Mom: My son was mutilated and I want answers
She met Pope John Paul II in August 2004 after her son was killed and he told her “God has accepted Jerry’s soul” — comforting words that still give her peace. “It was a big gift for me to see the Holy Father and to meet the Holy Father, but for the truth of my Jerry’s death, I’d give it back,” she said, choking back tears.”I’d say, ‘No, I want Blackwater to tell me everything.'”
- Gay Muslims Find Freedom, of a Sort, in the U.S.
SAN FRANCISCO — About 15 people marched alongside the Muslim float in this city’s notoriously fleshy Gay Pride Parade earlier this year, with various men carrying the flags of Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Turkey and even Iran’s old imperial banner. While other floats featured men dancing in leather Speedos or women with scant duct tape over their nipples, many Muslims were disguised behind big sunglasses, fezzes or kaffiyehs wrapped around their heads.
New York’s $25,000 dessert sets Guinness record
Stephen Bruce, owner of Serendipity 3, partnered with luxury jeweler Euphoria New York to create the “Frrozen Haute Chocolate,” a blend of 28 cocoas, including 14 of the most expensive and exotic from around the globe. The dessert, spelled with two Rs, is infused with 5 grams (0.2 ounces) of edible 23-karat gold and served in a goblet lined with edible gold. At the base of the goblet is an 18-karat gold bracelet with 1 carat of white diamonds. The sundae is topped with whipped cream covered with more gold and a side of La Madeline au Truffle from Knipschildt Chocolatier, which sells for $2,600 a pound. It is eaten with a gold spoon decorated with white and chocolate-colored diamonds, which can also be taken home.
Toy contaminated with ‘date rape’ drug pulledU.S. safety officials have recalled about 4.2 million Chinese-made Aqua Dots bead toys that contain a chemical that has caused some children to vomit and become comatose after swallowing them.
Study: Many of homeless are vets
More than 25 percent of the homeless population in the United States are military veterans, although they represent only 11 percent of the civilian adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday. On any given night last year, nearly 196,000 veterans slept on the street, in a shelter or in transitional housing, the study by the Homelessness Research Institute found. “Veterans make up a disproportionate share of homeless people,” the report said. “This is true despite the fact that veterans are better educated, more likely to be employed and have a lower poverty rate than the general population.”
Costume leads to ‘hold’ on Myers’ Senate confirmation
A Halloween party where a Department of Homeland Security worker won praise for a costume of darkened skin and prison garb may stall Senate confirmation of the party’s host for a second time. Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said Wednesday that she has placed a temporary “hold” on Julie Myers’ nomination for the job of assistant homeland security secretary for immigration and customs enforcement until Myers answers questions about the party, including why photographs of her with the costumed employee were destroyed after questions were raised. “As the leader of that organization, she should have immediately recognized the problem and asked that person to leave,” said McCaskill, who has raised previous concerns about Myers’ nomination. “And what really happened was, she judged the costume as one that should get a prize and be recognized and she had her photograph taken with the person in the costume — and only later came back and apologized and said it was a problem.” President Bush used a 2006 recess appointment to put Myers in office after Senate concerns about her inexperience stalled her confirmation. He nominated her again for the job in January. Myers, 38, was part of a three-judge panel that originally praised the costume — which featured dreadlocks, black-and-white prison garb and a skin “bronzer” — for its originality.
HAS GONE TOO FAR NOW!!!!
‘K-Ville,’ ’24’ latest affected by strike
The strike was also playing havoc with another show on Fox’s schedule. In a press release, the network announced that “24’s” premiere, set for January, was “being postponed to ensure that [the seventh season] can air uninterrupted, in its entirety.” Meanwhile, writers returned to the picket lines after their strike forced at least eight prime-time shows, including the popular NBC sitcom “The Office,” to halt production.
Are Pakistan’s Nukes in Safe Hands?
For about 10 years, the U.S. Congress barred contacts between American and Pakistani military officials as part of sanctions on Islamabad for pursuing nuclear weapons in the first place. In an ironic boomerang, it is now those officers, ascending to ever more senior ranks, who soon could be overseeing various elements of the Pakistani military, including the security of the several dozen atomic weapons Pakistan is believed to have in its arsenal. Their provincialism, U.S. officials fear, could make them sympathetic to the al-Qaeda and Taliban elements now roiling the country.
Health trumps faith differences at Muslim clinic
It grew out of the 1992 riots, a vision by a small group of Muslim medical students to bring charitable, high-quality healthcare to the needy residents of South Los Angeles. Eleven years later, the UMMA clinic on Florence Avenue has served nearly 20,000 patients, the great majority of them non-Muslim. It has become a mainstay of its largely low-income neighborhood, sponsoring blood drives, literacy promotions and even tax return workshops, along with its medical services. And in an era when Middle Eastern conflicts and terrorist attacks have often brought uncomfortable attention to America’s Muslim communities, the clinic has become a source of considerable pride for Muslims in Southern California and nationwide. “We believe this is really Islam at its best,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella group for the region’s mosques. “We are very proud of those who started UMMA and those who are continuing the work there.”
- Studying Islam for a more peaceful world
Despite popular assertions that religion is at the root of the world’s problems as at no other time in recent history, closer study reveals that it is not religion per se that is plaguing the world but the misunderstanding of religion. Positing a divide between Islam and the West, or the religious and the secular, not only misrepresents Islam and Muslims, but the nature and mission of all faiths. Understanding and studying Islam is a matter of great urgency – it is, in fact, critical, if humankind is to have a peaceful future.
- Muslim scholars decry ‘fatwa chaos’
CAIRO: A century ago, the fatwa department at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University issued fewer than 200 edicts a day. Now it turns out about 1,000. The university, a center of Islamic learning for more than a millennium, isn’t alone. Around the world, an explosion in the number of fatwas – pronouncements by religious leaders intended to shape the actions of the faithful on everything from sex to politics – is driving efforts by prominent Muslims to rein in the practice. That’s proving a nearly impossible task, given Islam’s decentralized nature and the growing number of outlets for the edicts.
Muslims in Egypt seeking religious guidance may now turn to satellite television and the Internet for opinions from as far afield as Indonesia – unless they follow the fatwa issued in 2004 by the Dar ul-Ulum, India’s largest Islamic seminary, that ruled Muslims shouldn’t watch TV.
With no pope or patriarch to arbitrate orthodoxy, “it’s the nature of Islamic thought to have many options,” says Abdel Moti Bayoumi, who heads the Islamic Research Compilation Center in Cairo. “But there are too many unqualified opinions being spread, and this is wrong.”
Jewish settler outposts ‘expanding’
Jewish settlers are expanding outposts in the occupied West Bank by stealthily assembling mobile homes, a report by an Israeli peace group has said. Peace Now said on Wednesday that settlers, faced with a ban on moving caravans to outposts in the West Bank, have been smuggling in self-assembly kits and erecting mobile homes on-site.
Will ‘armloads’ of US cash buy tribal loyalty?
TIKRIT, Iraq – Inside a stately guesthouse on the grounds of Saddam Hussein’s palace in Tikrit on the banks of the Tigris, sheikh Sabah al-Hassani jokes that the initials “SH” of the former dictator etched on the walls are his. “I have a weakness for Cuban cigars, French cologne, and Spanish-made loafers,” he says with a wide grin.
Since June, Mr. Hassani, who claims to be one of the princes of the legendary Shammar tribe, which numbers nearly 7 million across the Arab world, says he has received at least $100,000 in cash and numerous perks from the US military and the Iraqi government.
With his help, at least $1 million has also been distributed to other tribal sheikhs who have joined his Salahaddin Province “support council,” according to US officers. Together, they have assembled an armed force of about 3,000 tribesmen dubbed the “sahwa [awakening] folks.”
GodTube Vs YouTube
Millions of Christians log into GodTube, a newly-established US-based website, to chat and exchange faith-themed videos, in a serious competition to the famous video clip-sharing site YouTube. “Doing this site has been a great joy,” Chris Wyatt, founder of the user-generated content website, told The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, November 7.
- Islam Dominates French Catholic Congress
PARIS — Islam and the Muslim minority in France are taking central stage in the annual congress of the French Roman Catholic Church, with the election of a new Cardinal raising questions about the future of interfaith dialogue in the country. “This is the first time that the issue of French Muslims is discussed at great length at an official conference of French bishops,” Christophe Roucou, the director of the Church’s national office for relations with Muslims, told IslamOnline.net on Tuesday, November 6.