Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/16/2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/16/2008A woman will lead Muslim prayers in Oxford. The EU bans incandescent bulbs. The FBI launches an investigation of ACORN.

But the story about the subduing of the drunken hijacker on an airliner bound from Turkey to St. Petersburg is my favorite, because of this quote:

“Surprisingly this hooligan was not British,” said an official at Pulkovo. “I understand he was from Uzbekistan where they also like to drink but cannot control themselves so well as Russians.”

Thanks to Abu Elvis, ACT for America, C. Cantoni, Diana West, DJ, El Inglés, Gaia, Insubria, RRW, Srdja Trifkovic, Steen, TB, Transatlantic Conservative, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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USA
Candidate Banners Can Leave Clients, Businesses Bruised
Officials: FBI Investigates Acorn for Voter Fraud
Robert Spencer: Muslim Extremists Want to Invade Europe, U.S.
Somali Conflicts in Meatpacking Towns Make the New York Times
US Fears the Emergence of Shariah Banks
What if McCain Had Been Palling Around With a Terrorist?
 
Canada
Quebec Man Urges Al-Qaeda to Attack Canada
 
Europe and the EU
‘Al-Qaeda’ Terrorists Who Brainwashed Exeter Suicide Bomber Still on the Run
Credit Crunch : Irish Politicians Lead With Pay Cuts
EU Bans Incandescent Light Bulbs
First Woman to Lead Muslim Prayers Angers Traditionalists
Ganley: the Lisbon Treaty is Dead
Haider: the Death of a Populist
Link Between Child Porn and Muslim Terrorists Discovered in Police Raids
Sweden: Activists Break Into Bofors Weapons Plants
Terrorism: Spain, 13 Members of Islamic Group Arrested
UK: Anti-Burglar Device Banned, Safety of Thieves Cited
UK: Muslim Postal Workers Demand 3 Extra Breaks a Day
UK: Teach Children What Muslims Did for Us, Says Minister Jim Knight
 
Israel and the Palestinians
Hebron, Troops Blow Up Palestinian Tunnel
Mideast: Italian Health Project for Palestinian Children
 
Middle East
Acceptable Behaviour in Dubai
Energy: EU Urges Turkey to Get Serious About Nabucco
For Saudi Human Rights Association Death Penalty is Lawful
Kurds and Arabs Exchange Accusations Over Attacks on Christians in Mosul
Lebanon: Government Finances Industries Damaged by 2006 War
UAE: Beach Sex Case Lands Britons in Jail
 
Russia
Energy: Syria, Russian Stroytransgaz Starting in November
Passengers Overcome Hijacker on Turkish Airlines Flight
 
South Asia
Afghanistan: German MPs Approve Extra Troops and Extend Mission
Execution Date for Bali Bombing Defendants to be Announced in a Few Days Time
Lahore, Ulema Council: Suicide Attacks Are “Un-Islamic”
Makkah Hotels Too Expensive for Nepali Muslims
Malaysian Government Bans Hindu Movement
 
Australia — Pacific
Airport Admits ‘Strip Search’ Body Scanners Will Show People Naked
 
Latin America
Spain-Cuba: Madrid Studies Aid Plan for 400 Mln Euro
Venezuela’s Government Looking to Establish New 6-Hour Workday
 
Immigration
Immigration: Maroni, 27,417 Arrivals in 2008
Immigration: Landings on Lampedusa, 650 in Only a Few Hours
Italy: Separate Classes for Immigrant Pupils ‘Discriminatory’ Says MP
 
General
China: Contaminated Milk, Lebanon Bans Imports
Contaminated Chinese Products Found
Orhan Pamuk: ‘I’m for Europe, Democracy and Freedom of Opinion’
Terrorism and Scandinavia: Quo Vadis?

USA

Candidate Banners Can Leave Clients, Businesses Bruised

The sign went up Sunday evening, bold black letters against the stark white background of the marquee at the Colony South Hotel & Conference Center in Clinton: “Country First. McCain/Palin.”

By daybreak, pandemonium had broken loose all across heavily Democratic Prince George’s County. Many local supporters of Democrat Barack Obama, jolted by the message as they headed down Branch Avenue on their Monday morning commutes, grabbed cellphones and BlackBerrys to notify friends. Operators of neighborhood e-mail group lists cried foul to their memberships. The NAACP logged calls. Community leaders demanded boycotts of the hotel, a common venue for Democratic events.

“Businesspeople have to be mindful of the sentiments and sensibilities of their market trading area, and Prince George’s County is overwhelmingly for Obama,” said community activist Arthur Turner of Kettering, who was among those advocating a boycott. “People I have talked to look at the sign as a slap in the face. They feel it was blatant disrespect. . . . I have heard people say they will no longer patronize Colony South because of that disrespect.”

The outcry over the hotel marquee tapped into the passion — and sometimes anger — that has characterized this fall’s presidential campaign. Supporters of Republican candidate John McCain have vented their rage at rallies this week, applauding thunderously as McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, accused Obama of “palling around with terrorists.”

Prince George’s, though, is clearly Obama Country. As the nation’s wealthiest mostly black community, where about 77 percent of registered voters are Democrats, residents have Obama placards in their yards, bumper stickers on their cars and the candidate’s visage on their T-shirts.

The marquee supporting the GOP ticket in “an area that is strongly African American was like putting a stink bomb in the middle of the living room,” said University of Maryland political Professor Ron Walters. “What it does show is the emotions that are around this campaign and this election.”

Colony South General Manager Alan Vahabzadeh said that the hotel, one of several Washington area businesses that has dared to venture into the political thicket, got the message after about 100 phone calls and three dozen e-mails. The sign came down Wednesday afternoon.

“I didn’t even realize it was going to be like this,” he said in an interview. The last thing “we want to do is lose business,” he added…

           — Hat tip: Transatlantic Conservative[Return to headlines]


Officials: FBI Investigates Acorn for Voter Fraud

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating whether the community activist group ACORN helped foster voter registration fraud around the nation before the presidential election. A senior law enforcement official confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press on Thursday.

A second senior law enforcement official says the FBI was looking at results of recent raids on ACORN offices in several states for any evidence of a coordinated national scam.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Justice Department regulations forbid discussing ongoing investigations particularly so close to an election.

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, says it has registered 1.3 million young people, minorities and poor and working-class voters — most of whom tend to be Democrats.

Republican accusations about the group were raised during Wednesday’s presidential debate between Democrat Barack Obama and GOP candidate John McCain.

Some ACORN employees have been accused of submitting false voter registration forms — including some signed ‘Mickey Mouse’ or other fictitious characters.

Those voter registration cards have become the focus of fraud investigations in Nevada, Connecticut, Missouri and at least five other states. Election officials in Ohio and North Carolina also recently questioned the group’s voter forms.

ACORN has said the “vast majority” of its workers are conscientious, but some might have turned in duplicate applications or provided fake information to pad their pay. Workers caught submitting false information have been fired, ACORN officials say.

ACORN says laws in a number of states require it to submit all registration cards it collects even dubious ones, so its workers segregate applications with missing, suspicious or false information and flag them so state election officials can quickly check them further.

           — Hat tip: DJ[Return to headlines]


Robert Spencer: Muslim Extremists Want to Invade Europe, U.S.

Muslim extremisms have threatened to “invade Europe and America,” a right wing pundit told University of Wisconsin community members Wednesday.

Robert Spencer, who has written several books on the topic of Islamic extremism, discussed why certain sects of Islam are a threat to the West in an event sponsored by UW College Republicans.

In his lecture, Spencer highlighted the Muslim Brotherhood as an example of Islamic Extremism, paraphrasing a 1991 mission statement of the group.

“The Muslim brotherhood must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad on eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within … so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions,” Spencer said.

The goal of many of these Islamic groups, Spencer said, is to make Shariah — or Islamic law — the law that governs all Western nations.

Shariah encompasses most aspects of life, which Spencer said takes away from freedoms of speech and religion.

He said it is the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood to get a Muslim in the White House to begin enacting Shariah.

“I don’t think it’s likely that they’re going to succeed,” Spencer said. “But I think it’s likely they could erode many of the freedoms that we enjoy in the United States at some point if their movement is not opposed.”

After his lecture, the floor was open to questions. Spencer was asked about the current efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said efforts were “doomed,” since democracies in both countries still have Shariah as the highest law in the land.

“You’re never going to have a representative pluralistic democracy that allows for the religious minorities to be fully represented in those countries while those provisions stand,” Spencer said.

Several members of the Muslim Student Association were present at the event and could be seen shaking their heads and scoffing throughout Spencer’s lecture.

Rashid Dar, MSA public relations chair, was the first to pose a question. He and several other MSA members ridiculed Spencer for not being informed on the topic and for not being fluent in Arabic.

“It is only you who truly understands how to distort the balance,” Dar said, speaking over commotion in the room and Spencer himself.

Spencer blasted the MSA members for speaking over him and spreading their “propaganda.”

“This lack of courtesy and this kind of arrogance is indicative of an unwillingness to engage in these things honestly,” Spencer said.

CR Chair Sara Mikolajczak said she thought the event went well overall but called the outbursts by MSA “absolutely ridiculous.”

“It’s one thing to ask a question. I mean, that’s perfectly legitimate — that’s why we open it up to Q-and-A,” Mikolajczak said. “But it’s a completely different thing to talk over a speaker and not to adhere to the rules.”

Attendees were asked to follow several rules, including keeping a conversational tone and not intimidating or threatening the speaker.

Those who did not follow the rules were subject to removal by CR members or UW Police.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Somali Conflicts in Meatpacking Towns Make the New York Times

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this link at the Religion of Peace blog this morning. It is from the New York Times of all places and it’s a pretty thorough discussion of the tension growing in small town America over the arrival of Somali refugees. The article entitled, “Somali influx unsettles Latino meatpackers” begins:

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Like many workers at the meatpacking plant here, Raul A. Garcia, a Mexican-American, has watched with some discomfort as hundreds of Somali immigrants have moved to town in the past couple of years, many of them to fill jobs once held by Latino workers taken away in immigration raids.

Mr. Garcia has been particularly troubled by the Somalis’ demand that they be allowed special breaks for prayers that are obligatory for devout Muslims. The breaks, he said, would inconvenience everyone else.

“The Latino is very humble,” said Mr. Garcia, 73, who has worked at the plant, owned by JBS U.S.A. Inc., since 1994. “But they are arrogant,” he said of the Somali workers. “They act like the United States owes them.”

Read it all, it is choke full of all sorts of interesting information. The only thing missing is any discussion about the US State Department’s role in bringing all the Somalis here in the first place…

           — Hat tip: RRW[Return to headlines]


US Fears the Emergence of Shariah Banks

America, which is renowned for its extremism towards Islam and being like a grouchy granny she was lately, is now talking incoherent again by warning its citizens about institutions and banks which claimed to be managing finances in accordance with the Islamic shariah.

The ailing US claimed that such an institution or bank posed danger to the national security of the US, because they are supporting as well as financing all forms of violence. The same call was also made by conventional banks in the West. They charged that those institutions could threaten the economy of Europe and the West.

They alleged that Islamic institutions and banks were having a part in financing violence acts, always referred to as “terrorism”. The organizations of The Right Alliance of the USA which is notorious for being radical, also called for a formation of a special congress to debate and express the danger of those institutions and banks…

           — Hat tip: ACT for America[Return to headlines]


What if McCain Had Been Palling Around With a Terrorist?

by Diana West

We interrupt regular column writing to … imagine John McCain ahead in the polls.

Imagine that McCain had spent the last 20 years in the pews of a white supremacist church that supported an apartheid-like separationism from black people, and also that, until a few months ago, McCain had proudly claimed the church’s white racist pastor as his “friend, mentor and pastor” — even taking the title of his best-selling 2006 memoir from one of this man’s sermons. Imagine further that, in the 1990s, McCain had directed foundation funding toward a white-separatist educational program supported by this same pastor.

Now imagine McCain — this same imaginary McCain whose polls indicate imminent victory — had only lately left this church, brushing off his relationship with the racist pastor by pleading ignorance of the man’s vile views.

All of these McCain hypotheticals, of course, are mirrored in Barack Obama realities related to his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah “G— d—- America” Wright. The foundation funding I refer to, detailed in a recent scoop by Stanley Kurtz, is the $200,000 that Obama, as chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge foundation, approved for a local organization that promoted black separationism as taught by such Afrocentric theorists as Jacob Carruthers, who, Kurtz writes at National Review Online, sought to use “African-centered education to recreate a separatist universe within America, a kind of state-within-a-state.” Carruthers, and many others from his organization, the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC), which, Kurtz writes, “takes as its mission the need to ‘dismantle the European intellectual campaign to commit historicide against African peoples,’ were featured speakers at Wright’s church.

Interesting, no? Worth a question or two into Obama’s more or less political relationship with Wright, no? Or views on Afrocentrism, no? Or into his media-honed reputation as the candidate of post-racial integration, no?

No.

Let me demonstrate why not by harkening back to our McCainian world of pretend for an unreality-check…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

Canada

Quebec Man Urges Al-Qaeda to Attack Canada

A Quebec man has posted messages on the Internet encouraging al-Qaeda to attack Canada, the latest in a series of similar sentiments that are worrying counterterrorism officials.

The author of the messages, who uses the pseudonym Altar, praised terror leader Osama bin Laden and asked why al-Qaeda was focusing its efforts only on Europe instead of Canada. “Allah is great and may Allah bless Sheikh bin Laden. That the sword held by the hand of al-Qaeda hits not only Europe, but that is hits all our enemies. Wherever they are,” he wrote in a Sept. 25 posting.

“Me, I live in Canada and the Canadian government supports the Americans. The government of Canada supports Israel. Canadian soldiers are sent to Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Now it’s Canada’s turn.”

A copy of the message, posted to a French-based Internet forum called Minbarsos, was found by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terrorist Web sites. In his online biography, Altar writes that he is a Sunni Muslim who lives in Quebec and that: “I want to chase the non-Muslims from Canada. Only their deaths will make Islam triumphant. God is Great.”

The message concludes: “May Allah guide us to always defend our religion. That the Crusaders whether in Iraq or in Ottawa, the sword of Islam will fall on their head. God is Great.”

This kind of rhetoric has been appearing increasingly on the Internet, often the work of young radicals who join online forums that promote al-Qaeda.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

‘Al-Qaeda’ Terrorists Who Brainwashed Exeter Suicide Bomber Still on the Run

The al-Qaeda extremists who brainwashed an autistic Muslim convert into launching a failed suicide nail bomb attack in a family restaurant are still on the run, it can be disclosed.

Nicky Reilly, 22, tried to detonate a series of nail bombs, mixed in soft drink bottles with caustic soda, paraffin and aluminium foil, in the Giraffe restaurant at Exeter’s Princesshay shopping centre in May this year.

But when he attempted to assemble one of the bombs in the lavatory cubicle of the restaurant it exploded in his hands. He pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to attempted murder and preparing of an act of terrorism.

Police sources have told The Daily Telegraph he was groomed by two men on the Youtube website who claimed to be living on the Afghan-Pakistan border and to be in touch with al-Qaeda.

“We believe these men were living abroad but we are still investigating whether they were who they claimed to be,” the source said.

The men discussed with Reilly, who called himself Mohammad Abdulaziz Rashid Saeed Alim, whether to attack police officers and civil servants or the general public, in the end persuading him it should be an attack on the public.

Reilly left a typed suicide note at the flat he shared with his mother which referred to “Sheikh Osama” and said “We love death as you love life.”

His mother, Kim, said: “He is a vulnerable person who’s been radicalised and that is like an easy target, easy prey for them. Someone has brainwashed him — he has done the work and they are walking free.”

Investigations are also continuing into radicals in this country who may have played a part in encouraging Reilly, who has a low IQ and suffers from Aspergers syndrome, to become a suicide bomber.

[Return to headlines]


Banks: Santander Acquires 100% of Sovereign for 1.4 Bln Euro

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 14 — Santander bank has agreed the acquisition of 100% of the shares of the American deposits and loans bank Sovereign Bancorp, in a share exchange valued at 1.4 billion euro, USD 1.9 billion, according to reports in the Spanish media today. The main banking organisation in the Euro zone, headed by Emilio Botin, which already held 24.3% of the United States credit institution, will pay one of its own shares for every 3.42 Sovereign shares, whose shares are valued at 3.81 dollars each, according to listings on the New York stock exchange last Friday. In 2006, Santander paid 3.3 billion dollars for its share in the institution, whose headquarters is in Philadelphia, thus becoming the major shareholder. Over the last months, Sovereign has lost most of its stock market value, hit by the sub-prime crisis. Because of this, Santander had run up a capital loss of two billion euros by the end of September compared to the initial investment. Santander expects to complete the acquisition in the first quarter of 2009. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Credit Crunch : Irish Politicians Lead With Pay Cuts

Hopefully this is another Irish example that will be followed here. The Irish President Mary McAleese has announced that she will be taking a 10% pay cut in light of the current budgetary troubles. The finance Minister Brian Lenihan says he and his ministerial colleagues will also take a 10% wage cut. The opposition leader has instructed his party’s parliamentarians to take a 5% cut. The governor of the Irish Central Bank and Financial Services Authority has volunteered to also surrender 10% of pay. RTÉ’s top six executives are taking a “significant reduction” in pay. This follows the government’s announcement of a round of spending cuts as recession bites.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]


EU Bans Incandescent Light Bulbs

Beginning in 2010, the light bulbs in European sockets will be doing a lot less incandescing and a lot more fluorescing.

Meeting last week in Luxembourg, European Union energy ministers agreed to ban filament light bulbs across all 27 member states. The decision comes just a few days before the EU will lift duties on energy-efficient bulbs imported from China, a move that is expected to bring down their prices.

Last year, Australia became the first country to enact an outright ban on incandescents, which will take effect in 2010. They were followed by Cuba, who apparently sent youth brigades into people’s homes to swap out the bulbs for more energy-efficient ones, and the Philippines, which announced plans to phase them out by 2010.

In the United States, the Energy Independence and Security Act, passed in June 2007 requires roughly 25 percent greater efficiency for light bulbs, phased in from 2012 through 2014. This effectively bans incandescent bulbs.

[Return to headlines]


First Woman to Lead Muslim Prayers Angers Traditionalists

Islamic history will be made in the heart of Oxford today when a woman Muslim scholar leads Friday prayers and delivers the khutba, or sermon, for the first time in Britain.

Professor Amina Wadud, visiting scholar at the Starr King School of the Ministry, Berkeley, California, received death threats after she led a service in New York three years ago. That event was held at an Anglican church after mosques refused to host it.

At 1pm today on Oxford’s Banbury Road, Ms Wadud will deliver a sermon at the start of a conference on Islam and feminism at the University’s Wolfson College. Organised by the Muslim Educational Centre Oxford (Meco), the event has attracted fierce criticism from traditionalists, who claim that the Koran insists on men leading prayers.

Police will be on hand to ensure protests do not spill over into violence…

           — Hat tip: El Inglés[Return to headlines]


Ganley: the Lisbon Treaty is Dead

Ahead of a conference of presidents meeting this morning to discuss the funding of Irish anti-Lisbon group Libertas, its founder, businessman Declan Ganley, puts his case to MEPs.

“It has been interesting to note the response of some MEPs to my country’s overwhelming rejection of the anti-democratic Lisbon treaty. It seems some of them were surprised, which only goes to prove just how removed they are from the real world in which we citizens of Europe occupy.

On 2 September, I had the honour of visiting the European parliament. I made the trip for several reasons, the most important of which was to do my small part as a private citizen in driving home the message that my own government has seemingly not had the courage to do. That is to firmly remind the institutions of Brussels that under the rules of the EU, the Lisbon treaty is dead.

Again, for clarity, in case anyone is unsure, the Irish people, who in my country are sovereign, have made their decision and the decision is no. If Brussels is to hold on to any pretence of holding democracy among its most cherished principles, it must accept the Irish people’s decision as final. It is the third rejection of the anti-democratic formula of Giscard d’Estaing’s European constitution. First the French said no, second the Netherlands, and now the Irish.

Of course, we all know that if there was a full and open debate and referendum on the Lisbon treaty in any of your member states, it would be roundly defeated in most, and not just by the usual suspects. As an ardent pro-European, I would point out to you that the Irish people are amongst the most pro-European people in Europe.

Most EU citizens do not hold the union in such high regard. The defeat in other referendums would be greater than in Ireland, which, of course, is why there were not any other referendums…”

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]


Haider: the Death of a Populist

by Srdja Trifkovic

Jörg Haider , the best known Austrian politician, was killed in a car crash on October 11. His death marks the end of a colorful career untypical for a “far-Right” figure. Armani-clad fitness fanatic, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pal with a permanent tan, Haider cut a figure vastly different from the bland establishmentarians who have ran Austria for decades. Villified by the European elite class as a neo-Nazi anti-Semite, he was a talented man of uncertain principles, great ambition, and dubious judgment.

Haider died only weeks after his Alliance for the Future of Austria (Bündnis Zukunft Österreich, BZÖ) won an impressive 11 percent of the vote in the general election, while the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) — which he had led from 1986 until 2000, and from which he split in 2005 — gained 18 per cent. It was the best result for Austria’s opponents of rampant immigration and EU integration in the history of the Republic

Born in 1950 to a lower-middle-class family in Upper Austria, Haider never forgot various indignities that his parents suffered after the war for alleged Nazi sympathies. Common folks like they took the rap for the “really big Nazis,” he later complained…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]


Link Between Child Porn and Muslim Terrorists Discovered in Police Raids

Paedophile websites are being used to pass information between terrorists

A link between terrorism plots and hardcore child pornography is becoming clear after a string of police raids in Britain and across the Continent, an investigation by The Times has discovered. Images of child abuse have been found during Scotland Yard antiterrorism swoops and in big inquiries in Italy and Spain.

Secret coded messages are being embedded into child pornographic images, and paedophile websites are being exploited as a secure way of passing information between terrorists.

British security services are also aware of the trend and believe that it requires further investigation to improve understanding of terrorists’ methods and mindsets. Concerns within the Metropolitan Police led to a plan to run a pilot research project exploring the nature of the link. One source familiar with the proposal said that this could eventually lead to the training of child welfare experts to identify signs of terrorist involvement as they monitor pornographic sites.

Concerns have already been expressed at Cabinet minister level about the risk of vulnerable Muslim youths being exploited by older men.

Officers have noted that child sex abuse images have been found during investigations into some of the most advanced suspected plots. However, it is understood that the proposed research project was never implemented because the AntiTerrorism Branch was overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases it was having to deal with.

It is not clear whether the terrorists were more interested in the material for personal gratification or were drawn to child porn networks as a secure means of sending messages. In one case fewer than a dozen images were found; in another, 40,000…

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis[Return to headlines]


Racism: Spain, ‘Romanians Out’ Competition on Web

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 15 — He created on the internet a xenophobic competition which, with the call “Romanians Out”, would have chosen its winner based on whoever managed to physically assault and beat up the largest number of citizens coming from Eastern Europe. M.F.M. a young man of 18, was arrested by police before his macabre farce could take place. It was the mobilisation on behalf of the internet user community, according to sources of the Spanish Guardia Civile in Seville, which was able to warn police. The racist ‘happening’ was called for in the town of Aznalcazar (Seville) for the night of October 4, through an internet forum frequently used by young people. Under the orders of “Romanians Out”, members were to unite in the town and assault as many citizens of Romanian origin as possible in the streets. Naturally, sources say, the winner would have been the one who assaulted the most people. Warned by some of the online forum’s users, police agents from the judicial unit specialised in internet crime implemented an operative plan. Twenty or so investigators disguised as civilians went to the location indicated and waited for the author of the racist initiative to show up, who was then handcuffed. Accused of crimes against the fundamental rights and public liberty and as an instigator to racist violence, the young man was booked but remained free, he risks, however, according to the Penal Code, a sentence of up to three years of prison. The mayor of the city of Anzalcazar, Dolores Escalona, of the PSOE party, explained that “for over twenty days a hundred Romanian citizens implanted itself on two agricultural establishments in the towns of Las Torres an El Barrero, to take part in the olive harvest” and admitted that there were tensions because of the new arrivals. The mayor excluded, however, at the same time the xenophobic reaction on behalf of the areas inhabitants. In the meantime, police closed down the webpage with the “criminal” forum. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Sweden: Activists Break Into Bofors Weapons Plants

Activists broke into two facilities associated with weapons manufacturer Bofors in the early hours of Thursday morning and claim to have damaged up to 20 grenade launchers.

Two people forcibly entered a BAE Systems Bofors facility in Karlskoga in central Sweden, setting off an alarm at around 3:00am Thursday morning. A guard later discovered the pair after they had broken into a locked building.

According to Sveriges Radio, the activists vandalized the facility and hung up a banner.

Two other activists were arrested after they broke into the Saab Bofors Dynamics plant in nearby Eskilstuna.

The activists belong to Ofog, a Swedish network devoted to a nuclear disarmament and demilitarization.

In a statement, the group claims that 20 Carl Gustaf-type grenade launchers were damaged by Thursday morning’s actions

“To disarm weapons which otherwise risk being used to kill people and worsen conflicts ought to be self-evident,” said Anna Andersson, one of the Ofog activists arrested, in a prepared statement published on the group’s website.

Police in Örebro and Eskilstuna couldn’t confirm how many weapons may have been damaged.

“So far the number is unknown and the technical investigation will reveal how many,” said Eskilstuna police spokesperson Owe Andersson to the TT news agency.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Terrorism: Spain, 13 Members of Islamic Group Arrested

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 16 — At least thirteen people suspected of being part of an organization for the recruitment and the financing of Islamic terrorism have been arrested today in Spain as part of a wide-ranging operation, still underway and led by the Audiencia Nacional judge Baltazar Garzon. Some of those arrested, according to the delegate from the central government in Catalonia, Joan Rangel, have been accused of belonging to a cell which covered for and supported al Qaeda terrorists, including some of those alleged to have had a hand in the 11 March 2004 attacks in Atocha. Most of the operation was conducted in Catalonia, though searches and sequesters were also carried out in Madrid and Andalusia. The investigation by the central foreign information unit of the national police, coordinated by Garzon, is a continuation of the Tigris operation set in motion in 2005, which was brought to a close by the officers of the Geo and Tedax corps, the latter specialized in bomb defusing. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Terrorist Linked to Stockholm Mosque

Abu Qaswara, the Swedish citizen killed by US forces in Iraq in early October and thought to be a high-ranking member of Al-Qaeda’s Iraq operations, has been connected to a Stockholm-area mosque.

The incident, which took place on October 5th in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, makes Qaswara the fourth Swedish citizen suspected of engaging in terrorism abroad to be killed or jailed.

Qaswara, who was born in Morocco and became a Swedish citizen in the 1990s, has been linked to a mosque in the Brandbergen district of the Stockholm suburb of Haninge.

The same mosque has also been connected to Ahmed Essafri, another 55-year-old naturalized Swede from Morocco, who is currently serving a three-year prison sentence in the country of his birth after he was convicted of terror-related crimes in June of this year.

Essafri has since appealed his case and Sweden’s foreign ministry expects the new trial to begin some time this autumn, according to TT.

The picture of Qaswara’s activities which has emerged is in line with repeated assessments made by Sweden’s security police, Säpo, in their annual reports about Islamic terrorism in Sweden.

According to Säpo, operations in Sweden focus primarily on fund-raising and attracting volunteers to fight abroad.

Terrorist expert Magnus Ranstorp from the Swedish National Defence College (Försvarshögskolan) said it was “no surprise” that there were terrorists active in Sweden.

“This is not unusual, almost every country has some sort of problem. Sweden doesn’t stick out in comparison with other countries. And what we are dealing with are support operations, as we have seen examples of previously,” he told the TT news agency.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Torture Suspect: Girl Asked for Abuse

The boyfriend of a teenage girl who was tortured by him in November has pleaded not guilty to charges of abuse

A 20-year-old Lebanese-Danish man charged with imprisoning and torturing his girlfriend in November allegedly told his accomplice that the girl had asked for the abuse in order to demonstrate her love for him.

In a Frederiksberg municipal court on Wednesday, the accomplice told how the suspect locked the 19-year-old girl in a shed for over a week, subjecting her to various forms of violence, including cutting off one of her fingers.

The 18-year-old accomplice has already confessed his role in the crime and is testifying for the prosecution. He told the court that the suspect said the girl’s finger had to be cut off ‘to prove her love for him’.

The accused has been declared mentally ill and will likely serve time in a treatment facility if convicted.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


UK: Anti-Burglar Device Banned, Safety of Thieves Cited

A gardener who put up barbed wire to protect his allotment from thieves has been ordered to take it down in case intruders hurt themselves.

A man in Worcestershire, England put up the three-foot fence to ward off thieves who had stolen his tools and ransacked his vegetable garden.

Bill Malcolm says he was told by the council to remove the barbed wire fence so the city couldn’t be held liable if a thief were to be wounded and brought a lawsuit.

[Return to headlines]


UK: Muslim Postal Workers Demand 3 Extra Breaks a Day

The list of demands by Muslims goes on and on and on. This time Muslims in the United Kingdom have demanded that the Royal Mail postal service give them three extra breaks a day, to accommodate their Islamic prayer schedule. The Muslims who speak no English at all, quickly dropped their case after being told by their legal representative that they had no shot at winning the case. What will their next demand be, how about not having to deliver the mail to the houses of kafirs, because the Muslim workers are offended by them?

[Return to headlines]


UK: Teach Children What Muslims Did for Us, Says Minister Jim Knight

Children should be taught about the contribution Muslims have made to civilisation in order to combat the threats of extremism and discrimination, according to a Government minister.

Jim Knight, the schools minister, claimed lessons in the scientific and cultural innovations of Islam over the centuries would give young Muslims a sense of worth and reduce their risk of becoming alienated and falling under the spell of radicals.

He said it could also bring divided communities closer together, by teaching children from other backgrounds about the debt we all owe to Muslims — from coffee and pinhole cameras to the three-course dinner and advancements in maths.

Mr Knight spoke at the launch of an exhibition in Parliament about Islamic innovations, which has been developed by an education group dedicated to improving knowledge about Muslim history in Britain.

The Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation has also made packs for secondary school teachers to include provide teaching on Islamic inventions in a range of lessons, following a relaxation on the rules governing the National Curriculum last month.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Hebron, Troops Blow Up Palestinian Tunnel

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, OCTOBER 15 — The threat of “explosive tunnels” dug up in the Gaza strip by Hamas in the past has now arrived also in the West Bank with the goal of striking Israeli targets by surprise. The Israeli Army Radio reported military engineers blew up a 100-meter-long tunnel at Hebron in the West Bank today. The tunnel was excavated by Palestinians for still unclear purposes. It was the first time, the radio said, the Israeli military found such a tunnel in the West Bank. Local Palestinian sources pointed out the tunnel was spotted by security officials of the Palestinian National Authority and they added they thought the tunnel might have been dug for profit, for instance, in the hope of finding archeological objects in the area. Yet the Israeli Army went ahead and dynamited it right away without further investigations, also becuase the tunnel was very close to a military outpost. The radio reported strict secuirity measures were imposed in the area because thousands of Israelis were expected to visit Hebron on the occasion of the Sukkot (Feast of the Tents) holiday. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Mideast: Italian Health Project for Palestinian Children

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 15 — The Italian govenrment has undertaken a new and important project for Palestinian Territories: an Implementing Agreement was signed in Rome between the Foreign Ministry — Directorate General for Cooperation for Development — and the Tuscany Region government relating to the “Support Children in Palestinian Territories. Medecine in the service of Peace” project. This project — the Foreign Ministry recalled — was the object of a personal commitment toward its implementation by Foreign Minister Franco Frattini during the visit he made to the Palestinian Territories in July. The project has an overall cost of 5.7 million euros, equally shared by the Foreign Ministry and four Regional governments: Tuscany, in the leading role, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Umbria. The project will be carried out by two NGO’s, Israel’s “Center Peres for Peace” of Tel Aviv and the Palestinian “Panorama” of Ramallah. This is the first health assistance project for the Palestinian people envisioning the direct cooperation of Palestinians and Israelis, even if not at the government level. Thanks to it, Palestinian children suffering from serious illnesses will be taken to and treated in Israeli health structures. “This initiative — the Foreign ministry note said — fits into the activities that the Italian Cooperation carries out in the Palestinian Territories in the health sector, a field in which Italy has been acknowledged by the international Community of donors to have a leading role. The project is also valuable in that it helps to strengthen cooperation between the Foreign Ministry and Italian regional governments in cooperation projects”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Mideast: Hebron Tunnel, Hamas Protests, Threatens PNA

(ANSAmed) — GAZA, OCTOBER 15 — There is a risk that the cooperation underway on the West Bank between Palestinian and Israeli security forces will spark a revolt by the Palestinian people against the PNA of Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas). This warning was issued by Abu Obeida, the spokesperson for the armed wing of Hamas, following the destruction of a tunnel in Hebron. A political spokesperson for Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, observed that the cooperation between Israel and the PNA in the demolition of that tunnel shows how Abu Mazen’s security forces “are committed to preventing any attack against the Isrealis”. The spokesperson for the military wing, Abu Obeida, added that this behaviour of the Palestinian security forces shows a form of “moral deterioration”. At this point, therefore, a revolt by the people against them cannot be ruled out. Moreover, Hamas protested about the demolition, which took place yesterday on the border between Gaza and Egypt, of seven tunnels, presumably used for smuggling of weapons and other things. The collapse of that tunnel, says Hamas, happened while Egyptian security forces were working on it. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Acceptable Behaviour in Dubai

[Video]

A British man and woman have been found guilty of having sex on a beach in Dubai and sentenced to three months in prison.

Christian Fraser explains what people can and cannot do when visiting the Muslim state of Dubai.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Energy: EU Urges Turkey to Get Serious About Nabucco

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 13 — The European Union said Turkey should waste no more time and negotiate seriously over the Nabucco gas pipeline while the U.S. reiterated its support on the USD 12 billion project, as daily Hurriyet reports. The project is designed to bring central Asian gas to Europe via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Supporters say it is vital to wean the region from over-dependence on Russian energy. “I encourage my Turkish friends to engage now seriously in the discussions in view of making Nabucco operational as of 2013,” said Olli Rehn, the EU’s Enlargement Commissioner. Analysts have criticized Turkey for dragging its feet at the bargaining table to try to secure higher transit fees and rights to trade gas going through the pipeline, due to supply an annual 30 billion cubic meters of Caspian or Middle Eastern gas. But some observers say hopes of construction are quickly fading, especially after the conflict in Georgia increased doubts about the security of investing in the turbulent region. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


For Saudi Human Rights Association Death Penalty is Lawful

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The death penalty in the kingdom is not carried out until after “an exhaustive examination of the relevant” evidence with “enough guarantees for the defendant” and especially in accordance with Sharia or Islamic Law, Zuhayr al-Harithi, the Saudi Human Rights Association spokesman, said in response to criticism from Amnesty International which in its annual report slammed “the process in which the death penalty is taken and implemented [because it] is harsh, secret, and largely unfair.”

The London-based human rights association said that Saudi Arabia is “executing convicted persons at an average of more than two a week and that around half of them are foreigners from poor countries.”

The number of executions carried out last year rose to 158 up from 36 in the previous year.

For Al-Harithi international organisations are unable to understand that “each country has its own penal system and judicial rulings which should be respected.”

Saudi Arabia applies the rules of Sharia law which imposes the death penalty in cases of murder, sexual violence, drug trafficking and witchcraft.”

But for Al-Harithi the death penalty in the kingdom is not carried out until after an “exhaustive examination of the relevant” evidence is conducted by 13 judges before it is endorsed by “the highest authority in the kingdom, the king.”

The judicial system in Saudi Arabia also allows victims’ families to pardon convicted killers, saving their lives.

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


Kurds and Arabs Exchange Accusations Over Attacks on Christians in Mosul

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Who is behind the attacks on Christians in Mosul? The Iraqi government says it does not believe that this is al Qaeda, while media sources note that most of the people struck lived in the area controlled by Kurdish militias. The Kurdish regional government denounces the “malign efforts” of those who want to “conceal the truly guilty,” denounced as “religious fanatics,” and “orders” all ministers to help those who have been struck.

The exchange of accusations over responsibility for the attacks against Christians in Mosul seems to confirm the at least predominantly political nature of what is taking place in a city that is at the center of Kurdish and “Arab” claims, in addition to being a region extremely rich in oil reserves. Condemnation of the attacks against Christians on the part of the highest Shiite authority, grand ayatollah Ali Sistani, seems to point in the same direction.

The spokesman for Baghdad’s interior ministry, Abdulkarim Khalaf, says “I do not think al-Qaeda is behind the attacks against Mosul Christians.” One of the leading Iraqi newspapers, Azzaman, in reporting the statements by the spokesman, notes that “Most of the victims and the fleeing refugees lived on the left bank of the city where Kurdish militias are in control as it is mainly a Kurdish-inhabited area. Most of the Christians on the right bank of the Tigris River, a predominately Arab sector, are reported to have preferred to stay. Anti-Christian violence has concentrated in areas where Kurdish militias exercise almost full control. But residents say an explosive charge placed at the entrance of an ancient church in the Arab quarter went off on Tuesday, inflicting some material damage but causing no injuries.”

For its part, the Kurdish regional government accuses “religious fanatics and terrorists groups,” and, the news agency AINA says, “has ordered all ministries, departments and relevant parties to assist and help the victims as much as possible.” The Kurdish government also “forcefully condemns” the attacks and those who accuse the Kurds, and “we reiterate our support for the full rights of the Christians in provincial councils, under article 50 of the provincial election law.” This is the norm that reserved representation at this level for the minorities, and which parliament, at the moment of approving the law, struck down. In the face of the protests of Christians and international criticisms, the president of the republic promised that the principle will be reintroduced.

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


Lebanon: Government Finances Industries Damaged by 2006 War

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, OCTOBER 13 — The Lebanese Ministry for Industry has financed industrial equipment for a value of 350,000 dollars to the benefit of 10 businesses in the southern area of Beirut (and one in south Lebanon) that were damaged during the war of July 2006. A total of 800,000 dollars, explains the Beirut ICE office, will be distributed to 75 industrial businesses through a partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Middle East: Calò Livné, We Can’t Give in to Extremism

(by Luciana Borsatti) (ANSA) — ROME, OCTOBER 15 — “This is one of the most difficult moments in the history of the Middle East, because extremists on both sides are building strength. But extremism can achieve nothing”, said Angelica Calò Livné, the Italo-Israeli who has lived in Israel for 20 years and is in Italy — at the invitation of the Premio Fondazione Carical Grinzane Cavour — with teenagers from her Rainbow Theatre, made up of Jews, Christians, Muslims, Arabs and Druse. A workshop on co-habitation between different ethnic and religious groups, the young company, a mirror on the multiplicity of races which makes up the State of Israel but which children from Palestine have still not been able to join. “Unfortunately we are not in a position to put them together” said the artist who considers herself an “educator for peace through the arts”, founding the Beresheet Foundation. “But I hope that soon, all those who make an effort to send funds to the territories will instead help to create an economy and an organised State, with laws and welfare capable of rooting out the extremism”. In the meantime, she stressed “there is a current which is trying to keep us apart, Arabs and Jews in Israel and abroad. Hamas is conditioning the Muslim identity in a negative way, and there are also extremists amongst us”. The Israeli Left is in crisis, she highlighted, a crisis which comes from the fact that things have got worse since the departure of the Israeli army from Lebanon in 2000 and from Gaza. “Our soldiers had to strip away whole families from there, and soon after the Kassam rockets arrived, and Hamas and Fatah massacred each other. Obviously they are asking us, what peace are you looking for? This is the dilemma of the Left”. But Angelica Calò Livné has no doubts about the historic function that Israel is witnessing: “we are the human barrier blocking integralism, which otherwise would be flooding. It is not true that integralism is fed by the lack of solution to the Palestinian question, We like them are victims of those who want us to kill each other”. Her personal response to this destiny of hate is theatre, involving hundreds of children of different races and religions, creating a permanent place for shows and workshops with them. “If the children are able to be together, overcoming their differences, it means that it can be done”. Despite the evidence of what has happened recently in Akko, the vandalism and clashes between Jews and Arabs which also caused the suspension of the annual Festival of alternative theatre which usually attracts thousands of visitors. “It cannot be stopped like this, the culture of a country which is the biggest racial workshop in the world”. The only way to get out of all this is to guarantee the Palestinians the means for constructing a State and an organised economy: guaranteeing water — which Israel does not take away from neighbouring territories — with help in education, with economic projects which involve the Palestinians as well. Like the project for the canal between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea which along with water for Palestine, Jordan and Israel would also provide work for 300 thousand Palestinians. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Property: Emirates; New City, Project of 70 Bln Euro

(by Alessandra Antonelli) (ANSAmed) — DUBAI, OCTOBER 6 — Even facing the international financial storm the property market of the United Arab Emirates is moving more and more. Meraas Development, the new property holding owned by the government of Dubai, has announced a renovation and urban reconstruction project for 70 billion euros. The announcement was made on the opening day of Cityscape 2008, the most important construction fair in the world, extra important this year to test the robustness of the regional market in the light of the global economic crisis. The project, called Jumeirah Garden City, will rise on the rubbles of a large part of Satwa, the historic district on the coast of Dubai which has been in decay for years, and will be a kind of extension of the present Jumeirah, a trendy district on the sea which also harbours Burj al-Arab, the hotel in the shape of a sail. Demolition of the old villas has started a few weeks ago, but it will take 12 years to complete the project. Meanwhile local giants Nakeel and Emaar are competing to build ever bigger and audacious urban structures and today Nakeel scored with the presentation of a project which includes the highest skyscraper in the world, the first one higher than one kilometre. It will take at least ten years to build, requiring 500,000 cubic metres of cement and many kilometres of reinforcement rod, stretched out on the ground enough to connect Dubai with New York, the architects explain. Nakeel that way is getting more attention than its sister Emaar, which constructed Burj Dubai which though not yet finished at them moment is the highest building on Earth with its declared 688m and 160 habitable floors. Its final height, though top secret, is said to be close to 900m with the spiral placed on top of the building in glass and cement, much less therefore than the planned height of its rival. The ‘Tower’ will have 200 floors, causing the existence of 5 different microclimates between floor and top. In the heart of the ‘Harbour’ a structure formed by four skyscrapers will come together. The quarter will be built south of the city between the shopping centre dedicated to Ibn Battuta, the Marco Polo of the East, and the Arabian Canal, a mega-project, also of Nakeel, which will take sea water through a canal over 75km long between Jebel Ali and Palm Jumeirah Island. The Harbour (270 hectares) was designed to give space to 19.000 residential units and 55.000 people, as well as 45.000 commuting workers. All around the tower, between parks, canals and ten kilometres of promenade 40 more buildings will rise of 20 to 90 floors, while 25 square kilometres will be dedicated to restaurants and hotels, one of which very luxurious of course, will be situated on the higher floors of the Tower. Nakeel’s skyscraper anticipates Saudi Arabiàs ambition of building one of a mile high, four times the Empire State Building. The problem would have come to a temporary standstill due to technical problems transporting construction material that high. Despite this setback, Meraas Development of Dubai would already have the design for a structure 2.4km high, which should be built in the heart of the future Jumeirah Garden City. The news hasn’t been confirmed however. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


UAE: Beach Sex Case Lands Britons in Jail

Dubai, 16 Oct. (AKI) — A British couple on Thursday was sentenced to three months in jail by a Dubai court after being convicted of having sex on the beach.

Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors were caught at Jumeirah beach on 5 July after an all-you-can-drink champagne brunch. Reportedly they were warned by a police officer about their behaviour, but when he returned he found them having sex.

They were accused of sex outside marriage, public indecency and drunkenness.

Palmer and Acors were fined 1,000 dirhams (200 euros) and issued a deportation order after their sentence is completed, reported Dubai-based TV network al-Arabiya.

Both of the accused deny the charges, saying they were only kissing and hugging.

Judge Hamdi Abul el-Khair of Dubai’s Court of First Instance handed down the sentence early on Thursday. Neither of the accused were present in court.

However, Palmer and Accors’ lawyer, Hassan Matter said they will appeal the sentence.

Dubai, considered the most liberal of the emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, is struggling to balance an Islamic identity and conservative laws, with the lifestyles of millions of western expatriates.

Dubai’s expatriate population makes up at least 85 percent of the population. Authorities have recently launched a crackdown on what it calls indecent behaviour such as topless sunbathing and nudity.

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

Russia

Energy: Syria, Russian Stroytransgaz Starting in November

(ANSAmed) — DAMASCUS, OCTOBER 7 — Russian Stroytransgaz will start in Syria, the production tests of the South Middle Area Gas Processing Plant this November. The initial production will be 1.5 million cubic meters of gas per day, according to what was communicateD by the Oil Minister in Syria and reported by the Italian Trade Commission. Normally the production will be 2.2 million cubic meters of purified gas, 23,000 metric tons of liquefied propane-butane and 233,000 metric tons of condensate. The contract should have a value of 210 million dollars. The plant will be operating in June of 2009 and is one of the four plants for gas extraction under construction in Syria. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Passengers Overcome Hijacker on Turkish Airlines Flight

Passengers and cabin staff aboard a Turkish airliner bound for St Petersburg wrestled an inebriated holidaymaker to the floor after he claimed to have a bomb strapped to his waist and tried to storm the cockpit.

The would be hijacker, who had reportedly consumed a considerable quantity of alcohol, passed a barely legible note to an air hostess threatening to blow up the plane.

“I have bomb,” he wrote in the message. “If you don’t take me in I will blow up.” The man was then overpowered as he attempted to force his way into the cockpit.

This unfolded as the Airbus A-320, en route from the Turkish resort of Anatalya to St Petersburg, flew over Belarus. There were 167 passengers on board, most of them Russian tourists returning from a holiday on the Turkish Riviera.

Police arrested the man shortly after the aircraft landed at St Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport. Details on his identity were scant, although officials confirmed that he had not been carrying explosives.

“Surprisingly this hooligan was not British,” said an official at Pulkovo. “I understand he was from Uzbekistan where they also like to drink but cannot control themselves so well as Russians.”

Tens of thousands of Russian tourists head for Turkey’s Anatolian province ever month, where many spend their holidays in an alcohol induced daze. Drinking and boisterousness on flights too and from Turkey are common.

[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: German MPs Approve Extra Troops and Extend Mission

Berlin, 16 Oct. (AKI) — Germany’s lower house of parliament on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to increase by 1,000 the number of troops it can send to Afghanistan and extended the mission’s mandate by 14 months.

Under a previous parliamentary mandate, Germany was allowed to send up to 3,500 troops to Afghanistan. Thursday’s vote increases that number to 4,500.

Germany is one of nearly 40 countries that have deployed troops to Afghanistan within the 50,000-strong NATO-led peacekeeping mission (ISAF).

But the move by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition to extend Berlin’s participation in a NATO peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan is unpopular with German voters, who are mindful of the rising violence in the war-torn country.

Morale among German soldiers is at a record low as they face mounting attacks from a resurgent Taliban. During the past year, the security situation has deteriorated across Afghanistan, including the north, where German soldiers are stationed.

German soldiers in northern Afghanistan daily run the risk of “being caught in an explosion or being shot at,” said an unnamed officer, quoted by Germany’s DPA news agency.

At least 18 civilians were killed in an air strike carried out by foreign forces in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, reports said on Thursday.

ISAF did not confirm the civilian casualties but said it was investigating the incident.

In separate incident on Thursday, an Afghan policeman reportedly killed a US soldier on a foot patrol in the eastern province of Paktia.

A total 230 international soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan this year fighting the Taliban insurgency, according to the Associated Press news agency.

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


Execution Date for Bali Bombing Defendants to be Announced in a Few Days Time

by Mathias Hariyadi

Attorney general says that date and place of the execution will be announced before 24 October. Islamic extremists continue their pressure to have sentence postponed.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Attorney General Hendarman Supandji will announce before 24 October the date and place of the execution of Amrozi (pictured just after learning of his death sentence), Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron, sentenced to death for their role in the 12 October 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people, Attorney General Office’s spokesman Jasman Sinanjutak said today. In the statement the latter refused to give any further information about the execution, rejecting allegations that the process was being delayed as a result of pressure from Islamic extremist groups, especially by the Islamic Lawyer Team (TPM).

The death sentence became final in September 2007 but since then the execution has been postponed several times. This stands in contrast, as many have pointed out, to the swift execution of other defendants like Christians Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu who were put to death despite not having exhausted all legal recourse at their disposal.

Under Indonesian law defendants can meet close relatives and their attorneys before they are moved to a secret location for execution. In this case the authorities might even allow them to meet close friends.

In the meantime their health continues to be closely monitored since executions can be postponed indefinitely if defendants are found to be mentally or physically unfit.

In its actions on behalf of the Bali bombers the TPM has called for changes to the procedures of execution. But the chief of the Constitutional Court, Prof Mahfud of the Islamic Indonesian University in Yogyakarta, said the group’s appeal has no bearing on this case.

“The Indonesian Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) has been ready to discuss the matter” but “our schedule has nothing to do with the schedule of the execution,” said Mahfud. In his view there is no reason to wait for the Court’s decision.

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


Lahore, Ulema Council: Suicide Attacks Are “Un-Islamic”

Lahore (AsiaNews) — A conference that unites accredited Pakistani Islamic scholars, meeting in Lahore, declared yesterday that suicide attacks are “un-Islamic, and forbidden,” recalling that only the state has the authority to proclaim jihd (holy war), not individuals or groups.

The Muttahida Ulema Council, during the conference in Jania Naeemia, also unanimously issued a fatwa (edict) against the recent wave of suicide bombing attacks that have killed hundreds of people in the country.

Archbishop Lawrence John Saldanha, president of the Pakistani Catholic bishops’ conference, applauds and supports the decision. He explains to AsiaNews that “no religion approves of terrorism or suicide bombings.”

Malik Rehman, an adviser to the interior minister, has also praised the fatwa, and expresses his hope that it will discourage suicide attacks.

But the clerics are more critical of the government, which, they say, is pursuing the objectives of the United States, under the pretense of the war on terror. They are asking the government to suspend its military operations in tribal areas, and to seek negotiated solutions with the population there. They have also decided to send a delegation to the civil war areas of Bajaur and Swat, in order to get a more precise idea of the situation.

The group Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan and various politicians have asked that the alleged terrorists be allowed to speak in parliament, to explain their point of view.

The request has been criticized by Archbishop Saldanha, who does not believe that statements from people accustomed to spreading extremist ideas, and asserting their ideas through violence, would be useful.

The prelate says that he is “optimistic” that “this present secret session of the parliament would allow the politicians to make some good policies for the country.”

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


Makkah Hotels Too Expensive for Nepali Muslims

The demolition of low-cost pilgrims’ hostels in the holy city will prevent Nepali Muslims from performing the traditional hajj pilgrimage. Finding a solution is proving difficult and is generating tensions between Prachanda’s Maoist-led government and some Nepali Muslim leaders.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — Nepali Muslims might not make it this year to the traditional Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah. The gates to the city might be closed after Saudi authorities decided to shut down the more dilapidated buildings in Kawasaripha, accommodation hub for visiting pilgrims, in order to build new ones. The decision is aimed at improving crowd controls for the millions of pilgrims who come, but it has a negative impact on low-income pilgrims who can only afford cheap accommodations.

Hajj, the once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Makkah, is the fifth pillar of Islam, a duty for every practicing Muslim. For would-be hajjis the cost of finding lodgings in the holy city would top US$ 800. Accustomed to spending US$ 200 at most, Nepali Muslims can hardly afford the new prices.

Still pilgrim safety in Makkah remains a top priority, especially at pilgrimage time. Last year, at least 345people were killed in a stampede during the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual.

In Nepal Muslims represent 3.5 per cent of the population of 24 million. In 2007 405 of them left Kathmandu for the holy city. This year that number might drop to only 33.

Nepali authorities have tried to find a solution with their Saudi counterpart but no solution has been forthcoming yet and there is little time left. This year the month of Dhu l-hijjah when hajj takes places starts on 30 November.

The Saudis rejected a proposal to house Nepali pilgrims in accommodations farther from Makkah. In view of the situation the former chief of the Nepali Hajj Committee, Izharul Haq Mikrani, sarcastically said that “not all Nepali pilgrims can afford to live in five-star hotels.”

Nepal’s domestic situation is also complicating matters. Under the country’s Maoist leader, Prachanda, Nepal is trying to follow more secular-oriented policies, far from Muslim leaders’ guidelines.

Some Muslim leaders have complained that the government appointed (on 25 September) the wrong man, Taj Mahammad Miya, to head the Hajj Committee.

According to Nazrul Hasan Falahi Ameer, chairman of the Islamic Sangh Nepal and assistant secretary general to Inter-religious Council, the “Hajj Committee should be headed by a person who adheres to a true Islamic ethos.”

“I disagree with how the government proceeded to select committee chairman and members,” he said before complaining that the selection process “is all based on nepotism, favouritism and political affiliation.”

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


Malaysian Government Bans Hindu Movement

The Hindu Rights Action Force has been declared illegal, because it “threatens social stability” in the country and “constitute an obstacle to relations between the Muslim majority and the ethnic minorities.” The accusations are rejected by the Hindus, who defend their “peaceful struggle.”

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Malaysian authorities have banned an ethnic Indian group that, in the past, has repeatedly promoted campaigns on behalf of human rights for minorities. Government officials have declared the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) illegal because it threatens “social stability in the country.”

Interior minister Syed Hamid Albar has declared that the association is “an illegal group,” effective immediately, because it is “harmful” for public order, peace, security, and morality. The minister says that Hindraf has been responsible in the past for repeated “unauthorized demonstrations,” and has damaged the image of Malaysia by calling for “international support for its activities.” He also specifies that the group “was not even registered,” and constitutes a threat “to the fragile relations between the Muslim majority in the country and the Chinese and Indian ethnic minorities.”

Leaders of the Hindu movement have replied curtly by defending their “peaceful struggle against discrimination toward the Indian minority,” and say they have never “broken the law or committed crimes.”

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

Australia — Pacific

Airport Admits ‘Strip Search’ Body Scanners Will Show People Naked

New ‘strip search’ full body scanners being trialled in Australia will show people’s private parts, officials have admitted.

But to spare their blushes, the faces of passengers will be blurred.

Domestic travellers leaving Melbourne airport over the next six weeks will be asked to test the new security scanners that can see through clothing.

The X-ray backscatter body scanner has been described by critics as a “virtual strip search.”

The scanner is similar to one that was trialled at Paddington station in London in 2006 in direct response to the tube bombings in July 2005.

Similar systems have also been tested at Gatwick airport.

The new scanner is designed to show people concealing weapons — but it will show a lot more than that, airport chiefs have admitted

Cheryl Johnson, general manager of the Office of Transport Security, said:’ It will show the private parts of people, but what we’ve decided is that we’re not going to blur those out, because it severely limits the detection capabilities. ‘

‘It is possible to see genitals and breasts while they’re going through the machine, though,’ she admitted

However, Ms Johnson said there were a number of measures in place to tackle concerns about privacy.

“The faces are automatically blurred and … it’s only a chalk-style outline, it’s not as invasive as some of the other equipment that we’ve got,” she said.

The scanner uses a low energy X-ray to reveal any objects, metal or otherwise, under a person’s clothing, including body features.

The testing will be entirely voluntary during the trial, which is being undertaken to test how the new scanners would affect the flow of passengers through the security point.

“It does see through clothing, but it’s not a photographic image, it’s a low-energy X-ray that reflects off the skin,” added Ms Johnson.

“The security officer that’s looking at it is located away from the screening lane, so there’s no comparison of the person walking through and the image.

‘The images are not saved, you literally walk through, the screener hits a button to say clear and the image goes.”

The new scanners will be tested at Melbourne Airport alongside ‘next generation’ baggage X-ray machines that can detect explosives in luggage.

[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Spain-Cuba: Madrid Studies Aid Plan for 400 Mln Euro

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, 15 OCTOBER — A reconstruction plan for the Cuban regions which were devastated by hurricanes Ike and Gustav and credit for infrastructures and consumption goods for a total of 400 million euro: this is the plan the Spanish government is examining in support of Cuba, presented yesterday by Spanish Foreign Minster Miguel Angel Moratinos and his Cuban colleague Felipe Perez Roque, after a meeting in Madrid, as reported today in the press. The Spanish government has shown “a positive attitude” towards Havanàs request, though the details of the plan will be discussed with a Cuban delegation which will visit Madrid in the coming weeks. A “blank cheque of confidence” in the Cuban government, according to El Pais, which also reports Roqués uncompromising position expressed in his reply to the question if the timid measures of liberalisation adopted by Raul Castro will lead to a democratisation of the regime. “If by reform you mean a process in which Cuba gives up socialism” said Roque “then the response is no”. Moratinos, in turn, announced that Premier José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has accepted an invitation of Raul Castro to visit Cuba in 2009. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Venezuela’s Government Looking to Establish New 6-Hour Workday

CARACAS, Venezuela — The government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is planning to establish a six-hour workday.

Labour Minister Roberto Hernandez says he will propose a bill this year to reduce the workday, improve employee benefits and establish “more forceful” penalties for businesses that violate labour laws.

The president’s allies hold a majority within the National Assembly and most bills proposed by Chavez’s administration are approved.

Chavez presented the same proposal as part of a constitutional reform package that voters rejected last December.

Before the vote, some business owners warned that reducing the workday would force them to cut jobs or close down.

[Return to headlines]

Immigration

Immigration: Documentary You Won’t Find in Movie Theatres

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 9 — The hell — arrests, violence, connivance between police and traffickers — suffered in Libya by migrants (more than 95,000 between 2006 and 2007) coming from other parts of Africa with the dream of Europe or further, is relived through stories, testimonies, interviews in the documentary ‘Come un uomo sulla terra’ by Andrea Segre, Riccardo Biadene and Dagmawi Yimer, Ethiopian immigrants who came to our country in 2007. The film (sponsored by the Associazione Asinitas Onlus, and filmed by the group Zalab), which blames Italy indirectly for the situation in Libya, won the Salina doc Fest in September and is currenly looking for distributors. “We have contacted RAI, Istituto Luce, Lucky Red, Fandango” explained Andrea Segre in Rome where the film was shown at the Cinema Aquila “it is not easy, for political reasons”. Among the film’s themes are the illegal immigration agreements between Libya and Italy from 2003, leading to the latest agreement signed by Berlusconi and Gheddafi. “Myopia is the Italian government’s biggest crime, for small political events, we are assuming a responsibility which will prove very serious.” It is Italian money for example which paid for the building of the Kufrah prison where migrants are detained, and victims of deprivation, physical, and in the case of women, sexual violence. “We are asking Italy to put into practice respect for human rights regarding the agreement with Libya” explained Dagmawi “but this country which I love and where I want to stay is dispensing with this responsibility. Just giving money to stop the flow of immigrants is not the behaviour of a democracy.” Dagmawi, 24, a law student in his country and now an Italian teacher in Asinitas where he met Segre and Biadene, recounts his journey in the film. From his departure from Ethiopia in 2005 (“I left without saying goodbye, I was scared of displeasing my father”) to his long journey on a crammed lorry in the desert, to the terrible months in Libya where he was arrested several times, sold to traffickers for 30 dinars and rearrested, to his departure finally for Italy in July 2006. “My arrival in Lampedusa was the end of a nightmare. It was my moral duty to make this documentary, to give a voice to all those who no longer have one, those whose rights are still being trampled on.” Fikirte, Senait, Negga tell similar stories. “Here the politicians wave the landings at Lampedusa to create panic about immigration — even though 18,000 people arrive there every year, a tenth of Italy’s quota for immigration which is 180,000 units” said Segre “but I am really happy about the interest which different parts of Italy is showing in the film. We have already booked at least 20 showings up to February. It is a sign that an Italy which wants to face this reality exists. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Immigration: Maroni, 27,417 Arrivals in 2008

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 15 — 27,417 illegal immigrants arrived in 2008 (figures updated on 9 October): there were 17,200 in the same period for 2007, while in the whole of 2007 the figure was 20,450, said Interior Minister Roberto Maroni during a hearing at the Schengen Council. The reasons for the increase, according to Maroni were the search for “good climate conditions and fewer controls by Libya, despite two agreements (last December with the Prodi government and 30 September with Berlusconi)”. With the enforcement of the agreement signed on 30 August by Silvio Berlusconi and Muhammar Gheddafi, the arrivals from Libya should fall to zero. “Until Libya gives the go-ahead it is as if the agreement didn’t exist and I was expecting more commitment on their part”. In 2008, said the Minister, a good 306 out of 325 of the boats landing in Sicily came from Libya. And out of 27,417 immigrants, 22,454 arrived on Lampedusa. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Immigration: Landings on Lampedusa, 650 in Only a Few Hours

(ANSAmed) — LAMPEDUSA (AGRIGENTO), OCTOBER 16 — After an Italian police patrol vessel has intercepted a dinghy with 120 illegal immigrants on board, including 40 women, 8 miles south of the isle of Lampedusa, two more rafts carrying illegal migrants landed this morning. About 300 of the people onboard were stopped on land near Cala Croce by port authorities. The non-EU migrants have been taken to temporary detention centres, where identification procedures are underway. In addition, 239 others, including 51 women and 4 children, have been stopped by the Minerva corvette of the Military Marine, after being found travelling on a large raft 25 miles south of the island. They are all in good condition and are soon to be taken onto a coastal guard patrol boat which will be bringing them to land. O ver the night 132 other migrants, including 49 women, were taken in by a Financial Guard patrol boat when they were found on a rubber dinghy drifting at sea eight miles south of the island. (ANSAmed).

(ANSAmed) — LAMPEDUSA (AGRIGENTO), OCTOBER 16 — After an Italian police patrol vessel has intercepted a dinghy with 120 illegal immigrants on board, including 40 women, 8 miles south of the isle of Lampedusa, two more rafts carrying illegal migrants landed this morning. About 300 of the people onboard were stopped on land near Cala Croce by port authorities. The non-EU migrants have been taken to temporary detention centres, where identification procedures are underway. In addition, 239 others, including 51 women and 4 children, have been stopped by the Minerva corvette of the Military Marine, after being found travelling on a large raft 25 miles south of the island. They are all in good condition and are soon to be taken onto a coastal guard patrol boat which will be bringing them to land. O ver the night 132 other migrants, including 49 women, were taken in by a Financial Guard patrol boat when they were found on a rubber dinghy drifting at sea eight miles south of the island. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy: Separate Classes for Immigrant Pupils ‘Discriminatory’ Says MP

Rome, 15 Oct. (AKI) — An MP for the ruling People of Freedom party, on Wednesday slammed a newly approved government measure that will allow schools to have separate classes for immigrant children who fail admission tests for Italian state schools.

“I say no to such classes because I consider them discriminatory towards immigrant children,” Moroccan-born Souad Sbai, told Adnkronos International (AKI).

She abstained from a vote by MPs on Tuesday in favour of the measure, which was put forward by the People of Freedom party’s coalition partner, the anti-immigrant Northern League.

The separate classes for immigrant children who fail language and ‘general evaluation’ tests for admission to mainstream schooling will will help them integrate and will counter racism, the Northern League claims.

It also wants mainstream classrooms to contain a ‘proportionate’ number of Italian and immigrant pupils.

“As woman with foreign origins, who has for years fought against Muslim extremists’ plans for separate Islamic schools, I could not vote for a measure that will divide immigrant schoolchildren from their peers.

“We do not agree with the creation of separate classrooms for immigrant pupils because it means splitting up the children and creating ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams,” Sbai said.

She said would prefer to see extra lessons after school or during the summer holidays to help immigrant children who need to catch up with their classwork.

Sbai, who is the leader of Italy’s Association of Moroccan Women, said she has already received negative feedback on the move to create separate classes from female cultural mediators who help immigrant pupils in Italian state schools.

She and another conservative female MP, Alessandra Mussolini, intend to discuss the issue with Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini, Sbai said.

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

General

China: Contaminated Milk, Lebanon Bans Imports

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, OCTOBER 13 — The Lebanese Minister for Agriculture has banned imports of milk powder and its derivatives from China following the discovery of contaminated products in the country. The news was reported by the Beirut ICE office, adding that the products containing the adulterated Chinese milk have been withdrawn from the Lebanese market. According to Lebanese customs statistics, imports of Chinese milk powder amount to 380 tons for a value of 1.5 million dollars. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Contaminated Chinese Products Found

Three samples of milk and yoghurt positive for melamine

(ANSA) — Rome, October 16 — Three cases of Chinese dairy products contaminated by the toxic chemical melamine have been found in Italy, Welfare Undersecretary Francesca Martini said Thursday.

Two samples of milk taken from a Chinese food shop in Modugno, near Bari, and a sample of yoghurt from a similar shop at Poggio Marino, near Naples, both tested positive for melamine, Martini said.

Health police had been checking businesses that import or distribute Chinese foods in the wake of the contaminated milk scandal that broke in China in September, when thousands of babies fell ill and at least four died after drinking melamine-tainted formula.

Italian health police commander Cosimo Piccinno said the levels of melamine in the samples found in Italy were between 3 and 22 milligrams per kilogram, while the limit for acceptable levels had been set at 2.5 milligrams.

‘‘These aren’t lethal quantities, but they are harmful,’’ Piccinno said, adding that the fact that the products could have been consumed by children was of particular concern.

Melamine, which is used in making plastics, makes products appear to have a higher nutritional value.

It can cause kidney stones and renal failure, particularly among children.

Silvio Borrello, the welfare ministry’s food safety chief, stressed that there had been no reports of melamine-related ailments from citizens.

The three Italian samples brought the total number of cases in which Chinese food has tested positive for melamine in the European Union to 26.

When news of the scandal broke the EU took steps to ban the entry of Chinese baby food containing milk powder and to otherwise reduce consumption of Chinese milk products.

Martini said all three of the contaminated samples were ‘‘the consequence of illegal imports of Chinese food products destined for ethnic shops’’.

‘‘The situation is under control, but the government will stay on high alert and continue checks,’’ she said.

Martini added that the government was planning to limit access points for Chinese food entering the country to four — the ports of Genoa and Naples as well as Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino airports — to facilitate controls.

Police have checked 855 businesses that import or distribute Chinese products and have taken 127 samples, although results for only 48 samples have been processed so far.

In a separate case, Italian police on Thursday confiscated a tonne of Chinese milk and 300 kilograms of Chinese mozzarella from a warehouse in Naples thought to have entered the country illegally.

Martini said tests for melamine contamination would take 10 days.

Agriculture Minister Luca Zaia said that while the Chinese community should not fear being discriminated against, there would be ‘zero tolerance’ against people who adulterated food.

‘‘Everyone should know that anyone who breaks the law and tries to poison Italian consumers will be severely punished,’’ he said.

Around 15,000 cans of Chinese spaghetti were confiscated from a warehouse in Florence on Wednesday after police discovered live insects inside them.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Orhan Pamuk: ‘I’m for Europe, Democracy and Freedom of Opinion’

Turkish novelist and Noble laureate Orhan Pamuk speaks with SPIEGEL about his new novel “The Museum of Innocence,” memory, Turkey’s longing to be part of Europe and the price he pays for championing Europe and democracy in his country.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Pamuk, in your most recent work, you describe the joys and sorrows of the son of a businessman in the 1970s. While describing the love that your protagonist, Kemal, has for a young relative, you are also drawing a critical portrait of Turkey. With more than 500 pages, “The Museum of Innocence” is by far your largest work. Do you also consider it your most important work, your magnum opus?

Orhan Pamuk: My ex-wife, with whom I’m very friendly, had also read the book. She made a comment I agree with. She said: “Oh, you wrote everything you knew about.” She’s right.

SPIEGEL: You describe the milieu in which you grew up, the upper class of Istanbul.

Pamuk: The book covers 50 years of a portrait of the upper classes. There are also the lower classes, but it is prominently a portrait of Turkey’s ruling bourgeoisie. There is a sort of broken, hesitating, strange bourgeoisie in Turkey — half suppressed, half victim, half aggressively arrogant. It’s a very little group of people; it’s their portrait. Through them, I had a glimpse of the spirit of the nation, so to speak, of the big cultural problems of Turkey…

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Terrorism and Scandinavia: Quo Vadis?

The current conventional wisdom is that the unfolding global financial crisis will shift the political priorities agenda away from international terrorism concerns.

Make no mistake. Both of these plagues will continue to afflict humanity in the coming months and years. No community, nation or region is immune from their dire economic and strategic implications, including Scandinavia.

Consider the marked deterioration of the security situation during the past several years in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Since Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and subsequent bombings in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005, radicalization, extremism and violence in the region have intensified.

Two major trends have contributed to this development. First is the branching of al-Qaida — the most dangerous international network aiming to establish a worldwide Sharia government under the rule of the Caliphs — into Scandinavia.

This framework has continuously provided for formal and informal collaboration with various affiliate organizations present in the region, such as Ansar al-Islam, Ansar al-Sunna, al-Aqsa, Hizbut-Tahrir, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic combatant groups, Islamic Jihad, and Chechnyan ‘freedom fighters.’

The modus operandi utilized by the network consists of theological alliances, propaganda programs, recruitment efforts, fundraising activities, arms purchasing, training, intelligence missions, operational planning and execution, and safe-haven sanctuaries.

Another contributing factor that contains an escalated risk of Scandinavian-based violence is the decentralization trend the jihadist movement is currently undergoing; that is, ‘homegrown’ terrorist groups are developing everywhere in the region consisting predominantly of second and third generation Muslim immigrants with foreign affinity theological and strategic ambitions.

These indigenous bodies are indoctrinated by inspirational communications through jihadist chat rooms and Islamic Web sites employing anti-Western and anti-Semitic propaganda, radical preaching in some mosques, and wide distribution of militant videos and hatred-based material.

It is the existence of these two trends that fostered various terrorist activities in the region and beyond. In Denmark, two individuals are currently on trial charged with planning an attack involving explosives in Copenhagen. Danish courts previously convicted three men for plotting a bomb attack and a Danish citizen for involvement in a terror scheme uncovered in Bosnia. In addition, a Danish citizen born in Morocco was found guilty of terrorism incitement.

Moreover, as a result of the Mohammed cartoons controversy in late 2005, Denmark became a target of worldwide radical Islamist propaganda. These events culminated with attacks against its embassies in Syria, Libya and Iran, mass demonstrations, and consumer boycotts against Danish products in several Middle Eastern countries. In June 2008, the Danish embassy in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, was also destroyed in a bomb explosion.

Unlike Denmark, apparently there is a lower risk of terrorism directed at Sweden. The concern there is about the potential radicalization of immigrant communities and refugee populations. Suffice to mention that a Bosnian-born Swede conspired to commit terrorist acts against Western targets, a Lebanese-born Swedish national planned to establish an Islamic training camp in the United States, and a Moroccan-born Swedish citizen was involved in a recruitment network for foreign jihadis in Iraq…

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

3 comments:

Brian H said...

Here's a slightly post-dated reminder of an event as important as the Gates of Vienna victory: [October 7,] 1571, the year of the battle of Lepanto, the most important naval contest in human history.

If you doubt the need for a new Divine Breath, the Dirty Bomb Tanker that is full of Chinese radioactive sand for dispersal over Israel is now back out on the open seas: Iran's Dirty Bomb.

Darrin said...

What the hell was an Anglican church doing hosting an Islamic service? Have they stopped reading their Bibles?

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Well, of course they have. They're anglicans.