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Sharia News Watch 79

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 79 : a collection newsquotes on Shariah, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 29, 2003
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      Sharia News Watch 79 : 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/


      Afghan editor flees to safety in Canada - 27 Oct 03
      Mr. Mahdavi, editor of the Kabul weekly Aftab (The Sun), and his
      assistant, Ali Reza Sistany, were arrested June 17 and charged with
      violating an Afghan press law prohibiting the publication of material
      considered defamatory to Islam. They were also charged under sharia
      law for offending Islam. Aftab, which was started in March 2002, was
      considered the most progressive newspaper in Afghanistan, employing an
      independent, objective approach to news reporting and blunt editorial
      opinions. Mr. Mahdavi published several opinion pieces urging the
      government to move to a more secular state by separating religion and
      politics. Furthermore, Mr. Mahdavi wrote and published editorials
      saying the government had to get rid of several current and former
      warlords who control important ministries.
      The court's more moderate judges and others in government wanted them
      tried under the press law in a more democratic process, which would
      mean they would lose their press licence if convicted. This trial took
      place in early August. Mr. Mahdavi attended, and he was acquitted of
      offending Islam. After this however, the court's "fatwah" committee
      decision to also try Mr. Mahdavi under Islamic law and impose a death
      sentence was leaked. Several Islamic clerics also pronounced a fatwah
      on Mr. Mahdavi.
      With this news, Mr. Mahdavi decided to leave Kabul and Afghanistan
      immediately. He and his family went to Islamabad and hid out with
      friends until he was accepted as a refugee in Canada.


      Algeria's family code to be revised - 27 Oct 03
      The Algerian government has set up a commission to revise the north
      African country's family code to improve women's rights, an official
      said Monday. Under the current code, based mainly on Islam's strict
      Sharia law and adopted in 1984, women must submit to male protection
      throughout their lives. Women's groups, demanding gender equality, say
      women are considered minors for life under the current law.
      "This code said to be that of the family is in fact, a sort of code of
      proper conduct for a woman," a legal expert said. "It orders
      everything that she must and must not do. It should be repealed."
      In Algeria, women cannot get married or carry out certain everyday
      activities without the consent of a male family member - father,
      brother, uncle or cousin - who may even be younger. The code also
      recognizes polygamy and divorce. A man can have up to four wives, and
      divorce any of them simply by saying "I divorce thee" three times.


      Bahrain charges 10 over riot against "immoral" show - 28 Oct 03
      A Bahraini court charged 10 youths on Tuesday over violent protests
      against a concert by a sultry Lebanese singer whose performance was
      deemed immoral by Islamists. Some 200 protesters threw petrol bombs
      during pitched battles with police, damaging cars, but failed to stop
      the October 22 concert by Nancy Ajram. Police arrested 16, six of whom
      were freed on lack of evidence. .. Islamist deputies in the Gulf Arab
      state's parliament had demanded the concern be banned, accusing the
      singer of flouting Islamic values with her "provocative" performance.


      BMP criticises fatwa on a housewife - 27 Oct 03
      The Bangladesh Mohila Parishad (BMP) yesterday protested fatwa or the
      religious edict issued on housewife Shahida in Patnitala of Naogaon.
      It is reported that Shahida's husband Abdul Halim, on October 24
      morning, verbally divorced his wife by uttering 'Talak' (divorce)
      during a family quarrel. Although the couple later made up their
      differences, the local elites and the religious leaders held that the
      marriage stands dissolved and arranged a village-arbitration the same
      evening. It was further learnt that Imam Abdus Salam of the local
      mosque and other religious leaders passed an edict to the effect that
      Shahida and her husband must live apart and observe Iddat (segregation
      for three months) and suggested Hilla marriage (marriage to and
      divorce from another man before reunion with the former husband after
      three months) in strict adherence to the Shari'a law.


      Reminders for observing Ramadhan - 28 Oct 03
      Brunei enacted the law to punish Muslims who eat, drink and smoke
      during the fasting month of Ramadhan. Chapter 173 of the Religious
      Council and Kadhi Courts states that Muslims who eat, drink and smoke
      in public could be charged. A first offender can be fined $500 [EUR
      245,-] while the second offence carries a fine of $750 and a hefty
      fine of $1,000 awaits the third offence. Food operators and restaurant
      owners who allow Muslims to eat, drink and smoke any items that he
      purchased from them for consumption in public can also be charged.

      Zakat or obligatory alms is one of the pillars of Islam. Under the
      religious court and Kadhi Courts Act Chapter 77, Section 192 (1),
      whoever, having been lawfully assessed as liable to pay any Zakat and
      having failed to procure by appeal or otherwise cancellation or
      modification of such assessment, shall refuse or wilfully fail to pay
      the same, the penalty is imprisonment for 14 days or a fine of $1,000.

      Ministry of Religious Affairs issues clarification - 25 Oct 03
      The Ministry of Religious Affairs clarified yesterday that Awg Hj
      Sarbini bin Pehin Udana Khatib Hj Junit who was involved in a massive
      counterfeit haul is neither a religious figure nor an "Imam".
      Referring to Thursday's front page story "Massive Counterfeit Haul
      Imam Too Faces Charges In Fake $ 542,350 Case" [EUR 266.000,-], the
      Ministry in a statement said that Hj Sarbini holds a Public Service
      post. The "religious figure" title is the highest award presented to
      certain Muslim individuals in this country who give meritorious
      contribution towards the development of Islam, it added. In addition,
      the use of words "religious figure" and "Imam" or any other words to
      individuals who committed criminal activity is inappropriate as such
      individuals (whom have not been proven guilty in court) has tarnished
      religious institutions especially religious figures and Imams, a
      majority of whom are individuals who possess clean decent character,
      away from criminal activities.


      Brash Indians a nuisance for Dubai cops - 29 Oct 03
      Held for possessing narcotics, they are not the first rich Indian
      youngsters to be trapped on the wrong side of the law there. Lawyer
      Majeed Memon said he had met Indian embassy officials to discuss the
      plight of many Indians (mainly Keralites and Gujaratis) who are
      languishing in Dubai jails for various reasons. "Many were arrested
      for small offences but as they are not well-known, they just remain
      there. Not everyone has celebrity parents to bail them out."
      Dubai locals and officials in the Indian embassy in Dubai agreed that
      rich Indian kids often get into trouble with authorities there. "These
      youngsters frequent clubs and have other vices. They may not be
      arrested, only detained and sent back, but it sends out bad signals to
      the community here," said an Indian working in Dubai.

      Light Iftar meal beneficial to body - 26 Oct 03
      Muslims fasting during Ramadan have been advised to avoid a big Iftar
      (evening meal) and instead start with dates and soup, and to avoid
      cold drinks before the meal. The Ministry of Health's Preventive
      Medicine Department said fasting is very beneficial to the human body
      as it reduces fat and cholesterol, eases pressure on the liver, and
      helps protect the body against heart and vascular diseases.
      The following are the key points in those guidelines: * Start your
      Iftar with dates as they contain enough sugar that will quickly reach
      the blood and restore balance to the body after long hours of fasting
      during which blood sugar rates go below the normal average. * Have
      warm soup before the main meal because it stimulates the stomach. [..]


      More than 20 Christians detained on allegations of forging - 27 Oct
      Twenty-two Egyptian Christians have been detained on allegations of
      forging documents so they could convert from Islam, a lawyer for the
      detainees said Monday. Christian lawyer and human rights activist
      Mamdouh Nakhlah said the 20 Coptic Christians who were arrested during
      last week had reverted to Christianity after previously converting to
      Islam from Christianity. Another two people detained had allegedly
      converted from Islam to Christianity, Nakhlah told The Associated
      Press. Nakhlah said the 22 detainees, including 18 women and four men
      aged between 20 and 40, were arrested in the Mediterranean coastal
      city of Alexandria.
      Officially the 22 arrested Christians being charged "with falsifying
      ID papers," apparently because they changed their Muslim names into
      Christian names, the Barnabus Fund reported.
      "Converts have sometimes been arrested under the country-s emergency
      legislation which allows for the holding of suspects without charge or
      trial for indefinite periods, " the Barnabus Fund said. The Fund has
      urged Muslim religious leaders to condemn the harsh treatment of
      converts" and to make public statements calling for a reform of
      shari-a teaching on apostasy."
      The application of the apostasy law in the world today

      Arab nationality laws are unfair to women - 27 Oct 03
      Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak recently declared his intention to
      amend the nationality law, which prevents children born to Egyptian
      mothers and foreign fathers from obtaining citizenship.
      Most Arab countries are signatory to the Convention for the
      Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, yet they do
      not uphold Article Nine that states that countries ratifying the
      convention "shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to
      the nationality of their children." The justification is a doubtful
      assertion that the article is in contradiction with Sharia Islamic law
      despite the fact that there is no clear statement or argument in the
      Koran or sunna (traditional Muslim law) ­ the basis of Sharia ­ that
      denies women the right to transfer their nationality to their
      children. The importance of Egypt amending the nationality law is due
      to its weight in the Islamic world. Until now this amendment has not
      elicited dissent or protest from Al-Azhar or the various mainstream
      Islamic movements.

      Reformers say that Islam and its laws need to be brought up to date
      and the establishment is not amused - 25 Oct 03
      The opening shot of the current round came in a mid-August issue of
      the semi-official Al Ahram in an article by leftist poet Ahmad Abdel
      Moati Hegazi. Under the headline "We are in Need of New Fiqh," Hegazi
      charged the religious establishment of Sunni Islam with having
      rejected change for centuries, having agreed to become instruments of
      justification for authoritarian rule and having appointed themselves
      the sole authority on religious rulings. Hegazi also claimed that the
      rulings of religious authorities have lost touch with reality since
      ijtihad (using independent reasoning to reach a religious opinion) was
      formally abandoned in Sunni Islam about one thousand years ago.
      Then, from 14-16 October, about a 100 sheikhs, priests of various
      denominations, academics, journalists and analysts met at an event
      called "The Renewal of Religious Thinking in a Rapidly Changing World"
      organized by the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services.
      Renowned thinker Gamal Al Banna–brother of the Muslim Brotherhood's
      founder known for his reform-minded views about Islam–is another
      advocate of a new fiqh. He attended both last week's gathering and the
      Paris seminar, where he expressed the views detailed in his book Al
      Fiqh Al Gadeed, published in three volumes between 1995 and 1999, in
      which he criticizes the traditional fiqh and lays out his basis for a
      new system. Al Banna refuses to recognize the four schools of
      religious thought that have formed the basis of fiqh for more than one
      thousand years, and shares Hegazi's views on the separation of
      politics and religion, saying "Islam is one thing, the state is
      another." He claims that his new fiqh returns to the basic principles
      of the Quran, using the intellect to adapt these principles to
      circumstances and discarding any texts or rulings that contradict the
      The outgoing mufti and new president of Al Azhar University Ahmad Al
      Tayeb described statements made by the reformers as "destructive."
      While he did not question the need for ijtihad itself, he stressed
      that it should only tackle new and unprecedented issues, arguing that
      "the existing schools of fiqh have the answers to our present
      problems," and he echoed his colleague's warning, saying, "I do not
      accept that those who do not have the knowledge delve into the subject
      of the renewal of Islam."


      First Muslim Consensus on Ramadan Start in France - 28 Oct 03
      Muslims across France all began the holy month of Ramadan yesterday
      this year after reaching a consensus for the first time on the start
      of the annual fast calculated according to the lunar calendar.
      Reaching consensus on the start of Ramadan was a small but symbolic
      victory for the CFCM [French Council of the Muslim Faith], which
      includes Muslims ranging from moderate to fundamentalist in outlook
      and from backgrounds as diverse as North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa
      and Turkey. Dalil Boubakeur, who is head of the CFCM and rector of the
      Grand Mosque of Paris, announced the decision at the weekend.


      Greek Muslim women want education first, sharia abolition later
      http://www.eubusiness.com/afp/031026035621.wzhim9t4 - 26 Oct 03
      Islamic sharia law is practised in a 100,000-strong Muslim minority in
      northeastern Greece, a member of the EU. "Daughters inherit a third of
      the fortune, boys two thirds," said womens' rights activist Raif
      Shukran, a Greek citizen of Turkish stock living in Thrace, one of the
      EU's poorest regions. "It's a paradox, considering we live in the
      European Union," she told AFP. "To get a divorce, a man just has to
      say three times he repudiates his wife. He then also automatically
      wins custody over the children when she remarries," she said.
      Thrace's three state-appointed muftis -- expounders of religious law
      -- have the power to pass judgment on family issues in the
      traditional-minded minority, according to the Koran, Islam's holy
      book. In the rare case that a minority member objects to being subject
      to the sharia, he or she can turn to the Greek state's civil
      tribunals. "But judges declare themselves not competent and return the
      cases to the muftis," said Muslim lawyer Adem Bekinoglu.
      The minority is barred from calling itself "Turkish". The Greek-
      Turkish 1923 Lausanne Treaty describes it as "Muslim". Greece
      maintained a whole series of administrative measures discriminating
      against Muslims until as late as the 1990s. According to minority
      members, the Lausanne accord is unfavourable towards them,
      particularly in the case of women.
      Last Thursday, the Greek government announced it was considering
      allowing the minority's religious leaders to be elected instead of
      appointed as hithero, introducing Turkish as a second language in the
      minority's kindergartens and high schools, and expanding the current
      university quota to the country's polytechnics. "We have to let things
      develop and bank on education, notably for the Muslim women, and
      economic development," said the government source.


      Despite diplomatic niceties, Indonesia has a terror problem -28 Oct 03
      The Indonesian government's own agencies are also beginning to push a
      more radical agenda. The department of religious affairs has produced
      a draft "Law on Inter-Religion Harmony" that, among other things,
      obliges everybody "to maintain the teachings and values of his
      respective religion," and forbids views "not aligned with the
      principle teaching of such religion." Words that are "repugnant . . .
      to a religion" could carry a sentence of five years, and the same fate
      would await anyone who "intentionally utters words . . . with the
      intention that people will not follow any religion that is based on
      the belief in one God." This means the state can enforce religious
      conformity, require people by law to follow the decrees of a Muslim
      religious teacher (or any other monotheistic one, for that matter),
      and ban all religious dissent.

      Complaint filed with police urged on minting of Gold Quest coins

      .. - 27 Oct 03
      Yusuf Hasyim, the youngest son of Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) founder Hasyim
      Asy'ari, filed a complaint on Saturday with the East Java Police
      against Gold Quest International Ltd, a Hong Kong-based company
      producing gold items. Yusuf was objecting to the unauthorized planned
      production and sale of gold coins bearing the image of Hasyim Asy'ari.
      Gold Quest was scheduled to launch the gold coins at Hotel JW Marriott
      in Surabaya last Tuesday. Abdurahman Wahid -- a former NU chairman,
      grandson of Hasyim Asy'ari and nephew of Yusuf Hasyim -- was invited
      to the launch to receive a sample of the gold coins. However, the
      launch was canceled. Abdurrahman supported the plan to produce and
      sell the gold coins, on the grounds that it would financially help a
      foundation belonging to the family of Hasyim Asy'ari.


      Convicted armed robber's fingers amputated in Iran - 25 Oct 03
      A convicted armed robber has been punished by having four fingers on
      his right hand amputated, a local judiciary official said Saturday.
      Mohammad Hossein Masoudinejad said Saddam Askareh's fingers were
      amputated in public following Friday prayers in the Khuzestan
      provincial capital of Ahvaz, 880 kilometers (545 miles) southwest of
      Tehran. "Amputation is carried out to frighten robbers and maintain
      order," Masoudinejad told The Associated Press in a telephone
      While Iran's hard-line controlled judiciary follows a strict
      interpretation of Islamic law, enforcement of punishments, like
      amputation, are rare. Masoudinejad said the dramatic increase in armed
      robberies in Khuzestan had forced judiciary officials to start issuing
      harsh rulings. Ahvaz newspapers have blamed the increase on the
      instability in neighboring Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein's
      regime six months ago.


      U.S. ending Baghdad curfew for Ramadan observers - 25 Oct 03
      Iraq's U.S. overseers said Friday that they would lift the nighttime
      curfew on Baghdad's 5 million residents beginning Sunday to
      accommodate the country's Muslims during Ramadan and demonstrate that
      the country is returning to normal despite the persistent armed
      resistance to the occupation.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3214735.stm - 26 Oct 03
      Business tends to slow down during the daytime in Ramadan, but shops
      and restaurants remain open until after midnight.

      Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites Still Divided Over Moon Sighting - 25 Oct 03
      With the Muslim holy month of Ramadan around the corner, the Sunnis
      and the Shiites in Iraq are still divided over the start of the
      fasting month even though it is their first without former Iraqi
      president Saddam Hussein. Both Muslim sects in the occupied country
      used to contradict the "regime's crescent"; however, they are still at
      odds over the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon, although
      both of them depend on the naked-eye sighting. "The crescent had been
      long used by the (deposed) Baathist regime as a political card;
      namely, if the regime was at good terms with the Arab countries, they
      would follow their lunar calendar and vice versa with Iran, which left
      the people of Iraq perplexed," Sheikh Abdul Galil Ibrahim al-Fahdawi,
      professor of Shariaa (Islamic law) at the Islamic University and
      member of Iraq's Scholars Body, told IsalmOnline.net Friday, October24
      "At some point of time, the Iraqis were marking Ramadan according to
      three crescents: one declared by the former regime, another by Muslim
      countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia and a third by Shiites who
      depend on Iran's calculations," he added.
      Sheikh Ali al-Wa'ez, representative of Shiite grand authority
      Ayatollah Ali as-Sistani in Al-Kazimiya district, said [..] that
      Sheikh as-Sistani refused to lean on astrological calculations,
      accepting nothing but the naked-eye sighting by a number of people,
      who must share identical views.
      A third [group], however, disputes both views, arguing that Islam is
      against division and disunity, since Muslims, for instance, are not
      allowed to hold two congregational prayers in one mosque at the same
      time. This group believes that the authority in charge of ascertaining
      the sighting of the moon in a given country (such as Egypt's Dar
      al-Iftaa [House of Fatwa]) announces the sighting of the new moon,
      then Muslims in the country should all abide by this.


      [Selangor] Outsider imam held over prayer - 27 Oct 03
      In another "two imam case", a man was detained after he led a separate
      prayer at a mosque in Taman Kosas, Ampang, last night, several hours
      after the State Islamic Religious Department had taken over its
      administration. The imam, in his 40s, who came from outside the area,
      allegedly performed the maghrib prayer separately at the Fatimah
      Zahrah mosque after the appointed local imam had completed the prayer
      about 7.30pm. No action, however, was taken against the 40-odd ma'amum
      (followers) who prayed behind him. [New Straits Times]

      Kelantan campaign on 'proper' attire criticised - 27 Oct 03
      Several women's groups have called on the Kelantan state government
      not to waste its money on a campaign to tell Muslim women the proper
      way of dressing. It should instead use the money to start a campaign
      to change the mindset of men, they said. "They will be doing us
      (women) a big favour by going on a campaign to tell how Muslim men
      should behave," Puteri Umno chief Azalina Othman said, adding that
      there were many cases that victimised women in the Syariah court.
      Azalina was commenting on a news report quoting Kelantan Information,
      Women, Youth, Sports and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Abdullah
      Ya'kub as saying that the state would embark on a road show, starting
      next month, to show Muslim women the proper way of dressing. He had
      said Kelantan would be spending RM 60,000 [EUR 13.400,-] for the road
      show and had distributed about 1,000 posters portraying "proper attire
      for Muslim women" to heads of government departments.
      Sisters In Islam research manager Nik Noriani Nik Badlishah said
      family issues such as broken homes and violence against women were
      more acute problems that needed to be addressed. "If they can spend
      all that money to tell Muslim women how to dress properly, they should
      also have a campaign to create awareness among men. "Women in Kelantan
      are covered up anyway," she said.

      [Perak] Dept: Do not be hasty to wed foreigners - 28 Oct 03
      The Perak Religious Department has advised Malaysian women to follow
      the example of Japanese women who did not easily accept foreign men as
      their husbands. Berita Harian reported state Islamic Affairs and
      Education Committee chairman Datuk Dr Abdul Malek Hanafiah as saying
      that he had received several reports on the plight of local women who
      were divorced by their foreign husbands after their work permits
      expired. However, in the same breath, he said: "Under certain
      circumstances, we cannot just blame the foreigners because many local
      women, especially Malay women, are easily attracted to and end up
      marrying men from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh because they
      apparently look like Bollywood stars."

      Abdul Malek said immigrant workers had been marrying Malaysian women
      while they worked here and then divorced them when their work permits
      expired. The daily said the foreign workers involved usually held
      temporary work permits that allowed them to work in Malaysia for up to
      seven years. "The foreign men would usually marry local women after
      two or three years in the country and then divorce them despite having
      several children from the marriages." He said that as the men had
      divorced their wives outside the Syariah Court system, it was
      difficult for the department to trace them.

      [Sabah] Religious about tackling HIV/AIDS - 27 Oct 03
      There are hopeful signs that Muslim religious leaders are changing
      their attitude about HIV/AIDS going by the success of a recent joint
      project. .. The Islam and HIV/AIDS programme is a joint project
      between the Malaysian AIDS Council, Health Ministry, United Nations
      Development Programme, Economic Planning Unit and Islamic Development
      Department. At the core of the programme is a training module for
      Islamic religious leaders in the community, with the aim of bringing
      HIV/AIDS to the grassroot level and empowering them to develop action
      plans. Only Sabah and the northern zone, which comprises Penang,
      Kedah, Perlis and Langkawi, have been covered. Next year, the workshop
      is scheduled to take in four more areas - Sarawak, southern zone, the
      east coast and the middle zone.
      Clearly, the Islam and HIV/AIDS programme has done much in terms of
      creating awareness, imparting knowledge as well as dispelling the
      stigma and discrimination. But it hasn't covered other pressing
      issues, which include understanding the dynamics of taboo issues of
      extra-marital sex, pre-marital sex or homosexuality. Harm-reduction
      measures such as the promotion of condoms was only brought up within
      the legal and accepted context of marriage. In other words, the
      programme operated strictly within the Islamic framework, without
      stressing the need to suspend moral judgment and address problems that
      plague real life. "We can't expect attitudes to change drastically but
      we've taken the first step," says Nik Fahmee. "But I believe that none
      of the religious leaders from the workshop will turn away if a
      HIV-positive person comes to them. And they might even help to educate
      their peers on stigma and discrimination." He adds that in the fight
      against HIV/AIDS, everybody has a role to play and religious leaders
      can help by creating a space where people feel that religion is there
      for them. Despite their perceived limitations, they are the ones who
      can best provide spiritual healing.
      In Malaysia, there are hardly any shelters that cater to Muslims with
      HIV/AIDS. Non-Muslims have it slightly better as a support system
      exists for them. Yet, according to data collected from 1986 to 2002 by
      the Health Ministry, out of 51,426 HIV-positive Malaysians, 78 per
      cent are Muslims.

      Terengganu hudud may fail as in Kelantan, says Terengganu mufti
      .. - 27 Oct 03
      Terengganu Mufti Sheikh Abdul Halim Abdul Kadir said he does not rule
      out the possibility that the enforcement of the Syariah Criminal Law
      Enactment (Hudud and Qisas), which was gazetted Monday, may face the
      same fate as the Syariah II Criminal Code Enactment which was approved
      by the Pas government in Kelantan. He said this was based on the
      processes in making the enactment, like what had been done by the
      Kelantan government, as well as the obstacles faced because it was
      contradictory to the Federal Constitution and so on. "It depends on
      the jurisdiction of the state (government) because there are certain
      clauses. When there is contradiction, then the federal government
      supercedes the state government's jurisdiction, thus the possibility
      (of facing the same fate) is there... for example in Kelantan.


      Ramadan Brings Mauritius Religious Crisis To Fore - 28 Oct 03
      The start of the Muslims holy fasting month of Ramadan on Sunday,
      October27 , brought to the fore the religious crisis of the
      200,000-strong Muslim community of this Indian Ocean island.
      Imam Hafiz Akbar Neeyamatkhan, of the Jamaah Naeemiah in Port-Louis,
      lamented that Mauritius Muslims lost enthusiasm in Ramadan.
      "They were at the mosques for long hours. All this has disappeared. If
      the number of Muslims doing Ramadan has diminished, those who do it
      also are in a hurry to finish with it," he added. This is due mainly,
      Neeyamatkhan asserted, to the lack of unity among the Muslim community
      which represents 18 % of the 1.2 million population.
      He recalled that in the past mosques were always full during the whole
      year. "Today, not many Muslims go to the mosques." Another reason for
      the decline of Islam in Mauritius, Neeyamatkha underlined, is the lack
      of Islamic education despite "the large number of madrassahs and
      Islamic centers opened in several parts of the island." "Islamic
      education has become less and less important for Muslims. Madrassas
      represent just a tradition for Muslim children. They do not learn
      Islam and its principles," he added. Imam Neeyamatkhan said Muslim
      children were overburdened by private tuition which takes place after
      school hours, at a time when the courses at the madrassah start.
      Maulana Jameel Chooramun, of Jamaat-ul-Ulama, also complained of lack
      of interest in Ramadan. "It all depends on the family and how the
      children have been brought up by their parents. If parents have
      created a good image for roza (fasting) and the month of Ramadan, the
      children would definitely love Ramadan," he said.


      Dalziel asked to rule on mosque legality - 27 Oct 03
      Questions over the legality of a bid to give control of Christchurch's
      only mosque to a trust dominated by a controversial Saudi-based
      charity will be raised with Minister of Commerce Lianne Dalziel.
      The controversy, which seems to have been simmering since a new
      committee was elected last year, came to a head when details emerged
      of a proposed sale of the mosque to a trust dominated by the
      Al-Haramain Foundation.
      [Muslim Association of Canterbury] MAC secretary Husain Benyounis said
      the idea of an independent trust was intended to bring the Muslim
      community together. He did not elaborate on why the proposed trust
      required four of the six trustees to be appointed by Al- Haramain. The
      proposal includes an offer by Al-Haramain to commit $700,000 to
      Christchurch Muslims for facilities. These included an Islamic school.
      It also included a funding facility to be used for Muslim housing.


      Efforts to eradicate polio delayed - 28 Oct 03
      Several influential Muslim leaders in northern Nigeria have questioned
      the safety of the oral polio vaccine, causing officials in the three
      predominantly Muslim states of Kano, Kaduna, and Zamfara to cancel a
      key four-day immunization drive that ended in other Nigerian states
      yesterday. The northern Nigerian leaders have been quoted as saying
      that the vaccines may be part of a US plot against Muslims and could
      be contaminated to make women infertile or to infect people with the
      virus that causes AIDS. World Health Organization officials in Geneva
      have dismissed the claims, saying the vaccines were the same as those
      used in other countries and were not contaminated.
      Clerics halt Nigeria polio drive - 26 Oct 03
      Datti Ahmed, who is both a medical doctor and the president of
      Nigeria's Supreme Council for Sharia law, said they needed to check
      reports that the vaccine was contaminated. "There were strong reasons
      to believe that the polio immunisation vaccine was contaminated with
      anti-fertility drugs, contaminated with certain virus that cause
      HIV/Aids, contaminated with Simian virus that are likely to cause
      cancers," he told the BBC World Service's Newshour programme.


      [Amnesty] AI urges govt to implement laws: Juvenile justice system
      http://www.dawn.com/2003/10/27/nat15.htm - 27 Oct 03

      Pakistani Moon Sighting Committee Meets Sunday - 25 Oct 03
      The Pakistani moon sighting committee will meet late Sunday, October26
      , to ascertain whether the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan
      will fall in Monday or Tuesday. The committee, appointed by the
      government and consisting of eight religious scholars representing
      various schools of thought, is the final authority on declaring the
      beginning of Ramadan in the country.
      After compiling the evidence from all over the country the central
      committee announces a decision which has to be taken as official
      declaration. The mechanism of moon sighting was introduced in the
      country in the early 1970's when differences over the moon sighting
      turned into political nightmare for the government. While people in
      the north used to mark the start of Ramadan with the Gulf countries,
      people in many other parts used to wait until seeing the moon

      [NWFP] Moon sighting controversy deepens MMA divisions - 28 Oct 03
      The moon sighting controversy has deepened the division among clerics
      with the MMA government's total lack of confidence in the Central
      Ruet-e-Hilal Committee (CRHC) Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman accusing
      him of "taking the decision in a haste" and "failing to follow"
      Shariah. Differences between the CRHC chairman and the Muttahida
      Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) government over sighting the moon led to a partial
      fasting in the NWFP.

      NWFP Minister for Religious Affairs Hafiz Akhter Ali said at a press
      conference with Provincial Information Minister Asif Iqbal that the
      federal government should remove Mr Rehman because he did not deserve
      to be the committee chairman. The MMA government announced the moon
      had been sighted at 1:15am on Monday after the Central Ruet-e-Hilal
      Committee declared at 7:25pm that the moon was not sighted and Ramazan
      would start from Tuesday. The MMA announcement that first Ramazan
      would start from Monday did not reach most of people in the province
      and other parts of the country triggering off anger against the MMA
      This kind of thing happens every year on three occasions but more
      often on two: the first day of the Ramadan and Eidul Fitr. In the case
      of Eid, it becomes rather dangerous because one tradition says that
      whoever fasts on Eid is in serious violation of the faith. Such is the
      determination of the clergy to stick to its contradictory positions
      that no amount of humorous chiding can make them compose their
      differences and agree to a formula. This year it was hoped that since
      the clergy is united under the MMA on an all-Pakistan basis, there
      would be no squabbles. But that was not to be. In the past, the
      Ramadan split occurred between the centre and the two JUI-dominated
      provinces, the NWFP and Balochistan. Hazara division in the NWFP has
      traditionally observed two different timings for Ramadan; and half its
      citizens have fasted on Eid while the other half celebrated it.

      The central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee has a strong representation from
      the NWFP in the person of the aggressive Maulana Hassan Jan. The
      chairman of the committee is Mufti Munibur Rehman who should be
      acceptable to the MMA as a member of the CII whose recommendations are
      the foundation on which the MMA wants to bring in the next Islamic
      revolution in the country. Sad to say, the split did not occur between
      the centre and the provinces, as on earlier occasions, but between the
      members of the Committee itself. It was so grave that the chairman,
      Mufti Munibur Rehman, ended up making a ridiculously ambiguous
      statement on Sunday about when the people of Pakistan should start
      fasting. He said Ramadan would start on Tuesday because no evidence of
      the 'naked eye' according to the Shariat had been brought to him. Then
      he added that fasting `in some cases' could also begin on Monday.

      [NWFP] Govt ads to carry verses, Hadith in NWFP - 26 Oct 03
      The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal government in the NWFP has made it binding
      for newspapers to publish Quranic verses and sayings (Hadith) of the
      Holy Prophet (PBUH) along with official advertisements to "remove
      vices and spread virtue" in society. NWFP Information Minister Asif
      Iqbal told Daily Times on Saturday that the decision was made "to give
      advertisements an Islamic look. The decision has been made and it will
      soon be implemented." The minister said the provincial government
      would select the verses and sayings to go with advertisements and
      newspapers would not be paid extra for that. He said the MMA
      government had directed the provincial Information Department to issue
      selected verses and sayings with advertisements.
      Asked whether he thought the measure might expose the printed verses
      and sayings to disrespect as old newspapers are often discarded, he
      said, "We can't abandon a good initiative simply on account of this
      fear. People should exercise caution and honour the verses and

      [Sindh] Hyderabad: Woman fears being killed over Karo-kari - 28 Oct 03
      The petitioner, Sania, is presently residing in the Jamali town near
      Tando Allahyar. She stated in the petition she had married Wazir
      Hussain alias Pathan according to Shariat but her father and other
      family members were against their marriage. She said her father was
      pressuring her to get divorce from her husband. She said her father
      was also threatening them with implication in false cases.The woman
      said the police were conducting raids to arrest and implicate them in
      a case of Hudood Ordinance. She said their lives were in danger as the
      respondents had resorted to illegal acts. She prayed the court to
      direct the respondent police officials not to harass her and her
      husband and to provide them with protection.
      *) http://www.jadedragon.com/archives/travel/pakistan.html
      If a woman having illicit relations with a male, according to custom
      of karo kari, she is kari and her punishment is death. But in a number
      of cases their loved ones - fathers, brothers, husbands and sons, kill
      innocent women for their own purposes like get rid of their wife, for
      property, for revenge, for defeat of enemy, for getting another woman
      from enemy tribe and for hiding any committed crime. They know that
      they are killing innocent woman.


      [Gaza] Death of a town 26 Oct 03

      Palestinians observe Ramadan in sombre mood - 26 Oct 03
      Israel has blockaded main roads around Ramallah as part of what it
      calls security measures to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from
      reaching its cities in a three-year-old uprising for statehood.
      Palestinians call the restrictions collective punishment that has hit
      their economy and made travel difficult, if not impossible, for many
      of the 3.6 million residents of 640 communities cut off by trenches,
      barricades and checkpoints. Shopkeepers in Ramallah, the West Bank's
      commercial capital, complained they had few customers on Sunday.
      ''From where will people come? They cannot parachute from the sky,''
      said Nayef Hassan, a shop owner who displayed Ramadan sweets to
      attract shoppers.


      [Shura] No Consensus on Citizenship Rules for Foreigners - 27 Oct 03

      Saudi opposition group calls for protest in Mecca during Ramadan
      .. - 25 Oct 03
      The London-based Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA) called
      Saturday for a demonstration in Mecca, Islam's holiest site, during
      Ramadan, following earlier demonstrations in the kingdom.
      Saudi Arabia's chief cleric condemns anti-government protests - 26 Oct
      Saudi Arabia's chief Islamic cleric warned Muslims against taking part
      in anti-government protests, which he said were un-Islamic and
      "forbidden.'' Grand Mufti Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheik, in a
      speech commemorating the beginning of the Islamic holy fasting month
      of Ramadan, urged Muslims to focus on religious duties and not "listen
      to those who do not know about religion.''

      Iqraa Plans Islamic Channel in English - 27 Oct 03
      Iqraa Channel is planning to launch an Islamic channel in English in
      the next few months to spread the message of Islam. Nabeel Al-Hammad,
      director general of the channel, told Arab News that the new channel
      would be directed at Europe and America and some Asian and African
      countries in the first phase. "The decision to launch the new channel
      was adopted in order to take the message of Islam to all English-
      speaking people. We found that such a channel has become necessary to
      counter the smear campaign against Islam and Muslims after the Sept.11
      , 2001 events," he said.
      "Iqraa has been successful as an Islamic satellite channel *),"
      Al-Hammad said adding that the number of its viewers was growing day
      by day. "The channel was also successful in attracting
      advertisements," he said. "It is the third largest Arab satellite
      channel in terms of advertising," the director general said. He said
      Iqraa appealed to all sections of society with its moderate and
      intellectual Islamic programs.
      *) http://www.bilalphilips.com/abouthim/work_07a.htm
      .. The IQRAA channel is part of the Arab Radio & Television [ART]
      Network and is available in Europe (Hotbird), the Gulf (Arabsat),
      North Africa (Arabsat) and South Africa (PAS 7).


      How Arabs fight Islamism - [The National Interest] - 10 Oct 03


      Turkey's 80th birthday mired by rows over secularism - 27 Oct 03
      Since AKP's stunning election victory last year, the battle has
      shifted to a highly symbolic field - the ban on women wearing the
      Islamic headscarf in universities and public offices. President Ahmet
      Necdet Sezer seized on the republic's 80th anniversary as an
      opportunity to deliver a tough message. In an unprecedented move which
      has caused public uproar, Sezer, who will host a reception on October
      29, snubbed the headscarf-wearing wives of MPs, inviting only spouses
      who are not veiled. "This was to show that challenges to the current
      understanding of secularism will be resisted," political scientist
      Ilter Turan said. The controversy came atop already high-running
      tensions over educational reforms planned by the government, which
      many see as a bid to help Islamist supporters win university degrees
      and then obtain prominent jobs in the public sector.


      Preachers trained to disown terrorism - 25 Oct 03
      .. [a 17-day anti-terrorism program designed for mosques preachers]
      The course that was concluded last Wednesday and in which 160 mosque
      preachers took part focused on terrorism, extremism and bigotry and
      ways to remedy such problems. It also quoted examples from the Holy
      Koran advocating friendly means when calling others to Islam or
      advising Muslims themselves, the importance of obeying the ruler, and
      the notions of loyalty and disloyalty in Islam.

      About 30 lecturers presented 52 discourses of which 18 were related to
      terrorism, extremism and desirable moderate religious addresses and
      the necessity to abstain from provocative topics. Mr. Bajammal
      admitted there was large scale corruption concerning Islamic
      endowments and emphasized the fact that Zakat, a tax that goes to
      charity, obligatory for all Muslims, should be collected by the local
      authority after its returns doubled when collected this way last year.
      Sheik Hamoud Al-Saidi, Director of the Course said the government had
      earmarked YR 44 million [EUR 210.000,-] for more courses in this line
      for preachers in all governorates during the year 2003 . A similar
      course will be run in nine governorates and that another course will
      be held in Aden after Ramadan. He went on saying the course also
      included lectures about population issues, the rights of women and
      children, revenge, smuggling and the harm it inflicts on the national
      economy. It also emphasized the significance of keeping mosques out of
      political disagreements and concentrating on spreading social peace
      and understanding.


      Shaping an Islamic identity: Religion, Islamism, and the state in
      Central Asia - Source: Sociology of Religion - date: 2003-10-01

      Crosses of blood: Sacred space, religion, and violence in Bosnia-
      Hercegovina - Source: Sociology of Religion - date: 2003-10-01


      Bahrain Taib Bank Launches Islamic Funds For GCC, UK Mkts
      Bahrain-based Taib Bank E.C. Sunday launched two new equity funds
      based on the Islamic investment law targeting regional and U.K. stock
      markets. Taib Islamic GCC Index Fund will include 20 to 30 Islamic
      Shari'ah-compliant stocks representing the stock markets of Gulf
      Cooperation Council members: Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi
      Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. .. Taib Islamic Index version of
      the U.K. market will consist of 30 to 50 stocks whose underlying
      companies operate in compliance with Islamic Shari'ah law. The Islamic
      law bans investment in such companies dealing in pork trade or
      gambling. .. The bank also offered its existing Taib Islamic Currency
      Fund to Middle Eastern investors for the first time. This fund has
      been mainly offered to Muslim investors in Europe since it was first
      launched in June 1996. Initial investment capital for this fund is

      [Kuwait] New Islamic bank approved - 26 Oct 03
      Kuwait will soon have a second Islamic bank after the general assembly
      of Kuwait Real Estate Bank (KRE) yesterday endorsed a proposal to
      operate on Islamic principles. KRE will join Kuwait Finance House
      (KFH), the only bank that has been operating on Islamic principles for
      the past 26 years.

      [UK] London to get first Islamic bank - 27 Oct 03
      Investors from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE has set up London's first
      Islamic bank, which will begin operations in 2004 first quarter. The
      British Islamic Bank has been set up by British Islamic House with a
      capital of USD23.7m. Bank officials said senior staff are presently
      being hired.

      [UAE] Aman unveils insurance packages - 26 Oct 03
      The Dubai Islamic Bank subsidiary Aman claims it has introduced the
      first Sharia-based healthcover insurance packages in the local market.
      The UAE's overall health insurance premium currently totals well over
      Dh400 million annually, and is seen as offering sizeable potential for
      Sharia-based insurance products in the medium term. It is estimated
      that considerably less than 5 per cent of the overall insurance
      premium written in the UAE is based on Islamic principles.

      The Race to Rule Islamic Finance - 27 Oct 03
      .. [Mahmoud Amin El-Gamal is professor of Economics & Statistics at
      Rice University in Houston, where he holds the Chair of Islamic
      Economics, Finance & Management]
      The issue was the sale of debt. The Malaysians early on allowed the
      sale of debt, so you could securitize any account receivable. It was
      just the debt of somebody else, and so you could sell it. The more
      conservative Pakistani and Arab jurists weren't happy. They allow
      discounting debt to the debtor, so the debtor can buy back debt at
      less than face value. There was a ruling passed on that, but it would
      not allow sale of debt to a third party.

      So Arab and Pakistani jurists found a way out: to deal only in
      asset-based securities. Bonds are not claims on the stream of rental
      payments but on the stream of assets, by which you are then entitled
      to the rental stream. The Malaysian government now makes sure its
      bonds are sukuks, which are securitized by underlying assets [in
      Malaysia's case, state-owned buildings]. This serves to sustain the
      fiction that the person who buys the bond is actually investing in the
      underlying assets. You set up a special purpose vehicle. Then the SPV
      collects rent from the government.

      Q: How can a bond be structured so that interest isn't paid?
      A: They're pricing the yield to maturity on those bonds based on LIBOR
      [London Interbank Offering Rate] plus a credit spread, which is based
      on the sovereign credit rating of the Malaysian government, which
      suggests that it's just a pure bond. If it's really a securitized
      lease, then the underlying assets would have to be publicized for
      potential holders of the bonds to show that the probability of the
      stoppage of rental payments may be different, even though the
      credibility of the Malaysian government is the same.

      [*] Copyright: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 -
      http://liimirror.warwick.ac.uk/uscode/17/107.html - this material is
      distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. If
      you wish to use copyrighted material from this list for purposes that
      go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright
      owner. [USA: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html%5d
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