Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20100615

Financial Crisis
»Nightmare Vision for Europe as EU Chief Warns ‘Democracy Could Disappear’ In Greece, Spain and Portugal
»Egypt Official: U.S. President Claims to be Muslim
»Gen. David H. Petraeus Falls Ill During Senate Testimony
»Paypal Reverses Jihad Against Muslim-Watch Sites
»Resolution to Keep EPA From Regulating GHGs Denied
»Stakelbeck on Terror Show Debuts
»Guilty Plea in Aqsa Parvez Honour Killing
Europe and the EU
»Barcelona Bans Burqas, Balaclavas and Helmets
»Deconstructing Belgium
»Denmark: Officers Draw Batons in Court
»Dutch Disgrace, Geert Wilders Aims for Power
»Is Europe Awaking?
»Italy: Moroccan Immigrant in Fast-Track Trial for Daughter’s Murder
»Netherlands: VVD, PVV and CDA Most Popular Coalition
»Spain: Religious Freedom Law to Limit Use of Burqa
»Spain: National Alarm Over Rise in Latin Gangs
»Stockholm: Why We Rioted
»UK: Muslim Community Leader Who Lied About BNP Kidnap is Illegal Immigrant and Suspected Benefits Cheat
»UK: Muslim Protesters Brand War Heroes ‘Murderers’ As Homecoming Parade Turns Violent
»UK: Spot the Difference: How Today’s Airbrushing PC Censors Decided Churchill Could Do Without His Cigar
»UK: Tories Would Maintain Islamic Finance Focus
»UK: Woman Fined for Erratic Driving Caused by Niqab Headscarf Impairing Her Vision
»EU-Serbia: Frattini, A.S.A. OK, But Germany Blocking Accession
North Africa
»108 Al Qaeda Members Identified in Sahel
»Al-Qaeda’s North African Chief ‘Backs Bin Laden’
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: Hamas Rises in the West
»Israel Nabs Bosnian Muslim, Albanians on Terror Ship
Middle East
»Fethullah Gulen’s Cave of Wonders
»Ofra Bengio / Turkey’s Strategic U-Turn, Israel’s Tactical Mistakes
»Saudis Open Skies for Israeli Hit on Iran
»Turkey to Host One Million Arab Tourists in 2010
»Who Killed Khaled Sultan Al-Abed?
South Asia
»Afghanistan — India: Appeal for Afghan Christians, Sentenced to Death for Their Faith
»Ariz. Lawmaker Takes Aim at Automatic Citizenship
»‘Immigrants Are Making Germany Dumber’
»Nepal Becomes New Transit Point for Migrants on Their Way to Arab Countries
Culture Wars
»Frank Gaffney: The “Bring Back the Draft” Act
»Hallmark Pulls Card After Complaints of Racial Slur
»Iowa Republican: Obama Favors Blacks Over Whites
»Al-Qaeda’s Ranks Diversify

Financial Crisis

Nightmare Vision for Europe as EU Chief Warns ‘Democracy Could Disappear’ In Greece, Spain and Portugal

Democracy could ‘collapse’ in Greece, Spain and Portugal unless urgent action is taken to tackle the debt crisis, the head of the European Commission has warned.

In an extraordinary briefing to trade union chiefs last week, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso set out an ‘apocalyptic’ vision in which crisis-hit countries in southern Europe could fall victim to military coups or popular uprisings as interest rates soar and public services collapse because their governments run out of money.

The stark warning came as it emerged that EU chiefs have begun work on an emergency bailout package for Spain which is likely to run into hundreds of billions of pounds.

A £650 billion bailout for Greece has already been agreed.

John Monks, former head of the TUC, said he had been ‘shocked’ by the severity of the warning from Mr Barroso, who is a former prime minister of Portugal.

Mr Monks, now head of the European TUC, said: ‘I had a discussion with Barroso last Friday about what can be done for Greece, Spain, Portugal and the rest and his message was blunt: “Look, if they do not carry out these austerity packages, these countries could virtually disappear in the way that we know them as democracies. They’ve got no choice, this is it.”

JOHN HUMPHRYS: Have the sceptics been proved right about Europe?

‘He’s very, very worried. He shocked us with an apocalyptic vision of democracies in Europe collapsing because of the state of indebtedness.’

Greece, Spain and Portugal, which only became democracies in the 1970s, are all facing dire problems with their public finances. All three countries have a history of military coups.

Greece has been rocked by a series of national strikes and riots this year following the announcement of swingeing cuts to public spending designed to curb Britain’s deficit.

Spain and Portugal have also announced austerity measures in recent weeks amid growing signs that the international markets are increasingly worried they could default on their debts.

Other EU countries seeing public protests over austerity plans include Hungary, Italy and Romania, where public sector pay is to be slashed by 25 per cent.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who visited Madrid last week, said the situation in Spain should serve as a warning to Britain of the perils of failing to tackle the deficit quickly.

He said the collapse of confidence in Spain had seen interest rates soar, adding: ‘As the nation with the highest deficit in Europe in 2010, we simply cannot afford to let that happen to us too.’

Mr Barroso’s warning lays bare the concern at the highest level in Brussels that the economic crisis could lead to the collapse of not only the beleaguered euro, but the EU itself, along with a string of fragile democracies.

DICTATORSHIPSGREECE: Georgios Papadopoulos was dictator from 1967 to 1974.

The Colonel led the military coup d’etat in 1967 against King Constantine II amid political instability. He was leader of the junta which ruled until 1974.

Papadopoulos was overthrown by Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis in 1973. Democracy was restored in 1975.

SPAIN: General Francisco Franco led Spain from 1936 until his death in 1975. At the end of the Spanish Civil War he dissolved the Spanish Parliament and established a right-wing authoritarian regime that lasted until 1978. After his death Spain gradually began its transition to democracy.

PORTUGAL: Antonio de Oliveira Salazar’s regime and its secret police ruled the country from 1932 to 1968. He founded and led the Estado Novo, the authoriatan, right-wing government that controlled Portugal from 1932 to 1974. After Salazar’s death in 1970, his regime persisted until it eventually fell after the Carnation Revolution.

But it risks infuriating governments in southern Europe which are already struggling to contain public anger as they drive through tax rises and spending cuts in a bid to avoid disaster.

Mr Monks yesterday warned that the new austerity measures themselves could take the continent ‘back to the 1930s’.

In an interview with the Brussels-based magazine EU Observer he said: ‘This is extremely dangerous.

‘This is 1931, we’re heading back to the 1930s, with the Great Depression and we ended up with militarist dictatorship.

‘I’m not saying we’re there yet, but it’s potentially very serious, not just economically, but politically as well.’

Mr Monks said union barons across Europe were planning a co-ordinated ‘day of action’ against the cuts on 29 September, involving national strikes and protests.

David Cameron will travel to Brussels on Thursday for his first summit of EU leaders since the election.

Leaders are expected to thrash out a rescue package for Spain’s teetering economy. Spain is expected to ask for an initial guarantee of at least £100 billion, although this figure could rise sharply if the crisis deepens.

News of the behind-the-scenes scramble in Brussels spells bad news for the British economy as many of our major banks have loaned Spain vast sums of money in recent years.

Germany’s authoritative Frankfurter Allgemeine Newspaper reported that Spain is poised to ask for multi-billion pound credits.

Mr Barroso and Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank are united on the need for a rescue plan.

The looming bankruptcy of Spain, one of the foremost economies in Europe, poses far more of a threat to European unity and the euro project than Greece.

Greece contributes 2.5 percent of GDP to Europe, Spain nearly 12 percent.

Yesterday’s report quoted German government sources saying: ‘We will lead discussions this week in Brussels concerning the crisis. It has intensified to the point that the states do not want to wait until the EU summit on Thursday in Brussels.”‘

At the end of last month the credit rating agency Fitch downgraded Spain, triggering sharp falls on stock markets.

On Friday the administration in Madrid continued to insist no rescue package was necessary. But Greece said the same thing before it came close to disaster.

Yesterday the European Commission and the statistics authority Eurostat met to consider Spain’s plight as many EU countries consider the austerity package proposed by the Madrid administration insufficient to deal with the country’s problems.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]


Egypt Official: U.S. President Claims to be Muslim

An Egyptian foreign service official’s comment about President Obama is turning into a sensation among bloggers for its claim that the American leader claims to be Muslim.

Obama’s religiosity has been the subject of discussion since before he was elected and his Chicago-area pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, delivered a “God d—- America” sermon that was caught on video.

Obama later claimed to be a Muslim in a television interview where the interviewer corrected his “misstatement” and he has referenced the Muslim heritage in America’s past several times.

Now the heat on the issue is being turned up because of a weeks-old report in Israel Today.

In the report, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit was quoted as saying during an appearance on Nile TV that, “The American president told me in confidence that he is a Muslim.”

The White House remained silent on the comment, declining to respond to a WND request for comment.

But blogger Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs wrote, “This is akin to an SS officer getting elected president during WW II. Every country in the free world must be cognizant of such a catastrophic sea change in the leadership of the free world (as witnessed by events over the past year). This changes everything. He took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and yet he has gone around the world promoting Islam, the Shariah (Islamic law).”

She suggested that the exchange could have happened early in 2010 when Gheit was in Washington, D.C., to address “Mideast peace talks.”

[Return to headlines]

Gen. David H. Petraeus Falls Ill During Senate Testimony

The commander of American forces in the Middle East, Gen. David H. Petraeus, appeared to swoon or faint briefly during an intense period of questioning by senators Tuesday on whether the military can fulfill President Obama’s orders to begin pulling troops from Afghanistan in July of next year.

General Petraeus, a long-distance runner, pitched forward toward the microphone where he was seated, and was escorted from the Senate hearing room as the session was adjourned by Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

Senator Levin announced a few minutes later that General Petraeus appeared to be feeling better, and was eating and drinking water.

[Return to headlines]

Paypal Reverses Jihad Against Muslim-Watch Sites

Company had cut off Atlas Shrugs for ‘hate speech’

The Internet money-exchange PayPal has reportedly reversed an earlier decision to cut services to a trio of websites that track and resist the spreading influence of Islam in America.

Popular activist, author and blogger Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, who has also been involved in founding the Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America, received intimidating letters from PayPal that claimed the websites “promote hate” and “racial intolerance.”

“The little money that Atlas generates (I have no large donors) is about to be cut off. Apparently the jihad is hard at work trying to kill free speech, preventing the truth from making its way to those in pursuit of it,” Geller reported on Atlas Shrugs. “Truth is the new hate speech.”

[Return to headlines]

Resolution to Keep EPA From Regulating GHGs Denied

The U.S. Senate voted to allow the EPA to continue regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, but some groups are not happy with the decision.

Senators voted 53-47 to kill a disapproval resolution writted by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. The resolution sought to overturn the EPA’s 2009 “endangerment” finding that said GHGs endanger public health and welfare. That finding paved the way for EPA to regulate car and light-duty truck emissions and triggered subsequent regulation of GHGs from other commercial and industrial sources, including power plants.

At least six Democrats and a group of 24 trade associations all supported the resolution, saying the cost of doing business and energy costs will increase significantly.

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck on Terror Show Debuts

My new show, Stakelbeck on Terror, debuted last night on

The 30-minute show breaks down the latest national security, terrorism and Middle East-related news in a politically incorrect, cutting edge style.

There was no program devoted entirely to these hot button issues until now.

You can watch the inaugural episode at the above link.

We kick off the show with my exclusive recent “Sitdown” with Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren.

We then take a look at the much overlooked working relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda (7:25 in)…

And move on to my interview with Great Britain’s most hated man, Islamist leader Anjem Choudary (8:43 in).

My roundtable “War Council” debates the Obama administration’s refusal to use terms like “jihadist and “radical Islam” (12:50 in)

We then go Inside Israel for an on-the-ground look at Palestinian Authority incitement against Israeli civilians (20:18 in).

You’ve heard of Sharia Law? Then be sure not to miss this week’s Sharia Flaw, in which a Muslim college student publicly supports genocide against Jews on an American college campus (23:33 in).

And don’t miss my Stak Attack commentary, in which I examine Al Qaeda’s new strategy for the West (25:12 in).

Hope you enjoy it.

[Return to headlines]


Guilty Plea in Aqsa Parvez Honour Killing

The father and brother of Aqsa Parvez have pleaded guilty to murdering the rebellious 16-year-old in an abhorrent honour killing.

Muhammad Parvez, 60, and his son, Waqas, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Tuesday in the Dec. 10 2007 strangulation of Aqsa and they face an automatic term of life in prison .

At the time of her shocking murder, which Peel Police have described as a “planned and deliberate act,” the Grade 11 Mississauga student was estranged from her Muslim family because she was bristling at their restrictions. She had moved in with a friend’s family and no longer wore a hijab in her Applewood high school in Mississauga.

In an agreed statement of facts read by Sandra Caponecchia, court heard Aqsa, who had already been promised by her family in an arranged marriage, ran away from home twice because of her lack of freedom. With assistance from her school counselor, she stayed at a shelter the first time and with a friend the next. Despite her father allowing her to wear Western clothes and begging her to return, she refused to come back.

She had told her friends that her dad had sworn on the Koran that he would kill her if she ran away again.

On Dec. 10, her brother Waqsa confronted her at the school bus stop and she was taken away in the Parvez van at about 7:20 am. Just over 30 minutes later, her father called 911 and said he “killed his daughter” using his hands.

Police found her fully clothed in her basement bedroom, lying face up and with no vital signs. An autopsy determined she’d died from “neck compressions. “

Her mother Anwar Jan told police that she questioned her husband about why he’d killed her.

“He said this is my insult. My community will say you have not been able to control your daughter. This is my insult. She is making me naked.”

When asked if she disagreed with what he’d done, Aqsa’s mother refused to protest his actions. “I cannot say anything. Whatever he thinks, he knows about it. “

Waqsa, a tow truck driver, told a co-worker that he intended to kill his sister and his father would take the blame. “Waqas explained …that his sister was causing the family embarrassment and he had to do it.”

He later told the friend that the guilt was killing him. “He admitted choking her until she died and said that there was no evidence against him,” the Crown said in the agreed statement. “Waqas also explained how what happened was partly Aqsa’s own fault because he had tried twice to talk to her and he even offered to get her own apartment and pay for it so she didn’t have to work and she rejected his offers. “

Her mother, dressed in a white hijab and black cloak, looked on and wiped away tears as Justice Bruce Durno said the two killers face at least 10 years in prison before being eligible for parole. The father, dressed in a blue sweatshirt, and his son, his hair slicked back in a ponytail, showed little emotion as they listened to the lengthy recounting of the heinous family murder.

The elder Parvez came to Canada as a refugee from Pakistan in 1999 and eventually brought his wife and eight children. Aqsa was the youngest and just 11 when she arrived here.

All but three of the siblings were wed in arranged marriages to cousins in Pakistan who later joined them in Canada.

Their guilty pleas follow the conclusion of another Peel honour killing case last week in which Kamikar Singh Dhillon was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the second degree murder of his daughter-in-law.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Barcelona Bans Burqas, Balaclavas and Helmets

(ANSAmed) — Madrid, JUNE 14 — Barcelona City Council has also resolved to impose a ban on the wearing of burqas or the niqab in public offices and state schools, in a measure that also bans the wearing of any other garment that hides the face, such as balaclavas and full-face helmets. The decision, which should be approved today, was announced by Mayor Jordi Hereu following a meeting of the municipal Immigration Committee, which assessed the findings of a judicial report. In May this year, Spain’s Popular Party presented a motion to ban the wearing of the Moslem veil in municipal offices. The ban would affect municipal areas used by the public, kindergartens, schools, conservatories and libraries, social services and markets, in fact just about all public spaces under municipal authorisation. The decree should name the date on which the ban is to come into effect. Hereu defended the move as a measure to promote collective security and as an “expression of plain common sense”. The socialist party governing Barcelona, the ICV-EUiA, to which Hereu belongs, has come out against imposing regulations on the wearing of the burqa or niquab, while the main opposition party, the CiU, has announced that it will also place a ban on the wearing of the full-face veil in the streets should it win in this autumn’s elections. For its part, the Popular Party has presented a motion to the Senate proposing a ban on the wearing of the full-face veil anywhere on Spanish territory. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Deconstructing Belgium

Given the Flemish support for independence, devolution might be the country’s best hope for survival.

‘Do we still want to live together?” wondered Belgium’s francophone Finance Minister Didier Reynders shortly before yesterday’s elections. The answer, at least from the country’s Dutch-speakers, was “not really.” The separatist New Flemish Alliance, or N-VA, which advocates Belgium’s gradual dissolution, garnered 29% of the Flemish vote, making it the country’s largest party according to preliminary results. Combine that with the votes for the far-right Vlaams Belang, and an unprecedented 40% of the Flemings back independence.

“We do not want a revolution,” N-VA leader Bart De Wever said last week. “We do not want to declare Flanders independent overnight. But we do believe in gradual evolution.” He favors a peaceful breakup of Belgium by democratically shifting the last remaining federal powers, specifically justice, health and social security, to Flanders and Wallonia.

With Dutch-speakers accounting for 60% of the population and an even larger share of gross domestic product, Flemish federalists have for the past 36 years jealously claimed the position of prime minister. But since Mr. De Wever wants to see Belgium “slowly but surely, very gently disappear,” he has little interest in governing the country. He is even open to a francophone to become premier—provided Flanders gets greater autonomy.

The problem is that the leading French-speaker for the top job would be Socialist Elio Di Rupo, whose “solidarity” slogan is merely the French way of demanding continued Flemish subsidies for Wallonia. And although Belgium’s public debt just reached parity with the country’s GDP, Mr. Di Rupo wants to further hike spending on health and pensions.

So while the rest of Europe argues about how to cut the deficit, Belgians will argue about if and how to cut federal powers. Dividing the budgetary powers, as Mr. De Winter proposes, and thus curtailing Flemish transfer payments to Wallonia could help cut the overall public deficit and, perhaps, leave Flemings less committed to full independence and Walloons less opposed to it. With the nation already paralyzed by the fear of separatism, as Belgium’s Le Soir put it recently, devolution may be Belgium’s best hope for survival.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Officers Draw Batons in Court

Police had to draw batons to restore calm after gang verdict.

Copenhagen police had to go into action at the Frederiksberg Court to stop unrest following the verdict on seven young gang members who were sentenced to between one and three years in prison.

Five of the defendants were sentenced for forcing a 16-year-old to carry out an armed bank robbery. Two others tried to make him carry out a repeat robbery. The 16-year-old was sentenced to 18 months in August 2009, with much of the sentence suspended.

Family members to the seven were up in arms, and court officials had to hold back the main defendant, who had been ordered deported from Denmark.

Large numbers of police were sent to the courtroom after officers on the spot said there was trouble.

The main defendant is a 22-year-old Moroccan national who was sentenced to three years in prison and subsequent deportation, despite the fact that he has lived in Denmark since he was a child.

After the verdict, the young man jumped onto the defence attorney’s table, which collapsed as he shouted he was innocent.

Calm is reported to have returned to the courthouse

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Dutch Disgrace, Geert Wilders Aims for Power

The extreme right-wing, anti-Muslim Dutch party, Party for Freedom, made shocking gains in this week’s Holland general elections. This fascist party, headed by the notorious Geert Wilders, has openly campaigned against Muslims calling for the banning of the Holy Quran and building new mosques. On the eve of the election, he alone supported Israel’s murderous actions on the humanitarian aid convoy. Even though Wilders goes on trial in the Netherlands in October on charges of inciting hatred against Muslims, his party’s strong showing could result in him being offered a cabinet post.

We urge the Dutch Muslims to lobby the 2 main parties, the Liberal VVD Party and the Labour (Pvda) Party, urging them to keep the extremist Geert Wilders out of government — it’s not too late.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Is Europe Awaking?

Wilders Is Ascendant

By Srdja Trifkovic

The impressive electoral breakthrough of the anti-Jihadist Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands is sending predictable shock waves through Europe. Its leader, Geert Wilders, wants a stake in government after his party came third with 24 seats, more than doubling its share in the 150 member national assembly. “Nobody in The Hague can bypass the PVV anymore,” he said. “The impossible has happened,” he went on, “the Netherlands chose more security, less crime, less immigration and less Islam.”

“Less Islam” is the key. Forget the currency crisis, social policy, welfare payments, and other nitty-gritty elements of most European elections. The biggest loser is Holland’s soon-to-be former Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, and his demise is long overdue. Six years ago, in a display of idiocy be expected from a supine Euro-Socialist, he rushed to declare — in the immediate aftermath of the Jihadist murder of Theo van Gogh in an Amsterdam street — that “nothing is known about the motive” of the killer, and called on the nation “not to jump to far-reaching conclusions.” Balkenende also referred to van Gogh’s “outspoken opinions” — hinting that he had it coming — and added that it was “unacceptable if a difference of opinion led to this brutal murder.” Mijnheer Balkenende seemed to be implying that “this brutal murder” would have been deemed less “unacceptable” had it been caused not by “a difference of opinion” but by some more profound reason — by the sense of pain and grievance in the Muslim community, perhaps, caused by the late filmmaker’s insensitive and inappropriate actions.

Balkenende’s defeat was also due to a host of other issues, but his undissenting dhimmitude is the key. His Islamophile inanities are no longer acceptable to a growing segment of Holland’s electorate. The Old Continent is waking up, slowly, to the possibility that by 2050, Muslims will account for over a quarter of its young residents west of the Trieste-Stettin line. Millions of them already live in a parallel universe that has very little to do with the host country, toward which they have a disdainful and hostile attitude.

Today’s “United Europe,” epitomized by Balkenende and his fellow-bien-pensants in Brussels and most national chancelleries, does not create social and civilizational commonalities except on the basis of wholesale denial of old mores and disdain for inherited values. It creates the dreary sameness of multicultural “tolerance.” Their decrepitude breeds contempt and haughty arrogance on the other side: Tariq Ramadan thus calmly insists that Muslims in the West should conduct themselves as though they were already living in a Muslim-majority society and were exempt on that account from having to make concessions to the faith of the host-society. Muslims in Europe should feel entitled to live on their own terms, Ramadan says, while, “under the terms of Western liberal tolerance,” society as a whole should be “obliged to respect that choice.”

If such “respect” continues to be enforced by the elite class, by the end of this century there will be no “Europeans” as members of ethnic groups that share the same language, culture, history, and ancestors, and inhabit lands associated with their names.

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

Italy: Moroccan Immigrant in Fast-Track Trial for Daughter’s Murder

Pordenone, 14 June (AKI) — The fast-track trial of a Moroccan immigrant accused of stabbing his 18-year-old daughter to death last year in an ‘honour’ killing opened in the northeastern Italian town of Pordenone on Monday.

El Ketaoui Dafani, a cook, allegedly became enraged after discovering his daughter Sanaa had a love affair with a 32-year-old Italian man.

Sanaa Dafani was stabbed in the throat in September with a large kitchen knife while she was sitting in a car with her 31-year-old boyfriend in the small town of Montereale Valcellina, northwest of Trieste.

El Ketaoui Dafani is accused of his daughter’s murder and of seriously injuring her boyfriend, Massimo De Biasio, during the attack.

De Biasio is forming the plaintiff in the trial, together with Italy’s equal opportunities ministry, the Association of Moroccan Women in Italy, the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, and the Province of Pordenone.

Dafani’s trial is being conducted behind closed doors.

The Association of Moroccan Women in Italy, Souad Sbai, who is also an MP for the ruling conservative People of Freedom Party, said she hopes Dafani will be given “the maximum sentence”.

“Sanaa was decapitated, massacred by her own father. Enough of fundamentalist extremism,” Sbai told reporters as she entered the courthouse on Monday to attend the trial.

“The Italian state must intervene in this community. Cultural and religious reasons cannot be used to justify this behaviour.”

Dafani, a devout Muslim, objected to his daughter’s boyfriend not being a Muslim and to their plans to live together, according to Italian media reports.

The issue of the cultural integration of Muslim immigrants in Italy has been brought into stark relief after several ‘honour’ killings in recent years.

In 2006 a 20-year-old Pakistani girl, Hina Saleem, died after her throat was slit by male relatives in the northern town of Brescia. Hina’s father Mohammed Saleem, and two male relatives were sentenced to 30 years in jail for her murder.

Her ‘crime’ was to wear jeans, work in a pizzeria and go to live with her Italian boyfriend.

After the case, Italy’s previous centre-left Italian government issued a ‘charter of values’ for immigrants.

There have also been several cases of Muslim immigrants mistreating and threatening their daughters for being “too westernised” and trying force them into arranged marriages.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: VVD, PVV and CDA Most Popular Coalition

THE HAGUE, 15/06/10 — Although no coalition whatever can count on broad support among the population, an alliance of conservatives (VVD), Party for Freedom (PVV) and Christian democrats (CDA) is the most popular, according to pollster Maurice de Hond.

Following the elections on 9 June, there are three possibilities for a government. These are a centre right combination of VVD, PVV and CDA, a broad centrist coalition with VVD, Labour (PvdA) and CDA and the ‘Purple Plus’ combination in which VVD, PvdA, the centre-left D66 and the leftwing Greens (GroenLinks) would team up.

De Hond had his panel give their preferences among these three options. VVD, PVV and CDA came out as the most favoured with 35 percent, followed by Purple Plus (33 percent). Only 10 percent opted for a combination of VVD, PvdA and CDA.

Noteworthy is that 62 percent of the VVD voters have a preference for the coalition with PVV and CDA. Only 12 percent prefer Purple Plus and 14 percent a broad centrist coalition with CDA and PvdA.

Among CDA voters the variant with PVV is also the most favoured (45 percent), followed by the broad centrist coalition with VVD and PvdA (26 percent). Purple Plus, which would put the CDA in the opposition, is only supported by 10 percent of the CDA voters.

If all voters are asked for an assessment of each of the three coalitions separately, over half (52 percent) are negative on VVD-PVV-CDA, 36 percent positive and the rest neutral. Reactions to Purple Plus are positive among 42 percent and negative among 43 percent.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Spain: Religious Freedom Law to Limit Use of Burqa

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JUNE 15 — The future law on religious freedom which the Spanish government wants to pass after the summer will limit the use of the burqa in public places, as some municipalities in Catalonia, including Barcelona, have already decided. The news was announced today by Justice Minister Francisco Caamano, during the presentation of the 2009 report of the Foundation for pluralism and cohabitation, a public institute that funds projects of religious minorities. Caamano explained that the parliament has to take the final decision on the ban to wear the burqa in public places, but he added that “the government is in favour of some limitations”. According to the Minister, garments like the full veil “are hardly compatible with the dignity of human beings and particularly with essential elements in public places, like identification”. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain: National Alarm Over Rise in Latin Gangs

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JUNE 15 — They are between 13 and 20 years old, they mark their territory and impose their dominion through violence and intolerance. Mara 18 and Mara 13 are the names of two new Latin gangs, at war with each other. They are responsible for bloody brawls and score-settlings, which are increasing rapidly in some municipalities of Catalonia, from Hospitalet to Cornell via Barcelona and Girona. But the alarm issued by the police about the worrying increase of the phenomenon of Latin gangs concerns all Spain. It is described in a report drafted by the national police, quoted today by the media. The report denounces a “significant increase in quantity and quality”. At least six gangs have their roots in 11 Provinces, from north to south: Madrid, Balearic Islands, Barcelona, Alicante, Asturias, Burgos, Jaen, Logrono, Murcia, Valladolid and Seville. They guarantee their members respect, imposed by violence, access to parties and sex, after a blood oath which cannot be cancelled. According to the report, the phenomenon has been on the rise since the year 2000. In that year the first organised juvenile gangs were seen in Spain, and the leader of the Sagrada Tribù, Ataualpa Spain, of the Latin Kings, was arrested. The report, drafted on request of the Organisation of American States, reveals mostly “thefts with violence or intimidation; attacks on police agents; drugs trafficking; breach of the peace; aggression and bodily harm; possession of cold steel and fire arms and murder attempts”. The most notorious gangs are the Latin Kings and their main opponents, the Netas, and the Dominican Dont Play, of which the police arrested 40 members of 5 nationalities in a large-scale operation in November. Less well-known but not less dangerous are the Trinitarios, the Black Panthers and the Stin Kings. The State Secretary for Security of the Interior Ministry launched a 5-year plan on January 6 2006 to coordinate police action in an attempt to stem the violence of these groups. The plan will expire in December 2011. In a report, ordered by State Secretary for Security Antonio Camacho, a far-reaching prevention programme is proposed. The sharp growths of the new gangs Mara 18 and Mara 13 in Catalonia in the past two years was noticed thanks to the exchange of information between the South American countries of origin and the Regions. According to the report, Mara 18 is divided in groups, called “clicas”, which control the territory. Each member has to pay 3 euros per week to maintain the organisation. Members who break the rules are punished, a decision taken by the leader, called “el mero”. This punishment consists of a beating by part of the gang members. Mara 13 has its roots in the Raval district in Barcelona. According to the report, its members include several different ethnic groups: Moroccans, Rumanians and even adolescents from Bangladesh. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Stockholm: Why We Rioted

The riots and fires in Rinkeby had just one purpose: to entice the police to the area.

“We want revenge. We are at war with the police,” says Badr, 25, one of the 50 youth who participated in the riots Tuesday night…

[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Community Leader Who Lied About BNP Kidnap is Illegal Immigrant and Suspected Benefits Cheat

A Muslim community leader who falsely claimed he had been kidnapped by members of the British National Party was exposed last night as a suspected benefits cheat who was in this country illegally.

Noor Ramjanally, 36, told police that racist thugs had abducted him at knifepoint and threatened him with violence.

But his account was exposed as a lie by cameras fitted secretly outside his flat after earlier claims that he had received racist hate mail and that the family’s home had been firebombed.

Footage revealed that on the day of the alleged kidnapping Ramjanally had left home by himself, and police established that he wandered around a branch of Homebase before dialling 999.

Yesterday he was given a two-year jail term after being convicted of perverting the course of justice.

However he was not in court — he had fled back to his native Mauritius after admitting he was in this country illegally, staying on after his tourist visa expired.

Before his trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, he sent police a taunting email from the Indian Ocean island, telling them: ‘I am enjoying the sun.’

The authorities will now decide whether to seek his extradition to Britain to serve his sentence.

It also emerged that both Ramjanally and his wife, Soulma Nusrally, are being investigated on suspicion of benefit fraud.

The court heard that Ramjanally ran Muslim prayer sessions at a hall in Loughton, Essex, at a time when the BNP was targeting the area with leaflets, increasing local tensions.

In July and August last year he claimed to have received racist hate mail warning him to stop hosting the group and to have suffered an arson attack at the home where he lived with his wife and son.

Unknown to Ramjanally, police installed two covert CCTV cameras outside his block of flats.

On August 24 he rang 999 claiming he had been abducted, later saying two BNP supporters had seized him at knifepoint and bundled him into the back of a vehicle.

He said they told him: ‘We don’t want Loughton Islamic Group in Loughton’ before releasing him on the edge of Epping Forest.

However camera footage showed him getting into a taxi at the time of the alleged kidnap.

He had also been caught on camera at the local Homebase, and he was arrested.

Ramjanally was bailed to await his trial and in February he fled to Mauritius, from where he originally came to Britain on a six-month tourist visa in 1999.

When officials from the UK Border Agency raided his flat they discovered fake passports and other ID documents.

Passing sentence, Judge Karen Walden-Smith said it was impossible to say whether Ramjanally concocted his story to increase tension in the community, for his own vanity, or a bit of both.

Last night it emerged that Ramjanally is being investigated for falsely claiming benefits and allegedly stealing money from a mosque.

His wife is also being investigated for allegedly stating that she was a single mother to claim benefits including income support and housing benefit.

           — Hat tip: Reinhard[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Protesters Brand War Heroes ‘Murderers’ As Homecoming Parade Turns Violent

A group of extremist Muslims prompted violent clashes at a homecoming parade for British troops today after they heckled soldiers and called them ‘murderers.’

Members of the Muslim Against the Crusade group clashed with far right protesters as they shouted ‘murderers, murderers, murderers’ and ‘British troops go to hell’ as members of the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment paraded down the streets of Barking, Essex.

The chants were drowned out by a large mob on the opposite side of the street who retaliated with jeers of ‘Traitors’ to the Muslim protesters.

The hour-long parade had been delayed due to growing tensions between the two sides, with anti-Mac protestors singing God Save the Queen and drinkers at a nearby pub hurling frozen pork sausages at the Muslims.

Moments after the soldiers passed through tensions reached boiling point and the anti-Mac campaigners broke through the barricades, charged across the road and traded punches with the Muslim throng.

Police quickly separated the mob, with one man wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and led away while the police made a ring surrounding the Muslim group.

They then had to hold back the anti-Muslim group as the Mac protesters made their way to a tube station.

Two men were arrested after the violence, for public order offences.

Local woman Dee McEvoy, 50, stood in front of the Muslims protesters, waving her two union Jack flags as the soldiers passed.

She said: ‘I’m here for the army and the British forces. The protesters are entitled to their opinion but they are taking it out on the wrong people. They should be taking it out on the Government.

‘This is not the reception these boys and girls deserve. But it is democracy in action.’ Earlier the Muslim group was attacked by a barrage of eggs.

One member of the Mac group used a megaphone to shout: ‘This is a protest against parading in a Muslim area. We love death the way you love life.’

He branded British soldiers as ‘butchers’ and ‘despots’.

The Muslim protesters chanted ‘Democracy’ as they had an uneasy stand-off against a mob, some waving St George’s Crosses, Union flags and an English Defence League flag.

Anti-Mac protesters sang ‘I’ll be English ‘till my dying day,’ and jeered ‘We pay your benefits’.

Further down the street onlookers, who had arrived simply to pay their respects to the soldiers, were disgusted by the scenes.

The girlfriend of a Royal Anglian soldier killed in Afghanistan said the extremists should have been banned from attending the parade.

Lance Corporal Scott Hardy, 26, from Chelmsford in Essex, was killed in an explosion near Musa Qala on Tuesday March 16, just weeks before he was due to return home.

Lance Corporal Hardy’s partner Charlene Byrne, 24, said: ‘It’s absolutely disgusting. I know this kind of thing has happened before in Luton but I don’t understand how it has been allowed to happened again.

‘It’s terrible that this group has got away with it. Obviously not everyone supports what’s happening in Afghanistan, there are people who are very angry about it, but they shouldn’t take it out on the soldiers.’

Emily Penson-Clark, who took the day off work to support the soldiers with her young daughter and parents said: ‘I think the protesters are filth. I’m here to support our troops. They put their lives on the line for us. I’ve got three words: Help for Heroes.’

The soldiers remained undaunted by the abuse, and marched through the town centre with fixed bayonets, accompanied by the Minden Band, a Colour Party and two guards of 70 officers and non-commisioned officers.

The Freedom parade stopped briefly in Barking Town Square where the Mayor, Councillor Nirmal Singh Gill, General Sir John McColl and the Queen’s deputy Lieutenant Major Anthony O’Hagan took a salute and inspected the troops.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Spot the Difference: How Today’s Airbrushing PC Censors Decided Churchill Could Do Without His Cigar

But are these actually the same photograph of Sir Winston Churchill?

In the original photograph the war leader has his cigar gripped firmly in the corner of his mouth.

But in the other image — currently greeting visitors to a London museum — his favourite smoke has been digitally extinguished.

It seems the man who steered Britain through the most dangerous period of its recent history may have fallen victim to the modern curse of political correctness.

Last night the question of who removed the cigar and when was something of a mystery.

The Winston Churchill’s Britain At War Experience, in South-East London, confessed to being astonished to discover that the image may have been doctored.

Which is a little embarrassing for the staff at the charitable trust, because the photograph features on a giant poster hanging above the museum’s main door.

So just who did pinch the great man’s Havana?

It wasn’t the anti-smoking lobby, which has had no known contact with the museum; it certainly wasn’t Churchill’s family — his grandson Nicholas Soames said ‘it doesn’t matter one way or the other’; and it wasn’t the museum itself — in fact it’s got wartime posters advertising cigarettes on the walls.

But intriguingly the museum, which gives all profits to charity, declined to name who put together the display and, crucially, who enlarged the image for the poster.

Museum manager John Welsh was astonished to be told the image was missing one vital ingredient.

‘We’ve got all sorts of images in the museum, some with cigars and some without,’ he said. ‘We’ve even got war-time adverts for cigarettes in the lift down to the air raid shelter, so we wouldn’t have asked for there to be no cigar.’

Museum owner Don Robinson, who handed the museum to a charitable trust 20 years ago, was equally surprised.

‘If we’d known we would have said “no it stays as it is”. Everything we do we try to do accurately and the cigar symbolises Churchill.’

Mr Robinson insisted the person who designed the posters would not have removed the cigar and said he would like to get to the bottom of the mystery too.

The original picture was taken in 1948 when Churchill was opening the new HQ of 615 County of Surrey Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force of which he was commodore.

The altered image was spotted by museum visitor David McAdam.

He said: ‘I pointed out this crude alteration to a museum steward who said she hadn’t noticed the change before, nor had anyone else pointed it out.

‘Viewing the now disfigured image reveals just how unhinged the vociferous anti-smoking lobby has become. So much for the notion that only communist tyrants airbrushed history.’

Allen Packwood, of Churchill Archives Centre, said he had never known of the leader’s cigar being airbrushed out before.

‘The cigar is part of what makes Churchill an iconic figure and of course it was very much part of his image as war leader — it went hand in hand with his victory salute and the uniforms he wore.

‘What’s politically correct for 2010 was not politically correct for 1940.’

Churchill is not the first figure to fall foul of such meddling.

A much-reproduced photograph of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel posing against the backdrop of the huge launching chains of his ship the SS Great Eastern in 1857 shows him smoking a cigar.

However, in a copy which has been used on the front of a school textbook, the cigar was airbrushed out to avoid ‘offence’.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

UK: Tories Would Maintain Islamic Finance Focus

LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) — The UK Conservative Party would foster the development of Islamic finance as much as the Labour government, if it comes to power after next year’s general election, an Islamic finance expert linked to the Party said. Mohammed Amin, partner and head of the UK Islamic Finance practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers [PWC.UL] (PwC), said at a conference on Wednesday: “All the ways (in which) Labour has supported Islamic finance would be every bit as valuable under David Cameron (Conservative Party leader) as prime minister.

“The next conservative government would be very supportive of Islamic finance,” he told delegates of the Islamic Finance News Roadshow 2009 conference in London.

Amin said he was speaking as vice-chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, an affiliate of Cameron’s party working to encourage support from the Muslim community.

The UK has undergone a series of tax and law changes in the last few years to allow the launch of retail Islamic-compliant services such as mortgages, bank accounts and insurance.

In April the budget 2009 changed the tax regime to facilitate Islamic-debt issuance and encourage the growth of London as an Islamic finance hub.

Rules were changed to remove fiscal penalties to UK companies willing to issue sukuks, or Islamic bonds, effectively ending a regime which would have double-taxed the transactions needed to set up a sukuk.

The government however shelved its plans to launch a sovereign sukuk last November, citing the troubled market conditions in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

Amin said the Conservative party had been quiet about the Islamic finance field because there was “no political mileage” in highlighting the achievements of the Labour government.

The Conservative Party is widely tipped to be the winner of the next general election next year. The party did not return Reuters’ requests for comment. (Reporting by Cecilia Valente; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

UK: Woman Fined for Erratic Driving Caused by Niqab Headscarf Impairing Her Vision

A motorist has been fined for erratic driving caused by her Islamic headscarf, just weeks after a similar incident sparked a major political row.

Police in Vaucluse in southern France stopped the woman after she was spotted driving her vehicle carelessly on the road.

It was then officers noticed the driver was wearing a niqab, a veil that leaves only the eyes exposed, and that her sight was impaired, according to commanding officer Charles Bourillon.

‘[The headscarf] was bothering the driver in her manoeuvres … It was obvious she could not see a thing,’ he said.

Police gave the driver a ticket for 22 euros (£18) for driving with a reduced field of vision.

Officers then suggested that the woman remove her niqab to improve her sight, which she did.

[Return to headlines]


EU-Serbia: Frattini, A.S.A. OK, But Germany Blocking Accession

(ANSAmed) — LUXEMBURG, JUNE 14 — Italy’s Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, has expressed his satisfaction with the unblocking of the process to ratify the Association and Stabilisation Agreement with Serbia, but indicated that it had not been possible today to resolve the question of the country’s progress towards accession to the EU because of an obstacle imposed by Germany. “Any decision concerning the enlargement dossier first requires a formal decision by the Bundestag,” Frattini pointed out. “The overwhelming majority of member states, however, believe that Serbia’s application for membership should be examined as soon a possible”. As for any tie between Serbia’s application and Belgrade’s position over Kosovo, Frattini said that should such a thing be done “it would represent an extremely dangerous precedent”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

108 Al Qaeda Members Identified in Sahel

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, JUNE 15 — There are 108 Al Qaeda members in the Sahel, from different nationalities, the Algerian daily Al Khobar writes today, quoting security services. The black list includes 21 Algerian nationals, 34 from Mauritania, 14 from Nigeria, 18 from Mali, 7 from Chad, 6 from Libya, 5 from Morocco and 3 Tunisians. For the first time there are two people on the list who were at first only know as traffickers. Their presence confirms the new links between terrorists and people who smuggle weapons, drugs and human beings. The identification of the 108 is seen as a success that results from the collaboration between the police and secret services, a decision taken by all Sahel countries last year in a formal agreement. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Al-Qaeda’s North African Chief ‘Backs Bin Laden’

Algiers, 14 June (AKI) — The head of Al-Qaeda’s North African branch, Abdel Malik Droukedel reaffirmed his allegiance to the terror network’s leader, Osama Bin Laden in a 10-minute audio message posted to jihadist websites.

“We inform you, O Emir Osama Bin Laden, that we are still faithful to you and are fighting with all our force,” said the message purportedly recorded by Droukedel.

He is also known as Abu Musab Abdel Wudud.

Droukedel also paid tribute to Al-Qaeda’s late leader in Afghanistan, Egyptian-born Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, as well as late Al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, Abu Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.

“Mujadadeen brothers, wherever you are, victory is close at hand.

“The deaths of our leaders has strengthened us on our path and with their blood they have watered the tree of Islam,” said the audio message.

Al-Yazid al-Baghdadi and al-Muhajir were alll killed this year.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: Hamas Rises in the West

Since the navy’s May 31 takeover of the Turkish-Hamas flotilla, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his advisors have deliberated around the clock about how to contend with the US-led international stampede against Israel. But their ultimate decision to form an investigatory committee led by a retired Supreme Court justice and overseen by foreign observers indicates that they failed to recognize the nature of the international campaign facing Israel today.

Led by US President Barack Obama, the West has cast its lot with Hamas against Israel.

It is not surprising that Obama is siding with Hamas. His close associates are leading members of the pro-Hamas Free Gaza outfit. Obama’s friends, former Weatherman Underground terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and William Ayres participated in a Free Gaza trip to Egypt in January. Their aim was to force the Egyptians to allow them into Gaza with 1,300 fellow Hamas supporters. Their mission was led by Code Pink leader and Obama fundraiser Jodie Evans. Another leading member of Free Gaza is former US senator from South Dakota James Abourezk.

All of these people have open lines of communication not only to the Obama White House, but to Obama himself…

[Return to headlines]

Israel Nabs Bosnian Muslim, Albanians on Terror Ship

During the raid on the Muslim terror ship, Israeli commandos have arrested a Bosnian Muslim national. His name is Yasser Mohamad Sabbagh and he is of the Syrian origin and he is pictured on the left.

Four additional Balkan Muslims were nabbed by the Israelis and presumably all of them are ethnic Albanian Muslims. One is from Kosovo and the 3 others are from Macedonia where Wahhabism is rampant among the Albanian Muslims.

The Kosovo Albanian arrested by Israel is Ramiqi Fuad President of Muslim Forum of Kosova and he said to Sabbagh:

“I was at this time stated the common suffering that we went during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Kosovo war. Knowing what the situation in Palestine, at least we can contribute is that they carry a part of faith in the freedom that we achieved after long years, and will also one day have.

Sabbagh wrote in his last e-mail sent by the Organization of MFS in BiH saying that “Because of this mission has only one representative from Kosovo and a representative from Bosnia and Herzegovina, pleases you to more Bosnia. the media involved in monitoring these activities”.

Earlier this year, Israel warned via Macedonia’s PM that local Balkan Muslims are deep into world’s Islamic Jihad.

After the arrest of bunch of Jihadists on this Turkish ship, Israel now extends its warning by saying that “Dozens of passengers who were aboard the Mavi Marmara Turkish passenger ship are suspected of having connections with Global Jihad-affiliated terrorist organizations” while the Israeli defense ministry says that there are “growing concerns that Turkey will dispatch Navy warships to accompany a future flotilla to the Gaza Strip.”

Turkey has been rattling against Jews for some time now, and after Turkey wrapped up bunch of diplomatic deals with Serbia, they got Belgrade to support UN investigation of the raid on the terror ship.

Anyway, foreign born Muslims came to Bosnia in the 1990s so they can kill non-Muslims and most of them have been awarded Bosnian citizenship by the Bosnian Muslim government. Most world’s terrorists are graduates of the Bosnian Muslim Jihad.

Sabbagh is currently held in the prison at Ela near Bar Sheva.

Bosnia’s Foreign Minister, Sven Alkalaj, issued a directive to his Ambassador in Israel, Ivana Levi, to extend consular help to this Syrian-born Bosnian Muslim. Alkalaj orderd Levi to visit Sabbagh as soon as possible and report back to him. Sabbagh’s son, Amar, demands that the Bosnian Muslim government seek relief for his father via Israel and/or Turkey.

Dzenana Sabic, Bosnian Muslim member of the International Solidarity Forum — EMMAUS, says that Sabbagh was carrying an alleged “humanitarian” help collected among Bosnian Muslims for the Palestinians.

Since most Islamic so-called charities are terror-funding enterprises, a link can already be established between the Solidarity Forum, the terror-funding Islamic Relief and the official Bosnian Muslim religious body.

Specifically, last year, the official Bosnian Muslim religious body called Rijaset of the Islamic Community, donated 100,000 Euros to Gaza that it collected via its mosques in Bosnia but, the money that the official Bosnian Muslim religious body raised was given to the Islamic Relief.

In 2003, Islamic Relief is has been designated as a terror funding organization under the Executive Order 13224.

So in essence, Sabbagh is a delivery-boy of the terror money that the official Bosnian Muslim religious body raised across the Bosnian Muslim mosques.

In other words, the official Bosnian Muslim religious body went around collecting Euros in order to ship it via terror-funding Islamic charity with Sabbagh as a delivery-boy.

The Rijaset is also very loose on portraying Jews as evil and have issued many official hutbas or religious teachings telling the Bosnian Muslim faithful that Jews are “cowards and plotters which are constantly turning to the right path and make a mess on Earth” calling Moses (Musa) as the first of the “Jew deceivers” and that Jews “rush to sin and cause Allah… into anger.”

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Fethullah Gulen’s Cave of Wonders

By Spengler

We’ve been had, boys and girls: the international community, the world press, Israeli intelligence, the United Nations, the lot of us. The existential drama off the Gaza coast turns out to be a Turkish farce, the kind of low comedy that in 1782 Wolfgang Mozart set to music in the opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan playing the buffo-villain Osmin and Turkish self-exiled preacher and author Fethullah Gulen as the wise Pasha Selim.

In the post-American world, where every wannabe and used-to-be power makes momentary deals with other powers it plans to kill later, one makes inferences with caution. But I’ve seen this opera before.

Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania in the United States, was silent as a jinn in a bottle about politics until last Friday, when he told the Wall Street Journal that the Free Gaza flotilla’s attempt to run the Israeli blockage of Gaza “is a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters”.

Erdogan’s Islamists have run a two-year campaign of judicial activism against secular politicians, journalists and army officers, and secular critics long have alleged that Gulen is the clerical power behind the prime minister.

For the secretive Gulen to criticize the Turkish government in the midst of its public rage against Israel is an imam-bites-dog story. Gulen appears to have positioned himself as a mediator with Israel. Turkey does not want to end its longstanding relationship with Israel; it wants Israel to become a Turkish vassal-state in emulation of the old Ottoman model.

The killing last week by Israeli commandos of nine activists on board the Mavi Marmara served numerous goals, and Gulen’s grand return to Turkish politics appears to be one of them. The question that every commentator in the Turkish press asked over the weekend, in one form or other, was: When will this voice of Muslim moderation re-emerge as an open force in the ruling Islamist party?

There is every indication that the Turkish government dispatched the Gaza flotilla in order to stage a violent confrontation. The Erdogan government announced that it had carefully vetted the passenger list on the Mavi Marmara, which is to say that it knew that many of the passengers boarded with the intention of achieving “martyrdom” in a clash with the Israelis. They must have known this, for both the Turkish as well as the Palestinian press ran interviews with family members of some of the nine dead passengers explaining this intent.

The passengers’ plans for martyrdom have been celebrated in the Arab press, and translated on the website of the Middle East Media Research Institute. The Turkish government also knew that the Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), the Islamic charity behind the Gaza flotilla, had ties to Hamas, for it had banned the IHH from charitable activity in Turkey a decade ago due to its connection to an organization that the previous secular government regarded as terrorist.

What explains Israel’s apparent intelligence failure? Israel fields a small service tasked with operations in Iran, southern Lebanon, Gaza and Syria among other prospective enemies. The Mossad probably relied on counterparts in Turkish intelligence — with whom it has a long history of collaboration — to cover the passenger list on the Mavi Marmara. The often-unreliable Debka claims that “Turkish intelligence duped Israel”, which in this case is likely. By stealth or by sloth, Israel was roped into the comedy.

The star of the comedy, at least for the Turkish media, is Gulen. The 78-year-old imam has lived in self-imposed exile for two decades, due to charges by Turkish prosecutors that he led a conspiracy to subvert the secular state. He presides over Turkey’s largest religious movement, commanding the loyalty of two-thirds of the Turkish police, according to some reports. His movement — a transnational civic society movement inspired by Gulen’s teachings — also controls a network of elite schools that educate a tenth of the high school students in the Turkic world from Baku to Kyrgyzstan. And it reportedly controls businesses with tens of billions of dollars in assets.

His movement has been expelled from the Russian Federation and his followers arrested in Uzbekistan by local authorities who believe his goal is a pan-Turkic union from the Bosporus to China’s western Xinjiang province (“East Turkestan” to Gulen’s movement).

In Mozart’s Abduction, Belmonte and Pedrillo descend into the pasha’s harem to rescue Kostanze; in last week’s version, Israeli commandos descended onto the Mavi Marmara. And there is the stock villain of Viennese comedy, the Turk Osmin, played by Erdogan. The predictable occurs, and the prospective Shahidi become actual corpses. And Erdogan threatens Israel with terrible things, in emulation of Mozart’s Osmin, who sings:

“First you’ll be beheaded!

Then hanged!

Then spitted on hot stakes!

Then bound, and burned, and drowned, and finally skinned!”

This, one supposes, is supposed to frighten the children in the audience, who then will smile and clap when the Wise Old Man enters to urge moderation, caution and respect for authority, in the person of Gulen.

The Islamic shift in Turkey has been underway for years. As Rachel Sharon-Krespin wrote in the Middle East Quarterly (Winter 2009):

As Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, AKP) begins its seventh year in leadership, Turkey is no longer the secular and democratic country that it was when the party took over. The AKP has conquered the bureaucracy and changed Turkey’s fundamental identity. Prior to the AKP’s rise, Ankara oriented itself toward the United States and Europe. Today, despite the rhetoric of European Union accession, Prime Minister Erdogan has turned Turkey away from Europe and toward Russia and Iran and re-oriented Turkish policy in the Middle East away from sympathy toward Israel and much more toward friendship with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria.

We are now in a post-American world, at least where the Barack Obama administration is concerned, and Turkey like its neighbors is scrambling for position. What does Turkey want in a post-American world?

The question itself seems stupid, for the obvious answer is: “Whatever it can get.” It wants to become the dominant regional power rather than Iran, casting a wolfish glance at Iran’s Azeri population, who speak Turkish rather than Persian. It wants to “mediate” the Israeli-Palestinian issue and is not squeamish about its prospective partners. It wants Palestine to be an Ottoman province once again. It wants to be the energy hub for the Middle East and the outlet for Russian and Azerbaijani pipelines.

But it is a bit more complex than that. Modern Turkey is an artificial construct, rather than a nation-state in the Western sense. Since the Turks completed the conquest of Byzantine Anatolia in the middle of the 14th century, a relatively thin crust of ethnic Turks has ruled over subject peoples. The Ottoman Empire at various points in its history had a Christian majority; its civil service at different points was more Venetian, Armenian and Jewish then Turkish; its self-understanding was global and religious, that is, as the caliphate of Islam, rather than as a national entity.

When World War I reduced Turkey to an Anatolian rump, Kemal Ataturk attempted to impose “Turkishness” as a secular, national ideology on the European model. To make the country “Turkish”, several million Orthodox Christians were estimated to have been killed. The hollowness of Ataturk’s secular construct, modeled on the nastier European national movements, made it vulnerable from the beginning. The army was the only institution that could hold Turkish society together.

What will replace Ataturk’s secularism? I wrote two years ago:

If political Islam prevails in Turkey, what will emerge is not the same country in different coloration, but a changeling, an entirely different nation. In a 1997 speech that earned him a prison term, Erdogan warned of two fundamentally different camps, the secularists who followed Kemal, and Muslims who followed sharia. These are not simply different camps, however, but different configurations of Turkish society at the molecular level. Like a hologram, Turkey offers two radically different images when viewed from different angles. Turkish Islam, the ordering of the Anatolian villages and the Istanbul slums, represents a nation radically different than the secularism of the army, the civil service, the universities and the Western-leaning elite of Istanbul. If the Islamic side of Turkey rises, the result will be unrecognizable. Turkey in the throes of Islamic revolution? Asia Times Online, July 22, 2008.

Gulen’s pan-Turkic mysticism views Turkey as the center of a new caliphate uniting the Muslim world. He preaches a “Turkish renaissance” with a modern spin “to ensure that religion and science go together and that science penetrates not only individual lives, but also social life”. His schools educate the elite of the Turkic world across Asia. Gulen’s interest, to be sure, focuses on the Turkish state, whose bureaucracy is now filled with his acolytes. But unlike Ataturk’s secular nationalism, which tried to redefine Turkey on a European model, Gulen’s Islamism is inherently expansionist.

What Gulen means by science is of an entirely different order than the Western understanding. This “imam from rural Anatolia”, as his website describes him, inhabits the magical world of jinns and sorcery. Science is just a powerful form of magic of which Turks should avail themselves to enhance their power, as he writes in his 2005 book, The Essentials of the Islamic Faith:

Jinn are conscious beings charged with divine obligations. Recent discoveries in biology make it clear that God created beings particular to each realm. They were created before Adam and Eve, and were responsible for cultivating and improving the world. Although God superseded them with us, he did not exempt them from religious obligations.

As nothing is difficult for God almighty, he has provided human beings, angels and jinns with the strength appropriate for their functions and duties. As he uses angels to supervise the movements of celestial bodies, he allows to humans to rule the Earth, dominate matter, build civilizations and produce technology.

Power and strength are not limited to the physical world, nor are they proportional to bodily size … Our eyes can travel long distances in an instant. Our imagination can transcend time and space all at once … winds can uproot trees and demolish large buildings. A young, thin plant shoot can split rocks and reach the sunlight. The power of energy, whose existence is known through its effect, is apparent to everybody. All of this shows that something’s power is not proportional to its physical size; rather the immaterial world dominates the physical world, and immaterial entities are far more powerful than material ones.

He goes on to warn about sorcery and the danger of spells; he allows that it is meritorious to break spells (for evil witches are everywhere casting spells), although a good Muslim should not make a profession of this, for then he might be mistaken for a sorcerer himself. The notion that “wind” and “energy” are “immaterial” forces exudes the magical world view of an Anatolian peasant; the miracles of technology are the secret actions of jinn, just as the planetary movements are the actions of angels. When Gulen talks about the union of religion and science, what he means quite concretely is that the magical view of jinns in the Koran aids the believer in enlisting these “immaterial” forces to enhance the power of Islam. Science for Gulen means the management of jinn.

Gulen, in short, is a shaman, a relic of pre-history preserved in the cultural amber of eastern Anatolia. Kemalism was sterile, brutal, secular and rational; the “moderate Islam” of Gulen is magical, a mystic’s vision of Ottoman restoration and a pan-Turkic caliphate.

The Erdogan government crafted the Mavi Marmara affair as a piece of theater, preparing the deus ex machina (god from the machine) entrance of Gulen himself, more Pagliaccio than Apollo, to be sure. The trouble is that the Turkish Islamists live in a world of magical realism in which theater and reality, human and jinn, desire and achievement blend into a mystical blur. Gulen explains in his The Essentials of the Islamic Faith that Allah created the jinn out of fire. And that is what the apologists for Turkish Islamism are playing with.

Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Ofra Bengio / Turkey’s Strategic U-Turn, Israel’s Tactical Mistakes

[A fairly clear-minded assessment of the current tensions between Turkey and Israel. Even if it ignores the intrinsically offensive nature of Turkey’s increasing Islamism in which Israel has, up to now, played no substantial role. — Z]

While it is Turkey that has been changing its strategy vis-à-vis Israel by tilting toward the Arab and Muslim worlds, Israel has helped push it in that direction with a number of egregious tactical mistakes.

The Turkish-Israeli crisis touched off by the Gaza flotilla episode encapsulates the evolution of the two countries’ bilateral relations in recent years. Though it is the Turkish government that has slowly been changing its strategy vis-à-vis Israel by tilting more and more toward the Arab and Muslim worlds, Israel has helped push it in that direction with a number of egregious tactical mistakes.

Ankara’s strategic shift began some years ago, when it aligned itself with Israel’s two implacable enemies, Hamas and Iran. These new alliances could not be explained away as a mere humanitarian gesture toward the Palestinians or an attempt to contain Iran through engagement. Given Iran’s and Hamas’ unflinching opposition to Israel’s existence, Turkey’s support for them cancels out, in effect, its alignment with Israel.

Oddly, neither ordinary Turkish citizens nor members of the intelligentsia seem to grasp the impact on Israel of Ankara’s shift. To illustrate the point, one can imagine the reaction in Turkey were Israel to declare its support for Armenia against Turkey (to be sure, the parallel with Iran breaks down over the fact that Armenia possesses no nuclear weapons and has not declared its opposition to Turkey’s right to exist). Similarly, one may ask, how would Turkey have responded to an Israeli invitation to Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the Kurdish PKK opposition (the AKP government of Prime Minster Tayyip Recep Erdogan has hosted Hamas leader Khalid Mashal), or if Israel had organized a flotilla to provide aid to the country’s Kurds?

From a historical perspective, this was not the first time that Turkey had tilted toward the Arab world at Israel’s expense. Nonetheless, the current case differs from earlier ones in a number of important respects. In previous instances, Turkey’s attempt to curry favor with Arab countries was in response to a concern over possible Arab moves that could directly harm Turkish interests, for example, the Arab threat not to sell oil to Turkey after the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war. In the latest incident, by contrast, Turkey’s actions were proactive, taken at its own initiative. Furthermore, although Turkish leaders in the past occasionally employed harsh words against Israel, never has Turkish rhetoric been as intense, inflammatory or sustained as that employed by Erdogan, beginning with last year’s confrontation with Israeli President Shimon Peres at Davos.

Erdogan’s actions mark the first time that a Turkish prime minister has taken the lead in posing as the savior of Palestinians facing Israeli oppression. Similarly, while in the past Turkey’s moves toward Israel were motivated by considerations of realpolitik, Erdogan appears to be guided by a quasi-messianic approach that eerily resembles the actions of Egypt’s Gamal Abd al-Nasser during the 1950s and ‘60s Lastly, although the sympathy of the Turkish people with the Palestinians is of long standing, it has never appeared as deep-rooted and all-encompassing as in the aftermath of the flotilla crisis.

The reasons underpinning Turkey’s altered posture are manifold. One important explanation is the quiet revolution transpiring under the AKP government in both the domestic and foreign policy spheres. Paradoxically, its new Islamic ideological and political orientation turns the state into a friendly competitor with Iran over the leadership role of the Islamist, pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli stance. This, together with the AKP government’s success in cutting the Turkish military’s influence down to size, enabled the government to deliver a severe blow to the strategic alignment with Israel. Moreover, sacrificing this alignment for the sake of close relations with the Arab and Muslim worlds was perceived as producing considerable dividends for Turkey in general, and for the premier in particular. With his recent moves, Erdogan has assumed the role of an Islamic and Palestinian hero, while the Turkish state has catapulted itself onto center stage as the rising tiger of the Middle East. Such achievements can be expected to encourage even more assertive moves in the same direction.

Israel’s own flagrant errors played into the hands of the Turkish government, while also feeding the Turkish street’s antipathy toward Israel. The deterioration of Turkish-Israeli relations began gathering force during the winter 2008-2009 Gaza conflict, when Israel failed to notify Ankara of its intent to attack, though it had do so with Egypt. Without entering here into Israel’s considerations, Turkey’s rivalry with Egypt, Ankara’s pro-Palestinian sentiments and Erdogan’s allegedly injured honor went a long way to explain the open negative shift demonstrated at the Davos meeting that January. Other Israeli “contributions” to the decline of the relationship included declarations by some Israeli officials of their opposition to any mediating role by Turkey between Syria and Israel. Especially insulting, and ultimately embarrassing for Israel, was the demonstratively humiliating way in which Turkey’s ambassador to Israel was treated by Israel’s deputy foreign minister, this past January.

Hence, the ground was well prepared for a crisis, which the flotilla affair provided in spades. Israel knew beforehand that the AKP was in one way or another linked to the IHH organization (Insani Yardim Vakfi), headed by Bulent Yildirim, which was the moving spirit behind the flotilla.. Israel’s mistake was that it chose the greater of two evils. By confronting the Marmara and causing the death of nine Turks it inflamed both the Turkish public and the ruling elite against Jerusalem. Huge street demonstrations encouraged Erdogan to further sharpen his extreme stance on Israel, which in turn further incited the public.

Up until that point, Turkey and Israel had no real problems on the level of bilateral relations. Their disputes had to do with other issues, particularly their differing outlooks on the Palestinian issue. Now, with the death of Turkish citizens, people-to-people relations between Turkey and Israel have been dealt a severe blow. Governments come and go but the enmity that is developing between the two nations will be very difficult to heal if a more sober and level-headed approach is not adopted by the two countries.

Because of the inherently asymmetrical nature of Turkish-Israeli relations, Israel appears to be the main loser from their deterioration. Still, Turkey too stands to lose from the new situation. As it increasingly assumes a more Iranian-like radical stance, Ankara’s credibility as a stability-promoting power in the region is likely to be damaged. Second it has diminished its chances for playing the role of a mediator between Syria and Israel, a task that is strongly coveted by the architects of its newly activist foreign policy. Lastly, the surge in popularity of the AKP government, exemplified by the huge anti-Israeli demonstrations that Erdogan’s inflammatory speeches helped unleash, may boomerang against him in the long run. Even now, concurrently with the anti-Israeli demonstrations, similarly large ones have been taking place against the AKP, organized by Kurds. Ultimately, Israel will not be able to serve indefinitely as a diversion from the Turkish government’s domestic and external problems.

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]

Saudis Open Skies for Israeli Hit on Iran

Saudi Arabia is giving Israel a free pass through its airspace for a bombing run on Iranian nuclear sites, reports the Times of London, citing defense sources in the Gulf. The move puts four key sites within range of Israeli bombers, and the Saudis have tested lowering their air defenses to allow the Israelis through. While there’s no love lost between the two, “I know that Saudi Arabia is even more afraid than Israel of an Iranian nuclear capacity,” says one official.

“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” a US defense source tells the Times. “They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the State Department.”

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]

Turkey to Host One Million Arab Tourists in 2010

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JUNE 14 — Turkish tourism officials expect nearly one million Arab tourists to visit Turkey until the end of 2010, as Anatolia news agency reports. Speaking to reporters in the Mediterranean province of Antalya on Monday, Turgut Gur, the head of Turkish Tourism Investors’ Association (TYD), said that Turkey’s lifting visa procedures with several Arab countries boosted the country’s tourism. Noting he expected numerous Arab visitors in Turkey’s southern provinces, Gur said, ““I expect a million Arab tourists until the end of this year. There is a remarkable interest in Turkey”. Gur said the number of Arab tourists visiting Turkey increased by 37% in March 2010 and by 44% in April 2010. Upon a question on whether there had been a pause in the flow of Israeli tourists to Turkey after Israel’s recent deadly attack on aid ships, Gur said there had been a certain decrease in the number of Israeli visitors, stating nearly 50,000 bookings had been cancelled until the end of this season. Gur said Turkey might have lost numerous Israeli tourists, but it expected a million Arab visitors and estimated a rise in its tourism incomes. “We expect a total of 30 million tourists to visit Turkey this year. We also estimate a tourism income of almost 23 billion USD,” he noted. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Who Killed Khaled Sultan Al-Abed?

by Jonathan Spyer

Once viewed as perhaps the most locked-down and policed city in the Middle East, the Syrian capital of Damascus has been the scene of a number of bombings and assassinations in the last few years. Most famously, of course, Hizbullah master-operative Imad Mughniyeh was killed by a car bomb in February 2008.

Last year, in a much messier affair, a number of Iranian pilgrims were killed in a bus bombing which the Syrian authorities did their clumsy best to conceal.

In the last month, an additional item must be added to the list of curious and unexplained acts of lethal violence to have taken place in the Syrian capital.

On May 16, Khaled Sultan al-Abed, a businessman and a senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, was shot dead outside his home in the same smart Damascus neighborhood in which Mughniyeh met his end. Mezzeh, which is also home to a number of foreign embassies, is one of the most closely watched as well as one of the most fashionable districts of Damascus.

Abed was the official head in Syria of Iran Khodro, a car franchise established by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. He had been resident in Damascus for 10 years, owned a 25 percent stake in the company, and had reportedly succeeded in forging close ties with prominent figures in the Syrian business community.

However, according to a report by veteran journalist Georges Malbrunot in Le Figaro this week, this position and Abed’s additional extensive business activities in Syria were intended to serve as a cover for his other duties — those of a liaison officer between the Iranian regime and Hizbullah.

The Syrian authorities are clearly deeply embarrassed at this latest breach of the daily tranquility of their capital. The murder was not reported by official news sources, and Syrian officials have made no comment upon it. An investigation into the killing of Abed has reportedly been launched.

WHO MIGHT have carried it out?…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan — India: Appeal for Afghan Christians, Sentenced to Death for Their Faith

A group of Afghan Christian refugees, who escaped to India to save their lives, describe the hardships they face in their homeland, where Muslim converts to Christianity are put to death. They call on the international community to put pressure on the Afghan government to spare those sentenced to death.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) — VijayKumar Singh, from the India Bible Publishers and the Delhi Bible Fellowship, has launched an appeal to the Christians of India and the world to pray and express their support for Afghan Muslim converts to Christianity who were convicted on conversion charges and sentenced to death on 31 May. Speaking to AsiaNews, Sing said, “We need Christians’ help all over the world to stop the Afghan government from arresting Dari-speaking Afghan Christians and condemning them to death by public execution.”

Afghans consider their country to be 100 per cent Muslim. A local TV station, Noorin TV, recently broadcast a documentary showing photos and videos of secret “Afghan Christian Converts”, which revealed names and showed the faces of alleged Afghan Christian converts.

This was enough to spark riots and demonstrations throughout Afghanistan with protesters demanding strong action to enforce the Afghan constitution, based on Sharia, arrest the culprits, and execute anyone who renege his or her religion in favour of another.

A number of prominent public figures also spoke out on the matter, calling for immediate action. One lawmaker even said that killing a Muslim who converts to Christianity was “not a crime”.

Waheed Omar, the spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, told reporters that the president was “personally” taking an interest in this case, and had ordered his interior minister and the head of the country’s spy agency to carry out a full investigation and “take immediate and serious action to prevent this phenomenon.”

Reports from inside Afghanistan already tell of many arrests in recent days, as well as allegations of torture of those under arrest in an effort to extract forcibly the names of other Afghan Christian converts.

Singh also slams the “perplexing media silence” and demands a strong stance from Christians around the world.

In a letter, Obaid S. Christ, a member of a small group of about 150 Afghan Christian refugees and asylum seekers in India, writes that he and other Afghan Christians “are currently living in exile from their beloved homeland [. . .] forced to flee their country in order to save their life and the lives of their families, due to orders of execution issued against them by the Afghan government for choosing to convert to Christianity.”

Recently, he writes, “The Afghan Home Minister and the Chairman of Afghan Intelligence told the Afghan Parliament that four Afghan Christians and one family had been arrested and that they were under investigation,” and that “13 NGOs are recognized and suspended,” and that the “names of Afghan Christians are listed and the Afghan Intelligence agency wants to arrest them.” He adds, “Our houses are checked by police and intelligence people in Afghanistan, our families and parents (even though they are Muslim) are under investigation and even arrested, and all Afghan believers are missing”.

For this reason, the Afghan Christian community is calling on every Christian “not to be silent or close his or her eyes whilst thousands of fellow believers are persecuted”.

Afghan Christians are asking their fellow Christians to pray for them, “make their voice heard and get the international community to put pressure on the Afghan government to stop killing, persecuting and executing Afghan Christians,” and give us instead “freedom of religion as well as respect and accept us as Afghan Christians.”

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]


Ariz. Lawmaker Takes Aim at Automatic Citizenship

[Wave goodbye to the anchor baby. — Z]

PHOENIX -Emboldened by passage of the nation’s toughest law against illegal immigration, the Arizona politician who sponsored the measure now wants to deny U.S. citizenship to children born in this country to undocumented parents.

Legal scholars laugh out loud at Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce’s proposal and warn that it would be blatantly unconstitutional, since the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the U.S.

But Pearce brushes aside such concerns. And given the charged political atmosphere in Arizona, and public anger over what many regard as a failure by the federal government to secure the border, some politicians think the idea has a chance of passage.

“I think the time is right,” said state Rep. John Kavanagh, a Republican from suburban Phoenix who is chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. “Federal inaction is unacceptable, so the states have to start the process.”

Earlier this year, the Legislature set off a storm of protests around the country when it passed a law that directs police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. The law also makes it a state crime to be an illegal immigrant. The measure, which takes effect July 29 unless blocked in court, has inflamed the national debate over immigration and led to boycotts against the state.

An estimated 10.8 million illegal immigrants were living in the U.S. as of January 2009, according to the Homeland Security Department. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that as of 2008, there were 3.8 million illegal immigrants in this country whose children are U.S. citizens.

Pearce, who has yet to draft the legislation, proposes that the state of Arizona no longer issue birth certificates unless at least one parent can prove legal status. He contends that the practice of granting citizenship to anyone born in the U.S. encourages illegal immigrants to come to this country to give birth and secure full rights for their children.

“We create the greatest inducement for breaking our laws,” he said.

The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868 in the aftermath of the Civil War, reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” But Pearce argues that the amendment was meant to protect black people.

“It’s been hijacked and abused,” he said. “There is no provision in the 14th Amendment for the declaration of citizenship to children born here to illegal aliens.”

John McGinnis, a conservative law professor at Northwestern University, said Pearce’s interpretation is “just completely wrong.” The “plain meaning” of the amendment is clear, he said.

Senate candidate Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and darling of the tea party movement, made headlines last month after he told a Russian TV station that he favors denying citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.

A similar bill was introduced at the federal level in 2009 by former Rep. Nathan Deal, a Georgia Republican, but it has gone nowhere.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, based in Washington, said Pearce’s idea would stop immigrants from traveling to the U.S. to give birth.

“Essentially we are talking about people who have absolutely no connection whatever with this country,” spokesman Ira Mehlman said. “The whole idea of citizenship means that you have some connection other than mere happenstance that you were born on U.S. soil.”

Citizenship as a birthright is rare elsewhere in the world. Many countries require at least one parent to be a citizen or legal resident.

Adopting such a practice in the U.S. would be not only unconstitutional but also impractical and expensive, said Michele Waslin, a policy analyst with the pro-immigrant Immigration Policy Center in Washington.

“Every single parent who has a child would have to go through this bureaucratic process of proving their own citizenship and therefore proving their child’s citizenship,” she said. [emphasis added]

[And what, exactly, is the big problem with that? Prospective parents already have to go through other tests and documentation prior to having a child. What’s so bad about having to show a driver’s license, passport and birth certificate? — Z]

Araceli Viveros, 27, and her husband, Saul, 34, are illegal immigrants from the Mexican state of Guerrero. He has been in Phoenix for 20 years, she for 10, and their 2- and 9-year-old children are U.S. citizens.

“I am so proud my children were born here. They can learn English and keep studying,” Viveros said in Spanish.

She said her husband has been working hard in Phoenix as a landscaper, and their children deserve to be citizens. The lawmaker’s proposal “is very bad,” she said. “It’s changing the Constitution, and some children won’t have the same rights as other children.”

[One is obliged to ask, “I this what the Founding Fathers really had in mind?” There are certain things that these great minds simply could not have anticipated; like Muslims agitating for shari’a law despite its seditious nature and Nazi groups being sheltered by free speech protections even though they support genocide. So much of the judiciary feels free to interpret our Constitution that it’s long overdue for the American people to begin making sure this document reflects the will of actual citizens and not the desires of criminals who have no right to be here in the first place. — Z]

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]

‘Immigrants Are Making Germany Dumber’

Immigrants are making Germany ‘dumber’, according to a board member of the country’s central bank. Thilo Sarrazin claimed the ‘limited education’ of immigrants — coupled with their high birth rate — meant Germans ‘are becoming dumber in a simple way’. He said: ‘There’s a difference in the reproduction of population groups with varying intelligence.’ It is not the first time the 65-year-old member of the Bundesbank has caused controversy since he joined last year. In October he described Muslim children as ‘underclass’ citizens. ‘I don’t have to accept someone who lives off a state they reject, doesn’t properly take care of the education of his children-and keeps producing more little girls in headscarves,’ Mr Sarrazin said. ‘That goes for 70 percent of the Turkish and 90 percent of the Arabic population of Berlin.’ He added that they were not fit for much other than ‘fruit and vegetable selling’.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Nepal Becomes New Transit Point for Migrants on Their Way to Arab Countries

Nepalis’ good reputation as workers in Arab countries sees Indians and Bangladeshis forced to change their identity after falling into the hands of human traffickers. Some 1,200 Bangladeshis are stopped trying to emigrate to Arab countries on fake Nepali passports costing to US$ 5,000.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — Human traffickers are taking advantage of Nepal’s political instability in order to use the mountain nation as a new transit point for migrant workers and refugees. Kathmandu police recently stopped more than 1,200 Bangladesh nationals trying to use Nepal in order to travel to Arab countries on fake Nepali passports. Local sources said that traffickers demanded US$ 4,000 to 5,000 per document. Everything came to light when racket kingpin Mohhamad Saibuddin was caught by police with a group of migrants hiding in a Kathmandu house.

Nepalis are considered good workers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Local companies often facilitate their immigration. For human traffickers, this means forcing migrant workers from India and Bangladesh to accept a fake Nepali passport before going to Arab countries.

“When I refused to accept a fake Nepali passport, they assaulted me, beat me up,” Anwar Hussain, a worker from Bangladesh, told AsiaNews.

As the traffickers prepared the fake papers, he and others were kept hidden in a Kathmandu home, taught Nepali and told to say they were from Nepal if they were ever discovered.

“This international racket has become a threat because of our political instability,” Nepal’s Home Affairs Minister Bhim Rawal said. “However, we will bring them to justice with the help of the international community.”

In 2008, Nepal became a democratic republic following ten years of civil war between the military and Maoist rebels, which led to the abolition of the centuries-old monarchy.

Elections that year were won by the Maoists led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known as Prachanda. He resigned however in May 2009 because of the military’s failure to incorporate Maoist fighters into its ranks.

The standoff between the two has not abated; instead, it has brought the country to the brink of another crisis. The political situation has negatively affected the economy, pushing a rising number of Nepalis to leave, and this has favour illegal activities.

On 28 May, parliament approved an additional delay before approving the country’s new constitution as a result of continued strikes by the Maoists and tensions within the ruling coalition government.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Frank Gaffney: The “Bring Back the Draft” Act

As early as this week, the United States Senate may turn to the annual legislation known as “The National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA) that is supposed to provide the Pentagon what it needs to defend our nation. Unfortunately, thanks to an amendment added in the Senate Armed Services Committee that would impose the radical homosexual agenda on the U.S. military, a more appropriate title for this bill would be “The Bring Back the Draft Act.”

Mind you, none of the bill’s sponsors would want it given such a descriptor. Nor are they likely to own up to the reality that their effort to repeal the present statutory prohibition on avowed homosexuals serving in uniform (popularly, though incorrectly, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) will have the effect of destroying the highly successful All Volunteer Force.

Yet, that is, nonetheless, the professional judgment of over 1160 retired senior military officers who joined together earlier this year to warn President Obama and the Congress of this danger…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Hallmark Pulls Card After Complaints of Racial Slur

Hallmark has pulled one of its graduation cards off the shelves after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People complained that it used racial stereotypes and contained an abusive slur aimed at black women..

The card’s micro speaker has two Hallmark characters, Hoops and Yoyo, bantering about how the graduate is going to dominate the universe. They tell the planets to “watch your back” and issue a stern warning to “ominous” black holes.

That’s where the NAACP got angry.

They say that the audio sounds more like “black whores,” and that card is implying that black women are not as capable or as powerful as their white counterparts.

[Sure thing, you monster raving loons. Hallmark Cards built their CENTURY-OLD COMPANY on sentimental missives containing racial slurs, so this perceived slight has got to be part of a bigger pattern. After all, greeting cards mentioning “black ho’s” are just so commonplace today. JERKS! — Z]

“It’s passive intent aggressively stated in a way that makes African-Americans feel insulted,” Olivia Verrett, president of the Carson-Torrance branch of the NAACP in California told local news site The Daily Breeze.

The card is saying that “I (as a black woman) am below class, and feel as though I can run the universe, but I’m not going to run the universe because I have to watch my back,” Verrett said.

Hallmark has acted swiftly. They told all their franchises to pull the card from their shelves, and destroyed their inventory of the card.

Still, the greeting-card company denies that there is any kind of racial subtext to the card, which has been on sale for three years. Spokesman Steve Doyal insisted that it is simply a light-hearted message about graduates feeling so powerful they can dominate the universe — even matter-devouring black holes. [emphasis added]

[So, it only took the race baiters some THREE YEARS to latch onto this one, eh? — Z]

“The intent here is to say that this graduate is not afraid of anything,” Doyal told a local ABC affiliate.

The NAACP disagrees. It’s calling for a formal apology.

“I think Hallmark owes an apology,” Carson City Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes, a member of the NAACP, told The Daily Breeze. “People are outraged.”

[It’s an outrage that morons like Lula Davis-Holmes manage even to get elected, much less be taken seriously about their cry-baby pissing and moaning over such supposedly overt racism-lurking-around-every-corner-and-greeting-card-store. — Z]

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]

Iowa Republican: Obama Favors Blacks Over Whites

[A BGO (Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious) — Z]

WASHINGTON -Democrats on Tuesday denounced an Iowa Republican congressman who says President Barack Obama favors blacks over whites, and a GOP candidate from Colorado canceled a fundraiser the Iowan was to keynote.

Rep. Steve King, known for sometimes incendiary remarks about immigration, Abu Ghraib and other issues, criticized Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, who also is black, in an interview Monday on G. Gordon Liddy’s nationally syndicated radio talk show.

“I’m offended by Eric Holder and the president also, their posture,” said King, 61. “It looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards when it comes to race.”

King continued: “The president has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race on the side that favors the black person in the case of professor Gates and officer Crowley.”

He was alluding to last year’s incident in which Obama commented on a white police officer’s arrest of a black professor from Harvard University.

As news of King’s remarks spread, GOP House candidate Cory Gardner of Colorado canceled a planned $100 per-plate fundraiser where King was to speak. King’s appearance was also canceled at a Colorado tea party gathering where he was scheduled to appear.

“His comments do not represent the tea party,” said Owen Loftus, a spokesman for Republican Ken Buck, who is running for Senate in Colorado.

Andy Stone, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, criticized Gardner for having scheduled King. “This is just the kind of over-the-top extremism that Colorado voters have rejected again and again,” Stone said.

King, a four-term lawmaker, made similar remarks about Obama in a speech last month.

“When he had an Irish cop and a black professor, who’d he side with?” King said. “He jumped to a conclusion without having heard the facts. And he ended up having to have a beer summit. The president of the United States has got to articulate a mission. And instead, he’s playing race-bait games to undermine the law enforcement in the state of Arizona and across the country.” [emphasis added]

[Just as with race baiting wanna-be warlord poverty pimps like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. — Z]

Holder, in a 2009 speech, did not suggest that whites are more cowardly than blacks when discussing race, as King indicated in the radio interview.

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot,” Holder said, “in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.”

When asked Tuesday night in a telephone interview whether he regretted his comments, King said: “In no way do I. It’s the White House that needs to answer questions, not me. It is absolutely right and I will continue to make the point.”

King, a former construction company owner, drew earlier criticism for comments about the Iraq war. He said the news media exaggerated the story of abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and dismissed it as hazing.

And after compiling what he called an accurate civilian violent death rate for Iraq, he said living there was safer than in some U.S. cities, including New Orleans and Detroit.

Christopher Reed, an Iowa conservative activist, defended King.

“He is one of those few politicians who really says what he thinks,” Reed said. “One man’s controversial is another man’s truth.”

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]


Al-Qaeda’s Ranks Diversify

Rome, 14 June (AKI) — The number of women being recruited to Al-Qaeda is growing exponentially and European and American converts to Islam are swelling their ranks. These so-called “mothers of terror” are taking up the armed struggle to prove their devotion to their new-found faith, according to a report due to be presented in Rome on Monday to Italy’s interior minister, Roberto Maroni.

The women believe they are fighting “Crusaders and Zionists” but actually, most of the victims of Al-Qaeda’s attacks are Muslims.

Besides the “mothers of terror”, the numbers of “Jihad nomads” is growing and Al-Qaeda’s organisation is becoming looser-knit. There are armed groups which are still affiliated with the terror network while others are simply inspired by it and there are also autonomous cells operating.

Al-Qaeda has however retained ideological leadership and control over propaganda, while attacks are carried out by “hybrid groups”, according to the new report, entitled Al-Qaeda 2010’, which was prepared by the ICSA Foundation.

Diplomats and security experts and researchers contribted to the report.

The report describes how “Jihad nomads” have often grown up in the West but have Asian or Middle Eastern origins. Today they’re in New York, the following month they’re in Oslo and then they’ll turn up in Peshawar.

The indoctrinate themselves with radical Islamist ideology, often gleaned from the Internet, and feel they don’t belong. They feel isolated from the world or rejected by it.

New-Mexico born imam Al Awlaki of Yemeni descent is an example of the kind of lone radical preacher the “nomads” look up to.

The female jihadist converts follow a similar path to the nomads, whether they are Europeans and Americans or from Muslim families from Asia and the Middle East.

Groups carrying out attacks have a local agenda, such as opposition to a regime or separatism. They most carry out local attacks, but also seek international action when possible.

The attacks can be led by a well-trained command as in India’s deadly Mumbai attacks in 2008. Or they may be carried out by a sole attacker, as in the case of the attempted airliner bombing above Detroit last December.

Sometimes the attacker has material help as did the Libyan would-be bomber Mohammed Game when he tried to attack a military barracks in the northern city of Milan in 2008.

Other times, the individual bomber has a network of individuals helping him. This can be small and even be made up of family members. The suspected attacker in New York’s recent Times Square bombing, Pakistan-born Faisal Shahzad, appears to be in this category.

And then there are the individuals who want to wage Jihad in the war zones of Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan’s tribal areas. Dozens of such jihadists, many of them German and American, have gone to fight in these countries.

Some of these jihadist ‘hotheads’ have achieved martyrdom and been killed in action. Others have been been sent back to their home countries by their recruiters and told to await further orders, according to the report.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni[Return to headlines]


Sean O'Brian said...

Since there has generally been a dearth of 'good news' stories, here is something to inspire:

American arrested in Pakistan for hunting Bin Laden