Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120417

»America’s Quiet Muslims
»AP Wins Pulitzer for Exposing NYPD’s CIA-Linked Intel Program, Leading Widespread Spying on Muslims
»CAIR: Mo. Jailers Forcibly Remove Muslim Woman’s Hijab
»Video Shows Agonising TSA Pat-Down — as Woman Sobs in ‘Sexual Violation’ At Hands of TSA Agent
Europe and the EU
»Belgian Doctor Suspended for Alleged Anti-Semitism
»Czech Republic: Hanif Kureishi — The Famous British Author on Prague, Islam and Multiracial Societies in Europe
»Italy: A Head of the Best, Milan’s Master Hatmaker
»Italy: Luxury at Its Best: ‘Made in Veneto’
»Michael Gove, Celsius 7/7, And the Mainstreaming of the Counter Jihad
»Netherlands Profile [BBC News]
»Norway: Judge in Breivik Trial Dismissed
»Norway: In Breivik, Troubling Echoes of West’s Views of Islam
»Sweden: Minister in ‘Racist Circumcision Outrage’
»Sweden Democrats ‘Unchanged’ In Wake of Breivik Terror: Expert
»Switzerland: Trial Begins for ‘Honour Killing’ of Teen Daughter
»UK: Find Out About Islam at M Shed
»UK: George Osborne Puts the Fabric of Britain at Risk With the ‘Heritage Tax’
»UK: Human Rights Debate Suffering ‘Democratic Deficit’
»UK: Ken Livingstone Refuses to Stump for Labour Candidate
»UK: Mayor for Muslims or the Rich?
Israel and the Palestinians
»Third of Britons: Dislike of Jews Understandable Because of Israel
Middle East
»Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
»UAE: Man Who Insulted Islam on Facebook ‘Not Sane’
South Asia
»Taliban Commander Turns Self in… For Reward on ‘Wanted’ Poster
Latin America
»Barack Obama Makes Falklands Gaffe by Calling Malvinas the Maldives
»Abu Qatada Arrested Pending New Extradition
»Abu Qatada Deportation Case: As it Happened
»Abu Qatada is a Microcosm of Everything That’s Wrong With Britain’s Dimwitted Immigration and Welfare Systems
»It’s Qatada D-Day


America’s Quiet Muslims

by Karen Lugo

Muslims who value American liberty must oppose an insidious new campaign.

If America is going to fare better than Europe in halting the development of a de facto sharia society, the unabashed efforts of Muslims who understand the unique value of America’s legacy of liberty will be crucial. Estimates indicate that more than half of American Muslims are quietly appreciative of constitutionally guaranteed individual rights. The challenge lies in persuading them to take a public stand. The stage is now set for all freedom-supporting Muslims to step up and counter the Islamic Circle of North America as it rolls out its $3 million campaign to convince Americans that the goals of sharia law and the objectives of the United States Constitution are one and the same. As enunciated in a fatwa by the Islamic Fiqh Council of North America, which interprets Islamic law for this continent, Muslim authorities claim there is “no inherent conflict between the normative values of Islam and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights” (emphasis added). The proclamation also asserts that “secular legal systems in Western democracies generally share the same supreme objectives, and are generally compatible with Islamic Shari’ah” (emphasis added).

The ICNA campaign to soften sharia for American consumption is based on dizzying historical spin, as demonstrated by Zulfiqar Ali Shah (also known as Al Fokkar Ali Shah and Tho Al Fokkar Ali Shah), the former president of ICNA and current executive director of the Fiqh Council of North America. His showcase essay, “Founding Father’s [sic] of America’s Indebtedness to Islamic Thought,” makes the specious argument that John Locke, the authority behind much of the Founding philosophy, had a “political outlook [that] closely resembled the Islamic teachings.” For evidence, Shah sprinkles into his fable some odd incidentals, like the assertion that the inquisitive Locke owned a copy of the Koran and had friends who were Muslims or Muslim sympathizers — as if these happenstances could prove that Locke was “greatly influenced by Muslim philosophers.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

AP Wins Pulitzer for Exposing NYPD’s CIA-Linked Intel Program, Leading Widespread Spying on Muslims

We speak with Matt Apuzzo, co-author of the Associated Press series that revealed the New York City Police Department has extensively spied on Muslim Americans not only in the tri-city area, but throughout the eastern United States. The series won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. Beginning last August, the AP detailed how the NYPD established a vast operation to monitor Muslim neighborhoods after the 9/11 attacks. Hundreds of mosques, businesses and Muslim student groups were investigated, monitored and, in many cases, infiltrated. Police observed and cataloged daily life in Muslim communities, from where people ate and shopped to where they worked and prayed. Police used informants, known as “mosque crawlers,” to monitor sermons, even without any evidence of wrongdoing. Also falling under NYPD’s scrutiny were imams, cab drivers and food cart vendors. According to the AP, many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans. In the process, the NYPD became “one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies,” targeting ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. The revelations sparked a national controversy that only grew as the AP continued to reveal more details of the NYPD’s actions. “We try to provide that information so people can make informed decisions,” Apuzzo says. “This wasn’t a series we set out to do … I think it continues if more information makes itself available. And we’ll go where the story leads.” [includes rush transcript]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

CAIR: Mo. Jailers Forcibly Remove Muslim Woman’s Hijab

Muslim civil rights group asks jail to grant religious accommodation

ST. LOUIS, April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-St. Louis) is calling on the St. Louis County Jail in Clayton, Mo., to grant religious accommodation for Muslim inmates who wear a religious headscarf, or “hijab.” CAIR-St. Louis made that request after a Muslim woman who was jailed recently for several hours because of an unpaid traffic ticket reported that an officer forcibly removed her hijab. The officer allegedly told the woman, “take it (the hijab) off or we will take it off for you.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Video Shows Agonising TSA Pat-Down — as Woman Sobs in ‘Sexual Violation’ At Hands of TSA Agent

A traveller’s sobs were left ignored this weekend, as she was subjected to an invasive pat-down despite her cries — in another blow to the TSA.

A video posted to YouTube captures the weeping woman’s ordeal during the security checkpoint at an airport in Madison, Wisconsin.

Jim Hoft, who runs the political blog Gateway Pundit, posted the video on the site, as well as YouTube yesterday.

Mr Hoft wrote: ‘This morning at a Midwest airport I witnessed this poor woman suffering through this horrible sexual violation’.

It’s the latest in a long line of disturbing behaviour during security checkpoints.

Loud sobs can be heard as the woman, wearing a pink sweater, is patted down by a female TSA agent.

The woman’s hands are shaking as the agent moves her hands down the woman’s legs.

The woman is then left alone, and can be seen hunching over, her arms crossed across her body in humiliation.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgian Doctor Suspended for Alleged Anti-Semitism

Surgeon an Brussels hospital allegedly abused a Jewish colleague, hurling Nazi slogans and racial slurs at him.

A hospital in Brussels on Monday suspended one of its surgeons for allegedly hurling Nazi slogans and racial slurs at a Jewish colleague.

The surgeon later offered apologies via emails sent to the management of the hospital, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, and to Belgium’s main Jewish publication which first reported on the incident, Joods Actueel.

The surgeon reportedly called out “sieg heil” and told his Dutch-born, Jewish subordinate to “head back into the gas chambers,” according to a complaint which the Jewish doctor filed with the Center for Equal Opportunities, a watchdog on discrimination.

The incident reportedly happened on Monday morning at the hospital during an argument between the suspended physician — specializing in orthopedic surgery — and the younger Dutch-born doctor.

The complainant, who recently returned from a vacation in Israel, further said the surgeon told him to “go back to the Dead Sea and be dead.”

Edgard Eeckman, spokesperson for the hospital, said that hospital management would investigate the incident by hearing both sides and witnesses to “quickly determine whether to sanction the man.”

Hospital authorities identified the man as Dr. Frank H. Eeckman added he was “a difficult man,” referring to a previous complaint against the surgeon for alleged violent behaviour in July.

Michael Freilich, editor-in-chief of the paper Joods Actueel, said that in his mail to the newsroom, the surgeon said he “never meant what was said in a moment of rage,” adding that a relative of his had spent four years at a prisoners camp under Nazi occupation. He added he had “a lot of respect for the Jewish people and Israel.”

Additionally, the surgeon sent an apology to the Jewish doctor he is accused of verbally attacking.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Czech Republic: Hanif Kureishi — The Famous British Author on Prague, Islam and Multiracial Societies in Europe

Undoubtedly the most famous guest at this year’s Prague Writers’ Festival, the British novelist, screenwriter and playwright Hanif Kureishi rose to international fame in 1985, with his screenplay for the film “My Beautiful Laundrette”. Since then, he published the novel “The Buddha of Suburbia” to great acclaim and continues to write extensively, both for the screen and works of fiction. Ahead of his first reading at the festival, I asked him about his work, why he enjoys the short story form and if he had previously visited Prague.

“I came to Prague probably about 20 years ago, and it’s a great literary city for me. There are many writers here that I am interested in, like Kafka and Kundera, and I am interested in the history of the city under communism. So I am very happy to be here, to meet people and talk about their lives here.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italy: A Head of the Best, Milan’s Master Hatmaker

Clients travel from around the world for Lorenzo Borghi’s shop

(ANSA) — Milan — Via dei Piatti is a narrow street hidden in a labyrinth of picturesque alleys behind the Duomo, the landmark cathedral in the centre of Milan. It seems an unlikely location for a modest shop that welcomes clients from all over the world.

There is nothing more than a single display window with a handful of striking hats and a small sign to mark the entrance.

Inside his shop the master hatmaker Lorenzo Borghi has been working for nearly 60 years, creating elegant hats for clients ranging from well-heeled Milanese women to international royalty, including the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II who received one of his hats a decade ago. Borghi, who is in his 70s, can still be found working in the shop at least six days a week. Among the stunning creations inside his shop are a wide-brimmed violet hat with a profusion of purple feathers and a maroon beret covered with vibrant purple and red silk flowers the size of marbles. Using a special machine he created himself — a Cimbali espresso maker which he turned into a steam machine — Borghi heats pieces of felt before fitting them to one of the dozens of wooden hat forms lining the walls. Once this foundation is ready, Borghi painstakingly decorates it with feathers, pearls, ribbons, lace or whatever other materials he thinks will work best, sometimes responding to his client requests, but often drawing on his own creative instincts. “With artistic hats, the client doesn’t always know best,” says Borghi. “Usually they have to be guided, helped along with their choices. “I ask a client to provide some basic details like color, materials and information about what she will be wearing, and she lets me exercise my creativity”. Borghi was born into a poor family in wartime Milan in 1940. His earliest memories are of scouring the local marketplace at dusk with his siblings, looking for shattered fruit crates their mother could burn as firewood. “In those days, everybody had to make do. We all learned to turn necessity into a virtue,” he says. Borghi’s father abandoned the family shortly after World War II and he was forced to leave school and find work to help support the family. The only professional artisan he knew, a local milliner, was willing to take on an apprentice, but Lorenzo was barely 13 and Italian law forbade children under the age of 14 from working. Desperate for a job, the young man lied about his age to secure a spot in the hat maker’s shop. When the owner learned the truth, Borghi had proven his worth in the atelier. The young Borghi had creative flair and a knack for selecting the right materials. A quick learner, he was also humble enough to keep a close eye on his employer, picking up whatever tricks of the trade he could. “That’s how it was done,” says Borghi with a wink. “You had to pay attention and copy the master. I learned some of my best tricks by watching him when he thought no one was looking.” Before long, the young apprentice learned to be critical as well and developed the courage to experiment. He moved past the more traditional styles embraced by his master and began adding details in silk, organza and stiffened lace that exploded in a burst of color. These flourishes continue to distinguish Borghi’s most elaborate hats, eye-catching creations that can sell for as much as 400 euros. They also caught the eye of some of Italy’s most best-known designers — big names including Valentino and Gianfranco Ferre’. After more than half a century of hat making, Borghi still believes the creation he loves the most is the hat he “hasn’t made yet”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Luxury at Its Best: ‘Made in Veneto’

Bottega Veneta has unusual recipe for success

(ANSA) — Vicenza — It’s in the name. Bottega Veneta, one of the most exclusive Italian brands with double-digit growth and understated marketing strategy.

While Made in Italy is the headline, the subtitle Made in Veneto is equally, if not more, indicative. Founded in 1966 and famous for its ‘intrecciato’ or woven handbags, the brand was purchased in 2001 by Gucci Group and has become the best performer of the parent company.

The magic of these bags that fetch from 2,000 to 75,000 euros each, comes from “the passion that creative director Tomas Maier and the craftspeople that work closely with him instill in the products”, says 48-year old CEO Marco Bizzarri. Bizzarri requires Bottega Veneta sales-force members from around the world to visit the workshop in Vicenza, “because only seeing the way our products are made you can understand their peculiarities and transfer it to the consumer”.

Eighty percent of the brand’s bags are handmade and all are woven in the northern Italian region of Veneto. Despite joining the company in 2009, on the eve of the global luxury crisis, Marco Bizzarri has guided Bottega Veneta through surprising growth. In 2010, revenues rose 27% to 510.6 million euros and earnings rose 45% to 133 million euros (before interest and tax). Because of the demand fueled by this growth, production capacity had to be increased in 2011, adding on to the 100 artisans already working in the Vicenza factory. “For us it is very difficult to find skilled labor, and bearing in mind the growth in recent years, this is starting to become a problem”, says Bizzarri. The answer, he found, was right in front of him. With local unemployment in the company’s hometown of Vicenza on the rise, and a once-thriving artisan community pulling down its shutters, Bottega Veneta decided to stay local.

“The goal was to create jobs and know-how, and so…we established the Women’s Cooperative Montana. They all have previous experience in working leather and fabrics and were further trained by our master craftsmen”. The special weaving technique that gives Bottega Veneta bags their midas touch is called ‘intreccio infilato’ and has been used by ‘Vicentini’ (from Vicenza) artisans for centuries. Bottega Veneta has accomplished two deft moves with the production cooperative.

Says Regional Councillor Marino Finozzi, “It is an example of how to employ those who have dropped out of the work circuit, restoring strength to a disadvantaged area, while maintaining and revitalizing traditional skills that are disappearing”. Now that sales of luxury goods are expected to rise through 2015, Bizzarri remains confident that the brand will continue its growth. As it is, the Vicenza factory can hardly produce to keep up with demand. Bizzarri doesn’t hide the fact that “one of the reasons why we did this operation is to ensure production capacity”.

That said, the initiative is proving so successful that it will most likely be replicated to meet the increasing demand for one of the country’s, and region’s, most subtly famous brands.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Michael Gove, Celsius 7/7, And the Mainstreaming of the Counter Jihad

Hope not Hate recently released a report about the Counter-Jihad movement, perhaps not by accident on the eve of the trial of Anders Behring Breivik. There has been a systematic effort since last July to try to implicate the Counter-Jihad movement in Breivik’s reprehensible actions. Such efforts have been acts of political opportunism undertaken in the poorest possible taste and those who have tried and continued to try to score cheap political points on the back of tragedy and suffering should be ashamed of themselves. This has happened despite the fact that the concerns of the Counter-Jihad are a matter of mainstream political discussion.

The Counter-Jihad is primarily concerned about the growing political power of those who want to make our societies sharia compliant. Organisations like the International Civil Liberties Alliance are concerned about the human rights implications of the rise of sharia compliance in the West and the actual exercise of sharia law elsewhere in the world. The efforts of those who seek to demonise and misrepresent Counter Jihad activists may therefore have sinister motives of their own for doing so.

Western Governments seem to be actively promoting the agenda of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) whose campaigns implies that it wants to institute a new order of global sharia compliance which could adversely affect the freedoms of the whole of society including those of Muslim minority communities. Later this year the European Union plans to host a meeting of the ‘Istanbul Process’ that seeks to make freedom of speech sharia compliant. Of course, reasonable mainstream opinion would rightly label the idea of sharia compliant free speech as an oxymoron but this does not seem to deter some Western political leaders. Outlawing freedom of speech has huge implications for society but discussions with the OIC will of course more than likely focus on how to shut up dissidents who ask awkward questions.

A stifled atmosphere has been created since 9/11 in which expressing concern about sharia has become taboo. Fear rather than reason has begun to permeate our society and sensible policy making is rendered impossible. Some factions within the Western elite clearly do not want to discuss the issues, and opinion formers have been unleashed to conduct campaigns of demonization, misrepresentation, and outright nastiness against those who acknowledge the pressing need to discuss them.

However, some members of the political elite have had the courage to speak out and this illustrates how Counter-Jihad ideas have had a place in the political mainstream for many years. The current Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, wrote a book called Celsius 7/7: How The West’s Policy of Appeasement Has Provoked Yet More Fundamentalist Terror — And What Has To Be Done Now back in 2006. The Counter-Jihad was in its infancy at that time and its ideology was not yet developed. Books like Celsius 7/7 had an impact on the formation of that ideology, an ideology that, contrary to the rantings of the modern day Torquemadas who revel in hunting down an demonising the heretics of our age, is peaceful and law abiding. Counter-Jihad ideology is treated as new heresy by some factions in the establishment and that is why there are well funded efforts to link it and its advocates to the appalling and inhuman actions of Anders Behring Breivik. It is much easier for opponents of the Counter-Jihad to actively demonise it than it is to openly discuss the issues raised, issues that they want to cover up. Back in 2006 Mr Gove himself identified this serious problem — on page 3 of Celsius 7/7 he wrote:…

[Return to headlines]

Netherlands Profile [BBC News]

Head of state: Queen Beatrix

Prime minister: Mark Rutte

Mark Rutte heads a minority government propped up by the controversial anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders. His government — a coalition of his liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) — was installed in October 2010, following lengthy negotiations after elections in June. Elections were called after the former CDA-led government of Jan Peter Balkenende collapsed in February in a dispute over continued military support to NATO forces in Afghanistan. The VVD-CDA coalition commands only 52 seats out of 150 in the lower house of parliament, but has made a deal with the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) for the support of its 24 MPs to pass policy through parliament. The party does not hold any government positions. The PVV is headed by Mr Wilders, who campaigns for an end to Muslim immigration and a ban on new mosques. He has faced charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims. Mr Wilders’ party made significant gains in the June elections, nearly tripling its support from nine seats previously. Observers said the new power wielded by Wilders would test the Netherlands’ reputation for multi-cultural tolerance. On taking office, Mr Rutte said his government’s priority was to revitalise the economy and to meet election promises on burning issues such as immigration. Mr Rutte is a former human resources manager at Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Norway: Judge in Breivik Trial Dismissed

One of five judges in the Breivik trial has been dismissed following revelations he had called for the death penalty for the man who killed 77 people in Norway last July.

After a 30-minute recess to reach a decision this morning, chief judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen said lay judge Thomas Indreboe was unfit to continue because of comments he posted on a website the day after the attacks and would be replaced by one of two substitute judges already in court.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Norway: In Breivik, Troubling Echoes of West’s Views of Islam

Editor’s note: Timothy Stanley is a historian at Oxford University and blogs for Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He is the author of the new book “The Crusader: The Life and Times of Pat Buchanan.”

— The trial of mass murderer Anders Breivik has confirmed one thing so far: He seems quite mad. Looking plump and dumb, with a slightly receding hairline, the Norwegian gave a right-wing salute as he entered the courtroom and smirked his way through CCTV footage of his handiwork. Breivik claims that he killed 77 people as an act of self-defense against the Islamification of Norway, that he is a member of the Knights Templar and part of an “anticommunist” resistance to multiculturalism. Reading his insane manifesto, it is tempting to dismiss him as a nut with a gun.

Nevertheless, there’s no denying the political context to what Breivik did. Since 9/11, fringe and mainstream politicians in Europe and America have spoken of Islam as incompatible with Western values. Breivik quoted many of them in his manifesto. This is not to say that he took direct inspiration from those public figures, or that they bear personal responsibility for his crimes. But Breivik’s paranoia does conform to a popular — wholly negative — view of the twin problems of Islam and multiculturalism. Tragically, it is a view that few mainstream politicians have been willing to challenge.

Breivik makes two false claims. The first is that Islam is ethically inferior to Christianity and cannot exist peacefully within the secular democracies of the post-Enlightenment West. That is the open view of the Dutch Party for Freedom, the French National Front, the English Defense League and the Finnish True Finns. It was implicit in Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s aversion to the building of mosques. We might also infer it from much of the testimony presented at Rep. Peter King’s congressional hearings into the radicalization of American Muslim youth. King has opined that there are “too many mosques” in the United States and that roughly 80% of American Muslims are radical.

The mistake being made by all these people is to conflate a tiny minority of political Islamists — whose precise ideology has only really emerged in the last 30 years — with the entire global and historical community of Muslims. It is true that Islam has never undergone a total Reformation, but it has experienced mini-enlightenments. The most celebrated is the Islamic Golden Age (750- 1258), centered in Baghdad, in which the arts and sciences flourished in a manner that left Dark Ages Europe far behind. (You can also find humanist poetry and art in Persia and even a small amount of erotica in Northern Africa.) Islam never outright rejected scientific empiricism but instead tried to reconcile and integrate it into its religious beliefs, with a surprising amount of debate about the primacy of either faith or reason. It preached that divine revelation could be found in other religions and so practiced tolerance in the lands that it conquered — a kind of Islamic multiculturalism. One of the giants of the European Enlightenment, Voltaire, favorably opined that Islam was more tolerant in its treatment of minorities than Christianity (consider the comparative persecution of Catholics in Ireland or of Jews in Spain).

Today, Islamic society looks different in every region where it is found. The royal families of Saudi Arabia have promoted ultra-conservative Wahhabism, which discourages personal vice, idolatry, veneration of saints, etc. The Bangladeshis prefer the more mystical Sufism, which places greater emphasis upon a subjective experience of Allah and is traditionally more tolerant of human foibles and dissent. Almost every part of the Islamic world has produced progressive movements, some headed by women. Pakistan gave the world Benazir Bhutto and Indonesia Megawati Soekarnoputri. In all cases, the political development of Muslim countries has been as much shaped by poverty and the legacy of colonialism as it has Islam. Iran might have continued on a course toward liberalism had the West not sponsored an anti-democratic coup in 1953. In short, there is no monolithic Islamic history or experience, which makes it hard or even disingenuous to talk about the challenge that Islam as a whole poses to the West. Put another way, no American would want anyone to think that the Westboro Baptist Church spoke for all of Christianity.

Breivik’s second, equally fallacious claim is that Islam’s growth in the West has been encouraged by liberal elites as a means to destroy traditional Christian culture. Indeed, multiculturalism has been strongly critiqued by two British prime ministers — Tony Blair and David Cameron. Cameron said that it had “failed” because it did not demand submission to the liberal principles of gender and sexual equality. But multiculturalism is not a Marxist ideology carefully plotted by the “Saul Alinksy radicals” so loathed by Newt Gingrich. Rather, it was free-market economics and globalization that caused the mass migration of Muslims from East to West — and multiculturalism was simply a policy response. The aim was to protect the cultural integrity of both host and guest populations by allowing them separate spaces in which to develop.

Far from intending to threaten the religious or civil liberties of the majority Christian population (which remains vastly superior in numbers), the goal was to create a common framework of laws but otherwise leave everyone to their own devices. If Christianity has declined in the West, it’s the fault of the Christians who stopped going to church — not the small groups of Muslims quietly attending their local mosque. And yet Muslims in Western countries now live under the pressures of anti-terrorist surveillance and social ostracism. They are forced to defend their Britishness, their Frenchness or their Americaness — even if they are third- or fourth-generation citizens of those countries. Breivik’s attack has raised the threat level against the West’s Muslims: They are now the target of our politically engaged sociopaths. Given how widespread the condemnation of both Islam and multiculturalism is across the West, perhaps it is apt to describe Breivik as a symptom of Western psychological angst. It is a condition of neurosis about decline and paranoia about foreign invasion that is in desperate need of remedy.

[JP note: Troubling signs of an historian holding the wrong end of the stick.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Minister in ‘Racist Circumcision Outrage’

Swedish minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth’s participation in a “racist spectacle” in which she carved up a cake depicting a naked black woman has sparked outrage and prompted calls for the minister’s dismissal. “In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden,” Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) told The Local. “This was a racist spectacle.”

Sabuni’s comments come following Adelsohn Liljeroth’s participation in an art installation that took place at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet in connection with World Art Day on April 15th.

As part of the installation, which was reportedly meant to highlight the issue of female circumcision, the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris.

Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the “genital mutilation cake” on his Facebook page. “Before cutting me up she whispered, ‘Your life will be better after this’ in my ear,” he wrote in a caption next to the partially eaten cake.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden Democrats ‘Unchanged’ In Wake of Breivik Terror: Expert

While the far-right Sweden Democrats initially distanced themselves from the deadly attacks by Anders Behring Breivik, currently on trial in Norway, the party hasn’t undergone a major transformation, the AFP’s Nina Larsson discovers. Right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik’s deadly attacks in Norway sent shockwaves through the serene Nordic lands, rocking their populist parties and prompting at least one to clean up its act.

In the nearly nine months since Breivik massacred 77 people on July 22nd, such parties have experienced several setbacks amid accusations their criticism of immigration and Islam helped pave the way for the tragedy. “There has been a very infected debate. It is a very uncomfortable feeling to be accused of such a thing,” Mattias Karlsson, party secretary for the Sweden Democrats, told AFP.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Trial Begins for ‘Honour Killing’ of Teen Daughter

A 53-year-old Pakistani man known as Scheragha R goes on trial on Tuesday for the vicious murder in 2010 of his 16-year-old daughter, Swera. Almost exactly two years have passed since Scheragha R killed his teenage daughter in their family apartment in Zurich Höngg.

At first, it was assumed that the murder was a so-called honour killing in response to the shame that the father claimed his daughter had brought upon the family.

But recent psychiatric reports suggest that this theory does not fit with the killer’s profile, and that he may instead have killed his daughter a fit of emotion. These are the questions that the court will examine on the first day of the trial.

The fact that Scheragha R deeply regrets his actions and no longer wishes to live are factors that will be advanced by the defence and which point away from the honour killing theory, online news site Blick reported.

The prosecutor, Ulrich Krättli, will nevertheless argue that this was an honour-killing, carried out consciously and deliberately, and brought about by the father’s inability to bear his daughter’s wayward and un-Islamic behaviour. He is looking for a sentence of between 10 years and life imprisonment.

The murder took place on May 10th 2010, not long after 16-year-old Swera had been picked up at a Zurich police station by her parents. She had been caught stealing cigarettes.

It was the first time the girl had seen her father for two weeks: she had run away after her father had allegedly tried to electrocute her by throwing a hairdryer into the bath, online news site 20 Minuten reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Find Out About Islam at M Shed

VISITORS to M shed next Sunday can learn more about Bristol’s Muslims through a free, hands-on fun and creative “Journey of the Heart”. The event is a partnership initiative with Bristol’s Muslim community and supported by the British Museum. The one-day event runs from 10.30am to 4.30pm and visitors of all ages will be able to take part in a range of activities including arts and crafts, food samples, Islamic artefacts on display, short films and opportunities to ask questions about Islam. Visitors can also find out more about belief, prayer, fasting, charity and Hajj — the sacred journey to Mecca. There will also be a chance to record personal messages about special journeys made in Bristol or throughout the world.

[JP note: Shame on the British Museum for assisting in this proselytizing campaign.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: George Osborne Puts the Fabric of Britain at Risk With the ‘Heritage Tax’

by Philip Johnston

Levying VAT on repair work is a very bad idea, whether for cathedrals or country cottages.

From the same Budget production team that had us cowering at the granny tax, recoiling from the pasty levy and watching the charity shambles through our fingers comes the latest spine-chilling horror: the heritage tax. The Chancellor’s decision to impose VAT at 20 per cent on alterations to listed buildings was, like closing the supposed philanthropy loophole, motivated by a belief that the rich are not paying their fair share. The Treasury says it is ending an “anomaly” that allows millionaires to install swimming pools without paying VAT just because they happen to own a Jacobean manor house. How often does that happen?

However, it is not only the wealthy living in grand country homes who can carry out restoration work free of VAT. Many of the buildings that have benefited from the zero rate are the very fabric of our nation — its cathedrals, churches and about 400,000 listed properties up and down the land, many of whose occupants are by no means well off. Church leaders spotted the likely impact of the new tax early on and have bombarded MPs and ministers with protest letters, as well as setting up an e-petition on the Downing Street website.

The dean and chapter of the 12th-century Wakefield Cathedral in West Yorkshire have been planning a £3 million restoration project for several years, raising money from charity events and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The work began in early March — but within days the Budget had pushed up the cost by £200,000 and the scheme may have to be halted while more money is found, assuming it can be.

Given their great age, most cathedrals and ancient churches need millions of pounds spent on them every year if they are not to fall apart. This money has to be raised from congregations, donations (which could be also be hit by the cap on charitable tax relief) and special events. The Church of England reckons the Chancellor’s decision will cost up to £20 million a year extra on works to its 12,500 listed buildings, if they go ahead at all. The Treasury said it would make up the shortfall by increasing grants for alterations, but the Church says these are already inadequate and will simply be divided into even smaller amounts among a larger group of claimants. Anthony Priddis, the Bishop of Hereford, said: “There has been more anger about this decision than any other I have witnessed for a very long time.”

You have to wonder sometimes what goes on in the Treasury ahead of a Budget. Clearly, officials want to maximise the revenue and hang the consequences. It is the job of the politicians to ensure this rapacity does not lead to disproportionate pain or is simply self-defeating. The boneheadedness of the revenue collectors is nothing new, of course. We can still see buildings with their window spaces bricked up to avoid a tax introduced in 1696. It is thought the term “daylight robbery” originated from this time, though its first known usage was much later. How might the churches remember this Budget 300 years from now — the Destruction of Gideon, perhaps? In the West Country, they are calling it the “thatch snatch” because of its potential impact on the region’s thatched cottages.


[JP note: To be expected from a dhimmi government pandering to the Ummah.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Human Rights Debate Suffering ‘Democratic Deficit’

Unelected judges do not take the views of politicians seriously enough in the increasingly “ferocious” debate about human rights, an academic report suggests today.

Murray Hunt, legal adviser to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, warns that action must be taken to address a “debilitating democratic deficit”. He says that although elected governments express their commitment to human rights, these rights are enforced by “profoundly undemocratic” unelected judges, leading to “genuine concerns” that “unaccountable” figures are “sidelining Parliament”. “As a result, there is a genuine and profoundly felt impression that elected decision-makers and not taken sufficiently seriously by courts, and human rights discourse is everywhere bedevilled by a permanent crisis of democratic legitimacy.”

His report, published by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, found that politicians’ interest in human rights has increased markedly in recent years. Between 2000 and 2005 there were only 23 references to reports of the Joint Committee on Human Rights in parliamentary debates, but there were 1,006 during the 2005-2010 Parliament. Most were about terrorism and criminal justice. Two-thirds of the comments were made in the House of Lords. There were a “staggering” 23,343 references to human rights in court reports since 2001 but only 72 references to the Joint Committee by judges. But Prof Hunt, visiting professor of law at Oxford University, adds that the question of “who decides” and has the ultimate authority is an “obstacle” and an “unhelpful distraction” from the more important matter of making sure rights are protected. His comments come on the eve of a rare opportunity for the British Government to bring about lasting reform of the European Court of Human Rights. Ministers have been left exasperated by rulings from the Strasbourg justices that have paved the way for prisoners to have the vote and prevented terrorists and convicted criminals from being deported. Meanwhile attempts to replace Labour’s Human Rights Act with a more limited Bill of Rights have been delayed while ministers have ignored calls from backbench Tories to ignore the ECHR’s rulings.

But an a conference in Brighton later this week, Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary, will lead attempts for the Council of Europe to agree ways in which the number of cases reaching Strasbourg can be cut and more power given back to national courts. Just 45,000 cases went to the court during its first 40 years, but in 2010 alone 61,300 applications were made. There is now a backlog of more than 160,000 cases awaiting consideration. Prof Hunt’s report states that the “problem” regarding the idea of human rights and who is their “legitimate guardian” is not new. But he goes on: “Today in the UK, however, it is a debate which is being played out with a new ferocity.” He says that court rulings are “widely criticised”, even by ministers, while lawyers themselves have called for the Government to ignore some of the decisions made by Strasbourg. However Prof Hunt insists there is also a “new consensus” that human rights are important, that they must be protected by law, and that Parliament, Government and the judiciary have a “shared responsibility” for protecting them.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Ken Livingstone Refuses to Stump for Labour Candidate

by Andrew Gilligan

Ken Livingstone at one stage promised to campaign in every London council byelection — and he’s certainly been to the vast majority, including hopeless Shortlands in Bromley (where Labour got 10%), Worcester Park in Sutton (11%), Southfields in Wandsworth (17%), and so on. But there’s one byelection coming up the day after tomorrow which Ken has not so far managed to fit into his busy schedule — even though Labour has an able candidate, a big operation on the ground, and an excellent chance of gaining back a seat from the opposition. This seat, indeed, was won by Labour at the last council election with 43 per cent of the vote and a majority of more than 500, but the sitting Labour councillor defected to the opposition before being sacked from the council for housing benefit fraud.

Ken has been repeatedly asked by the Labour Party to come and help its candidate in this byelection. Sadly, according to local Labour councillors, he has refused, even though he knows the area all too well and has campaigned here before. The problem, you see, is that when Ken campaigned here before, it was… for the opposition, and against Labour.

This byelection is in Tower Hamlets — fiefdom of the Livingstone-backed and extremist-linked executive mayor, Lutfur Rahman, thrown out of the Labour Party for his close relationship with the Islamist group, the IFE. In this very ward, Spitalfields, Lutfur was himself once a councillor — and still maintains at least an official residence. In this very ward, Ken was filmed endorsing Lutfur and dissing Labour’s own candidate for the mayoralty, Helal Abbas. In this same ward, Spitalfields, the IFE has helped secure some truly astonishing swings to Ken — from 29 per cent of the vote in the 2004 mayoral election to 68 per cent in the 2008 one — and with London voters in general proving resistant to the Livingstone message, that sort of assistance is especially badly needed as Ken’s own election day nears. No wonder there’s a conflict of loyalties!


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mayor for Muslims or the Rich?

Does Boris not care for poor Londoners? A new question in today’s Evening Standard polling reveals that 40 per cent of voters believe that Boris is the candidate to aid rich Londoners. Ken has also carved his own niche, successfully winning over many Muslin voters — around 20 per cent state he is particularly keen to help them. Here are the full numbers: […]

But such perceptions have made little difference to either candidate’s chances. The headline voting figures remain steady at 53 per cent for Boris and 47 per cent for Ken, despite the above and also the recent tax saga.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Third of Britons: Dislike of Jews Understandable Because of Israel

More than a third of Britons believe dislike of Jews is understandable given the actions of Israel. According to a Europe-wide survey on prejudice and discrimination on the continent, conducted by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 13.9 per cent of people in the UK believe that Jews wield too much influence in this country. Although 71.5 per cent of those surveyed said that they believed Jews enriched British culture — the second highest number out of the eight countries included in the report — more than a fifth claimed that Jews “try to take advantage of having been victims during the Nazi era”. Nearly 23 per cent supported the view that Jews “in general do not care about anything or anyone but their own kind”.

More than two out of five Britons asked agreed that Israel was “conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians”, and nearly 36 per cent said that considering Israel’s policy, they could “understand why people do not like Jews”.

The study, entitled “Intolerance, Prejudice and Discrimination,” will be officially presented in Tel Aviv at the start of May but has been published this week to coincide with Yom Ha’Shoah. About 1,000 people were survey in each country, including in Poland, France and Hungary. The authors also looked at attitudes toward immigration and Muslims, with questions on social issues including homophobia, sexism and other forms of extremism. In their conclusions, the authors noted that “the data also shows antisemitism often appearing in the guise of criticism of Israel”. They added: “Antisemitic criticism of Israel comes close to majority support in all European countries. “In that context we also need to discuss whether secondary antisemitism — refusal to acknowledge the crimes of the Holocaust — has taken the place of traditional antisemitism.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

by Ed Voves

Byzantium and Islam, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, addresses two of history’s most amazing developments. This landmark exhibition, organized by Helen C. Evans, the Metropolitan curator responsible for two previous presentations of Byzantine art, brilliantly surveys historical themes of vital interest to the contemporary world.

The Eastern Roman Empire, known to historians as Byzantium, lasted over one thousand years. From its foundation by Emperor Constantine I in 330 A.D. to its conquest by the Turks in 1453, Byzantium was the most influential and resilient Christian state during the Middle Ages. From its capital city of Constantinople, Byzantium projected a political and cultural example that profoundly affected the peoples of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Several centuries into this long-lived span, Byzantium was challenged by a sudden and totally unforeseen event. Having struggled for survival against the Goths, Vandals and other barbarian invaders, as well as the revived Persian Empire, Byzantium now faced a formidable spiritual foe. Islam, whose precepts were set down by the Prophet Muhammad during the early years of the seventh century, spread with lightning speed. In a few short decades following the death of Muhammad in 632, the zealous adherents of this new faith swept westward from Arabia to Spain by 711 and then reached the border provinces of China in the east in 751. The Byzantine Empire staggered and nearly collapsed, as the armies of Islam conquered key provinces such as Syria and Egypt. Many of its citizens embraced the new faith or willingly accepted Islamic rule while adhering to Christianity. Yet Byzantium endured, even as a vibrant culture took shape in the vast regions dominated by the successors of the Prophet Muhammad.


Byzantium and Islam is not merely an outstanding exhibit in its own right, but serves as a perfect introduction to the Metropolitan Museum’s New Galleries for the Art of Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia, opened on November 1, 2011. No work of art on display in the Byzantium and Islam exhibit better illustrates how the culture of the ancient world was transformed into a new and vibrant dispensation than the display of pages from the fabled Blue Qur’an, dating to ca. 900-950. Byzantine scribes had earlier written in gold and silver upon purple-dyed parchment, producing luxury books, including copies of the Gospels. Here Muslim scribes followed the Byzantine lead, while producing a unique expression of their own religious faith. One cannot help admiring the priorities of these Muslim scribes and scholars, taking a color traditionally reserved for the robes of kings and emperors and devoting it to the word of God.

Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition March 14 — July 8, 2012, The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY 10028

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UAE: Man Who Insulted Islam on Facebook ‘Not Sane’

ABU DHABI // A man who insulted Islam on Facebook is not responsible for his actions, a court heard today. A medical report presented to the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court found that an Egyptian graphic designer, who posted indecent pictures next to the titles of Quranic chapters, could not be considered sane. The court asked for the medical report after a previous hearing in which the man admitted it was “possible” that he was suffering a psychological illness. He confessed to posting the images, telling Chief Justic Sayed Abdulbaseer, head of the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court, that he would withdraw his actions if he could. Police arrested the graphic designer after members of the public complained about the posts. In one of them, he posted a photo of three naked women next to An-Nisa (women) chapter. In another he posted a photo of a table topped with alcoholic drinks next to Al Maeda (table) chapter, and in another, a cow next to Al Baqara (the cow) chapter. The court adjourned the case to May 1.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Taliban Commander Turns Self in… For Reward on ‘Wanted’ Poster

Sometimes, capturing a Taliban commander requires vast resources and complex operations. Last week in eastern Afghanistan, it required neither.

Mohammad Ashan, a mid-level Taliban commander in Paktika province, strolled toward a police checkpoint in the district of Sar Howza with a wanted poster bearing his own face. He demanded the finder’s fee referenced on the poster: $100.

Afghan officials, perplexed by the man’s misguided motives, arrested him on the spot. Ashan is suspected of plotting at least two attacks on Afghan security forces. His misdeeds prompted officials to plaster the district with hundreds of so-called “Be on the Lookout” posters emblazoned with his name and likeness.

When U.S. troops went to confirm that Ashan had in fact come forward to claim the finder’s fee, they were initially incredulous.

“We asked him, ‘Is this you?’ Mohammad Ashan answered with an incredible amount of enthusiasm, ‘Yes, yes, that’s me! Can I get my award now?’“ recalled SPC Matthew Baker.

A biometric scan confirmed that the man in Afghan custody was the insurgent they had been looking for.

“This guy is the Taliban equivalent of the ‘Home Alone” burglars,” one U.S. official said.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Barack Obama Makes Falklands Gaffe by Calling Malvinas the Maldives

Barack Obama made an uncharacteristic error, more akin to those of his predecessor George W Bush, by referring to the Falkland Islands as the Maldives.

President Obama erred during a speech at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, when attempting to call the disputed archipelago by its Spanish name.

Instead of saying Malvinas, however, Mr Obama referred to the islands as the Maldives, a group of 26 atolls off that lie off the South coast of India.

The Maldives were a British protectorate from 1887 to 1965 and the site of a UK airbase for nearly 20 years.

Cristina Kirchner, the Argentine president, has renewed her country’s sovereignty claim to the Falklands in the build-up to the 30th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the islands, which triggered the Falklands War, on April 2.

She has accused David Cameron of maintaining a “colonial enclave” in the South Atlantic and taken Argentina’s claim to the UN.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]


Abu Qatada Arrested Pending New Extradition

Hate cleric Abu Qatada has been arrested and returned to custody pending a fresh attempt to deport him to Jordan.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is expected to tell MPs this afternoon that an agreement has been reached with Jordan to ensure his removal.

Assurances have been sought to allay fears by the European Court of Human Rights that he will face trial with evidence obtained by torture.

However, despite facing a fresh deportation order, Qatada’s lawyers will be able to launch a fresh legal challenge against his removal.

He is expected to appear at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission on Tuesday afternoon, when the home secretary will update MPs on his case

A Home Office spokesperson said: “UK Border Agency officers have today arrested Abu Qatada and told him that we intend to resume deportation proceedings against him.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Abu Qatada Deportation Case: As it Happened

Hate cleric Abu Qatada has today been arrested and returned to custody pending a fresh attempt to deport him to Jordan. Follow the Telegraph’s live blog for the latest updates on the case.

  • Abu Qatada arrested at his home
  • He has appeared before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission
  • Theresa May tells Commons she believes Qatada can be deported
  • Jordan has agreed assurances to allow deportation
  • Home Office intends to remove him on or around April 30
  • Qatada’s lawyers say they will appeal


17.20 This concludes our live blog for today. Thank you very much for joining us and please do keep checking the Telegraph website for more updates.

16.55 Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty, has said: Since the Court of Human Rights ruled that Abu Qatada should not be sent to Jordan for a trial based on torture, the Home Secretary faced many calls to deport him and flout the law. Shame on them. She has not courted popularity by doing this and has recognised there will be new legal scrutiny of the latest assurances that she has obtained from that country. Credit must go where it is due and it is due to the Home Secretary today. We don’t always agree on the application of human rights but she seems to understand that if the Government does not respect the rule of law, why should anyone else?

16.41 Donna Bowater adds: Justice Mitting said: “The only possibility of the deportation going ahead in accordance with the intention of the secretary of state is if the application is certified and if any challenge to that certification is turned down by the courts in short order.” Mr Tam told the court there was an increased risk that Qatada would abscond. He said: “He has wide and high levels of support, which of course has consequences if he were to abscond in terms of what could and would be provided to him.” He added: “Given where we are in the deportation process, this is a time when conventionally the risk of absconding increases.”

16.32 Donna Bowater reports from SIAC: Arguing that Qatada’s deportation was compatible with the ECHR ruling, Mr Tam said there had been talks at ministerial and prime ministerial levels — involving the King of Jordan — to address Strasbourg’s concerns. He said: “These are changes of real weight…these are meetings which are not liable to produce inaccurate information that has been put together merely to put together a case. There’s real substance behind the secretary of state’s view that the deportation can now be carried out compatible with the convention.”

16.23 Theresa May has said the government could not simply have ignored the decision of the European court. She said putting Qatada on a plane would involve ministers, Government officials, the police, law enforcement officers and airline companies all breaking the law. The Government would also have risked being ordered to bring Qatada back to Britain and pay out compensation, she added.

Instead, our approach will bring an enduring solution.

16.16 The English Defence League are protesting outside the Home Office, central London, this afternoon.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Abu Qatada is a Microcosm of Everything That’s Wrong With Britain’s Dimwitted Immigration and Welfare Systems

by Ed West

Is Abu Qatada finally on his way home? The Telegraph reports that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is expected to tell MPs this afternoon that an agreement has been reached with Jordan to ensure his removal. Abu Qatada’s case was a microcosm of everything that was wrong with how the British state dealt with a range of issues, such as immigration, welfare, Europe and extremism. He arrived in Britain from Jordan, with his five children, and was able to claim asylum on account of “religious persecution”, not because the Jordanians were extreme but because he was. As I wrote in last week’s Spectator, Britain does little to help Christians in the Middle East escaping persecution but neither do we help our fellow liberals of any religion. Rather than helping our friends, we help our enemies; only the most dim-witted individual would claim that radical Islam is not a threat to Britain.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

It’s Qatada D-Day

May in new bid to deport cleric

THE Home Secretary will today reveal new plans to get hate preacher Abu Qatada booted out of Britain.

In an emergency statement to the Commons, Theresa May will say she believes a deal with Jordan will let the UK deport the al-Qaeda suspect. Her comments will raise hopes the vile Islamic militant could be back behind bars within days. But a fresh legal battle means it could be months before he is thrown out of the country. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in January that Qatada could not be deported. Mrs May’s statement will come after the deadline to appeal against that decision passed at midnight. Ministers must now move swiftly to launch a fresh bid to kick out the fanatic — once dubbed Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe.

The Sun — which has launched a campaign to kick out Qatada — told last month how his lawyers are set to make a legal bid to axe tough restrictions imposed on the cleric when he was released in February. But Ministers plan to short-circuit this move by starting their new drive to deport the fanatic. They will also ask judges to put him back behind bars again.

The European Court of Human Rights’ ruling said Qatada, 51, could not be deported if there was a risk evidence extracted by torture would be used against him. Home Office officials have spent weeks thrashing out a deal with Jordan. Mrs May last month travelled to Amman to ask for a water-tight pledge that they will not use torture evidence. But her handling of the affair was last night condemned by Labour. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “There has been too much drift and delay. The Home Secretary needs to explain urgently to Parliament what she is doing to get Abu Qatada deported, and to make sure there are safeguards to protect public safety.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]