Non-Muslim’s Use of Islamic Law to Resolve Disputes Scares Some, in Britain

March 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Guardian, UK

Muslim Arbitration Tribunal reports 15% rise in non-Muslims employing Shari’ah law in commercial cases

Islam.Shariah Campaigners have voiced concerns over a growing number of non-Muslims using Islamic law to resolve legal disputes in Britain despite controversy over the role of Shari’ah law.

A spokesman for the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) said that there had been a 15% rise in the number of non-Muslims using Shari’ah arbitrations in commercial cases this year. Last year, more than 20 non-Muslims chose to arbitrate cases at the network of tribunals, which operate in London, Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester, Nuneaton and Luton. “We are offering a cheap and effective service for Muslim and non-Muslims,” said MAT spokesperson Fareed Chedie.

“95% of the people who come to us for arbitration do not feel they need legal representation.” Chedie said that tribunals deal mainly with civil and commercial cases, including mosque disputes referred by the Charity Commission. But the tribunals have also continued to hear cases in the field of family law and divorce, Chedie said.

“We are increasingly dealing with reconciliation and mediation in marriage,” said Chedie. “Many of these are cases where women have petitioned because they have a difficult marriage and want some guidance and direction. If they then want to terminate the marriage then we can help with that.”

The increase in marriage and divorce cases comes as one law firm has begun offering advice on civil Scots law and Shari’ah law, making it the first in Britain to offer both civil and Islamic law as part of one service.

Glasgow law firm Hamilton Burns says that it is responding to a greater demand from Muslim clients who want advice on Shari’ah law alongside civil advice under Scots law. It has teamed up with Shaykh Amer Jamil, a Muslim scholar who specialises in Islamic family law.

“We hope that by incorporating Shari’ah family jurisprudence against a background of domestic Scottish legislation, we can provide our clients with as much relevant information as possible,” said Niall Mickel, a solicitor advocate and managing partner at Hamilton Burns. But some groups have criticised the move by the Scottish firm, arguing that the recognition of Shari’ah law decisions in Britain is regressive and harmful to women.

“We have a petition signed by more than 22,000 people saying that all religious tribunals should be prevented from operating within or outside the legal system,” said Maryam Namazie, a spokeswoman for the One Law for All Campaign, which campaigns against Shari’ah law in Britain. “I have spoken to women who are losing custody of their children in the Shari’ah councils – under Shari’ah law custody of a child goes to the husband after a certain age, irrespective of the welfare of the child.

There are cases of domestic violence where women have dropped criminal charges and the Shari’ah councils have sent the husbands on anger-management courses. That is just not how we deal with domestic violence in this country,” Namazie said. Many Muslim lawyers have challenged criticism of Shari’ah law in Britain as “islamophobic”, arguing that there is a distinction between Shari’ah councils – which largely operate outside the law – and arbitration tribunals, which are subject to the Arbitration Act passed by parliament.

“The media get this out of context and hyped up,” said Dr Saba Al-Makhtar, from the Arab Lawyers Association. “Under English law there is room to settle disputes on any ground that it is acceptable to the parties involved, provided it doesn’t conflict with English law .… it is an extremely good idea.

Critics deny that the campaign against Shari’ah law is targeted specifically against Muslims, however. “Our campaign is focusing on Shari’ah but we are against all religious tribunals including the Jewish beth din,” said Namazie.

“Human rights are non-negotiable and religious tribunals puts religion before people’s rights and their freedoms. Law based on any religion – whether the Bible, Torah or the Quran – is completely antithetical to rights woman have in this day and age. Many of the rights women have now result in the UK is the result of a hard fight to wrestle control out of church hands.”

12-12

Hebrew Motivation: 15 Million Jews Need 1.5 Billion Muslims

February 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Monotheism – We Are All Praying To The Same G_d

By Gary D. Mizel, Special To The Muslim Observer

At the outset of this opinion piece, I would like to express that after reading many issues of The Muslim Observer, I would characterize the newspaper as being journalistically at the same level as most of the highly esteemed papers around the country.  I say this because it is true;  and I also say it because I want to diffuse any criticism of the paper that would be used as a method of opposing me for appearing (as a Jew) in the text of TMO.

I would like to extol the Islamic community by citing a compliment that came from a noted Rebbetzin (Rabbi’s wife), which was expressed during a Torah study lecture.  In the midst of complaining, she came out with the following idea:  Muslims are more observant than Jews in a particular way because they devoutly pray five times a day.  This was meant to shame the audience to a degree whom she was trying to persuade to be more openly observant.  As for myself, I would simply assert that after having met scores of Muslims (mostly from studying the Koran at the Islamic Cultural Center on 96th street) I have never exchanged or been exposed to any harsh words.  One young man told me he did not like Jews and I answered that there is nothing I can do about that.  He smiled as if he were just testing me;  and we became friends.

It is my belief that the followers of the main religions spend more time adhering to the rituals of their faith than investigating what methods can be used to create peace and to bring the world together by declaring that we are all the same – all members of the human species.  Although we are commanded not to kill, we murder ourselves by murdering our own human kind.  The method of war that involves soldiers dying is as offensive as it is primitive.  It is much more cost effective to conduct a war through propaganda and influencing public opinion rather than having a human life extinguish during conflict.  It is exponentially more expensive to equip fighting men, train them, gather their bodies for burial, and take care of the wounded (physically and psychologically) for 50 years, or the rest of their lives.  Marketing leaves no scars and, like political elections, outcomes can change through the application and introduction of laws more easily and without physical conflict.  With this background, let me share what I view as the main pathway to peace – and that is to use the force of capitalism as the ultimate peacetime tool.

There are so many Muslims that are frustrated because they subsist without careers or upward mobility.  When I, myself, had no investment capital but many entrepreneurial ideas – I came to be angry, frustrated, and depressed with ideations of suicide, homicide, and overwhelming anxiety.  During such moods, I found temporary salvation by receiving some kind words and by immersing myself into some sort of creative activity.  Through this process I discovered that what made me feel healthy again was commerce and the pursuit of happiness by making money.

This point of view is what I would like to share with the readership of The Muslim Observer.         

From my experience in the business world, I have never witnessed a more uplifting event than when two or more people make money together.  When my partner Joan and myself went to the real estate office for a closing from the sale of one of our properties, I felt (like the old adage) that I was walking on air.  My mind was filled with the history of our buying a property, fixing it up, changing the zoning, and selling it for 50% more than what we paid.  When Joan and I would go out for a celebration, the feeling was euphoric.  My mind was filled with deploying our new capital to buy another building, buy clothes at the most prestigious store, buy my friend a mink coat, and try to select from my mind a myriad of daydreams all with ecstasy at their root.

This feeling is what I would like to share with my Muslim brothers and sisters.  Here is how.

I suggest that we form a company that would serve as a role model for Arabs and Hebrews alike.  We would start our project in a mosque where a Muslim audience would share with its Jewish hosts what kinds of negative feelings they may harbor towards the Jews.  The Jewish role would be to listen and ask questions so that by the end of the evening the Islamic contingent would feel that their complaints have been heard and understood. 

Then we would go about selecting an Arab (preferably Palestinian) to be my partner in a 50/50 commercial joint venture.  Myself and my Muslim partner would be co-chairmen, have an equal amount of stock in the company, and would receive the same salary and other compensation.  This scenario represents equality in many forms.  We would choose our business together such as bread, coffee, or art;  and we would market this company as being the most important in the world as its success would engender imitation and the concomitant growth of Muslim business sectors worldwide.

We would hire a Muslim videographer to document our salient experiences to use as promotional material or forge into a documentary.  Our marketing and PR would suggest that buying our product would be helping the world.  During the creation of our marketing plan, I would call upon painter extraordinaire, the great Anki King, to draft some sketches of our company logo. 

With permission from my partner, I would go for an icon that is symbolic of the two sides collaborating with each other such as a combination of the Crescent Moon and the Star of David.  Whatever image we decide upon in tandem would be augmented once again with the idea that buying our product is the equivalent of “Tikkun Olam” which is Hebrew for “repairing the world.” 

Once the Jews are in this position, their feet will be set in concrete, and I believe they will become more involved and seek new ways for our company to thrive.  Most importantly, besides the creation of a substantial revenue flow, our Muslim and Jew will work out our conflicts by speaking the language of business and not becoming confused or overwhelmed by making the entire initiative a religious experience.  Speaking for the Jews, I can say that we would not intend to convert anyone because (even though most people want to belong to the best or winningest religion) God hears all prayers.  Lastly, I simply want to express that I would relish having a Muslim partner.  I would promise loyalty to my partner;  and I would look forward to our commercial success as being a far reaching lesson in living and working together.  I would love human beings more fervently and love making a major contribution to the direction in which the human species determines to take. 

12-7

Military Muslims: What Now?

November 12, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS

2009-11-08T171028Z_192441419_GM1E5B902TX01_RTRMADP_3_TEXAS-SHOOTING When Major Nidal Hasan went on a murderous rampage in Ft. Hood, Texas, the entire nation snapped to rapt attention and said, “Here we go again.  Those crazy Muslims are at it again.”

Immediately after the story hit the airways the usual apologies from Muslim organizations and individuals started pouring in.  “We Muslims do not condone the actions of Major Hasan.  “This is not Islam.”  “Islam means peace,” etc etc etc.

I don’t mean to sound callous or uncaring about the grief being felt by the family and other loved ones of the slain.  Of course, we abhor the actions of any deranged person who without warning, and seemingly without any justification or provocation, takes innocent human lives.  This person was obviously not in a rational state of mind, and plainly his actions had absolutely nothing to do with his religion, or lack of it.  I believe the world knows this but the anti-Islamic fever sweeping the world, fed by the other media, will keep people’s rational thoughts from surfacing.

Some news accounts make reference to the Islamic signs that major Hasan had on some of his property.   The news media interviewed some people who made statements like “I heard him speaking Muslim talk.” (He could have been saying as-salaam-alaikum).  It is an obvious attempt to discredit anything with any ties to Islam.  And by making note of his artifacts, they are saying that having these things in his possession automatically makes him a dangerous “Islamic Radical.”

But actually it is no stranger than a Catholic crazy man having a rosary, or a Buddhist crazy man with his statue of Buddha, or a Jewish crazy man with copy of the Torah and a yarmulke on his head.  It does not matter what his religion is.  If you’re crazy, you’re just crazy.

But on the other hand there are numerous Muslim soldiers and veterans who have annual observances to mark Veterans Day in this country.  But for the most part, they are not reported.  I realize that good, positive events that enhance humanity are not as sensational as a shooting rampage by a crazy person. But they are nevertheless so very important because with the automatic sensational reporting of negative events getting all the attention, it takes extra effort to put some balance in the reporting.

For several months the Dawah Team at Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit, Michigan, under the leadership of the late Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, has been planning a salute to all veterans from any branch of service and any dates of service.  The event will be a luncheon held at Masjid Wali Muhammad from 11AM – 1PM.

Brother Lawrence Ziyad, a veteran of the Viet Nam war and one of the coordinators of the event, says the program will be one heavy with reverence for ALLAH, and patriotism for the United States government.  It will begin with prayer followed by the National Anthem and Lift Every Voice and Sing, popularly known as the Black National Anthem.  Also, as part of the opening and closing of the luncheon, they will salute the American flag.

These Muslim brothers, maybe more than many other people, are keenly aware of the ills of this country.  Most are descendants of slaves that suffered what is arguably the worst treatment of any human beings in the history of mankind.  Still they recognize the beauty and importance, and the privilege of being Americans, and are grateful for being so. This picture of Muslim patriotism is rarely seen in the media.

Another group, the Muslim American Veterans Association (MAVA) is a nationwide service organization comprised of former members of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.  The group is officially recognized by the United States government along with other veteran groups such as the veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legions, Polish American Veterans, Jewish Veterans, Italian Veterans and other Veteran organizations.  The Muslim-American group is made up primarily of Muslims of African American descent since most Muslims that immigrated here from other countries, came here past military age.  The group, comprised of five posts in various cities is headed by National Commander Saleem G. Abdul-Mateen.

What major media cared to report that the MAVA Commanders recently met on Capitol Hill in Washington to meet with Muslim American Congressman Andre Carson to present ways to help assist young veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  What media (other than the Muslim Observer) cared to report that the MAVA Post #1 received a community service award from CAMP (Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionalism for its untiring efforts in making life better for those who sacrificed and served this country unselfishly.

Congressman Carson was so impressed with the group that he invited them to establish a forum for dealing with veteran affairs and open up a dialogue for addressing these issues.  MAVA has already created programs to assist returning servicemen and women.  “Our aim is is to interact locally and nationally with organizations and institutions that have exhibited care and concern for these service members,” said member Saleem Abdul Mateen.

Another fine example of Muslim American patriotism is in the person of Chaplain Lt. Colonel Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad.  Chaplain Muhammad is another Muslim American in the community of Imam Warith Denn Mohammed.  I have personally watched his rise in the military and admired his character, and balanced approach to different situations.

These fine Muslims are just a few examples of the great majority of Muslims in this country.  They love their religion, they love their country, and they love being fine and caring representatives of both.

Let us remember the victims, and their families in our prayers.  And let us strive to be good Muslims and good Americans.  Ameen.   

As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin