News August 2008

LEBANON - 6 killed, including a 10-year-old boy, and 30 injured in clashes between Alawite Shias and Sunnis in Tripoli. Rival politicians formed a govtt of national unity in July with Hezbollah forming a part of it. (BBC, Jul 25)

TURKEY - Constitutional court voted not to close down the governing AK Party which won 47% of votes in the last election. The party was charged with attempting to Islamise the country largely based on a move to lift the ban on Islamic headscarves at university. AK leaders once belonged to pro-Islamic parties. (BBC, Jul 31)

SAUDI ARABIA - Authorities are considering introducing compulsory pre-marriage courses for engaged couples to cut the growing divorce rate. (BBC, Jul 31)

MONTENEGRO - The first secondary Islamic school is to open since the last was closed in 1918. The project cost €2 million, €1.5 million donated by a Turkish govt institution. Islamic Development Bank and charities in Kuwait and UAE donated the rest. Muslims are 20% of the population. (IOL, Jul 30)

PAKISTAN - Pro-Taleban fighters and the army fought a 3-day battle in the Swat valley. 9 civilians, 10 soldiers and 5 fighters died. 25 soldiers were captured. Maulana Fazlullah and his followers want Islamic law in Swat. (BBC, Jul 31)

PALESTINE - Non-Aligned Movement with 118 member countries called for a UN resolution demanding a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. It also said the UN must stop Israel's genocide in occupied Palestine. (PTV, July 31)

KENYA - Muslim Human Rights group says govt is trying to conceal a presidential report on injustice against Muslims in Kenya. The report was ordered after 19 Muslims were deported to Ethiopia and Guantanamo. There are CIA secret prisons in Ethiopia to interrogate Muslim ‘terror’ suspects. Dozens of Somali refugees, including children and women, were flown on CIA flights from Kenya for interrogation in Ethiopia with Kenyan govt help. (IOL, Jul 31)

PALESTINE - Jewish PM Olmert is to resign in Sep as he faces 6 corruption charges. He spoke to his friend and key ally US Pres Bush before making his decision. Olmert accepted money from a Jewish-American financier to fund elections campaigns and a lavish lifestyle for 13 years. (IOL, Jul 30)

SOMALIA - Islamic Courts and Al-Shabab control ⅓ of Somalia including almost all the south. Islamic fighters forced Ethiopian invaders to withdraw from most cities in the south. This has led to peace and security and a crack down on bandits robbing and killing civilians. The Islamic Courts, which came to power after routing US-backed warlords in 2006, brought stability to most of Somalia after 15 years of unrest before being ousted by US-backed Ethiopian troops. The only threat is a possible US strike, with 5 since 2007 killing many civilians. (IOL, Jul 28)

EAST TURKISTAN - Uighur Muslims face travel restrictions, and strip searches before boarding flights as the Beijing Olympics nears. (IOL, Jul 31)

SUDAN - 8 Darfur rebels sentenced to death over an assault near Khartoum in May which killed 220 civilians. Chad supports Darfur rebels who began a war which has left 300,000 dead. (BBC, Jul 29)

UK - Lord Chief Justice Phillips suggested UK's legal system can make allowances for Islamic law. This follows the statement of the Archbishop of Canterbury Williams that it was inevitable for British law to include aspects of Islamic law. (PTV, Jul 4)

INDIA - UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency backed a controversial nuclear deal between India and the US. In return, India would open its civilian nuclear facilities to inspection, but not its nuclear weapons sites. (BBC, Aug 1)

IRAN - Iran won 3 gold medals in the RoboCup 2008 contest in China. (PTV, Jul 26)

TURKEY - Turkish warplanes attacked a hideout of Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, after a Kurd bomb attack in Istanbul killed 17. (BBC, Jul 29)

UAE - First Emirates A380 commercial flight took place Aug 1. 74 of the 192 Airbus A380’s, the largest passenger airliner in the world, have been ordered by Muslim airlines. Emirates Airlines is the biggest buyer with 58. Emirates' first class passengers can shower on the A380. (ArabianBusiness, Aug 1)

IRAQ - US forces launched offensive in Diyala province, an insurgency stronghold. Diyala controls key supply routes between Baghdad and northern cities and has a long border with Iran. (BBC, Jul 30)

KOSOVO - First passports issued, 5 months after independence from Serbia. (BBC, Jul 30)