America needs you, CIA chief tells Arabs
In a historic visit to Dearborn Detroit, CIA Director Leon Panetta reached out to metro Detroiters with roots in the Middle East at a Ramadan dinner aimed at engaging Arab Americans. "The reason I'm here ... is very simple: Your country needs you," he told a crowd of about 150 Arab Americans and Chaldeans on Wednesday at the Bint Jebail Cultural Center. "It needs your ingenuity; it needs your wisdom; it needs the skills of your communities to help protect the way of life that all of us hold dear." Panetta's speech was believed to be the first time a CIA head has held a public Ramadan dinner, said CIA official George Little. And it comes at a time when the CIA finds itself involved in conflicts across the Muslim world. "I am particularly honored to be with you on this night, which I understand is the Night of Power, which holds such deep spiritual meaning for all Muslims," Panetta said. In order for the CIA to get better, "we have to reflect the face of this nation, we have to reflect the face of the world," he said. "Our goal is to substantially increase diversity."
UK Police Chiefs brace for riots between Muslims and English fascists
This week UK police chiefs up and down the country warned to brace them- selves for a winter of race riots. UK police forces have been put on alert amid growing concerns about violent clashes between Muslims and far-Right thugs. Trouble has already occurred in several UK cities where the English Defense League(EDL) has protested against the Islamisation of the UK. The EDL is an umbrella organisation which attracts far-Right activists, neo-Nazis and football hooligans with a shared hatred of “Islamic extremism”. EDL has set up divisions in Luton, north London, Bristol, Portsmouth, Southampton, Derby, Cardiff and across the West Midlands. Four national police units, including experts on soccer hooliganism and terrorism, are investigating the group. John Denham, the secretary of state for communities and local government, warned that there were strong parallels between the group, which is planning protests in Muslim neighbour- hoods, and Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, who sparked fighting when they marched through Jewish areas of London’s East End in the Thirties. Mr Denham said: “If you look at their [EDL]demonstrations they’ve organised, it is clear that it’s a tactic designed to provoke and to get a response and hopefully create violence.”
Belgium bans the wearing of hijjab
Schools in the Belgian Dutch-speaking region of Flanders have banned the wearing of the Muslim headscarf. After a decision by the region’s school board, around a fifth of schools say they will implement the ban immediately – others have up to a year to follow. Two schools are already enforcing the ban. Headteacher Chris Weyers explained: “96 percent of the pupils were Muslims. And it was a great pressure on the students who weren’t Muslims, or that were Muslims but did not wear the scarf, and so our pupils weren’t free anymore.” While some girls have complied with the ban – removing their scarves while in school – Muslim groups have strongly condemned the move. Angry pupils have staged protests outside the school and one girl has filed a complaint with the Belgian Council of State to contest the ban. While protests are expected to continue, Belgium is not the first to ban the scarf. France, Germany and the UK have various types of bans in place that forbid the wearing of hijjab and the niqab.
Petraeus: Taliban have grown stronger
General David Petraeus, the overall commander of troops in Afghanistan, has painted a bleak picture of the security situation admitting that the Taliban has “without question” increased its strength in the country. Gen Petraeus said the current security situation in the country was equivalent to the most violent period in Iraq said during a speech in London this week.“The Taliban without question have expanded their strength and influence” in certain districts of Afghanistan,” he told a select audience of military, security services and political figures at the Policy Exchange think tank. In many districts there was the feeling of a “downward spiral present” in terms of progress. The Taliban were funding their campaign not only by the drugs trade and crime but also with “donations from outsiders”. Petraeus remarks coincide with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledge of withdrawing at least 500 of the country’s 3,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan “in the next few weeks”. The move is bound to further strengthen the Taleban.
Zardari government paid 3bn dollars to wage war against Islam
The United States has provided more than $3bn in aid to Pakistan since President Zardari came to power a year ago, its ambassador in Islamabad says. Anne W Patterson said the money was given in "combined security, economic and development assistance". "The US government will continue to deliver assistance to Pakistan through a variety of long-standing vectors as required by American law to ensure transparency and accountability, and is not depriving the Pakistani government any degree of direct funding as a result of a lack of confidence or trust," the US ambassador said. Meanwhile according to ‘US Arms Sales to Pakistan’ report, the major arms purchase agreement by Pakistan signed in 2006, was in excess of $3.5 billion, ranking Pakistan first among all arms clients of the US during that calendar year. So it is pretty evident where the money paid to the Zardari government will end up.