There were a lot of tips today, so these are just a few of the headlines. There’s much more material below the fold.
- TNOYF Presents “Mohammed Brand Condoms”
- Muslims Storm Protestant School in Jakarta, Injuring 265 Students
- Bali Terrfausorist: “For Islam, Dying by Decapitation is a Blessing”
- Injured Pride Could Explain Libyan Actions
- Sir Salman Rushdie Criticises Britain’s ‘Air of Appeasement’ Toward Extremists
- Turkey: Secularism Battles It Out With Sharia
- Italy Puts the Army on the Streets to Fight Crime and Illegal Immigration
- New Internet ‘Clickable Crime Maps’ Will Show Families Every Incident in Their Neighbourhood
- Iran: Sixteen Christian Converts Arrested
- Netherlands: Former Mp Hirsi Ali Seeks Police Protection in Us
- Arab Princesses Accused of Human Trafficking in Belgium
- Hope? Change? Yes! Hope Obama Changes!
- Jordan Gets USD65mln Over Gulf War Environmental Impact
- Media: Scant Speech Freedom in Our Area, Al Arabiya Director
- Report: Al Qaeda Operative Killed During Missile Strike in Pakistan
Ever since last November’s “incident” in Sudan— when a British school teacher was arrested for insulting Islam by naming a teddy bear Mohammed- TNOYF has been intrigued by the power of the Mohammed Brand name. Here, we proudly present our first Mohammed Brand TV commercial, for Mohammed Brand Condoms.
The video commercial at TNOYF is highly recommended, although it is definitely NSFW.
Muslims Storm Protestant School in Jakarta, Injuring 265 Students
Over the week-end Muslim fanatics target a Christian school in the capital’s east side. Police evacuate the institute to protect students. Hundreds of police agents are now guarding it to prevent further violence.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Police evacuated the Christian Theological Arastamar Institute (STT SETIA) which is located in an eastern district of the Indonesian capital after it suffered damages during clashes between Christians and Muslims over the week-end. At least 1,500 students were moved to nearby police headquarters and a local Christian-based political party. The situation remains critical and further violence between opposite factions cannot be ruled out.
“The school foundation urged us to intervene to protect people,” said East Jakarta District Police Chief Senior Superintendent. “For this reason we moved everyone out.”
Last night hundreds of residents from the village of Kampung Pulo had taken up arms threatening to storm the school after being instigated by an imam at a local mosque who claimed that a bunch of Christian gangsters were coming to “protect” the school after it was attacked on Saturday by a Muslim mob, causing damage to the building and hurting hundreds.
In an attempt to solve the problem East Jakarta District Chief Murdani held a close door meeting with the warring parties to discuss the issue. At the same time though, he said that police would conduct a thorough investigation and check if the school’s legal status was in order and that it respected all building regulations. In case of violations he would issue orders to demolish the unlawful structures.
At present hundreds of agents are guarding the school and have orders to stop any act of violence and disarm people.
The Arastamar High School for Theology and Biblical Studies, locally known as STT SETIA, was established by Rev Mathew Mangentang in 1987.
The SST SETIA has more than 29 branches school across the country. In Jakarta alone it has thousands of students, including 265 who were injured in latest clashes.
Tensions between Christians and Muslims flared up on Saturday following rumours that a SETIA student had stolen a motorcycle that belonged to a Muslim from a neighbouring village.
Senny Manafe, a spokesperson for the school, rejected the accusation, claiming instead that the attacks were triggered by a trivial incident. In an attempt to chase a mouse in the street, a student threw a slipper against a house owned by a local Muslim. Outraged by the deed, the latter kicked and punched the student as people gathered drawn by the rumour that a Christian student had tried to steal the Muslim’s motorbike.
“Many students suffered various injuries to the head. Others were burnt by Molotov cocktails,” Manafe said.
The violence and charges against SETIA are the work of Risman Hadi, chairman of Muslim Brotherhood Forum of Kampung Pulo Village, who in the past opposed the opening and continued existence of the Christian institute.
— Hat tip: Insubria
Bali Terrorist: “For Islam, Dying by Decapitation is a Blessing”
The perpetrators show no remorse for the deaths of more than 200 Western tourists on vacation in the island, and ask to be killed according to the dictates of sharia, which provides for decapitation. The sentence will be carried out in the next few weeks on an island in central Java.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) — According to Islamic law, it is better “to die by decapitation than by gunshot”, and no “repentance or regret” must be shown over violence committed “in the name of holy war”. This is the “spiritual testament” of Imam Samudra, one of the three people responsible for the massacre in Bali in 2002, in which more than 200 people died. The three are awaiting judgment from the Indonesian authorities.
“Until I die, I will show no repentance for my actions”, the terrorist is believed to have said to his brother Lulu Jamaluddin during a recent conversation at the maximum-security prison on the island of Nusakambangan, in central Java. He also added that a holy war, conducted through “the use of bombs” and suicide bombing attacks, is “blessed by God”, for which reason he will never make “appeals to clemency” to avoid the death penalty.
According to a defense attorney, the men have asked for judgment to be carried out according to “the dictates of sharia”, which provides for death by decapitation: another sign of their effort to “promote the values of Islamic law until the end, even at the point of death: dying by decapitation is a blessing”. The lawyer also added that the island of Bali was chosen for the attack because it was under siege by hundreds of “infidels”, meaning American citizens and their closest allies, including the English and Australians, who crowd the island’s beaches and nightclubs every year.
From Jakarta, another lawyer for the three men has asked for the sentence to be overturned, because “the country’s supreme court did not follow the correct procedures to apply the death penalty”. This position was immediately rejected by Andul Hakim Ritonga, the deputy attorney general for the district, according to whom “everything was done according to the law” and only “the last bureaucratic formalities” remain to be arranged. He emphasizes that the site for the execution has already been chosen — the regency of Cilacap, in central Java — and that “we have submitted an official demand to Central Java Police and Bali Police HQ to make decisive actions to prepare their best shooters to do the job”.
The execution by firing squad should take place by the end of next month, before the beginning of the sacred month of Ramadan.
— Hat tip: Insubria
Iran: Dissident Leader Visit Sparks Row With Italian Politicians
Tehran, 28 July (AKI) — Italian politicians across the spectrum have responded strongly to a hostile attack by an Iranian newspaper that described the government and its institutions as a “Mafioso Italian regime”.
Iranian newspaper, Kayhan, closely linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, attacked the Italian government and institutions for hosting leading dissident Maryam Rajavi last week.
It called the government a “Mafioso Italian regime”, in an article entitled “A cadaver in the Parliament of the Mafia”.
Italian Muslim MP, Souad Sbai from the conservative People of Freedom party responded to the editorial in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).
“Italy and its government are not Mafioso at all,” Sbai said.
“Ours is a democratic country where the rule of law is enforced, and the Parliament is doing well by listening to all the voices, above all the dissenting ones that come from Iranian civil society.”
“Our government strongly defends the sanctity of life and human rights, and cannot receive lessons from someone who carries out the death penalty.”
The dissenting voice to which Sbai referred was Rajavi, leader of the National Resistance Council of Iran, the political arm of the armed opposition People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran.
She spoke at a media conference at Italy’s lower house of Parliament on 23 July, to garner support so the PMOI is no longer listed in Europe as a terrorist organisation. The Iranian was invited by Italian MPs to make her remarks in Parliament.
During her speech, Rajavi criticised Britain, China, France, Russia and the US — the five permanent UN Security Council members — plus Germany who have been negotiating with Iran.
The Iranian newspaper was quick to attack Rajavi in the editorial, by saying “The Italian Mafioso regime, on the pretext of defending liberal and democratic movements, supports a terrorist group, that not even the United States, which supports this group covertly, has the courage to take off the list of criminal organisations.”
However, another Italian politician called the provocative Iranian attack an “aggressive reaction”.
“It’s an aggressive reaction that expresses the difficulty and worry of this (Iranian) regime, that being illiberal and totalitarian, does not find other ways of reacting than those of smearing and aggression,” said Elisabetta Zamparutti, and MP from the centre-left Democratic Party, in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Injured Pride Could Explain Libyan Actions
Middle East expert Reinhard Schulze says Libya’s actions towards Switzerland are a measure of the Gaddafi family’s importance and of national pride.
The professor of Islamic studies at Bern University believes the political crisis between Switzerland and Libya — triggered by the arrest in Geneva on July 15 of a son of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi — is likely to continue for some weeks.
The Swiss foreign ministry has expressed concern about the detention of two Swiss nationals in Libya. Tripoli also ordered the closure of Swiss companies in Libya and ceased issuing travel visas for Swiss citizens.
There are about 40 Swiss expatriates — most of them have dual nationality — in Libya.
Tripoli wants an official apology for the arrest of Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife. They were charged by a Geneva magistrate with inflicting physical injuries against two of their staff.
— Hat tip: Insubria
Sir Salman Rushdie Criticises Britain’s ‘Air of Appeasement’ Toward Extremists
Sir Salman Rushdie has criticised what he called an “air of appeasement” towards Islamic fundamentalism in Britain.
Sir Salman, who spent almost a decade underground with a fatwa — or death threat — on his head from Islamic clerics Photo: GETTY/AFP
The Booker Prize-winning author, whose novel the Satanic Verses incensed the Islamic world, told BBC’s Newsnight: “There’s no such thing as a perfect culture. I think sometimes there’s an air of appeasement in this country which I don’t like.”
In an interview to promote his latest novel, The Enchantress of Florence, Sir Salman said Iran ‘might well be’ trying to make a nuclear bomb.
The writer also spoke of how ‘soft power’ including the internet and websites such as YouTube can defeat global tyranny, by bringing people and cultures together.
“The thing I was trying to say in this book, is the things we have in common are greater than the things which divide us,” he added.
Sir Salman, who spent almost a decade underground with a fatwa — or death threat — on his head from Islamic clerics, said he may write about the period in a future novel.
Asked whether it was appropriate for him to have accepted a knighthood from the Queen, he added: “I accepted an honour from the French — it would be absurd not to accept one from my own country. This is just what we give in this country. If it was another country, it would be another form of honour.”
— Hat tip: Steen
Day of Decision for Turkey Over Future of Secular State
Turkey’s highest court is to make the toughest decision in its 46-year history this week: 11 judges must decide whether to outlaw the ruling party [AKP, “Justice and Development party”] and ban the President [Abdullah Gul, an Islamist whose wife wears the headscarf] the Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdogan, known for saying “our minarettes are our watchtowers, our cupola’s are the helmets and our believers are our soldiers” and adviseing Turkish immigrants in Europe not to assimilate: “Assimilation is a crime against humanity”] and 69 other elected officials, on the grounds that they pose a threat to the secular state.
For the prosecutor who launched the case in March, the government’s ultimate aim “is to establish a state system based on religious principles”, and the country is “in danger as it has never been before”.
The 160-page indictment, comprised mainly of speeches made by members of the AK Party, cites the party’s efforts this February to lift a ban on women’s headscarves in universities among the accusations.
The judges could reach a decision today, but that is unlikely. In similar cases brought against two other Islamic parties, in 1998 and 2002, the court took eight and 11 days to rule for closure.
— Hat tip: VH
Turkey: Secularism Battles It Out With Sharia
A senior Turkish prosecutor has raised tensions on the eve of a landmark court case that could leave Turkey without a government and deeply divided by warning that it is in danger of an “intolerant” Islamic takeover.
In an interview with the Guardian, Omer Faruk Eminagaoglu, chairman of the association of judges and prosecutors […] said the ruling Justice and Development party [AKP] was seeking a system of Sharia law that would destroy the country’s secular system.
He claimed that the government had exposed its true agenda in a series of measures, including attempts to establish halal standards in food production, signing bilateral agreements underwritten by “Islamic laws” with fellow Muslim countries, increasing religious education in state schools and trying to allow female students to wear headscarves at university.
“The basis of the case against the AKP is intolerance,” he said. “A Sharia system is, by its nature, intolerant of other thoughts, beliefs and practices.
Just like fascism in Italy or Nazism in Germany, Sharia is a sensitive issue in Turkey. With a small spark it can turn into a social movement. We had a Sharia-based system during Ottoman times and our society still has traces of it. We don’t want to go back to that.”
It [the AKP] has won the backing of senior European officials, who have condemned the attempted closure as anti-democratic and warned that it could damage Turkey’s European Union membership bid.
A decision is expected this week.
— Hat tip: VH
Why Sunday’s Bombings Could Help Erdogan
“A few days ago, Turkish newspaper columnist Mehmed Ali Birand wrote: “Give the AKP a shot across the bows and give Erdogan a second chance.” That may turn out to be exactly the effect of Sunday’s bomb attack.”
— Hat tip: VH
Muslim Faith Schools Cause Segregation, Say Teachers
‘Hell will freeze over’ before Muslim schools give children a liberal education, teachers were told today.
Faith schools threaten to cause religious segregation and must not be expanded, said Wesley Paxton from teachers’ union Voice.
His remarks follow government moves to give religious groups a greater role in education through an expansion of academies and an offer of state funding for private Muslim schools.
— Hat tip: VH
Italy Puts the Army on the Streets to Fight Crime and Illegal Immigration
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni and Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa signed a decree that will send 4,000 soldiers on to the streets starting next week.
They will patrol, usually alongside police officers, in large cities such as Rome, Milan, Naples and Palermo. They will also help guard areas like the Vatican, Milan’s cathedral, train stations, embassies and other “sensitive targets” — sites that could be subject to terrorist attacks.
Other soldiers will help guard detention centres where illegal immigrants are sent after they arrive in Italy, mostly on its southern shores.
“This proves that we are determined to eliminate citizens’ fears,” La Russa said of the plan, which will remain in effect for at least six months.
But the opposition criticised it as token window-dressing and warned that it could boomerang, hurt the country’s image abroad and even scare tourists away from coming to Italy.
— Hat tip: VH
New Internet ‘Clickable Crime Maps’ Will Show Families Every Incident in Their Neighbourhood
Maps will be released to the public showing how many violent attacks have taken place on every street, including how close they were to schools, pubs and cash points.
The Home Office said the project would for the first time give residents a true picture of the state of their community. [Because they don’t have the faintest idea:]
‘We need to make sure that people know what’s happening to crime in their neighbourhood, and how they can get involved and work with their neighbourhood police officers.’
‘It’s really important to enable our communities to understand what’s happening in their areas and to help them influence policing in their local communities.’ [because the police doesn’t have clickable maps:]
Shadow Home Secretary, Dominic Grieve, said: ‘Yet again we see a Government that is out of ideas trying to steal Conservative policy. ‘Our proposals detailed in April will go much further by setting up quarterly beat meetings — along with directly elected commissioners — to restore real local accountability to policing.
— Hat tip: VH
Italy: Gov’t Rejects Claims of Police Violence in Gypsy Camps
Rome, 29 July (AKI) — Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni has denied claims made by a top human rights watchdog that police forces carried out violent raids against Roma-Gypsy camps.
“I reject with indignance, the accusations by (Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights) Thomas Hammarberg. They assert that violent acts were perpetrated against Roma encampments without effective protection by the police forces, and that they carried out violent raids against the settlements.” said Maroni on Tuesday, addressing the Lower House.
“These are outright lies, the police have never committed any act of violence of this nature. Commissioner Hammarberg, tell us what these acts are.”
A note by Maroni’s office, also rejected the claims by Hammarberg.
“It concerns us, the assertion that police authorities carried out violent raids against nomad (Roma-Gypsy) settlements,” read the note from the Italian government.
“The Italian government has already answered the memorandum sent by The Council of Europe following the visit to Rome by the Commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, providing all the data that show how the worries about the lack of human rights are completely groundless.”
— Hat tip: Insubria
Iran: Sixteen Christian Converts Arrested
Tehran, 29 July (AKI) — Sixteen Iranians who converted from Islam to Christianity were arrested on Tuesday in Malakshahr, on the outskirts of the central Iranian city of Isfahan.
The six women, eight men and two adolescents who were arrested were assisting in a conversion ceremony and baptism of three new members of the church at a private house that had been transformed into an evangelical church.
The owners of the home, an elderly couple, were allegedly beaten up before they were locked up in an unmarked lorry.
— Hat tip: Insubria
Netherlands: Former Mp Hirsi Ali Seeks Police Protection in Us
Amsterdam, 29 July (AKI) — A court in The Hague has approved a request by Somali-born ex-MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali for witnesses to be heard in her claim for the Dutch state to pay for her security in the US, Dutch media reported on Tuesday.
The Dutch government stopped paying for Hirsi Ali’s police protection after she moved to the US permanently last year.
An outspoken critic of Islam and advocate of women’s rights, Hirsi Ali had to live under police protection in the Netherlands after receiving death threats. She now works for a conservative US think-tank.
“Hirsi Ali clearly had protection in the Netherlands because she was in danger and probably still is,” a senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations’ security programme, Bibi Van Ginkel, told Adnkronos International (AKI).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Arab Princesses Accused of Human Trafficking in Belgium
(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JULY 29 — An emir’s widow and her four daughters will have to answer to a charge of trafficking because they enslaved some twenty domestics on the fourth floor of luxury hotel Conrad in Brussels where they had been living for a few months. It was decided by the labour court which ruled after the denouncement of two maids who succeeded in escaping and giving alarm. The case is from July 1. The maids arrived with the princesses aboard a private jet and for months had been employed in conditions of super-exploitation. After the intervention of the police eleven workers received recognition of their status of victims of trafficking. The emir’s family, despite saying they want to cooperate with the Belgian justice, after the intervention of the policemen left the hotel and returned in the United Arab Emirates. According to the charges, the princesses, once the judges after having carried out the inquiry send back the dossiers to the court, risk from two to five years of imprisonment. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Hope? Change? Yes! Hope Obama Changes!
Barack Obama has been to the Middle East. He said he supported Israel and wanted peace.
So I guess everything’s ok, right? Well, if he’s elected president and follows through on these words that’ll be just fine.
But concern about an Obama presidency is hardly dispelled, except in the media systematically ignoring the real issues. Without getting into the debate over Iraq strategy, here are the serious problems:
1. Obama claims there is a “window of opportunity” for successful Israel-Palestinian negotiations. That’s nonsense. But won’t Obama pretend progress and “prove” he’s right: by demanding unilateral Israeli concessions? Equally, Palestinian intransigence won’t prompt him to admit they’re responsible for failure. This isn’t a window of opportunity but a doorway to disaster. Consider this simple question: If Israel withdrew from all the West Bank would anything really change? Would the Palestinians reciprocate, alter their line, stop terrorism, and accept the conflict’s end? No.
2. In this context, Obama’s emerging campaign theme is especially worrisome. He criticizes Bush for not jumping into a peace process from his term’s start. The reason, of course, was President Bill Clinton’s discovery that Palestinian leaders weren’t interested in peace. Obama doesn’t understand why the 1990s’ process failed or that you don’t commit the president’s prestige unless there’s a real chance for progress.
3. Obama thinks it “pro-Israel” to argue that Israel desperately needs peace with the Palestinians above all and that he’d do Israel a favor by pressuring it into concessions. But Israel only benefits from an agreement producing stability, the conflict’s end, no cross-border terrorism, and a moderate Palestinian state. Obama’s approach seems likely to turn into a peace-at-any-price scenario on the pretext of saving Israel in spite of itself. Obama thinks he knows best about Israel’s security needs.
[Eight more items listed in the Gloria Center article]
— Hat tip: Barry Rubin
AP Falsely Reports Israel Building New Settlement
The AP falsely reported that Israel is building a new settlement on the West Bank and linked this to a wrong-headed spin on an important national leader visiting Israel.
No, not Obama! He’s still just a candidate. I’m referring to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Curiously, Brown’s visit was highlighted for its criticism of Israel by the AP though his trip was seen in Israel as incredibly supportive. Indeed, Brown made the most pro-Israel statements of any British leader since Margaret Thatcher left the scene. This was especially significant since Brown is the Labour party leader and given the incredibly hostile anti-Israel sentiment in the British media and academia.
— Hat tip: Barry Rubin
Jordan Gets USD65mln Over Gulf War Environmental Impact
(ANSAmed) — AMMAN, APRIL 30 — The UN Security Council handed Jordan USD65 million in compensation for environmental damage caused by the first gulf war, an official said today. In total, Jordan is expecting to receive USD 160 million to be spent on project to rectify damage incurred on various sectors in the aftermath of the war, said minister of environment Khalid Irani. In total, Jordan was awarded a total of $161.9 million of the $4.3 billion claimed for damage to groundwater and terrestrial resources. Jordan’s claims for damage to agricultural, wetland and marine resources were denied. The funds must be spent strictly on project to rectify the damages, said Irani. The total amount is expected to be at the treasury coffers by August this year, said Irani, noting that the ministry has set up a special technical team to determine how the funds will be spent.(ANSAmed)
— Hat tip: Insubria
Media: Scant Speech Freedom in Our Area, Al Arabiya Director
(ANSAmed) — MILAN, JUNE 30 — In the Arab world quite a lot media exist but not as much freedom of speech, and the reduced advertising market is also to blame as it forces newspapers and TV stations to depend on governments. The denunciation was launched during the Euromed conference by Nakhle El Hage, director of satellite channel Al Arabiya, which is based in the United Arab Emirates. “In the Arab world we have 400 satellite channels and thousands of dailies but I am afraid there is not as much freedom of speech,” El Hage said. “The fault is also of Western countries, which invest little in advertisements in our media. For example, the advertising market in Italy is equivalent to $30 billion against 2.8 billion of the entire Arab world,” the journalist said. El Hage also pointed out how “insufficient pressure is exerted” by Western governments to demand the release of the “numerous journalists held in prison in Arab countries”. “I am surprised, for example, that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is invited in Paris for the summit next month without conditions in this sense being posed,” the journalist concluded. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Report: Al Qaeda Operative Killed During Missile Strike in Pakistan
Intelligence officials are investigating reports that Al Qaeda’s top expert on chemical and biological weapons was among six people killed Monday in a missile strike on Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Al Qaeda operative Abu Khabab al-Masri’s wife told authorities that her husband died in the attack in South Waziristan, according to a Pakistani military intelligence official. The woman was wounded and hospitalized, he said.
U.S. officials told FOX News that al-Masri was a key trainer and expert in chemical and biological weapons, likely to have operational knowledge of a liquid explosive bomb plot thwarted two years ago. He is considered a “top 10” Al Qaeda target and was part of the original team with Usama Bin Laden who fought against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
— Hat tip: Dymphna