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Newsletter. Issue 2006-12. June 10, 2006
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Newsline Canada

Agents watched bomb plot suspects for more than 6 months
Thu, 08 Jun 2006
Excerpt from CBC News

There are new revelations about the alleged bombing plot by a group of Toronto-area men that led to a massive police sweep last week, in court documents made exclusively available to CBC News.

Alleged bomb-plot suspects were in a Brampton courtroom on Tuesday. According to the documents, the group is alleged to have been well-advanced on its plan to attack a number of Canadian institutions, possibly including the Houses of Parliament, the RCMP and the CBC.
The documents repeat what was reported earlier this week, that the plotters hoped to take federal politicians in Ottawa hostage, and demand both the withdrawal of Canadian forces from Afghanistan and the release of some prisoners in Canadian jails. The alleged conspirators intended to decapitate hostages as a means of gaining their demands. But later, the documents claim, one of the members, Zakaria Amara, 20, of Mississauga, Ont., became much more focused on exploding bombs at the heart of Canada's financial district, targeting the Toronto Stock Exchange, as well as the Toronto headquarters of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and an unspecified military installation.

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Special 90 Minute Presentation on Rogers OMNI.2

Home Grown Fear: Facing it Together

Discussion of Issues and Implications

Surrounding Arrest of Suspected Terrorists

Saturday, June 10th at 7PM

Encore presentation: Monday, June 12th at 9 AM

June 8th - Toronto, ON - The recent arrest of 17 locally based terrorism suspects has resonated throughout Muslim and Non-Muslim communities alike, here at home and around the world. Rogers OMNI.2 will examine the many complex issues and implications surrounding this event on Home Grown Fear: Facing it Together, a 90 minute special collaborative presentation from Rogers OMNI-TV's News and Diversity Programming Units, Saturday, June 10th at 7PM. OMNI.2 will air an encore presentation of Home Grown Fear: Facing it Together, Monday, June 12th at 9 AM. Among the social, political and legal realities to be discussed during Home Grown Fear: Facing it Together will be:

* How will the findings of the upcoming trial impact Canada's multiculturalism and our immigration policies?

* What are the human rights implications of today's hyper-vigilant security measures?

* What are police doing to counteract acts and threats of vandalism against the Muslim community? What actions can the community take?

* Where can Muslim and other newcomer communities go for support and how can they work together to guard against backlash?

* How have recent events affected Muslim elders differently than younger members of the community? Is one generation out of touch with the other?

Message from:"Sandy Zwyer" <>

Click for Detail

Ontario To Protect Families' Health With Tough New Standards Updated Air Standards Will Better Protect Ontarians From Lead And Other Harmful Substances

TORONTO, June 7 /CNW/ - The Ontario government is further protecting the health of families, improving air quality and reducing pollution by proposing tough new or updated standards for 15 harmful substances, Environment Minister Laurel Broten announced today at the 2006 Smog Summit co-hosted by the Clean Air Partnership and the City of Toronto.
"All Ontario families want to breathe cleaner, safer air," said Broten. "That is why we are moving forward with consultation on air standards for 15 more toxic substances. We need to be sure that our standards are based on the best available science."

The government plans to consult on updating air standards for 15 high-priority substances, including lead. Ontario is proposing to review the limits for the 15 substances based on improved scientific information, updated research on associated health risks and new air dispersion models to provide greater protection of public health and the environment.

"We are pleased to support the Ministry of Environment's continued efforts to improve local air quality," said Dr. Garry Aslanyan, President of the Ontario Public Health Association. "Poor air quality negatively affects the health of all Ontarians and results in a significant burden to our health care system. We support moving towards air standards that are protective of health and environmental impacts."

This initiative is one more way the McGuinty government is protecting Ontarians' health and the environment. Other initiatives include:
- A requirement of five per cent ethanol in gasoline on average starting January 1, 2007, which will make Ontario gasoline some of the cleanest in North America.
- Contracts for 1,300 megawatts of wind power - enough power for 300,000 homes.
- A target to produce five per cent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2007 and 10 per cent by 2010, putting us at the forefront in North America.

Daily Bread's Who's Hungry report illustrates depth of hunger crisis
Survey examines hunger in the GTA and Daily Bread advances solutions
TORONTO, June 6 /CNW/ - Food bank use across the GTA has risen a dramatic 79% since 1995, according to the report Who's Hungry: 2006 Profile of Hunger in the GTA released today at BCE Place. The results of Daily Bread's annual survey paint a picture that cannot be ignored of the struggles and financial plight of the diverse population relying on food banks. The 894,017 people who accessed emergency food services last year through GTA food banks, 38% of whom were children, would not go hungry if the issue of poverty were addressed. So, in conjunction with the report, Daily Bread advances the Blueprint to Fight Hunger.

"Hunger is at an all time high," said Gail Nyberg, Executive Director of Daily Bread, "the fact is food banks are in a crisis holding pattern because of the economy's relative stability. Any downturn will cause all hell to break loose. So, we had no choice but to come up with a viable plan to tackle the crisis. The root cause of hunger is poverty and the cost of living is rising. The time to act is now."
Food bank client households are struggling to live on an average monthly income of $954. After dealing with fixed costs, like housing, there simply is not enough to feed a family. The average household using food bank services indicated that they would only need $250 monthly to supplement their current income in order to avoid food bank reliance. The Blueprint proposes solutions by addressing hunger in five key areas: Children, Working Poor, People with Disabilities, Immigrants and Housing. "If implemented," said Nyberg, "the Blueprint has the ability to eliminate hunger."

Although Daily Bread works to provide food to clients in need, they acknowledge that food banks are stop-gap solutions to hunger. It is important to note that 40% of clients have used food banks for over 18 months, indicating the food bank use is not an emergency measure; it has become a necessity for some families - essentially an edible income supplement.
There has been a 100% increase in the number of children going hungry at least once a week since 1995. The release of Who's Hungry and the Blueprint to Fight Hunger urges political and community action on behalf of these individuals.

And stop organised drives towards conversion, reconversion

By Eduardo Faleiro

Posted by: "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <>
To: "Goans Tanzanite" June 3, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI is reported to have raised the question of religious freedom at a recent meeting with our Ambassador to the Vatican. At this meeting the Pope praised India's traditions of freedom and inter-religious harmony. Freedom of religion is the right to maintain one's religion or to change it without being subjected to any pressure or inducement.

Freedom of religion is protected by the Constitution of India and is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Whilst freedom of religion is a basic human right, proselytism receives universal condemnation. Proselytism is defined as the use of unscrupulous methods of persuasion such as material inducements, psychological pressure or spiritual threats to compel a person to change his or her religion.

Proselytism is opposed on several grounds; it attacks other religious beliefs and practices and proclaims that its own religion is the only way to salvation. It is often supported by financial resources and marketing techniques that make local religious activities seem second rate and inferior.

The Catholic Church condemns proselytizing activities. The Second Vatican Council, whilst defending freedom of religion, denounced proselytism in very strong terms: "In spreading religious faith and in introducing religious practices, everyone ought at all times to refrain from any manner of action which might seem to carry a hint of coercion or a kind of persuasion that would be dishonorable or unworthy, especially when dealing with poor or uneducated people. Such a manner of action would have to be considered as abuse of oneís own right and a violation of the right of others."

The late Pope John Paul II often referred to the Evangelical sects in Christianity and called them "rapacious wolves devouring Catholics and causing divisions and discord in our communities." John Paul II stressed the danger of underestimating "a certain strategy employing notable economic resources to crack Catholic unity."

The concerns of the Pope regarding proselytism are also voiced by the Protestant churches. A document "The Challenge of Proselytism and the Calling to Common Witness" was formulated in September 1995 by the Joint Working Group of the World Council of Churches which represents the major Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church.

This document refers to "serious concern about tension and conflicts created by proselytism in nearly all parts of the world". It mentions "instances in the developing world in which proselytism takes advantage of peopleís misfortunes e.g. in situations of poverty in villages, to induce change in their religious affiliation."

It calls for awareness of the "reality of diversity rooted in theological traditions and in various geographical, historical and cultural contexts" and denounces "the use of coercive or manipulative methods in evangelism".

The statement rejects "all violations of religious freedom and all forms of religious intolerance as well as every attempt to impose belief and practices on others or to coerce others in the name of religion". It states "proselytism can violate or manipulate the right of the individual and can exacerbate tense and delicate relations between communities and thus destabilize society."

Among the nature and characteristics of proselytism the document mentions "extending explicit or implicit offers of education, healthcare or material inducements or using financial resources with the intent of making converts" and "manipulative activities and practices that exploit people's needs, weaknesses or lack of education specially in situations of distress and fail to respect their freedom and human dignity".

The statement concludes "whilst our focus in this document in on the relationship between Christians it is important to seek the mutual application of these principles also in inter faith relations. Both Christians and communities of other faiths complain about unworthy and unacceptable methods of seeking converts from their respective communities. Increased cooperation and dialogue among people of different faiths could result in witness offered to one another that would respect human freedom and dignity and will be free from the negative activities described above."

The issue of conversions has became a major socio-religious and political issue in India. In some tribal areas, Christian and Hindu missionaries confront each other on this subject.

Organized attempts at mass conversion or reconversion backed by financial or political power can have an explosive backlash to the point of undermining public order. Mainline Christian theologians see both the Sangh Parivar's hindutva ideology and Christian campaigns for evangelization of India as bearing a fundamentalist attitude and an aggressive methodology to achieve their respective goals.

Most Indian Christian theologians disapprove of organized conversions, favour interreligious dialogue and express the need to study other religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and even tribal faiths so that Christianity learns from their many valuable insights.

Organized drives for conversion and reconversion should stop. They violate the Constitution of India. Yet specific legislation such as the anti-conversion laws passed by some States in India can only promote religious intolerance and animosity, may be misused by executive authorities and is not justified from the very limited positive results obtained. Government should rather, in a discreet manner, promote an agreement among the religious heads of all major faiths in the country to stop proselytism. Given the positive mindset of Indian theologians this is very much possible.

The Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC) articulates its† theological vision thus, "Asia is the womb of the great World religions. All great scriptural religions were born on Asian soil. The Church has to be in constant dialogue with the religions of Asia and to embark or this with great seriousness.... There may be more truth about God and life than it is made known to us through the Jesus of history and the Church. As such Christians who take Christís injunction seriously must search for this Truth in the various religions of the World" (FABC Resource Manual for Catholics in Asia, pp189,288)

On the question of proselytism the FABC says "a phenomenon which continues to awaken the most resentment among the peoples of Asia is that of proselytism and conversion. In the minds of Asians, the Churchís primary objective seems to be to convert as many people as she can so as to increase her little flock. Church expansion is also seen as a Western extension. The increase in the number of Church movements engaged in aggressive and militant evangelization (understood in the very narrow sense of the word) is certainly a cause for concern for our brothers and sisters of other faiths. Perhaps, it might be good to be reminded of the Golden Rule which nearly all religions speak of: do not do others what you do not want done to yourself." (Resource Manual p 286).

Whilst congratulating Cardinal Ivan Dias on his prestigious assignment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, I am confident that he will affirm the Asian perception of Freedom of Religion at the highest level of the Catholic Church.
The writer is a former Union Minister and presently is Commissioner
for NRI Affairs in Goa.

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