Saturday, July 25, 2009

Views on the news - 22/07/09

Non-Muslims in Britain seeks justice from Sharia Courts

Up to five per cent of cases heard by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) involve people who do not follow the Islamic faith, it has been estimated. The body operates court-like arbitration hearings in London, Bradford, Birmingham, Coventry and Manchester. The MAT said that the greater weight attached to oral agreements in its hearings than the courts was making its service attractive to non-Muslims in Britain, who it estimates are now involved in one in 20 of its cases. “We put weight on oral agreements, whereas the British courts do not,” Freed Chedie, a spokesman, told The Times. He cited a recent case in which a non-Muslim man took his Muslim business partner to arbitrate in a dispute over the profits in their car fleet company. Douglas Murray, Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, warned the unabated drive towards the full introduction of sharia law must be stopped. He said: “If the Government can’t see what is happening then they must be blind. At best the people driving this are ultra-conservative Muslims but at worst they are radical extremists.”

America’s new Sharia Index to rate countries according to Islam?

An American inspired initiative is under way to rate nations according to how closely they adhere to the principles of Islam. The Shariah Index Project is led by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a New York-based cleric who heads the Cordoba Initiative, a multinational project to improve relations between Muslim countries and the West. The project has been in the works since 2006, with researchers quietly holding behind-the-scenes meetings with scholars, activists and government officials. “We have been soliciting the opinion of scholars throughout the Muslim world, asking them what defines an Islamic state, from the point of view of Islamic law,” he said. “What are the principles that make a state Islamic? We can say among them is justice, protection of religion and minorities and elimination of poverty, and so on...And we’d like to index both Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and non-OIC countries, because we know some non-OIC countries will score higher than some OIC members on some principles like justice, protection of minorities and so on.”

Clearly, the American inspired initiative is to measure the compliance of Muslim countries to western laws and customs as opposed to sharia law.

Sudan’s Abyei oil region: Source of conflict or reconciliation?

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on Wednesday re-drew the boundaries of Sudan's contested Abyei oil region, ceding key oilfields and grazing lands to the north. Diplomats and Sudanese politicians hailed the ruling as a resolution of a festering row over the boundaries of Abyei -- one of the most sensitive issues left unresolved in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended more than two decades of civil war between north and south Sudan. But doubts remain whether the complex ruling will be accepted by deeply divided communities living around Abyei. The tribunal's decision to re-draw Abyei's western border means the railway town of Meiram falls securely inside north Sudan. Abyei's new eastern border also means northern Sudan will be able to keep the key Heglig and Bamboo oilfields, whatever happens in the referendum. A large stripe of grazing lands that fell inside the 2005 borders of Abyei now stays firmly in the north.

The decision does not mean that peace will return to Sudan. On the contrary, as long as multinational oil companies continue to exploit Sudan’s oil wells, foreign powers will press ahead with plans to make the Sudanese people spill blood to secure these vital oil fields for the West.

The Pakistani leadership is still unable to perceive the US threat

This week The New York Times Pakistani officials have told the Obama administration that the Marines fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan will force militants across the border into Pakistan, with the potential to further inflame the troubled province of Baluchistan, according to Pakistani intelligence officials. Pakistani officials have told the Obama administration that the Marines fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan will force militants across the border into Pakistan, with the potential to further inflame the troubled province of Baluchistan, according to Pakistani intelligence officials.

One would have thought that such developments would have prompted the military brass to sever its relations with America. Instead, the military leadership is asking for more weapons and funds, even though it perceives a clear threat from the US to dismember Pakistan. The continued cooperation between the Pakistani army leadership and America can only be described as both callous and treacherous—where the only losers are Muslims.

China’s space program masks an ambitious attempt to dominate space

Forty years after the United States landed a man on the moon, China’s fledgling space programme is racing to get to the lunar surface before an American return and ahead of its Asian rivals. The United States – the only country to have sent men to the moon – is hoping to touch down on the lunar surface again by 2020, almost a generation after it first completed six historic manned lunar trips between 1969 and 1972. Meanwhile, after putting its first man into space in 2003 – the third nation to do so – China is aiming to launch an unmanned rover on the moon’s surface by 2012 and a manned mission to the moon by around 2020. “China is doing all the things one would need to do in order to go to the moon,” says Dean Cheng, an expert on China’s space programme at the US-based research firm CNA Corp. But ambitious space programs are not the only concern for US policy makers. Many foresee that China will develop a new generation of weapons and satellites, which will eclipse America’s primacy in space.

22 July 2009

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