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Parts of Pakistan Under Taliban Control

Where: Islamabad, Pakistan February 20, 2009 : The Swat Valley, a picturesque region in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province and once a major tourist destination, is completely under Taliban control. The Taliban, the most dreaded extremist Islamic militant group in the world, is present in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It opposes modernisation and the education of girls and women. Since January 2009, the militants have closed down 400 private schools which had 40,000 girl students. At least 10 schools which re-opened were blown up....

Ramadan: The Month of 30 Fasts

Ramadan: The Month of 30 Fasts

Ramadan (or Ramzan) is a very special month for Muslims, people of the Islamic faith. Muslims are people who follow the Islamic religion propagated by the Prophet Mohammed in the seventh century. Muslims believe that it was in this month that Allah revealed the holy book of the Muslims, the Koran (or Quran) to the prophet Mohammed. The Quran says that the fast of Ramdan is important as it tests devotion and faith. So believers fast from sunrise to sunset every day during the entire month of Ramdan....

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

The Ayatollah (Arabic, “Reflection of Allah”) Ruhollah Khomeini became leader of Iran in 1979 by forcing the overthrow of the shah and Prime Minister Shahpur Bakhtiar. Born in Khomein, Iran on May 27, 1900, the son of an ayatollah of the Shiite sect, he studied theology and by 1962 was one of the six grand ayatollahs of Iran’s Shiite Muslims. Exiled in 1964 for his part in religious demonstrations against the shah, he was expelled from Iraq in 1978 and moved to France, where he emerged as the leader of the anti-shah movement....

Ancient Library in the Desert

Ancient Library in the Desert

Ancient Library in the Desert [Illustration by Shinod A.P.] February 16: Ever heard of Chinguetti, a city nestling deep in the Sahara desert close to the North African country of Mauritania? No? Well, neither did most of the world, till it was discovered that this desert city that is slowly sinking in sand, could be home to the world’s oldest “living” libraries. That is to say a library with intact manuscripts....

Olympic Swim Against the Tide

Olympic Swim Against the Tide

September 23: Twelve-year-old Fatima Abdeljamid is creating waves at the Sydney Olympics and for all the right reasons. She is one of two Bahraini nationals and among the very few from the Middle East nations to compete in the Olympics. Fatima, a swimmer, and Myriam al-Hili, an athlete, have been invited to the Sydney Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is a gesture that is meant to encourage Muslim women from Islamic nations to take part in the Games....

Pakistan's Armed Forces Take on Taliban : Civilians Flee War Zone

Where: Islamabad, Pakistan May 14, 2009 : Pakistan’s government signed a peace agreement with the Taliban*, which had taken control of the country’s Swat valley region in February 2009, and allowed it to impose Islamic Sharia law there. The militants started moving towards the capital Islamabad in the following months. Pakistani forces launched a military operation against them in late April using airstrikes, artillery bombardment and rocket attacks by helicopter gunships. On May 11, a spokesperson of the Pakistani armed forces said that 200 militants had been killed in the fighting....

A Penalty Kick into Disaster

A Penalty Kick into Disaster

Where: Kandahar, Afghanistan July 22, 2000: It was the strangest football match that the Pakistani team had ever played. There they were in the city of Kandahar, in Afghanistan, for a match with a local team. Every sportsperson knows that home teams always get a lot more support than the visiting team, and is even prepared for it. But none of the Pakistani players were quite prepared for what happened to them on the football ground....

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