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Sunday, April 15, 2007


BBC NEWS | Europe | Secular rally targets Turkish PM 

BBC NEWS | Europe | Secular rally targets Turkish PM



Secularization is the key for Turkey's economic and political success. Many young people took to the streets of Turkey to continue with secularization.

Some 300,000 people have demonstrated in Turkey's capital, Ankara, to demand that religion and politics should be kept separate in their country.
Protesters carried banners of Kemal Ataturk, the revered founder of the Turkish republic as a secular state.

The rally comes two days before the presidential election process begins and is intended to pressure current PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to stand.

His opponents accuse him of having an Islamic agenda - a charge he denies.

Tens of thousands of people were bussed into Ankara from across Turkey to attend the rally near Ataturk's mausoleum.


Even though Turkey has made some bad decisions lately, including banishment of websites it considers 'insulting to Turkishness', it still is the brightest beacon of what secularization can do for a nation.


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Pakistan Minister Faces Edict Over Hug 

Pakistan Minister Faces Edict Over Hug - washingtonpost.com

A female Pakistani minister was already killed last month for perceived violations of Islamic law. Now, another minister fears for her life.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's tourism minister says she fears for her life after clerics at a radical mosque issued an edict accusing her of sinning by hugging her French parachute jumping instructor, the state news agency reported.

Minister of Tourism Nilofar Bakhtiar told a parliamentary committee of her fear on Saturday following the Taliban-style edict against her by Islamic clerics at Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in Islamabad, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Two clerics at the mosque said the hug was "an illegitimate and forbidden act" and "without any doubt, she has committed a great sin."

The clerics issued the edict against Bakhtiar last Sunday, demanding that she be dismissed, her family punish her and she be made to ask for forgiveness after pictures in the Pakistani media showed Bakhtiar hugging her parachute jumping instructor at a fundraising jump in France.

Hundreds of students from an Islamic seminary attached to the mosque have been running an anti-vice campaign in Islamabad, threatening music shops and brothels, in a bold challenge to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a U.S. ally who has pledged to promote moderate Islam.

The mosque's chief cleric, Maulana Abdul Aziz, is an outspoken critic of Pakistan's support of the U.S.-led war on terror.

About 100,000 people rallied in Karachi Sunday to protest the seminary's anti-vice campaign. The mass protest was organized by the Mutahida Qami Movement, or MQM, a party based in the southern port city that strongly supports Musharraf.


The war in Pakistan is that of two competing visions for the future.


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John J. Sheehan - Why I Declined To Serve - washingtonpost.com 

John J. Sheehan - Why I Declined To Serve - washingtonpost.com

Retired Marine Corps general John Sheehan explains in the Washington Post why he turned down the White House's offer to be the new "war czar", formally known as implementation manager for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The day-to-day work of the White House implementation manager overseeing Iraq and Afghanistan would require a great deal of emotional and intellectual energy resolving critical resource issues in a bureaucracy that, to date, has not functioned well. Activities such as the current surge operations should fit into an overall strategic framework. There has to be linkage between short-term operations and strategic objectives that represent long-term U.S. and regional interests, such as assured access to energy resources and support for stable, Western-oriented countries. These interests will require a serious dialogue and partnership with countries that live in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood. We cannot "shorthand" this issue with concepts such as the "democratization of the region" or the constant refrain by a small but powerful group that we are going to "win," even as "victory" is not defined or is frequently redefined.


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