National Briefing


Fatwa issued against body scanners

Saying that body scanners violate Islamic law, Muslim American groups are supporting a fatwa -- a religious ruling -- that forbids Muslims from going through the devices at airports.

The Fiqh Council of North America -- a body of Islamic scholars -- issued a fatwa this week that says going through the airport scanners would violate Islamic rules on modesty.


“It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women,” reads the ruling issued Tuesday.

The decision could complicate efforts to intensify screening of potential Muslim terrorists. After the alleged airline bombing attempt in Detroit on Christmas Day, some have called for the use of body scanners at airports to find explosives and other dangerous materials carried by terrorists.


GI Bill payouts more efficient

The Veterans Affairs Department is more efficiently cutting checks for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to attend college this semester after a rocky rollout last fall that left veterans so cash-strapped there was concern some wouldn’t re-enroll.

As of Feb. 5, benefits for nearly 90% of the 167,000 veterans who submitted applications for the Post-9/11 GI Bill had been paid out, the VA said. And it said that all of those who submitted by Jan. 19 were paid.

The new GI Bill was designed to be the most comprehensive benefit for veterans since World War II. Last semester, however, there were so many hiccups that the VA had to issue $3,000 advance checks to 122,000 veterans who needed help with expenses as they waited for their claims to be processed.


Mumps outbreak isn’t subsiding

An outbreak of mumps in Jewish schools in New York and New Jersey has sickened 1,521 students since June and isn’t subsiding, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 19 hospitalizations but no deaths in the biggest outbreak since 2006, when 6,500 college students were infected, according to the CDC report. The children getting mumps have high vaccination rates, and the spread of the disease may be because of large family size and prolonged exposure to fellow pupils in boys-only schools, the CDC said.


Grand jury rules on deadly force

A Portland grand jury said the Police Department should be held accountable for an officer who shot an unarmed man in the back.

The same grand jury that declined to indict the officer sent a letter Wednesday to Multnomah County Dist. Atty. Michael Schrunk saying the officer should never have been put in the situation that led to the death of Aaron Campbell last month.

The grand jury urged changes in police policy and procedures to avoid another similar tragedy.

Police Chief Rosie Sizer said a report on the shooting would be issued next week.

Black leaders rallied on the steps of the city Justice Center on Thursday to call for changes in state law and police training to improve accountability for officers who use deadly force.


Kerrigan family disputes ruling

Nancy Kerrigan said she and her family plan to help her brother battle the state medical examiner’s finding that her father’s death last month was a homicide.

Daniel Kerrigan died Jan. 24 after what authorities said was a struggle with his 45-year-old son, Mark, who has been charged with assault.

In a letter to friends and fans, Nancy Kerrigan said that she and her family think the ruling was “unjustified” and that they “plan to help . . . fight” it. In the letter, Kerrigan said her father was “the ultimate role model” for her brothers.

The district attorney has said an investigation is continuing on whether new charges could be brought against Mark Kerrigan.

-- times wire reports