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Charles E. Carlson Article p.5 5 $ 1.50

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Issue No. 40

April 24 -May 10 , 2012

Bosnian-born US citizen guilty over subway suicide-bomb plot A Somali American family in a Rochester neighborhood was the latest target of a hate crime.

A Bosnian-born US citizen has been convicted of plotting co-ordinated suicide bombings of New York subways in what federal authorities called one of the biggest terrorism threats to the country since the September 11, 2001 attacks. A federal jury in Brooklyn on Tuesday found Adis Medunjanin, 28, guilty of all nine counts against him, including conspiring to carry out a suicide attack on US soil, receiving military training from al-Qaeda and plotting to kill US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. The jury deliberated for 10 hours over two days. Medunjanin faces possible life imprisonment when he is sentenced on September 7. ersby Court just before noon on Continue On Page 6 Sunday. Continue on Page 7

“For every problem there is solution.”

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June 3-June 21 ,2012

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June 3-June 21 ,2012

Entertainment & Sports Mourinho extends contract with Real Madrid until 2016

3

Jokes How do most men define marriage? A very expensive way to getting their laundry done free. Son: Dad, what is the secret of happy and satisfied married life? Father: Dear son, It is still a secret!! Harry: Can you tell me what is the best way to remember my wife’s birthday? John: It’s very easy, Just forget it once! Michal: Why women live longer, better and peaceful life? John: Because, they don’t have a wife! Son: Pl tell me the difference between mom and wife? Dad: One who brings you into this great world crying and the another ensures you continue crying..

Jose Mourinho has agreed a two-year contract extension with Real Madrid which ties him to the club until 2016, the Spanish champions said on Tuesday. Mourinho joined Madrid from Inter Milan in the summer of 2010, and led Los Blancos to their Copa del Rey glory (the King’s Cup) in 2011. The former Porto and Chelsea coach

then guided Madrid to their first La Liga title for four years during this month as they collected a record-breaking 100 points from 38 games to dethrone Barcelona as Spanish champions. Mourinho is the first coach in history to win league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain.

Whitney Houston’s last song released

Whitney Houston’s last recording, a new duet with “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, was released on Monday ahead of the singer’s upcoming film, “Sparkle.” The song debuted on Ryan Seacrest’s website and will be available on iTunes June 5. “Celebrate,” produced by R. Kelly for “Sparkle”, was recorded by Houston shortly before her sudden death. Sparks performed a heart-felt tribute to Houston Sunday night at the Billboard Music Awards, singing “I Will Always Love You” as Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina wiped away tears. Sparks presented to the teenage daughter a posthumous

award. “Sparkle,” a remake of the 1976 film of the same name, tells the story of three sisters who become Motown stars who have to deal with the pressures of fame. Houston plays Sparks’ mother. The role was Houston’s comeback to the big screen after a 15-year hiatus from acting in movies like “The Bodyguard” and “The Preacher’s Wife”. It will be Sparks’ first leading movie role. Houston was found dead at age 48 in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub on February 11 from what authorities said was accidental drowning brought on by cocaine use and heart disease.

There are three wishes of every man.. to be as handsome as his mother thinks to be as rich as his child believes to have as many women as his wife suspects...

New computer virus hits Iran, West Bank in unprecedented cyber attack Internet security firm Kaspersky calls ‘Flame’ bug the ‘most sophisticated cyber-weapon yet unleashed,’ hints it may have been created by makers of Stuxnet worm.

Internet security company Kaspersky Lab announced on Monday that it had uncovered a ‘cyber-espionage worm’ designed to collect and delete sensitive information, primarily in Middle Eastern countries. Kaspersky called the malware, named “Flame,” the “most sophisticated cyber-weapon yet unleashed.” It said the bug had infected computers in Iran, the West Bank, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The company also said that Flame contained a specific element that was used in the Stuxnet worm and which had not been seen in any other malware since. On its blog, Kaspersky called Flame a “sophisticated attack toolkit,” adding that it was much more complex than Duqu, the vehicle used to deliver Stuxnet. The Stuxnet bug, discovered in June 2010, targeted primarily Iranian computers.

Iran admitted that the worm damaged centrifuges operating at an uranium enrichment facility at Nantaz. Kaspersky’s chief malware expert Vitaly Kamluk told the BBC that more than 600 specific targets had been hit by Flame, including computers owned by individuals, businesses, academic institutions and government systems. Kamluk said he believed the malware had been operating at least since August 2010, and probably earlier, adding that there was “no doubt” that it was developed by a state actor. Symantec, another Internet security firm, said on its blog that the bug’s code was on par with that of Stuxnet and Duqu, which it described as “arguably the two most complex pieces of malware we have analyzed to date.” It also said that certain file names in Flame were identical to those described in a hacking incident in April involving the Iranian oil ministry. According to the firm, the worm had been operating discreetly for at least two years and was likely written by “an organized, well-funded group of people working to a clear set of directives.” Symantec said the virus had also been found in computers in Hungary, Austria, Russia, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.

Cooking & Recipes Fatayer Bisabanikh (Spinach Pastry) Sambosic • • • • • • • • • •

DOUGH INGREDIENTS: 3 cups flour 1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil 1 cup water dash of salt FILLING INGREDIENTS 2-1/2 lbs. chopped spinach 3 chopped onions 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon each sumac, salt and pepper

Mint-Yogurt Dip •

A refreshing dip that is found throughout

the Middle East and parts of Central Asia.

Always a component of a mezze or appetizer buffet,

this dip is a natural with flatbreads.

1½ cups plain yogurt (you can use low-fat)

1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper www.almashreqonline.com

Directions:

Sift flour then mix with oil. Add the rest of the dough ingredients and mix well. Knead till dough is smooth. Roll dough very thin and cut into 3 inch circles. Mix the filling ingredients. Take tablespoon of filling mixture and put on each circle. Take each circle and close into the shape of three lines. Secure ends. Dip each piece in vegetable oil and put in pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes till brown. Serve as an appetizer either cold or warm.

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until well chilled. Storing: You can make the dip up to 6 hours ahead; cover and chill until needed. Makes about 2 cups.


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MASJID AL-RAHMA Address: 2426 E McDowell Rd , Phoenix, AZ 85008, USA Phone:602-463-2569 Islamic Center Of North Phoenix Address: 13246 N. 23rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85029, USA Phone: 602-371-3440 Islamic Community Center of Phoenix Address: 7516 N. Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, AZ 85051, USA Phone:602-249-0496 Islamic Community Center of Tempe Address:131 East 6th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA Phone: 480-894-6070 Community Mosque Address: 1797 W University Dr#167, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA Phone:480-829-9465 Islamic Center of North East Valley Address:12125 E Via Linda, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, USA Phone:480-612--4044

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June 3-June 21 ,2012

Assyrian Church Of The East Address: 8712 N 35th Ave Phoenix, AZ 85051 Phone:602-841-3227 St. George Church Address:6107 W Greenbriar Dr Glendale, AZ 85308 St.Michael Orthodox Church Of Jerusalem Address: 4724 N 35th Ave Phoenix, AZ 85019 Phone: 480-466-2648 St.John of The Desert Melkite Catholic Church Address:3718 E Greenway Rd Phoenix, AZ 85032

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Phone: 602-787-4787 St.Goerge Antiochian Orthodox Church Address: 4530 E Gold Dust Ave Phoenix, AZ 85028 Phone: 602-953-1921 St.Mark Coptic Orthodox Church Address: 525 N 74th St Scottsdale, AZ 85257 Phone: 480-990-2399 First Arabic Baptist Mission Address: 2232 W Campbell Ave Phoenix, AZ 85015 Phone: 602-249-1033 St.Joseph Church Address: 11001 N 40th Street Phoenix, AZ 85028 Phone: 602-966-5120 Persian Christian Church Address: 2012 N Scottsdale Rd Scottsdale, AZ 85257 Phone: 480-231-6542

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June 3-June 21 ,2012

Articles Farm Bill and Ethanol Fuels Mandates Demand A Consumer Revolt The “New Farm Bill” and “Ethanol Mandates” are two fingers on the same hand. Both have the effect of elevating food prices. Both programs are now being quietly debated in Congress. Only the lobbyists are being heard. You are not. Ethanol is the phalanx of food price manipulation.  Called “Renewable Fuels” legislation, it is a root cause of rising food prices, and is administered by the giant Environmental Protection Agency(EPA).  Ethanol production hurts the environment rather than preserves it because is is a net consumer of hydrocarbons. But the mandates that we burn corn in our gas tanks continue because Congress cannot say “NO” to the giant agribusiness lobbies who are demanding both a new farm bill, and 15% ethanol mandates. That means less food to eat and higher prices. According to the US, 2007 Census, there are less than 400,000 grain farms in the USA, which are all beneficiaries of inflated grain prices. Giant agribusiness enterprises, from Monsanto to John Deere, also benefit, but the total number who get hugh benefit is small. We are 200 million or more auto owners who do not own a corn farm or a share in Monsanto, and we are

Charles E. Carlson

the losers. We consumer-losers outnumber the producer winners 100-1 or more, but we do not have a lobby against compulsory use of ethanol, so to be heard, we must shout! The present farm legislation grew out of a different era of ample farm surpluses and low prices. It was costly in subsidies, but it tended to hold down food prices. Not so today because of Renewable Fuel Mandates result in destruction of food for ethanol production. A one-time law must be passed to repeal the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deciding what you and I must burn in our cars. Also, the 2008 farm program is due to expire this year, unless it is renewed. This one is easy; Congress needs do nothing, which they are very good at!  What they are not good at is saying “NO” to the agribusiness lobby. This story only gets worse, we now know that ethanol is also bad for engines. On May 22, Consumer Reports disclosed that the use of the newly approved 15% ethanol mix harms car and truck engines, especially old ones.  A engine durability  study conducted by the Coordinating Research Council showed 25% of engines in 2009 and older vehicles, from Ford to Honda, have major failures before 100,000 miles.  Even the EPA warns against using E-15 it in cars older than 2001, lawn mowers and outboard motors. There is a simple, well understood chemical reason for this that I have written much about. Nine automakers—including Chrysler, General Motors, and Toyota— wasted no time writing letters to Congress, criticizing the proposal and noting they will not honor warranties for older cars running on

Learning Independence When is a parent supposed to start teaching a child the big lessons in life, like how to be independent, how to rebound from failure, how to persist and strive towards a goal? Some parents decide to start treating a teenager like a “friend”, and hold discussion sessions, where they formally tackle such topics. Although these are well-meant efforts, it’s too little too late. These lessons should start from the minute a baby is born. Babies are very intelligent, and learn very fast. If you think about the amount of information a baby has to learn between age zero and one year, it’s mind-boggling! It is really very demeaning to assume they cannot learn lifelong skills and principles. Let’s take the case of learning to walk. A toddler holds

Home sellers hoping to close a deal sometimes agree to purchase home warranties to give their buyers peace of mind. Prospective homeowners, however, should do their homework to make sure the policies, which typically cover the major mechanicals and appliances in a home for one year after the sale, will actually help, say consumer protection experts. The warranties range in price from $350 to $800. If purchased from reputable companies, they can help homeowners deal with broken appliances, malfunctioning air conditioning and other problems, the experts say. The policies usually call for homeowners to contact the service company when something breaks. The company then sends out a repair person who provides an evaluation for a set fee, usually about $65. Once a professional has determined what the problem is, the warranty company pays for the broken item to be repaired or replaced. Often, homeowners dislike transferring that decision-making power to a third party, said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, the national consumer rating service based in Indianapolis. Users of home warranty or home service companies have been the least satisfied group of reviewers on the site for the past six years, she said. Homeowners often expect the companies to replace the item and are disappointed to learn it’s going to be repaired, added Bob Miller, president-elect of the Ohio Association of Realtors in Columbus, Ohio. “They’re going to try and fix things before they give new ones,” he said. It wouldn’t be economically viable to replace furnaces, washers and garbage disposals that can be repaired, said Art Chartrand, spokesman for the National Home Service Contract Association, headquartered in Olathe, Kan. “If servicing it will take care of it, we’ll service it,” he said. “We certainly don’t want our product oversold.” Homeowners may end up surprised by the details of their policies because the contracts

are often bought as closing gifts, so the person using the service is not the one who bought it, Hicks said. That means the user did not have a chance to research the company and carefully evaluate the policy before it was purchased, she said. When William Merritt bought his first house last summer in Leander, Texas, the seller purchased a warranty for him. He’s been satisfied with the service so far, but wishes he had had the opportunity to vet the company himself. “When I go to renew, I’ll look at all the options,” said Merritt, whose warranty recently covered an $800 repair to his pool pump. “I’ll definitely do my research.” Sheila Adkins, a spokeswoman for the council of Better Business Bureaus, in Arlington, Va., recommends researching home warranty or home service contract providers before making an offer on a house. When it’s time to buy, ask for the company by name in the offer, she said. It’s a reasonable request, Miller added. Many home sellers are expecting to buy the agreements and should be willing to go with the company of the buyer’s choosing, he said. “Depending on who you go with, you can get some really good stuff out of these,” Miller said. Angie’s List members also have had issues with some contractors that warranty companies send on service calls, Hicks said. She suggests asking the company that holds the policy for a list of the plumbers, electricians and repair people it uses, and checking them out before a problem occurs. When something goes wrong, request the contractor with the best track record, she said. Other tips for selecting a home service provider: — Find out exactly what the contract covers and how much the service fee is. Pools, spa tubs and other specialty items might not be included. — Check to see if the company has policies on pre-existing conditions, and whether those repairs would be covered.

card by the time the balance is paid off if they carry a business card rather than a personal card. “Consumers have no idea how significant that change is in terms of their legal protection,” said Nick Bourke, director of the Safe Credit Cards Project. Pew wants policymakers to require that the credit card restrictions apply whenever an individual is personally liable for the balance on a card. Short of that measure, Bourke said, applications should at least make it clear whether consumer credit card regulations apply to it. The concern is especially high because so many business card applications are sent to homes. That’s largely because many small businesses, particularly start-ups, are operated out of residences. It’s going to be difficult to get any new legislation through the current Congress, said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., who wrote the credit card legislation, in an emailed response to a request for comment. Pointing to efforts underway to repeal or delay aspects of last year’s financial overhaul, she said, “Congress is not passing any new consumer protections given the change in control of the House.” But Maloney said cards that are used for personal or household expenses should be covered by the existing rules. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which begins operating in July, will be able to respond to threats to consumers regarding risks, pricing and policies, she added. Pew stopped short of charging that banks are trying to circumvent card regulations by shifting consumers to business cards. But it did note that higher-income households and older households are more apt to receive business offers in the mail — including more than 12 percent of the offers

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ready for a life of failure. Consider this alternative mother: when the same toddler teetered and fell, and started to whine, she did not even look up from her work. Message: this is not a big deal, not important enough to even get my attention. She then says in an even voice, “Get up! Stop whining!” She does not move a finger to help until he gets up. Depending on where she is, she can now say, “Come here!” and he crawl his way back to Mommy. At this point, she scoops him up and hugs him lovingly and says, “Hey, big boy, I’m so proud of you!” When the same attitude is carried out for various incidents throughout the days, the child learns that failures in life are a matter of course, and merely steps toward success. He learns that one has to help oneself overcome these failures. No one is going to help you. He learns that Mom (or God, or the government, or his loved ones) will always be there for him. It’s no wonder children raised in this manner turn out to be selfconfident, independent, successful adults. They learned hands-on, not through lectures. They learned early, and these attributes became part of their character.

MELISSA KOSSLER DUTTON

Consumers must watch for unregulated credit cards AP-The sudden interest-rate hikes, high fees and steep penalties that last year’s credit card regulations were designed to eliminate are still lurking in one segment of the credit card market: cards designated for businesses. As a result, consumers who don’t carefully read the fine print on card applications may learn the hard way that when it comes to such practices, “It’s just business, nothing personal.” The credit card law that took effect a year ago has been deemed successful at making personal credit easier to understand, while saving consumers millions in interest charges, late payment penalties and over-the-limit fees. But the law that restricts the way banks can change rates or charge fees doesn’t apply to cards labeled for business or commercial use. A study released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trust’s Safe Credit Card Project says that consumers are still vulnerable to these practices, because more than 10 million offers for business cards are sent to U.S. households each month. Pew examined business card offers from the nation’s 12 largest credit card issuers, and found that many of the practices are still common. Only Bank of America, for example, has eliminated penalty interest rate increases — the kind of automatic rate hike that comes as a result of a late payment. And BofA and Capital One now use payment policies for business cards that mimic those required for consumers and apply payments to the portion of a balance with the highest rate first. Interest rate hikes on existing balances, barred under the consumer regulations, are a big concern. For someone carrying a high balance, it could mean a difference of thousands of dollars on just one

E-15. I ask, if we know 15% ethanol may wreck your engine, why would we think 10% ethanol we are currently forced to burn, is OK? It is not! Food and fuel are the most inflated big items in the family budget.  In just four years the wholesale price of gasoline has risen about 150%, this during a “recession.” The cost of wheat is up 48% during the same period, and corn–the raw material for most meat and milk–has risen more than double. As a result, every meat product is beginning to go into orbit. You might ask, what about food stamps, is that not a good part of the farm bill? Yes, but if Congress feels the need to renew the food stamp program for the poor, let it pass a separate bill authorizing food aid, but not as part of a program to aid farmers. Farm aid is tilted toward a few, who are driving Escalades to town and half million dollar harvesters in the fields. What is gravy for the corn farmer is bankruptcy for other farmers who chose to milk cows or raise beef cattle, and who now cannot afford the price of feed.  Bird seed is up 500%, so have compassion for the birds, dogs, and horses if you don’t care about your own budget! If you want to reduce your food and fuel costs by a third or more, and help save the lives of million in poor countries who can no longer afford corn to eat, your message to Congress, your kids, your church and your neighbors, and elected officials should be: “No Farm Bill, No More Ethanol Mandates.” Full story at charlesecarlson.com

Dr. Fawzia Tung

onto the side of the coffee table, and wobbles along. Then he attempts to let go of the crutch, and takes a few steps. At which point, he stumbles and falls. The fall is from a very low height, and usually onto some rug or carpet, and onto a well-diapered bottom. Yet, it’s a new experience to fall, and though the pain is minimal, he cries: A very natural reaction to a new, scary experience. Yet, the reaction from an on-looking mother might often be as follows. She screams in anxiety, runs over to the child, scoops him up from the floor, and in a high-pitched scared voice, shouts a string of sentences or questions, “Are you alright? Are you hurt? “ And so on. The child understands now that what just happened is a frightening occurrence since even his rock and support, the mother, is scared out of her wits. He therefore adjusts his cries, which now become louder and more hysterical, to match those of the mother. When these training sessions repeat themselves several times a day, several days a week, for months or years on end, the child is now properly trained on how to lose self-control, go hysterical, act helpless, and rely on others to take care of his failures. He is now

Homebuyers: Do your homework on home warranties

5

— Find out how the company handles complaints about the contractors who handle repairs. — Ask if the company will let you buy a new appliance or item at a reduced rate if you would rather not have it repaired.

EILEEN AJ CONNELLY

sent to households earning $100,000 or more per year, and nearly 11 percent of the offers send to those 65 and older. The study says there are at least 11 million small business credit card accounts open, with an average of 1.4 cards per account.


6

June 3-June 21 ,2012

National

Anti-Islam teachings ‘widespread’ in US law enforcement

Judge approves lawsuit over NYPD’s illegal stopand-frisk searches

Almashreq/ Agencies: Finding New York City’s attitude “deeply troubling,” a judge granted class action status Wednesday to a lawsuit that accuses police of discriminating against blacks and Hispanics with stops and searches without cause. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that there was “overwhelming evidence” that the practice has led to thousands of illegal stops. The lawsuit alleges that the police department purposefully targeted black and Hispanic neighborhoods and said officers are pressured to meet quotas as part of the program and are punished if they don’t. The city has responded to the lawsuit by saying a court order to stop the practice would amount to “judicial intrusion.” winnipegfreepress.com HIGHLIGHTS While it’s not likely to attract that many plaintiffs, people who were illegally searched in New York City any time after January 5, 2005 are eligible to join the lawsuit. Raw Story Police data revealed in February that 684,330 people were detained by the NYPD and subjected to a stop-and-frisk in 2011 alone, representing a 600 percent increase since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002. That increase has fueled a surge in arrests, mostly

in small drug possession charges where those accused were not displaying or using drugs in public view. Raw Story Scheindlin said she found it “disturbing” that the city responded to the lawsuit by saying a court order to stop the practice would amount to “judicial intrusion,” and that no injunction could guarantee that suspicionless stops would never occur or would only occur in a certain percentage of encounters. Washington Post “First, suspicionless stops should never occur,” Scheindlin wrote. She said the police department’s “cavalier attitude towards the prospect of a ‘widespread practice of suspicionless stops’ displays a deeply troubling apathy towards New Yorkers’ most fundamental constitutional rights.” Washington Post She called it “rather audacious” of the police department to argue that legislators already would have passed necessary laws if it were possible to protect people from unlawful searches and seizures. Washington Post The RAND Corp. research organization, in a study commissioned by the NYPD and released in 2007, acknowledged that “black pedestrians were stopped at a rate that is 50 percent greater than their representation in the residential census.

Justice Department sues Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio for ‘targeting Latinos’ Almashreq/ Agencies: The Justice Department on Thursday sued Joe Arpaio, a prominent Arizona sheriff known for his crackdowns aimed at rounding up illegal immigrants, accusing him of discrimination and retaliating against his critics. The move, in an election year, escalated a politically charged fight over local enforcement of federal immigration laws and the civil rights of Latinos. In a 32page civil rights lawsuit against Arpaio and his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the Justice Department contended that Arpaio’s campaign against illegal immigration - including traffic stops and sweeps of homes and workplaces - had resulted in a “pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination” aimed at Latinos. Arpaio’s focus on immigration enforcement has eroded the relationship between law enforcement and the Latino community, with Latinos growing increasingly wary of cooperating with the authorities when they are victims or witnesses of crimes. The lawsuit also argues that the re-

sources devoted to the sweeps have required the sheriff’s office to put a lower priority on traditional local law enforcement responsibilities, like investigating rapes and domestic violence. “The United States is not seeking, and has never sought, monetary damages or attorney’s fees in connection with our case,” Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in a news conference. The goal, Perez said, is “to fix the problems” and to “ensure that the necessary policies, practices and oversight are in place” to prevent them from happening again. The conduct of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Arpaio “is neither constitutional nor effective law enforcement,” the Justice Department argued in court papers. “The defendants’ violations of the Constitution and laws of the United States are the product of a culture of disregard for Latinos that starts at the top and pervades the organization.”

Almashreq/ Agencies: A course at a military academy that taught U.S. officers to prepare for “total war” with Islam does not represent an isolated incident, campaigners have warned. The Pentagon moved swiftly to distance itself from revelations that officers in a defense department class were taught that “Hiroshima”-style tactics would be needed to combat the threat from Islam. “It was totally objectionable, against our values and it wasn’t academically sound”, said General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Raw Story HIGHLIGHTS The class in question was can-

celed in April and Dempsey noted the instructor responsible for the course, army lieutenant colonel Matthew A Dooley, is “no longer in a teaching status”. Dooley, however, is still employed at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. In a July presentation, Dooley claimed: “We have now come to understand that there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam.’” Linda Sarsour, executive director at the Arab American Association of New York, said the course is merely the latest example in a proliferation of anti-Muslim teaching materials in law-enforcement agencies. “It’s part of a much larger problem,” Sarsour said, pointing to simi-

lar controversies involving the FBI and the New York police department. On Thursday, Danger Room - a national security blog at Wired.com - published a series of documents revealing that a defense department class for U.S. military officers urged soldiers to prepare for a “total war” against the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims. In this battle for supremacy, Geneva Convention standards for armed conflict would be irrelevant and the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be applied to civilian populations “wherever necessary.” Hundreds of pages of teaching material and reference documents obtained by

Danger Room show the course - which was open to U.S. military commanders, lieutenant colonels, captains and colonels - argued that the real threat to U.S. national security stemmed not from radical militants, but from Islam itself. The course echoes a curriculum presented to FBI agents. In September, FBI whistleblowers provided Danger Room with a trove of the agency’s training materials in which counter-terrorism agents were taught that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers.” The influence of anti-Islamic rhetoric has also found its way into municipal police departments.

First page continuation A Bosnian-born US citizen has been convicted of plotting co-ordinated suicide bombings of New York subways in what federal authorities called one of the biggest terrorism threats to the country since the September 11, 2001 attacks. A federal jury in Brooklyn on Tuesday found Adis Medunjanin, 28, guilty of all nine counts against him, including conspiring to carry out a suicide attack on US soil, receiving military training from al-Qaeda and plotting to kill US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. The jury deliberated for 10 hours over two days. Medunjanin faces possible life imprisonment when he is sentenced on September 7. Najibullah Zazi, Medunjanin’s accused co-conspirator, was arrested in September 2009, just days before Medunjanin and a third member of the plot, Zarein Ahmedzay, were preparing to carry out the attacks. Ahmedzay and Zazi, both 27, who were high school friends of Medunjanin, pleaded guilty to

planning the attacks with him. They are co-operating with the government and await sentencing. Robert Gottlieb, Medunjanin’s lawyer, indicated outside the court that he planned to appeal the verdict, citing “some serious legal issues” he wanted to address. The planned attack on one of the world’s busiest subway systems, with an average weekday ridership of 5.3m people, was at the behest of senior al-Qaeda operatives, according to testimony. The trial provided a rare look into the group’s inner workings and recruitment methods. “His conviction stands as a stark reminder of terrorists’ desire long after 9/11 to return to the city to kill more New Yorkers,” said New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. ‘Homegrown threat’ As the verdict was read, Medunjanin, a resident of the New York City borough of Queens, looked over several times at his mother and sister, both of whom testified on his behalf, and raised his hand in a reassuring gesture. Afterwards,

his mother and sister, who was sobbing, left the courtroom and declined to speak to reporters. Gottlieb said that while his client was convicted of all charges, the case spotlighted the importance of trying a case before a jury rather than in a military tribunal, like the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, accused of being the mastermind of the September 11 attacks. “The world and our national government should take note that this is the way crimes should be decided, whether or not someone is guilty - not in military tribunals, not in a star chamber, but in America,” Gottlieb said. Loretta Lynch, the US lawyer whose team prosecuted the case, said the trial showed the need for US authorities to monitor security threats as vigilantly domestically as overseas. “The rise of homegrown extremism is an issue,” Lynch told reporters outside the courtroom. “This trial has afforded a rare glimpse into the inner workings of al-Qaeda, how they look for those who have

connections to our homeland, how they recruit those who are disaffected and seeking a place to go,” she added. Prosecutors during the trial argued Medunjanin was “ready and willing to sacrifice himself to kill” at the command of al-Qaeda, saying he committed to carrying out a suicide attack on US soil, a mission given to him by al-Qaeda operatives he met in Pakistan. “What he was willing to do was to strap a suicide bomb to himself, walk into a New York City subway and blow it up,” Berit Berger, assistant lawyer, said in closing arguments last week. Gottlieb conceded in his closing statement that Medunjanin traveled to Pakistan in 2008 in an attempt to join the Taliban and seek vengeance for perceived wrongs against Muslims. But while Medunjanin was under the sway of al-Qaeda propaganda, he never intended to follow through with his friends’ plan, Gottlieb told jurors.

Bosnian-born US citizen guilty over subway suicide-bomb plot

Arab-Americans unite against Islamophobes

U.S. rights groups demand apology from Obama to Muslim Canadian

Almashreq/ Agencies: Human rights groups in the U.S. have sent a 60,000-signature petition to the White House, urging President Barack Obama to formally apologize to Syrian-born Canadian, Maher Arar, who was deported to Syria from the U.S. under the suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda, a Canadian newspaper reported on Tuesday. Arar, a 41-year-old telecommunications engineer, was detained during transit at John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2002 on his way home to Canada from a family vacation in Tunis. “I am very grateful to all those Americans who have worked hard on this first-of-its kind campaign seeking an apology from an administration that chose to turn a blind eye on holding torturers to account,” Canada’s The Star, reported Arar as saying in a statement. The National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Amnesty International USA, and the Center For Constitutional Rights, are the three human rights groups who are behind the petition. The U.S. government has long argued that Arar’s case was simply

that of deportation, but many described his ordeal as that of “extraordinary rendition” or the transfer of a person from one state to another. Held without charges in a solitary confinement for two weeks, Arar was sent to Syria, a country notoriously known for its lack of human rights. He stayed in Syria for almost a year. In 2006, a report by the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Arar, said that the Syrian Canadian was mistakenly put on the terrorist watch list. The report put the responsibility on Canada’s police force for lacking experience and on the United States’ for his rendition and subsequent torture. Later, reports emerged of how thousands of airline passengers were discovered to have been mistakenly placed on the terrorist watch lists. In 2009, Obama ended the “extraordinary rendition” program and introduced procedural safeguards concerning individuals who are sent to foreign countries, however, some rights groups claim those safeguards aren’t adequate.

Almashreq/ Agencies: In response to an anti-Islam conference in Dearborn, Arab-Americans and their supporters held

a separate conference in Detroit Sunday against bigotry. “We stand for America,” said Osama Siblani, publisher of the Dearbornbased Arab-American News, at a panel held at the Doubletree Hotel in Detroit. “And they (anti-Muslim activists) stand against America and against the American way of life.” Siblani’s views were echoed by others who gathered for a conference organized by the Arab American Institute and supported by several other Arab-American groups to counter another conference held in Dearborn on Sunday

by anti-Muslim activists called the “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference on Honor Killings.” Last year, Mokdad, 20, a Muslim was shot dead by her stepdad in Warren. Some anti-Islam activists said it was an honor killing because initial reports were that she was perceived as too independent, but Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Cataldo of Macomb County told the Free Press on Friday it was not an honor killing. The family of Mokdad is opposed to the antiIslam conference and doesn’t want Mokdad’s name on it, Cataldo said. On Sunday, Imam Hassan Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn

- the biggest mosque in Michigan - said at the Arab-American conference in Detroit: “Honor killing has no religious roots in Islam.” Sunday’s anti-Muslim conference features two of the most well known anti-Islam activists in the U.S., Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Geller, who blogs against Islam, said: “Our goal is to raise awareness about the phenomenon of Islamic honor killing in order to help bring a stop to it. These girls have rights, too, they’re human beings, and yet they’re completely forgotten in our politically correct culture.” Imam Qazwini said he believes Geller is motivated by money.

Legal action over auction claiming to sell Ronald Reagan blood Almashreq/ Agencies: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation said it is taking legal action to stop an online auction of a vial said to contain the late U.S. president’s blood, condemning the sale as “craven.” The foundation’s executive director John Heubusch voiced outrage over the sale of the blood - dating from the 1981 assassination attempt on Reagan - by an auction house based on Guernsey, in the British Channel Islands. “If indeed this story is true, it’s a craven

act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase,” he said, adding that he had questioned the Washington DC hospital where Reagan was rushed on March 30, 1981. “We’ve spoken to GW (George Washington) Hospital and are assured that an investigation as to how something like this could possibly happen is under way,” he said in a statement issued by the California-based center. Spokeswoman Melissa Giller said: “The Reagan Foundation is actively pursuing legal mat-

www.almashreqonline.com

ters against both the seller and the auctioneer.” The five inch long, half-inch diameter vial is being sold by PFC Auctions, which noted that “dried blood residue from President Reagan (1911-2004) can be seen clearly” in a quarter-inch ring at the end of the rubber stopper. The vial was accompanied by a laboratory report and a letter from the seller - who claims he offered it to the Reagan National Library, but was turned down. “These articles have actually been in my family’s

possession since 03/30/1981, the day that President Reagan was shot,” said the seller, adding that his mother worked for the laboratory which tested the blood. “The testing was completed and the test tube was sitting on my mother’s desk. At the end of the week, she asked the director of her laboratory if she could keep the paper work and the test tube. “The director of the lab told her no problem and really never gave it a second thought. It has been in my family ever since.


June 3-June 21 ,2012

National

CAIR ‘Disappointed’ with Review of NYPD Spying on NJ Muslims

The US government is easing the airport screening for senior and children

Almashreq/ Agencies: The US government is easing the airport screening process for travelers 75 and older, beginning to roll out new rules just in time for the long Memorial Day holiday weekend, an official said Friday. From this weekend the elderly will no longer have to doff shoes, belts and jackets as they pass through security checkpoints at New York’s three major airports: John F. Kennedy International, La Guardia, and Newark Liberty. The Transportation Security Administration has said rollout of the new measures to the rest of the country could follow. “Seventy-five-plus is in the process of being rolled

out and customers will see it over the course of the summer and beyond,” said David Castelveter, chief spokesman of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Castelveter said he did not have a precise timetable, but the New York rollout was expected to occur through the upcoming threeday weekend that unofficially kicks off the US summer vacation season. The 75-plus measures have already been successfully tested in the Chicago, Denver, Orlando and Portland airports. Last September the TSA decided to allow children 12 and under to pass through screening without removing their shoes.

A Somali American family in a Rochester neighborhood was the latest target of a hate crime. First Page Continuation: A vandal or vandals spray-painted offensive language on the driveway including: a swastika symbol, the letters KKK, and the word “stink”. “It wasn’t like someone was trying to make it small, or discreet... it was very, I want you to look,” said Fahma Mohamed, who just returned home from college. Her sister, Deqa Mohamed went on to say, “When we came out and saw it we were kind of scared.” The spray paint appears to be similar to that of a construction crew that was seen marking sidewalks for repair on Friday. However, it wasn’t until Saturday night or Sunday morning that the vandal or vandals targeted the family’s home. “Personally, I was kind of disappointed, as everybody else was. We didn’t think that things

like this would be happening at this point in time,” Fahma said. This neighborhood has been the target of hate crimes in the past. A house one block away from the Mohamed’s was vandalized on May 5, 2011. It also involved a spray-painted swastika and KKK. “It seems as though this was planned out since it happened last year... May 5 to the other neighbors and it happened May 20 over here,” Fahma said. Neighbors helped the Mohamed’s wash away the vandalism. “All our neighbors are very open people and very nice and generous... there’s always been respect,” Fahma said. Olmsted County adopted a new hate crimes initiative in February. Shortly after the incident, a response team did meet with the family.

Kansas gov signs measure blocking Islamic law Almashreq/ Agencies: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a law aimed at keeping the state’s courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes, and a national Muslim group’s spokesman said Friday that a court challenge is likely. The new law, taking effect July 1, doesn’t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions. “This bill should provide protection for Kansas citizens from the application of foreign laws,” said Stephen Gele, spokesman for the American Public Policy Alliance, a Michigan group promoting model legislation similar to the new Kansas law. “The bill does not read, in any way, to be discriminatory against any religion.” But supporters have

worried specifically about Shariah law being applied in Kansas court cases, and the alliance says on its website that it wants to protect Americans’ freedoms from “infiltration” by foreign laws and legal doctrines, “especially Islamic Shariah Law.” Muslim groups had urged Brownback to veto the measure, arguing that it promotes discrimination. Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washingtonbased Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a court challenge is likely because supporters of the measure frequently expressed concern about Shariah law. Hooper said of Brownback, “If he claims it has nothing to do with Shariah or Islamic law or Muslims, then he wasn’t paying attention.” The Michigan-based alliance advocates model “American Law for American Courts” legislation. Its website says, “America has unique values of liberty which do not exist in foreign legal systems, particularly Shariah Law.” abcnews. go.com

Number of pro-choice Americans hits record low Almashreq/ Agencies: The number of Americans who identify themselves as pro-choice fell precipitously this year, dropping to an all-time Gallup low of 41%, according to a new poll. On the flip side, 50% said they were pro-life. When Gallup first started asking the question back in 1995, the numbers were dramatically different, with 56% identifying as pro-choice to only 33% as pro-life. But in the years since the pro-choice lead narrowed and eventually disappeared. But underlying poll numbers indicate that the shift isn’t as dramatic as it looks. The number of people believing abortion should be legal hasn’t changed significantly in the last decade-only 20% believe it should be completely banned, while 25% believe it should be completely

legal, and 52% say it should be legal in some circumstances. Nor has the public’s opinion on the morality of abortion changed-a plurality continue to think it’s wrong. “While Americans’ labeling of their position has changed, their fundamental views on the issue have not,” Gallup concludes. Newser HIGHLIGHTS Gallup began asking Americans to define themselves as pro-choice or pro-life on abortion in 1995, and since then, identification with the labels has shifted from a wide lead for the pro-choice position in the mid-1990s, to a generally narrower lead for “pro-choice” -- from 1998 through 2008 -- to a close division between the two positions since 2009.

7

Almashreq/ Agencies: SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 5/24/12) ¬- The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today said it is “disappointed” with the state attorney general’s apparent approval of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) warrantless surveillance of law-abiding Muslims. A representative of CAIR-NJ, along with other American Muslim leaders, took part in a meeting this afternoon at Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa’s office in Trenton to discuss concerns about the

widespread spying conducted by the NYPD on the Muslim community in New Jersey. Other government officials participating in the meeting included representatives of the New Jersey State Police, the Department of Homeland Security and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Among the topics discussed at the meeting were the status of New Jersey’s review of the NYPD spying campaign, a new policy on communication with out-of-state law enforcement agencies and the establishment of a Muslim community outreach committee. Following a

three-month review, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration said the NYPD did not violate New Jersey laws when it conducted surveillance of Muslim businesses, mosques and student groups. The Associated Press, the news agency that broke the story of the NYPD spying, wrote: “The findings by Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa, a Christie appointee asked by the governor to look into the spying, mean New Jersey Muslims have no state recourse to stop the New York Police Department from infiltrating student groups, videotaping mosque-

goers or collecting their license plate numbers as they pray.” “The NYPD’s blanket surveillance of every segment of the Muslim community clearly violated the constitutional rights of those who were spied on without evidence or even suspicion of wrongdoing on their part,” said CAIR-NJ Chair Nadia Kahf. “We are disappointed with the outcome of the review conducted by the attorney general’s office and will consider all legal options, including renewed appeals for action by the Department of Justice.”

An anti-Muslim movement grown enormously since taking off in 2010 The last decade has seen major changes in the American radical right. What was once a world largely dominated by a few relatively well-organized groups has become a scene populated by large numbers of smaller, weaker groups, with only a handful led by the kind of charismatic chieftains that characterized the 1990s. At the same time, there has been explosive growth in several sectors of the radical right, especially in the last few years, much of it driven by anger over the diminishing white majority (the Census Bureau has predicted that non-Hispanic whites will fall to less than 50% of the population by 2050) and the severe dislocations caused by a still-ailing economy. An anti-Muslim movement, almost

entirely ginned up by political opportunists and hard-line Islamophobes, has grown enormously since taking off in 2010, when reported anti-Muslim hate crimes went up by 50%. During the same time frame, a number of religious-right antigay groups, enraged and on the defensive as swelling majorities of Americans drop their opposition to same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights, have grown extraordinarily vicious in their propaganda. Most dramatically, so-called “Patriot” groups — which, unlike most hate groups, see the federal government as their primary enemy — have grown explosively in just the last three years, going from 149 groups in 2008 to 1,274 last year. .

Supreme Court agrees to hear warrantless wiretapping case Almashreq/ Agencies: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a U.S. government challenge to a lawsuit against its electronic surveillance program, which allows authorities to eavesdrop on Americans’ overseas phone calls and emails. The court agreed to hear the case Clapper vs. Amnesty International, the Barack Obama administration’s petition to the U.S. top court in which it seeks to throw out a suit challenging U.S. government monitoring of Americans’ international communications. Obama administration lawyers appealed to the highest U.S. court on behalf of James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and maintain that because the surveillance targets foreigners, the U.S. plaintiffs

have no standing to sue. But Amnesty International, along with other human rights groups, media organizations and attorneys, maintain that they have standing to challenge the wiretapping of overseas suspects because their own private communications could also be intercepted in the electronic monitoring. The U.S. appeals court in March 2011 allowed the suit challenging the constitutionality of the federal government’s electronic surveillance program targeting persons outside the United States. The court ruled that the plaintiffs bringing the suit had a “reasonable fear” that their sensitive communications could be intercepted and had taken costly measures to avoid such intrusions. Raw Story HIGHLIGHTS

The law at issue is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which was passed in the waning days of the George W. Bush administration. Raw Story In the 2008 measure, Congress gave the federal government broad powers to monitor international phone calls and emails in hopes of thwarting potential terrorist plots. Raw Story The Supreme Court will decide next term whether a group of lawyers, human rights activists and journalists may challenge the federal government’s widespread use of electronic surveillance to monitor suspected terrorist activities overseas. Washington Post The ACLU filed the lawsuit in July 2008 on behalf of a broad group of attorneys and human rights, labor, legal and media organizations

whose work requires them to engage in sensitive telephone and email communications with people outside the U.S., including colleagues, clients, sources, foreign officials and victims of human rights abuses. ACLU The plaintiffs include Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, PEN American Center, The Nation and the Service Employees International Union. The Justice Department claims the plaintiffs should not be able to sue without first showing they have actually been monitored under the program -- but it also argues that the government should not be required to disclose if plaintiffs have been monitored. ACLU Little is known about how the FISA Amendments Act has been used.

Almashreq/ Agencies: The number of registered Latino voters living in North Carolina has doubled in the last four years, likely cementing North Carolina’s status as a swing state, according to a study released this week by the Institute for Southern Studies. This month, North Carolina’s voter rolls included 91,554 Latino voters. That’s more than twice the 44,719 Latino registered voters in the state in May 2008. “This is a significant achievement that is due to several factors,” Carlos Casallas, the coordinator of special projects for the North Carolina state election board, told Agencia Efe, a Spanish-language news service and Fox New Latino partner on Wednesday. “Hispanics from other states are moving to the area and registering to vote,

registration campaigns in the community, naturalizations of resident immigrants and 18-year-old youths are more excited about participating in the electoral process,” he said. While the number of Latinos registered to vote in North Carolina has grown rapidly, Latinos comprise eight percent of the state’s population and only about two percent of the state’s total electorate, according to the study. However, along with black registered voters, Latinos comprise nearly 25 percent of the adults registered to vote in North Carolina. Given that both black and Latino voters overwhelmingly register and vote for Democrats and the overall Latino population is growing at a faster clip than other groups, North Carolina is headed toward political power

shift, the study found. “The work over 22 years to register Hispanics and motivate them to go to the polls ... finally has born fruit,” German De Castro, part of the Hispanic Voters of Mecklenburg Group, told Efe on Wednesday. Mecklenburg County is centered around Charlotte, the city where the Democratic National Convention will be held in September. Huffington Post HIGHLIGHTS An aggregate of polls conducted between January and May places Romney and Obama in a dead tie, with each candidate claiming 45.9 percent of North Carolina voters. However, polls released this week by Survey USA -- a New Jersey polling and research firm known for its fully-automated touch-tone telephone surveys -- and the

Raleigh, N.C.-based conservative advocacy organizaiton Civitas/ National Research revealed Romney enjoys a very slight lead. Huffington Post According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Telemundo poll, Obama is leading Romney among Latino registered voters by 61 percent to 27 percent in the country. Only 22 percent of those voters see the Republican Party positively; only 26 percent see Romney positively. National Journal In 2008, President Barack Obama became the first Democrat to carry North Carolina since 1976. But Obama won narrowly by just under 15,000 votes. The 20,468 votes cast by Latinos were “indispensible”, Fox News Latino reported.

Number of Latino voters doubles in North Carolina

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8

June 3-June 21 ,2012

International & Business

Iraq acquiring drones from US to guard oil installations

Almashreq/ Agencies: BAGHDAD - Iraq is acquiring unmanned surveillance drones from the United States as part of efforts to boost bilateral relations and also to beef up security of its oil installations and energy fuel exports amid growing tensions in the region. The US drones will help to protect the southern oilfield around Basra, which have become vulnerable after the withdrawal of the last American troops, U.S. and Iraqi officials said on Monday. Protecting the vital oil infrastructure is important for Iraq, which holds the fourth largest oil reserves in the world. “Iraq’s navy has purchased U.S. drones to protect the country’s oil platforms in the south, from where most of Iraq’s oil is shipped,” said an official from the Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq, reported Reuters. The office, which operates out of

the U.S. Embassy and manages U.S. military sales programmes in Iraq, confirmed the sale of drones but declined to share information about the model or number of drones that are part of the contract. The sales of drones and other military equipment are viewed by the US as a means to nurture strategic ties with Baghdad after the departure of American troops from Iraq in December 2011. Iraq has already said it is buying more than $15 billion worth of U.S. military hardware, including 36 F-16 fighter planes, M-1 tanks and armored personnel carriers, insisting the weapons are for defensive purposes. “Iraq should have the ability to protect itself against outside aggression,” said Ali al-Moussawi, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Almashreq/ Agencies: Amnesty International criticized the United States on Wednesday saying a request for clarification over a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last September killing at least four people had gone unanswered. Amnesty also hit out at human rights violations committed by former president George W. Bush’s administration and condemned the “impunity” with which his officials operated, according to AFP. The rights group also regretted President Barack Obama’s fail-

ure to shut down Guantanamo, noting that at the end of 2011, nearly two years after his self-imposed closure deadline, “171 men were still held at the base, including four who had been convicted by military commission.” Amnesty also criticized conditions in American prisons, in particular the high number of hours some detainees were confined in isolated cells, and the execution of 43 men last year, all by lethal injection, Raw Story said.

Almashreq/ Agencies: A U.S. report hailed the “yearning for change” in Arab countries and moves toward openness in militarybacked Myanmar, saying they may inspire a push for freedom in other dark reaches of the world. “The yearning for change we have witnessed in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria is inspirational,” the State Department said in its 2011 report on human rights. “And yet change often creates instability before it leads to greater respect for democracy and human rights,” it said. Following decades of repression, “it will take time to create diverse political parties, a robust civil society, a climate conducive to freedom of expression, and a transparent political culture,” it said. It warned of transitions that can be “chaotic, unstable and at times violent,” adding they are rarely quick,

smooth or easy even when they succeed. And it recalled the high cost to demonstrators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria, where thousands have been killed and many others abused by security forces. “But the images of demonstrators who had seemingly lost all fear, risking their lives to oppose governments they deemed illegitimate, inspired people around the world,” it said. “Even in the most isolated places, the desire for greater freedom and political and economic opportunity began to flicker,” the report said. The report also hailed the changes in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, where the military-backed regime of President Thein Sein has surprised many observers with a spate of reforms designed to break decades of isolation.

Amnesty criticizes US

‘Yearning for change in Arab states inspirational’: U.S.

Iraqi survivor from Norway attacks thought he was back in Iraq

Almashreq/ Agencies: An immigrant who had an arm and a leg amputated after surviving Norway’s Utoeya massacre said Thursday he thought he was back in Iraq when he saw the carnage wreaked by Anders Behring Breivik last July. Mohammed Hadi Hamed told the Oslo court that the rightwing extremist shot him twice as he lay on the ground, then returned and fired at him a third time when he realized his target was still breathing. Hamed smelled gunpowder and “charred skin” from the body that fell on top of him, and said he thought he was the only survivor of an explosion when he looked up and saw “dying people” all around him. “For a minute I thought I was in Iraq because such a thing was impossible in Norway,” said the 21-year-old now confined to a wheelchair. “I’m Iraqi, I’ve seen execution videos,” Hamed told the court. “The difference is that the victims (in the videos) had their hands tied. Our hands weren’t tied but we were trapped on an island.” His left arm and leg were amputated because of his severe injuries, and he now lives in a hospital. “At the beginning I had a hard time understanding what kind of person I had become, since I’d become a half-person,” he said, adding he consoled himself with the thought

that he was in the end “better off” than Breivik who would spend the rest of his days either in prison or a psychiatric ward. Breivik killed 77 people on July 22, first detonating a car bomb outside government headquarters and killing eight, then gunning down 69 people, mostly teenagers, at the ruling Labour Party’s summer camp on Utoeya Island. The 10-week trial is largely focused on the issue of his sanity to determine whether he will be sent to prison or to a mental institution, and witness testimonies are crucial to establish his behaviour during the killings. A first psychiatric exam found him insane but a second opinion drew the opposite conclusion. The 33-year-old rightwing extremist is intent on proving that he is sane so that his anti-Islam ideology, as outlined in a 1,500-page manifesto, will not be considered the ravings of a lunatic. Breivik has confessed to the killings but has refused to plead guilty, insisting they were “cruel but necessary” to stop the Labour Party’s “multicultural experiment” and the “Muslim invasion” of Norway and Europe. If the court finds him sane, Breivik will face Norway’s maximum 21-year prison sentence, but that term can be extended for as long as he is considered a threat to society.

Vatican arrests man in leaked secret documents scandal

Almashreq/ Agencies: The Vatican arrested a man caught in possession of secret documents Friday, as the Holy See cracked down on a leak scandal which has seen confidential information passed to the Italian media. “The inquiry carried out by Vatican police... allowed them to identify someone in possession of confidential documents. This person is currently being questioned by a Vatican magistrate,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told journalists. The Vatican, embroiled for months in the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal involving the leak of secret papers, said its police had detained the person in possession of confidential documents. A Vatican source

said the person was not a priest. For much of this year, the Vatican has been at the center of a scandal involving the leak to Italian media of documents, some of them personal letters to Pope Benedict. Some of the documents involved allegations of corruption, mismanagement and cronyism in the awarding of contracts for work in the Vatican and internal disagreement on the management of the Vatican bank. The president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was ousted by its board on Thursday. The pope, who was said to be shocked and saddened by the leaks, ordered several investigations, including one headed by Vatican police and another by a

commission of cardinals. The scandal involves the leaking of a string of sensitive documents to Italian media since the start of the year. They included letters by an archbishop who was transferred to Washington after he blew the whistle on what he saw as a web of corruption and cronyism, a memo which put a number of cardinals in a bad light and documents alleging internal conflicts about the Vatican Bank. In January, an Italian television investigation broadcast private letters to Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the pope from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former deputy governor of the Vatican City and currently the Holy See’s am-

bassador in Washington. The letters showed that Vigano was transferred after he exposed what he argued was a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to Italian contractors at inflated prices. In one letter, Vigano wrote of a smear campaign against him by other Vatican officials who were upset that he had taken drastic steps to clean up the purchasing procedures. He begged to stay in the job to finish what he had started. Bertone responded by removing Vigano from his position three years before the end of his tenure and sending him to the United States, despite his strong resistance.

Almashreq/ Agencies: Germany could be a target of an Islamist attack similar to those carried out by a gunman in France two months ago, the head of the country’s intelligence service said on Tuesday. German intelligence chief Heinz Fromm’s comments, quoted in an interview with the top-selling Bild daily, follow a series of clashes in several German cities and towns between police and ultra-conservative Salafi Muslims. “The danger for Germany has unfortunately not decreased. And it is not by any means abstract. An attack like in France in March... is also conceivable here,” Fromm told Bild, adding that Merah had had contact with Salafis before his shooting spree. Gunman Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin,

killed seven people - three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi - before being shot dead by elite French police commandos in Toulouse on March 22. He had said al-Qaeda inspired him to kill. Fromm cited a video made by a Berlin-based Salafi, a former rapper known as Denis C., which calls for ‘holy war’ and praises Merah and the late Osama bin Laden, founder of al-Qaeda. “We must take (this video) seriously. It could well be that this video is taken as an inducement for attacks,” he said. “With their intensive propaganda over the Internet, in the streets, in mosques and also at so-called Islam seminars, Salafi preachers are reaching especially young people who are more sensitive to this ideology,” said Fromm. “Almost

all Islamist terrorists from Germany have been radicalized in this way,” said Fromm, who heads Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Earlier this month, the German government said it was weighing a legal ban on the Salafis after recent clashes. In the most serious violence, Salafis turned on police protecting far-right anti-Islam protesters during a regional election rally in the western city of Bonn, injuring 29 officers, two of them seriously. Authorities arrested 109 people, among them a 25-yearold man suspected of stabbing two police officers. The farright protesters had infuriated the Salafis by waving banners showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Local media said 500-600 Salafis faced off with

30 anti-Islam protesters. The Salafis reject Germany’s secular, democratic constitution and want to set up a theocratic state based on Islamic Sharia law, Fromm said. In recent weeks, Salafis have been handing out thousands of Qurans, translated into German, to non-Muslims, sparking a highly charged debate in Germany. North RhineWestphalia Interior Minister Ralf Jaeger pledged to identify all Salafis prepared to use violence, so that authorities could take swifter action in future. Salafis number around 4,000 in Germany and have their roots in Saudi Arabia. They represent only a tiny proportion of Germany’s total Muslim population of about four million, the vast majority of whom Fromm said respected German laws.

German intelligence chief warns of Islamist attacks following clashes with Salafis

Egyptian director sends messages to Islamists and Israel in Cannes

Almashreq/ Agencies: Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah, in Cannes presenting a drama on his country’s revolution, defiantly vowed Thursday that the Islamists jockeying for power back home would never succeed in stifling art. “Our presence here in Cannes is a wonderful message to all those who want to put an end to art in Egypt,” he told reporters after a press screening of “After the Battle” at the French Riviera film festival. Egypt’s artists and liberals are concerned that the Islamists who have emerged

as the strongest political force in the new Egypt will seek to stifle artistic freedom. Veteran director Nasrallah’s two-hour film focuses on the messy aftermath of last year’s Arab Spring, when Cairo’s Tahrir Square was the epicenter of a revolt that led to the ousting of long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak. The movie, one of 22 works in competition for the Palme d’Or top prize, kicks off with what came to be known as the Battle of the Camel, when men on horses and camels charged into the crowd of protestors. It then

homes in on one of the riders, anti-revolutionary Mahmoud, played by Bassem Samra, and his interaction with a middleclass, free-thinking young woman called Reem, played by Mena Shalaby. The film touches on issues like class, gender and corruption and provides a portrait of the people of Nazlet, who live in the shadow of the pyramids and traditionally made their living off the tourist trade that dried up after the revolution. Nasrallah told a press conference that he had funding in place for a film before last year’s revolution, but when the demonstrations started he realized he had to make a movie about it instead. “Our emotions were focused on these events and I saw that this was the film,” said the director. He worked on the Egyptian-French co-production without a script and persuaded his actors to take part without knowing where their roles would take them. About his film being projected in Israel, Nasrallah said he did

not want the movie to be sold there, believing that the country is “not an ally” of the Egyptian revolution. “I do not know at all if the film was sold to Israel, but if you want my opinion, no, I do not want it to be. Not as long as the Israelis still occupy the Palestinian territories,” he said during the conference, as several journalists applauded. Last year’s Cannes festival saw the controversial film “18 Days” premiered during a day honoring Egypt and its revolution. The film, consisting of 10 shorts by different directors, covers the popular revolt that began on January 25 and led up to the fall of Mubarak’s regime after more than 30 years in power. Egypt’s first post-revolution presidential elections are due on May 23-24, with the contest narrowing down to a choice between secularists linked to the old guard and Islamists who hope to repeat their success in parliamentary elections after Mubarak’s ouster.

Solving the Arab-Israeli conflict would rid Australia of ‘violent extremism:’ official

Almashreq/ Agencies: Solving the Arab-Israeli conflict would eliminate the “violent extremism problem” in Australia, a top official said on Thursday in response to reports that some of Melbourne’s suburbs had been identified as potential terrorist hot spots. “Things happening in their countries of birth obviously have an impact on them here,” AttorneyGeneral’s Department senior official Jamie Lowe told a federal multicultural inquiry, the

Herald Sun reported. Although Lowe said that Middle East peace would be the answer, the official said the “comment was tongue-in-cheek because Australia was powerless to solve the crisis,” but her department had passed it on to the Foreign Affairs Department as being of serious concern, the newspaper reported. The suggestion is that Islamic extremism is rooted within political tensions and open hostilities between the Arab peoples and

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the Jewish community of the Middle East. The roots of the modern Arab–Israeli conflict lie in the rise of “Zionism” and Arab Nationalism towards the end of the nineteenth century. The newspaper had previously revealed Muslim communities in Australia were increasingly being put under surveillance by security agencies. Locals have said that such surveillance “stigmatised and isolated communities,” the newspaper stated. “It just reinforces the

notion that Muslims are terrorists or a threat to wider society and they need to be watched so they can be controlled,” Muslim Australian Mohamed Elrafihi told the Herald Sun. But an Attorney-General spokesman insisted geographic areas were not the focus for counterterrorism activities, adding that Melbourne’s northwestern suburbs formed a “vibrant community,” the newspaper stated.


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