The Dutch Muslim foundation Rohamaa which organizes humanitary projects in Muslim countries such is Birma and Syria has cancelled a controversial benefit event in the Dutch municipality of Rijswijk. The event was discredited become alleged “hate imams” would speak at the event. According to the municipality of Rijswijk “the foundation has said that the charitable goals of the meeting – because of current happenings and negative media coverage – has been drawn into the background.” The municipality has called the organization’s canceling the event “a very brave decision.”
The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders has retracted the visas of the three imams that were to preach at the event. Rohamaa has reacted “baffled” by this decision. “The retraction was executed on the bases of information more detailed information by the NVTC [National Coordination of Counter-Terrorist Measures and Security, ed.] and is fitting in the context of the action program jihadims,” the minister said in a reaction.
The total of seven speakers that were invited to the program had background from Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Nigeria, and Belgium. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not want to extrapolate on the identity of the speakers for whom the visas were retracted.
For the fourth time in two years time, a Dutch jihadi has committed a suicide attack in Iraq or Syria. It has been said, but not yet confirmed, that Lotfi S. from northern Amsterdam has committed a suicide attack in Fallujah, Iraq.
The question is: shouldn’t we be ashamed when a fellow countryman is capable of such a deed? Or: are we ashamed at all?
According to Paul van Tongeren, professor Ethics, the answer is no, because ‘we don’t identify ourselves with these guys’. There is however a problem with this mechanism of ‘looking the other way’, as has also been stated by Ben Bot, Dutch former minister Foreign Affairs: it is our problem, because our society was not able to prevent these persons from leaving.
The attacks committed by fellow countrymen would probably have a greater impact when it was known how many victims it has caused, if among them are children or if photo’s would be published. But now it is all too abstract.
Pieter Nanninga, researcher on jihadism Rijksuniversiteit in the city of Groningen, shares Bots opinion that Dutch suicide attackers are indeed a Dutch problem too.
Van Tongeren further states that it would be a good if the Dutch government paid her condolences to the families of the victims. Otherwise the We-They distinction would become even stricter, incorporating more than only terrorists or jihadi’s.
Members of a Congressional delegation visiting Moscow to investigate the background of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects said Sunday that the attack might have been prevented by greater cooperation between the United States and Russia on intelligence issues and counterterrorism efforts.
But the lawmakers said they could not point to any specific misstep by the American or Russia intelligence services, and they did not offer any new insights into what motivated the suspects, two brothers with family ties in Russia’s North Caucasus, to commit the attack.
“Yes, it could have been averted,” said Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who led the delegation and is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and emerging threats. “Not just by one mistake by the United States or one mistake made over here in Russia, but instead by making sure that both countries were working together on a much higher level.”
Adding an odd celebrity touch, the lawmakers were joined by the action-film star Steven Seagal, who has a following in Russia. Mr. Seagal had helped arrange meetings and even offered to take the lawmakers to Chechnya to meet Ramzan Kadyrov, the region’s leader, who has been accused of human rights abuses.
The Chechnya visit was called off for logistical reasons, but Mr. Rohrbacher thanked Mr. Seagal and said he was instrumental in securing some meetings, including a session with Dmitri Rogozin, a deputy prime minister. “I don’t know that he would have been available to us if not for Steven’s role,” Mr. Rohrbacher said.
As the first Muslim elected to Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison(D-Minn.) is often a go-to person for Muslim Americans, Muslim leaders overseas and others focused on the intersection of Islam and government. He has served on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Democracy Partnership, which works with lawmakers in emerging democracies. Washington Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein asked Ellison about some of the Islam-related stories in the news.
Q: How has the post-Sept. 11 decade changed these views?
A: The people I talk to are as concerned about anti-Muslim hate as much as ever before. One thing they commonly complain about is, if you make a slur against blacks you’ll be in trouble. But if you say some crazy stuff about Muslims no one cares. I think it’s actually gotten worse. I think in 2001 we were in a better place than we are now. Then, there were people who didn’t like Muslims, but now there is an industry to pump out negativity. You have [Republican congresswoman] Michele Bachmann [of Minnesota] going around saying the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the government. You can count on something like this every two months.
●Serves on the House Financial Services Committee; House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee.
●Co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus for the 112th Congress; is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
●Before Congress: practiced law and was a community activist; also served two terms in the Minnesota State House of Representatives.
● Hometown: Detroit.
● Earned a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1990.
●Is the father of four children.
News Agencies – September 7, 2012
The Canadian Harper government has closed the Canadian Embassy in Iran and ordered all Iranian diplomats in Canada to leave the country. The move effectively severs ties with the Islamic Republic after years of increasingly tense relations marked by accusations, warnings and sanctions.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in Russia for an APEC summit, has repeatedly described Iran as the greatest threat to global security, a statement echoed by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird as he announced the embassy closure.
Baird revealed all Canadian diplomats had left Iran, while Iranian diplomats in Ottawa have been instructed to leave within five days. While the Harper government often co-ordinates its actions on Iran, such as the levelling of sanctions with the U.S. and other allies against Iran, Baird said Canada is the only country suspending diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic at this time, calling it a “made-in-Canada decision.”
CBC – April 18, 2012
In 2011, while Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs publicly insisted it was trying to aid a Canadian held for more than two years by the Taliban, it was privately telling the RCMP to stop investigating the crime. Beverley Giesbrecht, a former businesswoman from Vancouver, was abducted in November 2008 while working as a fixer and journalist in Pakistan after she converted to Islam and adopted the name Khadija Abdul Qahaar.
In May 2011, the Department of Foreign Affairs revealed to CBC News that it believed Giesbrecht had died in captivity sometime in 2010, but a spokesperson added that it was continuing “to pursue all appropriate channels” to determine what happened. Documents obtained by CBC News through an access to information request, however, show that months earlier the department not only believed Giesbrecht was dead, but had told the RCMP it didn’t need to investigate.
Foreign Affairs would not explain why it asked the RCMP to end its investigation. After this story was published, department spokeswoman Aliya Mawani issued a written statement that, “as a matter of policy, DFAIT does not, and cannot, instruct the RCMP on any operational or investigative matter,” adding that, “only the RCMP can make a decision to terminate an investigation.”
News Agencies – October 30, 2011
Usama Al-Atar, an imam from Edmonton, was beaten and arrested by religious police in Saudi Arabia while on a pilgrimage. His friends in Canada are disturbed by the incident and worried for his safety. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada is aware of the arrest.
Al-Atar is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Alberta where he researches solar cells and nanotechnology. Murphy said Al-Atar makes the hajj pilgrimage every year and hasn’t had problems on any of his six previous visits.
14 September 2011
Raymond de Roon, an MP for the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), referred to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan as an ‘Islamic monkey’ during parliamentary question period. The remark was made in reference to Turkey’s anti-Israel rhetoric and in the context of the Dutch saying ‘here comes the monkey out of the sleeve’. MPs from the ruling parties condemned the statement and Foreign Affairs Minister Uri Rosenthal has publicly distanced himself from the comment.
“The arrest of Adis Medunjanin, an American citizen of Bosnian origin, suspected of cooperation with terrorist organization Al-Kaida, does not affect the status of Bosniaks in the United States”, stated Head of Islamic Community in Chicago, Imam Senad Agić for Bosnian daily SAN in his phone interview.
“I’m sure that Medunjanin was not a member of our Islamic community. I can guarantee that the members of Islamic community of Bosniaks in America from our dzemats wouldn’t do such thing. Imams teach their members how one should live life with respect to others’ lives”, said Agić.
Zlatan Burzic, the Spokesman of the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs, did not have any other information on Medunjanin’s case than those that US news agencies already reported about.
“We only know that it is an American citizen whose passport was taken away during his arrest. Taking into account that the arrest was made on territory of US, Medunjanin was treated as an American citizen. Thus, our Embassy in Washington was not officially informed about that arrest neither American authority is obliged to do so. We do not have any reports that our citizens are subjects of any inconveniences. According to our information, the situation is normal in that regard and Medunjanin is, before all, an American citizen. In this moment, I’m not able to confirm if and when Medunjanin get the American citizenship”, explained Zlatan Burzic, the Spokesman of BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Khadija Abdul Qahaar, a Web magazine publisher in British Colombia, along with her translator and guide, were seized at gunpoint while traveling in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan. Ms. Qahaar was known as Beverly Giesbrecht prior to her conversion to Islam, and publishes the website jihadunspun.com. Mark Federman, an expert in media studies at the University of Toronto, said he had not previously heard of jihadunspun.com. But looking at the circumstances of the reported abduction, “my skepticism detectors start flashing on this one,” he said. While Mr. Federman acknowledged the threat of abduction was very real in the region Ms. Qahaar was travelling, he questioned the timing of a website posting calling for money to deter abduction the week prior.
Lisa Monette, spokesperson for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs did not confirm the report, but did say a Canadian was missing in Pakistan. Monette added, “The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the High Commission in Islamabad are working with Pakistani officials right now and they are pursuing all appropriate measures.”
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