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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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

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He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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