1903: Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi, the Pakistani poet, writer and educator, is born in Uttar Pradesh. He would go on to be OPakiostan’s first education minister, a vice chancellor of the University of Karachi, and deputy minister for refugees. He died in Karachi on Jan. 22, 1981.
1972: Sheema Kalbasi, the Iranian poet, is born in Tehran. She goes on to be the director of Dialogue of Nations through Poetry in Translation, the director of the Iranian Women Poetry Project, and the co-director of Other Voices International project.
- Dialogue of Nations Through Poetry in Translation
- Sheema Kalbasi Poems
- Sheema Kalbasi’s Blog, “How It Goes Naked”
1979: Some 500 militants led by a fundamentalist preacher and former member of the Saudi National Guard take over the Grand Mosque in Mecca, holding hundreds of hostages and triggering two weeks of gun battles with Saudi and French special forces. The militants claim to have the “mahdi,” or messiah, among them, and advocate the overthrow of the Saudi regime and the restoration of a caliphate.
- The 1979 Take-Over of the Grand Mosque in Mecca
- What Is the Grand Mosque?
- What Is the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque?
1977: Keeping a promise to go to Jerusalem, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is the first Arab leader to speak to the Israeli Knesset, or Parliament, in a historic, eloquent but also blunt peace overture. “How can we achieve a durable peace based on justice?” he said in Arabic to a silent Knesset. “In my opinion, and I declare it to the whole world from this forum, the answer is neither difficult nor impossible, despite long years of feud, blood vengeance, spite and hatred, and breeding generations on concepts of total rift and deep-rooted animosity.”
- Complete Text of Anwar Sadat’s Address to the Knesset
- Profile: Anwar Sadat
- Anwar Sadat’s Assassination
- Review: Milton Viorst’s Storm from the East: The Struggle Between the Arab World and the Christian West
1998: A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declares Osama bin Laden, who’s under the protection of the Taliban in Afghanistan at the time, innocent of the Aug. 7, 1998 bombings of American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed close to 250 people and wounded 5,500. “Without any evidence, bin Laden is a man without sin,” Noor Mohammed Saqib, the Taliban’s chief justice, tells the Associated Press in Kabul “He is a free man.” He adds that that the United States should feel “shame.” “Anything that happens now anywhere in the world, they blame Osama, but the reality is in the proof—and they have not given us any.”
- Who Are the Taliban? A Brief History
- Negotiating With the Taliban
- The Taliban on Elections, negotiations and Democracy
- The Taliban Resurgent in Afghanistan and Pakistan
2003: As U.S. President George W. Bush visits British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London, two truck bombs explode in Istanbul outside the British consulate and HSBC, a British bank, killing 27 people and wounding 450 in an assault that coincided with President Bush's state visit to London. The British consul general, Roger Short, a 58-year-old career diplomat, is among the dead.