Oman opposes Gulf union

Oman opposes Gulf union
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Oman opposes Gulf union
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Updated 28 December 2013

Oman opposes Gulf union

Oman opposes Gulf union

MUSCAT: Oman opposes upgrading the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to a union of six nations, Muscat’s foreign minister said on Saturday.
The union issue is on the agenda of the GCC summit to be held on Tuesday in Kuwait.
“We are against a union,” Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi said at the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain.
The annual forum on security is also being attended by senior world officials including British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel.
Alawi was speaking after Saudi Assistant Foreign Minister Nizar Madani in a speech called on Gulf states to unify against dangers in the region.
“We will not prevent a union, but if it happens we will not be part of it,” Alawi told AFP on the sidelines of the gathering.
If the five other GCC members — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar — decide to form a union, “we will simply withdraw” from the new body, he said.
Saudi Arabia’s idea of upgrading the GCC was first proposed in 2011 and supported by Bahrain. But because of reservations by some members, it was put on hold.
Kuwait and Qatar have since expressed their backing, but the UAE’s position on the proposal is not known.
Formed in 1981 as a buffer against Iran across the Gulf, the GCC states sit on around 40 percent of proven global crude reserves and around 25 percent of natural gas deposits.


Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
Bookseller Yaqoub Mohamed Yaqoub, 45, sits by his roadside stall where he has been working for 15 years, in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, on January 14, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2021

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
  • Unrest ricocheted beyond North African country, triggering uprisings, crackdowns, civil wars

KHARTOUM: As Sudan’s transitional government shifts the nation from the Islamist rule of ousted strongman Omar Bashir, a new schoolbook has sparked controversy for reproducing Michelangelo’s iconic “Creation of Adam.”
Khartoum’s government has embarked on deeply controversial reforms in a bid to boost its international standing and rescue its ailing economy — but bringing it into a confrontation with those who see changes as anti-Islamic.
The offending picture, in a history textbook for teenagers, has become a flashpoint in the argument. “It is an ugly offense,” said Sudan’s Academy of Islamic Fiqh, the body ruling on Islamic law, which issued an edict banning teaching from the book.
Michelangelo’s fresco, depicting the Biblical story of God reaching out with his hand to give life to Adam, is a flagship piece of 16th century Renaissance art that forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling in Rome.
“The book glorifies Western culture in a way that makes it the culture of science and civilization — in contrast to its presentation of Islamic civilization,” the Fiqh academy added.

BACKGROUND

In a viral video, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting ‘apostasy’ and ‘heresy.’

Furious Muslim clerics have railed against the book and other changes to the school curriculum.
In one video widely shared on social media, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting “apostasy” and “heresy.”
Another urged followers to “burn the book.”
But others defended the changes, saying they were part of necessary education reforms.
“The picture is not in a religious book,” teacher Qamarya Omar said.
“It is in a history book for the sixth-grade under a section called European Renaissance, which makes it placed in context.”