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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-22-2008, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Let's go to the movies!

Dutch protest against Islam film
BBC

At least 1,000 people have taken part in a demonstration in Amsterdam against the planned release of a film expected to be highly critical of Islam. Protesters objected to the planned internet release of the film by Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders.

Mr Wilders says the 15-minute film deals with Islamic ideology which he describes as "the enemy of freedom".

The planned release, expected before the end of this month, has sparked angry responses in the Muslim world. Some protesters in central Amsterdam carried signs that said "Stop the witch hunt against Muslims".

"We can no longer remain silent. There is a climate of hate and fear in the Netherlands," said Rene Danen, a spokesman from anti-racism organisation Nederland Bekent Kleur (The Netherlands Shows its Colours), which organised the protest.

The Dutch government has disassociated itself from Mr Wilders' views, but there are fears the film will spark protests similar to those that followed the publication in Denmark two years ago of cartoons seen as offensive to Muslims.

The film has already been condemned by several Muslim countries, including Iran and Pakistan.

'Fight for freedom'

Mr Wilders' film is entitled Fitna, an Arabic word used to describe strife or discord, usually religious.

Mr Wilders wrote a commentary in a Dutch newspaper on Saturday. "The film is not so much about Muslims as about the Koran and Islam. The Islamic ideology has as its utmost goal the destruction of what is most dear to us, our freedom," he wrote in De Volkskrant.

"Fitna is the last warning for the West. The fight for freedom has only just begun," he said.

Mr Wilders says he plans to release his film on the internet before the end of the month. He has had police protection since Dutch director Theo van Gogh was killed by a radical Islamist in 2004.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-22-2008, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Pope baptizes famous Muslim convert
By Philip Pullella
Sat Mar 22, 6:45 PM ET

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict led the world's Catholics into Easter on Saturday at a Vatican service where he baptized a Muslim-born convert who is one of Italy's most famous and controversial journalists.

The German-born pontiff, marking the third Easter season of his pontificate, began the service in the atrium of a darkened St Peter's Basilica where he carved the Greek letters Alpha and Omega on a large candle.

The basilica became a sea of flickering flames as thousands of faithful inside lit candles before the lights were turned on in a ritual symbolizing the darkness in the world after Christ's death and the light of the resurrection.

Easter, the most important day in the Church's liturgical calendar, commemorates Christ rising from the dead three days after he was crucified.

In his sermon, Benedict wove a connection between the resurrection of Christ and the sacrament of baptism, the initiation rite of Christianity.

"...from the abyss of death he was able to rise to life. Now he raises us from death to true life. This is exactly what happens in baptism," the pope said.

The pope traditionally baptizes newborns on January 1 and adult converts to Catholicism on Easter eve.

One of the seven adults he baptized on Saturday night was Magdi Allam, 55, an Egyptian-born journalist who, as deputy director of the leading newspaper Corriere della Sera, is one of Italy's best-known intellectuals.

Allam, a fierce critic of Islamic extremism and a strong supporter of Israel, is protected by a police escort because of threats he has received.

WELL-KEPT SECRET

His conversion to Christianity was a well-kept secret, disclosed by the Vatican in a statement less than an hour before the Easter eve service started.

"For the Catholic Church, each person who asks to receive baptism after a deep personal search, a fully free choice and adequate preparation, has a right to receive it," it said.

Allam defended the pope in 2006 when the pontiff made a speech in Regensburg, Germany, that many Muslims perceived as depicting Islam as a violent faith.

The Vatican statement announcing Allam was joining Catholicism said all newcomers were "equally important before God's love and welcome in the community of the Church."

Allam, who has been living in Italy for 35 years, has said he was never a very devout Muslim. Still, his conversion to Christianity came as a surprise.

"What amazes me is the high profile the Vatican has given this conversion," Yaha Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, vice-president of the Italian Islamic Religious Community, told Reuters.

The Easter eve service was the first of three at which the pope presides. On Sunday he will celebrate a mass and then deliver his twice-yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing and message.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-22-2008, 09:47 PM
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What a sticky situation. On one hand you need to respect the ways of cultures different than your own, and on the other you must judge everything and do what your little idea of what right and wrong is. Force feeding only leads to backlash. Manipulation leads to addiction and addiction leads to materialism and that ends right back at our little corner of the world. Questions?
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