Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120830

Financial Crisis
»China Backs Eurozone, Pledges Investment
»China Pledges Continued Investment in EU
»Chinese ‘Will Invest to Help Boost Euro’
»Cyprus’ Church “Has Lost 60% of Its Revenues”
»ECB Bond-Buying “Dangerous Path”, Says Former Chief Economist
»ECB’s Draghi Hits Back at Critics of Fire-Fighting Role
»Economic Gloom Poses Problems for Bailed-Out Countries
»Merkel Urges Italy to Avoid Anti-Spread Shield
»Obama Has Stolen $5.3 Trillion From Our Children in Order to Make Himself Look Good
»Prepare for UK Exit From EU, Asian Bank Warns
»Spain in Wait-and-See Mode as Recession Worsens
»Where Does Money Come From? The Giant Federal Reserve Scam That Most Americans Do Not Understand
»Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Citing Racial Impact
»Facebook Co-Founder Moskovitz Scrambles to Offload His Shares
»Federal Judge Allows Murfreesboro Mosque Opponents to Intervene
»How ‘Wellness’ Will Make You Sick
»Mosque Rattles Tolerant Township
»Muslim Man Says Rights Violated, Sues Over Cap
»Prison Official: American Taliban Fighter Lindh, Other Muslim Inmates Show Defiance
»Texas Students Revolt Against Mandatory RFID Tracking Chips
»Why Does the U.S. Government Treat Military Veterans Like Human Garbage?
»Would You Pay to Use Facebook to Help Investors Recover Their Loss?
»Muslim Brotherhood’s Prima Donna
»Tariq Ramadan’s Visit to Canada is Part of Muslim Brotherhood Plot to Destroy West, Says Tarek Fatah
Europe and the EU
»Europe is the Real Threat to US Hegemony
»France and Germany Moving Towards Closer Political Union
»French Writer Says Anders Breivik Was ‘What Norway Deserves’
»Germany: Merkel Says Favours Solving Solar Dispute Via Talks
»German Shipyards See Future in Wind Power
»Lawyer for Accused ‘Vatileaks’ Butler Resigns From Case
»Norway: Family of Breivik Victim Challenges Police
»Rabbi Warns Dutch Populist Wilders Over Ritual Slaughter Ban
»Scotland: 98-Year-Old Message in Bottle Sets World Record
»Sweden: Chocolate Leads to Lower Stroke Risk in Men: Study
»Switzerland: Medieval Tombs Found in Major Geneva Dig
»UK: London Metropolitan University’s Visa Licence Revoked
»UK: Muslim Leaders Say Bull Lane Mosque Will Aid Integration
»UK: Offensive? Racist? No, Just Funny — and Oh So True!
»UK: Shock at Racist Abuse Sparked by Hereford Mosque Plan
»UK: Well Well Well: Couple Find Medieval Shaft Beneath Sofa
»UK: What Happened to the Methodist Central Halls?
North Africa
»Activists Try to Occupy Spanish Fortress
»Egypt: Nation’s Army — 23 Terrorists Arrested, 11 Killed, In Sinai
»Egypt: El Baradei’s New Party Imitates Muslim Brotherhood
»Egypt: Islamic MPs’ About-Face on Int’l Loans, Media Reports
Israel and the Palestinians
»Israel Launches Campaign for Deported Arab Jews
»Panel Wants Keys to Al Ebrahimi Mosque Entrance
Middle East
»Non-Aligned Summit Kicks Off Amid Controversy
»Syria: China and Egypt Call for Political Solution
»Dagestan: Another Deadly Attack on Muslim Religious Authorities
»Russia’s Muslims Warned After Latest Cleric Killing
South Asia
»Afghan Soldier Kills Three Australian Troops in ‘Insider Attack’
»Are Muslims Allowed to Dance? Depends Who You Ask
»Burma: British Muslims Approach Cameron for Emergency Response
»Christian Girl Accused of Blasphemy in Pakistan Must Stay in Prison After Bail Hearing Delayed
»Five Australian Soldiers Die on a ‘Terrible Day’ In Afghanistan
»Five Australian Troops Die on Worst Day in Afghanistan
»How Quickly Will the US Leave Afghanistan?
»India: Muslims With Land Papers Can Return Home: Assam Government
Australia — Pacific
»Mosque Approval Praised
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Abandoned at Sea — The Forgotten Hostages of the Somali Pirates
»South Africa: Miners Charged With Deaths of 34 Killed by Police
Latin America
»Venezuela: Amazonian Community Wiped Out by Illegal Goldminers
»A Quarter of Babies Born in Hospital in England and Wales Has a Foreign-Born Mother — and it Costs the NHS at Least £30million
»Greeks Turn Immigrants to Scapegoats
»Libya: Hundreds of Refugees Risk Deportation, Habeshia Agency
Culture Wars
»The Big Bang and the ‘Sacred Flame’: Are We Descending Into Paganism?
»Spectacular Photos of Saturn and Titan Captured by NASA Spacecraft

Financial Crisis

China Backs Eurozone, Pledges Investment

China has assured Europe of its confidence in the eurozone at the start of a two-day visit to Beijing by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said China would “continue to invest in the EU.”

At a joint press conference after talks, Wen said: “China has always had confidence in the eurozone, and we are happy to see greater use of the renminbi (China’s currency) by European countries in trade and economic transactions.”

“Strengthening practical cooperation between China and the EU is conducive to overcoming the eurozone debt problem,” Wen said. Governments within the EU had the wisdom to solve the problem, he said, adding that Italy, Greece and Spain must step up their resolve to implement reforms.

His remarks match hopes often expressed in Europe that China would deploy its large foreign exchange reserves to invest in EU bailout funds for over-indebted eurozone nations, which also include Portugal, Greece and Ireland.

Merkel told reporters that “many reforms” were taking place and that there was an “absolute political will to turn the euro into a strong currency again.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

China Pledges Continued Investment in EU

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday his country would continue to invest in the European Union after holding talks with visiting German leader Angela Merkel.

“Strengthening practical cooperation between China and the EU is conducive to overcoming the eurozone debt problem,” Wen told reporters after the talks. “China will continue to invest in the EU.”

Wen said the international community had “serious concerns” about the European debt crisis, citing worries over a possible Greek exit from the eurozone and whether Italy and Spain would accept “comprehensive rescue measures”.

“Resolving these two problems depends on whether Greece, Spain, Italy and other countries have the determination for reform,” he said.

Wen spoke after talks with Merkel, who is on her second visit to Beijing in just seven months, as Europe’s debt crisis begins to drag on the two global economic powers.

With the nearly three-year-old crisis showing signs of spreading to China, the world’s second-largest economy, Beijing views Germany as a key player in tackling the problem.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Chinese ‘Will Invest to Help Boost Euro’

German leader Angela Merkel said Thursday there was “absolute political will” to strengthen the euro, as she held talks with China’s premier Wen Jiabao on the eurozone crisis.

“I told Premier Wen that very many reforms are going on now, and that there is an absolute political will to turn the euro into a strong currency again,” Merkel told reporters after meeting Wen.

Wen said at a joint press conference held by the two leaders that he was reassured by Merkel’s comments on the euro, and that China would continue to invest, but he cautioned that the road to recovery would not be smooth.

“China has always had confidence in the eurozone, and we are happy to see greater use of the renminbi by European countries in trade and economic transactions,” he added, referring to China’s currency.

Europeans have expressed the hope that China could deploy some of its foreign exchange reserves — the world’s largest — to invest in European Union bailout funds, although there is little sign of this happening yet.

The country was prepared to invest in planes though, signing a $3.5 billion deal to buy 50 Airbus A320 jets, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The agreement between ICBC Leasing and Airbus was part of a series of agreements signed by China and Germany at the start of Merkel’s visit. ICBC Leasing is a unit of state-owned bank ICBC.

Other agreements include one relating to assembling Airbus planes in China, Xinhua said, as well as deals in areas such as automobiles, energy, the environment and health.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Cyprus’ Church “Has Lost 60% of Its Revenues”

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, AUGUST 30 — The Greek Orthodox Churh of Cyprus has lost 60% of its revenues from investments in banks and hotels, Archbishop Chrysostomos said yesterday, reiterating that pay cuts were necessary but no employees would be laid off.

“The Archbishopric had invested in banks, collecting around 9.5 million euros a year. It does not receive a single euro now,” Chrysostomos said as reported by Cyprus Mail. Bishoprics and churches had also invested in the banking sector, which suffered heavy losses due to the write-down of Greek debt in 2011, the archbishop said. He added that the Church has also incurred losses from its hotel investments, despite the rise in tourism in the past two years. The archbishop repeated that the pay cuts will start from the top and then move onto the rank and file.

The Archbishopric and the Kykkos Monastery are the ones facing the biggest problems as they have the most staff. “When you don’t have money, even if you don’t want to cut salaries you are forced to do so because I consider it unacceptable to sack an employee,” Chrysostomos said. “One can live with less but when they lose their job it will be very painful and we don’t wish to reach this point.” According to the archbishop, the Church is looking to cut the salaries of people who have secured their families, are on a pension, and their expenses are less than younger priests who have children to raise. The austerity measures are expected to be discussed by the Holy Synod on September 4.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

ECB Bond-Buying “Dangerous Path”, Says Former Chief Economist

Former ECB chief economist Jurgen Stark has described the bank’s euro rescue measures as a “dangerous path”. Writing for business daily Handelsblatt, Stark, who resigned from the ECB’s executive board over its bond-buying programme warned that the bank’s “panic-fuelled measures” were having “negative effects for the credibility of the bank.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

ECB’s Draghi Hits Back at Critics of Fire-Fighting Role

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi hit back Wednesday at critics of his armory of different anti-crisis measures, saying they were justified by the current exceptional circumstances.

Facing a primarily German revolt to the wide range of emergency measures the ECB has taken since the very beginning of a crisis that is threatening to break up the single currency area, Draghi wrote in a newspaper article that the bank was pulling out all the stops to help.

“The ECB will do what is necessary to ensure price stability. It will remain independent. And it will always act within its mandate. Yet it should be understood that fulfilling our mandate sometimes requires us to go beyond standard monetary policy tools,” Draghi wrote in the article for German weekly Die Zeit.

The ECB is seen by many as the only European body capable of putting out the fires of the long-running crisis.

It has slashed interest rates, pumped more than a trillion euros ($1.25 trillion) into the banking system and launched a contested programme to buy sovereign bonds issued by debt-wracked countries in a move that has helped bring down their borrowing costs.

However, the ECB has recently come under intense pressure to don its fire-fighting helmet once again and relaunch the bond-buying programme.

Earlier this month, Draghi said the ECB “may” resume bond purchases, but only under strict conditions that are still being worked out.

Nevertheless, there is strong opposition to such moves, particularly in Germany which argues it goes against the very spirit of eurozone treaties.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Economic Gloom Poses Problems for Bailed-Out Countries

Recession-hit Portugal is likely to miss its deficit target this year, the troika of international lenders is expected to conclude next month following its return to Lisbon on Tuesday (28 August) to take stock of the bailout programme.

Portugal’s tax revenues have shrunk amid harsh austerity measures and as the economy continues to contract at a rate of over three percent.

The Portuguese treasury has made public that it is short of €2 billion in tax revenues compared to what they had expected until July. Government spending has been reduced by 1.7 percent, as required by the terms of last year’s €78 billion bailout.

According to the ministry of justice, the number of bankruptcies decreed in courts increased by 77 percent in the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Merkel Urges Italy to Avoid Anti-Spread Shield

Italy taking right measures, German Chancellor to Monti

(ANSAmed) — ROME/BERLIN — — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she believed Italy can make it “even without resorting to the anti-spread shield” and urged Prime Minister Mario Monti to “make it through the crisis with its own (national) resources,” said Italian government sources on Thursday. Monti met with Merkel Wednesday in Berlin to discuss the economic situation in the eurozone, reforms in Europe, the crisis in Greece and the so-called spread shield that would allow EU rescue funds to be used to support the bonds of countries facing soaring borrowing costs. “So long as it follows the path to reform it has already undertaken, Italy can make it on its own,” Merkel said at a press conference following meetings Wednesday.

Italy’s fiscal and economic reforms are sure to yield benefits for the country, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said Wednesday. And that, she added, should lead to further reductions in Italy’s “very high” borrowing costs.

The spread between the (German) Bund and (Italy’s) BTP is very high, but the Italian government bond auction has given hope: the Italian government headed by Mario Monti is making a significant contribution, which means that the spread will fall,” said Merkel at the press conference in Berlin with Monti. Their meeting came at the same time the Italian Treasury sold six-month bonds at their lowest rates since March. But, added Merkel, Italy must continue its efforts to improve the country’s economic competitiveness.

Monti agreed progress is being made but said that’s no excuse to stop now. “The efforts of improving economic policy must be persistent, you cannot stop with a semblance of a good result, but we must go forward with determination,” said Monti. The same can be said at pan-European level, where more work is needed, he added. Progress has been against the sovereign debt crisis, “but you cannot stop there.”

Merkel also called for greater economic integration among European economies and decision-makers. “We are convinced that the path we have chosen is the right one,” she said. “We are also convinced that we must improve the ability to cooperate within the euro zone over the next months,” working with key agencies including the European Central Bank and the European Union.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Obama Has Stolen $5.3 Trillion From Our Children in Order to Make Himself Look Good

Barack Obama has destroyed the future of America in order to improve his chances of winning the next election. Under Obama, 5.3 trillion dollars has been ruthlessly stolen from our children and our grandchildren.

That money has been used to pump up the debt-fueled false prosperity that we have been experiencing. When the U.S. government borrows money that it does not have from someone else (such as China) and spends that money into the economy it is going to make our economic numbers look better. Even if the government spends that money on incredibly stupid things, it still gets into the hands of average Americans who in turn spend that money on food, gas, clothes, etc. If we were to go back and take that extra 5.3 trillion dollars out of the U.S. economy, I guarantee you that we would be in a rip-roaring depression right now. We would look a lot like Greece at this point.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Prepare for UK Exit From EU, Asian Bank Warns

The prospect of Britain leaving the European Union is increasingly likely according to a leaked strategy paper by banking giant Nomura.

The Asian bank, which is drawing up contingency plans for a “Brexit,” said that “a referendum on EU membership without first securing significant concessions from EU partners would result in the UK leaving the European Union.”

The paper, written by Alastair Newton, a one-time British diplomat and advisor to former prime minister Tony Blair, added that “the British government’s response to the crisis of encouraging eurozone integration while looking for a looser UK relationship with the EU appears to be fanning the Eurosceptic flames.”

The British Conservative party remains in a coalition with the pro-European Liberal Democrat party, but their agreement has been shaken following a public row over Liberal Democrat plans to reform the House of Lords, Britain’s upper chamber of parliament.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain in Wait-and-See Mode as Recession Worsens

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday (28 August) said his government has not yet taken a decision on asking for European help in refinancing its debt, pending a key meeting of the European Central Bank next week.

Speaking alongside EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy, who interrupted his vacation in Spain to meet the Prime Minister, Rajoy re-stated his commitment to “take all necessary measures” to get the country out of the worsening crisis.

“We’ve already taken complicated, painful decisions, but they were required in this situation. We have to lower our public deficit, we can no longer continue in this situation where refinancing is so difficult,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Where Does Money Come From? The Giant Federal Reserve Scam That Most Americans Do Not Understand

The U.S. Treasury bonds that the Federal Reserve receives in exchange for the money it has created out of nothing are auctioned off through the Federal Reserve system.

But wait.

There is a problem.

Because the U.S. government must pay interest on the Treasury bonds, the amount of debt that has been created by this transaction is greater than the amount of money that has been created.

So where will the U.S. government get the money to pay that debt?

Well, the theory is that we can get money to circulate through the economy really, really fast and tax it at a high enough rate that the government will be able to collect enough taxes to pay the debt.

But that never actually happens, does it?

And the creators of the Federal Reserve understood this as well. They understood that the U.S. government would not have enough money to both run the government and service the national debt. They knew that the U.S. government would have to keep borrowing even more money in an attempt to keep up with the game.

That is why I call the Federal Reserve a perpetual debt machine. The Federal Reserve was created to trap the U.S. government in an endlessly expanding debt spiral from which there is no escape.

And the Federal Reserve is doing a great job at what it was designed to do. Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Citing Racial Impact

A federal court on Thursday blocked Texas from enforcing a strict new voter identification law, ruling that the state had failed to prove that the mandate would not disproportionately suppress turnout among eligible voters who are members of minority groups.

“The State of Texas enacted a voter ID law that — at least to our knowledge — is the most stringent in the country,” the court wrote. “That law will almost certainly have retrogressive effect: it imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Facebook Co-Founder Moskovitz Scrambles to Offload His Shares

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz has sold over 1.3 million of his shares in the social network over the last two weeks.

Moskovitz converted some of his Class B shares — the kind that carry voting rights — into Class A shares and has been getting rid of stock at 150,000 shares a day since a couple of days after the first lock-up period on early investors ended.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Federal Judge Allows Murfreesboro Mosque Opponents to Intervene

A federal judge in Nashville ruled Wednesday to allow opponents of a Murfreesboro mosque to have a say in the religious freedom case involving the building. Judge Kevin Sharp decided the group of neighbors has a legitimate interest in the case. An emergency ruling by a different federal judge last month overruled the neighbors’ victory in Chancery Court that would have halted construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

How ‘Wellness’ Will Make You Sick

Already famous for its “Chicago values” of murder, sodomy, and corruption, the city of Chicago has now given us a glimpse of the not-so-distant future of Obamacare in America.

Starting very soon, city employees will either have to sign up for the Chicago Lives Healthy “wellness program” or else—there’s always an “or else” in Chicago—pay an extra $50 a month for their health care plan (see “Chicago Pushing ‘Wellness Program on Its Employees” by Susan Jones,, Aug. 24 ). “Our program will change lives,” gloated Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who expressed delight that some 22,000 have signed up so far—rather than toss an extra $50 a month into the garbage disposal. This is what Democrats usually mean by “choice.”

While few would object to being given assorted “free” health screenings —”free” means they aren’t telling you what it will cost the city’s taxpayers— there comes a point at which everyone in the program will have to take part in a “Wellness Assessment.” This is supposedly “a confidential questionnaire that assesses life and environmental factors that are critical to your health, well-being and your ability to improve both.” You’ll have to answer 60 questions intended “to get a better sense of factors that can’t be tested,” including the unsuspecting individual’s health history, mental health, stress, and “barriers to change.”

Let’s take a machete to this verbal jungle to see what’s hiding in it.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Mosque Rattles Tolerant Township

by Laura Berman

The sale of Eagle Elementary School should be a fait accompli, a $1.1 million real estate deal that closed more than a year ago, creating a new home for the Islamic Cultural Association and a funding bonus for the Farmington School District. Instead, the 2011 sale has spawned a prolonged and explosive controversy over the Islamic group’s plans for a new mosque and minaret and rattled West Bloomfield’s sense of itself as a tolerant and diverse community.


Firas Nashef, a dentist and ICA past-president, says the group is working with architects and engineers to meet new environmental regulations and finalize architectural plans to add 13,102 square feet for a mosque, lobby and multipurpose room. Nashef, who says the ICA includes about 150 people, describes growing families with greater needs, and says the mosque hopes to invite its neighbors in. Dan Blugerman, the commercial real estate broker involved in the sale, says as far as he’s concerned, the story is over. There’s no ‘these people.’ I’ve been working with this group for almost two years. They’re doctors, dentists, hard-working, well-educated professionals.” And despite the new challenges by the Thomas More Law Center, Nashef — who came to the United States from Damascus — embraces traditional American values. He recognizes an America that’s a refuge, land of opportunity and above all, a place where, ultimately, a deal is a deal.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Muslim Man Says Rights Violated, Sues Over Cap

Headwear dispute targets security firm

A Muslim man is suing a security company, claiming his religious rights were violated when its guards demanded he remove his cap before entering Nashville’s Juvenile Justice Center.

Rashid al-Qadir claims security guards violated his First Amendment right to the free exercise of his religion by telling him he could not wear the small, brimless cap called a kufi. Al-Qadir says he offered to remove the kufi for inspection but then wanted to put it back on. The guards refused and demanded he leave the building. Al-Qadir says he left voluntarily because he was afraid of being arrested or hurt.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Prison Official: American Taliban Fighter Lindh, Other Muslim Inmates Show Defiance

INDIANAPOLIS — American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh and other Muslims housed at a special federal prison unit in Indiana have used the veil of religion to show defiance toward their captors and assert power over other inmates, prison officials testified Wednesday. Lindh is suing the government to overturn a policy preventing him and the other Muslim detainees he’s housed with from performing their five daily prayers as a group. He once delivered an incendiary sermon in Arabic at the Terre Haute prison’s Communication Management Unit despite a requirement that inmates speak English except for ritual prayers, security official Tim Coleman testified during the third day of the trial over Lindh’s lawsuit.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Texas Students Revolt Against Mandatory RFID Tracking Chips

Parents and students have rallied to organize a protest against the spy chips which is set to take place today.

Hernandez also fears that the RFID chips could be used to track students outside of school, a valid concern given past examples of how such technology has been abused by school officials.

In 2010, the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania used school-issued laptops to spy on kids in their own home. The controversy ignited after student Blake Robbins was disciplined for “improper behavior in his home”. It turned out that school officials had installed software on the laptops that used the computer’s webcam to send images back to the school server every 15 seconds.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Why Does the U.S. Government Treat Military Veterans Like Human Garbage?

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

The way that the U.S. government treats military veterans is absolutely disgraceful. Men and women that have given everything for this nation are literally being treated like human garbage by their own government.

After watching how vets are treated, it is absolutely amazing that anyone is still volunteering to be a part of the military. We pay those in the military like crap, we keep sending our best soldiers back to Afghanistan and Iraq again and again, we don’t equip them properly, military suicides are at a record pace, hundreds of thousands of applications for veteran benefits are hopelessly backlogged, homelessness and unemployment among vets is much higher than for the general population, the condition of most VA hospitals is an absolute disgrace, and to top everything off now the Obama administration has started labeling military veterans as “potential terrorists”. What you are about to read should make you very angry.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Would You Pay to Use Facebook to Help Investors Recover Their Loss?

In an August 29, 2012, article at Huffington Posts’s blog, readers are asked if they’d be willing to pay one dollar a year to use Facebook. In the grand scheme of things, one dollar doesn’t sound like much and most people wouldn’t even think twice about anteing up. But we’re talking about 900 million people here and that means $900 million. Instead of waving dollar bills, we should be waving red flags.

Should Facebook be allowed to make a profit? Should Zuckerberg and his investors be allowed to charge us all an annual fee? Absolutely. This is still America, the land of free enterprise. It’s not even an issue.

But the real questions is this: Should Facebook users be forced to pay a price simply because Facebook investors are losing money as a result of their own ignorance, laziness and greed? Because that’s what it really comes down to.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Muslim Brotherhood’s Prima Donna

by Tarek Fatah

Guess who’s coming to Canada? It’s none other than the prima donna of the world Islamist movement, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan.

Ramadan, who was barred from entering the U.S. until Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched her “appease the Islamists” diplomatic initiative, will be speaking in Edmonton this weekend as a guest of local mosques (and, believe it or not, CTV is a sponsor). Later, he flies to Montreal where the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Muslim Association of Canada will host him. Ramadan is a charming guy, but behind his smile lies a man committed to the goals of the worldwide Islamic jihad as laid out by his mentor, Sheik Qaradawi, and his father, the Trotsky of world Islamism, Said Ramadan.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tariq Ramadan’s Visit to Canada is Part of Muslim Brotherhood Plot to Destroy West, Says Tarek Fatah

Tariq Ramadan will be speaking at the Proud Muslims Convention in Edmonton this weekend. Tarek Fatah — whose own organisation, the so-called Muslim Canadian Congress, backed the hysterical “Ground Zero mosque” protests and calls for a ban on the veil — accuses Professor Ramadan of “using our Labour Day weekend to propagate the Muslim Brotherhood credo of ‘destroying the West from within’.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Europe is the Real Threat to US Hegemony

by Andrew Lilico

Many pieces have been written, recently, discussing the end of US hegemony. Some frame this in terms of internal US issues — US debt, or the US looking inwards and ceasing its concern with world affairs. More often commentators suggest that China will overtake the US in terms of the size of its economy, and perhaps in terms of influence in Africa or even South America. Most of these discussions seem pretty confused to me. The US hasn’t been the hegemon for terribly long -only since 1990 has its power been unchallenged. It shouldn’t be surprising that some other power might rise to take it on, but the emergence of a rival does not necessarily imply the victory of that rival -hegemons often see off several challengers before they go down.


[JP note: Don’t hedge your bets.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France and Germany Moving Towards Closer Political Union

Last year Germany went out on a limb by calling for political union in Europe. The idea was met with little enthusiasm elsewhere in the eurozone, but particularly in France.

After the election of French President Francois Hollande in May, it seemed thatviews of the EU’s foremost political duo could not be further apart.

But the mood has since changed and serious plans are underway to create — if not a full political union — then something close to it.

Watching the evolution from the inside is Thomas Wieser, an Austrian economist who prepares the regular meetings of the eurozone finance ministers.

“There will be consultations with the member states in the second half of September in Brussels and I think you will be surprised in the autumn by the degree of movement that will have taken place in some member states,” he tells this website.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

French Writer Says Anders Breivik Was ‘What Norway Deserves’

Richard Millet, a respected French writer and editor, has sparked controversy for his comments on Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass killer, whom he described as “without doubt what Norway deserves”.

Mr Millet, who says he has read all 1,500 pages of Breivik’s online manifesto, insists that he does not approve of the Norwegian gunman’s crimes. However, he praised Breivik’s writing and cry of hatred for social democracy, immigration and multiculturalism. “Breivik is without doubt what Norway deserves,” wrote Millet in an 18-page pamphlet. He is “as much a child of a broken family as of an ideological and racial fracture caused by immigration from outside Europe over the last 20 years,” added Mr Millet, who has edited several award-winning books in France. His writing about Breivik has sparked consternation in the literary circles, with one author Annie Ernaux calling the text “a politically dangerous act”.

Another author Tahar Ben Jelloun said: “He has lost his head.” Others were less critical. “He is still my editor,” said Alexis Jenni. “I don’t want to take any public position on the subject. Millet believes only in literature. “He is someone who writes marvellously well. His questionable ideas do not reduce his literary qualities,” he argued. Breivik was last week sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing 77 people in a bomb attack and deadly shooting rampage that shook Norway.

[JP note: Compare and contrast: Mary Beard’s career has suffered no damage, indeed it seems to have flourished, after her letter to the London Review of Books back in 2001, wherein she said the Americans had it coming.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany: Merkel Says Favours Solving Solar Dispute Via Talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday a dispute between Chinese and European solar panel makers should be solved via dialogue, not trade limits, as she started a visit to strengthen economic ties.

EU ProSun, a group of more than 20 European solar panel makers, has called on the European Commission to impose tariffs to punish its Chinese rivals who it suspects received Beijing’s subsidies and sold goods below costs.

However, Merkel, speaking at a joint press conference with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, said that the German government was in favour of settling the dispute through dialogue and would try to convince the EU to do so.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

German Shipyards See Future in Wind Power

After years of decline, Germany’s shipyards are now pinning their hopes on offshore wind farms, a key component of the country’s energy revolution. Some have converted entirely to building equipment for wind farms. But the initial euphoria has worn off as the true challenges of the transition become clear.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Lawyer for Accused ‘Vatileaks’ Butler Resigns From Case

Second defense attorney considering next moves

(ANSA) — Vatican City, August 30 — Lawyer Carlo Fusco has quit as a defence lawyer for Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler who has been charged with stealing secret papal documents.

Fusco cited “differences” with others on the defence team in confirming Thursday that he was quitting the case.

Gabriele was arrested last May and charged with stealing documents that were than leaked to the press.

A second defence lawyer, Cristiana Arru, is still on the case.

But sources tell ANSA that Arru is “considering” what to do.

Also indicted in the case is IT expert Claudio Sciarpelletti, who stand trial for aiding and abetting Gabriele.

There has been speculation among Vatican experts and the media that Gabriele is a pawn of a power struggle between cardinals.

Gabriele reportedly told prosecutors that “evil and corruption everywhere in the Church” had prompted him to act.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Norway: Family of Breivik Victim Challenges Police

The family of one of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik’s 2011 attacks in Norway has accused police of breach of duty for its slow response to the mass shooting on Utøya island, the police’s internal affairs division said on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Rabbi Warns Dutch Populist Wilders Over Ritual Slaughter Ban

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) — Israel’s leading rabbi has warned Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders that his party’s support for a ban of ritual slaughter of animals in the Netherlands is “anti-Semitic” and could drive away the country’s Jewish community.

Wilders rose to prominence in the Netherlands denouncing the growing influence of Islam in the West, calling for a ban against Muslim immigrants, a halt to the construction of mosques and a ban on Muslim face-veils.

Some of his most outspoken supporters are in the conservative, pro-Israeli movement in the United States. Wilders calls himself Israel’s “greatest friend” and has also proposed creating a national Dutch holiday to commemorate the victims of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

In a letter to Wilders on Tuesday, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters on Wednesday, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger called on Wilders’ Freedom Party to stop backing a ban on ritual slaughter.

It is the strongest public condemnation yet of Wilders’ position on the policy and comes two weeks before the Netherlands holds a general election September 12 in which he is expected to take a sizeable portion of the vote.

“It is obvious that one cannot be at the same time a friend of Israel and the Jewish people and on the other hand support an anti-Jewish law,” Metzger wrote.

“By denying Jews to live according to the Torah you will eventually force them to leave the Netherlands where they enjoyed religious freedom for centuries.”

Metzger wrote that he was “shocked and upset to learn that your party once again has adopted a total ban on ritual slaughter in its platform.”

“This is the classical anti-Semitic way our rites have been targeted and demonized throughout history,” he wrote.

Wilders has transformed the political climate in the Netherlands and his anti-Islam, anti-euro Freedom Party was the third-largest in the most recent elections.

Recent polls show Wilders’ party winning between 15 and 19 seats in the 150-seat parliament, down from the 24 seats he won in the 2010 election.

Wilders was not immediately available to comment on the letter.

A bill proposed by an animal rights party stating that livestock must be stunned before being slaughtered passed through the lower of house of parliament in June 2011, but did not make it through the senate, where a compromise was reached allowing the practice to continue.

Both Muslim halal and Jewish kosher laws require animals to be conscious when they are put to death. Some 3,500 cows are slaughtered annually according to the Jewish kosher ritual in the Netherlands.

The loss of backing from prominent Jewish leaders could be damaging to Wilders, who has enjoyed support from pro-Israeli and anti-Islam organizations in the United States.

He has received death threats because of his anti-Islam views and has around-the-clock security.

Manfred Gerstenfeld, a prominent Israeli author, said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem that the banning of ritual slaughter has been used in Europe to deter Jews.

“Are you going to support a guy who is at forefront of the anti-Semitism movement in Europe?,” he said.

The Netherlands, where Anne Frank hid as a teenager in an Amsterdam canal house until being murdered by the Nazis, had one of the highest rates of Jewish deportation during World War Two.

[Return to headlines]

Scotland: 98-Year-Old Message in Bottle Sets World Record

It was scooped up from the sea after 98 years, and now officials say a message in a bottle discovered in Scotland has set a world record. Fisherman Andrew Leaper found the bottle— released in 1914 — in his nets in April while sailing east of the Shetland Islands, which lie off Scotland’s northern coast.

Guinness World Records confirmed Thursday the find is the oldest message in a bottle ever recovered, beating a previous record by five years.

It was released in a batch of 1,890 bottles in a government experiment to map the undercurrents of the seas around Scotland.

Inside each bottle, a postcard asks the finder to record details of the discovery and promises a reward of a sixpence. Unfortunately for Leaper, the coin no longer exists.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Chocolate Leads to Lower Stroke Risk in Men: Study

Men who eat chocolate enjoy a lower risk of stroke according to a new Swedish study, which tested 37,000 men and the long-term results of their sweet-toothed habits. The study, undertaken by the Karolinska Institute and published on Wednesday in the Neurology medical journal, showed that men who indulge in 60 grammes of chocolate each week had a 17 percent lower risk of stroke than others.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Medieval Tombs Found in Major Geneva Dig

Archaeologists digging in an area being renovated in Geneva’s Old Town recently stumbled upon a major find.

Traces of medieval fortifications, vestiges of a medieval church, 15 tombs dating back to the sixth century and skeletons were uncovered, providing historians with a treasure trove of material to fill in gaps in the city’s history.

The findings were made public this week by city officials, including the cantonal archaeologist Jean Terrier, mayor of the city Rémy Pagani and Francois Longchamp, cabinet minister responsible for the canton’s archaeology department..

The historic remains were uncovered on an esplanade during digs that accompanied work begun in April to redevelop the bastion of Saint Antoine, once part of the fortified walls that ringed Geneva.

“Some surprises were expected but not as big as this,” Longchamp commented during a press conference at the site, located near the Collège Calvin, the high school founded by 16th century protestant reformer Jean Calvin.

The redevelopment project has been put on hold for at least six months to allow archaeologists to continue digging in the area.

The tombs unearthed are believed to have been located inside the Saint Laurent church, a building that was destroyed in 1527 to allow for the construction of ramparts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: London Metropolitan University’s Visa Licence Revoked

A London university has been banned from teaching overseas students, leaving more than 2,000 undergraduates potentially facing deportation.

London Metropolitan University has had its right to sponsor students from outside the EU revoked, and will no longer be allowed to authorise visas. Ministers have concerns over issues such as whether or not students are working instead of attending courses. A task force has been set up to help students affected by the decision. The UK Border Agency said it had “failed to address serious and systemic failings” identified six months ago. As well as stopping the university, which has 30,000 students in total, from accepting new applications, losing the licence could also affect thousands of existing overseas students at the university. The National Union of Students (NUS) said it could mean more than 2,000 students being deported within 60 days unless they found another sponsor.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Leaders Say Bull Lane Mosque Will Aid Integration

A NEW £1.5 million mosque will help promote religious integration in York, a member of the Muslim community has said. City of York Council approved plans for the mosque, to be built in Bull Lane, earlier this month, and fundraising has already begun around the country to enable the 8,000 square-foot project to go ahead. The current mosque is attended by up to 300 Muslim families living in the city, along with overseas students from local universities, but the new building will be able to hold 480 people, and will include an exhibition room with Islamic literature, artefacts, and details on the history of the site.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Offensive? Racist? No, Just Funny — and Oh So True!

by Saira Khan

On Monday night, I laughed out loud as I watched the first episode of BBC1’s new comedy series Citizen Khan, about a Muslim community leader and his family. As someone with the surname Khan — and as a British Muslim who grew up in Nottingham’s Asian community in the Seventies — if anyone was going to be offended by the mickey-taking, surely it would be me. But no, I loved the sitcom and tweeted my congratulations to its creator and star, Adil Ray, as soon as it finished. At last, I thought, a home-grown sitcom that allowed British Muslims to laugh at themselves. Good on the BBC for finally realising the comic potential in one of the biggest communities that make up modern Britain. Of course, it’s a shame it took the Beeb 40 years, but it got there eventually.


[Reader comment by Ali, London on 29 August 2012 at 23:59.]

Well I don’t know about the show being brilliant, it was watchable but felt a bit 70s, nevertheless I will be watching the other 5 episodes. It wasn’t offensive though I was a taken-aback by Aisha’s rough handling of the Quran. The Asian stereotypes comedically depicted were accurate and I too recognised these traits from my community.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Shock at Racist Abuse Sparked by Hereford Mosque Plan

RACIST messages have been sent to fundraisers working to set up the county’s first Muslim place of worship. Although no location has yet been confirmed, the very idea has been met with abuse on internet sites. Members of Hereford’s small Muslim community currently meet at the Kindle Centre near Asda but say that this venue is too small. They have so far raised £40,000 towards a purpose-built community centre that would be dedicated solely to the Muslim faith. A group was started on the social network site, Facebook, to garner support. But racist comments posted on the Hereford Masjid Fundraising Campaign’s (HMFC) page resulted in the page being shut down on Tuesday. One abusive message posted on Sunday threatened to contaminate any land identified as a potential site and referred to the group as vermin. The Muslim group replied politely, saying it would report any further racist comments to the police. But this did little to stop the abusive messages. “My country, my opinion and you will hear it,” came the response.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Well Well Well: Couple Find Medieval Shaft Beneath Sofa

by Donna Bowater

For almost three decades, Colin Steer had wondered what had caused the living room floor beneath his sofa to dip but it was only after he retired that he discovered his family had been sitting on a piece of history.

Intrigued by the sunken floor, the retired civil servant has uncovered a 33ft medieval well in the house where he and wife Vanessa have lived for almost 25 years. After three days of work Mr Steer, from Plymouth, Devon, stopped digging at 17ft and is now trying to date the unexpected find. Plans show the well dates back to the 16th century. “I was replacing the joists in the floor when I noticed a slight depression — it appeared to be filled in with the foundations of the house,” he said. “I dug down about one foot but my wife just wanted to me to cover it back up because we had three children running around at the time. I always wanted to dig it out to see if I could find a pot of gold at the bottom, so when I retired at the end of last year that’s what I started to do.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: What Happened to the Methodist Central Halls?

by Keith Moore

Methodist central halls were grand buildings that used to attract thousands of people when the temperance movement was at its strongest. But over the years many have been sold off, with some now used as bars and nightclubs.

The electricity in Manchester’s Albert Hall is switched off, and the floor is strewn with broken wood and empty beer bottles. The pictures of scantily clad women hanging from the walls are a leftover from when the building used to be a bar and nightclub called Brannigans. But walk up the stairs a little and the huge stained glass windows and beautiful century-old organ give clues about the building’s original purpose. It was a Methodist central hall and, in stark contrast to its recent use as a nightclub, was designed largely to try to keep the urban working classes away from alcohol. Around 100 were built in major towns and cities across Britain between 1886 and 1945.

At the peak of the central halls’ popularity, thousands of people would pack in on Saturday nights for cheap concerts, comedy shows and films, interspersed with hymns and prayers.

At the end of the evening, attendees were often encouraged to sign a vow not to drink alcohol. Nowadays, the X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, karaoke and nightclubs are the focus of Saturday night entertainment for many British people. Only 16 of the halls are still being used by the Methodist Church in their original form, says Dr Angela Connelly of Manchester University, who has investigated the fate of the distinctive buildings. Many were bombed during World War II. Some were sold off and became theatres. Others have been turned into bars and nightclubs. The Albert Hall in Manchester is now being refurbished to become a live music venue with a restaurant which serves alcohol.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Activists Try to Occupy Spanish Fortress

The latest in a spate of attempts by Moroccan activists

(ANSAMed) — MADRID, AUGUST 29 — Four Moroccan activists from the Committee to Free Ceuta and Melilla were briefly detained at dawn on Wednesday after trying to occupy Spain’s Penon de Velez de la Gomera fortress off the Moroccan coast, Spanish enclave government delegate, Abdelmalik El Berkani, told reporters.

A total of seven activists reached the fortress, on a peninsula 130 kilometers west of Melilla. Arriving on foot at 6.30am, they tried to place flags from their movement. Stopped by Spanish military border police, three activists fled while the other four were questioned, identified and then released, El Berkani said.

Committee activists have made several attempts to occupy Spanish-owned rock fortresses recently, El Berkani said. In 2002, the landing of Moroccan troops on Spain’s Perejl Island in the Strait of Gibraltar caused a diplomatic incident between the two countries.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Nation’s Army — 23 Terrorists Arrested, 11 Killed, In Sinai

In extensive security operations to end terrorist activities in Sinai, Egypt’s army and police forces have successfully arrested 23 militants, killing 11 and injuring one, a military source said on Wednesday. Army and police forces launched widespread security campaigns following the recent Rafah attack that resulted in the death of 16 Egyptian army and police men.

The source added that forces were also able to confiscate 11 loaded carriages carrying arms including machine guns and bombs, reported the Middle East News Agency. Security operations will continue until the area is clear from criminal activities, the source insisted, adding that starting Wednesday morning the operations will be expanded.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: El Baradei’s New Party Imitates Muslim Brotherhood

We want to reach out to people, Constitution Party liberals say

El Baradei has founded a new party

(ANSAMed) — ROME, AUGUST 30 — Nobel peace prize winner Mohammed El Baradei’s new Constitution Party, made official yesterday in Cairo, aims to gain consensus through social welfare policies akin to those of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Ahram daily newspaper wrote on Thursday.

In the past few days, the new party’s rank and file have been visiting hospitals and Christian churches, organized clothing drives for the poor and consciousness raising events against sexual abuse, the paper reported. In other words, El Baradei’s liberals seem to have learned the lesson of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Al Ahram.

“Reaching the man on the street is on the main challenges for liberal and non-Islamic parties,” the daily wrote in its analysis. “We’re trying to fill that gap,” said Esraa Abdel Fattah, a Constitution Party co-founder interviewed by the paper. “Party members in the various governorates are putting their private offices as head quarters, and some are even sponsoring our social welfare campaigns out of their own pockets.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Islamic MPs’ About-Face on Int’l Loans, Media Reports

What pre-Morsi was the road to hell is now a necessary evil

(ANSAMed) — ROME, AUGUST 28 — In Egypt, the road to hell may be paved with international loans, but only if you’re in the opposition, according to an article of al-Ahram daily newspaper wrote on Tuesday.

Usury is a sin under sharia, or Islamic religious law, which bans interest-bearing loans. But Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood-majority government, led by recently elected President Mohammed Morsi, is now prepared to accept 4.8 billion euros from the IMF.

“Islamic politicians seem to have made a quick about-face ahead of a possible multi-billion euro IMF loan,” the newspaper wrote in an article eloquently titled From Hell to Heaven. Before one of their own became president, “some Islamic leaders called international loans ‘haram,’ or forbidden, while others simply said they should be avoided,” al-Ahram said.

A 3.2 billion dollar loan requested by the previous administration of Kamal El Ganzouri was never finalized on opposition from the Muslim Brotherhood-majority parliament. In May, a 200 million dollar loan from the World Bank was anathema to some, with Muslim Brotherhood leader Sayed Askar calling for it to be rejected on religious grounds. “This money will take us to hell,” Islamic MPs told MENA news agency at the time.

When Morsi asked IMF President Christine Lagarde for the 4.8 billion euro aid package last week, Islamic politicians merely commented that “when necessary, sharia allows that which is otherwise forbidden,” according to al-Ahram.

The leader of El Nour, Egypt’s main Salafist party, who was recently nominated to the presidential team, stated that any criticism of the IMF loan from his party’s rank and file “represents a personal opinion, which does not reflect the party line.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israel Launches Campaign for Deported Arab Jews

Recognition, compensation for Jews expelled from Arab countries

(ANSAMed) — JERUSALEM, AUGUST 29 — The Israeli foreign ministry on Wednesday launched a campaign called I Am A Refugee, urging Israelis of Arab origin to tell their stories of deportation, Yediot Ahronot newspaper reported. The campaign is the brainchild of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who was born in Algeria and became a refugee in Israel. It urges citizens to upload their stories, in English, Hebrew, or Arab, on a Facebook page. The idea is to identify and compensate the refugees, as well as to put the issue on the international agenda. “Approximately 856,000 Jews of Arab origin were expelled, or left their homes penniless, arriving in Israel as refugees,” Ayalon explained on a Youtube video. “Unfortunately their expulsion was never recognized by the international community, nor by any of Israel’s governments.” The campaign, which will last two years, includes a video titled The Truth About Refugees, which premiered in Geneva, at the UN High Commission for Refugees 60th anniversary.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Panel Wants Keys to Al Ebrahimi Mosque Entrance

It takes more than 30 minutes to cross Israeli military obstacles to get into mosque

Ramallah: The committee of Al Ebrahimi Mosque in Hebron has urged Israeli authorities to hand it the keys to the mosque’s Muslim entrance so the community can secure freedom of worship. It takes at least half an hour for a Palestinian to go through five Israeli military electronic gates and get searched in three different locations to get into the mosque. According to Hijazi Abu Sinanah, who heads the mosque’s committee, Israeli military forces installed electronic gates and force Muslims to undergo searches in a bid to make them stop attending the mosque.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Non-Aligned Summit Kicks Off Amid Controversy

Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi has opened the summit of non-aligned countries in Tehran and embarrassed his hosts. Making the first visit by an Egyptian leader in three decades, he spoke out against Iran’s position on Syria.

Mohamad Morsi compared the conflict in Syria to recent developments in his own country.

“The revolution in Egypt is the cornerstone for the Arab Spring, which started days after Tunisia and then it was followed by Libya and Yemen and now the revolution in Syria against its oppressive regime,” he said.

In stating this, he contradicted the position of the Syrian regime and its closest ally, Iran, that the Syrian uprising was a “terrorist” plot masterminded by the United States and other countries.

The Syrian delegation walked out as Morsi delivered his comments.

Earlier on Thursday Mohamed Morsi had received a red carpet welcome for his visit, which Iran had billed as a breakthrough in relations.

Diplomatic ties between Cairo and Tehran were cut off in 1979 following the revolution in Iran, because Cairo had supported the Shah and had just signed a peace agreement with Israel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Syria: China and Egypt Call for Political Solution

Cairo ready to halt ‘bloodbath’, says Morsi in Teheran

(ANSAmed) — PEKING/TEHERAN — China and Egypt have called for an urgent political solution to the Syrian crisis, according to Chinese news reports Thursday. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is currently in Tehran, following a three day visit to China. According to a statement reported in New China, “China and Egypt are opposed to foreign military intervention in Syria and urge the Assad government and all participating parties to halt all violence. China appreciates the efforts of the Arab League to push towards a political solution to the Syrian question.” Also in the statement, both parties recognized the need for the international community to respect the populations of the Middle East and North Africa, in order that parties involved in the fighting find a peaceful, democratic, and stable solution to the crisis.

Both China and Egypt reiterated their support for the United Nations, but repeated the need for reforms to the body to eliminate in-equality in the treatment of some African countries.

Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi has criticized the Assad regime and said that his country is ready to help put an end to the ‘bloodbath’ in Syria. “In Syria there is revolution against an oppressive regime”, he said. He made the claims during an historic visit to Tehran, the first time an Egyptian President has visited the Islamic Republic following a break down in diplomatic relations over the Palestinian question 30 years ago.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Dagestan: Another Deadly Attack on Muslim Religious Authorities

Sheikh al Chirkavi, one of the most influential personalities of the Sufi community, was killed in a suicide bombing along with six other religious. Experts say it is an attack on all of official Islam in Russia.

Moscow (AsiaNews) — The Russian republic of Dagestan has declared August 29 a day of mourning for seven Muslim clerics killed yesterday in a suicide bombing in the village of Chirkey. One of the spiritual leaders of the local Sufi community, Sheikh Said Afandi al Chirkavi, and six other collaborators died in the suicide attack, carried out by a woman. The President of Dagestan, Magomedsalam Magomedov, has expressed his condolences to family and friends of the victims and declared a day of national mourning.

According to investigators, the kamikaze — wearing a belt packed with explosives — passing as a faithful, entered the Sheikh’s house where she detonated her bomb. The Interior Ministry has already identified the woman as Aminat Kurbanov, a resident of Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan.

Al Chirkavi was a well known figures in the diverse Caucasian reality, consumed by infighting between the increasingly powerful Salafis and Sufis, associated with their mystical tradition, represented by the Sheikh who was highly respected by the people.

After the so-called “pacification” of Chechnya, Dagestan has become the most unstable among the republics of the Russian Caucasus, where Moscow continues to battle Islamist rebels fighting for the creation of an emirate. In recent years, a bombing campaign has been launched against religious officials, in response to their explicit criticism of a more radical Islam, denounced in local mosques, at the request of the Kremlin, to discourage separatists.

According to Grigory Shvedov, editor of the website “Caucasian Knot”, the attack on al Chirkavi, “who had followers among state officials and local businessman,” is a direct warning “to all Islam supported by the state”. Alexei Malashenko, an expert on Islam for the Moscow Carnegie Centre, says the future of dialogue initiated with difficulty “between traditional Islam and the moderate wing of the Salafi” is now at stake. “For now — said the expert talking to the site Gazeta ru — a peaceful development of this dialogue appears impossible.”

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

Russia’s Muslims Warned After Latest Cleric Killing

MOSCOW — Russia’s Islamic leader warned Wednesday of violence breaking out between Muslims in response to the suicide blast killing of one of the most revered moderate clerics in the Caucasus. A source in the Caspian Sea region of Dagestan said Tuesday’s attack on Said Afandi that also killed six others was staged by the 30-year-old widow of a radical fighter who was identified by an analysis of her severed head. The attack came just a month after an assassination attempt against another prominent pro-government religious leader in a different region killed one and was claimed by a militant follower of the strict Wahhabist strain of Islam.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghan Soldier Kills Three Australian Troops in ‘Insider Attack’

Three Australian troops have been killed and two wounded in Afghanistan in an “insider attack” by a member of the Afghan security forces, officials said on Thursday.

While the Australian Defence Force (ADF) confirmed only that personnel had been killed without saying how many, Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon said three were dead and two more wounded. “Three Australian solders have been killed as a result of a ‘green-on-blue’ incident and two have been injured,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “This happened at around 10.30pm on Wednesday evening in Afghanistan at a base. I’m unclear as yet as to the circumstances of it. It’s a very dreadful tragedy. This loss of life is unacceptable and unnecessary,” added Snowdon, who is the acting defence minister while Stephen Smith is out of the country. The latest killings mean 36 Australian lives have now been lost in the war.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Are Muslims Allowed to Dance? Depends Who You Ask

by Omar Sacirbey

The Taliban in Afghanistan shocked the world this week (Aug. 27) when they beheaded 17 people, allegedly for the crime of dancing at a mixed-gender gathering. Which prompts the question: Does Islam forbid dancing? While Islamic scholars are divided on the answer, it’s easy to find Muslims in America and abroad who love to boogie down.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Burma: British Muslims Approach Cameron for Emergency Response

Thursday, August 30, 2012 — London-The United Kingdom (UK) based Muslim charity organizations, working for international emergency relief and disasters have approached the Prime Minister David Cameron to take a stronger stance over the killing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma. The Muslim charity leaders have also urged the British government that killing of Rohingya Muslims was a matter of basic human rights which should not be ignored.

Chairman Al Mustafa Welfare Trust (AMWT) Abdul Razzaq Sajid said in a statement on Wednesday that Muslim Charities Forum (MCF), an umbrella of leading Muslim charity organization in UK, has written a letter to the Prime Minister David Cameron and requested him to end the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma and Bangladesh. Mr. Sajid said that plight of the Burmese Rohingya has taken a significant turn for the worse following violent clashes with the Rakhan community in western Burma. Government restrictions on humanitarian access to the Rohingya community have left over 100,000 displaced people in desperate need of food, shelter and medical aid. Malnutrition rates in the northern Arakan state where some 800,000 Rohingya live are far above the global indicator for a health crisis and are likely to further deteriorate as international NGOs have been forced to leave the area.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Christian Girl Accused of Blasphemy in Pakistan Must Stay in Prison After Bail Hearing Delayed

A young Christian girl accused of blasphemy in Pakistan faces spending more time in a high-security prison in Pakistan after her bail hearing was adjourned on Thursday.

Rimsha Misah has been held for almost two weeks after being accused of burning a Koran. Blasphemy is a serious offence in Pakistan, punishable with death. Her family have been taken into protective custody and Christians have fled their homes in fear of violent reprisals. Rimsha’s family say she was born with Down’s syndrome and is aged 11. However, at a bail hearing on Thursday, a lawyer acting for the man accusing Rimsha of blasphemy rejected a medical report saying that she was 14, with a lower mental age, and should be treated as a minor. He has asked for a new medical report. It means Rimsha will remain in Adiala Prison until at least Saturday, when the hearing will resume.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Five Australian Soldiers Die on a ‘Terrible Day’ In Afghanistan

FIVE Diggers have been killed and two wounded in Afghanistan in Australia’s worst combat losses in a single day since the Vietnam War.

Three soldiers from the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment were killed at a forward patrol base in Oruzgan province yesterday by a rogue Afghan soldier who fled the scene. A hunt is underway for the gunman, who opened fire on the Diggers from close range. Two other Diggers were wounded in the same incident, one seriously, acting defence chief Air Marshal Mark Binskin told reporters today. In an unrelated incident early today, two special service soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand province. There was no sign of enemy fire before the International Security and Assistance Force helicopter crashed and rolled over as it landed. The deaths represent Australia’s worst combat losses in a 24-hour period since the Battle of Long Tan, in Vietnam.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Five Australian Troops Die on Worst Day in Afghanistan

Five Australian troops have been killed in two separate incidents in Afghanistan, in the country’s worst day of combat losses since the Vietnam War.

An Afghan army soldier shot dead three Australians and wounded two more at a patrol base in southern Afghanistan. Hours later, two Australian soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand province. Julia Gillard, prime minister, said that in the wake of the deaths she would cut short a trip to the Cook Islands for a forum of Pacific nation leaders. “In a war of so many losses, this is our single worst day in Afghanistan,” she said. “Indeed, I believe this is the most losses in combat since the days of the Vietnam War and the Battle of Long Tan. This is news so truly shocking that it’s going to feel for many Australians like a physical blow.” The news of the deaths shocked the nation, with the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, describing the past 24 hours as “one of our darkest days”. “I know that Australians everywhere, will pause to think of the families left behind, and the colleagues who will feel this tragic loss deeply,” she said.

Australia has now lost 38 troops in the eleven-year-long campaign in Afghanistan, including seven who were killed by Afghan soldiers. The first three soldiers were killed while relaxing at a patrol base late on Wednesday night near Tarin Kowt, in Uruzgan, by an Afghan soldier who opened fire at close range with an automatic weapon. The attacker scaled a fence and escaped and both Afghan and Australian forces were said to be hunting him. The deaths were the latest in a spate of killings by Afghan forces. Nearly one in seven of all coalition troop deaths this year have been at the hands of their Afghan allies. Nato commanders believe around one in four of such attacks can be linked to infiltration or coercion by the Taliban and the rest are rooted in violent arguments based on cultural or personal clashes. In the second unrelated incident a helicopter tipped over on landing in the early hours of Thursday, killing two Australian soldiers.

Air Marshal Mark Binskin, acting chief of the Australian Defence Force, said: “Australia’s lost five men today. They were soldiers who were committed to serving our nation.

“I cannot begin to describe the overwhelming grief their families are experiencing. … This is a terrible day for all of us.” Australia has around 1,550 troops deployed in Afghanistan, mainly in Uruzgan. Public support for the war has plummeted in recent years, with almost two-thirds of Australians backing a withdrawal. Ms Gillard has brought forward plans for a withdrawal of the bulk of the forces to within 12 to 18 months. However, both the government and the opposition support a continued presence. The opposition leader, Tony Abbott, paid tribute to the victims and described the incidents as “a terrible, terrible tragedy”. “It is a black day for our Defence Forces”, he said. “They died in the service of our country, trying to make the world a better place and our country will draw strength from their service and memory.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

How Quickly Will the US Leave Afghanistan?

by Tom Engelhardt

In the wake of several deaths among its contingent of troops in a previously peaceful province in Afghanistan, New Zealand (like France and South Korea) is now expediting the departure of its 140 soldiers. That’s not exactly headline-making news here in the US. If you’re an American, you probably didn’t even know that New Zealand was playing a small part in our Afghan War. In fact, you may hardly have known about the part Americans are playing in a conflict that, over the last decade-plus, has repeatedly been labeled “the forgotten war.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Muslims With Land Papers Can Return Home: Assam Government

GUWAHATI: The Assam government and the Bodoland Territorial Council on Wednesday decided to allow uprooted Bengali-speaking Muslims to resettle in Bodoland Terriorial Council (BTC)-administered areas only after verifying their land ownership documents. The decision was taken at a meeting between the group of ministers (GoM) and BTC administrators in Kokrajhar, the epicentre of the recent ethnic violence. At the moment, there are 211,194 Bengali-speaking Muslims in various relief camps. The number of displaced Bodos is just about 24,000.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Mosque Approval Praised

Canberra’s Muslim community has described planning approval for the territory’s second mosque as a “victory of goodwill”.

Canberra’s Muslim community has described planning approval for the territory’s second mosque as a “victory of goodwill”. The ACT Planning and Land Authority yesterday approved Canberra Muslim Community Inc’s application to build a 500-capacity mosque on The Valley Avenue in Gungahlin. In their assessment, ACT planners found surrounding roads could cope with traffic generated by the mosque and that the proposed 43 on-site parking spaces were sufficient.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Abandoned at Sea — The Forgotten Hostages of the Somali Pirates

The plight of a ship’s crew held hostage for more than two and half years has become a “scar on the conscience of the shipping industry”, reports Colin Freeman

SHE set sail from Aden in the spring of 2010, the start of a long journey that should have seen her deliver a cargo of electrical equipment to England. Then, barely ten miles out to sea, the Iceberg 1 suffered a fate all too predictable for a slow-going cargo craft in the Gulf of Aden: she was hijacked by Somali pirates. Unlike the scores of other vessels snared there in recent years, though, no ransom has been forthcoming to free her crew of 24, nor has a foreign navy tried to rescue them. Instead, nearly two and a half years later, they are still in captivity on the high seas — seemingly abandoned by the ship’s owners, and with the dubious distinction of being the longest hijack case in modern maritime history.

Conditions on board are believed to be dire, with the crew kept huddled in a small room with only limited access to food and water. Many have complained that they are being driven mad by their ordeal, and for at least one, it already appears to have proved too much. In October 2010 the ship’s Yemeni third officer, Wagdi Akram, committed suicide by jumping overboard, apparently unhinged from stress. At least one other sailor, a Ghanaian, is also believed to have died — whether by his own hand, or by that of his pirate captors remains unclear. It is understood that the ship’s freezer is now being used as a makeshift morgue.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Africa: Miners Charged With Deaths of 34 Killed by Police

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority says it is charging 270 arrested miners with the murders of 34 striking colleagues who were shot and killed by police officers.

The strange development — which comes under an arcane Roman-Dutch common law — seems to show that President Jacob Zuma’s government is attempting to shift the blame for the killings from police to the striking miners. The killings shocked the nation and Thursday’s news likely will inflame already angry South Africans.

Prosecuting Authority spokesman Frank Lesenyego says all 270 miners arrested after the shootings were charged Thursday at a court near the Lonmin PLC platinum mine where the

On Aug. 16, striking miners armed with clubs, machetes and at least one gun allegedly charged at police, who opened fire.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Venezuela: Amazonian Community Wiped Out by Illegal Goldminers

At least 80 members of a remote Amazonian tribal village may have been wiped out after gold miners launched an assault on the indigenous community, tribal leaders said.

The charred remains of dozens of Yanomami Indians were discovered inside the village “shabono” in the remote community of Irotatheri on the southern Venezuelan border with Brazil. A shabono is a circular hut that typically houses dozens of tribesmen and women. Three survivors were found walking in the jungle after the attack, having fled at the sound of gunshots, explosions and the sound of a helicopter while they were out hunting. The massacre is believed to have happened sometime last month but due to the remoteness of the village, information had to be relayed from village to village until it reached Yanomami tribal leaders who alerted the Venezuelan authorities. Luis Shatiwe Ahiwei, a leader of the Horonami Yanomami Organisation, said the number of people killed in the attack could not be certain but witnesses had said about 80 people lived there.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


A Quarter of Babies Born in Hospital in England and Wales Has a Foreign-Born Mother — and it Costs the NHS at Least £30million

A record one in four of all babies born in England and Wales last year had a foreign-born mother, it was revealed today.

Most of these women came to Britain from Poland, Pakistan and India and gave birth to a total of 184,000 children in 2011.

Almost half of all these were in London, which has a foreign-born mother rate of 56.7 per cent, far above the national average of 25.5 per cent.

According to official figures, the average hospital birth can cost £1,600, meaning the total cost to the NHS of these would have been at least £30million.

Some of the women will have been born abroad and settled in the UK but a number will have visited just to use the NHS.

So called ‘health tourism’ as a whole is thought to cost taxpayers as much as £200million a year.

Urgent treatment, such as maternity care, is provided regardless of residence status or ability to pay but hospitals must take reasonable measures to recover debts from overseas patients if they can trace them.

Some trusts are owed tens of millions by foreign patients and have been forced to write-off some of these debts.

It came as it was also announced that net migration to the UK is still at 216,000 a year, which is still double the Government’s 100,000 target.

This means that means hundreds of thousands more people every year are coming to the UK when compared to numbers who leave.

Meanwhile the number of foreign mothers is rising consistently annually, with the figures now double what they were 30 years ago.

Figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that a 25.5 per cent of all children born in 2011 had foreign-born mothers, compared with 25.1 per cent the year before.

More than 20,000 were from Poland, followed by 18,000 from Pakistan, almost 15,000 from Indian and and more than 8,000 from Bangladesh.

It is the highest proportion of births to non-UK born mothers since parents’ country of origin was introduced in birth registration in 1969.

In Newham, east London, more than three quarters of new mums were born outside the UK but choose to give birth here.

The ONS found that a slight rise of 0.1 per cent in the overall number of newborn children compared with 2010 was entirely due to foreign-born mothers.

Meanwhile mothers born outside the UK had 2,702 more babies, in line with a trend since 1995 for the number of births to women who came to the UK from abroad to rise year-on-year.

‘It is rising every year because the number of non-uk born women living in the UK of child bearing age is also rising every year,’ an ONS spokesman told MailOnline.

‘The statistics are simply based on the birth registration process so there is no information about whether the mother then left the UK after having a baby.’

Dr Martin Ruhs, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said the estimated figures were based on the International Passenger Survey (IPS) and margins of error meant they could be 35,000 higher or lower than stated.

So while net migration was put at 216,000 for last year, this was the central estimate for the figure which could range from 181,000 to 251,000, meaning that the apparent drop is not statistically significant.

‘There is a constant desire among policy makers in all parties, the press and other interest groups in having ‘hard’ facts and specific numbers about migration, but the reality is that sometimes these are simply not available,’ Dr Ruhs said.

‘The uncertainty around the official migration estimates means that the figures need to be used and interpreted with great care.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Greeks Turn Immigrants to Scapegoats

A confrontational tone is emerging in Greek society as racist attacks increase and political conflict escalates. Observers believe the economic crisis is just one of the reasons for the unrest.

It happened in broad daylight on Saturday (25.08.2012) in the town of Manolada in western Greece, as migrant workers helped with the annual strawberry harvest.

Two men jammed a 22-year-old Egyptian man in one of their car’s windows after a heated argument then dragged him nearly a kilometer through town. According to police, the man had previously attacked the pair. According to leftist opposition newspapers, the Egyptian man had merely demanded outstanding wages.

It was one of a handful of recent attacks on foreigners in Greece. Earlier this month, an Iraqi man was stabbed in downtown Athens, and human rights organizations report that at least 200 attacks with racist overtones happened in Greece in the past two months. For the most part, they blame the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party for stoking xenophobia. The party has 18 seats in the national parliament.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Libya: Hundreds of Refugees Risk Deportation, Habeshia Agency

Violence, degradation and abuse in Libyan detention centers

(ANSAMed) — ROME, AUGUST 30 — Libyan military forces refugees to register with their countries of origins’ embassies, then expels them, contrary to international migrants rights laws, the Habeshia Agency for Cooperation and Development accused on Thursday. The military does so “with physical violence,” said Habeshia director, Father Mussie Zerai. In the Libyan city of Homs, more than 150 refugees are forced to live in degrading conditions, and are discriminated against for religious reasons, Zerai said.

Three Eritrean and one Somalian refugee have been killed in the past weeks, he added. Violence and degrading conditions are also present in Tuewshia, the prelate said. Approximately 400 people are being detained at a center in Benghazi, which is “theoretically managed by the Red Crescent, but de facto controlled by armed revolutionaries,” said Zerai. They are allegedly sexually abusing the prisoners and forcing the men into slavery, according to Habeshia.

“We expected more respect for human rights and a serious fight against racism against Africans from a ‘democratic’ Libya,” Zerai said, issuing an appeal for the liberation of all refugees being held in Libya, and for them to be handed over to the UN High Commission for Refugees.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

The Big Bang and the ‘Sacred Flame’: Are We Descending Into Paganism?

by The Rev Dr Peter Mullen

I have difficulties with long words — always have had. Take “eclecticism” for example. So I rely on recourse to the dictionary, and there I notice that it means the combination of unlike and disparate objects, a sort of philosophical version of the lucky bag. So I suffered acutely when watching the opening ceremony of the Paralympics. Much of the narrative commentary was provided by our national egghead Stephen Hawking. He told us that the theme of the Paralympics is “Enlightenment.” He banged on — as it is only fair to expect an astrophysicist to bang on — about the Big Bang. The so-called Big Bang — though, we must understand, there was no one there to hear it — is the very trademark of secularism, of scientism: an explanation of the origins and meaning of life without any reference to God or religion.

After this eloquent disquisition by the redoubtable Professor Hawking, we had — guess what? — “the entry of the sacred flame”. So perhaps you can begin to sympathise with my difficulties with words like “eclecticism”? What, for God’s sake — or for secular Enlightenment’s sake, if it comes to that — does an unproven scientistic conjecture about the uncreated origin of the universe have to do with a pseudo-religious image called “the sacred flame”?

It’s all very odd. Or, you might say, eclectic. It’s as if the atheist, reductionist logical positivists Bertrand Russell and Rudolf Carnap should invite Madame Blavatsky and Gypsy Rose Petulengro to combine in the writing of a summary of the state of our theory of knowledge of all things: epistemology — another long word I have trouble with. But then I looked further and thought, at least, that I glimpsed a little of what this confusion says about modern society. We are indeed eclectic. And the old word for this, when applied to widely held beliefs and practical behaviour was “paganism” — the worship of many gods: that mountain of confusion classically represented by the panoply of argumentative deities on Olympus. Only an eclectic contemporary paganism could allow the godless Big Bang to walk hand in hand with the sacred flame. It no doubt makes a good show for the opening of the Paralympics, but God — or no-God — knows what it says about our present intellectual incoherence.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Spectacular Photos of Saturn and Titan Captured by NASA Spacecraft

NASA’s Cassini probe has beamed home stunning images of Saturn and Titan, the ringed planet’s largest moon.

The new natural-color Cassini photos, which were unveiled Wednesday (Aug. 29), capture the Saturn system as it undergoes a seasonal shift. The ringed planet and its many moons look quite different today than they did when Cassini arrived on the scene eight years ago, researchers said.

“As the seasons have advanced, and spring has come to the north and autumn to the south throughout the Saturn system, the azure blue in the northern winter Saturnian hemisphere that greeted Cassini upon its arrival in 2004 is now fading; and it is now the southern hemisphere, in its approach to winter, that is taking on a bluish hue,” Cassini imaging team leader Carolyn Porco, of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]