Footnotes of an America United

Fresh news now from Afghanistan.  

Remember those two American missionary aid workers who were arrested and held for preaching Christianity?  They were taken by the fleeing Taliban from Kabul as they fled last night.  Fox News has now confirmed that they have been released and are on their way out of the country.  

And there were these footnotes to the story of America's war on television (sic).  There has been another case of potentially deadly weapons slipping past airline security, and once again the problem was discovered in Chicago, though that's not where it started.

The Chicago Sun Times reports that an elderly Chinese chef, apparently on his way home to China, managed to get aboard a connecting flight to Chicago from Miami on Tuesday with two meat cleavers in his carry-on luggage. 

 Once in Chicago he remained inside security during a layover and tried to check his bag for Hong Kong.  It was then that his bag was hand-searched and the 2x4 metal knives were apparently found.  The man, it seems, spoke little English and intended no harm.

Usama bin Laden has reportedly obtained a special fatwa -- that's an Islamic religious decree -- authorizing him to commit suicide in the event he is captured.  James Robbins, a professor at the National Defense University here in Washington, reports in National Review online that such a decree is needed because suicide is strictly forbidden in the Muslim faith.  

Robbins said the information comes from Mullah Abdel Aziz, Imam of a mosque in Kandahar, who he says spoke to bin Laden in September.

It's been a tough couple of days for the Arabic Al Jazeera satellite news service, which is Usama bin Laden's network of choice.  First its office in Kabul was hit by American bombs Monday night.  American military officials say they had information that the building was being used by the Al Qaeda terrorist network.  

Today an Al Jazeera correspondent, apparently on his way to cover President Bush, was detained in the airport in Waco, Texas, when a car rental merchant called police after seeing an Al Jazeera credit card, believing it had, "ties to Afghanistan."  The correspondent, Mohammad al-Alami (ph), who was later released, said he showed his press credentials to officials, but local police and F.B.I. seemed never to have heard of Al Jazeera.  

And a group of Kuwaiti citizens is suing the international edition of Newsweek magazine for allegedly insulting Islam and violating that country's press law.

  One reason for the suit is that the magazine carried quotes from Louisiana Republican Congressman John Cooksey, who said back in September, on the subject of security and ethnic profiling that,  "if I see someone come in that's got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around it, that guy needs to be pulled over and checked."  


The Kuwaiti plaintiffs say publishing that was a crime.  They also say a picture of Muslims praying, published in the same edition of "Newsweek International" is -- quote -- "insulting to Muslims."