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Sharia News Watch 54

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 54 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] The Sharia News Watch provides a weekly update of news
    Message 1 of 1 , May 29, 2003
      Sharia News Watch 54 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] The Sharia News Watch
      provides a weekly update of news quotes on Sharia (Islamic Law) &
      related subjects, as provided by major news search engines.
      all editions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/
      Subscribe: shariawatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


      Amnesty International Annual Report 2003 - Algeria
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      Hundreds of civilians were killed by armed groups in both targeted
      attacks in towns and villages or at false roadblocks, and in
      indiscriminate bomb explosions. Individual attacks often left dozens
      dead or seriously injured. In the vast majority of cases no group
      claimed responsibility and no one was brought to trial for carrying
      out the attack.

      Hundreds of members of the security forces, state-armed militias and
      armed groups were killed in ambushes and armed confrontations.
      However, as a result of official restrictions on information about
      such incidents, it was often not possible to obtain precise details
      about the identity of the victims or the exact circumstances of their
      deaths. Dozens of members of armed groups who had surrendered to the
      authorities in previous years reportedly rejoined armed groups.
      No full, independent and impartial investigations were carried out
      into the mass human rights abuses committed since 1992, including
      thousands of cases of extrajudicial executions, deliberate and
      arbitrary killings of civilians, torture and ill-treatment, and
      "disappearances". In the overwhelming majority of cases, no concrete
      measures were known to have been taken to bring to justice those
      responsible for human rights abuses committed by the security forces,
      state-armed militias or armed groups in 2002 or previous years.


      Editor-in-Chief quizzed by prosecutor - 27 May 03
      Editor-in-chief of our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej Anwar
      Abdulrahman faced two hours of interrogation by Bahrain's public
      prosecutor yesterday. Ten Sharia (religious) judges claim that the
      paper's coverage of a protest by hunger-strike mother Badriya Rabea
      had stained their characters.
      The woman, who was going on hunger strike, staged a sit-in outside the
      Justice Ministry for two days demanding the judges give her back her
      two daughters who were allegedly snatched from her home by police
      after her ex-husband won a custody case.

      In an interview with Akhbar Al Khaleej, the woman accused the judges
      of bias because she was "a women rights advocate". "Akhbar Al Khaleej
      faithfully reported only information given to us by those involved
      with the story," Abdul Rahman was quoted as saying.
      The Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA) last night backed Akhbar Al
      Khaleej Editor-in-Chief Anwar Abdulrahman in a complaint filed against
      him by 10 Sharia judges.
      Meanwhile, MP Abdulla Al Dousary has condemned the action taken
      against Mr Abdulrahman by the public prosecutor. He pledged to raise
      the issue of immunity for journalists when the freedom of the Press is
      discussed in the parliament's next term.
      Ghada Jamshir, a women's rights activist, was also summoned for
      questioning by the public prosecutor on Tuesday after the same judges
      accused her of defamation for supporting the woman who was denied
      custody of her two daughters, according to Jamshir's lawyer Abdullah
      Hashem. Jamshir heads a women's committee lobbying for the
      promulgation of a personal status law that would shift jurisdiction
      over family and women's affairs to civil courts. Her committee
      considers Islamic courts discriminatory towards women.


      Amnesty International Annual Rapport 2003 - Bangladesh summary
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      Women continued to suffer violent attacks in their homes and
      communities. On one of the rare occasions when authorities ordered a
      judicial inquiry into such an attack, they neither published the
      findings nor promised to implement the recommendations.
      There were frequent reports of violent attacks against women in their
      homes and communities, including rape, murder and acid throwing. At
      least six women committed suicide following rape.


      Historic day for syarie lawyers - 27 May 03
      History will be created today when 10 syarie lawyers will receive
      their "Sijil Amalan Guaman Syarie" or Syarie Lawyers Practising
      Certificates. With the certificates, the syarie lawyers will now be
      able to practise their skills and expertise in defending Muslims who
      choose to be represented by them for court matters including alleged
      religious misconducts.
      The lawyers would be able to speed up a backlog of less than 100 cases
      as a result of some Muslims wanting syarie lawyers to represent them.
      Hence their cases were adjourned. Muslims could not be represented by
      syarie lawyers since March 26, 2001.


      Chechnya's suicide widows are new threat for Russia - 27 May 03
      Baymuradova, 46, whose first name translates as "martyrdom" in Arabic,
      was the latest in a string of female suicide bombers to strike in
      Chechnya over the last year -- a frightening new form of rebel action
      in a decade-old conflict. Women have traditionally been excluded from
      the fighting that has razed Chechnya, on Russia's southern fringe.
      Suicide attacks were almost unheard of in the first years of fighting.
      But the "black widows" have become a new threat to Moscow, already
      shaken by almost daily losses.
      The first major suicide attack in the region came in June 2000, early
      in Russia's second campaign to contain separatist fighters in the
      region. Two women drove a truck crammed with explosives into a police
      building - one was Khava Barayeva, a relative of guerrilla leader
      Movsar Barayev who orchestrated last year's siege of a Moscow theatre
      in which 129 people died. Barayeva's attack was so novel that it was
      recorded in song by one of Chechnya's most popular artists.


      [Guangzhou] New rules to ensure authentic halal food - 28 May 03
      The rules, or Guangzhou Islamic Food Administration Regulations, will
      come into effect on June 10. The new regulations require that both
      the managerial staff and employees of lower levels of a halal food
      supplier should include Muslims who eat this food and that only these
      people would be allowed to run businesses selling halal food.

      The regulations also highlight the requirement that halal food
      suppliers should have concrete measures to ensure the authenticity of
      raw materials and bring the production, packaging, transportation and
      sales of halal food in line with Islamic customs.


      Amnest International Annual Report 2003
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      People continued to be at risk of detention, trial and imprisonment in
      violation of their right to freedom of religion.
      * More than a dozen alleged members of the Baha'i faith, most from the
      Sohag Governorate, were arrested between January and April and
      detained for several months. In February the UN Special Rapporteur on
      religious intolerance noted that ''Baha'is are not allowed to meet in
      groups, especially for religious observances, and their literature is
      * In January, Salah al-Din Muhsin, a writer, was convicted of
      ''offending religion'' in several of his publications and sentenced to
      three years in prison after an unfair trial before the (Emergency)
      State Security Court for Misdemeanours in Giza.
      * In June, feminist writer Nawal El-Saadawi appeared before a Personal
      Status Court in Cairo after a private complaint had been filed against
      her accusing her of apostasy. The complaint was linked with comments
      she made on religious issues which were published in the Egyptian
      weekly newspaper, al-Midan. In July the court rejected the complaint.


      Reports From Aceh: Common practice in Aceh and Kelantan - 29 May 03
      In the case of Kelantan [Malaysia], it tried to incorporate a segment
      of the syariah vis-a-vis the hudud laws (Islamic criminal code) into
      the State constitution but could not implement them because they are
      ultra-vires the Federal Constitution.

      Aceh, through its Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM or Free Aceh Movement) -
      despite being given the liberty to exercise the syariah fully - wants
      to secede. Kelantan, through PAS, despite not being able to do so,
      wants to remain as part of Malaysia and had been hoping to win the
      central government and rule the whole nation.
      [In their mind] every Muslim women in Aceh must wear the tudung, there
      are no alcoholic beverages at all, and the provincial authorities have
      no tolerance for anything un-Islamic.

      However, in Banda Aceh, the picture is different altogether. No doubt,
      alcoholic drinks are not freely available but people drink freely in
      hotels, and all mini-bars in hotel rooms are provided with such
      drinks. While most Muslim women wear the tudung, a number of female
      staff in the hotels and other outlets do not wear them. Aceh is not
      what it is being portrayed to be by some Indonesians met in Jakarta,
      for better or worst.

      In Kelantan, all Muslim females working in public places must wear the
      tudung. There is no such thing as alcoholic beverages being served in


      Amnesty International Annual report 2003 - Iran summary
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      The judiciary responded to expressions of social and political
      criticism with mounting curbs on freedom of expression and
      association, including arbitrary arrests; politically motivated
      prosecutions of students, writers, academics, members of parliament
      and prominent advocates of reform; and the arbitrary closure of
      pro-reform publications. Unfair trials, especially of such people, as
      well as torture and televised "confessions" continued to be reported.
      The judiciary used the death penalty and judicial sentences of
      flogging as a means of punishment in cases relating to freedom of
      The death penalty and cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments were
      used against people charged for trying to exercise their rights to
      freedom of expression and association. At least 113 people, including
      six women, were executed, many in public. At least two people were
      reportedly executed by stoning and at least one execution was
      broadcast on television. As in previous years, there was a surge in
      public executions and floggings between July and September. At least
      84 people were flogged. The true numbers of executions and floggings
      may have been considerably higher. Political organizations, for
      example, reported that 450 people were executed in 2002.
      * In April, Ali Firouzi, convicted of murder, was pardoned by the
      victim's parents minutes before his scheduled execution in Qom,
      central Iran. The parents reportedly changed their minds shortly
      afterwards and he was executed 90 minutes later.
      * Five men, reportedly members of a gang known as the Black Vultures,
      who had been convicted of numerous offences, were hanged
      simultaneously at two public locations in Tehran on 30 September. The
      executions caused renewed debate about the use of the death penalty.
      * Hoseyn Mojahed and Mojtaba Heydari, pro-reform activists who were
      tried prior to Hashem Aghajari (see above), were sentenced in
      September to prison terms and 74 lashes.

      Cleric keeps up momentum in campaign to end stoning - 27 May 03
      A top Iranian cleric considered close to the Islamic republic's
      conservative camp has issued an edict ordering judges not to impose
      executions by stoning, a move that maintains momentum for a formal and
      final end to the controversial practice.
      Late last year, Iran's hardline judiciary issued a provisional order
      for judges to issue other punishments for adultery than stoning, but
      that order remains subject to a change in the law. That would require
      a vote on the issue by the reformist-held parliament and then approval
      by conservative-dominated legislative oversight bodies, where the
      influence of figures such as Shirazi would be important.


      [Sadr City] Clerics' power has GIs in role of uneasy ally - 29 May 03
      Sweating under the cruel sun, GIs smoke next to humvees parked outside
      the office of an Islamic charity group the U.S. Agency for
      International Development has picked to supervise cleaning streets
      putrid with garbage and sewage.
      Inside are clerics loyal to the Hawza, a powerful Shiite seminary in
      the holy city of Najaf, who have filled the power void left by the
      collapse of the hated Hussein dictatorship. They have taken over
      virtually every aspect of daily life in this most perilous part of
      Baghdad, previously known as Saddam City, rendering themselves

      Following a religious edict, or fatwa, issued last month by the
      Hawza's Iranian-based senior figure, Kadhum al Husseini al Haeri, the
      clerics have organized armed militias to combat crime, taken over
      hospitals and schools and are even paying doctors, teachers and
      security guards.
      Mazin Ramadhani, professor of political science at Baghdad's al
      Nahrein University, said that by relying on the religious men to
      implement U.S.-funded social services, U.S. forces are strengthening
      the imams' campaign to take over administrative positions across the
      country and paving the way for an Islamic government.
      The Iraqi in charge of the USAID project, which provides temporary
      salaries to some 4,000 workers, is Sheikh Kadhum Mohammed Fartousi,
      whose al Walaa General Humanitarian Organization is essentially a
      local charity branch of the Hawza.
      Fartousi's alliance with the Americans is helping to bolster his
      reputation as an important figure in Sadr City. But he makes clear
      that it will only last as long as it benefits his political goals. "As
      long as the Americans carry out their humanitarian aid, we are with
      them," Fartousi said, smiling coyly.
      "From the Hawza, we get many things, but from the Americans, all we
      hear is promises, promises, promises," said Hassam Kirim, a jobless
      electrician awaiting the call to prayer at the al Mohsin Mosque. "This
      is not good for the Americans. As we lose trust in them, the clerics
      become our politicians. I don't want the Hawza to control the city,
      but I am afraid it might happen."
      "For two months we have no food, no salary, no cooking gas," said
      Jasem Mohammed, a retired army sergeant, who had spent four hours in
      the line. "The Hawza provides security. The Americans don't do
      anything. We don't want freedom without food."

      [Basra] Iraqi Cinemas re-open without the sex - 28 May 03
      Basra's three cinemas closed their doors earlier this month after
      several visits by serious young men on motorbikes who told them that
      if they showed "sinful" movies they would be burned to the ground.
      This week they tentatively reopened, showing old Arabic films and
      American action movies. "Romance" - the Basra euphemism for films
      showing as much naked female flesh as possible - was strictly off the
      agenda. "We can't even show people kissing," Hazim said.
      Christian alcohol merchants have been told to end their trade, and two
      were shot dead in their shops earlier this month. Hashim Mohammed Ali,
      manager at the Atlas Cinema, says business has never been this bad,
      even in wartime.


      Amnesty International Annual report 2003 - Jordan summary
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      At least 17 women and five children, were victims of family or
      "honour" killings. At least 10 men who had killed women for reasons of
      "honour" benefited from Article 98 of the Penal Code which provides
      for leniency in sentencing for crimes committed in a "fit of rage"
      caused by an unlawful or dangerous act on the part of the victim.


      Amnesty International Annual Report 2003 - Kuwait summary
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      The Constitutional Court rejected three new cases challenging the
      legality of the election laws, which deny women the right to vote. On
      17 February, during annual voter registration, dozens of Kuwaiti women
      activists demanding their social and political rights, attempted to
      register for forthcoming elections. Officials told them that they had
      no authority to place women's names on voter lists.


      Amnesty International Annual Report 2003 - Lebanon summary
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      The authorities introduced new measures to combat "terrorism",
      including activating the anti-terrorism Law 11 of 1958. As a result
      Sunni Islamist groups with a history of opposition to the government
      were targeted and legitimate rights to freedom of expression and
      association were suppressed.
      Dozens of people affiliated to Christian and Islamist opposition
      groups were arrested. They included members of the unauthorized
      Lebanese Forces Party (LFP), the FPM, suspected member of Sunni
      Islamist groups including Hizb al-Tahrir ([Islamic] Liberation Party)
      and others allegedly affiliated to al-Qa'ida. The arrests of LFP and
      FPM members were mostly related to their involvement in demonstrations
      opposed to the Syrian military presence in Lebanon and the
      distribution of political leaflets.
      The year witnessed an increase in violence against women in the
      community, including "honour" or "family" killings, rapes and
      beatings. Men continued to commit "honour crimes" with near impunity.
      * In July Ziyad Misbah Shahab stabbed to death his wife, Widad
      Muhammad al-Nabulsi, and his daughter, Nasrin, in the family's home in
      Beirut. He reportedly told police that he was "suspicious" of the
      "conduct" of his wife and daughter. Under Lebanese law, a man who
      murders a female relative in a "fit of rage" because of "suspicious"
      relations with another man is liable only to a lenient sentence.


      Abdul Hamid opens global centre for fatwa reference - 27 May 03
      Religious edicts issued by Islamic authorities in Malaysia and
      elsewhere will be gathered and housed at a newly set up institute
      here, making it a global centre for fatwa reference and study. The
      setting up of the World Fatwa Management and Research Institute
      (Infad) also fulfils one of the objectives of the Islamic University
      College of Malaysia (Kuim), which is to explore the various Islamic
      principles and disciplines consistent with the modern environment and
      Dr Mohamad Yusof said researchers and students at Infad would study
      all edicts which were issued, including those from minority Muslim
      communities. One of its roles was to translate them into various
      languages for the benefit of all, he added. "We sometimes spend so
      much time researching and studying an issue when it is already done by
      other Muslim communities in another part of the world," he said,
      adding that the research done by the centre would also be available on
      the Internet.


      Amnesty Iternational Annual report 2003 - Nigeria
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      There were no executions of people who had been convicted of offences
      under non-Sharia penal codes. Sharia-based penal legislation, which
      provides for mandatory death sentences for extra-marital sex and for
      murder, continued to be implemented in some states of northern
      Nigeria. One person was executed for murder and at least five death
      sentences were passed by Sharia courts in Bauchi, Kaduna, Jigawa and
      Niger States for offences related to sexual conduct.

      * Sani Yakubu Rodi, aged 27, was executed by hanging on 3 January at
      Katsina Prison following the expiration of the statutory 30-day period
      to appeal against the sentence. He had been found guilty in November
      2001 by a Sharia court in Katsina of the murder of a woman and her two
      * Amina Lawal, aged 30, was sentenced on 22 March to stoning to death
      for adultery by a Sharia court at Bakori, Katsina State. She allegedly
      confessed at her first trial to having had a child while divorced. On
      19 August the Sharia Court of Appeal in Funtua, Katsina State, upheld
      the death sentence. Amina Lawal's appeal against the sentence to the
      Upper Sharia Court of Appeal of Katsina was still pending at the end
      of the year. Amina Lawal's case was the subject of a worldwide
      campaign by several non-governmental organizations, including AI,
      against death sentences and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments
      passed by Sharia courts in northern Nigeria.
      * On 25 March the Sharia Court of Appeal of Sokoto State ordered the
      acquittal of Safiya Yakubu Hussaini, who was facing death by stoning
      for adultery. She had been sentenced to death in October 2001 by a
      Sharia court in Gwadabawa, Sokoto State.
      Sharia courts sentenced several people to cruel, inhuman and degrading
      punishments. Dozens of people were sentenced to have their hands
      amputated for theft or armed robbery and to flogging for fornication,
      consumption of alcohol and other offences. The sentences were passed
      in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Kebbi, Bauchi, Kaduna, Jigawa and other
      northern states. At least three sentences of flogging or amputation
      were carried out in Zamfara and Bauchi States.

      Most of those convicted under the new penal legislation were from
      economically deprived backgrounds. In the majority of cases,
      international standards for fair trial, such as the right to legal
      representation, were not observed. Floggings and amputations were
      repeatedly carried out in towns and villages within hours of

      In March, in a letter to the governors of the 12 states that had
      introduced Sharia-based penal legislation, the Minister of Justice and
      Attorney General of the Republic stated that the new codes were
      unconstitutional as they were discriminatory on grounds of religion.
      The Minister stated: "[A] Muslim should not be subjected to a
      punishment more severe than would be imposed [on] other Nigerians for
      the same offence". However, the federal government took no action to
      change the new penal legislation or prevent its application.

      * Mohammed Na'ila, a Sharia court judge from Zamfara State, received
      80 strokes of the cane in public on 18 January. The judge had been
      found guilty of consuming alcohol by an upper Sharia court in Kaura
      Namoda, Zamfara State.
      The Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission, known as the
      Oputa Panel, inaugurated in June 1999 to investigate human rights
      violations committed between 1966 and the return to civilian rule in
      May 1999, submitted its final report to President Obasanjo in May. The
      report was not made public and the government failed to disclose its
      plans to implement recommendations made by the panel.

      [Kano] Man in Sharia Court for Raping 4-Year-Old Girl - 27 May 03
      A middle-aged man, Alhaji Saminu Abbas of Durmin Kaigama quarters in
      Kano metropolis, has been arraigned before an Upper Sharia Court in
      Gyadi-Gyadi, Kano for allegedly raping a four-year-old girl... for
      breaching section 187 of the Sharia legal code. [Daily Trust - Abuja]


      Qibla direction - 27 May 03
      [Karachi] Muslims can accurately determine the direction of Qibla on
      May 28 at their homes, work places and mosques with the help of
      sun-shadow method. According to Islamic Astronomy Research Centre
      (IARC), the sun reaches exactly on top of Haram Sharif (centre of
      Khana-i-Ka'aba) on May 28 and July 16 every year. Exactly at 18 past
      02 PST (midday at Makkah, Saudi Arabia), on May 28 the sun will be on
      top of Haram Sharif.

      Proposals finalised for Islamic system - 27 May 03
      The religious affairs committee of ruling Pakistan Muslim League
      (Quaid-e-Azam) has finalised its recommendations to transform the
      country's political and economic policies inline with the Islamic
      principles .
      The meeting furnished its recommendations to bring the country's
      economic and political policies as par with the Islamic teachings.
      These recommendations include alternative of Riba, Islamic financial
      system, elimination of corruption and lawlessness, preservation of
      women's inherent rights, protection of minority's rights, end of
      vulgarity from media and promotion of Islamic political system. The
      recommendations will be presented to central government for its
      implementations .

      Poppy cultivation: Pak fundamenalist's new "Atom Bomb" for US
      .. - 26 May 03
      A record area of 5000 hectares in Pakistan's North West Frontier
      Province (NWFP) and Baluchistan has been brought under poppy
      cultivation this year with the Islamic fanatics describing it as a
      fallout of anti-US sentiments with some terming it as an "atom bomb"
      for America.
      "Many people think the Muslim world can use drugs as a weapon against
      the United States," Union Council Nazim Jehanzeb Khan was quoted as
      saying by the weekly. Leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam's (Fazlur Rehman
      group) Maulvi Fazel had decreed that poppy cultivation was "Islamic"
      and Malik Fazle Haq of PML (Qaid-e-Azam) told The Friday Times that
      local Mullahs issued "fatwa" in support of poppy cultivation.

      [NWFP] the Shariah Implementation Act of 2003 - 27 May 03
      The package presented to the provincial assembly included few
      specifics, but it came with promises by Islamic hard-liners to ban
      obscenity and vulgarity, and bring the North West Frontier Province's
      education and financial systems in line with Shariah, or Islamic law.

      "In the whole of the North West Frontier Province, Shariah will be the
      supreme law in provincial matters, and all courts in the province will
      be bound to interpret and explain provincial law according to Sharia,"
      said the document, called the Shariah Implementation Act of 2003.
      To be called Shariah Act 2003, prepared by the 21-member Shariah
      Council, the act suggests for the enforcement of Islamic laws in the
      province that would cover almost all fields including judiciary,
      education, bringing an end to bribery, obscenity, social evils,
      protection of life and property of citizens, promotion of Islamic
      values on media and taking steps for interest-free economic system.

      Hesba Act provides for establishment of a separate department of vice
      and virtue and provincial as well as district ombudsmen. To be
      established under the act, the Hesba institution would have control
      over Provincial Assembly secretariat, but not on the high court and
      subordinate courts. The chief minister would appoint the provincial
      ombudsman. A person eligible to become judge of the Federal Shariat
      Court could be appointed as provincial ombudsman.
      During the session, a small contingent of female legislators from the
      Islamic alliance sat in one corner of the male-dominated chamber clad
      in body-shrouding black hijabs. Opposition female legislators sat not
      far away, wearing the brightly coloured, loose-fitting shalwar kameez
      preferred by most Pakistani women.
      The five-page legislation, which the religious coalition has promised
      since it swept to power in October elections, was light on details. It
      calls for creation of a committee to study the education system and
      another to devise alternatives to interest-earning bank accounts,
      which are considered a violation of Islam's ban on usury. It also
      declared that state-run media would be used "for the projection of
      Federal Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the government
      was reviewing the legislation and considered parts of it problematic.
      "Some measures taken by the provincial government in the NWFP (North
      West Frontier Province) are in conflict with Pakistani federal laws."
      All the courts in the province would decide cases in accordance with
      the Islamic teachings, he said, adding Shariat would be the supreme
      law in the province and the courts would interpret the law in
      accordance with Shariat. Appropriate steps would be taken for the
      education and training in Shariat, and Islamic Jurisprudence would be
      included in the syllabi of all the law colleges of the province,
      besides Arabic language and its education and teachings would also be
      ensured, he said.
      To put the economic system on Islamic lines, Zafar Azam said, the
      government would constitute an Economic Reforms Commission comprising
      economic experts, bankers, Islamic scholars and Ulema which would
      present its report within a month time, he said. The terms of
      reference include to suggest proposals with regard to taxation,
      insurance and banking either it were Islamic or not, suggesting
      proposals for elimination of Riba and alternate proposals, he said,
      adding the provincial finance department would be responsible to
      dispose of administrative affairs of the commission.


      Amnesty International Annual report 2003 - Saudi Arabia
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      Regional authorities continued to urge extrajudicial floggings by
      police of teenage boys suspected of "immoral" behaviour; scores of
      teenage boys were flogged during the year.
      * Fifteen boys suspected of "flirting and bothering" families in a
      park in Taif in August were flogged. According to one press report,
      "the youths were given 15 lashes each inside the park" by police
      immediately after they caught them.
      Flogging remained a routine corporal punishment handed down by courts
      as a main or additional sentence.
      * A woman was sentenced to 65 lashes in addition to six months'
      imprisonment in February. She was convicted of having committed
      adultery with her sister's husband, despite having reportedly claimed
      before the court that he had raped her. The man was sentenced to 4,700
      lashes and six years' imprisonment.
      At least seven people, all foreign nationals, had their right hand
      amputated, and one man had two of his teeth extracted under qisas
      (retribution) punishment.
      * Abdulrahman Isma'il, an Egyptian national, and Shir Muhammad 'Ali
      Ahmad, an Afghan national, had their right hands amputated in Mecca in
      July. Both had been convicted of theft.
      * In May Awda al-Zahrani, a Saudi Arabian national, reportedly had two
      of his teeth extracted as a judicial punishment for having caused
      similar injury to someone during a fight. One press report suggested
      that the teeth were extracted by a dentist.
      At least 48 people were executed. Twenty of them were foreign
      nationals. The Saudi Arabian nationals executed included three
      believed to have been convicted on charges of homosexuality. All 48
      were sentenced to death after trials about which very little was
      Two Saudi Arabian nationals sentenced to death for murder were
      pardoned under qisas, which gives relatives of the murder victim the
      right to pardon or seek execution of the offender. In December the
      King commuted the death sentences of 17 men from the Ismaili community
      to 10 years' imprisonment. The 17 men, who were among dozens arrested
      in April 2000 after protests by the Ismaili community in Najran
      against the closure of their mosque, were possible prisoners of

      [al-Watan] Saudi editor sacked after fatwa - 28 May 03
      Saudi editors at Al-Watan ['the Homeland'] daily, which is owned by a
      member of the royal Al-Saud family, said editor in chief Jamal
      Khashoggi had been sacked on Monday evening, hours after Sheikh
      Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman al-Jibrin issued an edict saying the paper
      had ridiculed "virtuous" people. This followed a campaign launched by
      the Arabic-language Al-Watan against the powerful religious leaders
      of the ultra-conservative kingdom, and was seen by many journalists as
      an indication of a power struggle between the strict Muslim
      establishment and reform-minded officials. Al-Watan has recently
      published a series of damning articles against the Committee for the
      Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the so-called religious
      police in Saudi Arabia which enforces the kingdom's austere brand of
      The paper has been one of the leading voices calling for openness and
      reform in the kingdom. After the attacks, Al Watan columnists
      discussed a plethora of highly sensitive issues, including questioning
      the central role of the religious police in Saudi society and whether
      the country gave too much credence to the writings of Ibn Taimaya, a
      Muslim thinker of the early 14th century. Ibn Taimaya argued that
      that religious scholars could assume the task of declaring holy war if
      their rulers failed to.
      The paper also opened an unprecedented petition on its Web site
      addressed to the country's rulers, asking them to take action to curb
      extremist religious discourse.
      The press falls under the direction of Prince Nayef, the interior
      minister, who has made no secret of his displeasure over criticism of
      the religious establishment. At his first news conference after the
      attacks, he was asked by a Saudi journalist whether there was any
      thought being giving to reshaping the religious police. The prince
      denied this, and then rebuked the journalist, saying: "As a Saudi, you
      should be ashamed to be asking this question." Editors from other
      newspapers who attended a private meeting with him later said he was
      even angrier, shouting at them that he did not want to see any more
      articles criticizing Wahhabism or Ibn Taimaya.
      members of the staff who were excited that their paper had been so
      central to the debate over extremism were deflated by the firing of
      Mr. Khashoggi, who was educated at Indiana State University and spent
      almost eight years covering Osama bin Laden and extremist Islamic
      movements for Al Hayat, an Arabic newspaper in London. He was
      appointed editor in chief in March.
      Conservative Islamic activists were particularly incensed by Al-
      Watan's cartoons. One showed a man, in the garb adopted by hardcore
      religious types, as a suicide bomber, except the sticks of dynamite
      around his waist were labelled 'fatwas', or religious edicts. Critics
      of Al-Watan said Mr Khashoggi had gone too far in using the paper to
      paint the country's clergy as bearing responsibility for extremism.

      Saudi Arabia Fired 200 Imams For "Incompetence" - 28 May 03
      Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, has fired 44 Friday preachers,
      160 imams (prayer leaders) and 149 muezzin (prayer callers) for being
      "incompetent" in the past six months, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

      Saudi officials have said that several hundred preachers who defied
      orders not to speak about "sensitive political issues", especially
      those which may strain ties with Washington, were dismissed and
      prevented from giving sermons at mosques.

      Authorities also suspended 1,357 religious officials from their duties
      and ordered them to undergo training, Al-Hayat daily said.
      Those suspended from duties include 517 imams, 90 Friday Muslim
      callers and 750 muezzin. They have been asked to undergo "Islamic
      theological training" to be able to work more efficiently at mosques.
      The [Amnesty International 2003] report said that "hundreds of
      suspected religious activists and critics of the state were arrested
      and the legal status of most of those held from previous years
      remained shrouded in secrecy.
      "Women continued to suffer severe discrimination. Torture and
      ill-treatment remained rife. At least 48 people were executed," it
      said. All 48 were sentenced to death after trials "about which very
      little was known," while it was unclear how many prisoners are under
      the death sentence, it said.


      Amnesty International Annual Report 2003 - Somalia
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      Courts did not provide fair trials. Faction leaders and the
      transitional government signed a cease-fire at the start of ongoing
      peace talks in Kenya, but outbreaks of fighting continued. Journalists
      were detained in Somaliland and Puntland, and in Puntland the
      authorities detained demonstrators and political opponents. Human
      rights defenders were frequently at risk from faction militias. People
      sentenced to death by Islamic courts were executed.
      Regular courts functioned only in Somaliland, although many judges
      were arbitrarily dismissed in mid-2002. Puntland had an embryonic
      court structure incorporating Sharia (Islamic) law, but these courts
      did not function regularly. In other parts, the few functioning
      courts, other than at the customary clan level, included a number of
      Sharia courts in Mogadishu and other regions. These did not adhere to
      international standards of fair trial and there was generally impunity
      for faction militias which committed human rights abuses. Courts
      imposed several death sentences which were swiftly carried out. An
      amputation sentence from the Benadir regional court in Mogadishu in
      June was widely criticized as unfair, and withdrawn under TNG pressure
      for a retrial.


      'Thousands of slaves in Sudan' - 28 May 03
      Some 10,000 of these [abducted men] are still missing and many are
      being held as slaves, one of the report's authors told BBC News
      Online. The East Africa and United Kingdom-based Rift Valley Institute
      released its report on the basis of thousands of interviews in the
      Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal province, which it says is worst affected.
      "60% of them are young men who were abducted from cattle camps where
      they were herding livestock."
      For Arab traders "the nation of the blacks," or Bilad Al-Sudan, has
      traditionally been the source of slaves. When the slave trade
      developed into corporate enterprise in the 19th century, the
      slave-takers articulated distinctions based on race, ethnicity and
      religion that marked the black, infidel southerners as indisputably
      inferior and therefore "natural" slaves.

      Amnesty International Annual Report 2003 - Sudan
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      At least 40 people were reported to have been executed and more than
      120 were sentenced to death. More than 90 death sentences were passed
      after unfair trials by Special Courts in the Darfur region. These
      courts, created in 2001 by presidential decree to try offences related
      to "armed banditry", imposed death sentences and other cruel, inhuman
      and degrading punishments after summary trials under military judges
      where the accused were frequently denied lawyers.
      * In November the final appeal of Mohamed Ibrahim, Sadul Adam
      Abdelrahman, Abdullah Rabhi, Mohamed Hamid Ahmed and Mohamed Issa
      Tiue, sentenced to cross-amputation followed by hanging, was rejected.
      They had been convicted of armed robbery in 1999 after an unfair trial
      in Nyala, Darfur, where they were reportedly denied legal
      * The death sentence by stoning imposed by a criminal court in Nyala
      on Abok Alfa Akok, a non-Muslim from the Dinka ethnic group, was
      reduced on appeal in February to a sentence of 75 lashes. The
      punishment was carried out immediately.
      Suspected perpetrators of sexual violence were not brought to justice.
      In government areas women were also singled out for cruel, inhuman or
      degrading punishments for adultery, in circumstances where men
      involved normally remained unpunished. Women in the north continued to
      be harassed and ill-treated by police enforcing the Public Order Law
      which restricts women's freedom of movement, behaviour and dress.
      * In November, at least 14 women from the village of Munwashi, near
      Nyala in Darfur, were convicted of adultery and sentenced to 100
      lashes of the whip each. Three other women from the same area were
      also detained for adultery but were not reported to have been brought
      to court by the end of 2002.


      Amnesty International Annual report 2003 - Yemen summary
      .. [Covering events from January - December 2002]
      On 28 December the deputy leader of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP),
      Jarallah Omar, was shot dead at an Islah party conference in Sana'a
      after giving a speech on behalf of the YSP calling for dialogue
      between the political factions and rejecting violence. According to
      information received, one of the main reasons for his killing was that
      he questioned the use of the death penalty. The perpetrator was
      reportedly apprehended and handed to the police.
      Mass deportations of foreign nationals continued in the wake of 11
      September 2001. Most of the deportees were targeted for arrest because
      of their nationality, held incommunicado for weeks or months, then
      expelled after interrogation. Among them were more than 100 students,
      including nationals of Algeria, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Libya,
      Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, the United Kingdom (UK) and the USA, who
      were deported in January. The official reason given was that their
      residency permits had expired and that the Islamic schools where they
      were studying had been declared illegal.
      * In August, four men were sentenced to cross amputation (right hand
      and left foot) by a criminal court in al-Beidha. 'Ali M. Hassan, Ahmad
      A. al-Taibi, Naji A. al-Taibi and Mus'ed Saleh were convicted of
      banditry, kidnapping and forming an armed gang. A fifth man convicted
      of stealing cars was sentenced to have his right hand amputated. It
      was not known if the punishments were carried out.
      * In September a court in Sana'a sentenced Muhammad 'Ali al-Sandahi
      Bayaqa' to cross amputation. He had been convicted of robbery. It was
      not known if the punishment was carried out.


      [CSID] Easing into Islamic democracy - 29 May 03
      In Morocco, Egypt, and Yemen, government leaders, opposition members,
      and civic activists joined in frank private and public workshops on
      such hot topics as human rights, women's rights, and religious

      "What was so encouraging about the workshops was that we found the gap
      between moderate Islamists and secularists is narrower than ever,"
      says Radwan Masmoudi, president of the Center for the Study of Islam
      and Democracy (CSID), the US-based think tank that sponsored the
      meetings with local civic groups.

      With the Islamic world in turmoil over the confrontation between
      militant groups claiming to defend Islam and authoritarian regimes
      standing for modernity, the key to a viable future is a coalition of
      moderate Islamists and non-Islamists committed to representative
      government, CSID says.
      Convinced by his own experience in the Arab world and the US,
      Masmoudi, an MIT-trained robotics engineer, founded CSID in 1999 to
      carry out the studies necessary to show the relationship between
      Islamic and democratic principles. It now involves some 500 Muslim
      scholars and activists, and other Islamic specialists from the US and
      abroad. They are working to disseminate their research on the
      convergence of democratic and Islamic values and promote constructive
      action. At CSID's annual conference in mid-May in Washington, for
      example, Nadeem Kazmi, of the Al-Khoei Foundation in London, spoke of
      the need for a diplomatic process to develop a "cohesive authoritative
      fatwa" for delegitimizing terrorism.

      They have plans for Islam and democracy sessions this year in Algeria,
      Jordan, Turkey, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and perhaps Iraq.
      In the workshops held in Yemen, for example, civic activists and top
      leaders of the ruling General People's Congress, the Socialist Party,
      and the Islamist Islah Party grappled with the difficulties of moving
      their country from "a superficial democracy to a real and viable one,"
      as one official termed it. A patriarchal, tribal society, Yemen has
      experimented with democracy for several years even as it contends with
      elements sympathetic to terrorism.
      Some in the Muslim world and the West claim that Islamic democracy is
      an oxymoron or that Arabs aren't ready for democratic governance.
      Recent polls suggest otherwise. The World Values Study of 2002 shows
      that 87 percent of Muslims (in nine countries) see democracy as the
      best choice (see chart page 14). see :
      some Muslim scholars are working on reinterpretations related to human
      rights, religious freedom, and tolerance. CSID has translated papers
      into Arabic and put them on the Internet. Some are publishing books,
      like "The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism" by Abdulaziz
      Sachedina, for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

      Indicators of change are multiplying in the Arab world, with Morocco
      moving to genuine elections, Bahrain holding its first vote, and Qatar
      announcing a new constitution. In Saudi Arabia, professionals are
      pushing to modernize the political system. And Turkey is offering an
      intriguing example. "A party with Islamic roots has come to power, but
      it now says it believes in secularism and that it is compatible with
      Islam," Masmoudi says.
      At CSID's fourth annual conference in Washington this month, Muslims
      from several countries discussed issues such as attempts to implement
      sharia, the question of an Islamic state, lack of education needed for
      pluralism, and the role of women's rights in democratization.

      Dr. Ibrahim's Ibn Khaldun Center in Cairo had been developing
      proposals for teaching pluralism in Egyptian textbooks when he was
      arrested and his files confiscated.

      Muslims have the model they need, he told the group, in the prophet
      Muhammad's own charter for Medina. The 14 groups of non-Muslims who
      lived in the city, including Jews, Christians, and pagans, were to be
      treated equally in all worldly matters, he said. And in matters of
      religion, each group was simply responsible to God.
      "The question is how we reinterpret sharia for the 21st century,"
      Masmoudi adds. "This is the concept of ijtihad in Muslim
      jurisprudence, which means adapting religious teachings to the current
      needs of the community."
      Reinterpretation is a huge task and also requires winning over the
      people. "In Islamic countries, people want more freedom, but at the
      same time, the vast majority want to live according to God's laws,
      which they believe bring them happiness in this world and the next,"
      says Seyyed Hossein Nasr, author of "Islam: Religion, History, and
      This is why it is so crucial that the democratic movement include
      moderate Islamists. And Iraq is a test. "It's very important we build
      real democracy in Iraq, and the key to success is being inclusive of
      all groups," Masmoudi says. "Secularism isn't popular because of
      Saddam Hussein. If we impose it, it will backfire."


      [Malaysia] Public Mutual to launch new equity fund - 27 May 03
      Public Mutual Bhd expects good response from investors for its Public
      Islamic Equity Fund, which will be launched tomorrow to take advantage
      of the growth potential in the Islamic fund market.
      The Public Islamic Equity Fund is an aggressive Syariah-compliant fund
      with a minimum equity content of 80% of net asset value (NAV). The
      fund has an approved size of two billion units with an issue price of
      25 sen each during the initial offer period which ends on June 17.
      Unit holders will receive 1% free units if they invest during this
      period. Cheah said the company was targeting the Islamic equity fund
      at aggressive investors who were looking to invest for more than three
      Cheah said the number of Islamic private unit trust funds had
      increased significantly to 23 last year from 10 in 1998. The
      underlying NAV of Islamic private unit trust funds has also surged to
      RM3.2bil as at the end of last year from RM426.8mil in 1998.
      This is equivalent to a compounded annual growth rate of 66% .

      [Malaysia] Commerce Trust expects new syariah fund to hit RM100m
      .. - 27 May 03
      Commerce Trust Sdn Bhd expects its newly launched syariah compliant
      fund called Lifetime Dana Barakah to bring total funds under its
      Islamic-based unit trust schemes to close to RM100mil by end of this

      According to its chief executive officer Yeoh Keat Seng, the company
      expects the new fund to attract RM50mil in investment by the end of
      this year and match the performance of its existing Islamic unit trust
      fund Lifetime Dana Putra, which has attracted more than RM40mil.

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