Monday, July 25, 2011

Top Stories July 25, 2011

ArabNew (Saudi Arabia):  King orders best service for pilgrims in Ramadan - Government will be operating at its best for the pilgrimage.  Also other news about food aid to Somalia, etc.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Sleiman endorses civil personal status laws - Sleiman wants to legalize civil marriages, as well as issues on adoption and inheritance.

Haaretz (Israel):  Some 200 housing protestors block road opposite Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem - Looks like everybody is upset in Israel over housing prices, etc.

Turkish Daily News:  Turkish court sentences Dink murderer to over 22 years in prison - Hrant Dink was a journalist assassinated in 2007.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Top Stories July 18, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Government forces try to retake Yemeni city - They're trying to retake Zinjibar, which is the capital of Abyan province.  The government lost the city in May.  Over 50,000 people have fled the region because of fighting.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Sleiman seeks Lebanese reconciliation - The president of Lebanon wants a national dialogue.

Haaretz (Israel):  Erekat: PA planning 'massive' diplomatic push for recognition - The push has started, with officials visiting nations all over the world.

Turkish Daily News:  US supports Turkey while urging reforms -  US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited, and discussed freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

More Islamophobia in America

Most of you probably haven't heard of Herman Cain.  He's a republican, and a black man, who is running for President of the USA.  And the more I find out about him, the less I like him.  Now he's saying that communities in the US should be able to ban mosques if they want to.  He claims it's because Islam is not just a religion, but a set of laws as well.  Although, so is Christianity and Judaism.  He claims it's different in Christianity.  However, since there are Orthodox Jews in this country, would he be alright with communities banning synagogues?  Or is that different too?  Is it only Islam that qualifies?  What about Pentecostal Christians?  They have different rules they follow too, like women wearing skirts and not cutting their hair.  Does that qualify for banning?  Who gets to decide what gets banned?

This kind of bullshit really ticks me off.  Yes, there are terrorists out there.  Yes, some of them are Muslim.  Banning mosques gives the terrorists even more fodder - "Look at the Americans - they hate Islam, they ban mosques, yadda yadda yadda." 

If we're going to ban mosques because some Muslims are terrorists, then why don't we allow communities to ban churches, because some Christians are terrorists?  There are extreme Christians who bomb abortion clinics and kill doctors who perform abortions.  Or is that not true Christianity?  The same way terrorism is not true Islam.

There's a reason we have Freedom of Religion in America.  That way no one gets to choose who to ban.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Turkey Helps Kids Stay Healthy

I'm in the United States, and sometimes I watch a show called Food Revolution (by Jamie Oliver).  He's a British chef who is trying to improve children's lunch menus at schools.  He's already done that in the UK, and now he's trying it in the US.  People from outside of the US probably won't believe what often passes for food in school cafeterias here!

Anyway, the Turkish government wants to stop childhood obesity, so they are making it illegal to sell sodas, fast food, and potato chips at schools.  They'll sell yogurt instead.  They also have new menus.  I think that's great!

Top Stories July 11, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Unholy price rise before holy month hits consumers hard - Consumers in Jeddah are complaining that prices have risen 20 to 30% and that it happens every year around this time (before Ramadan).

Lebanon Daily Star:  Lebanon to fight Israel at U.N. - This has to do with offshore oil rights for both countries.  They have both submitted plans to the UN.

Haaretz (Israel):  Katsav's private investigators suspected of harassing witnesses in his rape trial - This former president was convicted of rape and sexual assault in December.

Turkish Daily News:  Former head of Turkey's TV watchdog arrested - He and several TV executives are accused of embezzling money from a German charity and using it to buy a TV station.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Anti-Muslim Law in Australia

Anti-Muslim prejudice is on the move again, this time to Australia.  The state of New South Wales wants to pass a law requiring a Muslim woman to show her face to police, when requested.  If she doesn't, there's a $5,500 fine (AUD) and a year in jail.

Great.  So much for religious freedom in Australia.  This is the same old tune that other countries have used:  "it's for security" or "it's because women are forced to wear a veil."  There are very few woman in Australia who wear a niqab or other face covering, and while some of those may be forced, it wouldn't surprise me if most of them were not.  And if you are wearing a niqab for religious reasons, then showing your face to some random policeman is going to be very distressing.  To use an analogy, how would you feel if a policeman pulled your wife over for speeding, then asked her to take off her blouse.  I know some of you think that's a bad analogy (it has some faults) but for some Muslim women I've met, the idea of letting a man see their face is about on par with that.  And who are we to force them to act differently?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top Stories July 4, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Turkey recognizes Libya rebels, promises more aid - Turkey has recognized the rebels and wants to help them.

Lebanon Daily Star:  March 14 to Mikati: Commit to STL or go - The STL is the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a UN council investigating Rafik Hariri's assassination.  March 14 is the opposition members of parliament now, since Mikati became PM with Hizbollah's majority.

Haaretz (Israel):  Saboteurs blow up Egypt gas pipeline to Israel - Israel gets most of its natural gas from this pipeline, which runs through the Sinai Peninsula.

Turkish Daily News:  US Senators deliver message to PM Erdogan: 'Turkey can convince Hamas to reconcile' - The senators hope that Turkey can get Hamas to join peace talks with the Israelis.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain) - Probe Vow - An "independent fact-finding mission" is supposed to investigate the protests and unrest that occurred earlier this year.  The commission was appointed by the king, and the PM wants everyone to cooperate.  The National Dialogue started on Saturday.