August 2010


From Spiegel Online:

Are Muslim immigrants a drag on German prosperity? A new book by provocateur Thilo Sarrazin, a board member of the German central bank, argues that they are. His over-the-top comments have triggered yet another debate on immigration in the country.

Thilo Sarrazin has never been one to mince words. The German central bank board member and former senior city official in Berlin has long been a strident critic of German immigration policies, even going so far as to say in an interview last autumn that immigrants sponge off the state, are incapable of integrating themselves into German society and “constantly produce little girls in headscarves.”

In the interview, which appeared in the cultural magazine Lettre International, he also said that “a large number of Arabs and Turks in (Berlin) … have no productive function other than in the fruit and vegetable trade.” In the same interview, he claimed that the Turks were “conquering Germany … through a higher birthrate.”This week, though, the Social Democrat (SPD) seems to have outdone himself. German media outlets, including SPIEGEL, have published excerpts of his soon-to-be-published book on Germany’s supposed demise. As Sarrazin makes abundantly clear, that demise comes as a result of immigration. The bluntness with which he presents his ideas has kicked off a debate in Germany, and within the center-left SPD, as to whether Sarrazin has crossed the line into racism and whether he should be censured.

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By John Esposito, for the Washington Post:

One of the frequent battle cries raised by those who warn that Muslims want to overwhelm the West is that that Muslims want to impose Shariah in America and Europe. Just as critics of Islam in the West question whether Islam is compatible with democracy and Muslims can be loyal citizens, many Muslims, in light of the rise and increase of Islamophobia and threats to their civil liberties, ask if democracy can accommodate Islam. Others, Some Muslims in the West in light of have also questioned, for different reasons, whether they could be both good Muslims and loyal citizens in of “foreign” non-Muslim states based on a Western secular laws? More isolationist and militant Muslims tend to associate Western countries and societies with kufr, unbelief, and look upon its citizens as unbelievers to be avoided, converted or attacked.

While devout Jews can follow Jewish law and Christians follow their doctrines and laws and be at the same time fully American citizens, can Muslims? What is the relationship of the need to follow Shariah to Muslims living in non-Muslim societies? Is there something peculiar about Islam that presents Muslim from living in a secular pluralistic America or Europe?

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Zuhdi Jasser

During the past few months, a brouhaha grew over the construction of a Muslim Cultural Center, known as the “Cordoba House,” near ground zero. The center was dubbed a “mosque” by its detractors; the supporters, however, proclaimed that it was a Cultural Center, which would serve as a response to the perpetrators who conducted the atrocious attacks against America on 9/11 as well as serve as a memorial. Indeed, within the Cordoba House, there is also a project underway to construct a prayer space for Muslims. Of course, it is this particular project that is galvanizing some individuals to take to the streets and protest against it. One individual, who spoke out against the mosque and is celebrated by the media and the right-wing as the true, unapologetic moderate Muslim, was Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander and the president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

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By Barbara Crossette, for the Nation:

As Indians prepare to celebrate the country’s sixty-third Independence Day on August 15, an eruption of deadly violence in the picturesque countryside and towns of Kashmir is a reminder that many Kashmiris still do not consider themselves part of India, and profess that they never will.

On paper, their claims are valid. The United Nations, and many countries individually, have never recognized as part of India what the Indian government calls its state of Jammu and Kashmir. The UN has its second-oldest peace monitoring mission there, after the Middle East. Both were established in 1948. In Kashmir, some forty-plus lonely UN monitors—from Chile, Croatia, Finland, Italy, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sweden and Uruguay—have little to do except remind locals by their presence that the world knows that Kashmiris are still there, waiting.

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Jamal Abdi, for Foreign Policy:

A game plan to draw the United States into a third war in the Middle East may be quietly unfolding before our eyes.

Late last week, Republicans in the House or Representatives unveiled H.Res.1553, a resolution providing explicit support for an Israeli bombing campaign against Iran. The measure, introduced by Texas Republican Louie Gohmert and forty-six of his colleagues, endorses Israel’s use of “all means necessary” against Iran “including the use of military force”.

“We have got to act,” Gohmert has said in regard to the measure. “We’ve got to get this done. We need to show our support for Israel. We need to quit playing games with this critical ally in such a difficult area.”

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