Newsletter : 6fax0424.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
April 24, 1996 V4, #74
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Shuttle Diplomacy Takes its Toil
By Ron Pemstein (VOA-Jerusalem)
Secretary of State Warren Christopher has returned to Israel from
Syria without seeing Syrian President Hafez al-Assad on the
American proposal for a ceasefire in southern Lebanon. Security
concerns prevented the Secretary of State from visiting Beirut
Christopher was five minutes away from leaving Damascus for Cyprus
for a helicopter flight to Beirut when NATO's supreme commander,
Gen. George Joulwan, advised him the Lebanese capital had become
too dangerous for his planned nighttime travel. Christopher wanted
to brief Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on the American proposal for
a ceasefire in southern Lebanon.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns says Christopher arrived
in Damascus 20 minutes too late to see Assad Tuesday afternoon but
he will see Assad when he returns to the Syrian capital from
Jerusalem this morning.
When NATO made the recommendation to Christopher to cancel the trip
to Beirut, the Secretary decided not to endanger his staff and
reporters that would have accompanied him to Lebanon.
US Pledges Aid to Israel
By David Gollust (VOA-Pentagon)
Defense Secretary William Perry -- in a Washington address Tuesday
-- vowed to maintain Israel's qualitative military advantage in
the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres will hold
defense talks at the Pentagon early next week.
Perry says the closer the Middle East gets to a comprehensive
peace, the stronger Israel's security needs to be. And he vowed to
maintain Israel's military edge in the face of what he said were
more desperate tactics by the enemies of peace including Hizbullah
in southern Lebanon.
Addressing the Jewish Anti-Defamation League in Washington, Perry
said he will hold defense talks with Peres Sunday on joint projects
including lasers that could defend against the Katyusha rockets
used by Hizbullah.
Pentagon officials say the Peres visit is expected to include the
signing of an agreement formalizing a US commitment of an
additional $200 million for Israel's Arrow anti-missile system,
which could be operational in two years.
In his speech, Perry said the administration will continue using UN
sanctions and other economic means to impede efforts by Iran, Iraq
and Libya to obtain the know-how and materials needed to build
weapons of mass destruction.
But he also said the United States is prepared -- if necessary--
to take "more drastic" measures to prevent them from acquiring
nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
The Defense Secretary described weapons efforts by the so-called
rogue states as the principal threat to Mideast peace-making. But
he drew a distinction between the governments of those countries
and their people: "We must be very clear that the United States
does not oppose Islam. We do not oppose any religion, or the
people Iran, Iraq or Libya. What we oppose is extremism. Extremism
dedicated to violence. Whether it be found in governments,
individuals or groups. Anyone that tries to make a political tool
out of the slaughter of the innocent."
Earlier this month, Perry pointedly refused to rule out military
action to prevent Libya from opening a chemical weapons plant it
is said to be building under a mountain southeast of Tripoli. He
told his Washington audience the United States would have an
overwhelming response to any country that used weapons of mass
destruction against it or its allies.
American Muslims Say They're Being Discriminated Against
By Don Henry (VOA-Washington)
An Islamic advocacy group in the United States has issued a Muslim
civil rights report, listing several hundred incidents of
anti-Muslim bias the past year. The chief author of the study
blames many of the incidents on ignorance about the Islamic
Mohamed Nimer says the study was issued by the Council on
American-Islamic relations on the first anniversary of the Oklahoma
City bombing because that act triggered a sharp wave of anti-Muslim
He says for a few days after the bombing, Muslims were falsely
linked to the attack, and more than 200 cases of verbal abuse or
threats of violence against Muslims in America were reported.
There also were a few cases of actual violence.
He says 80 more incidents have been reported during the past year.
The study shows that vandalism at mosques and discrimination at
the workplace both increased, although verbal abuse declined.
Most worksite cases involved employer objections to women wearing
scarves over their hair while on the job -- or to men having beards
and wearing a kufi, or cap, as part of their Islamic commitment.
Nimer says the underlying cause of the discrimination in many cases
is ignorance about the religious practices of Muslims.
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