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Sharia News Watch 44

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 44 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] all editions:
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2003
      Sharia News Watch 44 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*]
      all editions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/
      Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


      [Herat] Karzai's Taxing Problem 19 Mar 03
      According to Karzai government officials, the national treasury
      received about $10 million this year from Herat, while it should have
      received well over $100 million. Officials say they believe the Herat
      governor collected significantly more tax revenue last year than the
      central government's total tax collection of about $80 million.

      This is only one of many ways in which Khan, like many local leaders
      across Afghanistan, is systematically defying the central government.
      He battles other local strongmen with his tanks, he imposes policies
      that have raised an outcry over human rights practices, and he is
      suspected to be recruiting an army of former Islamic guerrillas.
      Ismail Khan is also at the center of a controversy over political
      repression and human rights abuses that the central government appears
      unable to stop. His police arrested and beat an elected representative
      to last summer's grand council, or loya jirga, in Kabul, and Human
      Rights Watch recently released a scathing report about restrictions
      being tightened on women in Herat. Among the most serious charges are
      that Khan's religious police have arrested women on the street with
      men the police believed were neither the women's husbands nor
      relatives. They have also forced them to submit to gynecological exams
      to see if they recently had intercourse. The allegations have been
      substantiated by doctors who were asked to do the exams.

      In addition, Khan is known to be raising an army of former Islamic
      guerrillas seemingly outside the control of the new Afghan national
      army, and he has defied an order from Karzai that provincial governors
      cannot also serve as heads of provincial armies. (Khan heads the
      military for four western provinces.) But his most serious defiance
      has been at the customs house. The central government and Western
      finance officials have been unable to learn how much revenue is being
      collected. The head of Herat customs, a harried relative of Khan's
      named Azim Jan Rahimi, refused to discuss its workings or to reveal
      how much money it raises.


      [Tedungan] `Tiger Show' brings shame to town and its people
      .. 19 Mar 03
      Sundowners who head to the boarder town of Tedungan for entertainment
      purposes, one of which includes 'Tiger Shows', may in the future be
      deprived of such amusement. A committee member of the Tedungan
      Bumiputera Entrepreneurs, who chose to remain anonymous, said his
      association would report the existence of such entertainment, if they
      were able to nab the culprits.
      Sources earlier told the Bulletin that sundowners were now treated to
      another kind of entertainment on Saturday night and the end of the
      month. Sources said they were charged RM50 per head by a person who
      would then take them to a secluded place, a few metres away from the
      sprawling restaurants at Tedungan, to see the show. When contacted
      yesterday, sources said the shows were illegal and for selected people
      in the form of what is normally called a "Tiger Show". .. sundowners
      were treated to dances normally featured in other big cities such as
      Manila and Bangkok.


      Notes from Grozny: A Potted Road to Normality 27 Mar 03
      Still, there are some ingredients for much greater normality,
      including a change in Chechen attitudes. Chechen men do not talk about
      what they did in the first Chechen war, which ended in 1996, but it is
      clear that the appetite for war has largely disappeared. The
      nationalist ardor of the first war has gone, flickering only in some
      grim satisfaction at Russian losses and setbacks. When Chechen rebels
      seized hostages in Moscow in October, there was no glee. At least they
      know what we went through in Chechnya, refugees said, but the tone was
      not gloating.

      Nor have I seen obvious Islamist fundamentalism, just Chechens' much
      more complex Muslim heritage combined with pagan customs. In the first
      war, the Wahhabists gained kudos thanks to the feats of the warlord
      Khattab. Even the even more (in)famous Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev
      was influenced enough to join the movement. Now Basaev wins only
      curses, and the Wahhabists have lost whatever credit they had (and
      Khattab his life).


      Darul re-issues fatwa to boycott US-UK products 30 Mar 03
      Darul Uloom, Deoband, one of the oldest and most prestigious religious
      schools of Sunni Muslims around the world has re-issued a fatwa asking
      Indians in general and Indian Muslims in particular to boycott
      consumer products of American and British companies in protest against
      the US-led attack on Iraq. Earlier Darul Uloom, situated in Saharanpur
      district of Uttar Pradesh, had issued a similar fatwa against US
      companies in the wake of American attack on Afghanistan.


      Strict' Muslims shun modern slaughterhouses 28 Mar 03
      The Animal Slaughterhouse (RPH) complex in Cakung, East Jakarta, is
      yet to close its traditional slaughterhouse as it attempts to stop
      killing cattle with good old-fashioned knives. "Those who are fanatic
      believers say that killing cattle with electricity is not halal," RPH
      head Cakung Fahruddin Zaid told The Jakarta Post last week, describing
      why they had to keep the traditional slaughterhouse open.
      "Some cattle owners prefer to slaughter their cattle at traditional
      slaughterhouses because they will get all the 'waste' of the cattle
      back, like blood and bones," Agribusiness Club secretary general Tony
      J. Kristianto told The Jakarta Post. Items like blood and bone are
      still valuable in most Indonesian markets as people use them for
      cooking. In RPH Cakung, liquid wastes are processed for biogas while
      the solid wastes are left for compost. Tony said that when
      slaughtering cattle at a traditional slaughterhouse, owners mainly
      paid with the skin of the animal.
      According to the health procedures, meat is considered good when the
      blood and water content has lessened. But some butchers disagree.
      RPH Cakung receives cattle from Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java,
      Bali and East Nusa Tenggara.

      From make-up to noodles, they are halal 31 Mar 03
      With Muslims in Indonesia becoming increasingly devout in recent
      decades, an exclusively Islamic market has now evolved, offering
      strictly halal products. They range from exclusive Islamic housing
      estates to cosmetics and foodstuff.
      The Indonesian Ulama Council has so far issued halal certificates for
      only about 500 locally made products. Council officials predict that
      90 per cent of the locally made products in the domestic market may
      not be halal. Name is important to ensure buyers that their products
      are halal. Manufacturers of instant noodles, for example, have adopted
      Arabic-sounding names to attract Muslim buyers to their halal products.


      [Comment] Only Iraqis can decide 24 Mar 03
      Then there is the question of Islam. Iraq, under the parliamentary
      democracies before 1958 as under the Ba'athist dictatorship, has been
      a secular state. But the Americans, above all, have to accept that
      this is going to change. Islam is going to be much more powerful in
      the new Iraq, and not only in the Shia south. If the transitional
      governors show wisdom, a moderate form of sharia law can co-exist with
      liberal democracy. If they panic, then a surge towards fundamentalist
      theocracy could become unstoppable. And the Americans will also have
      to accept that a free, democratic Iraq will support the Palestinian
      cause and condemn Israel.

      US miscalculation changes Saddam from devil to hero 30 Mar 03
      Shia clerics in Najaf, Beirut and Qum in Iran have all issued fatwas
      prohibiting co-operation with British and American forces, which they
      describe as acts of treason. The fatwas also regard actively fighting
      the allied forces as a moral and religious duty. In practical terms,
      this will prevent a split in the ranks of the Iraqi military and
      prevent the mass surrender of troops.

      The fatwas will also guarantee against the revolt of the Shias of
      Iraq, who have been considered so far as Saddam's most dedicated
      enemies, and will mean that the Shias will not dance in the streets at
      the sight of American troops.
      In recent days, a fatwa signed by five senior Shiite clerics called on
      followers to remain loyal to the government and submissive in a time
      of war. Shiites, who make up about 60 per cent of Iraq's 23 million
      people, have been handed a role crucial to Saddam's staying power,
      with British forces besieging Basra and U.S. forces farther north at
      or around two other Shiite centres, Najaf and Karbala.

      "Don't succumb to the devil's temptation and rush into aggressive
      actions to satisfy personal grudges or achieve illegal gains," said
      the decree, which was posted at Kadhimiya, the most sacred shrine for
      Shiites in Baghdad.


      `Campaign not intended to question Syariah' 19 Mar 03
      The "One Husband, One Wife" campaign launched by 12 women's
      non-governmental organisations last weekend was intended to encourage
      monogamy and not to question the Syariah on polygamy, clarified Women
      and Family Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
      The campaign, launched on Sunday by the acting Prime Minister's wife,
      Datuk Seri Endon Mahmood, was negatively received by certain muftis
      and religious authorities who feared it could affect the faith of
      Muslims. Shahrizat said the NGOs had a right to voice their opinion.
      "I don't see why anyone should feel threatened because in this
      country, monogamy is the choice," she said.
      On the suggestion that wives unwilling to accept their husbands'
      polygamy be allowed to seek taqliq divorce (divorce due to violation
      of the conditions in the marriage certificate), Shahrizat said [..]
      "This a matter involving certain aspects of Syariah law," she said. "I
      have to take it to the committee before any decision can be made."

      Women can now be judges in Islamic courts 28 Mar 03
      Women are now allowed to be syariah court judges with scope of duties
      and jurisdiction similar to that enjoyed by their male counterparts,
      Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Hamid Zainal Abidin
      has announced.
      The suggestion to appoint women as syariah judges was first made late
      last year, but it drew mixed response from the public and Islamic
      scholars. A majority of scholars opposed the idea, saying that women
      were too emotional to handle criminal syariah cases.
      'There is no objection to women being appointed as syariah court
      judges, but such appointment is yet to be made,' Datuk Abdul Hamid
      said at a press conference at the Islamic Development Department of
      Malaysia. 'We are facing a shortage of syariah judges. We hope to be
      able to fill up the posts soon and also include women candidates.'


      I Won't Impose Sharia On Nigerians - Buhari 19 Mar 03
      All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential candidate, Major-General
      Muham-madu Buhari (rtd), [said] "The constitution recognises the
      Sharia legal system (but) the constitution says you must not impose
      your religion on other people." He explained that "nobody was taken
      before a Sharia Court" nor a sharia judge appointed into the Supreme
      Court, the highest court in the land, when he was military head of
      state. He added that nobody was really opposed to the existence of
      the Sharia legal system in Nigeria except that some human rights
      activists had kicked against the cutting of limbs as a form of
      punishment for certain convicts. [This Day - Lagos]

      [Amina Lawal] Nigerian stoning case appeal postponed 25 Mar 03
      A Nigerian Islamic court postponed the start of mother-of-three Amina
      Lawal's appeal against being stoned to death after the chief trial
      judge failed to turn up. Defence lawyer Musa Aliyu Yawuri said that
      the Katsina State's chief Sharia official, Grand Khadi Aminu Ibrahim,
      was ill and had travelled to Germany for treatment. Yawuri that he
      had agreed with state prosecutors that the controversial case be
      adjourned until June 3.

      [Kaduna] Tension Mounts At Ahmadu Bello University 25 Mar 03
      Tension is currently mounting at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
      campus following the resurgence of religious hostilities between
      Christians and Muslims in the institution. The scripture union of the
      university is said to be irked by a report that the Sharia
      fundamentalists in the institution have declared one of its past
      leaders, Marlon Chukwuma, wanted in connection with the riot which
      rocked the institution in 2001, over the introduction of Sharia in the

      P.M.News gathered that Chukwuma and a group of scripture union members
      of the University resisted attempt by the sharia fundamentalists to
      burn down the Ahmadu Bello University clinical students hall near
      Tudun Wada, Zaria.
      Chukwuma, who was the Vice President of the Christian Union at the
      time was said to have participated in the attack and wounded some of
      the sharia fanatics. Two students were reportedly killed in the fracas.
      The Muslim demonstrators were said to have blamed Chukwuma for the
      death of their members. A member of the sharia implementation council
      in the state said the penalty for the offence is death and that if
      arrested, Chukwuma will be made to face the law. [P.M. News - Lagos]


      Election on special seats un-Islamic: CII 28 Mar 03
      The Islamic Council of Ideology, a constitutional body mandated to
      recommend to the legislature to make laws in conformity with the
      Islamic provisions, has recommended to the present government that the
      election of minorities and women on special seats was contrary to
      merit and was "kind of a quota system."

      Coming hard on recently elected women parliamentarians, the CII termed
      them as representatives of the urbanised "elite class" who believe in
      western concept of gender equality and in Islamic concept of "gender

      It said that women MNAs being representatives of the urban and elite
      class were not conversant with problems of women in villages who are
      exposed to the worst kind of exploitation and injustice.

      NWFP government's powers to enforce Shariah limited 20 Mar 03
      Mufti Ghulamur Rehman, chairman of the Nifaz-e-Shariat Council (NSC),
      said on Wednesday it was impossible to enforce complete Islamic system
      in the NWFP, as the provincial government had limited powers. The NSC
      is a 21-member body formed to recommend measures to the MMA government
      in order to bring laws in conformity with Islamic injunctions.
      The NSC chairman was of the view that the present judicial system,
      music, television and cable networks were `not un-Islamic'. He said
      the electronic media was essential for interpreting Islam and
      spreading its message. However, programmes spreading obscenity would
      be reformed, he added. During the October general elections, the
      Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) had declared music, television and cable
      networks un-Islamic and had vowed to root them out.

      However, Mufti Rehman, who gave vague answers to most of the questions
      posed by newsmen, said on account of issues outside the provincial
      government's domain "it is not possible to introduce all Shariat laws
      as the province has limited powers".

      'NSC's proposals to ensure independence of judiciary' 19 Mar 03
      Mufti Ghulamur Rehman said police should have been guardians and
      ensure the security of lives and properties of citizen but due to
      non-availability of any facilities, they were earning bad names for
      the department and the people hate them. [..] There is no doubt, he
      said the people were facing problems in getting justice and the cases
      were not being decided in years. The registration of FIRs and reports
      of patwaries need proper reforms. He said the existing judiciary
      system could not be termed as un-Islamic but there must be some
      defects and the councils has presented its recommendations for reforms.

      NSC NWFP Proposes Certain Reforms In Media 24 Mar 03
      The Nefaz-e-Shariat Council NWFP has handed over a list of 40
      recommendations to the Provincial government be implemented for the
      reformation of print and electronic media so that the media can be
      used for the improvement in the society.

      The proposals said that a committee of religious scholars and
      professionals be constituted to draw certain limits for the print and
      electronic media keeping in view the prevailing circumstances and
      necessities. The electronic media will be asked not to air such
      feature dramas and movies which are repugnant to the principles of
      Islam. More time be given for the programmes aimed at the promotion of
      Islamic teachings in the society.

      Steps will be taken to ban anti-Islamic writings, including news and
      columns in print media. Advertisements will not be given to those
      newspapers and magazines which print anti-Islamic and immoral
      literature and photos. A board will be constituted to recommend awards
      for those newspapers, magazines and other sources of media which
      project Islamic teachings.

      The Shariat Council has asked the Provincial government to ban the
      profession of movies, promoting obscenity and immorality in the
      society. The Council further proposed that more coverage should be
      given to the achievements of religious scholars and heroes of Islam.
      Education for national solidarity and unity among the Muslim world
      should be given through radio, television and newspapers. Nation
      should be apprised of the negative impacts of racism, regionalism and
      sectarianism. The Council proposed to block those cable network
      channels which are spreading obscenity

      [NWFP] Pakistan's Mullahs Speak Softly 22 Mar 03
      Jamiat-e-Ulema-i-Islami, the second-largest Islamic party in the
      coalition, launched a crusade last year against foreign nonprofits
      that promoted the right of Muslim women to secure an education and
      jobs, warning that this would endanger family life and lead to
      prostitution. Incited by campaign rhetoric, mobs attacked and
      vandalized several nonprofit centers for women in rural areas of the

      But after the election, the harassment stopped. Now, provincial
      officials from Jamiat-e-Ulema -- including the elected chief minister
      -- are promoting education for girls and skills for women as enshrined
      in Islamic principle and beneficial for social progress.
      A surprising source of support for women's rights has been the Shariat
      Law Council, a panel of 21 religious and political leaders that was
      formed by the new government. Its mandate is to propose legislation
      that would strengthen and enforce Islamic values and practices.

      But instead of pursuing a Taliban-style agenda that would require men
      to grow beards and women to wear veils, as some observers had
      predicted, the council has adopted a list of progressive proposals
      that include requiring primary education for all girls and banning
      widespread tribal customs in which unmarried women are sold as barter
      to settle disputes or compensate for crimes.

      "Islam gives mandatory equal rights to both men and women, and we want
      to do away with anything that clashes with the teachings of Islam,"
      said Mufti Ghulam ur Rahman, 50, a Muslim cleric who heads the council
      and runs a free religious academy for about 350 boys and girls in
      Peshawar. "We need women to be educated and skilled, and we need to
      end tribal traditions that are cruel to women. Some consider these to
      be Islamic, but they are not."

      International Crisis Group - The Mullahs and the Military 20 Mar 03
      Though MMA leaders have tried to allay worries that their governments
      might adopt Taliban-style policies, their actions show preference for
      strict religious rule. The MMA agenda includes an end to co-education,
      a first step towards the total segregation of women in public life,
      and the addition of more Islamic texts to school and college
      curricula. The MMA plans to screen and register NGOs in the NWFP and
      Baluchistan. Moral policing by the student wings of its parties in
      NWFP and Baluchistan educational institutions enjoys official backing.
      Similar trends are visible elsewhere in public life.

      It remains to be seen how much room the MMA will be given to apply its
      version of Sharia law in the two provinces. The MMA stresses that
      implementation will remain within constitutional confines. Although
      the constitution is Islamic, the form and substance of Islamisation is
      determined by the centre, and federal legislation has primacy. The
      provinces are dependent on Islamabad's financial assistance. Moreover,
      Musharraf's constitutional amendments empower him to override parliament.
      If history is a guide, however, the MMA could succeed with its
      Islamisation agenda. Many Islamic provisions are already part of the
      legal system, enacted by previous military governments. Since the
      military takeover in 1999, the government has demonstrated neither
      will nor intent to pursue domestic policies opposed by the mullahs,
      such as madrasa regulation or changes in discriminatory Islamic laws.
      Although the MMA sits with the opposition in the National Assembly, it
      has assured the government of Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali
      that it will not help dislodge Musharraf's political order. In return,
      the government might just decide to reward the MMA by tolerating
      Islamisation in the NWFP and Baluchistan.

      The mullahs' usefulness for the military goes beyond domestic
      politics. The perpetual threat of war with India over Kashmir, a
      conflict coloured in religious hues, also brings the MMA and the
      military together. The more Musharraf searches for domestic
      legitimacy, the more he plays up the Indian threat. The mullahs are
      more than willing to support the military's policies in Kashmir.

      Editorial: New `shariah' in the NWFP 21 Mar 03
      The Nifaz-e-Shariah Council in the NWFP has finalised its
      recommendations and submitted them to the chief minister of the
      province, Mr Akram Khan Durrani. The council was charged with the task
      of putting together a comprehensive roadmap for the enforcement of
      Islamic law in the province, and its guiding principle were the
      recommendations made in the past years by the federally constituted
      Council for Islamic Ideology (CII).
      Pakistan is supposed to be under a full-dress Shariah on the principle
      of "inclusion". The Federal Shariat Court and its provincial chapters
      see to it that any laws repugnant to the Quran and Sunna — the basic
      components of Shariah — are struck from the statute books. Anyone
      finding government procedures in violation of the Shariah can go to
      the Federal Shariat Court and have them abolished under the
      Constitution. Some constitutional experts think that the Court has a
      supra-constitutional writ, but that is the way it is. The clerical
      parties have never agreed with this "inclusive" approach and want an
      "exclusive" Shariah imposed on Pakistan. The state has not been able
      to enforce even the "inclusive" writ of the Federal Shariat Court in
      the case of the abolition of "riba" (bank interest). It now faces the
      onslaught of a more "imitative" Shariah as envisaged by a clerical
      consensus in the country.

      Article 228 of the Constitution says the Council for Islamic Ideology
      (CII) should be composed of no less than eight and no more than 20
      members, one of them being a lady. Since scholars from all schools of
      thought are mandated, the President may appoint Deobandi, Ahle Hadith
      and Barelvi members. With the passage of time, the Council has become
      dominated by the hardline Ahle Hadith-Deobandi consensus enhanced by
      appointees of Jamaat-e-Islami. We don't know how the President fulfils
      the constitutional requirement that at least four members should be
      scholars of 15 years' standing.


      [Tatarstan] a Muslim oasis of calm in Russia 31 Mar 03
      for many Tatars, radical action is not their way. Valiulla Iakoupov,
      Tatarstan's first deputy mufti says the headscarf issue can be solved
      through negotiation. "This tough position of Russian officials over
      the headscarves surprises us very much," she says."We fear that
      (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's experts have not properly
      explained to him the significance of the headscarves to our people."

      "Islamic Sharia law says a woman must cover her entire body, except
      for her face and hands," explains Ms. Adiatullina. "To take the
      headscarf off in the presence of a man is a terrible sin which
      violates my deepest convictions." The women's challenge was rejected
      earlier this month by Russia's Supreme Court on the grounds that
      security officials cannot make proper identifications unless ears,
      neck and hair are visible.


      Imams Offer Qunoot Prayers for Iraqi People 31 Mar 03
      In a show of solidarity with the people of Iraq, imams all over Saudi
      Arabia have begun offering Qunoot prayers for the welfare and
      protection of the Iraqi citizens. The ritual was first performed in
      the days of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when a tribe of
      Arabs killed several of the Prophet's companions. The prayers have
      since been performed in mosques whenever disaster strikes the Ummah or
      when an Islamic state is invaded.
      "Qunoot prayers are not just an Islamic ritual, they are also a way of
      relieving tension," he said. "People come to mosques pumped up with
      tension from the images they see on television of the innocent being
      slaughtered. One of the benefits of Qunoot prayers is that they
      relieve this tension so that it does not lead to other things such as
      protests in the streets."
      Mamdooh Al-Hawshan, managing editor of the Islamic weekly magazine Al
      Daawwah, said that religious establishments in Saudi Arabia play a
      vital role in shaping domestic opinion.

      Riyadh frees leading reformist cleric 25 Mar 03
      Leading Saudi reformist cleric Sheikh Saeed bin Zuair has been
      released after spending eight years in jail for objecting to a
      religious edict allowing peace with Israel, supporters said Tuesday.
      He was arrested in 1995 and remained in custody at Al-Hair Prison
      without trial for his reformist activities and for objecting to a
      controversial fatwa, or religious edict, issued by former grand mufti
      Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz.

      According to the supporter, bin Zuair was arrested after visiting bin
      Baz along with several religious scholars to object to the fatwa that
      allowed peace with Israel. He was never charged or tried by a judge.
      Bin Zuair was a media professor at Imam Mohammad bin Saud University
      in Riyadh, a well-known Islamic university, for 10 years. He was also
      a leading preacher at a mosque in Riyadh.
      A number of reformist religious scholars were arrested by Saudi
      authorities in the wake of the 1991 US-led Gulf War to liberate
      Kuwait. Saudi authorities in 1999 released leading reformist clerics
      Salman al-Awda, Sefr al-Hawali and Nasser al-Omar who were arrested in
      1994 for campaigning for political reforms in the kingdom.

      Doubts About Sacrifice of Animals 28 Mar 03
      Q. The organizer of our group during the pilgrimage advised us not to
      do the sacrifice through the bank, but to pay him the money and he
      would arrange the sacrifice through the slaughter house. He welcomed
      anyone who wished to be a witness. Although I expressed my desire to
      be a witness.

      A. May I say that since you did not want a share of the meat, you were
      wrong not to do the sacrifice through the bank. All the sacrificial
      meat done through the bank is used properly, for the relief of poverty
      and famine-stricken populations in different areas of the Muslim
      world. What better use can there be of this great ritual? Besides, it
      appears that neither you nor anyone of the 65 persons who chose to do
      the sacrifice through your organizer wanted to take a share of the meat.


      Aggrandizement eliminates germs from slaughtered animal 24 Mar 03
      People have not yet realized the wisdom beyond mentioning god's name
      (Allah in Arabic) on the slaughtered animal, some scientists say.
      Consequently they neglect and leave out pronouncing the Almighty God
      Name and aggrandizement when cattle and chicken are slaughtered for
      human consumption, a tradition widespread in Islamic practice.
      Moreover, it was also proved by the team that aggrandizement during
      slaughtering removes diseases from the animals; cleans its body and
      takes the Malady away originally.


      Tajik officials detain children spreading leaflets 27 Mar 03
      Police in Tajikistan have detained 16 children accused of distributing
      leaflets of the banned Islamic party Hizb-ut-Tahrir, officials said
      Thursday. The suspects detained in the Tajik capital were aged 12 to
      15, said Khudoinazar Asoyev, a spokesman for the Tajik Interior
      Ministry. Investigators are trying to determine who gave the leaflets
      to the children, Asoyev said.

      Asoyev said it was the first time Hizb-ut-Tahrir had used children to
      spread its leaflets. Tajik officials have arrested 30 activists of the
      party so far this year, he said.
      Tajikistan suffered a devastating, five-year civil war in the 1990s.
      The hard-line, secular Tajik government struck a 1997 peace deal with
      the mostly Islamic opposition, but has continued to face opposition
      from some radical Islamic groups, such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir. [AP]


      A cold shoulder for Saddam's victims 22 Mar 03
      Middle East expert Sheri Laizer provides a dozen law firms with
      "expert witness" analysis of asylum claims. She says that senior
      political figures in Kurdistan never travel without bodyguards,
      fearful of attacks by fundamentalists who have killed officials of the
      two ruling parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Patriotic Union of
      Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). "The
      Islamists represent a highly militant strand of Islam," says Laizer.
      "Their goal is to create an Islamic state in Kurdistan. This is a
      serious ongoing situation, and one that threatens further violence.
      People against whom fatwas have been issued cannot safely go about
      their activities."


      Muslim Institutions Focus on Legal Matters 20 Mar 03
      Immigrant Issues Become Common Topic


      Laila's case needs to be reconsidered 19 Mar 03
      A number of human rights organizations and international anti-violence
      organizations have recently expressed their resentment over Laila
      Aesha, a Yemeni woman who was sentenced to death by throwing stones at
      her in public after being found of committing adultery. A number of
      human rights organizations told Attaggmo'a newspaper last week that
      the final decision against Laila has ignored a number of facts
      regarding her case. "We strictly adhere to the society's values and
      the justice of Sharia, (Islamic Law), but the final decision against
      Laila is unfair and will not be accepted by those who have a bit of
      conscience," the paper said.

      Those organizations have demanded the president to interfere
      immediately considering the case as unfair. "She fell as a victim to
      adultery before even being 16 years old. She has been abandoned by her
      husband for about two year," the paper said. A judicial source told
      Attaggmo'a that Laila's case hasn't gained a legal stance and that her
      case has been unfairly finalized. "She wasn't offered the opportunity
      to speak up and confess or even to speak about the conditions she was
      exposed to," the source said.


      An Assessment Of The Threat From Al Qaeda in 2003 24 Mar 03
      US policies towards the Middle East, especially the unilateral US
      invasion of Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian issue, will strengthen
      support for Islamism, Islamist political parties and terrorist groups.
      US's skewed foreign policy will continue to pose a significant
      terrorist threat to Western interests both at home and overseas. In
      many countries, Islamism will move from the periphery to the center,
      making it difficult for many governments to openly support the US-led
      "war against terrorism." With support for Islamism rising, Islamists
      will campaign either politically or violently or both in Turkey,
      Pakistan, Indonesia, and other emerging democracies. In addition to
      well-organized groups, individual terrorists will mount operations,
      similar to the shooting at the El Al counter at the Los Angeles
      Airport on America's Independence Day 2002. With more news in the
      media about Islam, the Muslim public will become more aware of Islam.
      The number of Muslims directly supporting violence will remain very
      small but there will be more support for a Muslim way of life,
      especially the implementation of Sharia laws. Furthermore, the need to
      wage jihad in support of their suffering brethren will rise among
      politicized and radicalized segments of the Muslims.


      Can a credit card ever be Halal? 30 Mar 03
      [..] Article originally published by Banker Middle East 30-Mar-03

      [comment] Al Azhar's fatwa on fixed rate of return 23 Mar 03
      I have been asked to comment on a recent fatwa (religious edict)
      issued by the Islamic Research Council of Al Azhar, Cairo, declaring a
      prefixed rate of return on deposits permissible under Sharia.
      It all started when somebody recently posed the following question to
      Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, chief of Al Azhar: "The customers of
      AIECB (a Cairo bank) offer their money and savings to the bank which
      utilises and invests them into its legal transactions against a
      prefixed rate of return for an agreed upon period. Kindly advise
      Sharia judgment on this type of dealing by the bank."

      Sheikh Tantawi referred the question to the Islamic Research Council
      of Al Azhar for their study and views. The council came up with the
      following opinion, which was endorsed by Sheikh Tantawi, giving it the
      'fatwa' status:

      "Those who deal with AIECB, or any other bank for that matter, and
      offer their savings to the bank so that the bank will act as their
      agent in investing them on wakala (agency) basis in its legal
      transactions against a profit given to them which is fixed in advance
      for periods agreed upon with the customers. This dealing in this form
      is halal and there is no ambiguity in it.

      Because there is no text in the Holy Quran or explanation in the Sunna
      which prohibits the dealing where the profit or return is fixed in
      advance, provided that both parties are contented with this type of
      The fatwa is misleading on various counts. First of all, the
      questioner had not mentioned that the bank accepts the funds on wakala
      basis whereas the council members assumed it to be that way.

      Second, it did not specify the nature and the modus operandi of AIECB
      whether it is an Islamic financial institution or a conventional one.
      Who are its depositors and where does it invest their funds? As such,
      the council should have sought more information from the questioner
      before forming an opinion.

      Furthermore, whereas the question was restricted to a particular bank,
      the opinion given by the council covered all banks in general,
      irrespective of their structure and nature of operation being Islamic
      or conventional. As per my knowledge and research, no conventional
      bank in Egypt operates on wakala basis.
      This element of risk is absent in a conventional bank where the
      depositors are not inclined to share bank's losses and expect a
      pre-agreed return along with the invested amount, irrespective of the
      outcome of deployment of their funds by the bank. Similarly, the bank
      does not share losses with borrowers and expects to recover full
      amount lent together with compound interest.

      The peculiar role of agent or Wakeel is prerogative of an Islamic bank
      and therefore assumption by the council that all banks act as agent in
      itself is inconsistent to the laws and practices of the conventional
      banking system.
      To the contrary, in an Islamic bank the legal transactions will
      represent where bank plays active role in buying, selling, owning and
      leasing of commodities, vehicles, vessels, aircraft, properties and
      any other goods or assets not disallowed by Sharia.
      Another aspect distancing conventional banks from the Islamic banking
      practices is that Islamic banks levy wakala fee on depositors for
      handling their funds. Conventional banks do not have any such
      practice. Islamic banks are also required to maintain complete record
      of investment transactions for examination by the depositors, a
      practice non-existent in conventional banks.

      Council has also reasoned that such transactions are halal if both
      parties are satisfied at the arrangement. In Sharia, mere satisfaction
      by the parties to an arrangement does not make a transaction halal
      (allowable) or haram (forbidden).

      There are recognised principles in Sharia to distinguish whether a
      transaction is do-able or forbidden. In addition, Sharia requires its
      followers to avoid a financial transaction where there is slightest
      doubt that it may be repugnant to Islamic economic principles.

      In view of the above, the council's understanding of legal
      transactions is ambiguous and does not meet with the common practices
      and understanding of conventional banks.

      [USA] Middle East investors pour money into property 25 Mar 03
      Investors from the Middle East have poured money into the US real
      estate market as more investment vehicles that comply with Islamic
      law, or Shariah, have been created and marketed.

      Middle Eastern investors bought at least $1.18bn worth of US
      commercial real estate in 2002 - up significantly from the $263m
      acquired the year before, according to Real Capital Analytics, a real
      estate research firm. The value of the acquisitions was second only to
      that of German investors, who bought $3.9bn worth of property. In
      2002, the value of properties acquired by foreign investors was
      approximately $7.9bn.

      There are a number of challenges associated with Shariah-compliant
      investments along with signs of a shift in capital from the US to
      Europe, partly due to strained relations between the Middle East and
      the US.
      While that does not appear to be the case, the Treasury Department's
      Office of Foreign Assets Control list of "Specially Designated
      Nationals and Blocked Persons", comprising entities and individuals
      with whom Americans are barred from doing business, does raise some

      Isam Salah, a partner at King & Spalding and co-chairman of the law
      firm's Middle East-Islamic Finance Practice Group, said: "We've had
      many discussions with lenders, finance providers and with joint
      venture partners about how to satisfy their legitimate concerns that
      they are not inadvertently either providing financing to, indirectly,
      or entering into a joint venture with, indirectly, people who are on
      these prohibited lists."
      In the mid-1990s, banks and investment firms started looking into
      establishing Shariah-compliant real estate funds that could invest in
      the US. The first wave of investment was in stabilised multi-family
      projects. Tenants were usually not involved in prohibited activities
      and the typical residential lease was generally Shariah-compliant. The
      ijara, or Shariah-compliant lease, allocates certain responsibilities
      to the property owner, not the tenant.

      Islamic investors are now increasingly looking at industrial and
      commercial properties as well as development projects. The first
      Shariah-compliant investment in a development project was in June 2000
      at Maconda Park in Austin, Texas.

      "The difficulty is not only complying with Shariah but doing it in a
      way so that a bank credit committee in the US, which is subject to
      much greater strictures and regulatory constraints, can approve that
      kind of financing," said Michael McMillen, a partner at King &
      Spalding and a member of the firm's Islamic Finance and Investment
      Practice Group. The success of the Maconda financing structure
      provided the impetus for other investment funds to focus on
      construction projects.
      Curiously, there are no Shariah-compliant real estate funds registered
      in the US - despite its sizeable Muslim population, estimated at 6-7m.
      The US retail investor who wants to invest in Shariah-compliant real
      estate is left without recourse, though home mortgages that conform
      with Islamic law are available.

      [UK] Bank to tap into Muslim market with new service 20 Mar 03
      Banking giant HSBC said it planned to launch new services aimed at
      Britain's 1.6 million Muslims, whose religion bans interest payments.
      Analysts said it was a major step toward building up a global Islamic
      banking business.

      The London-based bank, the world's second biggest by market value, is
      expanding into Islamic finance as part of its global growth strategy
      and at a time when war in Iraq is ratcheting up tension between
      Islamic and Western nations. Providing finance that conforms to the
      beliefs of the world's 1.25 billion Muslims is a roughly £130 billion
      industry, HSBC's chief executive of Islamic finance, Iqbal Khan, said.

      [Malaysia] Challenges and growth of Islamic debt markets
      .. 24 Mar 03
      In a niche mainstream financial industry, Islamic debt instruments
      account for a large proportion of the private debt securities (PDS)
      market. In the last 6 years, the composition of Islamic fixed-rate
      securities grew unabated and increased in significance.

      Demand for Islamic debt instruments, which accounted for only 7% of
      total bonds raised in 1999 grew to 25% in 2000 and subsequently to 36%
      in 2001, primarily due to investor awareness of alternative funding
      sources, i.e. Islamic instruments and the increased number of Islamic
      funds launched over the years.

      No fewer than 60% of all Malaysian domestic bonds are now
      Syariah-compliant, especially the larger issues, and this proportion
      continues to grow.

      The result is that Malaysia's Islamic financial landscape has advanced
      in terms of diversity of instruments and its modernity, as well as
      boasts a dual banking model, whereby a developing Islamic financial
      system exists in parallel to the conventional banking system.

      To chart the growth of Islamic fixed-income securities, approximately
      RM33.5bil worth of Islamic bonds were issued in the last 5 years. Of
      this amount, RM15.8bil (or 47%) were issued to fund infrastructural
      activities comprising power generation, water supply, bridges, roads
      and ports.

      The Al-Bai Bithaman Ajil ("ABBA") structure has been the preferred
      choice to finance such projects with long gestation periods. Under
      this principle, the financier purchases an asset from the issuer and
      sells it back to the same party at a premium.

      Besides ABBA, another popular Islamic PDS tool is the Murabahah
      concept which caters for short- to medium-term requirements. Other
      Islamic concepts available to the market include Istisna, Ijarah,
      Mudharabah and Musyarakah.

      [Malaysia] Petronas Fertiliser sells Islamic bonds 20 Mar 03
      Malaysia's Petronas Fertiliser (Kedah) Sdn Bhd, a unit of state oil
      giant Petroliam Nasional Bhd, said on Friday it sold 750 million
      ringgit (US $197 million) of Islamic bonds. The company said in a
      statement the proceeds would be used to refinance part of its
      shareholder's loan. The Islamic bonds, rated AAA by Malaysian Rating
      Corp Bhd, were issued in 10 series with tenures of one to 10 years.

      [UAE] AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Business Briefs
      .. 27 Mar 03
      The USD 1.2bn financing for Abu Dhabi's fourth independent water and
      power project should be closed in early July, reported Gulf News.
      Equity is set at USD 440m and the debt element will include
      traditional and Islamic financing. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank will arrange
      the USD 250m Islamic tranche. Gulf International Bank, HSBC, National
      Bank of Abu Dhabi, First Gulf Bank, West LB, Sumitomo, Mitsui and ING
      will provide the balance.

      [Bahrain] BMA launches Islamic commodity instrument initiative
      .. 23 Mar 03
      The Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA) is to begin dealing in Islamically
      structured commodity instruments. Short-term commodity transactions
      have been developed with the Kingdom's Islamic banking industry.

      The initiative is the product of mutual cooperation between BMA and
      Shamil Bank of Bahrain. The transactions have been structured in such
      a way as to allow BMA to engage in commodity contracts through Islamic

      Pakistan emulates Malaysia's Islamic banking 31 Mar 03
      Aurangzeb was responding to a Business Times' query via an e-mail on
      several articles posted on the Internet last year which said that
      Pakistan was implementing the Islamic banking system based on
      Malaysia's model. Pakistan's The Nation on May 16 last year said the
      country was likely to introduce in its 2003 Budget an Islamic banking
      system based on the Malaysian model, while continuing with its
      conventional banking system.

      "As the Government had failed to develop an Islamic financial system
      alternative to the interest-based banking, it would be going for a
      parallel experience of Malaysian model with Islamic financial
      institutions and instruments.

      "If the Supreme Court permits the Government to go for a parallel
      Islamic financial system, the Government would be opening Islamic
      banking windows in the existing banks in addition to the launch of an
      Islamic bank," The Nation said, quoting Pakistan government sources.

      [*] Copyright: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 -
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      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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