahid
      Saleem secretary general of the Non-Governmental Organisation said
      Hijab is one of important tenets of Islamic faith, and Islam enjoins
      upon all believers to follow the principles of faith in the true
      letter and spirit. He however explained that there was no room for
      coercion in Islam. He warned militants against expanding their roles
      into the private domain of the people's life. Saleem said civil
      society in state has been subjected to the suppression and oppression
      during the last over 12 years and people here are under the perpetual
      fear and terror.They can not afford to live under the cultural
      policing of the miliant organization.
      Shabina Yasmeen reminded of the similar experiences under gone by the
      women folk in Kashmir, last year, when a little known organization
      ordered Kashmiri women to follow stringent strictures. She recalled
      when there was no let up in the threat campaign for the several weeks,
      in spite of the several appeals by the civil society organizations and
      human rights organisations, the organization had to go off the scene
      when several separatist organizations including APHC and United Jihad
      Council (UJC) interfered, disowing the group responsible for causing
      much inconvenience among the women folk there.

      [Goa] A success story in uniform civil code 29 Dec 02
      Not many people in India know, however, that a Uniform Civil Code
      exists in Goa which is accepted by all communities-- Hindus,
      Christians, Muslims and others.

      The Goa Civil Code, collectively called Family Laws, was framed and
      enforced by the Portuguese colonial rulers through various
      legislations in the 19th and 20th centuries. After the liberation of
      Goa in 1961, the Indian State scrapped all the colonial laws and
      extended the Central laws to the territory but made the exception of
      retaining the Family Laws because all the Goan communities wanted it.
      In the rest of the country, the personal laws of the communities give
      unequal rights to women, making them vulnerable to the whims of the
      husbands and the manipulation of loopholes in the legislations by
      them. The Muslim Personal Law is loaded against wives, who are often
      reduced to beggary and destitution.
      In contrast, the Goa code gives equal rights to men and women in
      affairs of divorce, separation, share of couple's property,
      succession, guardianship of children, gifts and adoption, say legal
      The orthodox Islamic clergy in India made several attempts in the past
      to get Goa's Civil code scrapped and the Muslim Personal Law extended
      to the State. In the early 1980s, they began an agitation in the state
      on the issue, taking support from a Muslim Minister in the then

      However, a strong counter movement erupted, led by a young Muslim
      woman called Rashida Muzawar, who was a first year student of law
      whose fiery speeches against the obscurantist Mullahs began to draw
      huge crowds. For almost a year, street demonstrations and mosque
      congregations for and against the extension of the Shariat Law to Goa

      [Tamil Nadu] HC rejects plea to declare Muslim Personal Law as illegal
      .. 28 Dec 02
      The Madras High Court has rejected a plea from a `divorced' Muslim
      woman seeking to declare as void and unconstitutional, Sec. 2 of the
      Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, in so far as it
      sought to recognise and validate Taalaq-Ul-Biddart or Talaaq-I- Badal
      form of divorce.

      "Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Act provides for the application of
      Muslim Personal Law to all questions regarding inter-alia marriage,
      dissolution of marriage including Talaaq, etc. That Act is clearly a
      legislation dealing with the personal law. Sec. 2 of the Act, in whole
      or in part, cannot, having regard to the decisions of the Supreme
      Court, be declared as void or unconstitutional by reason of any
      inconsistency with the Constitution,'' a division bench comprising
      Justice R Jayasimha Babu and Justice E Padmanabhan observed on Friday.

      The bench was dismissing a petition from A S Parveen Akthar, a typist
      in the Public Works Department. She was married to Y Md. Ismail Farook
      in February, 1990. On May 1, 1991 she was intimated through her father
      that Farook had pronounced Talaaq in the presence of two witnesses in
      a single sitting.

      Petitioner contended that Talaaq was not a mode recognised in the
      Quran. The holy book provided for reconsideration and reconciliation
      before recognising divorce as irrevocable. But no such opportunities
      were given in her case.

      The respondents contended that this form of Talaaq, though sinful, had
      been recognised for a long time and that the courts had in the earlier
      decisions held that this form of Talaaq, though bad in theology, was
      good in law. Moreover, efforts were taken for reconciliation before
      pronouncing Talaaq.
      this form of Talaaq is valid, is based on a misunderstanding of the
      law,'' the bench said and dismissed the petition.
      Personal laws do not come under ambit of Constitution 27 Dec 02
      In a significant ruling, the Madras High Court today said personal
      laws did not come under the ambit of the constitution.

      A divison bench, comprising Justice R Jaisimha Babu and Justice G
      Padmanabhan, dismissing a petition by a Muslim divorcee to declare
      Talak-ul-biddar, a form of divorce, followed by the Muslim community
      as "void and unconstitutional", said the Supreme Court had already
      given a ruling that personal laws could not be declared as
      unconsitutional as they did not come under the constitution.


      Islamic moderates, hard-liners wage battle in media 24 Dec 02
      A number of local publications have recently rejected or become overly
      wary of articles critical of Islam after an opinion piece by a
      moderate Muslim drew condemnation and a death threats from Islamic
      hardliners, two Muslim intellectuals said on Monday.

      A professor at Syarief Hidayatullah State Islamic University Jakarta,
      Nasaruddin Umar, said his article containing "sensitive passages" on
      Islam was rejected by the media.
      Written by Ulil Abshar Abdalla, who coordinates a coalition of Muslim
      groups under the Liberal Islam Network (JIL), the article called for a
      flexible view of the Islamic law, or sharia.

      Ulil called into question various obligations under sharia, like the
      jilbab (veil) or the hand amputations for thieves, suggesting that
      they were not relevant to all cultures and eras.

      Thus Islam, during the time of Muhammad, he explained, was one way of
      interpreting the religion, and that at a different time it was
      possible to interpret Islam in another way. He also stressed the
      common truths with other religions, saying "I no longer look at the
      form but its content."

      The article drew condemnation from a Bandung-based group of Muslim
      clerics called the Indonesian People's Ulama Forum (FUUI)
      In August, a private television station scrapped an advertisement
      promoting a moderate, diverse Islam to counter perceptions of a
      violent, fundamentalist Islam that reactionary groups appear to be
      promoting. The cancellations have followed pressure from Muslim
      organization Majelis Mujahidin (MMI) which denounced the commercial as
      an insult to Islam.

      Six more Bali attack suspects named 24 Dec 02
      Six more suspects were named yesterday as a result of documents seized
      in the hideaway of Bali blast controller Mukhlas on December 5,
      bringing to 22 the number of alleged terrorists now linked to the Bali
      Documents found in Mukhlas's lair have provided police with an
      unprecedented insight into JI's broad structure and its links to many
      shadowy groups throughout Indonesia and Malaysia - all of which
      support its broad ideology of the implementation of Sharia law and the
      establishment of an Islamic state throughout southeast Asia.
      "It's a loose coalition of aligned teams, some of whom are known and
      some of whom are not," Mr Keelty said. "It's not a hierarchical
      command and control structure that you might get with some organised
      crime syndicate, or indeed the IRA.

      "It's an amorphous matrix structure that has no beginning and no end
      but has a lot of players who contribute to the overall ideology and
      philosophy of inciting fear that they should not be following the
      Western line."

      Bali suspect named 'Man of the Year' 28 Dec 02
      An Indonesian Islamic magazine has named detained terror suspect Abu
      Bakar Bashir "Man of the Year" for what it calls his steadfast
      struggle to uphold Islamic law in Indonesia. Bi-weekly magazine
      Sabili, one of the best-selling in Indonesia, said Bashir is an
      exemplary figure who never flinched from his struggle to uphold
      Islamic law, or sharia, despite persecution.

      "Bashir is a person we should look up to," the magazine said in its
      editorial. "If Bashir, most of whose entire life has been devoted to
      upholding Islamic sharia, should be called a terrorist, being
      terrorists might as well be our goal," it said.

      Bashir's picture adorned the magazine's cover along with a banner
      reading "Ustadz Ba'asyir. Fighting Hostile Unbelievers."

      The violent fringe of Indonesia's radical Islam
      An overview by Martin van Bruinessen


      [Kurdistan] Kurds Doubt Fatwa Declaring Jihad Against Americans
      .. 24 Dec 02
      Kurdish circles were doubtful of a statement broadcast by news
      agencies including a fatwa, issued by 600 Kurdish scholars during a
      conference in Kirkuk, urging jihad against "American infidels".

      Iraqi observers cast doubts on the statement issued Monday December23
      , and say it aims at making gains for the ruling regime in Baghdad.
      According to them, the statement is most likely fabricated because the
      majority of Iraqi scholars are against any war on Iraq, but, at the
      same time, they do not stand in one trench with the regime.
      The Popular Islamic Conference organization which organized the Kirkuk
      conference is a popular body established by the Iraqi regime and does
      not include any of the influential scholars.

      Observers are also doubtful that as many as 600 scholars have taken
      part of the said conference. They argue that Iraq, as a whole, does
      not have this number of scholars, including those living abroad.
      According to the observers, Kurdistan has only six to seven well-known


      Illegal zakat collection centre in Taman Melawati raided 23 Dec 02
      Selangor religious authorities today raided an illegal zakat
      collection centre in Taman Melawati and detained a staff. The centre,
      operated by a company, was believed to have illegally collected some
      RM1 million [EUR 250.000,-] in zakat since March this year.
      The company reportedly was appointed to collect zakat in 1995 but
      continued to operate even after March 19 when its services were
      terminated as MAIS decided to set up its own counter in the area last
      .. 24 Dec 02
      Eemanii Network Sdn Bhd, the private company entrusted by the Selangor
      Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) to collect zakat, has furnished
      evidence of zakat deposits amounting to RM1 million, which was claimed
      to be missing.
      The amil who was arrested yesterday, Wan Abdullah Jusoh, had been
      detained in public and Eemanii's office had been ransacked without a
      warrant by scores of enforcement officers from the Selangor Islamic
      Religious Department (JAIS).
      Meanwhile, in SHAH ALAM, Selangor State Secretary Datuk Abdul Aziz
      Mohamed Yusof confirmed that there was no misappropriation as the
      company had credited all the zakat monies it collected to MAIS
      although its services had been terminated.

      He told a news conference that members of the public who had paid
      zakat at the company's counter need not worry because their money
      would be channeled to the rightful recipients by MAIS through its
      legal agent, the Selangor Zakat Centre.

      Don't force hudud on society, says scholar from Saudi Arabia 22 Dec 02
      Hudud cannot be forced upon the people, if society is not ready for
      it, a prominent ulama from Saudi Arabia said today. Prof Dr As-Sayyid
      Muhammad Alawi, who is also a special religious adviser to the Saudi
      Government, said hudud needed careful study and planning before it
      could be implemented.

      He said there must be effort to obtain feedback and to a certain
      extent, approval from the authorised ulama in the ruling administration.
      As-Sayyid was asked about the is-sue of hudud in Malaysia which was
      widely debated after the move by the Pas-led Governments in Kelantan
      and Terengganu to pass hudud enact-ments in 1993 and in July this
      year, respectively.

      [Terengganu] Police chief explains why cops can't help in hudud
      enforcement 24 Dec 02
      The police and the Government can be dragged to court should it help
      enforce the hudud law which is vague and not endorsed by the
      judiciary, Terengganu police chief Senior Assistant Commissioner (I)
      Othman Talib said today.
      "However, the politicians have made the police a scapegoat when we
      decided not to co-operate with the State Government in enforcing the
      Syariah Criminal Offences (Hudud and Qisas) passed in July," he told
      reporters after the Hari Raya open house at the State police contingent.

      "Until this matter is cleared by the judiciary, we will not assist in
      the enforcement of the hudud law. As the same time, we will also not
      interfere in the enforcement of the law by officers appointed by the


      Childrens' Bill Not Anti-Islamic 24 Dec 02
      .. [This Day - Lagos]
      It is indeed a matter of deep regret and even ironical that the
      impression is being given by our elected representatives in the
      National Assembly that Islamic values and ethics are contrary to, and
      not synonymous with the contents of the [Children] Bill. A cursory
      glance through the primary sources of the Sharia (specifically the
      Qur'an and the Hadith) would reveal just how much of a misconception
      and misrepresentation this position is, as the values and teachings
      therein are replete with instances depicting the extent to which good
      Muslims are enjoined to strive to protect the rights of children in
      the society. It is doubtful, given the manner in which Islam perceives
      children that these Muslim gentlemen had actually read and assimilated
      the contents of the Bill.

      The Islamic perception of governance views the State as being, among
      other functions, a welfare entity responsible for catering for the
      economic and social needs of the child, and as such, the Government
      remains the primary institution accountable for promoting child
      rights. Many of the rights in the Childrens Bill do exist under the
      Sharia, and derive from the primary sources of the Qur'an and the
      Hadith. Indeed, there remains considerable scope for utilising
      Qur'anic principles to counter practices detrimental to the interests
      of children, even where specific mention is not made in reference to
      an actual adverse practice or tradition based on custom against children.
      Childhood in Islam is characterised by the lack of formed reasoning
      ability, and Islamic theory depends on both mental maturity and
      physical development in determining the various stages of childhood.
      Below a certain age the child is considered incapable. Thereafter,
      when of 'perfect understanding', he or she can assume responsibility
      and participate in legal acts. The age for the attainment of majority
      differs with the varying schools of theology, and while there is doubt
      over the physical signs of puberty, which under Islamic formulations
      represents the end of childhood, Imam Hanifa, and some scholars of
      Malik, prefer the threshold of eighteen years. Some later scholars
      agree on fifteen years, while others prescribe the ages of fifteen,
      sixteen or seventeen for female, and eighteen for male, as signalling
      the arrival of sexual maturity.
      In any case, under Islamic legal reasoning, it is the State, as the
      ultimate guardian of all, that is responsible for protecting and
      promoting childrens rights, so if the government determines a
      particular age as the age of responsibility, our Scholars should be
      the first to recognise that this is permissible, under Islamic law. At
      the very least, it could be posited that using the principle of the
      public good, existing social conditions merit the government pegging a
      minimum age for marriage. You would find that in Egypt, as in
      Malaysia, for instance, the minimum marriageable age for a female has
      been fixed at eighteen for boys, and sixteen for girls, while in
      Syria, it is eighteen for the male, and seventeen for the female.
      Morocco has fixed eighteen for male, and fifteen for female. It is
      therefore not un-Islamic for a government to fix a minimum
      marriageable age in the public interest, under the Sharia.

      Guardians are advised, in chapter 2:220 of the Qur'an, to keep their
      interests in property, held in trust, separate from that of children
      in their custody, as 'the best thing to do is what is for their good',
      and this standard, like the Convention of the Rights of the Child
      principle of 'the best interests of the child', applies also in
      respect of guardianship concerning infants, education and
      responsibility for marriage. The Bill categorically provides that the
      best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration in
      matters concerning children. Consequently, to educate a child on the
      reality of AIDS in our lives, when the child is old enough to
      appreciate the implications of reckless and immoral behaviour, and the
      dangers that such careless conduct poses for the ignorant in our
      society, can only be for their (and our) benefit, and not otherwise.
      Indeed, there are ample authorities within the Sharia, which could be
      utilised to educate children on the importance of decency, integrity,
      dignity, morality and virtue in our lives, and in our communities.

      Ledap Co-Ordinatior Sues Human Rights Activists for Defamation
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200212290271.html 24 Dec 02
      In the controversial news magazine of December 12, 2002, Chinonye was
      reported to have travelled to Sweden recently, approached a widely
      read Swedish newspaper and introduced himself as one of the lawyers
      fighting the cause of one Amina Lawal. Amina was a young woman
      condemned to be stoned to death in Nigeria by a Sharia court over
      allegation of adultery recently.

      Chinonye was also reported to have, through the medium, worked on the
      emotions of the Swedes who raised an undisclosed amount of money for
      him when he was never a member of the Nigerian human rights team
      defending the poor woman in court.

      Two women rights activists based in Nigeria, Hauwa Ibrahim and Sindi
      Meder-Gould, were said to have granted interview to The Economist to
      the effect that Chinonye was both unknown to them and the legal team
      defending Amina or any case[s] where Nigerian Islamic courts have
      imposed death penalty for adultery.

      But in a 13-paragraph statement of claim filed at the registry of a
      Lagos high court by his attorney, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, Chinonye said
      that he never travelled to Sweden to solicit fund on behalf of Amina
      Lawal, rather as an expert member of the Colombian mission on impunity
      of the Swedish NGO Foundation for Human Rights, on invitation to speak
      on a seminar on impunity. [Vanguard - Lagos]

      Bauchi Govt threatens deviant Sharia court judges 24 Dec 02
      The Bauchi State Government has threatened to deal accordingly with
      any sharia court judge, who engages in actions capable of tarnishing
      the image of the sharia.
      Mu'azu, represented by works and housing commissioner, Umar Dahiru,
      warned: "Any shaira court judge found abusing the ethics of his job,
      would be dealt with according to laid down regulations to serve as
      deterrent to others. He commended the commission for organizing the
      workshop aimed at "regenerating and resuscitating the sharia in Bauchi
      In his address, the chairman of the commission, Alhaji MukhtarAhmad,
      said the maiden workshop was organised to assist sharia judges in the
      true dispensation of justice in accordance with the legal system.

      [Jigawa] Death sentence delayed for child rapist 24 Dec 02
      An Islamic court in northern Nigerian state of Jigawa on Tuesday
      adjourned hearing in an appeal by a man sentenced to death to a later
      date. Sarimu Mohammed Baranda, 54, was sentenced to death by stoning
      for raping a nine-year-old girl by a Sharia court here in May, but he
      appealed the sentence on the ground that he was insane when he
      committed the offence.

      Baranda had initially refused to file an appeal against the death
      ruling but was pressured to change his mind later by defence counsel,
      claiming insanity. The prosecution objected the convict's claim of
      insanity since the issue of his mental state was never raised at the
      lower court where he was sentenced to death.

      At the appeal hearing on Tuesday, presiding judge Isa Inuwa adjourned
      the case pending the filing of a counter affidavit by the prosecution.
      "We can't go on with the case without a counter affidavit from the
      prosecution against this defence motion," he said.

      [Kebbi] Sharia court orders amputation of man's wrist 24 Dec 02
      An Upper Sharia Court in Birnin- Kebbi, Kebbi State, has ordered the
      amputation of the right wrist of one Abubakar Hamidu for stealing four
      motorcycles valued at N 400,000. [Eur 3.000,-]

      The convict, who was alleged to have stolen the motorcycles from the
      home of one businessman (names withheld) in Birnin-Kebbi in September,
      was said to have made confessional statement before the court, and
      sought for leniency, saying he was a first time offender.
      The judge also ruled that, a girl, Jemila, found to be staying with
      the convict at time of his arrest, be sent to jail for six months, in
      addition to 50 strokes of the cane for idleness.


      [Hebron] fiction meet fact 23 Dec 02
      Fatah activists in Hebron are threatening to amputate the arms and
      legs of any Palestinian involved in crime, especially thefts and
      burglaries. This is the first time the secular organization, which is
      the mainstream faction of the PLO, has issued such a threat.
      Palestinians in Hebron, which has been under an on-again-off-again
      curfew for the past 30 days, said Saturday the threat was issued
      following an increased wave of crime that has hit the city in the past
      few weeks.

      "The punishment will be enforced against anyone who is found guilty,"
      said a leaflet distributed in the city. "The streets of Hebron and its
      suburbs, as well as the streets of all cities, villages, and refugee
      camps, will soon witness people with one arm or one leg. They will be
      punished in accordance with the sharia [Islamic law]. This will not be
      executed unless they are convicted."

      The Fatah pamphlet warned families of suspects against trying to
      intervene on their behalf and said anyone who seeks to help the
      criminals will be considered an accomplice. "We promise that we will
      brief the families [of the suspects] about the details of the crimes
      before we amputate their arms and legs," it added.

      The latest warning comes amid complaints that criminals throughout the
      West Bank have been exploiting the security situation to steal goods
      from houses and businesses.


      Al Jazeera: Hits, misses and ricochets 25 Dec 02
      The so-called CNN of the Arab world, Al Jazeera wouldn't exist if it
      were not for Qatar's knack at taking advantage of Saudi shortcomings.
      The station, whose name means "peninsula" or "island" in reference to
      its home in Qatar, was launched in 1996 a few months after the BBC's
      Arabic television service closed down due to the editorial meddling of
      Orbit Communications, a Saudi company and partial owner. When the
      company sought to censor a documentary about executions in Saudi
      Arabia, the staff walked out and the station pulled the plug.

      Qatar's crown prince, who had come to power in a bloodless coup one
      year before, was eager to forge an identity for his small nation that
      was distinct from Saudi Arabia's. A hard-hitting Arabic satellite news
      channel seemed like the perfect ticket.

      With a firm commitment to editorial independence, and pledging $140
      million to finance the channel for five years, the Qatari prince
      courted virtually the entire staff let go by the BBC to get the
      station on its feet.
      Al Jazeera's editorial edginess is its mark of distinction. In the
      world of straitjacketed Arab media, Al Jazeera has one of the only
      free hands. Its talk shows can legitimately claim to showcase the full
      range of Arab opinion - the good, the bad and the ugly - on global
      affairs, and their featured debates put the sleep-inducing talking
      heads on American cable shows to shame.
      More than its news coverage, it is the station's commentary talk shows
      which open the phones for viewers to call in and offer their candid
      opinions that have drawn most attention. And it is not just the Gulf
      states that are getting angry. In November, Jordan closed Al Jazeera's
      news bureau in Amman after a Syrian commentator criticized Jordan's
      peace treaty with Israel, describing Jordan as "an artificial entity"
      populated by "a bunch of Bedouins living in an arid desert". Kuwait
      also ordered Al Jazeera's bureau closed after an Islamic militant
      calling an Al Jazeera phone-in program from Europe suggested that
      Kuwait's ruler, Sheik Jaber al-Jaber al-Sabah, should be ousted for
      agreeing to extend the vote in Kuwaiti elections to women.
      The station often slants the playing field of discussion with two or
      three representatives from a certain view and only one from the other.
      Most of all, it soft-peddles its domestic critique.
      Whereas CNN made a name for itself during the 1991 Gulf War, mostly
      with broadcasts from hotel rooftops in Baghdad, Al Jazeera made a name
      for itself during the US invasion of Afghanistan with footage from
      far-flung mountain enclaves and bombed-out villages. And after
      American networks stumbled over each other in bidding for the rights
      to re-broadcast the front-line Al Jazeera footage that none of their
      own correspondents were willing to get, they then broadcast the
      borrowed goods with a scoffing proviso: "This footage cannot be
      independently verified."


      Putin - Russia opposes attempts to create global Islamic state
      .. 22 Dec 02
      Russia's fight against international terrorism in Chechnya has become
      part of the world's resistance to attempts to create a global Islamic
      state, said Russian President Vladimir Putin.
      "They not only want to create a caliphate on the territory of Russia,
      they want to create a global caliphate. I repeat, this idea is not
      very different from the idea of world supremacy that Hitler and his
      circle once promoted," Putin said. [Interfax News Agency]


      Muslim women to get more power 26 Dec 02
      Pending legislation on personal law will give Muslim women power to
      fight the discrimination they suffer at the hands of men. A draft
      Muslim Personal Law (MPL) is being discussed around the country and
      the national Muslim Youth Movement (MYM) Gender Desk has just
      concluded a conference about it entitled: Realising Muslim Personal
      Law: Rights, Prospects and Challenges.

      In terms of the draft, Muslims would soon have their marriages
      recognised within the country's judicial system. Muslim children would
      no longer be regarded as illegitimate and married couples could have
      their rights implemented by force of law.
      Conference participants, mostly women, called for a number of
      stringent measure to be included in the bill to counter the abuse of


      Muslims feel religious persecution 23 dec 02
      The vast majority of British Muslims believe the U.S. and UK war on
      terror is in fact a war on Islam, according to a new poll.

      The poll on Monday also found most British Muslims feel the United
      States and its allies have no justification for blaming Osama bin
      Laden's al Qaeda network for the attacks of September 11 last year and
      the Bali nightclub bombing.

      Three quarters of those polled said the outcome of U.S. military
      action in Afghanistan was negative while over 80 percent said the
      British government should seek approval from both parliament and the
      United Nations before committing British forces to an attack on Iraq.

      Two in every three British Muslims regard themselves as patriotic
      towards Britain while four in every five think further terror attacks
      on the United States would not be justified.

      However, 11 percent said such attacks would be justified and eight
      percent said attacks on Britain, either by al Qaeda or similar
      organisations, would also be justified.

      The poll, conducted by ICM Research for the BBC, reflects a deeply
      held feeling among many British Muslims that their fellow Muslims
      elsewhere in the world are being victimised.
      ICM asked 500 British Muslims if they agreed or disagreed with the
      assertion made by U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime
      Minister Tony Blair that the war against terrorism was not a war
      against Islam. [Reuters]


      Writer Blackballed for Being an Equal-Opportunity Offender 29 Dec 02
      [Doug] Marlette is on the receiving end of an Islamist fatwa
      protesting a dead-on editorial cartoon that ran last week, while his
      novel is struggling against a continuing tide of opposition from
      unseen but powerful forces.

      Marlette's cartoon, which has prompted thousands of threatening
      e-mails, depicts a man dressed in Middle-Eastern garb driving a Ryder
      truck bearing a nuclear missile with the caption: "What would Mohammed

      Anyone half awake understands that the cartoon plays off the "What
      Would Jesus Drive" campaign against gas-guzzling SUVs and other recent
      events, namely that fundamentalist Islamists have hijacked their
      religion to justify murdering Americans.


      Interview with Human Rights Watch representative 26 Dec 02
      .. [IRINnews Asia]
      Q: Elsewhere Wahhabis and other Islamic fundamentalists are often
      associated with terrorism. Why are you advocating their rights in

      A: In Uzbekistan, the people that are imprisoned are not terrorists.
      They are not people who promote violence. They are people who have
      their own Muslim beliefs and who want to express them in their own
      way. However,they don't believe in violence.

      In the past, there had been the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and
      they were based outside of the country, and there were a couple of
      incursions in 1999 into Kyrgyzstan and in 2000 into Uzbekistan.
      However, it seems that the movement no longer poses any threat since
      the US went into Afghanistan [in 2001]. Most of its leaders were
      either killed or escaped elsewhere.

      The 7,000 prisoners are either, as the government labels them Wahhabis
      or Hizb ut-Tahrir [Liberation Party]. There are a few other groups
      who, for example, follow Nursy, a Turkish Muslim scholar from last
      century into this century.

      We sort of group all those people [together] and call them independent
      Muslims,but they don't promote violence. If you go to a Hizb ut-Tahrir
      trial, you will find that the allegations against them are that they
      distributed some leaflets or materials, that they perhaps collected
      money to give to families of jailed Hizb ut-Tahrir activists, or they
      were members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir and took oaths as its members.

      That's the basic allegations against some 95 percent of the people in
      prison. For Wahhabis, there is a similar set of allegations. They are
      imprisoned for meeting others, learning and reciting the Koran in
      Arabic. It will be pointed out that they were particularly pious in
      terms of women and that they wore headscarfs in a way which was not
      traditionally Uzbek, but fundamentalist Islamist or Arabic.


      A New Guide for the Perplexed - Yemen Tries to Reintegrate Islamists
      .. 24 Dec 02
      According to American intelligence sources, Yemen is potentially
      nourishing ground for religious fundamentalism. The country has begun
      an unusual program in an effort to reintegrate Islamic militants into
      To that end, Yemen has put together a three-point program, involving
      not only religious instruction but also enforcement of existing law
      against deviant fundamentalist teachings and, finally, a more
      intensive search for solutions to Yemen's economic and social problems.
      Aside from Cadi al-Hitar, only three other legal and religious
      scholars were prepared to participate directly. The first round of
      talks with a total of 104 prisoners, lasting a solid two months, ended
      in mid-November, with 36 prisoners being released on the basis of its
      outcome. A follow-up program of support and control will accompany
      them to provide a further underpinning for their social and religious
      To what extent is the motivation of fundamentalist fighters religious
      in nature, and to what extent do social frustration and a lack of
      future prospects also play a part? While he grants that poverty can
      indeed be a vehicle for spreading extremist ideologies, al-Hitar
      regards its contribution as secondary in the case of Islamist
      extremism. He claims to have found tremendously strong faith among the
      prisoners he has spoken with - coupled with a fatal inability to
      properly interpret the exact words of the Koran and the Sunna (the
      sayings and practices of Mohammed). There exist, for that purpose,
      linguistic, legal and religious rules which can guide the application
      of the original texts of Islam to the needs of practical life. But the
      fundamentalists, says al-Hitar, are in some cases incapable of making
      the bridge between the documents and reality, and in other cases
      manipulated by misguided or unqualified religious "scholars."
      Given the fixations and rigidity of the prisoners involved in the
      dialogue, Cadi al-Hitar explains, the talks had to be prepared for
      with great care. For example, extremist ideologies were studied in
      order to prepare arguments against them, and during actual
      conversation every effort was made to correct misinterpretations and
      differences of opinion by referring to the original texts. But before
      these religious discussions were undertaken, the theological and legal
      scholars involved prepared themselves for the "discipline of
      dialogue." In order to convey to the prisoners the purpose and
      possibility of constructive discussion, the scholars deliberately
      chose a "modest," egalitarian and mediating approach. The arguments of
      the returnees were taken seriously, and their personal, often
      traumatic backlog of experience was taken into account.


      Muslim scholars grapple with human cloning issue 28 Dec 02
      A leading Shiite Muslim cleric in Lebanon [Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein
      Fadlallah], known for his more radical views, told AFP Saturday it was
      not for religious scholars but for scientists to decide whether
      cloning is beneficial.
      In a religious decree or fatwa issued on December 12, the
      Egyptian-Qatari Muslim theologian Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi said Islam
      prohibited cloning because it contradicts the "diversity of creation".
      However, Qaradawi said Islam would not oppose the use of cloning to
      produce healthy body parts or organs needed to save a sick individual.
      Qaradawi added that cloning animals was also permitted if it brought a
      "real benefit" to humans and did not hurt or harm the animal in any way.

      Prior to Friday's stunning revelation from Florida, Cairo's Al-Azhar
      University, the highest authority in Sunni Islam, was unequivocal
      saying "human cloning is prohibited and we must oppose it and prevent
      it by all means". It can lead to "disfigurations and monstrosities,"
      the statement from the university's Center of Islamic Research said,
      released earlier this year.


      Counting Change 22 Dec 02
      http://www.msnbc.com/news/850721.asp [Newsweek]
      Non-Muslims, especially regulators, often find it difficult to
      understand why the sector doesn't have uniform Sharia standards.
      They're right to be perplexed. Although Islam has four main schools of
      law that can differ in their interpretations, they are all unanimous
      on the basics relating to financial and investment principles. Yet
      most Muslim countries can't agree among - or within - themselves on a
      set of codified laws.

      Simply because they lack the political will, and because of petty
      nationalisms, the process of change is agonizingly slow. Kuwait is
      only now debating a draft Islamic-banking law, which has been on the
      back burner for more than three years because the central bank and
      Parliament couldn't agree on a definition of an Islamic bank. In
      Pakistan the future of interest-based banking has swung back and forth
      over the years, depending on who was in power. President Pervez
      Musharraf has sacked judges who wished to arbitrarily Islamicize the
      banking sector and has now adopted a dual banking system. Saudi Arabia
      is perhaps the weakest link in the chain. Despite the fact that Sharia
      is the law of the land, the kingdom doesn't have any Islamic-banking
      law. Why? Because if the Saudis put one on the books, it would be a
      tacit acknowledgment of the existence of interest-based banking, which
      is unconstitutional—and rampant.

      [Arab] Banks perform well amid regional uncertainties 27 Dec 02
      With a few exceptions in Bahrain and in Egypt's public sector banks,
      2001 and the first half of 2002 showed Arab banks reporting higher
      profits despite the cloud of uncertainty hovering over the region.
      Declining domestic interest rates, in line with the drop in dollar
      rates, enabled most Arab banks to reduce their funding costs at a
      quicker pace than the decline in lending rates. Oil prices remained
      high supporting strong economic growth in the Gulf region. Jordan
      continued on its high growth path and Lebanon benefited from the
      inflow of capital and regional tourism after Sept. 11. Arab banks
      expanded their lending as reflected in higher loan to deposit ratios
      with many emphasizing retail lending in the region's new
      consumer-friendly markets.
      The disclosed nonperforming loans of some of the large Arab banks were
      among the highest in the world, with Egypt's Arab African
      International Bank recording 23 percent of its loan book as
      nonperforming last year. The second highest among the region's larger
      banks was Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait at 22 percent, followed by the First
      Gulf Bank of the UAE at 21 percent. The nonperforming loans ratio for
      Fransabank of Lebanon was 19 percent, Oman International Bank 18.7
      percent and Doha Bank 14.7 percent.
      The establishment of Consumer Credit Bureaus in Arab countries could
      help banks better manage their asset quality.
      The linking of most Arab currencies to the dollar has led domestic
      interest rates to follow US rates downward. While rates were moving
      lower, banks were able to widen spreads by reducing their cost of
      funding faster than their lending rates. The cost of deposits for Arab
      banks has fallen sharply over the past 12 months with average rates on
      deposits dropping to around 3 percent recently from double that level
      in late 2000. But when rates stay low they will start impacting banks'
      bottom line. Successful hedging to fixed-interest rates can be used to
      delay the hit. However, in an environment where noninterest bearing
      deposits or low interest paid on retail customer deposit accounts form
      a relatively high proportion of banks' liabilities, while the major
      cost of funding comes mainly from the expense of maintaining branch
      networks, banks' profits will be affected.

      Banks in Kuwait and Bahrain have been more successful in developing
      noninterest revenues, while most other Arab banks continue to depend
      on interest income.

      [*] Copyright: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 -
      http://liimirror.warwick.ac.uk/uscode/17/107.html - this material is
      distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. If
      you wish to use copyrighted material from this list for purposes that
      go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright
      owner. [USA: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html%5d
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