GETTING IN THE MIDDLE: The tensions between Indian and black Muslims in South Africa came to the surface while Nicole Itano was reporting today's story (page 13) of the surge in Muslim conversions. Nicole, and photographer John Hrusa, attended Eid, the end-of-Ramadan celebration, at a black Muslim mosque. But they noticed that there was considerable angry discussion and finger pointing as they walked around. "Several times, people came up and demanded, 'Who gave you permission to take pictures' or 'Why are you here,' " says Nicole.
Later, she was told that Indian Muslims had set up a tent and provided food as part of the festivities. But the local imam said they hadn't sought his permission. Then, a rumor spread that the Indian Muslims were taking pictures to raise funds internationally, but weren't going to share the money. "They thought we were part of the conspiracy," she says.
CHANGED BY THE BURQA: The Monitor's Ilene Prusher went burqa shopping in Kabul, and it changed her perspective on Afghan women (page 1). "Before I wrote this story, I couldn't relate to the women here because they are utterly faceless. Unless you get really close, you can't even see their eyes. It is as if they are devoid of personality, mere ghosts ... and this is a feeling many foreigners here express. After putting on the burqa for a few hours, however, I could understand how it felt. The next day, when I saw women approaching, I smiled at them for the first time. I was really able to fathom that there's a human being under there."
DRIVE-UP MYSTERIES: The Monitor's Danna Harman was amazed that the movies and commercials shown at an outdoor cinema in Kenya were all in English - and the audience was non-English speaking. "None of the kids understood a word. Both the content and the language seemed inappropriate, yet this event was the highlight of their month."
- David Clark Scott
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