Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/12/2015

After a rare cold wave brought snow to parts of Saudi Arabia, a top scholar and theologian in the Kingdom has issued a fatwa that forbids the making of snowmen or snow animals. Mohammad Saleh Al Minjed says that making sculptures of people or animals is forbidden by the Koran.

In other news, a White House spokesman conceded that it was a mistake not to have sent a higher-ranking member of the Obama administration to attend yesterday’s unity demonstration in Paris. Meanwhile, the Twitter feed and YouTube account for the Pentagon were hacked and taken over by activists who claimed to be disciples of the Islamic State.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, Nick, Papa Whiskey, Salome, 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
» Bank of Italy Says Loans Continued Fall in November
» Apparent Islamic State Backers Hack U.S. Military Twitter Feed
» Army Rejects M9A3 Proposal, Opts for New Pistol
» Should Obama Have Been Marching in Paris?
» White House Says ‘Absence’ At Paris Rally a Mistake
» Third Ottawa Man Arrested in Terror Probe
Europe and the EU
» Anti-Islam Rally Draws Big Crowds in Germany City of Dresden
» ‘As Bloody as it’s Been, France is Not at War’
» France to Protect Jewish Sites With Army ‘If Necessary’
» German Anti-Islam Rally Draws Record 25,000: Police
» Germany: Minister Wants to Get Tough on Terrorists
» Italy: ‘No-One is Saying Suspend Schengen’ Says Gentiloni
» Jews Mull Leaving France Over Increasing Anti-Semitic Attacks
» Spain Wants to Modify Schengen Rules to Allow Border Checks
» The New Anti-Semitism: Chesler Forces Our Eyes to See, Our Ears to Hear by Lori Lowenthal Marcus
» UK: Machete Fugitive in Four-Hour Rooftop Standoff With Police in East London
North Africa
» Charlie Hebdo: Egyptian Writer, It is “Political” Terror
» Libyan ISIS Group Posts Photos of 21 Egyptian Copt Hostages
» Tunisia: Number Two of Ansar Al Chariaa Threatens Journalists
Israel and the Palestinians
» Hamas Lashes Out at Abbas for Taking Part in Paris Protest
Middle East
» Erdogan Blasts Netanyahu for ‘Daring’ To Attend Paris Rally
» Saudi Arabia: Fatwa Issued Against Snowmen
» Saudi Arabia ‘Fatwa Over Building of Snowmen’
Australia — Pacific
» Cartoonist Larry Pickering Under Police Protection After Posting Prophet Muhammad Picture Online
» German Parties Consider Immigration Law Reforms

Bank of Italy Says Loans Continued Fall in November

Report shows weakness in demand followed October trend

(ANSA) — Rome, January 12 — Bank loans continued to fall on annualized measure in November, following a trend also seen the month before, the Bank of Italy said in a report Monday. Loans fell by 1.6% compared with the same time in 2013, including a drop of 0.5% for households, the central bank said. That followed the October report showing that loans fell by 2.1%, including an annualized fall of 0.6% among households. Loans to businesses outside the financial sector fell by 2.6% in November compared with 3.1% the month before.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Apparent Islamic State Backers Hack U.S. Military Twitter Feed

(Reuters) — The Twitter and YouTube accounts for the U.S. military command that oversees operations in the Middle East were hacked on Monday by people claiming to be sympathetic toward the Islamic State militant group being targeted in American bombing raids.

“American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back, ISIS,” the hackers posted on the U.S. Central Command Twitter feed, using an acronym for the hardline Islamist group, which has taken control of parts of Syria and Iraq.

U.S. officials acknowledged that the incident in which the accounts were “compromised” for about 30 minutes was embarrassing but played down the impact. The FBI said it was investigating.

Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren said the Defense Department “views this as little more than a prank, or as vandalism.”

“It’s inconvenient, it’s an annoyance but in no way is any sensitive or classified information compromised,” Warren told a press briefing.

Defense officials said in a statement that “operational military networks were not compromised and there was no operational impact.”

[Return to headlines]

Army Rejects M9A3 Proposal, Opts for New Pistol

U.S. Army weapons officials will not evaluate an improved version of the service’s Cold War-era 9mm pistol, choosing instead to search for a more modern soldier sidearm.

In early December, Beretta USA, the maker of the U.S. military’s M9 pistol for 30 years, submitted its modernized M9A3 as a possible alternative to the Army’s Modular Handgun System program — an effort to replace the M9 with a more powerful, state-of-the-art pistol.

The improved M9 features new sights, a rail for mounting lights and accessories, better ergonomics and improved reliability, Beretta USA officials said.

But by late December, it was all over for Beretta’s engineering change proposal for the M9.

[I vote for the H&K USP, in .45 ACP. The brass will stick with the 9mm, though. Rationalization, Standardization, and Interoperability — but stopping power? Fugedaboudit. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Should Obama Have Been Marching in Paris?

While western leaders linked arms in Paris to march in the name of freedom and solidarity and to denounce terrorism, there was one notable absence that has angered and embarrassed some Americans.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

White House Says ‘Absence’ At Paris Rally a Mistake

The US government has said that it should have sent “someone with a higher profile” to Sunday’s Paris unity rally.

It comes after US media criticised President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for not attending the demonstration.

The rally, which followed three terror attacks in Paris, was attended by an estimated 1.6 million people and some 40 world leaders.

The US ambassador to France was the highest ranking US official attending.

Speaking on Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Obama wished he could have attended, but the “onerous and significant” security preparations for a presidential visit required more than the 36-hour advance notice the White House received.

He added, however: “It’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile.”

[Return to headlines]

Third Ottawa Man Arrested in Terror Probe

RCMP have arrested a third Ottawa man in a terror probe that surfaced with the arrest of two brothers on Friday.

The RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) on Monday arrested and charged Suliman Mohamed, 21, from Ottawa with participating in the activity of a terrorist group and conspiracy to participate in a terrorist activity.

RCMP say this arrest is linked to the arrests of Ottawa twin brothers Ashton and Carlos Larmond, both 24, made on Friday.

Ottawa Police and the OPP also participated in the Mohamed investigation.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Anti-Islam Rally Draws Big Crowds in Germany City of Dresden

The weekly anti-Islam rallies started last October and are being organized by a group called the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA. Dresden police said they couldn’t yet give exact numbers for Monday night’s rally, but last week’s drew 18,000 people.

One of the organizers of the Dresden rally, Lutz Bachmann, told the crowds that “the terrible acts of Paris are further proof that PEGIDA is needed.”

Some marchers held up placards with the names of the French journalists killed by Islamic militants in Paris. Others sported banners condemning the “lying press” that they claimed misrepresents their cause. One poster showed Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a headscarf.

[Return to headlines]

‘As Bloody as it’s Been, France is Not at War’

After three days of terrorist shootings that left 17 dead, politicians including the PM have evoked the idea that France is now at war. Here, the editor of French daily Liberation, Laurent Joffrin, argues that talk of war is playing into the hands of terrorists.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France to Protect Jewish Sites With Army ‘If Necessary’

Jewish schools and synagogues will be protected “if necessary” by the French army, a leading figure in the country’s Jewish community said after meeting with President Francois Hollande on Sunday.

“He told us that all the schools, all the synagogues will be protected, if necessary, on top of the police, by the army,” said Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France.

Hollande also said he would visit the Grand Synagogue of Paris after a march to mark this week’s jihadist attacks in the capital…

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

German Anti-Islam Rally Draws Record 25,000: Police

A record 25,000 people attended a protest rally Monday by Germany’s Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident in the eastern city of Dresden, police said.

It was the populist anti-Islam group’s 12th rally since being formed in late October and the first since last week’s deadly jihadist attacks in Paris…

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

Germany: Minister Wants to Get Tough on Terrorists

Justice Minister Heiko Maas said he will introduce a plan this month to take “tougher action” against terrorists, while civil rights activists warned against a knee-jerk response to the Paris attacks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘No-One is Saying Suspend Schengen’ Says Gentiloni

Schengen ‘not in question’ says Merkel

(ANSA) — Rome, January 12 — Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told the Senate Monday that “no European government” has mooted suspending the Schengen treaty that created Europe’s passport-free zone in the wake of last week’s terror attacks in France. “Sacrificing freedom of circulation would be an unacceptable price to pay to terrorism,” Gentiloni said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier that Schengen is “not in question” but members must “exchange information” and that “Germany must be able to trust in the safety of its borders”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Jews Mull Leaving France Over Increasing Anti-Semitic Attacks

From the vicious rape of a woman because her partner is Jewish to this week’s deadly shooting at a kosher supermarket, a soaring number of anti-Semitic attacks is making many Jews wonder if they should simply leave France.

“If I were 30, I would get out of France” and move to Israel, said Laurent S., who would not give his family name.

“I am neither practising nor a staunch believer, but I get the impression that for some people I’m still a ‘yid’, particularly after the latest attack,” said the Jew of Polish origin in his fifties…

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

Spain Wants to Modify Schengen Rules to Allow Border Checks

Spain’s Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said Sunday he will make the case in Paris for a modification to the Schengen treaty allowing border controls in order to limit the movements of Islamic fighters returning to Europe from the Middle East.

“We are going to back border controls and it is possible that as a consequence it will be necessary to modify the Schengen treaty,” he told the daily El Pais ahead of a ministerial meeting on the subject in Paris.

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

The New Anti-Semitism: Chesler Forces Our Eyes to See, Our Ears to Hear by Lori Lowenthal Marcus

When Phyllis Chesler first published The New Anti-Semitism more than a decade ago, it was a glowing lamp in the darkening night.

Since that time, The Jewish Press readers know that much has gotten worse. Anti-Semitism is louder, more widely and brazenly espoused, with less shame, than it had been in decades.

More people can now see what Chesler has seen all along, but far too many remain blind.

The essence of the new Anti-Semitism, Chesler explains, differs from the old in the way in which the center-to-hard left has taken up the cudgels, thereby making anti-Semitism (which includes the unalloyed hatred of the Jewish State) acceptable, even required, for those who hold themselves out as anti-colonialist, anti-racist, anti-imperialists.

The new anti-Semitism is the marriage of the evil far-right to the slavering far-left. It is ugly and it is increasingly ubiquitous.

In this brand new edition of The New Anti-Semitism (Gefen Publishing House 2014), Chesler provides answers to some of the questions her original edition raised. What is particularly welcome is her chapter containing suggestions for action by those who have begun to realize action — decisive action — must be taken before it is too late. Those suggestions won’t be found in this review, because anyone interested should buy the book and support this frontline warrior.

[Return to headlines]

UK: Machete Fugitive in Four-Hour Rooftop Standoff With Police in East London

A fugitive wielding a foot-long machete climbed onto the roof of a block of flats in a four-hour stand-off with police before he was arrested for attempted murder.

The man climbed out of the bedroom window of his top-floor flat to escape police called to reports of a stabbing at Nisbet House in Homerton High Street, east London, at 8.20pm on Friday.

He hurled tiles off the roof and tore guttering from the five-storey block.

Witnesses today told the Standard the man began shouting “Allah Allah” and “I’m going to stab all white people” while striking the machete against roof tiles.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Charlie Hebdo: Egyptian Writer, It is “Political” Terror

Al-Saadawi, religion is tool of neocolonialist powers

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — An Egyptian writer often targeted by fundamentalists, Nawal al-Saadawi, claims so-called “religious” terrorism is indeed “political” and neo-colonialist. She believes the solution is a joint fight to be carried out by Islamic and Western countries for a “secular” system that respects all types of diversity.

A writer, psychiatrist and feminist militant whose life has been repeatedly threatened by fundamentalist groups over her work, in particular a theatrical pièce, Saadawi, she replied to a question by ANSA over what the West should do after the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

“I think the whole world, not just the West or Europe or the US, should seriously work together against the true causes behind every type of religious terrorism”, regardless of whether it is “Islamic, Jewish, Christian or other”: a phenomenon that is “mainly political. Religion is used by all political powers in the West and East for economic profit”.

“We live in a world dominated by a capitalist system, that is patriarchal, religious, racist, military, based on Power and Non-Justice”, said the elderly militant, who between 1991 and 1996 had to live in the US to escape from Islamic fundamentalists. Saadawi added that “neo-colonialist powers, mainly in the United States and Great Britain from Reagan and Thatcher until today, used Islamic terror groups, from Al Qaida to the Taliban, from Boko Haram to ISIS and others, to fight popular revolutions”.

“In Egypt, we are fighting the same battle and we have gotten rid of the dominion of the Muslim Brothers, although many powers in the US and Europe were on the same side as the Brotherhood against us”, she said.

The novelist, whose books, including “Love in the time of oil” were censored by the top religious institution in Egypt, the University Al Azhar, urged to “fight together for a global and local secular system based on justice, freedom, dignity and equality among people, regardless of nationality, identity, religion, gender, social classes, colour or belief”, religious or other. “I think we are all on the same boat and we must fight together to eradicate the true causes of Islamic religious terror and other”, vowed Saadawi.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libyan ISIS Group Posts Photos of 21 Egyptian Copt Hostages

‘Christian crusaders’ taken 10 days ago

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JANUARY 12 — A Libyan affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) has posted online photos of 21 Egyptian Coptic workers taken hostage ten days ago in the country, report Libyan sources. The jihadist group captioned the photos with “the soldiers of the Islamic State in the province of Tripoli hold captive 21 Christian crusaders”.

The hostages are from the central Egyptian governorate Minya. The Egyptian foreign ministry in recent days said that it was doing what it could to secure their release.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Number Two of Ansar Al Chariaa Threatens Journalists

In video posted on internet accuses reporters, French nationals

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JANUARY 12 — The number two of Ansar Al Chariaa, Kamel Zarouk, in a video posted to the web, issued death threats against Tunisian journalists Naoufel Ouertani and Moez Ben Gharbia for their support in favor of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, while heavily criticizing French nationals.

In particular, he announced the beginning of a war on journalists. In the video, Zarouk warned: “Listen, journalists of shame, our war has started against police and the gendarmerie, today we are declaring a war against you”, continuing with specific attacks on Naoufel Ouertani and Moez Ben Gharbia. Against French nationals, he said that, contrary to other members of Islam who mean to avenge the Prophet by boycotting France, “we will behead them”. “You should know that we target all trains and buses and expect attacks with cars loaded with explosives”.

Kamel Zarouk is accused of several murders, including one of a police official, Mohamed Ali Charbi, whose throat was slit after being stabbed to the heart, in Fahs in the governorate of Zaghouan at the beginning of the year, and for long wanted by Tunisian authorities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hamas Lashes Out at Abbas for Taking Part in Paris Protest

‘He should focus on his own people’, instead of Je Suis Charlie

(ANSAmed) — GAZA, JANUARY 12 — Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has been criticized for taking part in the Paris ‘Je Suis Charlie’ march by Mahmud Al-Zahar, a member of the radical faction of Hamas in Gaza.

Hamas has condemned the killings at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in recent days, but Al-Zahar nevertheless called the PA president “a political juggler” and a “hypocrite”, saying that he should focus on his population and less on support from the international community. “Abbas,” Al-Zahar said, “wants to seem like someone who fights terrorism, even though he doesn’t know what the word means.” “We,” he continued, “condemn every act against every country, but Abbas would do better to focus on solidarity towards his own people.” The remark was linked to a dispute between Hamas and Abbas’s Al-Fatah on reconstruction plans for the Gaza Strip after the conflict last summer with Israel.

Al-Zahar expressed anger at those who “steal salaries and funds earmarked for reconstruction and then let people die of cold”, in the especially harsh winter temperatures this year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Erdogan Blasts Netanyahu for ‘Daring’ To Attend Paris Rally

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday blasted Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu for “daring” to attend an anti-terror solidarity march in Paris, accusing him of leading “state terrorism” against the Palestinians.

The comments, at a press conference in Ankara with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, were the latest verbal assault against Netanyahu by Erdogan under whose rule Turkey’s relations with Israel have steadily deteriorated.

He said he could “hardly understand how he (Netanyahu) dared to go” to Sunday’s massive march in the French capital and urged him to “give an account for the children, women you massacred.”

Abbas and Netanyahu, as well as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, joined the solidarity march in Paris in the memory of 17 people killed in Islamist terror attacks last week…

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

Saudi Arabia: Fatwa Issued Against Snowmen

Theologian recalls Islamic ban on representing human figures

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI — A wave of bad weather that has hit the Middle East with temperatures dropping below zero, has brought snow, ice and death across refugee camps where thousands of Syrian refugees have sought shelter. The stormy weather, however, has brought moral disarray in Saudi Arabia, where a fatwa, or religious edict, has been issued against snowmen.

Well-known theologian Mohammad Saleh Al Minjed has declared that “making a snowman representing a human being or an animal, be it for fun or a game, is unacceptable for Islam”. Only objects like boats, fruit or huses can be made without infringing religion.

In the Islamic world, a ban is in place against representing human figures or animals, either in paintings or sculptures.

This mainly stems from an absolute ban on representing God and the prophet, according to an Ahdith, a teaching of the Prophet Mohamed, and not in the Koran, which then became wider to embrace mankind and animals — because only God can create them.

Abundant snowfalls over the region of Tabuk, 1,500 km north of the capital Riyadh over the past few days, has inspired the creation of a few snowmen and several camels, many wearing the scarves of local teams.

The fatwa circulated immediately on social networks though it was not approved by all.

“I don’t see anything plausibly human in a shapeless snowman”, said a commentator.

“We can enjoy some snow for just a few days, if not hours, a year and, as always, there is someone who wants to rob us of the fun and enjoyment”, said blogger Mishaal, wondering if Saudis are only allowed to “sit and drink coffee”.

However, in the ultraconservative oil kingdom, the anti-snowman edict has drawn support.

“They are not values of our tradition”, said blogger Al Marshad, suggesting that “those fascinated by the West should emulate its inventions, sciences, not its culture”.

Meanwhile some solve the problem with a pinch of pragmatism and some daydreaming and, rather than a snowman, admitted they made a “beautiful Ferrari”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia ‘Fatwa Over Building of Snowmen’

A prominent religious scholar in Saudi Arabia has reportedly issued a fatwa against building snowmen in the kingdom, stating the practice is not acceptable to Islam.

Mohammad Saleh Al Minjed said people must not build any snowmen or snow models of animals, according to Gulf News.

However, making snow models of lifeless things, such as ships, fruit and buildings, was apparently acceptable in Islam, the scholar said.

“It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun,” he reportedly said.

“God has given people space to make whatever they want which does not have a soul, including trees, ships, fruits, buildings and so on,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cartoonist Larry Pickering Under Police Protection After Posting Prophet Muhammad Picture Online

Controversial cartoonist Larry Pickering says he’s standing up for free speech.

CONTROVERSIAL cartoonist Larry Pickering has been placed under protective surveillance by counter terrorism police after he posted a derogatory picture depicting the prophet Muhammad on his website.

Mr Pickering was visited at home by detectives from Queensland Police on Sunday evening.

The officers, who arrived unannounced, said Mr Pickering had “upset a lot of people” and they were putting the four-time Walkley Award-winning cartoonist under high-priority protective surveillance.

“They didn’t say specifically why they were there,” Mr Pickering said.

“I guess they must have picked up some intelligence or chatter after I did the cartoon.

“They gave me their details and special phone numbers and said if I call they will be there in minutes.”


“The police were good with me and asked that if I was planning on running anything else to forewarn them,” Mr Pickering said.

“It was a shock. My wife and children were there when the police came.

“But I’m just one of thousands of people standing up.

“I might be more prominent than some but we have to show that we won’t be cowed by acts of barbarism.”

Police also told Mr Pickering that other articles he had published had been “provocative”.

“I’m standing up for free speech,” he said. “If you don’t do that then you have already lost the board game.”

           — Hat tip: Salome [Return to headlines]

German Parties Consider Immigration Law Reforms

Politicians in Germany are pushing for a new immigration law. They argue the rise of the anti-Islamization group PEGIDA is a sign the public has lost faith in the regulation of immigrants.

Is immigration good or bad for Germany? Given the electoral success of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) over the past year, and a growing PEGIDA movement against the purported Islamization of the country, it’s a question that could threaten to divide society.

It’s a concern that has been vocalized by Thomas Oppermann, the parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) in the Bundestag, the lower house of German parliament. The debate surrounding the alleged Islamization in Germany is about “in reality a great unease about immigration,” Oppermann said, following a closed meeting of the SPD parliamentary group in Berlin earlier this week.

“I don’t think it’s good for peaceful coexistence in our country, if further sentiment is stirred up, if it escalates, and scapegoats are sought out,” he added. “We cannot let that happen.”

PEGIDA, which stands for “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West,” has attracted thousands of Germans in weekly marches held in cities across the country. Those marching against immigration shouldn’t feel embarrassed, Oppermann said, but it should be known that “immigration also protects your jobs.”…

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

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/12/2015

  1. Can a snowman be martyred if he blows himself up in a crowded market? Are there no jihadi snowmen in the world? How in the hell in 2015 is there a human being on the face of the earth who would even ponder this absolute blatantly ridiculous utter nonsense? Well, thanks Islam. We all know the answer. I’m headed outside to work on my prophet mohammed snowman. The rest of what I’d love to say here I must keep to myself…which, as a matter of fact, is also nonsense. It’s time for this madness to end, or for us to submit and face what we deserve.

Comments are closed.