Hundreds of French riot police were deployed on Wednesday night to help quell the violence in tense Paris suburb of Villiers Le Bel, after the death of two boys in a motorcycle accident triggered violent clashes last week. Despite isolated incidents of a few burning cars, the suburb returned to a general calm as security and law enforcement increased their presence. French officials pointed to a host of causes in the eruption – including poverty, unemployment, the influence of criminal gangs, and racism. Most of the rioters come from immigrant and Muslim backgrounds, and while most of them are simply described as youth, their vulnerability to poor living conditions is of significant concern. Anger and distrust over racial profiling fuel already brewing tensions in many of Paris’ suburbs.
As the verdicts were made in the Madrid bombings trial, the debate about how best to deter similar reoccurrences of terrorism. Citing the inevitability of continued immigration, children of immigrants, and religious conversion, challenging and innovative approaches seem to be the best deterrent. Normalizing Islam, legitimizing the religion, giving citizenship for immigrants are discussed as some long-term approaches to deter fanaticism and terrorism, as opposed to perpetuating a fear and stigmatization of the different other.
The Madrid bombing trial ended on Wednesday with 21 convictions and seven acquittals. German commentators praise the Spanish judicial system and ponder the continuing terrorist threat in Europe. Siobh_n Dowling reports.
Ending a controversial 20-year campaign to expel immigrants because of their ties to alleged Palestinian terrorists, the federal government has agreed to drop attempts to deport the final two defendants in the L.A. 8 case. The Board of Immigration Appeals on Tuesday dismissed all charges against Khader M. Hamide and Michel I. Shehadeh, who had faced deportation proceedings since 1987, and approved a settlement submitted by the men’s lawyers and the Department of Homeland Security, according to documents made public Wednesday….
As the verdicts were delivered in the Madrid bombing trial, Spanish newspapers focus on the political capital that the government and opposition are believed to have made from the situation. Several newspapers highlight that the court ruled out any involvement by the ETA in the bombings. The Popular party, which was the rling party at the time, initially blamed the Basque separatist group for the attacks. At least one of the papers notes that the court avoided linking the Madrid bombings to the Iraq war, whereas the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party has maintained the belief that there was a connection.
The Augsburg hospital has launched a Muslim Prayer room to address the high demand by Muslim patients.
Britain’s first Muslim minister Shahid Malik was stopped and searched by airport security officials in the United States yesterday, it has emerged. Mr Malik, appointed as minister for international development by Gordon Brown earlier this year, was prevented from boarding a UK-bound flight for 40 minutes at Washington’s Dulles airport on Sunday.
Those who lost relatives in the 2004 Madrid train bombings are planning to appeal the sentences and verdicts handed down from the trial. Dissatisfied with the court’s decision to acquit one suspect, and lessen the charges on three others, family members criticized the ruling as a shocking a slap in the face. Citing respect and justice for the victims, many family members are seeking an appeal to the verdicts.
Pope Benedict has accepted an unprecedented call by Muslim scholars for dialogue between Christians and Islam, and invited them for meetings in Vatican City. “Without ignoring or downplaying our differences as Christians and Muslims, we can and therefore should look to what unites us, namely the belief in one God,” the Vatican wrote in a message signed by Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State. The pope also said that he was willing to receive Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammed of Jordan, the monarch’s special adviser on religious matters, to whom the note is addressed, as well as a restricted group of the letter’s signatories.
From now on, Muslims can be buried according to Islamic rite, facing Mecca, at the old Waldfriedhof in Darmstadt.