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Grammy-winner Seal to perform at Dubai World Cup

Free Will & God’s Will FBI to monitor online chats in real-time by 2014 France backtracks on arming Syria’s rebels

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Associated Press

Issue No. 47

April 2013

AZ Muslims advisory Board meets with Gilbert Police Activists bring CAIR-Ohio Files Palestinian evictions to Harvard dorms

Muslim Workers’ Bias Complaints Against DHL Subsidiary

Columbus, Ohio- The Columbus, Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIRColumbus) announced that it has filed discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Exel, Inc., a subsidiary of DHL, on behalf of 18 Muslim employees who were allegedly fired for praying in the workplace. The Muslim employees reported to CAIR-Columbus that they had asked the company several times for prayer accommodations, including adjusting break times or taking their prayer breaks without pay, but the company repeatedly denied any of the accommodations proposed by the employees. One manager allegedly told the employees they should pray in the bathroom so they wouldn’t be seen praying. Other managers told them to “obey the rules or get fired.” Continue on Page 7

Allmashreq-Exclusive: AZ Muslim Police Advisory Board Met with a committee from the Gilbert Police Department and other representatives of several other Police Departments, to discuss several issues of mutual concern. AZ Muslim Police Advisory Board plans to invite a large number of Muslim and Arab organizations and activists in addition to many governmental and political figures in Arizona to its annual banquet which will take place sometime in May of this year. Below is a list of the meeting attendees: Attendees: Mohamed El-Sharkawy MPAB

Matthew Christenson, Chandler Police Department Chris Abril, Phoenix Police Department Chris Tucker, Phoenix, Police Department Bob Sanders, Peoria Police Department JD Marin, Gilbert Police Department Ray VillaMesa Police Department Tim Dorn, Gilbert Police Department Kenny Buckland, Gilbert Police Bruce Ciolli, Scottsdale Police Zarinah Nadir, Secretary of AZ MPAB - Islamic Social Services Association USA and

Al-Mu’minah Young Muslim Women’s Association Amirah Ismail (Guest) US. State Department Hanan Ismail, AMWA and ACA Weekend School Saba Farooqi, AMWA President and Owner/Admin of Greenfiled Assisted Living Gerald Richard, Phoenix Police Dr. Mohammad Riyad, , Almashreq Newspaper and CARAMA the Coalition of Arabs and Muslims in America Anas Hlayhel, CAIR and ICNEV (Scottsdale Mosque) Khaled Abuwandi, Treasurer of AZ MPAB Pete Smith, Gilbert Police

On the first week of March, Pro-Palestinian campus activism is stirring debate at Harvard College as students mark the ninth annual international ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’. Members of the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee posted more than 1,000 mock eviction notices on some dormitories, notifying residents their rooms were “scheduled for demolition in the next three days”. The notices also provided information about the thousands of home demolitions that take place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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Festival Photos & Entertainment

April 2013

Jokes

Egyptian mummy scare in the UK

• Husband calls up the Hotel manager from his room Husband : Please come fast , I was having an argument with my wife and she says she’s gonna jump out of the window. Manager : Sir, I am sorry I can’t help you , this seems to be a personal issue. Husband : You Idiot, this is a maintenance issue. The window isn’t opening. • A new client had just come in to see a famous lawyer. “Can you tell me how much you charge?”, said the client. “Of course”, the lawyer replied, “I charge $200 to answer three questions!” “Well that’s a bit steep, isn’t it?” “Yes it is”, said the lawyer, “And what’s your third question?”

A worried member of the public believed there was a real ancient Egyptian mummy being exhibited at Cornwall’s Par antique Market on Monday, according to ThisisCornwall. The Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, Cornwall, received an anxious call regarding the replica mummy on display. This is Cornwall reported that David Perrelet from Antiques Fairs Cornwall said that “a confused member of the public, who had visited Egypt and Cairo Museum was so convinced by the quality of the artifact that she alerted the Truro Museum. So good is this replica that it is difficult to tell it from the real thing.” “She was absolutely convinced that the Mummy was real, as she had seen genuine ones in Egypt. That

alarmed Staff from the Truro Museum who contacted both Cornish Market World and AFC fairs enquiring about it,” he added. Perrelet said the museum told him that “since the Egyptians used bat dropping to deter tomb robbers, there is a real danger of Anthrax being spread if a Mummy is not displayed in the right conditions.”Perrelet later confirmed to the museum staff that the mummy was only a replica of a High Priestess which had been discovered in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and was the fourth replica Mummy sold so far at Par Market’s, Antiques Alley. The Par Market is infamous for carrying a variety of weird and wonderful antiques such as coffins, prison cell doors, a 1940’s hospital operating table and Egyptian mummies that are auctioned off to buyers.

• Teacher Fell Asleep In Class And A Little Naughty Boy Walked Up To Him, Johnny : “Teacher Are You Sleeping In Class?” Teacher : “No I Am Not Sleeping In Class.” Johnny : “ : “What Were You Doing Sir ?” Teacher : ” I Was Talking To God.” The Next Day Johnny : “ Fell Asleep In Class And The Same Teacher Walks Up To Him Teacher : “Young Man, You Are Sleeping In My Class.” Johnny : “ : “No Not Me Sir, I Am Not Sleeping.” Angry Teacher: “What Were You Doing.??” Johnny : “ : “I Was Talking To God.” Angry Teacher: “What Did He Say??” Johnny : “ : “God Said He Never Spoke To You Yesterday”

Grammy-winner Seal to perform at Dubai World Cup

UAE’s Etisalat renews sponsorship agreement with FC Barcelona

UAE’s telecommunication giant, Etisalat Group, has renewed its partnership agreement to sponsor FC Barcelona for the upcoming four years, the company said on Monday. Etisalat, which operates in 18 countries in Asia, Middle East and Africa, renewed the sponsorship agreement at a major event for telecommunications

industry held at the Spanish club’s stadium, Camp Nou. Etisalat’s CEO Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar and FC Barcelona’s President Sandro Rosell signed the agreement, but they didn’t disclose the value of the deal. “As a global telecommunications operator, it makes sense for us to partner with a world-class football club interested in expanding its international

fan base,” Julfar said. According to Rosell, Etisalat has 140 million customers and FC Barcelona 350 million fans around the world, making the partnership an opportunity for continuous growth for both. In 2012, the government-controlled Etisalat was named the most powerful company in the UAE by Forbes Middle East.

British singer Seal will perform at the Dubai World Cup concert on March 30, after American pop star Anastacia was forced to pull out of all her forthcoming gigs due to a recurrence of breast cancer. “We are delighted to celebrate this as one of the most memorable events in the sporting and

social calendar, and to welcome such an internationally acclaimed artist like Seal to perform live in concert,” The National newspaper quoted Frank Gabriel, chief executive of the Dubai Racing Club, as saying. The Dubai World Cup is a thoroughbred horse race held annually since 1996.The

Grammy-award-winning musician has enjoyed success internationally, with a career spanning more than two decades. Seal has released several albums since his debut single “Crazy” was released in 1990. He is due to appear as a coach on the Australian version of the talent show “The Voice.”

Cooking & Recipes Date Crumble Recipe Preparation time : 30 Min • Cooking time : 5 Min • Level of difficulty : Low

ingredients

Preparation :

• • • • •

- Brown the flour in a skillet, stirring to avoid burning. Stone the dates and pull them apart with your hand. Place in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the cardamom and sesame seeds over.

4 cups wheat flour 3 cups sticky dates 1 teaspoon cardamom 1 1/4 cups toasted sesame seeds 3/4 cup olive oil

- Gradually add in the mixing bowl the olive oil and browned flour, a little at a time, working the ingredients in with the fingertips. - When all is well blended, the mixture should resemble large biscuit crumbs. Store in an airtight container. The mixture will keep for a week.

•••••••••••• Artichoke with Meat Recipe •••••••••••• ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • •

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12 Artichoke heads 400 g (14oz) minced meat 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup fried pine nuts 2 tbsp butter for frying meat and onion 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 cup finely choped carrots ground pepper ground allspice flour 2 cups water for cooking artichokes

Preparation : 1. Cover artichoke heads with water, flour and lemon juice. Boil for 10 mn. Remove and fry in some butter. Place aside. 2. Fry onion until soft. Stir in meat, salt and spice. Cook on low heat for 15 mn, stirring occasionally. 3. Remove meat from heat. Stir in carrots. 4. Distribute meat mixture over prepared artichokes. Place in a tray. Add water. Cover and cook over moderate heat for 15 mn or until tender. 5. Serve artichokes hot, garnished with pine nuts and accompanied by cooked rice, radishes and lemon.


4

Classified- Arizona

April 2013

Mosques

Hospitals

Phoenix Muslim Community Mosque Address: 1818 N 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008, USA Phone:602 306 4959

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

Masjid Omar Bin Al-Khattab Address: 6225 S Mcclintock Dr, Tempe, AZ 85283, USA Phone:480-775 6627

Islamic Community Center of Phoenix Address: 7516 N. Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, AZ 85051, USA Phone:602-249-0496 Islamic community of anthem Address: Islamic community of anthem Phoenix, AZ 85086, USA Email: onlysarah@hotmail.com

Community Mosque Address: 1797 W University Dr#167, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA Phone:480-829-9465 The AL-Mahdi Benevolent Foundation Address:1016 S. River Dr Tempe, AZ 85281, USA

Mesa

Masjid-e-Noor Address:55 North Matlock Street, Mesa, AZ 85203, USA Phone:480-644-0074

Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital 1500 S.Mill Ave Tempe AZ 85281” (602) 968-9411 Mayo Clinic 13400 Mayo Clinic

Islamic Center of the East Valley (ICEV) Address:425 N Alma School Rd., Chandler, AZ 85224, USA Phone:(480) 264-1330

Masjid Es Salaam Address:1071 North Alma School Road, Chandler, AZ 85224, USA Phone: 480-784-4627

Churches Maronite Catholic Church Address: 5406 E Virginia Ave Phoenix, AZ 85008 Phone: 602-667-3280 Mar Abraham Chaldean Catholic Churc Address: 6816 E Cactus Rd Scottsdale, AZ 85254 Phone: 480-905-1545 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

FastMed Urgent Care of Chandler 2875 W. Ray Rd Chandler AZ 85224” (480) 899-3070

Chandler

Scottsdale Health Care 9003 E Shea Blvd Scottsdale AZ 85260” (480) 323-3000 St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center 350 W Thomas RD Phoenix AZ 85013” (602) 406-3000

Chandler Regional Hospital 475 S.Dobson Rd Chandler AZ 85224 “(480) 963-4561

Peoria

Scottsdale Health Care 7400 E Osborn Rd Scottsdale AZ 85251” (480) 882-4000

Mercy Gilbert Medical Center 3555 South Val Vista Dr Gilbert AZ 85297” (480) 728-8000

Islamic Center of North East Valley Address:12125 E Via Linda, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, USA Phone:480-612--4044

Albanian-American Islamic Center of Arizona Address:6724 West Greenway Rd., Peoria, AZ 85381, USA URL:www.greenwaymasjid.com

Scottsdale AZ 85259 “(800) 446-2279

Mayo Clinic 5777 East Mayo Boulevard Phoenix, AZ 85054-4502 “(480) 515–6296

Scottsdale

Tempe

Islamic Community Center of Tempe Address:131 East 6th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA Phone: 480-894-6070

Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center 1111 E.McDowell RD Phoenix AZ 85006” (602) 839-2000

Phoenix, AZ 85032 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 2232 W Campbell Ave Phoenix, AZ 85015 Phone: 602-249-1033 St.Joseph Church 11001 N 40th Street Phoenix, AZ 85028 Phone: 602-966-5120 Persian Christian Church 2012 N Scottsdale Rd Scottsdale, AZ 85257 Phone: 480-231-6542

Phoenix Children’s Hospital 1919 E Thomas Rd Phoenix AZ 85016” (602) 933-1000 Arrowhead Hospital 18701 N 67th Ave Glendale AZ 85308” (623) 561-1000 Banner Thunderbird Medical Center 5555 W Thunderbird RD Glendale AZ 85306” (602) 865-5555

Embassies Embassy Of Algeria 2118 Kalorama RD NW Washington DC 20008 Phone:202-265-2800

Embassy Of Qatar 4200 Wisconsin Ave NW Washingion DC 20016 Phone:202-274-1600

Embassy Of Egypt 3521 International Ct. NW Washington DC 20008 Phone:202-895-5400

Embassy Of Morocco 1601 21st St NW Washingion DC 20009 Phone:202-462-7979

Embassy Of Iraq 1801 P St NW Washington DC 20036 Phone:202-483-7500

Ebassy Of Saudi Arabia 2600 Virginia Ave NW #500 Washingion DC 20037 Phone:202-337-9450

Embassy Of Jordan 3504 International Dr NW Washington DC 20008 Phone:202-966-2664

Embassy Of The Republic Of Bosnia 2109 E St NW Washingion DC 20037 Phone:202-337-1500

Embassy Of Kuwait 3500 International Dr NW Washington DC 20008

Embassy Of Tunisia 1515 Massachussets Ave NW Washingion DC 20005

Embassy Of Lebanon 2560 28th St NW Washington DC 20008 Phone:202-939-6300

Embassy Of U.A.E 1225 22nd St NW #700 Washingion DC 20037 Phone:202-243-2400

Embassy Of Oman Sultanate 1776 Massachusetts Ave NW Washingion DC 20036 Phone:202-387-1758

Embassy Of Yemen 2600 Virginia Ave NW #705 Washingion DC 20037 Phone: 202-965-4760

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Articles

April 2013

Free Will & God’s Will Most believers amongst Muslims, Christians and Jewish claim that it’s impossible for us to fully understand the dynamics of God’s interference in our life This claim is 100% meaningless, simply because, if God has any role or influence in shaping our free will, our actions can

no longer be called “Free” and God can no longer hold us accountable or responsible for doing them. In fact, If God is involved in our decisions or actions; wither though having complete control or just little influence, he himself will be considered responsible to a certain degree for all bad and evil actions made by human beings, or at least for failing to stop them. Therefore, I disagree with the religious common notion, that God’s sovereignty

By, Dr. Mohammad Riyad determines our destiny whether fully or partially. Devine Justice requires that if human’s actions are attributed to them, therefore, they must be made by them in their entirety and to the full extent , so God can then validly hold them responsible for them. I found this analysis to be supported by the following phrase from the holly Quran

Understanding Evangelical’s Prophesy of War and the “End Times” (extract)
 Finding Hope in the Era of the Neo-Crusades. Is America’s warring in the Middle East politically or religiously motivated? ANSWER: War is a political expedient, and the “Christian Right” is its enabler, not the reverse. War is the politician’s return ticket to office, the only sure answer to full employment. In the 11th Century the landed gentry and their politicians looked to the Catholic Church for its enablement of the 11 Crusades ending with the shameful Children’s Crusade two centuries later. What has caused those who say they follow Christ to become the enablers of serial wars, and where is the hope? A young Southern Baptist family friend, a prolife activist named Mike, distributed Edgar Whisenant’s epistle (88 Reason Why Jesus is Coming Back in 1988) in his and my large men’s church breakfast in the early months of 1988. Mike absolutely believed the book, and considered the rapture not only imminent, but was scheduled by God for October 14 of that very year. Regretfully, this writer did nothing at the time to dissuade Mike, even though the book he gave me appeared to be full of holes. At first glance it might appear that 88 REASONS could only harm those who believed the stretched myths found in its pages. Mike was married and had a young family, yet he made a mission project of giving the books to all who would carry one out the door of the church, as I did. I am sure 88 Reasons made a difference in Mike’s life, and it could hardly have been positive, for he was truly convinced the world would end only months away. Mike gave up causes he believed were saving lives. He was an activist in the pro-life movement, and the volunteer leader of an important group. But as the spring came, he phased out of this commitment to spend more time with his young family in the months remaining on earth. Mike believed in preserving life, but no one showed him or warned him he was playing into the hands of two political regimes that had little respect for human life. As you have guessed by now, “the Rapture” did not happen in 1988. But the first war on Iraq was already in the political hopper, and the first blood of the Iraqi innocent would be poured out on us two years later. Edgar Whisenant’s book of trash prophesies con-

tributed to the slaughter. Its pages are filled with hints and innuendos of racism and bigotry in the name of Christianity. 88 Reasons to make war in the Mideast. Most of the 88 Reasons given for the imminent rapture had to do with the State of Israel, directly or indirectly. In fact, Edgar tells us the dating of the “great event” was based on the 40th Anniversary of the creation of the new Zionist state of Israel in 1948. Edgar was most creative in inventing exactly 88 reasons, but almost all of them involved his belief in world Zionism incorporated as a part of his “Christianity.” Here are just a

few of the 88 Reasons Whisenant suggested that God needed a Rapture to realize the destiny of the Zionist State: REASON #7 (in part) “this is the last generation, [M1]started on 14 May 1948, the day Israel became a nation. Israel is the time clock of God throughout history, Israel is the blooming fig tree, (Jer 24:4-8) and the last generation will end 40 wicked Gentile years later on 14 May 1988.” REASON # 66: “Israel is the key to this whole scenario. You read again to see how time begins and ends and moves with the nation of Israel. You have noticed how our news events seem to be constantly bringing our attention to the Middle East these last days. And that is just where God wants it”… Another reason men like Whisenant take themselves seriously is they had a cheering section made up of the most radical element of anti-Arabs in the Mideast: Israel. Elmer quotes none other than Meir Kahane, a man

I quit my full-time job to raise my first child. I read books and magazines on education, parenting, you name it. I made my own Montessori didactic materials, I produced hundreds of flash cards, bought educational toys. In short, I was the typical helicopter new parent. In two years, I thought I knew everything about parenting. That’s when I had my second child. Wham! Back to Square One. By now, I have raised seven children and taught hundreds more. I think maybe I can state with a little bit more confidence that every child is different. Well, we all know that, but do we apply that fact in our daily parenting? Do teachers apply that fact in their daily classroom routines? Let’s take one simple example. After movwww.almashreqonline.com

ing to Phoenix, we promptly enrolled our children in the City of Phoenix Park and Recreation’s summer swimming programs. Level 1 is for beginner swimmers, generally, toddlers. My first daughter cried and screamed her heart out on the first day. I tried to sit as far away as possible, so as not to interfere with the coach’s work. I positioned myself across the pool on the opposite side, so I could see her. But then, she could see me too. She cried even harder, “Maaaa… maaa!!!” What an embarrassment. Everyone was bothered. Finally, I walked over to her, bent down and whispered in her ear, “Stop it, or I’ll put you in time out!” She stopped immediately. Now, that worked only with her. Because she was obedient and hated being put in time out, the threat worked. But my next daughter was very different. She was a happy little thing, and almost never did naughty things. She never needed time out. Her first day in swimming, she also bawled and howled and embarrassed me in front of

Charles E. Carlson

who was among the most violent killers in Israeli history. And Whisenant justifies Kahane: REASON #8 “Rabbi Meir Kahane, who wants to throw out all of the Arabs in Israel, is acutely aware of the 40-year grace period given by God, beginning in 1948.” Edgar Whisenant goes on quoting Rabbi Kahane page after page, supporting his militancy against Arabs with words of respect. To him Kahane was an oracle for God carrying out His will against the Philistine tribe. Meir Kahane was in fact an angry terrorist who deliberately incited documented brutality against the Pal-

estinian people. Few Israelis openly advocated the Kahane program for deportation or liquidation of 3.5 million Arab people. He was an embarrassment to the Jews in Israel, who claimed that they themselves were victims of a similar liquidation a generation before. Kahane was founder of the Kach Party, which was committed to violence and repeated assassinations of Arab villagers, encouraging them to leave. Kahane’s public statements had much to do with agitating the Arabs toward the first Intifada in 1987. Whisenant used Kahane as a scripturally justified weather vane for war. Most of Whisenant’s “88 Reasons” were either tied to present happenings in Israel or based on Hebrew Old Testament prophesy. All 88 pointed unequivocally to war (“Armageddon”) being “God’s will.” Anyone who took the book seriously could not help but be conditioned to accept bloodshed in the Middle East. Most of my friends accepted the little

Recognizing different personalities

((Those who took partners with Allah will say” if Allah had willed, we would have taken partners with him, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidding anything “against his will.” Likewise belied “claimed falsely” those who were before them till they tested our wrath, Say “Have you any knowledge “proof” that you can produce before us “to support your claim” verily, you follow nothing but guess “suspicion” and you do nothing but lie)) Al Anaam -148/ Holly Quran.

book from Mike, who wanted no money for it. After all, what good would money be after October 14th? Most of us probably did not take it seriously, and I would be surprised if many copies, save my own, survived these 18 years. I was later surprised to learn that the 88 Reasons had a national following, especially in the heartland. Edgar prospered, and is said to have sold a million copies at $2.00 each. But I was wrong about the little book doing no damage. Mike’s distribution of the books and the distribution by thousands like him, damaged minds and bodies. He innocently helped convince some that the Arabs were dirt under the feet of the Israelis, and that anything that helped Israel was God’s will, no matter how mean and vile it might seem. American churchgoers are conditioned to the idea that war in the Mideast is inevitable and planned by God, and that nothing can be done to stop it. Nor should “Christians” try to prevent it. There is a cost. The blood is already pouring out on the hands of those who contrived the NeoCrusade. Rivers of scarlet are trickling down all of our arms, staining each one of us. We, who call ourselves by Christ’s name and did nothing to stop it, are guilty of the shedding of innocent blood. Sad to say, we are in a conflict between the justice and humanity Christ taught, and the pagan superstition and bloodletting of a self-serving few who thrive on war. They have found their support in the Judaized, dispensational institutions. Resistance to this is not an option to those who follow Christ. Where is the hope? There are “Mikes” in every church in America. You will find them leading, teaching, volunteering, passing the plate and paying tithes. They are doing their best, working, as they know God commands them to work, but not doubting the leadership’s acceptance of war. When they correctly place the blame on their churches for the blood that is on their hands, Judaized Christianity will be finished; it cannot survive in an environment of truth. Christ’s words tell us He is still waiting for men like Mike to follow Him out of the corrupted church. Project Strait Gate’s purpose is to find the “Mikes” with millions of letters like this one. Please pass it on. FULL TEXT OF June 27, 2005 STORY IS HERE: charlesecarlson.com Charles E. (Chuck) Carlson is a pro-peace activist who, with others, organized We Hold These Truths in 1996, and phased out his business interests soon thereafter.

Dr. Fawzia Tung

the entire pool of parents. I finally pulled out a can of Pepsi from my bag, shook it in front of my face, then put a finger on my lips: “shhhhh!” She stopped immediately. You see, she loved food! She loved pastries and candies, and absolutely adored sodas. I usually had to ration her sugar intake. So promising a whole can of cold Pepsi did the trick. For the sake of her soda fix, she would overcome her fear. Third daughter was a totally different matter. She had quite a personality of her own. If she put her mind to something and decided to do it, no punishment would stop her from doing so. But she had a heart of gold and was a Drama Queen: often crying buckets and sobbing while watching some sad story on TV. When her turn came and she was put in the water for her first swimming lesson, oh my goodness. She kicked and hollered, pushing the coach away. What a disgrace! So I walked over, took her out of the water and whispered in her ear, “Baby, look here. The coach is

very angry because you kicked him. He is staring at me now because he thinks I’m a bad mother. The rule is that if a mother is bad, they are going to call the police and take the mother to jail. If you want me to go to jail, just keep screaming and crying and kicking. That’s OK. I’ll understand.” Then I put her back into the water. The poor girl bit her lip and stifled her sobs, and kept looking at me now and then, to make sure I was still there. But she was quiet and cooperative. Fear of water and an unknown group of people was nothing compared to Mom being taken away by the police. OK. There is something to be said about not lying to children. But after all, in this country, the police do take away bad mothers, right? So this was not really a lie. All children are good children. You just have to get to know them, their loves and their fears. Then, and only then, you can start teaching them effectively.


6

National

April 2013

Police, Catholic Charities Asked to Reject Controversial Training on Somalis

FBI to monitor online chats in real-time by 2014

The Federal Bureau of Investigation doesn’t have the ability to monitor everyone’s one-onone Internet chats in real-time just yet, but the agency’s chief lawyer says all that should soon change. FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann discussed the Justice Department’s power to put pressure on cybercriminals during an address last week at the National Press

Club in Washington, and during the engagement he opened up about what exactly the country’s top domestic police patrol wants in their bag of tricks: By the years’ end, the attorney says the FBI hopes to be able to snoop on conversations that occur over the Web by gaining access to up-to-thesecond feeds of seemingly secretive chats.

Security agent facing child p*rn charges A Bay Area Department of Homeland Security agent is facing child p*rnography charges. The investigation started back in 2011 and ended just last week with the arrest of Agent Gilbert Lam. Lam was

caught by San Jose police officers assigned to the task force on Internet crime against children. Police arrested Lam almost a year and a half ago for exchanging child p*rn on the Internet.

CAIR-AZ Chairman Leads

Prayer on Arizona Senate Floor On Thursday, February 7th, 2013 - the Arizona State Senate’s prayer invocation was led by Anas Hlayhel - the Chairman of the Arizona Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ.) Hlayhel, who also serves as the part time imam of the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley

led the lawmakers and all those in attendance through the reading of al-Fatiha (the opening chapter of the Holy Quran) in addition to an additional prayer thereafter. We thank State Senator Katie Hobbs for extending the gracious invitation as well as hosting this momentous event.

Americans see biggest monthly income drop in 20 years Americans saw their income drop so dramatically in January that it marked the deepest one-month decline in 20 years. Personal income decreased by $505.5 billion in January, or 3.6%, compared to December

(on a seasonally adjusted and annualized basis). That’s the most dramatic decline since January 1993, according to the Commerce Department. It’s something of a combination of one-time events, though.

US offers $60m for Syrian intervention as sequester cuts loom Syria’s opposition has won fresh financial and material support from the US but its demands for weapons to fight Bashar al-Assad were ignored in favour of calls for a “political solution” to end the crisis. John Kerry, the new US secretary of state, announced at a conference in Rome on Thursday

that $60m (£45m) in “non-lethal” assistance would go to the western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC) while food and medical supplies would -- for the first time -- go directly to the opposition’s supreme military council, attempting to co-ordinate strategy by the Free Syrian Army and other units.

Housing industry & rise in foreclosed properties In the first quarter of 2012, foreclosure activity increased in 114 out of America’s 212 metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more, showing a 54-perncent increase, according to a report released by Realtytrac, the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties.First quarter foreclosure activity increased from the previous quarter in 26 out of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas.Stockton, Calif., posted the nation’s highest metropolitan foreclosure rate in the first quarter, it said. One in every 60 housing units in the Stockton metro area had a foreclosure filing during the quarter - more than three times the national average. There were a total of 3,912

Stockton properties with foreclosure filings in the first quarter, down 13 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 and down 19 percent from the first quarter of 2011.For the year, foreclosure activity is down in 64% of metro areas despite the quarterly increase in more than half of the metro areas tracked in the report

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on AmericanIslamic Relations (CAIRMN) called on Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Saint Cloud and the Waite

Park Police Department to reject a controversial law enforcement training the agencies are hosting at Waite Park City Offices. The law enforcement

training, «Understanding the People of Somalia,» has generated negative publicity due to the Somali and Muslim community›s claims that the presentation materials and trainers «lack credibility,» and that the training «blames Islam and Muslims for the actions of extremists.» The event flyer, which names Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Saint Cloud

and the Waite Park Police Department, refers to the terrorist organization Al Shabaab as an «Islamic» organization. In November 2011, more than 30 Twin Cities Somali and Muslim organizations challenged the credibility of the seminar in Minneapolis. Police departments across the state declined to participate.

According to a nationwide survey conducted by Zogby Research Services (ZRS) Poll: Iran’s Favorable Ratings among Arabs, Muslims Plummet Washington, DC, March 5, 2013 - Arab American Institute (AAI) President and Managing Director of Zogby Research Services (ZRS), James Zogby will release the results of a new ZRS 20-nation survey of Arab and Muslim attitudes toward Iran today at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Today’s poll, Looking at Iran: the Rise and Fall of Iran in Public Opinion, compares recent survey findings with data from the region Zogby International and the Arab American Institute have compiled over the past decade. The briefing takes place at 12:30pm.

Key finding: When polled in 2006, Iran’s favorable ratings in Arab and Muslim countries were at their highest point. Back then, in most countries, Iran’s favorable ratings were in the 75% range (with Saudis giving Iran an 85% rating). Today, the tables have turned. Iran’s favorable ratings in these same countries have fallen to less than 25% (Saudi ratings have plummeted to 15%). AAI President Jim Zogby said, “The lesson here is clear. When Iran was seen in the Arab and Muslim Worlds through the prism of U.S. and Israeli policies, it won. But when Iran

is judged by its regional behavior and its domestic repression, it loses support in Arab and Muslim public opinion.” AAI maintains an exten-

sive and comprehensive archive of Zogby International polls on Arab, Arab American, and U.S. opinion covering a wide range of issues.

Jury Finds Occupy Wall Street Protester Innocent After Video Contradicts Police Testimony 01 Mar 2013 In the first jury trial stemming from an Occupy Wall Street protest, Michael Premo was found innocent of all charges yesterday after his lawyers presented video evidence directly contradicting the ver-

sion of events offered by police and prosecutors. Premo, an activist and community organizer who has in recent months been a central figure in the efforts of Occupy Sandy, was one of many hundred peo-

ple who took part in a demonstration in Lower Manhattan on December 17 of 2011, when some protesters broke into a vacant lot in Duarte Square in an attempt to start a new occupation.

In its annual Worldwide Threat Assessment report US reveals top threats facing America The United States has issued its annual Worldwide Threat Assessment report, listing the top three current and potential dangers facing US global interests. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released the report to the US Senate on Tuesday, saying the top three threats facing the US are cyberwarfare, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. “Threats are more diverse, interconnected, and viral than at any time in history,” said Clapper, adding that the “destruction can be invisible, latent, and progressive.” #1 Cyberwarfare: Cyberwarfare ranks as the top threat facing US global interests, coming in much “faster than our ability to understand the security implications and mitigate the potential risks,” said the top intelligence advisor to US President Barack Obama. While pointing to American technological advantage over other nations for many years, the senior spymaster admitted that advances in information technology and international trade practices have evened the playing field. Cyber attacks and espionage are more dangerous than terror hits, with the

potential to inflict severe damage to US infrastructure and economy that would “result in long-term, wide-scale disruption of services,” said Clapper.

He went on to say that “Attacks, which might involve cyber and financial weapons, can be deniable and unattributable.” #2 Terrorism and organized crime:Terrorism and organized crime ranked second on the list due to a “transitional period” as terrorist groups become more decentralized, the report said. Al-Qaeda has remained a top threat in the Middle East and Africa, with the Arab Spring generating “a spike in threats to US interests in the region that likely will endure until political upheaval stabilizes and security forces regain their capabilities,” said Clapper.

The top US espionage coordinator also highlighted the rise in American homegrown violent extremists (HVE) where “local events that might seem irrelevant are more likely to affect US

national security in accelerated time frames.” Intelligence officials have estimated that HVEs “will continue to be involved in fewer than 10 domestic plots per year.” #3 Weapons of mass destruction:Rounding out the top three global threats facing US interests, Clapper said that WMDs and biological and chemical weapons “move easily in our globalized economy, as do the personnel with scientific expertise to design and use them.” The comments came as the US has engaged in a particularly aggressive media

and illegal sanctions campaign against Iran based on the unfounded accusation that Tehran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The New York Times also revealed that Obama - with help from Israeli intelligence units - secretly ordered a cyber attack using the Stuxnet computer virus to sabotage Iran’s nuclear energy program. Since 2007, several Iranian scientists have been assassinated, with reports showing that the assassination plots were masterminded by Israel’s Mossad agency. The United States with help from China also pushed for UN-sanctions against North Korea amid the country’s nuclear tests and rocket launches.North Korean leader Kim Jongun said Pyongyang has vowed to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the US to defend itself in the event that Washington ignites a nuclear war. www.almashreqonline.com


7

National

April 2013 Continue From Page 1

CAIR-Ohio Files Muslim Workers’ Bias Complaints Against DHL Subsidiary

In their complaints, the employees say they made an effort to resolve the dispute by trying to speak to human resources, but that Exel managers and supervisors repeatedly refused to allow them access to the human resources department. Managers reportedly began terminating Muslim employees when they saw them praying at work. On February 8, 2013 the general manager called a meeting in which he reportedly told a large group of Muslim employees, many of whom had been working for the company for years, that Exel would not change its policies and that the company could not provide a religious accommodation. He ultimately terminated the entire group when they insisted they had a right to religious accommodation. Both state and federal law re-

quires employers to accommodate the religious practices of their employees unless it creates an undue burden on the company. “This company has a history of discriminating against Muslims, especially Muslims of Somali origin,” said CAIR-Ohio Legal Director Jennifer Nimer. “This is not the first time a group of Muslim employees has been fired from this company for requesting a prayer accommodation. This type of blatant discrimination cannot be tolerated.” According to the EEOC, 21 percent of religious discrimination complaints in 2011 involved bias against Muslim workers. CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” to help employers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace.

Social media under watch and control Agencies: The US government is requesting proposals for the development of a software system that can mine social media. Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies are looking to use it to anticipate everything from terrorist attacks to foreign uprisings by sifting through billions of posts from Twitter and other social networks. The proposals already have raised privacy concerns among advocates who worry that such monitoring efforts could have a chilling effect on users. The FBI says the proposed system would only monitor publicly available information.Hundreds of intel-

ligence analysts already sift overseas Twitter and Facebook posts to track events such as the Arab Spring. But in a formal notice to potential contractors, the FBI recently outlined its desire for a digital tool to scan the entire universe of social media - more data than humans could ever crunch. The Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence also have solicited the private sector for ways to automate the process of identifying emerging threats and upheavals using the billions of posts people around the world share every day

Bill Gates: Obama Needs To Have More Power Agencies: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the wealthiest American, said on “some days” he wishes the U.S. political system were like England’s, so that President Barack Obama could have “slightly more power.”Gates was asked for his assessment of President Obama’s job performance during an interview at Politico’s “Playbook Cocktails” event. “Some days I wish we had a system like the U.K. where, you know, the party in power could

do a lot and you know, you’d see how it went and then fine you could un-elect them,” said Gates on Wednesday.“Now, over time, our system has worked slightly better than theirs, theirs has worked okay but so it’s ironic that right now it feels like I wish there was slightly more power in the presidency to avoid some of these deadlocks. So I think what he [Obama] wants to do and what he’s actually able to do, the gap is so big there that it’s hard to know in some ways.”

US names new ambassador to Libya Agencies: US President Barack Obama has named a new ambassador to Libya, six months after the previous US envoy was killed in an attack by fighters in Benghazi. The announcement on Wednesday that career diplomat Deborah Jones is set to replace slain ambassador, Chris Stevens, came as the Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was in Washington for talks with senior officials. Jones, who will have to be confirmed by Senate, carries a huge emotional weight into her new post with the scars of the September attack on the US mission in Benghazi still raw in the American psyche. Stevens was killed along with three other American staff during a heavily-armed attack on the Benghazi compound and a nearby annex. He was the first ambaswww.almashreqonline.com

sador to be killed on duty since the late 1970s. Zeidan, who is on his first official visit to Washington, met on Wednesday Obama who joined the Libyan leader’s talks at the White House with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. Despite a long investigation by both Libyan authorities and the FBI, no one has been charged in the Benghazi attack. Zeidan pledged, however, as he met later Secretary of State John Kerry that the Libyan government will “work with the United States of America in order to find out who were behind the assault. “Who killed this dear friend and his colleagues and they must be brought to trial,” Zeidan said, speaking through a translator. “We are keen on reaching the truth and to see that justice is achieved.”

Michigan takes over Detroit finances The governor of the US state of Michigan has chosen an emergency financial manager for Detroit, finalising a state takeover of the city’s finances. Rick Snyder announced on Thursday that he had chosen Kevyn Orr, a lawyer and bankruptcy expert, for the position that will give him powers to control all of the Detroit’s spending. Orr, who has worked on the restructuring of Michigan-based carmaker Chrysler, said that he hoped to avoid a bankruptcy filing for Detroit, which would rank as the biggest municipal bankruptcy in US history. “Let’s get at it and work together because we can resolve this, people of good faith. Don’t make me go to bankruptcy court,” said Orr, who is expected to assume the role on March 25. In his new role, Orr will have wide-ranging authority to mend the city’s budget, including renegotiating labour contracts, selling of assets and even suspending elected officials’ salaries. High unemployment

Detroit has lost 250,000 people during the last decade and remains saddled with a $327m budget and more that $14bn

previously determined that Detroit would have to either increase revenues or decrease expenditures, or both, by about

Governor of US state appoints emergency financial manager with powers to control all of the struggling city’s spending in long-term debt. It has been making ends meet on a month-to-month basis with the help of bond money held in a state escrow account. Due to its cash deficit, a state-appointed review team had

$15m per month for three months, to “remain financially viable”. Snyder had decided to appoint an emergency manager after the absence of legitimate turnaround plans from Mayor Dave Bing and the

City Council, as well as underfunded city services. The governor said that Orr, whose contract was for 12 to 16 months, was the right person for the job because of his successful career in restructuring and bankruptcy. Detroit city leaders have long opposed a state takeover saying they were making progress on improving the financial situation. Several dozen Detroit residents also protested against the state takeover, saying that their right to vote for their own leaders is being usurped by an unelected manager. A new law, which will take effect later in March, allows the manager to terminate collective bargaining agreements with the city’s 48 unions. More than a third of Detroit residents are officially classified as living in poverty, and it has an unemployment rate of 18.2 percent, far above the US jobless rate of 7.7 percent, according to government figures

Slain teen mom wants officers arrested The mother of an AfricanAmerican teenager who was fatally shot by police in New York City says that her son was slaughtered and she wants the arrest of the officers responsible. On Saturday, two New York City officers in plain clothes shot to death 16-year-old Kimani Gray in Brooklyn’ s East Flatbush neighborhood, claiming they took the action after the teen brandished a gun and pointed it at them. The family denies the police accusation, saying Gray was

unarmed.”Two police officers shot down Kimani and I only want justice, the two police to be off the street before they hurt another young kid,” Carol Gray, the boy’s mother, said on Thursday.A postmortem examination found that Kimani had been hit seven times by the police officers’ bullets, three of them in the back but the report did not detail the order in which the bullets hit. Devonte Brown, Gray’s friend, who was with him on the night of the shooting, told reporters after the inci-

dent that Gary “was screaming, ‘Stop! I’m not running,” while the officers opened fire on him.”Why was Kimani been murdered, and slaughtered? Why was Kimani begging for his life? Why was Kimani saying [those things] if he had a weapon? ... He’s my angel, and my baby, and he was slaughtered, and I want to know why. After the first shot, why the second bullet, why the third bullet? ... Just walk in my shoes, please, and understand my grief... I want justice, for his civil rights, for being an

American citizen,” Gray’s mother said. Gray’s death has sparked three days of community protests. Forty-six people were arrested after a candlelit vigil turned into a confrontation with police on Wednesday night.Local residents have grown quite suspicious and distrustful of the police, widely accusing the New York Police Department (NYPD) officers with racial profiling and unfairly targeting mostly African American youth in their supposed efforts to fight crime

Congress approval rating plunges to 13%: Gallup The public approval rating of the US Congress has plunged to 13 percent with the budget sequestration taking effect this month, the results of a new poll show.The survey, conducted by the Gallup, was based on telephone interviews with 1,022 American adults from across the United States from March 7 to 10. The results showed that the Congress’ approval rating fell essentially from its previous mark of 15 percent in February, ranking just a few percentage points above the alltime low of 10 percent reached twice last year. Furthermore, the Congress approval rate has averaged just

14 percent for the first quarter of 2013, compared with 15 percent for all of 2012, 17 percent in 2011, and 19 percent in 2010. Congressional Republicans, independents, and Democrats have near equal ratings, with approval ratings of 15 percent, 11 percent, and 13 percent, respectively.President Barack Obama and Congress failed to reach a last-minute deal as across-the-board spending reductions kicked in on March 1. Washington has failed to approve a proper budget in recent years, opting to renew resolutions usually at sixmonth intervals.The division of power in Congress, failure

to compromise on key legislative issues, and the public’s perception of low honesty and ethics among lawmakers also

contribute to the long-lasting slump in the Congressional approval rating, according to Gallup surveys.

NYPD spying on American Muslims ‘harmful’: Report New York police’s extensive surveillance program targeting American Muslims in recent years has led to a pervasive climate of fear and suspicion within the community.Civil liberties groups headed by the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition published a report on Monday detailing the devastating effects of spying on Muslims across the Northeast US in mosques, restaurants, cafes, and other public places over more than a decade.

gious spaces, such as congregants becoming suspicious of one another, imams hesitating when advising their congregations as well as individuals refraining from appearing vis-

disclosed that the Commanding Officer of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Intelligence Division, Thomas Galati, has admitted “during sworn testimony that in the

the authentic voice of real people impacted by unjust policies and procedures, for which Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly remain both defensive

ibly ‘Muslim.’

six years of his tenure, the unit tasked with monitoring American Muslim life had not yielded a single criminal lead.”

and un-apologetic.”

“The program has stifled speech, communal life and religious practice and criminalized a broad segment of American Muslims. The isolationism that comes with being a ‘spied on’ community means that American Muslims are getting a fundamentally inferior opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights,” said attorney Nermeen Arastu. The 57 Muslims interviewed for the study said that trust and privacy were virtually impossible and that their lives were severely harmed by the spying.The effects of the spying have, according to the study, resulted in suppression of reli-

The report is “a powerful rebuttal to all who seek to minimize the impact of NYPD surveillance of Muslims as a faith group,” said Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid.It also

Abdur-Rashid, who delivered a copy of the report to the NYPD, said that the report “is

In addition, Abdur-Rashid said, “This report is critically important reading for all Americans concerned with freedom, justice, and equality in 21st century America.”


8

International & Business

April 2013

Swede to probe Syria chemical weapons use U.S. companies the biggest gainers in Iraq

Almashreq- Agencies: Iraq has recorded the highest percentage of economic growth of all Arab economies in the last few years. It has the fourth-largest oil reserves globally, and is attempting to be one of the biggest oil producers worldwide Iraq’s Gross Domestic Product reached 10.5 percent in 2012, the highest percentage in the Middle East, and higher than previous expectations. GDP will grow at an average of at least 9.4 percent annually between 2012 and 2016, says the central bank Iraq produced 3.2 million barrels of oil per day in 2012, and output is expected to grow. Iraq’s oil minister last year said he expects production to reach 8 million to 8.5 million barrels per day by 2017. “Iraq will be the fastest-growing country in the world during 2012 and 2013,” Merrill Lynch said in a report last year. The U.S. bank foresees “a steady 9% growth rate in the Iraqi economy between 2013 and 2017,” and “this growth is ascribed in the first place to the increase in the country’s oil production.” Over the past decade, Iraq has succeeded in moving ahead with development and reconstruction after the war. While it is slated to be one of the most important economies in the world, there are many abnormalities in its growth due to rampant poverty, corruption, and unfair wealth distribution among its people. These abnormalities have led more people to sink deeper into poverty, especially in Baghdad. This situation was allowed to develop in an environment of corruption, analyst and writer Salama al-Derawee told Al Arabiya. “The state is disconnected. There are a lot of military groups still in Iraq to protect corruption,” Derawee said. Over the past decade, during the occupation, American companies seemed to gain the most. They struck big deals throughout the country with huge profits, and were supported by a corrupt system. “About a sixth of the $60.5 billion America spent on rebuilding wartorn Iraq over the past ten years has been lost to waste and fraud,” said a recent official U.S. report, adding that most of this money went to American companies. The report highlights specific cases, such as the subcontractor supplier who overcharged Iraqi

projects by thousands of dollars for supplies, including $900 for a control switch valued at $7.05, and $80 for a pipe that should cost $1.41. In addition, most of the rebuilding projects in Iraq have been carried out by U.S. companies, including multi-billion-dollar contracts, while many foreign and local companies were banned against even bidding on projects. Looking at these figures confirms that American companies (including Halliburton, Bechtel, ExxonMobil and others) were among the biggest gainers in the post-war rebuilding phase. Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, the Kurds have the best economic situation, and their capital Erbil has become one of the most famous, important and prosperous cities in the Middle East. “The Kurds’ area seems to be an independent country. They deal with other countries and multinational companies without approval from Baghdad,” said Derawee. “Kurdistan has built early business relations with international sides directly, and they made a lot of deals with others independently, including oil exports.” He believes that “stability is the secret of success,” adding that Kurds had a good opportunity to build a strong economy, while other areas were busy dealing with the chaos that occurred after the invasion. Kurdistan has an estimated 45 billion barrels of oil as reserves, and it hosts some of the largest oil and gas companies in the world. Observers say Erbil may become one of the richest cities in the region because it attracts huge investments. There is deep poverty and an unfair division of wealth in Baghdad and many other cities. Poverty in Iraq is still over 30 percent overall, but it rises to more than 50 percent in some areas such as al-Muthana, al-Qadesia and Mesan. These figures are unbelievable for a country that produces more than 3 million barrels of oil per day, which is valued at more than $300 million. “Iraq needs more reforms,” Derawee said. “Sectarianism and militias are the big problems. Some people dominate resources and wealth based on sectarianism. That’s why we see extreme poverty in some areas and extreme wealth in others, even in the same city.

World Bank extends $70 m loan to Jordan’s SMEs Almashreq- Agencies:The World Bank will be extending a low interest and long-term loan of $70 million to Jordan in hopes of facilitating the financing of microprojects as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Jafar Hassan, and the World Bank’s country director for Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iran and Iraq, Ferid Belhai, signed the agreement on Tuesday at the ministry’s headquarters in Amman, reported Zawya on Wednesday. The loan is rumored to carry an interest rate of 1.45 per cent with a maturity period of 30 years including a 5 year grace period.

Hassan explained that the loan is to be managed by the Central Bank of Jordan as they plan to relend funds to local banks who will go on to allocate the funding into micro projects and SMEs. Belhai added that the loan will represent an opportunity to enhance cooperation between Jordan and the World Bank and that the international financial organization has responded to the development needs of the Kingdom in a positive fashion. He also stated that during the upcoming months, Jordan and the World Bank plan on finalizing the details on yet another loan worth $100 million which will be used to bolster economic policies in the Kingdom

Tunisia’s Islamist party ‘against’ Female Genital Mutilation Almashreq- Agencies:The head of Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party Ennahda insisted Friday that his group was opposed to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), after one of its MPs caused a storm by reportedly saying the operation was “aesthetic.” “We do not approve of female circumcision, a practice supported neither by Ennahda nor by religion, and which is not a part of our culture,” Rached Ghannouchi told a news conference in Tunis.“Whoever approves of female circumcision cannot remain within our ranks,” he added.Ennahda MP Habib Ellouze sparked outrage in the north African country with comments he reportedly made last week in an interview published in an Arabic newspaper. “In the [African] regions where it is hot, people are forced to circumcize girls... because in these re-

gions clitorises are too big which affects the spouses,” Ellouze was quoted as saying in the Sunday edition of Maghreb.“There are more circumcisions but it is not true that circumcision removes the pleasure for women. It is the West that has exaggerated the issue. Circumcision is an aesthetic surgery for women,” he reportedly said.But Ellouze on Monday accused the newspaper of distorting his quotes, saying the journalist “attributed remarks to me that I have not said.”Ennahda, which heads the Tunisian government, is regularly accused of orchestrating a creeping Islamization of society and seeking to limit the rights of women. It denies the charges. The International Organization of Migration says around 100 to 140 million women have suffered female genital mutilation around the world, mainly in Africa

Almashreq - Agencies:UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon has named Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom to head a UN investigation into allegations that chemical weapons were used in Syria, Ban’s spokesman has said. The UN said last week it would investigate Syrian allegations that rebels used chemical arms in an attack near the northern city of Aleppo, but Western countries sought an investigation of all claims about the use of such arms, including rebel charges that government forces used them.

nese experts should be part of the investigation, but Moscow’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said on Tuesday that Russia would “most likely not” be represented. Sellstrom was a chief inspector for UNSCOM, the UN

programmes before the 2003 US-led invasion as Washington and London alleged at the time.

weapons in the two-year-old Syrian conflict, which the United Nations says has cost 70,000 lives.

Nesirky said Sellstrom’s investigation would be a technical, not a criminal, investigation, looking at whether

France and Britain wrote to Ban on Thursday to draw his attention to rebel allegations of an attack near Damascus, as well as one in Homs in late December. The rebels blame Syria’s government for those incidents as well as the Aleppo attack. Ban made it clear on Thursday that the investigation would initially focus on the Aleppo incident, in which the government and rebels accuse each other of firing a missile laden with chemicals, killing 26 people.

“[Sellstrom] is an accomplished scientist with a solid background in disarmament and international security,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said on Tuesday. If an investigation adds credibility to the rebels’ claims that the government has used chemical weapons, it would represent another blow to Bashar al-Assad’s efforts to retain power. If it turned out that the rebels have used them, it could make countries even more reluctant to support the opposition. Russia ‘not represented’ It was not immediately clear who else would be on Sellstrom’s team. Russia said on Monday that Russian and Chi-

But he has left open the possibility that the investigation could be broadened.

Scientist Ake Sellstrom to head UN investigation into allegations that chemical agents were used in the civil war inspection team that investigated and dismantled Iraq’s biological and chemical weapons programmes in the 1990s. Sellstrom also worked with UNMOVIC, the UN group that returned to Iraq in 2002 and found no solid evidence that Baghdad had revived its weapons-of-mass-destruction

chemical weapons were used and not at who may have used them. US and European officials say there is no evidence of a chemical weapons attack, but the allegations of the rebels are worth taking seriously. If one were to be confirmed, it would be the first use of such

In a letter to the Security Council on Friday, Ban said he had asked Britain, France and Syria for further information on the other alleged chemical attacks “with a view to verifying any alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria”. Britain’s UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters on Tuesday that he had provided Ban’s office with “further information” about the alleged chemical attacks in Syria. He declined to provide details.

France backtracks on arming Syria’s rebels

French President Francoise Hollande says ‘no guarantee’ weapons to Syria’s rebels will end up in the wrong hands France will uphold the EU embargo on weapon deliveries for Syrian rebels after all, changing course from just two weeks ago, according to comments by President Francois Hollande. France would have to be convinced that the weapons would not fall into the hands of terrorists, Hollande said in an interview with France 2. “At the moment, we do not have this guarantee,” Hollande said. France and Britain are both pressing for the relaxation of an arms embargo on Syria so that arms can flow to outgunned rebels waging a twoyear-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The embargo expires on June 1 and both countries say it should be allowed to lapse.

But Hollande said that before arms were delivered to Syria, guarantees were needed they would not fall into the hands of radical fighters. “We will not do it as long as we cannot be certain that there is complete control of the situation by the opposition,” Hollande said. ‘Sole legitimate representative’ A Cairo-based coalition of opposition groups in exile named the Syrian National Council as the sole legitimate representative for rebels fighting Assad’s government forces. But the group has suffered internal divisions and is said to have only limited control over rebels on the ground in Syria. Western countries are concerned that delivering weap-

ons to Syria will backfire if radical groups capture them and gain a military edge over other rebel factions. However, the Free Syrian Army recognised by foreign powers is sorely lacking means to fight back against Assad’s warplanes, and has warned it could lose ground unless allies

provide anti-aircraft guns and other equipment. Both France and Britain tried in vain to convince other EU leaders to relax the embargo at a European Council meeting last week, and EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss the issue further this weekend.

Half of Iraq ‘in absolute poverty: About four

million are lacking food and in need of different types of help

Almashreq- Agencies: Up to eight million Iraqis require immediate emergency aid, with nearly half of the population living in “absolute poverty”, according to a report by Oxfam and a coalition of Iraqi groups. About four million people are lacking food and “in dire need of different types of humanitarian assistance”, said the report, released in Amman on Monday.

and it bears responsibility for the welfare of its people.”

tem, down from 96 per cent in 2004, the report said.

Iraqi services have been left in crisis as most of those seeking refuge are professionals, according to the report.

The number of Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies has risen from 50 per cent to 70 per cent since 2003.

“The ‘brain drain’ that Iraq is experiencing is further stretching already inadequate public

The lack of effective sanitation was also highlighted by the joint re-

Said Arikit, spokesman for the UN mission in Iraq “Many of the figures and percentages in the report were actually derived from UN sources… so we concur with the findings,” he said. “The government of Iraq is definitely the authority in Iraq

Meanwhile in Iraq, officials from the US military say they have seen a drop in US troop deaths in July.

For the month of July, at least 69 US soldiers have died, about half the casualties in May.

The report also says two million people within the country are currently displced, while more than two million are refugees .

“Many of the figures and percentages in the report were actually derived from UN sources… so we concur with the findings”

One recommendation called for the government of Nuri alMaliki, Iraq’s prime minister, to decentralise the distribution of aid to local authorities, and make it easier for civil society organisations to operate.

In April, the number of US soldiers who died was 104, increased sharply in May when 126 servicemen died, and decreased slightly with 101 troops dead in June.

“Iraqis are suffering from a growing lack of food, shelter, water and sanitation, health care, education, and employment,” said the report, compiled by Oxfam and the NGO Co-ordination Committee in Iraq (NCCI).

Most of those refugees have fled to Jordan and Syria.

suffering,” the report said.

services, as thousands of medical staff, teachers, water engineers, and other professionals are forced to leave the country,” it said. The entry of Iraqi refugees to neighbouring countries has placed a growing strain on health, education and social services in the two countries. Only 60 per cent of the four million people who depend on food assistance have access to rations from the governmentrun public distribution sys-

port, which said 80 per cent of people in Iraq did not have safe access. The report said children were the hardest hit by the fall in living standards, stating child malnutrition rates have risen from 19 per cent before the US-led invasion in 2003 to 28 percent currently. “Despite the constraints imposed by the government of Iraq, the UN and the international donors can do more to deliver humanitarian assistance to reduce unnecessary

Iraq’s police say the number of civilian deaths also decreased by 36 per cent, from an estimated high of 1,900 in May to 1,342 in June. General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, said: “The sheikhs and the tribes and the leaders have banded together and made a decision to oppose al-Qaeda and that has resulted in a substantially improved security situation.” Despite what appears to be at least a temporary let-up in both military and civilian deaths, many say there will be no security without a stable Iraqi government. www.almashreqonline.com


Al-Mashreq English April 2013