Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/4/2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/4/2008The best headlines tonight are all election-related: “Arab Press Expecting ‘Historic Change’”, “Europe Rooting for Obama”, and “Nudist Group Wants Clothing-Optional Polling”.

Thanks to Abu Elvis, C. Cantoni, Fausta, Flyboy, Insubria, Srdja Trifkovic, Steen, TB, turn, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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USA
Europe Rooting for Obama
Michael Ledeen: Election Thoughts
Nudist Group Wants Clothing-Optional Polling
Obama-Farrakhan Ties Are Close, Ex-Farrakhan Aide Says
US Vote: Arab Press Expecting ‘Historic Change’
 
Europe and the EU
‘An Unsuitable Instrument’ for Sex Offenders
EU: France Deficit Above 3%; Almunia, Don’t Ignore Pact
Islamic Festival Named as Dutch Tradition
Israel: Frattini, for Rome Direct Existence Non-Negotiable
Lord Bingham: ‘No Reason’ to Exclude Sharia
New Political Party Takes Its First Steps
Rabbi and Jewish Students Abused in Berlin
Spain: Bin Laden’s Son Seeks Asylum After Visa Rejection
Sweden’s New Halal-TV Courts Controversy
 
Balkans
Croatia: Murdered Journalists, Several Held
Serbia: Minister, Population Hostage of Mladic
 
Mediterranean Union
Egypt: EU Boosts Scientific Research
EU Parliament Dedicates a Week to Arab World
Italy-Libya: Geddafi’s Son, We Want Military Cooperation
Mediterranean Union: Accord on Arab League, Israel Concedes
Mideast: Napolitano, We Are Atlanticists With Differences
 
North Africa
Egypt: Professors Oppose Enrolment of Christian Students
 
Israel and the Palestinians
Arieh Eldad Launches New Right Secular Party in Israel: Ha’tikvah (‘The Hope’)
Israel: Rabin’s Assassin, TV Cancels Interview Broadcast
Israel: Government Cuts Off Aid to Illegal Settlements
 
Middle East
Iran: Protests Mark Anniversary of US Embassy Siege
Syria: Diliberto Condemns USA Raid During Visit
Tehran, Abu Dhabi Set Up Joint Committee on Economy, Disputed Islands
 
South Asia
Malaysia: Sodomy Charges Against Anwar ‘Ridiculous’, Says Wife
Thailand: at Least One Killed and 70 Injured in Bomb Attacks in South
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
Barack Obama’s Kenyan Family to Celebrate by Slaughtering Bulls, Chicken and Goats
Danish Navy Stops Pirates
 
Immigration
Asylum Seekers ‘Should Live Near Jobs’
Illegal Immigrant Who Killed Brilliant Oxford Graduate Can’t be Deported… Because of His Human Rights
Immigration: Yemen; Bodies 60 Africans Found on Beach
Journalism: Aljarida, Free Italo-Arabic Paper in Milan
 
Culture Wars
Human Rights: EU Urges Turkey to Set Up Child Courts
 
General
Belarus-Libya: Gaddafi to Minsk, Agreement With Lukashenko
USA Vote; Israel, Haaretz Shows Obama as ‘Super-Star’

USA

Europe Rooting for Obama

by Srdja Trifkovic

In Europe, which I’ve been visiting for the past month, no American presidential election since 1960 has been followed with such interest, passion even, as this one. All over the Continent, with the irrelevant exception of Georgia, the elite class is rooting for Obama and hoi polloi are following the lead. When Obama toured Europe last July he was courted by political leaders as if he were already in the White House, while a crowd of 200,000 in Berlin gave him a frenzied welcome not seen since that Ich bin ein Berliner speech.

That leftist radicals and neo-Marxists who run the European Union adore Obama is normal. They, too, are dirigiste statists and therefore like his desire to tax and redistribute wealth and create an ever more dependent welfariat. They share with him the assumtions about man and society — especially a society based on European heritage — that are essentially revolutionary. After eight years of “the culturally alien” Bush, “the transatlantic relationship needs a positive figure with which it can identify,” says Thomas Klau of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Western Europe’s political leaders and bien-pensants can identify with Obama and especially the color of his skin because they are ashamed of their whiteness. They share his hostility to any form of European or, in America’s case, Euro-derived ethnic or cultural coherence, which is flatly equated with “racism.” Even the Economist of London subscribes to this view. Obama’s victory, it opined, “would salve, if not close, the ugly wound left by America’s history.”

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]


Michael Ledeen: Election Thoughts

What makes me angriest: that there is no outcry against election fraud; that the media have become pure political instruments; that our “educational system” has produced an ignorant electorate.

Years and years ago, during Watergate, Barbara and I were living in Rome, and we had lots of journalist friends (I was then a correspondent for The New Republic, so…we saw lots of Italian journalists). They were all openly jealous of America, because they saw American journalism as clearly superior to theirs. American journalists reported, while they, the Italians, were doing politics. “We could bring down our entire Political Class,” they would say, “we all have information so devastating that no politician could survive,” but they didn’t publish it, because they didn’t see an acceptable alternative. We would tell them that their job was not to make political decisions, but to report the news, and let the people decide. But they couldn’t; they were doing politics. And we felt superior, because American journalism, we thought, just reported the news and let the people decide.

Well, that’s over and done with now. Never before has the ignorance of the electorate been so intensely cultivated as in this election…

           — Hat tip: turn[Return to headlines]


Nudist Group Wants Clothing-Optional Polling

Video here: http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=212233

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (AP) — A nudist community on Florida’s west coast wants to establish the first clothing-optional polling site. The Caliente Resorts, located in Pasco County north of Tampa, has approached election officials about the idea.

Nothing in state law would prohibit it, but the supervisor of elections says he is opposed to creating any new precincts before redistricting in 2010.

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis[Return to headlines]


Obama-Farrakhan Ties Are Close, Ex-Farrakhan Aide Says

By Kenneth R. Timmerman

A former top deputy to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan tells Newsmax that Barack Obama’s ties to the black nationalist movement in Chicago run deep, and that for many years the two men have had “an open line between them” to discuss policy and strategy, either directly or through intermediaries.

“Remember that for years, if you were a politician in Chicago, you had to have some type of relationship with Louis Farrakhan. You had to. If you didn’t, you would be ostracized out of black Chicago,” said Dr. Vibert White Jr., who spent most of his adult life as a member and ultimately top officer of the Nation of Islam.

White broke with the group in 1995 and is now a professor of African-American history at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

White said Obama was “part of the Chicago scene” where Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and radicals would go to each other’s events and support each other’s causes.

“Even though Chicago is the third-largest city in the country, within the black community, the political and militant nationalist community is very small. So it wouldn’t be uncommon for [Obama and Farrakhan] to show up at events together, or at least be there and communicate with each other,” White told Newsmax.

The Anti-Defamation League has denounced Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam as a “hate group.”

           — Hat tip: Fausta[Return to headlines]


US Vote: Arab Press Expecting ‘Historic Change’

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, NOVEMBER 04 — A large part of the Arab press is today applying the epithet “historic” to the US presidential elections in their headlines today, along with the substantive “change”. International Arab daily, al Hayat, uses both words, writing that “America is on the threshold of a historic change”, while another pan-Arab paper, Asharq al Awsat, stresses how “all the eyes of the world are trained on the USA”. Saudi newspaper, al Watan, poses itself the question whether “this evening the USA will have a black president or an arsenal of conservatives”, while in Lebanon, an Nahar states that “the USA is no the threshold of a historic day: black or white”, and as-Safir believes that the elections represent “a peaceful revolution which is changing the face of the world”. For al Akbar “The USA is changing its colour today”. Jordan’s al Rai speaks of “Historic elections today in the USA”, while in Syria the papers have kept a low profile in their headlines, stressing that Barak Obama is ahead of John McCain, but also that “surprises are possible”. In the Gulf, the event is signalled in the headlines of all the papers, but they are all in much the same key, without much imagination and little editorial comment, limited to commenting developments in the electoral campaign. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

‘An Unsuitable Instrument’ for Sex Offenders

EU Politicians Angered By Polish Chemical Castration Plan

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk wants to pass a law that would impose “chemical castration” on pedophiles. Politicians at the European Parliament in Brussels have raised their objections to the proposal, but there is little the EU can do to stop it.

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk: “I want to introduce the toughest possible laws against criminals who rape children.”

At first it appeared to be just an overly emotional lapse in judgment on the part of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, but now it’s official. The Polish government wants to pass a law that would force convicted pedophiles to be chemically castrated.

An incest case in the outskirts of the eastern Polish village of Grodzisk triggered the current debate. Police recently arrested a 45-year-old man who allegedly sexually abused his daughter for six years. His 21-year-old daughter claims she gave birth to two children sired by her father.

The news appalled Tusk. “I don’t believe that such individuals, such creatures, can be called human,” he said. “In this case one can’t even argue on behalf of human rights.” He wants to impose “chemical castration” as a punishment in Poland. In his words, castration would not come “at the request of the convict, but rather as a part of the verdict.” The forced punishment would apply “mainly to pedophiles, particularly those who have no hope of reform.”

“Pure Populism”

Poland’s Health and Justice Ministry is currently drafting the needed changes to the country’s penal code, and Tusk hopes to have a forced castration bill prepared for parliament by October. “I want to introduce the toughest possible laws against criminals who rape children,” Tusk said last week.

Christoph Joseph Ahlers views the Polish plan as the product of “pure populism.” The clinical sexual psychologist is co-founder of the Dunkelfeld Prevention Project at the Institute for Sexual Medicine at Charité Hospital in Berlin, Germany and works there as a therapist consultant.

It’s also still unclear who Prime Minister Tusk is actually targeting with his bill. One minute he speaks of “pedophiles” and of “criminals who rape children” and the next it’s “convicts” who need forced castration…

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


EU: France Deficit Above 3%; Almunia, Don’t Ignore Pact

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 3 — The EU pact of stability and growth “is still active, it should not be ignored but put into action with the flexibility provided” said EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Joaquin Almunia, stressing that Euroland’s public finances “must remain under control, even if they are hit by a financial crisis which will inevitably lead to an increase in public spending”. In 2009 “there will be a significant worsening in the situation” of European public finances, with some countries at risk of going back above 3% in the deficit-GDP ratio. According to predictions by the European Commission, France will reach this in 2009 (3.5%) and in 2010 (3.8%). “If these estimates are confirmed” said Almunia “it will be necessary to resort to measures beyond those recommended by the Commission during its time in France”. Germany however is doing well, showing a deficit of 0.2% in 2009 and 0.5% in 2010 despite the crisis. This softens data on GDP which predicts Berlin at zero growth in 2009. “I am convinced” said Almunia “that the German economy will recover because in better economic times they managed to drastically reduce their deficit, so they have bigger margins to put in place automatic stabilising measures and confront the crisis”. The EU Commission is opening a case against Ireland for breaches, who closed 2008 with a super deficit of 5.5% and which, according to EU executive predictions, will rise to 6.8% in 2009 and 7.2% in 2010. Outside the Euro zone, the UK’s deficit is also climbing rapidly, closing 2008 at 4.2% and arriving at 5.6% in 2009 and 6.5% in 2010. Spain, providing there are no policy changes, will reach 3% in 2010 (3.2%) and will close 2009 at 2.9%. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Islamic Festival Named as Dutch Tradition

THE HAGUE, 04/11/08 — The Sugar Feast, which marks the end of the Islamic fasting month Ramadan, comes 14th on a league table of Dutch traditions. The list was drawn up by the Dutch Centre for Folk Culture.

The centre (Nederlands Centrum voor Volkscultuur, NCV) asked several thousand people to put forward traditions that they considered important for themselves or for the Netherlands as a whole. No shortlist of options was drawn up in advance. The results, a top 100, were announced at the opening of the Year of the Traditions by Queen Beatrix in Hilversum.

Number one in the top 100 is the feast of Sinterklaas. This Dutch precursor of Santa Claus, celebrated each year on 5 December, is followed on the list by the decoration of a Christmas Tree. In third place is Queen’s Day on 30 April.

The Sugar Feast is surprisingly number fourteen on the list, apparently due to contributions from Muslims. Also, the circumcision of boys, which does not traditionally take place in the Netherlands, is number 74. Also surprising was the fact that the national anthem, the Wilhelmus, did not occur in the top 100.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Israel: Frattini, for Rome Direct Existence Non-Negotiable

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 23 — “The right of existence and security of Israel is non-negotiable: this is the strategic pilaster of Italian foreign policy”. With this assurance, Italy’s Foreign minister Franco Frattini presented today at the Foreign Ministry the “Discussion of coordination for the development of bilateral relations between Italy and Israel”. A declared objective of this initiative is the promotion of economic opportunities giving a great deal of attention to scientific collaborations and technology between the two countries. Also, for this reason, an Italian delegation will be in Israel this November, for what has been defined by the minister “a networking mission”. Among the objectives of the Discussion, is the development of cooperation between institutes and universities; a greater collaboration on Environmental topics and in the cultural and tourism sector. “We are thinking about a permanent forum — explained Frattini — where the two communities can meet each other and develop areas of common interest and exchange between university students”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Lord Bingham: ‘No Reason’ to Exclude Sharia

Muslim communities should have the right to decide their own disputes provided they are subject to our laws, one of Britain’s most senior legal figures has said.

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, who has recently stepped down as senior law lord, said he could see “no reason” why a devout Muslim, provided he or she was “acting voluntarily and without coercion”, should not choose to submit a family dispute to a Muslim cleric.

That would be no different from a Jewish family submitting their dispute to be decided by a Rabbi or a Christian to a Church of England to an Anglican priest or marriage counsellor, he said.

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But Lord Bingham, addressing the annual Bar Conference in London, made clear that there could be “no question” of any decision not being subject to the law of the country; nor of those involved forfeiting their rights to go to a court of law, he said.

He also emphasised that any such decision to have a dispute handled in this way as is already happening with Sharia councils in certain communities would have to be entirely voluntary.

Lord Bingham, who was making his first intervention on the controversial topic of the place of Sharia within the English legal system, said later that if a decision made within a local community came before the courts for approval, judges would have to ascertain — as they did in many cases — that the parties had not been put under pressure.

Last week Bridget Prentice, a Justice Minister, said that people who had disputes decided under Sharia law had the option of having them brought before judges to be ratified.

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, later made clear in a separate speech that there was no question that Sharia rulings were subject to UK laws and could not take precedence.

Lord Bingham said that it was encumbent in an increasingly diverse and multi-racital society that the “legal system should operate in an inclusive way and that everyone should feel it belongs to them”.

Diversity in Britain had always existed and any notion of it as a “pure-bred, monoglot, homogeneous society” could be dismissed as fantasy, he said.

But four changes had occured in recent decades: first, those coming from abroad to settle in the UK in the past half century vastly outnumbered previous groups of immigrants.

Second, they came from societies — particularly the Indian subcontinent, Caribbean and East Afria — “more different from our own than those from which most previous immigrants have come” and in very substantial numbers, which were concentrated in certain places.

The third factor was a tendency to recognise that even groups that had always been part of our society had specific rights, such as women and children, he said.

Finally there was much greater protection given to minority rights by international conventions and the right response to diverse interests of minorities as a matter of international obligation, he said.

What was the right legal response, he asked?

Lord Bingham rejected the “full-blooded assimilation” approach with minorities required to conform to the customsm, religion or language of the majority.

But equally unacceptable was an approach that gave minorities “an unfettered right to indulge their own customary, cultural or religious practices no matter how offensive these might be to the traditions of the majority”.

“We would not be willing to tolerate the binding of women’s feet . . .. however important this may have once been to Chinese cultural tradition.”

The appropriate legal response must lie between the two extremes, he said — a policy described as “cultural pluralism within limits”.

“In other words, membesr of minority communities should be permitted and encouraged to follow their own cultural, religious, linguistic and customary traditions up to, but not beyond, the point at which some significant majority value is jeopardised.”

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


New Political Party Takes Its First Steps

A new party on Saturday entered Switzerland’s political arena, formalising the divisions within the rightwing Swiss People’s Party over the past two years.

Among those to join the ranks of the Conservative Democratic Party were two cabinet ministers — Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Samuel Schmid — and five parliamentarians.

Few people could have foreseen that parliament’s refusal in December to re-elect Justice Minister Christoph Blocher, the strongman of the People’s Party, would have resulted in a new political grouping.

The episode fuelled long-running divisions between the conservative nationalist wing of the party, linked to Blocher, and the moderates associated with Widmer-Schlumpf and Defence Minister Schmid.

The conflict resulted in the exclusion of the party’s Graubünden chapter in June after it refused to eject Widmer-Schlumpf — who the party had earlier accused of colluding with the centre-left Social Democrats to take Blocher’s place in the government.

As a result, Schmid and allies in the People’s Party Bern chapter decided to break away from the national party. Divisions followed in the Graubünden and Glarus chapters.

The rebel branches formed the basis of the new party over the summer. On the agenda of the party assembly in Glarus on Saturday will be the election of party leaders.

Defections

The new party has about 4,000 members spread over the three cantonal branches, says Hans Grunder, the only presidential candidate. The base is expected to expand to include two additional cantonal chapters in Aargau and Thurgau.

In its repatriation to the new party, the Graubünden branch brought two representatives in the cantonal government and 30 of the 32 parliamentarians…

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


People’s Party Reverses Stand on Labour Treaty

The Swiss People’s Party, which holds the most seats in parliament, says it will fight the continuation and extension of a labour treaty with the European Union.

Wednesday’s decision is an about face for the leadership of the rightwing party, which only this summer said it would not support a referendum opposing the free movement of people accord and extending it to Bulgaria and Romania.

Swiss voters will have the final say on February 8, 2009, and three of the four parties in the government, as well as the business lobby, are recommending they accept the deal.

Leading opposition to the agreement is the youth wing of the People’s Party and small rightwing groups, which had collected enough signatures to force the referendum.

But overcoming the 50,000-signature hurdle was not easy since the People’s Party’s leadership did not support their campaign financially or logistically.

However, the party has had a change of heart and on Wednesday, party president Toni Brunner went on public radio to announce that it stood behind the campaign, calling on voters to say no to the deal.

At stake is the continuation of the labour treaty with 25 EU states and the extension of the accord to the two newest members, Bulgaria and Romania.

Both issues were put to parliament as a single package earlier this year since a majority of politicians were convinced that a rejection of the extension could prompt Brussels to stall existing bilateral treaties with Switzerland…

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


Rabbi and Jewish Students Abused in Berlin

A rabbi and eight rabbinical students were harassed and abused by two people in a passing car in Berlin on Saturday night. The attack comes as Germany continues working towards a parliamentary statement condemning anti-Semitism.

A rabbi and eight rabbinical students driving in a van in Berlin on Saturday were harassed and abused by two people in a passing car, German police said.

The car braked suddenly and reversed towards the van in the western district of Charlottenburg just after midnight on Sunday morning, police said in a statement. “The driver and passenger of the Mercedes repeatedly shouted out anti-Semitic insults from their vehicle.”

The 36-year-old rabbi then saw them set fire to an object and hurl it towards the van, the statement said. Police have launched an investigation.

More than 530 anti-Semitic criminal offences were registered in Germany in the first half of 2008 alone. There are frequent reports about Jewish sites getting vandalized and daubed with Nazi symbols.

On average, according to statistics cited by members of the federal parliament, one Jewish cemetery each week is vandalized in Germany.

The American Jewish Committee said it was shocked by the incident. “We denounce attacks of anti-Semitism and any aggression against religious dignitaries and sites and call upon law authorities to do their utmost to find and prosecute the perpetrators of such heinous crimes,” Deidre Berger, head of the group’s Berlin office, said in a statement.

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Since the beginning of the year, the political parties represented in the German parliament, the Bundestag, have been busy formulating a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in Germany. There have also been calls for the creation of a new post of ombudsman on anti-Semitism.

The idea was to have the resolution ready for the 70th anniversary of the Nov. 9, 1938 Nazi pogrom against Jews. But a political row ensued, with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) backing out of a joint resolution should it involve the participation of the far-left Left Party. On Friday, the CDU reached an agreement on the statement with its coalition partners, the Social Democrats, leaving other parties out in the cold.

In her Monday statement, Berger called for the idea of an ombudsman to be introduced. “The severity of the attack against the rabbi underlines the need for a government ombudsman for anti-Semitism to monitor incidents more closely and raise public awareness that anti-Semitism is an attack on democracy,” she said.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Spain: Bin Laden’s Son Seeks Asylum After Visa Rejection

Madrid, 4 Nov. (AKI) — Omar Bin Laden, son of the infamous Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, has asked Spain for political asylum after he was refused entry to live in the United Kingdom with his British wife, Zaina al-Sabah. Omar (photo) was being held at Madrid’s Barajas Airport late Monday after arriving on a Morocco-bound flight from Egypt. Spanish media reports say that authorities have decided to speed up his asylum claim process.

Seven months ago Omar attempted to secure a British visa in Cairo, but was turned down.

Omar’s wife, Zaina, is a 52-year-old British divorcee and Muslim convert, previously known as Jane Felix-Browne. The couple now lives in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Last February , Omar, whose full name is Omar Bin Osama Bin Muhammad Bin Awad Bin Laden spoke to Italian TV network LA7 on its programme called, ‘Nothing Personal’, and expressed his wish to meet Pope Benedict XVI.

“I would very much like to meet the Pope in St. Peter’s, but I have been told that it is not easy,” said Omar, who considers himself an ambassador for peace.

Omar, 27, is one of 19 children of the Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, who tops US President Bush’s most wanted list.

The younger bin Laden said in previous interviews that a truce between the West and al-Qaeda is possible.

Zaina is Omar bin Laden’s second wife. He also has a wife in Saudi Arabia.

Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts remain unknown. He is accused of being behind a number of atrocities, including the 1998 bombing of two US embassies in East Africa and mastermind of the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 2001.

His Al-Qaeda network has been linked indirectly to bombings on the island of Bali in Indonesia and its capital Jakarta, as well as suicide attacks in north Africa and Turkey.

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


Sweden’s New Halal-TV Courts Controversy

A new programme launched on Monday by Sveriges Television (SVT) featuring three young Swedish Muslim women has sparked a heated debate about cultural norms and integration.

Controversy about Halal-TV erupted even before the first episode aired on Monday night when author and commentator Dilsa Demirbag-Sten, a Kurdish immigrant from Turkey who moved to Sweden at the age of six, pointed out that one of the show’s hosts had previously said she thought that stoning a woman to death was an appropriate punishment for adultery.

While the now 23-year-old Cherin Awad has since distanced herself from the comments she made five years ago, that didn’t stop Demirbag-Sten from questioning SVT’s decision to have Awad lead a programme about Muslim women in Sweden.

“There are many ways for public broadcasting to use high standards of journalism to address the diversity issues which affect the Muslim part of the population without reducing the group to deeply faithful, headscarf bearing, homophobic teetotalers who believe that women should be virgins until they are married and support stoning for adultery,” Demirbag-Sten wrote in a column published last week in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

In addition to Awad, a lawyer, Halal-TV also features 22-year-old doctor-to-be Dalia Azzam Kassem and 25-year-old dental hygienist Khadiga El Khabiry, all of whom were born in Sweden, but who have roots in different countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The show is meant to show how the three women view their Swedish homeland through the lens of their Muslim beliefs. SvD described Halal-TV as a “road trip” through Swedish society, with the three lead figures at the wheel which ultimately is meant to help deconstruct the often monolithic view of Muslims held by many Swedes.

“We are three individuals, and just like a Moderate and a Christian Democrat are both alike and different, we also have different opinions. Sometimes our views are similar, sometimes we get angry with one another and the programme heats up,” Azzam Kassem told SvD.

And the trio didn’t waste any time stirring things up in Halal-TV’s premiere episode, which examined class differences through segments filmed in two Stockholm suburbs, Danderyd, one of Sweden’s wealthiest, and Botkyra, one of the poorest.

In one of the segments, Awad and El Khabiry refuse to shake the hand of Aftonbladet newspaper columnist Carl Hamilton, electing instead to greet the guest by putting their hands on their chests, leaving Hamilton’s extended hand hanging in the air and prompting a sharp exchange.

“I’m sorry, you ought to shake my hand,” said Hamilton, according to a transcript published in the Expressen newspaper.

“That’s something I decide,” replied El Khabiry.

“No, I don’t think so!” Hamilton shot back.

The war of words escalated when Azzam Kassem then asked Hamilton what he thought a Swede who had converted to Islam ought to do.

“He should shake hands when in Sweden. If he can’t manage that then he can go live in a cave and be a hermit,” said Hamilton.

“It’s about how we live as Swedes. That’s how we socialize, we shake hands. It’s not we who are the problem. The problem is that you come here and don’t want to shake hands, so it’s actually you who are the problem.”

“We didn’t come here. I was born here,” El Khabiry reminded Hamilton.

Writing about the incident on Tuesday in a column in Aftonbladet, Hamilton asked, “Is it racist to want to shake hands with a Muslim?”

He further vented his frustration at not being told at the time that the exchange had been recorded, highlighting what he saw as the central issue behind the handshake controversy.

“Who should adapt to whom? For the hosts of Halal-TV, the answer is obvious. The handshaking majority in Sweden should adapt themselves to the Muslim-believing-non-handshaking minority,” he writes.

“I don’t have a problem with faithful Muslims or others who don’t want to shake hands. On the other hand I have a hard time understanding people who think that I’m discriminating against them because I want to greet them as most people are greeted in Sweden.”

Considerably fewer viewers, 295,000, tuned in to watch the Halal-TV than the 400,000 viewers producers had hoped would watch the new programme.

Reviewing the show in SvD, columnist Annina Rabe said “the confusion was total” and criticized the programme for being simplistic, bereft of statistics, and not addressing religion at all.

“Put simply, bad journalism,” she writes.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Balkans

Croatia: Murdered Journalists, Several Held

(ANSAmed) — ZAGREB, OCTOBER 27 — Croatian police have detained a number of people suspected of involvement in a mafia-style attack on Thursday evening, in which Ivo Pukanic, Director and owner of the weekly Nacional, and his close collaborator Niko Franjic were killed. The two journalists were killed in a suicide bomb attack in the centre of Zagreb. The website of Croatia’s main daily paper Jutranji list writes that those arrested are Croatian citizens whom police tracked down through clues found at the site of the explosion, and also through information linked to the investigation on the attempted murder of Pukanic last April. The paper said that former army and police officers were among those detained. The attack has led the Government to increase the battle against organised crime. A further 250 police have been placed in the Zagreb police headquarters. A new police unit was also created today, a few weeks earlier than planned, with the appointment of the directors, with the job of tackling organised crime, with a “declaration of all out war” on the part of political leaders. The unit will have the power to confiscate the property of those suspected of having links to organised crime in short timescales, powers which were not previously provided for by law. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Serbia: Minister, Population Hostage of Mladic

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, OCTOBER 29 — “A solution to the Ratko Mladic case is a priority for the Government because the whole of Serbia is being held hostage” said Minister Rasim Ljajic, President of the National Council for cooperation with the International Tribunal for former Yugoslavia. (TPI). “If we do not extradite Mladic to the Hague soon, the progress of Serbia into the European Union will be suspended” he said to daily Belgrade paper Vecernje novosti. “Holland is very clear and wants to see Mladic at the Hague” he added, saying that the Chief Prosecutor of the TPI, Serge Brammertz, will be in Belgrade on 17th November, three weeks before his report to the UN Security Council on cooperation by Serbia with the TPI on 10th December. Ratko Mladic, former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, charged with war crimes and the massacre in Srebrenica, the biggest since the Second World War, and the Croatian Serb Goran Hadzic, are the last two people wanted by the TPI. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

Egypt: EU Boosts Scientific Research

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, OCTOBER 20 — A delegation from the European Commission has visited the Minya University in southern Egypt, reports governemental paper Al Akhbar. The visitis is part of an European project to boost scientific research and education worldwide. Some 50 million euros have been allocated so far to this project. According to the paper, the European Commission will give Egypt 11 million euro to support scientific and educational systems. Priority will be given to research in the environment, space, medicine and agriculture, noted Al Akhbar.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


EU Parliament Dedicates a Week to Arab World

Aiming toward achieving more dialogue and reciprocal understanding, starting today and ending next Friday, the Arab world will be at the heart of a series of initiatives in Bruxelles at the EU parliament. Each Arab country shall present and discuss its particular aspects. “A week that reflects the Arab world and Europe’s common desire to strengthen an intercultural dialogue based on the principles of diversity and respect for others” said Amr Moussa, general secretary of the Arab League, which promoted the initiative along with the European Union. “There are no peoples, nations or civilizations that by themselves exhaust the human genius — said Moussa — every culture enriches the other with its own part of beauty and truth”. The message was reiterated by Hand-Gert Pottering, president of the European parliament: “the Arab world — he said — is not only our neighbor, but through its communities present in Europe, it is also a component iof modern European society. If we want intercultural dialogue to develop in all its potentialities, it must include respect for human dignity and different points of view in the world”. Seminars, meetings between parliamentary delegations, conferences featuring writers and civil society shall characterize a week celebrating Arab culture which shall also consider the importance of Arab culture and its influence on Europe. Some of the cultural events on the program include music performed buy groups from Morocco, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia who will come together for a concert in a Bruxelles square; there will also be several debates on the role of women in the Arab world, on immigration and the future of relations between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

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


Italy-Libya: Geddafi’s Son, We Want Military Cooperation

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 30 — Italy and Libya are to establish a form of military cooperation. At least that is the hope expressed today by the Colonel Muammar Geddafìs son, Saif El-Islam, who participated in a meeting today at the Foreign Ministry on the friendship treaty signed by the two countries on August 30 in Bengasi by Premier Silvio Berlusconi and the Libyan leader. “We would like to see — Saif El-Islam said — Italian and Libyan armed forces involved in combined military exercises and the Italian and Libyan Navies patrolling together”, also in contrasting illegal immigration. According to the Libyan leader’s son, Rome and Tripoli “have entered into a new phase” in their relations and “things impossible to think in the past” have become feasible. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy-Libya: Ghadafi’s Son, Special and Excellent Relations

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 30 — Between Italy and Libya at this point, there are “truly special and excellent relations”. This was underlined more than once by the son of Colonel Muammar Ghadafi, Saif El-Islam, speaking today at the Italian Foreign Ministry at a meeting on the friendship treaty signed by Italy and Libya last August 31st in Bengasi. The Libyan representative, in his speech, remarked how thanks to the signing of the agreement now “colonialism is part of the past and we can talk about the future, which between Italy and Libya is not only about oil and gas”. In particular, explained Saif, “we would like Italian artisans and experts in the service sector to return to Libya to open small and medium sized businesses. In short- he concluded — we would like for there to be a new Italian community in Libya, we would like to see thousands of Italian entrepreneurs in our country to tie trade and economic relations with their Libyan colleagues”. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Mediterranean Union: Accord on Arab League, Israel Concedes

(ANSAmed) — MARSEILLE, NOVEMBER 4 — The Arab League will be able to attend all the meetings of the Mediterranean Union, and Israel will offer no challenge to them: this is the agreement reached to quieten protests from Arab countries and open the way to continuing with discussions on the institutional set-up of the MU. According to diplomatic sources, Israel was constrained to refrain from using its veto on the participation of the League under Amr Moussa at the more ‘nitty-gritty’ of the Union’s meeting.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Mideast: Napolitano, We Are Atlanticists With Differences

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, OCTOBER 27 — “The world is in need of a greater contribution from Arab and African countries for solutions to problems in these other areas. This is the conviction of the European Union, which attributes great importance to transatlantic relations, but has to keep a separate profile in its relations with the Arab world: it has to continue expressing a distinct direction”. These the words of Italy’s President, Giorgio Napoletano, meeting journalists shortly after his official speech to representatives of the Arab League. Napolitano also expressed full appreciation for the role and actions of the Arab League in the cause of moderation in both the Middle East as in Africa. In particular, he recalled the mediation fo the Secretary of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, for the Doha Accord which defused’ a dangerous development of a situation which had been going on for too long’. He furthermore hoped for greater internal cohesion’ of the organ for a role of peace and in particular to affirm an equitable and satisfying solution for all sides’ in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, necessary for the peaceful development of the entire region. The Arab League, he concluded, must become an active member of the Mediterranean Union. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Professors Oppose Enrolment of Christian Students

Cairo, 3 Nov. (AKI) — Professors at Egypt’s al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious institution, say they oppose the enrolment of Christian students in order to preserve what they call the Islamic identity of the oldest theological university in the world.

Hussein Eweida, chairman of al-Azhar’s Teachers Staff Club said the professors would hold a meeting with local and foreign scholars and present their resolutions to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, according to Dubai-based TV network al-Arabiya.

They claim law number 103 states that only Muslim graduates of al-Azhar high schools or those with previous university degrees can be enrolled at the Sunni institution. Muslim students from other institutions of higher learning can also enrol after passing the required exams.

“Let’s ask our Christian brothers if they will accept Muslim students in their seminaries. The answer will be in the negative since there are rules that ban the enrolment of Muslims,” said Eweida, quoted by al-Arabiya.

A lawyer from Egypt’s Christian Coptic faith, Mamdouh Nakhla, filed a lawsuit against al-Azhar for its refusal to accept students and called it an “unconstitutional university” because it discriminates between Muslims and Christians.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

Arieh Eldad Launches New Right Secular Party in Israel: Ha’tikvah (‘The Hope’)

When we published the interview with Israeli M.K. Arieh Eldad in the November edition of the NER, we knew that he was on the cusp of deciding which party list he would run on in the upcoming Israel general election now scheduled for February 10th. Eldad had been part of the Moledet faction that included the right wing National Union and National Religious Party. He and others in Israel were concerned that an emphasis on religious affiliation might preclude Israelis who were secular and were aligned with the views of the Moledet faction. They had formed a new party, Ha’tikva (‘the hope’ in Hebrew, Israel’s national anthem). Eldad had indicated in the NER interview what he might do in that case:

These secular nationalists were alienated by former PM Ariel Sharon when the settlements of Gush Katif in Gaza and North Samaria were uprooted. Israel Beiteinu, M.K. Avigdor Lieberman’s Russian émigré party in the Knesset also advocates the division of Jerusalem and creation of a Palestinian State. Effectively, these secular nationalists had no place to go and many simply stayed home. The National Union stands at a cross road. The Knesset faction could become a united, non-sectarian party by going to the voters and asking them in primaries to elect their representatives to the Knesset. Or the faction could become religious-only party, with a nominating committee of Rabbis’ and public figures to decide who will represent it. If National Union can preserve the original spirit of Moledet I will stay. If it becomes a de facto and de jure religious party, then I will go with the newly formed Ha’tikva party list, to attract the non- religious voters in the nationalist camp. This would assure them that they can vote for a true ideological party. Only in Israel can such a split enlarge the power of the right wing nationalist camp.

Today, Eldad announced the launch of Ha’tikva. He has effectively ‘crossed the Rubicon’ politically…

           — Hat tip: Flyboy[Return to headlines]


Arieh Eldad: an Interview

Israeli Knesset Member, Dr. Arieh Eldad, is a nationalist gadfly among the country’s politicians. He is a member of the Moledet party list of the minority National Union faction that favors the willing transfer of “Palestinian” Arab refugees from the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria to the de facto Palestine: Jordan. With more than 70% of Jordan’s population composed of Palestinian Arabs, Eldad considers that the real “two state solution.” Jordan has plenty of territory to absorb their fellow Arabs now languishing in the squalid UNWRA camps in Samaria, Judea and Gaza. Eldad and others in his party argue that international investment in agricultural production, water, energy, urban and jobs development in Jordan is required to help facilitate absorption.

This has not made Dr. Eldad, a world ranked plastic surgeon and reserve Brig. General in the IDF Medical Corps by profession, a welcome party in the current discussions between the Kadima government and PA President Mahmoud Abbas leading to a possible “peace agreement.” Neither would secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the waning days of the Bush Administration look with interest on Dr. Eldad’s suggestions. The agreement under discussion is virtually in tatters given the waning days of the Bush Administration in America and the prospects for a general election in Israel. Eldad is pleased with this outcome, as it stifles any ‘shelf agreements’ from being concluded.

Eldad, however, has a more expansive agenda. He is gathering world parliamentarians in Jerusalem in December, 2008 to attend a conference on “Facing Jihad.” He considers Israel as the “canary in the mines of radical Islam,” something his fellow Israelis would rather not think about. He is bringing courageous Dutch parliamentarian, Geert Wilders to show his controversial film “Fitna” (strife or chaos in Arabic) and legislators from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the U.K. and America to formulate a declaration against Islamization among Western democracies. Eldad deems it to be crucially important for Israelis to become educated about the nuances of this existential threat that seeks to extinguish the Jewish state as well as other non-Muslim nations. Eldad has traveled to conferences in Brussels and America to confer with anti-Jihadists and in the process create an alliance to oppose the Grand Jihad. In Manhattan in late September, while attending a Hudson Institute conference featuring Wilders, he took time to speak at a protest rally against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where the latter was attending an interfaith Iftar dinner during Ramadan.

[…]

Gordon: As a National Union opposition leader in the Knesset, you have espoused a doctrine of “willing transfer” with regard to “Palestinian” Arab communities in Judea and Samaria. Dissident Israeli Arab citizens and even Arab Members of the Knesset (M.K.) have engaged in sedition and support of the terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas opposing Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. Could you explain what “willing transfer” entails and give some examples of internal Arab sedition?

Eldad: Humanitarian resettlement of Arab refugees is neither original to me nor is it new. Arab refugees are not under the responsibility of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, but instead are controlled by a special agency designated only for Palestinians. — The UN Refugee Works Relief Administration or UNWRA. 50-70 million refugees have been resettled since the end of World War II. More than four million Palestinians are the only ones still in these UNWRA refugee camps. Because the UNWRA camps are virtually administered by Palestinians, these UNWRA refugees, now in the third generation in 60 years, have been taught incitement to hate against Israel and Jews, all thanks to funding of nearly a half billion dollar annually donated by tax payers in the West. How bad are these UNWRA Camps? An average refugee family in the camp at Balata, near Nablus, has an annual income of $700 and lives in appalling conditions. I am convinced that these people must be resettled, preferably in Jordan. Jordan is effectively, Palestine. 70% of the Jordanian population are Palestinians. This is the de facto fulfillment of “the two state solution.” If a large scale international program was created to bring water, energy, housing and jobs to a designated area in Jordan a willing transfer could happen. Within a few years we would be able to resettle 2-3 million refugees in Jordan.

This plan will not solve the problem of Arab Israeli citizens who oppose the state of Israel as a Jewish state. They do not want individual rights. They want national minority rights in Israel. They demand that Israel become a Bi-National state. They are not satisfied with Jordan as the Palestinian state. They want a third state for Palestinians only. Effectively what they are seeking is a ‘Judenrein’ (Jew free in German) state in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. They seek to undermine the State of Israel and reject it as a Jewish state. They want to eliminate Israel so that Jews will not have a state of their own in the world. They want to change the national Anthem “Ha’tikva” to something else that they can identify with, change the flag, and erase “the law of return” that grants Israeli citizenship to every Jew who makes Aliyah. In other words they are the enemies within the Jewish state of Israel.

Gordon: You have been the leader in the formation of a new party in Israel, Ha’tikva (the “hope”). Why did you and others in Israel feel that a new secular nationalist party was required? What is the timetable for Ha’tikva implementation before the next Knesset General Election?

Eldad: I am a Member of the Knesset (Israel Parliament) for Moledet (“homeland” in Hebrew) which is part of the National Union party faction. Moledet was established by the late Minister of Tourism Rechavam Zeevi, Gandi, who was murdered by Arab terrorists in Jerusalem on October 17, 2001. Moledet embraces the idea of willing population transfer as an integral part of a comprehensive plan to achieve real peace between the Jews and the Arabs. It promotes the view that Jordan is Palestine. Moledet is neither a religious or secular party in the Knesset. It is a party for the entire national wing in Israel. After Gandi was murdered, Rabbi Benni Elon took over leadership of Moledet. It gradually merged with religious parties (Tequma, Ahi and NRP) and the National Union became a de facto religious party. Israelis who are secular and do not wear a Kippa (male Jewish head covering) did not vote for the National Union. They voted Likud. These secular nationalists were alienated by former PM Ariel Sharon when the settlements of Gush Katif in Gaza and North Samaria were uprooted. Israel Beiteinu, M.K. Avigdor Lieberman’s Russian émigré party in the Knesset also advocates the division of Jerusalem and creation of a Palestinian State. Effectively, these secular nationalists had no place to go and many simply stayed home. The National Union stands at a cross road. The Knesset faction could become a united, non-sectarian party by going to the voters and asking them in primaries to elect their representatives to the Knesset. Or the faction could become religious-only party, with a nominating committee of Rabbis’ and public figures to decide who will represent it. If National Union can preserve the original spirit of Moledet I will stay. If it becomes a de facto and de jure religious party, then I will go with the newly formed Ha’tikva party list, to attract the non- religious voters in the nationalist camp. This would assure them that they can vote for a true ideological party. Only in Israel can such a split enlarge the power of the right wing nationalist camp…

           — Hat tip: Flyboy[Return to headlines]


Israel: Rabin’s Assassin, TV Cancels Interview Broadcast

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, OCTOBER 31 — Following the wave of outrage in the political world and in the Israeli press, the commercial television station Channel 2 will not broadcast a programme lasting several minutes this evening, which contained a telephone interview with Igal Amir, the man who assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Pressure is also placed from several sides on the commercial television station Channel 10 for it too to cancel the broadcasting of another telephone interview with the assassin. This is reported by the websites Yediot Ahronot and Maariv. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Israel: Government Cuts Off Aid to Illegal Settlements

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, NOVEMBER 3 — The Israeli government decided Sunday to discontinue all financial aid by the State, either direct or indirect, to the illegal outposts of settlements built without any authorization in the West Bank. The decision was adopted in the wake of a numbr of violent acts by militant settlers also agansit troops and police. It was also decided to display more troops and policemen in the West Bank, to make more use of administrative arrests, to seize those responsible of violent behaviour, to issue orders of removal from the West Bank and other steps gainst illegal constructions. Defense Minister Ehud Barak was also instructed to report to the government in two weeks time on what has been done to stop lawbreaking by settlers and submit his recommentations. Outgoing premier Ehud Olmert said in opening remarks at the cabinet meeting, that “there was a group of people, not a small one, who have lost all restarint and behave in a way as to threaten not only law and order where they live but also the general climate in the country. This cannot be tolerated”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran: Protests Mark Anniversary of US Embassy Siege

Tehran, 3 Nov.(AKI) — Thousands of Iranians gathered outside the former US embassy on Monday and throughout the capital, Tehran, to commemorate the 1979 takeover of the embassy. A number of rallies entitled “National Day Against Global Arrogance” were also held in Iran.

The rallies have become an Iranian tradition since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when university students loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini took over the US embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Washington has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since that time and the relationship between the two countries remains strained.

The US embassy site, described by Iranians as the “Den of Spies”, filled with school and university students, who shouted slogans against the United States as they marched through Tehran’s streets, reported Iranian state news agency Irna.

According to Irna, the students chanted slogans such as “nuclear energy, is the legitimate right of the Iranian nation”, while other media reports said young people shouted anti-Israel and anti-US slogans as they burned US flags.

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


Syria: Diliberto Condemns USA Raid During Visit

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, NOVEMBER 3 — “Solidarity” with Syria and “condemnation” for the US air attack on 26 October against a Syrian village, where, according to Damascus, eight civilians died, has been expressed by Oliviero Diliberto, National Secretary of the Italian Communist Party (PDCI) during his official mission to the Syrian capital. Daily paper ‘al-Baath’ the organ of the party in Power in Syria since 1963 of the same name, reported that “ Diliberto expressed his solidarity with Syria and condemned the American aggression which had mowed down eight civilians, stressing the key role played by Syria in the region and the world”. The paper said that Diliberto, whose last visit in Syria was in June 2007, was welcomed yesterday in Damascus by Vice-Secretary of the party, Abdallah al-Ahmar, the Secretary General, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to “military sources” in Washington an al Qaida supporter was killed in the air raid launched by US helicopters from Iraqi territory. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Tehran, Abu Dhabi Set Up Joint Committee on Economy, Disputed Islands

The agreement is aimed at a general reinforcement of relations between Iran and the Emirates. The disputed islands have a purely strategic value. The regime of the mullahs announces the creation of a naval base to control traffic through the Strait of Hormuz.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The foreign ministers of Iran and the United Arab Emirates, Manouchehr Mottaki and Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (in the photo) have signed a memorandum of understanding creating a joint committee to expand economic and political cooperation between the two countries. Although this is not explicitly included in the committee’s sphere of activity, it is also expected to examine the question of the three islands in the Gulf — Greater and Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa — claimed by both countries.

The dispute has gone on for years, and has sometimes turned bitter: both sides point to different moments in history to back up their claims over the three islands, which have fewer than a thousand inhabitants in all and little or no economic value, but significant strategic interest, since they are inside the Strait of Hormuz, the “oil gate” for the countries facing the Gulf. Currently, the islands are occupied by Iran, which placed a few naval and coast guard installations there this summer. This move was condemned by the Arab League, which supports the claim of the Emirates.

Confirming the importance that, above all in this moment, the regime of mullahs attributes to control of the Strait, yesterday the commander of the Iranian navy, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, announced the creation of a naval base in Jask, an Iranian port situated just in front of the entrance to the Strait. “We can prevent the entry of any enemy naval units into the strategic Persian Gulf area if need be,” says Admiral Sayyari, according to the news agency Fars.

Apart from the strategic question, the agreement between Iran and the Emirates is aimed at reinforcing economic ties between the two countries. The Emirates are Tehran’s main commercial partner, with trade that amounted to 11.7 billion dollars last year. 450,000 Iranians live in the Emirates (the country has about 5 million inhabitants), and 10,000 Iranian companies operate there. On the political level, finally, this step is important to Iran in order to overcome the political mistrust of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Kuwait.

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

South Asia

Malaysia: Sodomy Charges Against Anwar ‘Ridiculous’, Says Wife

Kuala Lumpur, 3 Nov. (AKI) — Wan Azizah, the wife of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, has rejected sexual allegations against her husband. “Accusing Anwar of sodomy is ridiculous,” she told Adnkronos International (AKI) in Kuala Lumpur. “Let’s be serious. Anwar is a very religious person and father of six children. Accusing him of sodomy once more shows that we have to work harder because our country is yet to change.”

Anwar was accused of sodomy for the first time ten years ago when he was deputy leader and member of the United Malays National Organisation and his popularity threatened at that time by the then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad.

Anwar was sacked and arrested over allegations of sexual misconduct and later served six-years in for corruption. In 2000 he was found guilty on a second charge, of sodomy, and jailed for a further nine years. But in late 2004 Malaysia’s Supreme Court overturned the sodomy conviction and he was freed.

According to most analysts, the two verdicts were politically motivated. The same doubts surfaced when he was accused again of sodomy a few months ago by one of his former aides.

Wan Azizah said the first trial was very hard for Anwar and her. During that period, she took over the pro-Anwar movement and created the People’s Justice Party, which forms the basis of Anwar’s political coalition today.

“I had no choice. I saw it as my duty as wife and mother. My husband was arrested and humiliated and I had to keep the honour of the family and continue his fight,” he said.

“But I had a lot of support. People saw me as defenceless and helped me. I was never alone.”

Wan Azizah said her faith helped her during moments of weakness.

After her husband’s return to politics, Wan Azizah has gradually withdrawn from the spotlight. In August she resigned as a member of Parliament and while she is still president of the party, many expect her to leave that post soon.

“It is what I prefer. I feel I have come full circle. I was the wife of a politician, then I became a politician and I am going back to be the wife of a politician. It is fine. I am first and foremost a wife and mother,” she told AKI.

“And there is no doubt Anwar is a better politician than I will ever be.”

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


Thailand: at Least One Killed and 70 Injured in Bomb Attacks in South

Narathiwat, 4 Nov. (AKI) — One person was killed and more than 70 people were injured in Thailand on Tuesday when three bombs exploded in a busy market and a tea shop near a local government office in the country’s troubled Muslim-majority south. Police said one of the bombs was a car bomb that exploded at a fruit market opposite a district office where village leaders were meeting in Narathiwat province.

“There are still no reports of any deaths because police cut off all mobile phone signals at the scene of the attack. All of the injured were hospitalised,” a senior police official said.

Hospital workers in the Sukhirin district near the Malaysian border where the blasts struck said that 12 of those injured in the attacks were in a serious condition.

Since January 2004 more than 3,400 people have been killed in sectarian conflict in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, where there is a Muslim majority in the predominantly Buddhist country.

Muslim rebels are fighting for the creation of an independent Islamic state in the provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

Barack Obama’s Kenyan Family to Celebrate by Slaughtering Bulls, Chicken and Goats

Times reporter attends the Obama family victory feast in the village of Kogelo, Kenya, and brings along a live goat

There’s only thing to take to a Kenyan election victory feast: a goat. Preferably still breathing — “a sign of freshness” — and with big testicles, apparently the sign of quality breeding.

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis[Return to headlines]


Danish Navy Stops Pirates

The crew of the Danish warship Absalon has stopped two boats full of weapons.

Pirates released on beach (24. sep.) Danish warship nabs pirates (18. sep.) The Danish warship Absalon, which is part of an international effort to stop piracy off East Africa, stopped two small pirate boats yesterday and confiscated all weapons on board. The Absalon became suspicious when it saw ladders on board, of the kind used to scale ships.

Two rubber boats were despatched to inspect the vessels while the Absalon’s helicopter kept watch.

Those on board the vessels were registered and permitted to leave in one of the boats. The other small vessel capsized in heavy weather.

In a similar incident in September pirates were held on board the Absalon for six days, until Danish authorities concluded that they could not be brought before the courts in Denmark.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Immigration

Asylum Seekers ‘Should Live Near Jobs’

A Moderate Party working group has proposed withdrawing economic support for asylum seekers in Sweden who choose to live in municipalities where they can’t support themselves or where large numbers of asylum seekers already live.

‘Time to toss out’ Swedish for Immigrants (28 Oct 08)

The proposal comes from the Moderates’ working group on social exclusion and segregation and is seen as a new way to push asylum seekers to live in places which provide better access to jobs and housing, writes the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“Changes to the rules for welfare benefits will at this stage only affect asylum seekers. But in the future it may be appropriate to have the change cover job seekers who move where there are no jobs available,” said working group spokesman Ulf Kristersson to DN.

The question of whether asylum seekers should be free to choose where they live while their cases are heard, or whether they should be assigned to certain areas, has been under discussion for several years.

Some Moderate politicians from municipalities with high unemployment and many asylum seekers want to go a step further and jettison rules which allow asylum seekers to choose where they want to live.

Normally people move in with friends or relatives who are already living in Sweden.

Fredrick Federley of the Centre Party doubts whether the proposed change would have any effect.

“All the available evidence suggests that people would rather choose to work under the table than to move,” he said.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Illegal Immigrant Who Killed Brilliant Oxford Graduate Can’t be Deported… Because of His Human Rights

Illegal immigrant: Ahsan Sabri hit a student with his car, killing her instantly. His family life is a passport to staying in Britain

An illegal immigrant who killed a brilliant young writer by driving into her at 60mph cannot be deported because it would breach his human rights.

Ahsan Sabri, 28, was unlicensed and not properly insured when he roared through a red light and ploughed into Oxford University graduate Sophie Warne.

The 30-year-old died instantly from a broken neck. She had published five books, was writing her first novel and was about to announce her engagement.

But the High Court overturned an immigration tribunal decision that Sabri — who had overstayed his visa — should be sent home to Pakistan.

The judge ruled that deporting him would breach his right to ‘respect for family life’ as he had married a British woman in 2003 and had a daughter, born last May, with her.

Lord Justice Sir Martin Moore-Bick said that if he left Britain, Sabri’s wife, Laura Gleeson, 25, a graphic designer, from Essex, and their baby would probably follow and that would ‘interfere with their private and family life’.

He accepted Sabri’s claim that his wife may have trouble finding a job in Pakistan and could suffer ‘ broadly based threats and difficulties’ as a result of being a Christian.

This section of human rights law also prevents Britain from deporting Learco Chindamo, the Italian-born killer of London headmaster Philip Lawrence.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Immigration: Yemen; Bodies 60 Africans Found on Beach

(ANSAmed) — NAIROBI, NOVEMBER 3 — The bodies of 60 illegal migrants, most of them from Somalia and Ethiopia, have been found on a beach in Yemen. According to humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontiéres (Msf), quoting survivors, some of the migrants died when their boat capsized at sea, others have been thrown into the sea from a second boat at night this weekend while on their way from the Somali port of Bosasso through the Sea Of Aden. According to Msf the people smuggler, when seeing distant lights from the coast of Yemen, became afraid of being caught by the coastguard. “They forced us to jump overboard even though the water was too deep. Many people couldn’t swim and drowned” a survivor told, adding that a pregnant woman was injured by the boat’s screw after being thrown into the water. Some of the bodies could have fallen victim to a shipwreck, in which a second boat crowded with migrants capsized at sea. Survivors say they also buried 23 of their travelling companions who drowned in the shipwreck. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Journalism: Aljarida, Free Italo-Arabic Paper in Milan

(by Salvatore Lussu) (ANSAmed) — MILAN, NOVEMBER 3 — To favour integration of the Arab community in Milan via education, and at the same time help Italians to discover the world of migrants: this is the double goal of ‘Aljarida’ (‘The Newspaper’ in Arabic), the new bi-lingual Arab-Italian free paper created in Milan and to be published monthly. The project was made possible by the Medinaterranea society thanks to contributions from the Province of Milan, and is the result of an initiative by a group of Italian and Arab cultural mediators. “The nucleus of the editing team” explained Marco Sergi, an Arab expert and one of the Society’s founders “are about ten volunteers between 25 and 29, all students or former students in the University course in Cultural Mediation at Sesto San Giovanni”. The paper will be a 16 page tabloid, printed on recycled paper and with an unusual horizontal layout. For each article in Arab there will be the equivalent in Italian next to it.The journal plans to offer information on laws and services for immigrants available through several societies in the Milan area, and to provide a window on domestic and foreign events which would be of particular interest for migrants and those involved in the Mediterranean and the Arab world. Among the themes in issue number zero printed in October is the Union for the Mediterranean project launched by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Maroni law on security, and also rules on transit in the Schengen area and a map of Italian language schools in Milan where immigrants can go without needing a stay permit. There are a number of cultural themed articles and lighter articles such as one on rap in Arabic, book reviews and a window on cultural events. “In future issues” says Sergi “we plan to address controversial subjects like homosexuality and abortion, while in December’s issue we tackle the theme of freedom of expression in the Arab world”. For now 2,000 copies will be published and distributed in Italian language scholls, in shops (especially phone centres and Halal butchers) and in two of the city’s mosques, in Via Padova and Via Quaranta. “We obvioulsy want to increase this, but it depends on funding. For now we are counting on attracting advertising to become self-financing”. As far as initial reactions to the new journal goes, the result is positive: “We are happy” says Sergi “because we have already had tens of emails, including some from other societies and from a lot of Arab kids who want to work with us on the project”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Human Rights: EU Urges Turkey to Set Up Child Courts

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, NOVEMBER 3 — Turkey should set up children’s courts in every province and a children’s ombudsman to uphold children’s rights, a priority set both by the United States and European Union, a top EU official told the Turkish Daily News. The EU-funded project ‘Modeling Child Protection Mechanisms at the Provincial Level’, was promoted in a press conference in Ankara and represents the second phase of an earlier project on children jointly sponsored by Unicef and the EU. “Turkish authorities should continue to establish children’s courts with adequate staff in every province and strengthen coordination at the provincial level. They will shorten trial durations for children”, Tibor Varadi, deputy head of the EU Commission Delegation in Turkey, said. “Such tools can also lead to the prevention of violence against children and child labor connected to poverty”, Varadi declared, adding that “The EU monitors children’s rights in EU candidate countries is ready to support Turkey both financially and institutionally in this respect”. The EU-sponsored project, with a budget of 5.8 million euro, will be ready in 15 months and held in 12 provinces. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

General

Belarus-Libya: Gaddafi to Minsk, Agreement With Lukashenko

(ANSAmed) — MOSCOW, NOVEMBER 3 — The president of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, had a meeting in Minsk with the leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, after an official visit to Moscow for the first time in 23 years in a country of the former Soviet Union. Gaddafi, as he did in the Russian capital, pitched his Bedouin tent in the garden of the presidential residence near Minsk, where the meeting will take place. Lukashenko said when receiving his guest that “From the viewpoint of the ideological basis of our relations, we don’t differ on the approach of the question of world order. Like you” he told Gaddafi “we believe that the world should be multipolar. Any system should be passed on this general principle. We have seen what a unipolar system can lead to”. Gaddafi will still in Minsk until tomorrow, and will then leave for Kiev for an official visit to the Ukraine. (ANSAmed).

2008-11-03 20:15

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


USA Vote; Israel, Haaretz Shows Obama as ‘Super-Star’

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, NOVEMBER 4 — On the occasion of the United States presidential elections, the Israeli daily Haaretz is today publishing a front page that is graphically the first of its kind. Imitating a photograph from the New York Times, it shows the whole silhouette of the democratic candidate Barack Obama, with a blue sky background. In big block capitals Haaretz’s emphatic headline is in English and it reads: ‘Yes, we can’. But in Israeli mediàs forecasts that Obama will indeed succeed in winning the elections, a certain sense of apprehension also transpires, due to the unknown factors regarding his middle-east policies. “The leaders in Jerusalem will not say it out loud”, a commentator writes in Haaretz, “but the democratic candidatés stance in favour of the resumption of dialogue between USA and Iran arouses deep unease in them”. Maariv writes that, months ago “when Obama started to gain popularity…there were moments of panic in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. But then everything passed”. “If Obama wins”, continues Maariv, “we will have to get used to the dialogue between the Americans and Iran”. Yediot Ahronot for his part expects that once Obama is in power he will abolish the diplomatic isolation imposed on Hamas leaders. Moreover, Obama, the newspaper continues, is interested in restarting talks between Israel and Syria under American protection. These negotiations could be given priority over the stale talks between Israel and the PNA. As far as the outgoing president George Bush is concerned, he will not be particularly missed in Israel. Maariv states that, although he showed himself to be very friendly towards the Jewish state, Israel’s conditions in the region have not improved at all under his presidency. Indeed, apprehension and danger have actually increased. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

14 comments:

Gryffilion said...

I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again...

Zenster said...

Europe Rooting for Obama

Even the Economist of London subscribes to this view. Obama’s victory, it opined, “would salve, if not close, the ugly wound left by America’s history.”

The truly "ugly wound left by America's history" is the result of a capitalistic, free market economy outstripping every other antiquated form of government on earth. The only "ugly wound" is to be found in all the gored oxen of self-defeating socialist economies that will most likely never land a man on the moon, invent the microprocessor or attain any other spectacular achievements.

The hatred of America runs so deep that few are able to recognize an inferiority complex when they see it.

Zenster said...

Michael Ledeen: Election Thoughts

Never before has the ignorance of the electorate been so intensely cultivated as in this election…

Nor so heavily leveraged by what is clearly the least qualified candidate in American history.

Zenster said...

Obama-Farrakhan Ties Are Close, Ex-Farrakhan Aide Says

White said Obama was “part of the Chicago scene” where Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and radicals would go to each other’s events and support each other’s causes.

If ever there was a proverbial nest of vipers ...

Zenster said...

US Vote: Arab Press Expecting ‘Historic Change’

A large part of the Arab press is today applying the epithet “historic” to the US presidential elections in their headlines today, along with the substantive “change”.

As is so often the case, people, and Muslims in particular, should be very careful about what they wish for.

Substantive "change" could just as easily come in the form of a militarily unversed, politically beset and distraught Obama glassing over the entire MME (Muslim Middle East), after an improperly encouraged Islam overplays its terrorist hand with a few nuclear attacks on American cities.

Zenster said...

Lord Bingham: ‘No Reason’ to Exclude Sharia

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, who has recently stepped down as senior law lord, said he could see “no reason” why a devout Muslim, provided he or she was “acting voluntarily and without coercion”, should not choose to submit a family dispute to a Muslim cleric.

How this monster raving looney can even say "Muslim" and "without coercion" in the same sentence and keep a straight face goes beyond comprehension.

Zenster said...

Syria: Diliberto Condemns USA Raid During Visit

Yeah, sure thing. As if the condemnation of someone named "Dilbert" is going to get our rapt attention.

islam o' phobe said...

Zenster,

Europe Rooting for Obama

I disagree agree with your conclusions. The exact same language ("the scars of colonialism" - Stephen Harper) is used by all Western leaders to refer to all European and European-American history.

Zenster said...

islam o' phobe: I disagree agree with your conclusions.

Well, which is it?

The exact same language ("the scars of colonialism" - Stephen Harper) is used by all Western leaders to refer to all European and European-American history.

I wish some unbiased historians would take a closer look at those "scars of colonialism". India's "scars" are Southern Asia's finest railway system, a functional parliamentary government and a legacy as one of the world's largest English speaking democracies.

Even the briefest glance at post-colonial Africa provides unassailable evidence that colonialism's "scars" were superficial compared to the self-inflicted gaping head-wounds of tribalist thugs like Mugabe.

While I will not go so far as to advocate such lunacy as recolonizing Africa, the crimes of Europe's colonial era have been radically exaggerated.

Gryffilion said...

An interesting comment I got from an Obama supporter, after I congratulated him on his candidate winning:


"I'm going to celebrate for a while. be happy that my guy won. but soon after that it'll be time to get back into brutal dissent because that's just how you got to run your politics. You can't love your leaders too much."


Maybe the Messianic Cult will disintegrate over time...?

islam o' phobe said...

Well, which is it?

All I meant is that European liberals do not hate the US anymore than they hate themselves.

If they along with American liberals would get over their self-hatred and leftist myths about colonialism they would become well-adjusted like the rest of us.

Zenster said...

islam o' phobe: If they along with American liberals would get over their self-hatred and leftist myths about colonialism they would become well-adjusted like the rest of us.

Agreed. In spades.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

The christmas madness starts again...

Oxford Council set to axe Christmas.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

a different point of view on the previous