Obituary: Sheikh Mohamed Mutwali Sharawi

EGYPT'S BEST-KNOWN Islamic cleric, Sheikh Mohamed Mutwali Sharawi, got his chance of stardom at the age of 59, in the last year of President Nasser's rule, when he took part in the country's first ever Islamic television religious discussion programme. Nour ala Nour ("Light upon Light") was presented by Ahmad Farrag, a handsome but failed cinema actor who had gone on to make a career in religious programmes. Within a few years Sharawi had upstaged Farrag and become the Billy Graham of the Islamic world to an estimated 70 million Arabic-speaking viewers.

Police intervene in battle of `offensive' china pigs

POLICE are understood to have confiscated a collection of porcelain pigs from the front window of a woman's house in the same road as Leicester's main mosque following a complaint from local Muslims that the display was offensive.

Letter: Geriatric classics

Letter: Geriatric classics

Book review: The guns which shoot life

The Human Sexes: A Natural History of Man and Woman by Desmond Morris, Network pounds 17.99

Faith & Reason: Do not mock the Sharia as barbaric

Are Western objections to the punishment of two British nurses under Islamic law merely cultural? asks Shabbir Akhtar. Or do they have a more profound basis?

Letter: Earth mother

Your leading article ignores a significant hazard in moves to declare the Virgin Mary "co-redemptor" ("Mary, Mary, once contrary", August 24) .

WORDS OF THE WEEK; Answers to the meaning of creation

Five leading writers from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds, including Fay Weldon, right, answer questions of faith in a series of Prom interval talks

Letter: Godless

Sir: The Independent's example of Arabic script "from the Koran" is in danger of causing as much offence to Muslims as the Nike logo ("Nike to trash trainers that offended Islam", 25 June), for the crucial words "but God" have been omitted.

Leeds Muslims riot over `burnt Koran' video

A Hindu video shop owner's plans to stock a controversial Bollywood film about the India-Pakistan war of 1971 prompted 300 Muslim youths to riot outside his shop, it emerged yesterday.

The bishop who gave up the Bible for Lent

(and read the Koran from cover to cover instead)

Fay Weldon hits back at the Islamically Correct

It's not racist to stand against bigotry, the novelist tells Graham Ball

Why Islam's law bewilders the West

The Koran did not introduce the principle of retribution, but merely reaffirmed what the Old Testament said

Letter: Farsi, please

Sir: What promising news to hear that the Iranian Majlis has outlawed Western words (report, 4 December). We may have to tolerate the rule of the mullahs but perhaps they will now consider speaking our language, Farsi, and not the Arabic that has been creeping into common usage since the revolution of 1979.

Don't bin that bag: it may hold God's word

Recycling may be the international rallying cry for environmentally sound citizens, but Afghanistan's ruling Taliban has its own thoughts on the matter. Along with other radical steps to stem dissolute 20th-century practices, the movement's new edict is: no recyling. Henceforth, citizens are not allowed to carry paper bags - especially if the paper in question has already enjoyed another, more dignified life, perhaps as a page in the Koran.

The Asian district, Sparkhill, Birmingham

"What's a ghetto?" asks Manesh Chhanya, 16. "Part of a city where lots of people from one ethnic background live," I improvise. "More or less ignored by everybody else." "Yes it is then. That's exactly what Sparkhill is like."
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone