Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/31/2013

A Yemeni-born woman in South Florida has been arrested for burning marks into her 17-year-old daughter’s forearms. The girl was punished for an online friendship with a boy by having identical marks burned into each arm with a heated knife. The mother is out on bail, but has been ordered to keep away from her daughter, who is staying in a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

In other news, Muslim leaders in Germany have demanded that the government officially designate two Islamic holidays a year.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, DS, Fjordman, JD, Jerry Gordon, McR, RR, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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I Was a Teenage Mujahid

The article below, which was published last week in Der Tagesspiegel, was written by an Arab Muslim now living in Germany. He describes his recruitment by Salafists when he was a teenager, and how he managed to extricate himself before moving on to violent jihad.

Many thanks to JLH for the translation:

Religious Fundamentalism
“I Was Once An Islamist”

by Ahmad Mansour

It all started with an imam who taught in his village. Ahmad Mansour was a shy boy and found security in the fundamentalist ideology. He relates in a guest essay how he turned away from the seductions of religious fundamentalism.

I was just 13 years old, a shy boy with unruly curly hair, when I became a young Islamist. I loved soccer and, because we made a lot of noise, I was always in trouble with my grandparents. The world as I knew it up to then ended at the edge of the dusty Arab village near Tel Aviv. That is 24 years ago now. I was good in school, but it was hard for me to make friends. My shyness often stood in the way. So I was that much more flattered when the local imam and religious teacher took an interest in me. He stopped me on the way to school and struck up a conversation with me.

He assured me that I was a good boy and had the potential for greatness in me. He told me: “Islam needs you, my son!” I listened with wide-open eyes and willing ears.

“Suddenly I was one of the chosen”

Soon after, he extended a promising invitation. I should attend his Koran instruction. I was only too happy to follow the impressive older man with the beard and bushy eyebrows, All of a sudden, I was one of the chosen. It is true that my parents were not too enthusiastic — they were more or less anti-religious. But they preferred for me to learn something than to join the village gang like the boys in our neighborhood.

Our local mosque was right in the area — a whitewashed building with a modest minaret and a turquoise door. Instruction took place in the cool cellar rooms, where we gathered every Thursday after evening prayer. I found it homey there, with all the carpets and framed sura verses, and I enjoyed the coolness on the hot days of our Israeli summer. I still remember those first hours fondly. New worlds opened up, and it was a kind of intellectual sport to practice saying the Arabic words of the Koran correctly. From our imam we all learned the complex grammar of High Arabic, and we listened attentively to his interpretations. I was especially fascinated by the tantalizing descriptions of Paradise, with its gardens of ecstasy, the fresh springs and many amenities. When I heard that I belonged to a people that had once been great and powerful, it unleashed an exhilaration in me. But best of all — I found friends! A common mission united us.

The Koran school also broadened my horizons. For the first time, I passed beyond the narrow bounds of the village. Our group traveled in a rattle-trap of a bus to Islam seminars in other towns, where we saw other imams who had superstar status. We went to weddings with our imam or went on excursions to a lake or a sacred site. My dull village life had come alive.

The character of the lessons changed

But after a while, the character of the lessons changed. Suddenly it was no longer about poetic Suras or Arab grammar, but ominous scenarios. The imam conjured up a worldwide, oppressed Umma — a community of the faithful who must fight for the liberation of Palestine. He spoke urgently of the curse that lay upon the Jews, of the inevitable reconquest of Spain — and thus the Islamization of Europe. Sin played a huge role now, and our imam hit his stride: Women! A dangerous business. Looking at women — forbidden. Shaking hands with them — forbidden. Unveiled women? Destined for Hell.

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A Brief Conversation

Our English correspondent Seneca III presents this meditation for the Holiday Formerly Known as Easter.

A Brief Conversation Between Three Old Men in the Outside Lavatory of a Village Pub on Easter Sunday Just Prior to the Boat Race

“Bloody hell, it’s cold in here!”

“Yeah, and you know what’s going to happen? They’re going to blot the landscape with more *%!$#&* windmills.”

“Bloody windmills — my electricity bill’s just gone through the roof!”

“Yep. And have you seen your latest Council Tax bill? The so called ‘Community Charge’ is twenty four per cent up on last year.”

“Can’t figure that one. We’re not paying for that many bloody immigrants and illegals here — what’s it for?”

“Dunno. Mind you, over the way they’ve got a real problem. Friends of mine in Banbury are now referring to it as ‘Islamabad-on-Cherwell’.”

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Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/30/2013

The Eiffel Tower had to be closed tonight — during Easter weekend, one of its busiest periods — because of a phoned-in bomb threat. Al Qaeda has been threatening retaliation for French military action in Mali, so police in Paris took the threat seriously. However, no bomb was found, and eventually the alert was lifted.

In other news, the international soccer association FIFA is providing $4.5 million to Palestinians in Gaza to rebuild a stadium, create soccer fields, and build other football-related infrastructure.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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The Man With the Wudu

The following video concerns the condition known as wudu, or Islamic ritual cleanliness in preparation for prayer. In the clip a “German” expert on Islamic law, presumably an imam, responds to a question about wudu as it applies to a man’s… ahem… junk.

Many thanks to Der Prophet des Islam for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Read Vlad’s take on this fascinating topic.


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Confounding the Jihad Poverty Pimps

“Not a single study could make a cogent case that terrorism had economic roots.”

The above quote is something that is well-known within the Counterjihad, even if it has not penetrated the consciousness of our political leaders. Despite what the jihad poverty pimps would have us believe, there is no correlation between Islamic terrorism and the poverty of its practitioners.

In fact, according to a major Pakistani news service, the most recent studies indicate the opposite: Middle-class Pakistanis are twenty-three times as likely to commit terrorist acts than their impoverished brethren.

This is a stunning reversal of the conventional wisdom. If only we could grab the lapels of the political class and shake them until they pay attention!

Sultan Mehmood, the author of the article below, has some refreshing observations to make:

“To understand what causes terrorism, one need not ask how much of a population is illiterate or in abject poverty. Rather one should ask who holds strong enough political views to impose them through terrorism.”

And also:

“The solution to terrorism is not more growth but more freedom.”

From Dawn:

The roots of terrorism
by Sultan Mehmood

A CURSORY analysis of the START Global Terrorism Database reveals that over the past decade, Pakistan has had the highest number of terrorism-related deaths in the world.

In fact, the death toll exceeds the combined terrorism-related deaths for both Europe and North America. Hence, an understanding of terrorism, its dynamics, its causes, the reasons for its escalation and de-escalation is of utmost importance to Pakistan.

Unfortunately, policymakers, academics and politicians in Pakistan increasingly rely on speculation and their intuition alone to deal with this menace. The purpose of this article is to dispel the myth that reforms in education and economic growth alone will bring down terrorism levels.

Most certainly, education and growth policies should be pursued in their own right, but to expect that these policies will reduce terrorism is based on pure conjecture. A myriad of studies go against the “conventional wisdom” view of terrorism. The story goes that it is those poor, young, illiterate and brainwashed teens who have nothing to live for that turn to terrorism. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Linking unemployment with crime and explaining optimal punishment designs had won Gary Becker the Nobel Prize in economics. He showed that criminals “rationally” decide to perpetrate crimes given the probability of getting caught and the severity of possible punishment. He further found that high unemployment and poverty rates are related closely to higher crime rates.

Hence, in a study of terrorism it was natural to study whether a high degree of impoverishment increased terrorism levels. This belief was shared by world leaders and top academics. For example, former US president George Bush argued: “We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror.”

Similarly, Jessica Stern of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government notes: “(The United States) can no longer afford to allow states to fail … new Osamas will continue to rise.” These views were shared by others such as Bill Clinton, King Abdullah of Jordan, the archbishop of Canterbury and Tony Blair.

Nevertheless, to the frustration of many academics, the simple positive relationship between poverty and (material) crime could not be extrapolated to a positive structural relationship between poverty and terrorism.

Not a single study could make a cogent case that terrorism had economic roots. This lack of evidence culminated in a recent review of the literature by Martin Gassebner and Simon Luechinger of the KOF Swiss Economic Institute.

The authors estimated 13.4 million different equations, drew on 43 different studies and 65 correlates of terrorism to conclude that higher levels of poverty and illiteracy are not associated with greater terrorism. In fact, only the lack of civil liberties and high population growth could predict high terrorism levels accurately.

So does this relation also hold for Pakistan? It appears so. Christine Fair from Georgetown University documents a similar phenomenon for Pakistan. By utilising data on 141 killed militants, she finds that militants in Pakistan are recruited from middle-class and well-educated families. This is further corroborated by Graeme Blair and others at Princeton University.

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A UN Alliance Against Western Values

As reported here previously, the Alliance of Civilizations celebrated its fifth anniversary last month with a conference in Vienna (see The Alliance of Civilization Jihad and “Reflections on a World Gone Mad” Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).

The following article by Henrik Ræder Clausen about the Alliance of Civilizations was published on March 26 in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten (subscription required). Many thanks to Nemo for the translation.

A UN alliance against Western values
by Henrik Ræder Clausen

The UN organization Alliance of Civilizations was founded in 2005 to prevent a clash of civilizations, but it has a one-sided focus which in many ways coincides with the interests of Islamic states.

A lot of criticism has been aimed at the UN system during recent decades, especially because its raison d’être, the protection of universal human rights, has veered off track. Yet another UN project, the Alliance of Civilizations (AoC), contributes to the confusion.

The founding of the Alliance of Civilizations was announced at the Arab League summit in Algiers in 2005 by the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The proximate cause was the bombing of Madrid in March 2004, but the roots stretched further back. The organization is a continuation of the UN initiative “Dialogue Among Civilizations,” originally proposed by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in 1998.

The main purpose of the Alliance of Civilizations was to counter the claims of Samuel Huntington in The Clash of Civilizations, where he describes how different civilizations have clashed through centuries, and how the Arab world especially seems to have always had ‘bloody borders’ in relation to its neighbors. The idea was to defuse conflicts before they turned violent, and thus avoid terror attacks like those in Madrid and other Western cities.

In a collaboration among Turkey, Qatar and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a so-called “High Level Group” was convened, which defined in a 63-page report the purpose and most import areas of focus for the Alliance of Civilizations. This report remains the foundation for the work of the Alliance, and should be read carefully by responsible politicians in the countries joining the Alliance, as they commit themselves to work for the stated goals.

One would expect that the report would take as its starting point Samuel Huntington’s book and theories, and seek to counter them; that it would treat all the large civilizations of the world equally; and that it would conclude that the road to avoiding conflicts and confrontations would be to implement the UN humans rights universally, so that the Alliance could work to avoid defining individuals by their religion, but rather, throughout the world, strengthen the understanding of individual, inalienable rights for all. However, that turned out not to be the case.

Instead the report — and thus the alliance — builds on Huntington’s fundamental ideas of large confrontations between different groups of the world’s population. However, it takes no interest in any conflict except the one between Islamic and Western civilizations, and places a special emphasis on what it views as the different reasons for the Muslim world to feel dissatisfaction and anger towards the Western world.

In this way the Alliance remains bafflingly like the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which continually take up grievances against the West.

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Keeping a Close Eye on the Right Wing, Part 2

This is the second installment of a four-part series. Previously: Part 1.

Keeping a Close Eye on the Right Wing
Part 2: The Transatlantic Connection

As mentioned in the introduction to this series, the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) held a conference in London on March 13 to study the “New Far Right” in Europe, with a special focus on the English Defence League. Paul Weston has described the event as preparation of the virtual battlefield in advance of a takedown of the EDL by Prime Minister David Cameron and the British government.

Based on the conference report, “A Neo-Nationalist Network: The English Defence League and Europe’s Counter-Jihad Movement”, the EDL was indeed the major focus of the ICSR event. But was the conference convened to launch the report? Or was the report commissioned in advance to help justify a predetermined conclusion, namely that the EDL needs to be banned?

In either case, the paper fails to provide meaningful documentation of any dangerous tendencies in the English Defence League and its allies. The authors seem to be of two minds, analyzing the EDL using loaded terms, yet providing a great deal of material that is intended to be positive. The result of their efforts is a schizophrenic document.

As you will see, they pay the necessary lip service to their concerns in the form of vague misgivings about what lies behind the EDL’s actions. Despite the public endorsement by police and the official statements, they seem to feel there may yet be some sort of secret crypto-fascism behind the European Counterjihad and the EDL. Even so, the examples presented in the report are almost all quite positive, and take pains to show how much the movement overlaps mainstream political discourse.

This is important for all of us, because their insights will enable a civil discourse to be engaged on the issues and policies. It may help put aside the ad hominem attacks so beloved by extremist groups such as UAF and Antifa, and their close allies among doctrinaire Islamists such as Anjem Choudary.

If Hope not Hate, under the umbrella of ICSR, has come around to a more sensible view of Tommy Robinson and the English Defence League, then more power to them! Despite the report’s reflexive scowl at the EDL and all it represents, the actual data presented reflect quite positively on Tommy Robinson, Kevin Carroll, and the European Counterjihad.

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Now let’s get down to the report itself, which has been posted as a 72-page pdf at the ICSR website. It’s too large for a complete analysis here, even in three parts, so readers are advised to download it and read the entire thing. Be warned, however: much of it is written using the mind-numbing academic jargon so typical of government-funded research papers.

As mentioned above, the report appears schizophrenic in its approach to the topic, as if it is somehow subverting the ostensible intent of the document, or as if there were two very different authors. And the report does indeed have two authors, Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens and Hans Brun.

I don’t know anything about Hans Brun, but Mr. Hitchens (the son of the late Christopher Hitchens) seems not be a shill for the Multicultural Left. He has contributed to The Weekly Standard — hardly an organ of the Left — and is considered enough of a right-wing ideologue to merit his own Powerbase entry. In other words, he’s not someone you would expect to be viewed positively by Hope not Hate.

Although its ostensible focus is on the EDL, the report devotes more attention to activists and websites of the American Counterjihad than it does to Tommy Robinson. Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Gates of Vienna (blush) and other Americans and their sites receive massive coverage in this document. Try searching on “Geller”, “Atlas”, “Spencer”, “Gates”, and so on, and you’ll see what I mean.

This transatlantic focus is part of the ongoing effort by the Left to depict anti-Islamization movements in Europe as somehow instigated and/or directed by American agitators, who are seen as behind-the-scenes funders and pullers of strings for their European protégés.

My analysis below will focus mainly on those parts of the American and European Counterjihad with which I’m most familiar, which means that I will omit coverage of much of the text on the EDL. That task will be left to one of our British correspondents, and will appear as Part 3 of this report.

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According to Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens and Hans Brun, the European Counter-Jihad Movement (ECJM — I like that acronym) is spearheaded by “Defence Leagues” modeled on the EDL and coordinated by Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller from across the Atlantic. On page 24 the authors note:

The ECJM has begun to implement this model in its European operations. Defence leagues inspired by the EDL have emerged throughout Scandinavia and are organising joint rallies and conferences, helped on by so-called ‘ideas people’, including Robert Spencer, who provides much of the ideological fuel, and Pamela Geller, whose organisational skills the ECJM has employed to some effect.

And on page 52:

Above all others, two names in particular are legend within the ECJM: Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. Through their respective blogs, Jihad Watch and Atlas Shrugs, they have helped inspire the Counter- Jihad movement in Europe.

It’s good to see credit given where credit is due. Yet the implication is that the Counterjihad in Europe lacks indigenous roots, and is largely instigated by American operatives.

How true is that?

I’ve been working every day for more than seven years with European anti-sharia activists. They were there before I joined the scene, they were there when I came onboard, and they were there when Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller first became involved in October 2007. The movement is hardly an American creation; it was and remains a spontaneous European phenomenon.

The authors may be forgiven for their misplaced emphasis on the American element, however, since such a wealth of material is available from American sources, in English. To make a proper investigation of the full range of Counterjihad activities in Europe, they would have had to read the extensive material available in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, German, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, etc. That’s a daunting task — it’s much easier to concentrate on the English-language archives of sites in the UK and the USA.

Hence the Anglocentric focus.

Taking into account the transatlantic bias, let’s see what the report has to say about the “Neo-Nationalist Network” of “Europe’s Counter-Jihad Movement”. From the Executive Summary (page 1):

While the ECJM uses tactics that are reminiscent of traditional incarnations of the European far-right, it also has a message that identifies a new and supposedly existential threat to Europe: Islam and Muslim immigration. Unlike most other far-right organisations, however, the ECJM is a one-issue movement, and has yet to show an interest in expanding its scope to cover other popular concerns. [emphasis added]

This is reasonably accurate. Yet the weasel-word “supposedly” telegraphs the Multicultural orthodoxy behind the analysis. Is the existential threat only “supposed”? Or does it really exist?

And will the authors investigate the latter possibility?

Strangely enough, and perhaps unintentionally, they do — by quoting and summarizing so much of what the “Islamophobes” have to say. They are fairly scrupulous (although somewhat superficial) in their précis of Counterjihad writings, so the existential threat may be inferred from the material they collect.

Next they discuss what they describe as “cultural nationalism”:

The ECJM is not a conventional far-right movement. While other farright strands in Europe are usually defined by their adherence to forms of racial or ethnic nationalism, the ECJM espouses an assertive cultural nationalism. Some of its views and concerns overlap considerably with those voiced by commentators on the left and right of mainstream politics. This means that taken at face-value the movement is less extreme and feels less threatening than the traditional far right, making it harder to categorise, and also allowing it to be more amorphous and transnational.

Cultural Nationalism

The authors of this report have categorised the ECJM’s nationalism as a form of cultural nationalism, according to which the nation and its citizens are defined primarily in terms of a shared culture and history. The movement’s self-proclaimed mission is to ensure the survival and prosperity of that culture, which might be represented by its fundamental principles such as free speech and equality before the law. [emphasis added]

This is actually a fair characterization of what we say. And it acknowledges something that the European Union and many national political leaders in the EU would prefer to deny: There is a common European culture, shared by the individual nations of Europe and the European diaspora. This is what we strive to preserve.

The authors obviously noticed that the values cherished by that culture and its defenders — free speech, equality before the law, etc. — are not easy to depict as scary “Nazi” characteristics. Messrs Hitchens and Brun find it “awkward” (I would have said “embarrassing”) to deal with this aspect of our movement, since to oppose us they must make common cause with murderous ideologies that consider those same values anathema.

However, we must be opposed, so that circle must be squared:

It becomes awkward to categorise a group positioning itself in defence of liberal enlightenment values as “far-right” or extreme but this report demonstrates that the ECJM’s cultural nationalism does indeed manifest itself as a form of far-right extremism in its portrayal of Muslims as a threat to European culture, an “enemy within”, and in its proposed, highly illiberal responses to this perceived threat.

In other words:

“It’s ‘awkward’ to try to square this circle and call the defense of classical liberal principles ‘far-right extremism’, but we must do it anyway: THE CIRCLE IS SQUARE.”

The defenders of free speech and equal rights for women are “far-right extremists”, because they propose (unspecified) illiberal responses to a threat that only they can perceive. Thus, they must be dangerous and pose a threat.

And what would that threat be? Three guesses:

The Threat

The ECJM poses three serious problems:

i) Though it does not specifically call for violence, the sensationalist character of the ECJM narrative, which includes a paranoid tendency towards conspiracy-theory, can act as inspiration for violent terrorist attacks like those carried out by Breivik, who emerged from the ECJM’s ideological milieu;
ii) the movement can serve to incubate, protect and add a veneer of plausibility and acceptability to traditional forms of far-right xenophobia and extremism;
iii) its amorphous nature and ability to tap into popular concerns about immigration, religion, terrorism and the economy increases the likelihood of violent confrontation and jeopardises Europe’s social fabric.

Yes, that’s right: the threat is another Anders Behring Breivik. Ever since July 23, 2011, there has been no other threat. Everyone who holds “xenophobic” opinions like ours is and forever will be a “potential Breivik”.

No evidence is required: they just know it’s true. QED.

Now it’s time to look at the dangerous, threatening, xenophobic “rock stars” of the movement: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Tommy Robinson:

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Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/29/2013

The German government announced that if it is true that last year’s Bulgarian bus attack was definitely the work of Hezbollah — which is what Bulgaria believes — then the group should be classified as a “terrorist” one in the EU. The French, however, object to the proposed change.

In other news, a new wave of hundreds of sub-Saharan African refugees, including children and pregnant women, has arrived at the Mediterranean islands of Lampedusa and Malta.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, McR, Steen, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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Persecuted Christians

The following editorial was published on Wednesday in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, and has been kindly translated for Gates of Vienna by Henrik Ræder Clausen

Persecuted Christians

During Easter of 2003, the invasion of Iraq had already begun, designated by President George W. Bush as a crusade against terrorism — bringing up memories of the Christian Crusades from 1096 to 1272, and the words of Pope Urban II about the necessity of holy war against the infidels.

In particular among militant Islamists, whose ambition is to bring down Christianity as such.

Christianity lives on as the world’s largest religion. Of all the faith systems on earth, it remains the largest, with over two billion adherents, more than one third of all religious persons in the world. Islam is the second largest with 1.6 billion believers. And the influence of Christianity is growing, not least in China, where the number of Christians — in spite of their problems in the most populous country of the world — is projected to reach 400 million in 15 years’ time.

But Christianity is under threat in many countries, not least in the same Iraq that was the target of the war initiated by President Bush after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Since the invasion began, more than 70 Christian churches in Iraq have been bombed, over 700 Christians have been killed, 17 of these being priests, and an unknown number of Christians have been abducted. On Maundy Thursday of 2003, there were over one million Christians in Iraq. Today only one third of them remain, and most of those have needed to take refuge in the autonomous Kurdish regions in northern Iraq. Many have fled abroad. For years they have been unable to visit their relatives in Iraq.

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Lawrence Auster Has Died

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Lawrence Auster.

His death was not unexpected — he had been chronicling the process of his dying for a number of months — but it is a sad occasion nonetheless.

I almost always agreed with Mr. Auster, and when I didn’t, our differences were relatively slight. He had a rare gift for clear thinking and concise explanation. I don’t know of anyone who can quite fill his shoes. He will be sorely missed.

Requiescat in pace, Lawrence Auster.

Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/28/2013

In the wake of the Cyprus fiasco, top financial experts believe that Slovenia is next in line to require a Eurozone bailout. However, up until now investors seem confident that the new contagion will not spread to Italy and Spain.

In other news, the first fossil of a “love-child” of a Neanderthal and a modern human may have been discovered in Northern Italy. DNA testing will eventually determine whether the 35,000-year-old bone is from a sapiens-neanderthalensis hybrid.

Also, if you’re interested in the Cadbury “halal Easter chocolate” brouhaha, see this post at Vlad’s place.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to Bill Keezer, C. Cantoni, Diana West, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, Lurker from Tulsa, Steen, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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Keeping a Close Eye on the Right Wing

Part 1: Introduction

Towards the end of the 18th century, an English social theorist named Jeremy Bentham designed a new type of institutional structure dubbed the “Panopticon”. The model was intended mainly for use in prisons, but the designer believed the same principle could as easily be applied to schools, hospitals, and other social institutions.

Bentham’s concept was simple: the architecture of the institution would be constructed so that those in charge — wardens, doctors, headmasters, etc. — would be able to observe all inmates under their charge at any time, without those observed knowing whether or not they were being watched. The designer believed that this would train the residents of such institutions to be on their best behavior at all times, and so induce positive social change.

In the early 21st century we are far closer to realizing the Panopticon than Bentham could ever have imagined, using technologies that he could never have dreamed of. With satellites in orbit monitoring our residences and our vehicles, drones tracking our movements via thermal imaging, two-way GPS devices in our cars and hand-held devices, TVs that can look back at us and identify us as individuals, and all our electronic communications digitally recorded and stored in a gigantic database — with all this, we are already under near-constant observation.

Or we might be — who can tell? You’d better behave, just in case!

Many of the surveillance capabilities acquired by our governments over the past dozen or so years were added to their toolboxes to prevent “terrorism”. Needless to say, in order to be fair and inclusive and to avoid “profiling”, our wardens in their digital eyries are required to spend at least as much time and money observing “right-wing extremists” as they do monitoring Muslim mujahideen or radical Greens. Anything less would be evidence of discrimination.

Therefore, if you’re an “Islamophobe”, you may as well get used to being watched. Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano has made it clear that she regards people like you and me as potential terrorists, and the European Union has long considered nationalists and immigration-critics to be de facto enemies of the state. Anders Behring Breivik only served to confirm that position. In the minds of the elites, it has been proved that anybody who opposes Islamization may become dangerously violent at any time, and thus needs to be carefully monitored.

To supplement the state security agencies, numerous quasi- or non-governmental organizations have been set up to keep an eye on “right-wing extremism”, and are often generously funded by the state or its cut-outs. One such group is the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR).

According to its website, ICSR was founded in 2008 with the support of five academic institutions: King’s College London; the University of Pennsylvania; the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (Israel); the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy; and Georgetown University. It is also affiliated with the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi and the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies in Islamabad.

Not a reassuring masthead for those of us who are “Islamophobes”. Herzliya, however, is a decent organization, and over the past five years ICSR has at least tried to take a look at Islamic radicalism. So this is a serious organization, and not just another cardboard cutout erected by the hard Left.

Like virtually all its sister “observatory” organizations, in the wake of Breivik’s massacre ICSR gave priority to investigating nationalism and anti-immigration movements in European, so that the next wave of right-wing terrorism could be detected in advance. To that end ICSR seems to have secured funding, commissioned a couple of investigators (and presumably a staff of researchers to help them), and spent the past eighteen months compiling a report. Then, a couple of weeks ago, it convened a conference to showcase the results.

The conference was not announced publicly beforehand, but at the beginning of this month ICSR sent out the following invitation to a select private list:

What Is the New Far Right?

ICSR Conference and Report Launch

At this major conference, experts, analysts and policymakers from across Europe will discuss the evolving threat from a new breed of far right extremists, the so-called “Counter-Jihad” movement.

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