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Archive for December 3rd, 2007

Islam now Ireland’s third largest religion, Behind Roman Catholics and Protestants

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 3, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

 

Islam now Ireland’s third largest religion

Behind Roman Catholics and Protestants

Official data: 70 percent surge in number of Muslims in Ireland from 2002 to 2006.


[]
DUBLIN – Islam is now Ireland’s third largest religion after a 70 percent surge in the number of Muslims in the country between 2002 and 2006, according to official data released Thursday.

For decades Ireland was a country of emigration but the 2006 Census showed a surge in immigration in a decade of the so-called Celtic Tiger economic boom has resulted in 420,000 of the population being born outside the country.

The arrival of immigrants and returning Irish emigrants saw the population swell to 4,172,013 — the highest since 1861.

“Muslims are now the third largest religious group in the state” behind Roman Catholics and Protestants, said the Central Statistics Office (CSO), noting that the 2002-2006 increase continued growth seen from 1991-2002.

Overall 32,500 people said they were Muslims, of whom just over 55 percent were either Asian or African nationals, while 30.7 percent had Irish nationality, the CSO said.

The full story in
http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=23310

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-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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An interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Who hate Islam and Muslim : ‘We are at war with all Islam’

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 3, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

An interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Who hate Islam and Muslim

‘We are at war with all Islam’

Mary Wakefield

[]

Wednesday, 28th November 2007

Last Tuesday at nightfall, as the servants of democracy fled SW1, a young Somali woman stood spotlit on a stage in Westminster. Behind her was the illuminated logo for the Centre for Social Cohesion: a white hand reaching down across England to help a brown one up; in front, an audience of some of Britain’s biggest brains ­ politicians, editors, academics. She drew her shawl a little closer round her shoulders, looked up and said: ‘We are not at war with “terror”, that would make no sense.’

‘Hear, hear,’ said a voice at the back. ‘Terror is just a tactic used by Islam,’ she continued. ‘We are actually at war, not just with Islamism, but with Islam itself.’

Out in the dark began a great wobbling of heads. Neocons nodded, Muslims shook their heads; others, uncertain, waggled theirs anxiously from side to side: at war with all Islam, even here in the UK? What does that mean?

It would be easier in some ways to ignore Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to label her as bonkers ­ but it would also be irresponsible. She’s not just another hawkish hack, anxious to occupy the top tough-guy media slot ­ she has the authority of experience, the authenticity of suffering. In the spring of 2004 she wrote a film called Submission (an artsy 11-minute protest against Islamic cruelty to women) which was shown on Dutch TV. In November 2004 the film’s director, Theo van Gogh, was assassinated and the killer left a long letter to Hirsi Ali knifed into his corpse which said, in short: you’re next. But Hirsi Ali couldn’t be silenced. She has since written an autobiography (Infidel) about growing up a Muslim (in Somalia, then Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia), describing her circumcision, the beatings she received, her arranged marriage, her flight to Holland. She risks her life daily, speaking out against what she calls the ‘fairytale’ that Islam is in essence a religion of peace.

The other reason to take her seriously is that Hirsi Ali’s ideas about Islam (that it is unamenable to reform, and intrinsically opposed to Western values) are attracting attention worldwide. In Holland where, until 2006, she was an MP for the People’s Party for Freedom and Independence (VVD), the famous ‘pillarisation’ approach to immigration ­ where each new culture becomes a pillar upon which the state rests ­ has given way to a ‘new realism’, much more in tune with Hirsi Ali’s way of thinking, and in part because of her. In Britain and in America, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has become a sort of popstar for neocons, and she now lives in Washington, and works as a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute.

But is she right? And what does ‘war with Islam’ mean? I went to find out; to meet Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the House of Lords on a bitter and blustery afternoon last week, bustling past the police, down the corridors of partial power, to the visitors’ room where she was waiting. We haven’t got much time, so can we dive straight into Islam? I ask. ‘Yes, absolutely, go ahead,’ she smiles. Up close she is disconcertingly beautiful, and fragile-looking. OK then, right. Well, you say that Islam is a violent religion, because the Prophet advocated violence. But isn’t that open to interpretation? I ask. Karen Armstrong, (a non-Muslim biographer of Mohammed) has said the Prophet was a loving man who’d have been horrified at 9/11.

‘Karen Armstrong is ridiculous,’ says Hirsi Ali in her quick, light voice ­ Africa still audible in the clipped consonants. ‘The Prophet would have not have disapproved of 9/11, because it was carried out in his example. When he came to Medina, the Prophet had a revelation, of jihad. After that, it became an obligation for Muslims to convert others, and to establish an Islamic state, by the sword if necessary.’

But there is such a thing as moderate Islam, I say. Muslims aren’t all terrorists. There are some like Ed Husain (author of The Islamist) who argue that there are many peaceful traditions of Koranic scholarship to choose from. Isn’t it a mistake to dismiss this gentler, acceptable branch of Islam?

‘I find the word “moderate” very misleading.’ There’s a touch of steel in Hirsi Ali’s voice. ‘I don’t believe there is such a thing as “moderate Islam”. I think it’s better to talk about degrees of belief and degrees of practice. The Koran is quite clear that it should control every area of life. If a Muslim chooses to obey only some of the Prophet’s commandments, he is only a partial Muslim. If he is a good Muslim, he will wish to establish Sharia law.’

But I don’t call myself a ‘partial Christian’ just because I don’t take the whole Bible literally, I say. Why can’t a Muslim pick and choose his scriptures too? Before Hirsi Ali can answer, the door to the waiting room flies open and a House of Lords doorman stands theatrically on the threshold. ‘You must stop this interview immediately!’ he says. Why? Is there a breach of security? A terrorist threat? ‘I have not received authorisation for it,’ he says. But we’re here with a peer, I say. I’m sure he has cleared it. ‘Please proceed to the waiting area in silence.’ So off we trudge to the foyer to sit by a fake fire ­ ‘it’s much nicer here, anyway,’ says Hirsi Ali kindly ­ and to continue our discussion about the superiority of the free, enlightened West in urgent whispers behind my rucksack.

‘Christianity is different from Islam,’ says Hirsi Ali, ‘because it allows you to question it. It probably wasn’t different in the past, but it is now. Christians ­ at least Christians in a liberal democracy ­ have accepted, after Thomas Hobbes, that they must obey the secular rule of law; that there must be a separation of church and state. In Islamic doctrine such a separation has not occurred yet. This is what makes it dangerous! Islam ­ all Islam, not just Islamism ­ has not acknowledged that it must obey secular law. Islam is hostile to reason.’

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s eyes are now aglow. She is a terrific believer in reason. For her, Western civilisation is built on the bedrock not of Judaeo-Christian values, but of logic. After seeking asylum in Holland, she spent five years at Leiden university studying political science, absorbing the Enlightenment philosophers ­ Spinoza, Hobbes, Voltaire ­ and she mentions them fondly, as if they’re family. But there’s a steely side to her atheism, which says with Voltaire: Ecraser l’infâme! During a recent debate with Ed Husain, as Husain was explaining his moderate Islam, she began to laugh at him, saying: ‘When you die you rot, Ed! There is no afterlife, Ed!’ And it makes me wonder whether, for Hirsi Ali, Islam’s crime is as much against reason as humanity; whether she sees the point of spirituality at all.

Are you so sure you understand what is at the heart of Islam? I ask her. Isn’t there a peaceful prayerfulness ­ apart from the politics ­ that an atheist might not understand? ‘I was a Muslim once, remember, and it was when I was most devout that I was most full of hate,’ she says.

OK then, you talk about your conscience, and how your conscience was pricked by 9/11. But if there’s no God, what do you mean by a conscience? And why should we obey it?

‘My conscience is informed by reason,’ says Hirsi Ali, surprised I should ask. ‘It’s like Kant’s categorical imperative: behave to others as you would wish they behaved to you.’

I say, so let’s assume Islam is hostile and not open to reason, that it needs to be wiped out. The next question then is how? We can’t just ban it. Isn’t it destructive to curtail freedom so much in the interests of protecting it? Don’t you risk loving freedom to death?

Hirsi Ali looks at me with pity. ‘You, here in the UK, are in danger. Of course you can’t ban Islam outright, but you need to stop the spread of ideology, stop native Westerners converting to Islam. You definitely need to ban the veil in schools, and to close down Muslim schools because that’s where kids are indoctrinated.’

But, what about freedom of belief and free speech? I ask (with a nervous look at the doorman). And if you close down Muslim schools, don’t you, by the same logic, have to close all faith schools?

‘Islam is different from other faiths because it is not just a faith, it is a political ideology. Children learn that Allah is the lawgiver, and that is a political statement. You wouldn’t allow the BNP to run a school, would you?’

But if we crack down like this, won’t it make Muslims angry? I say, thinking about terrorists and my safety. ‘Well perhaps anger is no bad thing,’ says Hirsi Ali, thinking about ordinary Muslims, and their enlightenment. ‘Perhaps it’ll make Muslims more aware, help them question their beliefs. If we keep on asking questions, maybe Muslim women will realise, as I did, that they don’t have to be second-class citizens.’

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is on her favourite topic now (the subjection of women), leaning forward, gesticulating. And as she talks I realise (belatedly) what makes her different from her neocon pals. Whereas they seem motivated by fear of Muslims, she is out to protect Muslims from submission to unreason. When she speaks of a ‘war against Islam’, she’s thinking not of armies of insurgents, but of an ideological virus, in the same way a doctor might talk of the battle against typhoid. ‘Yes, I am at war with Islam,’ she says, as she gets up to leave, ‘but I am not at war with Muslims.’ It’s a crucial difference.

It’s teatime now and the House of Lords hallway is suddenly full of peers’ wives chattering, shaking their brollies. Sorry about all these women in headscarves, I say unnecessarily, as I shake her hand goodbye. ‘Don’t worry,’ says Ayaan Hirsi Ali, ‘It’s not the hijab, the headscarves are just to protect them against the rain!’ And she walks off, laughing.

The full story in
http://www.spectator.co.uk/print/the-magazine/features/376476/we-are-at-war-with-all-islam.thtml

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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Racist Islamophobia : Dutch MP makes anti-Qur’an film

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 3, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Racist Islamophobia : Dutch MP makes anti-Qur’an film

Mike Corder, Associated Press in The Hague

Thursday November 29, 2007 – Guardian
A rightwing Dutch MP said yesterday that he was making a film to highlight what he calls “fascist” passages in the Qur’an, in his latest high-profile criticism of Islam.

The interior and justice ministers expressed concern but said they had no authority to stop Geert Wilders screening his film. Wilders plans to depict parts of the Qur’an he says are used as inspiration “by bad people to do bad things”.

Less than 10 minutes long, the film is expected to be shown in late January. It will show “the intolerant and fascist character of the Qur’an”, said Wilders, whose anti-Islam campaign helped his Freedom party win nine seats in parliament in last year’s election. In the past, Wilders has compared the Qur’an to Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. He has claimed the Netherlands is being swamped by a “tsunami” of Islamic immigrants.

In 2004 a film director, Theo van Gogh, had his throat slit by an Islamist after his film Submission portrayed abused Muslim women with Qur’anic texts written on their near-naked flesh. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the screenplay, was threatened in a note left on Van Gogh’s body.

A justice ministry spokesman, Wim van der Weegen, said the government was “taking measures” before the broadcast.

Wilders said he was not afraid of reprisals. “I have lived with 24-hour protection for three years,” he said. “I will make the film and see what reaction it creates.”

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

The full story in
http://www.guardian.co.uk/farright/story/0,,2218646,00.html

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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Pigs’ heads at Australian Islamic school site: the Racist Islamophobia

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 3, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

AFP

Pigs’ heads at Australian Islamic school site: the Racist Islamophobia

[]
A woman and her two children arrive at the Lakemba Mosque in Sydney

5 days ago

SYDNEY (AFP) ­ Two pigs’ heads were found at the site of a proposed Islamic school on Sydney’s outskirts Wednesday, the school’s backers said.

An Australian flag was draped between the two heads, said Jeremy Bingham, spokesman for the Quranic Society.

“Someone has put a couple of stakes in the ground with a pig’s head on the top of each stake and an Australian flag inside,” Bingham told AFP.

“The police are treating it as a crime scene and making investigations.”

Earlier this month about 1,000 people attended a meeting to protest against the proposed school in Camden, in Sydney’s far southwest, while a cross was previously found on the grounds.

Members of the Quranic Society were “a bit upset by it, a bit offended by it”, Bingham said.

“Obviously you have got a sick individual (behind the act),” he said.

But he said it would make no difference to a planning proposal going through the local council, which the backers expect to be approved early next year. The local council also said it would not affect its decision.

Police said while they supported peaceful protest they would investigate and prosecute any “unlawful and obscene acts”.

The state government’s Community Relations Commission condemned the latest protest as “a mindless act”.

“This insult and display of hatred is not something any fair-minded Australian would approve of,” said commission head Stepan Kerkyasharian in a statement.

Muslim leaders condemned the incident, not the first in Sydney.

“It’s just quite sad really, we don’t need this rubbish in Australia,” Australian Federation of Islamic Councils spokesman Haset Sali said.

In 2005 anti-Muslim sentiment boiled over into ugly riots on the Sydney beach of Cronulla, where rioters targeted people of Middle Eastern appearance.

And in 2004, a severed pig’s head was similarly impaled in front of a Muslim prayer centre under construction in Sydney’s northwest.

Parts of southwestern Sydney are now heavily populated by Middle Eastern migrants, many of them Iraqi Muslims.

The backers of the school, which would cater to about 1,200 pupils, hope it will open in 2009.

The Quranic Society denies it has any links to militant Islamic groups and says it is simply trying to provide a school where the children of group members can get a good education and religious instruction.

The full story in
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g_f-8ymPlvX15GgLthcV7JG0lPgg

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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Ten Reasons Why “Save Darfur” is a PR Scam to Justify the Next US Oil and Resource Wars in Africa

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 3, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Ten Reasons Why “Save Darfur” is a PR Scam to Justify the Next US Oil and Resource Wars in Africa

AfricaUS Imperialism in Africa

 

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

outairaq_intodarfur

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The star-studded hue and cry to “Save Darfur” and “stop the genocide” has gained enormous traction in U.S. media along with bipartisan support in Congress and the White House. But the Congo, with ten to twenty times as many African dead over the same period is not called a “genocide” and passes almost unnoticed. Sudan sits atop lakes of oil. It has large supplies of uranium, and other minerals, significant water resources, and a strategic location near still more African oil and resources. The unasked question is whether the nation’s Republican and Democratic foreign policy elite are using claims of genocide, and appeals for “humanitarian intervention” to grease the way for the next oil and resource wars on the African continent.

“Out of Iraq – Into Darfur” cartoon by Mike Flugennock. Find more of his work at www.sinkers.org

Top Ten Reasons to Suspect “Save Darfur” is a PR Scam to Justify US Military Intervention in African

The regular manufacture and the constant maintenance of false realities in the service of American empire is a core function of the public relations profession and the corporate news media. Whether it’s fake news stories about wonder drugs and how toxic chemicals are good for you, bribed commentators and journalists discoursing on the benefits of No Child Left Behind, Hollywood stars advocating military intervention to save African orphans, or slick propaganda campaigns employing viral marketing techniques to reach out to college students, bloggers, churches and ordinary citizens, it pays to take a close look behind the facade.

Among the latest false realities being pushed upon the American people are the simplistic pictures of Black vs. Arab genocide in Darfur, and the proposed solution: a robust US-backed or US-led military intervention in Western Sudan. Increasing scrutiny is being focused upon the “Save Darfur” lobby and the Save Darfur Coalition; upon its founders, its finances, its methods and motivations and its truthfulness. In the spirit of furthering that examination we here present ten reasons to suspect that the “Save Darfur” campaign is a PR scam to justify US intervention in Africa.

1. It wouldn’t be the first Big Lie our government and media elite told us to justify a war.
2. It wouldn’t even be the first time the U.S. government and media elite employed “genocide prevention” as a rationale for military intervention in an oil-rich region.
3. If stopping genocide in Africa really was on the agenda, why the focus on Sudan with 200,000 to 400,000 dead rather than Congo with five million dead?
4. It’s all about Sudanese oil.
5. It’s all about Sudanese uranium, gum arabic and other natural resources.
6. It’s all about Sudan’s strategic location
7. The backers and founders of the “Save Darfur” movement are the well-connected and well-funded U.S. foreign policy elite. ccording to a copyrighted Washington Post story this summer
8. None of the funds raised by the “Save Darfur Coalition”, the flagship of the “Save Darfur Movement” go to help needy Africans on the ground in Darfur, according to stories in both the Washington Post and the New York Times.
9. “Save Darfur” partisans in the U.S. are not interested in political negotiations to end the conflict in Darfur
10. Blackwater and other U.S. mercenary contractors, the unofficial armed wings of the Republican party and the Pentagon are eagerly pitching their services as part of the solution to the Darfur crisis.

The full story in
http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=453&Itemid=1

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-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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RACISM ON ISRAELI AIRWAVES…..

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 3, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

RACISM ON ISRAELI AIRWAVES…..

[]

A radio interview between an extreme right wing Israeli and a Palestinian journalist, resulted in the ‘true colours’ of racism coming out loud and clear…

Below is a report of the broadcast, courtesy of the Al-Quds Press Office in East Jerusalem….

Israeli radio talk-show host calls on army to arrest Palestinian journalist for “incitement against Jews…and anti-Semitism”

An Israeli radio talk-show host on Friday, 30 November, called on the Israeli occupation army to arrest an outspoken Palestinian journalist for criticizing the Israel policies and practices “too harshly” and for “inciting the world against Israel and the Jewish people as well as for promoting anti-Semitism.”

Samuel-Flatto-Sharon, an extreme right-winger, who also hosts a popular talk-show called “Flatto Bli Kheshbone (Flatto without accountability) called Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, whom he was interviewing, the “most sinister anti-Semite ever.”

“I have seen and heard about many anti-Semites and critics of Israel, but I have never seen a person like you,” said Flatto, speaking in curmudgeonly manner.

Flatto accused Amayreh of publishing lies about Israel and Jews, telling the Palestinian journalist that “you belong to jail.”

Retorting to Flatto’s tirade, Amayreh reminded him that Israeli forces murdered more than 800 Palestinian kids and minors and hundreds of other innocent civilians in seven years and that Israeli soldiers routinely and nonchalantly kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.

“You surely know that these are incidents, and we don’t do kill people intentionally as Hamas does,” responded Flatto.

Amayreh retorted by arguing that “mistakes happen once, twice, ten times. But when the killing of civilians occurs on a daily basis, it means it is policy.

Besides, killing knowingly is killing deliberately, and when the number of victims is so high, even intent becomes irrelevant.

Upon haring this, and before Amayreh could complete the sentence, Flatto shouted “You are a liar, a liar a lair. You are the enemy of the Jews you are full of hate for Jews.”

Amayreh then reminded Flatto that these figures came from Israeli Jewish sources, such as the Israeli human right’s organization, B’tselem.

However, Flatto, running out of argument and becoming increasingly nervous, told Amayreh that “B’tselem is a liar like you.”

Moving to another subject, Flatto asked Amayreh how he could compare the Israeli occupation army’s “defensive actions” in Gaza and the West Bank with Nazi actions during the Second World War.

“You have been saying pretty nasty stuff against us. Are we shipping Palestinians to gas chambers and concentration camps.”

In response, Amayreh said “ You are not shipping them to gas chambers. You don’t have to, you are killing them in the hundreds and in the thousands using classical means.

Besides, we have to remember that the holocaust didn’t start with gas chambers and concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen and Treblinka. It started much earlier with relatively innocuous things, such as a racist book, the promulgation of racist laws targeting Jews and others, a Kristallnacht, and harassment of the perceived enemies of the Germany motherland.

These are the same things that are happening in Israel today. Don’t you hear how your fascists leaders and officials are relating to the Palestinian people these days. So, are we to wait until we see gas chambers and concentration camps in Nablus and Hebron.

In fact, you are already morphing Gaza into a concentration camp by blockading 1.4 million helpless human beings and barring from accessing food and work. Isn’t that very similar to what the Nazis did at Ghetto Warsaw.

Flatto got even furious upon hearing this. He began ranting noisily, calling Amayreh a Nazi, a person full of hate for Jews, a person who should be dumped in prison immediately.”

“How could you make these wicked lies. We are not carrying genocide against people. We give you food and work. Is this how you are thanking us?”

First of all, what you are doing in Gaza is very much a silent genocide, at least a slow-motion genocide. Every day, people die in Gaza because you wouldn’t allow them to travel to Egypt or the West Bank for medical care. How would you describe this if Jews, not the Palestinians, were the victims?

“Atta Meshaker, Ata Meshaker” (you are lying, you are lying,” a raving Flatto shouted, interrupting Amayreh, ostensibly in order to prevent listeners from hearing him clearly.

“How can you believe what you are saying. You are just lying and lying. How could you describe us as Nazis,” Flatto ranted again.

I didn’t describe ordinary Jews as Nazis. Jews who value justice and human decency are our allies and partners for peace. My problem is with fascists like you who murder civilians and call it ‘defensive action’ and who adopt hateful racism as their mode of thinking and mode of action and then call it ‘Jewish state.’

“Are you against Jewish state. You have a lot of Muslim states. Syria is defined as a Muslim state,” asked Flatto.

In Syria, an undemocratic country, every Syrian, regardless of his religion and ethnicity, is viewed as a full citizen. And Syrian state belongs to all Syrians. It doesn’t call itself a Sunni state, or an Alavi state or a Druze state, or Shiite state. But Israel insists that Israel be a Jewish state, although a quarter of its population are not Jews.

“You see Amayreh you are full of hate, you are a liar, a dirty Arab liar,” Flatto shouted again.

This is all you can say…you have a problem. Your tongue functions much more swiftly than your mind does. Instead of dealing with facts, you are just calling me a liar.”

Besides, what is a Jewish state? Are you telling me that non-Jews who are citizens of Israel and whose existence on this land preceded and predated you by many hundred of years don’t have the right to equality? What kind of ugly racism is that?” retorted Amayreh.

“You can now return to your donkey room…by…” was Flatto’s last phrase.

The full story in
http://desertpeace.blogspot.com/2007/11/racism-on-israeli-airwaves.html

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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Sudan Case : Why beholdest the mote in thy brother’s eye?

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 3, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

[]

Sudan Case : Why beholdest the mote in thy brother’s eye?


Haroon Siddiqui

TheStar.com – columnists

December 02, 2007

In Sudan, a teddy bear dubbed Muhammad lands a British teacher in jail for 15 days, ostensibly for insulting Islam’s prophet.

In India, Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen is protected from Muslims upset about words of hers they deem blasphemous, such as that the Qur’an be rewritten.

In Saudi Arabia, a 19-year-old who was gang-raped has her sentence increased to 200 lashes and six months in jail for having been in the wrong place in the first place, with a man not her husband. And her lawyer faces disbarment for having appealed the original sentence.

In Malaysia, police disperse 10,000 Hindus protesting political and workplace discrimination and the intrusion of sharia courts into their mixed marriages.

The West looks at all this and says:

What’s the matter with Muslims? Why do they overreact to real and imagined slights? Why are they so intolerant of religious dissidents? Why do they mistreat non-Muslims? Why are they so misogynous?

Muslims, in turn, ask:

Why is the West waging wars in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Somalia, killing tens of thousands, and making millions homeless and destitute? Why is it waging cultural warfare in books, cartoons and the media on Islam and its revered prophet? Why does the entire machinery of Western governments, human rights groups and the media get galvanized against every single atrocity in Muslim lands but stays mostly mute on the death and torture and demonization of Muslims?

One set of abominations does not justify the other. But the two do feed off each other. Amid these polarized expressions of outrage, it’s useful to know that:

While most controversial cases in Muslim lands are indeed outrageous, anchored in narrow interpretations of religion, some are driven by politics.

The one in Sudan was whipped up by some clerics, and Khartoum found it useful to use against Britain, a strong critic of the Darfur genocide.

The case of author Nasreen, living in exile in India, is being championed by the Hindu fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party, the same group that hounded M.F. Husain, India’s most famous painter and a Muslim, into exile for his portrayal of a Hindu goddess.

Freedom of expression is not absolute. In Canada, we have an anti-hate law, and we do exercise self-restraint. Similar laws and mores apply in secular India. That’s why some of Nasreen’s books are banned there, and India suggested she balance her right to free speech with respect for religious belief. She did agree on Friday to have her publisher excise some objectionable passages from one of her books.

Muslim nations have a shameful record on women and minorities. But it is dishonest to conflate that with the Muslim minorities in the West. It is counterproductive to lay collective guilt on them. They don’t live there, they live here, and should be judged as any other fellow-citizens. Anything less is to devalue our democracies.

The West’s own post-9/11 record is nothing to be proud of. Setting aside Europe’s xenophobia and America’s politics of fear, Canada has not been free of paranoia either.

Muslims suffer “high levels of open and covert hatred, fear and discrimination,” says Barbara Hall, Ontario human rights commissioner. Former lieutenant-governor James Bartleman agrees.

Girls wearing hijabs are thrown out of soccer, tae kwon do and judo competitions. A Muslim airport worker’s skirt is deemed too long by the Air Transport Security Authority.

The Stephen Harper government tables a bill that women wearing the niqab must lift their veil to vote, ignoring the fact that 70,000 voters, including inmates, mail their ballots without ever being asked to show their face. The Liberals and New Democrats, shamefully, prevaricate.

A similar bill is afoot in Quebec, the home of the “reasonable accommodation” debate, which was anything but reasonable.

Even Premier Jean Charest, who let bigotry bloom with his silence, was shamed into calling for tolerance, not for reasons of principle, but because it was bad for Quebec’s image and bad for business.

Given all this, we need to be less smug in judging other peoples.

The full story in
http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/281546

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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Background for Sudan’s Baffling Teddy Bear Storm

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 3, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Background for Sudan’s Baffling Teddy Bear Storm

December 1, 2007

As a life-long Sudan student I shall try to provide not justification­for legal punishment for an innocent cultural misunderstanding cannot be justified­but some sort of context for this lamentable episode, by identifying four dimensions of this story in the hope of narrowing the cultural gaps extant.

First, unlike in the West, people in Arab and Muslim countries do not keep friendly animals (e. g. pets) in their homes, nor do they try to “humanize” animals by giving them cutesy names. Hence, no “Rover” puppies or “Mitzi” kittens. Dogs and cats there are scavengers and usually are unclean, as with coyotes in America, and would not be owned except for “working” animals such as farm dogs, donkeys, falcons, and the occasional German Shepherd policing the property, not an object of affection. In this context, a bear is seen as even more ferocious than a dog, and third world people should be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the stories of President T. Roosevelt and the fuzzy animal children’s toy named after him.

Second, treating a house animal as almost human is considered strange in the culture; this Western custom is foreign to Middle Easterners. When teaching American diplomats posted to the region, I usually suggested that they keep their pets at home, just to avoid uncomfortable situations when entertaining, for example. (Not everyone followed my advice.)

Third, as should be known by now, Muhammad is not an appropriate name for an animal, nor is Jesus, Moses, David, or any others among the prophets. I am reminded of earlier cases when during the 1960s the American ambassador to India had to apologize publicly because a mob was protesting that his children owned a cat named “Ahmad” (reportedly acquired in Ahmadabad). I am also reminded of when the San Francisco Giants outfielder Jesus Alou had his name changed by US sportswriters and broadcasters to “Jay” because of public discomfort then with mixing a “sacred” name with “profane” sports (again in the 1960s). The fact that Ms. Gibbons meant no harm gets lost in the current atmosphere of mutual demonizing. One would like a teacher living in Khartoum to acquire a greater familiarity with local customs, especially sensitive ones. However, these comments do not explain the legal mishandling of the case, both by the legal authorities and the school administration, which reported the teacher to the legal authorities. There seems to have been a personality conflict at the school that led to the matter ending up in the courts. The courts should have taken these circumstances into account, as well as the fact that there is no evidence that Miss Gibbons meant to defame either the Prophet or Islam.

Four, the courts in Sudan are no longer as independent as they were in earlier decades and appear to be mindful of the insecurity of the current military regime in Khartoum, which sees itself as the target of both domestic forces and foreign powers­especially the U.S. and the British. People in the West MUST understand that most Muslims have felt under siege from the West for at least the last quarter century, and any perceived slight­emphasize perceived­will cause an overreaction, which in turn will escalate the matter out of all proportion to its merits. In such an atmosphere the poor teddy bear is not a toy, as reported, but more of a political football, comparable, perhaps to the less enlightened public commentary accompanying the race among presidential contenders in the US nowadays. Let us hope that in all these cases, common sense will prevail.

The full story in
http://blog.minaret.org/?p=500

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-muslim voice-
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BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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