News Feed 20121008

Financial Crisis
» Employment for Southern Italian Women at an All-Time Low
» Feds Refuse to Sell Their Shares of GM — And the ‘Why’ Is Quite Interesting
» Italian Industry 2nd to Germany in Value Added, Monti Says
 
USA
» American Tribals
» CASH, Muslim Student Association Meet
» Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley Fired for Criticizing Islam at Joint Forces Staff College
» Mitt Romney Attacks Barack Obama’s Handling of Benghazi Attack
 
Europe and the EU
» EU Pressures Italy to Make Catholic Church Pay Property Tax
» France Steps Up Security at Jewish Sites After Synagogue Attack
» Gary Lineker Forced to Eat Humble Pie After He Accuses Praying Muslims of ‘Eating Grass’ During Al Jazeera Commentary
» Germany: Separate Shootings Leave Two Seriously Injured in Berlin
» Italy: Average Marrying Age is Up: Men 40 and Women 36
» Italy: Milan Arrests for ‘Corruption, Bid-Rigging in Holiday Camps’
» Italy: Court Rejects Application of Property Tax on Church
» Leftist Professor Who Makes Fun of Finns Party Candidates’ Looks in Blog, Ends Up Deleting Post…….
» Molise: Sicily Region Offices Searched in Accounting Probes
» UK: ‘Mega Mosque’ With Four Times Capacity of St Paul’s Cathedral Planned for East London
» UK: ‘Sharia’ Mosque Four Times Size of St Paul’s Cathedral
» UK: Ahmadi Muslims in UK Call for Urgent Action Against Hate
» UK: Police Made 13 Arrests When a Protest at the Site of a Recently-Approved New Mosque Turned Violent.
» UK: Same Old Faces at Anti-Islam Demo
» UK: Space Once Islamic is Islam’s Forever — Staking Their Claim
 
North Africa
» Algeria: Chadli Bendjedid [Obituary]
» Egypt: Morsy to Attend Saturday a Ceremony by Armed Forces on October War Victory
» Lemmings… At the Precipice of WWIII
» Muslim Egyptian Lawyer and His Sons Attempt to Demolish Church
» Spooks in the Machine Speak Up
» State-Sponsored Terrorism: Made in the U.S.A.
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Israel Under Fire From Gaza Militants
» Palestinian Groups Fire Rockets Into Israel in Response to Raid
 
Middle East
» Anti-Regime Protesters Rally in Saudi Arabia’s Qatif Region
» Rebels Clash With Syrian Security Forces Near Lebanon
» Saudi Arabia Denies Gangs Crowding at Borders
» Saudi Arabia: Body Reveals $70.4bn Worth of Projects in Riyadh
» Saudi Arabia: Women to Drive, A Battle for Dignity
» Turkey’s Foreign Policy Takes a Dangerous Turn
» Turkey’s President Describes Growing Conflict With Syria as ‘Worst-Case Scenario We Have All Been Dreading’
» UAE: Sheikh Khalifa Initiates $68m Mosque for Rak City
 
South Asia
» Abu Bakar Baasyir Moved to Indonesia’s “Guantanamo”
» UK Protesters Demand Troops Come Home From Afghanistan
 
Far East
» Philippine Gov’t, Moro Rebels Reach Accord But Final Peace Pact Still Being Worked Out
» Philippines: EU Says Manila Pact With Muslims a Major Step
» Philippines President Announces Landmark Peace Plan With Muslim Rebels
» Philippines: Mindanao: Truth and Shadows of Historic Accord Between Islamist Rebels and Government
 
Australia — Pacific
» Thousands of Public Servants Walk Off Job Across Australia’s New South Wales
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Bakassi: Nigeria Should Collaborate With Southern Cameroon to Create New State — Falana
» Chinese Worker Shot Dead in Nigeria
» Nigeria: Army Kills Dozens of ‘Terrorists’
 
Immigration
» African War Criminal Admits His Role in Massacre That Killed 300,000… And Wins Right to Stay in UK
» Italy Seizes Ferry Packed With 81 Migrants, 8 Children
» Maine Mayor: Somalis Should ‘Leave Your Culture at the Door’; Critics Say Mayor Should Resign
» Romanian Fraudster Who Helped to Steal £10m in Benefits is Allowed to Stay in Britain to Protect Her Human Rights
» UK: The 200 Foreign Suspects Arrested Each Day by Met: But as Figures Soar, Number of Deportations Falls
 
Culture Wars
» The Media is the Real Enemy
 
General
» Islam Earns Its Scorn
» Lost in Translation: The Way We View the Videos ‘Innocence of Muslims’ And ‘Gangnam Style’

Financial Crisis

Employment for Southern Italian Women at an All-Time Low

Two out of 10 women under 30 have jobs, says Istat

(ANSA) — Rome, October 8 — Employment for women in Italy’s southern regions known as the Mezzogiorno is at its lowest since 2004, according to a report published by the national statistics agency Istat.

Working women are an “exception” in the southern regions, with only 16.9%, or less than two out of 10 women under 30 employed.

Overall national statistics for unemployment in recession-hit Italy remained at 10.7% in August, the same as in July and June, keeping it at the highest level since January 2004, Istat said last week.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Feds Refuse to Sell Their Shares of GM — And the ‘Why’ Is Quite Interesting

General Motors Co. executives want the Treasury Department to sell its almost 27 percent stake in the company because, they say, the feds are hurting their image and government pay restrictions are chasing away top talent.

But Treasury officials aren’t interested in selling because it would mean posting a multibillion dollar loss during an election year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

[…]

Still, despite the decline in share price and Treasury’s refusal to sell, GM officials say they’re determined to break away from the feds. They claim the “Government Motors” reputation is killing them.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italian Industry 2nd to Germany in Value Added, Monti Says

Country on right track, but ‘still work to do’

(ANSA) — Rubbiano, October 8 — Despite the economic crisis, Italy is second only to Germany among major European economies in terms of adding value to its industries, Premier Mario Monti said Monday.

“Despite the crisis and the progressive loss of competitiveness of the Italian economy in the decade preceding the crisis…among the main European economies, Italy is second only to Germany in terms of industrial total value added,” Monti said during the opening of a new Barilla plant near Parma.

Total value added is calculated by subtracting outside purchases from a company’s revenue.

Italy also remains on course for improving economic performance, Monti added.

“There is still work to do, but we are on the right track”.

Still, to grow out of the current recession, Italian workers and companies must work even harder, he said: “We need to mobilize all our energy to grow”.

Monti also warned that the rest of Europe is watching to see the proof that government reforms and public efforts will work in turning around the country’s economic performance.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

USA

American Tribals

The United States has centuries of history behind it, but it cannot survive both an assault on its identity and on its laws at the same time.

[…]

Germany is full of Turkish tribes, England is full of Pakistani tribes and France is coping with its Tunisian and Algerian tribes. These tribes want a different kind of Europe and they are getting it and a new different kind of Europe will also mean a different kind of European Union. Like America, the European Union will put tribal priorities first and those tribes who are the least committed to the national governments who are rivals for authority with the European Union will take priority in the coalition to replace provincial national governments with something that will end up looking more like Iraq.

And that brings us back to America, where coalitions of the same sort were used by Unionist Federalists and then by Post-New Deal Federalists as a wedge against states, only to replace the states with tribes. The European Union has already happened here and it is running up trillion dollar deficits every year to subsidize the various tribes and the various power brokers and all the men and women who know someone who knows someone with an office in the right part of Washington DC.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

CASH, Muslim Student Association Meet

by Cody Nelson

The event came in response to CASH’s controversial ‘Draw Mohammed’ day.

An educational event on Friday about Muhammad brought peace between the Muslim Student Association and Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists. The Muslim Student Association organized the event in response to CASH’s “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” on Sept. 27 as well as other recent controversy, including an anti-Islam film that sparked violent protests around the world. University of Minnesota students and interested members of the public filled a Science Teaching and Student Services classroom for “Muhammad and His Place in Islam,” which aimed to educate people about the prophet Muhammad and the Islamic faith.

Imam Youssef Soussi, who speaks to non-Muslims in Minnesota about understanding Islam, lectured the audience and led a question-and-answer session. CASH’s event, held late last month, aimed to exercise freedom of speech by drawing pictures of Muhammad, an act that many Muslims find offensive. “[Muhammad] is the dearest thing to our hearts. We love him more than anyone else,” Soussi said, calling the day of drawing “very immature.” CASH members went to the lecture Friday night. Joshua Brose, a co-chair of the group, said the intent of the drawings was not to spread hate toward Islam. “I wish [Soussi] had clarified more about the event we had,” he said. Muhidin Sheekh, an international business sophomore, said he was “disappointed” in CASH’s event but didn’t show his anger. “[It’s] outside of my control,” he said.

Members of CASH met with the Muslim Student Association after the event. CASH co-chair Bryan Carver said the discussion went well, and the groups “came to a general understanding.” Carver said that CASH “assured [the Muslim Student Association] that we meant no disrespect.”

[…]

[JP note: Pineapples to that. The whole point is to show disrespect, and for Muslims to understand that it is indeed disrespectful. What Muslims do next is up to them.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley Fired for Criticizing Islam at Joint Forces Staff College

In the Spring of this year, US Army Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley was condemned by the Joints Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and relieved of teaching duties at Joint Forces Staff College for teaching a course judged to be offensive to Islam.

The course he taught, Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism, was an elective course that Lt. Col. Dooley’s superiors judged as presenting Islam in a negative way. His superiors were persuaded to come to this conclusion after receiving an October 2011 letter in which 57 Muslim organizations claimed to be offended by the course.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mitt Romney Attacks Barack Obama’s Handling of Benghazi Attack

Mitt Romney will today declare that the US needs to “change course in the Middle East”, as he proposes arming Syria’s rebels and take a harder line against Iran.

Attempting to build late momentum behind his bid for the White House, Mr Romney will use a speech on foreign policy to promise “peace through strength” and condemn Mr Obama for relegating the US to “leading from behind” overseas. “The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts,” he was due to say later today. “They are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East-a region that is now in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century. And the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in Benghazi itself.” “The attack on our consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, was likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on September 11, 2001. This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long. No, as the administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially women and girls; who are fighting to control much of the Middle East today; and who seek to wage perpetual war on the West.” On Syria, Mr Romney said he would work anti-Assad rebels and “ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

EU Pressures Italy to Make Catholic Church Pay Property Tax

Competition commissioner keeps infraction open against Italy

(ANSA) — Brussels, October 8 — The EU is holding Italy’s feet to the fire to make the Catholic Church pay property tax. Sources serving EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Monday that an infraction case remains open against Italy for failing to address property-tax exemptions enjoyed by the Church.

The EU made its position known after Italy’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, scuppered a decree by the Italian government intended to resolve the issue of the Church not having to pay the tax, which earlier this year reappeared in a new form called IMU.

In February, Italy’s technical government, led by Premier Mario Monti, formulated an amendment to Italian property-tax law that would terminate the Catholic Church’s historic exemption.

The amendment was intended to close an inquiry made by EU anti-trust authorities dating back to 2007, and reopened in 2010 after complaints filed by Maurizio Turco, a representative of Italy’s civil liberties-oriented Radical Party, and the tax expert Carlo Pontesilli, who turned to the European Court to prevent the case from being archived. The EU holds that tax breaks received by the Catholic Church could be considered illegal state financial aid.

The EU’s antitrust authority had praised the February decree — now blocked — as “significant progress”.

Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli, however, responded to Monday’s Council of State ruling by saying that the government was determined “to subject all subjects” to IMU.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France Steps Up Security at Jewish Sites After Synagogue Attack

Blank bullets fired at synagogue in Paris suburb, hours after police raids on suspected radical Islamist cell

France has increased security at Jewish religious sites after blank shots were fired at a synagogue west of Paris and police arrested 11 people on suspicion of being part of an Islamist jihadist cell. François Hollande held talks with Jewish community leaders at the Elysée and announced that security would be stepped up immediately at religious sites. He said the state was “totally mobilised against terrorist threats” and “intransigent” in fighting racism and antisemitism. On Saturday evening, blank bullets were fired from a car at a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil while worshippers were inside the building. Earlier on Saturday, police raids outside Paris, Cannes and Strasbourg led to a series of arrests in connection with what the state prosecutor described as a suspected radical Islamist cell…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Gary Lineker Forced to Eat Humble Pie After He Accuses Praying Muslims of ‘Eating Grass’ During Al Jazeera Commentary

Gary Lineker has been forced to apologise after accidentally ridiculing two Muslim footballers during a match commentary on TV.

When the players celebrated a goal by dropping to their knees and bowing their heads in the Islamic prayer position, Lineker said it looked as though they ‘ate grass’.

The gesture is often used by Muslim players to celebrate.

He was commentating on Al Jazeera TV, which is mainly aimed at audiences in the Middle East and has a huge Islamic audience.

Lineker, who is one of the BBC’s biggest faces in sport, has a clause in his contract that allows him to freelance for the other channel.

The gaffe was made during Wednesday night’s Champions League game between Schalke and Montpellier when discussing the French side’s opening goal.

He said: ‘A terrific effort from Karim Ait-Fana, who scored from just outside the area and then ate grass .?.?. as you do.’

Viewers saw images of Ait-Fana, 23, and Younes Belhanda, 25, adopt the traditional Muslim prayer position, known as Sajda.

The comment attracted criticism online.

One viewer wrote on Twitter: ‘Lineker’s comment about Muslims [is a] very stupid remark and [one of] sheer ignorance.’

Another said: ‘I’m off to the mosque for Friday prayers shortly. Or “eating grass” as Gary Lineker likes to call it.’

One tweeter said the presenter had ‘no respect’ while another said his comment was ‘idiotic’.

According to football website Goal.com, London-based Imam Ajmal Masroor said: ‘The players are not asking anyone else to join in their worship, they are making a gesture in thanks to God — saying they are “eating grass” is outrageous.’

Lineker insisted he did not realise what they were doing.

The 51-year-old pundit wrote on his website: ‘I’m sorry but I’m not aware of every player’s religion.’

The BBC said it was not a matter for them to comment on.

           — Hat tip: ICLA [Return to headlines]

Germany: Separate Shootings Leave Two Seriously Injured in Berlin

BERLIN, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) — Two persons were seriously wounded by separate gunshots in Berlin over the weekend, German media reported on Sunday. A 23-year-old man was shot in central Berlin on Sunday morning, lying in a doorway at a train station when he was found by passersby, German news site the Local reported, adding that the hospitalized victim was in a critical condition. Investigation is underway on the identity of the attacker, the police said. On Saturday, another 22-year-old was shot in the stomach after attending a party in the early morning. A stranger shot him after an argument. Police are appealing for witnesses, the report said, adding that no clues have emerged so far.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy: Average Marrying Age is Up: Men 40 and Women 36

(AGI) Milano — When they reach wedlock in Milan on the average he’s almost 40 (39,8) and she’s over 36 (36,4). The data released by the Statistics Department of the Milan Municipal Council on the religious and civil marriages in 2011 shows a continuous uptred in the average age at which couples enter into wedlock. In 2001, men realized their love dream at 34.8 years of age while women at 31.8. But this is not all: ten years earlier, in 1991, the average age was even lower: 32 for the grooms and 29 for the brides. “A long-consolidated tendency has now been confirmed: marriages are preceded by periods of cohabitation that often extend over a long period of years. The increase in the age of the brides reveals their difficulty in reconciling work, marriage and motherhood”, affirmed the Milan Municipal Councillor to the Metropolitan Area, Decentralization and Township and Civil Services, Daniela Benelli. The Milan data is higher than the national average. According to ISTAT, in 2010 Italian men got married at just over 35 (35.1) while women at almost 32 (31.8): almost 5 years younger than the habitual age of both Milanese men and women. The data also reveals a rise in the number of Milanese who marry more than once. In 1 couple out of 4, one of the spouses has at least another marriage in his/her past. “Only” 71.9% of the couples are in their first marriage experience. Instead in 2001 these couples accounted for 82.9%. The average age of the grooms varies widely according to their marital status. In 2011, the age of a Milanese getting married for the first time was 36.6 years of age for men and 34.2 for women. Divorcees enter their second marriage experience at 52.6 years of age (men) and at 46.4 (women) while widowers remarry at an average age of 68 (men) and 54.6 (women). Lastly, a curiosity: the couples’ favorite month in which to get married is October, the month of choice of over a quarter of the marrying couples, while the least appreciated is February”. (AGI) .

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

Italy: Milan Arrests for ‘Corruption, Bid-Rigging in Holiday Camps’

Probe into contracts worth almost 40 million euros

(ANSA) — Milan, October 8 — Four people were arrested Monday as police investigate alleged irregularities in the use of public funds.

An official with the City of Milan, Patrizio Mercadante, is a suspect in the investigation involving contracts worth at least 38 million euros.

He could face charges including bid-rigging and corruption in an investigation that began last year.

Investigators say they found irregularities in the bidding on certain public services, including holiday camps and vacation homes for children and the elderly.

The secretary-general of Milan’s Institute for the Blind, Antonio Picheca, is accused of corruption, forgery, and fraud against the state. Also arrested was the owner of a travel company, Dario Zambelli, and a fourth person, Giulia Pezzoli, is under house arrest and is said to have been working with Mercadante.

Investigators are also looking into other cases involving suspected misuse of public funds over which Mercadante had signing authority.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Court Rejects Application of Property Tax on Church

Council of State says finance ministry overstepped the mark

(ANSA) — Rome, October 8 — The Catholic Church will not be charged the recently introduced IMU property tax, Italy’s top administrative court ruled Monday.

The Council of State rejected a decree from the finance ministry that would have applied IMU to non-commercial activities including Church real estate.

The issue of whether the Church should pay the same taxes as businesses on what many argue are really commercial activities has been a hot-button topic for years. The decree was outside the finance ministry’s lawful area of responsibility, the councillors concluded.

“It is not within the ministry’s remit to give general implementation of the new IMU exemption rules for the property of non-commercial organizations,” the Council ruled.

The decision of the Council of State, which was established to ensure the legality of Italy’s public administration, had been expected for some time. A formal response from the finance ministry is likely by the end of the year.

The ruling will likely also apply to other non-profit organizations in the areas of health, culture, and sports.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Leftist Professor Who Makes Fun of Finns Party Candidates’ Looks in Blog, Ends Up Deleting Post…….

The arrogance of the intellectual Left

I have mixed feeling about this. On the one hand, its entirely forgivable to give in to the knee-jerk reaction to laugh hysterically at the rather unfortunate pics of some of ‘The Finns’ candidates in the upcoming municipal elections. They were however, all cherry picked for obvious reasons, and no doubt, similar pictures for the Left’s candidates are in ample supply as well (I have found them over the years to be as amusing).

But what it shows on the other hand, is the outright contempt leftist intellectuals have for the average person, especially for those with whom they disagree. These are just local townsfolk (many for the very first time) stepping up to the plate to run for local city councils, only to be mocked by the arrogant elitist Left.

The thing that gets me…is the relative ease, as an academic, and acting candidate, to do something so over the top like this, shows me that he was confident of his “lofty credentials” of being a Leftist = being above any suspicion of bigotry. He was solely judging people on looks alone, whether he wanted to be friends with them or not. Really telling don’t you think?

NOTE: Their Leftist credentials supposedly acts as an inoculation for the bigotry virus. They just whip out the card, say what they want and feel morally superior while saying it. Here is the link to the website of the pics, made by this Leftist emeritus professor, J.P. Roos, (a candidate himself)…

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

Molise: Sicily Region Offices Searched in Accounting Probes

‘We’re working with investigators’ Molise governor tells ANSA

(ANSA) — Campobasso, October 8 — Police raided the offices of the southern Molise regional council on Monday in an accounting probe. “We are collaborating as much as possible with investigators to guarantee transparency,” Molise Governor Mario Pietracupa told ANSA. Police said they were searching for evidence of how the regional authority acquired and spent funds from 2009 to 2011. A raft of regional corruption cases have recently come to a head in Italy, culminating last week’s arrest of former Lazio caucus leader Franco Fiorito from former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party.

Also on Monday, police were searching the Sicily assembly offices for evidence in an ongoing accounting probe.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Mega Mosque’ With Four Times Capacity of St Paul’s Cathedral Planned for East London

London, Oct. 8 (ANI): A 10,000-capacity ‘mega-mosque’, which will be the size of Battersea Power Station, has been planned for West Ham, near the Olympic Park in east London.

The mosque will hold four times as many worshippers as St Paul’s Cathedral, have an Islamic library, sports facilities and eight flats for visiting clerics. Architects have described the mosque as a ‘contemporary Islamic sacred space’. The plan has been submitted by Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary movement once described as an ‘ante-chamber of fundamentalism’.

According to the Daily Mail, critics have, however, pointed to the fact it could create a hard-line Islamic enclave in the capital, as the group preaches ‘segregation and separation’.

Alan Craig, campaign director of MegaMosque-NoThanks, said: “The mosque trustees say they want to build a mosque the size of Battersea Power Station. Either way, it will be the UK’s first custom built Sharia-controlled zone.” The group, however, maintains that its main objective of building the mosque is for peaceful missionary work, the report said. A spokesman for Anjuman-E-Islahul-Muslimeen of London UK Trust, Tablighi Jamaat’s charitable trust and the site’s owner, has previously said: “The door is always open and we are happy to meet and discuss in depth our proposals”. (ANI)

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Sharia’ Mosque Four Times Size of St Paul’s Cathedral

BRITAIN could have its first Sharia-controlled zone if plans for a mega-mosque more than four times the size of St Paul’s Cathedral get the go-ahead. The East London mosque, known as the Riverine Centre, will hold 9,312 worshippers, compared to 2,400 at St Paul’s. The 16-acre site in West Ham will include 40ft minarets, an Islamic library, a dining hall, multi-use games areas, tennis courts, sports facilities and eight flats for visiting Muslim clerics. Islamist group Tablighi Jamaat has submitted updated plans for what Cambridge-based architects NRAP are calling a “contemporary Islamic sacred space” the size of Battersea Power Station…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Ahmadi Muslims in UK Call for Urgent Action Against Hate

President of London’s Ahmadiyya community urges government to intervene amid growing fear of persecution and attack

Members of a Muslim sect persecuted in Pakistan have called for action to prevent groups from peddling hate against them in the UK. The Ahmadiyya community in the UK says it is being targeted through various media and in mosques and conferences by behaviour that it says amounts to religious hatred but is not caught by the definition of that offence under UK law. The community moved its headquarters to the UK in the 1980s after the Pakistani government passed a law forbidding Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslims and curbing their religious practices. They were also hounded in Pakistan by Islamic groups that have set up UK satellite offices and are doing the same here, according to Naseer Din, president of the London Ahmadiyya community. “They are advocating sectarianism in Pakistan and creating hatred,” he said. “These [same] groups are coming here and creating the same hatred … There is indoctrination going on in the Muslim community.”

One anti-Ahmadi group is Khatme Nubuwwat, whose UK academy is in Forest Gate, east London. Its website variously describes Ahmadis as “traitors”, “double faced”, “dangerous” and engaged in a “conspiracy against Islam”. The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Hussain appeared at a Khatme Nubuwwat conference in Luton in July, an event Din said Hussain should not have been supporting. A leaflet distributed in Wandsworth, south-west London, this year, attributed to a group called Aalmi Majlis Tahaffuze Khatme Nubuwwat, states: “Qadianis [a pejorative term for Ahmadis] are apostate (‘Murtad’) … He should be given the punishment of a Murtad which is capital punishment.” It later makes clear: “Individuals cannot and should not administer this punishment.” Khatme Nubuwwat means “finality of prophethood”, a reference to the fact that, unlike other Muslims, Ahmadis do not believe Muhammad was the last of the prophets…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Police Made 13 Arrests When a Protest at the Site of a Recently-Approved New Mosque Turned Violent.

Around 200 people were involved in the demonstration on St Mark’s Road, which saw members of far-right groups including the English Defence League clashing with anti-fascists and members of the Muslim community. Scores of police armed with batons were called in as the disorder escalated, and a firecracker in a glass bottle was seen being thrown at officers.

Despite numerous objects hitting police officers and nearby homes, it is understood there were no injuries and no damage to property. Two men both aged 32 have since been charged with being drunk and disorderly. They are both due to appear before Sunderland magistrates on October 26. Eight men arrested on suspicion of public order offences and another three arrested on suspicion of affray have been bailed pending further enquires. Police had to separate protesters during a previous event in August, but people living near the mosque site told Sky Tyne and Wear this had been the worst disorder so far. One woman who did not want to be named said: “I’m worried for my baby mostly. I’m worried things could come through the windows if it gets violent…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Same Old Faces at Anti-Islam Demo

Jim Dowson’s Britain First had a rare public outing yesterday when they called for a demonstration outside of Parliament. Despite Dowson now being the fundraiser for the rival “English Democrats”, he’s been all over the internet promoting Britain First as a patriotic, Christian alternative to both the EDL and the BNP. One assumes Jim will not be happy this morning to hear that his group’s rare outing was hijacked by both the BNP and a host of other far-right extremists including members of the EDL and Eddie Stamton, a devout Hitler admirer and former C18 crank who burned the Saudi flag at the thirty strong demonstration. People also gave Nazi salutes for good measure…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Space Once Islamic is Islam’s Forever — Staking Their Claim

by Esmeralda Weatherwax

I was busy today so could not attend Whitehall where supporters of EDL and the Casuals known to me were attending a demonstration in support of the victims of Muslim grooming. I gather that it went well. A group of British Pakistani Christians were making one of their regular visits outside Downing Street to protest at the persecution of our fellow Christians in Pakistan. And nearby a group of Muslims were making yet another protest about the Innocence of Muslims film (or trailer). They had this car cruising round. (pic courtesy of Essex Div).

And when it was time for prayer out of all the public space in Whitehall, by Parliament Square, along Millbank where do they pick? The close of Westminster Abbey. The burial place of Kings and Queens, including St Edward the Confessor. The sacred site of the Coronation. The man who filmed this was so aghast he let out a word I’m sure he would not normally use in church. I have heard of such a demonstration outside Cathedrals in Italy. I saw it in Walthamstow in the middle of the road last month. I have heard of it on the pavement outside mosques that want to expand (Chingford Mount, Walthamstow Queen’s Road) to ‘prove’ the need for expansion. This is the first time I have heard of it in the close of an English Abbey or Cathedral.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Algeria: Chadli Bendjedid [Obituary]

Chadli Bendjedid, who has died aged 83, introduced democratic reforms at the end of his 13-year spell as president of Algeria only to watch them lead to a disputed election that sparked a horrendous decade-long civil war.

He made the decision to introduce multiparty elections in 1988, as ordinary Algerians responded with outrage to the brutal military quelling of riots and protests sparked by a slumping economy and soaring food prices. Prompted by a mixture of genuine sympathy and political self-interest, Bendjedid dismissed the prime minister and the head of military security before organising two referendums that sealed constitutional and electoral reforms. The Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was one of 39 parties formed as a result, and was seen as the principal challenger to the National Liberation Front (FLN), the party of power, which had led the anti-colonial uprising against the French.

The first test of the new system came in local elections in June 1990 and resulted in a devastating defeat for the FLN, as Islamic candidates captured the bulk of seats. The government accepted the result but, in March 1991, three months before the country’s first free general election, introduced crude new electoral rules that appeared little short of blatant gerrymandering. The measures sparked a new wave of popular protest and, just three weeks before the June 27 poll, Bendjedid sent troops to clear the Islamic Salvation Front from key city centres that it had occupied for 10 days. He also imposed a four-month “state of siege” that banned strikes, demonstrations and subversive publications, and ordered late-night curfews in trouble spots. In October a second electoral law was introduced further to benefit the incumbent regime…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Morsy to Attend Saturday a Ceremony by Armed Forces on October War Victory

President Mohamed Morsy will attend Saturday 05/10/2012 a ceremony to be organized by the Armed Forces marking the 39th anniversary of the 6th of October War victory.

The ceremony came under the rubric “The people builds and the army protects”, said presidential Spokesman Yasser Ali Thursday.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Lemmings… At the Precipice of WWIII

To better understand what happened in Libya, you must first understand the context in which it took place. Ambassador Stevens was probably at least as valuable as a U.S. intelligence asset/operative as he was a diplomat. He operated the Iran desk early in his career and eventually became one of our top “go to” experts on all things Iran. Mr. Stevens served in countries throughout the mid-east before eventually settling in Syria for several years. He was well known and respected in the region. He also lived in Washington D.C. for several years while serving as the Director of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs. His little black book with the contact numbers for the good and bad actors and their agents had become pretty extensive; but… here’s where the plot thickens. It appears that Mr. Stevens might not have initially entered Libya to stop the flow of weapons, but to help funnel them under the direction of higher ups in the Obama regime. He was tasked with coordinating, overseeing and facilitating the movement of the rebel fighters from across North Africa through eastern Libya.

[…]

But, wait, there’s more! Unlike our other recent adventures in the region chasing after loner states, this one isn’t as alone as you first thought, it has some very mean looking “Big Brothers.” Russia is hosted by the new and improved President Putin along with an additional cast of favorites, China and Iran. Mr. Putin is making it very clear to the west that “we have drawn a ‘deep red line in the sand’ in Syria.“If the U.S. and NATO should choose to cross it, “WW III will start in Syria”.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Muslim Egyptian Lawyer and His Sons Attempt to Demolish Church

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — Mohammad Mostafa Kamel, a Muslim prosecutor at the Alexandria Criminal Court, and his two sons, aided by some hired Muslims, broke into the church of the St. Mary in Rashid at 4 PM today and demolished a great part of its altar. They came to the church with front loaders.

Kamel had no demolition order.

His fight with the church goes back to 2009 when he tried to take ownership of the church, claiming that he bought the ancient church, which dates back to the 9th century, from the Greek Orthodox Church. But it was the Coptic church who bought after it was up for sale due to the dwindling number of Greeks in Rashid, which is located 65 km (40 mi) east of Alexandria, in Beheira governorate.

Father Maximos of St. Mary’s Church said that he rushed to the police station with Father Luke Asaad and their lawyer to try to bring the police to help. In the police station the prosecutor and his two sons threatened to kill the two priest and their lawyer. A police report was filed regarding those threats.

“We stayed at the police station for over six hours with the police begging prosecutor Kamel and his two sons not to demolish the church,” said father Maximos, “In spite of them not having a demolition order..”

Father Luke said that the prosecutor had lost all the cases he brought to court against the church, “So when this route failed, he tried taking the matter into his own hands.”

The police confiscated the loader but refused to take legal action against him because he is a prosecutor..

In the attack of 2009, the prosecutor, his sons and their aids demolished the church fence and injured the church guard.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih [Return to headlines]

Spooks in the Machine Speak Up

Obama’s terrorist chickens are coming home to roost. And while Rice tries to blame the intelligence community on the Benghazi atrocity, agents are telling a different tale that has the ring of truth. Something that our current administration shuns at every available opportunity. Behold the blame game:

“Elements of the intelligence community apparently told the administration within hours of the attack that militants connected with al Qaeda were involved, yet Ambassador Rice claims her comments five days later reflected the ‘best’ and ‘current’ assessment of the intelligence community. Either the Obama administration is misleading Congress and the American people, or it is blaming the entire failure on the intelligence community,” the senators said in a joint response to Rice’s letter today.

I do not believe the intelligence community is the right target here. It is the Obama administration and their chumminess with the Muslim Brotherhood.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

State-Sponsored Terrorism: Made in the U.S.A.

Much has been said in the last year about the supposed “Arab spring” being the beginning of a great awakening toward the notion that representative government is best, and that the budding principles of autonomy and freedom, that made America great, are taking root in places like northern Africa and the Middle East. This concept, of course, is nonsense for two reasons.

[…]

The second reason the so-called “Arab Spring” is a farce, is that in every country we’ve seen a supposed “uprising” thus far, the situation has only become more tyrannical, more oppressive, and more dangerous for the people.

In Tunisia, for example, as a result of the “uprisings,” Hamadi Jebali became Prime Minister. He is affiliated with the Ennahda party who has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.[2] In Egypt, after dictator Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, a military dictatorship took over and violently oppressed the rights of the people to protest. This was followed by a supposed “election” which installed Mohamed Morsi as “president” of that country. Morsi also has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood,[3] a fact that didn’t stop Barack Obama from offering his praise and congratulations. Obama called the victory a “milestone” on the road to “democracy”[4] and proceeded to host Morsi in a state visit at the White House.[5] Not only was Obama fine with the Brotherhood taking power in Egypt, but revelations from Egyptian intelligence indicate that prior to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, the Obama administration was holding secret meetings with a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood to plan the future of Egypt following Mubarak’s “fall.”[6]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israel Under Fire From Gaza Militants

At least 20 rocket rounds were launched into southern Israel from Gaza on Monday morning, Israel Defense Force radio reported. Islamic Jihad, the armed wing of the HAMAS movement, claimed responsibility for the attacks. No information has been released about casualties as a result of the rocket attacks. The group said it was a response to a special operation by Israeli forces the previous evening, when eleven Palestinians were injured by Israeli bombing in the town of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli bombing was aimed at a motorcyclist in southern Gaza, in which one militant was injured. Israel Defense Force radio said the operation was aimed at Palestinian militants who taken part in attacks against Israel from Egypt in June and were involved with militant Islamic groups.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Palestinian Groups Fire Rockets Into Israel in Response to Raid

Palestinian resistance groups have fired a number of rockets into Israel in response to an Israeli airstrike that killed one person and injured eleven others in the Gaza Strip. The Islamic Jihad resistance group and Hamas said on Monday that the rockets landed in the southern part of the occupied lands. An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the rocket attack, saying the raid caused minor damage but no casualties. Israeli tanks also shelled the city of Khan Yunis in eastern Gaza after the rocket attack…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Anti-Regime Protesters Rally in Saudi Arabia’s Qatif Region

Tens of thousands of Saudi protesters have held a massive anti-regime rally in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, Press TV reports. Chanting slogans against the Saudi authorities, the demonstrators turned out in Qatif late on Sunday to condemn the regime’s suppression of dissent. Late last month, Saudi forces killed three people and wounded several others while searching for an activist wanted by the regime. The kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province has been rocked by anti-regime protests since last year. Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Qatif and Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, as well as an end to widespread discrimination. However, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the repressive Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Rebels Clash With Syrian Security Forces Near Lebanon

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Rebel fighters and security forces in Syria clashed near the border with Lebanon and fought over a military barracks in Aleppo on Sunday, while Turkish artillery fired into Syria for a fifth consecutive day in retaliation for cross-border shelling…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia Denies Gangs Crowding at Borders

Security authorities in Saudi Arabia on Monday denied the existence of gangs of different nationalities at its borders, local media reported. No statements about the gangs were circulated by the border guards, especially through phone messages or social media networks, Colonel Dr. Salem Al Sulaimi, spokesperson of the border guards, told Okaz newspaper on Monday. “The purpose of such baseless information is only to spread fear among people, who should seek news from official sources,” Sulaimi said, Xinhau news agency reports.

Rumor has it that those armed gangs are in Najran, Jizan and Asir, robbing village houses. “The border guards are working day and night to protect borders and they are ready to deal with all security issues,” the spokesman said.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Body Reveals $70.4bn Worth of Projects in Riyadh

The Riyadh region of Saudi Arabia is undergoing 2,980 projects worth a total of $70.4bn (SAR 264bn), according to a monitoring body at the High Commission on Riyadh Development (HCRD), Arab News reports.

The body added that the projects are spread throughout the region and its provinces, covering the utilities, education, health, transportation, economic, public services and housing sectors. Further figures from a body called the Follow-up Program for Riyadh Region Projects (FPRRP), which was established by the HCRD, revealed that 347 projects now implemented in the public utilities sector in the Saudi capital have a cumulative value of $15.2bn (SAR 57bn). In addition, water supply, electricity, sanitation and flood control projects constitute 29% of the total cost of the region’s development schemes. In the transport sector, the 577 ongoing projects are worth $6.4bn (SAR 24bn), including roads, railways and airport development, while the educational services sector has 804 projects worth $14.4bn (SAR 54bn). The number of projects in health services, worth $2.3bn (SAR 8.5bn), has increased to 127…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Women to Drive, A Battle for Dignity

Founder Manal Al Sharif talks to ANSAmed

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 8 — She’s young, beautiful and feisty, and she is the founder of the Saudi Women To Drive campaign, which is part of a larger action called My Right To Dignity: her name is Manal Al Sharif, and ANSAmed interviewed her in Italy, where she attended the International magazine journalism festival in Ferrara.

She reached the festival at the wheel of a car, from the UN High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva, for the right to drive in her home country of Saudi Arabia is symbolic of the larger issue of full citizenhood.

“In my country, a man comes of age at 18, a woman never: she needs permission from a male guardian for every life choice, from studying abroad to looking for a job,” Sharif told ANSAmed. And, while no law expressly forbids Saudi women to drive, they are de facto banned from getting behind the wheel.

The motor registry software does not issue licenses to female drivers, and women have in the past been sentenced to flogging for being caught at the wheel.

Having become famous for posting a YouTube video in which she is seen driving a car, having started a national women’s mobilization and paid for it with nine days in jail, Sharif sued Saudi authorities. That legal battle has been stuck in a civil court for six months, although the floggings appear to have stopped, Sharif pointed out.

On June 17, the second anniversary of her campaign, which has thousands of Facebook and Twitter supporters, Sharif co-signed an appeal to King Abdullah, in which she points out that denying women the right to drive is “based on customs and traditions that do not come from God.” Sharif, married and with a child, now lives in Dubai, from where she continues to fight her battle for women’s rights in her native Saudi Arabia. A country which, she points out, is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey’s Foreign Policy Takes a Dangerous Turn

By abandoning its “soft power” strategy and adopting a “military deterrence” policy, Turkey risks war with Syria, deeper tension with Iraq, Iran and Russia. The escalation of the crisis with Syria has forced Turkey’s Islamic-conservative AKP government to adopt a more aggressive stance on foreign policy and added to the worries of a broader conflict in the region.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Damascus on Friday (05.10.2012) that Ankara would not shy away from war if provocations by Syrian forces continued. “We are not war-lovers, but we are not far from war either,” Erdogan said. “The saying goes: Prepare for war if you wish for peace.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Turkey’s President Describes Growing Conflict With Syria as ‘Worst-Case Scenario We Have All Been Dreading’

Turkish President Abdullah Gul called on the international community to do more to try to end Syria’s nearly 19-month-old conflict, which has claimed more than 30,000 lives and — with Turkey-Syria tensions rising — heightened fears of a regional conflagration.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday warned that the escalating conflict on the Syrian-Turkish border is ‘extremely dangerous’.

The main Syrian opposition group, meanwhile, signaled it is softening its position on possible talks to arrange a political transition.

In the past, the Syrian National Council has said that President Bashar Assad and his inner circle must step down before such talks can begin. However, the SNC chief said Monday that talks would be possible with members of the regime who do not have blood on their hands.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UAE: Sheikh Khalifa Initiates $68m Mosque for Rak City

A mosque catering for 28,000 worshippers is to be built in Ras Al Khaimah city and named after UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa.

The project is estimated to cost around $68m, spanning 18,000m2, and will include an Islamic museum, a library, a Quran memorisation centre and garden, The National reports.

Sheikh Khalifa has ordered the mosque to be built in Al Dhait, a desert neighbourhood south of RAK City, where housing plots have been handed over to Emiratis…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Abu Bakar Baasyir Moved to Indonesia’s “Guantanamo”

The Muslim cleric is now in a maximum-security prison on a secluded island in Central Java. Since he continued to promote extremist propaganda from his cell in the headquarters of the police’s mobile brigade in Jakarta, the authorities decided to move him. Now he will have fewer visits under stricter conditions.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Abu Bakar Baasyir, the Islamic cleric sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes related to terrorism, will serve out his term in a prison on Nusa Kambangan Island, Cilacap District, Central Java province. The maximum-security penitentiary is also known as Indonesia’s Guantanamo because it has held top criminals as well as “political prisoners” since General Suharto’s dictatorship (1966 — 1998). Escape from the island is virtually impossible because of strong winds and high waves from the Indian Ocean.

Three important Indonesian terrorists were executed in the same penal facility: Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Gufron. The three were sentenced to death for carrying out the Bali bombings in October 2002 that killed more than 200 people, mostly foreigners on a holiday in the world famous island.

The authorities decided to move Abu Bakar Baasyir to Indonesia’s Guantanamo overnight last Friday, arriving the next day amid tight security.

National Anti-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) Inspector General (ret) Ansyaad Mbai had recently warned that from his cell in the headquarters of the police’s mobile brigade in Jakarta, the radical cleric was able to receive affiliates and run his extremist organisation. This is why he had to be placed under stricter prison controls in a maximum-security prison, where visits will be limited and closely monitored.

Last February, the Indonesian Supreme Court upheld his 15-year sentence for funding underground paramilitary training for terrorists in Aceh province.

The radical cleric and his followers blame Washington for putting strong pressures on Indonesia. The country’s highest court in fact overturned a decision by the Jakarta High Court to reduce the sentence to nine years from 15 as ordered by a lower court in June 2011.

Baasyir is a well-known Islamic cleric, founder of Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT). A few days before the Supreme Court’s decision, the US State Department described him as the leader of a terrorist group, and banned him from engaging in any transaction with US entities.

Before he set up JAT, Baasyir had founded the Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI) or Indonesian Mujahedeen Council, his first radical Islamic organisation.

He later left MMI over differences of opinion with other members on the issues of Sharia and the establishment of an Indonesian Islamic state.

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

UK Protesters Demand Troops Come Home From Afghanistan

There are too many names to read them all.

But 11 years on from the afghan war protesters here in London read out the names of just some of the 434 British soldiers and thousands of afghans that have been killed. For Caroline Munday, they are not just numbers. Because one of those 434 British soldiers was her son 21 year old James who was killed just two weeks before he was supposed to come home. Protesters here, including MP Jeremy Corbyn are demanding troops come home by Christmas. The rally was held in the busy trafalger square. We asked Britons and tourists whether they agree that troops should come home. Protester then marched to downing street where they handed in a letter to downing street. 11 year ago — when the afghan war was waged — Tony Blair was prime minister. Today David Cameron resides at number ten. And the war still goes on…increasingly unpopular…increasingly deadly. It is becoming the unwinable war. And in Britain at least the overwhelming sentiment is that it must end.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Far East

Philippine Gov’t, Moro Rebels Reach Accord But Final Peace Pact Still Being Worked Out

MANILA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) — After more than 15 years of on-and- off negotiations, the Philippine government and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Force (MILF) have finally approved a “ framework agreement”that would serve as the basis for a final peace accord to end the decades-old conflict in Mindanao. Philippine President Benigno Aquino personally announced this “ major breakthrough” in a televised address to the nation last Sunday. The president’s announcement came after the latest round of peace talks between the government and the MILF ended in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. According to Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, the signing of the preliminary agreement, scheduled in Manila on Oct. 15, will be witnessed by Aquino and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Philippines: EU Says Manila Pact With Muslims a Major Step

EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton welcomed an accord between Manila and the biggest Muslim rebel group to end a decades-long separatist insurgency in which more than 150,000 people have died. “The early signature of this truly historical document is a major step towards a long-lasting peace in Mindanao, which will lead the island to stability and prosperity,” Ashton said in a statement, AFP reports. “The EU, as a member of the International Monitoring Team and major development partner in poverty alleviation in Mindanao since 1990, will continue to lend its full support.” The agreement provides for a new semi-autonomous Muslim area in the resource-rich southern Mindanao region, which the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front regards as its ancestral homeland. The rebellion claimed more than 150,000 lives, most in the 1970s when all-out war raged, and left large parts of Mindanao in deep poverty.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Philippines President Announces Landmark Peace Plan With Muslim Rebels

The Philippine government and the country’s biggest Muslim rebel group on Sunday announced they had agreed a plan to end a decades-long separatist insurgency that has killed more than 120,000 people.

The historic agreement comes after 15 years of tortuous talks between the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government. It calls for the creation of a new autonomous region in Mindanao, the Muslim-dominated south of the country, by 2016. “This framework agreement paves the way for a final and enduring peace in Mindanao,” said President Benigno Aquino. Previous peace talks between the rebels and the government have broken down and led to a resumption of the violence that has claimed the lives of 120,000 people since the 1970s. But there is optimism that this deal, which was negotiated in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will succeed. With the MILF having dropped their demand for an independent state, Manila has agreed to establish a larger autonomous region in Mindanao than the current existing one and to grant it more political and economic power…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Philippines: Mindanao: Truth and Shadows of Historic Accord Between Islamist Rebels and Government

Draft agreement marks the birth of the new autonomous region of Bangsamoro and gives way to peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It was, however, boycotted by several Islamic groups opposed to mere autonomy. Catholics fear the government concessions on application of Sharia law. The new entity includes two cities with a large presence of Christians.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews)-The Islamic rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine government have announced the conclusion of the framework agreement on the new autonomous region of Mindanao, the first step to end the forty-year conflict that has cost about 120 lives. Talks between delegates concluded yesterday in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), with a speech by President Benigno Aquino in a live link from Manila. This morning the government announced that the ceremony for the signing of the historic document will be held on October 15 in the Philippine capital. None of the representatives, however, gave a timetable for the peace process, which according to government sources should end in 2016 with the end of Aquino’s mandate.

Fr. Angel Calvo, a Claretian missionary for forty years in the Philippines and member the Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace in Zamboanga, told AsiaNews: “This is a historic moment for the island of Mindanao in the Muslim majority. President Aquino has high expectations for the future. Though the document has not yet been signed, the population is confident and believes that this is the way to go for a permanent peace in the region. “Mindanao is also home to most of the country’s natural resources, especially gold mines. But few companies have risked investing in these years of continuous guerrilla attacks by armed groups and kidnappings in the bottom of extortion. The possibility of an end to the conflict with the Islamic rebels also represents a great economic opportunity for the population, which in the future will enjoy the investment of foreign countries and engage the country’s economic recovery, which has an annual growth rate of 5.8%.

However, Fr. Calvo dampens enthusiasms and stresses that the agreement is the result of a compromise. “The MILF-he states — is only part of the Islamic extremist landscape that has caused bloodshed in Mindanao since 1972. Among them are Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group close to al-Qaeda, born in the 90s and the Bansamoro Islamic Freedom Fighetrs (Biff), a group created in 2011 by former members of the MILF who demand full independence. “ Today, their spokesman Abu Misri announced that the group “will support everything that is useful for the people of Mindanao but only if the agreement leads to a real independence for the region.”

The new autonomous region of Bangsamoro replaces the Autonomus Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as defined by the President a “failed experiment” that has not stopped the violence and allowed the most powerful families to grow even richer. The use of the term “Bangsamoro”, a word to identify the local Islamic community, is a sign of Manila’s willingness to recognize the ancestral domain of land by the ethnic Muslim. The creation of the new semi-autonomous region will be submitted to a popular referendum. The government will retain control of the defense and security, and the management of foreign and economic policy. The parties will form a Provisional Committee to manage the transition phase that will oversee five provinces, three cities and six towns that will be part of the autonomous region. 13 pages long, the document is the result of months of meetings and consultations between the MILF, the government and members of civil society, including representatives of the Catholic Church, Protestant Church and tribal minorities. It includes: the slow disarmament of armed militias, a new law for the election of representatives of local government and the possibility of using sharia to resolve internal disputes to the Muslim community. AsiaNews sources warn that the application of Islamic law concerns the Christian community and the Church. The agreement provides for the addition of six new cities and several villages in five provinces of the ARMM: Zamboanga-Basilan — Sulu and Tawi Tawi. Among them there are the new centers Cotabato and Isabela town, where Christians are about 50% of the population. (S.C.)

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

Australia — Pacific

Thousands of Public Servants Walk Off Job Across Australia’s New South Wales

SYDNEY, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) — More than 40,000 public servants have walked off the job across New South Wales (NSW) of Australia to protest against the state government’s planned job cuts, local media reported on Monday. The Public Service Association (PSA), a union representing the government employees, authorized its members to stop work and attend mass meetings at more than 40 locations across the state on Monday morning. PSA NSW General Secretary John Cahill said that thousands of workers in NSW are facing job cuts and cuts to conditions under the state government. Hundreds of PSA members are rallying outside Sydney Town Hall, where a vote is to be held to determine whether to escalate industrial action, according to the Australian Associated Press ( AAP) reports.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Bakassi: Nigeria Should Collaborate With Southern Cameroon to Create New State — Falana

With only two days left for Nigeria to take a decision to either file its brief or not before the International Court of Justice, ICJ, to contest the ownership of Bakassi peninsula and the seize-less debates trailing government’s action in releasing the area to Cameroon, a Lagos lawyer and social critic, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, has raised some fresh facts which he expects the country to consider to settle the imbroglio facing the oil rich Bakassi region…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Chinese Worker Shot Dead in Nigeria

Gunmen have shot dead a Chinese national who was working as a chef for a construction company in Nigeria’s troubled northeastern Borno state, a company official said Monday.

“One of our Chinese workers, a cook, was killed by some gunmen who stormed the livestock section of the market where he had gone to buy a lamb in the company of two local staff,” said Albert Audu, of the China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CCG), adding that the attack occurred Sunday, AFP reports.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Army Kills Dozens of ‘Terrorists’

Nigerian soldiers have killed about 30 suspected members of Boko Haram, including a close associate of the group’s leader, during a gun battle in north eastern Yobe state, an army spokesman says. “About 30 suspected Boko Haram terrorists were killed in the battle which lasted several hours,” Lieutenant Eli Lazarus, an army spokesman, said in a statement on Sunday. Troops of the Joint Task Force (JTF) “engaged in a gun battle with the suspected terrorists” during a search-and-cordon operation on Boko Haram’s hideout in Kandahar and around cemetery areas of Damaturu, the state capital, the statement said. Ten suspected members of the group who were arrested during the raid are helping investigators to track other senior members of the group, added the statement. Six rifles, 90 rounds of ammunition, several telephone sets were recovered during the raid. Knives, bows, arrows, daggers and three improvised explosive devices, which were detonated, were also confiscated, Lazarus said.

Patrick Egbuniwe, Yobe state police chief, said earlier on Sunday that troops shot dead four suspected members of the armed group following a raid on their hideout in Kandahar.

“We carried out the raid because of the incessant ambush on JTF patrol teams by Boko Haram gunmen in the area,” he said. Islamist extremists have been blamed for more than 1,400 deaths since 2010 as part of their attacks in northern and central Nigeria…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Immigration

African War Criminal Admits His Role in Massacre That Killed 300,000… And Wins Right to Stay in UK

An African war criminal who joined in the slaughter of civilians has been allowed to stay in Britain under human rights law — because he admitted his crimes in a BBC interview.

The man was a fighter in the Janjaweed militia which killed an estimated 300,000 people during the war in Darfur, but he came to Britain after hearing it was ‘a good place to claim asylum’.

An immigration tribunal found he was guilty of crimes against humanity after he gave media interviews in which he described joining in the burning and looting of 30 villages and shooting countless victims.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Italy Seizes Ferry Packed With 81 Migrants, 8 Children

Traffickers arrested

(ANSA) — Bari, October 8 — Eight children have been put in public care after Italian border police stopped a Greek ferry packed with 81 migrants as they were being smuggled into Italy. The crew of the vessel cut off part of its roof to allow the passengers to breathe, said authorities, who seized the Aqua Hercules on Friday.

Four truck drivers were arrested at the dock waiting for the ferry. Two tried unsuccessfully to escape, one of whom fell into the sea and had to be rescued.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Maine Mayor: Somalis Should ‘Leave Your Culture at the Door’; Critics Say Mayor Should Resign

LEWISTON, Maine — Ten years after a Lewiston mayor set off a firestorm by saying the city’s Somali population was growing too fast, a new mayor’s remarks about the immigrant community is sparking another wave of anger and calls for his resignation. Somali immigrants and their supporters in this former mill city in central Maine say Mayor Robert Macdonald should apologize and step down for what they call repeated anti-immigrant remarks, including telling a British Broadcasting Corp. interviewer that immigrants should “accept our culture and leave your culture at the door.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Romanian Fraudster Who Helped to Steal £10m in Benefits is Allowed to Stay in Britain to Protect Her Human Rights

A Romanian gypsy campaigner jailed for her role in a £10million benefits fraud has been allowed to stay in Britain to protect her human rights.

Lavinia Olmazu, 33, and her accomplice, Alin Enachi, funneled £2.9million in false benefits claims to 172 Romanian gypsies after providing false National Insurance numbers to immigrants.

Olmazu was sentenced to more than two years in prison in 2010 and should have been deported automatically upon her release.

But she has been allowed to stay in Britain after challenging the Home Secretary’s attempt to have her removed by exploiting a loophole in the Human Rights Act.

She has been able to persuade judges that because she has a 12-year-old son it would be an attack on their rights if they were to be deported.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: The 200 Foreign Suspects Arrested Each Day by Met: But as Figures Soar, Number of Deportations Falls

Just over 72,500 — a third of the total arrested — were held by the Metropolitan Police and questioned about crimes including murder, rape, robbery and fraud.

The figure is up almost a quarter on two years ago when 58,870 non-British suspects were arrested in London.

The latest figures were revealed in a Freedom of Information request which showed 72,505 foreign suspects were arrested last year in the capital.

This included 79 on suspicion of murder, 708 for rape, 1,863 for robbery, 2,801 for fraud and 2,489 for burglary.

Another 2,742 were arrested because they were wanted by police, 7,524 for shoplifting and 2,516 for drink-driving after crashing their vehicle.

The rising trend is mirrored elsewhere, with the country’s second largest force, West Midlands Police, arresting 11,801 between April 2011 and March this year.

That is an increase of more than half on the previous 12 months when 7,716 foreign suspects were held.

Meanwhile, the number of foreign criminals who were convicted and deported countrywide fell from 5,342 in 2010 to 4,649 in 2011.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

The Media is the Real Enemy

Calling his presentation “The Audacity of Corruption,” Caddell offered stunning examples of media silence regarding what should be major stories. For example, while Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died due to virtually nonexistent security at the Benghazi consulate — a known hotspot — Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett continues to have a full-time Secret Service detail, even on vacations. Caddell revealed that just prior to replacing David Axelrod as Senior Advisor to President Obama, former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was paid $100,000 by an Iranian front group to give two speeches in Nigeria. Caddell stated:

… here’s a man who’s being paid by an already named front group for… a terrorist regime, and is not asked about it, or queried about it!

Caddell made a number of stunning revelations and pointed observations:

$16.4 billion — 80 percent — of Obama “Green Energy” loans went to firms owned or invested in by individuals “ who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.” No media coverage.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s number one goal is to obtain release for Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, mastermind of the 1993 WTC bombing. No media coverage.

An intelligence source asserts that the White House and State Department are negotiating that release now! No media coverage.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

General

Islam Earns Its Scorn

by Trevor Thomas

As the renowned and pioneering historian Bernard Lewis noted over 20 years ago in The Roots of Muslim Rage, “the classical Islamic view, to which many Muslims are beginning to return, [is that] the world and all mankind are divided into two: the House of Islam, where the Muslim law and faith prevail, and the rest, known as the House of Unbelief or the House of War, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam.” After the events of 9/11, Professor Lewis, in The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, also noted that much of the animosity directed toward the West, particularly the United States, is due to old-fashioned envy — stemming from Western progress and Islamic decline. As one reviewer put it, the crux of Lewis’s argument is that “the sources of rage among Muslims stem from the deep frustration over the loss of a cultural primacy that was once theirs and has now been lost to the forces of modernity, especially as represented by the United States.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Lost in Translation: The Way We View the Videos ‘Innocence of Muslims’ And ‘Gangnam Style’

by Steven Aoun

If Mohammed Will Not Go to the Mountain, the Mountain Must Come to Mohammed

Motion pictures were recently linked to real violence again. Unlike the 2012 Aurora shooting, however, there was no big screen in sight — and there might not even be a real movie to establish the scene of the crime, either. We are, of course, referring to the ‘trailer’ for Innocence of Muslims — a youtube video that became a flashpoint across the world. The 14 minute ‘preview’ debuted on the small screen and triggered violence off screen. The irony is that Innocence of Muslims is itself never likely to be seen (assuming a movie even exists). And it’s not just because the preview created an international incident. The film’s ‘trailer’ gives every indication that Innocence of Muslims is completely unwatchable. It not only manages to offend the Muslim community, but appears to be an affront to filmmaking, too. The only thing it honestly depicts is its own ineptitude.

The ‘trailer’ — essentially a compilation of excerpts clumsily edited together — promotes a film with no discernible artist merit. Westerners could be forgiven for thinking that they’re watching a comedy sketch instead of a deliberate act of provocation or instance of sacrilege. Everything about the ‘film’ — the directing, writing, acting, etc -is as laughable as it is inept. The ‘trailer’ appears to salvage debris from a wreckage and has clearly been tampered with in post production. It’s difficult to know which is more questionable: the risible attempt at filmmaking or framing the cast through duplicitous representation.

Given the original script and ideological framework, however, we have to ask: who does the cast and crew think they’re really fooling? Although they might have been deceived by the producer, self deception appears to have played a big role, too: it should have been clear that everyone was making a racist and hateful film about the founder of Islam. Innocence of Muslims not only contravenes the Islamic prohibition of depicting the prophet, it goes out of its way to present him as a religious fraud, womaniser and paedophile. The film’s duplicitous nature even extends to the title — the whole point was to trick Muslims into watching a seemingly innocent ‘film’ in order to defame them. Innocence of Muslims was never going to find its way onto multiplex cinemas or attract appreciate cinemagoers in the West, though. The filmmakers had to rely on its ‘trailer’ to hit its target audience.

Taken as a promotional tool, the ‘trailer’ might as well be screaming from the mountain top: don’t watch this piece of shit! The film it purports to be promoting clearly stinks to the high heavens, and its stench somehow wafts through computer screens and clings to viewers. To the discerning filmgoer, it’s more an inducement to stay back or away, and only connoisseurs of crap would chose to sit through all 14 minutes. Gluttons for punishment and/or the incredibly gullible can also watch the full movie in HD online — which is just another deception perpetuated on hapless viewers. The 74 minute ‘movie’ is merely the ‘trailer’ caught in a feedback loop for a seeming eternity. The ‘trailer’, however, was never really teasing a film — it’s more interested in making fun of Islam and is a promotional tool for anti Islamic sentiment…

Indeed, true freedom proceeds from the recognition that not all value systems are created equally, or permits uniform movement between them…

[JP note: ?]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

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