Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/17/2014

A French convert to Islam named Maxime Hauchard may be one of the ISIS mujahideen who assisted “Jihadi John” in the Islamic States’ latest videotaped mass beheading extravaganza. Thus we have the unusual situation where a French convert to Islam may have assisted in the beheading of an American convert to Islam, Peter Tassig, a.k.a. Abdul-Rahman Tassig. Yet the victim is identified by his Islamic name in news reports, while the executioner is not. Funny about that.

In other news, the Colombian government suspended peace negotiations with the narco-terrorists of FARC after a general in the Colombian army was kidnapped.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, Phyllis Chesler, 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.

Financial Crisis
» Italian Exports Up 7.4% in Sept on 2013
» Bread Cast Upon the Waters
» Missouri: Response to Potential ‘Period of Unrest’
» Wives in Domestic Abuse Cases Say N.F.L. Culture Made Them Feel Trapped
Europe and the EU
» France Ready to Sell Shares in EDF and GDF Suez
» Italy: Renzi’s Tax Bonus Being Offset by Hikes Elsewhere — Union
» Italy: Actress Helen Mirren Backs Center-Left Puglia Candidate
» Saab, Brazil Seal USD 5.4 B Deal for 36 Gripen Jets
Israel and the Palestinians
» Mo: Arab Driver Hanged, Unrest in East Jerusalem
» ‘Necessary to Build Palestine’, EU Foreign Policy Chief Says
» Spain: Parliament to Debate Recognition of Palestine
Middle East
» Are 50 Tons of Enriched Uranium in Syria Related to Assassination of Five Nuclear Scientists?
» Gulf: Qatar Crisis Resolved, Ambassadors Return to Doha
» ISIS Beheaders Include British Student and French Convert
» Syria: Ankara and Washington Agree to Train Rebels in Turkey
» UAE Designates CAIR and MAS as Terrorist Muslim Brotherhood Groups: Will US Dare Follow?
» Merkel Says Ukraine Crisis Could Spread
» Russia Expels Polish, German Diplomats in Tit-for-Tat Action
South Asia
» Bangladesh: Rajshahi: Islamists Kill University Professor for Banning Burka in Classroom
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Emir of Kano Calls Nigerians to Arms Over Boko Haram
» Kenya Police Seize Weapons in Mombasa Mosques Raid
Latin America
» Colombia Suspends Peace Talks With FARC
» Italy: Tor Sapienza Residents Ask Politicians to Stay Away
» Italy: Violence Won’t Solve Tor Sapienza Problems — Boldrini
» Migrants Using Facebook in Bid to Reach Italy
Culture Wars
» Italy: Teacher Accused of Homophobia and Physical Assault

Italian Exports Up 7.4% in Sept on 2013

Imports increased 3.3% on same month last year

(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — Italian exports increased 7.4% in September with respect to the same month in 2013 and 1.5% compared to August, Istat said on Monday. The national statistics agency added that imports into the recession-hit Italian economy were up 3.3% on September 2013 and up 1.6% on August this year.

It said Italy had a trade surplus of two billion euros in September, 700 million euros more than in the same month in 2013.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Bread Cast Upon the Waters

by Phyllis Chesler

I was overwhelmed with gifts last week at the Rockland County Jewish Community Center, gifts of all sorts: a gorgeous gold and diamond bracelet—and even more precious than jewels, was the extraordinary warmth and organizational efficiency of Director Micki Leader and her team together with the unexpected testimony of a former student. She said that I had changed her life way back in 1969 after taking a course with me. She said that I had scared her with my “long black hair and high leather boots” but that my teaching had opened her eyes to a world and set her on her path, one that her small Catholic High School had not envisioned for her.

Bless you Linda Fitzpatrick for speaking out.

And, when I signed books afterwards, another woman told me that when she heard me speak in Rockland County in 1976, she knew she had to go to law school—and she did just that.

Thank you, Leslye M. Schlesinger, for telling me.

I was introduced by my friend and colleague, Dr. Robert (Bob) Brannon, long-time feminist sociologist, and co-founder of Men Against Sexism, and his words were so amazing that I am publishing them…

           — Hat tip: Phyllis Chesler [Return to headlines]

Missouri: Response to Potential ‘Period of Unrest’

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order activating the Missouri National Guard on Monday afternoon.

According to a news release, the role of the National Guard is to “…support law enforcement during any period of unrest that might occur following the grand jury’s decision concerning the investigation into the death of Michael Brown.”

“As part of our ongoing efforts to plan and be prepared for any contingency, it is necessary to have these resources in place in advance of any announcement of the grand jury’s decision,” Nixon said in the release.

Nixon’s order also established that the Missouri State Highway Patrol, St. Louis County Police Department and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department will operate as a unified command to keep members of the public safe and protect property, while allowing citizens to exercise their constitutional rights.

Under the executive order, the St. Louis County Police Department will have command and operational control over security in the city of Ferguson in areas of protests and acts of civil disobedience, should such activities occur…

[Return to headlines]

Wives in Domestic Abuse Cases Say N.F.L. Culture Made Them Feel Trapped

The former wives of two players said they felt isolated and powerless when they were urged to stay quiet about violence and avoid causing disruptions.

The two women who left their husbands — Mercedes Sands, who was married to the Cincinnati Bengals player Robert Sands, and Brandie Underwood, who was married to the Green Bay Packers player Brandon Underwood — described abusive relationships in which they felt trapped, in part because of each team’s close-knit culture and a protocol that emphasized avoiding disruptions.

It was better to endure indignities like infidelity, other wives told them, or to keep quiet even if the hostility in their marriages seemed unbearable, than to cause a ruckus that could upend the success and harmony of the team.

[Return to headlines]

France Ready to Sell Shares in EDF and GDF Suez

(AGI) Paris, Nov 16 — The French government has announced it is ready to sell its shares in utility giants EDF and GDF Suez if it retains the power to influence their strategic choices. The announcement was made by the Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Segolene Royal, after a meeting with the Minister of Economy, Industrial Renewal and Information Technology, Emmanuel Macron. The government currently owns 84 percent of EDF and 33.6 percent of GDF Suez.

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

Italy: Renzi’s Tax Bonus Being Offset by Hikes Elsewhere — Union

CISL says tax burden on households rose this year

(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — One of Italy’s big three trade union confederations, CISL, said in a study on Monday that the benefits of Premier Matteo Renzi’s 80-euro-a-month tax bonus for low earners were being offset by other tax hikes.

Indeed, CISL said the tax burden on Italian households rose from 30.8% in 2010 to 31.1% in 2014, largely because of increases in local taxes.

It said in the report that the government’s 80-euro bonus “has been compensated by increases in other taxes”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Actress Helen Mirren Backs Center-Left Puglia Candidate

Senator Dario Stefano, running in primaries

(ANSA) — Bari, November 17 — Oscar-winning Britsh actress Helen Mirren has made public her support for Senator Dario Stefano in the center-left primaries for Puglia governor, to be held November 30, the Stefano campaign made known Monday.

Mirren and her husband, American director Taylor Hackford, own a home in the southern region’s idyllic Salento peninsula. Stefano, an MP with the Left Ecology Freedom party of current Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola, “has done extraordinary work for agriculture and the environment,” the show business power couple said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Saab, Brazil Seal USD 5.4 B Deal for 36 Gripen Jets

World ” INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS | October 27, 2014, Monday // 21:20

Swedish defense group Saab AB has signed a deal with Brazil for development and production of thirty-six Gripen NG fighters, the manufacturer itself said in a statement.

An Industrial Cooperation Contract to deliver “substantial technology transfer” from Saab to the Brazilian industry was has also been signed between the two parties.

As many as 28 single-seat and 8 two-seat aircraft are to be deliveried to the Brazilian air force starting 2019.

Local companies are to build up to 80 percent of the one-seat Gripen E and will be in charge of much of the development of the Gripen F.

The inking of the deal cements Brazil’s choice of Gripen NG to be its next-generation fighter jet, one that was announced on December 18, 2013, when Saab won a tough bidding war it fought with France’s Dassault Aviation SA and US-based Boeing Co to ensure the contract.

Earlier this year Saab lost an otherwise lucrative deal with Switzerland, when the purchase of 22 Gripen jets was rejected by voters on a national referendum.

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

Mo: Arab Driver Hanged, Unrest in East Jerusalem

Mosques say ‘victim of Israeli attack’

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, NOVEMBER 17 — Clashes between Palestinian demonstrations and Israeli police took place on Monday in the Arab neigbhorhood Abu Dis in East Jerusalem where an Arab driver was discovered hanged inside of a city bus on Sunday evening. Contradicting a first version that reported an alleged suicide, Mosque spokespersons have claimed that Yussef Ramuni was the victim of unknown Israeli attackers. A protest strike was called for the neighborhood.

Ramuni was the father of two young children and, according to family members, had no reason to take his own life. According to his father, Rumani worked for an Israeli transportation company and allegedly attacked by Jewish extremists last summer, following the murder of of Palestinian youth Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Ramuni’s body was found inside the bus whose engine, according to the family, was still on. An autopsy was ordered to ascertain cause of death and will take place on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Necessary to Build Palestine’, EU Foreign Policy Chief Says

Italian FM, state recognition is a goal

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS NOVEMBER 17 — “What is needed is not only recognition, but the building of a Palestinian state that can live close that of Israel in peace and security”, European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said to the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday.

“We are working and I am personally in contact with Secretary Kerry, President Abbas and the Israeli side, to see which political and diplomatic initiatives can be taken”, Mogherini said.

“Our effort will be to understand what the EU can do to get back the political perspective back on track. Which, at the moment, seems not to be there, but we desperately need to have a political perspective for Palestine, but also for Israel and its security”, the Foreign Policy chief added.

Palestine recognition is a ‘timely goal’ and ‘possibility’, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Monday in Brussels. “I believe that we will also discuss this, knowing that recognition is a goal in part of the political environment that wants two states, the state Israel in its security and a state for the Palestinian people”, Gentiloni said, responding to those who asked him if the European Union was ready to recognize Palestine. Gentiloni added, “It is not a symbolic act, a recognition for political reasons — it is a goal in the strategy of the two states to be made in a timely, appropriate manner”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Parliament to Debate Recognition of Palestine

Non-binding resolution presented by Socialists

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, NOVEMBER 17 — The Spanish parliament on Tuesday will debate a non-binding resolution to recognize the Palestinian state. The resolution was presented by the Socialist opposition party (PSOE) and an amendment discussed with all political parties was added by the ruling Partido Popular (PP). The resolution would urge the government to “support the recognition of Palestine as a state subject to international law, reaffirming the conviction that the only possible solution for the conflict is the coexistence of two states, Israel and Palestine”. This recognition “must be the consequence of a negotiation process between the parties involved that ensures peace and security for both, respect for citizens’ rights and regional stability.” The amendment proposed by the PP aims to achieve an agreement on the recognition of Palestine that is not necessarily, as had been the case thus far, a result of a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. It would instead be a means to put pressure on the parties involved to resume talks. Foreign Minister José Manuel Margallo has said that “time is running out” to find a solution to the conflict. In speaking to the media on his arrival at an EU foreign ministers council meeting on Monday, Margallo said that Spain would have to agree on a shared position within the EU and not make decisions alone. “We have the feeling that either we do something quickly”, or the two-state solution will become “physically impossible”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Are 50 Tons of Enriched Uranium in Syria Related to Assassination of Five Nuclear Scientists?

When initial reports appeared last week of an ambush that killed five nuclear scientists, including an alleged Iranian in a suburb of Damascus there were speculation about a possible “foreign intelligence” service that may have perpetrated it. These high valued scientists would not be generally known to Syrian opposition forces, Jabhat al Nusra or ISIS. The attack would have had to be planned based on considerable intelligence as to who the scientists were, what they were doing at a secret facility, the critical timing, and which intelligence service might have been motivated to make the hit. The logical choice might have been Israel given its concern about whether nuclear breakout in the Iranian nuclear program was imminent, notwithstanding the looming November 24, 2014 deadline for a final agreement between the P5+1 and Iran over the latter’s controversial nuclear program. Perhaps the assassination of the five scientists last week in Syria might have been related to the Assad regime’s estimated 50 tons of stored enriched uranium at a secret facility near Damascus. This is reputed to have been left over from the Israeli raid that destroyed the al-Kibar nuclear facility. That enriched uranium might have been in the process of being prepared for shipment to Iran for further processing into fissile materials for nuclear devices. Israel’s Operation Orchard that destroyed the al-Kibar plutonium reactor near Deir Ez-Zor, Syria in September 2007, may have had intelligence on the storage and handling of the feedstock for the al-Kibar facility.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Gulf: Qatar Crisis Resolved, Ambassadors Return to Doha

Diplomats from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain had left

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI — Oil monarchies in the Gulf States reached an agreement late Sunday evening, following nine months of tumultuous negotiations, as they return to re-establish full diplomatic relations.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will return their respective ambassadors to Qatar after having withdrawn them in March, a drastic measure that placed the most severe crisis in front of the international community that was ever recorded between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), founded in 1981.

An immediate consequence of the agreement was the confirmation that the annual summit of the leaders of the GCC six countries (which also includes Kuwait and Oman) will be held on December 9 in Doha, a date decided prior to the March break up.

The summit seemed at risk, given the explicit unavailability of the ambassador’s to travel to Qatari capital due to political issues that had led to the split.

The three Gulf countries never made any secret of the pain endured due to Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization outlawed in the three states, and instead “cradled” by the editorial direction of Al Jazeera and the hospitality guaranteed to several of its members, including the spiritual leader Yousef Al Qardawi.

The prolonged suffering reach a head in a formal crisis in early March with the public accusation directed at Qatar of not adhering to the GCC’s principles and objectives and interfering in the internal politics of neighboring countries.

For its part Doha has continued to deny the violation of those principles and objectives, while maintaining its ambassadors in the three countries.

Kuwait has busily negotiated in an attempt to bring all parties together, with an initial agreement reached in April that stipulated the creation of a commission that judges the behavior of Qatar.

Although in recent months Doha has repeated that the worst had passed and the “fraternal relations” re-established, relationships were tense and diplomatic relations suspended.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

ISIS Beheaders Include British Student and French Convert

UK father recognized his son from video

(ANSAmed) — LONDON, NOVEMBER 17 — A British medical student and a French 22-year-old are thought to have been among the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists shown executing 17 soldier hostages and a US citizen in a video released on Sunday.

The Daily Mail reports that the British national, Nasser Muthana, 22, was recognized by his father from the video of the execution posted on Youtube. In the video, Cardiff native Muthana appears by the side of ‘Jihadi John’, a British-accented fighter believed to be the executioner of five Western hostages, the latest being US humanitarian aid worker Peter Kassig. “I cannot be certain but it looks like my son. He must fear Allah now for killing people,” Muthana’s father Ahmed told the Daily Mail. He said he could not forgive his son, adding that “he must be mentally ill — either that or there is something else not right.” The French executioner is Maxime Hauchard, 22, who was born in Normandy and converted to Islam prior to leaving for Syria in August 2013 following a short stay in Mauritania in 2012. In speaking to the press, French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve called on “all of our fellow French and especially the young, who are targeted by terrorist propaganda, to open their eyes to the terrible reality” of ISIS actions and of affiliated groups, which “enslave, martyr and kill’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria: Ankara and Washington Agree to Train Rebels in Turkey

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, NOVEMBER 17 — The US and Turkey agreed on plans to train 2,000 members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) on Turkish territory, as Turkish media reported adding that the sides failed to agree on the question of training Kurdish groups, which Ankara has labeled members of a terrorist organization. Following a series of meetings between US European Command (EUCOM) and the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and high-ranking Turkish military officials at the Turkish General Staff’s headquarters, the sides agreed on equipping and training Syrian anti-government rebels at Turkey’s Hirfanli training center in Kirsehir province, as Hurriyet online reported.

American military officials, who will also participate in the training, will provide weapons and ammunition for the Syrian opposition. Washington is also expected to pick up the bill for the training, which is scheduled to begin at the end of December, the Turkish newspaper said. However, the two sides failed to agree on the question of training members of Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD), an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey has called a terrorist organization. Despite Turkey’s heated protests, Pentagon officials reportedly said they will train PYD rebels in the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UAE Designates CAIR and MAS as Terrorist Muslim Brotherhood Groups: Will US Dare Follow?

This weekend the United Arab Emirates (UAE) designated al Qaeda, Islamic State, Islamic Relief and Muslim Brotherhood (MB) affiliates as terrorist organizations. Among the latter were American MB groups, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS). CAIR postures itself as a Muslim civil rights group. The MAS has concentrated on controlling Mosques with Imams holding extremists views such as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC). ISBCC mosques nurtured several convicted jihadist terrorists including surviving Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarneav . The current Imam at the ISBCC, Suhaib Webb, a former Oklahoma prison convert to Islam was the Imam at the Islamic Center of Greater Oklahoma City (ICGOC). Another prison convert to Islam, Alton Nolen aka Jah’Keem Yisrael, attended the ICGOC before his horrific beheaded a fellow woman employee at a Moore, Oklahoma food processing company. See our NER article, Oklahoma Beheading Raises Questions about Prison Conversions and American Muslim Leadership Buzz Feed reported reaching out to CAIR in Washington, DC and got this response:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on the United Arab Emirates to delist it as a terrorist group. The Muslim American Society also said it was “shocked” by the move and would seek U.S. government assistance.

What is interesting about the UAE move is that many of the MB affiliates in America have been funded by wealthy individuals from the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. We wonder how the US State Department will handle this hot potato? Will they endeavor to avoid following the lead of the UAE designating MB affiliates in the US as terrorist organizations?

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Merkel Says Ukraine Crisis Could Spread

Putin advocates federalisation of Ukraine

(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday warned that the conflict in Ukraine could grow to involve surrounding countries, while Russian President Vladimir Putin advocated for the federalisation of Ukraine in an interview with German TV network ARD.

Speaking from Sydney following the G20 summit in Brisbane at the weekend, Merkel said that the Ukrainian crisis could affect Moldavia, Georgia, and even go as far as Serbia and the western Balkans should the crisis grow.

Meanwhile, Putin advocated for federalisation for Ukraine, a move that would give individual regions more independence in politics and decision-making as opposed to the central government in Kiev.

“I don’t understand why some political forces in Ukraine are against even hearing about federalisation,” Putin said. “The people who live in these territories must feel like it’s their homeland, no matter what language they speak”.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini signed an agreement on Monday to launch operations on December 1 for the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine, aimed at reforming security and civil defense systems within the country.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Russia Expels Polish, German Diplomats in Tit-for-Tat Action

MOSCOW, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) — Russia confirmed Monday it had expelled a group of Polish and German diplomats in what Moscow called “responsive measures”.

“Polish authorities undertook the unfriendly and unfounded move. Due to that, Russia has undertaken adequate responsive measures,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding the Polish diplomats had already left Russia.

Neither Moscow, nor Warsaw revealed the number of the diplomats expelled, though some local media said three Polish military attaches and one employee of the political section had been affected by the decision.

On Friday, Moscow gave the diplomats 48 hours to leave the country…

[Return to headlines]

Bangladesh: Rajshahi: Islamists Kill University Professor for Banning Burka in Classroom

Shafiul Islam, 48, was hacked to death on his way home. An extremist group claims responsibility for his murder on Facebook. The professor was known for his liberal views and for belonging to Baul, a syncretistic spiritual group.

Rajshahi (AsiaNews) — A group of men attacked Shafiul Islam, a sociology professor at Bangladesh’s Rajshahi University (RU), as he went home, hacking him to death because he was not afraid to speak to his students about his liberal outlook in opposition to more conservative views of Islam. The killers struck him on the head and shoulders. He died later in hospital.

The victim was a Baul, a group of mystic minstrels from a variety of religious traditions, mostly Sufi Muslims and Hindus who celebrate celestial love through music, transcending differences of belief.

Around five hours after the murder, a fundamentalist group called Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh-2 opened a Facebook account claiming responsibility for the act.

The page read, “Our Mujahideens (fighters) executed a ‘Murtad’ (apostate) today in Rajshahi who had prohibited female students in his department to wear ‘Burka’ (veil).”

It also quoted a local news report from 2010 saying the professor had forced female students to remove their veils before entering his classroom or before taking exams.

However, “He moved to ban full-face veils from the classrooms and examination halls” because “full-face veils could be used to cheat in the examinations,’ a colleague said.

The page also shows a picture of the slain teacher with a red X-mark on it. In Bangla, is says, “AKM Shafiul Islam (file closed)/Offence: Apr, 2010/ Punishment: Nov, 2014.”

This is followed by a statement in English — “We don’t forget. Insha’Allah we will not forget others” — and the names of these ‘others’.

Three of them are Shafiul Islam, murdered blogger Rajib Haider, and one Ashraful Islam. They are marked with red ‘X’ marks, and captioned: ‘finished’.

The other two pictures are of bloggers Asif Mohiuddin and Rakib Mamun. The caption for them says, “First attempt: completed; second attempt: coming soon.”

Speaking to AsiaNews, a local source, anonymous for security reasons, said that Shafiul Islam’s “murder is not so much about the burka affair; it is something deeper.”

Open-minded, the slain professor “had been receiving threats for a while, but also thanks to his work, he was not afraid of expressing his more open and tolerant views.”

Shafiul Islam taught in fact at Rajshahi University, Bangladesh’s main hotspot because it is a stronghold of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s most right-wing party.

“In terms of internal structures, Jamaat has been undermined by the Awami League’s youth movement,” the source said, “but it is still present and makes its presence felt during clashes, sometimes violently, with various groups.” The Awami League is a secularist party, currently in power in Bangladesh.

At the same time, “many Bangladeshi Muslims are resisting fundamentalism: people like Shafiul Islam, who knew that he was in danger, but still went ahead with his ideas.”

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

Emir of Kano Calls Nigerians to Arms Over Boko Haram

One of northern Nigeria’s most influential Muslim leaders has called on people to defend themselves against attacks by the Boko Haram militant Islamist group.

The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi, said residents should “acquire what they need” to protect themselves.

The BBC’s Will Ross, in Nigeria, says such an intervention is very unusual.

A police spokesman said the Emir’s comments were a “call for anarchy” and should not be acted on.

The emir, who until earlier this year was governor of Nigeria’s central bank, normally stays silent on political matters.

He made the comments at a prayer meeting, following several further attacks in recent days blamed on Boko Haram.

Jihadists from the group continue to cause havoc in parts of north-east Nigeria, capturing towns and villages where they have been imposing their own strict interpretation of Islamic law…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Kenya Police Seize Weapons in Mombasa Mosques Raid

Kenyan police say they have conducted dawn raids on two mosques in the coastal city of Mombasa, recovering grenades and ammunition.

One person was shot dead by police and more than 250 people were arrested during the operation.

Police said the Masjid Musa and Shakinah mosques were being used to store weapons.

They have accused the Masjid Musa mosque of having ties to the Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab, which is based in neighbouring Somalia, has carried out several attacks in Kenya since 2011, when Kenya sent troops into Somalia to battle it.

Police say they recovered a pistol, eight grenades and a flag associated with al-Shabab at the mosques.

One man was shot dead during the raid after he “attempted to hurl” a hand grenade at police officers, Mombasa police chief Geoffrey Mayek told reporters.

This is the second time this year that the Masjid Musa mosque has been raided by police, the BBC’s Emmanual Igunza reports from Mombasa.

Police say it is used as a recruitment and training ground for young people seeking to join al-Shabab, our correspondent adds.

‘Volatile situation’

Activist Hussein Khalid, from civil society group HAKI Africa, condemned the police raids.

“Force will only act to heighten tension in what is already a volatile situation,” he said in quotes carried by AFP news agency…

[Return to headlines]

Colombia Suspends Peace Talks With FARC

Move comes after Army general abducted on Sunday

(ANSA) — Bogota, November 14 — The Colombian government has suspended peace talks with Marxist guerrilla group FARC, following the apparent kidnapping of a Colombian army general, the government said on Monday.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called for the release of Brigadier General Ruben Dario Alzate Mora, abducted in the west coast state of Choco, via Twitter: “We demand that the captors (most likely FARC) release him as soon as possible, safe and sound,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Tor Sapienza Residents Ask Politicians to Stay Away

5-Star Movement announces visit to troubled Rome quarter

(see related)(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) said Monday it is sending four representatives to meet with citizen committees in Rome’s troubled Tor Sapienza neighborhood.

But they may not get the welcome they hope for.

“We call on politicians, in this case the M5S, not to come here because we want to take charge of our lives without any political label,” said Sandra Zammataro, spokeswoman for Via Giorgio Morandi residents.

Her street is where a gang of 80 masked locals last week attacked a migrant reception center housing teenaged refugees with sticks, stones and flares, setting cars and dustbins on fire and injuring policemen.

“The M5S, like the others, is part of a State that does not represent us,” Zammataro said.

A number of politicians from across the political spectrum have visited the site of last week’s anti-immigrant violence, including Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino, who got jeered at.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Violence Won’t Solve Tor Sapienza Problems — Boldrini

‘No one exempt from Constitutional values’ says House speaker

(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — Violence won’t solve issues in the conflicted low-income Tor Sapienza neighborhood whose residents violently attacked a refugee center last week, House Speaker Laura Boldrini said Monday. “This is not how problems are solved,” she told students at Tor Vergata University in a speech inaugurating the academic year. “No area is exempt from Constitutional principles and the values of openness and cohabitation”. Every neighborhood, she said, “must be livable, clean, sociable and inclusive”. Her remarks came after city authorities last week were forced to transfer 36 underage refugees out of a reception center in Tor Sapienza, a working class neighborhood whose residents have long complained of poor services, ill-lit streets, and a rising crime rate, including several attacks on women.

“Tensions erupted, not because migrants or refugees have settled there, but because the neighborhood was already run-down to begin with,” Boldrini said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Migrants Using Facebook in Bid to Reach Italy

Revelation from Palestinians, Syrians who arrived in Sicily

(ANSAmed) — POZZALLO (SICILY) — Police in Ragusa, Sicily have ascertained that Palestinian and Syrian migrants are utilizing social networks to aid in the goal of getting passage to Northern Europe via Italy, officials reported on Monday.

Data emerged during the investigation of four smugglers as part of the larger investigation of Sunday’s arrival of 864 migrants in Pozzallo on the naval ship San Giusto. According to the indictment, each of them guided many boats rescued in the Sicilian channel.

Posted on Facebook in Arabic, a broker, whose profile was fake, provided contacts and possible meetings to organize the trip. Additionally, Facebook pages exist where refugees who have migrated to Europe provide contacts and information about their experience. Several of Syrian families who came to Pozzallo used these contacts as starting points. Together with their families, they boarded dilapidated boats and faced life-threatening turbulent seas. They were rescued by the Italian navy, who had difficulty navigating the rough seas, and then transported to Pozzallo. About 400 of them have already been transferred to other centers, while others will depart from Comiso in a charter flight to the North Italy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Teacher Accused of Homophobia and Physical Assault

Student’s family filed police report against teacher

(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — A high school teacher in the Umbrian town of Assisi has been accused of physically assaulting a student and making homophobic remarks, ANSA sources said Monday.

The student’s family filed a police report alleging the teacher told the student “it’s a terrible sickness to be gay”. An internal investigation was opened at the school and Umbria education authorities sent their findings to Education Minister Stefania Giannini.

“If the allegations are confirmed, it’s very serious,” Giannini said.

The teacher denied the allegations in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“I said the exact opposite. I said that being gay isn’t a terrible sickness. I was talking about protecting privacy with regards to race and sexual orientation. The students started joking around,” the teacher said.

The teacher said the student in question was slouching in his chair with his legs outside the desk. “I walked by and I gave him a little kick, and I told him to pull his legs in,” the teacher said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

13 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/17/2014

  1. You’ll remember that the two Muslims who killed Lee Rigby were never referred to by their Islamic names either.

    • And the media have decided to call the unidentified “British” murderer “Jihadi John,” as if there were also Jihadi Paul, George and Ringo. The attempt to distance him from his Muslim-ness is as transparent as it is ridiculous.

      • Believe it was a Metropolitan Police anti-gang programme that convinced itself that gang members had the potential to be law abiding role models like a 5th Beatle or Black Beatle. The twist is the gangstas self-identified as indestructible Cockroaches.

  2. On Mo. the Arab cab driver found hanged in a bus somewhere in Israel? Was his death by hanging at his own hand or by someone else? Was his death caused by the hanging (asphyxiation) or by other means and the noose placed around his neck a distraction from the real cause? If it was suicide, was there a farewell note found (as is often the case in planned suicides)? I attended many suicides in my time and nearly all of those who did themselves in left a note of some description. Maybe the Arabs are different in their outlook which some may suggest, but having some knowledge of Islam, and providing the cab driver was a Muslim and not a Christian, it is strictly verboten to takes one’s life in Islam, to the point of eternal damnation.

    Without the benefit of being at the ‘crime scene’ to look things over for myself I would suggest this Arab has been murdered. As to the motive, well one may go on historical evidence for that which is very rich in retaliatory killings. In any case, it is a death that should not have occurred and which will haunt the perpetrators, I hope, for the remainder of their days as they re-live in their nightmares what they should not have done.

    • It was the position of the churches for many centuries, especially the Catholics (have they dropped it yet?), that suicide is a sin- I believe, without any scriptural authority. Is there such in Islam?

      • Yes Mark, Islamic doctrine condemns the Muslim who commits suicide. I do not have a ready reference for the Hadith, but if you wish to you could always look it up.

        Suicide is a sin in Christian doctrine, but in the Catholic Church, and as I remember it, the sinner’s soul may be redeemed through the offering of prayer. There are no redeeming prayers for the Muslim who commits suicide.

        • Thanks Nemesis. I’d still be interested to hear a Christian (Catholic?) explain/justify the the ban on suicide.

      • Exactly. Besides it is a real stretch these days to refer to the base ideology as a religion or a spiritual practice. Muslims have a monkey see monkey do following that deadens the human Spirit and never Enlightens. Fools we are to consider it otherwise.

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