Morning Report: July 19, 2005

British political, Muslim leaders unite against terrorism. Voice of America reports: 'Senior British politicians and Muslims leaders have met to discuss how they can work together to confront Islamic extremists in the aftermath of the recent terrorist bombings that killed 56 people in London. About 25 members of the British Muslim community met for 90 minutes Tuesday with Prime Minister Tony Blair and leaders of the opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties to discuss the terrorist issue. Following the talks, Mr. Blair said there is agreement to form a task force of Muslim leaders who can interact with disaffected youth and steer them away from those who call for violence. "There is a strong desire to have people from the community, able to talk to the Muslim community, particularly young Muslims in their community, and confront this evil ideology, take it on, and defeat it by the force of reason and argument," he said. One of the Muslim participants, lawmaker Shahid Malik of Mr. Blair's ruling Labor party, said his community is ready to tackle the problem. "There is a profound challenge," said Mr. Malik. "I think everybody here is up for that challenge. I think we recognize we've got to work better at confronting those evil voices, as minute as they are, within our communities." The Conservative party leader, Michael Howard, says the Muslim community must take the lead in combating potential terrorists in their midst. ...' (VOA)

Iraqi constitution committee member killed. Debka reports: 'Mijbil Issa and two bodyguards were shot dead Tuesday, July 19 in drive-by shooting near Baghdad’s Green Zone. He was one of 15 Sunnis appointed to 71-man constitution drafting committee. Two have quit following threats from insurgents.Earlier, 13 Iraqis were killed in Baquba when gunmen in two cars ambushed a minibus carrying local workers to the US base in Baquba northeast of Baghdad.'

Omar Fadhil: First Muslim state had secular constitution. Citing Iraqi blobber Samir Hassan (Arabic), Omar at Iraq the Model notes 'a very important point that apparently most Muslims had forgotten; it's the important fact that the in 1st constitution written for a dominantly Muslim society (and by no less than the prophet himself) there was no mention of Islam as the official religion of the state! Muslims somehow dropped this document from their history even though it was named the "Paper" - which suggests it was written to be declared and published, not ignored and forgotten. This state established by the prophet at Yethrib was named "Al-Madina" (which means "The City") and was based on a kind of civil governance free from coercion or oppression. The constitution protected this right for groups and individuals. There is no reference anywhere in the "Paper" to the state's religion or that of its ruler. ...' Read the full post for links to complete English and Arabic text. (ITM)

Belmont Club on antifascist movement in Britain. Wretchard at The Belmont Club offers excerpts from Unite Against Terror, a site featuring British writers - many of them from the left-of-center community - who take a strong stand against terrorism and fascism. (Belmont Club, Unite Against Terror)