World Bulletin / News Desk
Saudi authorities have deported 150 female Nigerian pilgrims and detained another 1,000 because they came unaccompanied by men, Nigeria's government announced on Wednesday.
Mohammed Bello, chairman of Nigeria's national haj, or Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, said 150 women on one flight had been stopped at the airport for "lack of ... lawful male accompanying pilgrim".
"This ugly development continued with subsequent flights that arrived at the kingdom," he said, adding that 1,000 were still being held at the airport in Jeddah.
Women in Saudi Arabia require the permission of their guardian - father, brother, or husband - to leave the country.
Nigeria has some 80 million Muslims.
A group of the women arrived in tears back at Nigeria's airport in Kano, the largely Muslim north's biggest city.
"We were not given water to drink; there was no food for us and we remained glued on our seats in our aircraft for all those hours," said Hajia Amina Musa, as she broke down and wept.
Nigeria's parliament resolved to send a delegation to Saudi Arabia to "interface with the Saudi authorities over the issues surrounding the detained Nigerian female pilgrims".
Alhaji Laminu Rabi'u, head of the Kano Pilgrims Board, described the deportations as "condemnable".
All Muslims who are able are required to perform the haj at least once, as one of the five pillars of Islam.
The number of people taking part has risen dramatically over the last 80 years from around 20,000 in 1932 to nearly three million in 2011.
Imam Khamis El Mejri was arrested for preaching in a mosque without a government permit.
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Abubakar Ibn Garbai Elkanemi, the traditional ruler of Nigeria's northern Borno State, called for "special prayers [to] be held in mosques and churches to seek God's help and urged residents to remain prayerful even after the fasting."
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Legoland Winsor was due to host a private party for Muslim children on Sunday.
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Chris Johannides, who is of Greek Cypriot origin, was banned by the Conservative Party after he compared Muslim womens' burkas to black dustbin liners.
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A former anti-Islamist politician, Arnoud van Doorn, has started a new Islamic party in Holland after accepting Islam.
'It is the strong view of many of those involved in counter-terrorism that there should be a clearer legal position, so that those children who are being turned into potential killers or suicide bombers can be removed into care – for their own safety and for the safety of the public,' Boris Johnson said.
The mosque in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, is due to be open by 2015.
As well as Muslim women, Sikh men, who are also required to cover their hair, will also benefit from the new rule change.