Sharia News Watch 68
- Sharia News Watch 68 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
The Sharia Newswatch provides a weekly update of news quotes on
Sharia (Islamic Law) & related subjects, as appearing on the major
news- searchengines. All editions :
extremists burn down girls' schools - 24 Aug 03
Islamic extremists burned down a girls' school south of the capital
and have distributed letters threatening to kill anyone working for
the US-backed Afghan government, a senior Afghan military official
said on Friday. The Abu Sofian girls' school, which was housed in a
tent, was torched on Wednesday night in Logar province, about 50km
south of Kabul, said General Hatiqulluh Luddin, a regional military
Luddin said that two weeks ago another tented girls' school was burned
down in a neighboring district. The Abu Sofian school, which has about
250 students aged between seven and 13, would reopen as planned
yesterday after nearly one month's holiday, he said.
Dr. John L. Esposito: The position of women in Islam - 22 Aug 03
Ninety lashes for adultery - 17 Aug 03
An appeals court in the United Arab Emirates has upheld a sentence
of 90 lashes and deportation handed down on a 15-year-old expatriate
girl for committing adultery, a newspaper reported Sunday.
The court in Abu Dhabi said the girl was not classified as a juvenile
because, under Islamic Sharia law, a girl is deemed an adult when she
reaches puberty, Gulf News said. The court also sentenced the man
involved with her, the paper said without giving details.
Failing Public Schools Drive Away Students; Islamic Education Growing
.. 17 Aug 03
Most after-school instruction goes unreported and untaxed -- the
consequence of a system that has failed to meet basic educational
needs, say Egyptian teachers, parents, students, and activists. Public
schools in Egypt are considered so inadequate that parents are
abandoning them for a burgeoning network of Islamic schools, largely
originating in Saudi Arabia, that are well-organized and amply funded.
Once the fount of Arab culture and a beacon for moderate religious
thought, Egypt's public education system is in disarray. Teachers are
paid the equivalent of $ 460 annually, less than half the country's
average per-capita income; a classroom shortage forces administrators
to cram 100 students at a time in a single course and hold classes in
two shifts; courses are taught by rote, and field trips, in a country
rich in antiquities, are rare. At least half of all students would
fail year-end exams if scores were not finessed to ensure a passing
rate of at least 50 percent, according to Lila Soueif, a lecturer at
In fact, teachers and students counter, secondary students hoping to
attend Egypt's better universities have little choice but to process
themselves through a vast underground tutoring industry.
"If teachers don't give private lessons, they can't live, and if
students don't take them they won't learn," Soueif said. "Whole
families go hungry just to afford them." Calls for education reform
in Egypt are not new. Six years ago, intellectual and activist Saad
Eddin Ibrahim led a panel of 40 experts on the subject and unveiled
its findings at an eight-hour symposium attended by education minister
Bahaeddin. Among other things, the panel recommended updating the
national curriculum and integrating Christians and Muslims for at
least part of the daily religious teachings.
If reformers are losing ground, religious schools are filling the
void. Al-Azhar schools are proliferating, say parents and instructors,
in part because they are affordable but also because religiosity is
increasingly associated among lower-class Egyptians with the kind of
affluence enjoyed in oil-rich -- and fundamentalist -- Saudi Arabia.
"The mosque provides my kids with lessons they need during the school
year," said Afaf Mohammad, a resident of Cairo's working-class Imbaba
district. "I want them to grow up knowing their religion."
Seasonal and economic factors also enhance religious schools' appeal,
say parents like journalist and commentator Yasser Ali. Because the
government has been forced to cut back on such civic services as youth
clubs, he says, the neighborhood mosque most often becomes the
cheapest and most convenient place for children to spend the hot
Three Journalists Handed One-Month Sentences - 21 Aug 03
The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN is disturbed by
the one-month prison sentences handed down on 20 August 2003 to three
journalists with the weekly Al-Nejashi. Arif Abdul Kadir, Awol Kedir
and Yusuf Getachew the newspaper's publisher, managing editor and
editor-in-chief respectively were found guilty of defamation by a
Sharia Court. They were also ordered to pay fines of between 600 to
1000 birr (approx. US$70-117).
Kadir, Kedir and Getachew were arrested on 18 August and appeared in
court the next day to face charges stemming from a 6 June 2003
Al-Nejashi article entitled, "The marriage of Oustaz Kassim has become
a topic of debate." The piece highlighted an alleged contretemps at
the wedding between the bride's parents and the groom.
The journalists were apparently not afforded the chance to defend
themselves during the two-day trial. The fact that their case was
heard in a Sharia Court was also highly irregular in that Press
Proclamation 34/85 states that such cases should be heard by the
Federal High Court. Thus the detention of the three journalists would
appear to violate Ethiopian law.
Muslim woman wins right to wear headscarf - 22 Aug 03
Germany's highest court ruled on Thursday that a Muslim shop assistant
was wrongly sacked by her employers for wanting to wear a headscarf at
work. The constitutional court in the western city of Karlsruhe
declined to hear the department store's appeal against an October 2000
ruling by the federal employment tribunal, which said that wearing a
headscarf was part of the Muslim woman's right to religious freedom.
The 30-year-old was fired when, nearing the end of her maternity
leave, she announced she wanted to wear a headscarf for religious
The constitutional court's decision is to have no formal bearing on
another high-profile case still pending. It is expected to rule on
September 24 whether a Muslim teacher was justly fired when she
refused to refrain from wearing a headscarf in a public school
classroom. A federal court had earlier upheld the conservative
southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg's argument that a teacher with a
headscarf violated "the strict neutrality of public schools in
religious issues" and could influence impressionable young children.
Because Ayesha's consent matters - 06 Aug 03
Participating in the debate in the Constituent Assembly on Article 44
K.M. Munshi asserted "`Look at the Hindu Law; you get any amount of
discrimination against women; and if that is part of Hindu religion or
Hindu religious practice, you cannot pass a single law which would
elevate the position of Hindu women to that of men"'. This was on
November 23, 1948.
Manu said that if a man does not repay his father's debts, he will be
born as a dog, slave or a woman. At the time of the adoption of the
Constitution the Hindu Law needed as much reform, if not more, as the
Muslim Law. The Hindu Code drafted by the B.N. Rau Committee faced the
same opposition as we see today against the Women's Reservation Bill.
It was Ambedkar's dream to abolish untouchability and remove all
discrimination against women.
The main object of Article 44 was to reform all personal laws,
particularly to uplift the lot of women. The widespread impression
that it was only in regard to Muslim Law or religious minorities is
erroneous and convenient. Hindu Law was partially reformed by
splitting the Hindu Code Bill into several acts like the Hindu
Marriage Act 1955, Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act 1956, Hindu
Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956 and Hindu Succession Act 1956.
Polygamy was abolished.
Preacher hits at secular Muslims for weakening Islam - 21 Aug 03
Indonesian preacher Abu Bakar Bashir, a top terror suspect, on
Thursday gave a vigorous and emotional defence plea professing his
innocence in his ongoing treason trial. If convicted, he faces a
15-year jail term.
In it, Abu Bakar lambasted foreign governments for frightening Muslims
whom he feared, may now be wary about pursuing Syariah Islam or
Islamic Law. Abu Bakar also lumped Muslims he dubbed to be
secularists, with infidels -- both groups, he noted, weakened Islam
and allowed Muslims to be trampled on.
Bill sparks storm of protest in Iran parliament - 06 Aug 03
The reformist-dominated parliament last week voted in favour of Iran
joining the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms
of Discrimination Against Women. The European Union has insisted Iran
sign the convention as as part of a human rights dialogue it has with
Tehran. But parliament's decision angered hardline clerics who staged
protest marches in the holy city of Qom on Friday and Saturday.
Leading clerics called the convention "colonialist" and said it
contradicted scores of Islamic rulings.
Ayatollah says Iran might sign women's convention "with reservations"
.. - 18 Aug 03
The head of the Imam Khomeyni Centre for Islamic Studies, Ayatollah
Musavi Bojnurdi, said on Monday [18 August] that Iran may sign the
Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
(CEDAW) with reservations to certain parts that the religious leaders
deem non-Islamic. Ayatollah Bojnurdi said that the Islamic Republic
regards fiqh (Islamic shari'ah) as applicable to social life and,
therefore, there would be no hindrance to its application to the
particular social convention.
Ayatollah Bojnurdi further pointed out that "Islam supports the
emancipation of women so we have no difficulty signing up to the
convention except for certain parts which the religious leaders are
opposed to". To bolster his reasoning, he said that the game of chess
is banned in Islam until now but that the late Imam Khomeyni
pronounced an exception by lifting the ban with due consideration to
time and place. .. He pointed out that other Islamic nations have
joined the convention with expressed reservations about certain parts
that contradict Islamic values. [BBC Monitoring Middle East]
Newspaper Chief Summoned To Court - 19 Aug 03
Gholi Sheikhi, managing director of "Toseh" daily newspaper, is to
appear in court on 19 August for the fourth time in the past 1 1/2
months, IRNA reported. The daily's editor in chief, Seyyed Hussein
Sajjadi, said the summons related to the general prosecutor's
complaint that the daily distorted public opinion. Among the
plaintiffs are the Islamic Azad University, the Security Department of
the state police, the Basij Resistance Force, and the
ultraconservative "Ya al-Tharat" daily. [RFE/RL Newsline]
Travails of being dual citizens - 09 Aug 03
Zahra Kazemi, the Canadian photojournalist, was beaten to death in a
Tehran prison after being caught taking photographs of student
demonstrations in Iran. It has now been revealed that Iranian
revolutionary guards had no qualms about rough-housing the woman
because she was an Iranian citizen as well.
Kazemi's death amply demonstrate the tremendous risk she was taking in
thinking that her Canadian citizenship and Canadian passport would
insulate her from the religious police in Iran. Reports indicate that
she used her Iranian passport to get into Iran as foreign journalists
are not easily issued visas, and then tried to use her Canadian
passport as a cover to do her journalistic work after she arrived
there. Immigration authorities here say this is a common mistake by
most new Canadians who retain citizenship of their native countries
after becoming citizens of Canada. The consular protection that Canada
can provide to its citizens when they are abroad is severely limited
if such citizens have not relinquished citizenship of the country of
their birth. [by Nihal Kaneira]
Volunteer Militia Seen As Key To Future Power Struggle in Iran
.. - 01 Aug 03
At the same time, conservatives feel they need a force capable of
handling tough tasks, including containing demonstrations and other
expressions of discontent. That's where the Basij militia comes in.
The Basij militia, which emerged shortly after 1979's Islamic
revolution, now comprises as many as a million members. The group
recruits disaffected or dispossessed youth from schools,
neighborhoods, workplaces and villages; members receive training in
small-arms combat from conservative agencies. In 1992, parliament
formally authorized the Basij to enforce moral codes in the streets.
While reformists in President Mohammed Khatami's administration have
tried to promote more transparent policing, they have never rebuked
A longtime observer of Iranian politics, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, sees the Basij militia as a crucial plank of the
conservative "hard" strategy. "To a great extent," the observer told
EurasiaNet recently, "whoever wins the hearts and minds of the Basij
can determine the course of developments."
The extent of Basij militia loyalty to the conservative cause remains
in doubt. Certainly there are many points of common interest that push
the Basij towards the conservative camp, but the militia in the past
has exhibited an independent streak. For example, during and after the
crackdown that followed this summer's street demonstrations, several
Basij branches condemned the involvement of plain-clothes vigilantes
inside university campuses. The Tehran University Basij Organization
reportedly lambasted a lenient corruption verdict in March as "a
travesty of justice" and an "affront to the memories of the martyrs."
Baghdad's Shiite district in uproar over perceived US attack on
religion 14 Aug 03
On Wednesday [13th], US troops fired into a crowd of thousands of
demonstrators in Sadr City, killing one person, after they were
allegedly targeted by an RPG. The protest was sparked by an American
helicopter that apparently tried to remove a black religious flag from
a communications tower. "What do they have against our flag? This is
an insult to Shiite Muslims," said an elderly man, who did not give
his name, dressed in a traditional Arab robe and headdress.
there was little support there Wednesday for a call on Iraq's top
Shiite religious authority, the Hawza, attributed to Saddam, to
"proclaim jihad (holy war) so that all the Iraqi people are united
against the occupation." "It's not Saddam who can call for jihad,"
said Abbas Jamal. "We don't follow orders from the US or from Saddam.
Only from the Hawza." "If there's a fatwa (religious edict) from the
Hawza, there's no doubt, we will fight," said garage owner Ali Khalaf.
Most observers here agree that there would be bloody chaos if the
Hawza were to instruct Iraqi Shiites to rise up against the occupying
Religion administers rough justice - 05 Aug 03
In this holy city [Najaf], the fact that a bunch of upstart young
clerics has established a court system is cause for scandal. The
Islamic court's decisions, which include permission to kill, could
have dubious legality in the regular court system, assuming it is
Nonetheless, many aggrieved Iraqis, feeling that they have no other
place they can trust for legal rulings, have flocked to these courts.
It does not seem to matter that the courts have no enforcement power
and are not recognised by either the American occupation forces or
Iraq's senior Muslim religious authorities. The grand ayatollahs
either deliberately ignore the institution or say its decisions lack
religious significance because no local senior cleric advises them.
Those who want to establish an Islamic system of government in Iraq
similar to the one in neighbouring Iran stepped into the vacuum
quickly, establishing courts in the holy city of Najaf and in Baghdad
to deal with a welter of legal problems. Their docket covers all types
of criminal and civil cases that normal courts would hear if they were
functioning: murder, divorce, spouse abuse, and property disputes.
Israeli police reopen Jerusalem shrine to non-Muslim visitors - 20 Aug
A Jerusalem holy site closed to non-Muslims for most of the past three
years - after a visit by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sparked violence
- reopened Wednesday.
Last month, the site was reopened to visitors without the approval of
the Waqf, the Islamic authority that oversees the shrine that is home
to the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Levy refused to say
whether Wednesday's reopening, which came just hours after a deadly
suicide attack on a Jerusalem bus, was made in coordination with the
Palestinians deny agreement with Israel on Jerusalem holy site
In a statement to our correspondent Ya'agov Ezra, Islamic Waqf
director Engineer Adnan al-Husayni denied the existence of any
understanding or agreement with the Israeli side over the visits [to
the Jerusalem holy site known as Temple Mount to Jews and Al-Haram
al-Sharif to Muslims]. He stressed that the Awqaf Department will
reject this Israeli move. He held the Israeli side responsible for any
repercussions ensuing from this decision. [BBC Monitoring Newsfile]
[civil status] Jordanian women protest change in law - 11 Aug 03
Kharabsheh, who created an uproar by stating that women "should stay
home," initiated the call for a parliamentary rejection of a civil
status law granting women rights, including "khuloe," or the right to
divorce. This had been a man's exclusive privilege until December
2001, when the government introduced amendments to the law.
Sunday's sit-in, organized by women and human rights groups in front
of the Parliament building, was the first in a series of activities to
protest Parliament's outright rejection of the civil status law, seen
as one of the few socially progressive pieces of legislation the
government has issued. The government's law, issued as a "provisional
bill" in the absence of parliamentary approval, also raised the legal
marriage age from 15 for women and 16 for men to 18 for both.
On August 3, the 110-seat Lower House of Parliament overwhelmingly
voted to reject the entire law. It also rejected another bill that
would have given a woman the right to a reduced penalty for killing
her husband if he were caught committing adultery, a right currently
granted to men. Two of the six women in the House joined the men in
rejecting the laws.
Liberal MP Abdul Raheem Malhas, who briefly joined the protesters to
support their cause, said the legislators who rejected the bill were
"merely protecting their own masculinity and manhood because Islamic
sharia (law) has determined the legitimacy of khuloe." The
Cairo-based al-Azhar, the highest Sunni Muslim authority, has decreed
that khuloe is permitted under Islamic laws. Since Egypt became the
first Arab country to legitimize this right in March 2000, more than
11,000 Egyptian women have divorced their husbands. Since Jordan
legalized khuloe, in which a woman must give up all right to financial
support from her husband and return her dowry, more than 800 women
have filed for divorce.
The protesters, however, noted that the Parliament, elected in June
after a two-year delay, had only rejected the legislation granting
rights to women, while the remaining 208 provisional laws issued by
the government were forwarded to parliamentary committees for review.
A guide to 'halal' food outlets - 16 Aug 03
KasehDia Sdn Bhd, a communication arts company, recently launched the
first of its Halal Food: A Guide to Good Eating series at the MPH
bookstore in Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur. The launch saw the
unveiling of Halal Food: Kuala Lumpur, which not only focuses on
restaurants, bistros and hotel outlets but also stalls around the city
centre. [New Straits Times]
Malaysia to change divorce-via-cell phone law - 01 Aug 03
Reacting to an Islamic court's ruling last week approving a divorce
initiated with a husband's text message to his wife, the government
said Thursday it will tighten religious laws to bar the use of
electronic messages in divorces.
Abdul Hamid Othman, the government's official religious adviser, said
Thursday that rules on a wife's notification would be made more strict
and explicitly exclude text messaging and other new technology.
"Husbands should not be allowed to freely use SMS (text messaging) and
other easy methods such as e-mails, voicemail or even facsimile to
begin divorce proceedings," Abdul Hamid told The Associated Press. "We
must put a stop to it as it is morally wrong and unacceptable to
http://zdnet.com.com/2110-1104-5059901.html - 05 Aug 03
The Muslim court may fine husbands who divorce their wives through the
short messaging service (SMS) RM 1,000 (US$263.12) and above.
Raising the fine or six months imprisonment, which is the penalty for
divorcing one's wife outside Islamic court, may be within the powers
given to the Islamic Development Department, said its Director-General
Mohamed Shahir Abdullah. The department oversees the country's Islamic
PAS defends its two manifestos - 21 Aug 03
PAS has defended its decision to have two separate manifestos for the
next general election, expected to be held early next year. The party
has come under fire for having a manifesto promising to implement
Islamic laws in states ruled by PAS [Kelantan, Terengganu] and another
manifesto, aimed at pleasing non-Muslims, saying that it would not set
up an Islamic state at the federal level.
King Mohammed: Decision on new Family Code to be announced soon
.. - 21 Aug 03
Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Wednesday said that his decision on the
amended draft for a new family code will be announced shortly.
In his [tv] speech, King Mohammed VI said "I thought that on the
occasion of this jubilee, the best way to express commitment to the
spirit of the Revolution of the King and the People, and to keep that
spirit alive, for ever, would be to take concrete steps which reflect
and materialize my firm determination to do justice to Moroccan women.
They should be truly honoured and freed from all the injustices they
are enduring; otherwise democracy and human rights would be
meaningless." He recalled that he had instructed the Commission in
charge of revising the Mudawana Code to complete its work and submit
its conclusions to him next September.
"We are to wage it against ourselves in order to avoid taking the easy
way out by eluding difficult questions and making more and more
promises for demagogical purposes," he said, stressing the need for
"efforts to implement difficult reforms, through an innovative,
How Did Sharia Get to Nigeria? [by Brendan I. Koerner] - 22 Aug 03
Law & Human Rights: Diversity of Thought in the Development of Sharia
FG cautioned on abolition of death penalty - 06 Aug 03
http://www.gamji.com/death06082003.htm [Daily Trust]
The federal government has been warned that attempt to abrogate
capital punishment could lead to serious communal disturbances because
it would be a challenge to the effective implementation of Sharia in
states that have adopted the legal system. Opposition to the proposed
legal reform was expressed by the Emir of Dutse, Alhaji Nuhu Muhammadu
Sanusi, the national president of the Supreme Council for Sharia in
Nigeria, Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmad and a former minister of special
duties, Alhaji Wada Nas.
Muslim Women Criticise Practice of Sharia - 22 Aug 03
http://allafrica.com/stories/200308220287.html [Vanguard- Lagos]
The umbrella body for all the Muslim women associations in the country
yesterday declared that conducive environment has not been created for
the implementation of the criminal aspect of the Sharia legal system
in Nigeria. The National Amiral (president) of the Federation of
Moslem Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) Hajia Bilikisu at a press
conference in Akure, said that sharia, as practiced in the country, is
against the interest of women that are poor in the society. According
to her, Sharia should be implemented where a social welfare state has
been put in place and everybody has been educated.
While noting that the legal code cannot be implemented where there is
famine and poverty, the president said that the creation of a
conducive environment is the joint responsibility of all Moslems.
[Bauchi] 33 Sharia Court Judges Sworn-in - 20 Aug 03
The Bauchi State Governor, Dr. Ahmadu Adamu Mu'azu has sworn-in 33 new
Sharia court judges in the state with a call on them to be God-fearing
and discharged their duties without fear or favour.
Represented by the Commissioner of Justice, Barrister Habibu Aliyu,
Mu'azu said that the state government would provide working materials
and improve the welfare of all judges in the state.
Also speaking, the state Grand Khadi Alhaji Abdullahi Yakubu Marafa
expressed happiness for the successful conduct of the occasion, saying
that the swearing-in of the first and second batches took place on the
23rd of August 2001 and 16th December 2002 respectively.
[Jigawa] Islamic court stops rapist's stoning death - 21 Aug 03
A Nigerian man sentenced to die by stoning for raping a nine-year-old
girl has been reprieved by an Islamic sharia court on grounds of
insanity, defence lawyers said on Wednesday. Had his appeal failed,
Sarumi Mohammed would have become the first man to be executed by
stoning for rape since 12 states in the predominantly Muslim north of
Nigeria adopted the strict Islamic sharia penal code in 2001. The
Sharia Court of Appeal in Dutse, Jigawa state, quashed the stoning
sentence on Tuesday and ordered Mohammed to be taken to a psychiatric
hospital for treatment.
Katsina State governor set to establish shari'ah monitoring panels
.. - 14 Aug 03
Concerned by the slow pace of shari'ah legal implementation in the
state, the Katsina State government is set to establish a shari'ah
monitoring and enforcement committee in all the local government areas
of the state.
The deputy governor said members of such committee are to apprehend
violators of the Islamic code passed into law by the state House of
Assembly for onward submission to the police for prosecution. Aminchi,
however, cautioned them to guard against taking laws into their hands,
while assuring the group of prompt scrutiny of their requests for the
purchase of vehicles meant to enable them discharge their duties
The committee to be soon formed, will according to the deputy
governor, comprise of members from various Islamic aid groups, the
police, road safety marshals, officers of NDLEA and the
representatives of local councils among others. [This Day]
Azam Tariq won't pursue Sharia Bill - 24 Aug 03
Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan (MIP) Convener Maulana Azam Tariq has
accepted the advice of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam President
Chaudhry Shujaat that he should not pursue the Sharia Bill in the
National Assembly till an "appropriate time", sources told Daily Times
on Saturday. Sources said Maulana Tariq called on Mr Shujaat to ask
him to fulfill his promise to support the bill, but the latter advised
him to wait till an appropriate time.
Sources said the government believed that the bill had the ability to
distort the image of Pakistan in the eyes of liberal countries and
affect ongoing talks with the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).
Maulana Tariq submitted the bill in the assembly three months ago and
informed reporters that it would be discussed on the next private
The chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI),
Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, said he presented the same bill in the assembly
in 1986 and it passed. "How can a passed bill be accepted again?," he
asked. "I think the speaker did not read the bill carefully. If he
reads the bill, he won't allow debate in the house," he said.
Body asks NWFP govt to 'Islamise' employees - 19 Aug 03
The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) Nifaz-e-Sharia Council has
asked the NWFP government to train government employees according to
[Senator Professor] Ibrahim said according to the Sharia Act passed by
the NWFP assembly, a law and constitutional commission would be set up
in line with Islamic teachings. "The provincial government has
constitutional limits and it will try to enforce Islamic injunctions
within these limits," he said, adding the council would make
suggestions and recommendations to the governor. He said: "There will
be a Hasba force to work directly under the provincial ombudsmen,"
adding: "The Legal Framework Order (LFO) was a hurdle in Sharia
implementation." He said they wanted powers for parliament but the LFO
stressed individual supremacy, which was not acceptable to the
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).
[NWFP] Shiite students riot in Pakistan, demanding separate textbooks
Thousands of Shiite Muslim students smashed shop windows and pelted
police with stones Tuesday in a Himalayan town, demanding Islamic
studies textbooks that are different from the ones used by Sunni
Muslim students, police said. About 10,000 people, mostly students,
staged the demonstration in Skardu, a town about 230 kilometers
southeast of Gilgit, said Mohammed Hussain Shigri, a police official
Most of Pakistan's 140 million people are Sunni Muslims, but Shiites
are a majority in Skardu, a tourist town in the rugged region.
Govt-MMA talks won't affect relationship with Centre, says Durrani
.. - 11 Aug 03
The [NWFP] chief minister [Durrani] said some quarters had wrongly
interpreted the Hisbah Act because the MMA government was only trying
to reform the existing judicial system which had failed to deliver
justice. He said the reservations of the NWFP governor regarding the
act had been removed since the government would implement it through
the existing police force.
Hisbah Bill not shelved, says Durrani - 02 Jul 03
"The Hisbah Act would decide cases on the pattern of the Jirga system*
[decision by council of tribal elders] in consultation with rival
parties. It would discourage corruption and nepotism and people would
get justice without going to court for minor issues," he said.
Mr Durrani dispelled the impression that a special force would be
created under the act and said the department would take help from the
police "whenever needed".
NWFP govt to table new Hasba Bill in assembly - 01 Aug 03
Meanwhile, according to a BBC correspondent, the President of Peshawar
Bar council, Advocate Sher Afghan Khattak consider the Hasba bill
contrary to human rights, adding that the government of MMA wants to
replace the present institution with new one. "It is not in line with
1973 constitution. There is no room for appeal in courts. Appeal in
courts is basic right of every person. It is against the constitution
and basic human rights," Sher Afghan said.
However, the correspondent was quoted, as saying that leaders of MMA
say that two main objectives of the Hasba bill are to eliminate
bribery and impartial accountability. Giving his comments over the
issue, Provincial law Minister Zafar Azam said that although
institutions like accountability courts and anti-corruption department
exists yet people are not satisfied with their performance, adding
that introduction of the new law is require to control corruption.
*] The jirga or faislo or panchayat system
Palestinian Female Detainee Hospitalized - 16 Aug 03
Palestinian detainee Mai Zayed, 24, has been hospitalized after
deterioration of her health condition due to a hunger strike that
continued for eight consecutive days. Zionist occupation authorities
had arrested Zayed on 7th August 2003 in her house in Ramallah and she
went on hunger strike since then protesting her detention in the
military Beit Eil detention camp.
The detention camp is solely run by army soldiers with no female
conscripts to deal with female detainees. Zayed is the target of daily
provocations at the hands of the soldiers such as attempting to grab
her Hijab (head cover).
She experiences harsh imprisonment conditions in the camp where no
detergents are allowed and the detainees are allowed to go to the
toilet only three times a day. Other detainees in the camp went on a
two days of hunger strike in solidarity with Zayed, who is demanding
her transfer to the women prison in Ramle.
Islamic Society Peacefully Resolves Murder Case - 05 Aug 03
The Islamic society in Nazlat Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip has succeeded
in peacefully ending a dispute over a murder case, which took place
nine years ago, in accordance with rulings of Islamic Sharia.
A massive ceremony was held at the society's headquarters in the
presence of hundreds of families and notables along with Sheikh Ahmed
Yassin, founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic Resistance
Movement, Hamas, and religious scholars.
[Dr. Nizar] Rayyan, who headed the good offices committee, read out
the ruling that condemned the culprit for premeditated murder and
hailed the relatives of the victim for giving up their right of
killing the murderer. The ruling also stipulated that the culprit
should pay alone (without installments) 34,000 Jordanian dinars
(around 50,000 dollars) to family of the victim.
Saudi Cleric Urges Muslims to Shun Radicalism - 21 Aug 03
Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority urged Muslims on Thursday
to shun extremism and avoid waging unjustified jihad (holy struggle)
as the kingdom cracks down on Islamist militants believed linked to al
Qaeda. In a lengthy statement carried on the official Saudi Press
Agency, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz al-Sheikh told Saudis to listen
to their religious authorities and ignore fanatic interpretations of
Islam or risk "banning God's bounty." "One of the fall-outs from
extremism in understanding Islam is that some people call for jihad
for the sake of God without justification," Sheikh Abdul-Aziz said.
New Saudi Fatwa forbids killing of non-Muslims - 23 Aug 03
Saudi Arabia's chief cleric deemed it a sin for Muslim to kill
non-Muslims in a religious ruling meant to counter terrorism. Muslims
who kill or rape non-Muslims or steal their money are committing not
jihad, but "great sin (and) causing harm to themselves," Grand Mufti
Abdul-Aziz al-Sheik said in the fatwa issued Thursday and carried by
the official Saudi Press Agency.
Canadian diplomacy torturous to behold - 12 Aug 03
Mr. Sampson, a 44-year-old pharmaceutical engineer working for a Saudi
government agency, was arrested - along with six other foreigners -
more than two-and-a-half years ago and sentenced to be beheaded for
his role in a fatal bombing that the Saudis claimed was part of a turf
war between rival bootleggers.
Several of the men, including Mr. Sampson, "confessed" to their crimes
on Saudi TV, but later recanted, claiming they were tortured into
signing "confessions." The Saudis denied that they had used torture,
saying it was expressly forbidden under Sharia law.
Finally, after 31 months of what Canadian officials called "quiet
diplomacy," Mr. Sampson and the others were dramatically "pardoned" on
Friday by Saudi King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
Amnesty International, which has documented some of the evidence, made
this completely unambiguous observation in a 2000 report: "Saudi
Arabia's criminal justice system facilitates torture . . .
Torture is used to extract confessions and to enforce discipline.
Sometimes it is inflicted apparently without reason." Even Canada's
favourite Big Brother, the United Nations - which tells us what
"independent" course of action we should pursue internationally - has
criticized the Saudis expressly for using torture. In 2002, the UN
Committee against Torture pointed out that the Saudis' use of
floggings and amputations were violating international conventions
against cruel and degrading treatment.
Saudi system condemned - 09 Aug 03
The immigration card that foreigners fill in when they arrive in Saudi
Arabia has a warning note printed in red ink: drug smuggling carries
the death penalty. What the card does not mention is the wide range
of other offences, apart from murder, that can result in execution:
witchcraft, adultery, sodomy, highway robbery, sabotage, apostasy
(renunciation of Islam) and "corruption on earth".
[Qasim] Royal Pardon for Erring Mutawwa - 29 Jun 03
The disciplinary department in the Court of Grievances in Riyadh has
found a member of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the
Prevention of Vice guilty of abusing his authority.
The committee member, or mutawwa as they are commonly known, was
sentenced to 10 days in prison following revelations from Saudi and
expatriate witnesses, in addition to a well-known imam, that they saw
him give a severe beating to an Arab expatriate worker. The committee
member, they said, tried to strangle and verbally abuse the Arab
expatriate in front of his children, calling him "an animal".
However, a royal pardon has exempted the official from serving his
jail sentence. Because his record until this incident was unblemished,
the committee member only had to give a written undertaking that he
would never repeat such actions.
Terrorism comes home - 05 Jul 03
"The conflicts between Crown Prince Abdullah, who is more disposed to
reform, and Prince Nayef, the Minister of Interior, who resorts to a
narrower system of controls, symbolize the internal struggle at the
top of the Saudi Kingdom, which filters down to society as a whole,"
Ms. Yamani said. Those conflicting signals were obvious recently when
the government encouraged wider press freedom and then ordered the
firing of Jamal Khashoggi, a crusading newspaper editor, after his
outspoken editorials against the dreaded religious police appeared in
Two Logos Under Fire - 20 Jul 03
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice -
also known as the religious police - has filed a complaint at the
Court of Grievances against the Ministry of Trade for registering two
trademarks for a local company in what the commission described as
inappropriate words and images.
The trademark logo the commission is objecting to is a drawn image of
a child holding a juice carton in a circle, above which appears the
word "Al-Shatir" in Arabic. In the other logo the child is holding a
This is the second official complaint from the commission in two
months. Last month, the commission won a case against the Ministry of
Trade and Industry regarding the trademark of a German company.
According to a source close to the case, the religious police also
objected to the registration of a trademark that showed a person
riding a bull and holding a shield with the numbers 1889, saying that
the logo contained an image that was forbidden in Islam and violated
Saudi customs and traditions.
The commission said a number of verses in the Qur'an and several
Hadiths as well as edicts from religious scholars say that photographs
and drawings are forbidden in Islam when they contain images of living
beings with souls, and it was also forbidden to sell or obtain any
item bearing such an image.
Malay-Muslims want Hope to cover divorcees - 22 Aug 03
Malay-Muslim grassroots leaders are asking for the expansion of the
Government's new Hope assistance scheme to cover more poor families,
and for divorcees to also be considered. They also want low-income
families, whose children attend private Islamic religious schools or
madrasahs, to be eligible for the programme, which takes effect next
Hope, which stands for Home Ownership Plus Education, is targeted at
more than 3,000 young low-income married couples. Each family could
receive up to $100,000 worth of benefits, on condition that the
parents train to improve their skills, and keep their families small
and manageable. A key condition of the programme, which aims to help
such families get out of the poverty trap, is that they have no more
than two children.
[Opinion] Tailor Muslim practices to fit life in America - 04 Aug 03
[Philadelphia] U.S.-Muslim Policewoman Faces Dismissal Over Hijab
.. - 15 Aug 03
An American female police officer is facing a dismissal for wearing
hijab (Islamic headscarf) while on duty, press reports said Friday,
August 15. Officer Kimberlie Webb, 40, a converted Sunni Muslim and an
eight-year police veteran, went to work wearing hijab earlier this
week, but she was reprimanded and sent home without pay until she
removed the religious head covering, said The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In 1998 she asked permission to wear it to work, but was immediately
turned down by superiors, who said that it was a danger. She said she
was told that "someone could pull me with it or choke me."
Observers see threats to Webb as sexist, as Johnson himself changed
the department's decades-old rule to allow officers to wear full
beards for religious or medical reasons only few days ago.
Under the religious waiver, an officer may wear a beard if he
practices a religion that requires him to have it. Saying that
changing the beard policy was based on the decision of the Third
Circuit Court and the federal court, Johnson contended that women's
hijab makes a different case.
"Other departments in other parts of the country have had similar
situations, in Chicago in the sheriff's department and in a fire
department in Maryland," Rabiah Ahmed, a council spokeswoman [CAIR],
was quoted by the Inquirer as saying. "They were able to come to a
compromise and accommodate scarves." Ahmed said police safety concerns
that the hijab could be grabbed and harm a female officer are easily
remedied by using hook-and-loop closures that separate when pulled
'Repeal Isles spinster law forthwith' - 09 Aug 03
Zanzibar's Spinster and Widows Act of 1984 should be repealed
forthwith, an International Human Rights activist and specialist on
family law, religion and culture has urged.
"The fact that the law provides for different punishment for women and
men it is discriminatory and violates secular principles," said the
eminent Ethiopian national scholar in a special interview with the
Tanzania Media Women's Association journalists (TAMWA).
Professor An-Naim said the Zanzibar Spinsters and Widow Act was
neither Islamic nor secular as it does not satisfy the requirement of
Sharia for zinna (extra-marital affairs) and was using an Islamic
rationalisation without the support of the secular law.
The Zanzibar Spinsters and Widows Act provides two-year imprisonment
for a woman who conceives out of wedlock and five years jail sentence
for a man found guilty of impregnating a woman out of wedlock.
"Sharia is very strict, if you accuse someone of extra marital
relation (zinna) four witnesses have to prove that they saw the act
being committed," the professor said adding, "what the Zanzibar law is
doing is introducing stigma of conviction of zinna and imprisonment
sentence without sharia requirement of proof."
Professor An-Naim said except for minority Maliki Muslim School of
thought which is prevalent in West African communities, all other
majority of Muslims (Sunnis) do not accept pregnancy as proof of zinna
(extra marital relations). He said however, law is not the best method
of regulating morality, but education, upbringing, life skills and
Islamic Finance: Agency plays key role in Istisna, Wakala financing
Islamic Finance: Musharika and Ijara show slight differences in
service agency rule
[Malaysia] Building an Islamic financial hub in Asia - 19 Aug 03
.. It wants to be the center of the fast-growing market for Islamic
investments, especially bonds.
Another reason for Malaysia to lead the Islamic debt charge is its
relatively liberal views on sharia-compliant investment. To thrive, an
Islamic bond market must be a liquid one that can compete with other
One challenge for Kuala Lumpur is reaching a consensus with other
Muslim governments on investment rules. Some scholars, for example,
believe that Islamic law may not allow for the day-to-day trading of
debt securities. But a secondary market is necessary if non-Muslim
investors are going to buy the debt.
The primary market for Islamic bonds is not doing much better. In the
Middle East, Islamic debt issues are still few and far between with
bonds generally held to maturity, making the market extremely
illiquid. The lack of an interbank market does not help. Islamic law
also can make it difficult for investors to use financial options,
derivatives or other hedging tools that are routinely found elsewhere.
[Malaysia] Islamic banking, takaful on fast lane - 15 Aug 03
The Islamic banking and takaful business in Malaysia will account for
20% of the total banking and insurance market by 2005, five years
earlier than targeted by the government, Bank Mualamat Malaysia Bhd
president and chief executive officer Fazlur Rahman Ebrahim said.
Islamic banking and takaful already accounted for 10% of total banking
currently, from 6% in 2001, he said.
Corporate governance key to boosting investment climate in the Arab
World http://www.ameinfo.com/news/Detailed/27191.html - 16 Aug 03
The lack of corporate governance in businesses in the Arab World is
one of the factors dampening the investor climate in the region,
slowing the conversion of businesses into corporates and impeding
access to foreign investments.
"Arab family businesses need to be converted to business institutions,
supported by high corporate governance standards, if Arab businesses
are to find acceptance in the global investor community and capital
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