From the BBC:

The Israeli army has demolished a number of buildings in West Bank, including one that Palestinians said was a long-established mosque.

Israeli officials said the structures were temporary and built without permits in a military fire zone.

Palestinian villagers said the mosque was built before 1967 when Israel occupied the West Bank.

The UN has criticised Israel for demolishing Palestinian property and prohibiting construction in the zone.

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By Anna Momigliano, for the Christian Science Monitor:

American pundits and politicians continue to argue over whether building an Islamic cultural center two blocks from ground zero – where Al Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center nine years ago – is appropriate.

But as the debate, centered around religious freedom and the role Islam itself played in the 9/11 attacks, continues in New York another of the world’s great cultural cities is arguing over a proposal for its first mosque. And proponents are getting help from an unlikely corner: the Vatican.

Milan, the northern Italian city famed for finance and fashion, is home to about 100,000 Muslims, mostly migrant workers from North African countries. But within city limits, there isn’t a single mosque.

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From the NYT

By Jim Rutenberg, Mike Mcintire,  and Ethan Bronner, for the New York Times:

Believing that Christian help for Jewish winemakers here in the occupied West Bank foretells Christ’s second coming, they are recruited by a Tennessee-based charity called HaYovel that invites volunteers “to labor side by side with the people of Israel” and “to share with them a passion for the soon coming jubilee in Yeshua, messiah.”

But during their visit in February the volunteers found themselves in the middle of the fight for land that defines daily life here. When the evangelicals headed into the vineyards, they were pelted with rocks by Palestinians who say the settlers have planted creeping grape vines on their land to claim it as their own. Two volunteers were hurt. In the ensuing scuffle, a settler guard shot a 17-year-old Palestinian shepherd in the leg.

“These people are filled with ideas that this is the Promised Land and their duty is to help the Jews,” said Izdat Said Qadoos of the neighboring Palestinian village. “It is not the Promised Land. It is our land.”

HaYovel is one of many groups in the United States using tax-exempt donations to help Jews establish permanence in the Israeli-occupied territories — effectively obstructing the creation of a Palestinian state, widely seen as a necessary condition for Middle East peace.

The result is a surprising juxtaposition: As the American government seeks to end the four-decade Jewish settlement enterprise and foster a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the American Treasury helps sustain the settlements through tax breaks on donations to support them.

A New York Times examination of public records in the United States and Israel identified at least 40 American groups that have collected more than $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the last decade. The money goes mostly to schools, synagogues, recreation centers and the like, legitimate expenditures under the tax law. But it has also paid for more legally questionable commodities: housing as well as guard dogs, bulletproof vests, rifle scopes and vehicles to secure outposts deep in occupied areas.

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From France 24:

French police have banned a Facebook street gathering that encouraged invitees to eat pork and drink wine in a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood of Paris, saying the event presented a “serious risk to public order”.

AFP – Paris police on Tuesday banned a controversial “pork sausage and wine” street party planned by extremist groups to combat what they saw as the “Islamisation” of a city neighbourhood.

The event was planned for Friday evening at a time when the district’s streets are usually jammed with Muslims coming out of mosques and just before Algeria were due to play England in the football World Cup.

But police banned the event and any rival gatherings in the Goutte d’Or area of northern Paris’ 18th arrondissement, or district, saying in a statement that it was likely to cause “serious risks to public order.”

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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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