Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120608

Financial Crisis
»France’s Economy Contracts
»France Nears Recession as Growth Outlook Cut
»France Plans ‘Boob Job Tax’ To Restore Balance
»Lagarde Was Right, Says Greek Tax Inspector
»Majority of Germans Nostalgic for D-Mark
»Attorney General Holder Appoints 2 US Attorneys to Lead Leak Probes
»Bogalusa Gas Station at Center of Protest
»Khalifa of Islam Visits United States to Promote Peaceful Islam
»Only in America ….
»Prisoner Found Islam — And Then Freedom
»Religious Freedom Disappears From State Department Human Rights Report
»Ruling Clears Way for 9/11 Health Fund to Cover Cancers
»Somali Workers Walk Out of Minnesota Bakery in Protest of New Dress Code
Europe and the EU
»Belgian Police Charge Islamist Over Mini-Riot
»Einstein Was Right: CERN Scientists
»France: Elections on Sunday, PS Wants Outright Majority
»Germany: Why Islam is an Integral Part of Germany
»Italy: Berlusconi: Codename ‘Betty’, a ‘Father Figure’ To Showgirl
»Italy: ‘Vincere La Paura’set Up to Fight Extremist Censorship
»Norway Presents New Intelligence Chief
»Turkey-EU: Ankara Will Boycott Cyprus’ Presidency, Says FM
»Turkey Continues Refusal to Recognise Cypriot EU Presidency
»UK: ‘I Don’t Know How We Got So Lucky!’ Somali Family on Benefits Handed Keys to £2million Luxury ‘Council’ Home a Stone’s Throw From Where Tony Blair Used to Live
»UK: ‘Why Weren’t We Warned of the Regent’s Park Rapist?’
»UK: Gangs Raping and Sexually Exploiting White Young Girls ‘Is an Asian Problem, ‘ Top Crown Prosecutor Admits
»UK: Heart Surgeon Lay on Floor at Tesco So He Could Look Up Woman’s Skirt
»UK: Hay Festival 2012: BBC’s Diamond Jubilee Coverage ‘Misfired’, Says Clare Balding
»UK: London 2012 Olympics: BOA to Decide Whether to Overturn Aaron Cook’s Controversial Taekwondo Omission
»UK: Leaked Report Reveals South Yorkshire Sex Grooming Concerns
»UK: Machete Attack on Traders in Thornton Heath Butcher’s ‘Mini-Riot’
»UK: Pakistani Kills Ex-Girlfriend With Hammer
»UK: Plans to Close University Islamic Centre
»UK: Riot Gang Members Jailed for Up to 30 Years
»UK: Threats to Army Units Failing to Recruit Ethnic Minorities
»UK: Woman Raped After Being Thrown Off Bus Over 20p
»Ukraine: ‘Dress Like an Orthodox Jew’ Restaurant in Euro 2012 City Lviv, Ukraine
»Vic Alhadeff: Exposing Anti-Semitism
North Africa
»Al Qaeda Leader’s Wife Praises Women for Arab Spring
»Egypt: Politican Denies He Was Nabbed Having Sex in Car
»Egypt: Mubarak’s Ex-PM Steps Up Accusations Against Rival
»Libya: Armed Men Rally for Islamic Law in Libya’s Benghazi
»Mob Attacks Women at Egypt Anti-Sex Assault Rally
Israel and the Palestinians
»Gaza Live Blog
»We Palestinians Are Reclaiming Our Destiny
Middle East
»Oman: Islamic Tourism Gaining Ground
»Turkey: Book Out on Unpublished Writings by Msg. Padovese, Killed in 2010 by Young Muslim
»Yemeni Army Clashes With Al Qaeda Fighters, 25 Killed
South Asia
»Ikea’s Product Names Too ‘Sexy’ For Thailand
»Marines ‘Unjustly Detained’ In India Says Napolitano
»Pakistan Blast: Quetta Religious School Toll Rises to 15
»Pakistan: State of Social Sciences: Changes Introduced by the IIUI Pro-Chancellor Undoing All the Good
»Sectarian Tension in Myanmar Results in Imposed Curfew
Far East
»China Pledges Help to Afghanistan
Sub-Saharan Africa
»South Africa: College Head Rejects Claims
»Tanzania: State Resolves Islamic Exam Row
Latin America
»Bodies Found in Mexico Drug “Hotspot”
»Hawkish Step on EU Borders Outrages MEPs
»The GPS Roadmap for Making Immigration Work
»UK: Forced Marriage Will be a Problem for as Long as We Have Mass Migration
Culture Wars
»Greece: Gay Pride Celebration Tomorrow in Athens

Financial Crisis

France’s Economy Contracts

The French economy has contracted, according to the country’s central bank. But with the public deficit falling and the French government making robust growth forecasts, signals about the health of the economy are mixed.

The Bank of France on Friday curtailed its French growth projection, saying the economy was on course to shrink by 0.1 percent in the second quarter.

If the estimates are correct, it would represent France’s first quarterly contraction since the country managed to extract itself from recession in 2009. Although the current alleged shrinkage would not put France back into recession territory, if the economy were to experience a second contraction in the third quarter, the country would officially join other EU states like Greece, Spain and Italy in recession.

The forecast contrasts with the central bank’s prior projection of essentially flat-line growth in the three months from April to June.

The news comes after the French national statistics office, INSEE, reported on Thursday that unemployment rose to one in ten people in the first quarter of 2012, a level of joblessness that the country has not endured since 1999.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France Nears Recession as Growth Outlook Cut

The Bank of France cut its growth estimate for French growth on Friday, saying the eurozone’s second biggest economy would now likely contract by 0.1 percent in the second quarter. Te central bank previously expected growth to be essentially flat in the three months from April through June. If the figures are confirmed it would be the first quarterly contraction since France pulled out of recession in 2009.

A second contraction in the third quarter would mean that France joined other EU countries like Britain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain in recession.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France Plans ‘Boob Job Tax’ To Restore Balance

France’s wealthy could take it on the nose if the French tax man gets his way and cosmetic surgery becomes subject to the value added tax. France’s new Socialist government has promised to tax the rich, and the tax authorities are looking at going after expensive cosmetic surgery such as tummy tucks, liposuction and breast enhancements that so far have escaped the country’s 19.6 percent VAT tax.

French tax authorities have issued a finding that operations for aesthetic rather health purposes should be taxed and the finance ministry is currently studying which procedures to target.

France’s financial inspector general has calculated that the government needs to find €3.9 billion ($4.9 billion) each year if the country is to keep its promise to bring its budget back into balance by 2017.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Lagarde Was Right, Says Greek Tax Inspector

IMF chief Christine Lagarde was right to call on Greeks to pay their taxes, Nikos Lekkas, head of Greece’s tax authority SDOE, has told Die Welt. “Tax evasion in Greece accounts for 12 to 15% of gross national product,” he said, noting that recovering just half would “solve” Greece’s problems.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Majority of Germans Nostalgic for D-Mark

Fifty-five percent of Germans believe it would have been better to keep the D-Mark rather than introduce the euro, up 9% from November according to a poll by ARD. Fifty-three percent say the single currency brings disadvantages, while 56% say they are worried about their savings.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Attorney General Holder Appoints 2 US Attorneys to Lead Leak Probes

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday appointed two U.S. attorneys to lead a pair of criminal investigations into possible unauthorized disclosures of classified information.

The attorney general said Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, will direct separate probes that are currently being conducted by the FBI.

“These two highly respected and experienced prosecutors will be directing separate investigations,” Holder said in a statement. “I have every confidence in their abilities to doggedly follow the facts and the evidence in pursuit of justice wherever it leads.”

The attorney general said Machen and Rosenstein “are fully authorized to prosecute criminal violations discovered as a result of their investigations and matters related to those violations.”…

[Return to headlines]

Bogalusa Gas Station at Center of Protest

BOGALUSA, La. — Protesters were camped outside a Bogalusa business on Thursday for hours calling for a boycott of the gas station.

The group claims the owners refuse to serve members of military. However, the business say that’s simply not true.

“My wife posted it on Facebook, and it’s reached thousands and thousands of people,” said Christopher Carnegie, waving to cars honking at protesters waving American flags along Highway 10 in Bogalusa.

Their concern is sparked by a Facebook post that Carnegie’s wife shared with family, friends and now the world.

Carnegie claims he saw a member of the military turned away from the gas station a few days ago.

“He walked in and got in line and the clerk told him they didn’t serve his kind and pointed at the door for him to leave. I left my stuff and walked out behind him,” said Carnegie.

“I started posting on Facebook that I was going to put an American flag on my Harley and come down here, and this is the end result,” said John Jones, who organized an impromptu protest using the social networking website.

The group spent hours in the rain joined by friends and strangers. Their message: calling for a unwavering support for the military and a boycott of SP Truck Stop.

“If it weren’t for our guys, we wouldn’t have what we have today. They wouldn’t have the stores and businesses if it wasn’t for our soldiers,” added Carnegie.

The owners of the gas station —- who identified themselves as originally of Indian decent —- did not want to be interviewed on-camera, but did tell Eyewitness News that they never refuse service to customers. The owner added that this incident is a misunderstanding.

“People were quick to jump on something like this. Anti-american, anti-military, they just jump on it and lash out so crazy. We have police out here now and these people can barely run their business,” said David Carpenter, a regular customer at the truck stop.

Michelle Rayner was surprised to discover protesters and Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies keeping a watchful eye on the gas station, where she works six days a week.

“I’ve never seen a military man be turned away. I’ve actually been working the counter before and I’ve waited on military men before. I’m not sure where this is coming from,” said Rayner.

A boycott and protest that has now gone viral as one man stands by what he heard.

WWL-TV tried to track down the National Guardsman at the center of this controversy, but have not been able to identify him.

[Return to headlines]

Khalifa of Islam Visits United States to Promote Peaceful Islam

SILVER SPRING, MD. — The Khalifa of Islam, His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the worldwide spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, will arrive in the United States later this month, the community has announced. The community says thousands of American Muslims wait in anticipation for the historic U.S. visit of Hadhrat Ahmad. As the Muslim leader, His Holiness commands the largest following of Muslims in the world. His Holiness’ visits comes on the heels of his contacting several world leaders — including President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His Holiness advised the world’s leaders to resolve international differences with diplomacy and to avoid violence at all costs in order to prevent a Third World War.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Only in America ….

James Delingpole

(H/T Maltesertoo — who posted the litany below, for which I take no credit, in comments. It’s proving so popular I think it deserves a wider circulation.)

1) Only in America could the President talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000 a plate campaign fund-raising event.

2) Only in America could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when we have a black President, a

black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal work force is black while 12% of the population is black.

3) Only in America could we have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department and Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.

4) Only in America can we have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the President and the media react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Prisoner Found Islam — And Then Freedom

Andre Wiley’s freewheeling youth abruptly ended the night in 1989 he fired a hail of bullets at a hamburger stand, killing a man and wounding several others because their clothing marked them as rival gangsters. Wiley is a different man 23 years later. He’s Yusuf Wiley, 42, deeply committed to a new religion and on a mission to help California’s most troubled men, Muslim or not, purify their hearts.

Thousands of California prisoners, mostly African-Americans, have converted to Islam behind bars, but they struggle to find their place when they get out.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Religious Freedom Disappears From State Department Human Rights Report

May 24th the US State Department Released a delayed annual Report on Human Rights without any reference to Religious Freedom sections for countries swept up in the Arab Spring and others in the Muslim ummah. This smacks of compliance with Organization of Islamic Cooperation Islamaphobia diktats . Perhaps it is a reflection of last December’s Istanbul Process gathering on UNHRC Res/ 16/18 with OIC member nations, other foreign represetatives, US Department of Justice and Homeland Security repersentatives seeking best practices about ‘combating intelorance’ meaning Islam. The deracination of religious freedom findings, especially in OIC Musloim countries makes Christian and other endangered religious minorities virtual non-persons with no human rights under Shariah. This action on the part of the State Department means that the only governmental group responding to religious freedoms in the Ummah is the Congressionaly-chartered US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), that nearly didn’t receive a three year lease on life last December. At that the last USCIRF Annual report on Religlious Freedom was issued onl;y covered 2010, just prior to the eruption of the Arab Spring. Is the Obama Administration sending a message about its priorities on Human rights to excldue something we thought paramount under our Constitution, religious freedom? This action is beyond apalling it smacks of appeasement to the OIC. But that is nothing new from an Administration engaged in dilaogue with the Muslim Brotherhood here at home and more recently at the Saban Center Brookings Instiuttion 9th US -Islam World Forum in Qatar. This CNS report, “State Department Purges Religious Freedom Section from Its Human Rights Reports” notes the details of what the State Department did and criticisms from among other John Leo outgoing Chairman of the USCIRF and former US diplomat Thomas Farr:

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

Ruling Clears Way for 9/11 Health Fund to Cover Cancers

A federal health official’s ruling has cleared the way for 50 different types of cancer to be added to the list of sicknesses covered by a $4.3 billion fund set up to compensate and treat people exposed to the toxic smoke, dust and fumes in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.

The decision, released on Friday afternoon, came as a vindication for hundreds and perhaps thousands of people who have claimed — often in the face of resistance from public health officials — that their cancers were caused by their exposure to the dust cloud and debris thrown up in the aftermath of the attack.

[Return to headlines]

Somali Workers Walk Out of Minnesota Bakery in Protest of New Dress Code

More than 30 Somali employees at a bakery walked out in protest Monday after the owner ordered female workers to wear mid-calf skirts after a woman’s long dress recently got caught in a boot washer, reported. Mike Knowles, the owner of Dianne’s Fine Desserts, told the Faribault Daily News that the new guidelines were installed for safety concerns. Somali workers, however, call the new rules an attack on their Muslim religion. The women reportedly showed up to work in their full-length attire and were given the option to adjust their skirts or leave. About a dozen women left and they were joined by 20 men who say the dress code goes against teachings in the Koran.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgian Police Charge Islamist Over Mini-Riot

Belgian prosecutors on Thursday charged a high-profile Islamist radical with stoking hatred and violence during racial disturbances in Brussels last week.

Fouad Belkacem, a 30-year-old Belgian man of Moroccan origin, was picked up at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) at his family home in the northern city of Antwerp, and was placed in custody in a city jail.

Antwerp prosecutors’ spokesman Paul Van Tigchelt said he was charged with “incitement to hatred and violence against a group of people because of their beliefs,” a charge that could carry a sentence of between one month and one year behind bars.

Belkacem is being pursued after posting an 11-minute video on YouTube the day after the controversial detention of a woman wearing a niqab — or full Muslim veil, which is banned under Belgian law.

Police had said the woman assaulted officers, but Belkacem, self-styled spokesman for a group called Sharia4Belgium, said at the time that “the devil’s servants who held our sister want to wage war on Muslims, but they won’t win in Belgium.”

In May, Belkacem was sentenced to two years in prison, one suspended, for incitement to racial hatred, but pending an appeal had yet to do time. He will go before a magistrate next week.

Previously, Belkacem had publicly urged Belgian Muslims to join armed jihadists.

The Sharia4Belgium website was inaccessible on Thursday.

The Molenbeek district of Brussels was hit by two nights of street disturbances in the wake of the incident on May 31.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Einstein Was Right: CERN Scientists

Scientists on Friday said that an experiment which challenged Einstein’s theory on the speed of light had been flawed and that sub-atomic particles — like everything else — are indeed bound by the

universe’s speed limit.

Researchers working at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) caused a storm last year when they published experimental results showing that neutrinos could out-pace light by some six kilometres (3.7 miles) per second.

The findings threatened to upend modern physics and smash a hole in Albert Einstein’s 1905 theory of special relativity, which described the velocity of light as the maximum speed in the cosmos. ut CERN now says that the earlier results were wrong and faulty kit was to blame.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Elections on Sunday, PS Wants Outright Majority

UMP looking to escape clutches of Le Pen’s far-right

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, JUNE 7 — France’s Socialist Party is aiming for an outright parliamentary majority, which would give further legitimacy to its victory in the presidential election and would allow the party freedom of movement. The right-wing UMP party, meanwhile, is looking to restore the balance in view of a Socialist wave that has now engulfed the Elysee Palace, having already taken the French Senate and the majority of regions and cities. The National Front wants to take root after a strong performance in the presidential election, while the Front de Gauche hopes to form a parliamentary group.

French voters go to the polls on Sunday to elect 577 members of Parliament, in a vote that is crucial for all parties. Turn-out, however, is not expected to exceed 60%.

SOCIALISTS WANT FREE REIN — The stakes are very high for the Socialist Party (PS). Sunday will be especially crucial for ministers who are standing in parliamentary elections and will have to stand down from their cabinet positions if defeated. But the vote is even more important for the new French President, Francois Hollande, who will only be able to avoid the immobilism of his executive with an outright majority. The statistics are promising. Polls show that the PS is in rude health but the Socialists are aware that if numbers were to fall short, an alliance with the Greens would be enough to ensure the parliamentary seats.

THE UMP AND THE GRIP OF THE FN — The former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party is looking for a new leader, with the battle for his succession already underway and bound to grow fiercer after Sunday’s vote. The party’s immediate aim, though, is to gain as many seats as possible. This is the UMP’s only hope if they are to avoid the left gaining three fifths of the seats in the Assemble’e Nationale and the Senate combined, which in turn would allow the left to govern untroubled and carry out the planned constitutional reforms, such as giving voting rights to foreigners. But the elections could become an obstacle course for the neo-Gaullist right, which will need to be prepared for the famous “triangular” second round face-offs with the PS and the National Front (FN).

MARINE LE PEN AMBITIOUS — The three-way battles, which could be potentially fatal for the right, are a source of hope for the National Front, which has changed its name to “Mouvement Bleu Marine” for the elections. The party has dropped off slightly since its success in the presidential elections but aims to take charge of a few dozen constituencies. The numbers and the likely levels of voter apathy, however, make the achievement hoped for by Le Pen an unlikely one. Polls suggest that the party will have one or two members of parliament at most, much less than the figures mooted after the party picked up an unprecedented 17.9% of the vote in the presidential elections.

FRONT DE GAUCHE HOPES FOR GROUP — After a disappointing showing in the presidential elections, polls suggest that Jean-Luc Melenchon’s party can hope for 20-24 MPs, but there is little likelihood of the PS needing to count on the Communists in order to win an outright majority.

Melenchon himself is at the centre of one of the most hotly contested battles, for the constituency of He’nin-Beaumont in the far north of the country, where he will go head-to-head with Marine Le Pen in a battle of the Fronts. The loser in the duel between the two extreme rivals will have no opportunity for revenge.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Germany: Why Islam is an Integral Part of Germany

A Commentary by Bernhard Zand

A Mecca in Europe

German politicians have lately shown a penchant for weighing in on whether Islam belongs to Germany. A clear understanding of history, however, is often missing from the debate.

In recent days, two prominent German Christians offered up their thoughts to the country’s Muslims on their search for identity. Markus Söder, the finance minister of the state of Bavaria, surprised an audience of Turkish immigrants by saying that Islam is an “integral part of Bavaria.” Then, German President Joachim Gauck told the influential weekly Die Zeit that he shares the intentions of his predecessor, former President Christian Wulff. Gauck slightly re-formulated Wulff’s most famous sentence by saying: “The Muslims who live here belong to Germany.”

That now makes five such prominent voices weighing in on the ongoing debate. Wulff, from whom Gauck has now distanced himself, was first. He said: “By now, Islam also belongs to Germany.” Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich contradicted him, saying: “That Islam is part of Germany is a fact that cannot be proven by history.” He said that Germany’s identity has been “shaped by Christianity and the Enlightenment.” Then, senior parliamentary conservative Volker Kauder maintained that “Islam is not a part of our tradition and identity.”

So which is it? Who or what belongs to Germany? Islam? The Enlightenment? Muslims? Christianity?


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi: Codename ‘Betty’, a ‘Father Figure’ To Showgirl

Witness says she was being groomed for politics

(ANSA) — Milan, June 8 — A woman who attended one of the alleged sex parties hosted by Silvio Berlusconi testified on Friday to referring to him as codename ‘Betty’ on bugged phonecalls and said the ex-premier was grooming her for politics. Responding to a prosecutor who played back police wiretaps, showgirl Barbara Faggioli said that “shoes” was code for money and “Betty” was code for the ex-premier. “Berlusconi always gave me help as if he were my father,” she said, referring to money and rent payments he made for her Milan apartment, “which he still makes today,” she added. Berlusconi is currently on trial for allegedly paying for sex with an underage showgirl named Karima ‘Ruby’ El Mahroug, a Moroccan-born runaway, after several of the parties at his villa at Arcore outside Milan and allegedly coercing police into releasing her after an unrelated theft claim to hush up the fact.

Several young women have testified to being offered money and to witnessing groping and stripping at parties Berlusconi has called “elegant” affairs, similar to “burlesque”. Faggioli said that he gave her jewelery, such as the necklace she was wearing in the courtroom Friday, which she said was a birthday gift. “It’s just the way he is, he is very gentlemanly,” she said. But she denied that such gifts to her and other women were payment for sex. Faggioli also said that sex acts never occurred in the so-called ‘bunga-bunga’ room in his villa, which had a dance pole. “We danced and sang, there weren’t any stripteases, but I saw shows,” she said.

Rather than take advantage of Faggioli, Berlusconi was trying to talk her out of showbusiness and into going back to school so she could become a “candidate”, she told the court. “He talked about it because the premier believed in me,” she said. “It was a future prospect. In the meantime I was attending meetings, even at the regional council with (Nicole) Minetti”.

Minetti is Berlusconi’s former dental hygienist, who is now a Lombardy regional councillor for his People of Freedom (PdL) party, and is one of three people on trial for allegedly supplying the premier with prostitutes. Faggioli’s name came up in a deposition earlier this year when Imane Fadil, a Morroccan model, said Faggioli told her that Ruby “had very compromising videos and photos of the parties”.

Fadil also said she witnessed Faggioli and Minetti, dressed as nuns, perform a sort of “sexy dance in the bunga-bunga room,” wearing “black habits with a white cross on the headdress”.

Prosecutors say Berlusconi had sex with 33 prostitutes at his villa over the course of several evenings.

Berlusconi has stressed that both he and Ruby deny having sex, and has quipped “33 women in two months is too many even for someone who likes pretty girls, like me”.

He claims to be the victim of biased prosecutors who have allegedly been conducting a witch-hunt against him since he entered politics in 1994.

The charge of having sex with an underage prostitute carries a jail term of up to three years, and abuse of office 12 years.

The Ruby trial, which opened last April, is expected to run for years, with dozens of witnesses called by the prosecution and defence including George Clooney and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Vincere La Paura’set Up to Fight Extremist Censorship

New association aims to protect freedom of speech, religion

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JUNE 8 — Protect freedom of speech, expression and religion in Italy, Europe and the Arab-Islamic world, provide legal and (wheever possible) financial support to anyone suffering from “legal jihad” (i.e. censorship in the name of Islam by religious extremists) are some of the ambitious aims of the association Vincere La Paura (“Overcoming Fear”). The association will be presented this afternoon by the researcher Valentina Colombo, who teaches Arabic Language and Literature at the Bologna University and who has translated numerous Arab classics, including the Nobel Prize for Literature winner Naguib Mahfouz. “Censorship in the name of Islam does not exist solely in Muslim-majority countries,” said the new president of the association. “The gagging of the intellectual class, and not only, by Islamic extremism is now also seen in the West.” Here, she continued, “anyone who speaks out against a representative of Islamic extremism or who does not abide by ‘Islamic correctness’ is regularly reported and brought before a judge.” Vincere La Paura also aims to help anyone who is forced to convert in order to be married according to civil rites, and supports anyone who is threatened in general and therefore limited in their freedom of religion and expression. If one of the advantages of armed jihad is that of being clear and therefore easily recognisable,” said Colombo, “there is another type of jihad, a much more subtle one, which is conducted in courthouses.” The associations aims to “unmask the tactic of Islamic extremism which accuses, threatens and persecutes its enemies indiscriminately, accusing respectable Muslims of apostasy and non-Muslims of Islamophobia,” concluded Colombo. Founding the new association alongside the researcher are the lawyers Gabriele Gatti, Tommaso Monfeli, Sara Occhipinti, Gherardo Fiume, Giovanni Formicola, Roberto Ponte and Rita Sermoneta.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Norway Presents New Intelligence Chief

Marie Benedicte Bjørnland, 47, has been named the new head of Norway’s domestic intelligence service, PST. Justice Minister Grete Faremo heaped praise on Bjørnland at a Friday press conference for her work as head of the Vestfold police district.

“You have been the chief of one the best run police districts in the country, but now you will take on other important tasks. I am very confident that you are the right person for this job,” said the minister.

A popular police chief, Bjørnland was known during her time in Vestfold for her transparent policies and lively presence on social media site Twitter, an activity she may now have to reconsider. “I haven’t yet evaluated if I’ll continue to have a Twitter account, we’ll have to discuss that,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Turkey-EU: Ankara Will Boycott Cyprus’ Presidency, Says FM

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, JUNE 8 — Turkey will carry out its threat to cease contact with the EU presidency when Cyprus assumes the role on July 1, but will maintain ties with the European Commission, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after meeting EU officials on Thursday. “Our position on the presidency of the Greek Cypriots is clear. Today we have once more conveyed our position in the meeting,” Davutoglu told a joint news conference with EU counterpart Catherine Ashton and Stefan Fule, the European Commissioner in charge of enlargement.

“The relations and contacts with EU will continue, but none of the ministries, institutions of Turkish Republic will be in contact with the EU presidency in any of the activities related to Greek Cypriot presidency,” Davutoglu said as reported by Cypriot dailies.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey Continues Refusal to Recognise Cypriot EU Presidency

Turkey, an EU candidate country, is sticking to its decision not to recognise the Cypriot EU presidency scheduled to start on 1 July. “We have once more conveyed our position,” said FM Ahmet Davutoglu after meeting EU officials Thursday, reports Reuters. Turkey will maintain its contacts with the European Commission.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘I Don’t Know How We Got So Lucky!’ Somali Family on Benefits Handed Keys to £2million Luxury ‘Council’ Home a Stone’s Throw From Where Tony Blair Used to Live

A family of Somali benefits claimants living in a £2million home courtesy of the taxpayer admitted they couldn’t believe their luck yesterday.

To the anger of neighbours, the family of ten are allowed to live in a six-bedroom end-of-terrace Georgian townhouse in one of London’s most fashionable areas, populated by high-flying lawyers and stockbrokers. The family use housing benefits to pay a heavily discounted rent for the four-storey house in Islington — close to Tony Blair’s former home — which boasts a variety of period features, including chandeliers and wood flooring.


[Reader comment by bar on 8 June 2012 at 1:48.]

This news concerns a Somali family, while the previous recent article featured an Indian family. Also, there has been a comment in the DM some time ago, stating neighbours of his son in Surrey are adding to their family, are on benefits, and yes they are Somali. So is this what is meant by ‘multi-cultural’ Britain? The indigenous population work and are often refused benefits or help when needed, while various nationalities arrive from around the world to fully-funded lifestyles, living in properties costing approximately £350,000 to £2m?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Why Weren’t We Warned of the Regent’s Park Rapist?’

Scotland Yard has been criticised for failing to alert joggers and walkers to a rape in Regent’s Park. A teenage jogger was dragged into bushes and attacked by a man with a “distinctive swaying gait” as she went for an early morning run on Saturday May 26. The 19-year-old raised the alarm after the man ran off but one park user said police had failed to warn people of the danger. No one has been arrested. Consultant Anna Maxwell, 39, a regular Regent’s Park walker, said: “This attack took place at 7am when the park is full of people taking exercise yet there has been no sign of an extra police presence, or any notices alerting us to the possibility that the park has become a dangerous place. “If this had been a traffic accident there would have been a board appealing for witnesses. You do not want to scare people but you need people to be vigilant.” Ms Maxwell said she tried to complain to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime but her email bounced back with a message that its inbox was “too full”. She added: “Many of my neighbours are now seriously worried about using the park.”

Scotland Yard said officers returned to the park at 6.30am on Saturday, a week after the attack, to hand out leaflets and ask park users if they had seen anything suspicious.

A spokeswoman said patrols had been stepped up and anyone with concerns about the park should talk to the local safer neighbourhood team. Police say they have several leads. They are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the suspect, described as black, about 20, of medium build, 5ft 7ins and with short, Afro-style hair. He was wearing a blue or green T-shirt, possible with horizontal stripes, a baseball style cap of white and dark colour, dark jeans and white sport shoes. Anyone with information should call the Westminster Sapphire Unit on 020 7321 8040 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Gangs Raping and Sexually Exploiting White Young Girls ‘Is an Asian Problem, ‘ Top Crown Prosecutor Admits

  • After a spate of cases Nazir Afzal says it is impossible not to notice ‘that the perpetrators were Asian and the victims were not’
  • In the last year several gangs have been prosecuted for targeting young, vulnerable white girls and abusing them
  • Home Affairs Select Committee to take evidence on the issue next week after urgent hearing called
  • The sexual exploitation and grooming of young vulnerable white girls is a ‘particular problem in Asian communities’, one of Britain’s top prosecutors admitted for the first time today. In a year when several paedophile gangs were convicted of raping and prostituting victims in north west England, Nazir Afzal says it is impossible not to notice ‘that the perpetrators were Asian and the victims were not.’ The Chief Crown Prosecutor for the region added that ‘cultural baggage and the status of women among some men in these communities contributes to their disrespect for the rights of women.’ It was claimed last month that fears they would be branded racist meant that police and social services left one group free to rape up to 50 white girls, and Mr Afzal said today he would not ‘turn a blind eye.’ It came as the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee announced yesterday a day of evidence next week because its members and chairman Keith Vaz are ‘very concerned by the recent cases of child exploitation.’


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Heart Surgeon Lay on Floor at Tesco So He Could Look Up Woman’s Skirt

A heart surgeon lay on a supermarket floor so he could look up a woman shopper’s skirt, a court heard yesterday.

Ahmed Abdelgawad, 35, deliberately positioned himself on the ground in an aisle at Tesco so he could peer at her underwear.

It is alleged that he was touching his groin during the incident, which was caught on CCTV.

Witnesses called police and Abdelgawad was arrested as he sidled up to other unsuspecting women in the shop, the court was told.

Prosecutor Nicola Powell said: ‘It’s a fleeting incident.

‘Abdelgawad gets up afterwards and is in the store for some time afterwards and appears to be following several young females.

‘At one point, he is crouching next to a young girl in the fruit and vegetable aisle and appears to be about to do the same again.’

Magistrates heard Abdelgawad also had his hand in his trouser pocket and was touching himself during the incident on May 21.

Abdelgawad, who works at two hospitals in Swansea, South Wales, admitted outraging public decency but denies touching himself.

In a statement read to the court on his behalf, he said: ‘It was a stupid, silly mistake.

‘I didn’t touch myself in any way. I am remorseful for the incident and put it down to my raised stress, anxiety or depression.’

Swansea magistrates were shown CCTV footage of the heart surgeon peering up the woman’s skirt at a branch of Tesco in the city.

The court will hold another hearing, at a date to be fixed, to decide whether Abdelgawad touched himself at the time of the offence.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Hay Festival 2012: BBC’s Diamond Jubilee Coverage ‘Misfired’, Says Clare Balding

The BBC’s coverage of the Diamond Jubilee river pageant “misfired” after executives decided that “looking at boats for however many hours might be dull”, Clare Balding said yesterday.

Balding became the first presenter involved in the corporation’s coverage to admit its failings, which drew over 2,400 complaints from viewers. One theme of the complaints was that many of the presenters, who included Fearne Cotton and Matt Baker, were ill-informed and that there was precious little information about the flotilla. Balding, who presented from the royal rowbarge, Gloriana, was one of the few BBC names to emerge from the event with any credit. And in a piece of advice that her colleagues could do well to heed, she said: “My belief is always that facts are my friend. And I will make sure, because I’ve done so much sports broadcasting, that I know stuff you the audience wouldn’t necessarily know and I can tell you something. And if you ever hear me say, ‘The atmosphere here is wonderful’ — shoot me. Because I don’t think you need me to tell you that.”


[Reader comment by barcafan on 8 June 2012 at about 10 am.]

Why is the BBC so anti British?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: London 2012 Olympics: BOA to Decide Whether to Overturn Aaron Cook’s Controversial Taekwondo Omission

Key British Olympic Association officials will advise their board on Friday morning of the legal ramifications of taking the unprecedented step of intervening in an athlete’s selection by choosing world No 1 Aaron Cook for the -80kg taekwondo position at the London Games.

The BOA’s Olympic Qualification Standards panel is likely to decide on Friday whether to accept the nomination of Lutalo Muhammad ahead of Cook, or whether to invoke its “extraordinary circumstances” clause to make their own selection. The panel, comprising BOA chief executive Andy Hunt, executive Sir Clive Woodward, athlete representative Sarah Winckless and deputy chef de mission Mark England, will also speak to World Taekwondo Federation executives. If it overturns the GB Taekwondo nomination, it will be the first time the BOA has directly involved itself in an athlete selection. The extraordinary circumstances have arisen after the world body, the WTF, on Thursday issued a critical statement about GB Taekwondo’s selection processes, in which three times before the same officials the most experienced and highest seeded athlete, Cook, was overlooked in favour of Muhammad, ranked 59 in the world.


[JP note: Peculiar. The only clues seem to be in the name and colour of the underwhelming Lutalo Muhammad. Perhaps multicultural diversity, blah, blah, blah has to triumph over ability? Here is the official website of GB Taekwondo ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Leaked Report Reveals South Yorkshire Sex Grooming Concerns

CONFIDENTIAL details of a report into the murder of a South Yorkshire teenager stabbed to death and dumped in a canal have been leaked — and reveal concerns were raised about her being at risk of sexual exploitation six years before she died. The findings of a serious case review into 17-year-old Laura Wilson’s death were edited when they were made public last week, with authorities claiming huge chunks had been ‘redacted’ to protect the teenager’s family. But following intervention from Education Secretary Michael Gove, who accused Rotherham’s Safeguarding Children Board of ‘withholding relevant and important material’, Rotherham Council dropped its application for a High Court injunction to prevent the disclosure of all the findings.

Safeguarding Children Board chairman Alan Hazel had said Laura’s death was the result of a failed relationship. But the report found she had been referred to a specialist child exploitation project three months before her 11th birthday. It also found the authorities knew Laura had been ‘taken to a car by men who encouraged her to drink’. When Laura was 13, she and a friend ‘were given alcohol by men at a local takeaway and were asked what they were going to give them in return’.

The report also said ‘at the centre’ of Laura’s case was the ‘issue of her potential involvement in sexual exploitation’ and concluded many of the indicators suggesting a child was being groomed for sex ‘were apparent’ in Laura’s case. The report revealed 15 agencies had dealings with Laura in the years leading up to her death and identified ‘numerous missed opportunities’ to protect her. It referred to Laura, of Holmes, Rotherham, as being ‘almost invisible’ to the agencies dealing with her. She was killed by 18-year-old Ashtiaq Asghar, of Holmes Lane, Rotherham, in October 20120.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Machete Attack on Traders in Thornton Heath Butcher’s ‘Mini-Riot’

TWO shopkeepers are in hospital after being attacked with a machete in a “mini-riot” which is reported to have involved up to 20 men armed with fruit and vegetables. The men, from J and J Halal Butcher, are in a stable condition in a south London hospital but suffered deep wounds needing surgery. Police are appealing for witnesses to the brawl, said to have started in the shop in High Street, Thornton Heath, just before 5pm on Saturday. It is understood to have been sparked by a perceived insult inside the shop.

A witness, who saw the fight from the top deck of the number. 50 bus, said: “We saw these men running around with vegetables. It looked like a mini-riot. “It was hard to tell who was hitting who at the time, but at least one man was down on the ground getting attacked.” She added: “Then someone from round the corner came running at them with a machete. It looked enormous — maybe one metre long. He just came running out with it in front of him like a sword. At one point he was heading towards the bus and we screamed and the bus sped off. Then all we could see was he was down on the ground with other men hitting him.” The witness, who asked not to be named, said she did not immediately recognise the vegetable but after looking it up online thought it was an oyster plant. She added: “A couple of guys also had a melon that they were throwing.”


[JP note: Absurdistan.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Pakistani Kills Ex-Girlfriend With Hammer

London, June 7 (IANS) A jobless Pakistani national bludgeoned his Filipina ex-girlfriend to death with a hammer after a split with the 37-year-old mother of his two-year-old daughter, a British court heard. The court heard that 28-year-old Muhammed Niazi savagely murdered Charito Cruz in September 2011 after discovering she was flirting with an ex-boyfriend on Facebook. He became depressed and asked police to deport him. But he was turned away and told to contact the Home Office, the Daily Mail reported. Niazi from Kingston, Surrey, told the court that the Filipina woman, who he had met on an online dating site, deserved to die because she had been cheating on him. He admitted killing Cruz, but denies murdering her. He claimed he was not fully in control of his actions due to “severe depression”. The prosecutor said the Pakistani killed the woman with many deliberate blows to the head using a hammer, and she bled to death on the floor of their sitting room. He said Niazi was not depressed when he carried out the killing, but instead acted out of anger and revenge when he thought his partner was being unfaithful. Both the prosecution and defence would call psychiatrists to give evidence on the killer’s mental state. At the time of her death, Cruz had been holding two jobs to support their daughter and Niazi who was not legally allowed to work in Britain. The trial continues.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Plans to Close University Islamic Centre

Student Union members say they’re concerned about plans by the University of East Anglia to demolish the Islamic Centre. Planning permission for the temporary building expires in August and there are currently no plans to replace the facility. Instead the Chaplaincy building will be used as a multi-faith facility. The Islamic Community plans to host a demonstration on campus on Friday afternoon to oppose the demolition.

In a statement, the University of East Anglia said:

The University of East Anglia is committed to meeting the needs of the diverse range of groups within the campus community. UEA has a well-established Islamic Society and a Muslim Imam who plays a full part in our multi-faith chaplaincy team. We will continue to offer Muslim prayer facilities on campus for both Friday prayer and individual worship. The existing facility is a temporary building for which planning permission expires this September. The university is adapting the existing multi-faith Chaplaincy building to meet the needs of our Muslim students. They will also continue to be able to book rooms for social activities on campus. Our Chaplaincy staff are very much looking forward to welcoming more of our Muslim community into our multi-faith facility and believe that this will be a positive step in further enhancing mutual understanding and integration across our diverse community.

- University of East Anglia

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Riot Gang Members Jailed for Up to 30 Years

A gang of six who shot at a police helicopter and officers during last summer’s riots have been given prison sentences of up to 30 years. The group, who “lured” police to a blaze at a pub in the Aston area of Birmingham before opening fire, were jailed for a range of offences including rioting, reckless arson and firearms possession. Birmingham Crown Court heard at least 12 shots were fired at officers from West Midlands Police and the force helicopter, and at least four handguns were used. Jurors saw footage that had been filmed from the force helicopter. It showed the aircraft tracking the gang as they dispersed.

Sentencing the gang, all from the West Midlands, after they were convicted following a six-week trial, Judge William Davis QC described the incident as a “concerted attack on the police”. He said: “It is very difficult to conceive a case of this type more serious than this one.” Nicholas Francis, aged 26, described by the judge as “clearly a dangerous man”, was jailed for 30 years; Jermaine Lewis, 27, and Tyrone Laidley, 20, for 23 years; and Renardo Farrell, 20, and Wayne Collins, 25, each received 18 years. A 17-year-old youth, who can now be named as Amirul Rehman after the judge lifted an order, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. The court heard the gang were part of a larger group of 41 — their faces covered, and some carrying petrol bombs — rioting outside The Bartons Arms in Aston on the evening of August 9, 2011. Members of the group stormed the building, smashing windows and ransacking the premises, throwing chairs and tables out onto the pavement.

“The purpose of all this was not to loot or to steal. Nor was it mindless vandalism. The purpose, the common purpose, was to behave in such a way that the police would come to the scene and then to attack the police,” said the judge. “The intention was to endanger life. Although no physical injury was suffered, that was wholly a matter of luck. Had the police helicopter been struck, the consequences could have been catastrophic. There may have been no physical injury to a police officer, but the damage to the wellbeing of the city of Birmingham caused by an armed gang prepared to act in this way was grave.”

Francis, Lewis, Laidley, Farrell, and Collins were convicted of rioting, reckless arson and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Rehman was found guilty of rioting and firearms possession with intent. Judge Davis said: “For all but one of these defendants, the position is aggravated by the fact that they were party to arson at the Bartons Arms in circumstances which put the lives of those within the public house at risk. “The defendants were completely indifferent to the welfare of those upstairs. All they were interested in was luring the police to the area. The fact that members of staff looking on helplessly upstairs were put in real fear and no little danger meant nothing to them.”

[JP note: The mugshots accompanying this article say it all.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Threats to Army Units Failing to Recruit Ethnic Minorities

Army units facing abolition or merger must do more to recruit soldiers from ethnic minorities, ministers have signalled.

Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said that coming reforms in structure must “make sure the Army reflects the Britain of today”. Army chiefs are preparing to reshape the force because of cuts that will reduce it to 82,000 regular soldiers. The restructuring will mean entire battalions are disbanded while others are merged. Speaking at an Army conference yesterday, Mr Hammond laid out the criteria on which units will be judged, including “recruitment performance”. “The British Army needs to reflect British society,” he said. “This is clearly a challenge now; to recruit from the ethnic minorities within British society in proportions that reflect that society.” He told a Royal United Service Institute conference: “While we are determined to maintain an effective regimental system, it must be based on the realities of today, and the primacy of capability. That means focusing on analysis of recruitment performance, demographic trends and future recruiting needs.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Woman Raped After Being Thrown Off Bus Over 20p

Police have praised the courage of a woman who was raped and left unconscious after being thrown off her last bus home because she was 20p short of the fare. Detectives spoke out after Joseph Moran, 19, was found guilty by a jury at Nottingham Crown Court of rape and wounding with intent to cause GBH. The court had heard how the woman had been out with friends in the city on December 9 last year for an early Christmas celebration. It was told that she only had £4.80 to pay the £5 fare to Mansfield. The driver would not waive the 20p nor wait for her to visit an ATM opposite the bus stop. She began walking along Mansfield Road out of the city where she had arranged to be collected by her mother. But as she approached the entrance to Forest Recreation Ground she was grabbed by Moran, of Sneinton, and dragged into the park where he subjected her to what the jury heard was an appalling and protracted attack. She was found by police officers just after 4am, unconscious, and having suffered terrible injuries. She was rushed to hospital and police began an immediate investigation. Moran was arrested within minutes.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Griffin, who was in charge of the investigation, described Moran as “a singularly depraved and highly dangerous individual who committed a grotesque and extremely violent crime”. He said: “In the weeks and months since that terrible night, this young woman has undergone extensive surgery to repair the physical damage she suffered. She has also received support to help her deal with the mental and emotional injuries. Moran refused to accept his guilt, and so added to the torment she and her family have had to endure. Despite her lasting physical, mental and emotional scars, this young woman has shown the most tremendous courage and dignity, despite the many challenges she has had to face, and has played a vital role in securing his conviction.” He added: “Moran is a dangerous and violent man. A thorough police investigation and a courageous victim have ensured that he has been taken off the streets and no longer poses a risk to other women.”

Asked about reports that other passengers failed to give the victim the 20p she needed, the officer said: “It’s difficult to speak for those people. We each make our own judgments and the people on that bus made their judgments that night. Knowing what they know now, they may wish they had given 20p.” In a statement, the mother of the victim thanked those involved in the case. She said: “The last six months have been a very difficult time for my daughter and our family. We would like to thank the police, the prosecuting counsel and the medical staff at the Queen’s Medical Centre for the care and support they have shown to us during this time.” Moran will appear at the crown court on July 27 for sentencing.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ukraine: ‘Dress Like an Orthodox Jew’ Restaurant in Euro 2012 City Lviv, Ukraine

Tourists in town for Euro 2012 have been urged to avoid a restaurant in the Ukraine that invites customers to dress up as and mimic Orthodox Jews. According to Dr Ephraim Zuroff, the Nazi-hunter and a director of the human rights organisation the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, “At the Golden Rose” is one of two antisemitic eating establishments in the city of Lviv, where three group B matches are to be played. Dr Zuroff said that the restaurant gives guests hats with peyot attached when they arrive, and avoids citing prices on the menu so that people have to “haggle” on payment. At another restaurant, “Kryvika”, customers are welcomed into a room that is reminiscent of a Nazi-era bunker, after greeting waiters with the password “Glory to the Ukraine.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Vic Alhadeff: Exposing Anti-Semitism

Vic Alhadeff is chief executive officer of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies in Sydney, Australia

IN the aftermath of 9/11, commentators proffered the view that finally the world would understand what Israel had endured since its establishment in 1948. So shocking was the assault on the iconic heart of the United States that people would comprehend what it was like to live with terrorism as a reality.

Within minutes, conspiracy theories claimed that 4,000 Jews stayed away from the World Trade Center that Tuesday because they knew of the impending attack. In his recent book “Europe’s Angry Muslims: The Revolt of The Second Generation,” Robert Leiken cites a poll that found that 56 percent of British Muslims and 46 percent of French Muslims believe the Mossad, CIA or an agency other than Arab terrorists was responsible. Recently, Australian students asked a Jewish speaker why no Jews were killed on 9/11 (in fact, the number is estimated at 400 — 13 percent of the total number of casualties).

One might be forgiven for assuming French Jewry would have experienced a wave of empathy after the murder of a rabbi and three children in Toulouse in March. After all, they were 8, 6 and 3, and one child shot after the killer caught her by the hair and fired at point-blank range. Mohammed Merah, who also killed three paratroopers, told police he regretted not having killed more people. He was “seeking revenge for Palestinian children and French military postings overseas,” and resented restrictions on Muslim girls wearing veils.

Incredibly, instead of incurring sympathy, let alone solidarity, French Jews were targeted by an upsurge of aggression and hostility not experienced since the Gaza war. While the initial response from civil society — including some Muslim organizations — was horror, Merah became a role model. He had held France’s elite police at bay, brought its presidential election to a standstill, and was killed in combat. While his actions were sickening to most, to some they were heroic.

Toulouse, and the issues associated with it, was on the agenda of the American Jewish Committee’s recent global forum in Washington DC. Its lessons have resonance for Jewish communities everywhere.

The reality in Europe is that what used to be whispered on the margins of society has moved to the center. Forty percent of Europeans told a survey that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.

It begins — if such attitudes ever begin, as opposed to being revived — at the United Nations, which, as Israel’s Ambassador Ron Prosor put it, has triple standards: one for democracies, one for dictatorships, one for Israel.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Al Qaeda Leader’s Wife Praises Women for Arab Spring

(Reuters) — The wife of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri praised Muslim women for their role in the Arab Spring uprisings and said the unrest would soon lead to an “Islamic Spring”, according to a rare message posted online on Friday.

The letter, signed by Omaima Hassan, singled out women beaten during Egypt’s unrest and lauded mothers for bringing up the revolutionaries who went on to topple four heads of state it described as “tyrant criminals”. It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the undated message, posted on a website used by Islamist militants.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Politican Denies He Was Nabbed Having Sex in Car

Cairo, 8 June (AKI) — A member of the Egyptian parliament from the conservative Salafist Al Nour party has denied reports he was caught by police having sex in a car with a 19 -year-old student.

The Al-Ahram Arabic news website and other online news organisation said Ali Wanis on Thursday was spotted by police “engaging in an indecent act with a 19-year-old college student.”

He issued a statement on Friday denying the reports, accusing a police officer of fabricating the incident.

He said the accusation was part of a blackmail campaign aimed at smearing his reputation and the image of the Islamist political current.

The reports said Ali Wanis was able to avoid arrest because of immunity granted to politicians.

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

Egypt: Mubarak’s Ex-PM Steps Up Accusations Against Rival

Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq has unleashed a new round of accusations against his rival’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, accusing them of killing protesters during the 2011 uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. He also repeated in a Friday news conference earlier other accusations he has previously leveled against the group: that they worked with foreign powers to break into prisons and let criminals escape. Brotherhood spokesman Mohammad Ghozlan called Shafiq’s accusations illogical. Shafiq, who is running against the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, was Mubarak’s last prime minister.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Libya: Armed Men Rally for Islamic Law in Libya’s Benghazi

BENGHAZI, Libya — Hundreds of armed Libyan men calling for Islamic law staged a demonstration on Thursday in the eastern city of Benghazi, an AFP photographer said.

More than 300 men poured into Benghazi’s iconic Freedom Square, some of them on vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft guns and heavy weapons. “We will not be under a government that doesn’t rule in accordance with what God has mandated (in the Koran)” and “Democracy is a Western system of government in contradiction with the Islamic way” read some signs. Others had black banners with “There is no God but God” written in white.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Mob Attacks Women at Egypt Anti-Sex Assault Rally

A mob of hundreds of men assaulted women holding a march demanding an end to sexual harassment Friday, with the attackers overwhelming the male guardians and groping and molesting several of the female marchers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

From the ferocity of the assault, some of the victims said it appeared to have been an organized attempt to drive women out of demonstrations and trample on the pro-democracy protest movement.

The attack follows smaller scale assaults on women this week in Tahrir, the epicenter of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down last year. Thousands have been gathering in the square this week in protests over a variety of issues — mainly over worries that presidential elections this month will secure the continued rule by elements of Mubarak’s regime backed by the ruling military.

Earlier in the week, an Associated Press reporter witnessed around 200 men assault a woman who eventually fainted before men trying to help could reach her.

Friday’s march was called to demand an end to sexual assaults. Around 50 women participated, surrounded by a larger group of male supporters who joined to hands to form a protective ring around them. The protesters carried posters saying, “The people want to cut the hand of the sexual harasser,” and chanted, “The Egyptian girl says it loudly, harassment is barbaric.”

After the marchers entered a crowded corner of the square, a group of men waded into the women, heckling them and groping them. The male supporters tried to fend them off, and it turned into a melee involving a mob of hundreds.

The marchers tried to flee while the attackers chased them and male supporters tried to protect them. But the attackers persisted, cornering several women against a metal sidewalk railing, including an Associated Press reporter, shoving their hands down their clothes and trying to grab their bags. The male supporters fought back, swinging belts and fists and throwing water.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Gaza Live Blog

The Guardian reports on and about Gaza throughout the day, digging beneath the headlines to find out what impact Hamas’s rule and economic and political isolation from Israel has had on Gaza’s 1.7m inhabitants

10:44am: Here is a video about the Gaza City fish market and fishermen mentioned earlier.

10:24am: Israel says it imposed economic sanctions on Gaza in response to Hamas taking control of the enclave. Two years ago, it eased the restrictions. Harriet Sherwood asked government spokesman Mark Regev (left) to explain the background to Israel’s policy. Regev said:

Sanctions were not a policy, but a response to a new reality. We had a negotiated agreement in place with the Palestinian Authority, called the Movement and Access agreement. One day we woke up and saw on the other side of the crossing not PA personnel but armed Hamas personnel. That had an immediate effect on how we ran the security crossings. With the PA there was a level of trust. Hamas presented a whole series of very serious security challenges.

For example, a container comes to the border. Who checks it’s not full of explosives? The answer is Hamas.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

We Palestinians Are Reclaiming Our Destiny

by Ismail Haniyeh

As a new spirit of unity sweeps the Arab world, Palestine must also speak with one voice

Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away. This is what is happening in the Middle East today. Political reality returns, and all that is contingent — all that is not rooted in the history of the region’s people whose civilisation dates back thousands of years — falls away.

As Palestinian Arabs inhabiting these ancient lands, our destiny dictated that we should become like a fruit overhanging a garden fence: each passer-by would try to pluck us, while we struggled to cling to the vine. But our right to our land and our nation is not a matter of discussion or debate: it is an inalienable right guaranteed by all norms and laws. The “Palestinian problem” has many dimensions, but at its root is Israel’s occupation, which denies this inalienable right, and attempts to look for so-called “solutions” within its framework. Unfortunately, some of the major world powers provide it with political cover.


[JP note: The shaky foundations of Islam and its people: trapped in dreams of a past that never was, and projecting lies into a future that can never be.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Oman: Islamic Tourism Gaining Ground

A noble tourism concept, Islamic tourism, is gaining ground in the Sultanate of Oman, and in the years to come, it is all set to grow in leaps and bounds, according to a key personnel from the tourism industry of the country. Apart from Haj, the annual pilgrimage to the holy land of Mecca, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, Umrah, yet another visit to the land of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) round the year, and the allied requirements of performing the same, there has been a steady increase in the number of people, majority families, needing Islamic environment while on travel. This includes non-alcohol hotels, dedicated prayer centres; halal foods, privacy during shopping, prayer time alerts in local time, so on and so forth which help the visitors maintain their faith unscathed throughout the travel.


[JP note: The only authentic Islamic tourism is jihad.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Book Out on Unpublished Writings by Msg. Padovese, Killed in 2010 by Young Muslim

Appearing in bookshops over the coming days, published by Edizioni Terra Santa, will be a volume of previously unpublished memories and reflections by Msg. Luigi Padovese, the Capucin bishop and Apostolic Vicar for Anatolia, who was stabbed to death in Turkish Iskenderun by a youthful Muslim two years ago, on June 3 2010.

With the title “La Verita’ nell’Amore. Omelie e scritti pastorali (2004-2010)” (Truth and Love. Homilies and Pastoral Writings (2004-2010)), the volume bears witness to the life of an exceptional Christian — as Msg.Padovese surely was — in a land of Islam.It was an existence spent with the awareness of his religious identity as caught inside the field of tension of encounter and dialogue with Muslims.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Yemeni Army Clashes With Al Qaeda Fighters, 25 Killed

SANAA (Reuters) — Yemen’s army engaged on Thursday in heavy gun battles with Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda on the edge of the southern town of Jaar, part of a month-long offensive to retake several towns seized by rebels, local officials said. At least 20 Islamist fighters from Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), an offshoot of al Qaeda, were killed, residents said. Five tribesmen fighting alongside government forces also died, the residents said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Ikea’s Product Names Too ‘Sexy’ For Thailand

While perfectly normal to Scandinavian ears, Swedish furniture giant Ikea’s product names often make Thai customers blush, sounding just a little bit too close to “sexy” slang.

“We’ve got to be careful. Some of them can be, well, a little rude, “ said Natthita Opaspipat, a member of a team of Thai speakers employed by the company to modify terms so they can’t be so easily misinterpreted, to US newspaper the Wall Street Journal.

According to the paper, the team spent almost four years before the company’s Bangkok launch last year by scrutinizing terms to see what they would sound like in Thai before transliterating them into the Thai alphabet.

In some cases smaller adjustment to the name had to be made to avoid embarrassment.

For example, the Redalen bed frame, to Scandinavian ears suitably named after a small Norwegian town, comes just a little too close to the Thai word for petting or even oral sex.

The pot plant Jättebra, meaning really good in Swedish, is also problematic, reports the paper, as it sounds like crude Thai slang for sex.

However, according to the report, the Thai team makes every effort to keep the names as close to the Swedish words as possible.

“The Swedish… words are important because they bring a unique character to the brand,” Natthita Opaspipat told the Wall Street Journal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Marines ‘Unjustly Detained’ In India Says Napolitano

President issues message on Navy Day

(ANSA) — Rome, June 8 — Two Italian anti-pirate marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen by mistake three months ago are being “unjustly detained”, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said Friday.

Speaking on Italy’s Navy Holiday, the president said: “I send special thoughts and encouragement to marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, still unjustly detained far from Italy and their families”.

Although the marines were granted bail earlier this month, Italy believes they should be tried at home.

The pair have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Italy and India since being detained in February after an incident that took place while they were guarding the Enrica Lexie tanker.

Indian police have filed charges that included homicide.

The marines are accused of killing fishermen Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki after mistaking them for pirates.

The Indian federal supreme court in New Dehli has set a hearing July 26 to rule on jurisdiction for the case.

Italy claims that it should have jurisdiction, not India, as the incident took place aboard an Italian vessel in international waters.

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

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Pakistan Blast: Quetta Religious School Toll Rises to 15

The death toll from a bomb attack in the Pakistani city of Quetta rose to 15 on Friday, after some of those injured died in hospital, police said.

At least eight people, including children, died at the scene of the blast outside a religious school. But many others were critically injured after the bomb strapped to a bicycle outside the school was detonated. No group has claimed the attack, but the Taliban as well as separatist militants are active in the region. Quetta is the capital of the south-western province of Balochistan, where a separatist insurgency is being waged by ethnic Baloch militants demanding more autonomy and a greater share of natural resources. Afghan and Western officials have in the past said parts of the Taliban leadership are based in Quetta — a claim Pakistan denies.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: State of Social Sciences: Changes Introduced by the IIUI Pro-Chancellor Undoing All the Good

Islamabad: The changes being introduced at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) are undoing all the good that its rector had done.

This was the dominant view at a discussion held in Islamabad on social sciences. The discussion, which specially focused on the curriculum changes made at the university, was delayed on two previous occasions. The speakers were alarmed at the shift in focus at the IIUI, from disciplines such as social sciences and philosophy to Islamic studies. These changes were introduced after the new pro-chancellor, Dr Sulaiman Abdullah Abal-Khail, took over following the reportedly forced ex-Pakistan leave of IIUI Rector Dr Fateh Mohammad Malik. Some participants observed that with the changes recently introduced, Abal-Khail is seemingly “hell-bent” on undoing the avenues for critical thought that Malik had fostered within the university. “This is not a struggle between liberals and right wings, but pursuing scientific experimentation that is integral to the intellectual growth of any university and society,” said Ayesha Siddiqa, the keynote speaker.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sectarian Tension in Myanmar Results in Imposed Curfew

A curfew was imposed Friday in areas of western Myanmar where sectarian tensions between Buddhists and Muslims erupted in fresh violence.

According to the state press, last Sunday’s deaths involved the killings of 10 Muslims by an angry mob of about 300 people who attacked a bus carrying them from a religious gathering in Taunggup, 180 miles northwest of Yangon. Prior to the attack, some anti-Muslim pamphlets had been circulated in Taunggup relating to the rape and murder of a young Buddhist girl last month, allegedly by three Muslim youths.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Pledges Help to Afghanistan

China has moved to enhance its ties with Afghanistan as regional powers seek to gain an economic foothold in the country. The Chinese president vowed that China would provide “selfless help” to its impoverished neighbor.

China’s president has promised to step up trade, aid, investment and security investment to Afghanistan as Beijing strives to create closer links with its neighbor.

Hu Jintao told visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday in Beijing that China would “continue to provide sincere and selfless help to the Afghan side” as it entered “ a critical transition period.”

Hu and Karzai also signed a strategic partnership agreement in which China pledged to promote Chinese investment, help with infrastructure and provide 150 million yuan (18.8 million euros) in aid this year.

The two leaders met for one-to-one talks after Karzai earlier attended the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security bloc comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan was granted observer status in the bloc on Thursday at the end of the summit, allowing it to attend meetings but not vote.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa: College Head Rejects Claims

The principal of a college campus near Umzinto, which is to be investigated at the request of Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, has hit back at allegations that its students are forced to practise Islam. Ebrahim Majam has denied that it is mandatory for non-Muslim students to study the Qur’an or wear traditional Islamic clothing while living in dormitories at the As-Salaam Institute. On Tuesday, Nzimande said he would set up a probe into how the college, a public institution, managed its student accommodation. Nzimande said that in a constitutional democracy and secular state, infringing on a student’s right to religious freedom was worrying and “out of order”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tanzania: State Resolves Islamic Exam Row

The government has said there was no deliberate intention to frustrate some Islamic students who sat for the Islamic Knowledge examination in the past form six examinations last February. It insisted that the matter has now been settled once and for all. Making the clarification on the matter in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, the Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, said that the disparity over the issue should now be treated as a bygone. He said that complaints among some Muslim communities over the examination were due to the old marking system which has been reviewed. Following the grievances, he said, the government carried out investigation and discovered that the old marking system that was used until last year was to blame. In the system the final marks of the subject were calculated using three paper systems instead of the two paper system being applied now.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Bodies Found in Mexico Drug “Hotspot”

More than a dozen mutilated bodies have been found in a drug-crime “zone” of Mexico bordering the US, according to reports. The development comes with Mexico only weeks away from a presidential election.

Fourteen dismembered bodies were discovered Thursday in an abandoned truck in northeastern Mexico in what appeared to be the latest bloody episode in the battle between rival gangs over drug smuggling routes.

A police officer found the corpses of 11 men and three women in the illegally parked vehicle in the sugar-cane farm town of Ciudad Mante of Tamaulipas state, which is on the border of Texas, local media reported. Police also came across a blanket at the scene which held a message from the perpetrators of the violence, but officials gave no more details.

The state attorney general’s office was not able to immediately confirm the reports.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Hawkish Step on EU Borders Outrages MEPs

EU countries have given themselves more freedom to block passport-free travel, causing outrage among MEPs. Member states can close their borders for up to 30 days if there is a serious threat to internal security (such as major sporting events), up to 10 days in urgent cases (terrorist attacks) and up to six months if persistent problems exist at external borders.

Under the old system, in place since 2006, member states were allowed to impose border controls in urgent cases for only up to five days. Additionally, if a member state fails to control its external EU border, then its peers may on the basis of a European Commission proposal, recommend for neighbours to reintroduce border controls as a fall-back.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The GPS Roadmap for Making Immigration Work

A prime-time special: “Global Lessons: The GPS Roadmap for Making Immigration Work” debuts on CNN at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 10.

Few topics are more provocative than immigration. In this special, I look around the world for insightful immigration policies in Japan, Europe, and Canada — and explore what the United States can learn from each. America is an immigrant society. What I was struck by, though, was a lot of other countries have learned our tricks and bettered them.

So, did you know, for example, that Canada has more foreign-born nationals than we do? And Australia has more immigrants than we do? Those societies have become, in 10 or 15 years, genuinely pluralistic, diverse immigrant societies. And here’s the kicker: They have figured out a way to do immigration right, where they take smart, hardworking, talented people whom their economy needs. In the Sunday special, we look at these lessons. Also joining me are two thought leaders on immigration politics and policy — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-NY), and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R-KS).

What do you think? What can the U.S. learn from other countries’ immigration policies? Share you comments below.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Forced Marriage Will be a Problem for as Long as We Have Mass Migration

by Ed West

One of the most common symptoms of a collective political delusion is that people will go to almost any lengths to avoid questioning it, however costly the detour. Another is that when a conflicting issue threatens this delusion, however important that issue is, it will be smothered by it. The Government, it has been announced, is to bring in a new law making forced marriages illegal. As this paper reports, roughly 1,700 people a year go to the police over forced marriages, and the Home Office’s Forced Marriage Unit is working with 400 children threatened with marriage against their will. The people who campaigned on this difficult and touchy issue should be applauded, showing as it does genuine “muscular liberalism”; and if this law proves effective, then it will save countless young men and women. But there’s also a massive elephant in the room here.

Every year 60,000 people become British citizens through family reunion, which includes large numbers of people marrying British citizens. Family reunion remains the most common reason for immigration from South Asia (although since the government allowed foreign students to work, in effect, for ever in Britain, this has also become a hugely popular route).

Jack Straw made marriage-migration easier, abolishing the primary purpose rule, partly because Labour MPs spent a lot of time dealing with constituents who wanted a relative brought over, although we can’t rule out cynicism, since Labour musters overwhelming support from the Pakistani community.


[Reader comment by EChadbourne on 8 June 2012 at 06:41 AM.]

There’s a bizarre article in this paper today:

saying the British Army must recruit more asian/pakistani origin soldiers. Wouldn’t this be the ultimate Trojan Horse? Train & arm the 5th Column?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Greece: Gay Pride Celebration Tomorrow in Athens

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JUNE 8 — Klafthmonos Square, at the heart of Athens’ historical centre, will play host to the city’s 8th annual gay pride celebration on Saturday, as Athens News daily reports. The action-packed schedule includes a party and parade at 6pm. Everyone is welcome to participate in the event, whose slogan this year is “Love me, it’s free”. This year’s slogan, organisers say, stresses that the values that fortify a society are priceless. Yet they cost absolutely nothing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]