New electoral form sparks fresh debate

The new election form requiring candidates to uphold Hong Kong as part of China has drawn criticism from a legal group which says it’s overstepping the mark, but a local National People’s Congress deputy says electoral officials are entitled to decide if a nomination is valid.

Speaking at an RTHK forum, the convenor of the Progressive Lawyers Group, Kevin Yam, said no candidates should be barred from taking part in an election just because he or she advocated independence.

Mr Yam said the new form is unnecessary – because an existing form already requires candidates to declare they uphold the Basic Law.

“I think a lot of us are flabbergasted as to why there is a requirement to sign this confirmation form because, in effect, you are asking someone to swear that something they have sworn on previously is true,” Yam said.

“It’s actually circuitous and tautological and makes no sense whatsoever.”

But Miriam Lau, a local deputy to the National People’s Congress, said the declaration form does not have any legal standing, as it is not part of the Legco nomination form.

Speaking at the same forum, Lau said electoral officers have the right to decide whether a nomination is valid – and whether a candidate is pushing for Hong Kong’s independence should also be considered.

Baby Boy dies after circumcision surgery

A one-month-old Emirati boy died just after undergoing a circumcision operation at a government hospital in Khorfakkan, prompting the Ministry of Health to open an investigation into the case, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Hamad Saeed, 23, said he took his son to the hospital for the surgery and waited for nearly two hours before the operation finished.

He told Emarat Al Youm daily that he saw his son carried out of the operation room covered with blood and that he was admitted to the intensive care unit.

“He was pale and my wife and I were much worried…I then heard the pediatrician arguing with the doctor who performed the surgery and realized that there is something wrong…10 minutes later, I was told my son is dead,” he said.

The paper said the Ministry of Health formed a committee to investigate the case and determine the cause of the baby’s death.

It quoted Saeed as saying he had reported the case to the prosecutor, who said that he would open a criminal case after receiving a coroner report.

Women’s status in Islam according to a leading Islamic organization in Canada

Muslim Dawah (outreach) activists at Toronto’s Dundas Square give away to non-Muslim passerby copies of the book “Islam Is… Introduction to Islam and its Principles” revised by the Central Dawah Department of ICNA Canada (Islamic Circle of North America – Canada).

Considered the biggest Canadian Islamic nationalwide organization, ICNA Canada, located at 391 Burnhamthorpe Rd., East, Oakville, Ontario, is striving “to build an Exemplary Canadian Muslim Community” by “total submission to Him [Allah] and through the propagation of true and universal message of Islam.”

ICNA Canada emphasizes that “the propagation of true and universal message of Islam is only possible in Canada when whole Canadian Muslim Community transformed into a Dawah community by practicing and propagating the true Islamic Way of Life. With the vision of building an exemplary Canadian Muslim community it is very important to spread the word of Islam…”

Dr. Iqbal Massod Al-Nadvi is the Amir (President) of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Canada andis also serving as Chairperson of Canadian Council of Imams.

One of the book’s chapters deals with the status of women in Islam underscoring the equality of both genders before Allah and the different roles and duties of each gender according to Islam.

The following is the chapter “Women in Islam” (to read an online version of the book click here):

Women and men are equal before God. Both are accountable before God. They equally receive their reward in the Hereafter for their faith and good deeds.

Marriage is strongly encouraged and is both a legal agreement and a sacred bond. Islam sees every woman, married or unmarried, as an individual in her own right. She has the same right to own property, earn wealth and spend it as a man has. Her wealth does not become the property of her husband after marriage or divorce. A woman has the right to choose whom she marries and, when married, does not change her last name, out of respect for her lineage. A woman can seek divorce if her marriage does not work out.

Economically, each man and woman is an independent legal entity. Men and women have the right to own their individual property, engage in business, and inherit from others.

Both have the equal right to receive an education and to enter into gainful employment, as long as Islamic principles are not violated. Seeking knowledge is the obligation of every Muslim, male or female. The type of knowledge that is most emphasized is religious knowledge.

It is also required within a society to have professionals of both genders available for the benefit of the public. For example, society requires doctors, teachers, counselors, social workers, and many other important vocations. When there is a shortage of qualified personnel, it may become obligatory for women or men to gain expertise in these fields to fulfill the needs of the Muslim community. In this situation, the guidelines of Islam are to be upheld.

Women are encouraged to seek Islamic knowledge, pursue their academic endeavors within the framework of Islam, and strive to fulfill their intellectual curiosity. To prevent anyone from getting an education is contrary to the teachings of Islam.

A man is responsible for maintaining and protecting his family and providing the basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter for his wife, children, and (if needed) other female relatives in the household. Women are not primarily responsible for this, even if married. The Prophet Muhammad said that the most perfect in faith among believers is he who is best in manners to his wife.”

On its official website ICNA Canada shares with its members, followers and supporters the book “Riyad us Saliheen” (“The Gardens of the Righteous” رياض الصالحين) compiled by Imam Zakaruya Yahya Bin Sharaf An-Nawawi, a Sunni Shafi’ite jurist and hadith scholar who lived in 13th century.

The Gardens of the Righteous (Arabic: Riyadh as-Salihin), is a compilation of verses from the Qur’an and hadith by Al-Nawawi. It contains a total of 1905 hadith divided across 372 chapters, many of which are introduced by verses of the Quran.

The book “Riyad us Saliheen” (“The Gardens of the Righteous”) which appears on ICNA Canada site adds modern commentary to the verses from the Qur’an and hadith.

The following are excerpts from the book which deal with differences between the genders according to Islam and the threat of the Western civilization to Islam.

Islam has emancipated them [women] from the obligation of earning their own livelihood so that they are safe from the malicious eyes of evil- minded, and secure from the sexual lust of men, the way it is happening with women who are working side by side with men in the West.

But it is a curse indeed that due to intellectual immaturity and evil trends, this freedom of women, which has disgraced and robbed them of the virtues of a chaste life, is liked by many people and they are trying that Muslim women should also imitate the style of western women. To the people of such crooked thinking, the Islamic teachings, which ensure the honour and chastity of women, appear to be the yoke of slavery and they want to release women from it…

Islamic countries have witnessed many curses of western civilization and the worst is the one which has robbed away the modesty of woman because it is the last protective shield of Islamic civilization which the enemy is consistently sweeping off. May Allah grant Muslims the insight to avert this wickedness!…

In ordinary circumstances, Hajj is the best of Jihad for women because in Islam, politics, economy, government, military affairs etc., come in the purview of men and men alone. Women are exempted from all such matters

Free mixing of men and women is a common evil in the West and is now being projected through television in Muslim countries. May Allah guide Muslims to the Straight Path!…

Men and women should stick to their natural qualities and characteristics and strictly avoid the imitation of the opposite sex in appearance as well as conduct.

Those who violate their nature have been strongly cursed. Women who are influenced by western philosophies and thoughts and try to adopt all those professions which are special for men, fall in this category. Allah has not entrusted them with those responsibilities which are marked for men only.

It is a pity that out of sheer imprudence and blind imitation of the West, Muslim women are now adopting the western lifestyle in all walks of life. Such blind imitation has led many astray and is bound to bring Allah’s Wrath upon the transgressors…

All such vile fashions have been borrowed by oriental societies from the class of shameless women of the West, and Muslim women have also adopted them. We must strictly abstain from them because they tend to create resemblance to the non-Muslims, which is unlawful and is rated as a major sin.

Certain weaknesses of the female sex have been pointed out, which are natural and pertain to the woman’s biology, psychology and embryology.

According to biologists, during and before menstruation, a female’s thought process is affected. Similarly, her pulse and blood pressure are also altered. Females are also more prone to hysteria.

For these reasons, the Qur’an has declared that when you have to appoint or choose witnesses among women, you should choose two in place of one man. Modern researches have proved this rule to be correct on the basis of biology, psychology and embryology.

Again we know that physically speaking, the female has been named as the weaker sex. For these reasons, females have been excused from earning their livelihood…

It is both beneficial and more respectful for her to limit herself to the sphere of action suggested for her by Islam. If she oversteps her sphere, she will certainly lose her female dignity and prestige, as has happened in the West

This Hadith makes it abundantly clear that obedience of the husband is compulsory on the wife. If, in the absence of any lawful reason, she refuses to obey the orders of her husband, she will be liable to the Wrath and Curse of Allah until she returns to obedience. This Hadith has a stern warning for those women who do not care for the displeasure of their husbands because of their bad temperament, stubbornness and habit of dominating their husbands

If a slave-girl is guilty of fornication, she is liable to a punishment of fifty stripes, and this punishment can be given by her master

One hundred stripes or stoning to death in case of fornicationif they commit the mischief, it will prove fatal because in an Islamic state this crime is punishable by Rajm (stoning to death).”

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