U.S. soldier in Iraq uses Koran for target practice

U.S. military commanders have apologized to community leaders in Iraq after a soldier used a Quran for target practice. The Muslim holy book was found at a shooting range near Baghdad, riddled with holes. The U.S. military said the soldier had not been identified, but is a deeply embarrassing incident for the military, still struggling with fostering trust among Iraq’s diverse Muslim communities. Major-General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of U.S. troops in Baghdad, said “I am a man of honor, I am a man of character. You have my word this will never happen again.” Saeed al-Zubaie, head of U.S.-allied Sunni Arab tribal council said that while he was feeling bitterness after the incident was first uncovered, he appreciates the apology and is ok with them. President George Bush telephone Iraq’s prime minister to offer a personal apology for the desecration of the Muslim holy book.

Capitol Hill Honor for Muslim Hero

CAIRO – New York’s young Muslim hero who defended a group of Jewish subway passengers from a racist attack is being honored with an invitation to attend President George Bush’s State of the Union address at Capitol Hill. “He was as excited as we were in inviting him,” Rep. Joseph Crowley of New York told the New York Post on Thursday, January 24. “He immediately said, ‘Yes, I would love to be there.'” Bangladeshi-born Hassan Askari, 20, was thrust into the spot light in his Brooklyn neighborhood, Queens, last month after he saved four Jews from a racist attack aboard the Q train running between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Britain renames “Islamic terrorism”

The British government seems to have embarked on a new strategy on labelling terrorists and their recruiting agents as security officials believe that directly linking terrorism to Islam is inflammatory, and risks alienating mainstream Muslim opinion. Though the British Home Office stressed that no phrases have been banned, sources made it clear that the “war on terror” and “Islamic extremism” will not be used by top officials. British ministers have already adopted a new language for declarations on Islamic terrorism. In her first major speech on radicalisation, home secretary Jacqui Smith repeatedly used the phrase “anti-Islamic” in a carefully crafted strategy, sources said. In future, fanatics will be referred to as pursuing “anti-Islamic activity”. Security officials believe that directly linking terrorism to Islam is inflammatory, and risks alienating mainstream Muslim opinion. The shift follows a decision taken last year to stop using the phrase “war on terror”, first adopted by US President George Bush, Daily Mail newspaper reported.

Religious Charities Boom Under Bush

By Farah A. Chowdhury NEW YORK – Although the federal government has always been a major source of money for charities, it has become more easier for religiously affiliated charity groups to get a piece of the tax-payer pie since President George Bush introduced his Faith Based and Community Initiative in 2001. For fiscal year 2005, more than $2.1 billion in competitive social service grants were awarded to faith-based organizations. The majority of recipients of federal funding appear to be predominately of the Christian faith. According to an article in the Boston Globe, Christian faith-based organizations with operations overseas received 98.3% of all federal grants or contracts between fiscal year 2001 to 2005. In 2003, only two Islamic organizations received any type of federal funding.