Friday, August 14, 2009

Views on the News - 7 August 2009

A football anthem and a court room killing - Is Germany turning into a fortress of Islamophobia?

An anthem sung by fans of the German football club FC Schalke 04 has drawn protests from Muslims because of its reference to the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم of Allah. The club has received hundreds of e-mails from angry Muslims recently, since Turkish media carried reports about the song.
Police in Gelsenkirchen, in the industrial Ruhr region of western Germany, say they are taking the Muslim complaints very seriously.

The song is the latest in a series of incidents that demonstrates that the Germany is becoming deeply anti-Islamic. Only a few weeks ago the German government rejected accusations that it tolerates xenophobia and anti-Islamic views after the killing of 31-year-old Marwa El-Sherbiny in a Dresden in which the German media remained relatively silent. Germany has the second-biggest Muslim population in Western Europe after France and is quickly turning into a fortress of anti-Islam.

US eager to engage in Iran

This week the US expressed support for the opposition in Iran but also pressed ahead with its plans to engage Iran under Ahmadinejad. "We appreciate and we admire the continuing resistance and ongoing efforts by the reformers to make the changes that the Iranian people deserve," Clinton said, shortly after Ahmadinejad was sworn in for another four-year term. She then said that Ahmadinejad disputed re-election would not alter Washington's readiness to engage Iran. "Our policy remains the same. We take the reality that the person who was inaugurated today will be considered the president," she said. "We are still clear in our policy that engagement is on the table for the Iranians."
The US is desperate to a turn a new page in its relations with Iran, after the Europeans openly courted the Iranian opposition.

Somalia: America plans to double arms shipment to fight Al-Shabab

The United States plans to double the amount of arms and ammunition it is providing Somalia's transitional government to help it fend off an Al Qaeda inspired insurgency, a US State Department official said on Thursday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the plan was to double supplies of arms and ammunition 40 to 80 tonnes.

‘That's the idea,' the official said. Since late June the United States has been shipping the Somali government urgent supplies of arms and ammunitions to defend it against the Al-Shabab. An initial 40 tonnes of weapons and ammunition was directed to Somalia in late June. ‘Because of what's going on in Somalia we are providing the transitional federal government ammunition, weapons to support the efforts of the government to try to provide security,' State Department spokesman Robert Wood said. ‘We are in the process of trying to make sure that we can get the 40 tonnes of equipment to the TFG,' he said.

Rasmussen: The Debaser of Islam leads the crusade in Afghanistan

This week NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was in Afghanistan for his first visit as chief of the 28-nation alliance.

The former Danish prime minister who supported the right of Danish newspapers to insult Islam said: "It is our clear intention to do everything possible to reduce the number of civilian casualties to an absolute minimum." Unabashed, Rasmussen declared: "I can assure you and the Afghan people that we will stay and support you for as long as it takes to finish our job." So it is expected that during Rasmussen reign that more Muslim will be spilt until the Muslims of Afghanistan submit to NATO's will

US fortifies its presence in Islamabad

According to reports, the US will spend $405 million on the reconstruction and refurbishment of its main embassy building in the diplomatic enclave of the Islamabad; $111 million for a new complex to accommodate 330 personnel; and $197 million to construct about 250 housing units. For this purpose, the US Embassy has acquired about 7.2 hectares of land at what is widely considered a mark-down price of 1 billion rupees (US$12 million), courtesy of the state-run Islamabad Capital Development Authority. A Turkish firm has already built a 153- room compound for the embassy. The fortress-like embassy will eventually accommodate close to 1,000 additional personnel being sent to Islamabad as part of the US administration's decision to significantly raise its profile in the country.

The new staffers will augment the current 750-strong American contingent already based in Pakistan; this against a sanctioned strength of 350. "What appears to be more alarming is that this staff surge will include 350 [US] marines. Additionally, the Americans are pressuring Islamabad to allow the import of hundreds of Dyncorp armored personnel carriers," reported Pakistan 's largest English-language daily Dawn.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Islamabad, Richard W Snelsire, told Asia Times Online that the US was "redoing" the embassy compound as it was 40 years old. He said this was also largely because US aid to Pakistan had tripled to US$1.5 billion a year and therefore additional staff were needed. Snelsire dismissed the report of armoured vehicles being used at the embassy and also said the notion of 350 marines being stationed there was "fictitious". Indeed, since the last few months of 2008, the Americans have quietly been working on extending their physical footprint in the country.

During this period, about 300 American officials landed at Tarbella, the brigade headquarters of Pakistan's Special Operation Task Force approximately 20 kilometres from Islamabad. They were officially designated as a "training advisory group", according to documents seen by Asia Times Online. (See ‘The gloves are off in Pakistan,' Asia Times Online, September 23, 2008.)

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