I’m getting so much material for the news feed now that I can barely keep up with it. Almost everything is included tonight; however, not all of the stories are mentioned above the fold in these headlines. Make sure you check out the whole list, especially the Italian articles, and the stories about the potential for terrorist attacks at the Olympics in China.
- Why Do Europeans Love Obama?
- Libya: Government Warns Libyans Against Trips to Switzerland
- Morocco: Child Marriages Continue Despite Law to Curb Practice
- Mideast: West Bank; Hamas Threatens Al Fatah With Intifada
- Iran Mullahs’ Reign of Terror
- Video: Angry Muslim Woman Attacks Christian Man After He Says “Mohammed Was a Pedophile”
- Islam and the Secular State
- Australia: Morally Bankrupt Multilateralism
- ‘Turkistan Islamic Party’ Claims China Attacks, Threatens Olympics
- Spain: Mutual Accords to Help Immigrants Vote
- Lebanon: Well-Known Singer Found Dead, Disfigured in Dubai
- Immigration: New Arrivals in Lampedusa
- In Enemy Territory
- Italy Puts the Army on the Streets to Fight Crime and Illegal Immigration
- Analysis: a Success for Hizbullah — and Its Price
- Illegal Immigrant Population Dropping
Thanks to Amil Imani, Barry Rubin, CK, CzC, Infidels Are Cool, Insubria, Kepiblanc, LN, Mark Krikorian, RE, Steen, VH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
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Why Do Europeans Love Obama?
Let us count the ways:
1) Obama’s tax code, support of big government programs and redistribution of income, and subservience to UN directives delight the European masses—especially at a time when their own governments are trying to cut taxes, government, seek closer relations with the US, and ask a petulant, pampered public to grow up.
2) He offers Euros a sort of cheap assuagement of guilt—in classic liberal style. When Obama says falsely that he does not look like other Americans who have addressed Germans (cf. Colin Powell or Condoleeza Rice who have represented US foreign policy abroad the last 7 years), Europeans feel especially progressive—and therefore need not worry that no one of African ancestry would ever become a European Prime- or Foreign-Minister.
3) Europe is weak militarily and won’t invest in its own defense. But with Obama, they believe the US will subject its enormous military strength to international organizations—usually run by utopian Europeans. So they will play a thinking-man’s Athens to our muscular Rome. They especially lap up Obama’s historical revisionism in which he lectures about the world’s effort to feed Berlin or tear down the communist wall, never the solitary, lonely efforts of a Harry Truman or Ronald Reagan to confront the evils of communism when almost everyone else preferred not to…
— Hat tip: RE
Libya: Government Warns Libyans Against Trips to Switzerland
(ANSAmed) — TRIPOLI, JULY 29 — Libya today advised its nationals living abroad against visiting Switzerland in order to avoid being faced with “arbitrary measures”, the Libyan Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Due to the arbitrary measures, the disrespect and humiliation inflicted by the Swiss authorities on Arab and Libyan citizens, the citizens of the Great Jamahiriya are advised against travelling to Switzerland to avoid similar measures,” a note on the website of the ministry reads. The warning was issued following tension with Switzerland caused by the short detention of the son of Libyan colonel Gaddafi in Geneva. Hannibal Gaddafi, the fourth son of the colonel, and his wife were arrested on July 15 after two members of their staff complained of maltreatment. The couple, who deny the accusations, was released two days later on bail of 500,000 Swiss francs (312,500 euro). The arrest provoked retaliations on the part of Tripoli, which suspended oil supplies to Switzerland, forced various Swiss companies to close their offices in Libya and arrested two Swiss nationals. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Morocco: Child Marriages Continue Despite Law to Curb Practice
Rabat, 29 July (AKI) — Despite a move four years ago to curb child marriage in Morocco, the practice is still quite common in the country, according to new data provided by the authorities.
The Moroccan Justice Minister Abdel Wahid al-Radi, said that in 2007 alone, his ministry received 38,710 marriage applications involving a minor, in which about 90 percent of the cases were approved.
This despite the reform of Morocco’s Family Law or Mudawana four years ago which outlawed child marriages except in special cases that have been approved by the Justice Ministry.
— Hat tip: Insubria
Court OK’s Vicenza Base Expansion
High court overrules regional tribunal on Italy-US plan
(ANSA) — Vicenza, July 29 — Italy’s highest administrative court on Tuesday overturned a regional court’s ruling against the planned expansion of an air base here to make room for American military personnel.
Upholding an appeal from the Italian government, the Council of State said the TAR of Veneto, which came out against the expansion on June 20, had no remit for political questions involving Italy and the United States.
It also stressed that there was no legal requirement to sound out the local population, which is believed to be largely against the expansion.
The Council of State said there was no ‘‘hard evidence’’ for the kind of environmental damage protesters claimed the expansion of the Dal Molin base would bring.
— Hat tip: Insubria
Mideast: West Bank; Hamas Threatens Al Fatah With Intifada
(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, JULY 29 — Hamas, the Islamic movement that controls the Gaza Strip, today threatened Al Fatah, the rival organisation led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), with intifada in the West Bank against the forces of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), accused of colluding with Israel against Hamas activists. The threat came as a reaction to the arrest of some 150 supporters of the Islamic movement in the West Bank on the part of the PNA security services. The wave of arrests took place in response to the arrests of Al Fatah supporters in Gaza, carried out by Hamas security services, following an attack on Friday in Gaza City which killed five Hamas militants and a Palestinian girl. Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, warned PNA that the clamp down on Hamas in Gaza “can only lead to a new revolt against Israel and its security agents” with a transparent sarcastic reference to the Palestinian forces loyal to Abbas. “You should be well aware that once you lose the protection of Zionists (Israel), the people will break into your offices and will get you,” he added. A Palestinian security source in Ramallah said that these threats were made by “irresponsible persons” and denied information about ongoing indiscriminate arrests of people related to Hamas. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Big City Begging Bans
Church criticises initiatives at Cortina, Venice and Florence: “The poor have never been a nuisance”
MILAN — It’s bishops against mayors in a battle over begging. One of the first politician to crack down on beggars was the mayor of Alassio but he was soon joined by the first citizens of Sanremo, Trieste, Padua and Modena. Now, only a few days later, the mayors of Venice, Florence and Cortina have issued measures against begging in the streets. This is a declaration of “war on almsgiving” with “serious repercussions”, as the Italian bishops’ conference (CEI) newspaper Avvenire called it, attacking local administrators and their bans. On Saturday, Avvenire carried an editorial under the title “The poor have never been a nuisance in Venice. Curious silence over a controversial measure”. Yesterday, there was a second editorial: “Assuming you can beat poverty by moving away the poor is the latest folly of the spare-time Utopians”…
English translation by Giles Watson www.watson.it (Article in Italian)
— Hat tip: Insubria
‘Islam is a Puppet Religion’
By Aéysha Kassiem
Alleged derogatory remarks about Islam during an assembly at a Cape Town school have infuriated Muslim pupils and parents who allege a Christian preacher made statements such as “Jesus is alive, unlike that thing Allah” and “Islam is a puppet religion”.
They demanded that speakers be rigorously screened before being invited to address pupils after the preacher was asked to address Groote Schuur High School on Monday.
The education department is investigating.
‘It left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth’
One of the parents, who declined to be named for fear her child would be victimised, said her daughter had called her after some of the Muslim pupils had staged a walk-out in response to the remarks.
“But the teachers prevented them from leaving. None of the educators at the school or the principal stopped the preacher from addressing the pupils. The kids were very upset.
“When I spoke to the principal, he said he had not heard what was said because the microphone was not working properly and the sound was not right, but the children heard it,” she said.
— Hat tip: CzC
Iran Mullahs’ Reign of Terror
By: Amil Imani
The Islamic Republic terror machine once again has taken off at the speed of light in Iran and exemplifies a depraved, clerical system of government, which legitimizes its depravity through a series of terror, fear and intimidation of Iranian people. With the additional handpicking of the newly selected members of the Islamic “Majles,” the clergies have intensified their terror and war against the people of Iran and their insatiable appetite for another holocaust against the Jewish State, at all cost. The leaders of the Islamic Republic have gone completely mad.
The Islamic Republic has stationed revolutionary and militia troops to actively and deliberately prevent anyone from any demonstrations or objections against the totalitarian regime. They are planning to silence people by any means available to them.
Parents who inquire at police headquarters about their arrested sons and daughters could be taken away or simply disappear. Students are tortured and, on many occasions, murdered for crimes they never committed. And yet, we see many western governments are engaging and heavily investing in the Islamic Republic where its survival depends upon shedding the blood of innocent Iranians…
— Hat tip: Amil Imani
Video: Angry Muslim Woman Attacks Christian Man After He Says “Mohammed Was a Pedophile”
What starts out as a peaceful debate between a Christian man and a Muslim woman quickly turns violent when the Christian claims “Mohammed was a pedophile” which spurs the usual reaction from the religion of peace…uncontrollable violent outrage…
— Hat tip: Infidels Are Cool
Islam and the Secular State
Negotiating the Future of Shari’a
by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im
What should be the place of Shari’a—Islamic religious law—in predominantly Muslim societies of the world? In this ambitious and topical book, a Muslim scholar and human rights activist envisions a positive and sustainable role for Shari’a, based on a profound rethinking of the relationship between religion and the secular state in all societies.
— Hat tip: LN
Australia: Morally Bankrupt Multilateralism
Some stellar phrases dominated the election campaign last year. Australia faced a “fork in the road”, said Kevin Rudd. As Prime Minister, he faces his own fork in the road. Rudd announced he was Multilateral Man, a modern social democrat leader who would forge a new foreign policy for Australia. Eschewing the Howard years, Rudd would apparently take us down a new, more inclusive road. He would fully embrace multilateralism as the best way to achieve global peace. But here’s the thing. Multilateralism is not an inherent good. Sometimes its very inclusiveness ensures a rotten result.
That much was obvious at the confab in Durban in 2001 when a conference aimed at combating racism degenerated into a bigoted hate-fest against the US and Israel.
Non-government organisations in Durban handed out pamphlets depicting Israelis as modern-day Nazis and free T-shirts demanding the dismantling of Israel.
Even former US secretary of state Colin Powell — a good friend of the UN — walked out, declaring that “you do not combat racism by conferences that produce declarations containing hateful language”.
Such was the moral bankruptcy at the Durban festival of hate, the then UN high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, refused to be part of the ceremony that tabled the forum’s documents. Multilateralism, Durban-style, provided a platform, under the auspices of the international community, for anti-West Westerners and the most egregious abusers of human rights to rail against the West.
The Durban I debacle means that, if Rudd really is a sensible fusion between hardheaded realism and liberal idealism, as some have claimed, he will need to show that he can be choosy about multilateralism. And the measure of his commitment to multilateralism ought to go something like this. Meaningful multilateralism that actually achieves a common good is the aim.
— Hat tip: CK
China’s Islamic Party Threatens Olympics
The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) has released a 3-minute 24-second video on July 25 entitled “Our Blessed Jihad in Yunnan” feauturing a statement by TIP Commander Seyfullah threatening the Olympic Games in China. The video is dated 23 July 2008, according to the IntelCenter
— Hat tip: VH
‘Turkistan Islamic Party’ Claims China Attacks, Threatens Olympics
Transcript of the video above by Darko Trifunovic
[Screen reads:] Blessed Jihad in Yunnan
[Screen reads:] Attention! This film contains Koranic verses and the Holy Prophet’s teachings. It is not authorized to distribute it by adding music.
Islam Awazi [Voice of Islam] Information Center
[With Koranic chanting in background, screen reads:] The attackers are permitted to fight (to resist) for the oppression they have suffered. Allah is of course capable of helping them. — [Koranic verse citation illegible]
[Video shows fire under a sign of Beijing 2008 Olympics, then cuts to a fake explosion of a large stadium.]
OSC caption: Beijing Olympics 2008 sign in flames.
OSC caption: Video edit of fire around stadium, then fake explosion.
[Song in Arabic is heard as photos of the Yunnan bus bombing are shown with a title “Our Blessed Jihad in Yunnan “]
OSC caption: Title “Our Blessed Jihad in Yunnan “ and pictures of Yunnan buses after explosion.
[Video then shows a man in white turban flanked by two armed, with the man in the white turban speaking, and a banner at the bottom of the screen identifies the man as “Military Commander Seyfullah”]
OSC caption: Banner reads “Military Commander Seyfullah.”
[Seyfullah:] [Arabic omitted] In relation to our blessed jihad in Yunnan .
[Seyfullah:] Despite the Turkistan Islamic Party’s repeated warnings to China and international community about stopping the 29th Olympics in Beijing , the Chinese have haughtily ignored our warnings. The Turkistan Islamic Party volunteers who had gone through special preparation have started urgent actions. They bombed 2 public buses in Shanghai on 5 May 2008 and took voluntary action against police in Wenzhou on 17 May with a tractor loaded with explosives. They carried out a bombing in a plastic factory in Guangzhou on 17 July and bombed 3 public busses in Yunnan on 21 July.
[Seyfullah:] Through this blessed jihad in Yunnan this time, the Turkistan Islamic Party warns China one more time. Our aim is to target the most critical points related to the Olympics. We will try to attack Chinese central cities severely using the tactics that have never been employed.
[Seyfullah:] We warn China and the international community for the last time that those spectators, athletes, particularly the Muslims, who are planning to attend the Olympics, please change your intention from going to China . Please do not stand together with the faithless people. The Turkistan Islamic Party volunteers will conduct violent military actions against individuals, departments, venues, and activities that are related to the Olympics in China .
[Seyfullah:] You must be aware that China will never be able to protect these. If you want to save your life, then please stay away from the Olympics in China . If God is willing, the Communist China will not celebrate the Olympics peacefully as they desired.
Turkistan Islam Party Voice of Islam Information Center , 23 July, 2008, 20 July, 1429 [IslamicCalendar]
OSC caption: Turkistan Islamic Party Voice of Islam Information Center, 23 July 2008.
— Hat tip: VH
China Denies Militant Group Caused Bus Blasts
Chinese authorities have dismissed claims by a militant Islamic group that it was responsible for the recent explosions on buses.
The Turkestan Islamic Party [TIP] has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in different Chinese cities, including the deadly bus explosions in Shanghai and Kunming. But the Chinese authorities deny the bus explosions are linked to any act of terrorism. It’s a denial which seems to run contradictory to its claim that the Olympic games could well be targetted by terrorists.
But in a video recently released [see below], TIP, an ethnic [Muslim] Uigher group, also claims responsibilities for other incidents and warns of more to come in the runup to and during the Beijing olympics.
There are a number of militant Islamic groups in China’s North western Xinjiang province, among them TIP and ETIM [East Turkestan Islamic Movement] or the Uigher Islamic Party of East Turkestan, which has been labelled as a terrorist organisation by both China and the United States.
— Hat tip: VH
Mideast: Gaza; Cameraman Arrested, German TV Closes Office
(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, JULY 30 — German television network ARD announced today the closure of its correspondent office in Gaza, following the arrest by Hamas’ police of its Palestinian cameraman Sawah Abu Seif, of whom there have been no news for several days. It is feared that Seif has been tortured and might be in serious conditions. The cameraman had been stopped by the men of Hamas during the wave of arrests of Fatah exponents, in reaction to an attack, which on Friday evening claimed the lives of five Hamas militants and a little Palestinian girl. Al Fatah declared not to be involved in the attack. Hamas sources in Gaza confirmed that the cameraman is being detained and interrogated on his alleged connections to Fatah. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Spain: Mutual Accords to Help Immigrants Vote
(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JULY 30 — In order to grant immigrants the right to vote in local elections in Spain, the government will name a special ambassador to negotiate accords of mutual respect with various countries, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said today at the Constitutional Committees of the Congress. De la Vega explained that the initiative responds to the commitment of the government led by Zapatero to grant immigrants the right to vote in local elections. And, once the Constitution envisages the mutual respect, or that the Spanish are allowed to vote abroad, the special ambassador appointed ad hoc will be able to work on the signing of complementary accords to the ones envisaged in the cooperation and friendship agreements signed by Spain. “It is a matter of justice that they vote alongside with us,” the deputy prime minister said referring to the immigrants, emphasising that their vote must be introduced in the constitutional framework. De la Vega asked the parliamentary groups to study the possibility to introduce an electronic vote through the Internet in order to avoid inconvenience at the ballot-boxes or in consulate offices. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Lebanon: Well-Known Singer Found Dead, Disfigured in Dubai
(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, JULY 30 — With the face disfigured and stabbed in several parts of the body: thus Lebanese pop singer Suzanne Tamim, 31, was found dead in her apartment in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The singer had been far from her country’s stages for years. The news was reported today by Lebanese news portal ‘al-Nashra’. According to the Internet website, Tamim was found dead on Monday, after “her relatives and friends had lost track of her movements for months”. “Her body was stabbed in several points and her face was disfigured with a small knife before her death” the portal added. A “secret” resident for the past eight months of Dubai, after having lived for years in Cairo, Tamim had married twice but divorced from both husbands. The pop star had reached fame in 1996, when she won the national singing contest Studio al-Fann (Artistic Studio). Her latest album was published in 2002, while two years ago her song ‘Lovers’ came out, written on the occasion of the first anniversary of the killing, in an attack in Beirut, of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Immigration: New Arrivals in Lampedusa
(ANSAmed) — ROME, JULY 30 — The wave of arrivals of illegal immigrants on the Italian coasts is not stopping. It is mainly the island of Lampedusa which has to bear the largest number of immigrants. Only today, four boats were intercepted or rescued by units of the Italian Navy. Today in the afternoon at some 30 miles south of the island, a dinghy with 47 people on board was rescued. The immigrants were taken on board and transported to Lampedusa in the evening. A further 171 immigrants on three boats were rescued in the Sicilian Channel by the ship Spica of the Military Navy. Among the rescued people there are 32 women. At the moment, the hospitality centre of Lampedusa is hosting some 500 people. A small boat with 17 illegal immigrants on board, including several minors, coming from the Algerian coast, was intercepted at 0830 local time by the air and sea unit of the Financial Police at 12 miles south of Cape Spartivento, off the southern coast of Sardinia. The immigrants were taken on board by patrol motor boat Inzerilli of the Financial Police, which is carrying them to the hospitality and first aid centre of Elmas, which is now full up (it can host 160 illegal immigrants and some 150 refugees asking for asylum). Yesterday, a total 48 immigrants arrived in Sardinia in several groups. The phenomenon is seen to intensify during this week; the Algerian authorities have been notified and will increase controls along the coasts. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Immigration: Flow Shift From Canary Islands to Italy, Frontex
(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JULY 30 — The decrease in the number of illegal immigrants arriving to the Canary Islands via sea is due to the “shift” to the coasts of Italy, Gil Arias Fernandez, Deputy Executive Director of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the European Union (Frontex), said today. In a statement to radio Onda Zero, Arias Fernandez said that the 11% decrease in arrivals registered in the Canary Islands since the beginning of the year is explained by the fact that “large part of the immigrants who used to sail towards the archipelago are now directed to Italy”. According to the Frontex director, there is “a change of the flow, a shift effect” by the immigrants from Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, who now go through Libya before crossing the sea on their way to Lampedusa or Malta. According to the official data published by Europa Press, the arrivals of immigrants to the Canary Islands have fallen by 60% in 2007, compared to the previous year. A total of 4,557 illegal immigrants have landed on the islands since the beginning of the year, 1,037 less than the first seven months of 2007. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
In Enemy Territory
The article from “Die Welt” has now been transformed into a short video-clip and aired on one of Germany’s largest TV-networks RTL.
— Hat tip: Kepiblanc
Italy Puts the Army on the Streets to Fight Crime and Illegal Immigration
Italy is sending troops on to its streets to fight crime, stem illegal immigration and defend terrorist targets.
Its Centre-Right government signed a decree yesterday that will deploy 4,000 soldiers starting next week.
They will patrol with police officers in large cities such as Rome, Milan, Naples and Palermo.
Crackdown: Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, centre, reviews Italian troops in Iraq. Berlusconi’s government is now putting the army on the streets in an attempt to fight crime
They will not have powers of arrest, but will be able to detain people until police arrive.
They will also guard ‘sensitive targets’ of terrorism, such as the Vatican, stations and embassies, and guard illegal immigrant detention centres on Italy’s southern coast.
But the opposition criticised the move as token window-dressing that could hurt the country’s image abroad and scare tourists away.
— Hat tip: Steen
Analysis: a Success for Hizbullah — and Its Price
by Jonathan Spyer
The release of Samir Kuntar and his four colleagues, and the national jubilation that greeted their return to Lebanon, bring to a close a week of achievement for the regional bloc of which Hizbullah is a member. The events of the week, however, do not resolve any of the issues of which they form a part. Rather, they plant the seeds of further confrontation.
After six weeks of disputation, the formation of a new government was announced in Beirut on July 11, with Hizbullah gaining veto power in the new cabinet. The pro-Western parliamentary majority holds 16 cabinet seats, against 11 for the opposition (including Hizbullah) and three named directly by President Michel Suleiman.
This achievement represents success for Hizbullah’s campaign of civil disobedience over the last 18 months…
— Hat tip: Barry Rubin
by Jonathan Spyer
Over the last two months, Israeli security forces have arrested six young Arab men suspected of seeking to form an extreme Islamist cell for the purpose of carrying out high-profile terror attacks in the capital. Two of the six held Israeli citizenship, while the other four were residents of east Jerusalem. It appears that they were radicalized through involvement in an Islamic study circle and via the Internet. Two Arab Israeli citizens from the town of Rahat were arrested in recent weeks on similar suspicions.
In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, these events reflect strange, unfamiliar patterns. Place them on a broader canvas, however, and the novelty sharply decreases. The latest events appear to reflect the arrival of global jihad methods and codes of practice to our shores.
They are the most visible part of a broader and little-remarked-upon process taking place in Jerusalem, the West Bank and (particularly) in Gaza. This is the growing presence of preachers, organizations and individuals committed to the extreme Sunni Islamist current known as “Salafiyya.” This is the ideology associated with al-Qaida. However, it is important to stress that what is happening is the penetration of ideas and models of activity, rather than the establishment of a new, centralized movement.
The process whereby young men become radicalized through contact with Islamist ideas via preachers or the Internet and then go on to form ad hoc terror cells has been observed in Muslim communities in Europe and further afield. So how is Salafism gaining its foothold west of the Jordan River? Through the relatively simple formula of preaching, education, the creation of groups of devotees, and the subsequent self-organization of those devotees.
In the West Bank, the removal of Hamas-affiliated imams in over 1,000 mosques has paradoxically opened the door for the rising prominence of Salafi-oriented preachers…
— Hat tip: Barry Rubin
Illegal Immigrant Population Dropping
New Report Estimates 1.3 Million Decline Since Last Summer
WASHINGTON (July 30, 2008) — A new analysis of monthly Census Bureau data shows a significant decline in the number of less-educated Hispanic immigrants. The report is the first to show systematic evidence that the illegal population is decreasing. There is good evidence that recent immigration enforcement efforts are a key factor causing the decline.
The report, entitled “Homeward Bound: Recent Immigration Enforcement and the Decline in the Illegal Alien Population,” is available at the Center for Immigration Studies web site www.cis.org.
One indication that stepped-up enforcement is responsible for the decline is that only the illegal immigrant population seems to be effected; the legal immigrant population continues to grow…
— Hat tip: Mark Krikorian