Monday, January 13, 2003

News Feed 20130106

Financial Crisis
»50,000 General Motors Union Workers Will Receive Bonuses of Between $5,500 and $7,000
»Italian Unemployment to Worsen in 2013, Study Says
»Diana West: The Most Admired Woman in the World
»Huntsville’s Osher Lifetime Learning Class Offers History, Culture of Islam (Updated)
»Hussam Ayloush: ‘Deception’ Film Promotes Intolerance of Islam
»NASA Seeking to Lease or Sell Space-Shuttle Facilities
»New Tampa Mosque Leaders Want to Create Positive Image of Muslims
»Norwalk Officials to Review Mosque Options Next Week
»Obama Administration Faces Senate Inquiry Over Links to Zero Dark Thirty
Europe and the EU
»France: Will Charlie Hebdo Fail to Provoke Muslims This Time?
»Germany: Angela Merkel Pictured With Blacked-Up Children
»Greece: Coalition Parties Closes Ranks on Lagarde List Probe
»Satirical French Mag Rethinks Approach to Islam
»UK: ‘Terrorists’ Favourite Bookseller’ Has Conviction Quashed
»UK: Al-Qaeda Suspect Accused Over Plot to Bomb the New York Subway is Extradited to U.S. By British Government
»UK: Afghanistan Soldier Found Hanged at His Swansea Home
»UK: Binmen Collect Rubbish Once in Eight Weeks Because it Was ‘Too Dark’ For Them to See Binbags
»UK: Malala Yousufzai Waves Goodbye to Hospital Staff in Birmingham
»UK: Mosque Plan for Chippy
»UK: Our Once Great RSPCA is Being Destroyed by a Militant Tendency
»UK: Roger Scruton: When Will the Conservative Party Fight for England?
»Vatican Cardinal Rues Islamist Violence, Sharia Imposition
»Winter-Only Weddings — Bulgarian Muslims Say ‘I Do’
»Kosovo Still the Balkan Front Line Against Radical Islam
North Africa
»Egypt’s Grand Mufti Responds to Attacks on Islam in New Book
»Egypt-UAE Relations Worsen With ‘Brotherhood’ Arrests
»Egyptian Islamist Party Splits
»Morocco: A Journey From Mosques to Breasts Via Satellite Dish
Israel and the Palestinians
»Abbas’ Fatah Movement Marks Anniversary in Gaza First Time in Six Years
»Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Army and Palestinians in West Bank
»PA Slams Israel Measures Against Al-Ibrahimi Mosque
»Streets of Gaza Turn to Gold as Thousands Rally to Fatah Cause
Middle East
»Alistair Burt MP: The Prospects for Syria in 2013
»Applebaum on Islam
»How Some Medieval Cultures Adapted to Rise of Islam
»Qatar: 30 Detainees Embrace Islam at Search and Follow Up Department
»UAE: Public Works Finish 3 Projects
»UAE: Abu Dhabi to Have 10 New Mosques
South Asia
»Afghan Census Dodges Questions of Ethnicity and Language
»Four-Legged Soldiers Serving in Afghanistan
»Hindu Girls Still Targeted for Rape in Pakistan: World Remains Silent
»Israel’s National Library Buys 1,000-Year-Old Jewish Documents From Afghanistan
»Malaysia: ‘Political Islam’ And Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Part Two) — Clive Kessler
»Thailand Deports Rohingya Muslims
»Thailand Launches TV Channel Geared for Muslims
Far East
»China: Father Hires in-Game “Hitmen” To Deter Son From Playing
Australia — Pacific
»Dad, Triplets Granted Bail After Brawl in Bankstown
»Infidel Police Intervene in Muslim ‘Domestic’; Muslims Riot, Attack and Injure Police
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Ghana: Gov. Dickson Tasks Muslims on Peaceful Co-Existence
»Somalia, Its Neighbours and Al-Shabaab — The Quest for Sustainable Solutions
»Uganda: Police on Alert Over Muslims
Latin America
»Argentina: The Sun Hits Back at Argies’ Latest Falklands Claim
»Brazil: Muslim Education Council for Latin American and Carribbean Countries Proposed in São Paulo
»David Cameron Pledges to ‘Do Everything’ To Protect Falkland Islands After Argentinian President Takes Out Newspaper Ads on 180th Anniversary of ‘Colonial Rule’
»Venezuela: World Media Consider Life After Chavez
»‘Illegal Migrants’ Ordered to Leave Britain Had Returned Home Years Ago
»In Trapani: On the Island of Lampedusa, Italians Want Separate Bus Lines for the Muslim Illegals Who Keep Arriving by the Boatload
Culture Wars
»Never Mind Banning the Hijab, What About the Banning of the Cross?
»‘N-Word’ To be Removed From Children’s Classics in Germany
»The Church of England Criticised Over ‘Unenforceable’ Gay Bishop stance
»Jason Thompson’s House of 1000 Manga

Financial Crisis

50,000 General Motors Union Workers Will Receive Bonuses of Between $5,500 and $7,000

Roughly 50,000 General Motors union workers will receive bonuses of between $5,500 and $7,000 to close out 2012, say sources familiar with internal discussions between United Auto Worker officials.

In 2009, General Motors scored a $49.5 billion bailout from the U.S. government.

Last week, the Treasury Department announced it will sell General Motors 200 million shares before 2013, reducing the government’s stake in GM from 26.5% to 19%. Over the next 15 months, the Treasury will sell its remaining GM holdings.

But given that GM’s stock would need to be roughly double its current trading price for the government to break even, taxpayers are expected to lose between $10 and $12 billion on the GM bailout.

In 2012, the United Auto Workers spent $11.8 million to help elect Democrats and President Barack Obama.

[Return to headlines]

Italian Unemployment to Worsen in 2013, Study Says

Gap widens between north and south

(ANSA) — Rome, January 2 — Italy’s 10.8% unemployment rate is due to climb in 2013 to 11.4%, as the gap widens between north and south, according to a report Wednesday. The study, compiled by the national union of chambers of commerce Unioncamere and research company Prometeia, said southern regions faced an 18% jobless rate on average.

Calabria will be hit the hardest with 20.6% unemployment this year, followed by Sicily at 19.6% and Campania at 19.3%, the report predicted.

Trentino-Alto Adige, the small region bordering Austria, faces 5.8% unemployment, the lowest in the country, according to the study. Ferruccio Dardanello, the president of Unioncamere, said there were “some signs of recovery” in the year ahead. “For this reason we need to redouble efforts to give a boost in confidence to Italians,” he added. “We absolutely need to revive investments, without which there can be no sustainable development, as well as the internal market, which depends on a real recovery in employment levels”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Diana West: The Most Admired Woman in the World

Americans, Gallup tells us, admire Hillary Clinton more than any other woman in the world — again. This latest accolade marks the 17th time Gallup has found Clinton to be the Most Admired Woman (MAW?) since she became first lady nearly 20 years ago. Only Eleanor Roosevelt (13 MAWs) comes close. Only Mother Teresa (1995 and 1996) and Laura Bush (2001) have interrupted Clinton’s winning streak, and even then, Clinton came in second.

And therein lies America’s cosmic flaw. A country that could time and again embrace Hillary Clinton as its MAW has lost its mind or its memory or both.

Does the phrase “congenital liar” tinkle any bells? I know such non-admirable sentiments are thought to be in the worst of taste, if not also banishable offenses. Still, as conjured by the late New York Times columnist William Safire in 1996, the phrase described the then-first lady for her shameless prevarications. These included what sure looked like bribery (“cattle futures”), defrauding taxpayers (“Whitewater”), obstructing justice — or, rather, “finding” her Rose Law Firm billing records (under subpoena for two years) just days after the statute of limitations ran out — among other corrupt behaviors that must have slightly suppressed Hillary-admiration that same year. The phrase remains apt.

“I remember landing under sniper fire,” Clinton declared on the presidential campaign trail in 2008, describing a 1996 trip to Bosnia. “There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down (chuckles) to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” It was a vivid but debunkable whopper, as CBS footage of the event proved. In reality, Clinton, accompanied by daughter Chelsea, made her ceremonial way into Bosnia through a warm throng marked by smiling faces and a kiss from a local girl — not bullets. Admirable?

On a more nationally significant level, Clinton recently supported President Obama’s Big Lie that a movie trailer of “Innocence of Muslims” on YouTube “resulted” (her word) in the September attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya — a concerted falsehood for which neither Clinton nor Obama nor former CIA Director David Petraeus has yet answered. Even several days after intelligence agencies determined that a planned assault, not a video-driven protest, had taken place, Clinton went so far as to promise a grieving Charles Woods, father of slain former SEAL Tyrone Woods, that “we” were going to have the video maker “arrested and prosecuted.”

Why was Clinton still perpetuating the false narrative that the exercise of free speech under the First Amendment, not Islamic jihad, had resulted in the attack? Was that admirable?…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

Huntsville’s Osher Lifetime Learning Class Offers History, Culture of Islam (Updated)

When Gulsum Kucuksari, who was raised as a Muslim in Turkey, came to the U.S., she heard some surprising things about her faith. “People were telling me about these 77 virgins for terrorists, and I didn’t understand it — in all my life, I have never heard this,” Kucuksari said. “The Quran does not promise virgins for terrorists.” She was describing the class on Islam she teaches for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Huntsville. “I thought it was funny.”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Hussam Ayloush: ‘Deception’ Film Promotes Intolerance of Islam

In her recent editorial, Rory Cohen uses the O.C. Register to promote a documentary called “The Grand Deception.” The film’s producer, Steven Emerson, is described as an “award-winning journalist,” yet Cohen fails to mention that Emerson has a rich history of peddling dubious claims against Muslims and Islam. If readers are going to get a taste of Emerson’s work, they should also know that Emerson is a self-declared expert on terrorism who falsely claimed that 80 to 85 percent of United States mosques were controlled by extremists after 9/11. This claim, parroted by the likes of Rep. Peter King (R-NY), dates back to a comment made by a fringe Muslim cleric, Sheikh Hisham Kabbani, in 1999. It was later found to be dubbed highly unsubstantiated, according to the Washington Post’s “Fact Checker.”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

NASA Seeking to Lease or Sell Space-Shuttle Facilities

Does anyone need a 15,000-foot landing strip? How about a place to assemble rocket ships? Or a parachute-packing plant? An array of aerospace tracking antennas? A launchpad?

Make us an offer, says NASA, which is quietly holding a going-out-of-business sale for the facilities used by its space-shuttle program.

The last shuttle flight ended in July 2011, when Atlantis made its final touchdown. That orbiter, like its sisters Discovery and Endeavour, is now a museum piece. As soon as some remaining cleanup and wind-down are finished at Kennedy Space Center, the shuttle program will be history.

That has prompted NASA to advertise a long list of KSC facilities and equipment as available for use, lease or, in some cases, outright purchase by the right business.

Among them: Launch Pad 39A, where shuttles were launched; space in the Vehicle Assembly Building, the iconic 526-foot-tall structure first used to assemble Saturn V-Apollo rockets; the Orbiter Processing Facilities, essentially huge garages where the shuttles were maintained; Hangar N and its high-tech test equipment; the launch-control center; and various other buildings and chunks of undeveloped property.

A lot of the stuff needs to be transferred by the end of 2013, when federal maintenance money will run out. When it does, machinery will start to rust, and buildings will deteriorate in the harsh coastal-marsh environment of Cape Canaveral.

“We have a lot of things in discussion, realizing that these major facilities have been funded by the space-shuttle program,” said Joyce Riquelme, NASA’s director of KSC planning and development. “And the facilities out here can’t be in an abandoned state for long before they become unusable. So we’re in a big push over the next few months to either have agreements for these facilities or not.”

The process is mostly secret, because NASA has agreed to let bidders declare their proposals proprietary, keeping them out of the view of competitors and the public. NASA has at various times published official notices seeking proposals and spelled out that the proposals should be space-related, though the agency will consider alternative uses under certain circumstances.

But information about who wants to do what may not come until agency officials actually select finalists for negotiations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

New Tampa Mosque Leaders Want to Create Positive Image of Muslims

NEW TAMPA — Mahmud Ahmed feels fortunate to live in a nation founded on religious freedom. As a devout Muslim, he also is gratified with how accepting the greater New Tampa community has been in accepting members of the Islamic faith and of the Dar-us-Salaam mosque. The mosque, at 15830 Morris Bridge Road, opened in August. The 7,500-square-foot, $1.6 million house of worship is set on a 7-acre site and was paid for in full by donations from members of the Islamic Society of New Tampa (ISONET) as well as other local followers of the faith. It is the only mosque in the area. “Contrary to how some people may think, our country and our community is amazing with how accommodating people are,” said Ahmed, a New Tampa resident and ISONET member, who noted that of the one billion Muslims throughout the world, a thousand of them live within his community…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Norwalk Officials to Review Mosque Options Next Week

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk officials and outside attorneys are slated to meet next week to discuss possible options for the city in the ongoing saga of the proposed Al-Madany Islamic Center mosque on Fillow Street.

The center and the city have been embroiled in a legal dispute over the mosque and community center for several months, and late last year it appeared the two sides might be headed toward a settlement…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Administration Faces Senate Inquiry Over Links to Zero Dark Thirty

An influential panel of US Senators is investigating whether President Barack Obama’s administration gave filmmakers excessive access to information on the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

The Senate intelligence committee is to examine contact between government officials and the makers of Zero Dark Thirty, a major Hollywood take on the mission to find the late al-Qaeda chief. Kathryn Bigelow, the film’s director, and Mark Boal, its screenwriter, are known to have been assisted by officials with intimate knowledge of the raid on bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan in May 2011…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

France: Will Charlie Hebdo Fail to Provoke Muslims This Time?

by Oussama Romdhani

Last Wednesday, a comic-book biography of the Prophet Mohammed hit the newsstands in France. It was not the first time the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo tried to provoke the “anger of Muslims,” mostly for the sake of notoriety and profit. But chances are, that despite all promotional efforts, this latest comic book will cause less ripples than the publishers seem to hope…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany: Angela Merkel Pictured With Blacked-Up Children

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, found herself standing next to children with blacked-up faces during a carol service.

The German leader joined a group of a carolers for Three Kings’ Day on the steps of the chancellery but raised eyebrows when several of the children appeared in blackface.

Traditionally, one of the kings appears with a darkened face as the groups go door-to-door singing carols. Mrs Merkel’s difficulties were added to by news that her coalition partners, the Free Democrat Party (FDP), were sinking in the polls and may not gather enough votes to remain in Parliament…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Greece: Coalition Parties Closes Ranks on Lagarde List Probe

Common line against Syriza to safeguard cohesion of government

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — Officials from the three parties in the Greek governing coalition were in talks on Thursday aimed at consolidating a common line vis-a-vis the main leftist opposition SYRIZA, which is on Monday expected to submit in Parliament a proposal that socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos be investigated along with his predecessor as finance minister, Giorgos Papaconstantinou, in connection with the alleged doctoring of the so-called Lagarde list of Greek depositors. Coalition officials privately expressed concern at SYRIZA’s insistence that Papaconstantinou is only partially to blame and that Venizelos be put on the spot too as this could destabilize PASOK and subsequently the governing administration.

The official position of all three parties in the coalition remained that Papaconstantinou is the only politician implicated in the affair following the removal from the original Lagarde list of the names of three of his relatives. By contrast, Venizelos was transparent in his handling of the list, sources said, noting that the data came into his possession after being handled by Papaconstantinou and Ioannis Diotis, the former head of the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE). The fact that Papaconstantinou appears to have had a motive to tamper with the list — the protection of his relatives — and that he failed to react when a version of the Lagarde list was published in October by Hot Doc magazine publisher Costas Vaxevanis bolsters the coalition’s argument. But there are fears within the ranks of the government that SYRIZA’s alternative proposal for a broader investigation into Papaconstantinou and Venizelos might lead to the affair dragging on in Parliament.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Satirical French Mag Rethinks Approach to Islam

The satirical French weekly magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has released a special edition about Islam that may trigger fresh protests…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Terrorists’ Favourite Bookseller’ Has Conviction Quashed

A man once described as the “terrorists’ favourite bookseller” has had his conviction for selling books about Jihad quashed.

Material produced and distributed by Ahmed Faraz ended up in the hands of almost every major terrorist in Britain. Among his customers were Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the July 7 bomb plot, and members of the trans-Atlantic airline gang, who cited his texts in their suicide videos. Court of Appeal judges found the prosecution in his original trial had been wrongly allowed to rely on the fact that the books had been found in the homes of high profile terrorists, without there being any suggestion that the offenders had actually been encouraged by the books to commit their terrorist acts. Faraz was convicted of 11 counts of possessing and disseminating terrorist publications at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court in 2011. He was sentenced to three years in jail for running an operation to publish extremist texts and violent DVDs and distribute them around the world with the aim of “priming” terrorists for action…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Al-Qaeda Suspect Accused Over Plot to Bomb the New York Subway is Extradited to U.S. By British Government

Police in Britain have extradited a terror suspect to the United States to face charges that he took part in an alleged al-Qaeda plot to detonate explosives on the New York City subway system in the biggest plot since the September 11 attacks. Authorities handed Abid Naseer, 26, over to U.S. authorities on Thursday. Prosecutors want Naseer to stand trial in the U.S. for his alleged role in a terror campaign that would have struck targets in Britain and Norway as well as New York…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Afghanistan Soldier Found Hanged at His Swansea Home

A HERO soldier who served on the frontline in Afghanistan has been found hanged at his Swansea home. Trooper Robert Llewellyn Griffiths, of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, also known as the Welsh Cavalry, was discovered at the property in Oldway, Bishopston, on Saturday evening. He was only 24. An Army spokesman said: “Police are investigating the death of a soldier who was serving with 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.” The regiment returned from a challenging seven-month tour of Helmand Province last April…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Binmen Collect Rubbish Once in Eight Weeks Because it Was ‘Too Dark’ For Them to See Binbags

A mountain of binbags has built up in a block of flats after council binmen made just one rubbish collection in eight weeks because of an EU law.

Residents in a block of flats in Colchester, Essex, were told red tape means the binmen can’t collect rubbish there when it’s too dark for them to see it.

As a result, the massive pile of 70 stinking black binbags has built up and is now overspilling the bin store with rats spotted sniffing around the pile.

[Return to headlines]

UK: Malala Yousufzai Waves Goodbye to Hospital Staff in Birmingham

Malala Yousufzai after being being admitted in October. The 15-year-old was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque Plan for Chippy

CHIPPING Norton’s Muslim community has put forward new plans to create a small mosque in the town centre. The proposals, which are being spearheaded by Chipping Norton town councillor Tahirul Hasan, would see the ground floor of a disused shop in West Street converted for use as a prayer room. The mosque would be used by Muslims from across West Oxfordshire who currently meet on the ground floor of the town hall. A planning application has been lodged with West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC). Mr Hasan lodged an unsuccessful application for a mosque in 2007. He said he hopes people in Chipping Norton will now support the Muslim community’s plans. “There have been Muslims in Chipping Norton for about 30 years and I have lived here for 24 years,” he said. “Every day our numbers grow and we’re quite a big community now…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Our Once Great RSPCA is Being Destroyed by a Militant Tendency

by Charles Moore

The animal welfare organisation has badly lost its way under its new leadership

One must always treat lawyers with respect, so let me state at once that I have absolutely nothing against Jeremy Carter-Manning QC. From his entry in Who’s Who, I see that he was educated at St Paul’s School, called to the Bar nearly 40 years ago, and that his recreations include “food and wine”, which he pursues in the Reform Club. I have no doubt he is esteemed in his profession…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Roger Scruton: When Will the Conservative Party Fight for England?

Roger Scruton is a writer and philospher.

We know that electoral boundaries are currently drawn in ways that disadvantage the Conservative party. There is a pressing need for reform, if the Members elected to Parliament are effectively to represent the people who vote for them. But neither the Labour Party nor the Liberal Democrats will cooperate, since both of them, in their heart of hearts, wish to marginalise the Conservative Party, and to deprive the Party of its electoral base.

In the current dispute within the coalition, there is one boundary change that is not discussed. Our government is a coalition; so too is our country. And the boundaries between our component nations are drawn in such a way as to disadvantage the people of England — in other words, the people who reliably vote for Conservative Members of Parliament. In a hundred ways the Labour Party used its spell in office to secure a long term balance of forces in its favour — and this fact has already been much commented upon in ConservativeHome. But no move that the Labour Party made was more damaging than that of creating a Scottish Parliament without removing the Scottish Members from the Parliament of Westminster.

This move has had two disastrous effects, from the Conservative point of view. First, it has given to the Scottish electorate two votes, one to govern themselves, and another to control the English. Secondly it has given a reliable block vote to the Labour Party in Westminster. The two effects are connected. For although the Scots don’t wish, on the whole, to be governed by the Labour Party — as we see from elections to the Scottish Parliament — they do want the English to be governed by the Labour Party. Hence they vote to place Labour politicians, whom they don’t want at home, in Westminster, where they can reliably pursue the interests of Scotland without imposing their censorious opinions on the Scots.

Here is an example. One of the first acts of the Scottish Parliament was to pass a law governing hunting with hounds, that quintessential English custom that gets up the nose of all who dislike the English. The law was duly passed, and the Scottish hunts have learned to live with it. The Labour Party then forced a similar law on the English and Welsh, through the Westminster Parliament. It is a controversial law, and a bill for repeal, if presented to the current Parliament, would gain considerable support. But it would not pass, largely because the 41 Scottish Labour Members would all vote against it — despite the fact that the matter concerns a law operative in England and Wales only, and despite the fact that the Scots have a hunting law of their own.

You may or may not be concerned about the hunting question. But no constitutionally minded person can really accept that this situation should continue. Either there is a boundary between England and Scotland or there is not. Which is it to be? Currently there is something called a boundary that is entirely permeable from North to South, and entirely impermeable the other way. If the Conservative Party has any concern for its constituents it should surely make it a priority to change things, so that the boundary is either permeable or impermeable in both directions. The least that can be proposed is that the Scottish MPs be barred from voting on laws that do not apply in Scotland. Better by far would be to exclude them altogether.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Vatican Cardinal Rues Islamist Violence, Sharia Imposition

In comments made to L’Osservatore Romano, the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue lamented Islamist violence and the imposition of sharia law on non-Muslims by some governments. “Unfortunately, a few deviant minorities that exploit religion to justify the use of violence or seek to impose Islamic law on all by force, are a danger not only to their societies, but also to the whole world, and a hindrance to dialogue between religions,” said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. “In this regard, it suffices to remember the fate of several Christian communities in countries such as Pakistan or Nigeria.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Winter-Only Weddings — Bulgarian Muslims Say ‘I Do’

The people of this Bulgarian town of Ribnovo are famous for performing their unique wedding ceremonies in winter time only. The inhabitants of the mountain village of Ribnovo are Bulgarian-speaking Muslims, sometimes referred to as “Pomaks“ or “people who have suffered”. Muslim Bulgarians are descendants of Christian Bulgarians who were forcibly converted to Islam by the Turks, during the 14th, 16th and the 18th century.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Kosovo Still the Balkan Front Line Against Radical Islam

by Stephen Scwhartz

The small republic of Kosovo, with a population of less than two million—90 percent ethnic Albanians, of whom 80 percent are Muslim—is the Balkan zone offering the greatest resistance to radical Islam. Some vignettes from recent interviews may impart the flavor of the debate over Islamism in the country


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt’s Grand Mufti Responds to Attacks on Islam in New Book

New book by the head of Al-Ahzar aiming to explain Islamic moral values comes in response to alleged attacks on Islam in the West

Egyptian Grand Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa has released a new book in English entitled Master of Excellence: Methodology of moral discipline in the Prophetic tradition. The book is a response to the disparaging depictions of the Prophet Mohammad in some Western magazines, especially the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, according to the book’s press release. The book, translated by Professor Ibrahim Najm, consultant to Gomaa, targets the Western reader and aims to outline the moral values of Islam as elucidated in the Sunna, asserting that the Prophet Mohammad adopted a special moral methodology that urged people to refine their ethics and embrace the values of justice, decency and tolerance.

Sheikh Gomaa says in the new book that Islam has the ability to translate its principles into moral values that help achieve noble goals, including peace and security for all people.

The book explains many Islamic ideals, from preserving the environment to tolerating others. Najm states that the book aims to correct the distorted image of Islam propagated by attacks in the West.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt-UAE Relations Worsen With ‘Brotherhood’ Arrests

CAIRO — Mistrustful ties between Islamist-run Egypt and the United Arab Emirates deteriorated further this week with the reported arrest in the UAE of more than 10 Egyptians allegedly spying for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. The report, carried by the UAE newspaper Al-Khaleej, stirred a flurry of diplomacy and other activity as Egypt sought to limit the fall-out, which had the potential to add diplomatic woes to its already dire economic and domestic political problems. The government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, has so far made no public comment confirming or denying the information…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egyptian Islamist Party Splits

CAIRO, Jan. 3 (UPI) — A radical group in Egypt’s conservative Islamist party has broken away and could strengthen support for Sharia law ahead of legislative elections, experts said.

The group, which will be called al-Watan, or Homeland, split from the Islamist Nour Party, an ally of President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, though more religiously conservative, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Morocco: A Journey From Mosques to Breasts Via Satellite Dish

Some might call the Moroccan artist Mohamed Mourabiti a breast man. But the half-cupped forms he is fond of depicting are not so much inspired by the female chest as they are by the domes of Marrakesh’s ubiquitous mosques. Conflating the sacred and the sensual in this way challenges some viewers. Others are more ready to appreciate the up-close-and-personal expression of the untouchable.

By Bob Barry, Marrakesh

Sitting in his studio, in front of his paintings, Mourabiti recalls his first artistic endeavours. “I started at a very young age by drawing simple things like streets on pieces of wood or cloth,” he says. “But I quickly moved from the vertical to the horizontal.” That reorientation was inspired by the rooftops of Marrakesh’s old houses or, to be more precise, the technology that was perched on them. “At first, I used to hate the sight of these satellite dishes and antennas. But seeing them every day, I eventually got used to them,” he says…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Abbas’ Fatah Movement Marks Anniversary in Gaza First Time in Six Years

GAZA, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) — Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement on Friday marked its 48-year anniversary in the Gaza Strip, for the first time in six years. On trucks, in cars or just walking on foot, the huge crowds of Fatah gathered at an open yard in Gaza City’s center to attend a central rally that marks the anniversary of the movement, which was found in January 1965. “This million-man-woman rally is a message to Israel and to Hamas movement and to the Palestinian people,” Amal Hamad, a Palestinian female member of Fatah movement’s central committee from Gaza, told Xinhua…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Army and Palestinians in West Bank

JERUSALEM, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) — An attempt to search a wanted Palestinian militant in the northern West Bank city of Jenin sparked a violent confrontation early Thursday, with hundreds of residents hurling rocks and firebombs at Israeli security forces, local media reported. The Israeli army said a demonstration broke out during the raid, with an estimated 500 locals taking to the streets to hurl rocks and Molotov cocktails at security forces. An elderly Palestinian woman was lightly injured by an army dog trained to sniff explosives, the Ha’aretz daily said. It was the second time this week that security forces operated in the Jenin area…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

PA Slams Israel Measures Against Al-Ibrahimi Mosque

 RAMALLAH — The Palestinian Authority Thursday slammed the Israeli measures in Al-Ibrahimi mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron. Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the Palestinian Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, said that Israel prevented the Azan (calling for prayers) in the Ibrahimi Mosque 52 times since last December “under the pretext that it disturbs the residents of nearby Jewish settlements and make too much noises.”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Streets of Gaza Turn to Gold as Thousands Rally to Fatah Cause

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians poured onto the streets of Gaza on Friday in a display of popular support for the Fatah faction of the Palestinian leadership as resentment rises against the Islamist Hamas movement.

Central Gaza city was transformed into a mass of yellow flags as Fatah staged its first rally since it was thrown out of Gaza five years ago in a brutal offensive by Hamas. The rally heard calls for a renewal of the united front between the two groups as Fatah leaders sought to begin the next stage of reconciliation after the years of mutual and violent hostility following Hamas’s seizure of power in 2007…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Alistair Burt MP: The Prospects for Syria in 2013

Alistair Burt is Member of Parliament for North East Bedfordshire and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

As Syria’s tragedy endures another new year, there will be renewed focus on what prospects there might be that by the end of 2013 there will have been some relief to the misery we see unfolding day after day. It is taking time to be clear on all the strands emerging from the turbulence in the Arab world. One thing is already obvious — whatever similarities there might be in the causes of upheaval, each state is different, so consequences are different too. What began as a peaceful protest for reform in Syria, not regime change, was met with such violence from the Government of Bashar Assad that the protests steadily evolved into civil war. So far, so Libya. But crucial differences between the two meant there could be no comparisons in events or outcome…

[Reader comment by Cassandra79 on 4 January 2013 at about 9.30 am.]

All this reminds me of the part in ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ when Oceania suddenly switches sides, and the Eurasian enemy become the perennial good guys. For a decade in ‘The War on Terror’ Al Qaeda were the mortal enemy of the West. Now its the open policy of the US/UK governments to spread the rule of Al-Qaeda supporting Islamists against secular regimes. And the sheeple don’t even notice the switch!

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Applebaum on Islam

“Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

Fareed Zakaria speaks with Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, Anne Applebaum, about democracy and Islam.

When people look at the Middle East now, they’re struck by how difficult it is to build genuine democracy. And there’s some argument they don’t have the institutions. But I think there’s a lingering suspicion that they’re not part of the Western world. They haven’t had the history. And the contrast is often to Eastern Europe, and to 1989. And the idea is that that happened so easily that the Berlin Wall fell and, hey, presto, all these countries became good, solid democracies. Is that a fair reading?

It’s not really. I mean, first of all, after ‘89 was not so smooth. I mean though the countries that were communist before then had very different fates. The fate of Poland and the fate of Albania and the fate of Russia are quite different. And so it was more in many cases, actually, the degree to which civil society in those societies had been maintained or had been reconstructed that made the big difference between how well they recovered…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

How Some Medieval Cultures Adapted to Rise of Islam

Jan. 2, 2013 — Medieval Afghanistan, Iran and the one-time Soviet Central Asian states were frontiers in flux as the Islamic Caliphate spread beyond the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh through 10th centuries.

As such, different groups, such as the new Arab ruling class, the native landed gentry and local farmers, jockeyed for power, position and economic advantage over an approximately 300-year period as the Sasanian Empire collapsed and the Caliphate took its place. University of Cincinnati historian Robert Haug, assistant professor, will present his research on how social, cultural and political changes were manifested in these border areas that serve almost as a “perpetual frontier.” He does so Jan. 3, 2013, at the American Historical Association, in a presentation titled “Between the Limits and the Gaps: Conceptualizing Frontiers in Medieval Arabic and Persian Geographies.” While many in the West might perceive these Middle Eastern and Asian countries as Islamic religious monoliths, their populations in the Middle Ages were only about 50 percent Muslim in the 10th century, even after 300 years of Arab rule, according to Haug…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Qatar: 30 Detainees Embrace Islam at Search and Follow Up Department

Doha: As part of the efforts of the Ministry of Interior in spreading Islamic culture and awareness among the expatriate communities in the country, 30 detainees of Filipino and Ethiopian nationalities at Search and Follow Up Department embraced Islam recently under the guidance of Islamic propagators from Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah for Humanitarian Services (RAF) and Qatar Guest Centre…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UAE: Public Works Finish 3 Projects

3 mosques and a youth chess centre open now

Sharjah: Three mosques and a youth chess club have been completed by the directorate of public works in Sharjah in various areas of the emirate at the total cost of Dh21.5 million.

The directorate has finished three mosques built in the Islamic architectural style, which included a number of infrastructure facilities, at a total cost of Dh7.5 million. Hilal Al Sahi, director of building projects at the directorate, said that each of the mosques would accommodate 240 worshippers. The mosques were built in Al Muzerie, Um Funian and Al Hamriyah. All the mosques are fully equipped with everything including car parks and ramps for wheelchairs, he said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UAE: Abu Dhabi to Have 10 New Mosques

Abu Dhabi, (IANS/WAM) As many as 10 new mosques will be built in Abu Dhabi’s western region at an estimated cost of 20 million dirhams (around $5.5 million). The Red Crescent Authority (RCA) and General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments signed an agreement to build the mosques. RCA board chairman Ahmed Humaid Al Mazrouei said the initiative will boost developmental and constructive efforts at a local level. It was a bid to provide a decent life, comfort and basic services to the people of the region, he said.

[JP note: You can never have too many mosques.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghan Census Dodges Questions of Ethnicity and Language

Door-to-door interviewers embark on controversial project to count population of country for first time since 1979

There are two questions Hajera Bashir does not ask as she goes door to door gathering census data in Ghor province in Afghanistan’s freezing central highlands: which ethnic group residents belong to, and what language they speak at home. With these taboo topics set aside, she quizzes families about everything else: their income and how many wives each man has, whether they can read and if their sons and daughters are in school, domestic details such as how they heat their homes, whether they have a toilet and if they keep chickens…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Four-Legged Soldiers Serving in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Whether they are sniffing out bombs, running down bad guys or just cheering up their two-legged counterparts, military working dogs are a common sight in Afghanistan. Soldiers from the Alabama National Guard’s 1st of the 167th Infantry — operating in Afghanistan as Task Force Centurion Prime — regularly come in contact with the dogs. At times, they are even incorporated into the Alabama soldiers’ security force missions…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Hindu Girls Still Targeted for Rape in Pakistan: World Remains Silent

“The raping of Hindu women and girls “has almost become a trend in Sindh province,” in south Pakistan, claims the Daily Bhaksar. Since the beginning of December, at least two Hindu girls, one aged six and the other 14, have been attacked and raped. The six-year-old victim was allegedly kidnapped and raped by Hashim Magiro, the owner of a gambling den near the girl’s home in the Umerkot district of Sindh. […]”

[Return to headlines]

Israel’s National Library Buys 1,000-Year-Old Jewish Documents From Afghanistan

The documents were reportedly discovered by villagers in a cave in eastern Afghanistan, near Iranian and Uzbeki border. Collection of 29 pages include writings by Saadia Gaon.

The National Library of Israel recently purchased 29 pages that are part of a cache of Jewish documents from Afghanistan. The collection includes unknown writings by Saadia Gaon as well as legal and family correspondence from 1,000 years ago. The cache, sometimes known as the Afghan Genizah, has rocked the world of scholars who study ancient manuscripts, and the dealers who buy and sell them, to name just two groups. The find has been compared to the 19th-century discovery of the Cairo Genizah in significance.

Information about the documents, which originated in the Jewish communities of Central Asia during the Middle Ages, is wrapped in layers of legend and rumor. They were reportedly discovered by villagers in a cave in eastern Afghanistan, near the Iranian and Uzbeki borders. Rumor has it that the cave was home to a family of foxes. In recent years the caves have served as hideouts for Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Malaysia: ‘Political Islam’ And Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Part Two) — Clive Kessler

JAN 3 — This discussion probes a fateful issue. It considers whether, as the 13th national elections approach, Malaysians may reasonably place their trust in the “moderate” elements within PAS to restrain any “overreaching” Islamist enthusiasms within the opposition coalition, and thereafter in any prospective “popular front” Pakatan national government.

This discussion began by posing, and will conclude by returning to, the question whether the assurances provided on this matter by Dr Dzulkelfy Ahmad (The Malaysian Insider, December 28) can provide that confidence. It does so specifically by probing the clarity and historical adequacy of Dzulkefly’s understanding of the notion “political Islam”. In short, if his grasp of this term is insufficient, then the assurances that he wishes to provide, and suggests that he may reliably offer to Malaysian voters, concerning the ability of the PAS “moderates” to counter any temptations towards excess among his party’s “hardline” political Islamists are unlikely to be adequate.

This is a crucial matter on which many Malaysians want, and need, to be convinced.

“Third-Phase Islam” — or “Political Islam”

Sir Hamilton Gibb, we saw, offended many Muslims and created a furore with the title of his book “Mohammedanism” (1949). Insensitive it may have been. But Gibb, nonetheless, “was onto something”. He was writing about Islam in new and dramatically changing times. And, in an attempt to address the new challenges of new times, he adopted — among Western scholars of classical Islam — a new approach. He sought to look not simply at the faith of Islam but at the world of Islam. He aimed to see Islam historically, not doctrinally. He wished to understand the world that Muslims inhabited not simply in Islam’s own terms but in its global historical context…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Thailand Deports Rohingya Muslims

Thailand has deported a group of the Rohingya Muslim minority fleeing from persecution in Myanmar. On Wednesday, 73 Rohingya migrants, including 15 women, were found drifting on a small, overcrowded boat off the Thai resort town of Phuket, heading to their final destination of Malaysia…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Thailand Launches TV Channel Geared for Muslims

Thailand’s government has launched the first Malay-language television channel geared toward the insurgency-plagued south’s Muslim-majority audience. Muslims in Thailand’s southernmost Muslim-dominated provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat say they are treated as second-class citizens by predominantly Buddhist Thai authorities. More than 5,000 people have been killed there since an Islamic insurgency flared in 2004. The “TV Malayu” satellite television station will initially offer a half-hour of news programming a day before broadcasting for 24 hours a day starting next year.—AP

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

China: Father Hires in-Game “Hitmen” To Deter Son From Playing

Sick and tired of his son playing video games and not listening to him, a father in China decided to take matters into his own hands… well, sort of. Instead of sending his son off to addiction camp or stripping him of internet and gaming rights, Mr. Feng chose to hire an online “hitman” to school his son.

Feng’s 23 year-old son, “Xiao Feng” started playing video games in high school. Through his years of playing various online games, he supposedly thought himself a master of Chinese online role playing games. According to his father, Xiao Feng had terrible grades in school because of his gaming habit; he couldn’t even land a job. He, however, says he simply couldn’t find any work that he liked. Feng was annoyed that his son couldn’t even tough it out for three months at a software development company.

Unhappy with his son not finding a job, Feng decided to hire players in his son’s favorite online games to hunt down Xiao Feng. It is unknown where or how Feng found the in-game assassins—every one of the players he hired were stronger and higher leveled than Xiao Feng. Feng’s idea was that his son would get bored of playing games if he was killed every time he logged on, and that he would start putting more effort into getting a job.

Despite being sick of getting killed every time, Xiao Feng decided to stick up to his father and tell him how he felt. He was quoted as saying, “I can play or I can not play, it doesn’t bother me. I’m not looking for any job—I want to take some time to find one that suits me.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Dad, Triplets Granted Bail After Brawl in Bankstown

A FATHER and his four children involved in a brawl with police which allegedly included a mother throwing punches, malfunctioning tasers and “hammer blows to the face” have been granted bail.

Five members of the Mehanna family faced court yesterday charged over a fight with at least 13 police on the driveway of their Bankstown home after midnight on Wednesday. Three police were hospitalised and four others injured in the wild brawl on Ogmore Court. Police were initially called to the home to investigate a “domestic dispute”, the court heard. A sixth family member, the mother, Rafah, 41, was arrested following the fight but was taken to Bankstown Hospital before being ordered to front court on January 13. The father, Mohamed, 46, and his three 18-year-old triplets _ sons Ali and Hussain, and daughter Zainab _ were granted bail in Parramatta Local Court yesterday. They are all charged with affray, assaulting police, hindering police and resisting arrest. Ali was also charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Infidel Police Intervene in Muslim ‘Domestic’; Muslims Riot, Attack and Injure Police

by Christina McIntosh

As recounted in three successive stories in the ABC, the first of which I include because although it made no mention whatever of any names, thus obscuring the identity and ideological affiliation of the participants, there was something about the shape and flavour of the incident described that made me wonder; and my suspicions were amply confirmed by the two succeeding reports…

[Reader comment by Hugh Fitzgerald on 4 January 2013.]

“king-hit a policeman” Good to learn a new word. “King-hit.” Is it strictly strine, or used elsewhere?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Ghana: Gov. Dickson Tasks Muslims on Peaceful Co-Existence

The Muslim community in Bayelsa State has been urged to continually preach peace and mutual co-existence among different religious groups in the country. Governor Seriake Dickson made the call when a delegation of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Bayelsa State Chapter paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa. The Governor implored Muslims to dwell less and de-emphasise those issues that tend to polarize the nation, pointing out that most of the differences being experienced are as a result of lack of understanding and the selfish tendencies of a few persons. His words: “In your mosques and meetings continue to preach the gospel of unity, tolerance and peaceful co-existence because every part of this country needs the other part to move forward. And the greatness of the country is our size, our population and diversity”. While felicitating with the Muslims on the New Year celebrations, Governor Dickson thanked them for their continued prayers and support during the governorship elections saw him emerge as Governor of the State…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Somalia, Its Neighbours and Al-Shabaab — The Quest for Sustainable Solutions

In Somalia, the radical Islamist militia, Al-Shabab, that has terrorized much of the country over the past five years, appears to be on the run. They have been forced out of the capital, Mogadishu, and all of the major towns that were once under their control (including Kismayo in the South). But those who believe the Shabaab are finished could find that they are sorely mistaken…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Uganda: Police on Alert Over Muslims

Police in Masaka are on heightened alert in the wake of growing tensions between two Muslim factions in the district. The simmering tensions are between a group loyal to the Old Kampala-based Mufti Shaban Ramathan Mubajje, which wants to forcefully take over the Masaka Main mosque from those loyal to the Kibuli Islamic faction. Sheikh Bruhan Bagunduse, a newly-appointed district Kadhi loyal to Old Kampala, recently tried to mobilize Muslim youths to take over the mosque, the headquarters of the Masaka Muslim district council…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Argentina: The Sun Hits Back at Argies’ Latest Falklands Claim

Our warning as Argentina tries to grab islands

THE Sun today hits back at the Argentine president over her Falkland Islands newspaper rant.

We have published our own letter in a Buenos Aires paper to warn her: Hands off our territory…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Brazil: Muslim Education Council for Latin American and Carribbean Countries Proposed in São Paulo

São Paulo: Dec. 31—(BNA) The Islamic Call Center for Latin American and Caribbean states has concluded its 26th Conference in São Paulo, Brazil themed (Islamic Schools and their effect on Maintaining Identity in Latin American and Caribbean countries). The conference was attended by a number of magistrates, preachers, academicians and members of diplomatic corps from all over the Islamic world.

The conference sessions culminated in a number of initiatives and recommendations, most importantly, establishing of the Muslim Education Council for Latin American and Caribbean states, presided over by Dr. Saleh Hussein whilst Ahmed bin Ali Al-Saiffi acts as secretary-general of Muslim Education Council and inviting specialist experts to join the founding board of the Muslim Education Council for Latin American and Caribbean states as well as inviting to a meeting for the founding board as soon as the legal, financial and administrative regulations have been finalized within three months in Sao Paulo in order to endorse the articles of association and form the executive board and approve the annual budget…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

David Cameron Pledges to ‘Do Everything’ To Protect Falkland Islands After Argentinian President Takes Out Newspaper Ads on 180th Anniversary of ‘Colonial Rule’

David Cameron today pledged to ‘do everything’ to protect the interests of the Falkland Islanders after an open letter from the Argentine president appeared in British newspapers demanding he ‘hand back’ the islands.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is demanding a return of the South Atlantic archipelago which she claims the UK stole and ‘expelled’ Argentine settlers from 180 years ago.

Her open letter, which appeared in the Guardian and Independent newspapers, accuses the UK of colonialism and calls for talks with the UN over the future of the islands.

But a Downing Street spokesman said the islanders had shown ‘a clear desire to remain British’ and the prime minister would ‘do everything to protect the interests of the Falklands islanders’.

Fernandez has marked the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War with a sustained diplomatic campaign to assert Argentina’s sovereignty claim.

The Falklands cause is a popular rallying cry in Argentina but the stakes have also been raised by oil exploration in the waters around the islands.

[Return to headlines]

Venezuela: World Media Consider Life After Chavez

The declining health of Hugo Chavez has made headlines around the world as media commentators speculate on a future without Venezuela’s firebrand leader.

Chavez has not been seen in public for three weeks after reportedly suffering complications while undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba. Venezuela’s state media have been airing regular tributes to the president, while the government says he remains in a “stable” but “delicate” condition…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


‘Illegal Migrants’ Ordered to Leave Britain Had Returned Home Years Ago

Dozens of foreign workers were this week told by a private firm working for the Home Office that they had overstayed their visas and must leave Britain even though they returned to their home country four years ago.

Capita was last year awarded a contract by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) worth up to £40 million to track down more than 174,000 immigrants who may be living illegally in Britain.

But the firm has been accused of wrongly pursuing people who have the right to stay in the UK and others who left long ago. Adrian Farley, an immigration adviser, said he received had letters from Capita addressed to 31 of his clients who came to Britain on short-term IT contracts demanding that they go back to India. However, they all went back home in 2008, and Mr Farley said he informed the UKBA of this twice…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

In Trapani: On the Island of Lampedusa, Italians Want Separate Bus Lines for the Muslim Illegals Who Keep Arriving by the Boatload

They keep coming, from the newly-”liberated” lands of Tunisia and Libya, and Egypt, and from other places too. Most are Muslim Maghrebins, though a few come as well from sub-Saharan Africa. They come by boat, illegally, and once they set foot on Lampedusa, they are given clothes, a place to live, and then for them the fun begins, as they treat the Italian natives of Trapani with violence and aggression, and crime (theft, vandalism, street bobberies). The italians suffer, and complain to the government, and nothing is done,and the Arabs keep coming, and coming. They should be sent back at once, no hearing necessary. Even the thin reed of “political asylum” makes no sense when the despots are gone. There’s no need for time-consuming and expensive hearings; just send them back. And the countries of Western Europe, the members of Schengenland, all have a stake in halting such immigration into their territories, and should help Italy with its attempt to intercept such boatloads.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Never Mind Banning the Hijab, What About the Banning of the Cross?

by Jake Wallis Simons

So here we are again. A nine-year-old girl from south London has been forbidden from wearing her hijab at school. As surely as night follows day, her family are suing the school for religious discrimination. Commentators on the Left, like the education journalist Susan Elkin, tie themselves in tautologies in efforts to call for toleration: “I know it’s hard for those of us who didn’t grow up in strict Muslim families to understand why it’s a sin for a child of nine to be bare headed in front of male teachers,” she concedes, “but would a uniform coloured headscarf really affect teaching and learning in the classroom?”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘N-Word’ To be Removed From Children’s Classics in Germany

Thienemann Verlag, one of Germany’s oldest publishers of children’s books, has announced it will reprint Otfried Preußler’s children’s classic ‘The Little Witch’ with all instances of the ‘n-word’ removed from the text.

­Founded in Stuttgart in 1849, Thienemann Verlag decided not to have the disputed words replaced, but deleted altogether.

“We will scour all of our classics,” Spiegel Online quoted Klaus Willenberg from Thienemann Verlag as saying. The publishers said it was necessary for the book to reflect the linguistic and political changes taking place in the world. Other books will be reviewed by the German publisher to ensure that politically incorrect words are found and removed.

Otfried Preußler’s works have been translated into 50 languages. In its collection of six hundred titles, ‘The Little Witch’ (Die kleine Hexe) is among Thienemann Verlag’s best-known books. Written in 1957, the fairy tale chronicles a 127 year-old ‘bad witch’ determined to eventually turn good.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

The Church of England Criticised Over ‘Unenforceable’ Gay Bishop stance

The Church of England’s decision to allow gay clergy in civil partnerships to become bishops, as long as they promise to remain celibate, has been met with widespread criticism.

Liberals and traditionalists remain divided over the move, with fears from conservatives that it could be both divisive and unenforceable. Groups representing gay Anglicans have also questioned how the rule will be enforced, arguing that lesbians should also be able to become bishops…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Jason Thompson’s House of 1000 Manga

The Greatest Censorship Fails

It’s always surprised me that there’s no giant internet database listing all censorship in English editions of manga. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise me; there’s been so many little changes it’s hard to notice them all, and the manga community is scattered, so fans of Manga X don’t necessarily care on principle if Manga Y is censored…

 Vanishing Mosques. Arabs love anime; I have Rose of Versailles and Future Boy Conan on Arabic DVDs that I bought in Amman. Arab anime fans also fansubbed JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and presumably liked it, but rue the day that some Salafi guy showed up at the Cairo anime club and saw the scene when Dio, the main villain, is shown reading the Quran. (Of course, in the original manga, he’s just reading some random book in a tiny panel—making it the Quran was the animators’ brilliant idea.) Egyptian preachers, of course, stoked up public outrage, turning some obscure fansub that probably no one had seen into something everybody in Egypt knew about (sound familiar?). Shueisha not only apologized for the anime scene, they also censored some scenes in the manga when minarets of mosques get damaged in a battle. Now, in all new editions of the manga in all languages, the collateral damage instead takes out water tanks & TV towers…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]