Archivos para noviembre 2, 2011



by Andrew ClarkPosted: Monday, October 31, 2011, 15:05 (GMT)

Europe's political leaders condemn crackdown on CoptsEgypt’s Christians are angry that authorities have allowed repeated attacks on Christians AP

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have condemned the massacre of peaceful protesters in Egypt and Syria, and have passed a resolution this week calling for authorities in the nations to do more to protect vulnerable and targeted Christian communities.

MEPs voted by a show of hands to pass the resolution on the escalating situations in Egypt and Syria, and highlighted in particular the recent slaughter of Christians in Egypt that saw dozens massacred by government army personnel.

Reports indicate that tens of thousands of Coptic Christians have fled Egypt in the past six months. Most have left fearing for their lives as Islamic extremists attack Christian churches and residences with increasing regularity and ferocity.

Violence erupted in Cairo on October 9 when thousands of Coptic Christians gathered to protest against the burning of a Coptic church in Southern Aswan which took place on September 30. The burning was carried out allegedly by local hardline Muslims who claimed the church did not have the license for the construction of a dome.

The October 9 protests saw 27 Copts slaughtered and more than 300 wounded.

Now MEPs have finally come out to strongly condemn the killings, and have stresses the importance of an independent and transparent investigation into the bloody incident.

The MEP resolution says that authorities should ensure that Copts do not fall victim to violent attacks and can live in peace and freely express their beliefs throughout the country, according to IEWY News.

In particular, MEPs have called for the greater protection of churches in Egypt, and for there to be an end to their destruction and to the continuous aggression by Islamic extremists.

The kidnapping of Coptic girls has also alarmed the MEPs. Reports have revealed how young Christian girls in the country have been kidnapped from their families and physically threatened to force their conversion to Islam.

The European resolution also adds that Egyptian authorities must bring an end to discrimination against Coptic Christians.

It has been suggested that the European Parliament would urge the EU to consider taking further measures if serious human rights violations continue to occur in Egypt.

According to IEWY News, the MEPs also have called for an end to the emergency law imposed by the military interim government, and in particular suggest that the immediately-held military trials of civilians in the country could be violating basic rights such as the freedom of expression, association and assembly.

The European politicians also highlighted concerns towards Syria; the resolution points out that thousands of Iraqi Christians fled to Syria to escape persecution and violence following the fall of Saddam Hussein. However, despite that influx of Christians arriving in the country, the total Christian population in Syria has declined from 10 percent to just eight percent.

The MEPs suggest that a lack of protection for Christian communities has seen thousands flee the country to escape targeted persecution.

The brutal force used by Syrian authorities against protesters, pro-democracy activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and medical personnel, reveals that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime must relinquish power immediately, the MEPs have said.

Although intended to be peaceful, violence broke out when military personnel commenced a crackdown on the protest.

Mourners have blamed the Egyptian army for the high death toll, arguing that the Christian march was absolutely peaceful until the military started a crackdown. The ensuing clashes reportedly saw Islamic extremists join the attacks against the Christians, and even saw a military vehicle driven into crowds of protesters.

Some rights activists reported military personnel firing directly into the crowds of Christians.

“They were armed with swords, sticks and stones – some of them had rifles, it seems,” Father Rafic Greiche, official spokesman for the Catholic Church of Egypt, previously said in a statement.

“They did not have to use force. It was a peaceful demonstration,” he added.

Question marks have also surrounded media in the region, as one state-controlled TV station admitted to making up news as the Coptic Christian protest was taking place. The false report stated that Christians had attacked and killed military personnel trying to keep order; however, those reports were later proven to be false and entirely fabricated. The falsified reports are now thought to have directly attributed to the violent outbreaks and brutal crackdown by military officials and Muslim hardliners against protesting Christians.

 

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By Anugrah Kumar | Christian Post Contributor

Undocumented immigrants in California will soon be able to receive state-financed aid to attend college as Gov. Jerry Brown Saturday signed into law the second half of a legislative package known as the California Dream Act.

“Taking action to expand educational opportunity to all qualified students, Governor Edmund G. [Jerry] Brown Jr. today signed the California Dream Act,” the governor’s office announced in a statement Saturday.

“Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,” Brown said. “The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.”

Under the first half of the package signed earlier this year and known as AB 130, undocumented students pay resident tuition rates if they have graduated from a California high school and affirmed that they are in the process of applying to legalize their immigration status. Effective January 1, 2013, AB 131, the second half of the package, will make this limited pool of students eligible to apply for Cal Grants and other state aid, Brown’s office said.

Both bills were authored by Assembly member Gil Cedillo, a Democrat from Los Angeles.

“After having invested 12 years in the high schooleducation of these young men and women, who are here through no fault of their own, it’s the smartest thing for us to do to permit these students to get scholarships and be treated like every other student,” Los Angeles Times quoted Cedillo as saying. “We need an educated workforce. This is good for California’s economy and California’s future.”

It is estimated that 2,500 students will qualify for Cal Grants at a cost of $14.5 million – about 1 percent of all Cal Grant funds at $1.4 billion, according to Brown’s office.

The Democratic-controlled Senate approved the bill on Aug. 31.

Republican lawmakers have opposed the measure, saying that benefits are being extended to illegal immigrants at a time when the state is cutting spending on the country’s legal citizens.

Brown’s predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, vetoed similar legislation thrice during his time in office.

Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, a Republican from Santa Clarita, estimates that there are about 40,000 illegal immigrants who might apply for financial aid from the limited funds that are not being increased by the legislation. “Therefore, for every dollar awarded to an undocumented student from that pot of money, a dollar would have to be taken away from a citizen or a legal immigrant,” Smyth was quoted as saying. “I believe that is wrong.”

Opponents warn that such measures should be passed only after reforming the country’s immigration rules, as they could otherwise be seen as endorsement of illegal immigration. But supporters are calling for passage of a federal Dream Act to give college graduates and those who have served in the military a chance to get citizenship.


By Amanda Winkler | Christian Post Reporter

South Carolina’s strict new immigration law is being challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice under the claim that it undermines federal authority.

A lawsuit was filed Monday that seeks to stop the implementation of the law that is scheduled to go into effect in January. The legislation requires law enforcement to call federal immigration officials if they believe someone is in the country illegally. The state law official may only check immigration status after the person has been stopped for something else, for example, speeding. The legislation also requires that business owners check the legal status of newly hired employees.

But the federal government is calling foul.

“The Justice Department has many important tasks and two of the most important tasks it has are defending the Constitution and ensuring equality for all citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles, according to the McClatchy Newspapers.

The defendant is South Carolina’s Indian-American Governor Nikki Haley. Haley is the daughter of Sikh immigrants and believes the law is within her state’s rights.

“As the daughter of immigrants who came to this country legally, Governor Haley understands that no American value is more sacred than the rule of law. That’s what this is about, nothing more, nothing less,” Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey told Politico.com.

“If the Feds were doing their job, we wouldn’t have had to address illegal immigration reform at the state level. But, until they do, we’re going to keep fighting in South Carolina to be able to enforce our laws.”

On the other hand, the Justice Department released a statement saying:

“The Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.”

“South Carolina’s law clearly conflicts with the policies and priorities adopted by the federal government and therefore cannot stand.”

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Tony West said the law crosses the constitutional line. According to the McClatchy Newspapers, West says that a good indication of the illegality of the bill is based on Haley’s own statements at the signing ceremony. Haley said the intent of the law “was to make sure illegal immigrants find another state to go to.”

West said this kind of thinking creates more problems, not solutions.

“A patchwork of state and local immigration laws and policies simply is not the answer,” he said.

The Justice Department states that this will encourage racial profiling. However, South Carolina lawmakers have told reporters that the law does not violate anyone’s civil rights because it is designed to prohibit racial profiling.

“We welcome the federal government’s decision to join the fight against yet another state anti-immigrant law,” Andre Segura, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project told The Christian Post in an email. ACLU is helping to spearhead the lawsuit.

“These discriminatory and unconstitutional laws have no place in our country and must be blocked in South Carolina and in every other state that makes the costly mistake of passing one. Alabama is now seeing some destructive results after parts of its anti-immigrant law took effect, and South Carolina must not follow the same path.”

The Justice Department did not return phone calls by The Christian Post for comments.

 

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