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Sharia News Watch 45

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 45 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] all editions:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2003
      Sharia News Watch 45 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*]
      all editions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/
      Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


      Afghan Chief Justice Under Scrutiny 03 Apr 03
      The qualifications of the conservative chief justice of the supreme
      court, Fazil Hadi Shinwari, are being questioned in the wake of his
      controversial ban on cable television.

      Shinwari does not appear to meet the requirements for the post set out
      by the 1964 constitution, which is the law of the land under the Bonn
      Agreement. He is over the age limit of 60 and has not received an
      education in secular law. But Shinwari, speaking to IWPR in a rare
      interview, defended his recent decision and insisted that he has the
      right to continue to hold his post.

      "I think the knowledge I have in Islamic studies and principles is
      enough for a chief justice," he said. "I will never accept and am not
      obliged to learn any law or regulation opposing Islamic law." But he
      acknowledged that "there are some foreign rules and regulations that
      are similar to Islamic laws, such as human rights, and I will never
      oppose them".
      Dr Tariq Rishad agreed. "The chief justice should know Islamic and
      international laws and principles thoroughly in order to find a
      mutually acceptable path between the two," he said. Defending his
      decisions, Shinwari told IWPR, "I will never ignore Islamic principles
      for the sake of anyone. And I would oppose anything that leads society
      to non-Islamic actions." He said he decided to ban cable television
      after investigating complaints by several people about its un-Islamic
      content, which included Indian movies and western programmes that
      showed women in scanty clothes.

      [The deputy minister of information and culture, Abdul Hameed] Mubarez
      suggested that under the 1964 constitution, Shinwari had no right to
      issue the ban; that the proper procedure would have been to refer the
      matter to the president who would then have authorised the information
      and culture ministry to investigate it.

      Mubarez insisted that not all cable and satellite programme were
      against Islam; that most were educational and recreational and
      benefited the younger generation. " It necessary that the youth know
      about the outside world and that their minds develop," he said.


      Extra-judicial killings, death in custody double 02 Apr 03
      Security forces committed a number of extra-judicial killings, and
      deaths in custody more than doubled from 2001, the [US] State
      Department said in its Human Rights Report 2002 released on March 31.
      The HR report pointed out that the two major political parties often
      employed violence, causing deaths and numerous injuries. Quoting press
      reports, the HR report mentioned that vigilante justice resulted in
      numerous killings. Police routinely used torture, beatings, and other
      forms of abuse while interrogating suspects and frequently beat
      demonstrators. The Government rarely punished persons responsible for
      torture or unlawful deaths. Prison conditions were extremely poor.
      The Constitution prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading
      punishment; however, police routinely employed physical and
      psychological torture and other abuse during arrests and
      interrogations. Torture may consist of threats and beatings, and the
      use of electric shock.
      Police have been known to rape women not in custody, as well. One
      human rights organisation documented seven cases of rape and, during
      the first 6 months of the year, six cases of attempted rape by law
      enforcement officials against women not in custody.

      In addition, after women reported that they were raped or involved in
      family disputes, they frequently were detained in "safe custody" (in
      reality, confined in jail cells) where they endured poor conditions
      and were sometimes abused and raped. This year the Government began
      transferring women in safe custody to vagrant homes or NGO-run
      shelters, where available.
      Human rights groups and press reports indicated that vigilantism
      against women for perceived moral transgressions occurred in rural
      areas, often under a fatwa (a proclamation from an Islamic leader) and
      included punishments such as whipping. One human rights organisation
      recorded 32 such fatwa cases during the year.
      Ruling party MPs filed separate criminal libel suits against several
      newspapers after articles were published that the politicians viewed
      as false and defamatory. The journalists in all cases received
      anticipatory bail from the courts, and none of the cases moved to
      trial. Sedition charges remained pending, and those persons accused
      remained on bail.


      Courts accept Islamic law 03 Apr 03
      More and more divorce settlements between immigrants are being decided
      by Islamic law, even though it discriminates against women Judges are
      today often using Islamic law in divorce cases involving refugees and
      immigrants, in full knowledge that Islamic sharia legislation is at
      odds with Danish principles of male/female equality.

      Contrary to Danish legislation, women under Islamic law cannot be
      granted any of the couple's joint property after a divorce. Despite
      this, Danish judges continue to use a 70-year-old legal ruling which
      states that it's the law of the country where the husband was resident
      at the time of marriage that is relevant when the couple file for divorce.

      Although the ruling was formulated at the time as an attempt to
      protect Danish women from being subjected to a different
      interpretation of the law if their spouses relocated to another
      country, leading lawyer Jens Jørgen Viuff, one of the few Danish legal
      experts to have specialised in Islamic law, claimed that it often has
      the opposite effect today.

      'If an Iranian woman gets a divorce from her Iranian husband in this
      country, she wouldn't be able to share the couple's property in the
      same way as a Danish woman would,' said Viuff. 'However, under Islamic
      law, couples are forced to abide by a 'marriage contract' that often
      requires the husband to pay a substantial amount of money to his
      spouse if they get divorced. The question is whether a Danish court
      would be able to help the woman collect the money.


      Suicide Attacks on Invading Forces Permitted: Tantawi 04 Apr 03
      Suicide attacks on the US-led coalition in Iraq are "permitted under
      (Islamic) religious law," the sheikh of Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni
      Muslim spiritual authority, Muhammad Sayed Tantawi, said here
      yesterday. "Martyr operations against the invading forces are
      permitted under religious law," he said, quoted by the official MENA
      news agency. Tantawi described the invasion of Iraq to oust the regime
      of Saddam Hussein as "an unjust aggression".

      "Whoever attacks others, spilling blood, harming the other's honor and
      land is a terrorist," he added, referring to the US-led coalition.
      Tantawi, however, said the US-led war was not a crusade against Islam
      since many Christian nations and religious leaders, including Pope
      John Paul II, have opposed it. He also indirectly criticized the Iraqi
      and the Kuwaiti leaders.
      On March 27, Syria's Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Kaftaro, the country's
      top Muslim religious authority, called for suicide bombings against US
      and British troops in Iraq. Islam universally bans suicide as a crime
      against oneself but it allows it in defense of Muslims and their land,
      and celebrates as "martyrs" those who make the sacrifice. There have
      been two suicide attacks against the invading forces since the war
      began on March 20. One of them killed four US soldiers and the second
      three others, according to the US military.

      Tantawi gave his blessing to volunteers wishing to help Iraqis in the
      war against US and British forces. Tantawi said the war on Iraq was an
      attack on all Arab countries. "Whoever wants to go to Iraq to support
      the Iraqi people, the door is open, and I say the door for jihad (holy
      struggle) is open until the day of judgment," Tantawi told a news


      [Ayodhya] History overtaken by politics 01 Apr 03
      An interview with Professor Irfan Habib, the former chairman of the
      Indian Council of Historical Research, was published in The Indian
      Express on March 12, with the headline ``Digging won't resolve Ayodhya
      dispute''. A historian of the repute of Irfan Habib would be expected
      to talk about possible historic finds on excavation of the site rather
      than resolution of Ayodhya dispute.

      His apprehension is that ``such a post facto rationalisation of what
      was done on December 6, 1992, would place in jeopardy the fate of
      numerous historical monuments all over the country.'' Such
      apprehension is rather unfounded for two reasons.
      Secondly, excavation is pertinent in the context of the observation by
      leaders like Syed Shahabuddin that if it was proved that the Babri
      masjid had been built after demolishing the Ramjanmabhoomi mandir,
      then a mosque on such usurped land deserved to be destroyed in
      conformity with the tenets of the Shariat.


      Top Iraqi clergy blast "immoral" war against Iraq 01 Apr 03
      Top clerics from Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority slammed the US-led
      invasion as "unjust and immoral" even as they expressed eagerness to
      return home from exile as soon as President Saddam Hussein's regime
      was overthrown.

      "Our theological school considers that any collaboration with the
      United States is sacrilegious even if it involves fighting Saddam's
      regime," Ayatollah Mohammad Hadi al-Razi told AFP to approval from
      fellow exiles in Iran's main clerical centre.
      Forced into exile by Saddam25 years ago, the four leading clerics
      interviewed by AFP opened an Iraqi seminary in exile in this city
      south of Tehran, which now boasts some 3, 000students.
      "We have the same views as the Shiite religious leaders in Najaf,
      except that they can't say anything about the crimes of Saddam," he
      said. As for plans for post-war Iraq, the four clerics stressed the
      next Iraqi government should apply sharia, or Islamic law, as in Iran.
      The four said they were looking forward to reviving the historic
      seminaries and theological schools in Iraq's holy cities of Najaf and
      Karbala, the main centres of pilgrimage for Shiite Muslims.
      Tehran hosts Iraq's main Shiite opposition group -- the Supreme
      Assembly for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI) -- as well as its
      armed wing, the Badr Brigade, estimated to have some 10,000 to 15,000 men.


      In Shiite Slums, Focus Is on Survival, Not Revolt 30 Mar 03
      In recent days, a fatwa, or religious decree, signed by five senior
      Shiite clerics called on followers to remain loyal to the government
      and submissive in a time of war. Shiite Muslims, who make up about 60
      percent of Iraq's 23 million people, have been handed a role crucial
      to Hussein's staying power, with British forces besieging Basra and
      U.S. forces farther north at or around two other Shiite centers, 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
      Shiite Muslims in Baghdad.

      From liberation war to jihad 02 Apr 03
      Ali Sistani, the Marja of Najaf, a model of religious rectitude, has
      issued a fatwa according to which jihad is now an obligation for
      Shi'ites. In Baghdad, Sheikh Abdel Karim Biarah, the Grand Mufti of
      Iraq, issued a similar fatwa for Sunnis.
      By hyping the jihad to unparalleled levels in modern Iraq, the Ba'ath
      Party is managing to implicate practically the whole population in the
      resistance. But the party hasn't forgotten more mundane aspects of

      [Najaf] March to mosque provokes worst fears 04 Apr 03
      Commanders of the 101st Airborne Division went seeking the crucial
      support of one of Iraq's leading holy men, but instead riled an angry
      crowd that mistakenly thought soldiers were trying to capture the
      ayatollah or attack his mosque, one of the most sacred sites in Islam.
      If the Americans continued working well with citizens for two more
      days, Sistani's missive said, he would issue a fatwa -- a religious
      and legal decree -- condoning the U.S. mission here and encouraging
      Iraqis to actively cooperate.


      Arabic 'Crimes of War' text released online 01 Apr 03
      An Arabic edition of the book "Crimes of War: What the Public Should
      Know" was released on the Internet to "assist the Arab media and
      public in monitoring the conduct of both sides in the US-led invasion
      of Iraq," said the book's editor Monday.

      The online Arabic edition — www.crimesofwar.org/arabic — was edited by
      local journalist Daoud Kuttab and features an introduction by
      Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi. Georges Abi Saab, an honorary
      professor of law at Cairo University, provided legal advice.

      The English version, first published in 1991 and edited by Roy Gutman
      and David Rieff, contains articles and legal analysis by a number of
      renowned journalists tackling the issue of war crimes.
      "We wanted to have material available to the public to help them
      differentiate between crimes of war as specified by International
      Humanitarian Law and simply war activities," said Kuttab. "Crimes of
      War" is also available in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Hungarian,
      Russian and Chinese. [English: http://www.crimesofwar.org/ ]

      Jordan king signals pro-Iraq public shift 03 Apr 03
      Jordan's King Abdullah, an ally of Washington, has responded to
      mounting domestic pressure by condemning the U.S.-led war on Iraq as
      an "invasion" and describing Iraqi civilians killed in the war as
      Jordan's largest political party the Islamic Acton Front has also
      issued a religious edict (fatwa) saying the government's decision to
      station U.S. troops was "one of the gravest sins".


      Fear of Saddam cements Kuwait's polarized society 02 Apr 03
      Most Kuwaitis want to see the U.S.-led coalition succeed in removing
      Saddam, but they also suspect his departure would bring to the fore
      divergences in their own country between powerful Islamists and
      Western-oriented liberals.
      Gradually expanding a campaign to turn the oil-producing state into a
      fully Islamic society, Islamists have won increased gender segregation
      in education, secured early retirement for women to shorten their
      working lives outside the home, won tacit government tolerance of an
      expansion of private religious charities overseas and blocked a move
      to give women the vote.
      Many Islamists fear a U.S. victory against Iraq may boost liberal
      trends and jeopardise their traditional values.
      It is unsettling to many Islamists to see some young people abandoning
      their culture, like the wearing by men of flowing robes and
      headdresses, even if only temporarily. Kuwaiti youths' flirtation with
      Western lifestyles tends to end with marriage and the acquisition of a
      government job.
      Hamed and his friends represent the "Hadhars", the more Westernised
      population of Kuwait. At the other extreme are conservative bedouins
      who tend to live outside the city centre. Their women fully cover
      themselves in public, revealing only their eyes, and they do not mix
      with men to whom they are not related.

      Running grassroots public support and with their influence expanding
      in parliament, the Islamists have waged an intensive campaign to
      enforce their strict interpretation of sharia law, and are making some

      Moving in the footsteps of Iran and Saudi Arabia, some call for a
      religious police force to fight "social corruption" and enforce
      Islamic values.
      Kuwait's fundamentalists are a far cry from those across the Gulf in
      Iran or their militant co-religionists in Algeria. Islamic leaders say
      they have no wish to overthrow the existing order, only to make it
      more Islamic. Many are confident of success.


      War in Iraq illegal, unjustified, Kyrgyz religious figure 30 Mar 03
      .. Text of report entitled "A step towards reconciliation is needed"
      by Yuriy Aleksandrov in Kyrgyz newspaper Vecherniy Bishkek web site
      on 26 March. [BBC Monitoring Central Asia]
      The faithful in [eastern] Issyk-Kul Region, regardless of their
      confession, condemn the military actions unleashed by the anti-Iraq
      coalition. A Vecherniy Bishkek correspondent asked Shakir Mamatov,
      kazy [a judge according to the Islamic Shari'ah law] of the region, to
      express his point of view on this issue.

      [Mamatov] On behalf of all the Muslims of our region I declare with
      full responsibility that this war is absolutely illegal and there is
      no justification for it. It is virtually being conducted against the
      whole Iraqi people.
      The only correct way in the present critical situation is to stop the
      aggression as soon as possible and start [peace] talks. This would be
      a good deed.


      Bar backs women syariah judges 29 Mar 03
      The Bar Council expressed support for the Government's recent decision
      to allow the appointment of women syariah court judges. In a statement
      released here today, chairman Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari said the decision
      was a positive move by the executive branch of the Government on the
      issue of gender discrimination, which is prohibited under the recently
      ammended Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution. [New Straits Times]

      Fund denies fatwa limiting service charges 28 Mar 03
      The National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) has denied that the
      National Fatwa Council has issued a decree saying that the service
      charges imposed on student loans should not exceed one per cent.
      The decision reads: "Under Syariah, PTPTN is allowed to impose service
      charges calculated accordingly on loans disbursed to students."


      [Jigawa] I'm not embarrassed by Sharia courts' death penalties
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200304040582.html 04 Apr 03
      [first and current Chief Judge of Jigawa State Justice Abubakar:]
      Commenting on the application of Sharia legal system in the Northern
      part of the country, he said there was nothing wrong sentencing
      convicts of offence like adultery to death, after all "drug pushing
      was made a capital offence in this country at a time"
      Civil Sharia legal system has been with us for long and it is still
      existing with us today. But at the inception of this administration,
      there were pressures from our people for the extension of the Sharia
      legal system to cover the criminal aspect of their lives just because
      what constitutes offence under Sharia can not be punished under our
      written laws which is the constitution. So, since the House of
      Assembly has powers to make laws, they now incorporated the criminal
      aspect of it into the Sharia legal system with the procedure for
      trying anybody caught flouting the laws. This has been fully in
      operation since January 2000 till date and we don't have any problem
      in the state.
      Before this new dispensation, all the area courts which were applying
      both the Sharia civil law and the penal procedure court were directly
      under the chief judge. But under the new dispensation, there was a
      creation of a special statute for Sharia in respect of criminal
      matters, taking away the jurisdiction of the chief judge on its
      operation, vesting same in the Grand Khadi.
      Q: Recently, some Sharia courts in the North were clamping death
      sentences on convicts of offences like adultery which many human
      rights activists nationwide and international community condemned. As
      a Muslim and judge of a regular court, would you say you are
      comfortable with these judgments?

      A: I am comfortable with them. I am in no way embarrassed because for
      every Muslim, sovereignity under Islamic laws is directly from God. No
      Muslim can feel embarrassed. It is the power of the state House of
      Assembly to make laws for the progress, peace and prosperity of the
      state. It is a constitutional power. Nothing stops the legislature
      from creating an offence which is capital like robbery. After all, at
      a time in this country, drug pushing was made a capital offence in
      this country. So, why not adultery? I don't feel embarrassed as a
      Muslim. Besides, it is the wish of the people in the state to operate
      Sharia legal system and everybody is happy with its application.
      Our main problem in the Jigawa State judiciary is lack of building.
      Most of our courts are in temporary sites, rented houses, and this is
      not helping matters at all.
      Before the 1999 constitution, we have no problem with the payment of
      salary and allowances. Our problem was mainly with regards to the
      capital expenditure and now that it had been made clear through the
      Supreme Court judgement that the Federal Government is not responsible
      for the capital expenditure of the state judiciary, we have to go back
      to state for funding. And most of our courts are in temporary sites,
      no houses. We have to plead with both the legislature and the
      executive arms of government to make good budgetary allocation to the
      judiciary for building of more courts and provision of accommodation
      for the judges. This would definitely enhance the integrity of the
      judiciary. It is one of the fundamental principles of the Sharia that
      judges should be looked after, they should not go cap in hands seeking
      for money to do their job.


      SBP wants taxes on PLS financing withdrawn 03 Apr 03
      The State Bank of Pakistan has approached the Central Board of Revenue
      pleading with it to withdraw all corporate taxes on PLS financing
      which the bank argues is "actually double taxation" on the business
      transactions carried out by banks, DFIs and leasing companies, banking
      sources disclosed on Wednesday.
      Sources said a newly established Islamic bank recently approached both
      the central bank and the ministry of finance requesting for change in
      the taxation laws and regulations. No serious trade or industrial
      financing would be possible while complying with Sharia without making
      changes to taxation laws. Investors do not want to engage in
      wranglings with tax authorities, they observed.

      Pakistani Court Reverses Christian Case 22 Mar 03
      An appeals court has ordered the release of two Christians in eastern
      Pakistan who were sentenced to life in prison for allegedly insulting
      Islam's Prophet Mohammed, a Christian activist said Saturday.

      The Lahore High Court overturned a lower court's conviction of the
      Christians, brothers Rasheed and Saleem Nazir, in a ruling Friday,
      said Joseph Francis, head of the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and
      Settlement. The center represented the brothers in their appeal.

      The Nazirs were convicted three years ago by a court in the town of
      Pasrur, about 90 miles southwest of Lahore. Police had charged them
      with blasphemy on the basis of a complaint by a Muslim ice cream
      vendor who had argued with them, according to Francis.

      The appeals court ruled there was insufficient evidence for the
      conviction. Under Pakistani Islamic law, the word of a Muslim accuser
      is all that is needed to prosecute a non-Muslim on blasphemy charges,
      which can carry the death penalty.
      "The law has frequently been abused to imprison people on grounds of
      religious enmity, but also has proved an easy tool to have people
      imprisoned when the real motives are business rivalry or land issues,"
      the human rights group [Amnesty International] said

      Pakistani Women in a Changing Society
      Among the new 'Islamic' laws that were enacted by the Zia regime was a
      change in the law of evidence, enacted in October 1984, purportedly to
      bring the existing law of evidence in line with prescriptions of
      Islam. Except in the case of the Hudood Ordinances of 1979
      (prescribing 'Islamic' punishments) which laid down their own special
      rules of evidence for hadd offences, the new law of evidence provided
      that two male witnesses or in the absence of two male witnesses one
      male and one female witness would be required to prove a crime. This
      law as well as other proposed legislation, equated one man to two
      women. This was so, for example, in the proposed new laws of Qisas and
      Diyat which provided for financial compensation to be given to the
      injured party by an accused in lieu of punishment in cases of murder
      or bodily injury, it being held that in such cases the 'Islamic'
      remedy lay not in punishment of the offender but in compensation to be
      paid to the victim or his family. This law was proposed by the Council
      of Islamic Ideology and passed by the Majlis-e-Shoora (Zia's
      legislative institutions). The compensation in the case of women was
      to be fixed at half that for men. Such laws that put the worth of a
      women at half that of a man, were a powerfully symbolic factor that
      set the women's movement into action.
      The Zia regime introduced Hudood Ordinances purportedly to lay down
      'Islamic' punishments for certain crimes. These were barbaric
      punishments such as cutting off of hands and stoning to death. There
      has been some controversy in the country whether these are truly
      Islamic prescriptions. That, as such, is not a matter that we need to
      pursue here except to say that even where these were not actually
      carried out in all cases, they carried a symbolic charge and provided
      a rallying point to mullahs who demanded their full implementation.
      Public lashings however, were carried out before vast crowds and TV
      cameras, quite savagely - members of the crowd urging the
      'executioners' to hit 'the bastards' even harder. These were
      incredibly degrading sights to watch. The law that concerns us here
      most directly, however, is the Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance
      of February 1979. This Ordinance provided a new basis, as we shall
      see, for intimidation and terrorisation of women by husbands or male
      relatives, especially amongst the urban poor, but not amongst them
      alone. Ironically, the Ordinance has also created a situation in which
      women victims of rape dare not even complain about the sexual violence
      done to them for fear of penalties that they themselves invite under
      this iniquitous law, while the culprits go Scot free because of its
      extra-ordinary provisions.

      The Ordinance provides new weapons to men against women by virtue of
      making Zina i.e. adultery and fornication, crimes against the state,
      cognisable offences for which the police can take action. Previously
      that was not the case, for then adultery was a matter of personal
      offence against the husband by the male party to adultery and
      extra-marital sex was not a penal offence at all. Now where a wife
      leaves her husband, it has become all too easy for the husband to go
      to the police and file a complaint against her for committing zina
      whereupon the wife is arrested and jailed. Given police corruption and
      the interminable length of time that it takes for such cases to be
      adjudicated by courts of law (often years) the woman is effectively
      punished without even going through the due process of law. The
      husband can bail the wife out of jail. But when that happens. she is
      totally at his mercy. for he would threaten to withdraw bail which
      would return her to prison. Thus the woman's position is made worse
      than that of a slave. According to Asma Jahangir, a distinguished
      Pakistani woman lawyer and Secretary of the Human Rights Commission of
      Pakistan: 'it has now become common for husbands to file complaints of
      Zina against wives wanting separation. There are hundreds of cases
      every year where women are arrested for Zina on complaints filed by
      husbands' (SHE. March 1989: 81). It is likewise in cases of elopement,
      where a father refuses permission to his daughter to marry the man of
      her choice. The father brings charges of 'abduction' in such cases and
      the law presumes zina unless the couple can prove lawful nikah or
      marriage according to Islam.

      The Zina Ordinance has created a 'Catch 22' situation for women
      victims of rape. This arises from the fact that the ordinance brings
      both adultery and fornication (zina) on the one hand and rape
      (zina-bil-jabr) on the other, under a single law in a manner that is
      unsafe. Secondly, the problem arises from the type of admissible
      evidence that is prescribed under the Ordinance. The offence of rape
      is defined as sexual intercourse against the will and/or without the
      consent of the victim or with consent if the consent has been obtained
      under fear of death or hurt. It also includes under the category of
      rape sexual intercourse with consent of the victim where the offender
      knows that the consent is given by the victim because she (or he)
      believes that she (or he) is validly married to the offender although
      the offender knows that they are not.

      The catch in this law, that affects women victims of rape cruelly, is
      the specification of the type of evidence that is admissible for
      hadood or 'Islamic' punishment for zina and zina-bil-jabr which is
      stoning to death (under certain conditions lesser punishments called
      tazir would apply). The evidence required is either a confession on
      the part of the accused (for an unmarried woman pregnancy is
      self-evident proof) or the testimony of 'at least four Muslim adult
      male witnesses about whom the Court is satisfied ... that they are
      truthful persons and abstain from major sins ... (who) give evidence
      as eye-witnesses of the act of penetration necessary for the offence.'
      This is a type of evidence that is most unlikely to be found except
      perhaps in the vast open spaces of the Arabian desert.

      Pakistani Children Add School to Workday 30 Mar 03
      Under Pakistan's constitution, every child up to age 16 has the right
      to an education, but widespread poverty, weak labor laws, weak
      enforcement of the laws, a large population of unskilled Afghan
      refugees and a woefully inadequate public school system have all
      contributed to making Pakistan a major violator of international bans
      on child labor. At least 4 million children are believed to work
      nationwide, and some groups put the number far higher.

      The country's huge carpet-weaving industry alone employs hundreds of
      thousands of school-age boys and girls -- docile, nimble-fingered and
      cheap. International organizations including Amnesty International and
      UNICEF have published reports criticizing Pakistan's profitable carpet
      export trade and demanding government reforms.

      The shortage of affordable public schools has added to another
      Pakistani phenomenon: the rapid growth of tuition-free Islamic
      academies, some of which are led by the radical Muslim groups that
      gave rise to the extremist Taliban movement in Afghanistan and preach
      violence in the name of religion. In 1971 there were only about
      180,000 students studying at 900 Koranic schools nationwide; today
      there are about 7,000 schools with 1 million pupils.

      An additional obstacle exists for girls. In many parts of Pakistan,
      including Peshawar and the surrounding North-West Frontier Province,
      conservative tribal custom frowns on educating girls. Many of them
      remain hidden away in their villages, toiling in fields or simple
      workshops, never learning to read or acquiring skills
      Actually, there is a way: an unorthodox but pragmatic program,
      operated by a nonprofit organization in Peshawar, in which working
      children are offered free schooling for two hours a day, with their
      employer's permission, as long as they hurry back to stitching sofas,
      repairing cars, baking bricks or weaving carpets afterward. The first
      Mashral Center for Working Children opened in Peshawar nine years ago.
      Now there are seven such schools with a total of 600 students.
      Since November, when a coalition of religious parties was elected to
      lead the provincial government, officials have been promoting the idea
      of education for both boys and girls as a basic Islamic right,
      pleasantly surprising critics who expected them to reinforce
      conservative tribal trends in the region.

      "Under Islam, every child should be educated and every parent should
      be responsible for his child's rights," said Mufti Ghulam ur Rahman,
      who heads the provincial Islamic Law Council. "We need to discourage
      child labor and spread education. If parents won't send their
      daughters to schools they believe are unfit, we need to have separate
      institutions. If there is no money, we need to use zakat [a Muslim
      charitable tithe] and convert mosques into schools."

      [NWFP] Shariat Council recommends appointment of assistant Qazi
      http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=20807 02 Apr 03
      NWFP Shariat Council has recommended for appointment of Assistant Qazi
      (Islamic Judge) from Ulema to assist the Qazis in the interpretation
      of Islamic jurisprudence for ensuring implementation of Islamic system
      of "Qaza (judicial system)" in letter and spirit in the provincially
      administered tribal areas.
      The recommendations said that officers who have been appointed Qazis
      mostly include civil judges, district and sessions judge and
      additional district and sessions judges. They are ignorant of Sharia
      injunctions related to Islamic system, as LLB has been set as their
      educational qualification for appointment as Qazis.

      The Sharia injunctions concerning Islamic system of Qaza are not
      included in the syllabus of the law colleges from where these Qazis
      had obtained three degrees. Therefore the idea of assistant Qazi has
      been presented keeping in view the difficulties of the Qazis.

      The knowledge of the Sharia injunctions is pre-requisite for the
      induction of Qazis. This condition can only be exempted if a scholar
      of Sharia laws assists Qazi.


      Palestinian clerics declare fatwa over Iraq 05 Apr 03
      "All Muslim scholars in Palestine declare a fatwa (edict) forbidding
      any Muslim to participate in that aggressive war, or even to lend the
      voracious invaders a hand," said the Al-Fatwa Supreme Council, an
      assembly of clerics from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

      Grand Mufti Ikrima Sabri, head of the Supreme Council, told Reuters:
      "We see that the continuous aggression against Iraq aims at stealing
      the oil of Iraq and not liberating the people of Iraq."


      Iraq War Sparks Jihad Debate in Saudi Arabia 01 Apr 03
      Soon after the Iraq war began, government-appointed clerics in Saudi
      Arabia appeared on state television and declared that it wasn't worth
      shedding Muslim blood by joining a holy war to protect Saddam Hussein
      and his "infidel" regime.
      Mohsen al-Awajy, an Islamic scholar who maintains close contact with
      extremists in the kingdom, said he has heard of hundreds who have gone
      to Iraq. But Jamal Khashoggi, the editor-in-chief of the Al-Watan
      newspaper said he did not believe the figure is that high.
      Fielding questions on a religious program hours after the war started
      on March 20, Saudi cleric Sheik Saud al-Funeisan warned youths not to
      listen to fatwas, or edicts, urging jihad issued by independent scholars.
      A small band of militant independent scholars have urged jihad,
      arguing that Iraqis should not be held accountable for the actions of
      their ruler.
      Khashoggi said such edicts by "Internet scholars" have influence only
      among a small audience of fundamentalists. A group of independent,
      less extremist scholars, who have nationwide followings, have
      denounced the war but not sanctioned jihad.

      Unjust War Must Stop, Says Haram Imam 28 Mar 03
      The imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah yesterday called for an
      immediate halt to the war on Iraq as people across the Gulf prayed for
      the victory of the Iraqi people against the US-British aggressors.

      "This unjust war must stop immediately. If it continues, it will only
      fuel hatred and conflicts" between nations, said Dr. Saleh ibn
      Abdullah Humaid, who is also chairman of the Shoura Council.

      Delivering his Friday sermon to more than 500,000 faithful thronging
      the large mosque complex, Sheikh Humaid urged the international
      community to stand by the Iraqi people. "Truth and justice demand that
      we stand by the Iraqi people," he added.

      U.S. cites China, Israel, Saudi Arabia for poor human rights
      .. 02 Apr 03
      Although the Saudi government has taken some measures to participate
      in human rights activities, such as allowing a visit by the U.N. Human
      Rights envoy, it continued to view its interpretation of Islamic law
      as its "sole source of guidance on human rights," and does not follow
      international standards on the issue, the report said. Accordingly,
      the government punished criminals according to its interpretation of
      Sharia law with methods considered torture by international standards.

      Behind The Veil: Women's Headscarves In School 04 Apr 03
      Formerly Jeddah Preparatory School had a policy of not allowing girls
      to wear the headcover. In Ramadhan of this past year a student named
      Lujain Mohammed Munir's father discovered that his daughter was
      required to remove her headscarf when entering the school. When he
      realized the school was adamant in their position, he pulled her from
      the school and changed her to Continental School where hair covering
      was allowed.

      The students were upset and gave reactions to the policy. One girl
      said, "It's horrible to make us uncover, especially when it was
      Ramadhan. They don't respect our feelings at all." Another 17 year old
      said, "It should be a personal choice. After all, it's your body and
      you will be asked about it by God."


      Syrians told to prepare for fight with U.S. 31 Mar 03
      On Sunday, Kuftaro took pains to explain the meaning behind a fatwa,
      or religious edict, issued Friday by his father, Sheikh Ahmad, the
      chief mufti of this predominantly Sunni Muslim nation for the past 38

      The edict, the first of its kind from such an influential religious
      leader in the region, said Muslim men and women were obliged to resist
      invading forces using any and all means available to them, including
      martyrdom operations.
      Said Salah Kuftaro: "This is not a war of religions but a war of
      colonization, and as such martyrdom operations are a legitimate right
      of the Iraqis and any other nation under attack. If the resistance of
      the French against Hitler was justified, then why not the resistance
      of the Iraqi people?"


      From the news weeklies 05 Apr 03
      In the New Statesman (April 7), Alex McBride reported on Somali
      immigrant communities in London, which have introduced a private
      system of sharia justice to resolve disputes - even those involving
      serious criminal offences - between the tightly knit clans that have
      settled in the capital. "To British eyes, this is a startling thing to
      have done - even ungrateful - but to a Somali it seems natural,
      because in Somalia even justice flows from the clan. Their courts,
      underpinned by sharia law and made up of elders from the clans of the
      wronged and the wrongdoer, can settle anything, including crime."

      What are the benefits of the Somali courts? "They keep young men out
      of jail and give the elders, who do not speak English well, some
      control over the young, just when they feel they have no role and no
      meaningful life."

      [Parliament] Halal and Shechita Slaughter 27 Mar 03
      That this House, while wanting to see every practical effort made to
      improve the welfare of farmed animals, also believes that freedom of
      religion is integral to a free society; recognises the importance of
      halal and shechita methods of slaughter to Britain's Muslim and Jewish
      communities; expresses concern that reported proposals, however
      well-intentioned, from the Farm Animal Welfare Council may impose
      unacceptable restrictions on religious freedom; and calls upon the
      Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to defend the
      liberty of religious minorities.

      [CIWF] The Welfare of Animals which are Subject to Religious Slaughter
      [..] March 1999

      It's Crusade Vs Jihad 26 Mar 03
      Now that the Crusade against Islam has been extended to the Muslims of
      Iraq, Muslims need to undergo a sobering reality check. Unfolding
      events since 911, seem to be revealing a number of messages, almost as
      an answer from Allah (swt) to confused Muslims.
      The tenth message is for all those that deny Jihad as the prescribed
      method of the creator to defeat Zulm or oppression, and choose secular
      methods instead. The more you deny Jihad, the more Allah (swt) brings
      the enemy around you neck, leaving you with Jihad as the only option.
      When Allah (swt) has declared the only way to fight oppression is
      Jihad why do you seek solutions elsewhere.

      "Fighting is mandatory for you although you dislike it, and it may be
      that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like
      something that is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know". Al
      Baqarah 216 [Jahangir Mohammed is Director of the centre for Muslim
      Affairs in the UK]

      The Sketch: Friendly piffle from a nice young man 26 Mar 03
      What would he do if the democratic system he has planned for Iraq
      produced a fundamentalist government based on sharia law?
      [Tony Blair] says it just won't happen. Why not? Because, he says:
      "People want to live under a broad-based government rather than trying
      to impose their will on other people." We listen to this friendly
      piffle because the Prime Minister is such a nice young man. He
      sincerely believes in what he is saying. He has values. He wants the
      best for people. Oh, and the moral case.


      The folly of 'liberating' Muslims 01 Apr 03
      President Bush insists we are "liberating" Iraq, but someone forgot to
      tell the Iraqi people.

      Forbidden Financing 06 Apr 03
      Last year, most of the 400 bank branches of HSBC in New York began
      offering an alternative mortgage product that costs no more than a
      traditional mortgage. Soon thereafter, lending giant Fannie Mae, the
      government-chartered corporation that helps finance home mortgages,
      pledged to invest $10 million in loans originated by Lariba.

      "Many American-Muslim families have stayed out of the housing market
      for years because they are not allowed by Islamic law to be charged
      interest," Yahia Abdul-Rahman, founder of American Finance House
      Lariba, said in a statement. He called the new funding from Fannie
      Mae, an "historic step in the development of non-interest-based

      Here's how many of the programs work: Instead of charging interest,
      an Islamic lender collects "rent," which is determined based on the
      sale price of the property and a fair market rent.

      Buyers who put a 20 percent down payment on their purchase would pay
      the company 80 percent of the rental price. But the homebuyers are not
      simply renting the property - any appreciation in value goes to the
      buyer, not the bank.

      The "rents" charged by the banks are generally comparable to current
      interest rates. And like interest charges, the rental payments are
      tax-deductible. The house is in the buyer's name.

      Washington Journal : Al-Arian translated for military 30 Mar 03
      In 2001, the then-University of South Florida professor [Sami
      Al-Arian] translated an Islamic religious ruling from Arabic into
      English for the military that sanctioned Muslim-American soldiers
      fighting in Afghanistan, his lawyer said during Al-Arian's recent bond
      hearing in Tampa.
      The ruling, or fatwa, was endorsed by prominent Qatar cleric Sheikh
      Yussuf Al-Qaradhawi, who has expressed sympathy for American victims
      of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but also has lauded Islamic
      Jihad and other suicide-bombing groups as Palestinian freedom fighters.

      "His message is very confusing," said Tamar Tesler of the
      Investigative Group, a Washington terrorism research organization that
      has translated Al-Qaradhawi's writings from Arabic into English.
      Concerning the war in Iraq, Al-Qaradhawi wrote on his Web site: "If
      the Kafir (unbelievers) attack a Muslim country, all its people must
      go out and hasten to resist them, and expel them from their homes."


      Iraqi refugee says world hasn't seen Saddam's cruelty 01 Apr 03
      As Al-Mamori watches the screen, images of global protest appear on
      Al-Jazeera, the Arabic world's 24-hour news channel. A mob of Sudanese
      men burns an American flag. In Yemen, a cleric delivers a fatwa, a
      religious decree, ordering Muslims to not help the United States in
      any way.



      [Bangladesh] City Bank introduces On-Line banking 30 Mar 03
      The City Bank Limited, country's first private bank introduced on-line
      real time banking to ensure world-class services in Bangladesh on
      With the introduction of the on-line banking we now can provide the
      best customer services'," said Abbas Uddin Ahmed, Managing Director of
      the bank. He also said that the bank would try to ensure customers'
      satisfaction while rendering its services. As per demand of
      shareholders, the City Bank will introduce an Islamic banking function
      very soon, Managing Director informed the audience.

      [South Africa] Albaraka Bank starts to make its mark 03 Apr 03
      Growth in its client base, a increase in the deposit book and a
      reduction in bad debt helped Islamic bank Albaraka Bank lift headline
      earnings a share 124 percent to R 2.17 in the year to December.
      Ebrahim Vawda, the chief executive of Albaraka Bank, said: "Growth in
      our client base has accelerated, confirming a widening understanding
      of and support for the benefits of Islamic banking beyond the Muslim
      community. "People are recognising there is an alternative to the
      interest-based banking system," he said.
      The bank has about 40 000 depositors and has about 4 000 clients for
      which it has arranged trade, asset or property finance
      Albaraka Bank has a branch in each major centre in the country and
      will be opening a second branch in Lenasia, Johannesburg in May.
      A shariah-compliant unit trust known as Futuregrowth Albaraka Equity
      Fund has been launched in conjunction with Futuregrowth Asset
      Management and Frater Asset Management. Channel Islam International
      will jointly market the fund.

      During the year UK-based DCD Holdings Group bought a 15 percent stake
      in the bank, resulting in an increase in the issued capital of the
      bank to R40 million from R30 million. The Dallah Albaraka Group of
      Saudi Arabia retains its 50 percent holding.

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