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Sharia News Watch 67

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 67 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2003
      Sharia News Watch 67 : a collection news quotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:

      The Sharia News Watch provides a weekly update of news quotes on
      Sharia (Islamic Law) & related subjects, as appearing on the major
      news search engines. All editions :


      Afghans 'live in climate of fear' - 29 Jul 03
      In a new report, Human Rights Watch says the US-led coalition's
      support for warlords in Afghanistan is destabilising the country and
      could threaten next year's elections. Human Rights Watch also
      highlights abuses carried out by army and police, some of them working
      to senior ministers in President Hamid Karzai's government. The
      report comes a day after a provincial governor called on US-led
      coalition forces to mount military operations to target resurgent
      Taleban forces.
      "Human rights abuses in Afghanistan are being committed by gunmen and
      warlords who were propelled into power by the United States and its
      coalition partners after the Taleban fell in 2001," he said. "The
      United States and the United Kingdom in particular need to decide
      whether they are with President Karzai and other reformers in Kabul or
      with the warlords."
      The abuses are being carried out by police working under senior
      officials, including cabinet ministers and provincial governors, the
      report claims. In some parts of the country, the atmosphere of
      intimidation means that women are not leaving their homes and girls
      are not going to school.


      Safety Net - 28 Jul 03
      Tens of thousands of workers in Bahrain could benefit under proposals
      to expand the national social insurance scheme. Plans are under study
      to expand the General Organisation of Social Insurance coverage to
      include workers in companies which employ10 people or less. This would
      bring all the country's non-government workers under the protection of
      the Gosi umbrella.


      IOJ asks PM to scrap HC fatwa order! - 29 Jul 03
      A faction of Islami Oikya Jote, led by Moulana Azizul Haq, on Monday
      submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Khaleda Zia that carried a
      plea for taking step to lift the ban on fatwa. Giving fatwa by clerics
      having no legal authority has been proscribed by a High Court
      judgement, at a time when incidents of unauthorised punishment of
      women under such edicts increased alarmingly across the country.
      Sources at the Prime Minister's Office said the IOJ leaders, while
      handing over the memo to the PM at her office, argued that scrapping
      of the judgement would help eradicate corruption.
      [The Prime Minister] advised the leaders of the Islamic group, a
      partner of the ruling coalition, to come up with specific allegations
      of corruption and assured them of effective steps against specific
      cases. The IOJ demands also included withdrawal of 'anti-Islamic'
      books as well as those authored by Syed Abul Aala Moududi from the
      list of textbooks for schools, colleges and madrasas. It also sought
      withdrawal of 'false' cases against the party's leaders and activists,
      filed during the Awami League regime, expansion of the 'learning
      Quran' programme and involving the IOJ leaders in government
      activities up to the grassroots level.


      [Dr. John L. Esposito] Islam: Basic belief and practice - 01 Aug 03

      Laws must be published before they are enforced - 27 Jul 03
      New legislation will come into effect only after it is published,
      rather than as soon as it has been issued. The legal guideline has
      been set by the Federal Supreme Court in accordance with Islamic
      Sharia, as well as the UAE's general constitutional rules and
      international law. Originally, decisions took effect once they were
      issued, but now all bodies and parties concerned must be made aware of
      any changes. Any newly-established legislation must be published in
      local newspapers and announced in the media to give every opportunity
      for the authorities and the public to be informed of their provisions
      and texts. Laws shall not be enforced in retrospect, and people shall
      be informed first before being asked to adhere to them.


      88,000 Mosques, One Sermon - 31 Jul 03
      The same official sermon will be delivered in 88,000 mosques across
      Egypt from this week. The government move is a part of extensive new
      censorship, and penalization for mosques and preachers that do not toe
      the official line.
      As of Friday this week, no preacher will be free to deliver his own
      sermon, according to a statement from the Awaqaf (religious
      endowments) ministry. Friday is the holy congregation day at mosques
      when preachers give their views on religious and political issues.
      The sermon will now be written and distributed by officials from the
      regime of President Hosni Mubarak. The regime has been fighting
      Islamic groups trying to topple his secular pro-Western rule for the
      past 15 years.

      "Preachers who do not stick to the text (provided every Friday) would
      be deprived of bonuses and will be subject to an investigation by the
      legal affairs department at the ministry," according to the statement
      from the Awaqaf ministry. The plan also provides for removing
      independent preachers and replacing them with imams paid for and
      appointed by the regime. Preachers at all newly appropriated mosques
      will be asked to attend state-run religious indoctrination courses.
      Preachers will only be appointed after clearing an examination and
      passing a security test.
      [President Mubarak] has been working particularly to control all
      Islamic outlets including the prestigious al-Azhar University,
      originally a bastion of Islamic learning. The President appoints the
      Grand Imam of al-Azhar usually from the pro- government ranks of the
      preachers. The deans of Islamic colleges are handpicked by the
      government on the recommendations of the security apparatus.
      State-controlled media has reduced its religious programming to less
      than five percent. The shows that remain are devoted to non-political
      issues like the pilgrimage to Mecca, fasting during the holy month of
      Ramadan, and personal matters.
      some critics say that confining the space for religious freedom could
      backfire as it may drive people into the arms of non-official
      religious groups. Critics say also that the government needs to take
      the deteriorating economic situation into account in order to fight
      extremism. Young men turn to violence not because they go to mosques
      but due to official atrocities and the poor economy.


      President Jammeh's July 22nd Speech Causes More Confusion
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200307280644.html - 28 Jul 03
      .. [The Independent - Banjul]
      Turning to the controversy over the use of the veil in some Christian
      mission schools, which he alluded to in his speech, rather than
      resolving the issue, he seems to have provoked more controversy and
      confusion. By imposing a blanket ban on the use of the veil in the
      schools by next September, he has caused more confusion amongst the
      people. He seems to have either forgotten or disregarded the fact that
      there already exist schools where the veil is part of their uniform.
      Even though The Gambia is supposed to be a secular state, but since
      the assumption of power by the AFPRC/APRC administration, the regime
      has become too much involved in religious affairs. They started with
      the construction of a mosque at State House; the most important symbol
      of the state, culminating in the appointment of a religious affairs
      ministry, the construction of mosques in all public institutions and
      the inscription of Quranic verses on all public buildings. In
      addition, President Jammeh and some members of his cabinet also always
      begin their official speeches with recitations from the Quran. All
      that certainly makes a complete mockery of the secularity of the
      On the veil issue, it was quite wrong for the government to issue a
      press release in May instructing the acceptance of the veil in all
      schools in the country, only for President Jammeh to now turn around
      and ban its use in September. This is yet another clear manifestation
      of the inconsistencies and contradictions that have become the
      hallmarks of this regime. It is wrong for him to say one thing to day
      only to contradict it a few days later. It is not even within his
      purview or that of the government to determine what type of uniforms
      students in private schools should put on. That is the sole
      prerogative of the school administrators and proprietors to determine.
      It was even wrong in the first place for the government to issue that
      press release without even consulting with the proprietors of the
      schools concerned.


      What's a uniform civil code? - 28 Jul 03

      Divorced women lost in common code din - 27 Jul 03
      The Supreme Court's advice to the government on Wednesday to explore
      possibilities of enforcing a uniform civil code has rekindled a debate
      on the continuation of personal laws in civil matters like marriage,
      divorce and inheritance. But in the din, the focus on one of the most
      neglected sections of society — divorced Muslim women — has been lost

      It has been 17 years since the Rajiv Gandhi government passed the
      controversial Muslim Woman Protection Bill in 1986 to overturn the
      apex court's judgment in the Shah Bano case, in which the court
      granted her maintenance.

      The act was passed after Muslim leaders, mainly the All India Muslim
      Personal Law Board, convinced Rajiv that Islamic laws did not permit
      former husbands to pay maintenance beyond iddat, the three-month
      period after divorce.

      The act said cash-rich state Waqf boards would provide maintenance if
      Muslim divorced women were unable to sustain themselves. But till
      date, not a single woman has succeeded in getting Rs 500 a month as
      maintenance as envisaged by the act.

      The destitute women failed to get monetary support because successive
      regimes at the Centre never got time to amend the Waqf act to make the
      new law operational. The Union ministry of social justice and
      empowerment, which has a supervisory role over the Central Waqf
      Council and state Waqf boards, somehow never got time or the political
      will to direct the state boards to ensure implementation of the law.
      The law board, never short of raising issues like Ayodhya, privately
      admitted that women were in a legal limbo since the Shah Bano case but
      sought to blame the "social conditions" by saying that even the
      so-called liberal sections were indifferent. "That is our argument for
      the reforms from within. Mere enactment of laws would not change
      things. The society per se must be ready for reforms," a board member
      said. Meanwhile, the agony of the likes of Shah Bano continues.

      M.J. Akbar: How personal do Indian Muslims feel about the law?
      .. - 28 Jul 03
      Who said Indian Muslims must "reinterpret the foundational legal
      principles in the light of their own experience and the altered
      conditions of modern life"? Not the Supreme Court of India, or the
      prime Minister or the chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
      The answer might shock some of the hardliners who have become
      self-appointed arbiters of the destiny of Indian Muslims. This was the
      view of a philosopher-poet, a knight who stirred Muslims as no one
      before had done and presided over the Allahabad session of the All
      India Muslim League in 1930 where he proposed that "Punjab, North-West
      Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan be amalgamated into a single
      state". No one would call Sir Mohammed Iqbal a kafir. When he died in
      Lahore on April 21, 1938 he was honoured with a tomb in the compound
      of the famous Badshahi mosque built by Aurangzeb. It is a myth that
      Islamic law is not amenable to re-interpretation.
      Islamic law is based on the injunctions of the Holy Quran, and the
      practice of the Prophet (PBUH), who was both a messenger of Allah and
      a ruler of men. But this canon has been subject to seven yardsticks:
      Ijma (consensus), Ijtihad (judgement), Qiyas (analogy), Istihsan
      (equity), Istislal (public interest), Urf (custom) and Istidal (legal
      reasoning). Each of these is a parameter of change, without sacrifice
      of any basic principle.
      The social purpose of law is to curb the evil, not torture the
      individual. This is not the way the All-India Muslim Personal Law
      Board, which has become the first and last word in Muslim affairs,
      sees either law or life.
      It gave to itself veto rights on Islamic law; its continual slogan was
      "Islam is in danger!"; and its mission was to herd an insecure
      community into a vote bank that it would deliver to those who were
      ready to recognise its sole spokesman role for the Indian Muslim

      Its attitude towards social reform is best summed by the position it
      took on family planning. Political parties ideologically close to the
      Board supported the imposition of the Emergency by Indira Gandhi in

      But what might be called the "Muslim Parivar" changed tack when Indira
      Gandhi used the Emergency to push some overdue social programmes like
      family planning. At an extraordinary meeting held on April 17-18,
      1976, the Board declared that sterilisation was haram or prohibited.

      In all matters of family law the Board has taken a male-oriented view.
      Its most dramatic success was the blackmail of an inexperienced Rajiv
      Gandhi over the Supreme Court decision in the Shah Bano case.
      The Board mobilised Muslims and forced Rajiv Gandhi to deny a poor,
      ageing divorcee minimal maintenance from her estranged husband.

      It seems if only Muslims women were thieves, the Board would have
      demanded their hands be cut off. However, the Board has not suggested
      that Muslim thieves should be awarded the Quranic punishment,
      irrespective of how Indian law treats non-Muslim thieves. It accepts
      reform for thieves, but not for divorcees.
      A great tragedy of Indian democracy has been the manner in which
      secular parties have insulted Indian Muslims by handing them over to
      mullahs. It is a travesty to treat Indian Muslims as single-dimension
      voters. As in so much else, this was first done by the Congress; but
      the non-Congress parties have been no better. The Personal Law Board
      became a serious political player after Shah Bano.

      [Haryana] SC upholds two-child norm - 31 Jul 03
      The Supreme Court today upheld a Haryana Government law prohibiting a
      person from contesting or holding the post of 'sarpanch' or 'panch' in
      the panchayat [village counsel] institutions in the State if he/she
      had more than two children. A three-Judge Bench, comprising Justice
      R.C. Lahoti, Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice Arun Kumar, observed that
      "disqualification on the right to contest an election for having more
      than two living children does not contravene any fundamental right nor
      does it cross the limits of reasonability. Rather, it is a
      disqualification conceptually devised in the national interest".
      On the contention that the provision was against the Muslim personal
      law, which permitted marrying four women, the Bench said the "personal
      law nowhere mandates or dictates it as a duty to perform four

      Further, the freedom under Article 25 of the Constitution (freedom to
      profess and practise one's religion) "is subject of public order,
      morality and health. The Articles itself permits legislation in the
      interest of social welfare and reforms, which are part of public
      order, national morality and collective health of the nation's

      The judges said that "no religious scripture or authority has been
      brought to our notice which provides that marrying less than four
      women or abstaining from procreating a child from each and every wife
      in the case of permitted bigamy or polygamy would be irreligious or
      offensive to the dictates of the religion".

      Second opinion: Our perception of Indian Muslims - 29 Jul 03
      ARY (3 July 2003) interviewed a member of the Indian Muslim Personal
      Law Board who happened to be a Shia scholar. The interviewer was
      clueless and presumed that in India the Muslims had no rights under
      personal law. The guest explained with great patience that in India
      the Muslims lived under the Muslim Personal Law and that an effort to
      impose a "uniform code" had failed earlier.
      The ignorance of the host about Muslim Personal Law in India was
      unforgivable. While the Uniform Code has been rejected, there is a
      growing number of progressive Muslims who think that their community
      would benefit from it. Property laws pertaining to Muslim women remain
      backward in India after Nehru in 1956 gave full rights to Hindu women
      who had none earlier under the Shastras.
      Finally it was the Indian Muslim leader's assessment of the Muslim
      society that was important and supports Intizar Hussain's assertion
      that a truly Islamic society was growing up only in India. He
      pointedly added that in India there was no Shia-Sunni trouble as in
      Pakistan. He could have added that no Indian Muslim has been caught
      doing international terrorism. Indian Muslim man of letters Al-e-Ahmad
      Saroor used to insult anyone who asked him about the plight of Muslims
      in India. He did it especially because he felt betrayed by what the
      "pure" homeland of the Muslims, Pakistan, was doing to itself after
      its birth in 1947.


      'Most Indonesian Muslims reject Islamic law' - 31 Jul 03
      Any talk about an Islamic state, [Mr Badrus Sholeh] added, invariably
      brings to mind the issue of the hudud, a part of the syariah law that
      prescribes stoning for adulterers and the amputation of limbs for
      thieves, as applied in the Middle East.

      'Indonesian Muslims generally reject the enforcement of the syariah
      law based on the Middle Eastern model.' They have reservations over
      the hudud as there is no consensus among Muslim theologians about
      certain punishments under the religious penal code, he said.

      He believes the hudud, as practised in the Middle East, is based on
      the interpretation of Ibn Taimiyah, the 13th century Muslim scholar
      from Arabia, and to a certain extent, the ideas of Maududi, the 20th
      century Muslim thinker from Pakistan. 'We should differentiate between
      what is syariah and what is Middle Eastern culture,' he said.

      Stressing that many Indonesian Muslims did not support the hudud, he
      recalled that local Muslims were afraid when the radical Islamic group
      Laskar Jihad stoned an adulterer to death in Ambon in 2001. 'Local
      Muslims saw it as an act of violence and of being inhuman,' he later
      told The Straits Times.

      MMI to push for sharia at congress [Jakarta Post] - 30 Jul 03
      The Indonesian Mujahidin Assembly (MMI), an extremist Muslim group
      headed by terror suspect Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, will convene its second
      congress next month in an attempt to pursue the enforcement of Islamic
      sharia law in the predominantly Muslim country.

      The group was one of those behind demands the People's Consultative
      Assembly (MPR) include the Jakarta Charter in the 1945 Constitution
      during the Annual Session in 2002. Most MPR factions rejected
      including Islamic law in the Constitution.

      MMI chairman Irfan S. Awwas said on Tuesday that the upcoming congress
      would focus on creating concrete programs to ensure sharia was
      implemented in Indonesia. "We have made up our mind not to move a bit
      from our ultimate goal of establishing Islamic law in the country,''
      he told a news conference in Yogyakarta.

      The three-day congress will be held from Aug. 10 to Aug. 12, 2003, in
      the Central Java city of Surakarta. Its main agenda also includes
      hearing Ba'asyir's accountability speech and to elect new members of
      the MMI's Ahlul Hali wal-Aqdi (board of experts).
      The Surakarta-based MMI was established in 2000 with the main
      objective of establishing sharia in Indonesia, home to some 220
      million people, more than 85 percent of whom are Muslims. The group
      held its first congress in Yogyakarta and agreed that the first step
      towards achieving its goal was to educate the public about Islamic
      law. The education programs included organizing seminars and dialogs,
      and publishing MMI's own version of the sharia-based constitution,
      Irfan said.
      The MMI claims to have established 38 executive boards in regencies
      and municipalities, and 10 others in provinces across the country,
      namely West Nusa Tenggara, Bali, East Java, Central Java, West Java,
      Jakarta, Yogyakarta, South Sumatra, North Sumatra and South Sulawesi.

      Syariah investment seen rising in RI - 28 Jul 03
      Islamic syariah investment, which was initially thought to be
      "complicated", has now created a new market in the country, led by
      rising demand for alternative investment options and the anticipation
      of "hot money" inflow from the Middle East. This year, syariah
      investment portfolios in the form of bonds, mutual funds and stocks is
      estimated to grow by more than 150 percent to around Rp 4 trillion (US
      $470 million) from just Rp 500 billion last year, said syariah expert
      Adiwarman Karim of Karim Business Consulting.
      Karim gave an example of syariah bonds, of which their yield would be
      decided based on the revenue obtained by the companies issuing the
      bonds; if the companies failed to book profits, then investors would
      not receive any yield. Under such a system, he said, only high-profile
      companies could issue syariah bonds since they had a reliable profit
      According to the National Syariah Council, out of the 333 companies
      listed on the Jakarta Stock Exchange, only 59 are forbidden under
      syariah. Another factor that has prompted the rise in syariah
      investment here is the inflow of money from the Middle East, as most
      Arab sheiks had avoided parking their money in the United States after
      the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Karim said this "hot money" was
      currently stored in Europe, but now the sheiks were moving them to
      Malaysia and Singapore. The two countries had the appropriate
      infrastructure for making syariah investments while providing higher
      yields than European assets, he said.
      Karim said most of the capital had not entered Indonesia due to the
      lack of reliable syariah investment infrastructure. But foreign-based
      financial institutions such as HSBC and ABN Amro are now gearing up to
      take advantage of the business opportunity. Chief executive officer of
      HSBC Asia-Pacific Aman Mehta said that HSBC Indonesia would soon
      launch its syariah investment services by establishing a new syariah
      banking division.


      Uday, Qusay should be given full Muslim funeral: Cleric - 26 Jul 03
      The detested sons of Saddam, killed by US forces in a shootout in the
      northern town of Mosul on Tuesday, have the right to be buried
      according to Islamic ritual, whatever crimes they may have committed
      in their lifetimes, according to Ayatollah Bashir Hussein al-Najafi.
      The Ayatollah, one of the four leading Shiite religious authorities in
      Iraq, believes "anyone who professes to be a Muslim must be buried
      with Islamic ritual, whether they are innocent or a criminal," the
      Ayatollah's son, Ali Bashir al-Najafi, told AFP in Najaf, south of
      Baghdad, on Friday. "It is a proof of the greatness of Islam and of
      its spirit of justice," Najafi added.

      [Najaf] New female judge blocked in Najaf - 30 Jul 03
      A group of angry protesters scuttled a quiet, cake-and-coffee
      reception to honor Najaf lawyer Nadal Nasser Hussein, who was to be
      sworn in Wednesday as the first female judge the city has ever had.
      Around 40 men, most of them lawyers at the courthouse and some
      clutching a copy of a June 5 religious decree, chanted "No woman
      judge" in English outside a paneled conference room. Nadal, 44, sat
      impassively inside, ringed by judges, her would-be colleagues. She has
      seen this before. It will pass, she says.
      Sestani is Najaf's grand ayatollah and his opinion has great weight.
      He issued a fatwa - or decree -- on June 5 declaring that alcohol in
      perfume does not violate the law against drinking. He also said only
      men can be judges because the job requires not just intellect and
      sanity, but also masculinity.
      "That's wrong, Islam doesn't say 'the prophet says no women judges,' "
      Nadal says through an interpreter, another female lawyer named Rahab
      Mahmoud, 33. Both women are fully covered in black cloaks and colorful
      scarves, but they eschew the head to toe abaya worn by most religious
      Shiite women.
      "We're going to postpone it for now," says Lt. Col. Christopher
      Conlin, commander of the 1st Battalion 7th Marines. Conlin has been
      huddling with the chief justice and several lawyers and judges. He
      crosses the room to Nadal and pulls up a chair for Spc. Rachel Roe,
      29, the apple-cheeked Harvard-educated, Arabic-speaking Wisconsin
      lawyer who has overseen the resurrection of the criminal courts.
      There are thousands of widows and children in the city whose cases
      would be better made before a female judge, but no one will be
      required to appear before Nadal. In Iraq, attorneys can shop their
      case to any judge they think will be friendly.
      But as Conlin has learned from three months working here, Shiism
      asserts itself in unexpected ways. No one objected when a woman was
      appointed to the city council. No one batted an eye at the school
      board elections that were run by a Shiite woman. Moreover, the chief
      justice of Najaf was Nadal's first employer and he supported her
      appointment, as did about a dozen of the 29 judges in the city. There
      are 12 open judgeships, vacated by Baath Party members who have fled
      the city.
      Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein prohibited women from entering the
      judicial institute - a requirement for judges - in 1980, but there
      were already women judges at work then. There have been none since, at
      least until now. All of Saddam's dictates have been cancelled, and the
      U.S.-backed Coalition Provisional Authority will open the judicial
      institute again next month in Baghdad. Women will be included in the
      first class, Roe said.
      [Conlin] will talk to the city council and to the clerics, and see if
      he can get Sestani to clarify or change his fatwa. Sestani makes a
      habit of keeping out of municipal affairs that do not directly involve
      the mosque, and Conlin suspects - or hopes - he may have been only
      addressing the requirements of being a judge in Islamic religious
      courts, not the city courts. "There are some real requirements to
      having a woman judge," he says. "It's a predominant issue. ... we
      simply have to address some concerns."
      "You know, they are now using a word they've never used before," she
      muses. "'Judge,' with a feminine ending. 'Khadiya,' instead of
      'Khadi.' I don't know everything about Arabic, but I've never heard
      that word before."
      A follower had asked the grand ayatollah [Sistani] two written
      questions - whether perfume was permissible to wear, given its alcohol
      content, and whether women could be judges. Although Islam forbids
      drinking alcohol, wearing perfume is fine, the grand ayatollah ruled,
      and as for judges, they had to be mature, sane and masculine.

      Another fatwa was issued by Sheik Moktada al-Sadr, whose decisions
      carry virtually no theocratic weight because he is a 30-year-old
      seminary student. But he commands a mass popular following because of
      love for his late father, an ayatollah who opposed Saddam Hussein and
      was assassinated. The young sheik wrote that filing a case before the
      female judge was forbidden.

      "This will cause big, big problems in all governorates, in all
      cities," said Iltifad Abdul Sadeh, one of the female lawyers opposed
      to the idea. "It will lead to confrontations." She then got into a
      brief spat with Ms. Hussein about the basis on which Islam bars women
      from being judges. It is not in the Koran, religious officials say,
      but it is mentioned among the sayings of Muhammad, which some consider
      open to interpretation.

      [Dawa] Political activism emerges en masse - 30 Jul 03
      "All our lives we lived without democracy but now there are many
      parties, from us communists to the Islamists who want to install
      Shariah law." The Islamic Dawa party is one such group. Its banner,
      strung out at its offices in the former Culture Ministry's youth club,
      reads: "The will of Allah rules." "We hope to have a Shariah law,"
      said a spokesman who declined to be named yesterday, admitting that
      such a move would see Iraq's recent political flowering wither.
      "There won't be any political parties when we have Shariah," he said.
      "It's not that Islam is against democracy, it's just that it is
      different here than in the West."


      Islamists forced to retake constitutional oath at the parliament
      .. - 29 Jul 03
      Islamic parliamentarians at the Jordanian parliament were obliged
      yesterday to retake their constitutional oath, after an arbitrary
      judicial council approved a decision that the oath they took upon the
      convening the first session of the parliament and related their
      loyalty to the King and the homeland by "obedience to the God and his
      prophet" was not constitutional.


      Malaysia to ban divorce via SMS - 31 Jul 03
      Malaysia plans to outlaw divorce via mobile phone text messaging
      after a row erupted over an Islamic court ruling that it was
      acceptable, local media reported Thursday.
      [the New Straits Times] said the government planned to pass new laws
      to prevent divorce pronouncements through SMS and other electronic
      media such as email and fax.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3112151.stm - 31 Jul 03
      The government says it will consider increasing the fines and jail
      sentences for men who pronounce the talak - or declaration of divorce
      - by electronic means, such as e-mail, fax or text message. Men who
      declare divorce outside a court already face up to three years in
      jail. .. just over half of Malaysians are also Muslims and bound by
      Islamic sharia law, rooted in scriptures 1,400 years old.

      Non-Muslims not spared punishment - 01 Aug 03
      Disciplinary action can be taken against non-Muslim civil servants
      caught for khalwat and adultery with their Muslim partners. While
      penalties for the latter come under the jurisdiction of the syariah
      courts, non-Muslim civil servants could face the music from
      disciplinary boards, headed by the State secretary in each State, for
      tarnishing the good image of the civil service.

      Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Jamaluddin Ahmad
      Damanhuri said action could be taken against them for contravening the
      Aku Janji pledge. "It is not to humiliate or punish them but as a
      lesson so that they do not repeat the mistake," he said after the
      Eighth Conference on Public Service Commission here today.
      He had been asked whether action could be taken against non-Muslim
      civil servants for offences under the syariah with their Muslim
      partners. Since last June, Muslims convicted of any offence by the
      Syariah Court have to also face the disciplinary board.

      Demography makes talk of syariah academic: PAS - 31 Jul 03
      Demography makes talk of imposing Islamic law 'academic' because only
      57 per cent of Malaysians are Muslims, said Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad,
      director of the PAS Research Centre in Kuala Lumpur. The votes of the
      substantial minority mean their wishes have to be taken into
      consideration. However, Muslims are expected to form more than 70 per
      cent of the population by 2020, he told The Straits Times in an
      interview after a seminar on Monday.

      He said taking account of Malaysia's demographic realities and its
      federal system of government, PAS has a two-tier strategy for the next
      general election, expected by early next year: It will fight for Islam
      in states where 'citizens clamour for it' and for democracy at the
      federal level.

      He outlined the strategy in the interview and at the seminar on the
      Islamic state in Indonesia and Malaysia, organised by the Institute of
      South-east Asian Studies. Speaking of the PAS-controlled states of
      Kelantan and Terengganu, he said implementing syariah there would
      prove that Islam is 'compatible with 21st-century democracy'. The two
      states have enacted hudud laws which allow for the hands of thieves to
      be chopped off and adulterers to be stoned to death.

      (Radio) Contest runs contrary to Islam, says minister - 29 Jul 03
      Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid
      Zainal Abidin has voiced regrets that a private English radio station
      is airing a contest that is contrary to Islam. The contest which
      posed the question "If you could be a God, what would you do?" strayed
      from Islamic convictions as it equated man with God, he said.
      "Although the question is hypothetical, it cannot be trivialised as we
      cannot equate ourselves with God Almighty even as a joke," he told
      reporters yesterday after presenting designs of the dais for the 45th
      International Quran recital competition here.
      "If the contest is still being held, I would ask that it be stopped
      immediately," he said when commenting on the contest which was held as
      a run-up to the screening of 'Bruce Almighty' in cinemas.
      Abdul Hamid said the Film Censorship Board should refer to the Islamic
      Affairs Department over the film in which a man was given the power to
      be God for a week. "It's not appropriate to show the film in this
      country. I don't know how far the Film Censorship Board has taken
      action," he said.


      King of Morocco outlaws Islamic parties on fourth anniversary of reign
      .. - 01 Aug 03
      King Mohammed of Morocco has declared that Islamic parties will be
      banned, insisting he is the North African country's only
      representative of Islam.
      Parties with a "religious, ethnic or regional base" would be outlawed,
      he said on Wednesday. "No one can use Islam as a trampoline to power
      in the name of religion, or to perpetrate terrorist acts," he said.
      Trials resumed nationwide yesterday of hundreds of suspected Islamic
      fundamentalists terrorists, including many not linked with the
      attacks. The King said that he would rush a law through parliament to
      ban "parties or groups claiming to monopolise Islam". The measure
      [would] close down the Justice and Development Party, a moderate
      Islamic party opposed to violence, which has become the country's
      third strongest party.


      IFJ Demands That 'Fatwa' On Publisher And Journalist Be Cancelled
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200307310030.html - 30 Jul 03
      The International Federation of Journalists today condemned a recent
      affirmation of a "fatwa" (death sentence) issued by a Committee of the
      Jama'atul Nasril Islam (JNI), against two Nigerian journalists in the
      northern State of Kaduna.

      On July 21, the JNI Secretary-General, Justice Abdulkadir Orire,
      included the "fatwa" in the publication of its yearly report. The
      "fatwa" on Nduka Obiagbena, a publisher for ThisDay, and Isioma
      Daniel, a former reporter for ThisDay, stands as a continuation of an
      initial "fatwa" on Daniel subsequent to a controversial article she
      published on November 16, 2002.

      Shari'ah body urges government to suspend use of oral polio vaccine
      .. [Daily Trust website] - 28 Jul 03
      The Supreme Council for Shari'ah in Nigeria (SCSN) has called on the
      federal government to immediately suspend the use of oral polio
      vaccine because of evidence that it contained anti-fertility agents.
      Addressing a press conference in Kaduna on several national issues on
      Saturday, SCSN president, Dr Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, said the vaccination
      should be suspended until it is fully investigated by the competent
      authorities and found to be safe.

      He said investigations by the SCSN shows that the government of the
      United States government has as a national policy promoted the
      depopulation of Third World and Muslim countries since 1975 and that
      recently declassified US documents showed that the World Health
      Organization (WHO) had introduced human chorionic genadotropin (HCG),
      a naturally occurring hormone essential for maintaining pregnancy in
      women, through massive anti-tetanus health campaigns in Nicaragua,
      Mexico, Philippines, Nigeria and Tanzania.

      "Furthermore, WHO has been actively involved for more than 20 years in
      the development of anti-fertility vaccines using HCG tied to tetanus
      toxoid as a carrier," Dr Datti said adding that other agencies
      collaborating with WHO in this regard are UN Fund for Population
      Activities (UNFPA), UNPP, NIH and UNICEF, the World Bank and the
      Rockefeller Foundation.

      He said SCSN was not opposed to any programme for the eradication of
      all childhood and other communicable diseases including polio, but
      "the council harbours strong reservations on the safety of our
      population not only because of our recent experience in the Pfizer
      scandal, when our people were used as guinea pigs with the approval of
      the federal ministry of health and the approval of all the relevant UN

      He said statistics showed that only 140 cases of polio were recorded
      since 2002, and that actual killers of Nigerian children were malaria,
      measles, meningitis, cholera and typhoid but for unfathomable reasons
      billions of naira and millions of dollars are spent on polio
      prevention alone.


      [Kashmir] Thousands being recruited for 'jihad' - 28 Jul 03
      Despite official pledges of action to stop militancy, the 'jihad'
      movement in the country seems to be growing. This appears to be
      especially true in the Punjab and also the NWFP, where it is said
      "more people have linked up to jihadi forces in the post-Iraq war
      scenario than at any other time in years."

      "Jihad is spreading like wildfire in Pakistan," claims an official in
      the country's Interior Ministry. He says that according to several
      jihadi publications between January and June 2003, Islamic groups
      recruited over 7,000 young boys aged between 18 and 25.
      "Some of the largest separatist outfits – Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and
      Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) – claim to have recruited more than 3,350 and
      2,235 boys respectively during this period," says the official.

      Jihadi groups are finding the Pakistani environment particularly
      receptive after the U.S.-led attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. They use
      publications, web sites, local prayer leaders, cassettes, CDs, and
      souvenirs like file covers, badges,T-shirts and so on to lure
      Millions of pamphlets featuring ballads, speeches, interviews and
      profiles of young jihadis are distributed free by these organisations.
      For his part, Pakistan Interior Minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat
      maintains, "The government is monitoring the activities of these
      jihadi groups and will take stern action if it got any proof or
      substantial evidence. But we cannot proceed against them without any
      evidence. The government also can't ban them unless they are really
      involved in anti-state activities."

      Adds a senior Interior Ministry official, "We simply cannot penalise
      people for donating their children for jihad or stop boys from joining
      the jihadi outfits, as all this takes place secretly. There is no
      official patronage."

      Significantly, as the member of a prominent separatist group remarks,
      "The vast majority of boys who join the radicals consist of runaways."
      He says 60 per cent of them are high school dropouts. "People's
      passions are stirred when the jihadis are presented as heroes of
      Islam," says psychologist Dr Minhas.
      In his Friday sermon at the Al-Raza mosque in the north town of
      Rawalpindi, prayer leader Maulana Yousaf exhorts the assembly to
      "Contact me if you want to donate your sons for Kashmir jihad." He
      boasts, "My speeches have motivated hundreds of people to donate their
      sons. I have raised an army of 300 holy warriors within four months."

      [Punjab] Adult girls can opt for marriage of will: LHC - 28 Jul 03
      The Lahore High Court Monday ruled that country's constitution does
      not impose any bar on adult girls to marry according to their own
      will. LHC Justice Raja Muhammad Sabir, who dismissed a "Hudood" case
      against a couple recently made a love marriage, remarked that girls
      could be stopped from taking rebellious steps if their will was
      considered at the time of marriage.

      [Punjab] PA rejects MMA bill making weddings at mosques compulsory
      The Punjab Assembly (PA) on Thursday rejected a marriage bill
      introduced by a Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) legislator that sought
      to make compulsory the holding of nikah and barat ceremonies in
      mosques. The Punjab Marriage Functions (Prohibition of Ostentatious
      Displays and Wasteful Expense) Amendment Bill 2003 introduced by the
      MMA's Ehsanullah Waqas also stated that if there were no mosque within
      a reasonable distance, the ceremonies should be held at the house of
      the bride. Punjab Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja opposed the
      bill, saying the barat ceremony was "beneath a mosque's dignity". He
      said there was nothing wrong with the nikah ceremony being held in a
      mosque, but the government could not force the general public to host
      marriage ceremonies in a mosque.

      Deputy Speaker Sardar Shaukat Hussain Mazari forwarded two other bills
      to standing committees and asked them to submit reports on them within
      a month. Humaira Awais of the Millat Party introduced the Punjab
      Prohibition of Private Money Lending Bill 2003. She said money lending
      for the purpose of earning interest is prohibited under the Sharia. Ms
      Awais said private moneylenders "loot" borrowers by charging them
      compound interest rates and so it was necessary that the government
      make rules to stop private money lending.
      The house also rejected the Punjab Prohibition of Dangerous Kite
      Flying Activities (Amendment) Bill 2003, introduced by Rubina Nazar
      Sulehri. She stated that the government should allow kite-flying
      during Basant every year. The law minister opposed the bill, saying
      the Lahore district government ban on kite-flying should not be


      Muslim Convert Butchered - 29 Jul 03

      The man left his friends and family almost two weeks ago heading into
      a mountainous region of the Palestinian Authority area. He took
      Christian materials including cassettes, videos and Bibles with him.
      After approximately ten days during which his friends and family
      received no word from him, his body was returned to them. He had been
      brutally killed and his body carved into four pieces as a warning to
      other converts. He leaves behind a wife and two small children. The
      names and further details of those involved are being withheld by
      Barnabas Fund for their own safety.


      Reforms in Saudi Arabia fail to placate US neo-conservatives
      http://www.dawn.com/2003/07/30/int18.htm - 30 Jul 03

      Bangladeshi Put on Trial for Screening Porn Movies - 23 Jul 03
      A Shariah court in Alkhobar province is looking into the case of a
      Bangladeshi national who turned an apartment into a mini theater for
      pornographic movies for his fellow Bangladeshi workers. According to a
      source following the case in court, the Commission for the Promotion
      of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Alkhobar received information
      that a foreigner,20, was screening pornographic movies to foreign
      workers. The young man was charging SR 60 [EUR 14,-] to show a porn
      movie in a large room in the furnished apartments of the firm that
      employed him. The fee was shared between the viewers.


      Mosque drama cleared by watchdogs - 31 Jul 03
      A controversial episode of BBC spy drama Spooks which attracted nearly
      1,000 complaints over its portrayal of Muslims was yesterday cleared
      by TV watchdogs. Muslim leaders denounced the programme, which
      featured a radical cleric who used a fictional Birmingham mosque as a
      recruiting ground for suicide bombers. The episode, screened on BBC1
      in June, became the most complained about programme of the year.
      " The commission also acknowledged the concern felt by many British
      Muslims at the excessive emphasis on the tiny minority advocating
      violence in the name of Islam and the dearth of wider representations
      of Muslims in broadcast output. " However the commission, whilst
      expressing sympathy with the complainants' concerns, considered that
      this programme had been clearly presented as a drama, rather than as a
      factual account."


      [Internet] Your guide to Halal eating http://www.zabihah.com/


      Islamic Finance: Sharia screening works to protect investors

      [UK] Fyshe launches broking for Muslims - 28 Jul 03
      Fyshe Group will today become the first stockbroking company to launch
      an advisory broking service for Britain's 1.8m Muslims, adding to the
      growing range of Sharia-compliant products being offered by financial
      services companies. Fyshe Crestar, a subsidiary group, will advise
      clients on whether or not well-known companies, such as AstraZeneca,
      Shell, Johnson & Johnson and Volkswagen, adhere to Sharia investment
      "Offering stockbroking services or mortgages to Muslims is just the
      tip of the iceberg - the market is also demanding a whole range of
      savings products. These have been available in the wholesale market
      for some time, but only now are companies looking at how to deliver
      them to the retail investor." Earlier this month HSBC became the first
      high street bank to launch an Islamic mortgage.
      Iqbal Asaria, chairman of the Business and Economics Committee of the
      Muslim Council of Britain, welcomed the news: "Any new product or
      service is welcome. Over 50 per cent of the Muslim community in the UK
      is under 24 years old, so they are a lot of new consumers and
      investors coming on the market.

      Malaysia's first Gold Dinar available to public next week - 29 Jul 03
      The Royal Mint of Malaysia has launched Malaysia's first Gold Dinar,
      which will be available to the public next month in the ¼ and 1 Dinar
      types, priced at RM 51 and RM 181. [EUR 12 - 41] .. The value of the
      Dinar was minted to resemble those used during the reign of Caliph
      Umar-Al-Khatab in Arab and would follow the market price of gold.

      [Malaysia] BIMB plans RM400m financing via Wahdah - 26 Jul 03
      Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd (BIMB) expects to extend RM 400 million [EUR
      94 mill.] financing in the current financial year through its latest
      product Wahdah. BIMB general manager for consumer banking Wan Ismail
      Wan Jusoh said the amount is about 25 per cent of the total targeted
      consumer financing for the financial year ending June 2004.
      "Wahdah is a comprehensive consumer financing product designed to
      lessen an individual's financial commitment and fulfil cash needs
      through home refinancing," he told a new conference after the
      launching of Wahdah by Second Finance Minister Datuk Dr Jamaludin
      Jarjis in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

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