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Thread: Today's Top Islamic News (DAILY)

  1. #1611
    Despite civilian deaths, McCain defends US drone raids
    Thu, 07 Jan 2010 08:57:56 GMT

    US Senator John McCain defended Thursday the use of drone attacks against suspected militants in Pakistan, despite the mounting civilian casualties of the raids.

    "The drone strikes are part of an overall set of tactics which make up the strategy for victory and they have been very effective," he said during his visit to Kabul. He did not mention the collateral damage inflicted upon the civilian population.

    "I think it should continue, I think it's an important tool in our overall strategy and we can claim measurable success in carrying out those operations," said McCain.

    The drone attacks, carried out by the US Central Intelligence Agency in cooperation with the Pentagon, reportedly killed over 700 civilians in Pakistan last year.

    McCain also noted that a parliamentary election in Afghanistan due in May could be delayed by up to three months. According to Afghanistan's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the poll should go ahead on May 22.

    Following McCain's remarks, deputy head of the IEC, Daud Ali Najafi, said Afghanistan will hold the election on schedule despite concerns.

    However, Western diplomats in Kabul say they doubt Afghanistan will be able to eradicate the problems that turned last August's presidential poll into a ballot-stuffing farce.


  2. #1612
    Ex-Blackwater mercenaries charged with murder
    Thu, 07 Jan 2010 21:49:27 GMT

    Two former mercenaries of the notorious US security firm Blackwater (now known as Xe Services LLC) have been charged with the 2009 murder of two Afghan civilians in Kabul, the Justice Department says.

    Justin Cannon, 27, of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Christopher Drotleff, 29, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, have been charged with second-degree murder after opening fire on the two civilians.

    If convicted, they could face the death penalty or life imprisonment, the Justice Department said. The indictment was returned in the Eastern District of Virginia.

    According to the indictment, the pair are accused of killing two Afghans on May 5, 2009. A third Afghan civilians was injured in the shooting.

    They face a total of eight charges each, including knowingly discharging a firearm to commit a crime.

    Blackwater changed its name to Xe after it was faced with international condemnation following an incident in which its mercenaries in Iraq opened fire on unarmed civilians in September 2007, killing more than a dozen people.

    The firm is headquartered in North Carolina. Cannon and Drotleff were employed by Paravant LLC which is a subsidiary of Xe.


  3. #1613
    US seeks Japan reassurance on military base
    Fri, 08 Jan 2010 20:21:30 GMT

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet her Japanese counterpart Katsuya Okada in Hawaii on Tuesday to convey Washington's concerns regarding its partnership with Tokyo and the fate of a US military base in Japan.

    The two sides "have to have a very clear-headed recognition of how important this relationship is, how many aspects need to be maintained and engaged upon," said Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, who will accompany Clinton in the trip.

    "And security issues are important in a complex and changing Asia, and we want a very clear set of statements on the part of the Japanese government of a desire to continue to work closely with us," he added.

    The new government of Japan headed by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has threatened that Japan could refuse continued military cooperation with the US. He has hinted that Japan might request for the relocation of the American airbase base in Futenma. Futenma is located in the southern island of Okinawa and along with other bases there house thousands of US marines.

    The new outlook undermines the Status of Forces Agreement signed in 2006 between Japan's former governing Liberal Democratic Party and the administration of former US president George W. Bush.

    Commenting on the US-Japan relations, Hatoyama said on Monday that Japan should avoid a situation in which "we just give up what we want to say only because it's difficult, or where one simply obeys the other."


  4. #1614
    US reviews options for Blackwater prosecution
    Sat, 09 Jan 2010 00:41:05 GMT

    The US government is reviewing options for proceeding with the prosecution of five Blackwater (now known as Xe Services LLC) contractors who killed innocent Iraqi civilians in 2007.

    US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said Friday that a December 31 decision by a federal judge to dismiss manslaughter charges against the five mercenaries does not "exonerate the defendants or necessarily terminate the proceedings."

    "The Department of Justice, in consultation with the State Department, will carefully review the judge's decision and assess all available legal options," Crowley said.

    The five were involved in a shooting in Baghdad's Nisour Square that left more than a dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children, dead.

    Blackwater argued that their personnel came under fire and responded appropriately. However, the Iraqi and US governments concluded that the shooting was unprovoked.

    The charges consisted of 14 counts of manslaughter, 20 counts of attempted manslaughter and one count of firearms violation by using an assault weapon in the course of committing a crime.

    Judge Ricardo Urbina of the US District Court in Washington, however, ruled that prosecutors mishandled evidence and tossed out the case.

    The Iraqi government has urged the Obama administration to appeal the ruling.

    Blackwater pulled out of Iraq in May, after the US State Department refused to renew its contracts. The company changed its name to Xe Services LLC last year after the September 2007 incident drew worldwide condemnation.


  5. #1615
    'Not in name of Islam': U.S. Muslims
    09/01/2010 06:30:00 PM GMT

    CAIRO – As a young Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a US plane made his first court appearance, American Muslims came together to denounce terrorism, reported The Detroit News on Saturday, January 9.

    "We are not going to let these terrorists hijack our religion," Majed Moughni, who moved to the Detroit area from Lebanon, said.

    "We've been trying to recover from (the Sept. 11 terror attacks) for nine years. (This) comes right in our backyards, right over the heads of the largest Muslim population in North America."

    Scores of American Muslims, Arabs and Nigerians rallied in cold weather in front of the federal courthouse in Detroit to speak out against terrorism.

    Flying large American flags, the marchers carried signs reading “Islam is against terrorism”, “Not in the name of Islam” and “Not in Our Name”.

    The march came as 23-year-old Nigerian suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance on Friday.

    "At this time our client would like to enter a plea of not guilty," lawyer Miriam Siefer said.

    Hobbled by leg irons, Abdulmutallab spoke softly from the dock to confirm his name, how it was spelt and his age.

    Abdulmutallab is facing six charges, including attempted murder of 290 people on board a US-bound plane on Christmas Eve and trying to use a weapon of mass destruction.

    He faces life imprisonment if convicted.

    Wearing a white T-shirt, tan pants and tennis shoes, Abdulmutallab’s court appearance took less than three minutes.

    "Do you understand the charges contained in the indictment?" Magistrate Mark Randon asked the young Nigerian.

    "Yes I do," Abdulmutallab replied softly.

    Randon asked Abdulmutallab if he understood the sentence associated with the charges, which could include life in prison.

    "Yes, I do," Abdulmutallab said.

    * Anti-terror

    Nigerian-Americans also rallied outside the courthouse to denounce the failed plane plot.

    "I'm here to tell the world that Nigerians don't support terrorism," Remigius Obi of Ann Arbor said.

    Chanting slogans against terrorism, the marchers carried banners reading "Nigeria condemns terrorism. Nigerians disown Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Nigeria says sorry to America & the world."

    "Terrorism is not part of Nigerians' culture. We love America. We love life," said Obi.

    Following the failed bid, the US toughened security measures for passengers from a number of Muslim countries, including Nigeria.

    Passengers holding passports from those nations, or taking flights that originate or pass through any of them, are being pulled aside for pat-downs and extra screening.

    Their luggage and clothing are checked for traces of explosive and are required to pass through controversial full-body screeners at airports equipped with the machines.

    "Nigerians are against terrorism," read a sign held by Ogunyinka Ogunleye, 59, of Detroit.

    "God bless America ... We are ready to go against anyone who supports terrorism,” Ogunleya told the Detroit Free Press.

    Ahead of the rally, a group of Muslim scholars held a news conference to denounce terrorism committed in the name of their faith.

    "The Muslim community is upset with what happened on Christmas Day, that this man tried to blow up the plane in the name of a faith in our own backyard," said Victor Begg, president of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan.

    Dawud Walid, assistant imam at Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit and head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also condemned the attempt.

    "We have a long track record of speaking out against terrorism," said Walid, who participated in the rally, waving a US flag.
    Source: IslamOnline

  6. #1616
    Screening Invites Bias: US Muslims
    09/01/2010 06:11:37 PM GMT

    CAIRO — Amid grouping concerns profiling Muslim passengers, twenty-seven American Muslim groups are warning that screening and body pat-downs at US airports will result in racial and ethnic profiling. "Security policies based on ethnic and religious profiling are both ineffective and contrary to constitutional principles," Privacy Coalition, awork of 34 civil liberty groups, said in a letter sent to Department of Homeland Security, reported the Wall Street Journal Saturday, January 9.

    The US has tightened security measures following a failed attempt by a 23-year-old Nigerian to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Eve.

    Hijab Profiling in US Airports Under new security measures, passengers from or via Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Syria and Cuba will be subject to extra security checks.

    Passengers holding passports from those nations, or taking flights that originate or pass through any of them, will be pulled aside for pat-downs and extra screening.

    Their luggage and clothing will be checked for traces of explosive and will be required to pass through controversial full-body screeners at airports equipped with the machines.

    The new measures, however, draw fire from security experts as ineffective and entails more risks against American interests.


    The Muslim groups said that the extra security measures for certain people amount to ethnic profiling.

    "Terrorism is neither ethnically nor geographically confined," the letter, which was signed by 27 groups, including the Muslim Advocates, the Arab American Institute, the Muslim Bar Associations in several states and the Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee.

    The coalition urged the Obama administration to change the newly-enacted rules.

    "All of us are concerned about the security of our nation."

    On Friday, American Muslims staged a protest in front of the courthouse in Detroit, where the Nigerian suspect made his first court appearance, to denounce the failed attempt against their country.

    US officials denied that the security measures were profiling against certain people.

    "As is always the case, TSA (Transportation Security Administration) security measures are based on threat, not ethnic or religious background," Matt Chandler, spokesman for Home Security Department, said.

    He said that the new measures are meant to make travelers more safer.

    Last Monday, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee announced plans to challenge the new rules in court.

    Source: IslamOnline

  7. #1617
    Tories to Restrict Visas For Foreign Students
    09/01/2010 03:11:49 PM GMT

    CAIRO – Once in power, Britain’s opposition Conservatives Party is planning to restrict the entry of foreign students into the country, reported the Guardian Saturday, January 9. "The student visa system is a huge loophole in our border controls," shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said.

    He said an upcoming Conservatives government would restrict granting visas to foreign students.

    Under the Tories plans, only universities and colleges registered with Companies House, the official government register of UK companies, would be entitled to fast-track students.

    Foreign students in non-recognized bodies would have to pay between £1,000-£2,000 every academic year.

    The Tories are also planning to tighten rules for foreign students borrowing money to prove their financial independence.

    The plans also include a ban on students switching courses while studying in Britain.

    Students would also be ordered to leave Britain after their study before being granted a work visa.

    Grayling said the British lax controls are resulting in "tens of thousands of bogus students in the UK and hundreds of unregulated colleges providing student visas, but little education".

    British colleges have been under scrutiny since a young Nigerian tried to blow up a US-bound plane on Christmas Eve.

    The Nigerian suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, studied mechanical engineering at University College London between 2005 and 2008.

    Thousands of foreign students come into Britain for study, earning the country £8.5bn every year.

    About 240,000 students were granted visas to study in Britain last year.


    The British government confirmed that plans are in the pipeline to amend the student visa system.

    “(The prime minister) will soon receive our review and we have agreed that changes will be made," said border minister Phil Woolas, reported The Financial Times.

    The student visa system has been under fire as many people use it to circumvent stricter work permit controls.

    In a nine-month period, only 29 students from Pakistan were interviewed out of 66,000 applicants.

    In 2008, 115,340 students were granted extension of leave to remain, making the student visa one of the most popular entry points into the country.

    Woolas, however, insists that foreign students are subject to strict rules before they are granted entry.

    "Any student applying under the points-based system provides their fingerprints and is checked against immigration and security watchlists before they reach the UK."

    Under the points-based visa system, only registered colleges can sponsor non-EU students to attend courses.

    But stricter visa rules for foreign students are stirring concerns among education institutions in the country.

    "International students do not come automatically to the UK," said Catherine Marston of Universities UK, a representative body.

    "Our universities work hard to attract them so it's vital we send out the message that we welcome them."

    Source: IslamOnline

  8. #1618
    Britain uses coercion to recruit Muslim 'spies'
    Tue, 05 Jan 2010 18:33:27 GMT

    A file photo shows the Muslim faithful gathering for prayer at the London Central Mosque.
    Amid stepped up security following the bombing attempt in the US, Britain's Security Service, the MI5, faces accusations of trying to force vulnerable Muslim citizens into espionage.

    A report by the British daily The Independent criticized the spy agency on Tuesday for tactics bordering on blackmail and harassment and targeting helpless Muslims.

    The paper cites the cases of two Somali immigrants to Britain, whom detail a series of threatening encounters with MI5 agents. It also hints at a pattern of such harassments targeting Somali nationals, citing five similar claims made in 2009.

    The United Sates and Britain have been pushing for more UN intervention to tackle what they call an emerging terrorist threat in Somalia, in wake of a failed attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound plane from Nigeria and a similar attack launched from Somalia.

    The security service, however, has intensified its covert operations against Britain's Somali and Yemeni communities since 2008 over concerns that UK citizens are being recruited by 'al-Qaeda' terrorist organization.

    Isahaq Elmi, 31, who complains of having received at least 200 phone calls, is a man who sought refuge in Britain from certain persecution in Africa where members of his family were murdered.

    Elmi says he was also tricked into attending meetings at police stations in Birmingham amid measures to coerce him into working for the security service.

    Ahmed Diini, a Dutch citizen of Somali origin who has settled in Britain, said harassments did not stop at threatening phone calls and visits by agents to his place of work — a school in Birmingham — and that he was twice detained at UK airports while trying to go on holiday.

    The 21-year-old alleges that men who claimed to be MI5 agents tried to put pressure on him with threats of detention under the Terrorism Act.

    British Muslim groups have slammed the "alienating" and heavy-handed tactics, as well as casting doubt on the quality and reliability of a forced spying operation.

    The attempt to blow up a US-bound airliner by a Nigerian man who spent time in Yemen and a suspected similar attack launched from Somalia has increased MI5's interest in British residents with links to both states.

    "I came here in 2000 after my family and business were targeted by extremists operating in Mogadishu. I thought I was safe after I was granted asylum in 2006 but since the visits and phone calls from MI5 my life has fallen apart," The Independent quoted Elmi as saying on Monday.

    "I told them that I didn't want to work for them by spying on my community. I said if they need informers they should go to the job centers and find work for people who have lost jobs in the recession - but I already have a job," Elmi added.


  9. #1619
    Drunk Britons spark 'bomb threat' scare
    Sat, 09 Jan 2010 19:23:18 GMT

    British police arrested three men aboard a Dubai-bound flight at London's Heathrow Airport on suspicion of making a bomb threat.

    As an Emirates Airline plane was about to take off, a verbal threat to staff forced police to arrest the men, London's Metropolitan Police said Saturday.

    A search of the plane found nothing suspicious aboard. The airport remained open during the incident.

    The flight, which was carrying 331 passengers, was rescheduled for 1500 GMT Saturday.

    Sky News television reported that the men arrested were English and appeared to be drunk.

    Emirates said in a statement, "The safety and security of all our passengers is paramount. We apologize for the inconvenience."


  10. #1620
    The historic roots of a newly resilient ideology
    08/01/2010 11:35:00 PM GMT

    By Sener Aktürk

    * How Western anti-Muslim bigotry became respectable

    As scholars who work on the centuries-old Islamic presence in Europe and the continent's first post-Holocaust genocide against, not coincidently, the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we were deeply disturbed but not surprised that an ostensibly tolerant and pluralistic Western democracy like Switzerland would vote by a margin of 57 percent to ban the religious symbol of 400,000 of its Muslim residents because they felt "threatened" by the grand total of four minarets that exist there.

    The Swiss referendum was the tip of an iceberg reflecting both deep and age-old historic prejudice against a Muslim presence on the continent as well as a recent concerted ideological campaign to construct Muslims as the "other" on the part of rightwing racist movements in Europe and their fellow travelers in the neo-conservative and Southern Evangelical movements in the U.S.

    While secularism and constitutional safeguards for religious freedom are seen as hallmarks of the post-Enlightenment West, Europe and the West have traditionally been far more hostile to religious-cultural pluralism than Buddhist, Confucian, Hindu and Islamic societies, which historically viewed religious and cultural heterogeneity and pluralism as the natural order of things.

    This historic reality explains to a large degree why, in contrast to Europe, such religious diversity survived into the modern era in these societies, albeit not always harmoniously. Indeed, the famous thesis of the Belgian historian Henri Pirenne was that the very notion of "Christendom" or "the West" first emerged from the ruins of classical civilization in opposition to northern pagans and southern Muslim and Jewish infidels whose presence in Europe was actually coterminous with the spread of the Holy Roman Empire and Church in large areas of the continent.

    While Paris was a collection of mud huts, Muslim Cordoba in the 10th century was the largest and grandest city in Europe with massive public baths, libraries, universities, underground sewers and even street lighting, which predated that of London by 700 years.

    Recent academic contributions by David Levering Lewis, Maria Rosa Menocal and Michael Hamilton Morgan have underscored how the uniquely tolerant multicultural civilization of Muslim Spain and the Levant played a central role in preserving and enhancing the philosophic and scientific legacy of Greece, Persia, India and China, directly laying the foundation of the European Renaissance itself.

    However, from neo- conservative ideologues such as Geert Wilders and Christopher Caldwell to Dutch and Austro-German politicians, conveniently forgetting the Ottoman origins of their tulips and kaffee kultur, the centuries-long European Muslim historic and cultural legacy has invariably been presented as transient and alien. Constructed as "aliens" in the European body politic, it is not surprising that European Muslims, Jews and Roma, from the Crusades to the Inquisition, and in our own era, the Holocaust and Bosnia, were the paramount targets of pogroms, ethnic cleansing and even genocide.

    Even modern secularizing Western and southeastern European countries have been historically intolerant of mosques, minarets, synagogues and other symbolic forms of non-Christian representation. Budapest, Belgrade and Athens, which lived under Ottoman Muslim rule for centuries, like the fabled southern Spanish Muslim cities of Granada and Cordoba, did not emerge into the 20th century with a single surviving mosque.

    Even though Athens is home to an estimated 200,000 Muslims, it took enormous controversy and the Olympic Games to be able to construct a single mosque. The same impediments are true of a number of European Union member states, which are obligated to maintain freedom of worship and non-discrimination. Germany is the EU member state with the largest Muslim population, boasting a minority estimated at 3 to 4 million people, but its capital city, Berlin, only has a single mosque with a clearly visible minaret that is located in the outskirts of the city next to Tempelhof Airport.

    While Germany has appropriately made great efforts to restore synagogues, which had been erased from the skyline in the 1930s, right-wing mobilization against the building of mosques, as in the case of Cologne, instead of being viewed as bigotry has been championed by populist politicians and the mainstream media.

    * Swiss referendum painfully ironic

    The Swiss referendum is particularly painfully ironic since its Muslim community is to a large extent made up of secular Balkan Muslims who survived ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo. A hallmark of the Serbian and subsequent Croatian campaigns was to erase all vestiges of the unique and priceless Ottoman-Islamic architectural heritage in the region, with mosques and minarets as particular targets. At the time, one of the authors, Mujeeb Khan, was involved in lobbying efforts on behalf of the Bosnian state and had written in "East European Politics and Societies" that official British and French appeasement of the Serbian genocide reflected disturbing and deep-seated historic complexes against religious and cultural minorities in Europe.

    The White House historian Taylor Branch in his recent book "The Clinton Tapes" confirmed this, recounting how Paris and London insisted on maintaining the arms embargo on the defenseless Bosnians. "They justified their opposition on plausible humanitarian grounds, arguing that more arms would only fuel the bloodshed, but privately, said the president, key allies objected that an independent Bosnia would be 'unnatural' as the only Muslim nation in Europe. He said they favored the embargo precisely because it locked in Bosnia's disadvantage."

    Branch, in conversation with Clinton continued: "When I expressed shock at such cynicism, reminiscent of the blind-eye diplomacy regarding the plight of Europe's Jews during World War II, President Clinton only shrugged. He said President François Mitterrand of France had been especially blunt in saying that Bosnia did not belong, and that British officials also spoke of a painful but realistic restoration of Christian Europe."

    The recent British, French and Serbian policy reflected 19th century European efforts to solve the Ottoman "Eastern Question" by expelling the "Turks bag and baggage," in the words of William Gladstone, from Europe in a campaign of ethnic cleansing which would claim the lives of over 200,000 Ottoman Muslims and render 5 million refugees whose descendants comprise a good portion of modern-day Turks.

    While almost all nations commemorate their suffering and loss, this campaign of genocidal ethnic cleansing and a similar one against Muslims in the Caucasus and Crimea has hardly been discussed in the Turkish Republic due to efforts at erasing the past after the founding of the republic.

    At the time of the Bosnian slaughter, one of the writers, Mujeeb Khan, was the first to accurately predict that callous bigotry and indifference to the plight of highly secular and pacific European Muslims by the Western architects of "the new world order" in Iraq would catalyze militant movements across the Islamic world. He also pointed out that since the breakup of the Ottoman state, the Islamic world, unlike China and India, lacked for the first time a regional hegemon capable of preventing external invasions and undertaking industrial, technological and social development on a global scale and predicted that a democratizing Turkey would embrace her Ottoman-Islamic past and historic role of providing leadership and cohesion in the Muslim world.

    Such a momentous change is now, of course, under way with the election of the Justice and Development (AK Party) and the development of the neo-Ottoman foreign policy, which has aroused tremendous popular support throughout the Muslim world and which, along with the re-emergence of China and India, might shift the global balance of power away from the West, where it has resided since 1750.

    * Borrowing from the tool kit of demagogues

    Sadly, the disgraceful example of bigotry and chauvinism set by Francois Mitterrand in Bosnia has been continued by the current French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Instead of joining his foreign minister and prominent human rights activist Bernard Kouchner in condemning the Swiss referendum, Sarkozy wrote an editorial in Le Monde expressing sympathy and called upon French minorities to practice their faith "discreetly" while "humbly" deferring to the centrality of Christian culture and history in what is ostensibly a hyper-secular and egalitarian state.

    The high-profile intervention was part of his recently launched "debate on national identity" meant to appeal to populist French resentment of racial and religious minorities. Borrowing from the tool kit of demagogues everywhere, Sarkozy identified a few dozen burqa-wearing women in a country of 65 million as the gravest threat confronting the nation.

    A few days after Sarkozy's Le Monde essay, the main mosque in the town of Castres was vandalized with swastikas and graffiti stating "France for the French" and "Sieg Heil." France's leading anti-racism organization, SOS Racisme, noted that such incidents and even more serious ones involving murder and injury grew out of the politically expedient appeals to racial and religious fears and intolerance by leading politicians starting with the president of the republic himself.

    The legitimation of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry in the European mainstream has allowed formerly ostracized far-right Neo-Nazi and Fascist-oriented groups such as the British National Party, the Vlaams Belang of Belgium, the Liga Norda of Italy, the National Front in France and the Danish and Swiss people's parties to present themselves as respectable political movements. They have done this by distancing themselves from traditional anti-Semitic ideology, which continues to be viewed as abhorrent and often illegal, while openly espousing anti-Muslim bigotry, which is seen as much more politically correct and often reflecting mainstream political and media opinion.

    In this, they have been greatly helped by anti-Muslim American neo-conservatives allied with people such as Mark Steyn, Daniel Pipes, Norman Podhoretz and Charles Krauthammer. During the Obama presidential campaign, the use of Muslim identity as a slur and form of innuendo was as vicious as any anti-Semitic whispering campaigns found in troubled parts of Eastern Europe.

    CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Glenn Greenwald of have documented how leading Republican politicians have long casually spewed anti-Muslim bigotry without any repercussions. Congressman Peter King of New York has stated that "there are too many mosques in this country," and GOP representatives Sue Myrick (North Carolina), John Shadegg (Arizona), Paul Broun (Georgia) and Trent Franks (Arizona) have collaborated with the far-right extremist and white supremacist Dave Gaubatz in demanding that young American Muslims not be allowed to serve as interns in Congress.

    * An unholy alliance

    In this anti-Muslim campaign, neo-conservatives have an unholy alliance with followers of Armageddon theology in many Southern Evangelical churches, including the likes of Sarah Palin, who view Muslims as the anti-Christ and feel that Jesus will not return until the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are destroyed and the Jewish Temple replete with animal sacrifices in Jerusalem rebuilt.

    Both the reverends Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham have demanded that Islam be banned as a violent religion while enjoying intimate ties with the highest levels of the GOP and while continuing to preach a theology of hate, itself directly linked to historical crimes against African, Native, Hispanic and Asian Americans in the U.S.

    Such views and those of European anti-Muslim bigots such as Wilders and the late Oriana Fallaci, who channeled Der Stürmer in complaining that Muslims breed like rats, have been given prominent positive coverage in neo-conservative media outlets like the Weekly Standard, The National Review, The Wall Street Journal and of course Fox News. The problem with these forms of bigotry is that they quickly spread to other ethnic, racial and religious targets as well, as witnessed by recent anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant hysteria in the U.S., posing ominous questions about the future of coexistence in now extremely diverse Western societies.

    Bigots and chauvinists, like bullies everywhere, direct their vitriol toward those seen as weak and defenseless. Because China and India have emerged with a continental-scale hegemonic state and market structure in their historic domains of civilization, they are treated with great deference by Western statesmen and would-be hate-mongers like Rupert Murdoch of the News Corporation alike, a lesson Muslims would do well to ponder in the wake of campaigns of genocide, ethnic cleansing and destruction in their historic lands.

    -- Sener Aktürk is a postdoctoral fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and a visiting lecturer in the department of government at Harvard University. Mujeeb R. Khan is affiliated with the department of political science at UC Berkeley and has published widely on Muslim-Western relations including in “East European Politics and Societies”. This article appeared in Today's Zaman.

    Source: Middle East Online

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