Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20101011

Financial Crisis
»Chuck Norris: 8 Steps to Rebuild America’s Economy
»GAO Releases Medicaid Report LATE FRIDAY. OUCH!!!
»Srdja Trifkovic: Pernicious Myth of “Free Trade”
»UK: Britain, The Jobless Capital of Europe Where One in Eight Adults Live in House Where No One Works
»Cartoonist Seeing Red After ‘Muhammad’ Cartoon Yanked
»It’s About the Jihad, Stupid
»New York Violating MOVE Act
»Obama’s Communist Mentor
»‘Vampires’ Arrested for Attack on Man Who Refused to Give Them Blood
Europe and the EU
»‘A Bipartisan Marathon in Rome for Israel’
»Belgium: Hotel Cancels “Dangers of Islam” Conference
»Diana West: Asylum From Sharia
»Germany and Turkey Agree to Work Harder on Integration
»Germany: Turkish Group Demands Apology From Seehofer
»Germany: Merkel Backs Coalition Ally Over “Alien” Islam Remarks (Roundup)
»Germany Risks a Lurch to the Right
»In Holland, Free Speech on Trial
»Middle East Company to Launch Muslim Newspaper in UK
»Sweden World’s Most Respected Country: Study
»Sweden: Two Held for Threatening Pimping Trial Prosecutor
»The Role of Islamic Law in German Courts
»UK: ‘I Gave Saudi Prince a Two-Hour Erotic Massage Three Days Before He Killed His Manservant’, Gay Masseur Tells Court
»UK: “Are We Partly to Blame for Islamic Terrorism?”
»UK: Bungling Police Called to Death of Man ‘Failed to Spot He Had Knife Sticking Out of His Back’
»UK: Evil Teenagers Who ‘Tortured’ Autistic Boy, 17, For Three Days Free to Roam Streets After Judge Fails to Lock Them Up
»UK: Fake Policeman Anthony Sacks Made Bogus Arrests ‘To Instill Discipline in Young People’
»UK: Gavin Stamp Exposes Britain’s Vendetta Against Its Victorian Masterpeices
»UK: Girl, 11, Refused Sale of Pencil Sharpener Because it is Classed as a ‘Dangerous Object’
»UK: Jilted Boyfriend Jailed for Life for Stabbing Ex-Girlfriend to Death After They Agreed to Meet ‘One Last Time’
»UK: Oxfam: Behind the PR Mask
»UK: Pensioner Ordered to Take Down Portrait of Queen Because ‘It Could Fall on a Firefighter’
»UK: Son and 16-Year-Old Charged With Murder After Woman Stabbed at Luxury Home
»UK: Sons Held After Estranged Wife Who Had Been Seeing Other Men is Stabbed to Death at Luxury Home
»Bosnia: Muslims ‘Wanted to Draw NATO Into War’
»Riot in Serbia as Far-Right Thugs Protest at Belgrade Gay Pride March
»Serbia: Mass Arrests Follow Anti-Gay Parade Violence
North Africa
»Al Qaeda Offers to Free French Hostages if Burqa Ban Ended — TV
Israel and the Palestinians
»Abbas May Circumvent Israel, Ask U.S. To Recognize Palestinian State
»Double-Talking on Israel: U.S. Aids Palestinians?
»News Being Manufactured: A Graphic Example of How This is Done to Slander Israel
»Stakelbeck: Hamas Fundraising in American Mosque?
Middle East
»Against the De-Legitimization of Israel and Appeasement With Iran
»Yemen: Al-Qaeda Has Killed ‘50 Security Agents’
South Asia
»Afghanistan: Italy Eyes 2011 Withdrawal After Latest Troop Deaths
»Bangladesh: Furious Mob Set Fire to Passenger Train After it Ploughed Into Political Rally Killing Five and Injuring 80
»Pakistan: Probe Launched Into 500 Missing NATO Vehicles
»Pakistan Sparks U.S. Anger After Secretly Accelerating Nuclear Programme
»Germany: Merkel Defends State Premier’s Controversial Integration Statements
»Germany’s Integration Debate Takes a Turn for the Worse
»Italy: Immigrant Labourers Protest Exploitation
»UK: Brought Up, Educated and Married in England… But Father is Denied UK Citizenship for Not Being ‘English’ Enough
Culture Wars
»420 Banks Demand 1-World Currency
»Marxists, Muslims, Mormons, Globalists, And Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention
»School System to Get Muslim Holiday
»Serbia: Gay Parade Outrages Orthodox Church
»Peter Diamond, Dale Mortensen and Christopher Pissarides Share Nobel in Economic Science
»Tariq Ramadan Speaks About Muslim Identity

Financial Crisis

Chuck Norris: 8 Steps to Rebuild America’s Economy

When President Obama was elected, he made claims that he would “go through our federal budget — page by page, line by line — eliminating those programs we don’t need.” But that is just another broken promise in a long line of others.

A couple weeks ago, the Cato Institute faced off with Obama by taking out a full-page advertisement in Washington Post and other newspapers, identifying $525 billion that Obama could cut annually from the federal budget (and another $1 trillion over the next decade on top of that) by simply eliminating unnecessary, wasteful and superfluous programs.

While laying blame on both big political parties’ spending sprees for burying us in this recession, the full-page ad challenged, “It’s been nearly two years since you made that pledge, Mr. President. Since then, you’ve signed into law an $800 billion ‘stimulus’ package and a massive new health care entitlement — adding trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities to our grandchildren’s tab.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

GAO Releases Medicaid Report LATE FRIDAY. OUCH!!!

Inquiring minds know that the Democrats are in big trouble by a report that the GAO released late on a Friday before a 3-day weekend…a sure sign that it wasn’t supposed to be noticed. Why would anyone want to keep a report quiet 26 days before a huge mid-term election where the subject of the report is reduced reimbursement rates AND higher taxes:

In a late Friday news dump, the GAO released a report detailing the impact of the Recovery Act on state Medicaid funding and enrollment. The report was given the Orwellian title: “Increased Medicaid Funds Aided Enrollment Growth, and Most States Reported Taking Steps to Sustain Their Programs”.

Enrollment growth? Check. In just the President’s first 6 months in office, Medicaid enrollment increased by a staggering 2.4 million enrollees, and over 5 million in total from January 2009 through October 2010.

Now about those steps taken by states to “sustain their programs”. What sort of steps? Well, according to the report, 38 states have enacted new taxes on health care providers, and another 5 are considering it. Twenty-two states are either implementing or considering reductions in benefits and services, and a total of 41 states are reducing or freezing rates paid to providers, or considering doing so. Obviously many states have taken more than one of these steps, 44 of them in fact.

No wonder an increasing number of doctors aren’t accepting Medicaid patients any longer…

           — Hat tip: Bobbo[Return to headlines]

Srdja Trifkovic: Pernicious Myth of “Free Trade”

In the last week of September the House of Representatives passed legislation aimed at imposing trade sanctions against China unless it lets its currency appreciate, thereby reducing its export advantage. In a subsequent speech clearly aimed at China, Japan and Brazil, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner attacked currency policies likely to result in “short-term distortions in favor of exports.” In the meantime the U.S. dollar has hit a record low against most major currencies.

Who is to blame? Whatever you do, Professor Douglas A. Irwin of Dartmouth College says in The Wall Street Journal, don’t blame Free Trade. In a long feature on October 9, he bewailed the fact that a recent WSJ-NBC News poll found that 53 percent of the American public now believes that free-trade agreements have hurt America, up from 46 percent three years ago, and under a third in 1999. In his view, far from erecting trade barriers and “blaimng other countries,” we need a mix of continued free trade and a host of measures by the Fed to stimulate growth.

Ian Fletcher, the author of Free Trade Doesn’t Work (U.S. Business & Industry Council, 2010) begs to differ. In his view, “free trade” is slowly bleeding America’s economy to death and the standard economic arguments free traders use all the time are false. In the meantime the U.S. economy is hemorrhaging quality export industry jobs at an astounding rate. Almost half of our manufacturing workforce has disappeared since 1987 and more than a third of large factories just since 2001. Not coincidentally 2001 is the year China joined the WTO.

In the Problem section of his book, Fletcher tears apart the standard arguments for free trade and some of the snake-oil remedies to the US trade problem (more “education” etc). He suggests a “natural strategic tariff” that would level the playing field between US and foreign exporters in the key manufacturing and service export sectors. It is necessary because “free trade” is unsustainable. Nauru, a small Pacific island nation that had huge deposit of phosphate, opened up to free trade, “became one of the richest countries in the world,” and duly collapsed when the phosphorous soil run out. If it had not opened up to free trade, it would have sold its reserves of phosphate slowly, and it would not have collapsed.. Even though free trade may result in gains, the gains are to the economy as a whole and not to an individual, which results in increased income inequality.

It is essential to distinguish between trade and “free trade,” Fletcher says. They are not the same thing at all. Trade brings many benefits and, properly reckoned, also many costs. If these are properly understood, nations have a reasonable hope of managing their trade so that the former exceed the latter:

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

UK: Britain, The Jobless Capital of Europe Where One in Eight Adults Live in House Where No One Works

Britain was last night exposed as the jobless capital of Europe, with one in eight adults living in a house where no one is in work.

As the Government prepares a clampdown on benefits scroungers, a league table revealed that a greater proportion of people in the UK are in jobless households than in any other European country.

And separate analysis has found that in the worst ghettos of worklessness, as many as 84 per cent are on welfare.

The devastating reports paint a terrifying picture of the true extent of ‘ Shameless Britain’, in which millions grow up in a culture of dependency where work does not pay. The Government will this week lay out new plans to tackle this welfare dependency, by launching a crackdown on incapacity benefit scroungers.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Cartoonist Seeing Red After ‘Muhammad’ Cartoon Yanked

An award-winning cartoonist is seeing red after editors at The Washington Post and other newspapers pulled a “very tame” cartoon that alluded to the Prophet Muhammad.

Wiley Miller, whose “Non Sequitur” comic strip has won several national awards and appears daily in roughly 800 newspapers, said he was not surprised by the decision to yank the single-panel, “Where’s Muhammad?”cartoon because even the word itself is such a “dicey thing” nowadays.

“That’s all they saw,” Miller told of the word Muhammad. “[Editors] didn’t see the satire was on them, of being petrified to run anything related to him. But this whole thing has just gotten so silly over the years. It’s something I can’t lay off. It’s my job as a satirist to point out the stupidity in the world. And the editors fell right in line with proving how stupid it is.”

The cartoon, which was originally submitted in August and had been scheduled to appear in newspapers nationwide on Oct. 3, depicts a lively, seek-and-find-esque park scene complete with a giraffe, a skateboarder, a cyclist, frolicking children and a large hippopotamus. An accompanying caption reads: “Picture Book Title Voted Least Likely to Ever Find a Publisher … Where’s Muhammad?”

Miller, 59, of Maine, said the cartoon was intended to be a satirical reference to the global furor that followed the 2006 decision by a Danish newspaper to solicit depictions of Muhammad. It also invoked “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day!,” a free-speech-inspired call to action this year originally jump-started by a cartoonist now living in hiding after receiving death threats from Muslim extremists.

Miller said he frequently uses Biblical references in his work, citing “great metaphors” he can draw upon throughout his comic strip. But the decision not to run this drawing, Miller said, is an example of being overly sensitive due to the subject matter.

“They proved me wrong by not running it, by being afraid of running it,” Miller said. “It was a tame cartoon. The satire was on media, not Islam.”


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

It’s About the Jihad, Stupid

So at long last the case of the Times Square Bomber is over and we heard it straight from the camel’s mouth, that Faisal Shahzad wasn’t upset over his mortgage or angry over Obamacare — he was what he had always been, a Muslim terrorist trying to kill infidels in the name of Islam.

After the attempted attacked, the liberal media insisted on painting Faisal Shahzad as a tragic victim of the mortgage crisis, suggesting that the whole “car bomb near the Lion King” matter could have been averted with more government bailouts of borrowers who weren’t paying their bills. That is how the axis of liberal media responds to every act of Muslim terrorism, by blaming Republicans and offering their own policies as the solution.

Worried about airplane hijackings? Elect us, and we’ll make the Muslim world love us with hearty doses of appeasement and long deep bows. Afraid of shootings at army bases, vote the right way and we’ll pull out all the troops so no more kindly Muslim psychiatrists come down with secondhand PTSD. Worried about car bombs, with more socialism no one will want to car bomb Times Square anymore.

But then Faisal Shahzad ruined everything by opening his mouth. “This is but one life,” he said. “If I am given a thousand lives, I will sacrifice them all for the sake of Allah, fighting this cause, defending our lands, making the word of Allah supreme over any religion or system.”

The Judge did her usual liberal shtick, foolishly lecturing Shahzad on how moderate Islam is. She suggested that Shahzad should “spend some of the time in prison thinking carefully about whether the Koran wants you to kill lots of people”.

But who knows better what Islam really represents, Faisal Shahzad or Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum? Clearly Miriam thinks she knows better, as Time Magazine and Newsweek and the New York Times insist that they know Islam, better than the Muslims who keep misunderstanding what Islam really is.

But Shahzad wasn’t quoting some wacky preacher living in a cave somewhere, he was quoting the Koran. The same book that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer suggested might be illegal to burn. The same book that Democrats and many Republicans insist is really a beautiful book that teaches tolerance. Unlike Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, Faisal Shahzad didn’t need to spend a whole lot of time thinking about whether the Koran really wants him to kill lots of people. He could just read it…

“He it is who has sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.” Koran 61:9


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

New York Violating MOVE Act

More than one week after its extended deadline, New York still hasn’t mailed out absentee ballots to all its 320,000 military servicemen and women and overseas voters, in clear violation of the MOVE Act, has learned.

According to the 2009 MOVE Act, a state must send out its military and overseas ballots 45 days prior to elections.

New York was granted a waiver to this deadline by the Department of Justice and given an additional 15 days — until October 1 — to send out all its ballots. On October 5, New York State Board of Elections co-directors informed federal officials that the state had not fully met their extended deadline, according to an e-mail posted online at, the website of the Defense Department agency tasked with overseeing military voting.


And, as of Oct. 9, these ballots still have not been mailed to voters in these counties, who will now have less than 25 days to receive, mark and return their ballots, federal and state officials told New York City alone has about 50,000 servicemen and women and overseas voters.

“The gravity of New York’s failure cannot be overstated. With approximately 50,000 military and overseas voters in New York City alone, there is no doubt that the November elections could be altered by this failure,” said Eric Eversole, a former Justice Department voting section attorney who recently started a nonprofit organization, Military Voter Protection Project, to protect military voting rights

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Communist Mentor

Frank Marshall Davis parroted the Communist line and attacked Democratic icon Harry Truman.

When you write a book, particularly one that requires several years of research, you tend to encounter a bunch of unexpected information. Sometimes you find things that, if reported, will undoubtedly prompt partisans to demand you explain yourself. For me, this begins that process of explaining, given that one of the major characters in my new book on American Communists, Dupes, is Frank Marshall Davis.

Allegations regarding Davis’s Communism are sure to infuriate the Left because of the influence Davis once had over our president. He was a drinking buddy of Barack Obama’s maternal grandfather, Stanley Dunham, and spent time with young Obama. He turns up in the president’s memoir, Dreams from My Father, shrewdly identified only as “Frank”: “I was intrigued by old Frank, with his books and whiskey breath and the hint of hard-earned knowledge behind the hooded eyes.” Recently, a U.S. Communist-party official confirmed the relationship, bragging in a speech of the Communist Davis’s formative influence over Obama. And yet when the allegations surfaced during the 2008 campaign, they went virtually unreported in the mainstream media.

After an almost four-year-long sojourn in which I tried to ascertain whether Davis was a progressive duped by Communists, or, conversely, a Communist who duped progressives, I determined the latter. No doubt, this conclusion — which means the leader of the free world was strongly influenced by a Marxist — will bring the unholy wrath of liberals. Yet, they should brace themselves for another kind of anger. Once they read what Davis did and wrote, they might redirect their rage. In truth, Davis’s targets were mainly Democrats, and especially a Democratic icon, Harry Truman. What Davis said about Truman was unbelievably outrageous. Worse, he said it because it was the Moscow line.

Since the early 1990s, I’ve been absorbed with archives from the Soviet and Communist world — I’ve looked at every kind of declassified holding. In recent years, I’ve concentrated on an extraordinary cache of material from the Comintern Archives on Communist Party USA (CPUSA). This material is utterly damning to the American Left, especially in its vindication of the worst fears and warnings of anti-Communists. Not surprisingly, our illustrious “scholars” in the academy are studiously ignoring it.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

‘Vampires’ Arrested for Attack on Man Who Refused to Give Them Blood

A homeless man has been attacked by two ‘vampires’ after he failed to provide them with a free lunch — a serving of his own blood.

When American Robert Mayley, of Phoenix, Arizona, mocked Aaron Homer and Amanda Williamson and refused to let them suck his blood, the couple allegedly decided to help themselves by stabbing their victim.

According to U.S. news reports, Mayley, 25, told police that the couple were into ‘vampire stuff and paganism’. He also admitted to authorities that he had let them drink his blood in the past.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

‘A Bipartisan Marathon in Rome for Israel’

by Andrea Garibaldi

Corriere della Sera, October 8, 2010

ROME — Outside, in Piazza di Pietra, there is a screen showing a message by Roberto Saviano: “I try to hope that in Italy — the right, the left, the center, whatever your political inclination — it is possible to speak with greater knowledge and insight. My truth on Israel is nurtured by thoughts against the delegitimization of its culture and of its people”.

Inside the magnificent Temple of Hadrian, there is an audience that is difficult to bring together: Fabrizio Cicchitto and Piero Fassino, Giovanna Melandri and Mara Carfagna, Fini’s supporters Benedetto Della Vedova and Luca Barbareschi together with Berlusconi’s supporters Gaetano Quagliariello and Franco Frattini, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Giuliano Ferrara, editor-in-chief of “Il Foglio”, and the radical Massimo Bordin, Francesco Rutelli, the Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno.

All were convened by the journalist and Member of Parliament from Pdl Fiamma Nirenstein, for a “speaking marathon” entitled “For truth, for Israel”. Nirenstein hopes for a “two State-two people” solution in the Middle East. But she wants to defend Israel from the boycotts launched around the world, from the U.N. resolutions, from the “lies that depict Israel as a bully crook, whose life is worth nothing”.


* translated by Silvia Pallottino

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

Belgium: Hotel Cancels “Dangers of Islam” Conference

BRUSSELS — On Thursday, the Crowne Plaza hotel cancelled a conference, scheduled for Saturday, on “the dangers of Islam,” according to a source working for the city of Brussels.

The planned event was sponsored by Euboco, an organization that promotes “the defense of Western Christian culture.” The speaker was to be Oskar Freysinger of the Swiss People’s Party, billed in an online invitation for the conference as “the man who stopped construction of the minarets in Switzerland.”

The conference was originally scheduled to take place in Schaerbeek. There, local authorities also convinced the venue to cancel. “The leaders of the conference center did not seem to know either the name of the conference, nor the reputation of the organizer. After being informed, especially about their responsibilities in case of trouble, officials of the conference center took the decision not to provide their conference room,” read a statement from the acting mayor of Schaerbeek, Cecile Jodogne.

When the event was moved to the Schuman-area Crowne Plaza, that hotel’s managment was contacted by city authorities.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Diana West: Asylum From Sharia

Oskar Freysinger of the Swiss People’s Party and Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang outside the Flemish Parliament on October 9, 2010.

From what I can gather from assorted reports, Oskar Freysinger, the Swiss force of nature (Alpine avalanche?) behind the country’s successful, lawful and democratically determined and all-around-wonderful ban on minarets, was recently invited to Brussels to speak on the dangers of Islam. Due to alleged (and wholly plausible pressure) from Socialist Mayor Freddy Thielemans, two venues successively booked to host the event were cancelled out from under him. First, the Crowne Plaza Hotel and, next, the Diamond Centre Hotel both shut their doors to Freysinger — something for Brussels-bound travellers to remember when booking lodging.

Why did they shut Freysinger out? Fear of the Muslim reaction to any and all criticism of and opposition to sharia. Such fear has a name — dhimmitude — and it proves that Brussels, at least according to the dhimmi-powers that be, functions only under Islamic law…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

Germany and Turkey Agree to Work Harder on Integration

Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Berlin with a range issues on the agenda. Among them was the integration of Muslims in Germany, a much-debated topic in recent weeks.

Talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Berlin on Saturday turned to the current debate in Germany about immigrant integration.

Both leaders pledged more to improve the integration of Germany’s 2.5-million-strong Turkish minority after the issue became a focus of public discussion.

Following the meeting, Merkel said Germany should use the 50th anniversary of a guest worker pact between Germany and Turkey to take a look at the ongoing problems of integrating immigrant groups.

“We propose that everywhere in cities and towns where there are people of Turkish origin, we use this event as a way of taking stock and seeing where we are and what has to be done,” Merkel told reporters, adding that there were still problems to be addressed and that Turkey was a willing and constructive partner.

“Assimilation is not on our agenda, this is about integration,” Merkel added, stressing that learning the German language was integral for the employment opportunities of young Turks living in Europe’s largest country.

Wulff comments praised

Erdogan, meanwhile, said the integration of some 2 million Turkish people living in Germany was “very important,” and that both countries needed to take a closer look at what could be done to advance the process.

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Erdogan stressed a need for a solid prospect of EU membership The Turkish premier went on to welcome recent comments by German President Christian Wulff, who said on the 20th anniversary of German reunification on October 3 that Islam was “now a part of Germany.”

The integration debate in Germany has flared in recent months after a central banker said Germany was becoming “more stupid,” claiming immigrants from Muslim nations are poorly educated and unproductive.

Talks also focused on bilateral ties, the situation in Turkey following September’s constitutional referendum, security issues and Ankara’s EU membership bid.

Erdogan told a joint news conference with Merkel that Turkey’s bid to enter the EU must not be allowed to slow, addressing concerns that some EU members are stalling entry of a Muslim country to the club.

The two leaders met over breakfast in Berlin after the previous night’s Euro 2012 football qualifying match in the city, where Germany beat Turkey 3-0.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Turkish Group Demands Apology From Seehofer

Outraged Turkish groups and German politicians on Monday demanded an apology from Horst Seehofer after the conservative Bavarian state premier suggested over the weekend Germany put a stop to immigration for Turks and Arabs.

Seehofer, who belongs to the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, told news magazine Focus that “immigrants from other cultures, such as those from Turkey and Arab countries have more difficulties” integrating into German culture. Therefore he had drawn the “conclusion that we need no additional immigration from other cultural areas.”

On Monday chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD), Kenan Kolat, demanded an apology.

“The latest comments by Seehofer are defamatory and unacceptable,” he told daily Berliner Zeitung, speaking of an attempt to stigmatise certain ethnic groups and trump former Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin’s inflammatory assertions about Muslim immigrants.

Meanwhile politicians from across the spectrum expressed their dismay over Seehofer’s suggestion.

Germany’s Christian Democratic commissioner for integration, Maria Böhmer, said she was “very shocked,” while Seehofer’s fellow CSU party member and parliamentary liaison at the Interior Ministry Ole Schröder accused Seehofer of trying to talk around his own state’s problems with integration.

Bavarian Free Democrat and Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger called Seehofer’s words an “intentionally simplified populist debate.”

Opposition parties the environmentalist Greens and the centre-left Social Democrats accused the Bavarian leader of pandering to far-right populism.

But other members of Seehofer’s Christian Social Union defended him. Head of the CSU’s parliamentary group, Hans-Peter Friedrich, told daily Hamburger Abendblatt that his party leader was “absolutely right.”

Instead of allowing more immigrants from abroad, Germany should focus on bringing in other European workers, he suggested.

“These people are easier to integrate into Germany than those who come from foreign cultural groups,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Merkel Backs Coalition Ally Over “Alien” Islam Remarks (Roundup)

Berlin — A row over the place of Muslim immigrants in German society flared up again Monday, as Chancellor Angela Merkel backed a coalition ally who said the country should not accept any more migrants from ‘alien cultures’ such as Turks and Arabs. The leader of Germany’s Christian Social Union (CSU), Horst Seehofer, faced calls for an apology Monday after giving a magazine interview at the weekend in which he made the remarks. ‘It’s clear that immigrants from different cultures — such as Turkey and the Arab countries — find it harder here than others … I have no understanding therefore for promoting widespread immigration from alien cultures,’ he told the Focus news magazine. Following the remarks, Seehofer was criticized by Muslim groups and left-wing parties. However Merkel, who has insisted that Muslim immigrants must adapt to German values, backed her coalition partner. ‘It was a remark that was limited to the question of the labour force … Germany is and will remain a country open to the world,’ Merkel, who is visiting Bulgaria and Romania, said. A spokeswoman for the chancellor earlier said that there was ‘no dissent’ between Merkel and Seehofer over his remarks. The new row adds to weeks of debate on the question of immigration, set off by a book written by former central banker Thilo Sarrazin, which stated that Muslims, in particular, were not fitting in to German society. Turkish community leader Kenan Kolat said Monday that Seehofer’s comments were ‘defamatory, and not acceptable.’


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Germany Risks a Lurch to the Right

HAMBURG — The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark: passionately democratic countries with strong creeds of tolerance, where parties of the right have now entered the political mainstream pushing anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic agendas.

Germany: an extraordinary neighboring democracy, strengthened by the brakes of a fearful history, and so far pretty much free of the hard right’s new handholds in societies to the west and north of here.

While a Dutch government, whose existence is based on the parliamentary tolerance of an anti-immigrant party, will be sworn in on Thursday, this question, a kind of ill wind off the North Sea, comes with it:

What are the chances that Germany escapes the emergence of its own version of the Sweden Democrats (who have just entered the Swedish Parliament), or Danish People’s Party (whose support props up a minority government in Denmark), or a figure like Geert Wilders, whose Party for Freedom now sits in third place as a Dutch vote-getter?

The instinctive and plausible answer is that its chances are good. But a close look suggests the odds are changing.

The facts say that postwar Germany has demonstrated remarkable immunity to extremism, with strong antibodies that kick in to fight ideologies or propositions of excess.

Those facts also show that confidence in and loyalty to the traditional parties of the German middle ground have markedly diminished.

These days, when it comes to the issue that has propelled anti-immigrant, anti-Islamic parties into greater power in Northern Europe — a sense among some citizens that Muslim newcomers are encroaching on their society without regard for its laws and standards — mainstream parties in Germany are starting to acknowledge they have not dealt with the concern anywhere near adequately.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

In Holland, Free Speech on Trial

Imagine if a leader within the tea party movement were able to persuade its members to establish a third political party. Imagine he succeeded— overwhelmingly—and that as their leader he stood a real chance of winning the presidency. Then imagine that in anticipation of his electoral victory, the Democrats and Republicans quickly modified an existing antidiscrimination law so that he could be convicted for statements he made on the campaign trail.

All of this seems impossible in a 21st-century liberal democracy. But it is exactly what is happening in Holland to Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

Mr. Wilders came onto the political scene in September 2004 when he broke from the Liberal Party to found the Freedom Party. He did this partly as a response to Turkey’s bid to join the European Union, and also in reaction to the rise of political Islam in the Netherlands.

No one has ever accused Mr. Wilders of being diplomatic. He’s famously compared the Quran to “Mein Kampf” and described it as a “fascist book,” he’s called Muhammad “the devil,” and he’s proposed policies—such as banning the construction of mosques and taxing women who wear the burqa— to halt further Islamification.

At first, Mr. Wilders was dismissed as a far right-wing extremist. But since splitting from the Liberal Party six years ago, his star has only risen. In the national elections held in November 2006, his party won nine seats in parliament. When the Dutch government fell again this year, June elections saw his party take 24 seats in the 150-seat body.

This has spooked Dutch parliamentarians, particularly those wedded to multiculturalism. That’s why, in the fall of 2009, they modified Article 137C and 137D of the Penal Code to make it possible for far-left organizations to take Mr. Wilders to court on grounds of “inciting hatred” against Muslims.

Article 137C of the penal code now states that anyone “who publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately expresses himself in anyway insulting of a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief . . . will be punished with a prison sentence of at the most one year or a fine of third category.” It continues: “If the offense is committed by a person who makes it his profession or habit, or by two or more people in association, a prison sentence of at the most two years or a fine of fourth category will be imposed.”

And so since Oct. 4, Mr. Wilders has filed into court to defend himself in this blasphemy trial. If he loses—and the chances are high, given that the presiding judges haven’t been subtle about their bias against him—he will face fines or time in jail. (When Mr. Wilders said he would not speak at the trial, Judge Jan Moors accused him of being “good at making statements, but then avoiding the discussion” they provoke.)


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Middle East Company to Launch Muslim Newspaper in UK

A media company based in the Middle East is launching a London-based weekly newspaper aimed at Muslim people across the world.

The paper, which is backed by the Pakistani pay-TV operator ARY Digital and will be able to tap its network of reporters covering south Asia, is earmarked to launch early in the new year.

ARY, known for broadcasting the Pakistani version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, also broadcasts to several Gulf states and in North America and the UK, where it launched in 2000 as the Pakistani Channel on Sky.

The paper, which does not yet have a name, will be edited by Burhan Wazir, a former deputy features editor at the Times who was named young journalist of the year in 1999.

Wazir is a former executive at the National, the English-language newspaper based in Abu Dhabi launched by former Telegraph editor Martin Newland.

He launched a weekend edition of the National two years ago, leaving London for Abu Dhabi and recruiting more than 40 journalists.

Wazir said the title, which will also be published in Pakistan and several Gulf states, will serve the Muslim diaspora in the countries where it is available.

It will be a liberal title aimed at a young and relatively affluent readership aged between 20 and 45, including second- or third-generation British Muslims.

Wazir added that its target audience of young readers with Muslim backgrounds will share a modern, cosmopolitan outlook. “I suppose you could say they have a foot in both camps,” he said.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Sweden World’s Most Respected Country: Study

Sweden has topped the reputation consulting firm Reputation Institute’s annual survey measuring public perception of 39 countries around the world.

“People think that Sweden has a lot of things going for it: natural beauty, the business environment, effective government and the social welfare system. Its reputation speaks for itself, so it scores highly physical beauty, lifestyle and social welfare,” Robert Gelmanovsky, CEO of the Nordic Brand Academy, the Swedish arm of the Reputation Institute, told The Local.

“Sweden does a lot of things right, as well as having a beautiful landscape. It is important to people. We can only speculate that we like beautiful surroundings and nature,” he added.

The CountryRep 2010 study measures the overall respect, trust, esteem, admiration and good feelings the public in G8 countries hold toward 39 countries outside of their home country.

Iran was the least respected country in the ranking.

“A strong country reputation builds stakeholder support, making Sweden a country people will recommend as a place to visit, invest, live and work,” Nicolas Trad, managing partner of Reputation Institute, said in a statement.

The Reputation Institute’s research model indicates that reputation is built on 11 pillars from which a country can create a strategic platform for communicating with its stakeholders.

The 11 attributes were organized into three categories: effective government, advanced economy and appealing environment.

The study showed that public perception is most influenced by a country’s lifestyle, global community involvement and physical beauty, which combined accounts for more than 30 percent of a country’s reputation.

“A diverse image reduces reputation risk and provides a stronger platform for support,” Kasper Nielsen, Reputation Institute managing partner, said in a statement.

Sweden came in the top five in 10 of 11 dimensions, taking the top spot for social welfare and contribution to the global community, while placing second in business environment and effective government.

The general public in the G8 — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK and the US — was also asked its their perceptions of the most attractive countries to invest in. Switzerland topped the list, while Sweden placed in the top three.

The survey also evaluated how 35 of the countries rated themselves. In the self-image survey, Sweden ranked 12th, an indication that Swedes are not as comfortable demonstrating national pride in public.

“Generally, Swedes, when it comes to surveys and such, especially when talking to others, are very humble, but Swedes know this and are proud of their country. They are just not as comfortable talking about it. It might be part of the Swedish mental character to be a bit low-key and not boast too much about themselves,” said Gelmanovsky.

Findings from more than 40,000 interviews showed that Australia, Finland, and Canada gave their home countries the highest ratings when asked about their perceptions whether the country has a good reputation and whether they like, admire and respect and trust the country. Hungary rated itself the lowest.

Gelmanovsky suggested several tips to help Sweden remain at the top of the survey next year. He believes that Sweden needs to move away from common perceptions about Sweden’s business environment, such as how the country is home to many large global corporations and is innovative, and emphasise its effective government with high political stability and a well functioning society.

“Most of these things are not new to how Sweden is portrayed. Maybe we could speak more about how good a business environment Sweden actually is instead of the the image out there that it is a high-tax country. This survey shows there is a lot to gain about talking about Sweden’s business and government system, putting forth the effective government thing a bit more,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Two Held for Threatening Pimping Trial Prosecutor

A man and woman have been arrested for making threats in connection with a pimping trial underway in Malmö involving a 14-year-old girl

Threats have been directed the prosecutor in the case Ulrika Rogland as well as judge Monica Nebelius, who stepped down from the case following the threats.

An investigator in the case was also threatened, according to the TV4 affiliate in Malmö.

The case involves ten men on trial suspected of having sold a mentally handicapped 14-year-old girl for sex.

Prosecutors allege that the girl was sexually abused and raped by several different men after she ran away from a foster home in a nearby municipality last March before ending up in the Rosengård district of Malmö.

Although she is 14-years-old she is reported to have the mental capacity equivalent to that of a girl several years younger.

The case is also significant because it represents the first time that prosecutors in Sweden have attempted to classify pimping crimes as human trafficking.

Police have now detained a 36-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman on suspicions of threatening a civil servant, according to prosecutor Ulrika Åberg in Gothenburg, whose office is leading up the investigation into the threats.

She refused to comment on why the two are suspected or what the suspects have to say regarding the suspicions against them.

They two are believed to be behind the threats make against a police officer working on the pimping case investigation, as well as against prosecutor Rogland, who led the investigation and is also arguing the case in court.

However, the suspects are not believed to have threatened the judge Nebelius.

Rogland will be interviewed as a part of the investigation, just as any other victim of a crime would be. As such, it was a natural step to have the investigation led out of the prosecutors’ office in Gothenburg, according to Åberg.

“It’s good to remove it (the investigation) from the region,” she told the TT news agency.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Role of Islamic Law in German Courts

Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that Islamic law has no place in Germany. But she was wrong: German courts have long used elements of Shariah in some verdicts. It is an “expression of globalization,” says one legal expert.

A critical stance against Islam and Germany’s Muslim population, it would seem, is an easy way to score political points in the country these days. Indeed, just this weekend, Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer demanded a halt to Muslim immigration to Germany. While opposition politicians have blasted Seehofer, the demand likely won’t have done him any political harm. According to a recent survey conducted for the mass-circulation tabloid Bild, fully 66 percent of Germans believe that Islam does not belong in Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has likewise sought to cash in on her country’s skepticism when it comes to Islam, albeit much less controversially. In a recent speech to a gathering of Christian Democrats in Wiesbaden, Merkel made a plea for more moderation in the country’s ongoing debate over integration. But she also insisted that in Germany “it is the constitution that applies, not Shariah law!” But as it turns out, she is not completely right. Some elements of Islamic law have been applied in Germany for years.

“We have long been practicing Islamic law,” confirmed Hilmar Krüger, a law professor at the University of Cologne, in an interview with SPIEGEL. “And that is a good thing.”


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘I Gave Saudi Prince a Two-Hour Erotic Massage Three Days Before He Killed His Manservant’, Gay Masseur Tells Court

A gay masseur has told a court about a central London hotel room encounter with a Saudi prince that was ‘like mixing Nigel Havers with Omar Sharif’.

Louis Szikora visited Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud for an ‘erotic massage’ three days before the prince allegedly murdered his servant, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Szikora described Saud, who he was said to have met at the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone, central London, as ‘very dashing’ and a ‘thorough gentleman’.

He said that after being called to the hotel for a two-hour ‘erotic’ session in the early hours of February 12 he had initially given a more conventional massage.

‘The man I met ultimately did want sexual massage but it is like mixing Nigel Havers with Omar Sharif,’ said Mr Szikora.

‘You have to build some rapport. You don’t walk in the door and then jump on them. I don’t know what’s on their mind. They could be nervous.

‘Middle Eastern gentlemen, they are not as open about what they want as people in the West, so I have to build that kind of rapport. Once I felt the rapport was warm I felt able to continue.’

Saud, 34, is accused of killing Bandar Abdulaziz during a ferocious attack with a ‘sexual element’ in the hotel room three days later.

He admits causing the 32-year-old’s death but denies murder, as well as a second charge of grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to an alleged attack in a lift on January 22.

Mr Szikora said he had earlier received a phone call from the prince asking if he was the person who appeared in a video on an ‘extremely homoerotic’ massage website where he advertised his services.

The prince asked how soon he could see him and he said it would take an hour, and the masseur went to meet him at the hotel, the court heard.

‘I thought he was very dashing,’ said Mr Szikora.

He added: ‘He booked the more erotic massage but when I arrived he seemed very tense. Something was bothering him and I thought it was because I was very late.

‘He seemed very agitated. He didn’t blame me. He seemed extremely pleased and happy that I came. He was a thorough gentleman.

‘I decided to spend more time on the Thai massage. It seemed to me he needed to be calmed down rather than sexually excited. He kept his underpants at the beginning but they were removed. I was totally naked.

‘As a masseur, you have to build a rapport. A person of his aura, a suave gentleman, you have got to approach more carefully and suss out, is he new to this? Nervous about this?

‘I felt I needed more time to relax him and work out what was going on. We got to the erotic massage and completed to his satisfaction.’

The masseur said he had been booked for two hours but in the end he spent an hour-and-a-half at the appointment.

Mr Szikora told the court he offered services ranging from ‘respectable’ massages to those with ‘extreme body contact’.

John Kelsey-Fry QC, defending, suggested that he may have got Saud ‘confused with some other client’.

Mr Szikora said: ‘I don’t agree. He told me he is called Saud.’

The masseur said he had never before or since been to the Landmark Hotel.

Earlier, Barlomicj Maleszyk, a barman, told jurors that the prince and Mr Abdulaziz had downed a bottle of Moet champagne and six shots of Sex on the Beach cocktail just hours before the aide was found dead.

The two men spent about 45 minutes at the Mirror Bar in the Landmark Hotel in the early hours of February 15, with the prince leaving a £50 tip, the court heard.

Mr Maleszyk said: ‘He was very nice, polite, generous, and always thanking me for my service. They didn’t really talk to each other. I think I saw that they exchanged just a few words and that’s it.’

He said the way they spoke was ‘very quiet, nearly whispering’. The defendant had also been talking on his mobile phone.

The barman added: ‘I saw him two times, watching me working.’

He said of Mr Abdulaziz: ‘He had a swollen left side of his face. I could barely see the eye. It was really big. It was purple. He didn’t talk at all. He was keeping his hands in his pocket.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: “Are We Partly to Blame for Islamic Terrorism?”

This was the debate I was invited to take part in on BBC1 TV on Sunday morning (“Sunday Morning Live”)

Those of you in the UK can see the debate on BBC I-Player, starting at 42.26 minutes into the programme. I am on at 49.52. Hopefully it will soon be on YouTube too. For those of you not in the UK, I said that the answer was both “no” and “yes”. Only Islamists are to blame for the existence of terrorism, just as only the Nazis were to blame for Nazism. I said that I hadn’t heard anyone say that Hitler was a freedom fighter opposing the injustices of the Treaty of Versailles. Islamic Terror can be traced back to the Muslim Brotherhood which was founded in 1928. So it predates the invasion of Iraq and that of Afghanistan and it even predates the founding of the State of Israel.

But (I continued) we are to blame for the spread of terror. This is because we appease the Islamists, instead of opposing them. For example, the Labour government had a programme called “Prevent” — “Preventing Radical Extremism” to give it its full title. But instead of combating extremists, it actually paid them to do talks. And take Abdullmatallab, the so-called ‘underpants bomber’ who tried to bring down a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day. He was head of the Islamic Society at University College London. Three of the last four heads of this society have been indicted for terrorism offences. The College commissioned a Report on him which was published last week, to see if they could have done anything to stop him being radicalised. The Report was pathetic, a joke. It does not even mention ANY of the speakers invited by the Islamic Society while Abdulmutallab was a student at UCL. They include many extremists — Daud Abdullah for example.

I continued: only last week the government failed to exclude a Nigerian extremist who came to speak in London.

Many people asked for him to be excluded. Ibraheem Zakzaky is on record as saying that Jews are “the lowest of creatures on the earth” and he has called Israeli Jews the “children of monkeys of pigs”.

Only when I watched the replay did I see how uncomfortable Ajmal Masroor became during my contribution. Watch his body language. Well before I finish (at 51:26) he raises a finger (at 51.13) at Susanna Reid, the presenter, in order to speak. The other two panel members, Terry Christian and Dame Ann Leslie, are not looking at me on the screen in the studio when I am speaking, but are transfixed by Masroor.

Masroor gets his way. Reid did bring him after my contribution and immediately he misrepresents me by suggesting (absurdly) that I had attacked all Muslims (“He is painting a very bleak picture of the Muslim Community in this country”). Terry Christian and Dame Ann try to take him to task for this smear (“You are twisting his words, he didn’t talk about the Muslim Community, he talked about terrorists”) but he becomes even more agitated, accuses them of interrupting and manages to keep the floor.

At 52:44 Taj Hargey is brought in (he runs the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford). He points out the importance of the theology (“We have a medieval theology that is homophobic, that is patriarchal, that is misogynous and teaches separation and isolation”).

Also memorable is Terry Christian’s comment (54:30): “I don’t remember the last time a Zionist threw acid in a girl’s face for not wearing a veil”. He agreed with what I said, but had a problem with the Z-word. But back to Masroor. He is an Imam who advises Nick Clegg on Muslim affairs, so you’d think he would take a stand against extremists. He was also the LibDem candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow at the 2010 election. But then why has his Mosque (Harrow) hosted a series of hate preachers? The latest event at Harrow was on Saturday, just a few hours before Masroor was on TV condemning extremists. (They also link to Islamic Forum Europe on their website, which is connected with the Islamist party, Jamaat e Islami).

Murtaza Khan was one of the speakers on Saturday. Here are some of his quotes in the past:

On 9/11:

We [Muslims] did not take down the Twin Towers. You [non-Muslims] yourselves took them down. So in your disguise of “war on terror”, you will kill your own people, because you don’t care about them.

On women wearing perfume:

Any woman who comes out of her house, perfuming herself, and every man that smells her, then she is just classified, according to sharia, as an adulterous woman.

On “fornicating” non-Muslims:

You don’t have no understanding of life. They’re like cattle, nay, they’re more astray than cattle.

On gays:

I’m not homophobic. I believe in a natural way of life. I’m repeating you what your Bible tells you. In the hadith you find: “You find the people doing the action of Lot, kill the one who does the action and the one the action is being done to.

More here:

Hamza Tzortzis was also at the Harrow event. Here is what he has said:

We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom. We see under the Khilafa (caliphate), when people used to engage in a positive way, this idea of freedom was redundant, it was unnecessary, because the society understood under the education system of the Khilafa state, and under the political framework of Islam, that people must engage with each other in a positive and productive way to produce results, as the Qur’an says, to get to know one another.

Maybe Ajmal Masroor can tell us how his condemnation of extremism on Sunday (“deluded extremists”, 45:52) was consistent with the people hosted by his Mosque on Saturday.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Bungling Police Called to Death of Man ‘Failed to Spot He Had Knife Sticking Out of His Back’

A coroner has criticised police after they failed to spot a man had been murdered — until undertakers discovered a knife sticking out of his back, an inquest has heard.

Antoine Denis, 66, was found slumped on his back in the bedroom of his flat in Chatham, Kent, in January this year. Detectives at the scene pronounced the father-of-four dead but found nothing that suggested a crime had been committed.

It was only when undertakers arrived to remove the body that they found blood and a 12cm (4.7in) knife stuck up to its hilt in Mr Denis’ back.

One of the officers received a verbal warning following an internal police investigation into the handling of the as yet unsolved murder.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Evil Teenagers Who ‘Tortured’ Autistic Boy, 17, For Three Days Free to Roam Streets After Judge Fails to Lock Them Up

[WARNING: Graphic content]

A family has reacted with horror and disbelief after a gang of teenage thugs who subjected an autistic boy to a terrifying three-day ‘torture’ ordeal walked free from court.

The gang used a mobile phone to film themselves carrying out depraved assaults on their 17-year-old victim.

During a sickening spree of violence the three thugs kicked and stamped on his head, repeatedly punched him in the chest, beat him with a tennis racket and then threw him down a steep embankment.

The terrified teenager — who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism — was also pelted with dog mess, had his limbs scratched with sandpaper and was forced to drink vodka and gin until he passed out.

Mobile phone footage showed the yobs laughing and joking as they made him endure other abuse and, in a final humiliating assault, they applied adhesive tape to his genital area before ripping the tape off.

But Jack Bolton, Andrew Griffin, and Nathan Marshall, all 18, walked free from court.

The terrified teenager — who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism — was also pelted with dog mess, had his limbs scratched with sandpaper and was forced to drink vodka and gin until he passed out.

Mobile phone footage showed the yobs laughing and joking as they made him endure other abuse and, in a final humiliating assault, they applied adhesive tape to his genital area before ripping the tape off. Release: Judge Jonathan Geake labelled the crimes ‘grotesque’ but only handed out community service orders and three-month curfews

But Jack Bolton, Andrew Griffin, and Nathan Marshall, all 18, walked free from court.

Judge Jonathan Geake imposed three-month curfews on them and ordered them to carry out 80 hours’ unpaid community work as ‘an intensive alternative to custody’. He also ordered them to be supervised by probation officers for 12 months.

Last night the teenager’s family, senior police officers and an MP branded the sentence ‘a joke’ and called for it to be reviewed.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Fake Policeman Anthony Sacks Made Bogus Arrests ‘To Instill Discipline in Young People’

Anthony Sacks, 20, was so fed up with youths loitering on street corners in his neighbourhood late at night he got himself a police uniform, handcuffs and earpiece radio attachment and pretended to pound the beat.

Over a period of two months, Sacks detained and handcuffed several youths on a series of trumped up charges including underage smoking and ‘being out late at night’.

He drove one 14-year old youngster to his home before ‘reading him his rights’ then interrogating the lad’s mother for an hour about the dangers of tobacco.

Another boy aged 15 was taken home where Sacks lectured his parents about their son being out late.

Sacks, who acquired the badge number of a serving firearms officer, was eventually caught out after handing his mobile phone number to the mother of one of his ‘suspects’ who became suspicious and asked for his ID.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Gavin Stamp Exposes Britain’s Vendetta Against Its Victorian Masterpeices

The new book by architectural historian Gavin Stamp exposes our callous brutality towards our architectural heritage, says Simon Heffer.

I have written before about the Victorians, their ambition and achievement, and how blinkered and mindless it was to hold them and their works in such contempt. In most respects, those days are over. We still might find Carlyle and Ruskin rather strong meat, but other thinkers such as Mill, Darwin and Matthew Arnold are correctly treated with seriousness. Trollope may be regarded as a writer of high-end soap opera and much of Tennyson considered rather ordinary, but a lot of their literature, painting and architecture is now held in the highest esteem.

We are fortunate, though, that even if we find some Victorian novelists repetitive and derivative, and some poets obscure and laboured, their works are still available to evaluate, and perhaps even enjoy. It is not always true of the architecture. The benefit of being an architect is that your work commands attention even from people who do not seek it out, but who happen upon it. This can, and did, make some Victorians very famous: Barry and Pugin are still regularly praised for their work on the new Houses of Parliament. Others, with equally famous buildings, never remotely became household names, such as the two officers in the Royal Engineers, Fowke and Scott, who designed the Albert Hall.

But there is a fate worse than being the near-anonymous hand behind a great building, and that is being the architect whose great building no longer survives. The Luftwaffe and what passed for taste in the post-war period wrought a 30-year holocaust on Victorian buildings. We know what Goering’s motives were; but those who wielded the demolition ball in the 1950s and 1960s had no such excuse, other than bigotry and philistinism.

Gavin Stamp, one of our most distinguished architectural historians, has done a depressing but important public service in cataloguing this odious chapter of destruction. A year ago, he published Britain’s Lost Cities, which described the wealth of pre-20th-century buildings that were swept aside by hideous urban developments — many, thank heaven, later obliterated themselves. Now he has published Lost Victorian Britain, whose subtitle says it all: “How the 20th century destroyed the 19th century’s architectural masterpieces.”

On the back of the dust wrapper is the Euston Arch, which has come to serve as the great symbol of anti-Victorian philistinism, over whose destruction Mr Stamp correctly savages Harold Macmillan. Miraculously, the stones are being recovered from the river bed in East London where they were moved nearly 50 years ago, and there are plans to re-erect it. Other lost masterpieces, however, must stay that way.

The illustration on the front is, in its way, even more shocking. It is of a great vaulted marble hall with a grand staircase, a work so fine and so grand that it defies belief that anyone could have wanted to pull it down. It is the interior of the Imperial Institute in Kensington, destroyed in 1956 to allow the expansion of Imperial College. Mr Stamp describes it as “the first major undamaged Victorian building to be demolished after the Second World War”.

It had been built by public subscription in 1893 — those were the days when what is now called “the Big Society” achieved great things by philanthropy, made possible by low taxation — as a monument to Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The architect was Thomas Collcutt. “Magnificently built of red-gauged brickwork and Portland stone, it was the supreme example of the eclectic taste of the 1880s,” writes Mr Stamp. When its demolition was proposed, the Royal Fine Arts Commission complained of the secrecy with which the plans were being advanced, and protested that the building could be retained: no designs for a replacement had been published, raising suspicions that demolition would happen as much for its own sake as for any other reason. Progress won: everything except a campanile was destroyed.

Although much of the carnage was in London — both because of the pressure on the capital and the disproportionate attentions of the Luftwaffe — no major city was untouched, with the wave of philistinism even penetrating into the countryside. If were not bad enough that Paxton’s Crystal Palace had burned down in 1936, his sumptuous Great Conservatory at Chatsworth (also known as “the Great Stove”), built for the 6th Duke of Devonshire in 1836-40, was dynamited by the 9th Duke in 1920. It was so well built and so vast that a carriage and pair could be driven down its central aisle, and it took six attempts to blow it up.

Bradford lost a Victorian market. Brighton lost its West Pier (and with Hastings’s burning only last week, piers are an endangered species). Newmarket, Glasgow, Birmingham, Nottingham and Bradford lost fine stations or monumental station hotels. Many towns and cities lost fine pubs, such as the Woodman in Birmingham or Kean’s Hotel in Liverpool. Commercial premises, the most famous of which was the Coal Exchange in London, dropped like flies: Middlesbrough lost its Royal Exchange, Bradford (a serial victim) its Swan Arcade — so grievous a loss that the local authority bought the neighbouring Wool Exchange to prevent it suffering the same fate — and Leeds a bank, Beckett’s, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott.

Victorian churches fell the length and breadth of the country, together with public buildings such as the Manchester Assize Courts, one of Alfred Waterhouse’s masterpieces, and Preston Town Hall, another Scott building. One of the worst acts of vandalism was the destruction of Waterhouse’s Eaton Hall, the palatial seat of the Dukes of Westminster, whose trustees decided to pull it down in 1961.

We have, I hope, reached a frame of mind where to pull down a Scott or a Waterhouse is like burning a Van Gogh or a Turner. Yet all generations seem to take against one architectural period or another. I feel that way about much that was built in urban Britain during the 1960s and 1970s. Buildings of that period have their supporters: but they also have the misfortune of being made with inferior materials, on the cheap and nasty principle that has caused many of them to start falling down. If only we had learned the lesson in some other, less destructive way. Mr Stamp reminds us not just of what we have lost, but how idiotically careless we were in losing it.

‘Lost Victorian Britain’ by Gavin Stamp (Aurum Press) is available from Telegraph Books

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Girl, 11, Refused Sale of Pencil Sharpener Because it is Classed as a ‘Dangerous Object’

Clutching a pack of coloured pencils as she went up to a till, 11-year- old Charlotte Howard expected to be on her way with her purchase moments later.

But the schoolgirl left empty handed when she was told she could not buy the pack because it contained a pencil sharpener.

It was only when her mother Alison, went inside to find out what had happened that it became clear the 99p Store cashier was slavishly following company policy on preventing the sale of ‘dangerous objects’, such as knives and other sharp objects, to under-18s.

Extraordinarily, Mrs Howard was also told she could not leave with the set of 30 pencils — because she might hand them to her daughter. The bizarre incident happened when Charlotte was out near her home in Sudbury, Suffolk, buying items for a school project.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Jilted Boyfriend Jailed for Life for Stabbing Ex-Girlfriend to Death After They Agreed to Meet ‘One Last Time’

A-Level student Aliza Mirza, 18, had ended her turbulent relationship with Yahya Gul, when she agreed to meet him to talk one last time. But Gul, who was 17 at the time, armed himself with a knife and stabbed her repeatedly leaving her to die on the street.

Members of the public tried desperately to staunch the bleeding, after she was found face down in a pool of blood, but she died in hospital later that evening.

Gul, now 18, later said she had annoyed him ‘sworn at his family and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.’

The pair had met through friends but conducted much of their year-long secret relationship through the social networking site Facebook, where Gul called himself ‘General Yahya’ listing his religious views as ‘Muslim till I die and here after’.

But Gul became increasingly obsessed and possessive of Aliza, to the extent that he would slap and hit her if she offended him.

Friends said he had become extremely religious since dropping out of school and started wearing traditional robes besides growing a beard.

Aliza summoned the courage to end the relationship, despite her still strong feelings for Gul, and it was this that seemingly pushed him over the edge.

At London’s Old Bailey Gul, from Ilford, Essex, pleaded guilty to her murder in April this year and was ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years.

In a moving statement read to the court, her father Munir Mirza, 50, said the loss of his eldest daughter had destroyed his family.

Mr Mirza, from Ilford, said: ‘I feel part of me is missing, I feel incomplete without our baby girl Aliza, we all do.

‘As she grew she was loved, cherished and admired by all who knew her, she had so many friends, who still to this day take time to come to our house and talk about Aliza, who they miss so dearly.

‘There is not a day goes by where we don’t visit Aliza’s grave, talk to her, tell her how much we miss her.

‘To have to bury your child is the most unnatural thing, one that no parent should ever have to experience.

‘I will never have the opportunity to hold her in my arms, tell her I love her and tell her everything is going to be OK.

‘Life will never be the same, the devastating effects this has had on us all will remain with us forever.’

Prosecutor John McGuinness QC told the court: ‘They were both teenagers, boyfriend and girlfriend, with a relationship that could properly be described as turbulent, very much an on-off relationship.

‘They were known and seen on one occasion to argue. Two of her friends had noticed bruising and she had told her friends the defendant had hit her.’

‘Only a week before she was killed Aliza had told a friend the defendant slapped her, he wouldn’t leave her alone and she didn’t want to be with him.’

On Gul’s laptop police also found a file entitled ‘from me to you Yahya’ which was written by Aliza and dated February 16 of this year.

In it she wrote: ‘There is no trust, not from me to you or from you to me. You are violent and aggressive. I am not even your wife and you beat me and shout at me. What makes it OK for you to hit me and expect me to be fine with you?’

The court heard Aliza had agreed to meet Gul on the night of her death after a flurry of text and phone calls in which he begged to see her. She had been on her way to a party when they met in east London’s Manor Park.

Gul, who was born in Afghanistan, slashed her throat before stabbing her in the chest and stomach, and ran off to meet his friends. He tried to leave the county after her murder but he was arrested soon after by police.

Aliza, who had two brothers and two sisters, was studying Information Technology, English, government and politics and media at Canon Palmer School in Ilford.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr Murza warned all parents to talk to their children so they are always aware of what they are doing and can warn of possible dangers they might face.

‘Parents have to keep an eye on their children. And you have to talk to them about the dangers that are out there. He [Yahya] didn’t just kill Aliza, he killed us too. He has destroyed our family.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Oxfam: Behind the PR Mask

Large organizations such as Oxfam can seem monolithic and impenetrable. Who decides on policy and what motivates those people? Does everyone in the organization have the same opinions and world view, or are there serious disagreements behind the facade? If we could see behind the press releases and the official reports, could we catch a glimpse of what motivates the individuals that write them?

Oxfam likes to claim that it is a non-political humanitarian organization, and its work in places like Haiti and Pakistan is inspiring, particularly in the areas of provision of clean water and sanitation. But its position on many issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appears anything but balanced. While ostensibly in favour of the two-state solution, Oxfam partners with and funds organizations (such as Adalah) that call for a one-state solution. This summer, Oxfam ran a long campaign to lift the blockade on Gaza in which the word “weapons” was conspicuously absent. Oxfam issued press releases that insisted on inferring that the Mavi Marmara a humanitarian mission and it persists on referring to this area of the world as the “Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel”.

Oxfam’s Communication Officer in Gaza, Karl Schembri, has his own blog called “Journey to Gaza”, that provides us with an opportunity to see a bit more of what type of thinking is going on inside Oxfam. It is imperative here that I emphasize that “Journey to Gaza” is a personal blog and that Karl does not once mention Oxfam in it. It therefore does not reflect the official standpoint of Oxfam. However, it does provide insight into how a key person within Oxfam views Israelis and Palestinians, and the conflict between them. It also shows us what type of person and background Oxfam is looking for when hiring for a media spokesperson on a very sensitive area.

Karl is from Malta, and was originally a journalist there, writing for a variety of newspapers and becoming deputy editor for Malta Today. He has written a couple of novels in Maltese and poetry, some of which has been translated into English on the internet, notably one entitled “Jenin” that starts with “A boy’s been hit in the head by an Israeli’s submachine gun“. He then worked as a journalist for Ramattan News Agency in the West Bank, but he has also published articles in the Guardian and the Telegraph. He speaks Arabic well (the roots of the Maltese language and a significant part of its vocabulary come from Arabic) which often surprises the Palestinians that he meets. He entered Gaza in September 2009 via Egypt along with some friends who were members of Code Pink. He did not admit to the Egyptian authorities that he was a journalist, but posed as a student. It is unclear when he started working for Oxfam. His first entry on Oxfam’s website is dated January 1, 2010, so I assume he was hired by Oxfam while he was in Gaza in the autumn of 2009.

Karl’s blog has many stories on it-stories about fishermen who cannot fish beyond the two nautical mile limit enforced by the Israelis, stories about people with medical conditions who are having trouble getting permits to go to Israel, stories about the cheese maker who can no longer make cheese and stories about the electrician whose job it is to decide which neighbourhood of Gaza City gets electricity today, and who is to be cut off. These are largely sad stories, and they are indeed sad, but totally lacking in context. There is no indication that fishing boats have smuggled in weapons before and in the article about people needing hospital treatment, there is no mention of the thousands upon thousands of Gazans who have succeeded in receiving medical care in Israel.

Karl’s opinions on many subjects are what you would expect. The protests at Bil’in are, according to him, entirely peaceful. The Goldstone report, he says, is highly respected by all reputable human rights organizations.

But when Karl gets creative in his writing, we can begin to see more ominous undertones. For example, in March 2010, he calls the blockade of Gaza “the creation of a laboratory-case humanitarian situation”. But it is not until September 2010 that he really expands on this theme:

“For Israel, Gaza has served as the testing ground of Israeli military gadgets and policy engineering. Over the years, Israel’s policies have turned Gaza into one big laboratory with 1.5 million test cases. Among the experiments: total occupation to protect a few thousand Jewish settlers, unilateral disengagement of Israeli troops and total closure.”

This is an extraordinary statement, and one that I find particularly vile. Karl is saying here that Israelis are evil scientists who experiment on their helpless Palestinian victims. It implies that Karl thinks that not only can he see Israeli actions, but that he also has the ability to perceive their secret motivations as well. The “evil scientist” imagery implies that Israelis are all-powerful, cruel and inhumane.

What is ironic is that many Israelis did consider the disengagement from Gaza an experiment: an experiment for peace. Palestinians had been occupied by the Ottomans and then by the British. Between 1948 and 1967 they were occupied by the Jordanians (West Bank) and the Egyptians (Gaza). The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was the first time that the Palestinians were in total control of their own territory. It was an experiment indeed. It is impossible to believe that Karl is unaware of this viewpoint, and so it must be that he leaves it out on purpose. Why? The idea of the disengagement from Gaza being an experiment for peace not only shows the Israelis in a more positive light than he wishes to do so but it also throws the responsibility back onto the Palestinians. In Karl’s version, the Palestinians are entirely passive. In the series of “experiments” that he relates, there was nothing they have done that might have caused an Israeli reaction.

Karl’s view that all evil emanates from Israelis is also evident in this passage from September 2009, where he is waiting in Egypt at the border crossing into Gaza:

“At one point we could see a truck full of African immigrants under the watch of armed soldiers being rushed out of the area. Thousands of them, mostly from Darfur, cross the desert in their bid to enter Israel. Even here, Egyptian border patrols do the policing for the Israelis, killing many of them on the way and arresting others who will never get a chance to seek refugee status even though they are potentially fleeing persecution.”

I sat and stared at this last sentence for some time. What did Karl think he was doing here? He doesn’t say how the Israelis get the Egyptians to “do the policing” for them. It is a very serious accusation but he provides no evidence. Does he imagine, perhaps, that the Israeli government pressures the Egyptian government, who then send instructions down the line to the border patrols? Does he think the Israelis bribe the border guards directly to kill for them? Do they use evil Zionist mind control? He doesn’t say, so we don’t know. Perhaps Karl hasn’t thought it out completely himself.

I try to imagine the situation: he sees the Africans being driven away in a van. He knows that it is likely they will be killed; if they are lucky, they will be shot. But he is powerless to do anything. It is an awful dilemma for anyone to be in. I know that if put in a similar situation, I would have sleepless nights for weeks or more. My mind would be in turmoil: could I have done anything? Should I have spoken to one of the Egyptian officials present? The attempt would undoubtedly be useless, but should I have at least tried? Could it be that it is feelings like these that are part of what motivates Karl to displace blame from the Egyptians (who are there with him and to whom he could presumably have protested) to some nameless and faceless Israelis? Evil that is a long way away is easier to deal with than an evil that is present in the person standing next to you. Yet I suspect that the stresses of the moment are not the only reason that Karl wishes to displace blame.

Karl knows that refugees from Africa are safe if they reach Israel; he also knows the Egyptians kill them. I think Karl has trouble coming to terms with a situation in which it is blindingly obvious that the Israelis act with compassion. It does not fit his image of them and the dissonance is too much for him. Moving the blame from the Egyptians to the Israelis does the trick. Does he realise that he is lying? Or do his eyes glide from the word “Egyptians” to the word “Israelis” and he simply feels a welcome relief? Logic doesn’t come into it. The Israelis are again responsible for the evils in the world; things are as they should be. The Egyptians are merely helpless pawns in the hands of the Israelis.

Karl also has difficulties with fact checking and with numbers. Here is one example from January 2010:

“Fidaa is only one of hundreds of Gazans who are refused permission to travel to Israel or other third countries every month for life-saving medical treatment. Last year, 27 Palestinian patients died while waiting for Israeli permits.”

That figure intrigued me. Anyone dying while on a waiting list is tragic and I agree with Karl that twenty-seven people is twenty-seven too many. But I also wanted to put that number in context. How many people die while on hospital waiting lists in other parts of the world? As a journalist, Karl must be accustomed to doing research. He must also be aware of the necessity to provide a context so that readers can judge the significance of figures.

It only took me about 5 minutes searching on Google to find some comparable numbers. According to the Sunday Times, 60 patients over a three-year period (1997 to 1999) on the cardiac surgery waiting list at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh died. That means roughly 20 people a year. The Royal Infirmary has a catchment area of about 778,000 people, equivalent to approximately half the population of the Gaza Strip. So here I have the death figures for residents of Edinburgh dying while on a waiting list for cardiac disease only; the numbers dying of all medical causes while on waiting lists in Edinburgh must be far, far higher. Yet even so it seems that a Scot in Edinburgh was more likely to die while on a waiting list for heart surgery than a Gazan waiting for any type of medical treatment in Israel. All of sudden, that figure of twenty-seven people does not seem so bad. For the individuals and their families, it is still tragic, and I have no objection to anyone wanting Israel (or the NHS) to improve their access to treatment. But as an assessment of a government’s record, the 27-person statistic is very favourable to Israel.

Karl also quotes various people in his blog who make statements that would be easy to verify or disprove. But if the slant is anti-Israeli, he never bothers to check the facts. In an article from October 2009 on an art exhibit in Gaza, Karl writes about one of the artists exhibiting:

“Another artist from Gaza exhibiting her works is Maha Daya, whose colourful landscapes with domed buildings and arched doorways give one a glimpse of her dream of Jerusalem. Her last visit to Jerusalem was in 1996, and she is well aware of the ongoing changes happening under Israeli occupation.

[Daya said:]

“If I had to go there again I’m sure I’d find that a lot has changed. It’s not just the landscape and the buildings, but also the people — there are much fewer Palestinians living there now.”

It is clearly not difficult to check population figures for Jerusalem and to find that Maha Doya is wrong-the Palestinian population of Jerusalem has increased since 1996 both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the total. Yet Karl does not do this, and allows Maha’s statement to stand unchallenged.

In April 2010, Karl wrote the following:

“In the last war, 50% of children lost a close relative or friend, 54% witnessed assassination of people by rockets. Over 90% heard the shelling of their area by Israeli artillery and the sonic sounds of jet fighters, and an equal amount witnessed shelling on the ground and saw mutilated bodies on TV.”

Karl does not provide a source for these figures, but a bit of thinking shows that the first statement is impossible. Fewer than one out of thousand people died in Operation Cast Lead. That means that if half of the children had lost a “close friend or relative”, the average child must have 500 close friends or relatives. Or to put it another way, imagine an English village with a population of 2000 people. Now assume that two people in that village died. How likely would it be that those two people were immediate family members or close friends of half the children in the village?

There are countless more examples from the blog that I could give here. In fact, his blog is a gold mine of anti-Israel invective. Reading entry after entry, the question that kept going through my mind was, “Why did Oxfam hire Karl Schembri?”

His ability to speak Arabic and to write in English is obviously a big plus. But his opinions and record were there to be easily checked. It would have been very simple to verify that he had a somewhat sloppy approach to fact checking, that he was clearly partisan, and that there was no way that he could be an appropriate spokesperson for a purportedly impartial organization. If I were in the position of hiring, I would be looking for someone stolid, pragmatic, factual and down-to-earth. I would want someone with no previous involvement on either side in the region. I would prefer, if possible, to find someone who had worked before in another area of the world that was also suffering from severe conflict. I would want someone who was very careful about checking facts — someone who could rise above the mud-slinging nastiness, the innuendo, and the outright lies that characterize discourse about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Karl Schembri simply doesn’t fit the bill.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Pensioner Ordered to Take Down Portrait of Queen Because ‘It Could Fall on a Firefighter’

The Queen and Prince Charles have been banned from a pensioner’s home — on health and safety grounds.

Royalty-lover Jean Thomas proudly hung a picture of the royals on the stairs landing outside her sheltered housing flat in Swansea.

But safety officials ordered the 2ft by 18ins photograph to be pulled down — in case it fell on a fireman in an emergency.

Mrs Thomas, 80, said: ‘It’s just silly isn’t it? The warden took them down saying: ‘It’s rules and regulations.’

‘Apparently the health and safety people said my picture may cause an obstruction, or fall off if there was a fire. It is daft.

‘The Prince doesn’t like all this health and safety rubbish — he would probably be on our side.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Son and 16-Year-Old Charged With Murder After Woman Stabbed at Luxury Home

The 21-year-old son of a wealthy businesswoman and a 16-year-old were charged with murder today after the older man’s mother was stabbed to death.

They are due to appear in court this afternoon.

Assia Shahzad, 40, suffered multiple wounds during the bloodbath at the £600,000, six-bedroom family home.

Neighbours and family friends said that she was estranged from her husband.

Police were holding her son Usman, 21, and a 16-year-old.

The mother of three, who lived with her sons in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, had been separated from her husband, Rashad, 45, for several years.

She was taken to Stoke Mandeville hospital on Saturday night after a relative raised the alarm and died shortly afterwards, at about 8pm.

The 16-year-old was also hurt during the incident and was treated for minor injuries at the same hospital.

A friend said: ‘Her husband does not live at the house. We have been told that Mrs Shahzad had been seeing other men.’

Another added: ‘Assia was a strong-minded, independent, modern woman.’

Police said they were treating the horrific incident as ‘domestic-related’ rather than an honour killing.

A Mitsubishi Land Cruiser remained on the driveway of the house behind wrought-iron gates yesterday.

Mrs Shahzad ran a taxi company with her estranged husband, Lookie Travel.

A family member said her father, Mohammed Nawaz, was inconsolable over the loss of his daughter.

‘He is screaming and crying. He is absolutely distraught.’

Muslims arriving at the mosque at the end of Mrs Shahzad’s road for prayers spoke of their shock yesterday.

Raj Khan, a Buckinghamshire county councillor who grew up with her, said: ‘We lived on the same street, went to school together and we were in the same business together.

‘We have a good friendship through our fathers, so there’s a long history between us.

‘I am devastated. I only saw her yesterday.

‘It seems like a total nightmare. She seemed OK — she was her normal self and was talking about going for some food.

‘It’s a devastating time, not only for her family but for the community. She was a very community-spirited lady.

‘She helped where she could, particularly with Asian women’s issues by filling in their forms and advising them.

He said that the dead woman’s parents were ‘ absolutely devastated’.

Mr Khan added: ‘Her father is not well at all. It’s a really bad situation.’

A man who claimed to be Mrs Shahzad’s uncle said: ‘She was a good lady, well known in Aylesbury. She loved her three children — she lived for her kids.

‘I saw her a couple of days ago. She was quite happy. She didn’t have any enemies. We can’t understand it.’

Forensic officers remained at the house last night and appeared to be focusing on the upper floor of the property.

A second post mortem examination was being carried out on Mrs Shahzad’s body yesterday but police said her injuries were ‘consistent with a bladed instrument being used in the attack’.

A spokesman added: ‘We have seized a number of items as part of our forensic investigation.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Sons Held After Estranged Wife Who Had Been Seeing Other Men is Stabbed to Death at Luxury Home

Two sons of a wealthy businesswoman were being questioned last night on suspicion of stabbing their mother to death after her marriage broke down and she began seeing other men.

Assia Shahzad, 40, suffered multiple wounds during the bloodbath at the £600,000, six-bedroom family home.

Neighbours and family friends said that she was estranged from her husband and her relationships with other men angered close relatives.

Police were holding her sons Usman, 21, and a 16-year-old.

The mother of three, who lived with her sons in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, had been separated from her husband, Rashad, 45, for several years.


Police said they were treating the horrific incident as ‘domestic-related’ rather than an honour killing.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Bosnia: Muslims ‘Wanted to Draw NATO Into War’

The Hague, 7 Oct. (AKI) — Bosnian Muslims wanted to draw NATO into their country’s 1992-1995 war to help them against the Serbs, British general Michael Rose told the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on Thursday.

Serbs deliberately targeted civilians with sniper fire in the capital Sarajevo in order to intimidate them, said Rose, who served as chief of the UN peacekeepers in Bosnia in 1994.

He was testifying at the trial of wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who is conducting his own defence.

But cross-examined by Karadzic, Rose conceded that there had been some cases in which Muslims fired at their own people to blame the Serbs and trigger foreign intervention.

He also said that reports in western media on Serb attacks on eastern town of Gorazde were often exaggerated.

Karadzic is being tried on eleven counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The indictment is focusing on the shelling of Sarajevo and a massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the eastern town of Srebrenica in July 1995.

The first UN investigation on the February 1994 bombing of Sarajevo’s Markale market which killed 40 people, concluded that the grenade was fired from Muslim positions, Rose said.

But the second investigation was “much clearer” and suggested the mortar was fired from Serb positions, he stated.

“I think the UN made no effort to hide something in the report,” Rose said. “We were not a part of a conflict and had no secrets,” he added.

Karadzic claims the mortar at Markale was fired by Muslims to blame the Serbs and to provoke foreign intervention.

Rose said he told a press conference in Sarajevo after the bombing that it was impossible to determine who fired the mortar, but that he thought it was “most likely done by the Serbs”.

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

Riot in Serbia as Far-Right Thugs Protest at Belgrade Gay Pride March

Thousands of police officers sealed off the streets in the capital where the march took place, repeatedly clashing at many different locations with rioters who were trying to burst through security cordons.

Parked cars were smashed and set on fire, shop were looted, rubbish bins were overturned and street signs destroyed.

The rioters fired shots and hurled petrol bombs at the headquarters of the ruling pro-Western Democratic Party, setting the garage of the building on fire.

The state TV building and other political parties headquarters were were also attacked, with many of the house windows shattered by stones.

The protesters, chanting ‘death to homosexuals!’ hurled Molotov cocktails, bricks, stones, glass bottles and firecrackers at riot police.

Police responded by firing tear gas and deploying armoured vehicles to disperse the charging protesters in the heart of the capital even after the brief pride march ended.

The protesters hijacked a bus, ordered its driver and all of its passengers out, and pushed it down a steep street before it hit an electric pole on a main Belgrade square.

Belgrade emergency hospital said 57 people were injured, including 47 policemen, one seriously.

Police said several rioters were arrested and now face the prospect of up to eight years in jail.

Right-wing groups say the gay events are contrary to Serbian family and religious values.

Most of the rioters were young football fans whose groups have been infiltrated by neo-Nazi and other extremist organisations.

Democratic Party spokeswoman Jelana Trivan blasted: ‘These riots obviously have nothing to do with the gay parade or any moral values.’

Defence Minister Dragan Sutanovac, vice president of the Democratic Party, said a part of the party’s archive, warehouse and phone lines at the building were destroyed and shots were also fired at the building.

He said: ‘It is high time that we deal in a very democratic way, through the courts, with those who call themselves members of the patriotic organisations. Is this Belgrade or the wild West?’

Senior Justice Ministry official Slobodan Homen said that the state response will be ‘fierce’. He said that the city centre is covered with surveillance cameras and that the rioters have been identified and many already detained.

Today’s march was viewed as a major test for Serbia’s government, which has launched pro-Western reforms and pledged to protect human rights as it seeks European Union membership.

Right-wing groups broke up a pride march in 2001 and forced the cancellation of last year’s event.

Vincent Degert, the head of the EU mission in Serbia, addressed around 1,000 gay activists and their supporters who gathered at a park in downtown Belgrade which was surrounded by riot police, including armoured vehicles.

He told the crowd waving rainbow flags: ‘We are here to celebrate this very important day… to celebrate the values of tolerance, freedom of expression and assembly.’

The same right-wing group set the U.S. Embassy on fire during riots in 2008 to protest U.S. support for Kosovo’s independence.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to visit Belgrade in coming days as part of a Balkan tour.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Serbia: Mass Arrests Follow Anti-Gay Parade Violence

Belgrade, 11 Oct.(AKI) — Serbian authorities on Monday vowed to crack down on hooliganism and far-right extremists after around 140 people were injured in violent protests against the first gay parade in Belgrade on Sunday. More than 200 people have been arrested over the clashes, according to officials.

Most of the approximately 140 people wounded in Sunday’s clashes were policemen, justice ministry official Slobodan Homen told Belgrade television B92.

Over 200 hooligans were arrested on Sunday, said Homen, adding that the arrest would continue “in the coming days”.

Among the arrested was Mladen Obradovic, the head of a nationalist far-right organization “Obraz” (Face), police said.

During the “Parade of pride”, some 5,000 police officers were deployed to protect over 5,000 people taking part, including many prominent Serbian figures and artists.

Serbia’s president Boris Tadic vowed that individuals who had committed violence at the parade would be apprehended and punished.

Freedom of expression is a constitutional right, he said.

“The perpetrators and organisers of violence will be arrested and brought to justice,” Tadic said in a statement.

“The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution, but attack on police is an attack on the state,” he added.

Police resorted to tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who who tried to disrupt the parade.

The protesters set fire to the building of Tadic’s ruling Democratic Party, burned automobiles, looted stores and pelted with stones the headquarters of two other political parties which supported the parade.

“We are here to celebrate the values of tolerance, freedom of expression and assembly,” Vincent Degert, the head of the European Union mission in Serbia told the crowd.

But while the parade passed peacefully, police clashed with protesters in several parts of the city, who tried to break police cordons and attack the participants.

“Death to homosexuals,” the protesters shouted.

Homen said the Constitutional court has been moving for over a year to ban the extremist groups like “Obraz”.

“Their banning is the only way forward,” he added.

Sunday’s riots dominated the front pages of all Belgrade newspapers on Monday, with banners like “Parade of violence”, “Organised violence”, “Parade of chaos” and “Street war”.

While most parties of the ruling coalition backed the gay parade and condemned violence, the leading opposition party, the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) said the government was also to blame, for having produced “massive discontent in Serbia”.

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

North Africa

Al Qaeda Offers to Free French Hostages if Burqa Ban Ended — TV

Al Qaeda’s north African arm wants a repeal of a ban on the Muslim face veil in France, the release of militants and 7 million euros to free hostages who include five French, Al Arabiya TV said on Monday. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is holding seven foreigners in the Sahara desert after kidnapping them last month.

he sources did not specify which militants the hostage-takers wanted released. France’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the report as one of several “rumours” since the kidnappings in mid-September.

The government has not received any demands from AQIM since the seven were taken, but has said it would consider negotiating with the hostage-takers for their release. Initial contacts with AQIM through local chiefs in Mali were “not encouraging” due to the nature of the demands, the sources told the Dubai-based television station.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Abbas May Circumvent Israel, Ask U.S. To Recognize Palestinian State

Unilateral declaration considered if peace talks with Israel remain in limbo, though previous pronouncements have been received coolly.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told Arab leaders he may seek U.S. recognition for a Palestinian state, which would include all of the West Bank, should peace talks with Israel break down, an aide said on Saturday.

The idea, raised during Arab League deliberations in Libya on Friday, would place new pressure on Israel to extend a recently expired freeze on construction of settlements in the West Bank — a Palestinian condition for continuing recently relaunched direct peace negotiations.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Double-Talking on Israel: U.S. Aids Palestinians?

Obama demands Jews stop construction while building PA foothold in same areas

JERUSALEM — Despite its history of friendly relations with Israel, the U.S. has been aiding Palestinian Authority construction in areas where the work could tilt the outcome of Mideast negotiations in favor of the Palestinians.

By aiding Palestinian construction of infrastructure in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, the U.S. has effectively been helping the PA create facts on the ground that could push disputed neighborhoods toward becoming part of a Palestinian state, including areas where the land in question is wholly owned by Jews.

While the Obama administration has been demanding a complete halt to all Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has been financing Palestinian infrastructure projects in those same territories. Some of the projects include the construction of PA municipal buildings as well as roads and other infrastructure.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

News Being Manufactured: A Graphic Example of How This is Done to Slander Israel

By Barry Rubin

It is understandably hard for people to believe the amount of violence that is staged and stories that are manipulated coming from the Middle East. Here is a bit of video from the eastern part of Jerusalem.

See what happens: Kids are ready to throw stones at passing cars with Israeli license plates, five of them run into the road, blocking it, ready to throw stones at an approaching Israeli automobile. Another car is deliberately parked across the road, partly blocking it. Surprised by the ambush, the Israeli driver slams on his brakes but one of the kids is hit by the car and he flies up and over it.

Note the following:…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck: Hamas Fundraising in American Mosque?

The New English Review web magazine recently released exclusive footage of a 2009 fundraising event at an Orlando mosque.

The event was held to benefit radical British MP George Galloway’s anti-Israel group, Viva Palestina.

Galloway later presented the funds he raised in the U.S. directly to Hamas—in violation of U.S. sanctions.

You can watch my take at the above link.

The segment is part of the latest episode of my show, Stakelbeck on Terror.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Against the De-Legitimization of Israel and Appeasement With Iran

Interview with Fiamma Nirenstein, by Giulio Meotti

Il Foglio daily, September 25, 2010

A demonstration “For the truth, for Israel” as the United Nations increases the delegitimization of the Jewish State and new “humanitarian” shipments are ready to break the isolation of Hamas. A “rhetorical marathon” — a series of 5 minutes speeches — will be held on October 7 at the Temple of Hadrian (Tempio di Adriano) in Rome, starting at 18:00. MPs from all the political parties, intellectuals, journalists, artists, from Italy and other countries of Europe, including the editor of daily “Il Foglio” Giuliano Ferrara, Paolo Mieli, former editor of “Il Corriere della Sera”, writer Roberto Saviano, Democratic Party leader Walter Veltroni, philosopher Shmuel Trigano, Farid Ghadry, President of the Syrian Reform Party and Gen. Yosef Kuperwasser, will attend it. Opening the event will be José María Aznar, former Spanish prime minister and president of “Friends of Israel”.

Promoter of the initiative is Fiamma Nirenstein, deputy of the PDL (People of Freedom Party) and journalist. “We want to warn the European public of the existential threat that Iran and its friends Hamas and Hezbollah pose to Israel on a daily basis” says Nirenstein. “The Iranian denial of Israel’s right to exist is the backdrop of its strategy. The UN has become the sounding board of Ahmadinejad’s dangerous nonsense. Appeasement is the only reaction of the United States and this of course increases Islamic fervor. The number of Hezbollah’s missiles and weapons has grown dramatically and Hamas can now hit Tel Aviv. Ahmadinejad can announce the end of Israel in an international summit, and all the West does is shake his hand. And piece by piece, bit by bit, they are destroying the structure of universalism and natural justice that arose after World War II”.

As a second point there is the enormous work of cultural delegitimization being carried out by Western intellectuals together with the Islamic extremists. “The story starts with Arafat’s trip to Vietnam in the 1970s, when the Palestinian leader asked General Giap how to make the Palestinian issue as universal and of as of equal importance worldwide as Vietnam. Giap told Arafat: Just do what we did: go and conquer the intellectuals’.

“Archaeologist Barkai has told me that denial of the Jewish roots of Jerusalem is worse than denying the Holocaust. And look at how successful the Palestinian operation of cultural conquest has been, even if this is a paradoxical lie. Delegitimizing the very presence of Israel in an area that is the homeland of the Jewish people, the same land that laid the basis for the history of humanity, is absurd. It is an expression of the refusal to recognize Israel’s historic right to found and make its homeland flourish in that area. It is an historic right, because the Jewish people were born there, lived there for centuries; it is there that they founded monotheism, a moral law that has generated democracy and prosperity. For the Arabs, and not only for the Palestinians, the Jewish presence in the area is deemed illegal and evil, forever. Israel is ready to recognize a Palestinian State. It’s time that the Arab world is willing to recognize a Jewish State”.

Israel is overwhelmed by a tsunami of delegitimization, “that makes use of the pure invention of cruelty, racism, persecution, a desire for conquest and a scorn for peace that never existed. Look at the Freedom Flotilla recent episode: all over the world, the media immediately spread the idea that Israel wanted to attack and kill a group of pacifists”. Delegitimization even involves sports: “A group of Israeli tennis players was only allowed to play behind closed doors in a Swedish stadium. In Hannover, an Israeli dance group was stoned by demonstrators shouting ‘Juden Raus’. In Turkey, a volleyball game was surrounded by a violent rally shouting at the police: ‘Don’t be the watchdogs of the Zionists, Allah will punish you’. The British Trade Union has called to boycott Israel. A major Swedish newspaper wrote that the Israeli soldiers kill young Palestinians to harvest their organs. European supermarkets have more than once decided to boycott Israeli goods. The Israeli movies are ousted from international festivals. Scientific discoveries, technological products are systematically boycotted. Israeli academics are expelled from European universities and conferences. For years, Israel has been seeing rockets hitting its civilian population and nobody says a word. An Israeli politician cannot land in London without risking jail. Amnesty International and the UN attack Israel every day, as does the Human Rights Council. Nobody raises an eyebrow to the fact that Spain bars gay Israelis from participating in a gay pride parade in Madrid”.


* Translation by Lenore Rosenberg

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

Yemen: Al-Qaeda Has Killed ‘50 Security Agents’

Sanaa, 7 Oct. (AKI) — Fifty high-ranking security agents have been killed by Al-Qaeda insurgents so far this year, according to Yemeni web site Barakish, which cited an unnamed interior ministry source.

The source confirmed that Al-Qaeda was behind Wednesday’s rocket attack on a convoy that failed to harm Britain’s number-two diplomat in Yemen.

Also on Wednesday, a Yemeni security guard shot dead a Frenchman contracted to the Austrian oil and gas company OMV, the company said.

A British national was also injured in the attack outside the capital and taken to hospital.

Armed militants on Sunday bombed the residence of Yemeni prime minister Mohammad Ali Majur. The attack caused little damage and no injuries, while the militants escaped, according to the report by Arabic website Elaph.

The violence has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the interim government’s US-backed campaign against Al-Qaeda militants. The militants who have found a haven in parts of the rugged, mountainous country where the central government’s control is weak.

Yemen currently faces two insurgencies. Since 2005 separatist rebels in the north known as the Al-Houthis have been fighting government forces, while Al-Qaeda and tribal militants have launched a series of attacks in the south.

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

South Asia

Afghanistan: Italy Eyes 2011 Withdrawal After Latest Troop Deaths

(AKI) — Italy is considering withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan’s western province of Herat by the end of 2011 defence minister Ignazio La Russa told media on Monday. His comments followed the deaths of four Italian soldiers in western Afghanistan over the weekend which brought Italy’s death toll in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan since 2004 to 34.

“I need to discuss our proposal in the appropriate venues, with (the United States’ top commander in Afghanistan, General David) Petraeus, and with NATO,” La Russa told Italian daily La Stampa in an interview.

“It’s possible that by 2011, the area of western Afghanistan under our control could be largely handed over to the Afghan government — more so than in other areas,” La Russa said.

Allied strategy was to gain control of the territory, train Afghan forces and enable the Afghan government to run the country’s police force and army, La Russa noted.

“This is why the international mission can go forward until 2013, but I hope our job will be finished sooner,” he stated.

“But one thing is certain: we won’t take unilateral decisions.”

US president Barack Obama has set 2013 as a deadline for the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan, where around 150,000 soldiers are currently serving.

Francesco Vannozzi, Gianmarco Manca, Sebastiano Ville and Marco Pedone of the Alpine regiment were killed on Saturday when the vehicle in which they were travelling was ambushed by insurgents in western Farah province.

Another soldier was injured in the attack, which was claimed by the Taliban.

The repatratried bodies of the four Italian soldiers arrived on Monday in Rome, where president Giorgio Napolitano and prime minister Silvio Berlusconi paid homage to them.

The soldiers’ coffins arrive at Rome’s Ciampino airport on Monday, where the victims’ relatives were waiting, along with La Russa and other top officials.

State funerals for the four were expected to take place in Rome on Tuesday.

Italy has around 3,300 soldiers in Afghanistan. That number is expected to rise to 4,000 by the end of 2010.

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

Bangladesh: Furious Mob Set Fire to Passenger Train After it Ploughed Into Political Rally Killing Five and Injuring 80

A furious mob set fire to a passenger train after it ploughed into a crowd killing five people and injuring more than 80.

The crowd was attending a political rally near a railway track in the northwestern Sirajganj district of Bangladesh when the accident happened.

Witnesses described how the Dinajpur to Dhaka intercity express was unable to stop, cannoning into the gathering and causing devastating injuries.

Passengers were forced to flee the train as it was pelted with stones with brickbats and then set on fire.

In the aftermath, the driver and guard were dragged from the engine cab and severely beaten, it is claimed.

They were taken to hospital in Tangail where they are reportedly critically injured.

The mob eventually dispersed when police and military personnel arrived at the scene and fired a series of warning shots.

Bangladesh’s communication minister Syed Abul Hossain said that many more people could have died in the tragedy.

‘You can understand, a train cannot be stopped quickly like a car or bus,’ he said

He blamed rally organiers, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), for holding the political rally at the location

‘It is nothing but an attempt to create an anarchy the way they torched the train and critically injured the driver and the guard,’ he said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Probe Launched Into 500 Missing NATO Vehicles

Quetta, 11 Oct. (AKI/DAWN) — Pakistan’s customs authorities have launched a probe into the disappearance of 500 oil tankers and containers carrying supplies for Nato troops in Afghanistan.

A senior customs official told Dawn on Sunday that 500 oil tankers and containers which had left Port Qasim in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi for the Afghan city of Kandahar did not reach the Pakistan-Afghan border.

He said that Karachi customs had cleared the vehicles after scanning.

The official said the investigation was undertaken after the Supreme Court of Pakistan said it would investigate the reports about the missing vehicles.

“We are optimistic that we will trace the missing vehicles and their documents,” he added.

Over the past two years more than 60,000 Nato heavy vehicles have entered Afghanistan via the Chaman border crossing with an average of 100 vehicles a day.

Customs officials were said to have checked the documents of 174 Nato vehicles in Chaman.

Frequent incidents of looting of Nato vehicles were reported last year from Killa Abdullah, Quetta, Kuchlak and other areas of the western Pakistani province of Balochistan.

Local markets are reportedly awash with goods looted from Nato vehicles.

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

Pakistan Sparks U.S. Anger After Secretly Accelerating Nuclear Programme

The U.S. have been left fuming by revelations that Pakistan, an ally in the Afghanistan war, has been secretly accelerating the speed of its nuclear weapons programme, after satellite images of a row of completed cooling towers came to light.

America have been attempting to cap worldwide stocks of potential material for nuclear weapons — only last year president Barack Obama called for ‘a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials’.

It marks further deterioration in relations between the two countries, following U.S. drone and helicopter attacks on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border which led, last week, to over 100 Nato tankers being destroyed when the Torkham crossing, the main route between the two countries, was shut.


The Obama administration is also disturbed by Chinese plans to build two new nuclear reactors in Pakistan — a move that would bypass Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) rules that bar sales of nuclear equipment to states that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

China contest that it does not need NSG permission to sell reactors to Pakistan, arguing it had committed to the deal before it joined the NSG in 2004 — a claim the United States disputes.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Germany: Merkel Defends State Premier’s Controversial Integration Statements

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended Bavarian state premier, Horst Seehofer, after he called for restrictions on the number of Turkish and Arab immigrants to Germany. Merkel said he was misconstrued.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended the state premier of Bavaria’s controversial call for restrictions to immigration.

Deputy government spokesperson Sabine Heimbach said Merkel spoke with Horst Seehofer earlier on Monday and that he had explained that his position had been “misrepresented.” He said his call for restrictions on immigrants from Turkey or Arabic countries was directed “merely at skilled laborers.”

Merkel expressed her agreement with Seehofer with regard to the process of bringing in skilled labor, saying that “existing potential had to be exhausted first” before allowing the influx of foreign skilled labor.

On the heels of Merkel’s meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Berlin, in which she reiterated that negotiations for EU membership for Turkey remained “open-ended with no guarantees,” Seehofer told Focus magazine that some groups of immigrants should be excluded from Germany.

“It is clear that immigrants from foreign cultural circles, like Turkey or Arabic countries, have a hard time,” he told the weekly news magazine Focus. “That leads me to the conclusion that we do not need any more migrants from other cultural circles,” he said.

Opposition demands apologies

The Green party’s parliamentary leader, Renate Kuenast, accused Seehofer of right-wing populism and immediately demanded an apology, which Seehofer refused to concede on Monday.

The Social Democrat interior minister of the city-state of Berlin, Ehrhart Koerting, accused Seehofer of “stigmatizing” certain immigrants and undermining domestic peace.

Members of Merkel’s ruling coalition, made up of the chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the free market liberals FDP and Seehofer’s Christian Social Union (CSU), also expressed doubts about the Bavarian leader’s comments.

“The question is whether Horst Seehofer wants to prevent additional immigration or get around existing law,” the CDU’s Wolfgang Bosbach told the daily Saarbruecker Zeitung. “If it’s the latter, than I have doubts about its constitutionality.”

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of the FDP, called for a “rational integration and migration policy — not an intentional simplification and populist debate over an end to migration.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany’s Integration Debate Takes a Turn for the Worse

The debate over Muslims in Germany has flared up again after Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer said Germany doesn’t need any more Turkish or Arabic immigrants because they don’t integrate as well as others. Commentators say he has damaged government efforts to calm the debate.

Efforts by German President Christian Wulff and Chancellor Angela Merkel to calm the heated debate over Muslim immigration that has been raging in Germany for weeks appear to have been undermined by the governor of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, who made some incendiary comments about Muslim immigrants over the weekend.

“It’s clear that immigrants from other cultures such as Turkey and Arabic countries have more difficulties. From that I draw the conclusion that we don’t need additional immigration from other cultures,” Seehofer, who is leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told Focus magazine in an interview published on Monday. “I don’t agree with demands for increased immigration from foreign cultures,” Seehofer added. “We have to deal with the people who already live here. Eighty to 90 percent of them are well integrated. But we must get tougher on those who refuse to integrate.”

Seehofer’s comments fanned a debate that has become increasingly fractious since Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin published a book in late August claiming that Germany was in decline because of a rapidly growing underclass of poorly educated Muslims unwilling to integrate themselves into German society. Sarrazin has since resigned from the Bundesbank after the bank launched proceedings to have him dismissed for the comments. Sarrazin’s remarks were widely condemned by politicians and media commentators as racist and inflammatory, but were supported by many Germans, according to a number of surveys.

The opposition Greens accused Seehofer of “incendiary far-right populism,” and Merkel’s integration commissioner, Maria Böhmer, said she was shocked at his comments. “One can’t place people from another culture under such blanket suspicion. That alienates them and counteracts all efforts at integration,” she told the mass-circulation Bild newspaper on Monday.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Italy: Immigrant Labourers Protest Exploitation

Naples, 8 Oct. (AKI) — Hundreds of immigrants labourers in Italy’s southern Campania region on Friday walked off the job to protest exploitation in agriculture as well as in warehouses and on building sites. Many of those who took part in the protests, held in various locations in and near Naples, were African.

“I won’t work for less than 50 euros a day,” read placards that many of the protesters wore around their necks.

“The immigrants are hired off the books, exploited and often maltreated by their employers,” one of the protest organisers, Mimma D’Amico, told Adnkronos.

She said labourers who took part in the protests risked being reported to police as “irregular migrants” as well as losing their pay.

The labourers were due to hold a protest march on Saturday in the Campania town of Caserta, organisers said.

In January, Italian authorities evacuated more than 1,200 immigrants, many of them African farm workers from the southern town of Rosarno, after dozens were injured in two days of violent clashes with Italian locals.

Hundreds of immigrants, most of them Africans employed illegally as labourers for less than 25 euros a day, took to the streets of the Calabrian town in a violent rampage after two of them were shot at with air rifles by unidentified gunmen.

At least 65 immigrants, residents, police officers were injured in the riots. Among the worst seen in Italy in recent years, they drew criticism from Pope Benedict XVI and Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano and sparked a fierce political debate across the country.

The riots also raised serious questions about the role of the powerful Calabrian Mafia, or ‘Ndrangheta, in the exploitation of illegal immigrants.

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

UK: Brought Up, Educated and Married in England… But Father is Denied UK Citizenship for Not Being ‘English’ Enough

A businessman who was brought up in England, went to school in England, married in England and got his first job in England has been banned from living in England — because he’s not ‘English’ enough.

US born Stephen Hewitt, 50, whose English ancestry days back to the 15th century and whose father was an officer at Sandhurst spent 18 years in the UK from age of four to 22 before returning to America.

Now he wants to come back to England to be reunited with his three daughters, grandson, parents aunts and uncles all of whom live here.

But an immigration tribunal has ruled Mr Hewitt cannot be a permanent resident because his UK ties are ‘not strong enough’ due to his British father being born in Holland and the fact he has not lived in England for more than two years.

The case comes after new figures showed 135,000 failed asylum keepers had been allowed to stay here under an ‘an amnesty.’

Former soldier Stephen, who now works in real estate and can trace his British ancestry as far back as 1410, said: ‘I’m bitter about this. They’re dividing a family.

‘We have a long history in England. I have worked in England and paid taxes and to be honest England have paid for my education and they’re never going to get any benefit from it now.


Stephen’s father Mike, a former university lecturer said: ‘Other people are allowed to bring their brides and fiancees and certain members of family because the law allows it. But my son seems to be a victim of anti-Americanism.

Stephen’s daughter Pamela from Royton, near Oldham said: ‘The strong family ties have been completely ignored and I think the decision the judge has made is completely inhumane. Dad does not want to come here to claim benefits.

‘You see in the newspapers people trying to get here illegally and it makes me so angry when my father lived here for 18 years and paid taxes and speaks English.

‘I love this country but I’m disgusted with the way my father has been treated.’

The UK Borders agency declined to comment.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

420 Banks Demand 1-World Currency

International finance group seeks remedy to looming exchange wars

The Institute of International Finance, a group that represents 420 of the world’s largest banks and finance houses, has issued yet another call for a one-world global currency, Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert reports.

“A core group of the world’s leading economies need to come together and hammer out an understanding,” Charles Dallara, the Institute of International Finance’s managing director, told the Financial Times.

An IIF policy letter authored by Dallara and dated Oct. 4 made clear that global currency coordination was needed, in the group’s view, to prevent a looming currency war.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Marxists, Muslims, Mormons, Globalists, And Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention

For many years, including in my most recent book, Grave Influence, I have been warning about the rise of ecumenicalism and globalism and my concern that evangelicals would be used to give credibility to these movements.

Sadly, I believe the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission headed by Richard Land is being used to push radically unbiblical, politically correct, and anti-American agendas. As a member of a solid, Bible teaching SBC church, I am very concerned about Land’s activities. However, I think even those that are not a member of an SBC church should be concerned since Land is speaking as an evangelical.

The Southern Baptist Convention is the nation’s largest protestant denomination. I believe Mr. Land’s office, which is funded to the tune of over $3.2 million dollars, is largely working against the Biblical worldview convictions of not only most of the SBC church members but most conservative, Bible-believing Christians.

Land Endorsed the U.S. Muslim Engagement Project and is helping to build Mosques:

In September of 2010, the Anti-Defamation League formed an “interfaith coalition” to help Muslims build mosques in America. Of course Land did not pass up the opportunity to be involved in one more pluralistic, politically correct project. Why would any Christian, much less a Christian leader, be working to help build Islamic Mosques?


The name and mission statement of many of the organizations that make up this coalition clearly reveal their ultimate goal is not just building mosques but pushing ecumenicalism. The website says, that member include, the “Vicar for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs”. The keyword is ecumenical. Then there is Dr. Eboo Patel whose organization is “Interfaith Youth Core” and his website declares that their goal is “to introduce a new relationship, one that is about mutual respect and religious pluralism. Instead of focusing a dialogue on political or theological differences.”

Religious pluralism is the belief that all religions are equal in their truth claims. All religions can be wrong but they cannot all be true.


Land gives credibility to global governance:

A few years ago Land joined the anti-Christian, anti-American, globalist organization known as the Council on Foreign Relations. Land tries to defend his membership by saying he wants to be salt and light and they invited him to join because they want the input of evangelicals. What they want is to use the credibility of Christians, as well as the name of the Southern Baptist Convention, so they can make people believe they are not anti-Christian while they promote their anti-Christian, anti-American, globalist agenda. Land is acting as a “useful idiot”.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

School System to Get Muslim Holiday

Cambridge to start observance in 2011-12

As a Muslim and a high school senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 17-year-old Dunia Kassay faces a tough choice every year on Islamic holy days: go to school or stay home to be with family and friends.

If she stays home, Kassay says, she will be forced to play catch-up and make up her school assignments. But if she goes to school, she will be neglecting what she feels is her religious obligation on holidays such as Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

“It’s really conflicting,” Kassay said. “Instead of fasting for a month and enjoying this really big day, eating and going to family’s houses, it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, hey, guys, I’ve got to go do my homework.’ “

But beginning next year, Cambridge public schools will attempt to make it easier for Muslim students to honor their highest holy days.

In a move that school officials believe is the first of its kind in the state, Cambridge will close schools for one Muslim holiday each year beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.

The school will either close for Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, depending on which holiday falls within the school year. If both fall within the school calendar, the district will close for only one of the days.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Serbia: Gay Parade Outrages Orthodox Church

Belgrade, 8 Oct. (AKI) — The Serbian Orthodox Church on Friday strongly opposed a gay parade, planned in Belgrade on Sunday, saying it violated “public morality” and represented an attempt to undermine the “most sacred of Christian values”.

The Church said in a statement it opposed “public expression and advertising of anyone’s sexual orientation, or any other personal inclination, especially if it insults the right of citizens to privacy and family life”.

“In that context, the Serbian Orthodox Church decisively opposes the organisation of the so called ‘parade of pride’,” the church said.

“Pride about what?” said the statement issued by the Holy Synod, the church’s governing body.

Several gay groups and non-governmental organisations ar involved in the parade in which some 500 participants are expected to take part.

Last year a planned parade was called off in the last moment, because of threats from far-right and nationalist groups.

Police minister Ivica Dacic has said some 5,000 policemen will protect the parade this year and urged Serb to refrain from violence.

While government officials have given the parade muted approval, some opposition politicians and the general public have billed it as a “parade of shame”.

The church said the only natural love was between man and woman, who God created to give birth to children and reproduce across the centuries.

“Everything else is contrary to Christian values and morality,” it concluded.

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


Peter Diamond, Dale Mortensen and Christopher Pissarides Share Nobel in Economic Science

Two Americans, Peter Diamond and Dale Mortensen, and Christopher Pissarides, a British and Cypriot citizen, have won the 2010 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said they had won the award “for their analysis of markets with search frictions.”

[Return to headlines]

Tariq Ramadan Speaks About Muslim Identity

The identity struggle facing second- and third-generation European and American Muslims can be overcome through pluralism, said Tariq Ramadan, a leading thinker on identity politics, at a Friday event in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum. “Muslims are facing a very critical discussion,” he told an audience of students, faculty and community members. The event, sponsored by the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, began at 4 p.m. and was free and open to the public. It filled the auditorium to standing-room only, and some attendees sat in chairs in the lobby. The lecture was Ramadan’s only speaking engagement in Chicago as part of a tour to discuss his new book, What I Believe, said Rita Koryan, assistant director of the Buffett Center. The event also included a question-and-answer session and a book signing. Ramadan, named one of Time magazine’s most important innovators of the 21st century, said he last spoke at NU seven years ago, when he discussed “the reality and situation in France” with French literature students. One of the world’s most prolific thinkers and a professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford University, Ramadan has been named 49th among Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 contemporary individuals. Negative perceptions of Islam, such as fear of the imposition of sharia, or Islamic law, are increasing in Europe and the United States, Ramadan said. He said controversy sparked from the debate over the possible construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero highlights the importance of community-wide dialogue. “‘(Islam) is a silent colonization, Islam is a threat,’“ he said. “We have this (discourse) happening here.”


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]