CIA launches recruitment drive on internet and TV

The Central Intelligence Agency is attempting to recruit more spies by advertising on the internet, radio, and television, and holding meetings with American Muslims to make up for a severe shortage of Arabic speakers.

Leon Panetta, the new CIA director, will meet with Muslim groups in cities such as Detroit to spearhead the new drive to recruit more Arabic speakers and Muslims. Urdu and Pashtu speakers are also among those being sought in the continuation of an anti-terror initiative launched by former U.S. president George W. Bush.

“We want to emphasize to those communities that we welcome first-generation Americans to apply. They bring critical language skills and a knowledge of culture to support our intelligence mission.” Earlier this month Scott White, third in command at the CIA, held meetings with Arab-American and Chaldean-American representatives in Detroit, which has heavily populated American Muslim suburbs. He told the groups that he would bring Mr. Panetta to a future meeting.

Fadéla Amara Reveals New Plans for France’s Banlieues

The secretary of state for Urban Policies, Fad_la Amara, revealed that the country will aim to launch 45,000 new jobs for the country’s young people in the next three years, centred upon those most marginal in the country’s suburbs. President Sarkozy announced the plan Hope-Suburbs (Espoir-sBanlieues) in February. The project will concentrate on 215 neighbourhoods. Amara also revealed the creation of a cohesion delegation to aid relationships between the suburban population and police. Amara announced that We have a scandalous situation in our suburbs: in some neighbourhoods, between 40%-42% of young people under 26 are unemployed. The plan also includes better access to public transportation and assistance in the education of youths.

Young Muslim leaders in Europe get a close look at US

For Karim Z_ribi, the highlight was shaking the hand of Barack Obama. For Ali Zahi, it was meeting his childhood hero, basketball star Magic Johnson. And Mohamed Hamidi was surprised to find a mosque in Washington that was bigger than the one in his parents’ village in Algeria. Hamidi is a well-known blogger, Zahi is a mayoral aide in this Paris suburb, and Z_ribi runs an employment agency. All are French, Muslim and below 42. All grew up and worked in suburbs that became emblematic of the frustration among second- and third-generation immigrant youths that led to three weeks of riots in France in 2005. And all three joined the small but growing ranks of influential Muslims in Europe invited to the US on 21-day trips as part of its International Visitor Leadership Program. The longstanding program, which seeks to introduce future leaders from around the world to the US, has become part of an American effort to reach out to Europe’s Muslims, especially young people who could fall prey to jihadist talk. The exposure to America softened views of a superpower generally distrusted in their communities. Many young people think that America is waging a war on Muslims, said Zahi, 32, chief of staff for the mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 rioting began after the deaths of two teenagers of African origin. I tell them America is a country that has a black presidential candidate and a self-confident Muslim community, Zahi said.

Outcry after French Court Annuls Marriage Because Bride Not a Virgin

A ruling ending a Muslim couple’s union has stunned many in France and for some has raised new concerns about the country’s secular values. In its ruling in April the court concluded that the woman had misrepresented herself and that, in this particular marriage, virginity was a prerequisite. France’s Justice Minister Rachida Dati has since formally requested the public prosecutor’s office to appeal the Lille court ruling which annulled the 2006 union of two Muslims because the wife admitted to having lied about being a virgin. Many have denounced the court’s ruling as an affront to the legal equality of mean and women and as a violation of the woman’s privacy. Prime Minister Fran_ois Fillion stated that while he understood the reason for the judge’s ruling the case merited an appeal. Fadela Amara, minister in charge of the country’s suburbs and herself Muslim has called the ruling, a fatwa against the emancipation of women. Dati who herself had a marriage annulled in France that had been arranged by her family has, as of June 6, received a petition from 150 European deputies denouncing the dangerous precedent of the decision. Both the woman and the man in question are opposed to an appeal.

Sarkozy Pledges Aid, Security for Slums

French president Nicolas Sarkozy says that the very idea of the nation is at stake unless the poor, and mainly ethnic minority suburbs are revived. Sarkozy spoke as he announced a three-year proposal to deploy 4,000 more police and roll out a half-billion euro plan aimed at key neighborhoods. Also in his plan, were goals of helping 100,000 people find work, possible bussing of students in different neighborhoods to mingle social groups, and a declared war without mercy on gangs and drug dealers. Sarkozy unveiled his plan just ahead of municipal elections to be held on March 9th and 16th. “Together we will build a France proud of its diversity,” he said, adding that young people should not be subject to discrimination because of the color of their skin.

French Minister Fadela Amara Takes on France’s Projects

On January 22, the French government unveiled a proposal to slash youth unemployment in high-immigrant suburbs. The plan’s architect, Urban Affairs Minister Fadela Amara, unveiled key proposals to local residents in Vaulx-en-Velin, a suburb of Lyon. She pledged to create 45,000 new jobs in areas where up to one in two black and Arab men are unemployed – compared to the national average of eight percent. Also part of the proposal was a plan to cut youth jobless rates by 40% in three years, promising tutors and internships available to students. Sarkozy will release details of the plan and funding on February 8th.

French plan for the suburbs runs into trouble

President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared to be at odds with outspoken urban affairs minister Fadela Amara, over the release of a master plan to help struggling youth in high-immigrant suburbs. The plan, which was promised by Sarkozy during his election campaign, was set to be unveiled in January 22nd in the Lyon suburb of Vaulx-en-Velin, but he said he planned to unroll his government’s proposals at the later date of early February, and perhaps in a different town. Amara responded that the change doesn’t affect anything, and an outline of the plan will be revealed as scheduled.

Urban affairs minister to unveil new plan for inner-cities

France’s urban affairs minister Fadela Amara will present a new plan aimed at tackling pressing problems facing the country’s poor, and high-immigrant suburbs, to be released on January 23rd. While details of the plan have not been revealed, it will reportedly contain measures to improve the quality of life – such as new jobs and training, for the large immigrant and immigrant-descended population in Paris’ suburbs.

Dutch recommend Good Cop, Bad Cop for Paris suburbs

AMSTERDAM, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Ahmed Marcouch, the leader of an immigrant district in Amsterdam, said on Friday the key to quelling the kind of riots seen in Paris this week was to isolate troublemakers, involve parents and build community relations. Marcouch, who moved to Amsterdam from Morocco aged 10, was credited with quickly cooling the situation by visiting the victims’ parents and bringing together community leaders, youth workers, imams and police. Emma Thomasson reports.

Violence flares in Paris Suburb

The deaths of two teenage boys after their motorbikes collided with a police car sparked riots in the northern Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel on Sunday night. After the two youths were killed, angry young people set fire to cars, shops, and a police station; a total of 25 police and one firefighter were injured in the clashes, and at least 28 vehicles and four buildings have been torched. Omar Sehhouli, the brother of one of the victims told France’s said that he wanted “all the policemen responsible to be brought to justice.” Relations between youth and police have a tense relationship in Paris’ suburbs, many of which are dominated by immigrants who often feel marginalized by law enforcement.