Δευτέρα, 15 Φεβρουαρίου 2010

Saudi author murdered for 'forsaking Wahhabism'

Sun, 14 Feb 2010 19:31:51 GMT

Saudi women pray during religious celebrations on a street in the capital, Riyadh November 27, 2009.

A female Saudi author has been reportedly murdered by her family members for expressing support for the non-Wahhabi Islamic faiths, including Shiism.Belqeis Molhem was murdered by two of her "fanatical" brothers in the Shia-populated city of al-Ahsa, east of Saudi Arabia, some months ago, the Kuwaiti Arabic language daily Al-Watan reported.Also a poetess and a teacher, the 1977-born Molhem had graduated in Islamic studies from the King Faisal University

Molhem's death is blamed on her religious stance and her positive position on the Islamic faiths other than the Kingdom's official religion of Wahhabism -- an extremely intolerant interpretation of Islam.The victim had recently written a number of articles, censuring the ignorance in Saudi Arabia about the family of the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH) -- buried in Saudi Arabia and highly revered within the Shia faith. Wahhabism is known for the strict limits it imposes on the females who, in line with the school's restrictions, are not allowed to drive or visit the shrine of the Shia religious figures. She had also written an article, reflecting on her daughter's respect for Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah. The works prompted far-reaching reactions from her family and the religious circles within the Kingdom who accused her of turning her back on the ancestral religion of Wahhabism and gravitating towards Shiism. The allegations later caused Molhem's husband to divorce her. The Saudi authorities arrested the perpetrators, both employed by the state-owned national oil company Saudi Aramco, following a complaint submitted to the Interior Ministry by one of the victim's children. The survivor has blamed foul play on his two uncles. The director of the Malek Fahd hospital in Al-Hofuf of the Al-Ahsa Oasis and a cousin of the victim is being questioned in the case. The suspect is said to have issued the permission for Molhem's burial and alleged that the victim had died of natural causes. 

The incident is reportedly the second of its kind to happen in the Kingdom due to religious bigotry after a Saudi female was killed last year by her sibling for converting from Wahhabism. Saudi officials have refused comments on the aspects of the crime and the motives behind it. Molhem's younger brother, Abdul-Rahim, is affiliated to the al-Qaeda terrorist network and is currently imprisoned in Iraq on terrorism charges. He recently appeared on the Iraqi television to confess.

JERUSALEM — Facing a corruption scandal that has rocked the highest echelons of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, thePalestinian president suspended his chief of staff on Sunday while a committee investigates accusations that the aide traded influence for sex.A videotape broadcast by an Israeli television station last week shows the chief of staff, Rafiq Husseini, waiting naked in bed for a Palestinian woman who was said to have come to the president’s office seeking government help.The accusations against Mr. Husseini, brought to light by a former senior Palestinian intelligence officer, have stoked a crisis of confidence in Palestinian leadership and led to accusations that the affair was part of an Israeli plot to discredit the Western-backed Palestinian government. The scandal has added another element of discord to the region at a time when the Obama administration was trying to coax the Palestinians back to peace talks.The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, established a committee on Sunday to investigate the accusations and suspended Mr. Husseini pending the results of the inquiry, expected within three weeks.
Mr. Husseini asserted his innocence, saying at a news conference later Sunday that the tape had been doctored.The accusations, which date to 2008, were made public by Fahmi Shabaneh, a former intelligence official who said he was frustrated by corruption within the Palestinian Authority and its lack of action in the face of evidence of financial and sexual misdoings, the latter involving Mr. Husseini.Mr. Abbas “promised to take measures within months," Mr. Shabaneh said in an interview at his Jerusalem home on Sunday. “But in fact he left Rafiq Husseini in his post.”
But top figures from Mr. Abbas’s Fatah party have accused Israel of having a hand in the scandal, saying that it was in Israel’s interest to undermine Mr. Abbas. And last week the Palestinian Authority issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Shabaneh on suspicion of collaborating with Israel.An Israeli official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue, said the Israeli government had nothing to do with the affair.While the Palestinian Authority has long been troubled by corruption accusations, the latest episode may qualify as the most sordid.The woman in the video, who has not been identified, had gone to the president’s office to ask for help with a family problem, Mr. Shabaneh said. When Mr. Husseini responded with unwanted sexual advances, Mr. Shabaneh said, she complained to Mr. Shabaneh, who was then in charge of investigating corruption.
Mr. Shabaneh said he then set up a hidden camera sting in mid-2008 to prove to Mr. Abbas that Mr. Husseini was abusing his position. Mr. Husseini is also seen on the video badmouthing Palestinian leaders, saying that Mr. Abbas lacked charisma and that the lateYasir Arafat was surrounded by crooks.The scandal has jolted the Palestinian Authority, already weakened by the internal schism that left Gaza under the control of the Islamist group, Hamas.In conservative Arab Muslim society, the sexual aspect of the affair “is something shocking, an earthquake,” says Mahdi Abdul Hadi, an independent Palestinian analyst and director of PASSIA, a research institute in East Jerusalem.“People are very angry,” he said, arguing that Mr. Abbas’s actions are “all coming too late.”
Mr. Husseini, who has not been answering his phone, was supposed to appear on a public affairs program on official Palestinian Authority television on Friday, but he sent a written statement instead. He called the affair a “conspiracy planned by two parties,” meaning his rivals within the Palestinian Authority and Israel, who he said wanted to halt his political activities in Jerusalem.
Some personal score-settling may well have played a role. Mr. Shabaneh had faced charges in Israel of threatening Mr. Husseini. Those charges were later dropped but Mr. Shabaneh is still awaiting trial on charges of recruiting agents in Jerusalem to hunt Palestinians who sold land to Israelis, and of membership in a Palestinian security apparatus while residing in Jerusalem.Under agreements with Israel the authority is not allowed to operate in Jerusalem, which has also kept him out of reach of Palestinian arrest warrant.Some of his allegations first surfaced in an interview with The Jerusalem Post published in late January.Mr. Shabaneh, a lawyer by profession, said Sunday that he kept copies of all his intelligence files, despite requests from his bosses to hand them over. He said he had dozens of files showing financial corruption from the Arafat era that the new administration has failed to deal with.In addition, he accused the Palestinian leadership of nepotism that he says has resulted in almost all senior positions in the authority being staffed by Palestinians from the northern West Bank, at the expense of the south.He has threatened to open up “more dangerous files” if those he has already exposed do not result in resignations or dismissals.
As for the accusations that he is playing into Israel’s hands, Mr. Shabaneh said he left his law practice in Jerusalem to work for the authority because he wanted to help “build a Palestinian state of law and justice.”“What they say does not concern me,” he added. “It is clear to the people. Corruption destroys our hopes for a state.”

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