La Hire

Étienne de Vignolles, called La Hire, was a French military commander during the Hundred Years' War. One explanation for his nickname of La Hire would be that the English had nicknamed him "the Hire-God". Alternatively, his name may come from the French "hedgehog" because he had a prickly disposition. La Hire joined Charles VII in 1418. Although not a noble, La Hire was regarded a capable military leader as well as an accomplished rider. Three years in 1421 he fought at the Battle of Baugé. Along with Jean de Dunois, La Hire was involved in scouting and skirmishing in the countryside as far north as Paris. In 1427, both La Hire and Dunois relieved the siege of Montargis, he was a close comrade of Joan of Arc. He was one of the few military leaders who believed in her and the inspiration she brought, he fought alongside her at Orleans. At the Battle of Patay, La Hire won a great victory for France. La Hire was known for praying before going into battle, something that could be attributed to Joan's influence.

In 1430, La Hire captured the English held fortification of Château Gaillard. He was imprisoned in Dourdan in the spring of 1431, he won the Battle of Gerberoy in 1435 and was made Captain General of Normandy in 1438. His last two major military engagements occurred in 1440 at Pontoise where he assisted Dunois to capture it from the English, he died at Montauban on 11 January 1443, of an unknown illness. He held the titles of chatelain of Longueville. In French tradition, "La Hire" is used as a nickname for the knave of hearts, his name remains a byword for a choleric disposition. La Hire is a minor figure in the "Catherine" novels of Juliette Benzoni. In Cecil B. DeMille's film Joan the Woman, La Hire was played by Hobart Bosworth. In the French film La Merveilleuse Vie de Jeanne d'Arc, he was played by Fernand Mailly. La Hire was played by veteran John Ford "stock company" member Ward Bond in Victor Fleming's classic 1948 Technicolor film Joan of Arc, which starred Ingrid Bergman. In Otto Preminger's 1957 version of Saint Joan, La Hire was portrayed by Patrick Barr.

On British television, in the BBC's Play of the Month version of Saint Joan, La Hire was portrayed by Jack Watson. In the USA, Hallmark Hall of Fame did two versions of the story - The Lark, La Hire being played by Bruce Gordon, Saint Joan, in which the character was played by Dana Elcar. In the two-part French film Jeanne la Pucelle, La Hire was portrayed by Stephane Boucher. In the television miniseries Joan of Arc, La Hire was played by Peter Strauss. In 1999, La Hire appeared in the feature film The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, portrayed by actor Richard Ridings. In the Czech musical Johanna z Arku, La Hire was portrayed by Petr Kolar. La Hire appears in Age of Empires II in the Joan of Arc campaign. A powerful "Champion"-class infantry unit, he is portrayed as an insane and psychotic Hulk-like brute that refers to himself in the third person, his remarks include "La Hire wishes to kill something", "The blood on La Hire's sword is dry", "La Hire's sword is not bloody enough!". La Hire is featured as a character in the tactical roleplaying video game Jeanne d'Arc.

In the game, La Hire is depicted as an axe-wielding lion beastman warrior and mercenary, known for his overwhelming strength and a fiery temperament. In Wars and Warriors: Joan of Arc, La Hire is a playable character, portrayed as a giant with stunning strength, he fights with a massive club. In Armored Core: For Answer, one of the featured mechs is designated TYPE-LAHIRE. La Hire is a character in Koei's Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War. Siege of Orléans Battle of Jargeau Battle of Meung-sur-Loire Battle of Beaugency Companions of Joan of Arc

Scientology in Egypt

The Church of Scientology has no official presence in Egypt and there are no known membership statistics available. In 2002, two members were detained by Egyptian authorities under the charges of "contempt of religion". However, some books by the founder, L. Ron Hubbard, have started to appear in several Egyptian bookstores in the late 2000s, were approved by Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni learning institution in the Muslim world. Egypt is listed on an official Scientology website as being a country "in which Dianetics and Scientology services are ministered". Narconon, an organization which promotes Hubbard's drug abuse treatment, has a branch in Fayoum. On December 24, 2001, Egyptian authorities arrested two members of the Church of Scientology: Mahmoud Massarwa, a 28-year-old Israeli citizen of Palestinian origin, his Palestinian wife Wafaa Ahmad, they were charged with "contempt of religion" and were accused of trying to establish a branch in Egypt and harm the country's two main religions "with the aim of sparking riots".

Two months a court extended their custody for 30 days to allow further police questioning, adding that they have confessed to have come to Egypt in order to spread their doctrine. Human rights director of the Church of Scientology, Leisa Goodman, denied these claims on behalf of the church and said that the couple was in the country representing the Italian branch of New Era Publications, a firm that publishes the works of L. Ron Hubbard, to promote Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, stressing that the authorities had allowed the book's entry to Egypt. "We are concerned at their prolonged detention, which appears to be a violation of their right to freedom of expression," Goodman said. The two were released the next month and the court ruled that condemning people for adopting new ideas is a violation of human rights. Arabic-language translations of books by L. Ron Hubbard, such as Dianetics and The Way to Happiness, have been sold in several book stores in Egypt and were made available at the annual Cairo International Book Fair.

The books bore the approval stamp of Al-Azhar, the Muslim world's highest Sunni learning institution. They were printed in Denmark, both in English and Arabic, shipped to Egypt by New Era Publications. Ahmed Abdel Khalek, a professor at Al-Azhar University who has served as chief-of-staff and translator to the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, said that he had no objections to the approval of the books unless they violated "morality and traditions". "We should listen to the other. After all, if I disagree with something in a book, I should write a rebuttal," he said. New Era Publications' public relations office said that Al-Azhar's move was essential and insisted that there was nothing religious about the books' nature. Narconon Egypt, a drug abuse treatment center based in Fayoum, is the Egyptian branch of the global Narconon organization; the branch's executive director, Mohamed Nour Salah, said that there is no connection between Narconon Egypt and the Church of Scientology, stressing that it is a non-profit organization and that none of the staff are Scientologists.

Narconon Egypt's website mentions Hubbard's work as an inspiration for its founding. Cairo Scene - Church of Scientology in Egypt