Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120922

Financial Crisis
»Italy’s Napolitano Airs Support for EU Banking Integration
»NASA Faces Prospect of 1bn Dollar Budget Cuts
»A Muhammad Cartoon a Day
»Anti-Islamic Advertisements to Hit NYC
»Daniel Pipes Calls for Desecration of Qur’an
»Montreal Mosque Holds Peaceful Protest Against Controversial Video
Europe and the EU
»Council of Europe Concerned by Italy’s Treatment of Gypsies
»Europe — Taboo Subject for François Hollande
»France: Charlie Hebdo: We Shall Continue Until Islam Becomes as Ordinary as Catholicism.
»France’s Le Pen Urges Ban on Muslim, Jewish Headwear
»France: Louvre’s Biggest Facelift in a Generation Honours Islamic Art
»France: Louvre Opens Islamic Art Wing Amid Cartoon Row
»France: Restoring Full Glory to Islam
»France: Amid Cultural Clash, Louvre Honors Islamic Art
»French Cops Arrest Man for Calling for Charlie Hebdo Head
»Italian Priest Blackmailed Over Sex Video
»Italy: Polverini Leads Lazio Regional Council Cuts
»Italy: Miracle of St. Gennaro’s Blood Materializes, Stirs Naples
»Italy: ‘Lazio Regional Governor Aware of Funding System in Embezzlement Scandal’
»New Poll Shows Popularity of Greece’s Golden Dawn at 22 Percent
»Non-Catholic Worshippers Recognized by Italian State
»Spain: Catalan Gov’t Might Proclaim Statehood
»The Last Thing the Church of England Needs is a Pleasant Middle Manager
»Toga Party Outrages Austerity-Hit Italians
»UK: Acts of Rebellion Discussed at Bishopsgate Institute
»UK: It’s Time to Promise a Referendum and Seek an Electoral Pact With UKIP
»UK: Life at Hardy Street Mosque
»UK: On Your Bike
North Africa
»Clinton Remarks With Tunisian Foreign Minister
»Egypt: Three Militants and Israeli Soldier Killed in Cross-Border Raid
»Egypt: Mufti Urges Muslims to Endure Insults Peacefully
»Egyptians Protest Offensive Cartoons Outside French Embassy, Consulate
»Libyan Islamist Militia Swept Out of Benghazi Bases
»Libya: Two Killed in Protester-Militia Clashes
»Tense Friday in Tunis, Salafist Demo Dispersed
»Tunisia: Unemployment at 11.5%, Famine Looms in South
»Tunisia: Muslims Insult Journalists After Friday Prayers
Middle East
»A 21st-Century Islam
»Al-Qaeda and Other Terrorist Patsies: America Biting Off More Than She Can Chew
»Google Blocks Access to Anti-Islam Film in Jordan
»‘I Insist on the Right to Freedom of Expression’
»Saudia Arabia: Outlaw Inciting Religious Hatred: Grand Mosque Imam
»Turkey Sentences 322 Military Officers to Jail Over ‘Sledgehammer’ Coup Plot
»Turkey Convicts 330 Military Accused of Coup
South Asia
»Afghanistan Bans Pakistani Newspapers
»Anti-Islam Film Protests: Pakistan Violence Sees 13 People Killed in ‘Terribly Bloody Day’
»India: Miscreants Hurl Petrol Bomb at Mosque, Tension in Ramnad
»Pakistanis Can Debunk Myths About Islam Peacefully
»Thirteen Killed in Pakistan Protests Against Anti-Islam Film
»Two UK Soldiers Die in Afghanistan Incidents
Far East
»Flag-Stomping Rally Staged Near Grounds of Taipei Mosque
Australia — Pacific
»Official Assistance for Wilders’ Visa Request
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Anti-Islamic Video Still Accessible in Nigeria
»Kenya: Al Shabaab Terrorist Jailed for 59 Years
»Nigeria: Why We Designated Three Members of Boko Haram as Terrorists — U.S.
»Somali Journalists Mourn the Loss of Another Assassinated Journalist in Mogadishu
»8,000 Migrant Landings This Year, Down From 60,000
»Australia: Intercepted on New Asylum Boat: Tony Abbott Says Government Cannot Manage Our Borders
»Italy: Pakistani Migrants Rescued Off Southern Coast
»OECD: Migrant Flow to Italy is Continuing Unabated
»One in Five Germans is of Foreign Origin
»Permanent Immigration Into Italy Decreasing, Says OECD
»Romania: Expelled Roma Will Keep Coming Back
»The Other Greek Crisis
»Tunisia to Expel Migrants Trying to Reach Italy
»250 Rally at Dearborn Mosque Against Worldwide Violence
»Anti-Islam Film Continues to Make Waves Around the World
»Charlie Hebdo Cartoons ‘Doubly Irresponsible’: UN
»From Rushdie to Stevens: This Madness Must Stop

Financial Crisis

Italy’s Napolitano Airs Support for EU Banking Integration

(AGI) — Rome, 18 Sep — At close of meetings with Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus, Giorgio Napolitano discussed EU banking. On the broader topic of the EU and the common currency, the Italian president said “I believe that banking sector integration should rank among future step forwards towards [EU] integration.” Napolitano went on to add “with a common currency in place, the way forward has to be to establish common platforms in several other areas; failing that, there can be no such thing as a common monetary policy.” .

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

NASA Faces Prospect of 1bn Dollar Budget Cuts

(AGI) New York — A White House report suggests that failing a Congressional budget agreement NASA risks USD1bn plus cuts.

With Republicans and Democrats still at a loss for a federal budget agreement, according to the president’s office the cuts could take effect as of January, forcing across-the-board proportional cuts to defence and hence aerospace budgets.

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


A Muhammad Cartoon a Day

by Daniel Pipes

When Salman Rushdie mocked Islamic sanctities in his magical 1989 realist novel “The Satanic Verses,” Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini did something shockingly original: He issued a death edict on Rushdie and all those connected to the production of his book. By doing this, Khomeini sought to impose Islamic mores and laws on the West. We don’t insult the prophet, he effectively said, and neither can you.

That started a trend of condemning those in the West deemed anti-Islamic that persists to this day. Again and again, when Westerners are perceived as denigrating Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam, Islamists demonstrate, riot or kill. Khomeini’s edict also had the unexpected side effect of empowering individuals — Western and Islamist alike — to drive their countries’ policies.

Fleming Rose, a newspaper editor, created the greatest crisis for Denmark since World War II by publishing 12 cartoons depicting Muhammad. Florida pastor Terry Jones sowed panic among American commanders in Afghanistan by threatening to burn a Koran. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and friends prompted a crisis in U.S.-Egyptian relations with his amateurish “Innocence of Muslims” video. And the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo caused the French government to temporarily shut down diplomatic missions in 20 countries. Plans by the German satirical magazine Titanic to publish attacks on Muhammad likewise led German missions to be closed.

On the Islamist side, an individual or group took one of these perceived offenses and turned it into a reason to riot. Khomeini did this with “The Satanic Verses.” Ahmad Abu Laban did likewise with the Danish cartoons. Afghan President Hamid Karzai goaded his people to riot over burned Korans by American soldiers, and Egyptian preacher Khaled Abdullah turned “Innocence of Muslims” into an international event. Any Westerner can now buy a Koran for a dollar and burn it, while any Muslim with a platform can transform that act into a fighting offense. As passions rise on both sides of the divide, Western provocateurs and Islamist hotheads have found each other, as confrontations occur with increasing frequency.

Which prompts this question: What would happen if publishers and managers of major media outlets reached a consensus — “Enough of this intimidation, we will publish the most famous Danish Muhammad cartoon every day, until the Islamists tire out and no longer riot”? What would happen if Korans were recurrently burned? Would repetition inspire institutionalization, generate ever-more outraged responses, and offer a vehicle for Islamists to ride to greater power? Or would it lead to routinization, to a wearing out of Islamists, and a realization that violence is counter-productive to their cause?

I predict the latter. A Muhammad cartoon published each day, or Koranic desecrations on a quasi-regular basis, would make it harder for Islamists to mobilize Muslim mobs. Westerners could then once again treat Islam as they do other religions — freely, to criticize without fear. That would demonstrate to Islamists that Westerners will not capitulate, that they reject Islamic law, that they are ready to stand up for their values. So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Anti-Islamic Advertisements to Hit NYC

Anti-Islamic advertisements will go up across New York City’s subway system next week after a federal judge ruled that the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority could not legally refuse to host the signs on the basis of “demeaning” language. As early as next Monday, 10 NYC subway stations will showcase adverts declaring, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” The campaign was created by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an organization considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center watch group. Pamela Geller, the executive director of the AFDI, stands by her signage despite rampant complaints circulating before the campaign has even begun. “I will not abridge my freedoms so as not to offend savages,” Geller tells Sky News…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Daniel Pipes Calls for Desecration of Qur’an

Daniel Pipes has a solution to the crisis provoked by the Innocence of Muslims film:

What would happen if publishers and managers of major media outlets reached a consensus — “Enough of this intimidation, we will publish the most famous Danish Muhammad cartoon every day, until the Islamists tire out and no longer riot”? What would happen if Korans were recurrently burned?


So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Montreal Mosque Holds Peaceful Protest Against Controversial Video

MONTREAL — A mosque in Montreal held a demonstration on Friday to protest the online release of a film trailer that negatively depicts Islam and Muslims. “We condemn the U.S.A., the guy who made the video against our beloved prophet,” a march organizer from the Association of the Mosque Noor-E-Madina told Global News. “The protest is intended to be peaceful.” The march of about 150 people was held at around 3:30 and began outside the Noor-E-Madina Mosque in Park Extension on Jean Talon West…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Council of Europe Concerned by Italy’s Treatment of Gypsies

(AGI) Strasbourg — Nils Muiznieks flagged up his concern about Italy’s treatment of gypsies and immigrants. The human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe said it was “a source of serious concern in the field of human rights.” Muiznieks has published a report based on observations from his visit to Italy in July. Welcoming the adoption of the first national strategy for the inclusion of Roma and Sinti in Italy, the commissioner asked for it to be translated “into practical action.” Muiznieks added: “The policies of segregation in camps and forced evictions must be stopped permanently. There is also a continuing need to combat prejudice against gypsies that still remains high in political discourse and in the media.” .

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

Europe — Taboo Subject for François Hollande

Le Monde Paris

Ever since his election, François Hollande has hardly mentioned Europe. Embarrassed by left-wing bickering over the ratification of the fiscal compact, France’s new president also knows that voters tend to turn against the EU in times of crisis. A Le Monde columnist warns that he will nevertheless have to consult the French people on the subject one day.

Arnaud Leparmentier

Always think of it, never talk of it. In France, Europe, like Alsace-Lorraine between 1870 and 1918, has become a taboo subject that cannot be mentioned to the French population. Not surprisingly then, in his September 9 interview on the TF1 television channel, François Hollande was careful to avoid any discussion of Europe when he presented his “agenda for recovery” by 2014, in which is supposed to map out the way ahead for the first half of his five-year mandate.

This silence notwithstanding, the European agenda is nonetheless dictating the actions of the French president. The euro is still in trouble, and so too is France. If the crisis worsens, the country could, like Italy, find itself under attack on financial markets. But even if the crisis abates, it could still suffer the same fate as Italy, when the markets discover that France is no healthier than its southern neighbour, which is still Europe’s second industrial power.

If the president is dodging the subject of Europe, it is because Europe has been unable to establish a political outlook. This is in marked contrast to the previous socialist president François Mitterrand, who after two years of economic false starts chose austerity in 1983. Europe rather than socialism: François Mitterrand established a policy with a dual outlook, both French and European. With the intention, according to the Treaty of Rome, to forge “an ever closer union between European peoples”, Europe was a utopia, but a utopia with concrete consequences that would enable France to modernise.

Schröder-like touches

It was on this basis that in 1986, the Single European Act established the horizon of a single market by 1992. After this, the Maastricht Treaty paved the way for the euro, which was to be created at the earliest by 1997, and no later than 1999, and forced candidate countries to comply with economic convergence criteria…

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

France: Charlie Hebdo: We Shall Continue Until Islam Becomes as Ordinary as Catholicism.

In the light of the terrible deaths today (BBC), which could be foreseen, what is the justification behind Charlie Hebdo’s publication of the caricatures of Mohammed? Are they making a wider point than that — highly dubious — one made by the producers of the Innocence of Muslims?

Le Monde today asked Charlie Hebdo’s editorial team: Faut-il continuer à se moquer de la religion musulmane?

Should one continue to poke fun at the Muslim religion?

Pour l’hebdomadaire satirique, la réponse est oui, sans hésitation. “Il faut continuer jusqu’à ce que l’islam soit aussi banalisé que le catholicisme”, assène Charb avec l’assurance d’un prédicateur. “Nous avons brisé les deux tabous que sont Eros et Thanatos, mais il reste celui des religions”, affirme le dessinateur Luz. “Si on dit aux religions: “Vous êtes intouchables”, on est ******”, renchérit Gérard Biard, rédacteur en chef.

For the satirical weekly, the answer is, without hesitation, yes “We must continue until Islam is made as trivial and commonplace as Catholicism” said Charb, stridently, with all the self-confidence of a preacher. The illustrator Luz asserted that, “We’ve broken two taboos, Eros and Thantos, the taboo of religion remains.” Gérard Biard, Copy Chief, went further, “If we say about religions, ‘Nobody can touch you’, we’re completely ******.”

S’il est un sujet qui cimente la rédaction, c’est bien celui de l’anticléricalisme. “L’attaque contre toutes les religions, c’est ce qui constitue notre identité, constate Gérard Biard. La rédaction comprend des anarchistes, des écolos, des communistes, des trotskystes, des socialos. Mais on est tous d’accord sur le fait religieux. Et je pense que nous sommes tous athées.”

If there is one subject that binds together the editorial team, it’s anti-clericalism. “Our identity is built around attacking religion, all religions” notes Gérard Biard, “The team is made up of anarchists, ecologists, communists, Trotskyists and Socialists. But we’re still all in agreement about religion as it exists. And I think we’re all atheists.”

Le Monde Friday.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France’s Le Pen Urges Ban on Muslim, Jewish Headwear

AFP - French far-right leader Marine Le Pen called Friday for a ban on wearing Muslim veils and Jewish skullcaps in public, adding to religious tensions sparked by cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. In an interview with the Le Monde newspaper, Le Pen called for religious headwear to be banned “in stores, on public transport and on the streets.” Asked if the ban should apply to the Jewish skullcap, known as the kippah or yarmulke, as well as Muslim headwear, she said: “It is obvious that if the veil is banned, the kippah is banned in public as well.” Le Pen, who shocked the French elite by winning almost 18 percent in the first round of this year’s presidential vote, also repeated calls for bans on public prayers, kosher and halal foods in schools and foreign government financing of mosques in France…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Louvre’s Biggest Facelift in a Generation Honours Islamic Art

PARIS — In its boldest development in a generation, the Louvre Museum has a new wing dedicated to Islamic art, a nearly €100 million ($126 million) project that comes at a tense time between the West and the Muslim world…

The galleries provide a needed showcase one of the West’s most extensive Islamic art collections, some 18,000 artifacts that range from the 7th century to the 19th century.

But the wing does not dwell on the old: It is housed under a futuristic, undulating glass roof designed by architects Rudy Ricciotti and Mario Bellini that has garnered comparisons to a dragonfly wing, a flying carpet, even a wind-blown veil…

[JP note: Feel the global Islamic luurve as the West performs its cultural dhimmi-cringe in the wind.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Louvre Opens Islamic Art Wing Amid Cartoon Row

The Louvre Museum in Paris is opening a new wing dedicated to the art of Islam. It has taken a decade and nearly 100m euro (£80m) and comes to fruition amid tensions between the Muslim world and the West.

This is the most significant and innovative architectural extension to the Louvre since IM Pei shook the venerable institution with his glass pyramid in 1989. At the time, there were many who argued that his structure would destroy the classical beauty of this palace of art. Now, of course, it is among the most popular attractions in Paris. Opening this weekend in the neo-classical, 19th Century Visconti courtyard of the Louvre, the new Department of Islamic Art has a undulating glass and metal roof, resembling a floating carpet, under which will be displayed the largest and most significant collection of Islamic art in Europe. The new extension of the museum has generally been welcomed, but comes at a very sensitive time in relations between the West and the Muslim world…

[JP note: For an antidote to dhimmi-cringe and nausea-inducing squirm, read Jessica Rubin’s The ‘Islamic Art’ Hoax

“Islamic Art” is taxonomically incoherent and attributively the inverse of reality.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Restoring Full Glory to Islam

Paris’s famed Louvre museum has opened a new wing of Islamic art in a bid to improve knowledge of a religion often viewed with suspicion in the West. Costing nearly €100 million, it is funded by the French government and supported by handsome endowments from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Oman and Azerbaijan. About 3,000 precious works from the seventh to the 19th centuries are spread across 3,000 square metres over two levels. The exhibits will be rotated. The project was a brainchild of French former President Jacques Chirac and dates back to 2001. It groups 18,000 treasures from an area spanning from Europe to India and includes the oldest love missive in the Islamic world…

[JP note: That would be a blood-stained sword then?]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Amid Cultural Clash, Louvre Honors Islamic Art

Louvre curators say the new Islamic Art department at the famous Museum is a way to help bridge cultural divides at a tense time between the West and the Muslim world

In its boldest development in a generation, the Louvre Museum has a new wing dedicated to Islamic art, a nearly (euro) 100 million ($130 million) project that comes at a tense time between the West and the Muslim world.

Louvre curators tout their new Islamic Art department, which took 11 years to build and opens to the public on Saturday, as a way to help bridge cultural divides. They say it offers a highbrow and respectful counterpart to the recent unflattering depictions of the Prophet Mohammad in Western media that have sparked protests by many Muslims. Still, one of the Louvre’s own consultants acknowledged that some Muslims could be “shocked” by three images of Muhammad with his face exposed in the new wing. Many Muslims believe the prophet should not be depicted at all — even in a flattering way — because it might encourage idolatry…

[JP note: Capitulation to Islamic supremacy, and nothing but nobrow dhimmitude that is far from respectful to the achievements of Western civilisation.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

French Cops Arrest Man for Calling for Charlie Hebdo Head

French police arrested a man for apparently calling on a jihadi website for the decapitation of the editor of a magazine that published cartoons mocking Mohammed, a judicial source said.

The man was detained in the western city of La Rochelle for calling on the radical website for the head of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which on Wednesday published cartoons of a naked Prophet. “The essential thing is not to let him live in peace,” the man allegedly wrote.

Police have opened a preliminary probe on charges of incitement to commit murder, the source said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italian Priest Blackmailed Over Sex Video

‘Refused to pay 65,000 euros’

(ANSA) — Reggio Emilia, September 18 — Three alleged prostitutes are under investigation in the northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia for extorting money from a 73-year-old priest, a local paper reported Tuesday.

The women are accused of asking for 65,000 euros to withhold a compromising video of the priest, according to the newspaper Gazzetta di Reggio Emilia.

The priest refused to pay and reported the incident to the police, the paper reported.

Investigators found the video while searching the home of one of the three women.

One of the women admitted the scheme. Another has denied it.

Prosecutor Katia Marino in the Reggio Emilia Court is coordinating the investigation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Polverini Leads Lazio Regional Council Cuts

Embattled governor says won’t quit

(ANSA) — Rome, September 21 — The scandal-plagued Regional Council of Lazio launched cuts and abolished three “special commissions” on Friday as it began a clean-up of operations.

The cuts will free up as much as 20 million euros in new spending for health and social services in the region around Italy’s capital city of Rome, said Renata Polverini, the People of Freedom (PdL) party’s embattled Lazio governor. Council also approved unanimously the decision to cut by half its number of standing committees, to 8 from the current 16. And it launched its own investigation into the use and possible abuse of party funds by Regional Council members. “Today we hit the target, which I asked for,” said Polverini.

“We have halved the fees, abolished the special…transfers to the regional board. Now we will put in place serious regulations,” she said. Polverini also also confirmed that she has no plans to resign from the Council, despite the current turmoil.

“Am I willing to go on? I feel like it,” she told the Council.

“We need to understand if we feel we can make an important effort…If you feel like it, I feel like it”.

The Guardia di Finanza has been collecting documents at the Council’s headquarters as part of an investigation into possible embezzlement.

Earlier in the day, the secretary of the PdL party said Polverini was a “victim” in the Lazio corruption scandal.

Angelino Alfano echoed Berlusconi in saying Polverini should not quit.

“She is the offended party. She is the victim because she is suffering, like the PdL, image damage,” he said.

Polverini earlier this week hinted she wanted to step down but later said she had been “betrayed by a system that has existed for years”.

The scandal erupted earlier this month when the PdL’s then-regional chief, Franco Fiorito, was placed under investigation for suspected embezzlement of party funds.

On Thursday Fiorito, who has since resigned, said Polverini must have been aware of how the funds were spent.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Miracle of St. Gennaro’s Blood Materializes, Stirs Naples

(AGI) Naples — The prodigy of St. Gennaro’s blood has come about once again. The announcement was made at 9:11 AM Wednesday morning by Naples Archbishop Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe who told the believers rallied in the Duomo of Naples that “the blood had already liquefied when the shrine was taken out of the safe”. The Archbishop’s words were accompanied by a long applause.

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

Italy: ‘Lazio Regional Governor Aware of Funding System in Embezzlement Scandal’

Rome, 20 Sept. (AKI) — Lazio regional governor Renata Polverini must have been aware of how money was disbursed, according to regional councillor Franco Fiorito, who is under investigation for misappropriating and stealing electoral funds worth millions of euros in Italy’s latest corruption scandal.

“The governor of the region Renata Polverini could not have not known, since the decision was made by the whole administration,” Fiorito told prosecutors in Rome on Thursday.

Fiorito, the former head of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s party in the administration of the Lazio region surrounding Rome has also implicated a number of other councillors in the deepending scandal.

Earlier on Thursday the head of the ruling conservative People of Freedom party (PdL) in the Lazio region, Francesco Battistoni resigned over the scandal, a move welcomed by the party’s secretary Angelino Alfano.

“Regional councillor Francesco Battistoni has resigned as chief whip, not because he is under investigation or facing a no-confidence motion but out of his great sense of responsibility towards the PdL, which we appreciate,” said Alfano.

Polverini is hinting she will stand down because of the scandal but Berlusconi has said she should stay, fearing a domino effect on the PdL.

“Chaotic” money management allowed Lazio regional officials easy access to PdL funds, just by making a single phone-call, investigators said Thursday.

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

New Poll Shows Popularity of Greece’s Golden Dawn at 22 Percent

Greece’s political barometer for September has revealed that 54 percent of Greeks do not trust any political party. The measure of the popularity of political parties has shown a dramatic swing in the favor of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi).

Whilst politicians are held in low regard and more than half of Greek citizens are so disillusioned with the political process that 54 percent no longer trust any political party, there are a few notable changes in the political landscape.

A report in shows that the popularity of the the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn has risen 10 points since May, winning the party a popularity score of 22 percent. Moreover, their share of the vote as evidenced in polls for September, now stands at 13 percent.

According to Ekathimerini the popularity of Golden Dawn’s leader Nikos Mihalolioakos has risen eight points since May to 22 percent.

Golden Dawn attribute their rise in popularity to their words and their actions that speak to Greeks: their opposition to the rising tide of illegal immigration: and disillusionment with the main political parties that lied to win votes.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Non-Catholic Worshippers Recognized by Italian State

Mormons, Pentecostal and Orthodox followers approximately 2 mln

(ANSA) — Rome, September 18 — Two million non-Catholic worshippers in Italy were officially recognized by the Italian State on Tuesday after 15 years of lobbying. An agreement signed with the Orthodox Church in Italy, the Apostolic Church (Pentecostal) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as the Mormon Church, now means that followers of the three religions will be fully recognized in Italy. Massimo Introvigne from the Observatory of Religious Freedom said at a press conference on Rome’s Capitol Hill that there are about 1.4 million Orthodox followers in Italy and that number is predicted to increase, surpassing the current 1.5 million Muslim community by 2014.

Around 500,000 Pentecostal worshippers reside in Italy and about 25,000 Mormons. Legal implications of the agreement range from marriage rights to religion-specific tax contributions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain: Catalan Gov’t Might Proclaim Statehood

By referendum or parliamentary vote, Francesc Homs said

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 21 — Fiscal negotiations with Spain’s central government having failed, Catalonia may unilaterally declare statehood, Generalitat spokesperson Francesc Homs said in a radio interview quoted by La Vanguardia newspaper on Friday. “We can stay as we are, or we can open a new way, that will new for everyone”, he said, adding that this could mean either a referendum on secession or a parliamentary declaration of independence.

A secessionist referendum in the next four years “is a possibility, but not the only one”, Homs said. “But it could also be done by parliamentary decision after elections”.

Asked whether a national state would be declared, Homs answered, “For example. I always thought we’d see an independent Catalonia”.

The possibility of early elections, which could turn into a vote on independence, is to be debated in the Catalan Parliament on Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The Last Thing the Church of England Needs is a Pleasant Middle Manager

by Charles Moore

The next Archbishop of Canterbury must be a man who connects with all of England’s people

Who would you like to be your next Archbishop of Canterbury? You may think this an odd way to put it. You may be Muslim, Jewish, Roman Catholic, atheist, or just vague. How can the Archbishop of Canterbury belong to you? Yet if you live in England, he does. The Church of England is “by law established”, and so it is there for any citizen who wants it. The Queen is the Church’s Supreme Governor, and her people, regardless of what they believe, are its people. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who stands at the Church’s head, must serve them. He belongs to them…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Toga Party Outrages Austerity-Hit Italians

A risqué toga party attended by women dressed as serving wenches and men as gladiators and minotaurs is at the centre of a corruption scandal which has outraged austerity-hit Italians.

Party-goers dressed in tunics, centurion helmets and flowing white robes were photographed drinking from amphorae and feeding each other grapes, in a lavish party which critics compared to the excesses of the Roman Empire. Fittingly the party, which was attended by around 2,000 people and cost 30,000 euros, was held in Rome. Under the theme, “Ulysses returns and confronts his enemies”, party-goers drank expensive Champagne and cocktails while dressed as gods, goddesses and mythical heroes…

[JP note: So they don’t even know it.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Acts of Rebellion Discussed at Bishopsgate Institute

Acts of civil rebellion are being discussed at a Saturday public forum at the Bishopsgate Institute in the City of London tomorrow (Sept 22).

A discussion on the ideas of philosophers who posed the question of when expressions of dissent were justified and to what degree is the subject of the forum. It looks at the Classical Age, the 19th century and especially the 1980s-a period described as “abundant with such acts of rebellion.” The free talk at the Institute at 230 Bishopsgate, near Liverpool Street station, starts at 2.30pm.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: It’s Time to Promise a Referendum and Seek an Electoral Pact With UKIP

by Andrew Lilico

I don’t support UKIP. I’ve never advocated leaving the EU. I don’t think immigration’s all that big an issue (illegal immigrants aside). There have been some pretty unsavoury internal incidents involving senior UKIP figures. Unlike the Referendum Party, I don’t think they’ve achieved anything especially concrete other than perhaps depriving the Conservative Party of some seats and perhaps providing some very small limitation on the Conservative leadership’s chasing of centrist votes. I also don’t like referendum. I don’t agree with direct democracy. I believe in Parliamentary democracy, instead. I think referendums are devices that the Executive (including dictators) use to appeal over the heads of the Establishment to the People, creating the classical alliance between Monarch and Mob that Whigs like me have always opposed.

But whether I like it or not, there is going to be an EU referendum, unless the EU collapses first. Furthermore, by the time of that EU referendum the UK’s membership will be irrelevant anyway, since we shall have opted out of the vast majority of what the EU does. We shan’t be in the single currency, the single police force, the single foreign ministry, the single army, the single migration area. We shan’t pay central EU taxes or back central EU debts. We shan’t be part of the fiscal pact or the EU federation…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Life at Hardy Street Mosque

Guest blogger Mahboob Nazir of Hardy Street mosque tells us about the origins of the mosque, what goes on there and their plans for a new building on Lodge Lane. Here’s his article:

KMWA (Kashmir Muslim Welfare Association) was formed 1986. The local Muslim residents of Beeston Hill and Holbeck required a centre for worship, celebrating festivals and other community gatherings. The local residents, mainly Kashmiri Muslims, came together to purchase the Leeds Co-operative building on the junction of Hardy Leeds and Lodge Lane. The building, which used to be an old flour mill, was renovated over the years to meet the requirements of the growing community. Although at the time, the building was bought by the Kashmiri Muslims, for the needs of Kashmiri Muslims, the centre has over the years built a positive relationship with the wider community and continues to share commonalities and explore differences with people of all cultures and beliefs…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: On Your Bike

Calls for Andrew Mitchell to quit after gate rant at woman PC

BIKE row Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell faced pressure to quit last night after it emerged a cop he subjected to a furious rant was a woman.

She was the first to get a dressing down from the millionaire over Downing Street gate access. He then raged at one of her colleagues: “You’re “*******ing plebs.” Two women PCs had been shot dead in Manchester 33 hours earlier…

[JP note: The headline might equally well apply to the Islamic prophet Mohammed and his fetid supporters.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Clinton Remarks With Tunisian Foreign Minister

This video was excerpted from StateonDemand on September 21 by the Bureau of International Information Programs. It features Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. I am pleased to welcome the Foreign Minister from Tunisia. I’m looking forward to our meeting. We obviously have a great deal to discuss, and I want to thank the Foreign Minister and the government of Tunisia for their efforts over the last week to help secure our embassy and the American Cooperative School of Tunis following the violent assaults of last Friday.

We are monitoring events closely today. There is no higher priority for President Obama and myself than the safety of our people. We’ve taken a number of steps around the world to augment security and to protect our personnel at diplomatic posts. And we are working closely with host governments in this effort…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Three Militants and Israeli Soldier Killed in Cross-Border Raid

Three armed militants crossed into Israel from Egypt, killing an Israeli soldier before themselves coming under fire and dying, the army said.

It was at least the fourth cross-border attack in just over a year, underscoring deep Israeli concerns about the security situation in the Sinai peninsula since the ousting of Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. “A big terror attack was thwarted,” Israeli army spokesman Lt-Col Avital Leibovich said. “Three terrorists infiltrated from Sinai into Israel and opened fire towards IDF soldiers guarding the border. The terrorists were well armed and carried explosive belts upon their bodies,” she added. Leibovich said she did not have any information on the identity or affiliation of the gunmen. Previous attacks were blamed on Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip and their supporters, who have allegedly established bases in the Sinai. An Egyptian security source said one of the gunmen died when a bomb he was carrying detonated and the other two were killed in a gun battle with Israeli forces. He added that the nationalities of the gunmen were not immediately clear…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Mufti Urges Muslims to Endure Insults Peacefully

Cairo — Muslims angered by cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad should follow his example of enduring insults without retaliating, Egypt’s highest Islamic legal official said on Thursday September 20. According to Reuters, the cartoons in France’s Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly have provoked relatively little street anger so far, although about 100 Iranians demonstrated outside the French embassy in Tehran. Condemning the publication of the cartoons in France as an act verging on incitement, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said it showed how polarized the West and the Muslim world had become.

Gomaa said Mohammad and his companions had endured “the worst insults from the non-believers of his time. Not only was his message routinely rejected, but he was often chased out of town, cursed and physically assaulted on numerous occasions. But his example was always to endure all personal insults and attacks without retaliation of any sort. There is no doubt that, since the Prophet is our greatest example in this life, this should also be the reaction of all Muslims.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egyptians Protest Offensive Cartoons Outside French Embassy, Consulate

CAIRO, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) — Scores of Egyptians on Friday rallied outside both the French embassy in the capital Cairo and the consulate in the northern city of Alexandria, in protest of the cartoons recently published by a French magazine mocking the Islamic Prophet. According to a Xinhua correspondent at the scene, protesters near the French embassy demonstrated in a peaceful way with no intention of clashing with the heavily deployed security members, who have blocked the way leading to the compound. The protesters, waving banners and chanting slogans, expressed to Xinhua their disappointment with the rally’s limited turnout while stressing that they will not give up on defending Prophet Mohammed…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Libyan Islamist Militia Swept Out of Benghazi Bases

Headquarters of Islamist Ansar al-Sharia group targeted

By Peter Graff and Suleiman Al-Khalidi

BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept 22 (Reuters) — The powerful Islamist militia Washington blames for an attack on its Benghazi consulate was swept from its heavily fortified bases in Libya’s second city in a mass popular uprising in support of the government early on Saturday…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Libya: Two Killed in Protester-Militia Clashes

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Two Libyan protesters were killed and dozens wounded early Saturday as hundreds of demonstrators attacked militia compounds in a surge of anger at armed groups in Benghazi whose unchecked powers led to last week’s killing of the U.S. ambassador. For many Libyans, the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was the last straw in one of the biggest problems Libya has faced since last year’s ouster and death of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi: the multiple mini-armies armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades that are stronger than government security forces…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tense Friday in Tunis, Salafist Demo Dispersed

We are not Ennahda’s dogs, police trade union leader says

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, SEPTEMBER 21 — Dozens of police peacefully dispersed a group of Salafist protesters who gathered in front of the Al Fath mosque in the city center after Friday prayers, in spite of the ban on demonstrations. After some initial resistance, the protesters dispersed without incident, shouting slogans against the media, which they accused of hostility to their movement.

The city center is under constant surveillance by two police helicopters, while hundreds of security forces are deployed around the French embassy on Avenue Bourghiba and adjoining streets.

Also in the center of Tunis, police used tear gas to disperse a group of stone-throwing protesters, some of whom were arrested, at Bab El Khadra, near the Avenue de Lyon. The arrested people were not Salafists, but rather common criminals, local shopkeepers told Radio Mosaique. Police stopped more youths, also allegedly “common criminals”, carrying Molotov cocktails in another part of the city center.

Police trade unions defended their operations when the US embassy was attacked last Friday. Just as they were not “the dogs of Ben Ali” during the dictatorship, they are not “dogs of Ennahda” today, union leader Mohamed Sahbi Jouini said in a reference to the ruling government party.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Unemployment at 11.5%, Famine Looms in South

Gov’t moving billions to aid the poorest, Minister Zaouia

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, SEPTEMBER 20 — The inflated economic figures with which former Tunisian dictator Zine Abidine Ben Ali once celebrated his triumphs are a fast-fading memory as reality set in post his January 14, 2011, downfall.

The truth is that one in ten Tunisians, and one in three women, are unemployed, Minister of Social Affairs Khalil Zaouia told African Manager business and financial news website on Thursday.

And while in 2005 the former dictator spoke of a 2.5% unemployment rate, that number is at 11.5% today, said the minister. It is the fruit of dictatorial policies lacking in overall vision, that privileged generalized and inefficient interventions, according to Zaouia, whose ministry is funneling 3.5 billion Tunisian dinars (approximately 1.7 billion euros) to the poorest sectors of society. The poorest of these are in the southern part of the country, where the specter of famine is looming, especially in the Beja and Jendouba regions, the minister said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Muslims Insult Journalists After Friday Prayers

Worshippers emerging from weekly prayers at a mosque in central Tunis hurled insults at journalists on Friday, amid heavy security and after Tunisia imposed a protest ban, an AFP correspondent reported. The Muslims shouted “media of sedition!” at the group of journalists, among them members of the foreign press which has given wide coverage to a US-made film and the publication in France of cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

A 21st-Century Islam

by Roger Cohen

LONDON — The Muslim world cannot have it both ways. It cannot place Islam at the center of political life — and in extreme cases political violence — while at the same time declaring that the religion is off-limits to contestation and ridicule…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Al-Qaeda and Other Terrorist Patsies: America Biting Off More Than She Can Chew

By Jaclyn Ryan

The old cliche rings truer than ever. Under the false pretenses of “democracy,” “humanitarianism,” and “peacekeeping,” the oath-breakers of the United States government nibble at geopolitically significant regions like grinding erodes the enamel of a tooth. Pretty soon, the root is exposed and you have two choices: Kill the root or crown the tooth.

It’s time for the American people to wake up to the cold reality of present-day United States. The tip of our iceberg has passed, and last week’s raiding of the US Consulate in Benghazi—which left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others dead—is the new “shot heard around the world.”

Do people really believe that an obscure, amateurish movie called “Innocence of Muslims” — which was shelved for months and all of a sudden reappeared — is the reason for this attack? Take a good, yet discerning look around, my fellow Americans. Think hard about history and strategically about motive. You no longer govern your republic; it has been hijacked by the global banking cartels, corporatocracies, and elitists. To sustain their business interests, they create policies and stage scenarios that permit the conquering and exploitation of energy-rich geopolitical regions under the false pretense of freedom, humanitarian aid, and peacekeeping. What started in Afghanistan has extended throughout the Balkans, Africa, and now Syria. Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Taliban, as well as various terrorists groups such as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) are a way to justify their means of securing energy and geopolitical control.

The US account of what happened in Benghazi does not coincide with the accounts of Libyan officials and private citizens who have come forward on the condition of anonymity. Their accounts indicate that a carefully executed twin operation took place. Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf told NBC’s Nightly News that foreigners were involved in the planning and execution of the attacks. While the US still scrambles to get the story straight, personnel involved in the attack stated that not only plain-clothed men were present, but the safehouse location was known by the attackers. All accounts point to spy infiltration. Strategic analysis of the short list of suspects who benefit from such an event include Saudi Arabia, the Israeli Mossad, or political campaigners.

Attentive Americans have had enough. Whether the act was a means of punishing America for not supporting a strike against Iran, or the cartel and elitist tyrants’ master plan to turn the US into George Orwell’s 1984, doesn’t matter. The pattern is consistent: use all means available to distract the American people from the real motives of power, money, and energy dominance. Create the problem while simultaneously offering the solution. It’s the greatest dupe of all time…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

Google Blocks Access to Anti-Islam Film in Jordan

AMMAN, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) — Google has blocked YouTube users in Jordan from viewing trailers of the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” upon requests from the Jordanian government, an official said Saturday. Jordanian Ministry of Information and Communications Technology requested Google, which owns YouTube, to block access to the anti- Islam film last week, an official at the ministry told the press. “The ministry provided Google with all links that connect internet users in Jordan to the film and Google started Friday blocking access to these links,” the source said Saturday. The ministry also asked the country’s telecom operators and internet service providers to block access to all links that connect users to the film, the source said. Google has also denied access to the videos in Malaysia, Indonesia, Libya, Egypt and India…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘I Insist on the Right to Freedom of Expression’

For over a decade, author Salman Rushdie had to live in hiding from Muslim extremists intent on assassinating him in accordance with an Iranian fatwa. SPIEGEL spoke with Rushdie about the trying experience and why he has now chosen to write about it in his new memoir.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Rushdie, you named your memoir after the alias you assumed during the period when you were in hiding.

Rushdie: Yes. The first thing the police officers told me was that I needed an alias in order to make possible certain practical things: secret houses had to be rented, and I needed a fake bank account and had to write checks. Besides, my bodyguards needed a code name to use when they talked about me. But just try coming up with one. I thought about it for days.

SPIEGEL: And then, of all things, you decided on “Joseph Anton?”

Rushdie: The names of two of my favorite writers: Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov. At first I wanted to use the name of a character I had developed for a new novel. The character was a little mentally confused, also a writer, and he was named Ajeeb Mamouli. It seemed fitting. Ajeeb means “strange,” while Mamouli means “normal.” So I was Mr. Strange Normal, a changing contradiction. That’s how I felt about myself.


Rushdie: Well, my security people didn’t like the name. Too hard to remember, too hard to pronounce, too Asian. Our enemies would eventually be able to put two and two together, they said. Then I combined the names of other writers I like: Marcel Beckett, Vladimir Joyce, Franz Sterne. They were all ridiculous.

SPIEGEL: But your bodyguards liked Joseph Anton?

Rushdie: They loved it. From then on I was Joe, for 10 years. Hey Joe. I hated it. When I was alone in the house with them, I would always say: Hey guys, why don’t you stop calling me Joe for a bit? No one’s here, and we all know who we are. It was pointless. Then I said to myself: Joe, you must live until you die.

SPIEGEL: Did Joe die when your personal security was discontinued in 1999?

Rushdie: Yes. I was relieved.

SPIEGEL: And yet now you’ve resurrected him.

Rushdie: Because I wanted people to understand how strange it is to live in a world in which you are ordered to give up your name…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Saudia Arabia: Outlaw Inciting Religious Hatred: Grand Mosque Imam

MAKKAH — Sheikh Saleh Bin Mohammed Aal Taleb, Imam and Khateeb of the Grand Mosque, Friday urged that laws be passed to prevent incitement of religious hatred. “We call on the world… to enact a code of honor and binding law to prohibit and criminalize any violation of monotheistic religions and prophets,” Sheikh Saleh said in his Friday sermon. “Let the politicians and policy makers know that the people express uncontrolled reactions when sacred symbols are humiliated,” he said, urging “the wise” in the West to “prevent those who ignite fires.” “We advocate dialogue, understanding and tolerance, but it will be in vain if we continue to perpetuate hatred… against Islam, the Prophet and the Muslims.”

Sheikh Saleh also criticized violent protests by Muslims against the low-budget anti-Islam film produced in the United States, “Innocence of Muslims,” which have left dozens of people dead. “Muslims must show their kindness in their reactions; it is not kindness to kill innocent people and destroy property,” he said, advising them to “raise awareness of the Prophet using social networks” on the Internet. “Muslims must realize that they do not need fresh incidents to hinder the progress of Islam.”


[JP note: The film and cartoons firestorm is helping the progress of Islam quite nicely, thank you, ably abetted by dhimmi politicians and media outlets in the West.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey Sentences 322 Military Officers to Jail Over ‘Sledgehammer’ Coup Plot

SILIVRI, Turkey — A Turkish court sentenced more than 300 military officers to jail on Friday for plotting to overthrow Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan almost a decade ago, ending a trial that underscored civilian dominance over the once all-powerful military. The court in Silivri, just west of Istanbul, handed prison terms to 322 serving and retired army officers and acquitted 34, according to court documents seen by Reuters. Two retired generals and a retired admiral considered the ringleaders of the so-called “Sledgehammer” plot to topple Erdogan in 2003 were given life terms. Their relatives collapsed in tears in the courtroom as the sentences were handed down…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey Convicts 330 Military Accused of Coup

THE most highly charged trial in Turkey’s modern history ended with the conviction of 330 military officers — including former commanders of the army, navy and air force — for plotting to overthrow the government.

This case, known to Turks as the “Sledgehammer” trial after the alleged codename of the coup plot, lasted for two years and arose from a plan to take over the state in 2003.

Senior officers were found guilty of preparing a putsch against the moderately Islamist Justice and Welfare Party (AK) a year after its election victory in 2002. The army, which sees itself as the guarantor of Turkey’s secular constitution, mounted three coups between 1960 and 1980. Prosecutors said the plot to overthrow Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the AK prime minister, was drawn up during a seminar of military officers. They planned to carry out a series of attacks on their own forces — including shooting down a military jet — while also bombing mosques and civilian targets in order to create a pretext for the armed forces to seize power in the name of stability. But the conspirators all protested their innocence, saying the only aim of the seminar had been to discuss theoretical scenarios in a way familiar to military planners across the world. They accused AK of manufacturing the case against them in order to win a power struggle against the armed forces…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan Bans Pakistani Newspapers

KABUL: Afghanistan banned all Pakistani newspapers from entering the country on Friday in an attempt to block the Taliban from influencing public opinion via the press.

The order, issued by the Ministry of Interior, adds to the mounting tension between the neighboring countries. It focuses specifically on blocking entry of the papers at Torkham, a busy border crossing, and directed border police to gather up Pakistani newspapers in the three eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan. In a statement, the ministry said the newspapers were a conduit for Taliban propaganda…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Anti-Islam Film Protests: Pakistan Violence Sees 13 People Killed in ‘Terribly Bloody Day’

As at least 13 people die in Pakistan during demonstrations against a film denigrating the Prophet Mohammed, the Telegraph’s correspondent in Islamabad says the protests present more risk to the West than those elsewhere in the Middle East and beyond.

In another day of protest in the Muslim world, the worst of the trouble came in Pakistan where the government declared Friday to be Love of the Prophet Mohammed Day and a national holiday as part of an attempt to release some of the anger building among the country’s hardline Islamic clerics. Nine people were killed in Karachi, including a police officer who was shot, as demonstrations provided cover for arsonists and looters who attacked shops and restaurants. A protester and a driver with a TV news channel were killed by police gunfire in the north-western city of Peshawar, where four people died amid attacks on cinemas and government offices.

Reporting from Islamabad on what he called a “terribly bloody day”, Pakistan Correspondent Rob Crilly said in sanctioning the protests, the country’s secular government was straining to appease hardline religious elements that threaten it. “One way of doing that is to do a deal with the extremists,” he said. “They’ve been given it looks like a certain amount of latitiude to organise protests today in the hope now this will be the end of it.” Unable to predict whether the anger would indeed subside following Friday’s outpouring, the reporter suggested that Western powers would be keeping a keener eye on how the protests develop in Pakistan than amongst their near neighbours. “Pakistan is a country of 180 million people, with nuclear weapons,” the reporter said. “I think there is a particular problem in Pakistan that risks a huge amount of blowback on American and Western interests, here and and further afield. This is a country with a Taliban insurgency and where al-Qaeda has been headquarted for some time.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Miscreants Hurl Petrol Bomb at Mosque, Tension in Ramnad

RAMANATHAPURAM: Tension prevailed at Ramanathapuram on Friday after a petrol bomb was hurled at a mosque around midnight the previous day. Though the explosion of the bottle filled with petrol did not cause much damage to the mosque, the incident coming hours before the Vinayaga Chathurthi procession was to commence, gave tense moments to the police. “Now the situation has come back to normalcy. The Vinayaga Chathurthi procession was taken out in various places of the district in a peaceful manner,” a police officer said. However, the police are yet to arrest anyone for hurling the petrol bomb. “We have not identified anyone as accused. The inquiry is on,” the police officer said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistanis Can Debunk Myths About Islam Peacefully

By Aazadi Fateh Muhammad, special to CNN

Editor’s note: Aazadi Fateh Muhammad is professor of mass communication at Federal Urdu University in Karachi, Pakistan.

Karachi, Pakistan (CNN) — Most Pakistanis have rejected the defamatory attacks on the profile of Prophet of Islam Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) in the movie “Innocence of Muslims,” which has triggered intensive protests and anger in Pakistan along with Egypt, Libya and Yemen.The government in Pakistan was the first to announce a public holiday and banned YouTube as a mark of protest. But this failed to calm the violent demonstrations and resulting violent mob actions. The country’s big problem is that it suffers from natural disasters, terrorism, crime, poor living conditions and corrupt sociopolitical systems — but there is little public debate. Erfan Aziz, an academician from Karachi, observed that “the public in Pakistan has remained much oppressed in the past. Even the genuine issues of society were not allowed to be discussed in public. Notifications such as ‘avoid political conversations’ still may be seen in some public areas.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Thirteen Killed in Pakistan Protests Against Anti-Islam Film

Thirteen people died in riots across Pakistan when thousands of protesters used a national holiday to stage demonstrations against a film denigrating the Prophet Mohammed.

Nine people were killed in Karachi, including a police officer who was shot, as demonstrations provided cover for arsonists and looters who attacked shops and restaurants. A protester and a driver with a TV news channel were killed by police gunfire in the north-western city of Peshawar, where four people died amid attacks on cinemas and government offices. Pakistan said it summoned the most senior US diplomat in Islamabad to protest against a YouTube trailer for an anti-Islam film made by a small group of extremists in the United States. There were also peaceful protests in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Iraq. The worst of the trouble came in Pakistan where the government declared Friday to be Love of the Prophet Mohammed Day and a national holiday as part of an attempt to release some of the anger building among the country’s hardline Islamic clerics…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Two UK Soldiers Die in Afghanistan Incidents

Two soldiers have died in separate incidents in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

Neither of the deaths is thought to be the result of hostile action. The next of kin of both have been informed. The death of a soldier from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at Camp Bastion, Helmand, emerged first. The MoD later said a soldier from 28 Engineer Regiment, attached to 21 Engineer Regiment, died at Forward Operating Base Shawqat, in Helmand. A full investigation into the deaths is under way.The number of British military deaths since operations began in Afghanistan in 2001 now stands at 432…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

Flag-Stomping Rally Staged Near Grounds of Taipei Mosque

RELIGIOUS PROTEST: Muslims from several nations, including Iran and Indonesia, gathered to decry a recent film which satirizes Mohammed

Following more than a week of Islamic global protests, dozens of Muslims in Taiwan rallied outside the Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday, protesting the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims as well as publications of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Holding up signs saying “Freedom of speech is not the freedom to insult” and “We love Mohammed” — among others — Muslims from dozens of countries including Taiwan, Pakistan, India, Indonesia and Iran gathered outside Taipei Grand Mosque following the Jumah prayer session yesterday. They chanted slogans praising Allah and the Prophet Mohammed while urging a cease to the insults poured on the religious prophet. The film Innocence of Muslims, produced by California-based Sam Bencile, depicts Mohammed as a womanizer, a homosexual and a child abuser and described a donkey in the film as “the first Muslim.”


[JP note: Add flag-stomping to the list of recent contributions made by Muslims for the greater good, peace and harmony of the world.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Official Assistance for Wilders’ Visa Request

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has contacted the Australian authorities over the visa application by Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders.

It is unclear why the visa has not yet been granted. The anti-Islam politician applied for a visa three weeks ago in order to give a series of lectures next month. The employees who would accompany him have already received their visas and the group which invited Wilders to Australia has accused the government of stalling over his application. Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal stressed that it is standard procedure for the ministry to become involved if a Dutch politician is having difficulty obtaining a visa. Rosenthal himself has not spoken with his Australian counterpart, but the issue has been discussed at a high level.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Anti-Islamic Video Still Accessible in Nigeria

Several days after a controversial anti-Islamic YouTube movie triggered anti-American protests in some Muslim nations, the video is still being viewed by many internet users in Nigeria. The protests, which started in Libya, then spread to the Middle East, China, Britain, Germany, and Australia began yesterday in northern Nigeria. All efforts in the last few days to get the Information Minister Labaran Maku’s response proved futile as he didn’t pick his calls or reply texts. Press Secretary to the minister, Joseph Mutah, who said he will get back to us with the minister’s response is also yet to do so…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Kenya: Al Shabaab Terrorist Jailed for 59 Years

THE Peugeot 505 car, that suicide bombers intended to use for their mission last week, is now parked it at Eastleigh Police patrol base. The car KAC 338 was registered by Kenindia Insurance Limited. The terrorists bought it a few weeks ago for Sh180,000 from a dealer near the Holy Family Basilica. They did not ask for a logbook. Yesterday a Nairobi court sentenced failed suicide bomber Abdimajid Yassin Mohammed to 59 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges of terrorism. Mohammed will also be required to pay a Sh2 million fine or serve an additional 12 months in prison…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Why We Designated Three Members of Boko Haram as Terrorists — U.S.

The U.S. said on Thursday that it decided to designate three leaders of Boko Haram as terrorists because their plans had gone beyond discrediting the Nigerian Government. Mr Johnnie Carson, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, made the clarification at a news conference in Abuja. “We have not designated the entire organisation; we constantly keep that under review, but we have designated the three top leaders we believe to be out establishing broader terrorist networks. They have a broader jihadist agenda that goes beyond simply discrediting the Nigerian government.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Somali Journalists Mourn the Loss of Another Assassinated Journalist in Mogadishu

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) mourns the loss of the another prominent journalist who was assassinated in Mogadishu’s General Daud High School in Yaqshid neighborhood on Friday noon around 11:30am heightening the dangerous work journalists do in Somalia and bringing the total number of journalists killed this [year] to 13. Unknown assailants shot five bullets, three of them on the head of Hassan Yusuf Absuge, in his 40s, a veteran and academic, who was the head of Programs of radio Maanta, as he was heading his home, finishing his night shift, according to the Radio Maanta. Late Hassan Yusuf Absuge died on the scene…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


8,000 Migrant Landings This Year, Down From 60,000

‘Growing cooperation’ with countries of origin or transit

(ANSA) — Rome, September 12 — Only 8,000 illegal immigrants have landed on Italian shores so far this year — well below the 60,000 recorded last year, Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said Wednesday.

She praised the “growing cooperation offered by countries of origin or transit of illegal migration flows” as contributing to the decrease.

Given its long coastline and proximity to North Africa, Italy is especially vulnerable to illegal immigrants, she told the House in answer to a question. That means the government must focus a lot of attention and resources on the problem and is working particularly closely with authorities in Tunisia and Libya, she said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Australia: Intercepted on New Asylum Boat: Tony Abbott Says Government Cannot Manage Our Borders

SRI LANKAN male asylum seekers have been sent home after refusing to be transferred to the offshore processing centre on Nauru, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said today.

Mr Bowen says the 18 Sri Lankans left Christmas Island for Colombo today after asking to be sent home instead of being sent to the Pacific island for the processing of their claims as asylum seekers.

The first group to be sent for offshore processing since new asylum seeker laws were enacted were transferred from Christmas Island to Nauru on September 14.

Australia has reopened the processing centre at Nauru and is soon to reopen Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island as part of the federal government’s policy to stem the number of boat arrivals.

Mr Bowen also said the government would introduce a recommendation from the Houston independent panel to bar people arriving by boat from sponsoring family under the Special Humanitarian Program.

The Houston report on asylum seeker policy, handed to the government on August 13, recommended 22 key measures to stem the boat arrivals to Australia.

Mr Bowen said the plane carrying the 18 men left Christmas Island at 0815 (11.15am AEST) today bound for the Sri Lankan capital.

He said 16 of the 18 men arrived in Australia after August 13, when the government announced its new border protection policies.

“They have asked not be transferred to Nauru, but instead to be returned to their homeland of Sri Lanka,” Mr Bowen told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

“That has been arranged and facilitated.”

The minister said the changes to the concessions under the special humanitarian program would ensure family reunions occurred only through the normal channels.

“There will be no special concessions,” Mr Bowen said.

“Up until now it had been possible for people who arrive in Australia by boat to sponsor family members and not to show that the other requirements under the special humanitarian program were met.”

Mr Bowen said the government had also accepted the recommendation to increase the numbers of people accepted under the family reunion program by 4000.

He rejected claims by the Australian Greens that mental health support for asylum seekers at Australia’s two offshore processing centres was insufficient.

“We do know there is an alarming lack of mental health services that will be provided to refugees on both Nauru and on Manus Island,” Greens immigrations spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young told ABC Radio today.

Mr Bowen said the Greens were “wrong” and they did not understand the counselling services available.

“The counselling services that are available on Nauru consist of a minimum of two counsellors and two medically trained professionals regardless of the numbers on Nauru at any particular time,” Mr Bowen said.

Earlier today, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the latest boat arrival shows the federal government cannot manage the nation’s borders.

Mr Abbott’s comments come after Australian authorities intercepted an asylum seeker boat carrying 17 people heading for Christmas Island.

It was the 144th boat intercepted in Australian waters this year.

“This is a government that plainly has lost control of Australia’s borders,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Brisbane today.

Mr Abbott said Labor had brought back offshore processing of asylum seekers at Nauru but the measure would not succeed as a deterrent to people smugglers.

He said the government had to also reintroduce temporary protection visas and the option of turning boats back where safe to do so.

“Unless the government is prepared to do this, I fear the boats will just keep coming in ever increasing numbers,” he said.

Mr Abbott said everyone who came to Australia should be appropriately treated, but a strong message had to be sent to people smugglers.

“We won’t stop the boats if we don’t make it crystal clear that there is no red carpet treatment for people arriving illegally in Australia,” he said.

Under domestic and international law, it is legal for people to seek asylum in Australia.

The boat intercepted was the 41st since the federal government announced its offshore processing policy on August 13.

The 41 boats carried a total of 2324 people.

HMAS Larrakia intercepted the latest vessel west of Christmas Island yesterday.

The passengers will be taken to Christmas Island for security, health and identity checks.

Under the government’s new offshore processing regime, they could be sent to Nauru or Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Italy: Pakistani Migrants Rescued Off Southern Coast

Leccce, 19 Sept. (AKI) — Coastguard on Wednesday intercepted a six-metre boat adrift off the southern Italian coast with 14 Pakistani migrants on board.

The migrants, all male, were rescued off Otranto in the Puglia region during a joint patrol coordinated by the European Union’s border protection agency Frontex to stem illegal migrant landings in southern Italy.

The joint patrols involving coastguard and tax police vessels and aircraft from Italy and other EU countries have since January intercepted 1,300 migrants aboard 25 migrant boats and have arrested 28 people-smugglers.

Also on Wednesday, coastguard recovered a corpse floating in the sea off the southernmost Italian island of Lampedusa. The body is believed to be that of a migrant who perished when a boat sank last Friday 12 miles off the tiny island.

Three other bodies have already been found but scores of migrants were missing after Friday’s tragedy and there may have been up to 150 people on board. Coastguard rescued 60 migrants, said to be Tunisian, after the boat went down.

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

OECD: Migrant Flow to Italy is Continuing Unabated

(AGI) Rome — The flow of immigrants to Italy is continuing unabated. Not even the global economic crisis, which slowed the pace in other OECD States in 2010, has stopped increasing numbers of foreigners from deciding to start a new life in the peninsular. The proportion of foreign citizens out of the total number of residents (Italians and foreigners) is continuing to increase and was 7.5% on 1 January 2011, up from 7% a year earlier. These figures are contained in the OECD report International Migration Outlook 2012. The analysis in the Italy chapter of the report compiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, is based on the latest ISTAT figures. There were 4,570,000 foreign residents in Italy as of January 2011, 335,000 more than the previous year (+7.9%). The report also estimated a flow of 60,300 illegal migrants between January and August 2011. The number of foreign residents in 2010 rose mainly due to immigration from abroad (425,000 people). There were nearly one million Romanian residents (9.1% more than the year before), making them the largest foreign community (21.2% of the total number of foreigners). At the end of 2010, the other major groups were Albanians (483,000) and Moroccans (452,000). The number of residence permits granted to non-EU citizens rose by 16.4% in 2010 over the year before, to 599,000, 62% of which were issued for more than 12 months. Most of the permits were given for work related reasons (359,000), both salaried and seasonal, and for family reunification (179,000). Three hundred and thirty one thousand work permits were issued in 2011, of which 141,000 were for family reunification and 119,000 for work. There are annual quotas for the entry of non-EU citizens for work. Contingent non-seasonal work was limited to 10,000 training places and apprenticeships in 2009. However, this year saw the regularisation of a record number of domestic workers and carers. Most of the 295,000 applications filed were accepted (233,000 in October 2011).

There were 710,000 foreigners legally employed as au pairs and carers for the elderly in 2010. In terms of landings, the report explains that numbers increased considerably in 2011 due to the changed political situation in Tunisia and Libya. Almost 60,300 illegal immigrants were intercepted off the coast of Sicily in August 2011, compared to 4,400 for the whole of 2010.

Many of them were granted asylum. Twenty three thousand eight hundred applications were submitted in the first half of 2011, which is more than the total for the whole of 2010 (10,050) and almost 25% were filed by Tunisians. Of the 11,300 asylum applications requested in 2010, 14% led to refugee status and 24% to a residence permit on humanitarian grounds. Tunisians who entered Italy illegally at the beginning of 2011 obtained humanitarian protection status. As of 10 March 10 2012 all foreigners seeking a first residence permit for more than one year must sign an integration contract and commit to acquiring a basic knowledge of Italian and the principles of civic education. The number of points must be achieved in two years, even though the contract can be extended by one year. Points can be lost due to violations of terms, renewal of the residence permit may be refused, and people can even be expelled. As of 2011, long-term residence is only granted to immigrants who pass a language test. Sixty nine thousand tests were carried out in October 2011, with a success rate of 70%.

One of the priorities of the technical government formed in November 2011 along with the reform of the citizenship law, pending in Parliament since December 2009, are the provisions relating to the citizenship rights of foreigners born in Italy. (AGI)

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

One in Five Germans is of Foreign Origin

(AGI) — Berlin, Sept. 19 — One German in five (19.5%) is of foreign origin for a total of 16 million citizens, the Federal Statistics office revealed, saying these figures cover those who have emigrated to German since 1950 and have had children in Germany. In 2011 the number of people of foreign origin increased by 216,000 (+1.4%). There are 8.8 million foreigners with German passports and 7.2 million have kept their original nationality. Turks are in first place, with over 3 million, followed by Poles with 1.5 million, Russians with 1.2 million, Kazakhs with 900,000 and Italians count 800,000, naturalized Germans or carrying just an Italian passport.

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

Permanent Immigration Into Italy Decreasing, Says OECD

Asylum applications on the rise

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 19 — Permanent immigration into Italy is decreasing while asylum applications are on the rise, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in a report presented in Rome on Wednesday.

The report was discussed at a conference organized by the National Council for Economics and Labor (CNEL) looking at trends in international migration, especially in Italy.

The OECD noted that there was an increase in young immigrants without work or study permits.

Italians emigrating to other OECD countries have risen to approximately 78,000, up 6% between 2009 and 2010. Asylum requests in Italy have tripled since 2009, placing the country seventh among OSCE countries for refugee applicants.

Immigrants are harder hit by unemployment trends in temporary positions, said the report, but in terms of long-term contracts the rate of unemployment is comparable to Italian nationals.

Three out of five immigrants in Italy have found work in an emerging field, a higher proportion than in other OECD countries, and also accounted for 28% of the increase in the Italian workforce over the past decade.

However, 30% of young migrants work in less qualified categories, about 50% higher than other OECD countries with the exception of Spain and Greece.

Immigrants play a role in maintaining the size of the Italian workforce, said the report. Italy is one of the few OECD countries where the retired population exceeds young people entering the workforce.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Romania: Expelled Roma Will Keep Coming Back

Evenimentul zilei Bucharest

While Paris is toughening up its policy on repatriating Roma back to Romania and Bulgaria, some of them are doing quite well out of it by heading back to France — notably from what they pocket for leaving France “voluntarily”.

Vlad Teodorescu

On the eve of his visit to Romania on September 12 French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, referring to the Roma that fill the coaches on the roads between Romania and France, declared that France could no longer accommodate all these “wretched of the earth” and the “populations harassed in their own country”. What is missing in this summary is the opinion of those affected. No one, including the officials, ever asked them what they think and how they view their repatriation. Undoubtedly the Roma will go back to Romania and then head off once again, so long as they are given the chance.

During the visit by Minister Valls Roma staged a protest outside the government building in Bucharest to express their dissatisfaction at being a ping-pong ball in a game between the Romanian authorities and the rest of the European Union. By the time someone resolves to clear up their problems, they will always choose to emigrate.

Hundreds of Roma “euro-deportees” from France made this return home to “recharge their batteries” — and top up their benefits, thanks to the 300 euros that each of them gets to leave France “voluntarily and by their own consent.” After a few weeks at home in Romania, most head back to the country they just departed, which they never really left.

“Sarkozy money”

Gheorghe Victor, mayor of the municipality of Cojasca in the Department of Dâmbovita, watches over a community of more than 7,000, of whom 90 percent are Roma, mostly concentrated in the village of Fântânele. A good many of the villagers have gone almost everywhere in Europe. “I don’t think we can honestly speak of emigrants,” the mayor says. “In my opinion, it’s more a question of EU citizens leaving for a month or two for countries like France, Italy or England, where they can earn a better living.

These are citizens who traditionally practice the profession of itinerant musician.” Sure of the honour of his co-villagers, the mayor swears up and down that none of them have committed any crime there. “Ninety-nine percent of them are Pentecostals. They don’t drink, they don’t smoke, and they’re not muggers. Their faith doesn’t allow them that.”

For example, the Dan family, nicknamed “The French,” is multiplying thanks to “Sarkozy money”, an allusion to the humanitarian assistance for a return home that France under President Nicolas Sarkozy provided on a large scale for the first expulsions in August 2010. The family is a typical example of the Roma that do the Paris-Fântânele shuttle. The Dan house is hard to miss, because they have more children than all the other inhabitants of the alley put together. They hang out in front, around the makeshift fence put together from a haphazard collection of planks and boards…

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

The Other Greek Crisis

The Wall Street Journal Europe Brussels

Already hit by the crisis and austerity measures, Greece must also cope on very limited resources with the arrival of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Here too, it is getting little in the way of solidarity from its EU partners. Excerpts.

Matina Stevis

It is early in the afternoon at this important port 125 miles from Athens and two Greek navy officers are patrolling the docks, each wielding sticks with mirrors to peek under trucks. They have seen nothing so far.

Suddenly, three young men burst from behind a massive container and take off down a dock. The officers begin a chase, but the drama is over before it starts. Within a minute, the three men, faster and more desperate, have escaped into a dilapidated industrial complex.

The men, says one officer, are illegal immigrants, who apparently spent the night on the dock hoping to sneak onto a ferry to Italy. They are part of a deluge of undocumented workers trying to reach Europe through Greece, and slipping past authorities is just part of the process. “Day in, day out, the same story,” the officer lamented, trying to catch his breath.

The country quietly has become a steppingstone for a wave of Middle East and South Asia workers fleeing job markets ravaged by years of government turmoil. In 2011, an extraordinary year because of the uprisings in North Africa, 140,980 people were detected entering the EU illegally, up 35% from the year before, according to Frontex, the EU’s border-control agency. Of those, 40% came through Greece. Through July this year, 23,000 people were apprehended crossing the border illegally, roughly 30% ahead of last’s year pace.

Border control in Greece isn’t a new problem. But the country’s economic malaise and budget restrictions are hampering many of its efforts to reduce the flow of illegal immigration. Hoping to come to the rescue, the Europe Commission — the EU’s executive branch — began pouring €255 million ($331 million) into border protection for Greece over the past two years. But that is still less than it gives some countries with far smaller border problems. And whatever it gives, years of bloated bureaucracy and now new public hiring restrictions in Greece have stalled some of the best-laid plans. According to one confidential EU report, the country has hired only 11 staffers to help process asylum cases, despite funding last year for 700 positions.

Add deplorable detention conditions at immigration centers, according to EU officials and human-rights groups, and mounting domestic unrest over the influx of foreign arrivals, and Greece finds itself with yet another Olympic-size crisis.

“Greece isn’t Europe”

In response, government officials say they are doing the best they can under difficult circumstances. The country’s new minister of public order, Nikos Dendias, says Greece takes border protection seriously, but that the influx from abroad is reaching crisis proportions. He calls Greece a “buffer zone of Europe” that carries “a disproportionate burden.”…

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

Tunisia to Expel Migrants Trying to Reach Italy

80 boat people intercepted off El Ktef to be processed, deported

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, SEPTEMBER 13 — In a recent change of policy, Tunisia will expel all migrants intercepted while attempting to reach Italy by boat, sources said on Thursday.

First to be deported will be the 80 mostly sub-Saharan migrants the Tunisian Coast Guard blocked in a boat heading to Italy off the port of El Ktef, in the Medenine governorate, three days ago.

The 80 migrants were taken to Tunis on Wednesday for identification. Those not qualifying for asylum will be expelled, Tunisia’s Radio Shems reported.

Asylum seekers will most likely be transferred to the Choucha refugee camp, near the border with Libya, where tens of thousands of refugees have been taken since last year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


250 Rally at Dearborn Mosque Against Worldwide Violence

Detroit - About 250 people gathered outside one of the largest mosques in America on Friday to condemn international violence sparked by an inflammatory film about Islam. The “Rally Against Hate” outside the Islamic Center of America featured speakers who decried violence that has led to 30 deaths in seven countries in reaction to the video “Innocence of Muslims.” But speakers also had pointed words for the makers of the video. “We need to draw the line between freedoms of expression and hate speech,” said Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini, imam of the Islamic Center on the border of Detroit and Dearborn.Sam Meheidli of Dearborn said he doesn’t want anyone to disgrace any faiths. “We love all of our prophets … Abraham, Jesus, Moses, Muhammad — we don’t discriminate against any of them,” he said.

More than a dozen clergy spoke to the crowd about the need for different faiths to stand together against intolerance. While they condemned the violence directed toward the United States and the producers of the film, the religious and community leaders also criticized the filmmakers for inciting the violent protests by releasing the movie. The Rev. Edwin Rowe of the Central United Methodist Church in Detroit said of the movie makers: “The blood is on their hands. There is no way close we can call this free speech,” Rowe said. “I pray that these folks will be brought to justice.”

[JP note: Calls for Sharia justice in the USA? The good Rev. Edwin Rowe should wash his mouth with soap and water.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Anti-Islam Film Continues to Make Waves Around the World

The speaker of the European parliament has strongly condemned the recent anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. But he in his turn has been roundly criticised for giving in to extremists. The film continues to provoke fierce reactions in the Western as well as the Arab world.

“I condemn strongly not only the content but also the distribution of such a movie, which is humiliating the feelings of a lot of people all over the world,” said a press statement issued yesterday by Martin Schulz, the speaker of the European parliament, in reaction to the amateur video that has led to sometimes violent protests throughout the Islamic world.

Wrong side

Dutch Euro-parliamentarian Hans van Baalen is unimpressed: “Schulz should be standing up for the freedom of expression”, the centre-right MEP told a Dutch radio station.

“This denunciation puts him on the wrong side of the argument. He’d have been better off saying that while he personally might find it a bad film, it must be possible to make and distribute it”. According to van Baalen, someone who is on the right side is the Moroccan-Dutch Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Abu Taleb. “He spoke out for freedom of expression and advised Muslims to ignore the film”. Van Baalen emphasised that Abu Taleb is himself a Muslim. Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders was also quick to condemn Schulz’s statement. Via Twitter, Wilders called him a ‘coward’ who had ‘sentenced freedom of speech to death’…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Charlie Hebdo Cartoons ‘Doubly Irresponsible’: UN

UNITED NATIONS — The UN human rights chief has welcomed the efforts of senior Muslim figures to restore calm amidst violence related to an anti-Islam film and cartoons, while highlighting how ignoring such “provocative” products can be the best way to deal with them.

“Deliberate and obnoxious acts of this type should be deprived of the oxygen of publicity,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, according to her spokesperson. “Given what happened last week, and the fact that people are being killed, Charlie Hebdo is doubly irresponsible to publish these cartoons.”


The film has drawn widespread condemnation around the world, including from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as Ms Pillay. According to media reports, at least 30 people have been killed in the violence, and fresh protests broke out on Friday in countries across the Muslim world. “Both the film and the cartoons are malicious and deliberately provocative,” Pillay’s spokesperson, Rupert Colville, told a media briefing in Geneva, according to a news release issued at UN Headquarters in New York. “The film in particular provides a disgracefully distorted image of Muslims.”

The spokesperson noted that High Commissioner Pillay said she fully understands why people wish to protest strongly against the film and the cartoons, and it is their right to do so, but peacefully. The High Commissioner has also urged religious and political leaders to make a major effort to restore calm, and welcomes “the fact that a number of senior Muslim figures have been making similar statements about the need to rise above the provocations,” Colville said. He added, “As both the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner have stated, the fault line is not between Muslim and non-Muslim societies, but between a small number of extremists on different sides, with a vested interest in stirring hostility and conflict.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

From Rushdie to Stevens: This Madness Must Stop

Dr Usama Hasan, Imam and scientist, Senior Researcher in Islamic Studies at the Quilliam Foundation

Here we go again. From books and films to cartoons, teddy bears and desecration of copies of the Qur’an by a handful of American fundamentalists and soldiers, the story is the same: instead of ignoring material insulting and offensive to Islam, or forgiving their authors as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would have done, some immature Muslims resort to violence that ends up killing people who had done more than most to actually help Muslims or Muslim-majority countries. Furthermore, the poor-quality “offending” material receives far more publicity than it deserved, and the image of Islam is dragged through the mud yet again, to the exasperation of the vast majority of ordinary, decent Muslims…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]