Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

Under Obama, `war on terror’ catchphrase fading

February 1, 2009

The “War on Terror” is losing the war of words. The catchphrase burned into the American lexicon hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is fading away, slowly if not deliberately being replaced by a new administration bent on repairing the U.S. image among Muslim nations.

Since taking office less than two weeks ago, President Barack Obama has talked broadly of the “enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism.” Another time it was an “ongoing struggle.”

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

He has pledged to “go after” extremists and “win this fight.” There even was an oblique reference to a “twilight struggle” as the U.S. relentlessly pursues those who threaten the country.

But only once since his Jan. 20 inauguration has Obama publicly strung those three words together into the explosive phrase that coalesced the country during its most terrifying time and eventually came to define the Bush administration.

Speaking at the State Department on Jan. 22, Obama told his diplomatic corps, “We are confronted by extraordinary, complex and interconnected global challenges: war on terror, sectarian division and the spread of deadly technology. We did not ask for the burden that history has asked us to bear, but Americans will bear it. We must bear it.”

During the past seven years, the “War Against Terror” or “War on Terror” came to represent everything the U.S. military was doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the broader effort against extremists elsewhere or those seen as aiding militants aimed at destroying the West.

Ultimately and perhaps inadvertently, however, the phrase “became associated in the minds of many people outside the Unites States and particularly in places where the countries are largely Islamic and Arab, as being anti-Islam and anti-Arab,” said Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

Now, he said, there is a sense that the U.S. should be talking more about specific extremist groups — ones that are recognized as militants in the Arab world and that are viewed as threats not just to America or the West, but also within the countries they operate.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090201/
ap_on_go_pr_wh/war_on_terror

“One Man Abu Ghraib” CIA Station Chief in Algeria Accused of Rapes, Making Videos

January 28, 2009

“This will greatly embarrass America.  A one man Abu Ghraib.” That’s what a former CIA officer told us…

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The CIA’s station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their drinks with a knock-out drug, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

By BRIAN ROSS, KATE McCARTHY, and ANGELA M. HILL
ABC News

Read it all:
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/St
ory?id=6750266&page=1

Free, Unbiased Media Under Fire: U.N. Chief Boycots Network

January 28, 2009

Free speech and free press and media are cornerstone of any well functioning free and democratic society.  In China and Vietnam, two remaining communists nation, these basic human rights don’t exist; and efforts to promote free media and free press often come under fire.

But the media can be persuaded and pressured too; and this is a much more subtle destruction of the media right to preserve its own unbiased view…..

The BBC is currently under fire for electing not to air a charity plea to help people in Gaza.  The BBC says the video uses the same images used by the network to depict the news.  The BBC also says the video is not impartial and has a clear bias — that the BBC would like to keep at arms length.  The result has been huge protests in London, the closing by Iran of BBC’s Persian network, and now a top U.N. official has cancelled his scheduled interviews on BBC….

BBC director general Mark Thompson had said airing the appeal would compromise the BBC’s impartiality.

Protesters demonstrate in London against the BBC. The BBC is ... 
Protesters demonstrate in London against the BBC. The BBC is facing more pressure to broadcast a charity appeal for funds for people in Gaza, as the Archbishop of Canterbury joins the row and more than 50 MPs sign a motion condemning the move.(AFP/Frantzesco Kangaris)

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The head of the UN atomic watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, has cancelled planned interviews with the BBC in protest at the British broadcaster’s refusal to air a Gaza charity appeal, the IAEA said Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the “director general has cancelled his scheduled BBC World Service TV and radio interviews because of the BBC management’s refusal to broadcast the DEC’s (Disasters Emergency Committee) humanitarian appeal for Gaza.”

“He believes this decision violates the rules of basic human decency which are there to help vulnerable people irrespective of who is right or wrong,” said spokeswoman Melissa Fleming.

Both the BBC and Sky News refused to air the appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella group of 13 charities including Oxfam and the British Red Cross, which kicks in with coordinated fundraising after disasters such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

ITV, Channel 4 and Five, Britain’s three other terrestrial television broadcasters beside the BBC, have all aired the appeal.

And top Church of England archbishops, government ministers, opposition spokesmen, more than 11,000 viewers and 50 lawmakers have called for the BBC to reconsider its decision.

But BBC director-general Mark Thompson insists that the corporation will not change its mind.

Egyptian-born ElBaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his work at the IAEA, is scheduled to step down in November after three terms as the UN nuclear watchdog’s chief.

–AFP

Related:
 Gaza Fight Thunders Across Middle East, Britain, France, Media

Sky News joins BBC in not broadcasting Gaza aid appeal

BBC Insists It Is Not The “Barack Broadcasting Channel”

BBC In Hot Water; Accused Of Not Helping Victims

Internet: Do You Really Believe China Cares About Porn, Public Morality?

Media Censorship, Criminalization of Free Press In Vietnam Needs Action

http://bernielatham.wordpress.com/2009/0
1/28/bbcsky-refusal-to-air-appeal-for-gaza-st
ill-causing-anger-and-debate/

Iran’s Ahmadinejad: Barack Obama should apologise for 60 years of ‘crimes’

January 28, 2009

In his own way of saying “thank you” to Barack Obama for his expressed respect for Muslims on Al-Arabiya , President Ahmadinejad has an idea or two for the new American president….

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanded on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama apologise for the “crimes” committed by the United States against Iran over the past 60 years.

By The Telegrapn (UK)

The hardline leader also called on Washington to withdraw its troops from across the world as a proof of Mr Obama’s commitment to change.

“You were standing against the Iranian people in the past 60 years,” Mr Ahmadinejad said during an address in the western region of Khermenshah that was broadcast by state television.

Barack Obama should apologise for 60 years of 'crimes'

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the advocates of change must ‘stop supporting the Zionists, outlaws and criminals’ Photo: REUTERS

“Those who speak of change must apologise to the Iranian people and try to repair their past bad acts and the crimes they committed against Iran.”

As to the troops, he said he expected two kinds of “deep and fundamental” change.

“Meet people, talk to them with respect and put an end to the expansionist policies. If you talk about change it must put an end to the US military presence in the world, withdraw your troops and take them back inside your borders.”

Mr Ahmadinejad said the advocates of change must “stop supporting the Zionists, outlaws and criminals”.

He called on the United States to “stop interfering in other people’s affairs”.

He also said the US government should “let the American people decide their own future … Stop pressuring them,” he added, without saying what he was referring to.

Mr Ahmadinejad said he welcomed change but the “change has to be fundamental”.

Related:
 Iran Says Again, Holocaust a ‘Big Lie’

Iran Will Have Nuke This Year?

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/n
orthamerica/usa/barackobama/4370711/Mah
moud-Ahmadinejad-Barack-Obama-should-apo
logise-for-60-years-of-crimes.html

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Difficult to “Just Say No” To Obama; He Talks the Deal To Republicans

January 27, 2009

If Republicans want to rebuild their party after the calamity of 2008, the party leadership needs to avoid sounding like a bunch of guys that “just say no.”

That won’t work.

Today President Obama met with congressional Republicans to discuss his proposed $825 billion economic stimulus plan as a critical House vote looms.
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“We had a wonderful exchange of ideas, and I continue to be optimistic about our ability to get this recovery package done to put people back to work,” Obama said after leaving a meeting with GOP House members.

“There are some legitimate philosophical differences” between Democrats and Republicans on how to stimulate the economy, Obama noted, “and I respect that.”

“I don’t expect 100 percent agreement,” he added. “But I hope we can put politics aside.”

Republicans have to put politics aside.  But so do Democrats in many ways.

Nancy Pelosi needs to learn to act like a statesman, too.

Related:
Obama Stressing Civility, Bipartisanship; Can Pelosi, Others Make It Work?

White Spokesman Robert Gibbs said the President urged Republicans to look through the lense of what will work for the economy; and to put partisan politics aside.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs speaks to the press ... 
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs speaks to the press during his daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, January 26, 2009.(Jason Reed/Reuters)

After one week in the White House President Obama has made it clear that he’s serious about:

–getting the economy moving with a stimulus bill and whatever it takes after that.

–ending torture by American people and closing the symbol of torture at Gitmo.

–ending the thought of the “Axis of evil” and restoring 99% of Muslims to American favor.

–stooping the killing and war in the Middle East.

–breaking the impass with Iran by trying something new: diplomacy.

Looks like the President is on a roll.  Now, will Congress listen?

Related:
From CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/
27/obama.meetings/index.html

Obama Plan with Iran an “Opportunity for Israel”

President Obama has taken an early interest in the Middle East peace process.

Gaza Causes Friction in France, Where Muslims Have “No Chance”

January 26, 2009

Many Muslims in France, especially new immigrants,  are unemployed and not included in the society or the economy.

“We Muslims have no chance here,” one man told us.

That may be why the recent fighting between Hamas and Israel has cause some disagreements as well as some new thinking in France.

The U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) says, “The recent conflict in Gaza touched nerves in France, which is home to Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities. Despite the cease-fire in Gaza, many say the fighting there has done lasting damage to relations between Muslims and Jews in France.”

Go to NPR and hear their broadcast:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.
php?storyId=99861094&ft=1&f=1004

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Related:

France Looking to Screen Immigrants Using DNA

By Peter Allen
Daily Mail (UK)

France’s hard-line new immigration minister is set to implement legislation that would allow DNA testing of new arrivals, he has said.

Eric Besson, who was appointed this month, said the tests would establish which  foreigners were claiming visas by making up family ties with those already settled in the country.

Civil liberties groups have reacted furiously to the controversial government scheme, which was approved by the French parliament 15 months ago but does not come into effect until the appropriate Minister has signed the legislation. 

Protests had delayed that move until now.
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But Mr Besson said he wanted to give it  the ‘green light’, confirming that a ministerial meeting would be held on the subject ‘in a few days’.

He added: ‘If the decree is accepted, I will scrupulously respect all individual liberties. It’s not my obsession. ”

The tests will be for applications for visas of more than three months when  there are doubts about an immigrant’s birth or marriage certificates.

The move would allow officials to ‘propose’ to applicants that they take a test at their own expense to prove a biological link with other family members.

A recent report said there was often doubt over the authenticity of papers in family  applications for visas.

It claimed that in African countries such as Senegal, Ivory Coast and Togo up  to 80 per cent of birth and marriage certificates were forged.

Government statistics show there are 23,000 immigration cases a year where visa  applications involve children, meaning DNA tests could become widespread.

But immigrant welfare groups said the plan was unacceptable…..

Read the rest:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-11
27823/Illegal-immigrants-DNA-tested-new-crackdo
wn-France.html

Al-Qaeda Challenge: Dealing With American President Muslims Like

January 25, 2009

Soon after the November election, al-Qaeda’s No. 2 leader took stock of America’s new president-elect and dismissed him with an insulting epithet. “A house Negro,” Ayman al-Zawahiri said.

By Joby Warrick
The Washington Post

That was just a warm-up. In the weeks since, the terrorist group has unleashed a stream of verbal tirades against Barack Obama, each more venomous than the last. Obama has been called a “hypocrite,” a “killer” of innocents, an “enemy of Muslims.” He was even blamed for the Israeli military assault on Gaza, which began and ended before he took office.

“He kills your brothers and sisters in Gaza mercilessly and without affection,” an al-Qaeda spokesman declared in a grainy Internet video this month.

A video grab from an undated footage from the Internet shows ... 
A video grab from an undated footage from the Internet shows Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden making statements from an unknown location. Reuters

The torrent of hateful words is part of what terrorism experts now believe is a deliberate, even desperate, propaganda campaign against a president who appears to have gotten under al-Qaeda’s skin. The departure of George W. Bush deprived al-Qaeda of a polarizing American leader who reliably drove recruits and donations to the terrorist group.

With Obama, al-Qaeda faces an entirely new challenge, experts say: a U.S. president who campaigned to end the Iraq war and to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and who polls show is well liked throughout the Muslim world.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte
nt/article/2009/01/24/AR2009012401703.h
tml?hpid=topnews

Pakistan Welcomes Obama’s ‘New Way’ with Muslim World

January 21, 2009

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday welcomed a pledge from US President Barack Obama to seek a new approach with the Muslim world after eight turbulent years at the White House.

Zardari, in office four months, said the people of Pakistan welcomed Obama’s emphasis on seeking a “new way forward” with the Muslim world “based on mutual interest and mutual respect“, said a statement from the presidency.

Pakistan became a key US ally after the 9/11 attacks on the United States when it publicly renounced support for the fundamentalist Taliban in Afghanistan, but still stands accused of backing extremists.

AFP

“Renewal by the US president of commitment to high ideals and values would raise hope for a better future for the peoples of the world,” the statement quoted Zardari as saying.

“The United States undoubtedly carries an important responsibility in charting, along with other members of the international community, new perspectives for peace, progress and prosperity in the 21st century,” it said.

Under George W. Bush, cash-strapped Pakistan depended on billions of dollars of security and development aid.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090121/wl_sthasia_
afp/uspoliticsobamapakistan;_ylt=Avf2txkun
CjCXjuRaNmKfmpvaA8F

Embracing Terror, Suicide Belittles Islam

January 13, 2009

WELL-MEANING Western commentators make a grave error when they insist that Islamist terrorists want to drag the Muslim world back to the seventh century.

It’s much worse than that.

Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban and related fanatics really want to take their homelands (and the rest of the world) back beyond the era of Mohammed – to the grisly ancient days of human sacrifice.

The Prophet sought to purify the idolatrous devotions of his people, to do away with heartless desert cults. He felt the fervor of one living god and shared his illumination. The faith that arose in his wake had epochs of glory and eras of infamy, but it endured.

Now Islam is under assault from within, under attack from nominal Muslims who believe their vision supersedes that of Mohammed. They invoke the name of Allah but behave in the manner of ancient priests whose robes were drenched in blood.

Jordanian kids in terrorist garb at anti-Israel protest in Gaza. 

By Ralph Peters
The New York Post

What’s the meaning of those beheading videos and suicide bombings, the slaughter of fellow Muslims and the exploitation by pagan cults, such as Hamas, of masses of the faithful as human shields? Why stone 13-year-old girls to death? What’s this celebration of blood lust all about?

It’s about the threatened collapse of the Middle East back into an age of human sacrifice – the precise sort of gruesome travesty the Prophet inveighed against.

Today’s “Muslim” terrorists have nothing to do with Islam’s golden ages. They belong to the days of winged devil-gods and stone altars stinking of clotted human blood.

The true enemies of Islam aren’t Americans or Europeans or even Israelis, all of whom could not care less what backwater Middle Easterners call their god. The worst enemies of the Muslim faith are the butchers convinced that Allah demands that rivers of blood be shed to praise his name.

The reluctance of many Muslims to speak out against this travesty – this perversion – of their faith has various causes….

Read the rest:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/01132009/posto
pinion/opedcolumnists/blood_sacrifice_149872.htm

Pakistan is World Leader in Anti-Terror Fight — Musharraf

January 10, 2009

Pakistan has done more than any other nation in the global war against terrorism, former President Pervez Musharraf said, in defense of his country’s response to the attacks in Mumbai.

“Pakistan has lost a large number of security personnel and civilians in the fight against terrorism,” Musharraf said today in a televised interview from Islamabad. “The world community, including India and Pakistan, must fight the root of extremism and terrorism.”

By Farhan Sharif
Bloomberg

Ties between India and Pakistan have deteriorated since the Nov. 26-29 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that left 164 people dead. India and the U.S. have pressed for a thorough investigation of the attacks, and the government in Islamabad has confirmed that the surviving gunman is a Pakistani national.

Indian authorities say Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only one of 10 gunmen to survive the assault in Mumbai, told interrogators the attacks were planned and carried out by the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Until three days ago, Pakistan said there was no proof its nationals were involved.

Musharraf, an army general who seized power in a 1999 coup, turned Pakistan into an ally of the U.S. in its war against terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks. He quit as president in August to avoid impeachment by a civilian coalition government elected in February.

The Mumbai attacks interrupted the five-year peace process between the two South Asian nations, which have fought three wars since independence in 1947.

Indian Allegations

“I regret that all the developments on both sides for dialogue, peace and coordination built in the past over many years were washed out by one terror incident, which the people of both sides condemn,” Musharraf said, referring to the mounting tension between the two neighbors.

Pakistan has rejected Indian allegations the attackers received the support of official agencies in Pakistan and said such accusations could raise tensions. India is examining all options to stop border infiltration and prevent terrorist attacks, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said on Jan. 7.

“Pakistan’s forces and people have all the ability to defend the country,” Musharraf said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=asH0IVWuaIos