Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120531

Financial Crisis
»Euro is Facing Disintegration, Commission Warns
»Spain Faces ‘Total Emergency’ As Fear Grips Markets
»The German Banker’s Cunning Plan
»CAIR Seeks DOJ Action After TN Judge Stops Mosque Construction
»Chicago Islamic Leader Uses Education as Weapon Against Terrorism and Discrimination
»Construction Continues on Murfreesboro Mosque Despite Ruling
»Does Muslim Blasphemy Trump Free Speech in America?
»Group of Muslims Detained by Police at Orlando Airport After Asking for a Cup on Board a Plane
»John Edwards Found Not Guilty on One Count; Judge Declares Mistrial on Others
»Pikesville Mosque to Open at Slade Mansion on Park Heights Avenue
»Stakelbeck: Watch My GBTV Monologue: “Unholy Alliance”
Europe and the EU
»Europe’s Post-Nazi Stress Disorder Has Brought it to Ruin
»Pope Blasts Media Reporting of ‘Vatileaks’
»UK Opera Stirs Anti-Islam Profanity Fear
»UK: ‘Exploitative’ EDL Hijacks Sikh Protest in Luton
»UK: Allah Save the Queen, Say Muslims
»UK: David Cameron: I Rely on the Queen’s Great British Common Sense
»UK: Extensive Library of London Mosque’s Late Imam Donated to Ireland’s University College Cork
»UK: Human Rights in Islam
»UK: Hidden Delights to Go on Display
»UK: Liberty Lost
»UK: Song of the Suicide Bomber: How ‘Babur in London’ Negotiated a Cultural Minefield
»UK: Why is Edward Lear Almost Forgotten These Days? There’s Nothing So English as Nonsense
North Africa
»Tunisia: Protests Against Latest Salafi Attacks
Israel and the Palestinians
»Bat Ye’or: Jerusalem or Al-Quds? The European Union’s Choice
»BBC Challenged on Obama Israel Speech Report
Middle East
»Work to Start on New Bahrain Grand Mosque
South Asia
»Kazakhstan: Islam-Christianity Dialogue Features at Kazakh Interfaith Meet
»Muslim Extremists Go Gaga in Indonesia
»Pakistan: Court Orders Demolition of a Minaret, Dome of Ahmadi Mosque
Australia — Pacific
»Curtain Goes Up on Cat Stevens’ Musical ‘Moonshadow’ With World Premiere in Australia
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Kenya: In Africa, A Militant Group’s Growing Appeal
Culture Wars
»I Fear That Fat People Have Missed the PC Boat
»Sanctity and Care of Women in Islam

Financial Crisis

Euro is Facing Disintegration, Commission Warns

Olli Rehn, the economics commissioner, gave the warning as Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, criticised national leaders for a “lack of action” to help the single currency out of its crisis. Spain remained at the eye of the financial storm yesterday, amid continuing fears for its banking sector.

Investors in Spanish banks are withdrawing money at a record rate, figures showed yesterday. More than £55 billion was withdrawn and moved out of the country last month.

Yesterday’s figures are for the month before the Spanish banking crisis entered its latest phase with the nationalisation of Bankia, one of the country’s biggest banks. Even more money is thought to have left the country since then, raising fears that Spain is locked in an unbreakable cycle of market panic.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain Faces ‘Total Emergency’ As Fear Grips Markets

Spain is facing the gravest danger since the end of the Franco dictatorship as the country is frozen out of global capital markets and slides towards an epic showdown with Europe.

“We’re in a situation of total emergency, the worst crisis we have ever lived through” said ex-premier Felipe Gonzalez, the country’s elder statesman.

The warning came as the yields on Spanish 10-year bonds spiked to 6.7pc, pushing the “risk premium” over German Bunds to a post-euro high of 540 basis points. The IBEX index of stocks in Madrid fell 2.6pc, the lowest since the dotcom bust in 2003.

Chaos over the €23.5bn rescue of crippled lender Bankia has led to the abrupt resignation of central bank governor Miguel Ángel Fernández Ordóñez, who testified to the senate that he had been muzzled to avoid enflaming events as confidence in the country drains away.

Markets are on tenterhooks as Spanish yields test levels that forced the European Central Bank to respond last November with its €1 trillion liquidity blitz. “Nobody is short Spanish debt right now because they are expecting ECB intervention,” said Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS. “If it doesn’t come — if we take out 6.8pc — we’re going to see a hyberbolic sell-off,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The German Banker’s Cunning Plan

Question: What are the first three letters of the Greek alphabet?

Answer: I, O, U.

Actually, there’s a point to this bad joke, which is that promissory notes — issued by the Greek government — could enable a compromise between a potentially calamitous Greek exit from the Eurozone and the unsustainable status quo.

This intriguing suggestion comes from Thomas Mayer — chief economist at Deutsche Bank — and is reported in Die Welt (via the Worldcrunch website):

  • “Mayer and his colleagues at Deutsche Bank have come up with a third option: introduce a brand-new second currency, alongside the euro, in Greece.
  • “‘The Greek government is soon going to be issuing IOUs to state workers,’ Mayer said at the Welt conference. ‘There’s going to be a parallel circulation of promissory notes and euros.’ And he’s already come up with a snappy term for the new parallel currency: the ‘Geuro.’
  • “‘I believe that the most probable development will be a currency that circulates parallel to the euro,’ he said. This would for example make it possible for exporting firms to lower salaries so that they can do business again. And it would make it possible for a bankrupt government to honour its commitments.

The parallel currency would likely trade at a massive discount to the Euro, but then that’s the point — anything that could be paid for in Greek government IOUs would become much more affordable to outsiders (correspondingly, anything that has to be paid for in Euros would become much less affordable to Greeks — including the Euro-denominated debt that they owe). You might think that there’s not much difference between this plan and the Grexit scenario in which Greece devalues by returning to the Drachma — and in several key respects you’d be right: This whole crisis is the result of a series of fundamental economic imbalances that can’t be resolved without somebody, somewhere paying the price.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


CAIR Seeks DOJ Action After TN Judge Stops Mosque Construction

Washington, May 29, 2012 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to protect the religious rights of Tennessee Muslims after a judge in that state blocked completion of a mosque that has been targeted by anti-Muslim bigots for the past two years. The judge ruled today that proper public notice was not given for the May 2010 meeting that approved the site plan for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, near Murfreesboro, Tenn. He seemed to base his ruling on the fact that anti-Muslim bigots were able to manufacture a controversy over the construction of the mosque, the site of which has been the target of hate vandalism.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Chicago Islamic Leader Uses Education as Weapon Against Terrorism and Discrimination

Education is the weapon of choice for an area Islamic leader in his fight against the radicalization of Islamic youth and the discrimination of American Muslims. Dr. Sabeel Ahmed, 36, is the director of the Gain Peace project, an Islamic outreach program based in Chicago. Ahmed blames misinterpretations of the Quran and Islam for the dual extremes of Islamophobia and violent Islamist radicalism. He sees education as the way forward to both break down stereotypes and counter terrorist groups looking to recruit Muslim-Americans to commit acts of violence. Ahmed’s organization sparked controversy five years ago after erecting a billboard near O’Hare Airport that asked “Why Islam?” But the Indian-born medical doctor insists education and peace are his goals, not conversion.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Construction Continues on Murfreesboro Mosque Despite Ruling

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.- Construction continues on the Islamic mosque in Rutherford County in spite of a last ditch attempt to stop it. On Tuesday, a Chancery Court judge sided with plaintiffs in the case who don’t want the mosque in their neighborhood. Judge Robert Corlew’s opinion said the results of a county planning commission meeting in 2010 were “void and of no effect”. The judge said that the county did not give the public sufficient notice of the meeting. Plans for the mosque were approved at that meeting. The mosque is less than 6 weeks from completion, and Islamic leaders say construction will continue until they’re told to stop. “We are the victims here, but we are trying to continue to be reasonable. We will continue to do our part as we’re supposed to do and I’m comfortable that with the protection of The Constitution this building will exist,” said Ossama Bahloul , the Imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Rutherford County attorney James Cope said construction can continue and no one can do anything until a judge gives a final order. He said that will take at least 30 days, by then the mosque will almost be finished.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Does Muslim Blasphemy Trump Free Speech in America?

by Jerry Gordon

In late April 2012, a Tennessee legislator held a meeting with aides to Gov. Bill Haslam. It concerned unauthorized and apparently unconstitutional moves by Bill Gibbons, Tennessee State Commissioner of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS), establishing a partnership with a religious NGO, the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) which has ties to local Muslim Brotherhood leaders via the American Center for Outreach (ACO). Gibbons was the long term District Attorney General in Memphisâ€(tm) Shelby County and previously served as an aide to two former GOP Governors, Lamar Alexander and Don Sundquist.

AMAC is modeled on an organization created by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in August 2011, the Muslim American Advisory Council. Quinn had appointed the Secretary General of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Safaa Zazour and Kareem Irfan, President of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, to serve on the Council. Illinois has 400,000 Muslims and more than 300 mosques. Its principal purpose according to ISNA is to “help ensure Muslim American participation in state government.” ISNA and the International Institute on Islamic Thought (IIIT), a northern Virginia based “think tank” for the Muslim Brotherhood met with the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) as Muslims for Constructive Engagement with the US government and Pentagon to push Islamization from within. IDA is a Pentagon contractor. In 2006 they met to develop guidelines for Muslim Advisory Groups to government agencies. In retrospect the Muslim Advisory Councils were the springboard for the infiltration of host government agencies like the DSHS in Tennessee. It was a furtherance of the Grand Jihad plan of the Muslim Brotherhood uncovered in a hidden basement of a northern Virginia home by FBI investigators. This discovery led to the Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation trial and convictions in 2008. A trial that named the ISNA and several other Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America as unindicted co-conspirators…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

Group of Muslims Detained by Police at Orlando Airport After Asking for a Cup on Board a Plane

A group of Muslims were detained at Orlando Sanford International Airport because they asked for a cup on board a plane. According to the Orlando Sentinel the captain of Allegiant flight No.625 from Allentown, Pennsylvania, radioed ahead of landing and asked for airport police to meet the plane. A number of Muslims were reportedly lingering in the lavatory and asked for a cup which aroused suspicion among airline staff


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

John Edwards Found Not Guilty on One Count; Judge Declares Mistrial on Others

The jury in the federal campaign finance case against former Senator John Edwards said Thursday that it had found him not guilty on one of the six counts against him, and the judge declared a mistrial on the others.

[Return to headlines]

Pikesville Mosque to Open at Slade Mansion on Park Heights Avenue

Ahmadiyya congregation buys Slade Mansion in heart of Jewish community

Synagogues and schools line Park Heights Avenue in Pikesville — Temple Oheb Shalom, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and the Shoshana S. Cardin School, among them. Nearby is the nation’s largest kosher grocery store, and signs promoting Jewish organizations dot the neighborhood. Now the street that runs through the heart of Baltimore’s Jewish community is getting a new religious building: a mosque for Ahmadi Muslims. That plan has taken some area residents by surprise and even stirred some concerns. The Baltimore congregation of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam has bought the Slade Mansion, a white, Colonial-style house at Slade and Park Heights avenues, a busy intersection in Pikesville. Local members of the sect, which has been persecuted in other parts of the world, have outgrown their home in the city and hope they can find a comfortable home in the deeply religious neighborhood.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck: Watch My GBTV Monologue: “Unholy Alliance”

I was honored to guest host the Glenn Beck Program on GBTV yesterday. In my opening monologue, I discussed the unholy alliance between radical Islamists and the radical left, which I experienced personally at Portland State University recently.

I also talked about the united front against America and Israel and why we must stand together. All with some Scripture blended in. Hope you enjoy it.

Click the link above to watch.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Europe’s Post-Nazi Stress Disorder Has Brought it to Ruin

by Ed West

The European crisis threatens to re-awaken the old monster of nationalism, military historian Antony Beevor has warned. In an interview with the Telegraph, the author of Stalingrad and Berlin: the Downfall said that:

The great European dream was to diminish militant nationalism. We would all be happy Europeans together. But we are going to see the old monster of militant nationalism being awoken when people realise how little control their politicians have. We are already seeing political disintegration in Europe. I feel slightly uneasy at the way historians are consulted as if history is going to repeat itself. It never does. It is misleading and dangerous to make sweeping parallels with the Second World War. Politicians like Blair and Bush liked to sound Churchillian or Rooseveltian at times of crisis, but the comparisons of Saddam Hussein to Hitler were preposterous. Eden compared Nasser to Hitler and that led us into the Suez disaster.

Indeed. On the same day The Guardian printed a letter, “We are all Greek Jews now”, warning against Right-wing extremism, a letter that perfectly captures all the symptoms of Europe’s post-Nazi disorder.

We invite all citizens, political parties, unions, civil society, intellectuals and artists to fight the extreme right by promoting and bringing to life the European dream. We must always remember that this dream was built on the ruins of Nazism. We must never forget about the Shoah. Our dream is of a continent free from racism and antisemitism. It is the project of a society based on “togetherness” — beyond boundaries. Second, we must refute the dogma of “the European fortress”, which favours the spread of anti-immigrant speeches and the lockdown of Europe’s frontiers, especially when a core element of European postwar identity — its social welfare system — requires the economic input of immigration to remain sustainable.

Taking aside that they conflate genuinely nasty neo-Fascist parties like Golden Dawn with populist (often quite libertarian) groups such as the Dutch Freedom Party, the European dream is not under threat from a few Greek heavies who look like they’ve stepped out of a Vauxhall nightclub; it’s under threat from itself, because its vision is totally unworkable. The idea of a society without borders in a world where people share their countries is as radical and extreme as the idea that people might share their property — so don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work.


But Golden Dawn and Jobbik are not going to bring about a new Holocaust — in fact the overwhelming, dominant threat to Europe’s Jewish community comes from the Arab and Muslim world, where anti-Semitism is unfortunately far more widespread than it was in Germany before Hitler. And the irony is that, out of collective guilt for what happened to Europe’s Jews, Europe imported millions of people from some of the world’s most anti-Semitic countries, made no attempt to counter these prejudices, and even began to adopt the idea that Israel was uniquely responsible for the world’s problems. Instead of preventing future atrocities by defending Israel’s very strong historic legitimacy — a crucial step on the road to peace — they are still trying to fight the last genocide, stuck in their solipsistic dreams. There’s no harm in having dreams, of course, except that when they become nightmares, others are often forced to share them.

[Reader comment by rogermurrayclark on 30 May 2012 at 09:11 PM.]

“But it’s never been explained why, because of what the Nazis did — and the Nazis were not normal nationalists anymore than Mark Chapman is a normal music fan — the Dutch, the French or the English should embrace a utopian vision whereby they become minorities in their own major cities and their countries become provinces of a new Holy Roman Empire.”

Excellent Ed

What is especially bizarre is that Britain obviously stood against Nazi Germany 40/1 and yet we too are expected to embrace colonisation from the third world; and indeed be so accommodating that we are expected to go into default denial when some of these colonists groom and gang rape native girls in town after town after town.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pope Blasts Media Reporting of ‘Vatileaks’

Pontiff has ‘pain’ in heart after butler arrested

(ANSA) — Vatican City, May 30 — Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday blasted the media coverage of the so-called ‘Vatileaks’ affair after his butler was arrested last week for being in possession of illegally obtained confidential Church documents.

“Inferences have multiplied from some media organs that are totally gratuitous and have gone well beyond the facts, giving an image of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality,” the pontiff said.

Benedict also said that he renewed his “trust in, and encouragement for, my closest assistants and all those who help my carry out my ministry in silence with faith and spirit of sacrifice”.

The butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested after the Vatican launched a probe into the leaking of sensitive Church papers to the Italian media earlier this year. The documents included a letter with allegations of corruption in the management of Vatican City sent to the pope from the Holy See’s ambassador in Washington, Carlo Maria Vigano’, when he was the deputy governor of Vatican City.

The Holy See has staunchly denied media speculation that high-ranking figures in the clergy, including cardinals, were also involved in the leaks.

The pope said at his general audience that the events of the last few days had “caused pain to my heart”, while adding that “the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit” and that “the Lord will never fail to give his help to support it in its path”.

The Church has also been hit by controversy after Ettore Gotti Tedeschi last week stepped down as president of the Vatican Bank, officially called the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), following a no-confidence vote by the board of directors. Gotti Tedeschi said he was not revealing the truth about the case “out of love for the pope” after the Vatican said he had not been carrying out his duties properly. Vatican experts said Gotti Tedeschi’s split with the bank was likely linked to internal tensions regarding the Vatican’s efforts to secure inclusion on the international ‘white list’ of countries which are considered to have acceptable financial transparency laws, unlike tax havens.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK Opera Stirs Anti-Islam Profanity Fear

Britain is to host an opera on four Muslim youth planning a suicide bombing in what appears to be a potentially profane attack on Islam and Muslims.

The opera named “Babur in London “, which is to be staged in Leeds starting from June 12, is reportedly the story of four young men plotting a suicide attack in which concepts of Jihad, war, the afterlife and the Islamic ban on alcohol are put to question. “In a London suburb four young men and women are preparing a terrorist act. As their mission draws closer, they are disturbed by the ghost of Babur, first Mughal Emperor — poet and warrior, who died 500 years ago,” the Opera North, which is co-producing the chamber piece said on its website. “Challenging their convictions he [Babur] calls them ‘children playing at battle, in love with death’, but what are his motives for interfering?” Opera North said in the synopsis.

The performance is feared to encourage the western-backed stereotype of Islam and terrorism and repeat profane accusations against Islam as writer Jeet Thayil names one of the suicide bombers Mohammed that the symbolic water-bottle strewn setting of the opera suggest could have further blasphemous implications. “My name is Mo, short for Mohammed … And I owe my allegiance to global Umma./ My nation’s the Republic of Islam,” an excerpt of the chamber piece reads. Thayil further argues, through the words of Babur, that suicide bombing is not approved by God and that the four aspiring bombers are ignorant of the Holy Book. “God doesn’t countenance the slaughter of innocents,” Babur says. “Suicide is a sin and murder is a sin,/ And in the eyes of God you are sinners,” he later adds. However, that is put in the words of a past ruler who the audience suspect of severe brutality and bloodshed rather than passionate care for his victims, falsely suggesting that Islam, nevertheless, supports violence.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Exploitative’ EDL Hijacks Sikh Protest in Luton

A Sikh elder today shared his concern at attempts by the English Defence League to hijack a protest by the Luton Sikh community. The protest outside Luton Police Station last night was in response feelings of a lack of action by the police force. Catrin Nye, a BBC journalist reported:

The Sikh protesters shut down the dual carriageway through the centre of Luton, they sat down on the road and chanted surrounded by a large police presence. Their reason they said was the police haven’t dealt properly with the alleged sexual assault on a young Sikh girl in the town. In the early hours of the morning the remaining protesters gathered at Guru Nanak Gurdwara just minutes from the protest site. Members of the English Defence League joined the protest. They claimed they were going to turn it into a national event but that didn’t happen.

She went on to confirm that the EDL had not been invited as had initially been claimed.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Allah Save the Queen, Say Muslims

A British Muslim community has set out plans to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with street parties, lighting up of mosques throughout the UK, feeding the homeless and a launch of 200 special Diamond Jubilee buses across London — a unique contribution to this historic event. Ahmadiyya Muslims will play the national anthem in street parties across 30 towns and cities from London to Glasgow. In Birmingham for example the celebrations will feature the Royal Navy band playing the national anthem at the mosque and congratulatory messages being read out in 60 languages by local community representatives. There will also be special prayers for The Queen at 100 mosques and prayer halls belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community — one of the oldest Islamic groups in Britain.


[JP note: One hopes not.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron: I Rely on the Queen’s Great British Common Sense

David Cameron has paid tribute to the Queen’s “Great British common sense” and says he benefits from her 60 years of experience during their weekly meetings in Buckingham Palace.

The Prime Minister says the Queen is able to “cut through the fuss and see what really matters” when they discuss domestic and world events in their hour-long conversations.

Mr Cameron, the 12th prime minister of the Queen’s reign, says that her “time-tested wisdom” has been invaluable during his two years in office, when he has faced the pressure of keeping a Coalition together as well as running the country. His thoughts are included in a book produced to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee which the publisher hopes will raise more than £1 million for the Queen’s Jubilee charity fund.


[JP note: I do not believe for one moment that any of the Queen’s common sense has rubbed off onto David Cameron.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Extensive Library of London Mosque’s Late Imam Donated to Ireland’s University College Cork

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Unveiling the Zaki Badawi Collection this week, a university spokesperson described it as “the most comprehensive and extensive collection of Arabic books on Islam and the Middle East in Ireland to be used both by academic researchers and the public”. The collection was officially opened in a ceremony officiated by leading European Muslim intellectual, Professor Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University (pictured). Dr Zaki Badawi, who died in 2006 at the age of 84, was one of Britain’s most prominent Muslims. The substantial Arabic library of Dr Badawi was given to the UCC library by his son, Faris Badawi, who lives in Cork. As chief imam of the London Central Mosque and founder of the Muslim College in London, he advocated a moderate interpretation of Islam adapted to the culture and values of European societies. He was also a strong supporter of interfaith dialogue, establishing the Three Faiths Forum in Britain to foster relations between Christians, Jews and Muslims. Dr Badawi was the first prominent Muslim to criticise imams in the UK who did not teach in English. He was awarded an honorary knighthood in 2004. Following his death, tributes were led by the Prince of Wales, who said the imam, who called for British Muslims to participate fully in British life, had been a “truly remarkable and warm-hearted man.”

[JP note: When and if, on the grand scheme of scopes, the Prince becomes King, he will most assuredly become the Defender of the Faith — the Islamic Faith.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Human Rights in Islam

‘At a time when our liberties and human rights are threatened by a continuous stream of legislation and policies aligned to the discredited War on Terror, which many Muslims perceive as a “war on Islam”, this timely seminar will highlight the importance of human rights, what it means to Muslims and how to ensure its defence.’

Guest Speakers:

Shami Chakrabarti CBE

Since 2003, Shami Chakrabarti has been Director of Liberty (The National Council for Civil Liberties). She first joined Liberty as an In-House Counsel on 10 September 2001, later becoming heavily involved in its engagement with the so called War on Terror and with the defence and promotion of human rights values in Parliament, the Courts and the wider society. Shami was called to the Bar in 1994, she worked as a lawyer in the Home Office from 1996 until 2001 for Governments of both political persuasions. Currently, Shami is Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, a Governor of the British Film Institute, and a Visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford in addition to being a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple. She was recently invited to be one of 6 independent assessors advising Lord Justice Leveson in his Public Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the UK Press.

Rizwaan Sabir

Rizwaan Sabir is a human rights activist and doctoral researcher at the University of Strathclyde, where he is researching Islam in British and Scottish governments, with a special focus on counter-terrorism. In May 2008 he was detained for six days as a suspected member of al-Qaida for being in possession of primary research literature. He was released without charge, and also awarded compensation by the British Police for his ill-treatment.

Corinna Ferguson

Corinna Ferguson is a barrister and has been a legal officer at Liberty since August 2008. She is currently working on cases concerning religious freedom in the workplace; the duty on the state to investigate allegations of inhuman and degrading treatment in an immigration detention centre; and police photography of peaceful protesters.

Shafiur Rahman

Imam Shafiur Rahman is an Islamic Studies teacher based in London. Imam Shafiur has been actively involved in regional and national community organisations for many years. He holds an MSc in Addictive Behaviour, PGDip in Business Administration, and currently completing a degree in Islamic Studies (following studies in Syria) at the prestigious Al-Azhar Univeristy in Cairo, Egypt. He regularly lectures, writes and blogs on Islam.

1st JUNE 2012 — 6.45pm



This seminar is open to all. Register today as places are limited.

Further Information or Media Enquiries Contact:

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Hidden Delights to Go on Display

LOCAL places of worship are opening their doors to the public to reveal the treasures within. Churches, mosques and temples across Kirklees are joining together for a three-day festival giving everyone the opportunity to look inside the sacred buildings. Treasures Revealed in Kirklees, organised by Kirklees Faiths Forum, takes place every year to encourage understanding and build relationships between our area’s different faith communities.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Liberty Lost

by Diana West

Back in 2001, Britain’s political parties signed a fantastic pledge. They agreed to say nothing to “stir up racial or religious hatred, or lead to prejudice on grounds of race, nationality or religion.”

This gag order did more than keep the parties polite. Vital issues — from massive immigration and multiculturalism to their eradicating effects on British civilization — were officially banned. Thus, such concerns became impermissible thoughts. Not that such issues weren’t already thoughtcrime, as George Orwell would have put it. But this unprecedented pledge turned “violators” into political lepers.

I thought of that elite code of cowardice this week when a London judge sentenced a 42-year-old British secretary named Jacqueline Woodhouse to 21 weeks in jail. Her crime? An expletive-laden rant about immigration, multiculturalism and the disappearance of British civilization. Not in so many words. But that was the unmistakable gist of Woodhouse’s commentary one January night on the London Underground.

This same week, another London judge ordered two black girls, 18 and 19, to perform community service after a savage physical attack on two white legal secretaries. “I am satisfied what you both did, you did that night because you were fueled by alcohol,” Judge Stephen Kramer said, as though tut-tutting a child’s unknowing apple theft.

A few months ago, another London judge freed four Somali Muslim women who set upon a white couple, yelling, “Kill the white slag,” and other anti-white slurs. The gang beat the woman to the ground and ripped out a patch of her hair. Judge Robert Brown was lenient because, he ruled, as Muslims, the women were not used to being drunk.

Jacqueline Woodhouse was drunk, too, but that was no mitigating factor in her case. She harmed no one, but that was no mitigating factor, either. Judge Michael Snow invoked the “deep sense of shame” Woodhouse’s display elicited, because “our citizens … may, as a consequence, believe that it secretly represents the views of other white people.”

“Thoughtcrime is death,” as Orwell wrote in “1984.”

And, thanks to YouTube, it becomes continuous spectacle. Woodhouse’s court-deemed “victim,” Galbant Singh Juttla, recorded and uploaded her display. After the six-minute clip went viral, Woodhouse turned herself in to police.

But what might she have confessed to?…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

UK: Song of the Suicide Bomber: How ‘Babur in London’ Negotiated a Cultural Minefield

The daring new opera featuring British terrorists planning an attack is being staged next month.

“My name is Mo, short for Mohammed,/ I’m a second-generation immigrant cliché: Twenty-eight, disenfranchised, well educated./ My mother is white, but I’m all Paki./ My father owns a corner shop where I work,/ And I owe my allegiance to global Umma./ My nation’s the Republic of Islam.” So sings Mo, one of four aspiring suicide bombers in the cast of Babur in London, a daring new opera that tackles modern-day terrorism as well as the legacy of ancient Indian history in its libretto. The production is named after Babur, a warrior who founded the Mughal Empire in India in the 16th century, and who was a famously brutal warlord as well as a brilliant poet.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Why is Edward Lear Almost Forgotten These Days? There’s Nothing So English as Nonsense

Dickens isn’t the only author’s bicentenary in 2012. Edward Lear was also born 200 years ago. Unlike Dickens, the father of nonsense has been almost forgotten. There was no adoring documentary on BBC4, no indulgent re-issue of his complete works. In fact, like most people, I didn’t even notice. You can see why. Except for a handful of poems, nobody reads Lear today. Teachers increasingly shy away from the slightly sinister feel of Victorian children’s literature. Children go through school without ever studying the author. Limericks are now the preserve of potty-mouthed pub bores. And nonsense never went global: A Book of Nonsense doesn’t boast an underground following of students and Satanists, unlike, say, The Surrealist Manifesto. But Edward Lear deserves to be remembered, because nonsense is an expression of our national character. Take Lear’s most famous poem, The Owl and the Pussy Cat. Although the poem delights in its own strangeness — what is a Bong tree, and where can you buy a runcible spoon? — it never tries to shock. In other words it’s eccentric: the politest, most English form of madness.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Tunisia: Protests Against Latest Salafi Attacks

Journalist beaten because of “bare arms”

(ANSA) — TUNIS, MAY 31 — Artists and entertainers, alongside members of the Constituent Assembly and civil society representatives have staged a sit-in of solidarity for the actor Rajab Magri, who was attacked by Salafis. On May 24 the extremists attacked Magri (hospitalised for the injuries suffered), accusing him of being an unbeliever. During the sit-in held in front of the Constituent Assembly building, the charges were reiterated against the Salafis, who over the past few months have stepped up acts of violence against those working in the Tunisian world of culture. The protestors demanded that the authorities take effective action to halt the escalating violence which many Tunisian artists have been subjected to, and received statements of solidarity from secular and reformist representatives of the Constituent Assembly and Tunisian civil society organisations. Meanwhile, a journalist working for an online economic publication attacked at the exit to a Tunis underground station has accused in no uncertain terms the Salafis for what happened.

The journalist said that she had been pushed to the ground and beaten by a Salafi who reproached her for having gone out without covering her arms. According to her report, the initial attacker was joined by six others who beat her in front of the crowd until a passer-by, at the risk of being beaten up as well, managed to save her from further violence.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Bat Ye’or: Jerusalem or Al-Quds? The European Union’s Choice

Originally appeared in the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism vol.3 #2, 2011

The overwhelming effect of the international campaign of defamation and delegitimization of Israel does not easily allow identifying where the blows come from, nor its original source. Yet the operations and strategic center of this widespread war that seeks to replace Jerusalem with al-Quds is the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC, formally called Islamic Conference), which brings together Muslim countries and those with a Muslim majority.

Created in 1969, this gigantic multinational religious organization declares that it is rooted in the Koran and Sunna. It includes a large number of subsidiary committees as well as various organizations embracing theological, legal, and political sectors. Since 2000, the OIC stated in many documents that its mission is to speak for the Ummah, the worldwide Muslim community, which also includes those Muslims who emigrated to the West. It claims to be their protector, with a particular responsibility toward those living in Europe, since they are exposed to the immoral customs and ideas of non-Muslims. The OIC constantly castigates these customs and ideas as “Islamophobia,” making every effort to have it penalized in the international courts and by European governments. Countless international networks of multiculturalism, pro-immigration, and anti-Zionism, financed by European governments and the European Union, are totally devoted to it and act as its sounding board within Western societies. Those promoting the line blaming the West and the victimization of the Palestinians feed from its sap. In Europe its lobbies spread its arguments, and benefit in the universities and at the international level from maximum media exposure as they operate with the tacit approval of European governments and churches, which provide them with unofficial, opaque financing.1 This Euro-OIC cooperation takes place through countless dialogue networks, partnerships, and associations that preach diversity and multiculturalism and that generally invoke the noble motives of “peace, justice and human rights.” Drawn from human rights platitudes, these ideals incorporate the principles of Jihad and dhimmitude, imperceptible for a European public unaware of them.

The subversion of the language and the twisting of its meaning are particularly apparent in the OIC’s declarations. For example, the foreign ministers of the member states of the OIC, meeting in New York in September 2008, reiterated in their final communiqué “their commitment to the noble principles of peace, humanism and tolerance” to democracy and transparency, while most of their governments are among the cruelest and most corrupt dictatorships. They declared that the challenges of the 21st century required the solidarity of the OIC member states, rallying round the values of Islam.2 Yet, no country that applies shari’a applies democracy and religious freedom as understood in the West. Less than three years later, the Arab masses were rising against the repression of the regimes represented by those same ministers, whose empty speeches slip into readymade phrases to seduce Western leaders…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

BBC Challenged on Obama Israel Speech Report

The BBC Trust has partly upheld a complaint against the corporation over an online article which reported American President Obama’s position on the Middle East process. The article, posted on May 19 last year, was headlined “Obama insists 1967 ‘basis’ for Israel-Palestinian peace” and went on to state that the president insisted that “the 1967 border must be the basis for negotiations to set up a future Palestinian state”. But Zionist Federation member Stephen Franklin — who has previously had complaints upheld against the BBC’s Middle East coverage — took issue with the wording, saying that in a speech President Obama had used the word “should” rather than “must”. Mr Obama had stated that the Americans “believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognised borders are established for both states.” After the BBC’s editorial complaints unit and then the trust’s head of editorial standards rejected his complaint, Mr Franklin lodged a further appeal. The trust’s editorial standards committee agreed that the words “must”, taken with “insists”, was “too strong” and “therefore not duly accurate”.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Work to Start on New Bahrain Grand Mosque

Work on a new grand mosque with a capacity to serve large congregations of around 800 people will start soon in Diyar Al Muharraq, said top officials. A signing ceremony was held yesterday (May 30) to announce the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa Grand Mosque, which was attended by Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, Sunni Endowments chairman Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa and Diyar Al Muharraq chairman Abdulhakeem Alkhayyat. The mosque located on a 19,238 sq m area will be completed by next August and will feature traditional Arabian Islamic design. It will be adjacent to Diyar Entry Park in the Sarat area across the beach. It will also be a Friday Grand Mosque, with separate areas for men and women. Diyar Al Muharraq signed the agreement with Gulf House Engineering and Middle East Contracting and Trade Centre.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Kazakhstan: Islam-Christianity Dialogue Features at Kazakh Interfaith Meet

Astana, May 31 (IANS) With religious tensions running high in Europe and other parts of the world, a dialogue between Islam and Christianity is the highlight of a global congress of faiths and civilisations this Kazakhstan capital that began here Wednesday and which is being attended, among others, by the head of the Global Islamic League, the metropolitan of Minsk and the chief rabbi of Israel. Should there be a major breakthrough, it would match the dramatic call by Israeli President Shimon Peres at the third edition of the Congress of World and Traditional Religions in 2009 for a three-way meeting between Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Arab world to restore peace in the Middle East. The theme of the fourth edition of the Congress is “Peace and harmony as the choice of mankind”. However, the topics suggested for debates makes it evident that the focused will be on the integration of Islamic values to Christianity. Noting that one of the themes was “Religion and Multiculturalism”, an official associated with the Congress said it would “be a place for civilized discussion between representatives of Islam and Christianity on the tradition of wearing headscarves and veils by women. That is, as Christians believe, an over-expression of religion in secular European countries, where historical religion is Christianity”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Muslim Extremists Go Gaga in Indonesia

By Kalinga Seneviratne

JAKARTA, May 31, 2012 (IPS) — A sell-out concert by controversial U.S. pop star Lady Gaga scheduled for June 3 in the Indonesian capital was called off by the concert promoters on the weekend citing security concerns. This has reignited debate in the local media about the clout of “extremist” Islamic groups in the country and police inaction to limit what many in the media call their “thuggery”.


[JP note: Muslim extremists go gaga everywhere.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Court Orders Demolition of a Minaret, Dome of Ahmadi Mosque

Lahore: A Pakistani court has ordered the demolition of a minaret and dome of an Ahmadi mosque, where over 50 people were killed in an attack by terrorists two years ago. Additional Session Judge Naeem Ahmed further directed authorities to remove the ‘Kalma’ (Islamic profession of faith) from the mosque in Ghari Shahu area of Lahore. The judge issued the directives yesterday in response to a petition filed by Badr Alam, an assistant of lawyer Ismail Qureshi, who is known for his anti-Ahmadi views.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Curtain Goes Up on Cat Stevens’ Musical ‘Moonshadow’ With World Premiere in Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia — Yusuf Islam’s long-awaited musical “Moonshadow” — some 10 years in the making — has its world premiere Thursday night in Australia. The singer-songwriter who was formerly known as Cat Stevens has invested a decade and $5 million into the epic fable, which is partially based on his life, travels and spiritual journey. “It’s a little bit to do with my journey but at the same time it’s also based on some of the early ideas I had about Siddhartha [father of buddhism], the Alchemist, but many things to do with the odyssey — the journey outward and the journey home,” Islam said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: In Africa, A Militant Group’s Growing Appeal

(Reuters) — When Abdullahi slipped across the Kenya-Somali border to join the fighters of Islamist militant group al Shabaab in 2009, the livestock herder from northern Kenya found himself among recruits from around the globe. There were ethnic Somalis who had grown up in Australia, Britain, France and the United States. But there was also a large number of fellow Kenyans in the group’s ranks. They included, unexpectedly, dozens of young men who did not share his Somali ancestry or language but came instead from the green, tropical heartland of Kenya where Christianity is the dominant religion.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

I Fear That Fat People Have Missed the PC Boat

by Ed West


Poor fat people, they missed the PC boat — which is a shame, because they probably would have sunk it.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Sanctity and Care of Women in Islam

Despite West’s bitter sentiments presented toward Islam and its alleged oppressive treatment toward women, it is imperative that Islam’s role is singly distinguished from some of the misconstrued practices of Muslims. Because Islam has always remained, on the grand scheme of scopes, so judiciously receptive of the treatment of women and their rights, no such allegations can stand on the ground of truth. Perhaps the culpability for such sentiments can be directed toward the extent of the bigotry and infamous reputation of Muslims in major news outlets? Or maybe it’s the outlook on a Muslim woman’s covering that makes them seem imprisoned and oppressed.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]