Morocco: the new Constitution is not as good as it may seem

The new constitution “supports the human rights in all aspects, including a fair trial, no torture, no detention, no disappearance, and we need to guarantee the freedom of expression,” he said. The new constitution will also guarantee “freedom of religious worship.”

Foreign residents currently enjoy freedom of worship. Moroccan Christians, while not denied freedom of worship, “reportedly do not meet regularly due to fear of government surveillance and social persecution,” according to a US State Department report.

Yes, it guarantees freedom of religious worship, but not freedom of conscience: that is, if you are a Muslim, you won’t be able to change your religion.

But there is more: speaking about this constitution, the leader of the main opposition party (Islamist Justice and Development Party), said that:

“Morocco is a Muslim country whose state religion is Islam, and do not touch these fundamental principles. In Morocco, the freedom of worship is now guaranteed to Christians, Jews …, but not the freedom of conscience. A Muslim can not change his religion or even leave his practice in public, as happened last year when a handful of young men wanted to break the fast in a park in Mohammedia.

He also spoke about gays:

“We risk [with the new Constitution] to see people who publicly declare they are a sexual deviant,” was outraged. “The PJD reject this situation. Those who Fall in these sows should be hidden,” he said.

Venezuela: Chávez Seeks to Censor Internet

Hugo Chávez is tired of your pokes, tweets and comments. If he has his way, a bill making its way through Parliament that includes restrictions on social media giants, will become law.

…The wording of the bill that would censor social networks calls for protecting citizens “moral and ethical honor”. As such, it would also control adult programming. It proposes applying limits on content in “electronic media” according to the time of day and would call on internet service providers to establish mechanisms to restrict nefarious adult content.

The bill comes at a time of turmoil for Venezuelan legislators as Chávez is once again seeking decree powers that would grant him special powers to enact laws as he sees fit.

via No More Pokes? Chávez Seeks to Censor Facebook, Twitter – Fox News Latino.

Some Venezuelans have protested outside the National Assembly.

Chávez has said the powers could extend up to 18 months. “The text of the law allows him to issue decrees across a wide range of areas including housing, land, finances and security“.


Nobel Awards: Liu Xiaobo’s day

Liu Xiaobo with his wife.

This year, the lovers of freedom have enjoyed the selection made by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The image of the kind China they tried to paint during the Beijing Olympics is now far away. Today the real China is portrayed to the world for not releasing Liu and for preventively arrestng the relatives, friends and associates of the awarded dissident. The economic fate of China has changed thanks to free market forces. But that doesn’t mean at all that the  Chinese leadership will allow a real political reform. At this time of global financial crisis, we can not forget that many governments have ignored their own volition and the deplorable human rights situation in the last Communist empire, thinking more than anything that China buys their debt and that that money can pay for their own domestic financial excesses. But in a fit of human decency, the Free World will celebrate Liu’s Award.

A Chinese proverb says: “One generation plants the trees, but another is enjoying the shade.” People like Liu Xiaobo are planting the trees. It may take more or less time, but future generations will definitely enjoy the shade.

El día de Liu Xiaobo | The Americano.

Venezuela: Chávez buys 20% of Globovisión and announces an Internet regulation

Hugo Chávez

The Venezuelan State has just “bought” 20% of Globovisión, although that would not change (for now) its political positioning, as the majority stakeholder will continue to be Guillermo Zuloaga. Globovisión is the only independent TV station, after the Government shut down RCTV.

The Venezuelan Government is also going to impose its “revolution” on Internet. As Venezuelan blogger Martha Colmenares writes, the Government wants to impose its hegemony in the media, and that includes Internet. So they have sent to the National Assembly a draft of amendment to the Law on Social Responsbility in Radio and RV to regulate “the Internet and reform aspects of the Law concerning the media in general“. It will be presented next week in the plenary sessions.

The amendment refers to all digital media, including websites and blogs, and the use of social networks such as Twitter or Facebook. As a result, all the messages that don’t support Hugo Chávez, that are against Hugo Chávez even occasionally or that show Venezuelan reality, will be affected by the new law. “This is just pure censorship“. And of course, the dissidents won’t go unpunished.

Spain: "Extremist" imams’ ideology blamed on "disorganized Islam", according to El País

We can say I worked as shepherd,” he smiles. “I was in charge of a herd of goats in northern Morocco.” Until he crossed the Straits and settled in the province of Tarragona. Unemployed, handicapped by the lack of training and a chronic disease for many years improvised direction of prayers in several mosques in the vicinity of Valls and Torredembarra. Rachid H. worked as an imam. “Not really, but I know Islam better than others“, said after admitting that no studies that Muslim countries call for the task.

What kind of prayers were performed by this improvised imam? “I talked about everything: the relationship between men and women, life’s problems,” he says. Witnesses say those prayers castigated women and young Muslims who were related to people outside this belief. Rachid denies without elaborating. But at home, he stores magazines, recordings and videos that shed some clue to his speeches. The material supports that an adulterous wife should be punished with death and supports other repressive behaviors on the role of women relative to men, according to the report of the register details of the property conducted by the Autonomous Police in 2009. Rachid, who asked not to reveal his name for his legal situation, only occasionally leads prayers, due to his poor state of health and also because he is on probation after being charged with promoting violence linked to radical Salafism, Islam’s ultra-conservative current.

I don’t care about his health. If he is Moroccan, he should have been expelled after learning about his sermons.

Rachid’s sexist diatribes and repressive tone are common elements between the improvised imams. They are people without religious training that have emerged as leaders of the prayers of their communities, generally in the most precarious and isolated from major urban centers and without the means to hire a minimally trained imam.

Abu Omar Hussein

As Abu Omar Hussein, the president of the Muslim community in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) (he said that “forbidding the hijab is a crime“, last April), who, in an interview with this newspaper goes on to say that killing by stoning an adulteress is fair and in line with Islam and that the ultimate goal is to defend children, stigmatized if they are born out of wedlock. He reflects on this: “God wants you to be clean. Stoning has an objective: that no adulterer has sons. He (will give birth to) a child without a father, with hatred, (as) he has no rights (sic). Islam does not want many children of adulterers in the world.

For that reason, Omar Hussein, referring to the Iranian Sakineh Ashtiani, sentenced to death, should be stoned: “That woman and her lover killed her husband. They should kill that woman one by one, man for man (…) Islam respects human rights and women. Islam does not attack a very clean woman. “

The imam of Alcalá believes that in Europe sexual promiscuity is promoted: “Changing partners is offered. Is this is civilization? Six people make love in the same bed, without shame. It allows two women or two men marry . The nude beaches … If Jesus son of Mary, arrived today would be ashamed. “

Another one who is in the same situation: he is Egyptian, so if he doesn’t like Spain, he can go back there or be expelled, because he clearly isn’t integrated in Spanish society.

What he considers as “sexual promiscuity”, means only that people are free to take decisions about their life. No one is obliged to marry another human being of their own sex, no one is obliged to go around naked on beaches and also no one is obliged to change partners. But if someone wants to do it, he can. That’s not “promoting sexual promiscuity“, that’s just freedom to choose. And there are also people who are not the least “promiscuous“, because that’s their choice, and not because some barbaric imam tells them that they should be stoned if they are. But this guy doesn’t know about this other people, because they aren’t on TV 24/7 and they give no scandals.

Illegitimate” childs don’t exist, either. They have the same rights as the children from married couples. So no hatred and no tales to support stoning.

These are examples of the improvisation with which Islam has been installed in Spain: there are no rules, standards or criteria in relation to ministers of religion to Islam. They are not properly Islamic radicals (sic): mixed religion with repressive traditions imported from their country of origin and spread as sacred mandates. This enables that cases such as the Cunit’s imam, who is awaiting trial and sentence for coercing and threatening a Muslim because she lived a Western lifestyle, that generate social alarm against Islam and demonize the figure of the imams inside Spanish society. In Cunit, the imam is actually a worker who lost his job after suffering a leg injury and went on to lead the prayer of his group even though he only knows the Koran by heart, by his own account.

You see: for El País, someone who is supporting stoning in the name of religion is not “properly an Islamic radical“.

However, experts warn that it’s greater the risk of social exclusion that a hypothetical terrorist threat. What messages are disseminated by imams without proper training and considered radical? “If a Muslim is mixed with a Western, if only to shake hands, is contaminated by their sins.” “Women can not leave home except to attend the funeral of the husband.” “Children should learn the Koran and you must not associate with other children are not Muslims.” “The West is against Islam, would pervert and threatens us because we are noble.” These are excerpts from the prayers that magnets on Fridays, according to some followers of the mosques in the area of Reus and Tarragona. After being consulted on these statements, the imams who led the prayers have categorically denied.

Riad Tatary

The possibility that any imam can lead prayers is a problem but controversial cases are exceptional,” defends Riad Tatary (born in Syria although now he’s a Spanish national), secretary general of the representative body of Islam with the Government since 1992, the Islamic Commission of Spain (CIE). “But the media generalize these cases and have created a very dangerous Islamophobia” he notes. Controversial cases are, in effect, a minority among the thousand imams is estimated that lead prayers in Spain. “But they can’t be considered as exceptions from the rule because no one has set this standard. The Islamic Commission should impose criteria to control who can and who can not exercise as imam. For their own good: untrained imams are the ones who spread the most radical and dangerous messages, “argues Jordi Moreres, sociologist expert in Islam. But they aren’t so exceptional, according to other experts. After 15 years living in Spain, I have not seen in the whole country, a single valid imam,” says Hesham El Sadr, founder of the Islamic Cultural Association Attawwhid.

The indefinite figure of the imam is the main obstacle to the normalization of Islam in Spain: 1.3 million people follow this belief in the country and it is not immigrants only but a growing majority has or is in the process of achieving Spanish nationality.

Abdelwahab Houzi

Nevertheless, anyone able to convince their fellow Muslims, can be constructed into an imam, whether he is liberal-leaning, conservative or just a visionary. It is a reality that has taken root among the Muslim communities in impoverished areas, with virtually illiterate immigrants who barely know the language, laws or Spanish customs. This cocktail caused cases of imams that encourage isolation and rejection of Western people or situations such as Lleida’s imam, Abdelwahab Houzi, monitored by the National Intelligence Center as one of the most dangerous because of his radicalism and that according to several faithful advocates polygamy in his prayers, a tradition alien to Islam (sic). Others promote criticism and attacks on Western values that lead to suspicion of terrorism.

Polygamy is a tradition alien to Islam? In what world?

And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course.

Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire: But turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air). If ye come to a friendly understanding, and practise self-restraint, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Verses 3 and 129 from Sura An-Nissa, Women).

Those two verses state that:
1. Polygamy is allowed.
2. It’s limited to four wifes.

The article ends:

It’s possible that extremist imams living in Spain are spreading this type of message, as an attempt to assert the traditions of their country of origin. We need time and quiet to contact them and make them understand,” claims Tatary. ICE, on paper, is the referee that should regulate and account for the activity of the imams, and it’s engaged in a reform to settle the current crisis of representation that encourages lawlessness. There are a thousand of Muslim communities in Spain, about 800 of them registered. More than 400 are not represented in this body.

It’s possible…“. It seems Mr. Tatari doesn’t believe that these cases really exist. And no, these extremist imams are not waiting for Tatari and friends to reform anything, they are spreading this message now.


Denmark: FM denies apologizing for Mohammed cartoons

Denmark denies apologizing for Mohammad cartoons | Top News | Reuters:

Denmark’s foreign minister denied Thursday that she had apologized on a Middle East trip for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, initially published by a Danish newspaper in 2005, that angered many Muslims.

Middle East media, including the English-language Egyptian Gazette and Arabic television network Al-Arabiya, said Lene Espersen had apologized for the cartoons during her visit to Cairo Wednesday.

But Espersen said on Danish TV 2 News Thursday she had not issued any apology for the drawings.

I can clearly deny that I have given an apology,” Espersen said. “But I can confirm that I have said that freedom of expression is not so extensive that it would not have any limits.”

…The Egyptian Gazette cited Egypt’s Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb as saying that Espersen “renewed her country’s apology for the publication of these cartoons and pointed out Denmark’s efforts to issue a law criminalizing contempt of religions.”

Espersen said that she told the Sheikh that the Danish government found it regrettable that many people were offended by the drawings and that the government condemns demonizing of groups of people based on their religion or ethnic background.

But Espersen, who faces a general election before the end of November next year, also said that citizens had a right to express themselves within the limits of the law without interference from the government, TV 2 News said on its website.


Netherlands: Prosecutors seek acquittal of Wilders on all counts

Dutch prosecutors are asking judges to acquit anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders of all charges of inciting hate and discrimination against Muslims.

The move by prosecutors signals their belief the case against Wilders is weak, but judges could still disagree and convict him. The trial continues next week.

Prosecutor Paul Velleman told the court Friday that most of Wilders’ remarks — which include comparing Islam with Naziism — appear to target Islam as an ideology, not single out Muslims for abuse.

Prosecutors initially declined to press charges, but were ordered to do so by an appeals court that ruled there was significant evidence against the influential politician. 

Source (Found).

New Dutch Government agrees to ban burqa, cut deficit.
Geert Wilders on trial.
Prosecutors call for partial acquittal.