Virtual Al-Andalus

dauer

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I thought this might be an interesting topic of discussion. THere's a sim in SL that's establishing a virtual caliphate. It's leaning more to the left than the right from the sounds of it. A brief quote:

"The Al-Andalus Caliphate Project reconstructs 13th Century Moor Alhambra and builds around this virtual space a community of individuals willing to explore the modalities of interaction between different languages, nationalities, religions and cultures within a political and juridical space shaped by authentic Islamic principles."

This is an article about it on a blog about law in virtual worlds:

Virtually Blind - Virtual Law | Legal Issues That Impact Virtual Worlds » Blog Archive » Al-Andalus Caliphate Government Sim Opens in Second Life; Judiciary to Be Based on Islamic Law

and this is their website:

Al-Andalus Caliphate

What do you think about the project?

Personally I think it's a fascinating social experiment. I'm curious to see how it works out and what the response is to it both from those more to the right and those who might have an issue in general with that type of governance.
 
Hi dauer :)

Thanks for the post and the links. I've been reading all through the material and checking out the website. I'm a bit frustrated at the moment because I keep trying to watch the videos and things keep freezing up! :mad:

It sounds very intriguing. I am really interested in the history of Al-Andalus. In fact, if my health, technical, and other resources would allow, I would probably seriously consider participating in this experiment. It will be interesting to see what people think, both here in C-R and elsewhere.

I hope you don't mind, but I thought I'd go ahead and add the links I posted from the other thread, for anyone who hasn't seen it and is interested. It kind of goes along with this thread, I think. Sorry I can't site a video at the moment--perhaps there is one available:

http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/al-andalus-8079.html

I'll be following as closely as I can!

Edited to Add: Oops--I posted the thread location instead of the links. But that will work, too (there's only two posts there at the moment anyway.)

InPeace,
InLove
 
InLove,

Of course. It was in part seeing your thread that made me think to create this one. I may eventually sign up for the project. Will mostly depend on the cost to have a small space there. For some balance, this is a response by one of the members of the Muslim community of SL who's done a bit more investigating as well as a response in the comments on the blog entry from the creator of the project:

3-D Virtual Caliphate Dreams « The Tasneem Project [’staqim]
 
dauer--it will be interesting to see if the problems can be worked out. That would be right in line with the whole concept.

InPeace,
InLove
 
Hmm, I watch with interest.

A little confused how they will decide the authentic sharia, as Muslims have failed to agree on this for centuries.

The video's are fabulous.
 
mw,

I spoke to the creator of the project who sent me a notecard in Second Life and gave me a tour of their builds. I'm going to go take a few pictures later that I can share here. It's a recreation of historical al-andalus. According to the notecard this is the aim of the project:

" what we are trying to do

is to understand the political and legal history of islamic countries before the colonial encounter

and try to develop together with others principles of law and government that would be legitimate with the grass roots citizens of these countries

and at the same time respectful of universal principles of dignity, equality, democracy and human rights"

because his understanding is that it would be impossible for a Muslim country to consider a some of those ideas if they're not in the language of that country. The project then, in my understanding, is in part an attempt to learn how to be able speak about these issues in the language of Muslim jurisprudence. He also suggests that Islam may have developed in that direction on its own and that "today most islamic countries and their government and legal systems are the result of the colonial encounter with western countries" which I don't know enough about the history of that encounter to understand entirely or comment on.

The guy who started the project is not Muslim. He's a lawyer with experience in refugee and human rights laws who's also studied islamic law and politics as an undergrad and in grad school.

I haven't joined yet and I will wait a bit, as they're asking for 1 USD a week for citizenship, 6 months up front. I'd also like to see what the response of the Muslim community in SL is once the sim opens, which will be after Eid. The Cordoba Mosque has moved to the sim and previously that had been the largest center for the Muslim community.

He has a forum on the website where discussion has started about some of the different issues. Personally I'd like to see how they handle dhimma.
 
I just took some photos in the al-andalus sims. You can find them here:

al-andalus - a photoset on Flickr

Oh, oh, quick, where is my suitcase? I want to go there. Forgive my ignorence of such things but is this like that Sim game, where people live out lives in cyberspace?

Thanks for the info Dauer. I am very excited about the project but my gut tells me they will have to tread very carefully. If it is a success it could move relations between Muslims and non Muslims forward in leaps and bounds, when people see the real Islam and it's true principles. Of course the flip side is that it could be hijacked by the extremists, of both sides, and then failure (war or terrorist beheadings to get good headlines) would just cement stereotypes. My fingers are crossed. Can we assume he has got some Muslims on board who share his idea of what Islamic sharia really should be?

By the way I haven't forgotten about that info from my Dad, he is just reluctant to let me have it, he says I should 'stick to what I know and not dabble in such a sensitive issue' - that's me told then. Mum and I are trying to persuade him to join the forum and share his knowledge with you directly but so far he is digging his heels in - don't worry Mum and I are really good at nagging, it just takes time to wear him down.

Salaam
 
Hey mw,

Oh, oh, quick, where is my suitcase? I want to go there. Forgive my ignorence of such things but is this like that Sim game, where people live out lives in cyberspace?

Similar. There are those who use it as a game but there are others who use it as a platform, for example harvard law school, ibm, etc. Those who use it as a game, it is more literally a second life. Those who use it as a platform, more like a 3d web. Some have suggested the web is going in that direction but I think that in a way it only would make some things more complicated. And because of the requirements to run something like that it's just not tenable right now. I am, probably like most people, in between the two extremes. I like to use SL for leisure but I also like to use it for more serious purposes. And it is the serious things that ultimately appeal to me the most.

Thanks for the info Dauer. I am very excited about the project but my gut tells me they will have to tread very carefully. If it is a success it could move relations between Muslims and non Muslims forward in leaps and bounds, when people see the real Islam and it's true principles. Of course the flip side is that it could be hijacked by the extremists, of both sides, and then failure (war or terrorist beheadings to get good headlines) would just cement stereotypes. My fingers are crossed. Can we assume he has got some Muslims on board who share his idea of what Islamic sharia really should be?

I agree they will have to tread carefully, and my concern is that it will get hijacked by people who are far too liberal and detached from Islamic jurisprudence for it to be of any benefit. But my hope is that does not happen. I'm not certain exactly who else is involved. He does have 90 members in his group so far. There have been some people already signing up for land. Since the cordoba mosque is moved over it is likely there will be quite a few muslims at the very least making use of the sim, as that was the largest center for the muslim community in SL before this was built. That link I put up in my second post in this thread is a response from that fellow I pointed out to you before. It also has a response from the project designer.

One of the things that's happened unfortunately is SL tabloids have picked up on the words sharia and caliphate, not bothered to read any of his website, and just been completely and unnecessarily reactive. But at least it is publicity, and he's very clear on what it is and what it is not when speaking with people.

A problem that does arise in second life is griefing, causing grief. In a Jewish sim I was in a person arrived in a nazi uniform, driving a tank, playing a "heil hitler" recording over and over again. Fortunately there are security measures that can be taken.

If you're interested in learning a little more about the way the project is being run they do have a forum on their website where they're discussing it all and working everything out. I haven't had the chance to look closely at the forum myself.

By the way I haven't forgotten about that info from my Dad, he is just reluctant to let me have it, he says I should 'stick to what I know and not dabble in such a sensitive issue' - that's me told then. Mum and I are trying to persuade him to join the forum and share his knowledge with you directly but so far he is digging his heels in - don't worry Mum and I are really good at nagging, it just takes time to wear him down.

:D Like water on rock.
 
You are right Dauer, the too liberal side could also damage the project. If it is to work it must be run as an Islamic state was intended, including the bits our modern morality may cringe about (sorry but murderers and rapists get the death penalty).

I have never heard of SL before, have you got any links to explainations of its workings?
 
mw,

of course. I can give you a couple. This is their website:

Second Life: Your World. Your Imagination.

wiki entry:

Second Life - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and an article on religion in SL:

Faithful build a Second Life for religion online - USATODAY.com

Essentially, everything within SL is created by the users. That means that the objects found in-world, even the code that makes the object in-world function, is created by users.

Oh great, that means we'll never see MW again....:(

s.
 
Salaam Alaikum,

Thank you for taking an interest in the al-Andalus Caliphate Project in Second Life. I am very happy so many of you are interested and I hope you will join us, either on our forums here: The Al-Andalus Caliphate Forums - Index or directly in-world.

I would like to emphasize that we do not necessarily require all participants to pay to be part of our community. In fact, our group has two categories of mebmers: residents, who do not have to pay anything, and are allowed to participate in many our our events, activities, and debates, but not vote or stand for office for our community-wide institutions; and citizens, who do pay a citizenship fee and can do so. So, even if you do not feel able to contribute financilally right away to our Ummah, please feel free to join us and contribute by becoming residents.

Since, as you know, the construction of our sims is going well, I decided to take a first stab at the outline of what our system of governance and justice might look like.

I have posted a draft outline and chart of what the Al-Andalus caliphate constitution might look like, here: Draft Constitution Outline and Chart
Please keep in mind this is just a first stab at it. Feel free to make any suggestions, comments, constructive criticsm you may thing appropriate.

For those who want to have a look at it here, I posted the text and chart below too.

Thank you all for your participation and input.

Salaam,



Michel Manen



Al-Andalus Caliphate Draft Constitution Outline
  • Ummah Al-Andalus: all citizens and residents of Al-Andalus. Anyone can join the Ummah.
  • Al-Andalus Citizen: any individual paying the Al-Andalus Caliphate citizenship fee or otherwise deemed qualified as citizen by the Citizenship Committee.
  • Al-Andalus Resident: any member of the Al-Andalus Caliphate group.
  • 4 Communities compose the Ummah Al-Andalus:
a)Muslim Community (MC);
b)Christian Community (CC);
c)Jewish Community (JC); and
d)Fourth Community (FC).

-Each community elects: * 1 Community Leader and * 2 Representatives, who constitute each community’s Community Council (CC) (marked as Assembly on Chart).
-There is no citizenship requirement to vote for or be elected. Both citizens and residents can participate.
-The CC deals with private law issues specific to the community – religion, culture, education, family, dispute resolution
-The CC appoints a Community Arbitrator, who may be asked by consenting parties to resolve disputes. His / her decisions can be appealed to the Lower Mahakim (Court of Justice).
-Each community is autonomous in its specific fields mentioned above.
-50 per cent of the citizens’ fees belonging to that community go to the community; donations can also be accepted from both citizens and residents.
  • Shura: All residents and citizens of Al-Andalus meet together in an assembly to consult, discuss, debate issues pertaining to the entire community
-the Shura discusses public / administrative / commercial issues and the budget;
-only Al Andalus citizens elect the Majles-e Shura and initiate bills.
  • Majles-e Shura: the elected assembly of Andalus.
-all citizens are entitled to vote or to stand for office;
-composed of 11 members;
-decides onpublic / administrative / commercial issues and the budget;
-members elected by single transferable vote, once every 6 months;
-confirms all public officers’ appointments: Wasir, Amir, Sultan, Citizenship Committee Members, Finance Committee Members, Judges, Council of Experts Members
-decides by simple majority: 6 out of 11 votes;
-constitutional / entrenched legislation changes must obtain 8 out of 11 votes.
-Elects its Chair, the Hajib, by simple majority
-Once adopted by it, all legislation is referred to the Council of Experts for approval or referral back for reconsideration
  • Hajib: Chair of the Majles-e Shura; sets the agenda of the Majles-e Shura. Must resign if he/she loses a Vote of Confidence ( like the Budget Bill).
  • Drafting Committee: composed of 3 members, who draft bills in cooperation with the Majles-e Shura and Community Councils.
  • Finance Committee: Composed of:
a)Estate Owner / Treasurer (owns sims and holds all community funds);
b)Budget Manager; (prepares draft budget and submits it to the Majles-e Shura); and
c)Internal Auditor: reviews both draft budget and the Budget Bill adopted by the Majles-e Shura
All members are appointed by the Khalifah on the advice of the Wasir, and confirmed by the Majles-e Shura.
  • Amir: Sims Administrator, implementing decisions of the Diwan and Majles-e Shurah; 1 per sim / city; appointed by the Khalifah on the advice of the Wasir, and confirmed by the Majles-e Shura.
  • Diwan: the executive of Al-Andalus, composed of 6 members; appointed by the Khalifah on the advice of the Wasir, and confirmed by the Majles-e Shura
  • Wasir: Leader of the Executive of Al-Andalus and Khalifah’s main adviser. Elected by majority vote by all Al-Andalus Citizens at the same time as the Majles-e Shura Members. Has right to initiate legislation.
  • Sultan: Al-Andalus Ummah Arbitrator and Ombudsperson
-can resolve any dispute of consenting citizens; decisions can be appealed to the Upper Mahakim;
-investigates any complaint about public officers / institutions and submits report and recommendations to the Council of Experts.
-Has a Secretary;
-appointed by the Khalifah on the advice of the Wasir, and confirmed by the Majles-e Shura
  • Khalifah: Leader of the Ummah Al-Andalus
-hereditary, non-elected position;
-nominates all Al-Andalus public officers on the advice of the Wasir;
-must sign all legislation passed by the Majles-e Shura and approved by the Council of Experts, on advice of the Wasir
-can veto all legislation on advice of Wasir or, exceptionally, on own initiative, after Majles-e Shura passed it and Council of Experts approved it.
-can initiate legislation on advice of the Wasir or on own initiative.
  • Citizenship Committee: 3 members; reviews and makes decisions all citizenship applications; decisions can be appealed to the Upper Mahakim.
  • Lower Mahakim (Court of Justice): minimum 3 kadis (judges) appointed by the Khalifah on the advice of the Wasir, and confirmed by the Majles-e Shura. Court of First Instance of the Ummah.
  • Upper Mahakim (Court of Justice): minimum 3 kadis appointed by the Khalifah on the advice of the Wasir, and confirmed by the Majles-e Shura. Court of Appeal of the Ummah.
  • Kadi al-Mahakim (Senior Judge): Head of the Ummah’s Courts system; appointed by the Khalifah on the advice of the Wasir, and confirmed by the Majles-e Shura.
  • Mahakim Administrator: Manages the Ummah’s Courts system
  • Council of Experts: 9 Ulemas (members): 6 Muslims; 1 Christian; 1 Jewish, 1 Other.
-appointed by the Khalifah on the advice of the Wasir, and confirmed by the Majles-e Shura.
-Court of Final Appeal of the Ummah; must give leave to appeal to take on cases from Upper Mahakim;
-Interprets and decides on all constitutional / charter matters;
-May confirm / overrule / change Sultan’s recommendations (as ombudsperson)
-Must approve all legislation referred to it by the Majles-e Shura as in conformity with the Constitution, Charter, Qur’an and Sunna, or refer it back for review;
-Decides on all issues on a 5 out of 9 vote, except constitutional changes, where a 6 out of 9 majority is required.
-Can remove the Khalifah on joint petition of Wasir, Amir, Sultan and Hajib (after unanimous vote in the Majles-e Shura) by unanimous vote (consensus), and appoint a new Khalifah by unanimous decision (consensus).
  • Al-Andalus Caliphate Constitution and Charter of Rights and Responsibilities: sets out principles of governance and justice of the Al-Andalus Ummah.
  • Qur’an and Sunna: Source of all legislation of the Al-Andalus Caliphate, including its Constitution and Charter of Rights and Responsibilities. Only the Council of Experts can authoritatively rule as to their interpretation and application in Al-Andalus.
 

Attachments

  • AA Constitution Chart.jpg
    AA Constitution Chart.jpg
    74.9 KB · Views: 395
Thanks for stopping by Michel. It's helpful to see some of the structure. Will have to see how some of the Muslim members of the forums respond as I have almost no familiarity with sharia.
 
Salaam Alaikum,

wa aleykum salaam wr wb

Thank you so much for taking the time to come and share information about your project. A couple of observations if I may. I wish I could join in but have the dreaded Vista, so am unable to use SL for the time being.

  • Ummah Al-Andalus: all citizens and residents of Al-Andalus. Anyone can join the Ummah.
I was a little confused about what you are trying to achieve. I am thinking you want to blend together the original authentic Islamic principles with aspects of modern life - would that be correct? If this is so then I feel a little uncomfortable about the strict use of Islamic terms, for example 'the Ummah', which refers to the believers. To use it seems a little disingenuous, as it seems satan worshippers are also welcome to join in via the fourth community but would certainly not be classed by Muslims as the Ummah. Of course in Islam non Muslims would be dhimmi, with the rights of protection offered through treaties.

b)Christian Community (CC);


each community’s Community Council (CC)

You appear to have used CC to denote two different groups.

Council of Experts: 9 Ulemas (members): 6 Muslims; 1 Christian; 1 Jewish, 1 Other.

In the flowchart it states 1 Muslim (looks like a typo).

My main thought at the moment is that tolerance is an inherent message in Islam but that to create a 'world' shaped by authentic Islamic principle it cannot have a 'come one, come all and choose your own way of life' attitude.

Have you posted anything on the net that demonstrates your belief in what the authentic Islamic principles actually are? For me that would be a decisive factor in whether I chose to join such a community.

I read your forum and found a post from yourself stating that the Islamic principles will also come from "centuries of debate, interpretation and precedent". My personal opinion is that to include modern interpretations would immediately move away from the authentic Islamic principles, which as we know began to be eroded centuries ago by political wranglings and desire for power.

I read some other blogs and forums about SL and was astonished that the issues people were discussing included, 'why the hell should women cover their hair in a mosque' and avatars (amazing what people find important and the lack of respect even in the cyber world). However, when I tried to join I was given a choice of 4 half dressed teenage 'babes' and a sexy rabbit. Not very appropriate as a modest Muslim.

I wish you luck with the project and hope it has some benefit in the world other than people escaping reality. :)

Salaam
 
mw,

not officially yet, but it still works. You can see here for more info:

https://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Windows_Vista

If you look on the discussion page, a few people report using it without issue or just needing to update their drivers.

Shalom Dauer

Thank you, I was feeling victimised :p I downloaded the software but it kept giving me an error 4 message.

I will give it a bash as soon as I can but am a bit busy trying to rescue my website project at the moment.

Salaam
 
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