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Sharia News Watch 36

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  • Enzo Picardie <6vtmu001@sneakemail.com>
    Sharia News Watch 36 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 10, 2003
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      Sharia News Watch 36 : a collection news quotes on Sharia,
      for research & educational purposes only. [*]
      Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      all editions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/


      Afghan paper says there are more pressing problems than cable TV ban
      .. 05 Feb 03
      [Newspaper Payam-e Mojahed] said it is more important to tackle
      health, education and economic devastation. Even so, the paper said
      that there was evidence that satellite TV had damaged morals. It
      advised the government to ban programmes that are not in harmony with
      Afghan culture but to allow educational and useful programmes.
      In a country where 95 per cent of the population is illiterate, more
      than half of its population live on foreign aid and 40 in a 100
      children die before the age of five due to bad living conditions, what
      meaning and how much efficacy do cable programmes have?
      in this respect the authorities should take great deliberation and use
      the bitter experiences of the past history of the country. If they can
      identify and collect those programmes that are really useful for the
      society, it will be a success for them, otherwise immoral and aberrant
      programmes would bring nothing except disaster for this society.
      Therefore, in our view the removal of the problems mentioned is
      several times more important than importing the culture of foreigners.
      The government can assess this issue through its special departments
      and separate those programs that are for the benefit of this society
      from the programmes that are not in harmony with our culture.


      EXIM Bank holds Shariah Council Meeting 05 Feb 03
      The fourth Shariah Council Meeting of Export Import Bank of Bangladesh
      Limited was held at the Head Office of the bank recently. Dr ABM
      Habibur Rahman, Chairman of the Shariah Council, presided over the
      meeting, says a press release.


      Pilgrimage of Muslim women 10 Feb 03
      Muslim women all over the world are obligated to perform haj with a
      mahram (husband or blood brothers)
      But what is the ruling on a woman, who does not find a mahram to
      accompany her in a legitimate travel, whether obligatory, preferred or
      permitted? And there is within her reach of group of protective men,
      or trustworthy faithful women, and the streets are safe? The jurists
      have researched this topic, whenever they discussed the obligation of
      haj upon women, and they kept in mind the Messenger's (phub)
      prohibition of a woman travelling without a mahram. Their thoughtful
      opinions include the following. [..]
      The purpose here is to safeguard the woman and protect her, which is
      fulfilled by knowing that the roadway is safe and that trustworthy
      faithful men and women are present.

      Second is what was reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim from the Hadith
      related by Ada Bin Haatim was that the Prophet (pbuh) told him about
      the future of Islam, it's spreading, and its light going throughout
      the earth. Among what he mentioned is: "The day is near when a young
      woman will travel from Al-Hira (a city in Iraq), going to the Sacred
      House with no husband accompanying her. She will fear no one but Allah."
      Here I will state two additionally important precepts. The first is
      that the basis of rulings on acts of dealings is to focus on their
      meanings and purposes. This is the opposite of rulings on acts of
      worship. This is because the basis of acts of worship is just to
      worship and obey, before focusing in one their meanings and purposes,
      as was firmly established by Imam Ash-Shatiby, who clarified this and
      verified it with proofs.

      The second is that prohibited things are not permitted except if there
      is a dire need. And things that are prohibited so that they can be an
      obstruction to evil are permitted during times of need. And there is
      no doubt that the prohibition of a woman travelling without a mahram
      is prohibited so that it can be an obstruction to evil.
      Now travelling is by various modes of transportation that usually
      gather large amounts of people at a time, like ships, airplanes, buses
      or cars that travel in caravans.
      This is why there is no objection for the woman to perform haj within
      this safe environment, which will provide all the necessary security
      and contentment. And with Allah, there is success.


      Rebel web site reports low-intensity fighting in southern Chechnya
      .. [Kavkaz-Tsentr news agency] 06 Feb 03
      It became known on Wednesday evening [5 February] that the rulings of
      the Sharia'h court were carried out. Two national traitors actively
      cooperating with the punitive occupation bodies were shot in Dzhokhar.


      Row looming over Somali child reconditioning trips 07 Feb 03
      Following Integration Ministry warnings last week that parents could
      face cash cuts in welfare payments, reconditioning trips for Somali
      children who become Westernized are under the spotlight. Somali
      immigrants in many Western countries, including Denmark, are punishing
      their children for becoming `too Westernized,' by sending them on
      so-called reconditioning trips to Somalia, Somaliland, and other
      Muslim countries in the region. In many cases, desperate Danish,
      Swedish, and Norwegian-speaking children of Somali heritage had
      appealed to consulates in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia to beg for
      help to come `home.'
      Reconditioning trips may be spurred by teenage girls eager to wear
      modern Western fashions and go out with schoolmates. Or boys as young
      as nine years old, who suddenly perform badly in school, become
      unruly, exhibit juvenile delinquent attitudes, or drink alcohol. This
      kind of behaviour, whether rebellious or eminently normal in Western
      eyes, is considered `haram' (forbidden) in Somali culture.

      In recent weeks, a teenaged Somali girl, who was sent for
      reconditioning in the breakaway republic of Somaliland, desperately
      appealed to authorities for help in returning to Denmark. The girl
      was raised in Denmark, and sent abroad against her will by parents who
      are refugees. `Please don't try to save me from circumcision. They've
      already done that to me. But help me come home,' the girl cried.


      84 national bank workers included in pension plan 30 Jan 03
      The remaining 50 per cent, Al Ghaith said, will be deducted from the
      employees' salaries in installments and paid to the authority. He said
      the Dubai Islamic Bank is the first to cover all its national
      employees with a pension scheme.

      Department of Justice established in Dubai 30 Jan 03
      His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and
      Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in his capacity as Ruler
      of Dubai, has issued Law No.1 of 2003, dealing with the establishment
      of the Department of Justice in Dubai.

      The department will organise the affairs of the Attorney General's
      Office, courts and judicial inspection, Notary, the Judiciary
      Institute. It will also organise the affairs of the legal profession
      in the emirate, without tampering with the independence of the judiciary.

      Article 10 of the law, which comprises 13 articles, requires that
      workers and staff of the courts, Attorney General's Office, judicial
      inspection, Judiciary Institute, Notary and those in charge of their
      works should, from yesterday, the date on which the law took effect,
      be placed under the new department.
      Article 12 abolishes Law No.3 of 2000, which established the
      Department of Courts. It also abolishes any text or legislation which
      may contradict the new law and its rules, while Article 13 says that
      the new law takes effect from the date of its issuance and must be
      published in the official gazette

      Injury to work-bound official to be treated as work accident
      .. 06 Feb 03
      A landmark legal opinion by the Fatwa and Legislation Department of
      the Ministry of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, states that an
      injury to an official while on his way to work shall be considered a
      work accident.


      Pollsters Get Jail Terms For Publishing Pro-U.S. Survey 02 Feb 03
      State news media in Iran report that a conservative Islamic court has
      sentenced two opinion pollsters to jail for issuing public opinion
      data that was disapproved of by authorities. The reports say the two
      directors of the Ayandeh Polling Institute - Abbas Abdi and Hossein
      Ghazian - are to serve seven- and eight-year terms, respectively.

      Both pollsters already have spent three months in solitary confinement
      awaiting trial. They were detained after they published a public
      opinion survey last September which found that three-quarters of
      Iranians wanted Tehran to resume a political dialogue with the United

      Convicted murderer pardoned before hanging 05 Feb 03
      A convicted murderer, who had killed his cousin in a quarrel in the
      northwestern Iranian city of Salmas, was spared seconds after the
      noose was put around his neck, the Persian daily Resalat said
      Wednesday. The paper identified the convict only as Behzad J., jailed
      since two years before. He was pardoned by his uncle who stopped the

      hanging before its implementation at dawn on Monday.

      The pardon, which impressed local prison officials, came with the
      intervention of the prison head of Salmas who pleaded with the
      victim's father for clemency, Resalat said.

      Under the Islamic Sharia law, being implemented in Iran since the
      1979 Islamic Revolution, convicted murderers can escape death if
      pardoned by the victims' next of kin. The country executes death for
      armed robbery, blasphemy, serious drug offenses, rape and murder.

      Can Islam, democracy mix? 08 Feb 03
      there's little serious debate in the Middle East on whether Islam can
      be melded with democracy. Most Arab Islamists disdain pluralism and
      Western institutions as anti-Islamic because they permit more than one
      truth. What an irony that Iran - whose Ayatollah Khomeini inspired
      Islamic radicals the world over - has become debate central over the
      wisdom of clerical rule.

      Debate is especially intense in the dusty city of Qom, where thousands
      of seminary students in turbans and cloaks rush among mosques and
      brick seminaries and sit at the feet of leading ayatollahs. Many
      dissident clerics worry that Iran's system of religious rule is
      corrupting the clergy with power and turning young people against
      Across the street, another revered cleric, Grand Ayatollah Yusef
      Saanei, receives visitors in his book-lined study, his white wispy
      beard nodding as he talks about his controversial religious rulings or
      fatwas. They include a ruling that all people are equal in the Holy
      Koran, be they men, women, Muslims or non-Muslims.

      Saanei has also ruled that no person is infallible, a judgment many
      here interpreted as a slap at the over-aggrandizement of power by the
      current supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. "The leader should be elected by
      the people," says the ayatollah.

      Montazeri and Saanei are wrestling with the dilemma of combining
      popular will with a government that adheres to the laws of Islam. This
      issue has come to a head because Iranians elected a reformist
      parliament and president who opened the country up to unprecedented

      But Iranian glasnost produced a conservative backlash from top
      clerical leaders. Eighty newspapers have been shut and many people
      jailed for discussing once-taboo subjects like the rightness of
      "velayat-e faqih, Iran's rule by a supreme clerical leader. And the
      debate goes further: it confronts the compatibility of democracy and

      One of the brightest scholars to address this issue, Mohsen Kadivar,
      was sent to jail for 18 months for his book about the limits of theocracy.

      Kadivar thinks "we can have an interpretation of democracy compatible
      with Islam." His concept: a referendum on a parliamentary system that
      would govern in accordance with precepts of religious law. "If we can
      convince a majority," he says, "we can have a religious state." If the
      majority disagree, they cannot be forced.

      The Election Law of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis)
      [..] 09 Feb 03


      Ousting Saddam prelude to eliminating Islamic currents 07 Feb 03
      http://ummahnews.com/viewarticle.php?sid=1370 [Middle East Online]
      "The Americans have ... made it known to countries like Saudi Arabia
      and Egypt that they must modernize their forms of government and
      engage themselves clearly in the war against terrorism and Islamic
      extremism," he said. "It is understood that from now on only
      pro-American dictators, that ally themselves totally with the West and
      clamp down Islamist currents, will be tolerated," the analyst said.

      [Secretary of State Colin] Powell told a congressional hearing
      Thursday that ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime could
      fundamentally reshape the Middle East in a positive way for the United
      States and its allies. He added that such an outcome was likely,
      particularly if, after a war in Iraq, progress was achieved in forging
      peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

      He also said a reshaped Middle East would benefit regional countries
      which have sided with Washington to oust Saddam and replace him with a
      "responsible" government.

      Washington's push to revamp the Middle East comes following a re-think
      of its foreign policy following the September 11, 2001 attacks by 19
      Islamic extremists, mainly from Saudi Arabia. The attacks led many in
      the US government to believe the region's lack of political freedom
      gave birth to the militants who attacked the United States.


      When your children don't come home 01 Feb 03
      .. [Irish Times]
      The notion in Western democracies such as our own, of allowing
      secular, rather than religious, law to determine how people behave is
      foreign to many Muslims. In their view, the ideal way to live is to be
      able to practise one's religion - whatever that may be - regardless of
      any state interference. Sharia law is the ultimate law in Islamic
      states, and some Muslims living in Europe believe that they should be
      allowed to bring that authority with them wherever they live,
      regardless of local laws.

      However, the Imam Al-hussein, religious leader of the Islamic
      Foundation of Ireland's Dublin Mosque in the South Circular Road, says
      Muslim fathers who abduct their children from the Republic or another
      Western state, are wrong in using their religion to justify their
      actions. While Sharia law is an all-encompassing religious law which
      covers every aspect of life, Muslims who choose to live in
      democracies, such as the Republic, must abide by State law, in his view.
      But he also points out that when Muslim women living in Ireland want
      to return to their home countries with their children, Muslim husbands
      rarely object. Nor, he says, should Muslim women object when they want
      to stay in Ireland, while their husbands want to return to an Islamic
      country with the children.

      Sharia law is fair to women and has a "simplicity" which makes for
      healthy family life, the Imam says. Women are regarded as the
      custodians of sons until the sons reach maturity - some time between
      the ages of seven and 11. Women are the custodians of daughters until
      the daughters' marriages are consummated. In practice, however, women
      almost always retain custody of their children in the event of family
      breakdown, says the Imam.
      The Imam believes that when young Irish and Muslim people fall in love
      and marry, they do not see the potential consequences of their "mixed
      marriages", as he calls them. "You can tell them, but they will not
      listen," he says. [Mary] Banotti [MEP] agrees, stating that young
      Irish women do not understand the power of Sharia law.

      All may be sweetness and light in the heady romance of a new
      relationship, but down the line, when the couple become parents, the
      Muslim parent may grow to feel more strongly about rearing his or her
      children in the Muslim religion. Or the Catholic parent may insist
      that a child makes its First Holy Communion and go to a Catholic
      school. The Muslim parent, usually the father, may feel justified in
      using this as an excuse to abduct his children and take them back to
      the Islamic world. Banotti says she does not know of a case where the
      mother brought her children back to an Islamic country.


      Military court links motives for December murder in army barracks to
      Islamic fundamentalism 05 Feb 03
      "Fundamentalist" motives were behind the murder of a Christian draftee
      by a Muslim comrade-in-arms at an army barracks in December, according
      to the Military Tribunal.

      In a formal list of charges made public Tuesday, Chief Military
      Investigating Magistrate Riad Talih requested a three-year jail term
      for Sheikh Mohammed Attieh Joumaa, the imam of Wadi Khaled Mosque in

      Joumaa was charged with fomenting sectarian and racial strife and
      instigating conflict between the country's sects, by issuing a fatwa
      allowing the killing of Christians in the presence of draftee Hussein
      According to the indictment, Khalaf once asked if Muslims would enter
      paradise by killing Christians. Joumaa, the indictment continued,
      answered in the affirmative but added that the priority now was to
      kill Jews.
      Joumaa was arrested on Jan. 20 and Asaad is in custody as well. The
      list of charges said that Khalaf understood what he wanted from Joumaa
      and he truly believed that if a Muslim killed a Christian, he would
      enter paradise. On the night of Dec. 31, Khalaf entered the barracks
      and wrestled a rifle away from a sentry and began shooting his
      Christian comrades.


      [E-syariah] Computerised courts 07 Feb 03
      Malaysia's Syariah courts and Jabatan Kehakiman Syariah Malaysia will
      be making use of a high-speed computerised court management system to
      boost efficiency at the courts. In addition, a library management
      system and e-Syariah portal will also be put into place. The result of
      a collaboration between local IT provider SAINS (Sarawak Information
      Systems) and Sun Microsystems, the RM35 million project will be
      completed in three years.

      The project will be implemented in six stages, each lasting six
      months. The first stage will see Version 1 of the court management
      system put into practice in six states, namely Kuala Lumpur, Selangor,
      Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Perlis and Penang. Stage 2 will expand the
      system to eight states that span Kedah, Johor, Pahang, Perak,
      Trengganu, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak, bringing the total number of
      sites to 71.

      Johor offers a model religious school for those in mainstream
      .. 30 Jan 03
      Pas, which has been on the defensive over the terrorism issue, seems
      to have found the SAR as a new cause celebre. And the Federal
      Government's decision to absorb students of the privatelyrun SAR into
      Sekolah Kebangsaan or national schools has left several unanswered

      One of the main questions, particularly among the "overtly religious''
      segment of the Malay community, is whether the authorities are
      providing an alternative for those who want their children to pursue a
      more indepth Islamic education, which they claim is lacking in
      national schools.
      There are also indications that the Johor religious school system,
      which has won praise from many, including Deputy Prime Minister Datuk
      Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, is to be the model.
      Enrolment, non-compulsory, is open to Standard One Muslim pupils from
      national primary schools, and advancement through six stages depends
      on end-of-term examinations. The students may choose to attend the
      morning or afternoon session.
      This flexible system allows students to take "breaks'' in between,
      thus lessening the pressure on them to cope with two school systems

      Those who pass the Standard Six stage may advance to the darjah khas
      (special class), which offers in-depth study of Islamic principles and
      their applications in the everyday lives of Muslims.
      The curriculum includes subjects such as Quran reading, tauhid (the
      science on the unity of God), fiqh (jurisprudence), akhlak (morality),
      sirah (tradition), Arabic, tajwid (Quran reading), amali (ritual
      observances), Jawi, muamalat (Islamic business and society), jinayat
      (criminal code), munakahat (family law) and faraid (inheritance law).

      Another unique feature of the system is the uniforms. Male students
      wear black songkok, white baju melayu teluk belanga, black samping and
      white shoes. Female students wear white-and-blue baju kurung, white
      tudung and white shoes. This distinctively Malay attire was
      introduced to the schools by Sultan Ibrahim to ensure they remained
      "religious'' and not "Arab'' schools.

      Bar Council Concerned Over Syariah Court Lawyer's Arrest 07 Feb 03
      The Bar Council has expressed concern over the warrant of arrest
      issued by the Syariah High Court in Ipoh on Wednesday on a lawyer for
      being absent in court, saying it is wrong in law. Calling on the
      court to cancel the warrant of arrest on lawyer Amran Arif, its
      chairman Mah Weng Kwai said in cases where a lawyer was absent in
      court without prior notice, the court could postpone the case to
      another date when it might obtain an explanation from the lawyer for
      his failure to appear in court.
      Mah said the mere absence of an advocate and solicitor in a court
      proceeding could not form the basis of an arrest and any arrest was
      wrong in law. He said the warrant of arrest was issued purportedly
      under section 37(b) of the Criminal Procedure (Syariah) Code 1994.

      [Sabah] Couples caught in compromising pose 07 Feb 03
      Kota Kinabalu: Several unmarried couples, including Muslims, were
      caught in a compromising position during a five-hour integrated
      anti-vice operation conducted on lodging houses and entertainment
      outlets in the city centre, Wednesday night.
      Another couple was found stark naked when the enforcement personnel
      forced open the door of a room in another lodging house, after they
      refused to comply with the directive to come out. Both were also arrested.


      Shari'ah threatens Nigerian unity 05 Feb 03
      Nigeria's This Day [independent daily]: "Shari'ah in Nigeria strikes
      at the root of the national question. Each time the debate is renewed,
      it leaves a big question mark on our claim that Nigeria is one united,
      indivisible country." (Commentary on 5 February by Sonnie Ekwowusi -
      "Buhari's equivocation on shari'ah")

      African Alliance Flags Off Islamic Insurance Scheme 06 Feb 03
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200302060423.html [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      The African Alliance Insurance Company (AIICO) yesterday flagged off
      an Islamic Insurance Scheme, otherwise known as Family Takaful in Ibadan.
      The objectives, according to him are to enable the muslims to save
      regularly for a fixed period with a view to creating something similar
      to a retirement or contingency fund.

      Secondly, to invest with a view of earning profits in a manner
      acceptable to the sharia, which in turn would lead to a further
      accumulation of savings.

      Others are to obtain cover in the form of mutual finance and from
      payment of Takaful benefits to heir(s) should a participant die before
      the maturity of his Takaful plan.
      [Managing director] Oredugba said elaborate efforts had been made to
      ensure that the life policy was not running in line with western
      insurance practice. Rather, he said "Takaful" is a cooperation
      insurance scheme "that is permissible and fully consistent with Sharia
      principles." In drafting the blueprint of the policy Oredugba who
      quoted Quranic verses to back up his claim, said his company borrowed
      extensively from the Malaysia model of 'Takaful' implementation as an
      insurance scheme acceptable to all.

      [Jigawa] 20-Year-Old Prince Caned for Drunkenness 23 Jan 03
      Prince Abba Bashir, 20, of Dutse, Jigawa State has been caned for the
      second time in Dutse for drunkenness. .. The prince was arrested on
      January 17 by a team of Sharia monitoring police called Hisba in a
      state of intoxication in Dutse metropolis.
      [The Sharia Judge] ordered that Bashir be given 80 strokes of the cane
      and warned him to desist from such immoral act. The caning of the
      prince, who is a son to a senior councillor in Dutse Emirate Council,
      attracted a large crowd. [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200302080060.html [Vanguard - Lagos]
      .. 06 Feb 03
      Following the caning of a prince for drunkenness two weeks ago, the
      Dutse Emirate Council in Jigawa State has declared "war" on the Sharia
      monitoring committee (HISBA) in the state capital. Since the
      incidence, the Sharia police (HISBA) have been forced to "partly
      suspend its activities," following threats to its members.


      [NWFP] Silenced by guns and police batons 05 Feb 03
      Over the past decade violence in Mingora and the surrounding region
      has been linked to the rise of the Tehrike-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e
      Muhammadi (TNSM), which called for the imposition of Islamic Shari'ah
      law there, reports the IRIN network news service. Pakistani President
      Gen Pervez Musharraf banned the group in January last year.

      Tensions have risen in the region following the overwhelming victory
      of the Islamist Muttahida Majlis-e Amal coalition or United Council of
      Action (UCA) in last year's provincial elections in the NWFP.

      The UCA now runs the provincial government and is making its presence
      felt everywhere. One of its first steps was to remove the massive
      advertising billboards from local cinemas. Some showed images of women
      the UCA deemed obscene and un-Islamic.

      Apparently with the same motives, the police launched an operation on
      what is known as the Dabgiri musicians' bazaar in the provincial
      capital, Peshawar.

      [NWFP] Mullahs murder music in Pak bazaars 09 Feb 03
      Drums and flutes once hung from stone walls and adorned the windows of
      second-storey rooms in Dabgari Bazaar, the traditional hub of singers
      and musicians in Peshawar. No more. The mullahs have murdered the
      music, and a deafening silence fills the bazaar that once rang with
      drumbeats, ballads, ragas and the filtered notes of flutes.

      The barely three-month old Islamist administration has ordered
      musicians to pull their shutters and keep their musical instruments
      away from public eyes. The minstrels have also been ordered to cease
      roaming the city's winding warrens of roads in their bid for business.
      The MMA's Sharia Council has been busy issuing recommendations on how
      to implement a stricter observance of Islam.

      "We cannot allow music in passenger vehicles because sometimes this
      causes accidents," NWFP chief minister Akram Durrani of the
      pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam party declared in his inaugural
      address to the parliament in November.

      Late January, the music makers of Peshawar begin feeling the impact.
      Celebrated Pashtu-language singer Gulzar Alam was in full throttle at
      a wedding celebration at the local convention center when police
      stormed in and arrested him, a raid that sent shockwaves through the
      minstrel community.
      Singers, dancers and musicians are seldom accorded respect by ethnic
      Pashtuns, deeply conservative tribal peoples who straddle the
      Pakistan-Afghanistan border, who consider singing and drumming unmanly.

      Despite their disdain for performers however, they are enthusiastic
      dancers once a traditional orchestra strikes up and they shower the
      musicians with rupee notes.

      Peshawar city police chief Tanvir Ahmad Sipra said the order to down
      shutters at Dabgari was to curb obscenity. "If these people surpass
      certain moral limits, police will take action, whether or not the MMA
      are in power," he told AFP.

      Many residents allege young male dancers are a source of increasingly
      open paedophilia and homosexual activity at Dabgari bazaar. singers
      and musicians were arrested in the bazaar mid-January as they returned
      in the middle of the night from performing at a party. Charged with
      loafing, they were released after paying fines.

      [Punjab] Punjab allows one dish at Valima reception 08 Feb 03
      The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed the Punjab Marriage Functions
      (Prohibition of Ostentatious Displays and Wasteful Expenses) Bill 2003.

      The passage of the bill has prohibited the serving of meals at all
      types of marriage-related functions like Mehndi, Mayoon and Barat.
      However, the host can serve one-dish meal to the gathering, not
      exceeding 300 persons, including his own family, at the Valima reception.

      Law Minister Raja Muhammad Basharat said the meal could consist of
      curry, loaves (Rotis) or curry and rice and a dessert. Display of
      fireworks on the occasion of marriages would not be allowed. However,
      illumination would be allowed at the host's house only.


      Saudis explore political reforms 07 Feb 03
      In the past few months, Saudi Arabia has taken unprecedented steps to
      encourage debate and explore reforms, signs that the royal family
      senses change is the best way to protect its rule from the turmoil an
      Iraqi war may cause.
      Crown Prince Abdullah has come up with a proposal for an upcoming Arab
      summit that calls for greater political participation by the masses
      and met recently with 40 Saudi reformers who presented him their
      vision for change. The kingdom's prisons system also is to undergo a
      major overhaul.
      "This is the last chance for reform. Iraq is just a starting point,"
      said Turki al-Hamad, a writer and one of 104 reformers who signed the
      document presented to Abdullah. "Saudi Arabia could be the next target
      since America considers it the cradle of terrorism."
      Surprisingly, no women signed the document, which calls for an
      independent judiciary, the creation of civil and human rights
      institutions, constitutional reforms, elections to a consultative
      council and freedom of expression. There was only a two-line reference
      to women in the four-page document, which contains three references to
      sharia, Islamic law, as the base of their rights.

      Rumblings in Riyadh 08 Feb 03
      In March, the 22 Arab League states will head to Cairo for the Arab
      summit. There will surely be much heated discussion over how to
      respond to the impending - or by that time possibly already begun -
      war with Iraq. But another item on the agenda will be the recently
      released, and rather surprising "Charter for Reform of the Arab
      Condition" drafted by the Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, the de
      facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

      Though thoroughly vague, the charter calls for Arab leaders to "end
      the regional silence that has gone on for too long" about the
      "explosive situation in this area" evidently a reference to the
      social, economic and political stagnation which has fueled discontent
      and contributed to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. But most
      shocking is the call for "internal reform and enhanced political
      participation" which it describes as "essential steps for building
      Arab capabilities".

      The houses of Saud 10 Feb 03
      Tens of thousands of women are abused in Saudi Arabia each year.
      According to the Saudi government, some 19,000 domestic servants —
      almost exclusively foreign women working in Saudi Arabia as maids —
      escaped from Saudi homes in the 12 months prior to March 2001. The
      real figure is likely far higher, because the government statistic
      counts only those women who go to government-run shelters for
      "runaway" domestics, which human rights experts view as no more than a
      PR ploy. Women who show up at Saudi police stations seeking help are
      instead locked up and remain jailed until their employers reclaim them.

      Yemeni who insulted Islam to lose his head 03 Feb 03
      Saudi Arabia has sentenced a Yemeni national to death after he refused
      to wake up for prayers and denounced Islam and the Saudi religious
      police. A Saudi court in Jedda sentenced the Yemeni national to death
      on Jan. 7.

      Saudi newspapers said Hail Al Masri was originally sentenced to two
      years imprisonment and 600 lashes. But a higher court headed by Ali Al
      Zahrani rejected the sentence and ruled that Al Masri should be beheaded.
      Al Masri was charged with refusing the appeals of his roommate to wake
      up for early morning prayers. When the roommate insisted, Al Masri
      began cursing him, Islam and Saudi religious police.
      The Washington-based Saudi Institute said Saudi Arabia has not
      formally announced the death sentence. The opposition group said a
      Saudi reporter who covered the court proceedings refused to speak with
      the institute in fear of government reprisal.


      Muslims Call for Law Against Religious Bias 06 Feb 03
      A new report on Muslims in Britain today called on the Government to
      outlaw religious discrimination. The study by Warwick University's
      Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations said Muslims were one of the
      most deprived groups in Britain, and it made a host of recommendations
      to give greater equality.

      But the report also revealed how some Muslims felt reluctant to engage
      in British life. Some of the 87 people questioned for the survey
      mentioned the "Christian bias in religious education and the mis-
      representation and denigration of Islam" in schools. The poll also
      said some Muslim parents had a "detrimental effect" on their
      children's education.
      Second and third generation Muslims in Britain were less likely to
      accept unequal treatment or discrimination than Muslims who arrived in
      the UK as migrants, he said.
      Britain's 1.8 million Muslims have faced an increase in anti-Islamic
      attitudes since the September 11 attacks, it went on, and Government
      policies were inadequate in areas from health and education to the
      legal system. A crucial change would be passing legislation making
      religious discrimination illegal in the same way as racial and sexual
      discrimination, it said.


      Saudi slavery in America 10 Feb 03
      Saudi abuse of domestics occasionally makes news in the Western press
      - but only when it happens outside of the kingdom.
      Saudi domestics in the United States don't have access to an
      underground railroad like the type that exists in Saudi Arabia - women
      there often hide in the trunks of cars on the way to a safe house or a
      port city - but thankfully many come into contact with Good Samaritans
      like Cielo, a Filipina woman who helped five different women escape
      from a single Saudi diplomat's home in a four-year period.
      Diplomatic Security (DS), State's law-enforcement arm, has received
      "many" calls from police stations over the years about Saudi diplomats
      abusing domestic workers, says a DS officer who insisted on anonymity.
      But State refuses to provide oversight or inform domestic workers of
      their rights.

      Feds: Muslim woman discriminated against 05 Feb 03
      The woman, an employee for two to three years, was sent home on about
      three different occasions and also took time off work because of the
      stress, said her attorney, Junaid Afeef. The woman, whom Afeef would
      not name, had to provide proof that the hijab had religious
      significance and then was routinely questioned about it after she did,
      he said.

      The Chicago woman filed her complaint in October. Last week, the Equal
      Employment Opportunity Commission issued a decision saying there was
      reasonable cause to believe the woman was discriminated against based
      on her religion, Islam. Also, the EEOC asked both parties to try to
      reach agreement over the issue.

      Afeef said his client is back at work and is allowed to wear the
      hijab, but no one has ever clarified the policy for her. He said the
      county has 14 days to respond to the EEOC decision.

      "She has to be allowed to wear the scarf; that goes without saying,''
      Afeef said. "Additionally, given the treatment she received, we would
      like to see some sensitivity training for the staff.''

      Textbooks said to 'hide' problems with Islam 07 Feb 03
      World history textbooks in U.S. classrooms sanitize the problems of
      Islam when compared to how they often treat Western civilization, a
      review of seven widely used texts reported yesterday.

      The study, released by the American Textbook Council, said a rosy
      treatment of Islam may arise from the lobbying of the Council on
      Islamic Education on national publishers. "When any dark side [of
      Islam] surfaces, textbooks run and hide," said the report, "Islam and
      the Textbooks," by Gilbert Sewall, a former professor who directs the

      "Subjects such as jihad and the advocacy of violence among militant
      Islamists to attain worldly ends, the imposition of [Shariah] law, the
      record of Muslim enslavement, and the brutal subjection of women are
      glossed over," the 35-page study says. This contrasts, the report
      suggested, with the candor in textbooks over such events of Western
      history as the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, imperialism,
      Christian fundamentalism and women's suffrage.

      Without solid facts about Islam, the study said, "instructors fall
      back on themes of tolerance and apology [and] skirt the reality of
      international affairs and threats to world peace." Many topics in
      history textbooks are reduced to a few paragraphs and require
      elaboration by teachers or supplementary materials. But Islam is so
      exotic that a few textbook sentences can have an inordinate impact,
      Mr. Sewall said in an interview.

      "Few teachers are comfortable with the subject," he said. "They are
      generally ignorant of Islam, so they depend on the textbooks for
      guidance." The textbook council, formed in 1988 in New York as an
      independent group researching social studies and history texts,
      advocates factual knowledge and appreciation of Western values.

      It began a review of world history textbooks in 2001, but issued this
      "preliminary report" on Islam's treatment because of its importance
      for students in an age of terrorism and new global tensions. Shabbir
      Mansuri, founding director of the Council on Islamic Education,
      yesterday was sent a portion of the report. Other than describing the
      textbook council as "a conservative group," he had no comment.

      The Council on Islamic Education, formed in Orange County, Calif., in
      1989, has sent publishers guidelines and definitions for words for the
      textbook treatments and protests if texts offend Muslim sensibilities,
      the new report said. "For more than a decade, history-textbook editors
      have done the Council's bidding, and as a result, history textbooks
      accommodate Islam on terms that Islamists demand," the report said.

      Texas Muslims call for regulation of Islamic foods 08 Feb 03
      Food identified as halal, meaning it must adhere to Islamic dietary
      laws, would be regulated under a bill introduced in the state Senate
      this session. Texas Muslims and other proponents say the bill would
      protect consumers from falsely labeled Islamic food products. Others
      worry that such a law could blur the boundaries separating church and
      state. The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, would make
      it a misdemeanor for restaurateurs to put a false halal label on
      foods, the Austin American-Statesman reported Saturday.


      Online 'cyber jihad' hoax catches Computerworld 08 Feb 03
      In a bizarre case of one journalist deceiving another, an Internet
      news site published and then embarrassingly retracted an article that
      said a radical Islamic group was behind a virus-like attack that
      clogged the Internet.

      The Web site of Computerworld magazine published Wednesday an article
      by Dan Verton that he based on an e-mail interview with a person he
      identified as "Abu Mujahid," a member of a Pakistan-based group,
      A four-year staff writer for Computerworld and a former Marine
      intelligence analyst, Verton thought he had a scoop and wrote a
      splashy story that said Harkat had acknowledged releasing the Slammer
      worm as part of a "cyber jihad" aimed at creating "fear and
      uncertainty on the Internet."

      But Mujahid was really Brian McWilliams, 43, a free-lance journalist
      in Durham, New Hampshire, whose employers include Salon.com and Wired
      News. McWilliams said he had deceived Verton because he wanted to
      teach reporters "to be more skeptical of people who claim they're
      involved in cyberterrorism." Experts have been unable to trace the
      origin of the so-called Slammer worm but say they have no evidence
      that terrorism was involved.


      [Saudi] NCB, ARABIC win Euromoney awards 30 Jan 03
      Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank (NCB) and Al-Rajhi Banking and
      Investment Corporation (ARABIC) have won the "Best at Islamic Asset
      Management" and the "Best at Islamic Commodities Dealing" category
      awards at the inaugural Euromoney Islamic Finance Awards 2002, which
      was held in London last week during the 2nd Annual Islamic Finance
      Summit. There were awards in nine categories with banks from Malaysia,
      Kuwait, and Bahrain sweeping the other awards.
      Malaysia, according to Bakaruddin Ishak, head of Islamic Banking &
      Takaful Department at Bank Negara (the central bank), is now in its
      third phase of developing its Islamic banking sector, which at end
      November 2002 had $17.9 billion in assets or 8.9 percent of the total
      domestic banking assets market of $200 billion. In the secondary
      market, $5 billion or 60 percent of bonds issued in Malaysia, revealed
      Ishak, were Shariah-compliant.

      [Malaysia] Nestle to issue RM700mil PDS 07 Feb 03
      Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, the country's top food firm, said yesterday
      that it would issue RM700mil of Islamic private debt securities (PDS).
      [EUR 170 mill.] The firm, a 60%-owned unit of Swiss-based Nestle SA,
      said it had regulatory approval to proceed with the issue, its
      first-ever Islamic paper.
      The fact that bond papers have caught on quick among investors and
      local corporations is nothing new. Many of the country's large
      corporations have sought financing and issued long-term corporate
      bonds according to Islamic principles in recent years. This
      encouraging trend can, in fact, be traced to as far back as 1990, when
      the first issue was launched.

      In addition, Islamic private debt securities (PDS) has effectively
      been used as a means of long-term financing for privatised projects
      that require large capital outlays, like that of infrastructure and
      utility-related projects such as water and power generation.
      The current trend is for Islamic structures that are internationally
      syariah compliant as such structures have the added advantage of
      allowing international investors, particularly those from the Middle
      East to participate.

      Following the Sept 11 terrorist attacks in the US, wealthy Arab
      investors have purportedly been scouting around in Malaysia for a new
      home for some of their investments. Apart from assets and real estate,
      their preference has skewed towards Islamic PDS, which offer far more
      flexibility and are more liquid compared with fixed assets.

      This pent-up demand has paved the way for highly rated Malaysian
      companies to issue Islamic debt instruments similar to Malaysia's
      global sukuk certificates that was issued last year.

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