Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20111015

Financial Crisis
»Italy: Thugs Heading to Rome for “Indignados” March Damage Train
»Italy: Thugs Vandalise Central Rome’s Via Cavour During Protests
»Italy: Organised All-Black Mob Join Rome’s Indignados Rally
»Italy: Anti-Austerity Indignados Occupy Massenzio Basilica
»Italy: ‘Indignants’ Assault Bank in Rome Center
»Italy: Police Charge ‘Black Bloc’ Protesters
»Italy: Police Use Teargas and Water Cannon Against Demonstrators
»Italy: Indignados Barricade Blocks Rome’s Via Appia
»Like Draghi, Geithner Understands ‘Indignados’ Concerns
»Anti-Islam Message Canceled
»Obama to Abandon Key Health Care Priority Due to Funding
»Mosque Banquet Pays Tribute to Local Muslim Athletes
»Town Ad Gives Residents Correct Mosque Info — Mayor
Europe and the EU
»DSK Tried to Kiss Banon, But She Refused and He Let Her Go
»UK: Anglers Angry at Vicky Park’s Fish Plans
»UK: Douglas Murray: I’m Not a Bigot But Paul Goodman is
»UK: First Defendant to be Convicted Under New Bribery Act is a Court Clerk
»UK: Housing Association Rejects Plans to Save Historic Jewish Hospital
»UK: One Society Many Cultures Conference Tomorrow [15 October 2011]
»UK: The Romance of Islam [Paul Goodman, 3 April 2010]
North Africa
»Coptic Church Construction and Egyptian Muslim ‘Emasculation’
»Egypt: Truth and Justice Not Lies and Superficiality on Massacre of Copts
Israel and the Palestinians
»Former IDF Official: Shalit Rescue Efforts Were ‘A Resounding Failure’
»Permission to Build a Catholic Church in Pskov Denied
South Asia
»India: Orissa: Hindu Extremists Plant a Flag on the Rubble of a Church Under Reconstruction
Far East
»Hong Kong High Court Grants Permanent Residency to the Filipina Maid
»Libraries Opened at Over 400 Mosques in China
Latin America
»Brazilian Prosecutors File for Battisti Visa to be Revoked
»Netherlands: Mushroom Grower Exploited Illegal Bulgarian Workers
»Netherlands: Wilders Calls EU Commissioner a Hippie and ‘Terrible Person’

Financial Crisis

Italy: Thugs Heading to Rome for “Indignados” March Damage Train

(AGI) Frosinone — Five young men from Caserta province have been arrested by police for criminal damage and theft. The five, on the 2496 interregional train, stole a hammer and smashed all the windows in two coaches. The conductor stopped the train at Cassino and the five, heading for the demonstration in Rome, were captured and taken to the local police station.

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

Italy: Thugs Vandalise Central Rome’s Via Cavour During Protests

(AGI) Rome — A group of close to 200 balaclava-wearing demonstrators wreak havoc in central Rome. With indignados protests underway, the group proceeded to vandalise premises in Via Cavour and cover the street in graffiti slogans, such as “put up a fight, not tents” and “pelting, not saving.” .

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

Italy: Organised All-Black Mob Join Rome’s Indignados Rally

(AGI) Rome — A group of close to 100 organised thugs has joined indignados rallies in central Rome, today. Wearing all-black attire, balaclavas and headscarves, the organised mob joined the rally in Rome’s central Via Cavour, sporting slogans such as “we are not asking for the future, we are taking the present” and soiling the premises with graffiti such as “stop working” and “burn the banks.” ..

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

Italy: Anti-Austerity Indignados Occupy Massenzio Basilica

(AGI) A group of anti-austerity demonstrators has occupied the square leading into the Massenzio Basilica. The “indignados” scaled the wall to hold a red flag and black banner aloft. A great number of people are descending from the Fori Imperiali.

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

Italy: ‘Indignants’ Assault Bank in Rome Center

(AGI) Rome — A window and an ATM machine at a Rome branch of the Cassa di Risparimio di Rimini bank. The assault on the credit institution was carried out by a group of Black Bloc protesters who, from the beginning of the demonstration have dedicated themselves to sacking and vandalism. Many of the (other) protesters have blamed the masked perpetrators, asking them to leave.

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

Italy: Police Charge ‘Black Bloc’ Protesters

(AGI) Rome — Police lines have charged nearly 100 Black Bloc protesters in Via Merulana, who moved and set afire rubbish bins. The bins were then used as barricades in the street. The police have shot teargas cannisters. Charges by Rome police contine to disperse the protesters who have started an authentic urban guerilla conflict. Armoured vehicles have intervened in Via Labicana, where bottles, paper bombs and other objects continue to be thrown.

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

Italy: Police Use Teargas and Water Cannon Against Demonstrators

(AGI) Rome — Police used teargas and water cannon against activists in Rome’s Piazza San Giovanni as peaceful protestors dispersed. Families who had joined the protests are leaving the area, frightened by the bottle-throwing, paper bombs and other objects being chucked by angry demonstrators at Police trying to break up the crowds.

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

Italy: Indignados Barricade Blocks Rome’s Via Appia

(AGI) Rome- A veritable barricade built with refuse bins in the middle of Rome’s via Appia is blocking traffic. The barricade serves as a buffer for the black bloc urban guerrilla, who are hunched behind the wastebins throwing paper bombs. What is even more significant than the possible turn events could take is the throng of youths dressed in black, parading the streets and seemingly awaiting developments.

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

Like Draghi, Geithner Understands ‘Indignados’ Concerns

(AGI) Paris — The US Treasury Secretary said on television that he is sympathetic to the international demonstrations. The Governor of the Bank of Italy, Mario Draghi, had said he understood how the activists felt, but hoped that the demonstrations would not degenerate. Both Timothy Geithner and Mr Draghi are in Paris for a meeting of the G20 Finance Committee. Mr Geithner said that he sympathised with the concerns of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, adding that what is happening in America is an expression of the fear that the US economy is not growing fast enough.

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


Anti-Islam Message Canceled

Koran-burning Ann Barnhardt’s appearance before Loveland group scrapped

At her mildest, Ann Barnhardt appears on a poster, dressed in pink high-heeled shoes, toting a pink AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, standing side-by-side with a heroic portrait of Joan of Arc. At her most extreme, the slim, dark-haired woman with wide, bright eyes appears before an American flag, holding a copy of the Quran bookmarked with raw bacon, reading pages aloud, tearing them out and setting them ablaze in a large vase.

Barnhardt’s tough, explicitly illustrated anti-Islamic message first played in Loveland in Sept. 20 at a meeting of the Loveland 912 Project. “She’s out there. That’s for sure,” 912 Project chairman Tom Buchanan said. “I don’t think we’ll be asking her back again anytime soon.” Yet Barnhardt was scheduled, until a cancellation on Friday, to bring her presentation back to the region again tonight at a meeting of the Colorado Conservative Union, a group for which Buchanan also serves as chairman.

He said Friday he had learned only recently that Barnhardt would return, and that he had not planned to attend tonight’s event, having already hosted her at the 912 gathering.

“She’s got some pretty strong convictions, and those strong convictions attract people,” Buchanan said of Barnhardt. “These days, we’re looking for leaders, no matter how wrong they might be. Maybe that bluntness that she has is what attracts people.” Barnhardt’s appearance had been set for 6 p.m. tonight at Johnson’s Corner Truck Stop and Café.

‘Not In My House’

But owner Chauncey Taylor, upon hearing about the speaker and her presentation, contacted the CCU organizers on Friday and canceled the event. “I don’t want anyone who is espousing violence, or inviting violence upon themselves, to be here,” Taylor said after investigating Barnhardt’s website and talking with event organizers. “My duty is to keep this a safe and uplifting place for our customers and employees. Anyone who is going to advocate violence is not welcome. That’s not acceptable, not in my world, not in my house. If you’re espousing hate, please don’t come to my house.”

Barnhardt, who described herself in an interview Friday as a “traditional, pre-Vatican II, Latin-Mass Catholic,” rejects any distinction between Islamic extremists and Muslims in general. She said also that she rejects the notion that Islam is a religion, and that Muslims therefore enjoy First Amendment protection. “It’s not a religion,” she said. “It’s a totalitarian political system. It is a seditious system, working against every government on the face of the earth.” In the pages of a translated Quran, Barnhardt says she finds evidence that its contents also advocate “homosexuality, pedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality, … oh, and incest. That, too.” The CCU newsletter advertising Barnhardt’s appearance warns of “the graphic and potentially offensive content of our speaker’s material,” and says children will not be allowed to attend — and for good reason.

‘Absolutely offensive’

“It is not potentially offensive,” Barnhardt said. “It is absolutely offensive. I have photographs of female genital mutilation” that she says are part and parcel of Islam. “I’m going to show the information that needs to be shown,” she said. “This business of burying your head in the sand has got to stop.” Yes, Barnhardt has received death threats, most recently after the posting of her Quran-burning video on YouTube, where it has been translated into 10 languages including Arabic. “Watch your back,” a Muslim living in Britain wrote. “I’m going to kill you when I find you.”

Barnhardt did not seek police help. She replied, “You don’t need to ‘find’ me,” then listed her address in Lonetree. “Luckily for you, there are daily direct flights from Heathrow to Denver,” she wrote, then gave detailed directions to her home. “Just do me one favor. Please wear body armor. I have some new ammunition that I want to try out.” Her broad-brush treatment of the followers of Islam calls for a solution to what she calls “Muslim creep,” a movement that she says will destroy the nation. “Mass deportation is the solution,” she said, adding that American-born Muslims will have a choice. “If they refuse to renounce Islam, try them for treason,” she said. “If we don’t act, we’ll be living under the tyranny of a Marxist-Islamic jackboot.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama to Abandon Key Health Care Priority Due to Funding

(AGI) Washington- Barack Obama will have to give up one of his core health reform priorities. The ‘Community Living Assistance Services and Supports’ insurance plan for long-term treatment had to be dropped due to costs being “unsustainable”.

Healthcare Minister Kathleen Sebelius made the formal announcement.

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


Mosque Banquet Pays Tribute to Local Muslim Athletes

Muslim athletes and their unique contributions to Greater Toronto will be honoured this Sunday at a banquet in Scarborough. The Islamic Foundation of Toronto decided on a “sports” theme this year for the annual Night of Appreciation it hosts at its Nugget Avenue mosque on Oct. 16. Among those recognized at the dinner will be Leslie Woodyatt, a female athlete from Toronto who is on seven Special Olympics teams, and Scarborough’s Islamic Soccer League.

Organizers say the league, non-profit and run by volunteers, builds Islamic character through sport, offering university scholarships to players and coaches each year and sponsoring a food drive. “It began in 1997 with just 34 kids and in 2011 they have over 1500 kids enrolled in their program.” Also on the list is the Madina Hockey League, which the event program says formed in East Toronto in 2008 with “one goal in mind and that is to grow the sport among the many Muslim youth residing in the Toronto area and give them the opportunity to display the hockey talent they have been developing over the years on the streets, tennis courts and gymnasiums.”

As it does each year, the dinner, attended by many GTA politicians and with Lieut. Gov. David Onley as a guest speaker, will also honour exceptional members of local police, fire and ambulance services ( It is unique, IFT President Javaid Khan said in a release, because “900 men and women representing an estimated half a million Muslims from more than 50 countries will gather to celebrate the achievements and contributions of outstanding citizens of our great country.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Town Ad Gives Residents Correct Mosque Info — Mayor

The mosque to be built on 16th Avenue is “maybe a closet in the Taj Mahal”, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said Friday. In the town’s first public response to outpouring e-mails and phone calls from the public about the project, Mayor Scarpitti said they are taking a half-page ad in today’s Economist & Sun to provide residents with the “correct” information.

“There has been a misinterpretation of what the project is,” the mayor said in a phone interview. “It’s far from the Taj Mahal, which has over half a million square feet.”

The Taj Mahal reference was first said by Regional Councillor Joe Li at the development services committee meeting where the Islamic Society of Markham’s site plan application to build a 28,000-sq. ft. mosque just east of St. Brother Andre Catholic School was approved. “It resembles the Taj Mahal in India,” Mr. Li said at that meeting. The mayor said Mr. Li’s “complimentary” comment only added to the “misinformation”. While the 28,000-sq. ft. figures comes directly from the town’s staff report and the mosque’s website had consistently advertised the building as “over 25,000 to 30,000 sq. ft. on two acres of prime land” — “That’s not the case”, Mayor Scarpitti said. He said the place of worship is 10,000 sq. ft. “I think they (the public) believe there’s 28,000 sq. ft. of worship area,” the mayor said. “I think they have misunderstood.”

(The mosque this week changed its website to read “prayer area is approx. 10,000 sq. ft.”) The mayor said the mosque is a “local place of worship for people who live in our community” and its size is “comparable” to other places of worship in Markham. “It’s by no means the largest,” Mr. Scarpitti said. He said it was “unfortunate” the turned-down Taoist temple application fell on the same agenda as the mosque, but that people should know the nature of the two applications are totally different.

The mosque was a site-plan application. The temple was a rezoning application. Mr. Scarpitti said the town as a municipality has more control over permitted use on a piece of land in a rezoning application. “There’s a subtly here that’s not so subtle,” he said. If the town had turned down the mosque application, which is entirely in compliance with the zoning bylaw, “That legal battle will last a few minutes at the Ontario Municipal Board”, he said.

The mayor pointed out, as previously reported in this paper, that the mosque site was rezoned in 2003, later purchased by the mosque group in 2006 and therefore a statutory public meeting wasn’t required when the site plan application came forward. “The site was sitting there for three years, zoned,” the mayor said. “It was available for purchase by any religious group.” He said if anybody wanted to know what the land was rezoned for they could have asked the town to find out. He questioned whether or not those who may be surprised to read about the mosque in the paper would react the same if it was a church. “Was it a shock when a church was built in the same neighbourhood that people didn’t know about?” the mayor said, but declined to name the church he referenced.

He said while he understands the reaction from the public, that they “misunderstood” the square footage. He said while some have urged town council to stop the mosque from being build there, “Once zoning is in place, you can’t stop this,” he said. The mayor went on to commend local Councillor Colin Campbell for co-organizing a community meeting at Markham Museum last month when they weren’t required to do so. He said more than 150 homes that are “immediately adjacent” to the mosque site were invited. About 100 people attended that meeting.

In a previous interview with the Economist & Sun, Mr. Campbell said while he had urged the mosque group to include residents south of 16th Avenue, only those on the north side were invited. Asked if that was an oversight, the mayor said he couldn’t say. However, “Could they have gone farther out? I think so,” Mr. Scarpitti said. In regards to the “typo” that said the mosque would serve more than 1,600 people — instead of the 534 permitted — the mayor said that figure relates to a fundraising event the mosque held two or three years ago. “Whether or not it was a typo it doesn’t matter, because that’s not what’s in their application to the town,” the mayor said. “At the end of the day, they could have said 3,000 to raise funds. I’m taking them at their word that they made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes.”

Asked if the town intends to hold a community meeting to have a discussion about the mosque, the mayor said he wants to first make sure everybody, especially those in Ward 5 and the neighbourhood of Greensborough, has the full information. He said he will respond to e-mails he has been getting. Asked if the town hopes the ad will calm people down, “This isn’t meant to calm anybody down”, Mayor Scarpitti said. “This is to make sure people have the correct information.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

DSK Tried to Kiss Banon, But She Refused and He Let Her Go

(AGI) Paris — Strauss-Kahn admitted to trying to kiss writer Tristane Banon, but he was refused and allowed her to leave. It emerges from transcripts of Dominique-Strauss-Kahn’s questioning by Paris prosecutors investigating claims that the former IMF managing director attempted to rape the writer. The investigation was dropped, as prosecutors said evidence existed suggesting sexual assault, but a prosecution on that lesser charge was no longer possible under the statute of limitations.

“I tried to take her in my arms. I tried to kiss her on the mouth. She pushed back firmly. She cried out more or less ‘Are you mad?’. I immediately relaxed my grip. She grabbed her things, and left the flat, furious “, Strauss-Kahn said. Banon had filed a complaint for attempted rape against the former French Finance Minister.

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

UK: Anglers Angry at Vicky Park’s Fish Plans

Anglers have accused Tower Hamlets Council of going back on its word to keep the fish in Victoria Park’s ponds.

The council’s website still states that a full restocking programme will take place at both lakes once the park’s £12m restoration is completed. But the Advertiser has learned that the council has decided not to put fish back into the East Lake and is considering stocking the West Lake with smaller fish instead of the large carp that lived there. Head of parks, Michael Rowan, said: “We want the park to be more for families and are looking at stocking the West Lake with smaller fish that kids can catch more easily.” Mr Rowan conceded the original plans had set out to restock carp at both lakes but said “things evolve as you get a better understanding” of a project.

He said the council was also looking at re-introducing rowing boats on the West Lake. The decision is now with Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, he said. Chairman of Victoria Park Anglers Alliance, Keith Lancaster, said: “The council has paid a contractor to hold the carp with the sole intention of returning the fish. Any other decision is against the original plans drawn from numerous residents’ consultations. “We hope Mr Rahman will overturn this spurious decision and ensure both lakes are stocked.” Mr Lancaster said the park is the only place in London, apart from Regent’s Canal and Regent’s Park, where you can fish for large carp. He said: “It’s not safe for the kids to stand near the canal where they get targeted for their mobile phones.” Angler Robin Davies, 46, said: “It’s nonsense for the council to suggest families and anglers cannot coincide. I’ve fished in Vicky Park since I was five.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Douglas Murray: I’m Not a Bigot But Paul Goodman is

Douglas Murray is an award-winning writer and commentator who is currently Associate Director of the Henry Jackson Society

Last week Paul Goodman wrote a response to my criticism of his opposition to gay equality — specifically the issue of gay civil marriage. Paul’s response can be divided into the significant and the personal. Let me deal with the significant ones first.

Paul argues “if gay marriage is recognised, why not multiple sharia marriages?” Why one should lead to the other is not clear to me. If anything could possibly lead to polygamous heterosexual marriage surely it would not be gay marriage but heterosexual marriage? Yet it has not. And that is for a very clear reason. Which is that marriage, in our culture, not to mention law, is between two people. This is an idea I support. Without going into all of the reasons for this, or the virtues of it, I would cite one in particular — which is the importance in our culture of the principle of equality in marriage. By that I mean the extent to which the parties are complementary of each other.

Now I should have thought that it was obvious that a multiple, polygamous marriage cannot have that mutuality, let alone equality. We learn much of what we need to know about sharia marriages from the fact that it is only a man that can have multiple wives. No woman can have multiple husbands. Even if we knew nothing else about sharia marriages, this should be suggestive of an inherent lack of equality in sharia marriages as in so much else to do with sharia. Gay marriage is about equality between gay women or men who publicly declare their commitment to each other and heterosexual members of society. Polygamous marriage is about embedded inequality. Though some people may wish to have such a religious arrangement, it could not desirably — let alone inevitably — attain legal sanction.

But the other important thing lacking from Paul’s argument for multiple sharia marriage as a natural segue from gay marriage is an understanding of the crucial difference between a secular demand and a religious one. Whether Paul likes it or not, the majority of people in this country no longer believe that laws should be made by divinely-claimed mandate. Rather, they should be based on an appeal to reason.

Sharia marriage is a religious demand and has only a religious propulsion. Gay marriage is a secular demand with only a secular propulsion. Those of us who believe that gay people should have the same right to marry as straight people (in civil ceremonies) do so because we believe it is a matter of justice that gay and straight people in our society should enjoy equal rights and equal respect in their lives and relationships.

Sharia marriage, on the other hand, is a religious demand. If the state were to sanction it then it would be doing something based solely in, and propelled solely by, a religious precept. Paul happens to land on the Muslim precept, but it would be as possible to cite a Mormon polygamous sect. In either or any case, the writing of religious law into secular law would create the worst precedent imaginable and may well create the actual free-for-all that Paul is so concerned about.

In any case, the Prime Minister agrees with my views on gay marriage, and not with Paul’s. Obviously that fact is displeasing to him, as is the fact that I accused him of being disingenuous. Which brings me to my promised addendum — the personal aspects of Paul’s piece. It is obvious from his post that he thinks I am unreliable on the subject of Islam. I happen to think the same of him and would cite his article “The Romance of Islam” as evidence. The opening lines of that piece give its flavour: ‘For anyone trying to follow the journey begun by Abraham, conversion to Islam should recommend itself with compulsive force. It’s the most plausible of the three religions that look back to him.’ It seems to me that a Catholic cannot write such lines and remain a Catholic. It is of no interest to me if Paul wishes to change religions again, except that it seems clear that part of Paul’s compulsion in making his arguments is to do with his migration between the monotheisms and in particular his recent veneration of Islam as an attractive final berth.

Which brings me to my views. Paul makes an attack on me based on one speech I gave in the Dutch Parliament many years ago now. The fact that the speech is unpublished (and indeed that the version on the web was de-published at my request some years back) is not mentioned by Paul. Instead he silently points to a web-cached version of that withdrawn speech. The simple fact about it is that the phrases that Goodman complains of are not opinions that I hold. I realised some years ago how poorly expressed the speech in question was, had it removed from the website and forbade further requests to publish it because it does not reflect my opinions. Whilst trying to explain that extra rights should not be awarded to Muslims (such as extra welfare payments and so on) I undoubtedly framed — and phrased — the argument badly. I have written many hundreds of thousands of words on this subject — and spoken many hundreds of thousands more. My opinions have also altered significantly. But Paul does not make reference to any of this.

If Paul is interested in my work he should read — as all experts in government have done — the detailed books and reports I have published over recent years, not least ‘Islamist Terrorism: the British Connections’. This — and other recent work — has been regularly used by the government and indeed proved central to the government’s “Prevent” review. If Paul wishes to deride this then he can do so, but he is doing so against the published evidence and expertise of his political superiors. In any case, I would happily compare my work in this area with Paul’s at any time.

To conclude — it is clear from his piece that Paul regards me as some kind of anti-Islamic bigot. In which case I suppose I should state that I regard Paul — in his campaign to prevent equal rights to gays — as an anti-gay bigot. I have never suggested that Muslims should be forbidden the right to marry, nor would think of doing so. I also stand by the claim that Paul was disingenuous in citing — among others — the importance of polling Muslim opinion on gay marriage. He must know what he is doing here, but since he doesn’t say so I will.

A 2007 poll conducted for Policy Exchange revealed that 71% of Muslims in Britain aged 16-24 thought homosexuality should be illegal and 37% said that they would prefer to live under sharia law than British law. Under sharia law homosexuals are regularly — and legally — murdered. And here is the most awful aspect of Paul’s stance.

Paul is falling back on well-known Islamic bigotries to bolster his own. He has opposed each step — including civil partnerships — that would lead to equality for gay people in this country. Whilst lacking the courage of his own religious convictions he falls back on the convictions of the most intransigent religion of the lot — a religion which in every country in which it holds sway wishes not just to deny gay people the right to be considered equal, but to deny them the right to life. I will leave it to readers to decide whether that is decent or not.

[JP note: We are all bigots and phobes now — and all the better for it — happier, freer, saner.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: First Defendant to be Convicted Under New Bribery Act is a Court Clerk

A crooked court clerk smirked yesterday as he faced jail for taking £500 bungs to wipe the convictions of speeding motorists.

Munir Patel, 22, made legal history as he became the first person to be convicted under the new Bribery Act.

He used his privileged access as an administration clerk in the back rooms of a magistrates’ court to tamper with an official database.

Patel was recorded by a hidden camera bragging how he took bribes ‘all day long’ to delete vital court records in Redbridge, east London.

An undercover national newspaper reporter also caught him agreeing to wipe a conviction for a driver caught speeding in return for cash.

He was arrested after a dossier of damning evidence was handed to the Metropolitan Police in August.

Wearing a grey three piece suit without a tie, Patel spoke only to confirm his name and plead guilty to bribery and misconduct in a public office.

The young man was warned he is likely to be jailed when he returns to Southwark Crown Court next month. He could face up to 10 years in prison.

Judge John Price said: ‘You pleaded guilty at first opportunity and you will get full credit for that. But this may be a case where a custodial sentence cannot be avoided.’

It was widely expected that the first case involving the much-heralded legislation, which superseded century-old laws, would involve a high-profile corporate case.

The Serious Fraud Office had announced it would use the Act to pursue big companies and foreign businesses suspected of bribery.

The law covers offering a bribe, passively receiving inducements, bribing foreign officials and failing to stop bribes on behalf of a company.

But outside court senior prosecutor Gaon Hart said it will be used for anyone who acts ‘corruptly purely for personal gain.’

Speaking about Patel, he added: ‘He abused his position as an administrative officer to solicit a bribe from the public.

‘Public corruption is an extremely serious offence that undermines public faith in the integrity of those who work in the criminal justice system.

‘Public servants are required to act with integrity, honesty, impartiality but Patel’s actions could not have been further from each of these.

‘His conduct has brought into disrepute the criminal justice system as he sought to undermine the very laws which he was employed to uphold.’

Matthew Woodford, of law firm Browne Jacobson, said: ‘This case is certainly not the dramatic debut that many had expected.

But, once this first prosecution is out of the way, we can expect the regulator to become more confident about prosecuting much more complicated business cases.’

Six other charges involving false photocopies garage invoices found at his home in Dagenham, east London, were allowed to lie on file.

Five men and a woman, including three court officials and three motorists suspected of paying to have their convictions wiped, remain on police bail.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Housing Association Rejects Plans to Save Historic Jewish Hospital

A housing association seeking to demolish the East End’s last surviving Jewish hospital has rejected a compromise proposal to safe some of its buildings. Director of Jewish Heritage UK Sharman Kadish had written to Peabody to suggest the “well-built” cottages to the left of the main building on Underwood Road. Whitechapel, are retained. But Peabody’s chief executive Stephen Howlett has suggested the houses are not big enough to accommodate the number of residential units they want to build. Mr Howlett responded in a letter: “We’ve reviewed a number of options that involve retention of existing buildings. “We have however reached the conclusion none of these options are feasible as they would impact both on the number of homes and the layout of any residential scheme.” A council letter to campaigners, who have set up a petition at, against the demolition

says the council will make a decision on a ‘prior notification’ for demolition before October 19.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: One Society Many Cultures Conference Tomorrow [15 October 2011]

A huge range of speakers, including MPs, campaigners, writers and musicians is lined up for the one-day conference on defending multiculturalism on 15 October.

The event, titled Celebrate diversity, defend multiculturalism, oppose Islamophobia and racism, is organised by UAF and One Society Many Cultures and sponsored by SERTUC.

It is backed by the NUT, Unite, CWU, UCU and PCS trade unions, the Muslim Council of Britain and the NUS Black Students Campaign.

Speakers announced for the conference include Frances O’Grady TUC deputy general secretary, Kevin Courtney deputy general secretary NUT, Jack Dromey MP, Helen Goodman MP, Peter Hain MP, Claude Moraes MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Farooq Murad secretary general, Muslim Council of Britain, Edie Friedman executive director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality, Michelle Stanistreet general secretary NUJ, Hugh Lanning deputy general secretary PCS, Steve Hart political director Unite, Megan Dobney regional secretary SERTUC, Zita Holbourne PCS NEC, Bob Lambert co-director European Muslim Research Centre, Jody McIntyre journalist, Peter Oborne journalist, Dilowar Khan director, London Muslim Centre, Alaa’ Samarrai vice-president student affairs, Federation of Student Islamic Societies, Kanja Sesay NUS black students’ officer, Nitin Sawney musician, Sabby Dhalu secretary One Society Many Cultures, Denis Fernando Lesbian and Gay Coalition Against Racism, Weyman Bennett joint secretary UAF, Martin Smith national co-ordinator, Love Music Hate Racism.

Why we are backing the conference

Billy Hayes General Secretary, Communication Workers Union

Britain’s diversity offers many social, cultural and economic benefits. We must assert that we are one society with many cultures. This important event will be an opportunity to unite trade unions, faith and other communities to celebrate our multicultural heritage and oppose racism, Islamophobia and hatred.

Edie Friedman Executive Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality

Britain has a proud tradition of being a haven for those fleeing persecution, tyranny and fear. We must protect that right to refuge. This timely event will celebrate the positive contribution we all make to society.

Farooq Murad Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

Sadly, Islamophobia is an undeniable reality in our society. It is culminating in Mosques being attacked, Muslims being vilified in the media, hatred and violence being encouraged. We are committed to fight this by working with people from all walks of life. We need to celebrate diversity and promote understanding to create a just and cohesive Britain.

Michael Rosen poet and playwright

The far-right think that they can rustle up enough bullies and thugs to threaten the peace and security of Muslims. We can’t rely on the government doing anything about this. In fact, we’ve come to expect the opposite: they either keep suspiciously silent, or even worse: deliver speeches full of aggressive and prejudiced talk towards Muslim people. We need trade unionists and activists to come together to keep our streets and lives free of this danger so I welcome this conference on October 15.

Professor Danny Dorling University of Sheffield

When governments run out of good arguments to explain why their policies are hurting people they look for scapegoats. Suggesting that multiculturalism is a problem is just one way of trying to hide the fact that the rich are getting richer whilst most peoples’ living standards are falling.

[JP note: Useful idiots and fellow travellers of Islam.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Romance of Islam [Paul Goodman, 3 April 2010]

Paul Goodman, a well-known opponent of Muslim extremism, on the beauty of Islam in its traditional, classical form, unpolluted by politics

For anyone trying to follow the journey begun by Abraham, conversion to Islam should recommend itself with compulsive force. It’s the most plausible of the three religions that look back to him.

Near the root of Judaism is the conviction that a single people are chosen by God — a people, moreover, who are hard to join. At the core of Christianity is the belief that a man was God and rose from the dead. Both claims seem to spit in the face of reason. Isn’t it an offence against justice to assert that God specially favours one people in particular? Isn’t it an affront to common sense to hold that a baby was divine, and that a dead man walked from a cold tomb?

Nonetheless, the suggestion that Islam might be preferable to either is objectionable to modern Western minds. It provokes visions of frenzy: failing states, suicide bombers, fanatical mullahs, shrouded women, burning books, oppressed minorities. But it should also conjure images of tranquillity: serene mosques, the circles of dhikr, a certain detachment from the claims of politics, distaste for the extremism within its own ranks of which Mohammed warned, and — until fairly recently — better treatment of religious minorities than Europe’s.

For most of its history Islam has been the most relaxed of the three faiths. It neither aches for the coming of a Messiah nor announces that outside the Church there is no salvation. It offers monotheism for all — a kind of Judaism for the masses. A more profound film about Islam than Geert Wilders’s could be titled not Fitna, but Fitra — namely, man’s primordial disposition, which is made for God. The path to paradise isn’t closed by original sin. Rather, it remains open, but man strays from it in heedlessness and forgetfulness. In doing so, he turns his face from tawhid — from the divine unity. So God sends prophets to nudge man back to the straight path. Mohammed was the last of them — not God, like the Jesus of Christianity, but the best of all creation. I write of conversion to Islam, but what takes place, rather, is reversion — a return to man’s natural religion.

I converted from nominal Judaism to Catholicism in my mid-twenties. Changing one’s religion once is enough to be going on with. Perhaps this thought has inhibited me to date from doing so a second time, and accepting Jesus of Nazareth as a great prophet rather than as the saviour of the world. If I’m remembered for taking up any cause in the Commons, which I’m quitting at the next election, it may be for fencing at Islamism and its fellow-travellers in Britain. But Islamism is a polluted tributary of the great river of Islam, and my allergy to a politicised version of the religion hasn’t deterred me from sitting at the feet, from time to time, of its traditional, classical form.

Being an MP representing the largest number of Muslims in any Conservative-held seat has made this easier. I’ve sat at celebrations in honour of Pir Shah Ghazi, a Sufi saint of the subcontinent; listened to the singing of the Saif-ul Malook — the great poem by Mian Muhammad Baksh, ‘the Kashmiri Rumi’; trudged in Walthamstow behind a running crowd keeping up with its adored Pir, Sayeed Abdul Quadir Jilani; struggled for answers while being courteously but searchingly probed by students at Cambridge Muslim College. And so on.

Islam has three advantages over modern Christianity. First, it has better preserved its liturgy. A Muslim prays five times a day in much the same way as his ancestors did at the time of Mohammed, perhaps because there’s no single source of authority in Islam to drive through liturgical change. There are no guitars, inexact translations of Arabic into English, imams that face the people rather than Mecca, and go-ahead muftis of Bevendon to proclaim: ‘Jihad in a very real sense’. Pope Benedict, who understands the centrality of liturgy to religion, might see a connection between Islam’s soaring numbers and its immutable worship.

Second, it has better preserved its spiritual inheritance, and kept polished the chains of spiritual transmission. This is no artificial figure of speech. The silsilah is a chain — the pupil receiving authority from a master who received it from his own master, and so on all the way back to Mohammed. Christianity has its apostolic succession. But this is the preserve of the bishops, not the laity, and in Islam everyone is a layman. This may help to prove that flat structures protect tradition more effectively than hierarchical ones. For better and worse, Islam has experienced no Reformation or Enlightenment — no questioning of the transmission of the Koran to Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel himself. There is a gimmicklessness about the practice of its spirituality.

Third, it has Sufism — the sum of that spiritual inheritance. I’m not dewy-eyed about Sufis, who are no more perfect than other believers. But the tradition they follow is one of the world’s great religious movements, balancing the Koran’s proclamation of the transcendence of God — ‘Who begetteth not, nor is begotten, and none is like Him’ — with its persistent whisperings of immanence, of a God who ‘is nearer to him than his jugular vein’. Many of the great Sufi texts aren’t available in English. I’ve been trying to read one that is. Jilani of Walthamstow is named after Jilani of Baghdad — a giant of medieval Sufism and founder of the Qadri order. I’ve ploughed my way through 61 of the 62 discourses in his Al-Fath Al-Rabbani — literally ‘the Revelations of the Lord’.

Each discourse is supported by verses from the Koran. The first chapter quotes the following: ‘Surely, God is with those who are patient.’ It’s a theme of Jilani’s, and seems to be one of Islam’s as a whole. The religion appears to lack that Western word, angst. Consider the Biblical and Koranic accounts of Abraham’s sacrifice. The Koranic account is sucked dry of tension: Ishmael not only knows of his father’s plan, but approves it. The Biblical account is dramatic: Isaac is unaware that his father means to kill him.

Perhaps the ox-like endurance of suffering is a feature of less developed societies. But for whatever reason, a sense of Jacob wrestling with the angel is never long absent from either Christianity or Judaism. Why suffering happens is one of the greatest human mysteries. In Christianity, God follows the logic of love, and vaults the barrier which separates Him from man. He plunges into the depths of suffering and transforms it through the Resurrection. The good old story may not make suffering bearable, but it may at least make it comprehensible. Once it’s accepted, the Trinity becomes a partner rather than a stranger to reason.

The vision of Islam — of actualising the divine names as Mohammed did, thereby restoring man’s original nature — has, as all great religions do, its own romance. But some calls must be questioned, however imperiously they’re couched. There’s cause for the eye of faith to pass on from the black stone of the Kaaba, and rest upon the white cloths that lay folded, on that first Easter morning, inside an empty tomb.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Coptic Church Construction and Egyptian Muslim ‘Emasculation’

by Andrew G. Bostom

Traditional Islamic religious authorities regard church construction, or any display of non-Islamic religions as “emasculating” of Muslims. No wonder Egypt’s Copts face such travails.

Because it was excerpted in Bat Ye’or’s pioneering The Dhimmi, I obtained Moshe Perlmann’s (1975) complete translation of a 1739 essay on the Churches of Cairo. Written by Sheikh Damanhuri (1689-1764), a highly esteemed leader of Al Azhar University, the pinnacle of learning in Sunni Islamdom, since 973 A.D., the learned jurist’s tract was a reply to a query in that year when, “…the dhimmis began the construction of a church in Cairo…causing great agitation among Muslims.” The good sheikh notes,

When I learned of the rise of this deplorable affair, and that in this community no longer is the prophetic injunction heeded to deter the infidels, the enemies of the faith, from their goal, I began to write the answer…by explaining the right path

Sheikh Damanhuri entitled his reply — in accord with the conclusion of his learned, Islamically-correct argument, “The presentation of the clear proof for the obligatory destruction of the churches of Old and New Cairo.”

Damanhuri states explicity (on p. 20) that areas “demarcated and settled by Muslims,” including Cairo, Kufa, Basra, Baghdad, Wasit, as well as “any village that was taken by force,” and not returned by a Muslim Caliph to those vanquished and dispossessed,

These are Muslim cities in which the protected people may not display any of their religious symbols, for example, erect churches, bring out wine or pork, or sound the clapper (calling to the church, a counterpart of bells). No new synagogue, church, monk’s cell, prayer assembly of theirs is allowed in these cities, by the consensus of the doctors [of Islamic law]. It has been mentioned above that our city, Cairo, is an Islamic town, started after the conquest of Egypt, under the reign of the Fatimids. Therefore, no church, synagogue, and the rest, may be erected in it.

But what Bat Ye’or excerpted in The Dhimmi that is truly fascinating — pathognomonic as we say in medicine — is how this learned Muslim jurist, in conformity with the prevailing orthodoxy, viewed Church construction by Christians as a form of Muslim emasculation! From (p. 21) of Perlmann’s 1975 translation of Damanhuri’s tract:…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Truth and Justice Not Lies and Superficiality on Massacre of Copts

The results of the autopsies will be released Oct. 27. But Egyptian army trying to silence the issue by manipulating the truth and accusing the Copts of provoking the violence despite the eyewitness accounts and videos. Shenouda III is opposed to the military’s version. Obama also assumes that the Copts were violent. Not to forget AsiaNews publishes some pictures of the massacre, sent by Coptic organizations.

Rome (AsiaNews) — The tortured bodies of Coptic Christians killed on 9 October demand truth and justice. The 26 still bloody corpses, heads smashed by the violence of military tanks and armored vehicles are piled up in of Cairo’s Coptic Hospital and other hospitals in the city waiting for autopsy. Ihsan Kamel, head of forensic medicine, said it will take time and that the results will be published only on October 27. He also claimed that declarations made by forensic doctors in the past week may be inaccurate.

Perhaps this warning is due to scrupulousness and scientific accuracy. We hope it is not an attempt to discredit the eye-witness accounts of demonstrators or the evidence of doctors who stressed that the deaths of several victims was caused by bullets from firearms and from the crushing weight of heavy vehicles.

Yesterday, Magda Adly, chief of El Nadeem, a Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture, said he witnessed the autopsy on the bodies of eight killed in Maspero (the area close to Tahrir Square, where the massacre took place) . According to Adly it is evident that the six bodies had been crushed by “heavy vehicles” and two had an “excessive” number of bullet wounds.

Adly’s testimony coincides with that of many survivors of the October 9 massacre amply documented in the many videos posted on the Internet (see for example:;; post7917).

In these images it is evident that the soldiers fired on an unarmed crowd. Just as it is clear that the armored vehicles deliberately mowed down defenseless protesters.

There is a blatant attempt, in Egypt and in the world, to hide the truth. Just one example: Daniel Mina, a Christian who was also a leader of the “Arab Spring” in Tahrir Square, was killed June 9 by gunfire and then crushed by an armored car. But his medical certificate does not say anything about the cause of his death.

The most powerful body behind these attempts to wipe out what happened on October 9 is the military. Two days ago at a press conference, the army rejected all the accusations against it. Showing reporters videos and photos, the two generals Adel Emara and Mahmoud Hegazy, claimed the soldiers had no live ammunition and that the armored cars that were trying to avoid the crowds by all means, who instead were throwing Molotov cocktails and stones.

At this attempt to wipe out the truth and deny justice the Orthodox Coptic Pope Shenouda III raised his voice. Meeting with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf yesterday, he reiterated that the Copts demonstration on 9 October, “was peaceful and the protesters had no weapons.”

In his catechesis on Wednesday afternoon, two days ago, he reiterated the same idea and said that the carnage of recent days was “without precedent” in the recent history of the Church in Egypt. He himself cited the results of the first autopsies according to which two thirds of the martyrs were killed by gunshot wounds and that the remaining were crushed by military vehicles.

Many Christians and Muslims also wonder why there was a deployment of hundreds of thousands of policemen and soldiers — given that the Copts protest was authorized. This suggests that the head-on collision was intentional, perhaps to delay the elections, perhaps to maintain a state of emergency.

The multitudes of “Arab Spring”, but also a large part of the Egyptian population, are becoming increasingly united in their condemnation of the army and its “fascist” methods, worse than under Mubarak. Yet, against all this, there is the scandal announced yesterday: there will only be an investigation into the Maspero massacre and it will be conducted by the military.

The army’s excuse is that there were armed violent elements among the protesters who started fighting with police. The Minister for Justice, Mohamed El-Guindy, said that interrogations of the arrested protesters have already begun and that the accused will be judged not by a civil court, but the military court.

The Coptic organizations in Europe, in a statement sent to AsiaNews, condemn the “triumph of shame” of the Egyptian army. They point their finger towards the Information Minister, Osama Heikal and the media which is subservient to him, who have launched a campaign against the Copts that were “killing” the army and Egypt.

The West seems to have totally distanced itself from Egypt. Under the weight of the Euro crisis, the EU limited itself to a generic condemnation of the violence and call for more respect for the rights of minorities, with the White House even espousing the theory of the Egyptian army. President Obama, deplored the “tragic loss of life among the demonstrators and security forces,” adding that “it is time for restraint on both sides.”

So the demands of democracy, press freedom, equal rights for Christians and Muslims — the heart of the struggles of the Egyptian “Arab Spring” — seem to be fading far away. This democratic vision also includes the right of Christians to build places of worship on a par with Muslims.

Once again, religious freedom is proven to be the key element of human rights. The Copts demonstration — also supported by many Muslims — was born from their demand for the right to build a church in Aswan, which was destroyed by the fundamentalists, backed by the local governor (a former general). Its tragic conclusion has laid bare the many human rights denied to the Egyptian population.

Some Coptic organizations have sent us some photos on the terrible slaughter of their brothers in faith, asking us to publish them. With some hesitation and with a strong dose of caution we have decided to publish them. “The blood of the martyrs — Shenouda III said at the funeral of some victims — does not come cheap”: it is the enormous price that the Egyptians are paying for the dictatorship of their leaders and the shallowness of the West. Until justice is done by those slaughtered in Maspero, there will be no justice for Egypt.

WARNING: The images presented here are very harsh and could upset sensitive viewers. To see the images click here.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

Former IDF Official: Shalit Rescue Efforts Were ‘A Resounding Failure’

Colonel (res.) Ronen Cohen, who recently retired from the intelligence division at the General Staff, where he had held a number of senior posts, says that the Shalit deal was a reasonable move on the part of Israel in view of the circumstances. Nonetheless, he said that “it is a sad day for the IDF.”

Cohen says that the handling of the efforts to bring Shalit back “was a resounding failure of the IDF. There are no other words to describe it. The IDF never took responsibility for the soldier and did not even set up a team to deal with bringing him back. They simply passed it on to the Shin Bet [security service].”

At the time of the Shalit abduction, Cohen was head of the terrorism department at Military Intelligence, and then deputy head of research. His last position was the intelligence officer of Central Command.

In an interview with Haaretz he said that the IDF did not consider formulating an operational option for the release of Shalit to be a project that they should undertake in an orderly fashion with goals in mind.

“Dan Halutz, who was the chief of staff at the time of the abduction, did not have time to deal with the matter seriously because less than three weeks later the Second Lebanon War broke out. Then the matter simply slipped away.”

Cohen believes that Israel had partial intelligence on Shalit’s situation which may have enabled a rescue operation, however the intelligence ceased being relevant at the time of Operation Cast Lead in December 2008…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]


Permission to Build a Catholic Church in Pskov Denied

According to the archbishop of Moscow the reasons are unjust and he denounces a “deliberate discrimination against the local Catholic community.”

Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) — After the demolition of the houses of the Sisters of Mother Teresa in Moscow over a “lack of permits,” another episode is pitting the Russian authorities against the local Catholic Church. In Pskov, north-west of the country, the city government has refused to renew the building permit for the parish of Holy Trinity. The reason given for the refusal is “the non-commencement of construction before the permit expired”, which violates the Russian Federation Building Code.

The motivation, however, was greeted with “astonishment” by the Archbishop of the Mother of God in Moscow, Mgr. Paolo Pezzi, who in a statement released by the website of the archdiocese expresses “the impression of deliberate discrimination against the Catholic community of Pskov”.

According to the prelate, thanks to the work of the rector, the help of many donors and the efforts of the faithful, the church building began more than 10 years ago and part of the complex, the house of the parish, has already been completed . This is the only Catholic church in Pskov. The local community is very active in the social field for the disabled and orphans, beyond professed beliefs.

Archbishop Pezzi denounces “the impression of deliberate discrimination against the Catholic community of Pskov” and calls on the provincial and city authorities to “cooperate to arrive at a just resolution of the issue.” (N.A.)

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

South Asia

India: Orissa: Hindu Extremists Plant a Flag on the Rubble of a Church Under Reconstruction

The place of worship was destroyed in 2008, during the pogrom against Christians that caused hundreds of dead. The local community had recovered materials to rebuild the building. The fundamentalists, with the connivance of police and government want to seize the land. Indian activist: government “sympathizes” with the extremist wing.

Bhubaneswar (AsiaNews) — The government is”sympathetic to the Hindu extremist wing “ and does not intervene to quell “provocations” against Christians in Orissa, denounces Indian activist Sajan K. George to AsiaNews, commenting on the last episode against the religious minority: October 6 last more than 400 Hindu fanatics planted a saffron flag — the official symbol of Hinduism — on the rubble of a Catholic church, destroyed during the anti-Christian pogroms of 2008. According to police, the flag was removed by unknown persons last night. However, tension remains high in the area and there is an creeping sense of increasing hopelessness and abandonment among Christians, ignored by government and law enforcement.

In recent weeks the Christian community had accumulated building materials to rebuild the parish church of Raikia in the village of Bakingia, Kandhamal district, belonging to the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Orissa (eastern India). The building was destroyed by Hindu fundamentalists in 2008, during the anti-Christian violence that caused hundreds of casualties. On October 6, Vijaya Dashami festival for the Hindu community, which is celebrating these days the festival of the goddess Durga, hundreds of extremists planted the saffron flag. The area, according to their leader Bhaskar Pradha, belonged to their ancestors.

Despite the protests of the Christian minority, which turned to local government authorities and the police, no one intervened to remove the banner from the site where the local parish church once stood. Local sources report that last night, someone removed the Hindu symbol, but the tension between the two communities remains high so much so that the area is guarded by dozens of police. Archbishop John Barwa, of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, immediately informed the head of the district Rajesh Patil. In response, he advised the Catholic leaders to send a letter of protest to the police. Yesterday a group of 15 people, led by parish priest Fr Probodh Kumar Pradhan, filed an appropriate complaint, but so far the police have not taken any measures. Administrators and police have also called for a meeting between Christian and Hindu leaders to settle the matter, but so far they have not confirmed an official summit.

Speaking to AsiaNews Fr Pradhan describes the “failure of government authorities” who are not able to control the situation. The reaction of Indian activist Sajan K George, president of Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) is even harsher who states that “the government’s deafening silence is a source of fear and anxiety among Christians.” He confirms that “the police who intervened in the affair did not take any measures”, while in recent days “the local government had ordered a halt to the reconstruction of the Catholic Church.” Local authorities, adds Sajan George, are conniving with the Hindu extremists because they “do not take action” against those who are “deliberately causing problems”.

(Santosh Digal collaborated)

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

Far East

Hong Kong High Court Grants Permanent Residency to the Filipina Maid

A landmark ruling by the Supreme Court. Government opposition, fears invasion of Filipinos and Indonesians. The protagonist of the cause thanks God

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The Hong Kong High Court has issued a ruling that allows a Filipino domestic workers the right to permanent residency in the Territory (close to citizenship). The ruling is of historical significance for the former British colony, where nearly 300 thousand domestic workers are of non-Chinese origin. According to the judges, the legislature forbidding them to ask for proof of residence “is contrary to the Basic Law [the small Constitution bequeathed by the British and Chinese, in force until 2050].”

The case concerns Evangeline Bana Vallejos, who has lived on the island since 1986. According to the immigration laws currently in force, all foreigners residing in the territory for seven consecutive years, may request the certificate of permanent residents. But this is not possible for maids who work in Hong Kong, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia. For Judge Johnson Lam, however, “according to the interpretation of the law, this law conflicts with our Basic Law. The mere maintenance of [a] link with her country of origin is not enough to deny residency “

Vallejos’s lawyer Mark Daly called the ruling “a victory for good and just rule of law. We talked with our client who is working and could not come here. She thanked God and all those who helped, including her employer and her lawyers. “ According to human rights activists, it is a victory “for the equality of all workers.”

The pro-China government is somewhat less enthusiastic and now fears an avalanche of requests from foreigners. According to a coalition party this ruling will open the doors to 500 thousand people, including spouses and children of workers, and this will increase spending on the welfare system to 25 billion Hong Kong dollars (about 2.5 billion) of. In addition, the unemployment rate “could go from 3.5 to 10%.”

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

Libraries Opened at Over 400 Mosques in China

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Over 400 mosques in Ingushetia region in North West China were equipped with libraries. According to “Arabic.china” website, the libraries were opened aiming at enhancing scientific progress being made by Muslims in the region and providing an opportunity for conducting researches in various fields of sciences, culture and law. Over 50 thousand books with social, cultural and religious topics along with TV sets and DVD players have been granted to the libraries by the local government of the region. Imam of Leeming Mosque in Ingushetia said in this respect that libraries make various scientific sources available for Muslims to enrich their cultural knowledge.” Over 2 million Muslims live in Ingushetia forming over one third of the population of the region.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Brazilian Prosecutors File for Battisti Visa to be Revoked

(AGI) Brasilia — Brasilia’s Federal Prosecution has filed for the annulment of Cesare Battisti’s residence visa. In filing the request, Prosecution specified that Battisti should not be forcibly transferred to Italy — where he was sentenced to jail in absentia — but should return prior host countries France or Mexico. News of the Prosecution’s request was reported by daily ‘OGlobo’. Prosecutor Helio Heringer filed the review request arguing that it is illegal to grant visa to non-Brazilian citizens with sentences pending.

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


Netherlands: Mushroom Grower Exploited Illegal Bulgarian Workers

Labour inspectors have found more than 70 Bulgarians without proper papers working for a mushroom company in Gelderland, broadcaster RTL reports on Thursday.

The Bulgarians earned €3 an hour — less than half the minimum wage — and had to sleep six to a room, RTL says.

The inspectors also suspect they were made to work with dangerous pesticides without proper protection.

Last year, illegal immigrants were found working on a quarter of the mushroom farms inspected. In total, their employers were fined €1.5m.

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

Netherlands: Wilders Calls EU Commissioner a Hippie and ‘Terrible Person’

Cecilia Malmström, the European commissioner in charge of home affairs is a ‘left-wing hippie’ and ‘should have been sacked’, Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam PVV party says in an interview with Friday’s Parool.

In an interview marking the end of the government’s first year in office, Wilders says the PVV will have a problem if the minority cabinet does not succeed in the changing the commission’s mind about an EU immigration policy.

‘Some left-wing hippie or other who calls herself a European Commissioner — Malmström — thinks differently [to the PVV],’ Wilders is quoted as saying.


‘I have not seen the plans. I only know that that half hippie should have been sacked, sooner rather than later. That is a really terrible person,’ Wilders said.

‘If that Annie doesn’t do anything and there is no support, then we have a problem. I hope the cabinet manages to force through amendments where possible.’

Wilders wants the minority government to ensure a 50% reduction in non-western immigration in return for his support on the economy.

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