News You Can Use Feb 2008

SINGAPORE - Muslim community leaders spoke out against Boon Lay Garden Primary School’s attempt to ban non-halaal food from its canteen. The school reversed the decision. (Straits Times, Feb 7)
EGYPT - 29 killed and 16 injured when 9 cars and trucks slammed into each other on a fog-choked rural highway in Upper Egypt. (BBC, Feb 7)
USA - 1. Famous US department store chain Macy's is to cut 2,300 jobs due to decreased sales. 2. Tornadoes across 5 states killed 55 people and injured hundreds. (BBC, Feb 7)
TAJIKISTAN - This poor Muslim country is in the grip of emergency food shortages due to an energy crisis in its coldest winter for 5 decades. The cost of food has tripled. Even at the best of times, tens of thousands of people are malnourished. (BBC, Feb 6)
USA - Pres Bush might reauthorise the waterboarding interrogation method used on Muslim prisoners. Waterboarding simulates drowning and is condemned as torture by rights groups. (BBC, Feb 6)
TURKEY - 1. Parliament led by the Islamist AK Party approved a constitutional amendment to ease the ban on women wearing headscarves in universities. Turkey's population is 99% Muslim and two-thirds of all Turkish women cover their heads. 2. Turkish warplanes attacked 70 Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq while troops killed 10 rebels in south-east Turkey. (BBC, Feb 4, 7)
SOMALIA - 10 civilians killed and 57 injured in Ethiopian/govt force mortar and heavy artillery attacks in residential area in Mogadishu. (BBC, Jan 29)
SOUTH AFRICA - There are an estimated 70 Muslim schools in the country. (Al Qalam)
SAUDI ARABIA - The sale of red roses and red gifts was banned in the run-up to Valentine's Day, and for a few days after. (Guardian, Feb 12)
AUSTRIA - Carinthia province’s parliament approved a law that bans building Mosques in the region. (Jang, Feb 13)
PALESTINE - The Jewish town of Kiryat Yam is suing Google for slander because its worldwide map service shows the town was built on the ruins of an Arab village, Ghawarina, destroyed by Jews. (Haaretz, Feb 12)
PAKISTAN - The party of Benazir Bhutto won elections while the main party backing Musharraf suffered heavy defeats. Musharraf’s party only got 38 out of 272 seats in parliament. Musharraf, a dictator who seized power in a coup in 1999, was backed by the US despite him deposing a democratically elected govt. (BBC, Feb 19)
KOSOVO - 90% Muslim Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. US, UK, France, Germany and Italy recognised the new state. Kosovo Serbs set fire to UN border crossings in protest, while Bosnian Serbs threw stones at Western consulates. (BBC, Feb 19)
MAURITANIA - Feb 1, Israeli embassy was attacked with gunfire. Mauritania is one of the few Arab League members to recognise Israel. (BBC, Feb 19)
UK - Reports show that an Israeli general wanted for war crimes escaped arrest in the UK because police feared an armed confrontation at Heathrow airport in 2005. The general ordered the destruction in 2002 of 50 Palestinian homes in Gaza in contravention of the laws of war protecting civilian property. (BBC, Feb 19) Amazingly UK police show no such qualms in confronting alleged Muslim ‘terrorists’.
PALESTINE - The manufacturers of Monopoly are holding an online poll to decide which cities should be in their ‘World Edition’ of the game. As of 18 Feb, ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ was 5th on the leader board, not by accident, but due to Jewish group ‘One Jerusalem’ actively campaigning to make Jerusalem number one by the time voting closes. This campaign violates UN resolutions which state that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel, as One Jerusalem and Jews claim. (BBC, Feb 18)

SOMALIA - US missile attacks on Dhoble kill 4 and wounding 20. Islamists seized the town last week. (BBC, Mar 3)

MALAYSIA - Opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party is set to win elections in Kelantan, the only state run by them. Kelantan has some Islamic laws.
Terengganu state has a new Islamic edutainment park where visitors can walk among miniature copies of the world's best known mosques. (BBC, Mar 3)

GERMANY - A Berlin art gallery closed an exhibition where one of the posters made fun of Ka’aba. The exhibition was organised by Danish group Surrend.
A poster showed the Ka’aba with derogatory words on it. (BBC, Mar 3)

PALESTINE - 112 Muslims killed in Jewish bombardment of Gaza, as a Jewish minister calls for a Holocaust in Gaza. 25 were children. March 1 saw 70
killed, the bloodiest day in years. Hamas managed to fight off the Jewish army in fierce fighting, causing them to retreat. A Jewish embargo of Gaza has shut
it off from the outside world. The Jews only allow some medicine and basic foodstuffs to enter. There were anti-Jewish demonstrations across the West
Bank. (BBC, Mar 3)

FRANCE - Muslim countries boycotting a book fair in Paris because the guest of honour is Israel. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco and
Algeria all withdrew. A similar row is brewing over the Turin book fair in May in Italy where Israel is again guest of honour. (BBC, Mar 3)

AUSTRIA - A court excluded a young Muslim woman from the start of her trial on ‘terrorism’ charges because she refused to remove her full-face veil as there were men there. (BBC, Mar 3)

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