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Marine Le Pen calls for strict application of secularism … to defend France’s ‘Christian roots’

5 March, 2014 - 19:02

Marine-Le-Pen-Front-National Marine Le Pen calls for strict application of secularism … to defend France’s ‘Christian roots’

Marine Le Pen, whose party is riding a wave of anti-immigration and anti-Muslim voter sentiment around Europe, says it will cut public funds to religious groups in towns where it wins municipal elections this month.

Le Pen told The Associated Press in an interview Monday that secularism will be strictly applied in towns where her far-right National Front prevails on March 23 and 30, and that referendums will be held on major issues.

Le Pen, 45, praised the recent Swiss decision, in a referendum, to cap immigration, saying countries have an “inalienable right” to control their borders. Le Pen claimed the Swiss decision, passed by a razor-thin 50.3 percent “yes” vote, would have sailed through France with a 65 percent approval rating if such a referendum held here.

Le Pen – who took the helm from her father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 2010 – has worked to remove the stigma that has kept the party out of mainstream politics by giving it a kinder, more politically correct face. But the National Front has forged ahead with its anti-immigrant stance, especially regarding Muslims.

In towns the National Front might win, Le Pen said that local taxes would be lowered and public funds would be denied to any association with a religious character. Current law forbids funding religious organizations, but they can receive money if their work also addresses the general interest. In reality, that means many associations would risk losing public funds.

A strict application of the principle of secularism could mean removing halal food in school cafeterias, forbidding Muslim women in scarves to accompany children on class trips, and prevent Muslim women from renting public swimming pools after hours.

“I’m absolutely not afraid to be called anti-Muslim because I’m not,” Le Pen said.

Le Pen – who calls herself a “patriot” rather than a member of the extreme right – claims that her party neither deals in nor encourages the rising Islamophobia in France. She blames “political-religious groups” who want to install Muslim Sharia law in France and use “massive immigration” to do so.

“We don’t have problems with Islam,” she said. But “France has Christian roots. They (the French) want to recognize their own country, recognize their lifestyle, their habits, their traditions.”

Associated Press, 3 March 2014

EXPOSED: “Muslim charter” UKIP MEP Gerard Batten directly linked to extremist anti-Muslim propaganda network

5 March, 2014 - 18:37

UKIP_Antimuslim_Spencer

Original guest post by Jai Singh

Headed by Nigel Farage, a Member of the European Parliament, the UK Independence Party (known as “UKIP”) has made huge gains in local government elections in the UK, and may achieve the support of up to 20% of voters during the impending European elections. UKIP has of course also received scrutiny due to the extreme right-wing (and often explicitly Far-Right) views of far too many of its politicians. These views have received publicity via a combination of media exposure and blunders by UKIP politicians themselves.

Such incidents are continuing to occur. For example, during a recent UKIP conference in Torquay, Nigel Farage was caught enthusiastically applauding racist “jokes” about South Asians along with similarly derogatory “humour” at the expense of Muslims. Furthermore, during the same conference, UKIP tried to ban journalists from a meeting ostensibly to discuss sharia law; the very first question at that meeting was “How can you be both a Muslim and an Englishman ?” Farage himself has also become increasingly outspoken about expressing highly offensive views; in fact, even traditionally right-wing British news outlets such as The Telegraph are now publishing articles describing UKIP as “an overtly racist and extremist party”.

UKIP’S “DECLARATION FORM” FOR CANDIDATES

According to BBC deputy political editor James Landale, writing on 28 February 2014:

If you want evidence of how UKIP is trying to become more professional, look no further than the form potential candidates have to fill out, a copy of which I have obtained at the party’s conference in Torquay.

Wannabe UKIP candidates have to declare the following:

“I never engaged in, advocated or condoned racist, violent, criminal or anti democratic activity.

“I have never been a member of or had links with any organisation, group or association which the national executive committee considers is liable to bring the party into disrepute.

“I have never been convicted of any offence punishable by a custodial sentence, whether or not a custodial sentence was actually imposed. I shall notify the Party Chairman and General Secretary immediately upon being interviewed under caution.”

Later the form asks specifically: “Are you or have you ever been a member of the BNP, EDL or any other organisation that might be of public interest?”

And this is my favourite: “I do not have any ‘skeletons in my cupboard’ that may cause me or UKIP embarrassment if they were to come out during the election.”

Unfortunately for UKIP, the ramifications of this will become clearer immediately below, although not in the way UKIP’s leadership intended.

UKIP MEP GERARD BATTEN AND THE ANTI-MUSLIM PROPAGANDA NETWORK

Another very senior UKIP politician who has recently featured in the British news is Gerard Batten, UKIP’s immigration spokesman. A founder member of UKIP in 1993, he has also been UKIP’s Chief Whip since 2009, and was personally appointed by Nigel Farage. Furthermore, Batten is currently UKIP’s MEP for London and a member of UKIP’s National Executive Committee. Batten was appointed a member of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence in 2004; he was appointed UKIP’s spokesman on Security and Defence soon afterwards.

In February 2014, Batten appeared as one of the main participants in several televised political debates on Channel 4 and the BBC, primarily in his capacity as UKIP’s immigration spokesman. As discussed in The Guardian, Batten has also recently received some publicity due to his proposed “Muslim Charter” requiring British Muslims to sign a “code of conduct”; despite the outcry, Batten has refused to withdraw his proposal. (Nigel Farage subsequently disowned Batten’s proposal).

Furthermore, the same Guardian article confirms that Batten is also on record as suggesting a ban on new mosques in British cities; Batten justified this by repeatedly referring to the prohibition on non-Muslim places of worship in Saudi Arabia, which he kept describing as “the heartland” of Islam. Batten is therefore proposing that British citizens who are Muslims should effectively be held hostage to the actions of foreign governments. Bear in mind that the majority of British Muslims do not have Saudi Arabian (or Middle-Eastern) backgrounds and do not even belong to the same religious “denomination” as state-sponsored Saudi Wahhabism.

On 28 February 2014, during an interview with Sky News anchor Adam Boulton, Nigel Farage insisted that UKIP had already “got rid of” everyone with any links to extremism. During his speech at the recent UKIP conference discussed above, Farage similarly claimed that “We’ve had one or two bad people. We’ve got rid of them”. However, Farage’s claims are demonstrably false: It turns out that Gerard Batten himself has a history of direct involvement with the core extremist international anti-Muslim propaganda network.

For example, in 2007, Gerard Batten personally represented the UK at a major anti-Muslim conference held in Brussels by the aforementioned propagandists. The conference brought together dozens of organisations and individuals to inaugurate the “Counterjihad Europa” network; participants included a number of the main writers at the virulently anti-Muslim website Gates of Vienna, along with Robert Spencer, who is the main writer of the Jihad Watch website and a foreign extremist whom the British Government’s Home Office has now banned from entering the UK. Full details on the conference here and here; Gerard Batten is explicitly named.

Regular readers will recognise the names of many of the people listed, including sources cited by the mass-murdering terrorist Anders Breivik in his manifesto; Gates of Vienna owner Edward May (aka “Baron Bodissey”) is on record as explicitly describing himself as a “propagandist” and admitting that his agenda is to deliberately promote highly distorted information about Islam in order to stereotype and demonise the religion. Subsequent annual conferences have included high-profile participation from the English Defence League leadership.

Gerard Batten is also directly linked to the Dutch Far-Right politician Geert Wilders, and has even held joint press conferences with him. Wilders’ extremely bigoted views on Islam are well-known (see examples via Wikipedia and the Institute for Policy Studies). Batten is on record as describing Wilders as “a brave man trying to defend western civilisation in the face of its own loss of the most basic instinct of self preservation”.

Furthermore, Gerard Batten also has a history of assisting the extremely anti-Muslim “Stop Islamisation of Europe” (SIOE) organisation. He even handed in a petition on behalf of SIOE head Anders Gravers to the mayor of Brussels. SIOE is part of Robert Spencer & Pamela Geller’s SION (“Stop Islamization of Nations”) organisation, and Gravers himself is currently a member of SION’s Presidents Council.

For the UKIP leadership’s benefit and for the public record, it is worth reiterating the following key facts. Robert Spencer is:

(a) an individual with precisely zero academic, professional or linguistic qualifications on the subject of Islam;
(b) an individual whose own alma mater, the University of North Carolina, have publicly condemned his writings;
(c) formally allied to racist white supremacists and European neo-Nazis, and has even organised joint public demonstrations with then;
(d) on record as demonising the entire Muslim population and demonising the religion of Islam as a whole;
(e) on record as repeatedly making false statements about Islam and Muslims, and repeatedly trying to hide the evidence when his actions were exposed;
(f) on record as making false statements about historical Popes and major Jewish figures, and then trying to hide the evidence when his actions were exposed;
(g) one of the most heavily cited sources in the terrorist Anders Breivik’s manifesto;
(h) an ordained Catholic deacon who has publicly admitted that his anti-Islam propaganda campaign is heavily motivated by his [unilateral] agenda for the dominance of the Catholic Church, despite the fact that his actions are in violation of both official Vatican policy and the extensive interfaith bridge-building efforts of the global leaders of his own Catholic sect;
(i) closely linked to influential American Catholic religious leaders affiliated with “Dominionism”, an extreme interpretation of fundamentalist Christianity deriving from “Christian Reconstructionism”, which involves the belief that rule by non-Christians anywhere in the world is sacrilege, explicitly approves of the historical slavery of African-Americans, and openly advocates the replacement of American law with Old Testament injunctions including the death penalty for apostasy and homosexuality; furthermore, according to Dominionism, its adherents have a God-given mandate to infiltrate the highest echelons of power and subsequently impose their beliefs on the entire world;
(j) closely linked to multiple figures who are extremely anti-Semitic as well as anti-Muslim;
(k) on record as denying the Srebrenica genocide, explicitly describing it as “the-genocide-that-never-was” and proposing “the possibility that Muslims could have carried out any deceptive atrocity-manufacturing in the Balkans”;
(l) on record as repeatedly promoting the work & writings of Serge Trifkovic, former spokesman for the Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic; Karadzic is currently charged with genocide during the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia. Spencer and Trifkovic have even held joint interviews and collaborated on an anti-Islam documentary film. Trifkovic openly supports and defends Ratko Mladic, whom the United Nations Tribunal has indicted on 16 counts of genocide and war crimes. Furthermore, Trifkovic has also appeared as a defence witness during the trials of several Serbian war criminals subsequently convicted of multiple crimes against humanity, including genocide, exterminations, persecution and deportations;
(m) on record as joining a genocidal white nationalist Facebook group called the “Campaign for the Reconquest of Anatolia”, whose mission statement openly advocates the ethnic cleansing, mass sterilisation and euthanasia of Turkey’s entire Muslim population, targeting “up to 150 million people”;
(n) on record as making extremely disparaging statements about the prestigious West Point military institution and has described Far-Right terrorists in the US as “ordinary Americans who believe in individual rights”.
(o) an individual whose SION/SIOA/AFDI organisations’ leadership is directly assisted by David Yerushalmi, the head of an organisation whose mission statement explicitly declares that its (currently unidentified) members are “dedicated to the rejection of democracy”.
[Note: Extensive further information regarding these facts along with a range of other matters involving Robert Spencer and his inner circle is available in this recent article.]

EDL ex-leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) was a member of SION’s Presidents Council until his unconvincing “defection” to the Quilliam Foundation in October 2013. Speaking to various international outlets, especially a Far-Right source, Yaxley-Lennon has admitted the real reasons for his involvement with Quilliam. It is worth noting that Yaxley-Lennon has repeatedly stated that there has actually been zero change in his extremist views, and that he continues to support Robert Spencer. Yaxley-Lennon is also on record as publicly endorsing UKIP.

*********************************************************************************

UKIP’S LINKS TO INTERNATIONAL FAR-RIGHT PARTIES

As confirmed by the New Statesman:

Ukip is part of the group Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD). The group includes representatives of the Danish People’s Party, the True Finns Party, the Dutch SGP and the infamous Italian Lega Nord – all of them far-right. Nigel Farage is co-President of the group along with Lega Nord’s Francesco Speroni, who described multiple murderer Anders Breivik as someone whose “ideas are in defence of western civilisation.”

Mario Borghezio, another member of the group, declared in a radio interview that Breivik had some “excellent” ideas. Farage’s reaction was to write a strongly-worded letter to Borghezio, asking him to withdraw his comments or Ukip would pull out of the EFD. Borghezio not only did not apologise, but responded with an extraordinary speech in which he raged: “Long live the Whites of Europe, long live our identity, our ethnicity, our race… our blue sky, like the eyes of our women. Blue, in a people who want to stay white.”

Nigel Farage did not withdraw from the EFD. He continues to co-preside over it, along with the leader of the Lega Nord. MEP Nikki Sinclaire, however, was expelled from Ukip for refusing to take part in the EFD because of their “extreme views”.

UKIP AND BRITISH FAR-RIGHT PARTIES

Via the aforementioned New Statesman article:

“Ukip has no links to the BNP,” explained Farage in 2007. The first line of any description of Ukip calls it “a libertarian, non-racist party”. What party, other than one skating close to the lines of taste and decency, needs to describe itself as “non-racist”? Farage boasted on The Andrew Marr Show (20 January 2013) that “Ukip is the only UK party to explicitly ban BNP members from joining”. What party, other than a party whose policies are attractive to such organisations, would need to do that?

…..More recently, however, Farage refused to vote to oppose moves for the European Union to fund the BNP.

The founder of the party, Alan Sked, says it has become “extraordinarily right-wing” and is now devoted to “creating a fuss, via Islam and immigrants”.

Furthermore, as confirmed by the Huffington Post on 28 February 2014, it turns out that UKIP’s “new” “Love Britain, Vote Ukip” campaign slogan is actually a rehash of the Far-Right BNP’s own slogan. A BNP spokesman subsequently complained “They’ve stolen our policies and now they’ve stolen our slogan”.

*********************************************************************************

FURTHER INFORMATION

1. For interested readers, UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s Twitter address is @Nigel_Farage.

2. UKIP “immigration spokesman” and “Chief Whip” Gerard Batten’s Twitter address is @GerardBattenMEP.

3. BBC deputy political editor James Landale’s Twitter address is @BBCJLandale.

4. Sky News anchor Adam Boulton’s Twitter address is @adamboultonSKY.

5. Huffington Post UK Political Director / New Statesman contributor Mehdi Hasan’s Twitter address is @mehdirhasan.

Conspiracy Theorist Trains Police On ‘Counterterrorism’

4 March, 2014 - 18:13

JohnGuandolo

The event was first a go, then it was reported to be cancelled. I found out today that it might have never been cancelled to begin with.

Conspiracy Theorist Trains Police On ‘Counterterrorism’ By Michael Allen, (Opposing Views)

Culpeper County, Va. deputies and staff members recently received a three-day “counterterrorism” training course from John Guandolo, a former FBI agent.

The training took place last week at Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg, Va.

“Everything went smoothly,” Sheriff Scott Jenkins told Fredericksburg.com.

However, Guandolo is a conspiracy theorist who has made a number of extraordinary claims, such as the head of the CIA, John Brennan, being a secret Muslim who brought “known Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders into the government and into advisory positions” and American Muslims not having “a First Amendment right to do anything,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Guandolo also claims that an advisor to President Clinton was a senior al-Qaeda supporter, noted the Star Exponent.

Sheriff Jenkins claimed he was flooded with emails in support of Guandolo’s training.

“It’s hard to believe that the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office would knowingly associate itself with such a disreputable character,” Josh Glasstetter, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Watchdog.org.

EDL member charged with terrorism offences is Michael Piggin

3 March, 2014 - 23:58

Michael-Piggin EDL member charged with terrorism offences is Michael Piggin

A judge has lifted an order banning the naming of an 18-year-old man charged with terror offences.

Michael Piggin, of Loughborough, is accused of possession of items for the purpose of terrorism, including partially-constructed pipe bombs. He is also charged with possessing a document containing information likely to be useful for a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Mr Piggin denies the two charges and his trial is due to begin on Tuesday.

Mr Piggin is alleged to have possessed nine partially-assembled petrol bombs, firework powder, partially-constructed improvised explosive devices, a crossbow, a variety of air rifles, a gas mask and stab proof vest. He is also charged with having a notebook containing information about the planning of attacks and the construction of explosive devices.

Mr Piggin, whose name could not previously be reported owing to his age, is due to stand trial at the Old Bailey in London.

BBC News, 3 March 2014

Michael Piggin Facebook

Crimean Tatars feel pressure from all sides

3 March, 2014 - 19:41

Tatars at a protest on Feb. 26. In the Ukrainian uprising, those who favor closer ties with Europe are struggling with ethnic Russians and their desire to be closer to Russia. Caught in between are the Tatars, Crimea’s indigenous minority.Reuters

Tatars at a protest on Feb. 26. In the Ukrainian uprising, those who favor closer ties with Europe are struggling with ethnic Russians and their desire to be closer to Russia. Caught in between are the Tatars, Crimea’s indigenous minority.Reuters

Crimean Tatars feel pressure from all sides

by Sam Narod, AlJazeera America

They survived Stalin’s attempt to destroy them, but Muslim minority is now caught in the middle of Ukraine’s uprising

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Ali Aliev was a 9-year-old when German troops occupied Crimea during World War II, and he still remembers the day he and others in his village in the southeastern Sudak region of the peninsula gathered in a schoolyard to wait for their liberators, the returning Soviets.

There he learned that the indigenous Crimean Tatar population was being rounded up and sent away.

“We didn’t know where, just somewhere,” he said, now in his 80s and living in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea.

His people were loaded onto empty train carriages — women, children and elders crammed together. When the train stopped, the Soviets opened the doors, threw dead bodies over the side of the platform and restarted the train.

After 22 days on board, Aliev ended up at a labor camp in the Ural region in the center of the USSR. This was Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s punishment for the Crimean Tatars, citing Tatar collaboration with the Nazi invaders, despite the fact that many had served in the Red Army.

Descendants of the Golden Horde of Genghis Khan, the Crimean Tatars are Turkic-speaking Muslims and the peninsula’s indigenous inhabitants. The Soviets left them scattered in labor camps across the barren steppes of Central Asia. Thought to number approximately 200,000 at the time, almost half the population died from hunger, thirst and disease in their first year of exile.

“They threw us aside to exterminate us from the earth,” Aliev said. “But despite what we lived through, the people never forgot their homeland. We went to sleep at night dreaming of Crimea.”

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Crimean Tatar population has slowly returned to an entirely different homeland from the one they were forced to leave, one dominated by ethnic Russians and Ukrainians. Since the Tatars’ homecoming, they have been fighting for their rights, but with the newest Russian incursion, the Crimean Tatars here says they feel hemmed in from all sides.

With Russian troops on their streets and Russian president Vladimir Putin’s warning that he will use force to secure Crimea and eastern Ukraine, anxiety is mounting among the minority, which supported the uprising against now ousted President Viktor Yanukovich. The embattled Tatars, who make up 12 percent of the multiethnic peninsula, according to a 2001 census, look unlikely to get their way.

On Saturday, Putin requested and received authorization from the upper house of Russia’s parliament to use military force in Ukraine. On a call with U.S. President Barack Obama, Putin “stressed that in case of any further spread of violence to eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas,” the Kremlin announced. On Sunday, Ukraine responded by calling up its military reservists, while Russian troops continued to surround Ukrainian military bases on the peninsula.

A return from exile

“Other ethnic groups here have governments that protect their future, but we don’t have a homeland other than Crimea,” said Abduraman Egiz, a deputy with the Mejlis, a representative body for the Crimean Tatars.

Russians make up almost 60 percent of the peninsula’s populations, and Ukrainians compose 24 percent according to the 2001 census.

“We want to protect our language, history and historical figures, but the legacy of the USSR lives, and people don’t understand these basic rights need to be guaranteed,” Egiz said.

Return from exile in Central Asia was a slow process. “All the adults told us stories about our homeland. They pounded us with them so we would never forget,” Zulfere Memetova, a 30-year-old accountant who grew up in Uzbekistan, remembered.

Crimean Tatar activists at a protest in front of the parliament building in Simferopol, Feb. 26, 2014. Arthur Shvarts/EPA

Crimean Tatar activists at a protest in front of the parliament building in Simferopol, Feb. 26, 2014. Arthur Shvarts/EPA

Her relatives spoke their native language at home, and Memetova said she used to tell her friends at the end of every school term that she wouldn’t be back next year because she would return to Crimea. She ended up finishing her degrees in Uzbekistan.

When the Tatars were finally allowed to return in the late 1980s, they found ethnic Russians living in their houses. They started building their own settlements from scratch. When Memetova’s mother-in-law Zarema Nasibolaeva, a 57-year-old doctor, returned to Crimea in 1993, the family members had sold all their belongings to pay for their homecoming. She remembered finding her ethnic brethren living in tents and ramshackle structures while struggling to build permanent housing. “Some people had even dug holes in the earth and were living there,” she said.

Interacting with the rest of the population proved challenging as well. “The Russians were terrified of us because of the Soviet propaganda. I used to argue with people on public transportation, but after a while we got used to each other,” Nasibolaeva said.

Even before the current crisis, Egiz, who is also a founding member of Bizim Qirim, a youth organization focused on Tatar identity retention, said Crimean Tatars were worried about losing their culture and their linguistic roots. In exile many spoke the Tatar language at home in secret to keep traditions and as a challenge to Soviet rule, but the modern world has come crashing down on the minority.

Bizim Qirim sponsors cultural events, appears on television to support Tatar rights and holds workshops in universities to promote Tatar issues. “Our main challenge is assimilation,” Egiz explained. Bizim Qirim started a petition to return village and street names to their historical Tatar names. “In our return to Crimea, one of our main goals was to retain the identity of our nation,” he said, “but as a minority, our rights are lacking. There are no strong laws protecting minority rights.”

Today Memetova and Nasibolaeva live in an apartment compound financed by the Ukrainian government that was reserved for Tatars. The streets outside the blocs are unpaved and muddy, and the school that the government was supposed to construct for children has been frozen since 1992.

Memetova’s children do not speak the Tatar language because they spend all day in Russian-language schools while she is at work. “When my daughter started day care, she spoke Tatar. Within a month she started speaking to me in Russian,” Memetova said. They worry that their the language and culture is slowly being eroded.

These days, cultural concerns have taken a backseat to developments in Kiev and Moscow. The Tatars came out in Simferopol on Feb. 26 to support the Kiev protests after Yanukovich was ousted. So far, the Tatars say they have not seen signs of support from the government in Kiev. “Just as we’ve had to do everything ourselves, so it will continue,” Memetova said.

Over sweet tea and chocolate in the family’s home, the chance of a better life under Russian control seemed slim, and the prospect of help from the West seemed even further. “Maybe they won’t find a place to export us, but they’ll find a way to extinguish us. We’re afraid of Russia. We’ve never had anything good from them,” Nasibolaeva said.

London Mayor’s Awkward Moment: Remove children from “Islamist radicals”

3 March, 2014 - 17:48

Awkward Moment

Graphic credit: Mr Tickles via twitter @MrTickle3

by Ilisha

H/T: Mr.Tickles

At last justice has been served. Michael Adebowale and Michael Abedbolago were convicted of the brutal murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich last May. Rigby’s family issued a statement saying:

We would like to thank the judge and the courts for handing down what we believe to be the right prison terms.

We would also like to thank everyone who has supported us in the last nine months.

It has brought us a lot of comfort and we feel satisfied that justice has been served for Lee. We now ask to continue to grieve in private.

Predictably, anti-Muslim bigots have seized the opportunity to issue their own statements, recklessly indicting Islam, and with it, the entire UK Muslim community.

To his credit, London Mayor Boris Johnson prefaced his anti-Muslim diatribe with a qualifier in an article published by the Telegraph. Johnson said he was glad it was the last time the public would have to hear the perpetrators “pervert the religion of Islam.

The Mayor then  launched into a bizarre “kitchen sink” rant about a wide range of issues, including the “Paedophile Information Exchange”, female genital mutilation, “radical Islamic extremism,” and the alleged perils of political correctness.

The Daily Mail quoted him as saying:

The children of Islamist radicals should be taken into care…

Mr Johnson said young people were increasingly being ‘radicalised at their home’ and taught the sort of ‘crazy stuff’ similar to the views espoused by the killers of Lee Rigby.

He said lack of clarity about the law meant the authorities were reluctant to intervene.

The Mayor wrote in the Daily Telegraph: ‘A child may be taken into care if he or she is being exposed to pornography, or is being abused – but not if the child is being habituated to this utterly bleak and nihilistic view of the world that could lead them to become murderers.

‘It is the strong view of many of those involved in counter-terrorism that there should be a clearer legal position, so that those children who are being turned into potential killers or suicide bombers can be removed into care.’

Whatever the merits of the Mayor’s arguments, his comments seem highly misplaced with regard to the murder of Lee Rigby. Michael Adebowale and Michael Abedbolago are both converts to Islam, and therefore we reasonably conclude were not raised by Muslims–never mind “Islamist radicals.”

How Stephen Harper divides and conquers our many minorities: Siddiqui

2 March, 2014 - 20:37

Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s crude, divisive tactics have put Canada on a worrying political trajectory.

How Stephen Harper divides and conquers our many minorities: Siddiqui

By: , The Star

H/T: LiesYouTell

Stephen Harper governs not so much for Canada as for his Conservative party. He used to do it by stealth. Now he does it openly, like the Republicans in Washington who, in fact, are beginning to pull back from their partisan brinkmanship just as he is bulldozing ahead with greater arrogance.

Take his proposed changes to the Elections Act, which would favour the Conservatives — gut the power of the chief elections officer Marc Mayrand (who had taken the Tories to court for breaking election laws) and make it more difficult for voters to cast ballots but easier for political parties to raise money.

Take John Baird’s highly publicized trip to the Ukraine — an unapologetically Conservative mission, not a Canadian one.

Take the government’s boycott of the opposition from the Aga Khan’s speech Friday at Massey Hall. Even the MP for the riding, Liberal Chrystia Freeland, was frozen out.

All this follows Harper’s recent trip to Israel and the West Bank, which was crassly political in more ways than one.

At one event there, Conservative MP for York Centre, Mark Adler, barred the respected Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who had gone to Israel on his own dime. Harper’s unusually large delegation of 200 did not have a single Canadian Arab but included a representative of the extremist Jewish Defence League, which works with, among others, the right-wing and Islamophobic British group, English Defence League.

Less known has been Harper’s decision to exclude Baruch Frydman-Kohl, the highly respected rabbi of the liberal Beth Tzedec Congregation, one of Toronto’s largest synagogues.

Frydman-Kohl is president of the Toronto Board of Rabbis, which in 2012 denounced the Jewish Defence League for hosting American anti-Islamic blogger Pamela Geller. Describing her views as “distasteful,” the board said that “there was no sense in inviting her here to speak before a Jewish audience.”

Fryman-Kohl clearly does not fit Harper’s definition of a good Canadian Jew, nor does Cotler.

These examples, as others before, fit into a well-established pattern — Harper’s “you are with us or against us” approach to governing; his hijacking of Canadian foreign policy to serve Conservative interests; and his divide-and-conquer tactics of pitting one ethnic community against another.

He was right to honour the Aga Khan, making him an honorary citizen in 2009 and having him speak to Parliament on Thursday and in Toronto on Friday. But the prime minister’s motives are clearly suspect. His wooing of the Ismaili community in Canada follows the pattern of Conservative niche marketing to several other minorities.

He has done so not only with the Jewish community — in the recent provincial byelection in Thornhill won by the Conservatives, many Jewish voters let it be known that they had, in fact, “voted for Harper.” He has also made inroads into the Hindu, Sikh, Bahai, Coptic Christian, Pakistani Christian and Pakistani Ahmadiyyah Muslim communities.

Nothing wrong in a government paying attention to minority concerns in their ancestral or spiritual homelands — except when the catering to special interests is so obviously tied to fishing for votes and financial contributions for the Conservative party, or worse, it fans rather than reduces old-country troubles in Canada.

In Harper’s black-and-white world, supporting Israel means opposing Arabs in Canada. He has little or no engagement with Canadian Arabs, up to half of whom are Christian, even though at 780,000 they are more than double the Jewish population of 329,000. Not that numbers should dictate policy but a cavalier disregard for specific communities by their prime minister demeans the office he holds.

Harper also ignores Canada’s Muslims, the fastest growing and the youngest demographic in the country, with a median age of 28.9 years vs. the Canadian average of 40.2 years, according to Statistics Canada. At more than one million, they are now nearly three times the population of Buddhists (368,000), more than twice the population of Hindus (498,000), Lutherans and Pentecostals (478,000 each) and Sikhs (455,000), nearly double that of the Christian Orthodox (550,7000) and half as many as those belonging to the United Church (two million).

He has particularly solicited the smaller minorities that have come to Canada escaping persecution in Muslim lands. Their plight was real enough. But he and the Office of Religious Freedom that he established rarely speak out on behalf of persecuted Muslim minorities in such places as Myanmar.

All such selective, ideological, partisan and vindictive activities sacrifice the common Canadian interest in the service of the ruling party. Worse, they exacerbate our differences by pitting one minority against another or stoking divisions within a community. That’s no way to govern a highly diverse, but still united, nation.

Haroon Siddiqui’s column appears on Thursday and Sunday. hsiddiqui@thestar.ca

Jewish, Muslim Schools Unite for Random Act of Kindness

1 March, 2014 - 21:39

Jews_Muslims

This unity between faith schools doing random acts of kindness appears to be a subversive part of the Jewish facilitation of the Muslim takeover of the West.

Jewish, Muslim schools unite for random act of kindness

CBC

Two faith-based Richmond schools put cultural differences aside and came together for an annual display of goodwill.

Students from Richmond Jewish Day School and Az-Zahrra Islamic Academy served food in the Downtown Eastside today, honouring a three-year-old tradition known as “Random Act of Kindness Week.”

The tradition started at RJDS, and commemorates the life of a former student in the Jewish community who was known for her kindness and generosity to others.

Last October, two teachers struck up a conversation and introduced the idea of bringing their students together.

“We were reluctant, we weren’t sure how it would be received,” said Richmond Jewish Day School teacher Shoshanna Burton.

Random acts of Kindness Az-Zahhra Islamic Academy student Sadiyah Jagani and Richmond Jewish Day School student Abe Ravvin serve food together in the Downtown Eastside for Random Act of Kindness week. (CBC )

“We got together and we fell in love.”

Az-Zahhra teacher Sukhaina Jaffer said by bringing the students together, they are having important conversations, even if they are just about kid stuff.

The students agree.

“I thought it was a really good idea because it was our Jewish school and their Muslim school coming together,”said Richmond Jewish Day School student Abe Ravvin.

The work is also being well received.

Downtown Eastside resident Fred Miller said he appreciates the good will.

“If Muslim and Jewish kids can live together why can’t the rest of the world live together,” he said.

 

 

The two schools say they are planning to work together on future projects, building on what they have in common.

ADL Traffics in Crude Stereotyping of Muslims

1 March, 2014 - 18:57

The_Muslim_Taxi_Driver

Yesterday, William Saletan of Slate.com published an article (The Muslim Taxi Driver) on how to kill legislation that favors Christian religion and it has to do with prejudice and paranoia against Muslims,

If you want to kill legislation that protects the right of Christians to withhold business services from same-sex couples, here’s one way to do it: Don’t warn people about Christians. Warn them about Muslims.

That strategy was on display in the campaign against Arizona Senate Bill 1062, which would have shielded businesses from discrimination suits if they acted on religious beliefs. Everyone understood that the bill would have allowed conservative Christians to refuse services for a gay wedding. But in Arizona, that wasn’t a strong enough argument against it. So opponents went for the Muslim angle.

Many Americans who talk about religious freedom are really just interested in the rights of conservative Christians. They’re not so keen on Muslims. In fact, they worry about Muslims imposing their beliefs on Christians. Two days ago, in praise of the Arizona bill, Rush Limbaugh complained, “Religious beliefs can’t be used to stop anything the left wants to impose—unless they’re Muslim religious beliefs, and then we have to honor those. But any other religious beliefs are not permitted.”

The first reference to Muslims in the Arizona fight, as far as I can tell, came from the Anti-Defamation League in a letter to state senators and in testimony before a state Senate committee on Jan. 16. If the bill were to pass, the ADL’s assistant regional director told the committee, “A Muslim-owned cab company might refuse to drive passengers to a Hindu temple.”

CAIR-Arizona has condemned the ADL’s stereotyping, calling on the group to apologize,

“It is unconscionable that a group purporting to defend civil rights would resort to religious bigotry to promote its political agenda,” said CAIR-AZ Board Chair Imraan Siddiqi. “The introduction of this stereotypical scenario gave way to the narrative that Muslims are in some way serial abusers of ‘religious freedom based denials of service,’ which is completely baseless.”

New Anti-Sharia Legislation Introduced in Several States

1 March, 2014 - 18:26

Lee-Bright

Sen. Lee “not so” Bright.

New Anti-Sharia Legislation Introduced in Several States

(Imagine2050)

The 2014 legislative year has already seen legislation proposed that would ban the application of Sharia law in state courts. There are currently nine states that have introduced some variation of a bill aiming to block Islamic law. Most of the bills have carried over from 2013 with the exception of Vermont, which has introduced its first bill of this stature.

The bills are intended to combat the perceived threat that Muslims are undermining the United States Constitution and imposing Sharia law. Although almost none of the bills mention Sharia or other religious law specifically, instead opting for more neutral language, such as “foreign” and “international” law, their intent to vilify Muslims remains very much the same.

The bills are modeled after legislation entitled American Laws for American Courts (ALAC), which was authored by anti-Muslim lawyer and activist David Yerushalmi. The decision to explicitly leave out words like Sharia and Islam reflects a recent court case in Oklahoma where a federal judge ruled that legislation directly targeting Sharia law was in violation of Muslims’ Constitutional rights. However, the bill was amended and secured Oklahoma as the sixth state to enact such a law. Now even more states are looking to pass their own versions.

South Carolina State Senator Lee Bright (R) is one of the lawmakers trying to pass this type of legislation in his state. Bright is a prime example of the paranoia and anti-Muslim demagoguery behind these bills. Over the summer, Bright, who is primarying Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for a 2014 Senate seat, accused the senator of being a “community organizer for the Muslim Brotherhood.” This was after Graham took a diplomatic trip to Egypt with Senator John McCain (R-AZ). In a recent speech, Bright also went on a diatribe about Muslim immigration, asserting that the country might be admitting terrorists.

“We got to be careful about who we let into this country,” he told the crowd. “A lot of these folks from terrorist nations are coming in on student visas, and we shouldn’t allow it.” Later in the speech, Bright referred to immigrants crossing the Southern border unlawfully as “an invasion” and claimed some of them might have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Bright is not the only state representative looking to have a bill of this category passed, however. Listed below are all of the proposed 2014 anti-Sharia bills:

  • Florida has introduced Senate Bill 386. The bill’s sponsor is Sen. Alan Hays (R), who last year proposed SB 58, which died on the Senate floor. Hays has previously compared Sharia law to a “dreadful disease,” and its only vaccination is anti-Sharia legislation.

  • Georgia has introduced HB 895 and SR 808 prohibiting courts from recognizing foreign and international law.

  • Iowa’s House Bill 76 was carried over from 2013 and has been referred to a Judiciary House Committee.

  • Kentucky has introduced HB 43, which has been referred to a House Judiciary Committee.

  • Missouri has re-introduced SB 619. The bill’s sponsor is Republican State Senator Brian Knieves, an anti-immigrant legislator and member of the State Legislators for Legal Immigration. SB 619 was vetoed last summer by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

  • South Carolina has introduced three bills: HB 4494, which specifically bans Sharia, and SB 60 and 81, both of which were carried over from 2013. Sen. Bright is responsible for SB 81.

  • Mississippi has introduced HB 44, which has been referred to a House Judiciary Committee.

  • Vermont has introduced SB 265 and is the state’s first anti-Sharia bill.

  • West Virginia has introduced SB 2116, which is currently in a Judiciary House Committee.

  • Washington has introduced SB 6118 and HB 1392, which carried over from 2013.

Legislation outlawing Sharia law in state courts remains unnecessary and a distraction from more pressing matters. The background of the laws and its fringe sponsors show their true intent and has no place in our legislative process.

For more on Senator Lee Bright and his controversial views, visit The National Memo here.

“Lee Bright Warns of Immigrant ‘Invasion’ From ‘Terrorist Nations’” (via Right Wing Watch)

Legoland Cancels “Muslim Family Fun Day” After Threats From Violent Anti-Muslim Groups

1 March, 2014 - 16:12

LEGOLAND-Parks

The hysteria over “Muslim Family Fun Day” in the UK (h/t: Farhan) sounds very familiar, as a similar anxiety and hysteria was witnessed here in the USA last year when some Muslim groups organized a Muslim Family Day at Six Flags Great America,

There has been a Muslim Family Day at Six Flags Amusement Parks in many cities across the U.S. for 10 years now, since 2000.  The idea was to plan a special day after Ramadan.  This year some of these Family Days will be held on September 12th, and that has set off a firestorm of objections.  Some even calling the event a “stab in the eye” of Americans, or “spitting in the face” of Americans.

Glenn Beck wonders why they (those Muslims) would be so insensitive as to pick a day so close to 9/11.  Obviously his crack research staff needs to be replaced.  That is the weekend after the end of Ramadan this year.  The Islamic calendar is lunar rather than solar, so events on the Islamic calendar move forward by approximately 11 days each year in the lunar calendar.  In a couple of years this event will be coming in August rather than September.  In 2009 the events were planned around September 21, in 2008 around October 1, in 2007 around October 14 – you get the idea.

The Tea Party Patriots website (the same folks that brought you the “bring your dogs” protest of the Temecula mosque) has a page which posts the rantings of all sorts of bigots claiming that this is a“symbolic victory”, “this is all about conquest”, “Islam is not a religion”, “STOP THE SILENCE. STOP THE NONSENCE. STOP THE MUSLIM DAY – THEY ARE NOT AMERICANS. THEY DO NOT ABIDE BY OUR CONSTITUTION – THEY ARE NOT ONE OF US – YOU ARE EITHER WITH US OR AGAINST US – MAKE YOUR DECISION.”, ” Islam tells people it is OK to be two-faced liars”, ” they cannot ever respect our constitution because it’s in direct violation with Sharia and how they must abide by a set of laws called dualism, compelling them to lie to others”, “there is no such thing of (sic) a ‘mild’ muslim”.

Legoland cancels Muslim family fun day in fear of “guest and employee safety”

(5Pillarz)

The family fun day which was organised by Sheikh Haitham al Haddad of the Muslim Research and Development Foundation (MRDF) for Sunday 9th March will not be going ahead after a barrage of violent messages were made by far-right Islamophobic extremists.

The English Defence League, Casuals United and other far-right groups vowed to hold a protest outside Legoland, many threatening to use violence to prevent the family outing.

Legoland issued the following statement:  

“The Legoland Windsor Resort prides itself on welcoming everyone to our wonderful attraction; however due to unfortunate circumstances the private event scheduled for Sunday 9th March will no longer take place. This was an incredibly difficult made after discussions with the organisers and local Thames Valley Police, following the receipt of a number of threatening phone calls, emails and social media posts to the Resort over the last couple of weeks.

“These alone have led us to conclude that we can no longer guarantee the happy fun family event which was envisaged or the safety of our guests and employees on the day – which is always our number one priority.

“Sadly it is our belief that deliberate misinformation fuelled by a small group with a clear agenda was designed expressly to achieve this outcome. We are appalled at what has occurred, and at the fact that the real losers in this are the many families and children who were looking forward to an enjoyable day out at Legoland.

“We would like to apologies to them and to the organisers, and to thank them for their understanding. We hope that they will all be able to come to visit us during the season.”

Read the entire article…

 

Shoebat: America Embracing ‘The Spirit Of Antichrist’ By Ensuring Rights For Gays, Muslims

27 February, 2014 - 20:26

Walid_Shoebat

Walid Shoebat

Interesting how the Antichrist changes from decade to decade. For a long time Russia was the Antichrist and Gog and Magog and now it is practically worshiped by Conservatives.

Shoebat: America Embracing ‘The Spirit Of Antichrist’ By Ensuring Rights For Gays, Muslims

(RightWingWatch)

Walid Shoebat, one of the conservative media’s favorite anti-Muslim commentators, yesterday posted a six-part series arguing that Turkey will emerge during the End Times as an “Antichrist nation” and may soon invade Egypt.

According to Shoebat, Russia’s support for Syria’s brutal dictatorship — which Shoebat praises — and its plan to “eliminate the Sodomite movement including all mosques,” is proof that Russia will stand up against and fight Turkey and its Islamist allies such as the Muslim Brotherhood during the Last Days.

He adds that the US has been compromised due to its “tolerance to the homosexual agenda and to building mosques” and is now “advancing” the cause of “the spirit of antichrist,” with even American evangelicals joining “the ranks of the devil.”

Today, the Brotherhood is parking in Turkey after being overthrown in Egypt and the Turks will aid the Islamist movement in Egypt to rise against the secularists. The next few years will show this struggle intensify until Turkey invades Egypt. This does not pass without repercussions. Few focus closely to Daniel 11:44, that “news from the north” will trouble the King of the North (Turkey/antichrist).

Relative to current events, the alliance between Russia and secularist Egypt is strengthening, which is increasingly troubling to the Turks. The outcome of this battle between the King of the North (Antichrist/Turkey) and the troublesome news from north of it (Russia) will be a surprise—in verse 45, he (the antichrist) “shall come to his end, with no one to help him”. Russia will again defeat Turkey. History will repeat itself and it will be the Russo-Turkish Wars all over again. Other allies (Ezekiel 28:7-8) which the Bible says are the “most terrible of the nations” will also join in against Turkey (see Ezekiel 30:5, Lydia).

From a biblical perspective, Russia is against the spirit of antichrist while the U.S. is advancing its cause.

It is not new that such false teachers always take the side of the enemies of Christianity; supporting the rebels against Assad is the end of the Christians in Syria.

How is attacking Russia, Syria’s ally calling it “Gog and Magog” serves anyone’s interests but the liberals and the Islamists? What we see in the Middle East is not the end, but the beginning of an end. It is pre-mature to start making proclamations and judgments.

Putin also wants to eliminate the Sodomite movement including all mosques while the U.S. including many in the American church defend such policies of tolerance to the homosexual agenda and to building mosques.

Should Russia import evangelical pastors like New York’s pastor Timothy Keller who says “being gay doesn’t send you to hell”? Does Russia’s Orthodox Christianity have a Rob Bell, kissing up to the sodomites, calls sodomites “passionate disciples of Jesus just like I’m trying to be. So lets [sic] all get together and try to do something about the truly big problems in our world, that I believe would have us ban together and tackle together”?

Why then should my American evangelical brothers join the ranks of the devil? We must then defend Evangelical Christianity from being influenced by the workers of iniquity and work tirelessly to save Christians from death.

Such conservatism is misleading and Protestant nations will likely repeat history and support the Antichrist nation of Turkey in the future—as they do now—and as they did in 1571 during the Battle of Lepanto.

The absence of Muslim-Catholic wars from their awkward interpretations was simple to explain; such struggle was described as the suffering of a “whore” who drinks the blood of saints, while the Muslim was simply “doing God a service”, not realizing that Arabia’s Islam was the vampire who hadn’t had its fill of sanguine Christian blood. I was always astonished; how can killing Catholics serve Allah, the false God of Islam, and also serve the true God of the Bible?

To these Islam was not even on their radar. It mattered little prophetically when I explained how the Bible in Revelation 13:2 was speaking of the greatest threat to Christianity. It was Islam that became this threat (beastly nation) as predicted in Scripture that occupied the region that was prophesied by John: Lion (Babylon), Bear (Persia) and Leopard (Asia Minor).

Omid Safi’s Response to Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” video

27 February, 2014 - 20:19

KP-Grab-1280-7-1280x720-427x240

It was amusing seeing the media get bent out of shape and create another pseudo-controversy, this time involving Muslims upset over something in a Katy Perry video. It kind of reminds me of the fascination with “freaky fatwa” news.

A Muslim Response to Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” video

By Omid Safi (ReligionNewsService)

Dear Ms. Perry:

How do I say this nicely?
You’re boring me.

I know, I know.
We live in a celebrity culture.
Controversy sells.
No such thing as bad publicity, and all that.

So now we’re supposed to be all bent out of shape because your “Dark Horse” video features a guy getting burned.   Among other jewelry, the guy is wearing a pendant bearing the name of God in Arabic “Allah.”

OOOOOOH, so provocative!  [Read that in sarcasm font.]

While we are at it, since when do clichés of ancient Egyptians look like the lovechild of Pharaonic times with the Smurfs?  Or when did pre-Islamic Egyptians wear “Allah” necklaces…in Arabic?   But never mind…. I suppose it would be too much to expect coherence here.   I forgot, this is all pseudo-Orientalist kitsch.

Yes, somebody made a petition to get the video off of Youtube, and some 50,000 Muslims signed it.

McKayla "Not Impressed"

I know we are supposed to be outraged, and act all “crazy Muslim” about it.

What…ever.

I’m not impressed.   Not even impressed enough to sign the petition.

Forgive us for caring about other things, like 100,000 human beings being slaughtered in Syria.
Forgive us for caring about Palestinians running out of food in refugee camps.
Forgive us for caring about murder of black men in this country because they are listening to music, or walking around with a hoodie
Forgive us for caring about children and grandmothers being blown up by American drones.
Forgive us for caring about 49 million Americans now living below the poverty line.
Forgive us for caring about one out of every five people on this planet living on a dollar a day.

 So yeah, you’re boring me.
These pseudo-controversies bore me, and are merely a distraction from the real task that confronts all of us.

Katy Perry

And while I am at it, I thought you were mildly entertaining in the “I kissed a girl” thing (even with its faux-Lesbian undertone), kind of cool in “E.T.” (minus the Kanye nonsense of “I’mma disrobe you then I’mma probe you” misogynist shit).  The rest of your music has been, well, kinda mediocre (even if some of your politics are kinda cool).

Read the entire article…

Burma: Buddhists/Police Rape, Attempt to Force Convert Rohingya Muslim teen

27 February, 2014 - 17:02

Rohingya-Muslim-Girl-Raped-By-Police_

The girl’s rape case is not the first for Burmese as a report last year claimed that many Rohingya women have been raped by the Burmese military.

Rohingya Muslim Girl Gang-Raped By Police

RAKHINE – Shocking reports have surfaced about a 16-year-old Rohingya Muslim girl who was gang-raped after being arrested by police after a deadly crackdown on a remote village in Rakhine state which left dozens dead.

“I remember it clearly. Just before dawn the first Rakhine man came in. He raped me,” the 16-year-old Rohingya Muslim girl told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, February 5.

“Then the others came in, one by one. It was four Rakhine men, and three police officers.”

The girl’s misery started when she fled her home at Rakhine’s Du Chee Yar Tan village after it was set ablaze by Buddhist mobs.

Running for her life, she was arrested by police forces to start a new episode of humiliation and attacks.

After her illegal arrest the girl was not sent to the police station, they took her to a grocery shop.

“The police took me to a market place between Du Chee Yar Tan and the Rakhine Khayae Myuing village,” she said.

“They kept me in a grocery shop. Everything was locked,” she added.

In the grocery shop the girl was tortured by the police officers who failed to force her to convert to Buddhism.

“I said no, I refused to convert,” the girl said.

“They then beat me. I was slapped. Beaten with sticks,” she explained.

The girl’s rape followed the attack which was reported last month by UN humanitarian chiefs and human rights organizations .

The attack resulted in the massacre of at least 48 Rohingya Muslims, mostly women and children, in Burma’s western Rakhine State.

Official media and the Ministry of Information have strongly refuted the reports.

Yet, a Thailand-based NGO, the Arakan Project, said it had received multiple reports that dozens of Rohingya Muslims were killed by security forces and Arakanese Buddhists.

The incident, just the latest in a string of attacks that left at least 240 people dead and more than 140,000 homeless or displaced in prison-like camps, caused terror in the Muslim Yangon community.

Fear

After the incident, the 16-year-old girl couldn’t visit doctor as her family feared consequences.

The helpless family had given the girl a medicine to prevent pregnancy, which they got from a local makeshift pharmacy.

Seeking justice the complaining girl said: “I still remember their faces. I can point them out if I see them again.”

The girl’s rape case is not the first for Burmese as a report last year claimed that many Rohingya women have been raped by the Burmese military.

Described by the UN as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, Rohingya Muslims are facing a catalogue of discrimination in their homeland.

They have been denied citizenship rights since an amendment to the citizenship laws in 1982 and are treated as illegal immigrants in their own home.

The Burmese government as well as the Buddhist majority refuse to recognize the term “Rohingya”, referring to them as “Bengalis”.

Rights groups have accused the Burmese security forces of killing, raping and arresting Rohingyas following the sectarian violence last year.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been forced to flee their homes in western Burma since June after attacks from Buddhist mobs on their areas.

The violence has displaced nearly 29,000 people, more than 97 percent of whom are Rohingya Muslims, according to the United Nations.

Many now live in camps, adding to 75,000 mostly Rohingya displaced in June 2012, after a previous explosion of sectarian violence.

The Jews Are Helping Muslims Take Over The West

27 February, 2014 - 03:52

Abd-al-Rahman_III

By Garibaldi

One often hears Islamophobes in the “counterjihad” movement claiming to be defenders of the “Judeo-Christian” West against the spread of Islam and the enfranchisement of Muslims in Western democracies. The term Judeo-Christian gained currency in the middle of the 20th century,

“promoted by groups which evolved into the National Conference of Christians and Jews, to fight antisemitism by expressing a more inclusive idea of American values rather than just Christian or Protestant.”

Ironically, in the past several decades and especially since 9/11, Judeo-Christian has most often been used by the rightwing to exclude differing religions and cultures from staking their own claim to Americanness, specifically, to amplify the so-called “Islamic threat.”

The rightwing considers America’s “uniqueness” to be rooted in its Judeo-Christian values. Take radio host Dennis Prager, who writes,

[o]nly America has called itself Judeo-Christian. America is also unique in that it has always combined secular government with a society based on religious values. Along with the belief in liberty—as opposed to, for example, the European belief in equality, the Muslim belief in theocracy, and the Eastern belief in social conformity—Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries.

The claims about “European,” “Muslim,” and “Eastern” societies are simplistic generalizations but there is some truth to Prager’s claim that “only America has called itself Judeo-Christian,” in so far as the USA is where Judeo-Christianism was born. If one can speak in such broad terms at all of an alliance/unity between Jews and Christians it is relatively recent; only 70 years out of the past 2,000 years.

A different kind of alliance

A recent article published on Loonwatch about the Spanish government’s commitment to give descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled over 500 years ago from Andalus automatic citizenship brought to mind the longer and deeper history of Jewish and Muslim collaboration.

The history of Jewish-Muslim alliance has led some scholars to the interesting thesis that the roots of medieval European Christian anti-Semitism was rooted not in charges of deicide (Jews killed Jesus) against Jews but in their alliance and collaboration with Muslims.

In Allan Harris Cutler and Helen Elmquist Cutler’s book, “The Jews as Ally of the Muslim,” the authors,

[R]evise the traditional explanations of the roots of anti-Semitism. They contend that the great outburst of anti-Semitism in Western Europe during the Middle Ages … derived from primarily anti-Muslimism and the association of Jew with Muslim.

Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, in one of his less bellicose and polemical articles wrote a review of the book in 1987 that is worth reading, concluding that “it offers an intriguing and ultimately convincing argument.” Though he takes exception to the authors’ advice to Pope John Paul II to “transform his office and mission from a more narrowly Christian into a broadly Abrahamic one . . . to create a new spiritual and institutional unity between Jews, Christians, and Muslims.”

Among certain nationalists and White Power currents in the “counterjihad” there is a continuation of the idea that Jews are allying with Muslims to help them take over the West, just as Jews aided Muslims in conquering Hispania from Visigoth tyranny.

In the view of these counterjihadists Jewish intellectuals have opened the gates of fortified Europe and America through modern day liberalism. Hence, their usage of “Leftist” in the familiar Islamophobic expression, “Leftist-Muslim alliance to destroy the West,” is a P.C. way to refer to Jews. “Leftist” masks an undercurrent of antiSemitism, since in their view Jew=Leftist.

The website Islam Versus Europe: Where Islam Spreads, Freedom Dies, did a three part series titled, “Jewish collaboration with Muslims during the invasion of Spain” by Cheradnine Zakalwe. The website has a global Alexa ranking of 703,552 and a US ranking of 262,275.

islamversuseuropeblogspot

IslamVersusEurope is considered by other “counterjihadists” to be a “respected CounterJihad blog” and is linked and blogrolled on numerous Islamophobic sites. The site has also been approvingly linked by Deacon Robert Spencer even after Zakalwe’s series of articles. (Not surprising considering Spencer’s alliance with antiSemites such as Eric Allen Bell and the anti-Jewish stances of his ally Pamela Geller).

IslamVersusEurope_JihadWatch

The main point of Zakalwe’s three part series is summed up in his first post,

So the Jews in Spain were enslaving European Christians. This provoked the irritation of other European Christians, who then took measures against the Jews. This caused the Jews to reach out to their fellow Jews abroad and to the Arabs, urging them to invade Spain and bring this Christian oppression to an end. When they did so, the Jews eagerly collaborated with the Muslims, acting as administrators for the conquered cities and realm.

The parallels with our own time are striking, with Jewish intellectuals having paved the way for the modern Muslim conquest by pushing the benefits of immigration, diversity, tolerance, special minority protection, etc., denigrating nationalism and wielding the Nazi stick forcefully against anyone bold enough to dissent. (Emphasis mine)

These views are not limited to Zakalwe but can also be found on unabashedly racist and Islamophobic sites like Occidental Dissent and Occidental Observer.

The truth is that yes, there was a long history of collaboration and affinity between Muslims and Jews which fueled animosity on the part of European Christendom. Pipes in his review of the Cutlers’ study even notes,

[T]he Hebrew language shares much with Arabic, and Judaism shares much with Islam; on the most abstract level, both are religions of law, while Christianity is a religion of faith. More specifically, they share many features such as circumcision, dietary regulations, and similar sexual codes. Further, because the Muslims were preeminent in the medieval centuries, “Jews themselves associated Jew with Muslim.” When this became known among the Christians, it much harmed the Jews’ position. Most damaging of all, Jews on occasion helped Muslim troops against Christians (as in the initial Arab conquest of Spain) and some Jews held prominent positions in Muslim governments at war with the Christians. Even when they did not actually take part in the fighting, “Jews usually rejoiced when Christian territory fell into Islamic hands.”

Mattai and Pope Alexander

Mattai and Pope Alexander

While there were great similarities and affinities, it must be pointed out that it is only logical that Jews would ally with those who would treat them better and with whom relations would be more advantageous. If medieval European Christians were offering less discrimination and interference in religious, family and financial life than Muslims then certainly Jews would have collaborated with Christians more than Muslims. In other words one cannot discount the importance of community interests, foremost survival as the motivation for such alliances.

This was driven home to me while watching the third season of Showtime’s historical drama, The Borigas. In one of the episodes, the leader of the Jewish community, Mattai meets with Pope Alexander,

Mattai meets with Alexander and tells him the whole Turkish navy could be burned to the waves with oil. He proposes stuffing some ships with oil for Ramadan and sending them over there just in time to berth for the holy month. Once they’re there, Mattai’s connections will set them alight. That’s if Alexander issues a papal bull that eases up on the taxes on the Jews in Rome. Alexander moans that he asks for a great deal, but Mattai refuses to back down, and even gives Alexander a bit of lip…He says he needs money to buy all this oil, and Alexander says that he’ll issue the bull if Mattai can ensure the success of this scheme.

Alexander meets with Mattai, Cardinal Sforza, and a few others. Mattai tells him the ships loaded with oil are already docked and the conflagration may have already happened.

In Constantinople, oil leaking out over the water is set alight, swiftly engulfing the anchored ships.

Back in Rome, Alexander sits and signs the papal bull, while in Constantinople, the ships explode and sailors flee for their lives. In a fantastic long shot, we see the entire fleet from a distance, burning away.

While the actual historicity of these events are dubious and likely never occurred, it highlights the reasons and motivations that guide communities. Jews who aided Muslims in Spain did so not primarily because both Muslims and Jews circumcise males or eschew pork but rather because they trusted that they would have a better and freer life.

The “counterjihadists” know that “perfidious” Jews aren’t opening up the gates to Muslim hordes. It is no longer the 14th century, there isn’t a “Christendom,” let alone a “Caliphate.” Many Christians are united alongside Muslims and Jews and others to make society and the world better, that is what the interfaith movement is all about.

Opening our doors to the stranger, seeing the image of G-d in our fellow human being and their inherent dignity should not be the opposite of our values but the very core of what we struggle to achieve and become.

This however is appeasement to the paranoid and conspiratorial “counterjihadists,” who in the place of our multi-faith and multi-cultural reality want to take us back to an unrealistic mono-faith, mono-cultural world.

70 Muslims killed in Central African Republic town

26 February, 2014 - 18:36

CAR1-300x200

Two weeks ago the killing of one Christian made headline news on the front page of US newspapers but there was scant mention of this horror.:

70 Muslims killed in Central African Republic town

CARNOT, Central African Republic (AP) — Christian militiamen killed at least 70 people in the remote southwest of Central African Republic, at one point ordering a group of Muslims to lie on the ground and shooting them one by one, witnesses said Monday.

The militiamen, known as the anti-Balaka, slaughtered the Muslims in the village of Guen earlier this month, a Catholic priest, the Rev. Rigobert Dolongo, who helped bury the bodies, told The Associated Press. At least 27 people were slain in the first day of the attack, while 43 others were killed on the second day, he said.

Ibrahim Aboubakar, 22, said the anti-Balaka stormed Guen and killed his two older brothers after they were heard speaking in Arabic.

“Later that day they rounded up dozens of people and forced them all to lie down on their stomachs. Then they shot them one by one,” he said from the refuge of a Catholic church in Carnot, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) away, where he is among 800 seeking shelter from attack.

At least two other families who survived the attack are here now, including Gisma Ahmed, who is now a widow at 18 with two young children. Sitting in the shade breastfeeding a 4-month-old while her 3-year-old daughter played nearby, she could only weep when asked about the killings. Relatives said that her husband was shot while trying to flee.

Hundreds of Muslims remain in Guen, hiding in the town’s Catholic church and also at the imam’s home.

Those Muslims still in Guen appealed by telephone for African peacekeepers in Carnot to rescue them, according to two Muslim residents who insisted on anonymity because they feared for their lives. They also confirmed that heavily armed anti-Balaka were still in control of the village Tuesday. The local commander for the peacekeeping mission said he needed permission from his supervisors in the capital, Bangui, to go to Guen.

Like much of the violence in Central African Republic, the true toll from the attack on Guen may never be known. Most survivors fled deep into the rural bush, hiking to safety in towns further west.

News of the massacre came nearly three months after Central African Republic’s political crisis erupted into violence between the country’s Christian and Muslim communities, leaving more than 1,000 dead in Bangui alone in a matter of days. Many hoped the crisis would stabilize after the Muslim rebel president agreed to step down and go into exile, clearing the way for elections by early next year.

However, both Muslim rebels and the Christian fighters are implicated in a growing number of attacks fanning out far from the capital all the way to the country’s southwest near the border with Cameroon. Human rights groups have documented hundreds of deaths since early January, when the Muslim rebel government crumbled and Christian fighters sought to avenge the regime’s abuses. Tens of thousands have fled for their lives to neighboring countries, leaving some towns in Central African Republic without any Muslim residents. Before the outbreak of violence Muslim’s made up about 15 percent of the country’s 4.6 million people.

Turkey returns historic monastery to Syriac community

26 February, 2014 - 18:16

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Turkey returns historic monastery to Syriac community

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey has returned the historic Mor Gabriel Monastery in the south-eastern city of Mardin back to the Syriac community after the General Management of Foundations granted its consent on Tuesday.

The return of the monastery to the minority community was first brought up following the declaration of Turkey’s democratization packet in October 2013.

Speaking to Al Jazeera Turk, the monastery’s foundation chairman Kuryakos Ergun thanked Turkey for returning the monastry to the Syriac people after a long struggle.

Knesset passes bill distinguishing between Muslim and Christian Arabs

25 February, 2014 - 21:10

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So the “divide and conquer” bill proposed by the bigot and Islamophobe, MK Yariv Levin, has passed in the Knesset 31-6.

Knesset passes bill distinguishing between Muslim and Christian Arabs By Jonathan Lis (Haaretz) The Knesset on Monday approved a controversial law, whose ultimate aim, according to its sponsor, is to distinguish between Muslim and Christian Arab citizens and to heighten involvement of Christians in Israeli society.Critics slammed the law, sponsored by MK Yariv Levin (Likud), for constituting an attempt to “divide and conquer” the country’s Arab population – an allegation Levin seemed to confirm in a recent newspaper interview.

The law demands what initially seems to be a minor change in the makeup of the public advisory council which is appointed under the 1988 Equal Employment Opportunities Law. It would expand that panel from five representatives of groups that promote workers’ rights, to 10 members, which will now include Christian, Muslim, Druze and Circassian representatives.

The law passed by 31 to six votes, even though Equal Employment Opportunity commissioner Tziona Koenig-Yair clarified in a committee discussion of the legislation two weeks ago that she opposed it and that she viewed it as superfluous – “in the same way that I wouldn’t be interested in separate representation for Lithuanian Haredim and [Sephardi] Haredim,” she said. “Furthermore, there are no groups promoting employment for different sectors in the Arab population per se, only for the Arab population as a whole.”

Haim Katz, chairman of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, introduced the law in the plenum on Monday, saying, “The aim is to look after populations that have a hard time in the labor market and to give them a representation on the advisory committee.”

But opposition MKs weren’t convinced by this. “Perhaps we should also divide the Jewish population into Poles, Yemenites and Moroccans?” asked Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On. Meretz MK Issawi Freij added, “We are essentially in a situation where an effort is being made to try to define the state according to religions. Here they are trying to say that there’s a difference between Muslim Arabs and Christian Arabs.”

The law passed after several weeks of heated debate in the labor committee. In the last discussion two weeks ago, Balad party chairman MK Jamal Zahalka criticized Levin. “Arab rights don’t interest Yariv Levin,” he said. “There’s no specific Christian or Druze employment problem, only a problem of the general Arab population. Levin is interested in cruelly dividing the Arab public, which is oppressed as it is. We will not be his lackeys.”

In an interview Levin gave to the Maariv newspaper a few weeks ago, he in fact declared his intention to formulate legislation that would create a distinction between the Christian Arab population (which he insisted on calling merely “Christian”) and the Muslim population.

In the interview, Levin said, “My legislation will provide separate representation and separate attention to the Christian public, separate from the Muslim Arabs … This is a historic and important move that could help balance the State of Israel, and connect us and the Christians, and I’m being careful about not calling them Arabs because they aren’t Arabs.”

According to Levin, “Christians can be directors of government companies, they will get separate representation in the local authorities, they will get equal employment opportunities. The first law I will pass will give Christians representation on the advisory council of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”

He added: “We and the Christians have a lot in common. They’re our natural allies, a counterweight to the Muslims who want to destroy the country from within. On the other hand, there’s a message here: We will use an iron hand and demonstrate zero tolerance of Arabs who are liable to identify with the terror of the Palestinian state.”

Virginia Police Academy Nixes ‘Advanced Counterterrorism Training’ Taught By Anti-Muslim Activist

25 February, 2014 - 19:04

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After persistent community pressure the Virginia Police Academy dropped Islamophobe John Guandolo, an affiliate of ACT! For America, from conducting his so-called ‘Advanced Counterterrorism Training.’

Virginia Police Academy Nixes ‘Advanced Counterterrorism Training’ Taught By Anti-Muslim Activist

BY IAN MILLHISER

The Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy announced on Monday that it would no longer sponsor a course for law enforcement officers which was ostensibly focused on counterterrorism, but which would have been taught by an anti-Muslim activist with a history of spreading conspiracy theories. A brief press release from the academy announces that “[a]fter careful consideration and consultation with other law enforcement agencies and academies, having firsthand knowledge of this training, the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy will no longer be offering Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services in-service training credit for the upcoming seminar ‘Understanding and Investigating Jihadi Networks in America.’”

The training was to be hosted by the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office. Late last week, Sheriff Scott Jenkins said that he does not plan to cancel the training session, despite outcry from civil rights groups that the event features an anti-Islamic speaker. According to a letter from 15 civil rights organizations and religious interest groups, John Guandolo, a former FBI agent and the featured speaker at the training event, “is closely affiliated with ACT! for America, a known anti-Muslim hate group, and he makes baseless, irresponsible and dangerous statements revealing his animus about the American Muslim community” — including claiming that “American Muslims ‘do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.‘”

Though the training may still go on without accreditation, Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations told ThinkProgress that he is satisfied that it will not be attended now that the academy has pulled its sponsorship, adding that law enforcement officers attend these kinds of seminars because they require continuing education credits — but they will no longer receive those credits following the academy’s decision. In Hooper’s words, “why would people show up for three days if they don’t get credit?”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Guandolo accused Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan of bringing “known Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders into the government and into advisory positions,” and claimed that Brennan did so because he “converted to Islam when he served in an official capacity” in Saudi Arabia. Weeks later, Guandolo expanded this conspiracy to include President Obama, claiming that the president has “made a significant effort to protect known members of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood inside this government.”

In 2009, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Guandolo resigned from the FBI in 2008 before the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility could question him regarding allegations that he had “an intimate relationship with a confidential source.” According to a court filing by the federal government, a “cooperating witness” in the investigation against former Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) told FBI agents that “she had sexual relations with now-former FBI agent John Guandolo during the time that Mr. Guandolo served in an undercover capacity as her driver during the pro-active phase of this investigation.”

On Saturday, the Roanoke Times reported that Sheriff Jenkins plans to move forward with the training regardless of concerns over Guandolo. As of this writing, the Culpeper County Sheriff’s office has not responded to an inquiry from ThinkProgress asking if they have changed their mind.

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