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UK Deports Radical Cleric to Jordan After Decade Fight

Abu Qatada will finally face trial in Jordan

(Newser) - A radical Muslim preacher suspected of being a key al-Qaeda operative in Europe arrived in Jordan today to face retrial on terrorism charges after his deportation from Britain, ending a decade-long legal battle over his fate. The return of 53-year-old Abu Qatada was viewed as a victory in Jordan, whose... More »

Egyptian Cleric Pleads Not Guilty in NY Court

Abu Hamza al-Masri accused of backing US terror training camp

(Newser) - Abu Hamza al-Masri has pleaded not guilty of conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon. The Egyptian cleric entered the plea in New York City today after being extradited from Britain , the AP reports. Two others who arrived from the UK, Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary,... More »

Iran Woman Beats Cleric Who Told Her to Cover Up

He's hospitalized for 3 days: report

(Newser) - En route to a local mosque, an Iranian cleric saw a woman he believed was inappropriately dressed, so he warned her to cover up. "You, cover your eyes," she replied, instead putting her dukes up and giving him a shove. "I fell on my back on the... More »

Muqtada al-Sadr: We Reject America

Cleric gives fiery speech after ending 4-year exile

(Newser) - Muqtada al-Sadr returned to Iraq Thursday after a four-year exile, and his first speech back made it clear that absence hadn't made the Shiite cleric's heart grow fonder of the US. "Let the whole world hear that we reject America. No, no to the occupier," the fiery 37-year-old... More »

Ft. Hood Suspect to Appear in Court

Defense team will seek delay

(Newser) - The man accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood , Nidal Hasan , will make his first court appearance today in a preliminary hearing. His lawyers will seek to delay an Article 32 hearing that will determine if his case should go to trial, reports the AP . The army has already... More »

Yemeni Cleric: Kill US Citizens

New al-Qaeda video features US-born cleric

(Newser) - American-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have inspired the Fort Hood shooter and would-be underwear bomber, is advocating the killing of American civilians in an al-Qaeda video released today. "The American people, in general, are taking part in this and they elected this administration and they are... More »

Top Iranian Dissident Montazeri Dies

Cleric had been in line to succeed supreme leader, fell from favor

(Newser) - Iran's most senior dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who emerged as the spiritual father of its reform movement, died in his sleep overnight. He was 87. Once slated to succeed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Montazeri instead led the charge in accusing the country's ruling Islamic establishment of imposing dictatorship... More »

Italy Convicts CIA Agents of Kidnapping

2003 case is first to challenge practice of extraordinary rendition

(Newser) - An Italian judge today convicted 23 Americans of the 2003 kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric on a Milan street, in a landmark case involving the CIA's extraordinary rendition program in the war on terrorism. Judge Oscar Magi acquitted three other Americans, citing diplomatic immunity. Former Milan CIA station chief Robert... More »

Ahmadinejad 2nd Term Blessed, Iran TV Airs 'Confessions'

(Newser) - As his adversaries faced a mass court hearing condemned as a show trial, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was formally endorsed today for a second term as president of Iran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei conducted the ceremony, which Mir Hossein Mousavi and other opposition figures boycotted. The endorsement came after state television screened courtroom... More »

Reformers Teargassed as Iran's Top Cleric Demands Change

(Newser) - Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president and most powerful supporter of Mir Hossein Mousavi, addressed thousands of young reformists in green today in a highly anticipated sermon that may trigger further protests. The visibly upset cleric demanded that all political prisoners be freed and lamented that "we had... More »

Mousavi's Options Dwindle as Time Ticks Away

Beaten on the streets, reformer takes uphill battle to the elite

(Newser) - The Iranian protest movement is running out of time and options as the regime continues its brutal crackdown, Time reports. Government forces have full control of the streets of Tehran, hundreds of political opponents are in jail, and Western journalists have been packed off. Mir Hossein Mousavi now has no... More »

Iran Cleric: Execute the 'Rioters'

(Newser) - Iran’s Guardian Council today called the election the “healthiest since the revolution,” and one of its members suggested executing the “rioters” protesting it, Reuters reports. “I want the judiciary to punish leading rioters firmly and without showing any mercy,” Ahmad Khatami told worshipers at... More »

In the Shadows, Ayatollah's Son Calls the Shots

Mojtaba Khamenei has power throughout the security apparatus

(Newser) - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rarely appears in public and cultivates a shadowy reputation—but even further out of the public eye, his son has become one of the post powerful men in Iran. Ultraconservative cleric Mojtaba Khamenei, believed to be around 50 years old, has connections throughout the Revolutionary Guards and... More »

Iran Releases 4 Family Members of Former Prez

(Newser) - Iran is calm but tense today as police freed four family members of a former president and important Iranian cleric, the Los Angeles Times reports. But the oldest daughter of Hashemi Rafsanjani, a key backer of challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi, was not released by authorities in Tehran. Five members of Rafsanjani's... More »

Clerics Invite Opposition to Talk

(Newser) - Iran’s Guardian Council has invited all three opposition candidates to a meeting to air their grievances Saturday, the New York Times reports. But the opposition is likely to view that olive branch warily; it has already turned down the council’s offer for a partial recount. Protesters say they... More »

As Iran Unrest Goes On, Watch the Clerics

Mullahs far from Tehran may step in to end election dispute

(Newser) - As protesters continue to express anger and defy arrest, the endgame of Iran's disputed election may take place not in Tehran, but in the holy city of Qom—where the country's powerful clerics have so far kept silent. Except for a few prominent reformists, Iran's mullahs have refused to take... More »

Ayatollah Authority Undercut by Flip-Flop

Protests are weakening Khamenei's grip on Iranian regime

(Newser) - The about-face done by Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei—first blessing the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Friday's election then opening an inquiry into vote fraud yesterday—was a rare misstep for the shadowy, usually cautious ayatollah, the New York Times reports, and may have done substantial damage to his reputation,... More »

Pakistan Suicide Bombing Kills Moderate Cleric

(Newser) - One of Pakistan’s most prominent anti-Taliban clerics was killed today in a suicide bomb attack, the Times of London reports. Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi, who supported the Pakistan army’s campaign in the Swat Valley, died on the way to the hospital after an explosion at his Islamic college in... More »

2 Afghans Face Death Over Koran Translation

Clerics say book aims to replace holy text

(Newser) - A pocket-size translation of the Koran has landed six men in prison in Afghanistan and left two of them begging judges to spare their lives. They're accused of modifying the Koran, and their fate could be decided Sunday in court. The trial illustrates what critics call the undue influence of... More »

Top Saudi Cleric Backs Marriage of 10-Year-Old Girls

They're not too young, declares grand mufti

(Newser) - The top Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia has issued a statement supporting marriage for girls as young as 10, reports CNN. "Those who think she's too young are wrong and they are being unfair to her," he declared. The statement follows the refusal last month by a Saudi... More »

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