Gaza health ministry appeals for urgent dialysis filters


GAZA, (PIC)– The Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza made an urgent appeal on Tuesday to all health and humanitarian organizations to help provide kidney units in Gaza hospitals with dialysis filters 5 and 6.

“450 patients with kidney failure receiving dialysis services in hospitals are now in real danger threatening their lives where the balance of this medical consumable has become 24 filters and this quantity does not cover the needs of patients who are on dialysis three times a week,”  spokesman for the health ministry Ashraf Al-Qudra said.

The spokesman also called for pressuring the de facto health ministry in Ramallah city to supply Gaza hospitals with all its medical needs because of the worsening medicine-related situation in the Gaza Strip.

(www.australiansforpalestine.net / 14.12.2011)

CIB documentaire ‘Moslims van bij ons’

    • Wanneer
      zondag 5 februari 2012
    • Tijd
      20:00 tot 22:00
  • Waar
    Cultuurcentrum Deurne- Frans messingstraat 36
  • Beschrijving
    De moslimgemeenschap is geen statische monolitische gemeenschap. Ze verenigt mensen met zeer uiteenlopende visies en posities. Wie kan die gemeenschap vertegenwoordigen? Eén persoon kan dat niet. Eén etnische groep kan dat niet. We kunnen alleen mensen aan het woord laten die binnen die gemeenschap leven. We kunnen enkel zo divers mogelijke stemmen laten klinken. Dit is eerder een overweging dan een statement.

    We zullen ons al zeker beperken tot moslims die in België leven. We zullen hun mening vragen betreffende maatschappelijke vraagstukken, die wegen op moslim zijn in België.

French mother, 32, set to become first woman to be jailed for wearing banned Islamic veil

  • Refused to accept court sentence that she spend 15 days learning her civic duties
  • ‘Judges need citizenship lessons – not me’
  • Taking case to court of human rights

A 32-year-old mother from France is set to become the first woman ever to be sent to prison for wearing an Islamic veil.

Hind Ahmas refuses to accept the legitimacy of a Paris court which has ordered her to spend 15 days learning her civic duties.

She was sentenced by magistrates in Meaux, a Paris suburb, yesterday – after being arrested wearing an outlawed veil outside the Elysee Palace in the French capital on April 11.

Facing jail: Hind Ahmas, left, could be sentenced to two years in prison for wearing a banned Islamic head covering in FranceFacing jail: Hind Ahmas, left, could be sentenced to two years in prison for wearing a banned Islamic head covering in France

That was shortly after Nicolas Sarkozy’s government introduced a ban on all forms of Islamic head coverings, including the niqab and the burka.

Ahmas was not allowed into the hearing at Meaux Criminal Court because she refused to remove her face covering.

But prosecutors made it clear to her lawyer, Gilles Devers, that Ahmas now faces two years in prison and a £27,000 fine.

‘There is no possibility of me removing the veil,’ Ahmas said.

‘I’m not taking it off. The judge needs citizenship lessons, not me.’

Ahmas, who has already refused to pay a fine of around £100 for wearing a veil on another occasion, intends to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

She has launched a pressure group, Do Not Touch My Constitution, along with Kenza Drider, another veil wearer who wants to run for president in the Spring.

New law: Ahmas, 32, pictured with would-be presidential candidate Kenza Drider, is taking her case to the European Court of Human RightsNew law: Ahmas, 32, pictured with would-be presidential candidate Kenza Drider, is taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights

If Ahmas does become the first woman in the world to go to prison for wearing a veil, then it will be seen as a huge propaganda coup for Islamic-rights campaigners.

Mr Sarkozy said the ban on head coverings was not aimed at persecuting Muslims, but merely to make France a more tolerant, inclusive society.

When it was introduced, he said the ban was aimed at stopping criminals – from terrorists to shoplifters – disguising their faces from security staff and CCTV.

But the sight of a young mother being led away to the cells merely because she refuses to take off her veil will cause outrage around the world.

Mr Devers said the veil ban was ‘unconstitutional’, while senior police officers have told judges that it is unenforceable without persecuting women.

France became the first country in Europe to outlaw the veil, while similar legislation has since been passed in Belgium and Holland.

One has been mooted in Britain by a number of politicians, including Conservative backbenchers, but there are no immediate plans to introduce one.

(www.dailymail.co.uk / 14.12.2011)

‘Hoogopgeleide allochtonen gedoemd tot pendelen tussen ‘thuis’ en buitenwereld’

Als hoogopgeleide allochtone jongeren hun diploma hebben, kunnen ze niet meer terug naar de cultuur van hun ouders. Maar hun loyaliteit verliezen ze niet, schrijft columniste Aleid Truijens.

  •  Alleen zielige immigranten worden getolereerd

‘Wij zien er wat serieuzer uit’, zegt Asli (22), een van oorsprong Turkse hbo-studente. ‘Wij komen hoogmoedig over, alsof we geen contact willen. Dat lijkt zo, van buiten.’

Nico Keuning, behalve biograaf ook docent Nederlands aan de HES, Hogeschool voor Economische Studies in Amsterdam, schreef een boek waarin hij enkele van zijn allochtone studenten portretteert, Het land van verlangen. Het viel hem op dat de allochtonen en de autochtonen op zijn school niet goed ‘mengen’.

Tweedeling
Niet dat er haat en nijd heersen op de HES, die oogt als ‘een paradijselijk oord van integratie. Iedereen loopt vreedzaam door elkaar, naast elkaar, met elkaar.’ Toch is er een tweedeling. Als ze voor een opdracht een groepje moeten vormen, kiezen allochtone studenten andere allochtonen. Ze doen niet voluit mee aan het studentenleven: vaak wonen ze nog thuis, ze gaan minder uit en drinken geen alcohol. De studenten vertelden hun docent hun levensverhaal. Nu begrijpt hij beter waarom dat mengen zo moeizaam gaat.

Allochtone hbo’ers maken vaak een lange omweg naar het felbegeerde hoger onderwijs. De Pakistaanse Aamna bijvoorbeeld. Toen ze op het vmbo zat, vertelde ze argeloos aan haar leraar dat ze later advocaat wilde worden. De leraar lachte haar hartelijk uit. Daarvoor moest ze naar de universiteit! Dat was echt niet haalbaar. Het werd geen studie rechten, maar via mavo en mbo kwam Aamna een heel eind: de HES. Pas daar leerde ze voor het eerst ‘witte’ Nederlanders kennen – altijd had ze op een ‘zwarte’ school gezeten.

Openheid
Voor alle jongeren in Keunings boek is het schipperen tussen ‘thuis’ en buitenwereld. Allemaal vinden ze de Nederlandse ‘openheid’ prettig. Nu ze ook Nederlandse vrienden heeft, vindt Aamna Pakistaanse jongens die Pakistaanse meisjes in de disco voor ‘hoer’ uitschelden hypocriet. Buitenshuis gedraagt ze zich Nederlands, thuis draagt ze traditionele kleding, uit respect voor haar ouders. Farrokh, uit Iran, voelt zich ‘een kosmopoliet’. Hij wil ‘een succesvolle burger zijn in een westerse samenleving’. Toch zullen zijn vrijzinnige ideeën botsen met zijn cultuur als het op de liefde aankomt. Hij noemt zijn moeder ‘de vrouw van mijn leven’. Zijn verstand zoekt een westerse vrouw, maar zijn hart gaat uit naar een Iraanse.

Nog niet zo heel lang geleden koesterden politici en beleidmakers de blijde verwachting dat als we jongens en meisjes van velerlei etnische herkomst maar samen naar school stuurden, het allemaal vanzelf goed kwam. Segregatie was een gruwel. Alleen kennismaking met elkaars cultuur, door gezamenlijk op te trekken, op school en op het sportveld, bracht mensen nader tot elkaar. Gemengde scholen boden álle kinderen, wit of zwart, betere kansen.

In dat sprookjesachtige effect van gemengd onderwijs gelooft haast niemand meer. Vorig jaar bracht Jaap Dronkers, hoogleraar internationaal onderwijsonderzoek, onwelgevallig nieuws: zowel autochtone als allochtone kinderen halen betere resultaten op ‘etnisch homogene’ scholen. De zo geidealiseerde gemengde school bleek dus slecht voor iedereen. Goede bedoelingen pakten verkeerd uit.

Zielige immigranten
Dat gaat vaker zo. In Goede bedoelingen in het onderwijs – kansen en missers, onder redactie van Dronkers, staan meer voorbeelden. Het pijnlijkste is het onderzoek dat Jan Germen Janmaat in zijn artikel in deze bundel beschrijft. Janmaat deed onderzoek naar integratie bij leerlingen in Engeland, Duitsland en Zweden. Hij concludeert dat naarmate allochtonen beter presteren op school, de autochtone klasgenoten intoleranter worden. Dat gebeurt níet als allochtonen achterlopen bij autochtonen, en dus geen bedreiging vormen. ‘Diversiteit’, schrijft Janmaat, ‘draagt dus wellicht alleen bij tot meer verdraagzaamheid onder autochtonen zolang allochtonen in een ondergeschikte positie verkeren.’ Alleen zielige immigranten worden getolereerd. Je zou er bijna cynisch van worden.

En je zou bijna vergeten dat er in de tweede generatie migranten een enorme inhaalslag is gemaakt: steeds meer allochtone kinderen bereiken het hoger onderwijs, ondanks alle obstakels. Schuif het uitstekende, maar wat dorre artikel van Janmaat en de leerlingportretten van Keuning in elkaar en je ziet het hele verhaal. De draaideur van het schoolgebouw, schrijft Keuning, is ‘geen roerstok die kleur, klasse en cultuur mengt’. Als ze hun diploma hebben, kunnen de hoogopgeleide allochtonen niet meer terug naar de cultuur van hun ouders, maar hun loyaliteit verliezen ze niet. Ze zijn gedoemd tot ‘pendelen’, en dat doen ze met een bewonderenswaardige inzet.

Aleid Truijens is columniste van de Volkskrant.

(www.volkskrant.nl / 14.12.2011)

Verbod rituele slacht van de baan


Marianne Thieme beantwoordt vragen in de Senaat over ritueel slachten

Marianne Thieme beantwoordt vragen in de Senaat over ritueel slachten

Er komt voorlopig geen verbod op onverdoofd ritueel slachten. Na een lang debat bleek er vannacht in de Eerste Kamer geen meerderheid te zijn voor het plan van de Partij voor de Dieren.

De PvdA schaarde zich bij de tegenstanders en ook de VVD was tegen. CDA, SGP en ChristenUnie hadden zich al eerder uitgesproken tegen een verbod dat de vrijheid van godsdienst te zeer zou inperken.

De Tweede Kamer ging eerder dit jaar wel akkoord met een verbod, met ruime meerderheid. Maar in de Eerste Kamer sprak de PvdA van symboolwetgeving en de VVD vindt dat de grondwet te veel wordt aangetast en dat belangen onvoldoende zijn afgewogen. De senaat moet volgende week nog wel stemmen over het voorstel.

Compromis

Staatssecretaris Bleker (Landbouw) presenteerde tijdens het debat onverwacht een compromis. Hij wil afspraken maken met slachterijen en de islamitische en joodse gemeenschap over onder meer de tijd dat een dier bij bewustzijn mag zijn en het aantal dieren dat ritueel wordt geslacht.

PvdA en VVD voelen meer voor dit plan. De senaat heeft aan Bleker in een brief gevraagd over zijn plannen.

PvdD-leider Thieme werd verrast door het voorstel van Bleker en zei het te vrijblijvend te vinden. Ze legt zich niet neer bij het sneuvelen van haar eigen plan en werkt door aan haar voorstel. “Ik word hier alleen maar strijdbaarder van”, zei ze na afloop van het debat.

(nos.nl / 14.12.2011)

Veolia tries to sugar-coat its complicity in Israeli violations of international law

Veolia is involved in several Israeli projects in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law. It is still involved in the Israeli Jerusalem Light Rail project connecting illegal Israeli colonies to Jerusalem. The company also operates four bus lines running between Israel and illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Furthermore, Veolia owns and operates through its subsidiaries Tovlan landfill which processes Israeli waste on occupied Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley. Veolia tries to sugar-coat its complicity in Israeli violations of international law by offering a pittance to the Palestinian villagers of Jiftlik in the Jordan Valley. The company has placed three refuse containers there for free waste collection.

Jerusalem Light Rail: impact on Shuafat

Veolia continues to be involved in the Jerusalem Light Rail project. According to Haaretz, the State of Israel has held up the sale of Veolia’s share in the light rail to Egged. Moreover, the company will continue to deliver consultancy services to Egged if the deal materializes.

Two weeks ago I discussed the impact of the light rail on Shuafat with resident Ibrahim Yousef.1 Yousef lives opposite the second stop of the light rail in Shuafat village. The main road from East Jerusalem to Ramallah passes through Shuafat and Beit Hanina. The road is used by many Palestinians and used to have two to three lanes in each direction. Over the years, the settlers have surrounded the neighborhood. Pisgat Zeev settlement is located to the north, Ramot settlement to the west and French Hill settlement to the south of Shuafat. Israel has built a huge settler road that links the settlements with West Jerusalem. In Shuafat, the settler road crosses the Palestinian main road. An Israeli security tower is located at the crossing.

The Jerusalem Light Rail has been constructed in the middle of the main road in Shuafat. Only one very tight lane is left for the Palestinians, explains Yousef. A traffic light has been added about every 300 meters – in all about eight on the Shuafat stretch. These traffic lights have slowed down the traffic. “It is only about ten seconds green.”

The strange phenomenon of traffic lights that leave a ridiculously short time for Palestinians to pass was reported by Al-Jazeera last year. The reporter actually shows the different treatment of settlers and Palestinians at the crossing between the settler road and the Palestinian road in Shuafat. Settlers have three times more time to pass the crossing on a three-lane road. Palestinians have 26 seconds to pass the crossing on a single lane. Cameras that flash when cars ignore the red light face the Palestinian road.

Yousef adds that Palestinians in Shuafat “noticed a militarization of the area. There are armed guards. We have 360 degree cameras opposite the Mosque, overseeing the middle station in Shuafat. All is seen, every move we make. We have a roundabout where armed security guards are on watch. When I go out of my door it feels like the neighborhood is colonized. The visual impact of the light rail when it comes full of settlers from Pisgat Zeev, it feels like colonization, occupation. Most of my friends have used the light rail because it was free. The settlers were not comfortable with the Palestinians in the light rail.”

Since 1 December people have to pay for a ticket. It will cost NIS 6.40 (US$ 1.70), which is more than the NIS 5 (US$ 1.32) they have to pay for a ride on a Palestinian bus to Jerusalem. Yousef expects a decline in the number of Palestinians using the light rail because of the higher costs of a ticket.

Jerusalem Light Rail: line of friction

The Israeli press has reported on several incidents relating to the Jerusalem Light Rail. On 5 December, Palestinians damaged one of the carriages of a passing light rail by throwing stones. “The new train has been the target of repeated attacks by some disgruntled Arabs who are angry at the inclusion of their neighborhood on the route”, reported Arurz Sheva. It was not the first time the light rail was attacked. Palestinians from Shuafat threw stones at the light rail on 10 October, smashing a window pane of one of the cars.

Another incident took place on 29 November when a Jewish girl used a personal canister of tear gas to spray at Palestinian girls in a clash between a group of Jewish and Palestinian girls in one of the rail carriages.

“The Jerusalem Light Rail will be a point of friction”, says Yousef, when I ask him to comment on recent reports on the clashes. All other areas are more segregated. “The light rail is the less segregated, it is inevitable that it leads to friction.”

Waste dumping in the Jordan Valley

Subsidiaries of Veolia own and operate Tovlan landfill which processes Israeli waste in the occupied Jordan Valley. This week, I spoke with Fathy Khdirat – a human rights defender from the Jordan Valley. Khdirat informed me that Veolia had offered three containers for free waste collection to Jiftlik, a village in the Jordan Valley. However, Veolia’s move cannot conceal the company’s role in the dumping of Israeli waste on Palestinian land in Tovlan landfill.

I asked Omar Barghouti – author of “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS): The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights” – to comment on Veolia’s offer to Jiftlik. He said: “As Desmond Tutu said, we do not need anyone to polish our chains; we want to break them altogether. Veolia is trying to hide or sugar-coat its horrific complicity in Israeli violations of international law, even war crimes, by throwing some bones to ghettoized Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley. This is beyond humiliating; it is racist and criminal. Derail Veolia!”

1Irbahim Yousef is a pseudonym to protect the person’s security.

(electronicintifada.net / 14.12.2011)

Islam and democracy not at odds in Tunisia

By DR. RADWAN MASMOUDI

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Dr. Radwan Masmoudi

saw with my own eyes masses of people crying from joy and pride as they cast their votes in the decision on who would represent them in the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), feeling the dignity of participating in an election for the first time in their lives as truly free citizens. A free nation was being born anew.

Today, Tunisians are working on negotiating a relationship between religion and politics, an issue which has only become more pressing as extremists on both sides, secularists and Islamists, have been using their new-found democratic freedoms to push for more radical views. However, compromise and prioritizing the nation’s interests are essential ingredients for a successful transition to democracy, and must take precedent over partisan bickering. Not surprisingly, Ennahda, an Islamic party with a focus on democracy and human rights, won a plurality with 41 percent of the vote and 89 seats in the NCA. Four secular parties, that do not advocate a role for religion in government, fared well: The Congress for the Republic, Al-Aridha As-Shaabiya, Attakatol and the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP). Three other secular parties, the Modernist Democratic Pole (PDM), Afek-Tounes and the Communist Workers Party (POCT), fared poorly, mainly because they appeared anti-Islamic and anti-religious. These parties and their leaders appeared out of step with the religious sentiments of the majority of Tunisians. Even the PDP saw its popularity drop from around 20 percent in February to barely six percent in October.

Ennahda, in the end, emerged as the main political party in Tunisia. After 30 years of being systematically put down, it was finally recognized as a political party in February 2011. More importantly, it succeeded in portraying itself as rooted in Islamic values, but simultaneously and deeply attached to democracy, human rights and dignity for all.

Tunisians do not see a contradiction between Islam and democracy, or Islam and modernity, and do not want to choose between them. They want to be both Muslim and modern, and Ennahda provided them with a ticket promising just that. In an interview with Reuters, published on Nov. 4 2011, Rached Ghannouchi, president and co-founder of Ennahda, said: “We are against trying to impose a particular way of life. (…)All the parties have agreed to keep the first article of the current constitution which says Tunisia’s language is Arabic and its religion is Islam. This is just a description of reality; it doesn’t have any legal implications. There will be no other references to religion in the constitution. We want to provide freedom for the whole country.”

This is exactly what the majority of Tunisians wanted to hear. Tunisians did not overthrow a secular dictatorship to replace it with a religious or theocratic dictatorship. They do not want the state to interfere with or enforce religious practices. Religion should be a personal matter and choice, and the state should respect and protect the individual freedoms and liberties of all citizens. So can Ennahda succeed in leading Tunisia to real, genuine and lasting democracy? If the party can emulate the Turkish model in Tunisia, as it has promised to do, I believe that they will be successful and their popularity will increase. Although the new constitution will not stipulate that Tunisia is a secular state, as the topic of secularity is deeply divisive in Tunisia and across the Arab world, it is equally clear that Tunisians want a civil and democratic state.

The question of the relationship between religion and politics will continue to be debated for many years, and perhaps centuries. It is still debated today even in Europe and the United States. But the main challenge for all Tunisians today is to remain focused on what unites them rather than what divides them. What the new constitution of Tunisia should do is enshrine the principles of human rights and religious freedom, justice and equality before the law, as well as women’s and minorities’ rights. Just like Turkey has been able to merge Islamic and democratic values and build a successful modern state in the Muslim world, so too can Tunisia lead the Arab world toward reconciling Islamic values and principles with modernity, freedom and democracy.

(Radwan A. Masmoudi is president of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service and appeared in Arab News on Dec 13, 2011.)

(english.alarabiya.net / 14.12.2011)

Poll: Most Palestinians want elections in May

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The results of an opinion poll released Wednesday show that the vast majority of Palestinians in the occupied territories support holding elections in May, state media said.
Some 85 percent of Palestinians support the current election schedule, according to the Arab World for Research and Development poll cited by Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s news agency in Ramallah.

Conducted between Nov. 22-24, the poll showed that Palestinians continue to place the highest importance on achieving national reconciliation, with 96 percent saying it was at least somewhat important.

The poll also showed that President Mahmoud Abbas, who has promised not to run for any future term, would beat Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister in Gaza whose government was dismissed by Abbas.

In parliamentary elections, Fatah would receive 46 percent vs 17 percent for Hamas, while in local elections a Fatah list would receive 43 percent while an Islamist list would receive 17 percent.

If elections were conducted today, Fatah would receive 46 percent — 49 percent in the West Bank and 42 percent in Gaza — while Hamas would receive 17 percent — 14 percent in the West Bank and 22 percent in Gaza.

The poll included 1,200 people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and had a 3 percent margin of error.

(www.maannews.net / 14.12.2011)