1998 - Thousands of Egyptians flocked to the funeral of the Arab world’s best known television preacher, Shaikh Mohammad Mutwalli Al Shaarawi, who died of a heart attack. He was 87. Shaarawi was buried in his home town of Daqadus in the Nile Delta region of Daqahliya after prayers by Shaikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, the head of Al Azhar. Born on April 15, 1911, in Daqadus, Shaarawi studied Arabic language and Islamic religion. He held the post of Minister of Awqaf and Al Azhar Affairs between 1976 and 1978. Shaarawi was a pioneer in the field of Islamic preaching. His weekly religious programme on Egyptian television after Friday prayers was followed by millions of Muslims around the world. In his programmes, he explained the Holy Quran, using examples from everyday life. He was chosen as the Islamic Personality of the Year 1997 in Dubai. Shaarawi graduated from the Faculty of Arabic Language at Al Azhar University in 1941. He taught in Saudi Arabia between 1950 and 1960. He was a member of Egypt’s Shura Council and the Arabic Language Academy.
Other important events
1567 - Mary Queen of Scots is imprisoned by Scottish rebels in Lochleven Castle in Scotland.
1837 - American Charles Goodyear receives his first patent for rubber.
1856 - The Republican Party opens its first convention, in Philadelphia.
1885 - Statue of Liberty arrives in New York City.
1938 - Japan declares war on China.
1944 - Iceland declares independence from Denmark.
1950 - The world’s first kidney transplant is performed in Chicago.
1963 - Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis resigns.
1967 - China explodes its first hydrogen bomb.
1971 - United States and Japan sign agreement to restore island of Okinawa to Japan.
1976 - Indonesia annexes Portuguese East-Timor.
1991 - South Africa abolishes the last of its apartheid laws.
1994 - Tutsi rebels break through Rwandan government lines, rescue about 600 refugees in central Kigali and shoot their way back out.
1996 - US and China reaches a deal to stamp out rampant Chinese copyright piracy.
1999 - Nelson Mandela hands over power to South Africa’s second freely elected president Thabo Mbeki.
2002 - Pakistan’s Brigadier Shahida Malek becomes the first female general in the armed forces.
2005 - Kuwait’s first woman minister Masouma Al Mubarak joins cabinet.
2006 - Russian special operations police kill top Chechen rebel leader Abdul Khalim Sadulayev.
2007 - Insurgents bomb a police academy bus in central Kabul.
2010 - Kuwaiti Shaikh Basel Salem Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah is shot and killed by his uncle.
2013 - Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas is to formally resign over a corruption and spying scandal involving his top aide.
2015 - Former Turkey president Suleyman Demirel dies at the age of 90.