Newsletter : 5fax0301.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
March 1, 1995, V3, #41
All the News the Big Guys Missed
For subscriptions or back issues, please contact POL management
Quote for the day: "Israel will be doomed to destruction, with
Allah's help." (Sheik Agrameh Sabri, PLO-appointed Mufti of
Jerusalem, Voice of Palestine (PLO) Radio 2/3)
Germany will Celebrate End of World War II
By Evans Hays (Bonn)
Germany has formally announced it will host a commemoration
ceremony May 8 in Berlin to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of
World War II. German President Roman Herzog, Chancellor Helmut
Kohl, and other leaders are expected to attend.
Details of the commemoration are still being worked out and there
is no official guest list yet. But observers agree the
commemoration will be a major event, with Germany portraying
the 1945 date as an end to the Nazi tyranny and a rebirth of its
The commemoration in Berlin will conclude several months of events
in Germany and elsewhere in Europe related to World War II
Memorial services marking the liberation of the Nazi death camp
at Auschwitz in Poland have already been held and more
commemorations of the Holocaust are planned over the next two
Herzog is due to attend a memorial service in late April at
Bergen-Belsen -- one of the most notorious of the Nazi death camps.
Arabs Bring Anti-Israeli Complaints to U.N.
By Elaine Johanson (United Nations)
The United Nations Security Council Tuesday held a formal meeting
-- at the request of Arab countries -- to hear complaints about
Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. The Palestine
Liberation Organization warned continuing settlement activity is
raising tensions and complicating the peace process.
PLO representative Nasser al-Kidwa called for an immediate end to
all settlement activity in the occupied territories. While Israel
is not building new settlements, it allows existing ones to be
expanded -- through private, rather than state funding.
The PLO says this is a violation of the spirit of the 1993
agreement it signed with Israel, which puts off the issue of the
Israeli settlements for a later stage in their bilateral
The United States announced at the outset the debate would not
result in a resolution. In fact, the US was against even holding
a Council meeting. US representative Edward Gnehm warned the
public airing of grievances could have a negative impact on the
The Security Council had stayed away from the Arab-Israeli dispute
-- largely in deference to the on-going negotiations and the
big-power sponsorship. In years past, the US would balance Council
action against Israel with an occasional veto when it felt
resolutions were one-sided. Israel has always argued that the
region's problems could be settled only in direct talks.
Japanese Muslims Celebrate Ramadan
By Pamela Burton (Tokyo)
Ramadan, the important Islamic month of fasting, is now being
celebrated by hundreds of millions of Muslims across the world.
Japan's small Islamic community this year has something special to
be thankful for.
This year's celebration of Ramadan has special significance to many
of Japan's more than 100,000 Muslims. One of the only two mosques
in the entire country is located in Kobe, and it survived January's
disastrous earthquake with extremely little damage.
Muslims here are calling that an act of grace from God. They say
the mosque, Japan's oldest, was spared because the night before
the deadly quake struck, the faithful had been gathered for
With the survival of the mosque, more than 500 Muslims are expected
to be gathered there again Friday for one of the two biggest events
in the Islamic calendar. The festivities called Eid-ul-Fitr, will
bring Ramadan to an official close.
The survival of the Kobe mosque has thus added a special poignancy
to the Ramadan prayers taking place every day after sunset for the
past month in homes and meeting sites across the country.
In Muslim countries, Ramadan is a time of public celebration and
widespread participation. In Japan, where fewer than one percent
of the population is Muslim, believers celebrate more privately.
But because of its small size, the Islamic community also worships
more peacefully. Japan provides a rare opportunity for disparate
groups such as the Shiites and Sunnis -- Muslims that traditionally
have kept apart and even quarreled at times -- to worship and
Though small, Japan's diverse Islamic community includes Muslims
from all schools of thought. While the biggest group of Muslims
here are Pakistanis, there are also large Bangladeshi and Iranian
populations. Other nationalities include Malaysians, Indonesians,
Filipinos, Singaporeans, Egyptians and Algerians.
Japanese Muslims are a tiny but growing minority. Their numbers
are mainly rising due to the increasing number of marriages between
Japanese women and Muslim men. Many of those Japanese women have
converted to Islam, which has led to a greater awareness of and
interest in the religion in Japanese society-at-large.
Nevertheless, most Japanese are genuinely puzzled to hear about
Ramadan. There is no concept of total fasting for religious
reasons here. Even the strictest Buddhist is always allowed to
drink beverages during a fast.
Muslims say the need to explain Ramadan to those unfamiliar with
the holidays is the only real difference in observing it in Japan.
If anything, they say, the combination of a cooler climate and
shorter hours of sunlight makes for a more comfortable, if somewhat
CD-ROM System for Deaf-Mutes
An Israeli company developing multi-media learning systems has
devised a computerized system, thought to be unique, for teaching
sign language used by deaf-mutes through a computer. It is based on
the American sign-language system and marketed on CD-ROM discs
through an American publisher, Harper-Collins, for $60. The disc
includes video, color animation, graphics and video-clips.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)