Friday, October 17, 2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/17/2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/17/2008Once again it’s a night for immigration stories.

First of all, read about Lampedusa and the Greek islands, places that are being overwhelmed with unprecedented numbers of illegal immigrants. They arrive in little ramshackle boats, often starving and dehydrated. Sometimes they are thrown into the water offshore by the traffickers, who know that humanitarian considerations will force the European coast guard units to rescue the migrants. Lampedusa and Malta have long since maxed out their detention facilities, but the new arrivals keep landing.

Then — in the “Mediterranean Union” section — read about the plans to expand the EU to include Morocco. When Turkey and Morocco become part of the EU, what will that do to the rate of immigration?

Thanks to Amil Imani, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Holger Danske, Insubria, JD, Lawrence Auster, Marathon Pundit, Steen, TB, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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All the One’s Men
Farrakhan Announces a New Beginning for the Nation of Islam
Europe and the EU
Disclosure Angers Security Chiefs
Islam: Tariq Ramadan to Attend Segrate Mosque’s 20th Year
Italy: North-South Wealth Divide Widening
‘Little Baghdad’ Hosts US Relocation Fair
Mortgage Crisis: Solbes, in Spain No Need for Capitalisation
Mosque Opening Sparks Protests in Germany
Switzerland Announces Bank Bail-Out Plan
UK: Let-Off for Knife Thug Who Almost Killed a Schoolboy
Italy-Albania: President Topi, Criminality Now in Past
Mediterranean Union
Expanding the EU to Include Morocco
North Africa
Terrorism: Algeria; Attacks in Several Regions
Middle East
Dubai: 1.3 Mln Euro-Fine for Executive
Emirates: Sex on Beach Couple Found Guilty and Expelled
Islamic Scholars: Iran Should Prevent Religious Conflict Among Muslims
Lebanon-Syria: Press Reports Casualties in Border Clashes
The Future of the Christian Community in the Middle East
South Asia
Pakistan: Rupee Weakens to Record Low
Sub-Saharan Africa
Machete Gangs Bring Fear to South Africa as They Carry Out Mutilations for Traditional Medicine
Sudan: International Court Asks Prosecutors for More Info on President
Emergency Shelter Prepared for Asylum Seekers
Greek Islands Become the EU’s New Front Line on Immigration
Immigration: 105 Illegal Migrants Arrested in Aegean
Immigration: Immigrant Landed in Tenerife Yesterday Dead
Immigration: Lampedusa Now Almost Under Siege, 778 Arrivals
Italy: Minister Welcomes EU Leaders’ Approval of Migration Pact
Culture Wars
College Student Charged With Making False “Hate Crime” Report
Shocking Frieze Which Will Greet Visitors to London’s Eurostar Terminal
From Arabic to English
Qur’an References Delay Sony’s ‘Little Big Planet’
The Freedom of Historical Debate is Under Attack by the Memory Police


All the One’s Men

By Amil Imani

Decades ago Marshall McLuhan observed, “The medium is the message.” As the print and electronic media penetrate more and more every aspect of life, their influence increases greatly in shaping the views and behavior of the public. The power of the media is a mixed blessing. On one hand, it can serve to expose injustices, wrongdoings, and flaws. On the other, it is able to propagate misinformation and outright disinformation.

Manipulation and control of the media is of critical importance to the rule of totalitarian states. Free societies, although less subject to laundered information, are still at considerable risk of being selectively informed or misinformed outright. The public can be deceived more easily by the overlords of the media when political correctness is used as subterfuge for promotion of certain ideas or certain people.

These are indeed trying times for the American people. Free people must decide their priorities with foresight and wisdom and shy away from shortsighted simplistic solutions. We live in a Democracy and Democracy, by its accommodating and benign nature, is susceptible to corruption and even destruction by forces from within and from without.

The Democrats have not gotten over the last two elections in which President Bush won. The left felt the presidency was stolen from Al Gore and John Kerry. Those losses caused most everyone on the left into a hate spiral, so severe is this hatred that Charles Krauthammer (who is also a trained psychiatrist) was compelled to diagnose it and give it a name: BDS — or Bush Derangement Syndrome. Now that they believe they have found their Messiah in the person of Barack Obama. Now they want “social justice,” they want revenge…

           — Hat tip: Amil Imani[Return to headlines]

Barack Obama’s Campaign of the Lie


Barack Obama may be the most radically-left major-party presidential nominee in our nation’s history. A recent analysis of voting records — not words but actions — showed that the senator owned the most left-wing record in the Senate in 2007, placing him ahead of even that body’s one avowed socialist, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Now, if Sanders proclaims himself a socialist, and Obama is to the left of Sanders, what do you call Obama?

Of course, some question the methodology of the study, and, true enough, a different one might yield slightly different rankings. But if Obama is within a sickle-length of socialist Sanders, does it really matter if he is a couple of spots above or below? This is an instance where we definitely should remember second place.

Yet accusations of socialism are, well, just so hard to believe. But a damning revelation just came to light that should leave no doubt about Obama’s sympathies. The blog “Politically Drunk On Power” (PDOP) just discovered documents showing that the senator was a member of the “New Party,” which is, the blog explains,

“. . . a political party established by the Democratic Socialists of America (the DSA) to push forth the socialist principles of the DSA by focusing on winnable elections at a local level and spreading the Socialist movement upwards.”

Now, listen to this. The New Party tried its best to obscure Obama’s ties to the organization — I’m guessing with the complicity of the senator’s campaign — and had scrubbed the relevant documents from its website; however, PDOP was able to find them at a non-profit Internet Archive Organization. Quoting from the October 1996 New Party update, the blog reveals:

New Party members are busy knocking on doors, hammering down lawn signs, and phoning voters to support NP candidates this fall. Here are some of our key races . . .

Illinois: Three NP-members won Democratic primaries last Spring and face off against Republican opponents on election day: Danny Davis (U.S. House), Barack Obama (State Senate) and Patricia Martin (Cook County Judiciary).

PDOP then cites the November 1996 issue of Progressive Populist magazine, which reported on the results of the general election, writing:

New Party member Barack Obama was uncontested for a State Senate seat from Chicago [emphasis mine].”

Providing further evidence, PDOP provides an excerpt from the DSA’s July/August Edition of New Ground 47 Newsletter…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Farrakhan Announces a New Beginning for the Nation of Islam

(CHICAGO — — The history of the Nation of Islam in America is the history of a movement that has been unswerving in its defense of Blacks in America, challenging injustice and confronting the forces of White supremacy in the country.

The Nation’s strident defense of Blacks and unapologetic language employed to break up the mindset of White supremacy led to a mischaracterization of the movement, said Min. Louis Farrakhan, in an October 13 private meeting with Black journalists and media professionals at his home. But there is a universal aspect to the teachings of the Nation of Islam and its patriarch, the Hon. Elijah Muhammad the needs to be understood and appreciated, said the Minister, who plans to delve into the broader understanding of teaching October 19 at the re-dedication of Mosque Maryam, the Nation’s headquarters located at 7351 S. Stony Island Avenue.

The speech will take place at 2 p.m. and doors will open at 12 noon. The event is free, open to the public and marks the 13th anniversary of the historic Million Man March.

The “new beginning” for the Nation of Islam represents an expansion of its mission, but its role as a champion for freedom, justice and equality for Blacks will not be diminished. God wants to use Blacks, who have experienced the worst suffering in human history, to call the world back to order, said Min. Farrakhan…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Disclosure Angers Security Chiefs

Confirmation of investigation infuriates agents on trail of terror

LONDON — Chiefs of the British intelligence Services are infuriated the Home Office’s counter-terrorism minister, Lord West, the former head of the Royal Navy, publicly disclosed that the MI5 and MI6 agencies are tracking “another great terrorist plot building up again,” according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The claim was made in the House of Lords debate over new terrorism powers last week.

Both MI6 chief John Scarlett and Jonathan Evans, director of MI5, have expressed their “deep concern” that Lord West could have wrecked the biggest anti-terrorist operation the two services, together with the Government Communications Headquarters and the Scotland Yard Anti-Terrorism Command, have mounted since the plot to blow up seven American airliners in 2006…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Haider Got Drunk in a Gay Bar Hours Before Car Crash…

…and may have been targeted by saboteurs

Austrian far-Right leader Jorg Haider’s car may have been sabotaged before he crashed, it was claimed.

Haider died when his Volkswagen Phaeton veered off the road in the early hours of Saturday morning last week after a boozy celebration party for Austria’s right wing leaders.

As throngs of right-wing crowds gathered for his funeral today, makers of the VW Phaeton limo he was driving insist their car is one of the safest in the world and should have survived the crash.

VW spokesman Peter Thul claimed that someone with access to Haider’s car key could have manipulated the car’s electrics.

The car giants have sent their own experts to examine the wreckage and search for signs it may have been sabotaged.

It has also been revealed that on the day of his death, Haider spent part of his last night drinking in a gay club called ‘Stadtkraemer.’

Police have told Haider’s family he had a blood alcohol level of 1.8 pro mille — nearly four times Austria’s 0.5 limit.

Thul told The Sun: “It is a fact that Haider was going too fast, but such a speed on that curve is not a problem for the car’s physics.

“The Phaeton and Audi A8 are the safest of all. You’d need the key to manipulate the electronics, so someone at a garage would have to tamper with it.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Islam: Tariq Ramadan to Attend Segrate Mosque’s 20th Year

(ANSAmed) — MILAN, OCTOBER 16 — The internationally renowned Islamic intellectual Tariq Ramadan will be among those present to celebrate the 20 years of the Al-Rahman mosque in Segrate (Milan) — for a long time the only place in Italy with the minaret and cupola. Between today and 30 October the Milan and Lombardy Islamic Centre, which runs the religious site, has organised numerous events to mark its twenty year anniversary. Amongst the events is a dinner that will see priests from the Milanese suburbs and Lombard imams speak as family, an inter-religion football tournament, the possibility of guided tours of the mosque and Islamic Centre, plus round-tables, discussions and meetings on Islam and dialogue. The heavyweight cultural event of them all will certainly be the Tariq Ramadan conference however, scheduled for 20 October in the Palasegrate. The intellectual, it has been pre-announced by the Centre, will speak on how conflict between civilisations “has no reason to exist”. The director of the Cenre, Abu Shwaima has stated that: “we were the first, and we are the mother of many Islamic centres in Italy. Many guides trained here.” Today, he continued to explain, for normal Friday prayers several hundred faithful arrive from all over the suburbs, many have come here for a long time, but there are also new people and Italian converts. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: North-South Wealth Divide Widening

Italy’s richest town in Valle d’Aosta, poorest in Calabria

(ANSA) — Rome, August 18 — The wealth divide between Italy’s prosperous northern regions and the impoverished south is widening, a new survey showed on Monday.

According to a report on tax returns in the financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, average earnings for 2007 in all northern regions stood above 17,000 euros, while in the south they remained below 13,000.

While the southern region of Calabria clocked average earnings of just 10,200 a year (a 14% drop between 1999 and 2007), in the northern region of Valle d’Aosta earnings were up 11% in eight years to an average of 18,490 euros a head.

The two regions are home to the poorest and richest towns in Italy respectively.

Ayas in Valle d’Aosta came in first in the rankings with residents earning an average of 66,000 euros a year.

The small mountain town has less than 1,500 residents but earnings were boosted because it is also the home of Silvio Scaglia, founder of telecommunications giant Fastweb.

At the other end of Italy, residents in the small Calabrian town of Plati’ earned an average of 4,000 euros each last year.

The sole exception to the north-south divide is the town of Val Rezzo near Como.

Earnings dropped by 31% between 1999 and 2007 to an average of 4,330 euros, making Val Rezzo the second lowest earner in Italy after Plati’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

‘Little Baghdad’ Hosts US Relocation Fair

A Swedish town with a large concentration of Iraqi immigrants played host on Thursday to a unique fair designed to provide information about the United States to prospective job seekers.

US Ambassador to Sweden, Michael M Wood co-chaired the event, the Södertälje Opportunity Fair ‘USA 2009’ with Södertälje Mayor, Anders Lago.

Speaking to a packed audience of foreign immigrants, schoolchildren and journalists, Wood explained the drive behind the fair:

“When I visited Södertälje back in April, I was impressed by the economic situation and the amount of refugees the town has taken in.

“I was subsequently challenged by Lago to provide 1,000 new green cards. Obviously I couldn’t achieve that, but I got his point.”

As a joint effort between the US Embassy and the Södertälje council, the Opportunities Fair aims to provide information and advice to young locals, especially Iraqi immigrants, on options for studying and working in America.

Since the military invasion in 2003, Sweden has taken in more Iraqi refugees than the United States and Canada combined and Södertälje has seen itself at the forefront of this influx.

Located on the outskirts of Stockholm and with a population of just over 80,000, Södertälje has taken in more Iraqis per capita than any other Swedish municipality.

Dubbed ‘Little Bagdad’, the town’s infrastructure is under serious strain: “It is impossible for us to create 1,000 new jobs every year only for the refugees in Södertälje,” Lago told The Local.

Over recent months Lago has publicly raised concerns over the unrelenting flow of immigrants into the town, highlighting the need to find long-term resolutions to the issue.

Talking the The Local, Lago suggested that relocating Iraqi immigrants away from Södertälje may be the only solution:

“It could also be an idea for some of them to go to the United States or another country. We also have connections with other municipalities within Sweden — for immigrants to settle down elsewhere in the country.”

“This fair today is an opportunity for young people in Södertälje, both from Iraq and other Swedes, to go to the States. It’s to give them inspiration and information on how to do that,” said Lago.

Ambassador Wood admitted that “it’s true that we were very slow in the US to ramp up the acceptance of Iraqi refugees.”

“But in the last year the US has taken in 12,000 Iraqi refugees, in the next 12 months we aim to accept 17,000. So you can see that the trend line is headed up.”

In 2007, Sweden admitted approximately 15,200 immigrants from Iraq. Though it has a population more than 30 times smaller than that of the United States, Sweden has taken in a greater number of Iraqi refugees, despite taking no part in the US-led invasion.

When asked if the US planned to replicate Swedish immigration policy, Ambassador Wood replied that, although “Sweden’s immigration policy is admired all over the world”, the United States would not be taking similar measures.

“The situation in the US is obviously much more complex; the volume of people coming to the US is much higher, the concerns about terrorism require additional steps.”

But could the fair not be viewed as merely a PR exercise aimed at rebuilding the US public image amid criticisms of its restrictive admittance regulations?

“I hope not. The proof will be when we determine how many of the people here today end up going to the United States either to work or to go to school,” replied Wood.

“Three or six months from now, if we can check back and determine that 100 or 150 of the people here ended up with success, then I would say that the Opportunity Fair was much more than just a sweetener.”

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean: Lombardy, Sicily Drive Italian Export

(ANSAmed) — MILAN, SEPTEMBER 25 — After the excellent performance in 2007 the growth of the Sicilian export towards the Mediterranean continues with an increase by 22% in the first quarter of 2008 which makes the island pass from the fifth to the second place, behind Lombardy, in the ranking of the regions which drive the export made in Italy to the south coast. The data is revealed by a survey of the Milan Chamber of Commerce on Istat data relative to the import-export of Italy with 13 countries of the Mediterranean basin (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Malta, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, the occupied Palestinian Territory, Jordan). If Sicily with a share of 753 million euro represents currently 11% of the Italian export to the area, the real driving power with a share of 26% of the total remains Lombardy; in the period January-March Lombardy sold goods for 1.685 billion euro with an increase by 28% compared to the first quarter of last year. The north-south tandem is also registered in the field of import, where Lombardy and Sici ly maintain the first positions, despite a decrease respectively by 32% (to some 1.8 billion euro) and by 12% (1.2 billion euro). (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mortgage Crisis: Solbes, in Spain No Need for Capitalisation

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 13 — Spanish banks “are solvent and do not need a capitalisation plan” confirmed Minister for Finance and Economy, Pedro Solbes in Washington, in a statement to the media. The minister confirmed that the plan which allows an injection of 30 billion euros, rising to 50, agreed by the Spanish Government does not put taxpayers’ money at risk. “We are buying high-quality mortgages which have a high monthly return, and we will give all the money in one go to the companies so that they will have the finances they need”. In other words, “we will lend money that they will pay back with interest and expenses”. According to Solbes, Spain is moving away from the UK model adopted by other countries, saving the banks through the direct purchase of shares by the state. This is also because the Spanish Government’s intervention is based on the fact that “Spanish banks have been much more selective” than the US in evaluating the ability to pay by customers weighed down by mortgages. This is the reason why the Government believes that the Spanish financial system has no need to extend the intervention plan approved on Friday by the CDM, which is based on the creation of a fund to buy “quality shares” from financial businesses, and guarantee deposits up to 100,000 euros per clients and companies. The fund of 30 billion will be dependent on the Treasury. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mosque Opening Sparks Protests in Germany

About 200 people chanting anti-Muslim slogans demonstrated on Thursday as members of the Ahmadiya Muslim minority inaugurated eastern Germany’s first mosque after years of controversy over its construction.

As German officials and members of the Ahmadiyah community gathered for the ceremony at the Heinersdorf mosque, demonstrators held banners reading “Stop the Islamization of Europe” and “Stop the Abuse of Religious Freedom”.

“ We have a big problem with sects that put religion above everything else, allow the beating of women and deny equal rights.”

The structure symbolizes “religious and cultural tolerance in our town,” said Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit, who was among the people attending the gathering.

The 1.6 million-euro ($ 2.15 million) mosque has a 12-meter (39-foot) high minaret and can hold up to 500 worshippers — far larger than Berlin’s 200-strong Ahmadiyah community which financed its construction.

Opponents of the Heinersdorf mosque had called for a protest against its inauguration, and a petition against its construction gathered some 20,000 signatures.

A few black-clad young men with shaved heads, a trademark right-wing style, joined the protest but the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) called off a march.

Supporters say the mosque will foster better ties.

“The mosque will be a hub of social activity, not just for praying,” said Ijaz Ahmad, spokeswoman for the Ahmadiya mosque.

“It will play a role in boosting integration and promoting dialogue with politicians and other religious groups.”

“Racist views”

The building of mosques and minarets has sparked controversy in Europe, with opponents criticizing growing Muslim influence in the region and foreign funding that sometimes bankrolls the construction.

The local citizens’ group said Ahmadiya is a sect with racist and discriminatory views.

“We have a big problem with sects that put religion above everything else, allow the beating of women and deny equal rights,” the group said on its website.

“Our opposition is directed at this sect’s ideas and in particular its ideas about women,” it said.

The Ahmadiya movement, whose slogan is “Love for all, hatred for no one”, was founded in India in the 19th century. It defines itself as Muslim but is not recognized by mainstream Muslim groups because of different beliefs.

Germany is home to about 2,500 mosque communities and has 2,250 active imams. Most of its Muslims are of Turkish origin.

Plans for another mosque in Cologne have been on the cards for more than a year, with the project becoming a lightning rod for far-right groups in particular.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Switzerland Announces Bank Bail-Out Plan

The government has announced a rescue package for the country’s financial system that will inject cash into its biggest bank, UBS.

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has agreed to put SFr6 billion ($5.23 billion) into UBS, in a move that aims to strengthen the bank’s capital base and reduce its balance sheet.

In return, Switzerland’s central bank will take a 9.3 per cent stake in UBS.

The surprise move by the cabinet, the SNB and the Swiss Federal Banking Commission was announced on Thursday morning.

Based on an agreement with the SNB, UBS will transfer up to $60 billion of assets to a newly created fund entity and will capitalise the fund with equity of up to $6 billion.

The SNB will finance the fund with a loan of up to $54 billion, secured on the assets of the fund, taking over control and ownership of the entity.

The move follows a cabinet meeting on Wednesday — the first in two weeks — and is the latest in a series of high-profile reassurances from governments in the United States and Europe attempting to pacify volatile markets.

The country’s second largest bank, Credit Suisse, also announced that it is raising SFr10 billion from private investors including the Qatar Investment Authority.

The bank however said it had “decided not to participate at this time” in the stabilisation programme, basing its decision on the relatively low level of affected assets in its portfolio and its good access to capital markets.

Credit Suisse announced a SFr1.3 billion third quarter loss while UBS made SFr296 profit in the same period.

Accountholder protection

In a media conference on Thursday morning, the acting finance minister, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, argued strong banks would be the best measure of protection for accountholders.

“I have said that we in the government are, as before, of the understanding that the best protection for bank accounts is a solid basis for our banks — a capital base — and behaviour that inspires confidence,” she said.

The government would, however, act quickly, the minister added, to follow in the footsteps of other European governments in raising the accountholder protection in all Swiss banks above the current SFr30,000 threshold.

“We see now — and we cannot detach ourselves from these developments — that internationally, savings protections are being strengthened and we want to do this too,” Widmer-Schlumpf said.

Cabinet will begin working to prepare recommendations so that parliament can make a decision in its December session, she added.

Toxic assets gone

Thursday’s move has allowed UBS to rid itself of virtually all of its “toxic assets” while significantly boosting its cash safety net against future risks. The bank’s chief executive, Marcel Rohner, said: “This transaction gives us comfort.”

“The extremely difficult market environment led us to accelerate our risk reduction with a definite move. Our aim is to protect our clients form the impact of the crisis to the fullest extent possible and to provide our shareholders an opportunity to renew confidence in the bank,” he added in a statement.

UBS is expected to call an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting in November to get approval for the refinancing.

“The cabinet is confident that this package of measures will contribute to the lasting strengthening of the Swiss financial system,” said a finance ministry statement.

“The resulting stabilisation is beneficial for overall economic development in Switzerland and is in the interests of the country as a whole.”

The economics ministry on Tuesday had rejected accusations in the media that the government had been slow to respond to the crisis, and cabinet minister Moritz Leuenberger said his colleagues were keen to not add “fuel to the fire of speculation”.

President Pascal Couchepin reiterated on Thursday that the cabinet’s message had consistently been to observe, reflect and then intervene when necessary to consolidate the financial system.

Shares in UBS and Credit Suisse slumped on Thursday morning before climbing toward the afternoon.


At the start of the week the Swiss government said that it did not need to follow the example of many other countries, which had raised massive amounts of taxpayers’ money to bail out stricken banks.

Following the United States’ $700 billion (SFr790 billion) rescue package earlier this month, Britain announced a £37 billion (SFr73 billion) cash injection while Germany was poised to prop up its ailing financial system with a €470 billion (SFr724 billion) hand out.

Spain said it would provide up to €100 billion of guarantees for new debt issued by commercial banks in 2008. Norway and Portugal have also followed suit with their own bail out cash packages.

Germany, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates are the latest countries to guarantee all bank deposits.

Iceland is close to bankrupcy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: Let-Off for Knife Thug Who Almost Killed a Schoolboy

AND his curfew is lifted to play football

With a jubilant thumbs up, a 14-year-old criminal gives his verdict on British knife-crime justice.

The boy struck the defiant pose as he walked free from court despite having stabbed a schoolboy, leaving him with life-threatening injuries.

In an unprovoked attack, he had plunged an 11in blade into the 16-year-old’s back, rupturing the boy’s windpipe and lung.

As doctors desperately fought to save the victim’s life, his heart stopped three times.

Despite being found guilty of malicious wounding, the attacker was let off with a paltry 12-month supervision order.

Incredibly, magistrates also removed the boy’s curfew imposed while on bail — so that he could attend evening football practice.

And rather than make an example of the thug, the bench refused to let the media identify him.

The lenient sentence makes a mockery of the Government’s recent drives to get tough on the perpetrators of knife crime.

Last night, the mother of the victim — who was stabbed near his home in Crawley, West Sussex, in March — expressed her ‘utter disgust’ at the sentence.

‘This gives anyone the right to go around and stab someone, knowing they will get off with a slap on the wrist,’ she said.

‘My son died on the way to hospital and it was only the quick thinking of the medics that saved him.

‘Is his life worth so little? I thought they were supposed to be clamping down on these sorts of crimes.’

During the trial at Lewes Crown Court, East Sussex, the attacker, who was 13 at the time of the stabbing, refused to admit his guilt.

Instead he chose to laugh and smirk as he sat in the dock.

When he was sentenced at Crawley youth court, magistrates said he would not need to pay any legal costs because his family has no money and he would not have to pay any compensation.

His victim, now 17, said: ‘I was so lucky to survive, I’m just so grateful to the doctors and paramedics. It took five minutes for them to reach me — I’d have died otherwise.’

He added: ‘This boy can go to football training and have an active life, while the damage done to my lungs has meant that I’ve been unable to ride my bike or take part in the sports I want to play. It doesn’t seem fair.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Italy-Albania: President Topi, Criminality Now in Past

(ANSAmed) — TURIN, OCTOBER 16 — “These days the Albanian community is very well integrated in Italy and the problems linked to criminality should be considered as episodes belonging to a past that will not return”. This was stated by the president of Albania, Bamir Topi, during a meeting today in Turin with the president of the Piedmont regional government, Mercedes Bresso. Bamir, who has a connection to the Piedmont capital that goes back to his studies at the veterinary faculty at the university of Turin, responded to journalists’ questions, assuring them that “today the situation is completely different from the past”. “Emigration towards Italy”, he emphasized, “is becoming healthier every day. This was also emphasized by the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, who I met in Rome on Tuesday. And the good integration achieved is positively influencing the relationship between our two countries, which have close commercial and economic ties”. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

Expanding the EU to Include Morocco

Morocco has been granted an “advanced status” in preparation for a gradual integration into the European Union. Jeune Afrique has a long report. Here are a few excerpts:

The Moroccan Foreign Minister, Taïeb Fassi Fihri (photo), welcomed the “advanced status” offered his country by the EU on Monday, and stressed that Rabat would henceforth benefit from “all” the advantages of the EU, “except the institutions.”

This status, long desired by Morocco, implies a strengthening of EU-Moroccan relations in the political realm and a gradual integration of the kingdom into the internal markets of the Union.

“This European commitment is first of all a sign of confidence in Morocco’s efforts in terms of political reform, consolidation of the rule of law, social cohesion and the fight against poverty,” declared the minister to reporters.

“We fulfill the definition of Romano Prodi: ‘everything except the institutions,’“ continued Fassi Fihri, referring to the 2003 declaration of then president of the European Commission Romano Prodi who had said that the countries south of the Mediterranean could share with the EU “everything except the institutions.”

“We’re getting close to the ‘everything’“, insisted the minister.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Terrorism: Algeria; Attacks in Several Regions

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, OCTOBER 16 — Three municipal guards were killed and two others seriously injured yesterday when a bomb exploded in the Setif region, 300 kilometres east of Algiers, while a young police cook was assassinated in Boudouau, in Kabylia near the capital. The head of the boy taken hostage two days ago has also been found alongside railway tracks, according to Liberté. It is a macabre action which, said the newspaper, is a clear sign that the Salafite Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC, now Al Qaeda for the Islamic Magreb) has adopted the gruesome methods used by the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). Having become the GSPC in 1997, the GIA is well-known for its massacres of civilians in the 1990s. The patrol of the municipal guards, according to El Watan, was attacked near the Babors mountains, 50 kilometres north of Setif, a calm area since 2004 when a massive sweep-up operation by the army eliminated several members of Islamic armed groups. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Dubai: 1.3 Mln Euro-Fine for Executive

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, OCTOBER 16 — An exemplary fine has been slapped on the CEO of an electromechanical company employing 94 illegal workers. The tribunal for immigration sentenced the man to two months in jail and a fine of over 1.3 million euro (6.4 million dirham). “It is a historic, unprecedented verdict,” said public prosecutor Ali Humaid Bin Khatim, and it is one which reflects the stance held by the sheik of Dubai Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktum, who in 2007 called those employing illegal workers “traitors”. The Dubai labour market indubitably relies for the most part on foreign professionals and workers, equal to 97% of the entire work force of the Emirate. In any case, the illegal workers themselves did not get off much better, either: coming from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the 94 were sentenced to time in jail of between three and six months and pecuniary sanctions of between 600 and 800 euro. All of them, including the executive, will be deported. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Emirates: Sex on Beach Couple Found Guilty and Expelled

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, OCTOBER 16 — Three months imprisonment, a 200-euro fine and banishment: such was the sentence handed down this morning by Dubai Court on two British citizens, guilty of having had sexual intercourse on a beach. The couple, said Emirates Radio, denied having copulated in public, but admitted to the illegal consumption of alcohol on the sea shore. Michelle Palmer, (37), and Vince Acors, (34), having checked in to a luxury hotel in Dubai last July, then went down to the beach where they were seen in an intimate embrace. This sentence comes shortly after that given to two women, one Lebanese and another Bulgarian, also found guilty of committing indecent acts and consuming alcoholic beverages among the dunes of a beach on the border between the Emirates of Dubai and Sharjah. In that case, too, the Court sentenced expulsion following a prison term. Dubai, which is notoriously liberal and flexible with regard to the customs and wonts of the cultures of foreigners, who make up over 80 pct of the population, is less tolerant of demonstrations of these in public. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Islamic Scholars: Iran Should Prevent Religious Conflict Among Muslims

Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The International Union of Muslim Scholars has asked Iran to prevent religious conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. The request is contained in a statement made public at the end of a closed-door meeting of the organization, held in Qatar with the participation of Iranian ayatollah Mohamad Ali Tashkiri, vice president of the union, which is headed by the Sunni sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi.

The “Islamic republic of Iran” is asked to “assume its responsibilities to stifle sectarian sedition and extinguish the flames of this sedition.” The reference follows a controversy that Qaradawi himself, an Egyptian, joined last month. In addition to calling the Shiites heretics — a charge that the two Islamic movements level at each other — he accused them of “invading” Sunni societies.

The Sunnis are the majority Islamic movement in the Middle East, while the Shiites are in the majority in Iran and Iraq, and have a significant presence in Lebanon. Concerns about Shiite proselytism in traditionally Sunni territories have been expressed by various political representatives. And on the occasion of the meeting in Doha, according to Qaradawi, he responded to the criticisms of Tashkiri and of another Shiite representative, Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah of Lebanon, concerning his remarks about “invasion.” Now the union is affirming “the need for mutual respect,” and is calling for an end to any attempt to “spread one faith across regions dominated by the other faith.”

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

Lebanon-Syria: Press Reports Casualties in Border Clashes

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, OCTOBER 16 — Two persons have been killed and another three injured during a shoot-out between alleged smugglers and Syrian security forces along the southern Syria-Lebanon border. The report appears in today’s Beirut daily, an-Nahar. The story runs: “eye-witnesses and sources on the southern border: two persons are dead and another three have been injured in a violent shoot out in the night between Tuesday and yesterday near al-Mushayrfa, a Syrian border town”. The paper does not name the casualties, but adds that al-Mushayrfa, a Syrian village partly inhabited by Lebanese from the frontier region of Wadi Khaled, was also scene last week to another gun-fight, this time between smuggler bands, with two persons killed. Syria this morning stepped up checks along its southern frontier and brought hundreds of soldiers to within the frontier area. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The Future of the Christian Community in the Middle East

Unlike Africa, the future of the Christian community in the Middle East looks rather bleak because they face dhimmitude, terrorism, persecution, inequality via the legal system, a demographic time bomb, marginalization, and so much more. Also, history tells us that they do not count in the eyes of major Western powers and of course most Western governments are pro-Saudi Arabia, despite this nation not allowing one single Christian church.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Pakistan: Rupee Weakens to Record Low

Karachi, 17 Oct. (AKI/DAWN) — The Pakistani rupee weakened 2.3 percent to a record low of 84 rupees to the dollar in early trading on Friday after reserves fell by 570 million dollars under pressure from import payments, dealers said.

The rupee was being quoted at 83.50/75 to the dollar at 11:09 am local time dealers said. It closed at 82.05/10 on Thursday.

‘There is sudden panic after the reserve numbers were released last night,’ said a currency dealer.

Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves fell 570 million dollars to 7.75 billion dollars in the week that ended on 11 Oct., the central bank said. Analysts said that was enough to cover less than two months of imports.

The State Bank of Pakistan’s own reserves fell to 4.34 billion dollars from 4.87 billion dollars a week earlier.

Reserves are at their lowest since August 2002 when they were 7.56 billion dollars.

The rupee has lost 26.7 percent against the dollar since the beginning of the year. Dealers said the global financial crisis had added to pressure on the currency.

Analysts say Pakistan, a nuclear-armed United States ally, urgently needs 3 billion to 4 billion dollars.

President Asif Ali Zardari is in China seeking economic help and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao China on Thursday pledged cooperation in confronting Pakistan’s financial crisis.

The Washington Post said on Thursday Pakistan was seeking up to 3 billion dollars from China. The Financial Times reported earlier that Zardari hoped to secure concessional loans of between 500 million dollars and 1.5 billion dollars.

Pakistan is facing a balance of payments crisis, inflation running at close to 25 percent and heavy government borrowing from the central bank to cover a budget deficit.

In Beijing, Premier Wen pledged to help Pakistan overcome its economic troubles, Chinese state media reported, although details of the assistance were not disclosed.

China agreed to provide 500 million dollars in a concessional loan to help Pakistan meet balance of payment needs in April.

Zardari is wooing Beijing at a time when his country’s relations with the United States, its biggest aid donor, are strained after US forces in Afghanistan carried out cross-border raids on militants in Pakistan.

The Asian Development Bank announced loans of 500 million dollars this month but those were wiped out by import payments.

A World Bank official said on Monday the bank could provide 1.4 billion dollars in support during the next nine months, but its disbursal required board approval.

Pakistan is spending about 1 billon dollars a month on imports and debt payments and without help it could default on a 500 million dollar Euro Bond debt obligation maturing in February, analysts say.

Dealers said the rupee was expected to remain under pressure in the short- to medium-term as there were no scheduled foreign inflows.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

Machete Gangs Bring Fear to South Africa as They Carry Out Mutilations for Traditional Medicine

Machete-wielding gangs in South Africa are mutilating young people to provide body parts for the traditional medicine market, an investigation has found.

The practice has brought terror to parts of South Africa, where it is estimated that at least 300 people are killed each year for the medicine, known as muti.

One victim was Fortune Khumalo, a boy of nine, who was attacked as he relieved himself in bushes.

His attacker sliced off his penis and testicles to sell to a traditional healer in Johannesburg, where body parts can fetch £250 and a human head up to £500, according to the research for Channel 4’s Unreported World.

Fortune survived the attack but is in constant pain because his family cannot afford the reconstructive surgery he needs. His assailant was caught with the boy’s genitalia wrapped in a towel in his pocket.

Thomas Khumalo, Fortune’s father, said: “The killings are driven by greed. People believe using human body parts in medicine can make them rich.”

Special superintendent Gerard Labuschagne, an expert on ritual killings, said traditional healers are behind the killings, prescribing body parts to patients and hiring men to go out and find them.

Human genitals are the most prized parts and can be used to attract wealth and increase fertility. They are cooked and ground down for use with herbs and other ingredients.

Children’s body parts are thought to be the most potent and victims are often tortured first as the pain is believed to add to the power.

In the town of Bizana in Eastern Cape 18 people were murdered by a muti gang in nine months.

Vigilante gangs now patrol the area at night because they are concerned the police are not catching the culprits.

Bongani Danga, who leads the vigilantes, said: “People are really scared. Even with a police presence here, the killings continued so we decided we had to act to protect ourselves.”

Many muti murders go unreported but Supt Labuschagne admitted that even those which are reported may not be fully investigated.

“An investigative officer tasked to deal with this might be a bit hesitant because of his own traditional beliefs,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sudan: International Court Asks Prosecutors for More Info on President

The Hague, 17 Oct. (AKI) — International Criminal Court judges have asked prosecutors for more information on an arrest warrant application for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to face charges of genocide in Darfur.

The ICC judges have given prosecutors one extra month to submit additional materials related to their request for an arrest warrant for al-Bashir (photo).

In July, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo presented evidence against al-Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed by him though public officials, the army and militiamen known as the Janjaweed in the strife-torn Darfur region..

Some 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed across Darfur, an impoverished and arid region of western Sudan, as a result of direct combat, disease or malnutrition since 2003.

Another 2.7 million people have been displaced because of fighting among rebels, Government forces and the Janjaweed.

ICC judges issued arrest warrants in May 2007 for Ahmad Harun, former Sudanese Minister of State for the Interior and now the Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, and Ali Kushayb, a Janjaweed leader.

Last month, Moreno-Ocampo urged international leaders to better protect civilians in Darfur and allow the ICC to successfully prosecute crimes committed in the war-torn Sudanese region.

“We presented a solid case. The evidence shows that crimes against Darfurians continue today,” Moreno-Ocampo said.

Sudan’s President “has complete control of his forces, and they are raping women today, they are promoting conditions in the camps to destroy complete communities and they are still bombing schools,” he added.

The African Union, Arab League and other alliances have urged the United Nations Security Council to block moves to charge al-Bashir to avoid shattering the fragile peace process

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


Emergency Shelter Prepared for Asylum Seekers

A sharp rise in the number of asylum seekers arriving in Switzerland has prompted the authorities to arrange new emergency shelter.

The Federal Migration Office announced on Thursday that an army shelter in central Switzerland would temporarily be made available to take up to 100 people in November.

Since June there has been an upsurge in the number of people fleeing conflict areas like Somalia, Eritrea, Iraq and Sri Lanka, which has created a shortage of accommodation in existing reception centres.

Emergency beds have been made available since September near various border cities where the asylum seekers can be registered. The idea is to give the different cantons time to expand their own facilities.

The Bern cantonal authorities said on Thursday that the canton’s 18 transit centres were full, and said they would have to demand that local authorities put bunkers at their disposal.

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

Greek Islands Become the EU’s New Front Line on Immigration

Agathonisi ‘overwhelmed’ by thousands of arrivals; most are smuggled, many die en route in Aegean.

For as long as anyone can remember on the remote isle of Agathonisi, the biggest event has been the trickle of tourists who annually make the long trek to its shores. Their arrival, after the appearance of electricity and the telephone, has been the most momentous thing to alter the idyllic island’s way of life.

Until this year, that is, when groups of bedraggled men, women and children from as far away as Afghanistan and Iraq also began arriving on Agathonisi. The Aegean island’s 150-strong population has been overwhelmed as it tried to cope with an influx of immigrants that by last week had surpassed 4,100 in number.

Without exception, they had been dumped on Agathonisi by smugglers ferrying human cargo from nearby Turkey.

“We’re a warm-hearted people and at first we welcomed them with open arms,” said Evangelos Kottoros, who heads the tiny community. “We gave them food, we gave them clothes; but we don’t have the infrastructure, and then scepticism set in. Some days 180 would arrive.”

When last month, in the space of 10 days, some 700 migrants clambered out of rickety boats onto Agathonisi’s shores, local authorities issued an urgent appeal for help. “Where were we going to put all these people? In stables?” asked Kottoros. “We had always sent them on to Patmos, but then it said it wasn’t going to take any more, and we were really stuck.”

This week, as Greece’s overstretched coastguard dispatched high-speed craft to patrol the isle, officials were asking which far-flung island would be next.

No day now passes without migrants desperate to flee poverty and conflict illegally entering Greece, according to the interior ministry, which estimates that more than 11,000 have arrived this year. Most slip through along the country’s craggy coastline.

“Greece is taking more punishment in terms of the numbers arriving than other EU states where border controls have been tightened,” said Martin Baldwin-Edwards, who runs the Mediterranean Migration Observatory at Panteion University in Athens. “It’s the remote islands that will most suffer, but it’s the central state that should deal with the problem, not the poor people who live on them.”…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Immigration: 105 Illegal Migrants Arrested in Aegean

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 16 — The port authorities of the islands Lesbos, Samos and Chios in the eastern Aegean have taken in 105 illegal immigrants, none of whom had any identity papers. All of those arrested, 64 on Lesbos, 28 on Samos and 13 on Chios, were coming from Turkish coasts according to the Greek newswire service ANA-MPA. Those arrested — including 11 minors — will be taken to hospitals on the island as a precaution, where they will undergo medical testing. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Immigration: Immigrant Landed in Tenerife Yesterday Dead

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 16 — One of the 69 migrants who landed yesterday afternoon on the southern part of the island of Tenerife in the Canaries, died at dawn today. The craft with all sub-Saharan African immigrants on board, landed on the San Blas beach where the illegal immigrants were aided by the Red Cross. Three of the immigrants, with serious conditions of hypothermia and dehydration, were transferred to the Candelaria hospital, and checked in to the intensive care unit. Health care sources have informed that today that one of the immigrants who was seriously dehydrated, suffering from acidosis and muscular failure, died at dawn. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Immigration: Lampedusa Now Almost Under Siege, 778 Arrivals

(ANSAmed) — LAMPEDUSA (AGRIGENTO), OCTOBER 16 — The arrival of boats loaded with immigrants in Lampedusa continues without signs of respite. In just a few hours, beginning late yesterday evening, there have been five arrivals and disembarkations (aided by the Navy and the Coast Guard), bringing 778 illegal immigrants to the island. The last two of the boats — guided in from a few dozen miles from Lampedusa — had almost 150 people on board, including at least 40 women and many children and newborn babies. The situation on the island is once again quite dramatic because the Centre for the reception of new arrivals is only set up to host 700 people, whereas it is now having to deal with over 1,300 people. However, the plan to lighten the island’s load is already under way: more than 300 new arrivals will be transferred to other facilities by tomorrow evening. Once the immigrants have arrived, they undergo identification procedures and then there are investigations to try and identify the people-smugglers. Today, Agrigentòs police team has sent detained seven people under the accusation of being the people-smugglers which organised the “consignments” which brought tens of immigrants to Lampedusa on 29 September on two boats. The accused men are Somali, but their identities have not yet been officially confirmed. The seven are accused of “facilitating illegal immigration”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Minister Welcomes EU Leaders’ Approval of Migration Pact

Rome, 16 Oct. (AKI) — Italy’s Interior Minister Roberto Maroni has welcomed the approval on Thursday by European Union heads of state and government of a pact to better manage legal migration in the bloc.

“I am satisfied,” said Maroni. “This new instrument will enable EU rules to be passed to tackle illegal immigration,” he added.

The pact seeks to tighten controls on illegal immigrants and to forge a common asylum policy.

Italy’s conservative government has pledged to clamp down on illegal immigration, drafting legislation to make this a criminal offence and to allow the immediate explusion of migrants without permits of stay.

Its policy of carrying out a census of Gypsies in Italy, including fingerprinting, has drawn criticism from the Catholic Church, the opposition and from rights groups.

A recent move to introduce separate classes for immigrant schoolchildren has also sparked controversy.

Italy’s CGIL trade union said as many as 5,000 immigrants staged a demonstration on Thursday in the Sicilian city of Palermo to protest the government’s immigration policies, which the union claims are stoking illegal migration and racism.

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

Culture Wars

College Student Charged With Making False “Hate Crime” Report

Elmhurst police arrested a 19-year-old Elmhurst College student Friday who claimed last week to be the victim of a hate crime.

Safia Z. Jilani, 19, of Oak Brook, was charged with one felony count of filing a false police report and released on $10,000 bond.

Jilani told police she was attacked about 8:30 p.m. Oct. 9 after entering a bathroom in the Schaible Science Center by a gunman wearing a mask who made racial slurs. The Muslim student had spoken hours earlier at a diversity rally on campus.

Police found anti-Muslim graffiti written in marker in the bathroom.

Deputy Chief Jim Doherty, though, said on Friday that “there was no gunman and no attack.”

Police are continuing to investigate her claim that a week before the alleged attack she found anti-Muslim slogans and a swastika written on the inside of her locker. That episode helped spark a campus-wide call for a diversity rally that promoted tolerance. Jilani read a poem there advocating peace and understanding despite the actions against her.

Hours later she reported walking into the bathroom in the science center and being confronted by a gunman wearing a mask who attacked her and struck her twice in the head with a pistol.

Despite earlier reports she was injured, Doherty said there were no signs of injuries “that were obvious.”

He said officers quickly heard from people around campus that the event might not have occurred. While they did investigate the possibility an attacker existed, they later ruled it out.

Two detectives worked on the case full-time for the past week.

Filing a false police report is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to one to three years in prison.

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NOTE: CAIR still lists this as a “hate crime”; its site has not been updated. See:

           — Hat tip: Marathon Pundit[Return to headlines]

Shocking Frieze Which Will Greet Visitors to London’s Eurostar Terminal

From next summer, travellers stepping off the train at St Pancras International will be greeted with an artwork that sums up modern Britain.

But it might not be the Britain we’d like them to see.

A copulating couple. A vagabond carrying a bottle. And a hoodie expressing himself with his middle finger.

All these are ‘concept’ designs for the bronze frieze which is to be installed in the station.

The frieze will sit around the base of the towering Meeting Place statue of an embracing couple, which was unveiled last year.

Designs in clay by the sculptor, Paul Day, were unveiled on Friday at the station.

London and Continental Railways, which commissioned the piece — thought to have cost half a million pounds — admits that the images will be ‘bold and edgy’.

However, a spokesman for the company said the image of a man ‘giving the finger’ was an early concept and would not be in the final work.

The frieze will wrap right around the plinth at the base of the existing statue and will depict different journeys on a railway theme.

The images of contemporary life will be punctuated by historical flashbacks, some that echo the station’s past and others that reflect how railways have defined modern society.

Last night Tory MP Andrew Rosindell said he thought some aspects of modern life should not appear in such a high-profile piece of public art.

He voiced particular concern about one image, a skeleton at the wheel of a train, given the number of tragedies on the Underground.

He said: ‘I think public art should be in good taste. Some of these images seem to be in poor taste and likely to cause offence.

‘I think the skeleton is in particularly poor taste considering the number of people who perished in the King’s Cross fire.’…

[Return to headlines]


From Arabic to English

By Alan Pimm-Smith

Hundreds of English words derive from the Arabic language. The author traces the origins of many technical, as well as common, terms. Alan Pimm-Smith is a free-lance writer who worked as a teacher and journalist in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries for many years. He now lives in Turkey.

How many words in the English language can you think of that are derived from Arabic? The immediate answer is, “Quite a few”: mosque and minaret, bedouin and sheik, caliph and sultan, to name a few. Whether or not one knows any Arabic, it is safe to assume these words come from Arabic because they refer to Arab things as, of course, do the words camel, wadi, and dhow.

In some cases the English version of the word is as good as identical to its Arabic original, though others diverge in sound or meaning. Mosque doesn’t sound much like masjid, and though we can use bedouin in the singular, it is in fact taken from bidwan, a plural form of bedawi. Dhow comes from dawa, though if you ask any of your Arabic-speaking friends, you’ll find they don’t know the word, as it’s no longer in common use.

           — Hat tip: Lawrence Auster[Return to headlines]

Qur’an References Delay Sony’s ‘Little Big Planet’

LittleBigPlanet has been delayed worldwide due to the inclusion of quotes from the Qur’an, reports VideoGaming247.

In a forum thread, a Muslim user commented that he listened carefully to some of the licensed music and caught the Qur’an references, and respectfully requested that they be removed. As a Muslim, the mixture of a holy book with pop music was offensive, leading Sony to pull the game despite it already being on retail shelves in some areas.

In response, Sony issued the following statement:

“During the review process prior to the release of LittleBigPlanet, it has been brought to our attention that one of the background music tracks licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Qur’an. We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologise for any offence that this may have caused.

We’ll confirm the new launch date shortly.”

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

The Freedom of Historical Debate is Under Attack by the Memory Police

Well-intentioned laws that prescribe how we remember terrible events are foolish, unworkable and counter-productive

Among the ways in which freedom is being chipped away in Europe, one of the less obvious is the legislation of memory. More and more countries have laws saying you must remember and describe this or that historical event in a certain way, sometimes on pain of criminal prosecution if you give the wrong answer. What the wrong answer is depends on where you are. In Switzerland, you get prosecuted for saying that the terrible thing that happened to the Armenians in the last years of the Ottoman empire was not a genocide. In Turkey, you get prosecuted for saying it was. What is state-ordained truth in the Alps is state-ordained falsehood in Anatolia.

This week a group of historians and writers, of whom I am one, has pushed back against this dangerous nonsense. In what is being called the “Appel de Blois”, published in Le Monde last weekend, we maintain that in a free country “it is not the business of any political authority to define historical truth and to restrict the liberty of the historian by penal sanctions”. And we argue against the accumulation of so-called “memory laws”. First signatories include historians such as Eric Hobsbawm, Jacques Le Goff and Heinrich August Winkler. It’s no accident that this appeal originated in France, which has the most intense and tortuous recent experience with memory laws and prosecutions. It began uncontroversially in 1990, when denial of the Nazi Holocaust of the European Jews, along with other crimes against humanity defined by the 1945 Nuremberg tribunal, was made punishable by law in France — as it is in several other European countries. In 1995, the historian Bernard Lewis was convicted by a French court for arguing that, on the available evidence, what happened to the Armenians might not correctly be described as genocide according to the definition in international law.

A further law, passed in 2001, says the French Republic recognises slavery as a crime against humanity, and this must be given its “consequential place” in teaching and research. A group representing some overseas French citizens subsequently brought a case against the author of a study of the African slave trade, Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau, on the charge of “denial of a crime against humanity”. Meanwhile, yet another law was passed, from a very different point of view, prescribing that school curricula should recognise the “positive role” played by the French presence overseas, “especially in North Africa”.

Fortunately, at this point a wave of indignation gave birth to a movement called Liberty for History (, led by the French historian Pierre Nora, which is also behind the Appel de Blois. The case against Pétré-Grenouilleau was dropped, and the “positive role” clause nullified. But it remains incredible that such a proposal ever made it to the statute book in one of the world’s great democracies and homelands of historical scholarship…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Tuan Jim said...

If "democratic" Turkey can't get a spot in the EU, I don't think Morocco has a snowball's chance - regardless of some of these articles.

On a side note, I came across this very humorous blog this morning. Hopefully we'll see some more updates pretty soon.

Darrin Hodges said...

In other news… Muslim sets 11 year girl alight for wearing lipstick