Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Abu Gaith's wife is speaking out. He's not a terrorists, you see.

"He is with Islam and is not against Kuwait. He was an ideal husband who loved Kuwait and served it in the most difficult times, and if he made a mistake, only the Almighty doesn't," 'Umm Youssef' told Al-Rai Al-Aam in an interview published Wednesday.

Abu Ghaith, reportedly detained in Iran along with top members of Osama bin Laden's network, was stripped of his Kuwaiti nationality in October 2001 because of links to the Sept 11 terror attacks on the United States. "He did not harm or kill anyone," said an emotional Umm Youssef. "He's not a terrorist, merely a spokesman."

Keep scrolling down for other great stories.

Saudi Arabia's schools are no more responsible for the Sept 11, 2001, attacks than American teachers were guilty of the 1995 Oklahoma bombing, a senior educational official said on Wednesday. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the attacks on US targets two years ago were from Saudi Arabia. Western critics and some Saudi reformers say schools must shoulder some of the blame for fostering extremism.

Khalid al-Awwad, undersecretary in the kingdom's Education Ministry, said Saudi Arabia is revising its school curriculum to stress "peace and tolerance" but that accusations its text books promote violence are unfounded. "People who are accusing our education, especially our text books, took it out of context, took it irrationally," Awwad told Reuters in an interview.

"I can just as easily conclude that education in the United States teaches terrorism because of (Timothy) McVeigh and Oklahoma." McVeigh, a US citizen, blew up a federal building in Oklahoma eight years ago, killing 168 people. Hamad al-Turki, a Saudi writer, told Reuters one example he had seen was a secondary school maths book with a question starting: "If you have five mujahideen (holy warriors), and you want to choose three to conduct a courageous operation ..."

Awwad said critics were taking a few instances out of context, adding that the kingdom, like other countries, had launched a review of its curriculum four years ago. "We put a new list of things to be included in our curriculum including peace ... based on our definition of peace. I think we are not too far away from the international definition of peace and tolerance," he said.

And this little nugget at the bottom.

Indian police said Wednesday they arrested eight Saudis and one Sudanese for allegedly preaching militant Islam in the riot-scarred western state of Gujarat. Amarsingh Vasavda, superintendent of police in Gujarat’s Bharuch district, said the foreigners, all in India on tourist visas, belonged to the hardline Muslim Tabligh-e-Jamaat and were probably on a recruitment drive. ‘We found that the foreigners had toured the Muslim-dominated areas of Amod, Jambusar and Palej in Bharuch district to indulge in religious propaganda. They probably wanted to get people to join their fold,’ said Vasavda.

‘They had tourist visas till November this year and we are assuming they planned to undertake a similar exercise in other Indian states.’ Vasavda said the police department had informed the national immigration office in New Delhi to request that the foreigners be repatriated before July 6. Communal violence ravaged Gujarat for months following the killing of 59 Hindus in late February last year when a train was torched by a Muslim mob.

< email | 7/03/2003 10:30:00 AM | link

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