Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121018

Financial Crisis
»Czech PM Threatens to Veto Banking Union
»France, Germany Clash Over Control of National Budgets
»Greeks Stage Fourth General Strike
»Irish PM Gives Eurozone ‘Weeks and Months’
»Merkel Calls for Greater European Integration
»Spain and Italy in ‘Depression’
»‘We Are Greedy and Asocial’: Corruption Continues Virtually Unchecked in Greece
»Ancient ‘Predator X’ Sea Monster Gets Official Name
»Detroit Woman Still Waiting for Derelict Houses to be Demolished
»Experts to Discuss Muslim Tradition and Theory of Evolution at Boston University
»FBI ‘Stings’ Under Scrutiny After NY Bomb Plot Arrest
»FBI Arrests Man in Terror Sting: Timeline of Plots on US Soil
»Foreign Propaganda Channels Target the U.S.
»I Have No Muslim Friends
»Major Publishers Protest Saudi Textbook Content
»Man Arrested for Alleged Plot to Attack Federal Reserve in NY
»U.S. Spent $27 Million on ‘Ineffective’ Pottery Classes — In Morocco
»US Military Gets Into the 3D Printing Business
»US Weekly Newsweek Will Do Without Print Edition
»Would-be Federal Reserve Bomber Came to U.S. On Student Visa in January
Europe and the EU
»A Fascist Party in Full Cry. Black-Shirts Smashing Migrants’ Homes. Swastikas on the Streets. No, Not Germany in the Thirties: Greece 2012
»Britain’s Membership of the European Union — is it Time to Quit the Muppet Show?
»Channel Tunnel Marks 300 Millionth Passenger
»Europe’s Islamization: Brussels Local Election Candidates All Muslims
»France to Make it Easier to Become French
»German Court: Woman Can Wear Headscarf at Work
»Italy Ordered to Stop Disaster Tax Breaks During EU Probe
»Italy: President of Bergamo Public Works Resigns Amid Investigation
»Twitter Blocks Neo-Nazi Account in Germany
»UK: 3,000 Doctors Putting Patients on ‘Death Lists’ That Single Them Out to be Allowed to Die
»UK: Are Extradition Rulings Biased Towards White Non-Muslims?
»UK: Hope at Lambeth Palace
»UK: Mosque Plans Anger Barton Residents
»UK: Poll: ‘You’re Not Welcome’: Church Leaders’ Message to English Defence League Ahead of Planned Norwich Marc
»UK: Woman’s Husband Escapes Prison for Beating Her in Brutal Muslim Exorcism
»UK: Why Was Teenage Yob Who Did This Let Off With a Warning? Fury of 15-Year-Old’s Parents After Attacker Who Beat Him With His Own Crutches Escapes Prosecution
North Africa
»Morocco: Sacred Landmark Smashed by Islamic Fundamentalists
»Muslim Gang Attempts to Kidnap Egyptian Christian Mother, 4 Dead
»The Jihad and Christopher Stephens, Pt. 1
Israel and the Palestinians
»Israel Strikes Gaza Militants in Response to Rocket Fire
Middle East
»Explosions Hit Military Compound in Yemeni Capital
»Syria: British Gang of Muslims Waging War in Syria ‘Pose Threat to UK’
»Turkey: Virtuoso Pianist Say in Court for Blasphemy
»Turkey: Archaeologists Plan New Dig at Troy
»Turkey Tries Pianist Fazil Say for Insulting Islam
»Turkish Pianist on Trial for Insulting Islam
»Turkish Musician Faces Twitter Blasphemy Charges
South Asia
»Afghan Girl ‘Beheaded for Refusing Prostitution’
»Indonesia: Poso: Missing Policemen Found Dead, Fears of New Christian-Muslim Violence
»Indonesia: Nine Churches and Six Buddhist Temples Shut Down Under Islamist Pressure in Banda Aceh
»Pakistan: Rimsha Masih’s Trial Adjourned to 14 November as Anti-Christian Violence Continues
Far East
»U.S. Directly Deposited Welfare Payments to Person Using ATM — In Vietnam
Australia — Pacific
»Alan Jones Ordered to Undergo Factual Accuracy Training
»Asylum Seekers Turn Pirates, Seize Boat, Attack Crew Off Sri Lanka
»Hawthorn Star Shaun Burgoyne Has Blasted Anthony Mundine for His Racial Attack on Daniel Geale
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Tanzanian Muslims Burn Churches and Call for Beheading of 14-Year-Old Boy
»Tanzanian Muslim Cleric Ponda Issa Ponda Arrested
»Tanzania: Whereabouts of Fiery Cleric a Mystery
»Tanzania: Police Tackle Rioters in Dar, Isles
»Tanzania: 122 Arrested Over Mbagala Riots, Burning of Churches
»Breathtaking! How Judge Attacked Bid by Migrant (Who’s Been Kicked Out Twice) To Use Human Rights Laws to Stay in Britain
»France: Minister Valls, Easier Access to Citizenship
»UK: Till Faith Do Us Part
Culture Wars
»Rise of the Mediacracy
»Act 2 for the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

Financial Crisis

Czech PM Threatens to Veto Banking Union

Czech PM Petr Necas on Wednesday threatened to block plans for a supervisory system for European banks. “If the banking union proposal goes ahead in its current form, we will without any doubt oppose it with our veto,” Necas said Wednesday, reports AFP. Necas fears potential damage to Czech banks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France, Germany Clash Over Control of National Budgets

Monti meets France’s Hollande at EU summit

(ANSA) — Brussels, October 18 — Germany and France clashed Thursday over control of national budgets as a summit of European Union leaders began.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for greater powers for the European Commission to veto national budgets that breach EU rules.

However, French President Francois Hollande argued that that issue was not on the summit agenda.

Instead, he said, priority must be given to steps leading to a European banking union.

Merkel, who is reluctant to see German banks brought under outside supervision, told parliament in Berlin before the summit began that quality in a banking regulator is more important than implementing it with speed.

Italian Premier Mario Monti may yet play peacemaker in the dispute. He held a bilateral meeting with Hollande as the summit began, and later met with the president of the EU Council, Herman Van Rompuy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greeks Stage Fourth General Strike

Greek police have clashed with anti-austerity demonstrators as thousands gathered to protest against planned government spending cuts. Meanwhile trade unions have staged a second major general strike in three weeks.

Riot police fired tear gas in Athens on Thursday in an attempt to repel protesters hurling stones and petrol bombs. Some 40,000 protesters were gathered on the streets of the Greek capital as a 24-hour general strike got underway.

According to a health ministry official a 65-year-old man died from heart failure during the demonstration. “A 65-year-old man was taken to hospital where efforts to revive him failed,” the official said. “There were no bruises on his body.”

A further three people were injured during clashes, and 50 people were detained on suspicion of attacking members of the police. A smaller demonstration was also held in Greece’s second major city of Thessaloniki.

The general strike is the second in less than a month and the fourth this year. It closed down most business and public sector activity. Taxi drivers and some kiosk owners joined the stoppage, which also paralyzed airports, banks, schools, museums and passenger ferries.

The strike was called by the country’s two largest labor unions, ADEDY and GSEE, to protest against government reforms and austerity measures demanded by Greece’s international lenders in order for the indebted nation to receive the next installment of its bailout package.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Irish PM Gives Eurozone ‘Weeks and Months’

“The eurozone is no longer functioning as a monetary union. We have weeks and months to fix this problem, not longer,” Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Thursday during the EPP congress in Bucharest. He called for banking union decisions from June to be implemented, a nod to Germany’s reluctance.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Merkel Calls for Greater European Integration

Germany’s chancellor has called for stepped up efforts to resolve the European sovereign debt crisis. Speaking just hours before the start of an EU summit, the chancellor said this required greater European integration.

Chancellor Angela Merkel began her policy statement to the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, by reiterating the importance of maintaining the common currency that is used by 17 of the European Union’s member states.

“This euro is much more than a currency,” the chancellor said. ““This euro serves as a symbol for the economic, social and political unification of Europe.”

Referring to the EU summit to open in Brussels just a few hours later, the chancellor said much had been achieved in efforts to resolve the European sovereign debt crisis but that a lot of work still had to be done.

The chancellor then went on to make the case for creating structures that would lead to greater integration of the eurozone’s economies.

“We have made good progress on strengthening fiscal discipline with the fiscal pact, but we are of the opinion, and I speak for the whole German government on this, that we could go a step further by giving Europe real rights of intervention in national budgets,” Merkel said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain and Italy in ‘Depression’

“Spain and Greece are in depression, not recession. That impact was brought about by austerity,” Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said on Wednesday, reports AFP. “Austerity is bringing Europe down and diminishes chances of making things work,” he added, on the eve of an EU summit in Brussels.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘We Are Greedy and Asocial’: Corruption Continues Virtually Unchecked in Greece

While Athens waits for more aid from the European Union, the country continues to be administered in the same old careless manner. Corrupt politicians and the rich continue to help themselves to Greece’s funds, and little is being done about it.

How can someone who has declared an annual income of €25,000 ($32,400) transfer €52 million abroad? What kind of supplementary income must an individual have who, according to his tax returns, earned €5,588 in 2010, yet still managed to move €19.8 million abroad? And how can it be that a Greek citizen sequesters €9.7 million abroad although he supposedly earned exactly zero euros?


There are four lists that are currently circulating in Athens. Each contains the names of people whose financial circumstances — bank balances and real estate holdings — do not correspond at all with what they claimed on their tax returns. But hardly anything is being done about it. The Greek reality is sometimes paradoxical: While the governing coalition was busy squabbling with international creditors over how many hundreds of euros can still be trimmed from teachers’ and nurses’ paychecks, and Athens continued slashing employee pensions, wealthy Greeks moved billions abroad with relative impunity.

The odyssey of the “Lagarde list,” as it’s known, exemplifies the typically lax attitude toward tax criminals. For many months, it was thought to be lost, but then it resurfaced in early October. Now, the public prosecutor for financial crimes has a copy. It lists 1,991 Greek owners of Swiss bank accounts, and reportedly includes many prominent individuals from the realms of politics, business and culture.

In the autumn of 2010, Christine Lagarde, who was still the French finance minister at the time, gave her Greek counterpart Giorgos Papakonstantinou a digitalized list of bank accounts with information on Greek customers at the HSBC Bank in Switzerland. The accounts contained a total of some €1.5 billion. …

It wasn’t until many months later, in June 2011, that Papakonstantinou finally relinquished only 10 names from the list to the head of Greece’s Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE). The former minister said a few days ago that he didn’t pass on all of the information because he had “no confidence in the agency.”

He was succeeded by Evangelos Venizelos, who is the leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, better known as PASOK, and thus part of the governing coalition. Venizelos served as finance minister for nine months. He negotiated the debt haircut and the second bailout package — and vowed time and again to tackle the big problem of tax evasion.

Meanwhile, tucked away in a drawer of his secretary’s desk, there was a USB stick with information that had already been gathered on Greek tax offenders — the Lagarde list. … But Venizelos didn’t instruct the SDOE to conduct inquiries, nor did he inform anyone of the existence of this information. … It was only when the current Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras heard about the lost information, … that Venizelos supposedly remembered the USB stick in the drawer. He sent it by express courier to Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Venizelos maintains that he didn’t know “that no one aside from me had a copy.”


“We are very bad now as a society. We have become bad. We are greedy and asocial,” says Costas Bakouris, 75, chairman of Transparency International Greece. Bakouris sounds very different than many European politicians who suddenly find that things are taking a turn for the better in Greece. Now that it’s clear that the creditors will continue to pay, he says people are turning a blind eye to the inevitable.

In reality, says Bakouris, an incompetent political class continues to govern the country — the same people, the same story. For decades, they have created a sick system that permeates all segments of society.


The legacy of corruption goes back generations. In the days when Papandreou the elder governed the country, after the story broke that the head of the state electricity provider had lined his own pockets with some 1.5 million drachmas, the prime minister reacted with the following quip: “We all agree, of course, that we are allowed to give ourselves a little present from time to time. But please don’t make it too large.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Ancient ‘Predator X’ Sea Monster Gets Official Name

It’s official: A giant, marine reptile that roamed the seas roughly 150 million years ago is a new species, researchers say. The animal, now named Pliosaurus funkei, spanned about 40 feet (12 meters) and had a massive 6.5-foot-long (2 m) skull with a bite four times as powerful as Tyrannosaurus rex.

“They were the top predators of the sea,” said study co-author Patrick Druckenmiller, a paleontologist at the University of Alaska Museum. “They had teeth that would have made a T. rex whimper.”

Combined with other fossil finds, the newly discovered behemoth skeletons of P. funkei paint a picture of an ancient Jurassic-era ocean filled with giant predators.

In 2006, scientists unearthed two massive pliosaur skeletons in Svalbard, Norway, a string of islands halfway between Europe and the North Pole. The giant creatures, one of which was dubbed Predator X at the time, looked slightly different from other pliosaurs discovered in England and France over the last century and a half.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Detroit Woman Still Waiting for Derelict Houses to be Demolished

DETROIT — Summer has turned to fall and still the view from Donna Randle’s front porch remains the same. Every house around her is abandoned, overgrown, and shells of what they once were. Inside are remnants of lives they once sheltered.

And then there is Randle, wistful and longing for the beautiful street that Syracuse once was.

“I am totally disgusted,” she told us.

We first met Randle back in August. After years of trying to get the derelict properties torn down, she had finally resorted to calling us. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office agreed it was an emergency. We were told demolition would begin in seven to ten days.

Randle even spoke with the city’s director of demolition.

“This is going to be taken care of. We’re not going to eat until this is done. You are top of the list. They keep telling me about this list. Where in the heck is this list? And nothing is happening.”

Randle was even forced to spend $100 of her own money to hire somebody to board up the house next door.

“Halloween is coming up, and I’m concerned that they would set this house on fire again. It’s been set on fire five times.”

Looking out at the piles of garbage and the derelict properties, Randle sat and waited and waited and waited some more for the city to make good on its promises.

We contacted Nate Ford in the city’s demolition department. He assured us they are still getting the proper clearances and three homes will be demolished very soon.

“I have pushed as hard as I could and can to get those houses down,” said Ford.

The city intends to tear down twelve houses in Randle’s neighborhood, but it’s a lengthy process meaning she will have to wait a little longer, although she is not sure how much longer she can really take.

“It’s time to go,” she said.

           — Hat tip: RE[Return to headlines]

Experts to Discuss Muslim Tradition and Theory of Evolution at Boston University

BOSTON, Oct. 17, 2012 — Second event in Science and Islam series opens discussion on clash and reconciliation within Muslim community of personal belief and scientific principle

BOSTON, Oct. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Islamic Congress (AIC) and Project Nur will present the second panel event in their Science and Islam series at Boston University on October 24. Panelists will discuss the intersections and divergences of Muslim tradition with the theory of evolution.

The Science and Islam series is intended to create public awareness and discussion about the role of Muslims in science today and the contributions of Muslims to science throughout history. It also explores the relationship between personal belief on scientific thought. As impressive numbers of Muslims enter the STEM fields, and as the Muslim population around the world rapidly expands, it increasingly is important to understand the diverse ways in which scientific theories and questions are approached by Muslims.

WHAT: “Reconciling Muslim Tradition and the Theory of Evolution”

WHEN: 6:00PM, Wednesday, 24 October, 2012

WHERE: Boston University Photonics Center Colloquium Room, 8 St. Mary’s Street, 9th Floor, Boston, MA 02215


Salman Hameed, Associate Professor of Integrated Sciences and Humanities at Hampshire College and Director of the Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies;

Ehab Abouheif, Research Chair in Evolutionary Developmental Biology and Principal Investigator, Abouheif Lab, McGill University;

Rana Dajani, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Director, Centre for Studies, Hashemite University;

Omar Sultan Haque, Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychology, Harvard University and Psychiatry and Law, Harvard Medical School, and Co-Director, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, American Unit.


The first Science and Islam event, held at University of Iowa in April, explored Muslim tradition and the theories of cosmology. The series is generously supported by The John Templeton Foundation.

The American Islamic Congress (AIC) ( is a 501(c)3 organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in Boston, Tunis, Cairo, Baghdad and Basrah. AIC focuses on civic engagement and civil society building, as well as human rights, women’s rights and interfaith dialogue. Project Nur ( is a student-led initiative of the American Islamic Congress with chapters on 70 U.S. campuses.

SOURCE American Islamic Congress

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

FBI ‘Stings’ Under Scrutiny After NY Bomb Plot Arrest

US officials arrested a Bangladeshi immigrant on Wednesday for attempting to detonate a fake car bomb outside the Federal Reserve building in New York, the latest in a series of FBI sting operations that critics say lure vulnerable people into fictitious terror plots.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a 21-year-old Bangladeshi who was in the United States on a student visa, was arrested after he attempted to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb.


Law enforcement officials have long defended undercover operations designed to expose lone-wolf actors seeking to commit violent acts on US soil.

But there have been several critiques of the post-9/11 rise in FBI stings, with civil rights groups questioning whether the elaborate undercover operations are actually thwarting terrorism or merely luring vulnerable people into a prefabricated plot that has been scripted and funded by the FBI.

“The big question is, would these people have been able to do these plots without the help of the FBI? Some have even been calling it entrapment,” said FRANCE 24’s Nathan King, reporting from New York. This could even be seen as “creating terrorism”, King said, quoting a judge from a 2009 case in which two men were convicted of trying to blow up synagogues.


US civil rights groups have criticised the use of FBI informants to infiltrate mosque congregations. Muslim community leaders say their congregations feel targeted by the very law-and-order processes designed to keep the communities safe.


But in August, a US federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, claiming that the FBI violated civil liberties in the Monteilh case.

In his 36-page order, Judge Cormac Carney wrote that he was forced to weigh national security against individual liberties.

There have been a number of cases in which judges have admitted that the FBI has used questionable tactics. But US legal and civil rights experts say this has not affected the judicial outcomes, including guilty verdicts, lengthy prison sentences and dismissed appeals.


Responding to Nafis’ arrest Thursday, his family in Bangladesh has denied that Nafis had radical tendencies.

“We heard the news this morning. Everyone is crying here,” said the suspect’s brother-in-law, Arik, in an interview with AFP. “Nafis never showed any form of radicalisation when he was in Bangladesh.”

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, however, noted that the arrest was proof that lone-wolf operators were still attempting to carry out terror attacks in the city and that law enforcement agencies were successfully thwarting plots.

“New York continues to be very much in the mind frame of terrorism. This individual came here with the express purpose of committing a terrorist attack; he was motivated by al Qaeda. We see this threat as being with us for a long time to come,’’ said Kelly.

Despite the critics, this latest sting operation is proof that admittedly questionable FBI tactics such as sting operations are likely to continue — and yield results.

           — Hat tip: LH[Return to headlines]

FBI Arrests Man in Terror Sting: Timeline of Plots on US Soil

Since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in September 2001 US authorities have uncovered several attempts to cause death and destruction on American soil. Here is a timeline of some of the major plots.

September 11 2001: Terrorists hijack four commercial airliners taking off from various US airports in a co-ordinated suicide attack orchestrated by al-Qaeda. Two of the planes crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York causing them to collapse. A third crashes into the Pentagon, in Washington DC, and the fourth crashes in Pennsylvania. Approximately 3,000 people are thought to have died.

December 2001: Richard Reid, a British citizen, hides explosives inside his shoes aboard a flight from Paris to Miami and attempts to set them off. He is apprehended and the flight diverts to Boston’s Logan Airport. Reid is found guilty of terrorism offences in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison.

May 2007: Six men are arrested in a plot to attack Fort Dix — a US Army base in New Jersey. The plan included attacking soldiers with grenades and assault rifles.

November 2009: Nidal Malik Hasan, a US Army major serving as a psychiatrist, shoots dead 13 people at Fort Hood — America’s biggest military base. Police shoot and wound Hasan during his rampage at the Texas base. He is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

December 2009: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian with an American visa, attempts to blow up a jet over Detroit on Christmas Day using explosives hidden in his underwear. He is subsequently charged with six terrorism offences and remains in US custody.

May 2010: Police foil attempted car bombing in New York’s Times Square. A sports utility vehicle laden with three propane tanks, dozens of firecrackers, two tanks of gasoline and fertiliser, was parked at the corner or West 45th Street and Broadway, an area full of pedestrians.

October 2012: FBI agents arrest a Bangladeshi man after he attempted to detonate a 1,000lb car bomb outside the Federal Reserve. Agents went undercover to set up the sting, ensuring that the bomb was only a dummy device so the public was never in danger. Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested soon after.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Foreign Propaganda Channels Target the U.S.

The evidence shows that while Romney is correct in saying that we are borrowing from China to pay for public broadcasting in America, the complete truth is actually more shocking — we are borrowing from China to help public broadcasting air Chinese propaganda in the U.S.

CCTV, an official propaganda arm of the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party, is being distributed to public television stations in the U.S. through a public television programming service called MHz Worldview, a project of MHz Networks.

Florida broadcaster Jerry Kenney has taken a look at this aspect of the bias. His analysis shows that the federally-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) funneled $27,580,113 into MHz Networks and its affiliates in fiscal year 2011.

MHz Networks is a division of Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, based in Richmond, Virginia, and distributes Al-Jazeera, the voice of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Moscow-funded Russia Today (RT) channel, and CCTV, under the rubric of “Programming for globally-minded people.” MHz Worldview calls itself “alternative programming for U.S. public TV stations and other distributors.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

I Have No Muslim Friends

by Charles Gladle — As I tend to say what I think, some who know me tell me I should keep my opinions to myself. Well, that’s not me and I have always been open and honest when stating my true opinions and real feelings. I wish all were open and honest to that point. Today Muslim zealots encourage their followers to strike out with every means available, including murder of all non-believers in the name of their faith. When men of this faith deny their wives, daughters and women in general equal opportunity, they are no friend of mine. They malign, torture, rape and murder women and children in the name of Allah, and that makes me their enemy. Gruesome “Honor Killings” are practiced by the men of Islam, allowing them to murder by any means they may choose. Muslims practice child slavery and human bondage throughout the Middle East, and I am disgusted by this too.

On a global scale the terror and death that comes with their interpretation of the Koran makes “martyrdom in the name of Allah” lights for their path to spiritual paradise. These thoughts are in the minds all the criminally insane believers of radical Islam. They take great pride in knowing that the rest of the world cowers, shaking with fear of what may be next in their quest of world domination. We all know that death, destruction, brutal torture and debauchery on all levels are part of the advance of radical Islam. Witness what just occurred in Libya when four Americans were ruthlessly tortured and murdered.

Don’t tell me that I must be forgiving, understanding and compassionate toward Muslims. That’s just liberal tripe that Washington hands out, and I’m sick of it. Turn the other cheek and they will slit your throat, shoot us in the back or perhaps a suicide bomber will take pleasure in killing the innocent. Evil Mullahs and militant leaders abroad and here in America have turned us into cowards who whimper and whine in the face of their aggression. Don’t speak of peace to me, and stop thinking we can negotiate with those who hate and despise us. No American Muslims speak out against their crimes. Why?

Radical Muslims believe they must dominate over all, and thus this barbaric horde of thugs and brutes commit despicable crimes in the name of their God. This horror will continue to confront us globally, nationally and personally until we deal unmercifully with each and every radical Muslim that pimps their twisted form of religious fanaticism. I reject in mass all Muslims who will not disavow the radical terrorists. Only when they adopt a “live and let live” philosophy will I ever be able to call a Muslim my friend.

Charles Gladle is a Rushville resident.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Major Publishers Protest Saudi Textbook Content

by Nina Shea

An appeal to the government of Saudi Arabia to stop publishing hate-filled textbooks was issued today by seven current and former heads of major American publishing houses. Leading it was Robert Bernstein, formerly chairman of Random House and founder of Human Rights Watch, who is now the chairman of Advancing Human Rights. He was joined by the publisher at Amazon, the publisher of Simon and Schuster, a Reuters editor-at-large, the editorial director of Broadside Books (HarperCollins), and other prominent publishers.

I have researched and written about the toxic content of school textbooks published by the Saudi Ministry of Education for almost a decade and have found that little has changed in them over this period. Last year, I had the opportunity as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to travel to Riyadh and meet with the Saudi minister of education, who is King Abdullah’s nephew and son-in-law, Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad al-Saud. The education minister acknowledged that 1-12 textbook reform was needed but indicated it was not a governmental priority. I also met with the Saudi justice minister Muhammad al-Issa and asked him why the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an infamously anti-Semitic fabrication at the time of the Russian revolution, is included in the textbook on Hadiths (traditions of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed) where it continues to be taught as historical fact. The Saudi justice minister said that the Protocols is treated as part of Islamic culture because it is a book that has long been found in plentiful supply in Saudi Arabia (one of the relatively few non-Muslim books to be so), and was a book that his father had in his home…

10. “As was cited in Ibn Abbas, and was said: The Apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; and the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Man Arrested for Alleged Plot to Attack Federal Reserve in NY

Authorities today arrested a “lone actor” who thought he was about to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City’s crowded Financial District on behalf of al Qaeda but instead discovered he was the target of a law enforcement sting.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, a Bangladeshi national, allegedly parked a van filled with what he believed to be 1,000 pounds of explosives outside the building in Lower Manhattan near the New York Stock Exchange, and was arrested after he tried to detonate the “bomb” with a cellphone. Officials say there was never any danger to the public.


           — Hat tip: sgtredbluered[Return to headlines]

U.S. Spent $27 Million on ‘Ineffective’ Pottery Classes — In Morocco

The federal government spent $27 million teaching Moroccans how to make pottery, a project that yielded less than stellar results, according to Sen. Tom Coburn’s recently released Waste Book 2012.

Some pottery students showed up just to get the free lunches, and one pottery class reported just 10 regular students, according to information compiled by Coburn.

The Oklahoma Republican’s annual catalogue of frivolous government spending says the pottery program began in 2009 as part of an attempt to “improve the economic competitiveness of Morocco.”

Coburn said a review by the Inspector General for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which oversaw the program, found that the project was “not on track to achieve its goals.”

“A key part of the project involved training Moroccans to create and design pottery to sell in domestic and international markets,” the 2012 “Waste Book” explains. “To accomplish this, an American pottery instructor was contracted to provide several weeks of training classes to local artists to improve their methods and teach them how to successfully make pottery that could be brought to market.

“Unfortunately, the translator hired for the sessions was not fluent in English and was unable to transmit large portions of the lectures to the participants,” it said.

Moreover, the instructor “frequently forgot to bring the right materials to class,” and the dyes and clays he did use were not sold in Morocco — “making it impossible for the trainees to replicate the methods they had learned.”

The IG report, released in December 2011, concluded the “pottery training was ineffective, and women and youth were not included.” Ultimately, women accounted for just 25 percent of trainees.


[Link to “The Waste Book” at the URL]

[Return to headlines]

US Military Gets Into the 3D Printing Business

AN ISOLATED military outpost in the middle of hostile territory is a bad place for your equipment to break down. Replacement parts and fuel either have to be air-dropped or driven through dangerous territory. So the US military plans to make remote operating bases and camps self-sufficient, able to generate their own energy and even print their own gadgets.

Advances in radio, GPS and surveillance equipment have changed how the US military deploys its troops, says Bob Charette of the Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office. Instead of being bunched in large groups that slowly march across enemy territory, soldiers are now strategically scattered in independent camps that span an entire war zone. These can range from operating bases with a few hundred soldiers to lookout posts of less than a dozen.

Such isolated bases are “the tip of the spear”, says Pete Newell, who heads the US army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF). But they often have difficulty getting equipment. It can take months to receive parts that need to be shipped from the US.

To speed up the process, REF has put together three mobile laboratories in 6-metre-long shipping containers. Each lab comes with tools such as plasma cutters and jigsaws, a 3D printer that prints in plastic or metal and a scientist and engineer to run them. The labs, which cost about $2.8 million, can be picked up by helicopter and set down just about anywhere.

The first lab was shipped to Afghanistan in July, and a second will be deployed next month.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

US Weekly Newsweek Will Do Without Print Edition

Come the end of this year, the venerable Newsweek will no longer appear as a print edition. Top executives of the magazine have announced that the weekly will move to an all-digital format to save costs.

The well-known Newsweek announced on Thursday that its print editions will be no more as of January. The magazine, which has been on newsstands for almost 80 years, announced that it will go purely online in 2013.

The executives Tina Brown and Baba Shetty said in a post on The Daily Beast website that the all-digital publication will be called Newsweek Global. They added that it will involve a subscription-based system and be available on e-readers for both tablet PCs and the Internet.

“We’re transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it,” Brown and Shetty said in a statement.

The two executives added that the decision to stop printing the magazine is “about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.” They warned that the change will entail job cuts, but did not specify how many.

Newsweek has long experienced financial troubles. In 2010, the Washington Post Company sold it to businessman Sidney Harman for a symbolic $1.

Despite a merger with the popular news and commentary website Daily Beast, Newsweek has continued to lose an estimated $40 million (30.5 million euros) a year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Would-be Federal Reserve Bomber Came to U.S. On Student Visa in January


A Bangladeshi man who came to the United States to wage jihad was arrested in an elaborate FBI sting on Wednesday after attempting to blow up a fake car bomb outside the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan, authorities said.

Before trying to carry out the alleged terrorism plot, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis went to a warehouse to help assemble a 1,000-pound bomb using inert material, according to a criminal complaint. He also asked an undercover agent to videotape him saying, “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom,” the complaint said.

Agents grabbed the 21-year-old Nafis — armed with a cellphone he believed was rigged as a detonator — after he made several attempts to blow up the bomb inside a vehicle parked next to the Federal Reserve, the complaint said.

Authorities emphasized that the plot never posed an actual risk. However, they claimed the case demonstrated the value of using sting operations to neutralize young extremists eager to harm Americans.

“Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure,” said Mary Galligan, acting head of the FBI’s New York office. “The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences.”


[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

A Fascist Party in Full Cry. Black-Shirts Smashing Migrants’ Homes. Swastikas on the Streets. No, Not Germany in the Thirties: Greece 2012

Dressed in black shirts with faces hidden by helmets, ten men on motorbikes came to find him on a Saturday, after darkness fell.

Finding the door bolted at his home in a pot-holed Athens side street, they smashed the windows, broke in and trashed the place. Then, their dirty work done, the neo-Nazi gang roared away into the hot evening. It had taken less than a minute for them to sound an ugly warning that foreigners were not welcome in Greece.

Their target was Imam Shahbaz Siddiqi, a 42-year-old spiritual leader of the Greek capital’s 500,000 Muslims. ‘I was at the mosque praying when they searched for me the other night,’ he told me yesterday. ‘I thank God for that, or else I might now be dead.

The attack on Imam Siddiqi is the latest racist outrage by neo-Nazis in a country riddled with xenophobia. In an era of crushing debt and poverty, the immigrant is blamed for almost every Greek ill.

Of course, it is not just immigrants who are subject to the fury of the Greek masses. Last week German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Athens to taunts from 50,000 protesters, many waving swastikas and dressed in Nazi uniforms.

There were banners proclaiming ‘From Hitler to Merkel’, which harked back to the hated Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II — and which surely made a mockery of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU last week.

The German Chancellor, too, is blamed for the social turmoil crippling this country, which faces further austerity cutbacks on her orders and those of eurozone finance ministers.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Britain’s Membership of the European Union — is it Time to Quit the Muppet Show?

Who said the Germans don’t have a sense of humour?

Here, for instance, is an in-depth report from Spiegel Online on the prospect of a British exit from the EU, which contains one entire joke:

“When then-President Charles de Gaulle blocked England’s accession to the European Economic Community, one of the precursors to the EU, in 1963, he said: ‘England’s simple participation in the community would considerably change its nature and its volume.’ The same now applies, only the other way around, for a Europe in which the British are at best spectators in the gallery, like Statler and Waldorf, the two old men on ‘The Muppet Show.’“

Comedy gold…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Channel Tunnel Marks 300 Millionth Passenger

The rail tunnel between Britain and France has now carried 300 million passengers under the English Channel, its operator Eurotunnel said on Thursday.

A majority of the passengers, 57 percent, have travelled on the shuttle that transports cars and other vehicles through the tunnel with the remainder making their journey on high-speed trains linking London with Brussels and Paris.

Since its opening in June 1994, Eurotunnel has averaged 50,000 passengers a day and the company is now profitable again after flirting with financial collapse in its early days.

Executive chairman Jacques Gounon celebrated the 300 million milestone by claiming that the tunnel had “revolutionised travel habits and created a market that otherwise would not have existed, thereby making a significant contribution to economic development.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe’s Islamization: Brussels Local Election Candidates All Muslims

PanARMENIAN.Net — Brussels held local government elections October 14.

As Belgium-based Armenian Samvel Avanesyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter, one of the central districts of Brussels Sint-Jans-Molenbeek had only Muslim candidates.

The photos of the election campaign posters he took showed the true situation.

“Either Jalal, or Husein, or Muhammad will win the elections. That’s the true image of Europe’s future,” he said.

Avanesyan pointed to the district administration head Philippe Moreau as the only Belgian candidate, who long ago converted to Islam after marrying a Muslim woman.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

France to Make it Easier to Become French

France is to take steps to make it easier for foreign citizens living in the country to gain French nationality, Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced on Thursday.

As one of a number of measures aimed at increasing the number of naturalised French citizens, the Socialist government is to scrap plans to make would-be citizens pass a multiple-choice history and culture test.

“You don’t become French by answering multiple choice questions,” said Valls, who is a naturalised French citizen of Spanish origin.

The controversial multiple-choice test was the brainchild of the previous right-wing government and was designed to help tackle the problem of some immigrants failing to adapt to French life. The exam would have been introduced in July this year if former president Nicolas Sarkozy had been re-elected.


The government will also lift a restriction that requires new citizens to have the notoriously hard to come by French permanent employment contract (with which it is very difficult for an employer to fire an employee) before they can obtain French nationality; thus those with temporary job contracts will now be able to apply.

“I reject the idea that only those with permanent employment contracts can become French,” the interior minister added.

In 2010, 120,000 people became naturalized French citizens but numbers earning citizenship fell by more than 30 percent in 2011/12. Valls wants to reverse that trend.

“French nationality should not be sold-off or reserved for the elite. It is what drives our sense of belonging to France,” Valls added.

Valls, was however insistent that relatively tough requirements over an applicants French language ability will remain in place.

The minister also stressed that candidates must support the core values of the French republic, including the beliefs in secularity and solidarity as well as liberty, egality and fraternity.

“Naturalisation has to remain the natural conclusion of a successful integration,” he said.

The task of testing language ability and French values will fall on officials in town halls across the country.

           — Hat tip: LH[Return to headlines]

German Court: Woman Can Wear Headscarf at Work

A German dental practice which refused to hire a young Muslim woman because she insisted on wearing a headscarf at work broke the law, it was reported on Thursday. The court ruling is the first of its kind for the country.

A young Berlin woman applied last summer for a traineeship to become a dental assistant. Despite being qualified and getting along with staff, she was told that she could not have the position unless she removed her headscarf, the Tagesspiegel newspaper said.

This was religious discrimination, the city’s labour court ruled. A headscarf was not an “arbitrary piece of clothing” but an expression of her beliefs and wearing it was part of her right to religious freedom.

Refusing to employ because of her headscarf was in breach of the Equal Treatment Act, the judge said.

The court also rejected the suggestion that headscarves could pose a hygiene risk to patients. There was no more chance of transferring bacteria with a scarf than there was via human hair, the judge said.

The Spandau-based dental surgery argued that they had a right to religious neutrality in the clinic. But the judge said that as “it was in no way a religious institution,” this was not valid.

Other women who had appealed for the right to wear a headscarf at work have lost in the past, generally because they had taken church-related employers to court.

The woman applied for the position in the summer of 2011. When she was rejected she decided, with help from the Turkish Association of Berlin and Brandenburg, to take the practice to court.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy Ordered to Stop Disaster Tax Breaks During EU Probe

Help for earthquake damage in Emilia Romagna may be exempt

(ANSA) — Brussels, October 17 — Italy has been ordered to stop giving tax breaks to Italian companies in disaster zones while the European Commission investigates their legality.

The order came Wednesday as the commission opened an investigation into whether tax breaks for Italian companies in disaster areas breached European Union rules on state aid.

But Wednesday’s ruling may not affect measures to assist in the reconstruction of earthquake-damaged parts of the Emilia Romagna.

Earthquakes and aftershocks there in May killed 27 people and caused billions of euros in damage to homes and businesses.

However, tax aid has so far come in the form of postponements rather than outright elimination of taxes.

In a statement announcing its probe, the commission said it was “concerned that all aid beneficiaries may not be companies that effectively suffered damage as a consequence of natural disasters, that in some cases the damage may not have been caused exclusively by natural disasters and that the aid may not always be limited to compensating such damage”.

It cited the examples of aid given following earthquakes in Sicily (1990), Umbria and Marche (1997), Molise and Puglia (2002) and Abruzzo (2009), as well as floods in northern Italy in 1994.

And it warned that if the commission finds the measures in those cases contravened EU aid rules, “Italy may need to recover the aid paid out to beneficiaries”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: President of Bergamo Public Works Resigns Amid Investigation

Probes continue into possible corruption in the Lombardy region

(ANSA) — Milan, October 17 — The head of public works in Bergamo, Rossano Breno, announced his resignation Wednesday amid a widening corruption scandal in the Lombardy region.

Breno, head of the Compagnia delle Opere di Bergamo for the past eight years, is under investigation for corruption.

He denied any wrongdoing but said he was stepping down to clear the way for investigators.

One day earlier, after his administration collapsed because of corruption scandals, besieged Lombardy Governor Roberto Formigoni said that a non-political technocrat executive will be in charge of the region until elections. Formigoni, a member of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, saw his administration thrown into crisis last week when Domenico Zambetti, a PdL regional councillor and a member of Formigoni’s executive government, was arrested for allegedly buying votes from the ‘Ndrangheta mafia syndicate.

With Zambetti’s arrest and a separate corruption probe, as many as 14 councillors in the Lombardy regional executive government and assembly are now under investigation.

They include Formigoni himself, who is accused of corruption related to health contracts.

The governor denies any wrongdoing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Twitter Blocks Neo-Nazi Account in Germany

US firm says it has complied with request from authorities which have been monitoring activities of Besseres Hannover

Twitter has blocked the account of a neo-Nazi group that is accused of inciting hatred towards foreigners.

In what amounts to an unprecedented move for the company, Twitter announced it had complied with a request by German authorities who have been monitoring the activities of the banned far-right group Besseres Hannover (Better Hanover) for some time.

The San Francisco-based company said it had used a device developed earlier this year to monitor content. “We announced the ability to withhold content back in Jan,” Twitter’s lawyer, Alex Macgillivray, tweeted. “We’re using it now for the first time re: a group deemed illegal in Germany.”

The move came after an investigation into about 20 members of the neo-Nazi group in Lower Saxony, northern Germany, after they were charged with inciting racial hatred and forming a criminal organisation. The group was banned last month by the state’s interior ministry. In particular the group, which is estimated to have around 40 active members, stands accused of being behind a threatening video that was sent to the social affairs minister of Lower Saxony, Aygül Özkan.

The Hamburger Abendblatt described Twitter as “walking on a tightrope” in its attempts to preserve free speech as well as complying with the law, particularly in the light of the Arab spring during which opposition groups made use of Twitter despite mounting pressure on the firm by governments to block accounts.

It is working together with an anti-censorship group called Chilling Effects to publish requests it receives to withhold content, except where it is legally prohibited from doing so.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: 3,000 Doctors Putting Patients on ‘Death Lists’ That Single Them Out to be Allowed to Die

Thousands of patients have already been placed on ‘death registers’ which single them out to be allowed to die in comfort rather than be given life-saving treatment in hospital, it emerged last night.

Nearly 3,000 doctors have promised to draw up a list of patients they believe are likely to die within a year, Department of Health figures showed yesterday.

As part of an unpublicised campaign endorsed by ministers, GPs have been encouraged to make lists — officially known as End of Life Care Registers — of people they believe are going to die soon and should be helped to do so in comfort.

Although more than 7,000 patients nationwide have already been put on the list, there appears to be no obligation for doctors to inform them.

Some medical professionals went public with their worries yesterday following the Daily Mail’s disclosure of the NHS request to doctors to put one in every 100 of their patients on death lists.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Are Extradition Rulings Biased Towards White Non-Muslims?

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, was spared extradition to the United States on Tuesday on the grounds that there was real risk of him attempting suicide if it went through. But the government has faced accusations of double standards because the Home Secretary approved the extradition of Syed Talha Ahsan, who suffers from the same condition as Mr McKinnon. BBC Radio 5 liveBreakfast got reaction from sociologist Dr Leon Moosavi who specialises in Muslim communities in the UK and from leading extradition lawyer Julian Knowles…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Hope at Lambeth Palace

Akbar Ahmed

The proximity to a great spiritual master is always inspiring. And perhaps there are few masters as eminent as the archbishop of Canterbury. On Oct. 8, 2012, my daughter Amineh Hoti and I had been invited to participate in what was probably the last major public event of the Most Rev. Rowan Williams during his ten-year engagement with Muslims as the archbishop of Canterbury. The event was held at Lambeth Palace, the archbishop’s London residence. The who’s who of Britain was there including the archbishops of Wales and Ireland, several bishops and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the first-ever female chairman of the Tory Party. Also present was my dear friend James Shera, MBE, a Pakistani Christian, the first Pakistani mayor of Rugby and the only Pakistani in the United Kingdom with a road named after him. The lectures of the archbishop to Muslim audiences in Egypt, Libya and Pakistan had been compiled into a volume and translated into Urdu and Bengali. The translations were presented that day to the archbishop along with glowing speeches made by Muslims recording the contributions of the archbishop in promoting interfaith dialogue…

[JP note: Interfaith dialogue? Capitulation to sharia would be a better description of what the most doublegood archbishop was up to. There may be hope, but not for Christians, etc.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque Plans Anger Barton Residents

PLANS for a new mosque in Barton have angered people living nearby. A planning application has been submitted to convert the Ghousia Islamic Centre, in Charles Street, into a mosque. Developers plan to demolish the toilet block and build a two and single story extension to increase the worship area. New toilet facilities will also be created as well as an extended space for women to worship. However, the plans have not been met favourably with several people living nearby voicing their objections. Concerns include increased traffic, more noise, privacy invasion from the new build and smells from the toilet block…

[JP note: Not to mention the overpowering stench from Islam itself.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Poll: ‘You’re Not Welcome’: Church Leaders’ Message to English Defence League Ahead of Planned Norwich Marc

Church leaders have united to deliver a clear message to the English Defence League that it will not be welcomed in Norwich if a planned protest march goes ahead in the city.

The right-wing movement, which opposes what it considers to be the spread of militant Islamism, is planning its first-ever march through Norwich on Saturday, November 10.

It was organised in response to Norwich City Council’s decision to ban the Rev Alan Clifford of the Norwich Reformed Church from using a market stall on Hay Hill, where it was believed that anti-Islamic literature was being distributed. But the EDL, whose marches are often marred by violence, believe the ban infringed freedom of speech and arranged the protest to demonstrate against it. Now the leaders of all Christian denominations in Norwich have joined other community and religious groups in making it clear that any organisation exhibiting intolerance of any of the city’s diverse faiths would not be welcomed…

[JP note: Poll result on 18 October 2012 at about 10 am: Do you think it’s right that the EDL are allowed to march in Norwich? Yes 77% No 23%.]

[Reader comment by Christopher Parkes on 17 October 2012.]

Makes you laugh TBH. Screwed up country we live in. Too many people burying their heads in the sand, too many people scared to be open and honest and to expose issues as they might offend others or be wrongly accused of being racist. At one EDL protest, it was peaceful until the police were given orders to attack anyone for no good reason.

[Reader comment by dave123 on 17 October 2012.]

Ladies and Gents, look at the votes!!! Free speech for all, this includes the EDL who simply say what many people think!

[Reader comment by John L Norton on 16 October 2012.]

The EDL might have a bad name, but behind closed doors and away from the PC brigade, they have a hell of a lot of support in this country.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Woman’s Husband Escapes Prison for Beating Her in Brutal Muslim Exorcism

Wheelchair-bound Ahmed Hussain, 60, instigated the exorcism by a local Muslim imam and encouraged him to hit his wife harder ‘to beat the demon out’, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

But today he was spared jail after his forgiving wife Asma asked for his freedom and said: ‘It would be the end of my life if Ahmed lost his liberty.’

Holy water was also thrown on Mrs Hussain during the eight-hour ordeal, also witnessed by Hussain’s son, Mohammed Kayes Hussain, 28, and son-in-law Mohammed Aziz, 21.

Hussain was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and will also be supervised for a year.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Why Was Teenage Yob Who Did This Let Off With a Warning? Fury of 15-Year-Old’s Parents After Attacker Who Beat Him With His Own Crutches Escapes Prosecution

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A 17-year-old boy who assaulted another teenager using the boy’s own crutches has been let off with a warning by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Angus Whittall, 15, suffered multiple facial injuries after he was viciously attacked walking on a quiet country lane near his home in Great Oxendon, Northamptonshire.

Despite identifying his attacker, who is known to the police, Angus and his family were told it was ‘not in the public interest’ to prosecute the 17-year-old.

Angus needed 12 stitches for a gash in his mouth and suffered severe bruising to his head and neck from the unprovoked July attack.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Morocco: Sacred Landmark Smashed by Islamic Fundamentalists

An 8000-year-old rock engraving depicting the Sun as a divinity has been destroyed in the south of Morocco, local residents said, blaming Salafists seeking to impose their fundamentalist view of Islam. Ahmed Assid, a prominent activist for the indigenous Amazigh people and member of the Royal Institute for Amazigh Culture (IRCAM), said the pagan rock engraving — known as a petroglyph — was destroyed this week in the Toubkal National Park. “The information we have received from Amazigh activists in the area suggests Salafists were behind the act,” Assid told Reuters, noting that he had yet to see pictures of the destroyed petroglyph. “This act follows a noticeable rise in Salafist activities in predominantly Amazigh regions of Morocco to enforce a puritanical interpretation of Islam.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Muslim Gang Attempts to Kidnap Egyptian Christian Mother, 4 Dead

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — Ali Hussein, a 35-year-old Muslim gang leader, entered the home of a Coptic Christian family in the village of Abdelmassih in Deir Mawas on at 7 A.M. on Sunday and demanded that Hiyam Zaki Zaher, the 25 year old mother of two children, come live with him. Ali Hussein was accompanied by his two brothers, both ex-convicts. Two weeks before Ali Hussein told the Marzouk family that he would either take the woman or they would have to pay him 1,000,000 Egyptian pounds.

“The family managed to get Hiyam out of the village one day before Ali Hussein came to their house,” said Roshdy Ibrahim, a relative of the Marzouk family. He said that when Hussein went into the home he was met by 24-year-old family member Ephrem, a university graduate, who rejected his demand, upon which Hussein shot him twice, killing him instantly. Roushdy said that Hussein had instructed 120 of his men to wait outside and come in and start shooting if they heard gunfire.

After the shooting of Ephrem the gang broke into the house. They encountered the father, 61 year-old Ibrahim Marzouk, a retired village bank manager, and killed him. They shot everywhere, wounding another three family members on the roof. Although Hussein was also killed under the hail of bullets, it is not clear who shot him.

To terrorize the inhabitants of the village, before the Muslim gang went into the Marzouk home they went to the stables and killed all the animals.

The body of Hussein was removed from the scene to the morgue in Mallawi General Hospital amid tight security as a large number of Salafis and his supporters surrounded the hospital and demanded revenge for the Christian killing of a Muslim man. The Muslims chanted that Hussein is “the beloved of the Prophet.”

The body of Coptic Ibrahim Marzouk and his son Ephrem was kept at Deir Mawas hospital for security reasons, and was buried after the funeral church service on Sunday amid tight security. Thousands of Copts from all neighboring villages attended that burial. According to a Christian Dogma News reporter from Deir Mawas, Hussein’s supporters threatened the Copts, telling them not to bury the two dead men “otherwise they would all be buried with them.”

Even after the death of Ali Hussein, who had terrorized the Copts in the area since January 2011, raping women, kidnapping children for ransom and demanding extortion money (AINAÂ 4-6-2011), nearly 9000 Copts are still living in terror because of the threats of revenge from his nearly 300-man strong gang, his two brothers and Salafist Muslims who are angry at the killing of a Muslim by a Christian. Copts have asked for police protection.

Enraged Copts blame the police for conspiring with Ali Hussein and his gang, by arriving 9 hours after the villagers asked for police help and 4 hours after the Awlad Marzouk crime took place.

Reda Marzouk, a relative of the Christian victims, blamed security for failing to protect them and all Christians, because Hussein started seizing the homes and property of Christian in the villages of Deir Mawas in Minya and took control over other villages such as Awlad Marzouk without resistance from the authorities. “He was so emboldened so as to go and ask for a Christian woman to sexually abuse her, which led to the bloody events of Sunday,” wrote activist Nader Shukry, who first broke the story of the gang leader in 2011.

Ali Hussein was reported to the Attorney General last year by rights groups and several times to the police without any success. He used force to make his Coptic victims withdraw their complaints against him.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih[Return to headlines]

The Jihad and Christopher Stephens, Pt. 1

by Diana West

In analyzing the Benghazi scandal, it is crucial to highlight not only the dangers of relying on jihadist armed gangs for American security in Benghazi, but also the betrayal of American principle undertaken by the Obama administration in setting such a policy in place. The fact is, relying on “local militias” was not some stop-gap practice; it was official US policy. This begins to tell us why “Benghazi-gate” is so much more than an inquiry into a calamitous security break-down, and the ghastly chain of lies the administration told thereafter.

On March 28, 2012, Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom sent a cable from Libya requesting more security. His request was denied. This cable, however, is evidence of more than State’s negligence in failing to address a dangerous security situation that would be exploited by al Qaeda affiliates on September 11, 2012. In the cable, Nordstrom makes note of the fact that “rebuilding and expanding post’s PSA Local Guard Force” was one of his “core objectives.” Further: “As recommended by the Department, post is developing plans to transition our security staffing … to [a model] that incorporates more locally-based and non-emergency assets.”

Naturally. these “plans” weren’t working. Hence, Nordstrom’s request for more American security. And hence the denial from State for reasons, Nordstrom recently told Congress, that came down to the fact “there was going to be too much political cost.” But what politics drove such a recommendation? Here is where the entire Libyan debacle, the debacle of “Arab Spring” — Arab Jihad — comes into play. It is time to reckon with the fact that despite the grand talk of democracy and human rights, President Obama ordered Uncle Sam to join that jihad in 2011, precipitously pulling support from a long-standing ally in Egypt and a post-9/11 ally in Libya to empower the vanguards of liberty-supressing Islam, extending the reach and dominion of a hostile, totalitarian system.

Obama was hardly alone, drawing support from left-wing Democrats, the UN crowd, media, the GOP establishment, George W. Bush, “neocons,” all of whom boosted this same “Arab Spring,” often for different reasons. One of the great champions of what we should start thinking of as the jihad outreach such a policy necessarily entails was the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and long before he arrived in Benghazi during “Arab Spring.”…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israel Strikes Gaza Militants in Response to Rocket Fire

JERUSALEM, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) — Israel Air Force (IAF) aircraft struck a “terror activity site” in the northern Gaza Strip late Wednesday, with pilots reporting a direct hit on their target, the military said in a statement. The overnight raid came in response to a Kassam-type rocket fired from the coastal enclave earlier in the day, which landed in an open area near the coastal city of Ashkelon. No injuries were reported. “The Israel Defense Forces will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians, and will operate against anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel,” the statement said, adding that Israel holds Hamas accountable for the violence…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Explosions Hit Military Compound in Yemeni Capital

SANAA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) — A series of explosions were heard Thursday near the headquarters of the First Armored Division led by a defected commander against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, witnesses said. Several missiles were seen fired randomly into the air from the compound of the First Armored Division and hit neighboring residential areas. Huge black cloud was seen above the blast site near General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar’s headquarters. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria: British Gang of Muslims Waging War in Syria ‘Pose Threat to UK’

A British jihadi has been identified as a key ringleader of a gang of Muslims who have gone to fight against the Assad regime in Syria, it has been reported.

The Security Services have reportedly identified the young man, who has not been named, as the leader the gang of more than 50 men who have waged a holy war against President Bashar al-Assad. The man, who is his 20s and believed to be from a Bangladeshi family, is regarded as a high-ranking officer in an international group of terrorists devoted to bringing down the regime, the Times reported. According to the paper, the man, who is from London, is believed to be a pious individual involved in military training for “raw” British recruits, who mostly live in the capital. The jihadis, who said to have volunteered to the cause, include “hardened” Chechen fighters and crossed into Syria over the border from Iraq or Turkey. The newspaper claimed that Scotland Yard had seized computers and mobile phones from addresses in Britain linked to the men with the material being “urgently” analysed…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Virtuoso Pianist Say in Court for Blasphemy

Over tweet on zealots. He risks up to 18 months in jail

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — The controversial trial of internationally renowned pianist Fazil Say kicked off this morning with a preliminary hearing in an Istanbul court. Say is charged with ‘insulting the religious values of part of the population’ with ironic tweets on Muslim zealots.

The pianist, 42, an atheist and left-wing sympathizer who is criticized by Turkish fundamentalists, risks up to 18 months in jail. Dozens of intellectuals, artists and human rights activists welcomed him this morning in front of the court to show their support. Banners brought by demonstrators read, among other things, ‘an artist is free’ and ‘the AKP (the party of Islamic nationalist Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan) leaves artists free’.

Liberal and secularist Turks see the trial as a symbol of the progressive influence exercised by religion in the country, a process they blame on Erdogan against the ideals of the founder of modern Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

In his tweets, Say also joked about the muezzin of an Istanbul mosque who recited prayers very quickly: ‘why is he in such a rush? Because of a lover or Raki?’ he jokes referring to the Islamic paradise inspired by the great Persian poet Omar Khayyam.

A number of Islamic conservatives reported him and Istanbul prosecutors are now bringing him to court.

Many in Turkey now see this trial as a symbol of potential limits to the freedom of expression of the new Islamic nationalist wave headed by the AKP party of Erdogan, in power for the last decade. Say has played in the most prestigious orchestras worldwide and has said he might leave the country and maybe move to Japan.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Archaeologists Plan New Dig at Troy

Armed with shovels, trowels and new biotechnology tools, archaeologists plan to march into Troy next year for excavations at the famed ancient city.

“Our goal is to add a new layer of information to what we already know about Troy,” said William Aylward, a classics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who will lead the expedition. “The archaeological record is rich. If we take a closer look with new scientific tools for study of ancient biological and cultural environments, there is much to be found for telling the story of this World Heritage site.”

The city immortalized in Homer’s “Iliad” lies in what is today western Turkey and was rediscovered in the 1870s by German archaeology pioneer Heinrich Schliemann. Since then, researchers have been digging up the site periodically, but less than one-fifth of Troy has been excavated.

“Our plan is to extend work to unexplored areas of the site and to systematically employ new technologies to extract even more information about the people who lived here thousands of years ago,” Aylward said in a statement announcing the project.

Troy was occupied as far back as the beginning of the Bronze Age, and Aylward said there are “major gaps” in our knowledge of prehistoric Trojans, which he hopes to help fill.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Turkey Tries Pianist Fazil Say for Insulting Islam

World-famous Turkish pianist Fazil Say has appeared in court in Istanbul charged with inciting hatred and insulting the values of Muslims.

He is being prosecuted over tweets he wrote mocking radical Muslims, in a case which has rekindled concern about religious influence in the country.

Mr Say, who denies the charges, said recently he was “amazed” at having to appear before judges.

Rejecting an acquittal call, the court adjourned the case until 18 February.

Prosecutors brought the charges against Mr Say in June. He faces a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison although correspondents say any sentence is likely to be suspended.

The indictment against him cites some of his tweets from April, including one where he says: “I am not sure if you have also realised it, but if there’s a louse, a non-entity, a lowlife, a thief or a fool, it’s always an Islamist.”

Dozens of the pianist’s supporters gathered outside the courthouse with banners, one of which called on the ruling Islamist-based AK Party to “leave the artists alone”.

Mr Say has played with the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and others, and has served as a cultural ambassador for the EU.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Turkish Pianist on Trial for Insulting Islam

ISTANBUL (AP) — A top Turkish pianist and composer appeared in court on Thursday to defend himself against charges of offending Muslims and insulting Islam in comments he made on Twitter. Fazil Say, who has played with the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and others, is on trial for sending tweets that included one in April that joked about a call to prayer that lasted only 22 seconds. Say tweeted: “Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki on the table?” Raki is a traditional alcoholic drink made with aniseed. Islam forbids alcohol and many Islamists consider the remarks unacceptable…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkish Musician Faces Twitter Blasphemy Charges

Protesters in Istanbul are rallying in support of musician Fazil Say’s right to express himself. The leading Turkish pianist and composer is facing blasphemy charges after he posted comments on his Twitter account allegedly ridiculing Islam.

The case has caused an outcry over Turkey’s attitude to freedom of speech, with the star’s supporters criticising authorities for putting him on trial.

Actor Rutkay Aziz says it is a crime to accuse the musician. “He is one of our international icons. He should be free to bring his compositions and performances to the world.”

An atheist, and a critic of Turkey’s conservative leaders, Say denies that his Twitter comments are blasphemous.

He faces up to eighteen months in prison if convicted.

           — Hat tip: LH[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghan Girl ‘Beheaded for Refusing Prostitution’

Afghan police have arrested four people who allegedly tried to force a woman into prostitution and beheaded her when she refused.

Mah Gul, 20, was beheaded after her mother-in-law attempted to make her sleep with a man in her house in Herat province last week, provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada told AFP. “We have arrested her mother-in-law, father-in-law, her husband and the man who killed her,” he said. Gul was married to her husband four months ago and her mother-in-law had tried to force her into prostitution several times in the past, Sayedzada said. The suspect, Najibullah, was paraded by police at a press conference where he said the mother-in-law lured him into killing Gul by telling him that she was a prostitute. “It was around 2am when Gul’s husband left for his bakery. I came down and with the help of her mother-in-law killed her with a knife,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Poso: Missing Policemen Found Dead, Fears of New Christian-Muslim Violence

The agents were investigating a recent attack against a Christian government official. The bodies, which had stab wounds, were found in a hole near a Muslim extremist training site. A home-made explosive device exploded near a Protestant church.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — The city is back in the limelight for acts of violence and terror probably related to Muslim extremism, this after years of relative calm following a peace accord signed in 2001 by radical Muslim groups and Protestant Christian movements.

In the past few days, the port city in central Sulawesi has been the scene of attacks against Christian-owned buildings. Two missing policemen, who were investigating one recent attack, were found yesterday, stabbed to death, their bodies hurriedly buried.

The two officers, Andi Safa and Sudirman, were from Poso Pesisir Precinct. They went missing about a week ago and their bodies showed signs of stab wounds to the neck.

Central Sulawesi Police Chief Brigadier General Dewa Parsana confirmed that the two men were on a special mission investigating a recent bombing against the home of Okri Mamuaya, a local Christian government official.

The attack, which occurred on 9 October, caused material damage, but no one was hurt or killed. Investigators believe Muslim extremists were involved, trying to reignite sectarian tensions in the area.

Early indications suggest that the two agents were on the way back to their station when they went missing. Their bodies were only found yesterday.

The murder occurred near the village of Masani, near Tamanjeka Forest, Poso Pesisir District, a popular training for paramilitary fighters associated with a radical Muslim group.

For investigators, Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) is behind the two men’s death. Founded by Muslim leader Abu Bakar Baasyir, the radical group is now led by one Yasin.

The 9 October attack against a local Christian official was followed by an explosion at a building near the Imanuel Taripa Protestant Church in East Pamona, Poso.

Now law enforcement agencies fear that tensions might escalate and lead to open conflict between Muslims and Christians.

Between 1999 and 2001, the Maluku Islands saw a bloody confrontation between Christians and Muslims. Thousands of people were killed and hundreds of churches and mosques were destroyed. Thousands of houses suffered the same fate. About half a million people were made homeless.

Prompted by the central government, the two sides signed a truce in Malino, South Sulawesi, on 20 December 2001. The local population is evenly divided between Christians and Muslims.

Still, episodes of terror have continued on and off with innocent people paying the price. In October 2005, three Christian girls on their way to school were decapitated by Muslim extremists, causing a sensation and outrage around the world.

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

Indonesia: Nine Churches and Six Buddhist Temples Shut Down Under Islamist Pressure in Banda Aceh

For the city’s deputy mayor, the buildings were not being properly used. They lacked the proper building permit and were used for “unlawful” purposes. She pledged greater monitoring of minority activities. Local sources say that the crackdown is the result of threats from extremist groups. FPI now wants other cities and towns to do the same.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Authorities in Banda Aceh, capital of the Aceh Special Territory, ordered the closure of nine Christian home churches and six Buddhist prayer houses for alleged irregularities in their building permit. According to Deputy Mayor Hajjah Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal, the buildings were illegal because they lacked the right permit. Under the law, private homes cannot be used “for religious ceremonies or functions.”

“Aceh is a special territory that enforces Sharia,” she said and home churches violate the law because they lack the appropriate building permit (Izin Mendirikan Bangunan in Indonesian).

The issue is more complicated in the case of Christian places of worship because the latter require the agreement of a certain number of local residents and that of the local interfaith dialogue group. Under the pressure of radical Muslim groups, permits are often denied.

Deputy Mayor Djamal also wants the authorities to monitor the activities of Buddhist and Christian communities to ensure that their services are performed in the right places. This is necessary, in her view, to “maintain interfaith harmony.” At the same time, “we shall not issue any new permit for other churches or vihara (Buddhist temples).”

Local Muslim extremists welcomed the decision. Yusuf Al-Qardhawy, head of the Aceh branch of the Islamic Defence Front (FPI), called on other jurisdictions to follow Banda Aceh, enforce Islamic law and stop any non-Muslim worship activity that is not approved.

He said the situation would be monitored constantly to ensure that rules are respected. Local sources note that the municipal order shutting Buddhist and Christian places of worship follows a complaint filed by Islamists concerning an “improper” use of buildings.

The province of Aceh, the westernmost of the archipelago of Indonesia, is also the only one which is subject to Sharia. Compliance is ensured by the ‘morality police,’ a special force that punishes violations in dress and behaviour.

In the past, a relative calm and religious harmony between the Muslim majority and “foreigners,” members of various non-Islamic faiths, prevailed under the leadership of former guerrilla leader, now Governor Irwandy Yusuf.

More recently the situation has changed however. Attacks against religious minorities have started and fundamentalists has gained more power and freedom of action.

In last April’s elections, Zaini Abdullah, a former guerrilla leader who lived in exile in Sweden, won promising to fight corruption and impose Islamic law.

The strict application of Sharia was one of the conditions separatist rebels imposed on Jakarta to end their armed struggle.

As a result of a recent spike in sectarian tensions, the area saw violence and attacks against Christian communities, which led to the closure of places of worship on the order of the authorities claiming that they lacked proper building permits.

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

Pakistan: Rimsha Masih’s Trial Adjourned to 14 November as Anti-Christian Violence Continues

The High Court in Islamabad delays the trial before deciding whether to drop the blasphemy charges or not. The girl’s lawyers want the case thrown out of court. In Karachi, a mob of extremists attack St Francis Catholic Church. In Faisalabad, Christians praying for Malala Yousafzai come under attack.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) — The High Court in Islamabad extended to 14 November the restraining order against the trial of Rimsha Masih, a mentally challenged Christian girl charged with blasphemy. The ruling came at a hearing on a petition filed by the accused girl’s lawyers to quash the First Information Report (FIR) registered against her on the ground that the charges are false and baseless. Meanwhile, anti-Christian violence continues as attacks are reported against Karachi’s St Francis Catholic Church and Faisalabad’s Bawa Chak Presbyterian Church.

At the end of the hearing, the court extended the restraining order until 14 November, directing counsels to conclude their arguments at the upcoming hearing. In his remarks, one of the defence lawyers reiterated his client’s demand for dismissal of the case since there was no offence and that Rimsha should be released.

He added that the imam at the Jaffer Mosque, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, fabricated the story in order to force out minority Christians from their homes and seize their assets, and that if anyone committed blasphemy, it was the imam according to the testimony of three witnesses, who however later retracted.

The irony is that the imam who deliberately desecrated the Qur’an is free on bail. His lawyers are trying to delay proceedings. Prosecutors in the case have indicated that they are not planning to try the imam on blasphemy charges, which goes to show, critics point out, of how the ‘black law’ is used arbitrarily against minorities, political adversaries, and business competitors.

Meanwhile, Pakistani Christians and their places of worship are still targeted. On 12 October, a mob of hundreds attacked St Francis Catholic Church in Karachi. The building suffered external damage but the attackers were not able to get inside. Worshippers later spoke about the fright they experienced as the local bishop, Mgr Joseph Coutts, tried to lessen their fear by organising support rallies and slamming the extremists who attacked.

A second incident was reported last Sunday in Faisalabad. At 11 am, Muslim fanatics attacked the Bawa Chak Presbyterian Church. The attack was sparked by an incident in which a 26-year-old Muslim man was accidentally struck by a cricket ball during a match by Christian teenagers.

The altercation that followed led to a full blown attack by a mob of Muslims wielding sticks, stones and guns against the local Presbyterian church during Sunday mass. Some children and women were injured during the assault. Most residents of the area locked themselves in their homes to avoid further violence.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Christian activist and lawmaker Joel Aamir Sahotra said the whole affair was very sad since the attack against the church occurred during a special Mass for Malala Yousafzai, the Muslim girl wounded by the Taliban who is now recovering in a British hospital. This token of solidarity was for all Muslims, who in response attack minorities.

For Fr Nisar Barkat, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace in Faisalabad, “violence has penetrated people’s minds because of biased teachings” in mosques by extremist imams and religious leaders. For this reason, he wants the government to enforce the law and promote peace and harmony.

(Shafique Khokhar contributed to the article.)

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

Far East

U.S. Directly Deposited Welfare Payments to Person Using ATM — In Vietnam

The federal government in 2011 directly deposited $5,262 in improper welfare payments into the bank account of a foreign-born U.S. citizen who was living in Hanoi, Vietnam—and who withdrew the funds via an ATM.

The improper Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits were discovered when the inspector general of the Social Security Administration (SSA) audited a sample of 250 SSI recipients who were foreign born citizens. The IG published the results of the audit on Sept. 27.

The new audit was a follow-up to a study the IG did in 2008 that discovered that more than 40,000 people were collecting SSI welfare benefits via foreign ATM machines.

“The SSI program, which went into effect in 1974, is a means-tested program that provides cash payments assuring a minimum income for aged, blind or disabled individuals who have very limited income and assets,” says the Congressional Research Service. SSI “is funded through general revenues—not payroll taxes.”

Under federal law, if an SSI recipient lives outside the U.S. for more than 30 days at a time, they become ineligible for SSI benefits.

In 2008, the Social Security IG conducted an initial study of people living in foreign countries who improperly collected direct-deposit SSI welfare payments via foreign ATMs. From a sample of 250 people at that time, the IG estimated that the government had made about $226.2 million in overpayments to 40,560 living outside the United States.

Using its new sample of 250 foreign-born citizens receiving SSI benefits, the IG was unable to make a new estimate of the total number of people still drawing U.S. welfare benefits via foreign ATM machines.

However, the IG did find that the government had paid $18,828 in improper benefits via direct deposits into the bank accounts of three foreign-born people living in foreign countries. These included one who used an ATM in Hanoi, Vietnam, who took $5,262 from the U.S. government; a second who used an ATM in Mexico, who took $3,394; and a third who also used an ATM in Mexico, who took $10,172.

The IG did say its new audit discovered that as of February 2011 the U.S. government was directly depositing SSI welfare benefits into the bank accounts of 1.1 million people who were “foreign-born citizens.”


[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Alan Jones Ordered to Undergo Factual Accuracy Training

Controversial shock-jock Alan Jones has been ordered to undergo “factual accuracy” training and employ a fact-checker after the media regulator found he breached broadcast rules by making false claims about climate change.

The ruling comes as a further blow to Jones, with advertisers abandoning his 2GB show in droves over comments he made about the Prime Minister’s father at a Young Liberals dinner last month.

The most recent ruling centres on a show on March 15 last year, in which Jones told his listeners that “the percentage of man-made carbon dioxide Australia produces is 1 per cent of .001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air. Nature produces nearly all the carbon dioxide in the air.”

After appearing on Jones’s show last May and being brow-beaten, climate change scientist David Karoly emailed Jones to point out Australia contributed .45 per cent of all carbon dioxide in the air. As the ABC’s Media Watch later pointed out, that figure is about 25,000 times bigger than the figure Jones claimed.


Jones did not reply to Professor Karoly’s email.

Defending Jones, 2GB told the Australian Communications and Media Authority his claims should have been taken as comment, because his show comprised “overwhelmingly … the personal opinion and comment of Jones”.

But ACMA said any “ordinary, reasonable listener” would have taken his claims to be fact.

“The nature of the language, tenor and tone used was unequivocal and conclusive,” the regulator said. “The form of words neither indicated that it was contestable, nor qualified it as a statement of opinion.”

2GB also tried to argue that there was “a divergence of scientific opinion and views about the causal relationship between human activity, carbon emissions and climate change”.

But ACMA rejected this too, saying none of this substantiated Jones’ “1 per cent of .001 per cent” claim.

Finally, the station tried to argue that Jones had done his own research in preparing material his show. 2GB did not respond to ACMA’s request the station provide the research, or any documents that could support this claim.

ACMA said 2GB had “some” fact-checking and verification measures in place, but said there were “shortcomings” in these measures in Jones’s shows.

“The editorial pieces, the subject of the ACMA investigations, did not involve the wider production team,” it said.

“There are occasions when a controversial issue of public importance will be the subject of editorial and opinion comment on programs hosted by Alan Jones without any presentation of other significant viewpoints on any other 2GB current affairs program.”

The station has agreed to “pre-broadcast fact-checking by the program’s executive producer of any material provided by non-media sources or third parties which may require additional confirmation and attribution”.

Its news and current affairs programs will also be subject to random checks by the program director, and all staff will undergo “factual accuracy” training by next month, including Jones.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Asylum Seekers Turn Pirates, Seize Boat, Attack Crew Off Sri Lanka

A group of asylum seekers have seized a fishing boat off Sri Lanka and are now seeking to come to Australia.

ARMED asylum seekers seized a fishing boat off Sri Lanka and set sail for Australia in a bloody attack that saw at least one crewman’s throat cut and sailors thrown overboard.

With the asylum pirates still believed to be at sea, Sri Lanka has sent urgent alerts to Australia.

Women and at least two young children are on board the vessel, which is still more than two weeks’ travelling time from the Cocos or Christmas islands.

A merchant vessel captain who rescued one of two men who survived the ordeal last Sunday has revealed their hell after they mutinied and refused to join the bid for Australia.

Loku Roshan and G.A. Suranga Sujeeve were bound — one was cut in the throat with a knife and stabbed in the stomach — before they were thrown overboard from the Theja.

MV Lusail’s crew spotted the men on Monday and rescued one. Captain JA Petersen, of MV Edith Maersk, rescued the second.

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Hawthorn Star Shaun Burgoyne Has Blasted Anthony Mundine for His Racial Attack on Daniel Geale

ABORIGINAL footballer and Hawthorn star Shaun Burgoyne has slammed Anthony Mundine for his racial attack on Daniel Geale labelling his comments “disgraceful”.

On Twitter today, Burgoyne tweeted: “Anthony Mundine’s comments about Geale’s heritage, wife & kids were disgraceful.”

Yesterday, at a press conference in Sydney announcing their rematch, Mundine questioned Geale’s Aboriginal heritage.

“You people don’t realise how resilient I am, I see what you’re trying to do, the media, the white press … you want me to be the bad boy, I’ll be the bad boy,” Mundine said.

“I thought they wiped all Aborigines from Tasmania out, that’s all I know.

“I don’t see him representing us black people, or coloured people. I don’t see him out in the communities doing what I do with people … he got a white woman, white kids.”

There was awkward silence.

Mundine probably wished he could put the words back in his mouth but like the 9/11 comments, they floated into the atmosphere and sat firmly in the shelf marked “Ludicrous Ravings From The Mouth”.

Having a white partner has nothing to do with Geale’s heritage — Mundine overstepped the line.

Geale said: “I’ve shown the Aboriginal flag on my trunks for a lot of my fights, I am very proud of my heritage from down in Tasmania.”…

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzanian Muslims Burn Churches and Call for Beheading of 14-Year-Old Boy

by Peter Wilson

This sad story of Muslims behaving badly comes from the Tanzanian Citizen newspaper: two 14-year-old friends, one Muslim, one Christian, were walking home from school in a Dar es-Salaam suburb. The Muslim boy told the Christian that anyone who desecrates the Koran will be turned into a snake. The Christian didn’t believe him and, to put it to the test, he urinated on his friend’s Koran. Adolescent hijinks — kids being kids, you might think. Dumb, but what can you do? They’re 14-year-old boys.

The Muslim boy’s father, however, didn’t find the story amusing. He was outraged, and the Christian boy was detained at the local police station. Five days later, after being stirred up in Friday prayers, a crowd of Muslim “youth” gathers in front of the police station, demanding that the boy be turned over to them “so that he would be punished accordingly” — the appropriate punishment being decapitation. The police refuse to release the boy, so the Muslims respond by rioting, burning five Christian churches, lighting tires in the road, and breaking store windows. A hundred and twenty-two are arrested.

This interfaith dialogue of burning churches has become endemic to Tanzania, although it has been confined mostly to the island of Zanzibar. There, as of May 31, 2012, twenty-five churches and convents had been torched. Other churches were burned on June 17, July 27, and July 30. According to a report on one incident, “[t]he assailants were shouting, ‘Away with the church — we do not want infidels to spoil our community, especially our children.’“ Muslim activists also block construction of Christian churches with court injunctions and other sleazy tactics. It’s ethnic cleansing, pure and simple, and it’s effective: Zanzibar is more than 99% Muslim.

The Isles government that controls Zanzibar has taken no action to arrest or punish those responsible, appearing to condone the activities. Mainland Tanzania, in contrast, is 30% Christian and 35% Muslim, with 35% holding “indigenous beliefs.” Condemnation of the recent events in Dar es-Salaam has come from senior Muslim and Christian clerics alike. Unfortunately, the pattern in too many countries where Christians and Muslims live together is that the Christian population is exterminated — by going underground, converting, or emigrating — after decades of bullying, violence, and murder from the religion of peace.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tanzanian Muslim Cleric Ponda Issa Ponda Arrested

A controversial Tanzanian Muslim cleric has been arrested for stoking religious hatred, police have said.

Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda’s arrest comes after Muslim protesters vandalised and torched five churches in the main city, Dar es Salaam, last week. The violence followed rumours that a Christian boy urinated on a Koran. More than 120 people had earlier been arrested over the attacks — one of the worst cases of religious conflict in mainland Tanzania…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tanzania: Whereabouts of Fiery Cleric a Mystery

Riots ensued in Zanzibar yesterday afternoon following the alleged mysterious disappearance of Sheikh Farid Hadi, a leader of the Islamic Revival Forum popularly known as “Uamsho”. The riots led to theft, destruction of property including shops, bars and even the burning of some of Chama Cha Mapinduzi gathering venues. Rumours had it that police are holding the cleric but Police in Zanzibar refuted reports that he has been arrested and was in custody. Uamsho followers started gathering at the Mbuyuni Mosque on Malindi Street, where discussions proceeded on the reports of the suspected disappearance of their leader. The peaceful talks soon became violent with chaos erupting on Darajani Street with an angry mob throwing stones and burning tyres…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tanzania: Police Tackle Rioters in Dar, Isles

Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar — THERE was tension in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar on Wednesday as police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds that had taken part in demonstrations to demand the release of several Muslim activists. In Dar es Salaam, police officers deployed heavily in the Central Business District for the better part of Wednesday afternoon in a bid to keep at bay protesters who attempted to march to the Central Police Station in the city. The protesters were demanding the release of the Secretary of the Council of Muslims’ Organizations, Mr Ponda Issa Ponda who was arrested on Tuesday…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tanzania: 122 Arrested Over Mbagala Riots, Burning of Churches

Dar es Salaam. At least 122 people have been arrested in connection with Friday’s violent clashes in Dar es Salaam’s Mbagala suburbs between anti-riots police and Muslim youth protesting an alleged act by a 14-year-old boy of desecrating the Quran. The riots erupted on Friday when the youth stormed a local police station and demanded that the said boy be handed over to them so that he would be punished accordingly. Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police commander Suleiman Kova said yesterday that 32 of those arrested allegedly vandalised and torched church buildings while the 86 were arrested for demonstrating. “Mbagala is now calm and we have beefed up security so that no such incident would reoccur at the area,” he said. According to commander Kova, at least seven churches were attacked. Properties were destroyed, vandalised and burnt at the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG) Mbagala Kizuiani, while one car was burnt and eight others had their windows smashed.

He named the churches that were attacked during the chaos as including TAG Shimo la Mchanga, Kizuiani Seventh Day Adventist (SDA), Church of Christ at Rangitatu, Kizuiani Anglian church, Agape at Kibondemaji and Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) at Mbagala Zakhiem. ELCT head bishop Alex Malasusa yesterday visited the area and appealed to Christians to remain calm as their leaders worked on the matter. “We don’t have anything to say at this moment. We first need to meet with leaders of other Christian denominations so that we’ll come up with a joint position. We ask Christians to take part in Sunday services and pray for peace and the future of our country,” said Bishop Malasusa…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Breathtaking! How Judge Attacked Bid by Migrant (Who’s Been Kicked Out Twice) To Use Human Rights Laws to Stay in Britain

Judge said Gbenga Sunday’s attempts to use human rights legislation to prevent Home Office from removing him were ‘breath-taking’

The judge dismissed Mr Sunday’s attempt to launch a ‘judicial review’ and said no more public money should be wasted on the case

An exasperated judge yesterday attacked a failed asylum seeker’s bid to use human rights law to stay in Britain as ‘breathtaking’.

Nigerian Gbenga Sunday has already cost the taxpayer more than £100,000 after being kicked out of the country twice, only to re-enter Britain within months.

But in an astonishing example of the immigration merry-go-round, his lawyers went to court yesterday to argue he should be allowed to stay here — this time because he said he was in a relationship with a Lithuanian woman.

As a result, they claimed, sending Mr Sunday home would breach his right to a private and family life under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

The application for judicial review was dismissed out of hand by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, who said the applicant’s attempt to use human rights laws to prevent him from being flown back to Nigeria for a third time was ‘breathtaking’.

‘This is an incredible case,’ said the judge, at a High Court hearing in London. ‘This is a case where the claimant has not been removed once but twice. This is the third time. What on earth is going on?

‘Why should the court waste any more public money?’ He added: ‘This case is so … utterly without merit that no further public money should be wasted in dealing with it.’

Mr Sunday, 38, first came to the notice of immigration officials in 2004 when he applied for indefinite leave to remain in Britain.This was refused the following year and he was served with illegal entry papers telling him he would be sent home. He then launched an asylum application, but withdrew it within a year.

In 2005, he was put on a plane to Nigeria by the Home Office and told he would not be allowed back in. However by 2006 he had returned to the UK and made a second asylum application. This too was withdrawn. The same year he was put on a plane and sent home.

Despite twice having been removed, he was able to return to the UK within a year in November 2006.

In 2007, he was arrested when he tried to open a bank account with a forged passport.

Again he was served with illegal entry papers and told he would be kicked out. But instead of being put in detention he was granted bail and went on the run.

He lived freely in the UK until this year when he was arrested by chance during a raid by immigration officers. He was set to be deported for the third time in May, but launched yet another appeal just weeks before his flight date.

He claimed he had started a relationship with a woman from Lithuania. Marriage to an EU national can confer rights to live in Britain.But this appeal was rejected by officials because they found no evidence of any relationship.

His lawyers then applied for a judicial review in June, which was refused, but Mr Sunday applied again in July and the case finally came before a judge yesterday.

Last year nearly 3,200 migrants were given the right to stay in Britain as a result of Article 8 rulings.

Home Secretary Theresa May has made changes to immigration rules which will make it harder for migrants to use Article 8 as a reason to remain in Britain.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘This demonstrates why we’re determined to deal with these cases more quickly. Our tough new immigration rules will prevent individuals from abusing the legal process with frivolous claims. We are pursuing his removal as a matter of urgency.’

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

France: Minister Valls, Easier Access to Citizenship

Open-ended contract will not be necessary anymore

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said today in Toulouse he wants to raise the lowering number of naturalizations by making it easier for foreigners to gain citizenship. Valls announced the immediate suppression of a questionnaire which is currently mandatory for foreigners applying for citizenship. The questionnaire is the instrument most discriminating applicants. The minister said he hopes that naturalizations will return to be on average 100,000 a year and anticipated it will not be indispensible anymore to have an open-ended contract rather than a fixed-term labour contract to acquire citizenship.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: Till Faith Do Us Part

Thousands of Christian women are converting to Islam for love. But is it wise?

By Melissa Kite

A girlfriend who was about to get married was telling me about her wedding plans recently when she said, almost as an aside: ‘Oh, and I’ve converted to Islam.’

Her fiancé was a Muslim but she thought it no more than a minor detail — like ordering the corsages, or finalising the table plan — to arrange a private ceremony before the big day in which she took on his faith. I think she expected me to say ‘How lovely. And have you decided on the centre-pieces?’ But instead I blurted out: ‘You’ve done what?’

‘It’s fine. I really don’t mind,’ she continued, whilst puffing on a Marlboro Light. ‘It was easy. I just had to say a few words and it was done. I don’t have to wear a veil or go to mosque or anything. It doesn’t seem to make any difference at all.’ Apart from the fact that her children, when they come along, will be brought up Muslims. ‘Well, it will be nice for them to have a faith, and a set of rules to live by,’ she said.


It seems everyone has a story to tell these days about a friend becoming a Muslim. There’s a growing trend for mixed marriage and conversions to Islam in particular on the rise. Asking around my immediate social circle produced a tale from almost everyone about a woman they knew, or knew of, who had recently converted. Those stories are borne out by fledging statistics, which are only just beginning to give us a picture of the change that may be happening.

The growth of Islam in Britain is often still put down to immigration, but a study last year estimated that the number of Islamic converts in Britain has risen by two-thirds from 60,000 in 2001 to about 100,000. Around 5,200 people in the UK become Muslims each year. And while there are no figures on marriages specifically, we do know that 62 per cent of conversions are women and that the average age at conversion is 27, which is pretty much the age most women get married now.

This doesn’t seem to bother the Church of England much. After all, we have an Archbishop of Canterbury who thinks the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in British communities ‘seems unavoidable’ and might even help social cohesion. And perhaps it shouldn’t bother me. But something about the speed and ease of these apparent epiphanies makes me uneasy.

Islam is a special case, when it comes to conversion. To convert to Judaism is incredibly complicated, in some traditions involving a rabbi rejecting you three times before allowing you to embark on a lengthy and painstaking process. Catholics are notoriously picky and arguably spend more time and energy than recruiting in deselecting large numbers of their existing members for infringements such as divorce and remarriage. They demand that converts undergo weeks, sometimes months of preparation which is to end in their saying they believe the entire Catholic doctrine: a hurdle many cradle Catholics could not clear. Many Hindus still believe that theirs is an identity that can only be had from birth and as such there is no formal process for conversion to -Hinduism.

By contrast, Islam allows anyone to recite a single short sentence and sign a piece of paper. An internet search turns up dozens of sites instructing on the quickest way to convert — including doing it in your own living room, on your own — and there are any number of forums with Muslims giving pre-conversion Christians helpful advice on how to pronounce the shahada in Arabic.


Not wanting to leave anything to chance, however, the Vatican is so worried about the possibility of Catholic women converting to Islam through marriage that it has issued an edict. A papal instruction, amusingly entitled ‘The Love Of Christ Towards Migrants’, warns women not to even think of loving migrants themselves — well, not in that way. As I say, you’ve got to hand it to them for chutzpah.

The Church of England, meanwhile, looks down its nose at such dogma, preferring instead to issue edicts that are ecumenical to the point of absurdity, in the interests of social cohesion. As my friend embarks on her new life as a Muslim convert, she will no doubt discover more about what sort of social cohesion Islam is prepared to offer her.

           — Hat tip: LH[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Rise of the Mediacracy

Media bias was over decades ago. The media isn’t biased anymore, it’s a player, its goal is turn its Fourth Estate into a fourth branch of government.

A nation where governments are elected by the people is most vulnerable at the interface between the politicians and the people. The interface is where the people learn what the politicians stand for and where the politicians learn what the people want. The bigger a country gets, the harder it is to pick up on that consensus by stopping by a coffee shop or an auto repair store. That’s where the Medicracy steps in to control the consensus.

The media is no longer informative, it is conformative. It is not interested in broadcasting events unless it can also script them. It does not want to know what you think, it wants to tell you what to think. The consensus is the voice of the people and the Mediacrats are cutting its throat, dumping its body in a back alley and turning democracy into their own puppet show.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Act 2 for the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

It looks like the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which got nowhere during a month of negotiations at UN headquarters in New York last July, is about to get another chance on the global stage. A resolution is likely to be introduced at the UN General Assembly this month calling for a revival of the negotiations at a treaty conference next March in New York.

The difference this time is that the treaty proponents are trying to eliminate the consensus process and allow the treaty to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly. That means the United States won’t be able to stop the treaty from being adopted. They also aim to beef up the most current draft version of the text.

Treaty supporters want ammunition, parts and components included within the scope section of the treaty. They want more detailed record-keeping and reporting requirements that eliminate exemptions for “national security” and “commercially sensitive” data. And they insist that there be no exemptions for transfers of arms pursuant to existing defense cooperation agreements.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]