Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Views on the News - 06/10/2009

Study finds Muslim population is 1.57billion
A report from an American think-tank has estimated 1.57 billion Muslims populate the world - with 60% in Asia . The report, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, took three years to compile, with census data from 232 countries and territories. It showed that 20% of Muslims lived in the Middle East and North Africa . The data also showed that there were more Muslims in Germany than in Lebanon , and more in Russia than in Jordan and Libya together. Senior researcher Brian Grim told CNN that the overall figure was a surprise and said: "Overall, the number is higher than I expected." The report found that more than 300 million Muslims live in countries where Islam was not the majority religion. Of the total Muslim population, 10-13% are Shia Muslims and 87-90% are Sunni Muslims. Most Shias live in Iran , Pakistan , India and Iraq . Europe is home to 38 million Muslims - around 5% of its population with European Muslims making up slightly more than 2% of the world's Muslim population. More than half of the 4.6 million Muslims in the Americas live in the US - however they make up just 0.8% of the population there.

UK soldiers leading life of crime at home
A leading British newspaper reported that more than 20,000 armed services veterans are serving sentences for criminal offences. Shock figures show there are currently 12,000 vets on probation or parole and a further 8,500 in custody. That is twice as many as the number of British troops presently in Afghanistan . The damning statistics were compiled by a nationwide survey of probation officers who say many of the former military personnel were suffering from stress and depression from their service. Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of probation officers union Napo , said: "There is overwhelming evidence that there is not enough support for servicemen and women when they return to civilian life. The levels of post traumatic stress disorder and depression are alarming. If these men are brave enough to risk their lives for their country then surely they deserve proper care afterwards.” A survey carried out in 2007 by the group Veterans In Prison concluded that nine per cent of the prison population have served in the forces.

German official slanders Arabs and Turks
A top German central bank official has caused outrage by saying Turkish and Arab immigrants sponge off the state, are incapable of integrating themselves into German society and “constantly produce little girls with headscarves”. Thilo Sarrazin, a former finance minister of the city-state of Berlin who was appointed as a board member of the Bundesbank, Germany ’s central bank, this year made the comments in an interview with Lettre International, a cultural magazine, about Berlin ’s economic problems last week. “A large number of Arabs and Turks in this city, who have increased in number as a result of wrong policies, have no productive function other than the fruit and vegetable trade,” he said. “The Turks are conquering Germany in the same way the Kosovars conquered Kosovo: through a higher birth rate,” he said. “I don’t have to acknowledge anyone who lives off the state, rejects this state, doesn’t properly take care of the education of his children and constantly produces little girls with headscarves,” he said. About 70 per cent of the Turkish and 90 per cent of the Arab population in Berlin were like that, he said. “In addition they have a mentality that is aggressive and atavistic.”

Swiss poster defames Islam
Switzerland 's Commission Against Racism said Wednesday that an anti-minaret poster campaign by a far-right party defamed the country's Muslim minority and could threaten public peace. The Swiss People's Party has unveiled a campaign poster depicting a woman wearing a burka against a background of a Swiss flag upon which several minarets resembling missiles were erected. The commission said, “They suggest that the Muslim minority living in Switzerland represents a danger and send the message that the Muslim population is seeking to dominate the Swiss people, oppress women and disregard fundamental rights.” They “suggest that the Muslim minority living in Switzerland represents a danger” and send the message that the Muslim population is seeking to dominate the Swiss people, oppress women and disregard fundamental rights, it noted.

American soldiers have lost hope in Afghanistan
American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taliban. Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, the chaplains told The Times in their makeshift chapel on this fortress-like base in a dusty, brown valley southwest of Kabul.“The many soldiers who come to see us have a sense of futility and anger about being here. They are really in a state of depression and despair and just want to get back to their families,” said Captain Jeff Masengale, of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion. “They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to discern,” said Captain Sam Rico, of the Division’s 4-25 Field Artillery Battalion. “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through.” The chaplains said that they were speaking out because the men could not.

America to focus its ‘terror war’ on Pakistan
President Obama’s national security team is moving to reframe its war strategy by emphasizing the campaign against Al Qaeda in Pakistan while arguing that the Taliban in Afghanistan does not pose a direct threat to the United States , officials said Wednesday. As Mr. Obama met with advisers for three hours to discuss Pakistan , the White House said he had not decided whether to approve a proposed troop buildup in Afghanistan . But the shift in thinking, outlined by senior administration officials on Wednesday, suggests that the president has been presented with an approach that would not require all of the additional troops that his commanding general in the region has requested. The approach described by administration officials on Wednesday amounted to an all out shift in fighting Al Qaeda in Pakistan .

Oct 6 2009

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