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Though the motivation for commissioning the report is political, yet the recommendations if acted upon sincerely, can lead to better community relations in Germany. In the backdrop of the increasing Islamophobia across the world, Germany’s leading political party seems to have taken the right step towards analyzing the problem and its offshoots. The ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), having occupied the chancellor’s office for 57 of the 72 years of the Federal Republic of Germany’s existence, and part of the largest parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has approved a wide-ranging strategy paper to contain the spread of political Islam in Germany.
The strategy paper, “Preserving Free Society, Promoting Social Cohesion, Fighting Political Islamism”, asserts that a growing number of areas in Germany, where Sharia law overrules German law, are in danger of becoming “parallel societies.” The paper also warns that certain foreign governments control many mosques and Islamic associations in Germany, which threatens Germany’s liberal democratic order. The authors of the paper argue that a recent wave of jihadi attacks in Germany and elsewhere in Europe requires urgent measures to stop the “poison” of extremist ideology from gaining further ground on the continent.
The new strategy
The paper, which whole-heartedly commends law-abiding Muslims who respect Germany’s democratic order, argues that the debate about Islamism in Germany is often reduced to violence and terror, but that it is necessary to focus more on ideology. The proposals include improving research and analysis of political Islam in Europe and the methods by which it spreads; banning the foreign funding of mosques; and reducing the number of foreign imams active in Germany.
Arguably the most important proposal involves reversing the German government’s long-standing policy of supporting extremist groups in Germany, which, under the guise of promoting dialogue, has legitimized those groups and fuelled the spread of political Islam in Germany. The paper says: “Focusing only on the violent part of Islamism, Islamist terrorism, does not do justice to the overall problem. Islamism, like other extremisms, has an ideological basis and the aim must be to explore this ideological underground.”
The strategy paper offers a Five-Point Action Plan aimed at understanding and fighting political Islam:
First, it calls for supporting basic research on political Islamism in Germany and Europe. This includes: establishing academic chairs to focus on Islamism and its structures, implementing a scientific study to better understand the extent to which political Islamism is influencing children, young people, and adolescents. Secondly, it urges terminating state cooperation and contractual relationships with organizations of political Islamism.
Thirdly, it calls for training Imams in Germany. The proposal calls for providing academic and spiritual training for imams in Germany while maintaining religious freedom and the separation of state and religious communities. Fourthly, the paper calls for increased transparency of membership structures and financing flows, including donations, subsidies, contracts, and collaborations, to the federal tax office by the mosques functioning in Germany.
Finally, it calls for Preventing radicalization, through improved cooperation between federal, state, and local governments and civil society. Through investigating the risk of radicalization processes in the penal system in Germany; and expanding information and awareness programs for specialists from the areas of police, justice, school and education, social work, youth welfare, and refugee aid, among others.
Mouhanad Khorchide, a Lebanese-Austrian Islamic theologian and sociologist who is a professor of Islamic pedagogy at the University of Munster in Germany, speaking to Soeren Kern of the New York-based Gatestone Institute said that the policy paper reflects a growing awareness of the problem of political Islam in Germany. However, renowned Frankfurt-based Islamic scholar Susanne Schrï¿½ter expressed skepticism about the new strategy, while speaking to Ms. Kern. She said that secular states have a fundamental challenge when dealing with Islam, which is political by nature due to its law, Sharia.
The strategy has been greeted with a mix of approval, cynicism, and skepticism. Some critics describe it as an electoral gimmick, federal elections are scheduled for September 22 in Germany, CDU’s strategy is aimed at countering the increasing influence of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has long called for a crackdown on political Islam.
According to a report published by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in June 2009, of the roughly 4 million Muslims living in Germany, most are Sunnis and Alevites from Turkey and Syria, of the migrant groups Turkish (3.2 percent) and those from South Asia (2.7 percent) are the biggest groups. The strategy seems to be a step in the right direction, to address an issue faced by many western nations i.e. of increasing Islamophobia and the role of Muslims in western societies.
But to qualify as an effective tool every strategy needs to balance views and actions from both sides, particularly in the context of sociological and societal issues. The strategy’s attempt to brand vocal Islam as political Islamism is just another effort by western analysts to give one more nomenclature to the questioning or assertive Islam, which asks why the same set of facilities or services are not provided to the minority communities in county’s where they are given shelter.
If they protest against the disrespectful depiction of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), the most central and revered person in Islam, then they are termed, Islamist extremists. Here we forget that the Right to expression gives the right to both parties, not just one. Further, there is a need to understand that there is no such thing as political Islam or political Islamism. Yes, Islam provides guidelines to govern but then they are applicable in those countries where there is an Islamic form of government. Islam never asks you to agitate for changing the rules of the country which gives you shelter.
Further, there is no basis to conclude that Islamic groups strive to establish Sharia-abiding societies in western countries. Yes, every walk of life of a Muslim is governed by Sharia rules but it is not binding on you to follow each and every rule. Further, the report asserts that asking for Halal food is being fundamentalist, forgetting that every religion or society has its own dietary laws and demanding or arranging them is not unconstitutional. Can Germany ask its Jewish citizens not to demand Kosher food?
However, the effort is appreciative in the sense that it calls for further research on the issue and engaging with the community more. For its Imam’s training program it can learn from the ‘Imam as a Chaplain’ program of the British government. It can also try to learn from the mistakes of the British government’s CONTEST strategy and its Prevent program. Lastly, it would be in a much better space if it would be willing to engage with the liberal and broad-minded Islamic religious leaders belonging to the Deobandi school of Islam.
A large percentage of Turkish and Pakistanis, are influenced by the principles and ideology of Deobandi Islam. But the policymakers refuse to engage with the influential leaders and religious scholars, as they have no connection with them and also prefer not to have any input from the community leaders working at the grassroots level. (IANS/JC)
( political Islamism influence, Islamism in Germany, Political Islamism, political Islam in Germany)
Children exposed to high levels of air pollution are up to 50 per cent more likely to self-harm later in life, suggested a study that adds to evidence of link between air pollution and mental health problems. Researchers from the University of Manchester in England and Aarhus University examined 1.4million kids under 10 in Denmark and found that those exposed to a high level of nitrogen dioxide were more likely to self harm in adulthood than their peers, the Daily Mail reported.
And people in the same age group exposed to above average levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were 48 per cent more likely to subsequently self-harm, revealed the study published in the journal Preventive Medicine. Nitrogen dioxide is mainly produced by cars, while PM2.5 is mainly emitted by burning diesel and petrol, which is most commonly used for shipping and heating. These two pollutants are among those most commonly linked with causing harm to physical health, such as heart and lung diseases, by getting into the bloodstream and causing inflammation.
"Our findings add to the growing evidence-base indicating that higher levels of air pollution exposure are linked with poor mental health outcomes," lead author Dr Pearl Mok, a research fellow at Manchester University was quoted as saying. "Although air pollution is widespread, it is a modifiable risk factor and we therefore hope our study findings will inform policymakers who are devising strategies to combat this problem," Mok added.
"Our findings add to the growing evidence-base indicating that higher levels of air pollution exposure are linked with poor mental health outcomes," lead author Dr Pearl Mok | Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash
While the researchers have not explained the mechanism for how these pollutants can cause mental health problems, they say high pollution levels could trigger inflammation in the brain, leading to mental health conditions, the report said. Childhood is a 'sensitive time for brain development', so youngsters may be 'particularly susceptible' to negative effects from toxic particles in the air, they added.
Further, the team found that some 32,984 people (2.3 per cent) harmed themselves in the study period, with cases higher among women, those whose parents had mental illness and individuals from poorer families. Exposure to an average of 19 microgram/m3 or more of particulate matter each day was associated with a 48 per cent higher chance of self-harming later in life, compared to children exposed to an average of 13 microgram/m3 per day or less. And for every 5 microgram/m3 increase in exposure above 19 microgram/m3, the risk of self harm rose by 42 per cent. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: pollution, kids, exposure, pollution, self-harm, development
By- Tejas Maheta
When attempting to summarise the current performance and future portents for the South Asia economy, it's arguable that most of the region's nations are doing relatively well.
Malaysia offers a relevant case in point, as despite combatting Covid-19 whilst also dealing with a global oil price crash and political instability, the nation is poised to record economic growth of 0.5% by the end of 2020.
Sure, this is noticeably down on the initial 2002 forecast of 4.8% growth, but it needs to be considered against the backdrop of an unprecedented combination of socio-economic and geopolitical challenges.
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Similar trends have been reported in Vietnam and Hong Kong, the former of which has recorded no coronavirus deaths at all and remains one of the few nations on course to achieve economic growth this year. But which nations are really leading the recovery in this region, and what should we expect going forward?
Surviving Covid - Currencies and Stimulus Packages
Of course, one thing that unites these nations is the proactive rollout of generous stimulus and quantitative easing packages, with Malaysia having provided an RM295 billion injection into the economy.
Of this, an estimated 15% (approximately RM45 billion) is a direct fiscal injection in the government, with the remaining capital introduced in the form of slashing base interest rates and managing inflation.
Hong Kong has also introduced several rounds of quantitative easing measures since February, with April's iteration providing an HKD120 billion relief package and taking the total government stimulus investment to HKD290 (which equates to 9.5% of Hong Kong's gross domestic product).
In the case of both Malaysia and Hong Kong, these measures have also helped to boost the value of domestic currencies. The Hong Kong dollar rose for the fifth consecutive day last week, for example, while the HK Monetary Authority sold a further HK£3.72 billion of local currency and continued to boost their capital inflows as a result.
The Malaysian Ringgit has also performed relatively well against major currencies of late, although it faces additional challenges in the form of the recent global oil price decline.
So, although crude oil prices have recently rebounded slightly, Malaysia's currency value has been impacted by rising capital outflows and forced to trade within an increasingly narrowing range.
Common Ringgit notes Image source: wikimedia commons
A Look Ahead - What Can we Expect?
Asia was the region first affected by Covid-19, and therefore it stands to reason that its nations should have commenced their recovery quicker than those in Europe and the US.
Interestingly, the shoots of recovery may be green in more ways than one, with the Export-Import Bank of Korea leading the return of Asian green bonds in the primary financial market.
Also Read: Zimbabwe Ends Its Interim Currency
Of course, the idea of sustainable finance and investment has been a hot-button topic in Asia for a while now, while we've also seen a significant increase in demand for Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) bonds in recent times.
This followed the introduction of a 700 million Euro green bond and Korea's pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (following hot on the footsteps of the UK).
With these points in mind, there's clearly the potential for Asia to build on its relative strength and initial Covid-19 recovery by investing in sustainable assets and building a considerably greener future.
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains commercial links)
How Can A Person Create His Cryptocurrency, And What Are The Benefits Of Creating His Cryptocurrency?
By- Jean Nichols
Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency, and many people have been inspired by bitcoin, and they started to create their cryptocurrency. Even many people are creating their cryptocurrency. Daily there is a new cryptocurrency that is created daily. In this further, we will discuss the factors required to make our cryptocurrencies are.
What are the benefits of cryptocurrency?
There are many benefits of investing in cryptocurrency on https://bitcoin-loophole.live/ . Because of this reason; there are many people who have shifted from the share market to cryptocurrency for investment purposes and for earning huge profits.
●The primary advantage of cryptocurrency is that the market of cryptocurrency is very volatile and rises and falls very quickly. So just by getting the knowledge, one can very quickly invest in cryptocurrencies.
●The second main advantage of investing in bitcoin is that it is a universal currency. One can easily invest in cryptocurrencies and use Them in any part of the world.
●This is a universal currency, so it is straightforward to make international transactions through it. International transactions take very little time on this platform.
There are some of the other primary advantages too, like less time-consuming, low transaction charges, etc.
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A chart depicting crypsocurrency rates and prices Image source: wikimedia commons
Are factors necessary for creating your own cryptocurrency?
While creating your own cryptocurrency, there are some factors that need to be taken care of before starting work on them.
●The major thing which is required in this is that we require a professional coder who has essential experience. He can help us create our own cryptocurrency by doing satisfactory coding.
●Another thing we need is the blockchain. In the case of the blockchain, we can create our own blockchain, which would cost very high and which would be very time consuming; instead of that, we can use the blockchain of some other cryptocurrency. Now there comes the difference, if we are creating our own blockchain, then it will be known as the coin, and if we are using the blockchain of some other crypto, then it will be known as a token.
●Another major thing required for creating our own cryptocurrency is that we need full-time customer care support, which can handle customers easily.
●Another thing is that we require a proper payment gateway so that we can make the money transfers very conveniently.
●The last factor which controls all the above factors is that we need a considerable investment amount and along with that the investors.
What are the advantages of new cryptocurrency?
There are many advantages of creating own cryptocurrencies:
●The owner of the cryptocurrency can hold a large proportion of the bitcoin on his own, and when the prices of the crypto rise, then he can easily sell the crypto in proportions and can live a luxurious life.
●The prices of the new cryptocurrencies rise; there are no chances of falling down of the bitcoin prices as the new crypto price rises continually as anyone invests in it.
Bitcoin is well on its way to replacing or globalising currency Image source: wikimedia commons
As with the time, a new cryptocurrency should give some benefits to the users:
●It should provide fewer transaction charges as much as possible; this is also the main thing that matters in cryptocurrency.
●The payment gateway should be the best, and there should not be the payments on hold in it; the user hates these types of things.
●Customer service should be the best one and deal with the customers in the best way possible. Because polite customer service can impress the customer and he will recommend others to invest in the cryptocurrency.
Here we have discussed the factors which are very necessary for a new cryptocurrency. There are benefits both to the users as well as to the people who are investing in cryptocurrency. The owner of the cryptocurrency will earn money by keeping the central part of the holdings and sales in it in the future.
The users can earn profits by investing in it initially and sell it in early times as there will be the price of the crypto in the skies. So, this was all about creating your own cryptocurrency; the only problem which arises is that there comes the problem of the funds' collection.
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains some commercial links)