Current Events

Anger Rages In The Mideast

The BBC wrote on September 15:

“More than three years ago, President Barack Obama famously told a Cairo audience that ‘we meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world’.

“His speech, titled A New Beginning, sought to transcend the acrimony of the Bush era.

“This week, as violent protests rage across the Middle East and beyond, the president might ask himself: What went wrong?

“The truth is that there is no single explanation.

“One answer is that last year’s wave of political uprisings, the so-called Arab Spring, is responsible.

“After all, protests began in Egypt, which last year became the most populous Arab democracy, and spread to Libya, which became the largest by area.

“The Arab Spring did indeed invigorate a range of Islamist movements and weakened the law enforcement capabilities of the affected states…

USA Today wrote on September 17:

“Hundreds of Afghans burned cars and threw rocks at a U.S. military base as a demonstration against an anti-Islam film that ridicules the Prophet Mohammed turned violent in the Afghan capital early Monday.

“And in Jakarta, Indonesians angered over the film clashed with police outside the U.S. Embassy, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails and burning tires outside the mission. At least one police officer was seen bleeding from the head and being carried to safety by fellow officers.

“The low-budget film, privately produced in the United States, portrays Mohammed as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester. It sparked violent protests in many Muslim countries in recent days, many of them outside U.S. diplomatic posts around the world.

“The U.S. Ambassador to Libya was killed during an attack on the consulate in Benghazi last week; protesters have also stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tunis and held violent demonstrations outside posts in Egypt and Sudan. The U.S. has responded by deploying additional military forces to increase security in certain hotspots”

France Takes Precautions

The Wall Street Journal wrote on September 19:

“France will close embassies and French schools in 20 countries on Friday, its Foreign Ministry said, amid fears of a backlash after a French magazine published a series of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

“French authorities said they feared the cartoons published Wednesday in satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo could cause more outrage in the Muslim world, days after a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad helped to fuel violent protests at U.S. and other Western embassies in several Muslim countries.

“Paris’s move to pre-emptively close its embassies highlights how Western governments are grappling to respond to a wave of protests whose flash points lie largely out of their control.

“The French government said that although freedom of speech rules applied in France, the magazine’s publication of the cartoons was ill-timed. ‘It is dangerous, even irresponsible, when we know the general climate, to pour oil on fire,’ Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters in Paris on Wednesday…

“Charlie Hebdo defended its decision to publish the prophet cartoons. ‘If we start to wonder whether we have the right to draw Muhammad or not, or if it is dangerous to do it, we will have to start to wonder whether we can draw Muslims or human beings in the paper,’ the weekly magazine’s editor in chief, known only as Charb, told French radio RTL. ‘Eventually, we won’t be drawing anything, and a bunch of extremists in the world and in France will have won.'”

Global Ban on Insults to Islam? reported on September 17:

“Six months after declaring that all churches in the Arabian peninsula should be destroyed, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric called at the weekend for a global ban on insults targeting all religious ‘prophets and messengers,’ a category that, from a Muslim perspective, includes Jesus Christ.
“Saturday’s demand by Saudi grand mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh came on the same day that another of Sunni Islam’s most prominent figures, Egypt’s Al-Azhar University grand imam Ahmed el-Tayyeb, made a similar appeal.
“Both men were reacting to an amateur video satirizing Mohammed, whose emergence on the Internet has been blamed for protests targeting American diplomatic missions across the Islamic world. According to wire services at least 12 deaths have been linked to the protests since Thursday, with deaths reported in Tunisia, Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen, Lebanon and Egypt.
“The two clerics’ calls are a new salvo in an unremitting campaign by Islamic political and religious leaders, spearheaded by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to pressure non-Muslims to treat Islam with deference.
“In a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Asheikh ‘appealed to all countries and international organizations to criminalize acts ridiculing all prophets and messengers (peace be upon them).’”

Germany Rejects Rollover to Extremists!

On September 18 Spiegel Online International wrote:

“Germany is considering forbidding a far-right party from publicly screening the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” in Berlin in November. But editorialists in the country say a ban would be wrong because it would play into the hands of extremists on all sides.

“The German far-right party Pro Deutschland has said it plans a public screening of the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” in November, prompting fears that the event could trigger violence in Germany.

“The issue has prompted a heated debate in the country, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday the film should not be shown if it endangered public safety. “I can imagine that there are good reasons for this,” she said, adding that a ban on the public screening was currently being considered.

“Religious blasphemy was a crime in Germany until 1969, when the law was changed. At present, acts of blasphemy are only deemed criminal if they could disrupt public peace.

“On Tuesday, most German media commentators said that even though the 14-minute film is disgusting rubbish, its screening should not be prohibited because it would breach the right to freedom of expression.”

Influential writers in Germany are mirroring the dominant attitude of their countrymen–it is time to quit giving in to extremist Islamists. More and more, Germany is creating a leadership that will solidify Europe’s role in the world.

China Protests Target Japanese

Reuters wrote on September 15:

“Hundreds of people protested in front of the Japanese embassy in Beijing on Saturday, throwing objects at the building as police struggled to keep control, amid growing tensions between Asia’s two biggest economies over a group of disputed islands.

“On Tuesday, Japan brushed off stern warnings from China and said it had bought the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, from a private Japanese owner.”

Voice of America reported on September 16:

“As tensions between China and Japan escalate, anti-Japanese protests have spread to Hong Kong.  Pro-democracy activists in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory are taking a surprising lead in the pan-Chinese nationalism movement.
 “An estimated 5,000 demonstrators marched on the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong Sunday.  The demonstration occurred in the build-up to the anniversary this week of the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria.
“Tokyo enflamed Chinese emotions last week by purchasing contested islands, known as the Diaoyu in China, the Senkaku in Japan, from their private Japanese owners.”

The Christian Science Monitor wrote on September 17:

“Hundreds of Japanese businesses and the country’s embassy suspended services in China on Tuesday, expecting further escalation in violent protests over a territorial dispute between Asia’s two biggest economies.

“China’s worst outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in decades led to protests and attacks on Japanese companies such as car makers Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co, forcing them to halt operations and prompting Chinese state media to warn that trade relations could deteriorate.

“More protests continued across China on Tuesday, which marks the anniversary of Japan’s 1931 occupation of parts of mainland China.”

Chicago Teachers Strike

Reported September 15 by Reuters:

“Thousands of striking Chicago teachers will march again on Saturday to keep the pressure on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to wrap up an agreement with their union so they can end a strike that has closed the nation’s third largest school district for a week.

“The ‘Standing Strong with Chicago Teachers Rally’ could be the largest demonstration against Emanuel’s education reforms since the strike began in Chicago on September 10.

“Labor union supporters from neighboring states are expected to converge on Chicago to join many of the 29,000 union teachers and support staff in the march…

“Emanuel angered the Chicago teachers by trying to ram through proposals to radically reform teacher performance evaluations and weaken job protection for teachers whose schools are closed or perform poorly academically.”

While this strike has reached a settlement, the underlying troubles between groups of special interests within the U.S. remain a matter for real concern.

Anti-Putin Protest

Reuters wrote on September 9:

“Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through Moscow under streaming banners, flags and balloons on Saturday to demand an end to President Vladimir Putin’s long rule and to breathe life into their protest movement.

“Protesters chanted “Russia without Putin!” as they marched through central Moscow in the first big rally since June.

“Witnesses said opposition leaders appeared to have achieved their goal of attracting at least 50,000 people, enough to maintain the momentum of their movement but almost certainly too few to increase alarm in the Kremlin.

“The protest underlined anger over what liberal Russians see as tough measures to smother the opposition since Putin began another six years in the Kremlin in May, but protests have not taken off outside big cities and the opposition is not united.”

Radical Overhaul for Europe?

On September 18 The Guardian wrote:

“Five of the six biggest countries in the EU, excluding Britain, have called for a radical overhaul of European foreign and defence policies to create a powerful new pan-European foreign ministry, majority voting on common foreign policies to bypass a British veto, a possible European army, and a single market for EU defence industries.

“The German-led push, supported by 11 of 27 EU countries, embraces recent calls in Berlin and Brussels for a directly elected European president, sweeping new powers for the European parliament, and further splitting of the EU by creating a new parliamentary sub-chamber for the 17 countries of the eurozone.

“While the call for a European army was not supported by all 11, the document also calls for a new European police organisation to guard the union’s external borders and for a single European visa.

“Nine months of brainstorming over the future of Europe by the foreign ministers of the 11 countries, launched by Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, has resulted in a 12-page document crammed with policy recommendations. It will prove hugely contentious and, if implemented, will increase the pressure on Britain to quit the EU…

“The backers include Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland, five of the six biggest EU countries omitting Britain. The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Portugal and Luxembourg also signed up.”

European Integration–Unstoppable!

Spiegel Online reported on September 12:

“The ruling on Wednesday by the Federal Constitutional Court on the euro bailout fund makes one thing very clear: The Karlsruhe-based institution will not stop European integration because it can’t. The justices have created expectations among the people that they are no longer able to fulfill.

“Never before has there been this much drama at Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court. One of the longest-serving police guards working there confided to a radio reporter that there has never been anything like this at the highest court in the land. The scene was thronged with journalists, satellite dishes, broadcast vans, cables and floodlights: The entire world had its eyes turned to this courthouse, a converted barrack on the edge of this western German city. All the fanfare was directed at one highly anticipated event: Eight judges, three of them professors, were about to publicly declare whether they intended to block efforts to resolve the euro debt crisis.

“So, what happened? Just what everyone expected: The European Union will not be stopped in its tracks. Germany can now ratify the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the permanent euro bailout fund, and the fiscal pact aimed at bringing economic governance to countries in the euro zone — albeit with a few conditions. What’s more, court President Andreas Vosskuhle repeated his usual warning that euro bailout packages cannot come at the cost of a loss of power for the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament. Everyone has now relaxed, and even the German DAX index of blue chip companies is climbing.”

Papal Influence in Lebanon

The Daily Star wrote on September 16;

“During his three-day visit, which comes 15 years after the landmark visit of the late Pope John Paul II, the head of the Roman Catholic Church called for interfaith dialogue as a means to bring peace to the region.
“In a Sunday morning Mass attended by an estimated 350,000 people at the Beirut Water Front City, the pope urged the Arab countries and the world to propose solutions to end the conflict in Syria.
“’Let us ask her [Virgin Mary] to intercede with her divine son for you [Lebanon] and, more particularly, for the people of Syria and the neighboring countries, imploring the gift of peace,’ the pope said at the end of the Mass.
“’You know the problems that beset the region. There is a tremendous amount of pain … Why so much death? I call on the international community and Arab countries to propose solutions which respect human rights,’ he added.
“Sleiman, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Najib Mikati as well as MPs and Cabinet ministers attended the Mass. Other politicians in attendance included Future Movement MP Bahia Hariri and several Hezbollah deputies.
“During his visit, the Holy See met with various Christian and Muslim figures including Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani who delivered a letter to the pope and said Saturday that ‘any attack on Christians is in an attack on Muslims.’
“The pope, who said he represented a ‘pilgrim of peace’ during his stay in Lebanon, urged Christians in the country and the Middle East not to abandon their land.
“In a gathering Saturday with Arab and Lebanese youth at Bkirki, the seat of the Maronite Patriarchate, the pope said he was moved by the courage of Syrian youth and said he was saddened by the hardships of the people there.
“He reiterated his praise of Lebanon’s ‘beautiful coexistence’ and urged Muslim youths to work with their fellow Christians.
“During the ceremony, Benedict urged Christians not to abandon their land because of an ‘uncertain future.’
“’Unemployment and dangers should not force you to migrate for an uncertain future. Act as the makers of your country’s future and play your role in society and the Church,’ he said.
“The Holy See signed the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East Friday in a ceremony at Saint Paul Basilica in Harissa, north of Beirut, where he urged Christians not to be afraid but brave difficulties facing them in the region.”

Pope Benedict XVI’s acceptance in the Mideast country of Lebanon is remarkable in light of the raging anger that has emerged among extremist Moslems in the region. Biblical prophecy indicates that Rome will continue to attempt to influence matters in this part of the world–especially in Jerusalem and the land of Israel.

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