Reuters blog archive
The first time Essam el-Erian went to jail, he was 27. Last Sunday, he left prison for the eighth time at the age of 57. The medical doctor's crime for each incarceration was belonging to the Muslim Botherhood, Egypt's most influential and best-organised Islamist opposition movement and long feared by President Hosni Mubarak, Israel and the United States.
Egypt's courts have repeatedly rebuffed the Brotherhood's requests for recognition as a party on the grounds that the constitution bans parties based on religion.
Now the world could not look more different to the past three decades when Brotherhood members were repressed, arrested, tried in military courts and shunned by the Egyptian government. After the last tumultuous days of popular revolt against Mubarak, it is now the government that is seeking out the Muslim Brotherhood to discuss Egypt' future.
If President Hosni Mubarak bows to the clamor of the street and goes, Egyptians and other Arabs seeking to turn a page on autocratic government may look at Turkey for some clues on marrying Islam and democracy.
The Muslim Brotherhood, one of the Arab world's oldest Islamist movements and Egypt's largest opposition group, is well placed to play a prominent role as President Hosni Mubarak's rule teeters on the brink of collapse.
The movement is active in the protest movement massing in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities on Tuesday in an attempt to persuade Mubarak that after 30 years it is time to go.
One of the world's most influential Muslim television preachers said on Friday that he was traveling back to his native Egypt, which is in turmoil amid mass protests against President Hosni Mubarak.
Amr Khaled, whose TV shows promoting Islam are widely viewed throughout the Middle East, told Reuters he was leaving the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland to head for Cairo. He would not say whether he would join the protests.
Christians in Nepal have threatened to parade corpses in the capital to press the government into finding them alternative burial grounds after burials near the country's holiest Hindu shrine were banned.
Christians account for less than two percent of Hindu-majority Nepal's 28 million people. Authorities barred them this month from burying their dead in the forested graveyard at Sleshmantak saying the land belonged to the Pashupatinath Hindu temple, a U.N. heritage site in Kathmandu.
Four hundred rabbis published a letter on Thursday calling on Fox News to sanction host Glenn Beck for repeated use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery and for airing attacks on World War Two survivor George Soros.
In an open letter to Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, which owns Fox, the rabbis also demand an apology from Fox News chief Roger Ailes for characterizing Beck's Jewish critics as nothing more than "left-wing rabbis."
(Photo: Shadows of protesters on the Tunisian flag, in Tunis January 15, 2011/Zohra Bensemra)
For years they were jailed or exiled. They were excluded from elections, banned from politics, and played no visible role in Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution. But in the brave new world of multi-party politics, moderate Islamists could attract more followers than their secular rivals like to admit.
And the downfall of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's police state may leave Tunisia open to infiltration by extremists from neighboring Algeria, where war between authorities and Islamists has killed 200,000 people in the last two decades.
(Photo: Tunisian protester with political demands on a banner that reads
"No to a government born of corruption" “Ben Ali is in Saudi Arabia and the government is the same (hasn’t changed)” in Arabic and "RCD, clear out!" in French. The RCD is the party of former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. In Tunis January 18, 2011/Zohra Bensemra)
The absence of Islamist slogans from Tunisia's pro-democracy revolt punches a hole in the argument of many Arab autocrats that they are the bulwark stopping religious radicals sweeping to power.
Ousted strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali spent much of his 23-year rule crushing Islamist opposition groups who opposed his government's brand of strict secularism: after Sept. 11 2001, he was an enthusiastic backer of Washington's "war on terror".
from Photographers' Blog:
If it is written in a newspaper, is it true or false?
One of the most interesting parts of our job as a photo-reporter is one of the basic principles of journalism - that is telling the TRUE and REAL STORY to newspaper readers and online viewers who were not there but want to know the real story behind the headlines.
But journalism is changing. Long gone are the days when people said “It must be true, the newspaper says so.” Especially in Italy, it looks like some reporters do not tell the whole truth. They do not look for the truth nor do they investigate to try to arrive at the truth. They look for little or wrong clues. They use it to prove their story; a biased truth. Do they do this to confuse the readers and to contribute to warped thoughts? Are the journalists simply not capable of good reporting?
(Photo: The Reichstag building in Berlin, November 22, 2010/Pawel Kopczynski)
A rousing welcome in Berlin it may not be.
Pope Benedict’s invitation to address German parliament during his visit to his homeland next September 22-25 has not sat well with some members of the opposition. Volker Beck, the Green party floor leader, has protested that inviting a religious leader to address parliament, the Bundestag, is unprecedented and the wrong place to speak about religion.