New Age Islam
Sat Feb 24 2024, 10:13 PM

Islamic World News ( 19 March 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Indonesian Muslim cleric faces jail for marrying 12-year-old girl

An Appeal to Cultural Muslims by Amil Imani

Iran: Islamism vs. Nationalism? By Manda Zand-Ervin

Jihad is a duty, not terrorism by Mofeed Al-Gaad

'A Jihad for Love': WFU students offer screening, of award-winning film

Sharia Law Begins to Restrict Women in Swat Valley by Michelle A. Vu

Bashing Muslims promotes fear for all by Hussam Ayloush

Fairfax Co. Residents Say Islamic School Teaches Intolerance

DUBAI: Groom, 97, and bride, 90, will finally marry: Saudi man to wed beloved after 80 years

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL for this page:


 Indonesian Muslim cleric faces jail for marrying 12-year-old girl

Indonesian cleric arrested over child bride


JAKARTA: An Indonesia Muslim cleric, who took a 12-year-old girl as a second wife, might face up to 15 years in prison on charges of obscenity, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.


The 43-year-old Pujiono Cayho Widiyanto, a wealthy businessman and cleric, was arrested by police in the central Java city of Semarang on Tuesday, after her married a poor village girl, Lutfiana Ulfa, sparking nationwide outrage.


"We've collected enough evidence to charge him with under age obscenity under the Criminal Code," chief detective Royhardi Siahaan was quoted as saying by the Indonesian daily the Jakarta Globe.


The cleric was arrested after police collected documents proving Ulfa was under age, Siahaan said.


The majority of Indonesia's estimated 234-million population are Muslims.

Minimum age for marriage

Widiyanto and his supporters argued that his actions are acceptable under Islam but others say he should abide by state law, which sets 16 as the minimum age for female marriage, and 19 for males.

Arranged marriages between older men and much younger girls are common in poor rural areas in Indonesia. These marriages are not registered so they are not legally recognized, but are religiously sanctioned. Indonesian law carries stiff penalties in such cases.


According to UNICEF the practice of early marriage is most common in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.


But it has also emerged as a touchy issue in other Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, which does not have a legal age limit for marriage because family law is governed by Islamic sharia law.


Marriage officials in Saudi Arabia last month refused the marriage of three 13-year-old girls amid an outcry by rights activists in the kingdom over child marriages. When the father of one of the girls then sought permission from the head of a regional court, he was told to wait until she was 15.

Human rights activists are seeking laws banning the practice of child marriage and setting a minimum age of 16 to 18 for marriage in countries around the world that do not have a minimum age.



An Appeal to Cultural Muslims

By Amil Imani


There are some 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, the overwhelming majority of which are Cultural Muslims who are generally called moderate Muslims. Muslims are born into Islam, where a great many never go through the process of deciding for themselves if they want to be Muslims. It is not a religion that they choose, it is a belief they inherit. For whatever reason, this great majority of Cultural Muslims are Muslims of sort without fully toeing the line of Islam. The real Muslims are the Jihadists, a small minority who lives and dies by the dictates of the Qur’an and the Sunna, the life examples of Muhammad. The free world, rightfully alarmed by ever-varied and escalating assaults of the Jihadists, myopically has directed its tentative and haphazard effort at countering them, believing that by so doing it can eliminate their threat and at the same time remain on good terms of live-and-let-live multiculturalism with the Cultural Muslims. This is a dangerous assumption that, if not abandoned, will likely culminate in an Armageddon-kind of conflagration.


There is virtually no chance of reasoning with the brain-dead Jihadists whose eyes are fixed on the promised lush paradise of Allah. It isn’t that they love death, just for the sake of death itself as Muslim leaders such as Hasan Nasrullah, the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah proclaimed. They love death and happily embrace it because of what they have been brainwashed to believe is awaiting them as a reward.


Death in carrying out the work of Islam earns them entry into Allah’s eternal sensuous male paradise, so they believe. It is in keeping with propagating this fraud of afterlife paradise that portraits and names of Muslim killers, glorified as martyrs, festoon the length and breadth of Muslim cradles of Islamism such as Iran and Palestine. To the wild-eyed robot Jihadist even a day on this "heap of dirt" earth is simply another day of unbearable delay from winging to the lasting abode of lust. Why else would tens of thousands of Iranian Shi’a fools, for instance, sign up to be martyred?


For as long as there are millions of fanatical fools, the Islamic handlers will have an endless supply of foot-soldiers to spread and impose the savage doctrine of Islam and its Sharia on the people of the world. Just this week, for instance, under the Sharia law, a Saudi Arabian court sentenced a 75-year old widow to prison and lashes for having "mingled" with two men who were not related to her. The two men reportedly brought the woman some bread. This is the kind of Sharia law that awaits us all down the road if we fail to reach out to the Cultural Muslims and help them leave the real Islam altogether, since they are already partly there.


But is the real Islam indeed a peaceful religion? Are people such as Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, and Dr. Ali Sina Islam bashers? Is the real Islam completely innocent of all the charges liberty-honouring civilized people level against it? Read what Hamid Hafez, a former Jihadist himself, has to say about Islam.


Tragically, over the years, media pundits, leftist academics, and politicians have constructed a formidable alliance that successfully keeps both the Cultural Muslims as well as the non-Muslim general public in a slumber of complacency.


All along, the campaign of the Jihadists has been moving forward. On the one hand are the well-financed Islamists with their hordes of simpletons who are ready to die for the cause. The horrific acts of these villains are daily occurrences in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, and Pakistan. On the other hand are the people of the free world who are lulled into the complacency they seek and lack the will to confront the deadly danger of Islamism.


The Cultural Muslims hold the balance of power in their hands. They are not active Jihadists. Yet, they knowingly or unknowingly, constitute the most vital support for the Islamists. It is this majority that projects an image of normalcy and even tolerance of others while supplying funds as well as foot-soldiers to the work of the Islamists.


Islamic apologists often point to Muslim communities in non-Muslim lands as peaceful religious communities like any other and deny that these Muslims pose any threat to the way of life of the free people. Yet, the facts convincingly argue against this fraudulent contention because, when the Jihadists gather enough local strength, the Cultural Muslims like docile sheep will submit to the rule of their co-religionist killers. This is not a hypothetical prognostication. The capitulation of the Cultural Muslims has already played out in many parts of European towns and cities.


It is worth repeating that as Islamists wage their war under the banner of Islam, they receive immense direct and indirect support from the rank-and-file of Cultural Muslims. Their support is the life-blood that keeps the Islamists alive.


Dear Cultural Muslim, this is the 21st century. The vast planet earth of the time of Muhammad has shrunk into a global village. The greatly diverse and disparate peoples of the world are now neighbours in the same village. This new tribe of the global village is facing immense challenges and opportunities. The resources and the talents of the various clans can no longer be squandered on internecine fighting. You, the Cultural Muslim are indeed the critical force that can prevent the blaze of Islamism from engulfing the world by completely severing your connection with a religion that has decayed into nothing more than a cult of death.

In the 21st century, every member of every clan of the global village, irrespective of gender, race, or any other consideration, is entitled to full citizenship that bestows privileges and demands responsibilities. Radical Islam claims to be the true Islam and strives to force humanity into submission to a system of beliefs and practices of Sharia which are anathema to freedom. Even Muslims who do not agree with the extremist Islam are intimidated, pressured into silence, and even condemned to death by the fanatics.


It is wishful thinking on the part of the non-Muslims to believe that one can be a Muslim moderate, given that Islam is radical at its very core. To be a moderate Muslim demands that the person explicitly renounce much of the violent, exclusionary, and radical teachings of the Quran. By so doing, the individual issues his own death warrant in Islamic countries, is condemned as apostate if he lives in a non-Islamic land, and may even earn a Fatwa on his head. Yet, if the masses of the Cultural Muslims, in ones, twos, and droves leave Islam, the Islamists will be eviscerated since the Cultural Muslims are indeed their life-blood.


It is deadly, in any confrontation, to assess the adversary through one’s own mental template, because the two templates can be vastly different from each other. People in the West are accustomed in relativistic rather than absolutistic thinking. To Westerners, just about all matters range from black to white with an array of gray shades between the two poles. To the real Muslims, the Islamists, by contrast, nearly everything is in black and white and with virtually no shades of gray. The former type of thinking is typical of more mature minds, while the latter is that of young children and the less enlightened.


This absolutist thinking is enshrined in the Qur’an itself. When the starting point for a Muslim is the explicit fanatical words of Allah in the Qur’an, then the faithful are left with no choice other than literally obeying its dictates or even taking it to the next level of fanaticism. Good Muslims, for instance, do not shake hands with women, even though the Qur’an does not explicitly forbid it. Although the Qur’an stipulates that men are rulers over women, good Muslim men take it upon themselves to rule women not much better than they treat their domesticated animals.


It is not uncommon to observe Muslims, anywhere in the world, who are indeed exemplary in many ways. They are kind, generous and much more. These are the Cultural Muslims who are, in effect, only part Muslim. They do not live by the full text of the Qur’an and elect to live as decent civilized human beings. But in Islam, one cannot be a pick-and-choose Muslim when the real Muslims take over. Clear instances of the rule of real Islam are seen in places such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, parts of Pakistan, Sudan, and Somalia.


Dear Cultural Muslim, while you remain silent out of fear, lack of organization, or apathy, the Islamists work around the clock and around the world to further their agenda. Hardly a week passes without a Grand Mufti or an Ayatollah issuing pronouncements in support of radical Islam. The rank-and-file Islamist clergy, for their part, transmit these Fatwas and edicts to their flocks in mosques and hammer them into the minds of impressionable children in Madrassas. Through this grass-roots process, radical Islam is recruiting greater and greater numbers of adherents. On the one hand, the Islamists engage in acts of violence to disrupt the functioning of societies, while on the other they cleverly exploit the freedom they enjoy in non-Islamic lands to subvert them from within.


Dear Cultural Muslim, you belong to free people. You cannot have it both ways. You can’t enjoy the fruits of liberty and at the same time hedge your bet that by being somewhat of a Muslim you are staying in the good graces of Allah. Allah is very non-forgiving of even the least disobedience, Muhammad preaches. You need to make a clean break with Islam and be an upright decent human being because it is the best reward that one can have. No one really knows about the confabulated Allah’s paradise. Don’t help the Islamists in their effort to make hell out of this world hoping to find admittance into Allah’s purported paradise.

Dear Cultural Muslim, Moderate Muslim, or any other kind of Muslim who is not a Jihadist, please courageously do what is right: Abandon Islam altogether and enlist in the ranks of the free where all members of the human tribe can live in peace and harmony.

Dear Cultural Muslim, I am appealing to you. You hold the key. You hold the balance of power. Please withdraw from Islam completely, as countless numbers already have, and lend your invaluable support to the free people of the world who are eager to embrace you with open arms.



Iran: Islamism vs Nationalism?

Manda Zand-Ervin, March 19, 2009


Tehran: Justifying the policy of continuation of dialogue with “Iran,” some Middle East experts have finally arrived to the conclusion that nationalism is the reason for the Islamic regime’s persistence on becoming a nuclear power. They argue that having the nuclear bomb is indeed a matter of national pride to the Islamic regime and the people of Iran.


These statements have been passed on to Tehran by the Khamenei’s lobbyists in Washington and in a sudden change of propaganda speeches, Ahmadinejad and other ruling clerics begin to talk to the rent-a-crowd chanting, “Death to America!” about their national pride in having a nuclear bomb.


However, the facts do not support the assessment of nationalism in the Islamic world. Muslims are not citizens of any land or state; they are the Omma of Allah, meaning the servants of Allah, the only identity that a Muslim is allowed to have. A Muslim is only allowed to love the Allah and nothing else. The word Islam means “total submission.”


The Muslim countries’ flags are all the flags of Islam, not their special country as the world likes to see them. Khomeini changed the Iranian flag from the symbol of Iranian nationalism to the symbol of Islam – the word “god” in Arabic language, Allah.


Nationalism is a sin in Islam and the ruling Shiia clergies have been preaching to Iranians against nationalism for 500 years, generation after generation. Loving one’s country is a sin that a Muslim can not repent; they are only allowed to love Allah in total submission.


The American reporter asked Khomeini on the plane going to Iran, in 1979, “What are you feeling, going back to Iran, after all these years?” His response was, “Nothing.” His feelings for Iran became obvious when he said in one of his sermons that Iran was only a platform for the promotion of the Islamic Empire and his Jihad against the corrupt and decadent infidels.


When he was told that the people care for their nationality, Ayatollah Rohollah Khomeini said: “These issues that exist among people that we are Iranian and we need to do for Iran, is not correct. These issues are not correct. This issue, which is perhaps being discussed everywhere, regarding paying attention to the nation and nationality is not only nonsense in Islam it is against Islam. One of the things that the designers of Imperialism and their agents have promoted is the idea of nation and nationality.” 


Ayatollah Khomeini was so adamant to create the Islamic Empire that proposed to change the name of the Persian Gulf to “Islamic Gulf.”


In 1979 Khomeini ordered to abandon the ancient Iranian Khayyamic solar system calendar based on Vernal Equinox, celebration of spring that has been the most important pre-Islamic Iranian heritage and identity. He was adamant to adopt the Arab’s lunar system calendar because it is based on the Islamic history.


Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, Khomeini ordered to tear down the remains of the Persapolice, calling it the symbol of atheism, but tens of thousands of Iranians travelled to the site from all over the country and sat down in the ruins for weeks. This was a show of national pride.

Ayatollah Roohollah Khomeini said: “Those who say that we want nationalism, they are standing against Islam. . . . We have no use for the nationalists. Muslims are only useful for us. Islam is against nationality. . . .”


The facts are that the large majority of Iranians are opposed to the nuclear bomb. In their demonstrations the Iranian labours who had not been paid for months chanted, “Yes to jobs, no to bombs.” The placards held by the women and student movements are proof of their opposition to the nuclear program of the regime.  




Jihad is a duty, not terrorism

By: Mofeed Al-Gaad


Massacres are being committed in different parts of Arab world amidst the complete silence and quiet absence of the brotherly soul of the Arab people. In the past, the enemies of Islam realized that their aims could not be fulfilled via military force because the Arab people have a strong faith in their religion that makes them sacrifice themselves for its defence. That is to say, events and life experiences made the enemies of Muslims realize that it is impossible to defeat those Muslims who have strong faith in the idea of the jihad.


Hence, the enemies of Islam sent missionaries to Arab world in order to kill the idea of the jihad inside every Muslim mind. Those missionaries had already tried to use their various weapons to change the beliefs of Muslims and kill the soul of jihad. In the past they failed to affect the conception of jihad among Muslims or force them to forget their duties toward their brothers. These days however, it seems that the enemy achieves whatever he failed to do in the past.


Under the umbrella of terrorism, the enemy succeeded to erase the very word of jihad from the Islamic dictionary, burying its corpse in a deep grave. If any Muslim who possesses the soul of jihad tries to take revenge on those who kill innocent children and elderly people, he will be accused of being a terrorist who disturbs the safety and stability of the world. Consequently, America and Israel are seizing this opportunity to accomplish their colonial aims by destroying the Islamic cities and by killing Muslims in different parts of the Arab world.


To prove this point, let us look at what is happening in Iraq and Palestine. Under the umbrella of emancipating the Iraqi people from Saddam’s dictatorial regime, the United States of America destroyed the great country of Iraq, killing its heroes, raping its virgin girls, absorbing its valuable wealth, and slaughtering its faithful leaders in the process. Likewise, Israel accused the poor people of Gaza of being terrorists who disturb the stability of both Israelis and Palestinians, ignoring the fact that it is the Israelis who are the savage criminals who spread corruption in Arabic Palestine. The Israelis killed innocent children and elderly people, burned the beautiful plants, and destroyed the sacred places in the virgin land of Palestine.


Perhaps most importantly, the Arab leaders who claim that they represent their people accused those mujahedeen fighters who defend their people and their land as aggressive jihadists. Thus they are participating with the enemies of Islam in changing the concept of jihad into another concept called ‘terrorism.’ This is why the Arab leaders looked silently at the savage massacres committed by Israel against our brothers in the Gaza strip.


Moreover, America and its daughter Israel describe the fighters of the Hamas movement who resist the invaders as being a terrorist group. Here is a question that poses itself to these aggressive countries: is the one who defends his homeland, fights the invaders, and protects his people a terrorist? That most certainly is not true. All the cultures of the world see that defending one’s homeland and fiercely fighting invaders is a duty on the shoulders of all people residing in the invaded land.


America and Israel claim that Hamas fighters are the real terrorists who are disturbing the stability of Israel, neglecting the fact that Israelis, represented by their cruel officials, are the real terrorists. They are the ones who killed the innocent children and slaughtered the elderly people, throwing all Security Council and United Nations resolutions to the wind. The real picture of Israel must be shown in an obvious fashion to all people all over the world. Israelis are the real terrorists who assault humanity and violate international laws. The unjust Israeli war against Gaza is a clear example of this cruel and savage country that disturbed the international stability and aroused chaos and horror in the world.


Dear readers, we ought to pay attention to the devilish aims of our enemy who desires to delete the duty of jihad from the Islamic dictionary. In this situation in which the enemy of Islam makes a lot of Muslims unable to distinguish between jihad and terrorism, we should consult our holy book, the Quran. God in the Holy Quran makes jihad a duty on the shoulders of every Muslim who is able to fight. Therefore, we should be rational and support the flag of jihad wherever we find it. Email id:



'A Jihad for Love' - WFU students offer screening, discussion of this award-winning film

March 18, 2009


The Gay-Straight Students Alliance at Wake Forest University will show the award-winning documentary film “A Jihad for Love” at 6 p.m. March 24 in Greene Hall, Room 162.

The event is free and open to the public, and the screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the film’s director, Parvez Sharma.


The 81-minute film, which has won five international awards, deals with the themes of Islam and homosexuality in a post-Sept. 11 world and seeks to challenge many stereotypes of Islam in a time when much of the religion and its one billion followers are misunderstood. Email id:,



Sharia Law Begins to Restrict Women in Swat Valley

By Michelle A. Vu, Mar. 18 2009


Women living in the northwest region of Pakistan have begun to feel the restrictive effects of sharia law this week as its courts start to administer justice.


Under the newly imposed Islamic laws, which began on Monday, women living in Malakand area are not allowed to be or speak in public by themselves, they must cover their heads, and thousands of girls are likely to now be unable to go to school, according to Asia News.


Also, Protestant and Catholic residents, who number about a thousand, fear discrimination and many, have begun to move to areas where sharia law is not the legal justice system.


The local government of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), with the approval of the central government headed by President Asif Ali Zardari, had reached an agreement with local Muslim leaders to allow sharia courts to be in charge of justice in the Malakand area in exchange for terrorist groups to stop their extremist activities in the region.


In recent months, there has been a surge in violence by terrorist groups, especially in Swat Valley, including beheadings, burning girl’s schools and assaulting security forces.


The Muslim leaders, who have intimate times with local terrorist groups, assured that if sharia courts are allowed to administer justice then groups such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda will cease their attacks on civilians.

It’s worth noting that one of the Muslim leaders participating in the negotiation had previously led a band of men to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan against the U.S.-led coalition.

The sharia courts in Swat Valley, according to NWFP communication minister Iftikhar Hussain, will be a model for other districts when they also enact sharia.


“Wherever you see sharia being practiced, it has always come to exist in that society through violence,” commented Nonie Darwish, author of the newly released Cruel But Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, to The Christian Post in an interview on Tuesday.


“I don’t believe that sharia is a religious right,” she argues, saying that the West must define what a religious right is. “One of the basic, in my opinion, principles of a religious right is it must not hurt non-members of that religion … sharia law violates the human rights of women, non-Muslims because it’s part and parcel of sharia law to discriminate against non-Muslims.”


Darwish lived under sharia law for 30 years and her new book details what life is like for Muslims, especially women, in a society that practices sharia. Since moving to the United States, she has become a follower of Jesus Christ and an outspoken critic of Islam and sharia.



Bashing Muslims promotes fear for all

Hussam Ayloush, March 18, 2009


In a post-Sept. 11 America, inciting Islamophobia and attempting to marginalize Muslims is a lucrative business. Extremists like Steven Emerson seek to polarize our nation and world to continue profiting from the industry of fear.


Click here to find out more!


Emerson uses methods of distortion, exaggeration and outright falsehood to demonize Muslims and urge fellow Americans to fear Islam.


He borrows terminology and tactics once employed by Nazi Germany to justify anti- Semitic hate to help create similar hatred of American Muslims in America.


In his talk, titled “The Islamic Threat,” Emerson is quoted by The Desert Sun as saying that “Islam's ‘leadership and organizational superstructure' threaten Western values” and that (radical) Muslims “want to conquer the United States. They want to conquer Europe.”


Try replacing the word “Islam” or “Muslims” with the word “Jews,” “Latinos,” “Catholics” or “blacks” in his quotes and note how repulsive and hateful those comments sound. So, why have we become de-sensitized to anti- Muslim bigotry?


Why are agenda-driven propagandists such as Emerson allowed to disregard the more than 1 billion peaceful Muslims who are hard-working, family-oriented people seeking a better life for their children? Why are the positive contributions of 6 million to 7 million American Muslims substituted with guilt by association and fear-mongering that places the local Muslim community at risk of discrimination and hate crimes?

True Islamophobe


A leading national media watch group, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, listed Emerson as one of the top 12 Islamophobes in America. These Islamophobes, together, “form a network that teaches Americans to see Islam in fearful terms and their Muslim neighbours as suspects,” (


It is no wonder Emerson attempts to marginalize American Muslims and their leading organizations and label them as terrorist-sympathizers. It is puzzling that Emerson gets to promote his bigotry, unchallenged, at the invitation of an esteemed institution such as the World Affairs Council or in the pages of The Desert Sun.


CAIR is one of the most respected Muslim advocacy organizations in America. We work closely with our nation's interfaith leaders, elected officials, media professionals and law enforcement agencies to provide them with the Muslim community's perspective on issues varying from national security to civil rights and to promote tolerance and mutual understanding.


CAIR and the Muslim community repeatedly and unequivocally condemn all forms of terrorism because Islam teaches us to value life - every life.

Emerson is entitled to free speech, including hate speech.

But residents of the desert cities deserved better than hate-mongering.

As our country and world face the challenges of polarization, extremism and terrorism, we need voices of understanding, peace and moderation from all faith communities.

Hussam Ayloush is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area office. Reach him at



Fairfax Co. Residents Say Islamic School Teaches Intolerance

March 18, 2009


FAIRFAX, Va. - Some Fairfax County residents are fighting a controversial Islamic school's planned expansion because of what they say is taught behind closed doors.


The Islamic Saudi Academy claims it has revised controversial textbooks by removing references to jihad, killing infidels and hatred toward Jews and Christians.


"My kids have one goal," said Max Najib, an Academy parent. "When they go to school it's to learn and nothing else."

Still, critics aren't convinced. They say the texts promote intolerance and hate and now they're doing everything they can to stop the school from expanding.


On Wednesday night, school officials went before the Fairfax County Planning Board asking them to allow the academy to consolidate their two campuses into one larger renovated building for their more than 1,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12.


The Islamic Saudi Academy says it needs to expand. But as it grows, so does the controversy surrounding it.

The 25-year-old school became a target after the Sept. 11 attacks. In 2005, a former valedictorian was convicted of joining Al-Qaeda and plotting to assassinate the president and in 2008; the school's former director was convicted of failing to support a suspected case of child sex abuse.

Then, a U.S. government commission released a report saying passages in school textbooks promoted hate.


"There was a justification to kill adulterers or those who are unbelievers. In another case it said that the blood of infidels could be spilled," said Dwight Bashir of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

As the Fairfax County Board heard the school's plans Wednesday night, it also received an earful from residents.


"If there is more home-grown terrorism out of this school, it will be on the heads of every planning commissioner, on the head of every board of supervisor of Fairfax County," said Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition.


"Our concern is the same that it's always been -- that the teachings at the Islamic Saudi Academy are anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic," added Jim Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition.

The Fairfax County board says the school's curriculum is out of their hands. Last year, they called on the State Department to review the texts. In a statement released Wednesday, the State Department said it has not reviewed the new textbooks that the school says it has revised. © 2009 WJLA-TV

The Associated Press may have contributed to this article.

All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Groom, 97, and bride, 90, will finally marry: Saudi man to wed beloved after 80 years


DUBAI: After almost 80 years of waiting, a Saudi man is finally marrying his first love, local press reported Wednesday.

Mohamed Eid, 97, has 42 children and grandchildren but has never forgotten his first love. He had proposed to the woman he loved when he was young, but was rejected because of a custom in her tribe that prohibited her from marrying anyone but a cousin, the London-based al-Hayat reported Wednesday.

After Eid's two wives died, he felt lonely and started looking for another wife. He then remembered the woman he loved in his youth and proposed to her.


The bride, 90, has been married six times before. Four of her husbands divorced her and the other two passed away. She remains childless.

The groom will set a date for the unprecedented wedding ceremony, which friends from their youth, though few now, promised to attend.

(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)