Woman wearing burka expelled from national court

A witness called before the National Court in Spain has been expelled from the court after she refused to lift or remove her burka. The woman, the sister of an Islamic radical killed in a suicide bombing in 2005, was called as a witness in a case where nine alleged Islamists were in the dock, facing allegations of sending Mujahidin to carry out suicide attacks in Iraq. She explained that her religion forbade her from appearing in public without her burka.

Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez expelled her from the court, but the two later reached a compromise, AFP reports. She agreed to testify on Monday without the part of her burka which normally covers the face “between the chin and the eyebrows” and with her back turned to the public in the courtroom.

The judge commented that “seeing her face I can see if she is lying or not, or if any question surprises her or not”. He said that he did not want to charge her with disobedience, but underlined that religious beliefs cannot be above civil law.

Spanish Radio: Taliban threatens attacks on West

Spanish security forces discovered a video showing the Taliban threatening to stage attacks on Spain, the United States, France, Denmark, Australia, and Israel. It “threatens NATO and US troops with attacks against their interests inside and outside of Afghan territory of they do not withdraw from Afghanistan,” said news radio station Cadena Ser.

The 42-minute long video was distributed on November 14th – five days after two Spanish soldiers were killed in a suicide bomb attack in western Afghanistan. Spanish security forces have given the video “total credibility” and are taking the threats very seriously.

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Muslims may not have to undergo sniffer dog checks in UK

Muslim passengers may not be touched by sniffer dogs of the British Transport Police after complaints that the practice is against Islam. According to the religion, dogs are deemed to be spiritually unclean. A Transport Department report has raised the prospect that animals should only touch passengers’ luggage because it is considered more acceptable, the Daily Express reported. The ban may restrict the efficiency of sniffer dog squads which have been trained to spot terrorists at railway stations. On Thursday night, British Transport Police insisted that it would still use sniffer dogs with any passengers regardless of faith, but handlers would remain aware of cultural sensitivities. The Transport Department report follows the trials of station security measures in the wake of the 2005 London suicide bomb attacks. In one trial, certain Muslim women said the use of a body scanner was also unacceptable because it amounted to being forced to strip.

Spain arrests two on militant recruitment suspicion

Police in Barcelona arrested two people on Tuesday on suspicion of recruiting Muslims to fight for militant groups, news agency EFE reported. The report said they were not connected to 11 other Islamist militants who a Spanish court charged on Thursday with offences related to suicide bomb plots in the Spanish city and Germany. The identity or nationality of those arrested in the Raval district of the city was not known, EFE said. The operation was continuing, it said. Officials at the Interior Ministry were not immediately available for comment. Ben Harding and Elizabeth Piper report.

Report: German Turk behind suicide attack on US Afghan base

Berlin – A German extremist of Turkish origin was responsible for a suicide bomb attack in March on a US post in eastern Afghanistan, press reports said in Germany Saturday. The reports in the mass-circulation Bild newspaper and in the weekly news magazine Focus cited unnamed German security sources. German federal prosecutors could provide no information on the reports when contacted by Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. The attack, which took place in Khost province on March 3, claimed the lives of two soldiers deployed with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and two Afghan workers. Six others were injured. The reports said the man was 28-years-old and had lived near Ansbach in the southern state of Bavaria with a wife and two children. One of the reports linked him to an Islamist terrorist cell uncovered in September last year. The plotters, who included two German converts to Islam and a Turkish Muslim, had allegedly been planning large bomb attacks on US facilities in Germany.

Terrorist jailed over failed July 21 bomb plot

A British terrorist who helped plot the failed suicide bomb attacks on July 21 has been sentenced to nearly seven years in jail. Adel Yahya, 24, a student from Tottenham, North London, admitted collecting information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. The charge related to hydrogen peroxide, the main ingredient used in the home-made bombs. Duncan Gardham reports