IRAN - 180 Sufi Muslims were arrested after attacking a Shia mosque where a cleric labelled their practices illegitimate. A shootout in Boroujerd between the Sufis and police left 80 injured. (BBC, Nov 12)
SPAIN - 2 Spanish cartoonists were found guilty of offending the royal family and fined R30,000 each. The cartoon, in El Jueves magazine, depicted the Crown Prince and his wife having sex. The edition was pulled from newsstands by police. Trade unions say the judiciary is impeding freedom of speech. (BBC, Nov 13) And what of cartoons vilifying the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam?
USA - Wall Street banks revealed R345bn losses in the home loan sector after bondholders defaulted on payments. There were 1.7 million evictions this year, and 2 million families will lose their homes over the next 2 years. Total losses could be 2 trillion dollars and the bond wipe-out could cripple the US economy. In Detroit, 400,000 jobs were lost in 7 years. Cleveland is facing a rising crime wave as more people become unemployed, and the cost of demolishing vacant houses will cost the city R700m of its tax base. (BBC, Nov 5/13; Economist, Nov 17)
MALAYSIA - Malaysian carmaker Proton announced plans to develop an ‘Islamic car’, for Muslim motorists. Proton is to team up with manufacturers in Iran and Turkey to create a vehicle with features like a compass pointing to Makkah and a dedicated space to keep a Qur’an and headscarf. (BBC, Nov 11)
IRAQ - Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the US R10.35 trillion, and cost the average US family of 4 about R145,000. Oil prices surged since the Iraq war, from $37 a barrel to more than $90 a barrel recently, denting the US economy. (BBC, Nov 13)
TURMENISTAN - Energy ministers and oil executives from around the world gathered for an oil and gas show as the country opens up to foreign investment. Western countries, China and Russia are vying for access to Turmenistan’s huge reserves of fossil fuels. (BBC, Nov 14)
SWITZERLAND - A gunman with a military assault rifle fired on Muslim worshippers at an Islamic centre in Lausanne, seriously injuring 1. (IOL, Nov 14)
ISRAEL - UN named Israel as one of the main destinations in the world for illegally trafficked women; it also consistently appeared as an offender in the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons report. From the 1990s 3,000 women a year were brought to Israel on false promise of jobs. They are sold into prostitution at auctions, where they are stripped, examined and sold for +-R70,000. Trafficked women are forced to work as prostitutes up to 18 hours a day. Some are locked up and deprived of food. (BBC, Nov 6)
AFGHANISTAN - US forces killed 15 civilians in the south, including women and 2 children, in bombing. (BBC, Nov 12) Distributor of a new translation of the Qur’aan in Dari language was arrested after religious scholars said it was un-Islamic as it misinterprets verses on alcohol, homosexuality and adultery. (BBC, Nov 4)
PAKISTAN - Former PM Bhutto joined with Islamic parties and former PM Nawaz Sharif in an alliance against Musharraf, who declared a state of emergency. Protests spread as thousands are arrested including Imran Khan, former cricket captain. (IOL, Nov 13; BBC, Nov 14)
UK - The head of M15, the secret service, says that 2,000 Muslims in the UK pose a threat to security for supporting ‘terrorism’. (BBC, Nov 5)
PALESTINE - A Palestinian under-19 football team was banned from playing in UK by officials. They were invited to play UK football clubs Chester City and Blackburn Rovers. The Jewish Israeli football team, meanwhile, was allowed to enter without any visas. (BBC, Aug 23)
UZBEKISTAN - Human Rights Watch said torture of Islamist ‘extremists’ in prisons is increasing including beatings with truncheons, electric shocks, sexual humiliation and threats of physical harm to relatives. There is also evidence that prisoners were boiled to death. (BBC, Nov 7)
BANGLADESH - 3,200 people dead in a cyclone, with over a million displaced. Tens of thousands of homes destroyed and in many areas 95% of rice awaiting harvest also destroyed, and shrimp farms and other crops washed away. (BBC, Nov 17)
CHINA - 5 Uighur Muslims from the country's far western region, Xinjiang, were sentenced to death for being ’militants belonging to a violent Islamic movement seeking independence.’ (AP, Nov 11)

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