Le Pen: France has choice between fundamental Islam and independence

Marine Le Pen says France’s next presidential election will be a choice between a “multi-cultural society… where fundamental Islam is progressing” and an “independent nation, with people able to control their own destiny”.

In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Le Pen said on Sunday that Donald Trump’s US election victory heralds the “building of a new world,” and that recent elections and referendums were victories “against the unfettered globalisation that has been imposed on us… and which today has clearly shown its limits,” she claimed.

Le Pen described the Republican’s win as a “victory of the people against the elite” and said she hoped a similar outcome could be achieved in French presidential elections in May.

“Clearly, Donald Trump’s victory is an additional stone in the building of a new world, destined to replace the old one,” she said.

Trump “made possible what had previously been presented as impossible,” she said, predicting that the “global revolution” that resulted in his election, as well as in the vote for Brexit, will also see her elected as president.

“So if I can draw a parallel with France then yes I wish that in France also the people up-end the table, the table around which the elites are dividing up what should go to the French people.

Hailing the rise of “patriotic movements” in Europe, Le Pen drew parallels between the US vote, Britain’s 23 June decision to leave the European Union, and France’s rejection of the European constitution in 2005.

 

She told Marr the rise of nationalism in the West meant Europe needed to look after its own citizens and stop “taking in the poverty of the world”.

“We are not going to welcome any more people. Stop, we are full up.”

When asked if Muslims could be good French citizens, she said: “I don’t judge people based on their religion. But I judge them based on how they respect the French constitution.

“If some people refuse to comply with French law or our codes, our values, our lifestyles, then we will act.”

She also said there was no reason for Europe to be scared of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We’d better, if we want a powerful Europe, negotiate with Russia, and have cooperation agreements with Russia, commercial agreements with Russia,” she said, adding that it was the EU that was destabilising Europe, not Russia.

“The model that is defended by Vladimir Putin which is one of reason, protectionism, looking after the interests of his own country, defending its identity, is one that I like.”

 

RNC chairman calls for official to step down over anti-Muslim, anti-gay posts

January 24, 2014

 

A Michigan member of the Republican National Committee rejected calls to resign Friday after making anti-gay and anti-Muslim remarks.

Dave Agema said he’s made mistakes but pledged to continue to “honor the trust and fulfill the responsibilities to those in the Michigan Republican Party that elected me.” On Jan. 17, Agema published a Facebook post saying, “Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?” Earlier in the week, he linked to an article about a anti-propaganda law in Russia, saying “Read their law. Common sense in Russia.”
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) made oblique references to Agema’s comments in a Martin Luther King Jr. speech he gave last week, calling for “civility and respect.” The Michigan Catholic Conference also released a statement Friday calling for civility: “In all things political, in present times, there must be a renewed focus on charity.”

He issued a statement hours after RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Michigan Party Chairman Bobby Schostak called for his resignation.

“For the good of the party, we believe Dave Agema should resign,” Preibus and Schostak said in a joint statement. Last March, Agema posted an article on Facebook with an unsubstantiated claim that gays account for half the murders in large cities. In December, he told Berrien County Republicans that his experience as an American Airlines pilot made him familiar with efforts by gays to get health insurance coverage because of the ravages of AIDS. He also came under fire from the Council on American-Islamic Relations for a Facebook posting this month questioning Muslims’ commitment to charity.
Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/01/24/dave-agema-faces-additional-pressure-from-gop-party-leaders-to-step-down/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/michigan-gop-official-rejects-calls-to-resign/2014/01/24/316c3340-855c-11e3-a273-6ffd9cf9f4ba_story.html

UK Muslims divided over Syria intervention

 

British Muslims are in an anguished position over Syria, with profound distrust of western military intervention clashing with a desire to see the demise of President Assad. “I was in Oldham yesterday talking to a large crowd and people usually think, here we go again, another Muslim nation being attacked,” said Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, one of the UK’s most senior Muslim politicians. “But here they see it is right for Syria’s chemical weapons and air strike capability to be dismantled. People know that there’s a real problem and that 100,000 people have been killed. People can see millions of children being moved and being bombed. Charities working with women who have been raped and that is a very sensitive issue.”

 

“On every occasion America has gone to war it has used the same argument that it will be selective,” added Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, chairman of the East London Mosque. “It doesn’t wash with the Muslim community. By interfering in Syria it is going to antagonise Iran, Russia and China and open a Pandora’s box that will take Syria into a darker age that will leave the Muslim world further divided.”

 

“There is sceptism about who has used chemical weapons and there needs to be a clear proof,” he said. “It if was chemicals why can’t America convince China and Russia? Chemical weapons used against civilians are an atrocity. If Russia, China and Iran are in a civilised world, they should take more action. If they took a strong stand Assad would be crippled.”

 

Jehangir Malik, UK director of the aid agency Islamic Relief, said he agreed with Lord Ahmed that British Muslim anxiety about attacks is tempered by the feeling that something must be done.” The Muslim community will be sceptical of this intervention, going in after two and a half years,” he said. “But no other Muslim country has done anything so what are the options?”

 

Malik said the fact that the action against Assad was not being sold as part of the “war on terror” meant feeling was “not as anti as with Afghanistan and Iraq”. But he also warned that any strikes could result in the conflict escalating and the humanitarian situation worsening.

 

Father of Chechen man shot by FBI trying to get answers in Florida

The father of a Chechen man shot by an FBI agent in Orlando is in Florida, where he is trying to get answers about his son’s death.

 

Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Florida Council on American Islamic Relations in Tampa, told the Orlando Sentinel his organization planned to meet Tuesday with Abdulbaki Todashev — who traveled to the U.S. from Russia.

 

His son, 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev, was killed May 22 while he was being questioned by a Boston-based FBI agent, Massachusetts state troopers, and other law-enforcement officers.

Shibly said CAIR officials and Abdulbaki Todashev planned to discuss what options the family has, including taking legal action against the FBI.

 

“We’re exploring those options right now,” Shibly said.

 

The FBI has released little information about the Orlando shooting or explained publicly what transpired that night.

 

Ibragim Todashev was “primarily” being questioned about a September 2011 triple slaying in Waltham, Mass., but he was also being questioned about his friendship with Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Initially, the FBI said Todashev initiated a “violent confrontation” during the questioning at a condo near Universal Studios.

“During the confrontation, the individual was killed and the agent sustained non-life threatening injuries,” the FBI said shortly after the shooting.

Shibly told the Sentinel that CAIR’s investigation into the shooting turned up very “troubling” information.

He said Todashev’s friends have said they were questioned by the FBI in the days before the fatal shooting, and threats were made suggesting if the friends did not spy on local mosques they would risk having their immigration statuses changed.

Meanwhile, the ACLU said Abdulbaki Todashev has also requested to meet with organization representatives while he is visiting the U.S. The ACLU asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the Ibragim Todashev shooting, but the agency declined late last month, stating it would be inappropriate because it is a federal case.

 

U.S. Delegates Visit Moscow for Insight on Boston Attack

Members of a Congressional delegation visiting Moscow to investigate the background of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects said Sunday that the attack might have been prevented by greater cooperation between the United States and Russia on intelligence issues and counterterrorism efforts.

But the lawmakers said they could not point to any specific misstep by the American or Russia intelligence services, and they did not offer any new insights into what motivated the suspects, two brothers with family ties in Russia’s North Caucasus, to commit the attack.

“Yes, it could have been averted,” said Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who led the delegation and is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and emerging threats. “Not just by one mistake by the United States or one mistake made over here in Russia, but instead by making sure that both countries were working together on a much higher level.”

Adding an odd celebrity touch, the lawmakers were joined by the action-film star Steven Seagal, who has a following in Russia. Mr. Seagal had helped arrange meetings and even offered to take the lawmakers to Chechnya to meet Ramzan Kadyrov, the region’s leader, who has been accused of human rights abuses.

The Chechnya visit was called off for logistical reasons, but Mr. Rohrbacher thanked Mr. Seagal and said he was instrumental in securing some meetings, including a session with Dmitri Rogozin, a deputy prime minister. “I don’t know that he would have been available to us if not for Steven’s role,” Mr. Rohrbacher said.

 

Bomb suspect’s uncle, in Mass., says he knows ‘no one wants to associate … with such evil’

WORCESTER, Mass. — The uncle of a Boston Marathon bombing suspect killed in a gun battle with police arrived at a funeral home Sunday to make arrangements for his burial.

Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., and three other men met with Worcester funeral home director Peter Stefan. The men who accompanied Tsarni plan to wash and perform Muslim burial rites on the body of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Stefan said.

Stefan said he has received calls from people criticizing him and calling him “un-American” for his willingness to handle Tsarnaev’s funeral.

“We take an oath to do this. Can I pick and choose? No. Can I separate the sins from the sinners? No,” he said. “We are burying a dead body. That’s what we do.”

Stefan said Tsarnaev’s uncle told him that he is anxious to bury his nephew.

“They just want to get it over with. They want to get him buried,” Stefan said.

Tsarni has denounced the acts that his nephews — Tamerlan and younger brother Dzhokhar — are accused of committing and has said that they have brought shame to the family and the entire Chechen ethnicity. The brothers are ethnic Chechens from Russia who came to the United States about a decade ago with their parents. The parents returned to Russia’s restive republic of Dagestan last year.

Bombing suspect’s wife to allow family to claim his body and the attempt to hold a Muslim funeral

The widow of suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev said Tuesday she would let other family members claim his body, which has been kept at the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for more than a week.
Under Islamic law, Muslims are customarily buried shortly after they die, normally within a day. But Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow, Katherine Russell, has not claimed the body and the state refused to release the body to other family members without her permission.
In an emotional interview Tuesday, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s father, Anzor, had complained that officials were not allowing the family to bury him.
“The body should have been buried,” Anzor Tsarnaev said by telephone from Russia. “What else can you do with a dead body?”
Tsarnaev expressed sadness about the bombings, even as he dismissed the charges against his sons as a fabrication. He said he had left his home in Dagestan for another part of Russia, which he did not disclose, with his ex-wife, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva.
Tsarnaev complained that his relatives were having trouble claiming Tamerlan’s body, apparently not realizing that his son’s widow was required to first give them permission.
On Tuesday, an uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers contacted Al-Marhama, a non-profit Muslim funeral and burial service, for help with funeral arrangements for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, said Ismail Fenni, assistant imam of the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge.
Al-Marhama notified Fenni, who said he called the uncle and assured him that people affiliated with the Cambridge mosque, where the brothers occasionally prayed, would be willing to assist.
“I know many of the members of our community want to help,” he said. “We feel for the family. They obviously are going through a hard time.”
Fenni said mosques typically do not handle funerals and burials. Families are referred to funeral homes, he said, and, often with the help of volunteers from the community or Al-Marhama, the body is cleansed and shrouded in preparation for burial. The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, which is owned by the same organization as the Cambridge mosque but run separately, also has facilities for preparing bodies for burial.
Fenni said the uncle had no details about the family’s wishes. Fenni did not know whether Tamerlan’s body would be shipped overseas or buried here, or what kind of service the family wants, if any.
The Tsarnaevs have not contacted the cultural center, Boston’s largest mosque. If asked, Imam William Suhaib Webb would refuse to pray over Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body, said Yusufi Vali, executive director of the cultural center.
But both Webb and Fenni say it is the Muslim community’s obligation to bury its dead.
“The deceased is still a human being, and from the humanitarian side, we have to at least give him the rite of burial, regardless of what he has done,” Fenni said.

Boston suspects’ father postpones trip to US MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP)

The father of the two Boston bombing suspects said Sunday that he has postponed a trip from Russia to the United States because of poor health. ‘‘I am really sick,’’ Anzor Tsarnaev, 46, told The Associated Press. He said his blood pressure had spiked to dangerous levels. Tsarnaev said at a news conference Thursday that he planned to leave that day or the next for the U.S. with the hope of seeing his younger son, who is under arrest, and burying his elder son, who was killed. His family, however, indicated later Thursday that the trip could be pushed back because he was not feeling well. During the past week, they were both questioned extensively by U.S. investigators who had traveled to Makhachkala from Moscow. They also were besieged by journalists who staked out their home. Tsarnaev’s family said last week that he intended to get to the U.S. by flying from Grozny, the Chechen capital, to Moscow. He and Tsarnaeva left Dagestan on Friday, but their whereabouts were unclear

Aunt: Boston bombings suspect struggled with Islam MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP)

The elder suspect in the Boston bombings regularly attended a mosque and spent time learning to read the Quran, but he struggled to fit in during a trip to his ancestral homeland in southern Russia last year, his aunt said. Tamerlan Tsarnaev seemed more American than Chechen and ‘‘did not fit into the Muslim life’’ in Russia’s Caucasus, Patimat Suleimanova told The Associated Press. She said when Tsarnaev arrived in January 2012, he wore a winter hat with a little pompom, something no local man would wear, and ‘‘we made him take it off.’’ After returning from Russia, Tsarnaev made his presence known at a Boston-area mosque, where his outbursts interrupted two sermons that encouraged Muslims to celebrate American institutions such as the July 4 Independence Day and figures like Martin Luther King Jr., according to the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. During one incident congregants shouted at him, telling him to leave, the center said in a statement released Monday. His mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, told the AP that her son greatly enjoyed his time with her relatives, but never traveled to her native village in a mountainous region of Dagestan, which is a hotbed of an ultraconservative strain of Islam known as Wahabbism. Wahabbism was introduced to the Caucasus in the 1990s by preachers and teachers from Saudi Arabia. The mother said her relatives now all live in Makhachkala and the town of Kaspiisk. She refused to say which mosque her son frequented, but Tsarnaev’s parents and aunt firmly denied that he met with militants or fell under the sway of religious extremists.

 

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.”