Friday, October 30, 2009
A Russian baby is attracting crowds of pilgrims after claims that verses from the Koran appear on his body.
Thousands of people are lining up every day to catch a glimpse of nine-month-old Ali Yakubov.
Religious leaders say the Koranic verse "Be thankful or grateful to Allah" was printed on the baby's leg in clear Arabic script this week. Apparently the script appears and fades every few days.
However visiting foreign journalists later saw a single letter, according to Reuters India.
But in Russia's mostly Muslim Kizlyar region, in the south of the country, many are convinced this is a miracle.
Sagid Murtazaliyev, head of the region, told Reuters: "The fact that this miracle happened here is a signal to us to take the lead and help our brothers and sisters find peace."
People are seizing on the "miracle" as a symbol of hope in an area which has been troubled by suicide bombs and attacks on police and security services.
The baby's home has now been turned into a shrine and imams have been putting up photographs of the baby's arms and legs covered in the Arabic script for the crowd to admire.
Vladimir Zakharov, deputy director of the Caucasus Research Centre at the Moscow State University of International Relations, told Reuters: "Islam and fear of terrorism now totally dominate the North Caucasus, and they are perhaps using this to escape from a certain reality."
But Yakubov's 26-year-old mother Madina told Reuters the script was a message from Allah. She said: "Allah is great and he sent me my miracle child to keep our people safe."
I just hope the baby doesn't mind being prodded and poked because presumably he's in for quite a lot of that.
Do you believe in miracles?
Source: Reuters India
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
U.N. inspectors entered a once-secret uranium enrichment facility with bunker-like construction and heavy military protection that raised Western suspicions about the extent and intent of Iran's nuclear program.
The visit Sunday by the four-member International Atomic Energy Agency team(IAEA), reported by state media, was the first independent look inside the planned nuclear fuel lab, a former ammunition dump burrowed into the treeless hills south of Tehran and only publicly disclosed last month. The inspectors are expected to study plant blueprints, interview workers and take soil samples before wrapping up the three-day mission.
No results from the inspection are expected until the team leaves the country, but some Iranian officials hailed the visit as an example that their nuclear program was open to international scrutiny.
"IAEA inspectors' visit to Fordo shows that Iran's nuclear activities are transparent and peaceful," the official IRNA news agency quoted lawmaker Hasan Ebrahimi as saying.
Another test of Iran's cooperation is fast approaching, however. Iran has promised to respond this week to a U.N.-brokered deal to process its nuclear fuel abroad — a plan designed to ease Western fears about Iran's potential ability to produce weapons-grade material.