Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20111031

Financial Crisis
»China’s Hu “Convinced” EU Can Overcome Debt Crisis
»Chinese Investment in Europe Not a ‘Question of Choice’
»ECB: It is ‘Normal’ To Ask for Chinese Money
»Europe May Act Alone on Financial Transaction Tax
»Eurozone May Adopt Finance Tax Without EU Backing
»Finland Ready to Increase Provisions for Leaving Euro
»G20 to Meet in Cannes as Recession Threat Looms
»Greece: Up to 8 Bln Euros Paid in Bogus Pensions
»Greece to Call Referendum on New EU Aid Deal
»Italian Five-Year Bonds Soar to Highest Levels Since Euro
»Italy: Youth Unemployment Nears 30% in Italy
»Italy: Montezemolo Calls on Berlusconi to Step Down
»Milan Observatory: Only 15% of Italians Depart on All Saints
»Most Greeks Negative on EU Summit Deal, Poll Says
»Poland’s Central Bank Head: ‘Euro Crisis Will Continue for a Long Time to Come’
»Strong Franc Sends Swiss Tourism Downhill
»Catholic University’s Muslim Students Should Have Prayer Room Without Crucifix, Complaint States
»Census: The New U.S. Neighborhood Defined by Diversity as All-White Enclaves Vanish
»Exclusive: 2 Women Accused Herman Cain of Inappropriate Behavior
»Frank Gaffney: The Enemy is Inside the Wire
»Stakelbeck: U.S. Tunnel Vision Strengthening Global Jihad?
»The Jihad Against Walid Phares
Europe and the EU
»A Satirical French Magazine is to Publish an Edition ‘Edited’ By the Prophet Mohammed, In “Honour” Of Islam’s Influence on the Arab Spring
»African Children Trafficked to UK for Blood Rituals
»Brussels Police Dismantle Arms Trafficking Gang
»Bulgaria: Dutch PM Visit “Inconvenient”
»Coach Solskjaer Wins Norwegian Title
»Dumb and Dumpy: Can the German Shepherd be Saved?
»Europe’s Problem, Boiled Down
»France: DSK Scandal to be Made Into Porn Film
»France: Police Fire Tear Gas as Turks and Kurds Clash
»France: Fighting Islamophobia
»More Kids Abducted From Sweden: Report
»Muslims Have Attacked Christians Attending a Catholic Celebration in Southern France
»Netherlands: Widespread Support for Stricter Sentences
»Pitched Battle Between Turks and Kurds in Paris
»Scientology Goes on the Offensive in Switzerland
»Spain: Madrid Makes Way for Herds of Cattle
»Switzerland: The Inflatable Minaret
»Two Arrested After Dutch Pro-Turkish Demo
»UK: Another No-Go Area in Londonistan
»UK: Birmingham Washout for EDL as ‘Big One’ Musters 300
»UK: In Joanna’s Name, Close These Vile Sites
»UK: Muslim Fanatics Abuse MP at Mosque
»UK: Prof. R. Lynn Passes the Torch to the Chinese
»UK: The Guardian’s Long Crusade in Defense of Radical Islamist Raed Saleh is Dealt a Heavy Blow
»UK: The Controversial ‘Care in the Community’ Approach to Treating the Mentally Ill Has Been a £100billion Failure
»UK: Who’s Listening to Your Calls? Met’s Blanket Surveillance System Will Track Thousands of Innocent Civilians’ Mobiles
»Serbian Liberals Protest Russian Involvement
North Africa
»Algeria: Three Qaeda Hostages Seized Last Week Alive: Mediator
»Al-Qaeda Suspects Arrested for Kidnap of Aid Workers
»Egypt: Thousands in Tahrir Square With Islamic Candidate
»Libya: 50% of GDP Lost During Conflict
»NATO Concludes Mission in Libya… But a Bad Omen for the Future as Al Qaeda Flag Flies Over Benghazi
»Tunisia: Chaos and Clashes at Sidi Bouzid, Curfew Imposed
»Tunisia: Gannouchi Says Yes to Party of Fundamentalists
»Tunisia Issues Arrest Warrant for Arafat Widow
Israel and the Palestinians
»Italy Abstained in Palestine UNESCO Membership Vote
»Settlement Protest: Germany Threatens to Halt Submarine Sale to Israel
»UK: MP Mike Freer ‘Threatened at Mosque Surgery’
»UNESCO Gives Palestinians Full Membership
Middle East
»Edmonton Imam Beaten, Arrested in Saudi Arabia
»Iran Demands Obama Apologize for Spreading “Iranophobia”
»The Moment Man is Publicly Beheaded in a Saudi Arabian Car Park for Being a ‘Sorcerer’
»Turkey: Hagia Sophia in Istanbul May Become Mosque
South Asia
»Pakistan Spied on Germans in Afghanistan
»U. S. Drone Missiles Hits Vehicle in Pakistan’s Tribal Area
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Armed Guards to Protect UK Ships From Pirates
»Italy: Police Find 63 Illegals in Refrigerated Truck in Bari
»Italy: Distance Learning to Read and Write for Moroccans in Italy
Culture Wars
»Abortion Issues Split Obama Administration and Catholic Groups
»Several Countries Celebrate the Birth of the Seven Billionth Person

Financial Crisis

China’s Hu “Convinced” EU Can Overcome Debt Crisis

China is “convinced” Europe can work through its current debt crisis, President Hu Jintao said Monday in Vienna at the start of an Austrian state visit and ahead of a G20 meeting in France later this week. China “is convinced Europe has the wisdom and the competency to overcome the current difficulties,” Hu, speaking through an interpreter, told journalists after talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer. “We are closely following the economic developments,” he added.

Hu’s two-day state visit to Austria is to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. But the trip, Hu’s second to Europe in a year, also comes at a time when the region is struggling with a spiralling debt crisis and amid hopes that Beijing might invest in its debt rescue fund.

At the end of his Austrian visit, Hu will travel to the French south-east resort of Cannes to attend a G20 meeting of world leaders on November 3-4. Last week, European leaders appealed to China to invest in the region’s debt rescue fund to help it overcome the debt crisis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Chinese Investment in Europe Not a ‘Question of Choice’

Chinese premier Hu Jintao comes to Europe as European nations try to win Chinese help for their troubled economies. China expert Jonathan Holslag argues that Beijing has little alternative but to invest in Europe.

Deutsche Welle: When it comes to the European debt crisis and Klaus Regling’s (CEO of the European Financial Stability Facility — the ed.) trip to Beijing to talk about China’s help, and the possibility that China will make its own demands, for example, that the EU lift its weapons embargo — what do you make of the situation?

Jonathan Holslag: I think we have to put one thing straight: buying or not buying European reserve assets or buying into the stability funds is not a question of choice for China, it’s a question of necessity. It is going to have to siphon a lot of money out of the country. And we know that it is trying to diversify its investments globally and not only to put all its eggs in the dollar basket. It has to participate in some way or another in the stabilization of the euro if it is going to stick to its current monetary policies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

ECB: It is ‘Normal’ To Ask for Chinese Money

Outgoing ECB chief Trichet told the BBC it is “absolutely normal” in a global market for the EU to seek Chinese money for bail-outs. Chinese President Hu on Sunday began a four-day visit to Austria. He and his 160-strong delegation will go to the G20 summit in Cannes on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe May Act Alone on Financial Transaction Tax

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Monday that the EU should launch a financial transactions tax on its own if the G-20 summit this week can’t agree on such a levy. A draft communiqué obtained by SPIEGEL shows the G-20 plans far-reaching reforms of the global financial sector.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble wants the European Union to go it alone with the introduction of a tax on financial transactions if no agreement can be reached at an upcoming meeting of leaders of the G-20 group of top industrial and emerging economies.

Schäuble told the Financial Times in an interview published on Monday that he would prefer the G-20 to launch the tax together. “But if we don’t reach an agreement there, I’m in favor of starting in Europe,” he told the newspaper. If the 27 EU states can’t agree, the 17 euro member states should adopt it instead, he added. The G-20 summit is scheduled to be held in Cannes, France, on November 3 and 4. The United Kingdom in particular opposes such a tax.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Eurozone May Adopt Finance Tax Without EU Backing

Eurozone members could introduce a financial transaction tax even if other EU countries were opposed, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the Financial Times in an interview published Monday. Schaeuble said he backed using the 17-member eurozone as a testing ground for the levy, which is designed to restrict speculative trading, even though Britain and its vast financial sector are firmly against it.

Schaeuble said he respected the arguments of Britain, a member of the European Union but not of the eurozone. He hoped it would be convinced to adopt the tax if it proved to be a success within the eurozone. Schaeuble hoped an agreement could be reached at this week’s G20 meeting in Cannes, France, before the proposal was presented to EU finance ministers on November 8.

The minister also said that the current debt crisis was an opportunity to push for closer fiscal union within the eurozone. Schaeuble told the FT that the bloc needed “stronger institutions to oversee the implementation of a commonly agreed finance policy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Finland Ready to Increase Provisions for Leaving Euro

The Finnish government is ready to ask if a clause can be added to the EU constitution to allow for countries to leave the euro. At the end of October the Cabinet Committee on European Union Affairs decided in principle on its answer to the Netherlands’ proposals on renewing the EU’s proposed basic treaty.

Germany and Holland have made several proposals for changes to the treaty, and those will be explored at a summit scheduled for December.

The Cabinet Committee on EU Affairs memo states that “Finland is ready to research possibilities to increase treaty provisions relating to resignations from the euro.”

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

G20 to Meet in Cannes as Recession Threat Looms

Leaders of the world’s biggest economies meet in Cannes this week as Europe tries to convince markets and US critics that its debt bail-out package is serious and urges China to fund it. Much is at stake in the G20 summit on the French seafront. The world stands on the brink of a new global recession, and the leaders of the 20 most powerful developed and emerging economies need to agree measures to boost growth.

The host, President Nicolas Sarkozy, will arrive brandishing the eurozone’s latest scheme to end its sovereign debt crisis and shore up its shaky banks, hoping to fend off criticism from Washington and the emerging powers. The world finally rode out the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis only to find itself faced with the prospect of the collapse of the euro, as weaker single currency members like Greece were pulled under by their debts.

Last week, led by Sarkozy and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, the eurozone 17 agreed to allow Greece to write off half of its privately held debt and boosted the EU bail-out fund to protect big economies like Italy’s. “I think the result will be welcomed with relief by the whole world, which expected strong responses from the eurozone,” Sarkozy said, after a dramatic all-night EU summit in Brussels cobbled together a deal.

Markets gave the package a cautious welcome, but Washington and the BRICS — emerging giants Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — have not yet eased their pressure on Europe to put its house in order. US President Barack Obama called the measures a “first step”.

Chinese officials have signalled they will not be Europe’s saviour and will seek new guarantees and concessions before they agree to invest tens of billions more in European bonds.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Up to 8 Bln Euros Paid in Bogus Pensions

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 31 — Up to eight billion euros have been paid in bogus pensions in the past decade in Greece, director of the Social Security Foundation (IKA), Rovertos Spyropoulos said on Monday. Under immense pressure to cut spending and replenish empty state coffers, the Greek government has found out that millions of euros have been paid to deceased claimants. The money is often claimed by fraudulent relatives or, in some cases, it remains idle in banks. “We are trying to cut back on waste,” Spyropoulos told Skai television on Monday adding that the cutback has already saved the foundation over 700 million euros. The IKA chief said between seven and eight billion euros have been paid to bogus pensions in the last ten years. “We will reclaim all that money up to the last euro,” he said. Last August the Greek island of Zakynthos has been dubbed “the blind island” by the Greek press after it emerged that 700 residents were allegedly receiving disability pensions as blind people despite being perfectly sighted. Greece’s Health Ministry decided to start an investigation after noticing the relatively high number of blind people — about 2% of the total population of 35,000.

Investigators discovered that the blindness certificates were delivered during ahead of elections.

The pensions delivered to those claiming to blind on Zakynthos cost the Greek state 6.4 million euros a year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece to Call Referendum on New EU Aid Deal

Greece vows to build on EU deal, people skeptical

ATHENS | Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:09pm EDT

(Reuters) — The Greek government will hold a referendum on a new EU aid package, calling on voters to say whether they want to adopt it or not, Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Monday.

“We trust citizens, we believe in their judgment, we believe in their decision,” he told ruling socialist party lawmakers.

Nearly 60 percent of Greeks view Thursday’s EU summit agreement on a new 130 billion euro bailout package as negative or probably negative, a survey showed on Saturday.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Italian Five-Year Bonds Soar to Highest Levels Since Euro

Spread up to 465 basis points in early trading

(ANSA) — Milan, October 31 — The yield on five-year Italian bonds soared to its highest level on Monday since the euro was introduced in 1999, amid renewed concern about Europe’s debt crisis. The spread between the Italian five-year bonds against the benchmark German five-year bond rose to 5.90% with a spread of 465 basis points.

Other Treasury bonds were also under pressure with the spread between Italian ten-year bonds and their German equivalent rising to 402 basis points in early trading and delivering a yield of 6.14%. Milan stocks were also under pressure losing 2.6% in early trading with key banks Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo and auto giant Fiat all losing ground.

After two summits, European leaders last week agreed to boost the region’s bailout fund to 1 trillion euros and write down Greek debt.

In a statement on the eve of the G20 summit in the French resort town of Cannes, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development said uncertainty about the economic situation had “dramatically increased” recently due to the eurozone crisis and fiscal problems in the US.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Youth Unemployment Nears 30% in Italy

Rate is highest in eight years

(ANSA) — Rome, October 31 — Youth unemployment in Italy has climbed to its highest rate in almost eight years, a report said Monday.

According to the Italian statistics agency ISTAT, 29.3% of Italy’s 15 to 24-year-olds were out of work in September, which was up 1.3% from the previous month and the highest it has been since the beginning of 2004.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano recently called youth unemployment “central” to the social unrest in Italy, singling out the financial sector and the “political class”, which were targets of an initially peaceful protest in mid October that drew an estimated 200,000 to Rome and ended in mayhem when masked groups started a riot.

Overall unemployment was also up to 8.3% in September from 8% the month before.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Montezemolo Calls on Berlusconi to Step Down

‘We are at the point of no return’ says Ferrari chairman

(ANSA) — Rome, October 31 — One of Italy’s most powerful and influential businessmen blasted Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi Monday, calling on the embattled leader to step down immediately to curb the economic crisis.

“We are at the point of no return,” said Luca di Montezemolo, chairman of automaker Ferrari, in an editorial in the daily La Repubblica. “There is not a minute to lose. The private savings of Italians, social unity and Italy’s membership in the euro system are all at risk”.

The former head of Fiat and Italian employers’ association Confindustria blamed the premier for 10-year bond yields being at unsustainable levels of 6%, despite the efforts of the European Central Bank to keep them down by buying up Italian bonds.

Montezemolo has been widely touted by the media as a potential leader of a new political party.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Milan Observatory: Only 15% of Italians Depart on All Saints

(AGI) Milan — The economic crisis has reduced the number of departures during All Saints’ long weekend. In Italy, the average percentage of people going away for the weekend is only 15%. This means that the proportion of people staying in town is increasingly higher, especially in the South (it exceeds 90% in Naples and Palermo). The data were released by the Milan Observatory.

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

Most Greeks Negative on EU Summit Deal, Poll Says

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 31 — Most Greeks have responded negatively toward the EU agreement which slashed the country’s debt because they believe it harms the national sovereignty, according to a poll Saturday. The survey published by newspaper To Vima and conducted immediately after Thursday’s summit agreement on a new 130 billion euro bailout package, showed that nearly 60% of people viewed the deal as negative or probably negative. Around half of those surveyed said the agreement signed in Brussels was a blow to the country’s sovereignty, handing more control over economic affairs to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Only 36% of the 1,009 people questioned in the telephone poll said the package was positive or probably positive for the country. Anger at the latest round of austerity measures demanded by Greece’s international creditors after the government missed deficit targets erupted into protests in many towns and cities during a national holiday Friday. Nearly three-quarters of those questioned said they wanted Greece to remain in the euro, with less than one-fifth saying they wanted a return to the drachma currency. Saturday’s opinion poll showed that the majority of Greeks — 55.5% — wanted their political parties to show more unity.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Poland’s Central Bank Head: ‘Euro Crisis Will Continue for a Long Time to Come’

The euro crisis, says Polish central bank head Marek Belka, isn’t going to disappear soon. But in a conversation with SPIEGEL, he talks about why Warsaw still wants to join the common currency union, the success of Poland’s economy and the reason Eastern Europeans haven’t protested against austerity measures.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Strong Franc Sends Swiss Tourism Downhill

The strength of the franc and the unsettled global economy have seen economists predict a bleak 2012 for Switzerland’s tourism industry. Hoteliers can expect to see a 2.6-percent drop in overnight stays this winter, according to economic research institute BakBasel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Catholic University’s Muslim Students Should Have Prayer Room Without Crucifix, Complaint States

A law school professor has filed a complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights, alleging that Catholic University of America, a private institution, discriminates against Muslim students.

John F. Banzhaf III claims the school “[denies Muslim students] equal access to the benefits CUA provides to other student groups,” according to a press release, posted on PRLog.

The professor’s allegations stem from the school’s failure to give formal recognition to a Muslim Association, although its law school recognizes a Jewish association, according to the The Tower, Catholic University’s school newspaper.

In addition, Banzhaf says it is unfair that Catholic University does not provide its Muslim students with separate prayer rooms to conduct their daily rituals without being surrounded by religious insignia, such as crucifixes, the press release states. In a 2010 interview with National Public Radio, University president John Garvey openly admitted that there are no rooms “exclusively” reserved for Muslim prayer, but explained that various spaces are made available for the students, Fox News points out.But that’s not good enough, Banzhaf says. The press release states:

…It is alleged that CUA does not provide space — as other universities do — for the many daily prayers Muslim students must make, forcing them instead to find temporarily empty classrooms where they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols which are incongruous to their religion. Furthermore, it appears that Muslims on campus may even be forced to do their meditation in the school’s chapels or in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception — hardly places where students of a very different religion are likely to feel very comfortable.

“It shouldn’t be too difficult somewhere on the campus for the university to set aside a small room where Muslims can pray without having to stare up and be looked down upon by a cross of Jesus,” Banzhaf told Fox News. Huffington Post, 29 October 2011. Predictably, this issue has been systematically misrepresented by the US right. See for example “Muslims miffed that Catholic University has Catholic imagery”,, 30 October 2011. See also NewsHounds for Brian Kilmeade’s biased presentation of a Fox News debate between civil rights attorney Shayan Elahi and the Islamophobes’ favourite Muslim, Zuhdi Jasser.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Census: The New U.S. Neighborhood Defined by Diversity as All-White Enclaves Vanish

A Washington Post analysis of 2010 Census data shows a precipitous decline in the number of the region’s census tracts, areas of roughly 2,000 households, where more than 85 percent of the residents are of the same race or ethnicity — what many demographers would consider a segregated neighborhood. In the District, just one in three neighborhoods is highly segregated, the Post analysis found. A decade ago, more than half were.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Exclusive: 2 Women Accused Herman Cain of Inappropriate Behavior

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.

The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.

In a series of comments over the past 10 days, Cain and his campaign repeatedly declined to respond directly about whether he ever faced allegations of sexual harassment at the restaurant association. They have also declined to address questions about specific reporting confirming that there were financial settlements in two cases in which women leveled complaints.

POLITICO has confirmed the identities of the two female restaurant association employees who complained about Cain but, for privacy concerns, is not publishing their names.

[Note from Egghead: Cain is a babe in the woods in political land. Cain should have had a well-prepared and well-rehearsed answer for these quite-predictable questions. Personally, I would have liked to see Cain say that he would be willing to release print copies of the settlement documents AFTER Obama releases the original hard copy of his birth certificate to Cain’s campaign to inspect. Just saying…]

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: The Enemy is Inside the Wire

What would have happened if, during the Cold War, Soviet intelligence had been responsible for training Americans charged with countering communist aggression? Surely, we would not have defeated the USSR. Perhaps, instead, Kruschev’s boast that his nation would dance on our graves would have been realized.

It should, therefore, be profoundly alarming that, today, the Obama administration is entrusting to agents of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB or Ikhwan in Arabic) the responsibility for approving who and what is used in “countering violent extremism” training for our military, law enforcement, intelligence personnel.

The use of the term “countering violent extremism” (or CVE) is, of course, the first clue that the enemy is inside the wire. That euphemism is the term Team Obama allows to be employed in lieu of phrases that actually describe the nature of the principal enemy we face at the moment: Muslims who engage in holy war— jihad— to compel the rest of us to submit to the totalitarian, supremacist political-military-legal doctrine they call shariah…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck: U.S. Tunnel Vision Strengthening Global Jihad?

Since 9/11, the major focus in the battle against Islamic jihadists has been al Qaeda.

After recent successes against AQ, including the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, U.S. government officials are expressing optimism that the terror group is on the ropes.

But while al Qaeda may be weakening, the jihad against America is actually strengthening, at home and abroad.

In my new report for CBN News, I show how Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, all three potentially even more dangerous to American interests than Al Qaeda, are steadily growing in strength and influence. I also show that while Al Qaeda might be down, it’s not out.


You can watch my new video report on the topic at the above link.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

The Jihad Against Walid Phares

In recent days, the liberal blogosphere has launched a concerted attack against Walid Phares, one of Mitt Romney’s senior Mideast advisers. The likes of Ali Gharib, McKay Coppins, and Adam Serwer think they smell blood because of Phares’s former association with the Lebanese Forces, the de facto army of the Lebanese Christians during the latter half of Lebanon’s civil war. “Top Romney Adviser Tied to Militia That Massacred,” intoned Mother Jones in its headline for Serwer’s piece. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has joined in, with a particularly pathetic letter to the Romney campaign requesting “that Phares be removed” from his advisory position.

The assault on Phares is interesting not just because of the basic ignorance behind its main contentions but also because of its true motives. A bit of background first. In the years after the 1967 war, the Palestinian Liberation Organization was expelled from the Jordanian West Bank and harried by Jordanian and Syrian forces all the way into Lebanon, where it eventually plunged the whole country into civil war. Phares was a teenager when the conflict erupted in 1975. In 1979, when he was 22 years old, Phares published the first of his many books, Pluralism in Lebanon, which called for Swiss-style federated autonomy for the country’s various ethnic and confessional communities. Of course, among liberals, an idea like that is a cause célèbre — when it is advanced by people they like — and a “hard-line extremist” product of “hateful ideology” when it comes from someone they disagree with.

By the early 1980s in Lebanon, Phares was already a well-known writer and was routinely invited to give talks and lectures to all kinds of organizations, including the Lebanese Forces, an umbrella organization in which virtually every Lebanese Christian group was represented. Phares had no official position with the Lebanese Forces until 1986, when he joined its 22-member Political Council as representative for the small left-of-center party he and his brother had previously launched. During his short tenure on the Council, he variously handled foreign affairs and diaspora issues. This, however, was enough for the Mother Jones “investigation” to uncover that Phares was a “key player” in a “sectarian religious militia responsible for massacres during Lebanon’s brutal, 15-year civil war.”

The connection to one of the most infamous massacres of the conflict gives the Mother Jones story its hook. On their way to Beirut during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the Israelis surrounded two Palestinian refugee camps, at Sabra and Shatila, where PLO terrorists were ensconced. In August of that year, the hugely popular Christian leader Bashir Gemayel was elected president of Lebanon — and assassinated three weeks later. Enraged, Phalangist elements of the Lebanese Forces, under intelligence chief Eli Hobeika (later revealed to be in league with the Syrians), asked Israeli permission to enter the camps and hunt down the perpetrators. In the ensuing days, hundreds and possibly thousands of Palestinian refugees were murdered. It was generally understood that the perpetrators were connected to the Lebanese Forces, if only because if you were Christian and you were armed then you were almost certainly with the Lebanese Forces.

The question is whether the war crime of a small rogue group operating clearly outside normal chains of command can be attributed to the organization as a whole. Here the answer is demonstrably “no.” The Lebanese Forces had become the de facto army and political organization of the entire Christian community in Lebanon. It is one thing to link a specific person to a specific massacre, but to discredit someone linked to the Lebanese Forces because of its links to the Sabra and Shatila massacre is to discredit virtually all Christian Lebanese who were prominent during the conflict, even those who rose to the fore years after the massacres. The real target of such an attack is the Christian Lebanese community itself. And let’s note the Left’s rank double standard when it comes to this sort of thing. The Left habitually insists that the United States and Israel recognize the legitimacy of the Palestinians’ elected “representatives,” even if it means legitimizing people who have actually murdered innocent civilians. Mother Jones doesn’t even insinuate that Phares was connected to the massacres, or even that he ever picked up a gun. And Phares’s membership on the Political Council of the Lebanese Forces occurred years after the Sabra and Shatila massacres.

The Mother Jones piece posits several other reasons why Phares should be discredited: that he espoused a “hateful” Christian separatist ideology, that he would be representing the interests of foreigners instead of those of the United States, and that his message is anti-Muslim. The first of these is clearly false — Phares is a federalist — but even if it were true, there wouldn’t be anything hateful about it. All of Lebanon’s confessional communities zealously protect their autonomy and political rights — one of them, the Shia Hezbollah, even has its own army. And how are the separatist movements of East Timor and Palestine not equally “hateful?” The second of the contentions comes from Paul Pillar, 20-year veteran of the CIA: “It should raise eyebrows anytime someone in a position to exert behind-the-scenes influence on a U.S. leader has ties to a foreign entity that are strong enough for foreign interests, and not just U.S. interests, to determine the advice being given,” he told the magazine. The warning about representing foreign views is waved about in the Mother Jones article as a kind of dark insinuation without elaboration, and we are left to wonder just what Serwer thinks he’s talking about. But it’s irrelevant in any case. Phares has lived in the United States since 1990. Other than membership in organizations committed to resisting Syria’s and Hezbollah’s domination of Lebanon (fully in line with longstanding U.S. policy) Phares’s career remains what it has always been — that of a major writer and intellectual on Mideast affairs.

That is the real reason for the anti-Phares campaign. It is not his association with the Lebanese Forces but his message that bothers them. And here Mother Jones has simply fabricated a story. Rather than take the trouble to peruse one of Phares’s many books, Serwer quotes people who dimly remember what they think they heard Phares say 30 years ago. He dredged up a former activist Lebanese, who was 18 years old at the time of the events in question; she says she recalls that Phares “justified our fighting against the Muslims by saying we should have our own country, our own state, our own entity, and we have to be separate.” If Mother Jones had actually bothered to investigate as part of its “investigation,” it would have found a major reason to doubt the veracity of this account, namely that Phares was writing books and articles at the time consistently advocating the preservation of Lebanon as a confederation. He has never been a separatist, which is why Mother Jones wasn’t able to find a quote by Phares himself to back up its story, despite Phares’s decades of public statements and hundreds of publications.

Another source assures Mother Jones that Phares “is telling people to suspect all Muslims [sic] Americans as something other than how they portray themselves.” Notice that Serwer couldn’t find a quote from Phares actually saying anything like that. But, as Bob Woodward has taught us, sometimes you just have to rely on paraphrase and hearsay to put words in people’s mouths, because your fabricated narrative will fall apart if you portray people as they actually portray themselves in their own words.

“Phares’s message,” Serwer tells us, “isn’t all that different from the paranoid worldview of anti-Muslim figures in the United States.” But as Phares’s readers know, his work has nothing to do with Muslims generally or even with Islamic theology. His sole focus is the historical roots of the ideology of the Islamist extremist movement, specifically the Salafist movement among Sunnis, and the Khomeinist ideology of the Qom madrasa in Iran. The first is of course the ideology of al-Qaeda, the second is the ideology of the Islamic revolution of Iran and its Hezbollah offshoot. We are not talking about mainstream Islam at all. But the extremists’ view of the world is deeply religious — it is centered on the complete identification of political with religious authority — and understanding its religious dimension is vital to understanding its historical roots and its ultimate historical aspirations. This is where Phares has made his indispensable contribution, particularly in his great Future Jihad (2005), a Foreign Affairs bestseller. When he elaborates on how the “the jihadi mind link[s] together historical events separated by thousands of years,” he is explaining precisely how the extremists portray themselves, something about which the barriers of language have left us woefully ignorant, even a decade after the attacks of September 11.

I should say a word about CAIR executive director Nihad Awad’s pathetic letter to the Romney campaign. The letter’s two main contentions are (1) that Phares is “an associate to war crimes” on account of his brief membership in the Political Council of the Lebanese Forces years after the war crimes in question, and (2) that he is a “conspiracy theorist” and a “leading figure in the nation’s Islamophobia network.” Leaving aside the mild irony in this longtime Hamas supporter criticizing anyone for association with war crimes, I have to laugh at Awad’s accusation that Phares is both a “conspiracy theorist” and at the same time a member of a vast Islamophobic conspiracy. In other words, Awad is advancing a conspiracy theory about a supposed conspiracy theorist’s conspiracy to advance a conspiracy theory. And if that’s not enough conspiracy for you, consider that CAIR was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Justice Department’s investigation of the Holy Land Foundation, the chief Hamas fundraising arm in the United States, to which Awad has also been linked.

I appeared with Awad on Al Jazeera once back in 2006, on the occasion of some tempest-in-a-teapot over the use of the term “Islamo-fascism.” A third guest, some frothing lunatic Muslim Brotherhood professor from University of Cairo, kept going on that “America is the plague upon the world, America is the disease upon the world.” Of course Awad didn’t quibble with that choice of words, only with how offensive it was for us here in America to link Islamist extremism and fascism. Never mind that the much of the media in the Muslim world is easily as obscene in its portrayal of Jews as the worst of Nazi propaganda, and often quite a lot more revolting and embarrassing. Awad’s concern for sensitive speech only extends to speech about Muslims, never speech by Muslims. As one editor of Denmark’s leading paper remarked at the height of the Mohammed-cartoons controversy, “I don’t think they are asking for my respect. I think they are asking for my submission.” Quite so.

The real reason the liberal blogosphere and CAIR have gone on the warpath against Walid Phares is that he won’t submit to their narrative, which is that the Islamist extremists’ ideology has no doctrinal basis in Islamic history and that to argue otherwise is “Islamophobic.” They want to keep the focus on Israel and don’t want to admit there are other communities that are just as threatened by the Islamist onslaught and just as opposed to it. Phares refutes that narrative by pointing out what the Islamist extremists have actually been saying this whole time.

Walid Phares is a dear friend of mine. I stayed with his family during my trip to Lebanon for my 2007 National Review feature, “Land of Cedars and Sorrow.” He couldn’t visit his mother before she passed away, because he can’t go back to Lebanon for fear of assassination, the same fear that many of his friends and family back in Lebanon continue to live with to this day. That beautiful, magical land has been a tragic casualty of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Even now, Lebanon is slowly succumbing to the domination of a Hezbollah movement motivated by a messianic vision of jihad — much the same vision as that which motivated the attacks of September 11, 2001. That movement continues to expand and infiltrate throughout the West. It is a clear and present danger. And to the extent that organizations such as CAIR paint those of us who are vigilant against that danger as “Islamophobes,” they are not sowing greater understanding, as they claim, but rather trying to prevent it. That is why they want to discredit leading Lebanese Christians like Walid Phares, who have resisted Islamist extremists and understand how they think.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

A Satirical French Magazine is to Publish an Edition ‘Edited’ By the Prophet Mohammed, In “Honour” Of Islam’s Influence on the Arab Spring

“In order fittingly to celebrate the Islamist Ennahda’s win in Tunisia and the NTC (National Transitional Council) president’s promise that sharia would be the main source of law in Libya, Charlie Hebdo asked Mohammed to be guest editor,” said a statement. The weekly has been rebaptised Sharia Hebdo for the occasion, and will feature on its cover a picture of Mohammed saying: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!” On the back page, a picture of Mohammed wearing a red nose is accompanied by the words: “Yes, Islam is compatible with humour.” The cover was circulating on social media such as Twitter on Tuesday, with many users incensed and describing it as “puerile”. The weekly’s publisher, known as Charb, rejected accusations that he was trying to provoke. “We feel we’re just doing our job as usual. The only difference is that this week, Mohammed is on the cover and that’s quite rare,” he told AFP. A Paris court in 2007 threw out a suit brought by two Muslim organisations against Charlie Hebdo for reprinting cartoons of prophet Mohammed that had appeared in a Danish newspaper, sparking angry protests by Muslims worldwide.

[JP note: As the Germans would say: humour is no laughing matter. And now for the world’s funniest joke as chosen by a global audience back in 2002:

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says: “Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: “OK, now what?” Source: ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

African Children Trafficked to UK for Blood Rituals

Over the last four years, at least 400 African children have been abducted and trafficked to the UK and rescued by the British authorities, according to figures obtained by the BBC. It is unclear how they are smuggled into the country but a sinister picture is emerging of why.

According to Christine Beddoe, director of the anti-trafficking charity Ecpat UK, a cultural belief in the power of human blood in so-called juju rituals is playing a part in the demand for African children.

“Our experience tells us that traffickers can be anybody. They can be people with power, people with money or people involved in witchcraft,” she explains.

“Trafficking can involve witch-doctors and other types of professionals in the community who are using those practices.”

Testimonies from many of these children have revealed that once they arrive in Britain, they are exposed to violent and degrading treatments, often involving the forced extraction of their blood to be used for clients demanding blood rituals.

One boy explained how witch-doctors took his blood to be used in such rituals: “The traffickers or witch-doctors take your hair and cut your arms, legs, heads and genitals and collect the blood. They say if you speak out I can kill you.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Brussels Police Dismantle Arms Trafficking Gang

28/10/11 — Federal police in Brussels have dismantled a gang of arms traffickers. Seventy weapons and thousands of bullets have been seized. Four people have been detained.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Bulgaria: Dutch PM Visit “Inconvenient”

The Bulgarian government has cancelled an official visit by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the last possible moment. A spokesperson for the Bulgarian foreign ministry said that the visit was “inconvenient” because of “a very difficult debate on the Bulgarian budget.”

The Dutch government information service RVD says the cancelled visit was also highly inconvenient for the prime minister because of his extremely busy schedule. As the visit was to have been part of a combined trip to Bulgaria and Romania, his visit to the latter country has also been postponed. The Bulgarian cancellation comes at a time of growing tensions between the countries as a result of a Dutch veto against a proposal to allow Romania and Bulgaria to join the passport-free Schengen zone. Only Finland supported the Dutch veto, all other countries are in favour of expanding the Schengen zone.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Coach Solskjaer Wins Norwegian Title

Former Manchester United favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrated winning the Norwegian league title at the weekend with Molde in only his first season as a coach. Solskjaer took charge of Molde in January and nine months later guided them to the title for the first time since the club was formed 100 years ago. “It’s a good start as a manager,” said the striker, who scored 23 goals for Norway and 126 during an 11-year spell with United.

Molde clinched the championship two games from the end of the season on Saturday when Rosenborg, the only side that could overhaul them, lost. Solskjaer wrote his name in United folklore when he scored the decisive last minute goal that capped United’s fightback against Bayern Munich to win the 1999 Champions League final.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Dumb and Dumpy: Can the German Shepherd be Saved?

Once an icon, bad breeding has earned the German Shepherd a reputation for being sickly and dimwitted. In Germany, police have replaced them with the more aggressive Malinois. But one American breeder is trying to bring classic German Shepherds back.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe’s Problem, Boiled Down

Numerous articles about the eurozone crisis (such as this one) have made the same points: that the cause of the crisis is the joining together of countries with very different economic levels into a common currency, and that the solution to the crisis is for Greece and other southern European countries to abandon the euro, return to their respective national currencies and devalue them, thus reducing their debt. But the rulers of Europe will absolutely not allow this, because the end of a common currency would mean the end of the EU project, and, as Angela Merkel said the other day, if the EU project ends, Europe will instantly return to nationalism, war, Nazism, etc.

Such thinking has of course driven the EU project from the start. The belief is that since Nazi Germany was the seat of ultimate evil, the independent nation-state is itself the seat of ultimate evil, and therefore the only way to save Europe from this evil once and for all is through the construction of a transnational government subsuming the nations of Europe.

But of course the premise is wrong. Modern liberalism/leftism is largely a function of an irrational overreaction to Nazism, in which the evil of Nazism was associated with the nation-state itself, making the abolition of the nation-state necessary. In the same way, the Nazi genocide was defined as “discrimination” and “intolerance,” making the abolution of all discrimination and intolerance necessary. But, since a certain amount of discrimination and intolerance is inseparable from the ordinary life of any society (e.g., a society favors its own culture and its own people over foreign cultures and peoples), the project of eliminating all discrimination and intolerance requires the suppression of ordinary human life and institutions, including the nation-state itself. Hence the totalitarian PC regime of today’s Europe.

What all this means is that the ultimate cause of the European financial crisis is not economic, but moral and spiritual. After World War II, the leaders of Europe made a disastrous moral error, associating the ordinary life of the European peoples, including the very existence of their nations, with Nazi-like evil. Therefore the nations of Europe had to be eliminated at all costs, by merging them into one sovereign power. Merging them into one sovereign power required, inter alia, that they all have the same currency. But the adoption of a common currency for all of Europe has created the financial crisis, and the insistence on keeping the common currency makes it impossible to cure the financial crisis. Sixty-six years after Adolf Hitler put a gun to his head, the fear of him still rules Europe, driving it to commit not only national and cultural suicide but economic suicide as well.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: DSK Scandal to be Made Into Porn Film

The scandal surrounding the former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn is to be turned into a porn film, with the producers asking members of the public to help fund the project. The film, with the working title “DXK”, is to be produced by the company My Porn Production and will star Roberto Malone as the lead character “David Sex King.” Porn star Sandra Romain will play his wife and Katia De Lys will portray the hotel maid.

The production company’s website has called on members of the public to help fund the film’s €200,000 production. A minimum of €50 will secure their names in the credits and an invitation to the premiere. According to the producers, the film will be a “parody” of the scandal that saw Strauss-Kahn accused of sexually assaulting Nafissatou Diallo, a Guinean hotel maid, while she was working at a New York hotel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Police Fire Tear Gas as Turks and Kurds Clash

French police fired tear gas to break up clashes that erupted between Turkish protesters and supports of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in central Paris on Sunday. Around 150 young Turks waving their national flag and singing patriotic songs gathered on the Place de la Bastille to protest “terrorism in Turkey” after an attack by PKK rebels that killed 24 earlier this month.

Youths saying they were PKK supporters hurled stones and other objects at the gathering before police fired tear gas to disperse the Kurds. One of the Turkish protest’s organisers, Hakan Fakili, said that 10 people were injured but this was not possible to confirm. Turkey launched a wide army operation against the PKK after they carried out a series of attacks that killed 24 soldiers and injured 18 others in Cukurca town of Hakkari province near the Iraqi border on October 18.

The latest attack of the PKK caused the biggest loss for the army since 1993, when the PKK rebels killed 33 unarmed soldiers. Clashes between the PKK and the army have escalated since the summer. The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms for Kurdish independence in southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Fighting Islamophobia

If you happen to be in Nanterre, west of Paris, on October 30, you can let your voice be heard at the Conference against Islamophobia, organized by the CCIF (Collective Against Islamophobia in France) and a consultative member of the U.N. Above is the poster advertising the event and you can’t miss its meaning: the innocent Muslim couple holding hands, bathed in the French national colors, is the target of the racist Islamophobic French who want to shoot them. And there is no time to waste: this is an “emergency” (“état d’urgence”):

The goal of the conference is to fight against “the hatred towards Muslims and an ideology that seeks to reject all visible signs of Islam.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

More Kids Abducted From Sweden: Report

Over 100 children have been abducted and taken overseas by one of their parents in each of the past two years, reflecting a significant rise on on 2006, according to a report by Sveriges Radio’s Ekot news programme. The Swedish foreign ministry is currently working with 134 ongoing cases regarding the abduction of children by one of their parents in recent years.

So far this year 100 children have been taken out of the country, continuing a rising trend from 2010 which saw 108 children whisked away. The figures indicate a significant rise on 2006 when 72 children were abducted. The foreign ministry explained the increasing trend as due to changing migration habits, increased travel and more marriages which span international marriages.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Muslims Have Attacked Christians Attending a Catholic Celebration in Southern France

The Joyeuse Union Don Bosco [Joyous Union Don Bosco] takes place in Nîmes, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady the Virgin of Santa Cruz, built by French people repatriated from the Algerian city of Oran following Algerian independence. These people were driven out of the place they grew up in by Muslim aggression. Now they face it in France too!

“After a day of welcoming and reunions, around 7 pm, the participants were leaving in their cars and vehicles when “young Arab immigrants” from the city started to throw stones at the vehicles descending from the sanctuary.

The local police, whose station is in this area, were immediately notified and the event organisers had to arrange a diversion to another route to protect the occupants of the vehicles from the savage attacks which continued…

As for the press, other than a brief honest article in “la Provence”, there was no mention of the “intifada” (war of stones) attacks against the Christian religious community at Nîmes.

…it would seem that the media silence on these facts, which are occurring more and more frequently, serves to exonerate, even protect, the Muslims in their racist and anti-religious acts.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Widespread Support for Stricter Sentences

In a letter to parliament, Deputy Justice Minister writes that a majority of Dutch citizens support cabinet plans to introduce minimum sentencing and stricter sentences in cases of violence against paramedics, firemen and police officers. His conclusions are based on research by the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement and the Radboud University Nijmegen. The two institutes conducted a survey among more than 1,000 Dutch citizens.

The researchers asked those interviewed what sentences they would impose if they were judge. There was a wide variety of opinions on how severe criminals should be punished. Clearly not everybody endorses the often heard complaint that most judges are too lenient. However, the notion that recidivists should be punished more severely was endorsed by nearly all respondents. In his letter, Minister Teeven concludes that the outcome of the survey dovetails with a bill which would see at least half the maximum sentence imposed on recidivists.

Most of those interviewed supported stricter sentences for people who commit violence against paramedics, firemen or police officers. Mr Teeven says there clearly is widespread support for introducing a policy of seeking double the usual sentence against people found guilty of violence against emergency services personnel. The survey reportedly showed a lack of support for imposing community service on suspects accused of serious violent crimes or sexual offences. Mr Teeven points to a government sponsored bill which in these cases would only allow community service in combination with a prison sentence.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pitched Battle Between Turks and Kurds in Paris

This happened today. About 150 Turks had gathered to protest against “terrorism in Turkey” when they were attacked by 24 Kurds, apparently fans of the PKK. The Turks fell back. Police had to deploy tear gas to disperse the Kurds.

UPDATE: An 18-year-old Turk who was involved in this scuffling later died in hospital. As on the weekend before, anti-PKK demonstrations were organised by Turkish colonists across Europe. Mostly these passed off peacefully, but in a few places, such as Bielefeld and Bremen, there were clashes between Kurdish colonists and Turkish colonists.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Scientology Goes on the Offensive in Switzerland

The Church of Scientology is planning to build a temple in Basel as part of a worldwide expansion plan, according to a Swiss newspaper report. The church’s president in Basel, Patrick Schnidrig, confirmed to Der Sonntag that the organisation is planning to build a new church, although the final location will not be decided until the end of November.

However, the newspaper reported on Sunday that Schnidrig bought a plot of land in the Hegenheimer district in April, along with Zurich-based member Henry Renggli. The space comprises two adjacent office buildings on Burgfelderstrasse 211 and Kyasersberg 3 that currently house a petrol station, a workshop and an electrical substation.

The potential location lies close to the French border, a fact that has led some to speculate the organisation is seeking to attract new members from France, a country where the church has often been at odds with the authorities. A new temple in Basel would form part of the sect’s worldwide growth plans. The Church of Scientology recently announced at a fund-raising event in the United States that it planned to build 70 new churches, including the one in Basel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Madrid Makes Way for Herds of Cattle

Just as in the Middle Ages, flocks of sheep and herds of cows made their way through Madrid city centre on Sunday, marking the centuries-old annual tradition of transhumance, in which cattle migrates from summer to winter pastures. Thousands of bleating sheep that had left the mountains of the north or the hot plains of the south, found their way through the city streets no differently than they would a rural hamlet.

“Transhumance is still practiced by herds coming down from the north heading towards the fields of Castile,” cattle farmer Vanesa Sanchez said as she accompanied her cows. Sunday’s festival is “a reminder that Madrid was and still is on a transhumance pathway,” she said as shepherds whistled around her, directing their livestock down Madrid’s historic avenues.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: The Inflatable Minaret

These are pictures of the inflatable minaret the Muslims used at the demo against Islamophobia in Switzerland yesterday. They show the minaret raised defiantly against the Swiss Parliament building.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Two Arrested After Dutch Pro-Turkish Demo

Two people were arrested after police intervened Sunday to keep pro-Turkish demonstrators and members of the Kurdish community apart after a demonstration in The Hague, a spokeswoman said. “After a peaceful demonstration earlier, police intervened when a handful of members of the two groups clashed” elsewhere in the city, Judith van der Zwan told AFP.

“Two people were arrested,” she said, but could not give further details. Earlier, some 700 pro-Turkish demonstrators gathered at the city’s central Malieveld sports field, brandishing Turkish flags and chanting slogans denouncing the Kurdish Workers’ Union (PKK).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Another No-Go Area in Londonistan

Earlier this year in the east London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Newham, posters suddenly sprouted in the streets declaring: ‘You are entering a Sharia controlled zone. Islamic rules enforced.’ Underneath were images indicating that smoking, alcohol and music were banned. Also this year posters declaring Tower Hamlets a ‘gay-free zone’ were put up across the borough. Police and local councillors declared that they would take all such posters down. Now, however, it seems that the threatening implications of self-declared ‘Muslim areas’ are spreading into the heart of our democracy.

Last Friday Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, was forced to abandon his constituency surgery at the North Finchley mosque and hide in a locked part of the building when a group of activists from the ‘Muslims against Crusades’ group forced their way in. The Daily Mail reported that Mr Freer, a gay man and a member of Conservative Friends of Israel, said he was called a ‘Jewish homosexual pig’.

In fact, Mr Freer said he only realised that the danger he was in possibly went beyond such abuse when was he made aware that ahead of this incident the group had posted up a reference to the attack last year on East Ham MP Stephen Timms, who was stabbed by a Muslim woman while he too was holding a constituency surgery. This message warned

‘the attack on Mr Timms should serve as a “piercing reminder” to politicians that “their presence is no longer welcome in any Muslim area”‘. The message also stated that ‘“as a member of the Conservative Party”, Mr Freer “has the blood of thousands of Muslims on his hands”.’

Mr Freer, who also happens to be a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia (the ironies attending politically-correct ideology are rich indeed) was apparently targeted because he had demanded that Palestinian extremist Sheikh Raed Salah be banned from Britain earlier this year. Understandably, Mr Freer now wants the Home Office to investigate ‘Muslims against Crusades’. But rather more pertinently, shouldn’t some arrests have been made? For by any standards this was threatening behaviour which intimidated an MP into being unable to carry out his constituency duties.

Effectively, therefore, the North Finchley mosque became a no-go area for this MP. This surely represented not only a threat to Mr Freer as an individual but to parliamentary democracy itself. More chilling still, it would seem that for ‘Muslims Against Crusades’ Finchley is now to be regarded as a Muslim area — presumably on the grounds that any area with a sizeable Muslim population is to be thus regarded — and its inhabitants subjected as a result to Islamist intimidation. Finchley happens to be home to a significant Jewish community which will now feel particularly vulnerable. But in fact everyone now comes under potential threat — including Muslims themselves — as can be seen from what has taken place in east London.

For the posters there did not represent empty threats. The process of Islamisation through intimidation is well under way. Earlier this year, four Tower Hamlets Muslims were jailed for at least 19 years for attacking a local white teacher who gave religious studies lessons to Muslim girls. An Asian woman — not a practising Muslim — who worked in a pharmacy was threatened with her life unless she wore a headscarf or veil. And as Andrew Gilligan has reported, many more such Islamist attacks are taking place — which he claims the police are downplaying for fear of being accused of racism:

‘The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered more than a dozen other cases in Tower Hamlets where both Muslims and non-Muslims have been threatened or beaten for behaviour deemed to breach fundamentalist “Islamic norms.” ‘One victim, Mohammed Monzur Rahman, said he was left partially blind and with a dislocated shoulder after being attacked by a mob in Cannon Street Road, Shadwell, for smoking during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last year. … Teachers in several local schools have told The Sunday Telegraph that they feel “under pressure” from local Muslim extremists, who have mounted campaigns through both parents and pupils — and, in one case, through another teacher — to enforce the compulsory wearing of the veil for Muslim girls. … Tower Hamlets’ gay community has become a particular target of extremists. Homophobic crimes in the borough have risen by 80 per cent since 2007/8, and by 21 per cent over the last year, a period when there was a slight drop in London as a whole.’

Such reports are — to put it mildly — deeply disturbing. Yet from the ‘progressive’ chattering class and the politicians (embattled Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick being a notable exception with his stark warning that Islamists wanting to create an “Islamic social and political order” in Britain have infiltrated the Labour party), the response has been…silence.

Thus — unless the UK ruling class gets its act together pretty damn quick — the Islamists will win.

[JP note: Not will, but have. Game over, stumps drawn up, and heading to the pavilion. The oddest thing about this story is the lack of coverage by the British broadsheets — nada, zilch, didley-squat in the Telegraph, Times, Guardian and so on. What’s going on — an embargo on bad news stories from the Muslim Quarter? The UK ruling class is too busy saving the planet or orphans to worry about its own as well as the rest of the country’s future.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Birmingham Washout for EDL as ‘Big One’ Musters 300

Members of the English Defence League were reduced to infighting and throwing fireworks and bottles in Birmingham today after a particularly poor turnout on the organisation’s latest national demo. The EDL demo, billed as the last “Big one” of 2011, drew only around 300 people, despite a mobilisation from across the country and demoralisation was evident among the racists and fascists.

Meanwhile, up to 1,000 people — overwhelmingly from Birmingham itself — attended a unity “Love the difference” event opposing the EDL during the afternoon. The anti-EDL protest was organised by UAF and local trade union branches, faith groups and community organisations. The antiracist event, held in the city centre’s main Chamberlain Square, heard speakers including Tariq Jahan, whose son was tragically killed during the riots, and representatives of faith groups from across multiracial, multicultural Birmingham.

Legendary Birmingham-based reggae band UB40 also sent a message of support.

Members of the CWU’s black workers section held up their own conference in the city in order to come and show their support for the anti-EDL protest. UAF national officer Martin Smith told the antiracist demonstrators that it was important to counter the racists and fascists. It was dangerous to hide away, thinking the EDL could safely be ignored. Instead, people should stand up to the racists and fascists — with last month’s brilliant anti-EDLdemo in Tower Hamlets showing the way forward, he said. The city centre event continued until the few hundred EDL supporters were put onto buses out of Birmingham by police. And local people and antiracists in the Alum Rock area of the city quickly made it clear that any EDL thugs who attempted to gather there were not welcome.

Unite Against Fascism news report, 29 October 2011. Update: See also “Birmingham demo report”, EDL News, 30 October 2011.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: In Joanna’s Name, Close These Vile Sites

Does anyone actually believe it was a coincidence that Vincent Tabak, the man who murdered Joanna Yeates, was addicted to violent pornography?

We now know that he watched online footage showing men strangling women; before killing Miss Yeates, he trawled an internet site with 58,000 videos and 50 categories of pornography.

Yet the judge in his trial ruled that this evidence was inadmissible in court lest it prejudice the jury, a decision many find extraordinary.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Fanatics Abuse MP at Mosque

COUNTER terrorism police are investigating a Muslim group after supporters called an MP a “Jewish homo pig”. Conservative MP Mike Freer was holding an advice surgery in the mosque in Margaret Thatcher’s former constituency of Finchely, north London, when the radicals hurled abuse on Friday afternoon. They screamed at him that as someone who is gay he was “not welcome in a house of Allah”. Mr Freer, who is not Jewish but who is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia, said the protesters were “aggressive” and that he had been forced to call Finchley’s Met Police borough commander to complain.

It is now understood that Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorist unit is investigating the Muslims Against Crusades group, which has also issued a chilling warning to any MP representing Muslims in Britain. In a statement on its website, they have told every MP to remember what happened to Stephen Timms, the former Labour minister who was stabbed while holding an advice surgery in east London last year. His Al Qaeda-inspired attacker, Roshonara Choudhry, 22, was sentenced to life imprisonment and a number of other MPs who were on her target list were offered extra police protection.

The Muslims Against Crusades statement reads: “We warn Mike Freer and every other MP in Britain that their presence is no longer welcomed in any Muslim area and that examples such as Stephen Timms should serve as a piercing reminder of this. Muslims have had enough of freedom and democracy and are fervently working for the implementation of the Shariah.” Although the group is relatively small and dismissed by moderate Muslims as insignificant lunatics, their supporters include convicted terrorists. Its major British figurehead is radical hate-preacher Anjem Choudary, a lieutenant of Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad who is now banned from entering Britain and is in jail in Lebanon.

Mr Freer, elected in 2010, was targeted by the group because he had demanded that Palestinian Sheikh Raed Salah be banned from the UK this summer. Salah was arrested in June and now faces deportation after Home Secretary Theresa May said his presence and his alleged virulent anti-Semitism was not conducive to the public good. Mr Freer said yesterday: “I’ve a long record of working with local mosques and this was the second time I’d held a surgery at the North Finchley Mosque, which is very moderate. “I was made aware that a woman member of the mosque had started a campaign against me. She came into the surgery as a constituent but also with a gang of others from outside the area who started

haranguing me and screaming abuse calling me a Jewish homo pig. They said because I was gay, I was not welcome in a House of Allah. It was all very aggressive. Both the mosque and I are determined not to let these people stop the work we are doing among faith communities.”

However, Muslims Against Crusades added: “As a member of the Conservative party, Mike Freer has the blood of thousands of Muslims on his hands.”

[JP note: Why are MP surgeries taking place in mosques?]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Prof. R. Lynn Passes the Torch to the Chinese

It is hard to escape the conclusion that Britain is finished as a world power.

In importing the third world, it has simply bitten off more than it can chew. Significant areas of England are now ethnically cleansed of whites. Public (ie government) schools in some districts are feral cesspits of violence. The recent riots speak for themselves. Skilled whites are leaving. London no longer looks European, let alone British. Police cameras are everywhere; budding terrorists fly in and out unhindered, while native Brits fear to talk the truth. The politicians lie and lie and lie, and the MSM is anti-white.

Anyone who doubts this should go see for themselves.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: The Guardian’s Long Crusade in Defense of Radical Islamist Raed Saleh is Dealt a Heavy Blow

The Guardian’s coverage of the UK’s detainment of Sheikh Raed Salah (which included twelve separate reports and commentaries), represented the ideologically driven anti-Israel bias of the paper at its worst. As we’ve pointed out, the Guardian continually airbrushed, or ignored, irrefutable evidence of Salah’s antisemitism, extremism, and record of incitement. Inversely, those who opposed Salah were typically referred to in the pejorative as merely “right-wing” Israelis or those with an anti-Muslim bias.

He has been in Britain since June, despite being banned from entering the country, and spoke at a number of anti-Israel events before being arrested. Salah appealed the original deportation order issued by Home Secretary Theresa May, who deemed that he was not conducive to the public good, and was granted bail in July while he awaited the deportation hearing. On Wednesday, Salah lost his appeal against deportation from the United Kingdom.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Controversial ‘Care in the Community’ Approach to Treating the Mentally Ill Has Been a £100billion Failure

The study by the respected Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) suggests that many mental health patients have been ‘neglected’ for decades because the policy of closing down asylums was not accompanied by an increase in local care.

The think-tank says the £6billion-a-year cost of dealing with mental health is the single biggest burden on the NHS.

But it warns that the cost to society has been even higher, with social costs, the impact of lost working days and family breakdown taking the total bill to a ‘completely unsustainable’ £105billion.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Who’s Listening to Your Calls? Met’s Blanket Surveillance System Will Track Thousands of Innocent Civilians’ Mobiles

Police can now shut off phones remotely, listen in on conversations and gather data about users in a targeted area — even innocent members of the public.

The Met would not confirm whether the system has yet been used in public disorder situations, such as the London riots or protests at St Paul’s and Parliament Square.

The Met bought the system from Datong plc in Leeds, which serves the US Secret Service, the Ministry of Defence and regimes in the Middle East, according to a report in The Guardian.

The news has provoked alarm among lawyers and privacy groups that innocent people could become unwitting targets.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, warned the technology could give police the ability to conduct ‘blanket and indiscriminate’ monitoring.

‘It raises a number of serious civil liberties concerns and clarification is urgently needed on when and where this technology has been deployed, and what data has been gathered,’ he told The Guardian.

‘Such invasive surveillance must be tightly regulated, authorised at the highest level and only used in the most serious of investigations.

‘It should be absolutely clear that only data directly relating to targets of investigations is monitored or stored.’

A transceiver around the size of a suitcase can apparently be placed in a vehicle or another static location and operated remotely by officers.

The technology, which sounds like it could feature in a high-tech thriller, can force hundreds of phones per minute to release their identity codes, allowing police to track people’s movements.

In 2009, the Government refused Datong an export licence to ship technology worth £0.8m to an unnamed Asia Pacific country, because the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said it could be used to commit human rights abuses.

Counter-terrorism units will reportedly be able to trick phones into using a false network and then cut off any that are intended to trigger an explosive.

But experts said it raised many questions about privacy and data protection.

Datong’s website says its products are designed to provide law enforcement, military, security agencies and special forces with the means to ‘gather early intelligence in order to identify and anticipate threat and illegal activity before it can be deployed’.

The Met police paid £143,455 to Datong for ‘ICT hardware’ in 2008-09, according to documents seen by The Guardian.

Datong also entered into contracts worth more than £500,000 with the Ministry of Defence in 2009, the documents showed.

In February 2011 it was paid £8,373 by Hertfordshire Constabulary, according to a transaction report released under freedom of information.

Between 2004 and 2009 Datong won more than £1.03m in contracts with US government agencies, including the Secret Service, Special Operations Command and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In February 2010 the company won a £750,000 order to supply tracking and location technology to the US defence sector.

Latest figures produced released by the Government show there were 1,682 interception warrants approved by the home secretary in 2010.

Public authorities can request other communications data — such as the date, time and location a phone call was made — without the authority of the home secretary.

In 2010, 552,550 such requests were made, averaging around 1,500 per day.

Datong refused to comment on its involvement.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan police service said: ‘The MPS may employ surveillance technology as part of our continuing efforts to ensure the safety of Londoners and detect criminality. It can be a vital and highly effective investigative tool.

‘Although we do not discuss specific technology or tactics, we can re-assure those who live and work in London that any activity we undertake is in compliance with legislation and codes of practice.’

A spokesman for the Home Office said covert surveillance was under ‘constant review’ by chief surveillance commissioner Sir Christopher Rose who monitors the conduct of authorities and ensures they are complying with the appropriate legislation.

He added: ‘Law enforcement agencies are required to act in accordance with the law and with the appropriate levels of authorisation for their activity.’

[Return to headlines]


Serbian Liberals Protest Russian Involvement

A liberal party in Serbia demanded the expulsion of the Russian ambassador on Sunday after he appeared at a nationalist gathering. Ambassador Alexander Konuzin has been meddling in Serbia’s internal politics and should be declared persona non grata, the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina, or LSV, said in a statement.

Konuzin on Saturday attended an anniversary meeting of the opposition nationalist Serbian Progressive Party. Serbian media quoted Konuzin as saying the party “has become a true reflection of the popular mood” in the country. The LSV party statement said “the ambassador of the Russian Federation in Serbia has definitely shown … that the Russian Federation has been meddling in Serbia’s internal affairs on an unbearable scale.”

Serbia’s deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said he was sure that “Russia wouldn’t like see the same behavior of foreign ambassadors” on its turf. Konuzin has clashed in the past with Serbia’s liberals, who have accused him of nondiplomatic behavior. He recently stormed out of a security forum in Belgrade, accusing its participants of not doing enough to defend Serbia’s claim to the breakaway province of Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008. Serbia’s nationalists have advocated stronger ties with Russia and the abolition of the EU bid because of Western support for Kosovo’s statehood.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Algeria: Three Qaeda Hostages Seized Last Week Alive: Mediator

An Italian and two Spaniards who were kidnapped in Algeria a week ago, are alive and being held by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a mediator told AFP after contact with the kidnappers. “The three European hostages are alive. It is one of the kidnappers, a member of AQIM, who gave us this information,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They said they will make their demands later, but for now the hostages are well and alive.”

He said less than ten unarmed AQIM militants had entered the Sahrawi refugee camp in Tindouf, western Algeria, where sympathisers of the Polisario Front gave them weapons and helped them seek out the hostages, who were working in the camp. Western Sahara’s Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which is fighting for its territory’s independence from Morocco, has its government based in the refugee camps.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Al-Qaeda Suspects Arrested for Kidnap of Aid Workers

Urru and two colleagues ‘doing well’, says Spanish minister

(ANSA) — Rome, October 31 — Four people with suspected links to Al-Qaeda have been arrested in Algeria over the kidnapping of an Italian and two Spanish aid workers a week ago.

Rossella Urru, who comes from Sardinia, and her Spanish colleagues, Ainhoa Fernandez Rincon and Enrico Gonyans, were abducted on October 23 from the Rabuni refugee camp in southwestern Algeria.

Algerian secret service police arrested the suspects on Sunday in the western province of Bechar and Tamanrasset province in the country’s south, according to the state-run Algerian newspaper el-Khabar.

The Spanish Defence Minister, Carme Chacon, said on Monday that the three kidnap victims “are doing well” as he appealed to their captors to release them in good health.

Eight people were arrested for alleged terrorist activities, and half of them are suspected to have been involved in the kidnapping, the report said.

Urru, 29, works for the Rome-based International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP) and spent the past two years working in the Saharawi refugee camp before she was kidnapped.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Thousands in Tahrir Square With Islamic Candidate

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, OCTOBER 28 — Thousands of protesters have been in Tahrir Square since this afternoon to urge Egypt’s military council once more to set out clear deadlines for the passage of power to a civil government. The demonstrators have been joined by an Islamic candidate in the presidential elections, Hazem Abu Ismail, who has remained in the Square and is threatening to conduct a sit-in with the demonstrators until the military council clearly indicates when it intends to step down from power.

In the meantime, controversy is mounting at a fresh case of torture that has been denounced by the Egyptian NGO, El nadeem, according to whom, twenty-four-year-old Essam Atta was tortured to death in Tora prison, where he was jailed after being found guilty by a military tribunal of residing in his flat illegally.

The NGO accuses police officers of killing the young man by forcing rubber tubing into his mouth and anus after he was found to have smuggled a SIM card into his prison cell. The same prison also currently houses the sons of Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian websites and blogs are already speaking of a new Khaled Said, the young blogger whose death in Alexandria last year became one of the symbols of the January revolution. The two police officers found guilty of the boy’s murder are serving a seven-year sentence.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Libya: 50% of GDP Lost During Conflict

(ANSAmed) — DOHA, OCTOBER 28 — The war in Libya is said to have cost the six and a half million citizens of the country 35 billion dollars, or 50% of the country’s GDP, which had stood at over 70 billion dollars in 2010. The figures have emerged from the most recent estimates by the International Monetary Fund, whose report states that the country’s banking system is not able to find the necessary finance and is thus causing great difficulty for Libya in paying for its imports. Despite this, it is not yet clear whether the country will require support from the IMF because Libya still has oil reserves to fall back on and on national assets that have accrued over the years. In the words of Masood Ahmed, Director of the International Monetary Fund in the Middle East and Central Asia, “We have not received any requests for financial support from Libya and the country may not stand in need of it. Everything depends on the speed with which the country may have access to the funds currently frozen and to its oil reserves”. There are in fact around 160-170 billion dollars on Libyan accounts that were frozen during the conflict, a sum that could enable the country to recover quite rapidly. Regarding profits from the oil reserves, Libya should start producing 700,000 barrels of oil per day from the end of this year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

NATO Concludes Mission in Libya… But a Bad Omen for the Future as Al Qaeda Flag Flies Over Benghazi

Nato today announced it was ending its bombing campaign which helped Libyan rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Officials said all operations for the air and sea campaign will conclude at midnight on Monday, as the strikes were described as ‘one of the most successful’ operations in the history of the 62-year-old alliance.

Nato stopped its bombing missions soon after Gaddafi’s death earlier this month, but has maintained regular air patrols.

Officials say Nato air forces carried out 9,600 strike sorties in the past seven months, destroying about 5,900 military targets.

Nato’s decision was announced however, as fears grew over the direction of the new leadership regime in Libya.

The flag of Al Qaeda has been spotted flying over the courthouse in Benghazi, while rebels in Libya are said to have imposed Sharia law since seizing power.

Nato stuck to its decision to end the operation despite calls from Libya’s National Transitional Council for it to stay engaged longer.

Nato says it does not expect to play a major post-war role, although it could assist the transition to democracy by helping with security sector reform.

Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will mark the end of the mission by visiting Libya today, where he will meet Libya’s NTC and members of civil society, the alliance said.

Allies of Nato have been keen to see a quick conclusion to a costly effort that has involved more than 26,000 air sorties and round-the-clock naval patrols at a time when budgets are under severe strain due to the global economic crisis.

The U.N. Security Council authorized the mission in March to protect civilians caught up in the civil war.

Nato staff temporarily seconded to the headquarters in Naples for the Libyan operation are being reassigned to their regular duties, officials said.

The NTC officially announced Libya’s liberation on October 23, days after the capture and death of Gaddafi. Nato commanders have said they believe the interim administration is able to take care of the country’s security.

Last week, however, Al Qaeda’s black flag, complete with Arabic script declaring ‘there is no God but Allah’ and full moon underneath, was seen fluttering above the Benghazi courthouse building, according to

The black flag is said to be flying over the building alongside the Libyan national flag. reported that Islamists in Benghazi have been seen driving SUVs along the city’s streets and waving the Al Qaeda flag at night while shouting, ‘Islamiya, Islamiya! No East, nor West’.

The revelation in Benghazi came just days after it emerged that rebels in Libya have imposed Sharia law in the country since seizing power.

The country’s new leader, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, said Islamic Sharia law will be the ‘basic source’ of legislation in free Libya.

The sudden lurch by a country seen as very moderate towards Islamic extremism will alarm many in the West who supported the ousting of Colonel Gaddafi.

           — Hat tip: A. Millar[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Chaos and Clashes at Sidi Bouzid, Curfew Imposed

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, OCTOBER 28 — There was a rude awakening for Tunisia during the night from its sweet dreams of having become a free, peaceful and democratic country. There was a return to the nightmare of violence with armoured vehicles patrolling the streets to tackle thousands of — mainly youthful — protestors who had vented their anger on symbols of power.

Their targets were the Governor’s offices, the court building, the town hall and the headquarters of the national guard, as well as the headquarters of the upcoming power-base, that of the Ennahdha party, the winner in the elections who only today set out its schedule for setting up the new government of the country in a dozen days. But the violence that broke out in Sidi Bouzid appears to have been blind rage — anger that can only apparently be explained by the fact that it was sparked off by the cancellation of some electoral lists of the Petition Populaire (PP), the party of Hachmi Hamdi, whose most substantial electoral basis was here in Sidi Bouzid. The party is now falling apart following its leader’s decision to boycott the National Assembly in protest. What started as a peaceful demonstration to reply to Hammadi Djebali, the upcoming Premier of the country and Number 2 in Ennahdha, who called the electors of the PP party “dummies” (forcing Rached Gannouchi to make amends today), turned into an unabated flood of rage that turned on anything that looked like a likely target to the protesters. Spreading along a grapevine of SMS messages — or maybe online, or perhaps under a conscious command, the protest soon travelled to other cities (Meknassi, Menzel Bouzayène, Regueb, Bir Lahfey and Mazouna), although it had abated a little by this time.

The reply from the state arrived — somewhat tardily, according to some witnesses — in an incomprehensible way when the police forces and soldiers allowed the demonstrators to continue with their destruction of the headquarters of the national guard — an episode which may have unsuspected roots in jealousies from the period of dictatorship, with a Ben Ali who made no secret of his preferences.

The Interior Ministry intervened early this morning as the first clouds of acrid smoke were rising heavenwards from a blaze of tyres piled high in the middle of the street. A long curfew was imposed (from 7pm to 7am) with only army patrols allowed on the streets during these times.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Gannouchi Says Yes to Party of Fundamentalists

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, OCTOBER 31 — Rached Gannouchi ‘opens’ to Ettahir, the Islamic fundamentalist party that was rejected months ago by the Tunisian Interior Minister because of its programme, which advocates the institution of Sharia religious law and of a caliphate. This approach is based on the political premise that society must judge a party and its ideas, not the State, which cannot decide on the birth or death of a political party.

Not everyone will agree with this statement, but from a political viewpoint it is in line with the ideas of the leader of Ennahdha. Still it will certainly trigger a debate in Tunisia because, apart from the fact that the statement was made a few days after the official announcement of the victory of Ennahdha, it supports a party that has made violent language and violent action its prerogatives. The Interior Ministry rejected Ettahrir in the weeks that followed the “revolution” in which hundreds of political parties and formation applied for authorisation for political activities. The party was one of the few to be rejected by the ministry because of its programme. But despite this defeat, Ettahrir was one of the first to protest against a reformist film directed by an openly atheist director (No God, No Master by Nadia el-Fani). Ettahrir was also playing a leading role in the “animated” demonstration against — in the party’s opinion — the degradation of Islamic customs, in favour of the “decadent” West.

During the election of the Constituent Assembly, Ettahrir was also used by reformist and secular parties as an example to show what would happen in Tunisia if the country would fall in the hands of a more radical form of Islam. With Ettahrir (widely agreed to be the political wing of the Salafite fringe group) put outside, 99% of its potential voters made a choice for Ennahdha, the only reference party for the Islamists.

Gannouchi statement, which was in fact not unexpected, also creates a practical problem, shedding doubts on the State’s ability to respond when faced with a party that wants a new State architecture, in which everything is governed by religious instead of civilian law. And an architecture based on the caliphate, in which everything is brought back to the unification of Muslims, the ‘ummah’, a concept that indicates that political power is surpassed. But it would be too much to say that Ettahrir, the Islamic party in its purest form, can enter politics tomorrow in broad daylight in a country that used to profess its secularity with pride, because the civil court of justice still as to take a decision on the issue. But the words spoken by Rached Gannouchi are more than just an opinion, coming from a man who will govern the country as of tomorrow and will therefore leave an indelible mark (his) on the Constitution.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tunisia Issues Arrest Warrant for Arafat Widow

A Tunisian court has issued an international arrest warrant for Suha Arafat (pictured), the widow of deceased Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, over alleged corruption, a Tunisian justice ministry official told AFP on Monday.

AFP — A Tunisian court has issued an international arrest warrant against the widow of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat over alleged corruption, an official said Monday.

Justice ministry spokesman Kadhem Zine el Abidine told AFP that a Tunis court had issued the warrant against 48-year-old Suha Arafat, who was stripped of her Tunisian citizenship in 2007 and currently lives in Malta.

According to Tunisian papers, Suha Arafat is wanted over alleged corruption dating back to 2006, when she founded the Carthage International School in Tunis with the country’s much-vilified former first lady Leila Trabelsi.

The two women then fell out, purportedly over Suha Arafat’s criticism of an alleged move by Trabelsi to close down another private school that would have been direct competition for their joint venture.

According to a US diplomatic cable revealed by the Wikileaks, Mrs Arafat met the then US ambassador after the dispute and lashed out at the ruling family.

She said that now ousted dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali would spend all day in his residence running after his young son and “simply does what his wife asks him to do”.

Suha Arafat was subsequently declared persona non grata, stripped of her Tunisian nationality and expelled.

She settled in Malta, where her brother served as Palestinian ambassador.

Suha Arafat, who married the historic Palestinian leader in 1990, was secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which was based in Tunisia between 1982 and 1994.

While her husband shepherded the Palestinian cause in Gaza and Ramallah, Suha was often accused of siphoning the aspiring state’s meagre public funds to bankroll her lavish lifestyle in Paris.

After her husband’s death in November 2004, Suha Arafat returned to Tunisia, where she was eventually granted Tunisian citizenship.

Zine el Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in January following a popular uprising and the country’s interim rulers have since initiated hundreds of corruption trials against the exiled dictator and his entourage.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Italy Abstained in Palestine UNESCO Membership Vote

(AGI) Rome — Italy decided to abstain in today’s vote at UNESCO’s General Conference on whether to grant Palestine full membership. It was confirmed by Foreign Ministry spokesman Maurizio Massari during the weekly press briefing. “Italy worked to help reach a united and common stance within the EU, in default of which, we decided to abstain”, Massari explained.

“We believe that this was not the right time to raise the issue of Palestine’s membership of UNESCO, as we are still trying to create the ideal conditions to resume talks between the two parts”, the spokesperson added.

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

Settlement Protest: Germany Threatens to Halt Submarine Sale to Israel

The German government is threatening to halt the delivery of a submarine capable of firing nuclear warheads in protest of the Israeli government’s recent decision to build new homes in the Arab part of Jerusalem. Earlier this year, SPIEGEL reported that Germany’s subsidized submarine sales program is linked to World War II reparations.

Germany is threatening to stop the delivery of a “Dolphin” submarine to Israel in protest over the country’s settlement policies. Government sources confirmed the development when asked by SPIEGEL following speculation last week in the Israeli media that Germany might halt the sale. The move is in response to the recent decision by the Israeli government to approve the construction of 1,100 homes in Gilo, an Arab part of Jerusalem captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War. The Israeli government considers the area to be a Jewish suburb, but the international community contests that description.

The threat by German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been the subject of considerable concern in Israel. The nuclear-weapons capable Dolphin submarines are an important part of the Israeli military strategy. The navy already owns three of the submarines and two further vessels are currently being built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), the shipbuilding division of German steelmaker Thyssen-Krupp, in Kiel, Germany.

This summer, the German government approved €135 million ($189 million) in funding to assist Israel with the purchase of a sixth Dolphin submarine over the next four years. Now, however, that deal for the sixth submarine is in jeopardy. In addition to its capability of firing nuclear warheads, the submarine also has a larger cruising range because of its advanced modern fuel-cell propulsion technology.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: MP Mike Freer ‘Threatened at Mosque Surgery’

An MP has described how he waited for police behind a locked door during a constituency surgery after he was threatened by a group of men. Mike Freer said it happened at North Finchley mosque in north London as he met constituents on Friday afternoon. Mr Freer said about 12 people forced their way inside, with one of them calling him a “Jewish homosexual pig”. The trouble began after messages on the Muslims Against Crusades website urged supporters to target him, he said.

Mr Freer said a message posted ahead of the incident on the group’s website made reference to Labour MP Stephen Timms, who was stabbed while holding a surgery in east London last year. It warned the attack on Mr Timms should serve as a “piercing reminder” to politicians that “their presence is no longer welcome in any Muslim area”. The Finchley and Golders Green MP, a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel, said there was a vocal demonstration outside the mosque as he began his surgery, but then a second group of people arrived and forced their way inside.

‘Blood on hands’

“One of them sat at a table where I was dealing with a constituent and was abusive,” he said. The MP said he was then escorted by staff at the mosque to a locked part of the building until assistance arrived. Mr Freer said he only realised the potential danger he had been in when he was made aware of the website’s reference to the attack on East Ham MP Mr Timms. The message also stated that “as a member of the Conservative Party”, Mr Freer had “the blood of thousands of Muslims on his hands”. “Had I seen the website beforehand, I suspect it might have been a bit more worrying,” the MP said.

Mr Freer, who played a prominent role in the campaign against Palestinian activist Sheikh Raed Salah’s visit to the UK earlier in the year, said he would “continue to condemn all forms of religious intolerance”. He added that he wanted Home Secretary Theresa May to monitor closely the actions of Muslims Against Crusades. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Officers attended North Finchley Mosque at 4.10pm on Friday after a disturbance by protesters inside the building. There were no arrests.”

[JP note: I do not understand why there were no arrests. See also this report in the Hendon & Finchey Times which gave advance notice of the protest ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UNESCO Gives Palestinians Full Membership

Unesco, the United Nations’ cultural agency, has decided to give the Palestinians full membership of the body, in a vote that will boost their bid for recognition as a state at the UN.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Edmonton Imam Beaten, Arrested in Saudi Arabia

EDMONTON — An Edmonton Imam has allegedly been beaten and jailed by religious police in Saudi Arabia, according to witnesses. The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) is reporting that Canadian citizen and University of Alberta post-doctoral fellow Usama Al-Atar was beaten and arrested Sunday in Medina. Witnesses said the Edmonton-based Imam was attending hajj with an international group of pilgrims Sunday morning when he was accosted by a group of 10 to 15 officers from the country’s religious police force. The mob of officers reportedly chased and choked Al-Atar in front of more than 200 witnesses before taking him into custody without explanation.

A British member of the group Al-Atar was praying with said the 33-year-old Edmontonian was leading a prayer when members of the country’s religious police reportedly asked them to move along, CTV news reported Sunday. Mohamed Hayward told reporters the situation escalated as they made their way across the courtyard of the nearby mosque. A member of the religious force began calling Al-Atar a thief in Arabic, he said, and that led to Al-Atar being swarmed. “He virtually choked, we could see him go black and blue,” Hayward said. “We’re absolutely still in shock.”

The London-based human rights organization’s website says Al-Atar, originally from the Iraqi city of Karbala, was whisked away in a car and is now charged with assault. Officials at Edmonton’s Islamic Centre University and Downtown Islamic Centre both declined to comment or offer reaction on the alleged injustice. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying it was aware of Al-Atar’s arrest and that they would provide consular assistance. A Facebook page, dubbed “Free Dr. Al-Hajj Usama Al-Atar,” has already been set up and a petition demanding his immediate release is circulating the Internet with 2,000 signatures already.

Al-Atar is a well-known cleric with several publications in the fields of diabetes and cancer research. According to the IHRC, he is married with a three-year-old child and another on the way. It’s believed he has been charged with assault, however, Saudi police have yet to confirm his arrest. Hajj is an annual Muslim pilgrimage and a pillar of the Islamic faith and draws millions of participants to Saudi Arabia. The main sites are in Mecca, but some pilgrims travel to Medina as well. The Saudi religious police, known as the Mutawa, are tasked with enforcing the country’s system of Shariah law.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Iran Demands Obama Apologize for Spreading “Iranophobia”

Obama has bent over backwards again and again to reach out to the Iranian mullahs. He has never spoken critically of the Iranian regime with any real force, and refused to back the Iranians who were protesting against the regime. Yet his supine dhimmitude is still not good enough for the Islamic Republic. With the typical Islamic supremacist displacement of responsibility, Seyed Ali Aqazadeh is making the fantastic claim that Obama is spreading “Iranophobia.” This exactly parallels the jihadist tendency never to accept responsibility for any wrongdoing of any kind, but always to affect the posture of the innocent victim. Hamas-linked CAIR operates in the same way.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Moment Man is Publicly Beheaded in a Saudi Arabian Car Park for Being a ‘Sorcerer’

Crouched on his knees and blindfolded, Abdul Hamid Bin Hussain Bin Moustafa al-Fakki was executed in Medina, in the west of the country, as dozens looked on last month.

The chilling and grainy footage — which MailOnline believes is too graphic to include in this article — shows the executioner lining his sword up on the back of Abdul Hamid’s neck, before one swift, clean stroke decapitates him.

The Sudanese, who was killed on September 20, is believed to have been the 44th person to have been executed in Saudi Arabia this year — and the 11th foreign national.

A Lebanese TV host, who was sentenced to death over making predictions of the future on his show, was scheduled to be beheaded on Friday.

May El Khansa, the attorney for Ali Hussain Sibat, said the execution did not take place on the day — but that did not mean Sibat was given a reprieve.

It marks an alarming rise in the number of executions in the country and has led to criticism from a number of human rights charities.

Saudis are understood to prefer beheading by a sharp sword, as they think it more humane and quicker than electrocution and lethal injection.

And while the crime of ‘sorcery’ is undefined in Saudi Arabian law, it has been used to punish people for the legitimate exercise of their human rights.

Abdul Hamid is understood to have been arrested in 2005 after he was entrapped by a man working for the Mutawa’een (religious police).

He was asked to concoct a spell that would cause the officer’s father to leave his second wife.

According to the officer’s account Abdul Hamid agreed to carry out the curse in exchange for 6,000 Saudi Arabian riyals (approximately £1,000).

He was beaten after his arrest and thought to have been forced to admit to acts of sorcery.

In a secret trial, where he was not allowed legal representation, he was sentenced to death by the General Court in Medina in March 2007.

His trail took Few details are available about his trial but he is reported to have been tried behind closed doors and without legal representation.

At the time of his arrest, English language Saudi daily The Saudi Gazette ran an articles entitled Magic Maids which said that ‘we must face up to the threats from some maids and servants and their satanic games of witchcraft and sorcery, their robbery, murder, entrapment of husbands, corruption of children and other countless stories of crime that have been highlighted by both experts and victims of these crimes’.

Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa, heavily criticised the killing and said: ‘Abdul Hamid’s execution is appalling as is Saudi Arabia’s continuing use of this most cruel and extreme penalty.

‘That he should have been executed without having committed anything that would appear to constitute a crime is yet another deeply upsetting example of why the Saudi Arabian government should immediately cease executions and take steps to abolish the death penalty.’

The charity had campaigned on Abdul Hamid’s behalf following his arrest and had urged Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to prevent his execution.

But was to no avail, and since the end of the holy month of Ramadan a few weeks ago, the Saudi Arabian authorities have resumed executions at an alarming pace.

According to Amnesty International seven people have been executed since the killings resumed on September 5.

While 44 people have been beheaded this year a telling statistic is that 17 fewer were killed in 2010 — and there is still two months of the year left.

Some 140 prisoners are believed to be facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

And last December, Saudi Arabia was one of a minority of states that voted against a UN general assembly resolution calling for the worldwide moratorium on executions.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Hagia Sophia in Istanbul May Become Mosque

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct.31 / Trend A. Tagiyeva / Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which was earlier a Patriarchal Orthodox Cathedral and later a mosque, and now a museum, may once again become an active mosque, the Sabah newspaper reports. Repairs are underway. A mimbar — a platform for the imam — is planned to be built in the museum. Earlier, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said during a visit to the museum that fundamental changes should be made in Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia was built in Constantinople, now Istanbul, in 537. After Mehmet II conquered the city in 1453, the church turned into a mosque.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Pakistan Spied on Germans in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s intelligence agency reportedly spied on German police officers working in Afghanistan, raising questions whether Pakistan is passing information on to the insurgent Taliban about security forces’ operations. The report in the Bild newspaper did not site its sources. But it said the Taliban likely even knew about German President Christian Wulff’s surprise visit to Afghanistan two weeks ago. Pakistan denied the report to the Reuters news service.

But Germany’s Interior Ministry, responsible for the 180-person German Police Project Team (GPPT) that is helping train Afghan police, told The Local there had been indications of Pakistani espionage that could not be confirmed. According to Bild, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency was able to intercept e-mail communications between the German Police Project Team (GPPT) and Berlin. The GPPT has 180 officers helping to train Afghan police.

Names of federal agents, deployment orders and reports to Berlin are all among the things that may have been intercepted because the GPPT had been using unencrypted software to send messages due to budget problems. “We have opened the door to the enemy,” one unnamed German government official told Bild.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

U. S. Drone Missiles Hits Vehicle in Pakistan’s Tribal Area

(AGI) Miranshah — Two missiles fired from a U.S. drone hit a vehicle near the village of Datta Khel, in the tribal area of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province on the border with Afghanistan, Pakistani security sources report. Datta Khel is 30 kilometers from Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

Armed Guards to Protect UK Ships From Pirates

(AGI) London — British merchant ships sailing off the Horn of Africa will be allowed to carry armed security guards on board.

It was announced by British prime minister David Cameron in an interview with BBC 2. The move is aimed at ensuring protection of British ships-flagged from pirates.

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


Italy: Police Find 63 Illegals in Refrigerated Truck in Bari

(AGI) Bari — Sixty-three illegal immigrants, all Afghan men, crammed in a refrigerated truck. Police found them after the mooring, in Bari harbour, of ferryboat ‘Superfast’, coming from Greece. The procedure to send the immigrants straight back to Greece, on the same ferry, was immediately activated. The truck driver, an Albanian, has been arrested.

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

Italy: Distance Learning to Read and Write for Moroccans in Italy

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 28 — A cooperation agreement for promoting reading and writing skills among Moroccan immigrants of all ages resident in Italy has been signed by the Nettuno International Online University (Universita’ Telematica Internazionale Uninettuno or UTIU) and the Ministry of Moroccan Communities Abroad. The agreement bears the signatures of Minister Mohammed Ameur, of the Undersecretary for Scholastic Instruction, Latifa El Abida and of the Rector of UTIU, Maria Amata Garito. The project will include the opening of centres across the whole of Italy for teacher training in the use of new technologies in Arabic, for distance learning and training of young Moroccan immigrants with particular attention being paid to children enrolled in Italian primary schools and to the adult female population. Already in 2009, UTIU set up a television course with the title ‘I learn Arabic, the Treasury of Letters’, which was broadcast in Morocco on SNRT television networks and in Italy using Rai Nettuno Sat and Rai Due networks. Over the two years, the course helped bring about a significant reduction in the analphabetic rate in Morocco. This result led the Ministry for Moroccan Communities Abroad (with support from the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco in Italy, Hassan Abouyoub) to propose a project to UTIU for strengthening the links with their language and culture of origin among Moroccan immigrants resident in Italy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Abortion Issues Split Obama Administration and Catholic Groups

A contentious battle between Catholic groups and the Obama administration has flared in recent days, fueled by the new health-care law and ongoing divisions over access to abortion and birth control.

The latest dispute centers on a decision by the Department of Health and Human Services in late September to end funding to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help victims of human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. The church group had overseen nationwide services to victims since 2006 but was denied a new grant in favor of three other groups.

The bishops organization, in line with the church’s teachings, had refused to refer trafficking victims for contraceptives or abortion. The American Civil Liberties Union sued, and HHS officials said they made a policy decision to award the grants to agencies that would refer women for those services.

The bishops conference is threatening legal action and accusing the administration of anti-Catholic bias, which HHS officials deny.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]


Several Countries Celebrate the Birth of the Seven Billionth Person

The Philippines, Bangladesh, Russia and India are all celebrating the birth of the world’s seven billionth baby twelve years after the world’s sixth billion person was born in Sarajevo. India has welcomed baby Nargis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]