Sharia News Watch 74
- Sharia News Watch 74 : a collection newsquotes on Shariah, for
research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
The Shari'ah Newswatch provides a weekly update of news quotes on
Shari'a (Islamic Law) & related subjects, as appearing on the major
news searchengines: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/
Jailed Afghan women have a taste of liberty - 30 Sep 03
A few Afghan women and girls were released from jail [in Kandahar] for
a day to attend a recent conference on women's rights in the new
Afghan Constitution, and their stories brought home the need for
change in a country where 95 percent of women are illiterate.
Addressing the most difficult issues, the women called for criminal
charges to be brought against men for domestic violence, sexual
harassment and for abuse. They demanded a ban on the practice of
giving women or girls as compensation for crimes committed by one
family against another. They called for a minimum marriageable age of
18 for girls (it is currently 16, but many girls marry in their early
teens), for the right to marry and divorce in accordance with Islam,
and for a reduction in time that women have to wait to remarry when
their husbands disappear.
But as all the women at the Kandahar conference acknowledged, the law
is one thing on paper; practices around the country, especially in the
conservative tribal areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan, are
quite another. Diplomats are worried that change will be harder to
carry out if Islamists succeed in making Shariah, or Islamic law,
binding in the constitution when it is adopted at a loya jirga, or
grand assembly, due in December.
Afghanistan's proposed constitution to enshrine women's rights
"No other Islamic country has a constitution that is so liberating for
women,'' said Fatima Gailani, a member of the Constitutional Review
Commission. "Men and women are equal. In Afghanistan's history, this
is totally new.''
The draft document says the government must provide women with
education and health care equal to men. It also will mandate
additional care for pregnant women and extra education for widows
whose husbands were killed during the last two decades of war.
A 10-day meeting of a 500-member loya jirga, or grand council, is to
convene in December to debate and ratify the document. Implementing a
constitution is crucial for Afghanistan as it lays the foundations for
its first democratic elections in decades, scheduled for June 2004.
Couple out on bail - 03 Oct 03
Following a tip-off, the eight enforcement officers conducted a spot
check on a business premise in Mukim Tanjong Maya and detained the
couple for close proximity or 'khalwat' which is an offence under
Chapter 77, Amendment 1984 of the Religious Council Act and Kadhi
Court. The couple was later released on bail under Chapter 77
Amendment 1984, Section 177 (1) and (2) of Kadhi Court. The woman was
released on bail of $500 [EUR 250,-] while the man was released on a
$1,000 bail. The man was again ordered to be present at the Religious
Office in Tutong District on Oct 7, 2003 for investigation.
New Mufti : Islamic Scholar - 30 Sep 03
Egypt's president has appointed a prominent Islamic studies professor
to become the country's top Muslim cleric. Mr Ali Gomaa, 51, yesterday
took up the post as mufti of the Cairo-based Al-Azhar University, the
Sunni Muslim world's foremost institute. President Hosni Mubarak on
Sunday issued the decree appointing Mr Gomaa to replace former mufti
Sheik Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb. Sheik el-Tayeb has been appointed
Al-Azhar University president, taking over from Mr Ahmed Omar Hashim
[who has completed his statutory eight-year role in the position].
Foremost among Mr Gomaa's responsibilities will be to issue religious
edicts, which sanction or prohibit acts according to Islamic syariah
law. Criminal courts also cannot carry out death penalties without
consulting the mufti.
A regular commentator on Arab satellite TV stations, Gomaa is also a
member of a North American Islamic organization that issues fatwas. He
has written more than 30 books on Islam and attended many
international Islamic conferences.
Egyptian Imam Sues State for Interference in Sermons - 11 Sep 03
A Muslim preacher is filing a lawsuit against the Egyptian government
for interfering in his sermons, demanding two million dollars in
compensation. Ibrahim Al-Kholi, imam at a mosque in the Cairo suburb
of Helwan, asked the courts to order the Ministry of Religious Affairs
to stop interfering in his sermons. [Kholi is professor at Al-Azhar].
An official at Al-Azhar, a prestigious mosque and university which
serve as the leading authority for Islam worldwide, said Egyptian
authorities have for two months been debating "the question of
sermons" at Friday prayers. A source close to the project said the aim
was to prevent extremists from giving sermons or inciting people to
rise up against the government.
Islam Not A Threat To Secularism: French Orientalist - 30 Sep 03
[Tamil Nadu] Muslim meet wants sacrifice ban to go - 30 Sep 03
An Islamic Shariat Protection and Awakening Conference held here
recently has requested the government to lift the ban on animal
sacrifice in temples as, it said, this interfered with an individual's
right to worship. The conference demanded reservation in jobs for
Muslims in Tamil Nadu on the lines of the system in Kerala and
Karnataka. It also demanded appointment of Arabic and Urdu teachers in
schools in Tamil Nadu. It wanted the Anti-Conversion Law to be dropped
and it registered its opposition to a common civil code.
Women to be blamed for violence against them: Scholar - 30 Sep 03
Women themselves are to be blamed for the increasing crimes against
them. If they dress and behave decently, incidents of violence against
them would dramatically come down, according to Farhath Naik, a noted
woman Islamic scholar from India. Farhath, president of the women's
wing of Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and the principal of Islamic
International School, both based in Mumbai, was speaking at a seminar
on "Women in the 21st Century" held jointly by the Qatar Indian Islahi
Centre and Qatar Guests Centre at the Prestige Restaurant on Sunday.
The speaker said that 2,317 cases of rape are reported daily in
America. If every women adopts the Islamic dress code, the crimes
against women will decrease on a larger scale, she observed.
Indonesia poised to outlaw sex before marriage - 29 Sep 03
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, is drafting
regulations that could outlaw sex before marriage, living together
outside wedlock and homosexuality, an official said today. Abdul Gani
Abdullah, director general of legislation at the ministry, said the
draft revisions would also ban witchcraft. Muslim leaders, including
experts in Islamic Sharia law, had been consulted over the draft
revisions, he added.
But certain criteria would need to be met before a crime was committed
under the revisions, he said. "If society chooses not to do anything
and has no objection to any cohabitation for example, then it is not a
crime," Abdullah said by telephone, adding the idea was that people
would need to lodge complaints before authorities reacted.
Under proposed amendments to the country's criminal code, a couple
found guilty of cohabitation could be jailed for up to two years. A
man who makes a woman pregnant but refuses to marry her could spend a
maximum of five years in prison.
Sodomy and oral sex would be punishable by between three and 12 years
in jail and homosexual sex would result in jail terms of between one
and seven years. A 'witch doctor' or his client found guilty of using
black magic to hurt other people could get up to five years' jail.
AFP quoted another official as saying that ministry experts were still
debating ways to obtain evidence.
Beliefs in witchcraft and mysticism are still widespread, especially
on the main island of Java. And many Indonesians are also generally
relaxed about homosexuality. Abdullah said the revisions were part of
efforts to revise sections of the criminal code still largely based on
laws of former colonial ruler the Netherlands.
A copy of the revised KUHP shows that among the new articles are those
relating to casual sex, witchcraft or black magic, Marxism-Leninism,
contempt of court, oral sex and sodomy.
Justice and human rights minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra is the chairman
of the Crescent Star Party (PBB), which has long fought for the
inclusion of sharia (Islamic laws) into state legislation and the
Constitution. Noted lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution [said] "The inclusion
of articles bearing the influence of certain religious teachings into
the KUHP will go against the universal principles of criminal codes
adopted by almost every country in the world."
Indonesian Islamic authority condemns Jemaah Islamiyah - 03 Oct 03
Indonesia's Islamic authority on Friday denounced the Jemaah Islamiyah
extremist network, which is blamed for the Bali bombings and a string
of other attacks, and voiced support for the government's efforts to
root out terrorism. .. Indonesian Islamic leaders had previously
refused to directly condemn the group.
Legality of trial on Tanjung Priok case questioned - 30 sep 03
Lawyers for the 11 military personnel accused of committing gross
human rights violations in the 1984 Tanjung Priok massacre questioned
on Monday the legality of the ongoing trials against their clients,
arguing that the families of the victims and the military had reached
an out-of-court settlement in the case.
"Both the families of the victims and the military have signed an
islah (traditional Islamic peace settlement) and declared a
reconciliation during a gathering at Sunda Kelapa mosque in Central
Jakarta in March 2001.
Relatives of the late Amir Biki, a Muslim cleric killed in the
bloodshed, and former Jakarta Military commander Try Sutrisno, who was
in charge of security in the capital at the time of the incident,
played a prominent role in promoting the islah. However, not all
victims or their families accepted the out-of-court reconciliation.
Among those opposing the settlement is legislator A.M. Fatwa of the
Reform faction. Also, the Attorney General's Office once ruled that
the court proceedings would continue despite the islah.
Muslims tell it like it is for 'unloved' Americans - 30 Sep 03
A group of Indonesian Muslims, handpicked by the US Embassy here for
their moderate views, told an expert panel from Washington in plain
terms last week why America is unloved in the Islamic world. The
problem is policy, not public relations, said Ms Yenni Zannuba Wahid,
28, daughter of former president, Abdurrahman Wahid. Ms Wahid has been
studying at Harvard university for the past year.
'The perception in the Muslim world is that the problem is the policy
towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iraq,' said Ms Wahid. It
would help to alleviate, but not close, the distance between the
Muslim world and the US if Washington would explain its policy.
Another panelist criticised America's preoccupation with Islamic
fundamentalists. 'Every country has fundamentalists,' said Muslim
magazine publisher Zaki Mansoer.
America's standing was damaged most by the perception that the
Indonesians the US 'picked on' were fundamentalist believers in Islam,
the panel was told. These people had a right to practise that form of
their religion just as fundamentalist Christians did in America.
Climate of constant fear for Iraqi women - 02 Oct 03 [Irish Times]
A UNICEF-funded programme that might have saved children like Zeina
was shut down after the UN's headquarters at the Canal Hotel was
bombed on August 19th. Mr Birmingham is also attempting to help some
of the thousands of Baghdad families who are being evicted by
landlords hoping to make a quick buck from the city's sudden
conversion to capitalism.
"They hire criminal gangs, 10-strong, many of them convicts who were
freed by Saddam Hussein last year," he explains. "Several women have
told me the gangs came to their apartment. They threaten to rape the
women and kill the men if they don't leave."
The combination of lawlessness, Islamic fundamentalism and tribalism
in post-war Iraq is making life even more dangerous for the weakest
members of society - girls and women. Though it is impossible to
obtain reliable statistics, Ms Leila Mohammed, the director of the
Organisation for Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), which is affiliated
to the Communist party, estimates at least 400 women have been
kidnapped, raped or murdered across the country since the US invasion.
Sheikhs in the Shiite district of Ath-Thawra have threatened her and
other feminists, and Ms Mohammed is accompanied everywhere by two
OWFI's newsletter relates terrifying stories of violence against
women. One young woman was kidnapped from a beauty salon near the Swan
Lake Hotel in middle-class Karrada as she was having her hair done for
her wedding. She, like chubby-faced Ms Ammouda Haddi Hassan (33)
simply disappeared without trace. Ms Hassan went out one morning to
buy groceries, wearing a black Islamic robe and headscarf, and was
never seen again.
In another article, a taxi driver recounts a wild car-chase through
the streets of Baghdad, as a mini-van filled with gunmen attempted to
kidnap a pretty passenger. The driver had the presence of mind to go
to a political party office surrounded by armed guards, and the gunmen
"Saddam never did anything for them. As his regime crumbled, he tried
to exploit religious feeling. The 1991 family code deprived women of
free choice in marriage and freedom to travel. It legalised polygamy.
In the mid-90s, Saddam declared that women should stay home and raise
children, and that jobs should be reserved for men. After the 2001 law
on the public execution of prostitutes, more than 200 women were
beheaded with swords across Iraq by Fedayeen Saddam. Some of them were
not prostitutes, just women who annoyed Baathist officials."
Duel for Leadership of Shiite Muslims - 03 Oct 03
Ever since the fall of Saddam Hussein, many people had expected it to
happen: a theological duel between Najaf, in central Iraq, and Qom,
south of Tehran, over the leadership of the world's Shiite Muslims.
The issue that triggered it is one connected with lifestyle: Does
Islam permit smoking? The question was put to the two clerics by the
Islamic Students Association, a pro-reform movement based in Tehran.
[Ayatollah Nasser Makarem] Shirazi [Qom] is categorical in declaring
that smoking tobacco in any form and under any circumstances and by
anyone is a sin. He uses the term "haram" (forbidden). Shirazi bases
his position on verse 195 of the surah Al-Baqara in the Qur'an which
admonishes Muslims not to lead themselves to destruction. The verse,
however, has hitherto been interpreted as a command to believers not
to take suicidal action in war.
[Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad] Sistani's fatwa says that smoking is
not forbidden as such but anyone who knows that it is harmful to his
or her health should refrain from doing so. He regards the issue of
smoking as one to be settled by human reason and individual choice,
not through anathema and interdict. In doing so, Sistani shows that in
most issues concerning human existence, "reason' must prevail over
dogma. The "texts" should be used for graver issues that fall beyond
fallible human reasoning.
The two schools of "Ijtihad" could lead to two different forms of
social and political organization. Shirazi uses words such as "must"
and "obligatory". This means that the clergy should exercise authority
over society, and that their edicts should leave no room for
individual choice and judgment. That position is based on the claim
that a majority of the believers are incapable of knowing right from
wrong and need the guidance of the clergy. Shirazi's ideal society is
ultimately Platonic: The government of the elite over the ignorant
populace. Its Khomeinist version is "wilayt al-faqih".
Sistani uses such words as "recommended" or "preferable". He casts the
clergy into the role of "advisors" and "ethical counselors" of
society. The ultimate decision is made by the individual on the basis
of reason, which is the most precious gift from God to man. Sistani"s
vision is ultimately Aristotelian. His ideal society is one in which
rulers are ordinary pious citizens. Because the concept of an
intercessor is alien to Islam, Sistani rejects the idea that an
individual could escape the consequences of his deeds by simply
following the clergy.
There are other differences between the two schools. For Shirazi every
issue under the sun is theological. Sistani, however, allows for
public and private spaces in which theology would intervene by
invitation only, and then as one voice among many. In this view
science, politics, literature, art, and culture in general, are
independent entities not mere branches of theology.
The re-emergence of Najaf as a center of "Ijtihad" is the best news
for Shiism in more than half a century. Competition between Najaf and
Qom could enrich Shiite theology and benefit both centers. This is one
duel that should be welcome, because it is one of ideas.
Islam religion and honour killings in the Kurdish society - 01 Oct 03
Although it is not easy to pinpoint the root causes of honour killings
committed by Kurdish men, nevertheless, very few could argue against
the impact of Islam religion on such criminal behaviour. The fact that
males "only" have the right to have multiple spouses by itself, is
enough proof to refute all the claims that Islam religion does not
undermine the status of women, discriminate against them and subject
them to aggressive dominance of men. The sense of females being
independent entities equal to men is almost non-existent amongst those
who strictly abide by the doctrines of Islam.
Considering the tight ring of Islam that has developed over many
centuries around the conscience of many Kurds, largely any attempt to
loosen and/or remove this ring has been a taboo. The more affected are
those who lack proper education, as well as those closed minded and
hard-headed individuals who are too proud to give up their old
believes for something new and different. They have convinced
themselves that Allah will punish them if they make changes to the way
the Mullahs or other religious authorities have taught them and/or it
comes in contrast to what is written in the Quran or Hadith.
In Kurdistan, Mullahs continue to be the teachers and enforcers of the
Islam religion and its moral codes. Considering the importance of such
a delicate role, it should not stay in unreliable and unqualified
hands. Mullahs and the mosque system have to undergo some serious
changes to be brought in line with the concept of a civil society.
Kurds cannot claim a state of democracy while they tolerate the
Mullahs to continue preaching 1500 years old Arab desert social
20 divorce-via-SMS cases heard in Selangor Syariah court since 1999
Jakim keeping tabs on activities of deviationists - 02 Oct 03
The Islamic Development Department is monitoring the activities of
10,000 followers of 24 deviationist groups nationwide including those
belonging to the Shia sect. [New Straits Times]
Some 1,000 M'sians Practise Shiite Ideology - Noh - 01 Oct 03
About 1,000 Malaysians from various groups are believed to be
practising the Shiite ideology, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime
Minister's Department Datuk Noh Omar said Wednesday. He said there
were also lecturers who practised the teachings and ideology which
have been decreed to be opposed to Malaysia's Sunni sect. The Research
Unit of the Islamic Advancement Department of Malaysia (Jakim) had
detected the followers of the Shiite ideology believed to be preached
by those who returned to the country from abroad, he told reporters at
He said the authorities detected Shiite teachings in Malaysia since
1984 and the religious ruling on it was issued in the same year. In
1986, the Penang Fatwa Council also issued a religious ruling that the
teachings and ideology of the Shiite sect were opposed and deviated
from the Sunnah sect. It also posed a threat to Muslims' unity and the
country's peace, he said.
An offence to conceal info of child being abused or neglected - 29 Sep
Anyone found concealing information from the relevant authorities of
any child being abused or neglected risks a hefty fine of RM 5,000
[EUR 1.125,-] or two years' jail, or both, under the Child's
Protection Act 2001. They should immediately alert the authorities
concerned if they have knowledge of a child being subjected to
physical or sexual abuse, or even emotional trauma such as being
neglected or abandoned by their mother, father or guardian. Those
having direct contact with the victim, such as family members,
neighbours, child minders and even medical officers, will not be
spared, as they are obliged to lodge a report. This reminder came from
lawyer Hajah Mariati Robert in her presentation Child's Protection Act
2001 (Interpretation, Issues and Challenges) at a three-day paralegal
seminar here, which ended on Sunday.
Excessive sex 'ground for divorce' - 30 Sep 03
Muslim women can file for divorce if their husbands make extreme
demands, in-cluding excessive sex, a syariah court judge said.
Kuala Lumpur-based judge Abas Nordin said this during a talk at a
workshop on Response To Violence Against Women, organised by the
Women's Centre for Change (WCC) here yesterday. Asked to elaborate on
the points he raised, he told reporters later that there were husbands
who demanded sex from their wives as often as 10 times a day.
[Sabah] Muslim wives can claim conjugal rights - 02 Oct 03
A Muslim wife whose husband neglects his family, including his
conjugal duties as a spouse, can apply to the Syariah Court for him to
return home and discharge his obligations and responsibilities
accordingly. Claiming this conjugal right from the husband is
permitted under Section 125 of the Sabah Muslim Family Law Enactment
(EUKINS) 1992, said Sabah Muslim Women Lawyers Association (Salwa)
President, Fatmah Wattie Haji Abu Bakar.
Fatmah said when the court grants the wife's application, the husband
would be obliged to return home and perform his conjugal duties
accordingly. If he (the husband) fails to fulfil his obligations
sufficiently to his wife and children, he would be committing an
offence under Section 131 of the Sabah Muslim Family Law Enactment
In addition, she stressed that when the husband chooses to ignore or
refuse to comply with the court order, his action is deemed to be in
contempt of court and risks a fine of up to RM1,000 or a maximum of
six months' jail, or both, under Section 131(3) of the same enactment,
following a report lodged by the wife with the Enforcement Unit of
State Islamic Affairs Department.
"The wife can file for a divorce in the Syariah Court on the grounds
of neglect by her husband towards to his matrimonial home, as
permitted under Section 53(1)(d) of EUKINS 1992," she asserted.
[Terengganu]Lawyers: Pas' hudud will be illegal when gazetted in State
.. - 02 Oct 03
The implementation of Pas' hudud in Terengganu will be illegal even if
gazetted in the State, legal practitioners said.
"They (Terengganu Government) could as such face claims and awards of
damages in relation to assault and battery, wrongful arrest and
imprisonment, defamation, among other things." On Monday, Deputy Prime
Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was quoted as saying that no
parties should implement laws beyond the framework of the Federal
Constitution as it would have an adverse effect on national unity.
On Friday, Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said
the State Syariah Criminal Enactment (Hudud and Qisas) would be
gazetted next month.
Universiti Teknologi Mara academician and legal adviser Prof Dr Shad
Saleem Faruqi said the people of Kelantan and Terengganu could go to
court and ask for a judicial review of the proposed law. He said under
the Federal Constitution, State assemblies were given limited power to
enact Islamic criminal laws except in those areas assigned to the
Federal list. He said Kelantan and Terengganu were pretending as if
the entire field of Islamic law was covered under the State's
jurisdiction. "The States are going beyond their jurisdiction. It's
like a silent re-writing of the Federal Constitution.
"When the States want to enact any criminal laws, they have to get the
permission of the Federal Court." Kelantan Umno liaison committee
deputy chairman Zaid Ibrahim said the implication of hudud without
taking into consideration the Federal Constitution would cause serious
problems that affect unity.
Jakim uncovers halal food certificate scam - 30 Sep 03
The Islamic Advancement Department (Jakim) has uncovered a syndicate
whose members posed as its officers to con businessmen into paying
exorbitant sums to get halal food certificates for their premises.
Jakim deputy director-general (operations) Che Min Che Ahmad said
apart from charging up to RM 1,800 [EUR 400,-] for each certificate,
the syndicate was also believed to be involved in collecting donations
from companies already issued with the certificates.
In the extortion case, he said, the syndicate members would visit
companies who were already issued with the halal certificate and asked
them for a RM 1,000 donation which they claimed to be "compulsory".
[Zamfara] Sharia Court Orders Woman to Receive 30 Lashes for Arson
http://allafrica.com/stories/200310020579.html - 02 Oct 03
.. [Daily Trust - Abuja]
An Upper Sharia court in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, has ordered
a housewife, Shafaiatu Tukur, to receive 30 strokes of the cane and
pay N 8,000 [EUR 53,-] fine for burning the home of her mate. The
court also gave Shafaiatu, 45, an option of five years imprisonment.
Delivering judgement last Friday, the judge, Malam Idris Usman,
ordered Shafaiatu to pay her mate, Saadatu Tukur, N 69,950 [EUR 460,-]
as compensation for the valuable items she lost in the incident.
Usman, however, advised housewives to always fear God because they
would be asked to give account for all their deeds after death.
[Balochistan] Gunmen attack Pakistani mosque, 31 killed
http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/jul/04pak1.htm - 04 Oct 03
Three gunmen attacked a Shiite mosque in Quetta, Pakistan, on Friday,
killing 31 worshippers and injuring 30. The toll is likely to go up,
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said in Islamabad. The attack
triggered riots in Quetta, the capital of the southwestern Baluchistan
province, as the Hazara community, which was targeted, took to streets
and burnt vehicles and shops.
7 killed, 5 injured in sectarian violence in Karachi - 03 Oct 03
Seven persons were killed and five injured when motorcycle-borne
gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Shiite Muslims to a mosque in
Karachi for Friday prayers, killing seven and injuring five others,
police said. The two gunmen carrying AK 47 guns fired at the bus using
when it had stopped for a signal at a traffic intersection. The
victims were employees of a defence department research body Space and
Upper Atmospheric Research Organisation (SUPARCO). Police suspect it
could be a sectarian terrorist attack as all the dead were minority
[healer] Al-Ayed Explains Quran's Healing Powers - 03 Oct 03
Saudi women join call for reform - 02 Oct 03
Several women in Saudi Arabia have, for the first time, signed a
petition calling for radical reform to tackle growing extremist Muslim
influence in the country. The document called 'In Defence of the
Nation' and signed by more than 300 intellectuals and professionals,
including 51 women, was handed to Crown Prince Abdullah last week.
The BBC noted that it was unprecedented for such a petition to be
signed by women, putting new pressure on both the religious
conservatives, the ulama, and the ruling princes.
3 Years in Prison for Attacking Religious Police in Yanbu - 30 Sep 03
A court has sentenced two men to three years in jail and 3,000 lashes
for attacking members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue
and the Prevention of Vice. The two men were arrested after they and
11 others attacked members of the commission in order to rescue two
girls and two men from their custody. One of the girls escaped.
After their arrest the two men alleged members of the commission had
been beating and pulling the hair of one of the girls they had earlier
arrested on the beach on suspicion of not being related to the men in
their company. The commission denies any wrongdoing.
16 Expats Arrested for Practicing Sufism - 29 Sep 03
The Kingdom's religious police have arrested 16 expatriate workers
[foreigners] after raiding a house in Sakaka, the capital of the
northern Al-Jouf region, for allegedly practicing sufism, Al-Madinah
Al-Madinah said it learned that the religious police had arrested the
leader of the group and confiscated a picture of him which his
supporters venerated. The group has lived in the area for several
years and has been in the habit of distributing sufi writings among
the expatriate community.
Men Must Accompany Pregnant Women in Clinics - 30 Sep 03
Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Qassim Al-Qasabi has issued a directive
to all hospitals advising that they should admit pregnant women only
if they are accompanied by men who are prepared to take responsibility
for both the mother and child.
The directive, which is to be implemented immediately, says that the
man accompanying the woman must supply a photocopy of his Saudi
identification card, which is to be placed in the woman's medical
file, and also sign a document accepting responsibility for the mother
and child. In the event that a woman is admitted to a hospital's
emergency room and is not accompanied by a man, she is to be held at
the hospital in specially designated rooms to prevent her escape. The
mother is to be placed under surveillance in the hospital until a man
comes forward and takes responsibility for the well-being of mother
[Nilufer Gole] Shift from a Muslim to an Islamist identity - 30 Sep 03
a process of de-institutionalisation of religious experience is also
taking place within Islam. The politicisation of Islam is displacing
the authority of Islam's religious classes, the ulama. As in the West,
Islamic religious experience is becoming more personal. The
interpretation of religious texts by individual Muslims, including
political militants, intellectuals and women, is one result. Another
is the vulgarisation of religious knowledge, with the Quran's
teachings abused and taken out of context to support political ends.
Nowadays, activism and terrorism provide, or rather impose, a new
source of legitimacy. So, lay people decide what Islam does and does
not mean, without the authority of religious schools and specialised
training. Indeed, Islam today is primarily interpreted through
political actors and cultural movements, not religious institutions.
This de-institutionalisation has enabled Islam to move from being a
local and national social bond to forging imaginary ties between all
Muslims, everywhere, who feel oppressed or displaced. Thus, Islamism
can unite adherents who previously were deeply divided: spiritual Sufi
and canonised Shariat Muslims; Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims; conservative
Saudi Arabia and revolutionary Iran.
through migration, Muslims experience a sense of distancing, if not an
outright break, from their social origins. So their religious
experience is of a new kind, bereft of theological, community or state
institutions. Religious experience instead becomes a form of social
imagination within which they reconstruct a sense of belonging to
Islam in new and strange surroundings. It is not distance from modern
life, but proximity to it that triggers a return to religious
identity. Indeed, most radicalism arises in groups which, by their
experience of mobility and displacement, are acquainted with secular
Western ways of political thinking and urban living. Disoriented by
unfamiliar surroundings, Islam becomes their anchor.
Being a Muslim and being an Islamist are not the same thing. What we
are witnessing today is a shift from a Muslim identity to an Islamist
identity. The religious self for individual Muslims is being shifted
from the private to the public realm. The question for everyone is
whether that search for identity can be satisfied with headscarves and
wide public acceptance of Islamic religious practice, or if positive
affirmation of Islam demands a more fundamental renunciation of
modernity. [Nilufer Gole is directeur d'etudes, Ecole des Hautes
Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris].
Islamic resurgence under way in Syria - 03 Oct 03
Although the Syrian government is deeply hostile to Islamic extremism,
analysts and diplomats believe that moderate Islamic groups could play
an increasingly influential role. Young Syrians are filling mosques,
many women have taken to wearing the headscarf, or the hijab, and
underground women's religious discussion groups are increasingly
popular despite a ban imposed last year by authorities.
"The Islamic Awakening dominates conservative neighborhoods in cities
and small Sunni towns," said Samir al-Taqi, a political analyst. "In
Damascus, through a network of mosques, they dominate between 60 to 65
percent of pious Muslims I see many secular people, including
Communists, turning to religion." Analysts say the "Sahwa Islamiya"
or Islamic Awakening is a reaction to the American-led wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq, the continuing violence between Israelis and
Palestinians and faltering domestic reforms. The authorities permit
some religious freedom while keeping a close eye on the phenomenon.
Syria has a long, bloody history combating Islamist movements,
particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. A campaign of bombings and
assassinations of Baathist officials by the brotherhood in the late
70s and early 80s came close to destabilizing the regime until it was
crushed in 1982.
However, Qaqa's dream of establishing an Islamic state in Syria has a
long way to go. The Islamic awakening's populist agenda has won it the
support of poorer Muslims at the expense of the merchant and business
classes, once important financial supporters of the Muslim
UK Muslims condemn honour killings - 29 Sep 03
British Muslims do not condone so-called honour killings, community
leaders have said. On Monday a Kurdish Muslim father, Abdalla Yones,
was convicted [for life] of murdering his 16-year-old daughter Heshu
after she formed a relationship with a Christian boyfriend.
Radical Islamic Group Warns Muslims against Helping British or
American Military - 30 Sep 03
A radical London-based Islamic sect that described the September 11
hijackers as the "magnificent 19" is warning all Muslims, particularly
those in Iraq, not to offer support to either the British or American
troops in the region. A so-called "fatwa," or Islamic decree, issued
by Omar Bakri Muhammad's self-titled Shariah Court of the UK talks
against offering "any support, morally or financially or militarily or
physically in their onslaught against Islam and Muslims in the region,
though they attempt to take the Muslims onto their side." The document
says that those Muslims who do decide to offer help will become a
legitimate target for the mujahideen( Muslims who consider themselves
warriors for the faith).
British Muslims lean toward Islamic courts - 01 Oct 03
Two years ago, Mahmood Khawel, a 34-year-old financial consultant and
devout Muslim from the Midlands city of Peterborough, wanted a quickie
divorce. So he went to an Islamic court in London where he performed
the divorce ritual known as talaq. Standing before a judge, he
declared three times in succession that he was repudiating his wife.
Judge Omar Bakri Muhammad, an expert in Shariah, the sacred law of
Islam, granted the divorce on the spot.
But now Khawel and his wife have changed their minds. They want to
reconcile. Last week, Khawel was back in Muhammad's courtroom, asking
for an annulment of the talaq. "OK, brother, don't worry," Muhammad
told him. The judge explained that while some schools of Islamic law
accepted a triple repudiation performed all at once, most preferred
that the repudiations be spread over two or three menstrual periods.
On that technicality, Muhammad said he could release Khawel from the
During the past decade, a parallel universe of Islamic jurisprudence
has sprouted across Britain. Shariah courts can be found in almost
every large city. In London, different Muslim immigrant groups - the
Somalis in Woolwich, for example - have established ad hoc courts that
cater to their community's needs. No one knows how many of these
courts are operating in Britain. Because of their informal nature,
reliable statistics do not exist.
the faithful who fill the makeshift courtroom above a North London
sweatshop care little about Muhammad's politics. They come here
because they believe he is uniquely qualified to settle their marital
disputes, sort out their business partnerships and decide the amount
of blood money that should be paid to compensate the victim of a
crime. In his white gown, white skullcap and beard, Muhammad is an
imposing figure behind the cluttered table that serves as his bench.
Justice is rendered with swift certainty, and many pleadings are
handled via the Internet. Divorces form the bulk of his caseload. For
men, getting a divorce is simple. For women, it can be more
problematic. Usually, women have to buy their way out of an unhappy
marriage. They also have to give up custody of their children and
forfeit their property rights.
Sharia Law, Its Practices and Problems - 30 Sep 03
While critics of Sharia are calling for the separation of mosque and
state in some Islamic countries, critics of Western legal systems also
question the separation of church and state in countries including
England, which has a state church. Some critics of America's use of
the death penalty, including the United Nations and many European
countries, argue that capital punishment is based on the biblical
notion of "an eye for an eye."
During a 2002 discussion on religion and the death penalty, Supreme
Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who supports the death penalty, pointed
out that, historically, people in Western societies believed that
governments were empowered by God and therefore had the right to
impose harsh penalties. "The core of [St. Paul's] message is that
government, however you want to limit that concept, derives its moral
authority from God. It is the minister of God with powers to revenge,
to execute wrath, including even wrath by the sword, which is
unmistakably a reference to the death penalty," he said.
In arguing for the morality of the death penalty, Scalia said, "In the
words of one of the Supreme Court's religion cases in the days when we
understood the religion clauses better than I think we now do - we are
a religious people whose institutions presuppose a supreme being."
Scalia added that the emergence of democracy - which heralded the idea
of the separation of church and state - challenged traditional ideas
of government and its ability to enforce harsh punishment.
Investigation of 'Terrorist Recruitment' Concerns Muslims - 29 Sep 03
Following the arrests of a Muslim chaplain and an Arabic translator
for suspected spying at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility,
two senators are calling for a full investigation of terrorists'
attempts to recruit members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Muslim-American
groups fear the investigation may become a "witch hunt" for followers
What Islam Says on Vegetarianism - 01 Oct 03
First of all, it should be clear that one should not think that it is
better to abstain from eating meat, that doing so will be rewarded, or
that being a vegetarian is closer to Allah than not, and so on. It is
not permitted to draw closer to Allah in this way. (Based on a Fatwa
given by Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid).
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi : Muslims are not vegetarianists. However, if
someone prefers to eat vegetables, then he is allowed to do so. Allah
has given us permission to eat meat of slaughtered animals, but He has
not made it obligatory upon us."
Yemen brings in Imams from al-Azhar to fight Islamic extremism - 03 Oc
Minister of religious affairs in Yemen Hammoud Abbas said yesterday
that the government, in its effort to fight islamic extremism, brought
in some 36 Egyptian Imams from al-Azhar to qualify its own Imams. The
state run al-Wahda newspaper quoted Abbas as saying that the Imams
have arrived in Yemen and will supervise the qualification of some 200
Yemeni clerics in all parts of the country.
Differences with conventional banks in joint-financed deals - 02 Oct
Qatar launches Sukuk Islamic Bond worth $700 million - 01 Oct 03
[Iraq] StanChart to set up shop in Baghdad next week - 03 Oct 03
He explained that as part of the Trade Bank Iraq consortium, Standard
Chartered Bank would first be concentrating on opening letters of
credit so to allow the inflow and outflow of funds for imports. This
involved the installation of the SWIFT payments system and I.P.
addresses for the first customers are already assigned, he added.
"We will be assisting with treasury functions, Islamic banking and
barter deals, indeed anything that will develop the flow of business.
The two local banks are working very hard and we will work closely
GCC nations need to integrate into global economy: Expert - 01 Oct 03
The region and the [Gulf] GCC countries need to integrate into global
economy to cope with huge investment requirements that has to be
provided, .. Hisham Abdul Razzaq Al Razooqi, CEO, Gulf Investment
Corporation said yesterday. In a paper he presented at the ongoing
seminar, he said the region is witnessing an increasing birth rate and
a very high percentage of a young population averaging 15 years of age
accounting for 40-45 per cent of the total population.
Rating of Islamic Banking in Indonesia - 30 Sep 03
MODAL magazine working together with Karim Business Consulting (KBC)
made sharia banks rating 2003. This rating is based on the banks
performance and their progress on first semester 2003.
This time, there are three categories on rating. First, the most
profitable sharia bank. Second, the fastest growing sharia bank. And,
third, the most innovative sharia Bank. [..]
Bahrain Grants License for KFH Arm - 01 Oct 03
Bahrain has granted a licence to Kuwait Finance House to operate an
in-house investment consultancy firm, Baytik Investment Advisory. It
becomes the first investment advisory service to be established in
Bahrain by an Islamic bank.
Hundreds of Indonesians Studying Shariah Banking in Middle East
http://www.antara.co.id/e_berita.asp?id=106471&th=2003 - 30 Sep 03
Indonesia has sent hundreds of students to Islamic countries in the
Middle East to become Islamic banking experts. "The students have
been sent among others to the Al Azhar University in Cairo, in an
effort to prepare experts in the shariah banking system which is
expected to play an important role in the future," Religious Affairs
Minister Said Agil Al Munawar said when dedicating a branch office of
Bank Shariah Mandiri here on Tuesday. He said the government had also
entered into cooperation with the governments of Tunisia, Algeria,
Morocco, Yemen and Lebanon in the effort.
Zeti: Malaysia needs more retakaful players - 30 Sep 03
There is still a dearth in the number of players providing the
retakaful facility, resulting in takaful operators ceding to
conventional reinsurers, Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar
Aziz said. "While this has become a common practice, ideally more
competitive retakaful operators who provide reinsurance in accordance
with Syariah principles need to be established so that the takaful
industry would not be dependent indefinitely on conventional
reinsurance as the conduit to which they can mitigate risk," she said.
Zeti said this in her keynote address at the International Conference
on Islamic Insurance (Takaful) in London last Friday. Her speech text
was released in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Al-Watania strengthens presence in Africa - 02 Oct 03
Following its successful entry into Sudan in March 2003, Al-Watania
Poultry the largest poultry project in the Middle East and one of
the largest of its kind in the world- announced that its volume of
exports to Sudan has tripled from 20 to 60 metric tonnes of frozen
chicken per month.
Al Watania Poultry project is the largest of its kind in the Middle
East and one of the world's biggest projects in poultry and related
products domain. Operating out of Qassim in KSA and employing 6,500
people, Al Watania Poultry enjoys a 40% market share in the KSA,
producing 500,000 chickens a day and 1 million eggs a day. Al Watania
chicken are naturally fed and halal slaughtered according to the
Islamic Sharia'a laws.
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