Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/4/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/4/2009The latest news from the Netherlands is that an anthropologist and a genealogist have discovered that Geert Wilders may — gasp! — have an Indonesian ancestor. Some think that this would go a long way toward explaining his “racism”, perhaps, and maybe even his dyed blond hair.

In other news, Human Rights Watch asserts that Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia experience severe discrimination at the hands of the Sunni majority.

Thanks to A Greek Friend, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, KGS, Lurker from Tulsa, TB, Tuan Jim, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Fort Lee Troops and Police Take on Protesters in “Anti-Terrorism” Drill
Mattel Exempted From Toy Safety Law it Helped Write
Newt Gingrich: We Get Last Word on Health Care Reform
Not Again! Media Promoting Arctic ‘Hockey Stick’ — Claim Temps Warmest in 2000 Years — But Scientists Already Rebuking Latest Study
Oklahoma Schools Prepare for President Obama’s Address to Students
The American Revolution II
Europe and the EU
Cyprus: Clash at Omeriye Mosque
Cyprus: What’s Going on at the Mosque?
Cyprus: Police Warn Against Fuelling Racial Tensions
Cyprus Records Birth Increase
Denmark: Religious Funding in Liberal Spotlight
Denmark: Liberals: U.N. Is Useless
Denmark: Soclibs: Knife Law Gone Too Far
Denmark: Copenhagen Suburb Tops Crime Stats
Denmark: Iraqis Deported
Environment: France, Sarkozy for European Carbon Tax
France: 2009 Bad Year for Bordeaux
Geert Wilders’ Indonesian Roots Define His Politics, Says Anthropologist
Greece: Tip-Off Calls for Blasts Made on Same Cell
Ignoring Unpleasant Realities Facilitates Our Destruction
Italy: Church Editor Resigns
Italy: Bari Prostitute Expected in Venice
Italy: Ramadan May be Used to ‘Recruit Militants’ In Prison
Italy: Berlusconi Blasts Media ‘Lies’
Nearly 2,000 Telephones Tapped in Netherlands Daily
Netherlands: Christian Schools Support Anti-Christian School
Netherlands: Queen’s Day Attacker: ‘Prince is a Facist’
Netherlands: Police Bullet Killed Riot Victim at Dance Party
Norway: Israeli Company Excluded From Pension Fund
Oslo Quits Israeli Company Working on Wall
Roma Issues in Slovakia
SIAD/SIOE Demonstration Against Copenhagen Mega-Mosque; Overview and Event Report
Spain: Snail Invasion in Catalonia’s Rice-Fields
The EU: Ready to be a Global Policeman?
UK: Boris Johnson: ‘Fast During Ramadan to Understand Muslims’
UK: Baby With ‘Untreatable’ Brain Cancer Sent to a Hospice to Die Makes Miracle Recovery
UK: Everyone Should Fast for a Day ‘To Understand Muslims’, Says Boris Johnson
UK: Lisbon Treaty Under Threat, Admits Irish Foreign Minister, As Poll Shows Flagging Support
UK: Muslim Community Leader Arrested for ‘Making Up BNP Kidnap Story’
UK: The Bishop of Rochester Farewell Interview
UK: Transsexual Killer and Attempted Rapist Wins ‘Human Rights’ Battle to be Moved to Women’s Prison
Upper Austrian Governor Calls for Church Reform
Albania: Per Capita Pasta Consumption Rises
Kosovo: Watchdog Attacks Serb Property Sales
North Africa
Algeria: 1,000 French Language Teachers Missing
Italy-Libya: Stone on ‘Reconciliation’ Highway Laid
Lockerbie: Megrahi Out of Hospital Receiving Home Treatment
Ramadan: Algeria, 41 Countries in Koran Recitation Award
Ramadan: Productivity of Arab Businesses Drops by 78%
UN: Gaddafi in New York, Obama to be Watching
UNESCO: Farouk Hosni, ‘Time for Arab at the Helm’
Israel and the Palestinians
Arab Taxi Driver Attacked, Rabbis Against Violence
Civil Fights: Don’t Make Me Laugh
Gaza ‘Islamization’ Continues, Schoolgirls Told ‘Cover Up’
Israel Summons Norway Envoy to Protest Divestment From Arms Firm
Kamikaze-Like Madonnas, Works Removed After Protest
Middle East
Erdogan’s Honesty
Impact: Calm — Then Sudden Death in Afghan War
Internet: Google Unveils Website Design for Arab Users
Obama’s “Near Miss” Over Turkey
Shiites in Saudi Arabia Discriminated Against as “Non-Believers”
South Asia
Satire: Obama Will Urge Kids to Go to Private School
Far East
China’s National Flag to Go Up in White House on Sept 20
EU Accuses China of Greater Trade Protectionism
Korea: Missionaries Protest Mideast Restriction
When Will China and Russia Come Clean About These Monsters?
Australia — Pacific
Australia: Dos and Don’ts of Discrimination
Latin America
Exploiting the Horror of 9/11: American Fury at WWF Ad Showing a Hundred Planes Poised to Collide With New York
Book Review: Europe and Islam
Denmark: Schools May Lose Funding for Ignoring Immigrants
Denmark: MP Prepared to ‘Break Law’ To Help Iraqis
EU Plan in the Right Direction, Frattini Says
Finland: Court Upholds Deportation of Egyptian Grandmother
Finland: Border Guard Probes Restaurants’ Hiring of Immigrants
FPÖ Back Berlusconi in Immigration Spat
Immigration Lawyer Disbarred After Lying About Client’s Work History
Sweden: Sweden Mulls Mandatory Classes for Refugees
Switzerland: Protesters Show Solidarity With Swiss Hostages
Culture Wars
In Loco Parentis
Obama Plans to Systematically “Embed Positive Behavior” Into America’s Kids
Sweden: ‘Taxpayers Should Not Have to Fund Feminist Porn’


Fort Lee Troops and Police Take on Protesters in “Anti-Terrorism” Drill

Soldiers teamed up with police at Fort Lee, Virginia this week for a three day long “anti-terrorism drill” that involved defending themselves from actors playing the part of “agitated” protesters.

A report from CBS affiliate WTVR provides details of the drill, which centered on containing and quelling a staged demonstration.

The volunteer protesters held aloft signs, one of which declared a “racist free zone” (see opposite, click to enlarge).

“We train our solders as realistically as we can, to protect for us as a garrison, other soldiers and families on the post” Fort Lee’s Garrison Commander Colonel Mike Morrow told reporters.

Combining active duty soldiers with civilian police has taken weeks of planning according to the report. The drill involved “all aspects of protecting of the military installation whether its protesters or terrorists.”

Fort Lee Chief of Police Joe Metzger told WTVR that in times of emergency the military and the police must work together. “We forget one’s wearing blue, one’s wearing a uniform. We all come together for the same cause”. Metzger stated.

Apparently that cause involves the prevention of people exercising their First Amendment rights.

One participating soldier was quoted as saying “I learned over here we also have missions back in the US to protect our families and friends and this is a part of doing so”.

It has been the case for a number of years now that the police and the armed forces are being trained, in this case TOGETHER, to treat protesting US citizens as a threat to security.

Now it is clear that the American people are the classed on same threat level as “terrorists” by the military and the police. Why else would such an exercise be part of an “anti-terrorism” drill?

Back in June we covered the news that current Department of Defense anti-terrorism training course material states that the exercise of First Amendment rights in the US constitutes terrorist activity.

[Return to headlines]

Mattel Exempted From Toy Safety Law it Helped Write

If you’re looking for a sure bet, find a New York Times editorial praising some new federal regulation, and wager that this new law will yield harmful unintended consequences while protecting the biggest businesses in the effected industry.

This week’s case-in-point is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). Praised by the Times editorial page in 2008 as an “important bill” for “dramatically improv[ing] the way government protects consumers.”

The law has since proven a scourge on small business, independent craftsmen, and second-hand stores, but also a boon to toy giant Mattel, whose leaded toys sparked the scare and whose lobbying push shaped the law.

Under CPSIA, every manufacturer of children’s products whether a toy truck, a pacifier, a picture book, or a kid-sized stool must submit their products to independent tests for lead and other chemicals before selling them. Well, all manufacturers except for Mattel, the largest toymaker in America.

Recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously to grant Mattel an exemption from the CPSIA’s third-party testing requirement. The law provided for such exemptions if a company can demonstrate it has its own testing facilities that meet a certain standard.

Mattel in 2007 and 2008 lobbied for this provision, and lobbied for the overall bill, prompting the usual cries of “wow, even industry is on board!” Of course, Mattel was already completing its own in-house testing operation as a reaction to the bad publicity and litigation resulting from a handful of recalls of its toys containing unsafe levels of lead.

In light of the company’s poor practices, the market and the courts forced Mattel to ramp up testing of its products. Then Mattel lobbied to force the same burdens on every competitor, even the man hand-carving toddler-sized chairs in his backyard workshop.

When regulation turns into a boon for the biggest businesses in an industry being regulated—which is often—commentators decry the “capture” of the regulatory body. Indeed, Mattel is much more likely to get the ear of toy-safety bureaucrats than is the independent artisan. But these regulations are often “captured” before they are even passed into law.

Remember, Mattel lobbied for this bill, and the Toy Industry Association said “we were early proponents of adopting mandatory laws to require toy testing.” Hasbro, the second-biggest toy-maker behind Mattel, hired lobbyists for the first time in its history in order to back the CPSIA.

The regulation—even without the exemption for Mattel—imposes crushing burdens on smaller manufacturers and moderate burdens on the biggest manufacturers. If you have to test a sample from each “product line,” but your “product line” is about 50 hand-sewn baby dolls, you might just close up shop. For Mattel, it’s just a new expense.

Liberal Huffington Post writer Harry Moroz says libertarians are playing “gotcha” by finding a lesson in this Mattel exemption from a Mattel-supported law inspired by Mattel misdeeds. “The goal is better regulation, not less,” Moroz wrote.

But CPSIA was celebrated by the New York Times as just that sort of “better” regulation. And where can he point to this “better” regulation—that doesn’t crush smaller businesses and prop up the biggest players—existing in real life?

Philip Morris was the champion of the tobacco regulation Obama signed into law this spring. Kellogg is an enthusiastic supporter of the food safety regulation currently working across Capitol Hill, just as the big meatpackers supported the meat inspections Teddy Roosevelt retired.

The post-Enron Sarbanes-Oxley accounting regulations clearly didn’t make our corporations’ finances transparent, and they drove some publicly held businesses to sell out to private equity firms.

The late Teddy Kennedy helped kill airline regulation because it protected the incumbent carriers and smothered competition. In that instance, Kennedy favored less regulation, not “better regulation.”

The toy-safety story can also inform the current health-care debate and the global warming debate. Obama touts both policy pushes as ways to tame the excesses and abuses of big business—and in both cases Big Business is on board. Expect higher costs, fewer choices, and more corporate profits.

We only get to be surprised so many times by Big Business turning Big Government to its own advantage. After the 16-year-old boy crashes our car three times, we’re morally culpable when we hand him the keys again.

Congress should see the CPSIA as the calamity it is, and issue a recall of this misguided law.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Newt Gingrich: We Get Last Word on Health Care Reform

A headline in The Washington Post following the announcement of next week’s big presidential speech on health care said it well: “Address to Congress is effort to seize control of the debate.”

The White House’s arrogant belief in the power of Obama the Orator is contradicted by the two greatest American orators of the last 80 years, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Both these leaders knew that in a free society, presidents can shape and guide debate, but they can’t “control” it. The danger for a president who seeks to control the debate is that the country will ultimately repudiate him.

Such is the situation President Obama finds himself in now.

His speech next Wednesday is the most consequential of his presidency since the inaugural. Eight months of a non-stimulative $787 stimulus bill, a budget that will double the national debt in the next five years, and a high-tax, big bureaucracy cap-and-trade bill have translated into a 12-point drop in Democratic party affiliation, according to one poll.

Obama is facing a huge tidal wave of American opinion away from bigger government and toward solutions we can understand and believe in. Riding this wave is still possible. Controlling it is a losing proposition.

And so the President faces an historic choice.

One option is to use his speech next week to cleverly repackage the current, 1,000-plus page, liberal health care bill; to try to control the debate by wrapping the same old, big-government plan in prettier rhetorical paper.

But the history of health care reform so far — party line votes and demonizing opponents — doesn’t bode well for this strategy. If Obama thinks he can use his cleverness and his oratory to make Americans think he is backing away from a big-government plan when he’s not, he should think again.

In the age of the internet and talk radio, Lincoln’s maxim is more true than ever: You can’t fool all Americans all of the time.

The other option is to try to guide and shape the debate by slowing down, opening up the process, and taking things one step at a time; to stop trying to invent new ways to get Americans to listen to him, and instead actually listen to Americans.

Sixteen years ago, in the spring of 1993, then-First Lady Hillary Clinton came to me to talk about health care reform. I told her then what I would tell President Obama today: It’s impossible to write a comprehensive health care reform bill and get it passed. Politicians aren’t that smart, Americans aren’t that trusting, and special interests aren’t that lazy.

Instead of trying to pass a single bill that attempts to remake one-sixth of the American economy, Obama could use his speech to announce a series of four or five bills to reform our health care system, each written in a bipartisan way and debated in open hearings with open rules.

A step-by-step approach would make both sides more accountable. It would eliminate the opportunity for Democrats to bury bad programs in a mammoth, unreadable bill, and it would obligate Republicans to come to the table with their own reform ideas.

One set of hearings and one bill could focus on improving the delivery and administration of health care, including tort reform and rewarding providers for individual health and wellness.

Another bill could address creating real competition and choice in the insurance market by creating a nationwide market for insurance.

A separate bill could focus on saving Medicare and Medicaid from bankruptcy by finding ways to eliminate what the Center for Health Transformation estimates is $70-120 billion in fraud and abuse each year.

And a fourth bill could explore ways of investing in science and innovation, like reforming the FDA’s hopelessly long and needlessly complicated approval process for new medicines.

Each of these bills is more understandable, more doable, and more democratic than the take-it-or-leave-it strategy that has been employed so far.

So Obama has a choice to make Wednesday night.

He can listen to us.

Or he can demand we listen to him.

Either way, we’ll get the last word.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Not Again! Media Promoting Arctic ‘Hockey Stick’ — Claim Temps Warmest in 2000 Years — But Scientists Already Rebuking Latest Study

The Washington Post is touting a new study purporting to show an Arctic temperature “Hockey Stick.” But the study appears to contradict numerous previous Arctic studies and scientists are already challenging the premise and claims of the new study. The study in under fire for basing key results and conclusions on Penn State Professor Michael Mann’s discredited “Hockey Stick” temperature graph. (Editor’s Note: Mann just recently attempted to invent a hurricane “Hockey Stick” as well. )

The new study claims to show “human-generated greenhouse gas emissions have helped reverse a 2,000-year trend of cooling in the Arctic, prompting warmer average temperatures in the past decade that now rank higher than at any time since 1 B.C.,” according to a September 3, 2009 article by the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin. The study will appear in the September 3, 2009 online version of the journal Science. The lead author was Northern Arizona University professor Darrell S. Kaufman.

The Washington Post also saw fit to gave prominent play to the environmental group World Wildlife Fund’s new dire Arctic study claiming a scary global warming caused “transformation” of the Arctic. (The study is getting the alarmist media promote. See: USA Today: ‘Arctic temperatures hit 2,000-year high’ — But Andrew Revkin of NYT has much more balanced coverage of the study.) The Post article on the new Arctic “Hockey Stick” completely glossed over years of contrary data and instead mostly gave the authors a scrutiny free ride. (Eilperin also misspelled the name of one scientist she quoted.)

MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen told Climate Depot, “This looks like this week’s “Hockey Stick” including many of Mann’s collaborators.” [Editor’s Note: Mann’s has attempted multiple “Hockey Stick” inventions and his newest creation is the Hurricane “Hockey Stick.”.]

‘Closely matches the Mann version’

Climate data analyst Steve McIntyre who publishes Climate Audit and is known for his research discrediting Mann’s original “Hockey Stick” temperature graph, weighed in on the new Arctic study. “Amusingly, the [Arctic study’s lead author] Kaufman Team perpetuates Mann’s upside down use of the Tiljander proxy,” McIntyre wrote on September 3, 2009. “You can readily see that this closely matches the Mann version,” McIntyre noted. “The most cursory examination [of the study] shows the usual problem of seemingly biased picking of proxies without any attempt to reconcile proxy conflicts,” McIntryre wrote.

‘Several things wrong’

Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Fred Singer, former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, also critiqued the study, telling Climate Depot, “There are several things wrong with this paper.”

“The study’s Abstract mentions the [warm] ‘Middle Ages’ and the [cold] ‘Little Ice Age.’ Both are well established; for example, C. Loehle (and many other researchers) show the Medieval Warm Period with higher temperatures than even the past 30 years. But Fig 3 of this paper doesn’t show these; it goes back to the discredited ‘Hockey-Stick’ temp curve of Mann (which even the IPCC no longer uses) that shows no Medieval Warm Period (MWP) or Little Ice Age (LIA),” Singer said. [Editor’s Note: In addition, a 2006 peer-reviewed analysis showed the 20th century was not unusually warm.]

[Return to headlines]

Oklahoma Schools Prepare for President Obama’s Address to Students

TULSA, OK — President Barack Obama’s plan to address the country’s school children has some groups worried about politics making their way into the classroom.

Tulsa Public Schools’ Superintendent, Dr. Keith Ballard, says parents who don’t want their children to watch have every right to opt out.

But he says the speech is a great chance for kids to hear the importance of an education.

“We need everybody to say to the students education is terribly important and you need to stay with it,” said Tulsa Public Schools superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard.

Dr. Ballard says Tulsa Public Schools is ready for next weeks speech by President Obama to be broadcast live to schools across the country.

“It’s an address, actually, to students, encouraging them to take their education seriously, become intellectually challenged, find their own challenges,” said Christen McDermott, Social Studies Curriculum Specialist with Tulsa Public Schools.

The district has decided to incorporate the president’s speech during some social studies classes at Central High School.

But Dr. Ballard says parents can opt out of letting their children take part.

“This is a thirty minute exercise and if you don’t want your child to participate in the exercise, ask for an alternate assignment,” Dr. Keith Ballard said.

As part of the speech the U.S. Department of Education has passed on suggestions for teachers to ask their students, such as “What can students do to help in our schools?” or “Why is it important that we listen to the president and other elected officials?” or “What new ideas and actions is the president challenging me to think about?”


The News On 6 checked with three other Tulsa area school districts. Union Public Schools reminds parents they can also opt out of any lesson plans. Jenks Public Schools says it’s only using the U.S. Department of Education suggestions as a guideline. And Broken Arrow Public Schools is encouraging concerned parents to contact their child’s school principal.

Although this is not the first presidential address to school kids, Tulsa Public Schools is aware of some complaints that the speech will be a politicized school lesson. But they say, students won’t see it that way and instead, they’ll be thankful the president spoke directly to them.

“I think kids are a lot more balanced and keyed in to the community than we give them credit for,” said Christen McDermott.

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa [Return to headlines]

The American Revolution II

“Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?” — John Page (1744-1808)

The above words are taken from a letter that John Page wrote to Thomas Jefferson. Page was referring to the first American Revolution. We are now participating in the second American Revolution—and this one is every bit as important as the first.

Page’s question remains a pertinent one.

The left-wing has taken to disdainfully calling us several names: “Birth-ers” because we seek the truth about Obama’s legitimacy to be POTUS, and they call us “Death-ers” because we tell the truth about their plans for government-run abortion and euthanasia “clinics.”

Conservative Americans believe in the truth, and want the truth—in fact, demand it. Because we seek the truth, the left-wing might as well call us —”Truth-ers.” Which would make the left-wing “Lie-ers.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Cyprus: Clash at Omeriye Mosque

A CLASH involving at least 100 people — some reports say 500 — using stones, sticks and pipes took place on Monday night at Omeriye Mosque in Nicosia, following the ejection of one group of worshippers who followed a different interpretation of Islam to the majority of those present.

Five of those involved in the clash were injured severely enough to be taken to Nicosia General Hospital, and they were released after receiving first aid. A car was also damaged.

There are differing and often contradictory accounts of what exactly happened and why. According to one version, the ejected group were Pakistani Shia Muslims, while another account says they were Wahhabis either from or influenced by Saudi Arabia.

CyBC reported that the clash was between “around 500 Sunni and Shia Muslims”.

The station said the problem started when 3-5 Pakistani Shias entered the mosque and were ejected after expressing different interpretations of the Koran, which were not welcomed by the Sunni majority.

Those ejected then reportedly met up with other Pakistani Shias in Ohi Square. Around 200 then headed to Omeriye, where around 9.30pm they clashed with people coming out, using sticks, stones in what was described in some reports as “a battlefield”.

According to police members of the Rapid Response Unit, Crime Prevention Unit and traffic police were mobilised around 9.20pm. As soon as they arrived, everyone ran off and five injured people were taken to hospital.

Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos described the clash as “small-scale”, and said the prompt intervention by police had “prevented the worst”. Police have details of those who took part in the clash, and he did not rule out criminal charges.

An eyewitness told television reporters that trouble had been brewing for some three months, during which Shia Muslims had been agitating around the mosque and handing out leaflets. He first suggested that the Shias were being funded from abroad, and then named Iran as the main instigator.

A different version of events was given to the Cyprus Mail yesterday by two other eyewitnesses, who said that 15-20 men entered the mosque around 7.00pm.

Mohammed — a Sunni from Pakistan — said that the men had travelled to Nicosia from Paphos and belonged to the Wahhabi sect. Both eyewitnesses — the second did not wish to give his name — said that on entering, the group split up and sat in various parts of the mosque, and soon their leader began to argue with the imam.

Mohammed said that the leader objected to the fact that the imam’s robe included the colour green, a symbol of Islam, and became verbally aggressive pushing the imam and knocking off his headdress. Other worshippers started to remonstrate over the show of disrespect, provoking scuffles.

Both eyewitnesses insisted that it was a combination of ethnic and religious differences that caused the subsequent violence, not Sunni against Shia.

“Why would one Muslim want to threaten to kill another Muslim? Because he was an Arab Wahhabi, they want to be honoured, they think they are better than us. They say that no Pakistani, no Indian, no Bangladeshi should come into the mosque, but we say that nobody can tell us as Muslims that we cannot pray here. Everyone is made equal in the world,” said Mohammed.

Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou said the most worrying aspect was that this was the first time that religious differences had emerged in such a dramatic fashion.

“In the past, there have been occasional minor incidents for various reasons — including over cricket matches — but it is rare for events to take such a severe turn”, she said.

She said that a clear police presence will be needed on the streets for the next three weeks.

“After the end of Ramadan, I hope that tensions will ease,” she said.

The Mayor has asked the imam for a meeting. “We want to have a dialogue and keep in close contact with the mosque authorities, so that we know the best way and when to intervene”, she said.

Another incident involving worshippers at the Omeriye Mosque had occurred on Sunday night, during a pop concert by Greek artist Pantelis Thalassinos at the Erodos Café and Restaurant next the mosque, while evening prayers were taking place.

Worshippers became angry when their prayers were interrupted at 9.30pm by the start of the concert, and one or two people expressed their anger by starting to throw stones at the assembled crowd. Police intervened quickly, and calm was restored by mosque officials.

Following consultations between the concert organisers and mosque officials, it was agreed to stop the concert to allow evening prayers to finish. This was done, and the concert resumed after a break of 10-15 minutes.

Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou said the incident was not serious, and was due to “a combination of an oversight on our part and a lack of communication between the concert organisers and the mosque authorities.”

She added: “Social measures are needed, but I think that the Interior Ministry would play a decisive role in this, as it has responsibility for formulating immigration policy. I think everyone realises that despite all the efforts being made, we are still falling far short of having a fully-formulated immigration policy.”

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Cyprus: What’s Going on at the Mosque?

CLASHES between rival groups of Muslims at Nicosia’s Omeriye Mosque were averted on Tuesday night and last night by a strong police presence. The move follows Monday night’s pitched battle, which some said may have involved as many as 500 people using stones, sticks and pipes.

Nicosia police chief Kypros Michaelides told state radio yesterday that police had contacted the mosque’s imam and other clerics to advise them of the police’s determination to prevent the development of undesirable situations. He said that “if any migrant is found to be acting outside of the law, he will be pursued and deported to his home country”, adding that four people have already been charged in relation to Monday night’s clash, and further arrests are expected.

Michaelides also condemned some of yesterday’s media reports which referred to “ghettos” and “anarchy” in Nicosia’s old town. He said that “things aren’t the way they are being presented in the media”, adding that “the situation is causing us concern”.

“I can’t say that any kind of anarchy is prevailing, or that there are ghettos where people are afraid to pass through.”

It has not been easy to establish exactly what happened on Monday and why, as claims and counterclaims have fed into the media. Another factor is the lack of familiarity in the media with the main characteristics and issues which resulted in the dramatic events.

What has now emerged is that the underlying cause of the violence was the insistence by one group of Muslims who regularly used the mosque to preach an interpretation of Islam that was not acceptable to the Sunni majority.

Another factor, which has heightened tensions considerably, is that the majority of worshippers are mainly Arabic-speaking with strong roots in Cyprus, and the “dissident” group are mainly non-Arabic-speaking Pakistanis who mostly arrived recently as economic migrants.

Language is extremely important in Islam. The Qu’ran is written in Arabic, so those who do not read the language tend to consciously distinguish themselves from the “Arabi”, i.e. people who are fluent in Arabic, whether or not they actually come from an Arab country.

To this extent, there can be a sense among the “non-Arabi” of being looked down on by the Arabic-speakers.

Another aspect is what could be referred to as “the dynamics of power” or influence within the Nicosia mosque. There are no “mosque authorities” — there is the imam, and then other clerics or respected individuals who collectively run the mosque’s affairs. A group of new arrivals would therefore tend to have to express themselves in terms deemed acceptable by the existing leaders of the mosque.

Professor Martin Strohmeier of the Department of Turkish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cyprus said: “With the migrants, there may well be new ideas, new opinions which are not being reflected in the way the mosque is being run, giving rise to tension.”

The Cyprus Mail canvassed a number of views at the mosque yesterday, in an attempt to build up an accurate picture of the situation.

Deen, a Sunni from Sri Lanka, insisted that ethnic origin or command of Arabic was not the decisive factor. He said that anyone who accepted the fundamental teachings of Islam (which in practice would mean the Sunni interpretation) was welcome. Conversely, anyone who disagreed with one of these fundamental teachings — whatever their ethnic origin — was not.

The “dissident group” frequented one particular corner of the mosque itself and tended to keep to themselves. Deen said that the group, which started to come together four or five years ago, espouses a version of Islam which is regarded by many of the other worshippers as not being a genuine interpretation, involving their own texts.

Ibrahim, from Ivory Coast, said that the fact that the texts were not in Arabic was not well-regarded by the majority and encouraged the view that the group were not true Muslims.

The group had argued with the imam in the mosque on various religious points before, and tension had risen steadily to the point where group members are said to have taken to carrying knives and other means of defending themselves in case of violence.

The tipping-point was reached last Sunday in an argument over a point of dogma regarding the death of the Prophet Mohammed.

Ahmed, from Syria, said that worshippers took great exception at what group members were saying, and insisted the group leave and take their texts — contained in two bookcases — with them.

According to Deen, at one point the imam said: “There is one Allah, one Rasul [messenger], one Qu’ran,” meaning that the group should stop treating one corner of the mosque as their own place for preaching their particular interpretation, and simply use it for prayer.

When the group refused to leave, saying they had their own aqidah (creed) and had every right to stay, angry words soon escalated into physical violence against them. Ahmed said that the group was badly beaten and ejected from the mosque, a move which was condemned by the imam.

Ahmed said that Monday’s attack on the mosque was a pre-planned act of revenge, involving people who had travelled to Nicosia from Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos specifically for the purpose.

“Some of them came to sunset prayers, and they were beaten up again, so they decided to take revenge by attacking the mosque.”

He added: “They came back [on Tuesday] as well, but when they saw the riot police all around the mosque, they left. But I think they will come every day until this thing is sorted out, until they find a solution.

“All it takes is for them to send those they regard as their clerics to sit down with our clerics to talk. Once the clerics give instructions for things to stop, they will stop.”

Naveed, from Pakistan, agreed that the differences should have been resolved without resorting to violence, but he thought the main problem was that there is only one mosque in Nicosia to serve a range of different interpretations of Islam.

He said: “In the Christian religion you have Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and so on.

“The same with us: as Muslims, we can be Sunni, Shi’a, and so on. In our country, we have many mosques for people to belong to, but here we only have one mosque. If it is closed, where will we go for prayer?”

Naveed added: “I have been coming here to pray since 2002, and we’ve never had a problem like this. I don’t know what is going on in their minds. It is shameful for us to have this incident. This place is a symbol of peace for us — it represents who we are. Now, so many people are too afraid to come to the mosque to pray. This is not the way — we have to find a solution.”

What’s the difference?

AS A whole, Islam is less divided than Christianity and Judaism, with Sunnis forming the vast majority of the world’s Muslims. But there is a tendency among non-Muslims — and especially media outlets — to use a limited number of convenient labels to refer to a varying range of interpretations of Islam.

Hence, while many non-Muslims use the terms Sunni and Shi’a freely, few would be able to explain the main differences in interpretation which differentiate them — not to mention the Sufist, Ahmadiyya or other interpretations.

As Sheikh Ahmed, a Jordanian and one of the clerics who pray at Omeriye mosque, told the Cyprus Mail: “Whoever wants to understand our religion needs to open our books.”

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Cyprus: Police Warn Against Fuelling Racial Tensions

POLICE WARNED yesterday that irresponsible reporting of the events surrounding the Omeriye Mosque in Nicosia could help fuel racial hatred.

Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos, commenting on press reports which made unsubstantiated references to Islamic “extremists” and talked of the “madness of an enraged mob”, said: “We are living in a European country which needs to deal with multiculturalism, in both its positive and negative aspects. We must accept differences relating to skin-colour and religion, for example.”

“If what is published does not stand up to scrutiny, then we will start to cultivate racial hatred and racism,” he added.

Katsounotos said that getting to grips with multiculturalism is a two-way street, pointing out that “immigrants also need to respect the laws and rules of the host society.”

Yesterday’s Phileleftheros carried an article under the headline “Extremists ready to act”, which described those taking part in the recent disturbances as “fanatical Muslims”. The article said: “The police are afraid that the incidents might spread to other towns, while there is information about activity by extremists, although this has not been confirmed.”

“Of course the police have concerns, but we don’t want to overinflate the matter, nor understate the possibilities. Reporting must be serious and objective, as exaggeration does not help in any way,” said Katsounotos.

Another example of overblown presentation was to be found in yesterday’s Simerini, which carried a piece headed “Nightfall brings hell to old Nicosia”. The piece quoted three residents of the area around the Omeriye mosque, two of them shopkeepers. All of them used measured terms to express concern about their property and comment on the commercial decline of the area.

One said: “I have never had problems with the migrants and they have never bothered me.” Another said: “They have never bothered us, but with the disturbances I was afraid the windows of my shop might have been broken; thankfully, though, they did not bother us.” The third said: “Nobody bothered me, they are fighting among themselves. … In any case, up to now they have not bothered anyone [of us], but who knows?”

The exception was a fourth interviewee, who was reported to have refused to give his name or have his photo taken. This person said: “When I saw them during last two days, but also all the other times they set about each other, I said to myself that they wouldn’t think twice about killing us. They are fanatical.”

The piece carried a subheading which said: “Shopkeepers in the area are wondering: ‘Up to now they are fighting among themselves and haven’t bothered anyone of us. But who can know where the madness of the enraged mob could lead?’“

This tendency to exaggerate can also find its way into official statements. During CyBC radio’s lunchtime news bulletin on Wednesday, Nicosia police chief Kypros Michaelides was heard to say that “if any migrant is found to be acting outside of the law, he will be pursued and deported to his home country.” At the very least, one questions how a police officer can state with such certainty that a migrant arrested for an alleged offence will ultimately be deported.

Nicos Trimikliniotis, Professor of Law and Sociology at the University of Nicosia and director of the study centre which serves as the Cyprus National Focal Point for RAXEN (European Information Network on Racism and Xenophobia), said that his own studies show how the press often inflate issues containing a racial element in their attempt to sell papers.

Trimikliniotis said he welcomed Katsounotos’s call for objective reporting, as we seem to be witnessing the importing of Islamophobia, which usually is to be found in extreme right-wing politics.

“This expression of Islamophobia is being reported by the press on a very populist basis, which is a short step away from inciting racial hatred”, he said, adding: “Things need to be placed in context, and the press should assume their responsibilities.”

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Cyprus Records Birth Increase

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, AUGUST 18 — Cyprus recorded the third highest increase of births among the EU-27 in 2008, as daily Famagusta Gazette reports quoting Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities. According to Eurostat, 5.4 million children were born in the EU27 in 2008. The crude birth rate in the EU27 was 10.9 per 1000 inhabitants, an increase of 0.3 live births per 1000 inhabitants compared with 2007. The highest increases were recorded in Lithuania (10.4 in 2008 compared with 9.6 in 2007), Ireland (16.9 compared with 16.2 ), Cyprus (11.6 compared with 10.9 ) and Poland (10.9 compared with 10.2 ). The EU 27 population was estimated on 1 January 2009 at 499.8 million, compared with 497.7 million on 1 January 2008. The population of the EU27 grew by 2.1 million in 2008, an annual rate of +0.4%, due to a natural increase of 0.6 million and net migration of 1.5 million. There were 4.8 million deaths registered in the EU27 in 2008. The EU27 death rate remained stable at 9.7 deaths per 1000 inhabitants in 2008, the same as in 2007. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Religious Funding in Liberal Spotlight

The case of the construction of a Copenhagen mosque with funding from Iran has caused governing Liberal Party to consider legislation on funding.

The Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Integration Committee Karen Jespersen (Lib) says she wants to introduce stricter rules on the funding of religious buildings after disclosures that a new mosque in Copenhagen is to be partly financed by Iranian sponsors.

“We need to have every bit of the financing of this project examined so that we are sure that the money isn’t coming from extremists who want to spread Islam as a political ideology,” says Jespersen.

“So it’s obvious that we politicians must see whether we need new legislation to check where these large sums of money come from. We know, for example, that Iran’s clerics among others are very active in spreading their version of Islam in Western countries — and that is something we don’t want,” says Jespersen.

She adds, however, that any law would be applied to all religious communities.


Mozzafari says that it is unthinkable that independent Iranian private foundations would fund the construction of a mosque in Denmark without the connivance of Iran’s clerics and President Ahmadinejad.

Professor Mozzafari says that Ahmadinejad, with the support of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has introduced active diplomacy in Europe and Africa in particular.

“Part of Iran’s active diplomacy is precisely in opening cultural centres and mosques. In Morocco they became so active that Morocco broke diplomatic relations with Iran,” Mozzafari says.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Liberals: U.N. Is Useless

The foreign policy spokesman of the governing Liberal Party questions the relevance of the United Nations.

Norway’s U.N. ambassador recently said: “At a time when the United Nations and the need for multilateral solutions to global crises is greater than ever, Ban (Ki-moon) and the United Nations are conspicuous in their absence.? Archive. — Foto: YURIKO NAKAO/AP The Danish Liberal Party’s Foreign Policy Spokesman Søren Pind says the United Nations is an organiation that hasn’t done very much for the world and makes things worse when it gets involved.

“The United Nations is is an organisaiton that hasn’t done much good here on earth. In fact things have normally only got worse with an active secretary-general — so I’m glad that we have a less active one,” Pind tells Jyllands-Posten.

Pind says that the organisation includes so many dictators and undemocratic countries that it will never become a meaningful forum in taking workable decisions about world conflicts.

“All of the members of the U.N. have signed the U.N. Treaty — but all of the dictatorships violate them every day,” says Pind who suggests a League of Democracies instead.


“At a time when the United Nations and the need for multilateral solutions to global crises is greater than ever, Ban and the United Nations are conspicuous in their absence,” said Norway’s Ambassador Mona Juhl.

No alternative

“There is no alternative to the United Nations. It is the only global organisation with full legitimacy and a broad mandate. So it’s natural that the U.N. is central to Danish foreign policy — also as a framework for dialogue with countries with whom one does not agree,” Stig Møller tells Jyllands-Posten.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Soclibs: Knife Law Gone Too Far

The Social Liberals say things have gone too far when a young man gets seven days in prison for having a work-related stanley knife [ie. boxcutter] in his car.

The Social Liberal Justice Spokeswoman Lone Dybkjær says that a tightening of the weapons law has gone too far when a young man is sentenced to seven days in prison for having two work-related stanley knives in his vehicle.

“The proposal was crazy precisely because it could hit someone like this young man. When you are given a sentence of seven days in prison, you’re more or less finished in this society in a wide range of situations,” says Dybkjær, referring to the introduction of minimum sentences for weapons possession, which her party voted against.

Danish People’s Party The Justice Spokesman for the Danish People’s Party Peter Skaarup, whose party supported tightening the law, also questions the case.

“The idea was not to hit people who use a knife in connection with their work and have left the knife in their car,” Skaarup says.

Young man At issue is the case of a 19-year-old petrol station worker Haris Cehic who had been on his way from work to pick up a friend at a discotheque when police stopped and searched his car, finding the two stanley knives in a car door compartment. The tools are used at his petrol station to open cardboard boxes.

“I left work and realised that I still had them on me, so I took them out and put them in the car door compartment. I knew I would be using them again at work the next morning when I had to fill up shelves,” says Cehic, a Serb who had hoped to apply for Danish citizenship next year, to eventually do Danish national service and eventually become a policeman.

With a police record, all three hopes seem dashed.

Initially given a fine of DKK 3000 for possessing an illegal weapon, the Public Prosecutor, however, appealed the sentence of the lower court, resulting in a 7-day prison sentence.

Denmark has strict laws governing the possession of knives and a minimum sentence of seven days for carrying a knife in a public place. Police discretion is permitted, however, as to whether a person has a good reason for possessing cutting and other tools that possibly could be used as weapons in the public space.

Supreme Court Cehic, who came to Denmark with his mother and sister in 1998, has never previously been in conflict with the law. His lawyer says he will try to appeal the case to the Danish Supreme Court.

At the same time his workplace has begun collecting signatures for a petition in favour of Cehic.

“Whatever happens, his job is waiting for him here with us,” says Petrol Station Manager Bente Brandstrup Hansen adding she has only good things to say about Cehic and his work at the station.

A Facebook page opened in favour of Cehic has already collected several hundred supporters.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Copenhagen Suburb Tops Crime Stats

[Comment from Tuan Jim: this name doesn’t ring a bell — do we see it in media as something else?]

Blue-collar suburb in Copenhagen ranked as the most violent place in the country. Tiny Christiansø Island is the safest

Police in Glostrup have been busy with the most reported incidents of violence of any place in the country, according to Statistics Denmark.

Politiken newspaper reports that the town had the most incidents of violence reported to the police in the second quarter of the year, with 1.57 reports for every 1000 residents.

The nation’s third-largest city, Odense, ranks second on the list with 1.42 reports per 1000 residents. Copenhagen is in 12th place on the list, which covers violent episodes from fist fights to shootings.Incidents of reported violence fell nationwide during the quarter, but there were more cases of serious violence reported. The place with the fewest instances of reported violence was Christiansø, a tiny island north west of Bornholm. No violent incidents were reported amongst the island’s year-round population of 96.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Iraqis Deported

Twenty-two Iraqis whose asylum requests have been rejected are on their way out of the country.

In a police operation designed to avoid demonstrations, Denmark has deported a group of Iraqis whose asylum requests have been rejected, from Odense Airport on the island of Funen.

Initial reports had suggested that the 22 Iraqis — some if not all of whom were removed from a Copenhagen church two weeks ago — were to be forcibly repatriated to Iraq from Roskilde Airport where opponents of the deportation had gathered.

Odense Airport Manager Erry Knudsen said, however, that an aircraft containing the Iraqis had lifted off from Odense Airport.

A press release from the National Commissioner’s Office said overnight that: “Those deported are all Iraqis whose asylum requests have been rejected and who have all been identified as Iraqi nationals.”

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Environment: France, Sarkozy for European Carbon Tax

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, SEPTEMBER 3 — The President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, will ask the European Union “to implement a carbon tax inside its borders”. France will introduce the carbon tax in its own territory in 2010 and will cost tax payers 14 euros for every tonne of CO2 emitted, according to ‘the French Prime Minister Francois Fillon. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France: 2009 Bad Year for Bordeaux

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, SEPTEMBER 3 — The year 2009 was a bad one for Bordeaux wine, the most prestigious French wine which saw a drop in exports bringing it to the level it had seen three years ago. According to the data released in Paris, the UK and US have drastically cut the amount of Bordeaux they buy — in contrast with the Chinese and Japanese, who are still indulging their taste for it. Bernard Farges, president of the Bordeaux union of wine growers, said that between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009 exports dropped by 16% on average — as seen in Germany and Belgium, which are traditionally importers of the wine. Exports to the United States fell by 23% and to the United Kingdom by 25%. China instead imported more Bordeaux, with a rise of 62%. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Geert Wilders’ Indonesian Roots Define His Politics, Says Anthropologist

[Comment from Tuan Jim: Interesting article, but it doesn’t really mean anything IMO. I guess in some circles it’s another excuse/proof of racism…?]

The rumour had been circulating for years: Geert Wilders is an ‘Indo’ (an Indonesian-European, an ethnic mix that originated when the Dutch colonised Indonesia).

In June a genealogist said he had found several Indonesian ancestors of the populist Dutch politician known for his rabid anti-immigrant and anti-Islam ideas. Now anthropologist Lizzy van Leeuwen describes how his roots can be seen as the driving force behind his outspoken views.

In an article in the left-wing weekly De Groene Amsterdammer Van Leeuwen asks: “Is it possible that the post-colonial and family history have made Wilders what he and his politics are today?” The article is an intellectual attempt to analyse what drives Wilders to say that “all immigration from Islamic countries should be halted” and that “all fundamental problems in the Netherlands are related to immigration”. The conclusion reached by Van Leeuwen is that these statements — plus the fact that he dies his hair peroxide blond — are indeed related to his genealogical link to the largest Islamic country.

Geert Wilders’ increasing popularity made his Party for Freedom the second largest Dutch party in European parliament in June. Known for his anti-establishment and anti-immigration politics, Wilders has been calling himself a ‘Dutch freedom fighter’. But given that his mother’s roots lay outside of the Netherlands, Van Leeuwen says a sense of ‘displacedness’ is the recurring, underlying motive in his statements.

The 6-page article reveals that Wilders’ grandmother, Johanna Ording-Meijer, came from an old Jewish-Indonesian family and that Wilders lied about this in his 2008 biography. However, Van Leeuwen, an expert on the position of Indo-Dutch people in the post-colonial age, goes beyond the notion that a politician known for judging others on their ethnic roots can himself be traced to foreign ancestors.

Van Leeuwen went into the national archives to find the sad story of Wilders’ grandfather on his mother’s side. Johan Ording was a regional financial administrator in the Dutch colony who suffered several bankruptcies and was fired while on leave in the Netherlands in 1934. He was reduced to begging when the government refused to give him a pension, but later made it to prison director. Van Leeuwen suggests that Wilders is out to avenge the injustice done to his grandfather.

But more than anything, he was defined by his Indo-roots, she says. Indonesia was a Dutch colony until 1949 and many mixed-race people moved to the Netherlands after the Indonesian independence. Van Leeuwen describes how these people were put in the same ‘cultural minority’ box with labour immigrants from Turkey and Morocco, whom they felt no connection to at all. More so, they had always felt very patriotic about the Netherlands and harboured strong sentiments against Islam, the dominant religion in their motherland.

Van Leeuwen explains how this group has long been part of extreme-right movements (many supported the Dutch Nazi party NSB in Indonesia in the 1930s) while others belonged to the far-right of the right-wing liberal party VVD. She puts Wilders’ statements in the conservative and colonial tradition of this group, which strongly believed in patriotism and “European values”.

Van Leeuwen’s analysis goes beyond the personal level: “The fact that Wilders obviously operates in a post-colonial political dimension, without it being recognised, says a lot about how the Netherlands dealt with, and still deals with the colonial past. Keep quiet, deny, forget and look the other way have been the motto for decades. Because of that, no one could imagine that what happened in Indonesia 50 years ago could still have its impact on modern-day politics.”

And the hair? Van Leeuwen says his died mop is a “political symptom not taken serious enough”. She thinks it was a brilliant move to step away from his Indonesian roots and hide his post-colonial revanchism. Although this may also be an example of his “classic Indo identity alienation.”

Wilders has not responded to the publication.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Greece: Tip-Off Calls for Blasts Made on Same Cell

It emerged yesterday that two anonymous telephone calls on Wednesday morning ahead of explosions at the Athens Exchange in the capital and outside the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry in Thessaloniki had been made from the same cell phone in the center of Athens.

The discovery would appear to confirm police suspicions that the group behind the car bomb that detonated outside the Athens bourse and that behind the blast in Thessaloniki are either one and the same or in close collaboration. But police avoided connecting the two attacks yesterday.

Meanwhile, laboratory tests were under way on the remnants of the device that caused severe damage to the premises of the Athens Exchange in the central district of Votanikos and injured one person. It is thought that the results of the tests will confirm that the bomb had comprised ammonium nitrate, ammonium dynamite and petrol — a similar mix to the one the terror group Revolutionary Struggle had concocted and set in a car outside Citibank’s headquarters in February but which failed to go off.

After the Athens bomb detonated on Wednesday, a police spokesman had said the methodology of the attack “pointed to Revolutionary Struggle.” But yesterday police officials were more cautious about identifying the likely perpetrators of the attack, which had yet to be claimed by late last night. “We cannot even say whether the device was timer-operated, as we found no indications to prove this in the wreckage,” one officer said.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Ignoring Unpleasant Realities Facilitates Our Destruction

The greatest difference between the Nazi Holocaust and the endless Jihad against kafirs perpetrated by the so-called “religion of peace” is that the German Holocaust ended. The only essential difference between these abominations is the body count.

The Nazis killed millions of innocent Jews, and millions of Russians and Europeans and Americans and gays, Gypsies, and people of numerous nations during the war in addition to all the millions of Germans they caused to die. Some say the total body count of WW2 is approximately 60 million. The death toll of universal Jihad courtesy of the “religion of peace” since its inception by Mohammed, the greatest example of humanity for all Muslims to forever follow is approximately 270 million.

Though the unity of these two holocausts is in the massive death that they brought to innocents, there is a great difference in how history and successive generations have chosen to deal with these events.

There are thousands of books about the Nazi holocaust, there are few about the endess jihad of Islam. The jihad of Islam, “fighting in the cause of Allah” as the Koran puts it, is rarely spoken about.

When jihad is discussed it is only in the context of “the hijackers of the religion of peace” rather than the truth of jihad which is that it is the central component of the doctrine of Islam itself. Jihad is endless war against the unbelievers until the entire world is under Islam. This is the doctrine of Islam.

Jihad is fundamental to Islam, this is why 9/11 happened and countless acts of killing, violence, hatred, brutality before and since. We very rarely hear the truth of jihad and its core importance to Islam. When it is discussed in this way, those who discuss it are labelled as “racists”, “bigots” and “hatemongers” though Islam is not a race. The majority in the West cannot separate the political aspects of Islam from the religious, and this is exactly what Islam desires — the complete inability of kafir cultures to respond to jihad. Muslims are completely motivated for jihad; it is foundational to their doctrine.

“Jihadism is a message of salvation. For one to die in the cause of Allah is an assurance of salvation and entry to paradise.” (Walid Shoebat, Why We Want to Kill You, p51)

Islam is at war with all non-Muslim peoples and cultures, and all non-Islamic governments forever. This is in the Koran, Hadith, and Sira, the doctrine of Islam. Islam considers the kafirs losers who will burn in Hell forever. They are not to be given succor.

Then if they will endure, still the fire is their abode, and if they ask for goodwill, then are they not of those who shall be granted goodwill. (Koran, 42:24)

The great sin of the unbelievers is that they are not Muslim. If they are Jews and Christians, Islam is angrier with them because they rejected the Koran and the Prophet of Islam and retained their identities. Being a non-Muslim is one of the great sins of Islam.

Many Messengers who came before you were mocked. For a long time We allowed the unbelievers to go unpunished, but finally We punished them. Then how terrible was Our punishment! (Koran, 13:32)

Every day we see violence that is Islamic in origin. Recently four American Islamic converts plotted to blow up a synagogue in New York. These men were converted to Islam in prison, the place where Islam is gaining its greatest ground in the United States. While this may not have been a suicide mission for these people, suicide killing is directly in line with Islamic doctrine, and is demonstrated in the actions of Islamists almost every day around the world.

“Some Westerners find it difficult to comprehend that Muslims aspire to die. So, they blame suicide bombings on poverty or human rights issues. But if poverty and human rights issues are the cause of suicide bombings, again we must ask, why do we never hear of a Palestinian Christian suicide martyr?” (Shoebat, p54)

The men in the bomb plot were violently angry, their anger mainly directed at the Jews. This again is directly in line with Islamic doctrine. Hatred of, and violence towards the Jews is foundational in Islamic ideology.

“They wanted to make a statement,” a law enforcement source said. “They were filled with rage and wanted to take it out on what they considered the source of all problems in America — the Jews.”

The group’s alleged ringleader, James Cromitie, according to the complaint, discussed targets with an undercover agent. “The best target [the World Trade Center] was hit already,” he allegedly told the agent. Later, he rejoiced in a terrorist attack on a synagogue.

“I hate those motherf——s, those f—ing Jewish bastards. . . . I would like to get [destroy] a synagogue.” (NY Daily News)

The hatred of Jews in Islam is documented in both Islamic history and in Islamic doctrine. Mohammed hated the Jews, so all Muslims must do the same. Allah hated the Jews, so all Muslims must do the same. Mohammed viciously killed Jews, so Muslims must do the same. As Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah, and he is considered the finest example of humanity for all to follow forever, whatever Mohammed did those who follow him also do. Whatever Mohammed did, everything he did, is considered Sunna in Islam. That is, everything that Mohammed did is “correct”. This is not an ideology of right and wrong, but of expediency.

This confusion of morality is consistent throughout the doctrine of Islam. What is forbidden and allowed is by far more important than what is moral and what is immoral. The confusion is so ingrained that if Mohammed beheaded innocent people (he did), particularly Jews, then it is alright for Muslims to do the same forever. Beheading innnocents is Sunna. This is an ideology that is amoral.

It is an ideology of submission, admittedly so by those who submit to the doctrine and to Allah and Mohammed. (“Islam” means “submission”; a “Muslim” is one who “submits”.) Allah and Mohammed are only found in the doctrine trilogy of Islam, Koran, Sira, and Hadith. Islam is a self-perpetuating ideology of violence and cruelty whose history and deeds are hidden in plain site, continuously ignored and covered over because Islam has its one god Allah so Islam is characterized as one of the three “great religions of the world”.

But submission is not reserved for Muslims, the entire world of unbelievers must also submit as no other religion or political system is allowed to exist in the doctrine of Islam. The existence of such people, cultures, and political systems is an affront to Allah and Mohammed. “Fighting in Allah’s cause” is jihad in the Koran; the “cause” is the removal of the affront that is the existence of kafirs and their cultures. There is no peace for Islam until the entire world is “dar al-Islam” the “house of Islam”, that is there are no other religions or political systems or cultures in existence but for Islam. Until that day, there is endless jihad to bring about “dar al-Islam”. Pretending that jihad has no foundation in doctrine, that it is not central to Islam and believers is a lie. It is a concept that is false and must be deconstructed, and discredited wherever it is seen or heard. Failure to do this is existential failure.

We see the culture of death that is Islam every day. Yet we pretend it is not so. We use the “hijack” term to describe the horrors that its adherents commit from Pakistan to India to Israel, Iraq, London, Bali, Madrid, Paris, and in New York City, Washington, and across Europe and the world.

We excuse it all because we cannot conceive that such an ideology of cruelty and conquest can be real. But it is. We want our world of “niceness” and “tolerance” to be sustainable. Islam is a direct challenge to the world-view of the majority so they dismiss the truth of Islam to sustain their wished for reality. It is a false reality.

“…In order to become a martyr, one must die, and by coming a shaheed, one would have an assurance of his or her salvation. In Islam, the idea of Christ dying for all humanity is rejected and is one of the reasons why Islam was founded. This is the major difference between Muslim salvation and Christian salvation; it’s not the death (and resurrection) of Christ which provides entrance into heaven, but your own death.” (Shoebat, p57)

How can an ideology that elevates death over life be a “religion of peace”? Our ignorance about the ideology of this brutal political ideology of intolerance and conquest is our undoing. Why are kafirs are not allowed to study Koran (as commanded in Koran)? It is all so painfully obvious, and so brutally clear what is to happen to kafirs, that is why. The plans for kafirs in Koran are clear. We see it acted out every day, yet we hang on tightly to our utopian concepts that such a totalitarian ideology cannot be real, that the “religion of peace” cannot possibly be the opposite. The message of Islam is that we must overturn and reject those cultural concepts that are fantasms and now made irrelevent by Islam. Multiculturalism and political correctness are now dangerously obsolete concepts; they must be de-legitimized and expunged from our societal consciousness. If we cannot discuss an existential threat, from whatever sector it comes, we cannot oppose it. Multiculturalism and political correctness must be destroyed.

The doctrine of Islam does not hide its purposes; the followers of the doctrine do not hide its goals; only we do by denying the reality of Islam.

When we discuss Islam and its doctrine we are not discussing a race of people, as the Germans did the Jews during the Holocaust. Those who discuss and study the doctrine of Islam are not demonizing those who follow the doctrine; the doctrine demonizes itself. There is no issue in this discussion with individuals or races, onlywith a doctrine that is hostile to our culture and way of life.

Those who speak of the Islamic causations of violence and terror, and honor killings and wife beating, and the implementation of Sharia law do so to warn our fellow Americans to an existential threat from a hostile political ideology.

The Jews of Germany had no agenda but to be “good Germans”; almost entirely assimilated the majority of the Jewish community in Germany absolutely refused to believe that the Holocaust was real even as they stepped inside the “showers” of Bergen-Belsen, Treblinka, and Auschwitz and other killing centers (“concentration camps”). This ability to deny, this desperate need to deny is the foundation of our own denial ideology towards this brutal political doctrine that is Islam.

So many in the West confuse the religion of Islam with its politics and ideology towards unbelievers; the majority of the Koran is not about how to be a good Muslim but is rather about how Muslims are to interact with unbelievers, the kafir. The majority of the Koran is about us.

There are three choices for kafirs in the Koran- conversion, dhimmitude (semi-slavery), conquest/death. These are all choices that involve the complete destruction of American society, government, and religions. There is no Constitution under Islamic law but Sharia, the savage, barbaric law of the doctrine of Islam. Sharia is entirely contrary to every foundational concept of freedom that we Americans hold dear.

This is not a discussion about a race of people; this is a discussion of a brutal and cruel political ideology masquerading as a religion of peace whose followers are obliged to follow.

If this ideology were inclusive rather than exclusive there would be little cause for discussion but curiosity; if the doctrine of Islam accepted other religions there would be no violence every day across the world. If this doctrine did not elevate death over life there would not be suicide murders almost every day. But it is all these things.

It is our responsibility to ourselves and our country to study this doctrine and oppose it just as we did Nazism and Communism.

Many confuse this discussion with bigotry or racism. It was never bigotry or racism to discuss and oppose Nazis and Communists though both ideologies involved religious components of a cult of personality (similar to the elevation and concept of Mohammed in Islam).

This discussion involves the total acceptance of the fact that there are good people who follow Islam but who do not know the doctrine, and when they learn it — what will they do? They must make a decision that will affect their lives, and possibly the lives and deaths of others. And what of those Muslims who know the doctrine but are “devout” Muslims regardless?

When faced with an ideology of brutality, cruelty and a total lack of respect for women and the individual it is our duty to learn about it and tell others of the dangers that it represents.

We do not pretend that 9/11 and the myriad other Islamic attacks were not related to Islam, they were. As in Israel, a front line of global jihad, our culture celebrates and elevates life, the culture and ideology of Islam elevates death.

Can there be a reformation of Islam when the Koran with its exhortations to violence and hatred are the literal words of Allah? How can this reformation be done? It cannot be done by unbelievers, it must be done within Islam itself. At this time there appears to be no such reformation movement.

Why are those who study Islamic doctrine dismissed as bigots and racists when the discussion is centered on the doctrine of Islam entirely? Discussion of Islam based upon doctrine, history, and the affects of doctrine is called Foundationalism. There is no desire to demonize any group of people in this discussion because of their race or national origin; there is no race hatred, no race baiting, only a desire for the truth.

What is the doctrine of Islam really about? What does it mean to non-believers that over a billion people follow this doctrine? Is it not clear that the responsibilities of those who submit to Allah, Mohammed, and the doctrine are great? The word of the Koran is (in Islam) the literal word of god, Allah, and must be followed.

Unfortunately, for all non-Muslims, the word of the Koran (and the rest of the doctrine of Islam) says that Islam is at war with kafirs forever. This is important information, yes?

We live in a society with freedom of speech, this is guaranteed to us by our Constitution. While the Koran expressly forbids the kafir from studying Koran, we are not bound by this requirement. We are not bound by any Islamic, Jewish, or Christian requirements because we live in a secular state in which religion is separated from the government.

Yet, we impose a self-censorship when it comes to Islam, why?

This censorship is encouraged by Islam and its apologists because it aids them in their mission and undermines our ability to understand and respond. There are no such strictures against discussing Nazis and Communists; are they a threat in the same definitive immediate way that Islam is a threat? No. It is easy to discuss dead enemies or diminished enemies but almost impossible to discuss an existential threat. How can this be? This is because the source of the existential threat does not want it discussed. Those whose world-view is threatened by the truth of Islam do not want it discussed. Their purposes are the same-no discussion — but their motives are entirely different. Multiculturalists are useful idiots of Islam just as the American Communist Party was the useful tool of Moscow Central Committee.

We claim to be interested in the past, yet we learn little from it. We are obsessed with the future but are entirely unprepared for it because we cannot learn from history.

Faced with an existential threat we are comfortable instead discussing dead Nazis and their destroyed doctrine, and armaments and tactics and strategies of an old war but shush those who speak of Islam; we speak of the defeat of Communism with pride but refuse to discuss the ongoing victories of Islam and our defeates, and its cruel and thoroughly anti-human ideology as being impolitic, politically incorrect, unpopular, distasteful.

We must stop mislearning the lessons of history. We must discuss threats to our way of life whereever they are and in whatever form they take — to do otherwise is literally insane.

We cannot defend ourselves when we will not discuss the threat, name the threat, and formulate our defense. We must value what we have then take steps to secure what we have. Our freedoms are of immense value and we want to pass them down to our children. We owe this to ourselves and to future generations, and we owe it those heroes who fought and died to secure them throughout our history.

The history of jihad is lengthy, much longer by far than the history of democracy. Jihad has been highly successful across the world for millenia and longer. Jihad is deception, Mohammed said it was so. Deception is the tactic of an enemy in war. We must stop deceiving ourselves. It must stop here, now.

           — Hat tip: A Greek Friend [Return to headlines]

Italy: Church Editor Resigns

Bishops daily’s Boffo quits after PM family paper ‘attack’

(ANSA) — Rome, September 3 — The editor of a Catholic Church daily who criticised Silvio Berlusconi’s private life quit Thursday after the Italian premier’s family newspaper sought to expose him as a homosexual with a criminal record.

Dino Boffo, 57, tendered his resignation in a letter to Msgr Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian bishops association which publishes the Avvenire daily, saying his family and professional life had been “raped” by a “barbaric” attack.

“I cannot accept a war of words continuing about me day after day, (a war) that is wrecking my family and leaving Italians more and more stunned,” Boffo said in the letter. He claimed a “shady anti-clerical power bloc” was behind the campaign started by Il Giornale and taken up by other conservative dailies.

Bagnasco said he was accepting the resignation “with regret” and voiced “unchanged regard” for the former editor, whom he said had been the subject of “an indescribable media attack”.

The guild of Catholic journalists voiced concern about freedom of speech, echoing the Italian journalists’ guild which has organised a September 19 rally in defence of press freedom after Berlusconi sued left-leaning dailies La Repubblica and l’Unita’.

Bagnasco and Pope Benedict XVI had supported Boffo during a week-long campaign by Il Giornale, a daily owned by the brother of the conservative premier.

Il Giornale alleged a week ago that Boffo had been fined several years ago for harassing the wife of a man with whom he was in a relationship.

After the attack, from which Berlusconi distanced himself, the premier called off a trip to a forgiveness mass reportedly set up to mend fences with Catholics concerned about reports on the premier’s alleged relationships with young women and a call girl who claimed she slept with him.

In an August 12 editorial in Avvenire, Boffo voiced “malaise, mortification, and suffering” about the premier’s “arrogant departure from a sober lifestyle”.

Last Friday Il Giornale’s editor Vittorio Feltri accused Boffo of being a “supermoralist” who was not qualified to set himself up as a moral arbiter.

Feltri has refused to back down, claiming the facts of the case were clear and had not been denied. A court order on the fine Boffo paid has been released but judges have withheld details of the case, citing privacy.

The Italian press says it has tracked down the woman who reportedly sued Boffo in the Umbrian town of Terni but she has refused to answer questions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bari Prostitute Expected in Venice

Venice, 4 Sept. (AKI) — Patrizia D’Addario, the prostitute linked to Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was on Friday expected to arrive in the northern city of Venice. The Bari callgirl was believed to be staying at a hotel in the famous Lido district, site of the 66th Venice Film Festival, which opened this week.

D’Addario, who claimed to have spent the night with the 72-year-old leader at his Rome residence, Palazzo Grazioli, in November last year, was due to meet foreign media including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

D’Addario was expected to attract the attention of the many photographers attending the Venice film festival after visits to Spain, France and Turkey in the past few weeks.

In July, the Left-leaning Italian weekly L’Espresso released audio tapes that included conversations purportedly recorded by D’Addario while she was having sex with him.

A separate tape included a conversation with the man who allegedly paid her to sleep with Berlusconi and purportedly discussed the terms ahead of the encounter.

The entrepreneur, Gianpaolo Tarantini, purportedly told D’Addario that Berlusconi “is not taking you as a call girl … he’s taking you as a friend of mine that I brought along.”

A string of scandals have dogged Berlusconi since late April.

La Repubblica has led calls for him to explain his relationship to aspiring model Noemi Letizia after his attendance at her 18th birthday party prompted his wife to file for divorce.

Allegations followed that call girls had accepted fees to spend the night with him.

Berlusconi, a renowned playboy and bon vivant, has denied allegations that he paid for sex, saying he preferred the “pleasure of conquest”.

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

Italy: Ramadan May be Used to ‘Recruit Militants’ In Prison

Rome, 4 Sept. (AKI) — The holy fasting month of Ramadan may provide fertile ground for recruiting militants in Italy’s already overcrowded prisons, according to a senior police official. Secretary-general of the Italian penitentiary police union (SAPPE), Donato Capace, said authorities were concerned that foreign prisoners may become radicalised due to the difficult conditions.

“Of the 27,000 foreign detainees, one third of them are Muslim,” said Capace told Adnkronos.

“The increase in tension in the situation of Afghanistan and Iraq could (also) have repercussions.

“Due to the overcrowding in the cells and the high number of foreign detainees, with so many of them of the Islamic faith, the prison cell could become a place where petty criminals are tempted by jailed members of terror organisations,” said Capace.

Although many of the detainees face restrictions such as not being able to pray beside their friends and family and have no access to traditional food during Ramadan, prison authorities are sensitive to the religious requirements of the inmates.

Capace warned that those who support Islamic terrorism try to camouflage their activities by infiltrating their own faithful as well as unsuspecting detainees and even westerners.

He referred to a case in 2001 and 2002, when a 29-year-old Italian who converted to Islam placed explosives in several places in Italy.

“A Sicilian detainee converted to Islam in jail where he was serving a sentence for minor crimes, and after being set free he blew up two gas cylinders at the subway in Milan and at the Temple of Concord in Agrigento,” he said.

During the month of Ramadan, which began on 20 August fit Muslims don’t eat or drink during daylight hours and must refrain from sex and smoking.

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

Italy: Berlusconi Blasts Media ‘Lies’

Rome, 4 Sept. (AKI) — Italy’s prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday said he pitied his country for the lies published by the media. He was responding to questions from journalists on the controversial resignation of Catholic newspaper editor Dino Boffo after an editorial in conservative daily Il Giornale implied Boffo was gay.

The editorial triggered a row that that has badly strained the government’s relations with the Vatican.

“I think what you read in the papers today is the complete opposite of the truth. And you journalists lap up the misinformation that you spread,” said Berlusconi.

“Italy is to be pitied for its means of communication,” said Berlusconi, one of Italy’s wealthiest men who is the owner of a media empire that includes the country’s three biggest private television stations.

Boffo, editor of the daily Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI), resigned on Thursday, saying his name had been sullied “in a war of words which has wrecked my family and stunned Italians.”

He said the “defamatory” attacks by Il Giornale’s editor Vittorio Feltri had “violated” his life.

Il Giornale last week reported that Boffo, whose paper has been critical of Berlusconi’s flamboyant private life, accepted a plea bargain and paid a fine in 2004 after being accused of harassing a woman.

The paper also said Boffo had a gay relationship with the woman’s unnamed partner. It added Boffo was a homosexual known to the police for this kind of activity.

Il Giornale, which is owned by Berlusconi’s brother, called Boffo a hypocritical moralist who was ill placed to criticise Berlusconi for his alleged extramarital relationships with young women.

Boffo, one of the most influential Catholic opinion makers and editor of Avvenire for 15 years, denied Il Giornale’s claims and said the woman was harassed by someone else using his mobile phone.

Il Giornale published the article weeks after Avvenire called on Berlusconi to answer questions about his purported infatuation with young women and showgirls.

The paper’s attack on Boffo prompted the Vatican to call off a dinner that Berlusconi and Vatican secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone were due to attend last Friday.

Berlusconi has been on the defensive ever since his wife Veronica Lario announced she was divorcing him after he attended the 18th birthday party of Naples lingerie model, Noemi Letizia.

Italian media subsequently reported that women had been paid to attend parties at the premier’s official residences in Rome and Sardinia and that high-class prostitute Patrizia D’Addario had spent the night with him in November last year.

Berlusconi, 72, has denounced what he says is a media smear campaign against him.

He has denied having had “improper relations” and claims the Italian bishops “have been taken in by left-wing lies”.

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

Nearly 2,000 Telephones Tapped in Netherlands Daily

THE HAGUE, 04/09/09 — The number of telephones tapped by the police in the Netherlands is over 10 times higher than in the US. On average, 1,946 taps were made daily in 2008, Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin says in a letter to parliament.

“In 2008, a warrant for tapping was issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) for 26,425 telephone numbers. Of these, 90 percent were taps on mobile phones and 10 percent, on fixed-line phone connections. In the period, a daily average of 1,946 taps were run.”

The National Interception Unit (ULI) of the national police corpse (KLPD) taps the phones for all police corps, the special investigation services and the Military Police. The number of taps reported is exclusive of the taps by the intelligence and security services (AIVD and MIVD).

“A tap warrant is given for the duration of up to four weeks. The period of validity can in each case be extended by a period of four weeks,” said the minister, adding assurances that “each tap is assessed separately by both the OM and the examining magistrate.”

At the request of MPs, Hirsch Ballin made a comparison of the Dutch figures with those of other countries. In France, 26,000 tapping warrants were issued in 2008, about the same as in the Netherlands. Figures from other countries, though from 2007, are much lower with the exception of Germany.

“In the US, the number of tapping warrants totalled 2,208 in 2007 (Wiretap report 2007),” the minister reported. “In the UK, 1,881 warrants were issued (Report of the Interception of Communication Commissioner for 2007). In Belgium, 3,603 tapping measures were carried out in 2007 (,” he added. “In Germany, 39,200 mobile numbers and 5,078 fixed numbers were tapped in 2007 (Jahresstatistik der strafprozessualen, Bundesnetzagentur).”

“A conclusion cannot be drawn from the comparison of figures on taps in the various countries, because the legal systems differ too much from one another,” in Hirsch Ballin’s view. “In the UK, the results of the tap are inadmissible as evidence. In the US, (…) use as evidence is strongly hampered by the principle of minimisation.” Also, “no conclusions about invasion of privacy can be drawn on the basis of a comparison of tapping statistics from different countries.”

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Christian Schools Support Anti-Christian School

THE HAGUE, 04/09/09 — The national lobby organisation for Christian schools (Besturenraad) is disappointed that the government has cut the subsidy for the controversial Islamic primary school As Siddieq in Amsterdam.

Because the As Siddieq school “actively thwarts integration” of its pupils, as Education State Secretary Sharon Dijksma has put it, she temporarily cut its 4.5 million euro subsidy by 5 percent this week. Amsterdam municipality, which also provided a subsidy, scrapped this completely.

As Siddieq is said to depict non-Muslims as inferior and teach pupils that Christianity will disappear. But according to Besturenraad chairman Wim Kuiper, there must be room for “education with different views on life and society.”

Islamic schools, like Christian schools, receive subsidies based on the principle of freedom of education, enshrined in article 23 of the constitution. Basically, anyone can set up a school based on a particular ideology, and receive money from that from the government.

If the Education Inspectorate finds that a school is ‘very weak,’ the school must send parents a ‘public-friendly’ version of the inspectorate report, Dijksma and fellow Education State Secretary Van Bijsterveldt said in a letter to parliament yesterday. They want to make this information requirement a statutory obligation. If schools refuse, the Inspectorate will send the report to the parents itself.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Queen’s Day Attacker: ‘Prince is a Facist’

The man who drove his car into the crowd watching the royal family during this year’s Queen’s Day celebrations regarded crown prince Willem-Alexander as a facist and a racist, according to an official police report into the incident.

Seven people were killed when Karst Tates drove through the crowd as the bus carrying the queen and other members of the royal family appeared. The car smashed into railings and Tates died later of his injuries.

The report said it was ‘highly probable’ that the royal family was his target. Tates, a loner who had recently lost his job and was about to lose his home, told a police officer immediately after the incident that it had been a ‘deliberate act’.

The police officer, who sat in the car with Tates, asked him what had happpened.

‘I heard him say: ‘the queen, the queen’,’ the officer was quoted as saying. ‘I asked him had he acted deliberately and I heard him say ‘yes, I did it on purpose’. I asked him why and he said ‘Willem-Alexander is a facist, he is a racist’. And I knew the queen was coming here’.’

The report states that Tates acted alone and had not made elaborate preparations. It is also likely that he was not aware people would be standing on the crossroads when he drove into the crowd. He did sound his horn as he approached but did not slow down and did not appear to have attempted to break, the report said.

Nevertheless, it is still difficult to determine what motive had for the attack, the report states. Although Tates was critical of the monarchy, he did not believe in an ideology which would make sense of what he did, the Telegraaf quoted the report as saying.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Police Bullet Killed Riot Victim at Dance Party

The 19-year-old man who was killed at a beach party last month was lethally injured by a police bullet, the public prosecutor confirmed on Thursday.

On Wednesday Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb announced that the police commander in charge of security at the party has been suspended because he ignored information that hooligans were planning to disrupt the party.

Aboutaleb released those findings in letters to the city council. He also announced an external investigation into the events of August 22, when the free dance party at Hoek van Holland, a beach close to Rotterdam, degenerated into rioting and shooting.

Two internal investigations have now revealed that the police commander responsible for security at Hoek van Holland ignored reports that notorious troublemakers were planning to attend the party. As a result, no extra policemen were deployed at the party, nor was the anti-riot squad put on alert. Higher police commanders and Aboutaleb, who is ultimately responsible for policing, were also not alerted.

The investigations also show that there were also problems with the internal communication system and the mobile phone network the moment police officers were cornered by intoxicated troublemakers. Police fired warning shots before the peace was restored by the anti-riot squad from a neighbouring district.

After the incident mayor Aboutaleb announced he would not give out any more permits for large-scale free dance events for the next two years. He also called for more legal ways to target hooligans for planning trouble rather than executing it.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Norway: Israeli Company Excluded From Pension Fund

The Ministry of Finance has excluded the Israeli company Elbit Systems Ltd. from the Government Pension Fund — Global, because of its involvement in building the separation barrier on occupied territory.(Photo: Minister of Finance Kristin Halvorsen) The exlusion has been made on the basis of the Council on Ethics’ recommendation.

The Council on Ethics has found that investment in Elbit constitutes an unacceptable risk of contribution to serious violations of fundamental ethical norms as a result of the company’s integral involvement in Israel’s construction of a separation barrier on occupied territory.

“We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law,” says Minister of Finance Kristin Halvorsen.

The report from thee Council of Ethics also includes an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice in the Hague from 2004. This opinion states clearly that the construction of the separation barrier and its associated control regime along the chosen route must be regarded as being in contravention of international law.

– The freedom of movement of the people living in the occupied territory has been unacceptably restricted. The International Court of Justice has pointed out the obligation of all State parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to prevent breaches of the Convention such as the construction of the barrier. Norwegian authorities act in accordance with this, says the Minister of Finance.

The surveillance system that Elbit supplies to the Israeli authorities is one of the main components in the separation barrier and its associated control regime. The surveillance system has been specially designed in close collaboration with the buyer and has no other applications. Furthermore Elbit is clearly aware of exactly where and how the system is intended to be used, the Department of Finance states.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Oslo Quits Israeli Company Working on Wall

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, SEPTEMBER 3 — Today Oslo’s government announced that it is pulling out from a participation held by a Norwegian public pension fund in Elbit, an Israeli company which produces defence components, because of its involvement in the construction of the barrier separating Israel from the West bank. Israeli online media made the report and printed a statement by Norway’s Finance minister, Kristin Halvorsen. Speaking in Oslo, Halvorsen stated that “We do not intend to finance companies that contribute in such a direct manner to initiatives which are carried out in violation of international human rights”, and pointed to the 2004 sentence by the Un Court of Justice which condemned the barrier. Israel reacted by announcing that it will resort to legal action because of Norway’s sudden disinvestment. Reportedly, in recent times Elbit received major commissions for the supply of surveillance systems used along the barrier, part fence and part wall, which Israel set up along the border with the West Bank (Palestinian territory). The Israeli governments justified this barrier with the need to defend the Country from terrorist attacks, but Palestinians see it as a collective punishment, a symbol of segregation and an obstacle to the freedom of movement. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Roma Issues in Slovakia

[Long but well presented article (in slovak) on Roma issues in Slovakia — across a number of different regions — talked to police, politicians, locals, all over the place — very interesting look at the way things are going on in East-Central Europe. — google translation doesn’t look *too* bad ;p]

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

SIAD/SIOE Demonstration Against Copenhagen Mega-Mosque; Overview and Event Report

SIAD (StopIslamisationofDenmark)/SIOE sponsored a demonstration yesterday in Copenhagen, Denmark near the site of a new mega-Mosque in that city. The City Council there recently voted in favor of the mosque’s construction. The mainstream press reacted with glee to the new mosque project, as one would expect from the dhimmitized press of the West.


Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.


Heaven will direct it.

(Shakespeare, Hamlet, Hamlet Act 1, scene 4, 87—91)

Multiculturalism, tolerance, and “niceness” are destroying the foundations of our cultures because they prevent us from responding to the existential threat that is political Islam. Shakespeare suggests in Hamlet that “heaven” will direct what happens in Denmark, this is wrong. We must direct what happens in Denmark — those who love freedom and justice and embrace the value of the individual must oppose the forces of the oldest totalitarianism, political Islam. SIOE’s approach in Europe is to show the public that there is an opposing view to the suicidal openness and “tolerance” that our societies show to Islam, a political ideology whose purpose is the Islamization of the host country. We in the West could not possibly be more self-destructive.

Approximately 40-60 people attended the demonstration against the mosque. There were more than 100 people observing the protest who did not participate, but appeared to be at least interested in hearing the message of SIAD/SIOE. Several translated articles describing the event from SIAD/SIOE’s perspective are available here, and here.

Things in Denmark are not good for lovers of freedom and religious tolerance. Islam is a political ideology; it is a complete civilization of which the so-called “religion of peace” is a part. The core purpose of Islam is expansion and conquest. Jihad is the responsibility of every adherent of this ideology of intolerance, hatred, and brutality.

Islam is a political ideology of conquest. Conquest is not necessarily accomplished only through violent warfare (jihad against the kafir, the unbelievers), it can be accomplished through immigration and “soft jihad”. Soft jihad is the constant pressure that Islam adherents put upon the host society for concessions and legitimization as their numbers outstrip the growth rates of the host cultures. This is happening in Europe today, Denmark is in deep trouble particularly for these reasons. Islam does not now require jihad of the sword because they are so successful in Europe with the “soft jihad”, the jihad of immigration, al-hijra.

Year One of the Islamic calendar does not begin when Mohammed gets his “revelations” from allah, rather it begins when Mohammed emigrates from Mecca to Medina. At this time Mohammed went from no power or wealth to being a warlord and political personality. Islam became strong in Medina for the first time, via immigration. This is the key moment of Islam’s history, not the revelations of allah. Islam is a political ideology — its calendar is rooted in politics as is its doctrine. Immigration is a tool of jihad. A new book called “Modern Day Trojan Horse: The Islamic Doctrine of Immigration” lays out this case quite clearly. Please take a moment to read this excellent analytical review of the book. A reposting of the same piece in Islam-Watch elicited some excellent comments.

The low turnout at the mosque protest in Copenhagen shows that the unpleasant truth of Islam is still not widely understood. We must redouble our efforts to educate the people as to the dangers that we face from this brutal ideology of anti-humanity. It also shows that Westerners, non-Muslims, are afraid. This is the bizarre duality of Islam — it appears peaceful when its purposes are well-suited but readily switches to less pleasant approaches to get their message across when the time is right, this is Jihad.

The bravery of the demonstraters and the SIAD/SIOE leadership across Europe and within Denmark cannot be over-stated. During WW2 totalitarianism was fought by the “resistance”; the forces of good triumphed over totalitarianism and brutality. Today, the peoples of the West invite the forces of hate and intolerance directly into our midst and help them build Islamic Centers and mosques, places from which later (at their leisure) the jihad against the unbelievers will issue forth; the history of Islam is proof of this pattern, adherents of Islam talk about this publicly this constantly, they are not shy as to their purposes when they feel strong.

They are strong now, because we are so weak. We are weak because so few will stand up and say, “NO!” to the growth of totalitarianism and the ongoing Islamization of Europe and the West. We are weak because we know so little about Islam and its doctrine and history. The coming mega mosque of Copenhagen is similar in effect to the new mega-Mosque of Boston recently opened. The doctrine of Islam, a doctrine of conquest and cruelty will be taught there, and these places will become centers of jihad which is their stated purpose. The purposes of Islam are clear for all to see, most of us prefer not to believe it so we will not listen. Islam is strong because we are ignorant and too “tolerant”. Tolerance for an ideology whose purpose is our destruction is national and cultural suicide.

The inaction and ignorance of those of the West who embrace multiculturalism at the expense of their own cultures, states, and religions and ignore the clarion calls of alarms from those who resist, like the brave people of SIOE/SIAD, are the “useful idiots” of which both Lenin and Mao spoke with such appreciation and derision. The enemy is not at the gates, they are within our city walls and we do nothing, nothing but welcome them.

One of the founders of SIOE, Anders Gravers, explains the situation in Denmark as follows:

Denmark is as close to a civil war as you can get without declaring it.

There are shootings between muslim gangs and AK81 every week now. Three persons have been killed so far and a lot injuried with knifestabs and shootings.

Last week the police searched a person in Nørrebro, the whole police force was stoned out by muslims and autonomous and couldn’t return to Nørrebro and maintain peace before they came with riot gear and more people.

Muslim gangs were also exercising throwing acid bombs in plastic balloons. They hit a two year old girl who got seriously burned and went to the hospital.

So the Copenhagen people are very scared.

I understand that people are afraid.

What people tell me is that it is very important that SIOE and SIAD show they dare to make demonstrations under these circumstances because no other organisation dares to do it, including the Danish Peoples Party. All the other anti-islamic organisations in Denmark are not demonstrating either, because they are scared. So I don’t give a toss about (criticism). We send a signal to the Danish people that there is an organisation who dares.

           — Hat tip: A Greek Friend [Return to headlines]

Spain: Snail Invasion in Catalonia’s Rice-Fields

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, AUGUST 19 — Irrigation to Catalonia’s rice-fields via water conduits connected to the Ebro River delta has been closed due to an invasion of apple snails from Latin America. According to local farmers, the gastropod, which lays its eggs on plants and devours them, has struck 30% of rice-fields. The alert, according to reports from El Pais, came from the Catalan Institute of Food and Agriculture Research and Technology (IRTA), which found the exotic snail species for the first time in the zone of the Ebro River in June. According to IRTA, the invasion of this and other exotic species, due to human actions, has influenced the growth of the only native plant species growing in the Ebro: macrophytes, a plant that covers about 50% of the river bed. The increase has developed in such a way that IRTA now considers them an invasive species, because it abundance damages other species and creates a magnificent habitat for tiger mosquitoes, found in the area for the first time in 2004.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The EU: Ready to be a Global Policeman?

YOUR BLOGGER has a piece in the latest issue of E!Sharp, a Brussels based magazine on EU affairs. It notes that Europe has growing ambitions to be a global bringer of peace, and asks whether the EU is ready for the risks and costs involved. Here is the piece: America must be prepared to be the world’s policeman, Colin Powell, then chairman of the joint chiefs, told the United States Senate in 1992. When the world dials 911, “guess who is expected to answer?” he asked.

Powell expanded on his theme: America was not a bullying policeman, it could be trusted to respect other nations’ sovereignty, values and culture. People called on America because “when we answer, we don’t want anybody’s land.”

It would be a brave American general who spoke those words today, at home or abroad. But talk of the world needing a policeman has not gone away. This time, nearly two decades after General Powell set out US claims to world leadership, it is the EU’s turn to ponder if it has a right, or a responsibility to police the world.

A revealing book of essays just published by the Union’s in-house security think-tank, the EU Institute for Strategic Studies, asks what ambitions the EU should have for European defence in 2020. The essays come to different conclusions, but most agree that the next decade will see increasing calls on the EU as a global crisis manager. Those calls will probably involve missions that take the EU out of its comfortable role as a civilian adviser and mediator. Already, in Kosovo, the EULEX mission has executive powers including riot control and witness protection, while the EU police mission in Afghanistan — though widely regarded as a weak and limited operation — has sent officers to some tricky places.

Two top European Commission officials working on European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), Richard Wright and Juha Auvinen, offer a fine distinction: the Union has been a “global trainer of policemen” rather than a global policeman. That degree of detachment is going to become increasingly tested, they write. Europe is about to face the “curse of the global policeman”. Those with “capacity and legitimacy” to act will be asked to work in ever riskier environments, on missions where success is harder to achieve.

Within one country, policemen’s legitimacy is not hard to establish: they are the visible face of a citizen’s security contract with the state. How does a global policeman earn legitimacy? There, the essay writers are divided. Wright and Auvinen make a moral and political case for ESDP, saying it draws its legitimacy from the EU’s global image as a multilateral “civilian power”, with 50 years of peaceful integration and the rule of law under its belt.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, writes that the approval of ESDP missions by consensus, among 27 member states, gives them “moral and legal legitimacy”, buttressed by a “collective ethos” based on “concern for the common good” rather than “a single state’s interests”. These lofty claims recall the proud boasts of Colin Powell.

The legitimacy offered by consensus at 27 seems less important than the ability to project power worldwide to a French author, EU Military Committee Chairman General Henri Bentégeart. The ESDP must “primarily be the instrument for protecting the EU’s interests”, he writes. He sees “great potential” in the Lisbon Treaty clauses allowing one-third of member states to launch an operation on their own, if it will further the Union’s interests and cannot be launched by all 27 within a reasonable period.

How to resolve the tensions between these two visions of Europe: the kindly constable acting in the name of consensus, and the soldier pursuing EU interests through coalitions of the willing?

The most thought-provoking essay, by Tomas Ries of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, offers a bleak but plausible answer: Europe will have to do both. Ries paints a picture of a world in 2020 with “explosive tensions” between a rich, globalised group of countries and transnational corporations, and those left behind. In this world, ESDP will need to perform uplifting tasks like providing crisis resolution in struggling Arab states or state building in Africa, but will also need to preserve enough hard power to confront “alienated” states like North Korea or possibly Russia.

Finally, Ries concludes, the EU and other wealthy nations will probably need to pursue the “morally distasteful, losing strategy” of “barrier operations” against migration and smuggling, to shield “the global rich from the tensions and problems of the poor”.

America is a long way from 1992, and the first heady years after the Soviet collapse. It is globally engaged in ways Colin Powell could barely have imagined, but has suffered a loss of global trust. It is already debatable whether outsiders grant Europe the moral legitimacy that Javier Solana claims for the Union. Is Europe ready for the global entanglements that may lie ahead?

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

UK: Boris Johnson: ‘Fast During Ramadan to Understand Muslims’

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has encouraged people to undergo a day of fasting to help them gain a better understanding of their “Muslim neighbour”.

Speaking during a visit to the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre he said Muslims in the capital were “challenging traditional stereotypes” to show they wanted to be part of the mainstream.

Mr Johnson’s visit coincided with the holy period of Ramadan in which participating Muslims fast from dawn until sunset.

“Whether it’s in theatre, comedy, sports, music or politics, Muslims are challenging the traditional stereotypes and showing that they are, and want to be, a part of the mainstream community,” he said.

“That’s why I urge people, particularly during Ramadan, to find out more about Islam, increase your understanding and learning, even fast for a day with your Muslim neighbour and break your fast at the local mosque. I would be very surprised if you didn’t find that you share more in common than you thought.

“Muslims are at the heart of every aspect of society. Their contribution is something that all Londoners benefit from. Muslim police officers, doctors, scientists and teachers are an essential part of the fabric of London.

“Islamic finance is contributing to the economy by changing the way Londoners invest, save, borrow and spend. There are valuable lessons that people of all backgrounds can learn from Islam such as the importance of community spirit, family ties, compassion and helping those less fortunate, all of which lie at the heart of the teachings of Ramadan.” …

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

UK: Baby With ‘Untreatable’ Brain Cancer Sent to a Hospice to Die Makes Miracle Recovery

At just four months old, Maisey Fishwick was diagnosed with untreatable brain cancer and sent to a hospice to die.

Doctors told heartbroken mother Emma all they could do was relieve the pain as she lived out her short life.

But just days before Maisey was expected to die, child cancer specialist Eddy Estlin saw a ray of hope for the child and sent her back to hospital for care.

And now, after 11 hours of surgery and 15 months of chemotherapy, brave Maisey, now 21 months old, has been given the all clear.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Everyone Should Fast for a Day ‘To Understand Muslims’, Says Boris Johnson

London Mayor Boris Johnson today encouraged people to undergo a day of fasting to help understand their ‘Muslim neighbour’.

He said Muslims in the capital were ‘challenging traditional stereotypes’ to show they wanted to be part of the mainstream during a visit to the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre.

Mr Johnson’s visit coincided with the holy period of Ramadan in which participating Muslims fast from dawn until sunset.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Lisbon Treaty Under Threat, Admits Irish Foreign Minister, As Poll Shows Flagging Support

Obtaining a ‘Yes’ vote in a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty will be difficult, Dublin has admitted.

Another ‘No’ would derail, possibly for good, EU plans for a president, a foreign policy chief and speedier decision-making, since the treaty must be ratified by all 27 nations.

Foreign Minister Micheal Martin today claimed he had ‘never been under any illusion but that it would be difficult to secure this’.

But he added: ‘I do think we can do it.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Community Leader Arrested for ‘Making Up BNP Kidnap Story’

A Muslim community leader who claimed he was kidnapped from his home at knifepoint and dumped in woodland after a BNP hate campaign has been arrested for perverting the course of justice.

Noor Ramjanally, 36, alleged that he was abducted by two men, bundled into a car boot, driven to Epping Forest in Essex and ordered to stop his religious work.

The BNP had been accused of whipping up racial tensions in the area after it issued an inflammatory leaflet about Mr Ramjanally’s Islamic community group — the first in Loughton.

His alleged ordeal became a cause celebre among the Muslim community both locally and nationally after it was given widespread coverage.

But today Mr Ramjanally was arrested amid suggestions that he made the whole incident up.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: The Bishop of Rochester Farewell Interview

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, spoke of the dangers facing the Church of England and British society in a final interview published in The Daily Telegraph last week.

In addition to questions about secularism, Islam and the future of the Anglican Communion, he was also asked about his views on the conflict in Afghanistan, his new role helping persecuted Christians overseas and the environment.

Dr Nazir-Ali’s full comments, made before he stepped down after 15 years in Rochester, can be found below.

:: On how his diocese has changed

What stands out about the dioceses is the huge demographic changes in the Thames Gateway. We have been concerned with the coming into being of what I call a liquid city — it’s got no centre.

People should experience community operating — how are local young people going to benefit from Bluewater? How are older communities going to feel included?

:: On upheaval in the Church

The Anglican Communion has grown a great deal in many parts of the world, such as Nigeria, Uganda, Singapore but obviously we’ve had negative developments.

I’ve always been a believer in principled comprehensiveness. The Anglican Communion and the Church of England are comprehensive — they embrace people of different ideas like evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics and the principled bit is important.

There was a basic belief in doctrine and worship but the difficulty has been that that consensus has been overturned.

We now have people in the US for example, but not only there, who believe things about God, about salvation, about marriage and about human sexuality that seem to be another religion.

In a way it would be better to recognise it as something quite different because then we could relate to it in a more positive and constructive way.

:: On the influence of contemporary culture on the Anglican Communion

That’s the issue. There’s this tendency to capitulate to culture and simply to endorse the norms of any given society. I’ve always taken culture very seriously but I think we’re now in the opposite danger — of capitulating to it.

However I think that the Anglican Communion and indeed the Church of England will always find within themselves the resources for resisting culture when it is necessary to do so. I don’t think that this new-style revisionism will prevail in the church.

The two-track thing is a way of saying people have decided to walk apart. It’s not just walking apart in parallel lines, I think it will be a diverging path.

There are still good, orthodox believing Christians in the Episcopal Church but there’s already a walking apart — the ways will increasingly diverge.

The faith has to engage with the ways and dilemmas of contemporary living but we have to deal with them with a vantage point — knowing what the Bible and Christian tradition say.

We can only do that if we know clearly what the Bible teaches and what Christian tradition has held to be important.

The cultural pressures are very similar [on the Church of England] and what the Church of England has to decide is whether it’s part of the catholic church and whether it can stand with its ecumenical partners.

Our ecumenical partners have said, ‘what sort of church are you?’. If we are to be taken seriously by Roman Catholics, the Orthodox church, and so on, we have to be clear — that we must engage from the point of view of the Bible and Christian tradition as a whole.

:: On Gafcon, FCA, ACNA and his role within them

I think Gafcon is a necessary movement but it should not become institutional.

[My role is] Nothing formal. I have spoken at these things and am very glad to have done.

I will continue to support orthodox movement for the renewal of faith, of any kind.

:: On his new role

Church leaders in different parts of the world where Christians are under pressure have asked me to help them develop leadership.

In Iran there has been confiscation of church buildings, for instance.

These churches are not wealthy but they will pay something towards what I do for them.

I will also continue conversations in countries like Egypt and Pakistan about things like the treatment of non-Muslims, the treatment of women, blasphemy laws.

I’m scheduled to go there [Iran] but I have to wait to see how matters clarify. The situation with Christians has been very difficult for many years and we have sought to improve it. It had improved a little before the election — I’m not sure what’s happening now.

:: On Afghanistan

What we must not do is to allow another extremist regime in Afghanistan. We know it affects not just for people in the area but around the world.

We also need to make sure extremism is addressed in Pakistan. We can’t continue with the tribal areas being semi-lawless.

As far as I can see, Britain has been taking more than its fair share of the burden in Afghanistan and I sincerely hope the other countries will take some of the burden.

Personally I think the role of the British Army in Afghanistan is absolutely vital if democracy is to take root and to keep the country free from becoming a base again for international terrorism.

Of course the Government has to make sure the Army is properly equipped and protected but it’s a very, very difficult role.

:: On radical Islam in Britain

It seems as if there’s still room for concern, particularly on the internet and with certain religious organisations in universities and colleges.

We also need to address the religious leaders and workers who come here, there must be some way of regulating that.

There are questions about how people have access to justice, to courts, to protection, which this country needs to continue to uphold. It’s one law for all.

:: On Sharia in Britain

You need knowledge to speak on these areas and when you say something, it should be with that background. Of course Muslims need to live according to the tenets of their beliefs, and if they are believers most bring that to bear in their public life.

The question is whether any aspect of Sharia ought to be recognised in public law. My own view is that it shouldn’t be — Sharia is basically a totally different background to the Judeo-Christian tradition.

You start off straight away with the question of will bigamy remain a crime and for whom, then there’s the question of divorce and equality in divorce law. There are a huge number of questions that arise.

:: On Islamic finance

The whole edifice of so-called Islamic finance is based on the idea that all interest is forbidden — but not all Muslims agreed with that.

Many of the so-called Sharia-compliant financial products are not that different from conventional products. So will the capital they use also come from Sharia-compliant investments or conventional ones that use interest?

If the answer is that it must be from Sharia-compliant investments then you’re talking about separate institutions. That’s a crucial question.

:: On the public role of the Church of England

I would say that the Church of England has been used to working with the grain of society. It has worked invisibly, doing hatches, matches and dispatches.

But I think the Church needs to give some attention to being a moral and spiritual guide that’s more able to nurture its people.

I think it will need to be more visible and take more of a stand on moral and spiritual issues. I think they [the public would] have to listen.

The necessity for boys to have fathers as role models, for example, is now widely acknowledged and it’s not something society can ignore.

What’s our basis for thinking that people are equal? It’s the Judeo-Christian tradition that has provided us with the resources and we will continue to need it.

I don’t think the Church should stand up for itself but the common good. The state of marriage and the family, the necessity for common values — all of these things are obviously needs of the nation and for the common good which the Church needs to express.

We need as a nation to acknowledge the Judeo-Christian basis for nearly everything that’s valuable — customs, values and art. We need a vantage point, otherwise we just end up with a smorgasbord but don’t have any way of assessing the value of it.

It’s not people of other faiths who are hostile [to civic celebrations of Christian festivals] but quite often secularists who have their own programmes to foster.

:: On the threats facing Britain

I think there’s a double jeopardy — on the one hand an aggressive secularism that seeks to undermine the traditional principles because it has its own project to foster.

On the other is the extremist ideology of radical Islam, which moderate Muslims are also concerned about.

This is why there must be a clear recognition of where Britain has come from, what the basis is for our society and how that can contribute to the common good.

:: On the environment

The Bible teaches us that we are stewards of creation — it’s very important for us to look after.

Our environment is not just physical, it’s also social. We have to take as much interest in the political or social environment.

:: On how things might have been different had he been appointed Archbishop of Canterbury

This is not about one man — these are currents in culture and they happen in different ages. You can’t blame a single person — these things would still have to be addressed.

I am happy that I’ve been able to do what I’ve been asked to do.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

UK: Transsexual Killer and Attempted Rapist Wins ‘Human Rights’ Battle to be Moved to Women’s Prison

A transsexual prisoner has won a move to a women’s prison after a High Court judge ruled his human rights had been breached in a landmark £50,000 legal aid case.

The 27-year-old prisoner, who is serving life for manslaughter and an attempted rape committed while he was legally defined as a man, was described by his lawyer as ‘a woman trapped inside a man’s body’.

Today, Deputy Judge David Elvin QC, quashed Justice Secretary Jack Straw’s decision to continue detaining the prisoner, known only as ‘A’, in a male prison.

He was told that steps were already being put in place to transfer A to a female prison ‘as soon as possible’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Upper Austrian Governor Calls for Church Reform

The governor of Upper Austria has called for reform of the Roman Catholic Church.

People’s Party (ÖVP) Governor Josef Pühringer’s book “Was mir wichtig ist” (What is Important to Me) has just been released and speaking today (Weds) at the start of the election campaign for the 27 September provincial election he said: “Things must change in the Church if it is to do its job right. Reform is the command of the hour.”

He said one problem was a shortage of priests, with few young men in seminaries and few active priests younger than 60.

Pühringer said allowing priests to continue to work until 80 and giving each four or five parishes to oversee was not a lasting solution.

He added that the sharing of priests among countries around the world was also a bad idea because of cultural differences.

The governor said he was not trying to interfere in the Church’s internal affairs as that would be counter-productive.

The calls come as the Linz diocese has faced a turbulent year so far.

Pope Benedict XVI had to withdraw his nomination early this year of conservative Pastor Gerhard Maria Wagner as auxiliary bishop of the diocese after widespread criticism of his choice.

Wagner outraged many Catholics by claiming homosexuality was “curable” and that natural disasters like the tsunami in Southeast Asia and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans had been God’s punishment of human sin.

There was also a controversy over priestly celibacy after it emerged that Ungenach Pastor Josef Friedl was living with a woman.

The problems caused a number of Catholics to formally leave the Church in Upper Austria.

Pühringer discusses a number of other issues in his book which is published by Styria Verlag and is available at bookstores at a price of 24.95 Euros (ISBN 978-3-222-13282-7).

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


Albania: Per Capita Pasta Consumption Rises

(ANSAmed) — TIRANA, SEPTEMBER 3 — Pasta consumption in Albania is increasing, according to the economic magazine Monitor, which revealed that per capita consumption reached 13 kg in 2008, after 7 kg in 2006. The Italian Trade Commission (ICE) office in Tirana specified that 28,000 tonnes of pasta were produced in the country and that 12,800 tonnes were imported. The magazine underlines that the production of pasta on a global level doesn’t seem to be affected by the crisis. According to the European pasta manufacturers association, production has slightly increased on a global level, while consumption is expected to rise as well. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Kosovo: Watchdog Attacks Serb Property Sales

Pristina, 4 Sept. (AKI) — The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Friday expressed concern about the sale of illegal property owned by minority Serb residents who have fled Kosovo since 1999.

The OSCE watchdog’s mission in Kosovo in its latest report documented at least 40 alleged cases of illegal sales of Serb property, using falsified documents.

OSCE called on the European Union mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and local courts to do more to stop the practice and protect the rights of displaced people there.

About 200,000 Serbs have fled Kosovo since it was put under United Nations control in 1999, leaving their homes, apartments and other property, which have often been expropriated by majority Kosovar Albanians.

Criminals and speculators have illegally sold the properties, using falsified documents issued by Kosovo courts, as well as ones issued in neighbouring Serbia and Montenegro, OCSE said.

These frauds and subsequent court proceedings to annul the illegal sales seriously violate the rights of displaced persons whose property has been left in Kosovo, it said.

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

North Africa

Algeria: 1,000 French Language Teachers Missing

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, SEPTEMBER 3 — With Schools in Algeria about to open on September, the Ministry of Education registered the shortage of at least 1,000 French Language teachers. Today the Algerian press reported that Boubeker Benbouzid, who runs the Ministry, explained that “While awaiting the training of new teachers, as a stopgap solution we have called back retired teachers”. Meziane Meriane of the Cnapest union explained that this shortage, which in truth has affected all levels of education in Algeria for the past 15 years, is also given by the lack of teachers choosing French, which “is still a victim of grave ideological prejudice. During the black decade of Islamic terrorism, many had to leave their job in Algerian institutes simply because they spoke French. They had to leave the country, and escape death. Even students were prevented from studying French”. The greater problems occur in the southern regions, with the majority of teachers rejecting travel to the Sahara area which is considered as poor compared to coastal areas. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy-Libya: Stone on ‘Reconciliation’ Highway Laid

(ANSAmed) — TRIPOLI — The treaty between Italy and Libya “is very convenient for both countries” and “only a year after its signing a project is coming into being”: that of the coastal highway to connect Tunisia with Egypt, which Italy has pledged to finance and which represents, in the eyes of Silvio Berlusconi, “a historic undertaking”. The Italian prime minister flew to Libya yesterday to celebrate, alongside Muammar Gaddafi, the Italy-Libya ‘Day of Friendship’ on the first anniversary of the signing of the Treaty, commemorated by the acrobatic stunts of an air show by the Italian ‘Frecce Tricolori’ — a show which will also be held tomorrow (September 1) as part of the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of Gaddafi’s rise to power. While Berlusconi was arriving on Libyan soil, another raft carrying migrants was turned back off Lampedusa towards Libya. The premier stood his ground: “if we want to implement a true policy of integration, we need to be rigorous in not opening up Italy to just anyone.” Collaboration in order to fight against illegal immigration is part of the agreement signed with Gaddafi, and the premier said that he fully intended to implement all of the points of the accord. The visit was an opportunity to take stock of development in the agreement as well as to discuss international issues, from concerns over the situation in the Middle East to the role of Italian soldiers in Afghanistan. In a brief ceremony in the pre-desert zone of Shabit Jfarai, 40 kilometres south of Tripoli, Berlusconi then laid the first symbolic stone of the highway desired by Gaddafi as a condition to leave behind the dispute over Italy’s colonial past in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica: 1,700 kilometres long, it will boast three lanes, 203 bridges and over 1,400 tunnels. It is a road which, the premier underscored, “will also work towards peace, since it unites all the countries of the Maghreb”. Berlusconi then visited a railway wagon of the new high speed Intercity train (over 200Km/h) made by AnsaldoBreda in collaboration with Libyan railways. Celebrations, singing and traditional dancing, both Berber and African, then accompanied the meal shared by the two leaders on the Tripoli sea front for the iftar, the meal breaking the fast of Ramadan, in the presence of a number of African leaders who will be taking part in today’s African Union summit. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Lockerbie: Megrahi Out of Hospital Receiving Home Treatment

(ANSAmed) — TRIPOLI, SEPTEMBER 3 — Al Megrahi, the man considered responsible for the Lockerbie massacre who was recently released by Scottish authorities for “humanitarian reasons”, that is for reasons of health, is not currently under intensive care treatment in hospital. Different from what has emerged over recent days, a supervisor who wishes to remain anonymous at Tripoli Medical Centre reported to ANSA that Megrahi is being followed by a team of doctors who treat him directly at his home. Al Megrahi in recent days, again according to what the hospital maintains, was only admitted to carry out some tests. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ramadan: Algeria, 41 Countries in Koran Recitation Award

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, SEPTEMBER 3 — Forty-one countries worldwide will participate in the sixth international Koran recitation and intonation award in Algiers, organised every year during the holy month of Ramadan. Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, Libya and Iran will be there, as well as countries like the Philippines, the Central African Republic and Malaysia, which will be represented by the only woman in competition. The prizes will be awarded in the Great Mosque of Algiers by the Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, during the “Night of Power”, the 27th day of Ramadan (September 17). The winner will receive 1 million dinars (around 97 thousand euros), the runner up 800 thousand dinars and number three 500 thousand. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ramadan: Productivity of Arab Businesses Drops by 78%

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, SEPTEMBER 3 — During Ramadan, the productivity of Arab businesses drops by 78%. The essential factors? Fewer work hours, absenteeism, and sick leave. In the meantime, diseases linked to cholesterol and diabetes by 27.65% because of overeating. Experts claimed that increases in blood crimes (+1.5%) and theft (+3.5%) are mainly the result of abstinence from smoke. The figures are included in a survey carried out by Cairo’s Institute of Social Sciences of the Arab World which was printed today by ‘Leaders’, a Tunisian website. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UN: Gaddafi in New York, Obama to be Watching

(by Emanuele Riccardi) (ANSAmed) — NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 3 — The US will be watching Muammar Gaddafi closely, and every single move he makes will be taken apart and scrutinized. Barring unexpected events, the Libyan leader will be taking part in a UN Security Council meeting on nuclear proliferation chaired by US president Barack Obama. There are few doubts remaining on the matter, as was implied yesterday by the US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice. Rice told the press what the top priorities for the US turn at the helm of the Security Council for the month of September were. It is a presidency which coincides with the beginning of the next General Assembly, the 64th, which for 12 months will be chaired by Libya. For the first time, Gaddafi is awaited in New York along with dozens of other heads of state and government from around the world in the week set to begin on September 21. For the Libyan leader, there will be a number of different chances to cross paths with Obama: in addition to the Security Council meeting on September 24, Gaddafi may decide to chair the General Assembly on the day in which Obama is to speak, in addition to taking part in the leaders’ dinner traditionally called by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Gaddafi’s behaviour at the General Assembly and the UN Security Council “could aggravate” American annoyance,” but Rice said that she “hopes the Libyan leader take advantage of this opportunity to behave in a constructive manner”. She was responding to a question on Libya, after having noted that “virtually every American was offended by the warm welcome given to Abdelbaset al Megrahi”, sentenced for the Lockerbie hijacking in which 270 US nationals lost their lives, “in Libya on his return from Great Britain” last month. The ambassador said that the Libyan leader had given up the idea of setting up his tent in New Jersey after an uproar of heated debate against the plan. To a question on possible restrictions to be placed on Gaddafi’s movements, Rice said that “on the basis of indications by Libyan authorities, their intention is to limit (his) movements to New York City”. The participation by Gaddafi, who will be chairing the next UN General Assembly, is expected on September 24 at the Security Council, as Rice confirmed, saying that “it will be a general discussion, and no one country will be focussed on”. According to the US representative, “numerous if not all” of the heads of state and government of the 15 will be taking part in the Council meeting, the first ever chaired by a president of the United States. Everyone will have a chance to speak, “including President Gaddafi if he decides to take part, for five minutes or less”.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UNESCO: Farouk Hosni, ‘Time for Arab at the Helm’

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — Egyptian Minister for Culture Farouk Hosni (left side on the photo), a candidate for UNESCO general director, has today left Cairo for Paris, where he will be supporting his candidature in front of the 58 members of the UN executive council for culture, which will meet September 7-23 in the French capital. “The moment has come for UNESCO to be led by Arabs,” said Hosni yesterday in meeting with the press, according to reports in today’s state-run paper Al Gomhuery. Hosni, whose candidature has given rise to heated debate — with adversaries digging up old charges of anti-Semitism against him — said he would “do everything possible” to lead UNESCO since “this would be the first time for the Arab world”. The election, he added, “is dominated by very sensitive calculations and by political, economic and cultural interests on the part of all UNESCO member countries.” Hosni spoke in particular about the harsh campaign against him being waged by a number of Jewish organisations. According to informed sources cited by Al Gomhuery, the United States are thought to have given up their initial neutral position as concerns candidates and have begun to get involved in the campaign against the Egyptian. To this end, reported the paper, the US representative to UNESCO organised a meeting with 25 other member state representatives in a Parisian restaurant a few days ago. The sources also stressed that the United States has nominated a new representative to UNESCO, a Jew who is very hostile and aggressive against Farouk Hosni.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Arab Taxi Driver Attacked, Rabbis Against Violence

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, SEPTEMBER 3 — An influential rabbinic institute has urged the Orthodox community in Jerusalem to refrain from the use of violence, after an attack in the religious district of Mea Shearim (Jerusalem) on a Palestinian taxi driver. The man was surrounded by a group of young orthodox Jews when pulling over for a traffic light. He was beaten, his car was damaged and his takings of the day were stolen. The press spent much attention to the issue today. ‘Bet Din Zedek’ (the so-called ‘Court of justice’ of Jerusalem ultraorthodox factions) has published a document in which the religious are encouraged to continue their demonstrations for respect of the Sabbath day. At the same time the violence used against the police, government employees and innocent bystanders is condemned in the document. ‘Bet Din Zedek’ also delimits the area where the next demonstrations will take place and forbids children to participate. In the past weeks there have been various protests in Jerusalem against the mayor’s decision to open a public car park near the Old City on Saturdays. According to the orthodox Jews, that decision is a serious violation of the status quo.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Civil Fights: Don’t Make Me Laugh

There must have been something in the air last month: Two prominent Israeli leftists publicly acknowledged fundamental problems in the “peace process” that will make a deal unachievable if not resolved.

Aluf Benn, Haaretz’s diplomatic correspondent, articulated one problem in an August 7 column describing a conversation with a “senior European diplomat.” Benn posed one simple question: How would a deal benefit ordinary Israelis? The diplomat was stunned. Wasn’t it obvious? It would create a Palestinian state! After Benn pointed out that most Israelis care very little about the Palestinians; they want to know how peace would benefit them, the diplomat tried again: “There would be an end to terror.” “Don’t make me laugh,” Benn replied.

When the IDF withdrew from parts of the West Bank and Gaza under the Oslo Accords, Israelis got suicide bombings in their cities. When it quit Gaza entirely, they got rockets on the Negev. But the bombings stopped after the IDF reoccupied the West Bank, and the rockets stopped after January’s Gaza operation. In short, the IDF has done a far better job of securing “peace” as Israelis understand it — i.e., not being killed — than the “peace process” ever has.

NORMALIZATION WITH the Arab world is also scant attraction, Benn noted; most Israelis “have no inherent desire to fly El Al through Saudi Arabian airspace or visit Morocco’s ‘interests section.’“ And the downsides of a deal — financing the evacuation of tens of thousands of settlers and “the frightening prospect of violent internal schisms” — are substantial.

Benn’s conclusion from the conversation was shocking: Thus far, the international community has never thought about how a deal might benefit Israelis; that was considered unimportant.

But to persuade Israelis to back an agreement, he noted, the world is going to have to start thinking. For Israelis already have what they want most, “peace and quiet,” and they will not willingly risk it for “another diplomatic adventure whose prospects are slim and whose dangers are formidable.”

A week later, Prof. Carlo Strenger — a veteran leftist who, as he wrote, thinks “the occupation must end as quickly as possible” — addressed a second problem in his semi-regular Haaretz column. Seeking to explain why Israel’s Left has virtually disappeared, he concluded that this happened because leftists “failed to provide a realistic picture of the conflict with the Palestinians.”

For years, he noted, leftists claimed a deal with the Palestinians would produce “peace now.” Instead, the Palestinian Authority “educated its children with violently anti-Israel and often straightforwardly anti-Semitic textbooks,” failed to prevent (or perhaps even abetted) repeated suicide bombings in 1996, torpedoed the final-status negotiations of 2000-2001 and finally produced the second intifada.

But instead of admitting it had erred in expecting territorial withdrawals to bring peace, Strenger wrote, the Left blamed Israel: The 1996 bombings happened “because the Oslo process was too slow”; the talks failed because Israel’s offers were insufficient; the second intifada began because Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount.

In short, the Left adopted two faulty premises: First, “anything aggressive or destructive a non-Western group says or does must be explained by Western dominance or oppression,” hence “they are not responsible for their deeds.” Second, “if you are nice to people, all conflicts will disappear”; other basic human motivations, like the desire for “dominance, power and… self-respect,” are irrelevant.

Strenger concluded that if the Left “wants to regain some credibility and convince voters that it has a role to play, it needs to give the public a reasonable picture of reality.”

But the same could be said of the international community, which has also blamed every failure of the peace process on Israeli actions: settlement construction, “excessive force” against Palestinian terror, insufficient concessions, etc.

THOUGH BENN and Strenger were ostensibly addressing different issues, they are closely related. Leftists reinforced the West’s habit of blaming Israel for every failure, because they are the only Israelis that Western politicians and journalists take seriously. And this habit contributed greatly to mainstream Israelis’ view of the peace process as all pain, no gain.

First, because the world placed the onus on Israel, Palestinians never felt any pressure to amend their behavior, whether by stopping terror or by making concessions on final-status issues vital to Israelis. Israel has repeatedly upped its offers over the past 16 years, but the Palestinians have yet to budge an inch: Not only will they not concede the right of return, they refuse to even acknowledge the Jews’ historic connection to this land.

Second, while Israelis care very little about relations with the Arab world, they care greatly about relations with the West. Thus a major attraction of the peace process was the prospect of enhancing this relationship.

Instead, Israel’s standing, especially in Europe, has plummeted since 1993. Europeans now deem Israel the greatest threat to world peace. Anti-Semitic violence in Europe has surged. European and American leftists routinely deny Israel’s very right to exist, and calls for sanctions and divestment are gaining momentum. All this would have been unthinkable 16 years ago.

And this nosedive in status is directly connected to the fact that every time something goes wrong with the peace process, most of the West blames Israel. Indeed, the fact that Washington (pre-Barack Obama) was the one exception to this rule goes far toward explaining why Israel’s standing remains strong in America.

Because this knee-jerk response has remained unchanged for 16 years, Israelis are now convinced it will continue even after a final-status agreement is signed: The moment Palestinians voice a new demand post-agreement or engage in anti-Israel terror, the West will insist that Israel accede to the demand or refrain from responding to the terror, and vituperate it for not doing so. In short, Israel is liable to make all the concessions entailed by an agreement and still see its relationship with the West deteriorate.

The bottom line that emerges from both Benn and Strenger is that no peace deal is likely unless both the West and Israel’s Left radically alter their behavior. The million-dollar question is whether anyone in either camp is listening.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Gaza ‘Islamization’ Continues, Schoolgirls Told ‘Cover Up’

The new rules are being enforced on members the region’s small Christian minority as well

GAZA CITY, GAZA (ANS) — Gaza took another step towards strict Islamic law this week with the imposition of new dress codes on schoolgirls. Girls and young women returning to school on Sunday were told that they must wear jilbab, traditional Islamic sleeved robes, and cover their hair, or they would not be allowed to return to class.

This was revealed in a story by Maayana Miskin and posted on the website.

“Posters hung in Gaza City schools announced that all girls would be required to wear navy blue jilbab, a white headscarf, and white or black shoes. Dozens of students reported being sent home after appearing in school in jeans,” said Miskin.

“In addition, public high school classes have been separated, with boys and girls learning in different buildings.”

The story went on to say that according to some Gaza residents, the new rules are being enforced on members the region’s small Christian minority as well, despite the fact that Christians are generally considered exempt from following Islamic law. However, the laws have not been enforced within private Christian schools.

Hamas officials denied Monday that they were connected to the new school dress codes. The decision to enforce strict standards of dress was made at the local level, by individual principals, Hamas claimed.

Most girls and their families were in favor of the new dress codes, they added.

“Reports of a new school dress code caused anger in Judea and Samaria, where Palestinian Authority loyalists accused Hamas of violating the PA charter, which forbids the enforcement of a public dress code,” wrote Miskin.

“Earlier this month, a Gaza judge ordered that all female lawyers cover their hair in court. The decision caused a wave of protest from lawyers and human rights groups in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. Hamas distanced itself from that decision as well, saying the matter was a private issue for the courts to deal with.

“Several weeks ago, Hamas was accused of enforcing an informal dress code on women living in Gaza, and of allowing local militias to enforce strict standards of modest dress and behavior.”

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Israel Summons Norway Envoy to Protest Divestment From Arms Firm

The director general of the Foreign Ministry, Yossi Gal, on Thursday summoned the Norwegian ambassador to Israel, Jakken Bjørn Lian, to protest Norway’s decision to pull all of its investments from the Israeli arms firm Elbit.

Following the meeting, the Foreign Ministry relayed that, “Israel will consider further steps of protest in the future.”

Norway’s finance minister, Kristin Halvorsen, announced at a press conference in Oslo earlier in the day that the divestment was due to Elbit’s involvement in the construction of the West Bank separation fence.

According to a political source in Jerusalem, the Foreign Ministry had planned to issue a harsh statement of condemnation immediately after the announcement, but following the meeting with Lian the ministry decided to tone it down.

The explanations for the divestment provided by the Norwegian envoy at the meeting were apparently the reason for the ministry’s moderation of its response.

At the press conference, Halvorsen said the decision was based on the recommendation of Norway’s Ministry of Finance council on ethics, whose role is to ensure that government investments abroad meet ethical guidelines.

“We do not wish to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law,” said the minister. She said the shares were sold secretly ahead of the announcement.

Elbit manufactures a monitoring system installed on several parts of the separation fence.

The recommendation submitted by the Ministry of Finance council on ethics stated that it considered “the fund’s investment in Elbit to constitute an unacceptable risk of complicity in serious violations of fundamental ethical norms.”

The council is thus explicitly referring to a 2004 International Court of Justice ruling, stating that the separation fence represented a breach of international law.

Israel erected the fence following a wave of Palestinian terror attacks at the height of the second intifada; it says the barrier is a necessary measure to stop Palestinian suicide bombers and protect settlers. The Palestinians oppose the fence’s route, saying it is designed to grab land they want for a future state.

Palestinian as well as Israeli anti-occupation groups, aided by Norwegian leftists, have all protested extensively against Norwegian involvement in companies involved in West Bank development and construction over last two years, which have seen an increase in Norway’s investment in Israeli firms.

Norway’s pension fund is invested in 41 different Israeli companies.

A research project by the Coalition of Women for Peace called “Who profits from the occupation” found that almost two thirds of those firms are involved in West Bank construction and development.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

Kamikaze-Like Madonnas, Works Removed After Protest

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, SEPTEMBER 3 — Seven Palestinian suicide bombers depicted as Renaissance Madonnas holding the infant Jesus: the idea is a provocative one and it stems from two female Israeli painters, Galina Bleich and Lilia Check, who were due to present seven of their works at Tel Aviv’s press club, the Beit Sokolov. But such was the wave of protest that greeted their works, from political figures united with family and friends of victims of terrorist attacks, that the canvasses are to be removed from the premises. Interviewed by the daily paper Yediot Ahronot, painter Lilia Check spoke of having quizzed herself on the metamorphosis of a woman “who is supposed to be the incarnation of love and maternity” into an instrument of hate. Alongside the paintings, she noted, have been placed clumps of earth removed from sites where attacks have taken place, and their victims are commemorated. “We want to issue a warning that the present lull in violence could only be a temporary one”, she added. The opening of the show has been scheduled for this evening, but a Likud MP — writes Yediot Ahronot — has called for it to be closed. To begin with, the head of the press circle replied with a defence of the freedom of artistic expression, but then it was decided to remove the offending canvasses. Such has been the flood of protest stirred up by press previews of the show “Woman, mother, killer” that the journalists’ club has decided to review the exhibition’s contents. And so, as the legal advisor to the Ilan Bombach press circle told the press, the decision to remove the works was taken “in order to avoid offending public feelings”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Erdogan’s Honesty

The uncertainties surrounding the much-discussed entry of Turkey in the EU are brought home in this article posted at François Desouche. The article is a timeline from 1993 to the present, consisting of remarks made by Tayyip Erdogan over the 16-year period and presented in reverse chronological order. The readers’ comments shed more light on the contradictions inherent in this debate:

– June 26, 2009 — The head of the Turkish government, Erdogan, argued in favor of a “full and complete membership” in the European Union, and refused categorically a “privileged partnership.”

Note: The source given for the above is an article in Le Monde now archived. In the article, Erdogan deplored the slowness of the negotiations and pointed the finger at those countries responsible for the delays, including France and Germany.

– February 13, 2008 — In Cologne, the Turkish prime minister set fire to the gunpowder when he denounced the assimilation of migrants as a “crime against humanity.” The head of the German Christian Democratic Party (CSU) denounced the “Turkish nationalistic sermon on German soil” and posed the question “if in these conditions, it is still feasible to pursue the negotiations of accession” of Ankara to the European Union.

Note: The source for this second remark is an article from Le Figaro, still accessible. It deals with the tensions between Germany and Turkey and the divisions within Germany itself. However the most striking comments from Erdogan deal with his contempt for any kind of assimilation, and his wish to establish special Turkish schools in Germany, manned by personnel from Ankara. According to this article the German Left maintains a dewey-eyed idealism regarding multiculturalism, while the Right has, in the past, spoken of the “virtues of a German dominant culture.” And though the Right is opposed to Turkey in the EU, the Social Democrats (SPD) are favorable. Angela Merkel expressed willingness to increase the teaching of Turkish as a foreign language, but was less open to the idea of teachers being sent from Ankara to ply their trade in Germany.

– February 12, 2008 — Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, asked that Turkish schools and universities be established in Germany, where all teaching would be done in the Turkish language, in order to “respect differences.” The general secretary of the CSU, replied, “If you want a Turkish school, go to Turkey.”…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Impact: Calm — Then Sudden Death in Afghan War

[Such a Quranic Way to “Fight”: “Taliban Fighters Lying in Ambush”. a (Jewish) Good Friend of Mine Had Been Visiting This Cesspool of a Place in the Pre-Soviet Times and Was Telling How, To Say the Least, Strange This People is. AGF]

DAHANEH, Afghanistan — The pomegranate grove looked ominous. The U.S. patrol had a tip that Taliban fighters were lying in ambush, and a Marine had his weapon trained on the trees 70 yards away. “If you see anything move from there, light it up,” Cpl. Braxton Russell told him.

Thirty seconds later, a salvo of gunfire and RPGs — rocket-propelled grenades — poured out of the grove. “Casualty! We’ve got a casualty!” someone shouted. A grenade had hit Lance Cpl. Joshua “Bernie” Bernard in the legs.

A Marine and son of a Marine, a devout Christian, Iraq war veteran and avid hiker, home-schooled in rural Maine, Bernard was about to become the next fatality in the deadliest month of the deadliest year since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

The troops of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines had been fighting for three days to wrest this town in southern Afghanistan from the Taliban who had ruled it for four years. As dusk approached on Friday, Aug. 14, things had quieted down. The Taliban seemed to have gone. Another day had passed in the long, hard slog for U.S. troops serving on the parched plains and mountains of Afghanistan, in a war that has steadily intensified.

Then, as the Marines were enjoying some downtime, reports of mortar, machine-gun and sniper fire sent them scrambling again. The 11 Americans and 10 Afghan soldiers edged their way into the town’s abandoned bazaar. With them were Associated Press correspondent Alfred de Montesquiou, AP photographer Julie Jacobson and AP Television News cameraman Ken Teh.

Eyes scanning rooftops for gunmen and the ground for buried bombs, the patrol pushed past shops still smoldering from U.S. mortar shells, past Taliban posters on the walls exhorting the populace to fight the Americans. Bernard, his face daubed in gray and brown camouflage paint, was the point man.

A young Afghan in front of the family store showed the patrol a patch of upturned earth in a ditch. It was here that insurgents had fired their mortars a few minutes earlier.

“But don’t say I told you, or they’ll kill me,” the man said.

As he spoke, the Marines got word of the ambush being readied nearby. Two Cobra helicopters circling overhead fired Hellfire missiles at a mortar position. The Marines weren’t sure this had settled the matter with the Taliban. They pushed on.

Then they reached the pomegranate grove.


At first Jake Godby thought Bernard had stepped on an explosive device. Godby, a 24-year-old 2nd lieutenant from Fredericksburg, Va., quickly regrouped his men and directed the returning fire.

The squad found itself stuck under sustained and heavy fire with a wounded man on a narrow crossroad — buildings behind them, insurgents hidden in the orchard in front of them, and a large puddle from a broken water pump in the middle. Godby had the troops advance to the cover of a mud wall and an irrigation ditch. The orange streaks of bullets whizzing in every direction grew visible as the light faded.

“That’s when I realized there was a casualty and saw the injured Marine, about 10 yards from where I’d stood,” Jacobson would write in her journal. “For the second time in my life, I watched a Marine lose his. He was hit with the RPG which blew off one of his legs and badly mangled the other. … I hadn’t seen it happen, just heard the explosion. I hit the ground and lay as flat as I could and shot what I could of the scene.”

Bernard lay on the ground, two Marines standing over him exposed, trying to help. A first tourniquet on Bernard’s leg broke. A medic applied another.

“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Bernard said. Troops crawling under the bullets dragged him to the MRAP, the mine-resistant armored vehicle that accompanied the patrol.

“The other guys kept telling him ‘Bernard, you’re doing fine, you’re doing fine. You’re gonna make it. Stay with me Bernard!’ He (a Marine) held Bernard’s head in his hands when he seemed to go limp and tried to keep him awake. A couple more ran in with a stretcher,” Jacobson recalled in the journal.

“Another RPG hit the mud wall on the other side of the street from where we were, about 5 yards away. It was a big BOOM, and I just lay my face in the dirt and everything went quiet for about 10 seconds. It was just silence like I was wearing noise-canceling headphones or like world peace had finally descended upon the earth. The air was white with sand. Then I started feeling the rubble fall down around me. And I thought, ‘Is this what it’s like to be shell shocked? Am I all still here? I can’t believe I am.’

“I was fine and surprised at how calm I was and that I could actually still hear.”


The rocket-propelled grenade exploded in a powerful pinkish blast, lighting up the scene and briefly knocking out de Montesquiou and Staff Sgt. Alexander Ferguson. When Ferguson recovered, he helped haul Bernard inside the vehicle. Bernard was driven back to base some 500 yards from there, receiving first aid along the way. Minutes later, a helicopter evacuated him to Camp Leatherneck, the main Marine compound in southern Afghanistan. His vital signs were stable when he left.

At the ambush site, the fighting continued uninterrupted for 10 to 15 minutes. The men could see the grenades coming in at them, and even some of the machine gunners. They estimated they were facing six to eight fighters.

Adding to the confusion, an Afghan soldier with the troops fired his own grenade at the insurgents, but he hadn’t checked whether anybody was close by. A Marine was knocked out by the back-blast.

Another grabbed the Afghan by the collar. “Once he stopped shooting, we were able to get control of the situation,” Russell said.

Some Marines are uneasy patrolling with the Afghan National Army. For one thing, there’s a language barrier. During the shootout at the orchard, the patrol’s Afghan interpreter disappeared and took cover, leaving the Marines unable to coordinate their moves with the Afghan soldiers.

“They’re not lacking courage, they’re just lacking training right now,” said Russell, 22, from Stafford, Va. “At least they were shooting in the right direction.”

The fighting ebbed with nightfall. Godby and some of the Marines equipped with night vision glasses pushed deeper into the orchard, but the insurgents were gone. Intelligence pointed to three enemy dead, several Marines said, but it could not be confirmed.

That night, officers assembled the platoon in a darkened room of the run-down house where the Marines had camped after taking Dahaneh two days earlier. There the officers delivered the news: Bernard had died of a blood clot in his heart on the operating table. He was Golf Company’s third fatality since arriving in Afghanistan in May.

Bernard was the 19th American to die in Afghanistan in August. Fifty-one Marines, soldiers and seamen lost their lives that month. Of the 739 Americans killed in and around Afghanistan since 2001, 151 died last year and 180 so far this year.


Down a rural dirt road in New Portland, western Maine, John and Sharon Bernard sat on their porch and talked about their son.

Joshua, they said, loved literature and showed early interest in the Bible and Christianity. “He had a very strong faith right from the beginning,” his mother said.

His father described him as “humble, shy, unassuming — the very first to offer help.” He didn’t smoke or drink, and always opened the door for others. His main friends were his church group, whom he would visit when on leave, and his sister Katy, 20.

Bernard’s father is a retired Marine 1st sergeant. Three weeks before the Aug. 14 ambush that killed his son, he had written to his congressman, Rep. Michael Michaud, expressing frustration at what he described as a change in the Afghanistan rules of engagement to one of “spare the civilians at all cost.” He called this “disgraceful, immoral and fatal” to U.S. forces in combat.

Joshua loved videogames and snowboarding, and hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail with his father. He hoped to become a U.S. marshal.

“Service and personal honor,” is how his father summarized his son.


Three days after Bernard’s death, as his belongings were being packed for shipment to his family, Cpl. Joshua Jackson, his squad leader, was still referring to him in the present tense.

“He definitely doesn’t hesitate,” said Jackson, 23, from Copley, Ohio. “He’s very good, he definitely has the nerves to do what he’s needed to do.”

He called Bernard “a true-heartedly very good guy … probably one of the best guys I’ve known in my entire life.”

The hardest part is “just wondering if there’s something that I could have done different, or maybe prevented him from dying,” Jackson said. “But that’s something we’ve all got to deal with.”

“I think it’s got to do with being a Marine; you just carry on,” said Godby. That night he got two hours of sleep. Before dawn, his platoon took part in a raid on a suspected Taliban stronghold.

Bernard was determined, his comrades said. That’s why he was chosen as the squad’s point man and navigator, moving at the front of his unit.

Lance Cpl. Jason Pignon, 22, from Thayer, Ill., was his close friend. They had been in the same platoon since 2007 when they joined “the Fleet,” as Marines call the units preparing to deploy. They served together near Fallujah in Iraq in 2008, and again in Afghanistan.

During the firefight, Jacobson had wrestled with a question every war photographer faces: whether to offer to help save a life, or keep out of the way of the professionals and go on shooting pictures. She wondered whether the Marines would be upset that she went on photographing.

Some of Bernard’s comrades asked to see the photos. In her journal she described them flipping through the images she had captured that day:

“They did stop when they came to that moment. But none of them complained or grew angry about it. They understood that it was what it was. They understand, despite that he was their friend, it was the reality of things.”


It had all gone very quickly. It was late afternoon when the Taliban fired their first RPGs. It was dusk when the Marine was driven away in the armored vehicle. And it was night when the patrol returning to base saw the dark silhouette of the helicopter that flew him away.

Lance Cpl. Joshua “Bernie” Bernard was 21 years old.

           — Hat tip: A Greek Friend [Return to headlines]

Internet: Google Unveils Website Design for Arab Users

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, SEPTEMBER 3 — Internet search giant Google announced the launch of an Arabic version of Google Sites — a free application it claims will make the creation of a web site as simple as editing a document, Arabian Business online reports. Available to consumer, education and business users, the application will enable people to quickly gather a variety of information in one place — including videos, calendars, presentations, photos, attachments, gadgets and text — and easily share it for viewing or editing with a small group, their entire organisation, or the world. “The Internet has become the primary means of communication for many organisations, businesses, and individuals in their everyday lives,” said Wael Ghonim, regional marketing manager MENA. “Making Google Sites available in Arabic means Arab users can create a customised and sharable site within minutes, without using even a line of code. All it takes to start a new page is just one click.” Creating and editing a set of pages in a Google site requires no knowledge of HTML or web design skills. All content is instantly searchable, and Google Sites is accessible through any web browser. Google also confirmed the launch of four new Arabic editions of Google News for Egypt, Lebanon, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Users in these countries can now access Google News editions specific to their country and get the latest headlines on topics such as politics, business, sports, entertainment and more. Like all Google News editions, the computer-generated Arabic editions aggregate headlines from thousands of news outlets around the world, group similar stories together and link directly to the original sources that publish these stories. This enables users to search for topics they’re interested in, and read a wide variety of perspectives from different sources. It also enables publishers to expand their reach to a wider audience, thus increasing traffic to their site. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Obama’s “Near Miss” Over Turkey

TALK to senior politicians, officials and analysts close to Turkey’s membership talks with the European Union, as I did for this week’s column, and you hear a lot of criticism of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. By loudly suggesting that Turkey is not “European” and cannot become a full member of the union, Mr Sarkozy is accused of undermining the reform process inside Turkey, which cannot long survive if Turks decide that EU entry is not really on offer.

Yet for all that, I picked up an intriguing tale this week, suggesting that friends of Turkey in Europe-and President Barack Obama-owe Mr Sarkozy a considerable debt of gratitude.

My source is a (very) good one, so I will share the story with blog readers, with the caveat that I do not have a second source. (Because I could not fit this tale into my print column, I have not attempted to verify it independently).

The story concerns the disastrous episode in March when the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, suggested he might veto the appointment of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark’s then prime minister, as secretary-general of NATO. Supporters of Turkey’s entry were dismayed as Mr Erdogan linked his opposition to the 2006 row over Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. They were frankly appalled when Mr Erdogan seemed to imply he was acting for the wider Muslim world, telling Turkish television a “very serious reaction emerged in countries with Muslim populations” towards Mr Rasmussen during the cartoon crisis, and “now these countries have started to call us and tell us not to allow [his appointment as NATO chief].”

To friends of Turkey’s EU entry bid, including this newspaper, the country is meant to become a moderate bridge between Europe and the Muslim world, not a spokesman for its more reactionary elements. To many western governments, furious reactions to the cartoons in some Muslim communities and demands for a Danish government apology ran against cherished ideals of press freedom and independence of expression. It did not help when Mr Erdogan said Turkey was also angry that the Danish authorities had allowed a pro-Kurdish militant television station to broadcast from Denmark.

My source describes Mr Erdogan’s threat to block Mr Rasmussen was a “cardinal mistake”. But it was nearly made far worse by a second “cardinal mistake” from Mr Obama, who-my source says-was ready to give in to the Turkish demand and drop America’s support for Mr Rasmussen. According to my source, the day was saved by Mr Sarkozy, who told his American counterpart that if he gave way on Mr Rasmussen, he would spend the rest of his term in the White House “giving way to the Muslim world on everything”. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany rallied to Mr Sarkozy’s side, and the Turkish demand was finally rebuffed. In the judgement of my source, Mr Sarkozy has caused much trouble when it comes to Turkey, but “he did well there.”

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Shiites in Saudi Arabia Discriminated Against as “Non-Believers”

A report by HRW traces the marginalization of Shias in schools, courts, mosques, military, government, labour. Similarly (and perhaps worse) Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc are discriminated against.

Washington (AsiaNews) — Saudi authorities treat Shiite followers of Islam as equal citizens, by stamping out the “systematic discrimination” to which they are subject in the education, justice, work. This is what a report by Human Rights Watch, published yesterday calls for.

In the kingdom of Saud, Shi’ites represent 10-15% of the population, and are always treated as second class citizens. The Islam followed in Saudi Arabia is the puritanical Wahhabi, Islam which regards Shia as a betrayal of Islam and the Shiites as the atheists, no different to members of other religions.

In fact Saudi Arabia the practice of any other religion except fundamentalist Sunni Islam is forbidden. Temples, churches, pagodas are prohibited, as well as public displays of religious objects and private religious gatherings.

In defending the rights of the Shiites, the HRW report, of approximately 35 pages, begins with an incident last February in Medina, where some Shiite pilgrims clashed with the religious police (Muttawa), who monitor the implementation of Wahhabism and social customs. Following these clashes, there were many protests and arrests.

HRW gives voice to the demands of Shiites: equal opportunities in civil service and the army; the possibility of building their mosques and their courts, freedom to publish books. The human rights organization also suggests the possibility of sharing the holy places of Islam, Mecca and Media, among the different forms of Islam.

Among the various forms of discrimination, the report cites in particular those in the education system and in the judiciary, where the Shiite witnesses are often excluded by the courts because of their religion.

Since King Abdullah came to power, the influence of the muttawa has decreased and some glimmers of religious freedom are visible.

But the relationship between Sunnis and Shiites goes beyond religious intolerance. It involves political problems and difficult relations between Saudi Arabia and Shiite-majority countries such as Iraq and especially Iran.

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

South Asia

Satire: Obama Will Urge Kids to Go to Private School

News fairly unbalanced. We report. You decipher.

A draft copy of President Barack Obama’s planned September 8 address to America’s public school children, tells students that “If you want to grow up to be like me, you should beg your parents to put you in private school, right now.”

Although Obama attended public school in Indonesia early in life, he soon switched to a private Catholic school, and from fifth grade through graduation went to a private college-prep school in Hawaii. His own daughters now attend a private school in Washington D.C.

“Do you think you’re going to get into Harvard University with your one-size-fits-all public school diploma?” the president will reportedly say. “Come on! Don’t make me laugh. You’ll be lucky to survive through graduation. Seriously, you gotta get out of this mediocrity machine. Go ahead! Get up right now. Run for the door. What are you waiting for?”

While the White House would not confirm the content of the leaked speech draft, a spokesman acknowledged that “You don’t get to be as smart and cool as Barack Obama by sitting in P.S. 152, listening to some union lackey droning on, and then eating government surplus in the cafeteria.”

On Tuesday, the president will bypass parents, taking his message directly to kids in the classroom “in hopes that you’ll pester Mom until she gets a second job to pay private-school tuition so you can escape the swirling vortex of ignorance and despair that is our government-run school system.”

“The only thing standing between you and success,” the president will allegedly say, “is the mentality that the government will take care of you. Once you shake that, there’s no limit to your achievement. Pay any price. Bear any burden. Just get your fanny out of that fiberglass chair, go buy yourself an Oxford shirt, a pair of slacks and a clip-on tie, and go to a place that faces constant economic pressure to improve.”

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Far East

China’s National Flag to Go Up in White House on Sept 20

The national flag of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be hoisted at the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on September 20, media reported Sunday.

Chinese associations in the United States had applied to hold a ceremony in front of the US President’s residence to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of PRC.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

EU Accuses China of Greater Trade Protectionism

According to the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, Beijing is putting up more obstacles to foreign goods and services. Experts note all countries are taking protectionist steps. Planned social and labour market reforms are shelved.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China yesterday charged Beijing with reversing economic reforms to free up trade and raising instead trade barriers to squeeze foreign players out of mainland markets.

Although China has never been an open market to foreign goods and investors and has always pursued protectionist policies and favoured domestic businesses, it has on several occasions pledged to remove obstacles to free markets. As late as last June Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the mainland would create a level playing field for foreign companies and would not take any measures to discriminate against overseas companies and their products. At the same time such changes were seen as part of cooperative efforts to counter the global financial crisis.

Instead for example Beijing has been squeezing out European suppliers of technological solutions for mainland banks and telecommunications companies after imposing a requirement for government certification that it has failed to approve for foreign suppliers.

Similarly, in the vehicle sector foreign companies that want to set up manufacturing facilities on the mainland have to enter into a 50-50 joint venture.

The collapse of the merger between Coca-Cola and Huiyuan is another example of government interventionism, and this despite the Ministry of Commerce’s claim that the failed deal violated the country’s new competition law.

Experts have never the less pointed out that in the context of the present world economic crisis, all countries have adopted some form of protectionism.

But for European Chamber President Joerg Wuttke, this is an ideal moment for China to adopt a bolder cycle of reforms to liberalise capital markets and trade practices.

By contrast, Yi Xianrong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a central government think tank, said the EU should offer solutions rather than just criticising China. in fact European countries have far more advanced economies than China’s.

In the meantime the world economic crisis has greatly affected the mainland’s economy, leading to a collapse in exports towards the United States and Europe.

One consequence is that planned reforms to salaries, welfare and workers’ compensation have been shelved.

The European Union is China’s largest trading partner, with mainland exports accounting for 7 per cent of mainland GDP and EU exports to China at 0.7 per cent of the union’s GDP last year.

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

Korea: Missionaries Protest Mideast Restriction

Christian communities raised opposition to the governments move to restrict missionary activities in the Middle East.

International Christian Concern, a U.S.-based organization that helps persecuted Christians worldwide, said Tuesday that it objects to the government move, arguing it could infringe on the basic human rights of citizens to freely travel and enjoy freedom of religion.

“Though the government is entitled to take the measures in order to protect citizens … the proposed measures clearly violate those basic rights,” the ICC said in a press release posted on its website.

Out of safety concerns, the government is said to be considering revising the passport law to restrict Christians’ travel to countries from where they had been deported for religious reasons.

An increasing number of Korean Christians have recently been arrested and expelled by Islamic countries where missionary work is outlawed, exposing themselves and other Koreans to threats of terrorism.

A local civic religious group, named “Pray for President,” also criticized the government move as a “strong challenge to the individual’s religious liberty.”

“Although the missionary activity is taking place in a dangerous country, it is an activity conducted according to an individual’s private and religious conscience and calling. The responsibility will also be on that individual,” said the group in a statement.

“There is no ground whatsoever for the state to restrict a person’s own physical and mental activity.”

For the past two months, more than 80 Korean church workers have been expelled from Iran, Jordan, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, according to government officials.

Kidnappings and terrorist attacks against Koreans have increased in recent years, possibly due to the nation’s active support of the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

When Will China and Russia Come Clean About These Monsters?

If they woke up one morning to discover a giant portrait of Hitler in the centre of prosperous, democratic Berlin, Germans would be outraged. Yet China, a country that is freer and richer by far than at any time for 60 years, keeps its portrait of Chairman Mao, one of the cruelest tyrants in history, in a dominant position in Tiananmen Square.

Hitler’s war claimed a total of some 35 million lives, soldiers and civilians. Mao starved or murdered double that. Admittedly they were his own people, but then you might have thought the Chinese would be even keener to have his portrait removed, and the full truth told.

Meanwhile, in Russia, Stalin enjoys a creeping rehabilitation. Some of the truth came out in Khrushchev’s famous, denunciatory speech of 1956, but Stalin’s international actions are assigned to a different, patriotic realm. To this day Russians have been slow to make the link between the gulag at home and aggressive policies abroad: the Comintern, designed to promote Soviet-type revolution the world over, the invasion of Finland, the Baltic States and Poland at the onset of the war, the brutal subjection of Eastern Europe in its wake.

The man who slaughtered his top generals on the eve of Hitler’s onslaught, and when told that the Nazis had invaded simply refused to believe it, has gone down as the saviour of his nation. His tough domestic policies and ruthless diplomacy, such as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, we increasingly hear, were necessary to protect the country from the Nazi hordes.

It is true that Stalin and Mao succeeded in building up their countries’ strength and making them count in the world. In a pitiless dictatorship, you can get things done; Hitler did wonders for the German economy in the Thirties. But in the longer haul totalitarianism ran Russia into the ground economically, and deformed its spirit. In China, Mao’s Great Leap Forward (40 million dead), then his Cultural Revolution, beggared the country.

In Stalin’s fearsome Kolyma labour camp it was one inmate’s job to hack off the hands of starved and frozen corpses and hang them in rows, so they could thaw for finger-printing. In China’s remoter provinces, as a result of Mao’s famines, mothers gave their babies to each other, not wanting to eat their own.

Now that the Russians and the urbanised Chinese have access to more facts about their respective monsters, how can their governments fail to tell the whole truth, and nothing but? In essence the answer is: for governments there is never a good moment to incite the tensions and divisions truth-telling would bring, and in any case many people are in no hurry to know.

This is not to say there is no pressure to face up to the past. In China the official line — that Mao’s policies were 70 per cent “correct” and 30 per cent “incorrect” — was laid down in 1993 by Deng Xiaoping. Pressed by victims of the Cultural Revolution for greater honesty, he said that determining the exact balance was limited by “the situation”. The situation being that less educated Chinese can be nostalgic for the Mao era of the “iron rice bowl”, and that to go further might risk damaging the Communist Party’s leading position.

In Russia, there is a feeling of going backwards. Stalin was alarmingly well placed in a poll of the nation’s most revered historical figures. In the context of President Putin’s refusal this week to condemn him outright for the Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact, we should remember that 61 per cent of Russians have no idea that their troops invaded Poland on September 17 1939, weeks after it was signed. I doubt whether many want to know.

What can the West do to encourage Russia to face up to its past, and make its foreign policy less prickly? We have certainly shown our ability to make things worse, with our cack-handed policy of expanding Nato relentlessly eastwards, thereby nourishing Russian fears about encirclement. Who next for membership, China?

Such fears are not wholly manufactured to keep people loyal. Russia was invaded by Napoleon and Hitler, with unimaginable suffering. China will soon be a vastly more powerful country, Mao’s lunacies brought the countries close to war in 1969, and there is historical distrust between them.

Intelligent, open-minded, westernised folk I meet in Moscow become hyper-patriotic on the subject. The most striking thing about our policy on Georgia and the Ukraine is that the older generation of hard-line anti-communists in Britain and America were against it, because they knew their history. Younger politicians and commentators were panting to earn their Thatcherite spurs. But Thatcher was a realist, and in power I can’t imagine her committing herself to nuclear war with Moscow in defence of an unstable Georgian leadership.

Something else we can do is to expose revisionism, which is becoming fashionable in our own countries. A generation of younger historians is emerging with little or any experience of totalitarianism. Capitalism isn’t covering itself in glory, so inevitably we are seeing the question asked: seen in the round, were Stalinism and Maoism really so bad? They most certainly were. As a Russian journalist has written: “The Molotov-Ribbentrop cocktail has a delayed fuse. It explodes in people’s heads, mutilating the conscience of the Russian nation.” Failure to tell the truth about Mao mutilates China’s conscience too.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Australia: Dos and Don’ts of Discrimination

IF only the UN were just a comedy gig. When it is merely amusing, it has a harmless, otherworldly quality. Try listening to former foreign minister Alexander Downer recount his recent run-in with UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Littered with dulcet UN lingo such as “Reaffirming the important role of women” and “Expresses its willingness to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping”, the resolution calls for “gender mainstreaming throughout peacekeeping missions”.

Good for a laugh, sure enough this meant sending a gender officer of African extraction to meet Downer, who is now the UN special envoy to Cyprus. When Downer raised the gender mainstreaming idea with Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders involved in resolving the conflict, let’s just say there was Mediterranean bewilderment about the UN’s predilection for searching for gender discrimination under every stone.

Unfortunately, the UN’s assumption that discrimination is always a dirty word enters more dangerous territory closer to home. Last week a UN special rapporteur on indigenous human rights completed an 11-day fact-finding mission of the Australian government’s intervention in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. While James Anaya, an American professor of human rights law, said he would reserve final judgment until he concluded his visit, we all knew where this was going. The UN view from the transit lounge can focus only on the Big D, discrimination, and the Big R, rights. The government was discriminating against indigenous people by breaching several international treaties to which Australia was a signatory, entrenched racism infected the country and the Racial Discrimination Act needed to be reinstated to protect the rights of indigenous people, he said. No nuance enters the UN’s discrimination equation.

Having delivered headlines, the clever UN professor then went on his way, not offering up any of his own solutions to solve the dire conditions of Aboriginal women and children in remote Australia. Never mind the circumstances that led to the intervention. When Rex Wild and Aboriginal leader Pat Anderson crossed the country visiting 45 remote communities, they found abuse in every one of them. Never mind that the policy — restricting alcohol, requiring welfare money be spent on food and banning pornography — was introduced to stop the appalling abuse of indigenous children.

Imagine for a moment if Anaya had not succumbed to the UN’s default position where any hint of discrimination was derided as an abomination and Australia was given a standard UN bollocking.

Imagine if the UN sermon to the gathering press last week had focused on the need for indigenous people to be accountable for the crimes of violence and neglect so rampant in their communities. Imagine if talk about their rights had been matched with talk about their responsibilities.

Imagine if, instead of praising the new national indigenous representative body, Anaya had the pluck and insight to understand, as Noel Pearson does, that indigenous people do not need “another forum for victimhood” and agreed with Pearson that the proposed new body was “the worst result of all: the ability to complain but no ability to influence or take responsibility”.

Imagine, indeed.

Outside the UN, those who jumped on their wobbly high-horse of morality to oppose the NT intervention right from the start — such as Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma — have been equally gripped by the BigD and the Big R, regardless of the atrocities uncovered by the Little Children are Sacred report. A few weeks ago, former governor-general Bill Deane said he hoped the word intervention would be expunged from indigenous policy discussions. “I cringe with embarrassment every time I hear it,” he said, criticising the lack of indigenous participation in indigenous policy.

That lack of participation would be news to Sue Gordon, the indigenous woman who headed the Northern Territory taskforce to protect those most vulnerable from criminal acts within indigenous communities. The view from the city-based armchair and from the airconditioned offices of well-paid indigenous bureaucrats protecting their own power base pays little heed to Gordon’s plea last year that we listen to “what women and some men in the communities are saying about how (the intervention) has changed their lives”. Let Deane cringe with embarrassment if it means pursuing a policy where fewer children will cry with pain.

Sermonising about a rights agenda when you have no responsibility is too easy. Responsibility tends to focus the mind. Hence a hooray is due for the Indigenous Affairs Minister responsible, Jenny Macklin. She defended the intervention and responded to Anaya’s comments by saying: “For me when it comes to human rights the most important human right that I feel as a minister I have to confront is the need to protect the rights of the most vulnerable, particularly children.”

Whether the issue is solemn or trivial, the wider soft-left liberal mindset is equally unable to comprehend any kind of complexity where there is the slightest hint of discrimination. Men’s clubs are inherently evil — “a relic of earlier times”, according to Julia Gillard. The Deputy Prime Minister has publicly taunted them for not accepting Governor-General Quentin Bryce as a member. Last week, when Bryce was made an honorary member of Lyceum, the exclusive women-only club in Melbourne, the sisterhood had nothing to say about relics.

Now here’s a really thorny one. How to respond to recent reports in Britain where local municipal swimming pools have banned swimmers during certain hours unless they comply with a “modest” code of dress required by Islamic custom: women covered neck to ankle and men covered navel to knees. A “relic of earlier times” or culturally appropriate discrimination?

And what about religious schools? Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls has called for a review of the exemptions under the state’s Equal Opportunity Act that allow schools to hire on the basis of religious faith. That’s discrimination. It is also a basic exercise of the right to religious freedom. Will the Left’s legal crusader, Hulls, defend that right by using his Charter of Human Rights? Probably not.

Intellectually inconsistent carping about men-only clubs and religious schools pales into insignificance compared with the hollow morality of those who preach about discrimination in indigenous communities. Consider the sad irony that those hailed as protectors of human rights and seekers of social justice continue to give succour to an outdated mindset that has demonstrably failed our youngest and most disadvantaged citizens. Fortunately, it is a sign more sensible times have prevailed when these misguided people are increasingly relegated to the fringes of meaningful debate while ever small children suffer abuse and neglect.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Latin America

Exploiting the Horror of 9/11: American Fury at WWF Ad Showing a Hundred Planes Poised to Collide With New York

An advert designed for an environmental charity has been condemned for featuring an image in which dozen of planes are posed to collide with New York.

In an effort to raise awareness of potential environmental disasters and their resulting casualties, the designer twinned the depiction with the slogan ‘The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11’ and the Worldwide Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) logo.

Although it was published just once in a small Brazilian newspaper, it has provoked widespread outrage after being picked up by bloggers in the US.

The charity has since distanced itself from the image claiming it was simply a mock-up created by an advertising agency in a bid to get work, and not planned for release.

The agency, DDB Brasil, initially denied making the video version of the ad.

However it has since been revealed the agency had lied: Not only had it made the ad, it had submitted it to the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in June. The entry and credit can be found online.

The comparison of the 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is thought to trivialise the victims and suffering suffered by the former event.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


Book Review: Europe and Islam

A treacherous path?

A pessimist’s view of what Islamic immigration may be doing to Europe

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West. By Christopher Caldwell. Doubleday; 422 pages; $30. Allen Lane; £14.99. Buy from,

IN APRIL 1968 Enoch Powell, a Tory cabinet minister, destroyed his political career when he denounced mass immigration as a disaster (“like the Roman”, he said, “I seem to see ‘the river Tiber foaming with much blood’“). Today Powell’s arguments, if not his classical allusions, are becoming dangerously mainstream.

Christopher Caldwell is an American journalist who writes for the liberal Financial Times as well as the conservative Weekly Standard. He has spent the past decade studying European immigration, travelling widely and reading voraciously in an impressive variety of languages. His controversial new book repeatedly echoes Powell’s warnings all those years ago.

Mr Caldwell argues that “Western Europe became a multi-ethnic society in a fit of absence of mind.” European policymakers imported people to fill short-term job shortages. But immigrants continued to multiply even as the jobs disappeared: the number of foreign residents in Germany increased from 3m in 1971 to 7.5m in 2000 though the number of foreigners in the workforce did not budge. Today immigrants account for about 10% of the population of most west European countries, and up to 30% in some of Europe’s great cities.

Policymakers were even more mistaken about culture than they were about numbers. They assumed that immigrants would quickly adopt the mores of their host societies. But a surprising number of immigrants have proved “unmeltable”.

Mr Caldwell argues that the reason why so many immigrants failed to assimilate can be summed up in a single word: Islam. In the middle of the 20th century there were almost no Muslims in Europe. Today there are 15m-17m, making up about half of all new arrivals in Europe.

For the most part European countries have bent over backwards to accommodate the sensibilities of the newcomers. A French law court has allowed a Muslim man to annul his marriage on the ground that his wife was not a virgin on their wedding night. The British pensions department has a policy of recognising (and giving some benefits to) “additional spouses”.

But European public opinion is tiring of such bending. Mr Caldwell cites a poll that shows that only 19% of Europeans think immigration to be a good thing for their country; 57% think that their country has “too many foreigners”. Such numbers have recently forced politicians to adjust their policies.

Many countries are tightening their immigration laws, shifting to a skills-based immigration system and setting citizenship tests for would-be immigrants. The French have banned girls from wearing veils in schools. British politicians, such as Tony Blair and Jack Straw, have denounced the veil as a symbol of separation. The old welcome-mat seems to have been replaced by a “Love it or leave it” sign.

For Mr Caldwell this is all a matter of too little too late. Europe’s indigenous population is ageing fast, with a quarter of it over 60. Immigrants have large families. Moreover, Europe is no match for Islamic self-confidence: “When an insecure, malleable, relativistic culture meets a culture that is anchored, confident and strengthened by common doctrines, it is generally the former that changes to suit the latter.”

Mr Caldwell’s unremitting pessimism about Europe raises all sorts of questions, both large and small. Are Europeans really as feeble as he asserts? They have discovered that some principles are non-negotiable in their relations with Islam, particularly women’s rights. And is Islam really as self-confident? The willingness of so many Muslims to take offence at any slight-a cartoon here, a novel there-could be a sign of profound cultural anxiety.

Mr Caldwell is also worryingly selective in his use of evidence. He all but ignores the multiple examples of upward mobility and successful integration. He dwells on the fact that many Muslim men feel emasculated by the success of their women without bothering to wonder why so many of the women are successful.

That said, this is an important book as well as a provocative one: the best statement to date of the pessimist’s position on Islamic immigration in Europe. Supporters of liberal policies need to sharpen their arguments if they are to prevent neo-Powellism from sweeping all before it.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Schools May Lose Funding for Ignoring Immigrants

[Comment from Tuan Jim: Very interesting, very long comment at the bottom — worth a read. — of course, I don’t think a private school should be accepting gov’t money to begin with either.]

City tells private schools to accept children from immigrant families or risk council funding cuts

A City Council majority backs a proposal to cut funding for private schools that do not adhere to Copenhagen’s integration policy of equal distribution of children from non-Danish ethnic backgrounds.

The integration policy involves spreading children with refugee and immigrant backgrounds across schools in the city to help them assimilate to Danish life and prevent ghettoisation.

Social Democrat councillor Jan Andreasen said it was fine that the independent schools received subsidies as they had made some excellent education innovations. ‘But their subsidies are a bit too much and at the same time we have the problem of well-off parents choosing private schools ahead of public schools,’ he told Berlingske Tidende newspaper.

The Social Democrats, Socialist People’s Party and Red Green Alliance are behind the proposal to cut 10 percent of a school’s council subsidies if it fails to accept children of non-Danish ethnicity.

On the flipside, if schools accept these children, they will receive extra contributions in acknowledgement of the cost of educating children from socially vulnerable backgrounds.

The proposal will be debated next week, then go through parliament for ratification as a special Copenhagen policy.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Denmark: MP Prepared to ‘Break Law’ To Help Iraqis

Church vicar accused of hiding rejected asylum seekers — MP urges people to hide Iraqi refugees

Red Green Alliance MP Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen is encouraging people to help on-the-run refugees and Brorson’s Church Vicar Per Ramsdal appears to have revealed to an undercover journalist that he has helped many of the rejected Iraqi asylum seekers go into hiding.

There are an estimated 90 rejected Iraqi asylum seekers hiding from authorities in Denmark.

Last night, Schmidt-Nielsen posted a message on Facebook page that read: ‘would willingly break the law with a recommendation: help the refugees that have gone underground if you can’.

She stood by the statement speaking to Berlingske Tidende newspaper today, adding that she would willingly help someone if their life was in danger ‘and accept the punishment for it’.

When asked if she should be setting a better example as an MP, Schmidt-Nielsen said her conscience would not allow her to turn away someone in trouble. Meanwhile, a BT journalist posing as someone willing to shelter on-the-run Iraqis contacted Per Ramsdal, the vicar of the Nørrebro church in which many of the Iraqi refugees had been sheltering until last month.

Ramsdal told the reporter he had helped many of the Iraqis find secret accommodation and provided a point of contact between the Iraqis and those willing to house them.

Immigration laws state that anyone found aiding someone to remain in the country illegally can be fined up to 5000 kroner, but legal experts say the punishment may be extended to a jail term for anyone caught repeatedly helping illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, The Danish People’s Party is calling on Ramsdal to be fired.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

EU Plan in the Right Direction, Frattini Says

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 3 — The plan drawn up by the EU-27 and presented yesterday in Brussels for the redistribution of refugees from non-EU countries is “very positive” and “a step in the right direction”, according to Franco Frattini, quoted in Il Messaggero. He said that he was satisfied with the “encouraging signs” from the Union on the problem which, he insisted, “is not an Italian one but an European one. Or, better yet, a global one”. The joint programme laid out on the table yesterday by the European Commission, “even if it is an EU initiative,” stressed the Italian minister for foreign affairs, “is specifically aimed at the resettlement of refugees from other countries and upholds the principle that there is the need to involve an ever greater number of member states in these policies.” According to Frattini, it is “the first step towards a redistribution of refugees that I hope will become obligatory for all 27 states.”(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Finland: Court Upholds Deportation of Egyptian Grandmother

The controversial decision to deport an Egyptian grandmother from Finland has been upheld by the Helsinki Administrative Court. The court’s decision is in line with the policy of the Finnish Immigration Service.

The court ruled that the family ties between 64-year-old Eveline Fadayel and her relatives constituted insufficient grounds for granting a residence permit. Under current law, a foreign elderly relative must be totally dependent on her family to be allowed to stay in Finland.

Fadayel has lived in Vantaa with her sons for two years. The woman’s sons and grandsons are Finnish citizens. She was denied a residence permit because grandparents are not considered as part of the nuclear family in Finland.

The Administrative Court declared its decision as classified.

Authorities handed the Egyptian grandmother a deportation order this summer. The Helsinki District Court granted a stay on implementation of the order until September.

ayel’s family members in Finland say she is unable to live on her own in Egypt, where she has no relatives. As a Coptic Christian, she also faces persecution there.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Finland: Border Guard Probes Restaurants’ Hiring of Immigrants

The Border Guard is investigating a number of possible cases of arranging illegal immigration in the Kymenlaakso and Loviisa areas of south-eastern Finland. Officials suspect restaurateurs of bringing in illegal workers from abroad on several occasions.

The restaurant owners are suspected of arranging cheap labour for themselves in this manner over a period of several years.

The restaurants in question are foreign-owned and represent the low end of the price spectrum, says Lt. Jan Sundell of the Border Guard, who is heading the investigation.

He declined to say which countries the cheap labourers come from.

As part of the probe, the Border Guard, Kymenlaakso Police and tax authorities made joint raids on several restaurants in the Kotka and Hamina areas on Wednesday.

Last spring, they carried out searches of homes in Loviisa and Porvoo based on similar suspicions.

Preliminary investigations are likely to go on for several months.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

FPÖ Back Berlusconi in Immigration Spat

Right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) leaders have backed Silvio Berlusconi over his handling of immigration in Italy.

The Italian Prime Minister yesterday (Weds) threatened to boycott the workings of the European Union (EU) after European Commission (EC) officials said they would ask the Italian government to clarify why migrants trying to reach Italy were recently sent back to Libya.

EC spokesman Dennis Abbot said the EC may investigate whether the 75 people — mainly from war-torn Somalia and Eritrea — had been robbed of their right to asylum.

FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache and the opposition party’s MP, and head of the parliamentary “friendship group Austria — Italy”, Peter Fichtenbauer, said today an “anti-Berlusconi attitude” from the Austrian government, including particularly Vice Chancellor Josef Pröll, was “inappropriate.”

Fichtenbauer said: “Berlusconi is right in opposing the EC spokesman interfering in Italian issues. It is easy to comment on developments from Brussels without enough knowledge of the extreme complexity of Italy’s situation, mainly because of its geography.”

Pröll said yesterday he opposed Berlusconi’s attack on the EC, arguing there should be no muzzles handed out in a democracy.

Strache said criticising Berlusconi was “not appropriate or helpful.”

“The harsh reaction of Berlusconi to comments from Brussels is understandable,” he added.

The FPÖ has caused public outrage by issuing controversial campaign slogans and making announcements which political rivals have labelled “xenophobic” and “racist” dating back to when late right-wing icon Jörg Haider took over in 1986.

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

Immigration Lawyer Disbarred After Lying About Client’s Work History

A Falls Church immigration lawyer has been disbarred in Maryland after pleading guilty to fraud after he was caught lying about a client’s past work history.

A split state Court of Appeals upheld an earlier disbarment order against Jose Expedito Garcia, saying the public needed to be protected against his “egregiously poor judgment.”

Garcia pleaded guilty to fraud two years ago after federal immigration officials caught him after he signed a false “certification of employment” that said his client had been a caregiver in the Philippines, court records show. Garcia was sentenced to spend 10 weekends in prison and pay a $750 fine.

The client was trying to get a green card to work as a “geriatric caregiver/nurse aid” in Leesburg, court records show, but his passport showed that he had been on a boat when he was supposed to be giving care.

In asking that he not be disbarred in Maryland, where he was licensed, Garcia said in court records that he “falsely signed what he believed to be a true statement for the purpose of saving a client’s ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to apply for a green card.”

But the Court of Appeals said it would be”fatuous” to suggest that Garcia’s actions were mitigated by the fact that he was trying to help his client and didn’t personally profit from the fraud.

Rule violations “are not justified by reference to the ends when illegal methods are utilized,” the court said.

Three of the seven appeal judges dissented with the majority opinion and said Garcia’s punishment should mirror the one-year suspension of his law license he received from the New York Supreme Court, where Garcia was also licensed.

Lawyers can practice federal immigration law in Virginia without being licensed by that state’s bar association.

As of Monday, Garcia had not been subjected to any disciplinary measures by the federal Executive Office of Immigration Review, which has the authority to discipline lawyers who practice federal immigration law, according to the office’s spokeswoman.

Garcia could not be reached for comment and his lawyer declined to discuss his current work situation. A receptionist at the law firm where he used to work — Calonge, Garcia and Associates — said he is no longer associated with the firm.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Sweden Mulls Mandatory Classes for Refugees

The government will shortly introduce reforms proposing that it be obligatory for all refugees arriving in the country to take part in a society orientation course to facilitate their establishment in Swedish society.

“Integration involves more than just self-support and language knowledge, it also involves feeling involved in and an affinity with society,” wrote Integration Minister Nyamko Sabuni, from the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), in an article on her Ministry website, which was also printed in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper’s debate page.

“All people who live and work in Sweden must be familiar with the meaning of democracy, equality and respect for all people’s equal worth, and young people’s freedom to make their own life choices,” she wrote.

The government will shortly present a reform designed to speed up the process of newcomers’ establishment in the workplace. A large part of the reform will deal with the division of responsibility and governance of establishment efforts for people arriving for the first time in Sweden. But the reform will also deal with new arrivals feeling involved in and an affinity with their new country.

The minister suggests the reform is needed due to the changing nature of immigration to Sweden.

“Earlier immigrants were mostly work immigrants. They learned Swedish quickly and were integrated within Swedish society through their work colleagues. But in the last decades a much larger proportion of those who are granted permanent residence have come to Sweden seeking protection,” she wrote.

The inquiry — “Self responsibility — with professional support” — which is the basis for the proposed reform, emphasises the increased need for new immigrants to receive information about society. Accordingly, the government will shortly initiate a consultation to take forward the proposal and to consider the appropriate content, format and scope of the orientation course.

The reform represents a major overhaul of Sweden’s structures and policy relating to the integration of immigrants. The responsibility for educating immigrants about the traditions, rules and structure of Swedish society earlier rested with the language programme Swedish for Immigrants (‘svenska för invandrare’), or SFI, until this responsibility was transferred to county councils two years ago. SFI now only provides language tuition for new arrivals.

“The type of information that new arrivals receive therefore depends upon which county council they live in, and it is also unclear how many immigrants really take part in the society information sessions,” Sabuni wrote.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Protesters Show Solidarity With Swiss Hostages

Some 50 people have demonstrated outside the United Nations in Geneva to express their solidarity with the two Swiss nationals held in Libya and their families. The federal government this week urged Libya to comply with an accord with Switzerland and allow two Swiss businessmen, held for 412 days, to leave the country.

“The government did exactly what it had to do,” Stephane Valente, the organiser of the demonstration and local Swiss People’s Party councillor, told

“It’s now up to the Libyan authorities to take on their responsibilities.”

“All Swiss should be here to show that they are fed up,” said Geneva doctor Bertrand Buchs. “Maybe they’ll return tomorrow or in three months’ time. You can’t predict the decision of one man who is determined to annoy right up to the end.”

Two weeks ago Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz travelled to Tripoli to sign an accord and to apologise for the arrest of the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife were accused of abusing their domestic staff during a stay in Geneva.

Merz was given assurances by the Libyan prime minister, al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, that the Swiss businessmen would be allowed to return home by September 1. However, to date they have still not received the necessary permission to leave. Their departure has been blocked as a result of alleged immigration violations.

On Friday Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz told business leaders in Zürich that he had no new developments to report.

“But everything must be undertaken to enable the two nationals to leave, not just because their situation is gruelling but because the efforts are symbolic,” said Merz.

“It should be made clear that Switzerland is concerned that if its nationals get into such difficulties abroad they are able to return home.”

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

In Loco Parentis

“Liberals have long realized that, if they can win the battle over what is taught in schools, they will win elections.” -Phyllis Schlafly, Townhall

Barack Obama’s plans to reach out to millions of suggestible school children has met with parental consternation. Their collective alarm is a bit tardy. Radical Leftists already have control of the public school system. The grand doyen of public education is Obama’s cherished comrade, Bill Ayers. Dumbing down of an entire nation

Decades of entrusting the federal government with our children’s education has led, inevitably, to the dumbing down of an entire nation. Our public school system has failed to provide the most basic and elementary skills, while at the same time functioning as a ministry of propaganda for left wing causes.


Bill Ayers’ textbooks are currently in use in 1500 schools; they are among the most widely used of all texts . Ayers is opposed to achievement tests in favor of activism. Ayers is very influential in public education; the US Department of Education lists 15 high schools whose mission statements declare that their curricula centers on “social justice”.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Plans to Systematically “Embed Positive Behavior” Into America’s Kids

As CFP reported here, the White House has since withdrew their call for students to help Obama, claiming it was an “honest misunderstanding.” The address was meant to be an “inspirational, pro-education” message as opposed to a pro-Obama narcissist exercise.


Moreover, as CFP reported, prior to the 2008 Presidential elections, on September 27, 2007, then Senator Obama introduced the “Positive Behavior for Effective Schools Act” in the Senate. Obama’s education bill, S.2111, significantly redesigns and amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to allow, in part, for “State…local educational agencies, and schools to increase implementation of early intervention services particularly school-wide positive behavior supports.”

According to Section 3, “the term ‘positive behavior support’ means a systematic approach to embed proven practices for early intervening services, including a range of systemic and individualized strategies to reinforce desired behaviors and eliminate reinforcement for problem behaviors, in order to achieve important social outcomes (emphasis added)…”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sweden: ‘Taxpayers Should Not Have to Fund Feminist Porn’

The idea of feminist porn may be attractive to some but there is no reason for the state to cough up half a million kronor to fund its production, argues Beatrice Fredriksson, a member of the Moderate Party’s youth organisation and author of the Anti-Feminist Initiative blog.

Thursday September 3rd sees the premiere of Mia Engberg’s ‘Dirty diaries’, a feminist porn movie funded by the Swedish Film Institute. Engberg received 500,000 kronor ($69,000) from the Institute to make the movie.

Engberg has also tried to make feminist porn before, which has resulted in a lesbian porn film and a film of women’s’ facial expressions at the point of orgasm. Her vision is to get make the porn industry more appealing to women, all in the name of feminism. She also claims that women’s sexuality is more multi-faceted than men’s.

But to argue that girls having sex with girls and women masturbating is somehow a good alternative to mainstream porn feels like a completely alien concept to me, and to many other women. Furthermore, most people would agree that the state should not fund pornography. And when it does, should it really only benefit women, all in the name of equality? If a man had sought and received similar funding for ‘regular’ porn, it wouldn’t have taken long before there was an outcry from supporters of equality between the sexes.

Although the market catering for women’s sexuality is increasing, it is still limited. There can be no doubt that the porn industry is dominated by men. It is therefore not the idea of developing the industry in favour of women that is upsetting — this is something that many women would welcome — it is the fact that it is happening with our tax money under the cloak of feminism. By labeling lesbian sex as feminist, it also contributes to the prejudiced notion that the equality debate is all about excluding men and privileging women.

In my opinion, one of the main reasons the porn industry is male-dominated and not particularly attractive to women is that ‘regular’ porn movies often feature a great deal of sex between women. Being heterosexual, it is not very exciting to watch. Oddly, it seems to have the opposite effect on men. Lesbian porn is far from the solution to creating a porn market that appeals to more women. While it might very well broaden the market for people with different sexual orientations, it should not trade under the banner of feminism.

Engberg’s aim — to make mainstream porn less mainstream, and complex rather than flat — is definitely not something that the state should be paying for, regardless of whether it is lesbian or feminist porn. If the state was to sponsor alternative genres in every field just to create more options, the costs would soon be astronomical. Just because some of us don’t enjoy mainstream music like Britney Spears, which we maybe find flat and lacking in nuance, it doesn’t mean we should expect the state to fund underground metal music. In the same way, the fact that Mia Engberg doesn’t like mainstream porn does not mean the state should sponsor feminist or lesbian porn.

It’s not so long since Sweden’s Feminist Initiative received 400,000 kronor from the state to fund its educational programme. Soon afterwards, Engberg was given 500,000 for feminist porn. You don’t have to be a genius to work out that feminism has earned a special status and has somehow been deemed deserving of people’s tax money in order to fund everything from seminars to pornography.

It’s saddening to see that respect for taxpayers’ money is almost non-existent. While everyone is of course in favour of equality, there is no consensus that it can be achieved through feminism, or feminist pornography for that matter. The fact that there is a woman wanting to make alternative porn for women, maybe even only involving women, does not make it any more deserving from a gender equity standpoint. Men do not get the same kind of sponsorship, and ‘male’ pornography is denied the status of art seemingly merited by ‘female’ porn. Surely the question of whether you prefer the naked body of a man or a woman is very much a subjective matter.

Women will eventually have their needs represented on the market as demand increases. If we women want more alternatives, as increasingly seems to be the case, we will make our own demands on the market and output will increase. If we don’t want to watch girls having sex with other girls, we should not pay for it, either voluntarily or through taxes. The state does not need to redistribute our money to places where it believes it is wanted.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Art is subjective. For the state to decide that feminist porn is art but ‘regular’ porn is reprehensible is little more than paternalistic moralising and sends out all the wrong signals in the equality debate. Equality is an important issue, but it should never function as a cloak for state funding of ideologies that are somehow deemed correct in the eyes of the authorities.

In a democracy people should be able to decide for themselves the ideas and values they would like to sponsor, and what is and what is not art. People’s morals are a private matter and it should be up to each individual whether they want to pay for feminist porn — or something else entirely.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/4/2009

  1. So the Shi’ites are getting discriminated against by the Sunni? Nooooo that would never happen….. they are such a peaceful people. Islam is the religion of peace remember…..

    I think all the politicians of today are strict Goebbels supporters……

    If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

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