They dress in western outfits that were common in the 19th century America that is known as the wild west. The men and women have holsters on which six guns are ready to be fired, and their cowboy hats are worn in a manner revealing the cowboy and cowgirl nature of the enterprise. It is the Cowboy Action Shooting group which has caught on with a segment of the Czech Republic public that is fascinated with stories of the old west in America. The weekend event is party re-enactment of a shooting event and part wearing clothes from another time and place. Each person goes through a sequence of firing their revolver or Winchester at a set of targets and scores are added up to discover who was Marshall Earp this weekend. Josef Minhula, a truck driver says, “I’m very happy to be in this group. I like the romance and the atmosphere.”
Europeans have long enjoyed a fascination with the American West and the novels of German author Carl May were extensively popular in the early 1900s. I wonder if these enthusiasts would enjoy a walk on the wild side of some urban shoot-outs in modern America.
A new study conducted by Rauf Ceylan, son of Turkish immigrants to Germany, charges the vast majority of imams in Germany lack academic qualifications not only about religion, but about life in Germany or the European Union. If a Turkish immigrant goes to a local mosque in search of assistance in how to integrate within German society, the imam is probably the last person from whom to seek advice. “Imams in Germany” reveals 20% of imams are drawn from conservative Islamist groups and only one out of five imams has qualified academic training in the Muslim religion let alone in any academic area dealing with the history or culture of Germany and Europe.
Ceylan visited numerous mosques and talked with many imams which led him to conclude the average mosque is mainly concerned “in the ability of their imam to recite the Koran.” As a result few imams have extensive knowledge of the Muslim religion or the content of the Koran beyond being able to recite it. He believes the few imams with extensive religious training only remain in Germany for a short period.
Since the cease fire has been implemented in the Gaza area, rockets have been fired from within the Stripe which threaten to destroy the fragile agreement. Last week, Hamas insisted it would not serve as a “policeman” for Israel in order to enforce the cease fire, but apparently wiser heads have decided the truce will collapse unless Hamas exerts its leadership. Mamoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, made clear to the Islamist Jihad they had to end the rocket attacks. “We have reached an agreement with Islamist Jihad,” he said, “that anyone, even if he’s from Hamas would be arrested and disarmed if he violates the agreement.”
He also noted that several extremists connected with Fatah have been arrested on suspicion they were planning to undermine the cease fire. Israel decided to allow 80 trucks loaded with supplies to enter Gaza. Now, if everyone can hold off shooting, the cease fire might actually produce peaceful results.
Conservatives forces in the Anglican church rebelled and are determined to form a new Anglican church that will combat changes being made such as consecration of gays, lesbians, and women as priests in the church. They are upset with the Archbishop of Canterbury who they believe is supporting these attacks on what they consider to be the real Anglican religion. A Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Foca, will be formed in the coming weeks in order to provide a base for those who seek the traditional trappings of the Anglican church. Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria decried the “forces of militant secularism and pluralism” as the reason why people are turning away from the Anglican church.
There is much more conservatism among Anglican clergy in Africa, South America and Asia than among those from more economically developed societies. The split is most probably as much stemming from geographical and economic factors as from religion. People in more advanced societies include those from diverse backgrounds and thus are more sensitive to the need for pluralism.
It is seven years since the United States armed forces drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and the Bush administration assured the world a new democratic society would be created in that country. In the past few days, battles raged in southern Afghanistan as coalition forces and the Taliban battled one another. US troops called in air strikes but still had to fight against Talban forces which were ready with weapons and rockets even after planes left the scene. The US claimed 36 militants were killed, but as the Army Times notes: “It is not possible to verify the military account of the fighting” and casualties due to the remote nature of the battle.
In a report issued by the Defense Department, it was emphasized, “the struggle between security forces and Islamic militants is intensifying across the southern half of Afghanistan, illustrating the limited success of the nearly seven year effort to stabilize the country.” The Pentagon went on to note, the Taliban “will maintain and even increase their scope and pace of its terrorist attacks and bombing in 2008.”
Seven years is a considerable time to be fighting a war and one must raise questions as to the planning and goals of such an objective whose results are getting worse rather than better. Will Afghanistan witness a “surge” of troops?
Posted in Asia, George Bush, Human Rights, Islam, Military, Multicultural, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Afghanistan, Coalition forces, Taliban