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Colonial Cases

Moslem Supreme Council, 1931-1933

[trusts - elections]

Moslem Supreme Council

Palestine
1931-1932
Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 25 May 1931

 

WAQF.

   There is so much mortmain property, known as Waqf, in this country and so many complaints about the misuse of Waqf funds that it is curtious that the Government makes no inquiry about the nature of this property, the methods of its Adnministration and the need - if need there be - of its reform.  Before the Riots it was the commonest thing for charges to be brought against the Mufti of allegedly having misappropriated Waqf funds.  These ceased for a bit - but discontent remained.  Recently a case was brought by Hebron with the same charges.  Yesterday's newspaper brought a story of an alleged Christian misuse - or rather of wrong registration - of Waqf lands.  On the same day appeared an account of charges against an Imam near Jenin who is alleged to have misappropriated Waqf funds.  It might be wise before embarking on a ruinous loan to find out how this system of mortmain affects the productivity of the land.  England found the system untenable centuries ago and got rid of it and to this day the Courts scrutinise very carefully any gifts which might turn lanes into mortmain.  Modern Turkey has got rid of it.  And Palestine?  QUIDNUNC.

 

The Palestine Bulletin, 29 June 1931

CASE AGAINST SUPREME MOSLEM COUNCIL TO-DAY

   The hearing of the petition against the Supreme Moslem Council, in which the President of the Supreme Moslem Council and members of the council are called before the high Court to show cause why the money received from the Waqf of Hebron should not be spent according to the wish of the dedicator, will be continue to-day.

   The petitioners, ten Hebron Chieftains, allege that the revenue of the Waqf of Hebron which is collected by the Government and given to the Supreme Moslem Council, is not spent according to the wish of the dedicator.  He desired that the money should be spent for education, the maintenance of a hospital, and the relief of the poor of Hebron.

The Palestine Bulletin, 20 July 1931

The High Court case against the President and members of the supreme Moslem Council has been adjourned until October 3.

 

The Palestine Bulletin, 21 July 1931

THE SHEIKH AND THE MUFTI.

Charges and Countercharges By Arab Opponents.

   Sheikh Ali Shuqueiri is an opponent of the Mufti and his followers.  At the present moment he is engaged in fighting the Mufti in court.  Sheikh Ali Shqueiri contends that Waqf money which should be used for the poor of Hebron is being misapplied by the Supreme Moslem Council.  The case is sub judice and nothing may be said about it.

   Al Jamia, the Mufti's organ, however, has used the occasion for giving a friendly blow to Sheikh Al Shuqeiri.  Last week it published a letter, alleged to have been sent by Kalvarisky ten years ago to the Sheikh asking him to distribute some money sent by Baron de Rothschild for the poor of the country.  The learned sheikh has been questioned by Meraat el Sheerk about this alleged letter and he speaks quite openly, without any beating about the bush, about his opponents.  He is reported in Meraat el Sherk to have said:

I have committed a great crime in the eyes of Al Jamia.  This is my sin that I have brought on behalf of the Hebronites a case which they consider 'a flaming fire of God in their hearts.' And another sin, I have criticised the Supreme Moslem Council in the Al Buraq matter. .....

 

The Palestine Bulletin, 4 October 1931

SUPREME MOSLEM COUNCIL

SENSATIONAL REPORT.

   Meraat El Shark reports on a "reliable source" that it is the Government's intention entirely to abolish the Supreme Moslem Council as constituted at present and set up instead a Board to administer the Waqf monies. 

   Under the new scheme, the Moslem (Sharia) Courts would be administered together with the Civil Courts.

   These changes will come into force on the arrival of the new High Commissioner, according to this journal.

...

   The case which was to be heard yesterday at the High Court, calling upon the President of the Supreme Moslem Council and its members to show cause why the money collected from the Waqf at Hebron should not be spent, after deducting expenses, on the poor of Hebron, was adjourned to October 24.

 

The Palestine Bulletin, 12 October 1931

MOSLEM COUNCIL CHANGE.

Secretary's denial.

   Over the signature of Said Eddin el Khatib, the supreme Moslem Council yesterday published a statement denying categorically all reports about impending changes in the constitution of the council and the administration of the Sharia Courts. ...

 

The Palestine Bulletin, 25 October 1931

HEBRON WAQF CASE

MUFTI TO SHOW HOW MONEY IS SPENT.

   "A bad argument does not get better when repeated over and over." This was a remark Mr. Justice Corrie felt constrained to make in the High Court yesterday, interrupting Aouni Bey Abdul Hadi during a two hour argument in the Hebron case against the Supreme Moslem Council.

   The case came up following the order nisi granted by the High Court on June 20, calling upon the President of the Supreme Moslem Council to show cause why an order should not be issued that the money received from the Waqf of Hebron should be spent in Hebron and according to the conditions of the dedication (Waqfia.)

   Aouni Bey Abdul Hadi, who appeared with Fakhri Eff. Husseini and Sheikh Ragheb Abu Saud, submitted that this was a religious question and that the High Court had no jurisdiction.  It was a question which only the Sharia Court could decide.

   His objection was overruled, and the respondent was finally granted 15 days to get instructions as to the nature and description of the dedication with which Aouni Bey said he was not acquainted.

   The Court also held that if the dedication was what the petitioners said, any Moslem of Hebron could file a case against the council, since all Moslems are supposed to benefit from the hospitals, schools and water supply which the Waqf is supposed to provide.

   Abcarius Bey, Mr. George Saleh, Omar Eff. Saleh and Sheikh Assad el Shoukeiri appeared for the petitioners, who are the leaders of Hebron, and on whose beheld it is claimed that the Waqf of Hebron yields an annual revenue of L.P. 20,000, of which only L.P. 6,000 is spent in Hebron.

 

The Palestine Bulletin, 8 December 1931

MUFTI IN COURT

Proceeds From Hebron Waqf

   The Hebron Wakf case, in which the President of the Supreme Moslem Council has been called upon to show cause why an order should not be issued that the money received from the Wakf of Hebron should be spent in Hebron and according to the conditions of the dedication (Waqfia), came up again yesterday before the High Court.

   At the last hearing, Counsel for the Respondents were ordered to produce the "Waqfia" but yesterday they stated that they had been unable to find the documents among the papers of the Supreme Moslem Council.  The Petitioners admit this fact and agree that the document is probably in a sealed box in Hebron.

   The case was adjourned to a date, not earlier than January 5, in order to give the Respondents an opportunity to produce the principal documents regarding the Waqfia and the decree of the Sultan regarding the administration of the Waqf.

 

The Palestine Bulletin, 4 January 1932

MUFTI IN COURT

   The High Court case brought by the notables of Hebron against the Supreme Moslem Council regarding the alleged misuse of Waqf funds will be heard on January 12.

 

Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 5 February 1932

MUFTI IN HIGH COURT

MAYOR FILES TWO PETITIONS.

   The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Supreme Moslem Council figured yesterday in two petitions lodged with the High Court by Omar Eff. Saleh el Barughti on behalf of Ragheb Bey Nashashibi, Mayor of Jerusalem, in his capacity as President of the "Congress of the Palestine Moslems" (Moslem Opposition Party.)

   Ineligible For Presidency

   The first petition calls upon Haj Amin Eff. Husseini, as Mufti of Jerusalem, in which position he is in receipt of a salary, to show cause why he should not cease to be President of the Supreme Moslem Council, it being laid down in Article 8 of the Regulations of the latter body that "No person receiving a salary shall be a member of the Council (other than a Mudarris or Muallim of a High School,)"

   The petitioner states that, although requested to do so, the Mufti has refused to comply withy the regulations.

To Account For Moneys

   In the second perdition Ragheb Bey asks for an order nisi calling upon the four members of the Supreme Moslem Council to shown cause why the High Court should not order thermo to publish a statement of their activities and accounts from 1922 till the present time and to appoint an auditor.

   The petition is based on Article 8 (3) of the regulations of the supreme Moslem Council, according to which "The Council shall publish an annual report on its works, together with a statement of its accounts in a special publication."

   It is alleged that since the formation of the council no such report has been published in spite of repeated requests.

   We understand that it is possible that the Hearing of both petitions will be fixed for the end of next week.

 

Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 22 April 1932

OPPOSITION vs. MUFTI CASE

HIGH COURT ADJOURNMENT.

   An Order Nisi was granted on Wednesday by the High Court composed of Mr. Justice Corrie and Mr. Justice Baker calling upon the President and members of the Supreme Moslem Council to show cause why the Court should not order them to publish a statement of their activities and accounts from 1922 till the present time.

   Before the order nisi was granted, the petitioner Nagheb Bey Nashashibi, Mayor of Jerusalem, in his capacity as the President of the "Congress Palestine Moslems (Opposition Party), who was represented by the Omar Eff. Saleh, produced affidavits, that since the establishment of the Council , no yearly accounts were published except for the period of 2 years.

   The Court dismissed the second petition, also lodged by Ragheb Bey, calling upon Haj Amin Eff. El Husseini, as Mufti of Jerusalem, in which position he is in receipt of a salary, to show cause why he should not cease to be President of the Supreme Moslem Council, it being laid down in Article 3 of the Regulations of the latter body that:

"No person receiving a salary shall be a member of the council (other than a Mudaris or a Muallim of a High School."

The Court held that in the regulations of the Supreme Moslem Council, the word "member" does not apply to the President.

 

Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 28 April 1932

THE SUPREME MOSLEM COUNCIL CASE.

   Judgment was yesterday reserved in the action brought by the ten Notables of Hebron against the Supreme Moslem Council, when the plaintiffs asked the High Court to issue an order upon the Supreme Moslem Council designating that the revenue from the Waqf of Hebron be spent according to the terms of the dedication.

   According to the petitioners, the dedication requires that, after deducting all expenses, the remaining balance should be spent in aiding the poor of Hebron, in maintaining hostels, hospitals and schools.

 

Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 10 May 1932

HEBRON ACTION FAILS.

SUPREME COURT DISMISSES APPEAL

   Judgment was given yesterday by the Supreme Court, composed of the Senior Pusine Judge, Mr. Justice Baker, and Mr. Justice Jarallah, in the case of the complaint against the Supreme Moslem Council by the Moslems of Hebron, who accused the former of applying a part of the Wakfia funds to purposes other than that for which they were intended.

   According to the petitioners, the revenues of the Awqaf of the Mosque of Ibrahaim at Hebron were dedicated for opening hospitals, supplying Hebron with water, assisting the poor, establishing a hospital, and similar purposes of charity.

   The respondents admitted that part of the revenue of the Awqaf were apportioned annually between Hebron and Jerusalem, their authority for so doing being that it was an old established practice, which was in force under the Ottoman Government and observed by the British Administration.  They further claimed that the Awaqf in question were Masbate, that is, Waqf properties administered directly by the Ministry of Awqafs, and that therefore the observance of the terms of the Waqfia was not required, according to the Ottoman Law.

   Mr. Justice Baker, in summing up the evidence, declared that the Supreme Court could not accept the argument of the Hebron Moslems that the Regulation of the Supreme Moslem Council laid upon the Council a duty to observe the conditions of the dedication in this case, as it was previously administered by the Awqaf Ministry without regard to those conditions.  Nor could they agree that the established practice be abandoned upon grounds for which no evidence was given.

   The petition was therefore dismissed with costs.

 

Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 1 June 1932

ELECTION TO SUPREME MOSLEM COUNCIL

   We learn on good authority that the report in Meraat el Sharq, that the election of the Supreme Moslem Council will take place next month is correct.  We understand that the interview between the High Commissioner and members of the Supreme Moslem Council on Saturdays last dealt not only with the financial situation of the Supreme Moslem Council, but also with the lection for the Council.  Since the formation of the Supreme Moslem Council by Sir Herbert Samuel, 10 years ago, no election has taken place.  The elections held in 1927 were declared invalid by the Supreme Court, in an action brought by the opposition.  The conflict has been gaping on for many years towards creating special legislation for the election to the Council which was suggested by a special committee appointed by the Government.  The bone of contention was whether the section relating to the Mufti should provide for a lifetime appointment or not.

 

Source: The Palestine Post, 4 January 1933

CASES AGAINST SUPREME MOSLEM COUNCIL

   Ragheb Bey Nashashibi's case against the Supreme Moslem Council will be heard in the High Court on January 21 when the Council will be called upon to give reasons for its failure to publish accounts.

   The case of Sheikh Asari against the same body will be heard on January 25.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School