Abbie van der Louw, the Dutch nomad whose 9 children were taken away by Child Services because they were seriously neglected and didn’t go to school for almost 3 years, has a new love. A new love who wants to have children.

At the couch in Abbie’s caravan, on the edge of the Western Harbour Area, sits 23-year-old Sara from Germany. She smiles and looks non-stop at Abbie. The couple is still in their honeymoon weeks.

They’ve known each other for 1,5 weeks and got married this week. His bride stood at his doorstep out of the blue, Abbie tells, and she converted to islam.

Van der Louw had 7 children with his first wife, Maryam. When she died in 2005, he got 4 more children with three other women. He is not in touch with these women anymore.

Sara is from Munich. “She wanted to talk with me about religion. About Christianity. People told her I know a lot about faith. We read the Bible together and through the Bible we came to the Quran. We talked intensively. I slept in this caravan and she slept in another one at the beginning. She was free. A friend of us, some kind of imam, married us.”

Sara smiles. “I am a muslim now.”

She’s not wearing a niqab, like Abbie’s daughters and his former wives. “But what did I tell you about covering yourself?”Abbie asks her.
“That I have to decide for myself,”Sara replies. “As soon as I’m ready for it, I’ll do it.”

In Abbie’s caravan – he has a few – there’s a couch, a chair and a television. In the corner there’s a stove. There’s a dog laying on a matrass. His second dog, type fighter, is outside on a chain. “He bites, he has to stay in the car for now.”


The Ministers of Arab League Countries decided yesterday in Cairo to fully support Libya in its conflict with Switzerland, which they called “racist”, and to officially ask EU institutions to “refuse the list of people who are not allowed to enter the Schengen countries”.

The document arrived after another long day dedicated to the diplomatic row between Libya and Switzerland that started in July 2009, when Hannibal Gaddafi, one of the sons of the Libyan leader, was arrested in Geneva.

The countries that signed the document are: Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Djibouti, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Tunisia.

The decision was taken on the day when Libya launched a “total” commercial and economic embargo on Switzerland.

This new move follows the crisis of Schengen visas and the call for Jihad, ‘holy war’, made by Libyan leader Gaddafi against Switzerland because of the question of the referendum on minarets.

The announcement of the “total commercial and economic” embargo came at the moment when Libyan Foreign Minister Mousa Kousa spoke of some hope to resolve the diplomatic crisis between the two countries. In the past two months Tripoli has cut its oil supplies to Switzerland, withdrawn Libyan capital from the country’s banks, closed the doors to Swiss Air and to close all Swiss companies active in Libya.

Somalia’s al-Shabaab rebels have banned English and science studies in schools in the southern Afmadow town after the education centers there ignored thegroup’s call for fighters, residents and teachers say.

Residents of the town near the border with Kenya said three schools had been given one month to comply with the order by Shabaab rebels and switch the curriculum to accommodate Arabic and Islamic studies.

“They asked us to contribute students to their militia so that they can fight for them, but we rejected their proposal,” said one teacher who wanted to remain anonymous.

Shabaab, which Washington says is al-Qaeda’s proxy in the failed Horn of Africa state, wants to topple Somalia’s U.N.-backed government and impose its own strict version of Shariah, Islamic law.

The heavily armed group controls much of the south and parts of the capital Mogadishu, and courts run by its clerics have ordered executions, floggings and amputations.

It has also banned movies, dancing at wedding ceremonies and playing or watching soccer in the areas under its control.

Elders said the Shabaab militia shut down Waamo, Dhoobaale and Osman Mohamud schools briefly on Sunday, before slapping the ban on English, which they called a “spy language.”

Tragedy struck Sakhre family of Bhankheda the second time in just over a month. It had lost eldest son Prateek, 28, to illness just five weeks ago. On Sunday when the family was preparing for the ritual after completion of one-and-quarter month of Prateek’s death, the body of their second daughter, 20-year-old Pallavi, was found in community latrine for the women’s, strangled to death by her lover. Initial investigations revealed that Pallavi was 4 months pregnant.

She was allegedly coaxed into physical intimacy before being strangled inside the congested latrine. Sources from Tehsil police station said that Pallavi was smothered before she was throttled with her own kameez and her partially naked body left. Police have arrested Pallavi’s paramour Mohammed Shamim, alias Shammi, 25, a married man, for the murder. Police have applied the charge of murder (302 of the Indian Penal Code) but are yet to decide on adding rape charge. Pallavi was first year student of arts’ stream in PWS college.

Shamim, a carpenter, was apparently having an amorous relationship with Pallavi for last two years. She had also undergone abortion once in the past. Sources claimed that Pallavi was demanding some money from Shamim to terminate her pregnancy and also wanted him to marry her. She had threatened Shamim, who is married to Rizwana Parveen and has a nine-month-old daughter, that she would go to his house on Sunday. Police said that this led to an altercation between them resulting in violent end. Sources said that Shamim’s wife Rizwana already knew about the affair and was livid about it. Police said that Shammi had called up on Pallavi’s younger sister Rinku’s cellphone at 10 pm on Saturday. He wanted to speak to Pallavi who was sitting outside the home.

“My sister left home after the call,” said Rinku adding that the family was busy preparing for Sunday’s ritual when Pallavi sneaked out of home without speaking to anyone. Family members were worried when she did not return in the night. “We were not sure what to do. This had never happened before. But we did not approach the police,” said Pallavi’s distraught father Yogeshwar. Pallavi’s mother Shardabai, who was sobbing uncontrollably, works with the Nagpur Municipal Corporation. The family wanted to resume searching in the morning as relatives and others were expected at the residence for the rituals. In the morning, it was left shocked when a few women from the neighbourhood raised an alarm seeing body of Pallavi inside the latrine.

There’s broad Muslim community support for aspects of Sharia law being adopted in Australia, a leading spokesman for the religion says.

However, harsh penal aspects of the law, including stoning and chopping off hands, will never work and aren’t being called for, Islamic Friendship Association of Australia president Keysar Trad says.

But personal aspects of the law, particularly those involving marriage and inheritance, would be broadly supported and would offer great help to ordinary Australian Muslims, he said.

Mr Trad’s remarks come after Dr Zachariah Matthews, president of the Australian Islamic Mission, made a similar call, saying aspects of Sharia law could run parallel to existing legislation.

Dr Matthews was speaking during an open day at Lakemba Mosque in Sydney on Saturday.

Some non-Muslims in the audience were reportedly left shocked by the speech.

“Most people seem to think that when it comes to Sharia law it’s just about the penal provisions, but that’s not that case,” Mr Trad said.

“(The penal provisions) can’t work here. No serious person would advocate them.”

But he said adopting aspects of Sharia marital and inheritance law – in a dual legal system – would be an advantage, particularly for women.

“At the moment it can disadvantage Muslims here, particularly women, because if a woman gets divorced through the normal civil process that divorce is not recognised in Muslim countries,” Mr Trad said.

“So they would still be considered to be married elsewhere.”

Equally, Australian governments don’t recognise divorce documents made by imams, the mosque and community leaders, Mr Trad said.

“These are all considerations that Muslims living in Australia face all the time and a lot of them support introducing these parts of Sharia law here,” he added.

Dr Matthews also said he was not proposing the introduction of wider Sharia law.

“I don’t think we are so unsophisticated that we cannot consider a multilayered legal system as long as it doesn’t conflict with the existing civil system,” he was quoted as saying by Fairfax.

There are about 340,000 Muslims in Australia, or 1.7 per cent of the population, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show.

The authorities of the United Arab Emirates made an unusual decision. Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan al-Tamim said on March 1 that anyone who looks or sounds like a citizen of Israel will be blocked from entering the country, even if a suspected individual produces a passport of a different state.

“It is easy for us to identify [Israelis], through their face or when they speak any other language. We used to respect them when they would come holding European passports; we regarded them as Europeans and never treated them badly. But from now on, anyone we suspect to have a dual citizenship, they will be treated with great suspicion,” the police chief said.

The decision is directly linked with the assassination of a high-ranking official of Palestine’s Hamas movement in one of Dubai hotels on February 20. UAE officials believe that Mahmud al-Mabhuh, one of the founders of the military wing of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, was killed by Israel’s Mossad. The secret agents most likely used passports of other countries to commit the crime.

It is not quite clear, though, how Arab officials are going to identify Israelis. They would obviously have no difficulty in identifying Orthodox bearded hasids for their side-locks, hats and glasses. It looks like a joke though: “Wearing a hat and a pair of glasses makes you a Jew.”

Such people would never think of traveling to Emirates. Will Emirates liken itself to the Third Reich and use rulers and protractors to measure the shape of the nose, earlaps and the skull structure? If it does, the UAE will lose all of its friends in the West.

The police of Dubai suspect 26 people in the killing of Mahmud al-Mabhuh. The suspects hold passports of Britain, Ireland, Germany, France and other countries.

Mossad’s participation in the plot to kill the high-ranking official of Hamas is just a theory. Even if  it is true, the passports, which the suspected Israelis produced, may not necessarily be fake. Israel has dual citizenship agreements with dozens of countries, including those mentioned in the criminal case.

It may just so happen that law-abiding Britons or Australians will not be allowed to enter the UAE. Such a state of affairs will quickly develop into an international scandal. There are influential Jewish communities in the two countries, and the members of those communities hold two passports on absolutely legal grounds.

Israeli scientist of politics, Avigdor Eskin, said in an interview with Pravda that the police chief of Dubai released the above-mentioned statements for propaganda purposes.

A Melbourne woman trapped for years in Saudi Arabia has been deported and forced home without three of her children, who remain with her allegedly abusive former husband.

The Australian consul and embassy officials surrounded the 33-year-old Muslim convert, Jennifer Birrell, as she collapsed on the road outside her Riyadh home and pleaded with her ex-husband: ”Please, don’t take my kids from me.”

The children, Aliyah, 8, Salem, 7, and Ibraheem, 4 – all born in Australia – wept as they were separated from their mother before she was escorted to the airport with her two other children and flown to Melbourne, where they arrived late on Friday night.

After a long struggle to obtain exit visas for her family, Ms Birrell, who had been the director of English at Al-Yamamah University, says she was suddenly told this month she was being deported without charge or explanation – and with no right to the three children fathered by her ex-husband.

Her present husband, Mohammed Ahmed Nagi, the father of her baby son, languishes in jail in Riyadh where he has been sentenced to three years’ incarceration and subjected to 300 lashes for ”destruction of the family”.

Ms Birrell says her ex-husband trumped up this home-wrecking charge six months after he had granted her a divorce in February last year.

The ex-husband, a Yemeni-born Australian citizen with a Saudi passport, allegedly renewed his sponsorship of Ms Birrell illegally after their divorce, falsely stating they were still married. He defied a judge’s order to relinquish that control, which meant she could not get an exit visa.

”Now I’m expected to just accept that I will lose my children and not be able to see them for 10 years, and I can’t even come back to Saudi to visit them,” Ms Birrell said yesterday in Melbourne, where she, 11-year-old Jamilla and one-year-old Ahmed are staying, for now, with a friend.

Ms Birrell married her former husband in Adelaide in 1998. They moved to Saudi Arabia in 2004 with her eldest daughter and his three children, all Australian citizens. She left him almost two years ago after he allegedly threatened to kill her and bashed her with a candle stick, caving in her forehead.

Last month, on December 8, she says the Australian ambassador in Riyadh, Kevin Magee, called. ”He said we have a breakthrough in your case … you and all of your children can leave and go back to Australia.”

But the three children did not have passports. ”I took in the copies of my medical reports on the domestic violence I received at the hands of my ex-husband.”

Emergency passports were approved. But when the Australian consul, Benjamin Van Eldik, went to local authorities, she says, he was told the original order for her exit visas was at a police station.

After visiting the station, Ms Birrell says: ”He told me: ‘Jennifer you just have to accept it. You are being deported without your children.”’

He had said the Australians were powerless and could not be seen to be interfering with Saudi law.

”He said, ‘I know it’s not easy but when you get back to Australia you can rain down hell on them for what they have done.”’

Ms Birrell says that, at the request of a friend, the son of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud tried to intervene last Thursday. He had arranged a meeting with the king, but not until the day after her scheduled flight. She says an Australian official warned he would call the police if she did not board the flight.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said extensive consular assistance had been given to Ms Birrell and her children since March 2007 to help them return to Australia. She said Ms Birrell was the subject of an investigation for a ”serious criminal offence” under Saudi law, though she could not elaborate.

Ms Birrell said she had not been charged and knew of no such offence.