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Sharia News Watch 89

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 89 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 11, 2003
      Sharia News Watch 89 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/message/89 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 :


      US to boost non-military aid to Afghanistan - 10 Dec 03
      [US deputy secretary of state] Mr Armitage played down suggestions
      that the US was unhappy with the constitutional draft that the loya
      jirga is likely to approve. Some have attacked it as Islamist and as
      failing to enshrine the rights of women. "Fully 80 per cent of Muslim
      countries mention the role of Islam or even, in some cases, the Sharia
      law," he said. "We have not seen the details but we're pretty
      confident there's nothing to be fearful about in the mention of the
      word Islam or Sharia."


      Australia grants two Bangladeshi gay asylum claim - 09 Dec 03
      The Australian High Court has ruled that two Bangladeshi gay men
      should be given the same asylum rights as political refugees.
      The men, whose names have not been revealed, fled to Australia nearly
      five years ago to seek asylum on the grounds that they would be
      socially ostracised and possibly persecuted by the Bangladeshi
      authorities because of their long-term relationship. The High Court
      overruled lower court and immigration tribunal opinions that the men
      would not suffer adversely if they returned to Bangladesh and lived in
      a discreet manner.


      Safe-houses on way for abused workers - 09 Dec 03
      A plan to set up government shelters to house abused migrant workers
      could come into effect in the next three months. .. Under the
      proposals, the shelters would be funded by the Bahrain government and
      provide temporary accommodation for expatriate workers who are
      mistreated by their employers.
      "At the moment we have some voluntary help from very kind people who
      have opened up their homes to take in very extreme cases. "We do
      provide safe-houses for extreme cases, but they may be one of the
      public security stations. "We would like to change that and would
      like to have hostel-style housing - like dormitories - if possible,
      just to be able to provide shelter on a temporary basis." The Migrant
      Workers Group (MWG), which comes under the Bahrain Centre for Human
      Rights, has helped house several migrant workers who claim they were
      beaten up, raped, were injured while trying to escape from allegedly
      abusive employers, or had been left homeless.
      The task force has also agreed to publish and distribute manuals which
      set out the rights and obligations of migrant workers - who are often
      unaware of their rights. There are also plans to improve a telephone
      hotline service which handles complaints of abuse. Campaigns of
      awareness among workers, employers and employment agencies - conducted
      in co-ordination with embassies and non-governmental organisations -
      are also in the pipeline. "The first step is to tell migrant workers
      what their rights are. We also have to start a database which will
      record all complaints and follow-ups to those complaints - including
      what is going to be done."
      A plan to reform the Labour law could also mean a major change in the
      way migrant workers are treated. Over the last 12 months, 63
      Bahrain manpower agencies from a total of around 140 have been closed
      for breaking employment rules.
      "We do not lack international standards, but our law is old. "They
      are looking to reform the Labour law and we would like to see human
      trafficking be made a crime.


      Taslima's book will now be on the net - 11 Dec 03
      Exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen whose latest work has also
      sparked off a controversy prompting the West Bengal government to
      proscribe it, has now decided to post its entire manuscript on the
      net. "I still hope that the West Bengal government, which I consider
      liberal and progressive, will lift the restriction on my book within a
      month. However, if that does not happen I will have to look for other
      ways to reach the book to my readers," the controversial author said
      from New York, where she is presently pursuing research studies in
      Harvard. Taslima also said that she plans to post the whole
      manuscript of 'Dwikhandito' (split into two) in the web in her
      official website www.TaslimaNasrin.com , which was launched by some of
      her friends.
      In her own country Bangladesh, 'Ka', as 'Dwikhandito' is entitled in
      that country, is banned like Taslima's earlier works 'Lajja' (shame),
      'Amar Meyebela' (My girlhood) and 'Uthal Hawa' (gusty wind). Asked why
      'Ka' did not contain some contentious comments on Prophet Mohammed
      found in 'Dwikhandito', which stirred the hornet's nest here, she
      blamed her Bangladesh publisher for censoring her original book and
      deleting those parts.

      Bangladesh may be emerging terrorist nexus, CSIS report warns
      .. - 09 Dec 03
      The Canadian Security Intelligence Service expresses concern about
      serious attacks by radicals on cultural groups in Bangladesh, hints of
      collusion with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida and the government's alleged
      unwillingness to crack down on terrorism.
      CSIS takes issue with the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party's
      efforts to quell political violence. "There have been a number of
      serious terrorist attacks on cultural groups and recreational
      facilities in Bangladesh and the political party in power has
      routinely blamed the opposition party for such criminal activities,
      rather than finding out the real perpetrators of violence."
      Last February, the CSIS report notes, Islamic militants attacked a
      cultural concert in a northern Bangladesh town and police recovered
      bomb-making materials from radicals who claimed to be members of the
      militant organizations Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh and Shahdat ul
      Hiqma. Five years ago, a group called Bangladesh Jihad drew attention
      when one of its members signed a fatwa, or legal pronouncement,
      sponsored by the notorious bin Laden. CSIS says there have been no
      known fundamentalist attacks on foreigners. But in assessing the
      implications for Canada, the spy service notes the activities of the
      Canadian International Development Agency and other donors constitute
      "a strong presence" in Bangladesh. The balance of the analysis was
      considered too sensitive for release.


      RBA Menu For Haj Flights Inspected - 11 Dec 03
      The first Haj flight for next year is scheduled to depart for Jeddah
      on January 7, 2004. As such, the Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) invited
      government and private sector officials to inspect the proposed menu
      meals catered by RBA subsidiary company, Royal Brunei Catering (RBC)
      for the Haj flights. .. The inspection was aimed at ensuring that
      the food is clean and healthy and the sources of meat and chicken are
      halal in accordance with the Islamic teaching.


      Ancient medicine system faces official apathy - 11 Dec 03
      The mother of six-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Saif had given up
      hope that modern medicine could improve his health when a
      centuries-old alternative practiced by the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)
      came to the rescue. "He became more alert, relaxed and the involuntary
      movements stop-ped," said Saif's mother Hoda Abdel Reheem. The
      treatment, called "hejama" in Arabic, involves evacuating air from
      cups placed on parts of the body, mainly on the back, to suck tissue
      and stimulate blood flow. The treatment is cited several times in a
      narrative, known as the "hadith", about the deeds and sayings of the
      Prophet. Some practitioners say it even dates back to Pharaonic Egypt.
      Egyptians are increasingly putting their faith in "the prophet's
      medicine", desp-ite an official ban, to treat conditions which modern
      medicine has failed to cure.
      But she said weekly hejama treatment had achieved what modern medicine
      could not. "After the first (session) I started to get better. Now I
      am back to normal," Manar said. She says she still needs treatment
      from time to time, but can no longer visit the man who treated her
      because the authorities had confiscated his equipment and closed his
      clinic for practising hejama. "The first accusation was practicing
      hejama. The other was selling herbs for treatment without a licence,"
      said Hany El Ghazawy, Manar's hejama practitioner. Ghazawy said he
      would soon leave Egypt to set up a clinic in Saudi Arabia. Hejama is
      permitted in some other Arab states including Lebanon and Syria. "It
      really hurts to say I even got an offer from Israel to practice what I
      am banned from doing in my own country," he said.

      Cairo sheikhs find book bans tougher - 10 Dec 03
      Egypt in theory has no censorship law, but books published here come
      under the scrutiny of Al Azhar, the Muslim world's highest seat of
      Sunni learning. If texts are considered blasphemous to Islam, Al Azhar
      supposedly has the authority to have them confiscated. But Al Azhar's
      prerogative has been put to the test in recent months, highlighting
      the tensions between religion and government.
      The repercussions of this slight were felt in the heart of old Islamic
      Cairo. Al Azhar University, an imposing building with twin minarets,
      houses the Islamic Research Council, which reviews books the sheikhs
      deem related to Islam. Sheikh Saber Thaalab, one of the 45-member
      council that banned Mr. Shihawi's book, defended Al Azhar's opinion.
      "The book includes the recommendation to women, advising them to fall
      deeply in love with their beloved. Not their husband!" he said,
      banging his fist on a pile of books.
      A second controversy has pitted the government against Al Azhar this
      time over "Discourse and Interpretation" (2000). The author, Nasser
      Hamid Abu Zeid, is no stranger to Al Azhar's disapproval. In an
      earlier book, he argued that the Koran should be interpreted in light
      of the politics of the time - a view condemned by Islamists, who took
      him to court and won. He was declared an apostate [whose critique of
      contemporary religious discourse resulted in .. a court case in which
      his marriage was nullified] and fled the country, although the ruling
      was later suspended. However, his case polarized intellectuals and
      Islamists in the 1990s. In Abu Zeid's latest book, he discusses the
      way sheikhs present themselves, and the way they carry prayer beads to
      add weight to their words, for instance. Sheikh Mohammad Aymara, who
      initiated the ban, reportedly felt personally attacked in the book.
      The government has yet to declare its position.
      The strength of Al Azhar's "recommendations" has always been
      influenced by the political climate. The first book to be censored in
      1925 epitomized the struggle between religious and political power.
      "The Principles of Governing in Islam" argued that there were no fixed
      rules for governing in Islam. Protective of its power, Al Azhar says
      it acts as a guardian of Sunni morality. And no one is exempt from its
      censure. In 1959, Naguib Mahfouz, later a Nobel Laureate, was
      reprimanded for his novel "Children of the Alley." Halfway through its
      newspaper serialization in Al Ahram, a report was sent to the sheikhs
      saying the story was irreverent. An agreement was reached with Al
      Azhar whereby the serialization was completed, but the book was never
      published in Egypt.
      In this present crisis, the Ministry of Culture has taken the unusual
      step of going against Al Azhar. Sheikh Thaalab is resigned but
      determined that Al Azhar still has relevance in modern times. "I would
      feel sad [if the government does nothing], but what can I do?" he
      says. "You have to bear in mind that the government is Islamic, too."


      [Bavaria] German State To Ban Hijab In Schools - 11 Dec 03
      The government of Bavaria, Germany's biggest and most conservative
      state, unveiled a draft law Tuesday, December9 , banning hijab in
      public schools, but excluding Christian and Jewish religious symbols.
      Explaining the proposed ban, Bavarian Education Minister Monika
      Hohlmeier claimed hijab was increasingly used as a political symbol,
      reported Agence France-Presse (AFP). "With this law, we are defending
      pupils against a potential fundamentalist influence and are respecting
      the wishes of the majority of parents," she argued in a statement.
      The measure must be ratified by the regional parliament, a rather
      formality given the dominance of the Christian Social Union (CSU)
      which runs Bavaria.
      Baden-Wuerttemberg's draft law, unveiled last month, is expected to be
      ratified early next year. Seven states had backed a legislation
      barring hijab at a recent meeting of 16 regional ministers for
      culture, education and religious affairs in the western German city of
      Darmstadt while eight opposed such laws. The issue of hijab became a
      hot topic after a landmark ruling by Germany's highest court in
      September. The federal constitutional court ruled that
      Baden-Wuerttemberg, whose premier is a Christian Democrat, was wrong
      to forbid a Muslim female teacher from wearing her hijab in the


      Babri cauldron simmers: Muslims line up truth tape - 08 Dec 03
      The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has decided to make a
      comprehensive documentary on the Babri Masjid dispute so that "vital
      information and records" are not lost or tampered with. The dispute's
      full historical background, images of the mosque before and after
      demolition, documentary records, data and interviews will all be put
      on film. The board executive, currently meeting in Lucknow, will seek
      the help of leading media organisations to "piece together" the
      footage for the documentary. Its office-bearers said the film would
      serve as a reference point for future generations and could also be
      used in courts where related cases are in progress. Many on the board
      believe the title dispute could drag on for years. They are also
      sceptical about the Centre's and Uttar Pradesh's "sincerity" in
      pursuing the cases rigorously.
      Board members Qasim Rasool Illyas and Maulana Nizamuddin said a lot of
      footage and books on the Babri dispute already exist. Some board
      members from Kerala have even made a documentary in Malayalam. "But it
      needs to be updated and made available in English, Hindi and other
      Indian languages," Illyas said. "Some of the vital details are not
      known to many informed persons, too. The documentary film would help
      us reach a wider viewership-audience." The board also plans to record
      the accounts of individuals such as Akshay Brahmachari, an ageing
      socialist from Faizabad who is in the know of events dating back to
      1947-50 and after.
      The board, however, ran into criticism from within over the
      documentary plan, sources said. Some ultra-conservatives reportedly
      argued that Islam discouraged filming and photography. But board chief
      Maulana Rabey Nadvi clarified that though Islam prohibited idol
      worship and disliked films, it was not opposed to the medium as such.
      In other words, vulgarity and salacious depiction of women are
      discouraged but not TV, films or documentaries for academic or
      literary purposes, Nadvi said. Muted criticism also came up against
      the board's "failure" to present its views before the Liberhan
      Commission that is investigating the Babri demolition.
      Id roadmap for Ayodhya mosque - 10 Dec 03
      Ignoring opposition from the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and
      the All India Babri Masjid Action Committee, the fledgling Ayodhya
      Jama Masjid Trust has decided to intensify efforts to find an amicable
      solution to the temple-mosque dispute. "A delegation of Muslim
      religious leaders will visit Ayodhya on December 26 for talks with
      Hindu leaders. We plan to lay the foundation stone of the new mosque
      one kilometre from the disputed site on Bakri Id in February,"
      managing trustee Sayed Asghar Abbas Rizvi told reporters here today.
      The Ayodhya cell in the PMO and the commissioner of Faizabad have been
      informed about the move, he said.


      Shirin Ebadi takes swipe at West - 11 Dec 03
      "Mrs Ebadi has not only put into question Islamic precepts by
      unveiling herself," fumed a statement from student members of the
      Basij, a radical volunteer militia attached to Iran's Revolutionary
      Guards. "She has also provoked the religious sentiments of students
      by publicly shaking the hand of a man at Amir Kabir university, which
      has provoked several weeks of tensions at the university," said the
      statement, which was carried by the ultra-conservative Jomhuri Islami
      newspaper. Reformist lawyer Ebadi, who was recognised for her work for
      the rights of women and children in Iran, was handed the prize by the
      head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Ole Danbolt Mjoes, at a
      glittering ceremony at the Oslo City Hall .
      Some Elements Trying to Manipulate Student Movement - 11 Dec 03
      Some political parties and opportunists are trying to turn the student
      movement into an anarchist movement, said former Student Basij
      commander Ali Zakani. He added that the student movement is sometimes
      involved in activities not expected of educated people which sometimes
      lead to social and political problems. The student movement also
      suffers from absolutism and emotionalism, he said. "The lack of
      independence and factional inclinations of the student movement have
      always threatened the movement, allowing factions or individualsÂ… to
      take advantage of the movement. This has been clearly witnessed in
      recent years," he added.
      The Basij group is believed to have been behind an attack on Ebadi
      last week, when around 50 hardliners stopped her giving a speech at
      Al-Zahra women's university in Tehran by chanting slogans including
      "Death to Ebadi" and "Shirin the American, ask for pardon". The
      Iranian human rights advocate is the third Muslim and the 11th woman
      to receive the Nobel Peace Prize since it was founded in 1901. The
      award consists of a diploma, a gold medal, and a cheque for 10 million
      Swedish kronor (about $1.9 million) [EUR 1,1 m].
      The Basijis, the men wearing camouflage fatigues and the women in the
      all-embracing black shador, who according to their own estimate
      numbered around 15,000, chanted the usual slogans.
      The statement also warned "domestic enemies", saying that "in this
      [international] crisis... all those who attempt to break unity are
      committing an act of treason against Iranians and the Islamic
      Republic". .. Each factory, mosque or university has its own basijis,
      who are often dispatched to break up political disputes and

      'Enlightened' Islam grants Iranian women greater custody rights
      http://www.dailystar.com.lb/10_12_03/art25.asp - 10 Dec 03
      Previously under Iran's strict Islamic law, divorced mothers only had
      the right to keep their daughters until the age of seven, whereas
      their sons were taken away at the age of two. [Presidential Advisor]
      Shojaie highlighted the importance of the new law giving judges the
      right to award women custody of their children regardless of their age
      if their fathers were not qualified parents. "Shiite jurisprudence
      allows rules to be open for interpretation, and the faqih, or
      religious legislator, examines closely all that is taking place in the
      society and interprets what constitute women's rights and men's rights
      based on his reading of Sharia," she said at the end of her three-day
      visit to Lebanon.


      Baghdad Blogger - 10 Dec 03
      In the looters' market, a DVD singing the praises of the so-called
      resistance is selling like the hot bread of Bab al-Agha.
      It was in Arabic verse, so it rhymes better than my loose translation.
      It went on and on, praising the bravery of the so-called resistance.
      The driver was playing it really loud, as if to make sure everybody in
      the neighbourhood was aware of his peculiar musical tastes. It wasn't
      exactly sung, it was done in the way eulogisers sing. We call them
      maddahs and they are usually accompanied by an instrument that looks
      like a huge tambourine without the cymbals but with little chains on
      the inside that rattle as you hit it. So this maddah was shouting
      from the taxi I was in - shouting things that would fall directly
      under Mullah Bremer's fatwa about inflammatory verbal attacks on the
      coalition, ie, Mr Taxi Driver should be in jail, and I am in there
      contemplating the effects jumping out of the car might have on my
      The best place to visit when looking for iffy merchandise is the
      looters' market at Bab al-Sharji. You used to go there and find stuff
      spread out on a blanket, most of it stolen. And the vendor doesn't
      know what most of it is used for anyway. After the war and all the
      looting, the blankets became stalls and you would find there
      everything from unused computers to used batteries - don't ask me who
      would buy those. The most interesting development was the stalls that
      sell bootleg movies. Porn sits beside religious sermons. At every
      stall is a small television and you can preview your chosen DVD. It is
      always fun to walk past the stalls and listen to the audio collage,
      but this time all the stalls were playing the same thing - the scary
      disc I heard in the taxi. On each stall, people crowded around
      watching that thing. It was selling like the hot bread of Bab al-Agha.
      The cover of the DVD only has American Army written on it and,
      surprisingly enough, once you start it, it gives you the name and
      address of the maddah and the production team, which means they either
      have bat shit for brains or they just don't care and have bat shit for
      brains. The images they use are mainly from the al-Jazeera and
      Arabiyah networks - seriously bad stuff. There is one single shot
      which is not from TV networks. It shows two men on a motorbike, they
      come into the shot wearing kafiyehs around their faces and, as they
      drive away, you see one of them is carrying an RPG launcher.


      Woman dies from grievous injuries received after hit by lorry - 09 Dec
      Maldives' Law No 7/95 relating to land vehicles states that a person
      who is responsible for reckless driving will receive the punishment as
      prescribed by Islamic Sharia and that his/her license will be held for
      10 years. The law also says that if a victim receives injuries or
      loses his/her life due to accidents caused by reckless driving, the
      driver will have to pay compensation and has to be jailed or banished
      for a period between six months to two years while his/her license
      will be held for three years. The law also states that a person who
      drives recklessly with the potential to cause injury or death to
      others is liable to be jailed or banished or placed under house arrest
      for a period of six months to one year, while his/her driving license
      can be held for one to two years.

      Human rights commission established in Maldives - 11 Dec 03
      The human rights commission was established "in accordance with the
      (Maldives) Constitution and the relevant International Conventions to
      which the Maldives is party" to, the President's Office said in a
      press release Wednesday.
      Speaking to the local media on Wednesday, Gayoom said that the Human
      Rights Commission is at present established by a Presidential Decree
      and that the commission would function in accordance with the Paris
      Principles, as adopted by the UN General Assembly, which sets out
      recommendations for the role, functions, and nature of human rights
      institutions. He further said that the drafting of a separate Act is
      currently underway and that it would be submitted to the People's
      Majlis (parliament) early next year.


      [Bauchi] Sharia Court Convicts Prostitutes [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200312090349.html - 09 Dec 03
      A Sharia court sitting in Missau, in Bauchi state has convicted eight
      women for idleness and prostitution, just as the stated Sharia
      commission raided liquor joints and arrested seven persons and
      confiscated 47 cartons of beer. Similarly, the Sharia commission in
      an enlightenment campaign in Bununu district of Tafawa Balewa local
      government area at the weekend explained that the commission is not
      desirous in prosecuting people, but to have a society free of social

      The eight women, according to the court were arrested by men of the
      Sharia enforcement team in the state - Hisbah and were charged to the
      court by the police and found to have committed the offence and were
      sentenced to three thousand naira [EUR 17,- ] fine and 10 strokes of
      the cane. Testifying before the court, the commander of the Hisbah
      team in Missau Alhaji Yahaya, said the convicts were arrested in
      different brothels in Misau town, loitering about as commercial sex

      [Lagos] Muslims Mark Sharia's 1st Anniversary in Lagos - 11 Dec 03
      Lagos Muslims under the umbrella of Supreme Council for Sharia in
      Nigeria (SCSN) will on Saturday celebrate the first anniversary of the
      implementation of sharia in the state. The SCSN said in a press
      release that it is organising the anniversary in the state to create
      awareness for the Independent Sharia Panel created by it last year,
      adding that to this end, a one-day seminar with the theme:"Living with
      Sharia" will be held on Saturday at 1004 Estate Central Mosque,
      Victoria Island Lagos. The statement explained that papers titled
      "Relevance of Sharia," "Eradication of Capital Punishment" and
      "Immunisation Vaccines: How Safe for Children and Adult" would be
      delivered by NationalMissioner, Anser Ud Deen Society of Nigeria, Imam
      Abdur Rahman Ahmad, Professor Awwal Yadudu and Professor Hussein Abdul
      Kareem respectively.
      This is a citizen's response to the introduction of Sharia Civil Law
      in Lagos State of Nigeria. Our Constitution is so controversial and is
      open to so many interpretations that only the Supreme Court can
      rightly interprete its provision( we will soon publish and circulate
      our petion so if you have not signed it please do). Mr Adeshina is
      correct when he says that the Constitution provides for the
      establishment of Sharia Courts of Appeal in the Federating States and
      make for the appointment of a Grand Khadi and other judges to
      administer the Courts of Appeal.The Constitution is however silent on
      establishment of Area Sharia Courts, which are now established under
      State Law. The Constitution however stipulates that these courts are
      to expressly administer Muslim PERSONAL law not CRIMINAL.


      Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan
      Harvard Human Rights Journal / Vol. 16, Spring 2003 / ISSN 1057-5057

      [NWFP] 'MMA govt wants public debate on women's rights' - 10 Dec 03
      The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) government wants extensive debate
      among experts and stakeholders over the proposed laws for women's
      rights, North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Chief Minister Akram Khan
      Durrani said on Tuesday, opening a three-day workshop on the laws. The
      workshop has been arranged by the NWFP Law Department to discuss the
      laws it drafted for the protection of women's rights. Mr Durrani said
      that consultation on all issues was a basic principle of Islam and
      that the MMA government would follow it in all its policies. He said
      that some customs in society had been given preference over Quranic
      injunctions but the MMA government would implement laws according to
      Sharia. "It is my firm belief that the laws shall be finally take
      shape in such a manner that they do not clash with federal laws," he
      said. The chief minister said all his government's policies were open
      to public debate and he wanted expert opinion on all vital issues.

      Clerics, lawyers and representatives from several non-governmental
      organisations will express their opinion on the six proposed laws at
      the workshop. Briefing the workshop participants, NWFP Law Secretary
      Amir Gulab Khan said the NWFP government drafted the laws from scratch
      and that the final draft would be given after a thorough discussion.
      He said the Law Department thought it necessary to put the draft laws
      before clerics, jurists, lawyers and other people before getting them
      passed by the assembly. The six drafted laws which are to be discussed
      in the workshop are, Qasamat, Talaq-e-Mughaliza (The pronouncement of
      word 'divorce' three times in one go), depriving women of their share
      in property, prevention of violence against women in the name of
      honour, child marriages and banning the custom of swara* and declaring
      it a penal offence.
      * http://lists.isb.sdnpk.org/pipermail/ngo-list/2003-July/003295.html
      Swara is a custom in which a girl is married into a family whose
      member has been killed by the girl's family.


      Palestinian Islamic group insists on refugees' right of return -07 Dec
      .. [Xinhua News Agency]
      The Palestinian Religious League issued on Sunday a fatwa (religious
      decree) that prohibits any renouncement of Palestinian refugees' right
      of return. The League, which comprises a number of prominent Muslim
      clerics in the Palestinian territories, issued the fatwa in response
      to the signing of the unofficial Geneva Accord peace initiative on
      Monday. "Any accord or initiative that overlooks or renounces the
      refugees' right of return to their lands, from where they were
      expelled in 1948, is religiously prohibited and invalid," the fatwa
      said. .. The Islamic group also warned the refugees against
      accepting any financial compensation in exchange for their right of
      return, saying anyone doing it would be considered as a "traitor and
      would remain doomed."


      [Mindanao] Muslims to be taught family planning - 11 Dec 03
      Islamic teachings or fatwa on family planning including the use of
      some contraceptives will be taught in mosques nationwide next year,
      the first attempt by Muslim religious leaders to address reproductive
      health among believers. The fatwa, which will start in Tawi-Tawi, was
      borne from consultations among 100 Islamic teachers on what the Q'uran
      says on family planning. In a news conference Thursday in Quezon
      City, Sukarno Asri, Tawi-Tawi health officer, admitted that many
      Muslim couples have not practiced family planning owing to the lack of
      information on what Islam says on birth-control methods. He said a
      recent survey that says Muslims in the Autonomous Region in Muslim
      Mindanao (ARMM) do not practice family planning thinking that this is
      haram [prohibited] in Islam. According to the fatwa, which has been
      approved by the Mufti (highest Islamic religious leader in Tawi-Tawi),
      while family planning may be new to most Muslims, there are verses in
      the Q'uran which mention its importance. In addition, there have been
      international Islamic conferences that adhere to the belief that Islam
      is not against family-planning methods as long as they are legal and
      in accordance to the Shari'a law.


      religious police getting trained to be more courteous - 08 Dec 03
      Saudi Arabia's religious police -- long resented for intimidating
      people and meddling in the tiniest details of life -- are being
      trained to be more courteous in their job of enforcing the kingdom's
      strict version of Islamic law, the force's president told The
      Associated Press. .. The tone is changing -- though not the rules
      themselves -- . .. "The committee sometimes spies on people," said
      political analyst Dawood al-Shirian. "It's not only their style that
      should change. It's also their mandate, which has become too broad."
      For instance, a Saudi woman said she was beaten and jailed for days a
      few years ago for attending a dinner party -- without her husband --
      that included the spouses of her female friends. An Arab woman was
      detained for not being properly covered, then asked why she had many
      men listed in her cell phone directory. And a Western woman was
      marched out of a coffee bar for smoking.
      Al-Ghaith, who as head of the religious police carries the rank of a
      Cabinet minister, described the force's task as the "mission of
      prophets and apostles." .. That means women must be covered in
      black, the sexes are not allowed to mix in public, shops must close
      five times a day for prayers and men must go to the mosque and
      worship. Violators are usually yelled at by the muttawa and sometimes
      dragged to jail. Al-Ghaith said senior judges and university
      professors have given more than 30 courses to members of the committee
      since last year to improve their performance to teach them how to deal
      with violators.
      Investigators are also using clerics to assist in interrogations of
      hundreds of terrorist suspects arrested as part of an assault on
      al-Qaeda cells throughout the kingdom. Judges and scholars are also
      brought into al Hayer prison to lecture terrorist suspects in their
      late teens and early 20s, say Saudi officials, confirming a report in
      the Saudi Gazette.
      [Jeddah business man & former tv-host] Shobokshi contends that a thin
      line separates the terrorists from the fundamentalists. "The problem
      is differentiating between the extremists who carry a gun," he said,
      "and extremists who spread the word."

      Brothels and bombs in Saudi Arabia - 08 Dec 03
      The compound attacked on November 9 was inhabited mainly by Lebanese,
      Palestinians and Egyptians, and it had earned notoriety as a "pleasure
      ground" for Saudi "playboys" in a country in which prostitution is
      outlawed. Apparently, some of the female residents of the compound
      were well known for their "exotic erotica", for which they were
      showered with money and gifts. According to an Associated Press
      report, "Muhaya had a coffee shop where residents of both sexes
      chatted over water pipes and watched foreign movies and other
      entertainment on a big screen television. It was located next to a
      pool where women swam in bikinis." The goings-on in the compound were
      seemingly known to the authorities, including agents of the Saudi
      religious police - the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and
      Prevention of Vice - but nothing had been done about it, much to the
      anger of conservatives who wanted to "eliminate the evil in their
      society" and what they called the "Arab brothel of Riyadh".
      .. The "pleasure center" at the Muhaya compound was not the only one
      of its kind in the country. More trouble can be expected.


      Thailand seeks help to market halal food to Islamic countries - 09 Dec
      .. [New Straits Times]
      The Thai Government is seeking Malaysia's co- operation to market its
      halal food to Islamic countries since it is well received here. ..
      The Thais are seeking the halal logo issued by the Department of
      Islamic Development (Jakim), which is internationally accepted.
      Thailand has difficulty exporting halal food using its logos which
      were not recognisable by consumers from Islamic countries.


      [comment] A new front in the war - 10 Dec 03
      What is too often unappreciated is that al Qaeda loathes the Turkish
      Republic because it was founded on the ruins of the Islamic theocracy
      that was the Ottoman Empire. The sultan, who ruled from Istanbul, was
      both a head of state and the theoretical leader of the world's
      Muslims, the caliph. Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey,
      formally abolished the caliphate in 1924 and ended the role of sharia
      (Islamic law), to the widespread dismay of Muslim clerics at the time.
      Today's Islamic radicals want to restore the caliphate and impose the
      sharia on what they regard as the dismayingly secular Turkish society
      created by Ataturk. The current Turkish government, which has a clear
      Islamic tilt, recognizes the depth of the ideological challenge from
      the terrorists. Indeed, the Islamic roots of the ruling Justice and
      Development Party mean that it could be well positioned politically to
      fight off the extremists.
      Turkey has an ambiguous counterterrorism record. Too often fire has
      been fought with fire, without regard to the political ramifications.
      The wave of political violence of the 1970s was ended by a military
      coup and the suspension of civil liberties. The battle against Kurdish
      separatist terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s left a legacy of torture,
      intimidation, burnt down villages and hundreds of thousands of
      refugees that continue to haunt Turkey's bid to join the EU.


      [prisons] No holds barred - 10 Dec 03
      What [David] Wilson - professor of criminology at the University of
      Central England - heard is a hideous indictment of race relations in
      young offender institutions (YOIs). In the privacy of interview rooms
      in three jails across England, 45 teenage boys, aged 16 and 17,
      vividly described the racism they are dealt by prison officers.
      Religion is also a target. The interviews were conducted at the height
      of the debate over whether Britain should go to war in Iraq. Several
      of the Muslim inmates described the bearing that their faith had on
      their treatment. One boy told Wilson that officers had said: "We're
      bombing your country. We're sending missiles over to bomb you to
      None of the specific incidents included in the report is present in
      the service's monitoring of racist incidents because none had been
      reported. Those who had complained on other occasions had no faith in
      the system's effectiveness.
      Wilson, who says he was chairman of the race relations team in every
      prison at which he was governor, tells a story about how, in one jail,
      a group of Muslim prisoners, convinced their meat was not halal, sent
      Wilson repeatedly to ask the catering manager for proof. The manager
      eventually owned up. "That man got sacked," says Wilson. "The message
      to me was that you have to have the courage to check and re-check, and
      poke beneath the surface to really discover what's going on." Personal
      assurances, he discovered, were never going to be good enough.
      Source: from interviews with 45 young men by Prof David Wilson,
      published in Playing the Game - the Experiences of Young Black Men in
      Custody, by The Children's Society (020-7841 4400).


      WIBC hears call for a single Islamic banking global authority - 11 Dec
      The Islamic banking and finance industry is in grave need of a single
      global authority which will set unified standards for the entire
      industry, the 10th World Islamic Banking Industry Conference (WIBC)
      was told Monday.
      Such an authority would have to be objective, independent, balanced,
      serve the public interest and have full authority to set standards
      which incorporated input from various market players, he told some 500
      bankers who attended the two-day conference which ended on Dec 8.
      According to the local newspaper Gulf Daily News, Dr Alchaar described
      how Islamic banking and finance standards today are torn between
      international centres, and between supervisory boards.
      Explaining how the AAOIFI [Accounting and Auditing Organisation for
      Islamic Financial Institutions] works with Syariah advisory boards to
      issue standards, Dr Alchaar noted that some Syariah's supervisory
      boards are issuing decrees which differ from the AAOIFI's standards.
      "There should be unified syariah's standards," said Dr Alchaar.
      Underlining his call for a single global authority and unified
      standards, Dr Alchaar cautioned that the Islamic banking and finance
      industry may not benefit from following the informal Basel Committee
      on Banking Supervision's guidelines which apply to conventional
      banking and finance institutions the world over. "Islamic banks are
      very small compared to the big powerhouses," he said. "If we follow
      the same laws, small banks will be affected - they will be subjected
      to shocks." The committee's first Capital Accords - known as Basel I
      - was introduced in 1988. A new framework - Basel II - was proposed in
      June 1999 and is expected to be implemented by the end of 2006.
      [UK] End Islamic Banking Prejudice - 08 Dec 03
      Former chairman of the UK's FSA Sir Howard Davies called for an end to
      prejudices against Islamic banking at an conference in Bahrain
      yesterday. He said the problem is to set international standards that
      encompass both systems, and recommended representation for Islamic
      banks on the Basel Committee.
      The New Basel Capital Accord (also known as Basel II) is due to be
      completed by the middle of next year - with implementation required by
      the end of 2006. London School of Economics and Political Science
      director Sir Howard Davies thinks any new rules should also be applied
      to Islamic finance. He would also like to see an Islamic nation
      represented on the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision - which is
      responsible for drawing up Basel II.
      "The new Basel capital principles need to be interpreted in a way to
      encompass the different characteristics of risk in Islamic finance.
      "Two sets of rules will not be helpful - the Islamic financial
      industry would find it difficult to operate." The Basel Committee
      boasts members from 13 countries including Belgium, Canada, France,
      Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Holland, Spain, Switzerland, the UK
      and the US. "There is no Islamic centre involved in the Basel
      Committee," said Sir Howard, who oversaw the founding of the Financial
      Services Authority (FSA) - the UK regulatory body - in 2001.
      They are minimum capital requirements; supervisory review of an
      institution's international assessment process and capital adequacy;
      and effective use of disclosure to strengthen market discipline. Sir
      Howard is keen to see Islamic products accommodated in these three
      areas. He added that there is growing demand for such products in
      Western countries. "There is evidence in Western countries that there
      is demand for Sharia products in Islamic communities," he said.

      One of the current issues being discussed in Europe is how to treat
      deposits in accordance with Sharia principles. A possible solution is
      for customers to profit-share with the bank, rather than accrue
      interest on their money. But that would also means them sharing in
      the bank's losses. "That does not fit the normal definition of a
      bank deposit," said Sir Howard. "But in the UK finance system we have
      something called an investment fund. You could make a deposit and
      treat it like a mutual fund. "That is the issue that is being looked
      at in Europe by the FSA."

      Gulf Arab investors plan Islamic bank in Bahrain - 10 Dec 03
      Gulf Arab individuals and financial institutions are planning to set
      up a new and strong Islamic bank in Bahrain with an authorized capital
      of $3 billion, a senior Bahraini banker said. Chief executive of the
      Bahrain Islamic Bank Adnan Youssef said some cash-rich investors from
      Gulf Arab states have already pledged to contribute around $800
      million in the bank, which will have a paid-in capital of $1.5
      billion. "There is a need for a strong Islamic institution to go
      along with the current era," Youssef said.
      Well-informed bankers also said at least two firms from Saudi Arabia,
      including a pan-Arab and a privately owned company, plan to establish
      investment banks in Bahrain. One of them has already completed a
      visibility study, and is likely to announce the plan in the next two
      months. They said a Bahrain-based investment bank is in the process
      of seeking a license to open a new bank in Bahrain, one banker said
      without giving further details. There are more than 100 banks and
      finance house operating from Bahrain, the Gulf's financial and banking
      hub, including 50 offshore banking units, 26 Islamic banks and 20
      commercial banks, with combined assets of around $100 billion.

      Capital Intelligence upgrades ADIB's financial strength ratings-10 Dec
      Rating agency Capital Intelligence (CI) has raised the financial
      strength rating of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) to A- from BBB+. The
      foreign currency ratings were affirmed at A- for long-term and A2 for
      short-term and the support rating at 3. Outlooks remains Stable for
      all the ratings. ADIB is 10 percent owned by Abu Dhabi Investment
      Authority (ADIA) and members of the ruling family and other prominent
      private shareholders own a further 29 percent of the bank. ADIB's
      balance sheet is characterized by strong capitalization and high
      liquidity, as Murabaha placements with banks/financial institutions
      dominate the asset base.

      Dubai Islamic Bank to launch first Islamic shipping investment company
      .. - 10 Dec 03
      Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) in association with the Tufton Oceanic
      Finance Group (Tufton) today announces the establishment of the
      Alislami Oceanic Shipping Company Limited (AOSC), a vehicle through
      which Islamic investors may participate in the GCC and world shipping
      market by investing in internationally trading marine vessels. AOSC
      is jointly promoted by Dubai Islamic Bank and Tufton and will provide
      an Islamically compliant source of finance for regional ship-owners
      and operators to acquire commercial vessels. AOSC will be capitalized
      at US$100 million. DIB and Tufton have committed to underwrite the
      Islamic equity subscription of AOSC. Tufton will manage and administer
      AOSC through its Isle of Man based investment management subsidiary.
      The UAE, with almost 800 kilometers of coastline bordering both the
      Gulf and the Indian Ocean, has 15 commercial ports. Dubai is the
      acknowledged gateway to a market of an estimated 2 billion people in
      the Gulf Countries, Arab World and surrounding region.

      [Bahrain] Murabaha offer by Noriba Bank - 08 Dec 03
      Noriba Bank has announced the launch of Range Murabaha Investments
      (RaMI), an innovative new product that offers capital preservation
      while allowing investors the opportunity to optimise the risk-adjusted
      returns on their short-term investments. RaMI is a Sharia-compliant
      structured yield investment alternative which provides investors with
      the potential to earn up to 10 per cent per annum, significantly
      higher than normal 'Murabaha' (Sharia-compliant trade finance)
      investments. RaMI investors select their benchmark commodity or
      currency and its performance within a selected price range band,
      thereby planning for a higher overall return within a given time
      period. Periodic Murabaha trades are carried out over the life of
      the investment. Once the individual Murabaha deferred sales proceeds
      are due, any profit arising from the investment is paid to the
      investor. The original amount is re-invested in another Murabaha
      transaction, and so on.

      Kuwait To License Islamic Banks - 08 Dec 03
      The Central Bank of Kuwait is to begin accepting applications for
      Islamic banking licences from December 10, according to KUNA. In the
      first phase three banks including Kuwait Finance House will be
      licenced; second will be a bank partly owned by the KIA, and the third
      will be a local bank that is being transformed into an Islamic one.

      [Malaysia] BNM to issue savings bonds - 09 Dec 03
      [Malaysian central bank] Bank Negara will issue up to RM2 billion [EUR
      433 m] in Islamic Merdeka Savings Bonds in eight tranches with the
      first amounting to RM500 million to be issued on Feb 4, 2004, says a
      central bank senior official. The bonds, which are based on Syariah
      principles carrying a 5% tax-free return per annum, have a tenure of
      two years. The coupon rate is set at a premium of 1.3% against the
      current fixed deposit rate of 3.7%. The current savings interest is
      less than 2%. The country's banking system has about RM5.44 billion in
      deposits. The Islamic Merdeka Savings Bonds have features akin to
      conventional bonds and are secured by Bank Negara's physical assets.
      Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in tabling the Budget
      2004 last September, announced that the government would issue the Bon
      Simpanan Merdeka, a savings instrument with attractive profits to help
      cushion the low interest rates regime on senior citizens. "We are not
      competing against the commercial banks, but providing a savings
      instrument with attractive profits for senior citizens," the senior
      Bank Negara official said at a media briefing yesterday. It is aimed
      at citizens above 55 years who are not employed on a permanent basis
      and Malaysian Armed Forces personnel who are on mandatory retirement
      and not employed on a permanent basis. He said some 2.7 million
      Malaysians are believed to be in the senior citizen bracket. The
      official said applicants must also not be adjudged bankrupt at the
      point of sales.

      [Malaysia] BCB making re-entry into Islamic banking - 09 Dec 03
      Bumiputhra-Commerce Bank Bhd (BCB) is actively making a re-entry into
      Islamic banking, following the sale of its stake in Bank Muamalat,
      either through the conventional Islamic banking window or a new
      Islamic banking licence. Banking sources told StarBiz that BCB was
      waiting for the sale of its Bank Muamalat stake to be completed before
      deciding on the step to be taken. Among the other anchor banks, RHB
      Bank recently announced that it had applied for an Islamic banking

      [South Africa] Sustaining long-term growth - 11 Dec 03
      The first fund management group in South Africa to offer Shariah-
      compliant investments was Oasis. The group has since enjoyed success
      on the international stage, giving high returns compared with similar
      managed funds. Adam Ismail Ebrahim discusses the strategy that has
      driven Oasis forward.
      The one enduring characteristic of equity markets is that, regardless
      of the return they offer, they are inherently volatile. Markets tend
      to over-react to both good and bad news and thus short-term returns
      tend to be either excessively high or low. Creating and sustaining
      wealth over the long term, therefore, requires that investors are able
      to realise their investments at any time without having their
      investments materially reduced by a short-term cycle within the
      market. In modern portfolio theory there are two sources of return
      from an investment in the equity market: the return of the market as a
      whole and the value added/destroyed by the selection of individual
      stocks within the market. [..]
      Unfortunately, this is a market that has been served particularly
      badly, with most Shariah-compliant funds focusing on very passive
      methods of investment that have tracked the Dow Jones Islamic Market
      Index. Given the technology exposure in this market, it has performed
      even worse than the broad MSCI World Index, and investors have lost
      40% of their money in three years. The Crescent Global Equity Fund,
      managed by Oasis, is a Shariah-compliant fund that can be benchmarked
      against the Dow Jones Islamic Market Index. All stocks in this
      portfolio concur with the standards and regulations set out by the Dow
      Jones Islamic Market Index Shariah supervisory board. Over the
      two-year period between December 2000 and December 2002, the fund
      outperformed the Dow Jones Islamic Index by 35.2%.

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