Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110312

»Same Thing Headed Our Way, Scientists Say
»TSA to Retest Airport Body Scanners for Radiation
Europe and the EU
»A Great Wall in Our Minds: Why Italy Risks Missing the Boat on Chinese Tourists
»Bradford Response to EDL is Role Model for UK
»Germany: Judge Bans Unemployed From Playing the Pools
»Moldova’s Forgotten Children, Left Behind by Mass Immigration
»Rape — Has Sweden Got it Wrong?
»UK: Boris Rolls Out the Same Old Tricks
»UK: Corrupt Police Are Blamed for £50m Collapse of Pub Axeman Murder Case
»UK: Ken Livingstone and Lutfur Rahman: Follow the Money
»UK: Ken Livingstone: The Task Ahead
»UK: Quilliam: A Think-Tank We Must Save
North Africa
»Egypt: Sadat Assassination Plotters Released From Prison
Israel and the Palestinians
»Terror Attack in Itamar: 5 Family Members Murdered
South Asia
»Malaysia: Christians Protest, Government Blocks 30 Thousand Bibles in Malay
»Pakistan: Police Try to Downplay Murder of Shahbaz Batthi. Fears for Asia Bibi
Far East
»Another Reactor at Fukushima Nuke Plant Loses Cooling Functions
»Japan Reactor Fuel Rods May Have Begun to Melt, Atomic Safety Agency Says
»Japan Safety Official: Explosion Reported at Nuclear Plant Facing Possible Meltdown
»Japan Sees Lower Radioactivity Level at Plant: IAEA
»Japanese Nuclear Meltdown Confirmed
»Partial Meltdown Likely Under Way at Power Plant, Japanese Official Says
»Italy: More Migrants Land on Southern Lampedusa Island
»UK: The Number One Excuse: Right to a Family Life Lets Foreign Convicts Stay in UK
»UK: Tony Blair Changes His Tune Over Immigration Saying it Produced a ‘Challenge’
»Phyllis Chesler: Turning a Blind Eye to Islam’s Brutal Treatment of Women


Same Thing Headed Our Way, Scientists Say

Northwesterners should pay close attention to the tragedy in Japan, because the same thing is headed our way, scientists say.

Northwesterners should pay close attention to the tragedy in Japan, because the same thing is headed our way, scientists say.

The earthquake that struck Thursday night, followed within minutes by tsunami waves 20 feet high or more, is almost identical to what the Pacific Northwest coast will see when the offshore fault called the Cascadia subduction zone ruptures.

“It’s the best example of what we’re going to have, and I’m sure Japan is more prepared than we are,” said John Vidale, head of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington.

The Cascadia fault last ruptured in 1700, generating a magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami that might have been bigger than the one that battered Japan. Major earthquakes on the Cascadia fault occur every 400 to 500 years, though some new evidence suggests they could be much more frequent.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

TSA to Retest Airport Body Scanners for Radiation

The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner that emits ionizing radiation — 247 machines at 38 airports — after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.


Some lawmakers remain concerned, however.

The TSA “has repeatedly assured me that the machines that emit radiation do not pose a health risk,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a written statement Friday. “Nonetheless, if TSA contractors reporting on the radiation levels have done such a poor job, how can airline passengers and crew have confidence in the data used by the TSA to reassure the public?”

She said the records released Friday “included gross errors about radiation emissions. That is completely unacceptable when it comes to monitoring radiation.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

A Great Wall in Our Minds: Why Italy Risks Missing the Boat on Chinese Tourists

Chinese tourists offer European countries a major new source of revenue, but Italians are too slow to catch on

Chinese tourists have quietly surpassed their American and Japanese counterparts to become the biggest foreign traveler spenders in Italy. Last year, some one million Chinese came to visit, each spending on average 869 euros.

The remaining 249 million well-off Chinese, who now have practically the same purchasing power as the European middle class, stayed home — or went somewhere else.

Booming Chinese tourism is an opportunity that Italy, which is struggling to kick-start its economy, should jump at. And yet, politicians are silent on the topic. The government has yet to come up with a new system to help funnel arrivals in Italy from Beijing or Shanghai — and the study of mandarin as a foreign language in Italian schools is still considered an exotic idea.

Our system continues to look at the Chinese through an obsolete lens: seeing them as potential illegal immigrants hocking counterfeit bags and sweaters on the streets of Naples, or huddled in Prato, the textile-producing town near Florence that hosts Italy’s largest Chinese community.

At Beijing’s Embassy in Rome, officials recount how Chinese citizens who fly business-class and stay in five-star hotels face long waits to get their visas to travel to Milan for some high-end shopping. As a result, many choose Paris, London or Frankfurt: not only do they get a visa more easily, they are also greeted with a tailor-made welcome.

This tale of Chinese tourists who step across the Great Wall and land in Europe on the hunt for leather goods and watches is a paradigm of Italy’s need for new eyes. While we find comfort in old stereotypes, the world around us is changing at an incredible pace, so much so that Ferrari chose Shanghai for the presentation of its top car and Prada decided to be listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange rather than Milan’s.

The leap we must take is a cultural one, if we are to stay on the new global tourism map. We must understand that not just Chinese, but also Russian, Brazilian and Indian tourists are a great opportunity when they come knocking on our door.

But we must also understand what it is that they want from us. When they pick Italy, these new tourists are not thinking about the Uffizi, or the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua (the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Venice are actually an exception). They are not hungry for archeology or Baroque churches, but rather for our fashion, our design, our wine. They have another Italy in mind, they want to come here and take a little bit of our way of life, our taste for fashion, to be a part of Italian style.

We now find sushi on the counters of Italian cocktail bars during the evening’s aperitif, and this makes us feel very cosmopolitan. But in Shanghai and Hong Kong, the hip people go have a drink at the bars of luxury hotels, where they are served French or Italian wine as they nibble on trays of Parmigiano, Gorgonzola, Camembert or Taleggio cheese. “Wine is the new tea,” I read in an English-language Chinese magazine last week. The fact that wine bars are mushrooming in virtually every Chinese city confirms the trend.

The force behind this cultural revolution is mostly people in their 30s and 40s who live in big cities. Their dream is to come to Italy to buy Zegna suits, Ferragamo shoes and Prada and Gucci bags, play golf along Lake Como, gamble in the Venice casinos and visit wine cellars in Tuscany and Piedmont.

This is the path they believe can lead them toward becoming sophisticated citizens of the world — and we are talking millions of potential new visitors. It would serve all of us well, as well as the ‘Made in Italy’ brand, to make this path as smooth as possible and lose our fears and snobbery. We must find the courage and the far-sightedness to tear down the Great Wall in our heads, our bureaucracy, our investments — and in the way we think about tourism and our country’s future.

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

Bradford Response to EDL is Role Model for UK

A film of Bradford’s highly-praised response to the extremist English Defence League invasion last summer (right) is to travel the country as a teaching tool on how to deal with Far Right factions.

Flashback to the police handling of the EDL protest in Bradford

Yesterday more than 100 people including civic, policing and community leaders in the city met at the National Media Museum to watch the first public screening of it.

The half-hour documentary, made by racial justice group JUST West Yorkshire and commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, will now be made available to other cities and towns across the country to help plan robust strategies should they face similar situations.

The film, called When Hate Came To Town, which includes interviews with EDL supporters as well as those opposed to them, was being shown at the first of a series of seminars being organised by Bradford Resource Centre to get the city’s public and leaders talking about issues affecting them.

Bradford South Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Alison Rose, a speaker at the meeting, said it was important Bradford people were being given the opportunity to talk about what happened.

Even before the DVD was produced, other police forces across the country were set to follow the city’s example for planning operations ahead of potentially-volatile events, and the Home Office had requested detailed feedback from West Yorkshire Police to uphold as “best practice”.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Judge Bans Unemployed From Playing the Pools

(AGI) Berlin — A judge in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous laander, banned the unemployed from playing the pools. Die Welt reports the sentence passed by a Cologne judge, who ordered football pools sellers in his region to accept no more bets from receivers of the “Hartz IV” unemployment pay of 364 euro per month. Those who break the order are liable to a 250,000 euro fine.

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

Moldova’s Forgotten Children, Left Behind by Mass Immigration

The untold tragedy of mass immigration out of Europe’s poorest country of Moldova is that of the some 10,000 children left behind in orphanages by their migrant worker parents.

The father works as a bricklayer in Russia, the mother is a maid in Italy, and the youngest daughter is growing up in a state orphanage in the remote village of Ciniseuti in Moldova, close to the Ukrainian border.

This is the untold story: the tragic consequence of immigration out of Moldova. Some 10,000 Moldovan children live in orphanages, but only some 10 percent are there because their parents have died. The remaining children have been left there by their families while they earn a living abroad. They wait for better days, and biscuits from Italy.

Moldovan Liuba Bourosu tries not to cry as she prepares the dinner. Working as a maid in the northern city of Turin, she has left her young daughter in an orphanage back home. “Victoriza wrote to me that they give her three pieces of bread a day. I cry when I eat, and I think about her all the time.” There are 2,150 kilometers between the modest building in the Turin suburbs, where Liuba lives with her elderly employer, and her daughter. But getting back home to Victoriza is an even longer journey.

Going back to Moldova is like travelling back in time. “No one understands just how painfully backwards my country is and that overpowering greyness,” warns Elena Putina, a member of “Speranza” (Hope), an association of Moldovans in Italy.

The Moldovan capital of Chisinau is just 97 km from Cisineuti, where Victoriza lives, but to get there by road takes three hours by car. On leaving the capital, the roads soon disintegrate into a mess of potholes and ice. “The infrastructure is represents Moldova very well,” says our local guide Vitalie Pralea. “Once, a German engineer who came here made a U-turn, convinced he had gone the wrong way. He couldn’t believe this was a real road. But you have to have faith, and go on.”

It is minus eleven degrees. The countryside is empty apart from the odd statue of the Madonna, stray dogs and woodcutters sheltering in their makeshift sheds. Every now and then, donkey-pulled carts, an old Lada or a wrecked bus passes by. In Moldova everyone regrets something. Some Communism, others for not having obtained dual citizenship with Romania before it joined the European Union in 2008. Locals explain that if you have a Romanian passport you can travel freely everywhere in Europe. “Otherwise,” says one, “you have to pay 5,000 euros to the mafia to arrange your trip. And then you cannot return.”

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. It has the highest emigration rate, with one out four Moldovans currently living abroad. It also has the highest number of alcoholics in Europe, according to a recent survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO). But Vitalie was right, at the end of road Ciniseuti eventually emerges out of the mist. A Soviet era panzer tank is parked at the entrance of the village. Moldova’s orphanages were originally set up for children who lost their parents in World War II.

Ciniseuti has one shop and two churches. Some workers are installing the first three electricity poles in the small main street. At the end of the street, under the snow, there is Victoriza’s home.

The teacher is happy to announce the visit. Liuba’s daughter is blonde and pale. She is almost 14-years-old and a carbon copy of her mother. “Good morning,” she says shyly. She shows us her room, where there are nine beds, after having asked for the key from a lady dressed in a green apron. There are no drawers, ornaments, toys, clothes or pen and pencils, but the room is very tidy, clean, and almost warm, even if the temperature is not warm. Inside the orphanage, many children are wearing caps and coats. “I know that there is no other way. Every month my mother sends a package with money and food. Once, she even sent a cell phone. I am very thankful to her, but I miss her. I want to see her,” says the young girl.

Victoriza has a friend with the same name and two dreams. “I want to be a nurse and to go to Egypt. I have never been away from here, but I like the idea of a hot place,” she says. Her face is at once tough and baby-like. She does not want her mother to worry about her. “Here we have everything we need to live and study. The problem of the bread is not important. But I would like to be able to live in Moldova in my family’s house, with enough money to live all together.”

In the basement, there is a library and a gym, which is just an empty room. Andrej and Petru are playing there, throwing rubber-balls back and forth. The orphanage houses 130 children. One of them looks at us hopefully and says, “Maybe they have come to bring us shoes”. Some of them stare, others look down. The orphanage’s director, Ion Corovai, allows us to take pictures of Victoriza and her classmates. “They are invisible kids. A photo can only be helpful for them,” he says. He points out a mosaic on the floor of the entrance that includes the date of construction. “It was 1972. Since then, there have been no renovations,” he says.

State funding for the orphanages is pitiful: three euros ($4) a day for each orphan, everything included. “No one knows anything about these children,” we say to Mr Corovai. He replies with a disarming smile, “No one knows anything about Moldova. It’s like it doesn’t exist on the world map.”

Before arriving at Ciniseuti, we visited three other orphanages, those of Carpineni, Chisinau 2 and Chisinau 5. They are all alike: barely heated, old barracks, full of children, disciplined like soldiers. A teacher’s average salary is 100 euros ($139) a month. The Moldovan government considers these orphanages an embarrassment that have to be removed. The European Union has asked they be closed, as a pre-condition of Moldova’s admission to the EU.

Victoriza will see her mother soon. Finally, Liuba Bouroso has all her documents. At Easter, she will be able to go home. They will have seven days to together, before having to say goodbye, once again.

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

Rape — Has Sweden Got it Wrong?

The ongoing case to extradite WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange from the UK to Sweden, where he is accused of sexual assault and rape, has triggered a major debate about the issue of sexual consent.

“Talk about it,” or in Swedish prataomdet, has become the expression of the moment. It is everywhere — on Twitter, in blogs, newspaper columns, and radio and television shows — while the debate on the sexual “grey area” or the limits of what should occur between the sheets when two people go to bed together has become a major issue in the Swedish media.

Johanna Koljonen was the first to launch the discussion. The freelance journalist who is regular contributor to cultural pages and TV shows in Sweden was talking about the Julian Assange case on Twitter on 14 December, at a time when the world’s press was focused on the extradition case against the WikiLeaks co-founder and the allegations made by two Swedish women who accused him of rape, sexual assault and coercion.

One of Johanna Koljonen’s correspondents remarked that the view in the UK was that affair was simply a legal error and the real victim was Assange himself. At 18:07 pm, Johanna Koljonen responded with a more personal message on the subject: “The fact is that I found myself in a similar situation, but I was too naive to understand that I could at least impose some limit…” The discussion continued, and half an hour later Johanna returned to the subject with this explicit admission: “In fact, I am bit shocked to find myself saying this, but it’s only now that I realise that I myself have had an experience of “sex by surprise.”

The boundary between assault and bad sex

And thereafter, in a series of 140 character tweets, she told the story of a night when she voluntarily went to bed with a man, who the following morning took advantage of the fact that she was only half awake “to change the rules of the game:” that is to say to penetrate her without using a condom. When she became aware of what was happening, she felt reluctant to interrupt the act — it was exactly the situation described by one of the two Swedish women who has accused Julian Assange. But Johanna explained that she did not file a complaint. “Because I was not aware that I had a right to impose absolute limits […] to stipulate limits for a partner with whom I had already had sex.”…

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

UK: Boris Rolls Out the Same Old Tricks

It’s over three years since Boris Johnson first ran against Ken Livingstone for Mayor of London, but his new attack website suggests that almost nothing has changed in his approach to fighting the former mayor. His old criticisms of Ken from 2008 are not so much trotted out as dragged out, nobbled and lifeless, on to the race course. Livingstone’s support for the unions, controversial left-wing politicians and Islam are all limped out, with multiple links to posts by Andrew Gilligan completing the Wadley-era Evening Standard feel.

To the surprise of approximately zero Londoners, we are told that Ken is a fan of Hugo Chávez, various Muslim leaders and the occasional junket. Who knew? In fact, give or take a couple of references to Press TV and the fascinating subject of internal Labour Party politics in Tower Hamlets, the entire website could have been written back in 2008. In this alternate universe, the past three years have never happened. And so, while Ken is attacked for his large numbers of press officers and his huge pay-offs to “cronies”, Boris’s large numbers of press officers and his huge pay-off to one of his own “cronies” fall down the memory hole.

Because the truth is that, while Boris campaigned against Livingstone’s formula for being Mayor of London, it is a formula to which, by and large, he has kept. So, Ken’s international embassies, or “Kenbassies”, as the Tories called them, have largely stayed, as have the travel concessions for young people that the Tories deemed so unacceptable just a few years ago. Ken’s staged battles with his own party leadership have been replaced with Boris’s staged battles with Tory chiefs. And Ken’s outrageous jokes and comment about totalitarian leaders have been replaced with Boris’s outrageous jokes and comments about other totalitarian leaders…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Corrupt Police Are Blamed for £50m Collapse of Pub Axeman Murder Case

[Comments: WARNING: Graphic Content.]

Police have admitted corruption in the Met was a ‘debilitating factor’ in the £50million collapse of one of Britain’s most horrific unsolved murder cases.

The latest attempt to gain justice for the killing 24 years ago of private investigator Daniel Morgan fell apart in farce yesterday after evidence from supergrasses was discredited.

Mr Morgan, 37, was hacked to death with an axe outside a pub. There have been five separate investigations at a cost to the taxpayer of £50million.

After prosecutors offered no evidence against three men yesterday, a Scotland Yard officer ‘sincerely’ apologised to Mr Morgan’s family. He said police corruption during the initial investigation in 1987 was a key reason that no one had ever been convicted.

The first investigation is feared to have seen the real killers shielded by corrupt officers.


Critics say the failure of the case throws up serious questions about such deals. Mr Morgan’s family called for a judicial review into the collapse, saying: ‘The criminal justice system is not fit for purpose.’

Outside the Old Bailey yesterday, Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell apologised to the family.

He said: ‘This current investigation has identified, ever more clearly, how the initial inquiry failed the family and wider public.

‘It is quite apparent that police corruption was a debilitating factor in that investigation. This was wholly unacceptable.’…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Ken Livingstone and Lutfur Rahman: Follow the Money

Ken Livingstone’s decision last year to campaign against his own party and for a man, Lutfur Rahman, expelled by Labour for his links to Islamic extremism, puzzled many people. There didn’t seem much in it for Ken. Indeed, it is likely to cost him votes. Lutfur won the election as an independent and his fiefdom is fulfilling the gloomy predictions made about it — most recently with unprecedented outbreaks of homophobic hatred in the council chamber. Now I think I can help solve the mystery. Whenever Ken endorses someone questionable (think, for example, of his role as a presenter on Iranian state TV, defending the Tehran regime) it’s usually because they’ve paid him.

Last February, Freedom of Information requests now reveal, Tower Hamlets council, under Lutfur’s leadership before he was expelled, gave Ken £2,000 of public money for an evening’s work. It was a “personal appearance” at an event to mark National Apprenticeship Week. Nice apprenticeship if you can get it! Other personality recipients of Tower Hamlets’ largesse under Lutfur were Barbara Windsor (£13,000), Esther Rantzen (£4,000), the comedian Shoppi Khorsandi (£8,050) and the child advocate Camila Batmanghelidjh (£1,000). You’ll notice that all the others are either celebrities or charities. Ken, however, was a working politician seeking re-election as Mayor. Ken may indeed have brought (unintentional) merriment to millions — but is he really worth twice Camila Batmanghelidjh, or indeed a sixth of Barbara Windsor?

PS A fascinating insight into Livingstone fans’ sensitivities over the extremist issue was provided the other day in a piece by Adam Bienkov, one of Ken’s online groupies, who glosses the great man’s activities in this area as “support for Islam.” It’s not Ken’s “support for Islam” that anyone serious objects to, is it? It’s his support for a particular kind of Islam.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Ken Livingstone: The Task Ahead

As promised on Monday I’ve had a closer look at the recent You Gov poll of Londoners. It contained mixed news for Ken Livingstone. It was encouraging for him in that it showed him slightly ahead of Boris Johnson — by 45% to 43% — when respondents were asked to choose between the two of them, the as yet unselected Liberal Democrat candidate and “some other candidate.” Less encouraging for Ken was the finding that if offered a choice between him and Boris only, Boris came out ahead — by 45% to 42%.

This hints that more second preference votes would go to Boris, and could swing a close result his way. The other bit of bad news for Ken was that his ratings lagged far behind those for Labour as a party when respondents were asked how they would vote in a general election. You Gov’s Anthony Wells wrote:

The reasons for the difference between Labour’s big lead at Westminster and almost non-existent lead for the mayoralty is partly down to the Liberal Democrat vote, which breaks in Johnson’s favour, and partly down to there being more “Labour for Boris” voters than there are “Tories for Ken”.

Who are those “Labour for Boris” voters? The finer detail of the You Gov poll breaks down its findings according to social class. Intriguingly, this shows that for both mayoral questions Boris led Ken among social groups C2, D and E — the skilled and unskilled working classes and the unemployed — while the reverse is true of groups A, B and C1, who are the upper, professional and managerial classes (see the last two columns on page 2). This inverts the “natural” pattern of party affiliations and is also at odds with equivalent findings for the Westminster part of the You Gov poll.

What’s going on? It could be that the poll is slightly rogue — even You Gov, which predicted the last mayoral election result exactly correctly, can’t be completely immune to that. Or it could be a helpful indicator of where Ken is recovering from his 2008 defeat and where he is not. Out-polling Boris among the more affluent Londoners is a good sign for him: Post-2008 analysis by the GLA shows that Ken lost ground among these groups in 2008 compared with the previous election in 2004, which he won. The support of the middle-classes is vital to mayoral success. London is full of them: close to 60 percent of its population falls into that category.

More sobering for Ken is the possibility that those “Labour for Boris” voters are concentrated among the C2s, Ds and Es and are the same “natural” Labour voters who preferred Boris in 2008. The GLA analysis found that Ken strengthened his position with those working-class voters as a whole. But work by Ipsos-MORI on results in predominantly working-class electoral wards in 2008 found a relationship between mayoral candidate performance and ethnicity. Basically, the “whiter” the make up of the working-class ward the better Boris did.

I stress that the new You Gov poll findings do not tell us if those “Labour for Boris” voters are white and working class, but the 2008 results suggest it’s possible that they mainly are. Certainly, Ken needs to attract a greater share of support among that group than in 2008 as well as keeping on persuading the middle classes — and Lib Dem voters — if he’s to make the most of his chance of winning next year.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Quilliam: A Think-Tank We Must Save

In a week in which events in Libya have again made us aware of how desperately the people of the Muslim world are crying out for liberty and democracy, how depressing it was to hear that the anti-Islamist Quilliam Foundation could face closure. David Cameron told the Community Security Trust just last week that “one of the most immediate threats to the security of the Jewish people comes from the existence of a political ideology which I call Islamist extremism. We must be clear what we mean by this term and distinguish it from Islam.” No organisation in Britain has done more to clarify this distinction.

Under the leadership of Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain, Quilliam has dissected the ideology of Islamism with impressive rigour and taken on its British apologists. Its reports on extremism in British prisons, British mosques and the BNP have helped shape a new sophistication in the debate on the politics of identity and extremism. At the same time, people associated with the think-tank have been dubbed traitors and neo-cons by people within the Muslim community who should know better.

Within the Home Office itself, Quilliam also had its enemies in those who argued for closer dialogue with Islamic radicals. Now, despite everything David Cameron has said about the consequences of sectarianism, it looks like the forces of reaction and intolerance could yet win out. Quilliam has its friends within the Jewish community (although the organisation may not thank me for saying so) and they are needed now more than ever. The terrible irony of Quilliam’s predicament is that it has always resisted offers of generous funding from “enlightened” figures from the Gulf. The reason? The think-tank was not prepared to shift to a more critical position on Israel.

The cut in Home Office funding is so severe that Quilliam could struggle to survive the summer. This would be a terrible indictment of a government that claims to be committed to the fight against radicalism and of those in the wider British community who failed to step in to help. It will be nothing short of a catastrophe for community cohesion if Quilliam is forced to close its doors.

[JP note: There are many good reasons for letting the Quilliam Foundation go to the wall — not the least of which is the name of the organisation itself: there was always something opaquely peculiar about the choice of a nineteenth-century Christian convert to Islam, Abdullah Quilliam, who founded England’s first mosque and Islamic centre, as standard bearer for a putative attempt to counter Islamic radicalism. It does not add up and one might wish to conclude that this foundation is just one more of those supposedly-moderate vehicles for spearheading the soft jihad into the soft belly of British insouciance. Those who suggest otherwise are engaging in wishful thinking, or even worse, dhimmitude.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Sadat Assassination Plotters Released From Prison

Cairo, 11 March (AKI) — Two cousins held for for their involvement in the 1981 assassination of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat have been released from prison, according to state-owned Egyptian daily Al Ahram.

Abboud and Tarek el-Zomor were convicted in 1984 of helping plot the assassination and of belonging to the banned Islamic Jihad group, but not actually killing Sadat.

They given the maximum sentence allowed in Egypt totalling 20 years behind bars.

Tareq al-Zomor’s sentence ended in 2003. Abbud, at the time a senior military was also due to be released but was kept in jail.

A ruling military council has been running Egypt since its longterm autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak resigned last month after almost 30 years in power. He imposed a state of emergency soon after Sadat assassination in 1981.

Sixty-nine additional inmates whose sentences have expired have served are expected to be freed under the same order that freed the el-Zomor cousins. They will be subjected to a five-year surveillance period.

The order was published by the official Egyptian news agency.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

Terror Attack in Itamar: 5 Family Members Murdered

Police suspect armed terrorist entered house in West Bank and stabbed couple along with 3 children; 2 other children escape unharmed.

Five [Jewish] family members were found murdered in their residence in the West Bank Itamar settlement Friday overnight, after a suspected terrorist broke and entered the house and stabbed the five to death. Two children managed to escape and survived the attack, Army Radio reported.

A Magen David Adom team that arrived at the scene at 1:00 a.m. announced a couple, their 11-year old child, 3-year-old toddler, and a one-month baby girl dead from stabbing wounds.

Palestinian media on Saturday reported that a faction of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the stabbing incident.

Residents of the settlement reported that shots were heard in the area and that the terrorist succeeded in fleeing from the scene.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Malaysia: Christians Protest, Government Blocks 30 Thousand Bibles in Malay

The Christian Federation of Malaysia express the disappointment, anger and despair of Christians in a statement: “It would seem that the authorities are conducting an ongoing program, surreptitiously and systematically against Christians in Malaysia, denying them access to the Bible in the Malay language. “ The block tied to the controversy on the use of the word “Allah” to refer to God

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The largest Christian organization in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, said it is “fed up” of the government’s refusal to allow the distribution of tens of thousands of Bibles. It argues that it is an affront to religious freedom. It is a rare protest by the Christian Federation of Malaysia. It ‘s also a sign of growing impatience among the religious minorities, over the dispute, now years old, on the government ban on the use of the word “Allah” as a translation of the word “God” in the Bible and Christian religious texts in the Malay language.

Federation president, Bishop Ng Moon Hing said that the authorities are holding 30 thousand copies of the Bible in Malay in a port of the island of Borneo. This is the latest attempt by Christians to import Bibles, particularly from Indonesia, after previous attempts failed. There are no problems for texts in English.

The Federation has issued a statement in which says that “Christians are greatly disillusioned, tired and irritated” by the continuing blockade of Bibles. “It would seem that the authorities are conducting an ongoing program, surreptitiously and systematically against Christians in Malaysia, denying them access to the Bible in Malay language.”

The Interior Ministry has not responded. The government on similar occasions in the past has admitted that there was a prohibition, but argued that it was the fault of the importer who had failed to fulfil certain formalities. In reality the problem stems from the government’s position that the use of the term ‘Allah’ in non-Muslim texts might confuse Muslims, and even lead to conversion to Christianity. Almost two thirds of the 28 million people are Malay Muslims, while 25% are Chinese and 8% are Indians. Ethnic minorities are overwhelmingly Christians, Buddhists and Hindus.

In December 2009 a court ruled that Christians have the constitutional right to use the terme “Allah”. The government has appealed against the verdict, but no hearing has yet been set. The Court’s decision in January 2010 caused temporary tensions, and anger of Muslim extremists. Eleven churches were attacked. The Catholic Church has reissued a Latin- Malaysian dictionary more than 400 years old to prove the ancient use of the word “Allah” in a Christian sense in the country. (22/01/2011 400 year-old Malaysian-Latin Dictionary: proof of use of the word Allah)

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

Pakistan: Police Try to Downplay Murder of Shahbaz Batthi. Fears for Asia Bibi

Puzzling statements by the Inspector General of Police who claims, assassination motivated by “personal enmity”. Bishop of Islamabad highly critical: “ Islamabad police are trying to find a scapegoat to save themselves, and coveru p their failure.” Asia Bibi upset, fears for her life.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) — Recenet statements by the inspector General of Police, Wajid Ali Durrani, reveal a worrying attempt to cover up the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistani minister for minorities. The inspector said in a press conference that the Catholic minister, threatened several times by radical Muslims for his position on the blasphemy law may have been killed because of a “personal enmity”. “We are examining the details of the situation, since he had bad relations with some local groups,” said the inspector, adding that a more detailed report will be issued soon.

The bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Mgr. Anthony Rufin has rejected the statement out right, saying it is motivated by the “failure of the Islamabad police to arrest the culprits. They are trying to direct attention in another direction. The police in Islamabad are trying to find a scapegoat to save themselves, and hide their failure. It is clear that Shahbaz Bhatti was under threat from extremists. He was martyred for speaking in favour of an amendment of the blasphemy law. “

The bishop adds: “Previously, the Interior Minister Rehman Malik has tried to escape responsibility by saying that his ministry was not in charge of providing an armoured car, the Cabinet of Ministers has however said that it had instructed the Ministry of Interior to give Bhatti a bulletproof vehicle. This tragic event has united Christians throughout Pakistan. The game of the shirking responsibilities, or attempts to deflect the issue will not affect our struggle. We will not let the blood of this martyr be spilt in vain”.

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman wrongly accused of blasphemy, and whose case sparked the controversy in Pakistan that led to the killing of Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, (01/04/2011 Punjab governor assassinated, he had called for Asia Bibi’s pardon) and Bhatti, is in a state of shock after the assassination of the minister. She fears for her life. According to the “Masihi Foundation”, Asia Bibi is “fasting and praying. News of the killing have hit her hard, and she now fears of being killed within the walls of the prison. We are doing everything we can to assure its security. “

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

Far East

Another Reactor at Fukushima Nuke Plant Loses Cooling Functions

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday another reactor of its quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plants had lost its cooling functions, while at least 15 people at a nearby hospital were found to have been exposed to radioactivity.

The utility supplier notified the government early Sunday morning that the No. 3 reactor at the No. 1 Fukushima plant had lost the ability to cool the reactor core. The reactor is now in the process of releasing radioactive steam, according to top government spokesman Yukio Edano.

It was the sixth reactor overall at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants to undergo cooling failure since the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck Japan on Friday.

The disaster raised fears over radioactive leaks from the plants after cooling systems there were hampered, most seriously at the No. 1 reactor.

An explosion Saturday at the No. 1 plant blew away the roof and the walls of the building housing the No. 1 reactor’s container.

The government and nuclear authorities said there was no damage to the steel container housing the troubled No. 1 reactor, noting that the blast occurred as vapor from the container turned into hydrogen and mixed with outside oxygen.

Tokyo Electric Power has begun new cooling operations to fill the reactor with sea water and pour in boric acid to prevent an occurrence of criticality. Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said in a press conference Sunday morning that there had been no major changes in the results of monitoring radioactivity near the No. 1 reactor.

Following the explosion, the authorities expanded from 10 kilometers to 20 km the radius of the evacuation area for residents living in the vicinity of the Fukushima plants.

The Fukushima prefectural government said Saturday that three people had their clothes contaminated with radioactive substances while fleeing from the No. 1 nuclear plant.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Sunday that 15 people were found to have been contaminated at a hospital located within 10 km from the No. 1 reactor. Edano said there was a possibility that nine people who fled on a bus had been exposed to radioactivity.

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Japan Reactor Fuel Rods May Have Begun to Melt, Atomic Safety Agency Says

A nuclear reactor in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station about 220 kilometers (140 miles) north of Tokyo may be starting to melt down after Japan’s biggest earthquake on record hit the area yesterday.

Fuel rods at the No. 1 reactor at the plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. may be melting after radioactive Cesium material left by atomic fission was detected near the site, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, spokesman Yuji Kakizaki said by phone today.

“If the fuel rods are melting and this continues, a reactor meltdown is possible,” Kakizaki said. A meltdown refers to a heat buildup in the core of such an intensity it melts the floor of the reactor containment housing.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Japan Safety Official: Explosion Reported at Nuclear Plant Facing Possible Meltdown

SENDAI, Japan — A nuclear power plant affected by a massive earthquake is facing a possible meltdown, an official with Japan’s nuclear safety commission said Saturday.

Adding to the anxiety of a country rocked by a historic earthquake and a massive, deadly tsunami, an explosion was reported near one of the country’s crippled nuclear reactor stations.

Ryohei Shiomi said that officials were checking whether a meltdown had taken place at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant’s Unit 1, which had lost cooling ability in the aftermath of Friday’s powerful earthquake.

Japanese broadcaster NHK was reporting early Saturday morning Tokyo Electric Power Company says an explosion was heard at its nuclear power plant in quake-hit Fukushima Prefecture, but details remain unknown.The company also said several workers were injured.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Japan Sees Lower Radioactivity Level at Plant: IAEA

(Reuters) — Japan told the U.N. atomic watchdog there was an initial increase in radioactivity around a quake-hit nuclear plant on Saturday but levels “have been observed to lessen in recent hours,” the Vienna-based agency said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had also been informed by Japanese authorities that Saturday’s explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi plant occurred outside the primary containment vessel, not inside.

“The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has confirmed that the integrity of the primary containment vessel remains intact,” it said in a statement that is likely to be seen as positive for efforts to contain the damage.

An explosion severely damaged the main building of the plant earlier on Saturday in the wake of the massive earthquake, causing radiation to leak from the facility, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

The government insisted radiation levels were low, saying the blast had not affected the reactor core container.

Japan has reported that four workers at Fukushima Daiichi were injured by the explosion, the IAEA said.

It said about 140,000 people have so far been evacuated from areas near Fukushima Daiichi and another nuclear power plant.

“Evacuations around both affected nuclear plants have begun,” the statement said.

In a 20-km radius around Fukushima Daiichi an estimated 110,000 people have been evacuated. In a 10-km radius around Fukushima Daini about 30,000 people have been evacuated.

“Full evacuation measures have not been completed,” the IAEA said.

Japan’s nuclear safety agency earlier said the nuclear accident was less serious than both the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Workers pumped sea water into the reactor to cool it.

“As a countermeasure to limit damage to the reactor core, TEPCO proposed that sea water mixed with boron be injected into the primary containment vessel,” the IAEA said.

“This measure was approved by Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the injection procedure began at 20:20 local Japan time.”

The blast at the nuclear plant raised fears of a meltdown at the power facility, but experts said Japan should not expect a repeat of Chernobyl.

[Return to headlines]

Japanese Nuclear Meltdown Confirmed

As we accurately reported earlier today, the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan was the result of a nuclear meltdown of the reactor core at the facility.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) confirmed the meltdown Saturday afternoon. Fukushima is one of the 25 largest nuclear power stations in the world. The NISA is affiliated with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

High levels of cesium and iodine, by-products of nuclear fission, are being reported and providing more evidence that a nuclear meltdown is currently underway.

It is now certain Japan is experiencing a Chernobyl event. “At this point, events in Japan bear many similarities to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Reports indicate that up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) of the reactor fuel was exposed. The reactor fuel appears to have at least partially melted, and the subsequent explosion has shattered the walls and roof of the containment vessel — and likely the remaining useful parts of the control and coolant systems,” Stratfor explains.

“Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago,” said Kevin Camps, a nuclear waste specialist.

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Partial Meltdown Likely Under Way at Power Plant, Japanese Official Says

A partial meltdown is likely under way at one nuclear power plant affected by Friday’s earthquake, according to Japan’s top government official, the Associated Press reports.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said radiation at the plant in Fukushima was briefly above legal limits but has declined significantly.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner of two heavily damaged nuclear power complexes near the center of Friday’s earthquake, told Japanese regulators earlier Sunday that it faced a new emergency at one of its 10 reactors, even as it struggled to bring several others under control.

Earlier, the big electric utility took the unprecedented step of pumping seawater mixed with boric acid into the core of Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 1 reactor to tame ultra-high temperatures from fuel rods that had been partially exposed. In keeping with the natural as well as mechanical challenges of the week, the company had to delay the plan briefly after another, more mild, earthquake rocked the area and led to another tsunami warning.

The battle at that reactor was just one of several being waged in the worst nuclear power crisis in a quarter-century.

Tokyo Electric said it had also vented or planned to vent steam and gas containing small amounts of radioactivity from seven of its reactor units. The company said that one employee, who had been working inside a reactor building, had been hospitalized for radiation exposure.

While Japanese authorities tried to calm citizens, they also began evacuating more than 200,000 residents from a 12.5-mile radius around two nuclear power complexes, made preparations to distribute potassium iodide pills, and warned people in the vicinity to stay inside and cover their mouths if they ventured outdoors. Federal safety agency officials said that as many as 160 people had been exposed to radiation from the plants.

“Only the gravest danger would justify an evacuation at such a moment,” said Peter Bradford, a former commissioner at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The evacuation, wider than announced the day before, followed an explosion Saturday that destroyed a building that housed both the reactor vessel and its containment building. Four workers were injured, but Japanese authorities said the containment building was intact.

The explosion was yet another indicator of dire problems inside Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1, problems that might be plaguing other units as well. The explosion was caused by hydrogen, which nuclear experts said could only have been produced from inside the reactor vessel by the exposure of zirconium cladding that surrounds the fuel rods. Those rods are supposed to be covered by water, but at extremely high temperatures, steam reacts with the zirconium and produces hydrogen.

When pressure rose in the reactor vessel, it vented the gas into the containment building that surrounds it for just such an emergency. But experts believe that devices designed to ignite the hydrogen before it reached dangerous levels were not working because of power failures.

Those power failures helped start the crisis at the nuclear plants. After grid power was knocked out by the quake, the tsunami flooded and disabled backup diesel generators, and battery power ran out. Margaret Harding, a U.S. nuclear safety consultant in touch with experts in Japan, said that the entire complex was blacked out for a period of time before new backup generators arrived…

[Return to headlines]


Italy: More Migrants Land on Southern Lampedusa Island

Lampedusa, 11 March (AKI) — Italian coastguard brought ashore 134 North African migrants on Lampedusa whom they intercepted off the tiny southern island. Some of the migrants are under 18 and four needed medical assistance. Two further boatloads of migrants were expected to reach the island later on Friday.

Nearly 3,000 migrants, mainly Tunisians, have already reached Lampedusa by boat this week, causing severe overcrowding in the island’s detention centre designed to hold a maximum of 850 people. Hundreds are being transferred to other detention centres in Italy, where they will be assessed for asylum and other forms of protection. Many are likely to be deported.

The migrant influx has placed a strain on Lampedusa, where the population is 6,000 people, and Italy’s interior minister Roberto Maroni on Sunday assured the island’s mayor Bernardino De Rubeis that the government was gradually emptying the detention centre.

More than 9,000 migrants, mainly young Tunisian men have reached Italy since unrest in Tunisia toppled its longtime authoritarian leader in January. Many reportedly set sail from the Tunisian port of Zarzis, where truckloads and cars full of migrants were reported to be arriving.

The migrants are understood to be paying 1,400 euros each for their 10-12 hour passage to a ‘new life’ in Europe. But the Italian government has warned it cannot handle the growing wave of migrants and has asked the European Union for 100 milion euros of aid.

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

UK: The Number One Excuse: Right to a Family Life Lets Foreign Convicts Stay in UK

More than 200 foreign prisoners, including killers, cheated deportation last year by claiming they have a human right to a ‘family life’ in Britain.

The Home Office has confirmed that the ‘right to a family life’ has become the number one excuse used by convicts successfully blocking removal from the UK.

It has overtaken the usual claim submitted by illegal immigrants and overseas criminals that they face ill-treatment at home. MPs said it was hard proof that Article 8 of the Human Rights Act — which protects the right to a ‘family life’ — was being abused, and they are demanding changes to the law.

Tory MP Dominic Raab, who obtained the figures, said: ‘It is one thing to argue against deporting an individual into the arms of a torturing state. But it makes a mockery of British justice to allow hundreds of criminals and suspected terrorists to claim family ties to defeat a deportation order.

‘This is a novel expansion of human rights by the UK courts, and an escalating threat to our border controls. Whilst the Coalition partners may not agree on scrapping the Human Rights Act, we should look urgently at specific amendments to deal with the growing deportation problem.’

Home Office figures show a 17 per cent rise in the successful human rights claims by immigrants fighting removal from Britain between January and September 2010. There were 303 cases, compared with 258 in the first nine months of 2009. The total for 2010 is expected to be 400.

Mr Raab says the figures he uncovered made a case for immediate amendments to the law. Currently, the law says offenders jailed for 12 months or more should be deported on completing their sentence — but there is an exemption if removing them would breach their human rights. Change: MP Dominic Raab said the figures he uncovered made a case for immediate amendments to the law

Repealing that exception would lead to fewer criminals successfully arguing they should be allowed to stay. MPs fear judges are now going even further in interpreting Article 8. In some cases, criminals who are single with no children have won appeals to stay because their parents live in the UK.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Tony Blair Changes His Tune Over Immigration Saying it Produced a ‘Challenge’

Tony Blair yesterday admitted for the first time that mass immigration has produced a ‘challenge’ which causes alarm to millions.

The former prime minister acknowledged there was a ‘debate’ over the impact of immigration and whether British generosity in allowing it had been abused.

Mr Blair said immigration had produced both a cultural and economic ‘challenge’.

He made his admission in an article in which he accepted that ‘there is a perception of failure’ over the issue. The view contrasted strongly with his stance as prime minister. In the 2005 election campaign he insisted immigrants had made a ‘huge contribution’ to Britain and condemned opponents for ‘exploiting people’s fears’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Phyllis Chesler: Turning a Blind Eye to Islam’s Brutal Treatment of Women

My feminist generation believed in universal human rights — one standard for all. I still do. Therefore, I have taken a strong stand against the persecution of immigrant women and dissidents. I now submit affidavits on behalf of women who have fled the threat of such killings and who are seeking asylum in the United States.

Those of us who condemn the plight of such women, who are mainly Muslims and ex-Muslims, have been demonized in activist circles as “Islamophobes” and racists because we do not, in the same breath, blame America, the West or Israel for their suffering. Many Western academic feminists are so afraid of being condemned as “racists” that this fear trumps their concern for women’s rights in the Arab and Muslim world.

Islamic gender apartheid, which has penetrated the West, is characterized by normalized daughter- and wife-battering, forced veiling, female genital mutilation, polygamy, purdah (the segregation or sequestration of women), arranged marriage, child marriage and first-cousin marriage. Girls and women often are honour-murdered if they resist such practices, if they wish to divorce a dangerously abusive husband, or if they are viewed as too independent, too modern.

Today, at its most extreme, Islamic gender apartheid is characterized by acid attacks, public stonings, hangings, and beheading of women in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Saudi Arabia — countries in which female rape victims are jailed, tortured and executed.

Feminists should be crying out from the rooftops against these practices. Some are. I am. Yet, many Muslims, as well as many intellectually “progressive” Western infidels, are not. They are welcoming the imposition of Islamic religious law, Sharia law, not only in the Middle East but also in the West.

I have published two academic studies and nearly 100 articles about honour killings, both in the West and in the Islamic world. An honour killing is a collaborative conspiracy carried out against one victim, usually a young girl, by her parents, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, sisters and male cousins. Her relatives believe that her “impure” behaviour has shamed and dishonored them.

An honour killing is not the same as a Western domestically violent femicide. Many honourable feminists disagree with me on this point. They believe that honour killings belong in the same category as Western domestic violence. Understandably, such feminists fear singling out one group for behaviour that may be common to all groups. But if, for reasons of “political correctness,” we fail to properly understand a crime, we will never be able to prevent or to prosecute it.

I began writing about honour killings in the West in 2004. My first study about such killings appeared in 2009 in Middle East Quarterly, the second appeared there in 2010. I studied 230 victims who were honour-murdered on five continents over a 20-year period.

These killings are carefully planned by the victim’s own family of origin, who have warned her, repeatedly, from childhood on, that they will kill her if she dishonours her family in any way. World-wide, women are honour-murdered based on mere rumoors of inappropriate behaviour, for wanting to choose their own husbands, for having infidel friends, for choosing a non-Muslim husband — or a non-Muslim god.

It is rare for a domestically violent Western father to routinely batter, stalk, patrol and murder his own daughter, and to be assisted in this gruesome task by his entire family. In the West, the majority (91%) of honour killings are Muslim-on-Muslim crimes. While Hindus and Sikhs do honour murder, they do so mostly in India, not in the New World.

Honour killings also are distinguished by their barbaric ferocity. The female victim often is gang-raped, then burned alive, stoned or beaten to death, cut at the throat, decapitated, stabbed numerous times, suffocated slowly, etc. This may resemble what Western serial killers do to prostitutes.

[This resemblance exists for a reason. Islam’s genocidal doctrine breeds up generation after generation of serial killers. Jews are not the only targets and women could just as easily surpass in number every other class of victim with respect to sufferers of Islamic violence and murder. I continue to maintain that even if it were possible to ignore Islamic terrorism — and it most certainly is not possible to do anything of the sort — Islam’s institutionalized policy of Abject Gender Apartheid still would disqualify it from participation in the global community. — Z]

In the West, child-murderers, wife batterers and wife-killers are now (courtesy of second-wave feminism), seen as criminals. Yet those who commit or assist in the commission of honour killings view such killings as heroic, and even as the fulfillment of a tribal or religious obligation.

Based on my research, I have increasingly been asked to submit affidavits on behalf of girls and women who have fled being honour killed and who are seeking asylum in the United States or Canada.

My first case was that of an abused Muslim-American teenage immigrant who had secretly converted to Christianity. This was a high-profile case. Lawyers in Florida (she fled there), and in Ohio (her home state), both won her the right to remain in foster care and helped her obtain a green card. The girl now lives in hiding, apart from her family, somewhere in America.

My second case concerns a North African woman who has fled a small European country to seek asylum in America. Just because a Muslim woman lives in Europe does not mean that she lives in a Western environment. Her large, tight-knit, violent, Islamist family inhabits a parallel universe. As a convert to Christianity, this woman’s family will hunt her down until they find and kill her. They will never stop trying.

My third case concerns a brilliant graduate student from a prominent family in a southeast Asian country. She has applied for asylum here. What is her crime? She dared to marry a man whom she loved but who belonged to a different sect of Islam; she did so against her parents’ wishes.

My fourth case concerns a woman who was born and raised in the killing fields of Congo. After her father was murdered, her mother fled to a neighboring African country, where she married a Muslim man who insisted on marrying his new stepdaughter off as the fifth wife to an elderly Muslim man; in turn, her chosen husband insisted that she be genitally mutilated.

Desperate, defiant, this brave soul fled Africa and arrived in the United States with falsified documents. Without going into too much detail, let me say that she has languished in jail in Buffalo, NY for more than three months. Recently, a judge ordered that she be deported to Congo. She has six weeks to appeal this decision.

Just as we have shelters for battered Orthodox Jewish women, shelters for battered Muslim girls and women should be established, and multilingual staff appropriately trained in the facts surrounding honor killings. Young Muslim girls are frequently lured back home by their mothers. When a shelter resident receives such a phone call, the staff must immediately go on high alert.

Perhaps the equivalent of a federal witness protection program for the intended targets of honour killings should be created. England has already established just such a program.

We must issue clear government warnings to all immigrants to the West: Honour killings and female genital mutilation will be prosecuted under Western law. Since honour killings are collaborations, conspiracies, both the perpetrators and accomplices will all be prosecuted. European courts have recently begun to do all this. Unlike the United States, they have a large Muslim immigrant population.

The battle for women’s rights is central to the battle for Western values. It is a necessary part of true democracy, along with freedom of religion, tolerance for homosexuals and freedom of dissent. Here, then, is exactly where the greatest battle of the 21st century is joined.

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]


hadley said...

The pity, as Phyllis Chessler fails to even recognize, is that the women she clutches to her breasts as oppressed refugees are still the products of an utterly alien civilization.

The "poor oppressed" Somali women that Phyllis's tribe (through the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) plants in Maine and Minneapolis chop off their daughters' privates, and sell their daughters into marriage with much older men, and have 10-15 sprogs they can never support with two or three wives. It is their way of life!

Just because they breathe American air and walk on American dirt does not magically change anyone, no matter what Mrs. Chesler believes.

Did Chesler's European Jewish family fleeing oppression in Europe magically become Palestinian Bedouin fellahin, tending small farms, sheep and goats? Of course not!

Did the Pilgrims fleeing oppression in England start wearing animal skins, shooting bows and arrows and living in wigwams like the Indians? Of course not!

European Jews fled Europe to colonize Israel. Pilgrims fled England to colonize America.

Just because these women and their husbands want a "better life" in the USA or Europe does not mean they have any fundamental agreement or similarity with America or Europe, our history, values, religion or people.

These "oppressed refugees" DO know the magic words to say to get the feminist Phyllis Cheslers to import them to the USA, however.

Zenster said...

hadley: The pity, as Phyllis Chessler fails to even recognize, is that the women she clutches to her breasts as oppressed refugees are still the products of an utterly alien civilization.

Here, we are in agreement. All sympathy is wasted upon Muslims. They have none for us and we are fools to let them tug at our heartstrings with their self-inflicted misery.

If Muslim women want things to change, they should take a page from Loreena Bobbitt. A few such over-ambitious homebrew male "circumcisions" would have Muslim men scurrying after gender equality in no time.

If not, they'll have one heckuva Mecca Boys Choir.