Fez – The 3rd international gathering of the followers of Tariqa Tijania opened, on Wednesday in Fez, to discuss the future of this Sufi brotherhood and means to spread tolerant Islam.The official opening was marked by a message by King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, to disciples and followers of this Tariqa, as well as religious figures from 50 countries, mainly African and Arab-Islamic states, present in Fez which hosts the mausoleum of the founding father of the Tariqa Sheikh Sidi Ahmed Tijani.This forum follows those held in 2007 and 2009 on the occasion of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the death of Sheikh Sidi Ahmed Tijani. The meeting is attended by nearly 1000 representatives of Tijania from 47 countries who will be brought together during 3 days in the Fez Zawiya Tijania to read Quran, pray and take part in conferences on the spiritual aspect and the current situation of the brotherhood.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Brian Altman QC told the jury: “The killings were entirely intentional and they were carried out in the woods by a man who sexually assaulted them for his own gratification. That man, say the prosecution, was this defendant, Russell Bishop.”Mr Altman went on: “This defendant was, as you will hear, arrested in 1986, charged and indeed tried the following year in 1987 for the murders of both girls, but on December 10 1987 he was acquitted by a jury at Lewes Crown Court.“Having been acquitted of these murders, the defendant was discharged was a free man and returned to live in the Brighton area.”Less than three years after his acquittal on 4 February 1990, the defendant committed offices involving the attempted murder, kidnapping and indecent assault of a seven-year-old girl in the Whitehawk are of Brighton.“Unlike Nicola and Karen, the victim survived and was able to identify the defendant as her attacker, which, together with scientific and other compelling evidence, led to his conditions by a jury at Lewes Crown Court on December 13 1990.” Schoolgirl victims Karen Hadaway (left) and Nicola FellowsCredit:PA Their bodies were found in the woods at Wild Park in Brighton the following day. Both girls had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death.Bishop was charged with their murders the following year, but was cleared following a trial at Lewes Crown Court.But after the longest investigation in Sussex Police’s history, Bishop was charged with the killings once again after the Court of Appeal quashed his original acquittal. The jury at the Old Bailey was told that the case against Bishop was based on similarities between the two cases, but also developments in DNA and forensic science, which was not available at the time of the original trial. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Mr Altman told the jury: “Despite the acquittal the case was never closed and the police have continued to investigate it.“One significant part of the enquiry has been to re evaluate various areas of scientific work that were performed for the purposes of the 1987 trial but through the lens of modern day techniques, DNA profiling which although available in 1986 and 1987 was the in its infancy.”He went on: “Because of the new evidence and without making any judgment about the guilt or otherwise of this defendant, the Court of Appeal has quashed the 1987 acquittals. That means the defendant can be prosecuted again based on the evidence that existed then and the new evidence that is available now. “Evidence of the re-evaluation of the science available at the time of the original trial and new science, we suggest proves that Russell Bishop was to the exclusion of anyone else responsible for the murders of the two girls.” Bishop denies the murders and the trial is expected to last up to eight weeks. A convicted paedophile acquitted of the kidnap and murder of two schoolgirls more than 30 years ago has gone on trial for a second time after new DNA evidence came to light, the Old Bailey has been told.Russell Bishop, 52, was found not guilty of the sexually motivated murders of nine-year-old schoolgirls, Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows, who were killed in Brighton in 1986.Three years after walking free from court in December 1987, he molested another seven-year-old girl, strangled her and left her for dead in the Whitehawk area of the city.For more than three decades the investigation into Nicola and Karen’s killings remained open and last year, following advances in DNA and forensic technology, Sussex Police charged Bishop with the notorious double murder.Karen and Nicola, who were close friends, disappeared from near their homes in the Moulsecoomb area of Brighton on 9 October 1986 after going out to play. Police searching an area where the girl’s bodies were foundCredit:Ken Mason