- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 25, 2003

CYPRUS

Papadopoulos heads for Athens

NICOSIA — Greek-Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday that next month’s Turkish-Cypriot elections may hold the key to whether the island can be reunified by May, in time for membership in the European Union.

“The result of the election will give a clearer picture of what is possible,” Mr. Papadopoulos told reporters as he left for Athens to meet with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

YEMEN

Course for clerics stresses nonviolence

SAN’A — The government reportedly has begun a training program for state-hired Muslim clerics, or imams, to eliminate militant language in their sermons.

So far, 200 imams have registered to begin the course, World Tribune.com reported. Yemeni officials said the course by the Islamic Affairs Ministry will seek to revise Friday sermons given in mosques to eliminate references to jihad (holy war) against the West or Israel. Officials said imams also will voice opposition to suicide bombing.

SAUDI ARABIA

Grand mufti urges support of rulers

RIYADH — The kingdom’s highest religious authority urged Muslims yesterday to reject extremism and rally behind Saudi rulers battling a tide of militant violence.

Grand Mufti Sheik Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Sheik told worshippers here that suspected al Qaeda bombers who killed at least 17 persons in Riyadh two weeks ago threatened the cohesion of Saudi Arabia.

“Today we are in dire need of unifying our ranks and voices and supporting our leadership against those who threaten our religion, security, resources and stability,” he said at the religious festival that marks the end of Ramadan.

Weekly notes

Former President Jimmy Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the 1979 Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt, said yesterday that a peace deal in the Middle East would reduce the global terrorist threat# by removing the major cause of hostility against the United States. Mr. Carter said he would attend the signing in Geneva on Monday of an unofficial peace plan for the Middle East drafted by Palestinian and Israeli intellectuals. … Al Jazeera has been flooded with calls inquiring about an anchorwoman who appeared on the air wearing an Islamic veil. She was none other than the station’s star Algerian journalist Khadija Ben Ganna, who decided to don the hijab one day before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which began yesterday in most Muslim countries. Miss Ben Ganna told Agence France-Presse she managed to “defeat the devil” after three years of considering such a religious statement, adding that she came under no pressure from the channel’s management regarding her decision.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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