Coke’s Multilingual “America the Beautiful” Ad Sparks Conservative Outrage

February 2, 2014

 

A Super Bowl commercial featuring a polyglot America outraged right-wingers—some of whom thought “America the Beautiful” was the national anthem.

Coca-Cola is by no means a progressive company.  The soda maker has long been targeted for boycotts by some labor rights groups for undermining workers’ rights at bottling plants in Colombia–and being complicit in the deaths of the labor organizations.  There’s also the environmental waste their plastic bottles generate.

But on Sunday night, during the Super Bowl, they became a target of a much different kind of boycott lead by conservatives.  A Coca-Cola ad featured the song “America the Beautiful” in multiple languages.  Images of a Muslim woman, a Jewish man, and more flashed on the screen.

Right-wingers were none too pleased.  On Twitter, the hashtag #boycottcoke picked up steam, though some of that was progressives’ making fun of their outrage.

Outside of Twitter, the outrage was just as ridiculous.  Former Congressman and Tea Party star Allen West wrote that it was “a truly disturbing commercial,” as Talking Points Memo notes.

Coke used “a deeply Christian patriotic anthem whose theme is unity – in several foreign languages,” wrote Michael Patrick Leahy on Breibart.com, who added that it featured gay people–the horror!

Perhaps the funniest part of the whole affair was some Twitter xenophobes saying the ad desecrated the “national anthem.”  In case they’re reading this: it’s not the national anthem.
Link to Video: http://youtu.be/443Vy3I0gJs

Alternet.org: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/cokes-multilingual-america-beautiful-ad-sparks-outrage
RNS.com: http://cathylynngrossman.religionnews.com/2014/01/31/cheerios-msnbc-race-super-bowl-ad/

Al Jazeera to launch French language channel

18.03.2013

Liberation

The Qatar based TV news channel Al Jazeera has recently announced the launch of a French news channel based in the United Kingdom. Al Jazeera French aims to build a bridge to the cultures and people of Europe, Africa and North America, according to the networks CEO Sheikh Ahmed Ben Jassem Al-Thani.

The French news channel follows Al Jazeera’s attempts to provincialise its network by opening branches in the Balkan region, Turkey, the US and in the near future the United Kingdom as well. The Qatari channel aims to expand as a media network that addresses different cultures in a number of languages. Localized media should help to attract larger audiences around the globe and aid to diversify Al Jazeera’s media profile. The Al Jazeera network was launched in 1996 as a pan-Arabic satellite station before opening its English branch, Al Jazeera English, in 2006 and is financed by the Emir of Qatar.

Senior Muslim Police officer resigns over discrimination

05 February 2013

 

Dal Babu, one of the most senior police officers in the UK police force, has resigned after 30 years in the service in protest against the prevailing bias against the recruitment of officers from ethnic minorities. His resignation came after refusal of his request to be promoted to chief officer rank.

The high-ranking officer has been a prominent and eloquent spokesman for Muslim police officers with wide public exposure. He was also awarded an OBE in recognition for his efforts to encourage the soaring public confidence ratings in the London borough of Harrow which he runs.

In spite of holding a master’s degree and speaking four languages, he was considered unsuitable to assume chief officer rank because his media interview skills were not deemed good enough. He was also refused a place on the strategic command course for the next generation of chief constables.

In 2003 Dal Babu had won a case against the Metropolitan Police force after claiming that he failed to win promotion and faced discrimination because of his faith. The tribunal heard that Babu was interviewed for promotion. He was failed on one competency, decision-making, but did not feel the assessment reflected his performance. He was also concerned that the centre did not have prayer facilities, even though these were available in other police buildings.

When he decided to take his case to a tribunal he gained access to the documents used in his assessment and was able to prove his marking had been unfair. The Met tried but failed to have the case struck out on a legal technicality.

Only 2.8 percent of police leadership is from black or minority ethnic backgrounds. This year, there are no black or minority ethnic officers on the course and chief officers admit the service is in the grip of a diversity crisis.

Smartphone applications connect Canadian Muslims with Islam

CBC News – July 31, 2012

 

More and more Canadian young people receive reminders of the five daily prayers on their smartphones. Many use iPray — an iPhone app — that is among a host of smartphone offerings that aid Muslims in the observance of Islamic rituals. “We can be connected and are able to look up something, such as text from the Quran, at a moment’s notice, and anywhere,” says Ahtisham, the co-chair of the youth committee at the Muslim Association of Hamilton and a recent McMaster University graduate.

Fahad Gilani, operations manager and lead developer at Guided Ways Technologies, says downloads of Islamic apps during Ramadan rises upward 10 times the ordinary rate. Though, the smartphone apps are not solely to mark Ramadan. For believers, there are Islamic apps that help its users learn accurate Arabic pronunciations of a daily prayer, locate the nearest restaurant offering Halal foods or pinpoint qiblah, the direction that Muslims face when engaged in prayer — all on a smartphone.

Similarly, smartphone apps exist to enable believers of every religious stripe to read holy book verses, receive prayer reminders or locate the precise direction of prayer. Gilani says their suite of smartphone apps is available in at least 14 languages, including English, Urdu and Farsi. Yet for all his enthusiasm, Gilani acknowledges limiting factors still exist. He recalls the early years of the app development and worry over preserving the sanctity of Islam.

‘SalamWorld’ to be Facebook for Muslims — but much cleaner

Salamworld, based in Istanbul, will be launched during Ramadan in July in eight languages. The social network aims to have 50 million users within five years.

Muslim users who choose to ditch Facebook for the upcoming social network SalamWorld shouldn’t expect to find a Madonna video or discussion of sex anywhere on the site.

The company hopes to be a far cleaner version of Facebook, by “filtering out harmful content” and ensuring that its pages “uphold and respect family values,” according to the company’s commercial.

“The content that is being used on other social networks is not very secure and full of haram,” one of Salamworld’s owners, Abdulvahed Niyazo, told the Hürriyet Daily News. Haram is an Arabic term meaning “forbidden.” “We don’t want our young people to absorb all these ideas that are not familiar to them,” he said.

But some believe that young Muslims won’t welcome a social media site containing only halal content, as they will perceive the filtering of content as Web censorship.

Judge says American defense contractor can sue Rumsfeld personally over torture allegations

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ruled that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld can be sued personally for damages by a former U.S. military contractor who says he was tortured during a nine-month imprisonment in Iraq.

The lawsuit lays out a dramatic tale of the disappearance of the then-civilian contractor, an Army veteran in his 50s whose identity is being withheld from court filings for fear of retaliation. Attorneys for the man, who speaks five languages and worked as a translator for Marines collecting intelligence in Iraq, say he was preparing to come home to the United States on annual leave when he was abducted by the U.S. military and held without justification while his family knew nothing about his whereabouts or even whether he was still alive.

Court papers filed on his behalf say he was repeatedly abused while being held at Camp Cropper, a U.S. military facility near the Baghdad airport dedicated to holding “high-value” detainees, then suddenly released without explanation in August 2006. Two years later, he filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington arguing that Rumsfeld personally approved torturous interrogation techniques on a case-by-case basis and controlled his detention without access to courts in violation of his constitutional rights.

Private Muslim Schools to be Opened in Oslo

November 12, 2010

Norwegian media reports about plans to open three private Muslim schools in Oslo. All three schools will have a stronger focus on Islam, and on Arabic or Turkish rather than German or French as optional third languages to learn. Other to that they will follow national curricula.
One of the schools, Fredsskolen (the Peace School) has already been approved and might open next fall. The to others have not had their applications tested yet.

Dutch City Offers Advice and Haircut to Immigrants

September 8 2010

The SVB (national insurance agency) in the Dutch city of Utrecht is offering Turkish and Moroccan immigrants an explanation- in their native languages -of the welfare payments for which they can apply, together with a free haircut. The program engaging “welfare hair-dressers” and targeting elderly immigrants is being test run in Utrecht but may soon spread to other cities. The SVB wants to promote the supplementary pension payments available, as some 15,000 eligible have not claimed their rights to these benefits.

Controversy over Turkish and Arabic posters in Netherlands’ election

Several candidates running in the Netherlands’ March 3 local elections have published campaign material in languages other than Dutch, sparking criticism from other campaigners. Turkish and Arabic-language election posters have appeared at various places in the country, as Labour (PvdA), the Christian democrats (CDA), centre-left D66, the Socialist Party (SP) and the leftwing Greens have posters up on which Islamic candidates are seeking their ethnic group’s voting support. The materials were printed by candidates without the permission of their party executive, and other parties have been reluctant to criticize the poster because they also have candidates publishing non-Dutch material.

Nonetheless, Integration minister Eberhard van der Laan has called on all parties to stop producing election campaign posters in other languages because they ‘do not fit in with the message’ that immigrants should learn Dutch. But the city’s Labour party has refused to withdraw leaflets in other languages, Dutch News reports. ‘The reality is that not everyone in Amsterdam speaks good Dutch. But these people should be able to vote as well,’ campaign leader Lodewijk Asscher said.

CIA Reaches Out to Muslims: Dinner in Dearborn will come on ‘wrong night’ amid Ramadan

By Paul Egan

Dearborn — CIA Director Leon Panetta plans to visit Dearborn on Sept. 16 for an invitation-only dinner and speech with 150 leaders of the Arab and Muslim communities, officials confirmed Tuesday.

The visit comes amid an unprecedented outreach effort by the Central Intelligence Agency and as Panetta seeks to double the number of CIA analysts who are proficient in Arabic and other Mideast languages.

But the date chosen for the meeting — the 27th night of Ramadan or “night of power,” when many devout Muslims and imams spend the entire night worshiping in the mosque — is drawing criticism.

“They picked the entirely wrong night on this,” said *Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations*. “This is our leading intelligence agency who doesn’t know this.”