David Cameron: Democracy and Islam are compatible

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has warned against Islamic extremism and praised Indonesia as living proof that Islam is compatible with democracy.

Speaking to students in Jakarta on the latest stop of his trade mission to South East Asia, he said extremists only wanted to impose a particular and radical version of Islam on society.

Obama’s ‘Truth Team’ aims to network its way to a reelection win

The president’s reelection team will unveil a trio of Web sites dedicated to providing supporters with information on the president’s record — and more than a little dirt on his Republican rivals. The campaign has named it Obama’s “Truth Team,” and the goal is to arm millions of surrogates with the facts, figures and talking points they need to engage in ground-level political combat — on their Twitter and Facebook feeds and in old-fashioned conversations with friends and neighbors.

“We believe that our grass-roots supporters persuading their networks to support the president will provide us with the decisive edge in November,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said. “We’re providing them with the tools they need to amplify the president’s record, fact-check the Republicans’ attacks and prevent the Republicans from rewriting the history of their records.”

“On the loonier side, when I talk to Republicans in the state legislature I have to remind them he’s an American citizen,” Gallego said. “We have to be prepared for the dirtiness coming from the other side. They’re desperate.”
In 2008, Obama’s campaign produced a Web site called “Fight the Smears” to counter rumors that Obama was a Muslim and born in Indonesia.

But the approach can backfire, as the Obama team learned last fall when it debuted AttackWatch.com and the site was ridiculed by conservatives for the over-the-top, alarmist design — red lettering on a black background. The Obama campaign said 1 million supporters signed up on the site, but it has since been redesigned.for the re-launch Monday.

Pew surveys: Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda had been losing support in Muslim world

In the months leading up to Osama bin Laden’s death, a survey of Muslim publics around the world found little support for the al Qaeda leader. Among the six predominantly Muslim nations recently surveyed by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, bin Laden received his highest level of support among Muslims in the Palestinian territories – although even there only 34% said they had confidence in the terrorist leader to do the right thing in world affairs. Minorities of Muslims in Indonesia (26%), Egypt (22%) and Jordan (13%) expressed confidence in bin Laden, while he has almost no support among Turkish (3%) or Lebanese Muslims (1%).

Over time, support for bin Laden has dropped sharply among Muslim publics. Since 2003, the percentage of Muslims voicing confidence in him has declined by 38 points in the Palestinian territories and 33 points in Indonesia. The greatest decline has occurred in Jordan, where 56% of Muslims had confidence in bin Laden in 2003, compared with just 13% in the current poll. Jordanian support for bin Laden fell dramatically (to 24% from 61% the year before) in 2006, following suicide attacks in Amman by al Qaeda. In Pakistan, where 2011 data is still not available, confidence in bin Laden fell from 52% in 2005 to just 18% in last year’s survey.

Al Qaeda also received largely negative ratings among Muslim publics in the 2011 survey. Only 2% of Muslims in Lebanon and 5% in Turkey expressed favorable views of al Qaeda. In Jordan, 15% had a positive opinion of al Qaeda, while about one-in-five in Indonesia (22%) and Egypt (21%) shared this view. Palestinian Muslims offered somewhat more positive opinions (28% favorable), but about two-thirds (68%) viewed bin Laden’s organization unfavorably.

Ratings of al Qaeda are, for the most part, unchanged, except in Jordan, where al Qaeda’s favorable rating fell from 34% in 2010 to 15% currently.

As was the case with views of bin Laden, Nigerian Muslims typically offer more positive views of al Qaeda than any other Muslim public surveyed.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland lays foundation stone for first mosque in Galway

17 September 2010

The foundation stones for the first purpose-built mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Ireland have been laid in Galway by Mirza Masroor Ahmad, world leader of community, during his first visit to the country. The Masjid Maryam (Mary Mosque) is only the third purpose-built mosque in Ireland and the first in Galway.
Ahmadi Muslims have been living in Ireland for more than three decades. Several hundred members of the Ahmadi community were present at the foundation stone laying, which was followed by a civic reception which local religious leaders from different Christian churches and politicians attended.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889, and it is estimated that there are several million followers worldwide, mainly in a number of African states, Pakistan and Indonesia. Ahmadi Muslims face severe discriminations in several Muslim countries, such as Pakistan where they have been banned from identifying themselves as Muslims since the early 1980s.

Academic presence of Dutch Muslims growing

Radio Netherlands Worldwide published a profile of the increasing number of Islamic academics in Dutch universities. While Muslim youth remain negatively portrayed in the press, the number of Muslim students and Islamic organizations in Dutch universities is growing rapidly. The Free University of Amsterdam has 2000 Muslim students, ten percent of the student body. Islamic students organizations such as MashriQ are made up of Muslim students from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds, including Somalia, Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, etc.

Anti-Islam congress counterproductive to interfaith dialogs

Indonesia, the world`s largest Moslem country, considers the pro-Koln group`s plan to hold an anti-Islam congress in Cologne, Germany, on Sept 19-20 to be counterproductive to interfaith dialogs, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “Any plan to organize an anti-Islam congress would be counter-productive to interfaith dialogs which also involve European nations,” Teuku Faizasyah said on Thursday. The Indonesian government, along with other ASEAN members and other countries through bilateral relations had been active in holding interfaith and cultural dialogs to solve differences and avoid misunderstanding, he said. “We hope there will be sensitivity (on the part of the congress` organizing committee) because such an event will only worsen misunderstanding,” he said. He said the German government had yet to confirm the group`s plan to hold such a congress. “So, we have heard the plan only from a news report,” he said. Last week, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) expressed deep concern about the plan to organize the anti-Islam congress.

Indonesia Blocks Web Access Over Film

Internet companies in Indonesia blocked access to YouTube and Myspace on Tuesday, heeding a government order aimed to stop people from watching a film critical of Islam and the Quran. The Indonesian ministry ordered internet service providers to block sites where Wilders’ film appears, stating that it could disturb relations between the faiths. The internet providers said that the block was temporary, and included also Google Video, and other file-sharing sites.

Fitna continues to draw protests across the Islamic world

Governments and citizens of Muslim countries throughout the world have voiced condemnation of the anti-Quran film made by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders. In Indonesia, President Susilo Bambang said Wilders would be barred from entering the archipelago of islands that make up the country. In Pakistan, several thousand took to the streets of Karachi to protest against both the release of the film and the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad reprinted in Denmark. Iran’s parliament speaker called on Muslim nations to boycott Dutch products in response to the film, asking Muslims to avoid buying products made in those countries which allow themselves to insult Islam. In Jordan, a group of lawmakers demanded that the government sever its ties with the Netherlands. In Malaysia, as in many countries, Muslims protested outside the Dutch Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, shouting Long live Islam and Crush the Netherlands. The ambassadors of 26 Islamic countries want the Netherlands to investigate whether the film can be banned. The meeting at the ministry in the Hague was attended by ambassadors of countries including Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

Muslim nations condemn Dutch anti-Islam film

On Friday, Muslim nations condemned the film ‘Fitna’ which accuses the Quran of inciting violence, and Dutch Muslim leaders urged restraint. Iran called the film heinous, blasphemous, and anti-Islamic. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and former Dutch colony, said that the film was an insult to Islam, hidden under the cover of freedom of expression. The Saudi Arabian embassy in the Hague said that the film was full of errors, incorrect allegations, and could lead towards hatred of Muslims. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the film.

Dutch Anti-Koran Video Released: Wilders Sparks Political Protest

It is little more than a makeshift collage, but it contains a horror show of images meant to distort Islam. Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders has launched his long-awaited video screed criticizing the Koran. Criticism is mounting. Geert Wilders chose the time to publish his anti-Koran film carefully. He picked a Thursday evening, shortly before the Dutch evening news and before Muslims in East Asian countries like Indonesia visit their mosques for Friday prayers. Until the very last minute, there was fierce speculation over whether and when the cinematic pamphlet would be broadcast. And until very recently, Wilders was offering only vague responses to these questions, especially after no television broadcaster was willing to show the film. Even a US Internet provider decided to take the Dutch right-wing populist’s Web site offline. “Fitna,” Arabic for “strife,” is now available online at Liveleak, a video platform similar to YouTube. It was viewed well over a million times within just one hour. Gerald Traufetter reports.