Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/18/2008

USA
American Iftars for Non-Muslims
Bush Hosts Dinner for American Muslims
Congress Tries to Fix What it Broke
Educators Learn About Faith, Traditions of Muslim Families
Mass-Mailed DVD on ‘Radical Islam’ Upsets Florida Muslims
Multi-Cultural and Religious Hell for Swift & Co.’s Meat Packing Plant
Oldest Voter Abroad Backs McCain
Saudi Infiltration of Education is Endemic in the U.S.
The Book-Banners Hollywood Ignores
US Department of State: Daily Press Briefing, 17 September 2008 (About Yemen Attack)
 
Europe and the EU
“Moroccan Spy is Simply Working at Airport”
Bikers Deny Negotiations
In France, Pope Finds a Nation in Religious ‘Freefall’
Islam: Referendum on Mosques Unconstitutional, Scialoja
Italy’s Right to Curb Islam With Mosque Law
Turkish PM Erdogan Urges EU to be Fair in Accession Talks
We Are Losing Europe to Islam
 
North Africa
Islam: Al-Azhar Only Authority for Fatwa, Egypt’s Mufti
Islamic or Western Weekend? Arab World at Crossroads
 
Middle East
Fundamentalist Leader in London Explains the Yemen Attack
Iran: MP Warns Italy Over Its Foreign Policy
Lebanon: Suleiman Calls to Benefit From Hezbollah Experience
Official: One American Killed in Yemen Embassy Attack
Turkey: 15 Arrested in Subversive Group Ergenekon Inquiry
Yemen Has Rounded Up Thirty Suspects in Embassy Bombing.
 
Russia
Russia Must Set Borders in Oil-Rich Arctic
 
South Asia
American Aggression on Pakistan
Banned Separatist Flag Raised Near Papua Blast Site: State Media
For Indonesian Church Anti-Pornography Bill Threatens National Unity
Google, Microsoft Pull Sex Ads After India Legal Threat
Indonesia: Rights Groups Call for an End to Child Slavery in Malaysia
Malaysian Party Quits Coalition, PM Says May Step Down Earlier
Pakistan: Child Hostages Freed in Troubled Northwest
 
Far East
Abu Sayyaf Behind Kidnapping of Volunteers in Mindanao
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
Danish Warship Nabs Pirates
 
Immigration
Immigration: Controversy in Catalonia on ‘Special Classes’
Immigration: Patmos Says ‘Enough With Immigrants’
Italy: Illegal Immigrants Start Riot in Holding Centre
New Measures Against Illegal Immigration
 
Culture Wars
Baroness Warnock: Dementia Sufferers May Have a ‘Duty to Die’
Now Schools Introduce a Sex Guide for Your Six-Year-Olds
Teach ‘the Pleasure of Gay Sex’ to Children as Young as Five
 
General
Kneeling Before Iran
Lehman Brothers Collapse Delays the Launch of Sharia Hedge Funds
Naser Khader: Religion and Freedom of Expression in the Human Rights Council
Political Views ‘All in the Mind’

Thanks to Abu Elvis, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Henrik, Holger Danske, Insubria, JD, JEH, Natalie, Paul Green, RRW, Steen, TB, The Observer, VH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
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USA

American Iftars for Non-Muslims

When Aboud Al-Zaim and his family break the dawn-to-dusk fast next weekend they won’t be alone. The table will feature non-Muslim families of their Massachusetts town invited to a yearly communal iftar.

“We made a commitment to stay as active as we can in the community, and particularly to sponsor this Ramadan dinner,” Aboud, a construction engineer from the small town of Duxbury, told Boston Globe on Thursday, September 18.

Aboud and his Christian wife Lisa are two of the organizers of the Ramadan Celebration Dinner, a six-year tradition in Duxbury.

The public iftar is sponsored every year by the Muslim Families of Duxbury to share the meaning of the holy month with non-Muslim neighbors and friends.

Members of the town’s Interfaith Council also help out.

Like every year, the iftar is free of charge for any one who wishes to attend.

Lisa, married to Aboud for 18 years, and her two daughters will help prepare food and set up the tables in the town’s senior center on the day of the iftar.

Food preparation is presided over by Razia Jan, an Afghan native and an effortless community volunteer.

Aboud says that since the first Ramadan dinner, the event has been met with enthusiasm and welcome from the Duxbury non-Muslim community.

Last year, it was attended by about 100 residents of the small town.

“Every year we had just tremendous support from the community and it took on a life of its own.”

9/11 Veil

Duxbury Muslims started the public iftar tradition shortly after the 9/11 attacks to help lift a veil of suspicion cast over their faith.

“This is the education part,” says Aboud, the father of three who is originally from Syria.

His wife Lisa also believes the public Ramadan dinner helped the town’s Muslim community in the aftermath of 9/11.

“It started with us wanting to help others understand what Ramadan means and desensitize them to the stereotypes of what Muslim families are,” she said.

“We are a tacos and Subway family, too. We are not some kind of aliens who just landed here.”

Muslims in the US, estimated between six to seven million, have become sensitized to the erosion of their civil rights since the 9/11 attacks.

Many Muslims have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes because of their Islamic attires or identities.

The Duxbury public iftar is part of a larger Muslim drive nationwide.

In two other Massachusetts towns, Quincy and Sharon, the local mosques hold iftars that are open to everyone every evening during Ramadan.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has urged Muslims to hold community iftar dinners welcoming non-Muslim neighbors to learn more about Islam.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]


Bush Hosts Dinner for American Muslims

WASHINGTON: President George W Bush told a dinner honouring American Muslims that his administration has partnered with those practising Islam around the world to promote tolerance and spread freedom to millions.

“We reject bigotry in all its forms,” the president said before sitting down for dinner yesterday with about 110 guests in the White House State Dining Room.

During the past eight years, the Bush administration has held an Iftaar dinner, a meal served at the end of the day during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.

Bush sat next to Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Sheik Nasser Al Mohammed Al Sabah, who will return to the White House tomorrow for a meeting in the Oval Office.

This year’s event highlighted American Muslims who have made technological, artistic or innovative contributions to society. Bush singled out Maysam Ghovanloo, an immigrant from Iran who is a bio-medical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is working on an invention to help people with disabilities operate a wheelchair or surf the Internet by moving their tongues.

“Stories like the professor’s remind us that one of the great strengths of our nation is its religious diversity,” Bush said. “Americans practise many different faiths. But we all share a belief in the right to worship freely.”

The guests, including members of Congress, military personnel and members of the US diplomatic corps, sat at nearly a dozen tables, each adorned with four burning tapers and a bowl of flowers. The guests dined on eggplant soup and halibut with a pistachio crust.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]


Congress Tries to Fix What it Broke

The original culprits in all this were the social engineers who compelled banks to make the bad loans. The private sector has no business conducting social experiments on behalf of government. Its business is making profit. Period. So it did what it naturally does and turned the subprime social mandate into a lucrative industry.

Of course, it was a Ponzi scheme, because they weren’t allowed to play by their rules. The government changed the rules for risk.

In order to put low-income minorities into home loans, they were ordered to suspend lending standards that had served the banking industry well for centuries. No one wants to talk about it, so they just scapegoat Wall Street. Even John McCain has joined the Democrat chorus on this.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Educators Learn About Faith, Traditions of Muslim Families

Lincoln Elementary fifth-grade teacher Felicia Campbell knew about some of the customs that set her Muslim students apart from the rest of her class.

They don’t eat pork. They pray five times a day. During the month of Ramadan, some of Campbell’s students also fast during the day, observing an ancient tradition teaching humility, patience and compassion for the poor and the destitute.

But last week, when she attended an educational workshop at the Islamic Society of Frederick, Campbell discovered that the principles behind these Muslim traditions are much more similar to Christianity and Judaism than she had ever imagined.

At the workshop Campbell learned that Muslims, just like Christians, follow commandments teaching them to respect their parents, give to charity, and forbidding them to murder, worship idols and say God’s name in vain.

And she was shocked when she found out that the Qu’ran — the holy book for Muslims — talks about Jesus, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and other Biblical figures from the Old Testament.

“I had no idea we had the same prophets,” Campbell said.

Campbell was one of about 40 teachers from Lincoln and Tuscarora elementary schools, Urbana and Frederick high schools and other public and private schools in Frederick County who attended the workshop on Friday.

[…]

Tuscarora Elementary teacher Eileen Thuman came to the event for the first time this year. She said she appreciated the opportunity.

“What was really neat was seeing how much alike we all are,” she said.

This year, Thuman has two Muslim students in her third-grade class.

One of them invited her to the event. “He was so excited that I was going,” she said.

“Now, I hope it may be easier for him to open up.”

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]


Mass-Mailed DVD on ‘Radical Islam’ Upsets Florida Muslims

The mass mailing of a controversial DVD “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” has sparked anger among South Florida Muslims who say it maligns their faith and fuels hysteria ahead of the fast-approaching presidential vote in the United States.

The hour-long video began turning up in mailboxes last week as a direct mailing, and also as an advertising insert in dozens of newspapers. Promoted by Clarion Fund, a non-profit organisation dedicated to “educating the public about national security threats”, it features scenes of children reciting jihadi slogans, interspersed with footage of Nazi youths.

“I think it’s very irresponsible of the newspapers themselves to disseminate such propaganda,” said Altaf Ali, executive director of the Florida chapter of The Council on American-Islamic Relations. “It’s fuelling hysteria.” Ali said the video began circulating more than a year ago, and he questioned the timing of the mass distribution just weeks before the November 4 presidential election…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]


Multi-Cultural and Religious Hell for Swift & Co.’s Meat Packing Plant

Last night…the decision had been made at the Swift & Co meatpacking plant in Grand Island. The Somalis won when managers decided to give in to their demands for shift changes during Ramadan.

But, now all the other workers of all cultures and nationalities have walked out in protest, just as they had in Greeley, CO nearly two weeks ago. (Hat tip: Blulitespecial)

A compromise reached to accommodate prayer for about 500 Somalian meatpacking plant workers in Grand Island led to a counter protest of even more workers at the JBS Swift & Co. plant Wednesday.

Workers including Caucasians, Hispanics, Vietnamese, and African-Americans walked out after clocking in on the B shift shortly after 3 p.m. [A commenter to this news story says that the Sudanese were not with the Somalis, but with this group of counter-demonstrators]

The objection — a change in the break schedule that leaves B shift workers shorted of hours Monday through Friday and forces them to work Saturday to earn at least 40 hours of pay.

“The Somalians say they can only work three hours after sunset, so we’re supposed to work 7.3 hours a day Monday through Friday,” said Naomi Jakubowski. “We’re supposed to come in and make up the time on Saturday or be shorted at just 36 hours.”

“I don’t want to sacrifice my Saturdays with my kids — and I can’t raise ‘em on 36 hours of pay,” she said. “I’ve got rent, food and diapers to buy.”

           — Hat tip: RRW[Return to headlines]


Oldest Voter Abroad Backs McCain

If you want a sense of how elderly Jewish Americans are likely to vote this November, speak to the residents of Jerusalem’s Ramat Tamir retirement community. Nestled in the city’s northern hills is a collection of Jewish seniors in neat, well-maintained apartments, where most of the ambient conversational buzz is in English and American-accented Hebrew. Its American residents are people who seemingly could just as easily have retired to Florida.

One of the residents, 105-year-old Miriam Pollak, is believed to be the oldest American voter living abroad. With five generations of descendants, she “stopped counting” how many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren she has. She is surprisingly engaged and aware, and even tech-savvy: She spends significant time on-line reading political news from America; she even “Skypes” her children and grandchildren in America daily.

She is a lifelong Democrat and votes in Del Ray Beach, Florida — and she is voting for John McCain. Barack Obama, she and her family say, is just “too much of a risk.”

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis[Return to headlines]


Saudi Infiltration of Education is Endemic in the U.S.

Sarah Stern, who heads EMET, the Washington, D.C.-based Endowment for Middle East Truth think-tank, says the Saudi Arabians are using their petrodollars to make major inroads into the American educational system, from elementary school and up.

Speaking with Eve Harow on Israel National Radio, Stern said the Saudis are making use of a clause in the little-known Higher Education Law called Title VI to train teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade with an anti-American, anti-Israel bent.

Stern explained that Title VI was legislated in 1958, “in the midst of the Cold War, when it was felt that American youngsters did not know enough to deal with the Communist threat or to be succesful in the global market. So they set aside a pot of money, which has now grown to something like $120 million of taxpayers’ money, to fund college campus programs for regional studies, such as African studies, Asian studies, Middle Eastern studies, etc. That was fine, but in 1978, Edward Said of Columbia University wrote his simplistic and lies-filled book Orientialism, which stated that only people from a given region can talk or write about that region. And that became the prevailing dominant trend of thought in academic circles. So that if you go into a Middle Eastern studies program as a Jew or Zionist, it is almost impossible to go through it without being constantly pounded with anti-Israel rhetoric.”

But there’s even more, Stern says: “The law says you have to have teacher training seminars on campuses, and these have a radical anti-American bent. There is a place in New Mexico called Dar el Islam, a giant 1,300-acre complex that has a mosque, a medrassah [Islamic theological school], a summer camp, a teacher training workshop, and a publishing house that publishes some of the most virulent translations of the Quran, as well as the materials for their teacher-training that are used all over the country — and all stamped with the fancy blue-green-white star emblem of ARAMCO, the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia. They are very very stealth — I call this the ‘soft jihad’ against America.” …

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]


The Book-Banners Hollywood Ignores

Have you ever heard Hollywood liberals talk about suspected Islamic jihadists the way they talk about suspected Republican “book-banners”? The September 11 terrorist attacks didn’t turn celebrity leftists into hawks. But the minute they started reading false rumors about Sarah Palin restricting unfettered access to “Daddy’s Roommate” and “Heather Has Two Mommies” in her hometown library, Tinseltown’s docile doves became militant warmongers.

Actor Matt Damon, parroting left-wing Internet lies about Sarah Palin censoring novels while mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, took a defiant stand against the “terrifying possibility” of a McCain-Palin victory. “We can’t have” book-banning, he inveighed.

And now we know what keeps feminist playwrights like Eve Ensler (“The Vagina Monologues”) awake at night. Not Iranian nuclear ambitions or al Qaeda beheading videos. She is haunted by nightmares of Bible-thumping, book-burning Sarah Palin. A McCain/Palin ticket “is one of the most dangerous choices” of her lifetime, Ensler seethed in her viral call-to-arms e-mail, because “Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking,” The evidence:From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference.”

Classic projection. Damon, Ensler and the anti-censorship crusaders are the unthinking ones who can’t tolerate independence, ambiguity and difference. The rumormongers continue to spread a bogus banned book list attributed to Palin that includes books not even published at the time she served as mayor. No city records corroborate Internet reports that she tried to keep anti-homosexual books, as gay lobbying organizations have claimed, or any other books off government-funded library shelves available to children…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]


US Department of State: Daily Press Briefing, 17 September 2008 (About Yemen Attack)

MR. MCCORMACK: Good morning, everybody. I want to start off with a brief statement and then I’ll have some information for you as well regarding the attack on our Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen this morning.

This is a vicious attempt to try to breach the security of our Embassy in Sana’a. Fortunately, it did not succeed. The Embassy security upgrades that we have been putting in place over the past seven, eight years were, during this attack, effective in stopping the attack, along with the response of the Yemeni forces as well as the response of our American Embassy personnel.

Sadly, there was a loss of life. There — at current count, there is one U.S. Embassy guard, a Foreign Service National, a Yemeni national, who was killed during the attack. Several Yemeni security forces — personnel were killed in the attack. I don’t have an exact accounting for you at this point. And then, of course, some of the terrorist attackers were killed in the attack. I don’t have an exact count for you at this point of those numbers.

The attack occurred early morning hours, Washington time, probably about 3 o’clock in the morning. Staff — the initial reports of the attack — filtered back here to Washington. The Secretary was informed first thing this morning as soon as we had details. She spoke with our Ambassador in Sana’a, Ambassador Stephen Seche, probably about a quarter to 7:00 this morning to get an update on the Embassy, the security situation there.

At the moment, the Embassy is closed. Consular services until further notice will be closed, although we are reaching out to the American community in Yemen. We have issued two Warden Messages, one giving an update on the security situation and the second just a reminder regarding personal security and to maintain vigilance during this period of time. We are encouraging all American citizens in Sana’a and in Yemen to register with the Embassy if they have not yet done that. And that is — that is in terms of — in terms of the updates I have for you, about it.

I do have a — why don’t we go ahead and bring up the overhead. What I’m going to do is I’m just going to — if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to step away from the podium for a second. I’ll give you an idea of where the attack occurred.

We understand that there were two vehicle-borne bombs that were part of this attack. It was a sophisticated attack involving vehicle devices as well as personnel on foot. The first vehicle bomb exploded in this area right around the guard post. This is the main entrance right here. This is the chancery building here. So this is the main entrance. These are some — almost like Jersey barriers that were put in place as part of the upgrades. So we do — so the first vehicle exploded about here. Several minutes later, and we observed on videotape a vehicle going back and forth through these areas. It finally exploded in this area, which is very near a pedestrian entrance to the Embassy. In between the first and the second explosions, we observed attackers on foot taking positions in this area. And it’s our initial assessment that the attackers intended to try to breach the wall in this area and then have the attackers go on foot through this breach in the wall.

They didn’t succeed in this case, and it’s a testament, again, to the kind of security upgrades that we have put in place. It’s a testament to the vigilance and the response of the security personnel around the Embassy at that point in time. And we are looking at what further security steps we might take in the coming days to make sure the Embassy is protected.

And with that, I’ll take your questions.

QUESTION: To go back to when you said the attack — the attackers tried to breach where? Where is that again?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, let me show you. I’ll show you two -

QUESTION: Sorry, I wasn’t clear.

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure, sure. I’ll show you — just to recap, this is the main entrance here. This is the main entrance to the Embassy. The first vehicle explosion was in this area right around the guard post. This is a guard post right here. The second explosion took place in this area. Right in this area there’s a pedestrian entrance to the Embassy and you can see the perimeter of the Embassy here. We’ll also provide this to you digitally if you don’t have your own -

QUESTION: Thank you, thank you.

MR. MCCORMACK: — resources as well.

QUESTION: I have a — you want to ask about the specific attack; I have a question about Yemen.

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: I have an attack question and then -

QUESTION: Go ahead.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. MCCORMACK: All right.

QUESTION: What about U.S. Embassy staff? Have most of them — are most of them being evacuated?

MR. MCCORMACK: Ah, yes. They — first, let me — a very important fact that I didn’t give to you at the top. All American Embassy personnel, American personnel are safe and accounted for. They were, during the attack, or immediately after the attack, they were in lockdown in the chancery building which I pointed out to you.

QUESTION: And what about responsibility for the attack? Who are you looking at?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, there’s a group that has claimed responsibility and we’re looking into it. We’re following up some suspicions that we have about this particular group. I would — I think it’s safe to say after talking to the security personnel, that this — the attack bears all the hallmarks of an al-Qaida attack, where you have multiple vehicle-borne devices along with personnel on foot, seemingly in an attempt to try to breach the perimeter and actually get inside, get inside the perimeter and, again, try to inflict further damage and inflict loss of life.

QUESTION: So, then you’re saying you have suspicions about the group that claimed responsibility? You’re saying it looks more like al-Qaida than anyone else?

MR. MCCORMACK: I’m not going to make any definitive judgments at this point, just because talking to security personnel, they haven’t given me any definitive judgments. But in talking to them this morning about this attack, they said it is fair to say that this attack in Sana’a bears all the hallmarks of an al-Qaida attack, the kinds of attacks we’ve seen in the past.

QUESTION: So as far as you’re concerned, it’s not this Islamic Jihad group?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, again, the reason — one of the reasons why I hesitate here is the world of these terrorist groups and their specific associations and linkages are rather murky. Sometimes you have — I guess one way to put it is, you know, subcontractors or front groups for al-Qaida. They might use different names. And at this point, I’m not prepared to draw some exact linkages for you. But again, if you look at the facts on the ground, it does bear a lot of the — it looks a lot like what we have seen in the past from al-Qaida.

QUESTION: So just to be absolutely clear on this, you’re not officially blaming al-Qaida -

MR. MCCORMACK: No.

QUESTION: — but you’ve said similar to the kind -

MR. MCCORMACK: All the hallmarks of -

QUESTION: Because it’s more sophisticated, it has the hallmarks of them? And that this other group could be a subcontracted -

MR. MCCORMACK: It could be — it could have some relationship to al-Qaida. Again, I’m not, at this point, prepared to say that just because our security people aren’t prepared to say that. But it was a sophisticated attack. It was — you had multiple vehicle-borne explosives. You had personnel on foot who were armed. And you know, again, it’s just looking at a — the initial reports and the initial facts, it would appear that there was an attempt to breach the wall so that these terrorists could enter the compound and, again, inflict further damage and harm.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) First of all, there’s been a lot of -

QUESTION: Can I stay on the attack quickly?

QUESTION: Yeah. I mean, it’s a concern that we’re talking about who is responsible for the attack, and there’s been a lot of concern lately — is there something wrong with the audio — with U.S. officials talking about al-Qaida and the Maghreb and the fact that they could be reconstituting in Yemen. There’s been — you know, in your recent — in your last terrorism report, there was concern about the mixed counterterrorism efforts by the Yemenis. And there’s been a lot of tension in the relationship with Yemen over the last, let’s say, year to year and a half about Yemen’s counterterrorism efforts.

Do you think that Yemen could have done more to prevent terrorists, kind of, you know, constituting in Yemen, which could have prevented an attack against U.S. interests?

MR. MCCORMACK: Look, as we’ve said many times before, they have to be right once; we have to be right every single day.

In terms of Yemen and the Maghreb, you know, not, again, to draw any particular linkages between the two, but they’re ongoing problems. There’s an ongoing issue with al-Qaida violent extremists in the Maghreb, in the upper Saharan region. There has been an ongoing problem with violent extremists and terrorists in Yemen. The Yemeni Government is aware of the problem. We work very closely with them. They’ve made a great deal of progress. As a matter of fact, Secretary Rice just this morning spoke with President Saleh of Yemen. And you know, we want to underscore with the Yemeni Government that it is critically important to work with them on issues of counterterrorism.

The threat from violent extremists is also one potentially that could be directed at the Yemeni Government, so they fully comprehend the seriousness of the issue. Have they done a lot in the past? Yes. Could they do more? Yes, absolutely. We want to work with them to try to build up their capabilities in this regard. You know, I’m not going to try to do, at this point, any forensics about the attack. The Yemeni security forces, once the attack took place, did respond very well. They lost people in the course of this attack. So we’re going to work closely with the government not only on the security of the Embassy and our personnel, but also more widely in fighting terrorism in -

QUESTION: But just one quick follow-up. Are you — is there a serious concern that Yemen is becoming one of the new safe havens and, indeed, a base for al-Qaida operations?…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

“Moroccan Spy is Simply Working at Airport”

THE HAGUE, 18/09/08 — The policeman unmasked as a spy for the Moroccan intelligence service is working at Rotterdam Airport. The airport management saw no reason to refuse him a job.

TV current affairs programme NOVA discovered this week that the man of Moroccan origin, Re Lemhaouli, was unmasked last spring by the Dutch AIVD secret service as a spy for the Moroccan secret service. Although he was sacked, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) decided not to prosecute him. The case has been hushed up by criminal investigation authorities and politicians, according to NOVA.

Lemhaouli was the initiator of Project Maxima, named after Princess Maxima, which trained 57 Moroccan problem youngsters as ground personnel for Rotterdam Airport. After he got unmasked as a spy and fired from the police corps, he took a job there himself.

“He has been given an office function. But he is not allowed to come on the airside part of the airport,” said spokeswoman Desiree Breedveld yesterday in Algemeen Dagblad. “There is no fundamental objection to allowing him to work here.”

The national police department however announced yesterday that it would after all launch a criminal investigation. This should bring to light more details. NOVA has so far been unable to discover what information Lemhaouli passed on.

Lemhaouli was allowed to sit next to Princess Maxima, the wife of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, during the presentation of the Project Maxima on 1 February. Vice-Premier Andre Rouvoet praised Lemhaouli in a speech.

NOVA suggested that the OM did not prosecute Lemhaouli because this could generate negative media publicity about the ‘multicultural society’. The conservatives (VVD), among other parties, have requested clarification from the government.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Attack Against Jewish Youths in Paris Nothing to Do With Rival Gangs, Says Jewish Leader

PARIS (EJP)—-Richard Prasquier, head of CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish organizations, confirmed to EJP hat one of the suspected assailant in a recent attack on three Jewish teens in Paris’s 19th district is Jewish.

According to police sources, six youths aged from 16 to 23 have been detained for questioning about their involvement in the beating on September 6 of three Jewish teenagers wearing kipas. One of the six was freed but the five others were still being detained Tuesday morning at the police station. Three of them are black.

Prasquier said the fact that one of the suspects is Jewish “complicated” the affair but he is still convinced that the aggression had an anti-Semitic character.

According to the French press agency AFP, police investigators are no more mentioning the anti-Semitic character of the attack, privileging rather “classical tensions” in the 19th district of Paris marked by growing violences between rival gangs.

Prasquier told EJP: “This has nothing to do with gangs. “If you throw a stone at a youth wearing a kipa, it’s anti-Semitic,” he added, noting that the three youths attacked are known as “serious students.”

The attack occurred on the same street where 17-year-old Rudy Haddad was severely beaten in June.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Bikers Deny Negotiations

The Hell’s Angels motorbike group denies it is in negotiations with immigrant gangs

Hells Angels MC Denmark hereby denies rumours in the media regarding upcoming negotiations between HA and certain immigrant gangs,” the group says on its website.

Rumours

Rumours of peace negotiations following the shooting episodes of recent weeks were begun yesterday by a former mediator in the biker wars of the 1990s Thorkild Høyer.

“I can confirm that there are moves to resolve the conflict. I can’t say any more — but that is my impression,” said Lawyer Thorkild Høyer.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


In France, Pope Finds a Nation in Religious ‘Freefall’

When Pope Benedict XVI visited France over the weekend, he encountered “a country facing a freefall in the number of churchgoers despite its deep Christian heritage,” according to this story from Agence France-Presse.

“While Catholicism remains by far France’s number one religion,” AFP reports, “the nation is also home to large Muslim and Jewish communities and has staunchly upheld a 1905 cornerstone law that enshrines the separation of church and state.”

It notes that a magazine survey last year “showed 51 percent of the French consider themselves Catholic, down from 80 percent in the early 1990s. Of those, only 10 percent attend mass regularly …”

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Islam: Referendum on Mosques Unconstitutional, Scialoja

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 17 — “The proposal of consultative referendum on the new mosques is unconstitutional. It contrasts with the principle of equality of all religions before the state and denies the civil rights of the religious communities”. Thus former Ambassador Mario Scialoja, councillor of the Cultural Centre of the Great Mosque of Rome, answered to Minister Ronchi, who yesterday supported the consultative referendum included in a bill of the Northern League. “We cannot place conditions for the construction of worship places of one religion when instead for the temples of other religions, from the Buddhists to the Jehovah Witnesses, there is full freedom”, he continued. It is right to include the worship places in the urban planning, Scialoja remarked, evaluating the adequate distances from churches or the risks of depreciation of the real estate market. “But a referendum only for the mosques is unacceptable. What is needed, excluding the international agreements in force with the Catholic Church, is a law for the worship places of all religions”, he concluded. As regards yesterday’s visit to the Mosque of the Mayor of Rome Alemanno, exponent of the same party as Ronchi, “his initiative was very positive. Also other mayors, like Veltroni, came to the Mosque but Alemanno was the first to do it during Ramadan. When he entered the tent for the dinner which breaks the fasting, organised for the poor people, he was welcomed by a very warm applause”, Scialoja concluded. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy’s Right to Curb Islam With Mosque Law

ROME (Reuters) — Italy’s Northern League, allies of centre-right Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, want to limit the growth of Islam in the centre of world Catholicism by blocking the construction of mosques through strict new regulations.

Muslim immigrants using Italy as a route into Europe already get a foretaste of the mistrust with which many Europeans view their religion, with many projects for mosques and prayer halls already blocked by the opposition of local Italian residents.

But if the anti-immigrant Northern League pushes its bill through parliament — where Berlusconi’s coalition has a strong majority — Italy will soon have a new law effectively blocking the construction of new mosques in much of the country.

Fearing the advent of “Eurabia”, the League has used its control of Berlusconi’s interior ministry since helping him to power to push through tough new laws against illegal immigrants.

It has now turned its attention to the newcomers’ religion, emboldened by polls showing many Italians mistrust Muslims and a third do not want a mosque in their neighborhood.

The Northern League has “made life difficult for the Islamic component (of immigrants in Italy) in every sense and especially with regards to places of worship”, the president of the Islamic Cultural Institute of Milan, Abdel Hamid Sha’ari, told Reuters.

Not just recent or illegal immigrants feel unwelcome, but also established Muslim residents like Jihad Amro, who said: “I have paid taxes for 17 years but I still don’t feel at home.”

“There are still situations where I feel uncomfortable or strange because they (Italians) don’t see me as someone who is integrated,” Amro, a Palestinian, told Reuters TV in Rome.

           — Hat tip: JEH[Return to headlines]


Turkish PM Erdogan Urges EU to be Fair in Accession Talks

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 17 — Turkey’s PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked the EU to be fair against Turkey in accession talks, during a fast breaking dinner hosted yesterday in Ankara in honour of foreign ambassadors in Turkey. Addressing the ambassadors, Erdogan complained about the prolonged process between opening and closing of chapters in membership negotiators with the EU. Referring to the beginning of negotiations with EU and the screening process under 35 chapter headings in 2005, Erdogan said, ‘‘however, the number of chapter headings were fewer before. But before we even entered this process, opening and closing of chapters was not even an issue. Chapters were opened and closed. But now we are struggling for this.’’ Criticizing the EU for complicating the screening process for Turkey, PM Erdogan said this was not a fair approach and added that Turkey expected the EU to adopt the same approach it did with other candidates, stressing that they were not asking for privileges. ‘‘We say: we want you to give us the same rights you granted to others (candidates) before us. If you are seeing us as a burden — then that’s a different story -, then say so. But you should know that Turkey is coming to relieve you off your burden, not to be a cause of burden. You should view Turkey like this,’’ said Erdogan. Erdogan who said negotiations were going on with EU in 7 chapters, expressed his expectancy from the French EU presidency to open two new chapters to negotiations. ‘‘However, we see that the EU is not as fast as Turkey in regards with negotiation chapters,’’ said Erdogan. He said the EU made a habit of opening only two chapters at a time, thus slowing down the process. Erdogan said despite Turkey’s determined attitude in its EU bid, the EU continued to issue dismaying statements and display demoralising attitudes.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


We Are Losing Europe to Islam

by Diana West

With Wall Street convulsing, and the White House race intensifying, the question “Who lost Europe” is on no one’s lips, let alone minds. Indeed, the question begs another: “Is Europe lost?”

The answer to the second question is, “No, not yet.” And losing Europe, I would add, is by no means inevitable. But that doesn’t mean the continent isn’t currently hell-bent to accommodate the dictates of Islamic law, bit by increasingly larger bit. Such a course of accommodation, barring reversal, will only hasten Bernard Lewis’ famous prediction that Europe will be Islamic by century’s end.

And what do I mean by “accommodation”? Well, to take one tiny example, one snowflake in a blizzard of such examples, there are schools in Belgium that not only serve halal food to Muslim and non-Muslim alike (old news), but, according to a recent French magazine report, no longer teach authors deemed offensive to Muslims, including Voltaire and Diderot; the same is increasingly true of Darwin. (Don’t even ask about the Holocaust.)

For a more substantial, indeed, keystone example of accommodation, we can look to England, where, it pains me to write, Sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal system. According to press reports this week, the British government has quietly, cravenly elevated five Sharia courts to the level of tribunal hearings, thus making their rulings legally binding.

It may be difficult to quantify the impact of a Voltaire vacuum on the continent, but we can instantly see the inequities of British Sharia (I can’t believe I’m writing that phrase). Among the first official verdicts were those upholding the Islamic belief in male supremacy. These included an inheritance decision in which male heirs received twice as much as female; and several cases of domestic violence in which husbands were acquitted and wives’ charges were dropped.

In a decidedly minuscule minority, I say we ignore the spread of Islamic law across Europe, from the schoolroom to the courtroom, at our peril, particularly given that in so doing, we also ignore the vital political parties that have arisen in reaction to this threat to Western civilization. Why at our peril? Because the same type of liberty-shrinking, Sharia-driven accommodation is happening here.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Islam: Al-Azhar Only Authority for Fatwa, Egypt’s Mufti

(by Luciana Borsatti) (ANSAmed) — CAIRO, SEPTEMBER 17 — “Science” and “knowledge” are essential to pronouncing ‘fatwa’, the religious edicts laid down by experts in Islamic law and theology, and the academy for Islamic research al-Azhar is the only official authority entitled to doing it, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa pointed out, addressing the participants in the Islamic Intellectual Forum organised by the supreme council for religious affairs and held on a daily basis in Cairo’s Al Hussein Mosque, in the month of Ramadan. A pronouncement, the one of the al-Azhar high religious authority — headed by Grand Imam Sheikh Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi — which is within the effort of the secular Sunni institution to reassert itself as the highest and only theological authority in the “disorderly” multiplying of fatwa in an Islamic world influenced by fundamentalist movements. But also within the competition among the different states trying to assert themselves as religious leaders in the Islamic world, Muslim theologian and professor at Pontifical Gregorian University Adnane Mokrani noted. From Morocco, whose King is also ‘Prince of the believers’, to Saudi Arabia, guardian of the holy places, from Libya to Shiite Iran, he illustrated. Rivalry in which an important role plays politics, which acts also in the dialectic between what Mokrani defines as “the two souls of al-Azhar, the first close to the government, the other which acts, with the front of the ulema, as informal internal opposition,” and is trying to come more in tune with the people, he added. Being an independent traditional institution also on economic level, al-Azhar too in fact has got to know, with the formation of the modern states in the post-colonial Arab world, “the nationalisation and modernisation” desired by the state authorities, the Tunisian theologian noted. “Al-Azhar is part of the state and those who work in it are its employees,” he emphasized. Hence “the great challenge” for al-Azhar to “regain credibility”, he concluded, with a varying attitude between the expectations of the state and the believers, ending up to be short of “homogeneity and coherence” in the pronouncements. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Islamic or Western Weekend? Arab World at Crossroads

(by Laura De Santi) (ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, SEPTEMBER 17 — To follow the requirements of a globalised market or to defend the social and religious habits rooted for over 30 years? To adapt to the world economy by introducing the universal weekend, Saturdays-Sundays, or to respect the precepts of Islam, according to which Friday is a day of rest and prayer? The controversy sparks again in Algeria where, after the Indian steel giant Arcelor Mittal, also the workers of Algerian company Nouvelle Conserverie Algerienne (NCA) will not rest anymore on Thursdays and Fridays, under the traditional “Islamic weekend”, but on Fridays and Saturdays: a “mixed weekend” which tries to conciliate production needs and religious needs by respecting the holy Friday. While Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania adopted the “universal weekend” (Saturdays-Sundays) and other Arab countries like Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Syria and Qatar, chose the conciliatory option, Fridays-Saturdays, the Algerian authorities, despite huge losses and the protests of the entrepreneurs, seem to be unshakable. A choice worth USD 1.0 billion per year, according to the estimates of the International Finance Corporation, which several times exhorted Algeria. The passage to the universal weekend would lead, according to the branch of the World Bank, to a growth of the gross domestic product of the Maghreb country by 3.0% while according to the government, the losses stand at some USD 150 million. “Algeria is one of the few countries to have a working week which is limited to three days, with four days in which the economic activity is suspended”, El Watan wrote today. “We could not continue like that”, Slim Othmani, general manager of NCA, leading company in the market of non-alcoholic drinks, explained, “the majority of the suppliers of raw materials and packaging are foreigners and the employees were often forced to work overtime on Thursdays”. “Isn’t it now the time to put aside ideology and conservative fears and to make room for pragmatism?,” the Algerian daily continued. This is a false problem, the Labour Minister Tayeb Louh answered, following the decision by Mittal Steel, “the untouchable day for weekly rest, recognised by the Algerian law, is Friday. Apart from Friday, the companies can organise themselves as they think best. The law on this matter is flexible and we will not change it”. The western weekend, given up by Algeria in 1976, has been for long requested by the Forum of Company Managers (editor’s note: FCE, the Algerian Confindustria) and by the major Algerian trade union, UGTA (the General Workers Union). In the 90s, the authorities seriously considered the possibility of a change but mainly for political reasons: to fight the Islamic radical movements. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Fundamentalist Leader in London Explains the Yemen Attack

The Islamic Jihad group in Yemen has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack on the US Embassy in Sanaa in which 16 Yemeni soldiers and civilians were killed and it threatened to launch more attacks on other embassies, among them those of Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The group had threatened in a previous statement the day before yesterday to launch a series of attacks if the Yemeni Government did not respond and release several of its jailed members. The Islamic Jihad in Yemen said in its statement “we in the Islamic Jihad in Yemen organization claim responsibility for the suicide operation” against the US Embassy in Sanaa. The fundamentalist group called on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to release a number of its jailed members.

A fundamentalist leader in London told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Islamic Jihad in Yemen organization is the remnant of the “Islamic Aden-Abyan Army” which was led at that time by Zayn alAbidin Abu-Bakr al-Mihdar, alias Abi al-Hasan, who was executed for killing foreign tourists at the end of 1998, among them British and Australians.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]


Iran: MP Warns Italy Over Its Foreign Policy

Tehran, 17 Sept. (AKI) — An Iranian MP has warned Italy that political and economic relations may suffer after remarks made by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and visits to Italy by a leading Iranian dissident.

“If you continue down this path, you will pay a very high price, as we will be forced to reassess our political and economic relations with Italy,” said Sarvari, member of the national security and foreign commission of Tehran’s parliament.

“These acts will have consequences and the price Italy will pay for this imprudence will not be low. Italy will have to evaluate very well the decision to receive members of this terrorist organisation that are currently in Iraq,” said Sarvari.

Tehran reportedly did not like the speech made on Tuesday by Berlusconi in Paris while receiving a prize by the Franco-Jewish group Keren Hayesod, during which he indirectly compared Adolf Hitler, to Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But Sarvari’s remarks referred in particular to a recent visit by Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the National Resistance Council of Iran, the political arm of the armed opposition People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran.

Rajavi visited Italy in mid-July to lobby for the PMOI to be removed from a European Union list of terrorist organisations.

The Iranian dissident was invited by Italian MPs to address the Parliament.

“Italy is risking its presence in Iran. It has begun a dangerous game, which it has no possibility of winning,” an aide to Iran’s foreign minister spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi told Adnkronos International (AKI).

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


Lebanon: Suleiman Calls to Benefit From Hezbollah Experience

(by Ziad Talhouk) (ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, SEPTEMBER 16 — Lebanese President Michel Suleiman called today on rival political leaders to agree on a “defense strategy” that benefits from the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, as violence claimed the lives of four persons in the past 24 hours. Suleiman inaugurated at the presidential palace the first session of the “national dialogue” between the 14 top political leaders from the pro-Western March 14 coalition and the alliance led by Hezbollah, which is also backed by Syria. “I am confident that we can set a defense strategy based on our armed forces and which benefits from the potentials and capabilities of the resistance,” said Suleiman, stressing that “Israel remains the major source of danger to us.” March 14 wants Hezbollah guerrillas to join the army. The Shiite group says it is an anti-Israeli “resistance” who is ready to “coordinate” with the army. At the end of the meeting, the conferees agreed that the issue of Hezbollah’s arms will top the second round of talks on November 5. A previous session of “national dialogue” dedicated to the “defense strategy” was interrupted by the Hezbollah-Israel war in 2006. The group’s local foes blamed it for provoking the devastating Israeli offensive. Hezbollah has since then replenished its arsenal and Israel has recently threatened another attack on Lebanon where, last May, Hezbollah and its Lebanese rivals were locked in street battles that ended by a Qatari mediation. Tension prevailed, however. As the leaders were meting today, tens of angry people briefly blocked the Beirut-Damascus highway in the eastern Bekaa valley, where a Sunni man was killed Monday night in Taalbaya village -a scene for Sunni-Shiite confrontations earlier this year. Three other people were killed yesterday in clashes between the fundamentalist Jund al-Sham (Soldiers of the Levant) and Fatah movement in Ain el-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon. In his inaugural speech, Suleiman warned that the inter-Lebanese talks “are surrounded by dangers,” recalling the killing last week of a Druze politician -the latest victim of a spate of political assassinations that rocked Lebanon since 2005. (ANSAmed) YK9

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Official: One American Killed in Yemen Embassy Attack

An American woman named Susan Elbaneh was killed in the terror attack at the U.S. Embassy in Sanna, Yemen, the State Department confirmed Thursday.

Both Elbaneh and her Yemeni husband were killed in the attack, the Associated Press quoted an unidentified official as reporting.

Earlier on Wednesday, an attack outside U.S. embassy in Yemen resulted in the killing of six assailants, six soldiers and four civilians. No American personnel in the embassy were killed and injured, according to Wednesday reports.

A radical group calling itself the Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack.

Recent years have witnessed a string of terror attacks by Islamic militants in Yemen where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was reportedly born.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]


Turkey: Ergenekon Case, Retired General Suffers From Cerebral Hemorrhage

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 17 — A retired Turkish general suffered from cerebral hemorrhage, doctors said on Wednesday, as Anatolia agency reports. Retired general Sener Eruygur was hospitalized in the northwestern province of Kocaeli after he immediately felt sick at the maximum-security prison in the Kandira town of this province. Doctors at the Kocaeli University’s Faculty of Medicine hospital said that Eruygur felt down, hit his head and was suffering from cerebral hemorrhage. Eruygur was in the prison within the scope of the ‘Ergenekon’ investigation. An alleged criminal network that came to be known as ‘Ergenekon’ was revealed after police seized hand grenades, TNT explosives and fuses in a shanty house in Istanbul on June 12th, 2007. Several Turkish figures, including retired senior army officers, were detained and sent to prison within the scope of the investigation. At the beginning of July, Sener Eruygur, who is also the chairman of the Kemalist Thought Association, was arrested together with another retired general Hursit Tolon. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Turkey: 15 Arrested in Subversive Group Ergenekon Inquiry

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 18 — A total of fifteen people, including a famous Turkish actress and four soldiers, were arrested today in Ankara, Istanbul and other Turkish cities in the framework of the inquiry launched at the end of January by the Turkish bench into a subversive organisation called Ergenekon and considered responsible for the activities aimed at overthrowing the government led by party of Islamic origin Justice and Development (AKP), the Turkish agencies reported. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Yemen Has Rounded Up Thirty Suspects in Embassy Bombing.

Ties to Al-Qaeda

Yemeni police have arrested at least 30 people with suspected links to Al-Qaeda in relation to the deadly blast outside the US Embassy in the capital, Sanaa, on Wednesday.

Two suicide car bombs set off a series of explosions outside the heavily fortified US embassy, killing 16 people, including four civilians. The victims were all Yemeni, except for a 26-year old Indian nurse.

No US citizens were killed in the attack. The US State Department on Wednesday condemned the bombings saying they bore “all the hallmarks” of an Al-Qaeda attack.

A group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Yemen has claimed responsibility and threatened attacks on other embassies including those of Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, unless Yemen frees several jailed members of the group.

Islamic Jihad in Yemen has no connection with the Palestinian group with a similar name.

An Al-Qaeda affiliated group claimed responsibility in March for a mortar attack that missed the same US embassy but wounded 13 girls at a nearby school.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]

Russia

Russia Must Set Borders in Oil-Rich Arctic

Russia must formally set its borders in the oil-rich Arctic region in the near future, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday amid an international race for the region’s reserves.

“We must wrap up all the formalities for drawing the external border in the continental shelf. This is our direct responsibility to future generations,” Medvedev said at a Kremlin meeting of his national security council.

“The Arctic region has a strategic importance,” he said

The secretary of Russia’s national security council, Nikolai Patrushev, told journalists after the meeting that Russia was not alone in staking a claim to the Arctic. “We must defend our interests in the Arctic, but we understand that the Arctic states — Canada, Norway, Denmark and the United States — will also defend their interests,” Patrushev said.

Patrushev added that Russia should control the Northern Sea Route, a passage that stretches from Asia to Europe across northern Russia that is expected to become safer and less ice-bound with global warming.

“The Northern Sea Route is very important…. We should control all of it, while understanding that international shipping will use it and they should feel at ease,” he said. Russian scientists last year planted a flag on the ocean floor beneath the North Pole in a symbolic bid to stake a claim over the region. […]

The US Geological Survey believes that the Arctic region contains 90 billion untapped barrels of oil.

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

South Asia

American Aggression on Pakistan

For some time now, speculations were rife that America and NATO may cross over into Pakistan border in the North and launch military forays against our tribals under the pretext of war on terrorism. One had hoped the Americans will not be so careless of international law and norms by violating Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty which is the most blatant hostile act. It makes such an aggressor an enemy. Pakistanis were living under the impression that one cannot be an ‘ally’ and also an enemy. But regrettably this has happened.

This makes it necessary to re-examine our relationship with US in its new role as an attacker of our country. This makes us ask the question can we collaborate in a war with a party which treats our country as an enemy” and describes our country as the new “battle ground”. The question arises which is America’s real face? Enemy or all, are we being deceived by US duplicity?

First let us examine whether there is any truth in their accusations that (a) Taliban on our tribal areas are a great menace to Afghanistan’s security (b) Tribal areas have become great sanctuaries of terrorists and there are ‘training ground’ against Afghanistan; and (c) Pakistan has been unsuccessful in eliminating the Taliban terrorism and now US should take action against the tribal Taliban directly.

In examining these accusations, one may ask what is the strength of the Taliban in our FATA? US has never mentioned what is their number? But its propaganda has spoken of the Taliban as if they are something like Hitler’s forces were. A huge horde now the scantily populated FATA area cannot have such a force. At most Taliban can be no more than a couple of thousand, not even hundred thousand, judging from the exodus of civil population from FATA when the military action was taken by our forces. This indicated that the civil population was dissociating from Taliban. Purposely US has never mentioned the number of Taliban in Pakistan. What kind of a ‘force’ the Taliban are or can be? Only guerrillas with no artillery, tanks, long range missiles, guidance system, and the rest. In the absence of these facilities the maximum foray the Taliban can make inside Afghanistan in a hit-an-run action of a limited nature, say five miles. As any military expert would see, they are not any where equal to ISAF or NATO forces in weapon, training, equipment, logistic support, communication as the ISAF or NATO forces. A local has several advantages over an army of occupation. This is where the Taliban have advantage as did the Viet Namese.

The Taliban reaction is in fact mainly a reaction of the Pakhtuns to foreign occupation of Afghanistan. The roots of Taliban activity on both sides of the border is in the foreign occupation. It is not only Europeans who resent foreign occupation like they did in the shape of French Resistance. Any political scientists or diplomat knows this fact. The real root of resistance in Afghanistan is not in FATA, but in Afghanistan, as the British who had long experience of this fact during their Empire in this region knew. The problem is not as simple as US makes it.

However, the US or NATO before they accuse Pakistan of not doing more should realize that the fire power of their forces and the logistic support they have is not less than ten times greater than that of a Pakistani soldier, because of the money and latest weapons their soldier has, and yet it is a matter of every day report in the press that they have achieved no success in Afghanistan. They are where they were quite some time ago. How can a failed force claim that it will succeed in FATA or WANA or any where in our tribal area far more than our soldiers did. It is a claim that is based on an unjustified arrogance of power contradicted by the miserable record of US/NATO forces of Occupation in Afghanistan despite installing a puppet Karzai Government in Kabul…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]


Banned Separatist Flag Raised Near Papua Blast Site: State Media

Protesters in Indonesia’s remote Papua region raised a banned separatist flag on Wednesday, state media reported, days after a series of explosions near the facilities of US mining giant Freeport.

The flag was raised for several minutes in a public square in Timika town but was taken down before police arrived, state Antara news agency reported.

There were no arrests.

Separatist symbols are strongly repressed in Indonesia, with those found guilty of displaying them facing up to life in prison.

Police have suggested a link between two explosions in three days near Freeport facilities. The latest explosion, on Sunday night, destroyed the door of a power plant about one kilometre (0.60 miles) from the airport in Timika.

Police on Friday said they had found two old mortar rounds, one already exploded, on Freeport’s massive property. They said they also found a hot plate suspected to have been used to heat up the rounds.

Neither explosion caused any injuries.

The commander of the West Papua National Liberation Army, Kelly Kwalik, in a statement called for the closure of Freeport’s gold and copper mine.

Critics accuse Freeport of not giving enough to the people of Papua in return for running the mine. They allege the mine causes pollution and that military protection of the site leads to human rights abuses.

The firm has disputed the claims. Freeport Indonesia is majority owned by US-based Freeport McMoRan.

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


For Indonesian Church Anti-Pornography Bill Threatens National Unity

Laity and Justice and Peace Commissions come out against the proposed legislation because it favours divisions and ethnic conflicts. Proposed law stems from an attempt to introduce Sharia and turn the country into another Saudi Arabia. The bill is opposed by the country’s middle class and cultural elite.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — The Indonesian Catholic Church is against a proposed ‘Anti-pornography and Anti-porno Actions’ bill (known in Bahasa Indonesia as Rancangan Undang-Undang Anti Pornografi dan Pornoaksi or RUU-APP) currently under consideration by Indonesia’s parliament which should vote on it this coming 23 September.

In a statement issued by the Laity and the Justice and Peace Commissions of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (KWI), the country’s bishops “have firmly condemned any attempt to adopt this bill in parliament.”

For many people in Indonesia’s cultural, religious and artistic milieus, under the pretence of regulating personal morality and sexually explicit programmes and publications, the proposed legislation on pornography would end up “destroying national unity” and wipe out “cultural and religious differences” as well as impose Sharia or Islamic law across the country.

The communiqué signed by the Laity Commission Secretary General Fr John Edy Purwanto and Justice and Peace Commission Secretary General Fr Edy Sanasi OSC expressed “deep concern” over the bill, stressing the challenge the nation is undergoing at a time when it is called to take decisive steps on “the path towards democracy.”

“Social disintegration and sectarian violence, which the anti-pornography bill favours, are in contradiction with the concept of democracy,” the press release said, adding that “the bill is far from the spirit that inspired those who wrote the constitution, which favour pluralism and minority protection everywhere in the country.”

For the two clergymen any attempt to approve the bill must be stopped. At the same time “an in-depth debate” must be carried out so that its controversial points can be looked at from “different points of views.”

The bill has come under fire from the country’s intelligentsia for whom the attempt to have the bill adopted during Ramadan is in itself “an act of pure pornography” since the public’s attention is on something else.

“Let us have people discuss the issue openly so as to reach a better solution,” said Prof Franz Magnis Suseno SJ, a man religious who teaches ethics and philosophy.

The issue is “complex and delicate” and should not be decided in statements that predetermine when and how the bill is to be approved, especially when the latter are decided without public input and in secreto.”

Lastly the ethics and philosophy professor slammed a comment made by a representative of the hard-line Islamic Prosperity and Justice Party, who said that the porn bill would be “a gift for all Indonesians during the holy month of Ramadan.”

On the contrary, for Professor Suseno such a gift is sheer hypocrisy and a “potential threat to stability.”

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


Google, Microsoft Pull Sex Ads After India Legal Threat

Internet giants Google and Microsoft have pulled adverts for sex selection products and other services considered illegal in India after being threatened with legal action, activists said Thursday.

India’s Supreme Court had last month asked the two companies plus Yahoo to respond to a complaint that they were illegally advertising do-it-yourself kits and expensive genetic techniques to find out an unborn baby’s gender.

Activists said the products — which have not been scientifically proven to be accurate or safe — damage efforts to stem mass abortions of girls because of a traditional preference for boys in India.

“Sponsored links in Google have come down considerably. They have disappeared from Microsoft India search,” activist Sabu George, who filed the petition, told AFP.

A random search for “gender selection” on Yahoo, however, produces links to resources and clinics offering to help people choose the gender of their child. […]

There are 927 females for every 1,000 males in India compared to the worldwide average of 1,050 females. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says India loses 7,000 girls daily through abortion. […]

India — the world’s second most populous country — has the highest number of births, with 27 million children born every year, making it a lucrative market for gender selection products.

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Indonesia: Rights Groups Call for an End to Child Slavery in Malaysia

Jakarta, 18 Sept. (AKI) — Humans rights organisations have denounced the alleged enslavement and exploitation of thousands of Indonesian children employed on palm plantations in neighbouring Malaysia.

“Both Indonesia and Malaysia have ratified the convention against slavery, and both have not acted, allowing children to be enslaved in a systematic manner,” said Arist Merdeka Sirait, secretary general of the Indonesian National Commission on Child Protection (KNPA) in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).

“We now demand that Jakarta use its diplomatic channels to put an end to this scandal,” said Sirait.

The Forum of Non-Permanent Teachers recently reported alleged child exploitation in the Malaysian plantation hub in Sabah to the National Commission on Child Protection.

Wahyu Susilo, representative of non-governmental organisation Migrant Care Indonesia said that the problem of child slavery is old and that the group had been trying for years to get the Indonesian government to intervene.

“We knew about the problem for many years, but putting pressure on the Indonesian government did not bring any results,” said Susilo.

“Jakarta is guilty for not having done enough. But Malaysia is the main responsible partner because the abuses take place in their territory.”

The KNPA also said that children are forced to work for long hours, in many cases without pay. They are also forced to live in isolated makeshift shacks without running water or electricity.

Many of the children have never been to school and have been subjected to violence and sexual abuse, said the KNPA.

Official data from the Indonesian consulate in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Sabah state in Malaysia, says more than 330,000 Indonesians work in at least 103 palm oil plantations in Malaysia. Almost half of them are illegal workers but it’s not clear how many of them are children.

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


Malaysian Party Quits Coalition, PM Says May Step Down Earlier

Malaysia’s premier, who is facing an opposition bid to seize power, was hit Wednesday with the departure of a party in his coalition, and said he may step down earlier than planned.

The resignation of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), which has two lawmakers in parliament, comes after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said he has signed up enough defectors to topple the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

SAPP president Yong Teck Lee said the party would become independent and was not applying to join Anwar’s three-member Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance, but he launched a withering attack on the government.

“The BN has lost its moral authority to rule,” he said of the coalition that has dominated Malaysian politics since independence from Britain.

“Perhaps, after 50 years of uninterrupted government, some BN leaders have got it in their heads that they have a divine right to rule,” he said, accusing it of mismanaging the economy and abusing security laws to arrest opponents. […]

“He [Abdullah] has become a threat to the economy and national security,” he said in what is a serious allegation in Malaysia, where the government can use draconian internal security laws to detain its opponents without trial. […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Pakistan: Child Hostages Freed in Troubled Northwest

Upper Dir, 18 Sept. (AKI) — Local people in northwest Pakistan on Thursday fought three militants and freed about 300 school students who had been taken hostage earlier in the day.

The residents stormed the primary school building in the Upper Dir district of the North West Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan, where three suicide bombers were holding the children.

According to media reports, the captors engaged in a gun battle before freeing all the captives unhurt.

Two of the militants were reportedly suicide bombers who blew themselves up, while the third fled.

The district is near the Bajaur tribal region and the Swat Valley, both of which have been the scene of much insurgent violence in recent months.

Pakistan’s security forces claim to have killed more than 700 militants in an offensive in the Bajaur tribal region bordering Afghanistan in the past six weeks.

At least 19 gunmen were killed in a battle in the region on Wednesday, according to military sources.

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

Far East

Abu Sayyaf Behind Kidnapping of Volunteers in Mindanao

The two women were kidnapped by local fringe groups of the terrorist organization connected to al Qaeda and active in the southern Philippines. The kidnapping is said to be motivated by money, and not religious reasons. Negotiations are underway for the release of the hostages.

Basilan (AsiaNews) — “We have opened contacts with the kidnappers, but, at the moment, there is no official news about the condition of the two kidnapped volunteers”, says Fr Angel Calvo, head of the Christian-Muslim Interreligious Movement for Solidarity and Peace. Fr Calvo is now following the developments in the kidnapping of Esperancita Hupida and Millet Mendoza.

The Spanish women, who run two different nongovernmental organizations in the area, were kidnapped last Monday by an armed group on the island of Basilan in the southern Philippines, a hotspot for the fundamentalist group Abu Sayyaf, linked to al Qaeda and responsible for killings and kidnappings in the past. “According to initial reconstructions”, Fr Calvo tells AsiaNews, “it appears that the two volunteers were kidnapped by one or two gangs connected to Abu Sayyat; they are local fringe groups that often use kidnappings to earn money in order to finance their struggle”.

Fr Calvo says that the local government and the military have begun negotiations with the kidnappers, but at the moment “there have been no concrete replies to the appeals”. He does not exclude the possibility that the kidnappers could respond “within the next few hours” or at most “within a couple of days”, in order to reach an agreement with government forces and proceed with the liberation of the volunteers.

“The aim of the kidnapping is extortion”, Fr Angel Calvo continues, “and there is no religious or confessional reason behind it”. In his opinion, the women found themselves “in the wrong place at the wrong time”, and they were not even the original kidnapping targets. Since these are two foreign volunteers, from Europe, the kidnappers may have anticipated earning a larger ransom.

The Filipino military marines have stopped patrolling the area, for the sake of reaching a peaceful resolution in instead of forcing the hands of the kidnappers. “We want to guarantee the possibility of peaceful negotiations”, commander Domingo Valdez tells a local newspaper, “and we are hopeful that the victims will be released”. This hope is also shared by Fr Calvo, who says that he is “waiting to find out the real intentions” of the kidnappers within the next few hours. He emphasizes, finally, “the solidarity of the Muslim community”, which “is asking that the sacred month of Ramadan be respected”, and that there not be “further episodes of violence”. Christians and Muslims, together, are asking that the volunteers “be released”, and that the area may enjoy a “full and lasting peace”.

Esperancita Cupida, 42, runs the local branch of the Nagdilaab Foundation, which operates humanitarian programs on behalf of the war-torn local population. Millet Mendoza works for the Tabang Mindanaw association.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

Danish Warship Nabs Pirates

A Danish warship has seized two suspected pirate vessels off the Horn of Africa. 10 detained

The Danish warship Absalon has detained two suspected pirate vessels off the Horn of Africa according to the spokesman for Admiral Danish Fleet Headquarters (SOK).

The two vessels were located by the Absalon’s armed helicopter, which was on patrol when it located the two vessels. SOK reported that a search party from the Absalon boarded the two vessels and found several objects ‘that pirates use when they hijack civilian vessels’.

Identity checks

There were 10 people on board the vessels who the Danish crew is now trying to identify.

“We are attempting to get more information regarding the seizure of the two suspected pirate vessels,” says SOK Press Officer Jesper H. Lynge.

The Absalon is part of the international Task Force 150, which is seeking out pirates along Africa’s eastern coastline.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Immigration

Immigration: Controversy in Catalonia on ‘Special Classes’

(by Paola Del Vecchio) (ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 16 — The beginning of the school year in Catalonia was marked by the controversy on “spaces of educational welcome”, the special classes for immigrants set up by the regional education council. A “pioneer” initiative, according to some associations of teachers and parents, “segregating and racist” in the opinion of the students’ trade union Ajec, the Associations SOS Racism and Mestres Rosa Sensat, according to today’s media reports. In the wake of experiences registered in Canada and Australia, the “spaces of educational welcome” aim at facilitating the reception of the foreign pupils aged between 8 and 18 and their families, setting up differential classes where the new pupils will be temporarily hosted, to learn the basic aspects of the Spanish society and the first notions of Spanish and Catalan languages. For the time being, the first “space of educational welcome” was opened experimentally in the Catalan municipality of Vic, with 21 pupils from eight different nationalities, while the second one will be opened in October in the municipality of Reus. The 21 students of the immigrants’ class have different ages and come from China, Ecuador, Colombia, Nigeria, Poland and Peru. According to the explanation given by the councillor for social action, Joan Lopez, of the left-wing independentist party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, “as of now all the newly arrived in Vic will have the obligation to attend the spaces of educational welcome, including those coming from other places in Catalonia or from the rest of Spain”. In the classes for immigrants, which will be preparatory for the admission of the pupils to ordinary classes, the students will be attended to by an educator, an entertainer, a teacher and a technician of social integration. The envisaged average stay in the spaces of educational welcome is of two weeks, against the initially scheduled two months. Also the families of the foreign pupils will have to take part in the pilot project, by attending integration classes for at least 10 hours. According to Joseph Maria Vila d’Abadal, Vic’s Mayor, the educational spaces are a new tool to prevent the social rejection which immigration is causing in some sectors of the native population. Vic has an immigrant population which in some districts reaches 30% of the total. In total, some 180,000 pupils of kindergartens and schools started yesterday school in Catalonia. Over 13% of them are immigrants, with an increase by 17,000 foreign students compared to last year. A total 85% of immigrant students have enrolled into public schools.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Immigration: Patmos Says ‘Enough With Immigrants’

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 17 — The municipal council of the island of Patmos, in the Dodecanese, has decided that, as of September 20, the island’s port will be closed to immigrants coming from Turkey, in view of the fact that the number of permanent residents on the island has already been exceeded. In fact, on Patmos, which has a population of 3,000 inhabitants, during the current year alone a total of 3,931 people have been transferred from Agathonisi, a small island with 100 inhabitants, which is just 8 kilometres off the Turkish coast. A similar decision was made also by the authorities of Agathonisi, which called upon the Interior Ministry to set up a port authority exactly with the aim of dealing with the problem more efficiently. “We do not intend to accept other illegal immigrants collected from the rocks, where they are abandoned and transferred to the island by the fishermen,” the mayor of Agathonisi told Athens’s daily Kathimerini. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy: Illegal Immigrants Start Riot in Holding Centre

Cagliari, 18 Sept. (AKI) — More than 85 illegal immigrants being held at a temporary reception centre started a riot overnight on Thursday in the city of Elmas near Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia.

Most of the rioters began destroying the building and furnishings in order to prevent an imminent deportation order, media reports said. About 50 police in riot gear and paramilitary Carabinieri police officers arrived at the scene.

Most of the immigrants were of Algerian origin.

There have not been any arrests, but the police headquarters have asked the interior ministry to transfer the illegal immigrants to another temporary holding centre.

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


New Measures Against Illegal Immigration

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) is considering revoking several hundred residence permits and Norwegian citizenships issued to men from Turkey or other nations, who have entered into pro forma marriages.

UDI will also turn down a number of applications for family re-unification for the same reason. The move comes after it was revealed that a number of Turkish men have entered into pro forma marriages with Norwegian women, in order to gain permanent residence in Norway. They were already legally married in Turkey before coming to Norway.

Most of them have since divorced their Norwegian partner, and have applied for for family re-unification with their Turkish wife and their children.

- We are taking these cases very seriously. On the background of false information about family relations, they have been given residence permits in Norway. These permits will now be revoked, says UDI Director Ida Boerresen.

UDI has already been investigating into a number of cases involving immigrants from Turkey and several other countries over the last several months.

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Baroness Warnock: Dementia Sufferers May Have a ‘Duty to Die’

Elderly people suffering from dementia should consider ending their lives because they are a burden on the NHS and their families, according to the influential medical ethics expert Baroness Warnock.

The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are “wasting people’s lives” because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.

She insisted there was “nothing wrong” with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society.

The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be “licensed to put others down” if they are unable to look after themselves.

Her comments in a magazine interview have been condemned as “immoral” and “barbaric”, but also sparked fears that they may find wider support because of her influence on ethical matters.

Lady Warnock, a former headmistress who went on to become Britain’s leading moral philosopher, chaired a landmark Government committee in the 1980s that established the law on fertility treatment and embryo research.

A prominent supporter of euthanasia, she has previously suggested that pensioners who do not want to become a burden on their carers should be helped to die.

Last year the Mental Capacity Act came into effect that gives legal force to “living wills”, so patients can appoint an “attorney” to tell doctors when their hospital food and water should be removed.

But in her latest interview, given to the Church of Scotland’s magazine Life and Work, Lady Warnock goes further by claiming that dementia sufferers should consider ending their lives through euthanasia because of the strain they put on their families and public services.

           — Hat tip: Paul Green[Return to headlines]


Now Schools Introduce a Sex Guide for Your Six-Year-Olds

The first sex education pamphlet for six-year-olds is being marketed to primary schools to encourage teachers to start sex lessons earlier.

The comic, from the former Family Planning Association, includes illustrations of a naked girl and boy and invites youngsters to label the genitals.

The group, now called the fpa, is producing 50,000 copies of Let’s Grow with Nisha and Joe in an initial print run and promoting it to schools across the UK.

The fpa insisted the 12-page comic, designed for use in school and at home by six and seven-year-olds, was a ‘gentle introduction’.

But angry parents condemned it as ‘too much too young’ and warned against robbing children of their innocence.

Margaret Morrissey, of the lobby group Parents Outloud, said she would have gone ‘ballistic’ had her own children brought a copy home.

She said: ‘Giving children explicit names for body parts at this age seems clinical.

‘We are feeding them this information when they still should be playing with dolls and toy cars.

At that age, children are unlikely to have the ability to ask the right questions.

‘We have got to be so careful that we are educating, not confusing or putting fear into their minds.’

Norman Wells, director of Family and Youth Concern, said: ‘Parents already cover such things by word and example in the context of everyday life. Groups like the fpa want to go an awful lot further and be much more explicit.

‘The fpa wants to ride roughshod over the views of parents and force all primary schools to provide sex education, whether parents and teachers like it or not.’

The fpa is urging ministers to use a forthcoming review of sex education to put it on a compulsory footing in primary schools…

[Return to headlines]


Teach ‘the Pleasure of Gay Sex’ to Children as Young as Five

Children as young as five should be taught to understand the pleasures of gay sex, according to leaders of a taxpayer-funded education project.

Heads of the project have set themselves a goal of ‘creating primary classrooms where queer sexualities are affirmed and celebrated’.

The ambition was revealed in documents prepared for the No Outsiders project run by researchers from universities and backed with £600,000 of public money provided by the Economic and Social Research Council.

The stated purpose of the project — which is operating in 14 primary schools — is to stop bullying and prejudice aimed at homosexuals.

However, at a seminar at Exeter University tomorrow, supporters of the group will go beyond the anti-bullying agenda and discuss ‘pleasure and desire in educational contexts’.

A document prepared for the seminar and couched in convoluted academic jargon says: ‘The team is concerned to interrogate the desexualisation of children’s bodies, the negation of pleasure and desire in educational contexts, and the tendency to shy away from discussion of (sexual) bodily activity in No Outsiders project work…

[Return to headlines]

General

Kneeling Before Iran

Foreign Policy: The U.N. is complaining about Tehran keeping inspectors from monitoring the regime’s uranium enrichment program. Sadly, complaining is about the only thing the U.N. will ever do about the situation.

What was it — 17? — resolutions the U.N.’s own Security Council passed against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein before the U.S. acted to rid the world of that deranged and dangerous dictator? It doesn’t look like Iran’s equally deranged president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or the mullahs who pull his strings are going to be any more responsive.

Throughout its enrichment process, Tehran has maintained its atomic program is for peaceful purposes only. But if that were true, why has the regime consistently stonewalled international inspectors? Why has Ahmadinejad said “the Iranian nation could not care less about the (U.N.) sanctions” and that its defiance of U.N. sanctions “has brought all big powers to their knees”?

The big powers haven’t sunk that low as of yet. But the day Iran builds a nuclear weapon, the kneeling will begin. With one atomic bomb, Iran can terrorize and control its neighbors. And even without one, an Iranian general crowed Tuesday, “responsibility for defending the Persian Gulf has been handed over to the naval forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.” Iran’s military, said Rahim Yahya Safavi, is “able to control the Strait of Hormuz.”

Iran has increased the efficiency of its uranium-enriching centrifuge process to 80% from 50% and added several hundred more centrifuges for a new total of 3,800. It has also announced plans to eventually run 54,000 — more than enough not only for nuclear-powered electricity but also to make weapons-grade material.

Considering all this, it didn’t help on Monday when former secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Warren Christopher, Henry Kissinger and (fresh off his anti-surge recommendation) James Baker advised the next president to negotiate with Iran

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Lehman Brothers Collapse Delays the Launch of Sharia Hedge Funds

The collapse of Lehman Brothers has put on hold the launch of a new Shariah-compliant fund of hedge funds.

Amiri Capital has had to shelve plans to launch the Amiri Equity Alternative Strategies fund, for which it had lined up Lehman as prime broker, this summer. But the firm said it will “definitely go ahead” with the launch once a new prime broker is found, but gave no time frame for its debut, Thomson Investment Management News reports.

The Amiri fund’s system was developed in conjunction with Lehman, which had agreed to a system of “promise notes” to get around Islamic law’s ban on short selling.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]


Naser Khader: Religion and Freedom of Expression in the Human Rights Council

Thank you for the opportunity to come here today — thank you to Mr. Roy Brown for initiating this conference.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me start by saying:

World War 3 is here.

It is not the war on terror I am referring to, all though that war has the qualifications to be called a World War with terror acts crossing boarders around the world.

That war is only a fragment on the real World War.

As terrorism the war I am talking about has no physical frontiers.

It is a global war on values and it as been going on for quite some time.

It is a war between Islamism, the ideology and democratic values.

The war has been going on mainly because it is still surprising to the democratic leaders and politicians around the world that it is a war.

Many world leaders still seem to think it’s a debate forum where dialogue is the only tool. But let me underline very strongly that its not.

Dialogue is in many situations an admirable solution.

But let me say, that dialogue has its limits, and in this case we need to understand that dialogue is not used by the Islamists and we will probably get nowhere with it…

           — Hat tip: Henrik[Return to headlines]


Political Views ‘All in the Mind’

Scientists studying voters in the US say our political views may be an integral part of our physical makeup.

Their research, published in the journal Science, indicates that people who are sensitive to fear or threat are likely to support a right wing agenda.

Those who perceived less danger in a series of images and sounds were more inclined to support liberal policies.

The authors believe their findings may help to explain why voters’ minds are so hard to change.

In the study, conducted in Nebraska, 46 volunteers were first asked about their political views on issues ranging from foreign aid and the Iraq war to capital punishment and patriotism.

Those with strong opinions were invited to take part in the second part of the experiment, which involved recording their physiological responses to a series of images and sounds.

The images included pictures of a frightened man with a large spider on his face and an open wound with maggots in it. The subjects were also startled with loud noises on occasion.

Conducting experiments

By measuring the electrical conductance of the volunteers’ skin and their blink responses, the scientists were able to work out the degree of fear they were experiencing — how sensitive they were to the images and sounds. Instead of political opponents thinking the opposite party are being wilfully bull-headed, you can say ‘well ok, they see the world differently than I do’

They found that subjects who were more easily startled tended to have political views that would be classified as more right wing, being more in favour of capital punishment and higher defence spending, but opposed to abortion rights.

           — Hat tip: Natalie[Return to headlines]

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, of 46 volunteers, some were hand-picked by the researchers...not very conclusive, I'd say.

One could draw the opposite conclusion by taking a poll of gun-owners and gun-control advocates. I'd bet people who like to shoot guns are less fearful, yet more right-wing, than people who want to take everyone's guns away.

My imaginary poll is just as scientifically rigorous as cherry-picking a few volunteers from a group of 46. LOL. This gets written up in a research paper?

CzC said...

Children as young as five should be taught to understand the pleasures of gay sex, according to leaders of a taxpayer-funded education project.

This is really perverted.