Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120712

Financial Crisis
»French Auto Group PSA Announces Major Job Cull
»Italy: Monti Believes Italy Faced a Struggle Against Prejudice
»Italy: Number of Mortgages Plunged in First Quarter
»Italy Central Bank Chief Says Liquidity for Banks Must be Guaranteed
»A Pro-Murfreesboro Mosque Filmmaker Does a Radical About-Face
»And the Oscar Goes to … Batman? Could Happen
»Muslim Congressman Tied to Terror Co-Conspirator
»Obama Asks Congress to Extend Certain Bush Era Tax Cuts
»Sandusky Sex Abuse Investigation Faults Paterno and Others at Penn State
»September 11 Attacks ‘Most Memorable TV Moment in Last 50 Years’
»US Billionaire Black is ‘Scream’ Buyer: Report
Europe and the EU
»At Least Nine Killed in Avalanche in France
»European Right Wing Stirs Up Middle East Peace Process — Seeking an Alternative to Two States
»European Jewish Leaders on Circumcision Ruling: ‘Worst Attack on Jewish Life Since the Holocaust’
»Finding the Anti-World: The Next Holy Grail for Physics
»France: Brigitte Bardot Supports Renegade Cow
»France: Chinese Cyber Attacks Hit Elysée Palace: Report
»Historian Gives Readers Glimpse of Medieval Life
»Italy: Gaddafi Soccer Son’s SUV Towed After 4 Years in Ligurian Resort
»Majority of Germans Lack Sufficient Vitamin D
»Norway: Attacks Could Have Been Prevented
»Norway: Oslo Mayor Wants Begging Banned
»Norwegian Police Trained for Breivik the Week Before.
»Olympic Military Security Ranks Swell Further in London
»Silver Treasure Found at Swedish Shipwreck
»Sweden: Man Gunned Down in South Stockholm Suburb
»The Catholic Church’s Fading Influence in Poland
»UK: Former Imam of Wellingborough Mosque Guilty of Molesting Girls
»UK: Mosque to be Built in Al Maktoum College in Dundee
»UK: Mod Fury as Soldiers Forced to Carry Out Menial Security Tasks for Olympic Games
»UK: Online Racist Abuse: We’ve All Suffered it Too
»UK: Some Online Hatreds Are Prosecuted, Others Applauded
»UK: The Liberal Media’s War on ‘Trolling’ Is Becoming Increasingly Intolerant and Censorious
»Bosnia: Witness Says Muslims Tried to Provoke Intl Intervention
North Africa
»Calls to Destroy Egypt’s Great Pyramids Begin
»Egypt: TV Channel With Only Fully-Veiled Women ‘Is Part of Fight Against Discrimination’
»Group Against Ramadan Fast Created in Morocco
»Police Open Fire on Students in Khartoum
»Tunisia: Fewer Bikinis, More Veils on Public Beaches
Israel and the Palestinians
»Neighbors Trade Vows of Mideast Peace
Middle East
»16 Palestine Liberation Army Soldiers Kidnapped, Killed on the Aleppo-Misyaf Road, Near Idlib
»Kuwaiti Professor Locks Self in US Embassy Toilet
»Kuwait English School Special Needs Teacher Murdered in Bristol
»Pew Survey: Middle East Muslims Support Democracy, Islam in Politics
»Syrian President Accuses U. S. of Destabilizing Syria
»Turkey: Alevis Demand Worship Sites, Tension With Cabinet
»Turkey: Oldest Christian Monastery at Risk
»Turkey: Islamic Group Wants Rock Fest Banned
»Yemen: Bomber Targets Police Cadets
South Asia
»Afghan Massacre Defendant to Have Court Hearing in September
Far East
»Weisswurst and Beer: Tourists Flock to South Korea’s ‘German Village’
Australia — Pacific
»Community Group Backs Gungahlin Mosque
Sub-Saharan Africa
»More Than 100 Die in Nigeria in Attacks Against Christians
»Muslim Tribesmen Kill Nigerian Politicians During Funeral
»Nigerian Senate: Talks With Boko Haram as Soon as Possible
»Nigeria Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills at Least 95
»Nigerian Christian Urges US Action on Islamic Group
»Northern Mali Risks Starvation Thanks to Al-Qaeda, Drought and No Aid
»Italy: Boat Carrying 61 Migrants Rescued at Pozzallo
»Italy: 45 Migrants Land on Salento Coast Overnight
»Italy: Motorboat Carrying 63 African Migrants Lands in Portopalo
»Italy: Coastguard Intercepts Boatload of Syrians and Kurds
»Malta: 84 Somali Migrants Rescued at Sea
»UK: Five Million Non-EU Immigrants Living in UK
»New Muslim Prayer Mat Points to Mecca
»Why the West Loves Lying to Itself About Islam

Financial Crisis

French Auto Group PSA Announces Major Job Cull

French automobile conglomerate PSA Peugeot Citroen has said it will axe 8,000 jobs in response to increasing sales problems in crisis-stricken Europe. The announcement triggered a storm of protest among trade unions.

French auto group PSA Peugeot Citroen on Thursday announced it would cut 8,000 jobs to adapt to a sharp downturn in the European market.

A company statement said production at its Aulney site near Paris would be halted, meaning the loss of 3,000 jobs. An additional 1,400 jobs would be axed at the plant in Rennes, with the rest of the job cull to be enforced through cuts across the corporate structure.

“The depth and persistence of the crisis impacting our business in Europe have now made this reorganization project indispensable in order to align our production capacity with foreseeable market trends,” PSA Chairman Philippe Varin said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Believes Italy Faced a Struggle Against Prejudice

(AGI) Rome — Speaking to the ABI assembly, Prime Minister Mario Monti did not mince his words in describing the current situation, saying that Italy will still have to face “a very serious confidence course.” Italy, added the prime minister, has made “progress on the deficit and the books will be balanced by 2013”, but to do so the country has had to fight “a battle against widespread prejudice.” This also happened at the Cannes G20, when, said Monti, “my predecessor Berlusconi was put under extremely unpleasant pressure and, I imagine, close to experiencing humiliation that in the intention of those present would have resulted in Italy surrendering a significant part of its sovereignty and directionality.” The test, “although far more peaceful, is not yet over” but, “one can reasonably hope, although I do not know in which month of 2013 or who will will be prime minister, to see the first results of Italian society’s collective realisation.” However, Monti admitted, as far as growth and employment are concerned, we will need more time. It is sufficient to look at the figures provided by the Chairman of the Bank of Italy, Ignazio Visco, who believes that the Italian economy “is still in recession” and that this year the GDP will fall by almost 2%. “According to estimates,” said Visco — the GDP will on average fall by a little less than two percentage points. This worsening of the scenario is also the result of the rising cost and deteriorating availability of credit due to the sovereign debt crisis.” According to Visco “the spread between the yields on Italian and German government bonds is far higher than justified by the fundamentals of our economy. This reflects widespread fear of a currency break-up in the Eurozone, a remote possibility that is, however, conditioning choices made by international investors.” In this phase, he added, “banks are called upon to make tough decisions, such as ensuring there is financing for solid companies, avoiding support being extended to those with no prospects.” Banks must also protect themselves. “Progress made on capitalization must be consolidated,” warned Visco. The government was fully supported by ABI’s president, Giuseppe Mussari, who said, “The government has never been soft with banks”, but in spite of this’, “we renew our full and firm support to the government, emphasizing how the tasks awaiting it and awaiting the country are so difficult they demand loyal support from everyone.” ..

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

Italy: Number of Mortgages Plunged in First Quarter

Rome, 9 July (AKI) — Italians during the first three months of the year took out 47 percent fewer mortgages as a deepening recession in the euro-zone’s third-richest economy created pessimism and kept Italians from taking on new debt, according to a new report.

The drop in mortgages “has underlined a substantial caution with acquisitions, above all with durable goods of high value and real estate investments,” said the report by the Association of Consumer Credit and Real Estate.

Italy’s Confindustria trade association expects the Italian economy to shrink 2.4 percent this year and 0.3 percent in 2013. The country is in its fourth recession since 2001 and unemployment is a 12-year high of more than 10 percent, but 36 percent of workers between 15 and 24 years old can’t find a job. Almost 12,000 businesses closed their doors in 2011.

Startng from the second half of last year the Italian housing mortgage market started progressive decline reflecting a deteriorating climate of confidence in the prospects for the residential housing market, the report said. The pessimistic climate discouraged requests for housing loans.

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

Italy Central Bank Chief Says Liquidity for Banks Must be Guaranteed

Rome, 11 July (AKI) — Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said the euro-zone’s central bank must guarantee that their is enough liquidity for lenders.

“The ECB (European Central Bank) has no choice but to pursue these aims” he said on Wednesday during a speech in Rome.

The ECB in June said it would step in to buy bonds from the 17 countries that use the euro currency in order to shore up demand and keep borrowing rates from spiralling out of control.

The European central bank chief bank, Italian Mario Draghi, earlier this month cut interest rates to 0.75 percent, the lowest ever since the beginning of monetary union.

The rate cut “came after other moves adopted last month designed to guarantee there is enough liquidity for the banking system and to fight the effects of the fragmentation of the monetary and financial markets,” he said during a speech at the annual conference of Italy’s largest banking association.

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


A Pro-Murfreesboro Mosque Filmmaker Does a Radical About-Face

Imagine if Michael Moore, in the midst of making Fahrenheit 9/11, had suddenly decided he’d made a mistake, and President George W. Bush wasn’t such a bad leader after all. That’s something of the situation involving a filmmaker who started out directing a documentary in support of the so-called “Murfreesboro Mosque,” but has now converted into one of its most ardent opponents.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

And the Oscar Goes to … Batman? Could Happen

“The Dark Knight Rises” probably has the best chance ever for a superhero film to rise into the best-picture mix at February’s Oscars. The film is the last in a celebrated trilogy that elevated comic-book movies to operatic proportion, and Hollywood likes sending finales out with a lovely door-prize (Peter Jackson’s first two “Lord of the Rings” films were Oscar also-rans before the trilogy’s conclusion won best picture).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Muslim Congressman Tied to Terror Co-Conspirator

Carson wants U.S. schools to be modeled after Quranic madrassas

Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., who now is under fire for suggesting the U.S. needs to be “looking at” the Islamic madrassa model of education which teaches the Quran, has a history of association with a radical Muslim group that was an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas. The group in question, the Islamic Society of North America, was listed by the Muslim Brotherhood as a “likeminded” organization that shares the goal of an Islamic nation.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Asks Congress to Extend Certain Bush Era Tax Cuts

(AGI) Washington — President Obama has asked Congress to extend certain Bush era middle-class tax cuts for a year for Americans with incomes lower than $250,000 a year. Republicans instead want all the Bush era tax cuts expiring at the end of this year to be maintained. President Obama believes the time has come to “abolish tax cuts for the more wealthy Americans” and has said that the majority of Americans should not be “held hostage” while Democrats and Republicans clash over tax cuts for the rich.

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

Sandusky Sex Abuse Investigation Faults Paterno and Others at Penn State

The most senior officials at Penn State University failed for more than a decade to take any steps to protect the children victimized by Jerry Sandusky, the longtime lieutenant to head football coach Joe Paterno, according to an independent investigation of the sex abuse scandal that rocked the university last fall.

“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,” said Louis J. Freeh, the former federal judge and director of the F.B.I. who oversaw the investigation. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

[Return to headlines]

September 11 Attacks ‘Most Memorable TV Moment in Last 50 Years’

The September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center is the most memorable moment shared by US TV viewers in the last 50 years, a study has found.

The only thing that came close was John F. Kennedy’s assassination and its aftermath in 1963, but that was only for people aged 55 and over who experienced those events as they happened instead of replayed as an historical artefact. The survey, by Sony Electronics and the Nielsen TV research company, rank TV moments for their impact, not just by asking people if they remembered watching them, but if they recalled where they watched it, who they were with and whether they talked to other people about what they had seen.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

US Billionaire Black is ‘Scream’ Buyer: Report

US investment billionaire Leon Black is the mystery buyer who paid a record-breaking $119.9 million for Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” at an auction in May, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The painting, one of the most recognizable in history and the only privately-held version of Munch’s famous scene, was sold at Sotheby’s in New York in a dramatic 12-minute sale — but the buyer remained anonymous.

The Wall Street Journal said it learned from “several people close” to Black that the well-known art collector had bought the painting. The $119.9 million price tag was the highest ever for a work of art at a public auction.

Black’s spokesman refused to confirm or deny the report Wednesday, telling AFP: “We are not commenting on the story in the Wall Street Journal.”

Leon Black, a 60-year-old New Yorker, is the founder and senior partner of Apollo Global Management, an investment fund. He is estimated to be worth $3.4 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

The 1895 work is one of four versions Munch painted. Its nightmarish central figure and lurid, swirling colors symbolized the existential angst and despair of the modern age.

Another version of “The Scream’ belongs to the National Gallery of Munch’s native Norway, while the remaining two belong to the Munch Museum in Oslo.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

At Least Nine Killed in Avalanche in France

At least nine people have been killed in an avalanche that struck a mountain range in France on Thursday. Several others were being treated in local hospitals. At least nine climbers were killed in an avalanche that hit a mountain in the French Alps on Thursday.

A spokesperson for Haute-Savoie prefecture said the victims included three Germans, two Spaniards, one Swiss and three Britons, according to the DPA news agency.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

European Right Wing Stirs Up Middle East Peace Process — Seeking an Alternative to Two States

By Charles Hawley

Right-wing populists are not widely known for pursuing peace in Europe. But in the Middle East, they are seeking to change that reputation. A conference right-wing politicians helped organize between Palestinian clan leaders and Jewish settlers took place on Thursday in Hebron. They are billing it as an alternative path to peace in the region.


European right-wing populist parties are widely vilified back home. Deeply wary of the euro, extremely — and vocally — suspicious of Muslim immigrants and virulently opposed to the center-left multicultural ideal, they are broadly seen as little more than dangerous makers of mischief on the political stage. Often, they are conflated with neo-Nazi groups even further to the right.

Overseas, however, particularly among Israeli right-wing politicians and West Bank settlers, they are often viewed more favorably. On Thursday, representatives from several European right-wing political parties joined senior settler leaders, second-tier Israeli politicians, Orthodox Jewish leaders and a number of Palestinian clan leaders at the home of Sheikh Farid al-Jabari in Hebron. They came together with no less than the goal of establishing an alternative to the two-state, Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“First and foremost, we are interested in achieving peaceful coexistence in the region. I think that needs to be the goal of all efforts,” Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “To that end, it is important to begin a dialogue. I am convinced that a solution can be found in the near future that is acceptable to all sides.”

Strache himself was unable to attend the Thursday meeting, but his party, primarily his close confidant David Lasar, an FPÖ member of the Viennese city-state government, played an instrumental role in putting it together. Joining Lasar in Hebron were Filip Dewinter, a Flemish parliamentarian from the right-wing party Vlaams Belang, and Kent Ekeroth of the similarly minded Swedish Democrats.

‘Not Beloved by Everyone’

It wasn’t the first such meeting between Sheikh Jabari and senior settler leaders — represented most prominently by Gershon Mesika, head of the Shomron Regional Council, which administers 30 West Bank settlements — to have been midwifed by European right-wing populists. It follows on the heels of a meeting hosted at the headquarters of European Parliament in mid-May by Fiorello Provera, a member of the Italian anti-immigration party Liga Nord and vice chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee. Although the meeting was not official parliamentary business, it nevertheless carried symbolic value taking place as it did in Brussels.

“Palestinian society is nuanced. There is Hamas and there is the Palestine Liberation Organization. But you also have ordinary people who think and act differently than they do,” Provera told SPIEGEL ONLINE in an interview. “The settlers, too, are not beloved by everyone in Israel, they are considered to be extremists. But they have to be understood. How do people expect to build a peace agreement without listening to the various groups of Israelis and Palestinians?”

Provera’s question is a revealing one. European right-wing populists have spent much of the last two years building relations with conservative Israeli politicians and West Bank settlers. Provera himself went on a tour of the West Bank earlier this year, following the path of several populist leaders before him, Strache included.

Most went to Israel with a deep-seated conviction that the country — given its presence on the front line in the conflict with Islam, as Strache told SPIEGEL ONLINE last year — deserves greater support from Europe. Most came back with an even deeper mistrust of the Palestinian Authority and concern that the two-state solution could merely result in another radical Muslim state on Israel’s doorstep. Their skeptical view of the Arab Spring — as an uprising of Muslim fundamentalism — has only reinforced such fears.

It is a position, of course, which closely parallels that of the populists’ main partners in Israel: conservative politicians from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, parliamentarians from the ultra-orthodox religious Shas party and settler leaders, who are concerned that the two-state solution would force them to give up their homes and their claims to part of what they see as the Jewish homeland…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

European Jewish Leaders on Circumcision Ruling: ‘Worst Attack on Jewish Life Since the Holocaust’

An influential group of European rabbis on Thursday used unusually strong language to attack a German court ruling against the circumcision of boys. If the ruling is allowed to stand, the group’s president warned, “then I don’t see a future for Jews in Germany.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Finding the Anti-World: The Next Holy Grail for Physics

The apparent discovery of the Higgs boson was hailed as a historic milestone, but for particle physicists it mainly marks the beginning of a new search. Rival teams at CERN in Switzerland are trying to decipher the secrets of antimatter. If they succeed, the laws of physics will have to be rewritten.

One of the central puzzles that could pave the way into this new territory lies in the question that Jeffrey Hangst has chosen to pursue: Why does the world consist of matter? And what happened to antimatter?

Hangst is particularly interested in an unusual material. It behaves just like ordinary matter, and yet it’s completely different. The properties are the same, meaning that anti-glass would splinter like glass, anti-gold would shine like gold and anti-water would splash like water. And there would also be no visible difference between a person made of normal matter and a person made of antimatter. They would be completely identical.

But heaven forbid that both — matter and antimatter, image and copy — come into contact with one another. If that happened, there would be a bright flash of light and suddenly both would have disappeared.

The most important thing, however, is the fact that antimatter doesn’t actually exist on a sustained basis. The anti-world is nothing more than a possibility, one that nature has apparently not made into a reality. In the theorists’ equations both the world and the anti-world play equal roles. But in the real, observable universe, everything consists of matter, not antimatter.

“Understanding why this is the case has always fascinated me,” says Hangst. Physicists are convinced that properly understanding the relationship between matter and antimatter would be tantamount to a revolution in comprehending the universe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Brigitte Bardot Supports Renegade Cow

A cow has escaped a slaughterhouse in the Alps and has been on the run since last week. Brigitte Bardot’s animal welfare foundation says it wants to give the renegade cow a home.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Chinese Cyber Attacks Hit Elysée Palace: Report

Two cyber attacks have hit the presidential Elysée Palace in the last couple of months, daily Le Télégramme reports. Officials suspect the attacks originated in China.

The Elysée Palace faced a massive cyber attack just before François Hollande came to power in May. According to Le Télégramme, the attacks were so serious that computer experts had to rebuild the palace’s IT systems from scratch. Officials did not reveal the attacks to the press but spent three days fixing the Elysée systems.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Historian Gives Readers Glimpse of Medieval Life

In a SPIEGEL interview, British historian Ian Mortimer discusses the often brutal reality of everyday life during the Middle Ages, the violent excesses of the time, his lively approach to writing historical tomes and his need to empathize with the subjects he is covering.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Gaddafi Soccer Son’s SUV Towed After 4 Years in Ligurian Resort

(ANSAmed) — Genoa, July 6 — A sports utility vehicle belonging to the former soccer-playing son of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has been impounded by Italian tax police after being parked outside a luxury hotel in the Ligurian resort of Rapallo for the last four years.

The Guardia di Finanza tax police taped up Al-Saadi Gheddafi’s SUV outside Rapallo’s Hotel Excelsior.

According to local media, it had been parked there since Al-Saadi’s brief spell at Genoa club Sampdoria in 2006-2007.

Previously the soccer-mad Gaddafi played sporadically for Perugia before having a very short experience at Udinese. Sources said the tax police seized the car as part of efforts stemming from a request by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is collecting former Gaddafi assets in order to compensate victims of his 32-year regime.

In 2011 al-Saadi was the commander of Libya’s Special Forces in the Libyan civil war and is wanted by Interpol.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Majority of Germans Lack Sufficient Vitamin D

A new report finding that a majority of Germans lack sufficient vitamin D has set off a debate in the country between dermatologists and nutritionists, who recommend a simple, natural remedy for gaining more of the essential vitamin: sunshine.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Attacks Could Have Been Prevented

A confidential report from the US Customs Service on the anti-terror program Global Shield suggests the terrorist attacks on Norway last summer could have been prevented, if Norway had stronger and better coordination between its own police and customs officials. Police intelligence unit PST could have registered information it received on Breivik from customs officials, if it had been made a priority

           — Hat tip: LN[Return to headlines]

Norway: Oslo Mayor Wants Begging Banned

Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang wants to ban begging in the Norwegian capital amid a controversy over the erection this week of a temporary Roma camp outside a city church.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norwegian Police Trained for Breivik the Week Before.

Only hours before Anders Breivik Behring began firing at the youths at Utøya, police emergency squad completed an exercise where they practiced an almost identical situation.

Aftenposten has received confirmation from key sources in the management of the Oslo police that the exercise was terminated at 1500 the same Fridays.

           — Hat tip: LN[Return to headlines]

Olympic Military Security Ranks Swell Further in London

The British government has put a further 3,500 military personnel on standby for the 2012 Olympics, bringing the total to around 17,000. A security contractor’s inability to deliver what it promised prompted the move.

Home Secretary Theresa May came under fire in parliament on Thursday after announcing that another 3,500 troops would be put on standby to make sure that security services were equipped for the Olympic Games. Roughly 13,500 military personnel had already been mobilized.

“I can confirm to the House that there remains no specific security threat to the Games and the threat level remains unchanged,” May said. “And let me reiterate that there is no question of Olympic security being compromised.”

A private security contractor, G4S, had been hired to provide in excess of 10,000 security guards for the Games, but it issued a statement calling the Olympic deployment “unprecedented and very complex” and saying it had encountered delays when processing applicants. May told parliamentarians in Westminster that the “absolute gap in numbers was only crystallized” one day earlier.

An opposition Labour party MP with internal security responsibilities, Keith Vaz, was highly critical of May and G4S alike.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Silver Treasure Found at Swedish Shipwreck

Divers have recovered a number of 16th century silver coins from the wreckage of the legendary Swedish warship Mars, which was discovered last year off the coast of the Baltic sea island of Öland.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Man Gunned Down in South Stockholm Suburb

A 35-year-old man was shot dead in the south Stockholm suburb of Enskede on Wednesday night, with the suspected assailants fleeing the scene on a scooter.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Catholic Church’s Fading Influence in Poland

Twenty years ago, the Catholic Church played a major role in the fall of communism in Poland. Today, with the country changing rapidly, the church’s influence is quickly waning. Once considered the most Catholic country in Europe, the faithful are vanishing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Former Imam of Wellingborough Mosque Guilty of Molesting Girls

THE former imam of Wellingborough mosque has been convicted of sexually abusing two girls while privately teaching them passages of the Koran. Abdul Marin, 41, was found unanimously guilty of seven sexual assault charges at Northampton Crown Court today having told a jury he was the victim of a conspiracy. The imam, who resigned last year, was accused of sexually touching two girls, who cannot be named, kissing them and putting his hands inside their clothing during religious lessons.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque to be Built in Al Maktoum College in Dundee

It will be open not only to Al Maktoum College students but also to the public

Dundee: A ceremony was held on Tuesday to mark the official launch of a £1 million mosque development for the Al Maktoum College of Higher Education campus in Dundee. More than 70 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase, which is due to start in September with completion next summer. The mosque, the first in the city with a minaret, will be a three-storey building with a community area at ground-floor level. Prayer and worship areas will be on the first and second floors. It will be open not only to Al Maktoum College students but also the community in general.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mod Fury as Soldiers Forced to Carry Out Menial Security Tasks for Olympic Games

Thousands more Armed Forces personnel will be forced to carry out “menial” security work for the Olympic Games, leaving defence chiefs furious.

The British Army has been ordered to provide more troops for the Games to make up for a shortfall in staff provided by private security contractors. The Daily Telegraph understands that defence chiefs have angrily complained to Olympic organisers, accusing them of mismanaging their security contract and leaving the Armed Forces to bear the burden. The Ministry of Defence last year said that 13,500 military personnel would be assigned to Olympic duties, with 7,500 of them in security roles at Olympic venues.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Online Racist Abuse: We’ve All Suffered it Too

by Inayat Bunglawala

Mehdi Hasan revealed the Islamophobic abuse he’s endured online. It’s something all racial minority writers face

Considering that Muslims are Britain’s largest religious minority group — according to census figures they number more than the UK’s Jews, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists put together — it makes it all the more perplexing why there are not more Muslim columnists in our national media. Mehdi Hasan, in his column on online Islamophobia, could name only Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and himself. It seems that, for many of our fellow citizens, the Muslims they would like to see in our public life — if there have to be any — should be those that are voluble in their gratefulness that they have been allowed to live in the UK but are otherwise utterly docile.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Some Online Hatreds Are Prosecuted, Others Applauded

by Daniel Hannan

The Guardian is again agonising over the nasty comments on its online opinion section, Comment is Free, aimed at ethnic minority contributors, especially Muslims. It has a point. You don’t have to be squeamish to be revolted by a great deal of what happens beneath the line. Here are three typical comments, posted within 20 minutes of each other on a single thread:

Jeez, have you even met any Muslims? They’re like a cross between Fagin & Goebbels.

I have always found Muslims to be nasty, selfish, lying, despicable, evil, grasping, ignorant, duplicitous wastes of oxygen.

Muslims are extremist scum. End of story.

Actually, I’ve played a little trick on you. These comments were posted on CiF in response to a piece by Tim Montgomerie, editor of ConservativeHome. In each case, I’ve changed a single word, substituting ‘Muslims’ for ‘Tories’.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Liberal Media’s War on ‘Trolling’ Is Becoming Increasingly Intolerant and Censorious

by Brendan O’Neill

Jonathan Freedland has written an article for the Guardian about Islamophobic trolling on the internet. It contains an extraordinary line. Freedland says Muslim journalists are frequently subjected to vile racist abuse by some of the crankier commenters who lurk on the world wide web, including being branded “**********”. But there are also “subtler” forms of racism, he says, such as when trolls “dress up in progressive, Guardian-friendly garb … slamming Islam as oppressive of gay and women’s rights, for example”. “Call it progressives’ prejudice”, says Freedland.

What is extraordinary about this is that it represents an explicit conflation of racial prejudice and political opinion, a mashing together of what we can all agree is irrational hatred of Muslims with what is surely just criticism of Islam. Now, you may agree or disagree with the idea that Islam is repressive of women and gays, but it is an idea nonetheless, a view some individuals have arrived at after thinking about various issues. To lump such an outlook together with abusive terms like “**********”, as if they both come from the same spectrum of racial hatred, is a see-through attempt to demonise certain political ideas by branding them racist.


[Reader comment by danoconnor on 11 July 2012 at 07:28 PM.]

It is not a right to criticize mainstream Islam, Islamization or mass population replacement and balkanization of Western peoples, it’s a moral DUTY. And anyone who doesn’t, or even worse attacks those who do, has lost the faculty to distinguish good from evil and right from wrong. They have committed intellectual and moral suicide. Those who do not stand against evil, by their actions or silence condone it. It is quite simply moral bankruptcy, cowardice, criminal ignorance and treason of the highest order. Their collabortion will in the end cause great harm and suffering to Western societies. It is not question of IF, but WHEN.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Bosnia: Witness Says Muslims Tried to Provoke Intl Intervention

The Hague, 11 July (AKI) — A witness for the prosecution in the trial of wartime Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic told the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on Wednesday Bosnian Muslims tried to provoke international intervention in 1992-1995 war, even at the cost of killing their own people.

Second prosecution witness, David Harland, who served with United Nations mission in Sarajevo (UNPROFOR) from 1993 to 1995, told the court that Bosnian Serb army terrorized civilians in Sarajevo during the 44-month siege by indiscriminate shelling and sniper fire, but added that Muslims didn’t stand by doing nothing.

Mladic’s lawyer Branko Lukic quoted in court one of Harland’s reports from Sarajevo that Muslim army targeted “not only UNPROFOR soldiers, but local pedestrians as well” in sniper attacks.

“Yes, there were many such cases,” Harland responded. Asked whether he knew that Serb civilians were also killed in Sarajevo, Harland responded that to his knowledge about 1,000 Serbs were killed, but not 5,000 as claimed by the defense.

He said many Serbs were killed because they were forced by Muslim forces to dig trenches around the city and to clear mine fields. Harland said UNPROFOR never determined who fired a shell on Sarajevo market Markale in February 2004, killing 66 people, but Serbs were blamed for the attack.

“Some on the Bosnian (Muslim) side believed that some moves would help them to provoke international intervention,” Harland said. “Izetbegovic (wartime Muslim president) personally told me that civilians shouldn’t be allowed to leave Sarajevo,” he added.

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

North Africa

Calls to Destroy Egypt’s Great Pyramids Begin

by Raymond Ibrahim

According to several reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt’s Great Pyramids—or, in the words of Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi’i, those “symbols of paganism,” which Egypt’s Salafi party has long planned to cover with wax. Most recently, Bahrain’s “Sheikh of Sunni Sheikhs” and President of National Unity, Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud, called on Egypt’s new president, Muhammad Morsi, to “destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what the Sahabi Amr bin al-As could not.”

This is a reference to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s companion, Amr bin al-As and his Arabian tribesmen, who invaded and conquered Egypt circa 641. Under al-As and subsequent Muslim rule, many Egyptian antiquities were destroyed as relics of infidelity. While most Western academics argue otherwise, according to early Muslim writers, the great Library of Alexandria itself—deemed a repository of pagan knowledge contradicting the Koran—was destroyed under bin al-As’s reign and in compliance with Caliph Omar’s command.

However, while book-burning was an easy activity in the 7th century, destroying the mountain-like pyramids and their guardian Sphinx was not—even if Egypt’s Medieval Mamluk rulers “de-nosed” the latter during target practice (though popular legend still attributes it to a Westerner, Napoleon).

Now, however, as Bahrain’s “Sheikh of Sheikhs” observes, and thanks to modern technology, the pyramids can be destroyed. The only question left is whether the Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt is “pious” enough—if he is willing to complete the Islamization process that started under the hands of Egypt’s first Islamic conqueror…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Egypt: TV Channel With Only Fully-Veiled Women ‘Is Part of Fight Against Discrimination’

Cairo, 11 July (AKI) — A new satellite tv channel managed completely by women donning the niqab, or the full veil, will begin broadcasting operation on 20 July, the first day of the Ramandan holy month.

“It will be the most viewed during the month-long Ramadan,” said Maria TV owner Abu Islam Ahmad Abdallah, in an interview with Adnkronos International.

The channel’s name is a reference to Maria, the wife of Muslim prophet Maometto.

The idea for the channel came from “discrimination” against women who wear the niqab, he said.

“A veiled woman applied for work at a television channel but didn’t get the job. How come in that environment women wearing the niqab are victims of discrimination?” he said. “For this reason I decided to start a channel and help pave their way in the hope that others follow my lead,” Abdallah said.

The owner of the upstart station says he is reacting to an Egyptian media establishment which claims to support democracy, but doesn’t accept divergence of opinions.

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

Group Against Ramadan Fast Created in Morocco

In campaign for freedom to eat in public during holy month

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JULY 12 — Young Moroccan activists with the Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms have set up a new group called ‘Masayaminch 2012’, or we do not fast, to end the ban on public eating during the daylight hours of the month of Ramadam which this year begins on July 20.

The group says its campaign is not against their religion — Muslims are supposed to observe a fast during the day throughout Ramadam — but is aimed at giving Muslims the personal freedom to choose.

A group of young people staged a demonstration in 2009 attempting to eat in public during Ramadam but were stopped by police in a previous campaign against fasting during Ramadam.

Under Moroccan law, eating in public during Ramadam’s hours of daylight can lead to a fine of 100 euros and up to six months in jail.

‘Masayminch 2012’ has also posted a video on the internet to campaign for Muslims’ right to eat freely during the holy month.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Police Open Fire on Students in Khartoum

(AGI) Khartoum — Police have opened fire trying to disperse on students rotesting against Omar Al-Bashir’s regime at Khartoum University and there are reports that a number have been wounded. The news was reported by al Jazeera specifying that the clashes between police forces and students are still ongoing. For a number of weeks there have been continuous anti-government protests demanding regime change, justice and democracy, and students have often used slogans similar to those used in the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

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

Tunisia: Fewer Bikinis, More Veils on Public Beaches

Fearing Salafists’ insults, women prefer tourist resorts

(ANSAMed) — TUNIS, JULY 11 — Fewer women go to the beach wearing bikinis now than during the previous regime, because they are increasingly being harassed by salafists.

“Ben Ali was a tyrant, he fleeced the country,” 22-year-old Halim told ANSAMed. “But at least back then we could be ourselves, like European people our age.” Women who go to the beach wearing bikinis are being increasing insulted, beaten or otherwise harassed, reportedly by Islamic fundamentalist men. Police and soldiers are patrolling the public beaches in an effort to protect the women. More and more women are going to the public beach, and even bathing, covered from head to toe, while women who reject totally covering their bodies are increasingly going to private clubs or tourist holiday resorts, where the majority of the clientele is foreign.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Neighbors Trade Vows of Mideast Peace

By Jodi Rudoren / The New York Times

HEBRON, West Bank — Peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis resumed this week, in an elaborate tent off a dirt road south of this hotly disputed city where Abraham, the patriarch of both peoples, is believed to have buried his wife.

Representatives of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were not invited. Instead, the summit meeting Thursday was hosted by Sheik Fared al-Jabari, head of a huge clan claiming 35,000 members in Hebron and 1 million loyalists overall, and it was attended by right-wing Jewish settlers as well as several European Parliament members from conservative factions.

There were no maps traded back and forth, no treaties drafted. The question of what to do about Jerusalem was never mentioned, and the refugee issue was only nodded at.

If Track I negotiations are between the political principals, and Track II diplomacy engages intellectuals in constructive dialogue, call this Track III: local leaders with no official authority, sitting barefoot on cushions in a light breeze, trading promises of peace among neighbors amid platters of grapes, pears, peaches and plums…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Middle East

16 Palestine Liberation Army Soldiers Kidnapped, Killed on the Aleppo-Misyaf Road, Near Idlib

Resheq: We condemn the killing of Palestinian conscripts in Syria as cowardly


Hamas condemned in the strongest words the killing of a group of Palestinian conscripts in Syria as “racist, cowardly”.

Ezzet Al-Resheq, a political bureau member of Hamas, told the PIC at dawn Thursday that the “brutal killing of 17 conscripts in the Palestinian liberation army (PLA) in Syria was a racist, cowardly act”.

He said that the Palestinians in Syria are guests, who do not interfere in the internal affairs of the country and who look forward to the day when they return to their homeland from which they were forcibly uprooted.

Palestinian sources said on Wednesday that 16 PLA members were kidnapped and killed on Tuesday night while on the Aleppo-Misyaf road near Idlib. Their number varied from one source to another.

16 Palestinian soldiers found killed, mutilated in northern Syria

DAMASCUS, July 11, 2012 (Xinhua) —

The bodies of 16 Palestinian soldiers have been found tossed in an area between the Syrian northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, media reports said Wednesday.

The killed Palestinians were conscripts in the Syrian-based Palestinian Army of Liberation.

The details surrounding the carnage remain unclear due to lack of official comments. However, initial speculations indicate that the 16 young men had been ambushed en route to the Nairab Palestinian camp in Aleppo…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]

Kuwaiti Professor Locks Self in US Embassy Toilet

KUWAIT: Representatives of the US Embassy in Kuwait refused to press charges against a Kuwaiti University professor who locked himself in the embassy’s toilet for an hour before he was forced out by the embassy security, said security sources. The sources added that the professor, who had been known as a trouble-maker, was referred to state security for two hours before he was sent to the police station near the embassy. However, on calling the embassy to file a case, official representatives refused to press any charges saying that they were well-aware of the professor’s health and psychological state and that he ‘meant no harm to anybody’.

           — Hat tip: RR[Return to headlines]

Kuwait English School Special Needs Teacher Murdered in Bristol

KUWAIT: She was expected to return to Kuwait on Aug 28 to continue her teaching career here but sadly, that won’t happen now. Judith Ege, 58, was murdered while on vacation to Horfield, Bristol, in Southwest England. Based on online accounts, Ege was stabbed to death while on a visit to Horfield with her stepdaughter on July 4. Ege was a brilliant special needs teacher at the Kuwait English School (KES) for over a year.

According to Bristol police, Barach Bandavad, a Ministry of Defence employee, was the lone suspect for Ege’s murder. Bandavad has been arrested and is currently in police custody. The suspect was the former partner of Ege’s stepdaughter. Police confirmed her stepdaughter used to live in Bristol and suggested they went to Bristol to collect some of her stepdaughter’s belongings…

           — Hat tip: RR[Return to headlines]

Pew Survey: Middle East Muslims Support Democracy, Islam in Politics

(CNN) -Just as an Islamist president takes office in Egypt, a major survey shows that most Muslims in nations in or close to the Middle East want both democracy and a strong role for Islam in politics and government. The survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, finds that most people in many predominantly Muslim nations remain optimistic that democracy can succeed in the Middle East, more than a year after the Arab Spring began sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syrian President Accuses U. S. of Destabilizing Syria

(AGI) Berlin — During an interview with the German TV station ARD, Syria’s President Bashar al Assad charged the United States of “supporting and protecting the rebels to destabilize the country.” According to the text of the interview, which was prepared on July 5, Assad explained that he remained in Syria because he wanted to “face” the country’s challenges. “The president does not run away before a challenge and now we have a national challenge in Syria.” Staying, added Assad, “means you have strong support from the people.”

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

Turkey: Alevis Demand Worship Sites, Tension With Cabinet

Shiite minority victim of violence in the past

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JULY 12 — The Turkish government of nationalist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Sunni Muslim, and the Shiite Alevi community are at odds over the Cemevi, places of worship of Turkey’s minority which are not officially recognized by the state.

In the past few days the president of Ankara’s parliament Cemil Cicek rejected a request by an Alevi MP with the Social Democrat opposition Huseyn Aygun to open Cemevi prayer sites in Turkey’s Great Assembly.

Cicek had responded that the Alevis, a minority liberal branch of Islam, are Muslims and therefore must pray in mosques, a stance supported by deputy premier Bekir Bozbag who said ‘the Alevi is not a separate religion’.

Alevi leader Ali Kenanoglu, president of the association Hubyar Sultan, responded saying that ‘the ‘progressive’ democracy of the AKP is like the tolerance of the Ottomans, a real lie’. ‘Our places of worship, the Cemevi, are not a negotiable issue’, he also said.

Turkey’s Shiite Alevi minority has often been the victim of violence in the past. Nineteen years ago, 37 people were burnt to death in an attack on a hotel in Sivas, Anatolia, where they were taking part in a festival on Alevi poetry and literature.

Prominent intellectuals including Asim Bezirci, poets Nesimi Cimen and Metin Altiok and singer Hasret Gultekin were among the victims. A trial against the alleged perpetrators of the carnage ended without a verdict after the statute of limitation had expired.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Oldest Christian Monastery at Risk

After high court rules against monks

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — The Mongolians failed to destroy it 700 years ago despite the massacre of 40 friars and 400 Christians. Yet the existence of the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world, the fifth century Mor Gabriel Monastery in the Tur Abdin plane (the mountain of God’s servants) near the Turkish-Syrian border, is at risk after a ruling by Turkey’s highest appeals court in Ankara.

Founded in 397 by the monks Samuel and Simon, Mor Gabriel in eastern Anatolia has been the heart of the Orthodox Syrian community for centuries. Syriacs hail from a branch of Middle Eastern Christianity and are one of the oldest communities in Turkey.

Today the monastery is inhabited by Mor Timotheus Samuel Aktash, 3 monks, 11 nuns and 35 boys who are learning the monastery’s teachings, the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus and the Orthodox Syriac tradition.

Although the monastery is situated in an area at the centre of conflicts between Kurdish separatist with the armed PKK group and the Turkish army, Mor Gabriel welcomes 20,000 pilgrims every year.

The Syriac Orthodox community — estimated to be 2.5 million across the world — is under the authority of the Patriarch of Antioch and considers the monastery a ‘second Jerusalem’.

The monastery’s reputation 1500 years ago was such that Roman Emperors Arcadius, Theodosius and Onorio built new buildings around it and enriched it with art and mosaics. But in the past 150 years Mor Gabriel has gone through a decline after the massacres of Christians by nationalists at the end of the 19th century — 3,000 Christians were burnt to death in Edessa’s Cathedral in 1895 — and clashes between Turks and Kurds in the area during World War I.

In the mid 1960s the community in Tur Abdin numbered 130,000.

Today only 3,500 people are left and the ‘second Jerusalem’ is in danger. The heads of the three neighbouring Muslim villages, Kurds with the Belebi tribe, filed a lawsuit against the monastery years ago with the support of an MP member of the Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Under the lawsuit, the Syriacs are accused of practicing ‘anti-Turkish activities’ by providing an education to young people, including non Christians, and of illegally occupying land which belongs to the neighbouring villages.

After a number of contrasting verdicts, the highest appeals court in Ankara, which is close to the government, has ruled in favour of the village chiefs and said the land which has been part of the monastery for 1,600 years is not its property, Turkish newspaper Zaman reported.

The lawsuit also claimed that the sanctuary was built over the ruins of a mosque, forgetting that Mohammed was born 170 years after its foundation.

The verdict has been slammed by the Turkish media and Zaman wrote that the judges had ‘lost’ property and fiscal documents ‘proving that the land in question belongs to the monastery’.

Mor Gabriel now needs to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in order to survive, a move already undertaken with success a few years ago by the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople to re-obtain the building housing the Orthodox orphanage of Buyukada in Istanbul.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Islamic Group Wants Rock Fest Banned

Beer-sponsored event encourages youth drinking, Yesilay says

(ANSAMed) — ANKARA, JULY 12 — Islamic group Yesilay (Green Crescent Moon) has asked authorities to ban the One Love rock music festival, which is sponsored by Turkish beer Efes, because “it incites young people to drink alcohol,” Hurriyet daily reported today.

Yesilay President Muharrem Balci has asked Istanbul’s governor to shut down the festival, to be held at Istanbul’s progressive Bilgi University this weekend, alleging that Turkish law forbids festivals with alcoholic beverages in their name, Hurriyet said.

Yesilay has successfully petitioned for the sale of alcohol to be banned around the Galata tower, and its anti-smoking campaign is supported by first lady Emine Erdogan.

One Love festival organizers told Hurriyet they are not worried and “have not made changes to the program.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Yemen: Bomber Targets Police Cadets

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a police academy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa yesterday, killing at least 22 people. Investigators said the incident bore the hallmarks of an al Qaeda operation. Policeman Fadel Ali said police cadets were leaving the college when the bomber attacked, saying: “We ran to the place and found dozens of cadets covered in blood. The scene was horrific.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghan Massacre Defendant to Have Court Hearing in September

(Reuters) — The U.S. Army has scheduled a preliminary court hearing in September for the soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians in rampage in March.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is to have an Article 32 hearing on September 17, Army Lieutenant Colonel Gary Dangerfield said Wednesday. Dangerfield said he did not know where the hearing would be held. Bales, a decorated veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is accused of walking off his base under cover of darkness and opening fire on civilians in their homes in at least two villages. The March 11 mass shooting in Afghanistan’s restive Kandahar province eroded already strained U.S.-Afghanistan relations.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

Weisswurst and Beer: Tourists Flock to South Korea’s ‘German Village’

It has an Oktoberfest, German sausages and immaculate front gardens. South Korea’s “German Village” is home to Koreans who spent years as migrant workers in Germany and their German spouses. Today, thousands of tourists come to visit the quirky settlement — much to the annoyance of some residents.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Community Group Backs Gungahlin Mosque

The Gungahlin Community Council says it supports the development of a mosque in Canberra’s north. There are plans to build Canberra’s second largest mosque on Valley Avenue in Gungahlin. A group calling itself the Concerned Citizens of Canberra has objected to the social impact of the mosque and aired concerns about traffic and noise. Individual submissions to the planning authority include complaints that women wearing burkas would disturb children.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

More Than 100 Die in Nigeria in Attacks Against Christians

(AGI) Lagos — More than 100 people died in violent attacks against Christians in the Nigerian state of Plateau during the weekend. Two deputies of the State are also among them, as made known by the governor. At least 80 people died on Saturday, when shepherds of the Muslim tribe of Fulani attacked a few villages. 22 other people were massacred in the course of a raid by armed men on Sunday, during the celebration of the funerals of the people killed the day before.

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

Muslim Tribesmen Kill Nigerian Politicians During Funeral

(AGI) Lagos — Shepherds belonging to the Fulani tribe, who are Muslim, have killed a federal senator and local MP, both Christians and both from the Biron tribe in Plateau State. The two politicians were taking part in a large funeral for victims of another attack, carried out by Fulanis, when the attack took place. “Senator Gyang Dantong and the leader of the local assembly, Gyang Fulani, were attacked and killed by Fulani shepherds” said spokesman for Palteau State government, Pam Ayuba. Plateau is in the middle of Nigeria that divides the Muslim north from the Christian south.

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

Nigerian Senate: Talks With Boko Haram as Soon as Possible

(AGI) Abuja — The senate of the Nigerian Capital Abuja is calling for a start to talks with islamic terrorist group Boko Haram as soon as possible. This group killed more than 1,600 people since 2009. The call was launched during a special sitting that was set up to discuss the death of senator Dantong Gyang, who got killed during the recent wave of ethnic and religious violence upsetting the Plateau Federal State, in the central and northern part of the coutry. The President of the Senate David Mark said “We need to start talks as soon as possible as they are the only way out of the crisis which is engulfing the country”. He also deplored the spread of light weapons and bombs and asked Nigerian law enforcement agencies to “take all necessary measures to end the dealing and the spread of weapons in the country”.

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

Nigeria Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills at Least 95

A crashed fuel tanker has blown up in Nigeria, killing nearly 100 people. The victims literally died for oil as they were scooping up the “black gold” spilling out of the vehicle before it exploded.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Nigerian Christian Urges US Action on Islamic Group

WASHINGTON — The leader of Nigeria’s Christians called Tuesday on the United States to declare the Islamist group Boko Haram to be terrorists, but a US official said it was more important to address social inequalities. In an unusually blunt appeal by a foreigner before the US Congress, the head of the main Christian body in religiously divided Nigeria said that a decision to blacklist three Boko Haram leaders as terrorists did not go far enough.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Northern Mali Risks Starvation Thanks to Al-Qaeda, Drought and No Aid

Almost the entire population of northern Mali risks starvation because al-Qaeda’s capture of the area coincided with drought and hindered the delivery of aid.

War is not the only reason why at least 340,000 people have fled their homes since gunmen loyal to “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” (AQIM), along with rebels from the local Tuareg tribe, began their advance across northern Mali in January. A desperate shortage of food is also taking hold in this arid Saharan region. More than 1.6 million people in northern Mali are in a “situation of severe, close to extreme, food insecurity,” according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Italy: Boat Carrying 61 Migrants Rescued at Pozzallo

(AGI) Rome — 61 migrants (58 men and 3 women) were rescued by the Coast Guard off the Sicilian coast at Pozzallo at around 4:30 am. The Operating Center was informed by the Maltese Coast Guard that they had escorted a 10-meter long dinghy carrying approximately 60 persons claiming to be Somalian until the border of their territorial waters with Italy. A motor launch was sent on site by the Port Authorities of Gela and Pozzallo.

At approximately 6:15 am the migrants (all reported to be in good health conditions) were transshipped on Pozzallo’s patrol boat which is now headed into port.

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

Italy: 45 Migrants Land on Salento Coast Overnight

(AGI) Lecce — 45 migrants landed on the Salento coast between Terre Vado and Marina di Presicce (Lecce) around midnight last night. All 45 are Afghan or Pakistani males, and were taken to the Don Tonino Bello reception centre at Otranto (Lecce) for recognition procedures. Calm seas have been conducive to landings along the Salento coast over the last few days.

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

Italy: Motorboat Carrying 63 African Migrants Lands in Portopalo

(AGI) Palermo — A light motorboat with 62 Sub-Saharan Africans aboard has been rescued by a Tax Police patrol boat. The 10m vessel was spotted 30 miles south of Portopalo (Capo Passero) at 1300 hours CET today. The group of 62 included 11 women. It is understood that the human cargo departed from Libya and was helped by favourable weather conditions.

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

Italy: Coastguard Intercepts Boatload of Syrians and Kurds

Reggio Calabria, 11 July (AKI) — Italian coastguard Wednesday intercepted 25 migrants off the southern Italian coast who claimed to be Syrians and Kurds. The migrants included women and children and said they were hoping to settle in Germany.

Red cross workers who examined the migrants when coastguard brought them ashore in Guardavalle in the southern Calabria region said they were in quite good condition with the exception of one woman who had health problems.

The migrants have been transferred to a centre owned by the local council.

Another group of migrants who set sail from Libya was less fortunate. Of the 55 who set sail in an effort to reach Italy, 54 perished from dehydration after winds blew the rubber boat back towards North Africa and it gradually deflated, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday. A sole passenger, an Eritrean, survived.

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

Malta: 84 Somali Migrants Rescued at Sea

Valletta, 6 July (AKI) — Eighty-four Somali migrants were rescued Friday off of Malta’s coast, according to the dpa news agency.

The 51 men, 32 women and a young girl are part of a wave of clandestine migrants who sail for Europe from the North Africa coast.

Italian police late last month intercepted a 15-metre Egyptian fishing vessel transporting 115 north African migrants near the eastern Sicilian city of Catania.

The attempt to reach Europe by boat can be fatal. Eight Libyan migrants last week were feared dead after their boat sank off the coast of southern Italy and the Coast Guard rescued four others.

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

UK: Five Million Non-EU Immigrants Living in UK

The UK is home to almost five million people who were born outside the 27 EU member states, more than almost any other European country, new figures have shown.

Only Germany and France have a greater population of immigrants born outside of the EU than the UK, which has an estimated 4.9 million foreigners living in the country. There are also 2.3 million immigrants from other EU countries living in Britain, according to the research. The provisional data, from the EU statistics office Eurostat, suggested foreign citizens made up seven per cent of the UK population. While Germany had the highest number of immigrants, Luxembourg had the highest proportion with 43 per cent of the population born abroad. Overall, 2.5 per cent of the EU population were people living in another European country.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


New Muslim Prayer Mat Points to Mecca

Devout Muslims pray five times a day, facing the holy city of Mecca. But what if you don’t know what direction Mecca is? Try the new illuminated prayer mat. Invented by London-based Turkish designer Soner Ozenc, the mat lights up when facing the Saudi city. Currently, only two prototypes exist, one of which was purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for its show last year on interactive design. Ozenc is trying to raise $100,000 through, the online fundraising tool, to bring the mat into mass production. If he reaches his goal, for $500, donors can expect one of the first mats out of the factory.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Why the West Loves Lying to Itself About Islam

By Daniel Greenfield

Say that you get a tempting offer from a Nigerian prince and decide to invest some money in helping him transfer his vast fortune from Burkina Faso or Dubai over to the bank across the street. The seemingly simple task of bringing over the 18 million dollars left to him by his father hits some snags which require you to put in more and more of your own money.

Eventually you have invested more than you ever would have ever done up front, just trying to protect the sunk cost, the money that you already sank into Prince Hussein Ngobo’s scheme. And to protect your self-esteem, you must go on believing that, no matter what Prince Ngobo does, he is credible and sincere. Any failings in the interaction must be your fault. Anyone who tells you otherwise must be a Ngobophobe.

Now imagine that Prince Ngobo’s real name is Islam.

That is where Western elites find themselves now. They invested heavily in the illusion of a compatible Islamic civilization. Those investments, whether in Islamic immigration or Islamic democracy or peace with Islam have turned toxic, but dropping those investments is as out of the question as writing off Prince Ngobo as a con artist and walking away feeling like a fool. Western elites, who fancy themselves more intelligent and more enlightened than the wise men and prophets of every religion, and who base their entire right to rule on that intelligence and enlightenment, are not in the habit of admitting that they are fools.

The Arab Springers who predicted that the Muslim uprisings would bring a new age of secularism, freedom and an end to the violence between Islam and the West are busy writing up new checks. Thomas Friedman is penning essays explaining why the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood will mean regional stability and peace with Israel (and if it doesn’t, it will be our fault).

It’s not insanity; it’s the term that rhymes with a certain river in Egypt. The Brotherhood’s victory discredits the Arab Spring, which discredits the bid for Arab Democracy, which discredits the compatibility of Islam and the folks on Fifth Avenue. Follow the river back along its course and suddenly the Clash of Civilizations becomes an undeniable fact. It’s easier to give up and let the river of denial carry you further along until, five years from now, you find yourself explaining why Al-Qaeda ruling Libya is actually a good thing for everyone.

The Arab Spring, the Palestinian Peace Process and every similar bid to transform the region presumed that disempowerment was the cause of Muslim violence and that, conversely, empowerment was the solution. Give the poor dears some weapons, a country, a ballot box, free and open elections, and they’ll be less likely to blow themselves up while seeking 72 virgins on the downtown express. Instead, empowering people who were violent while disempowered only made them more violent. Some of the best minds in two hemispheres are engaged in seeking a solution to this paradox, which isn’t a paradox at all, but rather a straight-line projection.

If Abdul is beheading people when all he has to work with is a sword, then, if you give him a gun, he will start shooting them instead. If he’s blowing up buses when he only has a terrorist group, he will blow up countries when he has a country. Empowering Abdul does not diminish his grievances, because his grievances are a function of his capacity for violence. Increasing his capacity will increase his grievances until the entire world is on the wrong end of his empowerment scimitar.

The liberal projection that “Abdul + Power + Money + Bigger Guns = Peace” made as much sense as Prince Ngobo’s story about his transfer fees being cursed by witches, but, as the song goes, “You gotta have faith.” Some of the things that we have faith in are bigger than us and some are just us. Those who put their faith in Prince Ngobo and in the benign nature of Islam are really putting their faith in their own instincts, trusting that they are right, even while looking into the eye of the wrongness.

The sunk cost of the free world into the illusion that Islam is benign, that it is a positive influence and that it can be coexisted with is enormous. Even the dollar, euro and shekel costs make the wildest frauds seem tame…

           — Hat tip: HC[Return to headlines]