Rabbi calls on Muslims to separate religion and politics
The UK ’s Chief Rabbi has called on Muslims to get used to living as a minority in Britain and to learn to separate religion from power. Lord Sacks said that neither Muslims nor Christians had yet learnt the lessons inflicted on the Jewish people by the Babylonian exile. “One of the great advantages of being Jewish is you know how to sing in the minor key,” he said. “We have had 26 centuries of experience ever since the Babylonian exile of living as a minority in the midst of a culture that does not share our views. Christianity and Islam have not had that experience.” He said that Christianity had learnt toleration but only after 100 years of “knocking the hell out of each other all over Europe ”. “I have no doubt that Islam will work its way through to the essential situation that Judaism arrived at and Christianity, namely the substantive separation of religion from power. But there’s no quick way of getting there. It is quite a difficult and painful process within religion. Only Muslims can do it. Nobody can tell them from the outside. That would be taken as an affront and I would regard it as morally unacceptable. I do see some wonderful Muslims in this country and elsewhere, in Iraq and even in Iran , going through that process. “
Iran seeks to intervene in Yemen-Saudi dispute
The government of Yemen has declined an offer from Iran to help "restore security" and mediate an end to years of fighting with Houthi fighters, saying the conflict is internal and should be handled only by its own government. Manouchehr Mottaki , Iran 's foreign minister, made the offer on Wednesday, a day after Tehran warned Middle Eastern governments against interfering in Yemen 's affairs. " Iran is prepared to co-operate with the government of Yemen and other nations in order to restore security [in Yemen ]," he said. He said that the fighting in north Yemen between government forces and the Houthis, who are from the Zaidi sect of Shia Islam, can be resolved by "collective efforts".”It can restore security, peace and tranquility among the people of Yemen and the whole region”, he said. Yemen later responded to the comments, rejecting any outside interference.”We welcome what Mottaki affirmed about Iran's position towards Yemen's unity and stability, and Yemen reaffirms that it definitely rejects the interference in its internal affairs by any party,” an official in the Yemeni foreign ministry said.
British Poll contradicts government claims that Afghan war is making UK safer
A considerable number of Britons believe that the UK 's military intervention in Afghanistan has put their country at a higher risk of terror attacks. The GFK NOP poll whose results were published on Wednesday suggests that almost half of Britons believe that their country's military presence in Afghanistan indeed is deteriorating security in Britain . Only 21 percent of the respondents supported British statesmen's claim that the Afghan war has made the UK safer, with 46 percent holding a completely opposite view.
The survey of 1,000 Britons indicates a sharp decline in support for the Afghan war in Britain amid a rise in the number of UK troops who lost their lives in Afghanistan .
Pakistan opens up its nuclear arsenal to the US
The United States has been negotiating highly sensitive understandings with the Pakistani military about the security of Pakistan ’s nuclear arsenal, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported in the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine. The journalist wrote that during meetings with current and former officials in Washington and Islamabad , he was told that the agreements would allow specially trained American units to provide added security for the Pakistani arsenal in case of a crisis. At the same time, the Pakistani military would be given money to equip and train Pakistani soldiers and to improve their housing and facilities, the report says. The arrangement serves as a safeguard in case of a quickly escalating confrontation with India but also makes the weapons vulnerable during shipment and reassembly, the report points out.‘We give comfort to each other, and the comfort level is good, because everybody respects everybody’s integrity,’ Hersh quoted Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari as telling him in an interview about the security relationship with Washington . Meanwhile, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that his government had given US State Department non-proliferation experts insight into the command and control of the Pakistani arsenal and its on-site safety and security procedures, the report said.
China expands its imperial ambitions in Africa
The Chinese government has pledged to give African countries billions of dollars in cheap loans at a two-day Africa-China summit in Egypt . Addressing hundreds of Chinese and African businessmen at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday, Wen Jiabao, China 's premier, said he would also cancel debts of African countries."We will help Africa build up its financing capabilities ... we will provide $10bn for Africa in concessional loans," he said. Wen insisted that his attempt to boost trade ties with Africa was not being pursued at the expense of the continent.He rejected critics who say that resource-hungry China ignores the human-rights records of many of the continent's nations."Our efforts are sincere and selfless, without political strings attached," he said.The Asian giant is now Africa 's second-largest trade partner, with the average yearly growth rate of that trade at over 33 per cent. In 2006, the Sino-African summit included $5bn in loans and a number of projects, including building hospitals, anti-malaria centres, schools and roads - which Chinese officials say have largely been met.Direct investment hit $7.8bn in 2008, and total China-Africa trade grew to roughly $107bn by that year - a tenfold increase from the start of the decade.
President of Indonesia aims to enhance US hegemony
Indonesia 's president hopes to discuss a new "strategic partnership" with the United States when he meets US President Barack Obama in Singapore on the weekend, an official said Tuesday. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to meet Obama on Sunday on the sidelines of a summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal told reporters.
"I believe the president has proposed that there will be a strategic partnership between Indonesia and the US . This has received a good response by the US government," Djalal said.Senior officials from both countries were drafting a document outlining "practical measures to raise the relationship between Indonesia and the US to a higher level", he added. "Top officials of Indonesia and the US are finalising the content and not just the concept. We're moving towards that. It will be more clear after the meeting," he said.
Indonesia 's Muslims make up 88 percent of the country's 234 million people, making the vast archipelago the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world.
12 November 2009