June 13, 2007

TOP STORIES * June 6-13

An Islamist Finds Religion

Hassan al-Turabi, a renowned Sudanese Islamic scholar who once offered refuge to Osama bin Laden, is raising eyebrows with his support for the right of women to wear their hair uncovered and marry non-Muslim men, and his opposition to the ongoing violence in Darfur.

A former supporter of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, al- Turabi was jailed in 2005 for allegedly backing a coup plot. Critics say he’s an opportunist trying to curry favor with a liberalizing Sudanese society, but the mercurial cleric says his calls for democracy and openness are entirely Islamic.

Congo Shuts Down Mines Over Looting Fears

At least 60 mining deals have been suspended in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as the newly elected government looks into complaints of “foreign looters” who exploit the nation’s vast mineral wealth with no benefit for Congolese citizens.

The BBC reports that decades of civil war were driven by huge reserves of copper, cobalt, gold and diamonds, and that current mining contracts lack transparency and competitive bidding.

“Honk For Peace” Teacher Seeks Supreme Court Hearing

A Indiana teacher who says she was fired for telling students she blew her car horn in support of anti-war marchers has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court over a January ruling that affirmed limits on free speech by public school teachers.

The ruling against Deborah Mayer, who now works in Florida, is far from the first to limit speech by teachers or public employees. The Supreme Court, however, while addressing student speech in the recent “bong hits for Jesus” case, has never ruled on teacher’s rights.

Sources:

“Sudan’s legendary Islamist takes a moderate view”
Christian Science Monitor, June 13, 2007

“DR Congo reviews 60 mining deals”
BBC News, June 11, 2007

“Bloomington teacher takes free speech fight to Supreme Court”
WTHR (Indianapolis), June 11, 2007

“‘Honk for peace’ case tests limits on free speech”
San Francisco Chronicle, May 14, 2007

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