Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120524

Financial Crisis
»After the Summit, European Economic Wranglings Roll on
»Europe Divided Over Eurobonds, Spread Rises on Opening
»Eurozone Strains Intensify as Crisis Faces ‘Critical Moment’
»Germany: Sarrazin Launches Crusade Against Euro
»Germany’s Free Borrowing is ‘Destroying Europe’
»Italy: Chamber of Deputies Approves 50% Election Reimbursement Cut
»Pubs Run Dry in Crisis-Ridden Ireland
»101-Year-Old Man Killed by 91-Year-Old Driver While Crossing Busy Burbank Street
»BYU’s ‘Arabian Nights’ Promotes Understanding of Islam
»Expanding the Definition of Muslim Activism
»Life: Gordon Parks: Black Muslims
»Man Arrested in 1979 Disappearance of NYC Boy Patz
»Man Claims Role in Disappearance of Etan Patz, N.Y. Police Say
»Muslims to Gather to Combat Anti-Shariah Movement
»Obama Neuters War on Islamic Terrorists
»Orange County GOP Removes Islamophobe Deborah Pauly From Her Post as Vice Chair
Europe and the EU
»“Feeding Hate”: Islamic Separatism in Britain
»Belgium: Haredi Politician’s Failure to Shake Hands Riles Female Belgian Minister
»Belgian Health Minister Irked by Israel Deputy Minister’s Refusal to Shake Hands
»EU-Libya: Ashton’s Service Suspected of Favoritism
»First Mosque for Shia Muslims Opens in Finland
»Germany: Honor Killing Verdict Has Prosecutors Wanting More
»Irish Woman Who Claimed €230,000 ($292,000) Jailed for Social Welfare Fraud
»Italy: Emanuela Orlandi ‘Was Kidnapped for Sex Parties for Vatican Police’
»Italy: Ruby Trial Hearings Adjourned Until Tomorrow
»Norway: Utøya Survivor: ‘He Took the Bullets Meant for Me’
»Swedish Rapper Reported for Twitter Death Threat
»UK: Labour’s Jon Cruddas Can Put Tanks on Tory Lawns
»UK: Nigel Farage’s Grand Strategy to Destroy the Conservative Party
»UK: Police Deny EDL Rumours of ‘Redditch Paedophile Gangs’ Ahead of Saturday March
»Kosovo: Two Serbs’ Houses Burnt and Destroyed
North Africa
»Egypt: Tahrir Leader: We Allowed Islamists to Steal Revolution
»Egypt Court Gives 12 Christians Life Sentences
»Egypt: Poll: Majority Want “Cold Peace” With Israel
»Egypt’s Christians Outraged by Court Ruling
»Spanish Cities in Ancient Al-Andalus Target, Media
»The Battle for the Soul of the Islamic World
»Voting in Egypt as Holy War: Its Only Value, to Empower Sharia
Middle East
»Ignore the Mood Music: Iran’s Nuclear Problem is Not Going Away
»Iran: Ahmadinejad to Nasrallah: Beating Zionist Paper Tiger Shook Columns of Occupation
»Iran: Discovery Will Collapse Christianity — Says Turkish ‘Bible’ Has Barnabas Forecasting Muhammad’s Coming
»Stakelbeck: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Respond to my CBN Report
»Yemen: Military, Tribal Militias ‘Kill 24 Islamist Insurgents’
South Asia
»India: Affirmative Action Key to Increasing Muslim Participation in Education and Employment: Dr Rakesh Basant
»India: Haj Subsidy Issue Dominates 28th Annual Haj Conference
»Marines Situation ‘Unacceptable’, Terzi Tells Ban Ki-Moon
»Pakistan: At Least 10 Dead in Drone Strike
»Pakistan: Drone Strike Hits Pakistan Mosque Say Locals
»US Cuts Pakistan Aid Over Jailing of Bin Laden Sting Doctor
Far East
»Carmaker BMW Doubles Capacity in China With New Plant
»China Seeks High-Profile Soccer Imports
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Mali’s Mosque Masterpiece
»Greece: Neo-Nazis and Police Clash in Patras
»Illegal Immigrants in Greece: At the Mercy of the People Smugglers
»Facts Aren’t Left- Or Right-Wing

Financial Crisis

After the Summit, European Economic Wranglings Roll on

Dutch parliamentarians have officially approved the eurozone’s new rainy-day fund, while their German counterparts are debating another cost-cutting bill. Meanwhile, the head of the ECB issued a rallying call in Italy.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi called for greater political vision among European Union leaders as the bloc seeks to combat its debt-related difficulties.

Speaking at Sapienza University in Rome, Draghi said the EU was at “a crucial moment in its history,” and warned that “the process of European integration needs a courageous jump in political imagination to survive,” according to a speech quoted by the AFP news agency.

The central bank president was addressing students shortly after the latest EU leader’s summit drew to a relatively inconclusive halt in Brussels in the small hours of Thursday morning.

“Eurozone member governments must together and irreversibly define their vision of the economic and political construction which will sustain the single currency,” Draghi said, referring to the 17-member bloc of EU countries that use the euro.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe Divided Over Eurobonds, Spread Rises on Opening

(AGI) Rome — The EU summit in Brussels ended last night with no agreement on Eurobonds. Concerns remain over Greece and the Spanish banks, and in early trading this morning the spread between ten-year BTPs and their German Bund equivalents rose to 441 points on the Reuters platform, with little change on yesterday’s closing. At the summit Angela Merkel reiterated her opposition to eurobonds arguing that, “This isn’t the problem.” Indeed some countries, including Germany, wanted to keep the issue out of the discussion, which was cancelled. However, Mario Monti said that “the majority” of EU countries “are in favour,” some haven’t expressed their position and others, like Italy, have insisted on the point. Therefore, said the prime minister, “something is moving and the markets are waiting.” Monti stressed the degree of “agreement” found with Francois Hollande but emphasised that the German chancellor is “very sensitive” to issues of growth, even though Berlin has always been reluctant to concede any real openings.

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

Eurozone Strains Intensify as Crisis Faces ‘Critical Moment’

(BRUSSELS) — Eurozone tensions rose Thursday after grim news on the economic outlook and as investors sought safety in Germany on growing doubts over Greece’s future after an EU summit failed to produce a remedy.

A May survey of eurozone business confidence showed the worst monthly fall for nearly three years while the data for Germany was the worst for six months and an industrial survey in France, the worst for 37 months.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the EU was at “a crucial moment in its history … The process of European integration needs a courageous jump in political imagination to survive.” The debt crisis has demonstrated the EU’s “weaknesses,” Draghi said, adding that while growth was a priority, “there is no sustainable growth without ordered public accounts.”

At Capital Economics in London, economist Jennifer McKeown said problems in the periphery were eating away at the eurozone core. A widening “economic downturn will further reduce the currency union’s chances of survival,” she warned.

The euro slumped to a 22-month dollar low of $1.2516, levels last seen in July 2010, but stockmarkets staged a technical bounce after heavy losses on Wednesday despite a slew of bad news figures on the economy.

“Nothing in the data … suggests that economic conditions in the UK and Europe are easing against a backdrop of policy paralysis across Europe,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson told AFP. “Unless policymakers come up with radical new solutions with respect to the crisis they will soon be faced with the prospect of delivering closer fiscal integration or overseeing the breakup of the euro,” he said after an inconclusive EU summit overnight Wednesday.

If Greeks vote in new elections on June 17 against the budget cuts and reforms tied to a second debt rescue, the EU, International Monetary Fund and ECB are expected to cut their financial lifeline.

That would in effect force Greece out of the eurozone and could cause incalculable risks for other weaker members, notably Spain.

Under all these clouds, investors put their money into safe-haven German 10-year bonds, pushing the rate of return down to a record low 1.358 percent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Sarrazin Launches Crusade Against Euro

Frankfurter Rundschau

Once again, Thilo Sarrazin, the author of a bestselling and highly controversial book on immigration in Germany, has shocked readers with the “ugly nationalist” tone in his new book, Europa braucht den Euro nicht (“Europe Does Not Need the Euro”).

This book is a “disgusting litany of false arguments”, announces Frankfurter Rundschau. The German daily notes that Sarrazin, who worked for the IMF, the German Ministry of Finance and the Bundesbank, should have some mastery of the subject, which “he fails to address” —

Sarrazin constructs an opposition between an efficient Northern Europe and a chaotic South — between workers and layabouts, and whites and dark-skinned people. He refers to countries which he claims behave irresponsibly as “Club Med” states. And where does he situate France? In this Club Med! […] As an adversary of the euro, he puts forward a theory as to why Germany has been pro-European until now: the Germans’ persistent enthusiasm for Europe can only be explained by “the moral deadweight of the Nazi era”. This is a book of lies. […] Let’s hope it rots on booksellers’ shelves!

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

Germany’s Free Borrowing is ‘Destroying Europe’

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz has launched a scathing attack on the German chancellor for promoting policies he says drive up the borrowing costs of other euro-countries, while Germany has just hit a record zero-percent interest rate on its bonds. “Germany sold €4.6 billion worth of bonds at a record 0.0 percent interest rate today. Meanwhile, borrowing costs for other countries are soaring. This imbalance is destroying Europe,” Schulz said on his way into the EU summit on Wednesday (23 May).

The record rate reflects increased market fears that the eurozone crisis will spin out of control if Greece leaves the euro-area, with German bunds considered a safe haven. The German politician put the blame on Chancellor Angela Merkel for allowing policies that fuel this imbalance and warned that this will eventually backfire against Germany as well.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Chamber of Deputies Approves 50% Election Reimbursement Cut

(AGI) Rome- Italy’s Chamber of Deputies approved Article 1 of the reform on party financing and fund monitoring. Up till now the chamber had refused amendments which repealed public funding for political parties and rejected the amendment proposed by IdV (Italy of Values) which would have destined the last tranche of electoral reimbursements and public funding in this legislature’s term of office for the so-called “dislocated workers” who find themselves in a gap after the pensions reform. Public funding for party expenses has therefore been halved to 91 million euros a year. The Chamber also approved the PD (Democratic Party) amendment entailing a 5% funding cut for parties that do not provide for an adequate portion of female candidates. The reimbursements for the 2008 elections that parties were to be given in July were also halved.

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

Pubs Run Dry in Crisis-Ridden Ireland

Ireland will hold a referendum on the fiscal compact in late May. But Dublin could fail. Many Irish have lost hope. The crisis is even threatening the pubs, the traditional centers of social life in Ireland.

An Irish pub is more than just a bar. It means home, community and cultural heritage, and it’s often the center of social life in rural areas. But many pubs are closing as the Irish economy suffers. As Vincent laments, the Celtic Tiger is long gone, and people are worried about the future. “Don’t ask what the future is going to bring — I don’t know”, says pub owner John Murray, and adds that he wouldn’t recommend anyone to start running a pub now. “It’s not a good life at the moment for making a living.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


101-Year-Old Man Killed by 91-Year-Old Driver While Crossing Busy Burbank Street

BURBANK, CA — Even at 101 years old, Otto Jensen showed little sign of slowing down. The former boxer from Denmark still ran a photography studio and often was seen crossing the busy street in front to get to a senior center he frequented.

On Tuesday night, while traversing four-lane Olive Avenue, Jensen was struck and killed by a car driven by 91-year-old Mary Beaumont. She was not hurt.

The accident shook Burbank, the Southern California city where Jensen was a well-known and beloved figure and Beaumont is an active volunteer.

Jensen served as grand marshal of the city’s centennial parade last year. A poster tied to a tree near the crash scene had photos of Jensen, including one taken in 1930 when he was a 19-year-old boxer nicknamed “Bonecrusher.” Another was dated last year, when he turned 100.

Jensen was at the senior center every day to play pool and read the newspaper, said his friend, Harry Fisher.

“His stamina was incredible,” Fisher said. “He would play 22 straight games. He wouldn’t even sit down for a break. He would stand from one o’clock to six-thirty, nonstop.”

“I believe the man could have gone to 105, at least,” he said.

Beaumont has been a longtime library board trustee and is a retired school teacher, said Sharon Cohen, Burbank’s library services director. “She’s a lovely woman and very intelligent. This is really a tough situation.” Cohen said..

Jensen was born March 6, 1911, in Aarhus, Denmark. He stayed behind when his mother and father went to New York to make money so they could bring over their family. He boxed in Denmark and Poland and then left for New York in 1936, a few years before both countries were invaded by Nazi Germany.

Assigned by job placement officials to a boarding house, he was shown to his room by a young woman. “He turned around and told her, ‘Now I want to know where your room is.’ Two weeks later, they were married. That was his wife, that he was married to for 67 years,” Fisher said.

In 1939, Jensen moved to Burbank, not far from major Hollywood studios, and set up a storefront photo studio…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

BYU’s ‘Arabian Nights’ Promotes Understanding of Islam

Here in the Western world, we often have many misconceptions about Islam and what Muslims practice and believe. Often, all we see is the violence induced by radical Islamic pockets and the hostile organizations that they’ve developed to carry out horrific actions. But not all Muslims are radical — in fact, there is plenty to celebrate and appreciate when it comes to the rich tradition, culture and religion of the Middle East, a point not taken lightly in Brigham Young University’s adaptation and production of “Arabian Nights.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Expanding the Definition of Muslim Activism

by Daniel Tutt

When I tell people about the activism work I do, many people wonder if I’m a Muslim, and when I tell them I’m not, they’re either confused or intrigued. Sometimes both. They wonder what it is that makes me want to be an advocate for Muslims even though I don’t practice Islam. My work seeks to educate Americans about Islam and I’m affiliated with several American Muslim organizations. My activism involves film-based dialogues, training, speaking, blogging and managing a number of national programs that seek to shatter prejudices and myths about Muslims and Islam, and restore a greater sense of civility in the otherwise controversial and polarized topic of Islam in America.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Life: Gordon Parks: Black Muslims

Life magazine didn’t know whether they could trust me to cover the Black Panthers or the Muslims fairly in the 1960s. The Panthers and the Muslims felt the same way. The first thing Elijah Muhammad asked me when I went with Malcolm X to visit him in Arizona was “Why you working for the white devils?” I gave him sort of a Trojan horse bit: I’d be more helpful inside. He didn’t really buy that, and the conversation lasted at most 15 minutes, even though Malcolm and I had flown all the way from New York. But when I left, Malcolm said, “I think he likes you.” Sure enough, a week later he offered me a half a million dollars to do a book and motion picture on the Muslims.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Man Arrested in 1979 Disappearance of NYC Boy Patz

NEW YORK (AP) — A former convenience store worker confessed to luring 6-year-old Etan Patz from a school bus stop in 1979 and choking him to death in a basement, police said Thursday, ending a three-decades long investigation into one of the nation’s most baffling missing-children cases.

Pedro Hernandez, 51, of Maple Shade, N.J., was arrested on a murder charge after he told police he promised the boy a soda, took him to the basement of the convenience store where he worked and killed him there, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Hernandez told police he put Etan’s body in some trash about a block from the store, Kelly said, where it’s possible it was picked up by sanitation crews.

No body has been recovered, and Kelly said it’s possible the remains would never be found.

Hernandez was questioned by police for more than three hours after he was picked up in New Jersey Wednesday, and gave police a signed confession, Kelly said. His motive was not yet clear.

It’s not clear if he had an attorney. No one answered the door at Hernandez’ New Jersey home Thursday night.

“He was remorseful, and I think the detectives thought that it was a feeling of relief on his part” to confess, Kelly said. “We believe that this is the individual responsible for the crime.”

Detectives are often barraged with hoaxes, false leads and possible sightings around the anniversary of Etan’s disappearance, which is Friday.

But Kelly said they had probable cause to believe Hernandez’s story was true, because of specific details he gave to police.

Hernandez, who had worked as a stock clerk at the store for about a month and lived nearby, wasn’t questioned at the outset, Kelly said. But he later told relatives, as far back as 1981, that he had “done something bad” and killed an unnamed child in New York City, he said.

After a search of a basement near Patz’ home last month hurtled the case back into the news, a tipster pointed police to Hernandez. Kelly said the person wasn’t a relative, but knew that Hernandez had said he had done a bad thing, he said.

Hernandez was known to police as being a worker at the convenience store — a popular fixture in the neighborhood — but was never questioned, though other people in the shop were.

He left his job days after Etan disappeared and moved to New Jersey, where he had relatives, Kelly said. Hernandez later worked in construction but has been collecting disability payments since a 1993 back injury, police said. He is married with a teenage daughter, he said.

The focus on Hernandez came after other leads arose and stalled, at one point taking investigators as far as Israel tracking reported sightings of the boy.

[Return to headlines]

Man Claims Role in Disappearance of Etan Patz, N.Y. Police Say

New York authorities are investigating the claims of a man who has told detectives that he had a role in the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who vanished in SoHo on his way to school and who is believed to have been murdered, officials said on Thursday.

[Return to headlines]

Muslims to Gather to Combat Anti-Shariah Movement

(RNS) Some 15,000 Muslims are expected at this weekend’s 37th annual convention of the Islamic Circle of North America in Hartford, where the theme of “Defending Religious Freedom: Understanding Shariah” reflects the worry that anti-Muslim activists are fanning fear of Islamic law to marginalize U.S. Muslims. The May 26-28 gathering, which is also sponsored by the Muslim American Society, is the second-largest Muslim convention in the U.S., behind only the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America, which draws between 30,000 and 40,000 people.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Neuters War on Islamic Terrorists

Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka, a member of the faculty of the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University, said on Tuesday that the Obama Administration is rapidly revising federal counter-terrorism training materials in order to eliminate references to Jihad and Islam. Government bureaucracies usually take a long time in changing a policy. In this case, he said, “I have never, ever seen such a wide ranging review executed with such alacrity.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Orange County GOP Removes Islamophobe Deborah Pauly From Her Post as Vice Chair

Last night, the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee voted 47 to 16 in favor of removing Deborah Pauly from her post as First Vice Chair of the OCGOP. The motion to remove Pauly was brought on by OCGOP Chairman Scott Baugh stating that Pauly’s behavior has been divisive, vulgar and has caused much distraction and division within the Republican party. At 9:28pm, the votes were announced and Pauly was officially removed as First Vice Chair.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

“Feeding Hate”: Islamic Separatism in Britain

by Soeren Kern

Leicester, one of the most rapidly Islamizing cities in England, has elected its first-ever Muslim mayor. Abdul Razak Osman, an Indian-origin Muslim who was born in Kenya and who immigrated to Britain in 1971, was sworn into office during an elaborate investiture ceremony at the Leicester City Hall on May 18. Osman’s election reflects the growing influence of Muslims on local politics in Leicester. At his swearing-in ceremony, Osman declared: “I’m proud to be the first Muslim councillor to hold the position. We’ve had Christian, Hindu, and Sikh and now I’m able to bring the Islamic faith to the office, which is a great honor.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Belgium: Haredi Politician’s Failure to Shake Hands Riles Female Belgian Minister

Belgium’s health minister said she was “profoundly troubled” by the behavior of her Israeli counterpart, Yaakov Litzman, after the haredi Orthodox minister refused to shake her hand at a conference.

Litzman, Israel’s deputy minister for health, belongs to the haredi Torah Judaism party and considers it forbidden to touch members of the opposite sex.

“My hands are clean!” read a text that appeared on the official Facebook site of the Belgian health minister Laurette Onkelinx. “This is the second time a minister refuses to shake my hand because I am a woman. The first was Iranian. The second one was the Israeli health minister here in Geneva. This kind of fundamentalist attitude, connected to a certain perception of religion and women, profoundly troubles me.”

Litzman and Onkelinx met Wednesday at the annual World Health Assembly. Onkelinx belongs to the Francophone Belgian Socialist Party, the party of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.

“The minister’s childish reaction demonstrates her ignorance,” said Michael Freilich, editor in chief of Joods Actueel, Belgium’s largest Jewish publication, which reported on the story. “Mr. Litzman’s refusal to shake Ms. Onkelinx’s hand had nothing to do with any view on women or impurity. Ultra-Orthodox women are also forbidden from touching members of the opposite sex. It’s the custom. A more seasoned politician would have been aware of this sensibility in advance.”

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Belgian Health Minister Irked by Israel Deputy Minister’s Refusal to Shake Hands

Laurette Onkelinx posts ‘My hands are clean!” on her official Facebook page, adding only an Iranian refused to shake hands with her before.

Belgium’s health minister said she was “profoundly troubled” by the behavior of her Israeli counterpart, Yaakov Litzman, after the haredi Orthodox minister refused to shake her hand at a conference.

Litzman, Israel’s deputy minister for health, belongs to the haredi Torah Judaism party and considers it forbidden to touch members of the opposite sex.

“My hands are clean!” read a text that appeared on the official Facebook site of the Belgian health minister Laurette Onkelinx. “This is the second time a minister refuses to shake my hand because I am a woman. The first was Iranian. The second one was the Israeli health minister here in Geneva. This kind of fundamentalist attitude, connected to a certain perception of religion and women, profoundly troubles me.”

Litzman and Onkelinx met Wednesday at the annual World Health Assembly. Onkelinx belongs to the Francophone Belgian Socialist Party, the party of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.

“The minister’s childish reaction demonstrates her ignorance,” said Michael Freilich, editor in chief of Joods Actueel, Belgium’s largest Jewish publication, which reported on the story. “Mr. Litzman’s refusal to shake Ms. Onkelinx’s hand had nothing to do with any view on women or impurity. Ultra-Orthodox women are also forbidden from touching members of the opposite sex. It’s the custom. A more seasoned politician would have been aware of this sensibility in advance.”

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

EU-Libya: Ashton’s Service Suspected of Favoritism, Rue89

According to Rue89, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is about to investigate the “conditions under which the EU signed a major services contract for work in Libya with a British company which has not been authorised to work in the country” by Libya’s National Transitional Council.

The affair, which has already been reported by EUobserver, concerns the British firm G4S-UK, which, contrary to expectations, won a 10 million euro contract with the European External action Service to protect EU staff and premises in Libya. Rue89 remarks that the deal raised eyebrows because, unlike its competitors in the call for tenders, the Hungarian firm Argus and the British Canadian Garda World, G4S-UK “had no track record of protecting European delegations”.

The French news website argues that the affair highlights a problem of conflict of interest in the EEAS, which is managed by Britain’s Catherine Ashton —…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

First Mosque for Shia Muslims Opens in Finland

The first mosque and cultural center for Finland’s Shi’ites was inaugurated in the capital Helsinki earlier this week. Managers of Islamic centers from Sweden, Denmark and Norway, Muslim scholars including Hojat-ol-Islams Hakim Elahi, Khademi, and Razavi, Iranian ambassador to Finland Seyyed Rasoul Mousavi, head of Finnish prime minister’s office, and a number of cultural, religious and social personalities attended the inauguration ceremony of the center, which is named after Hazrat Fatemeh Zahra (SA). The mosque has been constructed by the Risalat Ahl-lu-Bayt (AS) Center, which is an affiliate of the World Ahl-lu-Bayt (AS) Assembly. The center began its activities in Finland ten years ago and now has 1000 registered members. It publishes an Islamic magazine named ‘Salam’ and so far has published 4 Islamic books in the Finnish language. The Risalat Ahl-lu-Bayt (AS) Center also carries out joint cultural activities with the country’s churches and organizations.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany: Honor Killing Verdict Has Prosecutors Wanting More

A German court last week convicted and sentenced five siblings in the kidnapping and murder of their younger sister Arzu. Prosecutors, however, are still not satisfied. They believe that the family’s father ordered the honor killing and are hoping to find enough evidence to put him behind bars.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Irish Woman Who Claimed €230,000 ($292,000) Jailed for Social Welfare Fraud

A WOMAN who claimed nearly €230,000 ($292,000) in social welfare payments while she had hundreds of thousands of euro in the bank has been jailed for three years.

Mary Connors (36), Cloonmore Park, Tallaght, Dublin, a mother of six, claimed the money over 14 years. In that time more than €1.2 million ($1.5 million) from her husband’s business passed through her multiple bank accounts.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed the maximum sentence allowed for the offence, saying he had to send out a message to those who committed social welfare fraud.

He rejected Connors’s claim her husband would not allow her to use the money in the accounts for the family and that she had to claim social welfare to get by.

Noting that the accounts were in her name, he said: “I don’t think I can accept she was under her husband’s control; she’s responsible for her own actions.”

The court heard the money in the accounts came from her husband buying and selling cars but the accounts were in her name because he could not be trusted due to his chronic alcoholism.

Judge Nolan said such crimes were “by their nature difficult to detect” and that the courts must send a message. He noted that all the money had been repaid, but he said a custodial sentence must be imposed. Connors wailed and screamed as she was led away to begin her sentence.

Connors pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to eight sample counts of failing to notify the Department of Social Protection of an increase in her means between July 1996 and April 2010. She has six previous convictions including burglary and handling stolen property.

Det Garda Gary Sheridan told Fiona Murphy, prosecuting, that Garda were searching Connors’s home in connection with a separate matter when they came across documentation showing she had €131,000 in a Permanent TSB account.

An investigation was started and it was found she had another TSB account containing €155,400 as well as an investment bond worth €15,000. Since the first account was opened in 1992, more than €1.2 million was lodged into them and €969,000 withdrawn.

Since 1996, Connors had claimed social welfare payments for herself and her husband totalling €229,453. When she was caught, she was claiming €504 a week.

When investigators discovered the fraud, her accounts were frozen. Connors attempted to withdraw the cash shortly afterwards but was stopped by the bank.

Kieran Kelly, defending, said the money in the accounts came from her husband’s car business and that he was not registered as a business owner.

He said Connors used the social welfare money for day-to-day living as she was not allowed to spend the business money on the family.

Mr Kelly added that Connors had been admitted to women’s refuges 40 times, sometimes with injuries, because of her husband’s drink problem.

He said she was a member of the Travelling community and that she married at 17.

Mr Kelly said she was extremely remorseful and unlikely to come before the courts again.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Italy: Emanuela Orlandi ‘Was Kidnapped for Sex Parties for Vatican Police’

A teenage girl whose disappearance in Rome has remained a mystery for 30 years was kidnapped for sex parties by a gang involving Vatican police and foreign diplomats, the Roman Catholic Church’s leading exorcist has claimed.

Father Gabriele Amorth, who was appointed by the late John Paul II as the Vatican’s chief exorcist and claims to have performed thousands of exorcisms, said Emanuela Orlandi was later murdered and her body disposed of. In the latest twist in one of the Holy See’s most enduring mysteries, he said the 15-year-old schoolgirl was snatched from the streets of central Rome in the summer of 1983 and forced to take part in sex parties. “This was a crime with a sexual motive. Parties were organised, with a Vatican gendarme acting as the ‘recruiter’ of the girls. The network involved diplomatic personnel from a foreign embassy to the Holy See. I believe Emanuela ended up a victim of this circle,” Father Amorth, the honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists, told La Stampa newspaper. The debate over who kidnapped Emanuela and what became of her has raged in Italy for three decades.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italy: Ruby Trial Hearings Adjourned Until Tomorrow

(AGI) Milan — Hearings concerning Silvio Berlusconi and underage prostitution charges have been adjourned until tomorrow. The court will be hearing testimony from Mr Giuseppe Spinelli and showgirl Marysthell Garcia Polanco. According to the Prosecution Office, Spinelli was in charge of preparing 500 euro cash donations for the former premier’s “needy guests.” .

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

Norway: Utøya Survivor: ‘He Took the Bullets Meant for Me’

A teenager who survived Anders Behring Breivik’s massacre on a Norwegian island last July told his trial on Wednesday how she saw him methodically execute 14 people including a friend who sacrificed himself to save her.

“He took the bullets meant for me,” Andrine Johansen, now 17, told Oslo district court. Johansen told the court on Wednesday how she saw the right-wing extremist methodically execute 14 people including several of her friends and only barely escaped death herself.

Shot in the chest, she had fallen into the icy water surrounding the small, heart-shaped island northwest of Oslo where the governing Labour Party was holding a summer camp. “I was drowning in my own blood when I saw him execute all my friends,” she told the Oslo district court amid the sobbing of spectators on the 23rd day of Breivik’s 10-week trial.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Swedish Rapper Reported for Twitter Death Threat

Sweden Democrat party leader Jimmie Åkesson received a death threat from a Swedish rapper through Twitter, prompting to the political party leader to report the matter to police.

The rapper, known as Stebbe Staxx, threatened to torture and murder Åkesson after seeing him on a television program, wrote the TT news agency, and tweeted that he wanted to torture the party leader with “pliers and a blowtorch to stop the bleeding” for three days and then “kill the fag”.

“Jimmie felt sick when he first heard about it, and naturally took it pretty badly,” Åkesson’s press secretary Linus Bylund told The Local. “But when we learnt more about this man’s background, we became frightened. This man has a criminal history and is making threats very publicly.” According to Bylund, the rapper has a violent criminal past, something which made Åkesson take the threat more seriously.

“I naturally took it very badly and became especially frightened when I learned of the person’s background,” wrote Åkesson in a statement, according to TT.

Bylund stated that party leaders are accustomed to various threats, yet were shocked and surprised that the rapper not made them anonymously. “It’s only natural that we take this with the utmost seriousness.”

The rapper, who was reported to police on Thursday, has apologized for his “clumsy choice of words”, according to TT.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Labour’s Jon Cruddas Can Put Tanks on Tory Lawns

by David Williamson

Jon Cruddas took up a strategic post in the Labour party last week just when a win in 2015 suddenly seems possible.

As coordinator of the Labour party policy review he will gather the arsenal of polices with which they will go into the next election. There is good reason to think he will look to Wales for inspiration. He is an old friend of Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney AM Huw Lewis and the power of the “Welsh Labour” brand which has emerged since devolution will not have escaped him. Last year, he said: “Labour should have an English Labour. It should embrace a modern, radical Englishness, or else England and patriotism will simply be a right-wing politics of loss and sourness.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Nigel Farage’s Grand Strategy to Destroy the Conservative Party

by Paul Goodman

James Forsyth’s Spectator interview with Nigel Farage, which Tim Montgomerie wrote about on this site yesterday, is a sign of how far the UKIP leader has come — and how seriously Fleet Street now takes both him and it.

  • The party is sometimes nudging the Liberal Democrats into fourth place in the polls.
  • It won 13% of the vote in this month’s local elections, in not especially favourable electoral territory.
  • Its vote share at general elections has risen from about 100,000 in 1997 to roughly a million two years ago.
  • And it has of course polled in the mid-teens during the last two sets of Euro-elections.

By accident rather than design I have found myself gradually being transformed into this site’s UKIP correspondent — that’s to say, studying the work of James Bethell, Ford and Goodwin, Kavanagh and Cowley and Lynch and Whitaker to explore why the party’s support is growing.

I agree with Tim that Mr Farage’s suggestion of Conservative/UKIP candidates at the next election is a tease — or, perhaps, a clever piece of psych-ops designed to divide and confuse Tory activists, and set them chattering.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Police Deny EDL Rumours of ‘Redditch Paedophile Gangs’ Ahead of Saturday March

POLICE have quashed rumours circulated by the far-right English Defence League (EDL) that paedophile grooming gangs are operating in Redditch. Speaking ahead of a planned demonstration by the group in the town on Saturday, Superintendant Adrian Pass said there was no evidence to back up the claims. Saturday’s demonstration will be the first by the group in Redditch and is expected to attract around 150 demonstrators. However Supt Pass said there would be a robust police presence in the town to deal with any disorder and allow members of the community to go about their business. He said: “There is no evidence to suggest Islamic grooming or any other kind of sexual targeting of young girls by gangs is happening in Redditch. If the EDL, or anyone else for that matter, has hard evidence of any other illegal activities of this nature in the area then they should come forward and tell us. They have not done so and we have no information whatsoever to suggest that there is a wider problem in Redditch or anywhere else in North Worcestershire.”


[Reader comment by wattys on 23 May 2012 at 10:34 PM.]

Birmingham has a Labour council, Labour is now a party for Muslims run by Muslims — in Birmingham and all over the country Labour puts pressure on the Police to pretend that grooming isn’t happening.

[JP note: The wider community would prefer that the police did not sacrifice law-keeping for political expediency.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Kosovo: Two Serbs’ Houses Burnt and Destroyed

Belgrade protests and asks Eulex to intervene

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE/PRISTINA, 23 MAY — Last night, in Kosovo, in the village of Drenovac, some unknown people set fire to two houses belonging to Serbian refugees who have gone back to their country. None of the owners was in the two houses, that were nearly completely destroyed. The local Serbian community immediately spoke out against such fact and, according to some of its members, the message is clear: Serbs are not welcome and would better not go back to Kosovo. In Belgrade, both the Interior Ministries and the Ministry for Kosovo have strongly denounced the criminal action, asking the EU mission Eulex to intervene in order to find out the culprits. Meanwhile, in the Serbian part of Kosovska Mitrovica, the main urban centre in northern Kosovo whose inhabitants are mainly Serbian, a demonstration took place against the arrest, some days ago, of Jovica Miljkovic, a Serb accused of having deliberately destroyed some material and equipment used by Kosovo’s police forces.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Tahrir Leader: We Allowed Islamists to Steal Revolution

But we allowed them to steal revolution and we forgot villages

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — “Yes, we made a mistake in the period following the Tahrir Square protests, since we allowed Islamists to steal the revolution. It is not over yet, and we will continue to address all Egyptians to get the rights that the martyrs won.” These bitter as well as fighting words were voiced by a Tahrir Square youth — the symbolic place of the revolution which last year brought down the thirty-year regime in Egypt, on the occasion of the elections which will bring in the first president in the post-Mubarak era. Speaking to ANSA was Abdel Ghani Hendi, leading member of the February 11 (the day on which Hosni Mubarak left power after 18 days of protests in 2011) party, made up of independent revolutionaries and linked to the April 6 and Kefaya (Enough!) movements.

Pensive and visibly concerned, Hendi did not express any clear indication of who his group would be voting for in the Egyptian presidential elections. “The atmosphere surrounding the elections is not a joyful one, and something is casting a shadow over the first elections after Mubarak,” continued Abdel. “We are waiting and on our guard, since we do not know how the next president will lead Egypt.” Having studied at Al Azhar, centre of Islamic culture and theology linked with the figure of the Grand Imam of the same name, the highest authority for Sunni Muslims, Abdel Ghani Hendi lashed out energetically at Islamists, who he accuses of having “stolen the revolution won at all levels by young Egyptians”, and of wanting “to take control of the presidential elections”. “All of those who want a place or a seat,” warned the young man, “should know that the seat on which they will be sitting is stained with the blood of the martyrs, whose rights have been usurped. God does not tolerate injustice, and is closely watching the country.” Abdel regrets the fact that “we were caught up by Tahrir and the incidents at the Cabinet and Mohamed Mahmoud street, and we forgot to speak to the villages and the common people, who were monopolised by Islamists with money, food aid and their ideology.” But if Islamists “really loved Egypt,” he asked, in the hope that the polling stations will not give them victory, “would they have spent all those billions on election propaganda or to give food to poor villages, or would they have used it instead to ensure lasting plans for them? A president is a servant of the population, and not its master.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Egypt Court Gives 12 Christians Life Sentences

Religious tensions set to soar as court acquits eight Muslims, sentences 12 Christians for protest deaths

An Egyptian court has sentenced 12 Christians to life in prison and acquitted eight Muslims in a case that is likely to stoke religious tensions in the country’s south.

The Christians were found guilty of sowing public strife and shooting dead two Muslims in April of last year in Minya province after a scuffle with Muslim protesters.

The eight Muslims on trial in the same case had been charged with possession of illegal weapons and burning down dozens of Christian-owned homes and stores after the shooting.

Egyptian rights researcher Ishak Ibrahim called the verdict “faulty and unfair.”

The State Security Court, whose rulings cannot be appealed, handed down its sentence on Monday. The ruling military council is the only entity with the power to request a retrial.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Poll: Majority Want “Cold Peace” With Israel

While deciding on President, no doubt on Jewish state

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — The first President in post-Mubarak Egypt is currently being decided but the majority of Egyptians are in no doubt as to how future relations between Egypt and Israel should pan out.

According to the latest figures published by the Begin Study Centre in Jerusalem, 81% of Egyptian hope that a state of “cold peace” with the Jewish state will be maintained. There is no temptation to revoke the treaty signed in 1979, which remains an important pillar of peace in the Middle East and is appreciated to this day by 89% of those interviewed, yet neither is there a desire to make relations with Israel more cordial.

A majority of Egyptians are hostile towards the presence of an Israeli embassy in Cairo (62%), do not want Israeli tourists in Egypt (64%) nor Egyptian tourists in Israel (85%). There is also widespread opposition to economic and trade links between the two countries, which are condemned by 82% of those interviewed, and the use of Israeli technology in Egypt.

Some 92%, for instance, do not want the expertise of Israeli agronomists. Percentages do not show much variation between greenhouses and universities, with 87% saying that Israeli intellectuals are not welcome in Egypt.

In summary, the study shows that 91% of Egyptians believe that the future of relations between the two peoples will be marked by open hostility or enmity. But opinions change, when government issues come into view.

Peaceful, if not strictly cordial relations between the two nations are as welcome in Cairo as they are in Tel Aviv. Egyptians, who are concentrating on the reconstruction of their own political system after last year’s upheaval, know this well.

They hope that their leaders elected at the polls will bring a dose of realpolitik to relations with their neighbours.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Egypt’s Christians Outraged by Court Ruling

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — The verdict passed by the Minya Criminal Court on May 21 convicting 12 Copts to life imprisonment while acquitting eight accused Muslims in the same case, known as Abu Qurqas sedition, has caused widespread anger among the Copts. Georges Wahib of United Copts, who attended the court session, said that when judge Abdel Fattah Ahmed al-Sughayar pronounced the verdict at the court yesterday “there was complete silence, as it came as a shock to everyone, then cries of grief and wailing could be heard from the Coptic families with shouts of we are innocent, while the Muslim side broke out into jubilation and shouts of Allahu Akbar.”

All prisoners were taken to the basement, and the court itself was surrounded by hundreds of military police. For security the court session was transferred to Beni Suef from Minya Criminal Court.

The events of the case started on April 18, 2011 over a speed hump built in front of the residence of a wealthy Coptic lawyer, Alaa Reda Roushdi, which a minibus driver claimed was damaging cars. The fight that broke out led to the death of 2 Muslims, injury to 4 Copts, and the destruction and looting of Coptic-owned homes and businesses (AINA 4-26-2011).

Many rights groups criticized the verdict as being “unbelievable” and “extremely harsh” towards the Copts. All the Muslims defendants, “who torched at least 56 Coptic homes, as well as businesses and barns, were acquitted,” said Wagdi Halfa, defense attorney of the Coptic victims, in an interview aired yesterday by Coptic TV Channel. He expressed his incomprehension at how Coptic lawyer Alaa Reda Roushdi, who was not even in Abou Qorqas during the events, and then kept under house arrest by the police for another three days, could get life imprisonment.

Adel Roushdi, younger brother of Alaa Roushdi said during the same TV interview that the Islamists wanted to get rid of his brother because of the parliamentary elections, where his brother was sure to win. He accused the police chief in Abou Qorqas of planning the whole episode.

Dr. Naguib Gabriel, president of the Egyptian Union Human Rights Organization, said that one should not keep silent over the continuing harsh verdicts against the Copts. He called upon the military council to stop the implementation of this ruling and to order a re-trial of the case in an ordinary court in another district. He said “where is the conscience and faith of the judge in connection with the torching of Christian homes and shops by Muslims, as reported by the police?” He also questioned the reason for having the case in front of an Emergency State Security court, where no appeal is allowed, while the charges were murder, attempted murder, congregation and carrying of firearms.

Michael Monier, an American-Egyptian activist and head of Life Party, described the verdict as racist and unjust, adding that “it also shows that the Egyptian judiciary takes its orders from higher authorities.”

The European Union of Coptic Organizations for Human Rights (EUCOHR) issued a statement yesterday that it will not keep silent about the injustice in this case, and that it is calling for an urgent meeting with members of the European Parliament in Brussels to explain the tragedy of Copts in Egypt . They called upon the governing Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to use its constitutional powers to nullify this verdict and present the defendants to another court, where the rule of law and human rights are honored.

Dozens of Coptic human rights organizations and hundreds of Copts staged a sit-in at midday on May 22 in front of the Cairo High Court, denouncing the court ruling. The protesters raised banners bearing the phrase “by the mercy of God, the Egyptian judiciary is dead” and “This is a Country governed by beards and not the law.” They chanted “Down with the military,” “Muslims and Christians — one hand,” and demanded the equal application of justice and non-discrimination between Egyptians.

Attorney Karam Gabriel, who was present at the sit-in, said that the deputy attorney general called the Coptic lawyers and they presented their grievances against the Court’s ruling, “which is beyond belief.” He said that the deputy attorney general promised to have a look at the verdict and could then present a grievance memo to the military commander.. Karam also said that the president of the bar association will also send a grievance memorandum, because one of the twelve convicted Christians is Alaa Roushdi, a lawyer.”

Pastor Boutros Anba Bola, who was at the sit-in today, explained that this unjust verdict is passed at this point in time before the presidential election by an Islamist judge in order to make the Christians feel low and depressed so as not to participate in the voting, besides penalizing them for not wishing to vote for Islamists. He told Coptic activist Mariam Ragy in an audio interview that although he is not supposed to recommend any candidate, still he recommends General Ahmad Shafik, “as he is the best one for the Copts.”

In Alexandria, nearly two thousand Copts and Muslims have staged a protest in front of the high court denouncing the “unjust verdict of the Salafist judiciary, said activist Grace Iskandar from International Echo Organization. He said that their sit-in will remain until a just verdict is achieved. Another protest in scheduled in Alexandria for Saturday May 26.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih[Return to headlines]

Spanish Cities in Ancient Al-Andalus Target, Media

Al Qaeda ally eying Granada, Valencia, Seville and Cordoba

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, MAY 24 — Granada, Valencia, Seville and Cordoba are the next targets of the Salafite Ansar Al Din group, linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, according to security sources quoted today by Radio Cadena Ser.

In an statement circulated inside the organisation which was reportedly intercepted, the four cities in the south of Spain, which “were ruled by Muslims,” are mentioned by Ansar Al Din as places that must be freed and in which the ancient Muslim empire, “ Al-Andalus, must be brought back to life.” The sources consider the threat real and specify that Spain continues to be one of the main targets of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). After the fall of Gaddafi, this organisation reportedly managed to take possession of large numbers of Libyan weapons and increased its power in Mali and Timbuktu.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The Battle for the Soul of the Islamic World

by Harry Verhoeven

Islamists and Salafis have been battling for prominence in forging new political realities in the Islamic world.

Khartoum, Sudan and Oxford, UK — From Egypt’s post-Mubarak elections to Tunisian debates about media freedom: a battle is raging for the political soul of the Islamic world. Contrary to what was predicted during the heyday of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), the clashing visions are not those of jihadi terrorism and Western-minded secularism.

The new realities emerging from the Arab Spring are demonstrating that Islam will occupy a key position in the political debate from Morocco to Indonesia. Yet what remains unclear is whether this will lead to greater societal cohesion or increased tensions within the Islamic world and between it and outside actors. To understand what the future might look like, we must analyse the struggle within the camp of the pious believers: reformist Islamists versus archconservative Salafis.

Misconceptions proliferate about the battle, which is a product of contemporary socio-political conditions, but by no means new: it is the return of a clash between old rivals with new bones of contention. Debates about the appropriate role of Islam in politics have evoked passions since the end of the Rashidun Caliphate. While reformists highlight Islam’s dynamic character — the texts can never be changed, but our interpretations evolve in function of new challenges — Salafis depart from a literalist interpretation of ther Quran and Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad. They stress conservatism both in the personal sphere and in the political realm, producing a very ambivalent position — to say the least — towards democratic processes. The 13th century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, intellectual godfather of 21st century Salafis, rejected popular participation in processes of political change: “The ruler can demand obedience from his subject, for even an unjust ruler is better than strife and dissolution of the society.” Today’s battles revisit the old divide between those who believe in emancipating society through Islamically sanctioned reforms and those who question innovation and free debate in theology and in politics.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Voting in Egypt as Holy War: Its Only Value, to Empower Sharia

by Raymond Ibrahim

Despite the fact that some in the West portray Islam and democracy as being perfectly compatible, evidence continues to emerge that, for many countries in the Middle East, democracy and elections are various means to one end: the establishment of a decidedly undemocratic form of law-Islamic, or Sharia Law. Thus, Egyptian cleric Dr. Talat Zahran proclaimed that it is “obligatory to cheat at elections, a beautiful thing,” his logic being that voting is a tool, an instrument, the only value of which is to empower Sharia. Likewise, Hazim Shuman, a cleric who has his own TV program, issued a fatwa likening the voting for Islamist candidates as a “jihad,” adding that paradise awaits whoever is “martyred” during the electoral campaign.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Ignore the Mood Music: Iran’s Nuclear Problem is Not Going Away

by David Blair

Oddly enough, both sides in the bitter dispute over Iran’s nuclear ambitions have become quite good at soothing rhetoric. Saeed Jalili, the Islamic Republic’s chief negotiator, says that “pressure and the language of threat is useless in dealing with the Iranian nation, but talks and cooperation can be a positive approach”. Meanwhile, Baroness Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, declares the only aim is to “restore confidence” in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Iran: Ahmadinejad to Nasrallah: Beating Zionist Paper Tiger Shook Columns of Occupation

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a message to Lebanese Hezbollah Sec Gen Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah on anniversary of defeating Israel, wrote, “Beating paper tiger of Zionist regime shook shaky columns of occupation throughout the world.The Islamic Republic of Iran president’s message was delivered to Nasrallah by the IRI Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on the blessed occasion of Resistance Celebration Day, on the anniversary of liberating the occupied southern parts of Lebanon.


[JP note: Catchy slogan.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Iran: Discovery Will Collapse Christianity — Says Turkish ‘Bible’ Has Barnabas Forecasting Muhammad’s Coming

By Reza Kahlili

Iran’s Basij Press is claiming that a version of the Gospel of Barnabas, found in 2000, will prove that Islam is the final and righteous religion and the revelation will cause the collapse worldwide of Christianity.

Turkey confiscated a leather-bound text, written on animal hide, in an anti-smuggling operation in 2000. Turkish authorities believe the text could be an authentic version of the Gospel of Barnabas, one of Jesus’ apostles and an associate of the apostle Paul.

This version of the Barnabas Gospel was written in the 5th or 6th century and it predicted the coming of the Prophet Mohammad and the religion of Islam, the Basij Press claims.

The Christian world, it says, denies the existence of such a gospel.

However, religious scholars have said another version of the Barnabas Gospel, discovered a century ago, was written less than 500 years ago, which would post-date Mohammad.

In Chapter 41 of the Barnabas Gospel, Basij claims, is this statement: “God has hidden himself as Archangel Michael ran them (Adam and Eve) out of heaven, (and) when Adam turned, he noticed that at top of the gateway to heaven, it was written ‘La elah ela Allah, Mohamad rasool Allah,’“ meaning Allah is the only God and Mohammad his prophet.

The Turkish army has taken possession of the Barnabas Gospel because the “Zionists” and the governments of the West are trying to suppress its contents, Basij Press claims.

According to the Barnabas Gospel in Turkey’s hands, Basij Press says, Jesus was never crucified and that not only is He not the son of God, but that He himself predicted the coming of the Prophet Mohammad. The book even predicts the coming of the last Islamic messiah, the report says.

“The discovery of the original Barnabas Bible will now undermine the Christian Church and its authority and will revolutionize the religion in the world,” the Basij report says. “The most significant fact, though, is that this Bible has predicted the coming of Prophet Mohammad and in itself has verified the religion of Islam, and this alone will unbalance the powers of the world and create instability in the Christian world.”

The Basij report concludes that the discovery is so immense that it will affect the world’s politics and that the world powers are aware of the coming effects of this event.

Turkey plans to put the Bible on public display…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Respond to my CBN Report

Last week, my report about the Iranian regime possibly targeting New York City for terror attacks aired on CBN News (click the link above to watch the report).

It seems that the report has caught the attention of Tehran.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps has responded to my piece in a state-run Iranian media outlet.

Reza Kahlili—a former member of the Revolutionary Guards whose expert analysis is featured in my CBN report—writes today that Mashregh News—which is operated by the Guards—has reprinted my piece in full—including video.

Mashregh News is widely read in Iran and a very influential regime mouthpiece.

Reza’s piece, which I link to above, gives the English translation. Needless to say, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are not happy with our coverage of their activities.

Which means we must be doing something right.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

Yemen: Military, Tribal Militias ‘Kill 24 Islamist Insurgents’

Sanaa, 24 May (AKI) — Yemen’s military and tribal militias have killed 24 militants during fighting in the south of the country, according the the Yemeni defence ministry.

The two dozen members of the Ansar al-Sharia Islamist insurgency died during fighting on Wednesday n the Abyen province, the military said in a statement posted on its web site.

Local tribes aided the military in the clashes that were concentrated in the city of Jaar, an Ansar al-Sharia stronghold.

Ansar al-Sharia, a Yemeni group affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in the Yemeni capital Sanaa that killed at least 96 people and 300 injured on Monday when a bomber disguised as a soldier blew himself up at a military parade rehearsal.

Ansar al-Sharia is associated with Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, which is considered one of the terror group’s most dangerous affiliates. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) was formed in January 2009 by a merger between two regional offshoots of the international Islamist militant network in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

The United States is aiding Yemen’s fight against militants with drone attacks. Two such attacks on Tuesday killed eight civilians in the southern part of Yemen on Tuesday, three Yemeni security officials said in reports.

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

South Asia

India: Affirmative Action Key to Increasing Muslim Participation in Education and Employment: Dr Rakesh Basant

Standford, California: The Shorenstein APARC (Asia Pacific Research Center) Program organized a seminar on the topic “Education And Employment Among Muslims In India — An Analysis Of Patterns And Trends” by Dr. Rakesh Basant. The seminar focused on analyzing the data collected post Sachar Committee to identify the patterns of Muslim participation in education and workforce. Dr. Rakesh Basant is a Professor of Economics & Chairperson at Center for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and was a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s High-Level Committee (aka Sachar Committee) to study the social, economic and educational conditions of Muslims in India. The data collected among multiple Socio-Religious Categories (SRC) provides several valuable insights into the state of higher education (HE) in the Muslim community, among them:

  • Enrollment and literacy rates among Muslims have been low but picked up dramatically post 2004-05.
  • Drop-out rates continue to be among the highest for Muslims contributing to large gaps at the school leaving and graduating stage.
  • Role of madrassahs as educational institutions is limited given that only four percent of the children enroll in these institutions.
  • Participation differences across SRCs are not very significant in HE among ‘eligible population’, especially in rural areas.
  • Ensuring eligibility for marginalized groups (including Muslims) results in significant improvements in participation in HE.
  • Significantly, parental education plays an important role and enhances the chances of participation in HE, regardless of other factors such as income etc.

In the employment sector, Muslims tend to concentrate more in the self-employed activities (esp. women) and represented very low in the public, private and tertiary sectors. A larger proportion of Muslims engage in manufacturing and retail trade though they are in a more precarious position with lower wages and no contracts or employee benefits. The studies show that while lack of education attributes explain the absence of marginalized groups (Muslims, Dalits), the access disadvantage is higher for Muslims compared to other SRCs. The data on socio-psychological measures also indicate that the perception of fairness was the lowest among Muslims in all spaces, including education and employment. The presentation postulated that the factors influencing the participation of Muslims in education and employment are complex and that the policy interventions should appreciate the various links between the participation in different spheres. It also stressed the need to address the issues of security, identity and equity and explored non-quota based affirmative action options.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Haj Subsidy Issue Dominates 28th Annual Haj Conference

NEW DELHI, 2 Rajab/23 May (IINA)-The Haj subsidy issue dominated the deliberations at the 28th All India Annual Conference for Haj-2012 here on Tuesday, with most of the Muslim MPs and state Haj Committee chairmen demanding that the Haj subsidy be allowed to continue in the present form. Uttar Pradesh Haj committee chairman and State Urban Development Minister Azam Khan even went to the extent that the central government, if needed, be pressurized to bring a law to neutralise the Supreme Court order that has directed to withdraw subsidy in phases in the next 10 years.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Marines Situation ‘Unacceptable’, Terzi Tells Ban Ki-Moon

Case undermines security operations, says Foreign Minister

(ANSA) — Rome, May 23 — Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has told United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that India’s jailing of two Italian anti-piracy marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen was “unacceptable”.

The minister also said at a meeting with Ban in New York late on Tuesday that the case “undermines” international security operations, Terzi told ANSA.

On Friday Italy recalled its ambassador to New Delhi for consultations about the case, which has caused friction between the countries since the marines were detained in February after an incident that took place while they were guarding the Enrica Lexie tanker.

The move came after police filed charges that included homocide against Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone.

The Italian authorities are also displeased that the marines are set to stay in jail for another two weeks even though the three-month detainment period allowed by the Indian judicial system expired at the weekend.

Indian Police and prison authorities in the southern state of Kerala said on Thursday that the pair would not be moved from a special section of a jail in the southern city of Thiruvananthapuram for 20 days because they need time to prepare a facility for them in the port of Kochi.

There have been reports that the delay may be down to Kerala authorities wanting to put off what would be an unpopular decision with the public there until after local elections.

India says the marines mistook the two killed fishermen from the southern state of Kerala, Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki, for pirates.

The Indian supreme court is considering Italy’s claim that it should have jurisdiction for the case, not India, as the incident took place aboard an Italian vessel in international waters.

The Italian government also believes that, regardless of who has jurisdiction, the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India as they were military personnel working on an anti-piracy mission.

Italy has said the marines fired warning shots from the Lexie after coming under an apparent attack from pirates.

It said they followed the proper international procedures for dealing with pirate attacks, which are frequent in the Indian Ocean.

Indian ballistic experts said last month that the bullets recovered from the bodies of fishermen are compatible with Beretta rifles confiscated from the tanker.

Italy has requested another ballistics test.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: At Least 10 Dead in Drone Strike

Islamabad, 24 May (AKI) — At least 10 people were killed Thursday when a US drone fired two missiles at a village mosque in northwest Pakistan, according to reports.

“The drone fired two missiles and pounded a house,” a local administration official told NBC News.

The two officials said Thursday’s attack took place on a militant hideout in Khassokhel village near Mir Ali in North Waziristan, according to Dawn News It was the second such attack in 24 hours in the region.

Most of the militants killed in the strike were Uzbek fighters who belonged to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, according to the New York Times.

Pakistan has demanded the US to halt drone attacks on its territory.

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

Pakistan: Drone Strike Hits Pakistan Mosque Say Locals

A US drone attack in northwest Pakistan, reported to have killed at least 10 people, hit a small village mosque sources tell Channel 4 News.

Local tribesmen from Mir Ali in North Waziristan said the drone had attacked the village mosque where people were offering their Fajr or morning prayer. They said 10 bodies had been pulled out of the debris while efforts were underway to retrieve others. “The drone fired two missiles and hit the village mosque where a number of people were offering Fajr prayer,” a local tribal elder told Channel 4 News. A government official in the area earlier stated the drone targeted a house in which militants were said to be living.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

US Cuts Pakistan Aid Over Jailing of Bin Laden Sting Doctor

AMERICA is to cut $US33 million ($34 million) from the aid sent to Pakistan in response to the jailing of a Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA hunt for Osama bin Laden.

In a fresh blow to the troubled relationship between the two “war on terror” allies, congressmen on the powerful senate appropriations committee voted to cut $US1 million from the $US800 million annual budget for each of the 33 years that Shakeel Afridi has been told he must serve in jail for working with a foreign intelligence agency.

Afridi set up a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad in an attempt to obtain blood samples from bin Laden’s family, as the CIA tried to confirm the al-Qaeda chief’s presence in a nearby villa. The doctor was never told who the true target of the program was…

[Return to headlines]

Far East

Carmaker BMW Doubles Capacity in China With New Plant

German automaker BMW has boosted its production in China with the opening of a second facility in the northeastern city of Shenyang. China already is the company’s most important market — with awesome potential ahead. Luxury carmaker BMW of Germany on Thursday extended its foray into the Chinese market by opening its second, large production facility in the city of Shenyang.

“We are expecting double-digit growth in China this year, despite a slight cooling in the market,” CEO Norbert Reithofer said during the inauguration ceremony in the city’s Tiexi district. The new factory, which cost BMW 1.0 billion euros ($1.25 billion) and is the company’s most modern worldwide, enables the automaker to double its capacity in China to 200,000 units this year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

China Seeks High-Profile Soccer Imports

The Chinese Super League is hardly the most famous in world soccer but is starting to poach some of the game’s top names. It’s not just veterans seeking a windfall in their autumn years who are looking east.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Mali’s Mosque Masterpiece

I am standing in the vast market square looking at the Great Mosque of Djenne. It has not been easy getting here. First, my wife was sick, recovering just in time to continue our tour, then our early morning departure was delayed with mechanical problems, denying us cooler travel and the promised mid-morning arrival, and then we bumped over a horror stretch of road resulting in overheating and two punctured tyres, causing serious delay. But all that melts away in an instant taking in this astonishing building — Mali’s masterpiece. It is the biggest mudbrick, or adobe, building in the world.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Greece: Neo-Nazis and Police Clash in Patras

Undocumented migrants in Athens, situation “explosive”

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — The situation in the western Greek port city of Patras is still tense after incidents on Tuesday evening in the port area, where a few days ago a 29-year-old Greek man was killed by three undocumented Afghan migrants. Yesterday evening just after 9pm outside the abandoned Piraikis-Patraikis factory where many migrants had sought refuge, fresh incidents occurred when a group of individuals with their faces covered demanded that the migrants be sent out of the city and began to throw Molotov cocktails and other objects at the police, who in turn launched tear gas canisters.

Meanwhile, after the first incidents on Tuesday, the undocumented migrants inside the plant were transferred to Athens. The city’s mayor Giannis Dimaras has called the situation “explosive”, while Lefteris Ikonomou, Minister for Citizens Protection, warned that no one would be allowed to take the place of the police in their duties concerning dealing with criminality and protecting citizens. According to police in the city, about 350 members of the Crisi Avgi (“Golden Dawn”) Neo-Nazi organisation had taken part, a group which raked in 6.97% of votes and got 21 of its members elected into Parliament in the May 6 elections.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Illegal Immigrants in Greece: At the Mercy of the People Smugglers

Many of the illegal immigrants in the EU arrive via Greece, which is overwhelmed by the flood of incomers. The would-be migrants are ruthlessly exploited by people smugglers, and many of them die in the attempt to get to Europe. SPIEGEL heard the stories of a group of young Bangladeshi men who made it to Athens — and discovered the reality behind the dream.

The men standing in the train station of Nea Vyssa, a small farming village in the far northeastern corner of Greece, are soaking wet. Oyud, 20, Yousuf, 34, and seven other young Bangladeshi men have arrived in Europe. It’s 7 o’clock in the morning, it’s cold and their clothes cling to their skin. The men are shivering, and one has a bleeding wound across his face.

That night, the men had crossed the Evros (also known as the Maritsa), the river separating Greece from Turkey, in a rubber dinghy that was much too small. When a police boat appeared, they jumped in the water. The officers tried to detain them and circled around them, hitting one of them on the head with the boat’s propeller. But the would-be immigrants succeeded in making it to the opposite shore, where they hid in the underbrush.

And now they’re in Europe.

Oyud, Yousuf and the others have been traveling for months. They have made it across seas, through deserts and over mountain ranges. They have endured hunger, thirst, heat, cold and physical abuse — all in the hope of a better life.

Immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Africa have been crossing over the Evros by the thousands. Greece is the gateway to the West, and roughly nine out of every 10 people illegally entering Europe follow this route. On peak days, the figure can reach 500 people.

Each of them has paid up to $10,000 (€7,950) for the journey. It is a business worth millions to the people smugglers, who play an indispensable role in the illegal entry into Europe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Facts Aren’t Left- Or Right-Wing

by Tom Chivers

I was intrigued, the other day, to be labelled a Right-winger. I dare say a few of the commenters here will have an opinion about that. But I heard it a few times, among other things.

It came after I wrote a piece saying that parental influence on our personalities and intelligence is far less than most people believe, arguing, after Steven Pinker and Judith Rich Harris, that genetics and the unpredictable events of childhood have a vastly greater impact. Twin, sibling and adoption studies put the parental input at between zero and 10 per cent of the variation in human personalities, and probably much closer to the left end of that range.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]