Monday, September 06, 2010

View on the News 06-09-2010

America: FBI agents invited to the masjid

Muslim leaders are debating the wisdom of inviting FBI agents to mosques to provide protection at a time of rising anti-Muslim rhetoric and debate about the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero. The issue surfaced Tuesday as word spread of a Nashville mosque's decision to host two FBI agents at a prayer service last Saturday night. The agents discussed the investigation of a fire, suspected to be arson, at a planned mosque in nearby Murfreesboro, a project that has also triggered vehement opposition. The agents then silently observed prayers from the back row. "I don't think it's really appropriate to station agents in mosques," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington. "It has a chilling effect on a house of worship, and we would have concerns that agents would also be gathering information on ordinary worshipers." The dispute reflects the tensions between the FBI and some Muslims since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The FBI has reached out to Muslims but also tried to keep tabs on their community, staying alert for signs of terrorist plots. A coalition of leading Muslim groups last year threatened to suspend contacts with the bureau over what it called inappropriate infiltration of mosques.

German Central banker attacks Muslims in his book

Thilo Sarrazin is a respected economist, a member of Germany’s Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) and a member of the executive board of the Deutsche Bundesbank. He is also the author of the blatantly racist book Abolishing Germany, which has sent shockwaves across the Germany since its release on Monday. Sarrazin does not mince words: his country’s very existence is threatened by Muslim immigration. The immediate results of his book are massive sales, a central bank and SDP scrambling (unsuccessfully) to cut ties with the man, and a seemingly inexhaustible feast for the German media. In one chapter of the already infamous book, Sarrazin warns that unless Germany steers itself back on course “libraries will become mosques.” In Sarrazin’s view, Germany is a business, one that has failed to integrate immigrants, who in turn have become inefficient employees. In 2009, Sarrazin, then Berlin’s finance chief, caused a storm by declaring that “Turks are good for nothing, and only produce veiled women.” The Social Democrats considered giving Sarrazin the boot last March, but little has been done as yet to this end.his Islamophobic views have found an audience among some segments of the German population. Sarrazin’s publisher has announced that the first edition of the book has already been sold out thanks to advanced orders.

Vatican dismisses Gaddafi’s call for Europe to convert to Islam

The Vatican says it is not taking Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi’s comments about Europe’s conversion to Islam seriously. Col Gaddafi said Islam should “become the religion of all Europe” upon his arrival in Rome on Sunday. The secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Evangelisation, Archbishop Robert Sarah, has dismissed the comments as a “non-solicited provocation lacking seriousness”, according to Agence France-Presse. “To speak of the European continent converting to Islam makes no sense, because it is the people alone who decide consciously to be Christian, Muslim or to follow other religions,” he said.

It would have made more sense for the Vatican to remind Col Gaddafi about his failure to implement Islam at home than offer a rebuttal to the conversion of Europeans to Islam.

Iran says continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq “unacceptable”

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that the partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is not “acceptable.” Talking to the reporters in his weekly press briefing, Mehmanparast said that the continued presence of the U.S. troops in Iraq under different pretexts, such as training Iraqi forces is “not acceptable.” This indicates that the U.S. officials have not done serious measures to pull out their forces from Iraq, said Mehmanparast. “The U.S. officials statements over the pullout of their troops are contradictory, since the U.S. President Barack Obama had said it would pull out U.S. forces from Iraq but they are continuing to keep part of their forces in the country, he added.

US deaths in Afghanistan hit record in 2010

The number of US soldiers killed in the Afghan war in 2010 is the highest annual toll since the conflict began almost nine years ago, according to an AFP count Wednesday.A total of 323 US soldiers have been killed in the Afghan war this year, compared to 317 for all of 2009, according to a count by AFP based on the independent website.Foreign forces suffered a grim spike in deaths last month as the Taliban insurgency intensified, with Nato confirming on Wednesday that a sixth US soldier was killed on one of the bloodiest days this year.At 490, the overall death toll for foreign troops for the first eight months of the year is rapidly closing in the number registered in all of 2009, which at 521 was a record since the start of the war in late 2001.US President Barack Obama on Tuesday warned that the United States faced a “very tough fight” in Afghanistan, with more casualties and “heartbreak” to come.“We obviously still have a very tough fight in Afghanistan,” Obama told troops in Texas as the United States marked the formal end of combat operations in Iraq.“We have seen casualties go up because we are taking the fight to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban,” Obama said. “It is going to be a tough slog.”

IMF exploits the floods to pummels Pakistan

The International Monetary Fund continues to insist on more tax and energy sector reforms within the current fiscal year, despite its concerns about the impact of the 2010 flood on Pakistan’s economy, officials say. Pakistan’s talks with the International Monetary Fund on loan restructuring and emergency assistance for flood victims entered a decisive phase on Monday as the two sides began their policy discussions. Officials familiar with the talks told Dawn that Pakistan would have to implement tax and energy sector reforms within the current fiscal year if it wanted to continue an $11.3 billion loan arrangement negotiated in 2008. The IMF also wants Pakistan to grant full autonomy to the State Bank, as it pledged while negotiating the loan arrangement with the fund. A document released by the IMF on the occasion of the talks indicates that the fund is not satisfied with Pakistan’s pre-flood performance.

September 6- 2010

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