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Islamic Database

By Israel Faxx News Services

Samir Alicehajic's program (www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,61975/description.html?tk=nl_ddxdwn) Is essentially a front end to an array of searchable databases containing information vital to practicing Muslims, including English translations of the Qur'an and several Hadiths.

There's also a tool that calculates times for prayer, and animations demonstrating the correct ways to pray for both men and women, with accompanying text. This program would be very useful to practitioners of Islam, but it is clearly not designed for the casual student who simply wants to learn more about the religion.


Olmert. Abbas Meeting to Touch on Sensitive Issues

By YnetNews.com

The summit meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas scheduled for Monday morning in Jericho is expected to touch on wider political issues, said official sources in Jerusalem.

The sources said that the two would discuss Palestinian requests regarding border crossings, checkpoints and humanitarian aid. Palestinian sources said that Abbas intends to raise more sensitive issues; including Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and borders. "This is more than a maintenance meeting. It won't be about day-to-day issues, mostly the focus will be on the two-state solution," said the sources in Jerusalem.

"These things need time to mature, so no one is going to be talking about permanent arrangements right now. But there are things that can be agreed on now. Meaning, get ahead as far as you can without things exploding," they said.

This will be the first meeting for Olmert and Abbas in a series of talks leading up to the peace summit announced by President George W. Bush. Both sides are seeking to establish a base agreement that can be built on to bring to the summit.

Israel and the US have both been working to strengthen Abbas so he can realize his authority over the Palestinian territories and combat terror. The objective is to prompt Abbas to reach a settlement with Israel. Olmert's office said the prime minister would hear Abbas and take any requests into consideration.

"There isn't any gesture planned," said officials in Jerusalem, "we've only just handed over a vast sum of money, released prisoners, provided military aid and authorized outside military aid. We conceived a very handsome package and it bore results, stabilizing Abbas."

The officials said that Abbas has lived up to his end of the deal and not fallen back in with Hamas, despite the mounting pressure to do so. "He understands that going back to Hamas' embrace is a death-blow to the political process," they said.


Israelis Abroad Advised to be Cautious

By YnetNews.com

The Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned Israelis Sunday against visiting Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia.

In a travel advisory issued ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the bureau defined the risk level in these countries as "high and concrete," and urged Israelis who are currently there to leave the country immediately. Bureau officials stressed that the warnings were part of an updated review, which is being published twice a year.

According to the warning, Israelis abroad were still at risk of being kidnapped by Hizbullah. Travelers are therefore advised to reject any tempting or unexpected offer abroad, turn down unforeseen gifts or invitations from unknown or suspect people, and make sure not to show up for meetings unescorted.

Other places that were named as risky for travelers are the Kashmir region, the island of Midanao in the Philippines, and the Chechnya region in Russia. The Khao San Road in the Thai capital Bangkok and southeast Turkey were rated as areas of "ongoing potential threat," and Israelis were called on to avoid visiting them. The bureaus also recommended that tourists exercise caution in the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey and Uzbekistan.


Rabbi Rules Against Kissing Mezuzot

By YnetNews.com

A Conservative rabbi has recently ruled that kissing mezuzot should be avoided, in order to avoid the risk of contracting an infectious disease.

Rabbi Simcha Roth issued the ruling after he was approached by members of his congregation who expressed concern over the possibility that kissing a mezuzah which has been kissed by other people may constitute a health hazard.

Roth stressed that kissing mezuzot should be particularly avoided in public places and hospitals, where the risk is even greater.

The mitzvah of affixing a mezuzah to the doorpost appears in the Bible, Deuteronomy 11:20: "And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates." The mitzvah aims at reminding the Jew of the mitzvot of the Torah upon entering his home. According to the Conservative Movement, the mezuzah also reminds the inhabitants of the house that God protects them at all times.

Roth explained that in both cases, the mezuzah's role is to be looked at, not touched or kissed. He said that the custom of kissing the mezuzah has developed in later years with the goal of giving the observant Jew a sense of intimacy with his God.

According to Roth, "The only mitzvah related to the mezuzah is to affix it to the doorpost and to check it to make sure it is not damaged. The other customs, such as touching or kissing it, are merely traditions and not mitzvot from the Torah. "Therefore, in such cases it is not only permitted, but even recommended, to avoid kissing the mezuzah."


Governments Defending Freedom

By Ed Ziegler (Commentary)

Anyone who has paid the slightest attention to world events involving terrorism will readily agree that the current World War is far from simple. What makes this war so different, and more difficult than former wars is that the enemy is not a specific country we need to defeat. The enemy in this war (to mention just a few of the more well known) consists of many separate terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hizbullah.

Yes there are countries providing financial aid and protection to the terrorists. However these countries, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan etc. are not in the front lines-- either firing guns or getting killed.

Just as one might expect all the terrorist groups espouse common goals. Their main goal is that the world be governed by Shari'ah (Islamic) Law. In July 2006, the Ayatollah Kazem al-Hussein al-Haeri, an Islamic cleric living in Iran, said, "The battle is all of Islam against all of the nonbelievers." Thus, if you are not a Muslim, the battle is with you.

The terrorists are obsessed with achieving their goal by any means possible. It must be said that they are not stupid. They learn from prior events. They have proven themselves resilient and are continuously tweaking their style of warfare.

Over the past 20 years it is estimated that possibly 20 million Muslims have moved to Europe and the Americas for a better life. As a result terrorists have followed the migration bringing with them preachers of hate. Potentially these preachers sufficiently motivate a small percentage of their community to become terrorists wherever they now reside.

These groups primarily employ terrorist tactics such as car bombings, suicide bombers, kidnapping, torture, threats and intimidation. Their attacks can and have, occurred worldwide, Russia, Spain, England, Argentina and the United States.

These fanatics have little to no regard for human life including their own. Non-Islamic governments need to implement every possible defensive measure in order to defend themselves and to defeat the terrorists. Unlike countries using Shari'ah Law, democratic countries have laws that determine the allowable procedures that can be instituted to protect us.

One of the major methods of protection used by peace-loving countries is the judicial system. On Feb 7, 2007 the British courts convicted their most prominent radical Muslim cleric, Abu Hamza al-Masri, on 11 charges of soliciting murder, racial hatred and for using his sermons to encourage his followers to kill non-Muslims. While, in November 2005, Australian authorities arrested 17 terror suspects including a Muslim cleric who was charged with masterminding terrorist plots.

In November 2006, the U.S. Justice Department charged an American with treason for the first time in more than a half-century. Adam Yahiye Gadahn, a convert to Islam, appeared in three Al-Qaeda propaganda films. The State Department posted a $1 million reward for him. Unfortunately, utilizing the judicial system is a slow and frequently difficult process.

As a preventative action, on Oct. 31, 2006, French authorities at Charles de Gaulle airport stripped 72 Muslim workers of their access badges because they had traveled to Pakistan or Afghanistan, or were suspected of having links to extremists. With the history of terrorists bombing civilian airplanes this precautionary action seems very sensible.

Not being able to recognize a person's face because it is hidden except for their eyes is being considered a security issue in much of Europe. The Dutch government has already prohibited wearing burqas, (which cover the entire body) in public schools and on transportation systems. In England, Jack Straw, the leader of the House of Commons, said he did not believe that women should wear the full-face veil, a headdress with only a narrow slit for the eyes. While Detroit Mich. Judge Paul Paruk refused to allow a Muslim woman from testifying unless she removed her veil.

In July 2007 the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, stated that he wants state pension funds to divest from companies doing business in Iran. Perry said if he cannot begin divestment without legislation he might call a special legislative session to do so. Putting pressure on countries that are known to support terrorist seems a logical action. In July 2007 Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill ordering his state to divest its pension fund from businesses that work with Iran's energy sector.

Fortunately and unfortunately, democratic governments move slowly to ensure personal freedom. Never-the-less, like our self-proclaimed enemies, the Islamic terrorists, we too must adjust our techniques of self-defense in order to protect our personal freedom. Your help is needed to protect our freedom. Notifying your elected officials of your concerns is an important step you can take. Remember "Never Again' is up to you.

Ed Ziegler is a board member of the New Jewish Congregation in The Villages, Florida, and past president of its Brotherhood. He can be reached at EZ14@comcast.net


Dead Sea Keeps Missing Boy Alive

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A massive manhunt and rescue operation ended in joy late last week after a missing child was found alive, floating in the Dead Sea. The high salt and mineral content of the water, while extremely dangerous to ingest, kept the child afloat.

Schneur Zalman Friedman, 8, disappeared within minutes on Thursday after he entered the water at 5 p.m. with his father and brother. It is known that high winds often blow through the Dead Sea area towards evening, cooling off the heat of the day, but in this case, they caused the tide to carry him away.

The family, residents of the Mea Shearim neighborhood in Jerusalem, immediately raised the alarm when they could not find him. Helicopters and small planes were brought in to search from the air as police, IDF soldiers, Hatzoloh Israel and Zaka rescue volunteers combed the beach area on foot.

The Jordanian government was notified in order to avoid misunderstandings about the purpose of the lights and flares used to track down the youngster. The opposite shore of the Dead Sea belongs to Jordan.

The IDF officially called off the search at 10 p.m. Thursday according to some reports, but Hatzoloh workers insisted on continuing their efforts. Their persistence paid off before midnight. The boy was finally spotted by rescue workers at 11:45 p.m., floating in the water at the Ein Gedi beach, some three kilometers south of where he entered the water.

Rescue workers said the boy was in good condition, though somewhat exhausted, when they pulled him from the water. He later said he knew he had to keep his head above water, though he fell asleep briefly at one point.

The rescue workers, both religious and not, broke out into spontaneous dance upon finding the boy. The words "miracle from Heaven" were a constant refrain. The boy's family thanked the many volunteers and security personnel that took part in the search.

"It was a miracle," said Yehuda Meshi-Zahav of the Zaka search and rescue squad, which also participated in the search. "I think our hysteria as we searched the beach was greater than the boy's."

Meshi-Zahav, who accompanied the boy and his parents to the hospital Friday for tests, said "the boy said he suddenly found himself alone and being swept into the water. He shouted 'help' but there was no one around him. He remembered that he shouldn't drink the water, and made sure to keep his mouth closed. He also said that at certain points he even tried to reach the mountains he saw in the distance, which he thought were close." Meshi-Zahav added that the boy recited Psalms and other verses he knew by heart.


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