PRAYA, 16 December 2010 – An Indonesian court on Wednesday sentenced a foreign guest house owner, who promoted tourism on Lombok Island, to five months in jail for blasphemy for pulling the plug on a mosque’s loudspeaker during a prayer reading.
The August 22 incident during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan resulted in retired Californian engineer Gregory Luke, 64, needing a police escort from his home on Lombok island as a mob tore it to pieces around him.
WASHINGTON, 9 November 2010 – Sikh Americans are protesting at what they say is a new policy at US airports to screen their turbans systematically, voicing fear the move would further stigmatize their faith.
US officials have not confirmed a change in policy and insisted they respected religious beliefs. But they said security measures necessitated checks on “bulky” clothing such as turbans, which Sikh men are required by faith to wear.
TATEV, 18 October 2010 – Armenia on Saturday launched the world’s longest cable car line, a 5.7 km engineering feat that spans a spectacular gorge to the country’s ancient Tatev monastery.
Gathered in Armenia’s southern mountains near the border with Iran, guests including President Serzh Sarkisian and the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Karekin II, took part as the cable car link launched its first official voyage over the Vorotan River Gorge.
The link will allow year-round access to Armenia’s ninth-century Tatev monastery complex, one of the country’s most important religious centres and a major tourist attraction.
SYDNEY, 17 August 2010 – After a series of tourism campaigns focusing on bikinis and beaches, Australia is taking a new tack with a “Ramadan lounge” concept designed to appeal to travelling Muslims.
With Queensland’s sunny winters increasingly luring Middle Eastern tourists escaping the oppressive heat of their summer months, local officials decided to open a venue designed for Muslims observing the Ramadan month of fasting.
Tourism Queensland regional director Paul Buggy said while some hotels, shopping centres and theme parks in the state already offered Muslim prayer rooms, officials wanted to go “one step further”.
MECCA, 11 August 2010 – Muslims around the world could be setting their watches to a new time soon when the world’s largest clock begins ticking atop a soaring skyscraper in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca.
Saudi Arabia hopes the four faces of the new clock, which will loom over Mecca’s Grand Mosque from what is expected to be the world’s second tallest building, will establish Mecca as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich meridian.
CAIRO, 8 August 8 2010 ― With its cooler temperatures but more sizzling entertainment, Egypt has long been a prime destination for rich Arab tourists, especially from the Gulf states.
This year, however, the authorities fear that the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts this Wednesday at the height of the annual tourist season, will mean that many potential visitors will stay at home instead.
In a bid to avert a slump in its lucrative tourist industry, particularly during boom-time August, Egypt has launched a major campaign aimed at luring visitors, with the promise of fireworks, concerts, folkloric shows and displays by whirling dervishes.