[fund] promotion and application of religious laws

Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ruled 8 to 1 Monday that a controversial 45-year-old law banning religious blasphemy was constitutional. The law allows the attorney general’s office to ban religious groups that “distort” or “misrepresent” official faiths and calls for up to five years in prison for anyone found guilty of heresy. The law also limits the number of officially recognized religions to six: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. [This in spite of the fact that prior to Monday's ruling, plaintiffs were confident that a judicial review to contest the law would be successful*.] 

قالت هيومن رايتس ووتش في تقرير أصدرته اليوم إن الحركة الإسلامية المسلحة المعروفة باسم حركة الشباب تُعرّض سكان جنوب الصومال للقتل والعقوبات القاسية والرقابة الاجتماعية المشددة. وتستمر قوات الحكومة الانتقالية الاتحادية والاتحاد الأفريقي في العاصمة مقديشيو التي مزقتها الحرب، تستمر في شن الهجمات العشوائية، وقتل وإصابة العديد من المدنيين.

Le groupe armé islamiste Al-Chabaab fait subir aux habitants du sud de la Somalie des meurtres, des châtiments cruels ainsi qu'un contrôle répressif de leur vie sociale, a indiqué Human Rights Watch dans un rapport publié aujourd'hui. Dans la capitale déchirée par la guerre, Mogadiscio, les forces d'Al-Chabaab, du Gouvernement fédéral de transition (GFT) et de l'Union africaine (UA) continuent à mener des attaques aveugles, tuant et blessant de nombreux civils.

The Islamist armed group al-Shabaab is subjecting inhabitants of southern Somalia to killings, cruel punishments, and repressive social control, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Al-Shabaab, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), and African Union (AU) forces in the war-torn capital, Mogadishu, continue to conduct indiscriminate attacks, killing and wounding numerous civilians.

A majority of radio stations in southern and central Somalia today stopped playing music and jingles, to comply with a ban by Islamist militants. Hizbul Islam, one of the two main insurgent forces in Somalia, issued the order on 3 April, saying music broadcasts violated Islamic principles. It gave FM radio stations – the main form of news and entertainment in the country – 10 days to comply or be shut down. Islamic groups have previously outlawed music in some areas under their control, along with beards, football, movies, women's beauty salons and bras. The latest ban on all tunes – including those used in commercials – appears to be the most widely applied yet, and indicative of the rebels' ability to instil fear.

A human rights activist on Thursday slammed the humiliating punishment meted out to a teacher in Aceh Barat and the married woman he was suspected of having an affair with after the pair were marched through a village naked, tied to a pole and then brutally beaten. “To parade people around naked is not sanctioned in Islam,” said Zulfikar Muhammad, an activist from a coalition of human rights organizations in the staunchly Muslim province. 

In a Press Statement issued by Sisters in Islam (SIS), the Malaysian women's group, one of the most well-known nongovernment groups in this Muslim-majority country, registered their happiness with the decision by Sultan of Pahang, Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, to commute Kartika’s caning sentence to community service. According to Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno's father, Kartika received a letter dated March 26 from the Pahang state Islamic and Malay Culture Council on Wednesday, informing her the Pahang Sultan had decided to spare her the caning. Kartika, a former part-time model, was sentenced in July last year to six strokes of the cane and a fine RM5,000 for drinking beer in December 2007 at a beach resort, in violation of 'Sharia' laws. Meanwhile, The Malaysian Assembly of Mosque Youth (MAMY) is seeking an order from the High Court to prevent SIS Forum (Malaysia) from using “Sisters In Islam” as its name and identity because of its criticism of the application of these laws.

A Sharia Court sitting in Kaduna has ordered the immediate suspension of all debates on the amputation of Bello Buba Jangebe on online sites - Facebook and Twitter. In 2000, Jangebe made history as the first person in Nigeria to have an amputation carried out under Islamic law after being found guilty of stealing a cow. The judge had a few weeks ago issued a restraining order in favour of the applicants to prevent a non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) (defendants), from discussing Jangebe’s case in a forum opened by the group on Facebook and Twitter. Please see Related info below for background to Sharia Penal Codes in Nigeria.

The importance of integrating women into society without respect for how it affects religion or tradition, comes from inside the Arab world, in particular from Egypt. Tarek Heggy, one of the most important contemporary Arab intellectuals, living in Cairo, writes in his article, “Women and Progress,” after the appointment of the first female judge to Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court: “Any society that views women as unequal to men contrives to find references and ‘evidence’ to support its perception, although the attitude has no religious or legal basis, but is a purely cultural phenomenon.”

Un tribunal islamique en Malaisie a décidé d'annuler la peine prononcée à l'encontre d'une musulmane, reconnue coupable d'avoir bu de la bière et condamnée à être fouettée, a expliqué jeudi à l'Associated Press l'avocat de la jeune femme, Adham Jamalullail, qui dit avoir reçu une lettre du sultanat de Pahang (est).

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