Saturday, September 11, 2010

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 Obama: Muslims soldiers 'are out there putting their lives on the line for us'

Obama reminds Americans what their country owes to its Muslim servicemen fighting overseas in the US armed forces
President Barack Obama defends the mosque plans during a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan.
Barack Obama: 'If you could build a church on a site ... then you should be able to build a mosque on a site." Photograph: Scott Applewhite/AP
Tony Blair, when he was prime minister, used to give monthly press conferences that would run as long as journalists had questions to ask. By the end of them Blair was still comfortable, asking "Any more questions? Anyone?" while it was the journalists who wilted. Maybe Barack Obama should try the same thing.
He came close to doing so today, holding forth for over an hour. It was Obama's most accomplished press conference performance in a while, and especially impressive when asked about the controversy over the Park 51 Islamic cultural centre and mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre:
This country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal, that they have certain inalienable rights. One of those inalienable rights is to practice their religion freely. And what that means is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on a site.
Obama then widened the subject, with a strong conclusion on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary:
From a national security interest, we want to be clear about who the enemy is here. It's a handful, a tiny minority of people who are engaging in horrific acts, and have killed Muslims more than anybody else.
The other reason it's important for us to remember that is because we've got millions of Muslim Americans, our fellow citizens, in this country. They're going to school with our kids. They're our neighbours. They're our friends. They're our co-workers.
And, you know, when we start acting as if their religion is somehow offensive, what are we saying to them?

I've got Muslims who are fighting in Afghanistan in the uniform of the United States armed services. They're out there putting their lives on the line for us, and we've got to make sure that we are crystal clear, for our sakes and their sakes, they are Americans, and we honour their service.
And part of honoring their service is making sure that they understand that we don't differentiate between them and us. It's just us. And that is a principle that I think is going to be very important for us to sustain. And I think tomorrow is an excellent time for us to reflect on that.
S: Richaradams's Blog/guardian.co.uk

10.09.2010 / 19:40 h

Vienna , Sep 10 ( EFE ) .- A delegation of Cuban opposition met today in Prague ( Czech Republic ) with officials of the Czech Foreign Ministry , as well as several deputies and senators those who moved about the continued repression in Cuba.
"We came to the Czech Republic as we went to Hungary, Poland and to Berlin to report that continues the repressive situation against the opposition and the regime is simply to clean your image, "he said by telephone Janisset Efe Rivero, of the Cuban Democratic Directorate organization .
"We deliver updated information about what is happening within Cuba. In order for a criminal dictatorial regime such as Fidel and Raul Castro, a regime that killed Orlando Zapata Tamayo, and many others, no sanctions will be removed , "he said .
Rivero is located in Prague with Silvia Iriondo , president Mothers and Women Antirepresión by Cuba ( MAR ) and Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta , who traveled to Spain in July with 51 other former political prisoners.
The Czech Republic is a country that has traditionally been more critical of the Castro regime in the European Union (EU).
"The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. The Government and the Czech people have always been very sympathetic to Cuba, with our suffering , because they themselves went through it and fought against a system totalitarian , "said the reaction of the Czech authorities.
For his part , Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, who was imprisoned almost 13 years in Cuban prisons, believes the recent statements Fidel Castro, where he admitted that " the Cuban model is no longer works, " are nothing but a smokescreen .
" Economic openness will not be any , nobody 's Hostel little hope . Currently Castro sent a delegation China military to provide you with the means to police repressive. To intensify the repression , "he told Efe.
"Castro should be judged by an international criminal court crimes against humanity. I'm accusing because I am a victim of his torture and because I have 43 stitches on my body, " concluyó.
S: abc.es / EFE/ Front Line LPPNEWS simultaneous translation

Would receive a prize of IPI...

Cuba denied Yoani Sanchez  permission to travel to Vienna

Foto de la Noticia
Photo: REUTERS

MADRID , 10 Sep. (EPress)
The Cuban opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez may not be present on Friday in Vienna on the spot where the International Press Institute (IPI ) would recognize as the Hero World Press Freedom for his " harsh criticism of life Cuba " through his blog ' Generation Y '.
Sanchez reported through their network account 'Twitter ' , " the bureau of immigration and foreigners tell me to come back next Friday. Goodbye to the ceremony in Austria. "
The blogger had come to this dependence on the Cuban government in search of an answer to his request for an " exit permit " to Cuba. According pointed out shortly before today had its " final opportunity to be on time for the ceremony of the IPI in Vienna . "
This body had appointed last week as the 60th Hero World Press Freedom Day. According to IPI , the blog launched in 2007 Sánchez Account currently has more than one million readers "and recalled that since 2008 not available to Cubans for the actions of the authorities.
This has led to Yoani Sánchez, notes IPI to "resort to extreme and creative measures to keep alive his blog " as posing as a tourist to be able to access the Internet and submit their entries by mail to friends outside the country to can impart .
In addition, the IPI alleged that the Cuban government has refused to leave the country to the blogger at least six occasions in the past two years, despite the international recognition his blog , "which has received numerous awards, and has undergone the latter to " harassment. "
" tremendously important work of Sanchez offers a look at what would otherwise be a closed world , " highlights the acting director of IPI , Alison McKenzie Bethel . "We are proud to know Yoani and give this prestigious award, " he added.
S : AssociatedPress / translate LPPNEWS Front Line

Cuba: Castro Explains His Words

Fidel Castro said Friday that his recent comment that Cuba’s economic model did not work was badly understood and that what he really meant was that capitalism did not work. Mr. Castro, speaking at the University of Havana, said his words had been misinterpreted by his interviewer, Jeffrey Goldberg of Atlantic magazine. Mr. Goldberg wrote in a blog on Wednesday that he had asked Mr. Castro, 84, if Cuba’s model was still worth exporting to other countries. “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore,” Mr. Castro told him. Mr. Castro confirmed that he said those words “without bitterness or concern.” But, he said, “the reality is that my response means exactly the opposite.” He continued, “My idea, as the whole world knows, is that the capitalist system now doesn’t work either for the United States or the world, driving it from crisis to crisis, which are each time more serious.”
A version of this brief appeared in print on September 11, 2010, on page A7 of the New York edition.
S: nytimes.com

Obama remembers Sept. 11, calls for unity

 

WASHINGTON – Amid an atmosphere of unease, President Barack Obama wants Americans to mark the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by recapturing the sense of common purpose felt on that dreadful day.
"If there is a lesson to be drawn on this anniversary, it is this: We are one nation — one people — bound not only by grief, but by a set of common ideals," the president said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.
"By giving back to our communities, by serving people in need, we reaffirm our ideals — in defiance of those who would do us grave harm."
Obama himself was marking the day nearly 3,000 people died in terrorist jetliner attacks with a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City. The president also planned to attend a memorial service at the Pentagon and participate in a service project in the Washington area.
First lady Michelle Obama was to join former first lady Laura Bush in Shanksville, Pa., where the fourth plane crashed after passengers rushed the cockpit. Viother religion to build near ground zero and issued a full-throated appeal for religious tolerance, reminding Americans: "We are not at war against Islam."
In the GOP's weekly address, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., echoed Obama's plea for a common purpose. Kyl called for the country to "recapture the unity that allowed us to come together as a nation to confront a determined enemy."
But without mentioning the president by name, Kyl seemed to question the Obama administration's commitment to the war on terror begun by his predecessor, George W. Bush. Obama recently declared an end to combat missions in Iraq even as he pledged to renew efforts to prosecute the war in Afghanistan and pursue al-Qaida terrorists.
"The fact that none of the subsequent attempts to attack us have succeeded seems to have removed some of the urgency and commitment so necessary to succeed in war," Kyl said.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a statement honoring the victims of "that terrible day," said memories of the attacks "remain searingly vivid."
"We remember the pain of loss, but also the pride in our people and our country," she said.
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Online:
Obama address: http://www.whitehouse.gov
GOP address: http://www.youtube.com/gopweeklyaddress

Islam controversies cast shadow over 9/11 events

 

NEW YORK – Politics threatened to overshadow a day of mourning Saturday for nearly 3,000 Sept. 11 victims amid a polarizing national debate over a planned mosque blocks from the site where Islamic extremists attacked America.
Chants of thousands of sign-waving protesters both for and against the planned Islamic center were expected after — and perhaps during — a ceremony normally known for somber church bells ringing and a sad litany of families reading their lost loved ones' names.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were to attend separate services in Washington and Shanksville, Pa., for the victims of hijacked jetliners that hit the Pentagon and a rural field in 2001.
But the rallies planned in New York embroiled victims' family members in a feud over whether to play politics on the ninth anniversary of the attacks.
Nancy Nee, whose firefighter brother was killed at the World Trade Center, is bitterly opposed to the Park51 proposed mosque and Islamic community center near ground zero. But she didn't plan to join other family members at an anti-mosque rally hours after the anniversary ceremony.
"I just wanted to be as at peace with everything that's going on as I possibly can," Nee said. Even nine years later, she said, her brother George Cain's death "is still very raw. ... And I just don't have it in me to be protesting and arguing, with anger in my heart and in my head."
Jim Riches planned to pay respects at ground zero to his firefighter son, Jimmy, then rally.
"My son can't speak anymore. He's been murdered by Muslims. I intend to voice my opinion against the location of this mosque," Riches said. "If someone wants to go home, that's their right. I have the right to go there."
The heated mosque debate — pitting advocates of religious freedom against critics who say putting an Islamic center so close to ground zero disrespects the dead — led Obama to remind Americans on Friday, "We are not at war against Islam."
In his Saturday radio address, he alluded to the contentious atmosphere.
"This is a time of difficulty for our country," he said. "And it is often in such moments that some try to stoke bitterness — to divide us based on our differences, to blind us to what we have in common.
But he added, "we do not allow ourselves to be defined by fear, but by the hopes we have for our families, for our nation, and for a brighter future."
A threat to burn copies of the Muslim holy book on the anniversary — which had set off international protests — was apparently called off. The Florida pastor who made the threat flew to New York on Friday night and appeared Saturday on NBC's "Today" show.
He said his church would not burn the Quran, a plan that inflamed much of the Muslim world and drew a stern rebuke from Obama.
"We feel that God is telling us to stop," he told NBC. Pressed on whether his church would ever burn the Islamic holy book, he said: "Not today, not ever. We're not going to go back and do it. It is totally canceled."
He said that he flew to New York in the hopes of meeting with leaders of the Islamic center but that no such meeting was scheduled.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, leader of the planned mosque, said Friday that he was "prepared to consider meeting with anyone who is seriously committed to pursuing peace" but had no meeting planned with Jones.
In Afghanistan, shops and police checkpoints were set afire Saturday as thousands of people protested Jones' plan and chanted "Death to America" in Logar province. At least 11 people were injured Friday in similar protests in Badakhshan province.
In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, cleric Rusli Hasbi told 1,000 worshippers at Friday prayers that whether or not Jones burns the Quran, he already has "hurt the heart of the Muslim world."
Activists in New York insisted their intentions were peaceful. More than 1,000 protesters on both sides of the issue were expected to converge at the mosque site, a former clothing factory two blocks north of the trade center site.
"It's a rally of remembrance for tens of thousands who lost loved ones that day," said Pamela Geller, a conservative blogger and host of the anti-mosque demonstration. "It's not a political event, it's a human rights event."
Four red, white and blue balloons rose early Saturday from a public telephone booth near the building. Police cars lined the blocked-off street in front of the building.
Rosario Piedrahita, arriving with a bouquet of flowers and a photograph of her nephew, victim Wilder Alfredo Gomez, said she opposed using the site for a mosque.
"I say it's not good," she said. "It's like people standing up to celebrate after a victory."
John Bolton, who was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, was expected to send a videotaped message of support to the anti-mosque rally, as was conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart. Anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who advocates banning the Quran and taxing Muslim women who wear head scarves, planned to address the crowd in person, as do a handful of Republican congressional candidates who have made opposition to the mosque a centerpiece of their campaigns.
Muslim prayer services are normally held at the site, but it was padlocked Friday and would be closed Saturday, the official end of the holy month of Ramadan. Police planned 24-hour patrols of the site until next week. Worshippers on Friday were redirected to a different prayer room 10 blocks away.
While the president was at the Pentagon service Saturday and the first lady was to join former first lady Laura Bush at Shanksville, Vice President Joe Biden planned to speak at the New York ceremony, where 2,752 people were killed when two jetliners flew into the trade center. Bells were to toll for the first time at 8:46 a.m., the minute that the first plane struck the first tower, and then three more times to mark the moment the second plane hit the tower and for the times that each tower collapsed.
More than 2,000 supporters of the project, waving candles and American flags, held a vigil Friday night at the mosque site, saying they wanted to avoid entangling the mosque controversy and the Sept. 11 observance.
Stephanie Parker, whose father, Philip L. Parker, worked for an insurance company at the trade center, normally spends the attacks' anniversary privately with family. The mosque furor brought her out for the first time.
"I think the anniversary is being overshadowed," Parker, 21, said as she relighted a candle that kept blowing out in a breeze. "This year, I feel like I should use my voice and my position" as a victim's relative to speak up for tolerance, she said.
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Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Beth Fouhy, Jennifer Peltz, Tom Hays and David B. Caruso in New York; Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Afghanistan; Ayi Jufridar in Lhokseumawe, Indonesia; Erica Werner, Darlene Superville, Anne Flaherty and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington; and AP Legal Affairs Writer Curt Anderson in Miami.