Wednesday, August 22, 2018

German Foreign Minister calls for economic system independent of US: Maas wants EU own SWIFT system

    Wednesday, August 22, 2018   No comments
...

It is also important to correct fake news because it can quickly result in the wrong policies. As Europeans, we have made it clear to the Americans that we consider the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran to be a mistake. Meanwhile, the first US sanctions have come back into force.

In this situation, it is of strategic importance that we make it clear to Washington that we want to work together. But also: That we will not allow you to go over our heads, and at our expense. That is why it was right to protect European companies legally from sanctions. It is therefore essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels independent of the US, a European monetary fund and an independent SWIFT [payments] system. The devil is in thousands of details. But every day that the Iran agreement lasts, is better than the potentially explosive crisis that threatens the Middle East otherwise.



A balanced partnership also means that, as Europeans, we bring more weight to bear when the US withdraws. We are concerned about Washington’s withdrawal of affection, in financial and other terms, from the UN — and not only because we will soon be on the Security Council. Of course we can’ t fill all the gaps. But together with others, we can cushion the most damaging consequences of the thinking that says success is measured in dollars saved. That is why we have increased funding for relief organizations working with Palestinian refugees and sought support from Arab states.

We are striving for a multilateral alliance, a network of partners who, like us, are committed to sticking to the rules and to fair competition. I have made my first appointments with Japan, Canada and South Korea; more are to follow. This alliance is not a rigid, exclusive club for those with good intentions. What I have in mind is an association of states convinced of the benefits of multilateralism, who believe in international cooperation and the rule of the law. It is not directed against anyone, but sees itself as an alliance that supports and enhances a global, multilateral order. The door is wide open — above all to the US. The aim is to tackle the problems that none of us can tackle on our own, together — from climate change to fair trade.

I have no illusions that such an alliance can solve all the world’s problems. But it is not enough just to complain about the destruction of the multilateral order. We have to fight for it, especially because of the current trans-Atlantic situation.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Saudi authorities arrest Sheikh Safar Ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Hawali, and sons, for criticizing rulers domestic and foreign policies

    Friday, July 13, 2018   No comments
Human rights campaigners and online activists said on Thursday that Sheikh Safar Ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Hawali had been detained, without providing further details.
However, some of his followers believe that he was arrested because of his views that were expressed in a 3000 page eBook released last week. In the book al-Hawali is highly critical of Saudi foreign and domestic policies and military interventions in the region.

The book, Muslims and Western Civilization, is available only in Arabic at this point, is available in the public domain and can be read below.


Hawali is a leading figure in Saudi Arabia's Sahwa (Awakening) movement, which opposes the presence of US troops in the Arabian Peninsula.

In the 1990s, Hawali was jailed for opposing the Saudi ties with US troops leading a military operation in Kuwait. In 1993, he was banned from public speaking and dismissed from his academic posts on suspicion of attempting to incite civil disobedience. In 1994, the Islamic scholar was once again arrested, but was soon released.

Last month, Saudi authorities detained a number of prominent women’s rights advocates, just days before lifting the decades-long ban on women's driving.

Hundreds of influential Saudi businessmen and members of the royal family were also rounded up in November 2017 in an alleged “anti-corruption campaign” spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Bin Salman was appointed the first in line to the Saudi throne by his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, last June.

Since then, he has engaged in a string of radical economic and social projects in a bid to portray himself as “reformist.” However, those projects have been widely seen as being more about consolidating his personal power rather than bringing about real change to Saudi Arabia.


Read News report about the arrest of al-Hawali

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المسلمون والحضارة الغربية




Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Is the the presence of and military operations of Russia, the United States and Israel in Syria Legal?

    Wednesday, July 11, 2018   No comments

That question was asked The scientific in the German Bundestag. The answer was released and found that, while Russia's presence may be legal because it was operating per request of the Syrian government, the presence of and operations carried out by others is illegal. 

The 13-page report was released Tuesday as reported by Germany based AWDNEWS. The summary and the report are made available below.



English summary as provided by AWDNEWS:


The Scientific Services of the German Bundestag are the equivalent to the Congressional Research Service in the United States. Members of Parliament can ask the services to give their neutral expert opinions on legal questions and other issues. Opinions by the Scientific Services are held in high regard.

Alexander Neu, a Member of Parliament for the Left Party in Germany, requested an opinion on the legality of the military presence and operations by Russia, the United States and Israel in Syria.

The result (pdf, in German) is quite clear-cut:

- Russia was asked by the recognized government of Syria to help. Its presence in Syria is without doubt legal under International Law.

- U.S. activities in Syria can be seen as two phases:

Regime Change

The provision of arms to insurgents in Syria by the U.S. (and others) was and is illegal. It is a breach of the Prohibition on the Use of Force in international law specifically of the UN Charter Article 2(4):

    All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

Fight against ISIS

The U.S. argues that its presence in Syria is in (collective) self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter because the Islamic State in Syria threatens to attack the United States. That, in itself, would be insufficient as Syria is a sovereign state. The U.S. therefore additionally claims that the Syrian state is "unwilling or unable" to fight against the Islamic State.

The Scientific Services says that the claim of "unwilling or unable" was already dubious when the U.S. operation started. This for two reasons:

    It is not law or an internationally accepted legal doctrine. (The 120 members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and others have argued strongly against it.)
    The Syrian government itself was fighting ISIS, but it could not operation in large parts of its territory where the Islamic State had taken control. Some argue that this justified the "unable" argument. But ISIS is largely defeated and it no longer has any significant territorial control.

The already dubious legal case for the presence of U.S. (and other 'coalition' troops in Syria) can thus no longer be made. The U.S. presence in Syria is illegal.

- Israel's attacks on Hizbullah and Iranian units and installations in Syria, as well as against Syria itself, are claimed by Israel to be 'anticipatory self-defense' under UN Charter Article 51. But 'anticipatory self-defense' could only be claimed when attacks against Israel were imminent. That case has not been made. The Israeli attacks are thus 'pre-emptive self defense' which is not an accepted doctrine of International Law.

The service was not asked for an opinion on Turkey's incursion into Syria but it notes that claims of 'self defense', as Turkey makes in its fight against Kurdish entities in Syria, are often abuses for Geo-strategic purposes.
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

First Full-Time TV Reporter for a major network to wear Hijab in USA

    Thursday, February 15, 2018   No comments
In the heart of Downtown Rock Island, our newest Local 4 News reporter Tahera Rahman is making history and breaking barriers.

It all started years ago after several internships, that's when Tahera figured out TV news was her real passion.

"I didn't have anyone who looked like me on TV, so I never really thought it was a possibility," said Tahera.


After years of rejection from news stations across the nation, Tahera decided to put TV reporting on hold and took a job as a news producer behind the scenes at our Local 4 news station in the Quad Cities.

Tahera's friend and co-worker Rachel Taylor told us, while Tahera was working behind the scenes, she never gave up on her dream.

"She would come in on the weekend and that's her day off but she really wanted this," Taylor said.

Tahera continued to work on her reporting skills during her free time.

"I was like, someday, someone is going to notice the work I'm putting in and give me a chance," Tahera said.

That day came this week.

On Wednesday, Tahera made her on-air debut, breaking barriers in the TV news industry.


...


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Plans to build a mobile prayer room for Muslim attending the Pyeongchang Winter #Olympics dropped

    Saturday, February 10, 2018   No comments
Plans to build a mobile prayer room for Muslim visitors to Pyeongchang Winter Olympics have been scrapped after a strong backlash from local religious activists.

Kim Yeong-ju of Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) told Korea Exposé that the government’s top tourist body had originally planned to place a Muslim prayer room near the city hall in Gangneung, the biggest host city of the games.

But the plan had been dropped because of “strong complaints from local people… primarily for religious reasons,” Kim said. The backlash was so severe, he added, that local officials “could no longer do their jobs.”

Last week, KTO acknowledged the lack of facilities for visiting Muslims as a problem and declared its aim to create a “Muslim-friendly Korea.”


This goal came a step closer in early February with the opening of a cafeteria serving certified halal food to Muslim athletes competing at Pyeongchang.

KTO’s plan to provide a mobile Muslim prayer room for the duration of the winter games was a further reflection of its stated goal to expand its reach in the Muslim tourism market.

But not everyone shares this welcoming agenda.

In January, the Pyeongchang Olympics Gangwon Citizens’ Islam Countermeasure Association, a newly-formed civic group, began circulating a Google form titled “Petition against the Installation of a Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Muslim Prayer Room.”

The petition makes various Islamophobic claims, including that the people of Gangwon Province — where Pyeongchang is located — are collectively opposed to Islam, and that South Korea must be wary of the religion in its radical form. As of Feb. 8, it had gathered more than 56,000 online signatures.

In a call with Korea Exposé, Seo Ji-hyun, director of operations at the countermeasure association, said, “People who have lived in Egypt have told us that Muslims don’t need to pray on airplanes. Let the same apply when they’re in South Korea.”

Seo went on to denounce the entire Muslim faith, saying “The nature of Islam is to take over the world. We must ban it from the start.”

Seo claimed that Pyeongchang county was heavily in debt and wanted to use Muslim money to pay it off, but was unable to cite sources to back up this assertion.

Pyeongchang’s local tourist information center confirmed that there would now be no prayer room available for Muslim visitors at the Olympics. A consultant at the games’ official hotline also told Korea Exposé that hotline staff had received no information regarding Muslim prayer rooms in the area.

Such strong reactions to all things Islamic are not unusual in South Korea. In fact, the countermeasure association behind the prayer room petition consists of existing Islamophobic groups led by a single figure named Jeong Hyeong-man.

Jeong’s previous activities have included a press conference simultaneously opposing both halal food and the introduction of a law banning discrimination against homosexual people, and warnings about “the increase of Muslim terrorist bases in Korea” during his tenure as head of civic group Citizens’ Association for a Proper Country.

Such activism has led to the cancellation of various Islam-friendly government projects in South Korea, including the planned construction of a halal complex in the western city of Iksan.

KTO’s decision in Gangwon Province appears to be at odds with the growing nationwide awareness of the need to meet the demands of Muslim tourists.


Cover image: A rendering of KTO’s once-planned Muslim prayer room (Source: KTO)

Source

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Final communiqué of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress (Full Text)

    Tuesday, January 30, 2018   No comments
[Rough draft, unofficial translation]

We, the participants in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, representatives of all segments of Syrian society, its political and civil forces, and its ethnic, religious and social groups. We met at the invitation of the friendly Russian Federation in Sochi, with the aim of putting an
end to seven years of suffering. The need to save the country from armed confrontation, social and economic devastation, restore its prestige on the regional and international arenas, and provide basic rights and freedoms for all its citizens, foremost of which is the right to a safe and free life without violence and terrorism. With the objective of political settlement of the challenges facing our country, based on the following principles:






Friday, January 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia has committed numerous violations of international humanitarian law

    Friday, January 19, 2018   No comments
Saudi Arabia has committed numerous violations of international humanitarian law some of which may amount to war crimes, killing nearly 1,000 civilians and hitting homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and mosques. The coalition carried out six apparently unlawful airstrikes in Yemen between June and September 2017, that killed 33 children among 55 civilian deaths. Human Rights Watch also documented how the Saudi-led coalition repeatedly attacked civilian factories, warehouses, and other protected sites in violation of the laws of war.

Domestically, Saudi authorities continued their arbitrary arrests, trials, and convictions of peaceful dissidents.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Fake images in #IranProtests: Iran's karate woman and the boy who's still alive, Bahrain protesters in Tehran, etc

    Thursday, January 04, 2018   No comments

Since December 28, 2017, a wave of protests has swept Iran. Citizens have broadcast dozens of videos online showing the demonstrations and the resulting police crackdown. As ever in these kinds of situations, there have also been many fake photos and videos circulating, not only on social media but also mistakenly shared by journalists and in mainstream media across the world. The FRANCE 24 Observers team has done a round-up of some of the most widely shared fake images around the Iranian uprising.

    Original article >>



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