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Islamic World News ( 18 Nov 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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How Sharia Law Punishes Raped Women: Death of 13-yr- old Aisha Duhulowa



2. Islam is not the Enemy: Western power elite always need a public enemy to maintain their grip on political and economic systems to manipulate nations and to generate huge profits by Elias Akleh

3. Bandipora: Kashmir Votes, Muslims Divided by Farooq A Ganai

4. Afghan leader pledges to protect Taliban from US by Ben Farmer in Kabul

5. There Is No Mac Counter-Terrorism': It requires enormous patience and painstaking work by B. RAMAN

6. Fatwa call centre sets minds at rest: A husband is allowed to beat his wife by Graeme Baker

7. Dubai: New bank branch caters to women only

8. French court overturns Muslim virgin marriage

9. Malaysian Islamic party to open up to non-Muslims

10. Muslims and modernity

Compiled by Syed Asadullah




How Sharia Law Punishes Raped Women: Death of 13-yr- old girl Aisha Duhulowa


By Hasan Mahmud,

November 17, 2008


On October 30, 2008, the United Nations condemned the stoning to death of Aisha Duhulowa, a 13-year-old girl who had been gang-raped and then sentenced to death by a Sharia court for fornication (Zina). She was screaming and begging for mercy, but when some family members attempted to intervene, shots were fired by the Islamic militia and a baby was killed.

Local Sharia courts in Bangladesh regularly punish raped minor girls and women by flogging and beating them with shoes. [1] Similar cases of punishing raped women are Mina v. the State, Bibi v. the State and Bahadur v. the State.[2] Sharia courts in Pakistan have punished thousands of raped women by long term imprisonment.[3]

You might think that such horrific barbarity cannot be the real Sharia law; that it is a misapplication of the law by ignorant clergy. Sadly, neither is true.

There is a traceable dynamic in Sharia Law that is bound to lead to this barbarity. And unless we abandon these laws we will never be able to emerge from this barbarity. It was a blunder that Muslim jurists included rape in the Hudood section of Sharia Law that deals with murder, bodily harm, apostasy, drinking, defamation, theft, adultery and highway robbery. But anyone who tried to change these laws ended up banging their heads against the wall.  Mawdudi, the founding father of modern Political Islam, claims that even if all the world’s Muslims together wanted to make the slightest change in these laws, they would not be allowed to do so.[4]

But change is necessary.

Another key element of these laws is that only eye-witnesses are acceptable and no circumstantial evidence can be accepted.[5] Rape is included in the Dyat (monetary compensation for bodily harm) section of Sharia Law because it is considered as "Bodily Harm” or “Robbing Property" (chastity). This classification led jurists to create these laws:

* A rapist is obliged to pay the victim the amount typically received as marriage payment to similar brides. [6]

* “If the rapist cannot be punished for any reason he will pay the victim the amount equal to bride-money.”[7]

As no other punishment is mentioned, the punishment of rape can be only financial compensation. But Jurists missed the point that rape is a crime of its own kind. It has a devastating psychological and social impact on raped women. They are shamed to death, socially outcast, unsuitable for marriage, bring shame on the family and in some countries become the victims of honour killing. Many raped women commit suicide in Muslim countries.

The Quranic word “Zina” means sexual relation between a man and woman not married to each other. It is called adultery for married persons and fornication for unmarried ones. The Quran severely prohibits Zina. Muslim jurists also included rape in the category of Zina because in rape cases such sexual relations “between a man and woman not married to each other,” even though forced on the victim, have taken place. As rape is not mentioned in the Quran, the death sentence for rapists originated from the Prophet’s example:  “Narrated Wa'il ibn Hujr: When a woman went out in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) for prayer, a man attacked her and overpowered (raped) her. …..he said: Stone him to death”. [8]

The laws are so clear about defining rape and the requirement for proof of rape that a judge has no option but punish the rape victims.

When rape is caught or reported, “sex between a man and woman not married to each other” can be proven by testimony, physical evidences of bodily scars/bruises, torn clothing or pregnancy of the victim. Then the Sharia laws are enforced.

Sharia Law:  The rapist will be punished to death if force on the victim is proven. [9]

Clear enough. But exactly how can “force on the victim” be proven?  The answer must surely rank as one of the most insane and sexist laws in human history.

(A)  "Proof of Zina (adultery) or Zina Bil-Jabr (rape) liable to Hadd shall be one of the following:

        (a) The accused makes confession or

        (b) There are at least four Muslim adult male witnesses” [10]

(B)    "Proof of adultery or rape liable to Hadd shall be one of the following:

         (a) The accused makes confession, or

         (b) There are at least four Muslim adult male witnesses.”[11]

(C)    “Punishment will take place when Zina or rape has been proved by witness.”[12]

(D)    Sharia Law rejects the witness of women in Hudood cases.[13]

(E)    “The evidence of women is originally inadmissible on account of their weakness of understanding, want of memory and incapacity of governing.”[14]

Because such “proofs” are almost impossible to obtain and because circumstantial evidence is not accepted, a rape cannot be proved as rape in a Sharia court. Instead, “sex outside marriage” is proved for the woman by her complaint or physical scars or torn cloths or pregnancy etc. Then the law of “Punishment for Sex Outside Marriage” i.e. stoning to death for married adulterers and flogging and exile for unmarried adulterers are applied to the rape-victims.[15] On the other hand, a rapist has simply to deny the crime and go Scott free. As the New York Times reports: “Ms. Lawal, a divorced woman, identified a man as the father of her child. The man denied the charge, swore on the Koran, and was deemed innocent by the trial court. No one suggested DNA tests.”[16]

But DNA tests have no place in Hudood Laws either. The BBC reported that Zafran Bibi of Pakistan “went to the police to register a case of rape, but she herself was instead sentenced to death for having an adulterous affair.”[17] About conducting a DNA test to identify the rapist, the Dawn reports: “Justice Ali Nawaz Chauhan of the Lahore High Court has observed that the DNA test is not acceptable as evidence to establish the offence of Zina under the Hudood laws which require a direct testimony in such cases….” [18]

This is how Sharia Law punishes raped women. The sources of these laws span the period from the 7th century to recent times. Some Muslim countries have withdrawn from the application of these laws, but these laws are still alive and active in many Muslim societies. Many Muslims talk about it, but there has never been a concerted effort to end this barbarity. It is true that many, including the UN’s Children Fund, have expressed  alarm over the plight of Aisha Duhulowa, but history tells us that merely condemning these acts or calling on the humanity of the perpetrators has never stopped the violent soldiers of God. The solution can only been found by raising the awareness and opposition of the entire world, irrespective of religion.

Muslims must reject this barbarity or risk Islam being seen as the criminal. The screams of little Aisha Duhulowa will echo around the world until this is done.


[1] The Daily Star on 04 April 2006

[2] “Rape Law in Islamic Societies” by Julie Norman, CSID 6th Annual Conference

[3] Annual report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, May 2004 – Ref - National Commission on the Status of Women in Pakistan.

[4] Islamic Law and Constitution - page 140.

[5] Codified Islamic Law Vol 2 page 600

[6] Shafi'i Law Reliance of the Traveler -# m.8.10

[7] Codified Islamic Law Vol 1 page 301 

[8] Abu Dawood Book 38, Hadis# Number 4366

 [9] Codified Islami Law Volume 1 Law#134, Shafi’i law Reliance of the Traveler – o.7.3

[10] Pakistan Hudood Ordinance VII of 1979 amended by Ordinance XX of 1980

[11] Codified Islami Law Volume 1 Law#133[12] Ibid Law #135

[13] Hanafi Law-Page 176, 353, Shafi’i Law- page 638 Law#o.24.9, Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World –page 251, The Penal Law of Islam – Kazi Publications Lahore- page 44, 45, Tafsir of Translation of the Qura’an by Muhiuddin Khan pages 239 and 928

[14] The Penal Law of Islam – Kazi Publications Lahore- page 44 – 45

[15] Hanafi Law Hedaya 178, Codified Islamic Law#129 Vol 1, Sunan Abu Dawood Book 38,4451& 4423



[18] Hasan Mahmud is the Director of Sharia Law of the Muslim Canadian Congress. He played a vital role in the successful movement against the Toronto Sharia Court. The court had been established in 1991 (and functioning since then) with the blessing of Ontario law and was banned in 2003 when the Ontario Government enacted a new law banning all faith-courts. He has authored books, debates, 2 docu-dramas and a docu-movie on Sharia. He has also spoken on Sharia in various conferences in Europe and North America.




Islam is not the Enemy: Western power elite always need a public enemy to maintain their grip on political and economic systems to manipulate nations and to generate huge profits


By Elias Akleh   


The Western power elite, especially American (military industries, security agencies, financial institutions, and oil corporations) always need a public enemy in order to maintain their grip on political and economical systems to manipulate nations and to generate huge profits. They always create new enemies by stressing differences between groups of people and inciting hatred among them.

With the collapse of communist Soviet Union, enemy number one for the last few generations, the power elite lost a lot of “businesses” in the forms of military manufacturing and security services. One example of this is the economy of the state of California, which suffered greatly because it is based mainly on military industry. A new enemy was needed to re-boost these industries.

The attacks of 9/11 were orchestrated and Al-Qaeda was accused of the act. The needed new public enemy was thus created.

Al-Qaeda, the base in Arabic, was established, armed, and financed by Texan CIA operative Charlie Wilson to fight the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. After liberating Afghanistan the Talibans started destroying the opium crops and replacing them with wheat. Wall Street used to rake huge financial profits from Afghanistan’s opium money laundering. Taliban leaders were brought to Washington to be persuaded to halt the destruction of opium industry. But they rejected all Wall Street proposals making themselves an enemy of international bankers and financial institutions. After the invasion of Afghanistan, war lords were established and the opium industry was quadrupled.

To keep the military industry cranking there was a need to widen the conflict. The Western power elites and their mouthpiece media took the fact that Al-Qaeda leaders were mainly Islamic and associated the terror accusation to Islam. Thus Islamic terror and Islamic terrorist groups became new terminologies used to brainwash the populace. This relatively small Islamic Al-Qaeda group was inflated to become the new super global power, richer and more powerful than the rest of the global super powers. It was portrayed as a global threat used to justify any government’s oppression of dissenting groups, who could be labeled as terrorists.

Political clergy joined in the act of demonizing Islam. Pastors of televangelist Zionist Christians and Christians United for Israel such as John Hagee, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Michael Savage and Rod Parsley routinely attack Islam and the Prophet Mohammad during their ceremonies. They describe Prophet Mohammad as a terrorist, a heathen, follower of Satan, and womanizer among others. Islam is described as a false religion, anti-Christ, terrorist, undemocratic, violent, suppressive, satanic, and culture of death. The term Islamofascism was created and equated with Communism and Fascism. The “mad Muslim Mullahs” have become the ghoul of the West. First there was Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini, then Libyan Moamar Ghaddafi, then Mohammad Adid of Somalia, then Osama Bin Laden, and then Iraqi Saddam Hussein. Lately we have Iranian Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Lebanese Hezbollah, and Palestinian Hamas.  


Those American so-called Christian pastors are aggressively inciting hatred and enmity against Muslims with the attitude of “Our way is God’s way and if you don’t accept our beliefs then we will kill you in the name of God.” They are advocating the murder of all “heathen” Muslims, the destruction of their cities, the nuking of their holy places, and the “conversion of all Muslims to Christianity to become human beings” like what happened in Spain in 1492, after the 800 years of Reconquista wars, when defeated Muslims and Jews of Spain were ordered to convert to Christianity or face persecution.


Such pastors are poisoning the psyche of their naïve followers with warring themes such as “America as a bastion against Islam”, “America’s historical conflict with Islam”, “Cleansing the Holy Land from all Muslim heathens”, “Crusading holy wars”, and “Islam: the greatest religious enemy of our (American) civilization”. It seems that these pastors do not prescribe to a God of love and peace, but to a god of war and destruction. Apparently, theirs is a criminal god with a religion of death.

What makes them more dangerous is that many politicians in the American administration, and even the defeated presidential candidate John McCain supported by his Republican party, proclaim these pastors as “spiritual guides”, “great leaders of America”, and “moral compass of America”.

On top of all those, we see the Zionist Israeli terrorist state claiming that the most ruthless enemy of the world is Islam, calling the religion “enemy of civilization”, “ oppressor of women”, “hater of peace”, “opponent to democracy”, “terrorist Jihadis”, and “foe of humanity”. In an attempt to cover their terror and to justify ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs, the Israelis claim that they are the victims of global Islamic terror, and are the spearhead of morality and evolution, which are courageously fighting this Islamic ghoul to save the rest of the civilized world.

Unfortunately the average American person of the street in general, and even many who consider themselves educated and with critical thinking, who are panting heavily in their attempt to acquire the loaf of bread for their families, who worry about paying the bills; taxes, mortgages, insurance and many others, do not have the interest nor enough energy to seek the truth. The majority of them collapse on the couch at the end of the day, passively watching their TV sets, and taking in the meta-messages sent to their unconscious by puppet politicians and false clergy. Through repetition lies become realities

Albert Einstein once said: “Condemnation without investigation is the highest ignorance.” So let us do a little investigation. Let us refer to the holy texts (1) themselves rather than just listen to the misleading, hate-evoking, warmongering and poisoning words of the political clergy, special interest politicians, and their media mouth piece.

Islam is a wide spread religion in many different cultures and traditions. Islam is a religion and not a culture. Almost one third of the world populations are Muslims. There are hundreds of thousands of volumes written about Islam. Reading some of these volumes we discover that the Islamic prophet was a humble and an ascetic man. He did not live in luxurious homes, rather in a very humble one like any other citizen. He did not own gold and silver rather he was poor. He did not wear silky and colourful clothes, but had only one rough garment. He did not stuff his stomach with fatty rich meals, but mostly rice and milk. Those, who accuse Prophet Muhammad of being a womanizer, should read the Old Testament to learn about womanizing prophets; Abraham and Moses had multiple wives, Jacob married two sisters Rachel and Leah and their maids Bilhah and Zilbah. Solomon had a hundred wives (that is a real womanizer).


Mohammad was not incestuous unlike Abraham, who married his sister, or Lot, who impregnated his two daughters, or Judah who slept with his daughter-in-law Tamar. He did not cause the death of a person to steal his wife like David, who, although having many wives, caused the death of Uriah the Hittite to steal his wife Bathsheba. One needs only to read the Old Testament to learn of more similar stories. It should be known that Mohammad’s wives were given to him in political marriages as a sign of tribal loyalty. 

Preaching monotheism and acknowledging all previous prophets starting from Adam down to Jesus, Mohammad attracted the attention of Jewish Arabs (many Arabs adopted Judaism) of the city of Yathrib in Hijaz (present day Saudi Arabia). After listening to his Islamic teachings the Jews of Yathrib considered Mohammad their awaiting Messiah. They invited him to live in their city and changed its name to Al Medina Al Munawwarah (the enlightened city). Losing political power and revenue the Jewish Pharisees plotted with Mohammad’s enemies against him, but was defeated. The treachery of the Jews was documented in Islamic literature, and has been falsely misinterpreted as Islamic hatred to Judaism rather than to its political Rabbis.

Islam, in its core, is a peaceful religion. The word “Islam” means total surrender to God’s will. Sufism, a life dedication to meditation and praying to recognize God, is the ultimate form of Islam. Muslims believe in all the prophets starting with Adam down to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, and all the way to Jesus Christ and talk about all of them venerably unlike the Old Testament that describe many of these prophets as womanizers, incestuous, murderers, and warmongers. One needs only read the Qur’an to realize this fact. Every chapter (Surat) in the Qur’an talks about these prophets and some are dedicated to their names such as Surat Ibrahim, Surat Joseph, Surat Meriam, Surat Prophets and many others. Muslims consider Islamic creed as an extension of the creeds of all the previous pre-Islamic prophets. Islam recognizes the “People of the Book” and their scriptures (Surat Imran 3, Surat Al-Ma’idah 47-51, Surat An’am 154 and many others). Qur’an states that their God and our God is the same (Surat Spider 46).

Contrary to the claims of politicians and political clergy, Muslims do not strive to forcibly convert people to their religion. Islam respects, and calls all Muslims to respect, true Jews and Christians calling them “people of the book”. Islam states “no coercion in religion”. Only through dialogue religion can be spread (Surat Spider 46). Islam considers true Jewish God, Christian God and Muslim God as one and same God. On the other hand we read in Judaic Hilchoth Melachim, c.viii, 4 that Talmud commands the Jews to convert the heathens to Judaism by the power of the sword and to murder all who refuse and to take away their children.

Unlike political Judaism that describes Virgin Mary as a whore (Sanhedrin 106a and Shabbath 104b) Islam reveres Jesus’ mother, Virgin Mary, and dedicates a long chapter in the Qur’an with her name; Surat Miriam. Unlike Judaic false Rabbis, who hate and insult Jesus Christ, Islam recognizes Him as a divine messenger (Surat Imran 45, Surat Women 170). Muslims venerate Jesus and call him “The Word of God”, “Logos”, “Messiah the prophet” and a “Messenger of God” (Surat Imran 35, Surat Al-Ma’idah 47,49 & 78, Surat Cow 87 among many others). False Rabbis, especially Orthodox Jewish Hasidic Lubavitch group, insult Christ and describe him as a sorcerer, sexually immoral, a dangerous prophet, and call for his murder according to their god’s commands. (

In the Judaic Avodat Kochavim, Maimonides stated that “It is a mitzvah (religious duty) to murder Jesus and his followers, and all non-Jews”. Moses Maimonide, a rabbinic law codifier and philosopher in Jewish history, wrote the “Mishneh Torah”, considered the Second Torah, in which he taught that Christians and Muslims should be murdered when Talmudists are dominant over gentiles (Avodat Kochavim, chapter 10). Avodah Zarah 17a states that Christians are allied with hell, and Christianity is worse than incest. Going to prostitutes is the same as becoming a Christian. Shabbat 116a states “The books of Christians may not be saved from a fire, but must be burnt in their place”. The Israelis followed this commandment to the letter when they burned hundreds of Bibles in Occupied Palestine on March 23rd, 1980, and again on May 20th, 2008 (Assoc. Press 5/20/2008 & Israeli Maariv newspaper). Jewish Israeli hatred of Jesus is expressed in the Jewish anti-Gospel “Toledoth Eshu”, revived and reprinted by the biggest Israeli tabloid Yedioth Aharnoth in 2000. Jews referred to Jesus by the name of “Yeshu” meaning “Perish his name”.

The status of women under Islam is one of the most intentionally misrepresented and falsely exaggerated issues by Western politicians and their political clergy cronies. Islam had liberated women long before women’s liberation movements in the West even began. I had lived in Islamic, Israeli and American societies, and have found higher percentage of Israeli and American women being abused, enslaved and victimized under the flag of so called Western women liberation movements, freedom and democracy. Women prostitution slave-trade, in its many forms, is very common within these two societies. One needs only to watch televised news and reads local newspapers to recognize this fact.

Islam respects and cherishes women as mothers, wives, daughters and sisters and grants them all human and legal rights. Mohammad’s wife was a very successful business woman. The Qur’an dedicates a long chapter for women (Surat Women). Islam stopped female infanticide, gives women the right to inherit parents, husband and siblings, assigns married women dowry and divorced women alimony and child support, forbids arranged marriages and gives women the right to refuse marriage (Surat Nur 23), and gives women freedom to become contributing members to society in every form. Muslim women in all Islamic countries, even the most economically impoverished, are involved in every aspect of life even though some of these countries barely provide such chances for men themselves. One needs to watch televised broadcasts and listen to radio stations of these Islamic countries to recognize the contributions of Muslim women to media, art, music, social services, politics, education, business, finance and industry.

The West points to the veil, a fashion of Muslim women’s head dress, as some kind of a proof of Islamic retardation. Unlike many Western women, who wear provocative clothing exposing their sexual body parts, Islam requires men and women to dress conservatively in respect for their bodies, and it happened that the veil was a common dress at the time. This dress requirement is common to the three religions, where we find fundamentalist Christian women and nuns covering all parts of their body, and fundamentalist Jewish women having to wear a hair piece to cover their hair (Shulchan Aruch 2:153:8 and Mishnah Berurah 75:13) . Although a gradually disappearing fashion, as we could tell by watching Muslim televised broadcasts, the veil is still a sign of religious practice. Unfortunately, to incite hatred, politicians use the media to show the exceptions to the rules that exist into every religion and not just in Islam.

Women’s status in Islamic Qur’an is a whole lot better than theirs in non-Islamic holy books. Judaic “holy” texts consider women impure and filthy. There is a Judaic obsession with women’s menstrual blood and the shades of its colour, and consider it very toxic. There are numerous strict rules that menstruating women have to observe, including segregation from community, or face divine punishment (see Halachos of Niddah – Laws of Menstruation in the Shulchan Aruch: Yoreh De’ah 14a). Since women are considered impure, it is forbidden to teach them the Law (BT Kiddushin 29b), and they are not allowed to write a Torah scroll or read the Torah because it is a disgrace to the congregation (Berakhot 24a and BT Gittin 45b). Because rabbinic sages regard Jewish women as “sacks of excrements” (Shabbat 152b), and “meat from a butcher shop” (Nedarim 20b) they are banned until today from Talmud study.

Texts such as BT Sanhedrin 54b and 69b allow homosexuality, child molestation, incest and sodomy with a child under 9 years old. It is permissible to sexually molest a 3 years old girl as documented in “Classic Guide to Jewish Law” V.2, P 1023 (Metsudah Publication, 1996) and in BT Ketubot 11b. Maimonide agreed to this law.

Hasidim women are considered the most oppressed women in the world. It is a common knowledge that arranged marriages are common practice among the ultra-Orthodox Jews. In the Hassidic village of New Square, NY the community’s top rabbinical court published, in July 2005, a document prohibiting their women from driving cars, and their girls from riding bicycles. It also states that men and women must always walk on different sides of the streets.

Orthodox Judaic women are segregated in synagogues in what is known as “ezrat nashim” section, and on buses they have to sit in the back of the bus, much like the Negro women in the old segregated American South. On November 24th, 2006  Miriam Shear, an American Israeli woman, was kicked in the face and violently beaten by ultra-Orthodox (Haredi/Hasidic) men for refusing to move to the rear of an Israeli Egged bus in Jerusalem ( Haaretz Dec. 17, 2006). Similarly, Iris Yoffe, an Israeli student, although sitting in the women’s section of the bus, faces all kinds of abuse from ultra-Orthodox Jews because she wears trousers, June 15, 2008 (

The claim that Islam is a terrorist religion of death is a great sin. The Qur’an states that war is the most hated act to God (Surat Imran 216), but since war is inevitable and is forced onto Muslims then they have to defend themselves (Surat Imran 195). Prophet Mohammad forbade Muslim soldiers from killing civilians; children, women, elderly, and non-combatant. He forbade them from torching homes, from cutting trees, from poisoning water wells and from burning crops. He ordered them to take good care of prisoners, and to release them if they could not care for them. The Islamic call for “Jihad” is greatly misunderstood and distorted concept. Jihad for God means exerting mental efforts against bodily desires through meditation and prayer (Sufism) in order to recognize God. One should realize that for at least the last 300 hundred years none of the Islamic countries had attacked any Western Christian country. The opposite is true. The Western Christian countries have been attacking and destroying the Islamic world. Under the guise of war against global terror, and the lies of spreading freedom and democracy the Western armies are daily massacring  Muslims in Africa (Somalia & Sudan), in the Middle East (Palestine, Lebanon & Iraq), and in Southeast Asia (Afghanistan & Pakistan)

Judaic prophets and Rabbis have done the exact opposite. According their god’s wish they ordered ancient Israelite, and present-day Israelis, to kill all their enemies including children, women, and elderly, to kill all their farm animals, to burn and demolish their homes, to poison their water-wells, to cut their fruit trees and to wipe off all their towns and villages. Samuel, the god’s chosen Israelite prophet, had ordered king Saul, upon god’s request, to attack Amalek, “… kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (Samuel I 15:2-9). The Old Testament is full of such incidents where Israelite prophets ordered their people to commit genocide. Even Moses, the giver of the Law “Thou shalt not kill” had ordered his people to annihilate Goyims and take their land.

Such terrorism and genocide is considered a religious duty in the Judaic texts. Moses Maimonide’s Mishnah Torah chapter 10 p.184 considers these atrocities a “Mitzvah” : a religious duty. He decreed that any non-Jewish nation “… not subject to our jurisdiction (tahat yadeinu) will be the target of Jewish Holy War” (Hilkhot Melakhim 8:9-10, 10:11. also see Gerald J. Blidstein, “Holy War in Maimonide’s Law”, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press 1991).  Rabbi Simon ben Yachai, highly revered by both Khazar and Sephardic Jews, encouraged such genocide in his Soferim 15, Rule 10 stating that “… even the best of the gentiles should all be killed”. Yosef Obadia, Israeli chief Rabbi, calls on Israeli army and all settlers to kill all Palestinians because they are just cockroaches.

Such “Mitzvahs” are conducted daily by the terrorist Israeli army, whose snipers target innocent defenceless Palestinian children. The Israeli army and Israeli extremist settlers attack Palestinian civilians, demolishing and burning their cities and homes, poisoning their water-wells, burning their crops, cutting down thousands-years-old olive and fruit trees, killing their farm animals, razing their fertile soil, and imprisoning their whole communities within a high cement wall. The genocidal crimes (Mitzvahs) of the Israelis are numerous to count here.

The Palestinians, with its Muslim majority, backed by the neighbouring Arab countries, also with their Muslim majority, sought peaceful solutions with Israel. They accepted the illegal existence of terrorist Israel on 78% of Palestine in order to establish a Palestinian state on the remaining 22%, and to live peacefully side by side with Israel. But the successive Israeli governments had ignored all Arab peace offers and continue with their holy genocidal plan driven by their Talmudic right and Halakhic duty to kill gentiles.

Zionist Israeli Rabbis, shamelessly, tour the Western World, advocating such genocide. In 1994 Baruch Goldstein murdered 40 Muslim Palestinian worshippers while kneeling in prayer in the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque. After his death Israelis built a shrine for him in the colony of Keryat Arba’ and called him a saint. Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsbergh went out on a lecture tour in Canada and US breaching such mass murder of Goyims as a “mystical technique” for the attainment of ecstasy and “personal experience of the divine”.

These examples are just a drop of an ocean. It is not the Islamic holy Qur’an, but the Judaic “holy texts” that call for terrorism, genocide, oppression and destruction; a holy war against all non-Jews based on prejudiced god with divine racist ideology of “God’s chosen people in God’s promised land”. It is not the Islamic madrassas (schools) but the Judaic Yeshivas (Talmudic Academies) that teach racism, terrorism, genocide, and a religion of death to disillusioned Israeli students.

He Holy Qur’an, The Holy Bible

Michael Hoffman II, “Judaism’s Strange Gods” [Independent History & Research, Idaho, US, 200]

Michael Hoffman II, “Judaism Discovered” [Independent History & Research, Idaho, US. 2008]

Elias Akleh a contributing editor to MWC is an Arab writer from a Palestinian descent born in the town of Beit Jala. His family was first evicted from Haifa after the “Nakba” of 1948, then from Beit Jala after the “Nakseh” of 1967. He lives now in the US, and publishes his articles on the web in both English and Arabic. Source:



Kashmir Votes, Muslims Divided

By Farooq A Ganai

Bandipora - A seven-phase local election started on Monday, November 17, in India-controlled Kashmir amid tight security, with Muslims divided between voting and boycotting.

"Voting is our democratic right and we are voting to choose those who represent us," Mohammed Afzal, a retired teacher, told after casting his ballot in Bandipora town.


"We cast our vote to strengthen the democracy and develop the infrastructure of the state."

The state government in Muslim-majority Kashmir collapsed following a controversial decision to give land in the region to a Hindu pilgrim trust.

Voting was held Monday in ten constituencies out of the total 87 assembly segments.

The elections are being staggered over seven phases, with the last scheduled for December 24 in Srinagar.

"Having faced a lot of problems and lacking proper infrastructure in the district which remained neglected during previous years we wish to vote for a candidate who can at least take care of the developmental aspect of the area," said Ghulam Hassan, 44.

Chief electoral officer B.R. Sharma said the turnout in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley was more than 50 percent, with hundreds of people queuing at polling stations from the early morning.

"We have recorded over all 55 percent of polling in ten constituencies which went to poll today," he told reporters.

Higher voting numbers were recorded in Hindu-majority Jammu and mainly Buddhist Ladakh regions.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided into two parts and ruled by India and Pakistan, which have fought two of their three wars since the 1947 independence over the region.

Pakistan and the UN back the right of the Kashmir people for self-determination, an option opposed by New Delhi.


With many Muslims like Afzal and Hassan were enthusiastic about exercising their right to vote, others strongly disagreed.

"We want a solution not elections," said Iftikhar Ahmad, a government employee.

He said they voted in previous years with the hope that one day the Kashmir problem will be solved.

"But all that was a waste. See how many people died during the struggle and those who become widows cannot get back their husbands," he lamented.

Ahmad said mothers who lost their sons want a solution and are awaiting the day when the sacrifice they made will pay back.

Mimuna, a 38-year-old woman, said elections can not return lost loved ones.

"We denounce such elections which are forced on us."

She said that hundreds of women are still waiting for their husbands who vanished in thin air.

Mimuna joined an anti-election protest in Bandipora where police fired teargas and used batons to disperse the protesters.

Six demonstrators, including two women, were hurt.

But a defiant Mimuna said the government's use of force can’t stop Kashmiris from boycotting.

"We are facing brutalities and killings by Indian sponsored security agencies so under such circumstances we feel that voting is meaningless for us," said Zahoor Ahmad, a student.

He said seven youths from his village were killed by security forces while taking part in a pro-freedom demonstration.

"To vote for the people who actually become our killers is not possible and we want freedom from such sponsored governments."

The government has launched a massive crackdown against the leaders of all groups opposed the vote.

"All senior leaders supporting the boycott call were either arrested and sent to jails or kept under house arrest," said Mohammed Sultan, a Bandipora resident.

He noted that even Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who holds a very important religious post was not spared and was placed under house arrest just because he did not support the elections.

"One can not expect freedom of rights when he is forced to vote."




 Afghan leader pledges to protect Taliban from US


Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he will personally protect the former head of Afghanistan's Taliban regime from the US if he joins peace talks.


By Ben Farmer in Kabul

Last Updated: 10:02AM GMT 17 Nov 2008


Afghan leader Hamid Karzai is willing to hold talks with any groups which recognise the country's constitution, including the Taliban Photo: GETTY


Mr Karzai said he would go "to any length" to protect Mullah Mohammad Omar, who has a $10 million price on his head from the US government.

He challenged his Western backers to leave the country or remove him if they disagreed.


After three years of an increasingly violent insurgency, the Afghan government has said it is willing to hold talks with any groups which recognise the country's constitution. Government representatives and former members of the Taliban are said to have met in Saudi Arabia two months ago, though both sides deny talks took place.


"If I hear from him that he is willing to come to Afghanistan or to negotiate for peace... I, as the president of Afghanistan, will go to any length providing protection," Mr Karzai told a press conference.

"If I say I want protection for Mullah Omar, the international community has two choices – remove me or leave if they disagree," he said.

Omar has been in hiding since his regime was toppled by the US for refusing to hand over al-Qaeda terrorists behind the September 11 attacks. Afghan officials say he is hiding in Quetta in Pakistan, while Pakistan says he remains in southern Afghanistan.


Mr Karzai said the Taliban leadership still had to prove it wanted peace. "We are not in that stage yet. Right now, I have to hear it from the Taliban leadership, that they are willing to have peace in Afghanistan," he said.

A Taliban representative last week said the group would never negotiate with Afghan or Western officials while foreign troops remained in the country.




'There Is No Mac Counter-Terrorism': Counter-terrorism requires enormous patience and painstaking work

Nov 17, 2008

It is going to take time for the Indian Police and other counter-terrorism forces to understand the full ramifications of this phenomenon and come to grips with it. I am confident they will. Counter-terrorism requires enormous patience and painstaking work.


(This article incorporates my extempore remarks and subsequent interventions during a four-day conference on terrorism held at Tokyo from November 11 to 14, 2008, under the joint auspices of the Institute of Defence Analyses (IDA) of Washington DC and the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency)

Insurgents seek territorial control and try to establish the paraphernalia of a state such as an army with professional ranks, an administrative set-up in the territory controlled by them etc. They fight like a conventional army in classical set-piece formations as well as like a guerrilla army. This requires large cadre strength.

Terrorists, on the other hand, avoid territorial control and the paraphernalia of a state. They use unconventional methods of struggle. The avoidance of territorial control and state paraphernalia enables them to spread death and destruction with a small cadre strength organised into penetration-proof cells. The smaller the strength of a terrorist organisation, the more difficult for the intelligence agencies to penetrate it.

Insurgent organisations prefer a hierarchical structure with a pyramid similar to that of the state. Terrorists prefer a cellular structure with no pyramid like organisation.

In the past, the world saw organisations, which either operated as insurgents or as terrorists. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka, which came into existence in the early 1980s, was one of the earliest instances of an organisation combining in it the insurgent and terrorist capabilities and structures. Other subsequent examples are the Talibans of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Maoists of India and Nepal.

Dealing with such organisations with dual structures and capabilities requires a two-in-one strategy on the part of the state actor-- a counter-insurgency strategy to meet the conventional capability of the non-state actor and a counter-terrorism strategy to meet the unconventional threat posed by them--with both the strategies enmeshed appropriately. It is the failure of the US to devise such a two-in-one strategy, which should explain the difficulties faced by it in countering the Taliban and Al Qaeda. So too in the case of the Pakistan Armed Forces. So too in the case of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in countering the LTTE and of the Indian security forces in countering the Maoists in Central India.


Jihadi terrorism in the Indian Territory outside Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is essentially an urban phenomenon. The terrorists in J&K and the Maoists continue to use a mix of hand-held weapons and explosives-- hand-held weapons for their conventional strikes and explosives for their unconventional strikes. The jihadi terrorists operating in other parts of India have largely shifted from the conventional hand-held weapons to the unconventional improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In recent years, about 90 per cent of jihadi terrorist strikes in the Indian Territory outside J&K were carried out with IEDs and in only 10 per cent of the cases were hand-held weapons used.

Dealing with terrorists using IEDs requires a different kind of technique than with terrorists using hand-held weapons. Unfortunately, in India, adequate attention has not been paid to acquiring knowledge of explosives, creating an awareness of them in the general public so that it remains on guard against them in public places and evolving appropriate physical security and protection techniques. There is still an excessive preoccupation with small arms and ammunition and inadequate attention to explosives. Since 9/11, dozens of seminars have been held and much money spent for studying and discussions on how to deal with the proliferation of small arms and ammunition. Very little has been done for similar studies and discussions on the proliferation of explosives and day-to-day material, which could be easily converted into explosives.

Improving one's capability to deal with IEDs requires a close interaction between the world of counter-terrorism and the world of science and technology. It requires considerable investment in research related to improving one's capability to deal with IEDs. Interest in this subject is lacking in the Indian state-- in the counter-terrorism community as well as in the scientific community. No sustained effort has been made to promote research to find out whether it would be possible to devise a way of remotely de-activating an IED carried by a suicide bomber on his person or in a vehicle.

A study of the large number of instances of suicide terrorism in Pakistan since July,2007, would show that in many cases the Pakistani Police correctly suspected the terrorists of carrying IEDs on their person. When they stopped the suspect to question or search him, he blew himself up causing a large number of casualties. The availability of an appropriate technology for remote de-activation might have prevented this. India is not yet facing suicide or suicidal terrorism outside J&K, but it should be prepared to deal with them effectively if they make their appearance.

Whenever I pose this question of the possible development of a technology for remote de-activation, I get a reply from Indian as well as American scientists that this won't be possible. We should not take no for an answer from a sceptic scientific community. If a man can visit the moon and send probes to Mars, I find it difficult to accept that we cannot devise a technology for the remote de-activation of an IED carried by a suicide bomber.

The wave of serial blasts carried out by some jihadi terrorists identified as the Indian Mujahideen (IM) since November, 2007, has received considerable attention from counter-terrorism communities all over the world. I am not yet convinced that there is a single organisation calling itself the IM operating under a common command and control. The Indian Police in the states, which had witnessed the serial blasts, have successfully identified many of the individual perpetrators and arrested them, but they still do not have an idea of the contours of the IM. Is it a single organisation or a united front of many autonomous groups motivated by local anger in different areas identifying themselves as the Indian Mujahideen just as in the 1980s different Afghan groups headed by Gulbuddin Heckmatyar, Burhanuddin Rabbani, Ahmed Shah Masood and others identified themselves collectively as the Afghan Mujajhideen? I am inclined to feel for the present that the new crop of home-grown jihadis from the Indian Muslim community has been following the Afghan pattern of different groups projecting a common identity.


India has not been a stranger to the phenomenon of home-grown jihadis. Al Ummah, which was active in Tamil Nadu in the 1990s, was nothing but a 100 per cent home-grown jihadi organisation. But Al Ummah and other home-grown jihadis of the past had no strategic thinking. They were essentially tactical, retaliatory groups, which indulged in reprisal terrorism due to the anger of the moment. But the new crop of home-grown jihadis from the Indian Muslim community active since 2006 is not just a reprisal group. It has a strategic thinking and is inspired not only by local grievances, but also by external, pan-Islamic factors. It talks of a clash of civilisations between the Muslims and the so-called infidels in the Indian Territory.

It is going to take time for the Indian Police and other counter-terrorism forces to understand the full ramifications of this phenomenon and come to grips with it .I am confident they will. Counter-terrorism requires enormous patience and painstaking work. There is no Mac Counter-terrorism.

Co-operation between India and the US in counter-terrorism has improved since 9/11. There have been interactions at various levels on areas of concern-- maritime terrorism, cyber terrorism; terrorism involving possible use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) material etc, but the co-operation tends to be more tactical than strategic. Tactical counter-terrorism co-operation is important to deal with day-to-day threats, but a strategic dialogue is important to visualise medium and long-term threats and to prepare oneself to meet them. When terrorist organisations are thinking more and more strategically, we continue to be preoccupied with today, with little thought to tomorrow and the day after.

The most visible improvement in Indo-US co-operation is with reference to maritime counter-terrorism in South-East Asia. India's positive response to a US request in 2003 to escort US naval ships transiting the Malacca Strait on their way to the Arabian Sea and its participation in regular exercises with the US Navy--bilaterally as well as multilaterally in association with the Navies of Singapore, Japan and Australia are examples worth mentioning. The US wants India to play an active anti-piracy role in the Malacca Strait and in the seas to the East of India.

Japan too-- at its own initiative as well as at the encouragement of the US-- has been welcoming Indian cooperation in maritime counter-terrorism. This was highlighted by the agreement on Indo-Japanese security co-operation signed during the recent visit of our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to Tokyo.

The co-operation between India and the US in enforcing the provisions of the Container Security Initiative (CSI) has been highly satisfactory. There seems to be some disappointment in the US over the Indian reservations about the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). India has never hesitated to search ships touching its ports if they are suspected of indulging in WMD proliferation. The reported search of a North Korean ship in a port on India's West Coast some years ago and the seizure of some of its suspicious contents is an example of the Indian determination not to allow foreign ships indulging in proliferation to touch Indian ports. Another good example is the instance reported in the US media recently about India, at the US request, not allowing a North Korean aircraft flying to Iran or Syria to over fly Indian Territory after touching down at Rangoon.

There are misgivings in India over the wisdom of boarding commercial ships in the high seas and searching them or forcing commercial ships into ports for a similar search on the basis of information collected by the US intelligence. Human intelligence collected by the US agencies are of low accuracy. This has been seen in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. According to a recent compilation of Pakistan's Ministry of the Interior, only one-fourth of the US intelligence reports prove to be correct. Three-fourths prove to be incorrect. When actions such as Predator strikes are launched on the basis of inaccurate reports, they worsen the ground situation. If actions such as searching ships on the high seas or forcing them to an Indian port are undertaken on the basis of incorrect US intelligence reports, the consequences could be negative for India's relations with other states. India’s reservations over the PSI are, therefore, well-founded and should be understood by the US.

After the Al Qaeda strikes in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in August, 1998, the US Congress had appointed a committee headed by Paul Bremer to report, inter alia, on how to improve the capability of the US intelligence to collect intelligence about the attempts of terrorist organisations to acquire a WMD capability for possible use. The committee had identified only Al Qaeda as an organisation advocating the use of WMD material and trying to acquire a capability for it. In addition, it had drawn attention to the LTTE having in its possession an unknown quantity of potassium cyanide for issue to its cadres and pointed out that if this cyanide could be mixed with a strong acid, the resulting cyanide gas could kill a large number of people. It categorised the LTTE as an organisation having a limited chemical warfare capability, but not advocating its use. This position remains unaltered.

The possibility of jihadi terrorists acquiring a dirty bomb capability from Pakistan remains worrisome. While the US seems to be satisfied with the security of Pakistan's nuclear establishments, there are question marks over the security of the transport of nuclear material from one establishment to another inside Pakistan. There ought to be similar concerns over the security of the nuclear waste stored in the North-West Frontier Province, where the activities of the Pakistani Taliban have been on the increase.

In 2002, the Pakistani authorities, at the instance of the US, had detained two retired nuclear scientists-- Sultan Bashiruddin Mohammad and Abdul Majid-- on suspicion of having contacts with Osama bin Laden. They admitted having met him, but insisted that the meeting was purely in connection with the work of a humanitarian relief organisation founded by them and had nothing to do with any nuclear help to Al Qaeda. Subsequently, some Pakistani scientists were found to have been associated with A.Q.Khan in his nuclear proliferation activities. This showed the presence of black sheep inside Pakistan's nuclear community, who need close watch.

The Pakistani authorities continue to evade Indian requests for the arrest and handing-over of Dawood Ibrahim, the mafia leader living in Karachi, who is wanted in India for orchestrating the Mumbai blasts of March, 1993. This, despite the fact that the US Department of Treasury had informed the UN Security Council on October 16, 2003, that his organisation was helping Al Qaeda in various ways, including clandestine shipping of material. The ships and boats at his disposal should be available to Al Qaeda for any clandestine transport of WMD material.

India has been greatly concerned over the increase in the activities of pirates in the seas to the West of India--particularly off the Somali coast. The bulk of India's foreign trade and practically its entire energy supplies pass through the seas to the West of India. Threats from pirates and terrorists with a sea-faring capability operating from this region can damage the Indian economy. Recently, a Japanese ship with largely Indian crew was hijacked by Somali-based pirates who reportedly demanded a huge ransom. Due to a shortage of Japanese seamen, Japanese commercial ships have been recruiting Indian seamen. Protecting them from pirates becomes an important responsibility. The Government of India has, therefore, decided to devote more attention to this region without affecting the Navy's present capability in the seas to the East of India. A permanent anti-piracy patrol with one ship having helicopters on board has been started. It has been reported that its protection will be available only for Indian ships and foreign ships having largely an Indian crew.

The likely impact of the present economic crisis on the terrorism ground situation and on the counter-terrorism capabilities of states needs to be closely monitored. The severe economic difficulties of Pakistan could add to the ranks of the terrorists due to the growing unemployment and prove detrimental to the already unsatisfactory counter-terrorism capabilities of its security forces. Any decrease in the US and Chinese cash flow to Pakistan could further aggravate the situation. Even in India, Bangladesh and other countries of the South and the South-East Asian region, large-scale unemployment of skilled workers could provide a new reservoir for recruitment by Al Qaeda and others. This should be a matter of concern to the intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies.

The comfort level between the political leaderships of India and the US was quite high under the Bush administration. This facilitated the multi-dimensional growth in bilateral strategic ties. Will Barrack Obama be able to sustain this comfort level? India is keeping its fingers crossed.

B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai. Source:



Fatwa call centre sets minds at rest: A husband is allowed to beat his wife

Graeme Baker, Nov 17, 2008

Is it against the teachings of Islam to use Viagra? Is it dishonest to "piggyback" on your neighbour's wireless internet connection? Can you use diet patches while fasting during Ramadan?

These are just three of the thousands of questions posed to the United Arab Emirates' official fatwa call centre, which was officially inaugurated in August to provide definitive religious rulings to believers.

For centuries, Muslims have taken religious dilemmas to the imam at the local mosque. But now, with a free phone call or an email, they can receive answers from qualified muftis, or religious scholars, and settle worries about how to live an observant life under the Koran in modern society.

Muftis will either make an on-the-spot pronouncement or text message or email back after careful consideration. Questions can be posed in English, Arabic and Urdu.

The 24-hour daily free service run from offices of the capital Abu Dhabi has proved so popular that managers at the country's Islamic Affairs Authority are considering doubling its 48-strong team due to overwork. Its 14 telephone lines are fielding almost four times the 1000 questions a day they were designed to handle.

Fatwas gained a bad image in the West due to the death sentence issued by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1980s on author Salman Rushdie for, The Satanic Verses. Although effectively withdrawn in 1998, the decree fixed fatwas in many Western minds as extremist tools to condemn "infidels".

But the vast majority of fatwas deal with every day situations. Many questions revolve around sex and the relationships between men and women.

Asked about using diet patches to suppress hunger during the Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam, a mufti at the centre said: "If you use it on the outside around your body, it is not a problem. It's like using a cream or a lotion. Anything external is fine, as long as it's not entering via the mouth."

Nicotine patches are also permissible during Ramadan, and smokers often use the holy month to quit.

The fatwa went against other advice, including that of the rival Dubai Islamic Affairs Department, which said that any form of nutrient entering the body voided the fast.

Using someone else's wi-fi connection was akin to theft. "A Muslim's money or property is not for the taking unless there are explicit blessings from the owner."

More controversially, the UAE earlier this month appeared to disagree with muftis in Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia who said that a wife was justified in fighting back if her husband beat her. Under sharia, a husband is allowed to beat his wife but the right is facing growing opposition in the Islamic world. The centre said outsiders who witnessed incidents of domestic abuse should console victims, but should not become involved in the details of conflicts. It said it often received calls from battered women who sought consolation.

On Viagra, the centre ruled: "There is no problem with taking medicine to remedy a sexual dysfunction, as it is permitted to take medicine for ailment. In addition, there is no shame in your weakness to meet your wife's desire, as it is out of your hands."




Dubai: New bank branch caters to women only

Khaled Hijab in Beirut

In a first of its kind, Dubai last week unveiled a new banking service that caters only to women.

The Emirates Islamic Bank newest branch in the United Arab Emirates offers women a financial zone free of men, but also custom-made banking products, including retail-outlet discounts, special travel packages and discounts on bank products in addition to exclusive ladies lounges, free Internet and text-message banking.

“Catering to the individual needs of our customers has always been a core part of our business model, and opening an exclusive Al Reem branch is an extension of that belief,” said Faisal Aqil, an official at Emirates Islamic Bank told the daily Gulf News.

"'We understand and value the role of women in today's society and have carefully tailored services and special offers to provide them with all they need to fulfill their personal dreams and ambitions," he said.

But some wonder whether such "innovations" are signs of progress, showing Arab women's increasing involvement in the world of business, or a dreary sign of increased gender segregation in the Persian Gulf.

— Khaled Hijab in Beirut

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French court overturns Muslim virgin marriage


DOUAI, November 17 - A French court on Monday quashed a decision to annul a marriage after a Muslim husband discovered his bride was not a virgin, and which had sparked a huge outcy in France.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government had asked the appeal court in Douai in northern France to review the ruling handed down in April, touching off protests from rights groups, feminists and much of the political class.

The decision meant that the marriage sealed in a civil ceremony in July 2006 in the small northern town of Mons-en-Baroeul remained valid, even though both spouses have asked the court to release them from their vows.

The couples have two months to decide whether they want to launch a higher appeal.

"This ruling is very worrying," the husband's lawyer Xavier Labbee said. "Our individual liberties are seriously threatened."

The husband, a computer expert in his 30s whose name was not made public, sought the annulment after realising his bride was not a virgin on the night of their marriage.

His suspected that his new bride, also a Muslim, was not a virgin on their wedding night because the bed sheets were not stained with blood.

His wife, a nurse in her 20s, admitted to him she had had pre-marital sex.

A tribunal in the northern city of Lille granted the annulment, based on the man's contention that the woman's virginity was a "determining factor" in his decision to marry her and that she had lied to him.

It said he had been misled about an "essential quality" of his bride-to-be.

Under French law, a marriage can be annulled if there has been "an error about the person or the essential qualities of the person."

But the Douai appeals court ruled that the lie did not constitute "valid grounds for the annulment of a marriage" as it did not touch on an essential quality of his bride.

Monday's ruling stated that the "absence" of virginity "had no bearing on the marriage," therefore quashing the right to annul.

The original ruling drew furious protests from rights groups, who slammed it as a victory for religious fundamentalists and a blow to the emancipation of women that set a dangerous legal precedent.

Urban affairs minister Fadela Amera, born in France to Algerian Muslim parents, described it as a "fatwa against the emancipation of women."

Some 150 European parliament members wrote to French Justice Minister Rachida Dati, denouncing it as an unacceptable encroachment of religion in the public sphere.

Dati finally ordered an appeal in the face of strong protest, but she continued to insist the ruling was legally sound, based on a breach of trust between the pair, not the issue of virginity itself.

Lawyers for both parties had requested at a hearing in September that the annulment be maintained.

The wife, who had initially opposed the annulment, told the court she had reversed her stance.

State prosecutors had said they were not against allowing the split if it were possible to replace the "discriminatory motive" of loss of virginity with a more general one, such as mistaken identity.

The couple, of Moroccan origin, have since moved away from northern France.

The justice minister also warned the case should not be used to stigmatise France's five-million-strong Muslims, Europe's largest community.




Malaysian Islamic party to open up to non-Muslims

November 17, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysia's main Islamic opposition party hopes to open its membership to non-Muslims, an official said Monday, in a bold move aimed at attracting supporters among ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.

Many political parties represent particular ethnic groups in the racially diverse country. The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, has long been the ruling United Malays National Organization's chief rival for the support of the ethnic Malay Muslim majority.

PAS plans to change its constitution to allow non-Muslim members in an effort to become racially inclusive and prove that its ideology does not conflict with the rights of minorities, said Mujahid Yusof Rawa, chairman of the party's national unity bureau.

"There should not be race-based politics anymore," Mujahid said.

"We feel that the stigma that has haunted (non-Muslims) about PAS is fading," he said. "We want to open up to transform our party into a multiracial party."

Non-Muslim members are expected to be barred from holding key leadership posts, although some officials have said they will be allowed to run as party candidates in general elections.

Malaysia's largest minorities are ethnic Chinese and Indians, who are mostly Buddhists, Christians and Hindus. They have long been suspicious of PAS, whose goal is to govern through an Islamic state that prescribes strict religious and morality laws.

Nevertheless, many minority voters supported PAS candidates who joined a three-party opposition coalition in March general elections because of concern over how the government had handled recent racial and religious disputes.

The opposition made unprecedented electoral gains in the elections, depriving the ruling coalition of a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

PAS leaders say that while their goal still is to establish an Islamic state, it doesn't mean that they want to take away the constitutional rights of minorities to practice their religions freely.

The top three government parties are race based, but PAS is the only opposition party that is limited to members of one religion. The other two opposition parties — opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's People's Justice Party and the Democratic Action Party — are multiracial.

The planned changes in PAS are expected to be approved at the party's annual congress next June, enabling nearly 20,000 non-Muslims who are now in the party's so-called "Supporters Club" to become members, Mujahid said.




Muslims and modernity

November 17, 2008

At Talk Islam, a great discussion has ensured (as tends to happen over there) about analogizing between Islam and other religions, especially when talking about "reformations" or about labels. Abu Noor points out,

    those both within and without Islam that call for "reformation" are not really calling at all for anything like the Protestant reformation of Christianity but are in fact calling for a Reform Islam movement that would resemble Reform Judaism.

He also proposes the term "Orthodox Muslim" as a better label for those Muslims attempting to engage in such a process. The debate turns to the fact that Jews can also be thought of as an ethnic group in addition to a religious one, whereas that’s not the case for Muslims in the US (though in one sense it is a good approximation for Muslims in Europe, on a country by country basis).