Euro-2008 poisoned with Nazi remarks against Russia and Turkey

The 2008 UEFA Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro-2008, a sports event, has found itself involved in dirty politics. Austria’s notorious politician, Joerg Haider, set out his indignation about the participation of Russia and Turkey at the European Championship. He was particularly concerned about Turkey’s success. Haider’s open self-promotion at Euro-2008 uncovered a very serious political problem for the European Union – future relations with Turkey and a huge Turkish community in the EU countries. Euro-2008 continues for three weeks already. Fortunately, football has not been dragged through the mud of politics. However, hardly had Russian and Turkish national teams made their way to the semi-finals, when one of Europe’s most scandalous politicians, Joerg Haider, released a political statement on the matter. He was particularly angered with the success of Turkish footballers at the Championship. Mr. Haider said he did not understand why Euro-2008 semi-finalists Turkey and Russia had been allowed to play in the tournament. I wonder what these two nations have to do with Europe, Haider, the governor of the Austrian state of Carithia was quoted as saying in an interview with Die Presse newspaper. Haider is known for his comments on Nazi concentration camps, which he described as labor and punishment camps. When his party became a part of the ruling coalition in 2000, 14 EU countries considerably diminished their cooperation with Austria and introduced sanctions against the country. Haider was strongly against the expansion of the European Union, as well as against Austria’s incorporation in it. The politician believes that it would be better to unite Austria with Germany – a remark, which made many draw a parallel between Joerg Haider and Adolf Hitler, since Hitler was the last person in the world to touch upon such an idea.

Let American Muslims share the stage

An Op-ed by Zainab Al-Suwaji in the International Herald Tribune explores the controversy of religion in the 2008 American presidential race, and more specifically, suspicion that many still have concerning Democratic nominee Barack Obama, and his relationship with Muslims. Al-Suwaji suggests ways in which both Obama and Republican nominee John Mccain can reach out to Muslim voters and address issues that are important to them. She suggests among other proposals, that the candidates clearly and assertively distinguish between majority and mainstream Muslims, and radicalists – noting the former as wholly dedicated to America’s civil liberties, ideals, and agendas.

Why Obama Should Visit a Mosque

Fear-mongering about Islam is a global industry. Barack Obama has a unique power to break the cycle, not least by emboldening moderate Muslims to denounce terror. I’ll admit it: I’m thin-skinned about the kinds of slurs and innuendo about Muslims that have accompanied Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Years of being subjected to them while I covered the Bosnian war did that. We heard the whole gamut back then: how the European Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo were really Turks engaged in a demographic genocide (through high birth rates) against Christians, and how they were engaged in a plot to establish a Muslim crescent looping up from Turkey through the Balkans, and how they roasted enemy prisoners alive on spits. All the while, of course, said Bosnian Muslims were being herded by Christian Serbs into concentration camps that were centers of torture and systematic killing of a cruelty Europe believed it had forever banished. Roger Cohen reports.

CAIR: Obama avoidance of Muslims not his fault

The Muslim advocacy group Council on America-Islamic relations, contended that Barack Obama is not to blame for his nonexistent outreach to American Muslim leaders. CAIR Spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper said that Obama’s reticence to reach out to American Muslims is partly due to people making use of the senator’s middle name. “Senator Obama has been targeted by anti-Muslim extremists who have falsely claimed he’s Muslim,” says Hooper. “… [I] think he is reacting to that concerted effort to smear him with false allegations …. Unfortunately, in reacting to these [smears], he can have the perception of keeping the American Muslim community at arm’s length,” Hooper said.

Pickpockets dressing up as Muslim women

In the past few weeks, markets in Rotterdam have experienced pickpockets by individuals dressed as religious Muslim women. The police does not have exact numbers on the cases of pickpocketing, but said that a ‘sharp increase’ has been noted by those dressing as fake Muslims. Police believe the individuals are mostly female Bulgarian or Romanian thieves; a veiled Bulgarian was caught in the act this week. Besides stolen wallets, police found seven different colored headscarves that the woman wore in order to change ‘identities.’

Children from polygamous marriage can reunite with father

The Constitutional Court of Belgium decided that all children from a polygamous marriage can be reunited with their father. This decision comes after review of reunification laws, in which state that a foreigner who is legally staying in Belgium, is permitted to pursue family reunification. However, he can only bring over one wife. All children though, even those from other wives, may take advantage of the ruling, since these other children still have a biological relationship with the father.

Spanish minister under fire for criticizing Islamic headscarf

Bibiano Aido, Spain’s Equality Minister, has recently angered Muslim by criticizing the hijab/headscarf, alledging that the garment undermines the rights of women. Not all cultural practices must be respected she Aido, as she expressed her opposition to practices which violate human rights and promote inequality. In response to Aido, Spanish Muslim women said that women wear the scarf because they choose to, saying that the minister does not know what she is talking about.

Muslims should be free to convert, says cardinal, after death threats

Leading cardinal Angelo Scola called on the Islamic world to allow individual Muslims the freedom to convert to Christianity. The call comes following the death threats posed against Italian journalist Magdi Allam, concerning his conversion from Islam to Catholicism. Scola said that no one, including Muslims could impose the identity of the community to a point where it violates the human freedom of the individual, including the freedom to convert. Cardinal Scola stated that he does not want to see the end of Muslim societies or cultures, but stressed that the prerogative should be the individual, and to ensure that freedom of religion was an inalienable right.

Roger Cohen, Why Obama should visit a mosque

In an op-ed to the International Herald Tribune, Roger Cohen explores Islamophobia in the United States, and why he believes it is important that Senator Obama reach out to America’s Muslim community, and visit mosques, just as he has visited churches and synagogues to reach out to their faithful. While Cohen is aware that Obama’s middle name of _Hussein’ has and will continue to draw suspicion from opponents and the fearful, he argues that Obama’s multi-cultural background may put him in a unique position to present, from his own knowledge and experiences, that Islam is not a monstrous specter. More on Cohen’s opinions can be read at the link below.

Crown presents strong e-mail evidence in Khawaja case

The strongest evidence in the case of the first man charged under Canada’s antiterrorism act was revealed in court – emails he wrote over the course of a year prior to his arrest. Mohammad Mowin Khawaja, 29, wrote messages to conspirators in Britain referring to detonation devices, routing recruits to a house in Pakistan, as well as ways to send money and night-vision goggles to insurgents in Afghanistan. Defence lawyer Lawrence Greenspon conceded that his client had written the messages. A visit to an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan in 2003 is said to have had a lasting impact on him.