- The Washington Times - Friday, September 22, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Corriere della Sera

The Pope and Islam

MILAN — While some members of the Islamic world are satisfied with Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration about his speech in Germany, others still call for an apology, while some continue to show off with violent demonstrations and death threats.

Islamic extremism has mobilized to show its capability to gain hegemony over the Muslim world, to show just how strong it is, while claiming that the West remains weak and fearful.

During the crisis caused by the satirical cartoons [depicting the prophet Muhammad], Europe suffered the most resounding aggression against its freedom of expression since the days of totalitarianism and, for the most part, the conflict was won by the aggressor.

Europe has tacitly acknowledged that from now on, the freedom to use satire can be applied to everything except Islam, where, in comparison, self-censorship is a duty.

Owen Sound Sun Times

The Maher Arar case

Owen Sound, Canada — … Prime Minister Stephen Harper now has an opportunity to attempt to right the wrongs done to Maher Arar and his family. He should do so without delay.

[Mr. Arar, a Canadian citizen born in Syria, who moved to Canada with his parents in his teens, was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in 2002 while returning from an overseas trip with his family on incorrect information given to U.S. authorities by Canadian police. The software engineer was flown to Syria by the U.S. government where he was imprisoned for nearly a year and reportedly tortured to obtain information about terrorism.]

At the very least, Arar deserves an abject public apology, as well as compensation for lost income, and damages. Those damages will be significant: Arar now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and had been unable to find work since his ordeal.

Times

The coup in Thailand

LONDON — The tanks surrounding Government House and the declaration of a state of emergency were the first unmistakable signs in Bangkok of an attempted coup.

Despite their alarm, few Thais will be surprised: Thaksin Shinawatra, the headstrong and heavy-handed prime minister, has many enemies, has mishandled the Muslim insurgency in the south, and has been politically discredited by holding an election in April that was largely boycotted by the opposition and subsequently annulled.

The army appears to have taken advantage of his absence in New York at the United Nations to try to force him out before the next election, rescheduled for November. Plotting has been rife for weeks.

There are two issues fueling the current unrest in Thailand: Allegations of widespread corruption by Mr. Thaksin, his family and his cronies; and the Muslim rebellion in the three southernmost provinces that has turned a separatist movement into a full military confrontation. …

Mr. Thaksin’s handling of both has been lamentable, but that does not justify an illegal attempt to force him from power. The army must return to barracks.

Yomiuri Shimbun

North Korean sanctions

TOKYO — North Korea has been steadfastly refusing to return to the six-way talks on its nuclear development program and has not shown any intention of agreeing to a moratorium on its missile launches. In light of this, there was no option but to increase pressure on the country.

The government imposed financial sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday. The sanctions effectively ban 15 North Korean-related organizations and trading firms as well as one individual from remitting funds overseas. …

Although more than two months have passed since the adoption of the resolution, North Korea has been ignoring it. Imposing sanctions was the right course of action for the government to take to show Tokyo intends to live up to the sprit of the resolution.

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