Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120625

Financial Crisis
»Cyprus Applies for Eurozone Bailout
»EU Warned Over Supplies of Medicine to Greece
»France ‘Needs 10 Billion to Tackle Deficit’
»Germany Would if it Could, But it Can’t So it Won’t
»Germans Panic-Buy Over-Priced Swiss Houses
»Germany Rejects Obama’s Criticism in Euro Crisis
»Imagining the Unthinkable
»Spain Officially Requests Aid for Its Ailing Banks
»Swiss Central Bank in Swap Deal With Poland
»Los Angeles Jewish Federation Hosts, Endorses Pam Geller’s Islamophobia
»Major Nidal Hasan’s Beard
»New Black Hole Spotted
»Teens Desecrate 9-11 Memorial
»The Twin Faces of Islam
Europe and the EU
»Al-Qaida Trains Norwegian to Attack
»Belgium: European Islamic Group Praises Holocaust-Denier
»Italy: Tourists Stealing Cobblestones and Mosaic From Ancient Rome
»Jihadis Using Switzerland as a Base: Police
»Research Finds Stonehenge Was Monument Marking Unification of Britain
»UK: ‘Sex Gang Had Values Entrenched in Foothills of Punjab’
»UK: Britannia Rules Aid
»UK: Lambeth’s Urban Clearance
»UK: Mum Maroon Rafique Banned From Manchester College Parents’ Evening… for Wearing a Veil
»UK: Sex Gang Ringleader Unmasked
»UK: Why Gang Leader Could Not be Unmasked
North Africa
»Arab Spring Provided New Breeding Ground for British Terrorists — Spy Chief
»Egypt: A Muslim Brotherhood President Does Not Prove That We Are All ‘Chimps’
»Egypt: A Liberal Challenge to Wahhabist Orthodoxy May be the Way Forward for Islam
»Egypt: Khairat Al Shater: The Brother Who Would Run Egypt
»Egypt Might Not Follow Radical Islam Path — Official
»Egypt’s Powerless New Head of State
»The Brotherhood’s Bait and Switch
»Tunisian Ministry of Relgious Affairs to Increase Control of Mosque Activities
Israel and the Palestinians
»Fatal Failure to Fight for Right
»Obama, His Rabbi and Political Islam
»Vladimir Putin Flies to Israel for Iran and Syria Talks
Middle East
»Qatar: Forum Aims to Foster Bioethics Research
»‘Syria’s Stonehenge’: Mysterious Ruins in Desert Could be 10,000 Years Old — But Scientists Can’t Get Near to Investigate
South Asia
»India: Prophet Pic in School Book Irks Muslims
»India: Clashes Erupt in Indian Kashmir After Mosque Fire
»India: Mumbai Attacks ‘Handler’ Abu Hamza ‘Arrested’
»Threatwatch: Taliban Action Risks Polio Resurgence
Far East
»Soccer Fan Dies After Reportedly Staying Awake for 11 Days to Watch Euros
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Ghana: Former Veep Asks Muslims to Shun Violence
»Ghana: Bawumia Causes Near Stampede at Madina Mosque
»Kenya: Muslim Bodies Okay Anti-Terror Bill
»Nigeria: Church Gift — ACN Wants Jonathan Impeached
»Nigeria: US Puts Three Boko Haram Leaders on Terror List
»Uganda: Educate the Girl Child, UPC’s Otunnu Tips Muslims
»Netherlands: Amsterdam’s Newcomers Thrive Even as Immigration Gets Tougher
»UK: Right Scandal
Culture Wars
»Australia: Muslim Imam Condemns Homosexuality as Salvos Apologise for Death-to-Gays Insult
»Extraterrestrial Mining Could Reap Riches & Spur Exploration
»The Evils of the Muslim Brotherhood

Financial Crisis

Cyprus Applies for Eurozone Bailout

Cyprus Monday announced it will apply for a eurozone bailout. “The purpose of the required assistance is to contain the risks to the Cypriot economy … due to its large exposure in the Greek economy,” said a government statement. Greece, Ireland and Portugal have already had international bailouts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Warned Over Supplies of Medicine to Greece

Europe’s drug industry has written to EU leaders to seek help to keep medicines flowing to crisis-hit countries like Greece, Reuters reports. The industry wants to prevent discounted products in southern Europe from being exported to rich states in the north and wants Europe to do more for drug research.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France ‘Needs 10 Billion to Tackle Deficit’

France must find up to €10 billion to cut its public deficit to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Monday. Moscovici told iTele television that the new socialist government was looking for seven to 10 billion euros ($12.5 billion), and added: “We are somewhere in the middle I imagine, but I am waiting to see the official figures”.

The numbers given were slightly lower than the government’s previous estimate of about €10 billion.

In 2011, France posted a public deficit, which includes state and social services spending such as the public health system, of 5.2 percent of GDP, and in March the former government cut its 2012 target to 4.4 percent.

Under EU rules, eurozone countries are supposed to keep deficits below 3.0 percent of GDP, and work towards a balance or even a surplus in times of economic growth.

Moscovici also said that a European Union summit to take place on Thursday in Brussels had to see eurozone countries offer “structural solutions” to a crisis that is now in its third year.

He insisted that this meeting of EU leaders “is not a banal summit”.

Markets and other countries around the world “expect Europeans to finally come up with structural solutions, and that is what they are looking for”.

Moscovici said the summit should “finally provide the euro with a political spine, and banking regulation”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Would if it Could, But it Can’t So it Won’t

Does Germany have a duty to bail-out the Eurozone? Some people say yes, some people say no (or rather nein seeing as most of them are German). Writing for the Washington Post, Robert Samuelson says it doesn’t matter, because the Germans couldn’t bail-out their neighbours even if they wanted to (which they don’t).


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germans Panic-Buy Over-Priced Swiss Houses

Wealthy Germans are being pushed into panic-buying property at sky-high prices in Switzerland as fears grow for the safety of their euro assets, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

“Do something before the euro finally splutters its last cough and dies, taking your assets down with it.” This is the message Swiss investment companies are sending to wealthy Germans, Die Welt said on Sunday. “Transfer your assets to the most secure democracy in Europe. To Switzerland, where private assets are respected,” reads one newsletter sent out by one unnamed company quoted in the article.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Rejects Obama’s Criticism in Euro Crisis

In a sign of tensions between Berlin and Washington, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Sunday that President Barack Obama should focus on cutting America’s own budget deficit before advising Europe on how to tackle its debt problems.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble rebuffed recent criticism of Germany’s handling of the euro crisis from Barack Obama, telling the US president to get his own house in order before giving advice.

“Herr Obama should above all deal with the reduction of the American deficit. That is higher than that in the euro zone,” he told German public broadcaster ZDF on Sunday night. It is easy to give advice to others, he added,

Obama, worried about the impact of the debt crisis on the global economy and financial markets — and on his own prospects for re-election —has been urging Europe to step up its efforts to tackle the problem.

In the interview, Schäuble also reiterated his opposition to euro bonds, saying countries must remain individually liable for their public debt as long as they were taking sovereign decisions on how the money was being spent.

“If you spend the money from my account, you won’t be frugal with the money,” said the finance minister. He added that he was against devoting large sums of money — for example from the European Central Bank — to fight the crisis. The roots of the crisis needed to be fought credibly, he said, adding that that was succeeding in Ireland and Portugal, which have both received international bailouts. “It’s not succeeding so well in Greece,”he added.

Schäuble said a new structure needed to be found for the single currency, and that reforms could come quickly. He added that credible decisions could be taken at the next EU summit on Thursday and Friday when proposals for deeper integration will be presented.

One of the decisive questions at the summit would be how much power the member states should transfer to Brussels. In an interview with SPIEGEL published on Monday, Schäuble said he could imagine that Germany will soon have to hold a referendum on a new constitution enshrining greater EU sovereignty.

“I don’t know when that will happen, and I doubt anyone does,” he told SPIEGEL. “But I assume that it’ll happen sooner than I would have thought a few months ago.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Imagining the Unthinkable

The Disastrous Consequences of a Euro Crash

As the debt crisis worsens in Spain and Italy, financial experts are warning of the catastrophic consequences of a crash of the euro: the destruction of trillions in assets and record high unemployment levels, even in Germany.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain Officially Requests Aid for Its Ailing Banks

On Monday, the Spanish government in Madrid officially requested EU aid for its troubled banks. Spain will be expected to reform its financial industry in exchange for help, but who will determine the conditions that are applied?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Swiss Central Bank in Swap Deal With Poland

Switzerland’s national bank agreed on Monday to a deal with its Polish counterpart to cover any cash shortages in Poland as borrowers face repaying loans in expensive Swiss francs.

“The Swiss National Bank (SNB) and National Bank of Poland (NBP) have concluded a Swiss franc/zloty swap agreement,” the SNB said in a statement. “In the event of tensions in the Swiss franc interbank market, the facility enables the NBP to provide Swiss franc liquidity to banks in Poland. “The two central banks do not anticipate that this agreement, which has been concluded as a precautionary measure, will need to be called upon.”

According to the terms of the “swap” agreement, SNB would have to approve any demands for funds by NBP for a maximum duration of one week.

A spokeswoman for SNB said that Polish households had “a relatively high volume” of franc-denominated loans that could require refinancing.

The agreement was the second of its kind between the two countries since 2008 and similar to one drawn up between Hungary and SNB in 2008, the spokeswoman said.

“This (swap agreement) is because there is a relatively high volume of outstanding loans in Poland. There could be a high need to refinance these loans there,” said Silvia Oppliger, SNB spokeswoman.

“But this is a precautionary measure and we don’t think it will have to be activated. If it is needed, it is in place.”

Since September last year the Swiss franc has been capped at 1.20 to the euro by the SNB, but it was at 1.30 to the euro at the beginning of last year and significantly more attractive in 2007 when investors banked on getting 1.64 francs to the euro.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Los Angeles Jewish Federation Hosts, Endorses Pam Geller’s Islamophobia

by Richard Silverstein

Well, now I’ve seen everything. In the course of writing this blog, at various points I’ve made similar statements. But invariably an even greater outrage occurs and I have to amend myself. Tonight is such a time.

CAIR’s daily press briefing reveals that the Los Angeles Jewish Federation will be hosting a lecture by rabid Muslim-hater Pam Geller, Islamic Jew Hatred: The Root Cause of Failure to Achieve Peace. The official sponsor of the event is the Zionist Organization of America, but she will speak tomorrow on their behalf in the Sanders Board Room, the Federation’s main meeting space.


[JP note: See also ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Major Nidal Hasan’s Beard

This week military judge Gregory Gross barred Major Nidal Malik Hasan from appearing in court because he has refused to shave a beard he reportedly grew as a badge of his deep Islamic faith. The beard, judge Gross said, was a violation of Army policy. As it happens, so were Hasan’s actions in November of 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

New Black Hole Spotted

US astrophysicists have discovered a black hole, hurled out of its galaxy by what experts describe as powerful gravitation forces.

The orbital telescope Chandra spotted the unusual phenomenon unfolding 4 billion light years from Earth. Specialists attribute the gravitational field disturbance to a collision of two galaxies which, in turn, adds credence to the “wandering black holes” theory.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Teens Desecrate 9-11 Memorial

The New York Dept. of Education has launched an investigation over reports that a group of middle school students were caught throwing trash into the reflecting pools of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum during a recent school field trip.

Eyewitnesses told the Daily News (newspaper) that the kids threw empty soda bottles and baseballs into the pools — marking the original footprints of the World Trade Center towers.

Besides trash:

In addition, one of the students reportedly tried to bring firearm ammunition into the site. Police said they found three .33-caliber rounds in a plastic bin in the security area.

Respect is taught and these “teens” parents have failed miserably in their parenting skills.

“It really is so sad that anyone would disrespect the souls that were lost in the terrorist attacks back on 9/11,” said Al Hagan, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

“One can only hope that these children do not become lost and that they;

“learn from their mistakes.”

“No one was disrespecting. It wasn’t nothing like that,” said one student. “No one was being serious. Everyone was kind of bored and it was just something to do.”

So much for “learning from mistakes”.

“They were making jokes and throwing stuff in the fountain,” said another student. “It didn’t seem like a big deal.”

But other visitors were outraged by their behavior.

“That is an absolute disgrace,” Sharon Hooks told the newspaper. “I don’t care if these children were too young to remember the events of that day. They need to be taught to be respectful.

“It’s a memorial,” Rene LaRosa told the Daily News. “They showed an absolute lack of respect.”

BTW, where were the school staff?

Looking the other way?

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

The Twin Faces of Islam

by M. Zuhdi Jasser

The complexities of the “Muslim issue” in America are often exploited and bandied about between two extremes — one that wants to be believe that Islam is universally peaceful and no “real” Muslim could be a radical, and the other that has become suspicious of every American Muslim. The vast majority of Americans are hopelessly confused somewhere in between. They are fearful but searching for solutions and looking for hope. The greatest security threat we face as Americans has one common ideological thread across the globe — not spiritual Islam but political Islam (Islamism). That threat is a byproduct of a soulful Muslim battle between liberalism and Islamism.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Al-Qaida Trains Norwegian to Attack

A Norwegian man has received terrorist training from al-Qaida’s offshoot in Yemen and is awaiting orders to carry out an attack on the West, officials from three European security agencies told The Associated Press on Monday.

Western intelligence officials have long feared such a scenario — a convert to Islam who is trained in terrorist methods and can blend in easily in Europe and the United States, traveling without visa restrictions.

Officials from three European security agencies confirmed Monday the man is “operational,” meaning he has completed his training and is about to receive a target. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly. They declined to name the man, who has not been accused of a crime.

“We believe he is operational and he is probably about to get his target,” one security official said. “And that target is probably in the West.”

A security official in a second European country confirmed the information, adding: “From what I understand, a specific target has not been established.”

European security services, including in Norway, have warned in recent years of homegrown, radicalized Muslims traveling to terror training camps in conflict zones. Many of the known cases involve young men with family roots in Muslim countries.

But the latest case involves a man in his 30s with no immigrant background, the officials said. After converting to Islam in 2008, he quickly became radicalized and traveled to Yemen to receive terror training, one of the officials said. The man spent “some months” in Yemen and is still believed to be there, he said.

The official said the man has no criminal record, which would also make him an ideal recruit for al-Qaida.

“Not even a parking ticket,” he said. “He’s completely clean and he can travel anywhere.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Belgium: European Islamic Group Praises Holocaust-Denier

Brussels-based Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) mourned death of French Holocaust-denier Roger Garaudy.

BERLIN — The Brussels-based Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) issued a statement mourning the death on June 13 of French Holocaust-denier Roger Garaudy, prompting fierce criticism on Saturday from the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Paris. According to the president of the Islamic organization, the “FIOE received with great sorrow the news of the death of the French thinker Roger Garaudy, known to the world as a distinguished philosopher with a life of diverse contributions and interactions across the world.”

According to the president of the Islamic organization, the “FIOE received with great sorrow the news of the death of the French thinker Roger Garaudy, known to the world as a distinguished philosopher with a life of diverse contributions and interactions across the world.” The FIOE statement, which was posted on the group’s website, added that Garaudy was a “great thinker” and “whether people agree or disagree with pioneering thinkers, they cannot in any way ignore the vibrant ideological and human life of a thinker, who spent close to a whole century of our lifetime, with a keen concern for achieving understanding between nations, and interaction between civilizations.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italy: Tourists Stealing Cobblestones and Mosaic From Ancient Rome

Tourists are stealing cobblestones, marble mile markers and bits of mosaic from ancient Rome and are being caught at customs trying to smuggle them home, airport police have disclosed.

Dozens of the square stones used by Romans 2,000 years ago to pave roads are ending up in passengers hand luggage. Security staff screening bags at the Italian capital’s main airports at Fiumicino and Ciampino have reported a surge in findings as x-ray scanners pick up the objects when luggage is screened and they in turn call police. On Sunday, police in Rome put on display a vast collection of the cobblestones and artefacts that they have seized from passenger luggage in the first six months of this year. The majority of those caught are “northern Europeans” and several British tourists have been among those caught red handed and left embarrassed in front of other passengers when items are pulled from their luggage. Ancient Romans used volcanic stone to make the cobbles for the roads that led away from the city and they date back 2,000 years.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Jihadis Using Switzerland as a Base: Police

The Swiss Federal Police are worried that Islamic terrorists are using Switzerland as a base.

The Swiss Federal Police are worried that Islamic terrorists are using Switzerland as a base. “Suspected jihadis continue to use Switzerland as a base to acrtively support Islamist groups by placing propaganda and incitement to violence on the web,” FedPol said in its annual report published on Thursday, newspaper Tribune de Genève reported.

A new specialist department, formed at the beginning of 2011, has been looking into the websites and their operators.

A preliminary investigation conducted in Germany also found that a Swiss convert to Islam had planned over the web to carry out a terrorist attack involving explosives against an American institution in Germany. The man was eventually released from police custody due to lack of evidence.

The report said that the fact the man identified was Swiss proved that “not only people with immigrant backgrounds could be supporters of jihad,” newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

The Federal Police are working closely with the Swiss Intelligence Services who confirmed that they have identified more than ten trips from Switzerland to jihadi training camps overseas.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Research Finds Stonehenge Was Monument Marking Unification of Britain

After 10 years of archaeological investigations, researchers have concluded that Stonehenge was built as a monument to unify the peoples of Britain, after a long period of conflict and regional difference between eastern and western Britain.

Its stones are thought to have symbolized the ancestors of different groups of earliest farming communities in Britain, with some stones coming from southern England and others from west Wales.

The teams, from the universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Southampton, Bournemouth and University College London, all working on the Stonehenge Riverside Project (SRP), explored not just Stonehenge and its landscape but also the wider social and economic context of the monument’s main stages of construction around 3,000 BC and 2,500 BC.

“When Stonehenge was built”, said Professor Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield, “there was a growing island-wide culture — the same styles of houses, pottery and other material forms were used from Orkney to the south coast. This was very different to the regionalism of previous centuries. Stonehenge itself was a massive undertaking, requiring the labour of thousands to move stones from as far away as west Wales, shaping them and erecting them. Just the work itself, requiring everyone literally to pull together, would have been an act of unification.”

Stonehenge may have been built in a place that already had special significance for prehistoric Britons. The SRP team have found that its solstice-aligned Avenue sits upon a series of natural landforms that, by chance, form an axis between the directions of midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.

Professor Parker Pearson continued: “When we stumbled across this extraordinary natural arrangement of the sun’s path being marked in the land, we realized that prehistoric people selected this place to build Stonehenge because of its pre-ordained significance. This might explain why there are eight monuments in the Stonehenge area with solstitial alignments, a number unmatched anywhere else. Perhaps they saw this place as the centre of the world”.

Although many people flocked to Stonehenge yesterday for the summer solstice, it seems that the winter solstice was the more significant time of the year when Stonehenge was built 5,000-4,500 years ago.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Sex Gang Had Values Entrenched in Foothills of Punjab’

London: British historian David Starkey has provoked controversy after proclaiming that the Rochdale child exploitation gang, who raped vulnerable teenage girls, had values ‘‘that were entrenched in foothills of the Punjab’’ or whatever it is. According to The Daily Mail, Starkey was branded a ‘‘racist’’ and a ‘‘bigot’’ following a heated conversation with a journalist during a discussion at Wellington College in Berkshire.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Britannia Rules Aid

SACKS emblazoned with Union Jacks are to be used to distribute the £8.4billion of British aid abroad.

In a defeat for the PC lobby International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has waived a four-year ban on the flag. It was imposed by Labour after officials said it was “too colonial” and could upset locals. Mr Mitchell is also bringing in a new logo. It has a Union Jack and the words “UK Aid — from the British people”. It replaces one which carried a government crest. Astonishingly, it has emerged that designing the old symbol cost taxpayers £97,480 in 2008. The new one was done at ZERO cost on a ministry computer.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Lambeth’s Urban Clearance

by Brixton Observer

Labour-controlled Lambeth Council describes itself as the “co-operative council”. But it is in the process of destroying a number of housing co-operatives, shipping out residents of longstanding and destroying their communities, selling the properties allegedly at a loss, and acting in an opaque and heavy-handed fashion against residents who get in its way.


The indifference to the plight of the “small people” and the abject cleaving to the party line are redolent of East Germany circa 1972.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mum Maroon Rafique Banned From Manchester College Parents’ Evening… for Wearing a Veil

A mum was turned away from a college parents’ evening — because she was wearing a veil. Maroon Rafique was refused entry to Manchester College by senior staff who told her there was a ban on face coverings. The mum-of-two, from Whalley Range, said she was left stunned and dismayed. She had to phone husband Abdul, who attended the meeting with their 18-year-old son Awais, while she sat in the lobby of the college’s Northenden campus. Bosses at the college said that all students and visitors are asked to keep their faces visible for ‘safety and security’ reasons.


[Reader comment by tommyrot on 24 June 2012 at 12:48.]

We should not be afraid of being intolerant to intolerance and ignorance. The niqab is an affront in so many ways, to so many people. High time it was banned at a national level too.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Sex Gang Ringleader Unmasked

London: The ringleader of a gang of Asian men who preyed on young white girls in Britain has been unmasked after he was found guilty of 30 child rape charges. Pakistani-origin Shabir Ahmed was the ringleader of a group of men who preyed on dozens of young girls in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and then passed them around for sex. He was jailed last month, but can only now be identified, after he was convicted of 30 more horrific rapes in a separate trial, the Daily Mail reports.

Ahmed, known as ‘Daddy’, was one of nine Pakistani men jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for a total of 77 years last month for sex attacks on young British girls.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Why Gang Leader Could Not be Unmasked

Rapist Shabir Ahmed was the unnamed ringleader of the gang that shocked the country in the recent child sexual-exploitation case. Due to the separate rape trial having not started at the time, Rochdale Online was legally unable to identify the man so as not to prejudice the jury. Instead he became known as the 59-year-old ringleader. But with the case now over, Rochdale Online is allowed to identify the beast — and the horrific role he played in the Rochdale and Oldham child sex ring.


[Reader comment by disgruntled on 23 June 2012 at 16:19:45.]

I hope these vile people are being deported when they are released.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Arab Spring Provided New Breeding Ground for British Terrorists — Spy Chief

The Arab Spring has spawned a new generation of British-born terrorists after al-Qaeda lured dozens of would-be bombers abroad to train for possible attacks on the UK, the head of MI5 warned.

Jonathan Evans said the terror network has taken advantage of the unstable region, in the wake of last year’s revolutions, to spread its influence and create new bases for attacks.

British would-be jihadis are known to be receiving training in the likes of Libya and Egypt, mirroring what has already happened in the Yemen and Somalia.

And they could return to attack the UK in what is a “new and worrying development”, he said.

Mr Evans, the Director General of MI5, warned of the emerging threats in a rare speech, his first in almost two years.

In his talk, he also:…

           — Hat tip: LT[Return to headlines]

Egypt: A Muslim Brotherhood President Does Not Prove That We Are All ‘Chimps’

By Barry Rubin

Muhammad al-Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, has become president of Egypt. But what does it mean to be president of Egypt? That’s the current question. Let me divide the discussion into two parts: What does this tell about “us” and what does this tell about Egypt and its future?

First, what does it tell about the West? The answer is that there are things that can be learned and understood, leading to some predictive power, but unfortunately the current hegemonic elite and its worldview refuse to learn.

What could be more revealing of that fact than the words off Jacqueline Stevens in the New York Times: “Chimps randomly throwing darts at the possible outcomes would have done almost as well as the experts”? Well, it depends on which experts. Martin Kramer, one of those who was right all along about Egypt, has a choice selection of quotes from a certain kind of Middle East expert who was dead wrong. A near-infinite number of such quotes can be gathered from the pages of America’s most august newspapers.

These people all share the current left-wing ideology; the refusal to understand the menace of revolutionary Islamism; the general belief that President Barack Obama is doing a great job; and the tendency to blame either Israel or America for the region’s problems. So if a big mistake has been made, it is that approach that has proven to be in the chimp category.

Having written about the Middle East for almost forty years, I’ve seen the power of the “chimps” that repeatedly make the same mistakes over and over again. Their power has waxed and waned, falling to the lowest points, for example, just after the 1991 Kuwait war and just after September 11, 2001. But they keep making comebacks and in the last two years their influence has been at an all-time high.

In early October 2010 I wrote an article based on actually reading what the Muslim Brotherhood leaders were saying. It was titled “The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is Declaring Jihad on America; Will Anyone in America Notice?” And they were signaling a change in their traditionally cautious strategy to go for revolution. Why? They told us: President Husni Mubarak was on his last legs, the regime seemed uncertain, America was weak, and their assessment was that the revolutionary Islamist forces were advancing everywhere.

By the time the uprising broke out, in January 2011, numerous voices were raised in warning. If the mainstream were to be honest, it would have to admit that those voices included Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck.

[Incidentally, imagine the anger, the hatred, and the gnashing of teeth that will occur in response to the previous sentence. Yet aren’t people engaged in public debate—especially intellectuals, and that includes liberal intellectuals—supposed to acknowledge the truth? Who refuses to give credit for those, even opponents, who are right? Who refuses to learn from their own mistakes? Not real liberals or conservatives, but ideologically rigid radicals.]

None of these people were experts but they listened to the more accurate experts, at times went over the heads of the mass media to look at what the Brotherhood really said, and also had a basic sense of reality that guided them correctly on this issue. Equally accurate was every article written on the subject in PJ Media. To admit this, however, would require the hegemonic forces to accept that they might be right on other issues as well.

Meanwhile, the New York Times correspondent is still telling readers:…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]

Egypt: A Liberal Challenge to Wahhabist Orthodoxy May be the Way Forward for Islam

by Judith Mendelsohn Rood

Ninety years after the abolition of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the League of Nations Mandate in Palestine in 1922, Hassan al-Banna and his political ally, Hajj Amin al-Hussayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood, have won their greatest political victory: the presidency of Egypt. Despite the efforts of the opposition to keep Egypt from becoming Salafist, the authoritarian tyranny that was the Mubarak regime has been thoroughly repudiated by the Egyptian masses. As in Gaza, the Muslim Brotherhood’s moral standing has proven lethal to Arab nationalism. The consequences for Muslim conservatives, liberals, Christians and women there have already been felt in Gaza, where Hamas has used its popularity to wage jihad against Israel and those whose presence is not welcome in Salafi society.

There is a double tragedy here. I have met Muslim Egyptian expatriates, businessmen and professors, who were forced to leave Egypt because of their support for peace with Israel. These men found their lives threatened by the Brotherhood and their properties confiscated by the very regime whose policy toward Israel that they supported. As Muslims, these Egyptians agree with the ideas expressed by the Azhar trained Secretary-General of the Italian Muslim Association and Director of the Institute of the Italian Islamic Community, Imam Abdul-Hadi Palazzi, who has gone on the record to repudiate the Salafist ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood who has articulated the idea that the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate left not only a political void, but an intellectual and cultural one as well.


As we watch the crowds in Tahrir Square, we can only hope that the Egyptians will not fall for the polemical Salafist foreign policy of the Muslim Brotherhood. Now that they have won the presidency, the real task of government is now before the Egyptian people. Will Egypt become Gaza? God forbid. As the home of both Al-Azhar and modern Arabic thought, Cairo is the only place that Muslims can turn to the great storehouses of Islamic wisdom to overcome the disastrous legacy of Salafism in our times.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Khairat Al Shater: The Brother Who Would Run Egypt

by Matthew Kaminski

The millionaire who leads the secretive, powerful Muslim Brotherhood talks about his strategy for taking power from the military.

A military power grab this week pushed Egypt into the most serious political crisis since Hosni Mubarak’s fall. As the Muslim Brotherhood was mobilizing the masses back into Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the ruling generals on Friday proclaimed their willingness to use “an iron first” to restore order. Perhaps more than anyone outside the military, Khairat Al Shater will shape the outcome of this showdown. The millionaire businessman is the boss, in a Chicago machine sort of way, of the Muslim Brotherhood. At Wednesday’s meeting of the Islamist group’s governing Guidance Council, Mr. Al Shater sits in the middle of a packed conference table at their new headquarters in the Mokattam Hills neighborhood above the turbulent streets of Cairo. He confesses to fatigue from lack of sleep “in these tough days”—and then exhibits little evident sign of it. At age 62, Mr. Al Shater is a tall, hulking man with a deep voice. He avoids the standard Muslim Brother costume of suit and tie and wears an open checkered shirt and blue blazer. He rarely appears in Egyptian media, but his authority goes unquestioned. If the Brotherhood came to power, Mr. Al Shater would be in charge.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt Might Not Follow Radical Islam Path — Official

The Russian President’s point man for cooperation with African countries, Mikhail Margelov, says that the election of Mohammed Mursi as Egyptian President does not necessarily mean that Egypt will now follow a path of radical Islam.

Margelov has told reporters that Mursi, who has won the presidential runoff, has made perfectly secular pledges, although the idea of building an Islamic state underlies his election programme. But Margelov believes that Egypt is in for another period of instability due to the ongoing unrest. Both the supporters of the President-elect and those of former Prime Minister, Ahmad Shafiq, who lost to Mursi, keep holding their rallies. The Russian diplomat feels that President Mursi will also have to address economic problems.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt’s Powerless New Head of State

Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi has won presidential elections in Egypt, but the country’s military stripped the office of its powers before his victory was even announced. Facing a deeply divided populace and a crippled economy, the new head of state faces an uphill battle.

The Muslim Brotherhood had been waiting for this moment for 84 years, but it was the final hour that would prove the longest. The head of Egypt’s election commission, Faruk Sultan, spent fully 60 minutes explaining just how he and his officials determined the results of the first free presidential election in the country. When he finally saw fit to announce the victor, Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted in celebration. Thousands screamed for joy: Following eight decades during which the Islamist group was oppressed and persecuted, Muslim Brother Mohammed Morsi was elected as the country’s new leader.

Morsi’s victory is first and foremost an important milestone. The Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest Islamist organization in the world. The fact that the group has now won the presidency in the most populous country in the Arab world in free and fair elections will certainly make waves across the region.

Still, the election has revealed once again just how deep the rift in Egypt has become. It has been a year since authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled and the country still has not decided in which direction it wishes to go. Morsi’s vision of a departure from the Mubarak years was countered by his opponent Ahmed Shafiq, a long-time companion of the ousted president. The election campaign was one between the old Egypt and the new Egypt.

It is an uncertainty that was reflected in the week of confusion following the vote just over a week ago. For seven days, there were no official results and it looked briefly as though the ruling military council would not recognize the true victor and would install their man Shafiq in the presidential palace. Protests in the streets and Muslim Brotherhood threats to stage another revolution would appear to have changed the generals’ minds. It remains to be seen, however, what kind of a deal the Muslim Brotherhood might have struck with the military.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Brotherhood’s Bait and Switch

by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

Egypt’s newly elected president, Mohammed Morsi, says he will be a “leader for all Egyptians.” That sounds a lot like the sorts of lies his fellow Muslim Brothers have been telling for months, only to renege on them when they can. We ignore the true character and ambitions of the Brotherhood — in Egypt, elsewhere in the Mideast, in the wider world and here — at our extreme peril.

In fact, the Brothers’ bait-and-switch gambits are standard operating procedure for their secretive organization. After all, from the Muslim Brotherhood’s inception in Egypt in 1928, it has been a revolutionary organization committed to the imposition worldwide of a totalitarian, supremacist Islamic doctrine they call shariah.

The unattractiveness of that brutally repressive agenda to non-Muslims and even many Muslims, has forced the group to operate largely in the shadows. It wages a stealthy, pre-violent “civilization jihad” to advance its goals until circumstances are ripe for conquest via violent jihadism…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Tunisian Ministry of Relgious Affairs to Increase Control of Mosque Activities

Following the controversy accompanying the Printemps des Arts exhibition in the Palais Abdellia (located in Tunisia’s suburb of La Marsa), as well as the subsequent response from several Tunisian imams, the government has taken a stronger role in monitoring mosque activity to prevent further controversy. The interaction of public and religious spheres in the mosques is a remnant of the previous regime. Under former Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, many imams were used as yet another source of government propaganda extolling the virtues of Ben Ali during Friday speeches.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Fatal Failure to Fight for Right

by Melanie Phillips

Travelling in America last week, I found American Jews shaking their heads in amazement at what they considered to be the supine attitude of the British Jewish leadership towards Israel demonisation and the inroads made by Islamic radicalism. I was particularly struck by one conversation. Why had Britain not experienced the American “culture wars” that have been raging in the US for more than four decades?


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama, His Rabbi and Political Islam

by Barry Rubin

Obama’s view of Judaism, Zionism and Israel was very much shaped by his liberal and left-wing Jewish contacts in Chicago.

President Barack Obama’s view of Judaism, Zionism and Israel was very much shaped by his liberal and left-wing Jewish contacts in Chicago, some of whom became key members of his entourage. Among these influential acquaintances was Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf. Wolf was of a type familiar in American Jewish circles. While in principle pro-Israel, he had certain views that made him highly critical. As what I would call a moral perfectionist, Wolf could not view Israel as good enough to live up to Jewish values that had been honed during a long exile during which Jews had no political responsibility and did not have to meet the real world demands of political power. At the same time, he was more attuned to Israel’s reputedly more idealistic era of Labor Party hegemony.

For Wolf, Israel was arrogant, not nice to the Palestinian Arabs, obsessed with the Holocaust, and thus simultaneously paranoid and over-confident. Not understanding the realities of Israel’s strategic situation, the compromises made necessary by statehood, the actual facts on the ground, and other factors, Wolf thought he and those who thought as he did knew better how to protect and morally improve Israel than did its voters and leaders. One can glimpse many of these themes in Obama’s thinking today.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Vladimir Putin Flies to Israel for Iran and Syria Talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Israel on Monday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders against the backdrop of sustained violence in Syria and concern on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Putin will hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres on Monday, as well as unveil a Second World War memorial in the town of Netanya.

On Tuesday, Putin heads to the West Bank, and will meet with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, before travelling on to Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II. On the eve of the trip, Putin’s top foreign policy aide, Yury Ushakov, said it would highlight “the importance of this region for us and is designed to further strengthen Russia’s position here.” “Of course, the Syrian topic and the situation around Iran will be discussed in detail,” he said. Moscow and the West have been at loggerheads over the Syrian conflict, with the Kremlin refusing to support sanctions against its Soviet-era ally and resisting outside intervention.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Qatar: Forum Aims to Foster Bioethics Research

An international conference on ‘Islamic Bioethics: The Interplay of Islam and the West,’ opened at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar yesterday with a call by acclaimed scholar Dr Tariq Ramadan for a holistic approach and better transnational communication. “This is a central field and there is a lot to be shared with people of other faith,” said the keynote speaker, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford, and a visiting professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, Qatar. The two-day conference, also sponsored by Qatar National Research Fund, Faculty of Islamic Studies, and Leiden University of the Netherlands, aims to create an opportunity for direct conversation between those working on bioethics in the West and in the Islamic world.

It is also intended to encourage and foster research in the field of bioethics by featuring the results of a research project, funded by the Qatar National Research Fund, which has brought together the writings of scholars and theorists in a multi-lingual searchable ‘Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics’ database. A special workshop on how to use the database is included in the programme of the conference which is being attended by leading local and international thinkers, practitioners and experts on bioethics.

Dr Ramadan, a senior research fellow at Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics in Qatar, has contributed to the debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world. He is active at academic and grassroots levels, lecturing extensively throughout the world on theology, ethics, social justice, ecology and interfaith as well intercultural dialogue. He is president of the European think-tank, European Muslim Network, in Brussels.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘Syria’s Stonehenge’: Mysterious Ruins in Desert Could be 10,000 Years Old — But Scientists Can’t Get Near to Investigate

..A mysterious ancient building in Syria, described as a ‘landscape for the dead’ could be as old as 10,000 years ago — far older than the Great Pyramid.

But scientists have been unable to explore the ruins, unearthed in 2009, because of the conflict in the region.

The strange stone formations were uncovered in 2009, by archaeologist Robert Mason of the Royal Ontario Museum, who came across stone lines, circles, and tombs in a near-lifeless area of desert.

Mason talked about the finds at Harvard’s Semitic Museum, said that more investigation is required to understand the mysterious rock structures — and how old they are — but Mason is unsure whether he will ever be able to return to the ruins.

The strange formations were found around 50 miles north of Damascus. The area has been plagued by violence during the current unrest, including a massacre of 10 people in the village of Bakha north of the capital.

Research teams have been unable to return to the area since the discovery.

Mason thinks that the rock formations could date to the Neolithic period or early Bronze Age, 6,000 to 10,000 years ago.

The stones are arranged simply to stand out from the landscape — and are highly unusual because there are no signs of dwelling places anywhere.

‘What it looked like was a landscape for the dead and not for the living,’ Mason said. ‘It’s something that needs more work and I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen.’

The formations were found near a monastery, Deir Mar Musa, which was occupied until the 19th century, and home to spectacular Christian frescoes.

Mason thinks the monastery may have once been a Roman watchtower destroyed in an earthquake.

Mason was searching Roman watchtowers when he came across the stone lines, circles, and possible tombs.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: Prophet Pic in School Book Irks Muslims

A month after an Ambedkar cartoon in NCERT books rubbed Dalits the wrong way, a picture of Prophet Mohammed in a primary school general knowledge book has angered Muslims in Manipur. They have sought a ban on the book besides an apology from the publishers and author S Babyla Jassal. The locally-published kindergarten book used across private schools in Manipur shows the Prophet with flowing beard and turban and holding a book-like object. He features on page 51 with five other ‘Indian deities’ — Ganesh, Vishnu, Saraswati, Jesus and Mother Mary.

Mohammed was against portraits of himself and not creating his picture has become kind of a rule since then. According to Islam, there is no picture or photo of the Prophet. How can he be depicted when no one in the world knows how he looks? This is against Islam,” Md Burhanuddin, advisor of Pangal Students’ Organisation, said. Manipuri Muslims are called Pangals. Members of PSO and other organisations such as Popular Front of India (PFI-Manipur unit) and Pangal Political Forum burnt copies of the contentious kindergarten book on Sunday. Some copies, collected from schools and shops were also burnt on Saturday.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Clashes Erupt in Indian Kashmir After Mosque Fire

A fire has destroyed a revered Muslim shrine in India’s portion of Kashmir, prompting anti-government protests by local residents angered over what they say was a slow response by firefighters. A police official says the cause of the fire Monday in the 200-year old shrine in the heart of Srinagar city was not immediately known. The official said the blaze started from the roof of the shrine and quickly engulfed the wooden structure. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Mumbai Attacks ‘Handler’ Abu Hamza ‘Arrested’

A key figure in the planning of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Abu Hamza, has been arrested by police in India, according to reports.

Hamza, who is also known as Syed Zabiuddin, is in police custody, officers in Delhi told reporters. Indian authorities have described Hamza as the “handler” of the ten terrorists who stormed downtown Mumbai, carrying out attacks on a train station, bar and two five star hotels, leaving 166 people dead. He was reportedly arrested on June 21 after arriving in India from the Middle East. Hamza allegedly stayed in contact with the five two-man teams of terrorists by telephone as they carried out their attacks.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Threatwatch: Taliban Action Risks Polio Resurgence

Threatwatch is your early warning system for global dangers, from nuclear peril to deadly viral outbreaks. Debora MacKenzie highlights the threats to civilisation — and suggests solutions

If anything qualifies as a threat worth watching, it is the resurgence of polio, one of the most feared diseases of the twentieth century.

The long campaign to eradicate polio was threatened this week by the actions of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a Taliban commander in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan. Bahadur banned a campaign to vaccinate 161,000 children against polio, until the US calls off drone strikes against suspected terrorists in the region.

“On the one hand, the US spends millions of dollars to eliminate polio, while on the other hand it kills hundreds” of people with the drones, he was reported as saying. The drones are “worse than polio”, he added.

The commander is bartering with a region that is key to the final push on polio. An independent review of the polio eradication drive published this week shows just how close we are to that target. So far this year “there have been fewer cases in fewer districts of fewer countries than at any previous time”. So why is a disease that is almost gone still a threat to be watched?

No immunity

The catch is that “almost”. As long as polio persists somewhere, it can come back — and the comeback would be appalling.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

Soccer Fan Dies After Reportedly Staying Awake for 11 Days to Watch Euros

A Chinese soccer fan died at his home after going 11 nights without sleep as he watched every single Euro 2012 game from Poland and Ukraine. Jiang Xiaoshan died from exhaustion June 19 after reportedly staying up every night to watch the Euros with his friends.

After watching Italy defeat the Republic of Ireland, the 26-year-old fan went back to his home in Changsha, took a shower and fell asleep. Xiaoshan never woke up.

Sources claim that the combined effects of alcohol, tobacco and sleep deprivation were to blame for his untimely death. Xiaoshan’s friends were left shocked after learning of his death, stating that he lived a “relatively healthy life.”

It is not the first time fans have suffered health issues watching international tournaments from different time zones. Several people were admitted to hospitals during the World Cup tournaments in 2006 and 2010 due to exhaustion.

Because of the time difference, all the European Championship games are played in the middle of the night in China.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Ghana: Former Veep Asks Muslims to Shun Violence

Former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama at the weekend advised Muslims to avoid various forms of lawlessness and indiscipline that could mar the upcoming general election. He expressed optimism that Muslims could do this if Zongo communities remained watchful and guard against politicians who might hire them to cause troubles as the elections drew nearer. Alhaji Mahama gave the advice when he addressed the 18th Annual National Ramadan Conference, underway in Sunyani on Saturday. The three-day conference being attended by Muslims leaders and Chief Imams is on the theme: “Consolidating democracy and good governance- the contributions of Muslims.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ghana: Bawumia Causes Near Stampede at Madina Mosque

There was near stampede at the Madina Zongo Central Mosque where the Vice —presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) observed his Friday prayers. The unannounced visit got men, women and children jostling to catch a glimpse of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. After the prayers had been said, the Imam of the mosque, Sheikh Abdallah announced to the congregants that the NPP running mate had joined them for prayers and prayed their indulgence for a few words from their guest. His appeals for people to remain in their seats fell on deaf ears as everybody surged forward.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Kenya: Muslim Bodies Okay Anti-Terror Bill

Nairobi — The Association of Muslim Organisations in Kenya now says it fully supports the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2012 which is due to be tabled in Parliament in the coming weeks. Chairman Sheikh Athman Mponda said the Bill fully recognises the rights of the Muslims and should not be seen as discriminatory. “We fully support the Bill, we have gone through it and it has catered for all the interests. It is not discriminatory to the Muslim community,” Mponda told a press conference in Nairobi. Mponda said the Muslim community does not, in any way, support terrorists and their activities, and he is terming those opposed to the Bill as people out to serve selfish interests.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Church Gift — ACN Wants Jonathan Impeached

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has asked the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against President Goodluck Jonathan for openly admitting that he solicited for a church built in his home town, Otuoke, from Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Ltd (GCG). National publicity secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement yesterday in Abuja that commencing the impeachment proceedings will enable the National Assembly investigate the matter and also reach the appropriate conclusions, since the president, by his own admission and without any prompting, has thumbed his nose at the constitution.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: US Puts Three Boko Haram Leaders on Terror List

WASHINGTON — The United States designated three leaders of the Boko Haram Islamic militants as global terrorists Thursday in a bid to stem the violence in Nigeria, warning it may still blacklist the whole group. The three named by the State Department were Abubakar Shekau, widely believed to lead Boko Haram’s main Islamist cell, and Abubakar Adam Kambar and Khalid al-Barnawi, both said to have close ties to a regional Al-Qaeda group.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Uganda: Educate the Girl Child, UPC’s Otunnu Tips Muslims

Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) party president has appealed to the Muslim community to embrace girl-child education. “Please don’t confine girls to the kitchen. We want them to be doctors, lawyers and professors,” Dr. Olara Otunnu said on Saturday. Otunnu was addressing Muslims at Muktar Mosque in Arua town during a fundraiser for Tawheed Islamic School where he was the chief guest. The event was organised by the West Nile Islamic Development Forum, a body initiated last year to locally mobilise funds for Islamic development projects and reduce dependence on the Arab world. A total of sh25.6m and 86 bags of cement were collected during the function. However, sh900m is needed to construct a two-storeyed building for the school.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Netherlands: Amsterdam’s Newcomers Thrive Even as Immigration Gets Tougher

AMSTERDAM—The El Tawheed Mosque, long held as a main outpost for radical Islam in the Netherlands, sits on a slender road called Jan Hanzenstraat, directly across from a well-patronized coffee shop called Millennium. Not to be confused with a café, this coffee shop is where you can buy and smoke marijuana legally. Mohammed Abou Zayd emerges from a class on the proper Arabic pronunciation of the Qur’an, in which the teacher and most students refused to be photographed for religious reasons. “I think that they must feel ashamed when they walk down this street and see the mosque,” he said, motioning to the coffee shop. The mosque’s members are warm and welcoming to visitors. Many also happen to think that women should wear burkas or niqabs, and that Muslims should not listen to music. They are Salafists, practitioners of an arch-conservative form of Islam.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Right Scandal


IN Afghanistan, British troops lay down their lives fighting the Taliban.

Here, a Taliban killer is welcomed — because of his human rights. Can there ever have been a more insulting ruling than the one involving Taliban illegal immigrant Zareen Ahmadzai? The Home Secretary tried to boot him out. But he played the human rights card and applied to a judicial body called the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber.

Who are these faceless judges who can defy an elected Home Secretary?

It is time we were told.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Australia: Muslim Imam Condemns Homosexuality as Salvos Apologise for Death-to-Gays Insult

UPDATE: ONE of Australia’s most senior Muslim clerics has entered the gay marriage debate by condemning homosexuality and claiming it would be rare to find a gay Muslim.

Sheikh Yahya Safi, head imam of the nation’s biggest Islamic congregation, said yesterday that gay people went against human nature. “In Islam we believe that it’s a major sin to have such relations between men and men, a sexual relation,” he said. Sheikh Safi, who presides at Lakemba mosque in Sydney’s west, said it would be rare to find a gay Muslim, and the gay marriage issue wasn’t discussed in the community. “In the Islamic community we don’t discuss this because it’s obvious and we have full agreement between all people about it,” he said. Sheikh Safi’s comments come after the Salvation Army apologised for comments by a leading church official that homosexuals deserved to die.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Extraterrestrial Mining Could Reap Riches & Spur Exploration

Mining the plentiful resources of the moon and near-Earth asteroids could alter the course of human history, adding trillions of dollars to the world economy and spurring our species’ spread out into the solar system, a new breed of space enterpreneur says.

A number of private companies — such as the billionaire-backed asteroid-mining firm Planetary Resources — aim to start making all of this happen. But it won’t be easy, as hitting extraterrestrial paydirt requires melding the know-how of the space and mining communities.

A Space Resources Roundtable meeting was held here June 4-7 to talk about the future of extraterrestrial resource extraction — its promise as well as the challenges involved.

By 2020, Shackleton hopes to become the world’s foremost space-based energy company, providing rocket propellant, life support, consumables and services in low Earth-orbit and on the moon to spacefarers. The firm’s plan calls for using a mix of astronauts and advanced robotic systems to provide an ongoing and reliable supply of rocket fuel to customers in space.

Shackleton wants to establish off-Earth fuel depots, which would allow spaceships to refill their tanks on the go. The company hopes to stock these depots by mining the water ice in permanently shadowed lunar craters. (Water can be broken down into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen, the chief components of rocket fuel.)

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Evils of the Muslim Brotherhood

Evidence Keeps Mounting

by Raymond Ibrahim

In short, the Muslim Brotherhood has not changed; only Western opinion of it has. As it was since its founding in 1928, the group is committed to empowering and spreading Sharia law—a law that preaches hate for non-Muslim “infidels,” especially Islam’s historic nemesis, Christianity, and allows anything, from lying to cheating, to make Islam supreme. Now that the Brotherhood has finally achieved power, the world can prepare to see such aspects on a grand scale.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]