- Rushdie E-Mail Backs Local Author
- Mosque Fire “Could Have Been Arson”
- Spain: Morocco Requests Extradition of Madrid Bomb Terrorist
- EU: British Cannot Translate, Spanish and Greek Recruited
- Voting Rights for Foreigners
- Algeria: Attacks in Kabylie Continue, Guard Slaughtered
- The New “Moderate” Turkey
- U.S. Denies Sending Letter Over Hezbollah TV
- Roars About Russia, Nary a Whisper About Islam
- Two Detained in Priest Attack
- Beijing Olympics, Uighurs Vanish
- Saudis Not Liable for 9/11 Attacks: US Court
Spokane writer’s debut canceled over religious fear
On Thursday, Spokane author Sherry Jones received the kind of notice for her first novel, “The Jewel of Medina,” that most writers would kill to have.
Internationally renowned writer Salman Rushdie sent the Associated Press an e-mail about the book.
Unfortunately, Rushdie’s comment was a condemnation of Jones’ publisher, Random House, for pulling the book before it had arrived on a single bookshelf.
“I am very disappointed to hear that my publishers, Random House, have canceled another author’s novel, apparently because of their concerns about possible Islamic reprisals,” Rushdie’s e-mail said. “This is censorship by fear, and it sets a very bad precedent indeed.”
— Hat tip: AR
France: Anti-Semite Video; Complaint Against Author, Website
(ANSAmed) — PARIS, AUGUST 14 — The president of the French National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), Sammy Ghozlan, announced he has filed suit against Dailymotion — a video sharing website similar to Youtube — and the author of a five-minute video whose content was seen as racist. The video features a slideshow of 150 photographs of Jewish or presumably Jewish personalities with a music background of a 1930s song titled “Rebeccàs Wedding”. The lyrics speak of the wedding of two Jews, whose guests are described as dirty, rude and dishonest. “This film is a photographic list of an anti-Semitic nature and therefore liable to criminal prosecution,” Ghozlan said. The BNVCA president added that he has called upon the Superior Council of Audio Video to apply “stricter control over Dailymotion” or even “the shutdown of the website in case of relapse”. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Mosque Fire “Could Have Been Arson”
A fire that broke out in a mosque in northern Sweden on Thursday night could have been started deliberately, police say.
“We received the alarm at 2:40am and the fire was extinguished soon afterwards. We do not yet know how serious the damage was, but there was at least smoke damage,” said fire brigade duty commander Bengt Stadin on Friday morning.
No people were injured in the blaze. Witnesses say they saw youngsters running from the scene.
“The rescue coordinator said there were signs that the fire was started deliberately and we are taking this very seriously. We will be treating this as a hate crime,” Stadin said.
— Hat tip: TB
Spain: Morocco Requests Extradition of Madrid Bomb Terrorist
(ANSAmed) — MADRID, AUGUST 13 — Moroccan judicial authorities requested from Spain the extradition of Moroccan Hassan Al Haski, sentenced to 14 years in prison in Spain for the March 11, 2004 attacks in Madrid. Morocco is requesting to be able to put on trial Al Haski for the 2003 attacks in Casablanca, judicial sources informed. The request for Al Haskìs handover was made to Audiencia Nacional, a Spanish high court. The man is known in his country as one of the “Afghan Moroccans”, who created the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) linked to al Qaeda. Spain’s judicial authorities expressed their favourable position on Al Haskìs extradition in Morocco as far back as 2006. Yet, the man will not be able to leave Spain definitively until he has finished serving his penalty related to his sentence. A temporary handover is possible, however, and it would allow Morocco to put him on trial for having participated in the preparation of the May 16, 2003 attack in Casablanca, which claimed the lives of 45 people. Al Haski is currently detained in Spain after he was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his membership in the terrorist group which on May 11, 2004 in Madrid killed 191 people and caused another 1,800 injuries in a number of attacks. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
EU: British Cannot Translate, Spanish and Greek Recruited
(ANSAmed) — LONDON, AUGUST 11 — The British are so bad at foreign languages, but as it seems, even at the English language, that the European Commission had to recruit linguists from Spain and Greece in order to translate the documents into English, the Sunday Times wrote, unveiling that, according to an EU document, the number of British who apply to be translators is so low that Brussels has decided to employ people from other nations, who are skilled in translating into English, even recurring to YouTube for the recruitment. The numbers speak for themselves: while the candidates for translation tests from other EU countries have pass rates regularly nearing 100%, as few as 20% of British applicants manage to pass. Under the European regulation, a translator in a certain language must be a native speaker of that language, however it seems that the British are poor even at the language of Shakespeare, hence the necessity to resort to experts from other nations. The disappointing performance of the British translators goes hand in hand with the decline in the interest of British students for foreign languages. In 2004 the Government made things even worse by removing the foreign language from the compulsory subjects for GCSE, which corresponds to an A-Levels exam. The general director for Interpreters at the European Commission, Marco Benedetti, said, quoted by the Times: ‘‘The shortage of English translators and interpreters is becoming serious in all international organisations.’’ (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Swedish Pedestrians Receive Secret Message From God
Signal boxes located at pedestrian crossings in countries all over the world are designed to spread the word of God, the product’s Swedish manufacturer has revealed.
Anyone living in Sweden or the Nordic countries will almost certainly have seen the image of a hand pointing upwards to encourage pedestrians to press the button before crossing the road.
Prisma Teknik AB, the Swedish company behind the pedestrian signals, has now admitted that the hand is meant as a hidden symbol for God. In fact, the company says it has never made any secret of the fact.
“We want to show that there is only one way to reach God and that is up and through Jesus”, CEO Jan Lund told The Local.
Though Sweden is not particularly religious, with church attendances consistently low, the country still contains some pockets of religious fervour. One of these appears to be located at Prisma Teknik, a company that supplies pedestrian signals and other technical devices to 60 markets around the world.
Prisma Teknik AB is a family-run business based in the southern Swedish county of Småland, an area with a reputation as Sweden’s bible belt.
CEO Jan Lund told The Local that the company’s signals point the way to God in 17 countries including Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Belgium, Israel, and the US among others.
Prisma Teknik’s hand points upwards, much in the way that many religious icons or pictures of Jesus have done through the ages. Lund told The Local that this was entirely intentional.
However, Prisma Teknik’s hand of God does not go down quite so well with its Muslim clients in the Arab world, who are much more aware of the hidden Christian message than your average Swede.
Even so, the Swedish Christian company still supplies pedestrian signal signs to customers in Saudi Arabia, who promptly cover up the hand when it arrives in the Arab state.
The Local asked Jan Lund why his company does not simply manufacture a special pedestrian signal without the iconic index finger for the Arab market.
“We want to be a servant of God and we have been blessed as a company for 21 years, so we won’t change for anyone”, he said.
On its website, Prisma Teknik AB openly declares its thanks to God:
“We are grateful for all the good customers and suppliers we have. It is also thanks to the care from God that we have developed to be the successful company we are today. We want to have Jesus as a part in everything we do. Christian values and God’s guidance is the foundation of Prisma Teknik.”
And perhaps it is wise not to change a winning formula. All the pedestrian signals are manufactured in Sweden and the 13-strong company’s turnover for 2007 was more than 25.5 million kronor ($4 million).
— Hat tip: TB
Top Civil Servant: MP Duyvendak Orchestrated Arson at My House
Green Left (GroenLinks) MP Wijnand Duyvendak orchestrated threats, violence and intimidation of six top civil servants at the economic affairs ministry in 1985. The ministry’s director-general of the day, George Verberg, stated yesterday that an attempt was made to set fire to his house.
Under Duyvendak’s leadership, the anarchists publication Bluf published a list on 11 July 1985 giving the names, addresses and telephone numbers of six top civil servants. This was accompanied by the text: “Disturb the peace of these trouble-makers,” newspaper De Telegraaf reported yesterday.
The call in Bluf resulted in telephone threats and intimidation of the civil servants of the nuclear energy directorate. One of them had his windows broken by stones thrown at them, according to De Telegraaf.
In 2005, a report (Thirty Years of Energy Policy) from the Clingendael Institute had already described the intimidation of the civil servants. The publication in Bluf “led to threats to me at home and to my colleagues. My windows were also broken,” one of the civil servants said in the Clingendael report.
Duyvendak yesterday acknowledged being involved in providing the list of names in Bluf. But he denies having had anything to do with the actual threats, and claims he cannot remember these either.
The MP also continue to deny being involved with the bombing attack on the home of the then Asylum Policy State Secretary Aad Kosto in 1988. De Telegraaf last week quoted a policeman who said that Duyvendak was a suspect at the time for the attack, which injured nobody because nobody was home at the time of the explosion. […]
Note: The Extreme Left ex terrorist MP Wynand Duyvendak resigned today.
— Hat tip: VH
Voting Rights for Foreigners
Robert Redeker became famous in France and throughout the world when he wrote an article, published in Le Figaro, denouncing the murderous nature of Islam. The publication of the article resulted in death threats, to him and his family, and a new life in hiding surrounded at all times by bodyguards provided by the French government. The last I heard he was still living in the shadows and changing his residence frequently.
Now he has written another article, also in Le Figaro, in which he expounds the reasons why he is against granting foreigners the right to vote in local elections:
The strange plan to grant voting rights to foreigners in local elections needs to be subjected to exhaustive criticism. Nothing could be more in tune with the times: the obligatory mixing of peoples in all domains. But this homage to a dominating ideology, as colorful as it is intoxicating (“euphorisant”), that supposes political life to be a perpetual fiesta, cannot mask the true nature of the plan.
Let’s ask the question: is it consistent to grant, as the Socialist Party would like, as the Zapatero government is preparing to do in Spain, the right to vote in local elections and deny it in national elections? Such a measure would introduce a veritable schizophrenia into the concept of citizenship. It would cut citizenship in two. Some people would be citizens in their city or county, but not in their congressional district or in the State. It would institute two groups of citizens; consequently, it would fabricate second tier citizens who, without fail, would quickly demand full citizenship…
— Hat tip: Fjordman
Algeria: Attacks in Kabylie Continue, Guard Slaughtered
(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, AUGUST 14 — Since the suicide bombing attack that killed eight and injured 19 people in the coastal area of Zemmouri El Bahri, near Boumerdes, 50 km east of Algiers, the Kabylie region continues to be hit every day by attacks of Islamist armed groups. Local El Watan daily reports that a municipal guard was slaughtered yesterday in Bouira, 100 km east of Algiers, while a bomb exploded on Tuesday in Ouled Aissa, in Boumerdes, without causing any victims. The same day in the same area, two soldiers were injured in an attack in Ouled Ali. A homemade bomb planted on the street was triggered at the passage of a military convoy. Three policemen were injured on Sunday in the explosion of a bomb planted near the beach of Tighzirt, along the coast of Kabylie. News of defused bombs in various areas in eastern Algeria come one after the other. The series of attacks, according to the local media, seems to be a response by the Algerian armed groups to the large-scale operations launched by the army after the three suicide attacks carried out in the last few weeks. On August 3, 25 people were injured in a suicide attack in Tizi Ouzou, the capital of the Berber region. On July 23, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up at the passage of an army convoy in Lakdaria (70 km east of Algiers) injuring 13 soldiers. The Al Qaeda Organisation for the Islamic Maghreb (former Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) claimed responsibility for both attacks. (ANSAmed).
— Hat tip: Insubria
Green Light From Mullahs for Killing of Shirin Ebadi?
The charge has been prompted by an accusation issued by official sources, saying that the Nobel laureate has become Bahai. For the Iranian criminal code, this makes her worthy of death, and if someone were to kill her he would not be punished.
Tehran (AsiaNews) — The life of Shirin Ebadi, Nobel peace prize winner in 2003, is in danger. Ebadi has been fearless in denouncing the oppression of human rights in her country. The alarm has been raised by Rooz, a website for Iranian exiles, which deduces it from the “charge” made a few days ago by the official news agency IRNA, saying that Ebadi and her daughter, a student at McGill University in Canada, have become members of the Bahai religion. The Bahai are considered a heretical Islamic group, and are persecuted.
The accusation, according to Rooz, is a sham set up to disguise the intention of having the woman killed, or at least of frightening her to the point of making her stop her activities in favor of human rights, or leave the country.
The explanation has been given on the basis of the Iranian criminal code. Article 226 stipulates that the killing of a person is subject to ‘Ghesas’, or retaliatory punishment, “only if the victim did not deserve death based on the Sharia, and if the ?victim deserved death the murderer must prove that in court, according to set criteria”. According to Islamic law, apostasy, or abandoning Islam, is worthy of death. And her conversion to the Bahai faith puts Ebadi in this position.
As if that were not enough, a supplement to article 295 in the same criminal code stipulates that if a person kills another because he suspects that the victim deserves death, and this is proven in court, the killing is considered accidental homicide, and the author must only pay “blood money” to the victim’s family. But if the killer proves that the victim deserved death, he doesn’t even have to pay the “blood money”, and will not face any penalty.
It is in the light of these laws that the article deduces in the first place that “they want to convince ignorant forces that Shirin Ebadi’s death is necessary. Any Muslim ?who takes her life is not punished, and perhaps goes to heaven”. In the second place, “they want to frighten her to abandon all human rights-related activities or even leave the ?country”.
— Hat tip: C. Cantoni
The New “Moderate” Turkey
Under AKP rule Turkey has become a Big Brother state where critical journalists risk arrest.
By Robert Ellis, August 15 2008
Since the AKP (Justice and Development Party) came to power in 2002, and especially in the last year, Turkey’s development has taken an Orwellian turn.
For the first three years things went well and the AKP government continued with the reform program embarked on by the previous coalition government. But since Turkey started accession negotiations with the European Union in October 2005, the zeal for reform has lost momentum.
Together with the reform packages aimed at opening the gate to the Promised Land, there was a parallel development designed to secure the AKP’s grip on Turkey. The preamble to the Turkish constitution establishes that “there shall be no interference whatsoever by sacred religious feelings in state affairs and politics” but this is exactly what the AKP has done.
In Sepember 2006 General Ilter Basbug, who has just been appointed Chief of Staff, warned of “intentional, patient and systematic attempts” to erode what the Turkish republic has achieved since it was founded in 1923. At the same time the higher echelons of the state administration and particularly inside education have been replaced with the party faithful. For example, last year 4,500 people were appointed as principals and deputy principals, two-thirds of whom were affiliated with the governing party.
— Hat tip: Henrik
U.S. Denies Sending Letter Over Hezbollah TV
The United States government has denied sending a letter requesting the government to force the country’s satellite service provider PT Indosat from broadcasting Hezbollah’s TV station Al-Manar as reported by a local newspaper.
“No such letter was sent. The U.S. Embassy has, however, shared its concerns regarding Al-Manar’s continued broadcasts in Indonesia,” U.S. Embassy assistant press attaché Stafford Ward told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Kontan daily newspaper reported on Wednesday that the U.S. had sent letters to the ministry’s office and the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission urging the government to terminate the broadcast of the Lebanon-based Shi’a Islamic political and paramilitary organization
The U.S. government, Ward said, would continue to express its concerns over Hezbollah and Al-Manar television worldwide.
The US government remains firmly opposed to their exploitation of the media to promote terrorist acts, including broadcasts designed to incite imminent violence and likely to produce violence, Ward said. “Al-Manar its parent and affiliates form a recognized arm of Hezbollah, a designated terrorist organization under multiple counterterrorism authorities.”
— Hat tip: VH
Roars About Russia, Nary a Whisper About Islam
by Diana West
Amazing how quickly the punditocracy switches maps, time zones and histories, simultaneously mastering new combinations of consonants and vowels, to report and react to a “surprise” conflict in Georgia. It’s almost hard to recall that, just a few days ago, the most urgent questions confounding most of the media had to do with just how narcissistic John Edwards really is, or what the ramifications of Barack Obama’s plans to announce his vice presidential pick via text message might finally be.
Since the sight of tanks rolling usually has a way of concentrating the media mind, the question has become: Whither Russia?
In truth, the demise of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn earlier this month was a journalistic godsend. After all, who hadn’t already dusted off their long-retired Soviet history books — not to mention their long-retired Soviet history experts, all of whom have had the busiest couple of weeks in years — by the time Vladimir Putin announced last week that “war has started” over South Ossetia and Abkhazia?
Historical memory somewhat refreshed, Western media were ready with the headlines — “The evil empire is back”; “Welcome to the 19th century”; “The Russian bear’s new teeth” — to promote the main thrust of most stories: namely, that Russia is reverting to tsarist, expansionist, Soviet-style, empire-amassing type.
It’s not that there’s anything controversial in this journalistic approach, although I do tend to think there remain aspects of the Georgian story we haven’t reconciled. What’s noteworthy about this narrative consensus, however, is that the invocation of Russia’s historical and cultural record is being made so frankly and without hedging. That is, no one’s blaming “Russian extremists,” “tsarismists,” or “hijackers of a great history.” On the contrary, the implication behind most Russia-versus-Georgia stories is that the Russians’ world-stage behavior as they smash Georgia is something that this same historical and cultural record tells us that Russians do…
— Hat tip: Diana West
President: Indonesia Still Threatened by Terrorism
Indonesia’s president warned Friday that terrorism is still a threat to the world’s most populous Muslim country, which has not suffered a major attack in nearly three years following a crackdown on Islamic militants.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in a State of the Union address before Parliament that “our country is still unsafe from terrorist acts,” although efforts to overcome extremism “have shown an encouraging progress.”
“Various achievements are very heartening to all of us, but we must continue to heighten our vigilance,” he said, praising authorities for arresting and prosecuting hundreds of suspected Islamic militants. […]
Regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for a series of bombings in Indonesia, including those on Bali island in 2002 and 2005, as well as Jakarta’s J.W. Marriott Hotel and the Australian Embassy in the 2003 and 2004.
Lawyers for three Islamic militants on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings asked Indonesia’s Constitutional Court on Thursday to reconsider the method of their executions in an effort to delay their deaths, which are now expected by month’s end.
In July, police said they thwarted a planned bombing of a cafe on Sumatra island after discovering a cache of powerful explosives, many packed with bullets to maximize the impact. Ten militant suspects were arrested.
Citing improvements in security, the United States recently lifted a travel warning for Indonesia early this year that had been in place since 2000.
— Hat tip: VH
Two Detained in Priest Attack
Police are still looking for a man allegedly involved in the attack on a Catholic priest, Benny Susetyo, after detaining two other suspects. South Jakarta police chief Sr. Comr. Chairul Anwar told reporters Thursday the police had identified the third suspect in the case.
“We now know the identity of the third man, but he is still at large,” he said. The two assailants are being held at the Kebayoran Lama police station, he added. One suspect was brought in by residents after being apprehended near the crime scene soon after Monday’s alleged attack.
Another suspect was arrested by police in Bogor the following day, Chairul said. The police chief declined to provide the names of the suspects or the fugitive. Police were still questioning the two men, both around 26 years old, regarding the motive for the attack, he added.
“At the moment, all we know is that it was something personal, a problem between the victim and the suspects,” Chairul said, adding it had nothing to do with money. The suspects confessed to having masterminded the attack on their own, without an order from higher up, he added.
The nature of the dispute remains unclear as the victim has yet to recover and provide testimony. The 40-year-old priest was allegedly kidnapped by three men in Bintaro on Monday evening and taken to the Mbok Berek chicken restaurant in Pondok Indah, South Jakarta, where he was beaten and later found.
He was then brought to Pondok Indah Hospital for treatment. The Indonesian Bishops Council said Benny, who had been staying at a relative’s house in Bintaro, needed to take a complete break from his duties for the next several days.
Romo (Father) Benny, an advocate for human rights and the freedom of religion, is one of the founders of Setara, a civil rights NGO, in addition to contributing a column for several newspapers.
— Hat tip: VH
Beijing Olympics, Uighurs Vanish
CAIRO — Millions of people flocked to the Chinese capital Beijing for the Olympic Games, but many of its Uighur Muslim residents hade to leave it because of the security crackdown and harassment.
“The Uighurs all went home,” Ma Yiqing, 55, a Chinese Muslim from the northwestern province of Gansu, told The New York Times on Thursday, August 14.
“During the Olympics, they are getting squeezed tighter.”
Uighur Muslims have been the target of increasing surveillance and crackdown by authorities since the run-up for the Olympics, which opened on Friday, August 8.
They are often stopped by police to check for identification. Police officers also usually knock on the doors of guesthouses to check for new Uighur arrivals.
“It’s not fair,” a young Uighur from central Xinjiang said, requesting anonymity.
“They were here to do business — not to attack the Olympics.”
The young man, who has spent most of his life in Beijing and has grown accustomed to life among the majority Han Chinese, is often stopped by police to check his identification.
Recently, he was detained for several hours because he was not carrying his papers.
“There must be some misunderstanding,” said the young Uighur, who was only allowed to stay in Beijing because he has a steady job.
Uighur Muslims are a Turkish-speaking minority of more than eight million in Xinjiang, a northwest vast area that borders Central Asia.
Ahmet, an Uighur Muslim, came to Beijing to work as a waiter.
One day, he went to an Internet cafe to send an e-mail to his parents back home in Xinjiang.
Suddenly, police showed up, asking him for his identification.
“Last month — this month — it is the same,” Ahmet said in his choppy Mandarin.
“I turn on the computer, the police come, and I don’t feel so good anymore.”
Analysts say China is seeking to portray Uighur separatists as a potential terrorist threat to the Olympics to tighten its grip on the sizable Muslim community.
“The world’s opinion was increasingly becoming skeptical about organized terrorism, so the government is trying to prove that it is a real threat,” said Dru C. Gladney, a professor at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.
The Chinese government has repeatedly warned that separatists were planning attacks against the Olympics but failed to provide proof to back the claim.
“My feeling is that the vast majority of Uighurs are very ardently opposed to disrupting the Olympics,” said Gladney.
“Some said they want the Olympics to go well so China will loosen its control over Uighurs in Xinjiang.”
Beijing views the Muslim-majority region, autonomous since 1955, as an invaluable asset because of its crucial strategic location near Central Asia and its large oil and gas reserves.
— Hat tip: TB
Saudis Not Liable for 9/11 Attacks: US Court
A federal appeals court has ruled Saudi Arabia could not be held liable for the September 11 attacks against the United States despite charitable donations that ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda.
Upholding a 2006 decision by a lower court, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Thursday ruled inadmissible a lawsuit in which families of victims of the 9/11 attacks charged that Saudi Arabia, four Saudi princes, a Saudi charity and bank had given material support to al-Qaeda.
The victims and their families argued that because the defendants gave money to Muslim charities that in turn gave money to al Qaeda, they should be held responsible for helping to finance the attacks.
But the court in its ruling said that the “Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976” granted the Saudi defendants immunity from prosecution on U.S. soil.
It also ruled that a charity named in the suit, the Saudi High Commission for Relief to Bosnia and Herzegovina, was also immune under the same law as it was “an agency or instrumentality of the Kingdom.”
Exceptions to the immunity provisions did not apply in the case, the court ruled, “because the Kingdom has not been designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States.”
— Hat tip: TB