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ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

SCHOOL PRAYERS
Five million Saudi schoolchildren gathered to pray for the soul of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, who died over the weekend at a New York hospital. Saudi media praised the crown prince, who was also the country's defense minister. Sultan was believed to be battling cancer, though his health condition was never made public. Saudi media reported only that he died "outside the country."

Students were read a prepared biography of the prince's life, including his achievements in the "historical, cultural and humanitarian realms," Okaz newspaper reported. The news of Sultan's death was "received by students with much grief and sorrow, with students describing him as a father with a big heart," the paper reported.

HONOR KILLINGS
Syria's Interior Ministry announced that Syria ranks third in the Arab world for the most honor killings following Yemen and Palestine. Last year, Syria reported 249 honor killings, with 375 in Yemen and 264 in the Palestinian territories. An estimated 80 percent of the killings of females for so-called shaming of their family's honor took place in rural areas, "which are predominantly tribal," Ahram Online reported.

MARKET NEWS
Egypt's deputy prime minister, who is also finance minister, Hazem Biblawi, is seeking to reassure the public and potential investors that Egypt is on the mend. "Despite the crisis in Egypt now, there are many reassuring signs about the future," said Biblawi, quoted by Egyptian news site Al Youm Al Sabaa. The minister cited the fact that goods are still found in the marketplace, and are not being hoarded by citizens. Biblawi cited two reasons behind the economic crisis in Egypt: the lack of liquidity available from public funds and a psychological uncertainty about the future.

WEAPONS STASH
In a separate story, a source at the Libyan embassy in Cairo told Al Youm Al Sabaa that stockpiles of weaponry were hidden inside the embassy. Egyptian security officials are planning on investigating the origin of the cache, and questioning staff members working in the embassy before the collapse of Gaddafi's government. "This discovery represents a new piece of evidence of the criminal nature of the Gaddafi regime," the site reported. Rifles, machine guns and pistols equipped with silencers are among the weapons found inside.


October 25, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Society

Iran Clerics Denounce "Foolish" Executions of Protesters, A Rare Critique Of Regime

In an unusual challenge to Iran's senior leaders from Shia clerics in the country, a group of theologians and jurists in Qom say the state has been incompetent and had no right to execute protesters. At least two Iranian demonstrators have been executed this month, with the latest publicly hanged on a crane.

Photo of an Iranian cleric speaking on the phone in Qom, Iran

Iranian clerics in Qom, Iran

Kayhan-London

TEHRAN — Following the recent hangings of at least two Iranian detainees charged with attacking state agents during Iran's ongoing mass protests, a group of well-known Shia clerics have publicly challenged the validity of the capital charges cited by prosecutors and the state's right to execute protesters.

The objections were raised by the Assembly of Qom Seminary Teachers and Researchers, a clerical grouping of reformist clerics well-respected among Muslim leaders even if they have little direct sway over the leadership. They questioned the very legal basis of the death sentences the state is keen to mete out with the backing of the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The statement published earlier this week, was a very rare show of support for ordinary Iranians from anyone associated with the regime. Parliament has taken the side of authorities, and the only dissenting clerics have been from Sunni-inhabited districts, where the regime has been particularly harsh with protesters.

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