The orphans who didn’t need saving

The scandal involving French charity Zoe’s Ark is tangled in a web of good intentions gone awry. While the organization pointed to the paralysis of diplomacy in Darfur leaving thousands upon thousands of children displaced and without being in the care of a nuclear family, it turns out that none of the 103 children were orphans in the Western sense – and were removed by the French workers from their own community and familial networks. In addition, in Muslim countries like Chad and Sudan where family matters are goverened by Islamic law, Western concepts of adoption are essentially forbidden by religious edict.

Bowing to the Islamists; Even police are giving succor

Last Thursday, a group of 80 people from 15 European countries, plus Israel, Canada and the United States, convened in a conference room on the seventh floor of the European Parliament building in Brussels for a “counterjihad” meeting. They listened to speakers such as the Egyptian-born scholar Bat Ye’or, author of the book “Eurabia,” who explained how the European Union (EU) has become a vehicle for the Islamization of Europe and how the EU has promoted “a massive Muslim immigration… hoping that the Euro-Arab symbiosis through economic development, soft diplomacy and multiculturalism would guarantee [Europe] peace, markets and oil”…

Ellison talks up U.S. in Muslim circles

The State Department is turning to Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, to help burnish the country’s image in the Muslim world – despite Ellison’s outspoken criticism of the Bush administration’s foreign policy. “I plan to talk to people in the State Department and anywhere I can to help try to improve America’s image in the Muslim world, make friends for our country,” Ellison, a freshman Minnesota Democrat, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I want to help win friends for our country and to isolate true enemies.” In articles which included translations into Arabic and other languages, Ellison has been profiled by the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, which is distributed in foreign countries. He has meetings scheduled at the end of the month with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and with Karen Hughes, the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy; Ellison spoke with Hughes by phone a few weeks ago. A spokeswoman for Hughes, Rena Pederson, said that Hughes has talked to Ellison about being a “sounding board.” “She does believe Muslim Americans can be a bridge to reach out to the rest of the world,” said Pederson. “She has talked to Congressman Ellison, because public diplomacy is not Democratic or Republican – but American. We have a mandate to provide a balance of views.” Ellison, who has called for an immediate withdrawal of military forces from Iraq, said he didn’t find it difficult to reconcile his criticism of the administration’s foreign policy with his promotion of American values. “Look, you know, administrations come and go,” he said. “But the basic core message of this country – which is tolerance, human rights, opportunity – does not change, regardless of who happens to be the president.” “And just because sometimes administration policies don’t clearly reflect that – as in the Iraq war – doesn’t mean it’s not still a core value of the American people,” Ellison added. Ellison’s outreach with the State Department was first reported by McClatchy News Service. Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamic civil rights group, said that anything that can help the U.S. image in Muslim countries should be tried. “I think Keith Ellison is in a unique position to demonstrate the true nature of religious diversity in the United States to the Muslim world,” Hooper said. “I don’t think the State Department will ask him to endorse foreign policy – it will be a more generic, pro-American endeavor.”

Muslims in London

London’s ethnic and religious diversity makes it one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and vibrant cities; the multicultural and international character of London contributes to the city’s economic growth and dynamism.

There has been a long and fruitful connection between Muslims and London over many centuries, involving interactions in the realms of diplomacy, commerce and scholarship. There is evidence of Muslim influence in place names, historical records, emblems and architecture.

The last hundred years have seen the rapid development of this association, contributing to the emergence of London as a unique world cosmopolitan centre. The Mayor commissioned this report with the objective of bringing together in one volume the information available on the Muslim

communities of London. This report brings together data and information about Muslims in

London, drawn from the 2001 Census and other sources. The 2001 Census included, for the first time, a voluntary question on religion, providing official statistics on faith communities. Nonetheless, a

significant issue that arose in preparing this report was a general lack of faith-based data and information. Information is also limited by the categories used in collecting and analysing data and to some extent the relative sizes of the populations in London and the UK as a whole. This

lack of information highlights the need for future research and the need for more or different questions in the next Census. The Scottish Census, for example, asked two questions about religion.

The structureof the reportfocuses on five major themes to give a snapshot of London’s Muslim communities in the key areas of: demography; socio-economic profiles; inclusion (political, community and voluntary sector, and cultural); the criminal justice system; and Islamophobia (Commissioned by the Mayor of London).