Reactions to developments in Egypt from around the world

Reactions on Friday around the world to developments in Egypt following clashes in which hundreds of people were killed and thousands injured:

 

EUROPEAN UNION

 

European leaders spoke Friday about the need for a coordinated EU response to the violence in Egypt and agreed there should be a meeting of the European Union’s foreign ministers next week. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an end to violence and a resumption of dialogue in Egypt. The German government statement said Merkel told Hollande that Germany, one of Egypt’s biggest trading partners, would “re-evaluate” its relations with Cairo in light of this week’s bloodshed. Hollande also discussed the violence with Italian Premier Enrico Letta and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah voiced support for Egypt’s military-backed interim government, saying the kingdom stands by the country in its fight against “terrorism and strife” — an apparent reference to deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement. In a televised statement, Abdullah called for honest people and intellectuals “to stand firmly against all those who try to shake the stability of a country that has always led the Arab and Islamic worlds.”

 

TURKEY

Turkish officials kept up their criticism of the military government’s crackdown, with President Abdullah Gul saying that “all that happened in Egypt is a shame for Islam and the Arab world.” Turkey and Egypt recalled their ambassadors for consultations late Thursday as their relationship worsened.

 

TUNISIA

About 1,500 people flooded the main avenue in central Tunis, many of them pouring out of the capital’s most important mosque. They gathered in a large square in front of the municipal theater, shouting support for the Egyptian people, especially supporters of Morsi, and condemning the Egyptian military and the U.S. The hour-long protest was peaceful.

 

In Little Egypt, Echoes From Home

Little Egypt, NYC: Reaction to recent events in Egypt.

 

Moving in the right direction on Somalia

David Cameron, speaking to the BBC Breakfast show, described the reason for sending aid to countries like Somalia, was essentially to keep Somalis out of Britain. By investing, the Prime Minister claimed, “we can stop them ending up on our shores”.

However as the author critiques the prime minister he highlights that there are many better reasons for investing in Somalia than preventing immigration. We might start in 2010, when the failure of rains, coming on top of two decades of absent government, lead to a famine that over the next two years would kill 258,000 people, roughly 5 per cent of the population. Or you might instead emphasise the need to build security and quell Islamic jihadist group Al-Shabaab, who have issued threats against Britain in the past. Then again, though Mr Cameron would be loath to admit it, you could argue that the main reason we invest in Somalia is in fact to fund Islamic extremism. It was revealed this weekend that £500,000 worth of supplies from the Department for International Development has been stolen by Al-Shabaab. We’ve been here before. In 1993, so much aid was ending up in the hands of Somali militants that it contributed to the US-led ‘humanitarian intervention’ in the country, a disastrous failure which ended after Black Hawk Down.

That DfID have owned up to this latest loss, albeit quietly, is a fine thing. They must learn from it. Mo Farah (a Somali-born distance runner for great Britain recently took the 5,000m and 10,000m world title in Moscow – and is seen by some as the greatest British athlete of all time) is currently campaigning to stop Barclays shutting down its money-transfer services to Somalia, a service upon which 40 per cent of the country is said to rely and through which £100m is sent from Britain every year. Since the UK government is not perfect at helping Somalia, closing a route through which Somalis can help themselves seems crazy. Farah’s campaign should be backed to the hilt.

Tony Blair’s Muslim sister-in-law fears attacks

Cherie Blair’s half-sister, 45, said she felt like men want to hit her when they see her wearing her traditional Islamic dress and a hijab head-covering. Ms Booth told ITV’s Daybreak: “When I came to Islam two years ago and I first put on the scarf I was nervous about going on the Underground, I thought everyone is going to see me differently, and everyone was beautiful towards me. “I was invisible for a few weeks and then I noticed that British people were smiling, same as we always do, we’re really good at that, we’re really good at absorbing and accepting people. “But honestly, in the last two weeks I’ve been getting public transport and there are grown men looking like they want to hit Muslim women, and I’m a tall, white woman, I’m not easily threatened, but I have felt scared at times, so there is a change unfortunately.”

 

Ms Booth’s brother-in-law, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, previously said there is a ‘problem within Islam’ which allows the seeds of extremism to be sown in the wake of the killing. Asked if he was right, Ms Booth replied: ‘Absolutely not, and I think it’s very dangerous to take a summary of a religion from a man who’s overseen the invasion of several Muslim countries, and overseen a war where a million people whom are Muslim have been killed and millions displaced, so I wouldn’t take that as a kind of basis for any information on Islam.’

David Cameron: We will ‘drain the swamp’ which allows Muslim extremists to flourish

The Prime Minister told MPs he would do more to tackle the “conveyor belt to radicalisation” which is poisoning the minds of young Muslims. He told MPs: “it is not simply enough to target and go after violent extremists after they’ve become violent. We have to drain the swamp in which they inhabit.” This meant stopping young Muslims becoming radicalised on university campuses and preventing extremists from taking over Islamic centres. He said: “It means going through all of these elements of the conveyor belt to radicalisation and making sure we deal with them.” Mr Cameron added: “But it is clear that we need to do more. When young men born and bred in this country are radicalised and turned into killers, we have to ask some tough questions about what is happening in our country.”

Tony Blair: Woolwich attack shows there is a ‘problem within Islam’

Tony Blair has launched an attack on the “problem within Islam” in the wake of the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich at the hands of Islamist extremists.

 

The former Prime Minister said the ideology that inspired the act of terror that shocked Britain last month is “profound and dangerous”.

 

“There is not a problem with Islam,” he wrote. “For those of us who have studied it, there is no doubt about its true and peaceful nature. There is not a problem with Muslims in general. Most in Britain will be horrified at Lee Rigby’s murder.

 

“But there is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. And we have to put it on the table and be honest about it.”

 

He said that while there are radical activists in other religions, the Islamic strain is “not the province of a few extremists”.

 

“It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies,” he said.

 

For many years there has been a spectrum of Muslim belief in this country ranging from unobtrusive Islamic observance to terrorist totalitarianism. The “problem” is that young British Muslims, some of them converts, are even now being propelled towards the terrorist end of the spectrum by preachers who embedded themselves here under the government of Tony Blair.

 

No Make-up in Muslim Skies

5/5/2013

Giacomo Galeazzi

Since Ergodan’s rise to power, reports AsiaNews, Turkey has slowly returned Islam and religion, after 10 years of Kamalist secularism. There has been an increase in Turkish society of women who choose to wear the veil, women are also still banned from public office, and there has been an increase in the places where alcohol is banned. The decision to proscribe forms of make-up is part of a new aesthetic code of the national airline of Turkey. For months, as reported by the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), flight attendants must wear the veil or a traditional fez. Parties believe Prime Minister Ergodan is trying to “islamize” secular society.

This has all influenced Turkish Airlines decision to prohibit its female flight attendants from wearing flashy make-up. The decision has sparked controversy within the country.

Nick Clegg: We will deport Abu Qatada

In this report Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said the Government “will get there” despite losing an appeal against a ruling which prevented the cleric being sent to Jordan, where he is due to face terrorism charges.  He said ministers would continue to seek strengthened assurances from his native Jordan that the authorities would not use evidence obtained by torture against him. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) decided in November last year that Qatada could not be removed to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999. The judges ruled that there was a “real risk” that evidence from Qatada’s former co-defendants, who were allegedly tortured, could be used against him at a retrial, breaching his human rights.

 

Dutch-Turkish MPs Call for Muslim Foster Parents to “Take Responsibility”

March 18 2013

 

Two Dutch MPs of Turkish origin have called on more Muslim families to volunteer as foster parents. The comments follow recent unease in Turkey about a lesbian couple fostering a boy born to Muslim parents.

The MPs used social media networks to spread a message asking Islamic parents to “stop taking offence, start taking responsibility”.

The dispute has threatened to take on diplomatic overtones with Turkey. The Dutch couple has raised the boy, now nine, since he was a baby. The commotion began after the boy’s birth mother made an emotional appeal for the boy’s return on television, generating debate in Turkey and coloring an upcoming visit to the Netherlands by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A Turkish parliamentary commission is currently researching the fostering of Muslim children by gay or Christian couples, which they say will lead to them becoming estranged from their cultural background.

Backlash for the anti-Islamic movie grows as Muslim organizations call for blasphemy law

25 September 2012

 

On the 19th of September 2012, around 100 leading Muslim scholars, spiritual leaders and representatives of major Muslim organizations gathered in Birmingham, “in response to the vilification of Islam by the outrageous film ‘Innocence of Muslims’”. In the gathering, a body called The Muslim Action Forum (MAF) formed to take united action against the movie.

 

One of the first actions of the MAF was to organize a protest outside the US Embassy in London.  The protest took place last Sunday and gathered together around 7,000 Muslims to condemn the movie. Aside from the US government, the MAF also raised criticism against the UK government and politicians for not condemning the movie publicly. Also, they called on the UK government and the UN to take appropriate measures to legislate a law against religious defamation.

 

MAF spokesman Saraj Murtaza told the Huffington Post UK: “We are genuinely horrified that the government, the Prime Minister and Muslim MPs have not condemned this film or spoken out about it. Even Salman Rushdie has condemned it. It’s absolutely disgraceful. The only route left is the legal route. Petitions and protests can only go so far. We want to ask politicians here in the UK and the UN to take action to protect against religious defamation – any religion, not just insults to Islam.”

 

Further, the chief executive Mohammed Saleem Khan said: “We have set up to write to the Government, to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and the Minister of Communities and call for a law to protect religious rights. We will also be writing to Bishops to the Sikh, Hindu and Jewish faiths asking them to call for this protection from blasphemy. We work closely together on many issues and we need their support on this. We need protection for our faiths in law.”

 

In another development, around 100 Muslims gathered in the city of Cardiff to protest the movie. Demonstrators, standing under the Aneurin Bevan statue, waved anti-American and French banners.

 

On the other hand some Muslim organizations such as Oldham Mosques Council (OMC) ruled out the option of protesting against the movie. Instead they decided to lobby MPs and MEPs for international action against attempts to incite religious hatred.

 

Canada closes embassy in Iran

News Agencies – September 7, 2012

 

The Canadian Harper government has closed the Canadian Embassy in Iran and ordered all Iranian diplomats in Canada to leave the country. The move effectively severs ties with the Islamic Republic after years of increasingly tense relations marked by accusations, warnings and sanctions.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in Russia for an APEC summit, has repeatedly described Iran as the greatest threat to global security, a statement echoed by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird as he announced the embassy closure.

Baird revealed all Canadian diplomats had left Iran, while Iranian diplomats in Ottawa have been instructed to leave within five days. While the Harper government often co-ordinates its actions on Iran, such as the levelling of sanctions with the U.S. and other allies against Iran, Baird said Canada is the only country suspending diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic at this time, calling it a “made-in-Canada decision.”