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These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 16, 2008.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Paglia on Palin

Camille Paglia is generally annoying, but her comments on Sarah Palin in The Sunday Times seem to be fair - fairer than Caitlin Moran, though not as funny:

The gun-toting Palin is a brash ambassador from America’s pioneer past. She immediately reminded me of the frontier women of the western states, which first granted women the right to vote after the civil war — long before the federal amendment guaranteeing universal suffrage was passed in 1919. Frontier women faced the same harsh challenges and had to tackle the same chores as men, which is why men could regard them as equals — unlike the genteel, corseted ladies of the eastern seaboard.

Despite the lurid allegations and half-truths about Palin in the liberal blogosphere, I am still waiting for evidence that she is a dangerous extremist. I am willing to be convinced, but now she seems to be merely an optimistic pragmatist like Ronald Reagan; someone who pays lip service to religious piety without being in the least wedded to it. I don’t see her arrival as portending the end of civil liberties or life as we know it.

[...]

Perhaps Palin seemed perfectly normal to me because she resembles so many women I grew up with in the snow belt of upstate New York. For example, there were the robust and hearty farm women of Oxford, a charming village where my father taught at high school when I was a child.

Here’s one episode. My father and his visiting brother, a dapper barber, were standing outside having a smoke when a noise came from a nearby barn. A calf had escaped. Our landlady yelled: “Stop her!” as the calf came careening towards my father and uncle, who both instinctively stepped back. Irate, our landlady trudged past them to the upper pasture, cornered the calf, and carried the massive animal back to the barn in her arms. As she walked by my father and uncle, she exclaimed in amused disgust: “Men!”

Now that’s the Palin brand of can-do, no-excuses, moose-hunting feminism — a world away from the whining, sniping, wearily ironic mode of establishment feminism represented by Gloria Steinem, a Hillary Clinton supporter. Palin, if her reputation survives the punishing next two months, may be breaking down those barriers. Feminism, which should be about equal rights and equal opportunity, should not be a closed club requiring an ideological litmus test for membership.

Moose-hunting feminism? I think I prefer mousse-hunting, preferably chocolate. As I said before, Palin is a bit jolly-hockey-sticks for my taste, but that is better than the brooding introspection of our own Gordon Brown. And if proof were needed of Palin's good-eggery, Heather "college-girls-are-sluts" Mac Donald is primly disapproving. 

Posted on 09/16/2008 6:37 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Stay at home

Foreign travel can be pleasurable. If you rough it you become more resourceful. Above all, it makes you appreciate home comforts. This last is my main reason for taking trips abroad. I generally agree with Nancy Mitford's semi-fictional Uncle Matthew, who declared:

‘Frogs are slightly better than Huns or Wops, but abroad is unutterably bloody and foreigners are fiends.’

Travel has not really broadened my mind; that was not the point of the exercise. But at least I saw more than the inside of a fancy hotel. And I didn't expect the taxpayer to foot the bill.

Writing in The Times, Ross Clark has a novel suggestion for world leaders contemplating foreign travel: don't do it:  

Admittedly, I was a little surprised when I read that the 44-year-old Palin only applied for her first passport last year, and since then hasn't exactly filled its pages with stamps: a trip to Ireland, mentioned by an aide as an example of her foreign policy experience, turned out to consist of her sitting on a plane while it was refuelled.

But the more I think about it, the more I think: “So what?” Let's face it, if the extent of a candidate's global travels was what made a good political leader, then we would have elected Judith Chalmers [a TV travel presenter - M.J.] Prime Minister years ago.

I have nothing against people taking exotic holidays, but the idea that somehow they give you insight and wisdom denied to people who stay at home is a nonsense. You don't learn about Indian politics by snorkelling off Goa or about Australia's economy by lounging around on Bondi Beach. I wouldn't mind betting that if you were to stand in the arrivals hall at Heathrow and ask each passenger the name of the prime minister of the country from which they had just returned you would get a success rate of less than 5 per cent.

If Sarah Palin does become Vice-President, one valuable thing she could bring to the job is to prune severely the number of foreign trips made by world leaders. Many of them are nothing more than junkets, carefully timed to sidestep difficulties at home. Remember how Tony Blair used to jet off to go riding with his friend Dubya whenever things were looking rough at home? The bigger the scoundrel, the more inclined he is to resort to foreign travel. You certainly couldn't fault Robert Mugabe for the number of the stamps in his passport: he used to pop up in London every five minutes.

If I were Sarah Palin I know how I would bat away gibes about my unworldiness. “No, I haven't been to Tajikistan,” I would say. “But I do know how to operate video conferencing facilities and I'm going to save US taxpayers a fortune by talking to world leaders from right here in Washington.”

Stay at home, Sarah, and read about Islam. Somebody needs to.

Posted on 09/16/2008 6:53 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Sharia in the UK? Yes and no

Melanie Phillips has a balanced view of the recent Sunday Times claim that sharia law is suddenly "official" in the UK. As I wrote here, it is not, but there are more dangers in it being unofficial, and not officially disapproved of:

Confusion abounds over the claim in the Sunday Times that Islamic law has been officially adopted in Britain with the government quietly giving powers under the Arbitration Acts to sharia courts to enforce their decisions. The story quoted Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the courts, and who said he had taken advantage of a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996:

Under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.

Siddiqi said: ‘We realised that under the Arbitration Act we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals. This method is called alternative dispute resolution, which for Muslims is what the sharia courts are.’

But there’s nothing new here at all. The rulings of the sharia courts, which have been in existence for years, have always been enforceable under the Arbitration Acts, as is all dispute resolution. They have not suddenly been given the force of law. In that respect, the story seems to be overheated and misleading.

This does not, however, dispel the serious concern about the spread of sharia law and the scope of these courts. Once again, misleading comparisons have been made with the Jewish religious courts in Britain, but the big difference is that these operate wholly within English law. Anything governed by statute law – personal status issues such as marriage or divorce, or inheritance – has to conform to English law. British Jews operate under the principle that ‘the law of the land is the law’. By contrast, the sharia courts are not only ruling on precisely such personal status issues but – even more alarmingly – are dealing with criminal matters such as domestic violence. True, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal website says

MAT is unable to deal with criminal offences as we do not have jurisdiction to try such matters in the UK

and merely tries to bring about a reconciliation in such cases where the parties agree, with the final decision to prosecute remaining with the Crown Prosecution Service. However, given the inferior status of Muslim women under sharia, any sharia arbitration in respect of domestic violence can hardly be viewed with equanimity. Moreover, although the MAT website says that it

must operate within the legal framework of England and Wales

it seems that what it means by this is merely that this enables its rulings to be enforced rather than it recognises the primacy of English law over sharia – indeed, since Islam recognises no higher legal authority than sharia, such a recognition would seem to be deeply improbable.

The key point is that sharia law is not compatible with English law or the principles of equality and human rights that it embodies. The result – regardless of the fact that this is not, as the Sunday Times claimed, anything new – is that Britain is allowing the development of a de facto parallel legal system in Britain, thus destroying our society's cardinal principle of of one law for all.

[...]

Indeed, if this continues Britain will break up as a unitary state governed by one law for all. Sharia law should be stopped, not condoned or encouraged. No other minority in Britain either wants or is permitted to live under an alternative legal system. This is the way a society fractures -- and then goes under.

Posted on 09/16/2008 8:11 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
More Somali Protests

A group of 500 Muslim workers from Grand Island's JBS Swift & Co. plant staged a protest Monday afternoon.

Members of the B shift (3 to 11:30 p.m.) and some members of the morning A shift walked off the job after being denied time to pray during what they said is the holiest of times for them -- Ramadan.

A group of protesting women said they were kicked by a supervisor when they attempted to pray at work.

Asha Abdi said she knelt to pray when the supervisor said, "You can't pray here," kicked her feet and told her to go home.

Another woman, Hawo Mohammed, said she told her production supervisor she needed to go to the bathroom. She attempted to pray quickly in the bathroom until the male supervisor followed her in and told her she was taking too long.

"The main point is freedom for religion," said Ridwan Abbi, a second-shift production worker who gladly supported his peers.

The workers said they pray about four to five times a day -- two times of which fall during the A shift schedule and two of which fall during the B shift.

"The company said we aren't going to give you any time to pray, but this is a free country," said Ahmed Abdi, a spokesman for the largely Somalian group, who formerly worked at the plant. "We are Muslim and this country is about freedom."...

Posted on 09/16/2008 8:33 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Courage, My Friends, Courage Is All We Need

I have spent my evenings, recently, re-reading Sir Hugh Walpole’s Rogue Herries and I was reminded irresistibly of one of his greatest sayings – ‘’Tisn’t life that matters. ‘Tis the courage you bring to it.’ That’s the opening sentence from Fortitude (published in 1913).

To some greater, or lesser, extent each of us brings courage to the fight against radical Islam simply by being here, or elsewhere, and posting, or replying to the posts.
 
That led me on to Nietzsche – specifically to that wonderful quote from Jenseits von Gut und Bose – I am sure that you know it – ‘Wer mit Ungeheuern kampft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einem Abgrund blickst, blickst der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.’
 
Yes, it’s true. We do indeed fight with monsters, with the monster that is radical Islam today, but it is equally as true that we must guard against becoming a monster, or monsters, ourselves.
 
I loathe Islam and I hate radical, fundamentalist Islam, but I do not hate any individual Muslim for I cannot hate a fellow human being no matter how much I might disagree with his, or her, world-view, or faith.
 
And that is what marks me out from them – the radical Muslims – I do not hate them, I do not wish for their humanity to be extinguished. I do not want to see them dead and atop some pyre and gone forever. The fact is, and I acknowledge it, that that is what they wish for me, however! But I am greater than that. I do not pray for that end for them – silly and self-destructive though that might be of me. I pray, instead, that they awaken from their nightmare, from their madness.
 
And if I should fail to persuade them to wake up?
 
Try Shakespeare – ‘We fail! But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail’.
 
No! We will not fail. Love conquers all – even Islam.
 
Horace, I think in the Ars poetica, it was who said: ‘Nos numerus sumus et fruges consumere nati. There really is no new thought under the sun, is there?
 
Horace also said, of course, and most apposite today: ‘Persicos, odi, puer, apparatus.’
 
I rest my case.
Posted on 09/16/2008 8:43 AM by John Joyce
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Anwar Ibrahim Claims He Can Take Down Malaysian Gov't

GMBDR:

Global media is widely reporting that Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, closely tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood, has said that he now has sufficient parliamentary backing to “bring down the government.” According to one report:

Malaysia’s insurgent opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, said Tuesday that he had secured enough parliamentary backing to bring down the government but that he hoped to negotiate a quiet departure by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi. Postponing a self-imposed deadline Tuesday, and declining to name the defectors from the ruling party, Mr. Anwar said, “We want the transition to be peaceful. That’s why we are not giving an ultimatum.” Mr. Abdullah, whose disastrous electoral setback in March has given Mr. Anwar an opening, scoffed at the idea, calling it “Anwar’s mirage” and asserting that he would not cede power. But support within his party, the Barisan National, has been eroding since the election on March 8, when it slipped below its two-thirds margin for the first time. On Monday, the minister for legal affairs quit and said he would not rule out joining the opposition. Mr. Anwar’s challenge is the most serious threat to the ruling coalition since it took power in 1957, when Malaysia gained independence from British colonial rule. One of the most stable countries in the region, it has been plunged into political turmoil, alongside its neighbor Thailand, where the government is in disarray after three weeks of protests. Mr. Anwar’s plans, as he outlines them, would overturn some of the central pillars of government and open Malaysia to the possibility of democratic reforms. He says he will scrap the internal security act that allows detention without trial, abolish special economic status for ethnic Malays and cleanse the government of corruption and nepotism.

Ibrahim has many known ties to the global U.S Muslim Brotherhood including helping to found the International Institute of Islamic Thought IIIT) where he currently serves as a director, representing Asian youth and serving as a trustee for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) during the 1970’s and early 1980’s, and appearances at numerous Brotherhood-linked conferences. As a previous post noted, Ibrahim was scheduled to speak last December at a conference in Istanbul that featured a large number of prominent speakers with ties to the global Brotherhood. Another recent post also discussed Ibrahim’s appearance at a Saudi economic forum...

Posted on 09/16/2008 9:25 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Denmark warned about threat to poison water supplies

I missed this yesterday in The Copenhagen Post. H/T Awsti.
An Islamic extremist group has discussed on its website how to poison Denmark's water supplies in retaliation for Jyllands-Posten newspaper's publication of the Mohammed drawings.

Detailed plans of how the deed can be carried out appeared on extremist group al-ekhlaa's homepage in August, according to American terror watch organisation Jamestown Foundation. In addition, discussions of committing terror actions - especially against Denmark and the UK - have been ongoing in the website's forum.
Intelligence agency PET was informed of the situation and said they are keeping an eye on it. Jamestown Foundation indicated the website is a primary gathering place for al-Qaeda followers.

Posted on 09/16/2008 11:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
A Musical Interlude: It Looks Like Love (Abe Lyman's Orch., voc. Paul Neely)
Posted on 09/16/2008 3:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Kuwaiti Preacher On Smelly And Immoral Europeans

 

From Memri.org : 

The Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan recently published an article [1] by its columnist Sheikh Nabil Al-'Awadhi, who is a government-appointed preacher at a Kuwaiti mosque and in the past had a television show called "An Hour of Sincerity" on Kuwaiti Al-Rai TV. In the article, titled "The Qualities of the European," Al-'Awadhi states that Europeans are disciplined and law-abiding only because they fear punishment; that they are unclean, since they "only wash when absolutely necessary"; and that they are selfish, cowardly and miserly. It should be noted that in August 2006, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowments suspended Al-'Awadhi from his post as preacher for three months, after he gave a Friday sermon inciting to jihad and calling for harming Jews. [2]

Reformist Kuwaiti writer Ahmad Al-Sarraf responded to Al-'Awadhi's article with one of his own, in which he condemned and refuted Al-'Awadhi's statements about Europeans. [3]

Following are excerpts from the two articles:
 

The Europeans' "Bad Qualities Are Innumberable!"

Al-'Awadhi's article, titled "The Qualities of the European," appeared in his regular "A Word of Sincerity" column in Al-Watan. In it, he wrote:

"In a previous piece, called 'The Arab Qualities,' I mentioned some of the bad qualities which distinguish many Arabs, and which Islam calls on us to reject. Some [people], who are dazzled by Western civilization, thought that the examples [I presented in the article] were intended as a comprehensive comparison between the Arabs and the West. But the truth is that I mentioned only a few [Arab] qualities, comparing them with Western characteristics.

"However, as for the West and its characteristics, especially the Europeans - their bad qualities are innumerable! This article does not mean to [discuss] all the European qualities, [but] only some of them - in particular those having to do with their relations with one another.

"Europeans Today Are Disciplined, Law-Abiding, and Punctual... Because They Are Afraid of Penalties"

"As for the Europeans' relations with the Creator, animals are better than they are... for they do not permit what is permissible, and do not forbid what is forbidden. Moreover, whenever they find a way to please the Devil, they pursue it. I do not believe that Satan [ever] imagined that his temptation of humanity would [yield] such an extent of heresy as well as moral depravity and decay.

"Most Europeans today are disciplined, law-abiding, and punctual. But they behave in this manner not because they believe in [these virtues], but because they are afraid of penalties and fines. Just imagine, dear reader, a civilized city like London, New York, Paris or Frankfurt with the electricity cut off for even one day. What do you think the European man, in his elegant suit, and the European woman, with her elegant figure, would do?

"[Imagine] just one day without electricity, during which the surveillance cameras and the alarm systems fail. In this situation, these civilized people would turn into wild animals that would devour everything!!

"Yes, that is the truth about the West. It is not restrained by religion, values or virtue, but only by fear of punishment and fines. Furthermore, without surveillance, even the police would take part in the thievery."

"Had Allah Not Given [the Europeans] a Cold Climate, Their Stench Would Have... Driven Away the Birds and Withered the Vegetation"

"Europeans [also] usually smell bad, because they do not wash until it is absolutely necessary. They do not clean themselves properly after urinating, nor do they wipe the filth off [themselves]. Whoever mingles with them notices this characteristic. If Allah had not given them a cold climate, the stench would have been overwhelming, driving away the birds and withering the vegetation. For real cleanliness means nothing to them.

"Other bad qualities which characterize the Europeans like no others are cowardice and stinginess. You encounter a European of impressive appearance, and you believe him to be brave and strong. But as soon as you put him to the test, you find him to be a craven coward. On many occasions, I have seen them make a big racket, like barking dogs, but once confronted, they run away like rats...

"Usually, they do not aid those who are wronged or help those in distress, except seldom. Many a time have I seen people being beaten and old people lying injured on the ground, with no one lifting a finger to help them. They pay no attention to others and think only of themselves."

"The European is Miserly Even Towards His Own Wife and Children"

"As for stinginess, the Europeans are the very model of it. The European is miserly even towards his own wife and children. He may dine with his wife in a restaurant, and then each of them pays their own bill!! And when his son or daughter turns 18, he asks them to pay rent for living under his roof!

"Just as generosity and courage are man's finest qualities, so are stinginess and cowardice his worst, and the latter are especially characteristic of the European. He lives for his material interests only, and does not recognize social ties. Father and mother usually mean nothing to him, and even his children - his only interest in them is materialistic.

"Most of the Europeans today are racist, especially the Germans and the French. They despise one another, and [also] despise others. They believe that they deserve a good life, while others have only the right to serve them. Those compelled to live among them experience this racism. Given an opportunity to crush the others, [the Europeans] would grab it without hesitation. In fact, their history [provides] proof of this evil quality.

"I do not write this article out of hate or resentment, though, by Allah, I do hate the infidels among them. I have written this article in fairness, so that those who are impressed with the West will not be deluded and will not think that I am dazzled by the Europeans. For, as I have said, their bad qualities are innumerable. By Allah, even one Muslim who worships Allah is better than all the infidels in the world, even if their appearance impresses some people."

Reformist Al-Sarraf: Looking At the Europeans' Achievements, "We Are Shocked - Not Only by the Extent of Their Progress, But Also By the Extent of Our Own Backwardness"

In his rebuttal to Al-'Awadhi, reformist Kuwaiti writer Ahmad Al-Sarraf wrote: "A simple and quick comparison between the societies in the Gulf and those of Europe reveals enormous differences in education, agriculture and economics, not to mention space exploration, trade, tourism, archeology, hotels, roads, and basic utilities like electricity, water and alternative energy sources. If we examine their scientific institutes, [their] progress in medicine, and the standard of [care in] their hospitals, we will be shocked - not only by the extent of their progress, but also by the extent of our own backwardness, lack of productivity, and scanty participation in human enterprises.

"A quick glance at the moral differences between the two societies will [also] shock us... In Europe, [punctuality] is sacred and the work [ethic] is honored, while dishonesty is rare. In our societies, [on the other hand], the opposite is true.

"[When we consider] their cultural and humanitarian role, and their contribution in all areas to humanity as a whole over the last three centuries or more, we are astonished - not only at how little we have contributed, but [also] at the amazing number of calamities and woes that shameless fools from amongst us have inflicted upon the world, especially upon the West.

"Space does not permit [me] to enumerate the reasons for [the difference between the two societies]. However, there is no better proof of the greatness of Western culture, and of its values and ethics, than [the testimony] of the Saudi preacher 'Aaidh Al-Qarni, whose affiliation with a strict Islamic school did not prevent him from writing [the following words] during his first visit to Europe last March. [He wrote:] 'I am [currently] in Paris for medical treatment. I have been consulting doctors, visiting libraries, observing people, and looking at the way they behave towards each other. I have found polite and friendly people of refined culture, good qualities, and fine sensibilities. I have also found punctuality and a well-ordered way of life. [As for] us Arabs, Ibn Khaldun has preceded me in describing us as wild and uncouth. Some of my fellow clerics are coarse of character and have a desert mentality. We need an institution to train us in good manners, and another to produce high officials who are gentle, compassionate and humble... [and who] treat people decently.' This is what Saudi preacher Al-Qarni thinks of the Europeans."

"Kuwaiti preacher Nabil Al-'Awadhi, who writes for Al-Watan and belongs to the very same religious school as Al-Qarni, has a completely different view of [the Europeans]... [He thinks that] 'their bad qualities are innumerable.' His lengthy article contains much censure, invective and abuse, and I have quoted from [it] only in order to expose... the attitude towards others held by some of us - especially towards those who are most advanced, cultured and respectful [of others] and who have contributed the most to other nations.

"I should note that I do not read Nabil Al-'Awadhi's column, but that someone who read it told me that he had translated it and intends to distribute it to the European embassies in Kuwait... so that, if [Al-'Awadhi] ever applies for a visa to receive medical treatment in one of their countries, they can confront him with what he wrote."
 


[1] Al-Watan (Kuwait), August 17, 2008, http://www.alwatan.com.kw/Writer%20Article%20Viewer/tabid/164/Default.aspx?article_id=439614&AuthorID=1087.

[2] Al-Qabas (Kuwait), August 6, 2006; Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowments website, http://islam.gov.kw/site/news/details.php?data_id=3865.

[3] Al-Qabas (Kuwait), August 25, 2008, http://www.alqabas.com.kw/Article.aspx?id=424482&date=14092008.


 

Posted on 09/16/2008 4:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
OIC Presents Its Resolution To UN

Daily Times (h/t Jeffrey Imm):

ISLAMABAD: A resolution against the publication of blasphemous caricatures of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in various countries will be presented in the upcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), an Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) representative said on Tuesday.

The resolution will demand legislation against the publication of blasphemous caricatures of revered personalities and derogatory remarks against religions. It will also demand [sacrilegious] actions be declared a crime,” OIC Secretary General’s Special Representative on Kashmir Ezzat Kamel Mufti told a news conference.

Mufti said a particular group in America and the European Union had been launching attacks against Islam. “However, we should not get emotional and resort to any kind of violence, including suicide bombings,” he said.

Posted on 09/16/2008 6:44 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
German Anxiety Rises Over New Mosques In Germany

From Le Monde: 

L'édification de nouvelles mosquées suscite des tensions dans les villes allemandes

LE MONDE | 16.09.08


a ville de Duisbourg restera peut-être dans les annales comme un modèle d'intégration réussie. Fin octobre, cette cité de la Ruhr va inaugurer dans son quartier de Marxloh la plus grande mosquée d'Allemagne : l'édifice d'inspiration byzantine, surmonté d'une coupole de 23 mètres et de quatorze petites coupoles ainsi que d'un minaret de 34 mètres, pourra accueillir jusqu'à 1 200 croyants. Situé au nord de la ville, ce lieu de culte constitue l'un des rares exemples d'une coopération harmonieuse entre les institutions locales et la communauté musulmane. Du début à la fin, la mise en oeuvre du projet n'a suscité aucune controverse.

 

Ailleurs en Allemagne, les projets de construction de mosquées donnent lieu à des polémiques sans fin et cristallisent les peurs de la population. L'exemple de Cologne est le plus connu. Après deux ans de controverses, la municipalité a donné son feu vert à la construction d'une mosquée dans le quartier d'Ehrenfeld, jeudi 28 août. Hasard ou non, cette décision a été prise quelques jours avant le début de la période du ramadan, le 1er septembre. Les travaux devraient commencer début 2009 et s'achever fin 2010. Par ses dimensions - deux minarets se dresseront vers le ciel à 55 mètres de hauteur (contre 157 mètres pour la cathédrale) -, la mosquée de Cologne supplantera alors celle de Duisbourg.

"Il ne doit pas naître de société parallèle", a déclaré Fritz Schramma, le maire chrétien-démocrate de la ville. L'élu, qui a défendu le projet de mosquée contre son propre parti, y voit un moyen de sortir l'islam des arrière-cours. Pendant des mois, partisans et opposants de cette construction s'étaient livré une lutte sans merci. L'intervention de personnalités telles que l'écrivain Ralph Giordano - il a protesté contre ce qu'il considère être "une démonstration de force de l'islam" -, ou de l'auteur Günter Wallraff, qui a proposé de lire dans les locaux de l'actuelle mosquée des extraits des Versets sataniques de Salman Rushdie, témoignent des tensions suscitées.

 

DIALOGUE

 

Même après la décision de la mairie, les opposants ne désarment pas. Pro Köln, un petit parti d'extrême droite, qui a rassemblé 23 000 signatures contre le projet, appelle à manifester le 20 septembre prochain à Cologne, où il a invité tout le spectre de l'extrême droite européenne pour un "congrès contre l'islamisation". Parmi les orateurs annoncés figurent Jean-Marie Le Pen et Filip de Winter, du Vlaams-Belang belge. "Un bâtiment aussi tape-à-l'oeil ne contribue pas à l'intégration, et il y a de toute manière suffisamment de lieux de prières musulmans dans la ville", affirme Markus Wiener, l'un des responsables de cette organisation. Il espère un changement de personnel politique à la mairie après les élections municipales de juin 2009 pour stopper le projet.

A l'image de Cologne, d'autres projets de mosquées suscitent des conflits dans plusieurs grandes villes allemandes, telles que Francfort, Berlin, Munich ou Kassel. Pourtant, sur près de 900 lieux de prières musulmans, seuls 206 sont des édifices représentatifs avec minaret ou coupoles, selon l'institut d'archives sur l'islam basé à Soest.

"Les gens s'inquiètent dès lors que l'islam devient visible alors que les politiques ne cessent de réclamer davantage de transparence", fustige Aiman Mazyek, le secrétaire général du conseil central des musulmans d'Allemagne. Des travaux du sociologue Wilhelm Heitmeyer, de l'université Bielefeld, attestent d'une augmentation de l'islamophobie outre-Rhin. Un phénomène qui tend à se propager dans les milieux cultivés. Selon les analyses du sociologue, près de 27 % des Allemands affichent un rejet explicite des musulmans ; 35 % des Allemands sont pessimistes et critiques à leur égard.

"Les efforts doivent se faire des deux côtés, la société allemande tout comme les organisations musulmanes doivent apprendre à gérer ces conflits", souligne l'expert. Duisbourg peut indiquer la voie à suivre. Les initiateurs de la mosquée de Marxloh ont fait preuve d'une grande ouverture au dialogue. "Ils ont coopéré très tôt avec les autorités locales", raconte M. Mazyek. Dès 2001, un conseil consultatif comprenant des musulmans, des représentants des Eglises, des partis politiques, des écoles, des universités et des habitants du quartier, a été mis en place. "Créer la confiance était fondamental, confirme Zülfiye Kaykin, responsable du projet pour le Ditib (Union turque islamique pour la religion). Dans les autres villes, il y a souvent trop de distance entre la communauté musulmane et les autorités locales." De son côté, la municipalité a toujours soutenu ce projet. "Le signal donné par les élites est essentiel dans ce type de conflit", remarque M. Heitmeyer.

Les membres du Ditib ont également pris soin de garder une certaine mesure par rapport aux dimensions des autres bâtiments religieux de la ville. Ainsi, le clocher de l'église la plus proche reste bien plus élevé que le minaret de la mosquée de Marxloh.

Cécile Calla

Posted on 09/16/2008 4:32 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Today in the "Religion of Peace™"

On this date, September 16th, in 1970, Jordanian armed forces attacked the headquarters of the PLO in Jordan, killing 10,000 to 25,000 "Palestinians", an event which came to be called "Black September" by the "Palestinians".

"Palestinians" living in Jordan under Yasir Arafat had been active against the Jordanian government since the 1950's.  They agitated for King Hussein's overthrow; they wore military uniforms and carried their weapons openly in public; they set up checkpoints to extort "protection" money from motorists and shopkeepers;  they kidnapped their fellow Jordanians for ransom;  they set up their own "police" force and refused to allow Jordanian investigation of crimes committed by "Palestinians."  They wantonly murdered Jordanian soldiers and civilians.  Future Jordanian Prime Minister Zaid al-Rifai said that "the [jihadis] killed a soldier, beheaded him, and played soccer with his head in the area where he used to live."

The "Palestinians" in Jordan were supported politically and materially by Egypt and Syria, and financially by Saudi Arabia.

In early September, 1970, the "Palestinian" jihadis made several attempts to assassinate fellow Muslim King Hussein.  Around the same time, they also hijacked five airliners, flew them to Dawson's Field in Jordan, and blew them up in front of live televsion cameras.

Finally, on September 16th, Hussein declared martial law and ordered his soldiers to attack PLO headquarters.  As usual, the jihadis were soundly routed and forced to retreat.  That's when things started to get interesting.

On September 18th the Syrians invaded Jordan with tanks and troops.  King Hussein frantically called on the U.S. and Britain to step in militarily to save his regime.  President Nixon and Prime Minister Heath each sent several aircraft carriers to the region, and increased troop levels.  In response, the Soviet Union sent a fleet of their warships to the region, to protect the Syrians and their other allies in the region.  The Israelis sent aircraft sorties over the Syrians, and forced them to withdraw back to Syria.  Eventually, with the "Palestinians" expelled, the situation stabilized, and relative peace returned to Jordan.

In October 1974,  Yasir Arafat met in negotiation with King Hussein.  Arafat demanded that Jordan allow the PLO to return to Jordan and reestablish their state-within-a-state.  Hussein declined.

Previous Days in the "Religion of Peace™":

Sept 15: Ottomans conquer Persia
Sept 14: Assassination of Gemayel
Sept 13: Confiscation of Armenian property
Sept 12: Salvation of Vienna
Sept 11: Sept 11

Posted on 09/16/2008 3:22 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden

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