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Sharia News Watch 86

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 86 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30 8:20 AM
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      Sharia News Watch 86 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:

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


      Rare political satire staged in Bahrain - 29 Nov 03
      The crowd roared with laughter when actors on a makeshift stage poked
      fun at politicians in Bahrain — a rare show of criticism in the Gulf
      region. About 3,000 Bahrainis defied a government ban to watch the
      show on Thursday on a wooden stage hastily erected on a dirt lot in a
      poor Shi'ite neighbourhood here. The organisers, the leading Shi'ite
      opposition group Al Wefaq Islamic Society, had tried to hold it on
      Tuesday but were stopped by the authorities. The actors were careful
      not to mention people by name. The play also tackled other sensitive
      issues like rising unemployment and alleged corruption in Bahrain.
      Information Minister Nabeel Yacoub said the show was illegal and vowed
      to take legal action against the organisers.


      Exodus from Dhaka as country readies for Eid - 25 Nov 03
      Millions of Bangladeshis were on the move yesterday as they packed
      buses, trains and ferries to be with their families and friends for
      Islam's biggest festival, Eid Al Fitr. Many commuters started their
      holiday journeys on Sunday, but a major dash out of Dhaka is expected
      when the new moon is sighted this week signalling the holiday that
      closes the holy month of Ramadan.
      Millions of people in Dhaka alone are estimated to head out of town
      each year for Eid Al Fitr. Preparations are underway for mass prayers
      on the festival across Bangladesh, which is the world's third largest
      Muslim-majority country. The travel season can be deadly in
      Bangladesh, where more than 3,000 people have died in 260 ferry
      accidents since 1977.
      Thousands of ferries operate along Bangladesh's 230 rivers and
      waterways, transporting more than 100,000 people daily. The government
      has also tried to boost street safety, sending another 7,000 police to
      the streets of Dhaka a week ago to stop muggings and other crimes as
      the festival gains momentum. .. And newspapers go on a marathon
      holiday from today, subject to the sighting of the new moon.

      Clashes on Eid leave one dead, 138 injured in BD - 30 Nov 03
      A man was killed and 139 were injured during clashes among people on
      Eid congregations in eight districts of Bangladesh on Wednesday.
      Clashes occurred in Eidgahs in Kishoreganj, Bogra, Gopalganj,
      Patuakhali, Jamalpur, Meherpur and Rajshahi districts. At one place
      the local civil administration had to deploy police to control the
      tension. In another clash over the announcement of a prayer leader at
      Kishoreganj, a man named Abdul Quddus (45) died of his injuries. In
      Patuakhali, Gopalganj and Jamalpur, the announcement of prayer leaders
      became controversial which led to a tension among locals. In another
      Chapainawabganj district, two rival groups quarrelled after the Eid
      prayer over a minor dispute. At Rajshahi, the Muslims raised objection
      regarding an Islamic edict (Fatwa) by the prayer leader.


      View from the right - Sharia to be enforced by Canadian courts - 25
      Nov 03 http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001952.html
      Normally Moslems are required to obey the Sharia, the law that obtains
      in Moslem societies, but if they live under a non-Moslem government,
      as hundreds of thousands of them do in Canada, they are excused from
      that obligation. According to the Canadian Law Times, recent changes
      in the Canadian Arbitration Act have radically changed all that. Here
      are the key passages from the article:

      Syed [Mumtaz Ali, who in in 1962 became the first lawyer in Canada to
      swear his oath of allegiance on the Koran] explained that until recent
      changes in the law, Canadian Muslims have been excused from applying
      Shariah in their legal disputes. Arbitration was not deemed to be
      practical because there was no way to enforce the decisions. Syed said
      the laws have recently changed with amendments to the Arbitration Act.
      "Now, once an arbitrator decides cases, it is final and binding. The
      parties can go to the local secular Canadian court asking that it be
      enforced. The court has no discretion in the matter. "So, the
      concession given by Shariah is no longer available to us because the
      impracticality has been removed. In settling civil disputes, there is
      no choice indeed but to have an arbitration board."

      In other words, if two Canadian Moslems get into a dispute with each
      other, over property or marriage or a business contract, and they take
      the problem to a Moslem arbitrator and reach an agreement that
      involves Sharia, the terms of that agreement will now be overseen and
      imposed by Canadian courts. Canadian courts and police thus become the
      enforcers of Islamic law on Canadian citizens. And the obligation goes
      both ways. Since Moslems are required to follow Islamic law if it is
      practicable to do so, and since it has now become practicable to do so
      in Canada, that is what Canadian Moslems must do. The Moslems are
      required by Moslem law to seek Sharia-based solutions to their private
      disputes, while Canadian courts are required by Canadian law to
      enforce these privately reached agreements between Moslems.
      Muslim delegates at a conference in Etobicoke, Ont., in October
      elected a 30-member council to establish the Islamic Institute of
      Civil Justice. The institute is classified in Islamic law as a
      Darul-Qada, or judicial tribunal. Its bylaws are scheduled to be
      drafted and approved by Dec. 31. Cases will be decided by a Muslim
      arbitrator, but the local secular Canadian court will be the enforcer.
      One of the obstacles to establishing the system, the Law Times said,
      has been the Muslim communities' lack of unity and organizational
      strength. Muslims in Canada come from many different countries and
      different schools of Islam. Also, there are few Islamic legal
      scholars, known as ulama, in North America, which are essential to
      adjudicating complex issues.


      Interpreters of dreams - 29 Nov 03
      Anyone who ever found themselves wondering about the significance of
      their dreams can now find out their meanings according to Islamic
      principles. It is all on two new webpages provided by the Dubai
      Department of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, which has been keen to
      provide a better alternative to many misleading interpretations
      provided by "amateurs and charlatans". It is available on the
      department's website www.awqafdubai.gov.ae and through the Dubai
      E-government website by clicking on 'Awqaf and Islamic Affairs'.
      The department's two online services interpret dreams and allow people
      to gain 'Fatwas' or religious instructions following their enquiries.
      [Islamic scholar and dreams interpretor] Sheikh Al Kamadani spoke to
      Gulf News saying: "A group of eight people meet and issue the Fatwas
      after consultations. Then they refer to Dr Ahmad Abdul Aziz Al Haddad,
      the Assistant Director of Ifta' and Research in the department, and
      who gives the final say or introduces any amendments if there are
      He added: "We are offering the service in light of one of the prophet
      Mohammed's (PBUH) Hadeeth that supposedly means that good dreams come
      from God but bad ones come from the devil. "People have the religious
      right to have their dreams interpreted and we find ourselves happy to
      offer that community service. Our interpretations or Fatwas are
      extracted from the Holy Quran, Prophet's Sunna and based on clear
      scientific methods rather than hallucinations and superstitions."


      French Ruling Party Votes For Anti-Hijab Law - 29 Nov 03
      As a French school has irreversibly expelled a Muslim girl for
      refusing to take off her hijab, French Premier Jean-Pierre Raffarin
      secured Friday, November28 , a majority approval of his ruling party
      to pass a bill banning the Muslim headscarf in public schools. He
      reiterated determination to introduce a bill that would "explicitly
      ban the ostentatious wearing of any political or religious sign" in
      public schools – a reference to hijab - to the parliament, which is
      dominated by his Union Pour un Movement Populaire (UMP) party.
      Getting the approval of 90% of UMP delegates at Friday's meeting near
      Paris, Raffarin argued the mooted motion was designed to "defend
      secularism and protect all women from fundamentalist pressures".
      "That is the main point. This is not about religion, it's about
      lifting constraints on women," he claimed.
      French President Jacques Chirac had set up a commission in July to
      rule on whether new legislation was needed to handle a growing debate
      over religion in schools, particularly Muslim schoolgirls wearing
      hijab. The commission is expected to submit its report to the
      president by the end of this year after questioning a number of
      ministers and representatives of French non-governmental organizations
      (NGOs) and various syndicates.
      In a related development, a disciplinary council at Charles-Walch de
      Thann school, north of France, decided to expel12 -year-old Hilal, of
      Turkish origin, from school. It claimed the girl failed to respect the
      school's in-law by insisting to wear clothes "of ostentatious
      religious sign on purpose to harass her colleagues, which runs counter
      to the secular nature of the school".


      [West Bengal] Copies of Taslima's controversial book seized
      http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=13320901 - 29 Nov 03
      Police said raided several areas of Kolkata and seized around 2,500
      copies of Taslima Nasrin's controversial book "Dwikhandita" (Split in
      Two). The crackdown began after the government proscribed the book
      earlier today for hurting the sentiments of the Muslim community in
      the wake of Calcutta High Court stopping the sale of the book for a
      fortnight since November 18 on a petition by poet Syed Hasmat Jalan,
      who filed a Rs 11-crore defamation suit against that the writer for
      presenting a "distorted view of his moral and religious standing".
      "We seized around 2,500 copies of the book after raiding several parts
      of the city. Around 2,000 copies of the book were confiscated from the
      publisher Peoples Book Society in College Street," said a senior
      police official. "Raids are also on in other parts of the state
      jointly with the state enforcement branch," the official added.
      Meanwhile, the novelist, who has been in exile ever since the
      Bangladesh government issued a 'fatwa' on her debut publication
      'Lajja' in 1994, expressed 'shock and dismay' over the decision to
      proscribe her book, saying the West Bengal government, which had
      opposed the Centre's ban on Salman Rushdie's controversial 'Satanic
      Verses', had shown "double standards" in proscribing her book now.
      "When Rushdie's book was banned for anti-Islamic content, the same
      government made a strong case against it. Today they are toeing the
      same line," she said.
      Some Muslim intellectuals had written to Chief Minister Buddhadeb
      Bhattacharjee asking the government to confiscate the book alleging
      that it contained passages which denigrate the Prophet and the Islam.


      Indonesia could ban inter-religious marriages - 25 Nov 03
      With an eye on next year's elections, where Islamic-affiliated parties
      are expected to drain support from President Megawati Sukarnoputri's
      bid to retain office, hardline Muslim groups are drafting laws to
      combat Christianity's spread in the world's largest Muslim country.
      The so-called Religious Tolerance Bill would curb the building of
      churches and insist that all religious activities be restricted to
      members of that religion, in effect barring attempts at conversions.
      The laws would also bar a person from converting to another religion
      after marriage and prevent children being adopted into a different
      faith, as well as restrict overseas funding for religious activities.


      Iranian mothers win custody rights - 30 Nov 03
      Divorced Iranian mothers were granted Saturday the right to the
      custody of their children up to the age of seven. The arbitrative
      Expediency Council sided with the parliament after the bill was twice
      quashed by the supervisory Guardian Council on the ground that it went
      against the Islamic Sharia law. Divorced mothers have already the
      custody right to their daughters up to the age of seven and the new
      law incorporates the same right to their sons. "Mothers will be given
      priority in custody rights of their children among divorced couples
      and after age seven, the custody will be held by fathers," the
      secretary of the Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezaei, said. The move is
      seen a step in the right direction for women who a redemanding
      improved rights, especially in recent years.


      Sunni leader calls for truce in Iraq during Aidilfitri - 25 Nov 03
      A Sunni Muslim leader called today for a week-long ceasefire in Iraq
      to allow peaceful celebration of Aidilfitri. "I call on the resistance
      to suspend operations this week so that Iraqis can live in peace,
      without the blast of explosives, bombs and shooting," said Adnan
      al-Dulaimi, head of Iraq's Sunni religious administration or Waqf.
      Dulaimi also urged the US-led coalition to free detainees and
      prisoners "apart from those proven to have carried out criminal acts".
      Sunni religious scholars declared today to be the first day of the
      holiday ending the month-long fast after sighting the new moon in the
      northern regions of Samarra and Mosul, and in Khales, west of Baghdad.
      However, Iraq's main Shia organisation, the Supreme Council for the
      Islamic Revolution in Iraq, invited the faithful to watch for the new
      moon tomorrow evening - meaning they would celebrate either Wednesday
      or Thursday.
      Iraq's Sunni and Shia Muslims have chosen different days to celebrate
      the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, for the first time in many
      years. .. Shias looked on, awaiting a pronouncement by the Shia
      religious authorities - known as the hawza - in the holy city of
      Najaf. Iraqis recalled the era of Saddam Hussein, when the president
      proclaimed the first day of the Eid holiday, alternating between the
      Shia and Sunni timetables depending on his shifting relations with
      (Shia) Iran and (Sunni) Saudi Arabia.
      The differences within Iraq appear to be widening. Last Ramadan, the
      two sects also broke their daylight fasts at different times but
      Iraqis say the previous six-minute interval has widened to 16 minutes.
      "They're breaking their fast when the sun is still up in the sky,"
      said one Shia in a Baghdad restaurant.
      As with Christmas in Christian countries, it is a time when little --
      if any -- work is done. With several groups marking the holiday on
      different days, the no-work period is dragging out even longer than
      usual this year.
      The U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council didn't name a new religious
      affairs ministry, fearing it would only worsen the rivalry between
      majority Shiites and minority Sunnis over which group should be in
      charge. So there was no universally recognized authority to declare
      when Ramadan ends and the Eid al-Fitr festival begins. Most Muslim
      countries began the three-day festival on Monday.
      Al-Azami said it is enough for one Sunni to see the crescent in order
      for the feast to begin. For Shiites, a large number must see the
      crescent "and this only happens on the second or third day of the
      moon. This is a very normal.''

      Iraq's Shi'a Group Says No Need To Fear Majority Rule - 27 Nov 03
      Sheikh Ayatollah Muhammad Al-Yaqubi is one of the leaders of the
      influential Shi'a organization called Al-Hawzah Al-Ilmia, headed by
      Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Al-Hawzah -- based in Al-Najaf -- is an
      international network of Shi'a universities. Its elders are regarded
      as the final authority on religious and political matters for Shi'a
      worldwide. Al-Yaqubi says Al-Hawzah fully supports the idea of
      putting in place a provisional Iraqi government but says the plan
      agreed on by the U.S. and the Iraqi Governing Council is faulty. As
      part of that plan, provincial caucuses are expected to choose a
      transitional assembly by the end of May. The transitional assembly
      would elect a sovereign government by the end of June. Al-Yaqubi
      says Al-Hawzah does not support a provisional government that is
      appointed or selected. He says there are no reasons why the
      provisional bodies should not be directly elected. He notes that some
      80 percent of the country is stable.
      However, Al-Yaqubi says the U.S. should respect Shi'a interests and
      the role of the Shi'a in the country. Otherwise, he says, the U.S.
      could encounter an uprising: "The Shi'a are calm because they hope
      they will have their rights [guaranteed] peacefully in a dialogue. But
      if they feel something is wrong, maybe they will have another say in
      it." Al-Yaqubi says the people could rise up against the coalition
      without a specific fatwa, or religious ruling, if they feel they have
      been deceived.
      Shiite Leaders Push for Iraq Elections - 27 Nov 03
      The president of the U.S.-picked Iraqi Governing Council said Thursday
      that he agrees with a top Shiite Muslim leader's objections to the
      U.S.-backed plan for transferring power to Iraqis by next summer.
      The cleric's demands for average Iraqis to have a direct role in
      selecting a transitional legislature will be discussed by the council
      and the U.S.-led coalition, said council president Jalal Talabani, who
      is an ethnic Kurd and a Sunni Muslim. After talking with Grand
      Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani, Talabani said: "I see the views of
      his grace as logical and reasonable, and I agree with them."
      "The agreement remains, but we may add an attachment that has
      additional clauses," he added. "The agreement can evolve."
      As one of the most influential Shiite religious leaders, Al-Sistani
      could disrupt American efforts for a smooth transition in power.
      Shiites make up more than 60 percent of Iraq's population, and it is
      unlikely any political program could win broad public acceptance
      without support from Shiite clerics.
      Al-Hakim told reporters Wednesday that al-Sistani expressed "deep
      concern over real loopholes" in the power-transfer plan. Unless those
      objections are dealt with, "the process will be deficient and fail to
      meet the expectations of the people of Iraq," al-Hakim said. He said
      that one of al-Sistani's main demands is for voters to directly elect
      a transitional national legislature.

      Iraq officials plan to boost religious tourism - 29 Nov 03
      Iraqi government officials said Saturday they plan to boost religious
      tourism, and warned of the illegal pilgrims sneaking into the country
      from neighboring Iran. Iraq contains the Shiites' sacred shrine of
      Prophet Mohammed's cousins Imam Ali in Najaf city, in addition to the
      shrines of Ali's two slain sons, al-Hussein and al-Abbas in Karbala.
      Also, tens of thousands of Muslim Sunnis from all over the world pour
      to the country every year to pay homage to the shrine of sheik
      al-Qeilani, a highly respected dead Sunni religious man. "We are
      working to revive the tourism industry, especially religious
      tourism,'' Culture Minister Mofeed al-Jaziari said at a seminar at a
      Baghdad hotel.
      "In past years, revenues gained by the religious tourism reached USD$1
      billion a year. Unfortunately, the funds were stolen by Saddam's
      relatives and agents. Nothing was spent on developing tourism,'' said
      Raouf al-Anssari, a supervisor of the Iraq Tourism Board. Al-Anssari
      urged authorities to stem the flood of Iranian pilgrims who routinely
      skirt border controls to visit the Shiite holy shrines in cities such
      as Karbala and Najaf. He said that the illegal influx of large numbers
      of Iranian pilgrims also could complicate the security situation in
      Iraq. "It is not a positive sign. Some of them come without even
      having identification cards,'' he said."Freedom dose not mean chaos.''


      Fatwa bars Muslims from working on barrier - 26 Nov 03
      The top Palestinian Muslim official said Wednesday that he had issued
      a religious decree which would bar Muslims from working in any
      capacity on the construction of Israel's West Bank separation barrier.
      The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Ikeremah Sabri, said the barrier was
      being built on "stolen" land and therefore any financial gain from its
      construction would be immoral. "The wall is built on stolen land and
      whatever is built on stolen land is illegal and the participation of
      anyone in building this wall - whether they are contractors or owners
      of heavy machinery - should be forbidden," he said. "Any Palestinian
      participating in this is, from a religious view, committing a sin and
      his money is immoral."


      Ratzinger criticises Islam for mixing politics, religion - 27 Nov 03
      Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has criticised what he sees as a tendency
      among Islamic leaders to identify politics and religion, insisting on
      the importance of respect for religious freedom. He was particularly
      insistent that converts to Christianity in predominantly Muslim
      countries should be treated respectfully. He urged Christians to be
      confident in their own beliefs, and welcome converts into their
      communities. Speaking to the Italian daily Il Giornale, the cardinal
      argued that Christianity brought an entirely new idea into the world's
      history by making a "distinction between the emperor and God".
      With the rise of Islam, he continued, a substantial portion of the
      world returned to the earlier identification between the political
      world and the religious world, with the belief that "only political
      power can make men moral". He said the distinction between spiritual
      and temporal power "creates a space for freedom", in which an
      individual can oppose the state.


      Muslim Faithful Mark Idd-Ul-Fitr - [East African Standard - Nairobi]
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200311270019.html - 27 Nov 03
      Muslims yesterday marked Idd-ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadhan. In Mombasa,
      there was uproar over the Suppression of Terrorism Bill, with leaders
      claiming that once implemented Kenyans will never be free.
      The leaders were speaking during the annual Idd Baraza at the Treasury
      Square in Mombasa. They further said it had become almost impossible
      to get a passport, national Identification Card and birth certificate.
      The chairman of the Islamic Festival Committee, Sheikh Hamid Ahmed,
      said Muslims were still being denied the important national documents.
      He claimed conditionalities attached to applying for the documents
      were too stringent for Muslims. In Nakuru, Muslims urged the
      Government to drop the contentious Suppression of Terrorism Bill.


      Lebanon's Hizbullah: The quest for survival [World Affairs]- 01 Oct 03
      .. [I argue that Hizbullah's ideological tone and political behavior
      since the signing of the Taif Accord to end the Lebanese civil war
      reveal the movement's dilemmas regarding political survival]. [..]

      Druze spiritual leader dies at 103 - 26 Nov 03
      The spiritual leader of the Druse, Sheik Abu Hassan Aref Halawi, died
      Wednesday at the age of 103, Druse officials said. An offshoot of
      Islam, the Druse have 300,000 followers in Lebanon and nearly half a
      million around the world. There are small Druse communities in Israel,
      Syria and other Arab states. Druse officials said Halawi, who was the
      sect's highest religious authority, had undegone surgery two months
      ago, but they declined to identify his illness.


      Incest victims prefer federal law to syariah - 30 Nov 03
      There are more prosecutions of incest under the Penal Code than the
      syariah criminal laws of the various states because the penalties are
      higher in the federal law. "The complainants seem to prefer to lodge
      reports with the police for action under federal law. The maximum
      penalties for incest and any other offence in syariah law is three
      years jail, RM5,000 [EUR 1100,-] or six strokes of the rotan," said
      Syariah Judiciary Department legal adviser Najib Zakaria in an
      interview. "Under Section 376B of the Penal Code, however, anyone
      convicted of incest faces a mandatory minimum of six years jail and
      not more than 20 years and shall also be liable to whipping," he
      Najib, who is also a Senior Federal Counsel, added there was a
      technical committee under the Religious Affairs Department that was
      studying whether offences such as incest, which already exist in the
      Penal Code, should be removed from the state syariah criminal offences
      laws. On whether peeping by religious enforcement officers was
      necessary to successfully prosecute for incest – as in the case of the
      mother and son convicted by the Kelantan Syariah High Court on Nov 11
      Najib said how an officer did his job would depend on his objective.
      "If the exercise is to prevent the act, then as soon as it looks like
      the `couple' are going to have sex, they should arrest them. If it is
      to secure a conviction for incest, then they may have to wait and
      Syariah Appeal Court judge in Putrajaya, Justice Ustaz Abu Bakar
      Ahmad, said enforcement officers should prevent a couple from
      committing incest instead of watching them at it. He added that if
      there was no confession, the prosecution could turn to qarinah
      (circumstantial evidence) to prove their case – conduct a DNA test if
      the woman was pregnant or examine the bedroom for medical evidence of
      sexual activity.
      Sisters In Islam legal officer Nora Murat said that enforcement
      officers must only act on the basis of what is known through direct
      observation without recourse to spying, eavesdropping and other
      methods of searching of evidence. "Spying is forbidden in the Quran,
      and so is indulgence in suspicions that are degrading and offensive to
      the personal dignity of others," she said.


      Morocco pushes women's rights - 25 Nov 03
      Some reforms of the [Mudawana] code were adopted in 1993 after
      Moroccan women's rights activists conducted a million-signature
      campaign. That effort resulted, for example, in the marriage contract
      requiring the consent and signature of the bride. But Amina Lemrini of
      the Democratic Association of Moroccan Women said the only positive
      effect of the 1993 reforms "was to make the code less sacred."
      Agreeing that the reforms were "minimal," Human Rights Watch said that
      "numerous provisions still discriminate against women."
      Once adopted, the new family code should bring Morocco closer to
      Tunisia, where polygamy and repudiation of a wife have been forbidden
      since 1956, the year that country gained independence from France.
      Just months after independence, Tunisia broke sharply with the
      pre-existing Islamic law and adopted a national family law. "The
      Tunisian reforms became a yardstick against which to judge changes in
      family law in other Middle Eastern countries," said Mounira Charrad in
      the book, "States and Women's Rights - The Making of Postcolonial
      Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco." Under Tunisia's laws, citizens are
      equal. However, in certain areas such as inheritance, where Islamic
      law prevails, women experience discrimination, according to a State
      Department report last year on human rights practices.
      On the other hand, women in Algeria continue to face legal and social
      discrimination, according to the report. Even if the constitution
      prohibits discrimination based on sex, the Algerian Family Code,
      adopted in 1984, limits women's civil rights by treating them as
      minors under the legal guardianship of a husband or male relative.
      To marry, a woman must have her father's approval, and divorce is
      difficult to obtain except in cases of abandonment or if the husband
      is convicted of a serious crime. As in Morocco and Tunisia, women in
      Algeria suffer from discrimination in inheritance claims.


      Nigerian vaccine tests refute contamination claim - 18 Nov 03
      The Kaduna region has announced that polio immunisation will re-start.
      However, no such announcements have yet been made in the other two
      regions, Kano and Zamfara.

      [Opion] Sharia Practice, Not Theory - 26 Nov 03
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200311260228.html [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      Since the re-introduction of the Sharia legal system in some parts of
      the Northern states, antagonists have been making destructive
      criticisms of the Muslim legal system. One of such platforms used is
      the Media, which unfortunately instead of playing its primary and
      constitutional role of promoting national cohesion engaged in a
      campaign of blackmail against Sharia.
      The fact that there is a minor case of Sharia violations, proves to
      the cynics that the entire Muslim community in Yobe State has welcome
      the Sharia legal system with enthusiasm. We are aware that some
      Muslim, do not know or know little about the implications of the
      Sharia, that is why concerted efforts are geared towards public
      enlightenment and that is where the appropriate role of the media will
      come in.

      [Katsina] Governor, Emir Proffer Solution to Nigeria's Problems
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200311260198.html [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      .. - 26 Nov 03
      Governor Umaru Musa Yar'Adua of Katsina State and the Emir of Katsina,
      Alhaji (Dr) Muhammadu Kabir Usman have blamed the nation's woes on the
      non-observance of Sharia, maintaining that the story would have been
      different if Nigeria was a nation of God-fearing people. .. "We must
      all strive to establish Sharia in our individual hearts and among
      ourselves as that will facilitate the cleansing of the entire
      society," he implored.


      Woman's word proves marriage legal: LHC - 29 Nov 03
      Justice Asif Saeed Khosa of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday
      observed that no Nikah Nama (marriage certificate) was needed to
      establish the validity of a marriage. If a woman appeared before the
      court and declared a man her husband, the court held, the marriage
      should be considered legal. "It is in accordance with the Islamic
      principles and utterly lawful that mere declaration of a woman before
      the court should be deemed enough to institute validity of her
      marriage," the court observed while disposing of a writ petition
      against a girl who married a man of her choice. The court declared
      the marriage of petitioner Gulnaz with Mohsan Ali, her cousin, fair
      and lawful and let her go with her husband. The LHC observed that the
      courts had no authority under Islamic jurisprudence and the
      Constitution of Pakistan to declare marriages of choice by adult girls
      invalid. "An adult girl has all rights to marry a man of her choice in
      an Islamic society. Islam puts no bar on marriages of choice," the
      court said. The LHC also quashed the first information report (FIR)
      lodged against the couple under the Hudood law, calling it (FIR)
      totally baseless and unnecessary. The court also observed that the
      parents out of their frustration were trying to prosecute their
      children, portraying social and matrimonial issues as crimes.
      The court observed that such an attempt by parents amounted to abuse
      of the law, which the courts would not allow on the wishes of
      "frustrated" parents. The court advised the parents to observe
      restraint and not make love marriages of their children a matter of
      their egos.

      Second opinion: 'Hatha-pai' over the moon - Khaled Ahmed - 29 Nov 03
      Neither the clergy nor the press in Pakistan is 'modern' enough to
      recommend a 'scientific' calendar of appearance of the moon. This is
      because in the 21st century the Muslims in general have become more
      literalist in their approach to Islam This year saw the highest
      point of schism in the religious establishment in Pakistan over the
      sighting of the Ramadan moon. This had happened every year with much
      wringing of the hands over the fact that Pakistani ulema could not
      observe Ramadan and Eid on the same day. The chairman of the
      moon-sighting committee even told on TV that he had been manhandled by
      his opponents. It is sad to note that editorials written on the
      subject in the Urdu press did not propose anything substantial by way
      of solving this annual demonstration of disunity.
      The ulema are politically divided while the federal Moon-Sighting
      Committee insists that moon must be physically sighted by observation
      posts devoted to the job all over Pakistan under the tutelage of the
      Committee. Needless to say it is no use reiterating this point. The
      truth is that despite the network of observatories set up by the
      state, the ulema remain regionally and ethnically divided.
      According to daily 'Pakistan' (29 October 2003), the Ruet Halal
      Committee got divided over the sighting of the moon. The chairman
      decided that the moon was not sighted but one member of the committee
      went to Peshawar and announced late at night that the moon had been
      sighted and got the police to open the mosques and made them announce
      the first day of fasting. The quarrel in the Committee was an
      extension of the quarrel between the federal government and the NWFP
      government. Because of the nature of the two governments, the sighting
      of the moon was more important for the NWFP government. It looked upon
      the functioning of the Committee with suspicion, which is a measure of
      the lack of trust that persists between the centre and the provinces.

      On the job with a Taliban recruiter - 26 Nov 03
      On Abdul's most recent foray into Afghanistan he was accompanied by 14
      youths from the remote Pakistani tribal areas in Killa Abdullah
      district in northern Balochistan province, whom he had rallied to the
      cause to fight against the "foreign invaders". Since his return he has
      another six lined up, all of whom are ready to cross the porous
      border. He took the last batch to a post in Zabul province, but he has
      no idea where the fresh recruits will go.
      Abdul says that he had been itching to join the Afghan jihad ever
      since the Taliban were driven from power in December 2001. But his
      Taliban superiors only told him in July that the jihad had resumed. "I
      had always thought of fighting Americans because they are the real
      enemies of Islam and when I realized that they were next door, I took
      up the gauntlet to prepare all Muslims to go and fight them." As
      reported in Asia Times Online in recent months, the Taliban have
      regrouped, rearmed and upped the ante in their battle against US-led
      forces in the country, as well as against the newly-instituted Afghan
      Army, forcing international aid organizations to limit their
      operations and raising doubts about the viability of plans to hold
      national elections next year.
      The Pakistan government's claims apart, independent politicians in
      Balochistan province said that it would be simply impossible for the
      Taliban to operate freely on Pakistani soil unless they had some
      guarantees from the powers-that-be. Says Haji Sardar Lashkari, a
      former provincial minister in Balochistan: "How is it possible for
      senior Taliban leaders and the likes of Mullah Dadullah and other
      most-wanted Taliban remnants to come to Pakistan quite often, convince
      students at the religious schools openly or even to attend social
      gatherings like weddings, without the knowledge of the ISI and other
      secret agencies?"
      Indeed, on a visit to the border areas and Quetta, the capital of
      Balochistan province, one witnesses hundreds of Taliban in their
      unique black robes, black turbans and long beards. They reside in
      mosques, madrassas and in nearby villages or refugee camps, seemingly
      with the full support of the ruling provincial party and militant
      groups. In many of the mosques in the surrounding satellite town of
      Pashtunabad or Nawakili, the clergy openly incite people through
      mosque loudspeakers and ask them to sign up for jihad. "In every
      madrassa in Balochistan there are one or two Taliban recruiters," says
      a local politician in Quetta, requesting not to be identified. "If you
      want to sign on for jihad, the easiest thing is to stay at one of
      these madrassas and someone will for sure contact you. These
      recruiters keep a vigil on your activities, and once they realize that
      you are a genuine fighter, they will certainly talk to you and put you
      in touch with the Taliban commanders." So the madrassas, from where
      the Taliban originally emerged, are once again serving as a means of
      their revival. Even Karzai recently lashed out at the Pakistani
      religious clergy for their support of Taliban resurgents. Karzai in
      particular mentioned the Shaldara madrassa in Quetta, run by the
      Jamait-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI)-backed member of the National Assembly,
      Maulana Noor Mohammed, and called it a headquarters of the Taliban.
      Abdul, a Pakistani Pashtun farmer by profession, recalls that on his
      last trip he took his recruits to a militant camp near Zabul, where
      Taliban commanders gave them weapons. "They had huge deposits of
      weapons, both sakeel [heavy] and safeef [light]," he says. They were
      then told that whichever weapon they managed to master, they could
      take. Abdul grabbed an AK-47 rifle for himself, while he also assisted
      his comrades in carrying bags of bullets and grenades whenever they
      had to go to a battle. Abdul says that he spent 40 days with his
      jihadis in Afghanistan, during which they had at least one major
      combat with an Afghan army patrol in the mountains of Zabul province.
      He then returned to Pakistan in mid-October "to regain some energy".
      "It is not easy to live in the mountains. You are at the verge of
      death every now and then. You survive only on plain bread, or at the
      most, yogurt milk," he says. "At the same time, you walk for miles
      every day on foot, it's very tiring."


      Telling the Truth, Facing the Whip by Mansour al-Nogaidan - 28 Nov 03

      [website] 'Islamic Affairs Department' of Saudi Embassy in Washington
      http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SR2303 - 26 Nov 03

      Shura chief criticizes "western drive" against Muslim charity work
      .. [Text of report by P. K. Abd-al-Ghafur from Jedda, entitled "Bin-
      Humayd blasts drive against charities", published in English by Saudi
      newspaper Arab News web site on 26 November].
      The imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca yesterday lambasted a "Western
      campaign" against Islamic charitable organizations and emphasized the
      need for charity work to counter poverty and crime and promote better
      human relations. Addressing the more than one million faithful who
      thronged the huge mosque complex to attend Id al-Fitr prayers, Dr
      Salih Bin- Humayd, who is chairman of the Shura Council, said some 70
      per cent of the world's needy were Muslims.
      The imam said the "smear campaign" had led to the freezing of charity
      funds, confiscation of assets and closure of organizations. It had
      also hit philanthropists and businesses supporting charity.


      Turkish Court Charges 9 in Bombings Probe - 25 Nov 03
      On Tuesday, the court charged eight with being members of an illegal
      organization, and one was accused of aiding and abetting an illegal
      organization. Authorities declined to say which group the suspects
      allegedly belonged to.
      The people charged earlier in the synagogue bombings belonged to
      Beyyiat el-Imam, a little-known group formed in al-Qaida camps in
      Afghanistan whose name is Arabic for "Allegiance to the Imam,'' the
      daily Cumhuriyet reported Tuesday, citing police. Police would not
      confirm the report. Turkish media said the two bombers in the
      consulate and bank attacks were militants previously reported to be
      accomplices of the suicide bombers in the synagogue attacks.
      In Ankara, police detained 10 suspected members of a little-known
      militant group, Warriors of Islam, the daily Hurriyet reported
      Tuesday. The suspects were believed to have links to Azad Ekinci, who
      the press says has been identified as one of Thursday's suicide
      bombers. Police said the 10 underwent military training in Afghanistan
      and Iran and were planning attacks, the newspaper said. Police refused
      to confirm the report to The Associated Press.
      Istanbul's governor, Muammer Guler, said Monday that DNA tests had
      identified the bomber who rammed an explosive-packed pickup truck into
      British consulate. "We've identified the culprits who carried out the
      attack on the British Consulate,'' Guler said. "We have all the
      details and we know their connections.'' Guler would not name the
      man; but the Istanbul newspaper Milliyet defied government reporting
      restrictions and identified him as Feridun Ugurlu, a Turk believed to
      have fought with Islamic radicals in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Ekinci
      was identified as the bomber of the bank offices, according to
      newspapers. Police have examined the hard drives of 10 computers taken
      after the synagogue bombings from an Internet cafe in the city of
      Bingol, believed to be the hometown of at least three suicide bombers.
      The cafe belonged to the brother of one of the suspected bombers, a
      local official said by telephone.


      Islamic weddings leave women unprotected - 24 Nov 03
      The leader of Britain's Muslim parliament has warned that many women
      are legally unprotected when their marriages end because they wrongly
      believe that Islamic wedding ceremonies are recognised by British law.
      Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui has asked imams not to carry out weddings
      unless they are accompanied by civil registration, after being
      contacted by an increasing number of women who have found that their
      marriages were not legally binding.
      Mosques and other Islamic centres can be registered for the
      solemnisation of marriage, but according to the Office of National
      Statistics, only 160 have done. Couples who wed in unregistered ones
      must arrange a civil ceremony for their marriage to be legally
      binding. Dr Siddiqui urged mosques to register and asked imams at
      unregistered venues not to perform weddings without evidence that the
      civil ceremony had taken place or had been scheduled for the immediate
      future. Other possible solutions will be discussed at a conference of
      imams in February.
      Women who have been through an Islamic ceremony have some advantages
      over other cohabitees. The Nikah, or marriage certificate, records a
      "haq mehr": the financial sum the wife will receive in the event of
      divorce or widowhood. That can be enforced as a form of contract.
      "Judges do listen to what the intentions of the parties were as
      Muslims; English law is open to that," added Mrs Khan. But while some
      mosques encourage couples to state that assets will be split 50-50,
      the mehr is often a symbolic sum, such as £50 or £101. [EUR 72 -145,-]


      Algerian-Born Detainee Seen as Victim of Excess - 29 Nov 03
      Jailed the night of the attacks on the World Trade Center and
      Pentagon, the Algerian air force lieutenant with an expired visa has
      spent the past 26 months in federal prisons, much of that time in
      solitary confinement -- even though the FBI formally concluded in
      November 2001 that he had no connection to terrorism.
      It appears that no detainee has been locked up as long as Benatta,
      although it is impossible to know because of secrecy surrounding some
      material witnesses who may still be in government custody. He remains
      behind bars, awaiting a deportation hearing, unable to post a $25,000
      Benatta was among the 1,200 or so men detained by U.S. law enforcement
      agents in the frenzied weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
      attacks. He had a most unfortunate résumé: An Algerian and a Muslim,
      he was an avionics technician, and -- like most of the others -- he
      lacked proper immigration papers.
      It was as though Benatta became invisible. His name never appeared on
      lists of detainees. His family in Algeria believed he had vanished. No
      defense attorney knew of his existence until a federal defender in
      Buffalo was assigned his case in late April 2002. The federal
      government has few explanations for what happened. In legal briefs,
      the U.S. attorney in Buffalo blamed some of the delays on bureaucratic
      wrangling between prosecutors and the U.S. Marshals Service, and the
      confusion that followed the terrorist attacks. But in the documents,
      U.S. Attorney Michael A. Battle of the Western District of New York
      ultimately acknowledged that such conditions could "not justify
      violating the defendant's rights." Two years after the attacks,
      federal Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. would examine
      Benatta's case and find a study in governmental excess. Schroeder
      issued an unsparing report in September, writing that federal
      prosecutors and FBI and immigration agents engaged in a "sham" to make
      it appear that Benatta was being held for immigration violations.
      Prosecutors trampled on legal deadlines intended to protect his
      constitutional rights and later offered explanations for their
      maneuvers that "bordered on ridiculousness," Schroeder wrote. And he
      found that the government compounded its mistakes by failing to act
      once it was clear that Benatta was not an accomplice to terrorists.

      U.S. Brings New Charges Against Guantanamo Chaplain - 25 Nov 03
      The U.S. Army brought four new charges, including adultery and viewing
      pornography, on Tuesday against a Muslim chaplain who worked with
      terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison, but ordered him
      released from detention to return to military duty.
      "To bring in adultery in a case that began with the destruction of my
      client's reputation with public allegations of aiding the enemy is
      really outrageous, and the type of thing that can give military
      justice a bad name." Yee now faces a total of six charges, including
      the charge that the married chaplain had sexual intercourse with a
      woman other than his wife in Orlando, Florida, and at Guantanamo.
      Charges of failure to obey an order and conduct unbecoming an officer
      stemmed from an accusation that Yee used a government computer to
      store and view pornographic images. He also was charged with making a
      false official statement. Yee was charged on Oct. 10 with two counts
      of failure to obey an order relating to taking classified material to
      his home and wrongfully transporting the material without proper
      security containers or covers.

      [Minnesota] Ramadan ends, the eid arrives - 25 Nov 03
      Last year in Minnesota, many Muslims complained of a mix-up about the
      proper date of the eid, and confusion ensued about the timing of
      celebrations and the breaking of the fast as many people stayed up
      past 2 a.m. waiting to hear whether the crescent moon was seen.
      This year, Minnesota's Islamic organizations for the first time formed
      a jurisprudence, or "fiqh,'' council. The group of scholars intended
      to settle the issue for most Muslims in the state. "Ninety percent of
      the mosques in Minnesota agree they will accept the decision made by
      the fiqh council,'' said Mohamud, an immigration lawyer for the Legal
      Aid Society of Minneapolis who serves on the council. The half-dozen
      members of the council, from a variety of Muslim organizations, spent
      Sunday calling around the world, checking e-mail and tracking
      satellite news broadcasts.
      "We decided to agree upon the sighting of the moon anywhere,'' said
      Hamdy El-Sawaf, executive director of the Islamic Center of Minnesota
      and also a member of the fiqh council. "The ultimate goal would be for
      Muslims all over to have the end of Ramadan on the same day, to convey
      the message of unity, of being united.'' Because of the time
      differences, the first sightings typically occur in places such as
      Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt or Yemen.
      "We have differing opinions about the moon sighting in America, and we
      saw that it would be good to unite Minnesotans,'' Mohamud said. "That
      is why we came up with the new council.''


      Identifying Muslim moderates - by Daniel Pipes - 25 Nov 03

      Millions celebrate Eid with prayers for peace - 26 Nov 03

      Al-Jazeera star anchor dons Islamic headscarf - 27 Nov 03
      A star anchorwoman [Khadija Ben Ganna]with an Arab satellite channel
      has decided to don the Islamic headscarf. .. She said the decisive
      moment came after a one-on-one with Egyptian preacher Omar Abdul Kafi,
      who appeared on a programme called Syariah (Islamic law) And Life.

      The Islamist identity by Nilufer Gole - 25 Nov 03
      .. [Nilufer Gole is Directeur d' Études, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en
      Sciences Sociales, Paris]. .. Young Muslim women in Europe illustrate
      this transformation perfectly. Girls who adopt the headscarf in French
      and German schools are closer in many respects (namely youth culture,
      fashion consciousness, and language) to their classmates than to their
      homebound, uneducated mothers. In adopting the headscarf for Europe's
      public sphere, these girls are unintentionally altering the symbol and
      the role of Muslim women. This tendency extends deeper than
      headscarves. All Western Muslims possess a double sense of belonging,
      a double cultural capital. They define themselves through their
      religiosity, but they also have gained universal, secular knowledge.
      Because they have a double cultural capital, they can circulate
      relatively freely between different activities and spaces-home,
      school, youth associations, and urban leisure space. Being a Muslim
      and being an Islamist are not the same thing. What we are witnessing
      today is a shift from a Muslim identity to an Islamist identity. The
      religious self for individual Muslims is being shifted from the
      private to the public realm. The question for everyone is whether that
      search for identity can be satisfied with headscarves and wide public
      acceptance of Islamic religious practice, or if positive affirmation
      of Islam demands a more fundamental renunciation of modernity.

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