Sunday 25 February 2007

2 Stories from North Africa

Apparently, the Moroccan government is attempting to modernise Islam, by training woman priests, who will have the right to do all that a male priest can, except lead prayers. This is designed to help combat extremism, and one can understand the motivation, given the common Islamic attitude to women. The problem is that many of the new priests, or Mourchidat, have been revealed to be members of the banned extremist movement, 'Justice and Charity'. Oops.

Incidentally, King Mohammed VI of Morocco (or M6 as he is known to his fans, particularly young female ones) has made a number of efforts to undermine Islamic extremism, probably more motivated by a desire to stay in power than by a genuine commitment to modernisation, and this has not gone down well with good Muslims in this country. Indeed, in 2006 he was nominated as "Islamophobe of the Year" by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, on the grounds that "his 'so called reforms' [were] aimed at removing Islam from the the Moroccan people."

A few hundred miles east of M6's domain, lies that of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. It was heavily reported a few months ago that Gaddafi's regime had, after a show-trial, convicted a Palestinian doctor and five Bulgarian nurses of deliberately infecting children with the HIV virus, and sentenced them to death. They claimed that they had been tortured. Now they are back on trial, this time charged with slander, because of the torture accusations. Of course, Gaddafi is our friend now, so everything must be all right.

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