“Saddam” a popular new name for babies born since his capture

December 21, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "'Saddam' a popular new baby name" (The Australian, December 19, 2003)
2. "Be polite to Mr Saddam" (The Sun, UK)
3. "Islamic Clerics ban poetry for women" (Sunday Times/All Africa Global Media, November 9, 2003)
4. "Saddam should face death sentence, says Belgian cardinal" (Reuters, December 21, 2003)
5. "Saddam verdict expected to take five years" (Sunday Telegraph, U.K., December 21, 2003)


SUMMARIES

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach five articles, mainly connected to Saddam Hussein, with summaries first:

“HE'S A CROSS BETWEEN A HERO AND A TYRANT, BUT WE CHOOSE TO REMEMBER HIS GOOD SIDE”

"'Saddam' a popular new baby name" (The Australian, December 19, 2003). "Some Muslims in Thailand have named their newborn babies Saddam Hussein following his capture by US forces in Iraq last weekend. "He's a cross between a hero and a tyrant, but we choose to remember his good side," Rohcidee Lertariyapongkul, chairman of the Muslim Youth Association of Thailand, was quoted as saying in the Bangkok Post. "One way to do it is to let our babies bear his name."

BBC BOSSES BAN REPORTERS FROM CALLING SADDAM A FORMER DICTATOR

"Be polite to Mr Saddam" (The Sun, UK). "BBC bosses have banned reporters from calling tyrant Saddam Hussein a former dictator. Instead, staff must refer to the barbaric mass murderer as "the deposed former President"... Labour MP Kevan Jones, of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said: "This shows the crass naivety of the BBC. Such political correctness will be deeply hurtful to many of our servicemen serving in Iraq."

FATWA ISSUED AGAINST POETRY BOOK

"Islamic Clerics ban poetry for women" (Sunday Times/All Africa Global Media, Johannesburg, November 9, 2003). "A prestigious Sunni Islam institution, the Al-Azhar University, has banned an Egyptian book of poetry, claiming it is obscene... Last Saturday, a 28-member committee of Al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy issued a fatwa, or religious edict, saying the book should not be circulated or republished, and claimed that the book was an open invitation to obscenity in suggesting that women should surrender themselves without shame to passion, and parade naked before their lovers... Last month, a United Nations-sponsored report said the relatively tiny and restricted number of books being published in the Arab world was one of the reasons Arab societies were falling far short of their potential."

SADDAM SHOULD BE SYMBOLICALLY SENTENCED TO DEATH

"Saddam should face death sentence-Belgian cardinal" (Reuters, December 21, 2003). "A liberal Belgian cardinal tipped as a possible successor to Pope John Paul said today that Saddam Hussein should be symbolically sentenced to death to satisfy public opinion but not executed."

SADDAM VERDICT TO TAKE FIVE YEARS

"Saddam verdict expected to take five years" (Sunday Telegraph, U.K., December 21, 2003). "Iraqi officials and judges involved in setting up Baghdad's new war crimes court have revealed that Saddam Hussein's trial will not be finished for five years, despite the clamor for speedy justice since his arrest last week."


FULL ARTICLES

“SADDAM” A POPULAR NEW BABY NAME

'Saddam' a popular new baby name
From correspondents in Bangkok, Thailand
The Australian
December 19, 2003

www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,8211753%255E1702,00.html

Some Muslims in Thailand have named their newborn babies Saddam Hussein following his capture by US forces in Iraq last weekend.

"He's a cross between a hero and a tyrant, but we choose to remember his good side," Rohcidee Lertariyapongkul, chairman of the Muslim Youth Association of Thailand, was quoted as saying in the Bangkok Post. "One way to do it is to let our babies bear his name."

Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, but its southernmost provinces are Muslim-dominated. Some Thai Muslims don't believe the man captured near Tikrit, Iraq, and purported to be Saddam is really him, and dismiss the capture as US propaganda, Rohcidee said.

Navi Tohyor, a 36-year-old father from the southern province of Narathiwat, said he and his wife have named their newborn son Saddam. "What Mr. Saddam did is right and legitimate," Mr Navi said. "He stood up against the US, the foreign invader. He's a fighter, not a bandit. I'm proud to name my son after him."

 

BE POLITE TO MR SADDAM

Be polite to Mr Saddam
By Nic Cecil
The Sun
Political Correspondent

www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2003583553,00.html

Barmy BBC bosses have banned reporters from calling tyrant Saddam Hussein a former dictator. Instead, staff must refer to the barbaric mass murderer as "the deposed former President".

The astonishing edict was seized on by MPs last night as more proof of a Left-wing bias inside the BBC against the Iraqi war.

Labour MP Kevan Jones, of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said: "This shows the crass naivety of the BBC. Such political correctness will be deeply hurtful to many of our servicemen serving in Iraq.

"It amply demonstrates elements of the BBC have got a clearly anti-war and anti-Government agenda."

Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who chairs the Indict group which has dossiers on the crimes of Saddam, his sons and henchmen, was astounded at the BBC's stance.

She said: "It's frankly ridiculous. Saddam Hussein is a despot, a murderer and a torturer. He will have to answer charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide."

Tory Party chairman Liam Fox also slammed the Beeb which was accused during the war of giving too much weight to Iraqi propaganda. He said: "To afford this level of politeness to a tyrant, torturer and murderer is deeply offensive to the Iraqi people. "It is also an insult to the Coalition forces who have sacrificed so much to liberate Iraq from the evil of Saddam."

The BBC said the email spelling out the instruction was sent to reporters on its online website, which serves a global audience.

A spokeswoman said: "This was reiterating existing guidelines to remind BBC News Online journalists of the need to use neutral language." Later she said the ban on calling Saddam a dictator did not apply to domestic services. But a BBC insider said: "This is our daftest order ever."

Saddam has been put on a drip since his capture. Medical experts believe he became dehydrated and malnourished during his eight months on the run.

Two US soldiers were feared dead and another wounded after a military tanker truck exploded on a road outside Baghdad yesterday.

 

ISLAMIC CLERICS BAN POETRY FOR WOMEN

Islamic Clerics ban poetry for women
Sunday Times/All Africa Global Media
November 9, 2003

A prestigious Sunni Islam institution, the Al-Azhar University, has banned an Egyptian book of poetry, claiming it is obscene. But the author of the book, poet Ahmed Shahawi, has fuelled a new controversy between the arts and religion in Egypt by insisting that he will defy the edict and reprint copies of Commandments of Love for Women.

In the book, Shahawi advises women on how to show love and keep men attracted, combining Koranic verses with sometimes explicit language.

For example, "Know that there is nothing greater than the meeting of your souls and the joining of your bodies."

And "The Prophet said there is nothing better for those who are in love than love-making within wedlock."

Innocuous as these statements may seem, the book's religious critics have argued that the Islamic references have been taken out of context and should not be used to describe sex or other acts of intimacy.

The BBC reported that, in September, an Islamist legislator protested against the book in parliament causing the publishers to order it off the shelves for review by both a reading committee and clerics at Al-Azhar. However, the book was back on shelves a day later, reportedly due to the intervention of official figures.

Outside of Al-Azhar, scholars have praised the book for its affinity with Islamic mysticism known as Sufism, which regards the love of women as a means of loving God.

But last Saturday, a 28-member committee of Al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy issued a fatwa, or religious edict, saying the book should not be circulated or republished, and claimed that the book was an open invitation to obscenity in suggesting that women should surrender themselves without shame to passion, and parade naked before their lovers.

Shahawi has argued that the ruling against his book had nothing to do with religion.

And according to his publishers, Al-Azhar does not have the authority to ban books, only to recommend what people should read.

Meanwhile, Egyptian literary and human-rights groups have protested against the edict as a threat to freedom of expression, claiming that it demonstrated the increasing censorship practis ed by religious institutions.

Last month, a United Nations-sponsored report said the relatively tiny and restricted number of books being published in the Arab world was one of the reasons Arab societies were falling far short of their potential.

 

BELGIAN CARDINAL: SADDAM SHOULD FACE DEATH SENTENCE

Saddam should face death sentence-Belgian cardinal
Reuters
December 21, 2003

A liberal Belgian cardinal tipped as a possible successor to Pope John Paul said on Sunday Saddam Hussein should be symbolically sentenced to death to satisfy public opinion but not executed.

U.S. President George W. Bush has said Saddam deserved the "ultimate penalty" for his brutal rule in Iraq, stirring unease in Europe, where the death penalty is banned, and concern in the Middle East that the ex-dictator's fate has already been sealed.

Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop in Brussels, said no one had the right even when it came to Saddam "to effectively rob him of his life."

"On the other hand, you have to show to the world opinion that these things are absolutely not acceptable," he told Flemish VRT Television.

"I see no other way than to symbolically pronounce the death penalty... because for the public opinion and for the world, he would then be stricken from the book of the living," Danneels said, adding that the sentence should be turned into life imprisonment.

U.S. forces are keeping the ousted 66-year-old dictator at a secret location for interrogation before he is put on trial in the months ahead.

The pope has called for a worldwide ban on the death penalty, saying there are practically no cases where it is necessary.

 

SADDAM VERDICT EXPECTED TO TAKE FIVE YEARS

Saddam verdict expected to take five years
By Colin Freeman and Philip Sherwell in Baghdad
Sunday Telegraph, U.K.
December 21, 2003

Iraqi officials and judges involved in setting up Baghdad's new war crimes court have revealed that Saddam Hussein's trial will not be finished for five years, despite the clamour for speedy justice since his arrest last week.

The desire among many ordinary Iraqis for their former dictator to be tried rapidly must be sacrificed to the need for a full and open hearing that satisfies international legal standards, officials say.

Mouwafak al-Rubaie, the member of Iraq's new governing council who is responsible for setting up the war crimes tribunal, said: "Five years is the best estimate of how long it may take, from where we are now to actually reaching a verdict.

"It will obviously cause impatience among the Iraqi people, but I don't think that there is anything that can be done about that."

Iraqi judges, who are drafting new laws of genocide and war crimes to be incorporated into the country's legal system, say that the volume and complexity of the cases against Saddam mean that it will take at least a year to formulate charges.

Little preparatory work has been done because Saddam was not expected to be taken alive. Further delays will be caused by the fact that Iraq's legal system, badly undermined under his regime, is new to the intricacies of war crimes law.

"Even if we stick to just a few main charges, it is still a lot to cope with," said one senior judge. "Kurds, Shias and other communities who suffered under Saddam want to have their cases aired properly in court. Many people will want to give evidence."

Matters may be further delayed by international debate over whether Saddam should be tried in Iraq at all. Human rights groups believe that he should be handed over to an international criminal court, similar to the one in The Hague, while America and Britain are content for all culpable ex-regime leaders to be tried by Iraqis themselves.

On Friday, John Negroponte, America's ambassador to the United Nations, insisted that no decision had yet been made. But after giving their blessing to Iraq's war crimes court two weeks ago, the coalition's leading partners would find it hard to make an exception for Saddam.

Charges against the former leader are expected to be restricted to a handful of key events in Iraq's recent, bloody history including atrocities ordered during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, the gassing and persecution of Kurds, the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the brutal suppression of the Shia and Kurdish rebellions in 1991.

A five-year wait for a verdict would put Saddam's trial on a par with that of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serb leader on trial at The Hague, whose hearing began in February 2002, and has no immediate end in sight.

The coalition, however, hopes that the process can be speeded up. "Five years would be abnormally long," said one senior legal official. "We hope to get the trial under way by the end of next year, but it is impossible to say how long it will be before he finally leaves the dock."

Saddam is expected to use the platform of a public trial to mount a strident political defence of his regime, and to remind an international audience that he once had allies in Western Europe, America and the old Soviet Union, particularly during Iraq's war with the Islamic regime of Iran.

With his penchant for rambling rhetoric, his self-obsessed view of history and his determination to be remembered as a great Arab leader, the chance to justify himself to the world and embarrass former allies in the process would be too good to miss, say friends and foes alike.

Badir Arief Izzat, a leading Baghdad lawyer who already represents several other former Ba'athist leaders and has volunteered to work on Saddam's case pro bono, said: "This tribunal will embarrass Bush the father and that will be bad for Bush the son. Saddam will talk and the whole world will be able to listen."

Jacques Verges, the veteran French lawyer whose previous clients include the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, and who, the Telegraph revealed last week, is representing Tariq Aziz, Saddam's former trusted aide, has also offered his services to the former dictator's family.

He hinted yesterday that Saddam's defence would highlight the international support he received while, for example, gassing Kurds at Halabja.

During a visit to Amman to meet Mr Aziz's relations, he said "all Western heads of state" from that era should also go on trial if Saddam ended up in the dock.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.