FaithWorld

Q+A – Why Sarrazin comments on Jews, Muslims cause outcry in Germany

sarrazin (Photo: Thilo Sarrazin at presentation of his book in Berlin, August 30, 2010/Fabrizio Bensch)

German central banker Thilo Sarrazin has divided public opinion with remarks about Muslim immigrants and comments about the genetic make-up of Jews, prompting calls for him to step down.

Leading politicians have called for the Bundesbank to dismiss the 65-year-old, who has dominated headlines in the public furore surrounding the launch of his book, “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (Germany does away with itself).

The Bundesbank has met to discuss Sarrazin’s fate this week, but has yet to announce a formal decision.

Following are some questions and answers about the case and why it has sparked such outcry in Germany.

WHAT CAUSED THE CONTROVERSY?

WHAT WAS THE REACTION?

IS IT EASY TO FIRE BUNDESBANK BOARD MEMBERS?

WHY DOES IT MATTER TO GERMANY?

Read the answers in this Q+A by Dave Graham here.

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld

from Fan Fare:

Hollywood and religion. Double standards, or fair game for satire?

Should all religions be taboo when it comes to comedy and satire?

Comedy Central -- the same TV network that managed to both anger and bow to Muslim sensibilities in April by airing and later censoring a "South Park" episode portraying the  Prophet Mohammad -- is now at the center of a pre-ejesus funmptive storm over plans to develop a comedy show about Jesus.

A new coalition of family and religious groups Citizens Against Religious Bigotry has called on Comedy Central not to air the animated series "JC" and asked advertisers to refuse to sponsor it.

The  show,  billed as being about Jesus trying to live as a regular guy in New York City,  is still in the development stage,  is not on the air yet, and has not yet been given a green light by the network.

Can saffron be red in Thailand?

THAILAND

(A monk walks along a red shirt barricade in Bangkok's business district on April 25/Sukree Sukplang)

At the sprawling red shirt encampment in central bank, Buddhist monks clad in their distinctive saffron robes mingle with men wearing helmets walking around with sharpened bamboo sticks.

Just about every night, rumours sweep the the sprawling encampment of tents, sounds trucks and makeshift stalls that a long anticipated crackdown is imminent. The men stare at the three-metre barricades made of tyres, bamboo poles and rubble that surround much of the encampment, about the size of a large city park, waiting to pelt soldiers armed with  assault rifles with pellets from their sling shots and thrusts of their bamboo spears.

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

Jerusalem Power

holy fireTo spend the past few days in the crowded, narrow streets of Jerusalem's Old City, among the multilingual throngs marking Passover or Easter, was to get an unforgettable sense of the power this place has over the minds of millions. It also gives an insight into some of the ways Jerusalem, and control of access to its holy sites, plays into global power politics.

For the majority of Palestinians who are Muslim, as well as for the Islamic world beyond, the Jewish state of Israel's hold on the city since its capture from Jordan in the 1967 war is a deep grievance. Sporadic violence around the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque has flared again this year.

But with the confluence this year of the Easter calendars of both Western and Eastern churches, as well as the Jewish Passover celebrations, it was the issue of Christian access and the competing claims of different Christian denominations to the holy sites of Jerusalem, that was particularly in focus this past week. And if it was American-accented English that dominated among the visiting Jewish families crowding towards prayers at the Western Wall and which served as a reminder of the powerful alliance Israel enjoys, despite current turbulence, with the United States, it was the Russian spoken by many of the Christian pilgrims which indicated one of the main trends changing the balance of power within that fractured religious community.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Do five Americans detained in Pakistan really prove a trend?

lahore mosqueThe arrest of five young Americans in Pakistan who according to Pakistani officials wanted to go to fight U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan has, perhaps predictably, increased fears of radicalisation within parts of the United States own Muslim community.

It follows the arrest in Chicago of David Headley, who police say scouted out targets for last year's attack on Mumbai, and discussed with Pakistan-based militant groups plans for attacks in Denmark and India; and also comes after  last month's Fort Hood shooting in which 13 people died.

U.S. newspapers have been quick to see a pattern.  "New Cases Test Optimism on Extremism by U.S. Muslims," declared the New York Times. Or according to the L.A. Times headline: "U.S. sees homegrown Muslim extremism as rising threat."

from Our Take on Your Take:

All about Eid

This week, both the Reuters Pictures wire and the submissions to Your View were dominated by pictures of the Muslim festival of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha. This photo from Saad Shahriar in Bangladesh clearly captures the desperation some people feel to get home to celebrate the festival with friends and family. Saad used a slow shutter speed to add a hurried sense to the chaotic scene.

View this week's Your View showcase here.

Pew maps the Muslim world

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life just released a demographic study of the Muslim world it says is “the largest project of its kind to date.” Click here http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=450 to see the report ”Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population.”

SAUDI/PILGRIMAGE-ECONOMY/

The report drew on data from 232 countries and territories and involved Pew researchers working with nearly 50 demographers and social scientists around the world. It is certainly a useful reference for anyone interested in the Islamic world. (PHOTO: Hundreds of thousands of Muslims pray inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca Sept. 15, 2009. REUTERS/Susan Baahil)

Among its highlights:

Muslims angry at German soccer club over song

German Muslims have inundated one of the country’s top soccer teams, Schalke 04, with complaints about a verse in the club’s anthem which, they say, is disparaging towards the Prophet Mohammad.

The club has its home in Gelsenkirchen in Germany’s industrial heartland and immigrants make up about a third of the town’s population. Most of them have a Turkish background. Germany’s biggest mosque was opened in nearby Duisburg last year and many Schalke supporters are Muslims, as chat rooms like this one point out.

The lines in question are: “Mohammad was a Prophet who doesn’t understand football” although the words that follow seem positive: “But from all the beautiful colours he came up with blue and white.” Schalke’s colours are blue and white.

Pakistani Christians burnt alive, sparking protests

Christian minorities in Pakistan protest against sectarian violence that saw seven burnt alive in their homes at the weekend. See our video report here.

UPDATE: Here is our report on Monday about Christian schools closing down for three days to mourn the deaths. Here is the original report on the attack.

“Sufi card” very hard to play against Pakistani Taliban

sufi-musicians-2One theory about how to deal with militant Islamism calls for promoting Sufism, the mystical school of Islam known for its tolerance, as a potent antidote to more radical readings of the faith. Promoted for several years now by U.S.-based think tanks such as Rand and the Heritage Institute, a Sufi-based approach arguably enjoys an advantage over other more politically or economically based strategies because it offers a faith-based answer that comes from within Islam itself. After trying so many other options for dealing with the Taliban militants now openly challenging it, the Pakistani government now seems ready to try this theory out. Just at the time when it’s suffered a stinging set-back in practice… (Photo: Pakistani Sufi musicians in Karachi, 7 May 2007/Zahid Hussein)

Earlier this month, on June 7 to be exact, Islamabad announced the creation of a Sufi Advisory Council (SAC) to try to enlist spirituality against suicide bombers. In theory at least, this approach could have wide support. Exact numbers are unclear, but Pakistan is almost completely Muslim, about three-quarters of its Muslims are Sunnis and maybe two-thirds of them are Barelvis. This South Asian school of Islam, heavily influenced by traditional Sufi mysticism, is notable for its colourful shrines to saints whose very existence is anathema to more orthodox forms of Islam. Among those are the minority of Pakistani Sunnis, the Deobandis, who are followers of a stricter revivalist movement founded in 19th-century India whose militant branch led to the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban. Many Deobandis think Pakistan’s Shi’ite minority is not truly Muslim.

zardari-sufiThe late President General Zia-ul Haq was a Deobandi. With massive support from the United States, Saudi Arabia and other countries, he favoured Afghan guerrilla groups influenced by the Deobandis and Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabis in the 1980s war against the Soviet Union.