Teaching an unusual form of Islam
Nominated as having links with Jemaah Islamiah, two schools give their side of the story to Matthew Moore and Karuni Rompies in Solo.
In his turquoise shirt and black business trousers, Aceng Mustofa looks like he could be running a music store in Jogyakarta, the city famous as Indonesia's cultural capital. Instead, he runs the girls' campus of the Ibnul Qoyim pesantren, an Islamic boarding school where children from age 13 study subjects that include Arabic and English.
This is all part of the training Mr Aceng hopes will equip them for lives to be spent as preachers scattered through the country's tiny villages.
Unlike some pesantrens -Indonesia has 14,000 of these schools scattered across the country - he encourages students to keep up with current events and newspapers are hung in display cases in the playground for them to read.
But Mr Aceng denies that his school is linked to the terrorist organisation Jemaah Islamiah.
His school was nominated this week as being one of a small group of pesantrens that "propagate JI teachings, provide religious and occasionally military training to recruits and shelter members and fellow-travellers who are in transit or are seeking refuge from the law".
Taken From: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/08/29/1062050665718.html
Muslims seek ties with other faiths
American Muslims assembled by the thousands yesterday for an annual convention, stressing a desire for closer relations with other faiths to counter evangelicals who blame Islam for inciting terrorism.
The Islamic Society of North America, which organized the event, invited moderate and liberal Protestant leaders to share the stage with Muslim leaders.
The Rev. Daniel Vestal of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which represents moderate Southern Baptists, told the audience that not all Baptists agree with recent statements by evangelicals "demeaning Islam."
The Rev. Jerry Vines, a Southern Baptist Convention leader, has called the Prophet Muhammad a "demon-possessed pedophile." Other statements critical of Islam have been made by the Revs. Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson.
"Please know there are many other Baptist Christians whose words and deeds are different," Vestal said. "We desire understanding, community and common cause."
Sayyid M. Syeed, secretary general of the Islamic Society, said that when Muslims began immigrating to the United States in large numbers in the 1960s, Christian campus ministries provided Muslim students with space to worship.
Taken From: http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/MGBPJOLZYJD.html
Saudi Grand Mufti on Shri’a-compliant marriage
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, who is also chairman of the Senior Scholars Commission and the head of the Directorate of Ifta and Research, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Aal-Alsheikh, has said that neither the guardian nor the mother of a girl has the right to force her into a marriage alliance.
He said it is the agreement between the two partners to a marriage that makes it a Shari’a-compliant one and any marriage that comes about as a result of coercion is regarded as non-compliant to the Shari’a and is faulty. He said if the virgin girl does not consent to a marriage, and refuses to get married to anyone who had been chosen by her parents or guardians, then it is not right to force her into such a marriage.
The Grand Mufti said that a girl is a trust that is reposed in her father, brother, or guardian, and he is answerable to God for how he discharges that trust. He said there are people who marry away their girls on condition that the groom would, for his part, give his daughter to his bride’s father, and added that this is not allowed, and is form of deception.
He went on to say that it is not right for a man to go and ask for a girl’s hand in marriage, knowing that that girl already has been betrothed, and added that it is also wrong for woman to ask a married man who wishes to take her for a second wife to insist that he divorces the first one. He said this was sheer envy.
Taken From: http://www.islamicnews.org/english/en_daily.html