News in Brief May 2008 Edition 1

OGADEN - The Bush govt blocked a congressional resolution, approved by the House of Representatives criticising Ethiopia's human rights in Ogaden, a mainly Muslim Somali region, where the army is fighting a war against Muslim freedom fighters. Commercial food deliveries to Ogaden have been blocked by Ethiopia for 10 months. (BBC , Dec 7)

SOMALIA - Amnesty International says that Ethiopian troops killed 21 people at a Musjid, including Tabligh Jamaat Ulama who are not involved in the fighting. Some had their throats slit. Amnesty also said soldiers took away 40 children during the raid on al-Hidaya Musjid. Over 80 people killed in fierce fighting between Ethiopian troops and freedom fighters in Mogadishu. UN says that Ethiopia is using indiscriminate force against civilians in contravention of international humanitarian law. 750,000 residents fled Mogadishu in the past year following the Ethiopian invasion. (BBC, Apr 24)

ALGERIA - Society of Algerian Muslim Scholars denounced a govt ban on pictures of veiled women and bearded men in passport photographs. The army has fought a bloody battle against Islamists, leaving 100,000 people dead, after cancelling elections in 1996 which Islamists won. (BBC, Apr 23)

QATAR - Ethiopian govt broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar after Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV broadcast reports from Muslim Ogaden which is occupied by Ethiopia. They also claim Qatar is giving $150,000 a month to Eritrea, which then go to fund the Ogaden National Liberation Front. (BBC, Apr 21)

VATICAN - The number of Muslims has, for the first time, overtaken the number of Roman Catholics in the world, according to Vatican officials. Muslims made up 19.2% of the world's population and Catholics 17.4%. (The Times, Apr 1)

CHECHNYA - A battle took place between a Mujahideen unit and Russians May 2, near Roshni Chu in the Caucasus Emirate. 9 enemy soldiers were killed. (Kavkaz Centre, May 3)

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