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    Monday 11/8
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    Noon in the Cyber Cafe

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A religious leader returns to Egypt

Among those in Tahrir Square celebrating the one week anniversary of Mubarak leaving power was Sunni cleric Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, according to this New York Times article.  He spoke in Cairo for the first time in 50 years, which is how long he has been in exile after being jailed and forced out for his affiliation with Islamist movements in Egypt.  While he is a religious leader, his speeches indicate that he is pro-democracy and pro-pluralism.  He is also an advocate of violent resistance against Israel and against US troops in Iraq.


Hajj is a time for haggling too

This BBC News article discusses the buying and selling in Mecca that occurs this time of year.  The article does a good job of mentioning that Mecca has long been a central trading hub.  I was surprised by the description and photo of the Mecca skyline, which is now dominated by several luxury hotels.  And my favorite part of the story is the confident Jordanian, who feels his countrymen are the best at haggling.

“We Jordanians are quite good at this. We look at something we like, but we don’t buy it right away. We go and have a look at other shops and get things at the price we like,” he says.

“Prayer rugs and presents for his family advertised at 10 riyals, I could get for five,” he says.

Tensions against Muslims in Greece

Muslims in Greece celebrating Eid ul Adha (don’t forget to join the Muslim Student Association event at noon on Thursday in the Driscoll Gallery) were mistreated in Greece.  The actions reflect growing tensions between Greeks and the increasing immigrant population.  The New York Times has the story.  An excerpt:

While the Muslims prayed, some locals shouted obscenities from their balconies and waved Greek flags. Leaflets that depicted pigs — an animal Muslims consider unclean — were scattered across the square.

“There is a (unofficial) mosque near here but we’re afraid to go there,” said a 30-year old migrant from Bangladesh, who gave his name as Shamasul. “Sometimes Greeks in the neighborhood threaten to kill us.”

The Hajj begins

If you do not know much about the hajj, this Al Arabiya article reporting the start of this year’s hajj provides a good description of the process.  The article also discusses Saudi efforts to counteract overcrowding, including a new Chinese-built rail.

Christians in the Middle East

Two contrasting perspectives on the plight of Christian populations in the Middle East.  The first comes from Austin Ivereigh, writing for the Guardian.  The second from Robert Fisk, contributing to the Independent.  Read and comment.