Archive for The National

King of Bollywood Detained in the US….Again

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on April 23, 2012 by loonwatch

Shahrukh Khan

Shahrukh Khan

India boasts the largest film industry in the world, and Shahrukh Khan is one of Bollywood’s biggest stars. The Muslim actor was recently detained at a US airport–for the second time in three years.

The incident caused a stir in India and once again raised questions of ethnic profiling, but Khan seemed to take it in stride. Later when addressing students at Yale University, he quipped:

“Yes it always happens, it’s nice. Whenever I start feeling arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America.”

“The immigration guys kick the stars out of stardom,” said Khan, who boasted of some small victories when he was questioned under detention, such as fibbing about his height.

“The next time I’m gonna be more adventurous. What colour are you? I’m gonna say white,” Khan said.

What’s in a name?

Editorial, The National

Shah Rukh Khan has more Facebook fans than Tom Cruise (2.58 million to 1.79 million) and has acted in more films (78) than most Hollywood A listers do in a lifetime. And yet, he still can’t get through immigration in New York without trouble.

During a weekend visit to the US to be honoured at Yale University, Khan was detained for two hours at the small regional airport in White Plains, NY. Were this the king of Bollywood’s first run-in with American border policy it might have been a mere inconvenience. Coming after a similar detention in 2009, it looks like a trend.

US officials, clearly embarrassed, defended their screening of Khan by rejecting allegations of profiling. As State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Friday, Khan was less “detained” than he was “simply delayed”. But anyone with a Muslim-sounding name who has travelled to the US since September 11 2001 will find this explanation unsatisfying.

Two US administrations in a row, one Republican and one Democratic, have subordinated everything else, often including common sense, to an obsession with security.

Nor has this been done intelligently: Islamophobia has been in practice – though not, at least, in theory – a frequent element of this policy. Combined with American ignorance of the rest of the world, that leads to incidents like this one, ludicrous if they weren’t so damaging.

******

The Daily Show, following the prior incident in 2009:

Germany holds state ceremony for Muslims murdered by neo-Nazis

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by loonwatch
German Neo-Nazi
A neo Nazi carrying a German imperial flag. (AP)

According to the German intelligence services, up to 30,000 Germans are believed to hold far-right beliefs — and among those, one-third are bent on violence. Critics claim authorities preoccupied with Muslim extremists have overlooked this growing problem.

Germany holds state ceremony for Muslims murdered by neo-Nazis

by David Crossland, The National

BERLIN // Germany held a state ceremony and observed a nationwide minute of silence yesterday in honour of the 10 people, most of them Muslim shopkeepers, who were shot dead by neo-Nazis during a seven-year killing spree.

Angela Merkel, the chancellor, said the murders, uncovered by chance last November, had brought shame on the nation. She apologised to the families for police errors that critics have blamed on institutional racism.

“The murders were an assault on our country. They are a disgrace to our country,” she told a memorial service in Berlin attended by 1,200 people, including relatives of the victims.

The shootings started in 2000 and continued until 2007, targeting small businessmen including a flower seller, a grocer, a kiosk owner and two doner kebab shop managers.

They happened in cities across Germany, from Munich in the south to Rostock on the north coast, and the same handgun was used each time. A German policewoman was also killed.

Police failed to investigate a possible racist motive, instead suspecting that the families might be involved or that the victims had been caught up in illegal activities.

Authorities found out by accident last November that the murders were committed by a terrorist group calling itself the National Socialist Underground and made up of three neo-Nazis who had been on the run for more than a decade.

Two of them, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, committed suicide after a botched bank robbery. A DVD claiming responsibility for all the killings was found in an apartment they had used with the third member, Beate Zschäpe, who was arrested.

The discovery of the trio was a major embarrassment for German security authorities. It exposed them to accusations of having been blind to the threat of far-right violence and preoccupied with Islamist militants since the September 11 attacks.

A parliamentary inquiry has been set up and steps are underway to improve coordination among national and regional intelligence authorities. But critics say deeper change is needed, not only in the organisation of the security services but in the mindset of the police.

“Some of the relatives were themselves under suspicion for years. That is terrible. I ask your forgiveness for that,” said Mrs Merkel. “These years must have been a never-ending nightmare for you,” she said.

For years, the murders were dismissively referred to by the media and the police as the “Doner Killings” because of the stereotype of Turks running kebab shops. The relatives were given little attention.

“Indifference has a creeping but disastrous effect,” said Mrs Merkel. “It drives rifts into our society.”

Turkish immigrants and their descendants make up most of Germany’s almost four million Muslims. Even though the community dates back more than half a century, they are still labelled as “foreigners” by many Germans, and live in parallel communities.

For some, the memorial ceremony was overshadowed by criticism from immigrant groups that the government is not doing enough to fight racism, and by warnings from police that there are further potential terrorists in the country’s far-right, which contains 10,000 people categorised by law enforcement as potentially violent.

“The danger of racism shouldn’t be seen as a peripheral problem or just being linked to neo-Nazi violence,” said Aiman Mazyek, the chairman of the Council of Muslims in Germany.

“Racism, anti-Semitism and hostility to Islam can keep on advancing into the centre of society if we don’t resist that more decisively with all democratic means at our disposal.”