Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121023

Financial Crisis
»EU Underestimated Depth of Crisis, Says Chief
»Fornero Tells Italian Students Not to be ‘Choosey’ With Jobs
»German Auditors Urge Check of Gold Reserves
»Greece: Pension Delays Due to Retirements, Minister
»Italy Doesn’t Need ECB or EU Help Says Grilli
»Japan to Join Currency Wars as Exports Slump
»Spanish Regions Downgraded to ‘Junk’
»Tobin Tax to Bring in Over 10 Billion Euros
»Detox Man Versus KSM the 9/11 Prosecutor’s Quest for Transparency
»Electoral Deceit
»Encounter Islam’s ‘This Cry of the Reed’ Shares Faith Through Free Art Expo at Freeland’s Sportszone
»Insecure Obama, Insecure World
»International Intrusion Into the U.S. Presidential Election
»Islam’s Many Murders of Americans
»Mitt Romney Outlines ‘Robust’ Strategy to Combat Islamic Extremism
»National Heritage Areas: The Land Grabs Continue
»Report: Radical Islamists Given Unfettered Access to Obama White House
»Trump Says He Will Release ‘Very Big News’ About Obama This Week
Europe and the EU
»Airbus Opens New Toulouse Plant for High-Tech A350
»Denmark: Al-Khawaja to Receive Politiken’s Freedom Prize
»Denmark Best Place for Business in Europe
»Fiorito Denied Release From Italian Custody
»France Muslims Want Rightist Ban, Protection
»French Youth Activists Commemorate Charles Martel Victory by Occupying Megamosque (Video)
»French Muslims Demand Group Ban After Mosque Attack
»French Far-Right Activists Charged Over Mosque Protest
»Germany: Allah or the Advisory Council
»German President Visits Mosque in Berlin
»Germany: Bee Business Picking Up in Berlin
»Is a Coordinated, Europe-Wide Crackdown on Counterjihad Movements Underway?
»Italy: Bolzano Provincial President in Embezzlement Probe
»Italy: Olive Oil That Would Please Even Homer
»Netherlands Mulls Heated Bike Paths
»Rome Jews Applaud Italy for Stance on Stazzema Massacre
»UK: Details on Mosque for Lincoln
»UK: EDL Leader Charged Over ‘False Passport’
»UK: EDL Founder Kevin Carroll Runs for Police Commissioner in Luton
»UK: Snapshot: BBC Director-General Flaps Like a Helpless Fish
»UK: The Government Kicks the Sharia Debate Into the Long Grass
»UK: Tommy Robinson in Custody — Paul Weston of British Freedom Arrested While Trying to Arrange a Prison Visit.
»Bosnia: Muslim Keeps Control of Srebrenica Mayor’s Office
North Africa
»Egypt: Wiesenthal Center: US Must End Brotherhood Ties
»Egypt: Groups Say Anti-Islam Film Defendant Being Mistreated
»Obama Responsible for Benghazi Massacre
»Trial of Egyptian Muslim Cleric Accused of Burning Holy Bible Resumes
»Tunisia: Women Demonstrate Against Constituent Assembly
»Tunisian Women Fight New ‘Sexist’ Constitution
»UN Envoy in Libya Concerned About Unfolding Military Developments in Bani Walid
Israel and the Palestinians
»Hamas Hails Qatari Emir’s Landmark Visit to Gaza
»Israeli PM Warns “Hard” Response to Gaza Attack
»Qatar Visit Hands Hamas Major Victory, Reflects Muslin Brotherhood’s Growing Influence
»Qatar Ruler Begins Landmark Visit to Gaza
»The Waddling Emir Visits Gaza
»World First: Emir of Qatar Visits Gaza and Hamas
Middle East
»EU’s Ashton on Five-Day Middle East Tour
»Iraq: 8 People Killed in Bomb Attacks in Baghdad
»Lebanon: ‘Fate of the Nation at Stake’
»Syria: Death Race Damascus: “13 Days in October”
»The Illogic of Empire
»Turkey: Istanbul for James Bond Fans
South Asia
»Afghanistan: German Special Forces Capture Top Taliban Commander Who Controlled Network of Suicide Bombers Preying on Petrol Supply Lines
»Buddhists Continue Terrorist Attacks Against Muslims in Myanmar
»Burma Rakhine Violence: Three Killed in Clashes
»Fresh Violence in Myanmar Leaves Mosque, Monastery Burned
»Indonesia: Anti-Christian Violence: Extremists Set Fire to Protestant Church in Poso
»NATO’s Plan is Working in Afghanistan
»Pakistan President Backs Away From Operation Against Militants After Malala Shooting
»Rakhine: More Clashes Between Burmese and Rohingya, Three Killed and 300 Houses Burnt
Australia — Pacific
»Aussie Muslim Convert Recounts Ordeal of Receiving 40 Lashes for Alcohol Drinking, Taking Drugs
»Forty Lashes for Having a Drink
»Freedom of Speech is Deader in Australia
»Police Investigate as Fake Election Flyer Purportedly From Moreland Candidate Mohamed Elrafihi Promises More Mosques
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Bombings Continue to Rock Somalia’s Port City Kismayo
»Four Killed as Muslim Protesters Attack Ethiopia Prison
»NGO Decries Endorsement of Girl Child Marriage by Sudan’s State-Controlled Clerics
Culture Wars
»German Pro-Life Groups Complain to UN Human Rights Council About Attacks, Harassment
»“God is Not a Dictator”
»Myths of a Muslim Antichrist
»The Counterintuitive Jihad
»We Need a 21st Century Voltaire Test to Fight the Growing Power of Censorship Around the World
»Who Are These World Evangelical Alliance Panelists?

Financial Crisis

EU Underestimated Depth of Crisis, Says Chief

“We have underestimated the depth of the crisis in some countries,” EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy said Tuesday during a debate in the European Parliament. He admitted however that solutions will be difficult, as they are “now about the crux of the matter: sovereignty and solidarity.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Fornero Tells Italian Students Not to be ‘Choosey’ With Jobs

Labor minister backpedals, points to youth in precarious jobs

(ANSA) — Milan, October 22 — Italian Labour Minister Elsa Fornero on Monday told students “not to be overly choosey” when looking for work in the current environment, because “one can not expect to find the ideal position”.

Fornero, who was addressing a conference at the Assolombardo business association in Milan, later added, “Young Italians today are willing to take any job…so much so that they are in marginal (working) conditions”. Fornero narrowly dodged a gaffe similar to that made by the late, former finance minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, who in 2007 called masses of Italian young adults living with their parents “bambiccioni”, or “big kiddies”. Italy suffers from high youth unemployment.

Working conditions for young people who do find jobs often do not pay well enough to provide an independent life, thus many live with and heavily depend on family.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

German Auditors Urge Check of Gold Reserves

German federal auditors have called on the country’s central bank to regularly look into the quality of its gold reserves stored at banks abroad. The Bundesbank has conceded a physical check has never been carried out.

German media reports on Tuesday confirmed the country’s central bank, the Bundesbank, would bring back a certain part of its gold reserves it had been storing abroad. While not specifying the amount of gold bars in question, the Bundesbank said the measure to start in 2013 would serve to check the quality of the gold.

The Bundesbank said gold bars would be completely melted as the only way of checking their purity thoroughly and would afterwards be cast into bars again.

German federal auditors on Monday once again urged the central bank to inspect at least part of its nearly 3,400 tons of gold valued at 133 billion euros ($174 billion). “Germany’s gold reserves abroad have never been checked physically regarding their authenticity or weight,” the auditors wrote in a report to lawmakers.

Like many central banks, the Bundesbank has always kept part of its reserves in vaults of financial institutions abroad, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Banque de France and the Bank of England.

That practice was introduced long ago when German felt the need to secure its stockpiles against perceived threats from what used to be the Soviet Union and its satellite states in eastern Europe.

For decades on end, the Bundesbank had not deemed it necessary to even count the gold bars abroad, let alone check their actual gold content as it had considered written assurances from storing partners to be sufficient.

Earlier this year, a group of German federal lawmakers had wanted to have a look at gold reserves stored at the Banque de France in Paris, but were turned away by officials there who said their vaults were no visiting facilities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Pension Delays Due to Retirements, Minister

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 23 — Greek Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis on Tuesday attributed delays in the approval of pension applications to mass retirements of civil servants and the subsequent staff shortages in the country’s public administration. In comments to Skai TV, as Kathimerini online reports, Vroutsis noted that in September more than 85,000 applications had been pending for main pensions and more than 71,000 for auxiliary pensions. Meanwhile the civil servant’ pension fund reportedly has more than 56,000 pension applications pending. He noted that the average waiting period for the processing of a pension application is 11 months in Attica and 10 months elsewhere in Greece. “The applications for retirement are constantly growing due to the change in legislation,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy Doesn’t Need ECB or EU Help Says Grilli

‘Not useful or necessary now,’ economy minister says

(ANSA) — Rome, October 23 — Italy doesn’t need any financial help from the European Union or to tap the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme, Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli said Tuesday.

“We don’t need funds at this time,” Grilli told parliament.

He said Italy was making good on budget commitments to the EU to put its financial house in order and avert any kind of bailout request.

“Asking for help now is neither useful nor necessary,” Grilli said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Japan to Join Currency Wars as Exports Slump

Japan is poised to join the world’s “currency wars” as it battles a triple crisis of crashing exports, recession and a suffocatingly-strong yen.

The country’s exports plunged 10.3pc in September from a year ago, dimming hopes of rapid recovery in the Far East. Exports to Europe crashed 21pc. Shipments to China fell 14pc as the Diaoyu-Senkaku islands dispute led to a slump in car sales. Honda, Mazda, and Nissan all saw sales plunge near 30pc as Chinese consumers boycotted Japanese brands. Nomura said the export slump will push country into full recession.

Stephen Jen from SLJ Macro Partners said the global storm is drifting eastwards into Asia, opening a “third chapter” of the crisis that will last well into 2013. “Many analysts have declared that the low in the global economic cycle is in place. We are not convinced,” he said, prediticting a rise in currency protectionism.

Japan is the awakening giant in this conflict. The yen has risen 30pc against China’s yuan, 65pc against the euro, and 80pc against Sterling since 2008. Tokyo is itching to fight back.

Yen strength is Japan’s curse. It rises on safe-haven flows during global downturns, choking the economy. This stems from Japan’s bitter-sweet role as top creditor with $3 trillion of net assets.

Hans Redeker from Morgan Stanley says this pattern may soon change as political upheaval in Tokyo and surging public debt of 245pc of GDP usher in an era of devaluation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spanish Regions Downgraded to ‘Junk’

Moody’s ratings agency on Monday (22 October) downgraded five of Spain’s biggest regions to “junk” status.

“Very limited cash reserves” as of September and “significant reliance on short-term credit lines” are Moody’s main arguments for slashing Catalonia, Andalucia, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Murcia to below investment grade, where punters take high default risks when buying bonds.

Catalonia — representing a fifth of Spain’s economy — saw its rating cut further into junk territory from Ba1 to Ba3, one month ahead of early elections responding to increased calls for independence.

Moody’s warned that the region faces “large debt redemptions” in the coming months, as do Andalucia and Murcia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tobin Tax to Bring in Over 10 Billion Euros

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, October 23 — The application of a tax on financial transactions by eleven European countries would “likely” bring in over 100 billion euros, according to France’s Minister for European Affairs Bernard Cazeneuve. So far 11 European countries have committed to supporting the tax on financial transactions, but negotiations are still ongoing as concerns the details.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Detox Man Versus KSM the 9/11 Prosecutor’s Quest for Transparency

Pre-trial hearings in the prosecution of 9/11 mastermand Khalid Sheikh Mohammed began last week at the US base at Guantanamo. Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins hopes to create as fair a trial as possible, despite the death penalty being almost a foregone conclusion. But the challenges are daunting and the American government is making his task difficult.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed achieved a first minor victory at 9:46 on Wednesday morning. Three muscular US soldiers, all inexplicably wearing blue latex gloves, led the defendant into air-conditioned Courtroom 2 on the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Surrounded by the soldiers, Mohammed, the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, looked almost like a dwarf.

The defendant took his time. It’s a moment he had long been waiting for. Slowly, he sat down on a low leather chair in the first of the five rows of the dock. Then he turned to face the visitors’ gallery behind him, a gentle smile on his face.

The scene could only be interpreted to mean that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, widely known simply by his initials KSM, wants to be seen. The trial is his last propaganda campaign, he leaves no doubt of that. On that morning in court, the man the New York Post called the “9/11 beast” was for the first time wearing a camouflage vest over his long, white robe.

For the slight defendant, who with his henna-dyed beard and turban, looks increasingly like his former comrade Osama bin Laden, the vest is a statement. To this day, he sees himself as a warrior locked in a bitter struggle against the United States.

Since this spring, Mohammed, together with his four alleged accomplices, has been waging what may ultimately be his last battle at Camp Justice, a collection of container-style structures erected specifically for the terrorism trial. For the second time, the US government is seeking to convict the masterminds of the 9/11 conspiracy here in Guantanamo, far from the United States, 11 years after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Electoral Deceit

With the approach of the November Presidential election I find it prudent to discuss our current election system. Many would be shocked to learn that for more than a century we have NOT had constitutional elections for many of our federal leaders.

Article IV of the Constitution guarantees every state in the Union a Republican form of Government. And within the construct of our Constitution safeguards were put into place to ensure encroachments on that Republican form of government would endure — one of which was the form of selecting members of government that represented a specific segment of our society.


But of all the changes in our electoral system that has become the most corrupt and the least understood is the Electoral College system of electing the executive of the federal government.

Let me first describe how this system of government was originally designed and why.


Over the past few years we have heard ever increasing call for the abolishing of the Electoral College. That it is an outdated system that no longer has bearing in this day and age. I say it is exactly the opposite. Because we have abandoned the true Electoral College we have moved away from federalism of the states and have embraced democracy and mob rule over true republicanism.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Encounter Islam’s ‘This Cry of the Reed’ Shares Faith Through Free Art Expo at Freeland’s Sportszone

FREELAND, MI — When your only conception of the Muslim faith comes from the latest news flash, it’s easy to lose sight of cultural traditions that define the majority of Muslims. But what came as a surprise to Shona Siddiqui and her husband, Ray Lacina, was how many people were eager to experience more. That’s how a sharing of Islamic art, music and food in a friend’s basement in 2006 has become “This Cry of the Reed,” a free family-friendly celebration of the arts from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at the Freeland SportsZone, 5690 Midland in Freeland. “In addition to our cultural displays, our food from different cultures and henna demonstrations, we are lucky to have the musical group PoeticVision come to Saginaw,” Siddiqui said. Author and director Kamran Pasha and children’s author Dawud Wharnsby are coming, too, as the Midland couple, through their nonprofit Encounter Islam, work to reclaim the Muslim faith…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Insecure Obama, Insecure World

by Daniel Greenfield

The United States has had good presidents and bad, but it has never had a leader who came to a debate on national security with so much insecurity. It was a small petty man who sat on the other side of the screen, alternately smirking and scowling, grinding his teeth and launching attack after attack instead of finally taking the opportunity to set the record straight with the American people…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

International Intrusion Into the U.S. Presidential Election

The OSCE is becoming yet another dupe of the Islamists in their propaganda campaign to stifle criticism of their supremacist ideology.

The presidential election has the Left in panic mode. In addition to preparing brigades of lawyers to challenge every alleged irregularity and try to reverse the voters’ verdict in court if need be, the Obama administration and its leftwing boosters are looking to an international cavalry of “election observers” to save them.

The Hill has reported that “United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S.” on Election Day. There will be at least forty-four foreign observers sent by The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is a regional inter-governmental organization that engages in democratization and human rights projects in partnership with the United Nations. Their job will be to “assess these elections for compliance with international obligations and standards for democratic elections” according to the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.


The Obama administration’s relationship with the OSCE deserves special scrutiny in light of its selection of Salam al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, to represent the United States government at the annual human rights conference sponsored by the OSCE this past July. The U.S. embassy in Poland, where the OSCE conference was held, put out a statement saying that the United States is “proud” to have Salam al-Marayati serving as one of the” public members in the USG delegation.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Islam’s Many Murders of Americans

Presidency that encourages Islamic militancy, sinking further into an abyss of national poverty, loss of our position in the world as a power for freedom and democracy.

The truth—the fact—is that America has been under attack for 33 years at this point, at home and abroad, and we still can’t bring ourselves to speak the name of the enemy, Islam.

President Obama whose first and middle names are of Arab origin is testimony to a lethal capacity to forget just how many times America has been attacked by its Islamic enemies and his term in office has seen the Middle East become a bastion of even greater Muslim militancy, culminating with the murder of our ambassador to Libya and three of his staff.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Mitt Romney Outlines ‘Robust’ Strategy to Combat Islamic Extremism

Romney says ‘we can’t kill our way out of this mess’ but engagement policy may not find favour with GOP colleagues

Mitt Romney’s more attentive supporters may have been surprised to hear him outline a strategy to combat Islamic extremism that sounded awfully like the nation-building increasingly out of favour with Republicans as costly and ineffective. Not only that, he mentioned the widely despised United Nations in the same positive breath. Romney painted Barack Obama as weak in the Middle East, and accused him of opening the way to a resurgent al-Qaida and other expressions of Islamic extremism from Libya to Mali. Romney even described the election of a Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, in Egypt as part of a “pretty dramatic reversal in the kind of hopes we had for that region”, even though he also said the US works to promote elections.

Romney went on to congratulate Obama on killing Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders. “But we can’t kill our way out of this mess,” he added. “We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism, which is certainly not on the run.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

National Heritage Areas: The Land Grabs Continue

19 counties in Southern Virginia are being included in a proposed Heritage Area called The Crooked Road National Heritage Area. The excuse for this new federal land control program is that it will honor and bring nationwide attention to the rich musical heritage of the area that was home to such famous acts as the June Carter Family. Plans call for a 300 mile Heritage Corridor that will connect nine major heritage venues and more than 50 affiliated music venues. Tourism and economic growth are the promises.

It all sounds so American until you begin to look at the details, including documents not open to the public, refusal to announce the plan to those in the affected area, and a hoard of federal agencies and special interest groups ready to suck up the tax dollars.

In desperation, local activists and scared property owners asked me to journey to the area and give them the facts on the dangers of National Heritage Areas. Below is what I told them. (TAD)


If these National Heritage Areas were truly driven by local enthusiasm we wouldn’t even be here today. Instead, local enthusiasm would have attracted and generated local funding to create local Heritage Areas. Such locally-supported Heritage Areas are plentiful across the nation. Instead, National Heritage Areas depend on federal tax dollars because they lack local interest — and not a single Heritage Area has ever succeeded in attracting that interest throughout their entire infinite lives.


The late Representative Gerald Solomon from New York wrote a letter September 19, 1994, to his colleagues regarding a National Heritage Area program for the Park Service. His letter said: “I urge you to defend property rights and strongly oppose the American Heritage Area Participation Program. The environmentalists advocating this bill have federal land use control as their primary objective. The bill wastes tax dollars that could be more appropriately spent on maintaining our national parks. Property rights defenders have legitimate concerns about the provision in the bill requiring localities to obtain approval by the Secretary of Interior for land use plans. Why spend $35 million on non-federal heritage areas when our national parks desperately need funds for maintenance and repair? Again, I ask you to defend property rights and oppose this bill.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Report: Radical Islamists Given Unfettered Access to Obama White House

The Investigative Project On Terrorism (IPT) has just released results of an investigation in which it discovered that radical Islamists have “made hundreds of visits to the Obama White House” and “met with top administration officials.”

The radicals were members of groups that serve as fronts for Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other Islamic organizations.

Specifics in the investigation showed that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has visited Obama’s White House at least 20 times since 2009. Louay Safi (pictured), former executive director of the Islamic Society of North America, visited the White House twice and met with Obama’s associate director of the White House Office of Public Relations both times.

CAIR has been linked to Hamas and Safi has ties to the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a front for the Muslim Brotherhood in North America. Safi also has ties to the Middle East Affairs Journal, which in turn has ties to Hamas.

IPT also found that Esam Omeish, who was the head of Muslim Brotherhood-created Muslim American Society, visited the White House three times.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Trump Says He Will Release ‘Very Big News’ About Obama This Week

Donald Trump says he has “very big news” about President Obama that could significantly alter the race for the White House just two weeks before Election Day.

“Something very, very big concerning the president of the United States,” Trump said Monday on “Fox and Friends.” “It’s going to be very big. I know one thing — you will cover it in a very big fashion.”

Trump said he would “probably” release the bombshell sometime on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Airbus Opens New Toulouse Plant for High-Tech A350

European plane maker Airbus has opened a new assembly plant in Toulouse, France. It will produce long-range A350 jets made of lightweight materials to save carriers fuel costs and challenge a rival Boeing airliner.

Europe’s flagship plane maker Airbus on Tuesday inaugurated a new production facility in Toulouse, France, which is designed to assemble the company’s new A350 jetliner.

The plane is meant to be the continent’s first major contribution to a new generation of aircraft scheduled to drastically decrease fuel consumption by using high-tech materials. The A350s will be made of carbon-composite elements instead of the much heavier aluminum.

The plane is a direct response to rival Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner which is already in the skies. Airbus said its A350 will take off in 2013 and enter service a year later.

Three different models of the A350 aircraft will seat between 270 and 350 people.

Analysts said the market for low-fuel planes was worth several hundreds of billions of euros. But in an initial phase, both Airbus and Boeing look unlikely to pocket big profits as they face huge construction challenges with the lightweight materials in question much costlier to produce.

The Toulouse plant will start the production cycle immediately and aims to assemble 10 planes a month by 2018.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Al-Khawaja to Receive Politiken’s Freedom Prize

The daughter of the imprisoned Danish-Bahraini human rights activist, who has also been awarded for her activism, will accept the award on his behalf next week

The Danish-Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja will be awarded this year’s Politikens Frihedspris (Freedom Prize). Al-Khawaja is currently serving a lifetime sentence in Bahrain after being arrested in April 2011 for his activism to promote greater political and individual freedoms in his native country…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Denmark Best Place for Business in Europe

Denmark is the best place in Europe to do business, according to the World Bank’s annual ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report out Tuesday. Poland was ranked the global top improver in the past year making it easier to register property, pay taxes, enforce contracts, and resolve insolvency.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Fiorito Denied Release From Italian Custody

Former caucus leader ‘overflowing with criminal propensity’

(ANSA) — Rome, October 22 — Appeals court judges on Monday wrote a withering assessment on why a detained former caucus leader of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party in the Lazio region should be kept in jail, rejecting his lawyers’ request for his release.

Franco Fiorito faces charges for embezzling more than 1.3 million euros in State-subsidized party funds.

The judges wrote he was “a personality with overflowing criminal propensity” who would “mock the prospect” of any custody arrangements other than prison. Only prison detention “would permit severing the countless contacts maintained by Fiorito both with accomplices and equally complacent subjects” the judges said.

“He could interfere, as he already has, in the trial…or maintain the power structure he has already constituted”.

The disgraced ex-caucus leader was put into custody when a judge declared he was at risk of tampering with evidence, and prosecutors said they found traces of destroyed financial records at his home.

Fiorito was arrested earlier this month after a scandal that had led to the resignation of governor Renata Polverini.

Fiorito appealed last Wednesday to Italy’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation, against the seizure of assets including a luxury villa at a resort south of Rome, a jeep and 11 current accounts, seven in Italy and four abroad.

Police say he also spent his political party’s money on pleasure trips to London, the French Riviera, Paris and the Amalfi Coast.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

France Muslims Want Rightist Ban, Protection

French Muslims have called for banning a far-right group behind the occupation of a mosque in PoitiersPARIS — France’s umbrella Muslim organization has called for banning a far-right group behind the occupation of a mosque in the western city of Poitiers and for protecting the sizable minority and their worship places.

“We demand the dissolution of this group,” Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) told reporters on Monday, October 22, Reuters reported.

Far-rightists from a group called Identity Group stormed and occupied the site of a mosque being built in Poitiers on Saturday in protest at the building of the Muslim worship place.

They climbed on the mosque’s roof and unfurled two banners, one identifying their organization while the other proclaiming “Charles Martel beat the Arabs at Poitiers in 732.”

That battle is remembered by French for halting the advance of Islam into Western Europe.

The far-rightist attackers remained in the mosque site for six hours before police ejected them.

Moussaoui said the far-rightist protestors had come from as far away as Lyon and Nice, near France’s eastern borders.

Four protestors were placed under judicial investigation for spreading racial hatred and discrimination.

In a video posted on its website, the far-right group issued what it called a “declaration of war” on multiculturalism.

It also called for a referendum to block further immigration from outside Europe and further construction of mosques in France.

France is home to a Muslim minority of six million, the largest in Europe.


French Muslims have described the occupation was an unprecedented escalation against the sizable minority.

Moussaoui said the protest, the first time a mosque in France had been occupied like that, represented “a new escalation in violence against Muslims”.

He complained that racist attacks against mosques and Muslim cemeteries in France have sharply increased.

He said violent acts and threats against Muslims rose by 34 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, and went up again by 14 percent in the first half of this year.

Moussaoui called on the French government to provide better protection for mosques and Muslim cemeteries in the country.

Saturday’s attack is the latest of a series of attacks on mosques in France.

In August, two pig heads were hung on two pillars outside a mosque in the southwestern town of Montauban.

In January, vandals attacked a French mosque in the Glonnières district of Le Mans, covering its walls with graffiti reading “Islam out of Europe”, “No Islam” and “France for the French.”

Three days earlier, another mosque in Miramas was daubed with Islamophobic slogans along with the name of Front National presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

Fascist graffiti was also painted on the wall of a mosque that is under construction in Montigny-en-Ostrevent reading “President Adolf” or “Hei” in reference to the Nazi salute. “Heil Hitler”.

Two pig heads were also left at the site a mosque is being built in Nanterre.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

French Youth Activists Commemorate Charles Martel Victory by Occupying Megamosque (Video)

Two weeks ago, The Point reported on Génération Identitaire’s mission statement against the displacement of the native French population and now Génération Identitaire has taken the next step by occupying the Poitiers MegaMosque to commemorate Charles Martel’s victory and to call for an end to the Islamic colonization of France…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

French Muslims Demand Group Ban After Mosque Attack

(Reuters) — The French Muslim Council (CFCM) urged the government on Monday to ban a far-right group that occupied a mosque on Saturday and issued a “declaration of war” against what it called the Islamisation of France.

CFCM President Mohammed Moussaoui said the Council also wanted better protection for mosques and Muslim cemeteries against racist attacks, which he said jumped sharply in 2011 and continued to rise this year…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

French Far-Right Activists Charged Over Mosque Protest

Four far-right activists who led a weekend occupation of an unfinished mosque at Poitiers in central France were charged Monday with offences including incitement of racial hatred.

All four were also charged with organising an illegal demonstration and three of the men were indicted for theft and causing criminal damage in relation to the removal of prayer mats from the mosque. The latter charges carry potential prison terms of up to five years…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany: Allah or the Advisory Council

A few weeks ago, a new school subject was introduced in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia: Islamic religious education. The new subject is a provisional arrangement and is not uncontroversial. By Ellen Hoffers

Aya frowns. In the back row, Ayman starts a kind of sing-song “Shalom, salaam, shalom.” Bernd Ridwan Bauknecht sighs. He has just explained to his fourth graders that the Arabic greeting “Salaam aleykum” is similar to the Hebrew greeting “Shalom alechem.” Both of them mean peace. “And do you know what?” he continues. “In church, Christians shake hands with each other before they take communion and they say to each other, ‘Peace be with you.’“ Aya’s not sure about all this: “And what do the Catholics say?” Bauknecht smiles: “You’ll have to ask them yourself,” he says. She won’t have far to go: “the Catholics” have their class next door.

Since the beginning of this school year, 2,500 of the 320,000 Muslim school pupils in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia have been receiving faith-based “Islamic religious education” for the first time in the history of education in Germany. The Am Domhof Catholic primary school in Bad Godesberg, a suburb of Bonn, at which Bauknecht teaches, is one of the first 33 schools to offer the new subject.

The law introducing the subject was passed in December 2011 by the Social Democrat—Green coalition in the state, with the support of the opposition Christian Democrats. The move has widespread support, although there’s annoyance over the organisational model that the government has introduced. This model features an advisory council, and that has been criticised above all by those who have been campaigning for Islamic religious education for years.

“The mentality of a religious bouncer”

Lamya Kaddor is one of them. She has been teaching Islamic Studies in schools for ten years. She helped set up the first university chair in Islamic religious education, temporarily filled a vacant professorship and is the author of three textbooks. In 2011, she was awarded the Integration Medal by Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin; in Madrid in 2010, she was voted one of the most influential Muslim women in Europe. On that occasion, Cherie Blair shook her hand. Now she’s afraid that she might end up unemployed.

That’s because Kaddor is also chairperson of the Liberal Islamic Association. She says that equal rights for men and women are rooted in Islam. She also calls the idea that only those who believe the right things will end up in paradise “the mentality of a religious bouncer” and rejects any ban on showing the video that defamed Muhammad and caused such a storm in the Arab world. She insists: Muslims in Germany don’t need special treatment.

But these views are not welcome both in conservative and traditional Muslim circles and in the four big Muslim associations in Germany. It’s these four associations — which only represent 15 per cent of the Muslims in Germany — that will soon decide whether she has the “religious aptitude” to continue to teach. She says the situation is absurd. “What do I say when they ask me why I’m not wearing a headscarf?” she asks. “And what happens when they discover that I’ve written a paper on that issue? Will they reject me?”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

German President Visits Mosque in Berlin

German President Joachim Gauck has visited the Turkish Sehitlik Mosque in Berlin, Anatolia news agency has reported. Gauck was greeted by Ender Çetin, the head of the mosque’s foundation, alongside several Turkish diplomats. “We may be strangers in culture, but we have many things keeping us together,” Gauck said during the visit. “I am here by my heart. Not by what others have said, but by my own heart. That message is received.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany: Bee Business Picking Up in Berlin

In Berlin, sticky and sweet is a recipe for success. Across the German capital — from Kreuzberg to Mitte — urban beekeeping is thriving. Honey products from the city are in demand, despite the economic crisis.

Wandering around the city of Berlin, one doesn’t get the impression that it would be an ideal spot for harvesting bees and their honey. Yet, with more than 500 beekeepers in the German capital, there’s never a swarm too far away these days. But, beekeeping in Berlin is hardly new. In fact, it has a long history.

The practise of apiculture — as it is scientifically known — has traditionally increased in Berlin during times of economic hardship, says Evelyn Jesse. She started the city’s first beekeeping supply shop here in 1990, following Germany’s reunification. For the past 23 years, Jesse has watched the industry wax and wane.

“It’s a seasonal business, normally we are busy from May to August and then the work drops off”, Jesse told DW. “But in the last two years the off-season is getting busier. My daughter and I, we have a lot to do, while in the past it was okay for me to work alone.”

Jesse attributes the recent increase in business to the growing popularity of beekeeping around the world. “It is hip I think. In the last two years, we have seen some beekeepers putting their bee families on the roofs. I think there were TV reports from New York and other cities, and it was crazy to see bees on the roof in Manhattan. This was the reason for some people to say: ‘we can do the same in Berlin!’“

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Is a Coordinated, Europe-Wide Crackdown on Counterjihad Movements Underway?

by Cheradenine Zakalwe

Is this the much-anticipated post-Breivik crackdown on Counterjihad movements, which never really seemed to materialise at the time, now happening with delayed effect?

Some indications:

The arrests of Tommy Robinson and Paul Weston

Police questioning of Pierre Sauterel, the man believed to be behind the website, which is the linchpin of the anti-Genocide, anti-Islam movement in France, as well as raids on the offices of its website host, putting the main website offline.

A police crackdown on the Pro Movement in Germany.

Arrests and calls for dissolution of

It wouldn’t surprise me if there had recently been an EU-level meeting of interior ministers or their representatives where a decision was made to launch a coordinated crackdown.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Italy: Bolzano Provincial President in Embezzlement Probe

Durnwalder suspected of misusing 72,000-euro private fund

(ANSA) — Bolzano, October 23 — The Bolzano prosecutor’s office on Tuesday opened an investigation into the president of the autonomous province of Bolzano, Luis Durnwalder, for alleged embezzlement in connection with his use of a personal fund.

The probe follows initial investigations by the regional prosecutor of Italy’s Audit Court into the management of the South Tyrolean president’s annual allowance of 72,000 euros in light of reports concerning a birthday party held by the representative of the South Tyrol People’s Party (SVP) last year.

“The fund can be used at the discretion of the president according to criteria that he doesn’t have to answer to,” said the prosecutor, Robert Schuelmers.

“However it is clear that, being public money, it must be used within the scope of his institutional activity”.

Schuelmers said instead there was evidence to suggest the fund had been used to cover personal expenses such as medical treatments, dental check-ups and flights, “even though it seems Durnwalder paid back part of what had been taken at the end of each month”.

Durnwalder has denied the allegations.

“I have never paid for or even advanced the money for my personal expenses from my reserved fund,” he told a press conference. “On the contrary: I advance the money for donations and expenses out of my own pocket and am then reimbursed”. The Bolzano probe is just the latest in a series of investigations involving the alleged misuse of public funds in numerous Italian regions, including Lazio, Lombardy, Piedmont and Emilia Romagna.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Olive Oil That Would Please Even Homer

Homer called olive oil “liquid gold,” and for thousands of years it has been the basis of the Mediterranean diet. With this year’s harvest upon us, DW takes you to Italy for the liquid gold judged best in the world.

The Roman emperors came, saw, conquered — and then planted olive trees. As the empire spread around the Mediterranean, so did the endless rows of olive trees that produced jugs of olive oil. Back in the day, the Italians did it best, at least according to one ancient expert:

Italy has “excellent olive oil at reasonable prices,” the naturalist and author Pliny said back in the first century AD: “The best in the Mediterranean.”

A couple of millennia later, the foremost guide to extra virgin olive oils, agrees. Flos Olei’s editors judged olive oils from 43 countries to select the 2012 Olive Oil Mill of the Year. The winner of this award, a career Oscar in the olive oil business, is Viola, a small farm in Sant’ Eraclio in Umbria. Viola trumped olive oil producers in much-heralded Tuscany, European strongholds such as Spain and Greece, and emerging markets such as Argentina and Uruguay.

“Olive oil represents many things,” said Marco Viola, the CEO of this family-run olive farm and mill. “It means, of course, tradition. It means culture, respect and work — far more than a salad dressing.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Netherlands Mulls Heated Bike Paths

Researchers in bicycle-mad Netherlands have come up with a novel way to get more cyclists out during the harsh winter months while also lowering the number of injuries: heated bike paths.

“The idea is to install a system under bike paths to prevent ice forming in winter,” engineer Marcel Boerefijn from the Tauw engineering consultancy told AFP.

Several Dutch municipalities have already expressed interest in the system that uses geothermal energy drawn from 30-50 metres (100-160 feet) below ground.

While the idea would cost 20,000-40,000 euros (25,000-50,000 dollars) per kilometre of bike path, of which the Netherlands has over 35,000 kilometres, Boerefijn prefers to vaunt the pragmatic side of the plan.

“There would be lots of savings: less salt to melt the ice, less medical costs because of accidents and fewer car expenses because people would rather travel by bike,” he said, citing a figure of 7,000 bike path accidents a year.

The eastern Dutch town of Zutphen, population 40,000, is awaiting the results of a preliminary assessment expected early next year before embarking on a feasibility study at a municipal level.

The Netherlands has an estimated 18 million bicycles for a population of around 16.5 million.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Rome Jews Applaud Italy for Stance on Stazzema Massacre

Govt opposes German ruling to abandon Nazi case

(ANSA) — Rome, October 22 — The head of Rome’s Jewish community on Monday lauded the Italian government for vowing to try surviving Nazi military officers suspected of a World War II massacre in Tuscany after a German court refused to do so. “We appreciated the response of the Italian government, which said it will go forward in trying these ‘gentlemen’ and open additional cases into other crimes,” said Riccardo Pacifici. Following a 10-year investigation, German magistrates this month said a lack of evidence made them drop the case against eight surviving Nazi soldiers for the murder of 560 civilians, including 116 children, in the Tuscan village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema, near Lucca, in 1944.

The decision sparked anger and disbelief among the local community and Italian politicians, with Mayor Michele Silicani describing it as “absurd and unjust”.

In its own investigation and trial, an Italian military court condemned 10 of the ex-Nazi officers to life in prison in absentia, including the eight who remain alive.

Germany refused to grant Italy’s request for the men’s arrest.

Only three former Nazis have ever been jailed in Italy for war crimes.

Erich Priebke, 99, was extradited from Argentina in 1995 and sentenced to life for his part in a 1944 reprisal outside Rome that killed 335 men and boys including many Jews; his ex-commander Karl Hass, arrested after coming from Switzerland to Priebke’s trial with witness immunity, died in prison aged 92 in 2004; and ‘Butcher of Bolzano’ Michael Seifert, found guilty of 18 murders, was extradited from Canada to serve life in 2008 and died in jail aged 86 in 2010.

Priebke is now under house arrest in Rome. He had a work permit revoked in 2007 after an outcry from the city’s Jewish community.

Italian prosecutors have issued European arrest warrants for 15 other German former soldiers without success.

Under the terms of a postwar settlement, Germany is not required to extradite alleged war criminals to Italy.

The two countries agreed in 2008 to review outstanding wartime issues including the compensation for victims.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: Details on Mosque for Lincoln

Further details about a mosque that’s to be built in the centre of Lincoln will be revealed by the city council next month. Detailed drawings of what the mosque could look like, when it’s built on this former dairy site on Boultham Park Road, will be revealed at a planning meeting on the seventh of November. Outline planning permission for the site, which includes a supermarket and possibly housing, was formally agreed last year.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: EDL Leader Charged Over ‘False Passport’

LONDON — The leader of the English Defence League (EDL) appeared in court on Monday charged with attempting to travel to the United States using another person’s passport, L ondon’s Metropolitan Police said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: EDL Founder Kevin Carroll Runs for Police Commissioner in Luton

lA top English Defence League figure wants to be in charge of crime and policing in Luton — the scene of ugly clashes between the far-right group and Muslims.

Kevin Carroll is standing for the post of Bedfordshire’s first-ever police and crime commissioner as the candidate for the newly-created British Freedom party.

He is also a co-founder of the EDL. Supporters have raised the £5,000 necessary to register a candidate.

But as Carroll runs for office in the town which spawned the EDL and witnessed radical Mulisms burning Remembrance Day poppies, he will face accusations that as the founding father of Britain’s most controversial recent far-right street movement, he is part of the problem, not the solution.

Carroll describes himself as a “proud Lutonian.” But the strong anti-Islamic agenda of the EDL is likely to give residents cause to worry that they may not be so well represented by the man described by some as the right-hand man of EDL leader Tommy Robinson.

In Luton, nearly a third of the population is non-white. The Muslim population is five times the national average.

The EDL manifesto states a policy of “zero tolerance for extremist and terrorist activity in Bedfordshire”.

Also on the list is the promise to “aggressively pursue so-called honour crimes” and to “end politically correct two-tier policing” along with pledges to put the rights of victims of crime first and getting tough on drugs.

The new role of elected police and crime commissioner is likely to present challenges for a fringe candidate, say experts, because the winning candidate has to take a civic oath to represent all sections of the public “without fear or favour”.

A Home Office spokesman told IBTimes UK: “If there were complaints from the public that the commissioner was not serving the community as set out in the oath, then it’s unlikely that person would last very long.

“Each police and crime commissioner elected will take an oath and they will swear to maintain impartiality. It is also about keeping transparency so that people know how and why they are making decisions and that the commissioner upholds that.”

Police and crime panels of councillors will act as watchdogs and scrutinise commissioners at public meetings. Dissatisfied local residents can call for a by-election for a new commissioner.

           — Hat tip: ICLA[Return to headlines]

UK: Snapshot: BBC Director-General Flaps Like a Helpless Fish

Michael Deacon watches MPs question director-general George Entwistle about the BBC’s actions over the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Balding, bespectacled, pink and earnestly blinking, George Entwistle doesn’t look like a man who wields tremendous power. If anything, he looks like a postman: a postman who has lost his way, or lost his postbag, or perhaps even lost his van. At any rate, not a man who on first glance you would take to be the director-general of a vast and world-renowned media organisation.

The MPs who questioned him today, about the BBC’s actions over the Jimmy Savile scandal, certainly didn’t treat him with cap-doffing reverence. They were openly scornful, more and more so as it became clear that Mr Entwistle, by his own account, had known very little about the saga of the dropped Newsnight investigation into Savile. It seems he’d also made very little effort to find out more. He had no recollection of this, no knowledge of that. Indeed he hadn’t wanted to ask too much about the Newsnight investigation because, as a former Newsnight man himself, he was worried that it might look as if he was showing “undue interest”. “It seems that your determination not to show an ‘undue interest’ applies to everything at the BBC,” snorted Philip Davies (Con). “You need to get a grip of the facts,” snapped Ben Bradshaw (Lab). “An extraordinary lack of curiosity,” said John Whittingdale (Con). “You sound a bit like James Murdoch,” said Damian Collins (Con). They could write it as an epitaph on his headstone. “He Didn’t Know.”

Watching the interrogation was an uncomfortable experience. Mr Entwistle spent it flapping helplessly, like a fish on a quayside.

It’s often said that the worst job in the world — on account of the fact that you can only fail at it, and that you’ll be pilloried for doing so — is England football manager. On this evidence it’s actually the second worst.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Government Kicks the Sharia Debate Into the Long Grass

by Doulgas Murray

Because our Parliament discusses little of significance anymore, most of the public tend to ignore it. The perception that the weekly silliness of Prime Minister’s Questions constitutes Parliamentary business is enough to put any normal person off. And apart from that weekly bun-fight, even the media barely bothers to report on the work of either House any longer.Occasionally something still happens in the Commons or the Lords that is worthy of serious attention but because of its form elsewhere, such occasions fail to get the attention they deserve.

Such is the Bill proposed by Baroness Cox, which had its second reading in the Lords on Friday. Beneath its title (‘The Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill’) lies a debate which heads straight at one of the most important issues of our time: whether this country will make a stand on the principle of ‘one law for all’ or whether competing laws will be allowed to operate unchallenged by a timid government and weak legal system. As Baroness Cox said in her opening remarks:

‘Awareness of the need for the Bill arose from mounting evidence of serious problems affecting some women in this country from the application of Sharia law. I immediately reassure your Lordships that I am not anti-Muslim. Indeed, I am deeply concerned that Muslim women enjoy their full legal and civil rights under the law of this land. If women from other faiths experience comparable problems of systematic discrimination, the provisions of this Bill would also be available for them as it does not name any religion.

The problems I will highlight often arise because many women believe that Sharia courts are real courts and do not know that they have other rights under English law or they are pressured by their family or community not to seek those rights outside their community. I give two examples of the kinds of problems afflicting women in this country. I have met these women and witnessed their distress. One suffered such severe domestic violence that she was hospitalised. She was pressured by her family not to seek help from the police as this would bring “shame” on the community. She went to the local Sharia court or council and was told to return to her husband. She did so and suffered more domestic violence. Then her husband divorced her, went back to his country of origin and returned with a second wife. As a devout Muslim, she wanted a religious divorce to allow her to remarry in accordance with her faith but the Sharia court demanded her marriage certificate which her husba nd’s family kept. Attempts to retrieve it resulted in violence in the name of “honour”, as she was blamed for bringing shame on the family by seeking a divorce. Seven years later this devout and desperately lonely Muslim lady is still unable to obtain her divorce and remarry.

Secondly, a Muslim widow wanted to remarry but was told by the Sharia council or court that she must obtain the permission of a male relative. She had no male relative in this country so she had to travel to Jordan to obtain the written permission of a seven year-old boy relative in order to be able to remarry in this country. It is not surprising that another young woman complained, “I feel betrayed by Britain. I came to this country to get away from all this but the situation is worse here than in my country of origin”.

Other examples concern children. Under Sharia law a father who divorces his wife can claim custody of his children once they reach the age of seven. This gender discrimination violates the fundamental legal principle in this country that custody should be determined according to the best interests of the child. These examples are just the tip of an iceberg as many women live in fear, so intimidated by family and community that they dare not speak out or ask for help. A lady came to see me in my home. I shall never forget seeing her hide behind a tree because she was so terrified of being seen. We should not have such fear in this country.’

In an important contribution Lord Carlile of Berriew, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in the UK said:

‘I have particular concerns about Muslim arbitration tribunals-MATs, as they are known-which, as I understand it, have been in existence since 2007. Their effect is that dominant interpretations of Sharia law have effectively been given formal recognition within the law of England and Wales, even though they contradict the law of England and Wales. I have a real concern that MATs have strayed into criminal law, particularly in relation to its impact upon women.’

As Lord Kalms of Edgware said in his contribution to the debate:

‘The substance of the Bill is straightforward, and it should be acceptable to all Members of this House. It is this: that the law of the land is, and must remain, paramount; no law should ever override or sit above the law of this land; and, while amendments can and will be made to our laws, the fundamental bedrock principles on which our legal system is based not only cannot but must not be open for negotiation. Among our absolutely non-negotiable principles must be the principle of equality before the law. This hard-fought-for concept of one law for all remains among the greatest achievements not only of our country but of humankind. Any court not abiding 100% by the law of the land has no more status than a kangaroo court.’

And in conclusion:

‘Today this House has an opportunity to make a stand and draw a firm line. It should be this: that no British citizen should ever sit before a court or judge whose basic principles are in opposition to the most cherished principles of this country and its law. Whether we have the confidence to draw this line clearly will not only affect the issue of integration in this country, it will send out a signal about the kind of country we and our children would wish to live in.’

Sadly, after a number of other important contributions to the debate, Lord Gardiner of Kimble, speaking for the government brushed the whole thing away. After a range of abstract objections he said:

‘The Government are not convinced that introducing the measures proposed in this Bill…’

Fortunately Lord Carlile was back:

‘My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for giving way. He has given an Olympian exegesis of the processes and laws and consultations that are available to deal with the intellectual problem that underlies the Bill of the noble Baroness, Lady Cox. However, we are concerned here with real people and real cases. How long does my noble friend expect it will take before these Olympian provisions and attentions lead to the removal of these injustices from the history of real people in the United Kingdom?’

Lord Gardiner of Kimble:

‘I thank my noble friend for that intervention because it gives me an opportunity to conclude by saying that the Government are fully committed to protecting the rights of all citizens, and there is legislation in place to uphold those rights. What I said earlier is that the Government are actively working with groups to ensure that there is awareness and a change of attitude.’

More of the same wind follows. You can read the whole debate from here onwards. Of course the official line of the government remains that there is no need for a clarification or amendment of the arbitration act. The government’s line continues to be that there is nothing to see here, and please could everybody look away and move on. It is the view of a number of people who have recently been in the cabinet, and some who remain there. Thank goodness for Baroness Cox, that she and a range of other peers remain committed to highlighting issues which Parliament must address but all too rarely does address. If there were more people like Baroness Cox in the House and fewer Gardiners, Parliament might recover some of the esteem among the general public which it so conspicuously currently lacks.

[JP note: The British Government is the supreme enemy of the British people.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Tommy Robinson in Custody — Paul Weston of British Freedom Arrested While Trying to Arrange a Prison Visit.

by Esmeralda Weatherwax

On Saturday afternoon Tommy Robinson and 53 EDL men were heading towards London from three points in three separate vehicles. This is the Telegraph report…

Tommy has been remanded in custody until January; he is being held in one of the London prisons, either HMP Wormwood Scrubs or HMP Wandsworth. Paul Weston the leader of the British Freedom Party attended Wormwood Scrubs this evening seeking reassurance as to Tommy’s wellbeing and hoping to arrange a visit. The Prison authorities refused to even confirm that Tommy was in that prison and Paul Weston and a companion were arrested just after 9pm this evening on a charge of breaching the peace (or possibly the Met’s new favourite Contemplating a Breach of the Peace.) He was last heard of in a police van which was being driven to an unknown station…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Bosnia: Muslim Keeps Control of Srebrenica Mayor’s Office

A Muslim has maintained control of the mayor’s office in Srebrenica, the Bosnian town where 8,000 Muslim males were massacred by Serbian forces in 1995. Results released from the October 7 elections show Camil Durakovic getting reelected with more than 46 percent, according to the AFP news agency. Ethnic Serbian candidate Vesna Kocevic was reported taking around 39 percent…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Wiesenthal Center: US Must End Brotherhood Ties

Call comes after Egyptian President Morsi allegedly seen mouthing “Amen” to prayer by cleric urging destruction of Jews.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Monday reiterated its call to US President Barack Obama to sever ties with the Muslim Brotherhood after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi attended a prayer service during which an Islamic cleric called for the Jews to be destroyed. According to the Center, Egypt’s Channel 1 broadcast cleric Futouh Abd Al-Nabi Mansour’s sermon in which he prayed: “Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, disperse them, rend them as under. Oh Allah, demonstrate Your might and greatness upon them.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Groups Say Anti-Islam Film Defendant Being Mistreated

(Reuters) — Egyptian rights group said on Monday a Coptic Christian on trial for posting online a video that ignited protests around the globe for mocking Islam was being fed food unfit for human consumption and held in a cell plagued with insects.

Computer science graduate Alber Saber was arrested in Cairo last month after neighbours accused him of uploading sections of “Innocence of Muslims”, that was made in California…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Responsible for Benghazi Massacre

On October 19, 2012, I released a column laying out how Romney can destroy Obama on Foreign Policy based upon the disastrous mishandling of the Benghazi massacre. The following morning, I received a State Department document dump including more than a hundred pages of official “unclassified” cables between the Benghazi embassy and multiple Obama administration officials.

I was not the only person to receive this document dump. Our team spent the weekend fully vetting and organizing the State Department communications and preparing an Executive Summary Brief based upon those damning documents, connecting some dots to other related events unfolding during the same time frame within the Obama administration.

That brief along with the supporting evidence was delivered to the Romney campaign and posted for the general public on Sunday, as news was beginning to break regarding the State Department cables evidencing administration failures and intentional efforts to develop and promote a cover story aimed at protecting Barack Obama until after his re-election bid.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Trial of Egyptian Muslim Cleric Accused of Burning Holy Bible Resumes

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — The trial of an Egyptian Muslim cleric accused of tearing and burning the Holy Bible convened for the third time on Sunday, October 21 at Nasr City Misdemeanour Court. On trial were cleric Ahmed Abdallah, known as Abu-Islam, owner of al-Omma TV Channel, his son Islam and journalist Hani Mohammed Yasin, editor of al-Tahrir newspaper. They were charged with contempt of religion by the state prosecutor. Abu-Islam is charged with tearing and burning a copy the Holy Bible during demonstrations in front of the U.S. embassy on 9/11 (AINAÂ 9-14-2012).

Dozens of supporters of Abu-Islam disrupted the trial, ripped and burnt images of Jesus and the late Pope Shenouda III, and trod on them with their feet. A number of Christian Copts attempted to remove a banner on one of their cars which read “O Beloved [Abu-Islam] prophet of Allah.” According to eyewitnesses the confrontations were about to turn violent when security forces took control of the situation.

Abu-Islam’s supporters attempted to attack two Coptic lawyers, Dr Naguib Gabriel and Sherif Ramzy. “Court security guards intervened and hid us in their office for two hours,” said Gabriel, “and then drove us away in one of their cars from the court’s back entrance.”

During the previous court session on October 15, Abu-Islam’s supporters assaulted Coptic lawyers and activists with planks of wood, injuring attorneys Dr. Naguib Gabriel and Mr. Bebawi, as well as activist Rami Kamel of the Maspero Coptic Youth Federation.

Inside the court, defense lawyers for the three defendants were belligerently confrontational with the prosecution. Abu Islam’s lawyers withdrew from the case and applied for a change of venue, in protest of the lack of response from the court to their requests, specially their request to summon Bishop Pachomius, the acting Coptic Pope to attend court, “to ask him whether the ‘ripped book’ is the Holy Bible and whether it is used for worship in Egypt.”

The defense also requested the appearance of the editor in chief of al-Tahrir newspaper, to ask him how his reporter recorded without permission an interview with the defendant Abu-Islam, in which he criticized the Holy Bible and Copts. Defense also asked for a technical committee to investigate the tapes and CDs provided by claimants and Abu-Islam. The prosecutor described these requests as unrelated to the case, and asked the defense to reread the records of investigations where Abu-Islam’s statements matched his words on the videos outside the U.S. embassy (video) and denounced all requests for the acting Pope to appear in court.

Mamdouh Ramzi, one of the Coptic lawyers who joined the case as civil rights claimant, argued during the court session that the accused committed a great crime by tearing the Holy Bible, and incited the Muslim community to attack Copts, which threatens their lives, stressing that the Holy Bible is integral and there is no difference between the Holy Bible in Egypt and USA, otherwise the translated Koran would also not be considered sacred. Abu-Islam has argued that he only tore the English translation of the Bible used by pastor Terry Jones and not the Arabic Bible used by Copts in Egypt.

Abu-Islam is one of the most controversial Islamist figures gaining his reputation from insulting the Coptic Church, Copts and Christianity, by throwing doubts on the authenticity of the Holy Bible. “There is no such thing as a Bible on Earth,” he said recently on ON-TV Channel.

His al-Omma TV Channel does not transmit from Egypt but through a UK based company “in order not to embarrass the Egyptian government with the material I transmit, besides there will be a confrontation between me and the Coptic Church with all its ill-manners and its transgression against the Prophet Mohammad time after time, also the Copts might make a similar channel. This way I have my freedom!” he told Al-Watan newspaper in a recorded interview (video).

The case was adjourned to November 4, to decide on the request of the defense team to change the venue.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Women Demonstrate Against Constituent Assembly

Women rally against retrograde Islam, Ennahda

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, OCTOBER 23 — Hundreds of young Tunisian women demonstrated for women’s rights on Tuesday outside the Constituent Assembly, where President Moncef Barzouki, Assembly President Mustapha Ben Jafaar, and Premier Hamadi Jebali spoke before a near-empty hall, which had been deserted by the opposition. Officially, today was the Assembly’s last chance to work on the text of the country’s new constitution, a still-unfinished task.

While the country’s leaders spoke before benches deserted by the opposition, which holds that the interim government no longer has a legitimate mandate, outside, thousands of pro-government supporters that had been bused in on the public dime faced off with hundreds of Tunisian women, who waved 20-dinar bills at them in sign of contempt, and shouted slogans like “Tunisia is ours” and “Ghannouchi go away,” in reference to the Islamist politician and co-founder of the ruling Ennahda Movement, currently the largest party in Tunisia.

Ennahda now also faces opposition on its right flank, with Salafist Sheikh Abu Iyad, who is wanted for an attack on the American embassy, railing against the government’s lust for power and alleging that Salafist organization Ansar al-Sharia has created people’s defense committees.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tunisian Women Fight New ‘Sexist’ Constitution

A clause in Tunisia’s draft constitution has sparked uproar and concerns that women’s rights are under threat. Some Tunisian women are fighting back.

When Tunisia’s National Constitutional Assembly published the new draft constitution earlier this year, its references to women provoked outrage. One article stipulated that the roles of men and women “should complement each other within the household.” For decades, women in the North African nation have enjoyed some of the most far-reaching rights in the Arab world. Many have successful careers in business and politics. For example, women account for nearly half the lawmakers in the ruling Islamist Ennahda party. But some women now perceive the new definition of gender roles as a threat to their freedoms…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UN Envoy in Libya Concerned About Unfolding Military Developments in Bani Walid

While expressing praise for the “huge efforts” made by Libya’s leadership and others to bring a halt to violence which has plagued the country over recent months, the UN envoy for the North African nation today voiced concern about unfolding military developments in the city of Bani Walid. “In the interests of national reconciliation and long-term stability of the country, a mediated settlement is urgently needed,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Tarek Mitri, said in a news statement, in regard to events in Bani Walid, located some 170 kilometres south of the capital, Tripoli. According to media reports, Libyan army forces have launched a full-scale assault against the town, accusing it of being controlled by supporters of the former dictator Muammar al-Qadhafi, who was overthrown in 2011 after decades of autocratic rule…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Hamas Hails Qatari Emir’s Landmark Visit to Gaza

The emir of Qatar made a landmark visit to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, making him the only head of state to meet with Hamas since the militant Islamist group took control of the territory in 2007.

Thousands of Qatari and Palestinian flags lined the streets of the Palestinian territory of Gaza on Tuesday to welcome Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The visit by the ruler of Qatar to the isolated enclave was the first of any head of state since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power five years ago.

The emir entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and was accompanied by his wife, Sheikha Moza, and Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani.

Other high-level diplomats visiting Gaza in recent years have carefully avoided face-to-face meetings with Hamas leaders, but the emir was being greeted by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and several cabinet ministers on arrival.

“This visit has great political significance,” said Hamas government spokesman Taher al-Nun before the emir’s arrival. “He is the first Arab leader to break the political siege,” Nunu said, referring to a widespread international boycott of Hamas.

During his brief visit, the emir will inaugurate a $254-million Qatari reconstruction project in the Gaza Strip, which sustained major damage during a massive 22-day Israeli military operation in December 2008 and January 2009.

The ruler of the Gulf emirate was not scheduled to make a stop in the West Bank territory that is controlled by the Palestinian Authority — whom Hamas fought and ousted from Gaza in 2007.

“The emir has chosen his camp and it is not good,” Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israeli PM Warns “Hard” Response to Gaza Attack

JERUSALEM, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday vowed that his government is ready to give a “ very, very hard” response to an early morning Gaza militant attack against the Israeli army. In remarks to visiting Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, Netanyahu said Israel was “engaged in exchanges against terrorist aggression that comes from its southern border with Gaza … and a whole terror network that is supporting these attacks,” finger-pointing Iran as the ultimate culprit…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Qatar Visit Hands Hamas Major Victory, Reflects Muslin Brotherhood’s Growing Influence

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — When the ruler of Qatar arrives in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, he will hand the Palestinian territory’s Hamas rulers their biggest diplomatic victory since taking power five years ago. The first head of state to visit Hamas-controlled Gaza, the emir will deliver more than $250 million in aid, a move that will deepen the Islamic militant group’s control of Gaza and which reflects the rising influence of the Muslim Brotherhood across the region…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Qatar Ruler Begins Landmark Visit to Gaza

The emir of Qatar has arrived in the Gaza Strip — the first head of state to visit since the Islamist group Hamas came to power there in 2007.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is expected to launch a $254m (£158m) construction project to help rebuild the war-torn Palestinian territory. Qatar has become one of Hamas’s main benefactors since it fell out with Syria and has had a rift with Iran…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Waddling Emir Visits Gaza

by Hugh Fitzgerald

Qatar visit hands Hamas major victory, reflects Muslim Brotherhood’s growing …

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — When the ruler of Qatar arrives in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, he will hand the Palestinian territory’s Hamas rulers their biggest diplomatic victory since taking power five years ago.

The emir of Qatar. Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani — the one who tried to help those who take Islam most to heart to come oiut on top in anarchic fortunately fissiparous Libya, and is trying to do the same now in Syria — will no doubt announce large grants. And that’s good. The more the Western world realizes that the Muslim members of OPEC have received more than eighteen trillion dollars in oil-and-gas revenues since 1973 alone, and the mini-sheiklets of the Gulf are drowning in hundreds of billions that they hardly know what to do with, and that could be used to support fellow members of the Umma, so that the Western world can have yet another reason to cease all transfers of wealth to Muslims — the better…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

World First: Emir of Qatar Visits Gaza and Hamas

The emir set to launch a reconstruction project. Since 2007, it is the first time that a head of state visits the Gaza Strip. Concern of the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Qatar has replaced Damascus as a sponsor of the Islamist movement Hamas. The plan is to increasingly isolate Iran and strengthen the Sunni fundamentalist Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Doha (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (pictured), will visit the Gaza Strip today. It is the first time since 2007, when Hamas took power in Gaza, that a head of state has visited the area marked by an Israeli blockade and a conflict with the Palestinian Authority.

The rich sheik is set to launch a project of 254 million U.S. dollars for the reconstruction of the Palestinian territory, often the target of bombing by the Israeli army.

In the last two years, Qatar has become one of the most generous benefactors of Hamas, the Islamist movement accused of terrorism. In turn, Hamas, which had as its first sponsor Syria over the past two years has separated itself from Bashar al-Assad, criticizing its violence against the opposition. Since 1999, the political bureau of Hamas has always been based in Damascus last February Haniye Ismail, head of the government in Gaza, said that the office would be transferred to Egypt and Qatar.

The closer relations between Doha and Hamas are a further step towards the isolation of Syria, a plan that Qatar has been pursuing for years.

Qatar — which has not allowed any Arab spring within its borders — was the first Arab country to ask for a military intervention by the international community against Damascus and led the attack against Gaddafi’s Libya. Along with Saudi Arabia, it finances opposition groups fighting Assad with money and weapons.

Qatar is also an ally of the United States and maintains relations with Israel. The decision to support Hamas in Gaza has provoked concerned comments from the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli state.

A spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas said that the help of Qatar is good for the people of Gaza, but it is also “necessary to preserve the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people.” In 2007, Hamas took power in Gaza exiling the legitimate leaders of Fatah.

Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry considers Qatar’s decision to support the Islamist movement “not good”.

For many observers, aid to the Gaza Strip is part of a plan of Qatar (and Saudi Arabia) to detach Hamas from Iran to isolate Tehran. At the same time, it serves to reinforce Sunni fundamentalist Islam and the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood that has emerged in the region after the Arab Spring.

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

Middle East

EU’s Ashton on Five-Day Middle East Tour

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton kicks off a five-day Middle East tour with a stop Monday in Jordan where she visits Zaatary refugee camp, home to some 36,000 Syrians, her office said. During the stop, she will also meet King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, whose country is sheltering tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing the 20-month conflict…

[JP note: Ashton embarks on a five-day tour of tax-payer funded EU mischief, mayhem and madnesse.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Iraq: 8 People Killed in Bomb Attacks in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) — Up to eight people were killed and 15 wounded in a series of bomb attacks in northern and western Baghdad of Iraq on Tuesday morning, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua. The deadliest attack occurred when several mortar rounds landed in a residential area of Chikouk in Baghdad’s northern district of Kadhmiyah, killing up to seven people and wounded two others, the source said on condition of anonymity…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Lebanon: ‘Fate of the Nation at Stake’

Lebanon’s army warned that the “fate of the nation” was “at stake” on Monday as sectarian battles claimed seven lives and rival militias began establishing night-time checkpoints, raising fears of a return to civil war.

Almost overnight, Beirut has become a city fractured and divided according to religion, and support or opposition to Syria’s regime. The trigger was a car bomb that killed General Wissam al-Hassan, the Lebanese intelligence chief and a key opponent of Syria’s regime, in the capital on Friday. Many Lebanese blamed President Bashar al-Assad for this assassination. Mr Assad is loyal to the Alawite sect, a strand of Shia Islam, and Lebanese Shia are tarred by association…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria: Death Race Damascus: “13 Days in October”

Obama: Saudi and Muslim Brotherhood operative?

In Syria, the Mediterranean port of Tartus is the location of Russia’s only remaining naval base and sea port outside of their country. Accordingly, it is of significant strategic importance to Russia.

The port, as well as the stability of Syria is of critical security to Russia, not only from a defensive perspective, but also for the free flow of oil and gas to and from Russia. Turkey buys up to 80% of its natural gas from Russia, making that country Russia’s second largest client. Turkey’s role as an oil and energy supplier is predicated on the free flow of oil and gas from Russia and Iran. The status of relations are now being changed by external influences, namely the United States via the Obama-Muslim Brotherhood alliance and Saudi Arabia. Today, the Syrian Ambassador to Tehran stated that Turkey, in collusion with others, is attempting to revive the Ottoman Empire.

It is for this reason that Russia has upwards of 100,000 “advisors” in Syria. Despite their presence and warnings from Russia, we have been actively arming the anti-Assad rebels so that the Assad regime can be overthrown and replaced by a government sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.


It appears that Stevens was working for the CIA under the direction of the Clinton State Department and the Obama administration to facilitate the transfer of weapons, including portable surface to air missiles from Libya to the rebels or freedom fighters in Syria. It is now being revealed that the weapons “confiscated” in Libya were being moved by the ton from Benghazi to outposts in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan for their eventual use by anti-Assad rebels. Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood play a role in the weapons distribution, while the “freight” is paid by Turkey, Qatar and most importantly, Saudi Arabia.

The amount of weapons is staggering. It is estimated that within the last year, between 30-40 million pounds of weapons were transported out of Libya.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Illogic of Empire

by Daniel Greenfield

The British Empire may have made a mess of the Middle East but at least it knew what it wanted to do with it. That is more than can be said for our latest round of aimless fumblings in the region. Our latest project to flip Syria from the Shiite into the Sunni column might at best balance out the time we flipped Iraq from the Sunni into the Shiite column, but that just means we’re moving territories back and forth between two groups that hate us equally…

Americans will make bad Muslims and Muslims will make bad Americans…

The great fallacy of the Pax Americana is to think of the Middle East as a problem to be solved. In the Cold War, American Middle Eastern policy picked up where the British had left off, finding rulers we could work and propping them up to keep the Commies out of the oil wells. But the Commies are gone now. There are commercial empires in Russia and China looking to dip their trade tentacles everywhere without regard to ideology. And there are developing Islamist empires looking to export their ideology the way that the Commies used to.

It might make a sense of amount of practical sense to stomp on those, but instead we have been aiding and abetting them on the theory that they will bring stability to the region. Because Islam is nothing if not a great stabilizer, as the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq could tell you if they weren’t busy shooting each other. The tempting illusion that the American policymakers fell into after September 11 was the belief that our practical and moral goals would be one and the same. That we would act as liberators bringing freedom and stability, overthrowing dictators and leaving behind countries that would aligned our way because they were democracies with human rights and fast food franchises. Instead our interests have taken a back seat to the romance of liberation. Like Lawrence of Arabia, we have fallen in love with a myth of liberation while ignoring its tawdry reality…

Empire is the surest path to Islamization. It isn’t an empire that we need, certainly not an ideological crusade to liberate Arab Muslims from the cultural consequences of being Arab Muslims. What we need is to return our focus to the nation, to the fundamentally unilateral prerogatives of putting ourselves, our borders, our freedoms and our security first. When we can do that, then we can meet the Islamic empire, as we have met all the other empires, on the right side of a secure border that we can protect and defend against Islamization and the armies of Islam.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Istanbul for James Bond Fans

‘Skyfall’, the latest in the Bond series, also stars Istanbul — and there are few more fitting cities for 007, as Sarah Knapton discovers.

We’re standing in Eminonu Square in the old quarter of Istanbul and our guide is pointing out a historic Ottoman fountain in front of a mosque. The carving is intricate and Moorish, the marble worn into channels from years of running water

“Go on, have a guess how old it is,” he twinkles, his eyes brimming with childish mischief. Dutifully we indulge him. Fifteenth century? Fourteenth? Earlier? “No!” he beams. “It’s circa 2012. It’s a piece of the James Bond set.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: German Special Forces Capture Top Taliban Commander Who Controlled Network of Suicide Bombers Preying on Petrol Supply Lines

German special forces in Afghanistan have seized a top Taliban commander who controlled a network of suicide bombers and fighters who preyed on Nato petrol supply lines.

Mullah Abdul Rahman and another Taliban commander were seized by officers of the elite KSK unit who were dropped in by helicopter near the village of Ghunday Kalay in Kunduz Province, northern Afganistan.

Rahaman, who is described as a major figure in the uprising against Nato forces in the region, was found with a Joint Prioritized Effects List (JPEL) which is a classified Nato document detailing Taliban operatives it wants captured.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Buddhists Continue Terrorist Attacks Against Muslims in Myanmar

TEHRAN (FNA)- Recent reports from Myanmar unveiled the start of a new round of atrocities and brutalities by the Buddhist community against the Rohingya Muslims.

The Asian Tribune in an article titled ‘Letter from America: Buddhist Terrorism, No Longer Myth’ by Habib Siddiqui wrote that a Buddhist religious organization by approving new regulations which are also supported by the Myanmar government is plotting to completely eliminate the Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims. It noted that the Myanmar Post newspaper on its front page last week reported about a meeting of Karen Religious Protection Organization that was held on October 14 in Mae Baung Monastery, in Pha-an township. The meeting was attended by more than 100 Buddhists, including chief administrators from all the nine quarters.

The so-called (Karen Religious) Protection Organization announced four sets of Rules epitomizing intolerance against the Muslims of Myanmar. Zwe Kapin Taung Abbot U Widaza announced the four rules: (1) Prohibiting selling and renting of Buddhist-owned houses, land, farming land, and orchard to Muslims of Myanmar; (2) Prohibiting Buddhist women to marry with Muslims; (3) Buddhists should patronize the Buddhist shops only; (4) Prohibiting Buddhists from allowing themselves to use their names from buying or renting Buddhist-owned houses, land, farming land, and orchard for Muslims. It was also announced that anyone who would disobey the above rules would be punished severely…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Burma Rakhine Violence: Three Killed in Clashes

Three people have been killed in clashes between Muslims and Buddhists in the western Burmese state of Rakhine, officials say.

Some 300 houses in a number of villages have been burnt down, Rakhine’s attorney general told BBC Burmese. This is the first serious violence since June when a state of emergency was declared in Rakhine after deadly clashes between the two communities…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Fresh Violence in Myanmar Leaves Mosque, Monastery Burned

(CNN) — Fresh sectarian clashes in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine killed three people and left more than 400 houses, a monastery and a mosque burned to the ground, authorities said Tuesday. The clashes began Sunday night and spread to four townships, said state Attorney General Hla Thein. Rakhine is home to the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority who say they have been persecuted by the Myanmar military during its decades of authoritarian rule…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Anti-Christian Violence: Extremists Set Fire to Protestant Church in Poso

An unidentified group set fire to the Madele Pentecostal Church. Quick action by Church members as well as some Muslims brought the blaze under control, limiting the damages. In another incident, blasts wounded three people, including two police agents. Sectarian tensions raise fears.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — The city of Poso, in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi, has been the scene of renewed sectarian violence against the local Protestant minority. Overnight on Sunday, unknown assailants set fire to the Madele Pentecostal Church. The quick intervention of the congregation stopped the fire from spreading and spared the building from serious damages. The anti-Christian attack “occurred last night around midnight,” Poso Police Chief Eko Santoso said, confirming the sectarian nature of the incident. Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim nation, but Poso Regency (District) has a large Christian community. It saw bloody clashes that left thousands of people dead on both sides until a peace deal was struck in 2002.

The fire started when a collection box was doused with petrol and then set alight. Flames eventually spread to the pastor’s residence. Only the intervention of the fire department and volunteers prevented the blaze from causing major damages to the two buildings. Rev Aben thanked villagers, including “some Muslims,” who came to rescue, playing a decisive role in preventing the fire from spreading.

Yesterday, two car bombs also exploded near a police traffic post, wounding three people, including two police agents on duty at the time. Investigators believe the post was the target.

“The terrorist group used a sophisticated device in which they detonated the bomb remotely through a mobile handset,” one agent said.

In recent weeks, Poso has been the scene of renewed sectarian violence. The port city has seen attacks against Christian-owned buildings, including places of worship.

Two law enforcement agents have also been murdered under mysterious circumstances. They went missing whilst investigating a recent attack against a prominent member of the Christian community. Their bodies were found after eight days on the side of a road near a training centre connected to an extremist Muslim group.

Between 1997 and 2001, Christians and Muslims were involved in a violent conflict on Sulawesi Island and neighbouring Maluku Islands. Thousands of people died and hundreds of churches and mosques were destroyed. Thousands of homes were also razed. About half a million people found themselves homeless, 25,000 in Poso alone.

On 20 December 2001, the two sides reached a truce that was signed in Malino, South Sulawesi, following a peace initiative by the government. The local population is evenly split between Christians and Muslims.

Despite the peace deal, terrorist incidents continued on and leaving a trail of innocent victims. One of the most horrific cases, which caused indignation around the world, was the beheading by Muslim extremists in October 2005 of three Christian girls on their way to school.

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

NATO’s Plan is Working in Afghanistan

by Anders Fogh Rusmussen

Violence is falling and normal life is on the rise in many areas. Now it’s the Afghans’ turn

I have just returned from Afghanistan, having seen real progress which too rarely receives the attention it merits. We have a clear plan to put Afghans in charge of their own security by the end of 2014. That is what the Afghans themselves want, and what we agreed with our partners in the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) at Nato’s Lisbon summit in 2010. We are sticking with that plan because it is working…

[JP note: With leaders of this calibre, it is quite obvious tha t the West deserves to lose the war against Islam and that everyone will benefit from a return to the Dark Ages.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan President Backs Away From Operation Against Militants After Malala Shooting

Pakistan has signalled it has no intention of launching a military offensive against militant havens, dashing hopes that the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old girl, would galvanise the country for action.

President As if Ali Zardari added his voice to those cautioning against action during a conference of the South Asian Free Media Association, saying there was no consensus among political parties in the country…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Rakhine: More Clashes Between Burmese and Rohingya, Three Killed and 300 Houses Burnt

The outbreak of violence concentrated in the town of Min Bya, but is likely to spread throughout the state. It is the first serious incident since fighting last June. Accusations traded over responsibility. A group of Buddhist monks calls for Muslim “sympathizers” to be denounced and advocates the creation of a sort of “moral police”.

Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Fresh tensions in Rakhine State, western Myanmar, near the border with Bangladesh, following violent clashes between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority Rohingya in Burma. On the night of October 21 clashes errupted between the two opposing sides in different areas of the town of Min Bya, which continued all day yesterday. The final toll is three dead — two Muslim women — and at least 300 homes burned in several villages in the area. It is the first serious incident since last June, when the authorities declared a state of emergency to stop the violence between Buddhists and Muslims, which has caused dozens of deaths.

For weeks, the Rakhine State was the scene of continual outbreaks of tension, while across the country a fierce campaign was sparked against the Rohingya Muslim minority, the Burmese ethnic group considered “foreign” and deprived of the right of citizenship. Even the “reformer” president Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi have yet to take a clear position on the matter, with the Nobel Peace Laureate calling for the implementation of the “rule of law”, but without clarifying if the Rohingya are full-fledged citizens of Myanmar.

Throughout the day yesterday several homes were set on fire, in a continuous escalation of violence. At the moment it is not clear what gave rise to clashes with Muslims and Buddhists who are trading accusations of responsibilities. In August, the Burmese authorities formed a commission of inquiry to verify the facts of what occurred in the previous weeks, while rejecting the idea of ??relying on feedback from a survey carried out by experts of the United Nations. Among other things, Naypyidaw has stopped and arrested a group of aid workers belonging to the UN and international human rights organizations.

In June, the District Court Kyaukphyu in the State of Rakhine sentenced three Muslims, deemed responsible for the rape and killing in late May of Thida Htwe, a young Buddhist Arakanese, which was the source of violent sectarian clashes between Muslims and Buddhists ( cf. AsiaNews 19/06/2012 Rakhine, ethnic violence: three death sentences for the rape-murder of a woman). In the following days, an angry crowd, killed 10 Muslims entirely unconnected with the incident. The spiral of hatred has caused the death of 29 others, including 16 Muslims and 13 Buddhists. According to official sources at least 2,600 homes were set alight, while hundreds of Rohingya refugees have sought refuge abroad.

The climate of tension in the area is being fomented by appeals in the last hours by a group of Burmese monks of the State of Rakhine to target Rohingya “sympathizers”, labeling them as “traitors”. In a document released by the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), the All-Arakanese Monks’ Solidarity Conference is inviting locals to disseminate images of those who support the Muslim minority, in fact legitimizing personal violence and targeted attacks that are likely to exacerbate the conflict. The report also puts forward in ten points the birth of a Safety Committee chaired by Buddhist monks, required to ensure compliance with the law and discipline, as well as “the spread of religion.” A sort of moral police, along the lines of paramilitary forces found in many Islamic countries, like Saudi Arabia or Iran.

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

Australia — Pacific

Aussie Muslim Convert Recounts Ordeal of Receiving 40 Lashes for Alcohol Drinking, Taking Drugs

A 32-year-old male Australian who is an Islam convert recounted on Sunday before the Burwood Local Court the physical ordeal he suffered under the hands of four fellow Muslims for drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

Cristian Martinez received 40 whips from Zakaryah Raad, 21, Tolga Cifci, 21, Wassim Fayad, 44, and Cengiz Coskun, 22. However, the four pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The incident happened in July 2012 at the Silverwater home of Mr Martinez. The four defended their action as part of the cleansing of Mr Martinez under the Sharia law for his offence of imbibing alcohol and drugs…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Forty Lashes for Having a Drink

THE man whipped 40 times with an electrical cord has told he a court he “trusted” one of his alleged attackers, and still believes in the Muslim faith.

But Cristian Martinez has rejected a suggestion that he accepted the punishment as part of his faith, saying “I never heard the phrase Sharia law until after (the incident).”

Zakaryah Raad, 21, Tolga Cifci, 21, Wassim Fayad, 44 and Cengiz Coskun, 22 have all pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after the alleged attack at Mr Martinez’s Silverwater home in July last year.

They also deny stealing CCTV from the 32-year-old’s home.

Mr Martinez told the court today that Fayad, who he calls Brother Fadi, had “always given me good advice and never let me down” during the three years they had known each other prior to the incident last year.

Digital Pass — $5 weekend papers

The court heard Mr Martinez asked for his help after drinking and taking cocaine at the Ivy nightclub.

Mr Martinez, who said today he is still “100 per cent committed” to being a Muslim has described vomiting and begging for the lashes to stop.

He said he contacted a sheik the next day to ask about the lashings “and if it was for real.”

“I explained to him what had happens and he told me, he goes it was wrong, it was wrong for them (to do it),” he said.

He rejected a suggestion from Fayad’s lawyer that “you thought this was the punishment you needed to rid you of drug and alcohol addiction.”

“I just trusted Brother Fadi,” Martinez said.

Yesterday, Martinez sais his attackers told him it was his body being “cleansed” by Allah and the “unbearable pain” was so bad he wanted to jump from his balcony rather than face more lashings.

“I knew I had done the wrong thing, but I couldn’t believe I was getting these hits,” he said.

The hearing continues before Magistrate Brian Maloney.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Freedom of Speech is Deader in Australia

A few months ago I wrote that freedom of speech is dead in Australia. This was prompted by two incidents — the trial of blogger and broadcaster Andrew Bolt, who had had the temerity to suggest that white-looking Australians with only a tiny proportion of aboriginal blood in them might possibly be taking the **** by using their supposed “traditional owner” ethnic status to screw money, influence and sympathy out of Australia’s guilt-ridden welfare system. The other was the report on media regulation by Australia’s answer to Leveson — activist lawyer Raymond Finkelstein — which demanded stringent new codes of practice to ensu re that in future all Aussie media outlets looked, sounded and read like the ABC and/or Fairfax group…

[Reader comment by johnmcevoy on 23 October 2012 at 7:12 am.]

I worked in Australia about 30 years ago. I’m amazed how greeny-lefty-commie-watermelon types have been allowed to take over the place. Man-up, Oz, for Christ’s sake.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Police Investigate as Fake Election Flyer Purportedly From Moreland Candidate Mohamed Elrafihi Promises More Mosques

POLICE are investigating a fake council election flyer that claims a Muslim candidate wants to build more mosques in the suburbs.

The flyer is purportedly from Moreland Council candidate Mohamed Elrafihi, who is standing for north-east ward. It says: “I know that like me you believe that it is important to give minorities a voice.” “That’s why, after speaking to local congregations, I will be advocating for the construction of a Mosque in Moreland. It is important to me that we engage and give voice to our brothers and sisters in Coburg and Fawkner have a palce (sic) where they can pray… It’s time to deliver, time to deliver new Mosques in Moreland.” Mr Elrafihi, 26, said today he had no such policy, but he believed that thousands of the fake flyers with his name misspelt had bee n distributed in Fawkner. “They are playing the religious card and trying to cause tensions between communities,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Bombings Continue to Rock Somalia’s Port City Kismayo

Kismayo — Witnesses say at least two bomb explosions have rocked at early hours on Monday morning in the seaside strategic Somalia’s southern city of Kismayo, the latest in series of attacks and explosions in the city since Somali and Kenyan forces moved in. Unidentified attackers hurled hand grenades into at the regional administration offices in the city, causing unconfirmed casualties. Kenyan troops from the African Union force and their Somali allies entered the former Islamist bastion early this month…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Four Killed as Muslim Protesters Attack Ethiopia Prison

Four people were killed in eastern Ethiopia when a group of armed demonstrators raided a police station following protests over alleged government interference in Muslim affairs, an official said on Monday. Thousands of people have staged weekly street protests and mosque sit-ins in the Horn of Africa country’s capital for nearly a year, arguing that the government is promoting an “alien” branch of Islam — the Al Ahbash sect — which is avowedly apolitical and has numerous adherents in the United States. The protesters say the government controls Ethiopia’s highest Muslim body, the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs, and has prevented long-overdue elections that could bring alternative views onto the Council. Officials deny interference and accuse the demonstrators of plotting to spread “extremism” in the country, which is 63 percent Christian and 34 percent Muslim, according to official figures…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

NGO Decries Endorsement of Girl Child Marriage by Sudan’s State-Controlled Clerics

Khartoum — The head of Sudan’s main clerical authority, the Religious Scholars Committee (RSC), has publicly advocated girl child marriage, drawing the ire of women activists rights who called for an immediate ban against the practice. According to The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA ), a local NGO, RSC’s chairman Mohamed Osman Salih, made his endorsement of girl child 0marriage in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on 17 October during a debate organized by the United Nation Fund for Population (UNFPA) in collaboration with the Sudanese Ministry of Religious Guidance on Girl’s Child Marriage…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

German Pro-Life Groups Complain to UN Human Rights Council About Attacks, Harassment

BRUSSELS, October 19, 2012 ( — Physical attacks and property damage, negative stereotyping by the media and infringement of freedom of assembly and expression are just part of a normal day’s work for pro-life activists in Europe, according to German pro-life groups.

The two pro-life organizations, “Kostbare Kinder” (Precious Children) and the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, are submitting briefs to the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council, saying that people publicly opposed to abortion are subject to regular harassment.

“Four times the windows of our life-center have been destroyed since October 2008. And very often the walls have been scrawled with left radical and/or blasphemous slogans,” Kostbare Kinder said.

In their brief, the group says that the Agency for Public Order in Freiburg has “restricted access” for one mile around the entrance area of a pro-abortion pregnancy counseling and abortion service.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


“God is Not a Dictator”

The Koran has thus far been subjected to erroneous interpretation, says Mouhanad Khorchide, professor of Islamic Religious Education at the University of Munster. Khorchide is calling for an emancipation of the faith. Interview by Arnfrid Schenk and Martin Spiewak

Professor Khorchide, what was your reaction to the recent controversial Mohammed film on YouTube?

Mouhanad Khorchide: I thought it was tedious and tasteless. I didn’t recognise the Prophet Mohammed as he was portrayed in the film so I didn’t feel it was directed at me as a Muslim.

Many Muslims find it difficult to adopt this attitude, what is your advice to them?

Khorchide: Ignore it, don’t allow yourselves to be provoked. The film is a trap laid specifically to provoke, and Muslims repeatedly fall into this trap.

Why do Muslims react in this way to insults aimed at the Prophet? After all, unlike Jesus he doesn’t have divine status.

Khorchide: The problem lies elsewhere. On such occasions, Muslims vent their pent-up anger. The video itself isn’t the cause of the agitation, just the trigger. The Islamic collective memory is still etched by crusades, the colonial era and what is perceived as an unjust Middle East policy, as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You have just written a new book in which you describe the Koran as a love letter from God to humanity. How did you arrive at this interpretation? The Koran would normally be described as a powerful book — and in the West also as a dangerous one.

Khorchide: The question is: which image of God are we talking about? Many Muslims assume that their God wants to be glorified, that he despatches orders and makes sure these orders are obeyed. Those who obey are rewarded, and those who don’t are punished. But this is a perception of God similar to that of a tribal leader who cannot be challenged. This is why many Muslims view the Koran as a rulebook…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Myths of a Muslim Antichrist

by Jeremy Stevens

Ever since the followers of Mohammad stormed across the Middle East in the 6th century, Christians have feared this aggressive religion. Aside from the three hundred year struggle of the Crusades, Christians and Muslims have clashed time and again. Wherever Islam grows, the established Christian society finds itself besieged by the resilience of Islamic culture, and occasionally by the power of Muslim armies. Lebanon, Nigeria, Egypt, Syria — all of these countries have seen their Christian minorities oppressed as Islamic birthrates continue to dominate their Christian adversaries. In the 21st century, Americans are rightfully afraid of the terror wrought by radical Islamist groups. From the recent killing of our ambassador in Libya to the terror of 9/11, Americans are on the front line of the War on Terror…

No, the antichrist will not come from a Muslim land. The biblical, cultural, and historical evidence is too strong against the prospect. More likely, the antichrist will come from the heir of the Roman Empire — the Western world. Rather than declared a heretic and beheaded, the antichrist’s blasphemous opinions will be welcomed with open arms in post-Christian Europe as trendy and edgy. If you’re planning to take that once-in-a-lifetime getaway trip to Europe with your spouse, do it sooner than later.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Counterintuitive Jihad

by Abukar Arman

Gone are the days when avoidance of religious and political discussions was essential to retaining friendships. Today, discussing these two topics in the public and private squares is essential to peace, coexistence, development and progress! At hand is the most misunderstood and indeed most abused moral concept of the 21st century: the doctrine of Jihad. Of course, jihad was not prescribed for humanity in the 21st century; it was merely shoved into the limelight by the events of 9/11 onto a dichotomous stage of political theater designed to keep Islam and the West apart. The script was written and the actors played their roles. To some the “Clash of Civilizations” was unavoidable, and the “‘good” must prevent “evil”, preemptively in order to minimize risk. For over a decade now ‘the Clashists’ and their propaganda engines have been operating in full force to demonize Islam and Muslims by misinforming the average person (Western or Eastern, Muslim or non-M uslim).

So, what is Jihad?


[JP note: Risible. Anyway, always distrust anyone who uses exclamation marks.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

We Need a 21st Century Voltaire Test to Fight the Growing Power of Censorship Around the World

by Rumy Hasan

Religious groups everywhere — and particularly Muslim ones — are demanding limits to free expression which are unacceptable, dangerous and counter-productive

In the context of the Pussy Riot trial in Moscow, the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims, the cartoons of the Prophet Mohommed in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and the pulling of the repeat showing of Islam: the Untold Story by Channel 4, there is again much discussion and debate about freedom of expression and its limitations.

The Moscow court made its position clear by imprisoning the three women band members, a verdict supported by the offended parties, Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church; though one member of the band has won her appeal. In regard to the anti-Islam film, those offended by and protesting against it (Salafists in the main) demand nothing less that the death penalty for the makers of the film — a demand backed by and incentivised with a bounty of $100,000 by a politician in a country where the blasphemy law reigns supreme, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan…

[JP note: Racist.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Who Are These World Evangelical Alliance Panelists?

Do we have reason to be concerned how Wycliffe and SIL International have presented the Gospel to Muslims? Responding to the criticism and concern of many, Wycliffe asked the World Evangelical Alliance to select experts to examine this issue.

Yet, where do these WEA-selected panelists themselves stand on issues such as evangelism, contextualization, and Muslim Bible translations?


Have any of the panelists ever advocated the Insider Movement, where converted (?) Muslims are encouraged to stay in Islam, worship in mosques, acknowledge Muhammed as Allah’s prophet, while supposedly following the biblical Jesus?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]