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Sharia News Watch 98

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  • Enzo Picardie
    Sharia News Watch 98 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 15 3:54 AM
      Sharia News Watch 98 : a collection newsquotes on Sharia, for
      research & educational purposes only. [*] Shortcut URL:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/message/98

      The Sharia Newswatch provides a regular update of news quotes
      on Sharia (Islamic Law) & related subjects, as appearing on the major
      news searchengines. All editions :
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shariawatch/

      AFGHANISTAN

      The Constitution of Afghanistan - (from Afghaniyat NewsGroup)
      http://www.sabawoon.com/Constitution_Final_Draft.htm
      [unofficial final text with major changes in blue]
      ..
      http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/Opinion.asp?ArticleID=107680
      ..
      One of the problems with the draft constitution was its silence on the
      issue of a constitutional court to oversee the implementation of its
      articles and settle any dispute over their interpretation. This was
      overcome by adding an article that would establish an independent
      commission for this purpose. Members of such a commission will be
      chosen by the president and approved by parliament.
      ..
      owing to pressure from hard-liners, the draft constitution was amended
      to include many Islamic clauses. Accordingly, no law can be contrary
      to the beliefs and provisions of Islam. Political parties cannot be
      licenced if their charters conflict with Islam. The educational
      system must be in accordance with Islam. The section on the family
      requires the state to eliminate traditions contrary to Islam. The
      state's official name remains "The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan".

      Afghan state TV lifts ban on local women singers - 13 Jan 04
      http://www.reuters.com/locales/newsArticle.jsp;:4003ca4d:3c4012d2714ecb50?&=
      storyID=4116262
      ..
      More than two years after the fall of the hardline Islamic Taliban
      regime, state television has broadcast for the first time footage of
      an Afghan woman singing. The broadcast late on Monday will be seen as
      another small victory for moderate democrats led by President Hamid
      Karzai over religious conservatives opposed to many of the changes
      that have swept Kabul since the Taliban's collapse. Kabul Television
      used old footage of Parasto, a well-known singer who now lives in the
      West, performing without a headscarf.
      ..
      The lifting of the ban came weeks after the replacement of engineer
      Mohammad Isahaq as head of Kabul Radio and TV. His successor, Ghulam
      Hassan Hazrati, has close ties with [Information and Culture Minister]
      Raheen. Ishaq is a senior member of the Northern Alliance who was at
      loggerheads with Raheen in a battle that reflected the broader
      struggle between Karzai's reformist government and conservative
      elements who still control many key positions of power.
      ..
      Reaction on the streets to Parasto's surprise appearance also
      reflected the tussle. .. "Cable TV is back, alcohol is sold in some
      shops and now the lifting of the ban on female songs -- they are all
      victories for the democrats." Cable television is widely available in
      Kabul, despite earlier efforts by the conservative-led Supreme Court
      to outlaw it for being obscene and un-Islamic.
      ..
      http://www.reuters.com/locales/newsArticle.jsp;:4005361e:1994daecace88464?&=
      storyID=4124464
      ..
      Afghanistan's Supreme Court voiced protest on Wednesday at the lifting
      of a ban on women singers on state television, saying the move defied
      its decisions.
      ..
      "We are opposed to women singing and dancing as a whole," Manawi told
      Reuters. "This is totally against the decisions of the Supreme Court
      and it has to be stopped." But when asked what the court would do if
      the government continued to defy its rulings, Manawi replied, "We just
      show our opposition. The rest is the government's duty." The court is
      dominated by religious conservatives and has made repeated attempts to
      outlaw cable television on the grounds it is obscene and un-Islamic.
      ..
      http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/107415996281.htm
      ..
      "We were told to stop airing the songs on Wednesday evening and we did
      so," an official of Kabul TV said.
      ..
      The latest flip-flop is an embarrassment and a setback for moderates
      in President Hamid Karzai's government in their battle with religious
      conservatives opposed to liberalisation since the Taliban's overthrow
      by U.S.-led forces in 2001.

      [analysis] Bin Laden's Latest Tape Shows Shift in Strategy - 12 Jan 04
      http://news.pacificnews.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=b89afdf76c270=
      0c65ff93b8b69642d5e
      ..
      in his seventh and most recent tape, aired Jan. 4, bin Laden breaks
      with the pattern of the first six. He gives no ultimatums to the
      American people and makes no call for attacks against Americans inside
      or outside the United States. Instead, he focuses attention on what he
      views as corrupt Arab regimes. Bin Laden argues at length that Muslim
      regimes, and Gulf monarchies in particular, are unfit to govern and
      incapable of defending the Muslim world. [..]

      ALGERIA

      'The Islamic State Will Arise Only Through Blood and Body Parts'
      http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD64204 - 13 Jan 04
      .. [The Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat published an interview with
      Nabil Sahrawi, also known as Abu Ibrahim Mustafa, a leader of the
      Salafi Group for Da'wa and Fighting in Algeria].
      ..
      "Sahrawi: 'The Salafi Group for Da'wa and Fighting thinks that the
      Algerian people is a Muslim people which according to religious law
      must not be harmed, in blood or property, and that anyone who kills it
      or plunders its property is carrying out something that Allah has
      forbidden. The massacres of innocent and defenseless people are
      abhorrent crimes to which no Muslim who attests 'There is no God but
      Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah' can agree.'

      "There are two types of people who carry out massacres: The first type
      are [the members] of [Antar] Zawabiri's group, who accuse [society] of
      unbelief, and they are like the Khawarej (2), and they barely exist in
      the field. The second type is the [Algerian] regime, which stands
      behind most of the massacres. There are some motives causing the
      regime to carry out these massacres, including intimidating the people
      in order to prevent them from supporting the Mujahideen..."
      ..
      (2) The term "Khawarej," a reference to those who rebelled against the
      heirs of the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century, is used today to
      condemn groups such as Zawabiri's as rebellious religious radicals.
      ..
      "Sahrawi: 'The rulers of the Muslim lands today are a gang of
      apostates [and] criminals, the most evil creatures created on the face
      of the earth, whose crimes are known to all, and they are a paradigm
      of treachery, deceit, misleading, and repression. How many commitments
      have they given their people, only to then fill their graveyards and
      prisons with them? They have replaced Shari'a law, and they rule
      Muslims with the laws of Europe and America. They have shed blood and
      violated the religious prohibitions. They have wasted the property of
      the Muslims on forbidden things. All that interested them was their
      bellies and their enslavement to the West. They are not [protected] by
      any pact. Anyone who wants a lesson [on the results] of dialogue with
      the apostates, let them learn the lesson of the Muslim Brotherhood in
      Egypt, the lesson of the Islamic Front of Salvation in Algeria ... and
      so on.

      "The Salafi Group for Da'wa and Fighting is fighting the regime in
      Algiers because of its unbelief and apostasy... Fighting the apostates
      takes precedence over fighting others from among the original
      infidels, and the punishment of the apostates is harsher than that [of
      the original infidels], both in this world and in the hereafter. Pacts
      must not be formed with these rulers; they must not be given security;
      there must be no reconciliation with them, and there must be no truce
      with them. We will accept from them either repentance or the sword..."

      CHECHNYA

      [opinion] On Jihad in Chechnya - 13 Jan 04
      http://kavkazcenter.com/eng/article.php?id=2272
      ..
      «Jihad in Chechnya is not mandatory, but it is a Fitna (means
      'disorder'), which ignorant Muslims fell for»… The Voice of Jihad
      journalists asked Sheikh Abdul Halim, Chief of the Shariah Council of
      State Defense Council 'Majlis al-Shura' of CRI to comment on the
      so-called 'fatwa' ('counsel') by anonymous 'Dagestani scholars'.
      Sheikh Abdul Halim: …We are not familiar with this website, but their
      answer clearly shows whose interests they are defending. First of all,
      the duty of the Council of Alims and Muftis of Dagestan is not to
      answer the questions where they are incompetent or that they are not
      well aware of. The situation in Ichkeria is 'Fard'Ayn' for each
      Muslim, who practices the religion of Islam and who has even a little
      bit of knowledge. Before answering that question, these scholars
      should look up the answer in the Islamic books and get the decision
      from the Shariah, instead of saying what the Kremlin wants to hear and
      for which they will have to answer before Almighty Allah. And by
      calling Jihad a 'disorder' (a 'Fitna') they want to desecrate the
      godly deeds, the worship of Creator, which Muslims are doing today in
      their genuine belief before Almighty Allah, while sacrificing their
      lives and their property on the way of Allah.

      This answer did not come from Alims and has nothing to do with Islam.
      The people, who spread such lies or who believe such 'scholars', are
      far from being ignorant: due to the fact that the believers today are
      in a difficult situation, and these so-called 'scholars' and the ones
      who believe them turned out to be weak, this is why they did not
      consider the war that the Muslims are waging against the infidels to
      be a Jihad. But as soon as the situation changes, these same people
      will give another evaluation of these same events.
      ..
      The only question that we allow to ask such 'scholars' is: from which
      verse of the Holy Koran, or from which specific texts of the Shariah
      was such an answer given? But if they give us the reasons that the
      Jihad in Chechnya is not mandatory and if they refer to Islamic
      sources, then it will be an instruction for all of us.

      DUBAI UAE

      Raffles, lotteries under scrutiny - 13 Jan 04
      http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=107851
      ..
      The National Consultative Council (NCC), chaired by Speaker Abdullah
      Mohammed Al Masaood, yesterday asked the government to clarify and
      review its rulings on raffles, lotteries, competitions and other
      promotions offering attractive prizes via telephone, radio and print
      media. Council members in a report said that most raffles and
      competitions are being offered in gambling form which are against the
      religious norms and Islamic Sharia.
      ..
      Members criticised the growing phenomenon of radio and telephone
      quizzes. They said the increasing number of telephone competitions,
      with high call charges, is becoming a grave concern for the people
      with low income.

      EGYPT

      Qaradawe rejects post of Murshid of Muslim Brothers - 12 Jan 04
      http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/040112/2004011217.html
      ..
      The Islamic clergy, Youssef al-Qaradawi, yesterday denied news which
      spoke of his nomination for the post of the general Murshid for the
      Ikhwan al-Musilimin (Muslim Brothers) group, after the death of the
      general Murshid, Muhammad Ma'moun, al-Hudeibi in Egypt last week.
      A statement issued from al-Qaradawi office said "I have preferred
      since a long time not to be linked to any organization that limits my
      movement, even if it is the Muslim Brothers, the group under the
      shadow of which I spent my youth and life span in serving it." He
      added that he was consulted to assume the post of the general Murshid,
      after the death of Hassan al-Hudeibi ( the second general Murshid of
      the Muslim brothers ), and before the death of Omar al-Talmisani ( the
      third general Murshid), and he "refrained from taking this post."
      Worthy mentioning that al-Qaradawi ( 77 year old) was an activist in
      the Muslim brothers Organization in Egypt since the 1940s. This cost
      him three times imprisonments. He fled from Egypt to Qatar by the end
      of the 1950s where he got the nationality by the end of the 1970s,
      after the Egyptian nationality was revoked from him under, the rule of
      the former Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser.

      INDIA

      Security tightened in Mumbai over anti-Rushdie protest - 12 Jan 04
      http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_529683,0008.htm
      ..
      Security in Mumbai [Bombay] has been tightened on Monday with some
      Muslim organisations announcing an award of Rs one lakh [EUR 1.727,-]
      to 'blacken' the face* of controversial writer Salman Rushdie, who is
      here after a gap of 16 years.
      ..
      *
      http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,8387399%255E1=
      702,00.html
      .. Blackening a person's face with shoe polish or soot is considered a
      grave insult in India.
      ..
      "We definitely wanted to blacken his face and hence announced an award
      for anyone who would do the daring act," said Suhail Rokadia, general
      secretary of the Raza Academy, the organisation which spearheaded the
      anti-Rushdie campaign.

      IRAN

      Political crisis in Iran as reformers barred from contesting elections
      http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040111/ts_afp/iran_vote_0401=
      11122848
      .. - 11 Jan 04
      Mirdamadi was one of 85 incumbent reformist MPs who have been barred
      from standing in the February 20 elections by the 12-member Guardians'
      Council, an unelected political oversight body and bastion of the
      religious right. He said the bulk of disqualified MPs were found to
      have been in violation of an article in the electoral law that
      stipulates candidates must show their commitment to Islam and respect
      the position of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as supreme leader.
      ..
      According to reformist sources, this time the Guardians Council
      rejected more than 50 percent of prospective candidates who registered
      in the capital, most of them reformists. In some areas, notably the
      northeastern city of Mashhad, all reformists had been struck off the
      voting lists and only conservatives were left.

      IRAQ

      Shiite Good Will May Be Eroding in Iraq - 13 Jan 04
      http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20040113_529.html
      ..
      [Grand Ayatollah] Al-Sistani, who refuses to meet Bremer, hardened his
      opposition to the plan in comments issued by his office Sunday and
      repeated in a newspaper advertisement Monday. He demanded the
      provisional assembly which will pick an interim government be chosen
      by national elections. He also said the elected assembly should
      ratify the "basic law" or interim constitution being drafted by the
      Iraqi Governing Council and approve security accords governing the
      continued presence of U.S.-led coalition troops in Iraq beyond July 1.
      That is the designated day for the occupation's formal end and the
      coming to office of a sovereign Iraqi government, under the plan
      approved by the U.S.-appointed Governing Council on Nov. 13.
      ..
      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=38043&d=15&m=1&y=2004
      ..
      Thus, Sistani's call for elections is seen by some officials in
      Washington and Baghdad as a definitive rejection of the current plan.
      This, I believe, is a dangerous misreading not only of Sistani's
      intentions but also of the role that the Shiite clergy should play in
      a future democratic Iraq. To begin with, Sistani's statement is a
      "fatwa", which means an "opinion", and not a decree or an edict, as
      some US officials, including L Paul Bremer, the coalition" chief
      civilian administrator, seem to believe.

      In Islam no religious expert (mujtahid) has the authority to issue
      either a decree or an edict. There are no popes and cardinals in
      Islam, and the opinion of one religious expert could be challenged or
      even contradicted by another's. That fundamental principle of Islam,
      however, has been challenged by a small group of theologians, notably
      the late Ayatollah Khomeini. They claim that since most Muslims, being
      poor and illiterate, lack the knowledge and moral strength to needed
      for to take correct decisions. It was on the basis of that analysis
      that Khomeini set up his Islamic Republic in Iran in 1979 and wrote a
      constitution under which a mulla, designated as "The Supreme Guide",
      has absolute power beyond the dream of any despotic ruler. For almost
      50 years Sistani has been in the camp of those who have defended
      mainstream Islam against Khomeinist and other deviations. Thus it
      would be a supreme irony if this veteran anti-Khomeinist cleric is
      transformed into an Iraqi version of Khomeini by Bremer and Co.
      ..
      Sistani says holding elections is "the ideal" and not the only
      mechanism for forming an interim government. This means that if one
      can show that his ideal mechanism is not realistic at present he would
      be prepared to change his opinion.

      Civil status courts must apply Islamic Sharia, IGC says - 13 Jan 04
      http://www.iraqpress.org/homepage.asp?fname=ipenglish\2004-01-03\11.htm
      ..
      The Interim Governing Council has decided that Iraqi civil status
      courts should resort to the Islamic Sharia or code in their rulings.
      The secular regime of Saddam Hussein had passed laws that all matters
      related to marriage, divorce, birth, inheritance, etc. were required
      to be registered at government-run civil status courts.
      ..
      The IGC's decision declares all civil status regulations issued by the
      ousted leader Saddam Hussein as null and void. Iraqis have the right
      now to follow the applications of their disparate religious
      denominations and sects rather than the unified civil status
      regulations prevalent under Saddam Hussein.
      ..
      Under the former regime civil status courts were the only authority
      capable of issuing official marriage, divorce or birth certificates.
      Many Iraqis still resorted to their clerics in such matters but papers
      issued by the clergy did not have the power of law.

      KENYA

      Law review talks hit PM deadlock - 11 Jan 04
      http://www.eastandard.net/headlines/news1101200411.htm
      ..
      The Sunday Standard can now reveal that the steering committee of the
      faiths-led Ufungamano Initiative -- headed by the National Council of
      Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and the Catholic Church -- is finalising a
      comprehensive draft distilled from the one published by Constitution
      of Kenya Review Commission in 2001, and that it hopes to introduce it
      early next week at the talks.
      ..
      Consensus has been reached to include the Kadhi's courts in the
      constitution but the judges who preside over them are to be
      remunerated by the Judicial Service Commission.
      ..
      http://www.eastandard.net/headlines/news1101200435.htm
      ..
      The talks, however, suffered a setback when the Supreme Council of
      Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) representatives failed to turn up, thus
      complicating the quest for a consensus on Kadhi courts. The meeting
      attracted representation from political parties, religious
      organisations, civil society and the Constitution of Kenya Review
      Commission which was led by chairman Professor Yash Pal Ghai.

      KYRGYZSTAN

      Survey Reports Positive Findings On Religious Freedom - 12 Jan 04
      http://www.uzbekdaily.com/p/06/460aa16fec6d05.html?id=WNAT99708e1869b98a006=
      6ffcde163b69a7a

      MALAYSIA

      Sunday features - Rituals of the Malay wedding - 11 Jan 04
      http://www.brunei-online.com/sunday/news/jan11f4.htm

      YSP leverages on halal pharmaceuticals (Updated)
      http://www.theedgedaily.com/article.cfm?id=27714
      ..
      YSP Southeast Asia Holding Bhd wants to leverage on the country's
      credibility in the production of 'halal' products to enhance exports
      of its pharmaceutical products to Middle Eastern countries. YSP
      president Dr Frank Lee Fang Hsin believes that its exports to the
      Middle East would be facilitated by Malaysia's capabilities in
      manufacturing 'halal' pharmaceutical products.

      NETHERLANDS

      Meet Ayaan Hirsi Ali - 12 Jan 04
      http://www.techcentralstation.com/011204A.html
      ..
      Born in 1967 in Mogadishu (Somalia), Ayaan Hirsi attended secondary
      school in Kenya. From the middle of the nineties she studied political
      science in Leiden (Netherlands). .. In 2003, she switched over to
      the Dutch right-of-the centre (classical) liberal party, the VVD,
      because of this party's firm stand on immigration issues and became a
      member of Parliament. .. According to a recent poll she ranks
      second among the most popular politicians in Holland. And her
      political star is still rising. Yet her political message stirs a lot
      of controversy, especially among Muslim radicals.
      ..
      The political controversy now focuses on the question whether a
      separate Islamic 'pillar' has to be created within Dutch society. This
      approach has been successfully applied before. It was a kind of benign
      sectarianism. Over more than a century, Roman Catholics, Protestants
      of various denominations, and non-religious groupings had organized
      themselves in separate 'pillars', comprising primary and secondary
      schools, universities, newspapers and weeklies, employers' federations
      and trade unions, radio and tv stations, sport clubs, holiday resorts,
      and all kinds of associations. .. Why not apply the same recipe for
      Dutch Muslim population? The difference is that, contrary to the other
      'pillars', a potential Muslim 'pillar' lacks historical roots in the
      Netherlands. Therefore, a more promising road to the integration of
      Muslims in a modern society runs via common education as opposed to
      'pillarized' education. A Muslim 'pillar' will simply perpetuate
      Muslim 'apartheid' within society, both culturally and as regards the
      labour market, and will also sustain the subservient role of women.

      NIGERIA

      Abolition of Capital Punishment Ungodly - Yadudu - 13 Jan 04
      http://www.thisdayonline.com/news/20040113news28.html
      ..
      Moves by the Federal Government to abolish capital punishment has been
      described as a plan to roll back sharia legal system and to reduce the
      stem of its spread in the country. Professor Auwalu Yadudu Legal
      Adviser to the late head of state, General Sani Abacha, made this
      observation in Minna yesterday, while presenting a paper on "Death
      Penalty: To Be Or Not To Be." The legal luminary said the Federal
      Government was afraid of the islamic system, adding that the only way
      to checkmate its spread was to introduce the abolition of capital
      punishment, which was a vital issue to the system.
      ..
      Yadudu said the Constitution recognised and endorsed capital
      punishment, adding that any plan to abolish it will require
      constitutional amendment. Speaking in the same vein, Judge of Sharia
      Court of Appeal in Kogi State, Justice Abdulkareem Aruwa, said
      adherents of both Islam and Christianity have no choice but to
      preserve and enforce the death penalty.

      [Bauchi/Gombe] 'Explore Oil in Benue' - 15 Jan 04
      http://www.thisdayonline.com/news/20040115news42.html
      ..
      The book, jointly written by Senator Salisu Matori and Mr Nkemjika is
      titled: "Oil exploration in Northern Nigeria".
      ..
      The vice chancellor [Professor Bubakar Sani Sambo] debunked the view
      expressed in the book that the Sharia legal system may hinder
      exploration activities in the North, arguing that in spite of the same
      prevailing legal system in Saudi Arabia, foreign experts still work in
      her oil industry.

      [Kano] Agabi Advocates Youth Anti-Corruption Crusade - 13 Jan 04
      http://allafrica.com/stories/200401140524.html [Daily Trust - Abuja]
      ..
      Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Good governance, Chief
      Kanu Agabi has stressed the need to guide children against corrupt
      tendencies.
      ..
      Kano State Commissioner for education, Alhaji Is'haq Mahmoud Umar ..
      reiterated that corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of the
      nation and it is therefore a collective responsibility to educate
      children on its menace in order to create a corrupt-free society.
      Alhaji Is'haq Mahmoud Umar mentioned that the present administration
      in Kano State is towing this line in Sharia principles.

      Detained Nigerian militant pledges Islamic struggle - 13 Jan 04
      http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L13649796.htm
      ..
      An Islamic militant detained by Nigerian police over an armed uprising
      says the self-styled "Taliban" group wants to overthrow the government
      because it has sold out to the West.
      ..
      "Our aim is to cause serious confusion and overthrow the government of
      infidels headed by the crop of present politicians who have sold us
      out to the West to the detriment of Islam," he added, before being
      whisked away by police. The governor of neighbouring Yobe state, where
      most of the violence occurred, said he had found a partial list naming
      54 core members of the group, which emblazoned "Taliban" on one of the
      cars used in the attacks.
      ..
      Mounting poverty and frustration among the growing ranks of young
      unemployed men make the oil exporting country an ideal breeding ground
      for extremists. This group of mostly disaffected students lived with
      their families in isolated compounds of mud and thatch huts in the
      northeastern fringe of the country near the borders with Niger, Chad
      and Cameroon. Authorities said arrests showed its membership came
      mostly from northern states of Kano, Katsina, Yobe and Borno, although
      some were from as far as Lagos in the south. Nigeria's debilitated
      state allows many illicit activities to go unchecked, and it was
      ranked the second most corrupt country in the world after Bangladesh
      by sleaze watchdog Transparency International.

      PAKISTAN

      [NWFP] Moot to finalise Hasba Act on 16th - 15 Jan 04
      http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_15-1-2004_pg7_10
      ..
      North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani
      said on Wednesday that a meeting of elected representatives, religious
      scholars and the Shariat Council would be held on January 16 to bring
      the Hasba Act to the provincial assembly.

      [NWFP] Input sought from govt departments: Shariat-based financial
      reforms http://www.dawn.com/2004/01/12/local18.htm - 12 Jan 04
      ..
      The Frontier government's recently-constituted special commission
      tasked to reform provincial public sector departments and financial
      institutions in line with Shariat would undetake its work soon,
      according to official sources. Under an official memorandum issued
      here on Saturday last, the NWFP finance department has asked the
      administrative heads of all provincial government departments to
      provide input on devising financial mechanisms and policies governing
      their respective departments in conformity with Shariat.
      ..
      The commission, according to an official source, was asked to suggest
      wide-ranging reforms in the provincial public sector and financial
      institutions to bring them in line with the Islamic laws, norms and
      practices. The body has been assigned the task to recommend a
      replacement based on Islamic principles of the financial existing
      system if the mechanism is in conflict with religious injunctions.
      The term of references put forth for the commission require it to
      suggest measures and a line of action for creating economic
      opportunities and introduce social reforms in accordance with the
      Constitution of the country. It is also supposed to come up with
      comprehensive proposals to abolish the prevalent interest-based
      economic system and identify its possible replacement. The commission
      has been asked to review the existing financial laws (provincial)
      concerning taxes, fees, insurance and banking to determine whether or
      not these are in clash with Islamic injunctions.

      QATAR

      Met office to have women forecasters - 12 Jan 04
      http://www.gulf-times.com/2004/01/12/locals.htm
      ..
      Qatar's meteorology department will soon have women forecasters in its
      ranks, disclosed Abdullah Mohamed al-Mannai, the department's new
      chief forecaster in an interview yesterday. Currently, only the
      Sultanate of Oman, in the entire GCC region, has employed women
      forecasters and they have been as successful as their male
      counterparts, al-Mannai pointed out

      SAUDI ARABIA

      Important Things to Remember in Tawaf - 12 Jan 04
      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=5§ion=0&article=37756&d=13&m=1&y=2004

      The Saudi Media Debates Flogging by the Saudi Religious Police -13 Jan
      http://www.virtualjerusalem.com/news/opinion/?disp_feature=FOdqgx.var

      Outside View: The Saudi quiet revolution - 14 Jan 04
      http://www.newsalert.com/bin/story?StoryId=Cqatm0bebB3v0C2LKzxzPzxCTC2f1zgK=


      Women Not Prohibited From Driving in Islam, Says Al-Qarni - 11 Jan 04
      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=37834&d=11&m=1&y=2004
      ..
      Sheikh Ayed Al-Qarni, a prominent Saudi Islamic scholar, has said that
      Islam does not prohibit women from driving but that the matter must be
      seriously discussed. He said he preferred a woman driving her car
      herself rather than being driven by a stranger without a legal escort.
      "There is no definite text (either in the Qur'an or Sunnah) that bans
      women driving," said the scholar, who is known for his moderate
      Islamic views, in an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper. He called for
      a debate on the issue by prominent scholars.
      ..
      The issue is likely to top the agenda of the next national dialogue,
      which will focus on women. According to Dr. Rashid Al-Rajeh, deputy
      chairman of the forum, 30 women will take part in the event to be held
      in Madinah next month.
      ..
      Faisal Ahmad, a postgraduate student in Islamic studies at Imam
      Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, said scholars must
      take decisions on important issues with responsibility. "Permitting
      and prohibiting things shouldn't be done lightly. When one permits or
      prohibits something in Islam, it's applicable to all Muslims. So when
      driving for women is prohibited, it means that all our Muslim sisters
      in the world are committing a sin when they drive," he pointed out.
      ..
      On A Dagger's Edge -- Saudi Women, Long Silent, Gain a Quiet Voice
      http://www.saudi-us-relations.org/newsletter2004/saudi-relations-interest-0=
      1-14.html

      Ulemas and Sheiks Consider The Withdrawal of Sheikh Al-Fahd - 09 Jan
      http://www.ain-al-yaqeen.com/issues/20040109/feat7en.htm
      ..
      A number of Ulemas and Sheiks in Saudi Arabia considered the recanting
      of Sheikh Nasser Al-Fahd's of his previous fatwas, after less than one
      week after Sheikh Ali Al-Khudair has repented and denounced the
      terrorist attacks in Makkah and Riyadh, a new blow to those who try to
      disturb the security and stability in the Kingdom.
      ..
      [Sheikh Al-Subail] added that those who make fatwas that incite
      killing and bombing are a devious group following the dissidents, and
      they have to know that what they have committed is against what is
      mentioned in the Quran and the Prophet's Sunna, and harms Islam.
      Sheikh Al-Subail stressed that he who adopts the devious thinking and
      tries to spread evil on earth, should be killed unless he returns and
      admits his mistake.
      ..
      One of the aids of Sheikh Aaid Al-Qarni, who conducted the TV
      interview with Sheikh Al-Khudair and Sheikh Al-Fahd, quoted him as
      saying that their retreat from their previous fatwas has been received
      with huge and widespread echo among the Ulema, sheikhs scholars and
      the different sections of the society.
      ..
      The ripple effect of the TV interview with Al-Khudair, the Islamic
      figurehead who recanted his earlier fatwa that sanctioned suicide
      bombings, is apparently still bustling on the pages of Saudi
      newspapers.
      ..
      In Al-Watan on Sunday, Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem said that optimists
      described Al-Khudair's revocation of his earlier fatwa as the
      beginning of the end of extremism in Saudi Arabia. But the Saudi
      writer and lawyer argued that intellectual terrorism is often
      relegated to individuals and the end of the phenomenon is always
      betted upon as soon as those individuals announce their remorse,
      without giving much attention to the source of extremism which,
      Al-Lahem said, is not debilitated. Al-Lahem also criticized the media
      for hyping Al-Khudair's revocation, saying that when he and others
      issued these fatwas a long time ago, the media did not say much, and
      waited until terror hit prominent religious and official entities. He
      also lashed out at the show host who appeared with Al-Khudair on Saudi
      national television last Monday, saying that he conducted the
      interview in a way that resembled an obnoxious intelligence
      interrogation. He said that the host practiced the exact opposite of
      what he preached of being tolerant and methodical when dealing with
      extremists, quoting what he said was an interview with the host by an
      entertainment magazine, a few days prior to the TV interview with
      Al-Khudair. Al-Lahem said that if those whom Al-Khudair labeled as
      infidels with his fatwa, had chosen to file law suits against them,
      they would be unlikely to win, since it came from Islamic figureheads
      like Al-Khudair, who are highly regarded by society to the extent of
      being unapproachable.
      ..
      He said that the first step towards a solution lies with more
      liberties, as well as creating peaceful means of expression through
      independent civil institutions, and opening the floor for criticism
      and reviews. Also in [Sunday's] Okaz, Issa Al-Hulayyan wrote that
      modernization, as opposed to modernity, is still seen as the dominant
      aspect in Arabic literature on development.
      ..
      In Monday's Al-Watan, Ziad Abdullah Al-Durais, Chief Editor of
      Al-Maarifa (Knowledge) magazine, said that airing a TV interview with
      Al-Khudair, who recanted his earlier fatwa that sanctioned violent
      jihad, was an indicator that the calls for dialogue with extremists
      have won over the calls for a forceful government crackdown on them.
      As he made no secret of being a supporter of dialogue, Al-Durais
      pointed out that dialogue with extremist clerics and figureheads who
      are believed to support the recent terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia,
      is not the same as negotiating with them.
      ..
      One missing question that Ayed Al-Qarni (host of the interview with
      Al-Khudair and Al-Fahd, who recanted another fatwa days after
      Al-Khudair) should have asked the two was: How did you overlook the
      Islamic evidence and references against labeling Muslims as infidels,
      killing non-Muslims with Muslim land and disobeying leaders before,
      while you heed them now? Al-Durais said that they should have been
      asked this question because what is required from Al-Khudair and
      Al-Fahd is not only a revocation of fatwas, but also a revocation of
      the mechanisms that steer people into issuing such extremist fatwas.
      ..
      the sensible thing is not to let such a grave issue end with a mere
      public appearance and apology. We have to find out how and why they
      arrived at their destructive convictions, and what circumstances
      helped them to gather followers around them and (for Al-Khudair and
      Al-Fahd) to plant their ideas in their minds, asserted Abu Talib.

      SOUTH AFRICA

      Haj means 'shut up', pilgrims complain - 07 Jan 04
      http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id=123&art_id=vn20040107135953898C9376=
      80
      ..
      The Muslim faithful who throng Mecca during the annual haj pilgrimage
      "must not cause trouble", Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince
      Abdullah bin Abul Aziz has warned. "All the pilgrims must carry out
      their rituals and avoid anything which might disturb their pilgrimage
      or that of their brothers," Abdullah told a cabinet meeting in the
      capital this week.
      ..
      Meanwhile, South Africa's Muslim leaders have reacted sternly to the
      "behave-or-else" edict, saying the Saudi Arabian government would like
      the haj to be reduced to an "empty ritual". Firoz Osman of the Media
      Review Network in Middleburg said the Crown Prince was, in effect,
      telling pilgrims there was no freedom of expression in the Holy Land.
      "It is clear the Saudis want haj to be a pointless ritual where no
      major issues affecting the global community can be debated openly.
      Simply put, this warning is telling pilgrims to shut up," said Osman.
      ..
      [UDW political scientist Lubna Nadvi]: "The crown prince's warning
      also tells us that the Saudis are not welcoming us with open arms as
      true brothers and sisters," Nadvi said. "Haj is not about simply
      performing rituals; it is an opportunity and a forum for debate on
      issues affecting the global Muslim community". Other South African
      Muslims pointed out they had an alternative vision, economic system,
      lifestyle, and even morality compared to the West. They said the
      spirit of haj, as well as the sacrifice, dedication, leadership and
      aspirations of Muslims, were being ignored and that the Saudis wanted
      them to merely come to the Holy Land, perform their rituals and then
      get out.

      SUDAN

      16-year-old Girl to be Flogged for 'Crime' of Adultery - 08 Jan 04
      http://www.amnesty.org.uk/deliver/document/15074
      ..
      Amnesty International is calling for the sentence of 100 lashes,
      passed on a 16-year-old school girl in the Sudanese capital Khartoum
      for the 'crime' of adultery, to be commuted immediately. Following the
      postponement of the punishment from 20 December to 23 January due to
      the girl's poor health, Amnesty International is also asking people
      all over the world to write to the Sudanese authorities asking them to
      stop the punishment going ahead.

      Intisar Bakri Abdulgader gave birth to a child in September after
      becoming pregnant outside marriage. She was convicted of adultery and
      sentenced by a local court in the Khartoum suburb of Kalakla in July
      when she was seven months pregnant. The sentence was upheld by the
      appeal court in August. The alleged father of the child has reportedly
      not been charged but will have a blood test to establish paternity.
      Intisar is caring for her four-month-old son, Dori. She is said to be
      very frightened at the prospect of the punishment and is reportedly
      eating and sleeping very little. Under article 146 of Sudan's Penal
      Code, adultery is punishable by execution by stoning if the offender
      is married, or by one hundred lashes if the offender is not married.
      Adultery is defined as sexual intercourse with a man without being
      lawfully bound to him. Although the penal codes are based on an
      interpretation of Islamic law everyone in the north of Sudan is
      subject to them. Intisar's family are Christians from the south of
      Sudan who fled to the north to escape fighting near their home.

      THAILAND

      Thailand to probe Islamic schools after attacks - 11 Jan 04
      http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/BKK200490.htm
      ..
      Thailand will investigate some private Islamic schools that are
      believed to have trained militants after a wave of violence in the
      country's Muslim south, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on
      Sunday. Since the attacks a week ago, Thaksin has consistently
      attributed the violence in the region to criminals, not the Islamic
      separatists some aides say are responsible. But on Sunday, Thaksin
      suggested there may be a link between Islamists and the raid on an
      army base and torching of 21 state schools which ignited fears of a
      separatist insurgency.
      ..
      Islamic leaders welcomed the investigations but accused Thailand of
      following in the footsteps of the United States in pointing the finger
      at Muslims whenever violent acts erupted. "We are ready for any probe
      by the government because we don't feel comfortable about these
      accusations," said Mohamad Naserruddin Lehnu, assistant principal at
      the Azizstan Foundation School in Pattani. In the past some schools
      might have been involved in separatist insurgencies, he said, but the
      separatist movement had died out in the 1990s. "People are more
      educated," he added. There are about 300 Islamic schools in southern
      Thailand, which is home to six million Muslims or about 10 percent of
      the population of the largely Buddhist country.
      ..
      The region is among the poorest in Thailand with a history of conflict
      between Muslims and the security apparatus. However, the intense
      manhunt by heavily armed soldiers and a round-up of 300 suspects,
      including Islamic teachers, for questioning, has fuelled resentment
      against the government. The army denied on Sunday reports that
      soldiers had disturbed Muslim graves while searching a cemetery for
      guns stolen during the raid on the army base.

      UK

      Why the West is wary of Muslims - 11 Jan 04
      http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,6903,1120615,00.html

      USA

      Eid sacrifice ritual latest casualty of BSE - 13 Jan 04
      http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040113.wumadcow13/BNStory=
      /Front/
      ..
      In the latest twist in the mad-cow saga, Muslims in the United States
      are scrambling to find new sources of live goat sacrifices now that
      Canadian exports have been cut off. Demand for Canada's live goats
      normally surges in the weeks before Eid, an Islamic festival in which
      the faithful cut an animal's neck and divide its meat among family,
      friends and the poor. That export business halted along with the sale
      of other ruminants after a case of mad-cow disease, or bovine
      spongiform encephalopathy, was discovered in Alberta last May.
      As the festival of Eid approaches on Feb. 1, some U.S. slaughterhouses
      and consumers are worrying that they won't find a proper source of the
      meat known as halal, which is handled according to Islamic rules.

      [Nation of Islam] Farrakhan aide has Jax clout - 13 Jan 04
      http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/154491p-135843c.html
      ..
      Mark Geragos may be leading Michael Jackson's defense against kiddie
      sex charges, but when the King of Pop's inner circle met yesterday, a
      Nation of Islam honcho sat at the head of the table. Leonard Muhammad,
      the son-in-law of controversial Minister Louis Farrakhan, was vague
      about why he was at the closed-door meeting. "We just want to make
      sure that everybody knows Michael Jackson is innocent," said Muhammad,
      who is also Farrakhan's chief of staff.

      UZBEKISTAN

      Uzbekistan fails US human rights test but wins waiver from penalty
      http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040111/pl_afp/us_uzbekistan_=
      rights_040111212724
      .. - 12 Jan 04
      The United States has determined that Uzbekistan's human rights record
      does not meet standards for participation in a US threat reduction
      program for former Soviet states but will not suspend the Central
      Asian nation, the State Department said.
      ..
      Rights groups estimate there are as many as 6,500 political and
      religious prisoners in Uzbekistan and a United Nations rapporteur last
      year said that Uzbek law enforcement agencies' use of torture appeared
      to be "systematic." Critics have charged that Karimov's secular rule
      may actually encourage Muslim extremism as there is virtually no legal
      way for them to express dissent, and showing even moderate religious
      faith can be dangerous.

      WORLD REGIONS

      Egypt's Mufti Urges Integration Protocol For Muslims In West
      http://www.islam-online.net/English/News/2004-01/13/article08.shtml
      ..
      Egypt's Mufti Ali Goma called Tuesday, January13 , for drawing up a
      Muslim-Western protocol regulating the everyday lives of Muslims in
      the West. "I adjure the wise men in the West to put their heads
      together and draft a protocol [regulating the relations] between
      statesmen and leading intellectuals in the West, on the one hand, and
      Muslim scholars in general and Muslims living in the West, on the
      other," Goma told IslamOnline.net in an exclusive interview. "This
      protocol can regulate the lives of Muslims living in western societies
      and draw up guidelines for integrating them into these societies --
      which adopt secularism, defend human rights and do not interfere in
      the religious rituals of others," added the prominent scholar.

      YEMEN

      Using dialogue as the key to reform - 11 Jan 04
      http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm?id=ZAWYA20040111120453
      .. [interview with Judge Hamoud Al-Hitar]
      Following the arrest of hundreds of suspected "extremists" after
      September 11, a serious dilemma arose for Yemen between maintaining
      national security and upholding human rights. Recognizing that the use
      of force with the detainees could only strengthen their wayward
      convictions, a policy of intellectual dialogue was put into effect,
      headed by Judge Hamoud Al-Hitar.
      ..
      Dialogue was held with every young person who came back from
      Afghanistan, and with others who were arrested for committing
      terrorist acts or adopting ideology other than that recognized as
      sound by all Muslim scholars. This policy was chosen by President Ali
      Abdullah Saleh for conversing not only with extremists, but with all
      political and intellectual opponents.
      ..
      The dialogue included various controversial matters, including
      concepts of jihad in Islam and the rules that govern it, who has the
      right to give orders, concepts of the state and the Caliphate, and
      obedience to the constitution and law. We also spoke about describing
      others as non-believers, the rights of foreigners in Islamic
      countries, the notion of calling for good deeds and prohibiting bad
      ones, the Islamic way of dealing with offenders, and the consequences
      of actions.
      ..
      the extremism of some young people was the result of a grave
      illiteracy of the religion. These people had some Surahs and Hadiths
      memorized, but they had fixed misguided doctrine in their minds. They
      ignored the rules for determining what a Koranic text means and
      thereby made incorrect interpretations of many Koranic verses,
      strictly adhering to these mistaken beliefs. Even those who memorized
      the Koran and the Hadiths and knew all the rules of interpretation
      ignored the situation of the Arab and Muslim Ummah, according to which
      none of their conclusions are valid. Every mujtahid [a person
      eligible to interpret the Koran and Hadiths] must take into
      consideration the situation of the Muslim people today and make sure
      that their conclusions serve the religion of Islam. The interest of
      Islam is what determines whether an interpretation of a holy text
      applies or not. The concept of jihad in particular has been
      misinterpreted since the Cold War, when the Muslims of Afghanistan got
      involved in a showdown against the army of the Soviet Union.

      ZANZIBAR

      When Is A Divorce A Divorce? Determining Intention In Zanzibar's
      Islamic Courts 1 [Source: Ethnology] Publication date: 2003-10-01
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=45829908

      ISLAMIC FINANCE

      Keynes and Islamic banking -a revisitation by Dr Nadeem Inayat-12 Jan
      http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jan2004-daily/12-01-2004/oped/o5.htm

      Kuwait passes foreign banks law - 13 Jan 04
      http://www.bday.co.za/bday/content/direct/1,3523,1520057-6078-0,00.html
      ..
      Kuwait's parliament has approved a law allowing foreign banks to
      operate in the oil-rich emirate, in yet another move to open up the
      country following Saddam Hussein's ouster in neighbouring Iraq. The
      law, passed with 24 votes in favour, 18 against and one abstention,
      amends 1968 legislation to allow the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) to
      issue licences for foreign banks or their branches. The Foreign Direct
      Investment (FDI) Law, which Kuwait began implementing in October,
      allows foreign banks to operate in the emirate only after securing
      approval from the CBK, which was unable to do so under existing
      legislation. The new law however stipulates that Kuwaitis must form at
      least half of the bank's workforce within three years of operation,
      despite protests by the government and some MPs that this was
      difficult to implement.
      ..
      The parliament also turned down a proposal by several Islamist MPs
      calling for forcing those banks to operate in accordance with sharia,
      or Islamic law. The law becomes effective only after Emir Sheikh Jaber
      al-Ahmad al-Sabah endorses it based on the cabinet recommendation. All
      seven ministers present voted in favour of the law.
      ..
      Currently, only 10 Kuwaiti banks operate in the emirate, including
      three specialised banks. All are small apart from National Bank of
      Kuwait (NBK), which is owned by leading merchant families.
      ..
      In October, the cabinet began implementing the long-delayed FDI law
      which practically opened up the Kuwaiti economy to foreign investors
      with the exception of oil and gas. .. Pressure is also mounting on the
      parliament and the government to issue legislation allowing the
      privatisation of public utilities like power, communications and other
      sectors.

      [Lebanon] First Islamic bank opens in Beirut - 12 Jan 04
      http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=196353
      ..
      A new Islamic banking institution with a planned capital of 100
      million dollars opened here Monday, becoming the first Islamic finance
      house to be based in Lebanon. .. The institution [Arab Finance House],
      which includes a commercial bank and an investment bank, has a
      fully-paid capital of 60 million dollars that will be raised to 100
      million dollars in three years. The main contributors are a group of
      Persian Gulf investors including the Qatar Islamic Bank, the
      Manama-based Persian Gulf finance house and the Kuwaiti Usul company.
      ..
      Islamic banking draft law slated for approval - 14 Jan 04
      http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=39057
      ..
      Finance Minister Fouad Siniora said Tuesday that he did not expect
      political hurdles to impede the endorsement of an Islamic banking
      draft law that currently awaits parliamentary approval. .. Previously,
      some Lebanese bankers had been opposed to the idea of introducing
      Islamic banking here. They argued that its mode of operation could
      create problems for Lebanon's banking industry, which is widely seen
      as the strongest economic sector in Lebanon.

      Takaful Malaysia bags Euromoney award - 15 Jan 04
      http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2004/1/15/business/7108268
      ..
      Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd, the provider of Islamic insurance
      services based on syariah principles, won the Best Provider of Takaful
      Services award from Euromoney, an international financial publication
      based in London. Euromoney said in a statement yesterday that Takaful
      Malaysia had remained the dominant provider of takaful in Malaysia and
      boosted profits by 30% last year with offerings of 120 products for
      general and family takaful businesses. It said the business model
      based on the profit sharing principle of al-Mudharabah was one of the
      leading competitive advantages of Takaful Malaysia in view that
      management expenses were not charged on the contributions (premium)
      received. Euromoney added that Takaful Malaysia's ability to win an
      increasing amount of businesses from non-Muslim customers was evidence
      of their competitiveness.

      [Malaysia] Solidvest to invest US$ 2.5b in 3 projects - 09 jan 04
      http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=45690418
      ..
      Solidvest Sdn Bhd plans to undertake, from March, three major
      integrated food-based projects with investments worth as much as US$
      2.5 billion (US$1 = RM3.80), said its general manager Geoffrey Tegjeu.
      "The money is from a consortium of investors from Europe," Tegjeu told
      Mail Money at his office in Shah Alam yesterday. .. "We have plans to
      set up two plants in Manjung, Perak, and one in Selangor." .. The
      three projects will be centred on the setting up of an integrated
      halal meat processing and by-products centre, a fishery port and fish-
      processing activities and an auction and food-processing centre.

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