- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2005

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Eid declared to end Ramadan

DUBAI— Eid al-Fitr festivities, marking an end to the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, will begin tomorrow in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, official news agencies reported yesterday.

Eid was declared after religious authorities in the three Arab Gulf countries confirmed that the new moon was not sighted. Accordingly, today is Day 30 of the Muslim fasting month. Other Gulf states have not declared the beginning of Eid festivities.

In Saudi Arabia, keeper of Islam’s holy sites of Mecca and Medina, Muslims were holding Ramadan evening prayers called Taraweeh, indicating that today is a fasting day.

Muslims believe that during Ramadan, Allah revealed to Muhammad the first verses of the Koran in A.D. 610.

IRAN

Britain rules out ‘regime change’

LONDON — British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw ruled out regime change as a policy toward Iran yesterday amid mounting concern about Tehran’s suspected development of nuclear weapons and its stance toward Israel.

“I have to say to you that regime change in Iran is not part of the policy of Her Majesty’s Government, nor do I think it would be wise,” Mr. Straw said during a question period in Parliament.

Mr. Straw said Britain is working with other European countries as well as the United States and Russia to ensure that Iran complies with its nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations.

PAKISTAN

Islamists increase support after quake

ISLAMABAD — Radical Islamists have strengthened their popular support in Pakistan by taking advantage of the government’s initially faltering aid relief for earthquake victims, the London Telegraph newspaper reported yesterday.

Islamic groups are widely regarded as having provided the most efficient aid operations in some areas after the Oct. 8 earthquake that killed more than 57,000 people and left 3.3 million homeless.

Weekly notes …

Five Kuwaitis will be released from U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after more than three years in captivity, a private lobby group said. The five are among a dozen Kuwaiti men held at the U.S. military prison during the U.S.-led war to oust al Qaeda and the Taliban from Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, attacks. Two of the five are reported to be in poor health. Designated “enemy combatants” by the Pentagon, nearly 500 detainees of many nationalities have been held at the prison without charge, legal representation or trial. … Al Qaeda’s wing in Iraq announced on the Internet yesterday it would put two Moroccan Embassy employees it kidnapped last month on trial. The posting showed the passports and identity cards of driver Abderrahim Boualam and assistant Abdelkrim El Mouhafidim, who were seized en route from Jordan to Baghdad.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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