Fears for daughters’ rights lead some Sunnis to adopt Shiaism

Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Fears for daughters’ rights lead some Sunnis to adopt Shiism
Vast difference in inheritance formulas causes many couples to convert – and not everyone approves
 
By Agence France Presse (AFP)

 

Ines Bel Aiba

Agence France Press

BEIRUT: Nada had no choice. The Sunni Lebanese woman decided to become a Shiite because that branch of Islam guarantees that her daughters will one day be her sole heiresses.

“If I became a Shiite it was not out of conviction,” Nada told AFP. Had she not converted, the girls’ uncle would receive the bulk of her inheritance when she died, in line with Sunni laws.

Shiites, a minority community in Islam, have sometimes been at odds with the Sunnis in the Arab world, but in Lebanon conversions between the two branches are easy and mostly done for practical purposes.

In Lebanon, religious tribunals rule on marriage, divorce and inheritance. For both Sunnis and Shiites, women receive one-third and men two-thirds of an inheritance.

Problems arise when a Sunni couple only has girls. They would inherit just a small part of the assets, while the larger part of the inheritance would go to the closest male relatives – grandfathers, uncles or cousins.

One solution for Sunni couples in such a situation is to become Shiites, as the sect’s religious regulations allow daughters to be the sole heiresses in the absence of male offspring.

Sunni couple Hassan and Sana Tawil became Shiite about 30 years ago because they had two daughters.

“We saw atrocious things happening in the family, such as an uncle who wanted to take everything from a cousin. It made an impression on us when we were children,” Hassan said.

They may be Shiites on paper but the Tawils remain deeply Sunni in practice.

 “I stayed profoundly Sunni,” said Sana, confirming that she raised her daughters “in line with Sunni values.”

“Even famous Sunni politicians became Shiites for the same reason,” she explains, citing Riad Solh, who was prime minister at the time of Lebanon’s independence in 1943 and who had five daughters.

In line with Lebanon’s confessional political system, the country’s prime ministers are Sunni – although at least four of them became Shiites because they did not have sons.

Like other couples in the same situation, the Tawils went to a Shiite court, where they converted before a sheikh who, they said, seemed to be very aware of the real motives behind their conversion.

“The sheikh looked at me and asked: ‘Do you have children?’ I said yes,” recalled Sana.

“He said: ‘How many?’ I said two. He asked: ‘Boys?’ I said no.

“Then he just looked at me and nodded. And I became a Shiite,” the 63-year-old woman said with a smile.

Sheikh Mohammad Noqari, director general of Dar al-Fatwa, the highest Sunni religious authority in Lebanon, confirmed that some Sunnis were becoming Shiites – but expressed disapproval.

“It is true that some Sunnis are doing this,” he said. “But if someone converts from one Muslim confession to another for material reasons, it is not really correct.”

But for Sheikh Jaafar Fadlallah, from the Shiite Sharia Islamic Institute, converting is “an issue of personal choice.”

“Nothing should prevent a Muslim from converting to the  branch that suits him best,” Fadlallah said.

Shiite authorities say that about 350 Sunnis become Shiites every year.

According to sociologist Marlene Nasr, the ramifications of such decisions are not always pleasant. “There are sometimes cases where people are ostracized” after converting, she said, “but not by the religious authorities – rather by their own families.”

Talal Khodari, a lawyer specializing in family legal affairs, said such conversions were “common,” although often “not accepted and not taken very well” in Lebanese society.

He also said that the issue sometimes causes additional family problems because male relatives feel that they are being accused, by implication, of being willing to take what rightfully belongs to their female relatives.


Copyright (c) 2007 The Daily Star
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President Jefferson’s ‘Will’- a discussion

Jordanian Professor and Saudi Islamist Discuss President Jefferson’s ‘Will’

May 27, 2004 Al-Manar TV (Lebanon)

The Hizbullah television station, Al-Manar, hosted a discussion between Dr. Ghazi Rabab’a, Professor of Political Science at Jordan University, and Dr. Muhsen Al-‘Awaj from Saudi Arabia, Spokesman for the World Campaign for Resisting Aggression, in which they discussed the right of the Jews to reside in the Jerusalem. Dr. Rabab’a mentioned an alleged declaration by President Jefferson calling on the American people to expel the Jews. This false declaration is commonly attributed in the Arab media to “President” Benjamin Franklin. Following is a verbatim translation of excerpts from their discussion, broadcasted on May 27, 2004.

Dr. Ghazi Rabab’a: In the Pact of Omar, which was translated and signed by (Jerusalem archbishop) Sophronius and ‘Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, Sophronius set one condition to ‘Omar – that no Jew will live in Jerusalem.

Meaning, this demand came from Sophronius, who was the Christian representative at the time, because he knew that only Islam would protect the holy places, while the Jews will be disloyal to them. The Pact of Omar, which was given by ‘Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, the leader of the believers, to the residents of Aelia –its name then changed to Aelia – stated that the Muslims would protect their crucifixes and churches, that not one of them would be harmed and that no Jew would live in Aelia.

This is why today, when we appeal to Christian public opinion, we should say that we must revive the Pact of Omar and stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of this Jewish attack, which claims that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel. There is an Islamic-Christian agreement that no Jew will live in Jerusalem.

Dr. Muhsen Al-‘Awaji: (Today, we face) a group of people, a gang, which gathered, or more accurately, which were purged from all the countries of the world. They have become loathsome in European eyes and that is why the Europeans vomited them onto our occupied land. They have become loathsome in the eyes of America and a moment ago the Doctor reminded us of the American president who advised the American nation to rid itself of the Jews so they will not enslave them.

So did the English and French who purged society – Excuse me for saying this but it’s their documented world view…

Dr. Ghazi Rabab’a: Yes, the Ghettos.

Dr. Muhsen Al-‘Awaji:…Saving their societies from the quote unquote Jewish “plague” amidst them. Our brothers from all over the Islamic world know that a Jew or a Christian from their country has the right to live there, just like the Arab Muslim has the right to live there. But, gathering those from Poland, Holland, Russia, the North Pole, the South Pole…gathering them here and forcing them like a cancerous tumor into the center of the Arab Islamic body…

They have no common language with those who surround them, nor do they share their political platform with their surroundings… And then they come with this arrogance and enslave the entire world in order to allow them to violate these rights and commit these official assassinations, approved by their highest ranking officials, and after all this we are told we must discuss their legitimacy? No!

Dr. Ghazi Rabab’a: Our brothers, the Christians in these countries, are being persecuted by the Western Christians, whose Christian faith has Judaized them. 200 years ago, -President Jefferson told the American people in an official speech, “If you do not expel the Jews from your land, they will enslave you and turn you into slaves in your own lands.” Today, in American cinema and television, they broadcast that whoever is against Israel is also against God. In films, produced by Jews, Our Lady the Virgin is depicted whoring with the soldier Panthera. This is an extremely grave issue.

If we open the Talmud, the Jews’ false book, we see that they say about Jesus that he was crazy, the deceiver of the Israelites, they tried to kill and crucify him, but they could not…

US pushes strategy of sowing discord among Muslims – Iranian official

Published: Jan 10, 2007
Text of report in English by Iranian news agency IRNA website

Tehran, 10 January: Head of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO), Mahmud Mohammadi Araqi, said here Wednesday [10 January] that the US is currently pushing the strategy of sowing discord among Muslims to reach its ominous goals in the Middle East.

Mohammadi Araqi made the statement while speaking to IRNA in an exclusive interview.

“Following failure of the US policies in the Middle East region and victory of the Islamic Resistance Movement in Lebanon against Israeli invasion (July-August, 2006), the US has currently pressed ahead with strategy of causing discord among Muslims,” he said. Continue reading “US pushes strategy of sowing discord among Muslims – Iranian official”

Battle lines are drawn as Israeli allies with Arab regimes

Battle lines are drawn as Israeli allies with Arab regimes

Dec 21

 

Bethlehem – Ma’an It has been revealed to Ma’an News Agency that a secret meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, the political advisor to the Egyptian president, Osama El Baz and the head of Saudi national security, Prince Bandar, was held two months ago, during the Eid feast following Ramadan, in Sharm el Sheikh.

The source, a specialist in Israeli affairs, added that the meeting, which was held in the residence of the Egyptian president, lasted for five hours in which the participants discussed mutual coordination and cooperation between Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Israel and its allied forces in Lebanon, to jointly face the Tehran-Damascus axis and the coalition of militant groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli Prime Minister allegedly told the Lebanese Prime Minister that the international presence in southern Lebanon, and the American support given to their friends, “has created a path, along which lies an unprecedented opportunity to get rid of the Iranian and Syrian allies in Lebanon”, the source added.

The source also confirmed that Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora told his Israeli counterpart that his government insists on the spread of law and order throughout the country, and to dismiss and disarm any militia, including the arms of Hezbollah, and to end the presence of any groups or people who are pro-Iran or pro-Syria.


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Friends of Al Aqsa is a voluntary organisation concerned with the defence of
Al Aqsa Haram Sharif and the protection of Palestinian Human Rights.
http://www.aqsa.org.uk
Contact:
P.O. Box 5127, Leicester. LE2 0WU. England.
Tel 077 11 823 524
Fax ++ 44 [116] 253 7575