Valls attacks New York Times report on burkini ban

The French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has accused the New York Times of painting an “unacceptable” picture of his country with an article about discrimination against Muslim women.

The report was prompted by the debate over controversial bans on Islamic swimsuits in many French Riviera towns. Valls said such bans were part of a “fight for the freedom of women”.

The paper said it stood by the article. Some Muslims say they are being targeted unfairly over burkinis.

An increasing number of court rulings have rejected bans on the full-body swimsuit, including in Nice, where an attack on 14 July killed 84 people during Bastille Day celebrations.

Some of the women quoted by the NYT said the clothing was a chance for them to take part in activities, such as going to the beach, in line with their religious beliefs.

Many also complained of an alleged discrimination by non-Muslims exacerbated by the recent attacks in France and Belgium, and of restrictions in wearing the headscarf, banned in French public buildings.

One said: “French Muslim women would be justified to request asylum in the United States… given how many persecutions we are subjected to.”

Another talked of being “afraid of having to wear a yellow crescent on my clothes one day, like the Star of David for Jews not so long ago”.

10 Years for Plot to Murder Cartoonist

January 6, 2014

By Jon Hurdle

 

PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge on Monday sentenced a Pennsylvania woman to 10 years in prison for her part in a plan to murder a Swedish cartoonist whose images of the Prophet Muhammad offended Muslims.

The woman, Colleen R. LaRose, who used “Jihad Jane” as an online alias, pleaded guilty to four charges, including conspiring to aid terrorists and to kill a person in a foreign country, after she plotted with jihadists she encountered on the Internet to kill the cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who depicted the prophet atop the body of a dog.

Ms. LaRose, 50, of Pennsburg, Pa., near Philadelphia, went to Europe in 2008 with the intention of killing Mr. Vilks, but failed to meet up with the people who had encouraged the mission. She returned to the United States and was arrested after the plan was discovered.

Judge Petrese B. Tucker of United States District Court said Monday that she was satisfied that Ms. LaRose would have carried out the killing if she had made the right contacts.

The defendant, a slight woman of 4-foot-9 who wore green prison overalls and a black head scarf, made a six-minute statement to the court, admitting that she had been inspired to engage in jihad, or Islamic holy war, after seeing coverage of Palestinians “screaming and crying.”

 

NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/jihad-jane-given-10-year-prison-sentence.html

 

NYT OpEd: The Female Factor: Under Attack as Muslims in the U.S.

WASHINGTON — Muslims in Western countries say they have gotten used to the fact that as elections get closer, politicians pump up the volume of accusations against them, whether they are Sunni, Shiite or of another sect.

In some European nations, it was the debate over women wearing the veil that set off the attacks. Now in the United States, where pivotal elections are looming, accusations against Muslims have reached a new level. It seems to some that the days of McCarthyism are back.

Representative Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican and a member of the Tea Party movement, cited Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s longtime aide Huma Abedin as the reason, questioning Ms. Abedin’s loyalty. One of the few Muslims in a prominent government position, Ms. Abedin is a trusted adviser who is known to the public; many have defended her against Mrs. Bachmann’s charge.

It is “so sad to see,” one of the women said. “There is already a lack of Muslims in government positions, but now this debate just shows no matter how loyal you are, some people will always attack you because you are Muslim.”

It is not the first time that Muslim women involved in politics have been attacked because of their backgrounds.

This accusation was a disturbing development for four Muslim women who work for the U.S. government and spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they were not authorized to make comments to the media.

Message to Muslims: I’m Sorry

NYT Op-ED Columnist: NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

“…I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you. The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs.”

Suspect’s Background

“On May 1st, New York’s Times Square was the target of a failed terrorist attack. In the extensive coverage of the incident, you will find the timeline of the incident leading to the arrest of the suspect right before he scarped the country. The coverage will also include the news following the arrest, the charges against the suspect and the debate around the suspect’s Miranda rights. It will review some of  the immediate consequences of the incident including debates about the effectiveness of the no-fly list, the heightened security measures in NYC and potential effects of the incident on US foreign policy. International dimensions of the incident in linkage to Pakistani Taliban as well as the coverage by Pakistani sources have also been included. Finally, a collection of links related to the suspect’s background is available.”

CNN: The Incident’s Extended Timeline
BBC: Suspect’s Profile
Fox News: Glimpse into Suspect’s Life
MSNBC: Clues to Suspect’s Background
NYT: Suspect’s Background
USA Today: Suspect’s Background
CNN: Images of the Suspect Buying Fireworks
CBS: Suspect on US Travel Security List Since 1999

White House quietly reaching out to Muslims

The Obama Administration has quietly engaged in a dialogue with American Muslims and Arab-Americans according to the NYT. Following Mr. Obama’s Cairo speech in last June, his administration have engaged American Muslim advocates in policy discussions and, among others, top White House aides have provided them with briefing in regards to the health care reform, foreign policy issues, economic reform, immigration issues and national security. The White House adviser, Valerie Jarrett, Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, and Attorney General, Eric Holder are among the people who have privately met with Muslim advocates according to the NYT.