The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, was introduced to evidence, on Wednesday, linking Saudi-born Osama bin Laden to the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. The material and information that is to prove his involvement was presented to the North Atlantic Alliance in Brussels, on Tuesday, after which the Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, went live on national television to pledge Czech active support in the fight against terrorism. The U.S. Ambassador to Prague, Craig Stapleton, visited Prague Castle a day later, to personally show President Havel all evidence pointing to the bin-Laden led al Qaeda group's involvement in the attacks. Although Mr Havel agreed with the need for a global campaign against terrorism, he stressed that it must be made clear that any military action taken was against terrorism and not Islam. He also added that there should be no loss of innocent lives in the process.
The notion that military action would not be against Islam is one that has not convinced much of the Muslim Community in the Czech Republic. Strong criticism of the Czech government was voiced by several Czech Muslim's after Prime Minister Milos Zeman addressed the Czech people on Tuesday night to pledge Czech active support in the global fight against terrorism. Mr Zeman said that on September 11th, the world was divided into two groups of people - the tolerant group that respected individual freedoms and valued human life and the group of fanatics who were full of hate and did their best to get rid of those who did not have the same beliefs. This declaration was viewed by some Czech Muslims as naive and furthermore proof that Mr Zeman and his Cabinet saw the problem as a black and white issue. Several Czech Muslims in the Moravian town of Ostrava claimed that Mr Zeman was indirectly implying that the West - which is based on rights and freedoms - was superior to the Arabs of the East and therefore viewed the statement as a latent attack on Islam.
Meanwhile, with retaliatory action expected to take place within days or even hours, the Czech army has been undergoing massive preparation. Although Washington has so far not asked for military assistance from NATO, the Czech Republic stands by the alliance's collective defence clause in support of the United States and has offered its best and most prepared - anti-chemical warfare units, rapid deployment units, and field hospitals - all of which have already gained experience from their partake in past international missions.
And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Wednesday night should see partially clear skies in the East and cloudy skies with occasional showers in the North and North-western parts of the country. Night-time temperatures should range between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius. Thursday will be much the same with day-time temperatures between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius in Bohemia and 21 degrees Celsius in Moravia and Silesia. A cold front is expected to gradually reach the East and South-eastern parts of the country by Thursday evening, resulting in overcast skies with early morning fog and temperatures on Thursday night between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius.
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