Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20101220

Financial Crisis
»Europe Turns Against Germany
»UK: CBI Interest Rate Forecast: 3m Home Owners Could Struggle to Pay Mortgage
»UK: House Prices ‘To Drop Seven Per Cent Next Year’ — Telegraph
»Unpopular Germany Faces ‘Unpleasant’ Years Ahead
»Big Brother Tightens Choke Hold on Internet
»Frank Gaffney: Just Say NO to New START
»Justice Department Files Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Against Berkeley School District in Illinois
»King Abdullah Mulls Hospital Site for Ground Zero Mosque
»NYC Mayor: King’s Radical Islam Hearings Not Right
»Obama Adopts U.N. Manifesto on Rights of Indigenous Peoples
»Poll Suggests Even ‘Moderate’ Muslims Have Extreme Beliefs
»Senate Republicans Join Democrats to Pass Food “Safety” Bill
»The FCC’s Threat to Internet Freedom
»The Great Islamophobic Crusade
»The Interstate Commerce Lie
»The Lakin Legacy & the Right-Left Hypocrisy
»Thomas Jefferson First Fought Muslim Terrorists
»TSA Comes to D.C.’s Bus Stops
»TSA Needs to Link Groping Policy to Underwear Bomber
»Honour Killings in Canada: New Term, Old Idea
»More Than 100 Arab Christians in Canada Named on Al Qaida-Affiliated Website.
Europe and the EU
»32% of British Muslim Students Support Killing for Islam; 40% Want Sharia Law
»Anti-Terror Police Arrest 12 in UK Raids
»Disputed Elections in Belarus
»France: Nicolas Sarkozy to Target Muslim Prayers
»Germany: WikiLeaks Cable Embarrasses Left Leader
»Germany: Leftists Called Upon to Attack Tourism
»Germany: Life Without Islam Means Road to Hell?
»Greece: Laos: Germany’s War Debt is 162 Bln Euros
»Italy: Prosecutors Request 16.5 Year Jail Term for Thyssenkrupp Steelworks CEO
»Italy: Ivorian Gets Final Conviction for Meredith Murder
»More Problems in Europe, Snowfall in France
»Netherlands: Political Heavyweights Linked With Gulen Movement
»Netherlands: MP to Lead PVV Provincial Election Campaign in Noord-Holland
»Swedish Fatwa Council Condemns Bomb Attack
»UK: 12 Men Arrested in Anti-Terror Raids
»UK: Anti-Terror Police Arrest 12 People in Nationwide Raids
»UK: Anti-Terror Squad Arrest 12 Men ‘Planning UK Terror Attack’: Christmas Plot at Advanced Stage, Say Police
»UK: Former Birmingham Judge Who Called Muslim Colleague ‘Tent Head’ Fined £10,000
»UK: Harry Potter Star ‘Beaten After Meeting Non-Muslim Man’
»UK: Hackers Steal English Defence League Membership List
»UK: Harry Potter Actress Was ‘Beaten and Branded a Prostitute by Her Family After Dating Man Who Was Not a Muslim’
»UK: Mastermind of £800,000 People Trafficking Ring Which Helped More Than 100 Asylum Seekers Sneak Into Britain Could be Freed Within Months
»UK: Stockholm Bomber’s Mosque Website Carries Links to Extremist Preacher
»Kosovo: Organ Trafficking; Press, Money in Accounts in Europe
»Terrorism: 6 Bosnian Muslims Indicted
North Africa
»Egypt Attempts to Convict Christian to Justify Muslim Riots
»Gaddafi Family Tensions Keep Son in Check
»Study: Good EU-Algiers Relations for 8 Out of 10
»The Tragedy of Algeria’s ‘Disappeared’
»WikiLeaks: Spain for Pro-Morocco Solution in W. Sahara
Israel and the Palestinians
»Far Right Courts Israel in Anti-Islam Drive
»Gaza: Freedom Flotilla; Spain, Memorial for Turkish Victims
»Police Investigating Death of U.S. Tourist in Mysterious Attack
Middle East
»America and Israel Haters Relying on Anti-Turkish Lobbies
»Iran: Christians Jailed for Three Months Over Evangelizing Activities
»Saudi Scholar Proposes “Terror Allowance”
»Stakelbeck: Fmr. CIA Spy: Iran Will Use Nukes Against Israel, West
»Syria Increases Duty on Luxury Vehicles
»The Ethnic Cleansing of Iran’s Arabs
»UK: The Observer: Stockholm Bomber’s Mosque Website Carries Links to Banned Preacher
»Yemen Gov’t Accused of Killing Coffee Production
»Interfax-Religion (1)
»Interfax-Religion (2)
South Asia
»Afghanistan: British Soldier Takes a Bullet in the Head From a Taliban Sniper to Protect Child
»Al Qaeda Militant Killed in Afghanistan Was Amnesty, Cageprisoners, Guardian, Indie Pin Up
»Bangladeshi ‘Stepson Affair’ Woman Dies After Caning
»Malaysia Arrests 200 for Following Shia Islam
»Pakistan: Bishop Denounces Rape of 9-Year-Old Catholic Girl
»U.S. Seeks to Expand Ground Raids Into Pakistan Against Militants
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Sudan Leader Vows to Bolster Islamic Law in North
»Migrant Crisis in Greece Strains EU Open Borders
»Sweden Deporting Christian Refugees From Muslim Countries
»Turkish ‘Guest Workers’ of Germany: The Changing Facts
Culture Wars
»Gay Rights Campaigners Furious as UN Drops Condemnation of ‘Sexual Orientation’ Killings After Pressure From Arab and African Nations
»Germany: Kauder: Gays Have No Right to Children
»One Battle Won, Gay Rights Activists Shift Sights
»Totalitarianism and Education
»UK: Football Clubs’ Fury at ‘Sickening’ Plan for Minute’s Silence as Mark of Respect to Paedophile Who Killed Himself
»Virginian: Bar Gays From National Guard
»Climate Change CO2 Corruption Caravan Continues at Cancun, Commercially: You Must Pay for Your Sins
»Is Night Falling on Classic Solar Panels?

Financial Crisis

Europe Turns Against Germany

Germany’s controversial approach to fighting the euro crisis has split the European Union. Some countries are complaining about Berlin’s rigid course, while others accuse Chancellor Merkel of betraying the European project. The only thing they can agree on is that the EU needs Germany as a motor if it is to survive. By SPIEGEL Staff

Cooking is an art. François Vatel, a famous chef at the court of Louis XIV, was so distraught over his inability to serve a sufficiently delicious meal to the king that he committed suicide. At last week’s European Union summit in Brussels, the European leaders in attendance ruled out such risks from the start, by choosing in advance from a list of top chefs who had bid for the contract.

The menu that was served last Thursday in the European Council building on Schuman Square in Brussels had a distinctly Mediterranean flavor. It included gazpacho of red beets with king crab, sole Provencal with a tangy pea puree and, for dessert, Mallorcan pastries with passion fruit, all prepared by German Michelin-starred chef Gerhard Schwaiger, manager of the luxury restaurant “Tristan” on the Mediterranean resort island of Mallorca.

It was undoubtedly a coincidence, but the Germans also dominated the stage politically in Brussels, once again. The 26 other heads of state and government gave in to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s demand to amend the EU’s Lisbon Treaty to include a permanent crisis fund, known as the stability mechanism, for the euro zone starting in 2013. Also at the chancellor’s request, they inserted a passage stating that the stability mechanism is only “to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole.” The group also approved Germany’s demand that private lenders be involved in the event of a government bankruptcy.

“We came to an agreement,” a clearly pleased Merkel announced. “It was a good day for Europe.” The other summit participants had no choice but to make similar statements.

Simmering Conflict

This summit was supposed to send out signals of calm, levelheadedness and solidarity, if only to reassure the financial markets, but the unity was little more than a show. The conflict continued to simmer behind the scenes, especially the dispute over common euro-zone bonds. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker campaigned for the idea once again, and he was backed by many of the attendees. But Merkel was quick to object, arguing that a system of euro bonds would reward spendthrift governments and penalize disciplined countries like Germany.

In short, nothing was resolved at the summit. The more the euro crisis expands into an existential crisis for the European Union, the more critical are other member states about Germany, the largest economy on the continent and the fourth largest worldwide. “This is all about Germany, and it’s all about the end of the German appetite for writing checks to the periphery of Europe,” said Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson in a recent CNN interview. British historian Timothy Garton Ash complains of a lack of vision. “It is much clearer today what Germany wants from Europe than what it wants for Europe,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Guardian.

Both comments imply that Germany is no longer the locomotive of European integration that it once was. In the last few decades, more and more countries joined the unification process, because they saw it as a road to common prosperity in peace and freedom…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: CBI Interest Rate Forecast: 3m Home Owners Could Struggle to Pay Mortgage

The CBI predicted that higher-than-expected inflation would force the Bank of England to raise rates as early as the Spring and that rates could rise by 2.25 percentage points — to almost six times the current rate — within two years. With mortgage rates set to follow, this could have dire consequences for the 7m home owners who currently have variable-rate home loans. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), about 2.9m home owners would have mortgages that are no longer deemed “affordable” according to guidelines set down by the City watchdog, the Financial Services Authority. Even if rate rises were more modest (between 1 and 2 percentage points), an estimated 1.6m mortgages would be deemed “unaffordable” according to the FSA guidelines. An interest rate rise of 2 percentage points would push up the cost of a £150,000 interest-only mortgage by £250 a month.

The usual advice for those worried about rate rises is to move to a fixed-rate deal, where the mortgage payment is guaranteed not to rise for a set period — usually two or five years. But with house prices sliding downwards, some home owners will find it difficult to secure one of these deals, because they don’t have enough equity in their home. The cheapest fixed-rate deals are currently available only to those with at least 40pc equity in their home. Those with less than 10pc equity are unlikely to be able to remortgage at all. According to the CML, nearly half a million mortgages have been granted since the start of 2007 to home owners with less than a 10pc deposit. Given that prices have fallen since then, it is likely that far more home owners will now have less than 10pc equity in their home, so will struggle to remortgage. It is feared that a perfect storm of rising interest rates, falling house prices and widespread job cuts in the public sector could lead to a rise in repossessions next year, as some families find themselves unable to meet mortgage repayments but unable either to remortgage or to downsize in order to clear their debts.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: House Prices ‘To Drop Seven Per Cent Next Year’ — Telegraph

Mortgage lending has seen a steep drop of 10 per cent during the past year as home buyers struggle to find affordable deals. Lenders have kept a tight rein on who they will lend to amid rising unemployment and fears that borrowers will default on their repayments. Figures from the Bank of England showed that only 45,000 mortgages were approved for house purchase by the major banks during November. The figure was slightly up on the 44,000 approvals seen in October and September, but it was still 26 per cent lower than November last year. The Trends in Lending report showed that advances for house purchase remained subdued at £5.6 billion.Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “This evidence of low — but possibly stabilising — housing market activity reinforces our belief that house prices will not crash but will trend down gradually to lose around 10 per cent from their peak 2010 levels by the end of 2011. “Given that house prices have already fallen by some 3 per cent overall in recent months, we believe that house prices will fall by around 7 per cent in 2011.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Unpopular Germany Faces ‘Unpleasant’ Years Ahead

Ahead of a crucial EU summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been attacked from all sides. While many in the European Union are berating Berlin for its seeming lack of solidarity, opposition leaders at home are accusing her of dithering and populism. German commentators warn of a rough road ahead.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel heads to the European Union summit on Thursday and Friday knowing that her country’s popularity in the rest of the EU is at its lowest ebb in decades. Berlin’s opposition to a number of proposals for dealing with the euro crisis, from Eurobonds to an increase in the euro zone’s bailout fund, has left many other member states questioning Germany’s solidarity with its struggling neighbors.

Berlin is seen as insisting on economic prudence and savings measures at a time when it is enjoying the benefits of an export boom while its indebted EU partners struggle to deal with spiralling debt crises. And some see Merkel’s insistence on a permanent crisis mechanism, which will be discussed at the summit, as having precipitated the need for the recent Irish bailout.

Yet Merkel is struggling to find a balance between meeting Germany’s commitments to its European partners and not antagonizing taxpayers at home who are loath to pay for what they see as the more profligate ways of some euro-zone states. Meanwhile she is also coming in for sharp criticism from the opposition at home over her handling of the crisis.

In a speech to the Bundestag on Wednesday, Merkel attempted to present herself as a good European on the eve of the summit. She declared that “nobody in Europe will be abandoned,” adding that “Europe only succeeds if we work together.” However opposition leaders lashed out at the chancellor, accusing her of dithering and lacking European solidarity.

Jürgen Trittin, one of the leaders of the Green’s parliamentary group, said Merkel was regarded as a “Teutonic savings-monster” throughout the euro zone. He accused her of being disorientated and of pandering to the popular press. He also blasted Merkel for having “swept a sensible idea off the table” when she rejected the Eurobonds suggestion.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, parliamentary leader of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), attacked Merkel for not comprehending the seriousness of the crisis. Steinmeier, who had been foreign minister and deputy chancellor in the previous “grand coalition” between the SPD and Merkel’s Christian Democrats, reiterated the points he made Wednesday in an opinion piece he wrote for the Financial Times with former SPD Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück. In the op-ed, the politicians demanded a “more radical, targeted effort to end the current uncertainty” and they called for a partial restructuring of the debts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, guarantees for the bonds of stable countries, and the limited introduction of pan-European bonds.

The German press on Thursday take another look at the euro crisis and the uncomfortable position that Germany now finds itself in.

The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:…

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


Big Brother Tightens Choke Hold on Internet

U.N., FCC intensify efforts to regulate electronic speech

The United Nations is now joining the Obama administration and Democratic commissioners on the FCC in an attempt to regulate the Internet, Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert reports.

“The U.N. is reacting to concerns of member governments, including the United States, that the Internet has made companies like WikiLeaks possible, while the FCC is more concerned about conservative news outlets on the Internet that are increasingly undermining government attempts to control the news through sympathetic mainstream media outlets,” Corsi wrote.

“What is at stake is the future of electronic free-speech rights, as governments around the world realize how much less control government authorities have with a robust and critical press able to operate freely on the Internet.”


“Obviously, the U.N. is uncomfortable with anything like the Internet that the globalists cannot control,” Corsi wrote.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: Just Say NO to New START

The 111th Congress has been discredited by its arrogant disregard for the public and repudiated at the polls. President Obama and his allies in the Senate are, nonetheless, trying to use the lame duck session to get a “Zombie Senate” to foist on the American people right before Christmas a dangerous “New START” nuclear arms treaty with Russia. There are compelling reasons why the handful of Republican Senators who will decide whether this treaty is approved in its present form — under artificially constrained circumstances that allow minimal opportunity for informed debate — should just say “No.” Some of the most compelling include:

The treaty would leave the Russians with thousands more nuclear weapons than the United States when their ten-to-one advantage in “tactical” arms is factored in. Moreover, the Kremlin’s tactical weapons are mostly modern. Ours are, on average, over thirty-years old; some actually rely on vacuum tubes. Theirs are deployed forward near our allies and, in some cases, are being moved still closer in order to intimidate America’s friends. Meanwhile, our tactical bombs, artillery shells, etc. are no longer deployed aboard Navy ships and many of them are kept in the United States, and therefore are of limited, if any, deterrent value…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Justice Department Files Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Against Berkeley School District in Illinois

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department today announced it has filed a lawsuit against Berkeley School District, Berkeley, Ill., alleging that the school district violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of Safoorah Khan, a Muslim teacher at McArthur Middle School.

The government’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, alleges that Ms. Khan requested an unpaid leave of absence in December 2008 to perform Hajj, a pilgrimage required by her religion. According to the complaint, Berkeley School District denied Ms. Khan’s request because the purpose of her leave was not related to her professional duties nor was it leave for any of the specific purposes set forth in the Professional Negotiations Agreement between the district and the teachers’ union. The United States further alleges that, because Berkeley School District denied her a religious accommodation, the district compelled Ms. Khan to choose between her job and her religious beliefs, and thus forced her discharge.

The lawsuit is based on a charge of discrimination filed by Ms. Khan with the Chicago District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After investigating Ms. Khan’s charge, finding reasonable cause to believe that Berkeley School District had discriminated against Ms. Khan, and unsuccessfully attempting to conciliate the matter, the EEOC referred the charge to the Department of Justice. More information about the EEOC is available on its website at

In the lawsuit, the United States seeks an order requiring Berkeley School District to adopt a policy designed to reasonably accommodate the religious observances, practices and beliefs of employees and prospective employees. In addition, the United States seeks back pay, compensatory damages and reinstatement for Ms. Khan.

“Employees should not have to choose between their religious practice and their livelihood,” said Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Federal law prohibits employers from treating employees and applicants less favorably because of their religion, and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for the religious beliefs and practices of their employees.”

“The EEOC is committed to ensuring that individuals are protected from religious discrimination at work,” said Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chair of the EEOC. “We are pleased to foster this important collaboration with the Department of Justice to enforce the laws that ensure our workplaces are free of bias.”

This is the first lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice as a result of a pilot project designed to ensure vigorous enforcement of Title VII against state and local governmental employers by enhancing cooperation between the EEOC and the Civil Rights Division.

The filing of the lawsuit reflects the Civil Right’s Divisions ongoing commitment to actively enforce federal employment discrimination laws. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice is available on its website at

           — Hat tip: Freyja[Return to headlines]

King Abdullah Mulls Hospital Site for Ground Zero Mosque

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in an effort to quiet criticism of Muslims in the U.S., is quietly looking into moving the ground zero mosque to a less controversial Manhattan location, according to news reports Sunday.

New York City attorney Dudley Gaffin has contacted officials about the Saudi royal family’s interest in moving the mosque from its site, two blocks from the former World Trade Center and within the damage zone on Sept. 11, 2001, to the shuttered St. Vincent’s hospital campus in the West Village, the New York Post and other news organizations reported Sunday.


[Links to original stories are at the URL]

[Return to headlines]

NYC Mayor: King’s Radical Islam Hearings Not Right

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says a New York congressman’s planned hearings on radical Islam are not appropriate.

Rep. Peter King said in an opinion piece in Sunday’s Newsday that he intends to “break down the wall of political correctness” in the debate about what he calls Islamic radicalization.

Bloomberg was asked Monday about King’s plans.

The mayor said he does not agree with King and said the hearings are not appropriate.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Obama Adopts U.N. Manifesto on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

President Obama announced Thursday that the U.S. would reverse the position of the Bush administration and become the last nation to drop its opposition to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Obama made the announcement to enthusiastic applause at the second White House Tribal Nations Conference, a gathering attended by representatives of the nation’s 565 recognized American Indian tribes.


John R. Bolton, a U.N. ambassador under President George W. Bush, called the announcement “exactly the kind of mushy, feel-good multilateralist gesture one would expect from President Obama.”

Objections to the declaration include its potential to conflict with U.S. law, its failure to define exactly who indigenous peoples are, and its support for tribes seeking claims on lands occupied hundreds of years ago…


[Return to headlines]

Poll Suggests Even ‘Moderate’ Muslims Have Extreme Beliefs

In his seminal book “America Alone”, Mark Steyn offered this definition of a “moderate Muslim”:

He’s a Muslim who wants stoning for adultery to be introduced in Liverpool, but he’s a “moderate” because he can’t be bothered flying a plane into a skyscraper to get it.

Ibn Warraq observed a similar trend: “There may be moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate.”

The word “moderate,” when used to describe Muslims, most often refers to the means by which they hope to achieve very extreme ends. Fundamentalist Islam is not moderate, though its followers may opt for moderate means of its imposition — i.e. something short of the indiscriminate slaughter of innocents.

But the means don’t make the ends any less extreme. And so it is a bit puzzling when pundits refer to people who want adulterers stoned as “moderates.” A refusal to take part in or condone terrorism doesn’t make medieval (literally) religious practices any less extreme.

So when Americans are told that Islam is not on a collision course with western civilization, since most Muslims are moderates, they rightly have some reservations, given the horrific practices many “moderate” Muslims apparently endorse.

Observe: according to the Pew Research Center, the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month (shockingly, to little media fanfare), “A majority of Muslims around the world welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries’ political life.” And what would that “significant role” look like? Hint: it would not look “moderate”:


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Senate Republicans Join Democrats to Pass Food “Safety” Bill

The Democrats are at it again, this time under the cover of Sunday Night.

The infamous food “safety” bill that health freedom activists and their allies assumed was out for the session, has come blazing back to life from its near-death state late Sunday, thanks to a sell-out by Senate Republicans.

That’s right. S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act was stuck into a shell bill and passed unanimously just before the Senate adjourned for the day.

As reported by the Washington Post: “After a weekend of negotiations, tense strategy sessions and several premature predictions about the bill’s demise, [newly re-elected and confident] Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, D-Nev., reached a deal with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that the GOP would not filibuster. [added]

“Without notice and in a matter of minutes Sunday evening, the Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent, sending it to the House, where passage is expected. President Obama has said he would sign the legislation, which would give the government far-reaching authority to set and enforce safety standards for farmers and food processors.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The FCC’s Threat to Internet Freedom

‘Net neutrality’ sounds nice, but the Web is working fine now. The new rules will inhibit investment, deter innovation and create a billable-hours bonanza for lawyers.

Tomorrow morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking an unprecedented step to expand government’s reach into the Internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings. In doing so, the agency will circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling.

How did the FCC get here?

For years, proponents of so-called “net neutrality” have been calling for strong regulation of broadband “on-ramps” to the Internet, like those provided by your local cable or phone companies. Rules are needed, the argument goes, to ensure that the Internet remains open and free, and to discourage broadband providers from thwarting consumer demand. That sounds good if you say it fast.

Nothing is broken that needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure.

Analysts and broadband companies of all sizes have told the FCC that new rules are likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices. Others maintain that the new rules will kill jobs. By moving forward with Internet rules anyway, the FCC is not living up to its promise of being “data driven” in its pursuit of mandates—i.e., listening to the needs of the market.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Great Islamophobic Crusade

Nine years after 9/11, hysteria about Muslims in American life has gripped the country.

With it has gone an outburst of arson attacks on mosques, campaigns to stop their construction, and the branding of the Muslim-American community, overwhelmingly moderate, as a hotbed of potential terrorist recruits. The frenzy has raged from rural Tennessee to New York City, while in Oklahoma, voters even overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure banning the implementation of Sharia law in American courts (not that such a prospect existed). This campaign of Islamophobia wounded President Obama politically, as one out of five Americans have bought into a sustained chorus of false rumors about his secret Muslim faith. And it may have tainted views of Muslims in general; an August 2010 Pew Research Center poll revealed that, among Americans, the favorability rating of Muslims had dropped by 11 points since 2005.

Erupting so many years after the September 11th trauma, this spasm of anti-Muslim bigotry might seem oddly timed and unexpectedly spontaneous. But think again: it’s the fruit of an organized, long-term campaign by a tight confederation of right-wing activists and operatives who first focused on Islamophobia soon after the September 11th attacks, but only attained critical mass during the Obama era. It was then that embittered conservative forces, voted out of power in 2008, sought with remarkable success to leverage cultural resentment into political and partisan gain.

This network is obsessively fixated on the supposed spread of Muslim influence in America. Its apparatus spans continents, extending from Tea Party activists here to the European far right. It brings together in common cause right-wing ultra-Zionists, Christian evangelicals, and racist British soccer hooligans. It reflects an aggressively pro-Israel sensibility, with its key figures venerating the Jewish state as a Middle Eastern Fort Apache on the front lines of the Global War on Terror and urging the U.S. and various European powers to emulate its heavy-handed methods.

Little of recent American Islamophobia (with a strong emphasis on the “phobia”) is sheer happenstance. Years before Tea Party shock troops massed for angry protests outside the proposed site of an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, representatives of the Israel lobby and the Jewish-American establishment launched a campaign against pro-Palestinian campus activism that would prove a seedbed for everything to come. That campaign quickly — and perhaps predictably — morphed into a series of crusades against mosques and Islamic schools which, in turn, attracted an assortment of shady but exceptionally energetic militants into the network’s ranks.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

The Interstate Commerce Lie

The federal government was not designed to be a bureaucracy that had, for the most part, any direct effect on the populace of the country. In fact, the only power granted by the Constitution to the federal government lay in ensuring that government did not trespass against the citizens. It was the responsibility of the individual states to deal with the needs of the people. Federal legislative control was designed only to have jurisdiction within the District of Columbia and the areas ceded by the states to the federal government for forts, (and other federal sites as needed) or to make laws dealing with interstate commerce or dealing with foreign nations. Since the federal government was created, it has slowly and methodically grown in size and scope until it has permeated every aspect of our lives. Thomas Jefferson stated: “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have … The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.” I believe the current federal position towards its citizens has proven this axiom to be all too true.

From the writings of the founding fathers, we know that the federal government’s powers, defined by the constitution, were to be limited and general and were not to be used against the citizens of the several states. James Madison, in Federalist 45 said, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” Notice that all of these items deal with generalities of government and with national and foreign issues, not individual issues.

One premise I want to point out is that no authority/power can be legally granted to any office of the federal government that cannot be tied directly to the U.S. Constitution. Any law, power, or authority that cannot be tied directly to the Constitution is automatically reserved to the states or to the people, and the federal government is prohibited to exercise outside of this restriction. Secondly, it is the responsibility of the states and the people to keep watch and to correct the government if it steps outside of its authority.


The duty of government, in a republic, is the protection of the rights of its citizenry. The authority given to the central government is designed to give them the power they need to protect the nation from harm, ensure citizen’s rights are protected, and to ensure equitable trade between the states. To regulate interstate commerce has little to do with legislation and everything to do with open and free trade.

The federal government, over the years, has turned and twisted the meaning of “interstate commerce” and “general welfare” to fit their agenda and skirt around the Constitution to fit whatever agenda they desire. Nearly every federal NON-DOD agency has been created based upon the commerce and welfare clauses — FCC, DEA, FTC, DOE’s (Education and Energy), USDA, DOHHS, FDA, NIH, HUD, DOL, DOT (one of the few valid agencies), and many more.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Lakin Legacy & the Right-Left Hypocrisy

Now here’s an interesting lesson into the act of civil disobedience. Bomb the Pentagon, lead a domestic terrorist group that was responsible for 30 bombings, destruction of property and deaths, and suggest that you cannot rule out committing additional bombings, you become a folk hero of the radical left, a close confidant of a sitting president, and hold a position as a professor in higher academia.

Alternatively, give your country nearly 18 years of unblemished military service as a high ranking military officer until you request proof that the orders you are given are, in fact, made by someone with the ultimate authority to do so, you are stripped of your military rank, your liberties, your income, your pension, your freedom and are sentenced to Leavenworth.

Welcome to the new paradigm of civil disobedience, Chicago style, and where self-proclaimed conservative warriors are more AWOL than Lt. Col. Lakin on the issue of Obama’s Constitutional eligibility to hold office.

The Washington Examiner published a powerful article by columnist Diana West today about Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, the army surgeon who attempted to verify the Constitutional legitimacy of the deployment orders he received. For his efforts, however questionable in both tactic and venue, this highly decorated military leader was sentenced to serve time in Leavenworth. As Ms. West so eloquently concluded, the guilty verdict against Lt. Col. Lakin settles nothing, except, perhaps, that such challenges within the ranks will not be tolerated.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Thomas Jefferson First Fought Muslim Terrorists

In the earliest days of our Republic, without a formal declaration of war from Congress, Thomas Jefferson created the United States Navy and Marines and went to war against Muslim terrorists who were attacking American vessels, enslaving American seamen, and holding those seamen and American property hostage until ransom was paid. Our history thus provides a clear, illustrative example of how the President as Commander in Chief may direct the American military to destroy terrorists intent on taking American lives and property.


From 1785 to 1800, our country possessed a woefully inadequate military capability. During that time it was the policy of the United States to pay ransom to the leaders of Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers in response to obtain the release of merchantmen and their property victimized by terrorist acts. Pirate ships from those countries operated on the Barbary Coast, capturing merchant ships, enslaving their crews, and then demanding ransom for their release.

In March 1785 Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Tripoli’s Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja. They asked the Ambassador why his nation waged war on American shipping. In a response that could have been given by Osama bin Laden, the Ambassador stated: “It was written in the Qu’ran that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet [Mohammed] were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave, and that every Muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise . . .”

In 1800, the U.S. paid the terrorists’ ransom, amounting to 20% of the U.S. government’s purse for that year. Thomas Jefferson was an outspoken critic of the payments and persuaded George Washington that it would be better to build an American Navy and Marine Corps than to suffer this humiliation. Following his 1801 inauguration, President Jefferson refused the ransom demands. He commissioned a group of frigates to go to the Mediterranean and defend America’s interests. He informed Congress of his actions but did not seek, and was not given, a formal declaration of war. Congress did authorize Jefferson “to cause to be done all such . . . acts of . . . hostility as the State of war will justify.” The USS Enterprise defeated the fourteen gun Tripoli in the first major engagement called for by Jefferson in August of 1801.


In a final engagement in April and May 1805, U.S. Marines led by General William Eaton sacked the Tripolitan city of Derma. The American conquest of that town is praised in the Marines’ Hymn: “. . . to the shores of Tripoli.” By employing the best military armaments the United States could marshal at the time, Jefferson achieved an end to the terrorist menace and a return to secure passage for our vessels in the Mediterranean. He created by his actions a precedent for all future chief executives, ensuring that America could promptly and with overwhelming force destroy any who would harm innocent Americans anywhere in the world.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

TSA Comes to D.C.’s Bus Stops

The security theater once exclusive to America’s airports is now playing at a local Metro station. Washington’s Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) on Thursday announced new search policies developed in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). “It is important to know that implementation of random bag inspection is not a reaction to any specific threats toward the Metro system,” MTPD Chief Michael A. Taborn said in his announcement.


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TSA Needs to Link Groping Policy to Underwear Bomber

First the government said underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was not a terrorist. Now bureaucrats say he is. Abdulmutallab’s shifting status says a lot about the politics of terrorism in the Obama administration…


[Be sure to click on URL to see pretty picture of Umar. He is linked in the caption to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula]

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Honour Killings in Canada: New Term, Old Idea

Canada has seen a number of high profile incidents involving the murder of a daughter or a sister by a male family member in South Asian or Middle Eastern communities. The term honour killing has been used to designate this particular phenomenon but just how widespread is this problem and is this problem only particular to those communities?

Aqsa Parvez On December 10, 2007 16 year old Aqsa Parvez was murdered by her brother with her father complicit. Both eventually pleaded guilty to second degree murder and were sentenced to life imprisonment with no eligibility for parole until 2028. Why did these two gentlemen do such a heinous act? To save family pride. The father felt he had to save his family from the embarrassment of his daughter.

According to the story, the family moved from Pakistan in 2002 and there started a clash of cultures between traditional Pakistan and modern Canada. Mr. Parvez imposed strict rules following a customary Muslim style of life which included women being subservient and dressing modestly in conventional clothes and a hijab. Aqsa rebelled demanding more freedom to dress in a “Western fashion”, not to wear the hijab and to have the same freedoms as other girls at school. Eventually the clash of the cultures turned into a clash between father and daughter and Mr. Parvez’s perception that he had lost control of the situation and his daughter.

According to a CBC article, Aqsa told a counsellor at her school in September 2007 that she was afraid her father wanted to kill her. That is a very strong statement to make. While the school arranged for her to live in a shelter, she only stayed 3 days before returning home. The conflict did not stop and finally on December 10, the father decided to put an end to his problem.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

More Than 100 Arab Christians in Canada Named on Al Qaida-Affiliated Website.

More than 100 Canadian-Arab Christians are listed on an al-Qaida affiliated website, apparently targeted because of their alleged role in attempting to convert Muslims. Some of those named say concerned Canadian intelligence officials have contacted them. The Shumukh-al-Islam website, often considered to be al-Qaida’s mouth piece, listed pictures, addresses and cell phone numbers of Coptic Christians, predominantly Egyptian-Canadians, who have been vocal about their opposition to Islam. In a forum on the website, one member named Son of a Sharp Sword, says “We are going to return back to Islam and all of the Mujahedeen (holy warriors) will cut off their heads.” Three pages of the fundamentalist, Arabic-language website titled “Complete information on Coptics” sets to “identify and name all of the Coptics throughout the world who hope to defame Islam,” The website calls the Coptic Christians living abroad “dogs in diaspora,” a derogatory reference in Arabic. Among those named on the Shumukh-al-Islam website is Samuel Tawadrus, a Coptic Egyptian living in Quebec. “This is a direct threat against our lives,” Tawadrus said in an interview. “They are trying to inform each other in hopes that someone can carry out this threat. They could be in Egypt and they could be here. Our names and our pictures are listed.” Tawadrus’s picture and cell phone number were listed on the site. One of the prominent figures listed on the website is Salim Nagieb, who helped establish a Coptic organization in Canada. Nagieb is described on the website as opposing Islamic Shariah and converting Muslims to Christianity. His picture, career background and cell phone number are listed on the website. But he said in an interview he won’t be frightened. “I only fear God,” said Nagieb when reached by phone. “These websites mean nothing any more.” Coptic Christians are predominantly a part of the Orthodox Church. Coptics are synonymous with Egypt and make up the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Sherif Mansour said he found out he was named on the web site when intelligence officials called him. “They asked me, ‘are you afraid?’ I said ‘Should I be?’“ said Mansour, who has run a business in Quebec for the past 22 years since emigrating from Egypt. Mansour laughed at the threat, but said he recognizes the seriousness of the matter.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

32% of British Muslim Students Support Killing for Islam; 40% Want Sharia Law

32% of British Muslim students support killing for Islam; 40% want Sharia Law. If the way young Muslims in Britain are feeling is any indication for America’s own Muslim community, then America better beware. According to a new survey done at 30 universities in Britain, the young Muslim student body in that country is extremely radicalized. The poll asked 600 Muslim students and 800 of their non-Muslim peers about politically touchy subjects like killing in the name of Islam and Sharia Law—and the results were like night and day between the two demographics. While hardly anyone in the non-Muslim sample accepted killing in the name of religion, basically one-third of all Muslim students in Britain supported this.

This frightening confirmation of the deadly and violent extremism in the young Muslims of Britain is also an indication of the utter failure of British society to both integrate as well as to better police their Muslim communities. The word “Londonistan” is often disparagingly used to symbolize the permissible Islamic extremism that goes down in Britain —with the once-proud but now impotent Brits basically turning a blind eye. In fact, because of this widespread radicalization problem in British universities among Muslims, said universities are actually becoming a training ground for terrorists like the Christmas bomber from last year.

In an ironic twist, this survey and its shocking poll results were made available only through the Wikileaks leaking of Julian Assange. The poll was revealed as part of a secret, diplomatic cable that emerged from the US Embassy in London.

Other results in the pro-Islamist survey results are also troublesome. For instance, more than half of all British Muslim students insist on being represented by a political party that is Islam-based. The clear-cut, overwhelming theme in this poll data from this leaked cable relates to the fact that many Muslims even in so-called civilized countries like Britain still want to relapse to the Middle Ages (or earlier, even) by making Islam central in all aspects of their true-believing lives.

If this doesn’t either stun you or make you react with a shudder at the reality of this massive and widespread, Islamic radicalism, then this statistic will.Muslims in Britain are the biggest non-Christian demographic in that country, and their growth rate (having a lot of babies, yes, they are) is staggering. Additionally, they are also profiled to be largely destitute, unskilled and uneducated—a perfect recipe for radicalism and hate of the West.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Anti-Terror Police Arrest 12 in UK Raids

Fear of Christmas bombing behind 5am raids to detain men aged 17-28 and searches of properties in four cities

Counter-terrorism detectives today arrested 12 people amid fears of a Christmas bombing attack in the UK.

The men, aged between 17 and 28, were held in Birmingham, Cardiff, London and Stoke-on-Trent on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK, police said.

Searches at several properties began after the arrests, with detectives and forensic experts looking for any scientific evidence of materials that could be used to make explosives.

The counter-terrorism operation targeting some of those arrested had been under way for some time, and is described as “significant”. At least some of those arrested are believed to have been under surveillance.

The raids were launched “to take action in order to ensure public safety”, the country’s leading anti-terrorism officer, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, of the Metropolitan police, said.

“This is a large-scale, pre-planned and intelligence-led operation involving several forces,” Yates said. “The operation is in its early stages, so we are unable to go into detail at this time about the suspected offences.”

The home secretary, Theresa May, said: “I have been kept fully informed about the police operation that has resulted in 12 arrests. For obvious reasons it is not appropriate for me to comment further at this early stage of what could be a complex and lengthy investigation.”

“We know we face a real and serious threat from terrorism and I would like to thank the police and security service for working to keep our country safe.”

The closeness of Christmas appears to have been a factor, but it is not clear whether investigators were nervous because of any specific intelligence that an attack was imminent, or whether the “landmark” date made them anxious.

Last year, al-Qaida attempted a Christmas day attack on a plane travelling to Detroit in the US.

The arrests followed a long term undercover investigation led by MI5, according to counter-terrorism officials.

Those arrested were alleged to be involved in a serious plot, according to officials, indicating this was more than an operation designed only to disrupt or warn off suspects. Well-placed officials described the investigation as “significant”. Sources pointed to the balance MI5 and the police have to make between the potential danger to the public and a need to get sufficient intelligence and evidence to stand up in court. Also taken into account were the resources taken up in an investigation involving tracking the movements of 12 people.

Of those arrested today, five — aged 23, 23, 25, 26 and 28 — are from Cardiff, while three, aged 17, 20 and 28, are from London.

Four of the men — two 26-year-olds, a 19-year-old and a 25-year-old — are from Stoke. All 12 were arrested under the 2000 Terrorism Act. A number of the men are Bangladeshi. Intelligence was being gathered on the men until the arrests were made at 5am. Police said counter-terror officers were unarmed when they detained them…

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Disputed Elections in Belarus

Europe’s Last Dictatorship Shows Violent Side

Officially, Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko won re-election with almost 80 percent of the vote on Sunday. The opposition, though, is accusing his government of massive fraud. Protesters in Minsk were savagely beaten and at least four opposition candidates have been arrested.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Nicolas Sarkozy to Target Muslim Prayers

NICOLAS Sarkozy will take another lurch to the Right with a speech on New Year’s Eve calling Muslim prayers in the street “unacceptable”.

After his expulsions of gypsies and a crackdown on immigrant crime, the French President will warn that the overflow of Muslim faithful on to the streets at prayer time when mosques are packed to capacity risks undermining the French secular tradition separating state and religion.

He will doubtless be accused of pandering to the far Right: the issue of Muslim prayers in the street has been brought to the fore by Marine Le Pen, the charismatic new figurehead of the National Front, who compared it to the wartime occupation of France.

Her words provoked uproar on the Left, whose commentators took them as evidence that far from being the gentler face of the far Right, Ms Le Pen, 42, is no different from Jean-Marie, 82, her father, who has been accused of racism and Holocaust denial.

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According to his aide, Mr Sarkozy agrees with the junior Le Pen that the street cannot be allowed to become “an extension of the mosque” as it does in some parts of Paris, which are closed to traffic because of the overflow of the faithful. Local authorities have declined to intervene, despite public complaints, because they are afraid of sparking riots.

“People overreacted to Marine Le Pen’s comments,” said the aide, referring to the furore in which she was accused of rabble-rousing racism. “She is right: this phenomenon is unacceptable.”

The tall, blonde Ms Le Pen is expected to succeed her father as head of the National Front at a party congress next month.

Her advance in the opinion polls reflects a trend all over Europe, where far-Right parties are benefiting from anti-immigrant sentiment and economic fears. As a more moderate voice than her father, Ms Le Pen is widely considered to be more effective and the nightmare scenario for Mr Sarkozy is that he might be knocked out of the race during the first round of the presidential election in 2012. The run-off would then be staged between the two first-round winners: Ms Le Pen and a Socialist candidate…

           — Hat tip: GB[Return to headlines]

Germany: WikiLeaks Cable Embarrasses Left Leader

The Left party’s parliamentary leader Gregor Gysi was left with some explaining to do after an American diplomatic cable revealed he apparently told US Ambassador Philip Murphy that his party’s opposition to NATO was only for show.

According to news magazine Der Spiegel, Gysi told Murphy that The Left party’s official policy on NATO — that it should be abolished and replaced by a new security alliance including Russia — was only a ruse to prevent a more dangerous policy — Germany’s withdrawal from the alliance — from gaining ground in the party.

Gysi was reportedly in “a sociable and chatty mood” when he made the claim, saying that The Left’s official policy was unrealistic anyway, as the dissolution of NATO would require the agreement of the US, France and Britain.

Moderates in The Left party now fear that Gysi’s loose talk might lead party extremists to renew calls for Germany to leave NATO.

Gysi himself said he cannot remember what was said during his conversation with Murphy, but suggested there may have been translation difficulties, since “the conversation was in German.”

But Gysi vehemently denied another accusation in the leaked cable: that he boasted he alone was responsible for The Left party’s recent success in Germany. “That is definitely wrong,” he said.

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

Germany: Leftists Called Upon to Attack Tourism

Left-wing extremists are being urged to launch a 2011 campaign against Berlin’s tourism boom by attacking hotels and tourist buses, as well as targeting visitors for petty theft, media reported Monday.

The latest edition of the left-wing radical newspaper Interim contains a “proposal for an anti-tourism campaign 2011,” daily Der Tagesspiegel reported.

The campaign would include “swiping wallets and phones from tables in restaurants, setting fire to cars, attacking hotels, creating rubbish piles, throwing things at tourist buses.”

The author of the statement in the paper argues that tourism is fuelling “gentrification,” which is a growing complaint among the city’s left-wing radicals, who argue that rising affluence can push poorer people out of districts in which they have lived for years.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Germany: Life Without Islam Means Road to Hell?

German Islamists predicted hellish torment for the German Chancellor if she does not accept Islam. Is Angela Merkel threatened only by Muslim hell or is she a candidate to hell from a Christian perspective as well? And what is hell? Hieromonk Nikanor (Lepeshev), a teacher of the Khabarovsk Theological Seminary, talked about it with

If you die without accepting Islam, you will go to hell forever and will be there to suffer torments worse than you can imagine, says a video message of a radical Muslim association, The Invitation to Paradise to Angela Merkel and the heads of security agencies in Germany, quoted by Blagovest-info with a reference to Spiegel magazine.

The members of the Islamist group believe that Islam is not just the only way to ensure that the soul gets a prosperous fate after death, but the only proper form of government. Employees of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (the German intelligence services engaged in surveillance of extremist groups in Germany) consider that the leader of The Invitation to Paradise Pierre Vogel promotes the idea of jihad through his radical sermons. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere does not rule out that in the future the activities of the association The Invitation to Paradise may be outlawed.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Greece: Laos: Germany’s War Debt is 162 Bln Euros

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, DECEMBER 14 — According to Costis Aivaliotis, spokesman of Laos, a small far-right Greek party, Germany’s war debt to Greece totals 162 billion euros. The problem of compensating war damage by Germany has always remained open for the government, said Finance Undersecretary Filippos Sahinidis in Parliament, answering a parliamentary question from the Laos spokesman, without specifying if or when the Greek government will undertake a concrete initiative in this direction. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Prosecutors Request 16.5 Year Jail Term for Thyssenkrupp Steelworks CEO

Turin, 14 Dec. (AKI) — At a landmark trial in the northern city of Turin, prosecutors on Tuesday requested Thyssenkrupp steelworks’ CEO in Italy, Harald Espenhahn, be jailed for 16 and a half years over the deaths of seven workers in a fire at the company’s Turin plant in 2007.

Espenhahn, is charged with the equivalent of murder — the first such case to be brought in Italy.

Public prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello asked for Espenhahn be sentenced to 16.5 years in jail for “voluntary homicide with possible intent”.

Espenhahn’s lawyer Ezio Audisio called the sentence requested by Guariniello “excessive and absurd.”

Espenhahn is one of six executives on trial over the deadly blaze.

Prosecutors asked for jail terms of 13.5 years for four other managers charged with manslaughter, and nine years for a fifth manager.

He also asked the court to fine Thyssenkrupp 1.5 million euros, ban it from advertising its products for a year and exclude it from all tax breaks and subsidies.

The tragedy at the German steelmaker’s Turin factory prompted widespread calls in Italy for improved workplace safety.

One worker died immediately in the fire, while the other six died later in the hospital from their burns.

Some of the victims’ relatives, who attended Tuesday’s packed hearing, said prosecutors should have asked for life sentences for the defendants.

The German multinational has denies that it failed to keep adequate fire-fighting systems in place at the plant.

Relatives of the seven workers reportedly reached a compensation deal with Thyssenkrupp in June 2009 worth a total 12.97 million euros.

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

Italy: Ivorian Gets Final Conviction for Meredith Murder

Guede ruling raises pressure on Knox, Sollecito legal teams

(ANSA) — Rome, December 17 — An Ivory Coast native has become the first of three defendants to receive a final conviction for the 2007 murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher in Perugia.

Rudy Guede, 23, saw a 16-year term confirmed at his second and final appeal, at the supreme court of Cassation, on Thursday evening.

The high court rejected Guede’s contention there was insufficient forensic evidence against him, saying “conspicuous traces” of his DNA had been found on Kercher’s body.

Guede had 14 years knocked off his original 30-year sentence by an appeals court last year.

The other two persons convicted of the murder are American student Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

Last month Knox’s and Sollecito’s first appeal began in Perugia against 26-year and 25-year sentences respectively.

Legal experts said the Guede verdict would increase the pressure on Knox’s and Sollecito’s legal teams who are also arguing that forensic evidence against them presented at the first trial was weak.

Guede opted for a fast-track procedure to avoid being tried alongside Knox and Sollecito over fears that their defence teams would try to blame him for the murder.

He was accused of trying to rape Kercher while Knox and Sollecito allegedly held her down before the British student’s throat was cut.

Guede said that he met Kercher on the night of her murder, November 1, 2007.

He said he and Kercher had spent a quarter of an hour together at her house, but not had sex, before he went to the bathroom and allegedly heard Knox return and start arguing about money.

He said he then started listening to music on his I-pod but then heard a “piercing scream”.

Guede said he was attacked by a male figure he could not identify who tried to stab him, and then fled the house.

Afterwards, he claims to have returned to Kercher’s bedroom and tried to stop the blood from the knife wound in her throat.

Guede then said he went into a “state of shock” and fled the country. He was arrested in Germany a few days after the murder.

Police said they were led to him by a bloody handprint found on a pillow beneath Kercher’s body, which Guede says he left while trying to stem her bleeding.

Investigators later found traces of his DNA on Kercher’s body and a bloody footprint in the hallway matching his shoe size.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

More Problems in Europe, Snowfall in France

(ANSAmed) — ROME, DECEMBER 20 — The wave of bad weather which is still hitting central Europe is giving rise to serious inconveniences for transport. In France, where snow continues to fall, 21 departments in the north and central part of the country, including that of Paris, are in a state of alert due to snowfall and ice, and have called a halt to the circulation of heavy transport vehicles.

In the capital’s airports, Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly, the general director’s office of the Civil Aviation has asked companies to call off 30% of the day’s flights to facilitate the clearing of the runways and the aircraft of snow and ice.

Problems are also seen in the Lyon airport, where yesterday over 2,000 passengers were stuck.

Extensive delays are also being seen for trains, which across the entire French network have had to reduce their speed to 170 KM/H. Also halted for a number of house was the section between Paris and Caen in Lower Normandy due to problems with electricity supply.

There are also problems today at Rome’s Fiumicino airport, where some flights for northern Europe have been cancelled due to the snow which for days has been paralysing the airports of Germany, France and Great Britain. In Fiumicino between the hours of 7am and 2pm, there have been two flights for London cancelled already and two others which were to have arrived, as well as two flights from Frankfurt and two — one arrival and one departure — for Paris. Other flights, both coming from and going to these destinations have been delayed.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Political Heavyweights Linked With Gulen Movement

AMSTERDAM, 21/12/10 — Alexander Rinnooy Kan and Agnes Jongerius have resigned from an advisory council of a Turkish organisation following media reports showing that it has links with the controversial Fethullah Gulen movement.

Rinnooy Kan has stepped down from the committee of recommendation of the Turkish-Dutch youth boarding school De Witte Tulp. He is thereby following the example of FNV chairwoman Jongerius who already departed last month, civil servants journal Binnenlands Bestuur reports.

The same journal last month published an article showing that De Witte Tulp had links with the Islamic Gulen movement. This movement of preacher Fethullah Gulen says it works in the Netherlands for the development of Turkish youth. But according to a number of experts, this is only a front for the disintegrative policy of Islamisation for which Gulen is allegedly aiming.

Rinnooy Kan is chairman of the Socio-Economic Council (SER) A survey by De Volkskrant selected him last week as the second most powerful person in the Netherlands. Jongerious ended up seventh on the list. She is chairwoman of the FNV union federation.

According to Binnenlands Bestuur, the Gulen movement abhors homosexuality and puts men above women. Although he has resigned as advisor to De Witte Tulp, Rinnooy Kan is continuing to link his name with the Science Festival organised annually by De Witte Tulp in Amsterdam’s Nemo science centre.

Integration Minister Piet Hein Donner has meanwhile promised the Lower House to look once again at whether government subsidies go to organisations linked with the Gulen movement. He does not consider further investigation of the movement itself necessary because freedom of religion would in any case make a ban impossible.

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

Netherlands: MP to Lead PVV Provincial Election Campaign in Noord-Holland

MP Hero Brinkman is to lead the provincial election campaign in Noord-Holland for the anti-Islam PVV.

Brinkman told reporters it is possible to combine the two functions by being well organised.

Top of the party’s plans for the province are a ban on Islamic headscarves for civil servants and an end to provincial council subsidies for integration projects.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Swedish Fatwa Council Condemns Bomb Attack

The Swedish Fatwa Council (Svenska Fatwarådet) condemned on Sunday the recent suicide bombing in central Stockholm, while the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) has confirmed that it believes the attacker was acting alone.

A number of imams issued a fatwa, calling the attack in central Stockholm on December 11th “deplorable” and “reprehensible.”

Moderate Muslims reject all forms of extremism and fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic teachings, laws and practices. Destruction, the spread of fear, terror and killings have nothing to do with Islam, the imams wrote on Sunday in the fatwa.

“Muslim institutions around the world have already written about this for a long time. In Sweden, we don’t accept terrorism and refuse violence,” Mahmoud Khalfi, the spokesman for religious affairs of the Islamic Association in Sweden (Islamiska Förbundet i Sverige), told The Local on Monday.

Separately, the Swedish Security Service (Säkerhetspolisen, Säpo) announced on Sunday that there are still no indications that the suicide bomber, widely believed to be Tranäs native Taimour Abdulwahab, worked with any accomplices in the attack.

On Sunday, Säpo announced that it had no new information with which to proceed with the investigation of the suicide attack.

“So far, there is nothing to suggest he had an accomplice, but we are working with an open mind,” Säpo press secretary Sara Kvarnström said on Sunday.

In addition, it is also unclear when the analyses and investigations of the crime scenes and the findings will be completed.

The stream of tips from the public has also waned, while the wave of false rumours and warnings of new bombings that have flourished on Facebook and spread by SMS appears to have declined.

“It is not a big problem,” said Säpo spokeswoman Ulrika Hjerpe.

The police will continue to enhance its presence on the streets and in public areas throughout the country.

“We want to be seen. Not because there is an increased risk, but because there are many who are worried,” said Hjerpe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: 12 Men Arrested in Anti-Terror Raids

Twelve men have been arrested during a major anti-terrorist operation, West Midlands Police said.

The men — five from Cardiff, four from Stoke-on-Trent and three from London — were detained on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK.

The suspects, aged between 17 and 28, were detained by unarmed officers about 0500 GMT.

Officers are now conducting searches at the men’s homes and other addresses.

West Midlands Police said in a statement: “All were arrested at or near their home addresses, with the exception of one suspect from Stoke who was at a domestic property in Birmingham.

“Searches are now being conducted at the home addresses, plus the address in Birmingham and another residence in London.

“The suspects will be held at police stations in central London, the North West and the West Midlands.”

Unarmed officers

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates, national lead for counter-terrorism policing, said it was a “large-scale, pre-planned, intelligence-led” operation involving several forces.

“The operation is in its early stages so we are unable to go into detail at this time about the suspected offences,” he said.

“However, I believe it was necessary at this time to take action in order to ensure public safety.”

The BBC’s Danny Shaw said counter-terrorism sources had described the operation as significant and it was related to an investigation into al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism.

“The suspects are believed to have been involved in a plot against targets in the UK,” he said. “This is not believed to have been a potential plot of a Mumbai-style attack, but a plot involving explosives or bombs.”

Our home affairs correspondent said the officers who arrested the men were unarmed, suggesting the police felt there was no serious threat against them.

He added that it was probably not an imminent plot and some of the suspects were from Bangladesh.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Anti-Terror Police Arrest 12 People in Nationwide Raids

The men — five from Cardiff, four from Stoke and three from London — were detained on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in Britain. Aged between 17 and 28, the suspects were detained at approximately 5am. Police believe the plotters were planning to set off a number of bombs in “multiple locations”, according to reports. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was fully briefed on the raids before they took place. This afternoon, standing outside New Scotland Yard, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates said it was “absolutely vital” that the public remained vigilant. Mr Yates said: “We are also searching a large number of premises and I expect that these searches will take some time to complete. “The operation is in its early stages so I am unable to go into any detail at this time as I do not wish to say anything that may prejudice any future legal proceedings. “However, what I would say is that with the current threat level in the UK at severe and with the information we have, I believe today’s arrests were absolutely necessary in order to keep the public safe.” All the arrested men were held at or near their home addresses, with the exception of one suspect from Stoke who was at a domestic property in Birmingham. It is understood that the raids were carried out by unarmed police, indicating that they did not expect to meet violent resistance. Searches are now being conducted at the home addresses, plus the address in Birmingham and another residence in London. The suspects will be held at police stations in Central London, the North West and the West Midlands. Home Secretary Theresa May said the UK faces “a real and serious threat from terrorism” and thanked the police and security service for keeping the country safe. “I have been kept fully informed about the police operation that has resulted in 12 arrests,” she said.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Anti-Terror Squad Arrest 12 Men ‘Planning UK Terror Attack’: Christmas Plot at Advanced Stage, Say Police

Twelve men were arrested early this morning in a major national counter-terrorism operation, police said today.

The men — five from Cardiff, four from Stoke-on-Trent and three from London — were detained on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK.

The suspects, aged between 17 and 28, were detained by unarmed officers at approximately 5am.

It is understood that the plans for the alleged attacks were at an advanced stage and involved ‘multiple’ locations.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Former Birmingham Judge Who Called Muslim Colleague ‘Tent Head’ Fined £10,000

A FORMER judge has been fined £10,000 by a solicitors’ watchdog after labelling a female Muslim colleague a ‘tent head’. Stephen Jones also called legal assistant Saleca Faisal-Parkar “Mother Teresa” in emails to colleagues at their Warwickshire law firm, Shakespeare Putsnam. And the mum-of-one was labelled ‘lazy’ by the high-flying solicitor, who was also a deputy district judge. Mrs Faisal-Parker, from Great Barr, Birmingham, received a £75,000 payout two years ago following an employment tribunal. She had claimed discrimination on the grounds of her race and sex, religious beliefs and pregnancy. Now Mr Jones has been slapped with a £10,000 fine by the Solicitor Disciplinary Tribunal over the allegations, as well as being ordered to pay £8,000 costs. “The outcome of the hearing was that Mr Jones was told to pay a total of £18,000,” said a spokesman for the watchdog. “This was a fine of £10,000 and £8,000 costs.” Mr Jones had resigned as a district judge and as a member of the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Panel after the case in 2008.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Harry Potter Star ‘Beaten After Meeting Non-Muslim Man’

Victim Afshan Azad, 22, played Padma Patil, a classmate of the teenage wizard, in the blockbuster Hollywood films based on the children’s books by JK Rowling. She was assaulted and branded a “prostitute” after meeting a young Hindu man, a relationship which brought anger from her father, Abul Azad, 53, and brother, Ashraf, 28, Manchester Crown Court heard. The frightened actress later fled through her bedroom window after threats were made to kill her. But despite attempts to get her to come to court for the trial of her father and brother, Miss Azad would not attend voluntarily, the court was told. Both men were charged with making threats to kill her and her brother was also charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm on his sister. Instead of both going on trial today, the prosecution decided to accept a guilty plea of assault by her brother, and both men were formally found not guilty of making threats to kill. Her father accepted to be bound over to keep the peace for 12 months. Miss Azad’s character was a witch who was in the same year as Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe, at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry. She first appeared as her character, the identical twin sister of Parvati Patil, in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire She also starred in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, the final film in the saga. Richard Vardon QC, prosecuting, told the court: “The incident took place on Saturday 21st of May at the home address of the family on Beresford Road in Longsight, Manchester. “The prosecution allegation in essence is she was the victim of a wholly unnecessary and unpleasant assault by her brother. “The reason for the assault, apparently her association with a Hindu young man, that apparently being disapproved of by her family who are Muslim. “Specifically she spoke not only of assault but also threats to kill, made jointly by her father and brother.”


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Hackers Steal English Defence League Membership List

A controversial anti-Islamist group has told its members to be “vigilant” after their details leaked online.

Hundreds of names and addresses linked to the English Defence League have been circulated on the web after hackers broke in to one of the organisation’s websites.

In a warning to members, the group said it feared the potential for reprisals.

Those affected should “remain extra vigilant where their home and personal safety is concerned,” it said.

The security breach began last weekend, when a clothing website linked to the organisation was accessed by hackers.

The attackers, who claimed to be part of a group called the “Mujahideen Hacking Unit”, obtained lists of those who had recently bought items from the site or donated money to the group.

The EDL has risen to prominence in the last year by staging a number of protests against what it calls the “Islamification” of Britain. While it says it is not racist or anti-Muslim, opponents such as United Against Fascism say the group’s agenda is blatantly Islamophobic.

The case has been referred to the police, but in a statement the EDL apologised to members concerned about their safety.

“We don’t anticipate any problems as these types of data theft are usually committed to cause annoyance rather than having any other ulterior motive,” the group said.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Harry Potter Actress Was ‘Beaten and Branded a Prostitute by Her Family After Dating Man Who Was Not a Muslim’

A Harry Potter actress was beaten, called a ‘slag’ and threatened with death by members of her family after she met a young man who was not a Muslim, a court heard today.

Victim Afshan Azad, 22, played Padma Patil, a classmate of the teenage wizard, in the blockbuster Hollywood films based on the children’s books by JK Rowling.

She was assaulted and branded a ‘prostitute’ after meeting a young Hindu man, a relationship which brought anger from her father, Abul Azad, 53, and brother, Ashraf, 28, Manchester Crown Court heard.

The frightened star, who has featured in four of the popular films, later fled through her bedroom window after threats were made to kill her.

But despite attempts to get her to come to court for the trial of her father and brother, Miss Azad, who is believed to be living with friends in London, would not attend voluntarily, the court was told.

Both men were charged with making threats to kill her and her brother was also charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm on his sister.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Mastermind of £800,000 People Trafficking Ring Which Helped More Than 100 Asylum Seekers Sneak Into Britain Could be Freed Within Months

The mastermind behind an £800,000 people trafficking ring which helped more than 100 asylum seekers sneak into Britain could be freed within months.

Iranian-born Ferzad Pezeshk, 39, arranged fake passports and flight tickets for fellow countrymen and Afghans and wired funds around the globe.

His gang charged between £5,000 and £12,000 to smuggle people out of their homelands, offering scheduled stop-offs at hotels in the Arab Emirates, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Norway, France and Sweden.

He was jailed today for five years but he is likely to only serve only half the term — minus the 794 days he has already served on remand — meaning he could be freed in four months.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Stockholm Bomber’s Mosque Website Carries Links to Extremist Preacher

Luton Islamic Centre site’s links to speeches by Bilal Philips, who was barred from Britain by home secretary in July for his views

The website of the British mosque where the Stockholm bomber worshipped carries links to comments used to justify suicide attacks, and material expounding antisemitism and homophobia. Preachers at the Luton Islamic Centre told last week how they had tackled Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, 28, the suicide bomber who blew himself up in Stockholm last weekend, over his extremist views.

However, the centre’s website carries a link to a lecture by Dr Bilal Philips, a Muslim preacher who was barred from entering Britain by the home secretary in July because of his extremist views. Philips’s speech includes a passage during which he says that a person who kills him or herself is motivated by different instincts to those of a suicide bomber. “When you look at the mind of the suicide bomber, it’s a different intention altogether,” he says. Suicide is generally considered to be against Islamic law.

Philips added that the suicide bomber had made a military decision based on the defences of the enemy. He says: “The [enemy] is either too heavily armed, or they don’t have the type of equipment that can deal with it, so the only other option they have is to try to get some people amongst them and then explode the charges that they have to try to destroy the equipment and to save the lives of their comrades. “So this is not really considered to be suicide in the true sense. This is a military action and human lives are sacrificed in that military action. This is really the bottom line for it and that’s how we should look at it.”

Abdaly, who showed up at the Luton mosque in 2007, blew himself up in a busy shopping street in Stockholm last Saturday after sending an email urging Muslims to avenge the deaths of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Swedish police are investigating the theory that one of several devices that he was carrying went off prematurely and are also exploring the possibility that he was part of a wider cell. Qadeer Baksh, chairman of the Luton Islamic Centre, said Philips had made some “errors” in his speech. “He’s talking about a military operation; he’s made an error by calling it suicide bombing. He’s talking about troops, not innocent people,” he said.Baksh added that it was also wrong to encourage suicide. “The enemy have to kill him, he cannot kill himself by his own hands. That is an error. He’s called it suicide bombing but it’s not suicide bombing, it’s a military tactic. I will definitely take [the website link] down immediately. I’m glad you brought that to my attention,” he added.

However Haras Rafiq, director of Centri, an organisation that specialises in countering extremism, said: “I do not blame the Luton Islamic Centre for the terrorist attacks in Stockholm but how on earth were they going to prevent al-Abdaly from blowing himself up when messages on their own website justify the concept of suicide bombing as an operational military tactic?” Iraqi-born Abdaly appeared at the Luton mosque during Ramadan in 2006 or 2007 and was confronted by mosque organisers including Baksh who believed they had talked Abdaly round to a more moderate position. Abdaly, who was a student at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton between 2001 and 2004 and continued to live in the town after graduating, is believed to have proposed a “physical jihad”.

Revelations that the mosque’s website carried inflammatory statements from Philips will foster fresh speculation over where Abdaly was initially radicalised. Critics have also questioned why the mosque did not inform police of its concerns about his radical beliefs, raising new questions about the effectiveness of the government’s Prevent counter-terror strategy, which is supposed to engage communities and identify potential extremists. The mosque defended its position by saying Muslims with extreme views like Abdaly can change to become “good balanced Muslims”


Philips, who says he opposes al-Qaida, was banned by Theresa May from entering Britain on the grounds that his presence was “not conducive to the common good”. His previous speeches include claims that there is no such thing as rape in marriage and that the death penalty is an option for punishing homosexuals and adulterers. The preacher was banned from Australia in 2007 over his “support for extremist Islamic positions” and has, in the past, admitted he is on the US blacklist that bans extremists.

Other contentious material found on the Luton Islamic Centre’s site includes one publication on its website last week called “gay history and gay pride” that expounded homophobic views such as “sodomy is one of the most repulsive acts, even observed among beasts”, and said homosexuals should be executed. Another was called “the prophesy of the utter destruction of the yahood [Jews] will only occur at the hands of the true worshippers of Allaah” in which Jews who try to make peace are portrayed as deceivers.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Kosovo: Organ Trafficking; Press, Money in Accounts in Europe

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, DECEMBER 17 — The money earned from organ trafficking in Kosovo at the end of 1990s, which a report by the Council of Europe attributes to, amongst others, current premier, Hashim Thaci, was deposited in bank accounts in Switzerland, Germany, Albania and other European countries, which could serve as evidence against Thaci. This is what has been reported by Belgrade daily newspaper Blic. The newspaper reports that these accounts have been traced thanks to work both by the team of investigators from Serbia’s Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor and by the American FBI, working to investigate the financing of extremist Islamic groups after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US.

The accounts are held in the names of individuals, but also humanitarian organisations, used as a front to cover up criminal activity. In his report presented yesterday in Paris, the Council of Europe investigator, Dick Marty, states that Kosovar Premier Hashim Thaci — former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) in the 1990s — was head of a criminal organisation that, in addition to trafficking human organs, also smuggled drugs and weapons. Thaci has totally rejected the accusations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Terrorism: 6 Bosnian Muslims Indicted

(ANSAmed) — SARAJEVO, DECEMBER 17 — The Bosnian prosecutor’s office today officially charged six Bosnian Muslims with the attack, on June 27 of this year, on the police station in Bugojno, central Bosnia, killing a police agent and injuring five of them. The news was reported by the public prosecutor’s office in Sarajevo. According to the investigators, Haris Causevic (26 years old), Adnan Haracic (23), Naser Palislamovic (36), and their accomplices Emin Osmanagic (27), Haris Spago (40) and Nedzad Kesko (37), are members of a small but active group of Wahhabis, who profess a radical Islam, of Saudi origins. According to the prosecution, the attackers knew that there would be many policemen in the station on the moment of the attack due to security preparations for the visit of thousands of people to the Muslim sanctuary of Ajvatovica in the nearby village of Prusac. The visit and celebration are unacceptable for the Wahhabi movement. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt Attempts to Convict Christian to Justify Muslim Riots

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — The high profile criminal trial of 21-year-old Christian Copt Girgis Baroumi, accused of sexually assaulting a Muslim girl, is viewed by the Coptic community as an example of how the Egyptian government, using all its organs, including the Attorney General, Interior Minister and Parliament Speaker, has conspired to use him as a scapegoat to justify deadly Muslim assaults on Christians.

Girgis Baroumi, a traveling poultry vendor, is believed to have been framed by State Security (AINA 1-28-2010) in order to use the crime as a pretext for the 3-day rampage by Muslim mobs on Christians in Farshout in November 2009 (AINA 11-22-2009), and most importantly to depict the Christmas Eve Massacre of six Copts in Nag Hammadi in January 2010 as an honor crime rather than a sectarian one.

The criminal court in Qena witnessed on December 13 another stormy session when Baroumi’s defense team withdrew from the trial to protest the court’s rejection of several requests made to the court over the year, which are vital to prove the defendant’s innocence. “This decision was taken in view of these and other requests made at previous sessions, which indicated the lack of a fair and just trial for the accused,” said Dr. Chafik, one of the team attorneys who withdrew from the case. “The direction of the court towards the case is not inclined towards Baroumi’s innocence but have closely associated it with the crime of Nag Hammadi..”

Although the defense team withdrew from the trial the court insisted the defense present its case, so four of the attorneys present withdrew in protest and three remained to plead. “If they all withdrew as intended, the court would appoint other lawyers who might damage the case,” said defense attorney George Sobhy.

The Defense had requested an independent medical examination of the defendant, a certificate from the conscription department with the results of his medical examination which led to his rejection from conscription and a survey by court of the crime scene.

All three requests were rejected by the court. “To us it feels like the case is taking a religious orientation and the court plans to hand down a guilty verdict, despite the lack of any evidence, material or otherwise, to convict him,” said defense attorney Dr. Siham Abdel-Malak.

Dr. Chafik expressed concern regarding the prosecutor using inflammatory religious language during the proceedings. “The prosecutor accused Baroumi of being the cause of the sectarian strife which took place in Farshout in November 2009, as well as the death of the Copts on Coptic Christmas Eve [Nag Hammadi Massacre] in January 2010, as we predicted all along that he would.”

He said the prosecutor cited a more recent case of Al-Nawahed village, “saying that those who cause sectarian strife ought to be killed or crucified — invoking Sharia Hirabah Penalty. These discriminatory religious expressions in punishment, as well as religious discrimination in criminal proceedings, require us to take a stance, in order to combat religious discrimination in criminal justice.”

Attorney Dr. Hanna Hanna said “The prosecutor’s statements included some Islamic terms that are far away from the terms of criminal law.”

Sobhy believes there are certain forces at play to get Baroumi convicted.. “If the court does not change its attitude, we expect Girgis Baroumi to be given the maximum penalty.”

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih[Return to headlines]

Gaddafi Family Tensions Keep Son in Check

A few days ago Saif al-Islam, son and heir apparent of Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi, issued a curious statement which seemed designed to set the record straight. “Several press reports have suggested that I’ve been involved in a power struggle with my brothers behind the scenes… There is nothing of the sort,” he said. “I have an excellent relationship with my family.”

He went on to clarify that he and the secretary-general of Libya’s council of ministers were not “two faces of the same coin” — in other words Saif had nothing to do with the running of the Libyan government. Nor was he the owner of a media group that has been the target of a recent security clampdown, but merely a “supporter”, he insisted.

And finally, and also contrary to press reports, Saif had not recently bought an expensive home in London. “Like any visitor, I stay in hotels when in London, and I can only imagine that such unsubstantiated rumours are designed to imply profligate or wasteful spending habits.”

When someone goes into such great detail to explain himself the suspicion is that he must be in serious trouble. But then Saif’s statement came two days after a shock announcement from the charity he has used as a platform to advocate more liberal policies. The Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation said it was giving up the promotion of human rights and political reform to focus on helping the poor in Africa.

Reading the dynamics of the opaque, erratic Libyan regime, let alone the rivalries within the Gaddafi family, is a difficult task. Yet last week most observers reached the same conclusion. The Gaddafi Foundation’s declaration, they reckoned, was a big setback for Saif and a victory for the conservatives around his father, including his brother Mutassim, the security man who is believed to be harbouring his own succession ambitions.

There have been indications in recent months that Saif’s wings are being clipped, as the Gaddafi Foundation’s monitoring of human rights has become increasingly uncomfortable for Libya’s security forces. Some of the journalists in the media group that Saif now says he only “supports” have been arrested and a newspaper he also “supports” has been closed down.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Study: Good EU-Algiers Relations for 8 Out of 10

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, DECEMBER 14 — Eight algerians out of ten believe the EU has good relations with Algeria. This is one of the results of a study, promoted by the EU-funded Opinion Polling and Research (OPPOL) project, under the 2007-2010 ENPI regional information and communication programme. It is carried out across the countries benefiting from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).

Thus, according to the Enpi website (, only a minority of opinion leaders feel the EU¿s involvement in Algeria is appropriate (46%, compared to 63% of the general public), while only a small majority (56%) believe Algeria has benefited from EU policies in the country ¿ a stark contrast to the 82% average across the Mediterranean partner countries, and below the 61% among the general public. There is also scepticism regarding the EU¿s promotion of democracy through its cooperation activities, with only 45% of opinion leaders subscribing to the view, compared to 59% of the general public. All agree, however, that they want more EU involvement in the country, with priorities on economic development, the environment and education. Opinion leaders in particular also feel the EU can bring peace and stability to the country (70%) and the wider region (80%).(ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The Tragedy of Algeria’s ‘Disappeared’

They are all over the wall of Naseera Dutour’s office, in their hundreds, in their thousands. There are cemeteries of them, bearded, clean shaven, the youth and the elderly of Algeria, veiled women, a smiling girl with a ribbon in her hair, in colour for the most part; the bloodbath of the 1990s was a post-technicolor age so the blood came bright red and soaked right through the great revolution that finally conquered French colonial power.

There’s a powerful irony that Naseera’s cramped offices — “SOS Disparu”, it’s called, in conscious imitation of the searches for the “disappeared” of Chile and Argentina — should be on the ground floor of an old pied noir apartment, beyond a carved wooden door and patterned tiles, at No.3 rue Ghar Djebilet, just off Didouch Mourad St. Didouch, too, was a martyr — of the first revolution, the one we were supposed to remember in Algiers this month — rather than all those faces on Naseera’s walls. For Naseera, too, has a martyr to mourn.

No talk at Algeria’s anti-colonialism conference of the 6,000 men and women who died under torture at the hands of the Algerian police and army and hooded security men in the 1990s. For across at Sidi Fredj — yes, just up the coast where the French landed in 1830 — le pouvoir was parading a clutch of ancient ex-presidents from the mystical lands of the anti-colonial struggle, to remind us of Algeria’s primary role in the battle against world imperialism. There was old Ahmed Ben Bella — more white-haired skeleton than Algeria’s first leader, coup-ed out of power in 1965 (although they didn’t mention that). There was poor old Dr Kenneth Kaunda, who mercilessly tried to sing a song under the wondrous eyes of Thabo Mbeki. And then there were the Vietnamese whose victory at Dien Bien Phu taught the FLN (National Liberation Front) that they could beat the French here, which they did in 1962 at a cost of, say, one and a half million “martyrs”.

In theory, this was all staged to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s Resolution 1514, which demanded the right of independence to all colonised people (special emphasis in Algiers, of course, on the Palestinians and the Sahrawi refugees). But the real reason le pouvoir — “the authorities” — gathered these elderly ex-presidents in Algeria was to build a new foundation — wood or concrete I haven’t yet decided — over the mass graves of the 250,000 “martyrs” of another conflict, the barbarous civil war of 1990-98, if indeed it has yet ended. Le pouvoir has invented a wonderful new expression for this bloodbath. It’s called Algeria’s “National Tragedy”, as if the government’s suspension of elections and the brutal, family-slaughtering, throat-cutting war with the savage Islamists of the Armed Islamic Group, the GIA, was a Shakespearean play, Othello perhaps, or Hamlet in which, I suppose, Ben Bella stares at his own skull. More like Titus Andronicus, if you ask me.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

WikiLeaks: Spain for Pro-Morocco Solution in W. Sahara

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, DECEMBER 14 — Since the beginning, the Spanish government has supported the proposal to make the Western Sahara an autonomous region of Morocco, according to diplomatic documents from US Embassies in Madrid, Rabat and Paris, revealed by WikiLeaks and published today by El Pais.

In 2006, the then Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, proposed in one of the diplomatic communications, not to talk about the sovereignty and the independence of the Western Sahara, but to work on the theory of a “regionalisation, autonomy and self-government”. Moratinos proposed “a solution similar to the one that Spain gave to Catalonia,” and Foreign Ministry officials also considered the independence of the region to be an unrealistic solution.

This is a position that contradicts the line of equidistance supported by Madrid with regard to the self-determination in the Western Sahara, also in light of the recent events in Laayoune, with the forced dismantling of the Saharawi camp by Moroccan security forces, which was never condemned by the Spanish socialist government.

In February 2007, when Morocco officially presented its proposal of autonomy for the area, quoting the Spanish and German models, Moratinos hoped that it would be more generous. Rabat’s proposal certainly did not thrill the Spanish diplomatic service. The political advisor for the Spanish Embassy in the Moroccan capital invited his colleagues in France, the US, the UK and Germany to a meeting to assess Morocco’s new step. “Our Spanish host was not happy,” said the US Embassy’s political advisor, Craig Karp.

According to the documents, Madrid considered France’s excessively pro-Moroccan position to be an obstacle to the agreement. On the other hand, Madrid’s position caused tension with Algeria, a historic ally of the Saharawi cause. In relation to the 20% increase in the price of gas exported by Algeria to Spain, in March 2007, the US Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre said that “many consider this to be connected to Zapatero’s comments in Morocco.”(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Far Right Courts Israel in Anti-Islam Drive

Far-right political parties in Europe are stepping up their anti-Muslim rhetoric and forging ties across borders, even going so far as to visit Israel to hail the Jewish state as a bulwark against militant Islam.

National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has shocked the French political elite in recent days by comparing Muslims who pray outside crowded mosques — a common sight during the holy month of Ramadan — to the World War Two Nazi occupation.

Oskar Freysinger, a champion of the Swiss ban on minarets, warned a far-right meeting in Paris on Saturday against “the demographic, sociological and psychological Islamization of Europe”. German and Belgian activists also addressed the crowd.

Geert Wilders, whose populist far-right party supports the Dutch minority government, told Reuters last week he was organising an “international freedom alliance” to link grass-roots groups active in “the fight against Islam”.

Earlier this month, Wilders visited Israel and backed its West Bank settlements, saying Palestinians there should move to Jordan. Like-minded German, Austrian, Belgian, Swedish and other far-rightists were on their own Israel tour at the same time.

“Our culture is based on Christianity, Judaism and humanism and (the Israelis) are fighting our fight,” Wilders told Reuters in Amsterdam last week. “If Jerusalem falls, Amsterdam and New York will be next.”

While he seeks anti-Muslim allies abroad, Wilders said some older far-right parties such as France’s National Front or the British National Party were “blunt racist parties I don’t care for” and he would avoid cooperating with them.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Gaza: Freedom Flotilla; Spain, Memorial for Turkish Victims

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, DECEMBER 20 — A monument was unveiled in the Spanish capital Madrid to commemorate nine Turkish activists killed by Israeli commandos in the May 31 raid on Gaza-Bound aid ship Mavi Marmara, as Anatolia news agency reports.

The monument, designed by sculptors Roxanne Robinson and Arevalo Beteta, was erected at the Palestine Park in Leganes near Madrid at the initiatives of three Spanish activists supported by several non-governmental organizations.

Spanish activists plan to send two aid ships to Gaza this spring. Turkish Ambassador to Spain Ender Arat, Palestinian Ambassador to Spain Moussa Odeh, Mayor of Leganes Rafael Gomez Montaya and representatives from Turkish humanitarian aid organization IHH attended a ceremony held to unveil the monument on Friday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Police Investigating Death of U.S. Tourist in Mysterious Attack

Israeli authorities are investigating a strange and violent incident that left one woman dead and another injured this weekend. Many people are convinced this was a terrorist attack; other people say things don’t add up. Police are investigating all options.


Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said the motives behind the incident were not yet clear — it may have been a terrorist attack. Regardless of the motive, a very serious incident occurred in a typically calm area. A woman has been murdered, and “we’re not taking any chances,” Rosenfeld said. The investigation was assigned to the Jerusalem police special task force and continues on two levels, the spokesman said, both operational and intelligence.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Middle East

America and Israel Haters Relying on Anti-Turkish Lobbies

The “Armenian genocide season” opened relatively early this year. Clearly the “conjuncture” is considered “uniquely ripe” by anti-Turkish activists. There are also fresh opportunities for increased cooperation against Turkey among Washington’s highly active Armenian, Kurdish, Israeli and Syriac lobbies.

In the meantime, the worsening of Turkish-Israeli ties has driven a wedge between Ankara and the Obama administration. Both sides are trying to be polite about this but the damage is showing. It is also clear that Turkey can not rely on the Republicans in Congress, as it did before, given the unquestioning support they provide to Israel.

Driven mostly by constituency considerations, Republican congressmen are said to be “out to get Turkey” this time for a host of reasons, not just to do with Israel. These naturally include the Erdogan government’s stance on Iran and Syria, as well as its cozying up to radical groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Put briefly, Turkey is not considered a reliable ally anymore in the United States Congress. In the meantime it is no surprise that the Israeli lobby in America should be out to punish Turkey for its stand on the brutalizing of Palestinians by the IDF in Gaza under the guise of retaliation.

Turkey’s apparently rock-solid demand for an apology and compensation from Israel for its the murder of nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara ship, on the other hand, only fuels the growing animosity towards Ankara. What obviously increases the anger of Israelis and members of the Israeli lobby is that their nemesis, namely Prime Minister Erdogan, is so popular around the world.

It is no surprise that those contributing to Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” poll this year should have put Erdogan in second position after Julian Assange. (He was in fact in first position before Assange overtook him with his arrest in the United Kingdom).

The fact that Time, in what many see as a “rabbit out of the hat trick,” actually selected Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who was in 10th position in the magazine’s own public poll, as “Man of the Year” does not belie Erdogan’s international popularity.

If we go back to the Armenian issue, it is clear from the feverish activity among Armenian groups in the U.S. that they have high hopes for the passage of an Armenian genocide resolution in the U.S. Congress this time around. The advantages appear to be stacked on their behalf too.

There is nevertheless a very real possibility the “force majeure” will come into play again and prevent this happening — for the sake of “global strategic considerations” — despite all the anti-Turkish sentiment floating around in Washington. The mostly likely outcome is that the Armenians will be disappointed again.

It will, however, be a surprise for some to hear that there are quite a few people in Turkey who are rabidly anti-Israeli and anti-American, and who have little sympathy for Europe and the European Union, who actually want the genocide resolution to pass (preferably with the help of Israeli lobbies).

Their reasoning is a simple one. Such a development will spell the death knell for any hope whatsoever of a rapprochement with Israel — which they have never desired. It will also lead to the greatest crisis in Turkish-U.S. ties ever, which again will be highly welcomed by them since they see America as “the root of all evil,” which makes ties with Washington abhorrent to them anyway.

In other words, the Armenian and Israeli lobbies could be playing beautifully into the hands of those in this country who want to see Turkey move away from the West, and closer not just to the Islamic world but also to the powers currently on the ascendant, which Fareed Zakaria refers to as “The Rest,” as opposed to “The West.”

The fact Turkey is also a “rising” country makes those with anti-Western sentiments even more bullish. Firstly they believe there is nothing short of war that Armenians can do to get anything from Turkey, especially at a time when the country feels stronger and more assertive and influential in the world than at any time before.

The bottom line is that the orld is not what it was a decade or two ago. Neither, in particular, is the U.S. — nor is the West generally. New centers of political, military and economic influence are emerging fast. These provide new opportunities for Turkey, and Ankara’s reaching out to these countries is already fueling arguments about Turkey drifting away from the West.

It is also clear that Israel’s isolation will increase in such a world. It is already almost totally alone in the U.N. where it has only America’s blind support to rely on, no matter what it does. This automatically puts Turkey in a much better position internationally than Israel in terms of any cost-benefit analysis relating to foreign policy administration.

It seems that there will be much to mull over in Washington and Tel Aviv over the next weeks and month in terms of the “Turkey question.” It could be that we are heading for the kind of breakdown in ties that anti-Western elements in this country want.

But if a simple list were to be made of countries that stand to loose the most by Turkey’s drifting away from the West it might read as follows:

1- Israel

2- Armenia

3- The United States

4- The EU (although it is no country)

5- Turkey

Others may wish to change the order in the list and provide strong and convincing arguments in doing this. What appears common to all countries in the list however, is that they all stand to loose something if Turkey were to drift from he West and go with “The Rest,” that is, the majority of countries in the world.

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

Iran: Christians Jailed for Three Months Over Evangelizing Activities

A group of nine Christians arrested in Hamadan are in prison, after being held in isolation without specific charges. The media speak of “Christian Zionists.” Their main fault seems to be their success in conversions.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Nine Christians have been held in prison in Iran for three months without charges. On the day of their arrest, 19 September 2010, state television said: “A group of nine Christians have been arrested in Hamadan on charges of evangelization activities.” Local sources reported security forces statements, according to which the group’s purpose was to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran. The text referred several times to the nine calling them “Christian Zionists.”

The names of four of them (five are of unknown identity) are Vahik Abrahamian his wife Sonia Keshish Avanessian (Armenian-Iranian), Arash Kermanjany and Arezou Teimour, Iranians who speak Farsi. The security forces according to the report broke into the house Abrahamian and arrested him together with his wife and two other Christian converts who were his guests. The house was searched, and officers seized various personal items. Later the group was taken to an unknown location.

Other Christian converts were arrested and interrogated in Karaj, Tehran and Hamadan, and some of them were released after having ensured they would stop all evangelization activities. The four arrested in Hamad instead have been imprisoned in the Hamadan prison, in the fourth section, and the women’s section. All were placed in isolation for forty days before being transferred to the Hamadan prison, and in that period could not be contacted by families. But in the meantime, the courts have not yet explained why they were imprisoned, or brought specific allegations against them.

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

Saudi Scholar Proposes “Terror Allowance”

A Saudi Muslim scholar has urged the Gulf Kingdom to introduce what he termed as terrorism allowance following a surge in threats against mosque preachers condemning terrorists, a Saudi newspaper reported on Monday.

The London-based Arabic language daily Alhayat quoted the unnamed scholar as saying he had received threats twice from unknown parties following his sermons at Friday open air prayers denouncing terrorism.

The paper said it talked to several scholars who said they had received threats because of their anti-terror sermons, requested by the government.

“Because of the efficient participation by the preachers in efforts to counter terrorism and combat the deviant groups, we propose that preachers are treated on par with other government sectors,” the preacher told the paper.

“We are asking for terror allowance because many of us have been subject to threats every time we touch on this sensitive issue.”

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck: Fmr. CIA Spy: Iran Will Use Nukes Against Israel, West

My recent interview with Reza Khalili, a former member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards who worked undercover for the CIA, debuted last week on a special edition of the Stakelbeck on Terror show.

Today, a shorter version of the interview aired on CBN’s 700 Club program. In it, Khalili describes the “culture of martyrdom” and jihad that he was indoctrinated with on a daily basis as a member of the Guards.

He also reveals how Iran uses Western mosques to fund and plot terrorism, and says he has “no doubt” that Iran will use nuclear weapons against Israel and the West.

You can watch the story at the above link.

[Return to headlines]

Syria Increases Duty on Luxury Vehicles

(ANSAmed) — ROME, DECEMBER 15 — Syria has increased duties on the import of luxury cars. After the decree by the country’s President, duty on cars with engines of between 3,000 and 4,000 cubic centimetres now stand at 80% of the value at import, while the figure is at 100% for cars with engines above 4,000 cc.

Previously, according to a statement by the Italian Trade Commission in Damascus, the latter had been subject to a duty of 60%.

The order concerns vehicles that represent only 2.2% of the Syrian market, and aims to reduce fuel consumption, the Ministry of Finance says.

Meanwhile, there has been no change to duty on vehicles with small and medium-sized engines, with the figure remaining 40% for up to 1,600 cc and 60% for up to 3,000 cc. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The Ethnic Cleansing of Iran’s Arabs

…a dirty little secret unknown to most of the world, is Iran’s ethnic cleansing of its own minority Arab population.

The ignorance and silence of the world—particularly that of the twenty two member League of Arab States—is absolutely blinding, appalling, and the epitome of hypocrisy. It is long overdue for the selective “poster child” of oppression (the “Palestinians”) to cease to exist, as the world’s cause célébre, and that if real peace is to come in the Middle East, then all Middle Eastern conflicts must be addressed. Whether it is the Arab-Israeli dispute, the Kurds, the Copts, the Maronites, Kashmir, or Iranian territorial designs and its nuclear program, all of these problems must be addressed equally. Regardless, this article would like to concentrate on the plight of the Arabs of Iran, a small quiet minority that has been oppressed for decades with no one to speak for them.


[Read the rest for a history lesson..]

[Return to headlines]

UK: The Observer: Stockholm Bomber’s Mosque Website Carries Links to Banned Preacher


I have no doubt that the Luton Islamic Centre sincerely oppose suicide bombing: on the theological grounds that suicide is always impermissible. However, there is only a hair’s breadth difference between extreme Salafi theology and Al Qaedaism. Support for terrorist attacks on civilians in Israel is near universal among Islamists and Salafis. So is support for attacks on troops (and often, Muslims who are opposed to Islamic states) in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

That doesn’t mean that most Salafis are likely to become terrorists in this country — they’re evidently not. It is even possible that some individuals who might become terrorists are persuaded on theological grounds not to murder people. However, I doubt that a man who has already decided that the Saudi Monarchy is illegitimate that that they are apostates, will be persuaded to return to the straight and narrow by pro-Saudi quietist Salafis.

The policy of promoting Salafis as the front line of defence against Al Qaeda is a misguided one. I doubt it has any benefit at all. Thanks to their efforts, how many British citizens who might otherwise be moderate Liberals, Tories or Labour supporters have been diverted into dreams of the perfect Islamic state, where homosexuals will be killed and women beaten for being raped?

In our free country, Salafis should not be prevented from expressing extreme theological or political views, within the boundaries of the law. However, we should be challenging this politics: not praising or allying with it.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Yemen Gov’t Accused of Killing Coffee Production

(ANSAmed) — ROME, DECEMBER 15 — International experts in the sector, who have been meeting in Sanaa, have accused Yemen’s government of having destroyed coffee growing for which the country was once famed. As cited by the Al Jazeera website, the experts concerned are attendees at the Second International Conference on Natural Arabic Coffee.

Yemen lacks a clear strategy for saving coffee cultivation from demise. The experts’ accusation is that the industry is being administered by people who are ignorant of its importance as a source of hard currency. Coffee exportation in 2009 stood at 2,527 tonnes and had a total value of 1.548 billion Yemeni rials — equal to around 700 million dollars, which showed a decrease on the 3,534 tonnes and value of 2.618 billion rials in 2006.

According to Farouk Kasim, the General Director of Yemen’s Agriculture Ministry, this fall in exports is due to the reduction in the areas available and the increase in those used for growing khat (a stimulant) as well as to an increase in internal consumption and migration of young people into the cities, thus depriving farms of their workforces. But in the view of Imad Al Insy, General Secretary of Yemeni Farmers, the Agriculture Ministry is an old institution that isn’t up to the challenge of its task, where 75 percent of its personnel on have elementary school education. They can read and write but that’s about it. It is the Agricultural Ministry’s policy errors, Al Insy says, that are at the bottom of the increase in the price of Mocha (the top grade of Yemeni coffee produce) which now stands at 50 dollars a kilo on European markets. Mocha takes its name from the port from which it was shipped in the past.

Due to this corrupt and incompetent administration, says Imad Al Insy, coffee production in Yemen faces an uncertain future.

This is why he is calling for the establishment of an ad hoc Ministry, as has been done in Ethiopia. The other accusations levelled by Al Insy at the Ministry include wasting the few resources made available for coffee cultivation and constructing irrigation dams without first undertaking background studies and establishing an irrigation network.

According to Mansur Al Dhabibi, who teaches Agricultural Science at Sanaa University, the reasons behind the fall in coffee cultivation are to be found in its old plant stocks, lack of water (most of which goes to khat production) and erroneous farming techniques, apart from the lack of promotion for the product either at home or abroad.

The Sanaa conference has also addressed the problem of competition faced by Yemeni-produced coffee, with its markets under pressure from imported brands. Apart from the general economic damage, the abundance of imported coffee in its local markets discourages home-based cultivation, pushing farmers towards other products, says Yasin Al Timimi, Chair of the Consumer’s Association.

Yemen’s Prime Minister, Ali Mijwar, has rejected all of the accusations levelled at his government, affirming that coffee heads the list of the country’s priorities. “We shall continue to view the coffee plant as the national plant, symbolising our culture and our history” Mr Mijwar said. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Interfax-Religion (1)

Talgat Tajuddin, the chairman of the Central Religious Muslim Board, categorically disagrees with remarks by Ravil Gainutdin, the head of the Council of Muftis of Russia, that Islam is being suppressed in Russia.

“It is stupid and blasphemous to talk about suppression of Islam in Russia. What Gainutdin has said is just untrue,” Tajuddin told journalists.

“I have chaired the Central Religious Muslim Board for more than 30 years and can say how everything has changed in the past years. We, the Muslims of Russia, had only 94 mosques, and there were about 300 mosques in the entire USSR. Now there are more than 7,500 mosques here. This means more than seventy-fold growth. There used to be 16 mosques and there are 1,016 of them now in Bashkortostan alone. There were 15 mosques in Tatarstan and there are 1,300 now. What can you talk about here?” Tajuddin told journalists.

There are seven Islamic universities and dozens of madrasahs in Russia. Each mosque has a Sunday school teaching traditional Islam. With support from the presidential secretariat, the Fund in Support for Islamic Culture, Science, and Education has been set up, which provides enormous assistance to Muslims, Tajuddin said.

“By the way, the leader of one of them is [Alexey] Grishin mentioned by Gainutdin. He has been called an Islamophobe. I wish there were more such Islamophobes,” he said. “Gainutdin has never had a monopoly to speak on behalf of all Muslims in Russia. He often travels abroad and tries to speak on behalf of all of our Muslims, although he heads only a small amount of communities,” he said.

“Russia currently needs peace so much as never before. It is unacceptable to rock the boat in which the Most High has gathered us all. This is a sin and a crime in line with the law and the Sharia rule,” he added.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Interfax-Religion (2)

The head of a Russian Jewish association accused one of Russia’s top Muslim clerics of making offensive statements about Russia’s “native population.”

“The negative statements by mufti [Ravil] Gainutdin about the native population of Russia, which is forever drinking, and ‘hard-working migrants’ are, of course, unfair. We resolutely reject this. All nations have different kinds of people in them but one must by no means make any generalizations,” rabbi Zinovy Kogan, chairman of the Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Communities in Russia, told reporters.

“Today secular and religious leaders must be extremely careful in their formulations if they may damage ethnic peace in light of the latest events on Manezhnaya Square,” Kogan said in reference to a violent riot on the square, which lies next to the Kremlin, on December 11.

“In the Interreligious Council of Russia and at bilateral level, we have very good, productive relations with the Muslims,” he said.

On Thursday head of the Russian Council of Muftis Ravil Gainutdin argued at an Interreligious Council meeting that it is essential for Russia to have migrants, most of whom come from other parts of the former Soviet Union, mainly Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and are often targeted in racist attacks.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: British Soldier Takes a Bullet in the Head From a Taliban Sniper to Protect Child

A British soldier who confronted a Taliban insurgent with a human shield was shot in the head after he refused to fire, for fear of hurting the small child.

Brave Lance Corporal Craig Murfitt demonstrated nerves of steel as he watched the sniper take aim and pull the trigger before he was sent flying to the ground.

Luckily Lance Corporal Murfitt’s [helmet] saved him and his refusal to fire saved the innocent child.

The 25-year-old father-of-one said: ‘I knew I could take him down but being a dad myself, I didn’t want to run the risk of killing a kid.’


‘Everything was quiet but then I spotted three men with a child on a compound roof, about 300 yards (275m) to the front of the vehicles.

‘Suddenly two of the men moved off, leaving one man with the child — it was a girl, no more than 10-years-old. At this point I realised something was wrong — the man picked up a rifle and moved behind the child, taking aim at me.


The soldier, known as Murf, could either protect himself and fire — which risked injuring the child — or hold off.

He decided to wait.

‘I knew I could take him down but, being a dad myself, I didn’t want to run the risk of killing a kid and undoing all the good work we’ve achieved,’ he said.

‘So I waited, hoping that the child would drop down and give me a clear shot,’ he said.

But the insurgent fired and struck Lance Corporal Murfitt on the left hand side of his Mark 7 Combat Helmet — a piece of kit already credited with saving lives.

The force of the bullet sent the serviceman, from Barnstaple in Devon, crashing to the floor.

‘I felt the dent in my helmet and said to the others, ‘I’ve been shot in the head but I’m fine’. I tried to stand up but I had disco legs and just had to sit down again for a bit,’ he said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Al Qaeda Militant Killed in Afghanistan Was Amnesty, Cageprisoners, Guardian, Indie Pin Up

by Lucy Lips

Until last year, Mahmoud Abu Rideh was detained in 2001, and placed under a control order in 2005. This is why:

He arrived in Britain in January 1995 and claimed asylum, living off benefits with his wife and five children.

His asylum claim was initially refused because his story was not credible but he appealed and was granted refugee status in November 1998.

On December 19 2001 he was arrested under immigration rules which said he was “an active supporter of various international terrorist groups, including those with links to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network.”

The central allegation was that he had been involved in fund raising and distribution of funds for terrorist groups with links to al-Qaeda as well as procuring false documents and facilitation of the travel for volunteers to training camps in Afghanistan.

Although he was living on benefits, he was said to have raised around £100,000 in just two years, using the Arab Bank in Park Lane to funnel his money to al-Qaeda…


During this eight year period, Abu Rideh was a poster boy for Amnesty, CagePrisoners and the Guardian.

Amnesty ran a campaign against the control order to which Abu Rideh was subject from 2005-9. You can read their output on this case here.

CagePrisoners, whose Director Moazzam Begg believes that “securing the release of Muslim prisoners” captured during jihad is “obligatory” on all Muslims, devoted significant campaigning resources towards this case.


The Guardian also lined up behind poor Abu Rideh. Here’s a nice friendly little piece entitled “A day in the life of a terror suspect”. And here’s a video of the man. There’s loads more.

The Indie also did what they could for the poor man. Here is a nice article by Fisk.

Abu Rideh was persuaded by the Government to leave the country, and go to Syria, on the understanding that he would not return to the United Kingdom. In effect, we exported a known Al Qaeda militant to another country. This really was the only choice left to the Government.

He did not stay in Syria. Instead, he travelled to Afghanistan, to join up with his Al Qaeda brothers.

Over the weekend, an “Arabic jihadi web forum associated with al-Qaeda reports that he has become a “martyr in Afghanistan” and was with a group of fighters when he died”.

As we speak, I expect that Moazzam Begg will be filing the papers in the High Court for a personal injuries claim on behalf of his old friend.


[Be sure to click on the URL. The post is rich with links which do not appear in this news feed item]

           — Hat tip: Derius[Return to headlines]

Bangladeshi ‘Stepson Affair’ Woman Dies After Caning

Two people have been arrested after the death of a Bangladeshi woman who was publicly caned for allegedly having an affair with her stepson, police say.

A group of village elders and clerics sentenced Sufia Begum under Sharia law to 40 lashes for adultery.

The 40-year-old died of her injuries almost a month after the beating in Rajshahi district, her family says.

Bangladesh banned such punishments in the name of religious edicts or fatwas by Muslim clergy earlier this year.

It is thought to be the first case of a fatality linked to a Sharia law punishment since the practice was outlawed.

Two people, including a woman who allegedly took part in the beating, have been arrested. Police say they are looking for four others.

“According to the information we’ve received, village elders tied 10 canes together and beat her four times,” Masud Parvez, an investigating police officer, told the BBC.

Ms Begum was admitted to a hospital in Rajshahi, a city in the district of the same name, with severe injuries a week after the beating, which took place on 12 November in a village in the north-west of the country.

It is not clear why it took so long to take her for medical treatment.

Doctors in Rajshahi recommended she be sent to the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, for further treatment because her injuries were so severe.

But her brother told the BBC the family could not afford to take Ms Begum to Dhaka, and she died on 14 December.

“Her body was swollen and I couldn’t even recognise her,” said Ms Begum’s brother, Taimur Rahman.

Police say it has not yet been established clearly that she died from injuries caused by the caning.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Malaysia Arrests 200 for Following Shia Islam

More than 200 Muslim Shiites—including Iranians, Indonesians and Pakistanis—were detained in one of the biggest swoops on outlawed Muslim sects in Malaysia and may be charged with breaching Islamic laws, an official said Monday.

Government authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia consider only the Sunni denomination to be legal. Sunni Islam is the world’s largest branch of the religion, followed by Shia Islam.

Islamic officials raided a shop house in the Gombak district in central Selangor state last week and arrested the group, who were allegedly followers of the outlawed Shia sect, said Nurhamizah Othman, a public relations officer at the Selangor Islamic Religious Department.

It was the largest swoop of outlawed groups in recent months, the department director, Muhammad Khusrin Munawi, told state media. He said the Shia doctrine is a threat to national security because it permits the killing of Muslims from other sects who are regarded as infidels.

Ms. Nurhamizah confirmed the comments.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Bishop Denounces Rape of 9-Year-Old Catholic Girl

Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad has condemned the rape of a 9-year-old Catholic girl by a Muslim man.

“The incident is terrifying,” he said. “I met the victims and I expressed my regret to them. I believe we must consider a pastoral and legal strategy, in an effort to stem the phenomenon of the abuse of Christian girl.”

“Such incidents occur frequently,” a local source told the Fides news agency. “Christian girls are considered goods to be damaged at leisure. Abusing them is a right. According to the community’s mentality it is not even a crime. Muslims regard them as spoils of war.”

While the man who raped the girl has been arrested, “the family is terrified because the village is mainly Muslim,” Fides reports.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

U.S. Seeks to Expand Ground Raids Into Pakistan Against Militants

Senior American military commanders in Afghanistan are pushing for an expanded campaign of Special Operations ground raids across the border into Pakistan’s tribal areas, a risky strategy reflecting the growing frustration with Pakistan’s efforts to root out militants there.

The proposal, described by American officials in Washington and Afghanistan, would escalate military activities inside Pakistan, where the movement of American forces has been largely prohibited because of fears of provoking a backlash.

The plan has not yet been approved, but military and political leaders say a renewed sense of urgency has taken hold, as the deadline approaches for the Obama administration to begin withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan.

[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sudan Leader Vows to Bolster Islamic Law in North

Sudan’s president has vowed to more deeply entrench strict Islamic Sharia law in the northern half of his country if the predominantly animist and Christian south votes to secede in a Jan. 9 referendum. President Omar al-Bashir’s comments on Sunday appear to reflect his anger at the strong likelihood that the south will vote overwhelmingly in favor of independence from the mainly Arab and Muslim north in the long-awaited referendum. The vote is a key provision agreed on in the 2005 peace accord that officially ended more than two decades of north-south civil war. Al-Bashir will meet the leaders of Sudan’s two most powerful neighbors — Egypt and Libya — in the capital Khartoum Tuesday to discuss the future of his country ahead of the referendum. Al-Bashir is wanted on an international indictment for war crimes in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. With only three weeks left before the vote, al-Bashir appears to be resigned to the secession of the south and also prepared to do away with key provisions of the 2005 peace accord that recognizes Sudan’s ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity. The secession of the south, he said, would be like “losing a part of the homeland, but it will not be the end of the world.” “If the south breaks away, God forbid, the constitution will be amended to have Sharia (Islamic law) as the main source of legislation, Islam the official religion of the state and Arabic the state’s main language,” said al-Bashir, who came to office in a 1989 military coup backed by Islamists. A full-fledged implementation of Sharia law in northern Sudan could create a new point of friction between south and north because hundreds of thousands of non-Muslim southerners live in the north and many of them were expected to stay there even if the south breaks away. Currently, non-Muslims are exempt from harsh, prescribed Sharia punishments.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]


Migrant Crisis in Greece Strains EU Open Borders

Concern over the fate of asylum seekers in Greece has prompted several European Union countries to suspend co-operation with it on migration issues, exposing cracks in the bloc’s wider border-free travel arrangements.

For several months, Greece has faced an unprecedented influx of refugees coming from Asia and Africa via Turkey, as migrants have found a weak link into the EU.

The crisis prompted a rare humanitarian crisis within the EU, which was partly relieved when the European Commission, the EU’s executive, agreed to co-ordinate emergency border patrols in October, the first time it made such an intervention.

But beyond the immediate humanitarian problem, the situation has frayed co-operation on migration matters between the EU’s 27 countries, and triggered the shelving of an agreement seen as a pre-requisite to continued border-free travel within the bloc.

The Schengen pact that abolished internal borders in 1995 stands as one of the achievements of European integration, but it rests on other agreements that are now being strained by the Greek situation, diplomats say.

Specifically, a handful of countries including the UK and Sweden have suspended the implementation of the Dublin convention, which allows EU authorities to send back migrants seeking refuge to the EU country in which they first set foot. The entire convention could be struck down by European courts in 2011 as rulings are made on challenges made on human rights grounds.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Sweden Deporting Christian Refugees From Muslim Countries

Just last week a terrorist explosion tore through Sweden’s capital city Stockholm. Luckily the only person killed was the Muslim terrorist. In Sweden, certain Muslim immigrant neighborhoods are considered “no go” by Swedish police as the Muslim newcomers have established their own societies while living off generous Swedish welfare. In Malmo and certain other regions in Sweden police and other political figures are quiet about violence by Swedish Muslims against Swedish Jews or else they join the leftists blaming the Jewish victims.

Well actually Swedish authorities are responding to this Muslim violence in Sweden — they are deporting Iraqi Christians fleeing their 2000 year homeland seeking refuge in Sweden because of murderous attacks against them by Iraqi Muslims in Iraq. Sweden’s migration minister has refused to respond to concerns from the United Nations and the Council of Europe about Sweden’s decision to resume the deportation of Iraqis. (snip) [T]he European Court of Human Rights is currently “inundated” with cases dealing with Iraqis in Sweden. He urged Sweden to give the court more time to review the cases before resuming the deportation of Iraqis. “It might transpire that requests of some of the returnees have not yet been dealt by the Court,” he concluded,” he said. For these Christians, returning to Iraq might be a death sentence; just last month 52 Iraqi Christians were slaughtered in a Catholic church in Baghdad.

As Barry Rubin and others, such as Joel Sprayregan here at American Thinker have commented, all over the Muslim world Christians and other religious minorities are persecuted and attacked yet there are few world wide complaints.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Turkish ‘Guest Workers’ of Germany: The Changing Facts

At the end of World War II, Germany was in a great mess. Fire bombs and air raids had almost completely destroyed the country. The population of Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city, was reduced from 768,000 to less than 250,000. The same happened in many other German cities in the last two years of the war. Germany’s postcard-picture castles and great cathedrals turned to ruins, while thousands of Germans were displaced. Industrial output was at a standstill, and Germany’s currency was practically worthless. There was a little hope for improvement.

However, after the war, Germany began impressive economic redevelopment. The years after 1950s are known as the beginning of the “German miracle” in modern economic history. In parallel with the economic growth, Germany’s demand for more labor was gradually increased. The shortages of local labor force constituted the ground for labor recruitment agreements between Germany and its neighboring countries, including Italy, Spain, Greece, Yugoslavia and Turkey.

Turkish ‘guest-workers’

The labor recruitment agreement between Turkey and West Germany was signed in October 1961. Following the agreement, thousands of Turks applied for working licenses in Germany and passed a medical fitness test before the arduous journey. Turks boarded special trains in Ankara and Istanbul and were taken to Germany. The workers arrived in Munich and were then distributed among the country’s industrial zones. From 1961 up to 1973, about 650,000 people from Turkey went to Germany. For many years, Germany considered them as “guest workers” and expected that they would return home one day. However, many of them did not only come to work and many decided to stay in Germany, raise a family or bring their family to the Federal Republic. As a consequence, many people with Turkish origin are nowadays living as the second and third generation in Germany.

As a novel development, however, one can observe that more and more especially young and well-educated people, often academics, with a so-called “Turkish background,” have now decided to migrate to Turkey. They were born in Germany, grew up there, ran through the German educational system and are what some people call “integrated” into German society; nevertheless, they have decided to return to their ancestors’ country of origin. So the question that German society and politicians should ask themselves is what makes them want to leave Germany and return to Turkey?

This question is of special relevance; because, in contrast to other German emigrants, they are choosing to leave for their parent’s motherland and do not necessarily migrate due to the curiosity for an unknown way of life. According to a study from the Turkish Academics and Students in Germany, or TASD, 42 percent of the interviewees said they were choosing to go Turkey because they didn’t “feel at home” in Germany. A remarkable majority also questioned the effectiveness of the German government’s integration policy. Other “push-factors” are a group-related discrimination in areas such as job-seeking and flat-hunting, the law for foreigners and visa requirements for Turkish vacationers.

Making sense of it all

Germany should consider this emigration as a loss and evidence of its own incapacity. As the current coalition government highlights that problems of integration are particularly caused by a lack of education, the country needs “mediators” — possibly composed of those that don’t want to live any longer in Germany — between “the Germans” and “the Turks.”…

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

Culture Wars

Gay Rights Campaigners Furious as UN Drops Condemnation of ‘Sexual Orientation’ Killings After Pressure From Arab and African Nations

A culture war has broken out at the United Nations over whether gays should be singled out for the same protections as other minorities whose lives are threatened.

The battle will come to a head tomorrow when the General Assembly votes to renew its routine condemnation of the unjustified killing of various categories of vulnerable people.

It specifies killings for racial, national, ethnic, religious and linguistic reasons and includes refugees, indigenous people and other groups.

But the resolution, because of a change promoted by Arab and African nations and approved at committee level, has dropped ‘sexual orientation’ and replaces it with ‘discriminatory reasons on any basis’.

The U.S. government says it is ‘incensed’ at the change, as are gay rights campaigners.

‘Even if those countries do not support gay rights, you would think they would support our right not to be killed,’ said Jessica Stern of the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

Stern said gay people all over the world are frequent targets of violence because of their sexual orientation.

Authorities in Jamaica are investigating a possible hate crime in the slaying earlier this month of a man who belonged to the sole gay rights group in the conservative, largely Christian nation.

And Uganda, currently among 76 countries that criminalise homosexuality, is debating whether to join the five other countries in the world that consider it a capital crime.

The General Assembly is set for a final vote tomorrow on its biennial resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings — without the reference to sexual orientation for the first time since 1999.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice has said she was ‘incensed’ the reference was removed and the U.S. will move to restore it.

The battle over those two words underscores the historic split over gay rights among UN members and their diverse religious and cultural sensibilities. Activists say gay and lesbian issues got only minimal attention at the UN a decade ago.

‘There has been slow, but steady progress on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights at the U.N.,’ Stern said.

Stern cited as progress Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s ‘landmark’ speech during a gay rights forum at the UN headquarters on December 10, calling for an end to laws around the world that make it a crime to be homosexual.

But as gay rights gain more acceptance in the UN system, some member states are pushing back, said Mark Bromley, of the Washington-based Council for Global Equality, which aims to advance gay rights in American foreign policy.

‘I think some states are uncomfortable and they are organising to limit engagement on the issue,’ he said.

‘We are seeing a backlash,’ agreed Stern.

‘This is an illustration of the tensions around culture at the United Nations, and how power plays out and alliances are made.’

The Republic of Benin, acting on behalf of African countries, introduced the amendment deleting the specific reference to sexual orientation at a November 16 General Assembly committee meeting.

Benin, a largely Christian country of eight million with a sizable Muslim population, argued that ‘sexual orientation had no legal foundation in any international human rights instruments’.

Morocco asserted that such selectivity ‘accommodated particular interests and groups over others’ and urged all UN member states ‘to devote special attention to the protection of the family as the natural and fundamental unit of society’.

Western nations opposed the move to delete the mention of sexual orientation.

Britain called it ‘an affront to human dignity’, and France and Norway said the move was ‘regrettable’.

Sweden said the change amounted to ‘looking the other way’ when people are killed for being gay.

The amendment narrowly passed 79-70, with 17 abstentions. The so-called Third Committee, which deals with human rights issues and includes all 192 UN member states, then approved the entire resolution on all unjustified killings for discriminatory reasons 165-0, with ten abstentions.

General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but rather reflect the views of the majority of the world’s nations.

Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, said the U.S. will introduce an amendment next week to restore the previous language including the phrase ‘sexual orientation’ because ‘this is an issue that is important to us’.

‘We’ve also been doing a great deal of lobbying’ to get the restoration of the phrase approved,’ Kornblau said.

Gay rights and human rights activists also have lobbied missions to the UN in New York in recent days, urging delegations that abstained on the amendment to help restore the mention of sexual orientation.

‘We only need a few more countries and we can change this vote around,’ said Boris O. Dittrich, who directs the programme on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights for the international advocacy group Human Rights Watch.

But gaining the world’s support for gay rights will take far longer.

More than two-thirds of UN members, many of them Muslim nations, are refusing to sign a separate statement condemning human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, especially with regard to the application of the death penalty and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Under the Bush administration in 2008, the U.S. refused to join all other Western nations in signing that declaration, arguing that the broad framing of the language in the statement might conflict with U.S. laws.

After President Barack Obama took office, the U.S.last year joined other member states to support the declaration, saying it found that the language did not conflict with American laws. Sixty-eight of the UN’s members have now signed the declaration. That leaves 124 countries that have not.

           — Hat tip: bewick[Return to headlines]

Germany: Kauder: Gays Have No Right to Children

Volker Kauder, the parliamentary leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, said on Monday that homosexual couples had no right to have children.

“This has to be accepted, even if it’s difficult for those affected,” Kauder told the daily Berliner Zeitung. “I don’t think children wish to be raised by homosexual couples.”

He said the question of children’s well-being should come before the desires of adults to become parents.

“It’s not about whether the adults want to live as a happy family,” he said. “There’s no right to have a child.”

Germany introduced “registered partnerships” for same-sex couples in 2001, but stopped short of granting them the full rights and privileges afforded to married heterosexual couples.

Homosexuals can legally adopt the children of their partners, but adopting an unrelated child as a couple is not currently allowed.

Germany’s highest court ruled in August the unequal treatment of straight and gay partners when it comes to taxes and exemptions is unconstitutional.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Scharrenberger said at the time that Merkel’s centre-right coalition would work towards ironing out remaining disadvantages for same-sex registered couples. But Kauder’s most recent comments highlight the ongoing discrepancy between the Christian Democrats and their junior coalition partners the Free Democrats on gay issues.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

One Battle Won, Gay Rights Activists Shift Sights

WASHINGTON — As gay people around the country reveled on Sunday in the historic Senate vote to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a liberal media watchdog group said it planned to announce on Monday that it was setting up a “communications war room for gay equality” in an effort to win the movement’s next and biggest battle: for a right to same-sex marriage.

The new group, Equality Matters, grew out of Media Matters, an organization backed by wealthy liberal donors — including prominent gay philanthropists — that has staked its claim in Washington punditry with aggressive attacks on Fox News and conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

It will be run by Richard Socarides, a former domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton who has been deeply critical of President Obama’s record on gay rights. A well-known gay journalist, Kerry Eleveld, the Washington correspondent for The Advocate, will leave that magazine in January to edit the new group’s Web site,, which is to go online Monday morning.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Totalitarianism and Education

Between the ages of 16 and 19, virtually all Norwegians attend upper secondary school — an optional, three-year add-on to 13 years of compulsory elementary education. Most opt for public schools over private ones, and a goodly chunk of that group chooses a course plan whose emphasis is on history, social science, and the humanities. As our educators admit, though, Norwegian students would be remiss to expect to actually learn anything about those subjects. This is not an accident caused by the quality of the school system, which the international body PISA has repeatedly found to be among the worst in the developed world — it is a consequence of design. The bureaucrats and intellectuals who create the curriculum for Norway’s State schools, most of whom attended university during the 1960s and 1970s and partook of that era’s student radicalism, agree that the goal of education is not the transmission of knowledge, but the propagation of soixante-huitardisme, relativism, and a bellyfeel hatred of white Europeans.

For influential Norwegian pedagogue Harald F. Skram, for instance, the belief that history constitutes “an objective account of what happened in the past” and the rejection of cultural relativism are both earmarks of low academic historical competence, while “an awareness of how history can be used politically” is a sign of high competence. Harald Syse, writing in the renowned quarterly Prosa, assures us that “it’s been a long time since historical education has had as its only goal to communicate the truth about the past.” (Syse’s piece examines whether a set of newly released history textbooks sufficiently emphasize the oppression of minority groups by ethnic Norwegians, as a State edict has recently required.) Facts, to Syse, are of secondary or tertiary value, subservient to the need for “a broad education in democracy.” In other words: Schools are not to transmit knowledge, which can be inconvenient and unpleasant and is at any rate a mere social construction of late-capitalist phallogocentrism. No, they should instead turn their students into docile paragons of “tolerance” and “open-mindedness,” “tolerance” and “open-mindedness” being acquired mostly through the memorization of a few thought-terminating cliches and the unquestioning acceptance of Cultural Marxism and the therapeutic welfare state. Like all totalitarian institutions, the Norwegian establishment starts its indoctrination as early as possible — even kindergarteners are made to sing songs about the horrors of racism and the need for world government.

Is the agenda of the curriculum reflected in practice? Here I want to resort to my own experiences. My upper secondary school should, by all accounts, be a bastion of conservative fuddy-duddiness. The municipality in which it is situated is one of the wealthiest in the country, regularly giving record electoral percentages to the center-right Conservative Party during general elections; the school’s history goes back to the mid-19th century, and it had a Latin course until less than a decade ago; the faculty consists largely of people who have been with the school for decades, and has shown reluctance towards the use in the classroom of such modern luxuries as laptop computers or the Internet. By rights, they ought to also be at least somewhat reluctant to let go of the apparently outdated notion that the goal of education is to transmit knowledge, not to indoctrinate politically correct bromides. But even this conservative gerontocracy (I use the expression fondly) seems happy to lend a leftward slant to any available subject, as my own fairly recent experiences will demonstrate.

I have heard a history teacher describe Stalinist Russia as a basically benevolent and prosperous society with a few minor problems. I have looked through a school library for a biography of Mao Zedong, only to find it populated exclusively by hagiographies written by 70s radicals. I have had philosophy teachers who have never heard of Friedrich Hayek. I have been told that dialectical materialism is an indisputable fact in which all historians believe. I have, as mentioned, read course plans which openly instruct teachers to fail students who affirm the existence of human nature or objective truth, and to give good grades to those who regard history as a political tool of the ruling classes…

           — Hat tip: AA[Return to headlines]

UK: Football Clubs’ Fury at ‘Sickening’ Plan for Minute’s Silence as Mark of Respect to Paedophile Who Killed Himself

Plans to honour a former football boss found dead following a conviction for sexually abusing boys were scrapped after clubs threatened a boycott.

League officials sparked outrage when they called for a minute’s silence at matches as a mark of respect for Ray Barnes, the former head of the Hampshire FA.

Barnes was found dead after apparently jumping from a multi-storey car park outside a shopping centre last Tuesday.

The minute’s silence had been due to take place at Wessex League football matches across Hampshire on Saturday, but the games were called off due to bad weather.

League chairman Bob Purkiss last night admitted the proposed silence — which he wanted to stage for Mr Barnes’ family — had ‘not been appreciated by many’ and confirmed it would now be dropped.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Virginian: Bar Gays From National Guard

Responding to the federal repeal of the military policy banning open gays from serving in the armed forces, a state lawmaker in Virginia plans to fight back with legislation that bars “active homosexuals” from serving in the Virginia National Guard.

Delegate Robert G. Marshall said the Constitution reserves states with the authority to do so and that he’ll introduce a bill in the state General Assembly next year that ensures the “the effect of the 1994 federal law banning active homosexuals from America’s military forces will apply to the Virginia National Guard.”

“With the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ President Obama seeks to pay back his homosexual political supporters,” the Prince William County Republican said, echoing a sentiment shared by many of the repeal’s most ardent opponents. “This policy will weaken military recruitment and retention, and will increase pressure for a military draft.”


[Return to headlines]


Climate Change CO2 Corruption Caravan Continues at Cancun, Commercially: You Must Pay for Your Sins

Fraud: wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. Fraud: intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right.

A British Gas advertisement says, “The future of Britain’s low carbon energy supply is in safe hands.” ExxonMobil’s advertisement says “we remove CO2 from natural gas by first freezing, then melting it. The captured CO2 may then be safely stored, so it won’t enter the atmosphere, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” How much energy does that take? It means the product costs more and profits increase because the taxpayer subsidizes CO2 injection to increase oil recovery.

The Cancun Climate Conference and most national policies confirm equalization of wealth as the real objective. Everything is based on falsified evidence and completely unnecessary. If a private citizen practiced such deception it would constitute fraud. Despite evidence of manipulated data, corrupted science, false claims, and failed predictions the nonsense continues.


Everything done by the IPCC was designed to prove CO2 was the problem so they created new falsities or doctored evidence to that end. As Princeton Physicist Robert Austin said about Climategate, “I view it as science fraud, pure and simple…” but Climategate was just a continuation.


They’ve done everything to prove CO2 causes warming and climate change, but failed. It is a disgraceful scientific chronicle. I challenge anyone to produce a single real, not computer generated, record that shows a CO2 increase preceding a temperature increase.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Is Night Falling on Classic Solar Panels?

SOLAR cells that work at night. It sounds like an oxymoron, but a new breed of nanoscale light-sensitive antennas could soon make this possible, heralding a novel form of renewable energy that avoids many of the problems that beset solar cells. The key to these new devices is their ability to harvest infrared (IR) radiation, says Steven Novack, one of the pioneers of the technology at the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]