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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Geert Wilders

Telegraph

Geert Wilders, a popular anti-Islamic politician, went on trial in Amsterdam on Wednesday, charged with inciting hatred against Muslims in a case seen as a test of Dutch tolerance and free speech.

Mr Wilders sparked outrage with his 2008 film “Fitna”, which compared Islam to Nazism, and his repeated calls for the Koran to be banned on the same basis as Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

His Freedom Party is leading the opinion polls in the Netherlands and came second in European elections last June.

“I remain combative and still convinced that this political process will only lead to an acquittal,” said Mr Wilders.

“It is surreal that I sit in a courtroom, in a criminal court. I never had any idea this would happen.”

Outside the court, dominated on the first day by procedural issues and wrangling, up to 300 protesters chanted slogans such as “Do not silence Geert” and “We are all on trial”.

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Obama Musical

Telegraph

A musical about Barack Obama’s “Yes we can” election campaign premieres in Germany this weekend, including love songs by the president to his wife Michelle and duets with Hillary Clinton.

Even John McCain and Sarah Palin are given stage time, with actors portraying the losing Republican candidates belting out songs on their behalf.

In all, 30 singers, actors and dancers are to perform in the musical “Hope – the Obama Musical Story” when it opens at the Jahrhunderthalle concert hall in Frankfurt in a bilingual mix of English and German. The audience may recognise that many songs quote from the politicians’ stump speeches during the 2008 US presidential campaign.

The venue for the premier seems appropriate since the optimism of Obamania remains largely intact in Germany, about a year after Mr Obama, an accomplished public speaker, became America’s first black president.

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Sarah Palin

NewsYahoo

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, will return to her broadcast roots and take her conservative message to Fox News as a regular commentator, the cable channel announced Monday.

“I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News,” Palin said in a statement posted on the network’s Web site. “It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news.”

Fox said that according to the multiyear deal, Palin will offer political commentary and analysis on the cable channel, as well as Fox’s Web site, radio network and business cable channel.

She also will host occasional episodes of Fox News’ “Real American Stories,” a series debuting this year that the network said will feature true inspirational stories about Americans who have overcome adversity.

“Governor Palin has captivated everyone on both sides of the political spectrum and we are excited to add her dynamic voice to the FOX News lineup,” Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming, said in a statement.

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Obama

NYT
Published: October 9, 2009

PARIS — The choice of Barack Obaman on Friday as the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, less than nine months into his eventful presidency, was an unexpected honor that elicited praise and puzzlement around the globe.

Normally the prize has been presented, even controversially, for accomplishment. This prize, to a 48-year-old freshman president, for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” seemed a kind of prayer and encouragement by the Nobel committee for future endeavor and more consensual American leadership.

But the prize quickly loomed as a potential political liability — perhaps more burden than glory — for Mr. Obama. Republicans contended that he had won more for his star power and oratorical skills than for his actual achievements, and even some Democrats privately questioned whether he deserved it.

The Nobel committee’s embrace of Mr. Obama was viewed as a rejection of the unpopular tenure, in Europe especially, of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

But the committee, based in Norway, stressed that it made its decision based on Mr. Obama’s actual efforts toward nuclear disarmament as well as American engagement with the world relying more on diplomacy and dialogue. (more…)

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First Night, Capitalism: A Love Story, Venice Film Festival
By Geoffrey MacNab
Monday, 7 September 2009

Michael Moore’s brand of populist polemics had more of a sense of burning urgency during the Bush era than it does now. His new film tub-thumps against the evils of corporate capitalism in America. It’s a message we’ve all heard before in the wake of the economic collapse, the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the bank bailouts.

However, he delivers it in such rousing and entertaining fashion that he carries us with him. This may be a documentary but it has the same uplifting, folksy feel as old Frank Capra movies of the 1930s in which an American everyman (James Stewart or Gary Cooper) would take on the big, bad world of Washington or Wall Street.

The film opens by comparing the contemporary US to the Roman Empire in its terminal days of decline. Reality TV and wrestling, Moore argues, are the new equivalent to the “bread and circuses” during the time of the Caesars.

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http://www.linktv.org/onenation

Contest Overview

Does your physician wear a head scarf because of religious beliefs? How does an American teenager who practices Islam juggle hectic teen life with religious respect? Are you an American Muslim who has a close friend who is not, or are you a non-Muslim with friends who practice Islam? What can you learn from each other?
We’re offering a $20,000 Grand Prize for the best new and creative short video that reflects the American Muslim experience. Everyone in the U.S. is invited to compete, regardless of race or religion, so grab a camera, pick an assignment, read our online tips, and get filming.

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WASHINGTON, DC – Amid disturbing revelations that the verdicts of Islamic Sharia courts are now legally binding in civil cases in the United Kingdom, U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Littleton) moved quickly today to introduce legislation designed to protect the United States from a similar fate.

According to recent news reports, a new network of Sharia courts in a half-dozen major cities in the U.K. have been empowered under British law to adjudicate a wide variety of legal cases ranging from divorces and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

“This is a case where truth is truly stranger than fiction,” said Tancredo. “Today the British people are learning a hard lesson about the consequences of massive, unrestricted immigration.”

Sharia law, favored by Muslim extremists around the world, often calls for brutal punishment – such as the stoning of women who are accused of adultery or have children out of wedlock, cutting off the hands of petty thieves and lashings for the casual consumption of alcohol. Under Sharia law, a woman is often required to provide numerous witnesses to prove rape allegations against an assailant – a near impossible task.

“When you have an immigration policy that allows for the importation of millions of radical Muslims, you are also importing their radical ideology – an ideology that is fundamentally hostile to the foundations of western democracy – such as gender equality, pluralism, and individual liberty,” said Tancredo. “The best way to safeguard America against the importation of the destructive effects of this poisonous ideology is to prevent its purveyors from coming here in the first place.”

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COLOGNE, Germany (AFP) — German police said tens of thousands of Cologne residents took to the streets Saturday in protest at an “anti-Islamisation” conference of European far-right leaders.

Carrying banners saying: “We are Cologne — Get rid of the Nazis!,” protesters gathered outside the city’s cathedral to demonstrate against the congress organised by the local far-right group Pro-Koeln (For Cologne).

Pro-Koeln began two days of seminars Friday during which speakers denounced an influx of Muslims to Germany and the construction of one of Europe’s largest mosques in the city.

Earlier Saturday, police banned a rally organised by far-right adherents in Cologne just as it was about to begin, following clashes with thousands of opponents.

Some 3,000 police, drafted in to control the protests and seal off part of the old city, used truncheons and water hoses to fend off violent “anti-fascist” leftist activists.

“It is a dictatorship!” said a Pro-Koeln member of the decision to ban the far-right rally.

Andreas Molzer, a member of the European Parliament and an Austrian far-right group who attended the congress, called the ban an “anti-democratic scandal.”

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Seattle Times religion reporter

The ads are simple and stark.

Running on the sides of several Metro buses, they merely say: “Q: Islam. A: You deserve to know,” with a phone number and Web site.

For Bilal Aijazi, a Bellevue software developer, the ads are meant to stir conversation and steer people toward information on Islam.

As a Muslim, Aijazi sometimes fields questions about his faith. Especially during Ramadan, which began about two weeks ago, people ask Aijazi why Muslims fast during this Islamic holy month.

Then there are the questions he gets other times of the year: Why some women wear head scarves; whether Muslims condone terrorism.

“We feel often Muslims don’t have a voice,” said Aijazi, one of about six people who helped coordinate the local effort to get the ads onto the outside of six Metro buses and the inside of about 25. About 10 local Muslims contributed to the nearly $5,000 campaign.

“This is just a way to present the community with a source of information about Islam that comes from Muslims themselves,” he said.

The ads, scheduled to run until November, were designed by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and direct people to a toll-free number and Web site sponsored by the group. ICNA is a New York-based nonprofit that seeks to educate people about Islam and has 22 U.S. chapters in the U.S.

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By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:55AM BST 16 Sep 2008

Five sharia courts have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester and Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The government has quietly sanctioned that their rulings are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court. Previously, the rulings were not binding and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

Lawyers have issued grave warnings about the dangers of a dual legal system and the disclosure drew criticism from Opposition leaders.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said: “If it is true that these tribunals are passing binding decisions in the areas of family and criminal law, I would like to know which courts are enforcing them because I would consider such action unlawful. British law is absolute and must remain so.”

Douglas Murray, the director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, added: “I think it’s appalling. I don’t think arbitration that is done by sharia should ever be endorsed or enforced by the British state.”

Muslim tribunal courts started passing sharia judgments in August 2007. They have dealt with more than 100 cases that range from Muslim divorce and inheritance to nuisance neighbours.

It has also emerged that tribunal courts have settled six cases of domestic violence between married couples, working in tandem with the police investigations.

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