Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20101210

Financial Crisis
»Bernanke Deceptive, Says Real-Life ‘Lie to Me’ Firm
»Euro Slides, Bonds Yields Widen as Merkel, Sarkozy Unite to Oppose Bigger EU Rescue Fund
»Majority of Germans Want to Keep the Euro
»Sterling Will be Strongest Major Currency in 2011, Says Barclays
»37% Predict U.S.-Muslim Relations Will be Worse a Year From Now
»Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Central Pa
»An IPT Investigation: Islamic Group’s Database Found to be Fraudulent
»Assimilation Won’t Stop Jihad
»Ignorance, Economy Fuel Bias Against Islam, Conference Hears
»Ivy League Professor Charged With Incest After ‘Three-Year Sexual Relationship With His Daughter’
»Lilburn to Weigh Mosque Plan
»Muhammad Ali Hasan Now Says He “Likes” Nancy Pelosi
»Muslim-Americans to Hear From Holder
»Wikileaks: Provoking Big Brother
»What Harper Can Teach Obama — The Case of Anwar Ibrahim
Europe and the EU
»Bolkestein Warns Dutch ‘Not to Look Away’
»EU Quietly Scraps Plans for Compulsory Labeling of Meat Slaughtered Without Stunning
»F-35 Price Increase Dismays Dutch Defence Minister
»Germany: Islamic Centre Hit by Arson Attack
»Germany: Cronyism Seeping Into Politics, Voters Fear
»Greek PM Pledges to Build Long-Delayed Athens Mosque
»Italy: Muslim Student Allowed to Wear Headphones During Music Hour…
»Italy: Patriotic Hotel ‘Taxed’ For Showing Italian Flag
»Italy Fights EU Patent Proposal
»Merkel and Sarkozy Call for Deeper Union
»Muslim Associations Asked to Collaborate on Mosque
»Sweden: Malmö Shooter Probed in Additional Incident
»UK: Five More Muslim Schools in Pipeline for Blackburn
»UK: Is This the World’s Most Brazen Burglar? Thief Digs Out and De-Ices Car… While Casually Chatting to Neighbours
»UK: Man Whipped Girl ‘To Punish Her’
»UK: MP Calls for Inquiry Into Sex Abuse in Muslim Families
»UK: Prince Charles and Camilla Car Attack: ‘Someone Could Have Died’
»UK: Tuition Fee Protests: Charlie Gilmour, Son of Pink Floyd Guitarist David Gilmour, Apologises for Climbing Cenotaph
»UN Criticises DK Points System
»Wikileaks: Julian Assange ‘Could Face Spying Charges’
»Croatia: Retailers and Producers Against Ikea
North Africa
»Comics: Censored in Cairo, Avenged in Italy
»The Challenge of Haifaa Al Mansour, Woman and Director
Israel and the Palestinians
»Israel’s Religious Extremists Send the Peace Process Up in Smoke
Middle East
»Al-Qaida’s New Strategy in Yemen
»Lost Civilization Under Persian Gulf?
»Majority of Muslims in Several Countries Seek the Introduction of Sharia
»Syria: Italian Companies Mission in Wood Sector
»Turkey’s New Combat Vehicle Receives 1st Order From Abroad
»UAE: Residency Visas to be Shortened to Two Years
»Death Orders
»More Than 90 Percent of Billions Islamic World Sent to Russia’s Muslims Diverted for Personal Use — Silantyev
»Muscovites Protest Against Mosque Construction, Want Trees
South Asia
»India: Terror Alert Against Attack on Dutch Nationals?
»Indonesia: Atheists Not Allowed
»Indonesia Arrests Top Terror Suspect
»Malaysia: Underage Marriages Are Allowed in Islam, Says Nazri
»Pakistan: Hardline Clerics Launch Hate Campaign Against Mughalpura Ahmedis
»Pakistan: Christians Oppressed by Muslims
»Suicide Car Bomber Rams Hospital in Hangu, Pakistan
Far East
»Weapons Migrate From China to Afghanistan
Australia — Pacific
»Fundamental Concerns on Mosque
»Golliwog Doll Pulled From Store So as Not to Offend Oprah Winfrey During Her Tour of Australia
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Cables Reveal Resentment at Chinese Influence in Africa
Latin America
»Caroline Glick: Why Latin America Turned
»Stakelbeck: Exclusive Pics: Venezuelan Officials Meeting w/ Hezbollah
»Italy: Compulsory Language Test Introduced for Immigrants
»Netherlands: Business: ‘Open Border for East Europeans’
»Sweden: ‘Integration a Fiasco’: Gothenburg Official
»UK: Migrant Baby Boom Leaves Schools 500,000 Places Short
Culture Wars
»Appeals Court Asked to Remove Bull’s-Eye From Christians

Financial Crisis

Bernanke Deceptive, Says Real-Life ‘Lie to Me’ Firm

Intel analysts say Fed chairman hiding true feelings in ‘60 Minutes’ interview.

In his recent “60 Minutes” interview, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke assured America and the world that he’s 100 percent confident the extraordinary measures he’s taking to help the nation’s depressed economy will be effective — and won’t cause undesirable inflation.

However, according to a unique business analysis firm staffed with intelligence professionals — who use esoteric techniques to separate truth from obfuscation and deception in high-level business data — the Fed chief’s public assurances about its most recent controversial attempt to stimulate the economy are very different from his actual beliefs and fears.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Euro Slides, Bonds Yields Widen as Merkel, Sarkozy Unite to Oppose Bigger EU Rescue Fund

Earlier on Friday, European central bankers indicated that eurozone governments could not count on the ECB alone to solve a debt crisis which has forced bailouts of Greece and Ireland, and put pressure on Portugal and Spain. Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented a united front ahead of a crucial summit next week where EU leaders are expected to agree the terms of a permanent rescue mechanism for the bloc. Berlin has opposed calls by Spain and other countries to move towards a full-fledged “fiscal union” in the 16-nation bloc but appeared on Friday to have agreed to a limited form of policy coordination, although little detail was offered.

“We have agreed to the convergence of German and French tax policies,” said Mr Sarkozy. Ms Merkel said it was up to Germany and France to set an example on questions of competitiveness, showing partners how far the bloc’s biggest economies could co-operate in areas “beyond pure budget policy”. “We are talking about labour law, about tax law and if we are to improve the coherence of the economic aspects of the eurozone, then we should target these issues step by step and propose solutions,” she said. The two leaders said they would present “structural” proposals next year in the area of economic coordination, but declined to elaborate. “We will defend the euro, because the euro is Europe,” Mr Sarkozy said. “Our determination, both German and French, is total.” The euro, which has fallen all week, slid below $1.32 in late afternoon trading in London. The risk premiums investors demand to hold Portuguese, Spanish and Irish debt instead of German benchmarks also edged higher on the day. Bank of Italy Governor and ECB Governing Council member Mario Draghi told the Financial Times that responsibility for dealing with the crisis ultimately lay with euro governments and the ECB could go only so far in helping weaker members by buying their bonds. “I’m only too aware that we could easily cross the line and lose everything we have, lose independence, and basically violate the (EU) treaty,” said Mr Draghi, a leading candidate to replace Jean-Claude Trichet as ECB president. Next week’s EU summit is expected to finalise plans to introduce a permanent rescue mechanism for the eurozone to replace the €750bn European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) that it set up in May after bailing out Greece. German demands that the new mechanism include the possibility of so-called “haircuts” for holders of eurozone sovereign debt have been blamed for exacerbating the crisis by scaring bond investors with the prospect of not getting all their money back. European Central Bank Governing Council member Yves Mersch said expanding Europe’s financial stability fund would be preferable to issuing euro area bonds in the short term to tackle any debt problems. Ms Merkel rejected calls to increase the stability fund. “I’d say for us in Germany that the question of expanding the rescue mechanism is not now on the table,” she said on Friday. “Less than 10pc of the rescue mechanism has been used for Ireland. It is not on the agenda.” Spain kicked off an €83bn five-year plan to make its flagging industries more competitive on Friday, the government’s latest effort to drag the country out of economic stagnation and rebuild investor confidence to reduce ballooning financing costs. Markets remain sceptical. “I don’t think this will have any impact on the public finances because they have already said these plans are consistent with the 2011 budget,” said one analyst who asked to remain anonymous.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Majority of Germans Want to Keep the Euro

The majority of Germans want to keep the euro as their currency despite the current financial woes of several European Union countries, a new poll revealed on Friday.

Sixty percent of those polled said they preferred the euro, while one-third said they longed for the return of the Deutsche mark, the survey for broadcaster ARD found.

The nostalgia for the former German currency was highest among less-educated. Forty-nine percent said they wanted to fill their wallets with the mark once again after 11 years with the euro.

Meanwhile 80 percent of the highly educated participants said they were against the reinstatement of the old bills and coins.

The poll, which questioned 1,000 representative citizens earlier this month, showed a change in sentiment since a July survey by research institute Ipsos, which showed 51 percent of Germans longing for the Deutsche mark.

German confidence in Europe’s single currency has been rocked in recent months by both the Greek and Irish debt crises and the eurozone’s ensuing bailouts.

Though it remains considerably stronger versus the US dollar than the mark was back in 1998, the euro’s precipitous decline has sparked concern in Europe’s largest economy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sterling Will be Strongest Major Currency in 2011, Says Barclays

The prediction came as Barcap, the securities arm of the retail bank, also used its 2011 outlook to predict that stock markets will outperform government bonds and that the US economy will stage a stronger recovery than it has managed in 2010. The pound, which has been hard hit since the financial crisis, will end next year at $1.82 against the dollar and 78p versus the euro, it was estimated. The currency closed on Thursday in London at $1.5728 and 84p. The UK currency’s performance will be matched by a strong showing for the FTSE 100, according to Barcap, which expects the index to rise by about 18pc next year and offer a further 4pc return in dividends. The bank’s hopes for the London market come from performance in the rest of the world, rather than the UK.

“The FTSE is a major play on global demand,” said Edmund Shing, head of European equity strategy at Barcap in London. “You don’t have to look very far to find exposure, whether directly through miners and food producers, or indirectly through the oil companies.” He pointed to miners including Rio Tinto and Xstrata, food producers such Unilever and oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell. The FTSE closed on Thursday up 0.2pc at 5,807.96. David Cameron’s coalition Government has pledged tax increases and spending cuts in an effort to eliminate a structural deficit estimated at £109bn. If the Governmnent can begin to deliver on the promise then it should help both the currency and stock markets, Barcap predicts. “The Coalition is enacting deep structural reform in order to take a lump out of the deficit, which is a risk,” said Mr Shing. “ It could ultimately be good for the structural growth story in the UK.”

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]


37% Predict U.S.-Muslim Relations Will be Worse a Year From Now

Voters nationwide continue to show little optimism about America’s relationship with the Muslim world.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows just nine percent (9%) believe that U.S.-Muslim relations will be better a year from now. Thirty-seven percent (37%) disagree and say the relationship will be worse, while nearly half (47%) think it will stay about the same.

These numbers show little change from October and have shifted little throughout 2010.

But when Rasmussen Reports first began regularly tracking the question in June 2009 at the time of President Obama’s outreach speech in Cairo, Egypt, 32% thought relations between the two sides would be better in one year’s time, while 28% expected them to be worse. Thirty-five percent (35%) said they’d stay about the same…

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Central Pa

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Central PA has opened a mosque at the former Lakeside Lutheran Church on Division Street in Harrisburg. The mosque is the site of an open house and reception for the public on Dec. 12. Mosque members listen to the sermon that is part of Friday prayers. 12/03/2010 DAN GLEITER, The Patriot-News

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

An IPT Investigation: Islamic Group’s Database Found to be Fraudulent

A database used by Islamist groups to support claims that the Muslim community is responsible for helping to break up one-third of terrorist plots is based on flawed and selective use of data, an Investigative Project on Terrorism analysis shows.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) claims in its study that “almost 1 out of 3 al-Qaida-related terror plots threatening America since 9/11/01” were thwarted in part because of help from the Muslim community. However, the MPAC study is full of mistakes, faulty data, contradictions, selective use of information, and demonstrably dishonest analysis:

  • MPAC overstates the role of “community assistance,” including plots that were broken up by intelligence assets overseas and other plots that had little or nothing to do with the U.S. Muslim community;
  • MPAC selectively defines what is a “terrorism incident,” ignoring a huge set of cases involving the domestic support of terrorist organizations, as well as those involving threats outside of al Qaida, such as Hamas and Hizballah;
  • MPAC ignores traditional law enforcement techniques, specifically avoiding the use of informants, a technique that the organization frequently condemns.

Despite its flaws, the MPAC study continues to be cited by the media, with the New York Times recently inflating the statistics and stating— without bothering to review the underlying data—that according to a recent MPAC study “almost 4 of every 10 Qaida-related terrorism plots,” were broken up with the help of “community assistance.” They accepted MPAC’s claims without bothering to review the underlying data.

Community help in all forms of crime prevention, not just terrorism, is critical. But the MPAC report is totally dishonest. The report suffers from a number of flaws—namely that it selectively defines what a “terrorism incident” is, overstates the role of the Muslim community in the cases identified, and seemingly ignores the contributions made by informants, a group that MPAC has condemned and falsely claimed to have instigated terrorist plots.

Community help overstated

The MPAC report claims to track “terrorist incidents — prevented and occurred — within and against the United States since 9/11.” Identifying 42 cases over the past decade, MPAC highlights the role of Muslim community cooperation in 16 of the cases but doesn’t provide a detailed breakdown of the cases.

A closer look at the 16 cases suggests that at least five of them have nothing to do with community policing:

  • MPAC touts the role of Ahmad Wais Afzali, an imam who actually tipped off Najibullah Zazi, the man plotting to bomb the New York City subway.
  • In the case of Abdulmutallab and the recent al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula plot to blow up airlines using ink cartridges, the tips came from abroad and involved no cooperation from the U.S. Muslim community.
  • In the other four cases—that of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed Christmas Day Bomber; the five Virginia students who attempted to travel abroad and engage in jihad in Pakistan known as the ZamZam 5; two other Americans attempting to travel abroad to support al Shabaab; and the recent arrest of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the Portland Christmas Tree bombing plotter—each involved family members turning to authorities.

MPAC claims that while “Afzali is initially thought to have tipped off [Najibullah] Zazi to police surveillance, information in the court complaint and corroborating reporting from mainstream media sources found this accusation to be false.” Although Afzali may not have been charged with tipping off Zazi, there was ample evidence that his actions did just that.

On Sept. 10, 2009, New York Police Department detectives met with Afzali, who had served as an informant in the past. During the meeting, detectives showed Afzali photos of Zazi and others. Afzali contacted Zazi the next day and told Zazi that the police were asking questions about him, thus tipping him off about the law enforcement investigation.

“I want to speak with you about something…I want a meeting with you,” an affidavit filed in support of an arrest warrant quoted Afzali saying. “You probably know why I’m calling you for this meeting…I was exposed to something yesterday from the authorities. And they came to ask me about your characters. They asked me about you guys.

“I’m not sure if somebody complained about you,” Afzali continued. “I’m not sure what happened. And I don’t want to know…They said, ‘please, we need to know who they are…what they’re all about.’… And I told them that they are innocent, law abiding…”

Selectively defining terrorism

MPAC deliberately ignores more than 150 cases reported by the Justice Department as involving “material support or resources” to a designated terrorist organization, therefore enabling it to boost the percentage of claimed “community assistance.” This includes prosecutions for providing weapons, money, personnel, and other support to designated terrorist organizations. While it’s one thing for MPAC to believe that the “material support” law is improper, it’s another to ignore cases that include the use of the statute.

By ignoring these cases, MPAC leaves out the indictment and prosecution of six Americans for funneling money and personnel to al-Shabaab; the case of Sami al-Arian, who was convicted of serving as the American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad; and the now defunct Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, whose leadership was convicted of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. The exclusion of the last two cases in particular is proof of MPAC’s deception in compiling their database—the group was a vocal defender of both Sami al-Arian and the Holy Land Foundation (HLF).

After HLF and its leadership was charged in 2001 with funneling money to Hamas, MPAC signed a joint statement arguing that the goals of cutting off funding for terrorism and achieving peace in the Middle East could not be achieved “by taking food out of the mouths of Palestinian orphans or by succumbing to politically-motivated smear campaigns by those who would perpetuate Israel’s brutal occupation.” MPAC went on to criticize the government’s action against HLF as “an unjust and counterproductive move that can only damage America’s credibility with Muslims in this country and around the world and could create the impression that there has been a shift from a war on terrorism to an attack on Islam.” Despite the protestations by MPAC, in 2008 the defendants were convicted of illegally routing more than $12 million to Hamas and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

In the case of Al-Arian, MPAC Senior Advisor Maher Hathout demanded proof that the charges against Al-Arian were based on “concrete evidence of criminal activity and not guilt by association or political considerations,” following his 2003 arrest. Hathout added that it was disturbing that Attorney General John Ashcroft inserted religious expressions like Jihad and martyrdom, words the defendant himself used, to a major federal investigation and indictment:

“Such ambiguous assertions and inflammatory language about religious terms does not help in clarifying the direction of the war on terrorism nor does it reassure Americans of the effectiveness in the government approach in rooting out terrorism.”

Although the trial presented evidence of al-Arian praising suicide bombers and calling for attacks against the United States, the trial ended in an acquittal, leading MPAC to issue a statement in support of Al-Arian: “The acquittal … proves once again that everyone deserves their day in court, and that such cases should be fairly tried in the court of law not the court of public opinion.” On April 14, 2006, facing retrial on the nine charges, Al-Arian pled guilty to “conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist.”

Considering MPAC’s defense of both Sami Al-Arian and the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, perhaps it’s not surprising that they left these cases out of their “terrorism database.”

MPAC has been highly critical of the material support law, going so far as to condemn the United States Supreme Court in June for upholding it. “The ruling not only dismisses the fundamental rights that protect the work of such organizations vis-à-vis granted under the U.S. Constitution, but it also erodes the institutions of diplomacy and conflict resolution that are alternate measures to military force.”

Most recently, MPAC criticized raids in Chicago and Minneapolis investigating support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), both designated terrorist organizations. Calling the searches “fishing expeditions,” Alejandro Beutel, the author of MPAC’s terrorism database, argued “unless there is clear and convincing evidence that these activists were planning terrorist operations, then the justification of the raids is absurd.” As the Investigative Project pointed out at the time, this argument reflects a misunderstanding of current law.

The statute, which has become a cornerstone in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts since 2001, is intended to cover a wide array of support—both violent and non-violent, because: “foreign organizations that engage in terrorist activity are so tainted by their criminal conduct that any contributions to such an organization facilitates that conduct.” Indeed, the most common types of support that Americans have been charged with providing to terrorist groups have been weapons, personnel, and money…

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Assimilation Won’t Stop Jihad

Cell phone video emerged Wednesday of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the Muslim in Oregon who attempted to bomb Pioneer Courthouse Square at a point when 25,000 infidels had gathered there during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The video, captured in a dorm room, is very telling.

This is clearly an American Muslim, steeped in American culture, who wants to destroy America. And the motive? Islam.

In the video, Mohamud says: “You know what the whole West thing is? They want to insult our religion. They want to take our lands. They want to rape our women while we’re bowing down to them. This is what they want. This country and Europe and all those countries, that’s all they want.”

Mohamud also shows his violent streak, saying of someone unknown: “If I met him, I would get five, six Muslims, beat the (expletive) out of him.” Why? Because apparently this person insulted Muhammad the Islamic prophet. Mohamud goes on: “That’s something I have zero tolerance for. When it comes to our prophet, nobody can say anything. They’re calling it freedom of speech. It’s not freedom of speech.”

Look at the bigger picture here. Mohamed Osman Mohamud acts in this video like any other nineteen-year-old in America today. He walks the American walk. He talks the American talk. He could be any American young man in any American town. He is the personification of assimilation, yes? And yet what is he talking? Jihad. What is he trashing? The West.

This is a very important video, a very important point. America pins all her hopes on assimilation, and crows that Muslims in the U.S. assimilate better here than anywhere else in the world. We pop with pride that we won’t suffer the same fate as Europe, because we don’t have Muslim enclaves or no-go zones, as do an increasing number of European cities.

But this video blows that theory right up. No pun intended.

Meanwhile, the would-be bomber’s mosque, which almost immediately claimed that arson had destroyed records in their office, should be questioned. The media propagandists and apologists for Islam are using this arson claim to make the story of Mohamud’s attempted jihad bombing in Portland all about the fictional “backlash” that the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) always claims after jihad plots in the U.S. They’re whitewashing the fact that hundreds of Christians would have been massacred in this WMD attack.

But as for the mosque arson, color me skeptical. We have seen this time after time. It is an Islamic pattern to vandalize, set fire to and/or graffiti their own mosques in order to fabricate a “backlash” narrative while advancing Islamic “supremacy” on the backs of the kuffar, using the media shield as a human shield…

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Ignorance, Economy Fuel Bias Against Islam, Conference Hears

The current economic crisis and the ignorance of some Western scholars are fueling prejudices against Islam, participants said at a conference in Poland Friday.

The daylong conference in the western Polish city of Wroclaw considered the media portrayal of Islam, attitudes toward Muslim immigrants in France and the perception of Muslims in the former Soviet Union.

Imam Ali Abi Issa, of Wroclaw’s mosque, said some Western scholars are fueling Islamophobia by studying Islamic texts without looking at historical or cultural contexts.

Some studies are conducted by people without a fluent knowledge of Arabic, he said.

“Based on a fragmented understanding of jihad, some conclude that it’s purely an offensive tactic,” he said. “Western methodology is fueling Islamophobia because it doesn’t take into account Muslim studies.”

Scholar Marcin Starnawski said the recent economic crisis in Europe has increased Islamophobia.

“In that context, the attack on immigrants can serve as a classic mechanism of finding a scapegoat,” Starnawski said.

Starnawski said Polish media were also portraying Polish Muslims in stereotypes: as either assimilated Tatars, who have lived in Poland for centuries and are moderate, or recent and supposedly more radical Arab immigrants.

There is growing interest in the subject in countries such as Poland, whose Muslim population is increasing.

It is estimated that around 30,000 Muslims, including about 2,000 Tartars, live in overwhelmingly Catholic Poland.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Ivy League Professor Charged With Incest After ‘Three-Year Sexual Relationship With His Daughter’

A Columbia University professor accused of a three-year sexual relationship with his daughter was charged with incest yesterday.

Political science professor David Epstein, 46, allegedly bedded his 24-year-old daughter between 2006 and 2009.

Epstein, who specialises in American politics and voting rights, is said to have also exchanged twisted text messages with the girl during the consensual relationship.

University spokesman Robert Hornsby said that Epstein ‘is now on administrative leave and will not be teaching students’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Lilburn to Weigh Mosque Plan

The Lilburn City Council on Monday will consider a rezoning request by a local Muslim congregation that, if approved, would pave the way for a 20,000-square-foot mosque and end a yearlong legal dispute

The rezoning proposal at U.S. 29 and Hood Road has been the subject of controversy for the past year. Last November, the congregation of Dar-E-Abbas, which owns 1.4 acres of land, wanted to buy an additional 6.5 acres for an expanded mosque, gymnasium and cemetery.

The City Council denied the application, prompting litigation. Amid legal talks, the congregation posed a revised plan, which reduces the site to four acres and excludes the gym and cemetery.

This past Monday, the city’s planning commission recommended denial of the application, citing faulty site plans.

Monday’s meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Gwinnett County courthouse in Lawrenceville.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Muhammad Ali Hasan Now Says He “Likes” Nancy Pelosi


He campaigned under his middle name for Colorado state Treasurer, and he lost. He also lost an early race for the House of Representatives. Now, he’s petulant. Muhammad Ali Hasan has let it be known to the Colorado Independent that he will be switching parties. He now likes Nancy Pelosi (his words, not mine). He thinks Pelosi will cater to his viewpoints more than others. Bang! Another RINO bites the dust!

While other whiny RINO’s will decry this move, it’s actually positive. This move by Hasan does what the weepy, Tommy-boy Selders move did in Greeley a couple years ago. It reveals the true colors of some of the turncoats that have worked in conservative ranks in Benedict Arnold fashion. It diminishes the field of RINO candidates in Republican circles. And if they try to return to conservative ranks (as Selders tried this year, to try to corrupt and attack the system from within), they are more closely watched and distrusted. This is good!

Remember, the vast majority of Muslims already vote liberal, Democratic, anti-conservative. Muhammad is simply mad because he couldn’t swing people in his direction. They wanted him to swing in theirs. They didn’t like his sharia-styled investment strategies, nor his snake-oil demeanor. Perhaps Pelosi will change his diaper and coddle him with much-needed attention. In the meantime, independents and many Democrats are swinging toward freedom, the Constitution, and conservativism in mounting numbers. I would trade hissin’ Hasan for a used copy machine. And if he wants to come back, hat in hand, to apologize the the freedom loving Americans he sought to betray with his political campaigns, he had better do more than change political labels behind his name.

Now. Which RINO comes next? Bang!

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Muslim-Americans to Hear From Holder

Bay Area Muslims caught between a national concern that they cooperate with the government to root out terrorists and their own concerns about privacy and loss of freedom will hear from the nation’s top law enforcer Friday evening.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will talk at an annual dinner banquet hosted by Muslim Advocates, a San Francisco-based organization that has fought the Department of Justice on some issues and praised it for others.

The visit marks the first time any U.S. attorney general has addressed an event hosted by a national Muslim group, and it could not come at a more important time because of anti-Muslim sentiment, said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates.

It is also a time in which anti-terrorist FBI agents routinely show up uninvited at cultural events hosted by one Bay Area Arab-American organization. The agents listen to speakers, interview participants and ask to meet with members outside business hours, the group’s leader told a legal advocacy group.

Another advocacy group fielded more than three dozen calls this year from Bay Area Muslims worried after the FBI visited their homes, workplaces or community gatherings.

The Obama administration believes building a network of informants is an effective way to protect the nation from harm. Muslim leaders counter that the surveillance intimidates their communities and impairs their rights to freedom of speech, religion and association.

“This has been a year, for American Muslims, of living dangerously,” Khera said, citing acts of hate against mosques and Muslim people throughout the country.

Khera said she believes the Obama administration has done a good job combating bigotry against Muslims. The Department of Justice has increased its prosecution of violence motivated by anti-Muslim hate and this fall sided with a Tennessee Muslim group that wants to rebuild a mosque that had previously burned down. A local group had sued to stop the mosque’s construction.

At the same time, Khera said, many Muslim groups want more assurances that the federal government is not unduly peering into their mosques, homes and Facebook pages.

“Our concern is that, in some of these cases, at least, the FBI has given a directive to its agents that they can basically go in and monitor Americans without any evidence of wrongdoing, just to kind of sniff around,” Khera said. “That can have a real chilling effect.”

Her organization sued this year for more information about domestic intelligence-gathering guidelines that were put in writing at the tail end of the Bush administration and are still used by FBI agents.

Holder has praised the federal government’s methods to root out homegrown terrorism after two recent sting operations captured bombing suspects before they could do any harm. On Wednesday, after a months-long investigation, FBI agents arrested a Muslim convert in Baltimore who they say planned to bomb a military recruitment center. Comments the man had made on Facebook triggered his friend to contact law enforcement. An undercover agent met the man and pretended to help him arrange the crime. In Oregon, in another sting operation, a Muslim teen was arrested last month, accused of plotting with an undercover agent to detonate a bomb at a crowded holiday celebration.

In apparent retaliation, unknown assailants set fire to the Oregon suspect’s mosque days later, leading the FBI to investigate.

Zahra Billoo is pleased with the way the Obama administration has responded to anti-mosque attacks.

“They’ve been great in terms of condemning Islamophobia and combating anti-Muslim bigotry,” said Billoo, director of the Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Unfortunately, that’s where I think a lot of the good work ends.”

Billoo, who plans to attend the Holder event Friday, said the FBI could have arrested the Baltimore and Oregon suspects much earlier, rather than enabling them to commit the crimes and thereby inflaming anti-Muslim sentiment after the high-profile arrests.

“When these individuals were put in touch with the FBI, they were aspirational terrorists. What the FBI came and did was enable them to become actual terrorists, and then came and saved the day,” Billoo said. “The community is saying, we want to work with you. We’re sending you these tips. But instead, what you’re doing is creating these huge terror plots where they don’t exist.”

In the Bay Area, Muslim groups concede that many of the FBI visits are designed to be casual and friendly, but the efforts by law enforcement to build community bonds can sometimes end up sowing distrust.

“People always ask me, ‘If I don’t talk to them, will that make me look suspicious?’ There’s sort of an inherent coercion,” Billoo said. “They’re in a position of authority.”

While Friday’s talk at a Millbrae hotel will be the first before a national Muslim group, the Department of Justice says that Holder and his deputies are frequently in touch with Muslim and Arab-American groups and their leaders. Holder previously has addressed the national American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which includes many Arab Christians. He also met last year with a group of Muslim-American youths at their Los Angeles mosque.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Wikileaks: Provoking Big Brother

by Diana West

WikiLeaks is exposing the way our government conducts “business.” It is not a pretty process. Sometimes Uncle Sam limps along like a powerless giant, as when secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton vainly plead with China to stop facilitating the military rise of Iran. (But don’t let that stop you from buying that made-in-China flat-screen TV for Christmas. Great price.) Sometimes Uncle Sam slimes around like the mob, as when shutting down opposition to the Copenhagen climate accord is his racket and bullying is his game.

The rock-bottom worst of the revelations, however, shows Uncle Sam patronizing the American people, lying to us about fundamental issues that any democracy catastrophically attacked and supporting armies abroad ever since doesn’t merely deserve to know, but needs to know. Our democracy demands it, if it is to remain a democracy.

Most pundits, certainly on the Right, disagree. As Commentary editor Gabriel Schoenfeld wrote in the WSJ this week: WikiLeaks “is not informing our democracy but waging war on its ability to conduct diplomacy and defend itself.”

Funny, but I feel more informed — and particularly about what a rotten job the government knows it’s doing in conducting diplomacy and waging war on democracy’s behalf. I know more about the government’s feckless accommodation of incomparable corruption in Afghanistan; its callousness toward Pakistani government support for the Taliban and other groups fighting our soldiers in Afghanistan; its inability to prevail upon “banker” China to stop facilitating the military rise of Iran (mentioned above but worth a reminder) and its failures to prevail upon aid-recipient Pakistan to allow us to secure its vulnerable nuclear assets.

One running theme that emerges from the leaked cables is that the U.S. government consistently obscures the identity of the nation’s foes, for example, depicting the hostile peoples of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States as “allies.” It’s not that such hostility is a secret, or even constitutes news. But the cables reveal that our diplomats actually recognize that these countries form the financial engine that drives global jihad, or, as they mincingly prefer to call it, “terrorism.” But they, with the rest of the government, keep the American people officially in the dark…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]


What Harper Can Teach Obama — The Case of Anwar Ibrahim

Here is what Harper, whose government has worked to improve its relations with Israel more each year, said last month in a speech on the issue: “There are, after all, a lot more votes, a lot more, in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand. But, as long as I am Prime Minister, whether it is at the U.N. or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are, in the longer term, a threat to all of us.”


Anwar has since distinguished himself as a classic anti-Semite as well, charging that there are “Israeli intelligence personnel in the Police IT unit,” that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s “Jewish-controlled” PR firm was secretly manipulating Malaysia’s leadership, and the like. Yet the Obama administration has thrown its support behind Anwar, even dispatching Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Malaysia to press the Malaysian government on Anwar’s behalf.

And the administration cannot claim ignorance on the issue, either. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) noted for the record in a 2003 affidavit that Anwar was listed as a trustee of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) on federal tax forms going back at least to 1982. WAMY was founded half a century ago by the Saudis to spread Wahhabism around the world. “The Kingdom provides us with a supportive environment that allows us to work openly within the society to collect funds and spread activities,” according to WAMY trustee Abdul Wahab Noorwali. “It also provides us with protection abroad through Saudi embassies and consulates, in addition to financial support.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Bolkestein Warns Dutch ‘Not to Look Away’

Former VVD leader Frits Bolkestein told a tv show on Thursday night he had never called on orthodox Jews to leave the Netherlands because of growing anti-semitism, particularly from young Muslim men.

‘Newspapers gave the impression I had called on Jews to leave. That is not the case. I only want people not to look away. The past shows us that the Dutch look away too often,’ Bolkestein told the Pauw en Witteman talk show.

Bolkestein said he made the comments in a ‘personal communication’ with the author of a book on anti-semitism in the Netherlands. ‘I’m not even sure I gave permission for it to be published,’ he said.

Current Dutch policy makes it difficult to combat anti-semitism, the former EU commissioner said. ‘You cannot put a policeman in front of every house.’

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

EU Quietly Scraps Plans for Compulsory Labeling of Meat Slaughtered Without Stunning

Today’s press release from the European Council looks bland and uncontroversial: “Council agrees on new labelling rules for food”. It doesn’t contain any startling news; it’s what’s absent that’s so disappointing.

Back in June, the European Parliament voted on new food labelling rules, including new country of origin labelling and a requirement to label meat from animals slaughtered without stunning (according to certain religious traditions). In a spirit of religious tolerance, it was agreed not to insist on an outright ban of no-stun slaughter, despite the fact that it contravenes standards of animal welfare that are aspired to in European slaughter houses.

The backtracking happened quietly, and it’s not even mentioned in the official press releases. At a meeting of the Council in charge of Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) on 7th December 2010, Ministers dropped the plans for the compulsory labelling of non-stunned meat and meat products. It will now be impossible for European meat-eating consumers to know whether or not they are eating meat from animals that were stunned prior to slaughter.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

F-35 Price Increase Dismays Dutch Defence Minister

Dutch Defence Minister Hans Hillen has expressed his dismay at a price increase for the purchase of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) plane. He told the US ambassador, he has “great difficulty” with the increase.

Last week, the minister told parliament that the US fighter planes would be costing 1.4 billion euros more than estimated. That is 20 percent of the 6.2 billion the Netherlands has already budgeted for the purchase of 85 JSF planes.

Minister Hillen told the US ambassador that a situation could develop which would make it impossible for him to make a normal military decision. He wants to form a “consumer power” with other European countries involved in the project, such as Great Britain and Norway, to show their displeasure.

The minority VVD and Christian Democrat government wants to buy a second test plane and has the support of the Freedom Party to do so. Although the anti-Islam party does not know whether it will ultimately choose the JSF to succeed the army’s F-16s. The three parties have agreed to leave that decision to the next cabinet.

The minister was unable to say how much the second test plane will cost, although negotiations for the plane have been concluded, discussions over the engines have not. He does not expect large increases.

Minister Hillen will announce the affect of the huge defence cuts on the JSF project in the spring. He says a responsible decision will be made on how many planes will be bought.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Germany: Islamic Centre Hit by Arson Attack

An Islamic centre in Berlin was hit by an arson attack on Thursday, with an assailant hurling a petrol bomb against the building’s facade. It was the third such incident involving a Muslim building in the capital in a fortnight.

The assailant threw a bottle filled with flammable liquid against the front of the cultural centre belonging to the Iranian community of Berlin and Brandenburg on Ordensmeisterstraße in the Tempelhof district, police said.

Greens MP Volker Beck held Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer indirectly responsible for the attack. This autumn Merkel declared that “multiculturalism has failed utterly” and Seehofer railed against Muslim immigrants — remarks widely seen as intensifying an already divisive debate over integration and Islam in Germany.

Residents alerted the fire department because an area of the building’s façade several metres wide was ablaze. Two people were in the centre at the time of the attack, but they were unharmed.

The fire burnt itself out and left behind blackened brickwork. Police were investigating on the grounds of attempted arson.

Last month, similar attacks were launched against the Al Nur and Sehitlik mosques, both in the Berlin district of Neukölln. No one has so far been arrested.

Berlin Interior Minister Ehrhart Körting said there was no evidence the crimes were carried out by the same people.

Beck, who is the human rights spokesman for the parliamentary group of the environmentalist Greens, said Merkel’s comments and inflammatory remarks by Christian Social Union leader Seehofer had made sweeping judgements linking immigrants to people who refused to integrate and Islamists who opposed Germany’s constitution.

Former central banker Thilo Sarrazin, whose book “Abolishing Germany” kicked off the toxic immigration debate, as well as conservative politicians and even the populist Bild daily were pushing “an attempt at social division” that could “give impulse” to such attacks, he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Cronyism Seeping Into Politics, Voters Fear

Germans are increasingly worried that their political parties are susceptible to cronyism and lobbying, a survey by the anti-corruption group Transparency International revealed Thursday.

The Berlin-based group’s survey of 1,000 people in Germany found that while individual bribery was rare, seven out of 10 respondents felt that corruption had risen in the past three years.

“We view this figure as a warning signal that political parties should wake up,” the group’s chairwoman, Edda Müller, told broadcaster ARD.

The Corruption Barometer 2010 found that just two percent of Germans said they had paid a bribe in the past year, compared with a global average of 25 percent. But respondents were clearly worried their politicians could be bought by lobbyists.

Specifically, a recent cut in sales tax for hotel stays and the donations by the hotel industry to the pro-business Free Democratic Party, the junior members of the ruling coalition, were of concern, Müller said. The lifetime extension of Germany’s nuclear power plants and the might of the atomic energy lobby also appeared to affect respondents’ thinking.

“Parties are getting dangerously closer to gambling away the trust and the support of their voters,” Müller warned.

Ultimately there was little difference between certain forms of lobbying and corruption, she said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek PM Pledges to Build Long-Delayed Athens Mosque

ATHENS: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou pledged on Friday to build a long-delayed mosque in Athens for Muslim residents, noting that failure to provide such a facility for over two decades was a ‘disgrace.’

Papandreou added that a temporary official facility for Muslim services would be provided until the completion of a proper mosque, which he said his father had first promised when he was prime minister 25 years ago.

‘It is a disgrace that for 25 years, maybe more, since Andreas Papandreou promised the creation of a mosque in the greater Athens area, we have been unable to create such a building,’ he told parliament.

‘We have moved these procedures quickly. There is wide consent on the project,’ Papandreou said, adding that Muslims had ‘a right’ to a mosque.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Italy: Muslim Student Allowed to Wear Headphones During Music Hour…

One exclusive set of rules for them, and another set of rules to govern the rest of us. That’s the route this bending over backwards buffoonery is taking us on. KGS

H/T Fjordman IT: Muslim student with headphones during music hour

Document.No: A fifteen year old Muslim girl attending high school in the small town Reggello, not far from Florence, has been allowed to wear hearing protection in the music hour after her Moroccan father threatened to take her out of school unless she dropped to hear the “impure” music, which in his opinion is “some stuff disbelief.”

This absurd compromise, which deprives the girl the opportunity to take advantage of some of the teaching curriculum that requires her to have, occurred after an argument between the family and school management last year. His father held the girl home from school so many times that she got for high absence to pass his one-year courses, and thus could not be moved up to the next stages of education. Rector reviewed the relationship with the police, which resulted in a lawsuit that is still in progress against the father because he has not ensured that the girl get their legal education.

In anticipation of the matter being settled, and to ensure that the damage in the meantime is minimized for the fifteen year-old, the parents and teachers agreed to implement this farce of a musical education.

The father is happy with the workaround, and stated the following in the matter: “My daughter is happy to follow the Quranic commandments. Our religion obliges us not to study music, it is written in the holy books. “The father is also one of the representatives of the Muslim community on-site representatives who could hardly have expressed that they are Islamists in a more convincing way. The imam in Florence — apparently Islamist — is also satisfied with the compromise and said he is concerned that we must find solutions that everyone can be satisfied without creating a stir.

School City Government stands blankly at her father’s demands, and so do social Commissioner, commenting: “Our school is for everyone, but Muslims should adapt to the culture of the country they live in.”

[Return to headlines]

Italy: Patriotic Hotel ‘Taxed’ For Showing Italian Flag

Case sparks outrage before 150th anniversary of national unity

(ANSA) — Rome, December 9 — The case of a patriotic northern Italian who faced tax demands for displaying the national flag at his hotel has sparked outrage ahead of next year’s 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification.

The hotelier was asked to pay 178 euros in advertising taxes for showing Italy’s red, white and green ‘tricolore’ along with the European Union’s banner and a few other nations’ flags at his establishment at Desio near Monza.

“Our flag should be flown, not taxed,” said Maurizio Gasparri, the House whip of Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party after the case was exposed by financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

Members of the centre-left opposition also blasted the tax demand as a “devaluation” of the national symbol.

Former Desio mayor Giampiero Mariani blamed a private company that has been contracted to collect local advertising taxes for being overzealous in applying a national law that does not explicitly exclude the national flag from such duties.

“A little good sense is needed,” Mariani said Thursday.

“Unfortunately this was totally lacking”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy Fights EU Patent Proposal

‘Enhanced cooperation’ unacceptable says Frattini

(ANSA) — Rome, December 9 — Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says Italy will not give up its fight against a single European Union patent with the key translations only done in English, French and German.

On Thursday Britain joined 10 other EU countries in asking the European Commission to pursue the three-language solution on the basis of “enhanced co-operation” — a rarely used form of action by which a group of EU members go ahead if there is no agreement by all 27.

Frattini responded by saying that “we believe the recourse to enhanced cooperation is unacceptable and divisive as well as incompatible with the principles and workings of the internal market”.

Now that Britain has joined Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden, Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier will be forced to put the question to EU industry ministers at a competitiveness meeting on Friday, EU sources said. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wrote a letter Wednesday to EU chiefs insisting that enhanced cooperation “should only be used as a last-resort mechanism”.

In the letter to European Commission President Jose’ Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, the two premiers argued that more negotiations should take place.

Frattini on Thursday noted that “Italy has always supported the need for and advantages of an EU patent to boost the competitiveness of EU firms” and had pushed for a “balanced solution” to the translation question “that could be approved unanimously as laid down in (EU) treaties”.

“Everyone should make a further effort to reach a compromise among the 27 on an issue of extreme political importance on which Europe, in the interests of all, cannot and must not split up”.

Italy and Spain have for months been threatening a veto on the issue but if enhanced cooperation were to be used it would get round a veto, EU sources say.

A single European patent would give companies intellectual-property protection across Europe, moving past the current system where they are granted on a country-by-country basis.

Businesses have been pressing the EU to set up a single mechanism for years because it would greatly reduce the costs of intellectual-property protection in Europe, which are much higher than in the United States or Japan. photo: Frattini

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Merkel and Sarkozy Call for Deeper Union

Angela Merkel, German chancellor, and Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president, have called on their eurozone partners to draw a fundamental lesson from its debt crisis and take steps towards political integration.

Between a leaders’ meeting and a council of the German and French cabinets in Freiburg, Ms Merkel on Friday said the crisis demanded a “stronger and harder” look at economic co-ordination, with the aim of “better show[ing] the coherence of economic policies” of member states.

Harmonisation of tax policies or labour law would foster the convergence of eurozone economies and “show this is not just about currency issues but also about political co-operation, which has to be deepened”, she said.

The call for an ambitious target came at the end of an acrimonious week in which Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s prime minister, accused Berlin of being “un-European” in blocking calls for more emergency measures to help debt-laden governments.

But Ms Merkel’s latest statement reflects a growing belief in Berlin that the sovereign debt crisis gripping the 16-nation single currency zone is the result of failed economic harmonisation rather than greedy financial speculators.

It also betrays the German and French governments’ hope that decisive-looking steps towards fixing the eurozone’s structural problem — huge national economic disparities and one monetary policy — will soothe financial markets and obviate the need for further rescue measures.

Mr Sarkozy promised that the two governments would “jointly table structural answers” to the eurozone crisis “in the first weeks of the new year”, stressing this was a complement to the crisis prevention mechanism, which EU leaders are set to adopt next week.

Ms Merkel’s call, however, comes at a time of deepening divisions, with increasingly public disputes over the next steps for dealing with the eurozone debt crisis. Ms Merkel has blocked a number of proposals including the creation of a new eurobond.

Anti-Europe sentiment has been rising in several EU members during the crisis, with Eurosceptic parties gaining popularity in countries such as the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden, making further political union unlikely.

Germany and France use bilateral gatherings as a way to set the EU’s agenda at forthcoming summits, and Ms Merkel’s comments could be a sign Paris and Berlin will push for new European measures to deal with crises at next week’s gathering of EU heads of government in Brussels.

The two governments have a working group looking into what the Germans call better “economic governance” — a term adopted to steer clear of the old French demand for “economic government”, which Berlin fears will give Paris a veto over German economic policy.

But with Ms Merkel saying she had no dispute with Wolfgang Schäuble, her finance minister, who recently mused on the possibility of pooling fiscal policies to complement a common monetary policy, it appears Berlin is ready to publicly discuss some big questions.

Nonetheless, the German and French leaders in Freiburg appeared to sense that any discussion about reining in or even pooling national sovereignty would be a tough one.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Muslim Associations Asked to Collaborate on Mosque

Two Muslim societies in Iceland, the Association of Muslims in Iceland and the new Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland, have applied for lots in Reykjavik to build a mosque. City authorities have requested that the mosque be a joint project between the two associations.

“Obviously we won’t be allocating two lots for mosques at this point and we find it natural for them to cooperate on the construction of one mosque,” Páll Hjaltason, chairman of Reykjavik City’s Urban Planning Council, told Fréttabladid.

The Association of Muslims in Iceland, which has been operating for 13 years, has applied for a lot to build a mosque for the last nine years.

“There have been all sorts of problems. Part of it is that Reykjavik City doesn’t have many lots suitable for mosques and that is still the case although we are trying to solve it,” Hjaltason explained.

Hjaltason told Stöd 2 that he is not in favor of granting free lots to religious associations for places of worship, but since Reykjavik City promised Muslims a lot years ago, along with the Russian Orthodox Church, the Buddhist Association and Asatruarfélagid, the pagan society in Iceland (all of which have already received a lot), the promise must be kept.

Einar Páll Tamimi, the lawyer representing the Association of Muslims in Iceland, claims that the city authority’s demand that they build a mosque in cooperation with the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland is in violation of administrational laws.

“City authorities have allocated lots for houses of worship for Christian congregations without demanding that different Christian associations cooperate on the use of these lots and it is clear that different demands shouldn’t be made of Muslim associations,” Tamimi stated.

In the application of the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland, which recently bought the Amir music center in Reykjavik, it appears to be wrongly stated that Muslims have already received a lot for a mosque.

It says that the chairman of the Association of Muslims in Iceland, Salman Tamimi, cannot accept that both associations received the same lot.

“Of course the lot will go to all Muslims in Iceland and not only some of them and this has been hard to swallow for the individual in question,” vice-chairman of the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland, Karim Askari, wrote in the application.

The two associations have been in dispute, with Salman Tamimi accusing the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland of extremism, a claim which the association protested harshly against, reports.

Salman Tamimi claimed that there are individuals within the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland who were expelled from the Association of Muslims in Iceland for having violated the association’s regulations on extremism, fanaticism and aggression in the name of religion.

In a declaration, Tamimi’s statement is denied. It says that the individuals in question were not expelled but rather decided to leave the association on their own accords due to “undemocratic work methods.”

The Association of Muslims in Iceland was founded 13 years ago and has 370 members, while the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland was founded two years ago and has 250 members.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Malmö Shooter Probed in Additional Incident

Police are investigating whether 38-year-old Peter Mangs, who is in detention for murder and six attempted murders in Malmö, may also have been involved in a shooting four years ago.

A 16-year-old boy shot was in the head in the Kroksbäck district, newspaper Sydsvenskan reported on Friday.

The boy was found bleeding and thought he had been beaten in the head. However, it turned out he had been shot in the head with a small-calibre weapon. Someone had been hiding in some bushes and shot at him.

According to Detective Superindentent Börje Sjöholm, the police are interested in a dozen other earlier shootings prior to 2009. However, he refused to comment on specific cases.

Mangs is under suspicion for two previous attempted murders in addition to the one murder and six attempted murders that he is currently being held for.

On November 9th, Mangs was arrested in Malmö. His detention period expired on December 7th. However, the 38-year-old chose to voluntarily remain in custody for two weeks without negotiation for detention.

The investigation will not be completed this year, the police added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Five More Muslim Schools in Pipeline for Blackburn

A teachers union has criticised plans to build five new state-funded Muslim schools in Blackburn in Lancashire, warning it will “segregate” Britain’s education system even further.

Three Islamic groups have applied to set up the academies in Blackburn, where a quarter of the town are Muslims. Two further bids are in the pipeline. The free schools will cost taxpayers £4,000 per pupil per year but won’t have to follow the National Curriculum.

Simon Jones, of the National Union of Teachers, warned: “These schools, if given the go-ahead, could just segregate the education system. I believe Blackburn with Darwen has not had the same community cohesion problems or riots as areas such as Burnley and Bradford because of the number of community schools in the area. The free schools will also have a massive impact on funding because the money will be coming out of school budgets.”

The Department for Education confirmed it had received three expressions of interest to date which would now progress to the business case stage. A spokesman said: “We want to create more choice for parents over where they send their child to school, which is why we are allowing teachers, parents and faith groups to set up free schools where there is local demand.”

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Is This the World’s Most Brazen Burglar? Thief Digs Out and De-Ices Car… While Casually Chatting to Neighbours

Casually chatting to neighbours as he dug out and de-iced a smart car before driving off, everyone thought the well-dressed man worked for a repair centre.

As he disappeared down the street, unsuspecting residents had no idea that the polite gentleman was in fact a thief.

Stockbroker Mark McMullen, 36, returned home to find that people had watched as the man stole his new white Audi A4.

The burglar had broken into his house via the back door and walked out with the keys and a laptop.

Mr McMullen’s neighbours, some of whom are members of the neighbourhood watch scheme, thought the man was a garage worker taking the car away for repair.

The vehicle had been left in the driveway of the smart semi-detached home in Park Crescent, Darlington, County Durham, for two weeks because of the snow.

Married father Mark said: ‘It is unbelievable. I can’t understand the bare-faced cheek of some people.

‘To break into my house, steal my keys, then boil the kettle and clean all the snow off my car while chatting to my neighbours, then to put the key into the ignition and away he goes — it beggars belief. It is ludicrous.

‘I am just glad my wife and daughter weren’t in the house at the time.

‘I want everyone to be aware of what’s happened to me so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Man Whipped Girl ‘To Punish Her’

A man whipped a 15-year-old girl with a cable as a punishment, a court has heard.

Bature Bashir attacked the girl at an address in Dundee in response to what he deemed bad behaviour.

The student, who is living in Dundee, pleaded guilty to punching the girl and then striking her with a cable.

Sheriff George Way told Bashir, who is a Muslim, that his actions would not be tolerated under any religion. Sentence was deferred until June 2011.

Defence solicitor David Sinclair said Bashir had moved from Nigeria to Dundee with his family to study.

Koran He said: “He will be returning to Nigeria from 30 December until February, then moving to Aberdeen to complete his studies in June.”

Sheriff Way ordered him to be on good behaviour until his sentence.

He said: “I understand the circumstances surrounding this offence.

“However, even at a cursory reading of the Koran it is very clear that we must love children and discipline must be fair. I want you to reflect on that next time there’s a problem.

“Be very clear that neither under your religion or mine will any repetition be tolerated of this type of violence towards children.”

The sheriff told Bashir that if he returned in six months without having come to the attention of the police then the matter could be dealt with “very simply”.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: MP Calls for Inquiry Into Sex Abuse in Muslim Families

A Dutch Labour MP has called for an inquiry into sexual abuse in Muslim families. The appeal by Khadija Arib comes after Radio Netherlands Worldwide published a report on the sexual abuse of four Muslim girls. The parliament has submitted written questions to Health Minister Edith Schippers about the issue.

Ms Arib believes any inquiry should include finding ways to break through the taboo surrounding sexual abuse in Muslim communities. In addition, she wants to encourage more victims to report abuse. In the Radio Netherlands report, four women tell their stories about years of sexual abuse from a very young age by members of their own families. None of them have felt able to report the abuse to the police because of the damage it would do to the family honour, which would have huge consequences for the women.

Khadija Arib wants to know whether the minister is aware of the report and of a book published earlier entitled A girl for day and night, in which a girl describes her incest experience. She also wants to know whether the minister realises that organisations fail to help incest victims with a foreign background adequately because there is not enough known about their specific circumstances.

Two shelters which help victims of honour-related violence face uncertainty about whether they will receive subsidies in the future. Ms Arib has pointed out to the minister that the last Dutch inquiry into incest dates from 1985.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Prince Charles and Camilla Car Attack: ‘Someone Could Have Died’

Security analyst and former police officer Charles Shoebridge said armed royal protection officers travelling with the couple would have considered opening fire had they perceived a threat to their passengers. “This is a very serious incident. It ranks amongst the most serious security breaches of the past decade,” he said. “Some of the demonstrators yesterday were carrying petrol, specifically to use in arson attacks. If the can of paint had been a can of petrol, it would have been very different.”

The former intelligence officer, who has experience of public order policing, said: “One can visualise a situation where police felt they had no alternative but to open fire. It wasn’t potentially dangerous. It was dangerous. Asked whether royal protection officers were allowed to shoot protesters, Sir Paul Stephenson, the Scotland Yard Commissioner, said: “I am telling you that there are armed officers who protect principals and they show enormous restraint in achieving that very difficult balance in our society.” Demonstrators chanting “off with their heads” kicked the Rolls-Royce as it travelled to the Royal Variety Performance in central London. White paint and bottles were thrown over the car and a window shattered after the vehicle became separated from its police escort in a crowd. A Clarence House spokesman said: “Although we are not able to comment on any of the specifics of last night’s incident, their Royal Highnesses totally understand the difficulties which the police face and are always very grateful to the police for the job they do in often very challenging circumstances.” Sir Paul promised a “thorough investigation” into what he described as the “hugely regrettable” incident. However, Dai Davies, a former head of Scotland Yard’s royal protection squad, said there had clearly been failings in the operation with a breakdown in co-ordination between police controlling the mob and crowd protecting the royal couple. “I’m sure my successor is looking very carefully at what went wrong and indeed how it must never happen again,” he said.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Tuition Fee Protests: Charlie Gilmour, Son of Pink Floyd Guitarist David Gilmour, Apologises for Climbing Cenotaph

Charlie Gilmour, the son of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, has apologised for climbing the Cenotaph during the student protest against tuition fees, admitting that he was “mortified” by his actions.

Mr Gilmour was pictured swinging from the Whitehall memorial on a Union Jack, prompting widespread anger and condemnation. In a statement, he expressed his “deepest apologies for the terrible insult to the thousands of people who died bravely for our country”. He said: “I feel nothing but shame. My intention was not to attack or defile the Cenotaph. Running along with a crowd of people who had just been violently repelled by the police, I got caught up in the spirit of the moment.

“I did not realise that it was the Cenotaph and if I had, I certainly would not have done what I did. “I feel additionally mortified that my moment of idiocy has distracted so much from the message yesterday’s protest was trying to send out. “Those who are commemorated by the Cenotaph died to protect the very freedoms that allow the people of Britain the right to protest and I feel deeply ashamed to have, although unintentionally and unknowingly, insulted the memory of them…

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UN Criticises DK Points System

International criticism of Danish points system for foreigners.

The United Nations is concerned that the new points system for permanent residence in Denmark discriminates against foreigners, according to DR.

According to the Institute for Human Rights, traumatised refugees are one of the groups who risk falling foul of the points system.

In a status report on Denmark, the United Nations Racism Committee says that the difficult and harsh requirements of the points system, in effect rule out some foreigners.

“The UN system can see that this is a rigid system that must lead to imbalances,” says Institute for Human Rights Director Jonas Christoffersen.

According to the UN, traumatised asylum-seekers risk being losers in the system as they are often unable to fulfil requirements on employment and language.

Berlingske Tidende reported yesterday that September saw 166 residence refusals and 162 approvals under the old system. In the same month, the new system gave 70 refusals and only a single approval.

Christoffersen says that Denmark is not legally required to follow UN recommendations, and that the decision whether or not to accept the UN’s concerns is a political one.

The United Nations is asking Denmark to monitor the points system to see whether it is discriminatory.

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

Wikileaks: Julian Assange ‘Could Face Spying Charges’

Jennifer Robinson, Mr Assange’s lawyer, said that she believes US prosecutors are finalising their case and charges could be “imminent”. Were he to be charged, it is likely to be under the Espionage Act, which makes prosecutes the gathering of national defence information if it is known to have been obtained illegally and could be used to the detriment of the US. It is also illegal to fail to return information to the US government. Speaking to ABC News, Miss Robinson said she had heard a number of rumours from “several different US lawyers”, but added that she did not believe the Espionage Act applied to Assange, who is she added is currently in solitary confinement in Wandsworth prison in London.

The speculation came amid reports that computer hackers allegedly attacked the websites of Dutch police and prosecutors in revenge for the arrest of a 16-year-old schoolboy who was allegedly part of a worldwide army of “cyber guerrillas” sympathetic to WikiLeaks. Both sites were only sporadically available on Friday after being attacked by a group of “hacktivists” called Anonymous, Dutch media reported. Computer experts warned Wikileaks supporters were downloading increasing amounts of spam-shooting software that has been used to attack companies regarded as hostile to Wikileaks, including MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon. Downloads of a programme used to bombard websites with bogus requests for data have jumped to more than 40,000 in the last few days, according to Imperva, an American data security company. WikiLeaks advocates have accused MasterCard, Amazon and other corporations of caving into pressure from the American government, which has condemned the freedom of information website for publishing some of the 250,000 secret or classified diplomatic cables that it acquired. Anonymous appeared to backtrack from attacks launched earlier this week, saying that it now does not plan to target the “critical infrastructure of companies such as MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, or Amazon.” A press release circulated under the Anonymous name said its members did not want to alienate the public by causing online havoc over Christmas as it would be “in bad taste”. Amazon was accused of hypocrisy, meanwhile, after repackaging the Wikileaks diplomatic cables and offering them for sale to customers, just days after cutting off the website from its servers.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]


Croatia: Retailers and Producers Against Ikea

(ANSAmed) — ZAGREB, DECEMBER 8 — Croatia’s wood processors control less than a third of the market, while a domestic market of wood biomass and pellets does not exist at all, as the largest part of ecological fuel gets exported to Slovenia, reports daily Vecernji list.

Because of that, the Wood Cluster decided it was time to protect interests and market position of the wood industry. The Cluster presented newly founded trade associations of furniture, pellets and wood biomass producers. The integration of the key players should create conditions for a higher usage of wood products and better sales.

With Ikea around the corner, Croatia’s furniture market is in disorder and dominated by poor quality import furniture and illegal competition. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Comics: Censored in Cairo, Avenged in Italy

(ANSAmed) — CAGLIARI, DECEMBER 6 — “It is an incredible emotion to be in the land that gave birth to my maestros, Milo Manara, Dino Battaglia, Hugo Pratt, Eleuteri Serpieri”. This is the first trip to Italy for Magdy El Shafee, the Egyptian cartoonist censored by Mubarak’s government.

In Egypt it is impossible to find a single copy of the first Egyptian prima graphic novel, Metro. Set in an underground Cairo, it denounces its injustice and unveils the despotic nature of power. Together with his editor, Mohamed Sharqawi, the men were tried and sentenced to destroy all of its copies because of a number of images deemed pornographic and characters that were too similar to real politicians.

His trip started in Cagliari, where he was the special guest of Nues, the International Cartoon Festival of the Mediterranean organised by Sardinian cartoonist Bepi Vigna. He introduced the audience to the Italian edition of the ‘Cartoon novel’ (“Romanzo a fumetti”) published by Il Sirente. While walking down the Marina, an old neighbourhood of Cagliari, he told Ansa that “I did not think that I would have stirred up such a hornet’s nest, but censure and ruling aside, I was very encouraged by the solidarity that was shown to me.

Intellectuals, bloggers, ordinary people and women on the front line drove me to stay in my Country. Support and esteem was also provided by other Arab Countries, such as Kuwait, the Emirates, the Gulf Countries, Lebanon. I am thankful to Italy that translated it and to the many people that talked about it in blogs and websites”.

One of his female supporters wrote the following on his blog named ‘For global Voice’: “if you remain indifferent in the face of someone who suffers an injustice, nobody will intervene if tomorrow it happens to you”. A powerful message that shook the conscience of many people. To the point that a whole crowd of people proved their solidarity by showing up in Court in Cairo. “What stuck in my mind is an image of that day: the surprised expression of the judge, an otherwise educated and polite person, when he saw the crowd. It was as though the desire for freedom of the people was also capable of overcoming censorship”.

Magdy has many dreams, but the first one he would like to see come true is that of waking up one day and finding himself in a Country where the image of Mubarak as the symbol of Egypt is no longer all over the place, a Country with less corruption and injustice.

“I would like it if Egypt did not always make international headlines because of stories of potential frauds during the elections. I would like our leaders not to focus on repression and think of the wellbeing of the people. Because a free Egypt mostly means allowing the best qualities of its people to emerge. A great population of creative people with peace in their hearts”. During the interview he joked about the case of Ruby, the alleged niece of Mubarak: “I imagine a cartoon strip with Mubarak calling up Berlusconi. ‘Hello Silvio, well done, you were great, you won the first round. Now you’d better make sure your son Piersilvio is ready for the second round”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The Challenge of Haifaa Al Mansour, Woman and Director

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — By describing everyday stories about daily life, it becomes possible to tell the story of a country.

By starting with issues that depict the existence of a regular woman or family in Saudi Arabia, a revolution capable of bringing about a true emancipation of women can be born. Without resorting to politics, without attacking the powers that be, but by simply taking its contradictions and laying them bare for all to see. This is the path that has been chosen by Haifaa Al Mansour, the first woman in Saudi Arabia to become a director in the early in the 21st century, paving the way for a new independent movement of other women who have followed her example. In Cairo as a jurist at the international competition for Arab feature films at the International Film Festival, which will come to a close in two days, Haifaa Al Mansour is a women who has chosen to fight for the freedom and emancipation of her fellow countrywomen.

She takes up her cause without challenging the regime or seeking to shock the public in her country, but through the power of images alone. “I shot my first short film,” she said while speaking to ANSAmed, “in 2003. Before then I wasn’t working in the industry, I was an analyst for a Saudi oil company.” With a degree in comparative literature from the American University of Cairo and a Master in Film Studies in Sydney, it was with a touch of recklessness that Haifaa Al Mansour abandoned a prestigious job to try her hand in the world of directing.

“Youssef Chahine (one of the most important Egyptian directors, editor’s note),” said the young director, “was doing casting for a film and I absolutely wanted to see how a film set worked. I introduced myself, but it did not work out.” Since then, however, Haifaa has not stopped. “First of all, I wanted to give a different vision of Saudi Arabians.” After September 11, she continued, “the world had and continues to have a very negative perception of our country. Secondly, I believe that it is up to us and us alone to tell our story. It is not up to others to explain how we are as a country.” This is another reason why Al Mansour started filming despite having to overcome great difficulties and without being able to rely on any institutions or theatres to show her movies. “In Saudi Arabia the film industry does not exist, therefore there is no group that you can turn to for financing,” she commented. And there are no theatres where you can present your films: only DVDs and private screenings.

This is how she was able to screen her first short film, “Who”, which was produced in the United Arab Emirates by Waleed Al-Sheehi and then screened at the French Institute of Culture in Riyadh. “To see a movie,” she continued, “you have to jump in the car and drive for kilometres to Bahrain or Qatar, where there are several theatres.” Did you ever think about leaving? “Never,” she responded with determination, “I want to tell the story of my country and I want to film in my country.” Of course, “when I am out on the streets I am very cautious and I try to avoid filming out in the open. The police are around every corner and they monitor what is going on.” No scenes in bedrooms, no sex scenes, no religion. Her movies (“The only way out”, “Women Without Shadows”, or “Women and More”), are about women, and how they live inside and outside of their homes, their veils and their careers. Her first feature film — which she will start to shoot in March — will be a story like many others: the desire of an 11-year-old girl to be a cyclist, but who lives in a society that bans women from sports that are considered to be for men only. However, warns Haifaa, “there is no challenge to the powers that be. I fight for the emancipation of women in a soft way”, because it is easier to achieve your objectives by avoiding your obstacles. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israel’s Religious Extremists Send the Peace Process Up in Smoke

Population changes are transforming the country’s politics for the worse, argues Con Coughlin.

Over the past week, fierce forest fires have devastated large swathes of Israel, killing 42 people — including the country’s most senior female police officer. So you could be forgiven for thinking that the emergency services needed all the help they could lay their hands on.

It is not hard to imagine the firefighters’ anger — and disbelief — on discovering that the country’s interior minister, Eli Yishai, had rejected an offer by a Christian charity in North America to donate some fire engines. Given that the country often struggles to provide adequate cover during such emergencies, the proposal by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews could have made a vital contribution to the attempts to bring the fires under control.

But Mr Yishai, who represents the ultra-Orthodox Shas party in the ruling coalition, had other ideas. Shas, which speaks for Israel’s burgeoning ultra-Orthodox community, is deeply suspicious of non-Jewish organisations, even those that are committed to Israel’s well-being. Many of its supporters fear any help offered by Christian groups is part of some sinister plot to convert the Jews…

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Al-Qaida’s New Strategy in Yemen

US policymakers must be ever cognizant of the trap that al-Qaida hopes to lay by using agent provocateurs in deepening US engagement in Yemen and in pushing the Yemeni government to the brink of collapse.

Earlier this year, al-Qaida’s top cleric updated the group’s strategy for exploiting American involvement in the Middle East. The cleric, Shaykh Abu Yahya al-Libi, presented the strategy in the immediate aftermath of the 2009 Christmas Day bombing attempt, which meant that it got little fanfare from al-Qaida’s supporters and drew even less attention from western counterterrorism analysts.

Titled, “Yemen to the United States: I Sacrifice Myself for Your Sake,” Abu Yahya offered a new look at al-Qaida’s approach to the US in the Yemeni context. He argued that, by continuously provoking the US, al-Qaida would be able to harness America’s manic need to act, thereby luring it into meddling with Yemen’s domestic affairs and inadvertently alienating the government from the people, thus setting the stage for a domestic al-Qaida coup.

However, unlike in 2001 when al-Qaida’s goal was to remove US influence from the Middle East, the movement’s new goal of enmeshing the US in Yemeni affairs as much as possible is purely instrumental. It is aimed at getting the US to convince the Yemeni people that their government had become nothing more than a handmaiden for the US and its interests.

A new strategy

For decades, marginal violent movements within Islam have been fruitlessly trying to overthrow Arab governments. Frustrated with their repeated failures, Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and al-Qaida’s senior leadership concluded that it was US military support to these regimes that had to be removed from the equation before toppling them. Al-Qaida consequently shifted its targeting strategy: rather than continue its policy of hammering Arab governments — its “near” enemy — the group’s leadership came to believe that a few painful strikes against the “far” enemy of the US would weaken the country’s resolve in supporting those regimes. Without their US backers, al-Qaida predicted, those governments would be ripe for overthrow.

However, as the US grew more entangled in the region, fighting two wars and engaging in extensive counterterrorism cooperation in the region, al-Qaida came to understand that severing the ties between the US and Arab regimes would be next to impossible. Instead, al-Qaida formulated a new plan, one premised on embracing increasing American involvement in the Middle East. Al-Qaida’s new goal was to entice the US to double-down on its commitment in the region and then use America’s involvement with Arab governments against them.

The strategy outlined by Abu Yahya is built on two assumptions about the US. First, according to his analysis, the US has been so haunted by the specter of terrorism that al-Qaida now need only shout “boo!” and the US will run, “staggering and stumbling like a drunk and confused person”, into its next foreign policy nightmare. Part of the reason for America’s ‘shoot-first’ mentality, he argues, is its delusional aspiration to comprehensively protect the country from al-Qaida.

In other words, American policymakers — goaded by an emotional public and feverish media scrutiny — have no choice but to throw money at protecting themselves from terrorism, if only to make it appear as if they are making progress. Over time, however, US policymakers inadvertently perpetuate the idea that an air-tight security cocoon might just be achievable, if only YouTube removes enough Anwar al-Awlaki videos here, and its Transportation Security Agency deploys enough body scanners there.

Abu Yahya’s second — and most important — assumption is that the US cannot send its own military forces into Yemen as it did in Afghanistan and Iraq. With America’s poor track record in fighting jihadists head-on over the past two decades, its cash-strapped economy, and an exhausted military and a public unwilling to lose more lives in the region, the US is simply unable to consider putting American boots on Yemeni ground, he contends.

Instead, America’s only viable option — given its neurotic compulsion to “do” things, he argues — will be to pour money into an undertrained and unreliable Yemeni military so they can hunt al-Qaida on America’s behalf. The problem with waging war by proxy, he explains, is that the more the Obama administration claims to be supporting the Yemeni regime, the less credibility and independence the government will hold in the eyes of its people, particularly as the US pressures it to do unpopular things. In time, as the Yemeni government tries in vain to please two masters, it will alienate itself from its core supporters and eventually collapse, leaving the country ripe for an al-Qaida revolution.

Enter the provocateur

Abu Yahya’s assessment is idealistic, yes, but certainly not absurd. He raises many important critiques of America’s historically near-sighted foreign policy decisions in the Middle East and its spasmodic bureaucratic reflexes when terrorist attacks slip through the security cracks.

Enter Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemeni cleric now operating under the rubric of al-Qaida’s Yemeni franchise, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Al-Awlaki, the populist preacher turned violent jihadist poster child, now plays the role for AQAP that al-Qaida’s senior leadership had hoped another American, Adam Gadahn, would play for them: a provocateur. Al-Qaida seemed to think that promoting Gadahn would drive the US berserk, knowing that one of its own was aiding the enemy. At the same time, they believed he would facilitate a recruiting boon, drawing westerners into al-Qaida’s orbit. If Gadahn could do it, so could they…

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Lost Civilization Under Persian Gulf?

A once fertile landmass now submerged beneath the Persian Gulf may have been home to some of the earliest human populations outside Africa, according to an article published Wednesday in Current Anthropology.

In recent years, archaeologists have turned up evidence of a wave of human settlements along the shores of the Gulf dating to about 7,500 years ago. But how could such highly developed settlements pop up so quickly, with no precursor populations to be found in the archaeological record? Jeffrey Rose, an archaeologist and researcher with the University of Birmingham in the U.K., believes that evidence of those preceding populations is missing because it’s under the Gulf.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Majority of Muslims in Several Countries Seek the Introduction of Sharia

A majority of Muslims around the world welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries’ political life, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, but have mixed feelings toward militant religious groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

According to the survey of 8,000 Muslims, majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria would favour changing current laws to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion. About 85% of Pakistani Muslims said they would support a law segregating men and women in the workplace.

More than three-quarters of poll respondents in Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria and Jordan reported positive views of Islam’s influence in politics: either that Islam had a large role in politics, and that was a good thing, or that it played a small role, and that was bad.

Turkish Muslims were deeply split, with a slender majority positive about Islam’s influence in politics. Turkey has struggled in recent years to balance a secular political system with an increasingly fervent Muslim population.

Many Muslims described a struggle in their country between fundamentalists and modernisers, especially those who may have felt threatened by the rising tides of conservatism. Among those respondents who identified a struggle, most tended to side with the modernisers. This was especially true in Lebanon and Turkey, where 84% and 74%, respectively, identified themselves as modernizers as opposed to fundamentalists.

The opposite position applies in Egypt and Nigeria, where nearly 60% said there was a struggle, but identified with the fundamentalists.

Despite an overall positive view of Islam’s growing role in politics, militant religious organisations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, spurred mixed reactions. Both groups enjoyed fairly strong support in Jordan, home to many Palestinians, and Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based. Muslim countries that do not share strong cultural, historical and political ties to the Palestinian cause, such as Pakistan and Turkey, tended to view Hezbollah and Hamas negatively.

Al Qaeda was rejected by strong majorities in every Muslim country except Nigeria, which gave the group a 49% approval rating.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Syria: Italian Companies Mission in Wood Sector

(ANSAmed) — ROME, DECEMBER 7 — 11 Italian companies, members of Federlegno Arredo, will join, from December 13 to 14, a workshop/mission organised by the Italian Trade Commission.

The event will take place in Damascus and will be inaugurated in the presence of Italian ambassador Achille Amerio, of the President of the Syrian European Business Centre Rateb Shallah, and of the director of the Italian Trade Commission in Damascus Sebastiano del Monte.

The office of the Italian Trade Commission in Damascus set up 205 business meetings for the 11 Italian companies. The sectors covered by the Italian companies are the following: construction, housing and interior decoration: wood panels and laminates, wood veneers, MDF, wood doors, reinforced doors, technical doors for hospitals and public offices, fire doors, thermal/health products, taps and fittings, windows for business and home use, complementary fittings, modern and luxury furniture (kitchens, rooms and living-rooms, chairs, tables, wardrobes, sofas, armchairs, beds, sitting rooms), contract, office furniture, fittings for hotels and restaurants, panel walls for offices and hospitals. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey’s New Combat Vehicle Receives 1st Order From Abroad

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, DECEMBER 7 — Turkish military vehicles maker Otokar said Tuesday it had taken first order from a foreign military for its new armored combat vehicle ARMA, as Anatolia news agency reports. Otokar exports its products to armed forces of nearly 20 countries. The company said ARMA, the modular multi-wheel configuration wheeled armoured vehicle, would be exported before making its debut in the Turkish military. Otokar will make the delivery, worth some USD 10.6 million including spare parts, in 15 months. Otokar did not elaborate on the number of vehicles to be sold. ARMA 6x6 was first showcased at Eurosatory defense industry trade show in Paris last June. The amphibian vehicle has an 18,500 kg combat weight and carries a driver, a commander and eight personnel. ARMA is transportable by various means including C130 aircraft. ARMA with longitudinal and transverse differential locks, geared hubs and double wishbone type independent hydropneumatic suspension, offers respectable all terrain mobility on difficult terrain, high level safety and comfort for the crew. ARMA is developed and validated by Otokar’s R&D capabilities. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UAE: Residency Visas to be Shortened to Two Years

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, DECEMBER 8 — Labour cards are to be valid for two years instead of three, shortening the time for which an employee is obliged to remain with one employer, the UAE Ministry of Labour announced yesterday as reported by The National online.

The decision will allow more flexibility for workers and will apply to all expatriate employees in the private sector. It comes as part of a new set of rules issued recently by the ministry to better organise the labour market. The new cards will start being issued at the beginning of next year, the ministry said. “[The decision] will have a positive impact on the labour market as it will create more flexibility in the employer-employee relationship, and will allow both parties to this relationship a shorter time,” Humaid bin Deemas, the assistant undersecretary for labour affairs at the Ministry of Labour, said in a statement issued by WAM, the state news agency.

Bin Deemas said that the decision to shorten the period of the labour card would increase competitiveness in recruitment, and attract a more flexible labour force that could move more freely, creating an environment that should attract international investment.

Talks are being held by the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Interior to discuss any necessary changes to the duration of the three-year residency visa to bring it in line with the new labour card. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Death Orders

A 21-year-old woman walks into a police headquarters, a normal occurrence most days, except for this one. Thirteen pounds of explosives and a detonating device are attached to her body underneath her clothes. But before she has the chance to blow herself up along with the building and everyone in it, she is, fortunately, apprehended.

Almost weekly, an act of suicide terrorism is announced somewhere in the world. But this barley averted attack did not occur in Gaza, Pakistan or Chechnya, or any other well-known terrorist hot spot. The lady in question was not even Muslim or a “black widow”, seeking to avenge a dead relative or to expunge her shame for her unmarried status or for alleged sexual misconduct before marriage.

The year of this failed suicide mission was 1907. The name of the young woman determined to end her existence and the innocent lives of others in such horrific fashion was Evstiliia Rogozinnikova, a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, one of the deadliest terrorist organizations in pre-revolutionary tsarist Russia. Along with numerous other socialists and anarchists, Rogozinnikova was part of one of the most sanguinary, and unknown, terrorist campaigns in modern times that, between 1901 and 1917, killed and wounded 17,000 people in 23,000 terrorist attacks.

The Rogozinnikova case is only one of the highly original comparisons that Anna Geifman, a Professor of History at Boston College, makes between the terrorist groups in tsarist Russia, primarily from 1905 to 1910, and modern-day Islamic terrorism in her remarkable and fascinating book, Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia. In her well-detailed work, Geifman maintains modern-day terrorism has its roots in the pre-revolutionary tsarist state and traces its development to the present day. Her approach to this century-old scourge is a psychohistorical one, which has led her to conclude there is no difference in mindsets between the followers of Lenin and those of Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Geifman is well qualified to write a work of this kind. As a professional historian of Russian revolutionary violence and modern terrorism, she has written the well-received books Thou Shalt Kill: Terrorism in Russia, 1894-1917; Entangled in Terror: The Azef Affair and the Russian Revolution; La mort sera votre Dieu: du nihilisme russe au terrorisme islamiste (Death Will Be Your God: From Russian Nihilism to Islamiste Terrorism) and was the editor of Russia Under the Last Tsar: Opposition and Subversion. Author of several journal articles, Professor Geifman, who is originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, also teaches history of contemporary terrorism at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. Geifman argues early twentieth century Russian terrorists and modern-day Islamists possess the same psychological motivations because they are thanatophiles, or people who worship death (Geifman also includes the Nazis in this group). Moving between the two time periods, Death Orders contains numerous examples of thanatophilia as the basis for modern terrorism. Although the two eras are decades apart and very different in culture and traditions, Geifman shows the terrorists’ indiscriminate and deadly violence has the same psychological underpinnings.

The terrorists themselves do not hide the fact they are death worshippers and have been very explicit about this in their statements. Islamists have often said they love death, like Westerners love life. As a further example of this depraved mindset, Geifman quotes Ali Benhadjj, the Islamist leader of Algeria, as saying: “Faith is propagated by counting up deaths every day, by adding up massacres and charnel-houses.” From the Russian revolutionary side, a quote from a 1920 issue of Pravda reveals as well as anything else the Bolsheviks leaders’ reverence for death: “Those who replace us will have to build on the ruins, amid the deadly silence of a graveyard.”

Geifman maintains dogma has nothing to do with terrorist violence in the two principal eras studied. Many Russian revolutionaries knew little about socialist theory, while Islamist terrorists are often ignorant of the Koran’s tenets. The causes the terrorists espouse are simply the means, and a camouflage, to sustain their anti-life religion of violence and to make the blood sacrifices their God of Death demands. Similar to the Russian revolutionary and Islamist movements were India’s Thugs who murdered thousands of unsuspecting travellers as human sacrifices to their death goddess, Kali. But unlike the Thugs, in carrying out the murderous rites of their pagan religion inside of a religion, the Marixst and Islamist terrorists often sacrifice themselves…

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

More Than 90 Percent of Billions Islamic World Sent to Russia’s Muslims Diverted for Personal Use — Silantyev

Roman Silantyev, the controversial Russian specialist on Islam, says that “more than 90 percent” of the money Muslims abroad sent to promote an Islamic rebirth in the Russian Federation, as diverted by those who received it for other selfish and corrupt ways, a development he says Moscow can only be pleased by.

Because that meant that fewer Islamist radicals were trained, he insists in a new article on the site, this misappropriation was “extremely useful” for Russia (

Silantyev, a protégé of Patriarch Kirill, has been studying the Muslim community of Russia for many years, and his views merit attention because they will receive it there. But his conclusions must be placed within the context of the broader message he has been delivering concerning Russia’s Muslims for most of the last decade.

On the one hand, here as in earlier articles and books, he seeks to present the leaders of the Muslim spiritual directorates (MSDs) as fundamentally corrupt and unreliable, a portrait that the leaders themselves reject and that most other specialists on Islam in the Russian Federation suggest is one-sided at a minimum.

And on the other, Silantyev again here as in earlier studies places the blame for the rise of radicalism among Muslims in the Russian Federation on foreigners. While no one disputes that Islamic centers and governments abroad have played a role, few experts downplay the domestic roots of radicalism as much as he does…

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Muscovites Protest Against Mosque Construction, Want Trees

Residents of a south-east Moscow region are protesting against the rumored construction of a mosque, a spokesperson for a local grassroots protest group said on Friday.

Concern rose after a local newspaper published a report on the possible construction of the mosque. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin had earlier pledged to equip the newly built residential area with recreation facilities and greenery.

“The residents of the neighboring districts suffer from an acute shortage of greenery. The new Volzhskiy district, built several years ago on the site of a former industrial zone, totally lacks mature trees and greenery,” a letter to be sent to Sobyanin said.

Local officials say however there are no plans to construct a mosque.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: Terror Alert Against Attack on Dutch Nationals?

Not leaving anything to chance in the aftermath of Varanasi bomb blast, the state intelligence has alerted the police commissionerates in Hyderabad and Cyberabad on possible attacks on Western nationals, especially those hailing from Holland, by terror groups.

According to a departmental memo 425/CI/2010 dated December 6, the intelligence wing has come to know of an exchange of SMSes that speak against the anti-Islam Dutch film ‘Fitna’ (Devilry) made by right-wing politician Geert Wilders. One of the SMSes, the circular said, was ‘Remember Allah may ask you one day what did you do when they made fun of My messenger?’

Senior police officers, however, denied issuing any circular specifically mentioning Dutch nationals. The circular deals with general alert against the backdrop of Varanasi terrorist attack, they added.

Some police officers said the circular related to Dutch nationals emanated from the central intelligence agencies and was not specific to Hyderabad. The circular is the result of Wilder’s recent tour of Israel where he was promoting his short film and demanding a campaign for banning the Muslim holy book ‘The Koran.’

Police officers fear that hate-mongering against one group of people could provoke some to take law into their hands.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Atheists Not Allowed

I’ve written admiringly before about Indonesia, that vast, sprawling country of over 17,000 islands and 240 million people where the national motto, “unity in diversity”, is no mere slogan to which politicians pay lip service but a living, celebrated sentiment. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim state, with nearly 90 per cent of the population following the religion that first came to South East Asia in the 13th century. But confessional freedom is guaranteed in the constitution. “All persons have the right to worship according to their own religion or belief,” it declares, and as my report from Jakarta earlier this year concluded, even the Islamist parties that win small but significant shares of the vote are keen not to alienate the electorate by coming across as too militant. They will push locally for “Islamic” laws, yes, (and the situation in Aceh) is exceptional for too many reasons to go into here) but the country’s pluralism is engrained and the exercise of freedom much cherished after decades of dictatorship.

However, this liberty has one major omission. You cannot officially be an atheist in Indonesia. For the constitution also says that “the state shall be based upon belief in the one, supreme God” — although it deliberately doesn’t specify which. This vagueness may sound like the kind of fudge we in Britain, with our traditions of gradualism and compromise, should recognise. But this, too, is limited. Only six religions are recognised — Islam, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. (Judaism, it may be noted, is not listed; but then, according to the World Jewish Congress’s estimate, there are only 25 Jewish people in Indonesia, and recent efforts to revive one community — including building what is thought to be the world’s tallest menorah — have been welcomed and supported by local officials on the island of Sulawesi.)

All this has a consequence: you have to declare your religion on your ID card, and atheism is not an option. In practical terms, most people will choose to enter the religion their families follow, however loosely (it is often not appreciated that for many, especially in urban areas, religion is often much more a badge of cultural identity than a faith). It still means, however, that atheists are having to profess publicly to something they don’t believe in. Their own belief, or lack of belief, cannot be officially acknowledged.

As these two reports detail, they have turned instead to the internet to form online communities where they can discuss and debate. One quotes Didi, a 29-year-old architect, as saying that it’s the only way “to share my thoughts and to meet people who think the same way I do, because I don’t see many in my real life. It’s easier to say that you’re gay than an atheist.”

And there’s more. The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission put it thus in a report in February.

There is no provision for individuals with no religious belief to enter into a civil marriage contract, and no legal documentation for those without such a belief. This results in people keeping their atheist beliefs secret and when the time comes to marry, they make the choice of either marrying in a religious ceremony that is devoid of meaning for them, or not marrying at all, which can leave their family and offspring without legal protection.

Moreover, under Indonesian Law No. 23 of 2006 on Civic Administration, individuals are required to record their faith on legal documents such as identity cards and birth certificates. Atheists who ascribe to no religion or those who wish to leave the column blank or to register under one of the non-recognised religions face discrimination and harassment — including refusal of employment.

Concludes the Commission: “Forcing an Indonesian to adopt a religion as part of her identity grossly undermines his right to freedom of thought and religion under article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”…

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Indonesia Arrests Top Terror Suspect

Indonesia police said Friday they had arrested top terror suspect Abu Tholut, seen as one of the most dangerous Islamist extremists in the mainly Muslim country. Tholut, 49, is suspected of playing a lead role in the formation of a militant training camp that was found in Aceh province in February, as well as recruiting militants and raising illegal funds for terror activity. Police spokesman Djihartono said the suspect also known as Mostofa, Pranata Yuda and Imron Baehaqi was arrested without offering any resistance in Kudus, Central Java province, on Friday morning. “He was arrested at his home and he made no attempt to fight us,” he said. “We also found a firearm … with eight bullets in the magazine, and several bullets which were wrapped inside plastic.” Tholut received militia training in Afghanistan during the mujahedeen war against the Soviets in the late 1980s and became a leading figure in Southeast Asia’s Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network when he returned home. He reportedly sent Islamic militants to fight Christians in Sulawesi from 1998 to 2001 and served less than half of a seven-year prison sentence handed down in 2004 for the bombing of a shopping mall in Jakarta three years earlier. The Central Java native also allegedly helped establish training camps for Islamic militants in the Southern Philippines, including the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group. In recent years he reportedly split from JI and joined another radical group called Jamaah Ansharut-Tauhid, set up by extremist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir. Bashir is in custody along with dozens of other militants linked to the Aceh cell, which was allegedly planning attacks against Westerners, the security forces and assassinations of political leaders. Security analysts said that despite going through a deradicalisation programme in prison, Tholut was a key coordinator for Islamist militants in Indonesia, who are bent on creating a caliphate across much of Southeast Asia. “There is no doubt that that he has military training skill as he is an alumni of Afghanistan, Mindanao and Poso,” Institute for International Peacebuilding researcher Taufik Andrie said, referring to conflict zones in the Philippines and Sulawesi. “He is on the most-wanted list because of his skill in training militants.”

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Malaysia: Underage Marriages Are Allowed in Islam, Says Nazri

Kuala Lumpur: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs has shot down calls to ban underage marriage, despite an uproar over the recent wedding of a 14-year-old Muslim school girl.

Siti Maryam Mahmod wed 23-year-old teacher Abdul Manan Othman last weekend in a mass wedding at a major mosque, after being given permission in an Islamic Sharia court.

Malaysian Muslims below the age of 16 are allowed to marry as long as they obtain the permission of the religious courts.

Sharia law runs in parallel with civil law in the multi-ethnic country.

However, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the Government has no plan to review laws allowing for underage marriages because the practice is permitted under Islam.

“If the religion allows it, then we can’t legislate against it,” he told a press conference.

“Islam allows it as long as the girl is considered to have reached her pubescent stage, once she has her menstruation.”

However, Siti Maryam’s marriage has sparked criticism including from Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who insisted the Government did not condone the practice.

Activist groups have also called for the laws that allow underage marriage to be repealed, saying that the practice is widespread with some 16,000 Malaysian girls aged below 15 already married.

“The onset of puberty is no indication of sufficient maturity for marriage,” pressure group Sisters in Islam said this week, citing a passage in the Koran which also requires “maturity of mind”.

“No marriage of a minor child can be deemed acceptable,” said the group’s spokeswoman Yasmin Masidi.

Muslim Malays make up about 60 per cent of the country’s 28 million population and on certain issues, including family law, they are subject to Islamic justice. — AFP

[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Hardline Clerics Launch Hate Campaign Against Mughalpura Ahmedis

LAHORE: A number of hardliner clerics from various sects have launched a wide-scale joint hate campaign against Ahmedis, and especially those living in Mughalpura are being targeted.

The campaign is mainly launched by local clerics from Shah Kamal Mosque in Ganj Bazaar Area of Mughalpura in collaboration with hardliners from the Deoband, Barelvi and other sects. They are targeting the local Ahmedis by provoking the youth and other people not only to boycott the community but are also urging them to kill Ahmedis in the name of religion.

The hate campaign, launched right under the nose of local authorities, includes distribution of pamphlets, wall chalking, corner meetings and banners. The hardliners have even warned the local Ahmedis that they would force the community to exhume the bodies of their dead if they tried to burry anyone at a graveyard.

Most of the hate material is published and distributed under the banner of Central Hanfia Farooqia Mosque located in Gulistan Colony, Mustafabad, and the publishers are claiming to be the “lions of Islam for the service”.

The text written on the wall of Shah Kamal Graveyard reads, “There is no place for Qadianis and Ahmedis in the graveyard.” Other posters term the Ahmedis “infidels, blasphemers, converts and those who belong to hell”, while the hate material also urges citizens to socially boycott the Ahmedis permanently and stop mingling with them.

The terrorist attacks on Ahmedi worship places in Lahore on May 28, and firing on one of their worship places in the Ganj Bazaar area a few days ago, were the first indications that the hate campaign against the community was working.

Local Ahmedis told Daily Times that they were living under enormous pressure and threat by their neighbours belonging to other sects owing to the hate campaign. There is a significant number of Ahmedis living in the area and most of them now wanted to leave due to the threats posed by the hardliners.

They said the possibility of a bigger terrorist attack against the Ahmedis in the area could not be ruled out as hardliner clerics from various sects were doing their best to provoke the local youth against the community. They said the local police had nabbed the culprits who were involved in the firing incident on the Ahmedi’s worship place, but they never kept their promise of stopping the hate campaign against them, which was worsening by the day.

A local resident said they had tried to burry their dead in the local graveyard in the past but some clerics got furious and threatened of exhuming the bodies of their ancestors if they pushed their demand further. He said the government had no right to celebrate World Human Rights Day when they were persecuting minorities and Ahmedis in a way that they can be targeted anytime, while the culprits are easily saved by the government after such incidents.

The Mughalpura SHO and other officers could not be reached for comment.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Christians Oppressed by Muslims

For the past nearly 18 months Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman, has languished in a Punjab prison with a death sentence hanging over her. A few days ago a hard-line cleric even offered a bounty of $6,000 to anyone who killed her. The reason? She is a Christian farm woman and her neighbours have accused her of defiling the name of the prophet Mohammad. Convicted, such behaviour carries a mandatory death sentence in Pakistan.

The quarrel that led to the accusations against the 45-year-old mother of five began after she had taken some water to the field and other women refused to drink it because she was a Christian. The Muslim women claimed the dispute started with the Christian woman’s goat getting into their field. The defiling complaint against Bibi was made by a local cleric, not present at the scene.

A federal minister for minority affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, was asked to investigate the affair. He reported it was a personal dispute and not a matter of blasphemy. Nonetheless, despite some quite high-level support, Asia Bibi has not been able to gain her release. On Nov. 26, the Sunni Muslim alliance said in a statement that if Bibi were to be released it would result in “nationwide anarchy.” It is threats such as this that have kept the Pakistan government from protecting people such as Bibi.

The fear of Christians in Pakistan is that whether Bibi is released or kept in prison, she will be killed. The fears are not groundless.

A Pakistan source lists recent killings of Christians in that country who were in courts or prisons on charges similar to Bibi’s. Bantu Masih was killed in a police station in Lahore. Naimat Ahmar was poisoned in a Lahore district jail. Manzoor Masih was shot and killed during hearings on blasphemy charges against him. A court justice, Iqbal Bhatti, was assassinated by opponents who accused him of acquitting persons on trial for blasphemy. Pastors Emmanuel and Rashid were gunned down in Faisalabad district courts.

Why is this happening? Muslims in western countries are rightfully concerned about the negative image cast on Islam, but reports about the troubled life of Christians or that of other religious communities in Muslim-dominant countries provide too little explanation for the all-too-frequent oppression of these communities.

Christians were present in Egypt centuries before Islam appeared. There are millions of Christians within the country, by various estimates from eight to 12 per cent of the 80 million population. Yet Christians there often face abuses.

A few examples: During the H1N1 flu scare, Egyptian authorities decided to cull 400,000 swine, an important source of livelihood for Christians who use the pigs to consume organic waste, much of it from Cairo. The cull went ahead despite a statement from an official of the UN’s Food and Agricultural Office in Rome calling it “a real mistake.” For Muslims, the pigs are unclean.

During the recent Eid-ul-Adha (feast of sacrifice) thousands of Muslims went on a rampage in southern Egypt, setting fire to at least 10 homes and 65 shops. The mayhem came after a rumour that two young people, a Coptic Christian man and a Muslim woman, had fallen in love.

Last weekend, an elderly Christian couple, Hikmat and Samira Sammak, were killed in their home in Baghdad by four gunmen. Since the Iraq war began, it is estimated the Christian population in Iraq has declined to 400,000 from 1.5 million, mainly because of threats on their lives.

Christians in many Muslim countries face a great deal of pressure. Part of the explanation for the pressure lies in Islam’s difficulty in separating the mosque from the state. Early Muslim history left a legacy of confirmation of the faith through military and political conquest. The Qur’an is too easily interpreted to advocate violence against the “infidels.” Islam emerged in a part of the world in which it claimed allegiance in the face of Christian believers already there. Islam teaches that for Muslims, all of life should be lived under the direction of sharia law and in many Muslim countries it is difficult to separate such law from the law of the country.

In Egypt, after a controversy that erupted when a Coptic church leader questioned verses in the Qur’an that accuse Christians of being infidels, the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, a government body, stated “the citizenship rights of non-Muslims were conditional to their abiding by the Islamic identity of the state.”

It is this that makes life so difficult in many Muslim countries. Conversion to Islam is made easy, but conversion away is exceedingly difficult — and in many countries dangerous. Despite millennia of presence in the Middle East, Christians there virtually always find themselves under a yoke. They suffer. Should they not enjoy the same rights that people of faith would wish to enjoy anywhere else?

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Suicide Car Bomber Rams Hospital in Hangu, Pakistan

A suicide bomber has rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a hospital, killing 11 people in north-west Pakistan, say police.

Another 16 people were injured by the blast at the Shia Muslim-run facility in Hangu district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to police.

The explosion follows the start of the Islamic holy month of Muharram, which is especially important for Shias.

Meanwhile, a US drone plane killed four people in the neighbouring tribal belt.

Investigators suspect Friday’s suicide bombing on the outskirts of Hangu was a sectarian attack. Sunni militant groups often target Shias during Muharram.

“A car rammed into the hospital while people were praying in a hall and we have reports of at least 11 killed,” the news agency Reuters quoted Hangu police chief Abdul Rashid as saying.

A tractor and trailer carrying 250kg (550lb) of explosives were used for the attack, Hangu police spokesman Fazal Naeem told news agency AFP.

It was the fourth major suicide attack this week in Pakistan.

On Monday, two bombers killed more than 40 people as they attacked anti-Taliban militia talks in Mohmand, in the north-western tribal belt.

On Tuesday, a suicide attacker failed in an attempt to assassinate the chief minister of Pakistan’s south-western province of Balochistan.

On Wednesday, a bomber blew himself up near a minibus in the town of Kohat, not far from Hangu, killing at least 16 people.

Friday’s air strike on a vehicle and house in Khadar Khel, North Waziristan, killed four militants, according to Pakistani officials.

The report is difficult to verify because the region, which lies on the Afghan border, is one of the most dangerous in the world.

It would be the second drone strike in the region this week. The frequency of such attacks has increased under the administration of US President Barack Obama.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Far East

Weapons Migrate From China to Afghanistan

Chinese advisers are believed to be working with Afghan Taliban groups who are now in combat with NATO forces, prompting concerns that China might become the conduit for shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, improved communications and additional small arms to the fundamentalist Muslim fighters.

A British military official contends that Chinese specialists have been seen training Taliban fighters in the use of infrared-guided surface-to-air missiles. This is supported by a May 13, 2008, classified U.S. State Department document released by WikiLeaks telling U.S. officials to confront Chinese officials about missile proliferation.

China is developing knock-offs of Russian-designed man-portable air defense missiles (manpads), including the QW-1 and later series models. The QW-1 Vanguard is an all-aspect, 35-lb. launch tube and missile that is reverse-engineered from the U.S. Stinger and the SA-16 Gimlet (9K310 Igla-1). China obtained SA-16s from Unita rebels in then-Zaire who had captured them from Angolan government forces. The 16g missiles have a slant range of 50,000 ft. The QW-1M is a variant that incorporates even more advanced SA-18 Grouse (9K38 Igla) technology.

So far, there has been a curious absence of manpad attacks on NATO aircraft in Afghanistan. One reason is that the Russian equipment still in place is out of date and effectively no longer usable, the British official says. Another may be that the possession of such a weapon is a status symbol, so owners are reluctant to use it. However, the introduction of new manpads could change that equation.

Although there have been no attacks using manpads, “we act as if they exist,” notes the British officer. “We know they are out there,” he says, alluding to the proliferation of increasingly advanced missiles on the black and gray markets.

In fact, NATO officials know they exist, at least in Iraq, according to the classified U.S. State Department document. U.S. officials were instructed to provide the Chinese government with pictures of QW-1 missiles found in Iraq and ask how such missiles were transferred.

“In April 2008, coalition forces recovered from a cache in Basra, Iraq, at least two Chinese-produced Iranian-supplied QW-1 manpads that we assess were provided by Iran to Iraqi Shia militants. The date of production for the recovered QW-1 systems is 2003, but it is not known when these particular launchers were transferred by China to Iran or when the launchers entered Iraq,” the cable says. “Beijing has typically responded by asserting that its sales are in accordance with international law, that it requires end-users to sign agreements pledging not to retransfer the weapons, or—disingenuously in the judgment of [U.S. government] technical experts—that it cannot confirm that the weapons recovered by coalition forces in Iraq are actually Chinese in origin.”

Talking points in the cable allege that Chinese-origin weapons have been sent to Afghanistan.

“Iran is the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism,” the cable says. “We know that Iran has provided Chinese weapons to extremist groups in Iraq and Afghanistan that are using these weapons to kill Americans and Iraqis, something we take very seriously. Iran is not a responsible purchaser of military equipment. There is an unacceptably high risk that any military equipment sold to Iran, especially weapons like manpads, that are highly sought-after by terrorists, will be diverted to non-state actors who threaten U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Other U.S. officials are less sure about the Chinese missile threat. Army officials told Aviation Week of an unsuccessful, multi-manpad attack against a U.S. helicopter in Iraq last year, but a senior intelligence official expressed doubt that Chinese aid to the Taliban has included weaponry. But he acknowledges that Chinese activities most certainly include intelligence gathering that could be of use in China’s own internal conflicts with its restive Muslim populations. That analysis could project U.S. hopes, whether well-founded or not, that China will not become involved in weapons trade to insurgent groups.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Fundamental Concerns on Mosque

A BIG red Father Christmas, a sleigh and reindeers, sit on a Metcalfe Street, Wallsend, house roof, overlooking its neighbour, the Newcastle Mosque.

It could be any leafy street in any Newcastle suburb.

On this hot summer day a cat snoozes on a fence, a young man in a Bundaberg Rum T-shirt, with the words Rum Rebellion emblazoned on it, wanders past the historic building that is a spiritual centre for many Hunter Muslims.

For more than 20 years, the mosque has been nestled into Wallsend suburbia.

The “local”, the Colliery Inn Hotel, is down the hill. Next door is a 1920s Masonic hall, which takes the overflow when the mosque is full for prayers on a Friday, the Islamic holy day. And up the street are three Christian churches, one of which, the Uniting Church, lends its car park to accommodate the hundreds of people who come to pray here every Friday.

But it’s time to move from this homely address.

“Our reason for moving is lack of space,” said Diana Rah, a spokeswoman for the Newcastle Muslim Association.

“When the community was smaller the impact of the parking was smaller but we don’t want to have an impact on the neighbours.”

In the past, the community has used converted buildings such as the one at Wallsend for its growing congregation.

But that is likely to change. In September, the association lodged plans with Newcastle City Council to build a multimillion-dollar religious complex on a 8300-square-metre block in Elermore Vale.

If approved, the present proposals will create a regional centre for the Islamic community.

Rah’s fellow Muslim Bikash Paul said most days only small numbers of people used the Wallsend mosque, but on a Friday, up to 300 people attended.

“People have started to complain now so the time is up,” Paul said.

The Hunter is thought to be home to about 1000 Muslims but that figure could be much higher because of the large number of Muslim students who attend the University of Newcastle.

Most were of the Sunni sect, Paul said. Islam was split into two main sub-groups, Sunni and Shia, on the death by poison of the prophet Mohammed in 632, when there was a fight over leadership of the faith.

The association moved to Wallsend when its Silsoe Street, Mayfield, mosque was damaged in the 1989 earthquake.

In 2007, there was a rift in the Wallsend congregation and another Sunni mosque, the Sultan Faith Mosque, opened in a former Salvation Army citadel at Mayfield.

The Mayfield mosque, like the one at Wallsend, is little changed, apart from the scourge of graffiti.

All Muslims would be free to use the new complex, Paul said.

Rah, a Newcastle-raised convert from Christianity to Islam, said the foreign students were the main reason Newcastle’s Muslim population had increased.

THE proposed complex’s Croudace Road site has been described as one of the last pieces of bushland in the suburb and is about 50 metres from the car park of the Elermore Vale shopping centre.

The development’s estimated value is at more than $6 million and includes a mosque, a two-storey, 166- space car park , a large community hall, a residence and funeral ceremony room.

Residents group Elermore Vale Community for Appropriate Residential and Environmental Strategies, or EV CARES, and other individuals have objected on the grounds of the development’s scale, inappropriate location, traffic congestion and a failure to adequately assess its social impact.

They insist the protest is not against the Islamic religion.

Australia and Islam have co-existed for hundreds of years, from the time of the Afghan cameleers who helped open up outback Australia, to more recent arrivals.

But migration has changed the face of Islam in Australia…

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Golliwog Doll Pulled From Store So as Not to Offend Oprah Winfrey During Her Tour of Australia

A doll shop in Australia has withdrawn a female golliwog soft toy from its prominent window display to avoid offending the Oprah Winfrey roadshow Down Under.

The store in Melbourne, Victoria, removed the ‘Mamee’ washer woman dolls following a visit by Oprah’s production company ahead of a personal appearance by the popular 56-year-old U.S. talk show host.

Golliwogs are deeply offensive because of their perceived links to slavery and racism.

But the Dafel Dolls and Bears shop in Block Arcade — where 110 of Oprah’s guests will attend a cocktail party tonight — will continue to display other golliwogs which do not cast a black figure in such an overtly servile image.

The store owner declined to comment because she had signed a confidentiality agreement with Harpo productions, but confirmed a meeting had taken place.

‘Oprah’s people came… and yes it was discussed,’ a source familiar with the agreement told Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper.

‘As a result, they won’t have that particular doll on display. But there will be plenty of other gollies when they come through.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Cables Reveal Resentment at Chinese Influence in Africa

China has strengthened its economic and political ties in Africa in recent years in an effort to open up new markets and secure much-needed raw materials. The leaked US diplomatic cables reveal that Africans are growing increasingly resentful of China’s aims and methods.

The young worker had had enough. He was fed up with all the accidents, all the broken promises, the anger of the supervisors and, lastly, the pay raises that were pledged but which never came. So, in mid-October, Vincent Chengele, 20, and some of his fellow coal miners gathered in front of the Collum Coal Mine in southern Zambia. Before long, there were a number of miners protesting against their bosses — Chinese investors who had bought the mine in 2003.

All of a sudden, shots rang out as Chinese overseers began firing wildly into the crowd. Chengele and 10 other miners fell to the ground injured.

A wave of outrage went through Zambia. Even President Rupiah Banda, who usually supported Chinese investment in his country, condemned the violent response. Elijah Muchima, a minister in Southern Province where the mine is located, complained that Zambians were “being treated like animals.” He criticized how the workers were paid as day laborers rather than being given contracts, and condemned their “slave salaries.”

It wasn’t the first time there had been conflict with the Chinese. The mine had already been closed on several occasions due to dangerous conditions. In 2006, some brusque Chinese foremen simply refused to allow the Zambian minister responsible for mining to enter the complex.

And allowing the Chinese in Zambia to have weapons would also appear to be a bad idea: According to the Tanzanian English-language daily The Citizen, a Chinese foreman fired upon striking workers at a copper mine in Zambia a few months ago. The paper reported that some people were even comparing the Chinese to “Africa’s former colonial masters.”

Hungry for Markets and Materials

China is currently more active in Africa than any other foreign power. Chinese President Hu Jintao has already visited 20 African countries, and the Chinese premier and foreign minister have also made regular visits to the continent. Likewise, ministerial-level meetings between African and Chinese officials are frequently held — and are popular with the Africans because they often return home with new contracts in their pockets. In 2009 alone, Chinese companies invested roughly $56.5 billion (€41.3 billion) in Africa.

In recent years, the Chinese government and private Chinese companies have signed hundreds of contracts with African partners. China has extended loans worth billions and sent thousands of workers to Africa, which is now home to almost a million Chinese. They have built hundreds of hospitals and thousands of kilometers of roads, as well as government buildings, railway lines and football stadiums.

If it weren’t for this aid, many African countries would be significantly worse off than they currently are. China, the manufacturing giant, needs Africa as a market for its goods. But, even more importantly, it needs Africa in order to satisfy its need for raw materials. And the Chinese have a thirst for all kinds of natural resources, including gold, wood, copper, coal, oil and coltan.

Growing Resentment

American diplomats posted in Africa keep a very close eye on the activities of the world’s only other major power. Indeed, they send very detailed reports to Washington from almost all of the countries in Africa. But the leaked dispatches don’t only include information about the skyrocketing growth in trade. They also discuss the growing resentment among Africans toward the Chinese. Naturally the whole discussion revolves around issues such as power on the continent, security interests and spheres of influence. And often billions of dollars are at stake.

For example, international observers were astonished at the end of 2007 when the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo reached a comprehensive deal worth over $9.2 billion with Beijing. The agreement guaranteed China mining rights that will help it secure 10 million tons of copper and 620,000 tons of cobalt.

“The Sino-Congolese agreement immediately raised concerns among both multilateral and bilateral donors regarding the loan-agreements on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s debt sustainability,” is how one dispatch from American diplomats later described it. Congo already owed billions of dollars to the World Bank and other Western creditors, so a new contract with China would make it more difficult for them to secure payments on either the interest or the principal of their loans.

At a later point, William Garvelink, America’s ambassador to Congo, wrote: “Throughout 2008 and the first half of 2009, neither the Chinese nor the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo indicated any real willingness to revise the agreement to ensure compatibility with debt sustainability.”

The dispatches coming out of the US Embassy in the Congolese capital Kinshasa provide rare insights into the worlds of international finance and development policy. For example, in May 2009, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), came to Kinshasa. “While the visit was ostensibly to discuss the impact of the global financial crisis on a number of African countries, in reality, however, it was used to push the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to take the necessary political steps to engage the Chinese on renegotiating the Sino-Congolese agreement,” reads one cable.

Eventually, Western pressure had an effect, and Congolese President Joseph Kabila caved in. The agreement was trimmed down by about a third…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Caroline Glick: Why Latin America Turned

Israelis can be excused for wondering why Brazil and Argentina unexpectedly announced they recognize an independent Palestinian state with its capital city in Israel’s capital city. Israelis can be forgiven for being taken by surprise by their move and by the prospect that Uruguay, and perhaps Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and El Salvador, will be following in their footsteps because the Israeli media have failed to report on developing trends in Latin America.

And this is not surprising. The media fail to report on almost all the developing trends impacting the world. For instance, when the Turkish government sent Hamas supporters to challenge the IDF’s maritime blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza coastline, the media were surprised that Israel’s ally Turkey had suddenly become Hamas’s ally and Israel’s enemy.

Their failure to report on Turkey’s gradual transformation into an Islamic supremacist state caused the media to treat what was a culmination of a trend as a shocking new development.

The same is now happening with Latin America…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck: Exclusive Pics: Venezuelan Officials Meeting w/ Hezbollah

Today’s news that Iran is placing medium-range missiles inside Venezuela that can reach the U.S. should come as no surprise.

Last month, in a special episode of my show, Stakelbeck on Terror, a fmr. high-ranking State Department official, Roger Noriega, shared several exclusive items highlighting the dangerous cooperation between Iran and Venezuela in our hemisphere.

In one segment, we discuss an Iranian “tractor factory” in Venezuela that is storehousing weapons. We also provide exclusive photographs of Venezuelan govt. officials meeting with Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon. Watch the segment here.

And to watch the entire show, which contains loads of exclusive information on the Iran/Venezuela axis, click the above link.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]


Italy: Compulsory Language Test Introduced for Immigrants

Rome, 9 Dec. (AKI) — A basic Italian language test that immigrants must pass to obtain a longterm residency permit entered into force on Thursday, the interior ministry announced. Foreigners can register online and will be summoned to sit the exam within 60 days of applying, the ministry said.

The exam tests comprehension of the most frequently used phrases and vocabulary needed to function and immigrants must score at least 80 percent to pass.

All immigrants who have been living legally in Italy for at least five years and want a long-term residency permit are obliged to take the test.

Only those who have obtained educational or professional qualifications in Italy such as university teachers, researchers, directors, translators and interpreters are exempt.

Immigrants can get help in applying for the exam from the Italian non-governmental organisation Patronato Acli, which gives free advice to workers on a range of issues, from employment contracts to health and pension contributions and social services.

The head of Acli’s immigration service, Pino Gulia, said he feared the test would add to the bureaucracy already faced by migrants in Italy.

“The test adds to the already heavy burden of Italy’s public administration, and risks further protracting the procedures immigrants have to go through to obtain essential documents.

“Immigrants whose current residence permits are expiring and who have the right to a longer-term residence permit will face particular difficulties,” Gulia said.

Another problem is that immigrants are now being obliged to demonstrate elementary knowledge of Italian, but no language courses are being offered to help them study for the exam, he said.

“This exam alone will clearly not guarantee the real integration of immigrants in Italy or make Italians feel any more secure,” Gulia concluded.

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

Netherlands: Business: ‘Open Border for East Europeans’

It is high time for Romanians and Bulgarians to be able to work in the Netherlands without a work permit, businesses believe. The cabinet however appears to be unresponsive to their plea, De Telegraaf newspaper reported yesterday. Businesses have been told by Social Affairs Minister Henk Kamp that he wants to keep the borders closed to Romanians and Bulgarians until 2014 in any event, according to the paper. “We have to solve the current problems first,” in Kamp’s view; he thinks some years are needed for this. Kamp referred to accommodation for the homeless in The Hague, 40 percent populated by people from Central European countries. Rotterdam too is worried about the growing group of East Europeans descending on the city.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: ‘Integration a Fiasco’: Gothenburg Official

Gothenburg municipal officials described Sweden’s integration policy as a “fiasco” to the US embassy, according to a document published by WikiLeaks.

Prior to a 2008 visit to Gothenburg by officials from the US embassy in Stockholm, Bill Werngren, head of the city secretariat’s information group and now Gothenburg’s election director and the husband of municipal executive board chairwoman Anneli Hulten, made contact with the embassy, according to newspaper Göteborgs-Tidningen (GT) on Friday.

He sent the embassy a series of articles from newspaper Göteborgs-Posten (GP) published in 2007 about the integration challenges in and isolation experienced by the city’s Somali community.

He wrote in a memo that the situation in Gothenburg reminded him of the phrase, “Houston, we have a problem.”

He also described the articles as “interesting and quite horrible reading” and welcomed the visit as a vehicle for engaging community leaders in dialogue.

Moderate Party member Abdirisak Waberi, who was elected to the Riksdag in September 2010, was invited to meetings with US embassy staff in his role as the principal of the Römosse school, a publicly funded, privately managed free school in the Gothenburg neighbourhood of Gårdsten.

According to the cable, Waberi was pessimistic about the situation for fellow Somali-Swedes.

“Those who have immigrated to Sweden ‘will never feel like Swedes’ which created a sense of alienation,” reads the report of the meeting.

The US Embassy later sent a report to Washington about its conclusions regarding its visit to Gothenburg.

“The discontent immigrant community leaders expressed at the discrimination faced by Muslim job seekers was matched by the frustration of city officials who, in the words of one official, feel that 30 years of programmes aimed at integrating Muslim immigrants ‘have not worked,’“ the leaked cable stated.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Migrant Baby Boom Leaves Schools 500,000 Places Short

England needs more than half a million extra primary school places before the end of the decade, ministers have admitted.

By the Government’s own calculations, 543 new nursery and primary schools are needed within eight years.

The immigrant baby boom has put unprecedented strain on an education system that is already struggling under a surge in pupil numbers.

Ministers described the shortfall as a ‘major issue’, and one campaign group claimed it could cost the taxpayer £40billion.

The predictions follow the chaos at the start of this school year which left hundreds of pupils without a place and thousands taught in makeshift classrooms.

The figures are released as the Department of Education is forced to slash its capital budget — the fund for the building of new schools — by 60 per cent by 2014/15.

Statisticians put the trend down to the rising population of foreign-born women of childbearing age.

An official count yesterday showed the number of people living in Britain who were born abroad has more than doubled over 30 years. And birth rate figures show the UK population is now increasing in line with the post-war baby boom.

Every region of England will see surging pupil numbers with London, the South East and the Midlands worst hit. The South West will be the least affected.

The Department of Education said the number of primary school pupils, currently 3.96million, will increase to 4.5million in 2018, an increase of 540,000.

The number of nursery and primary schools needed to accommodate the surge must rise from today’s 3,986 to 4,529.

Meanwhile, Government spending on school buildings will fall from £7.6billion this year to £4.9billion next year and £3.4billion in 2014/2015.

It has launched a capital spending review to assess where the reduced funding should be targeted.

Schools minister Lord Hill said: ‘It’s clear that rising pupil numbers are a major issue facing the schools system.

‘We will continue to work very closely with local authorities, particularly in London, to ensure that we meet rising demand for school places effectively over coming years.

‘Our new Free School policy also has a part to play in allowing teachers, parents and charities to set up new schools in areas where there is a shortage of places.’

The immigration baby boom has resulted in doubling in number of pupils who do not speak English as their first language.

Currently the figure stands at 16 per cent of students and is set to increase to 23 per cent in 2018.

It is most marked in London where in some boroughs, such as Tower Hamlets, youngsters with a different mother tongue make up nearly 80 per cent of primary pupils.

School place shortages caused mayhem at the start of the school year in September.

Councils in many parts of the country, including London and Birmingham, were massively oversubscribed.

As term started Brent, in North West London, had 210 four-year-olds without a reception class place but only 24 vacancies. Officials in Newham had to put four classes in a church hall and hundreds of other schools used temporary buildings.

The Office for National Statistics population figures show an 11 per cent increase in immigration in Labour years.

The foreign-born population includes around 1.3million from the Asian sub-continent and a similar number from Africa. People born in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand together total slightly under 900,000.

Campaign group MigrationWatch put the cost of additional school places at £40billion.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Appeals Court Asked to Remove Bull’s-Eye From Christians

‘Hate crimes’ law challenged for cracking down on biblical beliefs

President Obama’s “hate crimes” law, one of the president’s early fulfillments of a campaign promise to homosexual lobbyists who backed his 2008 campaign, is heading for dangerous new waters as a lawsuit challenging it as being unconstitutional has moved to the appellate court level.

Officials with the Thomas More Law Center say they have appealed their lawsuit over the “hate crimes” law to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, raising pointed questions including why will the law attack Bible-following Christians who follow its instructions.


The Hate Crimes Act was dubbed by its critics as the “Pedophile Protection Act” after an amendment to explicitly prohibit pedophiles from being protected by the act was defeated by majority Democrats. In fact, during congressional debate, supporters argued that all “philias,” or alternative sexual lifestyles, should be protected.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]