Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20111018

Financial Crisis
»Euro Crisis to Smother Growth in Eastern Europe
»Greece: Names of Major Tax Evaders to be Published
»Greece: Army to be Called in to Collect Athens’ Waste
»How the Euro Will Divide Europe
»Italy: Calls for Help From Poverty-Stricken Up 80% in Four Years
»Portugal Faces General Strike Against Austerity
»Portugal May Not Meet 2011 Deficit Target: EU’s Rehn
»Portugal Forecasts Economy to Contract 2.8% in 2012
»Spain: Santander Bank Chief Slams EU Crisis Plan
»Swiss Indignados Take to Streets
»The Next Domino? Top Economists Warn of France Downgrade
»Trichet: EU Treaty Change Needed to ‘Impose Decisions’ On States
»UK: St Paul’s Campers: We’re Comfy and Preparing to Dig in
»Expert on Contemporary Islam Speaking at Xavier University
»Frank Gaffney: Obama’s ‘Responsibility to protect’ is to us
»Obama Has Already Spent $87 Mln for Re-Election Campaign
»Stakelbeck: While Al Qaeda Weakens, Global Jihad Strengthens
»The Constitution or Islamic Sharia?
»Open House on Islam Step Toward Understanding
»WWJD Join Hands With the Occupiers
Europe and the EU
»Austria: Life-Threatening Injuries After Headscarf Caught in Mixer
»Berlin Keeps Pressure Up on Partners
»British Foreign Secretary Hague: ‘Nobody Controls the Internet’
»France Checks Border With Italy for Indignados Before G20
»France: Men Tried to Set Bus Driver on Fire
»Is Britain Becoming a Country of Johannesburg-Style Ghettos?
»Muslim Conference Booted From Hotel
»Netherlands: Church Abuse Scandal: Nearly 100 Cases Dealt With So Far
»Sicilian Honeymoon is Over: Palermo Tax Collectors Want Your Wedding Receipts
»Spain: OK on Bill, Greater Representation for Islamic Bodies
»Sweden: Two Journalists, One Minister, Lots of Petrol
»Swiss Far-Right Party’s Mascot Goat Found Smeared in Black
»The Netherlands Fined €40m for Breaking Milk Quota
»Theft Costs Dutch Shops a Billion Euros
»UK: A Final Word on My [Douglas Murray] Differences With Paul Goodman
»UK: Bob Lambert Unmasked as Police Spy
»UK: Bob Lambert Was a Police Spy, Says the Guardian
»UK: First Ever Smoke Free Homes Resource Pack for Mosque Teachers
»UK: Jane Beale to Convert to Islam
»UK: More Than 400 Complaints But Just Two Convictions Over Abuse at UK Islamic Schools
»UK: York Mosque Plan Withdrawn Over Flood Risk Concerns
North Africa
»Tunisia: Investors Losing Faith in Country
Israel and the Palestinians
»PM Netanyahu’s Remarks Following the Release of Gilad Shalit
Middle East
»Saudi Arabia: Raja’a Alem: Transgressive Book on Hidden Mecca
»Saudi King Abdullah’s Interfaith Center in Italy to Unify the World’s Religions?
»Saudi Arabia: 100 Telephone Cabins for Pilgrims to Seek Fatwas
»Saudi Arabia: Linklaters Advised Underwriters on Landmark Islamic Project Bond (Sukuk) For Jubail Refinery in Saudi Arabia
»To be Black in Iraq
»Turkey: Erdogan: Too Many Taxes? Drive a Fiat
»UK: East End Life Promotes Preacher the Council Has Banned
»Russia and Ukraine Make Nice After EU Snub
»Azerbaijan: Kuwait’s Delegation Raises Issue on Abu Bakr Mosque in Azerbaijani Parliament
South Asia
»Survey in a War Zone: More Than Half of Afghans See NATO as Occupiers
Far East
»Himalayas Could Become the Saudi Arabia of Solar
»Outcry in China Over Hit-and-Run Toddler Left in Street
Australia — Pacific
»Abbott Singing a Song of a Different Timbre
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Eastern Kenya Living in Fear of Somali Islamists
»Kidnapped Spanish Aid Workers Are in Somalia
»Two British Nationals Arrested in Kenya at Somalian Border
»Antwerp: Newcomers Vote to the Left
»Few EU States Provide Medical Care for Irregular Migrants, Says Agency
»Foul Play Behind Surge in Albanian Asylum Seekers: Belgium
»Switzerland: SVP Claims Support for Anti-Migrant Vote
Culture Wars
»Germany: Without Quota, Gender Equality ‘Will Never Happen’
»Room for One More? World Population to Reach 7 Billion in Next Few Days
»Saturn’s Snowy Moon Enceladus Might be a Skier’s Paradise

Financial Crisis

Euro Crisis to Smother Growth in Eastern Europe

The current troubles in the eurozone are slowing down growth in eastern European countries, particularly Romania, Albania and Serbia, where Greek banks are an important part of the financial sector, according to a study by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) published on Tuesday (18 October). Barely out of the recession following the 2009 financial and economic crisis, many countries in eastern Europe will have to cope with slowdown in growth next year compared to what was projected just six months ago.

Referring to the 2009 crisis, the report said: “increased stress in the eurozone could have an even more severe impact on emerging Europe this time around” with recovery in this area “thrown off track.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Names of Major Tax Evaders to be Published

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 17 — With efforts to turn around the uneven economic situation in Greece continuing with the gathering of taxes, the country’s Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, is pursuing his struggle against tax evaders.

Venizelos announced in Parliament that three lists carrying the names of tax evaders will soon be published.

The first list, which will be published tomorrow, Tuesday, features the names of those who owe the state amounts upwards of one million euros. In the next few days, meanwhile, lists will be published naming those who owe more than 150,000 euros, and a further list identifying people who deposited capital in excess of 150,000 euros in foreign bank accounts in 2009, sums that cannot be justified as income.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Army to be Called in to Collect Athens’ Waste

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 17 — Athens mayor Giorgios Kaminis has urged striking garbage collectors to clear accumulated rubbish from the capital’s sensitive areas, such as schools and hospitals, as they represent a public health hazard.

“Employees are not even collecting hospital waste,” Kaminis told Skai television on Monday, adding that the inaction poses a huge health risk and it defies common sense. “(Calling in the army) is the only solution left,” the mayor warned. Soldiers have in the past been drafted to collect trash in Greece — Thessaloniki mayor Yannis Boutaris made a similar decision earlier this year. Municipal refuse collectors, who are protesting fresh wage cuts and impending layoffs, have opposed socialist government plans to bring in private workers to clear tons of accumulated rubbish by threatening that “blood will flow in the streets.” More than 6,000 tons of garbage has piled up on the streets of Athens, prompting experts to warn of a public health risk.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

How the Euro Will Divide Europe

Gazeta Wyborcza, Warsaw

Mooted eurozone reforms should enhance the single currency’s ability to weather financial crises, but will probably deepen the European Union’s division into an inner core (the eurozone) and the rest, argues a Polish columnist.

Tomasz Bielecki

In recent days Brussels has been ever more loudly talking about Polish history, though not the end of communism or its successful transition to a market based economy. It is talking of the “golden liberty” of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth that collapsed in 1795. “Don’t forget the Polish liberum veto!” [Many historians hold that a major cause of the Commonwealth’s downfall was the principle of liberum veto]. “Making the nation’s fate dependent on a single vote of protest led to the Republic’s collapse,” warned Guy Verhofstadt, MEP and former prime minister of Belgium.

Shifting from delight with the EU principle that “everyone is equal”, reflected in the unanamity requirement in many key votes, to drawing comparisions with the perversions of the Polish aristocracy’s veto system is primarily a result of huge problems with getting all the 17 eurozone member states to endorse the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), on which the fate of Greece and troubled European banks depend today.

The ratification process encountered obstacles in the Netherlands and Finland, among other countries, but it was the Slovak prime minister, Iveta Radicová, who ultimately “fell in battle” last Tuesday during the ratification vote in the Slovak parliament.

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind, one could say, because Ms Radicová had herself been drumming up anti-European sentiment for over a year, excelling in chastising Brussels over its allegedly excessive generosity towards Greece. She would explain in Brussels that the Greeks had only themselves to blame and should tighten their belts further instead of reaching out for money from the community.

Barroso losing stature

Although Slovakia will receive over 8 billion euros from the EU budget in 2007-2013 (that’s more than Bratislava’s loan guarantee for the EFSF), Ms Radicová liked the myth about the ant-like laboriousness of the Slovaks, who own nothing that they haven’t earned for themselves.

Bratislava’s example has fuelled debate in Brussels over whether to abandon the unanimity principle in EFSF votes and whether to tie member states’ voting power (on economic issues) to their financial contribution to the euro rescue effort.

Until now this has been done informally — the Sarkozy/Merkel summits outline the key economic reform proposals, which are then endorsed by the rest of the eurozone. When the Germans and the French are unable to reach consensus, lamentations can be heard about the lack of real leadership in Europe; when they near agreement, protests against dictat mount.

Even the Italian foreign minister, Franco Frattini, joined the critics when he complained following the recent Merkel-Sarkozy meeting that the “rest of Europe doesn’t know what they talked about and has no idea what it’s all about.”

Mitigating differences in member states’ weight on the EU forum should be the Commission’s job, but José Manuel Barroso has been rapidly losing stature to European Council president, Herman Van Rompuy. The latter is an undisputed master of behind-the-scenes diplomacy, cruising between the key European capitals and helping to hammer out deals without the involvement of EU procedures or the Commission…

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

Italy: Calls for Help From Poverty-Stricken Up 80% in Four Years

Most want economic aid, some help to get jobs says charity

(ANSA) — Rome, October 17 — The Catholic charity Caritas said Monday it had seen an 80.8% rise in requests for help at its offices across Italy during the four years of economic crisis from 2007 to 2010.

The number of people asking for help, mainly to make ends meet, rose by 19.8% in the same period, and by 69.3% in the poorer south of Italy, Caritas said. Most requests were for help in getting out of poverty while some sought assistance in getting jobs or solving family issues, Caritas said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Portugal Faces General Strike Against Austerity

Portugal’s main union leaders called Monday for a general strike after the centre-right government announced a tough new austerity budget. Manuel Carvalho da Silva, secretary general of the CGTP union, said after a meeting with his UGT counterpart Joao Proenca, “We have decided to propose a general strike to the leadership of the CGTP and the UGT.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Portugal May Not Meet 2011 Deficit Target: EU’s Rehn

EU Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn said Tuesday that Portugal may not meet the deficit target demanded by creditors for 2011 but remained optimistic about next year’s budget programme. Rehn spoke to Portuguese radio a day after the centre-right government submitted its 2012 budget to parliament, with Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar outlining tougher austerity measures than those agreed as part of the bailout deal in a bid to get the country’s finances back on track.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Portugal Forecasts Economy to Contract 2.8% in 2012

Portugal’s government said austerity measures contained in its 2012 budget, submitted to parliament Monday, will cause the economy to contract by a more than previously forecast 2.8 percent. Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar told a press conference that the floundering world economy “will lead to a contraction of gross domestic product of 2.8 percent, following 1.9 percent this year,” in Portugal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Santander Bank Chief Slams EU Crisis Plan

The chairman of major Spanish bank Santander Tuesday rejected emergency plans to make European lenders bolster their capital, saying it would worsen market panic and curb lending.

“These proposals make no sense,” Emilio Botin, chairman of Santander, Europe’s biggest bank by capitalisation, told a bankers’ conference in Madrid.

“They create insecurity and confusion” and “increase uncertainty in the markets,” he warned, adding that forcing banks to recapitalise would prompt many to cut back lending.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Swiss Indignados Take to Streets

Up to 1,000 protestors took over Zurich’s Paradeplatz, the symbolic heart of the Swiss banking industry, on Saturday as the Occupy movement went global.

Peaceful Wall Street-style protests were also held in Geneva, Basel and Bern, as well as in hundreds of cities around the world as part of a day of action protesting against capitalism and austerity measures.

“I’m here as I want to tell the banks and those in power that things have to change,” said Angelo Zehr, a 21-year-old student from St Gallen, waving a cardboard sign “We are the 99%”.

“We’re fighting for a fairer world where everyone has the chance to make a good living. It’s unjust that one per cent of the population have the same amount of wealth as the remaining 99 per cent.”

Organisers had spread the word through Facebook and Twitter and people started to gather at Paradeplatz from 10am on the freezing autumn day.

By lunchtime the trams that snake through the square past the UBS and Credit Suisse Swiss headquarters had been cancelled as the crowd swelled.

Festive air

The square took on a festive air as groups of mostly young people set up coffee and soup stalls as well as the odd tent, organised homemade versions of Monopoly to the sound of drum beats, painted placards and talked politics.

Meanwhile bemused Chinese tourists and shoppers filed past down Bahnhofstrasse, one of the richest shopping streets in the world.

“Most young people like me feel that things are going wrong in the world,” said Stephan Stork, a film and theatre student from Zurich.

“We live well here in Switzerland; I can buy fair trade products but that’s not enough for me. It’s not just about maintaining our standard of living but global justice. Capitalism is not democracy. We need change.”

The roots of the current wave of protests, which combine anger at the bail-out of the financial sector together with concern over the faltering global economy and increased inequality, are in mass marches earlier this year in Spain — the original “Indignados” or indignant ones.

It gathered attention with the Occupy Wall Street campaign, which started a month ago, and has since spread virally via social media across the United States.

Anger at banks

Much of the anger on Saturday was directed at the banks. UBS and Credit Suisse front windows were plastered with stickers, posters and other written messages, “End speculation”, “Freedom begins together”, “Stop corruption and tax the banks”.

“Swiss people were very angry with the bailout of UBS. They felt it was obscene that bank executives received bonuses at the same time as they almost crashed the entire economy. That does not sit well with the Swiss tradition of justice and fairness,” said Douglas, an American who runs an English language business in Zurich.

“The media likes to portray this movement as disaffected, anarchic unemployed students, which is not correct. We are the conservatives. The radicals are in the banks.”

Ueli Wildberger, an elderly activist, also took a swipe at the banking system.

“We had to save UBS with billions and billions of Swiss francs so we are all paying for this crisis,” he said.

The global movement has been dismissed for its lack of focus. In Zurich there were a multitude of different messages: “Tobin tax now” and “Eat the rich” placards were waved alongside “Free Gaza”, “What makes you happy?” and “Occupy the planet”.

“The media criticises us for not having a clear message but we’re fighting so many different things it would be difficult to have one distinct aim,” said American student Mia Hammersley, who made the three-hour train journey from Lugano in Italian-speaking Switzerland to “show solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests back home”…

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

The Next Domino? Top Economists Warn of France Downgrade

Top German economists are warning that France’s AAA rating could be in danger should additional measures become necessary to prop up indebted euro-zone members or to save ailing banks. With debt relief for Greece under discussion, it may be a question of when, not if.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Trichet: EU Treaty Change Needed to ‘Impose Decisions’ On States

The outgoing head of the European Central Bank (ECB) has called for a change to the European Union treaty to allow for the outside imposition of economic policy on a member state. ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet told French broadcasters on Sunday (16 October) following a meeting of G20 finance ministers in Paris that such a step is necessary in the wake of the eurozone crisis to guard against any one member state endangering the single currency area.

“It is necessary to change the treaty to prevent one member state from straying and creating problems for all the others,” he said. “To do this, one even needs to be able to impose decisions.” Trichet, who will soon be leaving the central bank after eight years at the top of the organisation, said that in the absence of a federal state, such external supervision is required.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: St Paul’s Campers: We’re Comfy and Preparing to Dig in

Londoners were today warned that a new anti-capitalist “tent city” outside St Paul’s Cathedral could be in place until the New Year. Police said they were preparing for a long-term protest by demonstrators who have set up the makeshift camp in the City. As the protest entered its third day, the Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s appealed to campers to allow the “daily life” of the cathedral to go ahead without interruption. St Paul’s owns Paternoster Square, around which the camp has been set up. The Rt Rev Graeme Paul Knowles said the church needed to be allowed to operate “as normally as possible” and for all people “to be respectful of this need”.

Activist Sophia Samra, 23, from Harrow, said: “People are going to stay as long as it takes. We are getting comfy and are prepared to dig in. We are totally prepared for it.

“We have a kitchen and classes and everyone is sharing food.” Activists set up the camp on Saturday after police blocked about 2,000 protesters from entering an area around the London Stock Exchange. Eight people were arrested for public order offences and assaulting police. Six were charged.

The event coincided with similar protests, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York, which took place all over the world this weekend and led to violence in Rome.

Today St Paul’s protesters came face to face with City workers travelling to work but there were no clashes. Activists have set up kitchen and recycling facilities outside St Paul’s as well as a “media area” powered by two generators. Volunteers cooked breakfast on two portable stoves.

The demonstrators told the Standard that they were willing to stay at the site until December or even into the New Year if allowed. One protester said: “We are in it for the long run.

The police have no jurisdiction here and the church likes us.” Police said they were preparing for a low-key policing operation if the protest stayed peaceful. One source said: “They are on private property so if the church is happy for them to be there there is nothing we can do. We are talking to the protesters and the cathedral.”

Local businesses, including a number of major coffee chains, were said to be doing a roaring trade. A nearby branch of Blacks was said to have sold out of tents. There was even some support for the protest from City workers today. Heather Athie, 27, a business manager from Dalston, said: “Generally speaking I would agree with Occupy London Stock Exchange. I think it has been interesting the way it has happened in other countries. Overall I agree with the message but I have got to pay my rent too. We work in a system that is based on capitalism.”

Simon Kirby, 31, a stockbroker from Southend, said: “I think some of their comments up on the walls are about right, they make some really good points. It is a reaction to everything that is going on.” Corie Walton, 26, a receptionist from Island Gardens, east London, said: “I think good on them. St Paul’s Cathedral is an interesting place to protest but they are going to get noticed. I don’t have a problem with them being here, they are doing it for a good cause and are not doing anything wrong.”

Meanwhile it emerged that one of the protesters had quit his job as a teacher in the state sector to move to Saudi Arabia to teach in a private school run by the Saudi royal family.

English teacher Samuel Mack-Poole, 26, said he had quit his job at a comprehensive school in Kent to take up a position at a school in the oil-rich Gulf. The married father of a two-year-old daughter revealed to the Standard he has recently converted to Islam and will take up his new job in the next two weeks. He said: “I quit my job as I was a bit sick of the State education system and thought I would see what my options were. I looked around and did some supply work and a job in Saudi came up. Unfortunately it is for the Saudi royal family. I would like to work for a charity [but] I have a mortgage to pay and a wife and child and responsibility.”

A London student told today how she was camping outside St Paul’s despite only moving into a new flat the previous day. Noora Devrede, 23, joined the demonstrators who slept in tents last night. The post-graduate student at the School of Oriental and African Studies plans to go to her lectures during the day and stay in a tent at night. She said she had moved into her new flat on the Holloway Road over the weekend. She said: “I moved in and said to my flat mates I was just about to leave for the demonstration. They looked at me as if to say ‘really?’. “It is an exciting time to be part of this movement of people who are coming together for a safe and peaceful protest.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Expert on Contemporary Islam Speaking at Xavier University

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) — The leading international expert of contemporary Islam will be speaking at a lecture at Xavier University. On Friday, October 21, Pakistani Ambassador Akbar Ahmed will explore the contemporary issues facing Muslims in America; the fastest growing religious group. He will also be talking about extremist Islamic groups and the reality of their influence in national and global politics.

Ambassador Ahmed was been called “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam” according to the BBC and as made several appearances as a commentator on CNN. He is a professor of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington. Ahmed has also taught at Princeton, Harvard, and Cambridge Universities and served as an ambassador of Pakistan to Great Britain. The Ambassador has appeared in the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Oprah, Nightline, CNN, NPR, PBS, and CSPAN. Ahmed will speak at 4:00p.m. in Kennedy Auditorium of Xavier’s Conation Learning Commons. The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking will be available in the lot of Smith Hall across from Ledgewood Avenue.

For more information, call 513-745-3585.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: Obama’s ‘Responsibility to protect’ is to us

For the second time this year, President Obama has committed U.S. military personnel to distant battlefields, putting them in harm’s way pursuant — more or less explicitly — to what is known in UN circles as a “responsibility to protect.” The theory goes that the international community has a duty to intervene to prevent harm to innocent civilians.

As a practical matter, this new supranational dictate — known in UN speak as “R2P” — translates into a purported obligation on the part of the United States to use force, or at least make it available, whenever called upon by others to do so. (The only exception seems to be circumstances where we might actually have vital interests, in which case, naturally, the “international community” would generally deem such a U.S. intervention to be impermissible.)…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Obama Has Already Spent $87 Mln for Re-Election Campaign

(AGI) New York — Barack Obama has already spent $87 million in 2011 in preparation for his 2012 re-election campaign. The New York Times reported that, since the beginning of the year, Obama and the Democratic National Committee have already spent $87 million, that is as much as the amount raised so far by all the Republican candidates.

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

Stakelbeck: While Al Qaeda Weakens, Global Jihad Strengthens

The Obama administration has had some undeniable successes against Al Qaeda over the past several months. And the President’s team will surely use those successes to portray him as a tough “terror warrior” in the run up to the 2012 election.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

In my latest blog entry, I outline the various ways that the Obama administration has actually strengthened the global jihad and put America in greater jeopardy.

You can watch my report at the link above.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

The Constitution or Islamic Sharia?

The Constitution or Sharia: Preserving Freedom Conference will be held on November 11th in Nashville, Tennessee

Contact: Don Feder, 508-405-1337; Shannan Burke, 202-543-0300

NASHVILLE, Oct. 17, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ — William J. Murray, chairman of the Sharia Awareness Action Network announced the first major, national conference on Sharia and the Islamization of America — The Constitution or Shariah: Preserving Freedom Conference — at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee on November 11, 2011, sponsored by the Sharia Awareness action Network.

Murray noted: “This is the first major national conference dedicated to countering Sharia and the Islamization of our nation. This action-oriented conference will help you to counter Sharia in your community.”

There are a host of nationally known speakers and panelists including Barrister Paul Diamond (Christian Legal Centre, UK), Rev. Mark Durie (Australia), David French (American Center for Law and Justice), Frank Gaffney (Center for Security Policy), Pamela Geller (Stop Islamization of America), Fred Grandy (entertainer, former Congressman and talk show host), Rabbi Jonathan Hausmann, Bishop Earl Jackson (STAND America), Andrea Lafferty (Traditional Values Coalition), Andy Miller, ( Tennessee Freedom Coalition), William J. Murray (Religious Freedom Coalition), Fr. Keith Roderick (Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights), Pastor Rick Scarborough (Vision America), J. Thomas Smith (U.S. Justice Foundation), Robert Spencer (Jihad Watch and Stop Islamization of America), Matthew Staver (Liberty Counsel, Freedom Federation), Wafa Sultan (author and critic of Islamism), Kenneth Timmerman (writer and author), Bill Warner (Political Islam), Rep. Rick Womick (Tennessee Legislature) and Lou Ann Zelenik (Tennessee Freedom Coalition).

Topics and panels include: Sharia and Jihad, Legal Action Against Sharia, The Dehumanization and Diminishment of Women In the West Under Sharia, Fighting Islamist Propaganda In the Media, The European Experience, Grassroots Organizing Against Sharia and Mega-Mosques, The Moslem Brotherhood In American, Sharia and Religious Persecution and Legislative Action

Numerous national organizations sponsoring the conference include: American Freedom Defense Initiative, Stop Islamization of America, Center for Security Policy, Religious Freedom Coalition, Tennessee Freedom Coalition, American Center for Law And Justice, GrassTopsUSA, STAND America, Traditional Values Coalition, Vision America, Freedom Federation, David Horowitz Freedom Center, and US Justice Foundation.

Speakers and panelists are available for interviews

For more information, contact: Don Feder (508) 405-1337 or Shannan Burke 202-543-0300

For more information, go to

To register, go to

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Open House on Islam Step Toward Understanding

At a time when the exchange of information as close to instantaneous as it is widespread, it remains an unfortunate truth that much of the information is wrong, based on ignorance, misconceptions, prejudice and misrepresentation of facts.It is also sometimes based on the fact many people don’t want to hear anything but their own perceptions of the truth.

Eric Thomas and members of the Quinte Secular Humanist Association deserve a great deal of respect for the fact they are not only willing to listen to different ideas, but are willing to work to assist others in doing so as well.

On Saturday, QSHA hosted an open house on Islam and the Holy Qur’an at the Belleville Public Library Art Gallery. The followers of Islam have had — to put it mildly — a great deal of “bad press” recently, much of it to do with the actions of a minority and the reactions of people who like to speak before they actually listen. “The Muslims had a lot of bad press over the last few years and this particular sect of Muslims (Ahmadiyya Muslim) has this specific outreach program, which I thought would be the perfect venue to discuss and show them our respect and consideration,” said Thomas.

Organizer Rizwan Rabbani and speaker Adam Alexander have been canvassing Canadian cities like Belleville for the last year — promoting peace, condemning terrorism and addressing misconceptions regarding Islam and the Muslim religion at large. “I came here this morning with the intention of hearing things that people have learned about Muslim, the Islam, and the Qu’ran from TV, media, friends and family members,” said Alexander, who became Muslim five years ago after reading and understanding the Qur’an, the central religious text of Islam. “And I wanted to be given the opportunity to defend those misconceptions.

“I don’t need participants in our seminar to believe it. I just want them to know the different versions of Islam.” Knowing, of course, is not the same thing as believing, and to Alexander’s credit he isn’t asking people to believe in his faith, only to understand it, or at least understand how not everyone who shares it can be bundled together in one small group. As has been noted before, blaming all Muslims for terrorism is akin to blaming all Christians for the Ku Klux Klan. By being more knowledgeable about Islam, we are all in a better position to understand it, as well as understand the many people around the world who, despite worshipping differently than us, are not all the much different from us.

>From that kind of knowledge comes tolerance, even understanding. And that takes us one step closer to peace.

[JP note: Oh, no it doesn’t — it takes you one step closer to dhimmitude.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

WWJD Join Hands With the Occupiers


As the peaceful Occupier movement spread to Canadian cities this weekend, the threat they represent to the bankers — and the bankers’ allies — wasn’t difficult to see. They are leaderless, and they lack an agenda that a dismissive corporate media can summarize in a soundbite.

But the Occupiers are the first truly populist, progressive movement to seize peoples’ imaginations in a long, long time.

In this way — and I know this will anger some conservatives, but too bad — the Occupiers are a bit Christ-like. As noted most memorably in Matthew 25:31, when Judgment Day arrives, the ones who will be admitted into the Kingdom are the ones who have done the most for “the least” among us — the hungry, the sick, the poor.

If you strive to know Him, like some of us do, there can’t be much doubt that the rabbi named Jesus Christ was no capitalist. Nor is there any mystery WWJD with the Occupiers, this past weekend.

He’d be right down there with them, chanting against the bankers and the politicians who do the bankers’ bidding.

           — Hat tip: Van Grungy[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Austria: Life-Threatening Injuries After Headscarf Caught in Mixer

A woman almost got strangled when her headscarf got caught in a dough mixer. The 21-year-old woman worked a dough mixing machine in a tent at a party in Vienna’s Krieau on Saturday night when her headscarf was caught in the running machine, strangling her by the throat. A passer-by noticed the accident and cut the headscarf with a knife, saving the woman. She suffered life-threatening injuries but meanwhile is on the way of recovery, the doctor treating her said.

[Return to headlines]

Berlin Keeps Pressure Up on Partners

Il Sole-24 Ore, 18 October 2011

Angela “Merkel is scaring the markets,” says Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore. Comments on October 17 by the German Chancellor’s spokesperson caused “a cold shower” effect “on those that think that the European Council meeting on October 23 will provide a decisive solution to the sovereign debt issue in the euro zone,” the paper says. “The dream that all will be solved the next day will not come true,” the spokesperson said. The German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, is saying much the same thing: “a definitive solution during the European Summit is improbable”.

These comments, which are in contradiction with the optimism expressed by Chancellor Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at their last meeting, caused European stock markets to drop and widened the spread between German and French treasury bonds. The markets have understood “the signal sent by Germany,” according to Il Sole, “it is maintaining the pressure so that the other countries don’t relax efforts to consolidate their public finances”.

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

British Foreign Secretary Hague: ‘Nobody Controls the Internet’

British Foreign Secretary William Hague wants to make the Internet safer. In a guest editorial, he calls for politicians, the business world and civil society to address problems including cyber crime, digital repression and terror networks at an international conference seeking to find solutions to these problems.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France Checks Border With Italy for Indignados Before G20

(AGI) Paris — France announced its intention to check the Franco-Italian border in view of the Cannes G20 summit on 3rd & 4th Nov. The news was released during a press conferenceby Jean-Michel Drevet, the Prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes Region.

In the light of the violence that raged in Rome last Saturday, the French Border Police was authorized to apply “banishment measures” especially in the case of “group intrusions” on the French territory.

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

France: Men Tried to Set Bus Driver on Fire

A BUS driver has escaped with his life after two men tried to set him on fire. The young men came on to the bus and threw petrol around before throwing a lighted match on it. The driver quickly put out the flames but when he jumped out of the bus he slipped on the pool of petrol and the men emptied their can on him as he lay on the ground. Then they tried to light another match but could not get it to light before they fled. The incident happened in Gennevilliers, Hauts-de-Seine, where there have been regular problems at the border with the neighbouring suburb of Asnières. The bus driver was only slightly injured.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Is Britain Becoming a Country of Johannesburg-Style Ghettos?

Having just returned from a week with my Peckham mentor kids at a leadership conference in Atlanta, Georgia, I am always alarmed by the shocking level of segregation that sadly still exists across the pond. What is more, the South is not an isolated case. Ostensibly cultured and cosmopolitan East-coast American cities like New York, Boston and DC are still far more of a fruit salad than a genuine melting pot, with separate races often living in separate, geographically-distinct neighbourhoods.

I am beginning to look at London and other major cities with an increasing sense of dismay, in terms of the way many of us, especially young people, seem to be progressively living and interacting split along racial lines. I sincerely hope that we are not going the way of the States. A few weeks ago David Levin, the headmaster of City of London School, articulated this same concern at the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, where he warned of the dangers of inner-city segregation in schools. What is more, he felt that ‘London is sleepwalking towards Johannesburg.’

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Muslim Conference Booted From Hotel

The Sheraton Centre hotel will not host a Muslim religious conference that was to feature speakers who have expressed anti-gay and anti-Semitic views. The Star informed a Sheraton convention services manager about the speakers on Wednesday. On Thursday, after the Star published an article on the conference, a hotel spokesperson said it had been “cancelled due to the organization’s failure to satisfy a contractual requirement.”

The conference, which had been scheduled for Oct. 23, was organized by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), a British organization seeking to establish a Canadian presence. The IERA’s local public relations officer could not be reached Thursday evening. In a statement, the IERA said it “unequivocally rejects” the Star‘s article as “false and misleading.” It also issued an “action alert” urging supporters to “complain about this unfair action.”

“The aim of the upcoming conference, far from promoting hatred, will focus on getting Muslims to pro-actively engage with the wider society by sharing the true essence of the Islamic faith in both word and deed,” the IERA said. The IERA did not address the specific comments made by the speakers. Regarding gays, the IERA said: “Most, if not all major religions forbid homosexuality and Islam is no different.”

Jewish and gay organizations had criticized the IERA for inviting four speakers who had disparaged gays, Jews and Christians. Gay activists in Britain denounced a hotel chain in January for hosting a London IERA event involving several of the same speakers. On Wednesday, the public relations officer for the conference referred questions to an IERA official who did not respond to a request for comment. A Sheraton convention services employee said Wednesday: “We book things and sometimes we don’t know exactly what they are.”

Howard English, senior vice-president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said Wednesday that he was “very concerned” about both conference and the IERA’s attempt to establish itself in Canada. He called the speakers’ views “reprehensible.” “The people that are being tolerated, featured and promoted by this organization are expressing views that, if promoted in Canada, can only serve to divide people rather than uniting people,” he said.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Church Abuse Scandal: Nearly 100 Cases Dealt With So Far

The commission investigating the sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic church has dealt with 97 of the 568 formal complaints submitted to it, a spokesman told news agency ANP on Tuesday.

In 16 cases, formal recommendations have been made to the church authorities but it is not known if this advice will be followed or exactly what it entails, ANP said. In 32 cases, there was not enough evidence to pursue a claim and in 23 cases the charges were withdrawn.

In total, nearly 2,000 reports of abuse were made to the commission, set up last year to identify and help victims and their abusers.

The scandal broke at the end of February 2010 when newspapers reported claims of abuse at a boarding school in ‘s-Heerenberg in the 1960s and 1970s.

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

Sicilian Honeymoon is Over: Palermo Tax Collectors Want Your Wedding Receipts

Sicilian tax collectors are cracking down on a large, underground industry: weddings. Because many weddings services on the Italian island are done off the books, newlyweds must name the suppliers of their dresses, cakes and photos — and whether they handed over a receipt.

Life as a newlywed couple is never easy. After months of preparations, the wedding celebrations, and the return from the honeymoon, the new twosome should be set to finally start their new life together. But in Sicily, rather than happily-ever-after, newlyweds run in to a visit from the taxman.

The tax-collection agency for the Sicilian capital of Palermo has launched a crackdown on tax evasion in the lucrative wedding business.

Some 2,000 couples from Palermo who have gotten married in the last five years have received a form from the local tax office requiring a full accounting for every detail of their ceremonies, which in Sicilian tradition tend to be extravagant affairs even if the bride and groom come from modest backgrounds.

The newlyweds are required to list who provided flowers, photos, wedding gifts, and the bride’s bouquet, how much they paid and, most importantly, if they have received sales receipts, which are supposed to be mandatory for every sale or service in Italy. ??Despite the economic crisis, the wedding business is still very successful in Sicily, where an average ceremony costs 25,000 Euros. On the other hand, many dodge taxes. The sales receipts are the proofs that they are paying VAT. Too often they do not.

A young professional who got married in Palermo three months ago spoke with La Stampa of his experience. “A famous local photographer asked 2,500 Euros, but he invoiced only 1,000 Euros. We didn’t receive sales receipts for the car we rented and for my wife and the other women’s hairdresser and make up artist, for whom we paid a total of 1,500 Euros.” On the other hand, the florist and the restaurant owner released receipts that included VAT. But the professional did not receive receipts from the violinist and organist who played in church.

It is pretty common. This is why Palermo Internal Revenue Service has started an investigation asking the newlyweds to declare all their wedding expenses. They won’t be persecuted for evasion, but they are required to denounce the tax dodgers, under penalty of a fine.

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

Spain: OK on Bill, Greater Representation for Islamic Bodies

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 17 — A law bill approved by the government will allow some Islamic organisations recognised by the Ministry of Justice to be part of the Islamic Commission of Spain (CIE), the organ in charge of discussions with public administration bodies over places of worship, the training of imams, religious classes and subsidies. Today’s edition of the Publico newspaper says that after several months of often controversial talks, the government has launched the bill modifying article 1 of the cooperation agreement agreed between the state and the CIE and has put an end to the veto imposed by some Muslim federations, in particular Spain’s Federation of Islamic Religious Bodies (FEERI), which is connected to Morocco, upon the integration into the Islamic Commission of around a third of Spain’s Islamic organisations. There are 1,040 registered Muslim bodies in Spain. Until now, the CIE had consisted of two organisations, the majority Union of Islamic Communities in Spain (UCIDE) and the minority FEERI, which opposed the admission of other Spanish Islamic bodies into government and representational organs. The president of Valencia’s Islamic Cultural Centre, Alvaro Sanchez, one of the leaders of the CIE, welcomed the new deal as “a great step forwards for the integration of Islam into democratic Spanish society”, saying that it would “put an end to the inequalities that were preventing many Islamic organisations from being represented”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Two Journalists, One Minister, Lots of Petrol

Svenska Dagbladet, 18 October 2011

The trial of two Swedish journalists accused of terrorism, which opens on October 18 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is getting a lot of press coverage in Sweden. “Because of political games, the Swedes risk 40 years in jail,” says Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, adding that “Ethiopia wants to set an example”. Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were arrested on July 1, while investigating oil industry activities and human rights violations in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. They entered the region with the aid of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a separatist group which has fought for greater autonomy for the region since the mid-1980s.

The negotiations to free the journalists were led by the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt. But the minister, who was once on the board of directors of Lundin Oil, an oil firm with interests in Ethiopia, was highly criticised for his lack of commitment in favour of the two journalists. “Our Minister of Foreign Affairs, who talks a lot in general, is keeping a low profile,” notes the Dagbladet, adding, “So what is the real meaning of all those Swedish speeches about human rights and all the tax payers’ krona for aid to Ethiopia? If we are not ready to fight for freedom of the press and the life of Swedish journalists, in an open and aggressive manner, of what can we be proud?”

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

Swiss Far-Right Party’s Mascot Goat Found Smeared in Black

Swiss far-right party SVP said Tuesday that its mascot, a goat which was reported missing over the weekend, had been found tied to a tree and smeared with black paint. The animal named Zottel and a fellow goat Mimu was found in the Zurich-Witikon area, said the Swiss People’s Party. “The dwarf goats were tied to a tree and painted in black,” it said, adding that it was relieved that the animals could be returned to Ernst Schibli, a parliamentarian.

“It condemns the cowardly act by extremist delinquants,” added the party. Members of a group called Anti Fascist Action claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the two goats. Zottel has been the SVP’s mascot since the 2007 elections, when the party splashed posters across Switzerland depicting three white sheep kicking a black sheep off the Swiss flag.

According to the SVP’s website, “Zottel saves Switzerland” and is “against mass immigration”. For the October 23 legislative elections, the SVP has centred its campaign around the issue of immigration, which it believes is out of control.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Netherlands Fined €40m for Breaking Milk Quota

The Netherlands has been fined €40m by the European Commission for producing and selling more milk than allowed under EU quotas.

Denmark, Austria, Cyprus and Luxemburg were also fined a total €15m for breaking the quotas.

The quota system is due to end in 2015. Preliminary figures show between 2010 and 2011 the EU as a whole produced 6% less milk than the quota allows.

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

Theft Costs Dutch Shops a Billion Euros

Dutch shops lost turnover worth 1.26 billion euros last year, due to theft by shoplifters or their own personnel or because of mistakes. The figures for 43 countries were published on Tuesday. The losses to the Dutch retail trade were up 6.6 percent on the previous 12 months. The figure is the equivalent to 208.45 euros per Dutch household, considerably more than the European average of 150.33 euros. Over the last year, shoplifters were responsible for 633 million euros’ worth of losses, theft by staff accounted for 370 million euros and mistakes cost businesses a further 258 million.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: A Final Word on My [Douglas Murray] Differences With Paul Goodman

When, a few weeks back, in an article on gay marriage, I made a glancing reference to the regrettable views of Paul Goodman I never thought I’d end up having to write one — let alone two — lengthy pieces responding to his increasingly vitriolic and obsessive attacks on me. Let alone that readers of Conservative Home would be expected to put up with this exchange. But Monday’s piece by Paul was the blog-equivalent of a drive-by shooting. This is tediously obsessive even for me — and I was the subject — so I can’t imagine how dull it must be for everybody else. But Paul’s had a last say — so I’ll do one more correction of him.


Even when Paul and I were on friendly terms we were never in full agreement. The latest pieces from him remind me why. With the largest Muslim constituency of any Conservative MP, Paul took it upon himself to read a lot of material very fast on Islamic and Islamist theology. As often happens when people immerse themselves in something new, he went under and seems never to have come back up.As a counter-terrorism friend pointed out to me after reading Paul’s latest: the most noteworthy thing about it is that it is exactly the piece that an Islamist would write about me. Where it is not merely selective and misrepresenting of my views, it is just plain wrong.


I am not a member of the Conservative party, or any other party. It was my conviction some years ago that the Conservative party was going in the wrong direction on this issue. I believed that it had become caught having the debate on Islamist terms. I wanted — and want — the debate to be had on British terms. To clarify — I don’t want Britain to become more Islamist, I want Islamists to become more British. There was a period, some years ago, when it seemed clear that the Conservative party was going in a very bad direction indeed. At that stage I was also on the record as being a Labour voter.

Politics changes

But politics, like everything else, changes. Events happen and — just as importantly — don’t happen. For instance, ten years ago you could say things about gays that would now never be said in polite society. That is not only because situations change, it is because politicians and people change. Almost six years ago — at a conference in the Dutch Parliament in The Hague (not Amsterdam, incidentally) I was asked by the party which had recently formed the Dutch government, to be one of a group of people to consider where we should go from here. We were in the middle of the Danish cartoons riots as well as unrest around the world in response to the Pope’s address at Regensburg. The first suicide bombings had recently been perpetrated in London, and in Holland there had been another assassination of a critic of Islam (the colleague of a friend who was herself forced into hiding). Things did not look good, and it appeared likely that Europe was going to face a far wider problem than anyone had previously thought. In that situation I was asked to imagine some tough scenarios for what we might have to do about it.

The answers I came up with were certainly uncompromising. Most were in tune with policies that were then being supported by the Dutch government, as well as Sarkozy and other mainstream European leaders. I also highlighted a risk I feared very much then, as I do now. With far-right forces in France and elsewhere attempting to benefit politically from these events, I believed that tough action may be needed to cut off the growing threat from far-right leaders like Jean-Marie Le Pen (who had recently been the runner-up in the run-off for the French Presidency).

That remains important. But I now think much of the speech was wrong, and certainly does not apply today. Nearly six years on, thanks to work done by a broad coalition of people — including many Muslim colleagues and friends — the situation has changed significantly. There are, for instance, now a number of anti-radical Muslim organisations, which was certainly not the case back then. Largely because of the ground being opened up by outside voices, politicians like Merkel, Sarkozy, and Cameron have become able to say things which ended political careers less than a decade ago. Additionally, counter-terrorism measures and heightened political pressure prevented the repeat terrorist attacks that we certainly expected in 2005-6.

At the time of that speech, a number of British MPs who read the speech, including colleagues and superiors of Paul’s in the Shadow Cabinet, praised me for it. So when Paul arrived in my office and claimed that I had to retract the speech on the orders of unnamed cabinet colleagues I found it political hypocrisy of the rankest kind. For people to praise you in private but claim they must dissociate themselves from you in public seemed to me not merely to demonstrate, but to epitomise, the kind of moral backbone I feared his party then had.


As it happened, Paul’s dire warnings were not heeded. I continued to have friendly and constructive relationships with his Conservative Party. Paul’s claims to the contrary are not just loaded with bitterness and malice — they are simply wrong and may be down to the fact that he is no longer in the House. Unfortunately for him, and despite his strange new obsession with my working habits, the evidence is all for me and all against him. What is more, and despite his bitter claims to the contrary, I am very proud of what we achieved while I was running the Centre for Social Cohesion. The impact that we had on government policy can — apart from anything else — be seen by the fact that our work was cited throughout the major counter-terrorism documents produced by the current government. Apart from anything else they are in:

  • The Prevent Strategy;
  • The Contest Strategy;
  • The latest Annual Review of terrorism legislation by the Independent Terrorism reviewer.

In addition, much of Cameron’s Munich Speech was based on arguments I — and a few others — have been making for years. As I say, Paul’s claim that the CSC had no effect on government is disproved by reference to the government’s own work.


As it happens (and that is why his latest behaviour is especially regrettable) Paul and I are in agreement on much to do with Islamist extremism — an interpretation of Islam causing significant problems worldwide. But where we differ is that I believe that there are also aspects of the religion itself which Muslims and others must challenge. They are problems that the other monotheisms have also faced, and largely (though not completely) got around. I am optimistic that Islam can also get over, or around, these problems, but believe it will never do so until it confronts them. Paul would rather duck this argument, as would most other people I know. But I think it is a duty of outside commentators to try to tackle it.


In addition, Paul not only fails to cite anything positive that I have ever written about Muslims, he denies that I have ever done so. So, plucking just two examples at random, Paul for instance fails completely to note my praise and support for progressive Muslim scholars such as Tahrir ul-Qadri (here) and writing in the Evening Standard that, ‘We will have to hope, as ever, that the peaceful Muslim scholars in this millennia-long battle within Islam, can indeed win through.’ Nor does he acknowledge my often-stated belief that though there are problems in Islamic scripture most Muslims thank goodness do not follow the problematic verses, but just like the rest of us get on with trying to lead decent and good lives. Had Paul been honest he might have cited me arguing just this for instance in a prominent speech last year in New York (see 5 mins 4 seconds here).


Finally the smears. It is astonishing that someone who criticises me for evasiveness can be quite so evasive and distorting himself. Paul tries to perform a character assassination by quoting the opinions of an ex-colleague with whom I fell out and who took revenge by publicly attacking me. So what? If Paul were interested in giving a full or even decent picture he could speak to many other people, young Muslim and non-Muslim friends and colleagues who have worked with, and for, me at the CSC and elsewhere over the years. But of course he wouldn’t want to do that. Anymore than he would want to correctly characterise my critical attitude towards the English Defence League (EDL).

I have repeatedly criticised the EDL for their ‘disgusting, racist and thuggish behaviour’ (see here, for instance). But instead of noting that, Paul refers Conservative Home readers to a video erroneously claiming that I once professed support for the EDL (a claim, incidentally, that seems to have previously been made solely by members of the EDL and Islamists). Watching the video anyone can see that I did no such thing. I warned that just as people should be careful not to lump Muslims into one group, so they should be careful not to jump too eagerly into lumping white working-class people into one group. Perhaps this is too subtle a point. It certainly proved to be so for the EDL and for a number of Islamists. But for it to be a point too fine for the mind of a former Conservative MP is quite another thing.

Anyhow — enough. We’re unlikely to kiss and make up at this point, but I hope Paul and I can at least avoid detaining the readers of ConservativeHome any longer.

[JP note: Islam’s eventual success is predicated on such spats continually weakening resistance to its agenda.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Bob Lambert Unmasked as Police Spy


[Reader comment by Lamia on 17 October 2011 at 11:19 pm]

All that being said the fact is that dangerous radical Jihadi groups exist today in Britain that are planning terrorist outrages tomorrow.

The main reason for this being that London has for about fifteen or twenty years been the terrorist residence of choice in Europe. Our clever security services told our clever establishment it would be a good idea to let extremists like Abu Hamaza and Omar Bakri stay here while inciting murder abroad. They were sure it would somehow protect Britain. Of course it would have protected Britain better had they never allowed them in at all.

In the event over 50 British citizens have died as a result of the equivalent of planting triffids in your greenhouse and hoping they won’t break the windows. This is a cross party problem and a testimony to the stupidity and corruption of our establishment. Lambert appears to have been a part of this. If he was really trying to subvert Islamism he was doing a bloody bad job of it — people like him have entrenched in the minds of numerous idiotic liberals and leftists the idea that Islamism isn’t so bad, that the real problem is ‘the zionists’ etc etc, that women really like living under Sahria law…

…and that we should keep taking the most evil, reactionary and bigoted scum of the earth into our country, and clasp them to our bosom when someone gets the sensible idea of booting them out.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Bob Lambert Was a Police Spy, Says the Guardian

Readers of this blog will know that I have often locked horns with Robert Lambert, one of Britain’s most important Islamist fellow-travellers, for the deeply shoddy work he has produced in his capacity as an Exeter University academic. Lambert’s unit, the “European Muslim Research Centre,” is heavily funded by Islamist groups and serves its clients by producing pseudo-academic reports claiming, against nearly all the evidence, that life for British Muslims is going to hell in a handcart. You can see my explanation of the deceit involved in his last one here (another part of the same report even had to be withdrawn as libellous.) Lambert is a key defender of Islamism — and a key attacker of its critics, such as myself — and is to be found on every public platform where the East London Mosque,IFE, Muslim Council of Britain and others gather to mourn lost influence. Now, his credibility appears to have been destroyed.

Lambert, a former police officer, has made no secret of the fact that he used to work for Special Branch (as head of the Met’s Muslim Contact Unit, he pioneered the now discarded approach of officially anointing “good Islamists” in the hope that they would act as a bulwark against “bad Islamists.”) Today’s Guardian, however, goes much further, calling him “a former spy who controlled a network of undercover police officers in political groups” and “ran operations at a covert unit that placed police spies into political campaigns, including those run by anti-racism groups. The unit also disrupted the activities of these groups. Lambert became head of the unit after going undercover himself…he becomes the seventh police officer to be exposed as a police spy in the protest movement.” They are the Guardian’s claims — and we don’t have Lambert’s side of the story — but they are endorsed by at least one of the groups he allegedly infiltrated. The story has been up for nearly 24 hours now and I haven’t heard any denials.

The claims relate mainly to the 1980s and 90s, but the interesting question is whether Lambert has continued to work undercover since supposedly leaving the police. I must say I was always glad to have Lambert as an opponent, simply because his arguments were so easy to unravel. I thought he was just stupid — but maybe he was playing a much cleverer game.

Certainly, Britain’s Islamists are deeply upset and depressed today at the implosion of a man they thought was one of their key advocates. The East London Mosque is hosting an event next month to promote his “ground-breaking research.” I wonder if that one will stay on the calendar much longer?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: First Ever Smoke Free Homes Resource Pack for Mosque Teachers

The first ever ‘Smoke Free homes’ resource pack for Muslim religious teachers is to be launched in Leeds. It aims to help Muslim religious teachers educate communities about the health risks of second hand smoke and the importance of ensuring their home is smoke free. NHS Leeds has worked with the University of Leeds and the Association for Social Development, Pakistan to develop the Smoke Free Homes guide for Muslim religious teachers. The project has been supported by imams, madrassa (specialist religious schools) teachers, Qur’an teachers, leaders of women’s circles and members of the public in the UK and in Pakistan.

The resource pack will help Muslim religious teachers to work within their communities to reduce the risk of serious health complications caused by living in a home that is not smoke free. The pack includes activities for children and young people, information leaflets for the wider community and a guide for Muslim teachers. In a unique partnership approach the guide has been developed jointly in Leeds and in Pakistan. The award winning Smoke Free Homes project has already been adopted by the National Tobacco Control Programme in Pakistan supported by health professionals in Leeds. John Lawlor, Chief Executive for NHS Leeds, said: “I’m delighted that all the hard work that has gone into developing this innovative resource has paid dividends

“I want to thank all our partners who have been involved in developing the project as well as the support we have received from members of the public here in Leeds and in Pakistan.

“I know that the Smoke Free Homes project in Leeds has been recognised nationally and internationally. This demonstrates the value of partnership working.” Exposure to second hand smoke is particularly harmful for children and babies as it can cause cot death, asthma, chest and ear infections. In addition, children who are routinely exposed to smoking in the home are more likely to become smokers in their teenage years. Unborn children can also be affected as exposure to second hand smoke during pregnancy can lead to low birth


Dr Ian Cameron, Director of Public Health for Leeds, adds: “Every year, millions of people around the world die and millions more become ill as a result of smoking tobacco. Although many people in the UK understand that smoking is harmful to the health of smokers themselves, the dangers of tobacco smoke for non smokers is less well understood.

“We hope that by working with Muslim religious teachers we can highlight these dangers to the community. Our research shows that there are a higher proportion of smokers of Muslim origin who smoke within the home than the wider population.”

University of Leeds researcher, Dr Kamran Siddiqi, said: “Despite the Government’s ban on smoking in public places, children, pregnant women and adults who don’t smoke are still at risk from exposure to cigarette smoke in their own homes and the homes of their friends and relatives. This is an important public health message and one that needs to be communicated to all groups, particularly those at greatest risk. The Smoke Free Homes guide for Muslim religious teachers is being launched at the Makkah Mosque in Hyde Park on Wednesday 19 October at 5.00pm.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Jane Beale to Convert to Islam

EastEnders’ Jane Beale is to convert to Islam in order to embark on a relationship with Masood Ahmed. EastEnders’ Jane Beale is to convert to Islam. The downtrodden cafe worker- who left Albert Square when her marriage to Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) failed — returns to find close friend Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) has split from wife Zainab and they embark on a romance.

However, Jane’s new man asks her to convert to his religion, and while she agrees to do so, she has problems adjusting at first. A source told the daily Star newspaper: “She struggles a bit at first, like when she make shim a lamb curry that he can’t eat because it’s not Halal. “But she’s determined to do whatever it takes to be with him. He cares and respects her more than Ian ever did. For the first time, she’s really happy and she doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardise that. The only thing she finds really tough is giving up the booze.”

When Jane (Laurie Brett) returns to Albert Square, she is in for a shock as Ian has already moved on and is planning to marry Mandy Salter. Nicola Stapleton, who plays the mouthy blonde, expects Jane’s return to “spice things up” between the pair. She said: “I really hope she comes back at the worst possible moment. That would spice things up a bit, wouldn’t it?”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: More Than 400 Complaints But Just Two Convictions Over Abuse at UK Islamic Schools

More than 400 children have complained of physical abuse at Islamic schools in the UK, but only two people have been convicted, figures revealed today. And just 10 of the 420 cases made it as far as court, raising fresh concerns over the use of corporal punishment in Muslim classes. The issue was first highlighted in February, when a shocking documentary secretly filmed teachers in a part-time faith school hitting children and delivering lessons in hatred and segregation.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: York Mosque Plan Withdrawn Over Flood Risk Concerns

The risk of flooding has put an end to plans for a new £2m mosque in York. The original plans, submitted in July, proposed replacing the current premises on Bull Lane with a much larger building. Part of the site falls within a high-risk flood zone and the Environment Agency has said the new building would be vulnerable to flooding. Organisers behind the application said they would rethink the proposals. Building in the zone is possible but would require more work to guard against flooding. Shazad Hussain, secretary of York mosque, said they had decided to withdraw the application to consider how to proceed. Mr Hussain said: “We’ve taken the opportunity to rethink whether we want to build on the current site or move the plans slightly so that more of the new building falls into a lower-risk area.” The proposed mosque would have included minarets, a central dome, prayer hall, classroom and meeting rooms. It would have replaced the existing building which is more than 25 years old.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Tunisia: Investors Losing Faith in Country

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, OCTOBER 17 — There has been a drop in confidence in Tunisia by foreign investors, who have reduced their volume of financial investments this year, at a time when the political conditions in the country are changing.

According to figures from the Tunisian agency that promotes foreign direct investments, FDIs amounted to 1.238 billion dinars in the first nine months of this year, against 1.698 billion over the corresponding period of 2010.

The fall in investments has also led to a drop in the number of jobs created, with last year’s tally of 9,165 falling to 8,484 this year. The most significant drops were registered in the energy and manufacturing sectors.The electronics and textile sectors, meanwhile, drew the greatest attention from foreign investors.

France has maintained its position as the leading investor in Tunisia, in terms of the number of projects (49), total investment (163.9 million dinars) and jobs created (3,038).

Italy is in second place (40 projects, 53.3 million dinars invested and 2,476 new jobs created), followed by Germany.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks Following the Release of Gilad Shalit


Citizens of Israel, today we are all united in joy and in pain.

Two-and-a-half years ago, I returned to the Prime Minister’s Office. One of the principal and most complicated missions that I found on my desk, and which I set my heart to, was to bring our abducted soldier Gilad Shalit back home, alive and well. Today, that mission has been completed.

It entailed a very difficult decision. I saw the need to return home someone whom the State of Israel had sent to the battlefield. As an IDF soldier and commander, I went out on dangerous missions many times. But I always knew that if I or one of my comrades fell captive, the Government of Israel would do its utmost to return us home, and as Prime Minister, I have now carried this out. As a leader who daily sends out soldiers to defend Israeli citizens, I believe that mutual responsibility is no mere slogan — it is a cornerstone of our existence here.

But I also see an additional need, that of minimizing the danger to the security of Israel’s citizens. To this end, I enunciated two clear demands. First, that senior Hamas leaders, including arch-murderers, remain in prison. Second, that the overwhelming majority of those designated for release either be expelled or remain outside Judea and Samaria, in order to impede their ability to attack our citizens.

For years, Hamas strongly opposed these demands. But several months ago, we received clear signs that it was prepared to back down from this opposition. Tough negotiations were carried out, night and day, in Cairo, with the mediation of the Egyptian government. We stood our ground, and when our main demands were met — I had to make a decision.

I know very well that the pain of the families of the victims of terrorism is too heavy to bear. It is difficult to see the miscreants who murdered their loved ones being released before serving out their full sentences. But I also knew that in the current diplomatic circumstances, this was the best agreement we could achieve, and there was no guarantee that the conditions which enabled it to be achieved would hold in the future. It could be that Gilad would disappear; to my regret, such things have already happened.

I thought of Gilad and the five years that he spent rotting away in a Hamas cell. I did not want his fate to be that of Ron Arad. Ron fell captive exactly 25 years ago and has yet to return. I remembered the noble Batya Arad. I remembered her concern for her son Ron, right up until her passing. At such moments, a leader finds himself alone and must make a decision. I considered — and I decided. Government ministers supported me by a large majority.

And today, now Gilad has returned home, to his family, his people and his country. This is a very moving moment. A short time ago, I embraced him as he came off the helicopter and escorted him to his parents, Aviva and Noam, and I said, ‘I have brought your son back home.’ But this is also a hard day; even if the price had been smaller, it would still have been heavy.

I would like to make it clear: We will continue to fight terrorism. Any released terrorist who returns to terrorism — his blood is upon his head. The State of Israel is different from its enemies: Here, we do not celebrate the release of murderers. Here, we do not applaud those who took life. On the contrary, we believe in the sanctity of life. We sanctify life. This is the ancient tradition of the Jewish People.

Citizens of Israel, in recent days, we have all seen national unity such as we have not seen in a long time. Unity is the source of Israel’s strength, now and in the future. Today, we all rejoice in Gilad Shalit’s return home to our free country, the State of Israel. Tomorrow evening, we will celebrate Simchat Torah. This coming Sabbath, we will read in synagogues, as the weekly portion from the prophets, the words of the prophet Isaiah (42:7): ‘To bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.’ Today, I can say, on behalf of all Israelis, in the spirit of the eternal values of the Jewish People: ‘Your children shall return to their own border [Jeremiah 31:17].’ Am Yisrael Chai! [The People of Israel live!]

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Saudi Arabia: Raja’a Alem: Transgressive Book on Hidden Mecca

(ANSAmed) — ROME, 17 OTT — “The holy city of Mecca is no exception and, like all others, has an underground world and has now become a sort of Las Vegas full of towers and glass”. These are the surprising words of the Saudi writer, Raja’a Alem, who has surprised both Arab and European audiences in Brussels for the launch of the French version of her latest novel, “Ring”.

Speaking of her home city of Mecca, the Saudi author has attempted to change the stereotypical view of the Muslim holy city, according to the Middle East Online website, and says that she does not remotely feel the limitation of her freedom when talking about very sensitive social issues concerning Mecca.

The novel, which has sparked great controversy for its treatment of taboos concerning an underground world in the present and past history of the city, tells of the suffering of a woman experiencing a struggle between feelings of masculinity and femininity. Asked if it might have been preferable to set the story in another city, the author replies: “Risk is part of creative world. When I write, I don’t think of censorship, of the risk of the place or of the consequences of writing about Mecca”.

The holy city has a very important place in almost all of the Saudi writer’s novels, leading some critics, the website says, to appreciate the virtue of her description of the Hijazi (the area around the city of Mecca), even though her novels sometimes go beyond the holiness of the place.

The underground Mecca of the early twentieth century described in “Ring” was especially one where men would frequent brothels in which they would find music and women and smoke opium. “The underground world exists in all cities and Mecca is no different from the rest,’ the author says. “When you hear the world Mecca, the sanctity of the place springs to mind, as if it were a city uninhabited by human beings”.

Raja’a Alem, who was already well known for her transgressive novels, says that she has not yet received any negative attention since winning this year’s Arabic Poker Prize for her novel “The Doves’ Necklace”. The lack of a reaction, she says, can be put down to the fact that “Saudi society falls into two categories, fundamentalists and the enlightened. The first group does not read and the second appreciates the fact that I talk about places that would otherwise be forgotten”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Saudi King Abdullah’s Interfaith Center in Italy to Unify the World’s Religions?

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has been planning for years to find a way to unite the world’s major religions in an effort to help foster peace, and believes a new international organization to be housed in Vienna, Italy will help make that dream a reality. As the institution was officially founded Thursday, some Christians are likely to start pointing to interpretations of biblical prophecy about the emergence of a one-world religion many believe precedes the return of Jesus Christ.

According to media reports, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, Austrian Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger and Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez Garcia-Herrera oversaw the signing of a contract between the three nations Thursday, in which they will cooperate in the building and organization of an interfaith center in Vienna. Other high level officials from the three nations were also reportedly in attendance at the treaty signing.

The building, to be called the “King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue,” was conceived of by its namesake and mostly financed by the Saudi government. According to media reports the center will be composed of a governing body of 12 representatives, among that number will be representatives from Islam (one each Sunni and Shiite), Christians (one each Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox), a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Jewish representative.

There will also be a consulting body with 100 representatives from various faiths, as well as “academics and members of civil society,” Deutsche Welle news agency reports.

“The thesis is valid that world peace cannot exist without peace between the world’s major religions,” Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said during the signing ceremony in Vienna, according to Deutsche Welle.

The news agency also reports that Spindelegger said the organization’s structure has been designed to make sure no single faith has the upper hand and that politics would have no part in the center’s government. Garcia-Herrera also noted that membership would be made available to other nations.

The religious center will be located at Schottenring in Vienna, according to the Austrian Independent. Dutch news paper Die Presse reports that the project will cost millions of dollars.

“(Our) paying for the operation is to create a fund that makes the center independent from any sort of political interference,” the Saudi prime minister said during the news conference.

The Deutsche Well report reveals that King Abdullah conceived the idea after meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2007. It was after emerging from that meeting that King Abdullah called on Christians and Muslims to find common ground for world peace.

The Saudi king held three interfaith meetings between 2008 and 2009, in which he held discussions with religious leaders in Mecca, Madrid and Hofburg in Veinna, which is reportedly where the final plans for the center’s governing body was decided upon.

The ratification of the agreement on the interreligious center has upset politicians, local media and moderate Muslims, who wonder if the Saudi government does not have some ulterior motive, the Austrian Independent reports…

[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: 100 Telephone Cabins for Pilgrims to Seek Fatwas

JEDDAH: The General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs will establish more than 100 telephone cabins at the lobbies and the gates of the Grand Mosque.

They will be connected to the offices of religious scholars to answer queries by pilgrims around the clock, Assistant Undersecretary of the Presidency Yousuf bin Abdullah Al-Wabil announced Sunday. He told Arab News that more than 50 scholars would be working 24 hours a day for guidance and direction at the gates of King Abdul Aziz, Ajyad and Al-Fatah in addition to other areas inside the Grand Mosque. Al-Wabil said more than 20 religious teachers would be giving lessons at the Haram after the Fajr, Dhuhr, Maghreb and Isha prayers. “Headphones will be available at the special prayer places for women and at the Haram plazas to enable worshippers to follow these lessons,” he said. According to Al-Wabil, Friday sermons will be translated into sign language at the first floor of the Grand Mosque for deaf people to follow. He said 78 permanent and seasonal employees would be working at the department of guidance and direction to provide services to the guests of God including showing them Shariah-compatible methods of performing the rites.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Linklaters Advised Underwriters on Landmark Islamic Project Bond (Sukuk) For Jubail Refinery in Saudi Arabia

The transaction represents the first ever Sharia compliant “greenfield” project bond (sukuk). The sukuk certificates are listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).The sukuk transaction forms part of the wider multi-source financing for a 400,000 barrel per day refinery and petrochemical project at the Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia, which has an estimated construction cost of over $14bn. The existing project financing documentation (on which Linklaters also advised the diverse lender group) was signed in June 2010 and provides for approximately $8.5bn of senior debt to be raised by Saudi Aramco Total Petrochemical and Refining Company (SATORP), a joint venture company established by project sponsors Saudi Aramco and TOTAL S.A.

A key challenge faced on the transaction was to integrate the innovative and complex Sharia sukuk structure into multi-source conventional financing arrangements and negotiating (and meeting) a stringent set of sukuk accession criteria to preserve the pari passu position of the senior debt. The sukuk transaction was also the first time a previously unlisted company has listed sukuk (rather than equity) on Tadawul and the first time that the issuer was a special purpose vehicle.

Linklaters’ Islamic finance capability was also instrumental in obtaining a Sharia pronouncement (fatwa) for the sukuk transaction by two leading Islamic financial institutions in Saudi Arabia, Al Inma Investment Company and Bank AlBilad. Their respective Sharia committees include a number of the most highly regarded Islamic scholars in the MENA region and this is the first sukuk transaction in Saudi Arabia to receive such a high profile Sharia endorsement. Sharia pronouncements were also issued by the respective Sharia committees of Deutsche Securities Saudi Arabia, Samba Capital & Investment Management Company and Saudi Fransi Capital.

The Linklaters team was led by partner Richard O’Callaghan and managing associate Mark Jones in Dubai and partner Julian Davies and managing associate Adam Fogarty in London.

Richard commented: “This is a very significant transaction for the capital markets in Saudi Arabia and the wider region and marks an important step forward in the evolution of the onshore “debt” capital markets in Saudi Arabia and, more generally, the diversity of potential funding sources available to major infrastructure projects. We also hope that it will encourage other unlisted companies in the Kingdom to access the local capital markets.”

Julian also noted that: “it is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved to close the first greenfield sukuk project bond. The combination of the latest “international standard” project bond intercreditor techniques with an innovative Islamic finance sukuk structure in the context of a greenfield project financing is an important development for project finance and the capital markets going forward”.

The accession of the sukuk to the wider financing also involved the Linklaters team advising the wider lender group and intercreditor agent led by partner Manzer Ijaz and managing associates Tessa Davis and James McLaren in London. Other key members of the Linklaters team included associate Jack Nichols in Dubai and US associates Varsha Trottman and Nick Cook in London. Meshal Al Akeel Law Firm (in affiliation with Hourani & Associates) acted as local legal counsel to the joint lead managers and joint bookrunners. Also advising was Allen & Overy LLP (as international legal counsel to AATSC, SATORP and the sponsors) and Abdulaziz AlGasim Law Firm in association with Allen & Overy LLP (as local legal counsel to AATSC, SATORP and the sponsors).

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

To be Black in Iraq

BASRA, Oct 13, 2011 (IPS) — “Before being deployed to Iraq I never thought I’d come across people who physically resemble my friends and family back in Buffalo,” says U.S. marines sergeant William Collins on a rare patrol around Basra’s Zubeir district. The American marine arrived four months ago in Iraq’s second largest city. Collins admits that nobody in his battalion knew of the existence of an Afro-Arab community in Iraq, not even the Afro-Americans like him.

“If I dressed the local Arab garb, I would be able to walk across these streets and nobody would take me as a foreigner,” says Collins. He adds that he’d probably feel safer that way than with the bulletproof jacket and the helmet he’s wearing. There are many black people in Basra and especially in Zubeir district — an area of crumbling mud-brick buildings that is home to 300,000. Most black people in Zubeir claim to be descendants of slaves brought to the Gulf from Africa at least since the ninth century. And some old habits seem to have survived for a whole millennium.

“The Arabs still call us “abd” (“slave” in Arabic), says 46-year-old Zubeir resident Amin Tarik. “Luckily enough, there are not aggressions against us, but we face discrimination in almost every aspect of life,” adds Tarik, speaking in the courtyard of his humble mud house.

Iraqi blacks hardly speak any language but Arabic, and they are overwhelmingly Muslim, like the majority in the country. Slavery was abolished here in the 19th century but the colour of their skin literally closes many doors.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Erdogan: Too Many Taxes? Drive a Fiat

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 17 — The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has defended a recent tax rise on the consumption of luxury products by publicly demanding that citizens drive small cars such as Fiats instead of more powerful vehicles such as Porsches.

“Instead of driving a Porsche, use a Fiat and the problem is solved,” said Erdogan, in comments that have been relayed several times today and over the weekend by a number of Turkish papers. The moderate Islamic Prime Minister also defended the highly criticised duty on tobacco and alcohol, saying: “Do not smoke and the problem is solved. Consume less alcohol and the problem is solved”. After asking citizens to buy cars from the Turin-based company, an all of a major Turkish industrial group (KOC), Erdogan said that the tax had been imposed to control current account deficit, the supposed Achilles heel of the ultra dynamic Turkish economy. With this “problem”, the Prime Minister added, “if we do not tighten our belts, we will become a country like Greece”.

By increasing the “Special Consumer Tax” (OTV) last week, the Ankara government increased the rate for cars with horsepower of over 2,000 CC from 84% to 130%, taking current list prices up by 25%. The cost of cars with horsepower of between 1,600 and 2,000 CC, meanwhile, is expected to rise by 12.5%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: East End Life Promotes Preacher the Council Has Banned

On New Year’s Day, I posted this on this blog and entitled it “Tower Hamlets council starts to get a grip.” I said the council should be congratulated for finally taking the initiative in vetting people before helping to promote them. The post concerned a Raising the Nation event at the Brady Centre in Whitechapel, which had been organised by the Tayyibun Institute whose headquarters are less than a mile away in New Road (more about them another time).

The Tayyibun had invited Abu Abdissalam to teach women about the kind of child rearing techniques that would deliver “a victorious Ummah”. However, as I noted in January, someone at the council had done their homework on Abdissalam and insisted his name be removed from the list of speakers before the Brady could be booked.

Here’s what I wrote in January:

Believed to be aged in his 30s, he was born in Coventry and raised in London. He gained a degree in Computer Science from City University and then went to study Islamic Studies in Saudi Arabia. He doesn’t much like the West […] in fact he appears to be brimming with anger. Full details about him can be seen on the Harry’s Place website here. He makes references to the stoning to death of adulterers, chopping off the hands of thieves and to Ali Al-Timini, the US cleric convicted for plotting terrorism in the wake of 9/11.

And here’s the statement from the council’s communications department from January:

“Mr Abdissalam was on an original list of speakers for this event, but was flagged up in our booking protocols (the Conditions of Hire) as someone of concern. The organisers were therefore asked to remove him from the list of speakers, which they did, and the event went ahead without him today.”

So if the council know him as “someone of concern”, why is its communications department helping to promote his work again? In each of the last two editions of the council’s East End Life paper, the following advert has appeared: [phote]

It’s an advert for the Twins of Faith event at the Excel Centre in Newham. As you can see, Abdissalam is one of the speakers. The publicity on its website here says the event, which will have “fully segregated seating” will be all about “inspiring positive change”. If the council really is sincere about rooting out extremist thinking and prove that it really is getting a grip, it has to demonstrate that it is aware of these issues across all its departments and not just showboat on the obvious bookings of halls.

This is particularly so of East End Life.We’re told that the editor has “independence” from communications boss Takki Sulaiman but who is overseeing the paper’s advertising team. The problem is that that team, which is run by Chris Payne, is driven entirely by monetary targets. They’re not well-trained: they’d be able to spot Nick Griffin’s name on an advert but not many others.

This is not the first time it has accepted these kinds of adverts is it? A few months ago, East End Life was running adverts for Anjem Choudary’s new evening school in Whitechapel. After those ads were highlighted here, none have since appeared. Its vetting procedures need to be strengthened. I’d suggest that they have stronger links with a body such as the Quilliam Foundation to advise on whether there are potential problems when requests for such adverts come in. All this, of course, is very helpful evidence for Eric Pickles, Grant Shapps and Bob Neill, who, as predicted said here last week, will be looking at ways to bring these council newspapers on to a statutory footing.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Russia and Ukraine Make Nice After EU Snub

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has told Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych he can jail his political rivals as far as Moscow is concerned after the EU made him persona non grata. Speaking to press after talks on gas in Yanukovych’s home town of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday (18 October), Medvedev said that the decision to jail former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko last week is “Ukraine’s internal affair.”

He voiced “respect” for Ukrainian “sovereignty” and its “independent” courts, while indicating that EU criticism of the verdict is bad manners. “I was taught at university to try not to comment on court rulings, whether Russian or foreign, until they take effect,” he noted. The Russian dignitary did warn his host not to put in question a gas supply contract agreed by Tymoshenko in 2009.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Azerbaijan: Kuwait’s Delegation Raises Issue on Abu Bakr Mosque in Azerbaijani Parliament

Head of Kuwait-Azerbaijan Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group: The closing of this mosque can stop Kuwait’s charitable activity in Azerbaijan”

Baku. Rashad Suleymanov — APA. The delegation led by Head of Kuwait-Azerbaijan Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, Dr Valid Al-Tabatabai visited the Parliament today. APA reports that the delegation was welcomed by Head of the Friendship Group with Kuwait Chingiz Asadullayev. They exchanged view on development of inter-parliamentary relations.

Al-Tabatabai said that Kuwait was one of the first countries that recognized Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. The common values from the national, cultural and religious point of view tie both countries. Head of the delegation said that the closing of “Abu Bakr” mosque in Baku could negatively influence the work of charitable foundations of Kuwait in Azerbaijan.

“Many people were praying in this mosque. These people mustn’t be responsible because of criminals who committed the terrorist act. I consider that the closing of this mosque can stop the charitable activity of Kuwait in Azerbaijan” — he noted. Asadullayev said that Azerbaijan is considered the most tolerant country in the South Caucasus. MP also clarified the issue on “Abu Bakr” mosque: “A terrorist act was committed in this mosque, people were killed and injured as a result of it. The investigation has been continuing yet. The mosque’s activity will be restored after the end of the investigation. You have built about 20 mosques in Azerbaijan, all of them function now”.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Survey in a War Zone: More Than Half of Afghans See NATO as Occupiers

Fully 60 percent of Afghans fear that the country will descend into civil war once NATO forces leave, but over half see the Western alliance as occupiers. A new survey carried out be the Konrad Adenauer Foundation has found that the mood in Afghanistan is worsening.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

Himalayas Could Become the Saudi Arabia of Solar

Think of solar arrays and you’ll probably picture panels under blistering desert heat — but we may be able to get more energy from solar panels on snow-capped mountains. Kotaro Kawajiri at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology mapped solar irradiance across the globe in collaboration with colleagues in Japan. They found that some of the highest levels of sunlight can be found in the Himalayas and the Andes: at altitude, less light is lost to the atmosphere.

There’s another reason why high-altitude solar power makes sense. At temperatures of around 40?°C, 13 per cent of the energy solar panels would normally produce is lost to heat. The cold air at high-altitude keeps the panels cool and efficient, says Kawajiri. Keith Barnham, a photovoltaics researcher at Imperial College London, says cold climates may be the new frontier in solar. “There are a lot of underdeveloped regions and communities living high up in the foothills of the Himalayas that could benefit from solar energy,” he says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Outcry in China Over Hit-and-Run Toddler Left in Street

Chinese media and internet users have voiced shock at a hit-and-run incident involving a two-year-old child left injured in the road as passers-by ignored her. The toddler was hit by a van on Thursday in the city of Foshan. After the van sped off, several pedestrians and vehicles passed the girl without stopping. Several minutes later she was hit by another vehicle. A rubbish collector finally helped her, but she is said to be seriously hurt. The incident was captured on surveillance cameras and aired on local media.

The footage showed the van hitting the little girl, pausing briefly while she was under the vehicle and then driving off, running over her legs. It then showed about a dozen passers-by, including cyclists, a motorcyclist and a woman and child, noticing the little girl lying injured in the street but walking on.

[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Abbott Singing a Song of a Different Timbre

While Julia Gillard prepared for yesterday’s cabinet meeting, Tony Abbott was, among other diverting pursuits, warbling all the words to Rhinestone Cowboy.

His daughter, Frances, 20, was not. Frances either is not a Glen Campbell aficionado, or family bonding around the campfire only goes so far.

Young Abbott, the design student who famously dubbed her father a “lame, gay, churchy loser”, is (to borrow again from the Campbell greatest hits collection), trying a little kindness, helping her father during his sortie up in Queensland’s north.

[Note from Nilk — It’s interesting to note the language used in the article. The Aged is one of our premier lefty rags, often called Pravda on the Yarra. It used to be known as the Spencer Street Soviet for its leanings.]

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Eastern Kenya Living in Fear of Somali Islamists

Fear of Islamist rebels grips this region close to the Somali border, a fear heightened by the abduction last week of two Spanish aid workers from a refugee camp. Police officers, some on foot, others in Landcruisers, the only vehicles that can negotiate these tracks after heavy rain, fan out over all the trails that lead into Somalia as two helicopters hover overhead. “We’re trying to find the two Spanish women who were kidnapped,” explained Philip Ndolo, deputy police chief of North East Province.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Kidnapped Spanish Aid Workers Are in Somalia

The two Spanish aid workers kidnapped last Thursday at the Dadaab refugee camp (eastern Kenya) are in the Somali coastal town of Kismayo, according to Gen. Yusuf Ahmed Dhumal, Chief of theTransitional Government Forces in southern Somalia. Blanca Thiebaut and Montserrat Serra, both charity workers with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), were taken by their captors yesterday to Kismayo, a stronghold of the radical Islamic militia Al-Shabab, the general said, without elaborating on the possible perpetrators of the kidnapping.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Two British Nationals Arrested in Kenya at Somalian Border

(AGI) London — Two British nationals were arrested in Kenya as they were trying to cross the border into Somalia, Kenyan anti-terrorist police said last night. The pair, originally from Cardiff, were questioned and are now under investigation.

Tension remains high at the border between Kenya and Somalia where Nairobi’s troops launched an offensive against Shebaab rebels on Sunday.

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


Antwerp: Newcomers Vote to the Left

An opinion poll conducted by the Antwerp daily Gazet van Antwerpen shows that immigrants in the city intend to vote en masse for left wing parrties in the forthcoming local elections. The survey showed the Flemish nationalist N-VA as the biggest party with 31% of voting intentions among the population as a whole, while newcomers in the city are far more likely to vote for left wing parties like the socialists and the greens.

A full 65% of the immigrant vote will back left-wing parties. Mayor Patrick Janssens’ socialist SP.A gets most support. 36.6% of newcomers intend to vote for this party compared to 26.1% in the general poll. The greens pick up 21.9% of the immigrant vote compared to 9.4% among voters as a whole.

The far-right anti-immigrant Vlaamse Belang polls 12% of the immigrant vote compared to 19.4% among the population as a whole.

Newcomers also differ in their choice for mayor. In the survey of the population as a whole Partick Janssens and the Flemish nationalists’ Bart De Wever were neck-to-neck. Among the ethnic vote Mr Janssens picks up 46% compared to only 17.5% for Mr De Wever.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Few EU States Provide Medical Care for Irregular Migrants, Says Agency

Undocumented migrants who are not allowed to work legally have to pay for medical care in most member states, sometimes putting their lives at stake, a recent report on healthcare by the EU fundamental rights agency reads.

With two out of four million migrants living in Europe without the proper paperwork, only five member states are offering them emergency care free of charge: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The same countries, except for Germany, also grant them access to treatment for chronic diseases such as diabetes or for pre- and post-natal care at no cost or at reduced rates.

This is not only a discrimination against basic human rights, but also puts medical staff in a difficult situation of having to circumvent the legal requirements or else break their Hippocratic oath of helping anyone in need, Ludovica Banfi from the EU agency for fundamental rights (FRA) told MEPs on Monday (17 October) when presenting the report.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Foul Play Behind Surge in Albanian Asylum Seekers: Belgium

(TIRANA) — Belgium warned Tuesday that foul play may be the cause for a surge in Albanian asylum seekers this month, but said they would be sent home quickly in accordance with visa-free regime regulations. At least 240 Albanian citizens have sought political asylum since the start of the month, compared to only 44 in September, Freddy Rosemont, the head of Belgium’s Asylum and Migration Department, said in Tirana.

“If this trend continues by the end of the month the number of Albanian asylum seekers will reach some 400,” Rosemont said. “We are sure that behind those people there is an entire organisation, networks that provide documents and fake papers in exchange for huge ammounts of money,” he said.

Most of the asylum seekers from Albania present documents and certificates that allege they could become victims of a vendetta, centuries-old “code of honour” killings in the north Albanian mountains, Rosemont said. At least 80 percent of asylum seekers in Belgium are from the northern Albanian towns Shkodra and Kukesi, while the others come from the capital Tirana, Belgium police said.

Rosemont said all asylum seekers would receive a negative response and be sent back home to Albania as soon as possible.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: SVP Claims Support for Anti-Migrant Vote

The far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) has claimed to have gathered enough support to push for a referendum aimed at “stopping mass immigration”, which could have implications for the country’s bilateral deal with the EU.

“Just 2.5 months after collection began, 120,000 signatures for the SVP initiative ‘against mass immigration’ have been collected,” said the Swiss People’s Party in a statement.

Under Switzerland’s direct democracy rules, any individual can push for areferendum on condition that he or she collects more than 100,000 from eligible voters to support the cause within 18 months.

The SVP said it would now begin the process of verifying the collected signatures with the aim of filing its initiative at the beginning of next year.

According to the initiative’s draft text, the party wants Switzerland to “manage the immigration of foreigners in an autonomous manner”.

In addition, it requires the country to impose a quota on the annual numbers of migrants admitted.

Any international treaties contravening these requirements “should berenegotiated and adapted within a deadline of three years”.

Switzerland used to accept only a specific number of migrants annually. But after signing a deal with the European Union, citizens from the bloc are now free to reside in the country, provided that they are financially self-sufficient.

If accepted by the population, the SVP’s initiative would therefore have an impact on the free movement of people treaty with the EU.

Migration is the biggest issue of the October 23rd elections in Switzerland,according to opinion polls.

The SVP had launched its anti-migration initiative in tandem with its campaign for the federal elections, with posters in train stations and city centres depicting the legs of men in suits marching across the Swiss flag, bearing the slogan “That’s enough. Stop mass migration”.

At the end of August 31, 2011, foreigners living in Switzerland numbered 1.751 million, making up 22.3 percent of the country’s 7.9 million-strong population.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Germany: Without Quota, Gender Equality ‘Will Never Happen’

Germany’s top companies pledged on Monday to voluntarily increase the number of women in leadership roles. But critics in Tuesday’s papers say the vague pledge doesn’t go far enough. Only a gender quota law will motivate the male-dominated business world to foster long-overdue change, they write.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Room for One More? World Population to Reach 7 Billion in Next Few Days

The world’s population looks set to smash through the seven billion barrier in the next few days, according to the United Nations. It comes just 12 years since the total reached six billion — with official estimates saying the figure will top eight billion in 2025 and 10 billion before the end of the century.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Saturn’s Snowy Moon Enceladus Might be a Skier’s Paradise

It’s snowing on one of Saturn’s moons. New high-resolution maps of Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of the giant ringed planet, confirm that wintry conditions prevail on the icy body.

In fact, the superfine ice crystals that coat the surface of Enceladus would make for ideal skiing, said Paul Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, who took part in the study. That is, if there is enough snow on the moon’s slopes to begin with.

In a new study of Saturn’s icy moon, researchers found that “snow” falls on Enceladus, but at an extremely slow and steady pace by Earth standards — less than a thousandth of a millimeter per year. To build up roughly 320 feet (100 meters) of the stuff would require a few tens of millions of years or so, the scientists said.

NASA’s Cassini probe, in orbit around Saturn, made global maps of Enceladus and measured its surface layer thicknesses. The spacecraft found that ice particles ejected by geysers on the moon fall back onto Enceladus’ surface in a predictable pattern. By mapping these deposits, researchers discovered that active icy plumes likely last tens of millions of years or more on the surface of Enceladus, and blanket the frigid body in a thick layer of tiny ice particles.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]