Archive for August 2008
Cologne’s city council voted late Thursday to allow construction of what will be one of Germany’s largest mosques, a plan vigorously opposed by many residents and Cologne’s Roman Catholic archbishop. The vote clears the way for a Turkish-Islamic group to build a house of worship — with two 177-foot minarets — in the Ehrenfeld district. Its leader said Friday that construction would begin immediately, to be completed by 2010.
Interesting: even if many residents are opposed the huge mosque will be built. Yes, freedom of religion must be protected but why building a so high mosque against “many residents”? Is that democracy?
I am going on holidays for several days to a place where there is no internet. So I won’t be blogging for the next fortnight or so.
If this is the first time you comment here, don’t be nervous and write three times the same comment. The comment moderation is enabled, so till I return your comment won’t be approved (or deleted in case you’re spammer).
See you when I get back.
Russia and small, U.S.-allied Georgia headed toward a wider war Saturday as Russian tanks rumbled into the contested province of South Ossetia and Russian aircraft bombed a Georgian town, escalating a conflict that already has left hundreds dead.
Georgia’s Foreign Ministry said the country was “in a state of war” and accused Russia of beginning a “massive military aggression.” The Georgian parliament approved a state of martial law, mobilizing reservists and ordering government authorities to work round-the-clock.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that Moscow sent troops into South Ossetia to force Georgia into a cease-fire and prevent Georgia from retaking control of its breakaway region after it launched a major offensive there overnight Friday.
In a meeting with refugees, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin characterized Georgia’s actions as “complete genocide,” according to his office’s Web site. Putin also said Georgia had effectively lost the right to rule the breakaway province — an indication Moscow could be preparing to fulfill South Ossetians’ wish to be absorbed into Russia.
Merkel has discussed the crisis with both Medvedev and Saakashvili.
G-8 member Russia had already experienced nearly as many race-motivated murders as in all of 2006, and was on pace to record over 120 such killings — that’s one every three days — a stunning 50% jump compared to 2007. For contrast, in 2006 there were only three race-based murders in the U.S., a nation with twice Russia’s population and a far larger population of racial minorities.
The news was grimmer still in Russia’s capital city of Moscow. In 2004 the city accounted for only 36% of national race murders, but in 2007 it was responsible for 57%. In 2004 there were 18 race killings in the capital but by 2007 the number had nearly tripled, to 48, and Moscow had already experienced 36 race killings in just the first six months of this year, on pace to exceed 2007’s total by 50% or more.
A few days ago, the Moscow Times added more disturbing details: “The number of hate crimes committed in Moscow has exploded this year, rising sixfold compared to the same period last year.” In other words, for every victim of lethal race violence there are dozens of others who are lucky enough to escape with their lives. Heaven only knows how many such incidents go unreported out of fear of corrupt — and racist — police officers.
Given Russia’s reputed economic ascendancy, this startling explosion of race violence appears to make little sense. One would think that with better economic times, there would be less incentive for the Slavic majority to lash out at racial minorities. But in fact, where Russia is concerned, common sense rarely carries the day.
(….) The Moscow Times explains the consequences of this crisis: “Forecasts estimate that the country’s work force will fall by eight million over the next seven years and by up to 19 million by 2025, Russian demographers said in a recent UN-sponsored report. Between 2010 and 2014, the work force will decrease by 1.3 million per year, the report said. In the first four months of this year, the work force was down 300,000 on the same period last year, the State Statistics Service said.” It quotes Yevgeny Yasin of the Higher School of Economics: “This problem is greater than any other facing us over the next 10 years. In reality, the Putin-era policies were for the most part a step backward, so that hasn’t given much cause for hope.”
Also related with Russian demographic problems: Islam in Russia.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s son Jean Sarkozy has taken legal action over anti-Semitic graffiti in the Paris suburb where he is a local councilor, the website of the daily Le Parisien said on Thursday.
The website said Jean Sarkozy had seen the words “Sarkozy, thieving jews” sprayed on the wall of a court building in Neuilly-sur-Seine and had filed a complaint with local police. It said the same tag was sprayed in three other locations.
The complaint follows a controversy over suggestions in a satirical magazine that Jean Sarkozy, 21, was preparing to convert to Judaism following his engagement to a member of the Jewish family that controls electronics retailer Darty.
The comments, in the magazine Charlie Hebdo, led to the sacking of the columnist responsible and a bitter spat in the media among French intellectuals and left-wing politicians over anti-Semitism and freedom of speech.
Jean Sarkozy became engaged in June to Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, whose family owns one of France’s biggest electronics retailers. He has denied he is planning to convert to Judaism.
A Georgia man accused of killing his own daughter allegedly to protect his family’s honor will stay in jail.
Chaudry Rashid was ordered held without bond this morning.
According to police, Rashid said yes, he did it, because his family’s Islamic tradition demanded that the family’s honor be protected.
Clayton County’s district attorney says that issue may intrude on the sidelines of this prosecution but that this is really a simple murder.
- Lawyers: Daughter’s murder not honor killing.
- Georgia’s honor killer: “I have done nothing wrong”.
- “The family is very stressed”.
- Honor killing in Georgia.
Local Pakistani police declared the death of a young Christian man in May to be a suicide requiring no investigation, but a high inspector has reopened the case and taken two Muslim suspects into custody.
Adeel Masih, 19, was found dead on May 4 in Hafizabad, Pakistan. His family and human rights lawyers believe the relatives of a 19-year-old Muslim woman, Kiran Irfan, with whom Masih had a one-year relationship, tortured and killed him. His family has dubbed his death an “honor killing.”
Marriage between Christian men and Muslim women is forbidden according to a strict interpretation of sharia(Islamic Law), and even social contacts such as these can incite violent reactions in Pakistan, a majority-Muslim nation of 170 million.
Local police in Gujranwala, in Punjab province, did not charge Irfan’s family with any crimes and effectively declared them innocent when Masih’s family first came to the station in May, according to the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), a Lahore-based Christian legal advocacy group.
Abu Khabab al-Masri was dubbed by terrorism analysts as al-Qaida’s “mad scientist.” His most notorious work, recorded on videotape, showed dogs being killed in poison gas experiments in Afghanistan when the Taliban ruled.
“If he is out of the picture, al-Qaida’s weapons of mass destruction capability has been set back, which would make this one of the more effective strikes in recent years,” Arthur Keller, an ex-CIA case officer in Pakistan, told The Associated Press. Keller led the hunt for al-Masri in 2006.
The U.S offered a $5 million bounty for the 55-year old Egyptian, and the CIA had been hunting him for years. Al-Qaida confirmed his death days after the July 28 attack by unmanned drones on a tribesman’s compound in the village of Azam Warsak in South Waziristan.
Related: Al-Qaeda Chemical expert killed.
The Sri Lankan government is steadfast in eliminating terrorism before having talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake said on Saturday.
Addressing an election rally at Medirigiriya in the North Central Province, Wickramanayake said “terrorism must be eliminated before anything. Only after that we could talk of talks.”
Wickramanayake said government troops currently engaging Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north have sent the rebels reeling.
Luckily someone has this clear enough to say it…
President Pratibha Patil, speaking at the 46th convocation ceremony of IIT-Bombay on Friday, called on engineers of premier Indian institutes to develop modern equipment to combat terror.
Two Indian cities, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, have been victims of terror in the very recent past and the President’s speech-without mentioning these two cities-referred to the threat India is being forced to live with.
Patil said: “With the rise in incidents of terrorism in the country, our security apparatus needs better equipment and technology as the nation fights terrorism and crime.”
IIT-B officials later said they were doing their bit-IPS officials attend a course on ‘The Role of Technology in Crime and Crime Prevention’ at the Powai campus every year-but Patil stressed that this area needed more attention.
- Pakistan strikes back and accuses US of cooperating with terrorism.
- india accuses Pakistani intelligence of terrorist attack.
- Afghanistan accuses Pakistani intelligence of the terrorist attack against the Indian embassy.
Solzhenitsyn’s great themes are the survival of good in an evil world, human dignity, the redeeming value of truth, and the importance of a spiritual dimension to life. But he was astonished to find that when he moved to the United States in 1976 that these were no more welcome there than in the Soviet Union. In his eyes, America had become weakened and corrupted by its material success. He expanded upon this in a blistering address at Harvard in 1978 – only a little while after it had granted him an honorary doctorate. But Aleksandr Isayevich was not one to be bribed with the gewgaw of academic honours. Beginning with an invocation of the Harvard motto, Veritas, truth, he hammered an establishment which had strayed from the pursuit of truth and had liberated itself from God:
But should someone ask me whether I would indicate the West such as it is today as a model to my country, frankly I would have to answer negatively. No, I could not recommend your society in its present state as an ideal for the transformation of ours. Through intense suffering our country has now achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive…
Six decades for our people and three decades for the people of Eastern Europe; during that time we have been through a spiritual training far in advance of Western experience. Life’s complexity and mortal weight have produced stronger, deeper and more interesting characters than those produced by standardized Western well-being… It is true, no doubt, that a society cannot remain in an abyss of lawlessness, as is the case in our country. But it is also demeaning for it to elect such mechanical legalistic smoothness as you have. After the suffering of decades of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer and purer than those offered by today’s mass living habits, introduced by the revolting invasion of publicity, by TV stupor and by intolerable music.
The resentment which greeted this caustic analysis of capitalist materialism and Enlightenment thinking may explain why Solzhenitsyn’s reputation declined quickly thereafter. His later novels, part of a gigantic historical cycle about the Russian Revolution, were largely ignored. Perhaps his powers were declining and perhaps his focus on Russia’s destiny was puzzling for Western readers. But ultimately Solzhenitsyn was sidelined because his unwavering belief that life was a battle between good and evil, between transcendent spirituality and degrading materialism, was regarded as too simplistic, even too threatening, in a society which spurned firm convictions.
Of all the terrorist threats facing the United States, one stands in a category by itself. If al-Qaida set off a nuclear bomb in a U.S. city, there would be hundreds of thousands of casualties and a landscape uninhabitable for years to come.
A nuclear bomb is the one true weapon of mass destruction.
The likelihood of al-Qaida carrying out a nuclear attack involves two questions: First, does the group have the technical capability? And second, would it really want to use it?
As the top intelligence official at the Department of Energy, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen is the man in the U.S. government whose job it is to worry about nuclear terrorism.
He does not think al-Qaida has a nuclear bomb in its arsenal yet. Acquiring one would be a challenge.
As for the group’s thinking, Mowatt-Larssen imagines Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders sitting around a campfire somewhere in the mountains of Pakistan or Afghanistan, debating whether a nuclear attack on the United States would be a good idea.
“I could hear a pro and a con emerging from that discussion,” Mowatt-Larssen says, with “some arguing that it would enhance, exalt the group’s standing historically, others arguing that it would be a disaster.”
Al-Qaida is sometimes portrayed as a terrorist group with an apocalyptic vision, intent mainly on destroying its enemies, without a focus on long-term goals of its own. But Mowatt-Larssen and other terrorism experts argue that it should be seen instead as acting strategically — at least from its own perspective.
Italian police have arrested four Tunisians and a Moroccan on suspicion of recruiting Islamic fighters for Iraq and Afghanistan and are looking for a sixth man, also from Tunisia, they said on Saturday.
They made the arrests in dawn raids in the Bologna, Ravenna and Como areas, said police in the university town of Bologna.
All six “are accused of criminal association with the aim of international terrorism, and two of them also of serious fraud to fund terrorism”, Vincenzo Ciarambino of the Bologna crime squad told Reuters.
Interior Minister Roberto Marino said in a statement that the arrests “confirm that Islamic terrorism is deeply rooted in our territory and that we must keep our guard up against it”.
Police said the leader of the group was a veteran of the independence struggle in Bosnia, where many Africans fought alongside Bosnian Muslims.
Córdoba’s National Police Agents have detained 4 minors on sexual aggression charges against a girl and three charges of agressions against several teenagers.
According to the National Police in an official notification, everything happened on July 25th, at 11:00pm in the Arenal zone, in Córdoba (Spain) when a couple of youths were having a walk and were insulted by four minors who lately began touching the girl, after attacking and beating the boy who tried to protect her.
Several other youngsters who were walking nearby tried to help the couple and were also attacked and beaten by the minors. But when a police car entered the scene, the four minors fled from the scene.
As a result of the facts, and after the beatings, even using some bottles, and the kickings, three people were hurt. After several investigations, the police identified the authors and arrested them. They are all minors (one is an 16-years-old and the three others, 17-years-old) and Moroccan nationals.
The Chinese government revoked the visa of former Olympic speedskater Joey Cheek. Cheek is the co-founder of Team Darfur, a Washington D.C.-based group of athletes hoping to raise awareness about the crisis in the war-ravaged Darfur section of Sudan.
Cheek has been outspoken about his concern that China might squelch political protest surrounding the games. But he was surprised by the rescinding of his visa.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Cheek told the Associated Press. “I figured once they gave me a visa, I wouldn’t imagine they wouldn’t allow me to come in later. That was a big shock. I wasn’t expecting to get a call the evening before I was leaving for Beijing.”
This was against the Islamic values as well as those of the establishment and the revolution and what the government claims to be accomplishing”, Ayatollah Seyed Ahmad Alam Alhoda stated. He added, “Putting a woman on the front is telling the world that we are not for the promotion of the Islamic values”. “As I have also mentioned before, the attendance of the Iranian women in the international events and exhibiting them outside Iran is against Islamic values. However, not only we are sending them to the events, they are put on the front as well”, he was reported saying [Persian].
He was just 15 years old when arrested after a fire fight with US forces in Afghanistan; Omar Khadr has spent the last six years locked up in the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay without a trial. A friend of mine mentioned the other day that spending this long in prison without trial is a form of torture. Supporters of Khadr say he is simply a child soldier and should not be facing charges in an American military tribunal. Others say that since Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen, he should be brought home to Canada to face charges, rather than remain the last Western citizen locked up at the makeshift prison dubbed “Gitmo”.
If any of this is true, why is Canada, Boy Scout to the World, the country that pioneered “soft power” throughout the 1990s and spearheaded the international treaty on landmines, letting one of its citizens rot on his own without help? The answer is, things aren’t always what they seem with the Khadr family. History, post-9/11 politics and the legal systems of two countries all contribute to this tale that has been generating international headlines.
Truth be told, Omar Khadr is a Canadian of convenience. Although born in Toronto in 1986, Omar’s parents, both immigrants to Canada, had decided to raise their family elsewhere to escape a culture they viewed as having a corrupting influence on their young and growing family. The family was living overseas in locales such as Bahrain and Pakistan, returning for brief spells in 1985 and 1986 only for Omar and his older brother Ibrahim to be born or receive medical care from Canada’s state medical system. Omar left Canada for Pakistan’s Peshawar district when he was only months old, spending the rest of his life going between Pakistan, Afghanistan and when the family needed medical treatment, Canada.
(…) To Khadr supporters who view him as a child soldier and a victim, his immediate release into Canadian society could hardly be viewed as a victory. Rehabilitation of a child soldier would normally include an attempt to reintegrate the boy into society in a normal way and to reunite him with his family. If Omar Khadr is a victim, taught to hate and take up arms against his will or better judgement, then the people who did this to him are his mother and father. His father is now dead, but his mother is back in Canada, having moved back in 2003 to obtain medical care for one of her other children. She and her daughters have spoken openly of their support for Al Qaida and their disdain for western society. One of Omar’s brothers is fighting extradition to the United States, where he faces charges of being an arms supplier to jihadists. This is hardly the environment you would want to rehabilitate a victim in, yet without charges to hold him on, or a conviction to jail him with, the Canadian government would have no choice but to release Omar Khadr into the loving arms of his mother. How would it help a supposed child soldier to send him back to a woman with a deep seated hatred for the society she lives in, a woman who has already proven that she and her loved ones will act on that hatred?
“It’s of course completely unacceptable not to reject the death sentence for homosexuals. To take up this debate now is important, not least of consideration to young homosexual Muslim who struggle with their own identity,” says the Children and Equality minister Anniken Huitfeldt to Dagsavisen.
The minister is sending a strong signal to the heads of the Islamic Council of Norway that they must distance themselves from the death sentence for homosexuals.
Huitfeldt’s party colleague, parliament member Thomas Breen of the justice committee, demands to stop all state financial support to the Islamic council.
“There have been enough opportunities for the Islamic Council to enter the homosexuality debate. Now it’s time that the state stand up for some values and remove all financial support from the organization till they distance themselves,” says Breen.
The Islamic Council of Norway says they’re waiting for the European Fatwa Council to rule on the question. The council, which met three weeks ago in Paris, didn’t deal with the issue.
“For nearly six years, my client has not been able to work, travel, or even pick up a package at the post office or open a bank account since he lacks any form of identification papers,” said Meling”
Is that it!, he can’t pick up a paper, thats cruelty? – inhuman treatment?, the crazy thing about this is that the stupid Human rights court will agree to hear such a ridiculous case.
via UP Pompeii.
Well, the “infidels” killed by islamic terrorists considering the islamist terrorist ideas, cannot do anything of that, because they are killed…