Bloomberg Meets With Muslim Cab Driver Stabbed in Hate Crime Attack

NEW YORK (WPIX) — The Muslim taxi cab driver brutally attacked this week by a college student met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at City Hall Thursday. Both men called for tolerance and for calm over the debate that has reached feverish pitch over the proposed mosque and Islamic center by the former World Trade Center site.

“Of course it was for my religion,” said Ahmed Sharif, the cabbie who was slashed several times when asked if there was any doubt he was attacked because he is Muslim.

Michael Enright, a 21 year-old Brewster, New York resident and a senior at the School of Visual Arts, is being held without bail. Enright recently volunteered to work on a documentary following soldiers serving in Afghanistan, and as a passenger in Sharif’s cab allegedly went on a slashing spree after learning the cabbie is Muslim.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says Enright was drunk at the time of his arrest and made a bizarre statement to police when he was taken into custody saying, “you’re violating my rights, I’m jewish.”

“This city must be safe for everyone,” said Sharif on the steps of City Hall, the father of 4 took the tone as a pitch man for tolerance.

Those around him are convinced his attack was fueled by the heated rhetoric over the Park51 proposal to build an Islamic Center and Mosque on Park Place, 2 blocks away from the former World Trade Center site.

Fla. Church Denied Permit to Burn Qurans

Fla. Church Denied Permit to Burn Qurans

Gainesville city officials have denied a burn permit for a church that plans to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11.

Interim Fire Chief Gene Prince said Wednesday that an open burning of books is not allowed under the city’s burning ordinance.

The Dove World Outreach Center drew international attention after announcing its plan to burn copies of the Islamic holy text on church grounds to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Prince says the church will be fined if it holds the burning.

In an e-mail sent out Wednesday, the church said, “City of Gainesville denies burn permit – BUT WE WILL STILL BURN KORANS.”

The Gainesville church made headlines last year after distributing T-shirts that said “Islam is of the Devil.”

Thanks to JT. Hundley for the link

Obama Is Wrong – Sam Harris

Obama Is Wrong – Sam Harris

After weeks of dodging the issue, at a White House Ramadan dinner Friday night, President Obama came out in support of Park51, the planned Muslim community center and mosque two blocks away from the World Trade Center site.

While the project may represent religious tolerance, it also highlights the failure of moderate Muslims to condemn extremists and try to seriously reform Islam, says author Sam Harris—something the president has failed to acknowledge.

Should a 15-story mosque and Islamic cultural center be built two blocks from the site of the worst jihadist atrocity in living memory? Put this way, the question nearly answers itself. This is not to say, however, that I think we should prevent our fellow citizens from building “the ground zero mosque.” There is probably no legal basis to do so in any case—nor should there be. But the margin between what is legal and what is desirable, or even decent, leaves room for many projects that well-intentioned people might still find offensive. If you can raise the requisite $100 million, you might also build a shrine to Satan on this spot, complete with the names of all the non-believing victims of 9/11 destined to suffer for eternity in Hell. You could also build an Institute of “9/11 Truth,” catering to the credulity, masochism, and paranoia of the 16 percent of Americans who imagine that the World Trade Center was intentionally demolished by agents of the U.S. government. Incidentally, any shrine to conspiracy thinking should probably also contain a mosque, along with a list of the 4,000 Jews who suspiciously declined to practice their usury in the Twin Towers on the day of the attack.

The New York Times has declared that the proposed mosque will be nothing less than “a monument to tolerance.” It goes without saying that tolerance is a value to which we should all be deeply committed. Nor can we ignore the fact that many who oppose the construction of this mosque embody all that is terrifyingly askew in conservative America—“birthers,” those sincerely awaiting the Rapture, opportunistic Republican politicians, and utter lunatics who yearn to see Sarah Palin become the next president of the United States (note that Palin herself probably falls into several of these categories). These people are wrong about almost everything under the sun. The problem, however, is that they are not quite wrong about Islam.

In his speech supporting the mosque, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: “We would betray our values—and play into our enemies’ hands—if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else.” This statement has the virtue of being almost true. But it is also true that honest, freedom-loving Muslims should be the first to view their fellow Muslims somewhat differently. At this point in human history, Islam simply is different from other faiths. The challenge we all face, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, is to find the most benign and practical ways of mitigating these differences and of changing this religion for the better.

[continues]

Pope Benedict Rejects Pedophile’s Resignation

Pope Benedict rejects Irish bishop’s resignation

In a move that has stunned critics Pope Benedict XVI has rejected the resignations of two Dublin auxiliary bishops.

Bishop Raymond Field and Bishop Eamonn Walsh had both tendered their resignations in 2009 in the wake of the Murphy report into clerical child abuse.

Both men had come under intense pressure because they had served as bishops during the period investigated by the Murphy Commission into clerical child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The Murphy Commission in Ireland found that sexual abuse was ‘endemic’ in boys’ institutions but that the church hierarchy protected the perpetrators and allowed them to take up new positions teaching other children after their original victims had been sworn to secrecy.

‘Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops,’ Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said in a letter to priests of the Archdiocese reported in The Irish Catholic.

The two men are to be assigned revised responsibilities within the archdiocese, according to Doctor Martin.

Announcing their resignations in December, the two auxiliary bishops said: ‘It is our hope that our action may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. We again apologize to them.’

Now their gesture of reconciliation has been halted by the pontiff. Archbishop Martin said the two men are ‘to be assigned revised responsibilities within the diocese.’

Doctor Walsh was appointed auxiliary bishop in Dublin in April 1990, while Doctor Field was appointed in September, 1997.

Gary O’Sullivan of The Irish Catholic says that the decision by the Pope has come as a surprise.

‘Well I think it’s quite a turnaround, this was not expected,’ he said. ‘It was expected that the resignations would be accepted in time. I think for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin this is really the Vatican saying ‘you got this wrong,’ he added.

A Message to Those Praying for Christopher Hitchens

A Message to Those Praying for Christopher Hitchens

On behalf of Christopher Hitchens, who thinks all of this skydaddy talk is ridiculous, thanks to all of you who wrote in to Goldblog to report that they would be praying for him as he undergoes treatment for esophageal cancer (you can hear him talk about his current predicament here). I would like to reiterate, of course, that Hitchens is still solidly atheist (strike that “still,” actually, because it implies his mind will change, which I don’t think will happen, at least, as he says, in reference to the mind we know today as Hitchens’s mind—what medicine does to his mind is a different story), but nevertheless I can report that he does not mock those who say they are praying on his behalf. What you could really, do, of course, if you’re interested in making Hitch happy, is buy this book.

As for the few of you who wrote to Goldblog to say they were praying for Hitch’s death, I can say that he does not care one way or another what you do or think or pray, but on behalf of myself and the entire team here at The Atlantic, let me just say, Go fuck yourselves.

I believe God will forgive me for that one.

Sick woman who went to Lourdes to cure cerebral palsy returns with two broken legs

Sick woman who went to Lourdes to cure cerebral palsy returns with two broken legs

A disabled woman went on a healing pilgrimage to Lourdes – and returned with broken legs.

The family of cerebral palsy sufferer Patricia Mitchell have launched legal action against the organisers of the trip after she fell 4ft from a hoist.

Mrs Mitchell, who was wheelchair-bound, broke her left leg in three places and her right leg once.

Her family say she never fully recovered from the fall and she died earlier this year aged 63.

Her sisters Pauline Scarr and Terry Featherstone are now suing for tens of thousands of pounds.

Mrs Featherstone, 60, said: ‘You go to Lourdes to get cured and she came back  with two broken legs. It’s unbelievable.’

Mrs Scarr, 62, said: ‘We want justice now for Patricia. I want answers.’

Mrs Mitchell, from Bowburn, County Durham, was born with cerebral palsy and had never been able to work. As well as her lifelong condition, she had also survived breast cancer and the death of her husband Ian in 1995.

A devout Roman Catholic, she had travelled to Lourdes several times hoping for a miracle healing, and on one occasion had met Pope John Paul II.

She returned to Lourdes in August 2005 for a the £450 week-long stay with HCPT: The Pilgrimage Trust and Disabled Together.

Two volunteer carers had just helped bathe Mr Mitchell when she fell about 4ft  to the ground from a hoist.

She was assessed by a nurse but was told she had not sustained serious injuries, her sisters say.

It was only when Mrs Mitchell returned to the North East that it emerged she had broken her left leg in three places and her right leg once.

For a time, doctors feared they may have to amputate.

After a few weeks Mrs Mitchell left hospital, but, her sisters claim, was never the same and she died on February 4 this year.

Mrs Scarr said: ‘It’s so sad. She was disabled, but she led a good life and I think if it wasn’t for the fall, she would still be here today.’

A spokesman for HCPT said she was unable to comment as the matter was with the  organisation insurers.

Disabled Together did not respond to a request for interview.