Shorts: u.s.

Man under fire for Hezbollah ties

detroit (ap) | A Lebanese man living in Dearborn was charged in an indictment unsealed recently with fighting, recruiting and raising money for the Islamic militant group Hezbollah, listed by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.

The indictment accuses Mahmoud Youssef Kourani of working in Lebanon and later within the United States for Hezbollah, which led a guerrilla war against Israel’s 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon. Federal prosecutors said Kourani conspired with his brother, who they said is Hezbollah’s chief of military security for southern Lebanon.

“The charges are outrageous, absurd and I believe they are malicious,’ said his attorney, Nabih Ayad.

According to the indictment, Kourani entered the United States illegally through Mexico in 2001, took up residence in the Detroit area and hid his Muslim identity by not shaving his beard and not attending a mosque.

Conservatives set sex-abuse guidelines

new york (jta) | The Conservative movement is urging its synagogues to adopt sexual harassment and abuse guidelines.

The United Synagogue sent its 760 member congregations across North America a 14-page set of guidelines Thursday, Jan. 15, aimed at preventing and dealing with sexual harassment by clergy, synagogue staff and lay people.

Rabbi Jerome Epstein, United Synagogue’s executive vice president, said the move came after he’d learned of more than one dozen sex-abuse or harassment cases in the movement over the past two years, only some of which became public.

Epstein said the rules were not mandatory but “best practices” and are intended to spark debate about the issue.

Kidney stones — or nuclear weapons?

new york (jta) | A Jewish businessman was arrested in Denver after attempting to ship high-tech tools to Pakistan.

Asher Karni, 50, who has both Israeli and South African citizenship, was arrested Friday, Jan. 2, at Denver International Airport for exporting spark gaps, which send electronic pulses, to Pakistan.

The devices can be used to destroy kidney stones or to detonate nuclear weapons.

Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Colorado, said Karni claimed the parts were destined for a South African hospital, when he “well knew” they were destined for Pakistan.

Karni’s attorney in South Africa said his client was an “unfortunate casualty of the orange-alert security situation in the U.S.,” and that he had “no idea that the parts could be used for nuclear weapons.”

Boston JCRC backs same-sex marriage

new york (jta) | Boston’s Jewish Community Relations Council overwhelmingly endorsed same-sex marriage.

Last week’s vote by the 42 Jewish groups that make up the Boston JCRC came as Massachusetts considers the issue.

Some groups are calling for a state amendment that would bar same-sex marriage after the state’s Supreme Court struck down a ban on such marriages.