Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120601

Financial Crisis
»Chinese Manufacturing Shows Further Decline
»Ireland Backs EU Treaty With 60.3 Pct ‘Yes’ Vote
»Jobs Slowdown Adds to Global Fears
»Romney, GOP Pounce on Dismal May Jobs Report
»Sharp Slowdown in Asia Sounds Ominous Warning
»Stocks Down More Than 2% at Close on Weak Jobs Report
»45 All-American Muslim Men Share Personal Stories of Faith, Family, And Patriotism
»Basketball a Slam-Dunk for Area Muslims
»Jihad in Seattle
»Muslim Council Reassigns Fiery Houston Imam at Members’ Urging
»Obama Continued, Accelerated Use of Bush-Era Stuxnet Computer Attacks on Iran
»President Obama’s Muslim Tendencies
»The New Face of Muslim American Leadership
Europe and the EU
»Bulgarian Culture Minister Seeks Urgent Repair of Quake-Hit Sofia Mosque
»EU Institutions: The New Brussels Aristocracy
»German President Backs Off From Predecessor’s Pro-Islam Line
»German President Under Fire Over Questionable Islam Remarks
»Greece: Last Official Polls, Battle Between New Democracy and Syriza
»Greece: Brussels Approves 181 Mln for Motorway Stretch
»Malmström Wants End to “Anti-Immigration Rhetoric”
»Norway: Experts Cast Doubt on Breivik’s Sanity
»‘Polish Camps’: Obama Writes to the President to Apologize
»Sweden: Girl Found Hanged in Tree Near Stockholm
»UK: A Banned Words List for Our Commenters
»UK: Britain Prepares for Left-Field Diamond Jubilee
»UK: Bailiffs Raid Hindu Temple as Priests Refuse to Move Out for Travelodge
»UK: Community Praised in Wake of Demo
»UK: Hitting the Union Jackpot With Jubilee Merchandise
»UK: Half of Britons Want Prince of Wales to Stand Aside in Favour of Duke of Cambridge
»UK: Luton Sikh-Muslim Protest: ‘Positive’ Police Meeting
»UK: Muslim School Planned for City ‘Will Produce a Lost Generation’
»UK: Polygamy in Islam: The Women Victims of Multiple Marriage
»UK: Plans for a £10m Hindu Temple in Northampton Approved
»UK: Salford Appoints Assistant Mayor for Humanegement
North Africa
»Coptic Bishop Advises Women in Egypt to Dress Modestly Like ‘Muslims and St. Mary’
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: The Reign of the Fantasists
Middle East
»Aid Policy: Making Muslim Aid More Effective
»Iraq: Baghdad’s Energy Auctions Flop
»Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran
»Syria: Remember Bosnia, Seedbed of Radical Islam
»The Arab Spring Was No Prelude to Democracy
»Turkish Pianist Charged With Insulting Islam
South Asia
»Malaysia: Matta: Non-Muslims Welcome to Join Islamic Tours
Australia — Pacific
»Obituary: Alan Thorne
»Planning Underway for Horsham Mosque
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Muslims Blame Ethiopian Government for Messing in Mosques
»Schengen: Europeans Preparing to Lock Down Borders With Greece
»Cases of ‘Truman Show’ Delusions on the Rise as More People Believe They’re the Stars of Their Own Reality TV Programs
»Crusader Kings 2 Sword of Islam Expansion Announced, Will Let You Side With Saladin

Financial Crisis

Chinese Manufacturing Shows Further Decline

The PMI fell to 50.4 for the month of May. Forecast drop to 52.2. For months state and private industries have been hard hit, with warehouses full of unsold products. In Hong Kong sale of luxury products down by 5%. Doubts about a new aid package.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) — With a lower figure than expected, China’s PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) in May was 50.4, the lowest this year, a further signal that the second world economy is slowing.

The PMI index signals industrial activity: a value below 50 indicates contraction; above growth. China’s PMI in April was 53.3, and many experts had predicted a decline to only 52.2.

The official PMI is calculated mainly with an eye to the large state-owned industries. What is quite certain is that private industry — less subsidized and protected — are in a major crisis. The PMI calculated by HSBC shows that these industries have marked a decline for at least seven months.

The slowdown in China is also making waves in Hong Kong, where retail sales — especially of luxury goods, operated by wealthy rich Chinese — were down 5% on annual average.

Investors always hope in the government’s decision to launch a new aid package for the economy, but many Chinese experts have warned Beijing not to provoke risky asset price bubbles and higher inflation.

According to analysts, the PMI will drop even more because the Chinese manufacturing industries have warehouses full of unsold products due to the overproduction of recent years.

The same analysts predict that in 2012 the growth in China will be a 7.9, the lowest since 2009, when it reached 8% after years of double digit growth.

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

Ireland Backs EU Treaty With 60.3 Pct ‘Yes’ Vote

DUBLIN — Ireland’s voters have agreed to ratify the European Union’s deficit-fighting treaty with a resounding 60.3 percent “yes” vote, final referendum results Friday showed, but government leaders and pro-treaty campaigners alike expressed relief rather than joy.

The treaty’s approval, after weeks of nervousness in Dublin and Brussels, relieves some pressure on EU financial chiefs as they battle to contain the eurozone’s debt crisis. But critics said the tougher deficit rules would do nothing to stimulate desperately needed growth in bailed-out Ireland, Portugal and Greece, nor stop Spain or Italy from requiring aid too.

“The question now is where will the jobs and the stability they have promised come from, against the backdrop of a continuing and deepening capitalist crisis within Europe?” said Joe Higgins, leader of Ireland’s Socialist Party, which opposed the treaty. “Their policies will only make the situation worse.”

The result of Thursday’s referendum represented a surprisingly strong victory for the government of Prime Minister Enda Kenny, which courted unpopularity by insisting that Ireland — already four years into a brutal austerity program that has slashed 15 percent from many workers’ incomes — had no choice but to vote in support of yet more cuts and tax hikes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Jobs Slowdown Adds to Global Fears

U.S. job growth slowed sharply in May, a sign of a sputtering recovery that may increase pressure on the Federal Reserve to prop up the economy. Nonfarm payrolls grew by a lackluster 69,000 last month, the Labor Department said Friday, the smallest gain in a year. The unemployment rate, obtained by a separate survey of U.S. households, ticked higher by one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.2%, the first increase since June 2011.

“This is what a jobless recovery looks like,” said Nomura Securities economist Jeffrey Greenberg. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a gain of 155,000 in payrolls and for the jobless rate to remain at 8.1%.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Romney, GOP Pounce on Dismal May Jobs Report

A distressing May employment report — with the fewest number of new jobs created in a year, as unemployment rose to 8.2 percent — elicited swift criticism of President Obama by Republican leaders and presidential nominee Mitt Romney, as each hammered home their election-year message: The president has had three years to create more jobs and revive the U.S. economy — and he’s “failed.”

“Today’s weak jobs report is devastating news for American workers and American families,” Romney said. “It is now clear to everyone that President Obama’s policies have failed to achieve their goals and that the Obama economy is crushing America’s middle class.”

Earlier Friday, House Speaker John Boehner said the president’s “failed policies have made high unemployment and a weak economy the sad new normal for families and small businesses.”

He was joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor who declared, “The American people really deserved better… and under new leadership I believe we can do better.”

Democrats were quick to defend the president.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sharp Slowdown in Asia Sounds Ominous Warning

Manufacturing activity in China and across a wide swath of Asia slowed in May, heightening fears that the turmoil in Western economies is dragging down one of the few remaining engines of global growth. Two purchasing managers indexes for China fell in May, briefly rattling investors Friday and stoking speculation Beijing may have to respond aggressively to support growth. Indonesia posted its first trade deficit in nearly two years, and South Korea’s exports, considered a bellwether for Asia, unexpectedly fell for a third straight month.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Stocks Down More Than 2% at Close on Weak Jobs Report

Stocks ended the day sharply lower on Friday after the latest jobs data in the United States provided evidence that the economy was still struggling.

At the close, the Standard & Poorâ€(tm)s 500-stock index was down 2.5 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average was off about 275 points. The dayâ€(tm)s decline pushed the Dow negative for the year so far.

[Return to headlines]


45 All-American Muslim Men Share Personal Stories of Faith, Family, And Patriotism

Who are American Muslim men? What do they think, do, and say? New Book Introduces 45 All-American Muslim Men whose stories shatter the misconceptions surrounding American Muslim men.

Ashland, OR (PRWEB) May 31, 2012 For far too long, the story of American Muslims has been told by others; rarely do American Muslim men emerge as protagonists of their own narratives, representing their religion or depicted in a way other than as violent extremists, misogynists, and irrational, angry, bearded brown men. That situation is changing with the release on June 1st of “All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Basketball a Slam-Dunk for Area Muslims

Echoing over the sound of bouncing basketballs, screeching sneakers and “halal” (permissible) trash talk, comes the Islamic call to worship, beckoning mosque-goers to the evening prayer at Bear Creek’s Mustafa Mosque. Beards dripping with sweat, the players clean up before heading inside — a physical and spiritual respite from the demanding game. The scene is a common one in Houston, where basketball has gained momentum as the sport of choice for Muslims. Hoops outnumber minarets in the city’s more than two dozen mosques, many of which have full-size basketball courts.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Jihad in Seattle

Last week, Michael D. McCright, a.k.a. Mikhial Jihad, a previously convicted felon from the north Seattle suburb of Lynnwood, pled guilty to lesser charges in a case involving his attempt to force a government vehicle carrying two Marines off the road and cause a collision on an interstate highway in Seattle. The incident occurred on July 12, 2011 and resulted in McCright’s arrest in Seattle on Sept. 8. McCright is linked to another American jihadist who plotted a suicide attack against Marines.

According to the Seattle PI, the Marine staff sergeant in the car targeted by McCright told police that the suspect’s “eyes widened and he appeared to become angry” when he saw the uniformed men, and that shortly thereafter McCright deliberately swerved his car into the path of their vehicle, forcing it off the road, then stopped right in front of it.

Court documents filed following McCright’s arrest indicate he has links with at least one of two men accused of plotting a suicide attack on a south Seattle Marine processing and intake center. The deputy prosecutor in McCright’s case said that McCright’s cell phone was used three times to call Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, a Des Moines, Wa., resident who is being held along with Walli Mujahidh, of Los Angeles; the calls from McCright’s phone were made prior to the July 22, 2011 arrests of Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh. The FBI decided to continue to investigate McCright’s possible links to domestic terrorism. And according to KING5 news, “[a] federal criminal justice source said the FBI had McCright on their radar even before the July 12 road rage incident.”…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Muslim Council Reassigns Fiery Houston Imam at Members’ Urging

A Houston imam whose frequently strange and paranoid sermons drew the ire of many young Muslims in recent months has been reassigned and will no longer preach at the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, though he remains a full-time employee. “To avoid controversy, we reassigned him,” said Aziz Siddiqi, the organization’s president. As the only paid full-time imam at the organization’s main center mosque near West Alabama and Kirby Drive, Omar Inshanally was often the face of one of the largest Islamic community groups in the nation. Over the past several months, critics said the 57-year-old Guyana native’s sermons spiralled into delusional rants including accusing the government of dumping fluoride into the water “to control populations” and propagating “fringe” Internet conspiracy theories.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Continued, Accelerated Use of Bush-Era Stuxnet Computer Attacks on Iran

Since taking office, President Obama has ordered attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, expanding the United States’ use of cyber weapons, according to the New York Times.

Participants in the Stuxnet program told the newspaper it significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyber weapons and that the attacks began during the Bush administration under the code name Olympic Games.

The attacks continued and even accelerated after an element of the program accidentally became public in 2010 as a result of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet.

The Times story also details a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” in which Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

President Obama’s Muslim Tendencies

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 — It’s no secret that President Barack Obama has a problem accepting responsibility for anything negative that happens in his administration.

This is one of the traits that make many people suspicious about his ties to Islam. While the president may not be a practicing Muslim, it is clear that his past and his background provide him with strong Islamic tendencies which are easily supported through his own words as well as many of his actions. Among the more obvious examples is bowing to the Saudi royal family, the yellow drape at his press conferences which contains Islamic symbols and citing passages from the Koran in some of his speeches.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The New Face of Muslim American Leadership

According to a recently released study about American religious membership, Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States. What many Americans may not realise is that as this group grows its religious leadership is also rapidly evolving. When it comes to Jews and Christians, the congregational leader — the rabbi or priest — serves multiple roles. They are leaders of religious life, serving as congregational organizers and worship leaders. But unlike rabbis and priests in the United States, imams don’t tend to serve in pastoral care capacities such as visiting the sick and the elderly, counseling, and leading programs for youth.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Bulgarian Culture Minister Seeks Urgent Repair of Quake-Hit Sofia Mosque

Bulgaria’s Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, is on an urgent quest to find funds to repair the Sofia mosque, which was damaged by the May 22 earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale. The Minister, who is from ethnic Turkish background, personally inspected the damage Thursday. The building has several long cracks in its foundation reaching the walls. Some are old, but some are the result of the last week tremors. Rashidov informs he has already spoken with his colleague, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who is also in charge of the Consultative Council on Disasters, to discuss measures that need to be undertaken. “This is a national historical site and we must act immediately,” the Culture Minister says. The Banya Bashi Mosque (Banya Baþý Camii) is the only functioning mosque in Sofia, a remnant of the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria that lasted nearly five centuries, and is used by the city’s Muslim community.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

EU Institutions: The New Brussels Aristocracy

Uwazam Rze , 28 May 2012

“Where will the Eurozjady (a Polish neologism combining “European” and “Parasite”) lead us?”, wonders conservative weekly Uwazam Rze writing on the “caste” employed by EU institutions. Not only do they enjoy abundance — extraordinarily high salaries, reimbursements, allowances and golden handshakes, they also claim that they do it for “the good of all of us — Europeans”…

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

German President Backs Off From Predecessor’s Pro-Islam Line

Joachim Gauck, the German president, upset Muslim groups Thursday with a newspaper interview in which he rejected his predecessor’s view that Islam now has roots in Germany.

Berlin (dpa) — Conservative groups were incensed when Christian Wulff, who was president at the time, used Germany’s national day in October 2010 to say that “Christianity belongs in Germany without any doubt. Judaism belongs without any doubt. But now, Islam belongs too.” In an interview with the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Gauck, who was visiting the Palestinian territories, disagreed. “I would have simply said the Muslims who live here belong in Germany,” he said, adding that while he could not concur with Wulff’s phrasing, “I accept his intention” about urging Germans to adapt to reality. “The reality is that many Muslims live in this country,” said Gauck, a retired Lutheran pastor who replaced Wulff in March. The interview took place before Gauck left for Israel and the West Bank.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

German President Under Fire Over Questionable Islam Remarks

Berlin, Jun 1, IRNA — Germany’s Muslim leaders slammed the nation’s president, Joachim Gauck for saying Islam had no roots in Germany, press reports said here Friday.

Reacting to Gauck’s controversial comments, Aiman Mayzek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, one of four main Islamic groups, said, “The European occident clearly has a Muslim, oriental basis. People who deny this falsify history.” He called on the president to “accept our pluralism,” saying “such signals are extremely important for a president” to give at a time when an Islamophobic mood was spreading. Mazyek’s statements were echoed by the head of Germany’s Turkish community, Kenan Kolat who urged Gauck “to read the history books.” “Islam belongs to the history of Europe and Germany. Among historians there is no doubt about this whatsoever,” he added.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Greece: Last Official Polls, Battle Between New Democracy and Syriza

Result uncertain ahead of vote, euro exit fears increasing

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JUNE 1 — Two weeks before the elections in Greece of June 17, the outcome could not be more uncertain. The latest polls released today give first place to New Democracy (centre-right and pro-memorandum party led by Antonis Samaras) or the party’s direct opponent, Syriza (far-left party, strongly opposed to the agreements closed by Greece with its international creditors, led by Alexis Tsipras). Fear is spreading of the country leaving the euro if Syriza wins the election. Alexis Tsipras, has officially presented his party’s programme in Athens, pledging a clampdown on tax evasion, and annulment of the Memorandum and its accompanying application laws, to be replaced by a National Recovery Plan for economic and social development, the productive restructuring of the country and a just fiscal streamlining. Also in the plan, the nationalization of Greek banks, many of which were just recapitalized. In order to save the Memorandum, press sources report, former Premier Lucas Papademos — after the inconclusive elections held on May 6 — has asked European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to take a clear stance regarding Greece’s position in the eurozone. Barroso responded immediately: “If a member of the club fails to obey the rules,” he pointed out, “it is better that this member leaves the club.” The four polls carried out in the past days show that only two parties are fighting for victory: Syriza is rising in the polls, while New Democracy is struggling to get the support of moderate voters. According to the survey carried out by Public Issue for the newspaper Kathimerini, Syriza is leading with 31.5%, followed by New Democracy with 25.5% of preferences. But another poll, carried out by the firm Marc for private television station Alpha, gives New Democracy 28.8% and Syriza 27% of preferences.

Analysts agree that these figures are too far apart to be reliable. The same polls do agree however that Pasok is falling rapidly, with people who used to vote for the party now shifting further to the left, to Syriza, leaving the socialist party of former Premier Giorgio Papandreou behind. The polls also predict that the smaller parties, the Communist Party of Greece, the Democratic Left, Independent Greeks and Chrysi Avgi, will all take a few seats in Parliament. According to observers, the results of the upcoming ballot could change Greece’s political stage drastically. The Communist Party (KKE) may choose a new leadership if the party continues to lose votes, as the polls expect. The same is true for New Democracy in case the party loses its first position, or Pasok if it falls below the result of May 6 (13.18%).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Brussels Approves 181 Mln for Motorway Stretch

Total cost 232.43 mln

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JUNE 1 — The European Commission today approved the allocation of around 181 million euros for the construction of a stretch of motorway in Greece which will connect the Aktio area to the country’s north-south axis. The project, totalling 48.5km of road, is part of the Ten-T trans-European transport network which will cost a total of 232.43 million euros; 77,83% of this sum — 180.9 million euros — will be funded by the European Union through the regional development fund.

“This is an emblematic infrastructure project that will benefit the Greek economy,” said EU commissioner for regional policies Johannes Hahn. “Our joint efforts to solve the financial and technical problems are starting to pay off and similar projects will contribute to improving the living conditions of the Greek population, creating immediate job opportunities.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Malmström Wants End to “Anti-Immigration Rhetoric”

Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has approached home affairs ministers a week before their Council meeting in Luxembourg with a Eurobarometer survey, which widely supports her positions on legal and illegal immigration and the management of the Schengen area.

“Political leaders should put an end to anti-immigration rhetoric, which is becoming more and more widespread,” the commissioner told the press, since, as emphasised by a report published by Malmström’s services on 1 June (see Europolitics4434), “immigration is here to stay and will probably increase in the future”. Before the end of the year, the Commission wants to launch a broad consultation on the role of the EU in promoting the “opportunity” provided by immigrant workers.

The report takes stock of legal immigration and asylum figures, and estimated immigration in 2011. These subjects will be at the heart of discussions at the Home Affairs Council, on 7 June, in the context of two reforms: the asylum package, creating an asylum regime for 2012, and the reform of the management of the Schengen system of lifting border controls between European countries.

On asylum, the Commission wants to encourage greater solidarity between member states, and according to the Eurobarometer survey, European citizens agree: eight out of ten Europeans think the number of asylum seekers should be more equally shared within the EU. However, recalled the commissioner, currently only ten countries — France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Austria, Greece and Poland — deal with 90% of asylum seekers. “Seventeen countries could therefore do a lot more,” said Malmström.

Negotiations between the European Parliament, Council and Commission should now move forward, since member states have obtained two of their requests: the maintaining in its current state of the Dublin system of returning asylum seekers to the member state where they entered the EU, and the granting of access to Eurodac (a database containing the fingerprints of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants intercepted at EU borders) to national police.

Malmström highlights that problems remain in the areas of detention, the definition of family, legal appeals, the treatment of children and accelerated procedures within airports, but she said: “I am convinced that with a last push, we can get there”.

Turkey: Slow progress

On illegal immigration, 80% of Europeans support the idea of the EU providing increased assistance to member states with high levels of illegal immigration, such as Greece. However, any aid granted to Athens will largely depend on talks with Turkey regarding a re-admission agreement for illegal immigrants, and these negotiations remain unresolved — although the commissioner has indicated that there has been “some progress”.

Frontex, the European agency responsible for the surveillance of external borders, signed a draft agreement with Turkey based on “practical cooperation” on risk analysis, training, research and development, on 28 May.

“We hope that cooperation will increase, since it is clear that in order to resolve the problem of migrants who pass through Turkey and arrive in Greece, we need cooperation with Turkey,” said the commissioner.

New beginning for Schengen

A letter on Schengen sent by the former French Minister of the Interior, Glaude Guéant, and his German counterpart, Hans-Peter Friedrich, is no longer on the table following the defeat of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the commissioner confirmed. The letter called for a return to border controls for 30 days or more in countries with weak external border controls.

While she has not yet had the chance to discuss the issue with the team of France’s new President, François Hollande, she highlighted that she will continue to defend the role of the Commission in decision making on any return to border controls.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Norway: Experts Cast Doubt on Breivik’s Sanity

A psychiatric evaluation concluding that Anders Behring Breivik was sane when he massacred 77 people last year in Norway was cast into doubt by a panel of experts on Friday.

The question of Breivik’s sanity has been a focal point of his 10-week trial, with the defendant not denying his actions while craving recognition of the right-wing extremist ideology that he says prompted the massacre.

The panel of experts was enlisted to assess the quality of two opposing conclusions, one by two court-appointed psychiatrists who last year found Breivik to be psychotic and therefore not responsible for his actions, and a second court-ordered evaluation that found him to be sane.

The experts approved the findings of the first exam, but found “major deficiencies” in the second opinion even after the two authors provided requested complementary information, according to a highly technical letter published on Friday.

Legal experts said the panel’s conclusion was neither a rejection nor an approval of the counter-expertise. In the panel’s letter, it stressed that “the questions put to the psychiatric experts … do not relate to their conclusion itself” but to the foundation they had built their conclusion on.

The opinion can nonetheless be considered weakened compared with the first expert evaluation, which is bad news for Breivik’s defence.

Breivik, 33, is intent on proving his sanity to ensure that his ideology — described as a crusade against multiculturalism and a pending “Muslim invasion” of Norway and Europe — not be written off as the rantings of a lunatic.

“We would of course have preferred that the panel had no objections concerning the second expert opinion,” Breivik’s main lawyer Geir Lippestad told AFP, while stressing that in the end it would be up to the five Oslo district court judges to decide which expert opinion to lend most weight when they come to their verdict next month.

Prosecutor Svein Holden meanwhile reiterated that he wanted to keep all doors open until the end of the trial, leaving open the possibility to request that Breivik be sent either to prison or to a closed psychiatric ward.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Polish Camps’: Obama Writes to the President to Apologize

(AGI) Warsaw — Barack Obama wrote a letter to Polish President Komorowski to apologize after gaffe on the “Polish death camps”. He used the expression when referring to a concentration camp established by the Nazi occupying forces. “I regret the error and agree that this moment is an opportunity to ensure that this and future generations know the truth”, wrote the US President. It was Koromowski himself that disclosed the content of the letter during a press conference and which he defined as a “necessary and very important gesture from a good ally and friend”. Poland is very sensitive on the issue of Nazi camps as they had 3 established on their territory (Auschwitz-Birkenau, Cracovia-Plaszow and Treblinka) and as they had a hard time dissipating the shadow of complicity in exterminating Jews. Obama admitted that he “inadvertently” used a wrong expression instead of saying “a Nazi extermination camp in Poland during the Nazi occupation” during the celebration of the Medal of Freedom awards in the memory of Jan Karski, a Pole who infiltrated the Warsaw ghetto to collect evidence of the Holocaust. “Many Poles risked their lives to save the Jews”, recalled the American President.

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

Sweden: Girl Found Hanged in Tree Near Stockholm

A 17-year-old girl was found hanging dead from a tree near Stockholm on Thursday in what police initially thought was a suicide but which is now being investigated as a murder. The girl, who was discovered by a passerby onThursday morning in Skärholmen, southern Stockholm, was hanging lifeless from a tree in a wooded area with a noose around her neck.

Police were initially convinced that the girl had committed suicide, however have since stated that they are now investigating the death as a possible murder, wrote the Aftonbladet newspaper.

After a closer inspection of the scene, police suspect the girl may have been murdered, and then set up in the tree to look like she committed suicide. “There are circumstances that lead us to suspect that there is a crime behind this,” said one of the investigators to Aftonbladet.

Investigators have told the paper that they are currently interviewing witnesses but that there are no suspects as of yet. The body of the 17-year-old has been taken to medical examiners in Solna, north of Stockholm, to determine the cause of death.

A friend of the deceased spoke out about the 17-year-old. “She was a really happy person,” the friend told the paper. “She was never sad, and I can’t imagine that she would have taken her own life.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: A Banned Words List for Our Commenters

by Tom Chivers

We here at the Telegraph , we happy few, we band of brothers, have a thing which we call the “style guide”. It prescribes the words which we are and are not allowed to use in our efforts to provide you, the reader, with the information you require to go about your daily lives. Within that style guide is a section called “banned words”. Among them are such dull cliche’s as “dog-whistle politics”, “fighting for his life”, or “breathtaking”. As you know I take an active interest in the below-the-line world of my posts, and I was thinking that perhaps it’s time to introduce something similar there, in an effort to keep the Telegraph Blogs comments section sparkling with the wit and originality we know it is capable of.


Frankfurt School/Agenda 21/Common Purpose: I literally don’t know what any of these things are


That’s just a start, of course. You may want to add some more (I imagine some wits will want to include the word “Islam” on it, in the spirit of satire, and I look forward to seeing it).


[Reader comment by Ed West on 1 June 2012 at about 10 am.]

[…] what am I going to write about?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Britain Prepares for Left-Field Diamond Jubilee

Bunting, sausage rolls and teacakes may be traditional Jubilee fare, but a raft of more quirky products are flying off retailers’ shelves as Britain is gripped by Diamond Jubilee fever.

Jelly moulds of the Queen’s face, royal garden gnomes and replicas of Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding tiara are selling in their thousands as people gear up for this weekend’s celebrations. Bumper sales of the unusual Jubilee trinkets come as households spend an estimated £420 million on food, drink, decorations and memorabilia in the run-up to the Jubilee. B&Q, the do-it-yourself retailer, said that it has sold 3,120 garden gnomes based on the Queen and Prince Philip since they went on sale last month.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Bailiffs Raid Hindu Temple as Priests Refuse to Move Out for Travelodge

Bailiffs have carried out a dawn raid on a Hindu temple, evicting priests and seizing its sacred contents. Backed up by the police, they moved in on the Sivayogam temple in Hebdon Road, Tooting, following a protracted legal dispute with owner Barrowfen Properties Ltd, which has plans to turn it into a Travelodge. Eleven priests sleeping in the building were evicted and the building sealed, preventing worshippers from entering or removing 16 gold and gem encrusted statues of gods said to be worth about £100,000. Founder and spiritual leader of the temple Nagendram Seevaratnam, 74, said: “It is the way they would have treated criminals. Everybody is devastated, people are crying. There is disgust on the face of the deities.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Community Praised in Wake of Demo

A LEADING figure from Redditch Mosque has praised residents for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the town’s Asian community following a demonstration by the English Defence League. Hafiz Ghulam Rasool, head of education at Central Jamia Masjid-E-Noor (Redditch Mosque Trust), expressed pride in the Redditch community, particularly the hundreds of people from all faiths and sections of society who joined a counter-demonstration against the 40 or so EDL members police estimate turned up to protest in Church Green on Saturday (May 26). “We know Redditch is a diverse community both cohesive and integrated with no racial tensions. Our Mosque members feel the people in Redditch generally are friendly, co-operative and supportive, making it a fabulous part of the Un ited Kingdom to live in. Together we need to unite against and resist, counter and refute these mongers of hate to maintain our exemplary social cohesion and keep our town free from their hatred and their scare mongering tactics,” he said. “Our appreciation goes out to all the people of Redditch community for their thoughtfulness and for many of them partaking in the much larger and peaceful counter demonstration with the most respectful and highly dignified conduct that is a tribute to all of us.” He added with the Diamond Jubilee, European Championships, Olympics and the month of Ramadhan coming up he hoped it would provide an ‘arc of unity’.

An event to celebrate Redditch’s diversity is also being planned. Kevin Dicks, chief executive of Redditch Borough Council who watched the largely peaceful protest unfold from West Mercia Police headquarters, said: “We have a really diverse community here in Redditch and one we are proud of. “We want to work with the community over the coming weeks and months to organise something that is a celebration of Redditch.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Hitting the Union Jackpot With Jubilee Merchandise

The Queen’s Jubilee has inspired more merchandise than the Olympics. Katie Law sifts through the corgis and crowns to find the real gems

It’s bigger business than last year’s royal wedding, not to mention this summer’s Olympics. The Queen, her corgi dogs and, more importantly, union flags are making millions this week for London’s retailers. While Diamond Jubilee bunting at John Lewis has sold out, M&S has had to re-order supplies of its corgi cushions and its Winston doorstop is its fastest, bestselling doorstop ever. We’re drowning in memorabilia, much of it the same old stuff repackaged in red, white and blue wi th a crown on it.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Half of Britons Want Prince of Wales to Stand Aside in Favour of Duke of Cambridge

Nearly half of Britons believe the Prince of Wales ought to step aside in favour of his eldest son, a poll revealed today.

The figures, published as the country prepares for a series of major events to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, show the scale of support for the idea that the succession should skip a generation to the Duke of Cambridge. The Duke and his wife are taking a central role at a service to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne and the poll demonstrates how their burgeoning popularity has led many in Britain to want William to be the next head of state. It shows the public to be evenly split about the idea of Charles stepping aside when the time comes — with 42% agreeing that he should, 44% disagreeing, and 14% saying they did not know.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Luton Sikh-Muslim Protest: ‘Positive’ Police Meeting

A “constructive” and “positive” meeting has been held between police and the Sikh and Muslim communities following a protest at a Luton police station.

The groups held talks on Wednesday after hundreds of Sikhs gathered at Buxton Road on Tuesday night. The protest was over allegations a Muslim man had assaulted a Sikh woman.

Police said officers were working with the two groups and wanted any concern about criminal activity to be reported.

‘Cultural sensitivities’

Speaking after the meeting, Sikh representative Jaswinder Singh Nagra said: “I think it was very constructive. We need to educate the police about our cultural sensitivities.” His thoughts were echoed by Qazi Abdul Aziz Chishti, president of the Sunni Mosque Council in Luton, who was also at the meeting. “We will work together not only on this issue, but on all issues,” he told the BBC. “We have formed a working group with the Sikh community.” Bedfordshire Police Ch Supt Mike Colbourne said: “We want the public to report any issues, fears or concerns that they have.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim School Planned for City ‘Will Produce a Lost Generation’

CONTROVERSY still surrounds the creation of a Muslim free school that is due to open in Derby in September. Opponents of the Al Madinah School claim that anyone objecting to the school and raising questions is subjected to intimidation and harassment.

They also say most of the city’s mosques have distanced themselves from the project, following concerns about the structure and direction of the school. Opposition spokesman Kamran Raja said: “This is a way of bringing independent Islamic education of children in Muslim communities under state control. “It will teach a secularised form of Islam, stripped of all rules and values, and reduced to a crude universal ethos and a few meaningless rituals. “The result will produce another lost generation who have little idea of their identity, lack basic values of halal or haram, discipline, respect or purpose, akin to the secular youths who participated in last summer’s riots and fill single parents’ estates across the country.”

Opposition parents are unhappy that the detailed proposals include celebrating Christian holidays, adopting a secular ethos, gender mixing, shirt and trouser uniforms and having a non-Muslim head and staff.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Polygamy in Islam: The Women Victims of Multiple Marriage

When Dr Zabina Shahian married Pervez Choudhry she thought he would be the man with whom she would settle down for the rest of her life and start a family. But she did not know the former Conservative party leader on Slough Borough Council was still married. Choudhry, 54, who claimed he did not realise the marriage in Pakistan was legally valid in the UK, was given a community order after admitting bigamy. A “devastated” Dr Shahian now wants to help other women who are victims of polygamous marriages — a practice a leading family lawyer says is “rife” within the British Muslim community.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Plans for a £10m Hindu Temple in Northampton Approved

Plans for a £10m development including a Hindu temple in Northampton have been approved by borough councillors.

The site off Lings way would include sports and leisure facilities, sheltered housing and the temple for Hindhu religious practices. The plans were initially submitted in 2010 and met opposition from residents over increases in traffic and parking. The Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation (IHWO) said it would now start fundraising for the project. Nikul Odedra, from the IHWO, said: “We’ve designed the building so that it is modern and eco-friendly. “The roof space will be made from green and organic material which will attract wildlife habitation. We will also use solar technology to heat and energise the building.” The IHWO said the building would also make use of geothermal technology to capture heat from the ground.

To answer concerns about traffic and parking in the area the IHWO said surveys had been done to check potential problems. Neelam Aggarwal from the IHWO said: “More than 50% of the Hindu population in Northampton live in this area so people will be able to walk to the temple.” The IHWO said building would begin in 2013 and be completed in 2014.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Salford Appoints Assistant Mayor for Humanegement

The impetus behind the referendum to approve a directly elected Mayor for Salford was to have lower Council Tax. But Ian Stewart, the Labour candidate for the resulting who was elected last month, has got off to a disturbing start. The Daily Mail reports that he has recruited not only a deputy mayor but 13 assistant mayors. The new assistant mayors will get allowances of between £9,000 and £14,600. The previous arrangement in Salford was also pretty top heavy with a Cabinet of 17 members. So, in fairness to Mr Stewart, he has hasn’t pushed the allowances costs up — but one might have hope he would have made an effort to st reamline the system. One post is for “Assistant Mayor for International Relations.” Another is “Assistant Mayor for Humanagement and Workplace Reform.” Mr Stewart says:

‘I said we should have a more civilised approach and what we needed to develop was a humane management system. ‘That is why it’s spelt with an ‘e’ — it is a humane system.’

Another term invented by Mr Stewart is “co-opetiton.” He says humanagement should be pronounced “hu-management.”

[JP note: Salford wins the runcible spoon for Loony Left Bonkers.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Coptic Bishop Advises Women in Egypt to Dress Modestly Like ‘Muslims and St. Mary’

A Coptic Bishop in Egypt infuriated many Christian women in the country after saying on May 18 that they should dress more modestly, “like their Muslim sisters” and follow their example, the Guardian reported earlier this week. “Our Lady Mariam [referring to St. Mary] used to wear a tarha [long scarf covering the hair], why can’t you follow her example and cover up?” the bishop, who is one of the nominees for the papal seat of the Coptic Orthodox Church, recently said. The comments were seemingly made in light of the fact that a vast majority of Muslim women in Egypt are now veiled, while Coptic women have recently said they are increasingly being insulted in society for not covering their hair, as per typical Muslim practice. “Women, Muslim and Christian, who do not cover their hair or wear mid-sleeved clothing are met with insults, spitting and in some cases physical abuse,” the newspaper reported. One Coptic woman told the British newspaper that she, along with Muslim wome n who do not cover their hair, get yelled at by men passing by, telling her “just you wait, those who will cover you up and make you stay at home are coming and then there will [be] no more of this lewdness.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: The Reign of the Fantasists

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has done it again. Speaking on Wednesday at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Barak warned that if Israel can’t cut a deal with the Palestinians soon, it should consider surrendering Judea and Samaria in exchange for nothing.

Even the diehard leftists in the media had a hard time swallowing his words. After all, when Barak was premier, he oversaw Israel’s unilateral surrender of south Lebanon in 2000. Barak promised that by giving Hezbollah south Lebanon, Israel would force the Iranian proxy army to disarm and behave like a Western political party.


Then of course, there is the Gaza precedent.

Ignoring the lesson of Lebanon, Barak’s successor Ariel Sharon reenacted his unilateral surrender policy in Gaza in 2005. Like Barak, Sharon promised that once Gaza was cleared of all Jewish presence, it would magically transform itself into a Middle Eastern version of Singapore…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Aid Policy: Making Muslim Aid More Effective

DUBAI, 1 June 2012 (IRIN) — Between the foreign aid of oil-rich Gulf States and the billions of dollars spent by Muslims in “mandatory” alms and charity every year, the Muslim world is by all accounts a huge reservoir of potential in the world of aid funding.

But players in Muslim aid say much of the money spent on aid and charity here is mismanaged, wasted, lacking in strategy or ineffective. (See IRIN’s in-depth article on this)

Here are a few new attempts to change that:

Madad: Created by a 30-year-old Egyptian activist who participated in the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak, Madad is a private, social start-up business which aims to shift some of the estimated 5-20 billion Egyptian pounds (US$825 million — $3.3 billion; statistics are not consistent) spent by ordinary people on charity every year towards more sustainable development. The idea is to scour Egypt’s governorates and estimated 40,000 NGOs, and identify those which run successful, sustainable projects that support livelihoods and work towards the Millennium Development Goals. Madad would then highlight those projects through online platforms, so that donors can make more educated decisions about how to spend their money and track the funds once spent. It will start small with a few projects it has already identified, and expand its coverage as its networks grow, with the aim that NGOs will eventually come forward themselves, looking for exposure. The word ‘madad’ in Arabic means supply; its CEO, Samed Awad, sees it as the supply not only of money, but of resources, visibility, awareness and knowledge, to both donors and NGOs. The commercial launch is scheduled for the beginning of 2013.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Iraq: Baghdad’s Energy Auctions Flop

Twelve deals were on the table, seven for oil and five for natural gas, but only three were reached. Lack of security in new fields, the Kurdish factor and Baghdad’s unbending price demands are the reasons for the failure. Iraq will not outstrip Iran in OPEC anytime soon.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Iraq’s fourth oil and natural gas auction was a flop. The two-day event closed Thursday with only three contracts awarded for 12 exploration blocks on offer (seven oil, five natural gas), covering 80,700 square kilometres with 29 billion cubic metres of gas and 10 billion barrels of crude. Iraqi Kurdistan was excluded because of an ongoing dispute between the central and regional governments.

In its three previous bid rounds since 2003, Iraq auctioned rights to produce at oil fields already discovered or in operation. It awarded 15 such contracts, including a license for the Rumaila field, Iraq’s largest, to BP and China National Petroleum Corp

Before the auction, expectations were high. Iraq had in fact boosted crude output to more than 3 million barrels a day and was poised to overtake Iran as OPEC’s No. 2 producer. Some even hoped it could challenge Saudi Arabia. Now, modesty appears to be prevailing, at least for the time being.

The first deal was struck in Wednesday’s round, at the start of the auction. A Kuwait-led consortium won rights to search for oil and gas in the south.

The other two were reached in Thursday’s round. In the first, a group comprised of Russia’s Lukoil and Inpex Corp. of Japan made a successful bid for oil exploration in southern Iraq. The group will be paid $5.99 for each barrel of oil equivalent it finds. In the second deal, Pakistan Petroleum won a contract for natural gas exploration in the east of the country.

The failure of the two-day auction is due to a number of factors, expert said, such as poor planning, security concerns and the government’s rejection of bidders’ prices and demand for concessions.

Yesterday’s auction was the worst since 2009. Eight blocks received no bids because none of the 39 approved bidders, including Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, accepted Baghdad’s terms.

This auction involved undeveloped fields in remote areas where the security situation is even more uncertain than in the country’s main cities.

The auction also fizzled out because of Baghdad’s refusal to pay more than US$ 5.38-US$ 6.24 per barrel produced, far short of what companies wanted.

Lastly, another inhibiting factor was the exclusion of companies, like Exxon, that signed deals with the government of Iraqi Kurdistan in northern Iraq, a precedent that has encouraged other regions that are not under Baghdad’s control.

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

Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran

From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.

Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed. In the following weeks, the Natanz plant was hit by a newer version of the computer worm, and then another after that. The last of that series of attacks, a few weeks after Stuxnet was detected around the world, temporarily took out nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify uranium.

This account of the American and Israeli effort to undermine the Iranian nuclear program is based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts. None would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Syria: Remember Bosnia, Seedbed of Radical Islam

David Aaronovitch The Times

ON Tuesday in the office we had a brief discussion about the use of a word. Should we describe the victims — including the dozens of children — killed in the Syrian town of Houla as having been “executed”? The manner of many of their killings suggested something akin to a systematic process, with the killers going from house to house, binding their victims and then shooting them or cutting their throats.

On the other hand, wouldn’t that word suggest the result of a legal proceeding of some sort, when clearly there had been none? Therefore wasn’t it more appropriate to say that these kids had been “murdered”? We decided in the end that when you use the word “execute” to describe how toddlers are killed, it is — if anything — more rather than less horrifying. The children were “executed”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Arab Spring Was No Prelude to Democracy

by Con Coughlin

The rush to back change for change’s sake in the troubled region of North Africa has proved somewhat naive.

With every new set of pictures that appears showing the bloodied victims of the latest atrocity committed in Syria’s gruesome conflict, the clamour intensifies for the West to launch some form of military intervention to prevent further bloodshed. It is a perfectly understandable human reaction. No civilised society wants to see the bodies of innocent women and children displayed every evening on the television news. If something can be done to spare the victims of Syria’s embryonic civil war, then we have a moral obligation to act.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkish Pianist Charged With Insulting Islam

A Turkish court has formally charged an internationally known Turkish pianist and composer with insulting Islamic religious values in comments he made on Twitter.

The court in Istanbul voted Friday to approve an indictment against Fazil Say, who has played piano with the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, National Orchestra of France, and Tokyo Symphony.

The 42-year-old Say faces charges of inciting hatred and public enmity, and insulting “religious values.” Say, who has served as a culture ambassador for the European Union, allegedly mocked Islamic beliefs about paradise.

Meltem Akyol, a lawyer for Say, says the pianist has denied the charges. She says the opening trial will be held on Oct. 18.

Say could face a maximum 1 1/2 years in prison if he is convicted.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Malaysia: Matta: Non-Muslims Welcome to Join Islamic Tours

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite its name, Islamic tourism is not exclusively for Muslims. Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said non-Muslims were also welcome to join Muslim tour packages. “Non-Muslims can join the tours as their needs will most likely fit in with those of Muslims. We must give exposure to people on where the prominent must-go Muslim sites are. “Operators can also leverage what they have and stand to profit,” said Mohd Khalid at a press conference after the opening ceremony of the World Islamic Tourism Mart (WITM) here.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Obituary: Alan Thorne

Alan Thorne, who has died aged 73, was an Australian anthropologist who provoked heated academic debate in 2001 when he published a paper disputing the widely-held theory that Homo sapiens evolved in Africa about 100,000 to 150,000 years ago before spreading across the world and out-competing “archaic” peoples such as Neanderthals and Homo erectus, who had migrated from Africa before them.

Thorne led a team of researchers which examined bone samples taken from a skeleton known as “Mungo Man”, which had been found on the shores of Lake Mungo in south-eastern Australia in 1974. State-of-the-art dating tests run in 1999 suggested that the man lived between 56,000 and 68,000 years ago. Thorne claimed to have extracted DNA from the bone samples which, under analysis, turned out to be different from any living human being and different from any fossil human remains found in Africa. Yet Mungo Man, 5ft 7in tall and with an upright, slender build, was anatomically a modern Homo sapiens, resembling an Aborigine living today.

In a paper published in the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Thorne and his colleagues argued that their findings were inconsistent with the “Out of Africa” theory, not only because the genetic material was unknown in Africa but also because, if this particular example of Homo sapiens had arrived in New South Wales from Africa around 60,000 years ago (Out of Africa theory holds that Homo sapiens left Africa between 60,000 and 125,000 years ago), he would have had to move faster than many palaeontologists believe was possible.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Planning Underway for Horsham Mosque

Planning to build Horsham’s first mosque has started. The Horsham Islamic Welfare Association has lodged an application to demolish a house it currently uses for prayer, in Stawell Road, and replace it with a new building. The association’s Mahabubur Mollah says the existing house is too rundown to renovate and he is hoping to raise funds for a small mosque.

He says a mosque in Horsham could help to attract some skilled professionals to the Wimmera. “I don’t see there will be a big thrust of Muslims coming to the town,” he said.

“Job opportunities are limited for everyone but yes some Muslims may think to come here if they are offered proper jobs and oh yes there is a mosque.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Muslims Blame Ethiopian Government for Messing in Mosques

ADDIS ABABA — Protests at mosques in religiously-diverse Ethiopia have stretched into their sixth month as Muslims object to what they see as unconstitutional government interference in their affairs. Since December, worshipers at Friday prayers nationwide have been criticizing the state’s alleged attempts to impose the al Ahbash, a moderate sect of Islam, on the community via an unrepresentative, politicized Islamic Supreme Affairs Council. Officials deny any interference. The protest movement in most major cities among the nation’s 30 to 40 million Muslims — about one-third of Ethiopia’s population — has been largely peaceful and contained to mosque compounds.

The government is trying to dominate influential mosques to gain wider political control of the country, says Ethiopian political analyst Jawar Mohammed. To solidify Western support, it’s playing up an Islamist threat — Ethiopia is widely perceived by strategis ts as a bulwark against Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic terrorists across the border in Somalia and in the Middle East and North Africa. “It is an unnecessary, unwise, and untimely intervention that will have severe repercussions both for the current regime as well as for the country in the long run, unless the government reverses its current approach,” says Mr. Jawar.

The most serious incident occurred on April 27 in the southeast town of Asasa in the Oromia region, when four people died in clashes after police arrested a Muslim preacher. The government said the preacher had been trying to instigate jihad. Earlier in April, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told parliament that an Al Qaeda cell containing “a few Salafist extremists” operated in the area, while at the beginning of May the government announced it deported two Arabs of unspecified nationalities for trying to incite violence outside Addis Ababa’s largest mosque.

A focal point for the dispute has been at the community centered around the Awalia Mission School on the edge of the capital, where 50 Arabic teachers were removed via a letter from the Islamic council leaders, leading to the escalation of protests against the leaders’ legitimacy and state interference. The government has tightened security at mosques — it is difficult for Western journalist to report from those in the capital without police interference. The Ministry of Federal Affairs recently accused the protesters of being extremists engaged in violence and collaborating with foreign forces to instigate jihad.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Schengen: Europeans Preparing to Lock Down Borders With Greece

Der Standard, 30 May 2012

“Greek crisis: EU is preparing to shut the borders”, leads Austria’s Der Standard. The Vienna daily learned this Tuesday from a European Council source that several countries are drawing up plans to bring back border controls in the event of an emergency in Greece, without specifying details. The preparations are justified by the fear of illegal capital flight abroad and by rising crime. Above all, European states are worried about illegal migration, thanks to Greece’s role as a transit point for illegal migrants from Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean. The number of illegal immigrants currently living in Greece is estimated at one million. Recalling the legal framework of the Schengen Agreement, the Standard writes…

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


Cases of ‘Truman Show’ Delusions on the Rise as More People Believe They’re the Stars of Their Own Reality TV Programs

Reality TV shows are making increasing numbers of people convinced that they’re the stars of their own, unwanted television programs.

Psychiatrists are treating more people for so-called ‘Truman Show’ delusions — named after the 1998 movie starring Jim Carrey as a man who spends his entire life unwittingly at the center of a fictional world that’s being broadcast to millions of homes.

The startling cases often afflict successful people who develop paranoid fantasies that they’re being filmed at all times and that the world that’s in front of them isn’t real.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Crusader Kings 2 Sword of Islam Expansion Announced, Will Let You Side With Saladin

Crusader Kings 2 is getting a new expansion, it’s called Sword of Islam, and it’s tailor made for those of you who were always secretly rooting for Saladin. As you might have guessed from the title, the expansion offers an alternative to the Christian Crusaders, giving you the option to instead play as a Muslim lord, defending the holy land from invaders. Switching sides isn’t a simple matter, however, as Muslim culture doesn’t abide by the same rules as Christendom. Laws, titles, traits and marriages will all play out differently among the Islamic nations. The expansion will also add a big new chunk of the map, expanding it as far as Mali-Songhay, while expanding and improving combat and claims. Sword of Islam is due out in June, along with the latest Crusader Kings patch, and it’ll set you back $9.99. Check inside for the announcement trailer.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]