Monday, August 30, 2010

Suz's tip of the week

My friend Laura suggested that I start this segment of the blog, seeing as how I am so full of random and seemingly useless information. Who knows, maybe by putting one of this silly little notes up, someone can learn something from it! :D

My first tip of the week, is one that many women will thank me for. I cannot unfortunately remember who first passed this tip on to me, BUT, I have to thank them whoever it is.

Women spend a lot of money on make up. Mascara, concealer, eye shadows, the list goes on. As we want our make up to stay put for the day, the long lasting shadows, eyeliners, and mascara are the best choices. But this can also mean scrubbing to remove the make up at the end of the day, or sleeping and waking up a panda bear the next morning.

If you're like me, most make up removal lotions / tonics do not work. My skin is sensitive to a lot of face lotions and make-up removers, ad they either give me loads of pimples, or dry my skin out to the point that it is itchy. Changing make-up removers again and again is annoying, not to mention expensive after a while.

The solution is cheap, and most of us have it in our bathrooms, but never think to try it.

Vaseline. Petroleum Jelly, nature's natural cure to make up. Dab a little bit of Vaseline on a cotton wool bud, and you can remove your make up, while moisturizing your skin at the same time. Better still, it doesn't give you pimples! It takes everything off...water proof eyeliner / mascara, shadows...everything!

So yes, that would be Suz's tip of the week :D

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh no; Van Gogh!

So sad Egypt. So very sad. A treasured Van Gogh painting, estimated at a value of 50 million U.S. Dollars, has been stolen from an art museum in Cairo. A tragic incident for any museum, even more so when you find out what the circumstances surrounding the theft were!

The BBC provides an article detailing the arrest of an Italian couple on Saturday from Cairo Airport, who had aroused the suspicion of the authorities and were believed to be in possession of the painting. It seems however, that Mr. Farouk Hosni, Egypt's very own Minister of Culture, was handed inaccurate information. On Sunday he admitted the folly of his initial statements, and admitted that he was handed "inaccurate information." Although unclear if the couple are still under arrest, it is clear that they are not in possession of the painting. Why was the suspicion aroused? They entered the bathroom, then exited the Museum pronto.

Now were a crime such of this nature to happen in, lets say, Paris, the first question would be where are the surveillance cameras, lets just check those. What time of day did the crime occur, how was our alarm system breached?

The Van Gogh, known as "Poppy Flowers" or as "Vase and Flowers" was stolen in broad daylight on Saturday during the prayers. Even more baffling, (or actually, not surprising if you have lived in Egypt), of the museum's 49 cameras, less than 10 were working on the day of the theft. Miraculously, the infrared sensor on the painting's frame was also broken, and therefore unable to register that the painting had been removed. When asked about the security system, museum staff responded that the "alarm system had been down for a while prior to the theft." Why not replace it? "We'd been looking for the bits and were unsuccessful in finding them." (Someone Slap me now) This museum holds historical artifacts and art from other artists, including Monet. I'm fairly sure that had someone in the museum actually bothered to contact a museum outside of Egypt, they would have been able to find the missing bits for the security system. Far more likely scenario is that someone was sent to find the bits, went to look in one shop, after being unable to find it, just gave up and "hoped all would be well."

So on top of this obvious stupidity, you'd imagine the museum must have had to be crowded for the staff and security not to notice that a Van Gogh has just disappeared. Not just disappeared, it was actually CUT OUT of the frame. Someone was actually able to stand there and cut the painting out... But no, there were a whopping 10 visitors to the museum that day.

Even more interesting is the history surrounding this particular painting. Not only does it date from three years prior to Van Gogh's self-inflicted fatal bullet wound, the same painting was stolen in 1978, from the exact same museum. Learn from your mistakes is not an idiom that holds true in Cairo it seems.

Check out the AFP article on the theft for more info.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's about time

So although the details surrounding this conference are fairly vague, for any of us living in Egypt are fully aware, questioning any decisions made by the higher authorities is highly frowned upon. I shall keep my comments on this entire situation out of this blog, however I will say that I applaud this effort. 

Intellectuals to hold conference against presidential inheritance
Fathya el-Dakhakhni 

Farouk Hosney minister of culture in the Egyptian government
Photographed by Hafez Diab
Several members of Egypt's intelligentsia are preparing to hold a self-styled “Conference of Independent Intellectuals” in response to a second conference to be held by Culture Minister Farouk Hosni with the aim of presenting his ministry’s "cultural strategy" for the years ahead.

“The intellectuals aren't planning on inviting Hosni to their conference,” said Ammar Ali Hassan, director of research at the official Middle East News Agency.

Organizers of the intellectuals' conference contend that the regime is attempting to promote the idea of the transfer of executive power from the aging President Hosni Mubarak to his 47-year-old son, Gamal. Their fears were reportedly reinforced by statements made by the younger Mubarak at a recent closed-door meeting with prominent representatives of Egypt's intellectual class.

“Intellectuals aren't spokespeople for the regime, but rather critics of the government's performance for the good of society,” Hassan said, adding that preparations for the gathering of intellectuals began five months ago.

“We want society to regain confidence in its intellectuals, who have been forcibly co-opted by the regime for the past 30 years,” he said. He added that the conference would "expose" how the Ministry of Agriculture had been manipulated by state security services.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Let there be light!

It's summer time, and with summer, comes extreme heat. With extreme heat, comes air-conditioning. In Egypt, with air-conditioning, comes mass power outages.

Having lived in Cairo, I am not unfamiliar with power outages. In Maadi during the summer months, the electricity would actually be routed to different power grids, so that at times one power grid would have no power, while the other one was just fine. Reason being? The power grids in Cairo are simply unable to keep up with the demand on electrical power that is being fueled by the hundreds of AC units running 24/7 throughout the city. I was just explaining to Karim yesterday that this doesn't usually happen in the States, because he has grown so accustomed to power just "going out" that he never thought twice about it. That is until we got here.

First you may ask yourself why the power grid is being strained. The answer is quite simple really. As the middle and upper classes in Egypt are growing, so are their living standards and ideals. Most middle/upper class Egyptian houses you walk into are flooded with cold air coming from the multiple AC units they have running at all times - taking a page out of the American's book...I have never seen people use ACs like the Americans do! So as more and more people in Egypt are starting to make a decent living, more and more people are buying ACs. Meaning more and more strain on the power grids. Which then should mean that the Egyptian Electrical ministries are doing something to resolve the problem and accomodate the increasing load on the power grids, right? Well, in typical Egyptian fashion, that response is "lets just re-route the power at certain times, that way we don't HAVE to change anything!" Woohoo! This makes taking an elevator in Maadi during peak summer hours a very precarious decision to make. I have been stuck in an elevator only once...and it is an experience I hope to never repeat!

So now we're in Hurghada, and power outages are unfortunately not obsolete. In fact, it sometimes feels as though we have taken a step back in time when it comes to the reliability of electrical power in this town. The other day I was trying to work on the computer at home, and within 30 minutes, the power surged and went out four times...I kid you not.

Unfortunately, it's not just certain areas of Hurghada that lose power momentarily (or for a couple of hours...lets be honest here) like in Maadi or Cairo. No. It's the ENTIRE city. Unless you are running on a generator, you can lose power for upwards of 2-3 hours. At Hed Kandi the other day for the pool party, power went out for almost 2 hours. It made such a huge difference in the atmosphere; one minute everyone is dancing and enjoying the sun and the music, and as cliche as it sounds, everyone somehow looked cool. The next minute, the power's blown, no music, and we're just a bunch of idiots standing around in a pool with nothing to do. Despite the staff's attempts to liven up the atmosphere by banging on their serving trays (wonderful music let me tell you) there was just no denying that the atmosphere was gone. Music was the life, and without the electricity, the life was gone.

Now, anyone who has been to Hurghada, driven here especially, will have noticed the miles upon miles of wind farms that stretch across the desert just outside of the city. Illogically enough it would seem, I presumed that much of the wind power that these farms were generating would flow into Hurghada. These wind farms were first established as a wind power testing centre in 1993, and developed in subsequent years, starting out with 42 wind turbines, total capacity of 5.2 MW. There are now over 400 wind turbines in the Zafarana area, and yield roughly 1,600 KwH EACH. If you take the time to do a little research into these wind farms, they are also specifically designed to deal with the summer months, when the electrical supply virtually doubles to accommodate the AC units running throughout the country. The target is for these wind farms to supply up to 12 % of Egypt's total electrical needs as the demand continues to rise. This project has already cost several hundred million Euros, and with the continued expansion expected, costs will only further rise. (Side note...only 25 % of these millions of Euros that have been invested have gone back into the Egyptian economy - or rather...some big businessmen's pockets - because average users of electricity sure aren't seeing this return on an investment!)

And here's the part that really gets me. The wind farm in Zafarana (just outside of Hurghada), sits on a location of land that has the world's highest average wind speed, with an average of 9.2 m/s. Egypt boasts a number of locations throughout the country that are ideally suited for wind farms, yet are not being developed due to a lack of investors (or at least, that's the official excuse). So despite the fact that Hurghada should not be suffering from power outages the likes that we are seeing, the continual "development" of the energy sector and wind power sector in Egypt is obviously disregarding this town. Here's an idea...rather than spending millions of pounds on testing out wind farms, how about the responsible ministries in Egypt actually get off their asses and try to do something about the existing power situation? And resolve the ever increasing outages that are affecting more and more people? Oh, that's right. Because that won't fluff your pockets with millions of dollars from outside investors. *sigh*.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

And on a lighter note

Now this article I will whole heartedly comment on. In this day and age of black and white when it comes to acceptance and hatred, I find it more and more prudent to be able to make light of a negative situation. In this case, the suggestion fronted by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who are in full swing in attempting to slap censorship on the Blackberry phones. Reason being?

Well...that's quite simple. The Blackberry has heralded itself as being capable of encrypting messages, one of the reasons it is so popular a device for business people to use. Not only can you safely view and send emails via your Blackberry, the infamous BBM is also encrypted to ensure no possible interception of your messages. Of course, this does not fly too well with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, whose media ("censorship") authorities distrust the encryption capability. Translation --> we don't like not being able to read everything and anything that you are sending. So the ideal result? Banning the Blackberry's ability to access the Internet/Email/BBMs within Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

This article puts such a great spin on this ridiculous suggestion, that I have to share it.

Gulf states order Blackberry users to cover their phones in a tiny burqa

New laws in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will require that every Blackberry user dress their phone a miniature burqa and face veil.

‘The Blackberry burqa means that people can still use their phones,’ said a Saudi government official, ‘but the tiny niqab that covers the screen will stop them from reading emails or accessing the Internet.’

The introduction of the burqa is intended to conceal the Blackberry from unwanted attention. With the veil in place only a tiny slit remains revealing just the time and date, thus preserving its modesty.

‘This is not about censorship or oppression,’ said UAE telecommunications regulator Mohammed al-Ghanem, ‘this is about preserving the essential purity of the Blackberry and protecting it from being corrupted.’

ome businessmen believe that making their phone wear a burqa can be very liberating. ‘It’s great,’ said one, ‘with the veil in place I am free to walk about with my Blackberry in public without the feeling that people are staring lustily at my multi-media application. It also covers my shame for not owning an iPhone.’
Some religious groups have welcomed the policy. ‘If Allah had meant us to freely access the Internet He would have given us web browsers in our heads,’ said a local imam, adding ‘There is absolutely no mention of instant messaging in the Koran and at no point did Muhammad, or any of his eleven wives, ever say LOL, ROFL or PMSL.’

If the Blackberry burqa is successful it may spread to other countries. However, experts say that dressing your phone in a burqa could result in poor reception, especially in France and Belgium.
The British government has yet to declare an official line on phone burqas although Immigration Minister Damian Green said that to ban them would be ‘very unBritish’. He went on to explain that, ‘the British thing to do, as always, is to grumble and tut.’

The Saudi government have promised that anyone who refuses to dress their Blackberry in a burqa will face harsh punishment. ‘I am not saying exactly what we will do,’ said their Minister for Justice, ‘but suffice to say that it isn’t so easy to text with your toes.’

Spreading Tolerance, or further animosity?

I shall leave my own personal comments on this article aside. Rather, I feel that it is important to reflect upon the message in this article, and consider what the implications for such an action truly are.

A Muslim victim of 9/11: 'Build your mosque somewhere else'

By Neda Bolourchi
Sunday, August 8, 2010

I have no grave site to visit, no place to bring my mother her favorite yellow flowers, no spot where I can hold my weary heart close to her. All I have is Ground Zero.

On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, I watched as terrorists slammed United Flight 175 into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, 18 minutes after their accomplices on another hijacked plane hit the North Tower. My mother was on the flight. I witnessed her murder on live television. I still cannot fully comprehend those images. In that moment, I died as well. I carry a hole in my heart that will never be filled.
From the first memorial ceremonies I attended at Ground Zero, I have always been moved by the site; it means something to be close to where my mother may be buried, it brings some peace. That is why the prospect of a mosque near Ground Zero -- or a church or a synagogue or any religious or nationalistic monument or symbol -- troubles me.

I was born in pre-revolutionary Iran. My family led a largely secular existence -- I did not attend a religious school, I never wore a headscarf -- but for us, as for anyone there, Islam was part of our heritage, our culture, our entire lives. Though I have nothing but contempt for the fanaticism that propelled the terrorists to carry out their murderous attacks on Sept. 11, I still have great respect for the faith. Yet, I worry that the construction of the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site would not promote tolerance or understanding; I fear it would become a symbol of victory for militant Muslims around the world.

When I am asked about the people who murdered my mother, I try to hold back my anger. I try to have a more spiritual perspective. I tell myself that perhaps what happened was meant to happen -- that it was my mother's destiny to perish this way. I try to take solace in the notion that her death has forced a much-needed conversation and reevaluation of the role of religion in the Muslim community, of the duties and obligations that the faith imposes and of its impact on the non-Muslim world.

But a mosque near Ground Zero will not move this conversation forward. There were many mosques in the United States before Sept. 11; their mere existence did not bring cross-cultural understanding. The proposed center in New York may be heralded as a peace offering -- may genuinely seek to focus on "promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture," as its Web site declares -- but I fear that over time, it will cultivate a fundamentalist version of the Muslim faith, embracing those who share such beliefs and hating those who do not.

The Sept. 11 attacks were the product of a hateful ideology that the perpetrators were willing to die for. They believed that all non-Muslims are infidels and that the duty of Muslims is to renounce them. I am not a theologian, but I know that the men who killed my mother carried this message in their hearts and minds. Obedient and dutiful soldiers, they marched toward their promised rewards in heaven with utter disregard for the value of the human beings they killed.

I know Ground Zero is not mine alone; I must share this sanctuary with tourists, politicians, anyone who chooses to come, whatever their motivations or intentions. But a mosque nearby -- even a proposed one -- is already transforming the site from a sacred ground for reflection, so desperately needed by the families who lost loved ones, to a battleground for religious and political ideologies. So many people from different nationalities and religions were killed that day. This site should be a neutral place for all to come in peace and remember. I believe my mother would have thought so as well.

The Iranian revolution compelled my family to flee to America when I was 12 years old. Yet, just over two decades later, the militant version of our faith caught up with us on a September morning. I still identify as a Muslim. When you are born into a Muslim family, there is no way around it, no choices available: You are Muslim. I am not ashamed of my faith, but I am ashamed of what is done in its name.

On the day I left Ground Zero shortly after the tragedy, I felt that I was abandoning my mother. It was like being forced to leave the bedside of a loved one who is dying, knowing you will never see her again. But I felt the love and respect of all those around me there, and it reassured me that she was being left in good hands. Since I cannot visit New York as often as I would like, I at least want to know that my mother can rest in peace.

I do not like harboring resentment or anger, but I do not want the death of my mother -- my best friend, my hero, my strength, my love -- to become even more politicized than it already is. To the supporters of this new Islamic cultural center, I must ask: Build your ideological monument somewhere else, far from my mother's grave, and let her rest.

Neda Bolourchi lives in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Finally, the honeymoon period is coming to a close

I am so happy to read that more and more people are finally coming out of their honeymoon period with the Obama presidency. Sure, he sounds great...but when push comes to shove, what has he really done since being in office? And don't even get me started on the Nobel Peace Prize. Since when is it enough to win a PEACE PRIZE by giving a speech?

Anyhow, interesting article that I recommend anyone who is interested in U.S. politics should read.

Taken from the BBC

Not much good news on President Barack Obama's birthday

Barack and Michelle Obama  
The inaugural ball was a happier time for Mr Obama, whose wife's approval rating now eclipses his own.

Barack Obama celebrates his 49th birthday on Wednesday. Grassroots organisers around the country are holding birthday events to help rally supporters, but will they help the president's flagging approval ratings?
In Washington DC, 18 months can seem like a lifetime. For President Obama, that frosty January morning when he took the oath of office before a veritable sea of well-wishers must seem like a distant memory.
Back then, over two-thirds of Americans rated him favourably. It seemed difficult to imagine that after 500 days in office, political pundits would be warning that this popular young president could be an albatross for vulnerable Democrats in November's mid-term elections.

And yet last week, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Joe Sestak, who is in a tough race against Republican Pat Toomey, told reporters he'd prefer that Michelle Obama campaign for him than her husband. She's now the most popular political figure in the country, according to a recent Gallup poll.

That scenario seemed unthinkable to the masses who lined Pennsylvania Avenue, huddling against the cold, to cheer the new president last January.

But in recent weeks, polling undertaken by the Gallup Organization has suggested disapproval of Mr Obama's presidency is outpacing approval on several occasions.

His approval rating, which has hovered around 47% for more than a month, hasn't broken 50% since mid-May.

Bill and Hillary Clinton  
Both Hillary and Bill Clinton are now more popular than Mr Obama.
His former rival Hillary Clinton has fared significantly better, achieving a 61% approval rating in 2010 - a figure matched by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Just 36% of Americans approve of Mr Obama's handling of the war in Afghanistan, down from 56% in July 2009, the poll suggests.

In mid July, a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found support for Mr Obama's economic policies at a new low of 42%.

On another significant issue, the BP oil spill, a June poll conducted by CNN found 59% of survey respondents disapproved of Mr Obama's handling of the matter.

Slow change

As the chorus of critics grows, Mr Obama finds himself on the defensive. In two recent television interviews, the president was at pains to remind viewers that many of the problems he faced were handed to him when he took office.

But that's an argument the public seems increasingly immune to.

"Change has not come fast enough for too many Americans, I know that," Mr Obama admitted via video to the online activists and bloggers gathered at the liberal Netroots Nation convention.

Presidential Approval Ratings

Figures for early August in the second year in office:
  • Barack Obama: 45%
  • George W Bush: 71%
  • Bill Clinton: 43%
  • George H W Bush: 74%
  • Ronald Reagan: 41%
  • Jimmy Carter: 39%
  • Gerald Ford: 48%
  • Richard Nixon: 55%
Source: Gallup
That group were committed early supporters of Mr Obama, but have grown increasingly disgruntled with his presidency.

There seems nary a bright spot for Mr Obama.

But Jeff Jones, managing editor of the Gallup Poll, doesn't think this seemingly precipitous decline in support is particularly unusual.

"I think it is pretty normal, if you look at where other presidents stood at this point in their presidency," Mr Jones told the BBC.

Mr Obama's predecessor, President George W Bush, had impressively high ratings at this point in his presidency, driven largely by a spike in presidential support after the 9/11 attacks.

But Presidents Clinton, Reagan and Carter were all in the 40% range at a similar point in their presidencies. Indeed Mr Obama outperformed all three in July.

"The common thread with those presidents is that they all took office when the economy wasn't doing so well," Mr Jones said. "One difference is that Obama came into office more popular than most elected presidents, so maybe the expectations were a little bit higher."

But when the economy isn't doing well, it is nearly always the most pressing issue on voters' minds, and Mr Jones notes that it is very difficult for a president to have robust approval ratings with a weak economy.
"The economy is generally one of the stronger predictors of how people evaluate the president," he says, which doesn't bode well for Mr Obama's immediate political fortunes.

Still, the president's supporters are trying to capitalise on his 49th birthday today to reignite the energy and enthusiasm that characterised his campaign.

Campaign zeitgeist After the election, the president's impressive campaign apparatus transformed into Organizing for America (OFA), a fundraising and activist organisation with access to the coveted e-mail and call lists compiled during Mr Obama's presidential campaign.

Obama speaks to 75,000 people in Oregon in 2008  
 The enthusiasm of the Obama campaign has dissipated during his presidency.
OFA is eager to reactivate the millions of Americans who raised money, made phone calls and canvassed their neighbourhoods for Mr Obama.

OFA is attempting to use the president's birthday to provide both a boost for the commander-in-chief and encourage willing volunteers for Democrats in the mid-terms.

"The events that focus on anniversaries or that focus on the president as a personality or someone that people like and identify with tend to do well, so its understandable that they continue to try to tap that enthusiasm," Ari Melber, a writer for The Nation who has studied OFA, told the BBC.

"However, everyone knows there is significant concern from Obama's base about his progress on changing Washington."

OFA supporters received an e-mail from Michelle Obama, asking them to sign a birthday card for her husband, and "let him know that we're ready to take on the year ahead alongside him".

The Washington Post reports that, in what looks like a spot of campaign nostalgia, OFA is urging supporters to bust out their campaign '08 "yes we can" T-shirts, hats and buttons and wear them on Wednesday.
But while recapturing that campaign zeitgeist seems desirable, Mr Melber warns there are risks, particularly for some of the most active campaign supporters who have become some of the most disillusioned.

"There is always a risk that if you only do these kumbaya events and you don't give people meaningful voice then they may tune out," Mr Melber says.

"Most of these people would still like to see Mr Obama re-elected, so we are not talking about a real crisis in his political support. But walking around with a button or wishing the president a happy birthday doesn't really achieve anything either."

For Mr Obama, whose wife and daughters will be out of town for his birthday, it may not be such a happy birthday. Lucky for him, he still has Bo, the family dog.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Warning, you may actually lose brain cells from reading this stupidity.

This is a story that I was pointed towards via facebook. I had to share it. For anyone who has ever lived in a Muslim country, or who has ever gotten to know the Islamic religion, or who has even gotten to know a Muslim, this article just screams blatant ignorance.

Honestly, have some people in our world become so entrenched in hatred and ignorance that it's all black or white? There's no longer any grey areas in between? Either your an extremist Muslim, or a law-abiding, God-adoring Christian? And lord forbid you even think of swaying your sexual orientation. :S

All I can say to these people, is be thankful that your church is in a country that protects the freedom of speech, or in this case, freedom of hatred.

(CNN) -- In protest of what it calls a religion "of the devil," a nondenominational church in Gainesville, Florida, plans to host an "International Burn a Quran Day" on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The Dove World Outreach Center says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," Pastor Terry Jones told CNN's Rick Sanchez earlier this week.

Jones wrote a book titled "Islam is of the Devil," and the church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase.

Muslims and many other Christians -- including some evangelicals -- are fighting the initiative.

The church launched a YouTube channel to disseminate its messages.

"I mean ask yourself, have you ever really seen a really happy Muslim? As they're on the way to Mecca? As they gather together in the mosque on the floor? Does it look like a real religion of joy?" Jones asks in one of his YouTube posts.

"No, to me it looks like a religion of the devil."

The Islamic advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Muslims and others to host "Share the Quran" dinners to educate the public during the monthlong fast of Ramadan beginning in August. In a news release, the group announced a campaign to give out 100,000 copies of the Quran to local, state and national leaders.

"American Muslims and other people of conscience should support positive educational efforts to prevent the spread of Islamophobia," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in the release.

The National Association of Evangelicals, the nation's largest umbrella evangelical group, issued a statement urging the church to cancel the event, warning it could cause worldwide tension between the two religions.
"The NAE calls on its members to cultivate relationships of trust and respect with our neighbors of other faiths. God created human beings in his image, and therefore all should be treated with dignity and respect," it said in the statement.

Dove's Facebook page, set up for the September event, has more than 1,600 fans.
"Eternal fire is the only destination the Quran can lead people to, so we want to put the Quran in it's [sic] place -- the fire!" the page says.

But another Facebook group with more than 3,100 fans says it stands "against the disrespect and intolerance that these people have for the Muslim people" and encourages people to report Dove's page to Facebook.
Targeting another group it calls "godless," the Dove center is also hosting a protest against Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe, who is openly gay, on Monday at Gainesville's City Hall. The group previously fought -- unsuccessfully -- to derail Lowe's election campaign.

"We protest sexual perversion because the Bible protests it. ... What is acceptable to today's leadership becomes acceptable to tomorrow's society," the church says in its blog entry about the event.

Lowe and other government figures and media outlets received e-mails from the church about the event, The Gainesville Sun reported. Lowe isn't concerned with Monday's event.
"I've got other things to do," he said, The Sun reports.

On the outreach center's front lawn, alongside a sign reading "Aug. 2 Protest, No Homo Mayor, City Hall," stands not just one, but three signs bearing the slogan "Islam is of the Devil."
One of the signs -- one reading "Islam" on one side, "Devil" on the other -- was vandalized. On its blog last week, the church said the sign will be replaced.

"This is private property and vandalism is a crime here in America," the blog says. "In Islam, many actions that we consider to be crimes are encouraged, condoned or sheltered under Islamic teaching and practice, though. Another reason to burn a Quran."