February 2010


Image from the BBC

In light of the recent Pak-Indian talks, maybe it is time for India to realize its mistakes and apprehensions. Article by Arundhati Roy, for the Guardian:

We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching “India’s 9/11”. Like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we’re expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it’s all been said and done before.

As tension in the region builds, US Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that if it didn’t act fast to arrest the “Bad Guys” he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on “terrorist camps” in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.

But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001, Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan and India isn’t America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.

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From the BBC:

A French council has lodged a complaint against a fast food chain that serves only meat that conforms with Islamic dietary laws at a local branch.

The mayor of Roubaix, in northern France, said the halal menu constituted “discrimination” against non-Muslims.

The Roubaix branch is one of several restaurants at which the chain, Quick, took non-halal products and pork off the menu in November.

The move has triggered the latest row over France’s Muslim minority.

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Image from the New Statesman

By Tariq Ramadan, for the New Statesmen:

The dust from the collapse of the twin towers had hardly settled on 11 September 2001 when the febrile search began for “moderate Muslims”, people who would provide answers, who would distance themselves from this outrage and condemn the violent acts of “Muslim extremists”, “Islamic fundamentalists” and “Islamists”. Two distinct categories of Muslim rapidly emerged: the “good” and the “bad”; the “moderates”, “liberals” and “secularists” versus the “fundamentalists”, the “extremists” and the “Islamists”.

This categorisation was not new. Literature produced during the colonial era, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially by orientalist scholars in Britain and France, depicted Muslims in the same binary manner. “Good” Muslims were those who either collaborated with the colonial enterprise or accepted the values and customs of the dominant power. The rest, the “bad” Muslims, those who “resisted” religiously, culturally or politically, were systematically denigrated, dismissed as the “other” and repressed as a “danger”. Times have changed, but the old mindsets and simplistic portrayals continue to cast a shadow over today’s intellectual, political and media debate about Islam. One reason why so many Muslim thinkers, activists and reformers today try to avoid the label of “moderate” is the perception of having sold out on their religion to the west and its suffocating terminology.

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by Pinchas Goldschmidt, for the New York Times:

BRUSSELS — It is perhaps ironic that a country that has prided itself on centuries of neutrality should suddenly seek a religious conflict while the home of liberty should seek to tell people how to dress.

Nonetheless, the decision taken by the good burghers of the Germanophone cantons in Switzerland to vote in large majorities in support of a referendum calling for a ban on minarets when there are virtually none in their own eye-range disguises an alarming identity crisis in Europe.

True, Switzerland has long made its own rules. Some cantons delayed women’s suffrage until the latter part of the 20th century while an earlier, pre-First World War manifestation of Swiss intolerance saw the country ban its Jews from slaughtering their own meat — a ban that remains in place today.

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From the Dawn:

The “no burqa” clause and a second provision rejecting female genital mutilation should be added to the “integration contract” that newcomers have been asked to sign since 2007, said Families Minister Nadine Morano. The government is drafting legislation to restrict the wearing of the face-covering veil after a parliament report last month called for a burqa ban in all schools, hospitals, government offices and public transport.

Morano said the newcomers’ contract currently states that forced marriages and polygamy are not allowed in France because “equality between men and women is a fundamental principle of French society.”

The minister told French radio that the clause –”the same applies to the full veil” — should be added to that provision. “I also want to add that female genital mutilation is strictly prohibited,”she said.
Morano plans to propose the changes at a conference on Monday called by the government to take stock of its three-month debate on national identity that has exposed fears about immigration and Islam.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon last week said he would sign a decree refusing French citizenship to a man who forced his wife to wear the full Islamic veil.

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Image from France 24

From France 24 and AFP:

After condemning the weekend mosque attack which occurred in the north of Paris, France’s top council of Muslim representatives called for a national debate on Islamophobia. The attack was the latest in a growing trend of violence targeting mosques.

AFP – France’s top council of Muslim representatives on Monday condemned a weekend attack on a mosque north of Paris and called for a national debate on Islamophobia.

Vandals painted “Islam get out of Europe” and “France is for the French” on the walls and entrance of the mosque in Crepy-en-Valois overnight Saturday to Sunday.

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