Muslims in dry Somalia break Ramadan fast with little but water

News Network
March 29, 2023

somalia.jpg

Mogadishu, Mar 29: This year's holy month of Ramadan coincides with the longest drought on record in Somalia. As the sun sets and Muslims around the world gather to break their daily fasts with generous dinners, Hadiiq Abdulle Mohamed and her family have just water and whatever food might be at hand.

Hadiiq Abdulle Mohamed is among more than 1 million Somalis who have fled their homes in search of help while an estimated 43,000 people died last year alone.

She and her husband and their six children now take refuge in one of the growing displacement camps around the capital, Mogadishu.

Ramadan brought an increase in food prices for a country already struggling with inflation caused in part by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the withering of local crops by five consecutive failed rainy seasons. Millions of livestock that are central to people's diets have died.

Now food is even harder to come by for those displaced. For Ramadan, Mohamed and her family rely on well-wishers to provide their single meal a day. First, they break their fast with water and pieces of dates, then spoons of rice.

Finally, they eat the donated meal of rice cooked with mixed meat, bruised banana and a small plastic bag of juice, which Mohamed waits in line for hours under the searing sun to obtain.

“I recall the Ramadan fast we had in the past when we were enjoying and prospering,” she said.

“We would milk our goats, cook the ugali (maize porridge) and collard greens and drink water from our catchment. However, this year we are living in a camp, without plastic to cover us from rain, without food to eat, thirsty and experiencing drought. We have this small hot meal, but do you think that this can feed a family of six children, plus a mother and father? That is not possible.”

The family once was prosperous and owned farmland and goats in a village about 140 kilometres (87 miles) west of the capital.

Now they try to get by on the little money her husband makes by carrying goods in a wheelbarrow. But food prices have soared so much that his income is no longer enough to buy a 1 kilogram (2.2 pound) bag of rice.

The inflation in Somalia pinches the more well-off, too. The typical Ramadan fast-breaking meal includes samosas and other snacks; juice and tea and coffee; the main dish of rice or spaghetti or flatbread with camel, goat, chicken or fish; and finally, dessert.

The Horn of Africa country imports the majority of its food, from Ukraine-grown wheat to the bottles of Mountain Dew stocked in some gleaming Mogadishu shops. Meanwhile, prices of basics like rice and cooking oil continue to rise in parts of the country.

This month, World Food Program monitoring reported that supply chain resilience was generally good in Somalia, but the spike in demand for Ramadan would be “a disadvantage to vulnerable households who depend on local markets.”

“We are really experiencing a soaring price of food and another basic commodities,” said Ahmed Khadar Abdi Jama, a lecturer in economics at Somalia University.

“Whenever there is an external factor that can reduce the supply of food, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it is more likely that Somalis will feel a low supply.”

For example, a kilogram of camel meat that cost about USD 4 before the holy month now costs about $6. But this inflation will subside after the month is over, Khadar said.

Ramadan is a month of alms and forgiveness throughout the Muslim world. With the growing number of Somalis displaced by the drought, the imams of the mosques in Mogadishu are leading efforts to encourage the city's wealthy and others who can afford it to sympathise with the poor and give generously.

“Some people need food to afford to break their fast," said one imam, Sheikh Abdikarim Isse Ali. "Please help them.” 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
coastaldigest.com news network
July 11,2024

Mangaluru: The residents of Dakshina Kannada are increasingly falling victim to online scams. In a recent incident, a resident of Sullia received a WhatsApp message about a part-time job that involved giving 5-star ratings to restaurants on Google Maps. He followed the instructions and joined a Telegram group, hoping for easy income.

Over the next few days, the scammers asked him to deposit money for various tasks. Trusting their words, he transferred a total of Rs 2.2 lakh in phases, using both his own funds and money borrowed from friends. When the unknown individuals refused to return the money, he realized he had been cheated and filed a complaint on Wednesday. A case has been registered at the CEN police station.

In a separate incident, a resident of Belthangady lost Rs 3.3 lakh in a stock market scam. According to her complaint, she received a link on her Instagram account on May 23, inviting her to invest in the share market. After following the link, she was added to two WhatsApp groups where the scammers provided seemingly credible information about the share market.

Convinced by their tactics, she downloaded several apps based on their recommendations and transferred Rs 3.3 lakh to various bank accounts through these apps. When the promised returns never materialized, she realized she had been duped and subsequently filed a complaint.

Both incidents highlight the growing menace of online fraud in the region, emphasizing the need for increased awareness and caution among the public.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
July 3,2024

gaza.jpg

Twelve former US officials have denounced President Joe Biden’s policies on Gaza as “a failure and a threat” to the country’s national security, calling on the government to overhaul them and use all "available leverage” to bring the ongoing war to an immediate end.

The 12 signatories who quit their posts over Biden’s controversial approach made the remarks in a joint public statement titled "Service in Dissent" which was released on Tuesday in conjunction with Independence Day, known colloquially as the Fourth of July.

“Each of us has sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and as our nation celebrates its Independence Day, each of us are reminded that we resigned from government not to terminate that oath but to continue to abide by it; not to end our commitment to service, but to extend it,” the former officials said.

“This failed policy has not achieved its stated objectives,” they said, noting that it has not brought safety to the Israeli regime and has rather been “devastating for the Palestinian people, ensuring a vicious cycle of poverty and hopelessness, with all the implications of that cycle, for generations to come.”

The signatories went on to say, “As a group of dedicated Americans in service of our country, we insist that there is another way,” outlining steps to ensure that a "catastrophic policy failure like this can never happen again."

The ex-officials also argued that the US policy toward Gaza has “been deeply damaging” not only for US relations in the region, but also for the country’s global credibility.

The former officials further noted that US’ continuous flow of arms to Israel has ensured the country’s “undeniable complicity in the killings and forced starvation of a besieged Palestinian population in Gaza.”

"This is not only morally reprehensible and in clear violation of international humanitarian law and US laws, but it has also put a target on America’s back," they added, arguing that it has put the lives of service members and diplomats at risk.

The signatories also called on Washington to use “all necessary and available leverage to bring the conflict to an immediate close”, ensure expansion of humanitarian aid to Gazans and support the self-determination of the Palestinian people.

“There is an urgent need for change in the organizational cultures and structures that have enabled the current US approach,” they stressed, calling on Washington to have transparency regarding arms transfers.

The signatories further stated they “stand united in a shared belief that it is our collective responsibility to speak up,” urging their colleagues to use their voice and not to be complicit.

Among the signatories are Josh Paul, who oversaw Congressional relations on weapons transfers, a former White House official, two former air force department personnel and a former army officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Israel launched the devastating war on Gaza on October 7 after the territory’s Palestinian resistance groups carried out a surprise retaliatory attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying entity.

Since then, the United States has supplied the Tel Aviv regime with more than 10,000 tons of military equipment, and used its veto power against all United Nations Security Council resolutions that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The relentless Israeli military campaign against Gaza has so far killed nearly 38,000 people, most of them women and children.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
July 10,2024

muslimSC.jpg

The Supreme Court today (July 10, 2024) held that a Muslim woman is entitled to file a petition for maintenance against her husband under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih dismissed a petition filed by a Muslim man's plea against the direction to pay interim maintenance to his divorced wife under Section 125 CrPC. The Court held that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986 will not prevail over the secular law.

Justices Nagarathna and Masih delivered separate but concurring judgments.

"We are dismissing the criminal appeal with the conclusion that Section 125 CrPC would be applicable to all women and not just married women," Justice Nagarathna stated.

The bench clarified that if during the pendency of a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC a Muslim woman is divorced, then she can take recourse to the Muslim Women(Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019. The bench stated that the remedy under the 2019 Act is in addition to the remedy under Section 125 CrPC.

Background

For a comprehensive understanding of the facts of the case and the issue involved, click here.

Senior Advocate S Wasim A Qadri, appearing for the petitioner-husband, raised the following contentions:

(A) The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 Act ("Act") is a special law in the nature of beneficial legislation, which provides way more than what Section 125 CrPC contemplates. Besides maintenance, Section 3 of the Act also deals with mehr, dower and return of property. Under the Act, a "reasonable and fair" provision is also made for the divorced woman's entire life, but the same is not contemplated under Section 125 CrPC. Moreover, if the divorced woman has sufficient means, she cannot file for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, however, that is the case with Section 3 of the Act.

(B) To the legal position flowing from Mohd Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, factum of divorce was not relevant and every Muslim woman was entitled to maintain a Section 125 CrPC petition. To upset this ruling, the Act was enacted and it codified the Supreme Court judgment. The Act is a complete code in itself and a reading of its provisions would show that it was intended to have an overriding effect over Section 125 CrPC. While it makes provisions for "divorced" Muslim women, deserted or neglected Muslim women may resort to Section 125 CrPC.

(C) It is a settled position of law that special law (the Act) shall prevail over general law (CrPC). Language of the Act being clear, there is no reason for the Court to go beyond. It must simply give effect to what is stated in the Act.

(D) Section 5 gives an option to the divorced couple to not be governed by the Act. This shows that a Muslim wife cannot resort to both remedies.

(E) As per Section 7 of the Act, a Section 125 CrPC petition pending at the time of commencement of the Act was to be disposed of by the Magistrate in terms of Section 3 of the Act. This shows that the ambit of Section 125 CrPC in these petitions was to be interpreted in light of provisions of the Act, read with Section 5 CrPC (which excludes applicability of CrPC provisions when there is a special provision).

(F) Under doctrine of implied repeal, the Parliament is presumed to know pre-existing law and won't intend to create any confusion by retaining conflicting provisions. In applying this doctrine, Court must give effect to legislative intent of the two enactments (CrPC and the Act).

Amicus and Senior Advocate Gaurav Agarwal, on the other hand, put forth the following submissions:

(A) The Act only concretizes Muslim personal law. It broadens a divorced Muslim woman's entitlement to maintenance beyond the iddat period, but does not take away the relief available to her under Section 125 CrPC because the purpose behind the latter is different.

(B) The petitioner's reliance on Section 5 of the Act is misplaced, as that provision comes into play when an application has been filed under Section 3 of the Act. In the present case, the respondent-wife had approached the Court under Section 125 CrPC.

(C) Section 7 of the Act is only a transitional provision. If an application was pending under Section 125 CrPC on the date of commencement of the Act, it was to be subsequently governed by Section 3. However, that does not mean that Section 125 CrPC petitions could no longer be filed.

(D) In Danial Latifi & Anr v. Union Of India, Supreme Court only dealt with validity of the Act. Though the validity of provisions of the Act was upheld, the Bench questioned in the said case as to how it could deprive Muslim divorced women the same right which is available to other women in the country.

(E) As per Section 127(3)(b) CrPC, if some provision has been made under personal law, a husband may avoid liability for maintenance under Section 125 CrPC. It would be for Courts to record a fact-finding in this regard.

(F) Different High Courts have taken different views, so clarity on the issue has become necessary. Judgments that are no longer good law may be declared as such. Kerala High Court has taken a view both Section 125 (CrPC) petition and Section 3 (1986 Act) petition are maintainable, but a woman has to choose between one of the two. But this position is not correct.

Before conclusion of arguments, the Amicus also pointed to a scenario where a divorced Muslim woman may accept provision made under personal law for her entire life, but later realize that it was not sufficient. In that case, she can only approach under Section 125 CrPC and not under Section 3 of the Act. As such, she should not have to choose between the two remedies and must be entitled to both.

Court Observations during the hearing

During the hearing, the Bench remarked that Section 3 of the Act begins with a non-obstante clause. As such, it is not in derogation to what is already provided under Section 125 CrPC, but an additional remedy.

Justice Masih said : "this Act does not bar...it is the choice of the person who had applied or moved an application under 125...there is no statutory provision provided under the Act of 1986 which says that 125 is not maintainable". Concurring, Justice Nagarathna said that there was nothing in the 1986 law which barred one remedy in favor of the other.

When the Bench enquired as to whether the present petitioner had paid anything to the respondent-wife during the iddat period, answer was given in the negative. The Amicus clarified that a draft of Rs.15,000 was tendered by the petitioner during the iddat period, but the same was not claimed by the respondent-wife. Taking into account the same, the Bench said that it would still have been understandable if the petitioner had made provision for the wife during the iddat period, as in that case, Section 127(3)(b) CrPC may have come into play.

Responding to the petitioner's submission that none of the judgments cited by either side had dealt with Section 7 of the Act, Nagarathna J said that the provision was only with regard to pending cases (and thus, transitory). Countering the contention, the Amicus drew attention of the Court to a Kerala High Court judgment which considered Section 7 and held that it could not be interpreted as extinguishing the right of divorced Muslim women to file petitions under Section 125 CrPC.

Notably, the Kerala High Court (in the judgment cited by the Amicus) was of the view that the transitory provision was intended to do away with the necessity of Muslim women, who had Section 125 CrPC petitions pending at the time of commencement of the Act, having to file fresh claims under Section 3 of the special law. To quote the Bench,

"If the Parliament had the intention to extinguish such rights of the Muslim woman, it would only be reasonable to expect the Parliament to speak in definite and specific language about such extinguishment. Parliament must have been aware that when 1986 Act was enacted, number of orders must have passed in favor of divorced Muslim women under Section 125...Message appears to us to be loud and clear...Both rights, under Section 125 of the Code and Section 3 were conferred on the divorced women. She has the right to choose."

As against the petitioner's submission that the provisions of the Act indicate Parliament's intent to bar entitlement of Muslim women to file maintenance claims under Section 125 CrPC, the Court expressed an opinion that the same would be unconstitutional.

If the Parliament intended for divorced Muslim women to no longer be entitled to file petitions under Section 125 CrPC from the date of commencement of the Act, it could have explicitly given an overriding effect to the Act, the Bench remarked. To quote Nagarathna J, "In the absence of such a thing, can we add a restriction to the Act? That is the point".

After hearing the submissions of both the Senior Advocates, the judgment was reserved on February 19.

Counsels for petitioner-husband: Senior Advocate S Wasim A Qadri; Advocates Saeed Qadri, Saahil Gupta, Deepak Bhati and Shivendra Singh; AOR Udita Singh

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.