Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/14/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/14/2010The famous Swiss philosopher Tariq Ramadan says he is against the niqab — the face-covering veil worn by Muslim women — but he is also against the French law that bans the niqab. It reminds me of John Kerry, who was “personally” opposed to abortion, but was also opposed to any law restricting abortion.

In other news, Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, is to be released from a Turkish prison next week. Mr. Agca’s lawyer says his client is sane, healthy, and poses no danger to society. What’s more, after he is released Mr. Agca intends to make some new revelations about “mysterious events”.

Thanks to 4symbols, Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Diana West, heroyalwhyness, Insubria, JD, LAW Wells, Lurker from Tulsa, Steen, TB, TV, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Financial Crisis
Obama to Meddle With Your Retirement Account?
Obama Tells Banks: ‘We Want Our Money Back’
 
USA
Coakley’s Democrat Operative Knocks Over Reporter, Coakley Lies About it
Democrats ‘Plan to Steal the Vote’
Kansas Police Chief Charged With Child Molestation
Lawmakers Told Detroit Bomber Had No Coat, Luggage
Meet Mikey Hicks, 8: U.S. Has Him on Watch List
Rolling Stone: Sen. Inhofe One of ‘Planet’s Worst Enemies’
Scott Brown: Obama Not Invited to This Party
Scott Ritter Arrested in Another Sex Sting
Top Obama Czar: Infiltrate All ‘Conspiracy Theorists’
TSA Lies Exposed: Full-Body Scanner Machines Do Save and Transmit Images, Secret Documents Reveal
 
Europe and the EU
Belgium: From “Milk and Honey” To Intolerance
Britain is Wrong to Freeze Benefits to Wives of Terror Suspects, Says Top EU Lawyer
Denmark: Criticism of Islamic Ideology is Not Anti-Muslim
Dutchman Charged With Causing Mid-Air Bomb Scare
France: Tariq Ramadan Against Niqab and Law
France: Student Stabs University Secretary to Death
Geert Wilders is No Right-Wing Populist
Hege Storhaug: Muslim Child Brides in Britain
Italy: ‘Judges Worse Than Milan Assailant’
Mosque Blocks Mobile Phone Traffic During Prayer
Pope Continues Global “Green” Crusade for World Government
Risk-Averse Britain May Lose Stomach for War, Warns Minister
Spain: Andorra Signs Agreement to Abolish Banking Secrecy
State of Emergency in Italian Prisons
The Geert Wilders Debate
UK: “My Hijab Symbolizes Britishness”
UK: Climate Misinformation and Contradictions Continue
UK: Ethnic Minorities ‘No Longer Always Disadvantaged’
UK: Fast-Tracking Teens to Al-Qaida
UK: Goodbye, Mr Microchips (Or Why Computers Should be Banned From Our Schools)
UK: Swine Flu Taskforce’s Links to Vaccine Giant: More Than Half the Experts Fighting the ‘Pandemic’ Have Ties to Drug Firms
 
North Africa
Algeria: Olive Oil Production in Decline, Prices to Increase
Egypt’s Atrocities Can’t be Hidden Forever
Egypt: Christian Massacre, Imam Al Azhar to Site Friday
Italy: Libya: Memorising the Koran to Get Out of Jail
Minors: Algeria; Over 7,000 Phone Calls Reporting Violence
Morocco: Rain: Dam Water Supply Reserves at 87.3%
Tunisia on the Web to Promote Olive Oil in the U.S.
Tunisia-Libya: Press, Tunisians Restricted Access to Tripoli
 
Middle East
Agca: Not Dangerous According to Lawyers, Promises Disclosure
Jordan: Town Request to be Renamed After Saddam Rejected
Lebanon: Conditions for Egyptian Potatoes Import Set
Oneworld 2011: Initiative to Defeat Stereotypes
Radical Islamism: An Introductory Primer
Turkey: PKK: Ocalan Cannot Write for ‘Il Manifesto’
Turkey Will Withdraw Ambassador if Israel Doesn’t Apologize
Turkey Warns Lebanon on Israeli Attack, Says Report
 
South Asia
Afghanistan War General’s Worry: “How People Feel”
Bangladesh: Dhaka: For the First Time in 150 Years, A Hindu Woman is Appointed District Judge
 
Latin America
How to Spot Dubious Haiti Charity Pleas
Photos: Haiti Earthquake: Razed to the Ground, The Horrifying Images of Destruction That May Have Killed 100,000 People
 
Immigration
Italy: UN Attacks ‘Xenophobic Attitudes’ After Migrant Clashes
Italy: Frattini Responds to Egypt Call
Italy: No Egyptians at Rosarno, Maroni Says
Rosarno: Egypt: Press Silent on Italian Reactions
 
Culture Wars
Homeschoolers Capture Major Victory
Obama’s TSA Nominee Says Anti-Abortionists, Anti-Government
 
General
Laminated Linen Protected Alexander the Great
Nature’s Way of Saying Multiculturalism is a Bad Idea
The Ideological War Within the West

Financial Crisis

Obama to Meddle With Your Retirement Account?

Administration considers forcing investors into Treasury debt

The Obama administration appears to have come up with a novel way of financing trillion-dollar budget deficits — demanding IRA and 401(k) holders buy trillions of dollars in Treasury bonds.

With the Treasury needing this year to see another $1 trillion in debt to finance the anticipated federal budget deficit, and the Federal Reserve about to discontinue its 2009 program of buying Treasury bonds for the Fed’s asset portfolio, the Obama administration is scrambling to find ways to sell government debt without having to raise interest rates.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Obama Tells Banks: ‘We Want Our Money Back’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama told banks Thursday they should pay a new tax to recoup the cost of bailing out foundering firms at the height of the financial crisis. “We want our money back,” he said.

In a brief appearance with advisers at the White House, Obama branded the latest round of bank bonuses as “obscene.” But he said his goal was to prevent such excesses in the future, not to punish banks for past behavior.

The tax, which would require congressional approval, would last at least 10 years and generate about $90 billion over the decade, according to administration estimates. “If these companies are in good enough shape to afford massive bonuses, they are surely in good enough shape to afford paying back every penny to taxpayers,” Obama said.

Advisers believe the administration can make an argument that banks should tap their bonus pools for the fee instead of passing the cost on to consumers.

The president’s tone was emphatic and populist, capitalizing on public antipathy toward Wall Street. With the sharp words, he also tried to deflect some of the growing skepticism aimed at his own economic policies as unemployment stubbornly hovers around 10 percent.

The proposed 0.15 percent tax on the liabilities of large financial institutions would apply only to those companies with assets of more than $50 billion — a group estimated at about 50. Administration officials estimate that 60 percent of the revenue would come from the 10 biggest ones.

They would have to pay up even though many did not accept any taxpayer assistance and most that did have repaid the infusions.

Obama said big banks had acted irresponsibility, taken reckless risk for short-term profits and plunged into a crisis of their own making. He cast the struggle ahead as one between the finance industry and average people.

“We are already hearing a hue and cry from Wall Street, suggesting that this proposed fee is not only unwelcome but unfair, that by some twisted logic, it is more appropriate for the American people to bear the cost of the bailout rather than the industry that benefited from it, even though these executives are out there giving themselves huge bonuses,” Obama said.

He renewed his call for a regulatory overhaul of the industry and scolded bankers for opposing the tighter oversight in legislation moving through Congress.

“What I’d say to these executives is this: Instead of setting a phalanx of lobbyists to fight this proposal or employing an army of lawyers and accountants to help evade the fee, I’d suggest you might want to consider simply meeting your responsibility,” Obama said.

At issue is the net cost of the fund initiated by the Bush administration to help financial institutions get rid of soured assets. The $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) has expanded to help auto companies and homeowners.

Insurer American International Group, the largest beneficiary at nearly $70 billion, would have to pay the tax. But General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, whose $66 billion in government loans are not expected to be repaid fully, would not.

Administration officials said financial institutions were both a significant cause of the crisis and chief beneficiaries of the rescue efforts, should bear the brunt of the cost.

Bankers did not hide their objections.

“Politics have overtaken the economics,” said Scott Talbott, the chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, a group representing large Wall Street institutions. “This is a punitive tax on companies that repaid TARP in full or never took TARP.”

Even before details came out, Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said: “Using tax policy to punish people is a bad idea.”

Obama is trying to accelerate terms that require the president to seek a way to recoup unrecovered money in 2013, five years after the law was enacted.

So far, the Treasury has given $247 billion to more than 700 banks. Of that, $162 billion has been repaid and banks have paid an additional $11 billion in interest and dividends.

In Congress, Democrats embraced Obama’s proposal while Republicans rejected it.

“I think it is entirely reasonable to say that the industry that, A, caused these problems more than any other and, B, benefited from the activity, should be contributing,” said Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

But GOP Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey, who’s on Frank’s committee, called it a “job-killing initiatives that will further cripple the economy by increasing fees passed on to consumers and small businesses, while reducing consumer credit.”

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa[Return to headlines]

USA

Coakley’s Democrat Operative Knocks Over Reporter, Coakley Lies About it

An operative for the Martha Coakley campaign, Democrat for Massachusetts Senate, assaulted a reporter from the Weekly Standard Magazine last night. The Weekly Standard has the dirt.

As it happens long-time Democrat media operative Michael Meehan knocked over the reporter and then, after he rose, continued to push the reporter down the street pretending that he was “helping” him up. This video clearly shows the assault on the reporter…

As I said, all the details of the assault was posted by the assaulted reporter, John McCormack, at the The Weekly Standard.

It’s all an example of the rough and tumble way that Democrats operate: Is there a reporter asking tough questions? Knock him down and prevent him from asking the candidate questions. It’s all very typical Democrat ignorance, typical Democrat hate for a free press, and for a typical Democrat desire to shield their candidates from the people. So, it’s nothing surprising to see a Democrat operative trying to beat someone up for daring to ask a question of a Democrat candidate. Democrats are thugs. Always have been. From the days when Democrats were slave masters wielding the whip against slaves that dared raise their heads, to the hanging tree upon which Democrats hanged “uppity” blacks during the early 1900s, to the streets of Selma where Democrats beat civil rights protesters, to the mean streets of modern day Massachusetts, Democrats have always used violence to get their way.

And now comes news that Senate candidate Martha Coakley is lying about the incident. In a bald-faced lie, Coakley is saying she had no idea what was going on. She didn’t see it. She missed the whole thing. Gosh, she is just completely unaware of what happened, dontcha know?

[Return to headlines]


Democrats ‘Plan to Steal the Vote’

If you thought health-care bill was scary, check out universal-registration scheme

A political correspondent is making waves with his stern warning that Democrats are scheming to manipulate the electoral process this election year by implementing a federal mandate to involuntarily register millions of people to vote — making the system ripe for unprecedented fraud and abuse.

“Democrats were very rattled by the Nov. 3 election results,” Wall Street Journal reporter and political commentator John Fund told a crowd in November 2009, at a David Horowitz Freedom Center forum. “What do liberals do when they lose elections? They change the rules.”

[…]

“One main concern that has been raised is that most of these databases don’t indicate citizenship status,” the staffer said. “It’s not clear that there is any available way to determine whether the people being added to the rolls are or are not citizens.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Kansas Police Chief Charged With Child Molestation

The arrest of Inman’s police chief at his home Tuesday night on 19 charges — including allegations he molested four children — shocked the small community of about 1,200 people.

Michael L. Akins Jr., 38, is accused of sexually abusing three girls and one boy between the ages of 9 and 14, according to the criminal complaint filed against him Tuesday night by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.

Akins is charged with one count of rape of a child, 12 counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, two counts of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child, one count of indecent solicitation of a child, one count of lewd and lascivious behavior, and two counts of misdemeanor battery.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred between December 2008 and December 2009.

[Return to headlines]


Lawmakers Told Detroit Bomber Had No Coat, Luggage

WASHINGTON — The would-be Christmas Day bomber boarded his flight in Amsterdam to frigid Detroit with no coat — perhaps the final warning sign that went unnoticed leading up to what could have been a catastrophic terrorist attack, lawmakers were told.

Congress got its first behind-the-scenes look Wednesday at the botched airline bombing and officials said the security failures were even worse than President Barack Obama outlined last week. It remains unclear, however, how those failures will be fixed.

“He was flying into Detroit without a coat. That’s interesting if you’ve ever been in Detroit in December,” New Jersey Democrat Rep. Bill Pascrell, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said after a briefing by presidential counterterrorism adviser John Brennan.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Meet Mikey Hicks, 8: U.S. Has Him on Watch List

The Transportation Security Administration, under scrutiny after last month’s bombing attempt, has on its Web site a “mythbuster” that tries to reassure the public.

Myth: The No-Fly list includes an 8-year-old boy.

Buster: No 8-year-old is on a T.S.A. watch list.

“Meet Mikey Hicks,” said Najlah Feanny Hicks, introducing her 8-year-old son, a New Jersey Cub Scout and frequent traveler who has seldom boarded a plane without a hassle because he shares the name of a suspicious person. “It’s not a myth.”

Michael Winston Hicks’s mother initially sensed trouble when he was a baby and she could not get a seat for him on their flight to Florida at an airport kiosk; airline officials explained that his name “was on the list,” she recalled.

The first time he was patted down, at Newark Liberty International Airport, Mikey was 2. He cried.

After years of long delays and waits for supervisors at every airport ticket counter, this year’s vacation to the Bahamas badly shook up the family. Mikey was frisked on the way there, then more aggressively on the way home.

“Up your arms, down your arms, up your crotch — someone is patting your 8-year-old down like he’s a criminal,” Mrs. Hicks recounted. “A terrorist can blow his underwear up and they don’t catch him. But my 8-year-old can’t walk through security without being frisked.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Rolling Stone: Sen. Inhofe One of ‘Planet’s Worst Enemies’

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe ranks as one the “planet’s worst enemies,” according to Rolling Stone magazine.

In a cover story titled, “You Idiots” the magazine included Inhofe in the ranks because of his work to derail efforts to curb climate change.

Rolling Stone described Inhofe as “one of the GOP’s loudest and most influential voices on climate change.” Inhofe said he took that description as a compliment.

“I talked about how they’re cooking the science. That was four years ago,” Inhofe said. “In the first eight years that I was opposing a cap and trade system, I was the only one out there. Now I’m a majority. The people have joined in.”

The senator said he didn’t hear about the article until after it was published.

“Now I shouldn’t say this but I really didn’t know anything about Rolling Stone…I’d never even heard of the magazine,” Inhofe said, though he plans to read it now.

He also called some of the other people on the list “pretty good company to be with,” saying he’d never been in the same line-up as Warren Buffett.

The magazine also named several other “enemies” including investor Warren Buffett, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, former Democratic House leader Dick Gephardt, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue, Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, Rupert Murdoch, George Will and others in the energy industry.

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa[Return to headlines]


Scott Brown: Obama Not Invited to This Party

Surging GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown yesterday warned President Obama to “stay away” from the Bay State during his roiling race against Democratic rival Martha Coakley and not to interfere with their intensifying battle in the campaign’s final days.

“He should stay away and let Martha and I discuss the issues one on one,” Brown said. “The machine is coming out of the woodwork to get her elected. They’re bringing in outsiders, and we don’t need them.”

Coakley’s campaign showed signs of panic as they scrambled to get a last-minute appearance by Obama to bolster their effort before Tuesday’s election.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Scott Ritter Arrested in Another Sex Sting

Former chief U.N. weapons inspector accused of exposing himself to ‘teen’

Warning: This story contains graphic content that may offend some readers.

A former chief U.N. weapons inspector and outspoken critic of President George W. Bush has been caught in yet another sex scandal with a person he believed was a teenage girl, according to news reports.

Scott Ritter of Delmar, N.Y., who served as chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-98 and stated that President Bush should be impeached for his Iraq policy, is accused of having sexual conversations and performing sexual acts on a Web camera in front of a police officer posing as a 15-year-old girl.

[Return to headlines]


Top Obama Czar: Infiltrate All ‘Conspiracy Theorists’

Presidential adviser wrote about crackdown on expressing opinions

In a lengthy academic paper, President Obama’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, argued the U.S. government should ban “conspiracy theorizing.”

Among the beliefs Sunstein would ban is advocating that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.

Sunstein also recommended the government send agents to infiltrate “extremists who supply conspiracy theories” to disrupt the efforts of the “extremists” to propagate their theories.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


TSA Lies Exposed: Full-Body Scanner Machines Do Save and Transmit Images, Secret Documents Reveal

The TSA has been lying to the American people about full-body scanners. The agency has insisted that these “digital strip search” machines are incapable of saving, storing or transmitting the images they take. This, we are told, makes it okay for people to be digitally strip-searched.

But secret documents uncovered by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (www.EPIC.org) have revealed that these machines do indeed posses precisely such capabilities. According to TSA specification requirement documents that have been uncovered by the EPIC, all full-body scanners purchased by the TSA must have the ability to both save and transmit the scanned images of air passengers.

The documents were obtained by EPIC through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. They have also been shared with CNN, which has viewed the documents and published a story about what they reveal.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgium: From “Milk and Honey” To Intolerance

By Samira Azabar

In 1960, many Moroccan and Turkish men came to Belgium for jobs in mines and factories. A lot of them were seduced by the land of “milk and honey” — the land where they would become rich, so they can go back to their countries and start businesses. A few years later, their women and children arrived in Belgium. Everybody thought it would be for a couple of years, so there was no integration policy at all.

The temporary workers (gastarbeiders in Dutch, as they have been called) practically had no rights: They did not have the right to vote, and they worked longer than their Belgian colleagues for the same — and sometimes even for a smaller — wage. As long as they did what their employers asked them, they had a chance to survive in a country that was not theirs.

In 1974, when it was clear that the guest workers would stay permanently, Islam became an officially recognized religion in Belgium, like Christianity and Judaism. This meant that the Belgian government would also support the Muslim community financially.

Back then, there was no active policy in Belgium concerning immigrants. A lot of politicians focused on the norms and values in Belgium, and immigrants were to adjust to Belgian lifestyle: This process was called “integration.”

Everybody can say whatever he or she wants, and can even insult Muslims and call them inferior in the name of freedom. Examples include Benno Barnard, G. Istendael, and Wim van Rooy, among others.

Meanwhile, the second and third generations went to college and started to discuss the integration policy in their community. These new generations started to think about Flanders as a multicultural area where they could make their dreams come true. They saw themselves as children of Flanders, a region that made and shaped them — the bearer of the language in which they all can express themselves best — but also an area that sees them in the first place as immigrants and as strangers (Fadil 2009). A conservative and too narrow-minded Flanders was born…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]


Britain is Wrong to Freeze Benefits to Wives of Terror Suspects, Says Top EU Lawyer

Britain is wrong to impose restrictions on the payment of benefits to the wives of terrorism suspects, the senior advocate of the European Court of Justice declared today.

The opinion by Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi is not binding but is intended to advise the European Court of Justice, the European Union’s top court, when it rules later this year on a case referred to it by Britain’s highest court.

Judges have followed the opinions of advocates-general in the majority of cases decided by the court. The case could have far-reaching repercussions for Britain’s anti-terrorism laws.

The case involves social security payments, including income support, child benefit and housing assistance, made by British authorities to the wives of three suspects who have had their assets frozen under Britain’s anti-terrorism laws.

Under the laws, the social security benefits, which in this case amount to several hundred pounds a week, cannot be made available ‘directly or indirectly, to, or for the benefit of’ anyone who is on a terrorism sanctions list.

In such circumstances, Britain’s Treasury has the right to impose tighter restrictions on the payments, making them subject to a licence that further limits access and use of the funds.

In the case under deliberation, the wives of the suspects — who Britain says have links to al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban — have appealed against the Treasury restrictions, saying they are a violation of their rights.

Their first appeal was rejected. But in a second appeal to the House of Lords, Britain’s highest court, judges had concerns about how the law was being applied. In April 2008, they asked the European Court of Justice to provide a ruling.

Any decision by the European court, which is expected to issue a final judgment in 3-6 months, will be binding on the House of Lords and on courts throughout the EU. British authorities had no immediate comment.

[Return to headlines]


Denmark: Criticism of Islamic Ideology is Not Anti-Muslim

The following article repeats the views expressed by Norwegian Prof. Unni Wikan in her book “Generous Betrayal: Politics of Culture in the New Europe” (which I reviewed here). Westerners are not doing Muslims a favor by accepting cultural norms they wouldn’t accept for ‘their own’. The idea that we need to ‘understand’ culture and that 2nd generation Muslims in Europe are not allowed the same rights to choose their destiny for themselves just like any other European is simply racism.

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Shortly before Christmas, the head of the Free Press Society (FPS), Lars Hedegaard, said some grossly generalizing statements about violence, rape and incest in Muslim families in an interview on the Snaphanen blog, which he really deserved to be lambasted for. He got that, and more.

Under no circumstances should insulting generalizations about group of people happen. Hedegaard also regretted it and corrected for that. But in the middle of the public scandal, it shouldn’t be overlooked that Hedegaard has identified a serious problem not just for integration of Muslims in modern Western culture, but for the entire Muslim world, namely women’s lack of equality and the widespread violence against women and children within the Muslim cultural sphere.

It’s naturally necessary to provide documentation for his claims, which the FPS’s net paper Sappho later did. Below we will supplement this documentation, as relating to Lars Hedegaard’s statements on violence, rape and sexual abuse of women and children in the Muslim context.

Danish-Pakistani researcher Anusheh Hussain argues in an article about sexual abuse of children in Pakistan (1997), that though research on sexual violence against children in Pakistan is limited, it’s a widely practiced phenomenon. Studies conducted in the Punjab show that 62.5% of children have been sexually assaulted.

She thinks that these assaults come from the prevailing culture and is reinforced by the general imbalance in the power-relations between children and adults. It’s therefore no longer possible to consider sexual assault against children as ‘deviant behavior’ simply exercised by a few ‘psychopaths’.

In Hussain’s opinion, sexual assaults of children is a consequence of the highly repressive social order, where the the patriarchal structure together with the hypocritical sexual norms support the exploitation of the vulnerable…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Dutchman Charged With Causing Mid-Air Bomb Scare

A 44-YEAR-OLD Dutchman was charged yesterday with causing a mid-air bomb scare on board a transatlantic jet.

Jorge Flores was charged at Shannon District Court sitting in Ennis, contrary to Section 43 of the Air Navigation and Transport Act 1988, of knowingly making a false alarm on the flight by stating that he had a bomb.

In response to the alleged bomb scare on Wednesday the captain of the Aruba-bound Boeing 767, with 231 passengers aboard from Amsterdam, diverted the chartered holiday flight to Shannon airport. It landed at 10.30am, where Mr Flores was immediately arrested by local gardaí.

Giving evidence of arrest, charge and caution, Garda James Quigley of Shannon Garda station told the court Mr Flores made no reply when charged and cautioned.

In court, Insp Tom Kennedy said the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) is to consider the case further and determine if further charges may result. Applying that Mr Flores be remanded in custody to Ennis District Court today, Insp Kennedy said that the remand would allow gardaí further time to inquire about Mr Flores with the Dutch authorities.

Insp Kennedy said that he would be in a better position at the Ennis court sitting to know what may happen with other charges.

Judge Joseph Mangan granted legal aid to Mr Flores and his solicitor, Jenny Fitzgibbon, said that she would be reserving her position about bail to Ennis District Court today.

Mr Flores required the presence of an interpreter for the hearing and his interpreter told the court that Mr Flores wished to address the court, but did not after consulting Ms Fitzgibbon.

Judge Mangan remanded Mr Flores in custody to reappear before Ennis District Court today.

Mr Flores was travelling by himself to the Caribbean island of Aruba off the coast of Venezuela on the flight operated by charter firm, Arkefly.

The bomb scare sparked a major security alert at Shannon airport where the plane was taxied to a remote part of the airfield.

A Garda search of the flight after the expiry of the flight-time to Aruba at 8.15pm on Wednesday found no device. The Dutch holiday makers continued their journey to Aruba after Arkefly flew in a replacement aircraft.

A spokeswoman for Arkefly said it would pursue the individual who allegedly made the bomb scare for the “substantial costs”.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]


France: Tariq Ramadan Against Niqab and Law

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, JANUARY 13 — Tariq Ramadan, the controversial ideologist for European Muslims and professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford, says that it is against the niqab, or headscarves covering the face worn by some women, but is also against a law banning them in France. Interviewed by Canal+ on a debate that for months has increasingly divided French politicians and public opinion into advocates and opponents of the promulgation of a special law that could prevent Muslim women from wearing burqas or niqabs (which only leave the eyes uncovered), Ramadan stressed that niqabs are part of a small minority’s interpretation of the Koran. Wearing a niqab, he said, presents a problem for women and for their liberty and personal dignity. A law prohibiting this would not be passed at a European level and things cannot be changed with a law, he added, because women that wear it would be forced to stay home. The burqa is a minor issue compared to what is occurring in the outskirts of cities, such as violence, he said, pointing out the death of Hakim, the student who was killed by a classmate at Darius-Milhaud secondary school. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


France: Student Stabs University Secretary to Death

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, JANUARY 13 — The violence of students in France continues. A 49-year-old secretary of the faculty of Perpignan, in the south of France, was stabbed to death this morning by a Chinese student in one of the university’s buildings. Three others were injured. The news was reported by the Public Prosecutor of Perpignan, Jean-Pierre Dreno. Last Saturday an 18-year-old student, Hakim Maddi, was stabbed in the corridors of the Kremlin-Bicetre school, near Paris. The attack was carried out by a fellow student. Maddi died a few hours after being stabbed. On Monday, another student (17) was injured with a knife in front of a school in the outskirts of Paris. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Geert Wilders is No Right-Wing Populist

By Henryk M. Broder

Dutch politician Geert Wilders may be many things, but he is not the right-wing populist he is accused of being. What the debate over his film “Fitna” reveals most clearly is the West’s cowardice toward Islam.

There’s a key for every lock, just as there’s a perfectly fitting label for everyone who refuses to fit in. At the moment, the term “right-wing populist” is hot. Everyone and his brother is calling Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders by that name at the moment, but hardly any commentators or reporters have taken the time to explain what a “right-wing populist” actually is. And what distinguishes it from other political standpoints like, for instance, “left-wing populists.”

Geert Wilders may be many things — he is self-confident to the point of vanity and stubborn to the point of sacrificing himself. But he’s not a right-wing populist.

For one thing, he’s a radical liberal. For another, what he’s doing at the moment is extremely unpopular. Six years ago, Pim Fortuyn, who was murdered by an animal rights fanatic, was also called a “right-wing populist.” He was indeed very popular — not because he was “right-wing” but because he insisted on drawing attention to things that the traditional elites of Dutch society had steadfastly ignored.

The label “right-wing populist” resonates negatively today the same way that “communist” did in the ‘50s and ‘60s, “fascist” did in the ‘70s and ‘80s and “climate change denier” does today. It saves the speaker from having to engage with the actual content of the argument and makes the bearer of the term solely responsible for the consequences of his or her actions.

If fanatical Muslims do, in fact, go ballistic over Wilder’s film “Fitna,” it’s not because they have a flawed relationship to freedom of speech and religion, but because they’ve been insulted and provoked by Wilders — or so the reasoning goes.

So, it comes as no surprise that TV presenter Tom Buhrow opened the Friday late-evening news on the German TV channel ARD with a report on the “anti-Islamic video of the right-wing populist” Geert Wilders — as though there were a central authority in the otherwise censor-free Federal Republic of Germany that is responsible for prescribing the vocabulary of Euro-Islamic affairs…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Hege Storhaug: Muslim Child Brides in Britain

It is heartbreaking, even as it is unsurprising. In Britain, the authorities are now reporting the forced marriage of girls as young as nine years old on British soil. We are not talking about one case, but several, which take place under official protection. We are not speaking, then, about parents or “husbands” who are being charged with a criminal offense. The situation, in other words, is completely unacceptable and makes clear that we have a crying need for a new approach to these matters. Government must put its foot down — and powerfully so — so that there will be no doubt as to the way in which such grotesque crimes will be addressed.

First, when I say that the marriage of nine-year-old girls in today’s Britain (and the rest of the EU, for that matter) is unsurprising, my statement is based on my own 17 years of experience in the field of immigration: forms of assault based on tradition and religion — including child marriage, forced marriage, genital mutilation, so-called honor-related offenses such as rape and murder — have become established here as a result of immigration, mostly from Muslim countries. Instances of these offenses have been documented in countries such as Norway (where, to be sure, there have been no recorded cases of marriage to girls as young as nine, but where the marriage of an 11-year-old came to light in a TV documentary that I worked on as journalist; such cases have also been known in Sweden). The only phenomenon that has not been documented in Norway thus far is forced eating by girls before they are to be married off. I was told about this practice by feminists in Paris in 2003, and the phenomenon had been imported into France by immigrants, mostly from Mali. Girls are locked up and fed like geese before being married, because in their culture being fat is considered beautiful.

This being said, the news from Britain, which has been reported in the Times, deserves widespread attention. Because the authorities are obviously aware of very serious information about actual children who are supposedly under the protection of those very same authorities. In other words, Britain’s Ministry of Justice, if the Times is to be believed, knows who these children’s parents are, parents who have attempted to arrange for the rape of their own children. For this is what we are talking about here: the deprival of children’s freedom, plus countless years of repeated rape. Such phenomena must force authorities to sit down with a cool head and a warm heart and ask themselves: who are we, and where are we going? What are we doing to ourselves as a nation, to our heritage, to our culture, to our future? According to the Times,however, British authorities are not doing anything of the kind. Here comes the proposed initiative, and before you read this sentence you had better take a deep breath. The Ministry of Justice says that the children’s parents are receiving help from the authorities “to solve the problem.”

I must admit that the principal methods being used in such cases in Norway and in Europe generally — namely, information and dialogue — no longer hold a particularly cherished place in my heart. In my view, the methods must be appropriate to the crime. By far the majority of parents in Europe understand that marriage to children is not “good”; it is precisely for this reason that such weddings do not take place in display windows. The same goes for the husbands with which these children are compelled to tie the knot — and by whom they are raped. As a consequence of the very high levels of immigration from majority-Muslim countries to Europe, we have seen the establishment in European cities of more or less closed enclaves which live according to the norms and values of the residents’ countries of origin. These enclaves, as a rule, have turned their backs on the countries of which their residents are citizens; you might say that they close their blinds. My view is that the current situation calls for stronger measures. Because we are entirely behind the times.

The political establishment has allowed things to go too far…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Italy: ‘Judges Worse Than Milan Assailant’

Berlusconi likens prosecutors to man who attacked him

(ANSA) — Rome, January 13 — The prosecutors Silvio Berlusconi says are hounding him are worse than the mentally unstable man who attacked him in Milan a month ago, the Italian premier said Wednesday.

“The judicial attacks are on a par or even worse than Piazza del Duomo,” Berlusconi told a press conference.

On December 13 a 32-year-old engineer with mental health problems, Massimo Tartaglia, threw a replica of the spiked duomo at Berlusconi from close range, breaking the premier’s nose and two teeth.

Since his return this week from plastic surgery in Switzerland and convalescence in France, the premier has relaunched several bills to reform the justice system and restore his immunity from protection, stripped by the Constitutional Court in October.

On Wednesday he said there was no need to put a widely touted ‘stop trial’ measure into a decree because the measure was already “immediately applicable” on the basis of a recent Constitutional Court ruling.

However, a bill to quicken Italy’s snail-paced justice system would continue apace along with others the centre-left opposition claims are tailor-made to shield him from two trials.

The first measure, dubbed the ‘short trial’ bill, would put a cap on trial lengths to about ten years in Italy’s three-tier system.

“Instead of short trial they should still call it long trial because Italy’s trials are the longest in Europe,” the premier said.

He also said the government would again try to stop prosecutors appealing lower-court verdicts, reinstating a 2006 law that was ruled unconstitutional in 2007.

“We believe we must insist to make sure that citizens found innocent cannot be called to appeal by prosecutors,” he said.

He claimed prosecutors were wont to appeal “just to prove their theory was right or even because they don’t like someone or have something against their politics”.

“For citizens and their loved ones it is a tragedy”.

Berlusconi has consistently claimed he has been the victim of a witch-hunt by politically biased prosecutors.

The premier has sometimes won trials on appeal and on other occasions benefited from law changes approved by his government, despite appeals by prosecutors.

His remaining two trials, which appear likely to be scotched by the measures his government is ramming through parliament, are for bribing British tax lawyer David Mills to commit perjury and for tax fraud in the sale of film rights.

The premier has been in typical form since his return to Rome on Monday when he quipped that “replicas are so cheap these days they throw them at you”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Mosque Blocks Mobile Phone Traffic During Prayer

TILBURG, 13/01/10 — A mosque in Tilburg has been found to have halted all mobile telephone traffic in the area in order to be able to pray in peace. A judge has fined the mosque 650 euros for interfering with the phone traffic, local newspaper BN/De Stem reported yesterday.

The Islamic Foundation for Training and Transfer of Imam Salam used a GSM jammer, as it is called, which sends out strong radio signals which make phoning in the immediate vicinity impossible. Such equipment is banned. The telecom providers own the frequency on which it is sent out.

People in the vicinity had complained that they could not phone any more. Additionally, the telephone lines of all emergency services were blocked. The judge ruled that the mosque would be better to put up a notice requesting the neighbourhood for quiet during prayers.

The mosque is known as extremist. Scientists at the University of Tilburg concluded last year that although Salam does not pose an immediate danger to security in relation to the Netherlands’ democracy or constitutional state, his fundamentalist beliefs clash with Dutch standards and values.

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


Pope Continues Global “Green” Crusade for World Government

Many Catholics, especially of a conservative persuasion, are embarrassed and troubled by what is happening inside their church. But they are mostly reluctant to say anything publicly. The facts, however, speak for themselves, and they are available on the Vatican’s own website in the actual words and statements being uttered by the Pope.

Consider, for example, Pope Benedict’s passionate embrace of the radical environmental movement. The Washington Times on Tuesday ran a front-page photo of the Pope greeting ambassadors to the Vatican during his new year’s address to the diplomatic corps. “The Pope denounced the failure of world leaders to agree on a climate change treaty last month,” the caption said. It’s true. Despite the Climategate scandal that has thrown the man-made global warming theory into disrepute, the Pope is still a believer in the discredited claims being made about the role of man in creating a hotter planet and he is trying to force world leaders to embrace and act on them.

Acting more like a politician than a religious leader, the pope complained about the failure at the Copenhagen conference to come up with a new treaty to punish Western nations, led by the United States, that have used fossil fuels for industrial development. Referring to “the growing concern caused by economic and political resistance to combating the degradation of the environment,” he said, “This problem was evident even recently, during the XV Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Copenhagen from 7 to 18 December last. I trust that in the course of this year, first in Bonn and later in Mexico City, it will be possible to reach an agreement for effectively dealing with this question. The issue is all the more important in that the very future of some nations is at stake, particularly some island states.”

The Pope, therefore, is going to use his influence to get a treaty written, passed, and imposed on the world.

The Pope went on to embrace other aspects of the global “progressive” agenda, endorsing the holding of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York in May, so that “concrete decisions will be made towards progressive disarmament, with a view to freeing our planet from nuclear arms.” This is Obama’s goal as well.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Risk-Averse Britain May Lose Stomach for War, Warns Minister

Britain is growing so risk-averse that the public may no longer tolerate deployment of the military, the Armed Forces Minister said yesterday.

Bill Rammell warned that in an age of mounting public cynicism and rolling 24-hour news, British governments faced increasing resistance to any use of military power.

“We, sadly, face a series of threats, the nature of which will require the projection of power beyond our borders to protect our national security,” he said. “My great fear is that we as a nation will become so risk-averse, cynical and introverted that we will find ourselves in inglorious and impotent isolation by default.”

His speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research, in London, reflects a growing frustration within the Government and Armed Forces that public tolerance for military operations and media-led cynicism at the motives for British military action are undermining the current effort in Afghanistan.

The minister traced several trends in society that he said were “positive”, but which made it increasingly difficult for governments to deploy troops in support of Britain’s interests.

“First, the decline of deference and the growth in mistrust of those in authority, which challenge government and military decision-making. Second, the 24/7 media and the new information age, which brings with it the demand for a different kind of communication between the Government and the public about military operations. Third, a freedom-of-information culture, which asserts that everything known to the State should be in the public domain without considering the impact of this on government’s ability to act in our best interest.”

Mr Rammell said that this could have positive consequences, such as the practice of holding inquests into the deaths of all British soldiers killed.

“Families are more assertive in seeking information, wanting to know why a death has occurred and in challenging authority, often calling for an independent assessment of the circumstances surrounding their loved one’s death … Through this, the MoD can continue to improve the way it deals with inquests [and] learn lessons that may help to prevent future deaths.”

However, he said that where the Government withheld information for reasons of operational security, this was often interpreted by the media and public as evasiveness. He also said that increasing public cynicism threatened to undermine the ability of British Forces to win in Afghanistan.

“Military operations and the money required to pay for defence rely on the willingness of the public to support the policies of the Government … Our adversaries, particularly those who cannot match our military, will attempt to outlast us and hope to sap our support at home. This is particularly true of the foe we face in Afghanistan.”

Death and injury to British Forces were, Mr Rammell said, an inevitable consequence of deploying troops, and the debate over the equipment for troops sometimes lost sight of this.

“Yes, we should enhance the capabilities [of equipment] wherever possible,” he said. “But the public needs to accept that the battlefield is a uniquely dangerous and uncertain environment … In counter-insurgency warfare, as in Afghanistan, you have to get out of the Chinooks and the Mastiffs, sometimes patrolling on foot and among the people … The only way to protect our troops completely is, bluntly, not to deploy them in the first place.”

           — Hat tip: 4symbols[Return to headlines]


Spain: Andorra Signs Agreement to Abolish Banking Secrecy

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JANUARY 14 — Andorra will no longer be a tax haven for Spanish tax dodgers following an agreement signed today by deputy premier Elena Salgado and Jaume Bartolomeu, the president of the government of the Principality. The agreement will allow the Spanish revenue agency to request the authorities of the Principality to grant access to bank account information and to identify (in specific cases) the receivers of any kind of transaction which concerns Spanish taxpayers. During a press conference which followed the meeting, Bartolomeu, cited by agencies, explained that indeed the agreement does not allow for generalised checks and that Spain will not be able to request the lists of all Spanish citizens holding accounts in Andorra, it will only be allowed access to those related to specific open investigations. Salgado emphasised that the agreements implies a “major and tangible step forward” in the fight against tax evasion and will have a deterrent effect on exporting capital abroad. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


State of Emergency in Italian Prisons

Government unveils four-point plan to tackle overcrowding

(ANSA) — Rome, January 13 — The Italian government on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the country’s prison and approved a four-point plan by Justice Minister Angelino Alfano to address the critical levels of overcrowding. “The project we’re preparing for is without precedent in the history of this Republic,” Alfano said during a joint press conference with Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

“We’re going to eliminate prison overcrowding once and for all without resorting to another round of amnesties”.

Alfano said first on the agenda were the construction of 47 new annexes to boost the system’s capacity by 21,749.

He said the new cell blocks would cost a total 600 million euros and follow in the footsteps of the rebuilding effort in earthquake-struck city of L’Aquila with construction crews working in round-the-clock shifts.

“This is the same scheme that has allowed us to put a roof over the head of everyone who lost their home (in the April 2009 quake),” he said.

Between 2011 and 2012, Alfano said the government would launch a second campaign to build brand-new prisons to accommodate a total of 80,000 inmates, almost twice its current capacity.

To depressurize jails in the meantime, the justice minister promised new legislation allowing home detention for inmates with less than one year to serve on their sentence and probation with community service for anyone sentenced to less than three.

Finally, the justice minister promised to hire some 2,000 new guards needed to oversee Italy’s swelling prison population, which hit a post-war high last year of over 65,000.

Italy’s ageing jails, most of which were built in the 19th century, were only designed to accommodate 43,000.

Experts have blamed the overcrowding for a record 71 prison suicides in 2009 and another four in the first week of January.

“It’s an intolerable situation,” lamented Berlusconi. “A civilized state can take freedom away from a person who commits a crime, but it cannot take away his dignity or undermine his health,” he said.

“We’ve taken it upon ourselves to find a lasting solution,” he said, an oblique reference to an overwhelmingly unpopular prisoner amnesty enacted in 2006 under ex-premier Romano Prodi’s center-left government.

But minority whip of the small Italy of Values party, Massimo Donadi, called the government’s plan a “sham”.

“There are over 20,000 inmates with less than a year to go on their sentences. It will be extremely difficult to keep tabs on them if you let them all out together,” he said.

Moreover, Donadi said there was “no justification for spending millions of euros on new prisons given that there are already 40 or more half-built or completed, which have never been used”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


The Geert Wilders Debate

SPIEGEL ONLINE is currently working together with the respected Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad to bring you the best reporting and broadest perspectives available in English about Geert Wilders’ anti-Koran film. Read NRC Handelsblad’s coverage at NRC.nl/international.

Wilders is as “one-sided” as any filmmaker trying to compress reality into a documentary film. His film is as “anti-Islamic” as Michael Moore’s are “anti-capitalist.” The hostility does not lie in the eye of the beholder, but rather in the nature of the film’s subject. Part of the ritualistic response of Muslim communities to the observation that Islam is not always a peaceful religion is invariably the threat of violence, should the “insult” not be retracted — regardless of whether it was made by the pope, a politician or a poet.

And Wilders is guilty of breaking with yet another aspect of the prevailing consensus. He opted to act, not just react. Since announcing his film three months ago, he has been defining the course of the debate, driving his opponent away from him. Nobody would have been surprised if Wilders had ended his game by confessing that the film itself did not actually exist.

What he wanted to accomplish had already been accomplished with the threat to show an “anti-Islamic video.” He showed the “free West” to be a paper tiger. The Dutch government distanced itself from the project and asked its ambassadors in Muslim countries to explain to their host governments the situation in their home country, where the government is not as omnipotent as it would like to be.

The EU, wanting to please all sides, issued a statement that emphasized the importance of freedom of speech while at the same time relativizing it: “We believe that acts such as (Geert Wilders’) film serve no other purpose than inflaming hatred.”

Even UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chimed in to condemn the Wilders film “in the strongest terms.” He said that nothing can justify hate speech or incitement to violence. “The right of free expression is not at stake here. … Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility.”

This is the kind of tone that one waits for in vain when Islamists call for jihad, fanatics massacre non-believers or Holocaust deniers organize conferences…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


UK: “My Hijab Symbolizes Britishness”

CAIRO — Soha Sheikh, a young Muslim Londoner, says no contraction between being British and wearing hijab, an obligatory dress code in Islam.

“I think the headscarf is the epitome of Britishness,” the 25-year-old library assistant who holds a degree in media studies told The Independent on Wednesday, January 13.

Sheikh, who has been wearing hijab since she was 12, says it embodies the multicultural essence of Britain, home to some 2 million Muslims.

“You don’t always have to conform to a certain stereotype or fashion statement,” she asserts.

She recognizes that many fellow Britons do not see her hijab in the same light.

“When we talk about headscarves, the first thing that comes into a lot of people’s heads is ‘oppressed woman’. It’s hard for some people to accept that it’s a sign of liberation,” she notes.

“The hijab is not a sign of separation.”

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

Rajnaara Akhtar, who grew up in a family of seven sisters all wearing hijab, agrees that public views about hijab are usually not well-informed.

“With the hijab in Europe there is a big misunderstanding about what it is and what it represents,” she says.

“Even though there has been work done to counter these stereotypes I think the view that women in hijab are somehow oppressed, or have been forced into some form of archaic dress, is still the most prevalent one.”

Still, the 31-year-old Muslim woman insists that stereotyped views about hijab do not lead to discrimination like in many other European countries.

“In Britain I think hijab itself is not really questioned as it is accepted in society.”

Journey to Hijab

“I understood the arguments around modesty but when I reflected on it, it was aspiring to be a good Muslim,” says Janmohamed.

For many British Muslim women, the decision to put on the hijab takes different roads.

“Muslim women wear hijab for many reasons including piety, identity and even as political statements,” says Tahmina Saleem, the co-founder of Inspire, a consultancy which helps Muslim women become vocal members of their communities.

For Sheikh, the library assistant, it was the feeling of Muslim belongingness developed during a journey to her homeland Pakistan that motivated the hijab decision.

“I understood that it’s something that’s in our religion. Everyone around me was wearing it,” she recalls.

“It was my own choice.”

But after some time, she started to embrace her hijab more with a sense of unity with other Muslims.

“There is a certain degree of unity you feel with other women who wear the headscarf, even if you don’t know them,” she contends.

“They will often smile at me in the street and say ‘salaam’.”

Shelina Zahra Janmohamed, 34, first started wearing hijab when she was 13.

“But I wasn’t wearing it all the time,” recalls the Londoner.

“I was not wearing it to school, but elsewhere, and I justified it to myself and my parents,” she added.

“I also wanted to keep my school life separate to my home life. As a teenager, I didn’t know how to integrate these components.”

But when she went to the university at Oxford in 1992, Janmohamed started to wear hijab all the time.

“I felt very comfortable in wearing it and people were very accepting.”

Janmohamed, the author of Love in a Headscarf, says that the more she read about hijab the more she became convinced it was actually part of her identity.

“Intellectually, I understood the arguments around modesty but when I reflected on it, it was aspiring to be a good Muslim.”

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


UK: Climate Misinformation and Contradictions Continue

UKMO is among the most useless weather bureaus in the world because of totally failed forecasts and blind adherence to false science. This was supposed to be a mild winter. Last summer was supposed to be a “barbecue summer”, and in the previous summer they were equally 100% wrong.

Now they lecture us on the meaning of current conditions. “The UK Met Office climate change bureau has issued a stinging attack on the idea that recent falls in global temperature might mean that global warming is over or has been exaggerated.”

This parallels in stupidity the claim that the leaked emails of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU alter nothing. The statement shows how ignorant of weather and climate the UKMO people are and why they consistently fail.

Climate Change is Happening But Not What they Predicted.

Now the pattern of weather is changing and warmer conditions will replace the cold even possibly with some records. The clowns will appear and the mainstream media, which ignored Climategate and downplayed the cold weather, will scream again.

A brief explanation helps understand what caused the cold and why the patterns change.

Figure 1 shows a simple schematic of the major air divisions for the Northern Hemisphere.

It shows a dome of cold air over the North Pole. There is a similar dome over the South Pole with warm air in between.

[Return to headlines]


UK: Ethnic Minorities ‘No Longer Always Disadvantaged’

Being black or Asian in the UK no longer means you will be automatically disadvantaged, Communities Secretary John Denham has said.

He said progress made since 2000 meant that, while racial discrimination still existed, disadvantage was now more linked to poverty, class and identity.

Mr Denham said the problems of white working-class areas must be tackled.

The government is trying to get a major equalities bill through Parliament before the election.

‘New trends’

Launching a review of government policy on race on Thursday, Mr Denham said the UK was now so used to diversity that many of the historic problems with racial discrimination were fading, even if they had not yet died.

In their place, he argued, there was a more complex and subtle challenge for policy makers and public services, where people did not achieve their full potential because of other factors beyond their ethnicity.

These included their social class, community and identity. While children with Chinese heritage tended to excel at school, boys from white working-class areas were doing far worse.

“Britain today is not the same place as it was a decade ago,” Mr Denham said. “We therefore have to make sure that our efforts are tackling problems of today and not those of the past.

“New trends that are linked to race, class and identity make the situation much more complex.

“That does not mean that we should reduce our efforts to tackle racism and promote race equality but we must avoid a one-dimensional debate that assumes all minority ethnic people are disadvantaged.

“If the cause of disadvantage is social class, we will promote opportunity. And if the cause is a combination of racism and social class we will tackle both together.”

Social mobility

The Department for Communities has earmarked £12m to look at entrenched social problems in 130 predominantly white working-class areas.

The move has been widely seen as an attempt by Labour Party leaders to counter the rise of the BNP, after criticism from within the party that it had failed to heed the warning signs of a backlash against new economic migration.

Mr Denham has denied claims that these areas have been forgotten — but has acknowledged that the far-right gains where people do not believe their grievances have been dealt with.

The government’s Equalities Bill, currently in its final Parliamentary stages, is designed to change the way public services work by ordering them to take into account the needs of all groups in society.

Caroline Spelman, for the Conservatives, said Mr Denham’s new initiative was an acknowledgement that its policies on social equality had failed.

“While Gordon Brown has played class warfare politics, social mobility has gone backwards under Labour.

“Britain can’t go on with a government that has seen the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.

“In contrast to Labour’s approach, Conservatives will support aspiration so that people from every background have the chance to get on in life.”

‘Hidden discrimination’

Lord Ouseley, former chairman of the Racial Equality Commission and chairman of a campaign to end racism in football, Kick It Out, said the government deserved praise for its actions over the past 12 years.

But he added: “Clearly there are still huge racial disadvantages in our society.”

“There is quite a considerable amount of hidden discrimination that still takes place in our society,” he said.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber welcomed Mr Denham’s statement, saying: “The introduction of the duty on public bodies to promote race equality has undoubtedly made a real difference to the way in which our schools, police forces, NHS and local councils serve and employ people from ethnic communities, but more will always need to be done.

“In particular in the private sector, employers are not required to promote race equality, just to avoid discrimination which relies on individuals pursuing complaints against employers before anything is done.”

           — Hat tip: 4symbols[Return to headlines]


UK: Fast-Tracking Teens to Al-Qaida

Ads in U.K. promote lectures from Muslim extremist

LONDON — A new method of fast-tracking teenagers into al-Qaida has been discovered by intelligence agents in the United Kingdom who say the inflammatory sermons from a radical Muslim even have been advertised on a powerful television channel, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Psychologists for the MI5 agency say the words from radical Anwar al-Awlaki are targeting teens and the lectures, containing titles such as “Stop Police Terror,” “Brutality Forwards Muslims” and “It’s a War Against Islam,” direct the youth toward al-Qaida.

It’s been reported that MI5 found that the Islam Channel, a free-to-air English-language channel, has been advertising the sermons on disk, and they have been played in mosques all over the country.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Goodbye, Mr Microchips (Or Why Computers Should be Banned From Our Schools)

In one North London classroom I visited recently (to deliver a lecture on journalism) every single child had their own laptop.

I was astonished — and not a little dismayed — by this wholesale reliance on technology.

Yes, the children were on the whole polite, attentive and curious; the teachers committed and good at keeping discipline. But the moment the teacher’s attention was diverted for more than a minute, the children all turned to their computer games.

And, just like in any office, the school IT system then went on the blink (while the children’s computer games kept on going).

The pupils were unable to complete their work (they had to produce a mock newspaper) because the printers had gone down.

Cue another half an hour of computer games, while the teacher tried and failed to get the printers working again.

That’s why I was so dismayed by Gordon Brown’s latest misguided wheeze. At the beginning of the week, he announced he’s going to give away £300million worth of free laptops and broadband access to 270,000 poor families, with priority for those with educational needs.

His aim is to make every family a ‘broadband family’, in the naive belief that the internet, because it’s modern, is some kind of magic wand that will help lift them out of poverty.

It’s no such thing. For the moment you hand a laptop to a child, the child will treat it the way most adults do — as a device beautifully designed to waste their time, avoid long periods of concentrated work, play games on, indulge their obsessions, narrow their horizons and reduce their attention span.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Swine Flu Taskforce’s Links to Vaccine Giant: More Than Half the Experts Fighting the ‘Pandemic’ Have Ties to Drug Firms

More than half the scientists on the swine flu taskforce advising the Government have ties to drug companies.

Eleven of the 20 members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) have done work for the pharmaceutical industry or are linked to it through their universities.

Many have declared interests in GlaxoSmithKline, the vaccine maker expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the pandemic.

The disclosure of the register of interests comes just days after a health expert branded the swine flu outbreak a ‘false pandemic’ driven by the drug companies which stood to profit.

The Government is now trying to offload up to £1billion worth of unwanted swine flu vaccine.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Algeria: Olive Oil Production in Decline, Prices to Increase

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, JANUARY 14 — Olive oil prices are destined to increase in Algeria, following a sharp decline in local production in the past year. According to estimates by the Agricultural Ministry, a litre of olive oil will cost between 450 and 550 dinars (about 4.4 and 5.4 euros) compared to 400 dinars last year. Up until January 12, over 289,000 quintals of olives were harvested in the country, with oil production reaching about 14,400 tonnes. In the 2008 season almost 60,000 tonnes of olive oil were produced. According to the Agricultural Minister, Rachid Benaissa, this decline in production is due to “climatic episodes”, such as the strong rainfall that hit Algeria in 2009, but also poor management by farmers. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Egypt’s Atrocities Can’t be Hidden Forever

Op-Ed by Farid Farid

Egyptian Coptic Christians marched in Melbourne in 2006 in protest against persecution by Muslims. The community will hold marches in Sydney and Melbourne today after the Christmas massacre of Christians. Photo: Sandy Scheltema

In his mainstream best seller The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown fuses fact and fiction in a panoply of adventure-riddled conversations and quasi-mythical fabulations. However, he correctly — albeit fleetingly, mentions the small town of Nag Hammadi about 65 kilometres from Luxor in Egypt as the site where the Gnostic Gospels were discovered.

Brown, within the narrative of the novel, reveals that these “lost gospels” compiled allegedly by St Thomas ultimately hold the clues to Christianity’s aversion to the feminine divine and the source of its fragility by not addressing the Freudian sexual ghosts present in its formation as a world religion. However, Brown’s Western-centric beef with the Catholic Church ends up ignoring the continuous indigenous history of Coptic Christianity present since Mark the Apostle’s arrival in Egypt and other repressed ghosts lurking behind religion and politics.

It was at Nag Hammadi that eight Coptic youth and a security official were murdered in a drive-by shooting by extremist Muslim gunmen after they had just celebrated the midnight Orthodox Christmas Eve mass. Government officials suspect that the attack, where gunmen haphazardly started shooting at a crowd injuring many, was in retaliation for the alleged rape of a 12-year-old Muslim girl by a Coptic man in the town in November. The spill over from the attacks has resulted in riots and arrests that have engulfed Christian and Muslim communities in a wave of sectarian passions. These aggressive acts in poor rural towns in southern Egypt have been common in recent years and the ferocity of sectarian violence has recently escalated in larger metropolises such as in Alexandria last year.

However, these latest attacks need to be contextualised beyond the facile claims of sectarian carnage. Coptic Christians are the indigenous peoples of Egypt and have been maintaining their traditions, rites and customs since the 1st century despite centuries of repression under Roman and Muslims rulers. They represent about 10 per cent of Egypt’s 80 million people and generally have co-existed along with their Muslim compatriots in an atmosphere of tense yet liveable amicability. Yet, with the decades of governmental oppression and quashing of civil liberties since the time of Gamal Abdel Nasser and extending to the current policies of President Hosni Mubarak and corruption on local levels, cadres of Islamic extremists have sprung up to retaliate and restore a more equitable social order through a brutal mix of lethality and religious misinterpretations.

In most cases of these hostilities, the victims have been Coptic Christians due to a combination of reasons. Coptic Christians are a minority and within the psyche of the state they remain problematic in terms of citizenship because of their religious status as the largest non-Sunni Muslim minority along with other discriminated minorities such as Bahai’s, Yezidis, Catholics etc. Moreover, within daily Egyptian popular representations, Copts are stereotypically seen as elitist and bourgeois because of their economic leverage through entrepreneurial successes of Coptic businessmen such as Naguib Sawires — the founder of Orascom, the biggest telecommunications network in the Middle East and Africa.

The fundamentalist voices of some Copts living in the West, especially the US and Canada, pressuring Western governments to interfere in Egyptian domestic politics, leads to a scenario where Copts in Egypt are seen as Western colluders and in turn bear the brunt of disgruntled local elements as well as blatant institutional discrimination. Nonetheless, these depictions do not fully explain why these violent incidents persist.

As renowned anthropologist Arjun Appadurai succinctly explains in his book The Fear of Small Numbers : “the existence of even the smallest minority within national boundaries is seen as an intolerable deficit in the purity of the national whole . . . Minorities being a reminder of this small but frustrating deficit, thus unleash the urge to purify.”

The predominantly rural south of Egypt has historically languished through mismanaged policies of economic advancement of various governments and has been depicted as racially and technologically backward in Egyptian and Western popular imaginations.

The demographic make-up of towns such as Nag Hammadi have large minorities pitted against each other where Christians and Muslims roughly represent the same number of inhabitants but political power resides with corrupt local authorities intent on subverting any notion of justice. The climate of economic disenfranchisement in these towns plus the venomous diatribes of some extremist religiously untrained Muslim clerics presents a fertile ground for young Muslims — especially men — to express their rage in violent ways.

The Egyptian Government is complicit in trying to present a picture of religious harmony to allay Western fears of human right violations but the ugliness and fissures of these local disputes dispel the cosmetic attempts of a cowardly government dealing with its domestic politics and its international image especially in relation to Gaza.

In an interview broadcast on Egyptian national TV a few hours before this fateful incident, the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda III, urged a return to the ideals of the 1919 Revolution against British colonial occupation. He implored Egyptians to a secularist ethics of citizenship based on mutual respect for difference beyond the dead-end of religious labelling. It is these wise words that must be heeded now more than ever for Nag Hammadi not to continue being a site where ghosts continue to dwell…

           — Hat tip: LAW Wells[Return to headlines]


Egypt: Christian Massacre, Imam Al Azhar to Site Friday

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JANUARY 13 — The Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Sayyed Al Tantawi, and Religious Affairs Minister, Mohamoud Hamdi Zaqzouq will go on Friday to Naj Hamadi, the city in Upper Egypt where a massacre of Christians recently took place on Coptic Christmas Eve. Tantawi and Zaqzouq, informed MENA, will take part in Friday prayer in the town and will offer their condolences to the relatives of the victims, all Christians, expect for a Muslim policeman. They will be accompanied by a delegation of Islamic officials, imams, and preachers. In the meanwhile, the National Human Rights Council, headed by Boutros Boutros Ghali, stressed the need to implement the law against criminals without discrimination, and to not only take steps for reconciliation. The council, which sent a investigative commission to Naj Hamadi, also said that the victims of violence must be compensated by the government or community organisations. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy: Libya: Memorising the Koran to Get Out of Jail

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 13 — Learning the verses of the Koran by heart could soon result in an early exit from prison for common criminals in Libya. The measure has not yet been implemented, but the proposal is being examined by the Supreme Justice Council, the highest judicial authority in Libya. A measure that could soon become a different system to get out of jail ahead of time in a country that is implementing amnesty policies also for former terrorists in prison. Mechanisms that have led to the emptying of some long-time prisons. The decision to include “people who learn the Koran by heart” in the amnesty, explained online Arab newspaper, Al Manara, and therefore introducing studying the sacred book for Muslims as a method of prisoner rehabilitation, will be part of a measure subject to ratification by the Supreme Justice Council, whose first regularly scheduled meeting for 2010 was headed by Justice Minister, Mustapha Abdul Jalil. The method of prisoner rehabilitation, which includes the study of the Koran, has already been used on prisoners who were released last October, and included about 100 detainees, all former members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which is linked to Al Qaida, and the so-called Jihad Group. The former Islamic militants, under the auspices of the Gaddafi Foundation, studied the Koran for two years and changed their political convictions. The prisoners who took part in the “rehabilitation” programme by studying the sacred text and who were all detainees for over 10 years in the Fellah prison in Tripoli in the Abu Slim neighbourhood, were the third group of Islamic detainees freed in Libya in the past two years. The proposal put forth recently to free prisoners who study the Koran, follows a phase of amnesties and prisoner releases that began along with the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of Gaddafi’s rise to power. On September 1, a decision was made to grant a pardon to 1273 prisoners and to replace the death penalty with a life-prison sentence for whose who had been sentenced with the maximum penalty before September 1. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Minors: Algeria; Over 7,000 Phone Calls Reporting Violence

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, JANUARY 13 — Over 7,000 phone calls were made in Algeria to “Je t’ecoute” (“I’ll listen to you”), the toll free number created two years ago by the Algerian network for the defence of children’s rights (NADA). Phone calls were made by children or by a family member “to report acts of violence against minors,” explained NADA President, Abderrahmane Arar. The calls involved cases of physical or psychological violence, specified Arar, as well as “cases of abandoning minors, family disputes associated with child custody, alimony, and divorce, or cases of drug addiction.” Launched in 2008, the “3033” number, which until today could only be reached in the Algiers area, will spread to another 9 regions. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Morocco: Rain: Dam Water Supply Reserves at 87.3%

(ANSAmed) — RABAT, JANUARY 13 — The level of water reserves for Morocco’s more than 100 dams has reached an all-time record of 87.3% for a total of 2.8 billion cubic metres thanks to heavy rainfall in recent weeks, said Abdelkebir Zahoud, the secretary of state for water and the environment. In a statement to the press, Zahoud specified that the rain, which will continue today and tomorrow, will allow for water reserves that will last for the next two years to be collected for the agricultural sector. According to Zahoud, snowfall in several mountainous areas in the country will increase water levels and will strengthen the groundwater reserves in particular. After a period of drought, precipitation over the past 30 months has contributed to exceptional growth in the agricultural sector, which, with increases of between 20% and 26%, balanced out the economic loss due to the international crisis, resulting in overall growth of 5%. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Tunisia on the Web to Promote Olive Oil in the U.S.

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JANUARY 13 -It is called is called ‘100% Tunisian’ and is the new website launched by consulting firm Hamman Marketing Associates to promote Tunisian olive oil in the United States. At www.100percenttunisian.com, you can find information on olive oil and its health benefits, as well as indications on over 50 olive oil producers in Tunisia and various links to websites where it will be possible to purchase Tunisian olive oil. The website’s launch, pointed out the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) office in Tunis, will take place along with the start of the ‘100% Tunisian’ programme, a long-term project began by the Tunisian Industrial Ministry to create a distribution network on the American market. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Tunisia-Libya: Press, Tunisians Restricted Access to Tripoli

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JANUARY 14 — A surprise announcement was heard in the Tunis-Carthage airport yesterday by Tunisians waiting to get on the Tunisair flight to Tripoli: only official residents, those holding a work contract and those with an official invitation from the Libyan embassy in Tunis will be allowed into Libya. The news was reported by the Arab-language Tunisian daily Assabah, which underscored the utter bewilderment — and not only in those directly affected by it — concerning this decision by the Libyan government. It was also noted that there are no restrictions on Libyan citizens in Tunisia. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Agca: Not Dangerous According to Lawyers, Promises Disclosure

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JANUARY 13 — Mehmet Alì Agca, the ‘gray wolf’ who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on May 13 1981, “is in good shape, both physically and mentally, and is no longer a dangerous person”. The many peace messages he sent to the world in the past years from his prison supposedly support this. Moreover, he intends to make new statements after he leaves prison on Monday about the many mysterious events in which he has been involved. The lawyers Yilmaz Abosoglu and Gokay Gultekin, who assist Agca together with Haci Ali Hozan, said this in a press conference this morning. The two lawyers said that Agca wanted them to organised the meeting with the press. They visited him last Monday in the high security prison of Sincan, around 30km north-west of Ankara. During this visit, Agca gave the lawyers an “open letter” to the press, 33 lines written in block letters on two sheets. In his message, the Pope’s attacker repeats the delirious statements he already made in the past on terrorism and on Al-Qaida, which he called “a psychopath and Nazi criminal organization”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Jordan: Town Request to be Renamed After Saddam Rejected

(ANSAmed) — AMMAN, JANUARY 13 — Residents of a town in south Jordan plan to go to court to appeal a decision by the government that banned them from renaming their town after former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, an activist from the southern town said today. In protest to the government’s decision, residents of the town, called Al-Rumeitha, also agreed to name all new born males during January after Saddam Hussein, according to Mohammad Demour, one of the lawyers representing the town. “We are going ahead with our plan and soon we will file a lawsuit at the higher court of justice,” he said. When the former Iraqi president was executed three years ago, residents erected a symbolic tomb in his honour and currently building a mosque to be named after the dictator. Saddam Hussein could arguably be considered the most popular Arab leader among Jordanians, as his regime helped the kingdom handle its economic problems through out the 1980s and 1990s. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Lebanon: Conditions for Egyptian Potatoes Import Set

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, JANUARY 13 — Lebanese Agriculture Minister Hussein al-Hajj Hassan has set conditions for Egypt’s potato imports to his country. Under the minister’s terms, any potato shipment from Egypt must be accompanied by an official document guaranteeing the potatoes are free of brown rot and ring rot and should be approved by the European Union. The shipment also should carry a certificate of an official lab that the potato tubers have been under lab tests. Exporters who fail to provide the necessary documents would have their shipments rejected. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Oneworld 2011: Initiative to Defeat Stereotypes

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, JANUARY 13 — Today in Dubai, OneWorld 2011 was presented, an ambitious project that aims to defeat stereotypes and misunderstandings between Muslims and the West by creating and event-movement founded on sharing sports, art, entrepreneurship, and reciprocal understanding. The initiative will be inaugurated in Seattle (USA) on the 10th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, and will involve at least 40 Muslim countries. The initiative is founded on seven essential elements: youth exchange programmes, with both sides hosting youngsters for at least a month; sports, with football tournaments — mainly women’s — between young Americans and Muslims; an art and cultural festival; a trade bazaar that will gather hundreds of entrepreneurs from both sides; a medical conference; a conference dedicated to women; and an inter-religious conference that has already received the full support of U.S. President Barack Obama. “The idea was born seven years ago, due to the climate created after the 9/11 attacks, but the conditions for the start of a real project, which will begin as an event that will last for just a few months, but intends constantly evolve, were set in place only after the election of President Obama,” explained Bob Walsh, the creator and founder of OneWorld 2011, while speaking to ANSAmed. Walsh is not new to these kinds of initiatives; in 1990, together with Ted turner he organised the Goodwill Game to bring down the iron curtain between the Russians and Americans. After the inaugural event in Seattle, OneWorld will be repeated every two years in a different Muslim capital city. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Radical Islamism: An Introductory Primer

by Barry Rubin

The following is intended as a work in progress to provide a very brief discussion of issues involving radical Islamism. Naturally, it is too short to make all points, deal with all aspects, and cover all details. I plan to expand it in future to include possible solutions.

A young American named Ramy Zamzam, arrested in Pakistan for trying to fight alongside the Taliban, responded in an interview with the Associated Press: “We are not terrorists. We are jihadists, and jihad is not terrorism.”

What he says is well worth bearing in mind in order to understand the great conflict of our era. First and foremost, Jihadism or radical Islamism is far more than mere terrorism. It is a revolutionary movement in every sense of the word. It seeks to overthrow existing regimes and replace them with governments that will transform society into a nightmarishly repressive system.

And so one might put it this way: Revolutionary Islamism is the main strategic problem in the world today. Terrorism is the main tactical problem.

What is Islamism?

Radical Islamism is the doctrine that each Muslim majority country-politics, economy, society-should be ruled by a totalitarian dictatorship guided by the given movement’s definition of proper Islam. What Marxism was to Communism, and fascism to Nazism, Jihadism is to Islamism.

In some cases, Islamists have a wider ambition to transform the entire world, starting with Europe. While this may seem ridiculous to most Westerners, it does not seem so to the Islamists who hold that view.

Only a minority of Muslims is Islamist but that sector has grown sharply over the last twenty years and seems to be on the increase still. Muslims are also among the greatest opponents of political Islamism, and often its victims. Among those rejecting it are conservative traditionalist Muslims and Arab (or other types of) nationalists, along with a very small group which can be called liberal reformist.

Three places have been under radical Islamist rule so far: Iran and the Gaza Strip, as well as, temporarily, Afghanistan. An Islamist group using democratic tactics has gained control of the government in Turkey, where it is pursuing a step-by-step attempt to transform that country which may or may not succeed. Radical Islamist movements have been active in well over 60 countries ranging from Australia and Indonesia in the east to Morocco in the west, and even in Europe and North America.

The fact that radical Islamism relates to a religion, Islam, is very important (see below) but should not blind observers to the fact that this is basically a political movement and not-at least in the modern Western sense-a theological one.

Of course, Islamism is rooted in Islam but a strong opposition to Islamism-a standpoint shared by many Muslims who may motivated by a traditional view of Islam, ethnic or nation-state nationalism, or a different radical ideology (Arab nationalism most likely)-is in no way an expression of bigotry against a religion.

Similarly, the idea that opposition to Islamism is in some way “racist” is absurd since no “race” is involved. Just as opponents of Communism (capitalist, imperialist) and fascism (Jews, Bolsheviks) could be discredited by calling them names, the same is done with those who oppose Islamism.

Very roughly, Islamism is parallel to Communism and fascism as revolutionary mass movements. Analogies should not be carried too far but are useful in understanding certain basic points.

There are a wide variety of Islamist groups. A small but energetic international grouping of local organizations called al-Qaida; Muslim Brotherhood branches, Hamas, and Hizballah are the best known. In virtually every Muslim majority country and throughout Western Europe there are such organizations working very hard to gain state power.

What is the relationship of Islamism to Islam?

Islamism grows out of Islam and its advocates easily find widely accepted and very basic Islamic principles that justify their world view and behavior. But Islamism is an interpretation of Islam and not the only one possible. Indeed, for centuries there have been different interpretations.

To argue that Islamism is the inevitable or “correct” interpretation of Islam is as silly as it is to argue that it is some external, heretical ideology which has “hijacked” Islam. A rough parallel can be made with the relationship between Communism and either liberal or democratic socialism, and of fascism compared to conservatism or nationalism.

What Islam “means” can only be interpreted in practice by Muslims in a process of debate and struggle. We will see what happens in the decades to come. For outsiders to claim that Islam is “really” a religion of peace or “really” inevitably aggressive is meaningless. And, yes, no matter how powerful a religious text seems to be worded, followers of that religion can always find ways to ignore or reinterpret those texts.

Just as the Islamists can base their case on original Islamic texts, their Muslim opponents can argue from centuries of practice as well as their own interpretations. The reason that the Islamists (who were earlier called “fundamentalists” for precisely this reason) have to go back to the seventh century texts-though of course there are later ones they use that support their case-is that the intervening years did not follow their precepts. Indeed, that is precisely their complaint…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]


Turkey: PKK: Ocalan Cannot Write for ‘Il Manifesto’

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JANUARY 12 — Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the illegal, separatist Worker’s Party of Kurdistan (PKK), who is serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison in Turkey, cannot write for Italian daily ‘Il Manifesto’, because the prisoner “does not have the right to send articles to newspapers or to write for a newspaper”. This was explained in a statement on the Turkish Justice Ministry’s website by the Undersecretary of Public Affairs and the Press, regarding a collaboration between Ocalan and Italian newspaper, Il Manifesto, which on January 9 published the first of a series of exclusive articles written by the PKK leader. “In recent days,” explained the statement, “several (Turkish) press groups reported that an Italian newspaper reportedly started to publish articles written by Abdullah Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence in an F-Type, high-security prison in Imrali for crimes of terrorism. According to Prison and Security Legal statutes, a detainee does not have the right to send articles to newspapers or to write for a newspaper. “Therefore,” concluded the statement, “this detainee cannot send articles to an Italian newspaper.” The website did not provide any other particular details and it is not clear if the Justice Ministry intends to take steps to prevent the continuation of Ocalan’s collaboration with Il Manifesto. (ANSAmed). (ANSA).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Turkey Will Withdraw Ambassador if Israel Doesn’t Apologize

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JANUARY 13 — President Abdullah Gul said Turkey would withdraw its ambassador to Israel if it did not apologize for its Deputy FM Danny Ayalon’s behavior against Turkish Ambassador Oguz Celikkol, Anatolia news agency reports. Gul said Israel had time until this evening to apologize, or the Turkish Ambassador would get on the first plane Thursday and return to Turkey. Ayalon who summoned Celikkol Tuesday to express Israel’s uneasiness over a Turkish TV-series showing Israeli agents kidnapping a child, had Celikkol sit at a lower armchair in front of a table with only the Israeli flag on it, refusing to shake his hand in front of the press. Ayalon’s snub violating all diplomatic manners drew strong reaction from Turkish officials. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said no one could dare to disrespect a Turkish ambassador, expressing Turkey’s expectance from Israel to stick to diplomatic rules. Meanwhile Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Israeli Ambassador in Ankara Gabby Levy and gave a protest note. Turkish Foreign Ministry also issued a statement saying Turkey expected an apology from Israel. Ayalon who did not make the apology Turkey expected, issued a statement late mid-night saying he did not intend to insult the ambassador but only meant to protest Turkey’s anti-Israeli attitude. He promised to employ more diplomatic means against ambassadors in the future. A statement issued by the Israeli Prime Ministry said Benjamin Netanyahu was pleased with Ayalon’s regretful mid-night statement, adding that his protest was righteous but should have been expressed through more diplomatic means. The incident came after Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s criticism of Israeli offensive in Gaza by violating the UN resolutions at a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri the same day in Ankara. In response to Erdogan’s remarks, Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Israel respected Turkey and was interested in continued normal relations between the two states but expected the Turkish side to reciprocate with a similar approach towards Israel.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Turkey Warns Lebanon on Israeli Attack, Says Report

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan this week warned his Lebanese counterpart that Israel might be planning an attack on its northern neighbor, Lebanese sources told the London-based Arabic-language daily Asharq al-Awsat on Thursday.

At Monday’s meeting in Ankara with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, Erdoðan declared that Israel was endangering world peace by using exaggerated force against the Palestinians, breaching Lebanon’s air space and waters and for not revealing the details of its nuclear program, Israel’s Haaretz reported, citing al-Awsat’s report.

Erdoðan called on the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to pressure Israel over its nuclear program in the same way that the international community has been dealing with Iran, Haaretz said.

“Israel never denied that it has nuclear weapons. In fact, it has admitted to such. Those who are cautioning Iran must also caution Israel. If we fail to display a fair attitude in this region, the problems will hit not only the region, but will spread elsewhere as well. The unrest of the Middle East is the unrest of the world,” the Israeli daily quoted the Turkish prime minister as saying.

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

South Asia

Afghanistan War General’s Worry: “How People Feel”

By Diana West

It feels like forever, but it’s only been six months since I started following “counterinsurgency” philosophy as particularly hyped by our top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A.McChrystal. Then again, it’s only been six months since McChrystal got the top job. In that time, he has made a point of publicly and frequently broadcasting — trumpeting — the US COIN strategy of “population protection” at the expense of “force protection” (many of his statements soundly thrashed here), that fuels the infidel fantasy of winning Islamic hearts and minds across Dar al-Islam.

(Worked out so well in Iraq — not.)

Of course, COIN is not McChrystal’s invention. Gen. David Petraeus and friends wrote the book . But, as Ralph Peters put it to me, “This manual is a snake that needs to be killed dead.”

Not happening. And McChrystal is only further elaborating on the part-Amazing-Kreskin, part-transcendental virtues of COIN strategy, most recently for Der Spiegel.

I think he’s starting to sound a little, well, far out. A sample:

At the end of the day, a counter-insurgency is decided by people’s perceptions and by how people feel.

“How people feel.” See what I mean?

It’s not about destroying the enemy’s cities. It’s not even about destroying their army, their fighters. …It’s really about convincing the people that they want it to stop and they ultimately will.

Wow. But in that case, why send in the Marines?

In a counter-insurgency, your security ultimately comes from the people because they help deny the insurgents support, then they provide you intelligence. Here is the conflict. To protect yourself perfectly, you get behind big forts, you wear body armor and travel in armored vehicles.

That is so, like, military-industrial-complex.

But then you can’t interact with people.

And you thought there was some military objective behind the deployment of the US military to Afghanistan! No, it’s all about an infidel-Islamic interaction strategy based on giving away major stuff in exchange for hearts and minds. Back to the general’s mantra…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]


Bangladesh: Dhaka: For the First Time in 150 Years, A Hindu Woman is Appointed District Judge

Krishna Debnath is the daughter of a judge and law professor at Rajshahi University. She is grateful for the opportunity “to serve the nation” and work for “peace and justice”. The event is signal of openness in a Muslim country where women and members of religious minorities have been victims of violence.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) — For the first time in 150 years, a Hindu woman was appointed to the post of judge at the Dhaka District Court in Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim nation. On Monday, Krishna Debnath, a member of an administrative tribunal, began her mandate after the Law Ministry made her appointment public earlier that day.

A Hindu, Krishna Debnath is the daughter of Dinesh Chandra Debnath, who was also a judge as well as a law professor at Rajshahi University. She expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to “serve the nation” and “work for justice and peace.”

“It is an honour to be given an opportunity to become part of [the country’s] history,” she said.

The new district judge mentioned her father, who was the one who passed onto her a passion for the law.

At present, she is the president of the Bangladesh Women Judges Association and the Bangladesh Judicial Services Association.

The appointment of woman from a religious minority is a positive signal in a country where members of both groups are often victims of violence and abuse that usually go unpunished.

Over the years, AsiaNews has reported a number of cases about young women being raped, about women and girls disfigured with acid, victims of family feuds, marginalised because they convert to Christianity and are repudiated by their family.

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

Latin America

How to Spot Dubious Haiti Charity Pleas

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which gutted much of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005, included thousands of Web sites making bogus appeals for disaster contributions. The problem was so big that federal authorities formed a Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force to investigate and try to stop the fraudulent pitches.

This is useful background for anguished but wary donors who want to help in the wake of the huge earthquake that hit Haiti. Especially in the era of the Internet, many other major disasters, including Sept. 11, the 2004 Thailand tsunami and several major California wildfires, have spawned reports of fraudulent fundraising.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Photos: Haiti Earthquake: Razed to the Ground, The Horrifying Images of Destruction That May Have Killed 100,000 People

[Comments from JD: WARNING. Graphic photos]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Immigration

Italy: UN Attacks ‘Xenophobic Attitudes’ After Migrant Clashes

Rome, 13 Jan. (AKI) — The United Nations and human rights groups have condemned the violence that injured dozens and led to the evacuation of more than 1,000 immigrants from the southern Italian town of Rosarno at the weekend. Two independent UN human rights experts joined Amnesty International in calling on the Italian government to rein in what they called “rising xenophobic attitudes” towards migrant workers.

“Violence, be it perpetrated by Italians or migrant workers, must be addressed in the most vigourous manner through the rule of law and human rights should always be protected, regardless of immigration laws,” Jorge Bustamante and Githu Muigai, the UN special rapporteurs on the human rights of migrants and on contemporary forms of racism said in a joint statement.

They called on the Italian government to demonstrate their continued and firm commitment to create a safe and peaceful environment for all.

“This includes finding ways to improve the very poor living and working conditions of these migrant workers — [some] of whom are often trafficked into the country for exploitation purposes — and to implement an immigration policy in full conformity with international human rights standards.”

Amnesty called on the Italian authorities to protect the economic and social rights of migrants and to protect them from “the rising tide of xenophobia and racially motivated violence”.

While stressing that anyone responsible for acts of violence must be investigated and prosecuted, Amnesty International said it feared that the root cause may be exploitation of workers and wages as low as two euros per hour.

Egypt has also condemned the violent clashes and asked the Italian government to “take the necessary measures” to protect Arab and Muslim minorities and immigrants after some of the worst racial conflict ever seen in Italy.

The ministry accused some Rosarno residents of “a campaign of aggression” against farm labourers, many of them African immigrants, who rioted after two of them were shot with an air rifle on Thursday.

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


Italy: Frattini Responds to Egypt Call

‘No religious backdrop’ to racial violence

(ANSA) — Rome, January 12 — Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Tuesday responded to an Egyptian call for protection for immigrants in the wake of last week’s racial unrest in a southern Italian town. Speaking on a tour of Africa, Frattini assured Cairo that religion was not linked to the incidents in Rosarno, Italy’s worst postwar racial violence.

“There was no absolutely no religious backdrop,” Frattini told reporters after Cairo asked Rome to protect ethnic and religious minorities from such attacks.

“The problem of Arab minorities was never involved,” Frattini stressed.

Referring to rioting, car-wrecking and litter-torching by African migrants that sparked clashes with the police and reprisals by residents, Frattini said: “They were cases of violence to which the police had to react, unacceptable violence which have nothing to do with Egypt or the Egyptians who as a community respect Italian laws”.

“All of Italy, all of Europe I think, saw people assaulting homes and wrecking or burning cars,” Frattini said.

“That has nothing whatsoever to do with religious motivations”.

“It is unacceptable violence which was rightly stopped by the police”.

The riots on Thursday night were sparked when local youths shot three migrants with an air rifle.

More than 50 people including 18 police were hurt in the violence that followed on Friday.

The immigrants, many of them legal, were bussed out at the weekend.

Talking in Mali, the second stage of a week-long African tour, Frattini said he was ready to talk to Egypt “about anything”.

The Italian foreign minister will be in Egypt on Saturday on the second-last leg of his seven-nation tour which started in Mauretania and also takes in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tunisia.

Meanwhile, Italian police stressed there were no Egyptians among the immigrants who rioted in Rosarno.

Police in Reggio Calabria stressed there were no Egyptian nationals among the hundreds of mainly Sub-Saharan Africans who had to be bussed out after the riots at the weekend.

But there were Arab speakers and Muslims among the day labourers at Rosarno, the Reggio police chief said.

‘STRUGGLE AMONG POOR’, SAY BISHOPS.

Italian bishops weighed into the debate, with their immigration pointman telling a conference at Vatican Radio the Rosarno violence was a “struggle among the poor”.

The unrest “highlighted the weakness of the system of reception and integration. It was a struggle between poor people and the biggest losers were the poorer ones, the immigrants,” said Msgr Bruno Schettino.

“We must recreate a climate of better and greater reception, overcoming the temptations of xenophobia which spawns fear, mortification of people and the loss of hope,” said Msgr Schettino, head of the migrant help group Migrantes and immigration chief for the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI).

Asked to comment on a Monday article in the Vatican daily Osservatore Romano which launched an alert on racism in Italy, Schettino replied: “In my personal experience, I have never found too much racism in Italy but rather some forms of xenophobia, but they were moments of social rebellion caused by social problems rather than an aversion to immigrants”. One of the ways of improving relations with immigrants was to make it easier for them to become citizens, Schettino said.

In Geneva, the United Nations Rapporteur on Migrant Rights, Jorge Bustamante, and its rapporteur on racism, Githu Muigai, issued a statement saying the Rosarno incidents were “extremely worrying”.

The two members of the UN’s Human Rights Council said the episode highlighted “serious and deeply rooted problems of racism against these migrant workers”.

The Italian branch of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Tuesday that Rosarno was not an isolated case but the “inhumane” conditions of “slaves” there mirrored countless others across southern Italy, comparable to refugee camps in Africa.

“Everyone knows about it but no one does anything,” said MSF Italy chief Loris De Filippi. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni will report to parliament on Tuesday to answer opposition queries on Rosarno.

Maroni, a member of the rightwing Northern League which has led the immigration fight and whose northern Italian mayors have hit headlines with initiatives seen as against immigrants’ rights, was criticised when he called the Rosarno rioting the result of past lenience.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy: No Egyptians at Rosarno, Maroni Says

‘No let-up’ in fight against illegal immigration

(ANSA) — Rome, January 12 — No Egyptians were involved in the clashes at the southern Italian town of Rosarno that prompted Egypt to ask Italy to protect immigrants, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni told parliament Tuesday.

Confirming what Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said earlier, Maroni said “no Egyptian was involved” in Italy’s worst episode of racial vioelnce since the Second World War.

Noting that the majority of migrant workers had work permits, the interior minister vowed that the fight against illegal immigration would continue “without let-up”.

He cited figures showing that 42,000 migrants were sent home in the last two years while landings in southern Italy were 90% down from 31,281 in 2008 to 3,185 last year, mostly thanks to the government’s controversial new ‘push-back’ policy to Libya.

As for the problem of organised crime in Calabria, where ‘Ndrangheta has grown to be Italy’s strongest mafia, Maroni said an operation early Tuesday that arrested 13 Rosarno mobsters and served fresh warrants on four jailed mafiosi showed “the best response”.

The charges were unrelated to the racial violence but one clan member was previously picked up in connection to the attacks on immigrants and mafia is said to have ties to the rackets that pay starvation wages to migrants across southern Italy.

The Rosarno families also get a large chunk of their business from legal and illegal traffic down the coast at Gioia Tauro, the Mediterranean’s biggest container port. ‘Ndrangheta (‘heroism’ or ‘virtue’ in a form of ancient Greek) has grown to dominate the European cocaine trade and its close family ties mean members are the least likely to be turned into informants, police say.

It flung down a gauntlet to the Italian state by killing the deputy head of the Calabrian assembly in 2005, leading the government to send thousands of police to the area.

The organisation claimed international headlines in August 2007 when six mobsters were gunned down at a pizzeria in the German city of Duisburg.

The incident led to a further crackdown and the killers were eventually caught.

Like Cosa Nostra and the Camorra, ‘Ndrangheta has expanded its activities further north.

Tuesday’s arrests were largely related to money-laundering activities near Bologna and Milan, police said.

Last year a Dolce Vita iconic landmark in Rome, the Cafe’ de Paris, was sequestered on suspicion it was acting as an ‘Ndrangheta front.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Rosarno: Egypt: Press Silent on Italian Reactions

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JANUARY 13 — There were no responses in the Egyptian press to the Italian reactions to the statement made by the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry in Cairo, which yesterday criticised the “campaign of aggression” and “violence” suffered by immigrants and Arab and Muslim minorities in Italy. The pro-government press, including Al Ahram, limited to reporting on the government statement, which news agency MENA issued yesterday. Independent newspaper, Al Masri Al Yom, interviewed Amr Al Choubki, an analyst of the Al Ahram political and strategic study centre, who was highly critical of the Egyptian government’s stance. “The ministry,” observed the researcher, “reacted without verifying if the matter merits criticism or not.” A stance by the ministry “that is not professional,” he accused, “and which results in a loss of credibility for Egyptian diplomacy.” In Choubki’s view, Egypt’s position on Rosarno was “a reaction to the statement issued by Italy on the violence against Christian Copts in Egypt; this is reminiscent of a schoolyard scuffle.” The incidents in Naj Hamadi, according to the analyst, deserve to be criticised and cannot be compared to what happened in Italy.” The “infantile” reaction by Egyptian diplomacy was also slow. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Homeschoolers Capture Major Victory

State lawmakers reject proposal for new regs

In a statement that clearly reflects widespread trust by lawmakers in homeschoolers, the New Hampshire House of Representatives today resoundingly rejected a proposal that would have imposed draconian new regulations on the students and their parents.

Members of the state House voted 324-34 to maintain the state’s present homeschool law, rejecting a proposal from Democratic leaders that would have subjected every homeschooled student to new tests, a requirement for an annual portfolio as well as new regulations that the state Department of Education could write.

“Winning by such a significant margin is welcome relief for New Hampshire homeschool families,” said Mike Donnelly, staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Obama’s TSA Nominee Says Anti-Abortionists, Anti-Government

Vieo: Obama’s TSA Nominee Says Anti-Abortionists, Anti-Government and Christian Identity Are the Big Threat…Really? What about The Radical Muslims?

[Return to headlines]

General

Laminated Linen Protected Alexander the Great

Alexander’s men wore linothorax, a highly effective type of body armor

A Kevlar-like armor might have helped Alexander the Great conquer nearly the entirety of the known world in little more than two decades, according to new reconstructive archaeology research.

Presented at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Anaheim, Calif., the study suggests that Alexander (356—323 B.C.) and his soldiers protected themselves with linothorax, a type of body armor made by laminating together layers of linen.

[Return to headlines]


Nature’s Way of Saying Multiculturalism is a Bad Idea

Author and lecturer Nonie Darwish says the goal of radical Islamists is to impose Sharia Law on the world, ripping Western law and liberty in two. She recently authored the book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Born in Cairo, Darwish spent her childhood in Egypt and Gaza before immigrating to America in 1978.

Darwish warns about creeping Sharia Law. She says, “Islamists are working to impose Sharia on the world. If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed. Westerners generally assume all religions encourage a respect for the dignity of each individual. Islamic law (Sharia) teaches that non-Muslims should be subjugated or killed in this world. Peace and prosperity for one’s children is not as important as assuring that Islamic law rules everywhere in the Middle East and eventually in the world.”

Darwish continued, “While Westerners tend to think that all religions encourage some form of the golden rule, Sharia teaches two systems of ethics — one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims. Building on tribal practices of the seventh century, Sharia encourages the side of humanity that wants to take from and subjugate others.

“While Westerners tend to think in terms of religious people developing a personal understanding of and relationship with God, Sharia advocates executing people who ask difficult questions that could be interpreted as criticism.”

Americans blind as to Islamic outcome in USA

“Unfortunately, Islamic scholars conclude that those who criticize Islam or choose to stop being Muslim should be executed,” said Darwish. “While Westerners are accustomed to an increase in religious tolerance over time, petro dollars are being used to grow an extremely intolerant form of political Islam in her native Egypt and elsewhere,” said Darwish.

[Return to headlines]


The Ideological War Within the West

In this preview of an article due for publication in the Summer issue of FPRI’s Orbis, the author takes a markedly conservative position on a controversial question that has arisen since September 11, 2001. He suggests there has arisen a conflict within the democratic world between liberal democracy and transnational progressivism, between democrats and what he calls post-democrats.

Countering views, anyone?

—Ed.

Nearly a year before the September 11 attacks, news stories provided a preview of the transnational politics of the future. In October 2000, in preparation for the UN Conference Against Racism, about fifty American nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) called on the UN “to hold the United States accountable for the intractable and persistent problem of discrimination.”

The NGOs included Amnesty International-U. S.A. (AI-U. S.A.), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Arab-American Institute, National Council of Churches, the NAACP, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and others. Their spokesman stated that their demands “had been repeatedly raised with federal and state officials [in the U. S.] but to little effect. In frustration we now turn to the United Nations.” In other words, the NGOs, unable to enact the policies they favored through the normal processes of American constitutional democracy—the Congress, state governments, even the federal courts—appealed to authority outside of American democracy and its Constitution.

At the UN Conference against Racism, which was held in Durban two weeks before September 11, American NGOs supported “reparations” from Western nations for the historic transatlantic slave trade and developed resolutions that condemned only the West, without mentioning the larger traffic in African slaves sent to Islamic lands. The NGOs even endorsed a resolution denouncing free market capitalism as a “fundamentally flawed system.”

The NGOs also insisted that the U. S. ratify all major UN human rights treaties and drop legal reservations to treaties already ratified. For example, in 1994 the U. S. ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), but attached reservations on treaty requirements restricting free speech that were “incompatible with the Constitution.” Yet leading NGOs demanded that the U. S. drop all reservations and “comply” with the CERD treaty by accepting UN definitions of “free speech” and eliminating the “vast racial disparities… in every aspect of American life” (housing, health, welfare, justice, etc.).

HRW complained that the U. S. offered “no remedies” for these disparities but “simply supported equality of opportunity” and indicated “no willingness to comply” with CERD. Of course, to “comply” with the NGO interpretation of the CERD treaty, the U. S. would have to abandon the Constitution’s free speech guarantees, bypass federalism, and ignore the concept of majority rule—since practically nothing in the NGO agenda is supported by the American electorate.

All of this suggests that we have not reached the final triumph of liberal democracy proclaimed by Francis Fukuyama in his groundbreaking 1989 essay.

POST-SEPTEMBER 11

In October 2001, Fukuyama stated that his “end of history” thesis remained valid: that after the defeat of communism and fascism, no serious ideological competitor to Western-style liberal democracy was likely to emerge in the future. Thus, in terms of political philosophy, liberal democracy is the end of the evolutionary process. There will be wars and terrorism, but no alternative ideology with a universal appeal will seriously challenge the principles of Western liberal democracy on a global scale.

The 9/11 attacks notwithstanding, there is nothing beyond liberal democracy “towards which we could expect to evolve.” Fukuyama concluded that there will be challenges from those who resist progress, “but time and resources are on the side of modernity.”

Indeed, but is “modernity” on the side of liberal democracy? Fukuyama is very likely right that the current crisis with radical Islam will be overcome and that there will be no serious ideological challenge originating outside of Western civilization. However, the activities of the NGOs suggest that there already is an alternative ideology to liberal democracy within the West that has been steadily evolving for years.

Thus, it is entirely possible that modernity—thirty or forty years hence—will witness not the final triumph of liberal democracy, but the emergence of a new transnational hybrid regime that is post-liberal democratic, and in the American context, post-Constitutional and post-American. This alternative ideology, “transnational progressivism,” constitutes a universal and modern worldview that challenges both the liberal democratic nation-state in general and the American regime in particular…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

2 comments:

4Symbols said...

@UK: Fast-Tracking Teens to Al-Qaida - "Ads in U.K. promote lectures from Muslim extremist."

Attention MI5 operatives further intelligence concerning the islam channel U.K. and infiltration opportunities can be found here -

To apply, send your CV and covering letter to:

HR Department
Islam Channel Ltd.,
14 Bonhill Street,
London, UK,
EC2A 4BX.

Alternatively tune your set top box to channel 836 on Sky.

heroyalwhyness said...

re: 8 yr. Mikey Hicks

Interesting that the reporter didn't ask momma Hicks about her own name . ..Najlah Feanny Hicks, or bother to mention that the surname "Hicks" may trigger on 'no-fly' lists because of one "David Hicks" aka David Matthew Hicks (born 7 August 1975), an Australian who undertook combat training in al Qaeda-linked camps and served with the ruling Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001. He was then detained by the United States Government in Guantanamo Bay until 2007 when he became the first to be tried and convicted under the U.S. Military Commissions Act of 2006. link

FWIW, David was no boyscout.