The US military’s ‘anti-Islam classes’ How widespread is the use of anti-Islamic material in the US military?

Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive material of a course taught on a US military base implying that Hamas has influenced the US government at the highest levels.

The course is called “Understanding the Threat to America.” And in it are hundreds of slides that claim to link the Muslim Civil Liberties Advocacy Organisation (CAIR) and other American Muslim groups to the Palestinian group Hamas.

It was taught to senior military officers at a base in the state of Virginia.

The US military is conducting a review of all material taught to its officers after the website exposed another course teaching anti-Islam material.

One of the slides presented by Army Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley says the model he is presenting presumes that the Geneva Conventions are “no longer relevant,” when fighting Muslims.

It goes on to say that historical precendents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are applicable to “Mecca and Medina’s destruction.”

Dooley’s 31-page presentation entitled “So What Can We Do?” A Counter – Jihad Op Design Model, comes to some startling conclusions: “Given the factual basis of what “Islamists” say they seek to impose on the world, the United States has come to accept that radical “true Islam” is both a political and military enemy to free people throughout the world…. It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self destruction.”

Both the courses obtained by Al Jazeera and were voluntary courses and it is not clear if similar material has been taught in other military colleges.

Young Muslims in Geneva

2 November 2010

Religion does not constrain friendship for a number of young Swiss students at the University of Geneva. In the case of Karim, a Muslim, and Flavio, who is Catholic, religion and culture are to be respected and recognized, but in no way pose any problems. For Karim, Flavio is someone with whom he has more in common than someone with whom he might have attended Arabic school since childhood, while Flavio sees nothing wrong with waiting at the door while Karim’s mother or sister puts on a headscarf if he comes to visit.
Similarly for Shaimaa, who is Muslim, and Emmanuelle, who does not practise any religion, but comes from a Christian family, their differences are seen rather as something which enriches their relationship. Aside from exchanging Egyptian cookies and Christmas biscuits, they consider the values and cultural background that both have grown up with as important elements to respect and preserve.

Gaddafi calls for jihad against Switzerland

During a speech in Benghazi on Thursday, Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi characterized Switzerland as a country of “unbelievers” and “apostates.” Playing off of the recent referendum that banned minarets, he claimed that Islamic houses of worship were being destroyed in Switzerland, and before a crowd of thousands called for “a Jihad using all means.” He continued by stating that Jihad against Switzerland, Zionism, and foreign aggression was not terrorism, and that any Muslim who did business with Switzerland was an unbeliever and was taking sides against Islam.

According to Islam expert Hasni Abidi, not only is Gaddafi not qualified to pronounce on the issue of Jihad, but his words carry no weight in the Arab world. The speech was linked to the current bilateral crisis between Switzerland and Libya, which began when Gaddafi’s son Hannibal was briefly arrested in June 2008 on charges of having mistreated staff at a hotel in Geneva. Moreover, Abidi says that this call carries no danger of being echoed by Islamist groups – especially given that Libya has sided with the USA in the fight against groups like Al-Qaida. For Reinhard Schultz, the director of Islamic studies at Bern University, more than anything Gaddafi sees this issue as a question of family honor; thus his insatisfaction with Swiss responses, which so far have been at the diplomatic and political levels.

When the Swiss voted to ban new Minarets, this man built one

A week after Switzerland voted to ban the construction of minarets, in an apparent act of defiance, a new minaret unexpectedly sprang up in Bussigny, a small town near Geneva. But the new minaret is not attached to a mosque; Bussigny doesn’t even have one. And it’s not the work of a local Muslim outraged by Switzerland’s controversial vote to ban the structures, which often are used to launch the call to prayer.

Instead, Bussigny’s minaret is attached to the warehouse of a shoe store called Pomp It Up, which is part of a Swiss chain. It was erected by the chain’s owner, Guillaume Morand, who had an architect fashion it out of plastic and wood and attach it to a chimney. The new minaret, nearly 20 feet high and illuminated at night, is clearly visible from the main highway connecting Lausanne and Geneva.

“The referendum was a scandal,” Mr. Morand said recently. “I was ashamed to be Swiss. I don’t have the power to do much, but I wanted to give a message of peace to Muslims.”

Swiss minaret ban a setback for Middle East diplomacy

Switzerland recently passed a controversial referendum to ban minarets in the country, provoking uproar, intense debate and even protest. The move is regarded by many as “deeply divisive,” says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, as well as a major setback for American and European public diplomacy in the Arab world.

Sweden, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, commented that the United Nations “should reconsider its presence in Geneva,” according to an Associated Press article. “Even if this is Switzerland, it sends a very unfortunate signal to large parts of the rest of the world about attitudes and prejudices in Europe,” Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt wrote on his blog. He continued to observe that the ban is a “poor act of diplomacy” from the Swiss, whose neutrality on globally divisive issues is renowned.

Analysts and commentators are also pointing to the ban as a serious complication for dialogue with Muslims around the world, even among those who are non-practicing, because the minaret is largely seen as a symbol of Arab and Muslim identity.

Iraqi shoe-thrower launches Geneva-based agency

The Iraqi journalist who pitched his shoes at former United States President George W. Bush is in Geneva setting up a foundation to help Iraqi war victims. Munthader al-Zaidi, a television reporter, shot to fame on December 14, 2008 when he hurled his two shoes at Bush at a Baghdad news conference, shouting: “This is your farewell kiss, you dog!”

“From Geneva, the capital of humanitarian institutions, I am launching an appeal on behalf of my people,” Zaidi told journalists in Geneva on Monday. He aims to build orphanages, a children’s hospital, and medical and orthopaedic centres offering free treatment and manned by Iraqi doctors and medical staff. He also wants to set up income-generating schemes for widows to help them get back on their feet. The foundation carries his last name.

Zaidi arrived in Switzerland on October 13 on a three-month tourist visa, accompanied by his brother. He was released on September 15 after spending nine months in an Iraqi prison. “He hopes to surf on the wave of support he has gained to do some good,” explained Mauro Poggia, his Swiss lawyer, who organised the visit.

Hadron Collider physicist charged with terrorism

A French physicist with the European atomic research center near Geneva was charged with terrorism by a Paris judge last night after investigators said that he offered to work with the North African branch of al-Qaeda.

Adlène Hicheur, 32, who is of Algerian origin, was arrested last week with his younger brother after intelligence agents intercepted his alleged internet contacts with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

The physicist, who works at the giant atomic collider at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research), which straddles Swiss and French territory, told the Islamic group that he was interested in committing an attack but had not begun any material preparation, according to police sources. He had acknowledged contacting the militant organization, they said.

Residents in the suspect’s home town of Vienne, in eastern France, said that his success had made him a role model for young Muslims. “They are good boys,” said one neighbor of the suspect and his brother. “They are from a family of six children and from a very moderate Muslim family which is seen as a model of integration.”

Muslims in European peace drive

A groundbreaking conference for young Muslims from across Europe is taking place in Switzerland. Delegates from seven countries have been brought together by the organisation Initiatives of Change, which has a long history of promoting peace on the continent. In the late 1940s, it brokered meetings between those who had been on opposite sides in World War II. Now its headquarters, high above Lake Geneva, is hosting a group of young Muslims for the first time, as they consider how to work as “peace agents” within their communities.

The organisers admit some unease within their own inter-faith peace movement about targeting a conference specifically at Muslims. But conference convener Peter Riddell believes that all those living in Europe need to address tough questions about how Islam relates to their shared future.

“We’re faced with a need to redefine what it means to be European. In many ways you could say that European culture has defined itself in opposition to Islam,” he said. “So now the challenge is, whether we’re going to embrace a European culture which includes a substantial component of Muslims, or whether we’re going to reject that.”

Initiatives of Change:

Switzerland, a Possible Target of Islamist Terrorism?

Once considered the safest country in Europe, if not the world, Switzerland is now a potential target of a terrorist attack. Why? In the past few months something has happened to this quiet and neutral country where outside of an occasional banking scandal nothing much went on; at least nothing that merited international focus. Recently, a slew of events all linked to radical Islamists appears to have shattered the tranquility enjoyed by this Alpine country. First, came a polemic over an incident akin to the Danish caricature saga; that was followed by new Wahhabi leadership at the Geneva mosque; and a then a prominent Wahhabi figure was denied entry, just to cite a few events. This, much to the chagrin of the Swiss, has placed Switzerland on the Islamists’ radar. Initially, holding on to its neutrality, the country kept its doors open to various Islamist groups. One person who took advantage of this freedom was Said Ramadan, founder of the World Islamic League and a major figure in the Muslim Brotherhood; he established the Geneva Islamic Center. One of his children, a prominent figure in the radical world of politicized Islam is Tariq Ramadan, born and living in Switzerland, until Oxford and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered him a job. His brother Hani, who has been involved in multiple controversies over his extremist speeches, is currently head of the Geneva Islamic center. Today, the stronghold of Islamists over the Geneva Muslim community continues unabated. At the end of March, four executives of the Geneva mosque were swiftly fired by the mosque’s new director, an imam recently arrived from Jeddah. Speculation has it that they were not radical enough. The new imam, Youssef Ibram, a Moroccan, trained first in his native country and then in Saudi Arabia, where he studied Islamic law for six years. Olivier Guitta reports.

Full-text article continues here. (Some news sites may require registration)

Switzerland: Second Islamic bank

As Islamic finance and banking products continue to grow, Switzerland will soon get its second Shariah compliant bank in less than two years. The bank I set to be launched before the end of the year, and will target investors and wealthy individuals from the Gulf region. The new bank will be the second private Islamic bank established in Switzerland; the first Shariah complaint bank – Faisal Private Bank – opened in Geneva in 2006. Among the principals advocated by Shariah banking institutions include the forbidding of Muslims from usury, receiving, or paying interest on loans, and Islamic bankers and finance institutions cannot receive private funds for transactions involving alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons, or pork.