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.