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Islamic World News ( 15 Sept 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islam's 'enemy within': growing fear of Shia influence across the Sunni world

Indonesia Doing Right by Islam: Hillary Clinton

Obama's Ramadan note shows respect for Islam

Media Distort Facts of Threatened Muslim Girl Story By: Pamela Geller

Case of Rifqa Barry, another attempt to defame Islam

Jordan tries 6 Shias for 'promoting Shi'ism'

Saudi Arabian suspected of financing bombings

My Alma Mater, Yale, Bows To Radical Islam—Despite An Awful Warning From Europe By Donald A. Collins

Is Indonesia moving from the bikini to the burkhini? By Debnath Guharoy

Iraqi Shi'ite groups form new alliance without PM By Suadad al-Salhy and Muhanad Mohammed

Muslim immigration: the most radical change in European history

Differences Between Islam, West Must Be Addressed By: Tawfik Hamid

Hamas to expel Gaza schoolgirls not wearing Muslim dress By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz

Syria Sweats Over Electricity Shortage

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Islam's 'enemy within' Across the Sunni world

Growing fear of Shia influence exposes the cultural schism that exists between the two traditions

24 August 2009

Six Shia Muslims have gone on trial in Jordan, accused of "promoting Shia ideology and instigating religious sectarianism". Their case – the first of its kind in Jordan – is being heard behind closed doors in a military court.

Jordan is a Sunni-majority country but has no law that prevents Shias from practising their faith and its constitution says very clearly that there shall be no discrimination "on grounds of race, language or religion".

There is no suggestion that the accused did anything more than a bit of missionary work – holding meetings, issuing membership cards and raising funds – but the case reflects a growing fear of Shia Islam among the Middle East's Sunni regimes.

In Egypt last June, Hassan Shehata, a Shia cleric, was reportedly arrested with dozens of his followers and 13 were said to have been detained on charges of spreading Shiism.

Egypt has had a small Shia community for centuries, though today it's probably less than 1% of the population. The sect is not officially recognised and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights has documented periods of harassment by the authorities – arrests, interrogation, torture, etc – dating back to 1988.

The Sunni Arab regimes, most of which use religious credentials to bolster their claims to legitimacy, have become increasingly apprehensive during the last few years – mainly as a result of the Iraq war, which brought Shia Muslims to power in Baghdad, to rule alongside those already in place in Tehran.

From time to time there are also outbreaks of scaremongering in the media, very similar in tone to the western newspapers articles that claim Muslims are taking over Europe. One Egyptian magazine warned of "a real danger that Egypt and other Sunni countries might be converted to Shiism".


Shia Muslims in Sunni countries tend to be viewed as fifth-columnists with uncertain national loyalties. Shehata's arrest seems to have been prompted by two visits he made to Iran, though it also coincided with the capture of an alleged Hezbollah spy ring.


Shia Islam – which accounts for no more than 15% of all Muslims worldwide – has certainly been making a few converts among Sunnis. A Saudi Shia told me yesterday that he personally knew of half a dozen Jordanians who had converted. More widely, though, recent events have aroused curiosity about Shiism among Sunnis and, in some cases, admiration. Iran's uncompromising stance over its nuclear programme is contrasted favourably with the ineffectual peformance of Sunni Arab regimes. Similarly, Hezbollah's defiance of Israel in the 2006 Lebanon war.


But there's more to it than politics, as an article in Al-Ahram Weekly explains:


For Nabil Abdel-Fattah, who edits the State of Religion in Egypt annual report for the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, Shia jurisprudence is dynamic, flexible and pragmatic – which makes it attractive to many a Sunni frustrated with lack of change: 'For many years Sunnis refrained from ijtihad [independent thought] and tended to adopt a hardline approach similar to the Saudi Wahhabi model.' For Sunnis this tendency, Abdel-Fattah elaborates, has led to a gap separating daily life from religious provisions, driving Sunnis to embrace Shiism.

Other factors include the erosion of spirituality from Sunni life, with no provision for anything comparable to the Passion of Christ, to which Egyptians arguably relate. [In contrast to Sunni – and especially Wahhabi – puritanism, many Shia practices are much more akin to Spanish or Italian Catholicism.]


Less obviously, the fact that millions of Egyptians have worked in the Gulf countries since the 1970s makes the population more open to different schools of thought.

Shia Islam's links with Iran (and, by implication, with the Iranian regime) have parallels in Judaism's association with Israel and Israeli government policies. As in debates about anti-Semitism, the line between politics and prejudice easily becomes confused.


Regardless of what the Iranian government does, though, Shia Muslims in Sunni countries have every right to practise their faith and, if they wish, to try to convert others.


It may worry the Sunni regimes but it also worries the Wahhabi/Salafi elements whose ideology has often gone unchallenged in the public discourse. Exposing Arab Muslims to alternative interpretations of their faith will open their eyes to new ideas and possibilities. And, in the long run, that can only be beneficial.



Indonesia Doing Right by Islam: Hillary Clinton

Indonesia would be a good partner for the United States in reaching out to the Muslim world, says Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayudha

August 25, 2009

In her visit to Indonesia, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Indonesia was not only the most populous Muslim country in the world, but also had been able to prove that democracy, Islam and modernity could exist in parallel. At a news conference after a bilateral meeting, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayudha strengthened Clinton's statement when he said that, because of the country's active role in pushing intercivilization, religious and cultural dialogue, Indonesia would be a good partner for the United States in reaching out to the Muslim world.

Despite terrorists bombings, the basic landscape in the country is viewed as moderate and democratic. Truthfully, the view that civilian sovereignty is incompatible with Islam and that democracy is somehow un-Islamic is neither popular nor accepted in Indonesia.

Indeed, the idea that democracy is un-Islamic is unpopular in the Muslim world in general. European expansion to the Middle East, as "the centre of the Islamic world," in the early 19th century was welcomed enthusiastically, mainly because it also carried hope of release from the "grasp" of Osmanian rule. Many laid hope in the principles of freedom, equality and kinship in deciding the formation of the nation state. But hopes quickly faded, because the basic principles of the French Revolution were not carried over to the colonies.

Full Report at:


Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi: Faith and Policy

Obama's Ramadan note shows respect for Islam

Aug 25, 2009

President Barack Hussein Obama's message Friday marking the beginning of Ramadan was the best we have ever heard from a Christian president. He expressed respect for the Muslim community's values, contributions and the seriousness of his commitment to a new beginning between America and 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

The lunar month of Ramadan is the most important month in the Muslim calendar because the holy Quran was revealed during this time.

This book of 6,232 verses was recited to the Prophet Mohammad by the angel Gabriel throughout his 23-year mission. Yet, the collective spirit of this heavenly call was sent to his heart in one of the blessed nights of Ramadan.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is a time for the fast, a tradition practiced by Moses and Jesus. Islam confirmed this spiritual legacy and called the faithful to complete it by abstaining from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk for the whole month. Children, the elderly, travellers, the sick or whoever may suffer seriously by observing these practices are exempted.

Fasting helps us empathize with the 50,000 kids that die of hunger every day in this world and encourages zakator charity.

Full Report at:


Media Distort Facts of Threatened Muslim Girl who converted from Islam to Christianity

by Pamela Geller

Aug 24, 2009

The Aug. 21 ruling that allowed Rifqa Bary, the teenager who converted from Islam to Christianity and fled from her Muslim family in fear for her life, to stay in Florida rather than return to her parents, was unexpected. The media shills and Islamic machinery in the United States never expected that Rifqa and the people would prevail upon the powers that be in Florida. So now they are in overdrive.

One egregious example is an almost incomprehensible, misogynist column in the Orlando Sentinel. It is so inaccurate, so misinformed, and so dangerous, that if Rifqa Bary is harmed, "columnist" Mike Thomas could rightly be charged with incitement to violent honor killing. Thomas got nothing right. Not one detail. Further, at no point did he consider Rifqa's testimony. At no point did he consider the consequences of Rifqa's testimony. At no point did he consider the risk to Rifqa's life.

Thomas says, "Left unanswered is what business Florida has involving itself in this matter. The people best suited to determine the threat level to Rifqa are the cops and social workers in Ohio familiar with the Bary family and the Muslim community."

Why does Florida need to be involved? The Sentinel reported Aug. 21: "There is no evidence, according to Columbus-area authorities that her father poses any threat." But a police officer from Columbus who involved in Rifqa's case told a source close to the case that he had talked to 20 people who knew Rifqa, and almost all 20 said she was in fear for her life. And one of Rifqa's teachers said she knew Rifqa's life was in danger, but became very frightened when told by the school to "stay out of this."

Full Report at:


Case of Rifqa Barry, another attempt to defame Islam

August 24

The case of Rifqa Bary has dominated the media for past few days. People who love to spread hate against Islam are having the time of their lives. They don't realize they are using a 17 year old girl to propagate hate against Islam or maybe they do. As a Muslim, I am saddened by the fact that Rifqa has chosen a different religion than Islam but it doesn't mean that I would take the law into my hands and take a life. Islam doesn't give me a right to take an innocent life. Islam demands its followers to respect authority and follow the laws of the land. Since there are no laws in the United States that punishes Muslims who convert to a different religion than no one has a right harm her, leave alone taking her life. It's the governments that are responsible for implementing the laws not the public. If someone attempts to, they are committing a crime and should be dealt with severely. As I mentioned a million times, In Islam there is no honor in killing so there is no such thing as honour killing. So all this media frenzy about Rifqa Barry getting killed is all a farce.

According to an article published in TIME, Columbus police tell TIME they're watching the case closely, and are in contact with the courts and social services agencies in Ohio and Florida; but they have so far found no evidence or other information themselves to support Rifqa's accusation. Craig McCarthy, one of two Orlando attorneys appointed to represent the Barys in Florida, says that while they may have been dismayed at first by Rifqa's conversion, as devout parents of any faith would be, they are hardly the kind of fundamentalist Muslims who would declare a medieval fatwa, or death sentence, on their daughter. "There is a vast, vast difference between not being pleased that your child has not chosen your faith and wanting to kill your child," says McCarthy. "This is a family with westernized kids. Their daughter is a cheerleader."

Full Report at:


Jordan tries 6 Shias for 'promoting Shi'ism'

Aug 24, 2009

Jordan has held the first trial of six Shia Muslims accused of promoting their ideology before a military court in the Sunni majority country.

A Jordanian judicial official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said six Shia Muslims were put on trial before a military court, an AP report said.

He said the six men pleaded not guilty but did not provide further details on the subject. Promoting Shia ideology and religious sectarianism Jordan are among the accusations recognized by the court.

According to the officials, the closed-door trial that started last week was the first of its kind in Jordan. Jordan has not recognized any law that prevents Shia Muslims from practicing their religion.

But Jordanian officials have expressed concern that the growing influence of Iran and the popularity of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement for its firm resistance against Israel could encourage some Sunni Jordanians to convert to Shiism.

Full Report at:


Saudi Arabian suspected of financing bombings

Dicky Christanto

Aug 25, 2009

After questioning him for a week, police on Monday declared a Saudi Arabian man a suspect for the financing of the July bombings that ripped through the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta.

The suspect, Ali Muhammad bin Abdullah alias Al Khalil "Ali", was arrested in Kuningan, West Java, on August 13.

With the announcement Monday, police also reaffirmed their belief that most of the funding for previous terror attacks came from the Middle East. The police also said they were hunting for several men of Middle Eastern origin who had allegedly played similar roles to Ali.

 "We have arrested a Saudi Arabian citizen by the name of Al Khalil Ali and will question him [further] over the funding related to the recent bombings," National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri told a press conference.

However, Bambang refused to elaborate further on the funding process or details of Ali's role in the recent bombings.

Full Report at:


My Alma Mater, Yale, Bows To Radical Islam—Despite An Awful Warning From Europe

By Donald A. Collins

Just back from a short holiday, I have just learned that Yale University Press has cancelled the scheduled publication in an academic work of 12 cartoons spoofing Mohammed that appeared in a Danish newspaper four years ago. Its decision, which also affects any future pictures of Mohammed, came after consultations with Muslim clerics, diplomats and counter-terrorism officials. (New Criterion editor Roger Kimball writes that it may also have been made out of fear of Saudi donors.) As you recall, after the initial appearance of the cartoons, which are available on the Internet, violent Muslim protests resulted in widespread riots and more than a hundred deaths.

The book, authored by Brandeis University professor and Danish native Jytte Klausen, originally was entitled The 12 Little Drawings that Shook the World: The Danish Cartoons and the Clash of Civilization. Yale University Press rejected the subtitle as being too sensational. Then it ruled that the book could not include the cartoons or even pictures of Mohammed, in deference to some Muslim clerics who rule against the practice.

Full Report at:


Is Indonesia moving from the bikini to the burkhini?

By Debnath Guharoy

Aug 25, 2009

Just a few weeks ago, the Mega-Pro ticket proclaimed that the "cultural invasion" by the West must be stopped. The JK-Wiranto team took a cue from the growing number of jilbab on the street to promote their wives in crowd-pleasing headgear.

The election results are now official and all the signs indicate that the PKS party will soon be joining the new government.

Is Islamization a growing phenomenon that Indonesian business needs to pay attention to?

The obvious truth is that the bikini was never popular in Indonesia. It is unlikely that the burkhini ever will be, either. No wonder skin *whitening creams' continue to grow as a category within the burgeoning cosmetics industry.

What the scaremongers forget is Indonesia has always been a deeply religious country, with almost nine out of 10 people agreeing that "religion has an important role to play in everyday life".

Full Report at:


Iraqi Shi'ite groups form new alliance without PM

By Suadad al-Salhy and Muhanad Mohammed

Aug 24, 2009

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Allies of Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday they have formed a new alliance to fight January's general election, but the increasingly influential Iraqi leader has not joined the bloc.

The new alliance will be headed by the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI), one of Iraq's most powerful Shi'ite groups, and will also include followers of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and other smaller groups and influential individuals.

It has been named the Iraqi National Alliance (INA).

"I wish that our brothers in (Maliki's) Dawa party would be among us today and God willing, efforts will continue to include everyone, with Dawa at the top of the list," Iraqi vice president and ISCI member Adel Abdul-Mehdi told reporters.

Shortly afterwards, a Dawa official said differences over the "mechanism of participation," likely meaning allocation of power within the coalition, and over the inclusion of more minorities had precluded Dawa's inclusion in the new group.

Full Report at:


Muslim immigration:


The most radical change in European history


August 24th, 2009

I know I go on about Christopher Caldwell's Reflections on the Revolution in Europe a bit much, but it's only because I believe it's going to be one of the most influential political books of the next two decades. The benefits of mass immigration are the Emperor's New Clothes and Caldwell is the little boy who sees the truth, which is why I urge everyone to read it. A friend of mine, who was initially less sceptical than I was about immigration, said the book was so well-written and eye-opening it filled a void in his life that had been left by his finishing The Sopranos and The Wire.

Here's my review of it in this week's Catholic Herald:

You might not hear much about this book much in the next month, nor even in the next year, but it will affect your life in some way, and that of our country and continent.

Christopher Caldwell is a mild-mannered Financial Times journalist who over the past decade has covered continental Europe (France especially) and its relationship with Islam in particular.

That Caldwell is so mainstream, well-respected and analytical makes his conclusion all the more devastating - that the mass migration of Africans and Asians into Europe since the Second World War was an unprecedented, economically unnecessary and ill-thought-out plan that has had a profoundly negative impact on our way of life.

Furthermore, he says, the mass importation of Muslims at a time when Europe has lost its own faith and Islam has developed a dangerous and powerful radicalism threatens the very freedom of Europe.

Enoch Powell was right, at least in terms of accuracy if not the morality of his chosen words. His 1968 prediction about a non-white population of 4.5 million by 2002 was mocked - in reality it was 4.6 million by 2001. In 1970 he was again scorned for suggesting that Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Inner London would be between a fifth and a quarter non-white by the turn of the century. The figures were 22.2 per cent, 29.6 per cent and 34.4 per cent respectively – and rising.

But Powell's vision of "rivers of blood" turned out to be inaccurate so far because he was out of step; the Tory MP was a passionate believer in the British Empire, while most of his political contemporaries were riddled with liberal white guilt over colonialism and the Holocaust.

Such self-loathing was at the heart of the immigration experiment and later experiments in multiculturalism and political correctness; only a society so racked with self-hatred would have invited foreign labour in such numbers despite the economic benefits being so thin. Those benefits, Caldwell argues, have been "puny" and short-term, while the social effects are profound and permanent. Anyway most of the new immigrants, such as Pakistanis in Yorkshire and Turks in the Ruhr valley, were actually recruited into industries that were already on their last legs, and most immigrant groups took and still take more out of their exchequer than they pay in.

Illegal immigration is handy because illegal immigrants do the jobs no one else wants to, keeping down inflation and labour costs, so allowing Europeans to work 30 hours a week and retire at 55.

The problem is that soon these new immigrants tire of doing the dirty work and new recruits are needed to keep an ever larger number of retirees and other state dependants in villas.

It is a gigantic Ponzi scheme - play today, pay tomorrow - and Europe is starting to pay now, financially and socially. The integration of Pakistanis, Algerians, Moroccans and Turks into England, France, Holland and Germany has been made a lot harder by the rapid and widespread decline of Christianity.

One of the side-effects of this decline is the collapse in the European birth rate: Austria is becoming Islamic not because Muslims are having too many children - their birth rate of 2.34 per woman is very close to the optimum - but because atheism is killing the country. Among Austrians who call themselves Catholics, which would include a majority of non-churchgoers and other nominal Christians, the birth rate is 1.32; among those who profess atheism it is 0.86. It is the same everywhere - in Brussels the seven most common boys' names are Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza. Leicester and Birmingham will soon be Britain's first-ever majority non-white cities.

And yet the elites have been in total denial about the growth of a Muslim body, arguing that to do so ignores diversity among these communities - which Caldwell compares to denying there is such a thing as a car because Volvos and Volkswagens are different. As well as growing in size every year, this Muslim population is dis-integrating from the European mainstream; children in German Muslim schools learns six hours of Arabic a day and one of German; in England the veil has become a widespread sight; a British brigade fought in Iraq for al-Qaeda; and Muslim "nationalism" in France has led to the creation of suburban ghettos far worse than anyone realises.

Caldwell compares the French ghetto film L'Haine, which portrayed a mixed Jewish and Arab gang, to West Side Story in its realism – that simply would not happen in a Muslim suburb, because the ironic end result of this post-Holocaust guilt is a surge in anti-Semitism at the end of the century, and a Muslim bloc that has pushed Europe in an increasingly anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic direction. Norway threatened to boycott Israeli goods at the same time as Norwegians were being attacked in Gaza over the Mohammed cartoon affair. In France there were black African gangs like Tribu Ka, who roamed around Jewish areas like a "postmodern Freikorps".

The collapse of Christianity, and the introduction of novel morals such as the belief in sexual freedom and gay equality, totally at odds with both contemporary Muslim culture and European culture of only half a century ago, has made conflict between Europe and the new Europeans even more unavoidable. That is why surveys consistently show Muslims and non-Muslims thinking the other side are "disrespectful" to women, or why a large minority of young British Muslims advocate the death penalty for apostasy or homosexuality.

Can Europe be the same? Clearly not. Can we reach some happy compromise that peacefully integrates such large communities and avoids the conflicts that have plagued such multi-cultural countries in the past? Probably not.

Pim Fortuyn in Holland offered the best hope of a non-racist, liberal Europe that believed in itself; after his murder the future lies either with Nicolas Sarkozy, who believes in republican integration, or the likes of Geert Wilders, whose implacable hostility to Islam is increasingly shared across Europe.

This is a fascinating, earth-shattering account of the most radical change in European history.



Differences Between Islam, West Must Be Addressed

By: Tawfik Hamid

August 24, 2009

President Barack Obama issued a special Ramadan message to the Muslim world. The president emphasized the importance of what the United States and the Muslim world hold in "common." This is a great approach and concept to bridge the gap between civilizations ONLY if the areas of difference are not destructive. For example, emphasizing common values between the free world and the Nazi regime, such as the building of a strong economy, would not have bridged the gap between the two systems unless the latter had denounced its barbaric and anti-Semitic values.

The same principle applies to the current friction between the West and Muslim worlds. The problems that currently exist are not because of the "common values" but rather because of the difference in their values that pose a threat to human civilization. Those who criticized Islam after Sept. 11 did not do so because Islam promotes charity, fasting, and praying. The criticism was mainly about specific violent teachings in mainstream Islamic theology and the deafening silence of the Muslim world and its religious scholars against such teachings. These values that totally contradict the principles of freedom and liberty of mankind include:

# Declaring wars on non-Muslims to spread Islam

# Killing Muslims who convert to other faiths (Redda Law)

# Stoning women until death for having extramarital sexual relations

# Permitting the beating of women to discipline them

# Allowing polygamy, pedophilia, slavery, and gay killing

The West did not criticize Buddhism as it did Islam because the areas of difference between the West and Buddhism are not destructive. The areas of difference between faiths regarding perception of the creator, percentage of charity, type of prayers, and fasting do not pose a threat to others. On the contrary, the above-mentioned areas of difference with the Muslim world pose a major threat to the security and the freedom of the free world.

Emphasizing the common values between religions without addressing the areas of destructive differences will not solve the problem or bridge the gap between the West and Islam. This is simply because the common values are not the cause of the problem.


Bridging the gap between the West and the Muslim world will not occur until the Muslim world and its scholars admit that these values (see points above) are unacceptable, and find other ways to understand the religious text that do not justify such crimes in the name of religion.


The Muslim world has the responsibility to reciprocate the president's invitation to improve relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world. The Muslim world can play positive role in building bridges with the West by:


 Sending greetings from leading Islamic scholars and organizations to Christians at Christmas and to Jews at Hanukkah.

 Denouncing Redda Law, thereby allowing Muslims to convert to other faiths without any punishment, just as non-Muslims can freely convert to Islam in the West without any punishment.

 Suspend the traditional teaching that Muslims must wage wars on non-Muslims to offer them one of three options: convert to Islam, pay jizia (humiliating tax paid by non-Muslims to Muslims), or be killed.

 Publish new theologically-based books of Islamic jurisprudence that stand against beating women, slavery, killing apostates, and other violent edicts of Shariah.

 Stop dehumanizing Jews in mainstream Islamic teaching.

As long as the Muslim world insists on teaching violent principles as mentioned earlier, the gap between it and the West will only increase, and the efforts to bridge the gap of civilizations will be inefficient.


Once the Muslim world puts an end to the destructive points, the voices that emphasize the "common values" will be able to succeed in their great mission to make our world better.


Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad." He was a former associate of Dr. al-Zawahiri (second in command of al-Qaida) and currently he is a reformer of Islam. To know more about Hamid please visit Hamid's writings in this blog represent only his thoughts and not the views of the institute where he works.

© 2009 Newsmax. All rights reserved.



Hamas to expel Gaza schoolgirls not wearing Muslim dress

By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent

Aug 24, 2009

Female students in the Gaza Strip will be required to wear head coverings and full-length robes beginning this school year, the Hamas rules of the Gaza Strip announced on Monday.

According to the new regulations, any female student that does not attend class in the proper attire will be sent home.

The ministry also has ruled that male teachers cannot teach in girls' schools and women are not allowed to teach at boys' schools.

A London-based newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi reported recently that the organization's Gaza government had recently approved a series of laws, a Muslim code of conduct of sorts, meant to guard Muslim religion and morals.

Full Report at:


Syria Sweats Over Electricity Shortage

Aug 25, 2009

DAMASCUS (AFP) -- Syrians are getting hot under the collar about a major shortfall in electricity supplies which are forecast to get worse rather than better over the next few years.

The government aims to double electricity production capacity by 2015 but at the moment the country has around 1,000 megawatts less capacity than it needs -- and this deficit is projected to expand to 1,800 MW by 2012.

High demand for electricity because of hot weather since mid-July has meant Syrians have had to put up with power cuts lasting several hours a day.

"We have two power cuts a day, generally two hours in the morning and one in the evening. It's unbearable," said George, a resident of the Damascus suburb of Jaraman where drinking water has had to be distributed by tanker.

Marwan, a carpenter, complained of having to work "late into the evening" to compensate for the power cuts.

Full Report at: