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Sharia News Watch 81

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 81 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2003
      Sharia News Watch 81 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:

      The Sharia Newswatch provides a weekly update of news quotes on
      Sharia (Islamic Law) & related subjects, as appearing on the major
      news- searchengines. All editions :


      Paper says former party leader too ill to issue call for "jehad"
      .. Text of article in Pashto: "Mowlawi Khales and Fatwa decree on
      jehad" by Afghan newspaper Erada on 3 November.

      Miss Afghanistan says she was uncomfortable wearing bikini - 07 Nov 03
      .. A 23-year-old Afghan woman denounced by her country's Supreme Court
      for wearing a bikini during a beauty pageant said she felt
      uncomfortable in the skimpy attire, but did it to raise awareness of
      the plight of women and children in her homeland.

      Proposed Afghanistan constitution may not protect religious freedom
      http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/story.cfm?newsId=3909 - 04 Nov 03
      The constitution names "the sacred religion of Islam" as the official
      religion of the country, according to a translation of the original
      Pashtu text. While it follows that clause by saying, "Followers of
      other religions are free to perform their religious ceremonies within
      the limits of the provisions of law," the proposal doesn't contain any
      provision separating mosque from state or explicitly ensuring
      neutrality between religious groups, as does the First Amendment of
      the U.S. Constitution.
      It allows political parties to form and operate only if the "program
      and charter of the party are not contrary to the principles of [the]
      sacred religion of Islam." However, it also bans parties based on
      religion. The document refrains from explicitly enforcing any
      particular school of sharia, or Islamic law, either, except when both
      parties involved in a court dispute are members of the same Muslim
      sect. However, it does require that members of the country's highest
      court uphold an oath "in the name of God Almighty to support justice
      and righteousness in accord with the provisions of the sacred religion
      of Islam and the provisions of this constitution and other laws of
      Afghanistan." It also requires that appointees to the court be
      educated either in principles of secular law or "Islamic
      "There's the potential risk of a judicial theocracy" developing under
      the current proposal's wording, said Preeta Bansal, a member of the
      U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In a telephone
      interview, Bansal also noted that the constitution does not protect
      basic human rights as sacrosanct in the same way as the U.S.
      Constitution or international human-rights declarations. "You have a
      situation where individual human-rights guarantees can be trumped by
      ordinary legislation, and that legislation is invalid unless it
      accords with specific teachings of Islam."
      She recently returned from a commission trip to Afghanistan where,
      among other things, she and other commission representatives met with
      the nation's chief judge. The justice told the commissioners that
      Islam is compatible with most human rights -- except for three
      critical ones. "All except freedom of expression, freedom of religion
      and equal rights for women," Bansal reported the judge as saying.

      Anthropologist discusses rise in status of women - 04 Nov 04
      Schools for both boys and girls are now open throughout the country,
      and women are generally free to go out in public without a male
      escort. In urban areas women have much greater access to employment,
      health care and education, Centlivres-Demont said. Many of these
      reforms result from a top-down effort to modernize Afghanistan rather
      than a real women's movement, she said. Throughout the 20th century,
      efforts to improve women's rights have followed this pattern; the
      emancipation movement has never been led by Afghan women. Because of
      this connection between emancipation and modernization, the movement
      toward full female emancipation is hindered by the views that
      associate emancipation with the West. The link mobilizes religious and
      community leaders against reform efforts. "Many women's claims [for
      greater rights and freedoms] appear to be Western impositions in the
      eyes of Afghan male population," Centlivres-Demont said. "It is easy
      for the conservative population to hold up any measure that would
      facilitate equality as Western, Christian ideology. One has to show
      that emancipation is not a promotion of shameless behavior among women
      or a war between the genders."


      Soldier seduced by 'terrorist' - 07 Nov 03
      .. Melanie Brown was a highly trained military Arabic language expert
      and a fresh convert to Islam when she was targeted and seduced into
      marriage by French terrorist Willie Brigitte. [..]


      Travel ban on custody battle children - 06 Nov 03
      Two children at the centre of a custody battle were yesterday banned
      from travelling abroad by the Sharia Court until a case filed by their
      grandmother has been settled. The daughters' mother, Badriya Rabea,
      told our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej that she received a call from
      one of her daughters, Ghazlan, informing her that her ex-husband had
      obtained Saudi passports for both of them in preparation of their
      travel to Saudi Arabia. The husband won custody of the children after
      an earlier court battle.


      Human Rights and Muslim Identity by Shah Abdul Hannan - 07 Nov 03
      The Amnesty official insisted that the Universal Declaration [of Human
      Rights] was binding upon all and that it was Islam which needed to be
      re- interpreted in a manner conducive to reconciling it with the
      declaration. It could clearly be seen throughout the debate that the
      spokesman for Amnesty found it more outrageous to cast doubt on the
      universality of the Universal Declaration than to cast doubt on the
      validity of divine revelation.
      Among the Qur'anic verses that the secularists thought should be
      modified or re-interpreted were those dealing with family relations
      especially with regard to marriage and divorce, as well as those
      dealing with inheritance and corporal punishment.
      It was not convincing enough for the secularists to be told that while
      no one who believed in Allah and His Book could change or tamper with
      certain absolute areas, Muslims were encouraged to exercise ijtihad to
      provide safeguards that might prevent abuse of the legal order. This
      ijtihad, it was stressed, would have to come from within the House of
      Islam and in response to real needs and not in acquiescence to
      pressure from outside or in order to appease the power to be.
      Several Muslim participants expressed concern that the whole purpose
      of the project was not to initiate dialogue with the aim of reaching a
      common ground, but rather to impose the Western perspective of human
      rights and the secularist view of the world on the Muslims.
      Together with an Islamist colleague from Lebanon, I [Shah Abdul
      Hannan] argued against the secularist thesis and sought to prove that,
      contrary to the claim made, secularisation has been accompanied by a
      marked deterioration in the respect for human rights in the Arab
      region. The discussion shifted to an analysis of international
      standards and the universal declaration of human rights and as to
      whether cultural specificity should be taken into consideration.
      One of the main objectives of this project was to suggest plans aimed
      at effecting changes in school curricula. It was suggested for
      instance that values that are not conducive to respecting the human
      rights of the Israelis or to the establishment of peace in the region
      should be removed from teaching curricula. The Islamic value of jihad
      was a prime target. This is one of the many ways in which human rights
      activists have embroiled themselves, or have allowed themselves to be
      exploited, in a campaign to undermine Muslim identity. This
      embroilment has been detrimental to the credibility of the human
      rights movement within Muslim quarters.
      What is of concern is the support for Salman's [Rushdie], and later on
      Taslima's [Nasreen] alleged right to free _expression without any
      consideration for the fact that their writings insulted the entire
      Muslim community that constitutes no less than one fifth of the
      world's population. While secular human rights activists talk about
      freedom of _expression as a very important civil liberty, they forget
      that there is also a right to honour and to dignity for whole
      The reason such people are favoured by the Western human rights
      movement is that they call for repealing more than half of the
      Qur'anic text for allegedly contravening universally accepted values,
      including those related to human rights. An-Na'im is highly regarded
      within these circles for his role in propagating the idea of his
      mentor that Medinite revelation, which deals primarily with laws and
      codes intended to guide individuals and communities in all affairs, is
      a hindrance to Muslim progress. Ask any Muslim what he or she thinks
      will remain of Islam once Medinite Qur'an is omitted and you will hear
      one answer: nothing remains.
      For both the value and the cause to remain universal and in order to
      prevent their monopoly by one particular culture, cultural specificity
      has to be recognised and respected. In fact, cultural specificity is
      an indispensable feature of universality. Activists in the secular
      camp of the human rights movement need to understand that it will do
      the human rights cause no good for them to undermine Muslim identity
      in the name of defending the universality of human rights.


      Evangelist's 'tone incited hatred of Muslims' - 05 Nov
      An American evangelist's television series on Islam in America was
      canceled by a Canadian station after the first program because Muslims
      complained his tone and demeanor was an incitement of hatred.
      "It was a tonal thing," [the program manager] said. "You could see
      what he was trying to do by his tone and body language." It wasn't so
      much his exact words, Sheppard said, but Hagee's purported inference
      Muslims cannot be loyal Americans.
      The program manager said his station's actions – a letter of apology
      to Muslims and a warning to Hagee's group – was prompted by 50 to 100
      letters of complaint from viewers, followed by contact from the
      Council on American-Islamic Relations Canadian branch in Ottawa.
      CTS, or Crossroads Television Systems, which positions itself as a
      "family friendly" inspirational station, reaches 6.5 million people in
      the Toronto area, Sheppard said, and many more across the nation via
      satellite. It features programming from a variety of religions.

      McZety said complaints about program content related to Islam was a
      longstanding problem on the previous Canadian carrier of Hagee's
      program, the multi-faith Vision TV network, which censored each one of
      the shows for 12 years. A program in which Hagee played video of
      Muslim imams in both the United States and overseas preaching hatred
      and violence against Jews and Israel upset Muslims and resulted in
      complaints filed with the Canadian Radio-television and
      Telecommunications Commission, the equivalent of the U.S. Federal
      Communications Commission, or FCC.
      Finally, this summer, Hagee Ministries decided to part ways with the
      Vision network after it produced a documentary series comparing the
      U.S. to the Hitler regime. Vision's six-part series charged the U.S.,
      in collaboration with its "CIA-trained partner" Osama bin Laden,
      planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as a pretext for attempts to gain
      world dominance. The U.S. is going about this, Vision said, in much
      the same way Nazi brownshirts torched the Reichstag, or parliament, in
      Berlin in 1933 and blamed it on Adolf Hitler's enemies to provide a
      pretext for a crackdown propelling Hitler into power.


      Saudi author urges Muslims to embrace liberal viewpoints - 07 Nov 03
      The Arab world will not be a full participating member of today's
      world unless its people abandon the "rigid interpretation" of the Holy
      Qu-ran, a noted Saudi author said here. Arabs have become hostages to
      extremists who "hijacked" Islam, Dr Turki Al Hamad said in a lecture
      on Liberalism and Islam he gave here on Wednesday night.
      Al Hamad, a fierce critic of Islamists in his country*), Saudi Arabia,
      said it was strange that after hundreds of years, some Muslims would
      stick to the same reading of the world around them. "The world is
      changing around us, it is moving forward in every way. It will not
      wait for us," he said, adding that unless the Arab mind is capable of
      dealing with the modern changes, "we will always be zero in today's
      world." Al Hamad said the Arab world cannot embrace democracy without
      first embracing liberalism, with its three main tenets: freedom,
      individualism and tolerance. "Islam is not a totalitarian religion,"
      he said, "on the contrary, it stresses individualism." He said Islam
      emphasised the private relationship between man and Allah. It also
      guaranteed freedom of religion and expression. As for tolerance, Islam
      encourages its followers to associate with other people and learn
      their cultures.
      Al Hamad was "condemned to death" by religious extremists early this
      year. In a "death fatwa" posted on several Islamist websites he was
      accused of blasphemy. Al Hamad said those who condemn others to death
      were encouraging hypo-crisy and duplicity in Arab societies because
      people who are afraid of extremists' reprisals are forced to hide
      their real opinions. "Hypocrisy is a result of lack of freedom," he
      *) Saudis explore political reforms 07 Feb 03


      Speaking in tongues Al Ahram - Issue No. 663
      http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/663/eg1.htm 6 - 12 Nov 03
      ..[Amr El-Choubaki reviews the Muslim Brotherhood's 75 years of
      semi-political, semi-official history] ..

      Islamic institution for ban on Egyptian book - 05 Nov 03
      Al-Azhar, the most prestigious Sunni Islam institution, has issued an
      edict banning a recently published book of poetry because of
      obscenity, but the author has said he will defy the order and reprint
      his book in the latest controversy between religion and the arts in
      Egypt. Commandments of Love for Women, by renowned Egyptian poet
      Ahmed El-Shahawy, has been in and out of bookstores since its
      publication earlier this year. In the collection, the poet advises
      women, how to show love and keep men attracted, combining Quranic
      verses with sometimes explicit language.
      In September, an Islamist legislator protested the book in parliament
      and the publishers ordered it off the shelves to be reviewed by a
      reading committee and Al-Azhar. But a day later, the book was back on
      store shelves, reportedly due to the intervention of powerful official
      figures. On Saturday, a 28-member committee of Al-Azhar University's
      Islamic Research Academy issued a fatwa, or religious edict, saying
      the book should not be circulated or republished.
      The university's Centre of Islamic Research found that the book by
      renowned Egyptian poet Ahmed al-Shahawi, Commandments On Women's Love,
      "used sayings of the Prophet Mohammed out of context to call on women
      to love without reservation". It also "contains commandments calling
      on women to surrender themselves to passion, give themselves up
      absolutely and without shame, and parade naked before their lovers. It
      glorifies carnal pleasure, that's why we've decided to ban it," Sheikh
      Saber Thaalab said on Monday.


      " French Sharia Watch " - 03 Nov 03
      Just seen in 'Le Parisien' dated 2 November, and available on their
      web site using the search engine. Two young French victims of society
      'snapped'. What's that? Anyone can 'lose it' now and again.

      A 20 year old woman was mugged Friday afternoon near the Chelles train
      station. Her principal attacker, a 35 year old resident, was arrested
      yesterday and booked this afternoon along with a 16 year old boy. Of
      Algerian origin, both were bothered by the fact that the woman wore
      earrings shaped like crucifixes. The oldest attacker, fondled her
      breasts and called her 'whore' in Arabic, and then took out a knife
      and cut her cheeks seven times.


      Jakarta entertainers sing Ramadan blues - 05 Nov 03
      the most vocal of these organizations is the FPI. It was once part of
      a government-sponsored civilian security force known as PAM Swakarsa.
      This unit was formed to fight against student demonstrators opposed to
      the administration of former president B J Habibie and the military's
      role in politics. PAM Swakarsa had a special charter at that time to
      prevent pro-democracy activists from marching to parliament to voice
      their aspirations.

      "The Front Pembela Islam has been more active of late and is seen as a
      legitimate front for establishing a Shariah state in Indonesia and has
      been particularly active during the Ramadan period," said a
      high-ranking member of the Armed Forces Strategic Intelligence Agency
      (BAIS), which plays a national role in repressing internal security
      threats and works closely with paramilitary forces. "I wouldn't go too
      far to say that it is a breeding ground of future anarchists and

      The FPI was formerly led by a charismatic cleric named Habib Rizieq.
      Last year after a raid in Jakarta, a warrant for his arrest was issued
      by the Jakarta police. Despite overt Islamic leanings, many of its
      members are classified as thugs and preman or street gangsters. Last
      year when they attacked a pub in Kemang, they not only vandalized the
      premises but stole cash and wallets from patrons and molested several
      female patrons.

      However, it is not the mindless destruction of public property or the
      attacks on personal property that cause fear among working-class
      Indonesians. The fear of bodily harm is paramount for those working in
      the prostitution and massage businesses. Several of them say they have
      become prime targets for those involved in the anti-prostitution sweep
      across Jakarta, which not only threatens their means of livelihood but
      their personal well-being as well.


      Christian families in Iraq targeted - 05 Nov 03

      [Hawsa] A new influence - 05 Nov 03

      Avoiding Morning Bombings, Iraqis Go Out At Night - 04 Nov 03
      As mornings in Iraq have become concomitant with bombings and attacks
      against U.S.-led occupation forces and officials circles working with
      them, Iraqis are now more active at the nights of the fasting month of
      Ramadan, with restaurants, cafés and shops across Baghdad jam-packed
      by people. And now that the U.S.-imposed night curfew has been lifted
      during the holy month, mosques are teeming with the faithful. "Now you
      see Iraqis coming in droves to mosques to perform Tarawih prayer, and
      by the same token you see cafés full," Abd Hashim, owner of a
      restaurant at al-Azamiya district in Baghdad, told IslamOnline.net .

      The Three Pillars of Law and Order in Iraq - 04 Nov 03
      .. [Major Hennady Rozhkov, judge advocate with the commanding officer
      of the {Ukrainian} Fifth Detached Mechanized Brigade, is currently
      responsible for upholding law and order in the province of Wasit]
      most of the laws enacted even before Saddam came to power are still in
      effect. And the criminal and enforcement procedures are so mixed up
      that I suspect that few local lawyers can actually figure them out. I
      was told that justice is exercised in Iraq in two ways, official and
      unofficial. That this justice rests on three pillars: Islam, law, and
      tradition. Thus the law is worked out with an eye to the canons of
      Islam. Tradition, however, is a very special thing. There are
      different traditions in different provinces. For example, tradition
      forbids a widow or a surviving daughter to claim the family legacy,
      yet the law rooted in religious canons allows her to do just that.
      Such unhappy women have to abide by tradition, otherwise they will
      become outcasts, in which case they will not be entitled to the family
      legacy. What I mean is that even if they went by the book and took
      possession of that legacy, their lives would be made impossible by
      outraged relatives - and they would not be able to find any legal

      Marriages are traditionally consummated if blessed by the man at the
      head of the family or by the elder of the family clan (usually
      numbering up to fifty persons). Men and women representing different
      Islamic confessions (Shiites and Sunnites) are not allowed to join in
      marriage. Should a girl marry contrary to her father's will, any of
      her relatives is entitled to kill her, although the law reads that she
      is free to marry and that such marriage will be legally sealed at any
      court of law, without reservation. Personally I think that Iraqi
      traditions are strong mostly because the population is largely
      illiterate and have only a vague idea about the law. For them the law
      is what the local imam has to say on a given subject.

      There are also the rules of the shari'ah [Islamic law]; these are not
      stipulated by the laws currently in force but must be strictly
      observed. For example, if a person sells stolen property and the
      transaction becomes known in the neighborhood, that person will never
      be able to sell anything to anyone. Any such transgressions of the
      shari'ah are instantly reported, as a Moslem is expressly forbidden to
      deal in stolen property, meaning that whoever buys it will suffer a
      very sad lot, will actually become an outcast which is the same as
      physical death in the Islamic world.


      Female Calligraphers in the Service of the Qur'an - 04 Nov 03

      Lawyer Granted Leave To Challenge Validity Of State Hudud Law
      http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/news.php?id=27865 - 05 Nov 03
      The Federal Court here Wednesday granted leave to lawyer Datuk Zaid
      Ibrahim to challenge the validity of the Terengganu Syariah Criminal
      Enactment (Hudud and Qisas) which was gazetted on Oct 27 this year.
      Justice Datuk Pajan Singh Gill, in his decision, held that Zaid, who
      is also the Kelantan Umno deputy liaison chief, had satisfied the
      court that the leave was necessary and that he had an arguable case.
      He also said that this was a case of public importance affecting the
      liberty of subjects.
      Zaid sought leave to issue a petition against the Terengganu
      Government for a declaration that the provisions of the Syariah
      Criminal Offence (Hudud and Qisas) Terengganu Enactment passed by the
      Terengganu State legislative Assembly and gazetted on Oct 27 was void
      and of no effect.
      In supporting Zaid's leave application, Abdul Gani said the
      application was similar to the application made against Kelantan where
      the court has also granted leave to Zaid to commence proceedings
      persuant to Article 4 (4) of the Federal Constitution. He said in this
      case, the court has allowed his application to intervene as an
      intervener and that it was without doubt that the issues before the
      court were matters involving public interest.

      Malaysia bans tales of the supernatural - 06 Nov 03
      Malaysia, which strictly censors foreign movies and books, has decided
      to ban tomes with "ghostly" tales and those touching on the
      supernatural, reports said on Thursday. Deputy Home Minister Chor Chee
      Heung was quoted by The Star as saying that the government would no
      longer approve permits to import and publish reading material
      containing elements "calculated to entertain by frightening". These
      include books within the categories of mystery, mysticism, fantasy,
      occultism and superstition, he said.
      However, titles such as the popular Harry Potter series would not be
      affected as they were deemed to be "benign", he added.
      He also warned companies not to publish, print or import magazines,
      novels or comics containing elements of sex and violence, warning that
      they could be sentenced up to three years in jail or fined 20.000
      ringgit [EUR 4.600,-] or both if they were caught.
      The home ministry has also banned The Rough Guide History of Islam*)
      by Justin Wintle, the News Straits Times reported. The newspaper gave
      no reasons for the banning of the book, which is published by Rough
      Guides in London.
      *) see e.g. [comment on Chapter 1]

      Dewan Negara: Head scarf for policewomen study - 06 Nov 03
      The Home Ministry will review the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) dress
      code to see if Muslim woman police personnel can be allowed to wear
      the head scarf (tudung), the Dewan Negara was told today. Deputy Home
      Minister Datuk Zainal Abidin Zain said the present regulations
      governing police uniform did not permit the wearing of the tudung.
      "However they are allowed to wear the tudung if they are on duty at
      the Syariah Court," he said when replying to Senator Datuk Mansor Md
      Jaafar during Question Time in the House.


      Police Seize Weapons Linked to Oppostion Presidential Candidiate
      .. - 04 Nov 03
      Police in Mauritania have seized [2] weapons and ammunition allegedly
      linked to the main opposition candidate in this Friday's presidential
      election, a former president who came to power through a coup d'etat.
      Mr. Ould Haidallah, a former military leader, has a broad range of
      support among Islamic militants, liberal reformers and Baathist
      politicians close to former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. He has
      campaigned for the implementation of Islamic Sharia law, reintegrating
      Mauritania into the Economic Community of West African states, more
      freedom of expression for opposition media, and for reconsideration of
      Mauritania's diplomatic relations with Israel, which were established
      four years ago.


      Govt Increases 2004 Hajj Fares - 07 Nov 03
      The Bauchi State government has announced that intending pilgrims from
      the state would be expected to pay N323,025 [EUR 1.886,-] and N258,700
      [EUR 1.510,-] as maximum and minimum hajj fares for 2004. Making the
      disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Bauchi, yesterday, the
      Deputy Secretary to the state Muslim Welfare Board, Alhaji Adamu
      Chindo said that the fares were fixed at the federal level.


      Solberg wants Islam 'modernized' - 04 Nov 03
      Muslims living in Norway must accept that they're a minority in a
      progressive, egalitarian-oriented society, claims Cabinet Minister
      Erna Solberg. Islam must be modernized, she says, but local Muslims
      claim they don't understand her criticism.
      The World Islamic Mission in Norway, claiming it doesn't understand
      Solberg's criticism, asked Solberg to explain what she means by
      "modernization," which she did on national radio on Tuesday. Divorce,
      for example, must be more easily available for Muslim women and follow
      the laws of the land, she said. Pro-forma and forced marriages must be
      banned and women in general must be accorded equal rights under the
      law. Amber Khan of the World Islamic Mission in Norway claimed Imams
      brought to Norway are required to learn Norwegian and adapt to new
      cultural codes.
      Oslo's bishop, Gunnar Staalsett has warned Minister of Local
      Government and Regional Development Erna Solberg of the dangers of
      criticizing Islam after she told Norway's Muslims that they should
      modernize their religion. Staalsett fears that the statement will
      create a warped view of Islam.


      Mecca Cola launched in Pakistan - 04 Nov 03

      A Ramadhan Message From Al-Muhajiroun: The Great Battle of Badr
      http://www.almuhajiroun.com.pk/detail.asp?id=1822&id1=14 - 01 Nov 03

      Violent students attack 'un-Islamic' varsity show - 05 Nov 03
      Arguing that display of "obscene" material and listening to music were
      against the teachings of Islam, a group of enraged students on Tuesday
      ransacked the Department of Visual Studies of the University of
      Karachi, destroying musical instruments, sculptures and paintings.
      They said the practices were particularly offensive in the holy month
      of Ramazan.

      The department was holding its "Degree Show 2003," its first-ever such
      event, displaying projects prepared by final year students. The
      projects include several graphical illustrations combined with music,
      a documentary on eunuchs and some paintings, posters and sculptures.
      The show was attacked after some students declared the exhibition a
      "display of obscene and objectionable material" in Ramazan. Personal
      computers were among the other things destroyed. According to some
      students, playing music and bringing musical instruments inside the
      university was strictly prohibited in accordance with the university
      notification. They said if the university administration was not
      willing to ban such activities, it was the right of the students to
      stop by force any activity which was against the teachings of Islam.

      Islamabad: Shariat court sets aside sentence - 07 Nov 03
      The Federal Shariat Court on Thursday set aside the sentence of
      amputation of a hand and a foot awarded to four persons, and ordered
      their release as they have already undergone 11 years of imprisonment.
      Advocate Dr Sohail stated that his clients were awarded 10-year
      imprisonment in addition to amputation of their hands and feet. They
      had already remained in jail for 11 years, and if their imprisonment
      was calculated in the light of exemptions, it would go beyond 20
      years, he told the court. The Shariat court came to the conclusion
      that the evidence produced in the case was not up to the standards of
      Tazkiatul Shahood. It was one of the rare cases in which the lower
      court ordered the amputation of limbs, but so far no such punishment
      has been upheld by the superior courts in Pakistan.

      SC reserves verdict on marrying without guardian's consent - 04 Nov 03
      The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its judgement on whether a Muslim
      girl can marry without the consent of her wali (guardian). Three SC
      judges, Justice Mian Muhammad Ajmal, Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan
      and Justice Karamat Nazir Bhandari, heard the appeal of Muhammad Iqbal
      against a decision of the Lahore High Court (LHC) which declared his
      marriage void because it was solemnised without the consent of the
      girl's guardian.
      Justice Bhandari observed that the FSC had decided the issue
      permanently and reopening that case would amount to creating judicial
      anarchy. But Mr Gillani insisted that the FSC judgement was defective.
      He said the question of validity of Muslim marriages was linked to
      Muslim Personal Law, which was out of the FSC's sphere. However, the
      SC could give a ruling on the issue, he added. Attorney General
      Makhdoom Ali Khan disagreed with Mr Gillani and said the FSC judgement
      was final and binding on all courts including the high court under
      Article 203-G of the Constitution. "The law relating to guardian is
      not governed by any statute and only the FSC can define it," he added.

      Lahore: Flawed Hudood Ord fuelling anti-Islam forces - 07 Nov 03
      An animated discussion on the Hudood Ordinance was organized by the
      Aurat Foundation here on Thursday. Those attending the meeting
      included human rights activists and media people. The non-governmental
      organization, known for its feminist proclivities, had invited an
      advocate of the Lahore High Court, Hassam Qadir Shah, to the seminar.
      Distinguishing between an ordinance and an act, Mr Shah pointed out
      the illegal nature of the Hudood Ordinance. He explained that an
      ordinance could not remain in force for a period of more than four
      years; it needed to be promulgated again for validation.

      An act required approval of a democratic parliament after a thorough
      discussion. The Hudood Ordinance did not fulfil either of the two
      legalities. "It has never been accepted as an act or re-promulgated.
      Moreover, the five laws falling within the Hudood Ordinance were
      imposed within two days. They remain an ordinance," noted the
      advocate, who has been working on the Hudood Ordinance for the past
      seven to eight years.

      About the offence of Zina, Mr Shah stated that there were 22 sections
      in the Hudood Ordinance. He cited the 1991 case of Sher Zaman, a
      resident of Talagang, which was referred to the Federal Shariat Court.
      Mr Zaman had accused a female resident of his village of adultery
      (zina) with two men. In the judicial pronouncement given by the
      Federal Shariat Court, it was stated that Mr Zaman had violated the
      Islamic code of right to privacy and had also borne false witness
      (Qazaf). The FSC reprimanded the prosecution for bringing forth a
      feeble case of adultery against respectable people. "Instead of using
      it as a precedent, supporters of the Hudood Ordinances have
      conveniently overlooked the famous ruling of the FSC."

      Since its promulgation in 1979, not a single case could be cited in
      which the accused was punished under the Hudood Ordinance. Even though
      a majority of the cases against women have been brought under these
      convoluted laws, nearly all of them have been decided according to the
      Pakistan Penal Code. "The Hudood laws are ordained by Allah, which
      means they cannot be altered or changed. How can a person be held
      under Had and sentenced under Tazir," questioned the advocate.
      Punishment under Tazir is given when the offence is considered proven
      but fails to fulfil all the requirements of Had. "These laws have done
      nothing more than give our country a parallel legal system, bringing
      injustice to a society already suffering from poverty," regretted Mr

      NCSW for changes in Zina Ordinance - 05 Nov 03
      The special committee of the National Commission on the Status of
      Women (SCSW) on Hudood Ordinance in its deliberations has agreed that
      the word "adult" should be added before women as in the case of men in
      section 5 (1) (a) of the Offence of Zina Ordinance. During its
      discussions, the issue was raised that in section 5 (1) (a), where
      reference has been made to an "adult" man, the reference to woman is
      without any such adjective. As section 5 (1)(a) reads: "Zina is liable
      to Hadd if it is committed by a man who is an adult and is not insane
      with a woman to whom he is not and does not suspect himself to be

      Justice Shaiq Usmani, one of the committee members, was of the view
      that as the term "adult" had been used for a man, it should also had
      been used for a woman. Hina Jilani, another member, while endorsing
      the point raised by Justice Usmani stated that the consent of the
      woman was of prime importance and unless she was an "adult" how could
      her consent be admissible under the law?

      Pakistan to Monitor Religious Seminaries - 05 Nov 03
      Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat told Reuters that a new law to
      monitor and regulate the seminaries, or madrassahs, would be put
      before cabinet in about a month. "The policy is aimed at monitoring
      the activities of these madrassahs, of these organizations, keeping a
      watch on their performance," Hayat said. There are thousands of
      religious schools across Pakistan, mostly run by Islamic groups which
      strongly oppose any government regulation. They are popular with the
      poor, because they offer free education and sometimes free board.
      The schools supplied thousands of recruits for the hardline Taliban
      militia in Afghanistan, and Afghan officials say madrassahs in
      Pakistan are still used to recruit militants to fight for the ousted

      Charging mark-up on mark-up - 05 Nov 03
      The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Tuesday announced a bold
      initiative for resolving the decades long issue of charging of mark-up
      on mark-up by the commercial banks. The Banking Policy Department
      (BPD) of the SBP has said that the all-powerful 'Resolution Committee'
      constituted under the BPD's circular of July 2003, has now been vested
      with powers to settle, out of court, all disputed cases pertaining to
      the issue of mark-up on mark-up. The BPD Circular number 37 issued on
      November 03 adds, "The Resolution Committee will consider cases of
      charging of mark-up on mark-up by the banks in violation of the
      guidelines issued by the SBP for the elimination of Riba from the
      banking system". .. the SBP has made it clear that "the decision of
      the committee will be binding on the bank and the borrower or
      complainant". .. Further, in view of the issues relating to legal
      matters and Islamic banking, it has been decided to expand the scope
      and powers of the Resolution Committee.

      [NWFP] 36,000 subsidised flour bags sold in Peshawar - 03 Nov 03
      Twenty-kilogram bags of wheat from the provincial government were sold
      at 36 different sale points for Rs 180 [EUR 2,75] each. Consumers
      queued up to make purchases while district coordination officers,
      tehsildars, Food Department officials and public representatives
      monitored the distribution. NWFP Food Minister Fazal Rabani said there
      would be three sale points in each provincial constituency and at each
      sale point, bags of wheat would be distributed. Mr Rabani said flour
      refineries would be given wheat from government stores at subsidized

      [Sindh] SHC summons two police officials - 05 Nov 03
      The Sindh High Court, Hyderabad circuit bench, on Tuesday directed the
      investigation wing in charges of Khanote and Wada Chachar police
      stations, Dadu district, to appear before the court on Nov 5. The
      order was passed in connection with an application about the wrongful
      detention submitted by a woman, Bibi Birhamani, about wrongful
      detention of her son, Sher Mohammad. Giving background, she said that
      her son had married Shabana but later, relations between them got
      strained after which the police took away her son at the instance of
      Shabana's father on Oct 26. She stated that Mr Mohammad was kept in
      wrongful detention and being subjected to torture and added that she
      approached SHO concerned who threatened to implicate him in a false
      case. She stated that on Oct 27, some area people including Haji
      Moharram Ramzan and Mir Khan went to the police station where the SHO
      held them in wrongful confinement for four hours.


      'Cell Was Targeting Muslims' - 05 Nov 03
      Saudi security forces have arrested six Al-Qaeda suspects and killed
      two others in the Makkah region. They were apparently planning to
      carry out terror attacks on pilgrims in Makkah, according to Interior
      Minister Prince Naif.
      Asked if the attacks had been aimed at buildings, crowded areas and
      pilgrims, the minister said: "This is exactly what I mean. In Makkah
      there are only Muslims from the Kingdom and abroad. There are no other
      people except Muslims...
      The paper [Okaz] identified the arrested terrorists as four Saudis, a
      Nigerian and a Pakistani. The paper also said that police had arrested
      two others, from Mali and Egypt.

      Saudi says any reform to conform with sharia law - 05 Nov 03
      Saudi Arabia's interior minister said the absolute monarchy would
      proceed with reforms that conform with Islamic sharia law and
      dismissed charges that a lack of democracy was spurring Muslim
      militancy in the kingdom.
      "Some use reform as a means to achieve aims which may oppose national
      interests and this is not logical. Others see reform as abandoning our
      Islamic values and foundations and this is rejected. And it is also
      unacceptable for some to believe that reform is about resisting
      development and confronting others."

      Ramadan Sparks Surge in Runaway Maid Cases - 05 Nov 03
      The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) of the Philippine Embassy
      is much busier these days than during the other months of the year.
      "Ramadan is by tradition the month when Filipino domestic helpers
      escape from their sponsors. They choose to escape at this time because
      their sponsors are asleep during the day, during which they could
      contact the POLO staff and request for assistance. On ordinary months,
      many sponsors are normally strict and don't allow their maids to get
      out of the house," Rasul said. He added that one reason why DHs escape
      during Ramadan could also be due to pressure of work. "During the day,
      the employers are asleep but the children are awake. So, naturally
      they have to look after them and provide whatever they need. At night,
      the children are asleep but that's the time when the adults are awake.
      So, naturally the maids have to tend to them and look after their
      needs," he said. He added that they sleep at about 4 a.m. and wake up
      at six.


      Ramadan between the Cape and the North - 04 Nov 03
      Ramadan is known in Cape Town as the Pwasa or the Fast, and 'Eid
      (Arabic for an Islamic public celebration) is called Labarang. The
      morning meal before soeboeg (dawn), which is called sahur in Arabic,
      is known as sower, and the Arabic iftar--the breaking of the fast--is
      known as boeka. The use of these terms shows traces of the Behasa
      Melayu language in South Africa, as it was the lingua franca for
      people from the Indian Ocean region where most slaves originated. The
      legacy of the colonial era can also be seen in food traditions among
      Muslims in South Africa, which shows African, Asian and European
      influences; a legacy which is also seen in the Afrikaans language.
      Developed initially as a slave Creole language, Afrikaans includes
      elements of indigenous Khoisan languages, Dutch, Arabic, Portuguese
      and Behasa Melayu.

      Today the Muslim community in South Africa, while still a minority, is
      well established and integrated into the wider population. The largest
      percentage of Muslims in South Africa is to be found in the Western
      Cape. Cape Town, with its many different religions, has numerous
      mosques and Muslim educational institutions. Halal food (permitted by
      Allah) is widely available in the supermarkets.
      Generally, women are responsible for most of the cooking during the
      Pwasa. However, the special briyanis and curries at Labarang would
      often be made by men, who tended to cook for large numbers of
      people-500, 1000 or even more. On Labarang day people visit family and
      friends, and to welcome them the tables are laid with a festive
      abundance of cakes. The inventive and delicious biscuits of Cape Town
      are famous throughout the country. Flavoured with cinnamon, cardamom,
      ginger and nutmeg, with names like saboeratjies, karamonk scraps and
      hertzoggies, each biscuit has a story attached to it, and makes a
      favourite gift for non-Muslim friends the day after 'Eid. Often
      families bake for days in a row before the feast. Houses are
      thoroughly cleaned and new curtains or paint might be evident.
      On Labarang day, people go to the mosque for salah (ritual Prayer) in
      the morning, and, after Prayers, it is a tradition that they are
      served in the mosque with freshly baked bread. Once they return from
      the mosque, families go round to greet the neighbours and then go to
      visit family. Though this day is not an official public holiday, it is
      generally accepted that Muslims will take the day off work. As one
      drives to visit family in other neighbourhoods, one can recognize
      other Muslims by the fezzes and scarves. The day is characterized by
      great hospitality, and families gather for large shared meals with
      favourite dishes like crayfish curry, kabobs and oven frikkadel. The
      next day one usually takes Labarang treats to one's colleagues.


      'Bar presidential candidates losing twice' - 05 Nov 03
      .. two-day meeting organised by the UDSM's Research and Education for
      Democracy in Tanzania.
      Sheikh Hassan Chizenga from the Supreme Muslims Council of Tanzania
      (BAKWATA) asked for the Union Constitution to provide for a Kadh court
      to cater for Muslims, just as it is the case in Zanzibar, Kenya and
      Uganda. He mentioned marriage, divorce and inheritance, as matters
      that required to be dealt with in accordance with Islamic law and not
      otherwise. Sheikh Chizenga said because of lack of respect for freedom
      of worship, there were some Muslims who found themselves being
      punished according to the Marriage Act of 1971, when what they did was
      in line with Islam. He gave an example of a man in Kigoma Region who
      was sentenced to three years imprisonment and a 300,000 [EUR 248,-]
      fine after being found guilty of living with another person's wife.
      However, he said the woman in question was divorced in accordance with
      Islamic principles. "We need the Kadh court as it was the case since
      the colonial times until when it was removed in 1994. Is post or pre-
      independence better for Muslims to practise their religion?" he asked.


      Keep govt out of religion, Powell advises guests - 07 Nov 03
      US Secretary of State Colin Powell has urged the young Muslims to keep
      the government out of religion. "Religion has a role in your lives,
      not in your governments" was the message Mr Powell gave to his Iftar
      guests on Wednesday night. His speech, that followed a three-course
      formal dinner of halal lamb chops and wild rice with the Middle
      Eastern desserts and Arab coffee, was directed particularly at the
      young Muslims who were invited from across the United States.
      The message was carefully phrased. Instead of saying that there was no
      place for religion in the government, he conveyed the same message by
      emphasizing the need to keep the government out of religion.
      He described the new National Security Entry/Exit Registration System
      introduced after 9/11 as "an effort to strike the right balance
      between openness and security". "We understand the difficulty that it
      has presented to people wanting to visit, wanting to come to this
      country. We understand that it is still imperfect," he said.However,
      the alternative he suggested, another new system of monitoring
      visitors and immigrants called US-VISIT, is equally controversial
      among Muslim and Arab Americans.

      Calls on Muslims in DC, NY, and LA to Leave Those Cities - 04 Nov 03
      A communiqué issued by the previously unknown "Islamic Bayan Movement"
      warns Muslims that they should leave Washington DC, New York, and Los
      Angeles. The warning initially appeared on the website of Global
      Islamic Media, at
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globalislamicmedia/message/173 .
      The same website has, in recent months, published many communiqués by
      Jihad groups around the world, as well as Islamic ideological
      material. The communiqué has since appeared on the Al-Qa'ida
      affiliated website Al-Faroq.


      In Uzbekistan, religion is victim of war on terror - 06 Nov 03
      A judge ordered the burning of 211 copies of a Baptist magazine
      confiscated by customs officials. Police detained 10 Baptist women
      overnight, ignorantly accusing them of "Wahhabism" (a fundamentalist
      form of Islam) - roughly like calling the Dalai Lama a Presbyterian. A
      Pentecostal leader told Igor Rotar of the Forum 18 News Service that
      Protestants in his town live like the catacomb Christians of pagan
      Uzbek officials told Mr. Rotar that their policies toward Protestants
      are essentially a side effect of their policies toward Muslims. He
      quoted "senior officials" as saying privately, "We can't create one
      law for Muslims and another for religious minorities. So we have to
      fine 10 unfortunate old ladies - Protestants holding a service in a
      private apartment - although we fully understand that they are
      absolutely harmless."

      The official Uzbek view is that harsh policies are necessary to
      prevent the country from being taken over by Muslim fanatics like
      those overthrown two years ago in Afghanistan. That is why the state
      has, in effect, taken over Islam in much the same way King Henry VIII
      took over Christianity in England almost five centuries ago. The state
      makes clerical appointments, censors religious literature, and even
      requires pre-clearance of sermons. Uzbek towns are dotted with mosques
      that have been forcibly closed. After seven decades of Soviet rule,
      Uzbek officialdom is so secularized, tone-deaf to religion, and
      addicted to power that it has proved unable to keep its fight against
      Islamic extremism from becoming a fight against Islam itself.


      Malaysia will not introduce new currency - 05 Nov 03
      The government does not intend to introduce any new currency in the
      country to replace the ringgit even after the gold dinar is used for
      international trading, Finance Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Hashim
      Ismail said. He said that ringgit would continue to be the sole
      currency used for trading and payments in Malaysia. Using gold through
      the Gold-based Trade Payment Arrangement (GTPA) is for international
      trade, he said in response to questions posed by Senator Dayang Mahani
      Tun Pengiran Ahmad Raffee at the Dewan Negara proceeding here Tuesday.
      "Based on the GTPA mechanism, the net balance of bilateral trade will
      be settled by the central banks of the countries concerned through
      exchange of gold reserves between the lender country and the debtor
      country," Hashim said. He said that to-date the response received from
      foreign countries, especially Islamic countries, on the proposal was

      [UAE]National Bank of Sharjah launches UAE's first Islamic credit card
      .. - 05 Nov 03
      National Bank of Sharjah (NBS) is the first bank in the UAE to launch
      an Islamic credit card in association with Visa International.
      The card, which requires a minimum monthly settlement of only 10 per
      cent of the utilised credit limit, has been structured competitively
      and will provide global usage by its cardholders at all Sharia-
      approved merchant outlets. Cardholders will be able to utilise Visa's
      acceptance at millions of point-of-sale locations in 150 countries in
      addition to cash withdrawal facilities from over 870,000 Visa ATMs

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