Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/8/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/8/2010Due to the climate change crisis here at Schloss Bodissey, a number of excellent tips were left by the wayside, so this is a truncated version of the news feed. With luck we will return to normal tomorrow night.

Last year it seemed obvious that the first major currency to collapse would be the U.S. dollar. Then it was sterling that seemed to teeter on the brink. Now it’s the euro, and Greece is simply the first eurozone country to keel over, with more ailing euro-economies to come.

In other news, a death caused by heroin-related anthrax has occurred in Germany, apparently caused by the same source as the nineteen cases that have appeared so far in Scotland.

Thanks to 4symbols, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Lurker from Tulsa, McR, Paul Green, Steen, TB, Vlad Tepes, Zenster, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Financial Crisis
Euro Near 8-Month Low Against Dollar on Greece Fiscal Crisis
Fatalities Reported After Massive Explosion at Connecticut Power Plant
Man Attacks Tulsa Strip Club Patrons With Shovel
TSA Forces Richmond Airport to Issue Access Badge to Convicted Felon
Europe and the EU
Denmark: Editor of Uriasposten Attacked by Left-Wing Radicals
France: Burqa-Clad Bank Robbers Stage Hold-Up
German Death Linked to Scots Anthrax Outbreak
Ireland on Islamic Finance Track
Ireland: Court Ruling Could Lead to End of Jury Trial System
Ireland: Muslim Asks Court to Let in Second Wife
NATO: Noble Manta 2010 Exercises Begin in Mediterranean
The EU’s Horrible Honeymoon
UK: ‘Islamist’ Emails From Tower Hamlets Council Address Sent to UKIP
UK: Christian Teacher Sues Over ‘Racist’ Pupils Aged Eight
UK: Controversial Met Chief Ali Dizaei Found Guilty of Perverting the Course of Justice
UK: Depressing Report on Antisemitism
UK: Patient Dies in Hospital After ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Form is Mistakenly Put in His Files
UK: Passengers Left Stunned After Muslim Bus Driver Pulls Over and Begins Praying in the Aisle
UK: The Town Where Pupils Speak 150 Different Languages
UK: White Cliffs of Dover to be Sold to the French to Help Reduce Government’s Debt
North Africa
The Journey of a German Ambassador to Islam
Middle East
Hillary Clinton Says Al-Qaeda Groups Pose Bigger Threat Than Iran or North Korea
South Asia
Afghanistan: Taliban Make Children Plant Ieds to Thwart Army Snipers
New Video Shows Taliban Flogging Men, Boy
Pakistan: Lahore, Muslim Lawyers Will “Burn Alive” Anyone Who Defends Murdered 12 Year Old Christian
Special Forces Assassins Infiltrate Taliban Stronghold in Afghanistan
Culture Wars
Christian Churches Fed ‘Islam Lite’
Gov. Who Linked Christians, Violence Latest Obama Pick
U.N. Gun Ban Faces Pre-Emptive Attack

Financial Crisis

Euro Near 8-Month Low Against Dollar on Greece Fiscal Crisis

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — The euro traded near an eight-month low against the dollar on concern a European Union summit this week will fail to address Greece’s fiscal crisis, damping demand for assets in the region.

The 16-nation currency was close to the weakest in 11 months versus the yen after EU President Herman Van Rompuy said yesterday the Feb. 11 summit will focus on long-term economic strategy, making no direct reference to Greece. The yen dropped against 14 of 16 major counterparts amid speculation importers and traders sold the currency to profit from recent gains.

“Investors won’t be willing to take the risk to buy higher-yielding currencies unless organizations such as the European Central Bank and EU speak up to rescue Greece,” said Masahide Tanaka, a senior strategist in Tokyo at Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., a unit of Japan’s second-largest bank. “If investors switch their attention to the fragility of Europe’s economy, euro weakness may accelerate.”

The euro traded at $1.3658 as of 10:38 a.m. in Tokyo from $1.3649 in New York yesterday. It dropped to $1.3586 on Feb. 5, the lowest since May 20. The European currency was at 121.97 yen from 121.81 yen. It slid to 120.71 on Feb. 5, the weakest since Feb. 24, 2009. The dollar was at 89.29 yen from 89.26 yen.

Europe’s currency dropped 1.3 percent last week against the dollar as Greece struggled to deal with its budget shortfall, the largest in the European Union. The country is trying to convince investors that the deficit, now at 12.7 percent of gross domestic product, can be brought down to the bloc’s 3 percent limit.

‘Worst Possible Signal’

“We are trying to implement a very difficult stability and growth program to which we are fully committed,” Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said in an interview with Bloomberg Television yesterday. “The worst possible signal which we could be sending out is one calling for outside help.”

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet will today depart a meeting of policy makers in Sydney a day early to attend the EU summit, ECB spokeswoman Regina Schueller said.

Trichet was in Sydney attending a symposium organized by the Reserve Bank of Australia to mark its 50th anniversary. Schueller said Trichet left early in order to make better flight connections and declined to comment further.

The yen declined versus on speculation Japanese companies sold it to take advantage of the currency’s 3.4 percent rally in the past week against the euro.

“Importers and those who have long positions are selling the yen,” said Hideaki Inoue, chief manager of foreign-exchange and financial products trading at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp. in Tokyo. “This may be a short-lived position adjustment.” A long position is a bet an asset will rise.

The 14-day relative strength index of the euro versus the yen was at 24.61 today, staying below 30 for a fourth day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, a sign the currency may be poised to change direction.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


Fatalities Reported After Massive Explosion at Connecticut Power Plant

A natural gas leak could be to blame for a huge explosion at a Connecticut power plant killing multiple people and injuring at least 14 others, The Hartford Courant reported.

Al Santostefano, the deputy fire marshal in Middletown, told The Associated Press the explosion happened at 11:17 a.m. Sunday at the Kleen Energy Systems plant there and portions of the building blew away.

Santostefano said 50 workers were inside the building at the time of the explosion.

He told the Courant early signs point to the explosion being related to natural gas, but the cause was still being investigated.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Man Attacks Tulsa Strip Club Patrons With Shovel

TULSA, OK — A man was hospitalized after attacking patrons in a Tulsa strip club with a shovel, according to police. The attack was foiled by bouncers who intervened.

The man walked into Night Trips, 3902 South Sheridan Road, at about 10:25 p.m. brandishing a large shovel. Police at the scene said the man started swinging the shovel at people in the club until he was stopped by club security.

Night Trips bouncers subdued the man in the parking lot outside the club. He was transported by EMSA to a Tulsa hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Other than a few bruises on the bouncers, no one else was injured in the attack.

There was no immediate word as to the man’s identity or his motive in the attack.

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

TSA Forces Richmond Airport to Issue Access Badge to Convicted Felon

In today’s episode of “what did the TSA do this time?”, the agency is under fire for not only hiring a convicted felon, but demanding that his assigned airport issue him an access badge.

The unidentified TSA employee was hired by the agency after passing their background checks — but when he applied for his airport badge, Richmond airport turned him down, citing a conviction for robbery when he was 18.

When the airport denied the badge application, the TSA demanded that they reconsider, citing “unspecified consequences” if they refused. To me, this sounds an awful lot like blackmail.

The employee had not mentioned the conviction on his TSA application, and it doesn’t look like it it would have mattered, because the TSA claims he actually committed the crime when he was 17, and that they don’t really care about a conviction at that age.

The airport access badge is required to obtain access to the “sterile” area of the airport, including the baggage sorting areas and airline parking spots. Of course, the job of a TSA agent also includes passenger and luggage screening — something convicted felons should not be allowed to do if you ask me.

Politicians are now getting involved, and U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor has asked the TSA to clarify their actions. Given the recent bad press for the TSA, it never ceases to amaze me how they continue to screw up, creating even more bad PR. Lesson to be learned? If you are a criminal planning to protect our skies, make sure you don’t commit any crimes after your 18th birthday.

What do you think?

           — Hat tip: Zenster [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Denmark: Editor of Uriasposten Attacked by Left-Wing Radicals

[Kitman translated from the Sappho article]

While covering a so-called “anti-fascist” demonstration on the town square of Aarhus a group consisting of 8-10 masked left-wing radicals assaulted Kim Møller, editor of the popular political blog Uriasposten. Kim Møller and a friend accompanying him, were both hit to the ground with bottles and kicked repeatedly, as they were leaving the demonstration they had been photographing.

The attack happened openly on the street in broad daylight in front of a big crowd.

In spite of lesions to the head and heavy bleeding, the victims seem to have escaped the attack without lasting injuries.

The Free Press Society views the incident as a horrifying assault on free speech, and the possibility of covering escalating activities of left-wing radicals and other events by the press. This assault committed by “anti-fascist” attackers, seems to be inspired by the terror unleashed by the German “stormtroopers” in the final years of the Weimar Republic, before Hitlers take-over in 1933.

The attack is the most serious example of the fascist violence, which has been allowed to spread throughout danish society in later years. Violence intended to suppress free speech, freedom of the press and thus our democracy as such.

On these grounds Free Press Society intends to contact justice minister Brian Mikkelsen, and demand that he explain, what he intends to do to fight the fascist violence taking place on our streets.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

France: Burqa-Clad Bank Robbers Stage Hold-Up

Two burqa-wearing bank robbers have held up a post office near Paris, using a handgun concealed beneath an Islamic-style full veil, court officials said.

Staff let the pair through the security double doors of the banking branch of the postal office on Saturday, believing them to be veil-wearing Muslim women, before they flipped back their head coverings and pulled out a gun, officials said.

They made off with 4,500 euros ($A7,112) seized from the staff and customers of the branch in Athis Mons, just south of Paris, according to the online edition of Le Parisien newspaper.

Police have opened an investigation.

France is seeking to restrict use of the head-to-toe Islamic veil on the grounds it is incompatible with French values, after a parliament report called for a ban in schools, hospitals, government offices and public transport.

The leader of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-wing party in parliament has already presented a bill to make it illegal for anyone to cover their faces in public on security grounds.

Sarkozy has declared the burqa “not welcome” in secular France and favours legislation to outlaw it, though he has warned against stigmatising Muslims.

According to the interior ministry, only around 1,900 women wear the burqa in France, which is home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

German Death Linked to Scots Anthrax Outbreak

The death of a drug user in Germany has been linked to the anthrax outbreak that has killed nine heroin users in Scotland.

Tests by the Health Protection Agency and German scientists show the strain of the infection is indistinguishable from cases in Scotland.

The results suggest the anthrax contamination in both countries could come from a common source.

In Scotland there have been 19 confirmed cases of anthrax infection.

The outbreak began with the identification of cases in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in December.

Fourteen of the confirmed cases in Scotland had the same strain of anthrax while the others are being investigated.

Health Protection Scotland said typing on the sample isolated from the German patient, who died in mid-December, has confirmed it is also of the same strain.

A further case of anthrax in a patient living in London with a history of heroin use has also been confirmed by the agency.

This individual developed symptoms at the end of January 2010. Investigations are continuing but no obvious connections to Scotland have been identified.

Evidence suggested that contaminated heroin may still be in circulation, and drug users across Scotland have been warned to remain vigilant.

Head of the national outbreak control team, Dr Colin Ramsay, said: “Drug users are advised to cease taking heroin by any route if at all possible.

“While we appreciate that this may be extremely difficult advice to follow, it remains the only public health protection advice possible based on current evidence.”

He said filters would not make heroin safe for drug users.

He added: “Users should seek urgent medical attention in the event of symptoms such as redness or swelling at or near an injection site or other symptoms of general illness such a high temperature, chills or a severe headache, as early antibiotic treatment can be lifesaving.”

Anthrax is a deadly bacterial infection which occurs mostly in animals in Asia and Africa.

Humans are seldom infected and it is extremely rare for anthrax to be spread from person to person.

           — Hat tip: 4symbols [Return to headlines]

Ireland on Islamic Finance Track

CAIRO — Seeking to get a share in the growing Islamic finance industry, the Irish government has presented a new bill allowing Shari’ah-compliant financial transactions, reported the Irish Times on Friday, February 5.

“(The measure is) one of the most significant boosts for the IFSC [International Financial Services Center] in the last decade,” said director Brendan Kelly.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan on Thursday proposed amending tax laws to allow Shari’ah-compliant transactions.

The changes would help to “make Ireland the location of choice as firms rebuild in the aftermath of the global economic crisis,” Kelly said.

The new provisions will treat returns on Shari’ah-compliant products as interest for taxations purposes.

The proposed amendments were included in the Finance Bill presented to the Irish parliament on Thursday.

Though the amendments are confined to wholesale financial markets for the time being, they are expected to be expanded to include retail banking in the near future.

The measure covers a range of credit transactions and allows for the creation of investment securities similar to sukuks (Islamic bonds).

Islam forbids Muslims from usury, receiving or paying interest on loans.

Islamic banks and finance institutions cannot receive or provide funds for anything involving alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons or pork.

Shari’ah-compliant financing deals resemble lease-to-own arrangements, layaway plans, joint purchase and sale agreements, or partnerships.

Investment Magnet

The government hopes the move will boost the Republic’s attractiveness to Islamic financial services.

“Permitting and then encouraging different, non-Anglo Saxon or non-Western, forms of financing and investing is a most welcome announcement,” Aidan Walsh, Corporate Tax partner with Ernest & Young, said.

“(This measure) will help further enhance our international attractiveness.”

A report by Ernst & Young showed last week that Ireland has the world’s third most globalized economy.

“Ireland has benefited tremendously from globalization with over 80% of our goods and services exported internationally,” Walsh said.

The Islamic banking system is being practiced in 50 countries worldwide, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the global financial industry.

Starting almost three decades ago, the Islamic banking industry has made substantial growth and attracted the attention of investors and bankers across the world.

A long list of international institutions, including Citigroup, HSBC and Deutsche Bank, are going into the Islamic banking business.

Currently, there are nearly 300 Islamic banks and financial institutions worldwide whose assets are predicted to grow to $1 trillion by 2013.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Ireland: Court Ruling Could Lead to End of Jury Trial System

THE EUROPEAN Court of Human Rights is considering a case that could lead to the end of the current system of jury trial, The Irish Times has learned.

However, the Government has robustly defended the Irish jury system in a document submitted to the court.

This follows a decision last year from the human rights court, in a case against Belgium, that a man had not received a fair trial because the jury in his case had not given reasons for their decision.

If this decision becomes the authoritative view of the Strasbourg court it will have to be followed by the Government as a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights. This would lead to a fundamental change in the centuries-old system of jury trial.

The Irish observations state that the judgment “could have the most profound implications for the Irish legal system, where trial by jury is the ordinary method of trial provided for under the Constitution in the case of all prosecutions for non-minor offences”.

In the recently concluded Lillis case Mr Justice White made a reference to this case and the issue of a jury being asked for reasons for their decision. This suggestion was opposed by both counsel for the defence, Brendan Grehan, and for the prosecution, Mary Ellen Ring, who pointed to the Government’s position as outlined in its “observations”.

In the event, the jury indicated that they came to a verdict of manslaughter on the basis they did not consider the prosecution had proved Lillis intended to kill his wife.

The Belgian case involved a man called Richard Taxquet, who was convicted in October 2004 of murdering a government minister and attempting to murder his partner a decade earlier.

He claimed that his right to a fair trial had not been respected in that the verdict of the 12-person jury had not included a statement of reasons.

The court agreed, stating: “It is important, for the purpose of explaining the verdict both to the accused and to the public at large . . . to highlight the considerations that have persuaded the jury of the accused’s guilt or innocence and to indicate the precise reasons why each of the questions has been answered in the affirmative or the negative.”

It also found that his right to a fair trial had been violated in that he had not been able to examine witnesses who were anonymous.

This judgment was a “Chamber judgment” of the court, and so is not authoritative. It must be agreed by the 17-judge Grand Chamber to become part of the body of case law of the Strasbourg court.

Belgium, as the state party, has sent in a response to the judgment, and the Government has sent in its “third party observations”. It is likely that the UK government, which has a similar jury system to the Irish one, has done likewise. All of these will be considered by the Grand Chamber when coming to its decision.

In its “observations” the Government comments that there are very significant differences between the Irish and Belgian criminal proceedings, including that the Irish system is adversarial rather than inquisitorial.

It challenged the validity of the reasons outlined by the court for coming to its conclusion, stating that it did not take into sufficient account the diversity of criminal legal systems in contracting states; the fundamental nature, purpose and importance of the jury system in many contracting states; the long acceptance by citizens of that system; and its lengthy historical provenance.

The Government has also taken issue with the other part of the ruling at the European Court of Human Rights that the anonymous witness should have been available for cross-examination. It stated Ireland had an interest “in ensuring the protection of anonymous police informers, while being able to use the information they provide in a manner consistent with the guarantee of a fair trial”.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Ireland: Muslim Asks Court to Let in Second Wife

A Muslim is taking a landmark High Court case demanding that the Irish state recognise his polygamous marriage.

The man is from Lebanon, where polygamy is permitted. He is married to two women and has been granted Irish citizenship.

Seven years ago the Department of Justice refused to grant the man’s first wife a visa. The Lebanese entered Ireland with his second wife and claimed asylum. His first wife did not arrive until much later. The man has children with both women.

After its decision was challenged, the justice department agreed to quash its refusal to issue a visa to the first wife. But as part of this settlement the man is required to ask the High Court to rule on the validity of his marriage under section 29 of the 1995 Family Law Act.

The state and the wives are all represented in the case. The residency rights of both spouses will depend on the decision. A number of similar cases are awaiting the outcome.

Legal experts say section 29 applications are usually brought to determine if foreign divorces are valid in Ireland. Britain has agreed to recognise marriages in countries which allow polygamy, as long as a man has married just once.

Liam Egan, a member of the Muslim Public Affairs Congress, accused Ireland of discriminating against Muslims in polygamous families. “It is draconian to treat this family differently,” said Egan.

“Ireland discriminates against Muslims seeking citizenship by asking them to sign an affidavit. The state should not be interfering in families like this. It is silent on adulterous affairs but the moment you try and do something honourable by bringing a woman into a marriage, even a polygamous marriage, there is an issue.”

In 2004 the justice department introduced a requirement that Muslims seeking naturalisation sign a form confirming they had only one wife and would not marry a second one.

The department said: “The Irish Supreme Court in 1989 determined that polygamous marriages and potentially polygamous marriages are not valid and not entitled to recognition in Irish law.

“There is a case involving an individual before the courts dealing with this particular issue and, as such, the department is not in a position to comment any further at this time.”

According to Egan, the Koran says that Muslims can marry up to four women but only if they can provide financial support and “love each of them equally”. He said there are polygamous marriages in Ireland “but it is rare enough because of the recession”.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland said the case highlighted the need for the government to address gaps in immigration legislation dealing with family reunification. It wants rules about who qualifies to live in Ireland as the family member of an Irish citizen or migrant.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

NATO: Noble Manta 2010 Exercises Begin in Mediterranean

(ANSAmed) — NAPLES — Ten NATO member countries (Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, Spain, the United States of America and Turkey) will participate in the annual ‘Noble Manta 2010’ anti-submarine exercises, which take place in the Mediterranean from February 10 to 24. Seven submarines, eight navy surface units and 18 aircraft and helicopters used in naval patrols will be deployed in the Ionian Sea off the south-east coast of Sicily in training a multi-national force in anti-submarine, anti-surface and coastal surveillance operations. Procedures for current and potential operations, including counter-terrorism defence procedures, will be practiced during the manoeuvres. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The EU’s Horrible Honeymoon

by Paul Belien

Last week, Barack Obama snubbed the Europeans by refusing to attend next May’s European Union summit in Madrid. The Europeans are very upset. But that is not the worst of their problems, and neither is the looming bankruptcy of Greece. Analysts fear that Spain might sink the euro, the EU’s common currency, and with the euro also the dreams of greater political integration.

At this point Europe is not even halfway its 100-day political “honeymoon” since the Treaty of Lisbon, which transformed the EU into a state in its own right, came into force. So far the honeymoon has been a nightmare. Since the beginning of the year, the EU’s currency, the euro, is on the brink of collapse; Greece has been placed under EU financial supervision to prevent it from going bankrupt. Now U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that he will not attend next May’s EU summit in Madrid. It was to have been Obama’s first visit to post-Lisbon Europe — the consecration of the new political order.

Washington informed Brussels last week that Obama is not coming because it is not clear who is his European counterpart. Since the Lisbon Treaty came into force on January 1st, Europe has its own President, Herman Van Rompuy. This former Belgian politician chairs the European Council, the assembly of the heads of government of the 27 EU member states. However, there is also José Manuel Barroso, a former Portuguese politician, who is the president of the European Commission, which is the EU’s executive body. And there is José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister, who is hosting the Madrid meeting and as such co-chairs the summit meeting of the EU heads of government with Mr. Van Rompuy.

Messrs. Van Rompuy, Barroso and Zapatero all want to be the first to shake Mr. Obama’s hand and receive the deep bow which the American President is in the habit of making to foreign leaders. Because of the embarrassing intra-European squabble about who should have the honor, Obama has declined the invitation until the Europeans have figured out which of them is the most important.

Obama’s decision has come as an unexpected blow to the European leadership. It has upset them so much that they are considering postponing the summit to the autumn. Meanwhile, they have begun quarreling about who is to blame for the present debacle. The Europeans generally agree that the vainglorious Zapatero is mostly to blame, but others are damaged more. “The Spanish have made a mess of the summit but Van Rompuy and the post-Lisbon EU institutions will carry the can in the long term. The squabbling has damaged the EU in the eyes of the most powerful nation in the world,” a senior EU official said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Islamist’ Emails From Tower Hamlets Council Address Sent to UKIP

TOWER Hamlets council has launched a disciplinary enquiry over pro-Islamist emails sent to a London Euro-MP.

Two e-mails, with a town hall address, attacked proposals by the UK Independence Party to ban Muslim face coverings, including burkas and hijabs, in public places and accused the party of trying to “stoke a religious war on the streets of Britain.”

London MEP Gerard Batten has lodged a formal complaint with Tower Hamlets council and is demanding to know what disciplinary action will be taken against any individual found responsible for sending the emails.

The emails, which have been linked to a Town Hall employee’s email account, were sent last month.

One message said: “Teenage pregnancies, binge drinking, that is what is associated with British culture. Islam is the dominant religion in the United Kingdom. If you don’t like it, go live somewhere else.

“Alcohol, pornography, anti-social behaviour, sexual deviancy; these are the things in Britain that need to be banned.”

A second email, entitled “You will be banned under Islamic rule” said: “Islam is the dominant religion in the UK. And the world. May Allah throw your mocking back on your soul.”

Mr Batten, who was re-elected as London’s UKIP MEP last year. He said the views expressed in the e-mails could qualify as a hate crime and that the party was considering reporting it to the police.

He said: “Personally I believe that the individual may hold or express his bonkers religious views so long as they are within the law, and so long as he keeps them outside of his employment with the council.

“However, the views could qualify as a hate crime.”

A council spokesman told the Advertiser: “Tower Hamlets council takes any allegation of this nature extremely seriously and has robust procedures to deal with such issues.

“We can confirm this allegation of improper conduct by an employee is currently being investigated through council’s established disciplinary processes and are unable make any further comment at this stage, until the investigation is completed.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

UK: Christian Teacher Sues Over ‘Racist’ Pupils Aged Eight

A Christian teacher yesterday claimed he was forced out of his job after complaining that Muslim pupils as young as eight hailed the September 11 hijackers as heroes.

Nicholas Kafouris, 52, is suing his former school for racial discrimination.

He told a tribunal that he had to leave his £30,000-a-year post because he would not tolerate the ‘racist’ and ‘anti-Semitic’ behaviour of Year 4 pupils.

The predominantly Muslim youngsters openly praised Islamic extremists in class and described the September 11 terrorists as ‘heroes and martyrs’.

One pupil said: ‘Don’t touch me, you’re a Christian’ when he brushed against him.

Others said: ‘We want to be Islamic bombers when we grow up’, and ‘The Christians and Jews are our enemies — you too because you’re a Christian’.

Mr Kafouris, a Greek Cypriot, taught for 12 years at Bigland Green Primary School in Tower Hamlets, East London.

According to Ofsted ‘almost all’ its 465 pupils are from ethnic minorities and a vast proportion do not speak English as a first language.

The teacher claims racial discrimination by the school, its headmistress and her assistant head after they failed to take action about the comments made by pupils to him.

He said there was a change in attitude of the pupils after the atrocities of September 11, 2001. They told him: ‘We hate the Christians’ and ‘We hate the Jews’, despite his attempts to stop them.

He said he filled out a Racist Incident Reporting Sheet but claimed headmistress Jill Hankey dismissed his concerns.

In a statement submitted to the Central London Employment Tribunal he said: ‘Miss Hankey proceeded to excuse and justify the pupil’s behaviour, conduct and remarks to me as if I had no right to be offended by the child’s remarks and conduct.

‘Amongst Miss Hankey’s justifications for the child’s remarks, she said, “If the child was older, say 15, I might take it more seriously. He’s only nine — he’s only doing it to wind you up”.’

He added: ‘I felt the head’s behaviour and conduct towards me amounted to direct religious discrimination. I was intimidated in the way she spoke to me which indicated “Don’t come back with such issues again”.’

Mr Kafouris, a bachelor, said the comments became more frequent after the head did nothing about the initial incidents.

‘In late November and December 2006, a number of unacceptable and blunt racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian remarks were being made by various children in Year 4 where I taught, such as, “The Twin Tower bombers are heroes and martyrs”.

‘Some children were expressing delight at the death and killing of people of other cultures and religions.

‘In the last week of November 2006 a child was talking about stabbing another child and I told him this was dangerous talk and that a lawyer had recently been stabbed by teenagers. His reply was, “I’m glad that man died”. “Why?” I asked. “Because he’s a Christian and English and we’re Muslim”.’

He claimed that during a religious education lesson about Jonah and the whale, one of the pupils asked if Jonah was a Jew, before shouting: ‘I hate the Jews, they’re our enemies.’

Mr Kafouris said he again tried to speak to Miss Hankey about it. ‘The head’s response was hostile and offensive again. The very first thing she said to me was, “Oh, you again! You’re the only teacher that reports these things! Nobody else does!”

‘Four times she repeated, “It’s because of your lack of discipline that they’re saying these things”.’

Mr Kafouris was signed off with stress by his GP at the end of February 2007 after assistant head Margaret Coleman warned him not to challenge the pupils in class about their remarks.

He says the lack of support from the school has made him clinically depressed and unable to work. He was sacked in April last year.

The case continues.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

UK: Controversial Met Chief Ali Dizaei Found Guilty of Perverting the Course of Justice

Britain’s most senior black police officer was found guilty today of threatening and falsely arresting a man in a petty row over money.

Commander Ali Dizaei, 47, was convicted of misconduct and perverting the course of justice at London’s Southwark Crown Court.

A jury found he attacked Iraqi Waad al-Baghdadi, 24, before arresting and attempting to frame him.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Depressing Report on Antisemitism

Today the Community Security Trust released its report on antisemitism in 2009. It is the most depressing report ever, with levels of attacks on Jews and and antisemitic harassment — both verbal and physical — at a level not witnessed in this country for generations. Indeed, the 924 cases reported reflect an increase in over 50% from the previous record high in 2006.

You can read the executive summary here (PDF) or download the full report here (PDF).

The Report sites the war in Gaza at the beginning of last year as a “trigger event”. Generally any heating up of hostilities in the Middle East triggers a spike in antisemitic incidents.

Critics of the report will no doubt take the acknowledgement of this link to argue that this is evidence that “criticism of Israel is conflated with antisemitism”. But this is certainly not the case, as the report is very clear about. In fact, about one-third of incidents reported to the CST were rejected as being “antisemitic” because they appeared on investigation, specifically anti-Israeli or merely critical of Israel without the use of antisemitic terms or images. An example of a rejected report was one of a car vandalised because it had an Israeli flag sticker on the back window.

When considering that more than 1 in 3 reports is rejected, we can see how scrupulous the CST has been to avoid allowing people to conflate criticism of Israel or Zionism in general with antisemitism.

Even so, the question remains why British Jews — of all religious or ethnic minorities — alone are targeted in connection with foreign events. People do not rampage through Soho’s China Town smashing the windows of Chinese shops whenever there’s some incident in Tibet. There are some fantastic Persian restaurants in West London, surrounded by shops and bakeries of an Iranian flavour. I doubt any of them felt they had to board up their windows during the recent unrest in Iran.

But Jews, particularly those who appear ‘visibly’ Jewish, have to go on the alert if violence erupts over 3,500 km away…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

UK: Patient Dies in Hospital After ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Form is Mistakenly Put in His Files

A patient who suffered a heart attack on a hospital ward died because clerical staff had mistakenly inserted a ‘Do Not Attempt Resuscitation’ form into his medical notes.

Peter Clarke was not treated by doctors after going into cardiac arrest as a nurse had spotted the form in his files and, even though it was blank and had not been filled in, told other ward staff he should not be revived.

The blunder emerged at an inquest into the incident at Derby Hospitals NHS Trust, where bosses revealed staff had been ‘routinely’ placing the forms alongside medical records before they had been correctly signed and witnessed by senior doctors.

The errors go against the usual Trust policy on using the forms and mean the documents were inserted into files without the consent of patients.

It has affected an unknown number of patients and it is not known how long the practice was going on.


Medical staff said it was unlikely Mr Clarke would have survived attempts to revive him. But an investigation showed the blank DNAR forms were being routinely filed into patients’ records. Father-of-two Mr Clarke had served in the RAF and then worked at the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Passengers Left Stunned After Muslim Bus Driver Pulls Over and Begins Praying in the Aisle

A Muslim bus driver stunned passengers when he pulled over and started praying in the aisle — with the engine still running.

The driver parked without warning then rolled out a fluorescent jacket as an improvised prayer mat.

He took off his shoes, knelt down facing Mecca, and began to chant.

The prayer session held up the bus for more than five minutes with no-one able to get on or off.

Passenger Gayle Griffiths complained to Transport for London about the bizarre incident on the No.24 bus in Gospel Oak, north London, this week.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: The Town Where Pupils Speak 150 Different Languages

Schools in just one town are having to cope with pupils who speak 150 different languages, a survey has found.

They range from the Ghanaian dialect of Akan, through the African language of Chichewa and the ancient Aztec tongue of Nahuatl to the Indian language of Telugu.

This is as well as the more common foreign languages of Urdu, Punjabi and Polish.

The survey in Reading, Berkshire, shows how schools are being put under mounting pressure by the rising levels of pupils who do not speak English as their first language.

In a bid to ease the burden, Reading Borough Council, is offering discounted English lessons for both children and adults.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: White Cliffs of Dover to be Sold to the French to Help Reduce Government’s Debt

For generations Dover has stood as an indomitable symbol of Britain’s freedom and independence.

The town, with its white cliffs, port and sprawling castle stood at the very edge of the nation’s frontier with the Continent.

But now part of that proud history is up for sale and the leading bidder is revealed as the former age-old enemy — France.

The Port of Dover is being recommended by Government advisers for sale to the French authorities.

It is one of a string of public assets which have been earmarked for privatisation as the Government battles with a record £830billion national debt.

The proposal for the port has prompted outrage.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

North Africa

The Journey of a German Ambassador to Islam

An Interview with Dr. Murad Hofmann (Part 1)

Interviewed By Raya Shokatfard

When I heard the name, Dr. Hofmann, listed as being one of the speakers at the Fanar Expo in Qatar, I was pleasantly surprised. Would I get to meet one of the greatest Islamic dignitaries of our time?

We were both commissioned to give lectures to non-Muslim audiences in the very well organized Expo sponsored by the Qatar Ministry of Endowment, aimed at providing a better understanding of Islam to non-Muslims as well as new Muslims.

I had heard about him previously, but never thought I would ever have the opportunity to meet him, —and here he was, staying at the very same hotel as I was.

I decided to contact him by phone, and he graciously accepted my offer to meet.

As I walked toward him in the lobby, I saw a big difference between this Dr. Hofmann and the one from the picture I had seen previously — perhaps a 20 year difference in age.

A kind-looking, grey-haired man greeted me, and only his face told me he was the man I was to meet, as the hair had taken a major color change.

He first wanted to tell me that he found many Muslim children in one of his lectures in this Expo. He was moved to pay special attention to them, thus turning the lecture into a question and answer forum for the kids. His face looked gracious and kindly as he talked about the children’s enthusiasm to ask and learn. He was also pleasantly surprised to see so many Arab kids speaking and understanding English very well.

I was rather embarrassed to ask such a renowned dignitary to tell me his conversion story to Islam. So I asked if there was any material I could read about him which told his story. He said, yes, the Diary of a German Muslim, which is written in German, and Journey to Islam, in English. He went on to say that these books were also translated into many languages, including Arabic.

I was still too reserved to say that although I would be very interested to read the book, I still wanted to hear some of the story from him personally. So, I asked if there was a short version of his story. He said, “Yes, you could find it in Wikipedia, but it only tells part of the story.”

Then he started asking me about my own story. I knew that mine was a long one, and it was not the time for my story, but rather, his. But how to begin?

Without asking, he sensed what I wanted. He began by telling me that three things were the deciding factors for his conversion.

The first was when he was a diplomat to Algeria…

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Hillary Clinton Says Al-Qaeda Groups Pose Bigger Threat Than Iran or North Korea

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday that while North Korea and Iran are the nations that pose the biggest security threat to the U.S. because of their pursuit of nuclear weapons, the greater danger is from the “transnational, non-state networks” of al-Qaeda branches around the world.

Asked on CNN’s State of the Union to name the country that is most dangerous to the U.S., Clinton said, “In terms of a country, obviously a nuclear-armed country like North Korea or Iran pose both a real or a potential threat.”

Clinton said attempts to engage with North Korea had “brought us a lot in the last year” but “not to the extent we would like to see.”

She said that Iran has not yet progressed to possessing nuclear arms, but said “We believe that their behavior certainly is evidence of their intentions, and how close they are may be subject to some debate. But the failure to disclose the facility at Qom, the facility to accept what was a very reasonable offer by Russia, France and the U.S. through the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to take their … their low- enriched uranium and return it for their research reactor … It’s like an old saying that if you see a turtle on the fence post in the middle of the woods, he didn’t get there by accident, right? Somebody put him there.”

But Clinton said, “I think that most of us believe the greater threats are the transnational non-state networks, primarily the extremists — the fundamentalist Islamic extremists who are connected, al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, al Qaeda in the Maghreb, I mean, the kind of connectivity that exists.”

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was the group that armed and trained a 23 year old Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to bomb a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, an attack that failed when the explosives concealed in his clothing failed to detonate.

The al-Qaeda groups around the world “continue to try to increase the sophistication of their capacity, the attacks that they’re going to make,” Clinton said. “The biggest nightmare that any of us have is that one of these terrorists member organizations within this syndicate of terror will get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction. So that’s really the most threatening prospect we see.”

Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan said on NBC’s Meet the Press that, in the past, al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula had been focused in the past on “carrying out attacks in Yemen, against our embassy, a year and a half ago in Saudi Arabia.”

“What we’re now learning is that they have been determined, because of individuals who have been speaking out, Mr. (Anwar al) Awlaki and others focusing on trying to carry out those attacks in the west, including the homeland here,” Brennan said. “We’ve had excellent cooperation from the Yemeni government, we’re continuing to work very closely, and we believe we’re now ahead of this curve…

           — Hat tip: Zenster [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: Taliban Make Children Plant Ieds to Thwart Army Snipers

Boys as young as 12 are being used by the Taliban to plant bombs designed to kill and maim British troops in Afghanistan.

Army commanders say insurgents are forcing children to lay improvised explosive devices (IEDs) because they know they will not be shot by British snipers.

Senior military sources say the children’s parents and families are likely to have been threatened by the Taliban to allow their sons to carry out the dangerous task.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Video Shows Taliban Flogging Men, Boy

Tribal elder says teenager was being punished for not growing a beard

ISLAMABAD — Taliban militants flog two men and a teenage boy in a video that has emerged from Pakistan’s tribal belt along the Afghan border, showing the hold of insurgents in at least one area there despite army offensives and intensified U.S. missile strikes in the region.

The video was shot on a mobile phone on Feb. 3 and passed to a local journalist who occasionally provides video to Associated Press Television News. The man who provided the clip said it was taken in the Mamozai area of the Orakzai tribal region, though there was no way of verifying that because travel there is dangerous for outsiders. The tribal elder requested anonymity out of fear for his life.

The Taliban are known to beat people in areas they control if they are suspected of criminal acts, spying or violating the militants’ ultra-strict interpretation of Islamic law. People accused of serious crimes are often reportedly killed.

Using a piece of rope or leather, a militant repeatedly strikes a man who wears trousers but no shirt, and who looks to be covered in dirt or soot. The man at times has to be restrained. He falls to the ground repeatedly, but is hauled back up during the beating.

The tribal elder who provided the footage said the man was being punished for allegedly “working against the Taliban” by speaking out against the militants. The second victim appears to be a teenage boy, who the tribal elder said was being blamed for not growing a beard. The third victim was said to be punished for not praying.

A crowd of men and boys watched the beatings, mostly in silence.

‘Old man with the white beard’

As the audience rise to leave, a man announces that an “old man with the white beard” is to be detained for five days and “if he improves” during his detention the militants would take another look at his case. His crime was not announced.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Lahore, Muslim Lawyers Will “Burn Alive” Anyone Who Defends Murdered 12 Year Old Christian

No lawyer comes forward to defend Shazia Bashir, the servant girl murdered by her employer. The powerful association of lawyers in Lahore, arrayed in defence of the murderer, launches death threats and prevents access to the Court. Christian Association condemns this new form of terrorism.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) — Because of the threats posed by the powerful Lahore Bar Association — an umbrella organization of city lawyers — no Christian or Muslim lawyer is ready to take on the defence in the murder of 12 year-old Shazia Bashir, it was reported yesterday by The Pakistani Christian association that deals with legal assistance.

The girl, of Christian faith, died on Jan. 23 as a result of violence — even sexual — at the hands of her employer, a wealthy and powerful Muslim lawyer in Lahore. The alleged murderess, Chaudhry Mohammad Naeem, is a former president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association. The girl, just 12 years old, had worked as a maid in the home of Naeem in the last six months.

The Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) denounces that access to the courtroom where the court hearings were held against the accused was denied, because a group of Muslim lawyers (pictured) ‘prevented’ entry. The association is fighting — for free — for the rights of the poorest and marginalized groups has been threatened by thousands of lawyers — friends of the murderer — that promise to burn alive anyone who wants to represent the victim in court. “

M. Joseph Francis, director of Claas, asked members of civil society, political and religious leaders to rise up and take steps to “condemn this new form of terrorism” by lawyers who “should ensure justice.” The Pakistani newspaper The News reported that on Feb. 4, the police conducted the accused to the courts amid “tight security. And, as usual, officials prevented journalists and relatives of victims to come into the hall for “security reasons”.

Shazia Bashir’s family could not access the court not once but three times, a strange fact, regarding the judiciary in Pakistan. Police officials explain that it would “not be possible” to prevent clashes and violence, where “Shazia’s relatives and representatives of minorities to enter the courtroom.”

Meanwhile Ashgar Ali, heading the investigation, requested the accused appear before the courts and an extension of the terms of custody for six days. The magistrate added that the murder weapon has not yet been recovered and the accused could provide the names of accomplices, who participated in the torture and murder of the 12 year old Christian girl. The court, however, has only partly accepted the request, ruling only four days in jail.

           — Hat tip: Paul Green [Return to headlines]

Special Forces Assassins Infiltrate Taliban Stronghold in Afghanistan

AMERICAN and British troops poised to assault the Taliban stronghold of Marjah have begun targeting insurgent leaders for assassination.

Military sources said special forces had been infiltrating the town on “kinetic” missions — jargon for armed attacks. “Special forces guys have been going in on assassination missions with the aim of decapitating the Taliban force,” one said.

At the British base of Camp Bastion and the adjoining Camp Leatherneck, the US marine base, troops and munitions have been airlifted in by night to avoid enemy rockets. It is clear that international forces are on the brink of a big battle. All yesterday morning, the thud-thud-thud of heavy machineguns and the crump of mortars filled the air.

In a break from traditional military secrecy, American, British and Afghan commanders have announced that Marjah, the last town in Helmand under Taliban control, will be attacked.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Christian Churches Fed ‘Islam Lite’

Experts say Muslim Brotherhood carrying out domination strategy in U.S.

An expert on the advance of radical Islam in the United States says the Muslim Brotherhood is effectively employing a strategy of presenting “Islam lite” to organizations, including Christian churches.

Dorothy Cutter, coordinator for the Hartford, Conn., chapter of Aglow Islamic Awareness, part of a national chain of Christian fellowships that study how Islamic law motivates Muslims to participate in jihad, said she heard of a United Church of Christ congregation where an Islamic speaker was a guest.

She contacted the church to see if she would be allowed to present some of the harsher truths about Islam.

“The pastor pushed the material back at me and said, ‘It’s people like you who are responsible for an escalation of the violence,’“ Cutter said.

Cutter said organizations such as Hartford Seminary are sending imams “to condition members of the area churches to believe the light version of Islam.”

Steve Emerson, director of the Investigative Project for Terrorism, concurred.

“Hartford Seminary is a place that has been compromised by the Muslim Brotherhood, and then there’s the Center for Christian and Muslim Understanding at Georgetown University. The center is a de facto arm of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Emerson said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Gov. Who Linked Christians, Violence Latest Obama Pick

Missouri report tied ‘domestic terrorists’ with opposition to abortion, immigration

President Obama has picked to advise him on military actions inside the U.S. the Missouri governor whose state “Information Analysis Center” last year linked conservative organizations to domestic terrorism and said law enforcement officers should watch for suspicious individuals who may have bumper stickers from Ron Paul or Chuck Baldwin.

Missouri Gov. Jeremiah Nixon, a Democrat, is being joined on the Obama’s special advisory panel by the governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuno, and Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s replacement when she moved to Washington.

They are among Obama’s nominations for the 10 positions on Obama’s new “Council of Governors” that he will use for advice on “military activities in the United States.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


U.N. Gun Ban Faces Pre-Emptive Attack

‘There’s no doubt that the real agenda is domestic firearms control’

A gun rights organization has launched a petition effort to build opposition to plans being discussed by U.S. officials and the United Nations that could result in the confiscation and destruction of privately owned firearms inside the U.S.

The online petition, run by officials with the National Association for Gun Rights, offers participants a conduit to tell their U.S. senators a “Small Arms Treaty”‘ being discussed is “nothing more than a massive global gun control scheme, designed to register, ban and confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens.”


“Judging by Ambassador [John] Bolton’s comments — who certainly knows what to expect from the American-freedom-hating international crowd that infests the U.N. — we are certain the treaty’s going to address the private ownership of firearms,” O’Dell wrote.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/8/2010

  1. @ “Last year it seemed obvious that the first major currency to collapse would be the U.S. dollar. Then it was sterling that seemed to teeter on the brink. Now it’s the euro, and Greece is simply the first eurozone country to keel over, with more ailing euro-economies to come.”

    Since I discovered the subject of the Islamization of Europe on September 2008, today was my happiest day after reading two articles in The Brussels Journal: “The EU’s Horrible Honeymoon” and “Will the Euro Survive the Greek Crisis?”, both by Paul Belien.

    If the pendulum has indeed reached its extreme left as a reaction to WW2, I wish that today’s news mark the beginning of its moving back, finally, to the right…

    Cross your fingers 🙂

  2. @UK: Depressing Report on Antisemitism

    “There is no clear answer to the question of why this trigger event
    caused a much bigger spike in incidents than previous episodes,
    but it should be noted that much of the anti-Israel discourse in
    Britain during that period had an unusually extreme and angry

    There is a very clear answer for the spike, the B.B.C. why the fear to make the accusation or in this case state the obvious.

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