Friday, August 24, 2007

Faith-based school funding a justice issue

by Rev. Graham Scott from The Welland Tribune

There are two major problems with funding faith-based education. The first problem is the funding of Islamic schools, because Islam does not distinguish between church and state and so Sharia law prevails in many Islamic states.I believe that Premier Dalton McGuinty was right to disallow the introduction of Sharia law into Ontario family law. Moreover, I believe the Wahhabist school of Islam based in Saudi Arabia is dangerous for democracy. The Muwafaq (Blessed Relief) Foundation was named by the U.S. Treasury Department as "an al-Qaida front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen." Funding a Wahhabist Islamic school could breed home-grown terrorism in Ontario. But this problem can be solved by enacting regulations that no school which has received or receives any foreign funding may receive any Ontario funding, and that no school whose faith requires the replacement of the Canadian constitution by its own religious law may receive any Ontario funding.

'Special Report' Panel on Proposed Gas Tax Hike; Russia's Flexing Muscles

from Special Report With Brit Hume of FOX News

Fred Barnes, Executive Editor, Weekly Standard: What you said, though, about the country's are acting like — particularly the Arab countries, these third-world countries with great natural resources in oil and gas. So, what do they do? Do they develop their countries? Do they go into other areas and build other industries? No, they just sell their oil and gas and have a few rich people at the top, that certainly is Saudi Arabia, and that is it. And their countries are entirely dependent on these natural resources. And they do much better when the price is high. What are they pumping money into? The Russians — some of it is to buy — and this is a bit scary — utilities, and so on, in eastern European countries, public utilities. But they are also pumping all kinds of it into a military aircraft, which is not going to do them any good. That is like the Saudis, who now want $24 billion of dollars in military hardware from the U.S., most of which they probably do not need.

Saudi tribal chief urges opposition in security forces

from AFP

In a video posted on the internet, Emir Faisal bin Salman bin Sultan, the head of the Al-Ajman tribe urged backers within the Saudi security forces to join forces with the exiled Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA). He said he wanted to combat the "unemployment, crime, poverty, drug addiction and corruption" that had resulted from the Western-backed Saud family's absolute rule." His Al-Ajman tribe has about 300,000 members in the south of the oil-rich kingdom, and allies among the Beni Khaled, Mutir, Qahtan, Shammar and Wutayba tribes as well as confederations extending into neighbouring oil-producing states. Formed in London in 1996 following a breakaway with the Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights, MIRA has long been a bogeyman of the Saudi regime.

Indonesians Protest Outside Saudi Embassy in Jakarta

by Rasheed Abou-Alsamh from Arab News

“We started this protest this morning with 100 participants, including all of the relatives of the four maids, outside the Saudi Embassy here,” said Wahyu Susilo of Migrant Care in an interview from Jakarta ... The Saudi authorities have still not released the bodies of the two deceased maids to the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh, and have also not allowed the embassy official access to the two remaining survivors. “We want them to be under our custody, but our request has not been acted upon,” an Indonesian diplomat told Arab News in an interview this week. “We also still haven’t had access to the bodies of the two deceased domestic workers.” The relatives of the victims and activists have vowed to continue their protests outside the Saudi Embassy until all four victims return home. “The Saudi government must investigate thoroughly and the employer and his relatives involved in the incident brought to justice,” said Wahyu.

$2B stake in Countrywide may pay off

by Matt Krantz from USA TODAY

Investing in depressed financial institutions can be lucrative. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal stepped up in 1991 when Citicorp was struggling from commercial real estate loans and invested $590 million. He got preferred shares that paid an 11% dividend. He also got the right to convert his preferred shares into common stock for $16 a share, 25% below the stock price at the time. Since then, Citigroup stock has rocketed 1,779%. Alwaleed bin Talal's stake now is unknown, though any stake of 5% or more must be reported.

Muslim groups slam NYPD terror report

by Jeremy Walsh from The Flushing Times Ledger

Shamsi Ali, deputy imam of the Jamaica Muslim Center in southeast Queens, said that "we need to do more and that's a positive. Yes, extremism within Muslim communities is there, and it is our responsibility to do every possible thing to handle it." But Ali disagreed that extremists are multiplying in the city's Muslim communities. "There are a handful of young people inclined to that 'Salafi,' or cultural view of Islam, but I don't think the things commonly occur in our community." ... Michael Jenkins, an analyst with the Rand Corporation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, reviewed the department's report. He said the model will help train analysts and police and enable prosecutors to decide "when the boundary between a bunch of guys sharing violent fantasies and a terrorist cell determined to go operational has been crossed." But both Ali and Azeem Khan, assistant secretary general of the Islamic Circle of North America, were concerned the report would do more to foster resentment and alienation among Muslims.