Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/19/2014

Another French convert to Islam has been identified among the executioners for the Islamic State who conducted the recent mass beheading that was recorded for an ISIS propaganda video. A young man named Michael Dos Santos, also known as Abu Othman, is said to have been one of the beheaders.

In other news, two men disguised in burkas and wielding guns robbed a jewelry store in Toronto, making off with $500,000 worth of swag.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, DS, Insubria, 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.

» NBC Cancels Cosby Pilot Amid Rape Accusations
» Two Men Disguised in Burkas Rob Toronto Jewellery Store at Gunpoint, Hauling in $500k in Merchandise
Europe and the EU
» Cyprus Minister: ENI Forward Despite Turkish Provocation
» Italy: Milan Social-Housing Eviction Drive Leads to Violence
» Italy: Generali Says Ahead of Schedule With Targets
» Italy: General Strike Called to Combat Renzi Govt Policies
North Africa
» Insults and Threats as Tunisia Heads for Presidential Vote
» ISIS: Anti-Baghdadi Singer Receives Death Threats
» Libya: Army: 12-Hour Humanitarian Truce in Benghazi
Middle East
» ISIS: Second Frenchman Identified as Executioner, Report
» ISIS: France to Send 6 Mirage Fighter Jets to Jordan
» Islamic State: Second Frenchman in Killing Video Named
» Turkey Fears Influx of 2-3 Million More Syrian Refugees
» Turkey to Join Anti-ISIS Coalition Only if Assad Targeted
» Turkey: Muslim Discovery of Americas on School Texts, Erdogan
» UN Warns ISIS Has Enough Arms to Fight Another 2 Years
South Asia
» Indonesia: As Ahok, a Christian and Ethnic Chinese, Becomes the First Non-Muslim to Lead Jakarta, Islamists Rage
Latin America
» Nancy Menges and Luis Fleischman: The Iguala Dissappearances: A Historical Watershed for Mexico and a Vital American Issue
Culture Wars
» Combat Pilot Who Tried to Halt Lesbian Kissing Episode Faces Discharge

NBC Cancels Cosby Pilot Amid Rape Accusations

In the latest fallout from the rape accusations involving Bill Cosby, NBC said it was canceling a pilot project that would have featured Mr. Cosby. Netflix has also postponed a planned stand-up special by the comedian, and a lawyer for Mr. Cosby issued a denial of a new claim from a woman who said he raped her decades ago.

In the NBC project, which is still in the early stages of development, Mr. Cosby was to play the patriarch of a large family.

[Return to headlines]

Two Men Disguised in Burkas Rob Toronto Jewellery Store at Gunpoint, Hauling in $500k in Merchandise

Toronto police are asking for the public’s assistance identifying two men who robbed a jewellery store last month while wearing burkas.

Edmond Bakos, the owner of the York Mills-Leslie Street-area Mona-Clara Jewellers, said he didn’t think twice about the people who walked into his store on OCt. 14 until one them produced a handgun and demanded jewellery in a distinctly masculine voice.

“Three seconds after they walked in, they pulled out a gun and said, ‘It’s a holdup,’“ Bakos said.

While one suspect emptied a display of jewellery into his handbag, the second went with a female staff member to lock the entrance…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Cyprus Minister: ENI Forward Despite Turkish Provocation

Lakkotrypis, we will be eastern Med energy centre

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Turkey has carried out a “pure provocation” in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but the government of Cyprus will continue its diplomatic work and Eni’s exploration activities will go on as scheduled, Cyprus’ Energy Minister Yorgios Lakkotrypis told reporters in Rome.

The minister was referring to the presence of seismic data ship Barbaros and additional vessels in the island’s southern waters.

He recalled that the European parliament has already condemned Ankara’s decision to send the vessels with a resolution on November 14, a reaction also expressed by the US, Egypt and Israel.

The issue will be discussed by Cyprus on the sidelines of a Euro-Mediterranean energy conference in Rome Wednesday, Lakkotrypis said.

The Italian government is “of great support”, the minister also said, and the role of Eni and Italy in the strategic plans of Cyprus in the energy sector are very important for its government, he stressed.

As far as Ankara’s interest in hydrocarbons in those waters, he added, the issue “will not even be on the table” before an agreement to re-unify the island is reached.

UN-sponsored negotiations on the issue have been ongoing but were interrupted by Cyprus after the Turkish vessel entered the EEZ on October 20.

Talking about the strategic vision of the Cypriot government over the next few years, Lakkotrypis said Cyprus means to be the “energy centre of eastern Mediterranean” through the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves in its EEZ and thanks to its good relations with neighbouring countries (Lebanon, Israel and Egypt) and collaborations with large international groups including Eni.

Eni holds an 80% stake in a consortium with South Korean Kogas to explore three EEZ blocks — number two, three and nine — an operation that started on September 14 right next to where Turkish vessel Barbaros is located.

Drilling operations will have to determine the presence and entity of fields — at least four said the minister — and will be ongoing as scheduled until December 31.

If searches will be successful “the excellent relations with Italy” will continue, the minister added, as “it is important to establish an Italian presence in Cyprus”, in continuity with those of Eni and Edison along the coasts of Egypt and Israel.

But Cyprus is also eyeing Europe as a “priority” commercial partner, thinking about diversified provision lines: in particular liquid natural gas, as well as a potential “pipeline” reaching Europe through Israel and Greece.

Such a hypothesis, he added, must be considered in its various technical aspects.

Other energy giants like Total and Noble operate in the EEZ of Cyprus.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Milan Social-Housing Eviction Drive Leads to Violence

Council says pursuing ‘legality, dignity’ of working-class areas

(By Laura Clarke) (ANSA) — Milan, November 18 — Police clashed with protestors in Milan on Tuesday during the eviction of two left-wing social centres from public housing premises that had been illegally occupied in the south of the city. Police charged the activists and fired teargas after coming under a barrage of stones. The social centre activists also set fire to rubbish bins.

A city campaign to evict families and social centres that have been illegally occupying Milan council-owned houses has caused considerable tension in recent weeks. On Monday, scuffles broke out after a family was evicted from a flat in the outlying Lorenteggio area. Five police officers were injured in the clashes and two protesters were arrested on charges of violence, resistance and injury.

Milan city council condemned Monday’s violence but said it would not stop it from pursuing the evictions. “We are already working, and will continue to work to solve a complex problem that sees us in the front line in the fight against illegality but also to provide answers to the housing emergency expressed by this city,” said Daniela Benelli and Marco Granelli, the councillors responsible for housing and security. “However, let it be clear to all that the social protection of fragile people and families in need has nothing to do with people who use violence to prevent occupied housing from being freed up and with those who shamefully speculate on the desperation of others to fuel the racket,” they added. “Milan city council is committed to restoring legality, livability and dignity to its working class areas,” concluded the councillors. However, many families who illegally occupy social housing say they are forced to do so because of the length of waiting lists to obtain a flat via the proper procedures.

Also on Tuesday, around 100 residents of Milan’s San Siro area gathered in Piazza Selinunte to protest against the evictions. “We have been going for a week and we will continue further,” said Paola, a spokesperson for the movement, who did not give her surname.

“This morning, we gathered at 7 am and after having breakfast together — an excuse to meet and talk — we organised a sale of second-hand items. “We want to help each other, not continue this war among the poor,” she added. Meanwhile, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Maurizio Lupi of the minority government partner New Centre Right (NDC) praised the latest evictions. “Legality is finally being restored with respect to housing and illegal occupations in Milan, and the violent reactions of the usual suspects will not stop it happening,” Lupi said. “Just as we are making big efforts to help those experiencing the housing emergency, with the rental and arrearage funds and the 500 million euros allocated under the Housing Plan to renovate public housing premises, we must ensure that the rights of those who really are in need are not trampled by illegal occupants,” he continued.

The government of Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi has made tackling Italy’s chronic housing shortage a top priority with the allocation of nearly two billion euros to renovate existing public housing and build new structures in particular.

The so-called Housing Plan, approved by parliament in May, also contain measures in support of house rentals at a previously established price (canone concordato) rather than at the market rate, including a lower flat rate of taxation on rental income for property owners, and tax breaks for social housing tenants

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Generali Says Ahead of Schedule With Targets

Insurance giant will surpass goal of increasing returns

(ANSA) — Rome, November 19 — Italian insurance giant Generali said on Wednesday that it was ahead of schedule in terms of hitting the targets of its 2013-2015 turnaround plan.

“The balance sheet has been strengthened and further dividend capacity has been created with the aim of increasing shareholders’ return, with a dividend payout expected to rise above 40% starting from 2015,” Generali said in statement for its investor day.

The insurer added that it would be able to surpass its goal of increasing operating return on equity to 13% by the end of 2015.

“Over the past two years Generali has relentlessly pursued a strategy to fundamentally transform its business without calling upon the help of shareholders,” Generali CEO Mario Greco said in the statement. “We have delivered on our promise and through discipline, simplicity and focus we have achieved a goal which many thought would not be possible, especially given the challenging macro-economic environment we operate in. “We commend all of our people for having exceeded expectations to substantially complete our turnaround one year ahead of plan making this group a leading example in the sector.

Today we present to investors on our four key markets so they can see in detail the fruits of the tireless work of the past two years and the strong foundations we have. “Upon them we will build the next chapter of Generali. “We turn to planning for our future with the confidence that comes from a job well done”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: General Strike Called to Combat Renzi Govt Policies

CGIL, UIL set for general strike on December 12

(ANSA) — Rome, November 19 — Two of Italy’s big three trade union confederations, CGIL and UIL, agreed at a meeting on Wednesday to stage a general strike on December 12 against the government’s Jobs Act labour reform and its 2015 budget bill. “We reached a significant level of agreement with UIL on the budget law and the Jobs Act,” said CGIL chief Susanna Camusso after a meeting with the leaders of UIL and CISL, adding that the strike would be accompanied by nationwide demonstrations. Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti called the move groundless. “I don’t think the reasons are there to motivate such an important decision,” the minister said on his way into the UIL national congress Wednesday.

Poletti was slated to speak, but canceled “in light of the changed context” after UIL decided to join the general strike. When his message was read out to the assembly, the minister was heckled.

UIL Secretary General-designate Carmelo Barbagallo rejoined that the minister’s silence proved the time to strike had come.

“Strikes can be called but also revoked if the right answers are forthcoming,” the union leader said.

“Right now I see nothing, I’m in the dark, like the blind confidence votes on enabling laws in parliament”.

The latter was a reference to the fact that Premier Matteo Renzi’s highly contested Jobs Act now before the Lower House was forced through the Senate on a confidence vote.

Also on Wednesday, Confindustria industrialists association chief Giorgio Squinzi joked that bosses may not even notice the December 12 action. “With the low levels of activity that we have right now in industry, it may perhaps be an advantage,” he said with a smile, commenting on the plight of the recession-battered Italian economy. The leftwing CGIL, the biggest of the unions, had previously said it would hold a general strike on December 5 to protest against the government’s Jobs Act labour reform and its 2015 budget bill, and invited both UIL and CISL to join in. The December 5 date, a Friday, had been criticised as a ploy to create a long weekend because the following Monday, December 8, is a national holiday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Insults and Threats as Tunisia Heads for Presidential Vote

Aggressive campaigning and poisonous atmosphere

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 18 — The headiness of the Tunisian uprising seems a distant memory, superseded by verbal aggressiveness as the country readies for its first post-revolution presidential vote. Against a backdrop of apparent apathy, the harsh words being lobbed back and forth may foster divides difficult to mend even after a new head of state is sworn in. There are two main candidates in the running: Beji Caid Essebsi, the Nidaa Tounes leader in his late eighties, and the much-criticized outgoing president Moncef Marzouki. Over the past few hours, two of the minor candidates with considerable backgrounds have dropped out of the running — Mustapha Kamel Nebli, former central bank governor, and Noureddine Hached, former labour minister and ambassador — due to the poisonous atmosphere that has arisen in recent weeks. The harsh campaigning is resulting in a bipolarization that — instead of being the result of political or ideological analysis — is based on the need to choose between a man who has been on the political scene for over fifty years and another who seems intent on garnering support solely on the basis of hatred towards his rival. Essebsi is continuing with his campaign based on reassurances and calming statements. Marzouki instead continues to demonize his adversary, saying he is a successor to the tradition established by Bourghiba and Ben Ali in an attempt to whip up support among the Tunisian ‘left’ and make people voters his ‘improvised’ presidential term and track record of unwise choices. Marzouki has tried to get support from any and all in order to win: his old enemies in Ben Ali’s party, the RCD; Islamic fundamentalists; the parties of the former government coalition (Ettakatol and Ennahdha); and the violent Leagues for the Protection of the Revolution (LPR).

This ‘armada’ has resorted to any and all tactics, ranging from threats of “bloodshed” should Essebsi win (by Imed Daghij, a leader of the LPR) to the putting the European Central Bank (ECB) on the same level as Hitler (by Elyes Fakhfalh, enfant prodige of Ettakatol and former minister). The current hope is that the bitterness and aggressiveness will dissolve once the winner has been announced, thereby enabling the country to build a better future.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

ISIS: Anti-Baghdadi Singer Receives Death Threats

Shaaban Abdel Rehim snubs jihadis with pop song

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — Well-known Egyptian singer Shaaban Abdel Rehim has received death threats after he sang on television a song against ISIS and Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the website of al Arabiya reported on Wednesday.

In the song, Rehim calls Baghdadi the “emir of criminals” and ISIS a “gang of lunatics” that has nothing to do with Islam.

“Religion does not preach to sell women and children.

Beheading people is not Islam, say who is behind you”, the song also says.

The singer said he received a phone call from abroad yesterday morning and someone speaking Arabic with an eastern accent — Syrian or Lebanese — threatened him on behalf of ISIS.

“I only fear God and not ISIS’ threats, I did what my conscience and patriotism told me to do. What they do goes against Islam and damages the image of Muslims. I confront them with a pop song while they behead their enemies”, said the singer.

Rehim has written several political pop songs in the past.

He became famous in the early 2000s with a song stating, “I hate Israel, I love Amr Moussa (then secretary-general of the Arab League).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya: Army: 12-Hour Humanitarian Truce in Benghazi

CNN, 800 ISIS fighters in Derna

Fighting between jihadist militias Ansar al Sharia and Libyan pro-government forces in Benghazi

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — The Libyan army has decided to suspend military operations in Benghazi for 12 hours, starting at 7 am local time Wednesday, to enable the evacuation of civilians and the injured. The decision, said an army chief of staff statement, was adopted after consulting with the UN envoy for Libya, Bernardino Leon, the Red Crescent and the British envoy.

Meanwhile a CNN report citing Libyan sources said 800 fighters from the Libyan arm of ISIS are currently deployed in Derna, in eastern Libya. An estimated 300 are Libyan jihadists who have fought with the al Battar brigade, first in Deir Ezzor in Syria, then in Mosul, Iraq. Jihadists loyal to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi reportedly control half a dozen camps outside the city and close to the Green Mountains where militants are trained, according to the sources.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

ISIS: Second Frenchman Identified as Executioner, Report

22-year-old from Parisian banlieue was in latest video

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — Michael Dos Santos, 22, has been identified as the second Frenchman among executioners in the most recent ISIS video, France 2 television reported on Wednesday.

Though not officially confirming the report, prosecutors in Paris said there was a “strong likelihood” the other French executioner was indeed Dos Santos, a native of Champigny-sur-Marne, a banlieue of Paris.

According to investigators, Dos Santos — who converted to Islam, renaming himself Abou Othman — was known to police as he has claimed a number of attacks and called for violence on social networks.

The identification of the second alleged French executioner among jihadists active in Syria and Iraq was announced a few hours before as imminent by French President Francois Hollande.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

ISIS: France to Send 6 Mirage Fighter Jets to Jordan

‘1,000 French jihadists’, Valls; Le Pen cites 4,000

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, NOVEMBER 19 — France will send six Mirage fighter jets to Jordan to strike Islamic State positions fighters in Iraq, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday. The jets will be reinforcing the nine Rafale ones in the UAE. Earlier in the day, French media had reported the French decision to bolster the anti-ISIS coalition’s ability to conduct air strikes against ISIS and to support Iraqi national army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces from overhead. France has meanwhile conducted more air strikes on ISIS positions. The French defense ministry has announced that French Rafale had acted to break a siege on the Iraqi city of Kirkuk last night. Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that “over a thousand” French nationals were involved in ISIS jihadism, and that “close to 50” had been killed in Syria. “Sadly,” he added “we are not surprised to learn that French citizens or residents of France are found at the heart of these cells and taking part in this barbarity.” National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen instead said that about 4,000 of French nationals had left for ‘jihad’, citing unconfirmed figures. “According to the French intelligence services, there are about 4,000 French citizens that have left to wage jihad. Not 1,000 — 4,000,” Le Pen said in an interview with Sud Radio. As for those that do not have dual nationality, “there might be some,” Le Pen said, “but there are a marginal number compared with the data received by the intelligence and anti-terrorism services.” In Le Pen’s view, “of these 4,000, the vast majority have dual nationality. This is why we can take their nationality away from them, and at least not see them in our country.” As for the others, “if they come back, then no problem.

There will be life in prison” for them. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins estimated that about 1,132 French nationals are in jihadist ranks in Syria, while 367 operate in both Iraq and Syria.

According to a recent study, typical jihadists are young and mostly from immigrant families though 20% are converts to Islam.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Islamic State: Second Frenchman in Killing Video Named

France has named a second Frenchman in a video showing the killing of Syrian prisoners by Islamic State (IS) militants as Mickael Dos Santos, 22.

The Muslim convert comes from an eastern Paris suburb. The other French militant was named as Maxime Hauchard, a convert from Normandy.

In the same video, the severed head of US hostage Abdul-Rahman Kassig was displayed for the camera.

About 1,000 French jihadists are thought to have gone to Syria and Iraq.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said after a security meeting in Beauvais, north of Paris, that “close to 50” French citizens had died in Syria.

“Sadly, we are not surprised to learn that French citizens or residents of France are found at the heart of these cells and taking part in this barbarity,” he added.

Meanwhile, new IS video has appeared which shows a small group of gunmen burning what appear to be French passports before three of them make appeals to French Muslims to abandon France and join IS, or stay there and attack “enemies of Allah”.

It is unclear where the video was filmed but it was released by al-Hayat, the media arm of IS.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Turkey Fears Influx of 2-3 Million More Syrian Refugees

In case Assad’s forces or ISIL militias advance in Aleppo

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, NOVEMBER 18 — Turkey could face an influx of 2-3 million more Syrian refugees if President Bashar al-Assad’s forces or ISIL insurgents advance around Aleppo, Anadolu Agency reports quoting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying on Tuesday. U.S. warplanes have been bombing ISIL forces in parts of Syria, but Assad’s military has intensified its campaign against some rebel groups in the west and north that Washington sees as allies, including in and around Aleppo. “Right now who is filling the void left by ISIL as a result of the coalition’s air attacks? It is the regime,” Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara. “But there is not that much difference between the ISIL and the regime. Both kill cruelly, especially civilians. And neither hesitate to use whatever weapons are available to them.” Rebels and Syrian government forces hold parts of Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city before the war. ISIL has seized territory from rival Islamist groups in a belt of territory north of Aleppo, threatening rebel supply routes. ISIL also holds large sections of territory elsewhere in the wider Aleppo province.

Turkey has been a staunch supporter of the Free Syrian Army, an umbrella term for dozens of armed groups fighting against both Assad and ISIL. It has been pushing for the U.S.-led coalition to broaden its campaign to also tackle Assad.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey to Join Anti-ISIS Coalition Only if Assad Targeted

Erdogan pushes for no-fly zone in Syria, criticizes US

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 19 — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday criticized the US for not yet agreeing to Turkey’s conditions for its participation in the anti-Islamic State (ISIS) coalition, reports Hurriyet. The international community “has not yet taken the steps we recommended to them,” Erdogan told reporters, referring to the demand to designate toppling the Bashar Al-Assad regime as an objective and to take military measures to this end. “Establishing security zones inside Syria and creating a no-fly zone over Syrian airspace are among Turkey’s conditions before it will actively participate in the coalition. For its part, Washington has been requesting the opening of a number of Turkish air bases to facilitate an aerial campaign conducted by coalition fighters,” reports Hurriyet. “Turkey’s position will surely continue as it is unless (its recommendations) are put in place,” Erdogan added.

The only deal currently on the table between Turkey and the US is to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition groups but, as Erdogan said, no final agreement has been made on this issue either, notes Hurriyet.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Muslim Discovery of Americas on School Texts, Erdogan

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, NOVEMBER 19 — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has instructed Turkey’s educational institutions to adopt a policy of highlighting the contribution of Islam to global science and arts, including the discovery of the American continent by Muslim sailors some 300 years before Columbus as daily Hurriyet online reports today. “I have to be clear that there is an important responsibility falling on the shoulders of our Education Ministry and YOK (the Higher Education Board). An objective writing of history will show the contribution of the East, the Middle East and Islam to the science and arts. As the president of my country, I cannot accept that our civilization is inferior to other civilizations,” Erdogan said in his address to students at the opening of a religious school in Ankara yesterday.

He also slammed criticisms from columnists and cartoonists mocking his claims that Muslim sailors discovered the Americas and constructed a mosque in Cuba centuries before Columbus. “Why (do they not believe it)? Because they have never believed that a Muslim can do such a thing. They have never believed that their ancestors could manage to launch ships in the Golden Horn after transporting them across land,” Erdogan said, referring to Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II’s conquest of Istanbul in 1453. “They have never believed that their ancestors ended the Dark Age and opened the New Age. That’s a lack of self-confidence,” he added.

Erdogan defended his claims about the discovery of the Americas and underlined that the suggestion had not originally been made by him. “This claim is not new. It is mentioned in Prof. Fuat Sezgin’s books. A number of academics in Turkey and in the world have made this claim,” he said, without referring to his suggestion that the Muslims who discovered Cuba built a mosque on a hill there.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UN Warns ISIS Has Enough Arms to Fight Another 2 Years

‘More measures and sanctions needed’

(ANSAmed) — NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 19 — A report released on Wednesday by the United Nations (UN) Security Council warns that the Islamic State (ISIS) possesses sufficient reserves of small arms, ammunition and vehicles to wage war in Syria and Iraq for another two years.

The jihadist group that controls vast swaths of land between Syria and Iraq has fighters from over 80 different countries and sources of funding totaling over three million dollars per day. The report calls for the international community to take more measures and impose sanctions to “contain and neutralize the threat”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: As Ahok, a Christian and Ethnic Chinese, Becomes the First Non-Muslim to Lead Jakarta, Islamists Rage

In a break with tradition, Tjahaja Basuki Purnama was sworn in today by President Jokowi, his predecessor as Jakarta governor, at the Presidential Palace, and not by the Home Affairs Ministry. Extremist groups call for the ouster of the new governor. Thousands of police have been deployed to enforce security.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Basuki Tjahaja ‘Ahok’ Purnama today became officially the new governor of Jakarta. This follows months of political deadlock and open hostility by extremist movements, led by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), opposed to him because he is a Christian and an ethnic Chinese.

During the official ceremony, the new governor presented his letters of credentials and took the oath of office before the president, who is also the outgoing governor of the Indonesian capital, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo.

The ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace, in central Jakarta, breaking with tradition whereby governors are sworn in by the Home Affairs minister.

Thousands of police and soldiers were out in the streets patrolling sensitive areas to prevent attacks or end isolated incidents of violence.

Popularly known as Ahok, Jakarta’s new governor has his work cut out: first, because he is an ethnic Chinese and a Christian, and second, because he has shown strong character and integrity in the exercise of his functions, without a whiff of corruption or cronyism.

He has shown such firmness in recent weeks, when he served as interim governor following Jokowi’s resignation. Like the new president, whose deputy he was when the former was himself the governor of Jakarta, Ahok employs a language and approach that is even more inflexible and uncompromising than his predecessor.

Many of his public statements have been met with dissatisfaction and anger, especially from extremist Islamic fundamentalist movements.

The latter include the Islamic Defence Front, which the new governor would like to ban for causing violent incidents and for its extremist views on minority rights and religious freedom.

In the last few hours, hundreds of extremists have been demonstrating, calling for Ahok’s ouster.

The rise of the new governor is a milestone in the history of modern Indonesia, because for the first time a non-Muslim and an ethnic Chinese will occupy the capital’s highest office. Many citizens and civil society groups expect important and quick changes.

However, the domestic opposition does not appear willing to give up. In fact, until a few hours before the swearing in ceremony, attempts were underway behind the scene to prevent the inauguration of the new administration.

The protection of minorities and religious freedom are among the priorities of President Jokowi’s new administration, a priority to pursue by all legal means.

However, this is not going to be an easy goal in the world’s most populous Muslim country, where a large segment of society — and political class — adheres to an extremist view of Islam and shows hostility towards ethnic and religious minorities.

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

Nancy Menges and Luis Fleischman: The Iguala Dissappearances: A Historical Watershed for Mexico and a Vital American Issue

The disappearance and presumed death of 43 students from Iguala, Mexico is symptomatic of a much more serious problem.

According to the government, the students, who have been missing since late September in the State of Guerrero, were killed and burned by members of the gang, Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors). It was the police, themselves, in the town of Iguala who handed over the students to the gang. The Guerreros Unidos are among the major traffickers of poppy and marihuana in Mexico.

The young students aspired to become teachers in rural areas in the State of Guerrero. They traveled to Iguala in order to raise funds for their schools. According to Mexican Attorney General, Jesus Murillo Karam, the Mayor of Iguala and his wife instructed the local police to attack the students to prevent disruption of an event organized by the wife. These same students had come to Iguala before to protest the assassination of the leader of the Farmers’ Union, presumably at the hands of the Mayor, himself.

The fact that these events happened is not mere coincidence. The Mayor’s wife, Maria de Los Angeles Pineda, is the sister of two deceased gang members in Guerrero and she is thought to be the main coordinator of the United Warriors gang in the town of Iguala. Her husband and mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca, is a member of the Partido de la Revolucion Democratica whose candidate for president in the 2006 and 2012 election was the former mayor of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador…

[Return to headlines]

Combat Pilot Who Tried to Halt Lesbian Kissing Episode Faces Discharge

by Rowan Scarborough

The Army is moving to discharge a decorated combat pilot who intervened to stop two lesbian officers from showing what he considered inappropriate affection on the dance floor during a full-dress formal ball at Fort Drum, New York, in 2012.

Lt. Col. Christopher Downey, who was once assigned to the White House and completed tours in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, ended up being convicted administratively of assaulting a soldier trying to videotape the kissing and grabbing. Col. Downey’s attorney, Richard Thompson, says his client merely pushed down the camera to prevent photos and video that could end up on social media.

Mr. Thompson said Col. Downey’s commanding officer also convicted him of violating the directive that ended the ban on gays openly serving in the military.

“It’s political correctness run wild,” Mr. Thompson said. “Military rules do not apply to lesbian officers because of political correctness.”

Col. Downey won early battle with the Army last year. A special three-officer “show cause” board reviewed the punishment and unanimously ruled that the evidence showed he did not violate Army rules.

“The allegation of conduct unbecoming an officer … is not supported by the preponderance of the evidence,” the board wrote. “The findings do not warrant separation.”

Yet Col. Downey still faces separation by an Army forced-retirement board that began meeting this week…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]

5 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/19/2014

  1. Considerations about executive amnesty:

    This date, November 20 coincides with the Islamic date Safar 27/28…Safar (صفر) is the second month in the Islamic calendar.

    Literal meaning: Empty. During this month the houses used to be empty and deserted because the ban on going to war in the month of Muharram came to an end and everyone proceeded towards the battlefield. Some people have superstitious beliefs regarding this month i.e. it is a month of misfortune and calamities.
    Historic events on this date:
    27 Safar, Migration (Hijrah) from Makkah to Madinah by Muhammad
    28 Safar, Martyrdom of Imam Hasan ibn ‘Alī, grandson of Muhammad and 5th Caliph of Islam
    The coincidence of where this violation of our Constitution is broadcast shrinks in scope when considering the coincidence of an anniversary significant to the audience to which he panders…Mexican National Revolution Day: November 20, 1910.

  2. Those two burka clad robbers may have done us all a favor. Maybe, just maybe, the fools in charge of security at Banks, government offices and any other institution that value its right to not be intimidated, robbed, blown up or shot, will now consider banning all head coverings from those places.

  3. Why are most, if not all, of these beheaders ethnic Europeans or European citizens of non-European ethnicity? I think mighty mo provides the answer: “I have been made victorious through terror.” Just think how these unspeakable atrocities — which, btw, don’t seem to bother obama in the slightest; just as the slaughter of Christians, Yazidis and other Infidel peoples throughout the Middle East don’t appear to bother him — play back home.

    • What does absolutely break Obama’s heart is the thought that any illegal alien in the United Stares might be separated from family. He looks into the faces of those foreigners, many if whom are aspiring Muslim jehadis from God knows where, who are doing extremely well in the dual non tax paying cash economy without having to learn English. How could he keep them separated from their families so far away any longer? He is moved to end their further suffering. The mind of a Muslim is so knowable – and yet.

  4. The multi cult see-saw. A dream come true for the suicidal Muslim race to the bottom. A Frenchman literally armed to the teeth was “waved through” a major British airport in the last few days. Go figure.

Comments are closed.