Another coward attacks an elderly Muslim woman.
Pensioner Selver S. was waiting in a queue to collect her pension at a Bawag bank branch in Schönbrunner Strasse (Meidling) when a man approached her, insulted her and repeatedly shoved her, knocking her to the floor. She was taken to hospital, suffering a spinal injury.
A 40-year-old man was arrested outside the bank shortly afterwards.
Her son Engin told the Heute newspaper that she suffered a lumbar fracture and had to spend seven days in Hanusch hospital. She had to have an operation on her spine and is now being cared for at home by her son.
Malcolm X’s Oxford Union Debate — 50 Years Later
50 years ago this week on December 3rd, 1964 El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X) gave one of his final international speeches of his life as a part of the Oxford Union debates. Broadcast across the world via the BBC radio and television stations Malcolm was able to call the world to his vision of global solidarity and human rights. Answering the question “Is extremism justified in defense of liberty,” much of what Malcolm argues here seems like he is directly speaking to us today. 50 years later as the United States exploded with protests throughout the country over the past two weeks in response to the non-indictments in the police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner there is one quote in particular that should be reflected on in our moment:
“Whenever any black man in America shows signs of an uncompromising attitude, against the injustices that he experiences daily, and shows no tendency whatsoever to compromise with it, then the American press characterizes him as a radical, as an extremist someone who’s irresponsible, or as a rabble-rouser or someone who doesn’t rationalize in dealing with the problem. That as long as a white man does it, it’s alright, a black man is supposed to have no feelings . But when a black man strikes back he’s an extremist, he’s supposed to sit passively and have no feelings, be nonviolent, and love his enemy no matter what kind of attack, verbal or otherwise, he’s supposed to take it. But if he stands up in any way and tries to defend himself, then he’s an extremist.”
This speech is the subject of two recent books if you are interested in going deeper: Malcolm X at Oxford Union: Racial Politics in a Global Era by Saladin Ambar and The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union: A Transatlantic Story of Antiracist Protest by Stephen Tuck. The full text of the speech as well as Audio and Video of the speech are embedded below.
You can also check out a recent radio documentary from the BBC by Stephen Tuck: Malcolm X in Oxford, Archive on 4 – BBC Radio 4
Malcolm X: “Is Extremism Justified in Defense of Liberty?”
Mr. Chairman, tonight is the first night that I’ve have ever had opportunity to be as near to conservatives as I am. And the speaker who preceded me, first I want to thank you for the invitation to come here to the Oxford Union, the speaker who preceded me is one of the best excuses that I know to prove our point concerning the necessity, sometimes, of extremism, in defense of liberty, why it is no vice, and why moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. I don’t say that about him personally, but that type. He’s right, X is not my real name, but if you study history you’ll find why no black man in the western hemisphere knows his real name. Some of his ancestors kidnapped our ancestors from Africa, and took us into the western hemisphere and sold us there. And our names were stripped from us and so today we don’t know who we really are. I am one of those who admit it and so I just put X up there to keep from wearing his name.
And as far as this apartheid charge that he attributed to me is concerned, evidently he has been misinformed. I don’t believe in any form of apartheid, I don’t believe in any form of segregation, I don’t believe in any form of racialism. But at the same time, I don’t endorse a person as being right just because his skin is white, and often times when you find people like this, I mean that type, when a man whom they have been taught is below them has the nerve or firmness to question some of their philosophy or some of their conclusions, usually they put that label on us, a label that is only designed to project an image which the public will find distasteful.
I am a Muslim, if there is something wrong with that then I stand condemned. My religion is Islam I believe in Allah, I believe in Muhammed ﷺ as the apostle of Allah, I believe in brotherhood, of all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who’s not ready to practice brotherhood with our people.
I just take time to make these few things clear because I find that one of the tricks of the west, and I imagine my good friend…or rather that type from the west…one of the tricks of the west is to use or create images, they create images of a person who doesn’t go along with their views and then they make certain that this image is distasteful, and then anything that that person has to say from thereon, from thereon in, is rejected. And this is a policy that has been practiced pretty well, pretty much by the west, it perhaps would have been practiced by others had they been in power, but during recent centuries the west has been in power and they have created the images, and they’ve used these images quite skillfully and quite successfully, that’s why today we need a little extremism in order to straighten a very nasty situation out, or very extremely nasty situation out.
Extremism in the defense of liberty?
I think the only way one can really determine whether extremism in the defense of liberty is justified, is not to approach it as an American or a European or an African or an Asian, but as a human being. If we look upon it as different types immediately we begin to think in terms of extremism being good for one and bad for another, or bad for one and good for another. But if we look upon it, if we look upon ourselves as human beings, I doubt that anyone will deny that extremism, in defense of liberty, the liberty of any human being, is a value. Anytime anyone is enslaved, or in any way deprived of his liberty, if that person is a human being, as far as I am concerned he is justified to resort to whatever methods necessary to bring about his liberty again.
But most people usually think, in terms of extremism, as something that is relative, related to someone they know or something that they’ve heard of, I don’t think they look upon extremism by itself, or all alone. They apply it to something. A good example — and one of the reasons that this can’t be too well understood today — many people who have been in positions of power in the past don’t realize that the power, the centers of power, are changing. When you’re in a position of power for a long time you get used to using your yardstick, and you take it for granted that because you’ve forced your yardstick on others, that everyone is still using the same yardstick. So that your definition of extremism usually applies to everyone, but nowadays times are changing, and the center of power is changing. People in the past who weren’t in a position to have a yardstick or use a yardstick of their own are using their own yardstick now. You use one and they use another. In the past when the oppressor had one stick and the oppressed used that same stick, today the oppressed are sort of shaking the shackles and getting yardsticks of their own, so when they say extremism they don’t mean what you do, and when you say extremism you don’t mean what they do. There are entirely two different meanings. And when this is understood I think you can better understand why those who are using methods of extremism are being driven to them.
Two of its signatories have already been arrested and the government says it is ‘treason’, but the Sudan Call signals a crucial shift in the political landscape, says Monim Eljak
There have been many false dawns in Sudan’s political landscape since Omar al-Bashir and his party came to power in a military coup 25 years ago. But a low-key ceremony in Addis Ababa last week to unveil a new political agreement, known as the Sudan Call, may yet prove to be a turning point.
Crucially, the call unites the core of a formerly fragmented political and armed opposition on issues of national governance for the first time, calling for a peaceful and popular democratic transformation.Continue reading...
Documentary centers on director Leila Sansour’s decision to return to the hometown she once resented.
Legislation addressing rape and other sexual violence – often committed by armed forces – will be presented to cabinet by year end
The first bill to define and address sexual offences in Somalia is expected to be presented to the cabinet before the end of this year, updating legislation that has been in place since 1930.
The bill will define rape as a crime against a person, rather than a crime against morality, as it characterised at present. It will criminalise gang rape and introduce legislation against child marriage, human trafficking, sexual harassment and offences committed against vulnerable groups such as internally displaced people.
Islamic State and Boko Haram behind most deaths, suggesting jihadism is moving from terrorism to more conventional fighting forces that try to gain or hold territory, report finds
More than 5,000 people, mostly civilians and overwhelmingly Muslims, were killed in jihadi attacks in November, according to a study documenting the toll of Islamist violence worldwide.
About 60% of these deaths were caused by the militant groups Islamic State and Boko Haram, suggesting a transformation in the nature of jihadi groups from terrorists to “more conventional forces that are fighting to gain or hold territory against state armies”, the report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and the BBC, said.Continue reading...
Israel continues to hinder independent investigations into possible war crimes.
The ill intent behind this proposed legislature by the fanatical Hindutva organization VHP is evident. Instead of resolving possible issues at a community level they resort to provocation and confrontation. (h/t: U. Budye)
Weeks after the Devendra Fadnavis government took steps to ban cow slaughter in the State, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has stepped up its demand for the ban of loudspeakers in mosques across Maharashtra.
The outfit claims that the sound of azaan (Muslim call of prayer) is a major cause of noise pollution and will request the State government to implement laws curbing the use of loudspeakers in mosques.
“The year-long noise pollution caused by mosques is overlooked. But people are going to court to ban the use of loudspeakers during Hindu festivals like Ganapati and Navratri which have a limited duration,” said Vyankatesh Apdeo, VHP central committee member, on Tuesday.
It has demanded that the management of the four major temples —Siddhi Vinayak Temple (Mumbai), Sai Baba tempe (Shirdi), Vitthal Mandir (Pandharpur) and the Tulja Bhavani Mandir—should be handed over to Hindu trusts. Currently, the four temples are directly governed by the State.
“The money earned through donations to these temples should be used only for the welfare of Hindu society,” Mr. Apdeo said.
The VHP also has plans to organise campaigns against television shows and beauty contests to protest against “vulgarity” and what they feel is the “denigration” of women.
The VHP’s demands are going to be put forth on August 14, when then organisation will hold a Virat Hindu Sammelan in Mumbai to commemorate fifty years of its existence
‘Hate crime': Taxi driver recounts brutal attack
By KOMO Staff Published: Dec 8, 2014 at 1:12 PM PST Last Updated: Dec 8, 2014 at 11:21 PM PSTSEATTLE – Officers arrested a 26-year-old man early Sunday after he called a taxi driver a “terrorist” and beat him unconscious, causing the cab to drift out of control and strike several parked cars before slamming into an apartment building in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, police said. Investigators labeled the attack a “hate crime.”
Adam Gaal, the 34-year-old cab driver, told police the incident began when he picked up three men and a woman in Belltown just before 2 a.m. Sunday and drove them to the 4200 block of 27th Avenue West.
The suspect then gave Gaal his credit card to pay for the trip and apparently became angry at how long the transaction was taking, said Andrew Garber of the Seattle police.
“He says, ‘You know where you are? You’re in America, this is not where you come from. You are an immigrant this is not your country. You are terrorist. You are ISIS,” Gaal said.
The passenger, later identified as Jesse Fleming, then leaned across the seat and repeatedly punched Gaal in the face, Garber said.
Gaal lost consciousness and his foot slipped off the brake, causing the cab to roll downhill, strike several cars and eventually come to a stop after crashing into the stairs of an apartment building.
“He just jump on me and punching me, beating me, punching me and I become unconscious,” Gaal said.
According to The Guardian Israel has indicted a Texas Christian man for plotting to attack Muslim sites in Jerusalem. Where was he radicalized and what if he was Muslim.
“Israeli officials say they have indicted a 30-year-old American Christian from Texas for plotting to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. A 30-year-old American Christian from Texas has been indicted in Israel for plotting to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Israel’s Ministry of Justice said on Tuesday that a court had indicted Adam Everett Livix in connection with the plot. It said that Livix conspired with his roommate, an active soldier in the Israeli military, to obtain 1.4kg (3lb) of explosive material to use to blow up the unidentified Jerusalem holy sites. The ministry said the plot was discovered by a police agent in October.”Shin Bet Secretly Arrests, Imprisons Texas Christian Fundamentalist for Planning Dome of the Rock Terror Attack by Richard Silverstein on December 9, 2014
Last month, I discovered the Shabak was secretly holding a foreign citizen on suspicion of serious security offences. I tweeted this on November 26th (see tweet below). But I could not obtain further information except that his name was “Adam L.”
This morning, an Israeli security journalist confirmed the story in an e mail to me and within an hour the Shabak “coincidentally” released a full account of the arrest and charges against him. Haaretz’s Hebrew language story here.
SCOOP: Israeli Shin Bet orders secret arrest of westerner named “Adam L.” on suspicion of “sensitive security violations.”
— Tikun Olam (@richards1052) November 26, 2014
As you read MSM accounts of this story and see this fact omitted, you may wonder why.
The suspect is Adam Livix, age 30, a resident of Texas and wanted there on drug charges. He appears to have jumped bail. As a a fugitive on the run, he might’ve fled to the West Bank to avoid capture. Bergman told me that Livix is a Christian fundamentalist and “probably not very stable.”
According to the Shabak release, he first traveled to the West Bank, where he lived in Hebron. During Pres. Obama’s trip to Israel last year, Palestinians allegedly approached him in hopes of organizing an assassination attempt. He purportedly refused, then moved to Israel and started amassing stolen IDF weapons in order to blow up Muslim holy places. I find this part of the story to be the most lacking in credibility. I simply don’t believe Palestinians would attempt to assassinate the U.S. president. It’s possible that Livix approached settlers or Palestinians with this goal in mind. But not for Palestinians to have initiated such a plot. I would challenge the Shabak to produce any evidence justifying this claim.
Livix was secretly arrested last month and has been held incommunicado since then. The Shin Bet statement claims that the FBI has been apprised of the arrest. I asked the agency for comment and they released this:
“We are aware of the recent arrest of an American citizen in Israel and are currently working with the Israeli authorities to assist in their investigation. The FBI continues to work closely with our counterparts in Israel to identify, apprehend, and hold accountable those who threaten the public with violence.”
This would presume that the domestic intelligence agency endorsed the Israeli secret police’s abusive treatment of Livix. It also goes a long way to presuming Livix’s guilt since it presumes he “threatened the public with violence.” My impression was that this needed to be proven in a court of law and couldn’t be presumed. But given today’s release of the CIA terror report and the revelations of U.S. torture of suspected Al Qaeda militants, it appears we’re fine with Shabak’s torture techniques as well, even if used on U.S. citizens. In fact, the CIA has exploited Israeli use of torture as a justifying precedent for its own brutality.
Generally, the Israelis arrest Jewish and Palestinians security suspects in secret. They gag the media from reporting the story. They hold victims without charge and without legal representation for periods of time determined solely by the secret police in collaboration with a malleable judicial system. They use abusive interrogation techniques, even ones specifically excluded by Supreme Court rulings. This is what Adam Livix has endured. He has, in this case, the benefit of not being Palestinian and holding U.S. citizenship, so they probably went somewhat easy on him. That is, comparatively easy, since U.S. officialdom has apparently washed its hands of him.
Islamophobia is on the rise in Germany. That is troubling enough. But what’s even more concerning is that many of those whom I would define as Islamophobic feel very good about it. They see themselves not as racist or xenophobic, but as defenders of democracy and human rights against the adherents of a religion they believe is incompatible with both.
Over the past few years the advance of Islamophobia can be easily observed. Anti-Muslim websites such as Politically Incorrect have expanded and become more aggressive, cherry-picking reports of crimes by Muslim perpetrators in order to confirm their prejudices; books with a clear anti-Muslim agenda – such as that of Thilo Sarrazin, a former Berlin finance senator – have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, including claims that Muslim immigrants are “dumbing down” Germany; parties such as Pro Köln, which hysterically warn of an “Islamic land grab”, have been founded.Continue reading...
Fresh off a Pulitzer for Disgraced, Akhtar returns with a mordant play that explores similarities between free-market and Islamic fundamentalism
Ayad Akhtar’s new play The Invisible Hand opened this week at the New York Theatre Workshop. When the lights come on, you see a man sitting in a chair while close to him stands a bearded guard with a Kalashnikov strapped to his back. The seated man is an American banker being held by jihadists somewhere near Karachi. In the opening scene, the prisoner is holding out his hands for the other man to clip his nails, which the latter accomplishes not without some tenderness.
If the 20th century was marked by travel – planes in flight – then the events of 9/11 ushered in the age of the burning aftermath. At least in the imagination of the west, the idea of free movement is now mocked by the nightmare of confinement. This is a specific fear: a dread vision of a man being held hostage by murderous zealots in an alien land, with beheading likely to follow.Continue reading...
Original guest article by Michael Elwood and Tarik Abdallah
Recently, there’s been a lot in the news as to whether extremists like ISIS are being true to the message of the Quran or not.
Some, like Rep. Keith Ellison and Prof. Rashid Khalidi claim that groups like ISIS take verses of the Quran out of context in order to justify their objectionable beliefs and practices (see: Islamic State group uses only half of a Quran verse to justify beheadings — see what’s in the other half). Others, like Sam Harris and Bill Maher, claim that so-called moderate Muslims either don’t know what their own scripture says (as incredible as that sounds!), or they’re simply lying about the “violent” and “hateful” contents of the Quran. We contend it’s extremists like ISIS, and critics of Islam like Harris and Maher, who are lying about the contents of the Quran. Below, we’ll give an overview of how they do this by taking verses out of context in order to make them appear to be advocating “violence” and “hate”.
First, we’d like to point out that taking verses out of context isn’t the only way that extremists try to justify violent and hateful interpretations of the Quran. There are two other ways that this is often accomplished. One way is to play on verses that are allegorical, or that can have more than one meaning, and try to tease a violent or hateful interpretation from them. The Quran itself mentions this:
“He sent down to you this scripture, containing straightforward verses – which constitute the essence of the scripture – as well as multiple-meaning or allegorical verses. Those who harbor doubts in their hearts will pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate a certain meaning. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say, “We believe in this – all of it comes from our Lord.” Only those who possess intelligence will take heed” ~ Quran 3:7
In their footnote for 3:7, Prof. Edip Yuksel, Prof. Martha Schulte-Nafeh, et. al., point out that the verse about verses that can be interpreted in more than one way, can itself be interpreted in more than one way (See “Quran: A Reformist Translation”):
“The word [mutashabihat] can be confusing for a novice. Verse 39:23, for instance, uses mutashabihat for the entire Quran, referring to its overall similarity — in other words, its consistency. In a narrower sense, however, mutashabihat refers to all verses which can be understood in more than one way. The various meanings or implications require some special qualities from the person listening to or reading the Quran: an attentive mind, a positive attitude, contextual perspective, the patience necessary for research, and so forth.
“It is one of the intriguing features of the Quran that the verse about mutashabih verses of the Quran is itself mutashabih — that is, it has multiple meanings. The word in question, for instance, can mean ‘similar’, as we have seen; it can mean, ‘possessing multiple meanings'; it can also mean ‘allegorical’ (where one single, clearly identifiable element represents another single, clearly identifiable element).”
An example of a verse that can be interpreted in more than one way is 2:106. In this verse, some translate the word “ayah,” which means “miracle,” as “verse” in order to justify abrogating Quranic verses that are inconvenient for them (more on this later). An example of verses that are allegorical are the verses that describe heaven and hell, like 47:15. In this particular instance, the Quran actually tells us that the description is an allegory (mathalu):
“The allegory of Paradise [mathalu al-jannati] that is promised for the righteous is this: it has rivers of unpolluted water, and rivers of fresh milk, and rivers of wine – delicious for the drinkers – and rivers of strained honey. They have all kinds of fruits therein, and forgiveness from their Lord. (Are they better) or those who abide forever in the hellfire, and drink hellish water that tears up their intestines?” ~ Quran 47:15
In his book, “The End of Faith,” and on his website, Sam Harris often cites these verses as evidence of what he calls “religious hatred” and “otherwordliness” in the Quran (see Honesty: The Muslim World’s Scarcest Resource). There are a few problems with this, however.
First, as his fellow atheist Joshua Oxley points out, these verses use imagery to portray the torments of hell:
“The verses cited aren’t quite as scary as he makes them out to be. Many of them use violent imagery–fire, mostly–to convey the judgment that us unbelievers will experience at the hands of God. Not at the hands of men and women on earth. But at the Last Day. Why should this constitute a particular kind of Islamic violence. . . . Does that scare you? It doesn’t scare me. These passages put the power into Divine hands to judge and cast out, not human. I couldn’t care less, unless individuals start citing that verse in hopes of having my head. At that point, it’s not the ‘unified message’ of the text that is to blame, but an inconsistent interpretation by the religious believer. And those are two very, very different things.
“Harris, quite frankly, presents Scripture here as a fundamentalist would. It is a dry, topical understanding, devoid of historical or textual context, that makes proof-texting possible. There is no room for interpretation, for conversation, for nuance. No different schools of thought. It’s decided, ‘The text as a whole says X’. Islam becomes a robotic, artificial existence, and humankind mere automatons. And I feel like Harris should know better. When you have a bigger audience to speak to, you take on the responsibility of presenting yourself and others with as much integrity and honesty as possible. And this article just doesn’t measure up. . . .
“Please, anyone and everyone, don’t take Harris’ analysis as your own understanding of Islam. I have to say something. This atheist, who is not a Qur’anic scholar, but who was lucky enough to spend four year in undergrad studying Islam, is interested in the Muslim and secular communities engaging in dialogue over real issues. Poorly-reasoned critiques, more diatribe than discourse, will never get people to the table. And in a society with a profound ignorance of the nature of Islam, it’s even more dangerous to promulgate some of the worst misconceptions.
“Everyone deserves to be as generously understood as possible, and it’s about time the Muslim community got similar treatment from our secular circles. If I read a Muslim thinker picking any secular text apart in this kind of manner, I’d be equally miffed.” ~Joshua Oxley, When You Just Shouldn’t Say Anything: Sam Harris and the Qur’an
Second, Harris isn’t categorically against torment. He’s just against the torment of non-Muslims (or infidels as he likes to call them) in an afterlife he doesn’t believe in, by a God he doesn’t believe in. But as he has said in his book “The End of Faith,” and in a Huffington Post article aptly titled “In Defense of Torture,” he’s all for the torment of Muslims in this life.
It’s hard to understand how the torment of some non-Muslims in the afterlife constitutes “religious hatred,” but the torment of some Muslims in this life doesn’t constitute “secular hatred”.
Third, despite Harris’ subjective impression that the Quran is full of “otherworldliness,” the objective reality is quite different. The number of times the Arabic words for this life (dunya) and the afterlife (akhira) both occur in the Quran exactly 115 times (see “Quran: A Reformist Translation”). It reminds me of the Christian apologist Dave Miller who tried to demonstrate that the Quran, unlike the Bible, emphasizes hell more than heaven. He wrote:
“While the Bible certainly emphasizes the certainty and inevitability of eternal punishment, it places the subject in proper perspective and provides a divinely balanced treatment.” ~ David Miller, Hell and the Quran
But despite Miller’s subjective impression of the Quran placing an emphasis on hell, the objective reality is quite different. The Arabic words for heaven (jannah) and hell (jahannum) both occur in the Quran exactly 77 times (see “Interpreting the Qur’an: A Guide for the Uninitiated” by Clinton Bennett). If that’s not “balanced treatment,” what is? It should also be pointed out that Christian apologists claim that overall the Quran, unlike the Bible, is more violent (see Dark passages: Does the harsh language in the Koran explain Islamic violence? Don’t answer till you’ve taken a look inside the Bible, also see Danios’ article: What the Quran-bashers Don’t Want You To Know About The Bible).
Another way extremists and critics try to justify violent and hateful interpretations of the Quran is to just ignore or explain away “peaceful” and “loving” verses in the Quran. One of the ways they try to accomplish this is by claiming that all the “peaceful” and “loving” verses of the Quran have been conveniently abrogated. Verse 2:106, mentioned earlier, critics claim can be interpreted in more than one way through abrogation. Many also claim verse 9:5 abrogates all the other “peaceful” and “loving” verses. However, some scholars disagree:
“A popular argument against such a reading of the text is based on the claim that verses such as 22:39-40 and 2:190 have been abrogated by the so-called ‘verse of the sword,’ 9:5. Proponents of this argument generally cite the portion of the verse, which says, ‘then kill the polytheists wherever you find them,’ claiming that this abrogates any previous verses that seem to restrict fighting and killing non-Muslims. However, this argument is problematic for two very important reasons.
“First, as John Burton has clearly demonstrated, there is no agreement among Muslim scholars, past or present, on the nature of abrogation, or on the specifics of the abrogating and the abrogated. More important to the present discussion, however, is the fact that a literal reading of 9:5, in the surrounding context demonstrates that its message is the same as that found throughout the Qur’an.” ~ Prof. Aisha Musa, Towards a Qur’anically-Based Articulation of the Concept of ‘Just War’
For a lengthier treatment of abrogation, see Dr. Israr Khan’s article Arguments for Abrogation in the Qur’an: A Critique. Also see the article Abrogation, the biggest lie against the Quran.
Instead of protecting the rights of the speakers and organizers to hold an event, university capitulated to efforts to shut it down.
As IBTimes reported The Bavaria’s ruling party, Christian Social Union (CSU), has put forward a proposal saying that immigrants should speak German not only in public but in the home as well.
“The draft law has sparked outrage with dozens taking to social media to voice their dissent. Twitter users are commenting on the issue using the hashtag #YallaCSU. Yalla is an Arabic word that can be translated as “let’s go” and “hurry up”.” writes Ludovica Iaccino.
By ALISON SMALEDEC. 7, 2014
More refugees are seeking asylum in Germany than in any other country, straining Germans’ tolerance for foreigners and taxing the government’s ability to find housing for them.
DRESDEN, Germany — As it does every Advent, this history-laden city has erected the gift stalls, the glühwein stands and the Ferris wheel of Germany’s oldest Christmas market, around the Frauenkirche, the 18th-century church that was magnificently rebuilt after the Allies’ catastrophic bombing in 1945. But this year, there is tension behind the seasonal jollity.
For the past seven Mondays, people have taken up the battle cry of East Germans protesting their Communist government 25 years ago — “Wir sind das Volk!” (“We are the people!”) — and fashioned it into a lament about being overlooked by political leaders of the present.
Dresden’s demonstrators, echoing the populist fears coursing around Europe, are a motley mix of far right-wingers in the National Democratic Party, or N.P.D., young hooligans and ordinary folk who feel ignored as foreigners pour into Germany — at least 200,000 this year alone — seeking jobs or asylum.
Ahmad Mahayni, a Syrian refugee, had to leave his exiled family in Jordan in August so that he could fly to Berlin to seek asylum.
First hundreds, now thousands have responded to the summons from a previously unknown activist, Lutz Bachmann, 41, and an organization called Pegida, a German acronym for a title that translates roughly as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.
Continue reading the main story
On Monday, a record 7,500 showed up despite teeth-chattering cold, for an hour long march through Dresden’s center, a mix of grim Socialist architecture and gems of the pre-1945 past. National flags were flown. One placard said, “We miss our country,” while another demanded, “Protection of the Heimat,” or homeland, “not Islamization.”
Carefully kept at shouting distance by the police, several hundred opponents yelled their disagreement. “Refugees are welcome here!” they chanted in English before blocking the Pegida crowd from reaching Dresden’s famed Theater Square, bordered by the beautiful Semperoper opera house and the Zwinger museum, home to one of the finest European art collections.
Despite its rich culture and its present-day prosperity, Dresden is no stranger to right-wingers or hatred of foreigners. But as dissatisfaction simmers throughout Europe over the arrival of migrants, events in this city of 530,000 people have come as a surprise.
“They are clearly Nazis,” said Kathi Wetzel, 50, when asked at her food stall about the demonstrators, though, she added, the marches also swept up “simple hangers-on who don’t really know why they are going along.”
Martin Landseck, 32, pouring beer at another stand, took a far less definite attitude. “Let’s wait and see,” he said, about which side has the better case.
Clearly, Pegida has touched a nerve. In Germany, where the economy is still growing and more people have jobs than ever before, no equivalent has emerged to France’s Marine LePen and her populist National Front, and no leaders have ridden discontent to power like Prime Minister Victor Orban in Hungary.
The Islamization evoked by Pegida is hardly imminent, with only about 2 percent of the population in the Saxony region foreign, and only a fraction of those Muslim.
But right-wingers and soccer hooligans banded together in Cologne this fall and overran police officers in violent protests they said were aimed at Islamic extremism. Dresden is almost the anti-Cologne — determinedly antiviolent and careful in its fliers and patriotic placards to stay on the right side of laws banning hate speech — yet focused on many of the same targets.
For some years now Nicolai Sennels has been posting on Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer’s blog, JihadWatch. Sennels is very popular in the “counterjihad” movement that has spawned the likes of Anders Breivik and the EDL.
Sennels, in much the same way as earlier racist pseudo-scientists, focuses his Islamophobic output in his supposed field of expertise: psychology. These bona fides are supposed to be enough to lend credence to what is in effect Sennels’ new-age racist Scientism. Sennels theories claim in effect that Muslims are a racial group of inbreds who are genetically inferior to non-Muslims. For more on Sennels see Sheila Musaji’s excellent article at The American Muslim aptly titled, Nicolai Sennels’ Nazi Style Propaganda.
Of course we relay this as part of being the studious fact compilers we are, there is in reality no difference in the views Sennels and Spencer. That’s why he continues to write there.
Israeli officials say they have indicted a 30-year-old American Christian from Texas for plotting to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem
A 30-year-old American Christian from Texas has been indicted in Israel for plotting to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.
Israel’s Ministry of Justice said on Tuesday that a court had indicted Adam Everett Livix in connection with the plot.Continue reading...