Posted by: becketfund | April 6, 2009

United Arab Emirates: Fatwas To Be Brought Under Federal Jurisdiction

ABU DHABI – The country’s principal religious body has drafted a law that aims to counter what some senior clerics are calling “fatwa chaos” with the religious edicts coming from unqualified sources, The National reported on April 6.  The legislation proposed by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (AWQAF) awaiting cabinet approval, is intended to bring in a more “unified” approach across the emirates. “Unifying fatwa as well as controlling its sources and providing well informed reference for it is the main goal of this project,” Dr Mohammed al Kaabi, the AWQAF director-general, said in a statement. There has been confusion on which religious rules actually apply, and in some cases there has been the promulgation of more radical views that ran contrary to Sharia principles such as tolerance. The main goal is to get rid of the chaotic fatwa and organize all its types either in mosques, newspapers, magazines, audio-visual media or others.

Among the proposals is the establishment of a high committee consisting of religious scholars drawn from all seven emirates, whose task will be to set federal fatwa policies. According to the AWQAF, they will be highly qualified people, experienced in both Sharia and the main schools of Islamic jurisprudence, particularly the official Maliki school.

The high committee would also decide on a single, federal position on major religious issues.

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