A Cairo court has ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing website YouTube for a month for carrying an anti-Islam film that caused deadly riots across the world.
Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered on Saturday Youtube’s suspension in the country over the film, which he described as “offensive to Islam and the Prophet (Muhammad)”.
Tawfiq made the ruling in the Egyptian capital where the first protests against the film erupted last September before spreading to more than 20 countries, leading to the deaths of more than 50 people.
YouTube’s parent company, Google, declined requests to remove the video from the website last year, but restricted access to it in certain countries, including Egypt, Libya and Indonesia, because it says the video broke laws in those countries.
At the height of the protests in September, YouTube was ordered blocked in several countries, including Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah issued an order blocking all websites with access to the anti-Islam film in the kingdom.
A chain email sent to Dallas-area school board members and district officials thatprompted an investigation into alleged Islamic bias in the system’s curriculum turned up perhaps unintended results.
The email, titled “IRVING ISD INDOCTRINATING ISLAM,” warned: “Christians are going to have to stand up against the pro Islamic teaching in our public schools with CSCOPE curriculum.”
CSCOPE is a nonprofit offshoot of the Texas Education Service Centers, established in 1965 across the state’s school districts, and helps develop curricula and implement school reform. The agency is reported to have received about $25 million in funding last year.
According to The Dallas Morning News, the resulting 72-page report – compiled by a former social studies teacher described by CSCOPE’s director as a “very socially and fiscally conservative” woman who “watches Glenn Beck on a regular basis” — found quite the opposite of any Islamic bias: If anything, Irving schools have a Christian bias.
The teacher was told to “look for anything she would consider the least bit controversial,” by reading every textbook used for kindergarten through high school and record any bias in the CSCOPE curriculum, according to the Morning News.
Among the findings:
- Christianity got twice as much attention in the curriculum as any other religion. Islam was a distant second.
- The Red Crescent and Boston Tea Party reference mentioned in the email were nowhere in CSCOPE’s curriculum, although they may have been in the past.
- If there was any Islamic bias in CSCOPE it was “bias against radical Islam.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST
On the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the assaults were a violent reminder that the changes sweeping the region have hardly dispelled the rage against the United States that still smolders in pockets around the Arab world.
The mobs were set off by Egyptian media reports about a 14-minute trailer for the video, called “Innocence of Muslims,” that was released on the Web. The trailer opens with scenes of Egyptian security forces standing idle as Muslims pillage and burn the homes of Egyptian Christians. Then it cuts to cartoonish scenes depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a child of uncertain parentage, a buffoon, a womanizer, a homosexual, a child molester and a greedy, bloodthirsty thug.
The trailer was uploaded to YouTube by Sam Bacile, whom The Wall Street Journal Web site identified as a 52-year old Israeli-American real estate developer in California. He told the Web site he had raised $5 million from 100 Jewish donors to make the film. “Islam is a cancer,” Mr. Bacile was quoted as saying.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
CAIRO — The Muslim Brotherhood early Monday projected its candidate, an Islamist, as the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential election, hours after the ruling military council issued an interim constitution granting itself broad power over the future government, all but eliminating the president’s authority in an apparent effort to guard against just such a victory.
The military’s new charter is the latest in a series of swift steps that the generals have taken to tighten their grasp on power just at the moment when they had promised to hand over to elected civilians the authority that they assumed on the ouster of Hosni Mubarak last year. Their charter gives them control of all laws and the national budget, immunity from any oversight, and the power to veto a declaration of war.
After dissolving the Brotherhood-led Parliament elected four months ago, and locking out its lawmakers, the generals on Sunday night also seized control of the process of writing a permanent constitution. State news media reported that the generals had picked a 100-member panel to draft it.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
CAIRO — The presidential candidate for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood wooed Christians, women and supporters of the ruling military Tuesday in a bid to expand his base of support and he also played up the stigma attached to his challenger, a senior figure in the old regime whose headquarters was burned down by angry protesters overnight.
The Islamist candidate Mohammed Morsi made the new campaign promises in a news conference, vowing to ensure the full rights of the Christian minority and women if he is elected. He also tried to reassure the pro-democracy youth groups who drove the last year’s popular uprising by promising to protect the right to stage peaceful protests and sit-ins.
Overnight, protesters stormed and burned the campaign headquarters of Morsi’s challenger Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister. In Tahrir square, birthplace of the anti-Mubarak uprising, protesters chanted slogans against both Morsi and Shafiq. Similar protests took place in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and elsewhere in northern Egypt.
FULL ARTICLE FROM CBS NEWS
In the city of Bekasi, Indonesia, outside Jakarta, a handful of Christians head to Sunday worship. But before they can reach their destination, they are stopped and surrounded by a large crowd of local Muslims who jeer at them and demand that they leave.
This is the Filadelfia congregation, a Lutheran group. They are ethnic Bataks from the neighboring island of Sumatra who have migrated to Bekasi, and they have been blocked from holding services on several occasions. Recently, a journalist who demonstrated in support of the congregation was beaten by an angry mob.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim majority nation and has drawn praise for its evolution into a vibrant democracy. It’s a country of more than 17,000 islands, with more than 300 ethnic groups who speak about 740 languages. But recent cases of persecution of religious minorities have led some to question whether Indonesia is still living up to its reputation for pluralism and tolerance.
FULL ARTICLE FROM NPR
The religious freedom for Christians in Egypt (Copts) and other religious minorities hangs in the balance as Egyptian voters prepare to select a new president on the weekend of May 23-24.
This is the first open presidential elections in a generation. If voters favor a hard-line Islamist as president, existing religious freedoms are at greater risk. At least one moderate candidate favors less state involvement in religion.
Right now, the two major contenders for the presidency are Amr Moussa, belonging to the old guard around former President Mubarak, and Abdel-Moneim Abol Fotoh, an Islamist with roots in the Muslim Brotherhood.
Until mid-2011, Moussa was Secretary-General of the Arab League and is widely recognized as an establishment figure. His hard-line criticism of Israel has proven to be popular in Egypt.
Abol Fotoh, a political moderate, quit the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011 after decades of involvement in order to run for president. In the late 1990s, Abol Fotoh spent five years in prison for his political activism.
In the past week, popular resentment in Egypt exploded when the Election Commission disqualified 10 candidates, including three well-known and controversial figures: Khairat al-Shater (Freedom Justice Party, Muslim Brotherhood); Omar Suleiman (former vice president and spy chief under Mubarak); and, Hazem Abu-Ismail (an ultra-conservative Salafist). This week, Shater alleged that the commission’s move was an attempt the rig the election.
FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY
Something I wrote last week about Islam caused a bit of a stir, with one conservative blogger wondering if I had been threatened with beheading.The great Mark Steyn even wrote: “I’m sad to see the usually perceptive Ed West of the London Telegraph planting his flag on this wobbling blancmange.” Considering I am Mark Steyn’s biggest fan in the whole wide world, complete with a wall covered with pictures of him and a tattoo of his face on my chest, that’s left with me some mixed feelings.
And yet I still believe that Islam has become something of a scapegoat for the problems associated with mass immigration, and here’s why.
Conservatism is all about protecting the community from radical change; that is why conservatives tend to oppose large-scale immigration, which alters the social fabric in a huge way.
Yet from the 1960s to the 1990s, both in Britain and the US, conservatives lost this argument, despite overwhelming public support. They lost because they lost the intellectual justification for group solidarity or “parochial altruism” against post-war radical universalism, to the extent that normal human feelings were redefined as forms of mental illness. Defeat. Until Islam came along, allowing conservatives to make arguments using language that liberals would permit.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE LONDON TELEGRAPH